House Updates

We’ve been working on this fixer upper of ours for 4 years! This is the year we might get it finished.

I pulled the red sculpted carpeting on the second floor last year even though we didn’t have money to replace flooring.  The carpet was 40 years old and the allergens were really built up in it. As soon as we figured out it was part of why I was sick all the time we pulled it out. I painted the subfloor with porch paint and even though it was rough, it was ok.   As soon as I could save up the money, I bought the same flooring (TrafficMASTER Handscraped Seratoga Hickory) we put down in Heather’s room. (I still need to paint the walls, add trim and wainscoting and art. And move the mattress, ha ha–but baby steps.)

It’s a little darker than the trend is going right now, but it matches our vintage doors perfectly and is only $.99 a square foot.  Their lighter colorway in Lakeshore Pecan is only $.79 a square foot!  It has been in Heather’s room for almost 4 years now and it has worn perfectly.  No scratches or chunks out of it.  It has held up better than the real hardwood we installed on the main floor.

Next step is to replace the paneling in the office.  I was going to paint it white, but it has water damage that caused the panels to warp and fail at the seams, which could mean mold issues above. As much as I’m afraid to look behind the paneling, I can’t risk leaving mold up there.  With fresh white paneling up, the office will become the temporary master bedroom.  I’ll miss my closet, but I won’t miss running past the glass front door wearing nothing but a towel as I head to the working bathroom while hoping the glare of the sun off the glass blinds the neighbors before the sight of me in a towel does.  I’m imagining this kind of cottage feel:

Source

After that, we start removing the pine planked basement ceiling which is covered with 100 florescent lights.  I love the look of a painted pine ceiling, but the lights created 100 large holes that can’t be easily fixed.  The plan is to drywall the ceiling with a modest amount of LED recessed lights, and hope to leave the pine walls for painting.   Heidi and I have plans for the ruined pine planks.  We are hoping there will be long enough scraps to build some furniture.

The ceiling is coming down before we’re ready to finish the basement to give access to electrical and plumbing for the new master bedroom.  The master has been raw studs and exposed pipes and wires for 4 years.  I got tired of looking at it and thumbtacked twin flat sheets to the ceiling awhile ago.  It really did make waiting easier.

Under the plywood on the floor is a giant hole where the sunken bathtub with no surrounding walls used to live.  It was a big tripping hazard, so we had the tub hauled off by a metal recycler and plunked some plywood down so no one would fall to their death to the basement.  This is RIGHT in front of the entrance to the bedroom.  You could sit in the former bathtub in the master and watch the TV in the family room and hold a conversation with everyone, convenient :).   Plus, the kids liked using it as a slide.  They were pretty upset they day it left.

We are moving the door in the master bedroom from the family room to the foyer.  This will give us enough space to build an ensuite bathroom, and allow faster middle of the night access to the 2nd floor where the children sleep.  The doors are right on the other side of the staircase from each other.  The new door is to the left of the old one and makes good sense inside the bedroom also.  There’s just enough space for the new door to make it 36 inches wide with room for proper trim.

Here are the current plans for the ensuite:

Also on the list:  finish the basement, build organizers in the garage, replace the driveway, build a lower patio under the upper deck, cut a back door and add stairs to go to the yard, build a swing set and finish the landscaping.  We’re about $16,000 short on the budget for ALL of this, so some projects will have to wait while we save up money.   I’m also hoping that I over budgeted on some projects and we will find money as we go along.  Bwa ha ha!  Like that EVER happens in remodeling.

We refinanced our home in January.  My parents hold the mortgage to the house.  It’s a rare situation I know, but they are very frugal and built a nice savings that my mom was afraid to invest in the stock market.  It was sitting in the bank making %0.005 interest driving my Dad crazy.  He was interested in loaning it to us where it could safely grow.  We were getting a mortgage anyway and would have to pay the interest somewhere, and it feels really good paying it to them.  We have the mortgage on direct deposit, so every month they automatically get paid.  We’re never late and everyone has peace of mind.  That simple piece of organization keeps the family relationship good.  I know this is something that Dave Ramsey says to never do, but it works for us.  This January, my folks gave us back all the principal+interest that we had paid them over the last 4 years and started our loan over.  If we are super careful, it should be enough to finish the house modestly.

 

DIY Pompom Trim Blanket

We have a bonus room over our garage that I’m using for my office/craft room/guest room.  It has a high vaulted ceiling and the previous home owners used every inch of floor space by not putting in knee walls.  The wall shown here with the window in it, is the only wall in the room that you can put furniture against and even that contains the tall laundry chute.  (I’m tempted to rip this out and just have a hatch in the floor.) Also the thread cabinet on the wall and the sewing table are going to new homes.

The whole room is paneled in 1970’s press board. It would look darling painted white, except for where the roof leaked many years ago, and warped the boards. I’m not sure what to do about that….so I’ve left it natural while we worked on other rooms. I used to have bright blue and white chevron curtains on the rods but am ready for a change.  I’m living with nothing while I decide what will be next.  There are outlets everywhere in the room, on the ceiling and on the floor.  It’s a crafter’s dream and strange all at the same time.  It’s going to be tricky to lay the floor in here, which I hope will happen December 26th.

After subjecting our guests to sleeping on an air mattress with a lumpy hide-a-bed mattress thrown over the top, I decided to invest in a more substantial guest bed.  I found this bed frame for a queen bed that folds up into a small square, yet the reviews said it was sturdy enough to use as an every day bed frame.  When folded, the bed frame perfectly fits in a triangle shaped cubby hole in the corner of the room by the furnace utility closet and tucks out of the way when not in use.

The bed frame didn’t require a box spring. I went to Ikea and tried out all their mattresses and came home with this one.  I had first thought to get an all foam mattress, but this one was surprisingly more comfortable.  It came vacuum sealed and rolled up in a cylinder shape, which made getting it home really easy.  I could imagine it sliding into the cubby beside the bed frame when not in use.  When I cut the plastic and the mattress fully expanded in the room, it was clear it wasn’t tucking behind anything.  SOOOO, my brilliant idea left me with a folded up bed frame in the corner of my office and a mattress on the floor.   Then I saw this blog post from ZevyJoy.  She explains how she used a $50 Ektorp slip cover to turn a queen bed into a daybed for their family room.  Since queen daybed frames were running $300-$1200 online, I thought this was a fabulously frugal alternative.

I made one more trip to Ikea for an Ektorp slipcover, some pillow forms and pillow covers to make my own version at home. (The shopping trip that inspired this post.) The effect is limited with the paneled walls and bare plywood floor (except for the well loved rug I threw down for feet safety, but it still beats the mattress on the floor vibe.  I used as much of what I had as possible.  The ektorp cover is stuffed with my spare feather pillows that I had been collecting for a few dollars at a time at second hand and salvage shops.  The chenile bedspread was in a free bin at my neighbor’s garage sale, because her new puppy had chewed a few holes in it.  (After mending it’s hard to find the damaged spots in all the texture.)

I love the texture of a chunky pompom throw and wanted one to cozy up the guest bed, but they are crazy expensive. The thought of wrapping a thousand homemade pompoms to sew to a blanket wasn’t very appealing, and I’m not a fan of finding strings all over the house that fell out of said homemade pompoms.  Crocheted pomopms are FAST and cannot lose strings.  I started with an Ikea Polarvide throw for $3.99.

The scalloped edge is adorable, but not great for this application.  I just grabbed my good fabric scissors and cut them off, ending up with a pile of petal shapes that I saved in a baggie waiting for inspiration for another project.

I chose Lion Brand Homespun Thick and Quick in Dove for the poms.  I wanted a chunky boucle yarn, to make it go faster and give the poms a furry texture.   It took almost all of 2 skeins to get around the blanket. At $8.99 a skein that would have upped the price of the throw quite a bit, but you probably guessed I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for each skein.  (The final project cost was $14.79.)

I used a P hook from this set, but you can use any size and any type of yarn you prefer.  Start by chaining long enough to go all the way around the blanket.  After I had a fairly long chain, I started pinning it to the blanket as I went so I’d know as soon as my chain was long enough.  It also kept that huge chain from twisting.  Join with a slip stitch to close and single crochet in each chain around.

To form the pom: chain 6 and form a 3 double crochet cluster in the 3rd chain from the hook.  *Chain 3, then form another 3 double crochet cluster in the 3rd chain from the hook.  Slip stitch to fold those two clusters in half and form a ball.  Then chain 3, skip the next 3 single crochet stitches from your foundation row and single crochet in the next stitch.* Continue from * around.  Finish off and weave in the ends.

When you get to the end, if you don’t have a exactly 3 chains to skip, it’s ok to skip 2 or 4 or whatever is left.  It won’t show in the final blanket.

Here’s a video from Bella Coco that gives a nice visual:

When the edging was all finished, I used a long zigzag stitch on my machine to attach it to the blanket, using cream thread on the top and gray in the bottom so the threads would blend away.  The only problem was the chunky boucle kept getting caught in my presser foot.  Several times I wondered if hand stitching would have been the better plan.

Makeover Monday: Hide the Cords

Shelley contacted me two weeks ago wanting to spruce up her living room before her 9 children and all their grandchildren descended for Thanksgiving.  If that sounds daunting, it gets even more so.  After their children grew up, Shelley and her husband downsized their 5400 square foot home into a 2 bedroom double wide trailer in the country.  Then her good friend became terminally ill with cancer. Shelley spent the last few months staying with her friend to care for her until she passed away.  When Shelley got home and saw how everything fared while she was away, she was overwhelmed.

After I heard her story, I couldn’t help but love her heart.  I offered her smaller design packages to save her money, and she wouldn’t dream of it.  “I want the whole package–all of it.  And I want to pay.”  She also agreed to let me share her before and after pictures, even though privacy (along with speed) is part of the privilege of being a paid client. Heart of gold.

This is a good opportunity for me to share the details of what comes in a full package.

1. 2 pictures showing the new design
2. Shopping List with prices and sources within your specified budget
3. Step by step work list
4. 3-D furniture placement plan (video)

5. A Shared Custom Pinterest Board
6. One revision

At first Shelley was sure she wanted to keep all her original furniture.  I worked with her on that and showed her some slip cover options etc.  After rearranging everything according to the furniture layout plan, her husband sat on their old love seat and said “no way am I sitting on that!” and he bought her a new full size sofa and started talking about chairs. I love this so much because they were sticking to tiny pieces of furniture thinking that their home was small and they needed to conserve space.  Compared to what they had before, it is small, BUT the living space is much bigger than an average home.

Shelley's living room private Pinterest

The first thing we did was set up a shared private Pinterest board where I could pin sources to all the things I was putting on her shopping list and get her feedback.  She started window shopping and pinning things that she would like me to include in the design, especially new paintings that I might take a color scheme from.  I searched her Pinterest and Houzz pages she had previously made to get a feel for her style and color preferences.

I discovered through her boards that she loved horses and farmhouse style.  I found this original art piece on etsy that was beautiful and affordable:

horse-painting-on-etsy

The painting helped me choose her colors: Benjamin Moore Simply White (for Trim and shelves); Edgecomb Gray (for walls); Wedgewood Gray (Curtains and Accessories); and Hale Navy (for bottom of the hutch and accessories.)

shelleys-paint-schemeI chose her neutrals specifically for their yellow undertones.  They had just laid new country pine wood floors and if she used neutrals with pink undertones, or even a true white, they might look orange.

Here’s her before:

Shelley before 1

The first thing I noticed was her little green chair on the right.  So cute! Imagine it with a slip cover to look like this, except with a floor length skirt.

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via Slipcovers by Shelley

I also noticed that all the wood in her home was the same tone of pine.  While it seems logical to match woods for a cohesive look, it ends up making a space look flat.  I suggested she paint the pine on the walls Edgecomb gray and the pine trim and entry paneling Simply white.  Then to mix in darker tones of wood in picture frames, coffee table and other furniture pieces.

I made 2 different concept photos for her of this view, because I really wanted her to get an Ektorp sectional.  Sectionals seat the most people in the least amount of space and it fits perfectly in her corner. You’ll notice in this picture, the walls are a different shade of tan, one she requested because they already had the paint and I switched out the painting from the blue horses to one similar to one her husband found in their shed that she wanted to use.

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I created a built in media center for her to house her giant TV, with tons of storage below for dvds and toys for the grandkids.  It’s all built affordably and easily from Ikea Billy bookcases, with the extensions and optional doors.  They also have a giant pull down movie screen that they use a lot and I hid it behind a cornice and crown molding.  It’s easy to reach up and grab when they want it but hides away invisibly when not in use. The main goal here was to hide all the cords.  They are such tiny things, but give a sense of visual stress. I gave her choices of coffee tables to use over the poufs, but none were in the right format for the photo without hiding the sectional.

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Here’s another concept with the sofa they were considering.  They thought it would be more comfortable than the sectional, so they bought it in a dark navy similar to the hale navy we will use in their dining room.

Shelley before 4

Here’s a before view of the Ham Radio corner.  I used this photo to help with the 3D floor plan rendering.  At first, Shelley’s husband made me promise not to touch the radios, but I couldn’t help myself.  I sent her this photo, and asked her to show her husband and see what he said. I told him I would create this only classier in another room if he would let us move the tower of cords and electronics blocking the window:

ham-radio-corner

He loved it and said, “Forget the living room.  Just build this in there instead.”  Bwa ha ha!  That whole thing really backfired.   In there?  Isn’t there another room?  I made her show me pictures of every other room, lol.  They were right, there wasn’t another room.   I wanted to chop the visual height of all the radios so the eye was sent to the beautiful windows and beyond.  In the process, I needed to set up an area so he could actually use them.  The way they were it was so inconvenient that he didn’t spend much time with them even though he loved them.

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I found this picture, based on a sawhorse console table by Shanty-2-Chic.  I’ve built 3 of these in my home and they are very easy and affordable.  For this design, I replaced the pieced top with hollow core doors for more workspace.  This will give him 14 feet of workspace!  I recommend she uses clips to secure the cords to the wall behind the window curtains.  (Hide all the cords!)

Here’s a 3d layout of the room showing how the desk fits in.

Here’s a 2nd 3d view with a sectional

Shelley before 3

shelleys-living-room-entertainment-view_edited-2

There are so many more details we talked about, like updating her dining room ceiling fan like this.

farmhouse ceiling fan

and building rustic shelves like these behind her sofa so hold her projector so it would not longer be hanging from the ceiling with cords everywhere.  It would be close enough to the window curtains that she could hide the cords behind them.

rustic-shelves

At first she was opposed to an area rug because of her pets, but as the room started to come together she could totally see how a rug would bring everything together.  These are two of my favorites:

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Here’s a final side by side before and after.

shelleys-living-room-before-and-after

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to angela@groceryshrink.com and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.

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Learn how to use Photoshop for your own designs with the Room Makeover class (It’s half off today, Monday, November 28th only!)

Makeover Monday: Curtains Make all the Difference

Melinda didn’t like her sunroom.  She removed all the excess stuff she could and it was better, but still didn’t feel right.  I looked at her photo and saw her gorgeous floors and charming arched doorway.  She also has a lot of handmade SOLID wood furniture that she doesn’t want to paint.  The pieces were made by her father who passed away and they are real treasures.  She has a nice neutral wall color that looks fresh and bright.melindas-sunroom

I noticed her pillow on the sofa in the adjoining room.  It reminded me of these drapes from Target, so I popped them in.  The important step is hanging the drapes at the ceiling instead of just above the window and wide enough that they don’t actually block the glass. There should be enough fabric on the sides that it could actually cover the window even though you probably never will.  If the fabric is too narrow, it won’t look right.  Hanging drapes this way  makes everything feel taller and grander. Because the angle of the room wasn’t easy, I only did the curtains on the front window.  Can you imagine them continued onto the side?   I added woven bamboo shades to bring the warmth of her floor and furniture up. target-curtains-slip-covered-chair

Also, I popped a slipcover onto her chair, just to update it and neutralize it.  If you can sew along a line, you can make a slip cover.  Here’s my favorite video to show how.  If you can’t sew along a line but want to learn, take all the thread out of the machine and practice along the lines of notebook paper.  It won’t damage your machine to sew on paper, but you’ll want to use an old needle and then change to a fresh needle before sewing on fabric.   Melinda has a big heart and a lot of pets, so slip covers are ideal for her.  She should make 2, so she can wash one and use one and always have one at the ready.

To hang curtains at the ceiling, you need at least 95″ panels.  My favorite sources for 95+ panels are Target.com (not available in store); Homegoods; and Ikea.  BUT you don’t have to limit your selection to items labeled curtains.  Twin flat sheets are the perfect length and come in a huge variety of colors.  Walmart carries a basic flat sheet for just $4.97.  Also, tablecloths!  I wanted to get black buffalo check curtains for my dining room for the winter, but couldn’t find anything affordable.  Then my friend told me about these tablecloths.  All I have to do is sew a rod pocket across the top.   If you don’t sew, ring clips or fusible hem tape work just as well.

kitchen-buffalo-check

Here’s a photoshop idea.  I’m headed to Ikea today to get the brackets to hang them :).

You don’t have to spend a fortune on hanging hardware.  My favorite curtain rods are electrical conduit pipe from the hardware store.  They come in 5 ft or 10 ft lengths and in different thicknesses.  I can buy a 3/4″ 10 foot pipe for around $3, then spray paint it black.  They are easy to cut to length with a hacksaw, or to use threaded connectors to make a longer rod. I hang mine with these $1.49 brackets from Ikea. Since this is a really wide area, I’m going to use 3 for a center support.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to angela@groceryshrink.com and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.

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Learn how to use Photoshop for your own designs with the Room Makeover class

Weekend Links

Happy Weekend!  Here are my favorite links that made me take a longer look.

It’s the week for the one room challenge reveals!  Brittany Fleming’s room stopped me in my tracks.  Her before picture was beautiful and something I’d love in my house, but her after was so bright and cheerful it made me smile.  Her brave signature piece was a faux boxwood wall.  Imagine that?!  It’s easy to take down when she’s ready for something else.

houseplusloveorcentireroom

The other room from this series that wowed me also sported some bright kelly green.  I think it’s the color that I’m really digging right now and I don’t have it anywhere in my house….hmmm.

farmhouse-style-family-room-21

Kristi’s from Making it in the Mountains classic green chalkboard wall and barn door with a wreath combination is lovely.  The green chalkboard paint is a nice variation from the usual black.  I liked her olive leave wreath enough to click through and buy one for my house, until I saw the $80 price tag.  If you’ve been reading here long, you know I searched the internet to look for alternatives.  Amazon has one JUST like it for about half price.  It was still too pricey for me, so I put a price drop alert on camelcamelcamel and hope it comes into my budget some time.

Daybed by ZevyJoy

This daybed by Annie at Zevy Joy is gorgeous, right?  I got a bit excited when I discovered it’s just a queen mattress layered with bedding and for the back?  She got a $50 Ikea Ektorp sofa slip cover and Stuffed the back cushions with extra pillows.  I have most of this stuff lying around the house and it will be happening in my office soon.

 

Makeover Monday: Graphically Brave

Priscilla is drawn to the light and bright Modern Farmhouse rooms from Fixer Upper, but her furniture is full of color. Without a budget to buy new, she wasn’t sure what to do. She wrote: Need help with giant sectional. I’d like to lighten it up a bit, but so far I don’t like the contrast of light pillows. And how do you know how many pillows?  

Anyone else notice her beautiful wood and glass door?  I LOVE that color of wood. And that mirror! It’s huge and such a great shape.  Her coffee table is the perfect size and shape for her sectional. Even her light fixture has great character.

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Here’s what she says about her sectional:  It’s super comfy, almost all of us fit on it, but it definitely makes a statement. My head is turned by all the lovely, neutral, pale farmhouse/cottages. But, alas, my true love is color. Trying to dip a toe in the shallow end with some cream pillows. They didn’t play nicely with the red beast. Maybe more of a burlap color?

The angle of this photo and the full view of the space was so perfect for photoshop that I couldn’t help playing a little.  She’s right that pillows can really help to lighten a dark sofa, but in this room she’d get an even bigger impact from changing the wall color.   Painting can sound like a daunting task, but all you need is a gallon or two of paint and two 2 hour sessions to do it.

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Notice the impact big TALL drapes make?  These are from Kohls, but if budget is tight you can grab $4.88 twin flat sheets from Wal-mart, and fusing on the stripes.  Hang your drapes to the floor even if your furniture is in front of them.  Just pull the sofa far enough forward that the drapes can hang freely.  P.S.  The Kohls drapes are only 84 inches and that won’t look good in ANYBODY’s house.  We need 95 inches or longer, even with 8 foot ceilings. The sheet option is looking better and better.

I created friends to the wood in her door by adding wood shades and frame around the chalkboard.  She can write whatever she wants on the board, such as laurels, or she could use washi tape to adhere feathers.

That’s still her same chair in the front left corner.  I just added a slipcover so she could enjoy different prints and patterns in the room.  Don’t be afraid of light colored slip covers.  Baby wipes and a lint roller keep them looking nice in between washings.  And guys, I only wash mine once a year or when we’ve had a big enough oopsie that a baby wipe won’t work.  I have 6 kids and 5 kittens.  We know how to get stuff dirty.

I used all her same furniture, lamps, wall art, but with lighter wall paint it looks like a completely different room.  The rug is a splurge from Joanna Gaine’s new line.   It also comes in dark black, but I thought it would be too bold against the already bold curtains.  That’s the secret to matching patterns:  Let ONE be the big bold leader of the pack, large and in charge.  Then layer in your different scales of pattern in similar color tones.  With the different scales of graphic prints in the space your eye goes to the curtains first, but has resting places on the pillows and rug too.  Also the rug is a size bigger than her old one.  Having a big enough rug really helps.  Save up until you can get one where all the furniture can at least have their front legs on the rug.

Her reaction: That is great. I would have to redo the whole house, and that lovely cream chair would last about five minutes. I’m just gonna enjoy the fantasy for a moment. I do think I will add those three ferns to the sofa table. 

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to angela@groceryshrink.com and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.

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Makeover Monday: Don’t Let Fear Decide

I started on my built ins for my living room in August.  They have been half finished for 3 months, because I made a few little mistakes. I attached something crooked, and drilled a few holes too deep. Darren had to fix it.  Now I’m paralyzed by the fear that I’m not skilled enough to finish it without him. It will be a long time before he can carve out a few hours to help me again.

If I kept building alone what’s the worse that could happen? I might mess up and need to buy more wood.  It might, gasp, cost $20 or something.  When I really looked at the risks, I felt a little silly. I’ve decided not to let $20 frighten me.

The Cozy Minimalist course opened up a few weeks ago, and while it’s closed again :'( you can get on the waiting list so you don’t miss it next time.  There are 1,000+ ladies in the group and it’s so much fun.  It’s a private place where we can share our questions and get feedback on our spaces.  When I saw a few of the rooms, they inspired me to open up photoshop and play.

Here’s Pam’s living room after she rearranged the furniture for a cozy seating area that makes her fireplace the star. The best part of her arrangement is that her furniture isn’t all shoved against the walls.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the roses.  What a great color!  Plus, check out her crown molding and how the curved sofas make her rug look like a giant sheepskin.  There’s so much good going on here.

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Then I thought, what if she had more of the rose color in her room?  I found some inexpensive fuschia drapes and pillow at Amazon and photoshopped them in.

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What if there were just a touch more pink in some art?   I found these watercolor paintings from Etsy that were super affordable and popped them in.

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Then the internet reacted.  Here’s a smidge of what people said:

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Hot pink is super scary and not to everyone’s taste. I knew Pam loved pink, because it was the only color that she kept in the room.  If she did decide to try such a bold color, what’s the worst that could happen?  She might decide to take it back and find something different.  She might have to watch her husband react when he saw it for the first time.  She might have to find a different place to display the art that used to live in this room.  She might change her mind in a couple of years.  Whatever she decides, I hope she doesn’t decide out of fear.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to angela@groceryshrink.com and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.

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Welcome Fall

Thank you for all your encouraging comments after my last post.  I’m not feeling nearly so overwhelmed right now and I think gratitude and the support of good friends has a lot to do with it.  I’ve found myself running to the journal to jot down things when I think of them–like the song “I need thee every hour,” especially the new arrangement by John Hudson.  Also warm and pleasant jogging weather, and my husband who has known exactly what I’ve needed to hear the past couple of days.

I made some updates to my home for fall, just using some stuff I already had on hand.  If you missed it on instagram, here are a few more photos.  If I were designing a hearth from scratch, I would have done it differently and all the possibilities would have stressed me out and frozen me. Since my rule was to use what I have, it was much simpler (I even used the screws the previous homeowner left in the brick–so yes, the wreaths are slightly uneven.)   I love how limitations FREE us to make the best decisions we can.

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The canvas on the hearth was our family picture from 2012. The dipped basket is from hobby Lobby (as is the ampersand) and the pillow from Ikea.  I made the wreaths using this tutorial. The wood logs were dropped off by a tree cutting crew working for my neighbor.  To get these logs I had to take all 4 trees and the wood chips.  My husband was not nearly as excited about it as I was.  He has been chopping it into firewood for weeks already and is still not done.  We have a wood burning fireplace in our basement, but this one is gas.  It’s not very efficient and way too expensive to burn, so it’s we just use it for decoration.  We talked about ripping it out several times….but it’s kind of holding up the whole center of the house–and has historical significance, being made from the bricks of the old Kanas City stockyards when they were torn down.

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I did go and help him after I took the photo :D. (Mostly so I could protect the bigger stumps that would make nice side tables or stools for a someday outdoor seating area.)

If you’d like to know how we painted our brick, you can read about that here, and also see what the endcap looked like before we put a chalkboard up over it.

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I LOVE the versatility of having a huge chalkboard here. It’s not nearly as dusty as I thought it would be.  It’s visible from the entry so we can put any personal message to guests we want on there, like “Welcome Yeoman Family!” I let the kids design it most of the time, but while they were at school yesterday I added the crocheted pompom garland (with thumbtacks) and words to remind me of my new mindset.  We skip Halloween at our house and go right into Thanksgiving.  

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Here’s the view from the front door.  ( I primed the woodwork in here months ago and never painted it. I plan to paint the spindles and woodwork bright white, the walls a light greige, and to restain the wood tones espresso.  I’ve been half started on the woodwork for years….  Ha ha, that’s how you know this is NOT a decorating blog.) I usually keep the baskets under the table full of white blankets for looks, but with young people here, we ended up filling the left one with bubbles and sidewalk chalk since it’s convenient to the front door.

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Across from the hearth is a little sitting area.  I bought the white lacy candle holders for Christmas (at Ikea) and loved them so much I never put them away.  I added a few fur throws and pillows, a couple of DIY leaf pillows, and fall themed printables for the clipboards.

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(If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t buy a sectional this dark–BUT it fits our family, is super comfy, and the leather is exactly what I need for my allergies.  For the time being, I’m thankful to have it. When we knock some of the more important projects off our list, like a basement office for Darren, I’ll see what I can do about lighter furniture in here.) The cupboard behind the sectional holds all our board games. The coffee table is from Ikea and was only $40.  It has already taken a beating on the top.  I plan to add a stained wood top using this tutorial.  Then after a bit will move it to the basement family room (yet to be built) and build something more expensive looking, like this or this.

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This is the first year I’ve been able to pull together a collection of fall items from what I had on hand.  Every year for a LONG time, I would buy just 1 or 2 items that I thought I would hold it’s charm for me. Some were originally meant for Christmas or Spring. I prefer to keep things fairly low key, so it’s as easy to put away as it is to put out. Does fall decorating excite you or overwhelm you?

P.S.  I just saw the nester is opening her self-study cozy minimalist course.  This is the course I took spring of 2015 that CHANGED my life.  She’s opening the facebook group up to students which is what made ALL the difference for me.  I’m participating this year as I finish up my music room and foyer.

A Family Friendly Yard on a Budget

Our house has so many projects! My foyer has been primed but not pained for several months now and I’m still not done with my build in bookcases or trim in the living room.  Already my heart is turning outside.  We have a couple of gorgeous months ahead of us and I would LOVE to add a firepit and some swings to our yard and just hang out there with my people.

back-yard-before

Two weekends ago we piled our driveway full of brush and yard trimmings, revealed our raised beds and split enough wood for two winters. Then last weekend we built 4 more raised garden beds, and mulched around trees and pathways.

 

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Here’s a close up of the bushy area to the right after cleaning up. The yard is looking almost pretty.  The two days working together as a family was really fun and bonding, except for the poison ivy that I found. It’s the city’s job to keep the fence clean 😛 We can work on our side, but the other side remains a jungle.  I suppose there’s more privacy that way.

under the deck

Darren is talking out loud about building a seating area under the deck.  I’ve been talking about it for years and he would respond with all the reasons why it was a bad idea.  Now, it appears it is HIS idea and I’m all for it. Above is what it looks like today, sigh.  There’s a LOT of work to be done.  But I’m envisioning removing the wall covering on the side facing this, and the side facing the yard to the right.  We’d like to leave the covering on the back wall, because that is the north side and blocks the worst weather for us.

Then I’d like a slew of comfy seating and eating areas where our huge family can gather.  (Just my husband’s immediate family is 28 people.)  Something with the feel Centsational Girl created here:

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This will be the most expensive backyard project on our list because we’ll need to jackhammer some extra footings that aren’t being used anymore, and bring in several yards of gravel to create a temporary floor.  Concrete would be ideal, but it would be around $10,000 to pour a spot this big.

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Here’s another inspiration photo from Redoingit.blogspot.com. They have a fabulous tutorial there on making outdoor curtains from canvas drop cloth and plumbing fittings.

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While we save up the cash for the gravel floor, I’d like to build a fire pit like this.  I go back and forth on the kind of bottom to put in the pit. The flat stones as shown here would make shoveling out ashes a snap, but we have a couple of bags of sand that the previous homeowners left and it would make a free floor that drains well.  The stone blocks are a lot more expensive in my area than described in this tutorial (more than double) but I have seen them on Craigslist recently (I was just too slow to text and they were already sold, sob.)  While we do the necessary clean up work, I’m going to keep watching for another good deal.

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This simple swingset can be built for less than $100, even after modifying the plans to make it taller and wide enough for 3 swings.  We had a hard time figuring out where to put the swings with all the trees and tall back fence.  Darren finally had the idea of turning it sideways (we already plan to take out the tree right by the garden beds) so the kids would have more room to swing without hitting the fence.  It’s not as aesthetically pleasing to me as one turned the other direction, but I’ll be able to see it from the house which was really important to me.

 

 

 

 

 

A few things: Living Room Update etc.

I know I’ve been quiet lately.  I’ve been enjoying SUMMER with a slower schedule and time with my kids.  Here are a few updates.

  1. The hardwood floor in our living room is all finished!  I don’t have baseboards up and I haven’t started on the built ins yet.  But I did move the furniture in place just like it would be with the built ins there.  I want to live with it a little bit before I got through the expense and work of the built ins buy just to make sure I like the arrangement.  So far I really do!  You’ll notice there’s a rug down. It’s the one I bought for Darren’s office.  We are a long ways away from being able to use it for his office and I may pick something else for him then, or move it down and pick something else for the living room.  I love the rug and right now it’s the most affordable option since we already own it ;).  Everything is centered on the room, but the angle I had to stand to take the picture makes it look wonky.

Living Room before 2

Before

Living room during

Currently

Living Room afterConcept

(I’m rethinking the whole slip cover thing.  I’ll have to cut the back cushions off my sofa to make it work and it’s going to be a lot of work.  I still want to do it, just much later.)

2. I had a midlife crisis last week and bleached my hair patchwork orange. I don’t have pictures because it was too humiliating.  But it was mostly yellow with squares of orange and brown scattered through it.  My hair stylist’s son was having surgery that day so she couldn’t help me right away.  I wore hats everywhere, even to a wedding shower and denied all requests to take it off.  It was humiliating.  On phase one of the do over, she got rid of the orange and brown and I was GOLD blond all over.  It was horrifying.  The next day I was asked to lead the song service for the all area branch meeting.  I couldn’t say no because my hair was horrifying so I stood up there and sang away like there was nothing crazy on top of my head.  Three days later after multiple keratin and biotin treatments she added ash brown highlights and toned it all over.  We had to get pretty aggressive to get rid of the remaining brassiness and I was a little gray/purple for a few days.  It has settled down a little bit and now I’m REALLY blond, in a good way.  I no longer scream when I see a mirror, which is positive progress.

3. I have been healing up a lot over the last 2 months.  My hair has started to grow.  It has only been a week since the orange hair fiasco and I already have dark roots.  While dark roots aren’t pretty, I’m going to take it and love it since it’s another sign that my health is improving.  I started back to my Fit Yummy Mummy workout program, starting at the introductory level (the step before beginners….) and feel like I’m going to be able to finish this time.  While half my family is away at summer camp and my chores are reduced, I’ve been prepping foods to help with my goals.  I’ve made protein batter for pancakes and keep it in a jug in the fridge so I can cook a few fresh up in the mornings. I also froze protein shakes into popsicles molds.  It’s just almond milk and chocolate flavored protein powder, but having it in a popsicle slows down my eating process and is really fun. And I made a 4 serving recipe of Thai Chicken Salad and divided it into recycled Chic Fil A containers.

Thai Chicken Salad

If I make a family size recipe each time I cook something new, I can eat on it for awhile for no extra work.  When it’s that yummy I don’t mind eating leftovers.

4. My new washer and dryer have been in service for about a week and I love them!  They are HUGE.  One load in the new washer is worth 3 in my old one.  I used to do 3 loads a day and now I’m down to 1.  It’s the same amount of laundry but I can get through it in 1/3 of the time.