Weekend Project Alert: A Quick Kitchen Update!

My sister Jenni and her husband just closed on a house that has sooo much potential . . . it just needs a little TLC. They move in next weekend but before they move in she wants to tackle a quick, budget-friendly kitchen renovation. She came out to help me when I painted my kitchen cabinets and I’m more than happy to return the favor now. I’m heading out this afternoon for a weekend of painting!

Here’s where their kitchen started out:

Underneath the very dated styles, I see so much potential! There’s a lot they can (and likely will) do here for a bigger update down the road, but for now, our plan is just to help the space feel a lot more like them from the start.

They have already made one very impactful change by removing the kitchen cabinets above the island!

It takes away a bit of their storage, but it makes such a huge difference in the space! Jenni loves how open it feels now.

Our #1 goal this weekend is to get all the cabinets painted. Jenni and her husband are both creative and artistic with a really lively, kind of eclectic style – it’s going to be a lot of fun translating their unique style into this dated kitchen. Here’s some of the inspo Jenni has sent me – bring on all the green!

I’ll be sharing the finished project back here on the blog on Monday, but make sure to follow along on Instagram for real time updates throughout the weekend. I’m so excited to get this project started!

Progress on the Guest Bedroom “Wallpaper”

A few weeks ago, I shared how I wanted to update our guest bedroom by painting a “wallpaper” with stencil. I was pretty optimistic about the scope of the project and hoped to be done by the time our guests came for my birthday weekend (September 11). And now that my birthday weekend is over and our guests have come and gone, all I can say is HAHAHAHAHA to that wishful thinking!

Once I actually started, I realized how big of a project this is. Like, it’s a really big project. Because I’m using five different colors and have some tiny details to paint, it takes me about fifteen minutes to complete one stencil. At this point, I still plan to do the whole room, so this is a long haul project!

It took me a while to work out my techniques for the best results, and the top right corner of the wall is definitely going to need a LOT of touching up before I’m done, but I’m feeling really good about how the latest stencils have turned out and can’t wait to see the whole wall done.

Additional updates coming to the room:

1 – New ceiling light fixture. This room currently has an unattractive boob light (if you know you know,) and it’s one of my 2021 goals to replace all the boob lights in my house. The one tricky thing here is the ceiling tiles, which force the light to be off-center. It’s currently not that noticeable because the light is the same color as the ceiling, and I’m going to strive to find another light fixture that works with out drawing too much attention to the off-centeredness.

2 – Fresh bedding. The wall color palette doesn’t quite match the existing bedding anymore, plus I’d like to update it anyways. When we originally did the guest room renovation, I chose a comforter set with lots of pillows. While this looks nice on the bed, it’s just not a practical choice for guests. They have to remove six pillows just to sleep and then those pillows compete with their luggage for space on the floor or closet. I want to edit the pillows down to just what they need plus maybe one decorative option.

3 – Add a bench? I would really like to try to find a storage bench for the foot of the bed. There’s plenty of space for it and it would create a space to sit to put on shoes or elevate a suitcase, plus double as storage for extra blankets.

4 – Carpet (eventually). This so badly needs to happen, but it’s a big ticket budget item since we will be doing the entire basement at once. I’m really hoping we can replace it within the next year!

Now back to work – I’ve got some stenciling to do!

33

On Saturday, I turned 33 years old!

I posted this on my Instagram stories, but having a 9/11 birthday often feels heavy, particularly on milestone anniversaries of 2001. My heart will never not break for all the tragedy and pain that this day holds; I feel it deeply and it’s gut-wrenching. At the same time, I am so grateful for my own life and the opportunity to get to celebrate another year of it. I enjoy celebrating my birthday and I love to make it a happy, fun day. Over the years, I’ve learned to acknowledge the tension between those two extremes and accept that they can coexist. I think of and hold space in my heart for all those who lost their loved ones in the attacks and the aftermath. I also have deep gratitude for the friends and family who always make sure I still feel the love and celebration on my birthday.

Friday, we had some friends come into town to stay with us for the weekend. They live 5+ hours away and we’re not able to see each other nearly as much as we’d like, so it was so amazing to have them come in to celebrate! Our kids have met before, but it’s been so long that none of them remember it – within five minutes of them pulling in our driveway, all four kids were playing like besties!

Saturday we enjoyed a slow morning at home and spent the early afternoon out at our pond soaking up the sun. My friend baked a stunning birthday cake that was as delicious as it was beautiful!

Around mid-afternoon, we headed inside to get ready for the evening. Our city has multiple rivers that connect downtown and Justin rented a boat called a Rum Runner – it’s a party boat that has a bar in the middle with stools all around and space to walk around as well. It was so much fun – my only regret is that I wish it was bigger so we could have invited even more people! The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we enjoyed a couple hours floating on the river, then hung out downtown and enjoyed checking out different open-air spots for food, drinks, and even dancing. It felt like everything just came together to make for a heck of an evening out and I enjoyed every second.

I decided to not share group photos on this public platform, but it’s hard for me to overstate how much I appreciated my friends and their efforts to come out and celebrate with me. Seeing fifteen friends from different stages of my life come together was surreal and so awesome and we all had a blast together. I ended the night just feeling so so grateful and loved!

Sunday was even more gorgeous weather than Saturday and we enjoyed time fishing, floating on the pond, and watching our kids play in the water before our friends packed up and headed home. It was such a relaxing way to finish a great weekend!

There are a lot of jokes out there about birthdays and aging that make it seem like getting older is a bad thing or something to downplay or lie about (“I’m 29 again!”). I have always tried to keep the perspective that age is truly something to celebrate. I lost one of my best friends to a tragic four wheeling accident when I was in college. Amongst all the other extreme pain of losing her, it was heartbreaking to know she would never grow older than a teenager. And having a 9/11 birthday, I’m acutely aware of the tremendous pain and loss of precious life that is associated with this date. These two events serve as a reminder for me that growing old is truly a gift, one we can’t take for granted. I specifically want to honor my friend’s memory and all those who perished on 9/11 by living life to the fullest – I am so thankful for thirty-three years of living life! And quite frankly, I wouldn’t go back to 29 anyways. At that time, I still hadn’t met either of my children. I hadn’t moved to a new house and started the adventures of renovation. I hadn’t met a few of my now very close friends. Each passing year brings new people, more personal growth, more strength in my marriage, more traveling, more experiences, more memories made with my little family – I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Here’s to making 33 the best year yet!

Our bedroom is (finally) finished!

Way back at the beginning of May, I started the One Room Challenge with the goal of renovating Justin and my bedroom. It took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I’m actually really ok with that. A slow and steady pace helped me from feeling too overwhelmed and allowed me to make sure I loved every decision rather than make snap decisions just for the sake of a timeline. It was all worth it because I love the room so much now!

As a reminder, here’s where we started in early May:

And here’s where we are now:

I finished up the bed side of the room during the One Room Challenge, and my time since then has been spent on the other side. Our bedroom is very large and a bit of an awkward shape, so it took a little while for me to figure out a layout that worked and felt right. 

My mom generously offered me this antique library table that has been in her family for years and years. Paired with an antique chair (it used to be my great-aunt’s sewing table chair!) it creates a nice little vanity area for me to do my makeup. I love the natural light streaming in while I sit there!

There is an awkward little corner in the room sandwiched in between a window and the door to our en suite bathroom. There was just enough room to fit a gorgeous rust chair and paired with a small black table and a soft throw blanket, it now is a cozy little reading spot!

The long stretch of wall between the bedroom door and the bathroom door was the perfect place to create some visual interest. I upgraded a simple Ikea dresser for a fun modern look and added a gallery wall above.

The gallery wall was the most recent project I tackled. I chose a mixture of digital downloads, professionally framed prints, and personal mementos to create a special wall that feels beautiful and uniquely us.

When I first started this project, Justin asked why I wanted to put effort into a space that “no one sees” verses a more public space (like, why put the time, money, and effort into a room that only the two of us use instead of a room that more people see and use, like our living room?) I do understand his logic, but my answer has always been “because I want us to have a little haven that feels rejuvenating and restful.” The whole house is for sharing with others, but this room is all ours. The fact that I renovated it just for our enjoyment actually makes it feel that much more special. And truly, starting and ending our days in this room has made a big difference. It makes us happy, it feels fresh and relaxing, and it functions so well for our specific needs now. I can confidently say the time, money, and effort was 100% worth it.

Bedroom Sources

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Foggy Day

Ceiling Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Window Color: Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black

Upholstered Bed

Nightstands

Cream Pillows

Green Pillows

Lumbar Pillow

Quilt

Floral Sheets + Throw, both from Target (no link available)

Rug

Eucalyptus Stems

Wall Sconce

Curtain Rods

Elbow Connectors (used to make the rods work for a bay window)

Curtains (out of stock – similar here)

Dog Bed

Dresser: Ikea Hemnes (upgrade tutorial here)

Black side table

Throw blanket

Small wooden box

Large round vase

Gallery Wall Sources:

Top Row (left to right): Trails digital download, Glencoe digital download, Olive You greeting card, handwritten note, wedding photo, Lovers digital download

Bottom Row (left to right): Cliffs framed and mounted print, museum ticket, I Like You digital download, Flight digital download, Parisian Apartments digital download, Oia digital download, personal photo

All frames are either from Target or were thrifted

August 2021 Book Reviews

September is here and it’s one of my very favorite months of the year (birthday month whoop whoop!) While I’m not someone who considers September 1 to be a “break out the pumpkins and fall everything” milestone, I do like that it has always signified change, fresh starts, and the start to a very cozy season. Because for me, cozy season definitely means curled up with a book!

And speaking of books (see what I did there? πŸ˜‰ ) I read four books in August and they were all enjoyable and very different from one another. Let’s chat about them!

Float Plan by Trish Doller

Trigger warning: suicide

Ten months after the tragic death of her fiancΓ© Ben, Anna impulsively decides to take the sailboat he lovingly refurbished and set sail on the trip through the Caribbean that they had planned to take together. While she has some basic sailing skills already, she quickly learns she can’t make the entire trip alone and hires Keane, an experienced sailor, to help her make it the rest of the way. Keane is no stranger to tragedy and as he and Anna start to open up to one another on the open sea, they each start to heal and make room for new futures.

I read this on my kindle and while the premise of this book was interesting, I think something about the execution fell a little flat. I’m not even quite sure why? The cover makes it seem like a fun little travel romance but it’s definitely not a light, fluffy read. It covers heavy topics like suicide, grief, and moving forward after tragedy. We watch Anna work through so many stages of grief and work to get to a future that she can be happy in. I thought the author did a good job of not rushing Anna’s process, but that also meant this book seemed kind of slow. I did love the dynamic between Anna and Keane and I was totally swept away by the descriptions of their destinations. It absolutely fueled my desire to travel and it was a great little way to escape to the tropics without leaving your home. I would say this falls pretty solidly on average side of reading -not a dud, not spectacular, just a nice solid fiction read.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Cassis is a standout firefighter working with a great crew in a supportive environment in Texas when a series of events, including an impulsive reaction and an estranged and ailing mother, lead to her uprooting her life and moving to a small town outside of Boston. She quickly finds that things are very different in her new work place: lack of proper equipment, subpar facilities, and a crew that is not too sure about having a female firefighter join their ranks. The only one who truly seems supportive of Cassie is the one person she definitely should not be spending too much time with: the charming, gorgeous rookie.

So here’s the thing: every single Katherine Center book I’ve read gets to a point where I just skim. It’s usually around the 4/5 mark of the book – I just want to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy her books! There are just always a lot of storylines and typically by that point I’ve sort of decided which ones I’m invested in and which ones I’m not so much. This book was no different. I was invested in Cassie and the rookie (I mean, how can you not love the rookie!?) and another specific storyline (I won’t spoil it though!) but I was not as invested in the storyline with Cassie and her mother. I think this is generally the case with Center’s books – I’m just not invested in the extra family plot lines. Overall though, I still enjoyed this book! It’s got some humor, some romance, some drama, and some redemption. I liked it!

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister: A Novel by [Sally Hepworth]

Fern struggles with recognizing social cues, managing her sensory overstimulation, and getting out of her routine, but there is one place she simply loves to be: the library where she works. Outside of the library, she relies pretty heavily on her twin sister Rose to help her navigate life. When Fern discovers that Rose can’t get pregnant, she decides the best way to pay Rose back for all she’s done is to have a baby for her. Now she just needs to find a man to have a baby with . . .

WOW. This book kind of started out a bit slow and to be honest I did not expect it to be a thriller but hot dang, that’s exactly what it was. There were a few points where my stomach dropped or my heart started beating fast. It’s twisty and unexpected and I loved it! I also thought the author did a great job of creating really interesting, complex characters. The childhood backstory that gets revealed through Rose’s journals adds so much and the combination of Rose and Fern as narrators was just so engrossing! It does cover some difficult subject matter, including childhood abuse domestic violence, that makes it a little hard to read at times. I highly recommend this one!

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and The Way Forward by Gemma Hartley

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by [Gemma Hartley]

“I tried to explain the mental load and why delegating was such a big deal. I tried to explain how the mental and physical work of running our home and our lives compounded in such an exhausting manner. I wanted a partner with equal initiative. I couldn’t continue to delegate and pretend that we were maintaining an egalitarian, progressive relationship. Divvying up the household chores when I still had to remind him to do his share was not enough. That still left all of the emotional labor as my responsibility, and that, I told him, was what needed to change.”

This nonfiction book was written by Gemma Hartley after her viral article for Harper’s Bazaar: “Women Aren’t Nags – We’re Just Fed Up.” I think any woman who would read this would find herself nodding along as Gemma relays story after story of the emotional labor – the invisible work, the mental work, the anticipating-everyone-else’s-reactions-and-needs work – and how it almost always falls on women’s shoulders. She touches on the inequality of emotional labor in the workplace, at home, in a marriage, in parenthood. There are stories of working moms and stay-at-home moms and women who aren’t moms at all but still find the bulk of household management falls on their shoulders, regardless of job title. I will say, I think there’s something there for all women, but she does focus a lot on the roles of work/marriage/motherhood. I found it to be first very validating and then very inspiring as she talked about ways that she and her husband eventually found more equal footing (hint: there are some tough pills to swallow for women, myself definitely included, if we really want a partner and not just “help”). I thought she maybe focused a bit too much on hammering home the emotional labor and toll it takes on women (because let’s be honest, most people reading this will be women and we get it!) so it does get a little lengthy but I appreciated her insight in the last few chapters with how to work for a better system. I wanted to underline so many parts! Overall I thought this was an affirming and empowering read and I took away some points to implement in my own life.

Bring on the September reads!

Friday Features {8.27.21}

We are currently en route to Pennsylvania for the weekend for Justin’s grandma’s memorial service. We’ll be gone all weekend so I thought it was a good day for a small roundup of Friday Features – just the random little things that have happened around here lately!

Cozy Bedroom Corner

A few weeks ago, I shared how I brought this gorgeous rust colored chair into what was a somewhat awkward corner in our bedroom and this week, I finally got around to finishing off the space. I considered adding artwork above the chair, but since I’ve included so much in the gallery wall I decided to print off and frame one of our new family photos instead. I like that the asymmetrical mat makes it feel a little extra unique! I snagged a small black table from Target and topped it off with a dried floral arrangement from a local florist with a candle and book. I also tossed a soft textured striped throw blanket over the chair. Now the awkward corner that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with is such a cozy spot in the room – I love it!

Playing Chalk

On Wednesday, Justin had the kids for most of the day while I got lots of work done and ran multiple errands. When I got home from one, they were all playing outside. LJ saw me and asked in his sweet little voice “Mommy, will you come play chalk with me?” It was one of those perfectly ordinary moments that stopped me in my tracks. I love that he loves to involve me in his activities and genuinely wants to play with me. He has such a sweet, tender heart and it was so nice to put everything else on the back burner and spend some time drawing shapes and lines (LJ “taught” me how to draw an x haha) with my little boy.

Vintage Sale Finds

I love going to @carpendaughter‘s vintage sale and this year’s was another great one! I scored some really cool pieces that I’m excited to incorporate into our home. I shared this on Instagram: “There is something about being able to find little treasures that are unique and come with a story and some history. They have passed through different hands, been part of different homes, and now they’re going to be part of ours. It makes me so happy!”

Unlocked Memories

While putting together our gallery wall, I wanted to include some special mementos of ours. It was so fun to comb through our memory box and find ticket stubs from concerts, movies, and museums, a coaster from a Wisconsin bar, our honeymoon boarding passes, notes, cards, and letters we wrote, chips from a casino event we attended, the list goes on! I loved how each item unlocked a memory of trips we’ve taken, events we attended, things we’ve done together. It’s just a special little collection of our relationship and I really enjoyed picking out a few things to display on our wall, including this museum pass from our trip to Italy several years ago. Art doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be the most special and/or valuable things. Frame what makes you happy – and this memento definitely does!

National Dog Day

Apparently yesterday was National Dog Day? Thanks to social media for letting me know! I don’t share much about the dogs these days, but they are definitely a big part of our family life at home! Macie is spunky and playful and always up for swimming, playing fetch, or doing anything with people. She’s slowed down a bit over the last couple years but she’s still our energetic girl! Scout has always been our more reserved boy – he loves to curl up and cuddle for most of his days, but he perches up on our landing so he can see out the window and is so faithful with letting us know when someone is coming up our driveway. He’s our little guard dog! We love our fur babies so much.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Easy DIY: Thrifted Frames + Printed Artwork

There is a DIY that I’ve done at least 10 times in the past two years and am currently doing once again as I tackle our bedroom gallery wall. It’s one of those projects that is so quick, simple, and easy that it almost doesn’t even feel like a project: printing digital downloads to use as artwork.

When it comes to making changes in your home, everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re new to DIY, this is a very straightforward and simple DIY that is perfect for beginners!

The first step is pretty obvious: choose artwork! I shared in this post some of my favorite places to find artwork and one of them was digital downloads. While it varies a bit depending on where you buy the print, in most cases once you purchase the print, you receive an email with instructions for downloading. I especially like that Juniper Print Shop gives you a few different ratio options so you can use the one best suited for the size print that you want!

Once I download the file, I’m able to upload it to whatever site I’m using to print it off. I’ve used both FedEx printing for large prints (bonus: I can do local pick-up within one day!) and Mpix for prints both large and small and have been really happy with the quality of both services. For this particular batch of prints, I chose Mpix and had everything printed on their Giclee Deep Matte Photographic paper.

While I have my fair share of frames from places like Target and TJ Maxx, one of my favorite things to do is find frames at thrift stores and use them in gallery walls. I can usually find frames between $1-$3 and that price is just hard to beat!

Sometimes I like the original finish of a frame, but in most cases, I rely on spray paint to upgrade the frame a bit. I remove the glass and the back first; if the back is hinged, I will use painters tape to tape it off so I don’t get spray paint on the back (which can make it tacky and stick to whatever is in the frame).

I love using Rustoleum spray paint and my go-to colors are matte black and Satin Bronze. I make sure to be in a well-ventilated area for spraying, and I’ll give the frame multiple rounds of light coats, making sure to keep the can moving while spraying so paint doesn’t pool in any one area.

Once the frame finished drying, I can pop in the print. I usually choose to remove the glass from the frame so there’s not a glare on the print.

That’s it! How easy is that? It honestly takes less than an hour of active work start-to-finish and the cost is usually pretty comparable to piece of mass-produced artwork from a place like Target. My budget breakdown was:

Digital Download: $18 (I got a small discount!)

Mpix Printing: $0.89 for a 4×6

Thrift Store Frame: $3.99

I already had the spray paint and painters tape (they’re staples I always stay stocked up on for projects) so my total cost was around $23 for this print.

I love that this DIY allows me to fill my house with artwork that I really like in my choice of sizes, styles, and frames. While the prints aren’t originals or one-of-a-kind, they still feel personalized and unique and bring just the right touch finishing touch to whatever room I’m working on. If you’re looking for a way to elevate a space in your house, this is a great DIY to try!

Vi is TWO!

I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but my baby girl turns two years old today!

Vi is my totally fearless adventurer. She eats pretty much any new food that is placed in front of her and she is always up for trying new things. She always wants to be thrown high in the air or climb up on the big kids playground or jump around in the bounce house. I think she’s a bit of a thrill-seeker!

She absolutely loves anything to do with water. Whether it’s splashing in the bath tub or playing in the water table or participating in swimming lessons or jumping into the pond (with her floaties on!), she loves to be in and around water. She loves to run into the pond and swim and swim and swim. Her current favorite movie is Luca and I think it’s because of all the water!

She also loves animals – she is interested in everything from a dog at the park to a horse in a pasture to a bug crawling on our floor. She loves going to the zoo (a surprise zoo trip is her birthday present today!)

Vi is a mama’s girl through and through. She insists on mama putting her down for bedtimes and naptimes and she’s always reaching for me and wanting to be with mama. I’m trying to soak it up now, because I know being the preferred parent won’t last forever!

Vi wants to do anything and everything her big brother does. While they often bicker and struggle to share, they are also really great about looking out for one another and loving one another well. They color together, play together, hug one another in the morning and blow kisses good night. I love watching their sweet sibling bond develop!

Recently, she has become very into dressing up. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve found her in my bedroom, trying on all my bracelets and necklaces. She also loves getting her nails painted and has started requesting dresses to wear during the day. For her birthday I made her a clothing rack for dress up clothing and asked our family members to contribute something to a dress up collection. It was a HUGE hit!

Her party was simple and didn’t have a theme or much in the way of decorations, but we did order some Luca-themed cookies for our water-loving girl.

My sweet V, I love you more than words can say. You changed our lives two years ago and we are so so grateful for every day with you. ❀

DIY Clothing Rack for Kids

On Monday, I shared my inspiration for a DIY clothing rack to store dress up clothes, which I planned to make as a birthday gift for Vi. Thanks to Justin’s day off Wednesday and a little childcare help from my babysitter yesterday, I was able to finish it up just in time for her party tomorrow!

I shared all the progress in real time on Instagram, but I also wanted to write out a full tutorial for how I made this clothing rack to permanently be a resource on the blog. This was really a pretty simple DIY and I would estimate it only took about 5 hours of hands-on work time (mine took more time with stopping to take photos and video of everything). It’s definitely a project you could do in one day!

Materials

-2 8 foot pine 1×2’s

-2 8 foot pine 1×5’s (I used a base floor trim that was 7/16 x 4 1/4 x 8 for a thinner look)

-4 foot dowel rod, diameter 3/4″

-two wood screws, size 9 x 2 1/2

-1 inch nail gun nails

-sandpaper (80 grit, 220 grit, 400 grit)

–Polycrylic

–Synthetic Bristle Brush

–Tack Cloth

-I used thin scrap wood for the shelf supports, but you could also use roughly 4 feet of another pine 1×2

Tools used: miter saw, power drill, nail gun, clamps, straight edge, right angle, measuring tape, level

I started out by measuring out the space where I wanted to put the clothing rack so I could get a feel for the dimensions to use.

I used the miter saw to cut down my 1×2’s into four pieces, each 48″ long.

I laid two of the pieces on the ground and fiddled with the angle of teepee shape until it looked the way I wanted it to. Then I took a straight edge and ran it from tip to tip of the bottom outside corners.

I then took a pencil and traced along the straight edge. This marked a line that I needed to cut in order for the pieces to sit flush on the ground. Once the line was marked, I was able to use that + a right angle tool to determine the angle I wanted was 15 degrees.

I set my miter saw to make a 15 degree cut and trimmed off the edges on both the bottom and top of all four pieces, making sure the top and bottom of each piece were cut in the same direction.

Next, I took the pieces and got them back in the teepee shape I wanted and then used clamps to secure the wood to my workbench to make sure it didn’t budge. I also took my pencil and lightly traced along both edges of the piece on top, so just in case the boards did slip, I could easily line them back up again.

I marked the center of the wood overlap (for me, it was 8 inches down from the top of the wood) and used a 3/32″ drill bit to drill a small pilot hole all the way through.

I then used a wood screw (size 9 x 2 1/2) and a star bit on my power drill to attach the two pieces together.

I flipped the pieces over, re-clamped them (the line I traced came in handy for making sure they were back at the right angle!), and then measured out a scrap piece of wood for the bottom shelf. I wanted the bottom of the shelf support to be five inches off the ground, so I measured and cut a piece of scrap wood to fit. I trimmed off the edges at 15 degrees so it would run flush with the side pieces and I attached the support to the side pieces using a nail gun and 1 inch nails.

I repeated those steps until I had two identical side pieces. (Side note: I now wish I had made them mirror images of each other instead of identical. It doesn’t change anything structurally, but just aesthetically I think I would have preferred that look)

Next up was the bottom shelf. I took pine boards (7/16 x 4 1/2 x 8) and cut them down to my desired shelf length: 30 inches.

I used my nail gun and 1 inch nails to nail down each shelf into the shelf support. Four boards fit perfectly across! I wanted a little extra support in the middle since the shelf was pretty long so I got a piece of sturdy scrap wood and nailed it to the center of the bottom of the shelves.

Last up was attaching the dowel rod. Remember the wood screws I used to attach the criss-crossed part at the top? These actually went all the way through the wood and stuck out the other side. I measured from screw to screw across the top and cut the dowel rod to length (because of the way the wood overlapped, it was not the same length as the bottom shelf boards!)

I used my power drill to reverse the screw out until it was no longer visible on the inner part of the teepee, then held the dowel rod tightly up against the 1×2 and drove the screw back in. I recommend using a small level to make sure that your dowel rod is going straight across!

I then took some sandpaper (first 80 grit, then 220 grit) and sanded down any rough areas. I wiped it down with tack cloth and applied two coats of a clear matte polyurethane (giving it a light sand with 400 sandpaper in between coats).

I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I know Violet is going to love it. I can’t wait to see it full of fun dress up clothes after her party tomorrow! This little clothing rack is about to get lots and lots of fun use!

Inspiration for a Guest Room Update

When Justin and I started our bedroom renovation, the #1 thing on our lists was to upgrade our mattress to a king. My plan had then been to move our old queen mattress down to the guest room (which had just been a full size). It felt like such an easy solution to upgrade our guests as well! Except, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that “one simple change” is rarely ever just one thing . . . and this time was no different. Enter: project spiral.

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The guest bedroom “before” with a full size mattress

The full size mattress had been sitting on an old metal frame that we thought would easily extend to fit a queen. Long story short, it did extend, but we did not have faith in the integrity of the metal bars going across at that length, so we decided to just get a new bedframe. Except all the bedframes we liked were platform beds, which would not work with our old queen mattress + box spring combo. Before we knew it, the project had spiraled to getting a brand new bedframe and memory foam queen size mattress. But wait there’s more! We realized the increased width of the mattress made everything feel too tight with the nightstands, so we needed to swap those with the smaller ones from our bedroom upstairs. And! All the queen size sheets we used in our room don’t match the bedding we have in the guest room. Oy vey.

Current Guest Room with new bed and swapped nightstands

What started out as “one simple change” has now spiraled into a much larger project. It’s kind of crazy but at the same time, I’m thinking “why not go all in?” When I wrote a “one year later” post about the guest suite renovation, I mentioned that I was itching to add some interest to the white walls with a wallpaper or something. This project has already expanded beyond our expectations, so let’s just tackle that now too, right?

Unfortunately, since this is entirely a result of a project spiral, there’s no budget for wallpaper. I just can’t justify spending several hundred dollars on wallpaper and installation (we do a lot of DIYs around here but after the playroom accent wall, installing wallpaper isn’t one of them haha). So I’m going a much more cost-effective route: stencils!

I’ve never stenciled a wall before, let alone a whole room, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic so far and I’ve been gathering lots and lots of inspiration!

This is one of the earliest images I saved when I started dreaming about adding something to the walls and it remains one of my favorite choices. I love the organic, soft flow of the olive branches and I love the varying shades of green throughout. I want to imitate the subtle differences in leaves, but I also want to infuse a little more color in my palette.

Credit: Home Depot

I love this color palette – give me all the muted shades of green and pink! – but the actual pattern itself is larger and busier than what I’m looking for. I also don’t like how all the flowers line up precisely and prefer a little bit of a looser pattern.

This one is similar to the one above and isn’t as precisely lined up. I actually really love this one and wish I could consider it for the guest room, but at $92/roll, it’s just not a realistic option for the entire guest room. I’m definitely keeping it in mind for Vi’s room down the road though!

Coffman 33' L x 20.5" W Wallpaper Roll
Credit: Wayfair

Okay, I am not a bird person, but there are still a lot of things here that speak to me. I like the white background. I like the varying colors of green in the leaves and I really love the subtle pops of color (particularly pink and yellow!) in the flowers. I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from this one!

Here are a few other photos of wallpapered rooms that I’m drawn to. While none of them show exactly what I have in my mind for the guest bedroom, they are all giving me inspiration for the feel I want to create in the space.

I purchased a few of these stencils from Hobby Lobby and I’m going to test out different color palettes (I’m thinking shades of green with small touches of muted yellows and rosy pinks). Once I finish up Vi’s birthday gift, my focus is going to shift on getting this project done and then updating the bedding to coordinate. We have guests coming on September 10 so that is my timeline for finishing – just over three weeks away!