Tutorial: Creating the Look of Wallpaper with a Stencil!

The laundry room “wallpaper” is finished and I’m in love!

For this small but mighty room, I wanted the look of wallpaper but without the price tag. I was especially inspired by these wallpapers:

Source: Spoonflower

I found this stencil at Hobby Lobby and knew it would give just the look I was looking for! I decided to do the entire room instead of just an accent wall and I love the impact that it made. Today I’m sharing the process I used to create this look (for less than the cost of one roll of wallpaper!)

Materials

-stencil (I bought three of this one)

foam paint roller

-paint tray

painter’s tape

repositionable spray adhesive

small foam brush

-small level

-scissors

-paint

-drop cloth to cover furniture from adhesive overspray

latex paint remover + soft cloth

An important note: I have tried using painter’s tape to keep the stencil in place and for me, the inside of the stencil still shifted too much and created messy lines. I now use repositionable spray adhesive, but the caveat is there is a lot of overspray! If you use the spray adhesive, you will want drop cloths on everything before you start, particularly furniture. Luckily my flooring was vinyl and the spray residue could be easily cleaned up, but if your floor is really nice wood or carpet, you will want to cover your floors as well.

Starting in the top left corner of a wall, I sprayed approximately 3-4 small bursts of the spray adhesive directly on the wall and pressed down my stencil in place (since it was the basis the entire pattern, I did use a small level to make sure the first stencil was perfectly level). To line up all subsequent stencils, the edges of the stencil had little leaves that were meant to match with the next pattern.

In other words, when I lined up the next stencil, a few of the cut outs would line up with leaves that were already painted. All I had to do was make sure those were aligned and I knew my stencil was in place.

I poured a small amount of paint (I used Sherwin Williams Alabaster in Eggshell finish) into a paint tray and rolled a six inch foam paint roller in it. I then rolled it over the ridges in the paint tray several times to make sure it was evenly coated without excess paint.

I rolled the roller lightly over the stencil several times until the wall color disappeared and the insides of all the cut outs were white. It’s better to have less paint and roll over the stencil several times than to have excess paint and roll once – it helps keep lines nice and crisp!

Once the stencil was completely painted, I peeled it off the wall from top to bottom and started the process again for the next stencil. I did not wait for the paint to dry before laying the next one – the paint didn’t smudge because I just pressed straight down and didn’t slide the stencil around.

I worked my way across the wall in columns, working from top to bottom and moving from left to right across the wall.

I had three identical stencils and my process was to use the same stencil 10 or so times in a row, then clean it and while that one was drying, use a fresh one for the next 10 or so stencils. The key is: you must clean your stencils as the paint builds up! I learned this the hard way, but without cleaning them, paint slowly builds up more and more, making the cut outs slightly smaller each time until it gets to a point where paint can’t even get through anymore. I cleaned mine after 10-12 uses but you’ll have to judge based on how much paint buildup you’re noticing on your stencil.

I used latex paint remover spray and sprayed it all over the coated stencil. I just sprayed it directly on my floor since it was vinyl, but you might want to do this on another surface or put down a protective layer over your flooring.

After letting the spray soak in a bit, I very carefully dabbed up the paint with a cloth. Because it was latex paint, I could also gently use my fingernails to clean out the paint built up in the cut outs. I tried to be as gentle as possible – aggressive rubbing will bend or even potentially break the more fragile cut outs. It was a little tedious to get clean, but a necessary step to prolong the life of the stencils and keep the pattern size consistent throughout the room.

Once the stencil was clean, I just let it dry completely and then could use it again!

When it came to corners and edges, I followed the same process as much as I could. For an outward corner, the process was fairly straightforward. I just lined up the stencil on the wall, left the overhang alone, and carefully rolled over the wall portion.

I’ll admit, the corners didn’t always get lined up absolutely perfectly but overall I’m really happy with how they turned out! The pattern is busy enough that mistakes just blend right in.

For working around inside corners, trim, ceilings, and baseboards, I used the roller to get as close to the trim work and edges as possible, but there was always a small gap left behind.

Once I had worked my wall entirely around the room and all the full stencils were complete, I started cutting up the stencils to finish the edges. I attached it to the wall with the spray adhesive like before, but instead of the roller I used a small round foam brush to dab paint lightly all the way to the edge.

I had to be strategic about cutting the stencil up, making sure the places that needed the biggest section of stencil went first, then I went in order from biggest amount of stencil needed to smallest. I did not worry about taping the trim, because once the walls were finished I was going to paint over the trim anyways.

I did use painters tape in the inner corners – I placed tape in the very corner on the wall perpendicular to the one I would be painting so that I could get paint all the way to the very corner without painting the other wall. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of that step but just imagine in the picture above, if the trim was actually another wall making a corner. By taping it off, I would have had a nice crisp corner instead of the smudged paint that you see on the trim.

I did have to use a tiny paint brush to do a bit of freehand work to connect the pattern in some corners, particularly the final corner pictured below where there wasn’t enough wall left for a full stencil to make the pattern complete. Luckily it’s such a busy pattern that I don’t think you can tell at all!

Overall I am SO happy with how this wallpaper turned out. The lighting in the space isn’t great for photographing, but here’s a few pictures in both natural and artificial light to give you an idea of how it looks now:

There is still SO much to do in the room, but just having the walls completely done makes it feel so much better! Still to come: painting all the doors, swapping out knobs, replacing the light fixtures, and building shelves above the washer and dryer. Slowly but surely this room is coming together!

I’m working on this room as part of the Fall 2021 One Room Challenge. To see all the other participants, click here.

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Fall 2021 ORC Week Four Update

Over the past week, my family and I took a little family trip out to Virginia for an extended weekend – we left Thursday and came back on Tuesday. It was a wonderful trip filled with lots of family time and reunions for both of us (fun fact: even though I grew up in Ohio, my college is in the same Virginia city as Justin’s high school!) This was Justin’s 15 year high school reunion and my 10 year college reunion so it was really fun for us to get to catch up with people we haven’t seen in years.

Since that trip took the majority of the past week, I wasn’t able to get much accomplished on the laundry room; however, there are still things to share!

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First up, yesterday I got a little more stenciling done. I specifically focused on the little nook where our “mudroom” space fits because it’s high time for us to get that space functional for our family again! I spent about an hour working on the corner and bottom edges of this section and the only thing left to do now is the trim.

The corner was pretty tricky but I managed to get it done (I’ll share more when I write up a tutorial for this stencil project!) and thankfully the pattern is busy enough that mistakes blend right in.

Can you see into the little bathroom? That’s become a dumping ground for all our jackets and coats and I’m very ready for a more efficient system!

Speaking of more efficient system, I finally ordered a storage bench! I debated building one but I really don’t have the time since I’m planning on building shelves above the washer and dryer. I was able to find this bench which fits our small space perfectly and checks several boxes: storage for shoes, a bench for my kids to sit to put shoes on, and the lid even lifts for bonus storage of hats and gloves. I ordered the natural wood version when we were in Virginia and it was waiting for us when we got back, but unfortunately, the color isn’t really working.

I usually love a natural look but with the muted yellow walls, it just doesn’t feel like the right amount of contrast. I ordered the darker version which is set to arrive tomorrow so fingers crossed it is a better fit for the space.

Another item that is changing from my original plan is the light fixture. I really want to have some fun with the light and originally, I wanted this gorgeous brass fixture. Unfortunately, everywhere I look, I see some version of this:

Additionally, the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure a white and brass combination will be the best fit for the space. The walls are already yellow and white and I’m thinking I want a bit more contrast. Right now, I’m loving this pendant from Rejuvenation and I’m considering it in rosemary or pine or maybe even the copper!

This week may not have been big for progress, but I know things are going to start really picking up speed now that I’m nearly finished with the stenciling. I can’t wait to see it come together!

Be sure to check out other One Room Challenge participants and their projects here. Lots of amazing projects happening right now!

Fall ORC Week 3: Maybe it’s Wallpaper, Maybe it’s a Stencil!

We’re another week in to the One Room Challenge and this week has seen a lot of changes in the laundry room.

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For one, I chose a better shade of yellow paint for the walls (read about the Big Bird yellow mishap here). I still couldn’t get samples, but I used the small door to our little nook under the stairs as a starting point. I knew I liked that muted yellow (Sherwin Williams Mannered Gold), but it was too dark for the laundry room. I got out my Sherwin Williams swatch book, found Mannered Gold, and looked to the top of the swatch page for a similar, yet lighter shade. I was drawn to Blonde and decided to go for it in an eggshell finish. Thankfully, this time it worked out and it’s the perfect soft, muted yellow!

This room is small, so it felt like a good opportunity to add some fun details. I loved the idea of wallpaper, but didn’t want the expense since we’re likely going to completely gut and remodel this room and the adjacent bathroom in a couple years. A stencil was the perfect solution!

The laundry room is sandwiched between the office, which has planking on the walls and ceiling, and a full bathroom which has a two tone block print. Both rooms feel very linear and graphic, so I wanted to soften up the laundry room with a floral stencil. I found this one at Hobby Lobby and it was perfect!

I decided to do the entire stencil in one color, Sherwin Williams Alabaster, because the adjacent bathroom and the majority of our main floor are all painted that color. It brings a nice cohesive feel to the main floor! I’m rolling it on with a foam roller and it’s going so quickly! I’ve only devoted about 3.5 hours to stenciling and I’m over halfway done with the room. Maybe that seems like a long time to you, but it’s nothing compared to the time it took me to stencil one wall of the guest room so I’m a happy camper!

I did mess up though. After the first day of painting, I didn’t wipe off all the paint from the stencils. It caked on and dried, and essentially ruined the stencils. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to clean off the dried paint, but it ended up being pointless because all the work to get off the paint caused tiny pieces to get bent and the stencil was no longer producing the same crisp pattern. I was so disappointed and frustrated with myself! I ended up having to go get more stencils, and you can bet I’ll be cleaning them off frequently!

Once I’m totally done with the room I’ll share a tutorial of the process but for now, I’m just so so happy with the progress. The stencil detail adds so much interest to the room and really does look like wallpaper – I’m thrilled with it!

So much left to d0 – finish the stencil, paint the baseboards, trim, and doors, replace those boob lights, and install shelving. I’ll worry about all that another day though; today I’m just happy to celebrate progress!

Sources

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Blonde in eggshell

Stencil Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster in eggshell

Stencil

Happy Hacks for a Mid-Renovation Boost

Right now I’m in the midst of the laundry renovation and my house is, well, not at its finest. Ha! The laundry room itself is pure chaos, but it seems like the rest of the house is following suit. Whenever I’m mid renovation, it takes my time and energy and that gets reflected in other places – beds are unmade, laundry is overflowing, dishes pile up, and cleaning routines go out the window. And I have two small children living here too so add toys, books, and the random things they pull out of cabinets to the mix. I feel my mood start to dip – when the house feels chaotic, I start to become restless, irritable, and impatient. I need a reset!

A few months ago I read (and loved) the book Life’s Too Short by Abby Jiminez. There was a specific part of the book that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it – the main character Vanessa talks about the simple things in life that can make you unexpectedly happy, like the happiness boost you get from a new sponge. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that yeah, a new sponge does make me happy! Like, it’s just a $2 sponge so what’s the big deal…but also, it brings a feeling of a fresh new start and somehow makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. It’s weird but true!

I have found that there are several other things that, like the sponge, are simple, inexpensive ways to give me a major happiness boost. When my house feels chaotic, they’re life savers for turning things around and helping bring a sense of calm and control back to the home. My house may not be back to normal, but these things help me at least feel a little more put together. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite little hacks that give me big happiness boosts. They’re all $10 or less (a few are free!) and they’re all incredibly easy. I’ll be relying on several of these to make it through this renovation!

Light a Seasonal Candle

There is something about lighting a candle that brings a touch of cozy luxury to a moment. It’s such a simple way to boost my mood! I particularly love to burn a seasonal scent – fresh scents in the spring and summer and savory scents in the fall and winter. I’m not exactly sure why, but a burning candle has a way of elevating a space and making it feel put together; even if the rest of my house is messy, if one room is clean with a candle burning, it feels good. Bonus points if I can light a candle and read a book at the same time!

Organize a Messy Drawer with Acrylic Containers

For just a couple dollars a piece, these clear acrylic containers brought instant organization to the inside of the antique library table I’m using as a vanity. It feels chic and makes my Type-A heart very happy. Opening the drawer and seeing everything in its place is so satisfying!

Make the Beds

I don’t always take the time to make my own bed, let alone my kids beds, but whenever I feel like my house is spiraling out of control, this is such an easy way to help things turn around. LJ’s floor might have books strewn about, but if the bed is made, it feels pretty calm. Making the bed feels like I’m starting the day off with a win and gives me a sense of control over my environment which is especially important when I’m mid-renovation somewhere else in the house!

Decant Hand Soap

While I do love a beautifully designed liquid hand soap label, sometimes soap smells great but comes in a container that leaves something to be desired. For about $10, I bought a simple clear glass dispenser that instantly elevated the look by the sink. I love that this dispenser also helps me reduce plastic usage – I can now buy liquid hand soap in a bulk refill bag and just pour it in! It’s a little thing that brings me an unusual amount of happiness every time I see it.

Print Out a Family Photo

I don’t know about you, but I have thousands of photos on my phone. They’re easy to take, but for some reason the extra step of printing them off so often doesn’t happen. I always feel so accomplished when I print out new photos though! They’re quick to upload to a printing service (I like Walgreens for pickup and Mpix for shipping) and cost like, 38 cents. Filling frames with both professional and candid family photos throughout my home is such a simple way to make this house feel more like us. And every single time I walk by these pictures, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I love my people so much!

Purge Something

It seems like whenever I’m mid-renovation somewhere and things feel messy and cluttered, I get the itch to offset the chaos by getting hyper-organized somewhere else. It’s not always something huge like a whole closet purge or room cleanout; sometimes it’s as simple as picking one drawer or cabinet to comb through and eliminate the excess. This free activity comes with a big payoff and I don’t mean financially, although it’s true that sometimes I’m able to sell something I’ve purged. The payoff is the sense of calm that I feel by looking in the drawer or cabinet that I purged and seeing empty space again (or if not empty, at least it’s organized and less cluttered). It’s a calm in the middle of the storm!

Designate Time to Ignore the House and Play!

Don’t get me wrong, I play with my kids throughout the day everyday. And this isn’t an unexpected happiness hack, because I love my kids and spending time with them definitely makes me happy. But I often find myself distracted while playing – maybe I’m trying to clean up some toys while they play with others or maybe I’m physically building a block tower but mentally making to-do lists for getting my house back in order. It helps me to give myself a time limit to just ignore all house things and work and fully give my attention to my kids. Sometimes it’s as small as 10 or 15 minutes but I always feel so much better afterwards. It’s like a brain break for me and a good reminder to just enjoy this fleeting time with my babies and not worry about all the other things.

None of these things are groundbreaking ideas, but I’ve found that that’s the key. If it’s too big, expensive, or time-consuming, it feels like too much effort for my already stretched-thin self and it won’t happen. Small, simple, intentional things aren’t intimidating to implement and keep me going through the craziness of a renovation (or anytime that my house feels a little chaotic). I will be using these little hacks a lot over the next few weeks!

What simple little hacks give you an unexpected boost of happiness?

Fall ORC Week 2: Big Bird is (temporarily) in the house

This past week we took a few steps forward in the laundry room and one unfortunate step back.

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Justin spent time on Saturday morning patching all the dings, nicks, and imperfections on the walls…of which there were a lot.

I sanded all the patched areas down, wiped down the walls, and painted a layer of primer on the walls and trim.

I love the idea of doing a wallpaper in this space, but since it’s likely temporary (we plan to fully gut renovate this room and the adjacent bathroom in a couple years) I decided to stick with paint. I love yellow and while I probably wouldn’t choose it as a long term paint color for a room, I thought it’d be fun to have a cheery yellow laundry room for now.

On Tuesday morning, my kids were in preschool and I really wanted to get some painting done. I live about 20 minutes from the store and I didn’t want to drive in, get samples, drive home, paint the samples, wait for them to dry, select a paint color, drive back to the store, get the paint, drive home, and then start painting. That would’ve taken the entire morning! So instead, I decided to just pick a swatch that closely matched the wallpaper on my mood board and go for it.

Pretty Woman - Big Mistake. Big. Huge - YouTube

If this taught me anything, it’s that I cannot skip the step of samples! I have painted enough rooms to know this, but I thought I could skip it this time and boy was I wrong. I need to see the color in the space on multiple walls and with varying light to decide on a color. I thought I was getting golden, but what I really got was Big Bird!

I didn’t do the entire room because it was obvious this color was not going to work. It’s hard to adequately describe just how bright and bold this color is. It feels jarring to walk into, particularly when it’s dark outside and you have to use the overhead lights.

One thing that is a big deal to me is cohesion throughout the home. I don’t need my rooms to match perfectly, but I do want the home to feel like it makes sense as a whole and the colors all work together. This room stands out way too much!

I went back to the store with a list of eight paint samples to get and try to fix my mistake. Unfortunately, there is currently a paint shortage for Base A paint (every color I wanted uses this base) and none of the area stores have it in stock. For right now, it seems like I’m stuck with Big Bird.

I do have a few ideas for ways I can determine a paint color that will work better in this space, so I’m going to spend some time this week trying them out. I’ve also left the wall above the washer and dryer alone so far because I was in debate about whether to leave the upper cabinets or not – I’ve decided I want to remove them and do floating shelves all the way across so that’s coming up this week too. Be sure to follow along on Instagram to see all the changes as they happen!

September 2021 Book Reviews

Happy October 1! I’m officially ready to break out fall decor, put on some flannel, and head to a pumpkin patch. The leaves are changing, the air is cooling, and I’m ready for allllll the coziness that fall brings – especially the whole light-a-candle-and-snuggle-with-a-blanket-and-book vibe that I feel this time of year. But before any of that happens, I’ve got to recap September’s reads!

Last month I read four books and there was a kind of unusual theme of vanishing – three of the books dealt with disappearances. Needless to say, it was an intriguing month of reading and I’m excited to discuss these books so let’s get to it!

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Mila accepts an unusual invitation to reconnect with four friends whom she hasn’t seen since they were all present at a snowboarding competition ten years before. They’re back at the same ski resort from the competition and it’s clear once they arrive that something isn’t right. There’s no staff, tons of locked doors, and suddenly, they have no cell phones or way to get down the mountain. They’re trapped at the resort and someone is clearly playing sinister mind games with them, forcing them to address the mysterious vanishing of Saskia, the sixth member of their group during that long ago competition. Mila realizes there is no one she can trust but she knows one thing for sure – she has got to find a way off this mountain alive.

The interesting thing about this book was that even though it was only told through Mila’s perspective, you still got to see a lot of the different character’s motivations and development through her interactions with them then and now. The chapters alternated with present day and flashbacks to the season of the snowboarding competition and it was very obvious that this book was written by a snowboarder. The level of detail given to the snowboarding aspect was top notch and reading about professional snowboarding and the culture of living at a resort for the season while practicing alongside your fiercest competition every day was fascinating to me. I will say, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable, but I was totally engrossed in figuring out what happened to Saskia and what was happening to the group at the resort. It was chilling, it was thrilling, it was unputdownable. I really enjoyed it!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half: A Novel by [Brit Bennett]

Desiree and Stella are twins growing up in a small black community in 1950’s Louisiana where lightness of skin is prized above darkness. At age sixteen, the twins decide to run away from town and aren’t seen for years – until one day, Desiree returns to the town with the blackest daughter anyone has ever seen. Stella, meanwhile, has vanished into the world of whiteness.

My book club chose this book as our latest read and it was such an excellent choice that lead to some really interesting discussions. The story spans several decades and multiple viewpoints from the 1950’s to the 1990’s as we follow Desiree and Stella and see how their individual choices lead to very different outcomes. We see how the decisions of the mothers deeply affect the lives of their daughters, whose paths will intersect in unexpected ways. It was such a riveting look at how the past can shape a person’s choices and how the same events and experiences can lead two people to be influenced in completely different ways. The review on Amazon called it “an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise” and I honestly cannot think of a better way to describe it. I was very invested in this intricately woven tale of family, race, and community and highly recommend it!

Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Under the Southern Sky by [Kristy Woodson Harvey]

Amelia and Parker grew up as next door neighbors in small town North Carolina. Their lives have taken them in two different directions, but they’re reconnected after Amelia makes a chance discovery that she knows she should tell Parker about. They’re no longer teenagers and have each dealt with their own love and loss, but now they’re reconnected in an unforseen way that just might lead them each back to happiness.

The first two books I read this month were pretty intense and deep and I was ready for a more lighthearted book, so I downloaded this on my kindle and settled in. I’ll admit, I almost quit about 15 times in the first few chapters. When something is on my To Be Read list, it’s either because I was intrigued by someone else’s recommendation or because I’ve read the synopsis and am interested. As I began reading, it was super obvious that I put it on my list from someone’s recommendation because I had no idea what I was getting into – as the plot revealed itself I thought “oh heck no, I am not in the mood to read this book.” This is not a light, fluffy romance like I expected and it covers some really heavy topics like cancer, death, divorce, infertility, and grief. I had to seriously adjust my expectations for the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it as I did become invested in the characters and their lives. It’s not a top recommendation for me, but I think it’s because I was expecting a romantic beach read and this just wasn’t it. It was actually a moving look at exploring second chances in life and love and while there are parts that hurt your heart to read, it ultimately was an uplifting story. I’d say give it a try if you’re in the mood for a deeper, more complex story of loss and love.

The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

The Other Lady Vanishes by [Amanda Quick]

After escaping from a sanitarium, Adelaide decides to try and restart her life over in the exclusive celebrity resort town of Burning Cove, California. It’s there that she meets the handsome and somewhat mysterious Jake, who is in town to rest his nerves after the tragic death of his wife. After attending a performance by a famous fortune-teller who ends up predicting her own terrible demise, Adelaide and Jake realize that Burning Cove might not be the safe little town they thought it was. They’re each carrying secrets about their previous lives, but they realize they need to trust one another as their pasts intertwine and they get drawn into a nefarious underground world of blackmail and betrayal hidden behind Hollywood’s glitz and glamour where a very real killer lurks.

This was a random choice I snagged from a library shelf and I ended up really enjoying it! I found the world of 1930’s gangsters and glamour to be a fun backdrop and I liked the characters involved. I will say, there were aspects of this plot that felt a little far-fetched but I was fine just going with it. It’s fast-paced whodunit with a few good twists and I enjoyed the thrill of discovery along with Jake and Adelaide. I found out afterwards that this book is actually book two of a Burning Cove series, but it definitely works as a standalone. I will probably check out at least one other book from the series since I enjoyed this one. Overall it was a solid read that I read pretty quickly – it’s a good choice if you’re in the mood for a thriller that’s not creepy, gory, or disturbing.

Now bring on the burning candles, chunky knit blankets, and cozy fall reads! As always, if you have a great recommendation, send it my way!

Fall 2021 One Room Challenge: Laundry Room + Mood Board!

It’s that time of year again – the Fall One Room Challenge is starting!

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There is a room of my house that has been driving me bonkers since we first moved in. It’s a particular pain point in our days and it needs to function MUCH better for our family, especially with winter coming. I am finally ready to address: our laundry room!

Yikes. I didn’t clean up at all for this picture. The top of the dryer is a landing zone for things that need to go out to the garage and the kids shoes are always all over the place. It’s a mess!

It’s probably very obvious by just looking at the pictures, but the biggest pain point is: it is a very small space trying to do way too many things. It’s not even a true room! It’s basically just an oddly-shaped hallway and yet it’s trying to function as a laundry room, mudroom, and storage for things like cleaning supplies, all the food and other necessities for our dogs, and overflow household items like lightbulbs. Unfortunately, there isn’t a more convenient place to store all these items in our house, so I need to find a way to make this space work.

I’ve been putting off addressing the laundry room because it is high on the list of spaces we want to completely remodel. The biggest thing we want to do is eliminate the full bathroom next to it (it’s been used twice in the 2.5 years we’ve lived here) and create a larger laundry room + mudroom that works for our family. We are planning to get a contractor out here soon to talk about the work to be done and start budgeting for that project, but it will likely be late 2022 or 2023 before we are able to tackle it. Even though a gut remodel is on the horizon, I don’t want to spend another year or more in this space without making it more functional. Winter is coming and that means even more boots, shoes, coats, gear, etc – this is the time to make improvements!

I put together a little mood board of what I’m envisioning for the space – even though it’s a temporary fix to hold us over until the remodel, I’m still going to have some fun with it!

I do want to keep a fairly low budget since it’s not a long-term renovation, but there are several things I want to address:

More Organized shoe + coat storage

This was an extra shoe rack we had from a closet in our last home. it’s not really the right size for the space but it’s at least helped keep shoes (somewhat) corralled, although most of the time it looks like this with shoes on the ground. And the kids jackets and bags currently hang on some hooks that the previous owners left behind – they’re perfectly functional but my style. I want to come up with more organized storage that feels more my style.

More Storage

We never use the rod to hang clothes, so I either want to take down the cabinet and add long floating shelves spanning the length of the wall or just remove the rod and have floating shelves between the cabinet and wall. Either way – I need to better utilize that wall above the washer and dryer.

Create Flat Work Space

This one is tricky, but I really need some flat work space for when I need to spray stain remover/scrub stains. With two little ones running around playing all day, nearly every piece of their clothing has some sort of dirt or stain to address before it goes in the washer. The only space I have to do this is on top of the dryer, which isn’t much. I have some ideas for ways to create a small work space and I’m excited to use my creativity on this one!

Better Functioning Closet

The closet in the hallway has very large, deep shelves, but I really feel like this space could be better utilized for maximum storage potential!

And of course – I’m also continuing with my 2021 goal of removing the boob lights from our house and will be replacing the two in this hallway. I’m excited to improve this space in ways that make more sense for our family and our needs! Make sure to follow along on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing more real time updates and a video walk through of the space. You can also follow the other ORC guest participants here.

And if you missed my previous One Room Challenges, you can find all the reveals here:

Spring 2020: Basement Kitchen

Fall 2020: Home Office

Spring 2021: Primary Bedroom

Guest Room Debate: Accent Wall or Entire Room?

Over the weekend I was able to make major progress with the guest room stenciled wallpaper. I’m currently about 98% done with the first wall and I’m absolutely LOVING the way it looks (minus all the weird lighting shadows – basement bedrooms are so challenging to photograph!)

You’ll notice I have not finished off the very bottom or very top of the wall, and I also have not finished the edge of the wall on the left side of the door. Before I tackle these remaining areas, I need to make an important decision: should I keep this wall as an accent wall or should I continue all the way around the room?

The reason I wanted to do a wallpapered look in here is because the room had been feeling pretty boring with white walls. We needed some color and interest! But is an entire room of this stencil going to feel too busy? Will it feel like the pendulum swung too far the other way?

On the other hand, I’ve always planned on doing the entire room. I especially envisioned the wallpapered look above that board and batten half wall! The other walls, particularly the wall directly opposite the accent wall, feel underwhelming in comparison. There is no cost advantage to stopping now, as I still have plenty of paint and supplies to carry me through the rest of the room. The investment of time isn’t really a factor for me. Yes, it’s a time consuming process, but I truly have not minded and actually find it very therapeutic!

I guess at this point, the big question is: does an entire room of botanical wallpaper feel like overkill? Or will the multiple doors (bedroom door, bathroom door, furnace room door, closet door), board and batten half wall, window, and built in linen closet break up the pattern enough so it doesn’t feel like too much?

Until I decide this question, the project is at a standstill. The easiest way for me to finish off the top and bottom of the wall is to cut the stencil to fit exactly and just move it along down the wall, which I’m not going to do until I finish everything else. Speaking of the bottom – LJ saw me taking photos and wanted to take some of his own. I thought this one turned out quite well and gives a good example of how the wallpaper looks with the overhead light on!

What’s your vote: keep it an accent wall or continue throughout the whole room? Cost and time are not a factor so it’s really a matter of how busy it would or would not make the room feel. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Friday Features {9.24.21}

Good morning and Happy Friday! I’m feeling like I’m in a very transitional stage of life right now – the weather is changing, my kids are outgrowing clothes and needing the next sizes up, I’m mid-project on the guest room and waiting to help my sister with her next project at some point in the near future . . . it just feels like I’m “part way” in many things right now! Because of that, today felt like a good day to share some of the little snippets that have been going on around here lately – time for another round of Friday Features!

Fall has Begun!

I know a lot of people like to celebrate fall starting September 1, and you do you, but I love summer and the warm weather (and winter seems to last foreeeeeever in Indiana) so I cling to summer as long as possible. This past week, not only did the weather start to turn cooler, but the fall season officially began on a rainy September 22 so I’m finally feeling ready to embrace it. I am not a pumpkin spice fan and I haven’t set out any fall decor yet, but I did turn on a lamp and light a fall candle and that brought instant coziness! I’m also in my slippers as I write this blog post and I’m thinking about which soups to add to my list for next week’s dinners, so it’s safe to say I’m now all in.

LJ and Mommy Day

Yesterday, LJ had an eye doctor appointment. We see a specialist out of town, so since a bit of travel was involved, we decided to make a fun day out of it! After the appointment (where he did so great!), we headed to explore a fun new playground. Then LJ chose his favorite spot for lunch: Culver’s! We then headed into Target to grab a few things for the guest room and LJ enjoyed strolling the toy aisles and telling me some ideas for his birthday (in two months haha). He also saw these fake flowers and wanted to buy them for his grandma – isn’t that the sweetest!? We had such a great day together!

Guest Bedroom Bedding

Speaking of the Target trip, one thing I wanted to look at was some bedding options for our guest room. Now that I’m updating the walls with a stenciled “faux wallpaper,” I also want to upgrade the bedding a bit. My goal is to have several different layers so guests have options to use depending on their sleeping preferences. We have a down comforter from our previous queen bed and I’ve been looking into duvet covers, specifically linen options. I loved this one from West Elm but just could not justify the price for a bed that only gets used maybe once a month. Yesterday I saw this very similar one at Target for a fraction of the cost and snapped it right up! I also grabbed a yellow grid lumbar pillow and, combined with a textured throw and sheet set I already had, the bedding feels like it’s slowly coming together. I like the mix of large and small graphic patterns in the bedding and think it will provide a good contrast to the botanical pattern that will dominate the walls.

Toddler Mom Life

The other day I was doing some laundry and noticed this in the bathroom sink. Discoveries like this are just little daily reminders that yep, I’m firmly entrenched in the wild world of toddler motherhood. Haha!

Jenni’s Built In Cabinets

On Monday I shared all the work we did in my sister Jenni’s kitchen, and if you follow me on Instagram you probably also saw that we did some work on the built ins in the adjoining room too. Jenni chose Sherwin Williams Inkwell for these built ins and it’s such a great moody color that perfectly plays off the red brick fireplace. Such a great improvement already and we’re just getting started – she and her husband officially move in to the house tomorrow and I’m so excited to help them with some more projects!

Have a great weekend!

A Day in the Life {9.13.21}

Every so often, I like to do a Day in the Life post – it’s never a “special” day, just a regular old day in the life of my family. Vacations are fun and special events are good memories, but the every day normal is what really makes up our lives and I love having little snippets of our life at different stages documented. It’s been seven months since my last one so I documented last Monday, which just so happened to be the last day of “summer” before my kids started preschool on Tuesday.

Monday, September 13, 2021

I woke up around 6:00 and was downstairs in my office by 6:15 for some quiet time + morning devotions. On this particular morning I was prepping for a discussion I was leading on Thursday for a small group I’m part of.

LJ woke up around 6:55 and came downstairs. He often likes to snuggle on my lap a bit while he adjusts to being awake but on this morning, he was ready to hit the ground running!

I got him breakfast and while he was eating, I let the dogs out, fed the dogs, and emptied the dishwasher (we have the dishwasher run overnight so it’s ready to unload first thing).

I ran upstairs to brush my teeth and quickly made the bed. I’m really trying to make this a habit because I love how it makes the room feel!

I started a workout in our basement while LJ watched a little TV. I’ve been slacking with exercise over the past year but I’ve been getting back into my Expecting and Empowered postpartum workout guide – my days always feel better when I get in some movement!

Vi woke up around 9:00 while I was still in between my sets so I got her up and fed her breakfast in between rounds. She then joined LJ on the couch while I finished up!

After my workout, I dove right into work mode. I finished up and published a blog post and then completed my tasks for my work from home job (I’m a part-time virtual administrative assistant!) while the kids watched some TV and played around me.

Around 10:00, I finished up my work and got Vi dressed and the diaper bag packed for a trip to the zoo. We got there around 10:45 and were ready for a day of fun! I caught a spontaneous kiss on our way in – my kids absolutely fight and get on each others’ nerves but I love that they are also super affectionate and loving too.

A highlight was getting to feed the giraffes! I was actually really impressed with my kids and their patience today because they waited at least 15-20 minutes on the platform before a giraffe came close enough to feed – their patience paid off! Usually Vi loves this part but she got a little nervous today so LJ fed the giraffe both pieces of our lettuce.

We ate lunch at the zoo which allowed us to stay a little longer and we headed home around 1:30. Vi and I headed upstairs for her naptime while LJ wound down with a little TV. She insists on sleeping with SO many things these days, I’m surprised there is even room for her in the crib ha!

LJ and I enjoyed a bit of leftover birthday cake when I got back downstairs, then he played independently while I did a little more work for my job.

We had had some friends stay with us over the weekend, so after Vi woke up I spent some time getting the guest room back in order and cleaning the guest bathroom. The kids played in the shower with a spray bottle filled with water while I cleaned the rest of the bathroom which felt like a double win – entertained kids + clean bathroom!

The kids jumped in the bounce house while I read a little bit, but it didn’t last long because . . .

. . . we decided to relocate outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. Gotta soak up summer as long as we can! The kids love playing in the sand (and don’t worry, yes I had a book but I was always very alert with making sure they were only playing in the sand and not the water).

We stayed outside until Justin got home and he brought dinner home from a local BBQ joint – yum!

After dinner Justin hung out with the kids while I headed upstairs to fold some laundry (that had been in the dryer for several days haha).

We settled in for a little TV as a family before heading upstairs for bedtime – I love end of the day snuggles!

After the kids were down, I actually had to head out to grab a few things – we were totally out of milk (happens every now and then) and diapers (honestly never happened before haha) and I needed to print off a picture for LJ to take in to his first day of school the next day.

Once I got back home, Justin and I settled in for a cozy night on the couch – him watching Monday Night Football and me reading some more. A perfect way to end the day!

If you’re interested in reading some past Day in the Life posts, you can find them all here:

November 16, 2018

July 9, 2019

January 14, 2020

March 26, 2020

February 13, 2021