Turning a dresser into a media stand

Last we’d left off with our newest family member Craigslist find, I’d just divulged the story of a sweet, sweet man who’d sold me this lovely mid-century Bassett dresser and made my New Years complete…

I knew immediately that I wanted this beauty to serve as a media stand in our living room, so we tried him out in the space to be sure he’d work.  As anticipated, I LOVED the result (He fit right in.  Made friends immediately.), so we got to work transforming him into a media stand.

We began by removing those wooden mirror supports (shown in the pic above).  Then, Joey drilled large holes in the back of both the dresser and the top drawers to allow space for wires to escape and ventilation to ensue…


Then, we purchased this puppy for $30 from Radioshack…

This IR repeater allows you to hide your media equipment behind closed drawers (or doors… whatever floats your boat) while still being able to operate the remote control.  The only external evidence of this smart little device is a small eye which is attached to the TV….

I have to say, it works pretty well.  Not perfect by any means, but that’s okay.  We have to point the remote at crazy angles sometimes to get it to work, but really, it hasn’t been much of an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  I’ll gladly take a little remote control gymnastics over having our media equipment exposed.

All-in-all, when we purchased it, the dresser was in pretty good shape.  Some scratches and imperfections in the finish (which is to be expected of a 50+ year old dresser) and three small missing areas of veneer on the side (Note: I’d already “blended” the missing areas in the middle and left of this pic when I snapped this shot… they were quite light-colored and glaring prior to this)….

To help camouflage these areas, I simply used some oil pastels…

And simply layered and blended the colors until I had a close enough match…

I tried using stain and a permanent marker prior to this, but neither worked well.  The oil pastels were great because I could just keep layering and adding color until I achieved a match.  And the more I added, the smoother the areas looked and the more they matched the dresser in terms of texture as well as color.   In the end, I was left with this…


It’s not perfect, but these areas definitely blend much more.  I barely notice them from afar.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the camera makes these spots appear more noticeable than they are in person.  So squint when you look at these shots.  Heehee!  I will say that prior to using pastels, the missing veneer grated at my nerves every time I walked past.  Now, I barely see it.  So, we’re cool. Thus, I’ve placed the stink-eye back into hibernation mode…


And here’s our dresser in action…


COULDN’T.LOVE.IT.MORE.   It’s like this dresser was born to reside in our living room.   It takes up less space than our previous media cabinet, thus, makes the room feel bigger.  And it balances the console table on the opposite side of the space perfectly.  Plus, the era of the dresser suits the 1970’s vibe of the room better than its more modern predecessor.  I heart you, dresser.  You sexy, sexy beast.

As for our living room…. it’s definitely coming along, though there’s still more to do.   I’m on a perpetual hunt for a larger rug for the space.  Our little postage stamp of a 5×8 just isn’t cutting it…

This space is quite cavernous compared to the smaller, cozy living room in our last house.  And I love it, but the decor needs definitely change when the scale of the room does.  I’m currently on the lookout for a rug large enough to fit the entire couch on top of it (likely a 9×12), so wish me luck with that.  Big rug, decent quality, little price tag.  This is my mission.  Well, my secondary mission.   I’m also putting forth effort to de-brown the space.  I realize that this makes no sense being that I just moved a new brown piece of furniture into the room, but hear me out…

Since taking these pics, I’ve finished painted the built-ins beside the fireplace and am now in the process of putting everything back together.  I’m giddy each time I see it.  Y’all… painting it was SO the right decision.  I can’t wait to show you.   The rug that I ultimately choose won’t be in the brown family either –possibly grey undertones or something with a pop of color.   Then, I’m tossing around the idea of moving the coffee table into the hang-out room and replacing it with something either white or with a pop of color (depending on the rug we end up with).  Or maybe a sleek glass table would be nice.  Something with a metal base.   My next painting project will be to paint the wet bar cabinets (seen two pictures up) white to match our new-and-improved built-ins.  Ultimately, I want the only major brown items in the room to be the fireplace and the media stand.  The two items that deserve the attention most.  I also have some crazy-cool artwork that needs to be hung around the television.

I know it seems like a lot when I’m listing it off in writing, but this stuff really excites me, so it doesn’t seem like much to me at all.  I think the biggest thing will be simply FINDING the rug.  The rest will come together after that.

So, anyways, that’s the plan, Stan!  I hope everyone has a safe and fabulous Superbowl weekend!!   What projects do you have going right now??

Our guest bath and a little lead scare

Remember this guy??  Our guest bath???


He now looks like this…

Kind of the same. Just accessorized.  But, in my opinion, also kinda charming.  Even I was surprised by this fact.  I became super giddy as I saw the room coming together, and realized that I actually liked what I saw (forthemostpart).

This room, along with our master coffin bath, will be getting full-on renovations down the line (If you’d like to see what I mean by “coffin” check out the master bath pics in our house tour.  Then, you’ll know.).  I’m not quite sure what the responsible party was thinking when they installed a black tub, sink and tile in this room.  I mean it’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.  Watermarks galore.  It’s like one of those ghost shows… I clean the spots, smile at my newly sparkling sink/tub, turn my head, look back and they’ve reappeared.  Out of NOWHERE.  This room may very well defy the laws of physics.  Or perhaps it’s like Room 1408.  Plotting to drive me insane.  Spoiler Alert: It’s working.

Aside from the color, we’re just not fans of the black pedestal sink in general….

Like at all. It’s a little too ornate for our taste and provides ZERO storage.  Whatsoever.   We’ve been scoping out other options for vanities with storage and plan to replace the sink at some point.  This bathroom also came equipped with brass fixtures, which I actually kind of like.  They’re sort of vintage-y, which I totally dig.

But, unfortunately, they’re gonna have to go. Remember WAY back in this post, I alluded to the fact that we found lead in the house??  Well, we found it in the brass fixtures and corresponding brass pipes that extend to the wall where it meets the copper piping….

For anyone purchasing a house that was built before 1978, it’s recommended that you get the house tested for lead. We didn’t know this until after we moved in, so I purchased this lead tester kit from Home Depot for 9 bucks.

Basically you just pinch the spots on the sticks marked “A” and “B” until you hear them pop, then squeeze/shake until yellow liquid appears in the tip. Then, you simply rub the end of the stick into any areas of cracked paint, window frames, pipes, whatever. Anywhere that may pose a lead risk. You can use the same stick repeatedly unless you get a positive result, which is when the tip turns red….

This was taken after I tested the brass pipes in the guest bath. I’ve been told that the tip will turn bright red when there’s sufficient lead present, so the fact that it only turned slightly red was better than it could’ve been.  But that didn’t make me feel much better, to be honest.

Of course, I immediately took to the internet to figure out what to do. Ultimately, we need to replace the pipes and fixtures. But I’ll admit… I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do when I discovered this guy in the shower….

It has just two plumbing accesses for hot and cold water and NO plumbing for the tub spigot (the water-flow stems off of the hot and cold knobs)…

And there’s also NO plumbing for the mis-matched shower head….

That would be a hand-held showerhead that is also connected to the main tub unit.  It’s simply mounted to the wall on a bracket.  All water stems from the main tub unit.

After a bit of research I found this potential replacement…


It’s totally not my style, but it’s lead-free and will fit our current plumbing situation, so I sent this photo to Joey via text.  He responded that he’d “better demo the bathroom soon” (so we wouldn’t need to buy this fixture).  He actually thought I was joking when I first suggested it because it’s so far off from our usual style.

So, needless to say, we haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’m hoping to find a more modern fixture that still suits the style of the house and isn’t over $400.  That’s the problem… any modern fixture with similar plumbing accesses is super expensive.   So, the hunt is on.   Down the line when we tear this puppy apart (ie: buh-bye black tile), we’ll replumb for a standard tub/shower set which will open up many more possibilities.

I’m also still on the lookout for a sink faucet, but I want whatever we choose to coordinate with the tub fixture, so we have to get that decision hammered out first.    Because we’ll also have to replace the pipes beneath the sink at the same time as the faucet, we’d like to swap out the pedestal sink for a vanity with storage at the same time, to be sure that the pipes align correctly.  See how that happens???  A simple faucet swap turns into a reno.  Just.Like.That.

In the meantime, since the brass is still present, we’ve educated ourselves on the precautions to take to limit our lead exposure…

1. Let the tap water run before using it until a temperature change is noted.  This indicates that any water sitting in the pipes has been flushed out.

2. Wash Lucas’s hands in another sink and use fresh, filtered water (not tap) to brush his teeth.

The remaining tips don’t really apply to the bathroom, but since we found lead in the house, we’ve been extra cautious in the kitchen as well.  So, when it comes to cooking…

3. We never use hot tap water for cooking, boiling, etc.   Supposedly, the heat can cause more lead to detach from the pipes (if there is lead in the pipes — our pipes are copper, so they should be fine, though better safe than sorry.).

4. After performing research, we’ve been testing out different water filters.   We tried a Zerowater filtration pitcher, which is certified to remove lead from drinking water.   We let the tap water run until there was a temperature change, then filtered our water.  We used this water for cooking and drinking…. well, that is until the filter crapped out.  We only used it for about a month and the water started tasting NASTY.  The filter comes with a water tester so that you can see how clean your water is and the “filtered water” came out dirtier than the tap.   So, needless to say, I’m not sold on this filter.

Joey then installed an under-the-sink filter that’s certified for lead removal.   And he installed both a filter in the pipe behind the fridge and a heavier-duty filter inside the fridge for double filtration. Hopefully, these actions will keep our lead exposure to a minimum.

So, with that covered, I’m gonna jump back to bathroom decor…


I ordered a long (84″) shower curtain from Amazon.   I wish I could raise the curtain higher, but that blasted soffit limits that, unfortunately.  I cant wait to tear that sucker outta there.  I added some simple white towels, a wire basket with a faux plant, a small rug, and a stool which comes in extra handy when bathing Lucas.

I still need to add artwork to the wall with the stool, but I’m marinating on what to hang.  I’d also like to change the wall color.  The current paint is a flat finish (never good for a bathroom), and the walls are quite dirty in spots.  I have to say, though… despite the room’s obvious maladies, I’m okay with it for now.  I mean, sure, I’d never CHOOSE a black tub or sink. #leastpracticalever, but it’s definitely a conversation piece and it looks semi-cute with the white shower curtain and slate tile (whenitsclean).  It’ll definitely be fun to start planning the reno, though, once some of the other more pressing issues with the house are taken care of.   And we plan to come up with a solution for those faucets soon, to get them outta there.

Next up, I’ll finally be working on my post for our new mid-century dresser turned media stand.  Aaaaaand this weekend, I painted our 1970’s built-in!!  Our living room is still all crazy since everything needs to cure before I reattach the doors and such, but y’all… it looks SO good so far.   Way better than that badly shellacked 70’s wood tone.   I can’t wait to share.

So, do any of you guys have any other tips for dealing with lead?  I’m all ears eyes…

Dining room madness

That’s right, folks!  Madness, I tell you!!!

So, in order to really review the changes that’ve gone down as of late, let’s look back at the journey that our dining room has taken up to this point.  Because I like journeys.  And progress.  Progress is good.  So, when I revisit a journey it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something even though I’m not done yet.  It’s like giving myself a pep talk.   I guess that’s what this blog really is, huh?  One giant pep talk.  Plus, it’s fun.  And I like it.  I like to blog.  I like a lot of things today.  It’s a good day.  Wow. #patonback

(*coughcough*) Anyways.  Moving on… when we purchased the house, the space looked like this, complete with beige carpeting that was just BEGGING for stains…


So, we changed out the carpet for ebony laminate and plopped our furniture down on moving day…


…and added a rug, curtains and shelves


I liked the space well enough like this, but it just wasn’t right.   Something just rubbed me the wrong way. Annoyed me.  Made me twitch.   After much deliberation, I realized as much as I loved the rug, I couldn’t help but feel that it was competing with Drex (my beloved mid-century buffet) and our awesome 70’s stone fireplace. Ya know, the two pieces that really should’ve been stealing the show to begin with.   There was just a lot of brown happening.  Too much. I thought that maybe painting the table white would help change up the tone of the room and allow the rug to work in the space.   So, I did that…


The process was pretty simple… I cleaned the table really well, wiped it down with deglosser, then painted it with a coat of Zinsser shellac primer followed by 3 thin, even coats of Sherwin Williams Proclassic Extra White in Semi-gloss.

Once the paint had cured, I tried the rug again…


But I just couldn’t do it.   The white table didn’t take away from the orangey-brown tone of the rug at all.  And I was having trouble envisioning the space without it.  So, we removed the rug…


(Excuse the red chairs in the corner… I tried them in the space, but they didn’t work.)

Once the rug was gone, something still bugged me.  And I was having trouble imagining the space with a different rug.  The ideas just stopped.   And that was when I realized that I needed to simplify further.   The chair covers.  Although I really loved them, the busy pattern really limited the other elements that I could add to the space.  I needed something more neutral and simple.

So, I visited Ikea and picked up six of these deep grey covers….


I switched them out once I got home, and now the space looks like this…


(Note: I’ll be ironing them soon)


You guys.  I finally feel like I’m onto something here.  Things are jiving.  I love how the cool grey tone of the covers makes the gorgeous wood of Drex pop….


And the subtle texture of the woven slipcovers add interest and depth without being too overwhelming…


And they allow the fireplace to shine from this direction….


(Now to paint those darn built-ins… Oh,yes.)

I feel like the room has been cleansed.   It has a whole fresh new outlook (like me today, apparently).  ;)  Now, I have a much clearer idea of what else the space needs in terms of a rug and other accessories.   This clarity of thought is also bleeding into the living area as well.  Now I have a much better idea of where to go decor-wise.  Sometimes you just gotta strip to figure it out (wait…).

So, anyways, this is kind of how things go for me when it comes to decorating. Trial and error. I live with things for a while to see how I like them, change things up until elements start clicking.  I think sometimes in order to figure things out, you just have to clear the space.  Cleanse the palate if you will, to get a fresh perspective.  More often than not, my first decor move doesn’t work, but it gives me a good base to work off of.  And that’s all part of the fun.

So, with that, I hope you all have a great weekend!  Tell me your thoughts on this… Do you ever think a room will go in one direction, only to strip it down and go another?   How do you handle that?


A sad story about a sad door

So, uhhhh, we’re getting a new front door.

I know, I know… but we JUST painted our front door, right??!

Well, allow me to explain…

Ya see, when we moved in we realized right away that the front door was a little… wrong.   See this gap above the door??


That sucker took THREE layers of the largest weather stripping I could find to seal it up to where I couldn’t see daylight.   Not only was it a huge gap vertically (as you can see in the picture), there was also quite a bit of space horizontally as the door came nowhere near the upper jamb.   As I applied the weather-stripping, I got a much more personal look at the door…  It was clearly not original.  It actually had “Feb 2004″ stamped onto the top.  The door frame and sidelights were original to the home, but the door had been replaced.  And it was the cheapest, most generic front door ever.  Plus, instead of replacing the entire doorway as they should’ve (or hiring a pro to install the actual door), someone had haphazardly retro-fitted this cheapo door into the frame.  And had done SUPER crummy job of fitting it properly.   Hence, the wonkiness.

At the time of the weather-stripping, we simply decided to shrug and move on.   We figured we’d just weather-strip it, paint it, and make do until we had it replaced (hopefully) a few years down the line.   I mean, we had so many other things to think of first.

Then, came November.  Joey went out of town.   And I went out front to get the mail.   When I came back inside and attempted to close the front door, it wouldn’t shut.  Why, you ask??  Well…


The screws had literally FALLEN OUT of the bottom hinge and were just sitting in the holes all crazy-like.  Turns out, the wood on the door frame had become all warped and weak, thus, would no longer hold the screws in their current location.  So, I carefully removed the screws, shut the door, and hoped for the best.

The next day, my dad came by and not realizing that our door was dying, walked in through the front door.  And when he went to close the storm door, well….


The handle broke off in his hand.  He sheepishly handed the sad remains to me and stated “Um, you might need this.”.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Of COURSE this stuff would happen when Joey was out of town.  Of COURSE it would.  Luckily, the front door would still close, as would the storm door as there was still a small tab of metal with which to operate the handle.

For a while, we just used the front door as it was.  I mean, it was working right??  That third hinge must just be a precaution, right??


One evening while Joey was at work, I came home, grabbed a package off the front porch and went to close the door.  But it wouldn’t close.   I guess the stress of only having two hinges was just too much for it and the door went completely crooked in the door frame.  Try as I might, my meager five foot frame was unable to right the door to its correct position.  Since Joey was at work, I called my dad.   He came by and re-screwed the door back into the frame.  Good as new.

So, at this point, I figured, “Hey!  He fixed it!  We can make do for a while longer!!  YAY!!”  So, I happily grabbed my brush and painted the front door.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to denial at its finest.

This denial was short-lived, however.  Shortly after painting the door, it happened again.  The door went offline, so to speak.  And AGAIN, I couldn’t get it closed.

And that was when Joey stopped listening to me and my ridiculous “We can make do!” claims as they were becoming reminiscent of an “I can stop whenever I want to” type of denial.   He put his foot down and stated that he didn’t want to have to worry about the house not being secure when I was alone with Lucas.  WE NEED A NEW FRONT DOOR.  And I agreed.  He was right.  Totally right.  We needed a front door that closed whenever we wanted it to.   Novel idea, right?

So, we got a few estimates.  In the end, we went with Home Depot.  Their labor was the cheapest and they had a 15% off sale for entry doors at the time.  The door we ordered is from a new line by Feather River.  In fact, it’s so new that they don’t even have actual pictures of it online.

Here’s a shot of it from the brochure…


We chose a simple, mid-century inspired door with four square windows and full length sidelights (we’re just getting a single door, not a double as shown in the picture).  We didn’t have the option for clear glass, so we chose the “hammered” version after visiting a few stores to see the glass in person.  I found a DoorWays app via another company called ThermaTru that carries a door almost identical to the one we purchased, so to give you a better idea of what it’ll look like, I did a few mock-ups…



The app didn’t give the option to change the door’s color, so picture it the same Black Bean color I painted our old door.  See, the door’ll come unpainted (with white primer) since the company wanted to charge us an additional $1068 for paint (!!!). So, yeah.  I’ll be painting it myself.  Hopefully, our new door will be installed in about a month’s time (fingers crossed).  Until then, I’ll be keeping both the front and storm doors locked, security system on, and instructing all visitors to text me upon arrival so I can let them in the garage.   So very, very sad.

So, anyways, that’s the story of our soon-to-be new door!  Wish us luck!!  :)

Have you guys ever been in “replacement denial”?? What was the final straw that changed your mind??







Don’t change your paint, change your light bulb

Howdy, guys!  How goes it on this lovely Tuesday?  Today, I thought I’d share what’s going on in our our teeny pool-bath.

Last we left off, I’d added shelves and accessorized a bit

As grateful as I am to have a pool bath, I wasn’t exactly feeling it in the state you see above in all it’s purpleness.  Don’t get me wrong… purple’s a fine color.  It’s just… this particular shade of purple affected my mood.  NO JOKE.  I felt cranky when I stared at it.  It just wasn’t my jam.

Well, now, I’m happy to report that I’ve rid the space of purple and brought it back to a blank slate so that I can get going on the light, bright, and fun pool-bath that I have in mind.  I mentioned in this post that I had to repaint this room several times in order to get it right.   Ya see, in my mission to paint the room in a light and airy tone, I went a little TOO light.  The result was a washed out minty green color.  Observe…

I was looking for more of a teal, and somehow, despite the appearance of the color swatch, it just didn’t turn out that way.  Plus, it appeared much more yellow than expected due to the lighting in the space.   Luckily, since the room is so tiny, it had only taken me a little over an hour to paint it, so I decided to try again.  But, this time I vowed to spend zero dollars.  Since I have so many partial gallons of paint in the garage from various projects over the years (and really, none of these hold enough paint to do anything significant with them), I decided to mix my own color….



I took my minty green base and and added in navy blue, and several different greys and greens until I came up with this greyish teal…


Again, it looks super green because of the lighting as you can see in this shot of the completed room…

… but honestly, it took me a while to figure out that the lighting was the culprit.   I just kept coming back to the space and staring at it.  IT.WAS.JUST.SO.GREEN.  A completely different color than the paint appeared in any other light.  But, I refused to paint it again.  Not a third time.  No.WAY.  Then, I realized that not only did the PAINT appear more yellow than intended, but the bright white DOOR seemed yellow as well.  And that’s when the cables connected and I realized that it was the lighting.  I opened the fixture and realized that the energy-efficient bulbs were “soft white” which tends to cast a more yellow hue.   So, I went online, searched for my bulbs in “cool white” which casts more of a bluish tone, and found this guy…


(from Amazon)

I love this picture.  Isn’t it other-worldly??  As if the bulb comes complete with it’s own magic light-beams and “angel’s singing” theme song???  Heehee!   Sold by this heavenly depiction, I ordered two and installed them a few days later when they arrived in the mail.

And here’s the room with my new cool bulbs (Note: both shots were taken in “Auto Mode” on my camera)…

HUGE difference, right??!!!  Not only is the wall color more blue, the white fixtures, door, and trim now read as the crisp white that they were meant to be.  I have to say that this is exactly the color I was seeking for my fun, colorful pool bath!   A bright, pretty turquoise.   I thought I might even extend pops of this color into the laundry room by painting the vanity or possibly my don’t-own-it-yet-mirror.   That simple, easy, and inexpensive light bulb change saved me from a third paint job.  I’m SO completely digging the color now.   I’ve also decided to not reinstall the white shelves that were in the space before.   I’m definitely adding back shelves for storage, but they’ll be a different style.   I’ll let ya’ll know when I get around to that project for sure.   In the meantime, I’ve been working (slowly) on other parts of the house, namely the dining room, so I’ll update you soon.

Anyways, I hope y’all have a terrific day!   Do any of you have any other tips or tricks for maximizing your paint color?  Or have y’all ever been in the situation of “paint color regret”?  How did you solve it?  Did you repaint? Change your decor? Your light bulb?

Tray Matchbox Car Organizer – DIY Monthly Challenge

Howdy, folks!  It’s that time again for our…. (cue announcer voice) MONTHLY DIY CHALLENGE!!! (challengechallenge) <- echo.

updated January challenge picture

For any newbies, this is a challenge that several awesome bloggy friends and I team up for each month.  The rules are simple… we’re assigned an item and must make something with it.   Easy peasy.   This month’s theme was to use baskets, boxes, or bins for an organizing project.

Like most months, it took me a while to pin-point exactly what I wanted to create for my project.   I hemmed and hawed, and finally one day last week, I remembered these fantastic metal trays that I’d purchased from Target a few months back…


….. for (drum roll please)…


$2.98 a pop!!  I pretty much did the happy-dance right there by the clearance end-cap when I found them.   And then proceeded to possessively shove all remaining trays into my cart and make for the hills.   I took six of these babies home that day.  SIX!!   Two are currently residing in various parts of the house, but I still had these four little guys to find homes for.

Now, I’ll be honest… When it comes to organizing, I dub our home’s progress as “sub-par”.    We’ve been so busy working on larger projects since moving in 2.5 months ago that organization has sort of fallen to the wayside.  There isn’t a single space in this house that has reached the point of organization.   It’ll definitely get there once all the larger players are in place (painted walls, larger decor pieces, etc), but for now… well, suffice it to say that I had my fill of choices as to where to utilize my kick-bootie trays.

Ultimately, Lucas’s room won out, though.   His space is the closest to complete (though definitely not there yet).  The more finished a space is, the easier it is for me to visualize and create useful storage solutions that make sense.  Plus, he has a lot of toys.  Most of which are piled in the closet. And drive me crazy every time I walk in there. Thus, I decided to tackle the beast one Matchbox car at a time.

Ya see, my light bulb moment occurred when I realized that my trays were the perfect depth to serve as matchbox car shelves if I were to simply mount them to the wall.  Having my project decision finally made, I completed yet another happy-dance and got going.

Upon examination, I realized that my trays had a raised ridge along the back, which made hanging difficult.   After mulling over a solution, I decided that the best course of action was to hot glue several layers of heavy-duty cardboard…


…to the back of the trays to create a little “plateau” that would be even with the ridge…


These would act as mounting blocks for some Command picture hanging strips…


 Next, I needed to determine placement for my trays, so I created templates by tracing the trays onto brown paper…


I cut them out and adhered them to the wall with tape (as is demonstrated by this fantastically crummy picture)…


I played around with placement and once I was satisfied, I marked the location of my templates with a pencil.  Then, I made a more precise vertical line along one side with a level.   This was my guide to ensure that my trays were stacked exactly above one another (P.S. I erased it later)…


The rest was as simple as following the instructions on the back of the Command box and adhering my trays the wall…


Next, I decided to add a little more color and function to fill the spot to the left of the trays.   I simply hung this neat orange hook (also found on clearance for $1.78) next to my trays for some hanging storage…


I added Lucas’s matchbox cars, aaaaaand here’s the final product…

IMG_8245 IMG_8250

And the corner of the room, complete with his Ninja Turtle bulls-eye game…


And a farther shot of this side of his room with the new addition…


There’s still WAY more to come on these walls, but hey… progress is progress. And I’m totally content with progress. I still need to add art above the head of his bed (and possibly shift that bicycle print down a bit) as well as incorporate a few other decorative elements to help tie everything together.  In any case, though, I really have to thank my bloggy friends for this one.   Honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve thought to create this if I hadn’t been pushed to do so with this challenge.   And I LOOOOVE it.  And so does Lucas.  He was so excited when he saw it.  He immediately began rearranging the cars and has been playing with them much more frequently now that they’re in plain sight.  Total Win-Win if you ask me.

So, with that, I give you the lovely projects created by my fellow bloggers.  Do yourself a favor and check them out!

Making an Easy Placemat Pillow

Howdy guys!  I have a super simple and inexpensive project for you today, the idea of which came from my friend, Emily.  Funny story… she told me how to do this a long time ago, but I’d actually never seen the pillow she’d created herself.   The other day she came over for a playdate with her ridiculously cute son, saw my pillow, and proceeded to tell me that she’d made her pillow using the EXACT same placemat.  Haha!  Great minds think alike! :)   Anyways, I’ve seen placemat pillows on other blogs before, but they involved sewing two placemats together.   This version requires much less sewing and can be done by hand (or even with Liquid Stitch if your stuffing isn’t too bulky).

Ya see, after I started the transformation on our Hang-out room….

I knew that I needed to add some additional softness and pattern to the space to warm it up and I decided to start by adding a new pillow.

I’m not sure what it is about buying pillows.  I just don’t do it often unless they’re on sale for about $5. I’m SUCH a cheapskate and can’t for the life of me figure out why even the less expensive pillows are typically still around $25.   I’m not sure why, but that still seems like a lot for two small squares of fabric and some stuffing.  MAYBE I can justify it if the pillow has a lush down insert, but otherwise, I just can’t.

So, the last time I visited my lover Target, I picked up a couple of these placemats for around $4 a pop…

I liked the pattern and color and thought it would be a nice addition to our pillow family.   I began by simply opening the seam between the front and back panels…

Then, I simply stuffed in an old white lumbar pillow that I had on hand that was slightly larger than my placemat. I NEVER get rid of pillows for this reason.  Even if I’m completely over a style of pillow, I keep it so that I can at least reuse the filling if need be.  This has come in handy time and time again.

Once the pillow was in, I pinned up the open seam…

And hand stitched it shut with white thread…


It’s not perfect, but it works.   Now feast your eyes on our new pretty lady…

Ain’t she a beaut??  This project only cost me the price of my $4 pillow case and about 10 minutes of my time.   Yup.  This is one that I’ll be doing again.   For.Sure.

So, have any of y’all ever created a placemat pillow?  Any other tips or tricks you’d like to offer up?

TDC Before and After

Painting and accessorizing the “Hang-out room”

If you imagine the color of putrid flesh, you may be reminded of our spare bedrooms…


Oh, how I wish my camera would accurately convey the tone of this room.  Simply close your eyes and imagine droves of zombies a la The Walking Dead.  And then you’ll witness the exact color in all it’s rotting glory.  Do you see it?? Isn’t it wretched???

To make matters worse, the doorway of our hangout room is all that you see as you walk down our main hallway.   It’s directly at the end.  The focal point, if you will.  And for three long months, I gritted my teeth every time I walked past.

Here is the space the last time I showed it to you.  We’d changed out the carpet and window and simply plopped down our stuff….

And now the room looks like this….

Improvement, no?

We still  have a ways to go.  I need to accessorize more to add warmth and softness, add a round mirror to the wall next to the window, new coffee table eventually, more couch pillows, floor pillows, etc.  But, at least it’s no longer reminiscent of the un-dead.

The soft grey color was actually an attempt to color-match the grey paint that runs throughout the main areas of the house.  It came out close… but not close enough to act as touch-up paint for the existing color, unfortunately.   So, I decided that rather than waste that gallon of paint, I’d simply use it in this room.  Since it’ll act as another common space (when it’s not a guest room), I thought that extending the main house color into this space would be a nice transition.

Here are a few messy progress shots (Aka: the time Lucas Michelangelo photobombed).  First of the painting…

Then, of the curtain hanging…

You may recognize these curtains as the flanking shower curtains from our last house.   The height, pattern, and color work PERFECTLY in this space.   I pretty much jumped around in excitement for the first few days after hanging them.   And the thing is… I simply used the same shower curtain rings from our previous bathroom to hang them.  Even though they’re stainless steel, thus, don’t match the oil-rubbed bronze rod, they look super cool and sleek.   I initially thought that I’d use them as a placeholder until I found something new, but they’re staying.   Because I love them.  And they’re awesome.  I guess you never know until you try.

Here’s another shot after I hung the painting…

This painting is another piece of art created by my mother-in-law Mac.  It was displayed in the master bedroom of our last house. To create this piece, she glued foam letters onto the canvas, painted it green, then went crazy splatter painting it in other various tones of green.   So super cool.


We still have this blank wall, which is where we’re putting the TV.   I’ll have another post for that.

Let’s zoom in, though, to that lovely intercom.  It initially looked like this…

It was yellowed, dirty, and tacky gold.   I mean, I love gold but let’s face it… there’s good gold and then there’s tacky gold.  And this was pretty darn fugly.   I solved the problem by cleaning it off and then applying a few thin coats of wall paint…

Now, it blends in and is much less offensive.   And one more glamour shot for the road….

I love how my painstakingly refinished mid-century table looks in this room.   It adds serious character and richness.  Worth every frustrating moment if you ask me.   I simply swapped out the lamp from Lucas’s room and it fits perfectly in the space.  It adds some curvy contrast to all the straight lines going on.

I have to say that I’m really happy with the direction that this room is headed.   I have a few fun projects in store for the space, and once we get my mid-century media stand situated, I’ll have another update for the TV portion of this space.

So, stay tuned… :)

TDC Before and After

Lucas’s desk area and a little easy bed-tweak

Howdy guys!!   So, Lucas’s room has experienced a few tweaks since last we spoke.  And seriously ya’ll.   I spent almost no money.  I purchased a little picture-hanger thingie for around $4 and the rest I already owned.   I always feel so accomplished when that happens.   It helps un-junk our other spaces and gives items new lives in the process.

So anyways, the last time I showed you his room I’d just revamped his new bed

And if you’ll recall, a fan of the wooden drawer handles I was not…

They just felt a bit too “little boy room” for my taste.   So, I simply swapped them out for some pewter metal drawer pulls that were given to us by a friend who was getting rid of them…

And these beautiful little metal bundles of glory made all the difference.  I love swaps like this that take 5 minutes, very little money, and make a big impact.   Now, the bed feels more modern and less “lodge-y”.  Success is mine!

Now, for the desk portion of the room.  If you’ll recall, it started off here…


And now is here…

All it took was some of that leftover gorgeous grey paint on the walls (Driftwood Grey by Glidden mixed at 75% saturation), and some navy blue oops paint behind the desk area.   I also swapped out the white ceramic drawer pulls on the desk for stained nickel versions.   And really, it’s not done yet.  I’d like to add some lighting and possibly some pattern behind the shelves, and either revamp his chair, or get a new, more funky chair.  Plus, I’d like to style the shelves differently once I get his room more organized.   It’ll all come together with time.  This, I’ve learned.   Ideas grow with time.   I am Yoda.

Here’s what that side of the room looks like with the door closed…

Behind his door, I hung some awesome art created by my mother-in-law Mac, then I added a neat, white cork-board/picture-hanger thingie that I found on clearance at Target.  From that, I hung a Ninja Turtle bulls-eye game that Lucas got for his birthday.   Instant “game-zone” if you ask me…

My last tweak in his room (for now) was adding curtains.   These are the same curtains from his room in our last house…


Just cheap, simple white Vivian curtains from Ikea (I hadn’t hemmed them yet in this shot).   I’m considering changing them out for curtains with a subtle pattern. Perhaps a grey on white or something to add interest without being too distracting.   For now, though, they work.  And they’re free, so they’re hanging.   Eventually, we will see.  Patience I must have. #Yodaknows

So, that’s where Lucas’s room is at now.   I still have some wall-art projects I’d like to get to for above his bed and dresser.  And I’d like to spray paint the weirdly-colored blades on his ceiling fan.   Plus, organization.  Oh, the organization.   So, with that, I dub this post: To be continued…

TDC Before and After

Happy New Years to MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Seriously, y’all. I was just starting to think that this holiday season hated me. First, the cancellation of our Christmas plans due to illness, then the cancellation of New Years plans for the same reason. But, THEN, a sweet man named Bernie allowed me to ring in the New Year with a huge smile on my face.

Ya see, ironic timing seems to be my forte. That morning, our living room looked like this…


I’ve mentioned several times that I was either going to paint the TV stand white or find a cute, midcentury unit of some sort to replace it. Well, after months of searching, I’d finally resigned myself to sticking with our current media unit and painting the stand white. So, I did. And wouldn’t ya know, no sooner had I mentioned to Joey that the stand was dry and we could move it back, I came across this ad….


Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaaa???? A gorgeous, long and low, midcentury dresser plus mirror for $125!! Lately, it seems that this completely unheard of, at least in our area. Most midcentury dressers in this particular style were going for at LEAST double that. In fact, I’d just visited a vintage shop a day earlier where dressers not nearly as pretty were being sold for around $500.

I instantly called the number listed in the ad and left a voicemail letting the seller know that I loved the dresser and could pick it up that day if it was still available. Even as I was leaving the message, though, I knew that my chances of actually getting it were slim. I mean, he’d posted the ad a day ago. I was sure someone had snatched it up already. That’s how competitive the market is down here for midcentury dressers. They’re gone almost instantaneously.

Sure enough, the seller, named Bernie, called me back and told me that the ad had generated quite a bit of interest and that he already had an extensive waiting list for the dresser. He told me that if the other people on the list before me didn’t take it, he’d call me back. And I lost hope. I told him that I really loved the dresser, and that if he’d choose me, I’d treat the dresser like family and give it a great home. I told him how much I value pieces like this. Then, I offered him $150 for it. He told me thanks, but no… He couldn’t do that to the rest of the waiting list. I thanked him for calling me back and wished him luck.

And that was it.

So, imagine my surprise when about 3 hours later, my phone rang. I nearly dropped the phone when I saw his number on the caller ID. I frantically answered with all fingers crossed. He said that if I still wanted the dresser, it was mine and I could pick it up that day. I pretty much shrieked with glee. I didn’t know what had changed his mind, but I was grateful regardless. We drove to Bernie’s house minutes later and loaded up my newest family member. And he wouldn’t even take the $150 that I’d offered him on the phone. He insisted that I only pay the asking price of $125. Sweet, sweet man.

He said that he’d had over half a dozen inquiries about the dresser since he’d posted it the night before. I asked him why he’d chosen me and he simply shrugged and stated that it must’ve been meant to be that I were to have the dresser. He seemed very relieved when I told him that I planned to keep the dresser original. We discussed how I planned to restore it to camouflage the wear and tear. And he made me promise to give it a good home, which I readily did.

And we took her home.

Here she is all shined up with some Restor-a-Finish and Feed n Wax (this is the iPhone shot that I sent my mom to introduce her to her new “grandchild”… Nicer pics to come!) …


Restor-a-Finish and Feed n Wax are the cat’s meow.  The bee’s knees.  These products are amazing for covering small knicks and scratches and adding back shine and richness to wood.  I’ve used them on every single piece of wood furniture that I’ve acquired… and they never cease to amaze. Even Joey was singing their praises after I shined up this guy. I will say, though… Reapplication is needed after a while. I noticed some of the old nicks reappearing after about a year on good ole’ Drex (not to the extent that they were before, though). Once I reapplied the products, they disappeared once again.  I think once a year is a totally acceptable time-frame for treating wood, so I’m not complaining. I still think these products would walk on water should they suddenly sprout legs and sing a tune.

To prep the piece, I simply wiped it down with a damp rag and a bit of elbow grease. I’ve learned through trial and error (and research) that chemicals are bad news for many of these pieces as they can eat through the antique finish. For the larger bits of paint and caked-on dirt that remained, I used a magic eraser. I was very careful to not rub away the finish (as magic erasers can… I know I’ve used them on pieces in the past, but I soon learned that they can dull the finish. They act almost like a fine-grade sandpaper. Mistake noted.  So, using a Magic Eraser sparingly on obvious areas of dirt or paint is super handy, but I don’t recommend using it on the entire piece.).

I’ve reviewed how to use these products before, but for any newbies, I simply followed the directions…. Rub on the Restor-a-Finish with a lint-free cloth (I use cut-up old, stained t-shirts of Lucas’s that he’s grown out of and that nobody else would want), rub off the product immediately, wait 30 minutes.  Rub on a generous coat of Feed n Wax, wait 20 minutes, buff off excess. And done. Super easy.

Anyways, those wood pieces sticking up on back of the dresser in the shot above are for the mirror (which we removed for transport). We’re leaving them attached until we’re sure that the dresser will be our media unit. I wanna try it in the space first to be sure it feels “right”. If not, she will go in one of the spare bedrooms with the mirror as originally intended. Should the dresser become our media unit, we’ll adapt it for our equipment by drilling ventilation holes in back for the media components and getting an IR remote extender so that that remote controls will still work with the drawers closed.

All I can say is that I was on cloud nine that entire day (and future days). I feel like our little mid-century dresser family is complete. Stay tuned! I’ll keep you updated on how this story unfolds….

So, enough about me…. Tell me about your New Years! Any new finds that you’re super excited about? Christmas gifts?