decorating intentionally is a slow process for me. i don't usually like to put something up or add it to a room unless i love it. there have been times when we have needed a piece furniture asap and just bought something, but going slowly usually yields my favorite results. if i can make something myself (which takes time), i can save money, use what i already have, keep an eye on quality, and get something custom-made (like thisthis, or this). another example: the two windows in our master bedroom.

when we finished renovating and moved into the master bedroom late last summer, we had to do something quickly to cover the windows—especially because we are on the first floor.

yes, we had towels over the windows for a while. i got an estimate from budget blinds and was shocked at how expensive roman shades would be. i ordered some bamboo blinds from jc penney and canceled the order at the last minute. eventually, we settled on this combination of blackout shades (ben likes to sleep in a really dark room) and cheap white curtains from target, but i was never really happy with how the windows looked and i didn't know how to fix them without spending a lot of money.

don't they look sad? the curtains shrunk a lot when i washed them. i let out the hem, but they still weren't long enough. i tried using curtain rings but i just wasn't thrilled, and the bar didn't come with finials. the whole situation really, really bothered me. for months.

after brainstorming/researching for a long time, i decided i wanted cornice boxes with a little trim for color. here's the window now.

the first order of business was to fix the actual curtains. there were two problems: the blackout shades didn't really close in the middle (light seeping in) and the white curtains were too short. first, to add length to the bottom of the curtains, i made a false hem and sewed it on. (i had an extra pair of the same curtains that i used to make the hems.) i also sewed on some inexpensive ribbon in my favorite color. here's the back.

then i sewed velcro onto the blackout liners so that we can get them fully shut at night. much better!

the cornice boxes were kind of a fly by the seat of my pants situation. my father-in-law let me raid his barn for some plywood, so i actually didn't have to pay for the wood (it is paneling, which really helped with making the cuts).

i used the circular saw to cut the pieces.

then i assembled the boxes. i used some 1x2s to help attach the pieces and give the box some heft (the paneling was only 1/4" thick or so and it was a little warped from leaning against a wall). 

then i just wrapped it in batting (about four bucks with a joann's coupon) and some extra white curtains of the same variety that i already had.

i attached the ribbon with fabric glue.

and i attached the cornice boxes to the wall with some 3" l brackets i already had (score!). i gave the curtains a good steaming and here we are! this is the other window in the room. for about 25 bucks for ribbon and batting, i am so, so happy with the new window treatments. they look much more polished, but still simple.

the room is coming together slowly but surely. we don't have bedside lamps. there is no art on the walls. and the other side of the room has a fan, a tall lamp, and a table with an alarm clock. but we'll save some money and keep adding things one at a time. onward and upward!

diy headboard project: day one

happy tuesday! sure feels like a monday, doesn't it? hope your holiday weekend was lovely.

i spent labor day laboring in the garage. why, you ask? because it's high time ben and i have a grown-up bedroom!

i'm making a headboard for us. we have a select comfort mattress (which we love!) with just a plain frame that is covered by a bed skirt. when we lived in the condo, this was our headboard.

it was a good option for the time, as we were in transition. but now, it's time for something a little more . . . permanent. like, a real headboard!

enter design*sponge. i've gushed about the site before, and even tackled a previous woodworking project with the help of their tutorials. time for round two: grace's headboard

love at first sight. i've already ordered my fabric, so i set off to make us a real headboard.

i mashed up the d*s instructions with these from better homes and gardens. you gotta make it work for you, ya know? so first, i downloaded the template from d*s and took it to kinko's. they enlarged it for me—i added a few inches to the width to adapt it for a queen bed, and i didn't have them include the legs, because i could make those myself. i set up sawhorses in the garage, grabbed a leftover piece of plywood, my point and shoot, and a few other supplies and got to work.

once i had it cut out and pieced together, i taped it to the wall the see how it would look. this is one big headboard!

then i used the jigsaw (lent to me by bert!) to cut out the shape. i never really thought i would use my seventh-grade industrial tech skills, but let me tell you, relief cuts made it a breeze (and saved the blade). i think i probably could have used thicker plywood for extra sturdiness, but i wanted to use what we had.

i sanded down the rough edges. we had some leftover 1x3s, so i cut those down to size (makita! woohoo!) and used four pieces to make two sturdy legs. voila!

today, i grabbed some batting from mill end at lunch and bought an egg crate foam mattress pad from target after work. i just need some spray adhesive and i should be good to go. so excited! hope it turns out.

[p.s. i'm posting this unfinished project now because i want to finish this headboard this weekend. so if i don't post pictures of the finished headboard within a week, get on my case, okay?]

this is how we live.

keeping it classy with makeshift side tables and window treatments. that monogrammed bath towel is the high school grad gift that keeps on giving.

i'm stuck on window treatments. anyone care to share any ideas? i like the look of bamboo blinds, so we bought an off-the-shelf version at home depot. the mounting hardware was cheap and they aren't substantial. i don't want to spend a fortune on custom stuff, but i think this is an area that's worth buying a high quality product. i was thinking a roman shade? we are looking for both privacy and light filtering. what do you think? any sources you like? thoughts welcome.

it's the final countdown

closet systems: up. [at least the preliminary arrangements. there's a collection of baskets, shelves, bars, and shoe racks to fiddle with.] mirrors: installed. electrical inspection: passed, as of 20 minutes ago. plumbing and final building inspection: "between 10 and noon."

we are planning to sleep in our new room tonight. no, we don't have window coverings yet. we'll get creative for the next few days and make do. but we're dying to get down there.

last night's storm knocked out our power and let me tell you, without fans, it was sweltering upstairs. i came down to the main level and sleep on the couch. so we're just really excited to sleep in our well-insulated, first-floor master suite.

i was also concerned that we wouldn't have power for our electrical inspection. how ironic would that be? but God graciously restored our power at 7:46 this morning. He is so good to us. what a blessing to have such a beautiful place to live. i must remember that this is not our eternal home. we're just pilgrims, sojourners, wanderers—we're just passing through.

a kiss to send us off

things will be quiet around here [the blog] for at least a week while ben and i travel up north for a relaxing week of...nothing. my coworkers asked me what books i planned to take along to the lake and i was embarrassed to admit i hadn't even thought about it. that's not like me at all. no time these days!

i thought i'd leave you with a few shots of our painted bedroom, which happened with the help and support of wes and maggie. pretty boring color—the color of drywall, actually—but i like its simplicity. it is revere pewter by benjamin moore, mixed at sherwin williams (of course!). we branched out and used satin instead of our usual flat. i know, i know, we're crazy!

ben's making a frozen pizza, then we're off to finalize carpet and buy some door knobs. out!

hex tiles on the floor

it was brought to my attention that no pictures were posted of the installed main floor tiles. here they are!

we are really happy with the final outcome of all the tile installed. the look is very clean and simple, perhaps even a little vintage. a lot of white with a little gray. i'm partial to solids, but the tile selections give the floor a bit of a pattern and definitely up the interest factor in a way that isn't trendy.

a few things: 1) these hex tiles were very affordable, which is good because we needed like 100 square feet. 2) however, the tiler said they were incredibly difficult to install. (and he knew what he was doing—he was a pro and did a great job all around.) the hex tiles came mounted on a 12" x 12" mesh backing but the tiles themselves were super thin. they slid around a bit when he was installing them, which is made obvious by a wider grout line in a few areas. oh well. i'm not worried about it.

oh yeah—we decided to go with corian countertops for the vanity (and it has nothing to do with the fact that someone from dupont posted a comment here the other day). like i said, i'm picky about speckles, and as beautiful as the quartz was, it competed with the marble tile and the "patterned" floor and didn't match as nicely as i'd like. conveniently, when we had our white corian countertops made for the kitchen, they cut out a large hole for our drop-in sink and gave us the extra material. well, i plopped the cutout on top of the vanity to see how it would look and it was love at first sight. (see above.) clean white. love it. (also, a phone call inquiry revealed that the high corian estimate we had received was due to the fact that two integrated sinks would cost almost $500. ouch. so we reworked the plan to include undermount sinks instead, which brought the cost down considerably. so lesson learned: ask!)

i've met with a few vendors to get bids for glass shower enclosures. we bought faucets and a toilet. looking at carpet tomorrow, still need mirrors and light fixtures. we've painted the closet, finished painting the trim, and will paint the bedroom tomorrow night. oh yeah, we need a closet system! we'll be out of town next week, and while we're gone, the trim and doors will be installed. as weird as it sounds, coming home from vacation will be fun because we'll see progress made while we were gone!

heated floors

we stayed up until midnight on monday installing the heated cables that will go under our tile in the bathroom. we had an inspection at 8am tuesday: we passed.

i asked ben to take a picture of me to prove that i do pitch in on the work! :)

the project was kind of fun, like a brain teaser. you have to figure out the most efficient way to lay the coils so they are between 2 and 3 inches apart (but not closer than 2). plus, you have to cover the whole floor—with the vanity, toilet, and other areas, ours isn't a perfect square, so we wound it a few different directions (ben planned it all out). and finally, you don't want a bunch left over, because you can't just cut off the end. considering the bathroom is about 120 square feet, it is kind of amazing that the cable ended as well as it did. about a half a foot more cable would have been perfect.

things are moving slowly but surely. we had a few delays and disappointments, but i'll write about them in another post. God is good!

Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue vs. Quiet Moments

ladies and gentlemen! in the right corner, weighing in at 150 pounds, we have quiet moments by benjamin moore (top). don't be surprised by its mellow name. it can pack a punch. in the left corner, weighing in at 160, is palladian blue by benjamin moore (bottom).

palladian blue won with a TKO in the first round. we had it color matched by sherwin williams. it looks great on the walls. quiet moments is down for the count and...we have a winner. ding ding!

saturday {5.22.2010}

another hard day's work! i bet you are getting sick of these demo photos. bear with me...we are at the turning point. things will start to look different soon.

[image from]

why this picture? because we cut a skuttle hole into the ceiling! ha! ben just rolled his eyes at me. (and then he handed me the wii controller and asked me to beat a mario level for him, which i did. now i'm back!)

ben had to climb up into this odd ceiling space (we have a one-and-a-half story, so we have some strange attic stuff going on) to pull out all the insulation. it looked like poodle fur. i stayed down below and stuffed it into garbage bags. ben cleared the space so we can spray foam insulation, which we have in the kitchen and love! it keeps things plenty cozy.

then we tore down the ceiling in the former bath, to-be closet. ben's mask was very dirty, but the inside was clean. it's cool/gross to see what he didn't breathe in but could have.

and look what fell out of the ceiling!

weird. there seems to be a theme of easter eggs at our house.

then, ben taught me how to place electrical boxes. it wasn't hard. i just followed the incredibly "official" electrical plan we've mapped out. :)
it was a good day.

[more than] a week in pictures: may 1–9

we tilled and seeded the side garden. it used to look like this. in doing so, we found this:

yeah that's right, a hard-boiled egg. probably from some long-forgotten easter egg hunt!

the current interior shots of the master remodel:

we tore out the insulation from the exterior walls, and our contractor fixed the rotted spots in the subfloor (and he added another layer, i think). he framed in all the doors, too. we took out the plastic dust screen. this week, hvac came, and hopefully plumbing will get started. the tile guy is coming tomorrow morning to give us an estimate. we're moving on putting things back together.

i met with the cabinet designer last thursday morning—i wanted a bid for the vanity and linen closet. i also sketched out another project for a bid, but i'm not going to say what it is in case it doesn't work out. i've been having so much fun playing interior designer.

got some great early birthday gifts—lime salt from wes and maggie and pirate stationery from beth. i love that my friends and family know the quirky things i'd like.

scored some cute pillows at pier one for a great price. i saw them and loved them last year but didn't want to pay full price. patience can pay off! green equals best color ever. plus, i got a good reaction from ben! he likes them because they look tropical.

some baking happened. another chance to use the cake decorating tools ben gave me for christmas.

 until the future!