Artful Personal Touches

I’m a big believer that homes should function as the family living there requires while also being a display of the personalities inside.  Art is such a personal preference and should tell our stories.  I love a mix of pieces from artists, but also photos we’ve taken.


To make photos appear more artistic, I prefer simple black and white.  I love this photo taken on our recent trip to Zion National Park, but in a small space such as our hall, color photos feel more chaotic.


By converting it to black and white, I now have a photo that can mix well with any other photos.


For photos featuring people, candid shots are so much better than staged photos.  I find I’m always behind on a hike, or off to the side to capturing (or attempting to) the moments going on.  Which means I often have photos of my family taken from behind in beautiful scenery.


I opened my favorites into Photoshop to adjust to black and white, bumping the contrast and adjusting to see which photos translate best to black and white.  Some photos look great in color, like the contrast here between the pale blue sky and the deep red cliffs.


When converted to black and white, it doesn’t have enough contrast and variety to work well.


After testing a variety of photos, I selected my top four to have printed at a local print shop on white card stock.  The four sheets set me back 84 cents, so it’s an affordable way to update as more favorites come along.


I grabbed four frames from my stash, popping the prints in behind white mats.


Hung in a stack in a narrow sliver of our hall between doors, the photos are a perfect mix of art and memories.


While on an art swapping kick, I decided to simplify the shelves off to the side of our fireplace.  Before, I had a collection of photos, some recent and some of our parents as children.


Instead of the full, layered shelf display, I limited myself to about 5 elements per shelf.  Ignore the dimensional scrap lumber thrown into the wood box and pretend it’s all pretty logs.


Simplifying the pieces allows more attention per item.


I started with a piece of driftwood, giving an organic, sculptural form to the top shelf, balanced by a small green vase for a tiny dose of color.


Below, a framed black and white photo in a square frame layers behind a wooden shadow box.  A plant  to add life and a wooden star puzzle to add warmth round out the middle shelf.


The shadow box displays a rainbow group of rocks, all collected from a lake near Glacier National Park.  To enhance the rock colors, I sprayed each with a coat of a satin polyurethane before gluing the rocks in a grid.


On the bottom, a vase of long matches, a pair of silhouettes of our boys as babies, and a vintage wooden bowl filled with loose photos rounds out the grouping.


These updates cost little to no money, using everything I already head with the exception of the black and white printed photos.  Despite these being small changes, I take notice of them and love the fresh feeling.

Cottage Inspired Quick Changes

We’re mid way though a main level remodel in a cute little cottage.  There were plenty of things the owners didn’t love, such as the kitchen, hence the remodel.


Through the years, some changes have been made, taking out original elements, but there are still beautiful details original to this 1940’s charmer.


The mix of red and white oak short cut floors, wall vent registers, one single panel door with original hardware, and most casement has stayed throughout the home.  While working on this remodel, our goal is to update, but make it look as if it is a fresh version of the original.

Some items below have already made their way into the house.  Others might in the near future, while some are simply inspiration.  I love the character this 40’s cottage has, and all happen to be relatively quick and affordable updates to make to any home to add charm to a room.


Single Panel Door     2  Hinge with Ball Finial     3  Clear Glass Sphere Chandelier     4  Flush Mount Light      5  Semi-Flush Mount Light     6  Primed Base Moulding     7  Primed Casement     8  Cabinet Knob     9  Cabinet Pulls     10  Vent Cover     11  Door Knobs

Cabinet install started today, so keep an eye out for updates on the #client40scottage soon.  Are you planning on any quick updates to your home this weekend?

A Sun Baked Mud Room

Wrapping up at a client remodel, we first started with a master bathroom change up, removing a seldom used tub to replace it with an oversized shower.  With the shower shifted over to the right, there was space to move the washer and dryer from a cramped pass through style laundry room into a stacked closet.  So, what happened to the former laundry room?

laundry room before

Well, it’s now a storage filled mud room, complete with a bench, small sink, and oodles of storage.


Coming in from the garage, the space can now handle the shoes, jackets, backpacks, purses, and everything else life comes along with.


To maximize the function of the space, we divided the width into three sections.  On the left, a stainless steel sink and counter with a cabinet large enough to stow away cleaning supplies below.  Above, two sets of cabinets store infrequently used kitchen appliances and other household items.


In the center, a floating bench with baskets below and an over sized peg board above.  Rather than hooks in one row, the pegs are movable and removable, allowing any configuration necessary.


Over on the right, a tall cabinet to house vacuums, mops, brooms, and more.  You know you’re an adult when you’re excited about a cabinet to store such items.


To add some joy and personality into such a utilitarian space, the owner selected a happy muddy red tone, called Sun Baked Earth.  In a small room with no natural lighting, the camera makes it appear a touch more orange than it does in person.


The custom sink is big enough to be able to get a bucket inside, but now boasts a bit of counter space.


Extra pegs are close by, and double as a towel hook.


Across from the shelving, the owner has two racks to store shoes, keeping everything off the floor.  sun-baked-earth-mud-room-shoe-racks-and-shelf

Above, we built a ledge to display art but also store keys, wallets, a garage door opener and other items that are easily misplaced.  We’re thrilled to report that the family loves their new spaces, and not stumbling over laundry.

A Finished Client Bathroom/Laundry Switch

Do you remember this client bathroom before we started a remodel?

bathroom from bedroom before

Well, the bathroom remodel is complete, and here’s how it looks now:


Before the family moved in, they had the entire house repainted, and the vanity updated.  Obviously, those elements make a huge difference in updating the feel of the home.

bathroom sink before

Our part of the remodel included replacing the tile floor with the same slate we’ve used throughout our home.  Yes, we love it that much (and the amazing price for a natural stone) that we recommend it to clients.


Across from the vanity, we removed the tub, replacing it with a generously sized, marble clad shower.


In place of the old shower, we added a closet, but not just any closet.


Here’s a hint at what’s hiding behind those double doors:


A stacked washer and dryer below with a huge cabinet above.  Getting the laundry units out of the traffic flow between the kitchen and garage was the name of the game.


The homeowner is surprised at how often she wants to do laundry now that it’s in the master bathroom.  She’s not waiting to make sure they’re not coming and going, tripping over laundry or baskets when going through the garage.  Another simple, but high function change was swapping the water closet swinging door with a pocket door.


Changing the door leaves space for a wall mounted drying rack is nearby the laundry, but easily tucks away.


The shower now features a beautiful marble hex floor, a 6 by 12 inch marble tile surround, and a built in bench.


A bar hanging from the ceiling solves the solution of where to hang towels, scrubbies, and the squeegee.


Aside from all of the beige and cosmetic updates, the home owners are thrilled with the new function of the space.

bathroom to bedroom before

It’s hard to believe that space above and the space below are the same, isn’t it?!


By swapping the laundry into the bathroom, we were able to also update the function and look of the former laundry room.  master-bath-with-laundry-from-bed

You can see the tiniest peek of the new mud room through the bedroom door.  We just put the finishing touches on that this week, so stay tuned to see more!

Entry Rug Update

Before I get started on this little upgrade, I feel compelled to share this photo taken about after moving into this house.


The peachy beige walls, the old rail, the blah tile are all bad, but those red curtains take the cake for me.  Take note of the rug, a wool West Elm rug I found at a thrift store shortly before we moved.

Notice it here, circa 2016.  Obviously, this was close to Halloween, just after we changed out the entry tile.


That same solid gray, slightly textured for pattern rug has been in our entry literally since move in day.  It was a great 15 dollar purchase, and has held up very well.  Other than it being a solid gray against our dark slate floors, it showed every piece of debris on it.

A couple of weeks ago, after vacuuming it two days in a row because it already looked terribly dirty, I decided I’d had enough.  Time for a new rug, something still dark enough to wear well, but with variation to help hide whatever gets tracked in between cleanings.

I scoured the internet, looking for a 3 foot by 5 foot rug that ticked all of the boxes.  Dark, slight variation in color, patterned, not gray and these were some of my favorites:


1 Blue Loft  2  Flatweave Solid Tassel  3  Handwoven Gray  4  Moroccan Trellis  5  Tribal Tale Triptych  6  Overdyed Vintage

Unfortunately, some rugs didn’t come in the size I needed (number 4, which is the blue version of our living room rug), while others seemed too plain (number 2).  I love number 5 for the fun pattern and bold colors, but the 3 by 5 size is sold out.  But then, I found another that had a slightly vintage without the traditional medallion pattern, the Georgetown.


The deep blue should hide dirt while the color variation should be forgiving.  Fringe on the ends helps it stand out against the dark tile.


At 49 bucks, it’s not a precious rug I’ll be worried about in an entry space.


Blue and green is a favorite color combo of mine, creating a happy, cheery welcome inside.


And for the sake of appreciating how far we’ve come over our journey of turning this house into our home, I’ll present you with this before:


And after:


Covering the huge heavily textured entry wall in tongue and groove and replacing the front door with nearly full glass panels are still some of my favorite home improvements.  Both lighten and brighten the entry and are seen from several rooms throughout the house.