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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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    My orchid has rebloomed, but I don't remember it being this color. That's how long I've had to keep this dang thing alive to see it pretty again. @thehouseoffigs asked me #widn  a week ago, that I somehow didn't see until today. I just came inside from watering my freshly planted flowers. A white butterfly bush, a few different coreopsis, ajuga, to name a few. I couldn't resist a good sale, and I'm still dying to cover the entire 'yard' with plants, but it my have been a bad idea to plant during this hot, dry week. ☀️🔥Fingers super crossed I can keep these alive. 😁🙏🏻🍀 Looking for a specific size picture frame? Don't worry about spending an arm and a leg on the perfect custom design, DIY with basic pine boards. Tutorial on the blog right now.

Shelfie

Take a look at this picture of the guest room headboard and bookshelves:

Now look at the current version:

Guest-Room-Upholstered-Headboard-and-Bookshelves

Despite having even more books, does it feel calmer, more natural?  I hope it does, because that was my goal.  I started by donating the few books I had read and didn’t like/wouldn’t recommend.  Followed up by brutally eliminating every accessory/knick knack/tchotchke I didn’t absolutely love.  I think only five things made the cut.  Then, one shelf at a time, I pulled everything off to dust.

Being OCD, I have always separated my books into fiction and non-fiction groups main groups.  Then sub categories for history, biographies, science, etc. and finally in rainbow order.  Red books marked the beginning of a new group, making quick work of finding different categories.  Even in my old office:

Current_Office_Bookshelves_Small

Through the years, my system hasn’t changed.  But recently while at the school, I saw filled library cart, spines all facing up.  Spines facing up.  Duh, why haven’t I added that element to my system?  Wanting a calmer color palette, it offers all the benefits of the controversial turning the spines to the wall trick, but, on lower shelves, books are still easy to find.  Only snag is our floor to ceiling shelving, leaving the upper two shelves out of view.  To keep these shelves as neutral as possible, I pulled out the white, black, gray, and tan books.  These got a home on the top shelves, spines facing out for easy finding.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Top-Detail

Remaining lower shelves are all nestled in, spines up and easily seen from above.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Left-Side-Overall

Occasionally, I placed a stack of books to break things up and create a pedestal for decorative items.  Like this engraved silver cup turned fake succulent planter.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Left-Detail

In addition to creating less visual clutter, flipping the books had another benefit.  I was able to add three more shelves to the mix due to the shorter height.  I have my fair share of books, so keeping everything together, tidy, and organized is my preference.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Right-Detail

Bed height shelves also serve as built-in night stands, complete with an outlet on each side.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Left-Side-Detail-2

For best function, I tried to keep each of those relatively clear, without having an entirely empty shelf.

Guest-Room-Bookshelf-Right-Side-Overall

Over the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to bring in and keep only accessories I love.  More and more, I’m drawn to natural elements and pieces.  A few really cool driftwood pieces are on simple display above the bed.

Guest-Room-Driftwood-Display-as-Art

Maybe having two hunter/gatherer boys has affected me.  Collections of wood, rocks, feathers, antlers, shells, and even a few skulls have made their way inside.  Each one has a memory or a story, unlike trendy store-bought piece I’m almost guaranteed to grow tired of.  Mixing those nature finds in adds a lot of character without costing a dime.

Guest-Room-Driftwood-Display-Shelf

Everything in nature is the perfect color, too.  Nothing insanely bright or neon, simply beautiful.  So I’ve happily been leaning on nature for the answers to my decoration conundrums.  Have you seen any noticeable shifts in your decor preferences?

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?

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-Upholstered-Headboard

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.

Green-Swatches-for-Guest-Room

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.

Guest-Room-Upholstered-Headboard-Detail

I adore the softness and texture it adds.

Guest-Room-Upholstered-Headboard-with-Right-Side-Bookshelf

Guest-Room-Upholstered-Headboard-with-Left-Side-Bookshelf

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

Guest-Room-Upholstered-Headboard-and-Bookshelves

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.

Guest-Room-Wool-Pillow-Detail

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.

Gallery-Wall-in-Guest-Room

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

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-and-White-Dresser

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

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-White-Dresser-Chair

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.

Guest-Room-Dresser-and-Art-Detail

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.

Guest-Room-Dresser-Accessories-Detail

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.

Green-Guest-Room-Dresser-Chair-and-Art

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.

Guest-Room-Chair-with-Towels

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

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-Toward-Door

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.

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

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.

Guest-Bedroom-Painted-Safari-Headboard

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.

Green-Swatches-for-Guest-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.

Tate-Olive-Sample-Paint-by-Bookshelf-Left

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.

Tate-Olive-Sample-Paint-by-Closet

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.

Guest-Room-Headboard-Swatches

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?

Two Year Check Up

This month marks two years of living at this house.  Like last year, I’m taking you on a room by room tour to show you the changes.  Here’s the plain entry the day we closed:

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Recently, we installed a tongue and groove accent wall, new front door and window, modern light, giant Longhorns and cute art.

Button-Picture-in-Entry-Top-Stairs

We now have a bright, light filled happy space we’re not ashamed of.  Especially because this is the first impression.  We still have to replace the uneven, stained tile and railing, but this space is nearly complete.  The living room had great potential, but it felt too traditional for us.

New-House-Living-and-Dining-April-13-2012

Much of this room is still subject to change, but it’s functional and more ‘us.’  Painted light gray walls modernize it, while still feeling warm.

Living-Room-into-Dining-Two-Years-Later Coffee table plans are in the works, and I want to find a new rug and chairs.  Art, too.

New-House-Dining-into-Living-Room April 13 2012

But the modern twist on a rustic/Western style is coming together.  The newly finished sofa is perfect in here.

Living-into-Entry-Two-Years-Later

Hopefully a leather sofa will replace this one, but it serves the purpose until then.

Living-Room-Sofa-Two-Years-Later

Our dining room has seen some progress, but it’s not looking so hot these days.  Though it really didn’t look to great when we bought this place either.

Dining-Room-After-Move-In-April-30 A window replaced the door, and we’ve got one sheetrock-less wall while we deal with electrical changes.

Dining-Room-Two-Years-Later One of the least changed rooms is the kitchen.  Maybe this winter we’ll have some updates to tackle.

New-House-Kitchen-from-Breakfast-Nook-April-13-2012

Aside from removing wallpaper and painting, no action going on in here.

Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

In the adjacent family room, we’ve refaced the fireplace, added an insert, built shelves for a little nookpainted the walls a soft beige.

New-House-Family-Room-from-Pool-April-13-2012

This room is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the back yard views and wildlife.

Family-Room-from-Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

Our first remodel here, the main bathroom, was a full tear out.  Though it was one of the most recently updated spaces, the dark, showerless layout didn’t work for our two young boys or guests.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Replacing the tub with a tub/shower, it now functions for kids and adults.

Main-Bathroom-Finished-Vanity

Across the hall, the small guest room was very dark.  North facing, small window, and a wall of 70’s oak shelving sucked the light and life out.

New-House-First-Showing-Guest-Room

A new egress window lets in more light while the white shelves and happy yellow walls add cheer.

Guest-Room-Two-Years-Later

A beige box of boring wasn’t really a happy place for two little boys.

New-House-Boys-Bedroom-April-13-2012

After asking for their suggestions, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling, painted the walls a pear green, and filled the room with color and kid friendly decor.

Boys-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

The master was completely opposite from the boys’ room starting point with obnoxiously bright blue walls.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-Front-April-13-2012

So far, I’ve only painted over the shocking blue.  Soon, we’ll get new windows.

Master-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

 

The biggest interior project from the past 365 days is the master bathroom remodel.  It was a dated yellow and red room of yuck.

New-House-Master-Bathroom-Toilet-April-13-2012

Now, its our updated sanctuary complete with a walnut vanity, clawfoot tub, and pretty slate and marble tile.

Master-Bathroom-Two-Years-Later

A few big inside changes, but our landscaping saw the most attention last year.  I’ll get to that in another post.  We’ve been adding plants and greenery!

Sometimes, progress feels like it moves slower than a turtle, even though we’re most often working on something.  It’s nice to look back to see just how much we really have done; to be reminded of our excitement at closing.  And look back at the ugly and plain space we inherited.

Going for the Gold

Hey there, everyone and happy Friday!  After a week of sick kids (and now I’m getting the same cold) I’m really ready for a weekend.  While the boys have napped, I’ve worked several gold items into our house.  Some serve a purpose and others are face lifted items we already had.  Here’s one that is super useful to me:

Gold-Stump-Card-Holder-Cutting

A stump, slit cut in the side (using a hack saw), then gilded with Antique Gold Rub’n Buff.

Gold-Stump-Card-Holder-Finished

Is now a handy recipe card holder in the kitchen.  But it can also display a picture or store recent important receipts or coupons.

Gold-Stump-Card-Holder-in-Kitchen

While I had the Rub’n Buff out, I used it on a plain white tray.  Eyeballing it, I taped off a design and used a scrap of old t-shirt to buff gold over the rest.

Octagon-Remote-Tray-Taped

Hello fun little tray!

Gold-Octagon-Remote-Tray-Detail

I shall use you to control our remotes.

Gold-Octagon-Remote-Tray-in-Family-Room

Because I couldn’t stop there, (addicting much?) I covered over the flourescent orange ends of this little timer.  They boys got a few from the dentist, so one is living on the guest room bookshelves.

Gold-2-Minute-Glass-in-Guest-Room

Odd, I’m developing an hour-glass collection.  Perhaps to go along with my recently discovered owl turned doorstop group.

After my Rub’n Buff binge, I moved on to gold spray paint.  Because why not?  I used most of the can for another project.  Rather than store the little left, I sprayed this little succulent planter:

Gold-Succulent-Pot-in-Family-Room

And my perpetual calendar box.

Gold-Perpetual-Calendar-Box-in-Office

Five rooms got a touch of gold in the past week.  Midas touch, I’ve got it.  Ha.  What’s your latest addiction?  Gilding everything in sight?  Hour-glasses?  Owls?

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