The Duplex Kitchen Backsplashes Are In!

We’re nearing the finish line on both of the duplex kitchens and today we’re psyched to share one HUGE to-do list hurdle we recently cleared: tiling both kitchen backsplashes! Yes, since it’s a two-unit house, we had two kitchens to install at once, and then we had two backsplashes to do, which was pretty daunting going into things, but we managed to knock them both out on a recent 3-day weekend. And it feels great to have them off of our to do list. So today I wanted to share how they turned out, along with 8 things you can do to set yourself up for a speedy and successful tile project.

Pink Patterned Tile Backsplash With White Counters

We still have some smaller projects to do before they’re 100% done – like adding shelving to these tiled kitchen walls, and a beadboard type of treatment for the entire stove wall (which will be nice and wipeable). But that didn’t stop Sherry from tossing out some styling accessories to make it look a smidge more done than it really is. She’s in charge of morale.

So let’s kick things off with a quick before & not-quite-after… because those shelves are still coming – along with a few other finishing touches. But it’s definitely coming along in here. This was the room after we finished installing the cabinets (more on that here) but before we had started on the backsplash:

And here it is now:

Pink Tile Bar Backsplash Installed In Blue Ikea Kitchen

The floor-to-ceiling tile adds exactly the visual impact we were aiming for by bringing in a big dose of color and pattern to each kitchen. It’s even visible from the front door (if the living room hadn’t been a disaster I would’ve taken that further-back photo for you). So it adds a lot to the entire downstairs vibe, not just the kitchens.

Pink Patterned Tile In Blue Kitchen With Exposed Brick Chimney

As you may remember from this tile selections post, both tiles are from Tile Bar. The pink pattern (with the blue Ikea Kallarp cabinets) is called Bella Tate and the blue pattern (with the wood Ikea Askersund cabinets) is Bella Moma. We also grouted both with our favorite grout, Mapei Flexcolor in Warm Gray (more on why we pretty much only use that for everything here).

Wood Ikea Kitchen With Exposed Brick Chimney and Blue White Patterned Tile

They’re both nice durable porcelain tile (even though they look like cement tiles – which would have required more maintenance and could stain), so yay for getting the look without the more finicky material. Both tile styles are about 9 x 9″ in size, and both were $7.99 per square foot. So the tile for each side cost us just under $400 per kitchen! It’s not the cheapest backsplash we’ve ever done (this one is), but it still feels like a pretty sweet deal for such big statement!

Wood Ikea Cabinets With Blue Patterned Backsplash Tile From Tile Bar

They were also both fairly easy to install (again, we tiled, grouted, and photographed both of them in just 2.5 days). But the installation process reminded us that, say it with me, PREP & PLANNING IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL TILE JOB. Yes I’m throwing in some bold and some caps lock.

It’s certainly not the most fun or satisfying part of the process, but taking the time upfront to plan your pattern placement and prep your materials will make your life way easier. And more importantly, it’ll make your end result MUCH BETTER. So even though you’ll be antsy to bust open your bucket of mastic and fire up your wet saw, take the hour or so ahead of time to do these and you’ll always be glad you did.

8 Things To Do Before You Start Tiling

Before I get into the list, I’ll say that a lot of these relate to using medium-to-large tiles (and especially those with a design or pattern printed on them). You can ignore some of these if you’re using smaller tiles like a mosaic, penny, or hex tile. Why? Because of lot of this is about avoiding small cuts or slivers of tile. That’s not as much of an issue with small scale tile, but on larger tiles, slivers can be hard to cut and, worse, can cause your pattern to look off-center and even accentuate unlevel or uneven walls. That may sound insignificant, but it can make a big difference in how professional your result looks in the end.

1. Find Your Max & Minimum Measurements

Now, you’ve probably already measured your walls when you calculated how much tile to buy. But it’s always a good idea to get precise measurements (like down to the 1/8th or even 1/16th of an inch) before you start cutting anything. And since walls and ceilings often slope, you’ll want to measure as many sides of your tiling area as possible to figure out your maximum and mimimum distances. For instance, the chimney side in this kitchen was a 1/2″ shorter than the height of the opposite corner.

Measuring Wall Heights To Prep For Backsplash Tile Installation

And since walls or ceilings can also bow in or out, your maximum or minimum measurements may occur somewhere in the middle too (as in, the wall can slope up in the middle and back down in the other corner). You can quickly check for bows by holding a long level in the corners and seeing if the entire level makes contact with the wall, or if your wall bends away from it at any points. Minor bows aren’t a big deal (they can be filled with grout or caulk) but significant bows can change your max or minimum. That spot where it bows might actually be the tallest or shortest point on your wall.

Checking Vertical Level Of Wall To See If It Bows Before Backsplash Install

I won’t bore you with the specifics of our measurements, but for the sake of this example, let’s say our max measurement was 63.5″ from counter to ceiling on one side and our minimum was 63″ on the other. Once you know this, you can start figuring out how to best fill that space with your tile.

2. Lay Out & Measure Your Tile

Once you have those measurements you may be tempted to just work things out on paper (“My wall is about 63″ and the box says the tile is 9×9” so I can fit 7 whole tiles – easy peasey!”). But I urge you to make the time and space to physically lay out a row of tiles WITH SPACERS on the floor somewhere to get more precise measurements. Plus, I also find it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with how the pattern should be laid.

Backsplash Tile Laid On Floor To Determine Length And Pattern

In doing this we realized our 9 x 9″ square tiles were actually closer to 8.75 x 8.75″ (yikes!) and with 1/16″ spacers between each, the math got a bit trickier. Suddenly 7 tiles didn’t completely fill the 63″ wall as exactly as we might’ve assumed on paper.

If we had just gone for it, we’d be about an inch short on one side and we might find ourselves having to fill that gap with a 1″ sliver of tile. Which would look so glaringly bad, everyone would see that and say… this was not planned very well. Plus, because of our ceiling slope, it would’ve tapered to be just a half inch sliver of tile at the other end – which is basically impossible to cut and install. It also would have really drawn your eye to the fact that the ceiling isn’t perfectly level. So yeah, don’t do that.

Measuring Tape On Patterned Backsplash Tile To Find Length

I’ll jump ahead to our strategy for avoiding a sliver in this scenario – which you can see in the progress photo below. Since we basically needed 7 full tiles plus an extra 1″ to fill the wall’s height at the max point, we used 6 full tiles plus 2 slightly-bigger-than-half tiles on top and bottom.

Pink Patterned Backsplash Tile In Blue Kitchen Mostly Completed

Not only did that help our pattern look centered top-to-bottom, it also helped disguise the slight slope in the ceiling because your eye doesn’t detect that the top tile is 4.5″ on one end and 5″ on the other side. They both read as roughly half a tile.

Pink Tile Bar Backsplash Installed In Blue Ikea Kitchen

Starting with a half-tile on the bottom row also helped solve another potential hiccup we identified, thanks to our upfront planning…

3. Plan Ahead For Outlets & Obstacles

You’ll also want to factor in any obstacles that might complicate your cuts. For us, this was just the outlets along the back wall, but it also might include switchplates, cabinets, potfillers, etc. Sidenote: we like to have kitchen outlets installed horizontally and close to the counters. They’re easier to hide that way and it prevents you from having visible cords running halfway up your walls.

Checking Backsplash Tile Against Electrical Outlet In Kitchen

But back to the tile: starting with a full tile on the bottom row would’ve meant cutting some holes SMACK DAB in the middle of a tile (a thing that’s hard to do and we’re not particularly good at). Cutting along an edge, however, is much faster and more in our wheelhouse. So that half-tile along the bottom row actually lined up nicely with the outlets and made our cuts much, much simpler.

Detail Of Backsplash Installation Progress With Blue Patterned Tile

4. Plan Your Pattern Side-To-Side Too

A lot of what I’ve shown so far is about planning your tiles top-to-bottom, but don’t forget to plan it side-to-side as well. That means measuring your space precisely, using a level to check for slopes or bows, and maybe even laying out your first row in place to plan your cuts, like we did below:

First Row Of Backsplash Tile Laid Out Against Wall

Again, the important things here is to avoid weird slivers anywhere and make sure your pattern will look centered. For ours, we knew we wanted the pattern to look centered on the window/sink. We lucked out because centering a seam between two tiles under the window allowed us to use a half-ish-tile on the chimney side and a full tile on one end (except for where it bowed in slightly further up the wall and we had to shave a bit off – which is much better than adding a sliver – we’ll take cutting something slightly down over a sliver any day since it looks cleaner and doesn’t emphasize the imperfection as much).

Full Wall Of Blue Patterned Backsplash Tile From Tile Bar

Normally it would bother us that it wasn’t full tiles on both sides of the wall but the chimney already makes the room a bit asymmetrical so visually it still feels nice and balanced with the entire pattern centered on the sink and the window.

5. Double-Check That It’s Level

If you plan to use your countertop as a guide for placing your first row, you’ll want to make sure it’s level first. Even if it’s not perfectly level, you may want to use it as your guide anyways because it’s one of the closest things your eye will compare your tile lines to when all is said and done. Just make sure that it also is level to any nearby horizontal surfaces like the bottoms of the cabinets or the window sills.

Level Along Counter To Check Level Before Backsplash Installation

It’s especially important to check that things are level if your tile is going to span across areas without continuous counters to rely on as a guide (like behind your stove or across a doorway). If things are not level or not lining up across those gaps, you may want to draw a level line on your wall to reference as you go – and be sure to check that your first row stays level as you lay it!

6. Cut Your First Row

Our counters were level, so we knew our first row of tiles could all be cut to the same height (again, roughly in half – so that it would line up with the top of the outlets). We like to cut our first row of tiles all at once before we start installing anything, especially while all of this planning and measuring is fresh in our heads. And assuming your tile saw (here’s ours) has a guide that you can lock in place – it’s an efficient way to knock out a lot of cuts that all have to be the same length.

Cutting Patterned Tile On Wet Saw Using Guide

You still may need to come back and make some cuts around your outlets or corners, but this makes setting your first row much faster (which is especially important once you’ve got mastic drying on the wall).

First Row Of Tiles Cut Before Adhering Backsplash

But let’s move away from all of this pattern planning and talk about some other prep to help speed your job along.

7. Protect Your Work Area

As you’ve seen in some of these shots, we like to cover our countertops (and nearby floors) with red rosin paper. It’s like brown craft paper, but it also has a moisture barrier that can keep that big soggy drop of mastic or grout from seeping through to your counters.

Red Rosin Paper Protecting Kitchen Counter Before Backsplash Installation

Before we roll it out and tape it down, we actually like to run a line of painter’s tape along the counter first. You want it to be close enough to the back wall to protect your counter – but not so close that your tile will later cover it. We just find that it’s easier to be precise with this tape placement when we’re not simultaneously wrangling a big roll of paper too.

Taping Off Counter With Blue Painters Tape Before Backsplash Installation

And if some tape does get stuck under your tile, don’t worry. Just get out as much as you can (I sometimes even use the edge of a sharp utility knife to cut bits out) and any small pieces you can’t get out will likely get covered by caulk later.

8. Trim Any Moldings Interferences

Another thing you may consider doing to save yourself a few difficult cuts down the road is this: bust out a Dremel or similar tool and make room for your tile to slide behind any funny moldings – like the sill on the window below.

Trimming Window Molding With Dremel Before Backsplash Install

Cutting out that little chunk means that now any straight tile edge can slide neatly behind the sill, rather than having to carve some craggy notch into your tile.

Window Trim Cut So That Backsplash Tile Can Slide Behind It

If you don’t want to do this or don’t own a tool to make it easy, it’s not the end of the world to cut the tile around the sill. But I think you’ll find it this method faster/easier, and it will give you a cleaner look in the end.

Blue Tile Bar Patterned Backsplash With Wood Cabinets

Again, I know all of these tasks may feel like you’re just burning time you could be using to actually tile – but I think you’ll find that it ultimately makes your project got more smoothly and you’ll be happier with the end result. Because believe me, there have been times that I threw caution to the window and just winged it. Sometimes it worked out just fine, but other times I was left cutting small slivers of tile that made my final result feel a little shoddier than I wanted (granted, I may be the only one who notices these things).

Fortunately these backsplashes are not one of those times. Even with a persnickety pattern and a few fun curveballs (hello connecting tile around a window!) we’re beyond happy with the results.

Close Up Of Pink Patterned Tile With Cutting Board Leaned Up

Now we just have to check off a few more things in here (like our wipeable beadboard-ish treatment for the stove wall, the floating shelves, and adding actual plates/cookware/etc to the cabinets), and we should be able to officially stick a fork in these babies. That was a kitchen pun if you didn’t notice. The fork part, not the baby part. Okay forget it. Bye!

PS: If you want to see some other tiling projects or get more tiling advice, check out these posts below:

  • What Makes Some Floor Tiles Easier To Install Than Others
  • The Only Grout We’ll Ever Use
  • Installing A Subway Tile Backsplash for $200
  • How To Paint A Bathroom Floor To Look Like Cement Tile
  • Adding A Marble Herringbone Backsplash To Our Laundry Room

*This post contains affiliate links*

The post The Duplex Kitchen Backsplashes Are In! appeared first on Young House Love.

This content was originally published here.

#136: Maximizing House Joy (For Minimal Money)

This week we’re talking to Joyful author and expert Ingrid Fetell Lee about some simple ways to inject joy into your home without breaking the bank. She also explains why joy is easier to achieve than happiness – and how seeking it at home can actually help you unlock your decor style. Plus Sherry marked her recent birthday by getting a long-awaited tattoo (actually, two of them!) so she’s explaining the meaning behind them, how much it hurt, and what finally convinced her to go for it. We also share our latest escape room attempt, how we’re battling car clutter, and a BIG change to the podcast that you won’t want to miss.  

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.

New Intro Song

  • And now, for the MUCH AWAITED DEBUT of our new podcast intro song in video form. This is a must watch (especially if you’ve followed us for a while):

NOTE: If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may need to click through the post for the embedded video to show. You can also watch here on YouTube.

NOTE: If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may need to click through to the post for the embedded video to show. You can also watch here on YouTube.

NOTE: If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may need to click through the post for the embedded video to show. You can also watch here on YouTube.

What’s New

  • As Sherry described in the episode, the 7-leafed laurel is because 7 is a significant number in our relationship and family, and the letter “V” is for two important women in her life, her grandma Victoria and great-grandma Vincenza.

Ingrid Fetell Lee, Joyful

We’re Digging

  • And if you’ve got an iPhone, you can find the “Do Not Disturb” options right near the top of your Settings. You can see how we have ours scheduled for nighttime hours, and how it still allows calls from our “Favorite” contacts to break through – and how “Repeated Calls” can help anyone get through if they call twice within three minutes.

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 Cree LED Light Bulbs for sponsoring this episode. Find out why better lighting matters at and learn more about why they’ve become our go-to bulb in our light bulb resource post.

Thanks for listening, guys!

*This post contains affiliate links*

The post #136: Maximizing House Joy (For Minimal Money) appeared first on Young House Love.

This content was originally published here.

The Finished Living Rooms & Dining Rooms At The Duplex!

We’re THRILLED TO PIECES to be finished with the entire front half of the entire duplex – which means we’re revealing the open living room & dining room on each side at this very moment. Right now. It’s ON.

This is what you see when you walk into the left side of the duplex and pivot towards the living area. With the exception of still having to steam and hem the curtains, we are ready to stick a fork in this baby!

Scallop Coffee Table on Red Rug With Crate And Barrel Sofa
| | similar rug | similar pouf | | | | | similar dining table| | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

One of our favorite secondhand rugs that I bought ages ago from New England Loom on Instagram found a home in the living area with our favorite Crate & Barrel sofa to add cushy and durable seating. We love this sofa so much that after we bought it around two years ago for our own living room in the Taft Steel color, we decided to buy it again times two for the duplex in the Taft Truffle color (which we think will hopefully stand up to all the use these houses are gonna get). Our kids and pooch have road tested our sofa at home for the past few years and we couldn’t be happier with it. Zero issues. Super comfy. We bought it three times, I feel like that says it all.

It’s hard to see in the shot above, but we also have two armchairs facing the crisp white coffee table (they don’t sell the armchairs in the blue color anymore but they have a deep gray that looks great too). We also added a little pouf ottoman to round things out in the living zone (found at HomeGoods, but here’s a similar one).

Here’s a better shot of the chairs, which we also have at home in our living room in the natural color. Notice a theme here? We are trying to diminish the risk of making bad furniture buys when we know we have a love something that’s durable and functional. So since we’ve been really happy with them at home (they’re going on two years old), we got them in a darker color for the duplex (again, the blue is gone but they have them in dark gray now). Then we just added some cute pink bolsters to the back, which is the key to making them extra comfy since they feel a bit reclined without the added pillows.

Blue And Wood Target Accent Chairs In Bright Living Room
| | | | | similar lamp | similar rug | | | |  | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

We also brought in one of our favorite quartz-topped tables (it’s over 50% off right now on Amazon!). Hooray for not having to worry about juice or wine stains while getting that shiny marble look. And how perfect is that large art print on the wall behind the sofa? This is the side of the duplex with the blue cabinets and the pink tile and TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THAT ART WAS MADE FOR THIS ROOM.

Juniper Print Shop Art In Bright Living Room With Marble Table Crate And Barrel Sofa
| | |similar pouf | | | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

When we finally finish the kitchen and do a video walk-through you’ll see what I mean, but the exact same tones in the kitchen – which is just beyond the dining area – are also in the art. It’s magical. Our good friend Jenny Komenda’s Juniper Print Shop is the best – and we bought two of Sarah Madeira Day’s prints for the beach house a few months ago, so this art feels meant to be on so many levels.

Let’s rewind to really appreciate where we came from in here. This was the room as it looked when we bought it, complete with sections of the ceiling collapsing from water damage to reveal black mold underneath. All of the paneling was fake plastic paneling (again, to cover up damage in the walls) and a rug pad had been removed but the backing was stuck all over the floors. Oh and see that one gorgeous thing in here!? The fan! Just kidding, that five paneled door on the right wall. Remember we rescued it and reused the two of them up in the bedrooms as closet doors? You can see them here – we LOVE how they came out!

This house reno went all the way down to the studs (literally you could stand in the house and put your arm outside) but here’s a shot when the new plywood was put up along the old studs (a lot of which were reinforced with new framing). I remember standing in there and thinking… someday it’ll come together again. This was easily taken over a year ago.

Also, we added that interior transom a little while after framing in the doorway above. See how it originally was lower (see above pic) and then we realized “wait, we can put a long cool transom window in there and it’ll let in more light and feel original and so cool!” So we reframed the doorway opening to be higher, which you can see below:

Fast forward a little bit more and… ta-da!! Transom! Isn’t she lovely? All of the solid five panel doors that we added, along with that transom and the pocket doors that we added on the laundry room/mudroom (which you can sort of make out in the photo below) are some of my favorite “inspired-by-original” things that we brought back to this house. Especially since there were only a few original things that we could salvage (like the brick chimneys that we exposed, the hardwoods that we refinished, and the diamond windows & front doors).

And here it is now – although we’ll show you more of the kitchen next week when it’s actually done (along with the mudroom/laundry room if we can get that knocked out and photographed too!). We both felt extremely lucky that the placement for the dining room light on each side of the house was perfect since we had to pick that spot months before drywall & floor refinishing.

Open Living Dining And Kitchen With Crate And Barrel Sofa And Scallop Coffee Table
| | similar rug | similar pouf | | | | | similar dining table| | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

The way we planned it was just to tape out the table placement on the floor and figure out what we thought would work with room to pull out all the chairs and then hope for the best. We knew our table measurements because this is a secondhand table that we have had for ages (it used to live in our own dining room!) and we refinished it to look like new!). John’s actually working on a post for you guys with steps for refinishing an old table since we did two of them for the duplex and they came out really well.

Here’s the before from the other side. Look at my lovely beautiful perfect old wood doors (remember you can see them here in the upstairs bedroom).

One other remarkable thing about this room that’s easy to see, even in the before shots, are the size of the windows in here. The downstairs of the duplex has 9′ ceilings and all of the windows start about a foot off the ground and go about 8″ shy of the ceiling. So yes, it means they’re all OVER 6 FEET TALL! These windows are taller than John. Like if he stood on the windowsill, the top of the window frame would still be inches above his head. They let in tons of light, and definitely add presence to this otherwise nondescript rectangular room.

So here we are back in the present. You can see from this angle that it’s all nice and open, but we made sense of the long room by giving it both a living and a dining function. If you have a long open space like this, one tip would be to use area rugs and hanging lights to define different zones so it doesn’t look like one long bowling alley of a space. Floating furniture around the rug to make a living room “zone” at one end, and then hanging a pendant to define the dining area so we could center a table and chairs beneath that chandelier were two good ways to keep the room from feeling like a big amorphous blob.

Open Living And Dining Room In Bright Beach House With Pink Doors
| similar dining table| | | | | | | similar rug | similar pouf | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White | doors: SW White Truffle

Thanks to all of those aforementioned extra tall windows, we didn’t have a lot of empty wall space, so there was literally just one spot that made sense for the TV, which was this wall space across from the sofa. We actually love how the room’s layout panned out because the TV is the very last thing you see when you walk into the room since you enter and see the rug and the sofa and the coffee table. Plus we used a nice thin console table and mounted the television on the wall so it feels clean and easily allows for passage throughout the room.

Bright Living Room Red Rug With Blue Target Chairs Crate And Barrel Sofa
| | | | similar rug | | similar lamp | | | | | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

A deeper more solid looking TV table would definitely have left the room feeling cramped and awkward, so if you have that issue: 1) mount a TV on the wall (we’ve used this awesome $19 mount four times and it’s always great) and 2) add a narrow open feeling table under it (like this), which allows for a much more spacious feeling.

Plus if your TV is a smart one (we bought two of these for the duplex living rooms after loving the one we have in our house so much) you can ditch the cable box and literally just have one wire that runs down the wall to plug the tv in, which we covered with a white cord cover. Just one cord instead of 10 snaking out from the tv?! Without any black boxes and stuff to hide?! We are living in the future!! (Note: if you want to know more about cutting the cord and still getting all your channels without a cable box, which also saves us tons of money – here’s a detailed post with more info).?

Bright Beach House Living Room With Pouf And Chippendale Stair Railing
| | | || similar rug | similar pouf | | | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

We actually debated running the cord cover along the side of that vent that you see on the right which would have been even more invisible, but because of where the outlet is placed on the wall it would have to cut across a lot at the bottom to snake back to the outlet so we just went straight down with it. I think once we have more board games and puzzles and stuff on each console it’ll be even less noticeable (oh heck yes, our duplex is gonna have GAMES! You know us 😉

Target X Base Bookcase As Media Cabinet With Floating TV
| | baskets | cord cover | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White | doors: SW White Truffle

The door next to the TV will be our locked owners closet, but the one next to that is the powder room. This area was originally just a big closet, so it was a huge functional improvement to create a bathroom downstairs (there wasn’t one down here before!).

First Floor Powder Room With Pink Door
vanity | mirror | bath light | bath faucet | | | baskets | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White | doors: SW White Truffle

It’s impossible to photograph this space, but here’s a closer peek (this is the other side – it’s identical). It’s a room we’d like to do more to eventually – like add wainscotting with wallpaper running around the top or some fun rich color to make it a little jewel box in there. We’ll most likely get to that in the off-season next year, but for now we’re loving the vanity (it’s so pretty guys! Those legs! That shiny top!) and the mirror above it (it’s my FAVORITE budget mirror that looks so much more expensive than it is). And the toilet on the other side is, well, pretty much just a nice white toilet. And now you can do your business without walking upstairs. Like a boss.

| | | | towel hook | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

If we duck back out into the living/dining room, you can see that we went with some brass (in the chandelier and the mirror on the wall behind it) as well as some oil rubbed bronze (in all of the curtain rods, all the door handles and hinges in the entire house, etc). So if you’re wondering how to mix metals, I always just say to make each of them appear a few times in a space and then it looks intentional and layered.

Open Living Dining And Kitchen With Crate And Barrel Sofa And Scallop Coffee Table
| | similar rug | similar pouf | | | | | similar dining table| | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

The tone of the the dark TV is basically the same color as the curtain rods and doorknobs, and we hung a few simple gold frames on either side of the front window to bring some of that brass tone over to that area too. You really don’t have to think too hard about mixing metals – just go for it. And if you’re worried about tiring of something that might feel trendy (ex: rose gold or copper for example) you can just add it with smaller items (frames, a table lamp, even a bowl on the coffee table for remotes or odds & ends).

View From Duplex Kitchen With Dining Table And Capiz Chandelier
| | | | similar rug | similar pouf | similar lamp | | | | | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

Ok, so that’s the left side with the pink doors – let’s move over to the right side with the greeny-gray doors. Although the floor plan is a mirror image of the left side, the before looked a little different:

This side had less mold and rot (unfortunately not none – but the walls hadn’t been covered as much, although that is a drop ceiling you see that was added to hide some other water damage). And the two-toned trim that changes mid-wall is pretty… unusual…? But the floors on this side were lovely (we still refinished them all so they match) and we could see the potential even more when we walked in the door.

Here’s that space as it looks today (again, we’ll share all the kitchen details in our next post when it’s done).

Open Living And Dining Space In Duplex With Crate And Barrel Sofa
| coffee table | rug | similar pouf | blue pillow | pink pillows |mirrors| dining chairs | similar dining table | chandelier | art | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

We kept the same basic elements in this living room (same sofa, same armchairs, a secondhand wood dining table, a light colored coffee table and a simple pouf for bonus seating), but we mixed things up and chose some different items as well, like a different rug, dining chairs, lighting, etc. It’s really fun to have two identical rooms so you can change up a few of the elements and basically see it two totally different ways… (but warning, it’s expensive – furnishing two houses (and filling two kitchens!) pretty much equals that emoji of the money with wings. But at least we had fun while all our benjamins were flying away.

The vibe for this side all started with this rug, which is a bit more chill than the bright pink turkish one on the other side. The same sofa and marble end table are in here, but we reused our coffee table that we topped with concrete (remember that from our beach house living room) and just added some soft pillows and a woven lamp I’ve had for like 6 years in the attic (its mate is on the other side of the duplex, which you probably noticed in the other pics).

Duplex Living Room With Neutral Traditional Rug Crate And Barrel Sofa
| end table | coffee table | side table | accent chairs | rug | similar pouf | similar lamp | blue pillows | pink pillows | lumbar pillows | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

Oh and I should have mentioned that we also tried to keep the furniture pretty low so it wasn’t sticking up and awkwardly blocking too much of our huge windows, so those two dark blue armchairs were nice for that wall for that reason. More light flows in through the glass on the front door and the original transom above that too!

Pouf And Coffee Table In Bright Living Room With Chippendale Railing
| | | | | | | || similar pouf | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White | door: SW Oyster Bay

The un-ironed curtains are killing me, but other than that this room is looking so fresh and finished. Alsothis rug is great and such a bargain for the size. Extremely well rated, soft, and durable (when I shared some sneak peeks on Instagram, people with lots of kids & dogs told me they’ve had it for years and it’s holding up perfectly – so I have high hopes for it being a good choice for a vacation rental).

Blue Target Accent Chairs On Neutral Rug
accent chairs | rug | | side table | similar lamp | blue pillow | pink pillow | lumbar pillows | | |  | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White

The dining table in here is another secondhand one that we sanded down and refinished – so we’ll share the tutorial soon. It’s such a worthwhile DIY (wait until you see the before shots of them!) and it’s extremely inexpensive to do! We saved hundreds and maybe even a cool grand by not having to buy two new dining tables – and a secondhand table is always nice since dining tables take such a beating (it’s good to know these two have already stood the test of time).

View Into Open Living And Dining Room With Wood Table And Cage Chandelier
dining chairs | similar dining table | mirrors | chandelier | rug | similar pouf | | plant basket | | | walls: SW Spare White | trim: SW Extra White | doors: SW Oyster Bay

Oh and we’ve had those rattan mirrors that we hung on the left wall for years as well – but they still sell the same set that we got. They’re pretty great for hanging all together on a giant wall, or spreading around in a few places. The texture = so good.

And last but not least, here’s a shot from the front door looking into the living and dining room. The railing opens things up so much, and we love the architecture it adds (it looks crazy tall here but it’s just the angle – we had the camera really low for this shot). And everything from the round rattan mirrorsto the big brass & bronze light fixture feels so welcoming and warm. P.S. Another way to mix metals even more easily is to buy a fixture or some other item (like a coffee table) that mixes both – and then just add a few more hits of each one to the room and you’re golden.

Chippendale Railing In Foreground Of Duplex With Blue Stair Risings

Oh and see those cute stair risers that are the same color as the greeny-gray doors on this side? We did each side’s interior steps in their own door color, and when the front doors are thrown open you see these cute pink risers on one side and these soft green ones on the other. I can’t even tell you how charming it is (you can see a peek of them both here in this post).

But enough talking, we have two kitchens and two laundry rooms to finish to hopefully share with you by next week! And the back patio, and landscaping, and about a hundred curtains to iron and hem. Just call me Sheron Petersik, heir to the IRON throne. Get it? No? Is anyone laughing? Hello?

P.S. You can see the entire process of bringing the duplex back to life hereFrom buying it and planning the layout to , it’s thorough.

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How We Installed Easy Board & Batten At The Beach | Young House Love

Did you catch the sneak peeks of the board & batten that we installed in the middle bedroom at our beach house on Insta Stories? The picture below was also in last week’s podcast shownotes, where we discussed the wallpaper – and we got TONS of requests for a tutorial so here we go. I am not kidding when I say this was an easy project. Completely beginner-friendly – and it makes such a big impact in the room (especially since we added wallpaper above it – we’ll break down that process in a future post).

This is actually our third house where we’ve installed some sort of DIY board and batten. We did a really affordable treatment (only $57!), and then we made a “fancier” version in our current house by adding some extra molding details within the boxes.

Both of those projects were in hallways, so this latest project was our first go at using board & batten in a bedroom – and we tried a couple of new techniques this time which helped it turn out especially well for this space. This time we used different wood for the vertical battens AND we took the treatment higher up on the wall, both of which helped it feel more substantial and really added to the final impact. Especially once that wallpaper went up.

This truly is one of those projects that anyone can do because it’s really really straightforward. The final cost will depend on the size of your space and the chosen height of your molding, but ours was about $194.

Tools & Materials

It only took us half a day to install ours, but because of various drying times between caulk, spackle, primer, and paint – it wasn’t completely done until the next day. But again, it’s not a super time-intensive project. Maybe six solid hours of work broken up across a two day period? So here are the basic steps.

1. Plan Your Placement & Spacing

We cover our planning in more detail in this post, but the important thing here is to determine the HEIGHT of your top rail, and the SPACING of your battens. We used a measuring tape and blue painter’s tape to mock ours up in a few different ways to help us determine what our eyes liked best.

We ended up selecting the wider 18″ spacing of the battens, and aimed to place our top rail about 20″ down from the ceiling. We knew we wanted ours to be tall in the room, partially because we planned to install wallpaper above it and wanted to minimize the amount of paper needed & we were also mindful of things like where it intersected with our door and window moldings too. You probably don’t want it to exactly line up with the top of your doors & windows for example – but you also don’t want it to almost hit those and look off. We spaced ours so it looked intentionally lower (see the doorway in the photo above).

2. Mark Your Studs

Next use a stud finder to locate and mark the placement of your studs all around your room. We’ve fallen hard for this magnetic Stud Buddy because it’s very trustworthy (you sweep it across the wall until the strong magnet catches on the nails in your studs – and it holds in place since it’s magnetized so you can mark things hands free). You can mark your studs with a pencil or use pieces of painter’s tape like I did. I put one high and one low, just to be safe.

This is important because you’ll want your top boards to be held securely into the wall and hitting a stud with your nail gun is the best way to do it.

3. Prep Your Baseboards

This step may vary depending on your current baseboard situation. In our beach house the baseboards are just a 1 x 6″ board with a piece of decorative trim along the top. The 1 x 6″ provides the perfect bottom rail for our board and batten, so we just needed to remove the decorative piece so our battens could sit flush against it.

After scoring the top edge with a utility knife (you can also use the sharp corner of a spackle knife or painter’s tool) we pried off the small decorative piece on top. The scoring is helpful to minimize damage to the drywall behind it. You know, so you don’t end up peeling off paint with your molding.

And speaking of damage, after removing this piece you may have some clean-up to do to make the wall as smooth as possible behind it. We had to scrape off some of the remaining caulk and even patch a few nail holes with spackle.

You may not need to do any of this if your baseboard is different. But you also might consider replacing your existing baseboard with a 1 x 6″ board if you don’t already have a good bottom edge for your new wall treatment and like how ours looks. It feels really nice and balanced. Our own home’s upstairs hallway has thinner baseboards which is why we used thinner lattice strips in our previous board and battens (it’s smart to work with the proportions of the baseboard so it all looks good together), but now having done it both ways, I think the more substantial baseboard & thicker battens that we did in the beach house bedroom is our preferred look.

4. Install Your Top Rail

The first step is hanging the top rail (the 1 x 4″ board) vertically around the room. Because you’ve already determined your height and marked your studs, this is a pretty easy process. An airless brad nail gun like ours makes its pretty fast too, so I highly recommend grabbing one if you don’t already have it on hand (the one linked above is refurbished!).

Just also be sure to keep a long level handy as you do this to make sure you are keeping your boards level as you go (ours is 48″ long, and this is the exact one that we have). Our beach house is 115 years old, so none of the ceilings or floors are perfectly straight (wonky walls = character… right?), so you may want to match your level to the slope of the ceiling instead of blindly going by what the level says. That will help your final install look the most level to your eye (since your eye registers the ceiling slope as level and wants the board and batten to be parallel with that).

I didn’t capture a picture of this, but you obviously have to cut your boards to the right length. We use our miter saw for this, but you can cut by hand if you’d prefer, or even get Home Depot to make the cuts for you if you have worked them out beforehand. We didn’t do any angled or mitered cuts in the corners, so it’s pretty straightforward. The only angled cut we did was on the wall you see above where we had to use two board pieces to span the whole wall. The angled cut helps to hide the joint more than straight cuts, but it’s not necessary.

5. Install You Vertical Battens

Now that you’ve warmed up your measuring, cutting, and nailing muscles, it’s time for the main event: installing your vertical battens. It’s certainly not rocket science – especially if you’ve already determined your spacing – but the back and forth of this process can get a bit tedious. Personally I like to measure each one before I cut it just to be safe (again, our walls aren’t perfectly level). This helps to ensure that your battens fit as perfectly as possible.

The other thing I highly recommend for this step is that you create a “spacer” out of scrap wood. You can see mine in the photo above (it’s between the two middle battens floating below the top rail). This is just a quick way to make sure each vertical batten is precisely spaced without having to break out a tape measure each time. Since my 2.5″ wide boards are 18″ apart from center to center, my spacer is cut to 15.5″ wide, and I just place it between each batten to make sure they stay spaced that way all the way around the room.

Some people apply some sort of glue or caulk behind these battens, since your nails aren’t always hitting studs. I don’t like to do that because of the extra damage it would leave on the wall if we ever decide to remove the wall treatment. I’ve found that between a few nails up and down the board, your caulked edges, and the paint, the battens stay put just fine (just don’t hang anything really heavy on them like a coat hook unless you’re sure that one goes into a stud or has otherwise been reinforced).

6. Mind Your Corners

Perhaps you’ve ironed this out in your planning step, but sometimes the spacing can get a bit tricky depending on the length of your wall. We generally tried to center one batten in the room, and then install them evenly at 18″ until we got to the corners (or a door or window). You know, if that last one got “cut off” in the corner, so be it.

But we discovered through some trial and error that the corners looked best when two “full” battens met each other. By full I mean that they didn’t overlap in the corner, which would’ve made one look skinnier than the other.

So as you can see in the photo above, this meant not pushing our corner battens fully into the corner – instead they floated off the corner ever so slightly so none of the corner battens overlapped each other – and they both appeared full size instead of one looking slimmer than the other.

7. Add Your Top Lip

We didn’t do this for our first attempt at board & batten in our last house, but when we added the upstairs hallway molding here at our current house we found that we really like the look of adding a top “lip” or ledge. It helps it feel more substantial and also creates a spot where you could lean artwork or line up a ton of little wooden peg people (ask us how we know that). For ours we used a 1 x 2″ board just nailed along the top. We don’t plan to lean anything on ours, but if you do (particularly something heavy) you may want to consider using screws instead of or in addition to your nails.

8. Spackle & Sand The Nail Holes

You’re gonna want to fill all of your nail holes before you paint. Ever since we recommended this 4-in-1 spackle tool on our podcast months ago for patching nail holes, a lot of you have told us it’s perfect for a job like this. And you guys were right. Makes it so much faster.

Any regular spackle / wood filler and a putty knife would do too, but it was MUCH faster to use this thing because we could just squeeze a dot of spackle out of the tube and then flip it around to smooth the spackle with the flat edge on the back of the tube. It was so nice to not have to juggle a tub of spackle and putty knife.

The 4-in-1 spackle thing does have a sanding pad on the cap, but we still went back with a regular sanding block because it was easier to go over larger areas more quickly that way. No matter how smooth you feel like you get things when you spackle it on, it always helps to rub each spot a little bit to dust off any small ridges or bumps.

9. Caulk Your Seams

You’ll also want to take the time to caulk all of the seams where your boards meet the wall (or one another). It will help disguise any bows in your wall and will really make the board and batten look like it’s part of the wall – not just something nailed on top of it.

We love this Extreme Stretch caulk because it resists cracking and separating when the temperature or humidity in your house changes. Our local store was out of it so we used this fast dry stuff instead, which is also pretty good – especially if you’re eager to get painting.

You probably won’t need a thick line of caulk for this project, so be careful not to cut too much off the tip of your caulk tube (even better if you can cut it at a slight angle and keep it nice and small). That will help this part go faster and you’ll stay cleaner (you can always cut off more if needed).

We found it was fastest to squeeze out a thin line of caulk around all four sides of a particular “box” all at once, rather than stopping to smooth each side one at a time. And having a cup of warm water nearby always helps when you caulk (dipping your finger into that cup before smoothing the caulk line will yield a smoother result – and it keeps the caulk from sticking to your finger as much).

10. Prime & Paint

You might be thinking that the priming step is unnecessary since our boards came pre-primed (and our spackle has a built-in primer)… and it may be. But we always think it’s the safest bet to do one coat of primer over areas where you’ve caulked or spackled. It just helps to prevent your final paint job from “flashing” (you know, where from certain angles you can still detect a change in sheen over your spackle spots?). We’ve had more than a few projects annoy us because we noticed those shiny flashing spots AFTER we’ve painted and in that case we had to go back and prime and paint all over again. So yeah, better safe than sorry flashing.

That photo above was taken after everything was primed (which is why the finish is a little blotchy – that’s typically how it goes with primer). But thanks to that “just in case” coat of primer, it only took us one coat of paint to get it looking perfect. That always feels pretty dang lucky.

We used the existing trim color (SW Pure White in Semi Gloss) because we wanted that beachy look of bright white trim, but this type of wall treatment would look good in any number of colors… even in just a glossier sheen of your wall color for a tone-on-tone look.

So there’s the board & batten tutorial for everyone who has been waiting for it – and for anyone who wants to see the room completed (and learn all about how we hung the wallpaper & read our tips for that process) that’s coming! We just have to take some photos with the good camera & write that all up for you (we even made a video tutorial for that one). In the meantime, here are some other DIY wall treatment projects you might want to try:

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This content was originally published here.

Making A Light & Airy Living Room (That’s Still Livable!)

Just when you thought the duplex was getting all the action, we snuck in some beach house updates. The backyard is slowly starting to come together (shed! patio! fence! I CAN’T WAIT to show it to you once it gets a little further along!!) but today we’re diving into our lightener & brighter (and much beachier) living room.

Now this place actually looks like it’s a few blocks from the beach! And the bonus is that everything is sand and popsicle friendly – which is a must for us (we pack this place with family and friends and all the kids). So our goal was never to make it too precious. In other words, we were going for a light and airy look… but it had to be durable, wipeable, and as close to worry-free as we could get it!

bright neutral living room gray sofa white heron walls
sofa | side table | coffee table | rug | bookcase | lamps | wall: SW White Heron | trim: SW Stone Isle

We wanted to use some of the furniture we designed, including one of our new sofas (performance fabric = all the yesses). So we started with our Mellow sofa. It’s sold out right now, but our other two sofas – the Pivot and the Spiffy – are discounted just for the next few days thanks to a Joss & Main’s flash sale (they’ve got different names on J&M for some reason). A lot of things are at the lowest prices they’ve ever been ($699 for the sofas!) so if you’ve had your eye on one of our designs, it’s a pretty great time to check it out.

bright neutral living room gray sofa with white scalloped coffee table and modern chandelier
sofa | side table | coffee table | rug | lamp | chandelier| wall: SW White Heron | trim: SW Stone Isle

Sadly, our trusty old Ikea sectional (Karl the Karlstad, remember?) was ready for retirement (aka: donation). The problem with moving a sectional from house to house to house (we moved it from our second house, to our current house, and then to the beach house over the last eight years) is that sometimes the space would be better suited for a sofa… but you have a sectional… so you just sort of keep moving it around and trying to make the best of it.

neutral living room with dark charcoal ikea sectional

We could kind of make sense of it it photos, but in real life there were awkward things like the chaise cutting into the doorway. We tried putting the chaise on the other end of the living room (it’s reversible), but it wasn’t any better because it meant we couldn’t have the extra seating over there, which really comes in handy and gets used a lot.

doorway between living and dining room with sectional chaise

So as we mentioned a few weeks ago on the podcast, after eight awesome years with Karl, we donated him to a local charity that we love, and he’s living it up with a sweet new family. His legacy lives on. (*cue that Celine Dion song from Titanic*).

Another way that we tried to make this room feel lighter and airier was the patterned gray rug that we bought to replace the vintage one below (which happily lives in a bedroom at the duplex now). OMG that was meant to be in there, guys.

gray wall living room with red color vintage rug and dark navy ikea sectional

Along with our rug switch, the new sofa is a HUGE step forward in lightening things up. Plus its smaller footprint meant there was room for a few more functional furnishings. Like, momma finally gets a side table on her end of the couch. Hello reading lamp! Hello spot for my tea!

bright neutral living room gray sofa with round side table and scalloped coffee table
sofa | side table | coffee table | rug | lamp | baskets | bookcase | chandelier

Also, a word about white wood furniture: it’s a GREAT WAY to achieve a lighter look that’s still livable (it’s all wipeable, but it looks so nice and bright). So if you’re staring at a space you’d love to lighten up, sometimes it’s as simple as a $15 quart of white paint with primer built in (we recently tried Behr Marquee and it had great coverage) and you can redo your coffee table and your end tables – or even a bookcase or a shelving unit in an afternoon. Light walls and white (gloriously washable) curtains help too!

The three tiers on our side table = all the spots for magazines, a basket full of legos, or whatever else you like to keep at arm’s length. We actually ordered two more of the same side tables for the duplex because we love it so much. It also comes in a smaller version (which is super marked down right now) and you know I want to make a coffee table version, so stay tuned!

round white three tiered bamboo side table with pink lamp and gray sofa
side table | | | vase | lamp | baskets | pink pillow |

I also hung some new art that I bought through an artist I found on Instagram. Her name is and her stuff is just beautiful and so well priced. These two 8 x 8″ canvas prints were $25 each! Printed on canvas with gorgeous vibrant colors! I just love them – and I framed them in simple Ribba frames from Ikea that I already had (with linen-like fabric behind them, which adds some really pretty texture and a double-mat effect).

And as much as we liked the coffee table we DIYed last summer, the dark wood legs started to feel pretty busy – especially as the room got lighter. So we carried over one of these coffee tables that we ordered for the duplex. I’m liking how visually airy it is and the size is better for the space, so I may end up ordering another one to make up for the one I yoinked from the duplex.

Also, John and I burst out laughing when we realized that we basically recreated this photoshoot set-up in our beach house. Even the rugs are similar!

Sherry and John in photoshoot with furniture line

It kind of makes sense that it would happen that way, because we chose some of our favorite stuff for that photo… so I love seeing it living together at the beach house now. Especially mixed with other stuff that we love (that CB2 ladder shelf is so glossy and gorgeous in person, and I feel a deep and meaningful connection to our pretty pink lamp from Target).

white heron walls in beach house living room with gray sofa and tall bookcase

Funny story about this coffee table. A couple weeks after that photoshoot, John shot up in bed nervous that the scallops around the outside were a terrible idea. His concern was that it was going to prevent people from kicking their feet up on it (to which I said: “but not everyone puts their feet on the coffee table, right?”).

close up of scalloped white coffee table showing inlay stenciled pattern on top

So imagine his palpable relief when he realized that his legs easily fit between the shallow rounded scallops, and he actually proclaimed it to be more comfortable than our coffee table at home (which also has a small lip on top, but it’s sharper and not rounded/smoothed out).

John reading on gray sofa with feet on scalloped white coffee table

We’re also happy to report that the edge doesn’t get in the way of other tabletop activities like board games (you know we LOVE OUR BOARD GAMES). Actually the border does a nice job of corralling things. You know, if one of your crazy bear creations gets out of hand or you’re rolling dice and don’t want them flying all over the place. So if you DMed me about that, here’s your answer: works great for family board games – the scallops aren’t nearly tall enough to block your arms or anything like that.

hands playing bears vs babies board game on stenciled coffee table

I also had someone message me to say “be sure to put a shallow little remote drawer in your next coffee table design!” and the good news is that this one already has one! I love a little hidden drawer to keep that stuff contained.

small remote drawer open on scalloped coffee table with stencil inlay pattern

Also a note on living room layouts, because I FEEL YOU OUT THERE. THEY ARE HARD. This room has been evolving for over a year and a half now (I know, it feels like just yesterday that we furnished the beach house!), and we still have plans to mount the TV on the wall, possibly paint the walls, and change out those diamond backed chairs that are living by the windows, but more on that in a second.

TV in gray neutral bright living room against exposed brick chimney
sofa | side table | coffee table | rug | lamps | media cabinet

One of the reasons that living room layouts are tough is because we make assumptions about the way we live or the things we want and then we’re too nervous to try something else. So it’s hard to unlock a fresh solution if we’re stuck in the same thought patterns. Like for example, it sounds counterintuitive to say getting a smaller sofa can create more seating, but we learned last summer that trying to cram all of our guests onto a sectional wasn’t always the most comfortable or the most conducive to conversation.

So we decided to try to “break up” the seating options a little more. With the chaise gone, we could also tuck a chair into the corner by the TV. So the sofa seats about three adults (the four of us fit on it just fine since the kids are smaller), and there are three other chairs in the room now, too. So even though your brain wants to believe that a sectional = the most seating, it’s not always true.

brick chinmey with TV on dark gray media cabinet with neutral furnishings

We’re still on the hunt to find some bigger / more relaxed feeling chairs for the window wall, but these thrifted ones (which you may remember from back in our old home office) are doing the trick for now. I spray painted them and recovered the seats to make them a little more neutral – and I always picture them ending up at the duplex because they have that diamond shape like the diamond windows over there.

tall CB2 bookcase in neutral gray living room with pink lamps and accessories

Oh and the rug. Let’s talk about that for a second. We recently had a slime incident. Not just a “slime got on the rug” issue, but a “slime sat on the rug for months under the chaise and I only discovered it when we switched the sofa out and it left a huge grease stain that everyone could see thanks to no longer having a chaise” issue. ARGH!

But…. I got it out! After a lot of googling and some tips from people on InstaStories, the winning removal method was pouring white vinegar on the grease spot, letting it sit, scraping it with a spoon (to remove some leftover slime – it was actually “Thinking Putty”) and after it dried I dabbed it with nail polish remover. That was key in lifting the grease stain and you can’t even see where it was! Plus it gives me a new appreciation that this rug has such a variety of gray tones! Those lighter and darker areas make it much more forgiving.

Between that AND getting an immediate chocolate stain on the new sofa (which came right out dabbing it with water – thanks again, performance fabric!) – we feel like this room can take anything that these kids throw at it – both literally and figuratively. I mean… they might prove us wrong, but they’re gonna have to try harder than slime and chocolate…

The last thing I’ll mention while we’re on the topic of updates at the beach house is our dining room chandeliers. A few months ago in our email newsletter, we showed how we swapped out the old capiz chandeliers for these from our lighting line, but I’m not sure we ever shared a picture on the blog. We love that they’re a little more substantial and the polished nickel details tie into the other light fixtures throughout the living room and the kitchen.

vintage dining table with two capiz chandeliers over top
capiz chandeliers | benches | chairs | marble vase

The previous chandeliers are now hanging in the master bedrooms at the duplex because it’s basically in the Sherry Petersik Decorating Handbook that every house we fix up must have a capiz fixture somewhere. And you know I love playing musical furniture & light fixtures! (p.s. this is a TV concept, I just don’t want to actually be on tv – but someone please make a series about switching things you already have around like that old show on HGTV called Freestyle and I’d be SO INTO IT! It goes back to my love of staging houses and being scrappy with things you already have on hand).

view into beach house kitchen through dining room capiz chandeliers

So there are our latest beach house updates – and I hope it’s comforting to hear that sometimes rooms take a little while to figure out, and it’s totally not a failure to move things around and keep experimenting and trying new things. Even in our very first home I used to rearrange stuff all the time! There truly is no better way to get a quick makeover.

If you want to catch some of our furniture while it’s on flash sale, it’s only on Joss & Main this week (actually, like only 3 more days). And if you want to learn more about the whole furniture designing process, here’s a post we wrote all about that. And for more on our (well, mostly John’s) idea of painting the living room walls a new color, that’s on this week’s podcast. We tried out some trendy online paint companies to see if they really would make picking paint colors easier…

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The post Making A Light & Airy Living Room (That’s Still Livable!) appeared first on Young House Love.

This content was originally published here.

#139: Our Exterior Makeover Continues…

Painting our brick house white was just the tip of our home’s exterior update iceberg, so this week we’re sharing more of our plans – including one that’s turning out to be much more complex than we expected. We’ve also got an exciting announcement about a color collaboration we’ve been working on and we’re sharing more of everyone’s favorite thing: design norms from around the world, including bomb shelters, frost lines, and… special windows that keep witches out of your house?! Plus we try a strange but awesome subscription box that makes us feel like we’re on Law & Order.

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


  • As for the global design norms we shared in this episode, here’s one of the photos we received, which shows how two twin duvets can be made nicely on one larger bed (this is a hotel in Copenhagen sent by a listener named Adrianne).

We’re Digging

  • I couldn’t find the coupon code that got our first box delivered for free, but I’ll do you one better. The code FRIEND30 will get you 30% off your entire order. That’s almost like getting two boxes free!
  • The top one shows a trio where almost everything is the same (all green, all ovals, all filled in solidly) – just the number of icons differs (3, 2, and 1). Which means it’s a set!
  • The middle set has the same shape (squiggle) and number (1) but all different colors and shadings. Which also means it’s a set.
  • The bottom is where everything is different – no cards share the same number, color, shape, or shading. So yes – that’s a set too!

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 Social Print Studio for sponsoring this episode. You can take 15% off your next order using the code YHL15!

Thanks for listening, guys!

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#137: The Next Home We’re Taking On

We’ve got a really exciting announcement this week about a new design project we’re taking on, including how it came to be, what has us most excited, and why it’s going to challenge us in some new ways (did we mention it’s out-of-state?). We’re also sharing how last week’s spring break trip reinforced our mission to minimize our belongings, even if John did bring home something very strange from vacation. Plus, a new solution we found for wrangling digital photos, a DIY tool that’s brilliantly simple, and… well… nutmeat.

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

  • Like we mentioned in the episode, our Spring Break trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida was another reminder that all four of us are perfectly happy with less stuff and more time together.

That’s Embarrassing

  • I wish I had taken a photo of the offending (and aggressive!) closet that “attacked” me in the dark, but maybe it’s best left to your imagination… so that you picture it much more sinister thing than a simple built in dresser. But here are a couple of photos of my unlikely injury:
  • The photo at left is obviously in Florida, taken the morning after the incident. The other is back in Richmond as the bruising was just past its peak.
  • And if you’ve picked up the April issue of Real Simple, perhaps you’ve already seen Sherry’s unforgettable quote on page 126. If not, here it is in all its nutty and meaty glory.

Real Simple Idea House

Quick Tip

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 Agility Bed for sponsoring this episode. Use the code YHL at AgilityBed.comto get $200 off any size hybrid mattress.

Thanks for listening, guys!

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#125: A Tale Of Two Kitchens

Our holiday was full of fun, family, and a freakish amount of Ikea boxes filling the duplex. So this week we’re sharing how we navigated the task of installing not one, but two kitchens over winter break – including how things got off to a rocky start – and when we actually saw the light (both literally and figuratively). We also got AN AVALANCHE of feedback from you guys on the small sleeping nook we debated filling with various bed layouts in our last episode, so today we’re sharing how we’ve adjusted our plans to make the room work for as many families as possible. Plus, we tried out a new money-saving trick (why haven’t we been doing this for years?!) and requested some info from our international listeners that we hope leads to some interesting revelations.

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

  • We’ll share more of them as Sherry and the kids begin the process of fixing them up.
  • We’ll share more photos of our final plan once they come together a little more, but for now I’ll treat you to these incredibly lifelike “renderings” that Sherry did on her phone to show the three configurations that we can achieve with the beds we bought.

Pinterest 100 Game

Design Norms Around The World

  • Please use the Google Form below, and don’t forget to specify what country, state, or region you’re writing about.

Duplex Kitchen Progress

  • Those are HALF of the boxes that were delivered for the duplex kitchens and laundry rooms on each side of the house (the other half were stacked on the other side).
  • It was slow-going the first couple of days, but we eventually got rolling and are really excited about our progress. We’re planning to write a detailed blog post about the actual steps and materials that can make installing an Ikea kitchen go a lot more smoothly (this is our fourth rodeo) so you can stay tuned for that – hopefully in a week or two.
  • Below you can see the wall Sherry mentioned in the episode that was so bowed that it required lots of shimming to keep the metal cabinet rail straight (this was an exterior wall where we used the original framing).
  • And again, we’ll share more pictures soon, but below is a peek at how far we got by the end of the holiday break. There’s still toekicks to be added, hardware to be installed, plus little details like appliances, counters, and backsplashes.
  • But getting this far means we can finally get our counters templated and our appliances installed!

We’re Digging

  • I also want to add that after recording I spent $3 to get THREE 10% off your order coupons for Lowe’s, which has already saved me over $50 on curtains rods & ring clips (more glamorous duplex purchases).

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 You Need A Budget (YNAB) for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at to get your first three months free!

Thanks for listening, guys!

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Our Furniture Is Officially For Sale On Wayfair! | Young House Love

I’m not sure an emoji even exists to capture how THRILLED we are to announce that our furniture line is finally out! The one that represents me would probably be the salsa dancing woman, except she’d be wearing all black with a skull for a face because I’m 95% dead from the excitement. Also let’s add a taco in her hand because that’s always a good idea. Am I already talking about tacos? That got off track quickly. Anyway, I know a lot of you have been following along as this day has crept closer (thank you for that, btw!) so now you can officially (over 30 pieces! way more than we could cram into this post!) at Wayfair and Wayfair Canada.

I’ll do my best to keep the cliches to a minimum, but designing furniture has been a dream of ours for years and it still feels like this isn’t real. There’s actual physical stuff that you can sit on, sleep on, eat at, and rub your face all over (is that just me?) and we’re just so happy with how everything turned out.

Both the finished look and the quality exceeded our expectations when we saw everything in person – and we LOVE how they mix and match together. I CANNOT WAIT for you guys to have it your houses.

Like I’m actively preparing to have my brain explode when you start tagging me in your pictures.

So today we wanted to share some of the pieces (there are way more ) and show you some behind-the-scenes of how it all came together.

Speaking of which, here’s a peek at what it took to get that shot above. This is from the photoshoot we did back in August down in North Carolina and, if you follow us on Instagram, you saw us road trip down there with a car full of accessories to excitedly style each shot (you can ).

All of the photos of the furniture “in situation” were photographed in a real person’s home that we rented for a week (she’s an interior designer, so she had THE BEST architecture to work with). Things were constantly getting moved around, the garage was filled with tables of accessories, and there was camera equipment everywhere you looked. These photos are of the living room, which became a makeshift bedroom more than once.

We had some of the samples from the photoshoot delivered to our house a few weeks ago – which fully completes the dream of designing things we’d love to live with in our own home! And let’s just say that moving in with them has taken our relationship to the next level. “Our” meaning me and the furniture. But hey, at least I let John third-wheel it in that basically acts as a chair-and-a-half when you take the side pillows off. Plus the performance fabric means I don’t have to fear the kids or the dogs smearing it up – or myself spilling tea on it – both literally or figuratively speaking (Atlanta Housewives, anyone? No? Bueller?). 

We’re working with a company based in High Point, North Carolina that also makes Universal Furniture, a name you’ve probably heard advertised on our podcast. That’s actually how we first got to know them, and about 18 months ago we started developing a line of furniture with them too. We traveled to their showroom a few times to gather inspiration and they came to our house to see our style firsthand. And together with their team of designers we started drafting up a whole slew of furniture ideas.

That sheet above is partially blurred because not everything survives the development process. Sometimes the design doesn’t work out the way you hope, it may not be feasible or cost-effective to produce, or the retailer just doesn’t pick it up. It’s certainly sad to let go of some things, but the good news is that we’re already working on more stuff and can hopefully revive and reimagine some of what didn’t make it into this first batch.

We’re also hoping to release alternate colors and fabric finishes of the bestsellers as time goes on. Like I’m DYING to do in white, emerald green, light gray, and a natural wood finish (and in a counter-height stool version – AHHHH! Somebody stop me!).

And how great would these white chairs be in a soft mint or pink color with a lightly bleached all-wood version of this table?

We snagged  shown above from the photoshoot, along with , and have used them to upgrade our kids’ crafting corner in our bonus room. There used to be a kid-height table with some cute little green chairs in that spot, but our tall kids were ready for a more regular-sized set-up. Added bonus: now we can sit with them without developing butt cramps from the old mini-chairs.

Overall, our goal was to make super versatile pieces (says the person who just used a dining table as a kids’ craft table) that are classic but still interesting. Like the dresser below that has a fun diamond pattern (inspired by in the duplex) but comes in two goes-with-anything colors (white or gray).

Interesting details in easy-to-integrate colors make it so simple for these pieces to slip in seamlessly with your existing furniture. So you can upgrade that old dresser, coffee table, media cabinet, or dining table without having to redesign (or rebuy) your entire room. Or even just add this cute little side table next to your sofa for a soft hint of greeny-blue color and some bonus setting-things-down space.

In our bedroom, we swapped out my former dresser (the one with the stuck drawer that you saw on ) for  so I can finally have a fully functional piece. The vintage dresser that used to live here now happily resides in the guest room – where that sticking middle drawer bothers nobody – and I finally have six drawers that open and shut without a fight! Everyone wins!

We wanted things to feel like us, so we worked in lots of little nods or details – like the dentil molding along the above (just like the dentil molding along ). Several pieces have an  (you know that makes me SO HAPPY), and the  below is based on the aforementioned vintage dresser that John’s dad handed down to us. It’s hard to find pieces with cool old details like fluted legs or tops that aren’t just rectangles (see how the top of the dresser below is so much more of an intricate shape?) so we LOVED working those in.

It was also important to us that everything was well constructed and durable. So all of the dresser drawers have dove-tailed joints and there are no paper-thin cardboard backs on anything (these pieces are SOLID – believe me we have carried them up and down the stairs – ha!). Plus all the sofas and armchairs are made with performance fabric – which isn’t chemically sprayed, but actually created from tightly woven durable fibers to better repel stains and wear. We also snuck in some fun bonus functions and features on some of the pieces too, like these:

I’ve already said more than I need to because I’m probably just distracting you from actually looking at the furniture. There is SO MUCH MORE than what we’ve shown in this post, so feel free to .

There are sofas, coffee tables, nightstands, dining tables, chairs, headboards, a bed, and even that’s earning all the extra credit in our bedroom for reflecting my capiz chandelier (it’s like I have two of them now 😉

So this is me officially zipping my trap, getting out of your way, and spooning with  (John’s fine with it because he’s busy gushing about how smoothly the dresser drawers glide).

Thanks so much to everyone who has been so excited and supportive about this whole new adventure for us! We are SO EXCITED to have these things out in the world!

This content was originally published here.

Creating A DIY Vine Trellis | Young House Love

Before it gets too cold to do any more outdoor updates around here, we snuck in a fun little project that I’ve been dying to try for, oh 10 years now. Actually the first time I was like “yeah – I want that” was upon seeing one of those cool diamond trellis things waaaay back in 2009 on the outside of this house that we crashed (yes, that’s 10 years ago! Even though I swear 1999 sounds like 10 years ago in my head). I wish we had captured a picture of it for that post, but I think there was blotchy sunlight on it so it didn’t make the final cut. But that family still lives in that house, that diamond trellis continues to thrive, and I continue to gasp at it every time we walk by. It looks a little something like this:

The Diamond Trellis Urge (let’s capitalize it because it has grown into a legitimate condition for me over the years) grew even stronger after we painted our house white last fall. It’s just such a perfect blank canvas for some lush flowering vines. You may have even seen a couple of spectacularly bad renderings of me drawing a diamond trellis on the big white wall on the right of this photo last year on my InstaStories:

And well, now that strong whole-body craving has been satisfied… because MOMMA HAS A DIAMOND TRELLIS.

It doesn’t look like much right now as we wait for everything to grow in, but I have extremely high hopes that it’ll turn this formerly basic spot in our backyard into a showcase moment. And please know that every day I walk out there and whisper encouraging and nurturing things like “grow, my darlings” and “please don’t die on me guys.”

They sell some kits for installing them (like this one and this one) but we decided to buy the pieces ourselves a la cart (that was dumb, just buy the $13 kit – or two if you need more wire). You’ll also need a few basic tools (we added asterisks next to the ones that are required for brick in case you have the same setup that we do).

Materials & Tools

*Reminder: these are items we needed because we were installing a trellis on brick. If you have some other type of siding, you may not need some of these. Like, a regular drill and drill bits should work just fine.

Planning Your Wire Trellis

The very first step for us was to figure out what we wanted our vine trellis to look like. I snapped a picture of the space and dragged it into photoshop so we could play with the scale, size, and placement of the trellis. This is something you could figure out on paper if you don’t have the right software (heck, you can print out a photo and sketch right onto it with pencil), but I highly recommend some sort of “planning” step like this before you start making holes. We did this rendering first, and pretty quickly determined the scale was too large for our liking (just two diamonds tall felt kinda piddly…).

We tried to see if we liked it better with “open” diamonds on the side, but we both agreed it looked too much like an argyle sweater and the “closed” diamond shapes were much better on the ends.

Our final design ended up being a smaller version of the first one we attempted. Thanks to this planning process, we were able to make sure it looked centered on the wall while also staying visually in line with other elements, like the door. It also helped us plan how much material we would need.

Map Out Your Pattern In Real Life

Transferring our digital mockup onto the physical wall was probably the most brain-intensive portion of this project. I wouldn’t even call it hard, it just required some concentration and double checking. We used some reference points in our photos to determine where we wanted our pattern to start on the wall and, through a little bit of trial and error, figured out the precise measurements for each of our diamonds (ours are 25″ apart). If I were doing it again, I would’ve included a tape measure or yardstick in my original photo before photoshopping, that way we could use that for scale – but it worked out just fine without that reference point.

Since it was critical for our final pattern that all of our anchor points were equally spaced and totally level, we marked each anchor point with a small piece of painter’s tape and a marker dot. We didn’t want to write directly onto the brick, especially as we were fine-tuned the placement of everything.

After you mark out all of your drilling spots with tape and a marker dot, it’s time to double and triple check your measurements before you drill anything. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Don’t skip this step. It’s much easier to move pieces of tape than to drill new holes and move everything because you got it wrong. We even broke out a long piece of scrap wood to make sure our top marks were exactly plumb with the bottom holes (ignore those small vertical notches in our brick along the bottom that correlate with nothing, those are some sort of garage ventilation thing and aren’t tape marks – our blue tape marks are closer to the ground and right under the dots that we taped out along the top).

Installing Your Anchor Points

Once your spots are marked, you can get to drilling. Since we were drilling into brick, we used our hammer drill with a small masonry bit to make shallow holes through each of our tape marks, just to make a more permanent mark on the wall before any tape fell or blew off.

Then we went back around with a bigger bit to drill a larger and deeper hole to slip the anchors into. A hammer drill makes these easier because in addition to the spinning motion of a regular drill, it also pulses or “hammers” at the same time to chip away at materials like brick, concrete, or block.

Once all of our holes were made, we went around and tapped in some plastic anchors designed for concrete and brick with a hammer. Typically I would use something like a Tapcon screw to screw something into brick, but in this case we needed something that would work with the screw eye hooks and these did the trick.

Then we went around and screwed in our eye hooks. I had trouble finding ones that (1) stuck out from the wall significantly and (2) weren’t enormous, but these 3″ puppies did the trick. The small size is helpful because it helps them visually disappear (I want your eyeballs to take in the lovely vines, not the metal hooks) and the long length will help separate our trellis from the back wall – so our plant has plenty of room to grow and wrap around the wire on both sides.

They were easy to hand tighten into the anchor at first, and towards the end we relied on a spare drill bit to give us a bit more leverage for the last few spins. These suckers are in there.

Stringing Your Wire

We were using this 1/16th galvanized steel wire rope for our trellis. We had no clue how much we’d need so rather than buy one long uninterrupted reel from the store, we bought several 50ft packs so we could more easily return any unused material. I highly recommend opening and unwinding them fully before you start attaching them, since ours often came out as a tangled mess.

I’ll show you in a minute how we secured the end of the first wire to start the pattern, but this whole process is pretty straightforward. It’s just basically looping the wire through the pattern – up and down, side to side – making sure you’re going to the correct next eye hook. We messed this up once and started to create a wonky diamond, but it was easy enough to fix as soon as we noticed our mistake. It’s literally like putting shoe laces into a shoe. Nothing is permanent and you can step back to make sure it looks right.

We looped the wire through each eye hook twice as we went, because that made it easier to keep the wire taut as we continued to string it through different eye hooks.

It basically looked like this as we went along. So it’s not tied in a knot, but the wire is stiff enough that it holds fairly well with a tight loop like this.

When we came to the end of one 50ft length of wire, it came time to connect a new strand. We hadn’t worked with this stuff before, but we found these aluminum ferrules to be a pretty straightforward way to accomplish this. They allow you to make these loops at the end of your wire by feeding it through one side of the ferrule and then back through the other one.

Then we just used some pliers we had on hand (well, electrical wire cutters – by they had a great tip for this) to crimp the tips of the ferrule, which basically crushed them enough to hold the wire in place for the long haul. Making these small loops on the end of each wire became our go-to way to connect them into one long, continuous strand.

It’s also the technique we used to attach the starting end of our wire to the first anchor point and (once everything was full threaded and pulled fully taut) we made another loop at the end of the wire to do the same thing.

One tip for you is that in order to thread the ferrule, you need to have a very clean cut on the end of your wire. If it’s frayed it won’t slide in and you’ll stand there for 45 minutes trying to get it in there (ask me how I know). We actually had to go buy a new pair of wire cutters for this project because our old pair had become kind of blunt and it was fraying and smashing the wire to the point where it wouldn’t fit into the ferrule. So save yourself some of that frustration and make sure your wire cutters are up to snuff from the start.

Some of the kits come with a turnbuckle that you can use to tighten your wire for maximum sustained tension. We opted not to do one for now just for simplicity’s sake, but if we find ours becoming lose over time we could always add one OR just try twisting some of the eye hooks in the brick a bit tighter to taut things up.

Adding Your Vining Plants

There are all sort of options for good vining plants for projects like this – especially depending on your location and conditions (for example we have deer who love to eat everything) so we spoke to two experts at our local nursery and they highly recommended clematis for our application since it’s a fast grower, it produces nice flowers, deer don’t tend to eat it in our area, and it isn’t dangerous to put near our brick (some ivies are said to be more problematic if they grow on your brick for a long time).

Our local nursery was running a little low on inventory so we grabbed what we could and were able to plant four vines at strategic intervals along the bottom edge of our wire trellis. After delicately unwinding them from the trellis they came with (each plant had a little metal trellis in the pot), we did our best to carefully wrap them up and around the wire in all directions.

We do know that clematis is such a strong grower that the diamond pattern is something we’ll need to continue to train them to hold onto over time (if we didn’t touch them again they might just cover this entire wall with leafy vines and blooms – but we plan to keep an eye on them to make them hug the trellis shape over time, so we’ll share how that goes too.

The last step of this project was to mulch everything and we’ve been watering diligently ever since (this is usually when I whisper my “you grow, girl” encouragements to the vines). We also replaced a couple of dying plants in the bed, so it’s already looking a little nicer back there, even though most of our trellis has yet to be covered with vines.

It has been such a weird fall for us weather-wise (super hot, super dry, now crazy rainy) that who knows what the heck will happen. Even if it’s slow going, we’re really happy with how everything turned out because the wire is nearly invisible against the brick. So until it starts to fill in, it’s not like we’re staring at some ugly messy of wires in the meantime.

I’ve got my fingers, toes, and everything crossed (even my wires!) that we’ll have some great progress to share with you guys next year once things start to fill in. Until then you can find me out back, whispering sweet nothings to my plants.

P.S. Want to see more outdoor projects we have tackled over the years? Here’s an entire archive full of them (from pea gravel patios & string lights & shed organization to decorative oars – ha! – it covers a lot of ground).

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