A Simple Headboard

Sometimes it feels like we’re treading water on big projects-you know, doing a lot of work but easily goes unnoticed.  Wow, what an encouraging, uplifting way to start, huh?  You know what is uplifting?  Small, quick, straight forward projects to break up the longer, meatier ones we have going on.  With most of the basement wrapping up, we’re getting to the fun, really obvious changes stage of the game.  One of those changes was getting the Sleep Number mattress up and off the floor with a custom bed frame.


Basic dimensional lumber, stain, and poly can come together to create a sleek, modern frame.  To create the base, we followed almost the exact same steps as our bed frame.


It has held up well, costs about $100 in materials, and can be assembled in less than a day.  One noticeable difference is the headboard.  I love the splash of green in our bedroom, but wanted something warmer to contrast against the blue-gray in the basement.



After debating a variety of wood designs, I went with the KISS method and kept it simple, stupid.


Ben used 2 by 4 boards for a completely solid design.  I’m usually 100 percent opposed to the rounded edges of dimensional lumber, so we ran each board through the table saw before assembling.


With boards prepped, we cut to length, lined each up on the garage floor, and screwed boards to the back, connecting the pieces together.  For a finished edge, we used more 2 by 4 material to create a frame to wrap the edges.


These boards hide the edges as well as the vertical connecting pieces, leaving a 3/4 inch reveal.


We now have a neutral base to layer anything and everything on and around.


Pinstripe sheets, small plus sign pillow cases and a kilim throw pillow add a boost of pattern and playfulness to the room.


Next step, new night stands to replace the single petite dresser that is standing in.

A Combo Bathroom Vanity

At the end of January, but the beginning of our full gut basement remodel, I shared a few vanity options to go in the bathroom.  After living with a variety of styles, I was quickly able to narrow it down to a combo of open and closed storage.  Open to keep what could be a big, bulky piece light, but closed for maximum storage for items big and small.  Here’s what we came up with:

Plan a unique vanity: https://ourhumbleabodeblog.com/2016/01/27/designing-a-bathroom-vanity/

From drawing to reality, here’s the completed vanity:


Obviously the rest of the room isn’t finished, but we’re getting close.  Tiling the shower is next, followed up with linen shelving behind the door, then paint and finishing touches.  As for the vanity, four by four pine posts create the legs, a shelf rests on hidden supports, and a custom-made cabinet box houses the drawers and cabinet.

After walking around the stone yard, Ben and I both fell for this black with white swirling vein remnant slab.  The same sleek white vessel sink we used in our bathroom is a modern addition.  Photographing this space is tricky thanks to the unpainted walls and artificial lighting, so sorry some areas are really blown out.


Slab fronts with angled edges allow the rest of the details to shine through.


I usually lean toward handles, but opted for satin nickel knobs for minimal interruptions of the cabinetry.


Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the benefits of keeping some things out in the open.  A single open shelf is handy for storing extra towels and toilet paper, making them accessible for guests without having to search.  Because it’s always awkward if/when you have to search at someone else’s house, right?  Easy way to eliminate that annoyance.


Speaking of toilet paper accessibility, going with an open ended holder makes life so much easier for everyone.  If possible, I prefer to mount the holder out of sight from the door to keep a clean sight line.


Despite being unfinished, this bathroom is already a far cry from the starting point of  glue floors, yellow fixtures, and orange counter tops.


I’m so excited for the shower to take shape next-we’re using a method and material that we’ve never done so it will be interesting.  What project do you currently have in the works?  Anything with new to you products?

DIY Vertical Kitchen Divider

As much as we love a good full gut before and after remodel, don’t discredit smaller projects that can have a huge impact on function.  One of the small builds we recently completed for the kitchen in a stand alone vertical divider to easily store and sort cutting boards, baking sheets, and other slim items.  When organizing a kitchen, I try to keep items as close to the place they’re used as possible.  The cabinet above our double ovens had never been maximized and sat mostly empty until we added this handy compartment.


To get started on this, we measured the smallest inside dimensions of the cabinet and built a self-contained box to fit inside.  Rather than taking up the entire cabinet, we built it 16 inches wide, creating four 4 inch compartments.


To create the compartments, we cut pieces of 1/2 inch MDF to fit between, using a piece of scrap material and dimes to space.


The dimes allow wiggle room for the painted verticals to easily slide in and out without sticking.  Pieces of 1/2 inch MDF also function as the dividers.


By cutting those pieces a little small, the boards come out without needing to get serious muscle involved.


Once in the cabinet, I loaded it up each compartment sorting cookie sheets, plastic cutting boards, wood cutting boards, and muffin tins and cooling racks.  All things that are light weight and not breakable, but don’t stack well or fit easily in other cabinets.


This freed up the drawer below for our heavier glass baking dishes that nestle in.  Such a simple project that really upped the usability of the kitchen and put a higher cabinet to good use.  Do you have a favorite quick organizer you’d like to share with us?

Laundry Room

Do you hear that?  No, I’m not crazy, the choir of angels is singing because we have one room in the basement without anything on the to do list.  As in, finished.  100% done.  Complete.  Granted it’s one of the smallest rooms, but it does boast nearly as much custom cabinetry as our kitchen, so it wasn’t as simple as throwing down flooring, slapping up trim, and tossing paint at the walls.  While the appliances have been functional nearly the entire duration of the remodel, the room as a whole has caught up.

To really feel accomplished, let’s take a look back four years ago to the beginning.   New-House-Laundry-Room-April-13-2012

I’m sorry for the orange overload seared into your brain, but that’s what we lived with until demo started.  Across the room sat the side by side washer and dryer with a utility sink oddly stuffed behind the door.  Oh yeah, and we had glue covered floors so I tucked a rug in the room to make it feel a little less gross under foot.

With a few minor tweaks like scooting the door frame over, adding a pocket door, and different cabinets, we’ve got a fully functional laundry room.


Bright white cabinets help lighten up the windowless space, while stainless counters provide a durable work surface with a touch of shine.


A tall cabinet in the corner holds a vacuum and ironing board, with bulky cleaning products above.

We decided to stack the washer and dryer, leaving space for our upright freezer on one side and a sink with a bit of countertop on the other.


After precariously balancing things on the edge of the old utility sink, I knew I wanted a little more space to set soaking clothes, soaps, and paint brushes.  Two shelves store the most used laundry and cleaning items, keeping it in reach.


In place of the plastic wash bin, we used a single bowl stainless steel kitchen sink and pull down faucet for easy spraying or rinse action.  Don’t worry about the standard looking outlet, it’s actually connected to a GFCI in the bathroom, on the other side of the wall.


Since we buy in bulk, I decant laundry staples into containers for easy handling.  Big boxes tuck in the cabinet below for a quick refill.


Just for fun, and because I wash nearly everything on a cold cycle, I added a sarcastic laundry chart to the room.  If you really want to know what all those crazy symbols mean, here’s a real chart option.


Back to the other side, custom drying rack drawers tuck neatly away behind slim fronts.  A six-foot long counter space makes folding and sorting a breeze, and the drying racks come in handy as extra surface space to drape hanging shirts and pants on.


On the counter, I added a Great Lakes cut out from Crafterall, along with a wooden sculpture to have something pretty to break up the gray and white.  A little cup holds chang, ear plugs, rocks, and other items I find in pockets.


This is the first time in my life having such a functional, fully finished, and if I do say so myself, beautiful and clean laundry room.  I know most people see it as strictly utilitarian, but choosing durable, hard-working elements doesn’t automatically equate to ugly.

Incorporating Wood & a JORD Watch Giveaway

Nothing can brighten and liven up a room like a lush house plant.  Just as plants add a dose of happy, nothing can add warmth to a room like real wood.  I know white, light, bright, and airy rooms are all the rage right now, and I even love the look.  But I also love contrast, and there’s just something perfect about the combo of white and wood.  I’m a self-proclaimed lover of natural elements, including but not limited to wood, plants, leather, linen, cotton, and metals.  To each their own, but I see a lot of beautiful rooms that could be amazing if only a bit of wood was included.

So, how do you go about incorporating wood pieces without overwhelming a space?  Start with a small item, like a side table, mirror, picture frames, or lamp.  You’d be surprised at how much character just that small item can add to a room.  Don’t belive me, just look at the difference a mirror made in our main bathroom.  Before:

Our Humble Abode Blog Main Bathroom Vanity



When choosing and adding larger furniture, wood detailing can add a lot of character.  Look for classic, clean lined pieces with wood accents in natural places.  An exposed frame, legs, even heavy wear areas of arms.


Avoid wood additions to odd places, like the top of the back of a sofa.  I’m totally thinking of a couch my parents used to have on that one.

Even though this petite sofa is 90 percent fabric, the slim lined exposed wood frame offers a touch of wood with a beautiful grain.


For larger furniture, I think the most important thing to consider is the grain.  Grain is impossible to change, so if you want a more refined look, typically finer grained wood is a better fit.  If going for a rustic look, a heavier or more prominent grain may be ideal.


Furniture is one thing, because it isn’t permanently attached, therefore easy to replace, but what about cabinetry?  Of course white cabinetry is an easy option due to the go with anything simplicity, but cabinets can look stunning in wood.  That’s not to say all wood varieties are created equal.  Pine, oak, poplar and such are prime candidates for painting based on availability and price point.  Finer, more expensive wood varieties are better suited to cabinetry.  When choosing wooden cabinets, I prefer to stick with unstained, natural walnut.  For the last ten or so years, it has been a favorite of mine and pairs nicely with many finishes.

Our Humble Abode Blog Master Bathroom Vanity

Keep in mind that trends come and go, and try to avoid the dark, nearly ebony tones of the 70’s or honey oak that plagued the 80’s and 90’s.  When in doubt, keep wood cabinets as clean lined and simple as possible, opting for flat slab or shaker fronts.


Solid wood cabinets can cost considerably more, especially depending on the species.  Consider creating a wood wrapped island, which will give that warmth, without the added expense of wooden perimeter cabinets.

If you’re hunting for furniture at thrift shops, Craigslist, or estate sales, keep in mind that solid wood or thick veneer can be refinished.  A thorough sanding can erase dents and scratches as well as a terrible stain color.  Don’t walk away from a piece with good lines just because of an ugly finish.  I’ve found that most often, I prefer a mid tone warm stain.  Special Walnut from Minwax is usually my choice for fresh or refinished wood around our house.  In this post alone, I used that stain on the campaign style mirror, the mid-century modern chairs, the wood frame sofa, as well as the bed and night stands seen below.


JORD-Watch-on-NightstandMost recently, I’ve incorporated a bit of wood in my wardrobe, thanks to my new JORD watch.  Based on my favorite stain color, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I chose a Koa and Ash Frankie watch.


Though I’m far from a fashionista, I love how easy it is to slip this watch on for a casual accessory.


I love that it’s a unique, but not glitzy or flashy addition to my daily outfits that usually consist of jeans/shorts and a t-shirt.


Now it’s your turn to get a wood watch on your wrist.  Go ahead and enter the giveaway here, where one lucky winner will win a $75 coupon code.  All other entries will receive a $20 coupon code, so get your entries in before the giveaway closes July 28th at 11:59pm.

Watches Made From 100% Natural Wood by JORD