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!

New Sconces for the Kids (and a wallpaper mishap)

On Friday, I posted that my weekend plans were to wallpaper in the kids’ shared bedroom. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen quite like I expected.

We got one strip up and in place and then realized . . . we only have half the pattern. After checking in with customer service, we found out that there was a glitch in their system that caused the pattern to print twice as large so we only got half of it. We’re sorting out the issue with customer service and figuring out a solution but for now, what we have is unusable and the wallpaper project is on hold.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but there was nothing else I could do about it so I decided to pivot our weekend project to a simpler one. I purchased these sconces for the kids’ room a few weeks ago and had been waiting to hang them above the beds until the curtains were in place. With an unexpectedly free weekend, it felt like the perfect time to knock this project out!

I have talked before about the asymmetrical struggle of this room. The window between the kids bed is not centered on the wall and Vi’s side has four more inches of wall space than LJ’s side. Curtains have helped give the illusion of symmetry – I cheated Vi’s curtain out just a little bit farther so that now the same amount of wall space shows on each side. The dilemma now was: hang the sconces in the middle of the wall space (off-centered above the bed) or hang them above the center of the bed (off-centered on the wall)? Ideally, I would have been able to have perfect symmetry and hang them in the middle of the bed AND the middle of the wall, but that’s just not possible here.

After going back and forth for a long time and weighing pros and cons, I settled on hanging them centered above the beds. In order to balance the off-centered feeling on the wall, I hung small art (a yarn rainbow for Vi, small picture frames for LJ) on the opposite sides of the sconce from the curtains. I think this solution worked well and keeps things feeling visually balanced. Side note: I have to give Justin a huge shoutout for not only putting up with my indecisiveness and patiently holding sconces in various places again and again so I could visualize, but also for getting these installed and working!

The kids both love having lights above their bed. I specifically chose these sconces for a few reasons: I loved the modern black look and subtle gold detail paired with the traditional look of the wooden bed frames. I also wanted plug-in sconces rather than hardwired for ease of install and removal in case we decide to move around the room’s layout someday (they do have the option to be hardwired if we want). I also wanted lights that the kids could easily turn on and off themselves, and these are operated by a dial on the wall plate that is easy for them both to turn. Plus, at just under $100 for the set of two, the price was hard to beat!

It may not have been the progress I had hoped to make this weekend, but I’m glad I was able to check one more thing off the list of things to do before this phase of the kids’ room renovation is complete. Mishaps are just a part of renovations and when they come up, the only thing you can really do is roll with the punches and aim for slow and steady progress. I have just one or two more small things to do right now, then I plan to shift my attention over to the nursery until the wallpaper comes in.

Sources

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Eider White and Nordic Bleu

Bedframes: Vintage

Windowpane Curtains

Blackout Blinds

Curtain Rods

Sconces

Vi’s Sheet Set

LJ’s Sheet Set

Yellow Quilts

Striped Throw Blanket

The First Look at the Wallpaper for the Kids’ Room!

A couple weeks ago, I started a little mini renovation on the bedroom that LJ and Vi recently started sharing. It all started with thrifting matching headboards for their twin beds, which naturally led to upgrading bedding. I also put together a new shelving unit in between beds to double as a nightstand and bookshelf and switched up their artwork. I then installed some blackout blinds and new curtains, and this side of the room is feeling very different now!

I’m ready to turn my attention to the other side of the room now. This side has the entrance to the room and the closet door, so it’s mostly a walkway area. It does have the dresser along the wall but I’ve wanted to add some more visual interest to this area.

I previously shared that I was wanting to put up wallpaper and after some internal debating back and forth, I decided to go with my gut and ordered a pattern. It just arrived this week! And I’ll be honest, my selection might surprise you. It was not an obvious yes for me, and at first it wasn’t even in my top three. But the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea so I went for it!

I chose . . .

party whales!

Since we’re only doing one wall, which will essentially have two doors (the closet door and the entrance door when left open) and the dresser and mirror, it’s really not that much wall space. I think a large, bold pattern will bring much needed fun and whimsy without being too overwhelming and this pattern is just so unique and charming!

Here’s a peek at the large pattern on the wall as shown on the Spoonflower website. I will note that the colors, particularly the orange, feel more muted in person than they do on screen, which I expected based on the sample I received.

Image from Spoonflower

I know this is not a forever type of wallpaper pattern. LJ and Vi are going to share this room for at least three years, then when he’s ready, baby boy will transition over and Vi will go back to her own room. At some point my boys will more than likely want a change – I think of this phase that I’m creating now as their “kid” bedroom. It’ll last for maybe a 6-8 year period and then we’ll move the room into their tween/teen phase with their input and preferences. Kids rooms are always evolving because their needs are ever changing. For just one small accent wall, I still feel like it’s totally worth the investment of wallpaper for this phase!

When I was talking about my options on Instagram, I received a lot of input on the various options but one comment stuck out to me with regards to the whales: “…the design is so distinct that it will stick in their minds as they grow. When they are much older, they will still remember their whale room!” I love that idea and honestly, it’s what tipped me over the edge to team whales. To think that someday our kids will feel nostalgic for the little whale room of their childhood – the place where they got snuggles and bedtime stories from mom and dad, the place where they whispered the secrets of their young minds to one another long after the lights went out, the place where they laughed and played and felt safe from the worries of the world – well, that just makes my heart feel all sorts of soft and happy. May the whale room be a place of childhood memory making for many years!

I’ll be sharing real-time progress on my Instagram this weekend so be sure to follow along there for how the installation is going!

March 2022 Book Reviews

Happy Wednesday and happy book review day!

March was a longer month but I spent a lot of my free time working on projects like my kids’ shared bedroom and my sister’s nursery dresser. I did manage to get in three books and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed them all! Let’s dive right in.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

In a barely-thought-out move to try and convince her best friend that she is dating someone, PhD graduate student Olive grabs the first man she sees in a hallway and kisses him while her best friend walks by. Unfortunately for her, she realizes after the kiss that the random man she grabbed is notorious faculty member Adam Carlsen, who is known for being a brilliant scientist . . . and a jerk. It turns out that rather than turn her in for disciplinary action, Adam has his own reasons for wanting to appear to be in a relationship, so he and Olive agree to mutually beneficial fake dating terms. With an entire department looking on, Olive and Adam may both be experienced scientists, but neither of them can predict just how this particular experiment will turn out.

I think this book is a great choice if you love a romance and also love science, although I know next to nothing about the PhD graduate science world and still enjoyed this read. I loved Olive and Adam individually and together, and I thought the side characters were all interesting and contributed well to the plot. I want to be friends with this crew! I enjoy a story where a theme is there is more to a person than meets the eye, and also where you learn to love a character for entirely who they are – good qualities and flaws alike. Also, despite many aspects of this book being pretty predictable (you can probably guess most of the plot just based on my synopsis), there were still a couple plot points that were very surprising to me and kept things interesting. There are some steamy parts that make it a rated-R read, so be aware if that’s not your thing. Overall, it’s funny, it’s entertaining, it’s cute, and I enjoyed it.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan is divorced, broke, and struggling to keep things together. On top of a nearly- inevitable custody battle with her ex over their two young children, she’s way behind on writing a novel that she’s already been paid for. After a harried morning at home that involved a pair of scissors and an unfortunate toddler haircut, Finlay meets with her agent in a Panera to discuss the details of her new suspense novel. As she describes the gory details of a book she has yet to write, she is overheard by a woman at the next table who mistakes her for a contract killer – suddenly, Finlay has an unexpected job offer and a way out of her financial crisis. That is, if she’s willing to kill for it. And she totally isn’t . . . right?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t enjoy this book at first. I despise the “hot mess mom” trope and Finlay is really, really leaning into it in the beginning. The plot is also pretty far-fetched and at first feels more than a little ridiculous. Thankfully, around 15-20% of the way in, another character is introduced that I think brought a lot of balance to the story. I also decided to just accept that this book was not going to feel entirely realistic and I would just go with it. From that point on, I really enjoyed it! It started to feel like an mystery, as the reader is trying to figure out what is going on right along with Finlay. It didn’t really feel suspenseful so much as amusing, but I still read it quickly because I wanted to know what happened. So my advice if you read this one is to not take it too seriously and just let yourself indulge a bit in a wild ride. Once I did those things, I found this book to be entertaining and fun!

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Fox Thornton is a known playboy who doesn’t allow anyone, including himself, to take him too seriously. He’s perfectly happy with just being known for good looks and a good time, but Hannah Bellinger is different. She’s the first woman in his life who is interested in being his friend and nothing more. He can be completely himself around her and it turns out, she actually likes him for his personality. It was one thing when she lived in LA and they just texted everyday, but now Hannah is back in town working on a movie set and staying in his guest room while pining over her unrequited crush on the movie’s director. As he tries to convince Hannah that she can be the leading lady in her own life and go for what she really wants, Fox starts to find himself in the uncomfortable position of thinking that maybe he too can be more than what he’s always tried to convince people he is. Maybe he too can have more. And maybe the more that he wants is with Hannah.

Last month I read the first book of this series, It Happened One Summer, and wasn’t a huge fan. Normally, I wouldn’t have been interested in the sequel, but that book had already introduced Fox and Hannah and the beginning of their friendship and I knew that I would feel differently about this book. I was right! This book is a slower burn and no pun intended, had me hooked from the beginning. Hannah and Fox are adorable! It is very steamy and for sure rated-R, but it goes beyond many other romances by diving into deeper topics like imposter syndrome, toxic masculinity, and oversexualizing young men while also being very fun and flirty. I loved the characters, I loved seeing Hannah and Fox’s relationship develop, I loved seeing both of them grow in their confidence to fight for what they wanted. They’re both just likeable and easy to cheer for. I would say it does help to read the first one and see the beginnings of their friendship, but it’s definitely not necessary to enjoy this book. If you don’t mind some language and steamy scenes, I would recommend this one!

I love when a month has all winners! What have you been reading and loving lately?

Upgrading a $20 dresser for my sister’s nursery!

Over the weekend, I finished up and delivered a special DIY project I’ve been working on: a dresser and mirror for my sister’s baby nursery!

I’ve thrifted and upgraded dressers to use as changing tables in the nurseries for both my kids and also my brother’s daughter, so when my sister announced she was pregnant and asked me to do the same for her child, I of course said yes! My aunt actually spotted this dresser for sale in a local Goodwill and sent me a picture. It had nicks, scratches, patches of missing veneer, very gooey sticker residue on one side, and a wobbly leg – it was perfect. It was discounted down to $20 and just begging for new life!

The first thing I needed to do was clean up the roughest parts to get it ready for paint. I worked hard using a combination of Goo Gone, a multitool with a flat blade, and a lot of scraping to remove the sticker residue on one side. I used an orbital sander to smooth out most of the nicks and dings on the dresser top, sides, and drawer fronts. I also took a piece of 80 grit sandpaper and sanded the little detailed edge around the drawers and other areas that the sander couldn’t reach.

I turned the dresser on its side and used a wrench to tighten up the bolt underneath supporting the wobbly back leg, and then turned my focus to the side of the dresser with chipped off veneer.

Kwik Wood is a product I learned to use when I worked on an old dresser for my brother and sister-in-law. You just mold the putty to soften it up, press it onto the space where veneer is missing, and let it harden. It looks terrible at first, but that’s okay!

Once it’s hardened, it’s totally sandable and paintable. So I sanded it down super smooth with the orbital sander and then was able to paint it just like the rest of the dresser!

Using a brush for the detailed sections and a foam roller for the sides, top, and drawer fronts, I applied one coat of primer and two coats of paint (I chose Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog in Satin). Then it was time for the hardware.

My sister’s style is a unique combination of artistic, eclectic, and boho so leather drawer pulls felt like the perfect touch for this midcentury dresser. I bought a set of these leather drawer pulls and they were just right for the project.

One of the best purchases I’ve made for myself with regards to DIYing things is this cabinet knob/pull template. It is SO HELPFUL to use when you need to drill holes for hardware, whether on doors or drawers and is well worth the $10 investment. Once I determined the amount of curve I wanted the leather pulls to have, I used the template to mark out exactly where to drill holes to fasten them in place and it allowed me to keep everything perfectly lined up from drawer front to drawer front. It gave me the confidence to drill into the drawer front, which is good because there’s really no room for error – one hole being off will throw off the look of the whole dresser.

Justin and I also made a mirror to go with the dresser (a tutorial will be coming soon!) and we surprised my sister by driving them out to her and setting everything up with the help of her husband while she was out of the house. It was so fun to see her reaction when she came home!

The color of the dresser is only a couple shades darker than the nursery walls (Austere Gray at 75% saturation), which gives a cool monochromatic feel to the space. Jenni plans to incorporate a lot of color through bedding, artwork, and other decor so it feels right for this dresser to be a more subtle feature of the room.

Jenni wanted to be able to use the dresser as a changing table as well so we set it up with a changing pad and cute little basket with diapers and wipes. She plans to add diaper cream, lotion, and anything else she might need to be able to access easily during a diaper change to the basket as well.

Even her cat, Simba, approves of the space! Although we’ll see how he feels once his little brother or sister arrives and takes the spotlight. Ha!

Total Cost of Dresser Upgrade:

Dresser: $20

Quart of Paint: $22.45

Drawer Handles: $20.32

Total: $62.77

Note: I already had all the tools needed, as well as primer, brushes, rollers, sandpaper, cabinet template, and Kwik Wood, which definitely kept the cost of this particular project down.

Overall I’m so happy with how this turned out, and my sister is thrilled with it too. It’s such an honor to help her prepare for this next stage of her life and use my skills and interests to gift her a dresser/changing table. I can’t wait to see my niece or nephew get to use it in just a few months!

Kids’ Bedroom: The Curtain Saga is Over!

The kids’ shared bedroom, which used to be just LJ’s room, has been through a lot of changes in the almost three years we’ve lived here but one particular area has changed the most: the window treatments. Just this morning, I changed things up again but this time, I feel confident in saying they’re going to stay for many years!

When we first moved in, the previous owners left their curtain rods and mismatched roller blinds hanging. I kept the roller blinds and just hung up the curtains we brought from LJ’s nursery. His first nursery only had one window though, so I only had two panels – one for each window. From an aesthetic standpoint, it wasn’t a great look but from a practical standpoint, it worked fine.

I lived with that look for just over a year and in June 2021, I decided to do an inexpensive update. I removed the mismatched roller shades, painted the windows, updated the window trim, and took down the old curtain rods. I had leftover rods that I didn’t use from hanging our dining room curtains, so I repurposed them in here (I didn’t have all the pieces but I hot glued the end caps to the open end of the curtain rod to make it look finished!) and added inexpensive blackout curtains that I got on sale. Unfortunately, the curtain rods were just a single rod and didn’t extend, and the curtains only came in an 84″ length, so it wasn’t my “high and wide” preference but it was an inexpensive way to make this room feel much more cohesive. And somehow, the only photos I can find of this set up all look like this – ha! Vi had obviously already moved in at this point.

Once I updated the kids shared room with matching beds and new furniture, the short, narrowly placed curtains just felt cramped. Three out of four of them were behind something, and they didn’t do much to make the room feel more expansive. I shared my dilemma in this post: replace curtains or go without?

I took down the old curtains and hung blackout blinds only. (Side note: these were very easy to install and I was able to do it completely by myself!) Going to just blinds actually made the room feel too empty. Plus, I needed curtains to block out the small strip of light that still came through around the sides. Also, Vi’s side of the room has four more inches of wall space than LJ’s – without curtains to help offset the difference, it’s pretty obvious when you’re in the room.

So it came full circle back to curtains, but this time – I wanted them high and wide! My main goals were to make the room feel taller and more expansive and offset the asymmetrical wall space by cheating that curtain side out just a little. I ordered these grid curtains, which I thought would add a little pattern and fit my gender neutral theme, but could also definitely stay long term when Vi moves out since this will eventually be a shared boy room. The curtain delivery got a bit delayed and just came in last night; I was too excited to finally get them up on the wall so rather than wait for Justin to come home, I decided to figure out how to hang the new rods and curtains myself!

I followed this tutorial from Young House Love and made a quick little template out of cardboard marking where I wanted each curtain rod hook to go. I drilled pilot holes, hammered in anchors, and secured each hook in place. Following that tutorial made things surprisingly very doable for one person and I’m so proud that they are hung securely and evenly!

If you look closely, you can see I cheated just a bit more fabric width onto Vi’s side of the room. I don’t think it’s noticeable unless you’re looking for it, but it does make the sides feel more balanced! I’m very happy with how it looks and am feeling so accomplished to have done all this by myself in just under 90 minutes.

As happy as I would be to just sit back and enjoy looking at these new curtains, another delivery for this room is scheduled to arrive tomorrow so I’ll be back working in here soon. I’m excited to keep transforming this space piece by piece!

Sources

Windowpane Curtains

Blackout Blinds

Curtain Rods

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Eider White and Nordic Bleu

Bedframes: Vintage

Vi’s Sheet Set

LJ’s Sheet Set

Yellow Quilts

Striped Throw Blanket