My contractor used a bad word

This morning my contractor came over. He brought along his plumber and electrician to go over some details before he gives me a final quote. Everything was going great. The plumber was up to speed on what was to be done, where the new pipes for the washer and sink were going and what pipes were being moved.

We began discussing the electrical changes with the electrician. We estimated how many recessed lights we would need, where they would go throughout the entire space. They were counting up the lights and came to a different number than I did. I was a little puzzled and recounted. I realized they were leaving out the laundry room so I asked how many lights they would put in there. I then heard the most horrible words. My contractor spoke but all I heard was “blah, blah, blah fluorescent lighting.” Cue the record scratching noise. 

Hold on, fluorescent lighting in my laundry room. Not happening. I’m sure fluorescent lighting is fine for some, for most, for many of my immediate family members, but not for me. These are my laundry inspiration picture. They vary in style but have one thing in common. Do you see fluorescent lights in any of them? I think not.
Decor Pad

Decor Pad

So as the three of them nod in agreement because fluorescent lighting is definitely the best option, being men and all, I calmly let them know that’s not going to happen. I was very polite about it, my mother would be proud. I pulled up the image I had pinned of the lamp I was thinking of if recessed lighting was not going to work. 

Euro Style Lighting
“Sure that will work too,” I’m told. They go on to say that fluorescent lighting will add much more light to the room. Again all I hear is blah, blah, blah, fluorescent lighting. I stood my ground and told them this was the light I was using. Let’s hope it doesn’t come up again. I don’t care if I have to do laundry in the dark with a flashlight and some candles, because my laundry room is going to look good!

No-sew hanging valance tutorial

My kitchen has one window and is boxed in by cabinets on either side. It is the only source of light in my kitchen at this point, so in deciding what I was going to do for a window treatment, I knew I didn’t want anything too “heavy.” I had fallen in love with this fabric so I started playing around with ideas. I couldn’t have an outside mount window treatment because of the cabinets so I came across this one day at the fabric store.
A decorative tension mount curtain rod. Who knew? After some experimenting, here is what I came up with.
Do you want to try it yourself? Here is what you need.

{supplies needed}
iron-on adhesive
curtain rod
clip rings

I basically cut the fabric so it measured exactly the width of the window opening, with about one extra inch on each side for a seam. I made it five inches tall, again with a one inch each seam on the top and bottom. I ironed the fabric at the seam to get a crisp line. Then I placed the iron-on adhesive under the seam and ironed again. 
Take care at the corners. I usually cut the fabric on a angle that so I get a tight corner. 

That is basically it. After that I just clipped some clip on rings spaced out evenly, hung it on my tension rod and put it up.

Just to let you know, the project took about 20 minutes. Getting the pictures for this post did not. Please excuse the toy filled sun room outside and the five year old who thought it would be a great idea to get into one of mommy’s shots by moving the trampoline under the window.

My rug search begins

As our basement project gets closer and closer I want to do a little cybershopping beforehand on some items we’ll be needing down there. First on my list is an area rug. I’ll be putting white board and batten down there, with a neutral color on the tops of the walls. The floors will be the Allure TrafficMaster dark vinyl plank flooring which looks a lot like real wood. I only have one piece of furniture which is my old green leather sofa, lovingly covered over in a neutral slipcover. I want to get my color from fabrics in the form of pillows, an ottoman project, an extra chair or two and window treatments. In order to not get stuck in any sort of color rut, I want my area rug to be neutral. I’m hoping to use some industrial chic pieces down there as well, so I want the rug to balance all that out. Here are some ideas for the look I’m going for in a rug.

Country Living
House Beautiful

House Beautiful

Martha O’Hara Interiors
After browsing a bit I’ve come up with these options. Of course this does not include a trip to good old Home Goods! The first two are from Ballard Design, one of my favorite resources. I don’t get many things from them, just great ideas. These two rugs are neutral, with a bit of a pattern which I love. They won’t overwhelm the room, but are still interesting enough on their own. 
Ballard Design Suzanne Kasler Herringbone Sisal Rug

Ballard Design Trellis Rug
Next up are some rugs I found on I’ve purchased a rug from them before and am very happy with it so I’d take the plunge again. The first one is neutral enough, but maybe too bland. I’m realizing more and more I want a bit of a pattern within the neutral, if that isn’t too much to ask. The second one is interesting, but a bit too dramatic. I think if the damask had been closer in tone to the background, or in a smaller repetitive pattern, I’d be very intrigued. That one isn’t the exact look I’m going for.
Overstock Hand-woven Natural Jute Rug
Overstock Handmade Alexa Modern Damask Wool Rug
I really love the next two rugs from Wayfair. I’m a sucker for anything from Dash and Albert. These rugs have the texture and pattern I’m looking for but in a very subtle way. They would go perfect with the color scheme I’m going for. My wallet might not agree though.
Dash and Albert Woven Diamond Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Dash and Albert Hooked Plain Tin Ivory Wool Rug
The next three are from Pottery Barn. They look great but I worry about texture for these ones. These will be in the family room, so I do want people and children specifically to be able to sit on these. If they are rough or scratchy I will not have happy campers. It might look great but it needs to function as well. 
Pottery Barn Heathered Chenille Jute Rug – Natural
Pottery Barn Chunky Wool and Natural Jute Rug
Pottery Barn Solid Sisal Rug – Linen

So what are your experiences? Jute and Sisal rugs are neutral and attractive, but are they practical?

Bathroom before and after

I showed you yesterday how to add some wall art with fabric. Today I’ll show you where the piece I created ended up. First make sure you are sitting down, I’m going to show you the before. Here is how my half bath looked when we bought the house.

Not a great shot, but whatever picture I had would have been just as bad. It was cold, sterile and reminded me of the bathrooms in my high school. Brown tile on the floor. Old sink mounted on the wall. Builders white on the walls. Ugly.

I found a sink that was small enough, since this is a tight space. We added some paint to the walls, Benjamin Moore Weimaraner on top (the closest I’ll get to having a dog), glossy white on the bottom. A new schoolhouse light, new flooring, new fixtures and voila…

Here is yesterday’s wall art in its’ new home.

So is this what your high school bathroom looked like? I think not.

Fabric Wall Art Tutorial

One of my favorite things to add to a room is fabric. I love fabric. If I’m not doing it with a window treatment, I’ll add fabric with some wall art. I have a small half bath that needed some decorating. I had already purchased some fabric for the windows and wanted something a little different for the wall. I found this fabric on and bought one yard.
I decided to try some wall canvas art on my own. Let me show you how.
{supplies needed}
upholstery staple gun and staples
Mod Podge
brush (I prefer foam)
First stretch your fabric over your canvas. Use any size canvas you want, just make sure you have enough fabric to cover all the sides as well. I chose an 8 inch x 8 inch canvas from my local craft store.
Line the fabric up and start stapling the four sides. Make sure the fabric is nice and tight. 
Once the sides are done I fold the corners over and staple those down.
You can leave your fabric art like this, or add an extra step to make it look a little more unique. I apply 2 or 3 layers of Mod Podge, drying between each layer. I like the Gloss kind. It adds an extra sheen to the fabric. 
Here is the before Mod Podge and after Mod Podge. You can tell is looks a little shiny. Hard to capture that on camera!


before Mod Podge

after Mod Podge
Here is the finished product. I’ll show you where I put it tomorrow. What do you think? 

My old lamp is new again

About 10 years ago we purchased some floor lamps for our living room. We had no overhead lighting in there and decided on the lamp below, two of them. 
They gave off a warm glow to the room and all was well. Then, after 10 years I wanted a change. I contemplated sending them to the basement, but again, we have no overhead lights in the living room. On a lucky trip through Home Goods I came across two large lampshades for $15 each.

 I loved the fabric, it was neutral and would fit in well with the rest of my living room. I didn’t have the measurements of the glass piece at the top of my lamps so I thought I’d take a chance. I could always return them if they didn’t fit. The metal piece at the top would work out great and could sit on top of the glass, which never got hot anyways. 

They fit perfect! It was meant to be. What are the chances of finding two of them anyways?

 I have them on opposite corners of my living room. They have totally transformed the lamps. You’d never know what was underneath. And for those of you who are wondering how my living room looks clean with three little ones running around, it isn’t. As I was talking pictures and stepping on Lego’s, I was being told by my two year old that I wrecked Bob’s house. Sorry Bob.

Decorating with plates

I’ve already told you how I love to decorate using plates. They add color, they add texture, and you can change them every day of the week if you really want to. Now I’m going to show you how. 

Typically, plates are hung with these…

This method might work great for some people, but it also means that this is what you see once it is up.
It is a beautiful plate put up to make a statement. The four spider legs coming over the top and bottom are not part of that statement.

I knew I wanted some plates up but thought I’d shop around for another method. I was actually considering hot glueing some picture hangers to the back of the plates. Then I got lucky. I was browsing through my local Ben Franklin craft store and came across these…

I grabbed the three that were left, after reading the instructions and description about 5 times. Still in shock that these actually exhisted and I didn’t know about them, I went home to try it out. 

I wet the adhesive with about a teaspoon of water. As I rubbed it around with the back of a spoon it began to get tacky. I laid the plate face down, making sure the hanging tab was lined up with the top of the plate. Once it was centered I placed the adhesive down. There was some room to maneuver it around. I let it sit and dry overnight. The next morning the adhesive was sealed on and the entire plate hanger adhesive was dry. Three nails later, this is what my wall looked like.

I love the warmth these plates add to my kitchen. You might have some heirloom plates you would rather not serve food on. Put them up on your wall. If you change your mind, just soak the entire plate and the adhesive comes right off. It is such a better alternative to the old wire hanger look. Plus there are no scary spiders crawling over the edges.

Idea Board – the mudroom

I’ve come up with a new idea to help you give your home a face lift. Gathering items from places such as IKEA, Target, Amazon, etc, I’ve put together an idea board to show you what can be done. The total price of all these items will be $200. Let’s start off with your mudroom.

Even if you don’t have a designated mudroom, maybe there is a corner near your back door. Maybe you can stick this idea near your garage, or even in your garage. This is what I’ve come up with….

So here is the idea. Give your space a fresh coat of paint. Benjamin Moores’ Silver Spring is a beautiful blue with warm undertones. Add to your floors an area rug like the Ranch Stripe from Dash and Albert. Now for you shoes, hats, gloves, flip flops, etc. The IKEA Expedit is so versatile that if you turn it on it’s side, it’s a bench. Add pillows or upholster the top to make it cozy. These wire baskets from Amazon are great for storing all those miscellaneous items. One basket for everyone in the family. Add some hooks like the IKEA Leksviks’ above the bench for your coats, backpacks, dog leashes, etc. A mirror for that quick check before you go couldn’t hurt. Mirrors’ like the one from Amazon also help a space look larger. Lastly, the room needs some art. I buy simple wood frames from Joann’s and staple fabric on top. A coat or two of Mod Podge and you have art!  I’ll be showing you how to do that later. 

Here is the breakdown;
wall art – $12.00
Alright, so I lied, it’s not $200. The total comes to $199.30. This doesn’t include the paint or any shipping and handling. You can expand on what I’ve done in some simple ways as well. Secure your bench to the wall and frame a space above it with molding. Paint the entire space white to make it look like a built in unit. Your hooks can go here as well. Give it a try. It will give your mudroom a fresh crisp look. What room should we work on next?

My barn door obsession

Lately I have felt drawn towards these….


I would love to include a barn door in our plans for finishing the basement. We have a whole section of the basement that we will be partitioning off to serve as the storage /utility room. All the things we don’t want to see on a daily basis will be in there, along with our oil tank, hot water heater and boiler. What better way to close off that space than with a barn door? 

This is the picture that started it all. I was searching for basement ideas and found this. I was in love. The space looked cozy but the barn door added such a focal point without defining the space. The search for more began. 


A punch of color on a door like the one below is such a simple way to add color to a space.
Southern Living
Let the hardware do the talking with a distressed door and oversized pulley.

Do you have an open floor plan that sometimes you wished wasn’t so open? Section it off with double doors like this. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Do you have some space for cabinets in your kitchen but not in your budget? Get some basic wire shelving at your hardware store, but hide it all away with a barn door. 

Add some windows to add even more architectural detail, as well as light between rooms.
Hide away your laundry room or closet. Get rid of those bifold doors and add a pop of  color while you’re at it. Who said your laundry space can’t be fun?
house beautiful
How about using mini barn doors to hide your tv? Put this over your mantle and let the whole wall make a statement.
Did this get your wheels turning. Do you have a space in your home that could use a detail like this? Hopefully I’ll have my own to show you soon!

Pelmet Box Tutorial

My fabric came in, two of my kids are off to school, so me and my 2 year old sidekick made a pelmet box. It took me a total of 30 minutes or half of Sesame Street. That’s counting the time it took to stop and take pictures. So here is my pelmet box tutorial you’ve been waiting for. I’ll go step by step to show you how to do this for your own space. 

{Supplies needed}
fabric (I used one yard for a 37 inch by 20 inch box)
foam core (I used two boards)
batting (low loft batting)
duct tape
upholstery staple gun
3M strips
Exacto knife
measuring tape


1. Measure your window from one edge of the window frame to the other. I always cut my pelmet boxes so they sit just outside the window frame. Mine measured 37 inches wide. My pelmet box will be 20 inches in length.  I also measured the side piece. I wanted this to be about 1 inch. This will be the depth of the pelmet box.

2. Lay out your foam core. You may need to duct tape some pieces together to get the right width. Each board is 30 inches wide so I needed to cut another 7 inch wide piece and duct tape it together. Don’t worry how this looks at this point. It will all be covered by the batting and fabric.

{use duct tape and additional foam core to get the right width}

3. Next cut out the side pieces. Mine were 1 inch by 20 inches. Duct tape these to the other piece at 90 degree angles. You will now have this. I am only doing the side piece on one side since the box will sit flush with the wall on the left.

{one side ready for batting}

4. Roll out the batting and lay your foam core piece on top of it. All you are doing for this is covering the front and sides with batting. Use a layer of  tape to attach it to the back. I find that the staples tend to pop out of the foam core unless you have a layer of tape first.  I alternate between the two. Take care to pull tight and keep the corners neat. These will be visible from the front and bottom.

{lay foam core on top of batting and trim} 
{start taping}

{reinforce with upholstery staples}

5. Once the batting is wrapped do the same thing with the fabric. I lay this out and make sure it is lined up correctly. Then I start wrapping and taping. Once you are done you’ll have this. I admit is looks horrible from the back, but once up on your window you won’t see any of this.

{lay out fabric}

{start taping fabric to foam core}

{reinforce with some staples}

{keep the corners as tight and clean as possible}

{staple and/or tape the sides}

{back of pelmet box once completed}

6. The next step is hanging it up. There are lots of different ways to do this. I’ve always used L brackets but have wanted to try the 3M strips to see if it would work. It does! Line up the 3M strips on the top of the window frame. Then position your pelmet box in front, making sure it is straight, and attach by pushing it against the already attached 3M strips. 

{position 3M strips on window frame}

{the end result}

Here is the end result. It cost me a less than $30 to make from start to finish. I went online how much something like this would cost to custom order. They were asking $355 for the same dimensions! 

What do you think? Try it for yourself, get your camera out and send me pictures of your very own pelmet boxes.