Bright and Cheery Family Room

I can’t believe I finally get say this, but the FAMILY ROOM IS DONE!! This is the first room in the new house that we are officially calling a wrap on. Our goal was to create a bright and cheery family room that the whole family would enjoy. I think we nailed it!

P.S. The wall color is Olympic Gray Ghost and all the trim is Olympic Ultra White.

family room makeoverThe rug is Oriental Weavers Sphinx Caspian Ivory/Blue Rug
from: Wayfair, the table was a DIY from reclaimed wood, I added the stripes to these Ikea curtains, the shades are from Home Depot, and the subway art was DIY.

striped curtain and reclaimed wood tableWe painted the doors Martha Stewart Seal (same as the foyer and bathroom vanities). The couch is Ikea Kivik in Dansbo dark gray. The artwork is from my mom’s travels, but the frames are from Target.

anchor pillow and wood moosed headWe made over the fireplace, gave our DIY reclaimed moose head a prominent spot, the chair is Ikea Mellby in Eldris black/white, the pillow is from Joss & Main.

floral lamp shades and engineering printsThe greek key console was an upcycle from the Habitat for Humanity Restore, the lamps and shades were from Target,  the engineering prints I ordered from Staples, but the frames were a DIY.

And let’s not forget the before picture:

family room makeover

So do you think we achieved a bright and cheery look? What is you favorite element in the room?

P.S. Almost from the second I said “this room is done” we decided to re-work the wall to the left of the fireplace. It’s never ending…..

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Painting Cabinets

Guide to painting cabinets

Last week I shared with you our plans for our Master Bathroom renovation and if you remember, I mentioned that phase 1 of the plan (code name: Make it look nice with no money) was already in action. I had already painted the walls and trim in our vanity area, so the next logical step was to get rid of the 1980′s era brown cabinets.

bathroom before and afterSince the goal was to not spend any money, I decided to use the leftover paint from the foyer and french door (Glidden Seal) to paint the vanities. Not only was I feeling cheap this week, but I was also feeling lazy and really wanted to knock out this project in an hour or so.  So here’s my guide on how to be lazy and still get a great paint job!

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Painting Cabinets

Total working time on this project was 1 hour, although I did it over 3 days to let the paint adequately dry before handling.

First up, remove all the doors and hardware from the cabinets.

easy way to paint a vanityNext, give the doors and cabinet a quick one over with a sanding block. I mean literally just graze all of the surfaces with it. This should only take a minute. Seriously, don’t obsess over this.  Then get ready for my secret weapon for being super lazy when painting cabinets: All surface Prep (also known as TSP substitute). Spray this product on all of your surfaces, wait a minute, then wipe off. Not only will this clean your surfaces, but it will also help de-glaze them thereby helping the paint stick (and voila you get to skip priming).

tspBy now you should have spent about 5 minutes prepping your surfaces and it’s finally time to paint. In order to fully maximize on being lazy I recommend you use the best paint possible (for instance paint and primer in one). I used a combination of a foam roller and high quality paint brush to get this finish.

quick painting cabinetsTotal it took two coats with about an hour dry time in between to get these cabinets looking perfect. For the doors I always paint the backs first let them dry for a day then flip them and paint the fronts. I gave the fronts a full day to dry before re-hanging them.

dark gray vanityAnd with just an hour of work time and no money spent, my bathroom vanity looks a million times better.

cabinet makeover

And here’s looking into the actual bathroom where the other vanity also got a paint job:

bathroom cabinet makeover

Key Points:

  • Prep surface with a quick sanding and TSP substitute
  • Use a high quality paint
  • Foam rollers and high quality brushes will give you the best finish. I recommend this brush.
  • Don’t rush the drying process.

What’s next?

bathroomvanity plansThis makeover is just getting started, so there is still plenty to do. We plan on framing out the mirror with some old door moldings, refinishing the counter top with a concrete product, and making a small curtain to block the view of the trashcan.  Stay tuned for those updates and more…….

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Master Bathroom Plans

The master bathroom is a huge selling feature in a house, so you may be wondering why we’ve never shown you ours. Mainly that is because we don’t even use it. I know, we’ve been in this house for 6 months and we’re still sharing a shower with the kids. The major problem with our bathroom is the awkward layout.

master bathroom layout beforeThe bathroom is divided into two rooms with one larger vanity open to the bedroom and another vanity tucked into its own small room with the shower and toilet. A linen closet sucks up space in the middle.  We have plans to majorly renovate this space into something more like this:

master bathroom layout planIt doesn’t seem drastic but in fact the entire wall and two doorways in the middle are now gone. The back wall will have 2 separate vanities connected by a drawer unit and a new linen cabinet. The shower will be enlarged and be surrounded on two sides by glass.

master bathroom plansLuckily this isn’t our first major bathroom reno (remember the vintage master in our first house and the cottagy hall bathroom?),  but this renovation is going to be labor intensive and expensive, so it’s in the 2-3 years plans. In the meantime we’re going to take on a phase 1 makeover in order to make the room actually usable as well as visually appealing. You may remember that a couple months ago we started the makeover by painting the area that is open to the bedroom. The walls are Gray Ghost (the same as the bedroom) and the trim went bright white.

bathroom before and afterPhase 1 plans for this area are all cosmetic and include:

  • Paint the vanity dark gray (same color as the foyer)
  • Concrete the counter top
  • frame in the mirror
  • make a curtain to hide the trashcan
  • new faucet

It’s the actual bath “room” part that is problematic. This is by far and away the worst room in the house. The ceiling is actually covered in mold and the vent in the room is rusted. Moisture is obviously a problem in the room. We’ve even theorized that the missing bathroom door may have been the previous owners attempt to “fix” the humidity issue.

master bathroom beforePhase 1 for this room include:

  • Patching up the large whole in the wall
  • Removing all the mold on the ceiling (not pictured) and installing a vent to prevent future moisture problems
  • Painting the walls, ceiling, and vanity
  • Making a concrete counter top
  • Removing the outdated and poor working shower doors and replacing them with a curtain
  • Framing the mirror
  • New faucet

Did I mention I plan on doing all of this with almost no money? Since anything we do now will eventually be ripped out in the reno we want to spend the least amount of money as possible. These projects will most likely get weaved in among other more “desirable” projects and won’t get all done at once.

Anyone else planning a bathroom makeover on a dime? I’d love to see more ideas!

“Hey there beautiful” glitter art

hey there beautiful artwork

When I first envisioned a vignette for the foyer I knew I wanted a welcoming piece of typographical art. Then I saw Stephanie Creekmur’s “Hey Y’all” gold print and fell in love. You may remember it from my Industrial Chic foyer mood board.  I was hoping that the sophisticated and shimmery gold would help balance out the raw metal and wood of the industrial table.  After showing it to my mom, she convinced me we’re not southern enough to pull off “y’all” (despite the fact we live in Virginia and I use the term all the time), so I decided to make my own version.

I wanted an uplifting and welcoming phrase to great visitors, and I eventually settled on “Hey there beautiful” for no other reason that it makes me happy. Using PicMonkey I created the text the way I wanted it to look.

picmonkey artworkI printed it onto card stock in a golden color to ensure that no color would bleed through the glitter. Next, using a fine tip paint brush I painted matte modge podge (affiliate) over the letters.

hey there beautifulI did one letter at a time then sprinkled extra fine gold glitter (affiliate) over it. I continued going one letter at a time while going back and filling in bare spots.

typographical artworkThis is a super easy project. Just make sure to use the finest tip brush you can find. I actually used two different ones to get the wider and thinner parts of the letters. I let it dry for 2 hours before framing.

hey there beautiful artworkI got the frame from Target on clearance for $7. I love the juxtaposition of the slightly rustic frame with the gold glitter.

how to make a rustic tableAnd the foyer is officially done! I love how the vignette looks paired with the wainscoting behind it. And doesn’t it look just like my inspiration board? I still need to get something for the owl vase. I’m thinking a cotton branch.  The final touch to this space will  be the stairs makeover which will hopefully be later this summer.

Anyone else using glitter to light up their house?

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DIY Industrial Table Tutorial


how to make a rustic tableI am so excited to share this Restoration Hardware Knock-off with you! If you remember back to my mood board for our Industrial Chic foyer than you’ll remember that an industrial style console table was at the heart of the design. I love the Dutch Industrial Console Table from Restoration Hardware. I don’t love the $695 price tag so much. Luckily, I came across this knock off industrial side table from the Golden Sycamore which inspired me to try our hand at making our own table.

Part 1: Building the table

We started off with a slab of Ikea butcher block that we had left over (yay for free) from the kitchen counter tops.  It was already the correct depth, so we just had to cut it to length to fit our space.

how to make a console tableNext we had to drill the holes for the table legs (aka 3/4″ EMT conduit tubing). Cody used a 1 in forstner bit (affiliate) attached to a drill to bore the holes.

building a console tableFor the bottom shelf, he drilled a hole straight through, but for the table top he only drilled half way as seen below.

how to build a tableThe legs are made of 3/4″ galvanized electrical metallic tubing (EMT).

rustic console tableCody cut them to length using a metal chop saw.

console table tutorialTo keep the bottom shelf in place and level on the pipes, Cody attached them using compression couplings.

industrial tableThis part wasn’t easy. Each coupling had to be ground out because they have a stop collar in the middle of the fitting. For that, he used a high speed rotary tool (Dremel Tool-affiliate) with a small grinding wheel so the couplings would slip completely over the tubing.

compression coupling Last, each piece of tubing was set in place with a countersunk set screw, visible from the sides of each counter-top slab in the picture about and a few below. To achieve this, he pre-drilled slightly smaller hole than the standard silver wood screws used.

how to make an indutrial table

Part 2: Finishing the table

The table was now built, but it looked rather modern with its blonde wood and shiny metal. I decided to use stain to give it an aged and industrial look.

First, I sanded the wood down then used a pre-stain wood conditioner (affiliate) to insure that the stain penetrated the wood evenly. This is an important step when staining soft woods.

pre stain on tableI wanted the edges of the table to be slightly darker than the rest of the table to add an aged or burnt look to it. This step made me really nervous as I didn’t know if the treatment would work or if I would wind up with a funky dark straight line around the edges. Using an old sock and minwax dark walnut stain (affiliate) I had left over from the kitchen countertops, I applied the stain to all the edges of the table.

aging woodHonestly, I was a little nervous at this point, but I carried on. After applying the stain to the edges I immediately gave them a light sanding with a fine sanding block then followed with a coat of Minwax mission oak polyshades (affiliate) (the same we used on the engineering print frames). And miraculously it came out exactly as I envisioned! The dark walnut around the edges gradually absorbed into the wood and looked less harsh. I wouldn’t have chosen the polyshades because it already had polyurethane in it, but it was what I had on hand and didn’t dry shiny at all.

how to make a table look oldI also went back and rubbed the dark walnut stain onto the pipes making sure to rub extra in the couplings.  It took two coats of stain to get the look I was really going for, but this was a much easier process than some of the chemical treatments I have seen to age metal.

how to age galvanized pipesLike my inspiration piece I wanted to add some numbers to the table. Industrial pieces always seem to have numericals on them.  Using cardboard stencils (affiliate) and leftover Slate Grey acrylic paint I added our house number to the bottom left of the table.

numbers on tableOnce the numbers dried I sanded over them with a sanding block to give them more of a distressed look. In retrospect I wished I had sanded them a little bit more.

stencil on wood tableFinally, I finished the table off with a coat of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax-(affiliate). I promise this post was not sponsored by Minwax. Totally a coincidence that I used all their products. I was so excited to finally have a project to used wax on. It gave me that perfect hand rubbed look I was going for.

how to wax a table

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a project turn out exactly how you envisioned it! These pictures do not do the table justice and I just love the way the rusticness of the table plays off the formalness of the wainscoting.

wood and metal indutrial tableThe mirror, frame, and turtle are from Target while the large basket I picked up for 50% off at A.C. Moore.

reclaimed metal and wood table


Butcher block                         already had

Stain                                            already had

pre-stain                                    4.98

Sanding block                         2.97

Conduit                                      7.74

stencils                                        2.39

forstner bit                               11.97

couplings                                     3.10

wax                                                 9.97

total                                               43.12

A console table for under $50…..can’t beat that! Obviously the cost will vary depending on what you already have on hand. Having the butcher block saved us a ton. Also, items like the wax, pre-stain, and bit will be used on future projects as well.

The foyer is really starting to come together now. All that is left is to hang the new light fixture, make a new piece of art for the frame, buy an industrial basket for keys, and find a statue to put next to the basket. Stay tuned for those updates and more!

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The Bold Abode


Adding architectural interest with a painted door

dark gray french doorsOur french doors in the family room were very tired looking. They were a dingy white and the argon in many of the panes it starting to fog. Ideally we would replace it, but it’s not really at the top of our priority list right now. Then, one day I was sorting through e-mails when I saw one from Chris loves Julia and their newly paint onyx door, and I was instantly excited.  I couldn’t believe how much architectural interest the door brought to the room when it was painted a dark color, and conveniently for me I had a whole gallon of Martha Stewart’s Seal sitting in my garage from when we painted the foyer.

painting french doorsThe french doors are actually a focal point from the front door, but you can see that they weren’t particularly welcoming before. In fact you hardly noticed them at all.

Painting french doorsIn total it took me 2.5 coats of paint over about an hour to get the door looking perfect. This is how it looked after the first coat:

dark gray doorThe second coat covered well, and I just had to go back and touch up around the frames with a last coat. Once it was all dry I used a razor blade to clean off the glass.

The paint I used was Glidden Duo which is available at Home Depot. This was my first time using this paint and as promised when I revealed the foyer wainscoting here is my review of it:

Glidden Duo Review


  1. It covers well, but is thinner than most paint and primers in one meaning is also covers more sq footage.
  2. It’s easy to scrape of windows.
  3. The color was true to the paint chip.
  4. At $24 a gallon it’s cheaper than  Behr or Valspar.
  5. Almost no smell.


  1. It’s runny. I had difficulty cutting in around molding because it dripped and ran so much. In fact I was almost in tears as I watched it run onto the new bright white wainscoting.
  2. Although it covered well with a roller, because of how thin the paint is it didn’t cover as well with a brush.
  3. The semi-gloss is shinier than other semi-glosses on the market.
  4. It comes in limited colors.

I’m going to be using it on our bathroom vanities as well, so I’ll let you know how it hold ups there. Now back to the french doors.

dark gray interior doorsThe doors look so much cleaner now and give the room so much more depth. I especially love how they look from the front door.

dark grey doorsI feel like the doors now draw visitors into the house. The consistent color on the foyer walls and doors also help tie the two spaces together.

Have any of you painted a door something other than white?

How to to transform a foyer with Board and Batten wainscoting

how to make board and batten wainscoting

For those of you who have been following along with this project on Facebook you know that we’ve been working on this project for almost 2 months and that we’ve hit some snags (like noro-virus and a rotted out wall), but thank God for small miracles because this project is finally done!

The foyer was never in particularly bad shape to begin with (well except for the scuffed up floors which we replaced before moving in), but we dreamed of this space as a grand entrance to our home that would really “wow” guests.

foyer beforeA couple of weeks back I shared our vision of this space with a mood board that we dubbed “Industrial Chic“. By far the biggest and longest part of this makeover was the board and batten wainscoting that we thought would bring a refined element to the entrance, so that is what we started with. Board and batten wainscot is made up of straight lines that create squares and rectangles. We had done this design before in Sophie’s nursery, but this time I wanted a high wainscot so we decided to go with a design with squares stacked on top of rectangles. Since we also used the board and batten design on our fireplace and kitchen island, this design helped tie the whole house together.

The first thing we needed to do was remove all of the door casings and chair rail. This was easy enough to do, but this is where we also ran into our first problem. It’s hard to tell in the picture below but if you look closely you may notice that above the white line the wall is smooth, while below the white line the wall is textured. That’s because above the chair rail is actually wallpaper that has been painted over……..sigh.

remove all the moldingsWe didn’t want to go through all the effort of removing the wallpaper, especially as it is holding up well, so our solution was plywood. We cut the plywood to 72 in high and attached it to the walls with adhesive and a nail gun. This effectively got rid of our two texture problem. If your walls are all smooth already than you can skip this step and save time and money.

DIY wainscoting Next, we add the horizontal pieces that make up the top of the wainscot, the separation between the squares and rectangles, and the baseboard. These were cut out of the same plywood that we used for the back. See my post on our island cover panel for more on cutting to make board and batten wainscotingFinally, we added in all of the vertical pieces that make up the squares and rectangles.

high wainscotingHere’s a run down of all the measurements to achieve this look:

How to make wainscotingThe reason the bottom pice is 7.5 inches high instead of 3.5 is that the baseboards we choose are 4 in. You want to make sure that the height of the paneling that shows above the baseboard is equal to all the rest of the paneling. Make sure before you start adding the paneling you also consider the layout of the wall and where seams might lie. We were able to cover all the seams with a piece of panel.

The last step in the wainscot build out was to attach the finishing pieces. We used pine 1×2′s for the cap piece as I wanted a slight ledge around the top.  We added 4 in baseboards to the bottom with 1/4 round on top to finish off the floors.

wainscot tutorialOnce we had all the paneling installed, Cody started the tedious step of caulking all the seams and nail holes. Followed by the even more tedious step of sanding down everything.

caulking wainscotingFinally, we were able to paint. It took 1 coat of primer and 3 coats of white paint (Valspar Ultra White in Semi-gloss) to cover it completely. We used a foam roller for the walls and cut in with a brush around the edges.  This was by far the worst part of the project as we also had to paint all of the door moldings, 3 doors, and the crown molding. At one point I considered giving-up, but we soldiered on and look at the results:

wainscot in foyerThe wall color is Seal by Martha Stewart for Glidden (available at Home Depot). This was my first time using Glidden paint and I have some thoughts on it, but I’ll save that for another post.wainscot with hooksThe long wall by the door looked a little bare, so we added these hooks for guests to hang up their coats and purses. All of the hooks are from Target. The coat hooks were $3.59 a piece and the robe hooks for $3.99 for a two pack.white wainscotThe back of the front doors got a coat of nice bright white paint to match the rest of the trim. It makes me hate the front doors slightly less.

DIY wainscotingMy favorite part of the foyer is where the wainscot runs into the bathroom and closet doors. I love all the texture created by the doors, molding, and wainscot. I particularly love the contrast of the new door knobs against all of the white. The knobs are Weslock Impresa (the same we put in the kitchen).Board and batten in foyerAnd here is a before and after comparison. I love how much brighter the foyer is now; unfortunately those stairs are like a huge energy suck. I’m hoping to getting around to making over the stairs sometime this summer.

We still have to build a console table for this space, install a new light fixture, and decorate, but now that the wainscot is finally done I feel like the whole project is wrapping up. Here is a quick break down on the cost of the wainscoting:

1×2                       13.32

wall hooks         14.76

baseboards      50.88

shoe molding   11.7

plywood            97.79

paint                   29.97

Total                   $218.42

As you can see this wasn’t a “cheap” project and it certainly involved a lot of sweat equity, but the change it made is quite dramatic and we feel that it is a classic addition to the space that will last through multiple makeovers.

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How new windows made me not hate my vinyl siding

It’s not a secret that I don’t particularly like the curb appeal that our house is currently harnessing. We started to improve it in the fall by painting the shutters and trim, adding a pediment above the door, giving the mailbox a makeover, and replanting the front gardens. Unfortunately, it was soon winter and all our progress came to a screeching halt. Which means I’ve been driving up to a house for months now and thinking how much I hate the siding, the roof, the front door, and most of all the windows! Our windows were the original single paned wood windows the house was built with and to add insult to injury they had these terrible brown metal storm shutters over them. Even if I could figure out how to work the storm shutters (never did) most of the windows were painted shut anyways, so besides the aesthetic reasons for replacing them there was also efficiency and safety concerns.exterior progressNow let me drop a bombshell on you: we actually hired this project out!

I think it’s actually the first time we’ve ever hired a professional to work on our house. Cody installed all the windows on our first house, but there were a couple of really important reasons we called a professional this time:

  1. The second story is really high. Like dangerously high.
  2. This is our forever home, so things like lifetime warranties start to seem worth it.
  3. We wanted all the wood trim to be vinyl wrapped and we don’t know how to do that.
  4. Most importantly: We didn’t feel like doing it.

After asking literally every person we know, and some we don’t about their experiences with replacement windows, Window World won hands down.

Window worldThe sales guy came out and gave us a free quote and measured our windows. We already knew what we wanted to it was pretty painless. In the end the 11 windows on the front of our house cost us $4400. That included the 2 extra large picture windows, the UV upgrade, all the vinyl wrapping, the grids upgrade, and fixing some rotted trim and window sill.

It took about 2 weeks for the windows to come in after they were ordered and only about 2 1/2 hours to get them all installed. Except for the first 30 minutes of hammering out the old windows, I barley even knew the installation team was there. And  I was actually shocked how much better our house looked when they were all done!

white vinyl windows colonialWe choose to add the grids into the windows which cost us $300 extra, but they’re pretty standard colonial fair and we wanted to  stay true the style. The biggest change we made was choosing clear picture windows for the center of the bays which makes a huge difference in visibility from inside looking out.

bay window on colonialMy favorite thing about the whole project though is the vinyl wrap. Not only is it maintenance free, but it so clean and pretty. This section on our bay was completely rotted out before. Wouldn’t know that now. Also I love how the white trim and windows helps tie the whole house together with the white pediment and crown molding. It’s almost as if we planned it that way…….

vinyal trim wrap whiteAnd in case you’ve forgotten where we started 6 months ago here is a reminder:

exterior beforeAnd here we are now:

white vinyl windows colonialOh, and back to my original title of this post. I HATE vinyl siding. In fact, I can’t wait to get rid of ours. Unfortunately, it’s in really good shape so it has to wait. I hated our siding even more because it was this yellowy beige.  My neighbors all had a much nicer tan beige, but not me. Then something miraculous happened when they replaced all the windows.  Without all the brown, the siding lost it’s yellowish hue. Nothing is going to make me love this siding, but I’m pleasantly surprised to find myself now tolerating it.

Next up on the curb appeal radar is a mini makeover for the front door and finally sprucing up those front gardens.  Just waiting on the warm weather.  Still waiting…….


How to Renovate and not go into debt

renovating on a budget

Well here we are renovating our second house and it’s hard to believe how much we have already got done. Apparently, it’s hard for many of you to believe too. Two recent comments I received on Facebook were

“You guys never slow down! I am jealous and in awe of your work ethic, creativity, and skills to do all that you do!”


“I wish we could afford to do that kind of renovation right now!”

So, I thought it was finally time to address exactly how we stay on top of all the renovations we do and how we afford to do it all with out going into debt.


When it comes to our money and time we all have our priorities; and ours is our house. We funnel almost all of our extra time and money into it. If you are serious about taking on a renovation or remodel than you need to get in this mind frame too (well at least until the remodel is done).

Make a plan

Remember when I shared our 2014 goals with you? Our plan consists of projects all over our house, but even a small project like our foyer makeover started with a solid plan. Having a plan helps us stay on schedule, reduce costs and mistakes, as well as take advantage of sales and promotions.

Take advantage of sales and promotions

Pretty much everything goes on sale eventually. If you’ve taken the time to make a plan then you’ll already know what materials you need. This will allow you to do some research and find out when the best time to buy them will be.  We were able to score our kitchen cabinets and countertops during the Ikea Kitchen Sale which netted us a $950 discount!

kitchen progress

Shop Around

Find what you like, check all the local stores, then shop online. I originally found our door knobs on Amazon through, but when I checked Build’s website I found out they were offering 7% off plus free shipping, something they weren’t offering on Amazon.

Ooil rubbed bronze egg door knob

Shop Outlets and Second hand

We scored our kitchen chandelier for $20 on Craigslist, our Greek key console for $20 from the Habitat for Humanity Re-store, and our fridge for 1/2 price at the Sears Outlet.

How to paint a brass chandelier

Do it yourself

This is a no brainer and where we net our biggest savings. Take on anything you feel comfortable doing yourself.  You may not be up for installing new kitchen cabinets but removing the old ones yourself could save you a bundle with the contractor.

caulking wainscoting

Enlist friends

When doing it yourself fails then phone a friend. When we started our first kitchen renovation we knew nothing about plumping and electrical work so we called in some friends who did and whose time could be purchased with a case of beer. Now Cody is the most skilled DIYer of our friends, so he will often trade his skilled labor (like laying floors) for unskilled labor (helping us move). It’s a little of “I’ll rub your back, if you rub mine.”

Set a budget and pay in cash

I create an excel spreadsheet for each of our projects before we start. We estimate how much everything will cost then keep track of all of our expenses. If I know I am already over budget I am much less likely to splurge, where as if I’m under budget I know I can afford the upgrade.  I also pretty much always pay in cash. Not only is this a good negotiating tool, but it will always keep you out of debt.

Break it down by paycheck

This is the tip that has helped us the most. Some people will save until they have enough for the whole project, but I would get bored waiting and probably splurge on something instead. What we do is set aside $100 a paycheck that is specifically for the house. When the money is gone, we wait until next paycheck before buying more material. This allows me to always pay in cash and makes me feel like I am always making progress on the house.

Use a windfall

When it comes to larger purchases (like our new windows and stove) we tend to take advantage of windfalls such as tax returns and company bonuses.  These are far and few between, but help us knock out higher financial obligations.

And that is how we manage to get it all done without breaking the bank.  So, how do you do it? What are your best tips for taking on a renovation?

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How to dress up plain white vivan Ikea curtains with ribbon stripes

Easy no sew curtain embellishment

As Cody diligently works away on the foyer wainscoting, I’ve been finishing up some last details in the family room before the big reveal. One of those details was embellishing the other wise plain white curtains (sort of like how I added the greek key trim to the curtains at our first house). Way back in September we hung the new wood shades in the family room then quickly threw up these plain white curtains that I picked up at Ikea for 9.99 a pair (Vivan). Seriously they are such a steal that I bought two sets even though I haven’t decided what to do with the other ones yet. Here’s what we’ve been staring at the last couple of months:

how to embellish white curtainsI’ll apologize now for the lens flare on all the windows. I tried my best to minimize it but windows are hard to photograph.

Now the windows didn’t look terrible, but I thought I could add a little pizzazz to them with ribbon without making too big of a statement in the room. Let me also bring your attention to the unpainted conduit pipe/curtain rod as well as the frayed screen and storm shutters stuck halfway up.

Because the windows required a large curtain rod, and I am really cheap, I made one out of conduit piping and finials.  Before I started on the curtains I brought the curtain rod out to the garage and gave it a quick spray with the black paint left over from the fireplace doors project.

painting conduit curtain rodNow on to the curtains. I was inspired by these curtains that I saw on Pinterest to do three black stripes in different widths along the top portion of the curtain. I chose black because I wanted it to tie in with the frames on the wall as well as the fireplace doors. Here’s the supplies I used:

  • Black satin ribbon in 1 1/2 in, 7/8 in, and 5/8 in
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Damp cloth

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That’s right! This is a completely no-sew project! I started with the 1 1/2 in ribbon and lined it up with the seam under the pocket on the curtain. Because the ribbon was wide I used two strips of the stitch witchery. Stitch witchery is incredibly easy to use. All you do is place the stitch witchery between the ribbon and the curtain, cover with a damp cloth, then press a hot iron on top of it for 10 seconds. That’s it! Just make sure that your cloth stays damp enough to make steam.

now sew ribbon on curtainsAfter I did the whole first row, I started the next row 1 1/4 in down using the 7/8 ribbon.  The hardest part of this project was keeping the lines straight.

striped black and white curtainsMake sure to leave an inch or so overhang on each end in order to wrap it around to the back of the curtain. After I had finished the last row with the 5/8 in ribbon, I flipped the curtains over and wrapped the excess ribbon around to the back and secured it with more stitch witchery.

using stich witchery on curtainsAs you can see the curtains came out great! I love how they add just a little sophistication without really demanding any attention. I wanted the fireplace to stay the main focal point of the room.

no sew ribbon embellishmentI think the stripes look like tuxedo stripes, especially with their satin finish, but Sophie calls them zebra stripes.

How to embellish curtain with ribbon You probably can’t tell, but we did finally remove the old torn screens as well as lower the storm shutters completely. Also, notice how much more substance the curtain rod has now that it has been painted black.

no sew curtain embellishment



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