A lofty transformation

A few months ago, our loft looked like this: There was no furniture, just an end table, a few old video game systems, insulated purple curtains I found on sale at Target , and board games. This room needed serious help.

For two years I pondered all of the possibilities of our loft. After much discussion and various ideas of how to use this space, BJ and I settled on a movie/game room tastefully decorated in the colors, photographs and memorabilia of our alma mater.

This Fall, we started taking baby steps toward our functional movie/game room by adding two blue Poang chairs from Ikea.

Next, we added two maize yellow patterned toss pillow covers from Etsy. I found two 18 x 18 pillow inserts for our covers at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

After the chairs and pillows, we added new curtains. I had my eye on a pair of curtains from West Elm but wanted to see them in person before purchasing.

After browsing the curtains options at West Elm, BJ and I agreed the curtains shown above were still our number one choice. We chose these curtains because we wanted something with a bold pattern and neutral color palette. These curtains also complement our chairs well.

It’s amazing how just a few small changes can make a big difference. By adding chairs, toss pillows and curtains, we’ve completely changed the look of this room. We also changed out the previous end table with two Ikea Lack tables we already owned. And lastly, my bike and bike trainer will spend the winter in the loft so I can work out.

Here’s another look at the before and after.

Before:


After:

The next stage of our loft transformation is to add a storage/entertainment center. We’re thinking it might look something like this one below that we found at Ikea:

Once it’s all done, the loft will be a place that we can hang out in the evenings and when our families come to visit, they can relax in this room as well. It’s turning out to be a nice little retreat at the top of the stairs where you can ride a bike, watch a movie, play video games or curl up with a good book.

Playing Hallway Dress-Up

Before the appraisal last weekend, we decided to dress up our downstairs hallway. It was looking a little lackluster and needed some love.
Last year, we hung the coat rack/shelf on the left side of the hallway, but the right side remained plain, bare walls.

During a recent trip to Target to peruse the clearance racks for great deals on home decor, I came across a few shelving sets that were on sale. From the selection, I found a set of two white Threshold shelves that I decided would be perfect for this hallway.

I also picked up a mail organizer to store coupons and mailers.

Have you seen Target’s new Threshold brand? I love it! Their stuff is sophisticated looking, yet inexpensive.

Here is the after of the hallway with the shelves and mail bin installed. It gives this space a little more character and allows us to decorate for the seasons, if we like.

On each shelf, I placed a frame with a photo taken near our home.

On the shelf pictured below, the framed photo includes a backyard sunset I captured while we were painting our big blue wall. I also added a votive to the shelf that I saved from our Thanksgiving table display last year.

On the shelf at the end of the hall, the photo is of our petunias this year. Despite the drought, we had really great luck with our petunias. They are still hanging on too. They don’t give up easily. It may be December before we see them turn brown and fade away.

I really liked our new mail bin. I didn’t buy it with the intention of using it as a drop off location for mail as it comes in the door. Instead, it is a place to store coupons and mini catalogs that we can easily retrieve before shopping trips.

And instead of using the hooks for keys, I hung two heart ornaments that we found at Ikea as well as a door hanger for our favorite team!

We still have more updates to come on some of the smaller projects we accomplished over the past few weeks, so stay tuned!

Feeling the Love, Home Style

Our house is certainly feeling the love and so are we. It’s been a busy few weeks getting our home ready for a reappraisal and even though we are far from finished with our home improvement, DIY and decorating projects, we are proud of how far we’ve come since we moved in. It takes time to make a house a home and I’m enjoying every minute of our journey.

The appraisal is now officially over and as promised, here is an official wrap-up on our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

We did it! We finished all of the items on our list before the reappraisal.

Number 3 on our list was to organize and clean the spare room and BJ’s office. Just a few weeks ago, these room were stuffed full of boxes, papers and Goodwill donations. After spending a day hauling stuff out and reorganizing, these rooms are once again usable.

With the addition of the his and hers bookshelves in our bedroom, we moved the white shelving cubes to the spare bedroom to be used as storage. Our very first dining room table also found new life as a craft/project table.

In addition, the old coffee table from the living room is now a game and puzzle table.

BJ’s office was daunting when we first started reorganizing the chaos. There were still unpacked boxes in there!
Now all of the boxes are unpacked and we can see the floor again. Our next project with this room is to add bookshelves to give BJ more space to further organize his stuff.

The last, and the biggest project on our reappraisal to do list, was to finish the crown molding and baseboard projects. If you remember, we started working on the crown molding in the living room and kitchen around the same time that we tiled the floor in the dining room.

And drumroll please… Here are the before and after shots.

Here is the kitchen before the crown molding was finished:

And after:

Here is crown molding cap that BJ install in the living room to finish off the molding.

We also finished the baseboard in the dining room.

Here is the before, looking into the dining room. Notice the visible white drywall line in the paint on the far wall.

And here is the after. We decided to go with a taller more dramatic trim. This is just the baseboard before the quarter round was installed:

Now for the finished product with quarter round:




Since the rest of the house has a smaller baseboard installed, we bridged the gap between the taller baseboard in the dining room and the shorter baseboard in the foyer and kitchen with a thicker trim cap. We also added the quarter round to the baseboard to give the trim a finished look against the tile.


Since the tall white baseboard looks so nice against the slate tile floor, here are a few close ups for your viewing pleasure.


With the reappraisal over, we’ve decided to shift our focus to smaller projects for awhile. We are going to work on dressing up the loft, hanging some photos and I also have a fun Pinterest-inspired project planned for the coming weeks.

Did you wrap up any big projects this weekend?

Chrysanthemums: Take Two

In just under a month, our potted mums went from this:

To brown and dead looking. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’ll spare you a picture of the dead mums. I was so bummed that they turned brown so quickly.

I knew I couldn’t leave the brown mums on the porch if someone was going to look at our house for an appraisal. I went back to the Home Depot for new, blooming mums. I bought some of the last mums they put out for the season and this time I only bought one mum for each of the pots. The mums were on sale and I only spent around $15 dollars for three large mums, and two small mums.

It was $15 well spent because our front porch now looks like this:

In the process of giving our front porch a face lift, I busted out the trimmers and got busy cutting back the overgrown cherry bushes.
After some weeding and TLC, our gardens look less like a jungle and more like they are ready for winter.

We are still crossing items off of our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Two down and two to go. More updates on our progress on the trim and organizing to come!

Showing Our Home Some More Love

As promised, here are our fabulous Ikea finds from last weekend.

Along with the coffee table for the living room, we also brought home a pair of Poang chairs for the loft. The loft is a good example of the “design and use a room for how you live” lesson I learned during the YHL panel session. For months, BJ and I talked about all the possibilities for the loft. After many discussions about how we could use the room, we realized it would often be just the two of us (and Zoey, of course) spending time in the loft. Why worry about seating multiple people? We have plenty of entertaining space downstairs in the living room. Instead of an entertaining space, the loft will be a place for us to relax outside of our master bedroom. Even when family and friends come and stay with us, they can use this space to read or relax.

To kick off the loft transformation, we bought two Poang chairs with black brown frames and blue cushions.

Originally, my design plan for the loft was to hang yellow chevron curtains and make yellow chevron pillows for the chairs. After I searched the Internet for yellow chevron curtains, I couldn’t justify the price. Even to buy the fabric and make the panels and pillows myself seemed too pricey. I decided to reconsider my idea and instead I found some reasonably priced yellow chevron and gotcha lattice patterned pillows on Etsy and curtains from West Elm.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

Okay, I digress…

Back to the Ikea finds. An exciting new addition to our bedroom are our his and hers cube bookshelves. Can you guess which one is which? 🙂

Those are our latest Ikea finds. As we continue showing our home some love for the upcoming reappraisal, we are slowly crossing items off our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

The Poang chairs were a huge upgrade to the loft, and as for the appraisal to do list, we can cross off number 2. We are still going to add some more touches to this room including the curtains, pillows and an entertainment center. But for now, we can call this one done.

We are diligently working on the rest of the list and are hoping to finish by Tuesday of next week. Fingers crossed that we get it all done in time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Showing Our Home Some Love, Part 2: The Coffee Table Conundrum Solved

After we met John and Sherry from Young House Love on Saturday, and got a copy of their awesome book, we headed to Ikea. I was feeling completely inspired and ready to tackle our challenging rooms. While we were at Ikea, we picked up some items we’ve been talking about for a long time and a few cool items we found while browsing the new displays.

One of our most exciting purchases is a new coffee table for the living room. Right after we bought our current couch, I experienced a coffee table conundrum. After scouring Pinterest and making a few trips to Ikea, we finally brought home this guy:

We decided to go with white coffee table to contrast the dark couch and dark furniture. I’m still working on some of the decorations on top, but you will see our copy of the new Young House Love book found itself a happy home.

Check back later this weekend to see more of our Ikea finds!

Showing Our Home Some Love

Yesterday, we went to the first stop on the book tour for Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love and attended the panel session for their new book, Young House Love, 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. We also had the very awesome, yet very brief, opportunity to meet them when they signed our copy of the book. BJ scored the award for most awesome amazing husband when he left the panel session to snag a place in line so we could get a (very limited) copy of the book. Best husband ever!

Here is our copy:

And… confession… I was super dorky and nervous when I met Sherry and John. I was so excited to tell them that they inspired me to write this blog and how I really enjoyed their blog and projects. I kinda got a little shaky and instead of calmly signing BJ and my name in their book, I think it probably looked more like scribbles. But with all the dorky, nervousness aside, I was super-inspired when we left the book show and I was so glad we went to hear them speak and got a chance to meet them and get a copy of their book.

So what’s makes a book signing with your favorite home improvement and DIY bloggers complete? A trip to Ikea, of course. We left the book signing with me super inspired and recapping the entire presentation for BJ (We tried FaceTime while he was in line, but it didn’t work. Boo.) The great part about all the things that John and Sherry mentioned in their panel session is that we are actually in the process of trying to show our house some love for an upcoming reappraisal. With financing rates as low as they are, we are hoping to take advantage and get a new lower rate on our loan. Part of the process is to have the house reappraised since we are on the edge of a few financing rates.

Sherry and John’s advice during the session was invaluable and some of it I definitely needed to hear… such as “design and use your house for how you live.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your house to look a certain way because it’s what you think other people will like, but you should design your home for how you live. You’re the ones that live there every day and call your house your home, right?

So with a reappraisal on the horizon and me still inspired from the panel session, here is our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.” Or at least that what I’m calling it.

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

In September, I planted mums in our new pots out front and they looked great until the frost came in and killed them. They looked so pretty after they were planted. It was a bummer they didn’t stand up to the cold temperatures. I tried covering the pots with blankets on the nights they called for frost but it didn’t keep the cold from getting to them.

Today I went back over to Home Depot and picked up some new mums to replace the brown ones on our front porch.

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

Our loft is one of those challenging spaces that were not really sure what do with. But after listening to the Young House Love presentation, we decided to use the room for how we live. Here is the loft in its current state:

My master plan is to use our college alma mater’s colors in a tasteful way. While we were Ikea this weekend, we picked out some Poang chairs with blue cushions and I’m now on the search for some yellow-gold chevron fabric so I can make curtains and pillows We are also going to hang some photos of the stadium and campus. The idea is to make this space a movie/game area inspired by our college. But it has to be tasteful. We’re not about to plaster our school’s logo on the wall with a ginormous vinyl graphic and call it done.

While we were at Ikea, we also found our future loft entertainment/storage center:

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

I haven’t talked much about our spare bedroom or BJ’s office because they weren’t much to talk about. After we moved in to our our house, the spare bedroom and BJ’s office quickly became the two rooms that we stuffed everything into and then ran out and shut the door behind us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

This weekend, we conducted a major overhaul of the spare bedroom and BJ’s office so they are presentable, usable rooms in time for the reappraisal. And we want to finally use those spaces for the way we live instead of just stuffing them full of items we don’t want to deal with.

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Last year, we started putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen and here is where we left off:

We also ripped out the trim in the dining room when we tiled the floor last year and we haven’t had enough time to replace what we tore out.

The remaining crown moulding and baseboard are now purchased and ready to sand, paint and install.

That’s our list! This week we are going to jump in and try get the list accomplished before we have the house reappraised. It’s time to show our home some love. Wish us luck because it could get crazy around here!