May 18 2012

Further Nursery Plans

Ok, so I’ve talked before about how we are working on the nursery in phases.

Phase 1 was really the biggest: we had to basically gut the room from the floor to the ceiling. All the window trim needed to be scraped, caulked, primed and painted.

Here you can see the difference between the cleaned up window trim on the inside and the ugly messy peeling window trim on the outside

While phase 1 did include all the pretty colors and furniture, it was a mainly a lot of hard work. But there is a bit more to go. Here are the next few phases that we want to work on.

Phase 2 is mainly the closet area. We took down the closet door so that we could have room on the main door wall for a dresser. The closet door wouldn’t have opened all the way if it had. However, we need to work a bit on that closet area still. If you can see from the picture, the trim around the door only exists on the right hand side. (Why? Who knows. There are a lot of things about our old house that don’t make sense to us. Previous owners did strange things, like painting the kitchen trim with a flat black paint. Who does that? Strange previous owners, that’s who.)

Anyway, we are going to finish the trim around the closet door, and also trim out the cubby area. Those cubbies were created in a space that used to hold a chimney. The previous owners took out the chimney (which was for a stove in the kitchen, we suspect. This house was built in 1916, remember…) and just screwed some ugly plywood into the wall to create the cubby area. Great concept, bad execution. As well as adding trim around the cubby area, we want to finish off the shelf edges with a bullnose trim. Anyway, here’s a simple Photoshop rendering of what the trim might look like when we are done.

The other thing we have to do in the closet is on the inside. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of that – it’s really kind of ugly. (Oh wait! I found one!) Basically on the inside of the closet there is icky fake paneling (like the kind we demoed when we worked on our downstairs bathroom. Behind the paneling is the same 1″ by 10″ wood planking that pretty much makes up the entire structure of our house. (You can see more of what that looks like here in our downstairs bathroom). We’re just going to paint the entire inside of the closet white and install some kind of shelving system (yet to be determined). Right now the shelving system we inherited with the closet is a couple of pieces of wood nailed to each side of the closet with a broom handle resting on top of that. Classy.

Phase 3 of the nursery means a couple of things. Crown molding first of all. Kelly didn’t paint up to the ceiling because he knew that we would eventually add crown molding. He wants to create molding similar to the square, chunky molding we have in the living and dining rooms.

Phase 3 (or perhaps sooner, if we can find a good deal) will also include a new ceiling fan and light for the room. Right now the light is missing a shade and the ceiling fan is too small for the size of the room. I’m thinking a simple white ceiling fan to blend in with the ceiling, not stand out from it, is the best choice.

The biggest part of phase 3 will be the wall of built-ins on the bathroom wall. Here’s the way it looks now:

And here’s Kelly’s rough (he wants to emphasize the ROUGH part) mock-up of what the built-ins will look like.

There will be bookshelves on both sides and over the top of the door. To the left of the shelves will be a built-in writing desk and above that will be cupboards. To the left of that is the 8 inch wide area that will enclose the heating vent pipe that runs right through the room. The pipe is double insulated, so we only need 1-inch clearance around it. Since the pipe isn’t the depth of the other cabinets, we will have some room to play around with making some smaller cubbies in front of the pipe. Perhaps I’ll paint the backs of those ones blue as well! And then to the far left will be some more cupboard space that will be tall enough to have hanging clothes as well. The whole thing will be built out of pre-primed MDF and will tie into the crown molding in the rest of the room and be trimmed out really nicely.

That’s the plan, at least. It might change, but we’ll keep you posted.

May 16 2012

Nursery Reveal

Ok, the time is here! Here are the pictures of the finished nursery! (Ok, “Phase 1″ finished… but still…)

I wanted to create a bright and cheerful room that could work for either a boy or a girl. I didn’t want it to be “themey” but rather based around color, so I found some fabric that I based the whole room around. We ended up using this fabric for the curtains.

I loved the greens and blues in it. The curtains were made by my mother-in-law and have a band of turquoise at the bottom. There are a lot of windows in the room and it required a lot of fabric.

We picked a nice cheery yellow for the walls – Glidden’s Buttercup, color-matched to Benjamin Moore paint (the only paint my husband thinks is worth anything…) and used some of Behr’s Bamboo Leaf and Peacock Feather for other accents in the room (we’ll get to those later).

We bought the bamboo roman shades at Home Depot and cut them to the width of the windows. We can never find exact matches for the old windows in our house and these shades are easy to cut to size.

We found both the sofa and the ottoman on Craigslist. The pillows are from Target (green & blue), Pier One (yellow) and the bigger quilted ones were made by my mother and my cousin.

The quilted pillow uses some of the curtain fabric

I found the side table on Craigslist and it was already refinished with dark turquoise legs! I didn’t have to do a thing to it! The green table lamp is from Target.

The crib is the Sundvik crib from IKEA. White and simple and inexpensive. We opted for simple white mesh breathable bumpers and rotate pale green, blue and yellow crib sheets from Target.

My mother sewed the crib skirt, from a coordinating fabric in the same line as the curtain fabric:

The art over the crib on the long window wall was a gift from my mother-in-law. It’s from Petit Collage, and while I’m not sure where she bought those, I know you can find it on Etsy. The other art is the cross-stitch birth announcement lovingly made by my mother. She’s been making cross-stitch birth announcements for years for numerous friends and family and I gave her a challenge with this one. I think a lot of child-oriented cross-stitch design is too overly sentimental or kitschy, so I found a neat Etsy shop that sells simple graphic bird and animal cross-stitch patterns and together we came up with a design combining several of the patterns and using the colors of the room.

We found the glider on Craigslist too – and I’m still considering recovering it, as the gray is the only gray in the room. Haven’t quite decided what to do yet. The teal blanket was crocheted by a co-worker of mine, who had absolutely NO idea that the color fits PERFECTLY in the room. We love it.

The mobile was a gift from my mother-in-law. She bought it at a local art gallery.

The tiny little rocking chair was my sisters’ and mine when we were little. I can’t wait for Marc to be old enough to sit in it!

I painted the backs of the cubbies with the Peacock feather color and some of the cubbies hold Marc’s amazing, growing library and some others have some awesome storage bins from Target. The top one holds keepsakes – his baptismal candle, several outfits I want to save – the middle one holds receiving blankets and burp cloths and the bottom one holds toys.

We took the door off of the closet and I sewed (with help from my mother-in-law!) the curtain to cover the door. It’s made from this fabric:

The dresser/changing table was one more Craigslist find and was a beat up old brown dresser with ugly handles and cracked drawer bottoms. My dad sanded and primed the dresser and I painted it with the Bamboo Leaf color and then the drawers with a gradation in color (we added varying amounts of white to the base color to get the other colors) to create a cool ombre effect. Kelly replaced the drawer bottoms and refaced the insides of the drawers. I love the way it looks, though, it’s an old dresser and has the quirks and stickiness of an old dresser.

I found some old baskets lying around the house and have all of Marc’s cloth diapers and liners stacked up in them and easily accessible.

I think the art wall is pretty fun and features a lot of my DIY projects. I found the mirror at a local thrift store. It was plastic and and ugly dark green. I painted it turquoise, as you can see. I also painted the wooden letters on the shelf and decoupaged the scrapbook paper on the M hanging on the wall. The art is from Etsy, mainly. The “Let the Wild Rumpus Start!” from “Where the Wild Things Are” quote is from rawartletterpress, the airplane is from UrbanTickle (it says “I hope that even the sky is not the limit for you”) and the M is for Monkey is from SeaUrchinStudio. The cross was from Marc’s godparents on the occasion of his baptism. The other painting on the shelf was painted in 1999 by my flatmate when I was living overseas in Croatia. It’s a simple painting of the Croatian coastline and the colors work perfectly in the room!

You can see the door wall here, where we painted the chalkboard door and where we do Marc’s monthly picture taking.

I painted an old coat hook rack that was originally in the room hanging on the door with the blue paint and when Marc’s old enough, he can hang his coats there. Right now I’ve got a few sentimental pieces of clothing hanging on it. The purple outfit was knitted by Marc’s godmother after I complained about how all the purple clothes were on the girls’ side of the store. Boys can wear purple! The red sweater was knitted by his godfather. It’s a gorgeous Scandinavian design and has a hat, mittens and socks that go along with it. He wore the sweater on his baptism day. The lion outfit belonged to Marc’s uncle – his namesake – when he was an infant in the 60s.

I stretched this Amy Butler fabric over some wood to create art on the wall next to the door:

Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck is with the other wall in the room and why there are no pictures of it yet! Well, that’s because it’s the part of the room that’s not finished yet and won’t be until Phase 2 – or possibly Phase 3. But, just so you can see it, here it is:

Sad, I know. That green and blue bunting was actually the original inspiration for the room. It hung at our wedding and gave me the idea to do a room using green and blue. When this wall is finished, it will most likely still hang there, just over the wall of built-in cabinets that we are planning.

Right now this wall houses the wet diaper pail (that door is the door to the bathroom where we rinse out Marc’s cloth diapers so it’s very handy to have the pail right there) and a few of Marc’s bigger toys.

Oh, I just realized here that you can see the carpet that we have in the room in this picture – we chose teal carpet tiles from Flor. We ended up not making a full 8×10 rug out of them – I think Kelly wanted to show off more of the gleaming hardwood floors he worked so hard on!

By the way, that cradle was made by my father for my sister when she was a baby! Now it is holding Roar Bear (my teddy bear as a child) and Marc’s special Peter Rabbit (made by my mother for my little sister) and a sock monkey.

So, that’s the nursery. I’m absolutely in love with this room. It’s my favorite place in the whole house. It’s so bright and cheerful and happy and I think it reflects Marc’s happy little personality.

What do you think?

Bright and cheery room!

Happy little boy!

Nov 15 2011

New Nursery floorplan

When we were clearing out the nursery, I finally got around to actually measuring the dimensions of the room, the windows, doors, etc. So you can imagine my surprise at how wildly off I was when I created the previous floorplan for the nursery. Here’s what I had pulled out of my head:

This is how the room is in actuality:

It is actually much larger than I had thought and more square than rectangular. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the following things:

  • We will be able to fit a rocking chair next to the crib against that wall
  • There is room for an 8×10 rug rather than a 5×8
  • Having just the far wall designated for built-in cabinets is plenty. Kelly convinced me that wrapping around the wall will just be more hassle than it’s worth and will inhibit opening the door all the way

Kelly has now gotten the skim coat on the ceiling. Next step, patching and sanding – then on to the window trim scraping!

Oct 19 2011

Nursery Details

Ok, I should probably give a few more details on the nursery inspiration board I made.

Colors, fabrics and inspiration board

The first thing I should mention is that we are planning on finishing this room from floor to ceiling. Like the majority of the rooms in our house, the ceiling has a “popcorn” texture which is just downright awful. We plan on scraping the ceiling, patching and painting it. We will also rip up the carpet and refinish the floors. The baseboard and window trim (which was most likely painted with lead-based paint and is flaking off) needs to be scraped and prepped for new paint. We will also need to replace a few broken or cracked panes of glass as well as re-caulk the rest of the panes in our almost 100-year old non-energy efficient, but gorgeous windows.

Back bedroom

See this gorgeous yellow color?

This is what we have planned for the wall color. It is Glidden’s Canary Song, but we will most likely have it color matched at Benjamin Moore, which is the only paint Kelly will use. (I should say “use happily” as he has used other brands of paint before, but always with grumbling…) The cheery yellow color will be accented with these two bright fun colors:

These are Behr’s Peacock Feather and Bamboo Leaf, respectively, again we will color match them and use Benjamin Moore paint. The green will be for a beat up old dresser we bought off of Craigslist which has great bones. It will be the changing table and go along the wall to the right as you come in the door. Why buy a changing table when you can use an old dresser which has storage too? The blue color will show up in the back of these little nooks which were created when a previous owner took out a chimney (the previous fireplace was in the kitchen downstairs…) We will also trim out the front of those shelves, as they are a little unfinished.

Back bedroom closet

The closet will most likely lose the door (otherwise there isn’t much room for the dresser on that wall) and have a curtain hung there instead. Hopefully we can get a new shelving system in that closet as well and paint the paneling – white probably, but who knows.

Oh, and that lovely teal blue color will also show up in the rug, which we hope to create with FLOR carpet tiles.

We chose all those bright fun colors from this great fabric, which will be the curtains:

That line of fabric has some other great coordinating prints, which you can see here:

We will use some of those fabrics for the closet curtain and crib skirt and probably some pillows or something too.

In order to get maximum darkness in this room with so many windows, we will also install some dark brown bamboo shades, which are from Home Depot. The shade of brown is to ground the room a bit more and to connect with the floor color as well, which will be a medium tone brown.

Let’s see, what else is there. Oh yes! The crib. That one is easy-peasy. IKEA’s clean lined inexpensive Gulliver crib. Simple is best, in our opinion.

The crib will go in this little nook:

Back bedroom

We will also move one of our current living room couches (the one with the pull out bed) up to the nursery, slip-cover it in tan and put it in front of the long wall of windows.

You can see the very badly not-to-scale floor plan here:

Now, one of the biggest projects in this nursery plan (besides all the prep work of scraping the ceiling, trim, etc. which we hope to hire out…) is something that will most likely not get done before the baby comes. It’s that other section of wall to the left of the door. We want to design and build a whole wall and a half of built-in storage. Closets/storage is at a premium in this house and so adding some built-in storage would be a very good thing. Plus along that left hand wall by the door to the bathroom is an exposed heating duct. Not a great thing for a nursery, so we will enclose it within the built-ins. Oh, and the built-ins will all be painted a crisp white.

So, that’s the design plan in detail. What do you think?

Sep 13 2011

New Project!

I know, I know, we haven’t even finished up a bunch of old projects, much less blogged about the progress we’ve made – on the stairs, on the driveway gate… However, this project is very important and has a strict due date for finishing!

That’s right – a due date.

Baby Kellen

Baby Kellen will make his appearance on or about January 22, 2012, so we’ve got a nursery to create!

We have decided to turn the office/craft room into the nursery – it’s adjacent to the master bedroom through a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, so it really is the perfect spot for it. There’s no way I’m giving you all any pictures of the room in its current state (dumping ground for storage and a mess with office stuff and craft stuff), but here are some pictures from before we moved in:

Back bedroom
(We’ve got some work to do on the windows and window trim, that’s for sure…)

Back bedroom
(Looking towards the bathroom through to the master bedroom)

Back bedroom closet
(The biggest closet in the house and cute little shelf area from where there once was a chimney)

I’ll go into detail in a further post about what exactly we are going to have to get done in this room (newsflash: it’s a LOT!) but here are two pictures for you to contemplate in the meantime.

Hopeful floorplan

Colors, fabrics and inspiration board

This color scheme is so happy and bright, and I chose it even before we knew we are having a boy. I think it works just as well for girls.

More to follow…

Apr 30 2011

Quick Bathroom Fix

Sorry for the long gap in posting, folks. We have been working on some house projects, but just haven’t had the time to post what we’ve been up to. We have taken a bit of a break from the stairs for the moment in favor of working outside on some of the front yard landscaping. Kelly keeps reminding me that we need to get some outside projects done on the house while it’s still rather nice outside. We can work more on the stairs in air conditioned comfort during the unbearable Texas summer heat.

In preparation for writing up a huge gardening post, I dumped 600+ pictures off of the camera and in doing so I found some pictures I had taken of a quick little project we did in the upstairs master bath.

Now, please keep in mind, the upstairs master bath is a HUGE project in and of itself. The tub needs to be re-glazed, the tile (which looks like it was put on top of previous tile) was grouted and caulked in an alarmingly sloppy manner (actually which makes me curse the previous owners under my breath whenever I see it… which is every morning, so I should probably work on my attitude towards them…) and needs to be replaced at some point, the window well needs to be rebuilt and perhaps the window replaced, the lighting needs to be changed out (or added in the case of the ceiling, where there are a couple of old cloth wires hanging down…), the whole room needs to be painted…

I know, I know. I’m making it sound like the room is a horror show. In some ways it really seems that way, but I have to remember that it is still very functional and we live with it just fine.



Anyway, since we moved in, we had been living with a cheap-o vinyl shower curtain:

I liked the subtle leafy pattern, but that was about it. Those kinds of shower curtains always get dirty and ugly and Kelly would always complain about how he hated accidentally brushing up against the curtain while he was in the shower. It made him feel clammy and claustrophobic. So I went looking for a nice replacement. I found a “hotel weight” shower liner for only a couple of dollars at Marshall’s and then this pretty fabric curtain at Bed Bath & Beyond:


I liked the neutral palette, the leafy pattern and the pops of color from the birds. While I was perusing the aisles at BB&B, I had an inspiration: I wondered if they had those awesome curved shower bars like you can find in hotels. And they did! Since I had a pile of those ubiquitous 40% coupons, the new shower hardware came home with me along with the curtain.

Before I came home, however, I texted Kelly and told him that I had a surprise for him, but that it meant a project he had to do… Fortunately, he was so happy when imagining how his elbows wouldn’t touch the clammy vinyl that he was happy to get it all installed. Which first meant taking down the old shower bar:

Yeah, that bar had been there a loooooong while. And now you also get a closeup on the horror that is the grouting job. *Deep breaths* (Working on that attitude…)

So Kelly uninstalled the old rod in order to install the new curved one. He did have one hiccup during installation, as he first installed the new bar right in the place of the old one before realizing that the “cap” on the end of the rod was larger than the footprint of the old rod, so it would have to be moved. But it didn’t take that long to get the new shower curtain rod up and our lovely new curtain in place!

Kelly working on the installation

The curved rod

The new curtain!

Basically, this project gave me the idea for how to add a bit more of a creative touch to this bathroom. I want to paint the walls a nice light tan color and pick up on the rest of the bright colors in the curtain in through towels and accessories. I also want to paint an old chandelier (from a thrift store or the Habitat ReStore) one of the bright colors and hang it from the ceiling where there is currently a bunch of wires and nothing else… Stay tuned for that project…

Mar 5 2011

DIY: Firewood Bin

You might have noticed this little detail in Kelly’s sketch from the last post:

That is not something just the future when we build the fireplace – it exists now, because I made it!

I had been wanting to keep our firewood in something other than the uber-ugly plastic milk crate it existed in all winter, and got the idea to get a little crafty with a $15 galvanized tub from my local thrift store. (And when I say “local,” I mean 6 blocks away, local…)

First, I got Kelly to find a nice modern, but not too cold, font and print out the word “Firewood.” Then, after cleaning off the outside of the tub, I used a spray-adhesive to arrange the letters around one side. It was a good thing that adhesive was labeled “repositionable” because it took me 3 tries to get the letters to fit just right.

For a little more detail, I masked off one section of the tub with painter’s tape.

Then I started priming and painting. Forgive these next few pictures – I started this project in the late afternoon and by the time I got to painting, it had gotten dark. I was working in the backyard by the glow of the floodlight.

Then, when everything was dry, I removed the letters and the painter’s tape and had a cool new bin for firewood!

And here it is with wood in it, next to our (yet to be renovated) fireplace.

Feb 22 2011

Dreaming and sketching

No new news on the stair project today, folks. We’re still working away at it. But what I do have for you today is a brilliant little sketch Kelly whipped up over lunch on Sunday. On a napkin. (I kid you not.)

It’s things like these that amaze me about my husband. (Forgive me for bragging for a second…) He is an incredibly talented designer. I’ve seen his talent first-hand with his graphic design, but I always seem to forget that he has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design (basically a pre-architecture degree), which means his designs are more than just 2-D.

You see, he has this knowledge and amazing skill in how to dream up something, sketch it and then build it. (Like all the props and scenery he used to build when he worked in theater, or the cupcake tower from our wedding, or the spice rack that is half-completed in our kitchen right now, among many other things.)

Which is why I’m so excited about what could happen in our living and dining rooms. Just look at that napkin sketch!

The top sketch is of three walls in our dining room, and what it could look like with a wall treatment of either board and batten, wainscot, or some kind of paneling. (We had just seen the episode of Sarah’s House where she puts paneling in a dining room and then fabric wall paper above it. I’m not so sure about the fabric wallpaper, but some kind of pattern isn’t out of the question for that dining room.)

The bottom two sketches are Kelly’s design for a renovated fireplace. Chunky wood mantel! Stone facing up to the ceiling! I’m so excited I’m using lots of exclamation points!! I’m also excited because we decided that unlike the dining room wall treatment, this is a project we want to tackle this year. Let’s just say we want to have a fireplace mantel by Christmas so we don’t have to hang stockings on the bookshelves again…

May 19 2010

Bathroom Ideas, in Visual Form


I recently discovered a cool tool called Polyvore that lets you clip images from around the web to build design boards. So here is my idea for the downstairs bathroom in visual form. I’m hoping to get a lot of work on the bathroom done the weekend after next. (Not this weekend, because it’s our anniversary, and we’re not going to be in town!)

Anyway, what do you think?