Pool House Progress: Accessories

Guess what we did this weekend.  I’ll give you a hint:


More tile in the pool house!!  We really know how to have fun.


When the pool was initially built, everything immediately surrounding the pool had tile.  As the new structure settled, some of the tile cracked, a ladder on the deep end was removed, and outdoor grade carpet covered everything.


Only the bathroom hadn’t been tiled and was a quarter of an inch lower than the rest of the floor.  Ben laid sheets of 1/4 inch Hardie backer to even it out, then carried the tile into the room.


From there, the tile continues into the home of the future kitchen, going under the cabinet locations.


Unfortunately, the white ’tile’ edge is molded into upper fiberglass portion forming the pool walls.  Without completely reforming the pool, it has to stay.  Womp, womp, woooomp.


From this angle, it looks like we’re finished with our tiling adventure, but we still have about half left.


All of the angled cuts took longer than the previous section, but it’s really taking shape.


With the end of the project drawing nearer each weekend, I’m slowly stockpiling accessories as I find something I like.  Due to the nature of the room, accessories will be limited, so I’d like for each one to be both fun and functional with maximum impact.



  1.  Snowbound Painted Walls
  2. Montauk Black Slate Tile
  3. Metal Peyton Barrel Planters
  4. Black and Gray Turkish Towels
  5. Svartsjon Hooks
  6. Vintage Ram Skull
  7. Brass and Marble Side Table (similar)
  8. Black and Ivory Geometric Key Pillow
  9. Green and Black Striped Lumbar Pillow
  10. Indigo Tie Dye Ripple Pillow
  11. Wooden Storage Bench Tops

Do you have any favorite outdoor accessories?  Or pool/beach essentials?


Pool House Progress: Slate Tile Floors

Last we shared of the pool house was the addition of the batten strips and framing out the vent hood.  Certainly progress, but there’s one big step to cross off the list before the walls can be completed.  Tiling the entire floor, or roughly 600 square feet.  Dun dun dunnnnn.  Though I have the easiest part of the process, carrying/opening boxes of tile, I was dreading this step.

We know from framing the walls that nothing is square in here, with the floors sloping up to two inches over the length of the space.  Luckily, not much phases Ben and on Saturday, he jumped right in.

For a continuous feel, we’re using the same slate tile and herringbone pattern as the kitchen.


One small difference is slightly wider grout lines.  Knowing the floors are a touch uneven, we decided on 3/8 inch grout lines (versus 1/16 inch in the kitchen) to help minimize discrepancies.

Pool-House-Slate-Tile-Setting-Near-Middle-DoorWorking around the pool proved trickiest, until Ben built himself a marking jig.  Scraps of plywood set to the depth of the pool lip with a screw slightly through the top piece.


The bottom strips slide along the inside edge of the pool, with the screw scoring the top of the tile, marking where to cut.


At the end of tile day one, Ben got roughly 1/4 or 1/3 of the space done.


The next morning, the tile had set so we pulled out the spacers.  I followed up by washing the tile, scrubbing off any extra mastic.


Obviously, grout is still to come.






Having this tile in various rooms throughout our house, we know this tile is durable and the texture is naturally slip-resistant.


Dark floors paired with (what will be) white walls will ground this bright space.


We still have at least several days of tile or tile related tasks in our future, but progress always feels good.

Over-Sized Lumbar Pillow DIY

Every week, I strip our bed and wash our white sheets and bath towels.  And every week, when making the bed, I searched for the small tag at the bottom (or top) of the fitted sheet.  Finally fed up with that, I ordered a set of Organic Harmony Sheets from West Elm and impatiently waited the delivery.



When the UPS delivery arrived, I quickly ripped open the package, washed the sheets, and made the bed.



In the few days wait, I ran some errands and popped in JoAnn fabric.  I came across an indigo inspired fabric and bought a yard to sew up a new pillow.  Fabric in hand, I stopped into Wal-Mart and bought a basic body pillow for $9 and a 32 inch long zipper for three bucks.


I love the simple look of one large lumbar pillow with a smaller one in front for contrast.  Fewer pillows to remove, but still high impact.  Even more so, a body pillow is super affordable.  Sometime in the near future, I’d like to sew a camel leather lumbar pillow, but the tan wool backing of another pillow works for now.


Though I do make our bed every morning, I usually don’t take the time to fold the top over, but the cute pattern makes it worth it.


But the real reason for the pattern is to have an obvious direction, taking the guess-work out of which side of the king sheet goes where.  If you’re in the market for new sheets and pillows, here are a few other options I considered.


  1.  Organic Hand Drawn Stripe Sheet Set + Shibori Tye Dye Body Pillow + Pieced Leather Pillow Cover
  2. Bedford Navy Stripe Sheet Set + Fawn Body Pillow Cover + Evergreen Velvet Lumbar Pillow
  3. Nate Berkus Dotted Triangle Sheet Set + Boho Body Pillow Cover + Mongolian Faux Fur Lumbar Pillow
  4. Threshold Performance Sheet Set in Natural + Mud Cloth Body Pillow Cover + Green Velvet Lumbar Pillow




Where do you fall on the bed pillow count?  Are you the less is more type or the more is more type?  Do you have any bed making tips or tricks?

How To: Organize an Office

My little office sits just off the kitchen, with the door on the right (see that bit of trim?) leading to the pool house.  It’s not a huge or grand space, but it does everything I need.


At least it does now.  The before was slightly bigger, shaped like an L, with a smaller door out to the pool.

New-House-Office-April-13As an extension of the kitchen, we remodeled the office along with the kitchen.  Deep, wide drawers make organizing any room a dream, and I quickly filled each one up as soon as the office was functional again.


My original placement worked just fine for almost two years, but I’ve been taking on more graphic design work and it just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  Especially after Christmas where things got tossed in and the drawer closed.

The top right drawer, seen above, was a mixture of office staples and craft supplies organized into clear dividers.  Notebooks, paper, and important documents were in the top left drawer.  One day, not too long ago, I grabbed a pen from the right drawer and a notebook from the left and realized it was annoying.  Sorting by like items wasn’t the most efficient use of the space, or my time.  I started by reading through the few organizing books I have, Real Simple: The Organized Home and Organizing for Your Lifestyle and it sparked a change.

With a bit of extra time this week, I was able to empty out everything, donate/toss what I no longer used, and load everything left back in.  This time, by like use.  Pens, paper, scissors, tape, rubber bands, and other often reached for basics all live in one drawer now.  Cute file folders hold important client info and kids school papers.


Below, the middle drawer is my packing and shipping center, filled with mailing labels, envelopes, packing and cute tape.


The tall bottom drawer stows important files, my camera and bag, and a bin of craft paints.


Basically, the right side is the business side, whereas the left is filled with craft supplies.  one of the original clear dividing trays holds paint brushes, a wood burner, polymer clay, sewing basics, and glues.


A lidded adjustable compartment box is perfect for keeping the smaller craft items like embroidery floss, tiny brads, glue sticks, paint tubes, and more corralled.  But it’s still easy to grab and move to another area to do some crafting.


The middle drawer is still pretty empty, with just my paper-cutter and the boys’ computer inside.


But the bottom one is chock full of papers.  White card stock, colored card stock, carbon paper, and printer paper.  Cardboard magazine files keep everything sorted and in place.  The two on the far left hold the favorite school documents and art from the boys, with a manila folder inside to sort by year.


Grouping all items by use keeps everything I need for a task in one area.  How do you organize your home?

DIY Vent Hood Cover

With the decision made to install the board and batten wall treatment above the eight foot mark before flooring, we set our sights on finishing the vent hood.  It’s right off the main pool area, and near the house kitchen, but we wanted a range for entertaining and summer cooking/baking.  When we found a 48 inch range for a steal on Craigslist, we snapped it up for this space.

As a refresher, here’s the plan:


Before we can attach the batten strips, we have to address everything at or above the horizontal dividing band.


The vent hood straddles that band, which meant it was time to build the cover.  To start, Ben nailed a strip of wood a few inches above the top of the duct work.  A 2 by 8 board rests on top, nailed into the wooden piece, creating the top of the vent hood frame.


High ceilings call for a different vent hood treatment, and I personally prefer a tall vent hood that doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling.  This example from Studio McGee is pure perfection:

Studio McGee Vent Hood

Holding a scrap of plywood in place, Ben was able to get an accurate measurement for the front of the cover.  Before boxing it all in, he also added 2 by 4 pieces vertically between the vent hood top and the base of the wood structure.


Then wrapped it with plywood, screwing through the upper part of the vent hood stainless and into the plywood to keep the sides as streamlined as possible.


Quarter inch thick by 2 inch wide strips line the edges, covering the seams of the plywood sheeting.


A six-inch walnut band (to be installed after paint) will wrap the front and sides.


Two floating walnut shelves will flank each side of the range.


Until then, we have plenty of work to keep us busy, but we’re rounding the corner from construction crazy to cohesive cool.


If you can ignore the mess of junk scattered throughout the room, that is.