DIY:: window treatments

So we have some nekkid uncovered windows in our house that needed addressing. When we moved in 3.5 years ago, all the windows in the house had window treatments. We liked them enough to keep them around for the time being, but some time this past summer, I decided I’d had enough. The 2 windows that overlook our front yard were covered with red valances that while nicely made, did not match one thing in our entire house. So out they went. And the poor kitchen window has been bare for a couple years now. He was just begging for some color to spice up the room.

SO — here’s a little DIY tutorial on how we made our new window treatments! Note: there aren’t exact measurements/prices of materials here, but I hope this gives you a general idea of how easy it is to make your own (or have your husband do it for you). 


Materials we used::
3/8″ plywood
Batting (for quilting)
Staple Gun

Step 1:: Measure windows. We measured to the edges of the trim around the windows and then added 2 inches on each side so that we’d have room for the board/padding/fabric.

Step 2:: Cut plywood to desired lengths (4 pieces per cornice box) and secure with brackets. 

Step 3:: Cover each cornice box with batting. I bought several bags of batting from Michael’s (in the quilting section) and we just cut off the excess as we stapled it in place.



TIP:: Be sure to pull the batting extra taut so you don’t end up with bunches or wrinkles across the front/sides/top.

Step 4:: Determine placement of fabric based on pattern. Flip over and begin same process as when securing the batting — pull material taught and staple in place.



Yay! The finished product(s)::




our new pet: the fiddle leaf fig

We got a new pet this week. His name is Freddie, and he’s a Fiddle Leaf Fig. No, he does not grow figs, but I think he’s awesome. Fiddle Leaf Figs seem to be all the rage with decorators right now, and I agree. I love the structure, big leaves, and thin stem. And they can grow to be HUGE! I saw a photo of one here that stretched all the way across a large living room that was 2 stories tall. Amazing!

We have a 2 story living room and just re-arranged the space. This opened up part of a wall that had previously housed a leaning bookshelf, so the spot was just waiting… for a fiddle leaf fig! I’d read online that they are hard to come by because they’re so trendy right now, so I wasn’t hopeful that I’d find anything soon. I’d seen some very small ones on the Home Depot site, but even those were sold out online. I finally called the closest Pike Nurseries location and hit the jackpot! They said they had 4′ tall trees…. which actually turned out to be 5’+ tall!

Here’s the guy we picked out with the help of Pam, the very knowledgeable and helpful store associate. Yes, I remember her name because she was awesome. This pot was a beautiful color, but it was a tad too small for such a big plant.


He made it home safely (with a slightly larger pot)!


Thanks to mom and dad for letting me pick out an early birthday gift! I love it and can’t wait to see how big Freddie gets!
For anyone in search of a Fiddle Leaf Fig, I highly recommend checking your local Pike’s. Their staff is beyond helpful with picking out the right plants, pots, soil, etc., and they’ll also give you tons of tips on how to keep that thing alive once you take it home.

house tour:: first floor

Welcome to our house! I just love seeing decor choices that other people make in their homes, so I thought I’d share a glimpse into our work in progress, starting with the first floor. There are SO many things I love about the bones of our house and the upgrades we’ve made, but there are of course several things on our wish list for the future. Aren’t there always? Work on a home is never done in my mind, but that’s part of the fun!

The Foyer:: I love that we actually have a foyer. It’s not as large as I’d like, but I am happy that it gives a little breathing room when you first enter the house. A lamp is essential to brighten up the entry space, and this fun new spiky aloe plant was a good find last weekend. I think we need more live plants around here.
Wish list:: I really want to change out the current light fixture just inside the door… it’s plain, boring, and doesn’t give off much of anything in the light department. I’d love a hanging metal/glass pendant of some sort… maybe like this or this.


The Half Bath:
 This is the only bathroom on the main level, and it’s perfect for guests (and being lazy so we don’t have to walk upstairs). It was originally the neutral color that the rest of the main floor is. I painted it navy to make the small space stand out a bit and give it some interest. I hate to admit it, but I sort of like the contrast of the brass to the navy paint….  maybe one day we’ll get with the times and replace with brushed nickel fixtures.

Wish list:: Changing out the mirror and light fixture. I’d prefer a smaller, framed mirror (maybe oval) and an updated fixture. If we do that, we’ll probably go all out and change all the fixtures to brushed nickel. I also think it would be fun to pick a crazy patterned wallpaper for this room, but Craig would tell me I’m crazy.



The Dining Room: At Christmas last year, we FINALLY got a great rug to ground the room (this guy from West Elm) and removed the red fabric-covered valance over the large window that did not match anything else in our house. We were gifted some beautiful, neutral patterned curtains from Ballard Designs, and I love how they frame the window, but don’t draw too much attention to themselves.
Wish list:: I sometimes debate painting this room, as I’d love to have a more dramatic contrast between the upper and lower halves of the walls. I’d also like to find/make a table runner to give some color and interest to the tablescape.


We received this Crate & Barrel bookshelf/wine rack as a wedding gift, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture we have. It adds some height to the room and gives us a lot of storage (as well as a reason to buy more wine) and decorative space for frames, cook books, and corks, of course.

The Kitchen:: It was originally a darkish tan color, which was just not appealing to me. Last winter, we removed the sliding doors out to the deck and replaced them with french doors. While we were at it, we repainted the kitchen this great slate grey color, and I think it really creates a nice contrast with the cabinets.
Wish list:: I’d love to one day run dark hardwoods throughout the main floor, including the kitchen. Not pictured is the black rectangular kitchen table that seats 4. I’d eventually like to trade that out for a round table to open up the space some.


One of my favorite touches in the kitchen is the DIY mason jar light fixture that Craig made for me. We had the mason jars and just strung lights through the lids to connect into the base of the previous fixture.

The Living Room:: Tall ceilings and the fireplace are my favorite things about this space. I also appreciate the open layout that connects it to the kitchen so that we can easily entertain, which we love to do. I’d been eyeing this painting at World Market for a couple years, and it finally went on sale, so I snatched it up a few months ago. I’m in love. That fun neon banner is from an etsy seller — I bought it for a wedding shower we hosted in the spring, and it’s just too festive to take down. Maybe come Christmas, it’ll have to make room for the stockings. Also, see that gold garden stool? A fabulous hostess gift from said shower (also from World Market – similar here).
Wish list:: A big, dark grey sectional with tons of seating and a chaise lounger! Oh, and fun pillows to add some color and spice.


These photo books (made on My Publisher) are my new favorite way to organize the hundreds and hundreds of photos I take each… month. I have created one “yearbook” for each year, and their personalized, graphic covers make for the perfect coffee table books. living3

Young House Love was the first blog I ever followed. I was beyond thrilled when they released their first DIY book last winter. The first project I chose upon receiving the book was the set of mason jar bookends. I was in need of something to hold up some of my favorite design and cook books, and we had a ton of mason jars on hand. I spray painted them with a matte gold and then filled with rocks from our yard to make them sturdy. They tie in to the big mason jar drink dispenser (Pottery Barn) as well as the kitchen light fixture! I promise I don’t have an obsession. 

What to do with a giant empty wall? Fill it with frames, of course. I think the mixture of light and dark frames creates more interest, and I also like incorporating non-people photos like the Nashville print (from etsy) and landscapes from some of my favorite places. living5
Hope you enjoyed the tour! Later gators!

making a wooden headboard for $60

We’ve been in our house for almost 3 years now, and our most-used guest room (the other serves mostly as my jewelry storage area for Stella & Dot) has been left unfinished this entire time. We have a great king-size bed in there, but the room is not much bigger than the bed…. so it doesn’t leave much space for a bed frame. I’ve been eyeing the DIY wooden headboards for some time now, so we finally had a weekend with time to spare recently and jumped on the chance to make the guest room more complete.

I’d found several inspiration photos on Pinterest, and thanks to my favorite bloggers Young House Love and their new DIY book, we had a great starting point. Also, Craig is quite handy and loves to build things, so I gave him my general idea and let him work his magic. Here’s an inspiration photo from YHL’s book. I love the weathered and worn look of the boards.


First, we measured the width of the bed to determine how wide we wanted the headboard to stick out. We decided to keep it at the same width of the bed, given that there’s not more than a couple feet of wall space on each side. We also measured for height — it was sort of a guess, so we just measured to about where we wanted the headboard to hit on the wall and figured out how many 1×6 boards would be needed). 


With measurements complete,  Craig drew up a sketch to plan out how many boards and other materials would be needed. We planned to have wooden braces along the back for support, as well as legs to stand the headboard up (vs. hanging it on the wall because it would be so heavy).

Materials purchased:
6 – 1×6 boards
3 – 1×4 boards 
stain –Dark Walnut Wood Finish by Minwax
(Craig had plenty of screws on hand)


Next up, a trip to Home Depot!


Craig examined every board to make sure they weren’t warped or cracked (see below). I supervised and approved boards for their general appearance. 

Craig’s tailgate makes a great table for cutting wood. He trimmed each board to fit the determined width of the headboard, and I helped by standing on the them while he cut.


Once cut, he lined them up between 2 levels to make sure everything was even before securing with the smaller wooden braces.


He also added a brace connecting the 2 legs for more stability.


Then he sanded… 

Once it was smooth, we distressed the boards with bags of screws, a hammer, and anything else sharp we could find to bang against them. I’m sure our neighbors appreciated that.

And then we stained! I wanted a deep, dark stain, and this is the same one YHL used in their book (referenced above).


This is after one coat of stain was applied. We waited about 10 minutes and then wiped the boards down with a cloth to remove any excess stain. I was worried that the distressing we did wasn’t going to show up, but once the stain seeped into all the little grooves and dents, the “worn” look magically appeared! I LOVE IT!!


We left the headboard in the garage to dry for a solid week because it was raining so much that we weren’t sure how well it would dry. Last weekend, we hauled it upstairs (that sucker is heavy!) and when we set it down, realized that the top and bottom were still not completely dry. Drat!! 


It was too much work to carry the headboard upstairs, so we just put it in place and pulled the mattress away from the wall until it’s completely dry. To make it extra secure, Craig attached metal rings on the backside (1 on each end) to loop over screws in the wall.



And the finished product….
I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out — and it cost right at $60! I don’t think we would have ever found a sturdy, well-made (and not 1970s-ish) king-size headboard for anywhere close to that. I love the warmth is brings to the room, and the white/yellow/grey color scheme of the bedding really pops against it.



And for reference, a little before and after shot::

quick lamp revamp

It’s time for a little more color in our house. First victim? The silver lamp on the side table in our living room. The method? Spray paint, of course. This little guy is nice and all, but rather boring.

I started off by removing the shade, bulb, and top parts of the lamp (sorry — don’t know the technical terms for those). I used painter’s tape to cover the top of the fixture as well as the beginning of the cord, and Craig had the bright idea to put the rest of the cord in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray. Be sure to wipe down whatever you’re painting first — otherwise you may end up with lots of dust particles or dirt underneath the paint.


I spent about 30 minutes standing in front of the spray paint selection at Home Depot deciding on just the right shade of blue/green. I decided on Lagoon in a Satin finish by Rust-Oleum. Last time I spray painted something, I made the mistake of doing it inside the garage with very little ventilation… not smart. So this time, I set up my spray paint area on the tailgate of Craig’s truck. I think the lamp dried a lot more quickly this way as well.


After about 3 light coats, I took it inside the garage to cure overnight.


Here’s the finished product! I really enjoy the colorful bulb peeking out from the top of the lamp. The color is just enough to add a pop to the room without being overbearing, since the rest of the room is fairly neutral.




With that success under my belt, I’m hunting for something else to get my hands/spray paint cans on!

It’s finished! Final Basement Projects

Drumroll, please…. the basement project is officially finished!! Craig has worked so hard to complete this big project, and the end result is immensely better — even though the basement was pretty great to being with. For Craig, the most exciting part of the basement remodel was the new bar area. For me, it was opening up the room by knocking out a wall.

Before, the blank wall behind the counter had a wooden dresser mirror hung on it as a faux bar shelf. Craig started by taking that down and ripping the drywall out. He ordered custom cabinets to go on the lower half of the wall and planned to have a large mirror and glass shelves installed on the top half.

He then framed out where he wanted the mirror to go with cedar boards, and then continued to fill in the wall to the right of the mirror with cedar.



Then, the fun part…. a big cork wall! We thought we had collected a lot of corks over the years, but it turns out that we didn’t have nearly enough to finish even half of one side. So we’ve been taking cork donations from friends and family for the past month, and now we’re a little over half way done! Part of the wall on the left side is still empty, so we painted it with leftover chalkboard paint so that it’s usable until completed.


When we were in NYC this summer, we saw a cool wine rack at a restaurant and used it as inspiration for our bar. Craig drilled 3 holes in each cedar board down the center of the wall to hold a total of 6 bottles. Now we can display our favorite wine bottles… like ones with Coco’s picture on them!

Over the years, I’ve written notes on corks from special occasions in hopes that we’d be able to somehow display them one day — we have them from our anniversaries, NYE, etc. and now they are mixed into our cork wall. Can you spot any?

After a couple mishaps with the glass company, the mirror and shelves were finally installed and the bar was completed just in time for our New Year’s Eve party!




I don’t have process photos, but Craig also built a desk and a bookshelf for my Stella & Dot business.It’s still a work in progress regarding set-up, but it’s so pretty and spacious!


One of the last projects on the list was building a small table for the patio to go with the new turquoise chairs we found recently.

Craig used 4×4 posts for the legs, 2×4 boards for the frame, and 1×6 boards for the top (as well as brackets underneath to make it more sturdy). Once completed, he sanded it to remove any splinters and rough spots. We still need to stain it, but it’s a great addition to our patio!




all wrapped up

While perusing Pinterest last week, I was inspired to finally bite the bullet and organize my overflowing wrapping paper storage. I have had the same under-the-bed storage container since college, and while it served me well, it’s just not big enough anymore… or easy to see anything other than the top layer of paper that’s store inside. I debated just buying a standing plastic container that would hold my many rolls of paper, but I didn’t have a great solution for everything else…. bags, boxes, ribbon, and more. I really liked the look of the Elfa systems from the Container Store, and after seeing how much a couple bloggers were able to store on one closet door, I was sold.

The photo below was my main inspiration for what to buy when I went to Container Store last weekend. 

Here is what I purchased to create my gift wrapping storage station:
  • 77-3/4″ Mounted Standard
  • Set of 2 Residential Overdoor Hooks
  • 3 Deep Baskets
  • 2 Shallow Baskets
  • 1 Media Rack

This is my my faithful old plastic container and my not-so-organizd collection of gift wrapping supplies. I set everything out on our pool table (which is in the basement bedroom where I decided to hang my new wrapping paper rack) to get a better idea of what I needed to throw away or keep.

I then stacked everything in piles…. paper, ribbon, boxes, tissue paper, holiday bags, regular bags, and gift tags. (And a couple random peacock feathers from a home decor project.)


Next, we hung the rack. You can opt to either drill into the door or use their removable overdoor hooks, and I liked being able to have more flexibility with with the hooks in case I want to move the rack upstairs one day. The baskets snap into place very easily… it took less than 10 minutes to put this all together.

At the top, I started with the ribbon lined up in 2 shallow baskets so it would be easy to get out when needed. I decided to organize everything with holiday items down the right side so I don’t have to pick through reindeer paper 10 months out of the year.

I filled the first deep basket mostly with tissue paper, because I have a lot of it. I feel like I was always buying it at Target because I could never find what I needed in my old container… so no more excuses to buy colorful paper now! On the right, I popped in holiday treat bags and gift card holders.  I also learned that I have a lot of gift bags I never noticed… so those filled the 2nd deep basket. Festive holiday bags and tags on the right and everything else on the left.

The 3rd deep basket at the bottom was reserved for the star of my favorite, the wrapping paper. I used a media rack about halfway up from that to hold the paper in place. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough room for my extensive collection, but after tossing a few old rolls that were smashed and/or too small to wrap anything, I ended up with plenty of room to spare.

Here’s the finished product! I decided to store all boxes in the closet, as several of them were too large to fit in the baskets, and they’re not very pretty anyway. I’m so excited to have this new system in place and be a little more organized and intentional about what I’m using, so as not to feel like I’m constantly buying more wrapping supplies that I don’t need. And it’s so colorful and pretty! I can’t wait to wrap some gifts!