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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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    Thankful for some late blooming lilacs and a neighbor willing to let me take a few. Oh, and my cute little @fab vase that arrived today. Montana is indeed Big Sky Country. Beautiful, bright blue with fluffy clouds today. Wanna see what a less than $100 room spruce looks like? Click the link in profile to see the few cheap (and free!) ways I updated this space.

Guest Green

I’m finished with the quick and cheap guest room update.  I wouldn’t consider it a makeover because all I really did was repaint the walls, upholster the headboard, rearrange the bookshelves, and swap a few furniture pieces.  Add in a few accessories and voilà, new room.  For a full walk down memory lane, here’s the room the day we got the keys to this house:

Good starting point, but it was dark and drab.  I quickly unloaded the books and accessories on the shelf and we pushed the bed against the only wall wide enough for a queen bed.  Not at all better.

To add another foot of usable space opposite the bed, we carved out a little nook in the shelves, adding sconces for a cozy space.  A larger window, white paint, and color cheered up the room tremendously.

Almost three years after finishing that, it didn’t flow with the rest of the house.  It’s not that I didn’t like the room, it now felt chaotic and cluttered.  Not wanting or needing to completely overhaul the room, I devised a plan to shake things up while toning it down.  All for under 100 bucks.  Ready to see it now?


I always say this, but paint offers the most bang for your buck when changing a room.  For only $25 the room is calmer, but still has color.  After comparing swatches, I settled on Thicket by Benjamin Moore, color matched at Home Depot.  It’s a mid tone green with subtle brown undertones, making it soft.


Another easy change that cost twenty dollars was the upholstered headboard.  Two yards of natural linen fabric, batting, and a staple gun covered the old painted panel.  Better yet, it took two hours, tops, to knock it out.


I adore the softness and texture it adds.



Changing the bookshelves might be my favorite update though.  More on that soon.


For another $20, I got a cream and gray stripe cotton throw from TJ Maxx.  Using more of my Fab.com credit, I chose a light rose Pendleton wool pillow.  Yet another fast way to add texture and pattern to the room without committing to anything drastic.


Shuffling furniture from different rooms was another free way to change the mood of the room.  Previously, a petite mid-century dresser sat against this wall.  I love it, but it always seemed just a tad small.


Moving my grandpa’s old dresser up from the basement took only a few minutes.


Just a few inches wider and taller, it fills out this side, but still leaves breathing room.


Perched atop is a small lamp, a few accessories, and what may be my favorite new houseplant.  This Rhipsalis, found as a hanging plant at Home Depot, thrives in low light.  Perfect live greenery for this north facing room.


Oh, here’s another tip.  When artists include art on business cards, don’t throw it away.  Cut a small chunk of trim to size and mount the card to the front.  Tiny little art to settle in.


Years ago, I received an old oak chair from my great-grandmother.  After sanding the peeling finish off and replacing the seat cushion, it’s a piece I love.


It still has plenty of character, but the wood tone against the green wall was too good to pass up.  A stack of stripe towels are guest ready and in sight.


The bird, tree, and feather gallery wall is still my favorite collection/grouping.


Even better, it covers up the old sconce boxes, so you’d never know they’re behind there.

Guest Room Without Sconces Gallery Wall

So that’s the story on the calm and nature inspired guest room.  Even better, it cost about sixty-five big ones.

Green Squares

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been splitting time between painting various rooms, adding plants to the exterior, and giving the guest room an update.  None of which are completely finished, and all waiting for other elements before I’m done.  Between the bigger guest room tasks, I decided to rearrange the bookshelves for a less cluttered look.  For a bright spot on the shelves, a simple shadow box art was in order.  I started with a piece of white mat board, glue, and a bag of moss.


Before starting, I lightly marked a square 1 1/2 inches from the edges.  Working in sections, I spread glue and started placing moss along the edges.


After filling in the entire square, I let the glue dry and shook the excess moss off.


Twenty minutes after starting, I had a finished art piece, ready to frame.  Both the color and texture are lovely.


I had an Ikea shadow box that fits perfectly on the shelf.  Boom, instant nature art with depth and character.  Any nature finds you’ve turned into art recently?


Now time for me to get more plants in the ground.


Our guest room was one of the first rooms we tackled after moving in.  Not much has changed since finishing it.

While I like the room on its own, now that we’ve worked on more of the house, it doesn’t exactly flow with the rest of the house.


Fortunately, it’s nothing a can of paint, a few yards of fabric, and a little rearranging can’t fix.  For the walls, I’m really feeling an olive-green, to cozy up the room.


After painting the main bath vanity Tate Olive, I started thinking about making similar changes to the guest room.

Our Humble Abode Blog Main Bathroom Vanity

Using leftover paint, I made a sample board on a scrap of foam core.


Clearly I like the color, but for an entire north facing room, it might be too dark.  In the much brighter south-facing master bed and bath, I didn’t hesitate to go dark and bold.


On the other hand, it could be warm and enveloping.  The wall of white bookshelves brightens up the room, too.  When paired with a linen upholstered headboard, the natural tones would be perfectly earthy.


If Tate Olive is too dark, I found Thicket, a lighter, still similar color.  After paint, the other side, opposite the bed, will get a little change.  I still love the art and arrangement, but I’d like to repaint the dresser top.

Perhaps new curtain panels, too.  The rolled shade is easy to close, but annoying to roll up to open.  How do you feel about dark colors in small spaces?

Apple Salad (and a Winner!)

First order of business, the winner of the Janery giveaway.

Drumroll drrr…brrr…drrr… Lorie Smith, enjoy your new Janery pet or home product(s)!  Congrats, and thank you so much Jane for a lovely giveaway!

Second, how about a recipe?  I’m certainly no chef, but when a quick and simple few ingredient recipe works, I’m delighted.  Back in February, I posted this photo of a crazy simple salad on Instagram.  Several people asked for the recipe, and I thought the first day of May (and warmer months) was the perfect time.


In all honesty, this is a salad I had tried at Cafe Lurcat in Minneapolis, so this is my version:

4 of your favorite apples  

3 to 4 ounces Manchego cheese

4 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Creating this salad is as easy as cutting apples and cheese into thin match sticks.  After cutting, toss with oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Add in the chives, salt, and pepper.

My notes and preferences: I’ve tried just Granny Smith, but like a slightly sweeter apple (Fuji or Gala) to offset the cheese.  To add just a little tartness to sweet apples, add the vinegar.  It’s just enough to balance.  If your apples are cold, feel free to skip the lemon juice.  For room temperature apples, add the lemon juice to prevent browning while cooling in the fridge for an hour or two.  Add more onion flavor with extra chives or even part of a finely minced shallot.

This salad is so light, bright, and refreshing, perfect for a summer get together.  And with 10 minutes of prep time, it doesn’t get much easier while still looking (and sounding) impressive.

Lush and Plush

I swear, our house is constantly changing.  Looking at our three-year progress shows that, but not all changes are as big, dramatic, or noticeable.  Some are difficult and drawn out, so it’s refreshing when something quick makes an impact.  Take a look at this photo of the boys bedroom, taken last week:


Do you catch the change right away?


That cheap, scratchy, too small Ikea rug got kicked to the curb for a perfect replacement.


Last fall, our bathroom won the dark division in Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color contest.  Each division winner received a $1000 credit at Fab.com.  Over the last few months, I’ve added things to my cart, deliberated, swapped a few items, and finally settled on some really great pieces.  The Zest Tufted rug in slate is 100% wool, super plush, and an 8 by 10.

With a little graphic pattern, and the perfect color, I knew I wanted it.  At the original price of $499, I was happy to create a cozy play space for the little dudes.  As luck would have it, Fab had a sale last week, with a 50% discount on this handsome guy.  I hopped on and placed my order before that deal ran out.


I will say, I’m always so apprehensive with online ordering for large items.  But, I didn’t have much to lose, did I?  This rug absolutely exceeded my expectations.  Right after receiving the delivery, I hauled it upstairs, unrolled it, and placed it in the room.  Shortly after, both boys came in, said how much they loved it and proceeded to roll around.


There’s a catch, literally.  Not so much a complaint, just something I didn’t think of-the door swing.  Because this rug is so thick, the bedroom door wouldn’t close over it.  Not the end of the world, because Ben and I pulled it closer to the window, under the dresser to clear the door swing.  I’ll definitely take that problem anytime.


During the same sale, I scored a Fetch lamp.  The room has been lamp less since I stole and made over the previous base.  What sold me on this is the simple shape and dish designed base.


Everyone has collections or junk in pockets.  Why not store those little trinkets in a two for one combo?


I know what you’re thinking, with my rave review on the rug.  This post is not sponsored.  Affordable, quality rugs are hard to come by, so I had to share.  Ben even gave his seal of approval.  When it comes to rugs, that’s not an easy task either.  If only Fab had a 10 by 14 neutral version for our living room.


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