New House – Before Pictures

As most of you know, Calder and I have moved to Tampa! We were sad to leave our beloved first home, friends, and the city of Denver, but his job transferred us here and it was a great opportunity we felt like we should take. One big positive is that we can get a lot more for our money house wise than we could in Denver. So now we have our little fixer upper. We are currently camping out in one of the bedrooms while the kitchen is gutted and we wait for the dirty work to be done before we refinish our floors and move the rest of the way in. But I wanted to share some before pics so when we are done we can see how far we’ve come!





We love the bungalow charm, big backyard, and especially the big bougainvillea bush and big trees in the yard! We definitely have some ideas for the outside, but we probably wont get to those for quite some time. We hope to put an addition on the back of the house in about a year that will add and ensuite master and walk-in closet as well as give us a better laundry room space.




DSC_0580This space already looks so much better and its just bare studs right now! haha This is obviously the main project happening right now. But while we are at it we got to add some can lighting to our living room, and we are going to have our plaster walls repaired and resurfaced throughout the house.

Living/Dining Room



DSC_0585We LOVE all the light in our house. And the floors are lovely. The exposed parts were actually in pretty good shape but since we took out the carpet in the bedrooms and we are refinishing the original wood in there, we have to do it everywhere in order to get a uniform look. You can see some of the plaster damage in these pictures as well. We can’t wait to get those fixed so we can get some much needed paint in all of the rooms! And we have plans to probably white wash or paint that fireplace too.







DSC_0592We are camped out in the gold room right now!

Bathroom / Laundry Room



DSC_0584Both these spaces are not the prettiest. We are hoping to redo the bathroom around New Years (hint for parents: Home Depot gift cards for Christmas please!!!) and DIY pretty much all of that. I do like the original stained glass window though. Hopefully a new color scheme will work better with it though. The pink isn’t doing it for me. This laundry room will get torn down when we do the addition so other than cleaning and getting new laundry machines, and maybe painting we won’t really do much in here for now.

Here is the extent of our DIY projects so far:

DSC_0608We scraped the popcorn ceilings and did a little kitchen demo and QUICKLY realized we were in over our heads. Luckily we had a great contractor recommendation who has been awesome in helping us get back to the point where we can hopefully DIY some things — we’re thinking of laying the tile floors and back splash ourselves. He’s also been really great in that he’s just helping where we need him and still allowing us to get our own sub contractors so we’re saving a little money that way. Here are the tentative plans for the kitchen I threw together on sketch up:

kitchen sketch perspective 2

kitchen sketch perspective 1We met with a cabinet/counter lady today so hopefully we can get those ordered if the quote comes back okay next week! Possibly counters too. Tile shopping tomorrow! We are hoping to be mostly done by Thanksgiving. Fingers crossed!!



Family Time in the Backyard

This weekend my family came to visit! It was such a blast to show them our city and newly finished backyard. And by newly, I mean we finished it the night before they came ūüôā I will have more detailed how-to posts soon, but for now enjoy these sneak peek photos of my family enjoying the space and allowing me to practice using my camera on them!




DSC_0151We also tried to squeeze in a little park time before the rain (and some more camera practice!)




DSC_0180We spent the day Saturday hiking Cheeseman Canyon which is one of my favorite hikes, as you can see here and here.¬†If you’re looking for a beautiful and non-strenuous hike fairly close to Denver (about 1.5 hours drive) I definitely recommend this one!

cheeseman canyon collageWhat did everyone else do on the 3-day weekend? Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all of the service men & women!

Wood Wall: Two Ways

I’ve had a lot of experience with creating wood walls in the recent months! We built a white paneled wall in our bedroom back in January, and then more recently I did a faux-weathered wood wall for my church. I don’t have many step-by-step pictures¬†but I will do my best to fill in the blanks with words ūüôā wood wall both kinds with text In our bedroom, I was going for a more clean, modern look while still adding lots of texture and character. At church, we were going more for a rustic, Restoration Hardware-ish style. Here’s a run down of each!

White Wood Wall bedroom wall3Supplies:

3/8″ thick plywood, cut to 6″ wide planks (you can get the plywood cut at Lowe’s or Home depot, or do it yourself if you have the right tools!)

Nail gun & 2 1/4″ long nails Saw (preferably a table saw)

White Paint (we used Ben Moore Chantilly Lace)

A nickel for a spacer

Quarter round for edges

Start by determining the lengths of each plank based on where the studs are. Each plank needs to be nailed into the all of the studs it crosses. We determined the lengths as we went because we were going for a random look. I also liked the look of visible gaps, so we used a nickel as a spacer to keep them as even as possible. (I took this nickel picture after the wall was done, but really we did this as we were attaching them to the wall before the pieces were painted.)

nickel spacer

bedroom wall1 Continue this process of measuring, cutting, and nailing until you reach the the top. If you’re lucky, your last piece will fit in perfectly! A more likely situation is that you will need to rip the last board down to size. Once you get the last one in, you can start filling the wood holes with wood putty if you’re going for a very clean look (we did do this). Next a quick sanding of any splinters and rough putty spots. Now you’re ready to paint! It took me 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint to get the coverage I wanted. bedroom wall 2 Lastly, add the corner round to the corners on each side. This will really clean up the edges and give you a more finished look. You can buy this pre-primed to cut down on your painting. I pre-painted this completely so I could avoid getting any white paint on our gray walls.

After the paint dries and the smell airs out (use Low- or No-VOC paint to cut down on fumes!) you’re ready to move back in! We were camping out in our living room during this whole process (aka 4 nights) and though the “camp out” had us feeling like kids again the first couple nights, we were sure ready to sleep in our bed again by the end!! ¬† bedroom wall 4 PS- click here for a tutorial on those lamps!

Faux Weathered-Wood Wall church wood wallSupplies:

Cedar 1×6’s

Various Stain Colors

Nail Gun


The process for this type of wood wall is a little different. The first difference is that you need to pre-stain your cedar (note: it is important to use a wood species that is more resistant to warping, like cedar or oak.¬†Oak is more expensive, which is why we went with cedar.). To get the weathered look, we went with a combination of Minwax’s Ebony, Classic Gray, and Espresso oil-based stains. We mixed the stains in different combinations and even used more than one color per board to get a more naturally-aged look.¬†stain colors ¬† church wood wall one Wear gloves and clothes you don’t care about when using oil-based stains, as it’s hard to get it out of skin and clothes. We used the same process of measuring based on the location of our studs, then cutting and nailing to the wall in a random pattern. Visible gaps didn’t go well with the style we were going for this time, so we skipped the spacer. IMG_2424 Like the white wood version, continue measuring, cutting, and nailing until the wall is completely filled! Be¬†conscious of the spacing the various wood tones around so the wall looks balanced. Again, you will likely need to rip down the top layer to the correct size. We skipped the wood filler and the quarter round steps on this one since the nails blended in to the wood’s various tones and the raw edge lent itself to the look I was going for. church3 Are any of you itching to add some wood wall to your life?? Now you have options! Either of these is a great way to add some architectural interest to your home.

DIY Colorblock Zipper Closure Pillows

DIY color block pillow with text

As I was pulling together the design concept for this room, I knew I wanted new fun new euro pillows. Using euros along with other bed pillows creates a nice layered effect and gives the bed a more complete look. Since we took out our headboard to save floor space (our room is tiny), we especially needed this extra layer. We had some from West Elm before, but the purple-ish gray was not working for me anymore.

before euros

Sorry, that is not the prettiest picture. Still stuck with my iphone! This was also taken before the new lamps were done. For the new pillow covers, I was inspired by these that I found on Etsy (which I unfortunately cannot find again):

Triangle Model A Pillow inspiration

These had leather as the brown part, but you guys, have you ever checked prices on leather?! It’s expensive. So I went with two different colors of a velvet from Kravet. I made my own version of the inspiration pillow and put it on my bed to see how it would look:

colorblock pillows photo 2-19Oops! Looks like a boring old pillow. So that’s when I got the idea to rotate it. Now I love it! Here’s the tutorial:

First cut your fabric pieces to size. Cut 2 identical pieces of one color about 2/3 the size you want for your pillow and 2 identical pieces of the other color about 1/3 the size you want to make your pillow. Remember to account for seam allowance, so make it about an inch bigger on each side per piece.

colorblock pillows photo 1-17

Next, put the pieces together with the good sides facing each other and lined up on one edge. Sew them together about 1/2″ or so away from the edge.

colorblock pillows photo 4-21

You now have a front and a back for your pillow cover. Place them faces together, being sure to align the seams on each piece where the colors meet.¬†Trim the seams so there’s not a lot of bulky fabric inside your cover once it’s done.

colorblock pillows photo 3-17

colorblock pillows photo 2-18

Now PIN them together on 3 sides (all except the bottom where the zipper will go). To make your life easier when attaching the zipper, do not sew these pieces together yet! First, pin the zipper face down so one edge lines up with one side of the fabric. (Sidenote: get a zipper that is about 2″ shorter than the size of your pillow.)

colorblock pillows photo 4-18

Sew along the outside edge, but as close to the zipper as possible. Using a zipper foot attachment will help you get as close as you can. Once you’ve sewn along the outside edge, flip the entire thing over and fold back the other side so you can line up the un-sewn edge of the zipper with it. It helps to start with the zipper unzipped a few inches, sew a little, then zip the zipper past your presser foot so it doesn’t get stuck on it later.

colorblock pillows photo 2-21

colorblock pillows photo 3-20You’ve got your zipper on! Now you can sew the other 3 sides. Keep the zipper open so you can easily flip the cover right-side out. After I did this, I noticed there were still some gaps at the ends of my zipper. To fix that problem, I sewed across the zipper ends and then over to the other seam. There might be a better way to avoid these, but this was my solution ūüôā

colorblock pillows photo 5-17

If you’re still confused about how to attach the zipper, this tutorial at Centsational Girl really helped me as I was doing it. Once the rest of the sides are sewn, flip the cover right-side-out and stuff in your pillow! My pillows are about 25″x 25″ so I stuffed them with 26″ x 26″ fills that I got at Target. I love how these really bring cohesion to our bedroom and how the zipper closures give them a more polished look on BOTH sides (versus just the front with an envelope closure). I think I’ll do zippers for all my pillow covers from now on!

colorblock pillows photo 2-20

colorblock pillows photo 5-16


DIY Clear Glass Lamp

clear glass lamps photo with text You gotta love when DIY saves you a good chunk of money. This is one of those times. When pulling together a design for our bedroom, I wanted our lamps to be clean and classic and not draw attention to themselves since the room is small and the main focal feature is the wood wall (post coming soon!) and our patterned curtains. When I saw the Zak table lamp at Crate & Barrel, I fell in love. But I was not about to shell out $250 each. I had read some blog posts in the past that have turned pretty much anything into a lamp with a simple lamp kit from your hardware store so I knew we could make these! After some more googling about drilling through glass, I gained enough confidence to try it (disclaimer: this took us more attempts than we thought, but we learned some things that we can share that will hopefully help you avoid our same mistakes!) Without further ado, read on for the tutorial. And sorry these are all iphone pictures, still saving up for my fancy pants camera! First gather your materials: clear glass lamps photo 5-15 Here’s the story about my vase. The first time we made these, I found 2 perfectly tapered vases that were the same size at HomeGoods for $5 each (score!). BUT turns out one was much thinner glass and after successfully making the first lamp, Calder started drilling into the second one only to have it break in his hands ūüė¶ Oops. And I guess I got super lucky with those first two because after checking Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods several more times, Amazon, and other places I COULD NOT find another matching vase! So we had to order 2 new ones. This turned out to be fine because they are taller and I like the height better. If you are wanting the same look as these, I’ll save you some trouble of hunting high and low. Just order these from Save On Crafts.¬†If you want to find your own, make sure the glass is pretty thick. You’ll also need a lampshade of your choice (mine’s from Target), a drill, a diamond tip drill bit (3/4″),¬†a lamp kit, a clear cord if your kit comes with the ugly brown one mine came with, and a piece they call a nipple. Be sure to drill the TOP hole first. We broke 2 vases and they were both when we drilled the bottom hole first. Calder’s theory is that is weakens the glass. The drilling is a two-person job.¬†Have one person spraying water over the drill spot and the other person drilling. We did ours in the kitchen sink using the sprayer, but you could do it outside with a watering can or hose, or whatever works best for you. clear glass lamps photo 5-14 The key to drilling through glass is to have the drill at full speed but put little to no pressure on the glass. The friction should be enough to cut through, although don’t be surprised if it takes a while for each hole. You want to be putting as little pressure as possible and try to anticipate the drill going through so you don’t slam the drill into the vase. After you drill the top, drill another hole about 2-3 inches above the opening. Sorry I forgot to load the dishwasher before taking this picture, ha! Keeping it real over here. It’s not a bad idea to put some wash cloths between the vase and the hard surface for a little padding. clear glass lamps photo 1-20 If you successfully drilled both holes, the hard part is done! There is probably water spots and glass dust all over your vase, so just give it a wipe down to get it looking clean again. From there just follow the instructions on your lamp kit. Thread the clear cord through the bottom hole, then through the nipple and the top hole. Then hook it up to the switch part (technical term). clear glass lamps photo 1-22 clear glass lamps photo 2-24

clear glass lamps photo 3-21
You may want to add a drop of super glue between the screw nut and the glass to prevent it from spinning around. After this, all you have to do is add your light bulb and lamp shade! Ta-da! You’ve made your own lamp. You should be pretty impressed with yourself.
clear glass lamps photo 4-22
Good luck! If you create your own, I’d love to see the finished product!
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Just to Keep this Blog from Dying

I haven’t posted in forever! I started slowing down on my posting because I didn’t want anything to feel forced and needed a break from putting pressure on myself. I really enjoy posting about our house and what we’re doing to it, but our energy and bank account can’t support enough projects to keep that as my only content. But I don’t want this blog to die completely because I can see myself getting more into it again in the future.

That being said, I may start posting more about different topics. And I may start sharing some of the designs I’m doing at work!

For today, I’ll share some recent life happenings from my instagram (I just upgraded to a smart phone a couple months ago and have been thoroughly enjoying the app ūüôā )



IMG_0166My best friend from my childhood came to visit me from NYC (check out the fun blog by her and her sisters ), Some of our closest friends here in Denver got married, and I went to the Hospitality Design Conference in Vegas with my boss and coworker!



IMG_0216Calder and I went to Miami! It was sooo nice. I was sad to see the short vacation end.



IMG_0246We added some front landscaping (can’t wait to see it grow in!) with the help of my in-laws and we spent Memorial Day hiking a beautiful landscape (the same place we hiked over a year ago).


And we’ve been enjoying lots of time on our patio with this warmer weather! PS- the chicken pictured above is the perfect summer grilling meal. I’ll share the recipe soon!

Recent Small Updates

So we took the next step in our bedroom make over and bought some new bedding! We added some new Euro pillows for more depth and went with something lighter and closer to our style. Added bonus is there are no holes from our cats! They ripped up our other one when they were kittens.

Here it was before:


And I might have gone a little crazy and gotten new towels and a new shower curtain for our bathroom…


Have a good week everyone!

Adding Some Character with a Bead Board Backsplash

We started this project a few weeks ago, thinking it would be done in one weekend. Sadly, that got drawn out 3 more weeks. But finally we’re done (for now)! It’s the most recent step in several little changes in … Continue reading

Sunny Kitchen



After much deliberation, the kitchen finally has one uniform color on the walls instead of ugly brown, white, and 10 or so sample paint swatches–the state it has sat in for the past 3 months. Painting the counters¬†opened up some doors color wise as we didn’t have to work around the pink anymore. This room doesn’t get much light so we started thinking a yellow might be fun. It would brighten things up and bring a warm color into our house that is mostly gray right now. The color we decided on is Martha Stewart Yellow Gerbera (color matched to Behr Ultra from Home Depot).


To refresh your memory, here are some before pictures:





Here is what it looks like now:





It’s definitely brighter! Almost too bright with our harsh lighting. I kinda wish it looked more like this:



But at this point I’m leaving it as is for a while. We still plan to replace the black outlets with white and take out the blue backsplash and replace that with white beadboard that will wrap around until right before the window. Maybe that will tone it down some…we’ll see! Anyone else have a yellow kitchen or have any painting projects going on?


Painted Counters: Update!

A couple weeks ago I posted about how we painted our countertops and how thrilled we were with the results. Well I have to come back and give an honest update that this product is perhaps not as heaven-sent as we thought. We thought the performance would be similar to our laminate counters and it has proved to be not quite as durable. We may not have waited long enough before we started using them, but we quickly learned we need to be cautious as we use them. We had a bowl on the counter that we filled with hot food (the bowl itself wasn’t hot) and it left this mark:


Then I tried to clean off another mark with the scrubber side of the sponge and it ended up making it worse leaving this mark:


We have also gotten a few knicks in the paint. That being said, I still DO NOT regret painting them. I mean I only paid $20 for a completely different look to my kitchen. And for $20 I really can’t expect the Taj Mahal. And I would still recommend the product to people with ugly laminate counters that can’t afford to change them out YET with the disclaimer that it shouldn’t be your end goal but rather a means to an end. And that while using them, just be aware that you’ll need to handle with them with care.

I have since touched up those areas that got messed up and now we make sure to never put anything warm/hot directly on them and to not use the scrubber side of the sponge, but only the soft side. As long as we follow those “rules” they work just fine for now! But after singing praises, I didn’t want you all to try out this product misinformed.

Have a great weekend everyone!