Making a House a Home

One of my favorite boards on my Pinterest page is my Making a House a Home board. I use this board to pin pictures that I would enjoy seeing incorporated in our home.

For example, I love these wall letters and they gave me the idea that I could incorporate something like this in our kitchen. Once we finish the crown molding project, I want to hang the word “Yum” on the wall.

wall letters

Below is another pin from my board. I love the pillows on this couch, and since we just added a new couch to our living room, I decided to do my own interpretation of bright pillows on a dark couch.

Love the couch

I took our existing pillows and added a few more.

I also appreciate the look of a clean, well-organized pantry and I’m working on getting ours there.

Dream pantry

A few months, ago I started collecting OXO vacuumed-sealed containers.

These are the best storage containers!

And I started incorporating the containers in our pantry.

Recently, I found a 12 pack of the OXO containers at Sam’s Club. They’re kind of a pain to clean because you have to hand wash them, but I’m slowly getting them all cleaned and into our pantry.

I’ve added about half of the 12 into the pantry and had to do a little reorganizing. It looks a little like a hot mess right now. But I’m on my way to a better organized pantry and our food will last longer in the vacuumed sealed containers. No more wasted snacks!

Just focus on the top shelf for now. Doesn’t it look nice? 🙂

Another picture I’ve pinned to my Making a House a Home board is the antique-looking wooden wall quotes.

For the playroom.

I found a similar one that doesn’t have quotes on it, but I love the idea of incorporating wine into our kitchen decor, so this will hang above the entrance to our dining room once the crown molding is finished.

What is your own favorite Pinterest board? How do you find inspiration to make your house feel like a home?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

A little wine with your home decor?

Mmmm wine. I love  how some of it tastes and I love to use wine bottles in our decor. We came across these wine racks at Ikea while we were still living in our apartment. When we moved into our house, we hung them up in our kitchen and ever since then, we’ve found different ways to incorporate wine into our kitchen decor.

The flowers and grapes came from Michaels. I bought them for another project and just on a whim, I weaved the flowers through the wine racks and then hung the grapes from them for a little something extra. I’ve always liked the way it looks and now I don’t remember what I originally bought the flowers or grapes for.

One of the fun things about using wine bottles in your kitchen decor is the constant change of scenery. As friends and family come over and you enjoy a bottle of wine together, you replace that bottle with a new one.

And you can also use the corks. Here is how we are reusing our wine bottle corks. Our collection is still in progress.

Finally, to go along with our wine decor, we found this neat wall hanging.

Once we finish the crown molding, our plan is to hang this above the door into our dining room.

BJ and I became more into wine around this time last year when we took our first anniversary trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. We took tours of the winery, participated in a wine tasting and even enjoyed a wine and chocolate pairing. If you enjoy wine and haven’t been to the Biltmore, I definitely recommend it. If you are interesting in learning more about wine it’s a great way to get away to the mountains and learn about vino while you’re there!

Who wouldn’t want to kick back, drink a glass of wine and enjoy this view?

Have a great week!

A little piece of New York

Yesterday, I posted about our weekend in Saratoga Springs, New York. We had a great time and now there is a souvenir of our fun trip on our kitchen counter. As part of our welcome gift, Angelo and Ashley gave us two bottles of Saratoga sparkling spring water. The sparkling spring water comes in beautiful blue bottles and when I brought them home, I liked them so much that I thought they deserved a home with our kitchen decor. So here they are (the bottle of wine was one of the wine choices we served at our wedding):

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Thanks Angelo and Ashley!

Pretty Vases

Lately, I’ve been in love with tall vases and tall flower arrangements. They bring so much drama to a space and they really make a statement.

After we finished the tile in the dining room and moved the table and chair back in, I redecorated the table to look like this:

But it wasn’t exciting. It lacked the drama that the previous tall arrangements brought to the room.

So I made a few changes and now I love the set up.

And aside from the new tall arrangement of dahlias, I also replaced the red candles and coffee beans in the shorter vases from Crate and Barrel. I used the coffee beans for the tall center arrangement (which I bought all the supplies for at Target) and then I found raspberry potpourri vase filler (also from Target) that resembles a birds nest. I divided the potpourri into the two vases and added the eggs that came with it for the nests.

It smells great and looks lovely on our table.

If you are wondering what happened to the vases of orchids that used to be in our dining room, they are now located on our kitchen island.

And here a few of the other tall arrangements located around our house. These two sit on top of our fireplace in the living room:

And we have an arrangement of gerbera daisies in the guest bathroom:

And more gerbera daisies in our bedroom:

Do you have any decor that you love right now or you would consider a “go to item” when adding your personal touch on a room?

Have a great weekend!

Updates on the slate tile floor and kitchen pantry

Over the past few months our dining room floor has sat idle, waiting for grout. The cold weather made it difficult to open the windows and let the room air out during the grouting process, so we patiently waited for it warm up again. Spring is officially here and since they are calling for nice weather this weekend, we took the opportunity to get the floor ready to grout.

Before we could start the next step of finishing the floor, we needed to fix a few broken tiles and re-set the tiles that came loose after we set them.

We walked around the floor trying to feel if anything rocked or squirmed under our feet. If we found a tile that was either broken or loose, we marked it with painters/masking tape. The tape served as a way to find the tiles we planned to repair so we wouldn’t spend time walking on every tile each time we fixed one.

After we were sure we found all the tiles to repair, we slowly lifted the loose tiles to make sure we didn’t break anything. Then we used a hammer and chisel to remove the mortar from the concrete. For the broken tiles, they were set a little better so we had to use the chisel to pry them off of the floor. Some tiles were set so well we had to lightly hit them with the hammer a few times to loosen them from the floor. Then we used the chisel and hammer to remove the remaining mortar and tile.

For the broken tiles, we had to replace them with new tiles and throw away the old ones.

We saved a few tiles when we first laid the floor just in case we needed them down the road. We used three of the tiles today and now we have 2 or 3 left if we need them. Once we picked out new tiles from our reserve and cleaned up the dust and mortar pieces, we started replacing the tiles. Before we put the mortar down, we taped off the surrounding tiles to prevent excess mortar splattering on the faces of the clean tiles. Then we spread the thin-set mortar.

For a few of the tiles, we added extra mortar to the low spots to make sure they set.

Then we laid all the tiles and made sure to press them into the mortar to get a strong contact between the mortar and the tile.

It took a few hours to remove the old mortar and set the tiles and during that time, Zoey paid us a few visits. She’s not allowed in the dining room, but she kept coming to supervise and even crossed the threshold to test her limits and run to the open window. She is mischievous!

Now that the broken and loose tiles are repaired, we are ready to fully prep for grout. Our next steps are to seal the tiles again and then wait 24 hours for the tiles we fixed to set up. Then, we grout! Once the grout is finished, we will seal the floor two more times. After we seal, and the floor dries, we can replace the base board. And then, our dining room is finished!

The floor project has gone well so far and although we’re not quite finished, I have a few lessons learned to share with anyone thinking about a DIY slate floor:

1. Do not rush a tile floor. It takes time to do all the associated steps.

2. Make sure you press all the tiles firmly into the mortar. If they are not in the mortar, they will come loose a few days after you are finished.

3. Always take the time to prep the floor before you put tile down. A clean floor is better for the mortar.

4. Make sure you can open the windows when you lay the thin set mortar. It will help keep the overwhelming smell down.

And that’s where we are with the floor. It’s almost ready to grout, we just need to wait for the tiles to set, clean the entire floor and seal it one more time.

More updates to come!

In other news, I also worked on the kitchen pantry this week. I acquired more Target gift cards and used them to buy OXO containers. I also reorganized the pantry and it went from this:

To this:

I still need a few more OXO containers for some of my baking supplies and snacks, but it has definitely come a long way from before. There were so many boxes of cans stacked on the floor and now they are easily accessible on the bottom shelf. I also reorganized our food into categories. I tried to keep the breakfast products somewhat together, the baking supplies in one area, the cans on one shelf and the snacks together. Now I can see exactly how many of items we have. And with our snacks in vacuüm sealed containers, they will last longer and I won’t have to throw away stale bags of chips!

That’s all for now! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Spring Forward

Spring is in the air at our house. Despite the snowflake lights still hanging on our banister, I’m in full Spring-mode. Tonight also marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed tonight!

I couldn’t be more excited to lose an hour of sleep. Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m looking forward to more daylight for evening walks and bike rides.

Another sign that Spring is on it way is in our flower garden. Check out what’s coming up already:

The hyacinths I planted last year survived! I worried they wouldn’t come back because I bought the flowers fully grown and then planted them around late April when it was still a little chilly out. I’m excited to see that they made it through the winter and now they are coming up and getting ready to bloom.

The tulips that I planted last year are also coming up. I noticed this little guy today while I was checking out the hyacinths.

Another sign that Spring is in the air is my latest organizing project. The first official day of Spring is still over a week away, but I’ve already got a jump-start on my “spring cleaning.” Remember at the beginning of 2012, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get organized (closets, bathrooms and kitchen pantry)? I finally started on the pantry. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m happy with how it’s turning out so far. I realize that it still looks a little cluttered, but it’s better than it was. I will spare you the “before” photo. It was messy, so use your imagination. 🙂

I would love for our pantry to look like this:

Maybe some day.

In the meantime, I’ve been collecting Target gift cards like crazy lately so that I can buy more OXO vacuum-sealed containers. I love these containers! And no, I’m not getting any endorsements from OXO.

I hope get all of our pantry items (minus canned foods and individually package foods) into OXO containers.

Did you notice our fun star Post-it notes? Okay, they are a little hard to miss. I ran out of paper in our labeler so I’ve used these Post-its to label the containers. I actually think I like them a little better because I can also add the serving size and Weight Watchers Point Plus values.

I’m still collecting Target gift cards, so I will keep you updated on my progress. It will take a while to get our entire pantry into OXO containers, but I will keep buying a few here and there as I get more gift cards. Unfortunately, it seems like they never go on sale.

Once I get the pantry organized, my next room is the laundry room. It’s kinda drab now. This is one of the only rooms in the house that we didn’t paint. As you can tell, this shelf and wall are not very exciting. And the explanation for why there are so many containers of fabric softener; they were on sale. I also got a $5 Target gift card for purchasing two Downy and Tide items, so I stocked up.

You can also see the top of our very old washing machine in this photo. We will probably keep our washer and dryer until they die, so it might be awhile before I can really get this room looking like much. I would like to add a folding table, but that will have to wait until we buy a front-loading washing machine. As most homeowners know, you never run out of things to buy, or projects to do when you own a house. But that means there is always something new and exciting going on!

So before I wrap up this post, I’ll leave you with this photo. I caught Zoey sun-bathing and looking cute this afternoon.

Also, I’m going to try to post more regularly so check back on Tuesdays and Saturdays of every week for new posts!
Have a great weekend everyone!

A year in the making…

One year ago, after a trip to Home Depot, we taped a blue paint chip to our wall. And that paint chip stayed there for a year.

Friends and family came and stayed at our house and still the paint chip stayed on the wall.

Until last weekend, the paint chip seemed like a part of our wall. We even joked that we would go back to Home Depot and get enough paint chips to cover the entire wall. Finally, last weekend we went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint instead. After a year of living with our paint chip, we decided to take the leap and paint the wall.

So below is our paint of choice for this project. It’s Behr Premium Plus Interior Eggshell Enamel. We like eggshell paint because it is more durable than a flat, but doesn’t give off any sheen. Our color of choice: Glass Sapphire. The paint chip was actually for paint that included primer. Since our walls were already a light color, we chose to go with the regular interior paint. Because we went for the non-primer paint, they had to color match our chip, which sounds funny, but it turned out perfect.

On Sunday morning we got up, ate some breakfast, prepped the paint brushes and rollers and sanded the rough spots in the wall. After we sanded the wall, we wiped it down with a dry cloth.

While we prepped the brushes, rollers and the wall, Zoey came to inspect the paint supplies and supervise.

And to help BJ tape the trim.

After we put the kitten upstairs to enjoy lounging on our bed while we were busy working, we finished taping the trim, laying all the drop cloths, ate some lunch and then painted. So here is the wall sans blue paint:

Then the first coat went on:

And as the sun set Sunday evening, we ate some dinner then painted the second coat and wrapped up our painting project.

We waited over 24 hours before we hung the decorations and curtains back on the wall. After two days, our wall was finished and looked great.

So now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the before and after (from slightly different angles).

Before:

After:

After one year in the making, our big blue accent wall is complete!