Tag Archives: Bedroom

Surprise Surprise


This week has been full of surprises.

First, I stumbled upon my husband on Pinterest.  Talk about eerie!  Not only that, but he even got a like!  Ahem, hands off, Pinterest, he’s taken.


Second, one of my favorite blogs, Knock Off Decor, is featuring us!  *insert boy-band-just-came-on-stage squeal.  If you haven’t stumbled upon Knock Off Decor yet, I highly recommend it.  They feature other bloggers’ DIY projects which (as the name suggests) knock off designs from high-end retailers such as Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie.  Warning, you will get hooked.  Today, they featured our latest post on our upholstered, tufted headboard!  A big shout out to their team for the honor!  Click here to check it out!

Knock Off Decor Feature


Thanks, internet, you’ve ruined my shot at becoming a world-class spy.


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Filed under Site Housekeeping

Tuft Luck

DO or DIY: how to make a tufted headboard


I think every room needs a little glam factor.  Our guest bedroom started out pretty glamorous… for a nursery.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Now before you all freak out, no, my eggo’s not preggo.  The above picture was taken when the sellers were still in the house.  I’m still a little bummed they took the chandelier with them- that was the best part.  They left us with a lovely 80s dome light in its place and the birdcage decals.  Gee, you shouldn’t have… no, really, you shouldn’t have.

We haven’t shown many pictures of the guest room thus far (besides the construction of the bench at the end of the bed- read more here), so I guess we need to do a little catching up.

The guest room actually ended up being one of the first rooms we painted upon moving in since we had all the bedrooms re-carpeted immediately.  And because we’re lazy painters, we wanted to paint while the old floors were still in so we didn’t have to cover them for protection against paint drips.  The bright red color was cute for a nursery- a nice departure from the typical pink used for girls- but it was a little too… well, bright red, especially for a guest room.  So, we went from bright red to a flat sheen of dark gray and softened it with whites and teal as the accent.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The dark gray brought some drama to this mama but I knew something was still missing.  The wall above the bed was an empty void begging to be filled with awesome-ness.

Bedroom… drama… hmm…  I smell a headboard project coming on.

I knew I needed something pretty tall to cover up a lot of the blank space above the bed and I wanted the headboard to be the room’s statement piece.  I was drawn to tall tufted options that included wings on the side that enveloped the bed such as these.


Source: Mix and Chic


Source: Jillian Harris

I was curious what headboards like this cost.  I finally found a pretty close match to what I was dreaming of, seen below.


Source: Ethos Interiors

Unfortunately, it came with two problems:

  1. It was from Australia.  I can only imagine what shipping a headboard from across the globe would cost.
  2. It was retailing for $690.  Now, I’ve seen plenty of way more expensive headboards but still, $690 was more than I’ve spent on everything in our master bedroom thus far and this room would only get used a few times a year when we had overnight visitors so it didn’t really seem worth it.

I found a few, less exciting, domestic options from the usual suspects but those weren’t any more reasonable.


Source: Pottery Barn, $799


Source: Horchow, $1199


Source: Restoration Hardware, $1465

So, what’s a girl to do?  Buy her husband some beer, suggest steak and potatoes for dinner (it helps if your husband is severely Irish), then sweetly ask his help DIY-ing a headboard masterpiece.  This method has proven 100% effective thus far so, ladies, take notes.

And we were off.

First, I needed to settle on a fabric.  Because I wasn’t 100% convinced this was going to work (not that I don’t have faith in you, honey, but this seemed a long shot even for you), I didn’t want to spend a ton on fabric.  I also couldn’t decide on a color (should I go white, cream, light gray, medium gray, or dark gray) so I decided to let fate decide for me.  At my favorite fabric store, I hit up the remnant section to see what white and gray options they had.  I found one cream option (seen on the right) and one gray (seen on the left) option that were long enough to work.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

At $5 a yard (each was 2.5 yards, which they rounded down to 2 costing me $10 each), it was a score.  I thought I’d end up going with the cream option but it ended up looking too yellow against all the white bedding I already had in the room.  I considered completely redoing all the bedding to better coordinate but my conveniently-too-pragmatic husband quickly shot that option down.  So, gray it was.


I’m beginning to think my wife has me figured out: every time she wants something expensive for the house, I end up building something almost identical for a fraction of the cost like the leaning bookshelves seen here and the telescope lamp seen here. Lately I’ve been suspecting that she doesn’t actually want the expensive version, she just wants to scare me into a DIY project by threatening to spend an obscene amount of money on something.

So her latest obsession? A headboard. For the guest bedroom. Now, here’s the thing about our guest bedroom: it’s just for guests. We don’t have overnight guests often and the few that we do have aren’t particularly picky about their lodging (if they were, we wouldn’t invite them to our house). So, frankly, I didn’t see the point. Sure, the space above the bed was empty, but the only time we ever really go in that room is when we can’t find the cat. Either way, Julie tends to get what Julie wants, so I now had to figure out how to make a headboard.

First things first: size. The width pretty much took care of itself as it would be dictated by the width of the bed frame, but we had to decide how tall we wanted it to be on the wall. We ultimately decided that it needed to be 5′, which meant the actual “board” part of the headboard would be 3′ tall. So I started with some plywood:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Cut cut cut!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Next, Julie wanted some “poof” or something, so we looked at craft stores for foam padding. Well, it turns out that I could’ve taken a decent vacation for what it would’ve cost to buy that much padding, but I had a more cost-effective solution in mind:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

That’s right, Wal-Mart mattress pads (yes, the same ones that when stacked high enough make dorm beds somewhat tolerable). It was plenty long but barely wide enough, but with a little stretching and clever layering, we hid it pretty well. We even had enough left over from the ends to refinish a small chair.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We used spray adhesive to secure them to the plywood, but due to the porous nature of the pads, it wasn’t the strongest hold.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We added a second because a) we needed the extra thickness and b) cheap mattress pads have weird textures pressed into them to make you think it has some bogus cooling effect or something. Not bad for just $20 for the pair.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

I ended up stapling the edges for a cleaner finish and more permanent hold while we positioned the fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

And trimmed the excess:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Now, you normally use batting to ensure a smooth finish but we were on a mission of frugality and the cost of batting just wasn’t going to cut it.  We realized that batting was essentially just a thick layer of fibers so we found a cheap-o cotton blanket to help hide any uneven points on the padding. Once again, our trip to Wal-Mart proved fruitful.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

This time I flipped it over and stapled it to the back of the plywood so it held nice and tight across the padding:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Ignore the lumpy edges, those hide easily with the final piece of fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The next stage of the process was unexpectedly tedious. We moved things inside for a cleaner, cooler, and lighter work environment. Good thing we have an awkwardly empty space in our living room after all, I guess.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

So we draped the fabric over the board and smoothed everything out. What came next was an exercise in patience and dedication: tufting. I don’t know how it’s normally done, but I knew how I was going to do it: screws. But using short screws and washers, I could create that “pressed in” look, and it would hold, like forever.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

So I started in the center:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Note: the fabric was draped loosely over the ends of the board so we’d have plenty of slack if we needed it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Initially I tried measuring where each screw would go but that got old quickly. Plus, the positioning of the fabric would change slightly as I pressed on it to screw it in, so eventually I figured out how to predict where things needed to be and just eyeballed it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

What seemed like years later, I had driven in all 67 screws. Now the weird part: trying to bunch up the fabric into a “diamond-shaped tuft”.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Finally, it was time to secure everything. I didn’t want to flip the board over and crush the tufting, so I had to work from below. Fortunately we have an extra bedroom that is also awkwardly empty, so there was  some soft floor space so I could work on my back.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After stapling all around, we cut off the excess fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We folded a straight line from the end of each tuft off the edge to create a uniform look around all the edges.  We then stapled that tuft to the back of the headboard so it held.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After completing the board, it was time to move on to the posts. I used generic 2×6 lumber but had to be careful to select really straight pieces. Each post was 5′, so I just bought one 2x6x10 and cut it in half.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The process for wrapping the posts in fabric was a bit like wrapping a present, but instead of a box it’s lumber, instead of paper it’s fabric, and instead of tape it’s staples. we also made sure all the staples and edges ended up in what would be the back side of the board, so the nice smooth edge faced outward.

First with the cheap blanket:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Be sure to wrap the ends, too:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Repeat process with actual fabric:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Cut off excess:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Finally, it was time to put it all together. We moved the board to the guest room and laid it on the bed. Then, I set the posts up on the side and had Julie press down while I drilled up. This was actually a really difficult process, and of course Julie decided pictures were more important than being helpful.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Almost done (I only had to chase the cat away 100 times).

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Repeat the process for the other side, and your headboard is done. Time to mount it! Fortunately our bed frame had a bracket welded onto it for who knows what, but it had some holes I was able to run some drywall screws  through to secure everything so it didn’t flip over and turn my in-laws into Flat Stanley.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Huzzah! Headboard!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard


We wrapped up the upholstery work and installed the headboard in the room.  I then realized I had a dilemma.  Do I stop here or do I keep going?  Much like Sandro on this season’s Project Runway (anyone else watching this season?), I decided our headboard needed more bling and by bling, I, of course, mean nailhead detail.  After two calls consulting outsiders, one voted for, one voted against, I ultimately decided to go for it.  Oh yes, these side wings were in for a treat.

So while Chris stood beside me, giving himself a pat on the back for finishing another project, I, instead, smiled sweetly at him and asked for his help on the next stage of the project.

And I soon learned a vital lesson- never EVER convince yourself to save a few dollars by buying a case of loose nailhead, thinking you can spend a few extra minutes taking care to line them up straight.  This is the most frustrating, arduous process that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  Chris thought it would help by buying fishing line and nailing it down as a guide to follow.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

A great idea in theory but it didn’t execute that well.  Each time we’d nail a head in, it seemed impossible to get it to line up with the fishing line.  At the last second, it would go rogue on us and veer off course.  After an hour spent on this and barely making progress, I decided we could splurge and buy the cheater’s kit aka a nailhead kit that you only had to nail every 10th or so piece aka my lifesaver.

People of the DIY world- spend the extra dough for this.  So. Worth. It.

I bought mine at Michael’s, but here’s a link to buy it from Amazon.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

If that doesn’t convince you, it comes with a bonus of packaging that doubles as a cat toy.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After the nightmare of sparring with individual nailheads, this was a breeze.  You just unwrap the string of nailhead from the packaging and cut it off where you need it to stop.  I suggest cutting it to size before you begin nailing it in because the weight from the package makes it harder to install straight.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Next, place the string on the headboard and nail in the heads where there’s a hole in the trim (every 10th head or so).  Tip: use a rubber mallet to nail in the head to prevent scratches.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

30 minutes and 2 nailhead trim kits later, I was done!

Stay tuned for an additional post on how we made the fabric-covered buttons to complete the tufted look.

Materials and Costs:

  • Fabric (from local fabric store): $10 for the full remnant
  • Foam (aka 2 egg crate mattress pads from Walmart): $20
  • Batting (aka cheap blanket from Walmart): $5
  • Spray Adhesive (any craft store): $0 as we already had some on-hand
  • Staples and Staple Gun (any home improvement store): $0 as we already had some on-hand
  • Small sheet metal screws (from Home Depot): $3
  • Plywood (from Home Depot): $10
  • 2x6s to create side wings (from Home Depot): $5
  • Washers (from Home Depot): $1
  • 2 nailhead trim kits (from Michael’s with 40% off coupon): $24
  • Rubber mallet (from Walmart): $5
  • Button making kit (from this eBay vendor): $17

Total: $100


DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard


Update: To see how we made fabric buttons to cover the screws on the headboard, check out our easy, step-by-step guide here.


Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

Earning Our Stripes


Dear home decor companies,

Why oh why are your store shelves void of striped curtains?  Don’t you know your shoppers are pleading for you to add such items to your inventory?  There are thousands of households out there in desperate need of glamorously striped window decoration and you are letting them down.  Please address this issue.  Immediately.


Seriously though, I’m seeing striped curtains everywhere now but apparently the only way to add a little stripe to your drape is by either painting or sewing it on yourself.

So while the shopper in me was frustrated as can be, the DIYer in me was itching at the chance to make my own striped curtains.

I mean, look at these beautiful things!


Sources (left to right): Amanda Carol at Home, Bag Fashionista


Sources (left to right): Dear Lillie, Reckless Glamour

I found the perfect curtain candidate.  I had installed a set of white grommeted (extra long!) curtains in our ex-hoarders room (more on that later).  They needed an extra umph and that umph would be stripes!

I’m still amazed to see floor space in our ex-hoarders room.  These pictures were before we really jazzed up the room (more pictures of the full room to come later).

Now the question was what color.  I like the look of gray or salmon colored curtains so I tested a few samples on an old T-shirt to see how they looked.

For the salmon color, I can’t remember the name and it wasn’t printed on the label but the formula is FL 6, RL 115, TL 71 with a base of UL204.

Chris picked his usual choice, the darkest option (Cement Gray), so naturally my feminine instinct chose the exact opposite option, the lightest (Natural Gray).  The other two grays looked almost black when held up to the sunlight and the salmon was beginning to look a little pink.  That left our winner, Natural Gray.

I read on another blog that this process took them about 4 hours to complete so it took me awhile to finally suck it up and take on this project.  The competitor in me was convinced I could get it done faster though.  I was also convinced that I had to keep the “4 hour precedent” a secret from Chris or this project would never see the light of day.

Fortunately, Chris didn’t figure out the time commitment on this project until we were too far in.  Unfortunately, the blog was right.  It ended up taking about 4 hours.  Oh well, it looks great and, thus, was well worth it.


Julie and I occasionally (read: usually) fight over home decor. I rarely care about colors, patterns, etc., but Julie always wants my opinion, whether it exists or not.

One thing I really don’t care about is curtains. Julie spent my ability to pretend to care when we picked out curtains for our master bedroom, and I was able to “fake the funk” for the living room. So, by the time it came to picking out the sixth set of curtains for the house, I really, really, really didn’t care, and was not able to feign behavior to indicate otherwise. Naturally, this became a point of contention.

Now, it’s important to note that I actually did care about one thing: price. After spending what seemed like years in the curtain aisle at Target, I somehow convinced Julie that the cheapest set in her “maybe pile” would look best. Little did I know that she was merely setting me up for a new project.

So here’s what I thought was a victory: plain, simple curtains.

These were apparently too “blah” for the room, and we were now planning on  painting them. Like, with wall paint.

Step 1 was to iron them. Julie is terrible at ironing, but my mom had made my sister and I iron our clothes every day since we were six. So I do all the ironing in our house:

Next, we had to measure where our tape would go. We went with thick stripes spaced 10″ apart:

Once we had our lines measured out, we (carefully) laid painter’s tape. Keep in mind that every other stripe is unpainted, so your outer tape lines are what need to be 10″ apart. Also, we used the green tape, as it is quite a bit stickier than the blue or white varieties.

Next, we laid the curtains out on the tile floor.

Step 5: remove dirt, dust, and pests.

At this point, I decided it was time to change the spark plugs in my car, so Julie actually did some work this time, painting until she ran out and we had to make a Home Depot run (FYI: we used 3 cans of sample paint for this project but really could’ve used a fourth… so if you take this project on, do yourself a favor and just buy 4 sample sizes at the start).

<Insert Home Depot run for more paint.>

We ended up doing 2 full coats because it’s really difficult to get the paint even. Also, the grout lines of the tile showed up as thin spots and were a huge pain to paint over.

After letting everything dry, we pulled up the tape, fully expecting uneven stripes, bleeding lines, and thin spots, but we were pleasantly surprised.

We put the curtains back up only to realize that sunlight really highlights the thin spots, so we just pulled them straight in front of the window, turned off the lights, and touched up anywhere we saw sunlight coming through.

I’d say this project was a success because we saved tons of money, but until someone invents an affordable time machine I will never get those hours of curtain shopping back.


Voilah!  Striped curtains.  Take that manufactured curtains!


Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

We’ve Been Framed!


I’ve been wanting to add something to the blank wall in our bedroom to add some interest to that side.  I was stuck on what to do though.  We already had an iron piece above the bed (more on that here) and a mirror on the wall opposite to the bed (seen here) so I needed something different.  I settled on creating a gallery wall after finding these inspiration pictures on Pinterest.

Source: 4 Men 1 Lady

Source: Better Home and Gardens

Source: Pinterest, Two Twenty-One

It would add personality to our room through personal photos and art while also taking up a decent amount of room (did I mention it’s a BIG blank wall?).

First up was finding the floating shelves.  The shelves in my inspiration pictures were simple white shelves but I wanted something chunkier and a little more decorative.  I struck out at the first few stores (Target- not long enough and a little on the expensive side at $25 each compared to others I’ve seen, Michael’s- no decorative options) but finally lucked out at Christmas Tree Shops where I found not only the perfect shelves but the perfect price- $9.99 each.  DONE.

Knowing I needed quite a few frames, I next ventured to IKEA to pick up some RIBBA frames.  These frames are great- they’re simple black frames that come with white mats already in them.  Now the question was how to lay all this out.  I carved out a section in the IKEA frame area and got to work building a few different options to decide what size frames to take home.


After the fourth dirty look from a fellow shopper trying to reach a frame in my construction zone, I reached my final decision.  I would put four frames on each shelf.  Here’s the breakdown of what I bought:

1 RIBBA 8″ x 10″ black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 20″ x 9″ (fits three 5″ x 7″) black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 4″ x 4″ black photo frame: $9.99

1 RIBBA 4″ x6″ black photo frame: $2.99 (I can’t find it on the site but I promise it exists)

2 RIBBA 5″ x 7″ black photo frames: $2.99

1 10″ x 14″ black photo frame from Michael’s: $5.99 (IKEA didn’t have this size in the RIBBA so I found a similar one at Michael’s that would fit an odd-sized piece of art I had)

Now it came down to what I should use to fill the frames.  I had 10 spaces to fill which, at first, seemed exciting but turned out to be an arduous task of finding that many items that a) correlated with each other and b) fit the correct frame size.

Well, after several weeks of frames scattered all over our floor and searching through old photos and Etsy for art at every possible chance, the long journey has ended.  Here’s how I managed to fill all the frames:

Top row, from the left:

1) 4×6: One of my bridal shots

2) 10×14: A painting of a girl with a red umbrella strolling through an alley that I picked up in Prague, Czech Republic

3) 8×10: A typography piece I created using an ee cummings quote.

4) 5×7: A shot from Chris and I’s wedding

Bottom row, from the left:

5) 4×4: A photo of Chris and I from our first high school dance together (seems so long ago!)

6) 8×10: A black and white print of a floral arrangement that I picked up from IKEA for a whopping 99 cents.

7) 20×9: 2 photos- one of our Christmas card photo from this year and one from last and 1 typography print that I created which says “I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night,” a quote from Galileo Galilei (I needed something nerdy to represent Chris).

8) 5×7: Of course our room needed a little more Texas in it so I found this cute print from 1canoe2 Letterpress on Etsy for $18.

For those of you interested in the typography pieces I created, you’re in luck.  I’m giving them both away in free printables!  Happy birthday to you.

Galileo quote: download here

ee cummings quote: download here

Happy framing!


For those of you at home wondering how much of what we say is true, I’ll answer your question: yes, Julie really does lay out frames in the middle of the store, regardless of how many “slip and fall” hazards she’s created.

I’ve built a lot of shelves, but they’ve almost always had some sort of support extending to the ground. This time was a little different, though. Julie wanted floating shelves, which meant I’d have to mount them to the frame of the house. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except that it took me two days to explain to Julie that they could only be moved up and down, not left or right.

Here’s a DIY tip for you: when trying to determine the location of the studs in your house, start with an electrical outlet. The outlet box is always going to be mounted to a stud, and almost always on the left side. So, chances are that to the right of your outlet is going to be a wood stud. Studs are most commonly placed 16″ apart (sometimes 12″ or 24″, though), so just get a tape measure and you should find a new stud every 16″!

Anyway, after finally convincing Julie of the necessary placement, I ran a 2.25″ drywall screw into the stud and measured out the distance I’d need to mount the second screw, using a level to ensure they were at the same height. Since the mounting points for the shelves were 20″ apart, it would technically be unsupported on one side, so I used a drywall anchor to retain a little stability. After making a few height decisions, I mounted the second shelf as offset as possible while still mounting to the stud on one side.

After the shelves were mounted, we laid out the frames. The shelves are somewhat narrow, so getting the thick frames to lean at the proper angle was a bit time consuming. We finally got everything set up just the way we liked it and went to bed. Unfortunately, around 2 AM, we awoke to the sound of the biggest frame taking a nose dive off the shelf and splitting itself in two. Somehow the glass stayed intact, but I had to glue the frame back together. Clearly, a solution needed to be found.

Julie hates it when I rummage through my “car stuff” cabinet in search of anything that will end up inside the house, but I knew I had the solution: double-sided foam tape.

It’s made for vehicle trim pieces but I’m convinced it would hold your car to the ceiling if you wanted it to… so I knew it would work on some picture frames. I cut some small pieces and placed them strategically around the frames to hold them to the shelves, the wall, and each other.

It may be overkill, but we’ll probably have to cut a section of the wall out if we ever want to take them down.

As for the pictures in the frames, we’re admittedly vain and thoroughly enjoy looking at ourselves, and we just couldn’t resist adding some Texas into another room.

The results.


Filed under Master Bedroom

Our Baby’s One Today!


Earlier this week, we realized that today is the blog’s first birthday.  My, how time flies!

We then wondered how one goes about celebrating a blog birthday.  I mean I’ll take any excuse there is to bake a cake but that doesn’t really fit the virtual theme of the blog.

Chris thought we should revisit our favorite projects from the past year.  Not bad, but then I had the problem of selecting one.  I’m 100% more excited about my future project list than I am our past accomplishments and with Chris, vice versa.  When we’ve finished a project, he tends to take a step back, admire our work, and relish in its completion.  With me, it’s a little different.  I take a step back, admire our work, then start narrowing down my future projects list to the next contender, and usually want to start on it immediately.

Thus, we concluded that Chris would focus on his favorite 3 past projects and I would divulge my favorite 3 future projects.  Besides, settling on a blog topic that would (finally) be uniform wouldn’t be our style anyway.

So here we go…

Julie’s Top 3 FUTURE Projects:

1. Doors.

While this may not sound that glamorous, I am OBSESSED with the notion that our doors will one day all be upgraded from the current flat panel, yellowing doors from the 70s to freshly painted white, two panel doors.  Not to mention, a change from the odd, old brass door knobs to new satin nickel ones.

We have already started the process of replacing doors (more on that here).  We’re currently 3 for 13… so yeah, we have a ways to go.  Obviously, this is a more long-term goal but still, the day the last door is replaced is the day I throw the largest celebration the world has ever seen… for a door.

For the doors, we’re going from this (excuse Chris’ creepy head):

To this:

Source: Home Depot, Steves and Sons

And for the door knobs, we’re going from this:

To this:

Source: Home Depot, Kwikset

2. Headboard

I’ve been wanting to build an upholstered headboard for the guest bedroom for quite some time now.  It’s really the only thing that needs to happen before we reveal the room on the blog (patience young grasshopper).  The hold-up has been finding the perfect fabric.

A few weeks ago, as I was wandering around West Elm, I found it.  THE fabric.  Here it is on an ottoman.  The fabric’s called Rosette in platinum.

It spoke to me.  It said, “Julie, if you don’t buy up three yards of me right now, you’re an idiot.”  Done.  I rushed to find a sales associate to ring me up.  Little did I know, my heart was about to be severed in half.  She said the two little words that sent shockwaves through my shop-a-holic self: “Sold. Out.”


Her only words of encouragement were, “well, we still have it in Blue Stone” (seen below).

A word of advice to all sales associates: a different available color does not immediately rectify everything.  *Sigh.

So then I contacted West Elm to see if they would be restocking inventory in the platinum color.


So then I asked if they could supply the manufacturer’s name so I could order directly through them.


So, now I’m back at square one.

3. Wood Floors

I have been yearning for the day that my new wood floors will enter into my life.  It’s not only a cosmetic change, it’s a necessary change.  And here’s why:

Reason One.  Our kitchen floors are NASTY.  Not because they’re not clean.  We sweep, we swiffer, we scrub, but to no avail. What we originally thought was tile (later we discovered it to be linoleum) was once a bright white color… in the 70s.  Over time, the color has yellowed and the years of constant foot traffic have worn down the surface to be a breeding ground for permanent stains.

Reason Two.  We currently have six different floors in our house.  Red brick-patterned tile in the office and powder room, white(ish) linoleum in the laundry room and kitchen, oak laminate in the dining room, 18″ beige tile in the living room, hallway, and guest bathroom, gray twist carpet in the bedrooms, and a wood-look tile in the master bathroom.  Yup, six.  And that seems like a lot for a three bedroom house.  If we at least laid down wood in the kitchen and dining room that would slim the list down to five (I would probably use the same wood-look tile from the master bathroom in the laundry room so the linoleum would be completely gone).  So, still a lot of floor options but, hey, it’s still one less.

Reason Three.


Right image: Mayflower Sundance Handscraped Hardwood from Lumber Liquidators

Left image: Virginia Mill Works Engineered Potomac Plank Handscraped Hardwood from Lumber Liquidators.

Enough said.

So, Chris, what’s up first?


For the record, I never thought the linoleum in the kitchen was tile. Ever.

Anyway, I was shocked to find out the blog was only a year old… maybe because I’ve been doing these projects for so much longer (you didn’t think it was written in real-time, did you?).  So, I’ve decided to recap my favorite projects thus far.

Chris’ Top 3 PAST Projects:

1) Half-bath

Honestly, this project wasn’t really a big deal, but it was the first project we did, besides painting a few rooms. What’s more is that we did it together, on a really low budget. It was a fun, productive way to spend time together and the payoff was HUGE (the old bathroom was hideous, in case you don’t remember, read about that transformation here). We were elated with a feeling of accomplishment, and we eagerly showed it off to everyone who entered our home.

This project turned out to be a double-edged sword, though, as it resulted in Julie being bitten by what us car guys call “the mod bug.”  Effortlessly transforming a powder room had betrayed my handyman skills, and Julie’s eyes were filled with renovation greed.  I was doomed to a weekend life of labor.





2) Master bedroom

I’ve cheated a little bit with this one, as it’s really an ongoing project. But it’s probably one of the most important ones- it’s the last room I see before I go to sleep, and the first one I see when I wake up. It’s quiet, relaxing, and private. It’s also constantly changing- painting, repainting, curtains, chairs, lights, etc. It’s also the site of the project where I PUT A NAIL THROUGH MY FINGER (read the gruesome tale here).

Normally, I hate Julie’s habitual indecision, but I have to admit that I don’t mind too much here. We’ve created a really great piece of the house that’s just for us, and I really enjoy spending time there, even if half of it has been painting.


Attempt One.


3) Front door

This may be our (read: my) latest project, but it’s probably one of the ones I’m most proud of because it took a considerable amount of skill… and a sickening amount of mind-numbing labor.  Staining and finishing wood is something of a dying art, and I’ve been dabbling in it for a few years.  I think I finally managed to find the right combination of chemicals, methods, and personal touch to get the results I’ve been looking for (read the full story here).

I also felt like Hercules after mounting a solid wood door by myself.  Twice.



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Filed under Site Housekeeping

Mastering the Master


Change-up time.  I’ve finally been allowed to write second.  Is that a pig that just flew by?


If you read this blog regularly, you know what kind of weird and tacky stuff the previous owners of our house did- the wood paneling (more on that here), the dried-mustard yellow bathrooms (more on that here and here), the lockless gun cabinet/mini-bar combo (more on that here)- but one room that was actually pretty nice was the master bedroom… mostly. Or so we thought.

When we looked at the house with our realtor, we thought the master bedroom might be on the bottom of our renovation list. It was big, clean, open, well-lit, and quiet. The walls were a calm, light blue, but for some reason they decided to paint the ceiling a very dark blue. I’m not an expert on decorating, but I know that dark colors shrink a room… and trust me, they lower a ceiling, too.

Dark blue ceiling… but it’s an easy fix, right? Right…?

When we went back for a second viewing before putting in an offer, we noticed that it seemed a little strange to put a rug in the middle of a carpeted room, and then we noticed something else- this:

Before I pulled back the rug, I knew what I would find, and I was right. There was a HUGE dark blue stain on the carpet where they had obviously kicked a paint can over. What a bunch of rookies.

We knew we wanted to replace the carpet, but now it had to be replaced. We put in an offer and one of the conditions was that they pay to put in new carpet. We actually ended up picking out and purchasing the new carpet before we had the keys to the house and had our carpet guy store it for us until the sellers had finished moving out.

On move-in day, we put everything we owned into the living room (sadly, it fit quite well). The next day, we began our first project- painting the room. We picked out a dark brown for the walls, the biggest bucket of white ceiling paint we could find, and very quickly learned how much we hate painting.

If you’ve never painted a ceiling, try to keep it that way. It’s by far the most difficult and messiest thing you can do to drywall. Most of our ceilings were an off-white color and only required two coats, but that stupid dark blue literally took three gallons to cover up, and there are still a few thin spots. It took me longer to paint that one ceiling than it did the walls of both the master and the guest bedroom! The next day we were having the carpet installed, so we were under the gun to get the painting done, including all the trim. What a beating!

In the end it was worth it- the white ceiling and trim looked great against the brown walls. We later installed crown moulding and were finally done.

Like my painter’s caulked corner? Gotta love North Texas soil.

We arranged the furniture, got some lamps that worked on the wall switch, and were done- finally, a finished room and a place to relax after a long, hard day of renovating the rest of this outdated house! Or so I thought.


It’s been a constant fight of dark vs light in our house since we moved in.  No, I don’t mean some weird Star Wars good vs evil theme, I mean paint.  Chris and I will pick out a color and I’ll want to go two shades lighter while he’ll want to go two shades darker.  It’s a constant battle.

After posting a plethora of paint chips to the walls, Chris convinced me to go with a dark  tan color.  After painting the ceiling white, he convinced me the room needed a dark color on the walls.  It would be soothing, a perfect retreat after a long day.

PSH.  It looked like muddy river water.  See?

Not exactly the “relaxing retreat” we were going for.  So we’d just repaint it.  No biggie.  The only problem- Chris LOVED it.  Sigh.

Well, it wasn’t really a matter of if we would change it, it was a matter of when.  I let Chris enjoy his muddy walls for a few months and finally decided I had had enough.  It was repaint time.  I decided I wanted to keep it a neutral, tan color but go WAY lighter.

I ended up picking Behr’s Wheat Bread.

This has seriously become my favorite paint color.  I’ve had to restrain myself from painting the whole house this color.  It’s a neutral, light greige color that evokes instant calm and serenity.  Perfection.  Chris’ thoughts after we repainted?  “It’s too light.”  Sigh.

I also decided it was time to update our bedding from the red IKEA comforter I had from college (most comfortable comforter ever but didn’t quite the match the new look we were going for).

We used the remainder of our Macy’s gift cards from the wedding to spring for a new bedding set called Poetical by Barbara Barry.  It’s not available at Macy’s anymore but you can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

It’s a modern, neutral pattern that I paired with  a teal Pottery Barn quilt and euro shams called Pick-Stitch in the Porcelain Blue color (the top quilt shown in the below picture).


We were well on our way to a brand new master retreat.  But, first a little wall art and lamps were needed.  My mom helped me pick out an iron scroll to hang on the wall from Hobby Lobby, which has a great selection of inexpensive options.

And then, I found THE lamps.  I’ve always loved these iron table lamps from Pottery Barn but at $170 a pop, they weren’t really a reasonable option.

While perusing Kirkland’s, I found them.  Something so great, I spent the day chanting “I love lamp, I love lamp.”  AND they were only $35 each.  Jackpot.  Unfortunately, they’re not available at Kirkland’s anymore as their inventory changes so quickly but you can see pictures below.

And, of course the last addition was our newly renovated night stands, which you can read about here.

Okay, enough talk already.  Here are the results:


Filed under Master Bedroom

The Dark Night (Stand)


I’ve been on a mission ever since we moved into the house.  And, no, it’s not driving Chris insane with the never-ending list of projects.  Two words (or is it one word? I can never figure it out): Night stands.

The before wasn’t pretty.  So much so that I completely forgot to take pictures of what we had been working with since we got married: an $8 IKEA table (literally, $8).  We seriously walked into IKEA, perused the 5 million square feet building, and found the cheapest, elevated, flat surface to bring home.  Thank you Mr. LACK.

This was a proud moment for Chris- convincing me to walk out with the cheapest table in the store.  While, for me, a very low point.  Mostly because we went with the black-brown option (is black-brown really fooling anyone into thinking it looks like wood??).

My side boasted of a rattan side table passed down from my parents’ attic.  I had used it since my apartment days of college.  It worked fine.  I had two baskets underneath to store all my junk.  Perfect-o.  Well, sum up my horror for the LACK table and it just about equals Chris’ feelings for my night stand.  I think it was mostly due to the fact that Chloe (our cat) used it as her scratching post (hey, better than any of the thousand upholstered chairs we’ve seemed to acquire).

Only one friend could solve our problem.  Craigs List.  But how Craigs List failed me!  After what took months (seriously… months!), I finally stumbled upon a set of low-priced, beat-up night stands that I could wave my magical wand of spray paint and sandpaper at and churn out a handsome set of furniture.  I’m still shocked that we answered the ad because this is the picture we were working from.

A little tone-on-tone wood never deterred me though!  $40 later and the back seat of my car featured these two fellas.

This picture does them a little more justice.  The tops were a little rough- worn varnish, scratches, blue paint splotches, oh my!

And look at those gold drawer pulls!  I couldn’t wait to tear those things off.

But the best part was the bonus prize we found stuffed behind one of the drawers.  From Valentine’s Day cards, to old checks, to trash, we found it all (quickly shredded and disposed of, you’re welcome, sellers).  All except one piece, that is.

Craigs List sellers beware: make sure all your personal items are out of the item you’re selling or your grocery list could end up on some random person’s blog… like this.

Yum, looks good!  I love whatever “salad stuff” is, but seriously, who puts a question mark after wine?  Wine is not a question, people!


There are a lot of outrageously-priced items out there: jeans, a decent cup of coffee, used Hondas, etc. And, apparently, beat up furniture. Julie and I hit Craigslist at least once a day looking for a good deal on used furniture and quite frankly, a fair price is not to be had very often. I blame HGTV for creating a false demand and running up the prices.

Anyway, we finally stumbled across a pair of night stands that we thought might have potential. We both had a certain look in mind that we couldn’t quite describe but we knew it when we saw it, and we finally saw it. A quick jaunt to the other end of town, a bit of shoe-horning into the trunk, and we were merrily on our way home with our latest project.

First things first- cleaning. These things were in sad shape- dog hair, paint stains, trash, you name it. It was hard to get a proper idea of what condition they were really in until we wiped them down a few times and even hit one with a shop vac, but we soon realized that we had some work to do.

Next, we had to strip the old finish for two reasons. One, the tops were incredibly rough and, obviously, we wanted them smooth. Second, there was a high-sheen varnish on them that would need to be stripped in order for the new paint to adhere. We started with a handheld sanding block to roughen the finish enough to paint:

The tops, on the other hand, required the power sander to get through years of abuse, resulting in scraped-off varnish in some places and build-up in others:

After sanding the hell out of them, we still had discoloration in the wood, but whatever- it was smooth, and we were painting over it anyway.

Now for my least favorite part: painting. I hate painting. Whether it’s a brush or a rattle-can, I can’t stand it. It was too cold to spray outside, so I had to spray in the garage and even with a mask on, the fumes were overwhelming.

Anyway, these took quite a bit more paint than I expected. The dark wood didn’t cover as easily as I’d hoped, and I ended up doing three coats, sanding lightly between each one to ensure a smooth finish in the end.

The difference between wood and paint can be seen here:

For tips on spray painting furniture, check out our previous post on that here.

After the first coat:

The drastic difference between one and two coats:

Want to know why I hate painting? Because it makes my hand swell up like a balloon! I told Julie I needed hazard pay from now on.

Finally, I was done painting and Julie could begin “distressing.” The one on the left is painted, the one on the right has been distressed:


As a finishing touch, I decided to apply a coat of urethane to the tops. After all, these were going to be functional and quite frankly, we don’t baby our furniture… and I don’t want to paint them again.

We realized after everything was done that we had forgotten about the handles. After spending what seemed like an eternity in the cabinet hardware aisle at Home Depot (I’d rather paint than be in that stupid aisle) and only to return home empty-handed, I got the idea to just spray the original handles with oil-rubbed-bronze-look spray paint and call it a day. Fortunately, Julie loved the look as it kept the original style of the night stands but also updated the finish. Problem solved!

These night stands turned out so well we were tempted to sell them (as we patted ourselves on the back for such a professional finish), but we assume at the rate we find furniture on Craigslist, a deal like these will come by around the same time we next see Halley’s Comet.



Ah, white distressed.  My favorite.  I’d like to point out right now, that I’ve gone this entire post without using the word “shabby chic.”  Ha!  It can be done.

The bottom space of the night stand was perfectly suited to putting a basket to hide all our books/magazines… I guess I should say “my” books/magazines as Chris’ aversion to reading outdoes his aversion to our cat 10:1.

Oh, and the color we used is Rust-oleum’s Satin Heirloom White spray paint, found at Home Depot.  My new favorite color by far.

Stay tuned for a sneak peek into more of our master bedroom soon (aka the left side of this picture).


Filed under Before & After, Master Bedroom