Ready or not, here they come! {tackling the guest room}

So, the countdown is on. We will have our first houseguest in a little over a week.

And all I can say is YIKES!!!

guest bedroom "before"

(Naked mattress, leaning headboard, bag of Ikea goodies to return/put together)

This is the current state of our guest room. Now, it is a HUGE improvement over the last one. Not because this is a complete, hot mess, but because in NOLA we didn’t have a mattress for the bed. We had a frame. A box spring. Sheets. Blankets. Etc. But instead of a mattress we had an air mattress. That leaked. And was too big for the frame.

guest bedroom "before"

(Frames and wall art of various sizes, precariously leaning bookshelf, two plant stands, an unpacked box, a piece of a kids tent)

Luckily, my parents and sister were the only people subjected to this horror in the short 10 months we lived there. But they would wake up each morning (or around 1 a.m.) with their booty approximately 8 inches lower than the rest of their body, resting uncomfortably on a hard bed base. Restful? Notsomuch.

But, we had used the full size mattress for the bunk bed and still had the other pieces so it seemed like a good idea at the time. No one had to crawl down to the floor to sleep on a glorified pool floatie. But I already mentioned that it leaked. Poop. It didn’t really work out. Thanks for loving me and not complaining.

guest bedroom "before"

(mangled baby dolls, some of the mortgage docs from buying the house, a few shelves)

So, we’re ready with a brand new mattress! And a queen, no less. Fancy stuff over here, folks. Fancy schmancy stuff.

I plan on eventually painting this room, although I kind of like the shade of blue. I THINK its Behr Shale Gray, but as I’ve mentioned before, this house has A LOT of different paint colors. Fifteen to be exact. I suppose I shouldn’t exaggerate. It was only 14 before I added in Windfresh White. But, the current total is 15. I’m hoping to get it down to 6 or so. My life is crazy and hectic enough (reference the above guest room photos) without a lot of competing color on the walls.

My inspiration is this guest bedroom and the master bedroom at The Lettered Cottage. I always like her style and I’m a BIG fan of red so its a no-brainer. And I’ve got a bedroom Pinterest board with tons of ideas. I feel like it can go a little more feminine and cottage-y than our master.

guest room design plan

1) My mom gave me this quilt when I was a newlywed (bridal shower, maybe? I can’t remember, Mom) and I’ve always loved it so it will be front and center on the bed.

2) I’d like to get a black iron bed frame eventually, but for now the $10 head board that I got at a hotel sale in England works great (although it needs a tiny bit of touch up paint right in the center!). This one is the right price, but I’d need to check out the finish. I want black, not bronze.

3) These little wall lamps came home with me from my first east coast excursion to Ikea and I love the black and white cord.

4) I need to do something about end tables (I’ve got some randomness that I’ll perch next to the bed for now) and I like this and this because they pick up the touch of gold in the lamps. And why not this guy? Every room needs some black! And apparently I like round. Maybe something more angular for the other side of the bed. I have a couple of porch balusters from my grandfather’s childhood home (maybe a couple more in the garage at home? Mom? Dad? Bueller?). They’re just the right amount of greyed wood and chippy white paint! They might get worked in as a side table down here, too.

5) I have dainty white Ikea curtain panels (similar to these, but purchased back in 2005) that will find their way onto the window. They won’t be much for blocking light, but will provide privacy and soften the room. I’m hoping to add a lined bamboo shade at some point. Probably.

6) I have some cute artwork to hang that I’ve had for a while. And by art, I mean book pages I framed and some “broken” wall hangings that I got from Hobby Lobby in 2003. I love them both so they are art to me!

I’m so excited to have a devoted guest room that is truly comfortable! There is a connected full bath and plenty of room in the closet for hanging clothes! When we have company, it’s usually family from far away that sometimes stays two weeks or more. I love, love, love that we can offer them their own comfy place to escape my shifty moods our family chaos. It’s down in the basement but with that full size window and the nice cool temp down there I think it will be the perfect getaway. Not that anyone I love requires it. They are more than happy to plunk down any old place, just like in the book The Relatives Came. They love me. Or is it these two cuties???


Either way, we’ll have visitors soon and I’m excited.

While it won’t be the “finished” version of the room, I’ll have a livable (and hopefully pretty) arrangement set up by my sister’s visit next week. I’ll be sure to show it to you as soon as I’m done! Well, done-ish.

What shoe lookin’ at?


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Not my shoes. Not anymore!

Shoes. We love them. But we hate they way they multiply and cluster near the entrances to our home. At least I always have.

At our last house we kept them corralled in a basket, but it was M-E-S-S-Y. The girls would dig through to find a match spilling the other residents of the basket out around them. It also wasn’t too nice for the shoes, either. Maddie’s school shoes gave my white converse a wicked tread mark and Josh’s work boots smooshed the heck outta Emily’s Hello Kitty mary janes. It was not a good system.

Here at our new house, we enter through the laundry room into a small hall off the dining and kitchen (check out the floor plan here or here). I knew this would be the locale for our kicks, but I didn’t want it to be a hot mess. For one, it’s a narrow space, and two, you can see it from the front door!!!

Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet

Enter the Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet. It fits perfectly in our little hallway and has 4 compartments. One for each member of our family.

Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet

Does it hold all our shoes? Of course not. But it does keep the everyday pairs right by the door for quick retrieval on our way out and neat stashing on the way in. (On a side note, my black converse are DERTEE!)

And as a bonus, its a great dumping ground for my husband’s stuff. His ish. His loot that would otherwise litter my kitchen island each evening. I put a little tray on top for the stuff he grabs most often and he has sole discretion (minus the few things I stashed in there until he complains) on the contents of the oh-so-cute little top drawer.
Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet


Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet

And the very best part…


It looks good from the front door!

House Tour {1st floor Part II}


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Last week I gave you a look at the dining and living/music room in our new house. If you need a refresher, you can check it out here. Lets keep on strolling through the foyer toward the back of the house. AKA, where we live. The kitchen and family room.

Here’s a little reminder of the floor plan with the original paint scheme and the small changes we’ve made:

.first floor planFloor Plan with paint colors, Windfresh White

A little, ok, a LOT, of Sherwin Williams Windfresh White has completely changed this space. The green just wasn’t the vibe I was going for and I can’t wait to rid the whole house of the minty, not-so-restful, color.

family room before & progress, july 2014

So much better! The trim still looks fresh and white and it feels like I can breathe. The even bigger change for me is the white fireplace surround and mantle. I think it looks SO much better now (even though it was a giant pain in my patootie!). That yellow-orange, grainy wood just wasn’t my jam. And I’ve got a looooong way to go in here. The hubs needs to hide the wires by the TV and we need to get a smaller cabinet to house the media equipment under that window. I wish there was a way to do built-ins, but even a really low bench wouldn’t work. It would block the entrance to the the stairs that lead to the second floor.

Honestly, the paint color is a little stark with nothing on the walls, no curtains, and against the dark red furniture (which looks best with a tan or beige color). But, all of those things are changing, too! I’m planning to move the white blinds upstairs to the girls room. I’m so glad the windows are the same sizes because the second floor currently has roller shades which aren’t very functional (or pretty). Also, the windows on the front of the house on the first floor (living/music & dining room) have these same blinds so it will give some continuity to the front of the house from the outside. I’m going to add bamboo shades in here to bring a little wood tone to this side of the room. I’m hoping that will mimic the maple cabinets that are in the kitchen.

And, speaking of the kitchen. Here she is…

kitchen before & progress, july 2014

How’s that for showing you the good, bad, and ugly. This is the day we came to paint after we had closed, but before we had our stuff. So what you see is painting supplies, take-out trash, and a tub of cleaning supplies that we hauled north from New Orleans. Oh, and our “furniture.” An outdoor folding chair. Which was a gift considering that we had NOTHING to sit on the last time we moved and our furniture delivery was a week late.

But back to the kitchen. The paint color is a HUGE improvement. I’m not a big fan of the cabinet color, countertop, or appliances. I really want a white kitchen (check out my kitchen Pinterest board for proof!). I was determined to paint the cabinets until it really sunk in that I had black appliances. Boo. So for now, I’m living with them. At this point we can only guarantee 2 years in this house. Who am I kidding?! We can’t guarantee anything. But, if we find out we’re staying longer there will be some BIG changes in here. I’m thinking Whirlpool Ice or GE Artistry appliances, a butcher block island, and soapstone surround. Oh, and white cabinets. The cabinets themselves are awesome. They’re good quality with deep, soft close drawers. The layout has been working out really well (even though I miss having an actual pantry) and the sink is a dream I didn’t know I had. It’s large and deep on one side with a smaller side for the garbage disposal. I learned that it’s an off-set, undermount, double, similar to this. Who knew that’s what I wanted? Certainly not me.

view of dining and foyer from kitchen

And I really want you to see this view. This shows how you see back into the other spaces in the house. Which is again, why I need a more cohesive paint scheme. Standing in this spot at this very moment I can see Windfresh White, the minty green (foyer), a dark peach (living room), and two yellows (dining room). It’s too much for my tired eyes.

So there it is. The first floor of our new house. Well, except the half bath and the laundry room. But, I may have stuffed all the excess stuff that I didn’t want in these pics into those two tiny rooms. So they’ll have to be in the spotlight another day.

I love, love, love house tours on blogs. I’m working on adding a house tour tab, but for now it would only have 2 posts. Blah. But if you have a tour of your home on a blog, leave me a link in the comments. I’d love to come snoop around get some inspiration!

Everybody’s doing it! {Lack Hack}


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I’m not really a bandwagon jumper. I mean, I have a red couch (although not for long…). How early 2000s of me?! But, after having an Ikea Lack side table for a few years, I knew it was time to give it a facelift. So I hopped on the hack train and prettied up the belly button (everybody’s got one!) of the decor blog world.

Ikea Lack side table, black-brown

My initial thought was just to make it a bit higher. It wasn’t really user friendly with our furniture. I mean, I had to bend my wrist down OVER the arm of the couch to reach my Diet Pepsi. How horrible is that?? Here it is before I fancied it up (oh, and that’s our base house in New Orleans. Note the vinyl wood plank flooring. Not too shabby, huh?).

Ikea Lack side table, black-brown

So originally I was just going to add some cute feet or wheels. But, this post inspired me to do something much more creative. Even my husband is impressed. I gave my Ikea Lack side table a Herringbone top, lower shelf, and a few casters to jazz it up.

Ikea Lack Makeover, DIY

KariAnne used paint stir sticks for her table, but I didn’t have enough on hand and the guy at Lowe’s only offered me 3 when I asked if he had any to spare. I didn’t really want to be creepy and visit 4-5 times a week for a couple weeks and ask each employee in the paint section for more. Well, I kinda did, but I was WAAAY to impatient and ready to get started.

Ikea Lack side table makeover

So, I bought pine lattice and it worked out great. It comes in different lengths but I used 2-ish 8 foot lengths. It cost about $7 per piece (and this was taken last September, hence the fall magazines. I’m ready! No, I’m not summer. I’m so sorry I ever said it. You are a beautiful season, too).

I’m not gonna walk you through a tutorial because there’s already a great one at Thistlewood Farms, but I’ll tell you what I did differently.

As I already mentioned, I used lattice instead of paint sticks. Secondly, and unfortunately for me, I cut each piece with a hand saw and miter box. They are 5 inches each, which is just a length I eyeballed and decided would look nice. But I wish I’d been a little more scientific with the measuring of the top and the mapping out of the pieces. And yes. It did take forever. Especially the little bitty pieces at the end, which if I’d planned a little better I wouldn’t have had to cut. But, I just flopped out a drop cloth on my living room floor and sawed away while I watched TV (Call the Midwife, to be precise) in the evening. And don’t just eyeball the length. They need to be pretty close to the same to make the herringbone pattern work.

Ikea Lack Makeover, DIY

Also, I sanded down the edges all the way around to make it more even and uniform. I just used painters tape on the table to protect it from the sander. You can see it’s not perfect, but honestly, that’s not what we’re all about over here and G&JG.

Ikea Lack Makeover

And finally, I chose a darker stain. I went with Minwax Provincial, which is kinda my go to color (it reminds me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast and who doesn’t love France?!). I thought it worked better with the black-brown color of the Lack laminate.

I added a piece of plywood (also stained Provincial) that I had cut at Lowe’s. It’s attached directly through the Lack legs using screws through the casters.

Ikea Lack Makeover

Those little wheels are the only hiccup in my plan. I ordered some REALLY cool casters from Amazon. But, after a few weeks when they hadn’t shown up I realized that I had shipped them to our old house in Las Vegas. I texted an old neighbor and they tried to ask the new owner, but didn’t have any luck. So, boo. I didn’t want to spend the money to buy the pricey set again so I just grabbed some generic ones at the hardware store. I keep intending to add a little gold Rub n Buff, but I just haven’t gotten to it.

But the shelf has been amazing! It gave us a little extra height to make the table more functional (along with the height of the wheels) and provides a great surface for blankets, magazines, books, board games, etc.

Ikea Lack Before & After

So there she is. My Lack hack. I think she deserves a new name since she’s hardly recognizable. I’m gonna go with Laquita. And yeah, the “q” gives her street cred.

Here’s the moo-ah breakdown:

Table: $0 (already had it)
Pine Lattice: $21
Wood glue: $0 (already had it)
Wood filler: $0 (already had it)
Plywood: $5
Stain: $0 (already had it)
Casters: $20

Total: $46

Not completely a “cheap” project, especially if you need to buy all the supplies, but I’m so happy with it and haven’t gotten SO many compliments. And even though this project has been finished (except for those casters!) for a few months, I’m excited to see how I’ll work it into the new decor at this house. I worked so hard on it. I hope it doesn’t get relegated to the basement (sad face).

Have you hacked the Lack? Do you have a side table makeover to share? Any questions about creating the herringbone pattern? Let me know!

{Linked up at Miss Mustard Seed – Furniture Feature Friday}

TDC Before and After

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