Friday, February 17, 2017

Vintage Inspired School Room

The other day I was talking with my husband about my plans for our kids' shared bedroom.  I mentioned how I wished I could find a retro pull down map like all of the classrooms back in my childhood used to have. (Side note: I also remember when teachers used chalkboards, when kids had morning and afternoon recess, and when they were allowed to do such dangerous things as jump off swings. That's right, I am older than the internet. #childofthe80s).

Anyway. I was talking about these colorful pieces of nostalgia, back when the USSR was a country (that was before my time, I'm not that old), and my husband looked over at me and said, "Wait, you want to do another room like our school room? What...did you love school or something??"

Well, excuse me kind Sir, but school in the 80's was awesome. And apparently I DO have a retro schoolhouse obsession. I am not ashamed. 

So that conversation reminded me that I never technically shared my schoolroom in it's entirety with you. I've been meaning to do so for months, but I was waiting until I found the perfect rug that finished off the space and cost about $2.50. Shockingly, nothing has shown up that falls within these generous parameters. Sooo, I decided that I can't hold out on you any longer just because of a rug. From this point forth, never let it be said that I'm not a giver.

The photo there at the top is from the listing of the house. As you can see it was brown. With brown carpet. I'm really curious what the thought process was behind matching the walls to the carpet in one of the drabbest colors known to man. I can picture the conversation going something like this: "Hey honey, what should our theme be for this room?" and, after a long minute of deep soul-searching, the other spouse replied with great excitement, "I know! Since the carpet is brown, and everyone's favorite crayon color is brown, let's do BROWN."

Let us learn from this mistake. Friends don't let friends match wall colors to carpet colors. Amen.

So, though I love old school house charm, I am still a white-picket-fence-farmhouse-cottage style girl at heart, so I needed the room to have a touch of that design aesthetic to help it flow with the rest of the house. I knew right away that would take the form of (you guessed it) shiplap or molding of some sort.

Now, real shiplap is quite expensive. And I have tried the Pinterest version of shiplap which is to cut thin luan type board into planks. But let me tell you, I must have terrible luck with the Home Depot guys who cut our boards because those planks came out SO not straight. And this has happened to me multiple times at multiple locations. So I did not want to go that route again.

Luckily another Pinterest search yielded an easier, no-saw necessary method. Those planks you see below are peel and stick vinyl flooring! All I needed was a razor blade for scoring the planks and a podcast to keep me company as I planked this entire wall myself. It's actually pretty fun, kind of like putting really big stickers on your wall. I did have to secure the planks with my small brad nailer because when I came back the next day some of the planks had given up their will to live and fell off. But other than that, it was just as easy as peeling and sticking.

When you lay floors they recommend you stagger the pattern, but since I was painting the walls and I wanted them to look like long, continuous planks, I just lined mine right up.


The next step was priming the planks. I'm not gonna lie, this step is not my favorite. But it is necessary for two reasons: 1. To give the paint something to stick to and 2. To help cover up the brown. Bye Brown!


If you're lazy like I am, feel free to just throw the paper backings from the planks anywhere. And then let your maid pick them up. Which in my case, is me.




If I remember correctly, I may have done two coats of primer because the color was so dark.


And then two coats of normal old latex paint. The above photo was after only one top coat and you can see that some of the brown was still visible. Don't wimp out and give up at this stage and tell yourself that the brown will never be gone. That the brown has cursed you. That you are fighting a losing battle, because brown will never die. Take a break, go and eat some ice cream and cry yourself to sleep. I don't know if that will help. It's just speculation. Ahem.

But I am here to reassure you that after all of that painting, your brown will finally disappear and you will be left with this:

Beautiful white walls. *chalkboard sold separately


And now for the beauty shots. I didn't get my old school maps (pun intended), but I always have my globes to keep me happy.


Cuckoo clock with incredibly loud cuckoo to keep those kids on task and awake? Check.


The old chalkboard was found at Goodwill for $3.


But my favorite part are the gooseneck lights. We don't tend to hardwire stuff around here because I like to switch things up so often, and I've become a bit ingenius with hiding most of the cords. This time with a ginormous chalkboard. So if you have a lamp cords that show, I guess that's always an option ha! *in all seriousness, you do know there are amazing cord covers you can buy right? Plus you can paint them to blend in with your wall color. Link here.




Ah yes, and here is the other side. The camelback sofa where I lounge while keeping the kids on task. A schoolmarm's mom's work is never done. I do wish the sofa was a brighter color, so I'll probably come back to that with some crazy hair-brained scheme. Nothing is safe from me. I've also considered painting the hutch, but my husband has sort of put his foot down on that one, and since it would take me a week to paint it, I've been sort of happy to give in on that front.


These lights were an Amazon find, and were the cheapest I could find said gooseneck lighting. We did have to rewire them to switch them to plug-in lights, but it's actually a pretty easy thing to do!


Ah school supplies. Let's just end with these, shall we? Because nothing is better than 30 brand new sharpened No. 2 pencils ready and waiting for composition books. Am I right??

Thanks for coming along on our little school room tour, you've been great. Class dismissed.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Master Bedroom Makeover with a side of RISK

Anyone else feel like they are just barely recovering from the craziness of Christmas and New Years and cold & flu season??

I feel like a blinked (or sneezed may be more seasonally appropriate) and looked at the calendar and it was suddenly the middle of February. How in the world did that happen?!

But, I have not been idle in that time. The one good thing about being a bit stuck indoors in that suddenly you have to clean and organize and finish the house projects that you have been meaning to get to for ages. Also, please tell me I'm not the only one who watched the documentary The Minimalists and felt the instant and profound urge to throw away all of their possessions except for two outfits, a pack of toothpicks, and a hot plate? It was my own Marie Kondo-on-crack moment, and overall I think it did me a world of good, especially since I've been needing to purge with our move.

That being said, I finally got around to making over a few rooms (all on a skinny post-Christmas budget), and I thought I'd show them off a little.

Today's room makeover? The master bedroom!

First, what the room looked like when we bought it.




 As you can see, it was a dark sage color that though not terrible (but not great either), was still definitely too dark for my white-wall-loving soul.





The first thing we did was paint the walls my favorite creamy white (Bistro White by Valspar at Lowes). After living with it for a few months, I felt the need to spice things up and I did something risky.

At least, according to my husband, it was living life on the edge. And a small part of me has to admit that I wasn't 100% sure it would turn out. But one day I decided life was too short to play it safe and I did it while he was at work. Ha! The happy ending is that he came home and loved it, and I loved it too. So what did we do that I'm being so amazingly cryptic about?

I drew "faux shiplap" on our walls using pencil. Oh yes I did.

Want to see?





Here is a close up of the lines. You can hardly tell these planks are made with just a level and a good old number 2 pencil!






I'm such a perfectionist I almost couldn't post the photo above because I didn't tie the basket ties for some reason, but oh well!


 So there you have it! A simple makeover that required just some paint, some patience, and a little bit of willingness to think outside the box. Skinny budgets do not equal skinny style in our books!





Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for the Design Junkie in your life

We thought it might be fun to compile an epic-sized gift guide for the people in your life that love home decor as much as we do. It can be tricky to pick things out when people have specific styles, but here are a few tried and true options that should be a slam dunk with any style (we hope)! Get on your cozy pants, this post is a doozy!

Without further ado, we present Ten Top Gifts for the Design Lover

1. Flamelike Candles

Have you seen these Flamelike Candles? They are faux candles, but the wick moves and flickers-- they honestly do look SO real! These are great for the holidays especially, and people are always amazed once they find out that they are fake!

 2. Also big for Christmas decorating this year? Buffalo check



This pattern goes with a variety of style types, and has a masculine feel that makes a room feel cozy and woodsy. Try either this cozy throw blanket or these fantastically priced pillow covers for a quick living room update. (You can click on any pictures in this post to be taken to the products!)



3. Not into patterns this year, but into cozy? How about a Fur Throw. This is the SOFTEST blanket we've ever felt. It's definitely a splurge, but people will fight over who gets this blanket during movie night, and it's very pretty too!


4. Another great option that you might not be able to keep secret is a RUG.

We know...it sounds a little weird. But Black Friday is absolutely the best time to buy a large-sized rug! Our favorite site is Rugs USA. Their prices are amazing, and they have a great return policy. The only thing is you have to be quick--the sizes 8x10 and larger can go quickly!

Here are some favorites we picked out--






(We spotted this rug in Nicole Schiffler's house and loved how it looked. Nicole is definitely a trend setter!)






5. What about the person who has been dying to update their kitchen, but aren't super handy? How about Peel and Stick Backsplashes!



 (No really, and they are cool!) They are heat and water resistant and antibacterial and anti-microbial! Better yet, no grouting or tile saw needed! We especially love this classic white subway tile, which shows no signs of going out of style anytime soon. The marble-inspired hex tile is a updated version of a classic motif as well!

6. Speaking of the kitchen, if the person you're buying for loves home decor, chances are they would also flip over the chance to have some pretty Kitchen Appliances.


These are definitely more splurgey, but are sure to please a wide variety of style types. Like this adorable Smeg toaster (lots of colors to pick from!) or this Kitchenaid electric kettle in Pistachio that we have a major crush on. (And of course you can't go wrong with one of their stand mixers in a million amazing colors too!) I'm partial to the Aqua Sky color found here. And if we're talking about pretty things that are also useful in the kitchen, (ok and technically NOT appliances, but we can't resist) how about a cake stand?


 They are great for so much more than cakes--we use our cake stands instead of cookie jars. They also are pretty much necessary for entertaining and parties to layer food options for a buffet or potluck. This marble and wood option suits a variety of styles, and we love the price of Pioneer Woman's retro inspired jadeite stand as well.

7. As far as we're concerned, if you want to knock it out of the park this Christmas, number 7 is a surefire winner. It's a little known fact that the way to any true design junkie's heart is gorgeous Lighting.

Good lighting is no doubt the single most overlooked item that can take a room from just "meh" to stunning. I used these lights in my school room makeover, and they were not only easy to install, but get lots of compliments. We LOVE them! Other pendant lights that I am loving these days?


seen used in this amazing edesign by our design crushes Studio McGee

Vintage Clear Glass Shade, great for kitchens


These textured glass shades have also become popular. This is a great price for a set of two!


This Kichler Lighting pendant was used by one of our favorite stylists Heather Bullard in her home. Understated but beautiful, and a good price for high style!






If you're a lighting fan, then you've no doubt seen the Darlana lantern popping up all over the place lately. This is a knock off version for MUCH cheaper!



8. Last, but not least, you can always get them some Design Books.

Pinterest is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to cozy up in bed with a book instead of your laptop. There are lots of really fun books out there that range from helping someone find their style, to helping de-clutter. Here are some of our favorites:

Emily Henderson's book Styled. Great for those that are trying to identify their style and then gives great tips on how to style bookcases and tables. Plus, she's just fun to read.

Myquillin Smith's (of Nester blog fame) book The Nesting Place is great for those with design paralysis. People who want to try things, but are scared of making holes in the wall. Her mantra of "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" reassures while giving courage. 

The rest of these are books we haven't read, but are on our wish list this year too! (They all get great reviews!) 

 Great tips on loving the home you already have. The Inspired Room
Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Charm for Today's Home.  It gives advice on how to add details to your home to give it some charm from yesteryear. 
 Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring your Home for the Way You Really Live. These authors are known for their small house (NOT tiny house) movement. They are against Mcmansions, and tell how to make a home that works for people in a smaller size!
 Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. Simple organizing tips that take the stress out of organization (and the perfectionism).
 Patina Farm. We just want this one for the pretty pictures. :)
Last book on the list? We've heard great things about this book that teaches how to have contentment in your home. The title says it all, Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending up with More. Always a great reminder for those of us that love to change things up. :)

9. How about a gadget to round up all of these house things? On our list is this fun little contraption called the Color Muse

What does it do, you ask? It allows you to scan anything--from your existing wall color that you've forgotten, to a favorite blanket that you want to match to a paint color--and it will store that library on an app on your phone!

10. Last-- and least original perhaps--but Gift Cards to your person's favorite store are always a great idea! Here's a list of go to stores for each style--it certainly takes the guess work out of trying to find that one perfect gift, and they'll love having some mad money.

Modern: CB2, West Elm, Allmodern, Crate and Barrel, World Market, Wayfair

Farmhouse: Pottery Barn, Birchlane, Antique Farmhouse, Wayfair, Target, Joss and Main

Midcentury: CB2, West Elm, Joybird, Article, Target, Wayfair, Pier One, World Market

Cottage: Wayfair, Home Decorators, Target, Layla Grace, Serena and Lily, Ballard Designs, Joss and Main

Rustic: Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Target, Joss and Main

Contemporary: Pottery Barn, Serena and Lily, Target, Wayfair, Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, Wayfair, Joss and Main

There are lots more styles, so if you want suggestions for one we're missing, or can recommend some more stores (or gift ideas!) comment below!

Otherwise, happy shopping!!



**In the spirit of full disclosure, we have used affiliate links in this post, which means that we may get a small commissions if you decide to purchase anything. We only recommend products & systems that we use and love ourselves, so we know you’ll be in good hands.**