the newly recessed outlet…

After removing my kitchen cabinets to create a family command center I had one last item on that wall that I couldn’t take care of myself. The outlet that was originally in the cabinet was stuck out. Since it was in the cabinet it didn’t really matter. Now that my wall is all pretty and organized it does really matter. I’m no electrician and was not going to attempt this one on my own. So it sat this way for a little while.



I covered it up with the art cart, but it never sat flush against the wall. I tried a small ottoman which again stuck out.


We grouped all our electrical projects (this outlet, some disobediant switches in the front entryway, and the pendant over the kitchen table) into one day and had an electrician come in. He cut a hole in the sheetrock, recessed the electrical box, patched it up and was done. So much better.

recessed light fixture

recessed light fixture

rug options…

In searching for a rug for the basement I’ve flip-flopped on my rug options so many times that I’ve lost track of what I want down there. I’ve been going back and forth between flatweave, tufted and natural fiber rugs and really need to make a decision on what I want for the space. Here are the options…

I like the patterns and colors that you find in most flatweaves except in my home they seem to get thrown around. The rug never stays flat on the floor since they slide around when you walk (or wrestle in some cases) on it. I’ve tried rug tape to keep it in place but that has always felt strange to me as well, like I’m going to trip on the rug!

Tufted rugs feel more sumptuous, comfortable and cozy. I’d love that type of feeling for the basement also. My kids are always playing on the floor and this type of rug would really warm up the space. Tufted rugs feel like they will last longer as well but they cost a bit more.

Looped rug are similar to tufted rugs in composition. The only difference is that the tufts are left intact and not cut. They are not as soft as tufted rugs in my opinion. I’ve always felt like they show the gaps in between the loops and that last thing I want to see is the rug backing. I’ve also had one looped rug where the loop unraveled a bit. It was hard to fix since doing so meant trimming the loop. Unless it is an indoor/outdoor rug I try to stay away from looped rugs. Totally a personal preference there.

Natural fiber rugs are another option for me. They have a more casual feel to them but hold up to quite a lot. Some options can be a little rough in texture but blends (such as jute and chenille) can really be comfortable and beautiful in the process. If you have a colorful space a neutral natural fiber can bring it all together without adding another color!

I’ve put together some contenders with a mix of all types of rugs. What type of rug do you go for?

flatweave versus tufted rugsvia Wayfair

flatweave versus tufted rugsvia Wayfair
Wayfair_com_-_Online_Home_Store_for_Furniture__Decor__Outdoors___More___Wayfairvia Wayfair
Wayfair_com_-_Online_Home_Store_for_Furniture__Decor__Outdoors___More___Wayfair 2via Wayfair
Product_SVF29151_Image_1via One Kings Lane
Product_SVF46106_Image_2via One Kings Lane
Product_SYA25224_Image_2via One Kings Lane
Garman+Rugvia Joss & Main
Deanna+Rugvia Joss & Main
Cleo+Rugvia Joss & Main

heavy duty area rug for winter…

As you may have heard, here in the Boston area we have received a record amount of snowfall in just a few short weeks. I blame all those times we sang “Let It Go” last winter. Driving around you feel like a mouse in a maze. Going downhill you feel like you are in a luge run. The snow banks are so high in some areas it is hard to see over them. My youngest has a hard time going outside to play since the snow is taller than he is in some places! There are icicles everywhere which I admit are pretty to look at. Just don’t stand under them. The snow is piled up over some of our lower windows and comes up as high as our living room window, which is about 6 or 7 feet off the ground. It is a mess up here.

commercial area rug for winter

commercial area rug for winter

My patio table is under there somewhere!

commercial area rug for winter

In trying to deal with all this snow I have given up on style and gone for strictly practical in my mudroom. I love a pretty area rug in the mudroom but since every trip outside brings in snow and sand and salt it is just not possible. The wet boots come in and then a little bit later you have boots with a ring of salt and a pile of sand underneath. Lots of mopping and sweeping! It’s time for a heavy duty area rug for winter.

After a visit to my sisters’ house I saw that she had placed a large commercial style area rug in her mudroom. All the boots and mess land there instead of being spread around the room. I picked up a mat from Home Depot which will hopefully keep our mudroom in shape. The choices were not as commercial looking as I expected so I came home with a mat that is actually nice to look at. It is a gray mat which has a rubber backing to stay in place. Stain resistant, easy to clean and great for wiping off those snowy, sandy and salty boots!


project gallery

I finally finished something which I hope you will find useful! I’ve created a project gallery where all of my projects can now be found in one space. Just click on the Project link in my header and it will bring you to a full gallery of all my projects and tutorials.


Take your pick from full project tutorials to supply lists to sources.

I’ll be taking some time off to enjoy the February break with my family. Enjoy!

painted closet interior with Behr paint…

This week I officially started my work on the basement. As in the contractors are gone and now I get to do my part! First up on my LONG list is the toy closet. I had planned to purge the toy closet in September once my kids were back in school. The flooding in the basement took care of that job for me since we had to get rid of everything. If the items weren’t damaged by water they were covered in mold. So I started this project off with an empty closet. Good for me, bad for my kids.

I had a look in mind for how I wanted this closet to turn out. I have not been able to find what is in my head online anywhere. I wanted a warm but dark blue color on the walls with lots of white storage in the form of bins and baskets and boxes. The closest I could find was this…


I love the warm dark blue which makes all the white pop. The shade of blue is pretty perfect too.

So I teamed up on my painted closet interior with Behr paint to find that perfect warm dark blue. I would be painting the inside of the closet this color so I didn’t want a black hole! Here were my requirements…

1. not too cool

2. warm blue not purple

3. dark but not too dark

After some searching I found the perfect color. Velvet Rope is part of Behr’s Marquee line.

Behr velvet rope

The Marquee line is a paint and primer in one which boasts one coat coverage. They weren’t kidding. To tell you the truth I was a little skeptical about the one coat coverage, especially since I was painting over rough plaster. To save some money on the basement our contractor finished off the closet walls with a rough coat of plaster. At the time I had no problem with it since no one would see it. Now that I want to pretty up all the closet interiors I find myself wishing I had smooth walls. I could sand it all down but that is not on my “fun” list.


So paint over the plaster it is! I thought the paint would need more than one coat to cover it but one coat really worked! It is a stain resistant, easy to clean and very durable paint. The coverage was fantastic and made easy work of my toy closet.


Below you can see the one slightly wet coat. I could quickly see that one coat was going to do it! Plus, the color was so spot on that two coats would have been much too dark anyways!


I even painted directly onto the metal brackets which would be holding up my shelves. Vertical white stripes would get in the way of my “dark blue closet with all white shelveing and storage “ vision! Not to mention the large horizontal stripe at the top. The paint adhered to the metal with no issues at all.


Once the paint was dry I added in the three melamine shelves. The white shelves pop out against the darker walls, toning down all the dark blue at the same time.




Some finishing touches need to be added in the form of baseboard molding. I’ll be matching the molding height to the rest of the room. For now I added some of the storage I have so far to see the image I had in my head come to life…



More to come as soon as it is done!

Thank you to Behr Paint for sponsoring this post!


This post was sponsored by Behr Paint. All opinions are my own.

Small changes to love your home again…

With winter sticking around and another snowstorm up here in the Northeast there is a good chance you are getting sick of seeing the inside of your home. I know I am. I’m over on the Hooker Furniture blog sharing some tips on how to fall in love with your home again. From little changes to bigger ones you can work with what you have to give your space a whole new feel. See you there!


nursery artwork from children’s books…

If I was decorating a nursery again (which I am not) I’d go with a favorite old trick of mine. Before my daughter arrived (and when we still didn’t know if she was a he or a she) I decorated the nursery with artwork from a childrens’ book. My husband and I had traveled to Montreal and I picked up a childrens’ book in French which had great illustrations. They were very gender neutral and colorful. I brought the book home and cut out some of my favorite pages. Using simple frames from Michaels that matched the wood tones in the room I hung them all around the room. Here is a picture of that nursery in our old home.

artwork from childrens books

It was so bright and airy. The curtains were sewn by my mother and worked well for a girl when paired with pink, as well as for a boy when paired with light blue.

I started thinking about this room when I was at the library the other day and came across the perfect book that I’d use if I were using the same artwork strategy in a nursery today.

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

This book is colorful with simple shapes for a baby to gaze at. Not to mention the animals are created out of typography. As a graphic designer that is like dangling candy in front of a five year old.

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

decorating a nursery with artwork from a childrens’ books...

Any of these pages could either be cut out if you own the book, or color photocopied if it is something you have found at your local library. If I were to do it again I’d probably use a large white matte around each page. Each of these pages are a different color so you could pick the ones that match your nursery best. Another great way to use this book would be to spell out your childs’ name along the wall. Or even collage a couple pages in a large frame. Endless possibilities!

What tricks have you used for artwork in your nursery or child’s room?

how to create built ins using IKEA Hemnes…

The biggest feature in our finished basement is the wall of built-ins using the IKEA Hemnes line. It is the most Pinned about, Tweeted about, and commented on item in my home. It was featured on Houzz when I was interviewed on my basement. I also wrote an ideabook for Houzz with a step by step tutorial on how to create built ins using IKEA hemnes  furniture. It’s like the popular girl at high school who gets all the attention.

When the basement was ruined I was so sad to see it go. I knew it would be back so it all ended well. My contractor would be installing it like he did before so I didn’t worry about how it would happen or what it would look like. I did the exact same thing as before but learned a thing or two along the way.

built ins using ikea hemnes

I purchased the same five pieces to recreate the media wall. Two Hemnes glass door cabinets with drawers, two bookshelves and one tv unit. Same configuration and everything. The drawers hold all our games and puzzles. We have books and family albums which were all salvageable since they were behind glass. The drawers under the television hold DVD’s and Wii components. It stores A LOT!

Lesson Number One
This time I saved some money. Two years have gone by since these were last installed and my children are older. Instead of having our contractor to put them together (and paying for the hours to do so) I put the five individual pieces together with my two youngest. My boys had a great time following the simple IKEA insturctions while I monitored. Tools were used. Lefty loosey, right tighty was repeated over and over, and they had fun. They were actually dissapointed when we were done. I have proof…

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

Lesson Number Two
When all the pieces were completed it was time for my contractor to add the built in touches. Here is where we ran into a problem. I purchased all the same pieces but never double checked the measurements. When my contractor started spacing them out along the wall he discovered that the tv unit was wider than the original tv unit. It was the same exact piece just a couple inches wider. This ended up working to my benefit since I was spacing all the pieces out along a 17 foot wall. All this meant is that each piece was spaced a bit closer. I like the current setup better than the old one. If my measurements weren’t so flexible I’d be in trouble though. Always double check even if you are ordering the exact same thing!! You can see in the image below where the white paint ends on the wall. That is the width of the old bench. The new one is a couple inches wider.

built ins using ikea hemnes

Lesson Number Three
I went the same route as before when it came time to hide some pipes and wires. The cabinets were mounted against the wall with a box created along the top to hide everything. Before the pieces were all attached I made sure that the correct wires were running through from the back of the tv to the outlet within the tv unit. The wires run through the wall. This time I made sure I had enought HDMI and component wires to handle anything we want our television hooked up to. No wires dangling from behind the television.

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

After that everything was cut, trimmed, nailed in and caulked. Extra trim needed to be added because of the tv unit width issue. I knew that once it was all painted white the additional trim would just blend in with the rest.

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

built ins using ikea hemnes

Basement_RenovationI highly recommend this line if you are looking to create built ins using IKEA Hemnes. The biggest selling point is that they are wood and not particle board. There was never any issues with sagging or wharping during the two plus years that we had them before. If you are creating built ins in your office, bathroom, closet, or bedroom they are a great and affordable option. There have been tons of hacks on the IKEA Hemnes line. I even have another one of my own in the works!

the new sump pump…


While we were in the last stages of refinishing our basement we had what felt like three weeks of rain. The floor had not been placed down yet which was a great thing since one afternoon I came home to this…



sump pump

sump pump

sump pump


The culprit was this corner of the basement and totally unrelated to the broken valve which caused the problem this summer.  Before the basement was finished we only had water issues in the back right corner. We installed a bulkhead door and dug down to the foundation, added crushed gravel and pipes going out to the back yard. No more water issues. Until now. The water was coming in from some cracks in the foundation which were quickly sealed up again.





sump pump


sump pump

To give ourselves some peace of mind we decided to bite the bullet and add a sump pump. The storage room is now completely empty so we had the sump pump installed in the back right corner, the problem corner. A hole was dug through the foundation about three feet down and the pump was inserted. It filled up with water immediately. The water then vents outside. We got a backup battery on the sump pump as well, just in case power goes out.

sump pump


sump pump

sump pump

I apologise for the completely unglamourous mid-construction pictures. Eventually the floor was laid out and it now looks like this (minus the dust).

sump pump

It doesn’t take up much space at all. We will be installing storage shelves next to it so it won’t be noticeable at all. We gave up in little floor space but gained a lot in peace of mind!