It’s not finished (a word I’ll probably never use to describe a room of my own), but I thought I’d share the updates that we’ve made in our living room. Just over 15 months ago, we shared that some major decor changes were about to be made around here, and that process has been slow (clearly, here we are a year later). But in a really, really good way. Blogging about your home (for me at least) came along with a lot of unnecessary pressure to post constant updates, and whip up projects left and right. A frenzy that kept me from enjoying the process and in a roundabout way, kept me from loving the result.
I vowed to take a step back and do it right this time, and whoa. You’d think I’d be afraid to eat my words later, but no. These rooms that we’re slowly cranking out.. I’m dying. They feel so good. So right. And us. We’re adding pieces carefully, like, mauling over pretty minor decisions for months carefully. Probably not uncommon for some, but a dramatic change for us. It’s nice to have that sense of control back. Even that inevitable envy, as others are flying through makeovers, it’s easily brushed off with the newfound love that I have for our home. It’s liberating.
So, back to the living room. We’ll start with the one element that stayed. The wood pallet wall. It brings in so much warmth and texture to the room, but it also packs a ton of visual weight, so we started by balancing that out with a lot of lighter toned pieces. A high-gloss white media cabinet from Ikea (with the addition of a few tapered legs), an ivory shag rug, and a stunning light aqua sofa.
The hot pink Hmong pillow and yellow heart pillow were among some of our first purchases. I love the energy that they bring and the youthful colors are so fun. Small doses of pink are exactly what our home needed. We have three girls living here after all!
For our fairly small room, an acrylic coffee table takes up less space visually, but gives us all the function we need. The rounded corners are a nice plus with littles running around too. And yes, on a daily basis this is covered in finger prints. We have three kids, I’m sure the style police will understand. A pair of ottomans slip underneath, with a fun pattern to peak through. We’d originally bought these to be more of foot stools, but more often we find the girls hopping up, like their own tiny play table. I found the ottomans on Ebay, and just recovered them with a black and white blanket.
The gray arm chair was the one that we’d planned to use in Ryan’s nursery. It camped out in the living room for a while, as we finished up planking and painting his room, and we couldn’t convince ourselves to take it out. We swapped out the original rectangular Ikea legs for more fitting mid-century legs. The wood chair that you can just see in the corner of the above photo is something I picked up off Craigslist. I’m hoping to have the cushions reupholsted relatively soon. So, you know, don’t hold your breath.
We built a really simple blanket ladder out of 1×4’s and galvanized plumbing pipes. The girls haven’t taken interest in climbing it just yet, but if that day ever comes, a few brackets to secure it to the wall may be in order. For now, we’re really enjoying our floors free of blanket piles.
Craigslist strikes again with this pretty side table. I desperately wanted to save the wood finish, but it was a sanding project gone very wrong. Paint it is (Sherwin Williams’ Snowbound – my go-to white these days) . I switched out the hardware and applied a faux marble contact paper to the top. Totally new piece. The lamp on top is the same one that we used in Ryan’s room. I love it, but I’m not totally sure that it works here, with the white on white.
The throw on the back of the armchair is only temporary in here, but I thought I’d share the source because if you feel anything like I do, your curiosity has probably grown to pure infatuation by now – Someware Goods. She’s one of two that’ll be in the dining room, eventually.
So, we still have some work to be done, but given the amount of changes, I’m feeling really good with where we’re at. I’d still like to get something up on the pallet wall, opposite the ladder, upholster the wood chair cushions, maybe a throw pillow for the two chairs, etc. But, at the end of the day, I fall just a little more in love with this room, which is something that I could never really say about our previous living space. Not just this room as a whole, but when I break it down, I love every. single. detail!
Last November we celebrated Zoey’s third birthday, and naturally, as we now come up on her fourth birthday, I’m finally blogging about. For most holidays we’re pretty low-key on gifts for the kids, nothing overly complicated, but birthdays we try to step it up a notch. (Really, this means I come up with ideas and Ricky kindly builds them, like a play kitchen, train table, play tent, etc.)
With Zoey’s ever-growing collection of dress-up clothes, it couldn’t have been more evident what to make her. Some of you may remember the Ikea Ombre Chest?
Well, the exterior was still in great shape, but we thought the interior could use a fun new makeover. Here she is now!
Ricky removed the interior drawer glides, whipped up a simple cubbie area for baskets, and installed a tiny clothing rod for dresses galore. Wood putty, prime, paint, and we have a whole new look!
As for the door itself, we wanted to the exterior to appear the same, so Ricky separated the drawer fronts and reattached them to one another using a few 1×3’s. Easy peasy. The entire door hangs on a trio of new hinges.
The baskets hold all of the accessories – tiaras, magical wands, jewelry, etc. You know, the necessary princess attire.
While a few packs of small hangers clip up the dresses.
Honestly, I don’t even know how our dress-up collection got to this point. I swear just yesterday I was pregnant with Zoey, and now we have backpacks and sports gear and questions about everything, and it’s all just moving entirely too fast. Anyway. Start to finish.
A year later and the girls are still getting so much use out of this project. Because princess dresses count as normal, everyday clothes, right?
When I first began playing around with a new design for the girls room, I wanted them to be as involved as possible. So, I asked them what they wanted. Let me lead this by saying that there are maybe five total items that I was planning to have stay in the room, one of them being Zoey’s headboard. I’d just need to duplicate it for Lizzy. Well, as I mentioned in the initial plans, their first idea was to change that.
This was my first time using nailhead trim, so this trim kit ( in french natural) made it a lot less intimidating. Totally doable for any beginner.
You also may notice that we painted the once gray walls. The new color is Sherwin Wiliam’s Lighter Mint, which reads as a completely different color than the first time we used on Ryan’s ceiling. Instead of the warm and muted mint that we had in the nursery, here we have a light and fresh mint.
It’s subtle and yet, so much fun against the hot pink. Actually, it almost looks white in these photos, which is 100% the result of my lacking photography skills.
I mentioned in our plans that I’d scored a campaign dresser on Craigslist last summer. Well, here she is, all dolled up in a fresh coat of white paint and clean hardware.
I can’t get enough of the campaign hardware and the nailhead trim playing off each other.
So, clearly there’s a lot to still do here. Address the blank walls, the ceiling, lighting, and let’s not forget that I neglected to even show you the other half of the room.. there’s a reason for that 😉
Finally, we are calling this room 100% complete (!!). Little Ryan arrived a few weeks early, following a prior few weeks of me on bed rest, so I’ll go ahead and blame those two things on the hold up. Although, that is unlikely. More likely? Game of Thrones + Orange is the New Black having slightly swayed my priorities. Either way.
Last time we touched base, the “construction” phase, as we’d called it, had just been wrapped up. Wood plank walls, craftsman door/window moldings, a newly drywalled ceiling, and fresh paint throughout. Read more about that process here. We moved onto the really good stuff, furniture + diy projects, and eventually lighting, window treatments, accessories, and so on. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to Ryan’s Nursery!
Many of the pieces came straight from the original mood board that I first shared, but there are plenty of new selections that can all be sourced at the bottom of this post!
Gah. That dresser. We found it for $60 on Craigslist and I gave it a complete makeover. Fresh cobalt paint, new hardware, and decorative fretwork panels on the top drawers. It’s easily in my top five favorite elements in the room.
I am constantly reminded of all the love that we’ve tried to inject into this space. Hopefully, that’ll be the feeling Ryan gets as he grows older as well. We’ve always been fans of tackling projects ourselves, big and small, but there’s just something about this room that feels so handmade to us. I love it.
Design-wise, Ryan’s nursery has been a big game changer for me. It’s a new reminder, when it comes to the rest of our home, to prioritize including pieces that carry emotional weight. Memories, personal pieces, family photos, etc. That seems silly, but it’s not always been at the top of the list for me when styling a space. More often, it’s about making things pretty and functional. There’s something so amazing about a room that feels lived in, like it has a life of it’s own. Anyway, another lesson learned.
One of the biggest regrets that I’ve had in past makeovers, is the absence of old and new pieces. Not this time! While plenty of purchases were made from big box stores, we also bought everywhere from local thrift stores and flea markets to vintage pieces from Ebay + Craigslist + Etsy! It’s such a good mix, I can’t get enough.
There’s somewhat of a theme going on here, although it could be hard to pick up on if you weren’t paying close attention. I know. Themes. Not in my wildest dreams. But this is one I can get on board with. It’s sort of a whimsical, woodsy + nature meets tribal + hard industrial. That’s not a thing, but I’m going with it.
And with our third kid, we finally got the whole organization thing down pat. Not only is this room ready for baby, it’s ready for toddler + preschooler + more. Similar to what we just gave the girls (read more about that here), Ryan’s closet is also customized to the nines.
So, there we have it, Ryan’s nursery!
Interested in where we purchased something? This is for you! Otherwise, any questions can be left in the comments and I’ll do my best to help!
We shared a glimpse into a newly decorated space of our home on Instagram ages ago, and I’m finally feeling ready to call this space mostly done and share it today on the blog. I hesitated for so long because although the exterior appeared to be finished, there wasn’t a whole lot going on function-wise inside the actual piece. Let’s just have a look. Our new(ish) entryway!
If we back up a bit, here’s where we’d left off last.
We had added a simple wall treatment and grasscloth wallpaper to help brighten up the space, and we even laid out a few plans as far as what we wanted to see happen in the future of the room – all of which were nixed after having my design breakdown. Whomp, whomp. So the space just sat, while we figured out our home’s new direction and could come up with a cohesive plan. Which I was okay with, since the last thing I wanted to do was come up with a quick fix that I’d tire of months down the road.
And then I had my breakthrough. As I was wasting endless hours sorting through other people’s crap on Craigslist, as I do, I stumbled on this guy.
Had I not just spent weeks gushing over Emily Henderson’s new design for Bri Emery, featuring this very same modular shelving unit? Yes, yes I believe that I had. Of course, $225 is a pretty big chunk of change, especially for something used on Craigslist, so we headed over to just check it out. Aka – me trapping Ricky in this stranger’s basement until he caved under my sales pitch. Well, luckily, he thought it was “pretty cool” (a 100% yes in man terms), and we both happily took this guy apart and brought him home with us the very same day.
Update: We later learned that similar pieces like these go for thousands of dollars on Ebay. Score.
What do I love about it? Please, let me count the ways. For starters, it’s the epitome of everything I desired in this post. It’s modular, meaning that all the cabinets, drawers and shelves are interchangeable, so it can be completely taken apart and reassembled into countless combinations. It’s a design lover’s dream piece. Kind of like, you get all the amazing flexibility of a newly designed furniture piece, except it’s vintage and beautiful and one of kind. And also, I love it.
It’s a little hard to see in the pics, but although it definitely had a very loving previous owner (I wanted everything in their house), it had seen it’s fair share of wear as well. If I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure that I began removing hardware for cleaning and sanding it down for a new coat of stain the second we pulled into our driveway. No, I don’t have a single picture of that process, but it was nothing exciting or different than any other sanding/staining process that we’ve been through, so I won’t bore you with details. In fact, the stain was even a custom color we had made (I was trying to tone down the super orange tones that it naturally possessed), so I’ve got nothing for you. And the blogger award goes to.. Ha.
Now, reassembled, in the house, and styled months later, we have this:
God, I love it.
When it came time to style it, I tried to really embrace a new color scheme that I’ve been wanting to work towards for our home, with bright yellows, mints, and hot pinks. Clearly, I took some notes from Emily’s design (who wouldn’t), on both the colors and the styling itself. Without feeling that I need to completely defend myself from critics, I guess I just want to make one part clear before I have people jumping my case. The girl is amazing. I love her work, which is so obviously inspiring me on this new design journey, and I’m not afraid to admit that. I figure, as long as I can continue to separate what I actually LOVE and what speaks to me from what I just appreciate as really good design that I don’t necessarily want in my home, then there’s no reason not to be inspired and embrace what someone else has already somewhat done.
I mean, I couldn’t be happier with the results. And that’s what matters right?
Now, as I mentioned, the reason I hesitated so long to share was (ok, mostly because I went on blogger hiatus, but also..) that I hadn’t yet figured out how to make it a functioning piece. Yes, it was pretty, but how do we make it work? I mean really WORK hard for our family? This piece is packed with storage options and there was no way I was going to let that go to waste. We lived with it for some time and did some serious reevaluating of all the problem areas we have in our home (a lot), before deciding on our solutions.
Now, it serves as:
• A Convenient Entryway Landing Spot – keys and sunglasses all get dropped into the yellow egg crate, phones and chargers live in the glossy teal box when not in use, and un-read magazines now have a nice home on the magazine shelf. This won’t always be our main entrance to the house, but for now, we have to make do. Someday, maybe we’ll actually be able to fit a car into our garage and enter through a mudroom that isn’t half-finished and completely non-functioning to the point that I close the door and avoid it at all costs. Someday.
• A Makeshift Office Area – No, typically I do not sit here to use the laptop, but it’s a nice cubby to hold it when not in use, as well as a few office related supplies (haven’t added those yet), since we don’t currently have a desk area anywhere else in the home. I’m thinking a few simple desk organizers in here to hold small notebooks, pens, etc. would be enough. Sidenote – we attempted to match the stain inside this cabinet to the rest of the piece with multiple failures before finally resorting to a coat of white paint. I apologize in advance to all the paint on wood haters out there. I tried.
• File central – We have long needed an easily accessible place to store frequently used files that aren’t kept in our other file safe. I’m crazy obsessed with this solution. It has transformed our lives having everything so organized and at hand. We were able to fit four of these inexpensive file boxes in there, containing anything from our paid bills, medical records, school paperwork, pet info, electronic manuals, etc. You know, the fun stuff. We actually only filled half of the space, so we have plenty of room to grow. Hopefully, not with more bills.
• Printer & paper storage – The lower portion of this side we’re using to store our printer, paper, and printer accessories. It’s probably a little strange for most people to have these things in the entryway, but our home is by no means huge and our entryway just happens to be right in the heart of the home. It’s pretty much the same room as both the living room and kitchen, where we spend most of time, and since we don’t have an office, this makes sense for us. What didn’t make sense was trekking back to the master bedroom, where it was previously stored in a bookcase, every time we printed something. Probably not a forever solution, but for now, it’s working just fine. Also, can I say how much joy these pink paper trays bring every time I open the doors?
• Stationary and Bills – The three drawers on the lower righthand side of the unit are still developing, but I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to stay. Most of our bills are paid online at this point, with very little actual paper to be managed, but the little bills-related supplies that we do have is kept in the top drawer, along with some stationary supplies, and our household binders. A work in progress for sure, but it’s nice to finally have a place for them to call home. I didn’t photograph the other two drawers, also still coming along, but one is holding all of my camera supplies – batteries, lenses, tripod, etc. and the second is storing my Silhoutte Cameo and it’s accessories. Speaking of which, I really need to master that thing and use it to it’s potential.
• Barware Storage – Umm, because what good office/entryway doesn’t have wine? Again, this doesn’t work for everyone, but this side of the shelving unit is maybe two feet from our kitchen’s refrigerator and island. It’s the perfect location, sort of casual like a bar cart could be, located near the living space as well, and it cleared up an entire cabinet in the kitchen by moving all the glassware. We keep a larger wine rack in the pantry, plus a wine cooler in the island, so I really have no idea how those bottles even got in there. Just keeping it easily attainable from anywhere in the house I suppose. Kidding. I’m Preggers. Anyway, if you’re looking for bar-related goods, this is where you’d find them.
Two other small updates that we made in this area of the house that you may have noticed are the addition of a storm door (which explains the open front door in the other pics) and a few coats hooks. Most days, we now keep the wood front door open and the sunlight just pours in. It’s fabulous. Natural sunlight = key to my heart. We’re still planning to make a few tweaks to the storm door come spring time, so we’ll share our progress in that area as we go.
We moved a few things around in the living room, no wait, everything in the living room (more on that soon enough), and the placement of the previous mason jar coat rack just wasn’t making sense anymore. Relocation to the laundry room maybe? Instead, this new wall space that would easily be concealed behind the open door was a great landing for three of these coat and hat hooks.
While this single wall may be small in scale to all the other space in our home, it’s easily my favorite space to date and it serves as such an inspiration as I work to bring the other rooms up to date.
Because this disaster that we call a dining room is a fine example of that happening…