Framed | Adding A Gallery Wall

If you’ve taken our house tour you may have noticed there are very few pictures hanging on the walls.  It’s been driving me crazy but I just hadn’t gotten around to finding frames, pictures that fit and getting them hung.  But this past weekend I dug out the frames we used at the apartment.  Some were painted gray, some I had started spray painting white and some were still black.

gallery wall image

Before I headed to the garage to give them a fresh coat of paint I traced them with leftover brown wrapping paper from Christmas.  Several times I’ve tried to hang pictures and ended up making unnecessary holes in the wall.  This time I decided to take Young House Love’s advice and arrange paper on the wall first.  Another handy thing about using paper is that I could write on it what picture I wanted in each frame and the size I needed to order.

gallery wall image

Next, I headed out to the garage to give them a fresh coat of paint.  Last summer I tried spray painting them.  Even though spray paint is great for preventing drips, I didn’t like the “chalky” finish it gave the frames.  Instead of buying new glossy spray paint, and battling the elements, I decided to use leftover white trim paint we already had in the garage.

gallery wall imagegallery wall image

The only “bad” thing about my well thought out plan is that the frames I had weren’t average sizes.  When I bought them from Goodwill some had prints or drawings in them–instead of pictures.  When they were hanging at the apartment I cut an oversized map to fit each frame.  But when I started trying to figure out what size prints to order, most of the frames would need custom mats.  I wasn’t willing to fork over the money for custom mats and I was too invested to not finish.  To get the wall finished I decided to borrow the frames from Noah’s nursery.  With the exception of one frames, they were still hanging empty and I figured a 4-month old wouldn’t mind anyway.  🙂

Noah's nursery image

I knew I wanted to have as many family pictures on the wall as possible.  At our wedding reception, I asked our moms to find pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents on their wedding days (or as close as they could find).  We hung them on a piece of twine over the gift table with a tag that had their wedding date.

wedding wedding2

I added one of our wedding pictures, pictures of us with our families, an old-fashioned picture we had taken on our honeymoon, and some of Noah to the mix.  I’m loving our new gallery wall and getting to display some of our favorite pictures.


Zach’s Man Kitchen | Mood Board

My brother, Zach, recently started spicing up (pun intended) his kitchen.  Zach is a bachelor and a man’s man: firefighter, weight lifter, sports fan…I’m sure you know a man or two like that.  Anyway, after he and dad started building an island, he started talking about other ways to improve his kitchen.  I decided to do the sisterly thing and make a mood board–after all, what are sisters for?  Zach enjoys cooking so I wanted to make a man kitchen that wasn’t just concrete and stainless steel.  I also wanted to be sure it was affordable (everything, including paint, comes in for less than $350) but could be upgraded if/when the time came.

man kitchen image

#1:  Wall Color (Somerset by Benjamin Moore)

#2:  Navy Accents

#3:  Cabinet Color (Mistletoe by Benjamin Moore)

#4:  EMMIE Roll-up Blind.  I wanted to pick a window treatment that had a little personality without being feminine.  It’s also great because it’s easily washable if when the kitchen gets messy.

#5:  Barn Wood Island.  Zach’s kitchen doesn’t have room for a kitchen table.  He may not want to host sit-down dinners but still wants a place for friends to sit, eat, or hang out.  He decided to create an island/bar between the kitchen and living room with barn wood.

#6:  Dish Towels.  Not that he doesn’t have towels, but there’s something nice about having a “guest set” for entertaining (it also adds an element of polish).

#7:  Glass Pendant Light.  Every kitchen needs good lighting.  Not only so the kitchen is well lit but it’s an opportunity to give your kitchen some character.

#8:  Fenway Print.  My brother is a huge Boston fan.  This print is great for a couple reasons:  1) It’s a tribute to his favorite team but isn’t typical memorabilia; 2) It’s in the color scheme

#9:  Chalkboard Wall.  We have a chalkboard wall in our house (see House Tour).  For Zach, it adds an industrial look that can be easily changed/customized.

#10:  Spice Mill.  Zach loves to cook and every “chef” needs good tools.

#11:  Rug.  I chose this rug to add a little pattern to the kitchen without it looking feminine.

#12:  Magnetic Knife Rack.  These knife racks normally scare me.  Something about knives hanging on the wall seems dangerous but for a man kitchen it seemed to fit (plus it adds visual interest).

#13:  Metal Bar Stools.  Zach’s new island needs seating.  I’m a sucker for mixing wood and metal.  I also loved that these barstools have a worn look.

#14:  Cutting Board.  Again, good cooks need good tools.  This cutting board is particularly cool because it fits over your kitchen sink.

#15:  Faucet.  Like lighting, fixtures are another easy (and fairly inexpensive) way to spice up your kitchen.

Thinking of redoing a room in your house?  I’d love to help out!  Contact me for a custom mood board 🙂

Free Printable | Bicycling

bikeHappy Monday!  I love all the free printables I find on Pinterest and wanted to offer one of my own.  We recently gave our hall bathroom a face-lift (see “Young At Heart” and “Jazz”-ing Up The Hall Bathroom).  I wanted artwork to hang over our new pegboard but instead of buying something, I opted to make my own.  A few drafts later and I was ready to have it printed.

I sent my design to our local UPS store to be printed as an 8″ X 10″ on glossy, letter-size card stock.

To download:

  1.  Click here
  2. Right-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” to save the document to your computer

Color Me Happy | Master Bedroom Inspiration

I mentioned in “Load ‘Em Up, Move “Em Out” how much our master bedroom needs some TLC.  When we moved I wanted it to be neutral with lots of texture.  We chose to paint it  “Fusion” by Benjamin Moore, thinking it was a warm gray.  It turns out our beautiful shade of gray has a purple undertone.  Now that we’re ready to add some color I want to pick accents that don’t push us closer to purple.  That eliminated all things “violet” and yellow (because opposing colors make each other more vibrant), which narrowed it way down.  Of the remaining six colors I chose orange/red and blue/green.


It turned out I had already pinned this which works out perfectly:


Once I’d chosen a color palette, I was ready to look for inspiration.  I love this guest bedroom from 7th House on the Left.  Clean bedding with bright accents; a simple lamp and tall, wooden nightstand.  The only “problem” is that we have a wooden sleigh bed.  Our bed is beautiful but beside wooden nightstands it would be too much  for me.


I love the navy curtains and wooden dresser in this mood board.  I can’t say I’m crazy about the gold accents but I love the overall tone of the colors.master3This room from Our Lake Life has really clean lines, which I love.  I could do without that particular print on the curtains but I do like the idea of bold curtains.


With a color palette chosen and an idea of the overall look, I’m ready to start looking for specifics.

  • bold geometric pattern, either in pillows or curtains
  • crisp, layered bedding
  • new light stands that mix wood, paint, & metal
  • thin picture frames with thick white mats

“Jazz”-ing Up The Hall Bathroom | Part One

This weekend we decided to tackle the first phase of the hall bathroom make-over.  I mentioned in “Young At Heart”  that we wanted the hall bathroom to work for Noah and guests.  We’ve never been crazy about the stain color on the vanity so painting it blue/gray seemed like a logical first step to making the bathroom more kid-friendly.  I We wanted to make sure the rug coordinated with the vanity color so we picked out paint samples to compare to the stripes in the rug.  While we were at Lowe’s we grabbed primer and roller covers.  We knew we didn’t want the headache of sanding the vanity so we chose Valspar bonding primer.

 Bathroom renovation image

Before we went home we swung by Target to compare the rug with our new paint samples.  We wanted a contrast between the walls and the vanity so we chose the darkest shade of blue (Jazz Club by Valspar).  When we got home I put a quick coat of primer on the vanity and doors.


{Something to keep in mind about primer, especially bonding primer, is that it’s gloppier than regular paint.}

Every time I start a painting project I think of my dad.  He’s been painting since way before I was born and is really meticulous.  There are 6 things dad taught me about painting:

  1. Invest.  Using quality paint and brushes makes your job much,much easier.  If bristles are falling out of your brush (onto the wall, cabinet, etc) you’re already fighting an uphill battle.
  2. Hold On.  We call it “chocking up” on the handle of the brush.  Hold the handle like you hold a pen/pencil and close to the bristles.  You’ll have more control.
  3. Keep It Clean.  A little paint goes a long way—especially on cabinets.  Wiping the majority of the paint off your brush will keep you from chasing drips.
  4. Wiggle.  When you start cutting in the trim, lay your brush flat on the surface a couple inches from the edge.  Then slowly wiggle your brush down the wall/cabinet until you reach the trim, then drag the brush along the edge.  It’ll help create a cleaner line.
  5. Light It Up.  Make sure the area you’re painting is well lit.  I’ve seen dad take lamp shades off lamps lots of times to make sure he had plenty of light.  It’ll be easier to see if you missed any spots—especially on the second coat!
  6. Clean It Up.  Keeping an old rag handy can be a life saver.  I don’t think I’ve ever painted without needing to do a little cleaning.  Being prepared for drips or smears will keep you from having to search for a towel when you’re in a pinch.

After I got done priming the vainty, we started on the pegboard.  The hall bathroom only had one hook for towels– which just wasn’t going to cut it.  Josiah cut a 2×4, screwed it to the wall, and puttied over the holes.  Once the putty was dry I sanded and covered it with a coat of primer.

hall bathroom makeover image


The next day we headed back to Lowe’s to buy paint.  We wanted high gloss so it would be durable and easy to clean.  Our Lowe’s doesn’t carry quarts of high gloss Valspar paint so the nice paint guy swapped it out for a gallon of Olympic (which is the only size they had).  We ended up leaving with a gallon of paint for $11!

I put a coat of paint on the vanity and doors.  {TIP:  Keep checking for drips.  I ran my brush over the corners after I finished each section to make sure there were no runs.}

hall bathroom makeover image

Between coats I worked on the pegboard.  I wanted to use a 2×4 to make sure hooks we bought wouldn’t get lost on the wall.  At the same time I didn’t want the pegboard to take up much visual weight in such a small space.  We decided to paint the board with leftover wall paint.  After the paint dried all that was left to do was add the hooks.

hall bathroom makeover image

By the time I finished painting the pegboard the vanity was ready for another coat.  We waited for the paint to cure overnight before reinstalling the doors.

hall bathroom makeover image

On our hall-bathroom-makeover-to-do-list we crossed off two big projects this weekend!  We made great progress but we also added a couple new projects.  Here’s where we stand as of Sunday night:

  • buy new soap dispenser, rug, trash can, & shower curtain
  • paint bathroom vanity
  • make new art
  • make pegboard
  • frame mirror
  • add shelf or baskets inside vanity
  • change or paint the light fixture


Load ‘Em Up, Move ‘Em Out

I’m sure everybody has them.  That list of projects you’ve been meaning to get around to for weeks…or in my case months.  Since I had Noah I haven’t been what you’d call productive (let’s just say we’ve kept Dominoes in business) .  Now that we’ve had a couple months to settle in I’m slowly but surely reclaiming our house.

#1: How Much Is Enough?  My clothes were out of control.  I’m one of those people who wears the same six shirts but never has hangers because of all the clothes I’m saving “just in case.”  Some I got in high school, others I really liked the style or color but the fit just wasn’t right.  Either way it was time for them to go.  Three trash bags later and my side of the closet is actually usable again!  I can see the shirts I know I love wearing and I know what gaps to fill when I’m shopping.  BONUS: Josiah gets more than 6 inches of hanging space!

#2: Shedding NEW Light On The Situation.  For the past few months I’d been looking for new lamps for our nightstands.  In “Six Tips for Decorating A Rental,” I mentioned how much I loved the ones we have.  Not just because they were free but because of the yellow, glass bulb in the middle.  A year and a half later our poor little lamps can’t stand up straight.  Somewhere during the painting/moving process the base began to twist and the rod wiggled out the bottom (which makes them rock).  Not that I don’t like trying to catch the lamp to turn it on but it was really time for a change.  I’m sure there’s a fairly simple fix but 1) I’m no electrician 2) Our room is next on my list for some long overdue TLC.

#3:  Movin’ On Up.  Christmas was good to Noah, really good.  During the hustle and bustle of Christmastime I stashed his loot in his crib for safekeeping.  Even though we’ve been using the goodies I never got around to putting them away.  Now, 2 months later, I’m finally getting around to it.  The whole left side of his crib was full of clothes he isn’t big enough for yet.  The right side had frames, albums, and toys he’s almost old enough to start playing with!

Part two of the nursery clean up was storing clothes he’s outgrown.  It’s hard to believe that in 2 short moths we’re already putting things in the “too-little” pile.  I needed to put my maternity stuff away too so I decided to store the newborn and maternity clothes together.





Young At Heart | Mood Board

When we moved in we had only known we were a soon-to-be family of three for a few weeks.  I wasn’t thinking about the hall bathroom being the one the baby and guests would use when I hung Monet prints and added a navy rug.  Even though Noah doesn’t use it yet I want to move his bath time goodies out of his nursery and into a  more kid-friendly (and functional) bathroom.


bathroom moodboard image
#1: Wall Color (Jute by Benjamin Moore)

#2: Every bathroom needs at least one peg to hang wet towels on.  We snagged a couple of these robe hooks  from Lowe’s for $1.46 each.  Right now there’s only one lonely hook hanging on the wall behind the door.  I want to replace it with a pegboard that can hold clean towels too.

#3: Free bike printable.  I found this print on Pinterest (courtesy of Jacks and Kate).  I wanted to add something playful without guests feeling like they’re being attacked by frogs, monkeys, ducks…you can fill in the blank.  🙂  These bike silhouettes were just what I was looking for!

#4: Metal trash can.  Our apartment only had one bathroom which meant we only needed one bathroom trashcan.  You would think after living here a year I would have gotten around to buying one but better late than never, right?  I chose this one because it’s middle of the road on price and the finish matches the soap dispenser and shower hooks.  Which leads us to number five…

#5: Oil can soap dispenser.  Again, I wanted something fun without going too far into the kid zone.  I love this soap dispenser because it’s glass but still has a little color.

#6: Minwax Stain (Natural).  This goes back to the artwork we’re planning to make.  I love the bikes but wanted to do something a little different than just framed art.  Stay tuned!

#7: Chevron Rug.  I LOVE the rug we already have for the hall bathroom, but it’s a little serious(?) for kiddos.  When Josiah and I saw this rug in Target I knew it’d be perfect.

#8:  Vanity paint.  I’ve never been crazy about the stain on our vanities (see our hall bathroom to see what I mean).  Now that I’m planning a big piece of stained art in the bathroom I feel like it’s a good excuse to paint the vanity.  To be completely honest I haven’t chosen a paint color yet but I want it somewhere in the blue/gray family.

Thinking of redoing a room in your house?  I’d love to help out!  Contact me for a custom mood board 🙂


“Wheel” You Be My Valentine?

diy valentines day card image


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I wanted to make sure to send a card to the little ones in my life.  The only kids in our family, besides Noah, is our nephew and little cousin.  When Josiah and I were in Wal-Mart the other day I looked for cards for them.  The school valentines were too small and the only full-sized cards came in a multi-pack with Disney princesses.  So, we picked up a pack of stickers and decided to make our own.  🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • blank cards (I used 4×6)
  • scrapbook paper (Michael’s and Joann’s sells individual sheets for less than $1 each)
  • scissors and glue
  • a black sharpie and red marker
  • stickers (to send in the card)
  • You can download the car from my Pinterest or download your own (I resized the car to 2X4inches) 

kid valentine card image

Before I started, I found, resized and printed a car to trace.  Feel free to use the one I did or find your own (don’t worry if the quality of the image isn’t good — you only need it for tracing).  Next, I cut out and traced the car onto the back of my paper–so my line wouldn’t show in case I didn’t cut it out perfectly.

kid valentine card image

After I cut out the cars, I glued them to the cards and put them under a heavy cookbook to make sure they dried flat.  Before I wrote on the cards I practiced on lined paper to make sure I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted it to look.

kid valentine card image

I added wheels and windows to be sure the silhouette wasn’t too abstract for a 3-year-old to recognize.

diy valentines day card image

To finish them up I added a quick note to the inside.  The whole project only took 15-20 minutes and I made 2!  Super quick and easy way to spread some Valentine’s day cheer 🙂

“The States Game”

“Friends” is one of my favorite shows.  Some of my favorite episodes are the ones where the six of them spend the episode together in Monica’s apartment.  Even though it didn’t happen often, they were usually together during the Thanksgiving episodes.  The 7th season Thanksgiving episode began with Chandler introducing “The States Game.”

"The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs"

*photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

  Chandler explains that he and his co-workers had attempted to name all 5o states within 6 minutes.  Monica tries but is shy 14.  Rachel gets 48.  Phoebe decides to name kinds of celery.  Joey names 56.  Ross also misses the mark and spends the episode trying to figure out which ones he missed.  My challenge to you is to give it a try!  I will warn you though…it’s harder than you think!  Comment and let me know how many you get!

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo…

picking a diaper bag image

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start buying and registering for baby goodies.  It seems like every store you go to has more cute clothes and baby gear than the last–except when it comes to diaper bags.  Every time I looked for a diaper bag I was disappointed with what I found in stores.

I knew I wanted our diaper bag to:

  • take us from teethers to Tonka trucks
  •  double as a purse
  • have lots of pockets

Knowing I wouldn’t find what I wanted in-store, I started looking online.  The second I found this bag I fell in love.  It has 10-pockets, leather straps, comes from Paris and… it’s WASHABLE! (the easier the maintenance, in my opinion, the better)

picking a diaper bag image

picking a diaper bag image

The only problem was the price.  At about $100 (plus tax and shipping) it was more than I wanted to spend.  Josiah and I had set a budget for Noah’s nursery and I wasn’t willing to fork over that much for just the diaper bag.  I started looking online and found these at “Toys R Us”:

picking a diaper bag image

At half the price, these were closer to what I wanted to spend.  Even though they’re cute they aren’t exactly what I wanted.  I still had plenty of time before Noah was supposed to be here so I decided to shop for the other things we needed at consignment sales.  I was lucky enough to already have the furniture we needed for the nursery and my sister loaned us her crib!  With the more expensive items out of the way and several of the smaller ones for half price, I decided my beautiful Ika bag was worth the splurge.  We ended up registering for it (with mustard straps) and luckily we got it!


It All Comes Out In The Wash

One of the great things about homeownership is having your own laundry room.  At our apartment we lived on the third floor and the laundry room was in the basement of another building–needless to say, laundry wasn’t my favorite thing to do.  Another thing I should mention is that our house has very little storage (you can see what I mean on our floor plan).  That’s why our laundry room has to hold all our cleaning stuff, along with household goodies (like paper towels, lightbulbs, etc).  So, our laundry room looked like this:laundry01Even though the room is decent sized, the water heater is also in the laundry room– limiting the storage to above the washer and dryer.  I had been keeping my eyes open for cheap ideas to transform the room and this is what I found:

left to right:
left to right:, rareandbeautifultreasures,com,

From these I saw a common theme:

  • three shelves, light in color (white/silver)
  • baskets or containers to contain the junk

When we got to Lowe’s we were trying to decide if we wanted to buy lumber to sand and paint or pre-fab shelves that would be ready to go.  When we started comparing prices we realized lumber was cheaper but it wasn’t worth the trouble this time.  Next, we moved on to look at brackets.  Here’s what we ended up with: 

brace and shelf

With a quick stop at the “Minute Key” kiosk (because who doesn’t need four extra house keys? ;)) we were ready to head home. 🙂


Once we were home I made a quick, very accurate sketch.


First, Josiah took down the old shelves (which we’re going to reuse in our master closet).


Here’s what the laundry room looked like when he was done.


Next, we were ready to putty and sand over the old bracket holes.  While we waited for the putty to dry, Josiah installed the new brackets.  He measured from each wall 9.75 inches (to center them on the wall) and about 7 inches up from the top of the washer and dryer.  After he secured the first set of brackets, Josiah installed the other two shelves 14 inches apart.  To finish up, we painted over the new putty, added shelves, and attached the shelves to the braces with a screw.


Voila! Our laundry room was transformed for 40 bucks! (plus we get to reuse the shelf!)