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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Punxsutawney Phil: an early spring… cleaning?

On Saturday, our dear groundhog friend, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow which means an early spring. I’m not sure if Phil is right, but once February comes, it’s easy to start looking forward to spring and summer. To prepare for the change in seasons, I started working on my spring cleaning projects.

My first project focused on our closet under the stairs. This closet was full of boxes, unused appliances, drinks, reusable bags, stacks of paper towels and paper products.

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After digging out our unused appliances and hauling them off to Goodwill, I threw away the unneeded boxes and organized the remaining drinks, paper products and miscellaneous items. Once I was finished, the closet looked like this:

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This closet is just the first on my list to tackle over the next few months. Next is our spare bedroom closet. Right now, the spare bedroom closet, which is full of seasonal decorations and craft supplies is spilling out into the bedroom. It’s time to get the spillage under control.

But before we jump into the next spring cleaning project, BJ and I are taking some time to enjoy Valentine’s Day next week. Are you planning anything special or just spending an evening out with friends?

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Chalkboard Fun

Pinterest boards seem to be covered with DIY chalkboard projects these days. While I have a plan for a DIY chalkboard, in the meantime, BJ and I found a wall mounted chalkboard photo frame on sale at Crate and Barrel.

The chalkboard came with four 4×4 photo frames. Because printed photos come in standard sizes like 4×6, this required photo cutting to achieve the 4×4 size. You could also use photo editing software to crop the photos on your computer and then print them to a desired size. I chose to cut a few 4×6 photos left over from another project.

To cut the 4×6 photos to 4×4, I removed the filler paper inside the frames. Then I placed the paper on the photo as a template. I used a piece of scotch tape to hold the paper in place while I cut the photo. Don’t worry about putting the tape on the photo because the part of the photo with the tape won’t be needed.

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After I finished cutting, I arranged the photos in the frames.

And, if you’re wondering, the third photo from the left is a squirrel hanging from a tree eating a nut. I snapped that photo a few years ago while visiting a park in Maryland. The squirrel was more interested in his or her lunch than me standing there taking pictures. The swans are in the same park but the photos were taken around six years apart. The heart is from our Christmas tree this year and the red flowers were taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

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I digress… back to the chalkboard. Next, BJ got out a few tools for hanging frames. We chose the open wall by our downstairs powder room to hang the chalkboard. It is easily visible from our kitchen and adds more character to our once boring back hallway.

The frame came with hardware for hanging, but we also added anchors to make sure the drywall could hold the weight of the frame. Our drywall is pretty soft, so adding anchors for extra support really helps.

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Now that our chalkboard is up, BJ and I can write fun messages to each other.

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We also use the chalkboard to write our dinner menu and wine pairing each evening.

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Do you have a chalkboard in your home? How do you use your chalkboard?

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?

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?

Here’s to One Year

One year ago today, I started Frame By Frame Style. Not only has this blog brought me joy, it’s a great way to update our friends and family on our home improvement endeavors. I also hope it has given some of our readers a few tips, tricks and a little inspiration along the way.

In honor of Frame By Frame Style’s first year, here is a look back at five of my favorite projects from this past year:

1. The Railing Stain Project

We actually did this project almost a year before we started this blog, but it really transformed the look of our home’s interior.

2. The Wall One Year in the Making

The infamous blue paint chip that lived on our wall for a year finally turned into one large blue wall. It’s made all the difference when you walk into our house. All of our accent walls are painted on the rooms that face our front door. When you walk in you see bright colors throughout the house. It’s like a crayon box, but better.


3. The Kitchen Island

We literally went from very little usable kitchen counter space, to plenty of room for friends and family to gather and hang out and even help us make a meal. It was a fun adventure to bring this island home in pieces from Ikea and then to assemble it all was a lot of work. The results were so worth it.

4. The Tile Floor

It took several months to finish our floor and the baseboard is still a work in progress, but the look and feel of the room is so different. I love the way the slate looks. And I’m proud to say that I laid many of the tiles in this room. It was my first go at tiling a floor. Not too shabby.

5. The Tree Towel Rack

The towel rack in our guest bathroom is probably my favorite project that we did this year. It turned out exactly as I envisioned and it was so easy! I love when people come over and it see it. It it so fun. I smile every time I see this tree.

It’s been a very busy, but enjoyable year working on projects and sharing our progress. I’m looking forward to more projects and another year of writing posts about our home improvement adventures.

Have a great weekend!

Organized Bliss

The pantry is finally finished. When you open the door, it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for. I love it!

Before I started working on our pantry this was my inspiration.

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And now our pantry looks like this, the top view:

And the bottom:

We have a lot more food in our pantry than the first inspiration photo and we also have a mix of boxes and vacuumed sealed containers. But for us, this works.

Before our pantry looked like this:

It was chaos. I also had trouble with the cans on the bottom shelf. They took up a lot of real estate and you couldn’t really see what was there. We decided to solve that problem by looking for something that we could put under the bottom of the pre-existing pantry shelves. We found this stacking shelf system at the Container Store and it works perfectly.

I also took our organizing one step further and labeled the majority of our containers. And because I am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, I have all the serving sizes and PointsPlus values written under the name of each product. For the baking and cooking products, I just labeled them with their name.

So our pantry is finally organized and hopefully it will stay this way for a long time. I love opening the door and finding everything I need without digging around. And because we used vacuumed sealed containers to store much of our food, we don’t have to worry about food going stale quickly. It’s a win-win!