Category Archives: Renovations

Built-ins in the Master Bedroom with an Ikea hack

We have done pretty much nothing to our master bedroom. The last time you even saw it was when we painted it about 2 years ago.

Grey and teal masterbedroom

It’s big and square and from the moment we first saw the room we knew we wanted to make it something special. We just had no idea how to do that. So we did nothing for 2 years while I thought about and pinned 1000’s of pins, then finally a picture of what I we could do formed in my head. We wanted something dramatic and moody, so we obviously started at Ikea. I know that doesn’t make any sense. You’re thinking “Ikea is light and airy”, but stay with me. We bought 2 Ikea Tarva dressers that we actually got at the Ikea family price of $65!

TARVA 3-drawer chest IKEA Made of solid wood, which is a durable and warm natural material.

We decided that these would make the perfect base for built-ins around our bed. We assembled them minus the legs which would have made them too high for a bedside table.

ikea tarva hack

We set the dressers onto a small 2×4 base then built book shelves to sit on top of them.

Ikea tarva hack

We built the book cases out of  primed pine 1x12s. The shelves are faced with primed pine 1 x2s.  Of course both electrical outlets on the wall were right behind the new dressers, so we installed new outlets at alarm clock height.

book cases in master  bedroom

The book shelves created 3 alcoves on the wall that we filled with a square wainscoting made out of primed pine 1×4’s. I love how much the molding sticks off the wall. It’s a very different look that the wainscoting we did in the foyer.

master bedroom wainscotting

The whole wall got new base boards including the dressers.

tarva bookcase

The final touch was crown molding and a whole lot of caulking. And that brings us to where we are today!

DIY wainscoting

If you’re wondering where the moodiness is it’s in the paint. The color is already going up on the wall and it’s absolutely phenomenal. I can’t wait to share it with you!

And here’s a reminder of what the room looked like when we bought the house.

Master bedroom

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 before The 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 plan It 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 plans Luckily 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 after Phase 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 before Phase 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!

Move In Renovation Part 2

This is the final update before the big move this weekend. Whew! After all we’ve been through this summer trying to find a house then renovating one; it’s hard to believe it’s finally time to actually move in! You may remember from last week’s update we we’re in the “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” phase. Well this week we finally hit the “omg look how good it looks” phase. Our goal for this coming week is to get the kitchen as done as possible before the move on Saturday. Spoiler alert: It’s won’t be done by Saturday. Here is where we stand as of today:

The biggest news of the week is that the floor is finally done! Of course we still have to install the baseboards and the quarter round, but that doesn’t really count……


The family room is also done! Well as done as it’s going to get before we move in. We decided to celebrate finishing the floors and painting by putting together all our new family room furniture that we bought just for this house. It’s starting to finally look habitable in our house.

move in renovation

The kitchen still has a long way to go, but I am happy to announce that we have finally started installing cabinets. You can also see our new fridge that we bought this weekend below. We were originally going to wait longer on the fridge but we realized that the fridge the house came with wasn’t working too well.


Here are the cabinets along the sink wall with the new dishwasher.


And our new wine and beverage fridges that will eventually be built-in.

move in renovation

My mom came over to give me a hand assembling the cabinets. Thanks mom!

move in renovation

The girl’s rooms still need the windows scraped. Luckily my cousin was in town on vacation, so I put her to work!

move in renovation

The big event on Saturday was getting the backyard cleared of debris from the renovation which meant I could finally mow the yard. I’m sure all our new neighbors are quietly rejoicing.

Move in renovation

The porch had also been cleared on Saturday but is now slowly re-filling up with cardboard boxes from all the cabinets.

move in renovation

Well that’s where we are three weeks into the renovation. The next update will be after we’re all moved in!

Renovation Update Part 1

I know it’s been pretty quiet around here, but I was on vacation with the kids for a week at Disney, oh and did I mention that I started a new job today? Great timing right? Nothing like piling all the stress on at once. Here we are enjoying our last family vacation for a while:


It hasn’t been all fun and games around here. While we were in Florida, Cody was working away on the renovations on the new house. We had hoped to be moving in Labor Day weekend but due to some unforeseen and extensive damage to the sub flooring we are about a week behind schedule. This is exactly the picture you don’t want to receive while on vacation:


Luckily we made some more headway this weekend and we’re optimistic we can be moved in 2 weeks from now. Currently we are in the” it’s going to get worse before it gets better” phase of renovation. So now for the updates I promised.

Family Room

renovation family room

  • Rip out hardwood floors– This was a major setback for us. The floors took forever to come out and we found extensive rot in the sub floors near the back door and window that needed to be replaced.
  • Prime and paint fireplace surround and bookshelves I had to caulk a bunch of gaps in the molding, but now it’s just waiting for a coat of paint.
  • Paint ceiling, walls, and trim- I’m about 1/2 way through with the ceiling
  • Install new floors


renovation kitchen

  • Take down pony wall half way: You may notice the wall is missing completely. We had only planned to cut it back about 2 feet but unfortunately the rotted floors extended under the wall as well us up the wall.
  • Rip out cabinets and floors: This was surprisingly easy and luckily no surprises
  • Prime and paint walls, trim, and ceiling: The walls and trim have been primed.
  • Install new floor
  • Install new cabinets and dishwasher: They are all bought and hanging out in the garage.


renovation office

  • Rip out floors: This was another room that we found extensive rot in the sub floors as well as an existing leak at the bay window that had to be dealt with.
  • Install new floors: They are about 10% done! Whoohoo!

Dining Room

Dining Room renovation

  • Rip out floors
  • Prime walls: Courtesy of my wonderful father-in-law
  • Install new floors: About 10% complete. My baby brother volunteered a day to help Cody out with this.

As you can see, Sophie is really digging the new floors too!

Sophie floor

The Girls’ Rooms

renovation Lizzie's room

  • Prime and paint trim, windows, and doors: This took forever. 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of bright white.
  • Paint walls: My wonderful in-laws spent the entire weekend we were gone getting the girl’s rooms painted for them!
  • Scrape windows: We initially had tried to spray the windows and trim, but unfortunately all it accomplished was spraying paint all over the glass.
  • Clean carpets

Play room

This room is not really part of the initial renovation but as you can see we have started moving some furniture out of storage. Cody created a nice little play area for the kids to try to keep them away from the disaster down stairs.

renovation playroom

To save time we had to cut a couple of items off our original “before move in renovation” list including scraping the popcorn ceiling in the family room and painting the master bedroom and laundry area.  They’ll get done soon enough, but their not imperative right now. The plan is to have the floors finished by this weekend so that we can use the long holiday weekend to get started on the kitchen.  More updates to come soon.