Friday, May 22, 2015

Not too Shabby Scraps

It is definitely HEATING up around here so we are busy getting our house ready for Summer. I'm super excited to share these projects that were completed completely with scraps we had around the house. Of course, my husband and I are both admitted DIY hoarders (it's a serious problem but in this case very convenient). 
The first project took me about 5 minutes. I had a little fabric left from an old pillow project, twine and the chalkboard that I use for random holiday decor (Hobby Lobby). Just a little help from the staple gun and we now have a super cute and easy summer door decor.

Our pallet flag took a little more time but was still pretty easy. My husband disassembled, cut and reconfigured an old pallet into this flag shape and I did the painting (so maybe just easy for me). It was originally a little brighter but we let it get bleached by the sun when we lived in the desert for a short time and I actually like it better than before. 

Finally, I am really excited about our "new" back porch buffet! The best part, it was totally free! My dad had given us a bunch of scrap wood for our boys play set and this was all leftover. My husband made a modified version of an Ana-White table and I couldn't be happier about how it turned out. 

Can't wait to see what else we can make from scraps around the house! I'm sure my husband is excited too😉

Thursday, May 21, 2015


When people find out that I am an Interior Designer they often assume that we must have a perfectly put together home filled with beautiful brand new furniture.  I wish!  The truth is, like everyone else we have more important things that our money tends to go towards (kids, food, bills, bills, bills) so while I would love to have a house full of Restoration Hardware for now we have to find more thrifty ways to decorate. 
Slowly but surely we are transforming our guest room from a hodge podge of random extras to an actual guest retreat
The soothing wall color is Mindful Gray from Sherwin Williams.  I found these vintage prints at Country Home Furnishings of Cataula recently and couldn't pass up the $15 steal! The frames were a little out dated but nothing some spray paint couldn't fix (I'm obsessed with spray paint).  

I found these pillow covers at Hobby Lobby (another obsession) and instantly brightened up the room from our old black and white motif. The dresser is a hand me down from my grandmother (Hobby Lobby pulls) it needs a little TLC but the size is perfect as a nightstand and it is very functional for extra storage. We try and keep at least two of the drawers empty for guests and use the others for office storage (this room doubles as our office space, I'll share that in a future post). 
I still have plans to paint the mirror but haven't decided on a color. 

The Target lamp shade helped to tie in the teal drapes that I have had since college.  They are in great shape and are the best black out curtains I have ever had so I can't part with them.  I think I originally found them at Pier 1.  I combined two Pinterest ideas to create the "Be our guest" Wifi password frame (more spray paint).  The coasters are from one of our road trips out west and the tray is not only a great place for guests to store tiny odds and ends but was also a wedding gift.  
When we have guests in town I try to put some fresh flowers out, always have clean towels ready and keep a stash of tiny toiletries in case they forgot to pack something.  
This room, like every room in our house is always a work in progress but thankfully our guests are usually pretty understanding.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PCS e-design service

It's PCS season again!! After two cross country moves last year alone we are thankfully,  not moving again this year (at least not that we know of yet).  So since I have a little more free time,  I am offering a military family geared e-design service to help you get through the stress of how to set up your new home.  I know first hand how hard it can be to uproot and move to a new place (over and over again) and that one of the most important aspects of every move is to try to feel at 'home' as soon as possible.  This affordable e-design service will help guide you on how to re-use your existing pieces in your new home and if needed I can help you create a budget friendly shopping list.  Please visit my design website for more details...


As is the case of almost every area of our house, this particular room is still a work in progress.  But, as you will see in the before pics below we have come a LONG LONG way.  After a thorough cleaning (see my post on move-in cleaning) my local handy man (very local since he is also my husband) did a great job with the new paint and tile.  I installed new hardware and then the decorating began...

What we still want to work on in this room...
- Framing the mirror
- change out the faucet
- fix the baseboards (waiting to finish all the floors in the house and do this all at once)
- Maybe put in new countertops (not likely since these are in good shape and it's not a top project priority)
- Paint the cabinets (we will keep them white but they are in need of a little touching up)

The wall color is Sherwin Williams Languid Blue SW6226. Tile is Daltile Sandalo in Castilian Gray.  

The towel bars, towels and shower curtain are all from Target, hooks from Ikea.   The real stars of the show though are our adorable baby boys.  I just had a few home photos blown up through Shutterfly and displayed them in these colorful frames from Homegoods.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


So admittedly, I am not the tidiest person in the world (no surprise to anyone who has been to my house).  But while I have no problem living in my own mess, I am still a germaphobe when it comes to thinking about who else has been somewhere before me.  While I can't always sanitize every inch of a hotel room (one of my favorite parts of owning our own travel trailer) I can at least make sure that every new place that we live is spic and span and has a clean slate for collecting our own personal germs.  Of course, as a military family we have had lots of practice with move-in cleaning and I have also somehow gotten roped into helping several of my family members with their moves over the years.  

Everyone knows how to clean the obvious places, floors, kitchen, bathrooms, windows, etc.  But there are a lot of little nooks and crannies that get overlooked, especially if you hire someone to professionally clean for you.  We have had professional cleaners come in before, which is a huge help for all the major mess areas but I ALWAYS give everything a good sanitizing myself too.  Think about it, no one is going to clean your house as well as you since it's your tush that will be sitting on that toilet.  

So here is my list of places that people tend to overlook when cleaning a 'new' home:

1. Walls!- no, you don't have to scrub every square inch but you might want to take some disinfectant to a few key areas.  
  - Back splash- food, grease, and who knows what else.  They may look clean but just remember you will using this area to prep and store your own food so cross contamination is very likely.
  - Around toilets- the toilets themselves should be an obvious place to clean but the complete area around them are often overlooked.  walls, floors, nearby cabinets and outsides of showers/tubs are all in the 'splash zone'.  Super gross, I know but a necessary area to address.  
  - Behind towel bars- think about it, every time you get done wiping your entire body with a towel and hang it back on the towel bar that towel then rests against that spot on the wall.  It did the same thing with the hairy guy that lived there before you so make sure and sanitize that spot.  
  - Eating/cooking areas- not just the kitchen but the breakfast table, bar, dining room, etc. get a lot of food splatter (especially if toddlers have lived there in the past).  
  - Areas you are painting- not necessarily for sanitary reasons, but a good dusting is highly recommended before you paint anything.  Not only will it help paint adhere better but it will also help keep mysterious specs out of your paint job.  I recommend a Swiffer type dust mop to reach high areas and to make the job go a little faster.  
2. Handles-doors, knobs, cabinets, light switches.  Any area that has frequent contact with any ones hands not only gets germy but also grimy and dirty looking.  Lysol and a rag can go a long way but for tough spots (around door knobs often get a lot of dirt transfer) try a Magic Eraser
3. Holders- drawers, shelves, medicine cabinets.  Anything that holds your toothbrush, towels or unmentionables probably held someone else's before you so give it a good scrubbing.  Clean all cabinets and drawers inside and out.  You know that toothpaste splatter on your bathroom mirror, get the last guys off before you add yours.  
4. Hangers- toilet paper holder, hooks, towel bars.  Think about it, when do you change the empty toilet paper roll?  Yeah, that is when everyone changes it, so clean that entire area.  If your TP holder has one of those springy plastic things just throw it out and get a new one.  They sell them everywhere, dollar store, Walmart, even the grocery store.  

5. Cleaning Tools- washer/dryer, disposal, dish washer, sink drains, tub jets, shower heads.  All the things that are used for cleaning, DEFINITELY need to be cleaned themselves.  For the appliances, check the hardware store for cleaning products specifically designed for these areas.  For your sinks, tubs, showers make sure to get every nook and cranny including the overflow drain.  I always run a jetted tub with cleaning solution (I prefer bleach but check to make sure it won't ruin your jets) several times before I ever step foot in the tub myself.  

I hope this list doesn't gross you out too much.  These are of course all things that you should clean in your home regularly anyway but my most thorough cleaning always comes when we first move in (or when we have a guest coming to stay).  Also, if you live in a brand new home don't just assume that none of this applies to you.  I have been on many, many construction sites that are much nastier than you could even imagine.  Even the best contractors have occasional disgruntled employees who are just plain nasty so clean that tub before you take your first bath.  

What areas do you make sure to give an extra good scrubbing in a new home?  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Favorite Flowers

 My mother-in-law recently fell in love with a piece of art that would be perfect for her Tuscan inspired screened in back porch but was not ready to fork out the hefty price for something that would be hanging outside.  So, she asked if I could attempt to create something similar using some pallet wood that we have been hoarding (was holding all the tile that we recently installed).  My husband was more than happy to have a way to get rid of it and an excuse to use some of his tools.  After he created the 'canvas' I got started on the painting.  I intentionally went for a rustic and rough look since it will become more and more weathered over time anyway.  Can't wait to see it displayed on her Tuscan porch (in Florida).

After starting the Sunflower project, I was on a bit of a painting kick (and in need of a few Mother's Day gifts) and decided to keep going and make some smaller pieces for a few other momma's in my life.  The Amarylis was for my grandma-in-law (GG) because she sent me a beautiful one last year when we were living somewhere with very few flowers.  
Black Eyed Susan's are my mom's favorite flower and have been since my Dad first picked some for her 42 years ago.  He occasionally still stops on the side of the road to pick a bunch for her and brings them home in whatever fancy container he has on hand, usually a coke bottle.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Personalized Presentation

One of the most common mistakes I see in home decor is a lack of personal touches.  Many people feel that they just need to fill the space and forget to make it reflect themselves.  To make a home feel like YOUR home it has to represent you and your family.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with a few generic store bought elements but be sure to mix them in with your personalized details wherever possible to make your design more YOU.

Here are a few examples of ways that we have personalized our home both aesthetically and functionally...
Personal touches- The silver tray was a wedding gift, the mirror and the type writer box were both from antique store ventures with my mom, which is a pretty frequent thing(the type writer is on display in our office).  But, the real PERSONALIZATION here is in the functionality of this arrangement.  The storage basket (from World Market) is a hiding place for our 2 year olds train track toys and the console is of course a great place to hide all kinds of junk.  As I continue to share pictures or our home in future posts you will probably notice a trend of storage solutions for toys.  We are swimming in toys these days.  Entry Table- Hand-me-down from my parents that I refinished to tie in with the rug (also a hand-me-down).  No, that is not chalk paint.  It is just a paint and primer in one from Lowes and my own dark wax concoction (regular furniture wax with ebony stain mixed in).  The pulls are from Hobby Lobby.  

This wall decor collage is full of personal elements.  A print my Dad gave us from an artist in his hometown, a map of our beloved SouthEast, New Orleans print from our first road trip together, vintage postcard from our time living in Arizona and the Hobby Lobby magnet frame is a great way for us to switch out more temporary photos.  

The Family Business- This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE artwork.  It may not be pretty to most people but it has a very personal story behind it and means so much to me to finally be able to display.  My grandfather was a draftsman and the hours and hours that I spent with him in his workshop growing up are a big part of why I decided to become a designer.  I actually used a lot of his drafting tools in my architecture classes in college and have several of them displayed throughout our home (including the two small compass on the wall).  This floor plan and detail that he drew were for a home that my parent's built that I grew up in from age 8-18.  Up close, you can see his perfect architectural handwriting and even eraser marks since this was an early on draft. I have been carrying these around for years and my parent's had these framed for us as our housewarming gift.  

MANTLE DECOR- I have a never ending obsession with switching out this arrangement, especially for various holidays.  Right now though, this is one of my favorite looks mainly because of my PRICELESS artwork.  Yes, that is a finger painting from my two year old!  I would much rather have this displayed than art from any other artist and the best part is it was free!  It makes me smile every time I see it and he loves to show off his "painting" to all of our visitors.  I always like to include elements from the various places that we have lived so when I saw an episode of Fixer Upper where they used cotton branches I had to steal the idea to represent the cotton farms that we live near.  The milk jug and window are more antique store finds and the vase and bird are my splash of color, I change my mind on colors pretty frequently too so I like to use things that are easily switched out or moved to other rooms.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Farmer Sam

Here is a sneak peak at the theme for Sam's nursery.  We decided on a farm theme but only have a few elements that are strict to the theme so that we can switch them out as he gets older.  We also kept with the same basic color pallet as his older brother's room in case they ever end up sharing a room in a future house (very likely with how much we move).

The changing table is on loan from my sister, I think it was from Pottery Barn.  Canvas baskets are all  from Target and go great with the buffalo check that we re-used from his brothers room in a few places including the crib skirt and floor pillows (pictures in future post)
The Farm Animal artwork was a personal touch from Mommy and Daddy.  My husband made the plank 'canvases' and I hand painted the cute farm animals. I am thinking about making more to sell on Etsy in the near future.  Oh, and I ordered the minky and chevron blanket from OhSewCutiePie (the back is orange and white chevron).