Home Tour 2022

It’s officially been three years since we’ve moved into our house, and every year I like to share a little tour of the home with a look at each space. Each year, we complete projects and make the home feel more and more like us and it’s so fun to see how things change over time. Some spaces are now updated, some are in progress, some are still looking more or less the same that they did when we moved in. To see our previous home tours, you can click the links here for the 2020 tour and 2021 tour.

I say this every year, but it’s worth mentioning again: during these tours, I certainly clean my house so it’s looking its best, but I also try to keep it true to the way we really live. I don’t move furniture in or out of a room (although I am always tempted to move our exercise bike ha!) I don’t style shelves differently or take things off my fridge. This is what our home really looks like in the way we live here!

Basement

Guest Bedroom

While our big renovation of this space happened in late 2019/early 2020, this room got a few more upgrades this past year with a new bed, fresh bedding, a faux wallpapered look (which isn’t quite finished yet!), and swapped out nightstands. Justin and I are hoping to replace the carpet later this year as well and then I think I’ll probably stop tinkering in here for a while.

Guest Bathroom

No major changes here, but I did remove a decorative tray that used to hold the soap dispenser, a candle, and faux succulent to free up some counter space for guests and added two gold canisters on the ledge for cotton balls and q-tips.

Entertaining Space

No major changes here either since last year but we do have plans to update the carpet (it’s in really bad shape throughout the entire basement) and I still need to update the window trim.

Basement Kitchen

Mudroom/Storage Room

While most rooms in our home have (in my opinion) only improved over the years, this is one that has steadily gotten worse and worse. Yikes! It really needs a major overhaul and in fact, we’ve talked about totally changing its function and making it into a home gym space. I’d love to see this space look completely revamped in our 2023 home tour – fingers crossed!

Main Floor

Laundry

This was a space I tackled in fall 2021 and I am thrilled with how it turned out! It’s such a cheery little spot now and it really does make laundry feel a little bit less like a chore.

Full Bathroom

Powder Room

Still unchanged from the day we moved in! At this point, I’ve decided to wait on major changes to this room until we re-do the flooring throughout the entire main floor, which I would love to see happen in the next year or two.

Home Office

Easily my favorite room in the entire house! This was well worth all the effort that we put in way back in fall 2020.

Dining Room

Kitchen

Revamping our kitchen for about $1000 last spring took me from itching to do a big, expensive gut remodel to being perfectly content with this space as is for several years while we plan and save for that big remodel. It just feels fresh and reflects our family so much better now! I do a lot of Phase One updates around here but I think this one has been my favorite so far.

Playroom

With each passing year, the playroom changes – not because the room itself has many differences, but because the toys change with my kids’ evolving interests. Right now, the hot-ticket items that get played with the most are the dress-up clothes (Vi), the train table that is now constantly covered with Lego creations (LJ) and the play kitchen (both).

Living Room

Sigh. One of these years, I’ll finally address this room (there’s so much potential!) For now, this works well for life with toddlers.

Secret Nook

Foyer

Over a year has gone by with this two-tone double entry look. It does bother me, but apparently not enough to have hired a painter to get the second level finished, ha! Maybe this will get completed before next year’s home tour? At this point, it’s a toss up.

At least the stairway to the basement is finished!

Top Floor

Primary Bedroom

One of the biggest transformations that happened over the past year was with Justin and my bedroom. It went from a boring blank slate to a colorful and moody retreat! I am so happy with it!

Primary Bathroom

Kids’ Shared Room

Earlier this year we moved Vi and LJ into the same room and it’s been so fun creating a sweet little shared space for them. Even Scout is a fan!

Kids’ Bathroom

Nursery

This room is my current project and is very much a work-in-progress, but I’m excited for the changes so far and can’t wait until we have a snuggly baby enjoying this space too!

And that’s a wrap on our home! Three years in, and we’re feeling super grateful to get to call this place ours. I love making it into a comfortable, beautiful space for our family, but most of all, I just love living life with my people here. This house has been good to us and we’re enjoying it every step of the way.

April 2022 Book Reviews

The time of year has come where temperatures are rising, green leaves are starting to appear, and we’re all inundated with this meme:

Ha! May is here and I’m so excited for spring. We are planning to spend as much time as possible outside and soak up the warm weather and sunshine – and of course, I’ll be reading lots of books on my porch swing or out on my deck. I can’t wait! But before I get to any of that, let’s re-cap the three books I read in April.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Back in March, I read Finlay Donovan is Killing It and enjoyed it once I accepted that it was going to be a bit over the top and I needed to just go with it. This book picks up shortly after the first one leaves off. Finlay is trying to write her next novel and disentangle herself from her inadvertent involvement with the Russian mob, which is proving harder than not when she realizes there is a hit out there for her ex-husband. In her efforts to protect her ex-husband and children and figure out who is trying to kill him, she gets tangled up deeper and deeper in a web of deception and secrets, all while trying to balance motherhood and the two men who keep trying to fit into her love life.

Thanks to the first book being fresh in my mind, I knew going into this that I would have to be ready for some unrealistic and even downright zany antics and plotlines. That beings said, I wasn’t as into it this time around. It did continue to be far-fetched, but one extra frustration I had was that it felt like it kind of went nowhere and left me with more questions than answers. Once I finished the book, I realized there is absolutely going to be a third installment (and looking online, it looks like there may even be a fourth planned!?) which makes sense with the plot of this second book now but was kind of frustrating while reading. I still wanted to root for Finlay and I still loved her dynamic with Vero, but overall this book didn’t hit quite as high for me. The first book read independently while this one very much felt like a middle book in a set. I’m not sure if I’ll read the third book or not – looks like it is scheduled to come out in 2023 so stay tuned.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

With a globe-trotting mother and a never-revealed father, Nina Hill has led a quiet life. She enjoys her job at a bookstore and being part of a top-notch trivia quiz team, but other than that she is perfectly content to spend her days at home curled up with a book and her cat. She doesn’t feel the need for more people in her life and certainly not an entire family, but that’s just what she gets when a lawyer shows up one day and tells her her father died and left her something in his will . . . and also more siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews than she knows what to do with. On top of that, her trivia rival seems to want to get to know her (maybe even date her?) and how on earth can she manage all these people in her life now?

This book reminded me a lot of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and if you really liked that book, I would definitely recommend this one. Nina Hill is reserved and a bit quirky, but mostly endearing and you want to root for her. I loved the dynamics with the new family and enjoyed all the sections that had any of her new family members present. I also enjoyed watching her and Tom slowly get to know one another and liked that there was a bit of Tom’s perspective and thoughts thrown in. The narration is a little unique where it is mostly giving Nina’s perspective, but every now and then another character’s thoughts get included briefly. My main stumbling point with the book is how slowly it moves and how many mundane, everyday details are given. If you like a slow, character-driven, lots of extra details included style of writing, you will probably enjoy this book. For me, I just wanted it to move a little quicker and I wanted more details of relationship development and less of Nina’s everyday life that didn’t really relate to the plot. Overall, I would say that while it didn’t knock my socks off, I did enjoy it and think it’s a nice little read, particularly for Eleanor Oliphant fans.

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey of Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

I have talked many many times about my love for Gretchen Rubin and her personality framework The Four Tendencies, which is all about habit formation and responding to inner and outer expectations. This framework has really impacted my life and how I understand myself and others, but I’ve never really gotten into other frameworks such as Myers-Briggs or the “Big Five” or anything. But after several people have talked to me over the years about the Enneagram and how they think I would enjoy learning about it, I decided to finally check it out.

First of all – wow! I took a test to determine my number and give me a starting point before I read the book (not sure if that’s recommended or not, but I’m personally glad I did it that way) and I will say reading the book has given me 100% affirmation for my number (I am a 1w2). I think this book is incredibly insightful and gives a ton of food for thought about knowing and understanding yourself better – your strengths and weaknesses and how to work with your type instead of against your type. It talks about fears, desires, motivations, what you are most inclined to do in times of security and in times of stress and I just found it to be fascinating and eerily accurate for my life. Justin and I have had multiple conversations about it and how our individual numbers come into play in our marriage in different ways (he is a 9). Overall, I am fascinated and I would highly recommend this book as a great starting point to anyone wanting to find out more about the Enneagram or who is interested in personality frameworks and knowing yourself better.

Here’s to another great month of reading – and lots of warm days to take my books outside!

A Look Back on Our April Activities

April was a good month around here! Today I just wanted to look back a little on our family’s activities this past month outside of the projects we completed. These posts serve as little mini time capsules for me and I love looking back on life in our family at different stages!

I love this picture because Vi is just as likely to be carrying a doll while dressed up in a princess dress and heels as she is to be up to her knees in water, digging in sand, or touching caterpillars. She has such a fun little personality!

Here’s a little peek at the rest of our April:

Vi’s First Braid

I had been looking forward to this event for a long, long time. Vi’s hair is finally long enough to braid, and thanks to her current obsession with Frozen, she will sit still long enough for me to do it so she can look like Anna and Elsa. Her hair is pretty fine so it’s a little tricky, but I care less about the end result and more about the sweetness of the mother-daughter hair braiding time. I love our little moments together!

My Sister’s Baby Shower

My mom, sister, and sister-in-law all co-hosted a baby shower for my sister Jenni and it was so much fun to celebrate her! It has been so fun to see my sister experience the beginning stages of motherhood and I know she is going to be a fantastic mother to her little one. I also love that we get to enjoy this process together as she enjoys her first and I enjoy my (likely) last. We are due two months apart, and our cousin is actually due right in between us with her first baby as well, so this summer is going to be full of babies and I cannot wait!

Games, games, games

I snapped this picture the other morning – LJ and Vi just got out CandyLand and started playing together first thing in the morning before they even had breakfast. Melt my mama heart! LJ has recently gotten VERY into playing games. He loves to make up his own games and he also loves to play any game he can – board games, card games, iPad games, etc. Justin and I both are big game lovers so it’s been really fun to get to teach him the basics of gameplay and also how to be a good winner and loser (we’re still working on that one ha!) I might have to write up a post of all the games we’re loving right now because there are actually a surprising amount of games that are great for toddlers and young kids (LJ is 4.5, Vi is 2.5). It’s so fun to do as a family!

And speaking of games, I recently discovered that our library has a big collection of puzzles and board games to check out. Jackpot! Justin and I love to play games or do puzzles as an at-home date night after the kids go to bed. Board games can be expensive so it’s fun that we get to trial a lot of different games without having to buy them for ourselves or add more stuff to our house (although we’re already going to buy the first game we tried out because we enjoyed it so much!) We also did a large puzzle together, which was great because puzzles aren’t always fun to do over and over so a new one to do and send back was perfect. It’s been a great way to add some variety to our date nights at home and we can’t wait to try more out.

Soccer Season!

The kids are both in soccer this year and while our first practices were very cold, they both had so much fun! It’s LJ’s second year of soccer and Vi’s first and they’re both really loving it so far. I love this stage of life where they get to try so many new things and see what they learn and enjoy. I also loved that LJ cheered for Vi the ENTIRE time her team was practicing haha. He was so sweet and just cheering her on and encouraging her from the sidelines – it made me so proud.

Busy Toddler Activity

We’ve been outside as much as we can, but April can still be really cold. We’re all over winter and being inside, so I’ve been trying to come up with new activities to do while we’re still indoors. I got the idea for this activity from @busytoddler on Instagram and it was a HUGE hit. It’s just little containers of baking soda in a tub, and I filled little medicine dispenser cups with water + food coloring. The kids used medicine droppers to color the baking soda and had an absolute blast! They played uninterrupted for like 30-45 minutes and only needed my help with water refills so I could clean the kitchen and do dishes while they played. Major win all around.

Happy Birthday Justin

April is also Justin’s birthday month, and while I don’t have any pictures of our celebration for him, it is always such a treat to celebrate my favorite guy. Speaking of treats, he picked his own cake out this year – can you tell? Haha!

I hope you had a great month too!

ORC Week Four: Curtains, Artwork, and a $0 DIY frame!

Another week of the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge is complete and I made some more progress in the nursery!

First, I updated the window by ripping off the old window trim, painting the window itself Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, and installing a chunkier window trim like we’re slowly doing to all the windows in the house. I painted the window trim Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog to match the walls for a monochromatic look. and installed a new curtain rod and room darkening curtains.

I love the curtains so much! They’re not marketed as blackout but they work as blackout so I decided to nix blinds for this room. It’s a double win because the room only has one window and doesn’t get direct sunlight so this helps maximize the natural light!

I also started adding in some artwork. I downloaded this gorgeous print as a digital download from Juniper Print Shop – the colors are absolutely perfect for the nursery and I thought it would being a nice organic feel to balance the grid print of the curtains. I like that it doesn’t feel like a traditional nursery print – it elevates the room from feeling too baby-ish and then in the future it will translate well to another part of the house when it’s no longer needed in the nursery. I had it printed through Mpix; the quality is awesome and you have to look really closely to tell it’s a print!

I wanted a substantial size and chose to have it printed in 18″ x 24″. Getting a large size in a quality paper and finish meant the print itself was a splurge so I wanted to save on the frame. Large frames can be pricey so I challenged myself to create a really simple DIY frame by only using materials I already had on hand.

Materials

digital download print

-large piece of cardboard (flat, no creases)

spray adhesive

gorilla glue

gold spray paint

Drydex nail hole filler

-scrap pieces of window trim

-tools used: scissors, miter saw; clamps

I cut the cardboard down so there was about 2″ overhang on all four sides of the print (my cardboard piece wasn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the full width of trim all the way around, so there was a little trim overhang, which you can’t see in the finished product). I used the spray adhesive to spray all over the back of the print and pressed it down onto the cardboard, making sure the print was pressed flat and smooth and there were no air bubbles.

As we update all the window trim in our house, we save the old trim and remove the nails so we can use the trim as scrap wood. I took four pieces of old window trim and used the miter saw to cut them down to size for each side of the frame (what length you cut to depends on how much you want the frame to cover the edge of the print). I cut each end to a 45 degree angle and did a dry fit of the pieces to make sure it looked good. I used nail hole filler to fill in any nail holes showing.

Then I sprayed a few light coats of my favorite gold spray paint on each piece of trim.

Once the pieces had dried, I used the spray adhesive again to attach the trim to each side of the cardboard around the print.

There were two trim pieces that had a slight warp, so I added a few daps of gorilla glue on the back for an extra strong hold and that worked well!

There was one small corner that didn’t quite come together flush, so I used the nail hole filler to close the gap, taped off the print with another piece of cardboard, and spray painted over the dried nail hole filler.

I used picture hanging strips to attach the back of the frame to the wall and voila – a beautiful frame that cost me $0!

We’re halfway through the ORC and I have several things left to do: update the nursery dresser/changing table, install book shelves, install thicker baseboards, and possibly add planking to the ceiling. We also are going to be installing new carpet, although I don’t anticipate that will happen before the challenge is over since it’s about a 6-8 week timeframe right now. The room is coming together slowly but surely!

Be sure to check out all the other ORC projects happening here!

Podcasts I’m Listening To These Days

It’s no secret that I love to read, but you might be surprised to learn that I almost never listen to audiobooks. With the exception of a really long car ride by myself, I will choose the physical book over an audiobook every time. There’s just something about curling up with a book and a blanket! That being said, I’m also a busy mom of two and a lot of my days are filled with things that make reading a physical book difficult – running errands, doing dishes, cleaning, tackling the laundry, plus all the DIY projects I like to work on when I have some time. I won’t lie, sometimes I’m ready for a break from auditory stimulation (two kids and two dogs make a lot of noise!) and I’ll complete my tasks in silence, but often I do enjoy listening to something. It feels like adult interaction even though I’m the only adult at home and is truly a form of self care for me! Instead of listening to audiobooks while doing these tasks, I love listening to podcasts.

I think I prefer podcasts because they’re more easily customizable to my mood and the time I have. I can choose a 20 minute episode or a 50 minute episode. I can choose to learn something new or choose to laugh at funny stories. I can choose to binge three in a row or just listen to one episode from a podcast I haven’t caught up on in a few months. With an audiobook, it’s hard for me to just start and stop in short bursts and then maybe not listen again for a few days. With podcasts, it’s easy for me!

Way back in December 2018, I shared the podcasts that I enjoyed listening to. Over the past 3.5 years, I’ve tried out many podcasts and have different ones that I now enjoy, so I thought I’d share a list of my current favorites. These are the ones I turn to again and again, whether I’m folding laundry, painting a wall, driving to the grocery store, or any of the many other things that fill up my days.

Happier

This was the top of my list way back in 2018 and it still ranks highly as a favorite these days. It is hosted by Gretchen Rubin (whom I adore!) and her sister Elizabeth Craft and discusses happiness, good habits, and human nature. They share happiness hacks, strategies for knowing yourself better, and tips and tricks for meeting goals and improving your overall quality and enjoyment of life. There are things that the podcast suggested that I’ve implemented that have honestly been game-changers in my life! I’ve read every book Gretchen has written (some of which made it to my all-time list of book recommendations) and think her insights into human nature, particularly with habit formation and her personality framework of The Four Tendencies, is fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoy the dynamic that Gretchen and Elizabeth have. They have two smaller, sort of spin-off podcasts called “A Little Happier” and “More Happier” that you can choose to add in as well. It’s just a really fun and enjoyable listen that can help you maximize different areas of your life for the better.

Sharon Says So

I have been following Sharon and her Instagram account @sharonsaysso for over a year now and appreciate it so much. Sharon shares factual news and information in a non-biased, non-partisan way and has taught me (and her 850,000+ other followers!) so much. One of her frequent sayings is that “facts don’t require your approval” – in other words, you are absolutely allowed to have your own opinions and your own feelings about things, but facts are facts regardless of how you feel. It’s so refreshing! Her Instagram focuses more on current events (which I also highly, highly recommend following) and her podcast focuses more on interesting stories about people and places. Sharon just seems like someone you want to be friends with and her enthusiasm for brain tingles and new information is contagious. She interviews experts in various fields, shares little-known stories about historical figures and locations around the United States, and even has interviewed political candidates, congressman, and others working in government on all sides of the aisle. It’s a fascinating variety of topics and I always learn something!

The Bad Broadcast

This podcast is hosted by a 20-something woman named Madi Muphy and it’s been a fun, bingeable listen for me. Madi…enjoys complaining. Haha! But not in a negative way if that makes sense? She likes to discuss pop culture (deep dives on things like TV shows and Lindsey Lohan), random things like Trader Joes finds and beige foods, and has fun segments like “Dumb Dumb Club” (where listeners submit things they should’ve known a long time ago but just found out) and “Love/Hates.” But my favorite thing about her podcast are the listener submission episodes. She’ll ask her listeners to submit their own stories and experiences on a variety of topics and it is HILARIOUS. She’s done things like bad dates, petty things you’ve done, embarrassing moments, bad jobs/bosses, white lies you’ve told your kids, gynecological stories (lol), legal things that give you a thrill, breakups, in-law stories, wedding frustrations, and more. I am constantly cracking up at both the submitted stories and Madi’s responses to them. I also love the episodes where people submit situations that she judges – things like am I the a-hole and petty fights between friends and family. It’s just entertaining and fun and perfect for when I want to zone out and laugh.

HERself

This podcast is hosted by two friends, Abby and Amy, and discusses a variety of topics that women encounter. They discuss things like setting boundaries, combating overstimulation, prioritizing self-care, apologizing, saying no, motherhood, marriage, finances, sex, confidence, etc. Some episodes are just the two of them discussing things and they also bring in experts to talk about topics like financial investing, mental health, setting boundaries, adult friendships, and more. I especially enjoy the episodes where they bring on their husbands to talk about the triumphs and struggles in marriage, parenthood, and life. I used to listen to every single episode but now I tend to pick and choose the topics that most interest me or apply to my life and am more of an occasional listener, but I still find there’s some good food for thought in whatever episode I listen to!

Young House Love Has a Podcast + The Chris Loves Julia Podcast

These are two different podcasts but I share them together because they’re both not currently active but the archives are still available. Both podcasts were started by DIY couples with blogs (Young House Love and Chris Loves Julia) and both cover a wide variety of topics related to DIY, home, renovating, etc. I follow each of their accounts/blogs and it’s fun to get another perspective of their DIY journey through podcasts. It’s definitely worth checking out their archives if you’re interested in any of those things!

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones do you enjoy?

The Wallpaper Decisions Continue

A few weeks ago, I posted about the issue we ran into while installing wallpaper in the kids’ shared bedroom – the wallpaper was accidentally sent to us at 2x the scale and we only received half of the pattern.

I do want to give a thumbs up to Spoonflower’s customer service. I was initially very frustrated by the situation but they got back to me the same day and were very helpful with looking into the issue. I received a full refund for my initial purchase and a complimentary sample in the correct pattern scale (I asked about just getting the second half of the pattern in the larger scale, but they were unable to do that). It was my first time using this company but despite the setback, I feel the experience has been a good one overall. I just received the second sample a few days ago and taped it up to the wall to compare:

My initial thoughts are: I do prefer the larger scale. It feels bold and different and extra fun. That being said, I don’t hate the smaller scale. It’s still whimsical and unique! I do wonder if it would feel too busy over the whole wall, but we’re only doing one wall and there is a door, a mirror, and a dresser on that wall so the pattern will be broken up a bit.

Another thing I want to consider is the look of the installed wallpaper. Justin and I both remarked on how easily the installation was, but we were disappointed to see that the wallpaper bubbled up in the days following install.

I have smoothed it down repeatedly, and the bubbles continue to reappear. We did start in the corner with the worst section of wall (our walls aren’t textured, but the previous owners just didn’t paint very carefully on this side and it wasn’t super smooth) so we’re wondering if the paper would stay better on other parts of the wall. I’m uninterested in shelling out money if it’s not going to stick flat to the wall though.

I think what I’m going to do is take some of the original paper they sent us and install it over other a couple small sections of the wall to see if the bubbling up occurs elsewhere. If it’s going to be an issue throughout, my decision is easy and we will not be purchasing the wallpaper. If it is just in the one section in the corner (which will be behind a door most of the time), I think I can live with that. If we don’t end up purchasing the wallpaper, I think I’ll just use different colors of paint to create a fun little pattern on the wall. We’ll see!

What would you choose if you were in my shoes here? Go with the smaller scale wallpaper or keep looking for another option (or just paint a pattern)?

ORC Week Three: Curtain Choices + Plans for the Window

I took a complete break from projects over the weekend, which was a wonderful time of gathering with my family and celebrating Easter (my favorite holiday!) I didn’t make any progress on the nursery but I did get some deliveries over the past week that have me excited to dive back in!

Curtains

The blackout curtains I ordered have arrived! I ordered them in two colors because I wanted to see them both in the space before deciding. They’re the same pattern and color palette, but the use of the colors in each makes one panel lighter and one panel darker. I wanted to incorporate some warm earthy browns in the room and I think this will be a great way to do it!

In addition to the curtains, the curtain rod arrived. It’s the same rod I’ve used in the our primary bedroom and kids’ shared bedroom – I got it in gold this time which I think will look great against the green wall color.

Artwork

I ordered two digital download prints from Juniper Print Shop and had them printed at MPix – they just arrived two days ago and I’m in love! I think the bunny print is so darling for a little boy’s nursery and the landscape print is what originally inspired the color palette for the whole room! I had it printed at an 18″ x 24″ size which feels so substantial and will really help elevate the room. It was worth the investment because even when this room is no longer a nursery, I know it’s a print that I’ll use in my home for years to come.

What’s Next

It’s time to address the window. I will be painting the window itself black (specifically, Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black) and removing the old window trim. I’ll update the trim just like we’ve done in other rooms (click here for the tutorial) and then hang the curtain rod, choose a curtain, and install the blackout blind as well. It’s going to totally change the feel of the room!

I actually also have a plan for the old window trim too. Hint: it involves the artwork prints I just got . . .

Be sure to follow along on Instagram for real-time updates, and you can also check out all other One Room Challenge participants here.

ORC Week Two: The Nursery Paint Color

We’re officially finished with one week of the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge and I’ve finished one simple but very impactful step: painting the walls!

After choosing Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog for the dresser I painted for my sister, I fell in love with the color and knew it would be perfect in the nursery. I chose a velvet finish and could not love the result more.

No matter how many rooms I paint, I’m always reminded of the power or paint. With no other changes made, fresh paint single-handedly altered the feel of the entire room. What once felt like an airy, albeit plain nursery now feels like a calm and moody retreat. Here’s a little look back at the room’s evolution:

There is only one window in the room and thanks to the position of the house and the path of the sun, it never really gets direct sunlight. The darker color embraces that and creates a cozy little space that I think will be perfect for soothing a little baby.

I did not paint the baseboards because we are looking into replacing the carpet now (it is 20+ years old and in rough shape). Once the new carpet is installed, I plan to replace the baseboards with a thicker option and paint them the same color as the walls.

Looking ahead at this week, my next task is addressing the windows! I plan to paint the windows black, update the window trim, and hopefully install the curtains which are set to arrive Monday!

In the meantime, be sure to check out all the other One Room Challenge projects happening here.

How to Upgrade a Frameless Mirror with a DIY Frame

A couple weeks ago, I shared the $20 goodwill dresser that I fixed up for my sister’s baby’s nursery. While I am so proud of that DIY transformation, I’m equally proud of another DIY transformation: the mirror that hangs above it!

Way back in 2019 when we renovated our guest bathroom, we took out the 2′ x 3′ frameless builder-grade mirror the previous owners had hanging. (Also, enjoy this little flashback of the deer-themed wallpaper!)

I originally tried to donate it to our local ReStore, but they don’t accept frameless glass for safety reasons so it’s just been sitting in our garage ever since. Once I saw Tiffany’s awesome upgrade to her mirror, inspiration immediately struck and I knew it would be the perfect surprise to gift my sister along with her nursery dresser.

This ended up being a fairly simple DIY project, so I wrote up a tutorial for anyone who wants to give this a try. We added a few extra things from Tiffany’s original inspiration video and that’s one of the great things about creating a frame from scratch – it allows you to customize to fit your exact needs!

Materials

-Sheet of 1/2″ thick plywood

-1″ x 2″ boards

-1/4″ x 3/4″ trim (optional; only needed if you’re doing the inner piece of trim)

heavy duty liquid nails adhesive

caulk gun

wood glue

-clamps; various sizes

-nail gun + 1 1/2″ inch nails

-circular saw

-miter saw

-long level (optional)

-table saw (optional; only needed if you’re doing the inner piece of trim)

gorilla glue (optional; only needed if you’re doing the inner piece of trim)

-foam brush

-paint or stain

picture hanging kit (if hanging the mirror)

Step One: Trace the mirror onto plywood

We laid the mirror on top of the sheet of plywood, lining up two sides with the edges of the plywood, and traced the outline of the other two sides with a pencil.

Step Two: Cut the plywood on the traced lines

I used a circular saw to cut on the lines we marked.

Optional Step: For an extra precise straight cut, we clamped a long level to the plywood to use as a guide. This did require careful checking and re-checking before starting the cut to make sure that the placement of the level would correctly align the blade of the saw with the line we had traced, but it was worth the effort. I held the saw in place against the level while running the saw and it ensured that the cut was perfectly straight all the way across.

Step Three: Attach the mirror to the plywood

Once the plywood was cut to the same size as the mirror, I used the caulk gun to apply the heavy duty liquid nails adhesive all over one side of the plywood.

We set the mirror down on top of the glue and made sure all the edges were lined up with the plywood.

Our plywood was old and slightly warped, so we used some scrap wood and clamps to tightly seal the mirror to the plywood and let it set overnight.

Step Four: Cut the wood for the frame

Once the mirror was fastened to the plywood, Justin used the miter saw to cut the 1″ x 2″ boards to size for each side of the frame. We considered two options for fit: straight cut corners or 45 degree corners.

We chose to cut each corner at a 45 degree angle rather than straight cuts. It did require a little extra thinking through and measuring before cutting, but again, it was worth for us to get the look we wanted.

It was very important to make sure the corner of the each cut was exactly lined up with the corner of the plywood. If it was a little too long, there would be a gap between the wood and the mirror. If it was a little too short, there would be a gap where the frame corners didn’t quite meet. In the picture below, the wood was cut a little too long – see how there is a small overhang of the side piece? We marked where the end of the plywood hit the side and Justin cut to that line to make sure the corner exactly lined up.

Step Five: Paint or Stain the Wood

Before securing any of the wood in place, I used a foam brush to apply everything with a light coat of stain to the wood. I decided to stain instead of paint because my sister chose a natural wood crib so I knew it would tie in nicely, plus the light wood color coordinated well with the color I chose for the leather dresser drawer handles.

Note: This step could definitely happen after all the wood is installed. I chose to do it in this step to avoid having to try to stain in corners and potentially have uneven coverage or get it on the glass. Just my personal preference!

Step Six: Attach the sides of the frame to the plywood

We did a dry fit to make sure the sides all lined up perfectly (they did!) and then applied a small bead of wood glue to the bottom of each piece where it would meet the plywood.

We fit each piece in place, then used the nail gun to add a couple 1 1/2″ inch nails to each side, making sure to aim low enough to hit plywood and not glass. I did not want a lot of nail holes, but we also wanted to make sure things were super secure, so the combination of wood glue + nails worked for us.

We used clamps to keep things in place while the wood glue dried (this was probably unnecessary but it gave us peace of mind that things would dry tightly in place).

(Optional) Step Seven: Cut wood for inner trim

We could have stopped at this point and probably would have under normal circumstances. This looked great! Except for one thing . . . our mirror had sustained a bit of damage in the garage and was missing a small corner. We decided to fix this by adding one more trim piece directly on top of the glass to hide the damage.

We bought 1/4″ x 3/4″ strips of wood. They were originally a little wider than I wanted (right one in the picture below), so we used the table saw to rip each piece down to 1/2″ wide (left one in the picture below).

Justin used the miter saw to cut each side to size (with 45 degree angles on each end) and after checking placement with a dry fit all around, we used a bead of gorilla glue on the back to secure each piece directly onto the glass.

(Optional) Step Eight: Attach hanging hardware

We gave everything time to dry and then Justin used heavy duty wire and d-hooks from a picture-hanging kit we have (here is a similar kit). We used an online reference guide to help us decide exactly where to place the d-hooks for best hanging. If you choose to hang your mirror, it is very important to weigh the mirror first and make sure the hanging materials you’re using can support the weight of the mirror safely!

I absolutely love how this mirror turned out. I was so excited to surprise my sister with it – it’s the perfect complement to the nursery dresser and fits the room so well. She loved it!

The cost of this project will vary depending on the type of wood you use and how many materials you have to buy vs. what you already have on hand. I used oak boards, which are a little more expensive than other types, but I already had the plywood and all other materials, so that kept cost down for me. Large mirrors can be expensive, and I’m so glad I was able to take a mirror I already had and give it a completely fresh look that was considerably less than the cost of a brand new mirror.

What do you think? Are you ready to try this DIY yourself?

Spring 2022 One Room Challenge Week One: Baby Boy Nursery Plans!

Today marks the start of another round of the One Room Challenge and I am excited to join in the fun once again! I’ll be honest, up until yesterday, I didn’t think I’d be participating this time around. But I have been feeling a growing nesting urge to start in on the nursery for baby boy and I decided this would give me a great opportunity to focus in on his room while I’m still in my second trimester sweet spot of having the energy and drive to tackle it!

I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant, and in this post a few weeks ago, I revealed that we’re having a boy and shared my initial thoughts of what to do with the nursery now that Vi has moved over to a shared room with LJ. At first, I just planned to do a few minimal updates, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go a little bigger. Justin and I feel confident that this will be our final pregnancy, and it’s the first time we’ve found out the baby’s sex before birth. Since it’s the first (and only) time I’ve had the opportunity to plan out all the nursery details in advance, I decided why not have some fun with it?

Here’s what the room looks like right at this very moment:

An absolute hot mess.

As Vi shifted over to LJ’s room, we had to move some furniture around and this room basically just became a catch-all storage spot until we can decide what we want to keep for the nursery and what we want to get rid of. Here’s what it looked like when it functioned as Vi’s nursery:

I have a feeling that this renovation is going to be one of those times where things slowly come together piece by piece, but I threw together a simple mood board with some of the initial ideas I have for the space. This just gives me an sense of the direction I want to head: lots of earth tones and graphic prints, with plants to bring in an organic feel and soften things up.

First things first, the pink scalloped wall needs to go. While it is super cute, it was really done as a simple solution to update the room and move it away from feeling like a sterile white box for Vi. This week, my plan is to prep and paint all the walls (99% sure I’m going to go with Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog). I’m also strongly considering adding a ceiling treatment in the same color – perhaps something similar to the planking we did on the ceiling in the office? We’ll see!

I’ll be sharing my real time progress over on Instagram, so be sure to follow along there if you want more frequent updates. You can also check out all the other ORC participants here – lots of fun projects happening this time around!