Friday, October 26, 2012

Nesting Snapshots


Things are coming together little by little - and it's the greatest weather to be inside, putting things out and getting organized. Our new doormat is one of my favorite things we've gotten, as well as this porcelain pineapple that makes me smile.

We're going to be getting rain this weekend, but hopefully it won't stop us from carving pumpkins and getting ready for Halloween. It really snuck up on us this year — it's my favorite time of year and I hope we can slow down for a minute and enjoy it. Are you decorating for Halloween? Baking pumpkin seeds? Dressing up?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

House Renovation: Week 2

...And I'm back for week two! This week saw a lot of cosmetic progress, although it was slow because the work on the floors prevented us from doing everything we wanted. The bedrooms got painted (bedroom 3, the office, is still not pictured - it was full of our junk because the floors weren't being done in there). 

This is the dining room...

The first coat of oil went down, and looked bea-utiful!

Here's the master, with the floors done, walls painted, and ceiling fan from the guest room switched into this room. You can see a bit more of the design of the master in my previous post, with the ombre curtains - so I'm backtracking a little. 

The guest room — pretty peach with a drum shade semi-flush mount. Neither one of us is crazy about ceiling fans, but this one suited the master so we decided to put it in there. With all of the other lighting we had to buy (we replaced everything - hallway lights, landings...) it wasn't such a bad thing to repurpose something for now! 

This was favorably known as the "Linen Closet Excavation of 2012." Our new linen closet is so perfect, it makes me smile every time I open it. Going through all of our stuff and reorganizing it took an entire afternoon — but now it's so neat and tidy, it was worth it. We'll see how long it stays that way!

That's all I have to share for now, we're finally unpacked and the rooms are almost fully decorated, so the true "afters" are still to come. We just made this amazing rope mirror for the bedroom, so I'll be posting that DIY next. See you soon!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY: Ombre Curtains

When it came to buying things for the house, curtains were the one thing that I was excited to look at, but not excited to buy. Have you bought curtains lately? They are so unbelievably expensive (at least the ones I wanted were) and you never need just one panel. That's where things get crazy — you start counting the windows in your house, ca-ching ca-ching! Next thing you know, you're spending a grand on fabric that hangs from your windows.

After I convinced myself that buying those Anthropologie curtains would be totally insane, I thought about making a DIY version of them. When I realized the ruffles might just be a little too much, I decided to keep with the idea of hand-dying, but go with something a little simpler.

This was a very easy DIY, but it took some time to get the hang of it. You'll have to set up your work are to suit your space — I've read that you can do this outside with a clothesline, or if you have somewhere else to drape/pin up the curtains to dry, that works too. This is definitely a bit on the messy side, so be sure to wear your paint clothes just in case, and put a tarp down.


2 white curtain panels (mine are from Target)
2 bottles of liquid RIT dye in teal (or color of your choice, for the main part of the ombre)
1 bottle of liquid RIT dye in royal blue (this is for the bottom dipped piece)
Pair of rubber gloves
Nearby sink or hose
Clothesline + Pins
Beer! (duh)


You will dye the panels one at a time, so I'll walk you through one, then you just repeat!

1) Measure + mark: The bottom half of the curtain will be the ombre part, and the top will remain white. So first, fold each panel in half and make a light pen mark on the back side of the panel, along the edge. These marks will help tell you where to stop when you're pulling each section out of the dye. This halfway mark is where you will dip to when you begin. Then, measure that bottom half into thirds and mark those sections. These will make the ombre gradation easier for you to plan — if you want to wing it, go for it! I found that there were plenty of other "happy accidents" that occurred, so I'm glad I at least measured and got the sections to be somewhat even. You still get a natural look with measuring.

2) Rinse + Dip: Rinse each curtain in warm water before beginning. You want them damp, not wet, so squeeze out excess water. Fill a bucket with the hottest water you can, and add one third of one bottle of teal dye. With a gloved hand, swish the dye around in the water to mix it. Next, dip the curtain into the bucket and stop at the halfway mark. Let this section soak for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add another third of the bottle of teal dye to the water, careful to not pour directly onto the curtain. Again, swish the dye around to mix. Pull the curtain out to the next pen mark. Let this part sit for 10 minutes.

For the next section, add the remaining dye (last third) in the bottle and pull the curtain out to the bottom third. At this point, you might need to pin up the curtain so it's not laying on the floor. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

Now that the curtains have been dyed in teal ombre (and hopefully looking really cool) you're going to rinse them (I believe in cold water, check the instructions on the dye). A lot of dye is going to rinse off, so don't freak out, it won't come off the curtain :) They will lighten up slightly, so take that into consideration with your dipping times and adjust depending on the look you want.

Gently give them a squeeze to get excess water out, then hang them to dry slightly. This was when I moved on to the next panels (I did three), so now you can repeat. Dump out your bucket and start fresh for each panel.

3) Dip the bottom: After all the panels were dyed teal, it was time to dip them in a darker color just to add that extra bit of gradation. In a bucket of hot water, add half the bottle of royal blue dye. Hang the curtain and dip just the very bottom in the bucket. I didn't measure this, just eyeballed it. Let this soak for 10 minutes. Repeat this for the second panel, with a fresh bucket and the remaining half of the dye.

4) Rinse + hang: Rinse the bottom portion that you just dyed, and hang these puppies up to dry! A little tip for hanging - make sure if you have to fold the curtains over the clothesline (if they're too long to just pin) don't let the white portion touch the dyed areas at all. The littlest bit of wet dye will leave spots. If you do get a spot on the white, you can spot treat them with bleach right away.

Let them dry overnight, then you're ready to go!

They look so airy and beachy, and beautiful when the light comes through. I couldn't be happier with this DIY — it's budget friendly and totally customizable. You can make as many curtains as you want, in whatever colors you want. 

I also kind of want to dye everything now — have you ever dyed anything for fun? Aside from those tie-dye tees we made in the 90s?

I was so encouraged by making these, that I decided to make my own bold striped curtains for the living and dining rooms. That one doesn't involve dye, but it's equally as easy. I'll be sharing that DIY shortly, so check back!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

House Renovation: Week 1

Amidst our efforts to unpack, I was finally able to compile all of my photos of our house progress. These are all from our first week in the house — starting September 24th — and it's weird to look back and think this was only a couple weeks ago. We got so far in such a short amount of time, thanks to 12-hour days and having lots of help from our families. 

Since we were having our hardwood floors refinished throughout the house, we were on a very tight timeline to get our projects done before the floor guy showed up. It was a crunch, but we accomplished all of our goals (and then some).

Here's everything we accomplished in the first week — I'll follow up with weeks 2 + 3 later, because it was just too much to show all at once. So, let's get to it!


This was the second floor hallway — the linen closet is behind those white doors, the master door is on the left and the guest room is across the hall, on the right. The door in the front right goes to the attic, and the third bedroom (which will be an office) is behind me to the left, at the top of the stairs.


Here are the stairs going down to the first floor landing. The striped wallpaper and the carpet not only didn't fit our aesthetic, but they made the hallway feel very closed in and narrow, which it was not. 


The night we got our keys, we looked around, took some 'before' pictures, and got to work demolishing stuff. This is Jim ripping down the wall in the linen closet, which backed up into the master bedroom closet (below). Meanwhile, I got to work taking down the wallpaper.


The linen closet was very deep, and had some removable wire shelves in it — pretty makeshift. Our plan was to expand the master closet into that space, thus making the linen closet shallower. We also wanted to install some permanent wood shelves and replace the bi-fold door. And trash that old red carpet.

This was the master closet. It was actually pretty large, but the small door opening made it very difficult to access the space. This door fit the linen closet space, so we planned to use this door as the door for the linen closet (which would match the other original doors in the hallway) and install large bi-fold doors for this closet. We also removed the carpet so the hardwood floors could be redone. *I also just realized that "tah-tah!" should have been spelled with an 'h' but it's late, and you get the point.


Jim and his dad are cutting open the new door I stand and chew my nails.


I was a little scared when I saw this plaster disaster (hehe) but they knew what they were doing. Fun fact: did you know they used to mix horse hair in with the plaster in these old homes? It acted as a sort of "mesh" to hold the plaster together. I'm not sure how I like the thought of 90+ year old horse hair in my walls, so I'll just pretend I didn't hear that.


My mom, Jim's mom, and I handled the wallpaper, and it was a bitch. To make matters worse, we found a BONUS layer of wallpaper underneath! Oh joy. So we were at it for an entire day.

Hallway has been sanded, cleaned of old glue, and primed...


Here's the living room — the plaster ceiling had some damaged areas from previous problems that had been fixed, so that was at the top of our list. So was taking care of this paint color which made the room so dark and heavy (and just...weird).


These photos make it all look so easy, don't they? ;) Oh, and the walls have been painted! They look a little weird in the bad lighting, but they are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. While the guys handled the construction work, I was on paint-till-I-drop duty. I actually enjoy painting, but this definitely tested me! Thankfully, everyone pitched in so we could stay on track.


Here's more closet progress...


Getting there! We are just waiting on the doors at this point — they were a special order —and we've just added some finishing details. And I am digging this wall color. Majorly. It's Sherwin Williams Gale Force.

That pretty much ends the projects from week one — the other two bedrooms and the hallways got painted but I'll be able to share those in my next post since they were a bit of a mess during all of this. Next up: floor sanding and moving in!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Moved!'s been quiet over here!

I just recently moved in our house (that we bought back in JULY!) and things have been very, very crazy. We've done a lot of cosmetic work to the house, so things are still a bit of a mess and we're still living out of boxes. We've made a lot of progress lately, though, so I can't wait to share some photos after things get settled. AND we now have wifi — so I'm back on the grid!

I will have some fun, budget-friendly home decor DIYs to share, as well as before and after shots of our projects.

See you soon!