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    Hey there! I'm Amanda and I'll be your co-pilot today. Along with my handy husband, Ben, we're remodeling our second house. We're avid DIY-ers, tackling large and small projects while raising two rambunctious boys. Thanks for following along on this wild journey!
    Photo by Jana Graham Photography

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    The organizing nerd in me is thrilled with our well stocked, Costco proportion school lunch drawer. Everything in one place for quick access. Now that I see the pic, I need to turn the short row of Apple berry boxes-OCD problems. Added this Rose Vervain to my cart on a whim a few months ago. Not that's it's bloomed, I am so glad I did-look at those pretty flowers! Knowing it grows well here, I just might have to get a few more. #ohagardengrows Working on some master bedroom updates and sharing the progress on the blog today. I can't wait to build a new bed frame and put that green velvety goodness to use!!

Bed Plans

When I left off with the bedroom changes-painting the accent wall white, updating the art and lighting situation-I mentioned needing a new bed.  Since moving in this house, we’ve severely lacked a real bed.  Immediately after moving in, we used a metal frame with the headboard from our old guest room, which was a slight step above a poor college student mattress on the floor look.  For crying out loud, we didn’t even have a bed skirt to hide the box spring.


After getting sick of the wobbly headboard, we quickly built a platform frame with a built-in bench at the end.  Neither of us really loved it, so we never finished it off with an upholstered seat and headboard.


It stayed this way until this spring when we hacked off the bench in an attempt to salvage the frame.


So that’s where we are today, with a half-finished frame neither Ben or I like.  Instead, I have plans for a new frame.  Something simple, with an upholstered headboard.  I really like the clean, simple look of this West Elm bed frame:

I’m just not sure I want that much space between the floor and the bottom of the rails, because I think our king bed would look like it’s floating.  On the other hand, I think this beautiful Restoration Hardware bed is a touch too close to the floor, which would make it nearly impossible to vacuüm/clean under.  Yet again, those simple lines are what I’m after.

Then there’s this Crate and Barrel beauty:

The proportions are great, and I love the thicker cap surrounding the mattress, but I wouldn’t get the soft fabric headboard I’m dreaming about.  Oh yeah, and I’m entirely too cheap to spend $1,800 on a bed frame.  To save oodles of money and get exactly what we want, we’re planning a DIY build, a modified version of the beds we built for the boys’ room.


The legs and frame will look similar, but we’ll add a cap over the legs to beef up the frame.  Also, the head and foot of the frame will look the same, but we’ll attach an upholstered headboard to differentiate between the two.


Instead of sealed wood, I’m leaning toward white paint, to help blend in with the wall and allow the headboard to be the star.  Though a dark stained wood to match the nightstand could look nice, too.


Regardless, it’ll be nice to finally have a finished bed to complete the room.  What’s that lingering thing looming over your head?  Not that there’s only one, in fact, I’d safely say there’s one thing in each room of our house.

Painting a Wood Wall White

Last I shared our master bedroom, it looked like this:


We had made some progress, especially compared to our starting point, but the to do list still had plenty of unchecked boxes including a new bed, seating arrangement, and possibly painting the wood wall white.


That last item, painting, was something I’d been considering for a while, to better flow with the white tongue and groove planks in the adjacent bath, entry, and kitchen.  Having painted new wood before, I suspected this reclaimed wood would toss me a curveball thanks to all the tar paper residue.

Reclaimed Cedar Planked Wall

Fortunately, after painting our deck ceiling, I had the perfect product in my possession: Sherwin Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer.

The reason I had to wait so long to tackle this step was the uncooperative weather.  Stupid summer with temps constantly in the 90’s.  Oil-based primers and paint are always stinky, so I waited for a few days of cool weather that would allow open windows and proper ventilation of the room.  My first coat of primer covered the wood beautifully, but the tar areas bled through lightly.


Per the instructions, I waited 24 hours before reapplying a follow-up coat for thorough, opaque coverage.  This primer is thick, and filled in some of the spaces between the boards, making it look sloppy.


Knowing I’d still have to paint, I held off cleaning out the grooves.  After two coats of white paint, I used a utility knife to scrape the paint out, leaving clean gaps and a full textured ship lap looking wall.


Though I liked the warmth of the wood wall, it didn’t flow with the rest of the room or house.  Painting the accent wall white gives me a blank slate to work against.  Moving forward, I still have projects to tackle, like a new bed, complete with a lovely green velvet upholstered headboard hence the taped up text fabric.


While I was making changes, I switched out the lamps and art.  The triangular lamps I made took up a lot of space on our floating nightstand, so while in Minnesota I picked up two Ranarp sconces from Ikea.

Smaller light fixtures left more space above the nightstand than before, so I painted feathers on watercolor paper to create science poster art.


Each piece cost less than five dollars and didn’t require frames thanks to the style.  I cut quarter-inch thick by 1 1/2 inch wide hemlock strips one inch longer than the paper, applied a coat of special walnut stain, and stapled through the paper into the back of the wood.  A string of twine is a simple hook, also stapled into the wood.


Thanks to the lightweight design, a thumb tack with a small wood slice glued to the front keeps the art in place.


Then, as usual, one thing leads to another and I didn’t like the mismatched look of the dark art wood and the light nightstand.  Not to worry, a coat of matching stain on each was a quick fix and really finished off the look.


Ahh yes, much better.




Up next, sewing a matching set of curtains for the window above our bed.  After many attempts to get my hands on another six yards of white linen, I finally broke down and had the fabric store order some for me.


With the deck project in full swing, I’m not sure when the bed will be a priority, but it’ll make all the difference in finishing off the room.  Now to decide how I want to handle the other side of the room.

New Baby, New Flooring

Back in April Ben, the boys, and I made a trip to Minnesota to visit family and meet our new baby niece.  While there, we decided to surprise them by installing new flooring at my sister’s house.  The same house he built this fantastic under the stairs bookshelf in.

Ashley's Stairs and Bookcases Finished Front

Fortunately, despite having a two-week old baby, they were okay with the idea.  You know what they say, “Nothing says congrats on your new baby like hardwood floors” or something like that.  Plus, they had the wood planks sitting in the house for a while and were excited to gain that space back while improving their home.  Here’s the before, a large room with mid-century bones including a large rock wall, plank and beam ceiling, large windows, and stained beige carpet.  Warning, the rest of these photos are crappy phone pics, but you get the idea.  


After pulling out the carpet, Ben patched areas while I scraped the floors to remove the staples.  Trust me, this is light years easier than pulling individual staples with pliers.


The original plan included only hardwood floors in place of the carpet, but the old tile just wasn’t their style.


While demo was happening, we broke out all the tile and mesh underlayment.


After a day, both areas were nearly ready for flooring.


In the entry, a few old boards were badly cracked, so Ben cut out the trouble areas to patch in new wood.  These are things he gets oddly excited about.


With help from my dad, they knocked out the Brazilian Walnut hardwood install pretty quickly.


Then, tile time!  Ashley considered extending the hardwood into the entry, but Minnesota weather might take a toll on the floors after a while.  Instead, she chose the same slate tile we’ve used in our master bathroom and kitchen.


The tile sits flush with the freshly installed walnut, but also the same flooring that was installed in the kitchen a few years ago.


After finishing up the floors, our time had come to an end and we returned home.  Just a few weeks back, the boys and I made another visit and helped tie up some of the loose ends, like baseboard.  Install was pretty quick and straightforward, but there were seams to patch.  For quick results, I like to use an orbital sander to get everything perfectly smooth.  Not wanting to damage the hardwood floors, I used my go to trick: tape.  Put down two rows of painter’s tape, then several layers of duct tape stacked together.  This makes a stationary buffer between the sander edge and the floor, but is easily removed, leaving the floors unscathed.


Before installing this room’s flooring, the kitchen wood stopped in the door.  The seamless flow looks so nice!


After baseboard install, I was asked to do a little decorating.  Ash saw this rug at Costco and loved it, so it was the base layer for the room.


Luckily, they already had the awesome furniture, so it was only a matter of arranging what they already had.



Over in the corner, we set up a little bar area in an Ikea cabinet.


Of course, a week isn’t much time to tackle a big to do list, especially when Mall of America rides are calling two little boys.  I hoped to reupholster the dining chairs and help install a bay of cabinets on the back wall, but Arik can handle that.


If not, there’s always the next visit to tackle some more projects.  Ash, get your thinking cap on.

Mini Bug Shadowbox

I mentioned in the guest room update that I’ve been drawn to natural elements for decorating.  The bookshelves are filled with things found in nature including driftwood, feathers, skulls, and a framed butterfly.


Just a few weeks ago, after watering plants, I shut off the water and was startled by a large (2 inches long) beetle on the ground.  It didn’t move, and I went back inside.  Three days later, it was still there and obviously dead.  Ben brought it inside to show, ah hem, scare the boys.  Surprisingly, only one was afraid of it, while the other thought it was cool.  Half jokingly, I said we should frame it for over his bed, and he agreed.  All that to say, I’ve hit what may be a new crazy, even for me.  I made a tiny bug coffin shadowbox.  But, most of the supplies I already had, so that saves me some crazy points, yes?  Anyway, if you want to make a small shadow box, here’s what I used: one 2 foot strip of 1 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch thick poplar, one 1/4 inch square wooden dowel, both originally from Home Depot and a small piece of glass from a frame at Goodwill.  To get started, I applied a bead of wood glue to the top of the poplar board and set the square dowel on top to clamp, like so:


This beefs up the face and gives a lip for the glass to rest on, but keeps the frame from getting too thick.  It’s also easier than getting out the router.


Once the glue dried, I assembled the frame the same way I made this larger set.


To keep the beetle away from the glass, I cut pieces of a paint stick to fit snugly inside the frame and gave everything a coat of white paint.  After the paint dries, place the clean glass in first, then the paint stick spacers, then the backing with the mounted bug, or whatever normal thing you’re framing.  A dab of glue holds the bug onto a scrap of white cardstock.  For now, it’s living in the guest room, but I think it’ll get moved to the boys’ room.


Poor guy lost a few parts sitting outside, but he’s still pretty cool.  By cool I mean semi creepy, but not to all little boys.  Have I totally lost it?  Wait, don’t answer that.

Mirror Makeover

When I found this dresser for a friend, it also came with a matching mirror.  The kind that attach to the back of the piece on stilts.  You can kind of see it sticking out the top, reflecting another chest of drawers.


Luckily for me, she didn’t want it as a set, and I loved the look and size, but not the speckled finish or the color.


A few areas of the veneer started to bubble, so my first step was fixing those by applying glue under and clamping it until dried.


Then, to remove the stain, I generously spread Citristrip over everything, letting it work its magic.


Just like scraping off popcorn ceilings, the process is satisfying and oddly similar.  Instead of using a wide metal spatula, I used a narrow plastic tool to gently remove the old finish.


One thing I really dislike about using a paint stripper is the clean up.  But, with such a small area, I didn’t have the option to sand instead.  To clean the residue, I brushed on a little paint thinner, then scrubbed the grooves with an old toothbrush.  Flat areas are easier to clean with an old rag.  After all that, I had my clean slate.


For a little color and protection, I rubbed on two coats of Dark Walnut tinted Danish Oil.  The coloring isn’t as strong as a stain, and can be applied as needed.  I wasn’t looking for a new mirror, but I swapped the one in the main bathroom for this handsome fella because I like him so much.  The mirror already had hooks on the back, so we strung 100 pound picture wire to hang it. To accommodate the slightly taller size, we did raised the two wall screws a few inches.


Adding that small dose of natural wood brought in so much warmth and texture, making the once white space feel layered and earthy.

Our Humble Abode Blog Main Bathroom Vanity This frame is two inches narrower and three taller than the old frame, so it makes the ceilings feel a bit higher.


A serendipitous change for the main bathroom, that just proves changes are always taking place, even when unplanned.  That white mirror will be saved for the basement or pool house half bath, so it won’t go to waste either.


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