A Random, Wonderful Purchase

So, remember how our master bedroom is a complete and total hot mess right now?

We’ve got about a dozen different styles going on in here, several pieces of furniture that are just hanging out until we can replace them, and lots of ideas on where we want to go but very little actual progress.

We were headed in a very organic, eclectic direction with the bedroom originally. Lots of earthy tones, lots of wood and texture. A little something like this:

Grid1

(Bedding via West Elm, curtains via Target, dresser via Pottery Barn, wardrobe Via Ikea, paint color via Lowe’s, blinds via Casa.com)

Of course, the only things we actually already own within that vision are the curtains, dresser (not that exact one, but ours is similar), bamboo blinds, and the paint color. But, in general, the direction we were going to head included all of the above, plus our gallery wall, and a few other ideas we had that would make the room feel earthy and cozy.

We loved that plan. It was fantastic.

But then. We were at Target a few nights ago and happened upon this gorgeous Nate Berkus duvet cover that happened to be king-sized (we intend to upgrade to a king soon!) and also just happened to be 50% off. As in, it was only $50. We thought about it for approximately 0.2 seconds before tossing it into our cart. We knew it was going to change the entire direction of our room, but there was no reason not to at this point.

We got it home and put it on the bed, and we were in love. It’s amazing. And perfect. And wonderful.

And totally clashed with the curtains we already had in the room.

So, like we already suspected, it was obvious that our vision for the room was going to have to change.  We didn’t want to just waste the curtains we already had since we love them, but luckily we think quickly on our feet so we decided to move the curtains on our window into the nursery, where they fit perfectly, and find something neutral and simple for this room. Because this bedding demands to be the center of attention.

(Looking at this photo it drives me crazy that it’s on there a little crooked. Whoops.)

I’m in L-O-V-E. It’s nice and dark with very little white space, which means the dogs practically can’t mess it up. The quality is amazing compared to our old Ikea duvet cover and it feels nice and sturdy, which is just what we need for a bed that houses two humans and up to 3 dogs on any given night. And did I mention it’s PRETTY?

So now, obviously, we had to re-think the direction of our room. Because it’s looking even MORE ridiculous and disjointed than it did before. A lot of our original ideas work just fine, but the feel of the room as a whole will be much more modern and punchy and much less earthy and calm. Which, really, fits in with the rest of our house just fine, so we’re not complaining. Here’s a peek at the direction we’re headed in now:

Grid

(Bedding via Target, wardrobe Via Ikea, mirror via Zinc Door, curtain via Target, bench via Target, paint color via Lowe’s)

And, of course, we’ll be keeping our dresser, bamboo blinds, and a lot of the other things. But, as you can see, the simple bedding switch makes a pretty big change in the whole room, despite most of the major elements staying the same.

But I’m happy to give up my original ideas to make room for this beauty. Because I’m obsessed.

Oh, and if you’re curious, we found out that the reason it was 50% off was because of a small hole in the top of it – not in the fabric itself, just a hole in the seam. A quick run through the sewing machine and it’ll be good as new – you won’t be able to tell anything was ever wrong!

We’ve already taken down the curtains and plan to replace them soon with some simple white (or light gray) sheers. We also are super antsy to replace the old bench now that it completely and totally clashes with the bedding. I’m tempted to just get rid of it now, but the dogs love to sleep on it so that’s not really an option.

Obviously the bedding still needs some work – we plan to bring in some fun and bright sheets (maybe coral?) and throw pillows to add some more color…but we’re holding off on a lot of that until we replace the bed, because that will dictate at least some of it…and it seems silly to buy new sheets for our queen bed when we already know we want a king!

We’re also going to take down the gallery wall and put up a big starburst mirror. Once again, though, that’s gotta wait until we get the new bed since we don’t know how tall it will be yet. Apparently a lot depends on that new bed we are dreaming of!

So that’s the newest random update in our bedroom. We weren’t at all planning on replacing the bedding in here yet, and we certainly didn’t think we’d end up with something black, but I’m head over heels in love with it and I think it’s going to look fabulous once all is said and done.

Have you made any changes to the plans you have for your home lately?

Protecting Our Privacy

When I talked about our new nightstand, I mentioned that Corey and I were desperately in need of some new curtains for our room. The old ones were way too small to actually cover the window, and we got rid of the blinds in there when we had the window replaced.

It wasn’t a cute look.

We debated quite a bit on what to do – we love the view outside of our window. The tree is gorgeous and you really can’t see most of the street from our window. But, um, people can see in. Pretty easily. Which means we can’t just leave it bare all the time.

But, the problem is that we both are sick of the look of blinds pulled down all the time – we’ve had that look throughout our house since we moved in, and it’s time for it to go. We’re both ready to move onto something a little prettier that will keep the privacy while still letting in some light (which those white blinds certainly don’t do).

We weren’t quite sure where we were going to go with it until I saw this post from Dana over at HouseTweaking – she’s found the perfect mix of privacy and pretty in her bedroom, and I immediately knew I’d have to copy it.

(Via HouseTweaking)

We started off with these pretty matchstick bamboo blinds from Lowe’s – the color is a great medium tone and they were only about $30.


But, um, those provide zero privacy whatsoever, so of course our next step was to bring in the blackout shade. We outside-mounted the bamboo blinds so that we could inside-mount the blackout shade and it would stay nice and hidden when it wasn’t in use.

And finally, we ordered some Nate Berkus for Target curtains to finish off the look. They’re nice and neutral, which is necessary since we haven’t decided 100% on the direction we’ll be going with the bedding and other stuff in the room like a rug, art, and all that jazz. Plus, who doesn’t love a good white curtain?

So far we’ve  been loving the functionality of this. We close the blackout shade at night before we go to bed (and if we come in the room to shower or change) and we open it up when we wake up for the day. For the last few months we’ve been dealing with the sun waking us up bright and early every morning thanks to our too-small curtains, so the blackout shade means that we can sleep in much later, which is a nice perk. And during the day, we still get the natural light I crave and a pretty view of our tree and front yard.

I’m excited about how it turned out and feeling good that we’ve finally got a window treatment in our bedroom that will last.

Now if only we could agree on a new duvet cover for the bed!

What’s your stance on window treatments? Do you like blocking out all of the light with blinds or do you like to keep your windows bare?

A New Nightstand

Corey and I have been talking a lot lately about the direction we want our bedroom to go in.

At this point, the vast majority of the stuff in this room will not be here long term. We want to upgrade to a king-sized bed, we desperately need new curtains, we’re hoping to track down a fabulous new duvet cover, and those tiny little white nightstands are just not working for us anymore.

So, needless to say, there’s a lot of change on the horizon for our bedroom. Basically the only thing that will stay the same is the wall color, and I can’t even guarantee that for sure.

But, all in good time. We’re trying really hard not to rush into any decisions, because we’d like to re-do our bedroom with things that will actually last us for a long time, not things we’ll get sick of in two years. So, we’re taking our time and making sure to choose classic pieces and colors that we can live with for a very long time.

Starting with this new dresser-turned-nightstand for my side of the bed.

Drool.

I’ve been looking for a small dresser to use as a nightstand for several months now. I knew exactly what I wanted and was extremely picky when browsing, so it’s taken quite a long time of casual Craigslist perusing before actually finding something worth my time. The hardest part was that I wanted a wood dresser, not a painted one, which is next to impossible with the painted-furniture-craze that has overtaken the world right now. I mean, I love a good painted piece, but there’s a limit to what I can tolerate, and my bedroom has already exceeded it, so I needed to bring some wood back in, stat.

We found this guy for $35 (SERIOUSLY) and snatched it up as quickly as we could. When we got it home, we realized that it was so cheap because there was quite a bit of damage to the top. There were a couple of very large water spots, and the whole thing was looking pretty beat up.

I wasn’t too worried, though – I’ve seen so many different tutorials all over the internet for restoring wood furniture, so I was pretty eager to try a few of them out. I decided to start with the water stains – I wasn’t sure there was any way I’d make them look any better…they were obviously very deep stains and the wood was damaged enough that it was a completely different texture than the rest of the top.

I’ve heard mayonnaise can work miracles on water stains, though, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Pretty sure Corey thought I had lost my damn mind when he came in the living room and saw the top of our dresser covered in mayo. I got some serious eye rolls when I told him what I was doing, but I had faith. Everything I’d seen said to let it soak in for a few hours, so I gave it about 5-6 hours before wiping it off.

AND IT WORKED.

Now, it’s not perfect. The wood is still definitely a different color where the stains were, and it is still a different texture. But this is about a million times better than it was before, so I’m not complaining.

I also tried out the vinegar and oil trick I posted about a few weeks ago on Friday Finds – you just take 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and rub it all over to restore the finish and get rid of minor scratches.

After a quick rubdown, the whole thing was looking so much better. I never wanted an in-perfect-condition dresser, because the whole idea was to have something that looked a little antique, so this is fantastic for me. I love that it still looks a little worn and old but now instead of looking like a $35 Craigslist dresser, it looks like someone actually cares about it.

Once I had the wood looking all nice and clean, it was time to tackle the drawer pulls. My plan was to do gold ring pulls, but I was a little frustrated to realize that with shipping, it would cost me about $30 to order all six pulls, which would almost double the price of the dresser. I did a little Googling, though, and found a solution I liked much better – a DIY version!

The original tutorial can be found at Sarah M. Dorsay Designs, and I’m amazed at how simple it is yet how much it looks like the real thing. All you’ve got to do is grab some gold cotter pins and beveled washers (we found ours at Ace Hardware) and some gold rings. The tutorial didn’t specify what the gold rings were or where in the store to find them, so we struggled with that a bit – we finally figured out that they were probably brass o-rings used for plumbing, but neither Ace Hardware nor Lowe’s had them in-store. So, we ordered some online (from here) for about a dollar each. It definitely made the overall cost a bit more expensive, but we still saved over half of what we would have paid to get the real deal, so I’m not complaining.

All you have to do to put them together is slide the beveled washer and the o-ring onto the cotter pin, push it all through the hole in your drawer, and add a regular washer to the back – then you use some pliers to fold out the pin and hold everything in place, and you’re good to go!

I love how easy (and cheap) it was to make these, and I think they look fantastic.

So, obviously now that we have this little dresser here a few other things have changed in the room. This is the not-so-pretty part of the post, though, because the whole room is in a bit of a transition phase. Let me show you what I mean.

This corner is where we had always wanted to put this chair. I think it works well here, but I don’t think anything else in this corner works. We have the old nightstand sitting here for now because we are holding onto it until we replace Corey’s nightstand (so we can Craigslist ‘em together), but eventually I’d like to get a small round table to sit next to the chair.

I’m not sure what will happen with the mirror – I love (LOVE) having a floor length mirror in our room, so I imagine it will definitely stay in here long-term, but I’m still playing around with how I want it to look. We could leave it leaning, or we could actually hang it, we could leave it black, paint it, or just add some detail to the wood to brighten it up a bit. I have no idea where we’ll land on this one, but I’m taking my time before deciding! And, of course, the turtle shell and rhino will probably have to leave this corner and find a new home elsewhere. I’d like to find some pretty art to hang above the chair eventually.

This is the other big change. Ew, right? We moved Corey’s dresser downstairs to turn it into a media console for the garage, so he’s been living out of these plastic drawers for the last few weeks. We moved my dresser over here and now Corey and I are sharing it (my new nightstand fits some of what was in there, but obviously not all of it) while we save up for a better solution. The long-term plan here is to fill this wall with tall wardrobes from Ikea so we can ditch the dresser completely. Our closet isn’t very functional and it would be great to have some more storage space in here, so we’re excited to get some big wardrobes with lots of shelving and hanging space so we can spread our clothes out a little more. I also think it’ll be great for our tall ceilings – we haven’t really taken advantage of them yet and this room could use some height! But, before we tackle that we want to get rid of the carpet in here, so it’s just one step at a time. We’ll get there eventually.

So, what’s next in here? We’re currently on the lookout for a good replacement for Corey’s nightstand, and we desperately need to deal with the curtain situation. Hopefully after that we can start thinking about the flooring and replacing our bed – with three dogs that like to be in bed with us, a queen gets just a little bit crowded!

What’s your nightstand situation like? Any brilliant ideas for what we can do with that awkward chair corner?

The New Windows!

I can’t believe we’ve had these new windows in for two whole week and I’m just now talking about them.

They’re pretty.

I want to kiss them.

(I do. Sometimes. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

I explained a while back that we were getting new windows in about half of the house because our old ones were horrible, failing, and just generally making our lives miserable (you think I’m exaggerating, but YOU try cooking dinner when it’s 100+ degrees outside and your kitchen is basically a greenhouse).

It has made a huge difference in the comfort level of our house to have these beauties. The back half of my house no longer feels like a sauna in the afternoon, and we have a much prettier view of our backyard, thanks to the new setup.

I thought it might be fun (for me, at least – I don’t know how much fun you’ll have) (at least I’m honest) to go through all the windows we replaced and see what they looked like before and after. Before we started this whole process, I had NO idea that there were so many different options for window configurations, and it felt super overwhelming when we were starting out.

Let’s start with my favorite one – the dining room. Here’s what it looked like before (all before photos except the kitchen sink window were taken after we took down the blinds):

And here it is now:

Much better, right? We have two giant sliders that both open up (an important note, since not all of the windows opened before. And not because they weren’t supposed to) and an unobstructed view of our backyard.

I have to say, I am NOT missing the three sets of disgusting, chewed-up blinds that we used to have on here, but the windows are looking a bit naked. We have plans to update all of the window treatments throughout the house, but if I’m being honest this one is probably on the back burner for now. We still have pretty good privacy here thanks to our fence and the row of trees in our yard, and the most scandalous thing we might be doing in the dining room is eating dessert before dinner, so I don’t mind if someone wants to peek in.

Next up is the kitchen.

The window above our sink looked like this before:

And looks like this now:

It just looks cleaner, right? Our plan in here for window treatments is to ditch the curtains (I love them in theory, but they just don’t work for us in real life) and put up a bamboo blind for some texture and call it a day. It will probably stay up most of the time because I love having a view into the yard when I’m doing dishes, but I still want something there because as much as I love naked windows in photos, it feels weird in my own home.

The bay window area in the breakfast nook looked like this before:

And is much prettier now:

I am SO glad we decided to go with a big picture window in the middle instead of a window that opens. We rarely open windows in our house, anyways (because we live in Texas and there are maybe two weeks out of the year where it’s even feasible to do so), and when we do we never really open this one.

Once again, we’ll end up with some sort of window treatment in here eventually, but we aren’t sure where we’re going to land yet. It’s such a big area that I feel like we need something neutral-ish, but I also don’t want to be too boring. We’ll see where we end up!

Now let’s head upstairs to see the two windows we replaced up there. First up is the reading room window – we originally hadn’t planned on doing this one yet, but when we were working on it a few months ago we noticed that the window didn’t actually close all the way…which is kind of a problem. We thought about going ahead and knocking out both of the extra room windows, but it saved us about $500 to just go with this one, so we did. Having all of our windows actually close is kind of a priority, you know?

That’s the before, and here’s the after: 

Once again, much better! Now that this is in, we can finally finish up the trim on this part of the room (we were waiting for the new window) and trim out the window/add a window treatment. We have no idea yet what route we’ll go in here for a window treatment – all I know is I’m dying to get that trim finished up!

And finally, our master bedroom. Before:


After:

So pretty! This is one that I’d actually love to leave naked because I think the view of our giant tree is just fabulous, but unfortunately having it open also gives all of our neighbors and anyone passing by the house a nice view into our bedroom. Which we don’t want. Right now we’re still rocking the too-small white curtains that we’ve had forever, but they’re going to get upgraded, stat. I think we’re going to go with curtains only in this room (no blinds or shade), so that we can leave ‘em open during the day and close them at night – best of both worlds! We’ll, of course, make sure the curtains are actually the right size this time.

And with that, you’ve seen all of our new windows! It’ll be awhile before we get around to the next set of windows, because we want to spend some time paying off these guys (and our new garage renovation, which is still chugging along!), but I think with our next round we’ll finish the upstairs, and then down the road we’ll replace the last few downstairs.

Have you ever had windows replaced? It makes a huge difference!

Paint it Black

Remember when I showed you guys this super cute vanity we scored on Craigslist? And how it finally (!) filled up that empty space in our bedroom?

Well, I hate it.

Seriously. I’ve considered burning it multiple times.

I even had a nightmare about it the other night.

But, let me explain. I was seriously in love with this guy when we bought it, and I couldn’t wait to get it painted and back in the room. Corey and I waffled back and forth for weeks about what we wanted to do with it,and we finally ended up settling on black. It’s a neutral color (which was important, since our wall color is so bold) but it’s a little more fun and bold than a plain white or gray. We don’t have any black in the room yet, and I’m a strong believer that every room should have a bit of black in it…so black it was.

But, there was a problem.

As you can see, the vanity was still just plain wood and hadn’t been painted. There was a very thin coat of poly on it, but nothing else. I decided to forgo sanding it (a step I skip any chance I can get), and go straight to priming and painting. Only, when I painted it the top looked terrible. Apparently it was a thicker coat of poly than I thought, because it completely messed up the texture of the paint and looked completely ridiculous.

So, I had Corey sand it down for me so I could repaint it.

And when I did? The paint cracked.

SERIOUSLY.

This has only ever happened to me once, and I knew what I did wrong that time (put a top coat on before the paint had dried fully). But this time? There was nothing on the vanity, it had been sanded and cleaned, and there was absolutely no reason for it to crack.

This was the first time I considered burning it.

But I forged ahead, Corey sanded it down again, and I gave it another shot.

It looked much better the second time around – I thought we had finally found victory! Until…the next day when Corey (who was genuinely trying to be helpful) sprayed another coat on the top.

For those of you who don’t know, if you wait more than an hour-ish after painting with spray paint, you should wait at least 48 hours before painting again…or it will crack

And crack it did.

(This would be the second time I wanted to burn it.)

I sanded it down (yet again) and tried one last time.

It didn’t crack this time, but there are still some spots on the top with a really weird texture. I have no idea why. I’ve just given up.

But, if you don’t look at the top too closely, it still looks cute!

I love the black in the room, and I am SO happy with how it looks in this space. I just try really hard to ignore the weird parts on the top…because I don’t know how to fix ‘em and I’m just mad about it. And when I’m mad at things, I ignore them. It doesn’t make the problem go away, but it sure does make me feel better.

I added some fun fabric to the stool (which gave us ZERO problems, by the way) and decided that the vanity itself needed a little bit more fun – so I grabbed a test pot of coral paint from Lowe’s and painted the inside of the vanity for a fun surprise. It’s not something most people will see, but I know it’s there and it makes me smile.

And, with the addition of some super cute flower pulls (that I’ve been lusting after for months but Corey hasn’t let me use them yet because they’re “too girly”), I think I’m hating this vanity a little bit less now.

Maybe once I live with it a little longer I’ll even come to like it.

Maybe.

Have you had any projects give you a really hard time lately?