Wednesday, July 11

DIY Mantle Revamp (how to wrap an outdated mantle with new wood)

Part 1 of my nesting-driven fireplace makeover was adding a shiplap accent around the top, but it still looked a little sad with a glossy black painted mantle. Not my jam, and not working with our farmhouse vibe. So part 2 of the process was returning the mantle to a beautiful wood finish!

You can find all the "before" photos and the rest of our nesting plans here

I would have loved to restore it back to the original wood, but that just didn't turn out to be a feasible option for us. There was nick in the corner of the mantle where we could see at least four layers of paint - black, green, brown, and beige - and we still couldn't see the wood!

Whether we sanded it or stripped it, we would be looking at a huge mess. So we decided to start with a clean slate and wrap the entire mantle with new wood. It worked out great!

I love how it plays with the new shiplap for a more casual farmhouse vibe. And you can do it, too! This is also a great option if you want to cover a concrete or brick mantle to add a little contrast to you fireplace. Want to give it a try?

Tuesday, June 19

DIY Shiplap Fireplace

Sometimes I just need a little kick in the pants to get a project done. Or a little bun in the oven. I've wanted to update our fireplace ever since we moved in (two years ago) but it wasn't until this spring when I was in full pregnancy nesting mode that I finally decided "I AM DOING THIS. RIGHT NOW." Naturally the "I" translated to "husband" because we were in the late-pregnancy stage of nesting. And he isn't one to let his round wife balance on a chair with a nail gun. He's a keeper.

And so, with a little help, we managed to check it off my nesting to-do list just in time before our newest guy was born. (you can see my entire living room nesting to-do list here, and how we wrapped the mantle here) One of my favorite details is the faux shiplap we installed above the fireplace.

I love the texture and charm it adds to the living room. I've always dreamed of a casual, cozy space for our family to gather, and I feel like this was a step in the right direction.

Here's a little "before" action. Just drywall painted the same gray as our walls.

Now it's even lighter, brighter, and totally beautiful. And I really need a full-fireplace photo. Not gonna lie, I probably shot close up because the floor was a hot mess. But I don't really remember. Because newborns don't sleep. It's all a blur.

The best part is the whole project only cost about $15 for wood! We also had to buy nails for our nail gun (I lost that price in the newborn-blur). But we saved a few dollars on paint by using the leftover from our cabinets... which doesn't quite match exactly, but that's a problem for another pregnancy.

Tuesday, June 5

DIY Travel Map Pinboard

This little project is almost too simple to even mention. But it's also so easy and so fun that I don't want guys to miss it! It's a little framed map pinboard to mark all your travels. It's easy dress it up or down to match your decor by switching out the frame or changing the map style, plus it's a great family keepsake!

We only have a handful of pins so far. My first thought was to only mark the places we'd all been together, as a family of five. But now that already doesn't make sense because we just added a new baby who hasn't been any of these places! So we might as well go back and add everywhere we've been since we were married. Maybe we'll use a different color pin to show how big our family was for each trip.

This map was a great fit for the new adventure gallery in our dining room. You can see it up on the far left above the mountain painting.

Thursday, May 31

DIY House Painting Tips {how we painted our huge house and saved thousands}

Last fall we took on our biggest project to date. It was a doozy. But a very necessary doozy that would have cost thousands of dollars to hire out. We painted our house! It was an enormous job but we're here to tell you that it is actually totally doable, and it can save you a big chunk of change.

We knew when we bought our old yellow farmhouse that it came with 90-year-old wood siding. Which was pretty cool. But in our new house excitement we maybe overlooked just what condition that siding was in. After our first winter, we started to notice that it was looking a little worse for the wear. Then we found out from a neighbor that it hadn't been painted it about 15 years. And it showed.

We spent the summer trying to decide if we should paint it now or hold off until next year. And then we had a hail storm that knocked off huge amounts of paint (so I guess it did some of the work for us!). Now it was painfully obvious that we needed to do something before things got any worse.

Fortunately I had spent those summer months thinking about what color paint to buy. Which is good because I used every minute right up until my husband called and said "I'm on my way home and we are buying paint tonight. You have to decide." Seriously, it took me months. (You can see all the top contenders here. Including the one Husband hated the most. Just do me a favor and don't tell me if I was wrong. M'kay? We are not repainting.)

It was so pretty in the fall!

Tuesday, April 10

2x4 Simple Outdoor Table with Benches {two styles!}

I've always liked the look of Ana White's simple outdoor table & benches. With the popularity of our 2x4 building series, I thought I'd just make a quick twist on her original design to make a 2x4 version!  I dream of eating outdoors on summer evenings, and I feel like this set-up with a roomy table and long benches would be the perfect place for the family to gather. Plus it would be a great compliment to a 2x4 outdoor sectional!

I made two simple variations for the table top - one with the top boards running length-wise:

And one with the top boards running across the width:

The dimensions will be the same for either table: 67 1/4" long x 33 1/2" deep x 30" high

I'm also including plans for matching 2x4 benches to tuck under the table.  Perfect for some backyard summer fun! Ready to get started?

Thursday, March 15

DIY Constellation Wall Hanging

One of the best ways to make your house feel like home is to decorate with unique pieces you love. But what happens when you can't find that perfect piece you're searching for?

Well... guys... that's where a little DIY magic in order. You probably already know that, because you guys are amazing, but today I'm going to show you some of the easiest DIY magic ever that you can use to make your own sweet constellation wall hanging (or just about any other wall hanging you can come up with!)

When we were finishing up our gallery wall in the dining room, I knew I needed a large piece on the right end for balance. And I had a vision of this amazing constellation map that would fill the space perfectly. But, search as I might, nothing I turned up felt right. For one main reason: I wanted a fabric wall hanging. Something a little more casual. Something that didn't need to be framed and that would add a more texture to the grouping. Turns out those are... hard to come by.

But then out of the blue, completely by accident, I stumbled across the perfect thing. It was at a cute little home decor shop I love to visit when I go see my sister. And on this fateful day, they had a set of tea towels. With constellation maps. Bingo. I grabbed the set for $10, and with just a couple more supplies I made my own wall hanging!

Saturday, March 10

Gallery Wall: 6 Curating Tips and Tricks!

Guys, it's starting to look like someone actually lives here. We have art up in the dining room. And curtains. And there are plants. Thank goodness for nesting. So today I just wanted to take you on a quick tour of our new gallery and share a few tips for curating your own gallery wall. It's easier than you might think!

The chandelier is a Craigslist upcycle (read about it here),
we built the huge farmhouse table last year (get the plans here)
and the chairs were a happy yard sale find a few years ago.

Now, I definitely don't believe a gallery needs to be themed. I'm also a big believer in "things I like and want to hang up together" galleries. In fact our "adventure theme" was more of a happy accident when I realized I'd collected several pieces that fit perfectly with our "Adventure is Out There" centerpiece. But I do love how our theme turned out. And once I found a direction, it was so much easier to round up pieces to finish the grouping.

 So if you're trying to fill a wall but feeling a little stuck (whether you're after a themed gallery or not), these tips can help get you back on track and charging forward!

1. Start with the things you love. Have a painting from your grandma? A favorite photo? Old wallpaper you found in the attic? A life quote? If you want to love your finished gallery, you need to start with pieces that you love. Fill in the gaps to make your favorite pieces work together, but make sure they are your priority and let everything else work around them.

Curtains peeking in on the right!

2. Find an anchor. We've had this large wooden sign hanging here for over a year. It was looking pretty lonely. But I knew it would be the perfect thing to anchor a gallery wall, and I knew that I loved it. So we put it up and waited for the rest to happen. It turns out, having one large piece in the center makes it easier to find balance when you hang up the little guys.

I made this sign during one of our sister craft nights. If you check out this post, you can learn how to easily make a template to create any kind of sign! Seriously, you can print out anything you want - phrases, pictures, whatever - and turn it into a beautiful wooden sign.

Thursday, February 15

Nesting Questions: Living Room Edition

Warning: I'm about to throw a whole tornado of nesting at you. You have been warned.

I shared some living room ideas and questions in my insta-stories a couple weeks ago, but thought this would be a good chance to get a little more visual aid going on plus a better way to gauge your feedback. And... ask even MORE questions because I feel like there is so much to do in here. SO...

We haven't touched the living room besides painting it when we moved in. Furniture is pretty much where we dropped it, and I hadn't hung a single thing on the walls (not even curtains) except the star above the fireplace... which I put on a nail that was already there. But now I'm nesting and IT'S TIME. So here's the rundown (I'd love to hear any thoughts in the comments!)

Let's start with a little layout to get our bearings. If you're facing the fireplace there are built-ins on the left with the tv:

And this is the wall to the right. A yard sale dresser and two nine-year old ikea chairs. Plus a bunch of random decor looking for homes.

Then we have the couch and recliner, and a long window seat under the windows to the right.

This couch was our first purchase for our first home. And it was the cheapest one Big Lots had to offer!

It's nice blank slate at the moment, but I'm ready to cozy it up! So here's the deal:

1. This dresser.
We use it as an end table and it's full of diapers and wipes. But it's in dire need of a pick-me-up coat of paint. Right now I'm thinking about black or white (neutral, and goes with everything so we can move it around the house if we want), or a deep green (to get some color in this gray room!).

I'm thinking something in this family, using leftover paint from the forest mural we painted in the boys' room.

But wait, there's more! We have a pair of white Ikea chairs by the dresser that I'm considering recovering with this fabric. So take this into consideration. But don't answer yet, we also have curtains down at #5 that might totally clash with this. Whoops! And I use the word "white" loosely. They were white before we had three boys.

2. The Fireplace.
First, the mantle was already painted black when we bought the house, and it hasn't grown on me. It has a few chips where we can see that it's also been painted beige and blue at some point! So I'm thinking of wrapping it with stained wood to warm up this gray space.

Fireplace part-the-second, I want to wrap the top of the fireplace with shiplap to add a little texture and interest and Joanna.

And finally, husband wants to swap out the brass doors for black, but I don't hate the brass? I'm taking a friend's advice and withholding judgement on that one until the mantle is done, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!

3. The Seating.
This is long-term goal, but we're trying to plan for it now. We have a three seat couch and a recliner, plus a window seat and the two ikea chairs we can pull in when we need to. Which gives us four comfortable/handy seats everyday, plus a handful of extras when we need them. But we're a family of five-going-on-six. Math says we're already over our best-seating limit. We want our family to all plop down comfortably together, which has me thinking about a sectional. Maybe something like this Vimle sectional from Ikea:

But we still have some measuring and layout planning to mess around with. It's a good size room, but I don't want to make it feel small. And the recliner stays forever. I'd even love to add some throw pillows to the window seat and a couple floor cushions.... but I also know I'll have to pick them all up every.single.night. Because small boys. Guys, balancing kids vs. home decor is hard.

P.S. My husband and brother-in-law took the liberty of coming up with their own solution to the seating crisis:

4. The Lighting.
No ceiling lights. And without the Christmas tree it's basically a cave in here at night. And before you say it, I already asked and Husband says we can't leave the tree up all year. Party pooper. So I've had my eye on a couple floor lamps that could work over behind the ikea chairs:

...but I'm also thinking directional lamps like these might not do a whole lot to brighten the room, pretty as they may be, and I'm having a hard time finding an option I like with a shade. Anybody have one you love?

5. The Curtains.
Turns out I'm super curtain-picky. Which is probably why I still don't have curtains in most of the house. But I did hang an old set in the dining room that I've had since we were first married (you can see a pic of them from our first house here). I still love them, and I have one more set stashed away that I could use behind the couch. They are the leafy ones on the right. More earth toned and relaxed.

INGMARIE ikea curtains VS. old discontinued ikea curtains

But I also have new ikea love to hang in my bedroom. They're the floral pattern on the left that's a little brighter and more fun. All I know for sure is these are the only two curtains I like so I'm using one of them again. Don't try to stop me. (unless, like, you have a set of curtains you think I'll love. then go ahead and try.) You guys seem to favor the one on the right (thanks for getting involved with our posts!!) especially saying it would be nice to have the living room match the dining room. But here's the thing. I have no qualms about buying another set of the floral curtains to make the dining room match the living room if that's the better choice. So think about it, peeps.

6. A Rug
Like, should we have a rug? It sounds nice for the winter. But it also sounds harder to clean than wood floors. Here, again, is that darn children/decor balance. I'm also super rug-picky and currently have no contenders. I just know it can't be white and it can't be too modern. And I like wool.

7. The Walls
I have this print from GraceLaced framed and ready to hang behind the couch. And I have a couple ideas for above the dresser/ikea chairs:
  1. a small gallery with a DIY macrame wall hanging (from this tutorial by My French Twist), a letter board, and... something else? Maybe a pic of the kids? 
  2. OR one larger item, like this canvas map from Hobby Lobby:

Now someone tell me what to do. My nesting instinct to get this house ready (whatever that means) collides perfectly with my already indecisive tendencies. So I'm a flurry of needing to get things done but not being able to decide what to do. In the meantime I've cleaned out our entire basement.

Keep in mind my keyword here is cozy. I just want to make a warm and inviting home - one my kids love to come home to and where visitors feel welcome. But it has to have light gray walls and not be dark like a cave.

P.S. I have a great little helper who loves to pitch in. He even made me breakfast this morning.

Let me know what you think! Thanks, peeps! Here's a quick recap:
  1. The Dresser - black, white, green, or something else?
  2. The Fireplace - wood mantle? shiplap at the top? replace the cover?
  3. The Seating - sectional: yay or nay?
  4. The Lighting - black lamp, gold lamp, or keep looking for one with a shade? And I'm just going to throw this out there... Christmas lights???
  5. The Curtains - floral like the bedroom, or leaves like the dining room? Or go floral in the dining room, too?
  6. The Rug - ummm?
  7. The Walls - simple gallery or a statement piece?

Tuesday, January 23

DIY Mountain Climbing Rock Wall (in the boys' room)

Our big gift for our boys this Christmas was in indoor mountain climbing rock wall, right in their own bedroom. It's nothing too big or elaborate, but boy are they having fun with it. They call it "the playground" and keep saying "I can't believe we have a playground in our room!"

Our main goals were to keep it simple, fun and affordable. Without building ourselves into something too big that would be awful to un-do later (who knows how we'll need this space as they grow!). I knew they would love a rock wall and monkey bars, but we also thought about different forts, bunk beds, and even bridges. In the end decided on a super simple rockwall/monkey bar combo. It doesn't take up too much space, and if we ever need to take it down it won't be a big deal. And bonus - it was by far the cheapest of our ideas.

We also added a set of gymnast rings.

And a swing.

We have a lot of winter energy to burn around here.

I love how something as simple as painting a forest mural on the wall added so much fun an interest to the space, without taking up any room! You can see how we did it here (it's easier than you might think!).

And the top of the climbing wall is cut to look like mountain peaks - which is a perfect accent to their forest wall!

There is a full-size mattress underneath for a soft landing. Most nights, all three of them end up piled-up down there to sleep. It's like camping in a forest.