OMG shoe storage.

We’ve all seen it. The front door shoe pile. You come home from work or play and immediately take off your shoes, right? Everyday you add another pair of shoes to the mix, or maybe family or friends stop by and before you know it, your entryway looks like this:

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In our home, we have two locations to collect shoes. The front door is where many of our friends and family leave their shoes and the back door is where we store our shoes. To tame our shoe pile problems, we brought in two different storage solutions.

The Ikea bench near our back door is our traditional shoe storage solution. These benches are common in mud rooms and entryways. Just search Pinterest for “shoe bench” and you will find many ideas for your own shoe bench solution. The best part about a shoe bench is that you can sit down to take off or put on your shoes as well as store shoes, all in one place.

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If you are interested in a more creative idea for shoe storage, why not try a bookshelf that shows off your shoes as well as your friends’ shoes? In our foyer, we took a more creative and decorative approach to storing shoes. We wanted a way to display shoes that is fun and looks like it belongs in the foyer. Enter our Ikea Lack bookshelf:

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And when we do not have shoes filling every shelf, our bookshelf serves as a fun way to display my favorite heels. A beautiful pair of shoes = art.

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Do you have a fun or creative way to store your shoes? Tell us about it!

Have a great week!



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The Space Between

In our home, the kitchen and living are open to each other. You can stand in the kitchen and see into the living room and vice-versa. The open space great for entertaining, especially for get-togethers focused around sporting events. You can stand in the kitchen enjoying a few delicious treats and still see into the living room to watch the game. It’s a win-win!

A few years ago, we painted the wall that connects the kitchen and living room. But there was a blank space still left between the two rooms. Here is a photo taken right after we painted the wall in between the two rooms. (Check out that crazy couch. 🙂 )

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Earlier this year, we added a functional organizing area between the kitchen and living room to connect the two spaces.

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BJ and I looked at several options for this space before finally deciding on this Ikea Hemnes sofa table. Here are a few of the tables and benches we considered.

 

 

 

Threshold™ X Console Table Threshold™ Fretwork Console Table

Threshold™ Storage Bench with Slatted Doors Unfortunately, with these tables and benches we encountered two deal breakers. First, the tables and benches weren’t wide enough for the space and second, they didn’t offer enough storage. Our goal for this space is to connect the two rooms and still be functional.

We chose the Ikea sofa table because it met our criteria for the space and it also looks great with our Ikea Hemnes coffee table, and our kitchen island. The white really stands out against the blue wall and dark cherry kitchen floor.

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To make our sofa table more functional, I added these large chalkboard crates from Target. We’ve divided the crates into my mail, BJ’s mail, coupons and take out menus. These are items that we traditionally store in the kitchen, or that we inevitably pile up on the kitchen island making it unusable. With the large milk crates, we can store all of our mail, menus and coupons so they are easy to find and tucked out of the way of our daily kitchen use. If you are looking for a DIY alternative to these crates, you could find old milks crates and paint them with chalkboard paint. We decided to go with the option at Target because they were exactly what we were looking for.

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On the top shelves, I added some of our colorful coffee table books, and added a tray on each end for BJ and I to store little odds and ends.

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Our mail bins even have their own bouncer. Don’t mess with Zoey.

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Now this is a fully functional and fun space for us to enjoy. What area of your house to could benefit most from a functional space like this one?

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Creating an Organized and Functional Garage

Over the last few years, BJ has developed a grand plan for organizing our garage and recently he put his plan into action.

One of BJ’s hobbies is working on cars. Since BJ enjoys doing his own car maintenance, we store needed parts, tools and car-washing products to keep our cars looking and driving like new.

We also use our garage to store our outdoor lawn and garden equipment as well as all of our home improvement tools like paint, paint brushes, etc.

Another requirement of our garage storage solution is that it allows enough room to park our cars inside and space to maneuver around when BJ pulls a car in to work on.

I’ve always admired pictures of organized garages, but with all of our stuff, I wasn’t sure we could ever get to something like this:

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BJ proved me wrong after he started hanging the first set of shelves. Our garage already looks clean and organized and there’s plenty of room to get cars in and maneuver around.

Before I briefly explain the process we used to hang these shelves, I must caution that this project is not for one person to complete alone. It really requires two to three (preferably strong) people. Also use extra care when lifting things above your head. BJ enlisted the help of my brother and dad while they were in town visiting for the 4th of July.

The shelves we used are from Ikea and we picked up the 2x4s and 2x6s from our local home improvement store. First, BJ assembled the Ikea shelves as they are seen below in the photo, but then we unloaded them and BJ cut the tall boards in half and assembled two shelves tall by several shelves across. On the back wall of our garage, he made the shelves one shelf tall.

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First, BJ assembled the shelves for the wall on the left side of the garage.

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After the shelves were assembled, BJ bolted a 2×4 to the wall for the shelves to rest on and another 2×4 to the ceiling to hang the shelves and help support the weight. Next, we lifted the shelves section by section while BJ screwed the bolts into the 2×4 mounted to the ceiling. Once all the shelves were bolted in and we loaded our stuff back in, they looked like this:

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BJ also added a few extra shelves all the way to the floor to store items we use often like lawn and garden tools and heavier items like our saw and air compressor.

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On the back wall, BJ mounted three 2x6s to use as shelves for his car wash products, car oil, and filters. He also made a shelf for his laptop so he can look up questions and car parts while he working.

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Underneath of the double shelves, BJ added of different hooks for lawn equipment, brooms, supplies and our bikes.

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Here is our progress to date:

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We have two sets of shelves up, but are not quite finished with this project. The next step is to add more shelves on the right side of the garage. Once, those are complete, we may have more room to store the holiday decorations that are currently overtaking the spare bedroom closet.

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After all the shelves are installed, we have plans to finish the floor so that it looks something like this:

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Fun with Instagram

It has been some time since we’ve updated you on all of our projects but in the meantime, we’ve been posting our progress on Instagram.

In honor of Social Media day yesterday, I wanted to share our recent Instagram posts.

Our Instagram posts (in no particular order) include a trip to Ikea, guest bedroom updates, new wall art, curtains, and a fun new coffee table arrangement.

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And of course, our recent Instagram posts wouldn’t be complete without a photo of Zoey!

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New posts coming soon!

Christmastime is here

Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer. Fun for all, that children call their favorite time of year…

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I could listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas album on repeat for hours. There is something about that music that is calming. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to take a moment to relax around Christmas and enjoy the season.

Speaking of enjoying the season, BJ and I always look forward to winter because we love snow. I love the way everything looks with a layer of snow. It’s like natural glitter coating everything in a sparkling white. This year, for our dining room Christmas tablescape, I wanted to capture our love for winter and snow.

Remember the Crate and Barrel vases I mentioned in our last post? I decorated the vases using faux snow and vase filler from Target.


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The Crate and Barrel clear glass vases joined our tablescape along with our reindeer placemats, a few pine cones I found in our bin-o-seasonal items, tea light candles, our reusable wedding centerpieces (aka Ikea lanterns) and a floral arrangement consisting of poinsettia, mistletoe and willows. The flowers are arranged in a tall ceramic vase I bought on clearance at Target for around $3.88.

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I’m really happy with the way the clear glass vases look on the table with the rest of our tablescape.
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Here is a closer shot of the tall ceramic vase I purchased for less than $4.

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And here are our Christmasy-pine cones and tea lights. The pinecones are snow-capped and the white snow has a little bit of glitter in it to make the pinecones sparkle.IMG_2640
Below is the full tablescape in all it’s glory. I think may leave it up past Christmas. Maybe I can find some neutral snowflake/winter placemats and some different flowers for January and February.


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Do you capture your favorite parts of the season in your home decor?

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.

Adding a Little Mood Lighting

Before we start this post, we just want to say that our thoughts and prayers are going out to everyone affected by Superstorm Sandy. Much of our family lives in the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast regions. We are very thankful that they are safe and sound tonight. We hope our readers are safe tonight and keeping warm. Please be safe! We are thinking of you. 

I love the look of soft mood lighting. It makes a home so cozy! And I saved one of our most exciting Ikea finds for last.

Recently, BJ and I made a small lighting upgrade to the kitchen that made a huge difference in the room. When BJ installed our new cabinet lights from Ikea, I was oooo-ing and ahhh-ing every time we turned them on. Even during the day, I can notice a difference in how they light up the counters. Below is a photo of our kitchen during the day. This also similiar to the lights looked in the Ikea showroom when we found them. The direct light right on the counters really helps when you are prepping and preparing meals.

Nothing beats how the lights look at night. And with our already installed cool white led rope lighting, the kitchen is so warm and welcoming. I call it a “gourmet glow.”

These lights are great because they give an expensive look, but are reasonably priced to install.

To give our kitchen the “gourmet glow” we bought and installed five Grundtal lights.

To connect the lights on one switch, we used two power supply cords and three connector cords.

Because we have two separate sets of cabinets, we used three connector cords and two power cords to plug the lights into two different outlets. If we had one straight set of cabinets, we would need four connector cords and one power cord. Here is how our outlets are set up:

When we built our house two years ago, we asked the builders to install a switch for two outlets, one above the each set of cabinets so we could later install over-cabinet lighting. If you do not have a pre-installed switch and outlet, you can install one or hire an electrician to install one for you.

With the appraisal still on the horizon, adding the over cabinet lighting was a great way to help increase the value of our home with little investment. It took BJ about 45 minutes to install all the lights.

Have you made any quick and easy upgrades that made a big impact to your home?