#129: When It Feels Like Everything’s Going Wrong

House projects don’t always go smoothly. We’ve all been there (heck, we’re there right now with the duplex renovation) so we’re sharing some new strategies that we’ve been relying on to keep our spirits up whenever a renovation feels overwhelming, gets delayed, or hits some other unexpected snag. We’re also discussing some upcoming bathroom trends (one of them shook Sherry to her very core). Plus we’re officially starting our no TV challenge.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • Below is the photo of the “scrape” the second delivery guy discovered on the other fridge during our most recent trip (don’t mind the tiny water droplets on the door, Sherry was in the midst of desperately trying to wipe the entire issue away). See how convincing/terrifying it was? Especially because it was lined up with the handle screw, totally validating the delivery guy’s theory that a drill had scraped the finish off.
Stainless Steel Fridge With Glue Marks
Silestone Pearl Jasmine Quartz counters with wood cabinets and brick chimney

2019 Bathroom Trend Quiz

  • Above are their examples of “buttery brass” finishes and the “off-kilter tub” that wasn’t as bad as it sounded to Sherry.
  • Below is the “tile statement wall” that I mentioned we did a couple of years ago in our beach house’s hall bathroom:
Blue Accent Tile In Shower Of Hall Bathroom With Wood Door
Aqua Glass Accent Shower Tile In Large Master Bathroom
  • And in the master shower at the beach house, we’ve got an example of an “invisible” shower wall, since the glass pane we used doesn’t have any metal framing (and the consistent floor helps the shower blend in with the rest of the room).
Frameless Glass Shower Panel In Subway Tile Bathroom

Listener Question

We’re Digging

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Grove Collaborative for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at  to receive their FREE gift: a trio of Mrs. Meyers cleaners, a set of walnut scrubber sponges AND a tin cleaning caddy. Yup, all of that’s FREE!

Thanks for listening, guys!

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#130: Can Science Help Us Make Our Homes Happier?

Can the colors, furnishings, and accessories that we choose for our home actually make us feel quantifiably happier? Today we dive into the science of joy and learn how some tried-and-true design tricks might actually be affecting our daily moods (and how to make tasks that we don’t love a little more enjoyable). We also pin down a few ways that we’ve unknowingly added joy to our house, and a few others that could still use some work. Plus, the lesson we learned from waiting too long to give up on a piece of furniture, and a big dollhouse fail.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

Living Room With Built In Bookcases and Wood Coffee Table
| | | | | rug & table: secondhand
  • That’s the Instagram photo above where many of you noticed that we had a new coffee table.
  • Here’s a better shot from the other side of the room, where you can see the X-base a little better (with those nice little nooks on each end to slide two white poufs from upstairs).
  • And here’s a closer photo where you can also see that the finish isn’t totally perfect, but it’s functioning just fine for our family (much better than our ottoman in those final days). And we’ll share all the details if we tile the top or refinish it in some other way.
  • I tried to dig up some photos of its deterioration (and the “dandruff” it left all over the house) but we apparently avoided capturing it – or at least vacuumed it up before taking photos. But here’s a random iPhone shot we took last year where you can kind of see the bare spots forming along the top where the faux leather had started to peel. And those white dots on the floor are all ottoman confetti.

That’s Embarrassing

  • Here’s a photo of the Sweet Shop in progress, and the dozens and dozens of little pieces we were tasked with turning into some semblance of a dollhouse-sized candy store. (Note the paper fan blades in the foreground that were meant to become a ceiling fan. Spoiler – that did not happen).
  • Like I said in the episode, I think Sherry did it a great job getting something together just in time for Christmas, and our daughter LOVES IT. As Sherry pointed out, it doesn’t look much like the picture on the box, though.

“Joyful” Decor Discussion

girls bedroom closet pink door wallpaper
Removable Wallpaper Mural With Oranges In Room With Two Twin Beds
  • You can also scroll up to see all of the “circles” and round objects we didn’t realize we have in our living room. When you start to look around, they’re EVERYWHERE.

We’re Digging

  • You can see Sherry’s big gleaming “brasshopper” (brass grasshopper figurine) in the photo below (and you can kinda see the little one that lives on our mantel at home in the second photo of this post).

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Annie Selke for sponsoring this episode. Their big Presidents’ Day sale kicks off this week on Thursday (Feb 14th, aka Valentine’s Day) and you can get 20% off basically the whole site! Check it out at annieselke.com/YHL.

Thanks for listening, guys!

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This content was originally published here.

How Much Did The Duplex Kitchens Cost? | Young House Love

As our bathroom reno continues (current status: more demo happened, our vanity, tub, & toilet arrived, and we have our plumber & electrician scheduled to rough things in and then we can prep & tile) we thought it would be fun to share a duplex kitchen budget breakdown. *Also, for anyone who has inquired about renting the duplex this fall, there’s an announcement about that later in the post*

Obviously, there are LOTS of factors that affect how expensive a kitchen renovation will be, so let this post just be a reference point for you – not a prescription for how much a kitchen reno should cost. The average kitchen reno in 2019 was $24,047 (according to HomeAdvisor). That may seem pricey to some but feel like a steal to others. Heck, Sherry even saw an expert in House Beautiful’s recent kitchen issue who said “kitchen renovations can run anywhere from $60,000 to $400,000” (!!!!!). The pricetags for these kitchens were nowhere near that, thankfully, but we did want to share some areas that, in hindsight, we could’ve done more affordably.

The breakdown below includes all of the major items in each kitchen, apart from things that were part of the overall renovation of the duplex (like new drywall, electrical & plumbing, floor refinishing, etc). Not that those aren’t critical parts of this room (THEY ARE!) but they were line items that we paid for as a whole house, so it’d be impossible to splice out just the kitchen portion of the bill. But I’ll give you some ballpark estimates and specific examples of what we have personally paid for those line items in other kitchen remodels we’ve done in a minute.

So we’re basically chronically what it takes to go from a blank box of a room to a finished kitchen, aka going from this starting point…

…to this finished kitchen below:

The price breakdown below is just for one kitchen, since the price was effectively the same for each side (these rooms are a mirror image of each other). There aren’t any labor costs listed below because we did all of these projects ourselves, but we’ll get to the labor fees we’ve paid on past kitchen remodels in a second to give you a more complete picture. Please hold (*insert elevator music here*).

I’ll be honest that the total was a little more than we expected, but I guess I’m not surprised to see that two biggest culprits are: counters and appliances.

We have zero regrets or hesitations about picking the counters we did (they’re the same quartz we have in our beach house island). Yes there are cheaper options, especially for a rental, but we have just been so happy with quartz in our own kitchen and at the beach house. No issues at all with staining or cracking or scratching – and it’s nice to have a surface you don’t have to worry about. So while it’s an area we could’ve pinched our pennies tighter, we’re glad we didn’t.

The appliances, on the other hand, are a slightly different story. I don’t regret what we did, but I do see some easy places to save money if we weren’t being so particular.

For one, white appliances would’ve been cheaper all around than stainless steel. But (like it or not) stainless steel still signals “updated kitchen!” to most people and we just thought the look would make our kitchens feel more upgraded to guests. We also could’ve found a cheaper range by not getting a slide-in, and there were cheaper fridges, but most had icemakers and/or water dispensers – both of which we didn’t want (just another leak to worry about – and if the power goes out the ice in an ice maker can melt and ruin the floor if no one’s there to see it).

But the real budget hogs in the appliance department were, surprisingly, the ones that we purchased through Ikea: the hood and the dishwasher. Why? Because we upgraded to versions that we could build in so they’d be hidden. For instance, their in-cabinet recirculating hood was $500 (gulp). We’re ultimately glad we did it, but it does sting a little to see how compromising to a visible under-cabinet hood could’ve saved us a few hundred dollars (this one is just $50!).

Similarly, Ikea’s cheapest option for a cabinet-fronted dishwasher is still $750 which, in retrospect, is probably the most we’ve ever paid for any dishwasher in the history of ever (and it’s not even in a house we stay in!).

So while Ikea and other places offer dishwashers that are much cheaper, we splurged on these because it was important to us that they blend into this space. These kitchens are visible as soon as you walk in the front door, and we didn’t want that row of lower cabinets interrupted by a big stainless steel or white dishwasher front.

So we don’t regret these decisions because they were intentional and we’re really happy with the result – but from a purely budget standpoint, they do stick out as areas where compromising the design could’ve saved us some significant money.

And again, there are several costs not included in that total above (flooring, plumbing, electrical, etc), so I’m not trying to declare this “an $8500 kitchen makeover!” But if it helps to give you a better idea, we typically spend around $3.50 per square foot for a pro to refinish our hardwoods. This kitchen is 11.5′ x 10′, so it would break down to around $402 for that room only if I needed a labor line item for the floors. If you add that additional labor line item to our total, it would bring it to: $8,893.

As for electrical fees/labor/parts, during our first house’s kitchen reno we paid $900 for electrical and our second house’s kitchen reno electrical was $455, but both could’ve been significantly more if we were doing more extensive rewiring. Although if you’re gutting a room completely and removing all the drywall (like we did in the duplex), electrical work is often much cheaper since it’s easier access and faster to run everything. And if you also add a kind-of-in-the-middle electrical labor average of $700 to our total, it would bring it to: $9,593.

We didn’t have plumbing costs for our first two kitchen remodels (since everything stayed in the same place), but in our current house we paid our plumber $650 to move our sink and dishwasher locations, to run a new water line to the fridge, and to extend our gas line to the new gas stove. Magazines always tell you moving the location of things can be a ton of money, so we were pleasantly surprised to change the entire kitchen layout and basically just pay $650 to do it! Well worth it!

And once again, like electrical it’s much cheaper to get plumbing redone if all the walls are open (no drywall = such faster access to run things), so we would guess we paid around $500 in plumbing fees to get the sink hooked up (remember there’s no fridge water line & no gas stove here – nice & simple). So if you want to assign a plumbing labor fee of $500 to our total, it would bring it to: $10,093.

Is a $10,000 kitchen cheap? Nope. But it really isn’t bad considering every single thing in the room wasn’t in there when we started. It was an empty box, and now it has two full walls of new cabinetry, quartz countertops, all new appliances (with a slide in range, a built-in dishwasher, and hidden range hood), accent tile to the ceiling, and nice shiny hardwoods. We’re counting our lucky stars that things like the brick chimney and the hardwood floors were in here hiding the whole time, because they definitely add a ton of character to the space.

Of course I need to point out that these labor costs can vary greatly when it comes to your location and your specific situation/house setup (is there a crawl space? slab? a second floor? a cement wall?) so those are just some fees we’ve paid in the past in the hopes that they help. I know we’ll hear from folks who have paid much less and significantly more for each of those things, but a lot just has to do with your house, what you’re looking to achieve, where you live, who you hire for the job, etc.

One good way to get an idea of average costs is to use a site like HomeAdvisor (this isn’t sponsored, they just always come up when I google things like “average cost to refinish wood floors“) which will show that our typical $3.50/square foot labor fees are on the higher end of those costs at $3.50, so who knows, yours could be less!

And speaking of the duplex, for anyone who has inquired about fall bookings, we released some dates & almost all of them are booked… but the end of this week is still available on the left side, and the end of next week is available on both sides (here’s the link to the right side). We do a minimum 3 night stay in the off season, so you can check in on Wednesday or Thursday (that’s why those are the only dates Airbnb shows) but once you select your check-in date, it’ll expand & you can select your checkout date. Sorry it’s so confusing! And here’s a post about everything you can do there (even the ice cream shop is still open through next weekend) and a post to see the entire duplex before & after.

But back to kitchen renovations for a second, here are a few more posts you might like:

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Things Are Getting Homier At The Duplex!

Last month we shared how refinishing the floors at the duplex made us feel like we turned a major corner at a house we’ve been renovating for over a year (remember when it looked like this?!). And now we are firmly in “the fun part!” You know, where you get to start bringing in rugs and light fixtures and furniture and accessories so it goes from looking like a construction zone to an actual home. It’s THE. BEST. Especially after months and months of expensive improvements that you don’t even see when the drywall goes back up (like plumbing and electrical upgrades).

So let’s just get right into it. Behold, this wall of the left side’s master bedroom that we pretty much rebuilt from scratch:

/ / / walls: SW Spare White / doors: SW White Truffle

That rug is the one we originally bought for the pink house’s living room ( in this post) but it often looked too dark paired with our dark sectional. But in this room with a fluffy white bed on top of it, we think it’ll look worlds lighter and brighter – especially paired with our pretty pink closet doors and that capiz chandelier that we hung between them (which used to hang above our dining table in the pink house – more on that switcheroo here).

We actually added those two closets during framing because it was the largest room but it didn’t have a closet at all originally. So we thought flanking the window with two of ’em added lots of storage and symmetry (whereas just one closet would take a bite out of the corner of the room and feel less balanced).

Here’s the same bedroom, as you view it from the door. We can’t wait to add some thick wooden shelves in that little chimney nook that we were able to expose during the renovation.

Below is a similar view of this bedroom when we bought the house. It was just a boring box, complete with a drop ceiling to hide a whole lot of mold and rot that was going on above it.

The photo below is a picture of the back bedroom on the other side (the right side of the duplex) as it looks now. Over here we reused the only set of original doors that we could salvage: these cool skinny little pine doors, complete with their original hardware.

/ / / / Walls: SW Spare White

They have tiny little latches on each side that stole my heart the second I saw them, along with little faux drawers at the bottom with old cup pulls. So much quirk & character!

And since they’re not standard height (they’re shorter than standard interior doors) we got to add cute little cubbies above them. I love how the curved baskets bring in some texture and some softness with so many rectangles going on around them. Same with the curved chandelier.

We’re also pretty excited about our kitchen progress, since we worked over the holiday break to assemble both sides (not without hiccups – more on that here) but we’re really happy to be mostly over that hump. The appliances are on their way, and our counters should be getting templated and installed before the end of the month. We can see the finish line!!! (Ok, and then we have to add shelves, hardware, and a patterned backsplash, but we’re closer to the end than the beginning!)

cabinets / hood /

That’s the kitchen on the right side and here we are in the adjacent mudroom/laundry room. We still need to build in that storage cabinet, but we’re waiting for the stacked washer & dryer to be installed first. And those painted pocket doors (they’re Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams) lead to the kitchen, and will probably stay open most of the time. We added them in case people want to shut out the noise when laundry’s going. And because they’re just so dang cute.

 /  / walls: Spare White by SW / doors: Oyster Bay by SW

We’ll also be adding lots of mudroom storage in here, like hooks and baskets galore for shoes, bathing suits, towels and all that good stuff. The outdoor showers are a few steps away from the back door that leads into this room, so this space is going to be a workhorse for sure.

Ok, but now let’s take a peek at the kitchen on the left side of the duplex. We chose some moody blue-green-gray cabinets for this side, but they look bright blue here. Wait for it…

cabinets / hood /

They’re still covered with a protective film that we aren’t going to remove until after the appliances and counters are installed, but you can see from the piece John’s holding up below that they’re a lot grayer and greener underneath the film. We LOVE the color for a beach house. Feels really playful but not too out there.

This is the mudroom off of that kitchen, where we did a similar tile pattern as the other mudroom, but in a totally different colorway. We love how each side feels related to the other side – but not identical. Kinda like they’re cousins but not twins. We still need quarter round trim in here (most of the other rooms are done – but we held off on this room so we can add a few built-ins and then install it).

floor tiles: pink, white, & taup / door color: White Truffle by SW / door: secondhand find (!!!)

So those are just a few of the spaces that look SO MUCH BETTER already – even before our huge truckload of furniture arrives (yes, we’re renting a giant box truck and driving things down ourselves in less than a week!). But even without all the beds and tables and sofas and chairs that are coming, we’re soaking up this PROGRESS, BEAUTIFUL PROGRESS! And you know I’m counting down the days until I can share more photos with furniture and curtains and art and ALL THE THINGS!!!

P.S. To see all of our duplex progress from the very beginning, for around a dozen posts that’ll cover a lot of ground (from buying it and floor planning to rebuilding it, tiling, and refinishing the floors).

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One more P.S. – If you like blog posts, you can get an additional one each week delivered straight to your inbox – and it’s free! Just sign up here (and if you’d like to see a few sample emails first, here’s one, and here’s another one).

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Our Bathroom Reno: The Floor Plan & Tile Picks! | Young House Love

Ok, now we’re cooking with gas! Maybe I shouldn’t use that expression for a bathroom reno… ANYWAY… we’ve made lots of progress since partially demo-ing the room last week (more on that here), and wanted to share our final floorpan with you (IT’S SUCH A GIANT IMPROVEMENT!) and our final tile picks (along with a few other things we debated, why we chose what we chose, etc).

So here’s the old bathroom layout. Yes we lived with it like this for over six years. Yes, it was A LOT of doors (the one leading from the hall to our bedroom is right behind where the tub is below – so there were five in a ten step radius or so). And the only natural light in the entire space basically was stopped by a bunch of walls and doors, so it made it as far as the toilet and maybe the tub on a good day and that was it. It was so dark and cave-like and closed off in here:

Just to refresh your memory, here’s a photo of the bathroom as it looked before last week’s demo session (you can watch a full video of how weird the space was right here too if you wanna be thorough). This photo was taken by John as he was standing in the doorway of the closet and looking back towards the tub (you can refer to the room sketch above to get your bearings a little more).

And here’s the room after our little demo session last week, when we took down all the walls that were blocking the view and the light to have a view of the space that’s a bit more uninterrupted while we planned our next moves (like what goes where, what sized vanity and tub would fit, etc). It was already looking SO MUCH MORE OPEN. I’m sorry for all the caps lock in this post, but bathroom renovations GET ME GOING.

Ok but back to the floor plan, remember this was the original layout for reference:

And after approximately 5,379 different plans and drawings and taping things out on the floor over and over again (and meeting with our plumber & electrician in person to make sure our ideas were actually physically doable and not prohibitively expensive), this is where we ended up:

As for the general inspiration and feeling that we’d love to get from the space, here’s a room that we really like. The soft layered tones and shapes and textures and classic finishes feel really good to us, and they seem like they’d fit so nicely into our house. Our bathroom has been dark and dated and boxed off for so long it’s going to be so nice to have an open, light & airy space to enjoy.

But back to laying out the room for a second. I mentioned that we considered around a million different room layout options & I’m not kidding. Pretty much if you can think of another option we considered it. More windows in the bathroom? We definitely thought about that! In the end we wanted to use that wall space for the mirror & lights over the vanity – and the single window we have provides tons of light now that the walls are down! Plus adding another window to the bathroom would look weirdly unbalanced from the exterior of the house since it would be too close to the existing bathroom window to match the other exterior window spacing back there. That’s just one example of the mental gymnastics we did for every aspect of this room. But I’m never one to stop at one example…

We also heavily considered stealing space from the bedroom or the closet. We mapped out so many versions of that and it always felt silly and over-wrought, and once the walls came down and we realized how big this space is as it is (around 8 x 13′ feet!) we realized we didn’t need a single inch more – in fact we can fit a 72″ double vanity, which is one of the largest ones they make! Plus I get a freestanding tub (a big deep one that I can fully submerge myself in – instead of my knees and entire chest being out – imagine how nice that will be?!) along with a nice walk in shower! We have room to spare just as this layout is.

We also thought about adding access to the closet from the bedroom instead of through the bathroom, but it’s really nice to shower & walk right into the closet to get dressed instead of popping back into the bedroom and back into the closet, and since we could make the bathroom layout exactly what we wanted and keep that closet doorway (while widening and centering it!), we are so happy with things as they are in the plan above. We think it’s going to be stunning and it’ll feel more open with them both connected with a nice wide doorway (so light can flow through the entire space) instead of making them into two smaller rooms on their own.

It was also really helpful to talk to our plumber and electrician to figure out what’s really possible. For example, where the ductwork runs in the shared wall between the bedroom and bathroom means a pocket door won’t work, which is just fine with us because we love the idea of a frosted french door.

And after proclaiming that I wanted a big frosted double french door on the podcast, I realized that in practice it would be annoying to have to shut two doors behind you every time you go to the bathroom (sure you can leave one shut at all times and just enter and exit through the other one, but that misses the point because I thought it would be lovely to see both of them thrown open from the bedroom). Thankfully I think a single frosted door will be gorgeous. Light will flow in and out, and it’ll be easy to just shut one door behind us. Score.

We also heavily considered squeezing in a water closet but after removing all these walls we just didn’t want to add any back in. Sure the toilet might be more private behind a door, but the entire bathroom has a door that we can shut for privacy & we’ve never had a water closet and prefer the open feeling light-filled space more than having a tiny toilet room. I know what I’m saying might make you want to cup my face in your hands and whisper to me that I should trust you, and that I would in fact love a water closet, but we have deeply thought this through (6+ years of planning this reno in our heads – ha!). I fully respect that some people out there might love ’em & even believe they couldn’t exist without them, but we all want different things from our bathrooms and having a soaking tub and a gorgeous walk-in shower was a much nicer way for us to “spend” that space, while keeping everything open and light filled, so we’re thrilled. Also we don’t give a hoot about resale, this bathroom is for us to use & love for a nice long time 😉

Oh and I was completely sure that we wanted to add a window to the closet literally as recently as last week, but when we mapped out where it would have to be in order to make sense and look balanced from the outside of the house, it would have looked insane in the closet (picture it crammed into a corner with the trim literally touching the corner of the closet) and a few people told me they have windows in their closet and it fades their black clothes (THE HORROR!). So we realized that a big light-filled bathroom is our dream, especially with a nice wide & centered door that leads to the closet, and assuming we have some nice closet lighting and lots of functional storage in there, it’ll make us happier than a weird window crammed into the corner that feels like it’s just in the way and in the wrong spot.

Closets like this are giving me so much inspo (we’re planning to use a combo of Ikea wardrobes and drawers and systems + wood/trim to build things in and make them look more custom).

As we mentioned on the podcast this week, now that the layout has become crystal clear to us, we finally felt confident enough to order some of the bigger items for the room – like the tub, the toilet, and the double vanity (we’re probably going to paint it a soft gray-green like the bathroom inspiration picture a few photos back).

And the toilet is the same one that we’ve had for years in our downstairs powder room. We love how nice it looks (it’s like a toilet with upgraded porcelain molding!) and it feels pretty great to finally be upgrading another one in our house (the only one left to upgrade will be the hall bath – and we’re coming for that room next!).

Ok, and back to the tile picks I mentioned! We’re so excited to have finally made a decision (we have looked at more tile in the last week or so than I think ever in our lives). Remember we shared these as inspiration images in last podcast’s show notes when we were talking about our bathroom plans?

Well, we knew we loved a classic tile choice in an interesting and less expected arrangement (like the ones above) so we started to mess around with different patterns on the computer to see what we liked. These were things we made when we were trying to plan the shower wall pattern by the way, and these are all proportions that happen when you’re using 2 x 8″ tiles (the length to width ratio of the tile changes the shapes they make):

After mapping out the three sketches above, and looking at tons of inspiration images (like our two tile inso photos) we decided that we liked the look of “two by two” best. Why? We thought the “four by four” and “three by three” were awesome as well, they just felt like squares (and sort of parquet-ish since we both lived in NYC if you get that reference) and we both gravitated towards the stair-stepped look of the top right tile layout for the shower walls the most since it was more dynamic to us (it felt less like squares someone shuffled around in different directions, if that makes sense). But again, we loved them all! We just had to pick a favorite!

At this point, we felt really smug that we had mapped everything out and reached a decision… and then we realized that a lot of the 2 x 8″ tile was extremely expensive (or sold out, or harder to find in the quantity we needed) so it felt like we were back to square one (pun not intended). But then we took a trip to Home Depot, The Tile Shop, and Floor & Decor to break out of our tile-block and just look at what we could find in person (it’s easy to fall into a computer worm hole, so head to the store if you can to break that curse).

Anyway, at our third stop, Floor & Decor, we actually found (except for that crazy dark spot in that one tile below). Always buy more tile than you need so you can pull out those random weird tiles for a more well planned and congruent look. Especially with natural stone, there are just outliers, so it’s smart to use them under a vanity for example – or not at all if you have enough to pluck them out and not use them.

It was 2 x 12″ tile, which is different than 2 x 8, but we realized when we laid it out on the floor and played around with layouts that it would make that dynamic stair-stepped pattern, it would just take a 3 x 3 arrangement instead of a 2 x 2 one. And WE LOVED IT!

Laying tiles out right on the floor of wherever you find them can clarify so much! This is kind of an awful shot – there’s plastic covering the tiles, hence the glare, and they won’t be laid in this angle, they’ll be done in the stair stepped pattern above, but you get the idea (also they look nothing like they do in real life online, which is annoying, so I’m glad we looked in person!).

We decided that marble hex tiles in the same material by the same brand would coordinate and add some more tone on tone texture for the shower floor, so you also see those in the shot above. And that large tile is the floor tile that we picked to layer in there too.

When it came to finding the floor tile, we actually STRUCK GOLD (caps lock again, sorry not sorry) at Home Depot because we found this lovely marble looking tile that is giant and $1.99 a square foot and just so gorgeous (we brought it with us to Floor & Decor, hence having it to lay on the floor in the photo above). I’ve seen a lot of marble-look polished porcelain floor tiles that look stamped on and fake or just not the right tone (too warm or too cold or not different enough from each other so they looked cloned) and this tile is none of that!

For the price you can’t beat this anywhere (trust me, we looked – ha!) and even if this was $10 a square foot I’d probably pay it because we fell in love. So it sure is lucky that it’s crazy affordable, especially because it’ll balance out our shower choices which were pricier. We’re also extra excited about using this floor for the entire room (both the closet and the bathroom) because they have always been chopped up (part tile, and part formerly-carpet-turned-painted-subfloor). So having them all be the same flooring after all these years is going to feel so good and so much more seamless. Here I am playing around with it on the floor upstairs. It’s going to be STUNNING. I’m verklempt.

For anyone who wants to see some other tile we considered, we also liked this one (I think it’s this, also from Floor & Decor). It’s not as long of a proportion, but we truly loved it as well.

We also debated a chevron or herringbone floor laid with these tiles and then a brick-layer pattern of this in the shower. And a large marble hex floor with a chevron shower. We also loved the idea of a basketweave like this on the shower walls, and we even considered a color like this shiny deliciousness. Honestly we went round and round and probably could have done ten versions of this bathroom that we love, the final picks are just the ones we loved most of all and thought would look so dang good together, all layered into one room. Also this tile was GORGEOUS but the price was really high – but if someone else out there just needs like a dozen squares for a laundry room backsplash or something (remember how 13 tiles majorly upgraded our laundry room), it’s good. Send me a pic!

I also can’t wait to pick fun stuff like fixtures and faucets and even things like hardware and toilet paper holders and towel hooks. How good is this toilet paper holder? And this leather wrapped hardware on Etsy? And this lovely mirror (check out the name – ha!). I’m pretty much always in a hyper/euphoric state while planning this reno because we’ve waited so long to do this, and it feels like it’s going to be the room that dreams are made of! And also long hot baths.

As for what’s next, we’re fully demo-ing the room soon (the vanity is supposed to arrive next week and then we’ll have everything since the tub and the toilet already came – which thrills me to no end because we were originally told the vanity would take 4 weeks).

If all goes well in two weeks we should have it fully gutted and then the plumber has to shift some things around in the floor and we have to prep for tile, tile, and then probably do some work on the walls and some electrical updates and then it’ll be time to actually install the new things (MY TUBBBBBBB) which is very exciting indeed. My goal = to have my entire body submerged in my new tub (with the aid of some snorkel gear) by November 15th, which is John’s 38th birthday. Because there’s not a better birthday present than a snorkeling wife in your new but probably not fully done (but hopefully close) bathroom.

P.S. Don’t forget to read the first post about this bathroom reno to see a video tour and check out the exciting half-demo-ed pics. This room is going to be unrecognizable when it’s done.

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This content was originally published here.

#140: The Most Fight-Inducing DIYs Out There

Home improvement can be stressful, and we’re no strangers to that tension leading to some pretty memorable arguments. So today we’re looking at some data about what do-it-yourself projects cause the most issues between couples to see if we agree (and we share a recent fight we had in the name of data). We also reveal some takeaways from a recent house staging project that we took on together, including the big secret to getting your home ready to sell and how you may have to unlearn everything you know about decorating. Plus, John falls for another lighting product, Sherry ups her face game, and we see if people really do hate textured walls after all.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • That room above is the basement living space from the recent staging project that we worked on together. As you can see in the before photo below, it was acting as sort of a “gaming room” for the family. Note that they were in the midst of packing and moving, so things were a bit more scattered than their usual day-to-day (reminder: moving is messy).
  • Sherry will go into more detail when we write up a full post about this project, but you can see how we minimized the amount of stuff in the room and on the walls – because the goal isn’t to sell the decor, it’s to sell the house. They also repainted the walls throughout the house with Sherry’s paint recommendation (White Dove by Benjamin Moore with Extra White trim by Sherwin Williams) before we swept through on the final staging day.
  • On our final day we moved some furniture around (for example, flanking the TV with two chairs to disguise some of the TV components) and then lightly styled the space – without putting anything on the walls at all except for the star over the mantel.

    Game: DIY Fights

    Update: Textured Walls

    • And here’s some data (you know I LOVE DATA) that we gathered about textured WALLS, which appear to be more common in the western/midwestern portions of the United States (shown in the purple shades below):
    • Whereas textured CEILINGS are a bit more evenly spread out:
    • We often get asked for a tutorial for removing textured walls or ceilings, but since we haven’t had any of them in any of our hoes, we haven’t done one – at least not yet. Sorry about that, but I’d check youtube and I bet a million will come up.

    We’re Digging

    If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

    And lastly, a big thank you to Grove Collaborative for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at  and spend your first $20 to receive a FREE gift: a trio of Mrs. Meyers cleaners, a 60-day VIP Membership AND a surprise bonus gift on top of all that.

    Thanks for listening, guys!

    *This post contains affiliate links*

    The post #140: The Most Fight-Inducing DIYs Out There appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.

    Because You Know We Love A Painted Brick House…

    By now you know that we’re nothing short of OBSESSED with the results of painting our brick house white last fall. It has probably been one of our favorite makeovers in our 13 years of homeownership. So for anyone else who might be considering doing something similar, we wanted to share some advice and some exciting news! And also some spring pics of the house, because it’s the first time we’ve gotten to see her with the white flowering dogwoods out front and it makes my heart wanna burst.

    Wait but first I should passionately proclaim that we don’t think that all brick should be painted. We still very much love an unpainted brick home or a natural brick accent, especially when it’s beautiful historic brick – like the 100-year-old brick chimneys that we exposed at our beach houses – or the wide reclaimed brick steps that we added to both of them.

    But then there was the brick on this house, which wasn’t particularly old or charming (it was from the early eighties and sported a blotchy maroon and dark brown color, with yellow-beige mortar that was applied with little messy triangles in some of the corners). You can see what I mean below:

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Paint-Brick-White-Large-Sample-On-Brick-929x1024.jpg

    See how the white swatch of paint immediately neutralized all of our issues with it, and basically brought this brick back into that “ahhh, it looks so historic and stately and classic” arena? The point is that there are a ton of different types of brick, and some of it is gorgeous and amazing just as it is, and some of it isn’t even close to what you would have chosen – and you don’t have to live with it that way! If you’ve disliked yours for a while, our first suggestion is just to trust your instincts and think deeply about it. If you’re not quite sure you want the painted look, don’t do it! But if you’re 110% sure like we were when we finally went for it, well, it’s a good indication that you’ll love the result. Whenever we see old pictures we’re like… “yeah, zero regrets… except that we didn’t do it sooner!”

    before photo of brick house upon purchase of home

    Even if you’re sure you want to go for it, we know it’s not a decision to make lightly. Believe me, we went through a whole smorgasbord of concerns and reasons NOT to do it over the years, like:

    • What if we regret painting the brick?
    • What if we don’t like the color?
    • What will the neighbors think?
    • What if it’s much harder to maintain?
    • What if it’s wildly expensive to do?

    But again, now that we’re on the other side of the project, we can assure you that NONE of those concerns were founded. In fact, we’re faaaar more in love with the “after” than we ever expected to be (you can see how much it cost & learn more about the process here).

    And if you followed along with our decision-making process last summer on the podcast, you know a big reason we finally worked up the confidence to take the plunge was finding the right paint product. It was actually one a bunch of you guys recommended to us, called Romabio Masonry Flat (at the time it was called Boidomus I).

    We hadn’t heard of it before, but learning that it’s a breathable mineral paint specially made for brick and other masonry, so it won’t crack or peel like latex paints tend to do overtime (because it doesn’t seal brick at all – it lets it breathe) – well, that really piqued our interest. And the more we learned about it, the better we felt moving forward with the project, like:

    • it has a 20-year warranty
    • it’s eco-friendly
    • it’s naturally mold resistant
    • it’s what they use to paint historic brick buildings in Europe
    • it has this BEAUTIFUL matte finish that looks so classic and never too garish or shiny)
    • As our pro painter later told us: “it’s like painting brick with brick.”

    You can read more about why we chose it here.

    Romabio didn’t sponsor our makeover (we paid for everything ourselves!) but we did get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind Romabio throughout the process, because I’m a gal who asks 10,000 questions. Ha! And then after we finished our house painting project last fall, and we loved the result so much, they came to us a few months later and asked if we’d ever want to curate a paint color collection to help simplify the decision-making process for other homeowners. Took us about two seconds to say: “Um… YES!”

    Choosing a paint color can feel agonizing for any space, but we had just experienced firsthand how nerve-wracking it was to pick one for our exterior. So the idea of getting to help other people choose the right one without worrying and second guessing themselves quite so much sounded great. Plus I’m a lady who likes to play with paint swatches and imagine what I’d do to every single house I walk or drive by on the street – so basically it was a dream project to pull together a collection of our fifteen favorite exterior paint colors for brick or stone. Literally the ones we would use if it was our house that we were painting (oh to have 15 houses to try these all out on…).

    Note: Mineral paint can only go so dark because it’s made from natural materials – aka: minerals. So that’s why you don’t see anything suuuper dark in the collection. Also, dark colors have a tendency to fade outside and Romabio wants everything they make to be super durable and easy maintenance – remember they have a 20 year warranty 😉

    We took a lot of our inspiration for the collection from many of the historic painted brick houses in our hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Specifically a gorgeous neighborhood here called The Fan. There are literally blocks and blocks of painted brick eye-candy to soak in, covering just about every color in the rainbow. We love strolling through that neighborhood just for kicks, so it was pretty fun to take a bunch of trips there with our paint swatches in hand and call it “research.”

    Speaking of paint swatches, we used Romabio’s stock color deck as a starting point while we walked around downtown, and we began zeroing in on some classic no-fail neutrals (think greiges, khakis, sand tones, and chocolates) as well as some options for those who want a bit more color (misty blues, mossy greens, even a subtle blush pink). The paint blobs in our collection might look somewhat muted or subdued on your screen, but anything with too much color saturation can quickly read as “too crazy” or “too bright” on an entire house’s exterior, especially when the sun hits it. So things needed enough gray or tan (aka “muddiness”) in the color to keep it classic and stately.

    Once we zeroed in on a few dozen favorites, Romabio sent us painted swatches so we could tinker and fine-tune (lightening some, graying others, and eliminating too-similar options). Our goal was to simplify the decision-making process, after all, so offering 10 slightly different blues felt like it would defeat the purpose REAL FAST. So if you want a light warm gray, we gave you one (Instant Chateau). Looking for a deep gray blue? Navy Steel is your guy. We did a couple rounds of narrowing and adjusting (always taking things back to The Fan for a real world gut check) so we could be certain we LOVED EVERY. LAST. COLOR

    During some of our paint color reconnaissance missions, we also witnessed some examples of what can happen when you don’t use masonry paint on your brick. Not only can latex paints sometimes give you that extra shiny finish, they can also peel and crack over time since the brick can’t breathe and it traps in moisture which is actually damaging to the brick as well as the paint job.

    Before locking in our final color selections, we painted sample brick boards with every option to help us better picture what they’d look like on a brick house (you may have caught a sneak peek of these on Instagram). And, well, WE LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH I KINDA WANT 14 MORE BRICK HOUSES TO PAINT (#JohnSaidNo).

    The final step was naming them all, which was THE MOST FUN (you guys know I’ve always wanted to name nail polish and paint swatches). And since we love an outtake, here are some names that we left on the cutting room floor (but laughed at for a while before we cut them):

    • Green Day
    • Villa Rosa (RHOBH anyone?)
    • Theon Greyjoy (GOT anyone?)
    • Red Wedding
    • Rachel Green (Friends anyone?)
    • Moss Gellar
    • And probably our favorite: Mossy “Mossdemeaner” Elliott

    In the end, we were aiming for names you’d be proud to put on your house (I think “So Succulent” is my favorite) and we also worked in a few nods to the town that inspired us (like River City and Richmond White). Actually, Richmond White is the exact white color that we used on our house. It’s not too stark and blinding or too yellow – it’s just about the perfect tone, even if you mix it with bright white trim (which is what we have on our house thanks to white vinyl wrapped windows that can’t be painted).

    painter in crane painting siding of a brick house white

    You may remember that to land on our final white paint color for the project, we agonized. We took home dozens of swatches, narrowed it down to four colors, and then had Romabio color match the Masonry Flat Paint to a few Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore colors, which we then painted onto the house to make our final pick. And then we had Romabio color match that swatch again to make us big buckets to cover the whole house. Whew.

    sample sections of white paint on brick house

    But since color matching isn’t an exact science across different paint brands (the different pigments and bases in each company’s formula make it difficult to get the exact original color – more on that here), we wanted to give you guys a foolproof way to replicate the exact white that’s on our house without worrying about any margin for error due to the color matching process. So now you can just ask for “Richmond White” which is the true color we used (it’s the original formula they created for our house using their own pigments & bases).

    You can visit the Romabio website to learn more about our color collection with them and soak up all the info on their masonry paint (why it’s so much more durable than latex paint, and what you can & can’t paint with it). And you can order all 15 colors on Amazon. WOOT! Just be sure to check Romabio’s info about what materials it works on and to see if you need a primer or not (for example, already painted brick needs this primer – and you can always call Romabio with questions at 678-905-3700).

    Oh and it works on interior brick too (like your fireplace – and you’d probably only need a 1 or a 2.5 liter bucket!). They can also make any of these colors in their standard interior wall paint if you see one that you’d love indoors (just call them for that and they can ship you interior paint in the exact color).

    Over on their website we also shared some tips about how to choose an exterior color that works with your existing trim & roof colors, and even pulled together some fun door color ideas to go with some of the colors in our collection.

    And if you have any technical questions about the paint, its application, or how to get a small bucket to test any color before diving in, just ask the folks over at Romabio. We picked the colors, but they’re the actual paint pros 😉

    Also, if you guys use any of our colors, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SEND US PICS (you can also tag them with #YHLforRomabio so we’ll see them on Instagram). I can promise I won’t cry over them.

    Just kidding I totally will.

    The post Because You Know We Love A Painted Brick House… appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.

    #124: One Small Space And Three Options (HELP!)

    Today we’re talking about a small space that’s stumping us at the duplex and we’d love to hear what your family would like to rent most. You’ll also hear how an unexpected Christmas request from our daughter sent us on quite the hunt for a house-related gift – and how we stumbled across a new 4-in-1 tool that’s extra handy to have in your junk drawer. Plus we’re asking the hard-hitting questions, like can your astrological sign really help you decorate your home?

    You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

    What’s New

    girls bedroom closet pink door wallpaper
    • The intricate old dollhouses that we got are still hiding in the attic until Christmas morning, but here’s a photo Sherry snuck up there to take so you can see one of them. This is the smaller of the two (facepalm) and it’s definitely a fixer upper, but still a great score for $20! Check out those arched windows, roof shingles, and the staircase that we can’t wait to fix up with our girl. Also on the agenda: working lights and a frosted pantry door. 

    Duplex Bed Nook Dilemma

    • That room above is the small “bed nook” room that we were discussing (that’s the left side shown above). Both are about 7.5′ x 7.5′ and the doorway I’m taking the photo from is centered on that wall, with a pocket door (so we don’t have to worry about door-swing clearance).

    Option 1: Side-by-Side Twin Beds

    image source
    • The image above was our original inspiration for the room. Two twin XL mattresses would fit with about a 10″ aisle down the middle, and we would build a platform like this to raise them off the ground a bit. This is the option we would choose for our family.

    Option 2: Twin Bed With Trundle

    left image source – right source unknown
    • We probably wouldn’t do something quite as built-in as the photos above (we’d just put a twin bed with a trundle underneath) against the back wall – but this gives you an idea of another option. It would leave more floor space when the trundle is pushed in, but with it pulled out one sleeper would basically have to crawl over the other one to get into bed – or to go to the bathroom (which also feels less conducive to an adult couple sleeping in there).

    Option 3: A Large Wall-to-Wall Mattress

    sources unknown
    • This is like Option 1 kicked up a notch. Instead of twins with a center aisle, we’d get a mattress that goes nearly wall-to-wall (maybe even a king?). It would work great for adults and for kids who do well sleeping in the same bed, but might be more challenging for cleaning and changing the bedding each week. Plus if you have kids like ours who don’t share a bed very well, it could be a deterrent.

    What do you think?

    • There’s more explanation and rationale in the episode (do we do something fun and special – like Option 1 or 3? Or something more straightforward like Option 2) so be sure to listen to the episode first for more clarification before voting please 🙂
    • Ok but if you’ve already listened, what option would work best for you? (Keep in mind there will be 2 additional bedrooms, both with queen beds) 

    Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

    We’re Digging

    • Again, you probably want to stick with the more traditional spackle tub + putty knife for larger jobs, but we’re considering it $7 well spent!

    If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. 

    And lastly, a big thank you to The Citizenry for sponsoring this episode. You can see their beautiful goods from artisans all over the globe at  and use the code YHL to get $50 towards your first purchase of $200 or more!

    Thanks for listening, guys!

    *This post contains affiliate links*

    The post #124: One Small Space And Three Options (HELP!) appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.

    #134: Where Have All The Family Photos Gone?

    Today we’re sharing how to find the right balance when you’re choosing between artwork or family photos for certain walls – and we’re revealing where we’ve subconsciously gravitated towards putting personal photos in our own home (and why we think that is!). We also have tips for how to personalize your walls beyond the usual smiling-at-the-camera snapshot. And we’ve officially gone shed crazy (like really, really shed crazy), and the silver lining that we discovered after a yearlong delay at the beach house that’s saving us money and getting us excited for the summer. Plus I’m finally jumping on the crystal train. I know, it’s unexpected.

    You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

    What’s New

    • Here’s a peek at the patio & shed work that’s going on at the beach house. The duplex is a little bit further behind (the sheds are just done being framed) but it’s shaping up to be a very exciting, very productive, and very shed-filled spring!

    Listener Question

    • You can see that some of those photos landed in our guest room above Sherry’s sewing/craft desk.
    • In the photo below you can also see an example of the “candid” family photos we have around – it’s our kids playing on some rocks at the beach several years ago. Nobody’s smiling at the camera, but between their accidentally matching striped shirts and the pretty scenery (and the memory of spending that day together) it was a definite keeper.
    neutral foyer beachy capiz light gingko leaf
    • And here’s that kid artwork we blew up and hung in our bonus room to create a large scale piece with a personal touch. You can’t expect to make successful cupcakes following the recipe, but it makes us smile every time we read it.

    We’re Digging

    • We’re still figuring out the best spots for them to get maximum light reflection, but this one in our kitchen window is everyone’s favorite so far because the rainbows splash across the cabinets in the morning (all the way over to the far wall where our shoe cubbies are!) while everyone’s getting ready for the day. It has been such a fun pick-me-up.

    If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

    And lastly, a big thank you to Grove Collaborative for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at  and spend your first $20 to receive a FREE gift: a trio of Mrs. Meyers cleaners, a 60-day VIP Membership AND a surprise bonus gift on top of all that.

    Thanks for listening, guys!

    *This post contains affiliate links*

    The post #134: Where Have All The Family Photos Gone? appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.

    Our Room For Real Simple’s Idea House

    Earlier this month we took the whole family (dog included!) up to Brooklyn for a few days to put together the space we’ve be designing for this year’s Real Simple Idea House over the past five or so months.

    I realize there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence (especially if you missed our podcast episode or Instagram stories about it) so we’ll catch you up right here and show you the *almost* finished space. And explain what’s still left to be done before their big photoshoot for the magazine and tell you about how some last-minute curveballs actually made the room better. And tell you what they do with everything in the house once the idea home is all said & done. That’s a lot of ands, so buckle up because we have a lot to tell ya.

    side table | daybed | wallpaper | art | lamp | pillows | quilt | rug | octopus

    This is the second year that Real Simple magazine has taken over a home in Brooklyn, assigned each room to a different “designer” (there’s typically a mix of certified interior designers & bloggers & design TV personalities, etc) and then they photograph the finished spaces for their magazine (this one will featured be in their October issue). Here’s last year’s house which we loved following along (especially since our friends Jenny Komenda & Sabrina Soto each got a room in that house.

    We were completely surprised & extremely thrilled when they asked us if we wanted to do a room this year – and they assigned us the “guest room/playroom” – which felt just perfect for us (we love multi-function rooms, especially when it involves balancing the needs of both grown-ups and kids… even if the family is imaginary in this case).

    light | chairs | table | beanbag | pouf | dresser | shelves | rug | wallpaper

    So since March we’ve worked remotely with the Real Simple team to make this room happen. They sent us pictures (like the one below) and measurements and floor plans, we sent back design plans and a mood board and a floor plan and links to each product selection. Everything had to be approved by their editors (they didn’t want a certain space to feel wildly incongruous with any of the other rooms and they also didn’t want duplicate or too-similar items or ideas from space to space) so it was a fascinating puzzle to put together from afar.

    Once everything that we ordered had arrived in the room, we spent one marathon day putting things in place and navigating some 11th hour challenges that are inevitable in these types of projects. We didn’t get EVERYTHING completed (most notably our long white curtains were back-ordered so they’ll go up later – which will completely soften that industrial back wall so it looks a lot more like the rest of the room) but it’s around 95% done in these pictures, and the Real Simple crew will get it to full 100% before their photographer comes in.

    And yes, those are our son’s feet poking out in the picture above and our daughter is laying on the bed under a blanket. We decided to make this a big family trip – mostly because we wanted to see relatives and friends in the NYC/NJ area while we were up there, but also because we thought it’d be fun for our kids to see us tackle this firsthand. It was basically one big “take your kids to work” adventure, and they both got into it and started suggesting what they’d like (our daughter even sketched out some ideas on her little magnetic drawing tablet), and they both served as “quality control” to make sure the beanbag was comfy and the rug was soft enough to roll on. In short: it was a ton of fun to have them there.

    In any of these combo rooms, there can definitely be a range of percentages when it comes to the balance. For example, sometimes people have a playroom with a futon in it and it’s 95% playroom, and 5% guest room (that futon is literally the only guest room-ish thing about it, and it’s used very rarely).

    mirror | side table | daybed | wallpaper | art | lamp | poufs | quilt | rug | octopus

    In this case, the brief from Real Simple was to make it look mostly like a guest room, so any grown up would walk in and love it and want to sleep there, but to also work in some kids stuff – both hidden (in storage bins, baskets, behind closed drawers, etc) and on display (on open shelves, in lidless baskets, etc). So I’d call this room’s particular percentage 75% guest room & 25% playroom. When you’re tackling a multi-use space like this, do whatever percentage actually works functionally and feels right for your home (remember, this is an imaginary family).

    As for pulling this room’s design together, I’ve been obsessed with for years, so it was the launch point for the whole room as soon as Real Simple said that a single bed was their preference for the space. Picture me punching the air and screaming “I GET TO USE MY DREAM DAYBED!!!!”

    light| baskets | daybed | wallpaper | art | poufs | pillows | quilt | rug | chair | table

    Daybeds are also great because they can function as both a bed (when it’s in guest room mode) and a couch (when it’s in playroom mode). We also balanced some other needs for both functions with some other furniture choices. A nice big side table with books & mags for a guest along with a reading lamp checks the guest room box, while some large lidded storage baskets on the other side of the bed checked the playroom box (see photo above).

    The wallpaper was also sort of a happy accident too. The original wallpaper we had suggested was also very tone-on-tone and I had picked it because I LOVED how playful the pattern was (look how cute!). Since it was still an extremely neutral color palette, but the pattern was fun for kids, I thought it would be perfect for this dual space, but the editors worried it might skew too playroom so we selected this more affordable palm one instead. We love how the room turned out, but I still love the original wallpaper pick too – so if you’re creating a playroom or a kids room, I think it would be so much fun (heck, as a grown woman I’d like it in my space too).

    mirror | daybed | wallpaper | art | lamp | pillows | quilt | octopus

    I am just in love with that octopus, as were the kids. What is it about a big stuffed animal with a slightly dopey expression that steals your heart? Also, some of our pillow fills hadn’t arrived yet so that droopy bolsterpillow below is stuffed with spare bath towels. THE MAGIC OF PHOTO STYLING, EVERYBODY! Also this large print from Juniper Print Shop was such a perfect solution (all the right colors, looked great with the wallpaper, and feels like a kid would love staring at it just as much as a grown up – in fact our kids asked us whose house it was – ha!).

    daybed | wallpaper | art | pillows | quilt

    Another playroom “must” for us is a table or desk that can serve as a craft/art/game space. This room had very little wall space (aside from the bed wall, it was pretty much all windows, closets, and doors) so we knew a floating desk or table was our best bet. A round table is always great in these scenarios and we knew our drop-leaf table would earn bonus points because the leaves can be folded down to make it more compact if needed. Plus there’s room for two blue-gray chairs that can be moved to any of the four sides of the table. Flexible furniture is always a win.

    So we just hoped when we showed up that we could make it work, and we love how it looks by the windows. Imagine coloring or doing a puzzle there while looking outside on a gorgeous sunny day. Please also imagine my double wide white flowy curtains because all of that industrial black frame that you see below will be muuuuuch softer once they’re hung. I can’t wait to see the photos from the magazine because it’s going to be yet another demonstration about how curtains completely change a room. Stay tuned…

    wallpaper | rug | chairs | table | beanbag

    This room is also great because it had two matching closets along the wall to the right of the window above. Why is that great? Well, it was a no-brainer to make one useful for guests (their clothes, a suitcase, etc) and use the other one for kids storage (games, books, art supplies, etc). The guest closet is being outfitted by professional organizers (they’re doing pretty much every other closet in the house too, as well as the pantry) so our task was to tackle the kids closet, which we wanted to make open and accessible – and cute enough to be in plain view 24/7… so our first step was to remove the sliding doors.

    I realize that “doors off” approach could sound counterintuitive since the fastest way to clean up for guests is to just throw stuff behind closed doors, but we’ve found that can also breed Monica closets (especially when toys are involved). Plus this is an idea house… how fun would this room be if we just had kids stuff hiding behind a closed door? So instead, we got to create this little nook full of functional storage that looks good too (the stenciled dresser is such a great piece that’s easy on the eyes yet super smart for storing things out of sight).

    chairs | table | beanbag | dresser | shelves | wallpaper

    So at least consider creating some storage like this in your home, which can fend off the urge to shove everything into a closet, and instead create a manageable and simple system for things (both concealed and out in the open) so that you love looking at it. When everything has a legit spot to go back to after it’s done being played with, it really isn’t very hard to maintain (and even kids can clean up on autopilot).

    Another example of this concept is the back wall of our bonus room in our house, where we have concealed cabinets for storing games and art supplies and puzzles and even bonus guest blankets and pillows for when people sleep in there, but also has fun open shelving so you walk in and see some playful and very functional items right out in the open.

    But back to the idea room. These shelves were actually our biggest hiccup in the plan, and they’re what ended up taking up the biggest chunk of time during our install day. Our original shelves were backordered, but we didn’t find that out with enough time to order new ones.

    Originally we were going to do colorful shelves full of books & toys, but physically being in the room that day made it clear that this wall needed some wood tones to balance out the daybed and the other lovely wood tones on the other side of the space.

    HOORAY FOR THE COLORFUL SHELF DELAY! It truly was the best hiccup we could have asked for, because these wood shelves made the room turn out so much better than it would have if those hadn’t been backordered. After we arrived, we immediately began hunting for options that were in stock and available that day, and landed on these LISABO shelves from Ikea. And there was an Ikea like 15 minutes from the house in Brooklyn so we were able to have them in hand by lunchtime!

    We filmed a whole segment with Real Simple about hanging the shelves (who knows if we were coherent enough for them to use it but we’ll share it if/when it comes out), and you can see that the more neutral shelves still ended up looking colorful and fun, thanks to the addition of some toys and books and blocks.

    And I know the idea of color-coding your shelves can be eye-roll inducing, but it ended up being great for this tiny space. I wasn’t super Type-A about it. I just quickly tossed things together mostly by color… but there’s yellow & pink in that top right corner and orange & hot pink in the top left, so it’s not anything that took too long or was overwrought.

    In fact it took us about 1.5 hours to hang these shelves (two words: cinderblock walls) but it took me like 9 minutes to style them. Not kidding. And the cool thing is that as people use items and kids grow and change, shelves evolve too. Open shelves aren’t a museum. Nobody has to painstakingly put things back the same way each time. It’s actually fun to try different groupings, and this rainbow-ish approach made our eyes happy, but the shelves in our bonus room have changed so much over the years. It’s all gonna be ok. Don’t stress. Just put things you like to look at on open shelves and hide stuff you don’t wanna see in concealed cabinets or drawers or baskets or bins. Truly, it’s a simple system that you can actually can keep up with.

    A note on the shelves themselves, because they exceeded our expectations by like a million. I had never personally heard of or seen these shelves before (they said “new” on the Ikea site when John dug them up on his phone in that panicked we-have-to-find-something-today search) but I’m SUPER impressed by them. They’re very solid, relatively easy to hang (would’ve taken about 10 mins per shelf if we didn’t have cinderblock walls which required a masonry bit), and the wood tone is perfect. Blonde and casual. Smooth & expensive looking. But not.

    And since we know keeping picture-perfect shelves isn’t realistic for all of your toys, we always like to incorporate some closed toy storage too – like the chest of drawers underneath the shelves and those large floor baskets across the room that we mentioned earlier.

    Oh, I also think we need to buy a beanbag now. Our kids were obsessed with this one. Like the chairs were chumps. They both wanted to be ON THE BEANBAG AT ALL TIMES.

    light | chairs | table | beanbag | pouf | dresser | shelves | rug | wallpaper

    I’m so excited to see the finished pictures of this space in Real Simple’s October issue. Plus there are so many other amazing spaces that we already got to see in various states of near-completion, like Mandi’s master bedroom and Shavonda & Carmeon’s office. Speaking of which, we overlapped Shavonda and Carmeon‘s visit and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. to finally meet them both in person. We’ve been IG buddies for ages (you might remember that Shavonda talked to us about downsizing on our podcast last year) so hanging with them was the perfect end to an extremely fun day.

    Plus Shavonda got this sweet picture of me and John where we look like we’re wearing one large black t-shirt with three arm-holes. If that ain’t marriage, I don’t know what is.

    Oh, and as for what happens to all of this stuff and this house when the photos are taken for Real Simple’s October issue… well, the house gets sold and the furniture gets auctioned off for a good cause! I love that nothing goes to waste, and in creating such a fun space, everything ends up benefiting people who need a helping hand. They haven’t picked this year’s charity yet, but when they do I’ll let you know.

    So thanks, Real Simple! It was Real Fun 😉 #MomJokes4Days

    P.S. If you’d like to see other rooms we’ve designed for a good cause, we loved doing for a local family, for a local school, and these for three amazing kids.

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