Look Ma, No cords!

We committed a design crime around here recently and I love it!  We mounted a 60 inch black hole over the fireplace …all the interior designers shook their heads in their hands and all the husbands said “amen”!

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It’s something we have wanted to do for a long time but we have plaster walls so there really wasn’t going to be a pretty way to hide all the cables… womp womp! but we did have one outlet on the mantle which gets used once a year when I plug in my Christmas garland.  It just so happened the all the cable Gods and plaster wall Gods got together at a conference this year and decided they wanted the Howards to be able to move it on up! So DirectTV brought us the new wireless cable boxes.  One TV in the house has to be the “master” and that one does have to be wired into a physical cable, but y’allI, it had our living room TV with hands in the air singing “my chains are gone, I’ve been set free”.  We ordered this mount from Amazon (yay for cheap!) and then the only other stuff we needed were some zip ties and a power strip.  Of course you’ve got to make sure you get the mounting bracket hung in your studs but hanging the TV only took about 15 minutes.

Hanging the TV allowed us to have twice as many options for furniture placement in the living room and also got it up away from the toddler who, for some reason, is in a constant state of sticky hands (HOW does this happen??)  An FYI for those people whose TV looks like it’s constantly being censored across the bottom 3 inches due to hand print smudges, water and vinegar will gently clean it right off–no need to buy those special wipes.

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From the side it’s very discrete what all is happening behind the screen.

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Anyone else thinking about hanging a tv? It’s something that ended up being a lot easier than we thought it would be and we’re so pleased with the change!! Just in time to curl up with my babies and watch Christmas movies!

Big girl room reveal!

Here we are a week from the due date of our second baby and we’ve FINALLY moved our first into her new digs!  The following went down in this room: ceiling repair, lighting change, new paint.  Other than those things we were really just shuffling furniture around…it’s hard to believe the room all came together with only a handful of purchases!

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Here we were testing paint colors and clearing the room out…pre ceiling fix, pre ceiling fan swap, mid curtain trial run!

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Then we moved it all in!

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We just shared about the china cabinet turned armoire in this post.  Beside it we have a laundry basket that actually holds stuffed animals and blankets (it makes for a quick clean up!).  The chair is from TJ Maxx years ago and the booksellers table is Ballard Designs which was previously in her nursery (we got it second hand and I tried to find a similar link but it’s sold out..boo!).  Curtains are pillowfort for Target. Rug is by At Home. Peg board letters are from Hobby Lobby…those are no longer sold and we got ours when they were something like 90% off!! These could (fairly easily) be made with a pegboard panel from Lowe’s (no more than $5), some paint, and a jig saw.

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Toddler bed was second hand, nightstand is vintage Stanley furniture, mirror was a thrift store find, quilt rack was my grandmothers.  Chandelier was a thrift store find spray painted white.  Crib was actually mine from 1986.  It’s a drop rail crib which is not something that could even be sold these days but we feel fine about it! In fact, once Everly starts climbing out being able to lower the rail will make me feel safer.  Art is woodland doodles by me in some clearance Hobby Lobby frames (gotta love that 90% off aisle!).  Everything in the room is hung a little higher than usual just to keep it out of reach of tiny hands.  I’ve read once they move to a toddler bed you have to treat the whole room as if it’s the crib so they can’t get hurt if they decide to play in the middle of the night…

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A burp cloth made by The Plum Poppy I just couldn’t stand to pack away yet!

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Wreath was a thrift store find but it’s actually from Target. (Holy cow when I went to find that link I realized it was $20!! I paid $3) Bear artwork is also Pillowfort for Target.

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So there you have it! One more room of the house checked off the list!  (And one leaky roof FINALLY stopped!)

 

 

Painted china cabinet turned “closet”: before and after

Remember that time we scooped up a china cabinet in a thrift store and turned it into a timeless armoire for our little girl’s room? Dedication to this project was certainly not for the faint of heart but in the end it’s got us all heart throbs over here!

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We tried using a paint sprayer one night after we put Everly to bed.  Picture us under our car port around 10pm trying to get over the learning curve of a paint sprayer while a storm is blowing up outside.  Our work lamps attracting every moth within a 5 mile radius and the moths dive bombing the gooey globs of paint we had managed to squirt all over the cabinet.  YALL. …we went backwards on progress that night.  We ditched the sprayer all together and went for the good old fashioned roller and 2 inch brush method.  We used a liquid sander on everything, two coats of kilz primer, one GALLON of paint (I used latex….I know it’s frowned upon but here’s the deal–we happened to have this color, unopened in our basement….a gallon of chalk paint would have been way out of budget–, and finally a matte varnish to seal the whole thing.  I lost track of the time this took but let’s give it at least a month right? Of doing a little bit of what we could here and there.  I have no idea what it would take if you tried to work straight through…in fact that’s a little scary to think about…

Enough about the nitty gritty, let’s just look at pretty pictures right?

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The intention of this piece was to be a “closet” option for Everly’s big girl room as the closet that this room shares with the next room is TINY (another post on that update later!)  To accomplish this we removed one of the shelves and installed a rod to hang some of her clothes from.

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There is certainly no shortage of storage options!

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The bottom is filled with pajamas, baskets of socks, shirts, pants….

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…a silverware drawer turned little girl accessory storage!

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I wasn’t sure about adding back in the wire panels but I think they help maintain a vintage feel

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…because why wouldn’t you use a $3 cake stand you found on clearance as a shoe stand??

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I love having room for the clothes we need to but I also love having room for some of my childhood things that would otherwise be packed away in a box in an attic somewhere!

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For worried mothers (like mine) it is anchored to the wall.  I guess I will use this space to type a little PSA to large furniture lovers, please anchor your pieces to the walls!! Five minutes of research on furniture and tv child fatalities will have you ordering anchors on amazon prime in no time. These accidents are much more common than you think and they are SO preventable!  This is what we have used personally and have been happy with.  You install them and then slide the furniture back and it’s truly not even visible from the side.

I’ll be back with some full room reveal pictures in the next post!

How to restore a cosmetically damaged wood finish

before and after wood scratches

Today I wanted to run through a list of tips and tricks we’ve found to work well when restoring cosmetic damage to furniture.  This content does contain affiliate links.–please see our privacy and disclosure page for more details.  I picked up this secretary desk which was actually in incredible condition except for the desk inside.

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When we went to pick it up Blake took a look at the inside and said “did they lock a cat in there?” ….sometimes you do wonder how some scratches happen….

Inside scratches on secretary desk

scratches on wooden desk

Anyways, along with fine scratches there was also nail polish smears all over and something that looked like a gold sharpie mark. I can just see a girl painting her nails here. It’s kind of fabulous really!

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So the first thing I do is clean the furniture (and I mean put some muscle into) with Murphy’s oil. This is going to remove oils and grime that just build up over time. Especially if you’re cleaning up a table or something used in the kitchen!

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Next I go after scratches with steel wool. The FINEST steel wool you can buy…anything coarse will do way too much damage. I go lightly over the scratches just to get things smooth. Now for the nail polish (or paint splatters too)… If it’s a big glob sometimes you can pick it off with your nail carefully. If it’s a smear that’s been there for who knows how long I use a citrus based cleaner (per lots of googling) and I let it sit for a few minutes. I come back and wipe it off and then immediately go behind with my steel wool. This takes some dedication and patience and some grit but it will slowly start to come loose. It shouldn’t take any of the color away but it will leave the spot looking a little dull & cloudy compared to the rest of the finish. Don’t fret! Polish will take care of that.

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I wipe down the piece again to get the dust the steel wool leaves behind. Then I use Old English for the shade of wood I’m working with (dark here). I first put it directly on my problem spots and let it sit for a few seconds. I use a clean rag and rub it in in a circular motion going out from the spots blending over the whole surface. I’ll apply this again to the whole piece until I’m satisfied with the color and cover up of the scratches.

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after wood scratch repair

After it dries for several hours I go over with a white rag just to see if I’ve left any residue. I complete things with a coat of furniture wax applied with a clean rag. This will help seal in my work and also protect the surface going forward.

I would of course recommend using a professional if you’re needing to rehab a several thousand dollar antique but for a quick makeover at home where you’re thinking paint may be your only option–it’s not!

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Need a matching bed.

 

When we left off last I had talked about some updates we’ve done to the back patio. Let me tell ya…that patio was worth every pain in the A it caused! We spend SO much time out there.  It’s Everly’s happy place so we spend most evenings with the kitchen door open coming and going.  It’s been a while but we’ve actually turned our attention back to some additional improvements.  For starters….a handrail going down the stairs….so you know, we won’t get sued for someone falling off.

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It all started again when we were tricked into making some sketchy insurance claim over hail (long story. but the short version is some roofer scammed us into thinking we had hail damage and filing a claim and then it turns out we have NO hail damage) Our insurance company was super duper nice about the situation but when the insurance inspector came out he did happen to mention  he “could drop our insurance all together for not having a hand rail on those stairs” [[insert oh Sh*t face here]].  He also said he wants to be invited to all our parties and when he comes back to one there better be a handrail.  SO, this past weekend Blake drilled through ½ steel in TWENTY different places to get the posts up.  Yall. my man. I don’t even know how he did it.  I “helped” during Everly’s nap time which meant I basically sat there and squeezed motor oil onto the drill bit so it didn’t burn up.  I learned an important lesson Saturday.  When preparing a budget for working with steel you better have a gigantic portion allocated to drill bits.

Ok, this is not what this post is about. This post is about…….our new baby that I’m OVER HALF WAY DONE BAKING!

We are going to welcome a second baby girl to our home in late September.  In the beginning when we talked about where to put a new baby I thought “I’ll figure that out later”.  Now, I still think “I’ll figure that out later” but time is FLYING by! So we’ve decided to dedicate our guest room to one of the babies…or both babies. I don’t know. All I know is that I need to clean out the room and make it available for my ideas.

There is also a leak that we just shake our head out and cuss at under our breath.

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We think we fix it, we don’t. repeat.  We had a roofer come out and conclude it’s not the roof.  So we think it’s the windows (this leak has a twin in the kitchen).  Blake has caulked and caulked and caulked and caulked and caulked more. It’s infuriating that we cannot seem to stop this leak.  But obviously there is no point in fixing the ceiling until we do.  My plan is to tear it down and just sit in there during a rain storm and see what is happening.  Blake hates this idea because it obviously would involve a huge mess but I see no other option.  Anyways, this is also not even why I came here to blog.

I came to show you my ideas. First, this room has the smallest closet you’ve ever seen. It’s smaller than a telephone booth.  Obviously with two girls we need more places to put all.the.dresses.  So I found this image on Pinterest which is apparently some store in Europe.

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I became totally obsessed with the thought of doing a built-in that I could merchandise up as the closet.  I decided I needed $1000 (and a WHOLE lotta elbow grease) to create the above from this:

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My mind stores a second category of ideas called “more attainable” and so I logged this picture below into that file and sent my mom the picture saying I needed an old china cabinet if she stumbled across one. This is not the first time I’ve used an old china cabinet as a closet…

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Literally like two days later she sends me this picture and said she saw this in a thrift store but it’s wayyyyy bigger than the idea picture I sent her. I immediately had to have it.  It was as though maybe my two photos could have a baby in the attainable department!

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I took some measurements the next day and fell IN LOVE with all the storage. Ya’ll, it’s like a full size dresser on the bottom and then I have shelves up top as well as a place to hang some rods for ultimate merchandising of beautiful little girl things!

The best part was it was something like $290 less 25% off for senior day discount 🙂 (thanks Mom and Dad!) and then I offset it with $115 I made from selling the “primitive” desk I redid in this post so we got this thing for about $100…sounds way better than my $1000 plan 🙂 Obviously I’ll have to paint it white which is no small under taking but I’ve painted worse so it’s fine.

The vibe I’m thinking for the room is a minty green, peach, pink, light teal vibe. Everly’s spirit color was teal so whatever we choose needs to work with that.  For some reason when I think of this baby I see peach and light pink.

Those initial hooks are on sale at world market right now! Go! Run! get yourself something special 🙂

Everly is still in the crib and she’s going to stay in the crib until she gives us obvious signs she’s ready to move to a twin bed. She does have this sweet little twin bed waiting on her when she’s ready though!  I’m going to still put it in the room (along with a crib) in hopes she’ll learn to at least nap on it during the day. And also so I can put some flamingo sheets on it because will there ever be anything more adorable???.  Please friends, if you love me, commit this bed to your mind and call me immediately if you ever see another like it.  I’ve searched the internet high and low but haven’t had any luck so I need your help! I would love, love, love to have the girls have matching beds eventually! That oval space is calling for a fabric inset with a monogram…

Ok, yes, the reason I came here to blog tonight was really to send you all on a hunt for a matching bed.  So now that everyone has their mission I can wrap up this too long post 🙂 happy hunting!

 

Day 1 of 31 days–the bathroom dresser

In case you missed it here, I’m doing 31 days of posting!

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Day 1: A dresser under the window in the bathroom.

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This is my childhood dresser and it fit perfectly under this window which overlooks the back yard. I’m sort of obsessed with storage and so I love having another piece of furniture to stock items in. I have a little chair here and I was concerned I wouldn’t use this much but I actually sit in it every day. The natural light from that window is great for makeup!

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Of course when I moved this in B was all like “how many pieces of non-bathroom furniture are you trying to bring in here?!?!” and I’m all like “TRUST ME…we need storage” You can see there is a good amount of space between this dresser and the buffet we used for the sink vanity (also mass amounts of storage) so it just filled up dead space quite nicely.

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Getting to see the sun come up from that window each morning is just something I appreciate and now that we are finished I look forward to making my way through the new door.

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Definitely helps take the edge off of Monday mornings now 🙂

That’s MR. China Cabinet to you

Tonight I finally got around to taking care of the shoe cabinet. Here was the cabinet the day we brought her home:

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We realized the top was just too big for the little room. The moulding was beautiful but left 6 inches of overhang on every side which was just not a cute look for this room. We took some inherited MDF board and made a top which I painted black to jive with the floor.

At first I felt like this would look weird but I didn’t really care because we talked about this being a “phase one” top until the day we decide we will add thinner moulding and reinstall the lights. Turns out, we both really love the way it looks! It’s sort of crazy how masculine a china cabinet can look! I’ve been referring to my china cabinet as a she but this china cabinet had a sex change. It’s a boy china cabinet now. We even put in the shelves (also black) which add to the darker look.

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Trust me it looks good in person 🙂