Author Archive: Emily

Kitchen Reveal

While every room in our house is continually a work-in-progress (or so it seems), the bulk of the kitchen has been completed for some time…oh you know, about a year or so. Life gets the better of me most days, so here are the pictures of our kitchen (finally!).

A reference point, here is our kitchen when we walked through the house.


It was your typical builder’s grade 1990′s kitchen: oak cabinets, basic two basin sink, gooseneck faucet that didn’t quite reach into both sides of the sink, and beige counter tops.

Here’s what you can’t see in the picture:

  • the faucet is broken and leaking
  • the garbage disposal doesn’t work
  • beyond disgusting, rusted out dishwasher in peninsula
  • dirty, sticky, pealing floor (rolled laminate covered by peal n’ stick laminate tiles which weren’t applied properly)
  • sandpaper like walls
  • no appliances (oh wait, you can see that!)

Here’s what we loved about the kitchen:

  • biggest floor print of any house/apartment we’d lived in. Oh the cupboard and counter space!
  • even more space potential if the peninsula was moved out to the corner and extended toward the fridge area
  • sturdy oak cabinets (while out-dated, they were in good shape)
  • crown moulding on cabinets (I just love the look, and now we didn’t have to add it!)

To us, it screamed “I have potential!”

Our renovation maximized the potential we saw in the room and our budget so we did most of the work ourselves and kept as many things as possible. (We even tried to salvage the floor, but that failed.)

  1. We painted the cabinets ourselves. What a labor of love! It’s a lot of work!
  2. We hired out new countertops. We replaced with laminate, Wilson Art’s Carrara Santorini. This is a laminate version of Carrara Marble. So it is white with grey veining through it.
  3. We hired a friend to lay the subway tile, but we grouted and sealed it ourselves.
  4. We hired out laying of new vinyl flooring (done at the same time as the rest of the flooring in the house).
  5. We hired out skim coating the walls in the dining room and kitchen to cover the texture, but we did all the painting ourselves.
  6. Bought new appliances.
  7. Hired a friend to build a new peninsula.
  8. Installed new knobs and pulls ourselves (by ourselves, I mean Dan!).
  9. Installed appliances, sink, disposal, and faucet ourselves (again, I mean Dan).

I think that’s all we’ve done. It sure doesn’t sound like much when I type it out. It took us eight months or so though, maybe a year…we aren’t the fastest DIYers!

Ok, enough words, on to the pictures! Here she is today in all her glory!


Sink Area



Stove Area



Refrigerator Area


IMG_9051_smallIt doesn’t seem like the same room, does it?

The part I’ve been enjoying most about decorating my kitchen is making little spaces decorated and yet functional:

1. Next to the refrigerator:


2. Our “coffee station:” This is a new one. I want to add cute, matching mugs along with cream and sugar containers, but this is what I had on hand so far. I do like the functionality. It saves cupboard space and makes finding the coffee items easy in the morning.


3. Ok, so this isn’t a decorated space, but does everyone have an overflowing utensil holder? Is it just us? We use them all too…they are often all dirty…maybe we just need to wash our dishes more often…


4. Cute hand soap:


So there you have it! We are loving our new kitchen. We love to cook, so this space gets tons of use everyday!

Home Office

I finally have a home office area! We have a long skinny living room, and the front door opens into this large room. To make the room cozier and more conversation-friendly, the living room furniture is arranged around the fireplace on one side of the room. This leaves a rather large entry area and a VERY undefined space. We decided to take up the area behind the living room furniture with our new and improved home office!

Here she is now!


Oh happy day! The desk gets daily use by Dan and I, and  I am loving the devoted space to blog, work on the budget, or waste perfectly good naptime on Pinterest. :)

Here are two of my favorite things about this area so far (besides the desk…that takes the cake, of course!).

1. Brass Lamp – Who knew brass/gold would come back in fashion? I love this HomeGoods find! The light it casts is great too…not too bright and large enough to illuminate the whole desk.


2. My First Word/Scripture Art – I made this all by myself folks! This verse from Psalm 90 struck me in my bible study through Moses this year (Bible Study Fellowship, I highly recommend it!). I thought it would be so appropriate above a work space, asking the Lord’s blessing on your work…whatever that may be!


I’m still working on styling the shelf above the desk. It is functional (always my goal), but it comes off a bit cluttered right now. The shelf is also a different style than the desk, and I’m not sure if I’m bothered by it or not. I already had the shelf, so I wanted to use it. Hmmm…ideas? I love having note cards and pens in plain sight. I’m way more likely to write that thank you note with these items close at hand!


I tried to use things that I already owned to decorate this space. The only new things are the gold frame (Ikea), the desk lamp (HomeGoods), and the ceramic box on the desk top (Target). Everything else I already owned. I love shopping my home for decorations! It feels good to move things around or put things to use that have been sitting in a closet/furnace room for 2 years. Anyone else slow on the decorating wagon? I actually forgot I had the gerber daisy print…it was under the basement stairs, covered in dust. Oops.

Future plans for the space:

  • reupholster the desk chair – So exciting but a little intimidating…I’ve never tried upholstery before!
  • add a rug – not sure about this one. The large area will have me contemplating how to pull this off without competing with the living room or front door.
  • tweak the decor – again, not sure I have the best selections on the shelf/desk. It will be a work-in-progress for a while!

I love my office space! What good function have you added to your home lately?


Newest Member of our Household

Not a human by the way!

Although maybe baby Taz has made his arrival by now as I’m scheduling these posts ahead of time!

We inherited some beautiful wood furniture for Jackson’s big boy room! We’ve got two dressers and twin beds coming our way. They are MASSIVE pieces of furniture, so we’ve only managed to get one dresser to our house so far.

Isn’t she a beauty?


I’m so inspired to mix the old with the new and various wood types in this big boy room. I’ve found a new appreciation for old pieces of furniture, so I have no intention of re-doing this one. I plan to make the room flow with the furniture. Really, this is a super sturdy, well-made dresser (besides a few paint spots and scratches…which I hope to fix…google here I come!), and it is in perfect condition.


I have also renewed my love for my 50mm lense…but it’s super hard to do room shots because you can back up enough. It takes beautiful pictures though. Doesn’t it?

Hence, I don’t have a great picture of the whole dresser…I needed to be 10 feet outside my house to do so…and one story up…not happening. :)


I’ll share more as we get the room more put together and decorated. I’m so excited about our new furniture!

My Beautiful New X-Desk!

I’ve been wanting to set up a home office area in the house since we moved in (ahem, two years ago, ahem). I manage the bills and budget for our household, and the kitchen table just wasn’t cutting it. I would inevitably work on the budget too close to dinner or the end of the day, leaving a mess of receipts and the bills shoved to one side of the table. One day would fade into the next until, before you know it, that mess of paper is a permanent resident on our table. Yuck!

We have a long narrow living room, so we planned to add a small office area behind the living room furniture. As we donated all of our office furniture when we moved out of our last home (it was college stuff anyway, hardly our style anymore!), Dan was oh-so-kind to offer to build me an Ana White desk, the $55 Fancy X Desk. I was skeptical, but it was just as cheap as the plans advertise. It is made almost entirely from 2×4′s which are really cheap. We did customize it a bit for our needs. We left off the “X” in the back and we shortened it to fit our space.

Dan, with the help of a buddy, built the desk, and I finished it. I might learn how to use power tools for myself someday, but for now, I’ll stick to what I’m good at: making wood pretty!

I didn’t take a lot of photos, so I’ll try to fill in the blanks with my eloquent words. :)

Imagine Dan building the desk, and it looks just like the ones in the Ana White plans, minus the “X.”

Insert picture of built desk of naked wood.

Then I stained it using Rustoleum’s wood stain in Kona.


Stain makes even the cheapest wood so beautiful!

Then I wanted to try my hand a liming wax. While I’m not a huge cottage/rustic-y style decorator, I like the look of limed wood. Also, I wanted to break up the monotony of dark walnut that is present in my living room. I read many, many tutorials on the stuff, Briwax Liming Wax, and I was almost too intimidated to try after some of the stuff I read. However, this tutorial over at i Heart Organizing made it look super easy. So I went for it!

I followed the tutorial’s directions for application (putty knife) instead of the directions on the can – mistake #1. I used WAY too much wax. This stuff is pricey, and I wasted a whole bunch by applying too much. I learned from my mistakes though and just put a little bit on a rag and rubbed it in when I did the legs of the desk.

Below is my progression to get to my finished table:

  1. freshly applied liming wax (applied with putty knife) – WAY too thick!!
  2. first buffing with steel wool (#0000 grade steel wool)
  3. second buffing with rags (old t-shirts…this took serious elbow grease!)
  4. third buffing on of clear furniture polish to seal the desk and get rid of the grey haze left by the liming wax

Liming Wax Composit

All that to say, I LOVE my desk. It looks fantastic now!


It was a lot of work to get it to this point though, much more than I anticipated. I learned a lot from the tutorials I read, and the research was invaluable as I maneuvered around the hurdles I encountered finishing the table. My recommendation to anyone using this product is to (1) follow the direction of the manufacturer and (2) when in doubt, keep reading and finding more tutorials!

Lessons learned from liming wax:

  • Apply sparingly
  • Take your time rubbing it into the cracks and knots of the wood. You want to highlight the imperfections of the wood, the more the better!
  • Finish with another type of clear wax (I used furniture wax. This will also remove any grey haze from over application of the liming wax.) instead of polyurethane. I read over and over  not to put an oil-based top coat over wax; it will bubble and peal over time. However, I don’t know how to water-based polys will hold up. I was too nervous to try. I always get to a point in these projects where I feel too much time/money has been invested to experiment now. Just finish it the right way, Emily!
  • No need to workout the days you use liming wax….or at least you can skip your dominant arm. :)

Here’s one more look at my finished desk. Isn’t she a beaut?


Basement Bathroom Reveal

We’re going with the theme of bathrooms for now. Maybe it will inspire me to actually finish our main bathroom upstairs!

This room was the most unfinished when we bought the house. It was a mess of incorrectly installed cement board, unsanded THICK mud, and uncentered/un-square everything. My dad had the absolute joy of finishing it for us. The installation of each fixture came with the question: “Which side would you like square? Which side should be centered? Would you like it flush with the back wall or the side wall?” etc. you can’t have it all! The great thing is: you can’t really tell now that everything is installed and finished.

Let’s take a look at some pictures!

Vanity/Sink Area


Toilet Area (adjacent to sink, but really hard to photograph together without a wide angle lens!)


Shower and Linen Nook (Opposite sink and toilet)


I am loving the wood shelves! My dad measured and cut all the boards for me (bless his heart, every shelf has a different measurement!), and I finished them and Dan installed them. So basically, I just made them pretty. :)

Edit: I copied the tutorial from Thrift Decor Chick.  I forgot to mention that!


Side note: all the baskets on the shelves came from Ikea. Ikea has really expanded their basket selection. The prices are great, and the baskets are really sturdy. The ones on the shelves are especially sturdy. I bought two large, round ones in that style to use as laundry baskets upstairs. They are holding up great so far!

As we are working on our main bathroom upstairs, we’ve been using this bathroom as our main bathroom. So I feel the need to show real life…here’s all the junk I cleared off the ledge/sink so that I could take decent looking pictures. Enjoy!


Lovely. :)

And now for a little before and after. These shots aren’t the greatest because the room is small and difficult to photograph (bonus points for spotting the 36 week prego belly!), and the before pictures were taken before the door and linen nook shelves were installed which allowed for more room to snap pictures.

First, the sink/toilet side…







Now the shower/linen side…

Before (Shower then Linen Nook)







You get the idea…hot mess to serene, functional bathroom!

It feels SO good to finally have this room finished! It’s been 90% completed for over a year, but finishing and installing those linen shelves took me about 15 months. Yikes. Seriously, Emily. What procrastination! The wood sat in our garage so long, the boards warped from the moisture, so we had to flatten them with clamps before installing them. So much work and time wasted! Lesson learned! Finish the job in a reasonable amount of time!

Half Bathroom Reveal

Here is our “finished” half bathroom/laundry room! Unfortunately, due to circumstances with the dog it is not officially finished.

Exhibit A:

IMG_8688_smallLong story short: he went berserk.

Bottom Line: We need a new door. Thankfully it is sitting in the garage, but we need to install it.

Besides the door, all the other projects for this room are finished, so let’s look at the finished product!





For comparison’s sake, let’s see a good before and after!





Laundry side…




Ahhh…so much better than black and green!

Now that it’s “finished” I’ve thought of new projects: the door (obviously, although truly perfectly functional!) and new laminate on the sink (I have a remnant from the upstairs bath…can’t wait to blog about that project!).


Removing Spray Paint from Window Slides

I learned something new today!

If you have spray paint residue on the plastic slides of your windows, and really, I mean, who doesn’t? You can easily remove it with nail polish remover! Woot!

I started out with a magic eraser which worked too but took a LOT of elbow grease. Like more than I own. So I had to look for an easier solution.

I also tried alcohol but it didn’t work a bit.





Happy lady right here!

This window is officially ready for paint!

I’m putting my last coat on the living room windows tomorrow then I’ll be tackling the dining room and this one (the laundry room). My goal is to finish before snowfall….can I make it???

Tying Up Loose Ends

As our annual pig roast draws near, I am rushing to complete as many projects as I can. The humidity is killing many of my painting projects so we’ll see how much I can get done.

Sunday afternoon I wrangled Dan into helping me finish two projects that I’ve been sitting on for months. Literally months….like since April…oh my…

Lucky the painting had been done for write a while, before this super humid weather rolled in. I just needed help screwing the hooks in then hanging them on the wall. I’m not a very good DIYer yet because I can’t hang pictures straight to save my life. My hubby saves me on this.

First up, the laundry room. I’ve been wanting a hook for my ironing board since we moved in, but I struggled to find a hook wide enough for the legs of my ironing board. Young House Love’s target line saved the day! I mounted their hooks to my own board and hung out on the wall. Tada!



While I was at it, I raised the pictures on the opposite wall as I hung them too low originally.

My laundry room is complete (for now! I’ve got more ideas up my sleeve!)!

This room needs a proper reveal post now that it has reached a mostly finished stage…another day, my friends.

Next up, the nursery! I’ve been wanting to fill in the empty wall next to my nursing chair and it took me almost a year to make my idea turn into reality.

Middle of the night sickness made us realize how important a clock is in a nursery…you do NOT want to lay that baby down until the Tylenol has had a chance to kick in. Am I right?

I had seen similar boards with big clips on Pinterest, so I tried to incorporate the boards with the clock as one big collage.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to hang from the clips but right now I’m thinking a mixture of family pictures and bible verses. I just grabbed some photos I had lying around for this post.

(I have some patching to do too…never mind the screw holes! Those will be covered soon…famous last words!)

So here’s my to do list from a few posts ago…making progress!

  1. Stain, poly, and hang the shelves in the basement bathroom
  2. The boards have made their way to the garage for sanding!

  3. Prime and paint the trim around the new windows that we installed a few weeks ago (by “we” I mean the professionals!)
  4. Done! Haven’t blogged about it though….it’s really not too exciting.

  5. Paint the remaining wood windows throughout the house
  6. Paint the trim around the front door
  7. Done! Need to post about this…

  8. Super glue the cup pulls to the mock drawers under the kitchen sink (I’m thinking super glue will work…not entirely sure, gorilla glue didn’t)
  9. Done! Super glue for the win!

  10. Touch up the paint on the kitchen cabinets
  11. Finish the clock/picture clip collage for Jackie’s room (not a good description…I’ll show you when it’s finished)
  12. Done!

  13. Finish and hang the hook for my ironing board
  14. Done!

  15. Raise the pictures next to the dryer in the laundry room
  16. Done!

Wow, crossing all that off feels so good! I hadn’t realized how much I’d gotten done. Woot!

What have you crossed off your to do list?

Knitty Muggyns!!

There are things that hang over my head that prevent me (ahem, I allow them to prevent me…) from getting more things done. I can’t work on house projects, the kitchen is dirty. I can’t finish Jack’s picture collage, I need to sweep/vacuum/clean etc.

The big one on my plate that prevented me from house projects and blogging was making color swatches for my dear sister’s Etsy shop, Knitty Muggyns. I had taken all of the pictures weeks, maybe months ago. I had to learn how to do it in photoshop so I was being lazy about learning it and getting it done. Shame on me.

Well, they’re done now! Almost, the color names might change. Here are the color options for the Jackson Blanket.

KM Baby Blanket Color Swatch2

Here are the color options for the baby cardigan.

KM Baby Cardigan Color Swatch2

The Jackson Blanket will be posted soon! Updates to come!

More Happy Things

A great weekend with friends, wine for Happy To Be Alive Day (5 years!), and a great washer and dryer. That washer and dryer are getting a workout thanks to a weekend up north!




What are you thankful/grateful/choosing to be happy for today?