Friday, October 17, 2014

We have some news!

I've been keeping a little secret for six months...

Our house is going to be in these magazines!

Yes, that's two different Better Homes & Garden's special interest magazines! I was just as surprised as you are.

I'm actually no stranger to these particular mags—remember our Florida master bathroom makeover? It was featured in the Real Life Kitchens & Baths magazine (back when it was under that title, they've since changed the name to Kitchen + Bath Makeovers):

And my Paris city map print was featured a few months ago in Do It Yourself magazine:

When the editor of DIY mag saw my kitchen, she pitched it to her team and they decided to shoot a full house tour! Only problem was... we hadn't even touched any other rooms, aside from my studio. This explains (a little bit) why we've been so busy! Just in the past year we've been able to complete our kitchen...



Master bedroom...


And living room... which is actually only 95% done and the shoot starts the day after tomorrow, so uh... I better get on that...

Those are the rooms they are shooting for the spread in Do It Yourself Magazine. They're shooting a third day just for Kitchen + Bath Makeovers, so it will be a very exciting few days!

Just to clarify, we didn't remodel our house for the shoot. It would have been done regardless, exactly the way it is now—only maybe not quite as fast. So you can thank them for my more frequent than usual posting schedule ;)

As you can imagine, we've been scrambling to get everything done around here. We could barely walk through our mess of a living room 2 days ago...

I still have to un-decorate for fall and re-decorate for summer (since the issue will be released sometime in spring/summer 2015). But I have an amazing stylist who has been shipping Target packages to me all week (sadly, I can't keep any of them!) and it's so interesting to see their new ideas for our home.

It's not all fun and games though... we've also been dealing with the maintenance side of things... like touching up all of our bleeding pine knots...

These things are pure EVIL, I tell you. It's our third attempt to cover them and this time we used the PVA primer that the painters suggested and used on our living room ceiling. We spent all night Tuesday priming and by Weds some knots were already peeking through, so I am not optimistic. I'm currently covered in dried paint after repainting the entire kitchen ceiling & wall, living room wall, foyer, and window sills last night.

Today will be spent wiping every baseboard, removing every cobweb, dusting every crack and crevice, window cleaning, mopping, laundering... etc etc.

The stylist arrives tomorrow and photographer on Sunday, with shooting lasting Sunday through Tuesday. This might be the most exciting thing to happen to us all year.

I'll be back Weds or Thursday with a recap of the shoot, but I fully expect to be over-gramming the entire experience, so make sure to stalk my Instagram for real time behind the scenes action! Oh, and I must wait until later to share my latest DIY furniture project... sorry for the suspense ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The evolution of our living room fireplace {+ more fall decorating}

First thing's first—the winner of the framed Roman Numerals print has been chosen! Check the Rafflecopter box to see if it was you!

Whew, I can't even explain what a relief it is to finally have this fireplace finished! It was the most daunting task on our living room to-do list (after the ceiling was finished) and finding a tile installer ended up being a huge stressful ordeal. Between the lack of tile workers in this small town, the first guy backing out at the last minute, several insanely high quotes, and another cancelled contract due to an incorrect estimate, we were facing the reality of having to do it ourselves.

But just in the knick of time, we found a replacement and let me tell you, hiring this job out was the best decision ever.

Let's start back at where we left off a few weeks ago. Our handyman had installed 2x4's for cement board support:

Living in the mountains now, I've embraced the cabin style (albeit in a subtle way) and at the heart of any good mountain retreat is a statement-making stone fireplace. We love the more modern look of stacked stone and were very pleased with how the bar wall in our kitchen turned out so we used the same quartz stone.

Since the materials were on the pricey side ($4/sq foot and it took over 300 sq feet) we decided to keep the hearth simple with some light gray porcelain tile, which ended up being around just $40 total.

After weeks of hunting down a tile guy, he came in last Tuesday and started the prep work. This was the end of Day 1:

Then the tiling began. End of Day 2:

More tiling and cement board—end of day 3:

By Friday evening (day 4) it was 95% done. Excuse the crappy cell phone pic...

The finishing touches were added Saturday morning (another bad pic, sorry!)

We do plan on keeping our TV there (Brad insisted, I can't fight it) but I made sure it wasn't a permanent installation. Just two plugs and it's easily put away if needed. All of the other components are in the hall closet, fortunately, so I'll just have to decorate around the TV.

But not before I took some proper "After" shots of it, all ready for fall. I had fun grabbing whatever seasonal-ish decor I could scrounge up around the house to dress it up a bit.

This is one of those things where you just have to be standing in front of it to really get a sense of scale and the way this changes the entire feel of the room. It truly is the heart of our home now.

I'm trying real hard to pretend like it's fall here, even though it was 90° yesterday.

We have more firewood than we know what to do with, and I'm so looking forward to putting this new fireplace to good use.

Change is coming, soon... I can feel it...

We have this tree in our front yard that started producing these perfect orange and red bulbs (seeds?) the first week of autumn, right on cue. It makes for some great festive arrangements.

I scored this whole stack of vintage books at our local flea market the other day for just $10 (along with that chunky blanket for $1).

My Roman Numerals print decided to make another appearance... the classic black and white typography just goes with everything (and adds a touch of sophistication, don't you think?). I layered it with a black and white vacation photo (see more on that DIY project here).

You'll have to ignore the weird lighting. The bottom of the fireplace had natural light from the windows shining on it, so the top looks a bit darker and warmer in color. It's all uniform in real life, I promise.

The brass candlestick holders were also a flea market score, and I found the inexpensive black lanterns online here—they have so many to choose from!

The antler candle holder was a gift from my friend's dad who makes them.

We have a fireplace screen that will be in place normally, but I left it off for this shoot.

Look who I caught up to no good...

Autumn needs to hurry up and get here so we can cuddle up with our furbabies by the fire. I know they're anxious for it too.

And now the best part... where we can fully appreciate the makeover by traveling back in time to the "Before"...

And after we painted the walls...

Can't wait to get the rest of the living room put back together! We'll be working on that tomorrow. And then I have some exciting news later this week, along with perhaps my proudest DIY furniture build yet.

See you in a few days!

Friday, October 10, 2014

DIY Wood Side Table / Subwoofer Enclosure

Today I'm sharing the easiest piece of furniture I've ever built. Seriously.

I'm pretty much the opposite of Ana White when it comes to carpentry—my dad was a wood worker and apparently his skills skipped a generation—but this project? I whipped it up in just a few hours (with Brad's help) and it's absolutely perfect.

First, let's talk about the dilemma that started everything.

Brad decided that our living room needed to sound like a movie theater (apparently one home theater isn't enough) which of course requires a big subwoofer. I have to compromise sometimes, so I let him win this battle.

But this monstrous black box just didn't fly with my design plans for the space, so I decided to make it functional by hiding it underneath a table. I couldn't find any store bought options that worked—the right size, look, and it had to be vented yet still hide this box at the same time—a pretty tall order. DIY was the only solution.

I took to Pinterest for inspiration and fell madly in love with this photo:

Yep, this is the one. There were no build plans or step by step instructions (I couldn't even locate the original source) but it seemed easy enough to throw together by eye.

A old pallet would be perfect for this job, but we were fresh out of those so I headed to Lowe's and found the most imperfect 1x3x8 and 1x4x8 boards I could find, along with a couple 2x2" stair balusters to use as my inside supports:

Total cost was around $30, but any old boards would work for this so if you have scraps lying around, it can be done for much cheaper (or free). I liked the idea of having random board widths instead of keeping it uniform to add to the character.

The only other tools needed are a saw, wood glue and nails (we used our nail gun with 18 gauge finish nails).

After measuring the sub box and adding a couple inches on each side for breathing room, I trimmed all the pieces down and grouped them into three sections—front and two sides (we left the back open to the wall where the wires came out).

Then the fun part—distressing! We figured it was easier to do this before assembly.

After trimming my 2x2"s to the correct height, we arranged our group of front boards on top of them, lined everything up by eye (remember, imperfections are good), dabbed some wood glue and secured them with our nail gun. So easy.

Then we flipped it on its side and secured the corresponding boards at 90° to line up with the front pieces—we did this for each side.

Starting to look like a table already!

Then we simply attached the last two 2x2"s onto the back of the sides.


It was at this point I re-measured and realized the sub was a little too long to fit (oops... told you I'm no good at this stuff)

Fortunately, we were able to remove the rear 2x2"s and secure them to the very back of the sides instead of the inside edge, which gave us just enough room for the sub to slide in.

Finally, it was time to nail down our top pieces. We decided to not leave any gaps—just a personal preference.

For extra stability, we added a small piece of wood on the back side at the very bottom.

And our table was built. We were going to add foam underneath top to help with vibrations, but we did a test run with the bass cranked and there was zero rattling. I even put a bunch of metal stuff on the top, and nothing. The sound was nice and clear, no rattling, and it looked great—win-win! I love it when we can come up with creative solutions like this that make us both happy.

Finally, it was time for the finishing touches. I grabbed three different stains from the garage (dark walnut, provincial and driftwood) and went over each board with different mix to give the boards a more random look:

Then I let the stain soak in for a few days—I've found this drying time is crucial, especially if you plan to sand afterwards. Don't rush it!

When I came back to sand it, the stain lifted so nicely and gave it that perfect bit of aged wood look (I used 80 grit paper and focused mostly on the edges).

And here it is with the sub hiding inside. You'd never even know.

I apologize for these lackluster "after" photos... our living room is a mess of construction right now so I can't even move it into place, let alone style it.


It'll be on the left side of our sofa, tucked in by the fireplace. Once I get the white slipcovers on and the rug in place, it will be a nice break from all of the clean & light shades of the sofa, curtains, rug, and wall color while bringing another natural element to the room. I can't wait to see how it looks next to the stone fireplace....  speaking of...

It's ALMOST DONE! I'm going to wait until it's completely finished (next week) to share. My instagram friends got an early preview on Wednesday...

I'll leave you with that for now. But it's looking pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself.

Have a wonderful weekend... see you back here Tuesday!