Tag Archives: design

Handmade Travel Art for the Nursery

In just over nine weeks our little bundle of joy should be arriving! I think we have the important stuff ready to go. In fact, all you really need to bring your baby home from the hospital is a car seat. Beyond that, it’s all just icing on the cake, but I love frosting so I’ve been pulling together lots of little details in the nursery. The “theme” for Sam’s nursery is travel, a passion of my husband’s and mine. A while ago I came across this adorable embroidery art by Etsy artist Jennifer Allevato.

embroidery art

She also does these lovely state art pieces that I fell in love with!

state art

Using this as my inspiration I decided to try making a few of my own. I made one of Iowa (where I’m from), one of Ireland (where Tim is from) and one of South Carolina (where Sammy will be from!). I used fabric scraps from my collection. Vintage buttons from a huge stash that my mom gave me last summer mark the exact location of home (Sioux City, Belfast and Greenville).

nursery embroidery art

They’re definitely not as good as Jennifer’s but I think they turned out pretty cute. I think I paid less than a dollar for each embroidery hoop and everything else was free which makes my total investment in this art project about $3 and a couple of hours. Plus they are handmade by me which makes them even more special, right?


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Filed under Family, Home, life

From Office to Nursery

I have begun the exciting task of turning my home office into Sam’s nursery. Here’s how the office looks now:

My Home Office

My Home Office

I still LOVE that Graham and Brown wallpaper– I even spotted it in Jeff Lewis’ house on an episode of Flipping Out. The white shelves will also stay, but everything else is pretty much on its way out. Here’s a visual plan I created:

Sam's Nursery Inspiration Board

Sam’s Nursery Inspiration Board

I basically built it all around the Skyline Nursery Collection from Dwell Studio. Since my husband and I love travel and NYC we thought it would make for a fun nursery theme. Here are a few of the tasks we have planned:

  1. Swap out light fixture with painted chandelier
  2. Move out most of the furniture
  3. Add a second dark gray Ikea curtain to each window
  4. Paint the inside of the closet a fun color to match the room
  5. Have our talented friend Barb at Knack Studios refinish a vintage dresser we own that will serve as storage and a changing table
  6. Create some handmade art
  7. Buy custom blackout shades— we have these in our bedroom and love them!
  8. Add a dimmer switch
  9. Refinish rocker/glider we found on Craigslist for $40
  10. Buy a rug and a few other accessories

That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? I hope to keep you updated on the progress as it happens so stay tuned as my office transforms into Sam’s  sanctuary.

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The Master Bathroom Revealed

Finally. After nine months we’re excited to announce our new arrival– the master bathroom. Let me remind you what the place looked like once upon a time.

Looking into the Bathroom

It was a rough spot. It smelled and there was evidence of squirrel inhabitants. This is a shot from standing inside the bathroom looking at the spot where the toilet would one day be installed.

We Ended up Removing that Pony Wall

I got a big dose of inspiration from some photos I found online. I’ll show you those next so you can see how that impacted our final design. We loved the idea of infusing a pop of yellow and installing a barn door mechanism instead of standard door frame.

This Inspiration Photo is from Southern Living Magazine

And here is how our bathroom turned out!

Looking into Our Master Bathroom

We actually found that door in the attic rafters. After picking off spider eggs and scrubbing away what I’m sure was a few decades of dirt we painted it bright yellow and attached a new handle from Ikea. We decided to leave the holes from the old door hardware just to keep the old feel of it.

The Door Adds a Great Splash of Color

Let me show you our next inspiration photo. It comes from Rachel in North Carolina. I am a reader of her blog Southern Exposure and when I first saw photos of her guest bathroom I was in love! I emailed Rachel to find out if she had any plans for that vanity that she had custom built, but she didn’t so my husband used this photo to create a knock-off.

What an Inspiration! I Just Loved Rachel's Guest Bathroom

Now here’s a look at our vanity. Keep in mind that my husband built this himself from scratch, and that when I met him a few years ago he didn’t know how to use a drill. I’m so proud of him! I helped by sanding it, staining it, caulking it and covering it with a few coats of polyurethane.

Our Eight Foot Long Vanity with Double Sinks

Another thing we loved was Rachel’s idea for taking normal 12×12 marble tiles from Home Depot and cutting them in half to create a much more luxurious looking layout. We hand-picked every tile (150 of them!) from the shelves of Home Depot to make sure we got the best ones. Then we cut them all in half which was not fun. We hired a pro to install them for us, but we’ve cleaned, sealed and polished each one by hand.

A Look into the Shower

You’ve probably noticed the brick. It’s the chimney bust from the main floor fireplace. From the very beginning we loved the idea of keeping this brick exposed to add a unique feature that felt more loft-like. What we didn’t realize was that the chimney was not perfectly straight which really became a pain in the butt down the road. I still think it adds a great design element, but it created its own set of issues.

The Sinks and Faucets are from Overstock.com

We actually bought the toilet two years ago for our downstairs bathroom, but the modern design didn’t work with our existing plumbing. Our handyman had never seen a toilet with two buttons and sweetly explained to me that the small button was the “pee button!”

Our New Eco-Friendly Toilet

I picked up the pictures in London a few years ago and I think they work great in the space. We still have a few little things to finalize like a curtain and storage boxes to hide some of our bathroom supplies, but I’m so happy with that way it turned out.

So Happy It's Done!

I’ll be sharing the master bedroom with you soon, but for now we need a little break. After months and months of hard work I think we’re all a little tired.

Milo is Pooped!


Filed under Home, life, Marriage

A Collection of Yellow Accessories

I think it was probably this inspiration photo from Southern Living Magazine that sealed our decision to go with a gray and yellow color scheme for our new master suite.We’re doing a similar sliding door for our bathroom.

Inspiration Image from Southern Living

Gray is a prominent color in the rest of our house so it will definitely flow well. I’m now in the process of tracking down some great yellow accent pieces. These rugs would look great in the bathroom.

Yellow Bathroom Rugs from West Elm

And I could definitely see this rug somewhere in the main room. It’s from CB2.

Yellow Rug from CB2

And I’m thinking this yellow West Elm chair would be great to go with the new desk we got there. But I may just end up spray painting a chair we already have.

Yellow West Elm Chair

We plan to keep the same bedding we currently have. It’s chocolate brown and I think it will look great. But this accent pillow from Target may make a nice addition. It’s only $19.99.

We already created some custom artwork using leftover wood and spray paint. But we could definitely use more. I love this print from PosterCaberet.com.

Adorable Blanca Gomez Print is Only $30


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Attic Conversions: Not as Easy as it Sounds

I tend to be overwhelmingly optimistic. Even when I’m standing at the bottom of a mountain, getting to the top always seems easy. I don’t see the potential road blocks. I am not easily discouraged. I just go. I know I haven’t always been like this but I think my faith combined with years of pulling seemingly impossible stories together on ridiculous time frames has programmed my brain to believe everything will work out. I tackle the issue without worrying about the details. Normally this attitude serves me well.

But when it comes to the task of converting our attic into a master suite my optimism has been tested. So far we’ve failed every initial inspection but one. I learned that despite what you see in design magazines chandeliers are not allowed in walk-in closets. And just because one project is done doesn’t mean you can cross anything off your to-do list. It usually means you’ll have to add a few more things on.

The good news is I think we are finally getting to the fun part– pulling it all together. We just picked up this cute desk at West Elm for $57 and some little yellow accessories.

Regularly $299 We Saved 80% on a Floor Sample

I think we are just about done writing huge checks to plumbers and electricians and air conditioning guys. The tile is in and the vanity is built. The paint will go up next weekend and with a little more hard work we should be moving up to our new room by the end of the month. That will give us about two months of living in it before putting the house on the market.

It has always been our plan to sell our home after two years, but most people can’t grasp this idea. They all say the same thing– “don’t you want to just enjoy it for a while?” The truth is I have been enjoying it. I love seeing the transformation. I get a sense of accomplishment watching a smelly space that used to be inhabited by squirrels become a beautiful new room. And I think I’ll probably enjoy the money we hope to make off of this project, too. So despite its problems, I’m still feeling optimistic about home renovation.

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Cool Art for Less Than $10

My house lacks art. I’ve got a few cool pieces, but there are way more empty walls than there should be. Several years ago my mom gave me an oil painting of Jesus she got an auction for probably about $10. My mom’s always giving me stuff she bought at auctions. The painting is beautiful, but looks more like it belongs in a museum than my Ikea-filled house. Plus it’s got a big hole in it. However, since I was scared it may be worth like $60,000 and because it’s a picture of Jesus I never got rid of it. I’ve just been storing it, hauling it from home to home, attic to attic.

Well a couple of weeks it dawned on me that it’s in a really cool, big wooden frame which I could easily put to use. So the hubby and I went to Home Depot, bought a $6 piece of wood underlayment and went to work. Here’s the finished product, proudly displaying Proverbs 25:11:

Our New Dining Room Artwork

We think it turned out pretty cool, especially since neither one of us is what you would call an artist. I wrote a how-to post if you’re interested in making your own custom artwork. So the frame may not hold a painting of Jesus anymore, but at least it’s still proclaiming the Word of God!

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Making the Light Choice for the Closet

I realize that picking a light for the walk-in closet should probably be an easy choice, but it’s not. I want something that puts out a lot of light (duh!) and is the right scale for the space. The ceilings are angled and the light will come down from the point where the walls meet which means it must be a pendant of some sort. Here are five that I like. Which one is your favorite?

The 3-Light Pendant from Overstock.com ($118)

Mini 3-Light Antique White Chandelier from Overstock.com ($29.99)

Chrome Crystal Chandelier from Overstock.com ($86.99)

Paper Cloud Vines Pendant from 2Modern.com ($154)

The Sonneman Bubbles Globe Pendant ($104)

I know they are all very different but I am drawn to them all! Fortunately the rest of the master suite is recessed lighting which means there are no choices to make.


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