beach house

quick visit and nook upgrade

we made a quick cape house stop friday night. it had been so long since i was there last (a couple months?) it was so nice to be back, i seriously love this house and this town.

no matter what time of year, or how long our visit, it always feels like an escape. every time we go for the weekend, we say, “dane, shakey, we’re going on vacation!”. and that’s what it feels like. even when we’re ripping apart our kitchen or dismantling the doors.

no projects to tackle for once. we mostly just dusted, vacuumed, and made sure this evil winter was not wreaking any havoc on the house. we did, however, make a little update to our game nook.

these white slip covers where struggling. bad.

we have otherwise been very pleased with these little craiglisted ikea chairs that mike was able to negotiate for $60 (for both.. including the white slip covers). 

but they needed a pick-me-up for the new season. so we stripped them down.

replaced the pads..

gave them a tune-up..

and then dressed them up in something a little more sexy..

(a little wrinkle-release spray will go a long way)

much more colorful than where we started!:
then we said ‘bye house’, ‘bye beach’ and returned yesterday to spend the rest of the weekend with cousin riley and our endless basement projects!

the beach house fun floor

to this day, i still post about more updates and projects in our beach house than our new(ish), full-time house. but SOMEHOW there is no love for the bottom floor, which is a good chunk of the brewster beach house! i think the problem is my struggle to get good photos because of the lack of natural light down there. there is natural light.. its a walk-out with a big sliding door to the yard. but the sliding door is covered by the deck above, so the light doesn’t exactly flood in.

i’m really excited about how this level has been coming along this off-season. and i finally took some pictures. they’re not the best quality, but either way, here is an overdue little tour:

the stairway downstairs is in between the two bedrooms. on the list: fresh paint on these stairs & railings and a new light.

at the bottom of the stairs is a little sleeping area with a full-sized bed. we used to have a hideous, uncomfortable bunk bed here, so this is a major improvement. i got this duvet cover from urban outfitters on super sale for $15.. i know.

the privacy screen is currently covering the dehumidifier, but it can also be pulled along the foot of the bed for some privacy and division from the rest of the room. on the list: an upholstered headboard? a bed skirt. some wall art.

down the other end are two bunk beds.
on the list: a new bright, white door here (that leads to the utility closet).


one twin-over-full..

and one twin over twin.

coming soon to this little sitting area at the foot of the bunk are two comfy chairs, an ottoman, and a tv across the way for some rainy day movies. i think it will make this level more of a fun hang-out for the kids.



one of the very first projects mike & i tackled in this house was painting this built-in bookshelf. i still love the bright green & all the fun colors we have down here.

still a few things to do this off-season to really liven-up this area, but a big improvement in function and fashion compared to before we moved in:

want to bunk up down here? rent our house for your cape cod vacation!

my version of the ikea rast side table hack

this dresser makeover is all over the interwebs (like this, here, this one, here, and here). a $35 dresser from ikea (the “rast”) that people make beautiful with paint and new hardware.


i had been hoarding these two little side tables that were $35 less (i.e. free) than the above. thank you, per usual, to my in-laws, kathy & don.

and i’m glad i hoarded because there have been a number of different ways i considered putting these guys to use over the past year. at first i thought i’d paint them white and put them in our bedroom to store my [extremely unorganized] craft supplies. i later considered using them as side tables in the new bedroom we are adding to our basement. but now that we have upgraded the 2nd bedroom in brewster with a new queen bed and are trying to make it a more appointed space, the final call is that these tables are going 80 60 miles to brewster.

but first, they needed a makeover. i decided to channel this version of the rast hack which is extremely unoriginal, but extremely awesome.


 so i sanded them down, stained the shell (leftover expresso by minwax) and painted the drawer faces white (left-over dove white by benjamin moore).

just one coat of stain on the outside plus a quick spray of polyurethane (rust-oleum spray can)
and for the drawers, one coat of primer and two coats of dove white.

because the wood already had a varnish, the result of my staining was.. “interesting”. the more heavily sanded parts absorbed more stain than the less sanded parts.. but i like it. i call it character.

you need to order these rad pull rings from this place called lee valley. they come from canada , but i ordered on a saturday and got them the following thursday. not bad. and you can’t get anything like this from lowes or the depot. i tried.

the only issue i encountered was that the screws that came with the hardware were too short for my drawers. this always happens when i replace hardware! so once again i found myself in lowes asking the kind man in the apron to find a longer version of the ring pull screws.

here are my side tables in their new home.

we have another furniture makeover in the works that i’m really excited about. it feels like its taking forever but hopefully i can share by sunday at the latest!!

cape kitchen 2.0 // done.

a few octobers ago, we came to look at this house in brewster, massachusetts. we had no idea what we were doing. but we wanted a cape cod get-away.
and we decided this place was pretty perfect…

yup… perfect.

so we moved in.

it was just the three of us. we were over the moon.

time went by and we wanted to make it ours… make it feel like vacation…

so we painted.

and again we were happy, proud, content… it was perfect.

more time went by and i got ideas, inspiration… i saw the potential. 
so we got to planning…
then we got to doing…

after some blood, sweat, tears, late nights, sore backs and a modest budget…

ombre paint chip art

by no means an original concept, but i put my own spin on it.

would you consider taking paint chips by the handful stealing? because i felt really awkward and guilty about it. it took me 3 or 4 visits to the hardware store to collect a decent stack because i tried to be all natural and stealth… i considered having dane grab some (paint chip robbing monkey-style) … i slipped some up my sleeve one time. in the end i had just enough shades of teal and blue to pull this off..


martha stewart flower-ish shaped punch

2 ikea ribba frames
navy blue craft paper
paint color samples
wood glue (because it was the only form of glue i had in brewster over the weekend)

all i had to actually buy were the 20×20 frames, so $40 was the total damage..

i made a fish and a wave. no, not being very subtle with the whole nautical theme.

and here they are on the wall:

the kitchen is done… for my next post i’m planning to do the big reveal(!!) i can’t fancy things up like a real blogger, because the week is just too busy, but i’m dying to get the final pics posted. i’ve been waiting for this since february!

but first, do you want to watch my baby grow before your very eyes?

summer 2012:


s i g h……

i don’t know where he got this from – we call it the sexy dance:

open-fronting the corner cabinet

we just arrived back to ole cape cod for the long weekend (wooohoo). a quick one for you before we dive into another weekend of finishing touches to cape kitchen 2.0!

this corner was my little pet project.

aside from ripping out the row of cabinets to replace with the banquet seating, there weren’t any structural changes to our cabinets during this kitchen makeover, aside from this corner. we removed the breadbox thing from below the corner cabinet and left the door off the top. sure, i would love to have a custom glass door, but this is a much simpler, (free) way of achieving the same open effect..

we didn’t paint the inside of any of the other cabinets. so i spent the better part of a full weekend sanding, priming, and painting the inside and the 2 shelves of this corner. the running joke was that i didn’t leave the corner for days. it was sorta true. 

i painted the inside wall the same gypsy teal that’s in the living room and other side of the kitchen. it took two solid coats to cover sufficiently (think a couple hours of awkward kneeling on the counter to get into all of these deep corners).
and here it is all back together with the shelves and some of our prettier glassware…

there will definitely be updates to the “styling” of these shelves, but i think the open corner is a nice touch.

in related news – the corner below.. the lazy susan.. NOT supposed to be open. we broke the door and have been having trouble replacing it. its killing me. mike bought something at lowes that he thinks might be a fix, so fingers crossed we can remedy this tomorrow.

and there are definitely a few other finishes touches that are begging for our attention, but we are just going see what we have time for without killing ourselves this weekend. a little off-white clash never killed anyone…

happy memorial day weekend!

fabric covered ‘c’s.. not to be confused with seas…

you know… like for cape cod.

most of my crafty projects are 100% unoriginal and copied directly from pinterest, another blog, etsy, etc, etc. but this method for the ‘c’s i dreamt up myself. so please don’t direct me to 40 other people who had the same idea, it would crush me… i swear it was all mine and i was so proud when it actually worked. unlike this project:
i swear this actually happened last weekend. this is a diy project gone TERRIBLY WRONG. have you ever seen anything go more terribly wrong than this? like ever? i won’t even get into it. pretend this never happened.
so after hitting rock bottom, i picked myself back up in hopes of having a little more luck making a fabric covered ‘cc’ to adorn the wall above the new banquet.
i made the letters using 18″ white styrofoam wreaths. i just cut a chunk out of them and voila:

the pictures can probably do the best job explaining the rest for anyone in the market for a couple pretty little c’s (i’m looking at you candance cameronchris cook, and captain crunch fanatics…) (and i’m using the two ‘c’s/fabric patterns interchangeably in this series of pictures, so don’t get confused). 
first, i traced the c on the back of the fabric and cut the middle into pizza pie slices.. i had a yard each of the dots and zig zag patterns… they were another jo-anns purchase for $5ish/yard.
i then wrapped each slice around the back of the c and secured with pins (the kind with the little ball at the end).

then the fabric on the outside of the c, i sort of haphazardly wrapped, snipped and pinned as needed to best cover the styrofoam.. and the ends i did my best to wrap like a present.
don’t worry, i’m not done yet…
for the last step i cut 2 or 3 long, imperfect strips to wrap around the whole letter, securing the ends on the back with pins…

i was so relieved this actually worked. i think they are pretty awesome errr crazy cool.

so i hung them right up, and mike got to work taking down the ugly lights.

so i’m pretty excited about this wall. remember what it looked like not too long ago?

so much crisper…

now – the latest state-of-the-kitchen:

and finally – my handsome bulldog:

enough with the scallops already

1.5 hours, 2.5 glasses of wine and one summer shandy after we arrived in brewster friday night, i had these babies hanging in all their no-sew glory.

but lets take a step back…
we took a more relaxed approach to the weekend. we had a bunch of little things we needed/wanted to accomplish in brewster, but we also wanted to enjoy ourselves and have some down-time – unlike our last few trips. we even spent some time playing in the neighborhood before we hit the road friday night. 
i don’t know why i ever put this kid in clothes. i think he’ll wear a diaper and red sox hat for the duration of the summer.

here is the scene friday night before i made the curtains. i found these red & white striped panels laying around, so i threw them up for our guests who visited last weekend. they weren’t right, but better than nothing.

and this is the fabric i got at jo-anns. yup, more scallops. but i love it. the colors are perfect. both navy and teal! it was 30% off and cost less than $6/yard. i got three (and ended up having a bunch left over). I used the red & white curtains as a gauge for how long to cut the pieces for the two panels and used the full width.. i wanted the scallops upright and not sideways.. 
at first i thought i’d need to make 4 strips – two for each half of the window area –  but thankfully got away with just using two which saved a ton of time. 

my working area was on the floor, on top of a table cloth. i first iron-hemmed each side an inch or so, then the top  – leaving a good 3 or 4 inch gap for the rod to go through. i didn’t measure anything (i have a strict no measuring after 11pm policy). i just held them side-by-side to attempt to get the lengths to match as close as possible. i hemmed the bottom last.

for anyone who doesn’t know what ‘iron-hemmed’ means… i used stitch-witchery which is a “bonding web” that can be ironed in between fabric for a super quick and easy hem. there are a million no-sew tutorials out there if you care to give it a google. its sorta been a game-changer for me. i use it to hem my pants too!

here are my curtains! quite complex looking wouldn’t you say?

the last weekend i was here, i spray painted this curtain rod which used to be in the tv room. (we have since replaced with way better, sturdier rods.. hopefully i’ll explain that process at some point as well).  so these curtains basically cost the 12 or so bucks the couple yards of fabric cost (i have an aggressive stock of the bonding tape).

here it is in daylight. 

i used twine to pucker up the middle of each panel because it just looked better. love twine. looove the twine. twine is soo fine… (i need help or sleep mostly).

i am dying to replace this terrible light with a pendant. that might happen next weekend.
much better, right?  

so that’s that. i’m so glad i busted it out friday night, because saturday my favorite thing happened.. we had visitors!

like our vip guest for the night, baby dylan. the cutest little munchkin ever.
and now i have added our recent work to the progression series. i literally can’t remember the kitchen looking all wood and yuck colored. its funny to look outside the window, too… you can see the seasons change!
crazy difference between those last two.. we are so close!
i left sunday feeling like we were finally in good shape. there is one major issue we need to deal with (not sure if you noticed the missing door to the lazy susan in the corner there… yah, its not good). and a handful of smaller issues (some electric work, vent covers, maybe some more non-crucial painting). so we’ll do some of this stuff next weekend, and then we’ll wrap it up for the season for better or for worse!
we decided to stay late sunday and leave after the bruins game. the weather was perfect and we did squeeze in a little bit of lounging. 

there a few more little projects from the weekend to share so i’ll hopefully check back in a couple more times this week. is it friday yet?

brewster kitchen and deck – mini update

as i alluded to in my last post, this past weekend in brewster was the busiest yet. this weekend we have family using the house for a few nights, so we had to get everything ready. it didn’t have to be “rental ready” (thank goodness), but we wanted it in the best shape possible for our family & their friends to enjoy. they won’t be enjoying outlet covers in the kitchen, but here’s to hoping it won’t spoil their stay..

i didn’t even know what to expect when i loaded all the pictures from my camera… i was so busy with the clean-up and dane-chasing on sunday that i hardly have any pictures of what the place looked like when we left..

it was all-hands-on-deck starting bright and early saturday morning…

my sister – who is our gardener extraordinaire- came from the vineyard (martha’s) with her.. boyfriendish man-friend (?).. to resuscitate what used to be a beautiful landscape until we neglected it for about 2 years.

the deck-building crew – two of mike’s old friends & very talented construction people- were also here for a long day saturday finishing the re-boarding of the deck.

i haven’t talked about the deck much because its not very exciting for me… if it were being reconfigured in a new, interesting way it would be a different story. but this was just one of those maintenance things where the boards were old and splintery and just needed to be replaced. it definitely is so much nicer with new boards and because mike and his friends did all the labor we saved thousands of dollars.

we ran around crazy doing a million other side projects and finishing the cabinets and bench. here is a peak of random shots around the house that i hope to get to in a more organized manner next week!

…sneaking this one in… 😉

and this is the most complete picture i have from later in the day sunday.. things are looking bright, don’t you think!?

more, including much better pictures to come later!

happy weekend!!!

UPDATE: the kitchen is done! check it out here:

brewster kitchen – the putting back together begins

mike was the star of the weekend.

he worked non-stop hanging these cabinet doors and installing the new knobs… barely sitting down to enjoy any of the masters (tho it was constantly on the tv). you can see the progress in the background. this basically took all day. it was frustrating work lining up all the hinges and knobs so everything hung perfectly level. if you are off just a quarter of an inch, it looks totally sloppy and wrong. there was a lot of swearing throughout the day. a lot.

he used one of these combination square contraptions to mark where to drill the knob hole. definitely easier than dealing with two holes for a pull (for which you probably want to get one of these template things) but still required a lot of patience and precision. mike can deal with this sort of thing.. i can not. i like to “eye ball”. which is why i stick to the “creative” and he handles the “execution”.  
(together we are a dream team (?))
and if that wasn’t enough work – he had to saw off each end of the super long knob screws. *tip: bring these to a hardware store & have them cut them down for you. our local little true value didn’t have a tool for this, so we resorted to the trusty hand saw.

after dane went down for the night, i began my little experimental project which was “scalloping” the newly painted, formerly laminate, backsplash.

i used martha stewart metallic paint in ‘hard frost’, one of these brushes (pictured below) from home depot, and a half circle – traced using a cocktail plate – cut out from some sandpaper packaging, then a cheerios box, then some regular paper (for some of the corners and places where the stencil needed to bend)… this was a very unglamorous process… but i made it work!

true to form, my method was very imperfect. i didnt measure or plan much – i just went for it. its a very hand-painted look.

i did this for maybe 2 hours saturday night. oh and this picture captures pretty much everything i ate/drank the whole day:
this is where i left off after day (night) 1:
and this is me in a crazy, diy stupor before collapsing into bed:

sunday morning (after reheating our very large coffees a couple times) mike removed the microwave.

which was secured by many large, hidden bolts..

see how awful the laminate is where the microwave used to be? fingers c r o s s e d the new microwave covers this entire area!

after another hour of scalloping, i was done. and i think it looks pretty cool. the metallic silver really picks up the silver specks in the granite, the mercury glass knobs, and should look great with our new stainless steal appliances.

so here is the evolution with the latest progress:

that’s a wrap! off to st. maarten tomorrow morning & peacing out of blogville for a week or so! don’t miss us too much…