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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    Everyone is quick to talk about the beauty of fall's colorful leaves. Seems to me the sunrises and sets are overlooked. Though I don't love the shorter daylight, I do enjoy the magnificent skies this time of year. Stop by the blog for a chance to win a $60 shop credit to @michaelellisstudios Lots of wonderful art options. You know what sucks more than removing wallpaper? Removing wallpaper and three layers of paint. PSA of the day: NEVER, under any circumstances, paint over wallpaper.

Light Bar

Several years ago, I bought this lamp for 10 dollars at a vintage shop.  The broken, ribbed blue shade wasn’t looking so great, but the base was ace.  Now you can have ‘The Sign’ stuck in your head.

White Glass Lamp Before

I recovered the shade with navy linen and put it in the boys’ updated room and called it done.

And it never gets used.  We read bedtime stories in the living room, then brush teeth and tuck the boys in.  Essentially, it was a decoration.  One that could be used in another room.  Our family room is a tough space to light because there aren’t floor outlets so cords are a tripping hazard.  The only place to have a plug-in lamp is on the bar.


Oddly enough, I’ve been pining over this lamp from Schoolhouse Electric and recently realized how similar the base is.  Even if it is the shorter cousin with more junk in the trunk.  Because it’s all about that base, ’bout that base.  Oh jeez, I need to take a break from pop radio.

So, I took matters into my own hands and made a few quick changes.  A new shade from Target + a stained round wooden base from Hobby Lobby + a little spray paint = Schoolhouse look-alike.


To get the base right, I stained it with Minwax Special Walnut.  The bottom of the lamp is open and hollow, so I essentially made a large toggle bolt to hold the wood in place, but not permanently attached.  I started by drilling holes in the center of the round and a piece of paint stick.  Gluing a nut to the top of the paint stick made up my toggle.


After putting the bolt in and tightening it halfway, I slipped the wood strip inside and cranked the bolt.


Keeping a little pressure against the wood will allow the bolt to snug up.


To give the neck a little spruce, I sprayed it with Rustoleum Dark Walnut paint.  Add a new shade and it’s finito.


Not a bad knock off for less than $20, including the price for the base.  Adding a wood base and new shade to any gourd lamp could give a similar look.


Now it sheds light on the bar area and adds some height.


Honestly, I’m stupidly excited about the new look.  Schoolhouse has some amazing pieces.  Sadly, I have a hard time justifying that cost for a lamp.


Sometimes though, I get lucky and find similar items.  Like this wool blanket that is a dead ringer for their Kelly Green Throw.  That my friends, is why I love thrifting.

Room and Board

Certain rooms feel like the come together quickly and with very little effort.  Things magically fall into place.  Our living room is the polar opposite.  We’ve got a plan for how we want the finished room to look, but getting there has been a struggle.  Honestly, finding furniture that fits our style, budget, and room, but is also comfortable seems impossible.  Our sofa situation is a perfect example.  Looks right, but wasn’t comfortable so we returned it.


I’ve found a few decent pieces thrifting, but something is still off.


Our limited store selection doesn’t make this any better.  Yes, I realize I could shop online, but I’d rather sit/feel/touch before I take the plunge.  All that to say, I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of small-ish chairs for the living room.  Or one slightly wider chair to take up a little more space.  Something comfy, upholstered.  The kind of chair you’d curl up in to read a book.

Apparently a pair of chairs is as easy to find as a unicorn snacking on a field of four leaf clovers.  So I started thinking perhaps I could keep the one chair and find/build it a brother from another mother chair.  Kind of like the set on the left side of this image:


(Sorry, I don’t know the source because I took a screen shot on my phone.)  I brought over a metal and black vinyl sling chair to get an idea.


What if I made a similar style chair, but with the same proportions as the other?  I didn’t have much faith I could find what I had in mind.  And worried I’d make something that would crash down if an adult sat in it.


A day later, I stumbled on the perfect slightly oversized upholstered chair in a consignment shop.


I sat in it and felt like Goldilocks.  This chair was juuuust right.  I lifted the cushions to make sure everything was in good shape.  I almost choked when I saw the tag on the seat:


It’s from Room and Board!  I have no idea how old it is, but it looks like the Jasper chair.  Instead of a $699 price tag, this was only 40 dollars!  I snatched the tagged cushion and nearly ran to the checkout to claim it right away.  The nubby tan fabric looked a little mustard yellow under the stores flourescent lights, but in our room, it looks pretty nice.  Even if it does remind me of an old mens coat with leather elbow patches.


Just not with our current sofa.  Which is okay, because this one was intended to stay in the family room.


I’m sure finding the perfect couch won’t be an easy task.  That can wait until we find the one.


I’m just happy this new addition adds little heft to that side of the room.


Feels like the perfect reading chair.  For myself and the boys.  I’ve already caught them cuddled together reading books.  Finding this chair made me feel like I won the lottery.  Our living room thanks me.

Marble Topped Box

Everyone has ugly things that are necessary for life.  Feet, cords and wires, and remotes, to name a few.  Hiding feet is an easy change.  We still (going on two years now!) have to build doors to hide the cords in the entertainment center, but that’s a different project for another day.  That leaves us with remote controls.  Perhaps your situation is different.  Maybe you’ve got a fancy universal remote.  We don’t.  Nope, there’s one for the tv, another for the receiver, and the controller for the Play Station (our dvd player).  Before this, the three squished together in a too small open tray on the coffee table.


To give those ugly necessities a home, I built another recessed lid box.  With a twist.  I paired a 1/2 inch MDF base with a marble tile top.


Following the same process, I crafted the simple box, using our remotes as a dimension guide.  Two coats of Tate Olive inside and out for a touch of color.  Then, Ben cut a 12 inch square tile (left over from the master bathroom shower) to size for me and drilled a hole in the center.


A semi creepy pull from Hobby Lobby is a fun accent.  Kind of looks like bird claws, no?


Hobby Lobby knobs come with the bolt attached to the pull.  Sometimes it’s nice, when turning knobs into towel hooks, but other times, it just adds another step.


After securing the knob with the washer and nut, I used a hacksaw to cut off the rest of the bolt.  Voila, a chic remote house.

Panoramic Views

More often than not, Ben and I are totally fine working on projects together.  By now, I know how he thinks and am usually decent at predicting what he’ll need and how I can help.  Then there are times that I feel completely and utterly useless.  As was the case when removing and replacing the large living room window.  Here’s an older picture to help you remember what the wooden gridded window looked like.


It’s huge, measuring 10 feet wide and 5 1/2 feet tall.  Even though it’s divided into three sections, that middle piece is heavy.  Long story short, getting that big piece out without causing us or surroundings damage was stressful, but well worth it.  Not only does it match the rest of the windows now, it’s no longer a focal point.


(How am I just now noticing how off center the couch is?)  Before, the darker wood looked heavy and the grids broke up the view.  Without the break up, it feels bigger and brighter, while putting the attention on the views.


Framing, trim, and touch up paint still happen soon, too.


The new window isn’t the only panoramic view going on now.  We finally have a real dining light.  Specifically, the Panorama Chandelier from West Elm.  Not sure why, but it says no longer available.  Strange, I just ordered mine on the 14th.


It caught my eye months ago while browsing, but I nixed it because I thought the open bottom would cast a harsh light directly into our eyes.  Almost with laser beam precision, burning our retinas.


After sharing other options, a few lovely ladies asked why this one wasn’t on the list.  Which made me reconsider my quick nix of this beauty.  Then I saw the 20% off lighting sale, and I had a 15% off coupon, so it hopped in my cart for $300 with shipping.


It doesn’t disappoint.  Straight lined and simple, but the speckled mirrored glass is slightly glam and looks much like mercury glass.  Dark metal is a nice match to the West Elm entry light, too.  (See one of the arms in the reflection?)


Inside, there’s a slightly golden tinted layer that bounces the light around and makes the glow warm and soft.


Without a diffuser, the light still isn’t in our eyes when seated.  In fact, even I have to crouch down a little to see the bulbs.


Three 25 watt bulbs are adequate to light the table, but not overpowering or blindingly bright.


We can finally eat in here now that the sun is setting earlier.  Three cheers for function and beauty.


We’re nearing the end of our siding, so hopefully that wall will get a spray of texture and paint soon.  Good thing the light helps draw attention away from the unfinished-ness.

We Did It

Something crazy and exciting happened last week.  While getting our usual groceries, I saw the new October issue of Better Homes and Gardens was out.


You know, the one with our DIY master bathroom vanity featured in the ‘I Did It’ column?

I flipped to the back page and saw our bathroom and faces and I’m sure a huge, goofy grin crossed my face.  I resisted the urge to show others in the store.


I showed Ev and he said, “That looks like our bathroom.  Wait!  That’s you and dad!”  Cracked me up!  I’m not sure about you, but I never fully realized how much time, effort, or equipment went into styling and photographing a room.  Stylist Char and photographer Edmund showed up the first afternoon to drop off three bags of cameras and lighting tools.


The next morning, Char came in with several bags of styling goodies.  Soon after, our master bedroom was full of diffusers, stands, and other things I wouldn’t even begin to know how to use.  They had a 10 hour day of work.  Staging the accessories.  Photographing, then nit-picking over the computer.  Tweaking the rug ever so slightly.  Changing the way the towel hung.  Shifting a bottle a half in to the right.  It was so fun to observe.  Char and Edmund were awesome to chat with, too.  Lots of fun stories to hear from their glamorous lives.  After getting all the shots from their list in the master bathroom, the equipment went into the guest room for safe storage.


Oh, and we preëmptively took the doors off the hinges because the bathrooms are so small.  Edmund said it was a genius idea and made everything easier.  Day three in town, the main bathroom got a little attention.  Prop rugs, towels, jars, bins, even cotton balls.  Here’s a little peek at the first styling round of the shelves.


I did get to keep some of the goodies, too.  From the master bathroom, I still have the only three added props: a soap pump, teal hand towels, and the jute chevron rug.  The rest was already ours, just elsewhere in the house.  A few more things from the main bathroom stayed.  Lidded Jars, a few bins, and the toiletries.  All things that had been openend or tags removed.  Here’s where most of those accessories live now:

It was a wonderful experience.  Something I was so nervous about.  I asked Char a million questions about wardrobe options.  I’m usually in jeans and a t-shirt or paint covered work clothes, so fashion is far from my strong point.  Luckily, Kit, Char and Edmund were excellent at their jobs.  We’re so honored to be featured!  Thank you so much, BHG!


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