finished basement

big boy bed makeover

i have no real before pictures. i’m kicking myself because, you should have seen it… there were weird stickers and strange silly string-like gu all over the headboard and crayon scribbling everywhere. this is after we scrubbed and sanded and sanded and sanded. i found the bed on craigslist for $35. i need to learn to negotiate bc i bet it could have been less. either way, it was solid wood and totally paintable.
did i say “we” sanded? i meant mike sanded… with his poor little broken fingers. he’s the best.

this was the tedious part (the taping). i wanted to paint everything white except the dowels. i’m not sure if this was the best method, but it worked well enough.

we (there i go again with the “we”) used a can of primer and a can or two of white spray paint to cover everything but those dowels.

it was weeks and weeks before this was finally done. mike chipped away at it over the course of a few weekends when the weather agreed, we were actually home, and there was time.

and here’s how it looks… its sort of awesome, don’t you think!? i was so happy with the way it turned out. you know me with the white and natural wood combo. its my favorite.

i glazed over each of the headboard & footboard dowels with the same antiquing stain i used on the ledge in this bedroom, so it matches perfectly.

goodness my bed styling could use a lot of work. its totally bugging me looking at these pictures. everyone knows i’m supposed to drape a couple woven blankets on top of the comforter ever so imperfectly so that the bed is just begging for you to crawl in… i’ll be sure to do that when i take the final photos of this new bedroom 🙂

i came across this crib from the honest co’s the collective recently. totally the same vibe as our bed, right?! can you believe they are all sold out? i really do love the honest company.. they gave a crib to a family in need for every crib sold.

the plan is for this bed to be riley’s – or any other little person’s who visits.. there is a packnplay under the bed and a queen bed at the other end of the room, so it will be perfect for when my sister’s family visits (once her new baby boy is here in march!). i just need to finish decorating and making it cozy, then it will be all ready for them when they visit for christmas!!!


this wall.

it needed some big, colorful art – so that you got a peak of it from the top of the steps.

big art for small money is not an easy thing to pull off.
enter: the spoons.

these huge 55×22″ spoon canvases were $40 each at ikea, which is way less than blank canvases i saw at craft stores or on the internets.

(this is best comparable i could find… its slightly bigger and $120 on amazon. slightly smaller at $60).

so i bought a couple spoon canvases and covered those spoons right up. sorry jo de pear.

i set-up shop outside with my apprentice.

and painted away with no real plan. i just used two paint brushes and the three colors (two green samples and some left over blue from the dining room) and brushed on overlapping sections.

i wanted really obvious brush marks and a random blend of the three colors. once the canvas was covered and i thought it was looking decent. i forced myself to put the brush down and walk away. less is more.

i asked my loving husband to build a frame for each of the two canvases. just a realllly simple frame. 
then i stained them with my trusty antiquing mixture and popped the canvas right in.

amazing right? i’m a regular van gogh.

next came my instagram masterpiece. i don’t think i photographed the process, but i literally just applied a coat of mod podge to the canvas, stuck on all the photos, then another coat of mod podge over the top the next day. easy.

confession: i don’t love the instagram collage. it could be better. ever since i finished i’ve seen so many versions of this and they look so much better when the squares are spaced out evenly with a white border separating each photo. (this is what i mean if you are curious). i sort of overlapped them a bit randomly to make them all fit and it doesn’t look as nice.

but overall i love the bright, happy, personal addition to this wall and being greeted by it every time we come down here.

and it was satisfying creating these big statement pieces for under $100.

b e f o r e:

a f t e r :

b e f o r e: (way before)
a f t e r :

better than spoons, anyway…

overdue finished basement before & afters

i was working on posting some pictures of an art project i did for a wall in the basement, when i realized i never really posted a finished-finished basement update. i tried to a while ago, but the post is all busted now and the pictures don’t show up (a little example of my advanced technological blogging skillz).

so here are those before and afters. this was the biggest, most expensive process we have been through as homeowners (by far) and it was so rewarding. when we moved in, this was a moldy mess.. we had to have a professional remediation just for it to be safe to be in our house (to the tune of $2k to un-finish the basement.. fun!) but now we have this huge new living space and its just nice knowing its all clean and dry.

b e f o r e :

d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :
a f t e r :

the new bedroom (you can get a peak through the doorway above) is in pretty good shape as well. i’ll share some pictures of that soon.

the only furniture we have bought for down here (still to this day) is the black craigslisted couch, the two side tables from target and the little rocker from amazon. 

the rug is from amazon too if that counts… the bulldog is from hinsdale. 

the wall color is benjamin moore revere pewter.

this is what we’re looking like now that the plastic has invaded… in need of some toy storage! but i’m in no rush. i think we need some time to live down here to see what the best layout and use of space will be. we want to have a little exercise area and an art station somewhere for dane…

that’s all for now, more soon!

keeping on

hi. i’m back.. the past 1.5 months have been… challenging… wonderful… exhausting.
i go through phases. i think i’ve mentioned this before. some mornings i’ll drink a coffee and feel this overwhelming surge of creative energy where i have to paint something or clean up part of a room to take pictures or surf pinterest aimlessly. other times it all feels so… stupid. for lack of a better word, its sort of stupid to take photos of rooms in your house and put them on the internet when you have a million more important things to do. and even when i don’t, sometimes i just don’t feel it. when i’m super busy at work (lately) or stressed about time, money, schedules (lately as well) i can’t find the energy to chit chat about washi tape and glitter. at the same time, deep down, i love this stuff and wish i could keep the ball rolling here on my little interweb.

not to mention i lost my camera battery charger for a week or two again then found it over the weekend in a very obvious place. OY.

so here we go- here is how the basement tv area has shaped up so far. pardon the glare on the tv screen, its bad.

so the rug and the cool rocking chair are from amazon (affiliate links on my side bar shopping list  thingy >>>)

shakey still doesn’t love it down here. ok, he hates it and we basically have to carry him down the stairs. its going to be the coolest place to hang out this summer, so we need to figure out a way to change his mind.

these side tables are target gems.

rest assured, this floor is otherwise dane land. 

he’s had a lot of fun down here already! there is zero organization or order or plan for either, but we are more than ok with that.

same goes for my “super-chic bedroom” down here. for the unforeseeable future, it will remain the tiger’s lair and jungle gym.

wallpapered cabinet doors

we got the upgraded cabinet doors back on the built-ins just in time for dane’s party.

when our contractor left, they were in need of some serious attention.

i wanted to add texture, but keep it white and simple. here is my inspiration —

i used martha stewart beadboard wallpaper to try to copy this vibe (in an easy and cheap sorta way). this textured, paintable wallpaper is genius. there are all sorts of patterns and widths and designs, its the perfect diy-on-a-dime medium.
these are a few in-progress pictures i took with my iphone. the first one is my “model” (its a creative process, people!) the second shows how we were playing around with wrapping the wallpaper around the cabinet doors and making sure they lined up (which was a little more difficult than we thought).

once we had the pattern lined up best we could, we cut it to size using a mat cutting razor. next, we smeared the door with wallpaper glue and slid the piece into place.

the final step was cutting two extra pieces for each diagonal, uncovered corner (not pictured). when the faces of the cabinet doors were fully wallpapered, mike gave them each two coats of the ultra white semi-gloss valspar paint we used on the rest of the shelves.
the doors don’t hang perfectly and i wish i thought to spray the hinges to match the new hardware, but i’m over it. the result is just what i had in mind and i’m happy.

the ring pulls are the same ones we used in the nightstand makeover last fall. quite the improvement i’d say!

i am counting down the days until mike must pass along his elaborate fantasy football trophy to last season’s new winner. i’m told this happens at the next draft. i am so outnumber by all these boys in my house.

the rest of the shelves are not quite presentable yet. i do not plan on making a big fuss about the “styling” or spending more than a few dollars on fluff for them, but i would like to put a little effort toward a little “reveal” for the memory books… potentially i can work around my TWO bridal showers and make it a weekend project!

oh and TGI freaking F.

finished, carpeted, so on and so forth

i’m trying extra hard to keep up with life this week… i can’t complain because it is due in part to a completely self-indulgent weekend i just spent in miami for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party. (and it was fun. so fun.) but of course this week i am just feeling a little behind, a little short on sleep, and entirely unprepared for my baby boy to turn 2. (update: it happened. this post took me all week to turn-around!)
this carpet went in a couple weeks ago, so i want to finally put up the latest round of pictures. as you can see, it is very dark with a peppery mix of brown and black. its not what i would choose for a photo shoot or a show house by any means, but for practical reasons such as muddy paws and sticky toddler fingers, i am happy with this choice.

here are the much-more-welcoming stairs —

and the nice, big, empty room featuring our new $300 craigslist leather couch–

the almost-done built-ins–

for which we found a way to make these glorious ikea ranarp clamp spotlights work. these things were $20 each!–

the lower cabinet doors are still in progress–

i decided to leave the back of the built-ins as-is. the wood grain is so beautiful, it was a no-brainer. we are still researching the best way to seal/protect the wood–

these pictures were taken after work one evening… 6ish? and there is still a decent flow of natural light through the doors–

this is one of the better photos in terms of true paint color and minimal fill-light used in my editing. and look at the pretty ceiling–

still very little progress in the bedroom, but its about ready to actually be made into a bedroom… excitement!
the view looking out–
and of course some toys have already found their way down here… i am going to add a little curtain rod to this closet (slash-parking garage) for easy in & out–

our treadmill will go over here–

behind these double doors is unfinished work/storage space–

that’s a wrap!

dane had a tough run of sniffles and fevers the past couple weeks, but he is so much better now and rearing to go for his family birthday party this weekend.

the basement rug

the final, outsourced piece of our finished basement puzzle is happening tomorrow. then we are done… and if we’re not done, we are on. our. own.
we made such a last minute rug choice a few months back, that i don’t even have a picture of the sample we picked. i thought we were going with a grey industrial carpet, but then we changed our minds right before decision time to a fuller, softer, salt-and-peppery-colored berber. we had empire come give us a quote first. then we met with the local guy recommended by our contractor. if his price was anywhere close, we really preferred to give our business to local guy. it was close. better, even. so we called empire to cancel and get our deposit back (because you know, you only get that “really special price” if you book the installation and give them a deposit that same day…) empire of course promised to beat the competitor’s price, but we said, no thanks, and felt good about giving local guy the job.

anyway, i have a special treat for you today. a guest blogger. i’m going to let shakespeare tell the rug choosing story since he was very involved in the process.
take it away shakey…

hi. i’m shakespeare and i’m 4.

i spend a lot of time with my bully body on rugs, so i was pleased when my mom & dad asked me to help pick one out for our new basement, which, quite frankly, i find terrifying. i am not messing around with those scary, uncarpeted stairs. 

at any rate…. we had a lot of choices..

mom wanted something cheap (because she will be layering with area rugs) and dark (because me and my brother are very messy… and mom spills a lot).
at first, i was torn between these two…
then i got a really good feeling about this one.. and i know my mom is into grey…
so i did some due-diligence..
yes, this is definitely the one. “mom, pick this one!” i shouted.

at first they agreed. i thought this grey rug and i would grow old together…

but next thing i know, mom and dad end up going with a completely different berber rug instead. they tell me it is cushier and will feel better under my bully paws. i hope so… i really don’t like the idea of those stairs..

white paint, tape, and beer

is almost all you need for this project.

i mentioned last week that i’d been painting stuff. mike and i both have been painting a l o t of stuff. mostly mike.. like the w h o l e ceiling he’s trying to brush and roll before the carpet goes in (no sprayer in our arsenal unfortunately). but i have been painting very different sorts of stuff in effort to actually decorate the huge blank canvas that will soon be our *finished* basement.

so here’s a project from a few weeks ago. i made it with the new bedroom in mind.,,

 mike helped. he’s the best. here is the print i found on pinterest that i basically copied:


and here is how this really quick, cheap, easy project went down:

i got this big random board at home depot. it was cheap and i liked the partical-ly texture.

i’m not sure what its called, but maybe this will help(?)

i started to stain it with this dark minwax that i had sitting around. the same can that i used for this nightstand makeover. but the wood was just drinking it up.. it wouldn’t spread or wipe.. it wasn’t right.

so i scrapped the stain and went over the whole thing with the antiquing glaze concoction that i mentioned a couple posts ago. i made the antiquing glaze for the bedroom’s wooden ledge. i wanted it to look a bit reclaimed/rustic. i followed these directions more or less to make it.

you brush it on, then rub off the excess with a rag. easy.

 it gave it almost an ombre effect (that ended up looking awesome on the finished product). dumb luck.

the next night we started taping it up, following the look of the inspiration print above. we crunched some numbers and broke out a ruler, but in the end we eye-balled it. as i have mentioned many times, i am the queen of eye-balling. an imperfect result was more than ok with me.

to get nice, even lines on each long-side, we ran another piece of tape perpendicular and cut off all the ends with a mat cutting blade.
the arrows were a little tedious, but i used a few strong beers and the same blade technique to even them out after i slapped them down.

 once the taping phase was complete, it looked like this:

now the hard part is done and this sucker was covered with.. you guessed it.. white dove.

the peeling was the fun part. i was so worried about bleeding, but it came out awesome and me & mike jumped up and down together hugging!… no that’s not true, i jumped up and down alone.


here it is on the ledge where i was experimenting layering it with this print (still in it’s packaging, homegoods price tag and all). 

you may notice i painted one of the arrows green on a whim which i totally regret. leaving well enough alone is not my strong suit. but i’m so proud of my creation & i can’t wait to have photos of it when its actually living in the finished bedroom!

built in-spiration

slowly, the built-ins are looking a little more built and a little more in. the most notable update is the chunky wood frame around the fireplace.

here it is a few days ago pre-frame:

and now after our neighbor framed it with some pine floor boards he had left over from a previous project. it will really highlight the fireplace once everything (especially doors on either side) is/are painted.

what to do with the back of the shelves is keeping me up at night… stephanie 6 months ago would be painting it all a bold, contrasting color for sure. but stephanie today is way more into white, neutral, natural.. and speaking in the third person.

here are a couple of my favorite built-in pins. are they telling me to paint that back wall blue/grey?


let’s flash back to when we first bought the house. can you believe it?  this red wall makes no sense. the built-in white tv window-thing is oddly off-center and.. my gosh these colors.. also please note the closet door to the left that was just chopped off at the bottom. this is something..

so, even under construction, it is so rewarding to see the difference.

i have plans for these doors. they will be white like the rest of the unit, but i’ll be attempting to add texture and interest with a little scheme i dreamed up.

and new hardware. stat.

a visual update

ok, i’m just going to show you pictures. i started to try to write words, but its not happening. work has been so busy and my brain is too mushy to string together large groups of words.

star light is in.

i sort of want to marry it.

built-ins are built.

they need a few finishing touches and a lot of paint, but getting there.

one of aforementioned finishing touches is figuring out how to make these lights work..

ceiling also needs a lot of paint. but is basically done and is awesome.

last monday we spent the holiday painting. the walls are benjamin moore revere pewter. its a warm grey. i worried it was too dark, but i think it will be ok once the ceiling and trim all have fresh coats of white.

here’s a little diy project mike is not looking forward to. we are tiling around the door to save the future carpet from entry traffic and, god forbid, leakage from this door.

we’ve enlisted dane to help with the painting. we are desperate. he has mastered pretend rolling the floor, so that’s helpful (teaser on a little wall art project here. don’t worry, we will not be hanging spoons anywhere).

peace out red.

what a difference some paint can make!

we need to paint the railing. what do you think, white? black? dark stain?

you can find more literary masterpieces right here as the drama unfolds later this week.