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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#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!

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    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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    This content was originally published here.

    Our Second Tiny House Makeover (Aka, Dollhouse Number Two) | Young House Love

    Since you guys have been asking how this large scale (but also, small scale – ha!) renovation has been going, I thought I’d share our second dollhouse progress. And if you missed our first tiny house makeover, you can check it out here.

    Yes, this dollhouse totally reminds all of us of our own house, which has been especially fun. And our nine-year-old daughter has been acting as the general contractor, the interior designer, and the architect, which has also been a blast. From helping with painting and art to choosing colors, arranging the furniture and brainstorming future project ideas – she has been at the helm… WHICH HAS BEEN SO ENJOYABLE FOR MY HOUSE-LOVING HEART TO SEE (I’m also very happy to play the role of the dutiful assistant / budget realist – ha!).

    This house will probably be in progress for the next few years as we add more furniture, and lights that really work, and maybe even a spiral staircase that leads up to the attic (squeeee!). But even though there’s pretty much always an ever-growing list of stuff we’d love to add, it has already come such a long way. Here’s how the front of it looked when we got it (you can hear the story of how it came to be ours on this podcast episode):

    We pretty much just gave things a fresh coat of paint since our daughter wanted it to remain white because it looks so much like our house. We painted the roof gray like our existing roof – although our nine-year-old project manager wants to make it look like slate… so perhaps we will get super shiny paint and use those little cedar shingles to try to get that slate look down the line. Will keep you posted on that!

    Meanwhile, the back of the dollhouse was a totally blank canvas when we got it:

    And here it is now, thanks to fresh white walls and floors. I think we have a chip off the ol’ block situation with the light background choices our daughter made in here, and I have to say it’s super smart because it means bold furniture colors (navy! turquoise! red!), colorful patterned fabrics (like the bedding and the sofa upholstery), and even faux pink marble in the kitchen can layer right in. Remind me to consult my kids for every design project that we do from now on, because they are brilliant 😉

    If we could blast ourselves with that Honey-I-Shrunk-The-Kids raygun, we’d get to walk through the house, and eat in this cute little kitchen. I ADORE the faux pink marble island, and I’ll show you how we made that in a second. We also had fun painting all the appliances and cabinetry with light blue craft paint, except for the little shelving unit that she wanted to make navy. There were even little brackets that came with the lot of hand-me-down furniture that we got with this dollhouse (I DIDN’T KNOW UNTIL THE MOMENT WE DISCOVERED THEM IN THE OLD DUSTY BOX THAT TINY SHELF BRACKETS ARE THE CUTEST THING EVER MADE ON THIS PLANET).

    Oh and we made that little potted plant in the bottom corner – just by shoving some faux greenery (a tiny clipping from my favorite faux desk plant) into a little bucket that came with the dollhouse furniture that we got secondhand. I think it was an old bucket that went to a well… but there was no well. So we painted it gray and it looked a lot more like a plant pot than a rustic bucket.

    As a reminder, every single item of furniture in both this dollhouse and our first one is secondhand, and is from a “lot” of furniture (that either came with each of the dollhouses, or from one “lot” that we purchased on Facebook marketplace separately). I get asked a lot about finding affordable dollhouse furniture, and the answer truly is secondhand lots. You can get a ton in one box for under $30 or even $15! Then you can paint it or repurpose it or fix it up, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying new things individually (which can often be $15 each!).

    We also did a subway tile wall thanks to a quick image search online for white subway tile, which we printed out a few times until we got the scale right. We just used a glue stick to fill the entire right wall with it from floor to ceiling. THIS PROJECT WAS 99.99% EASIER THAN DOING REAL TILE, BTW.

    Oh and we found those blue pots on Amazon. I promised to show you how we made that island, so here you go. The island is actually a broken refrigerator that came with our other dollhouse. There apparently used to be two vertical doors that were on the front of it (this is it laying on its back, instead of standing up like a refrigerator would), but it made me realize that if we turned it over so the back that’s on the ground in this photo faced up…. it would look a whole lot like an island.

    And when I asked our daughter what type of counter she wanted on the island, pink marble was the answer. Did you even know that was a thing? I didn’t, but we google image searched it, and it actually popped up! So we printed it out, and glue-sticked it on. That’s it! DONE! Dollhouse kitchen renos are so easy they’re going to ruin real kitchen projects for me…

    Here’s another angle to show you that cute little navy cabinet that was originally brown, but the blue is such a fun touch, and all of the little cakes and treats came from the little treat shop the kids got from my mom for Christmas (more on that debacle here). Except that little tiered dish of macaroons on the island was something our daughter bought on Amazon with a Christmas gift card. You should have seen our kids carefully weigh all of the tiny options for their dollhouse, and finally settle on the cutest things (remember they also picked out this cute gingerbread platter thanks to an Amazon gift card from their uncle?).

    We also had some fun making framed botanical art (clippings from a magazine that we “framed” by gluing them onto paper bag rectangles that we cut slightly larger than the art). And we made those wood cutting boards on the wall by just cutting those shapes out of a page in a magazine that had a wood pattern on the whole bottom of the page (we just sketched cutting board shapes on the wood part of the picture and cut them out and glued them to the wall). Even the clock came from a magazine – just some cutting and pasting and we instantly had a way to tell time 😉

    Let’s move over to the living room, which is a gem of a space because it came with built-ins and a fireplace! I KNOW! Hello, dream house. We’ve been keeping an eye out for some tiny birch logs to make a little faux fire in the firebox, but for now we have a bunch of cute stuff on the built-ins and that amazing tiny version of some real art we made a while back. Remember this project?! Well, my friend Jessica over at sent me a little dollhouse surprise care package for the kiddos! And we squealed when we saw that she had made that mini art for us!!!

    She also made that cool birch slice coffee table, and the brass coat rack and the sofa and chairs were just old furniture that came with the dollhouses, but I pried up the formerly red velvet seat of the sofa and covered it with some bold fabric that our daughter picked out. Instantly made it feel fresher and took five minutes! Literally I didn’t even sew it, I just stretched it around the seat cushion, used a strip of duct tape on the bottom to hold it down, and then glued it down with craft glue. INSTANT DOLLHOUSE UPHOLSTERY IS RUINING HOW MUCH HARDER REAL UPHOLSTERY IS! Oh and the blue mirror is another magazine cutout that we just glued to the freshly painted wall. Free & fun!

    And check out the rug above. That’s SUCH an easy DIY. We had some old burlap scraps in my fabric drawer, and we just cut little rectangles of it, and frayed the edges a little on each of the two short sides. Boom. Instant jute rug.

    We’re also planning to add some hardware to the cabinets under the bookcases, and maybe even some tile to the inside of the firebox, but it’s pretty cute as-is for the time being. As for what’s on the built-in shelves, we just Tim Gunned it (“MAKE IT WORK!”) with some folded magazine cutouts that look like colorful cards, some random small things like thimbles and tiny shells we had collected on the beach, and even a little bottle – any little small item we had around got tried on the shelves to just see what worked. Oh and remember you can see how I make small dollhouse plants here.

    Here’s a shot so you can see how the downstairs foyer and upstairs landing shaped up. We used some tiny clothespins that we already had in the junk drawer to clip up some more magazine-clippings-turned-art (hooray for me saving all the tiny and cute things that come into our house for some inexplicable reason! I’m sure you could buy them at a craft store if you haven’t saved them in your junk drawer). And that adorable plant in the plant stand upstairs by the window is another amazing dollhouse gift to the kiddos from . We all squealed when we saw it!

    Oh and as for the stairs, we have big plans to make some sort of fabric or painted runner that leads up them. It’s a tiny tight space, so it’s hard to cram your hand in there and access a few of the more pinched places, but I’m confident that my small handed project manager will figure something out.

    Oh and I snapped this photo of our workspace on the kitchen counter, where we were laying things out and brainstorming ideas. Everything from a bike-shaped paperclip to those aforementioned tiny clothespins and even some twine + a magazine clippings came together to make little signs, art, and even those little wood-look cutting boards. Free repurposing of everyday objects = really fun in dollhouse world!

    Here’s one of the upstairs bedrooms, complete with a tiny potted plant, our book (!!!!!) and a cute little geometric lamp…. all courtesy of… you guessed it, . She sparked so many ideas of our own, like using a piece of scrap wood and gluing a colorful magazine clipping onto it so we could make leaning art for the table next to the lamp. We also want to make lots of books like the tiny replica she made of ours. It’s just a block of wood with paper glue-sticked around 3 of the 6 sides.

    Here’s a wider shot of that room, which also has that adorable hanging plant from Jessica, and some flamingo art that we made with more scrap wood + a magazine clipping, and the bed that we easily reupholstered (the bed came with a pink cushion glued to the formerly wood-toned frame, so we peeled that off, painted the bed white, and covered the pink cushion with patterned fabric that we duct taped in place from behind and glued back down to the bed with craft glue).

    Oh and see those gold frames on the left wall? Those were old dingy frames with maroon and brown art that came with one of the dollhouses (they were glued to the walls of our other one) so I peeled them off, popped out the old art, and we framed some more tiny magazine clippings of things we thought were cute (indigo dyed pillows, cropped into small squares = tiny indigo dyed art prints).

    Over on the other side of the hall in the middle level of the dollhouse is another bedroom, complete with a small plastic cat we had leftover from some small toy our kids have had for ages. We also made more wood art leaning on the mantel, and even cut out that glowing eyeball wall sign that we found in a magazine (our daughter loves how the plug makes it look like it’s plugged in behind the fireplace).

    And speaking of that fireplace…. does anyone recognize it?! It’s a tiny replica that our UK friend sent us of six years ago! I told you I save all the miniature things!!! Isn’t that amazing?!?! Our dollhouse has a replica of a marble fireplace that we actually installed in our last house. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO GET OVER THAT?!?!

    We reupholstered this bed in a similar way – this time the fabric base didn’t pop off like the other bed, so we just wrapped fresh fabric from our scrap pile right around both sides of the bed and used duct tape to secure it around the bottom of the bed. SO EASY! Took ten seconds. And as for that tiny letterboard that says GOOD VIBES, and the little gold heart pillow – I can take no credit. It’s my crafty friend Jessica again! Maybe if we all beg her she’ll open a little dollhouse store and we can buy all of her cute miniature things because SHE IS MADE FOR THIS!

    Popping up to the attic, we have a bunch of old secondhand furniture that we rescued with fresh paint. The fireplace got some rose gold paint (we used that a lot in our first dollhouse makeover – my biggest tip is to super shake it before you use it or it’s really thin) and the old secretary desk got some light blue craft paint (the same color we used on the kitchen cabinets & appliances). The little wire chairs are things we had bought for our daughter’s very first dollhouse back when she was two (they were little shelf decor items from West Elm… but you know me and miniatures! I save them forever!).

    And the pillows I made. No duct tape on ’em, I actually sewed them! And I stuffed them with cotton balls! Ha! We also made another super easy burlap swatch rug for this space, and I’m not usually one to brag, but did you notice that this house has three fireplaces?! I mean…. HIGH LIFE. We made the art on top of the fireplace (magazine clipping glued to a slightly larger rectangle cut from a grocery store paper bag) and the little potted plant on the mantel is a wood bead + a faux sprig I cut and glued into it (more on making faux dollhouse plants here).

    We also tried our hand at making a tiny notebook and it was a success! The cover is a clipping from a magazine that we found (it was an illustration of a small notebook cover that said “Projects”, which sparked the idea) and then we just cut some white craft paper to make a bunch of interior pages and folded it and stapled that seam to make a spine (and glued the cover to the front). It might be our daughter’s favorite thing in the house because we made it ourselves and it’s so small and cute. The little coke bottle came with this dollhouse, along with a ton of old furniture and stuff.

    Oh wait, but I just realized I didn’t call out another one of our daughter’s favorite things in the house. Let’s revisit the living room for a second. See that pizza in a box on the little pink table by the window? That’s actually AN OLD PIZZA SHAPED ERASER! It came in a pizza box, and it’s some GENIUS SAVED IT WITH THIS DOLLHOUSE! So when we dug through the old box of dusty old furniture it was in there and our daughter was SO PSYCHED. It’s so much fun with that little fake coke can. Also, the imaginary residents of this house clearly have a soda addiction.

    Ok, but back to the third floor, where you can find this cute little old fashioned bathroom on the right side of the space. I LOVE the old toilet tank with the pull chain, which also came with this dollhouse. It was all brown and scratched up, so our daughter used more navy paint for the toilet, the seat, and the sink vanity, which looks AMAZING with the gold hardware and faucet. Like stellar move. I’m HERE FOR THIS BATHROOM. We made one more little burlap rug for in front of the tub. So easy.

    Here’s a better shot of the toilet pull chain. Is that not adorable or what? You can also see some more art we made (tiny clothespin + magazine cutout), and I also sewed that little stack of towels that you see on the gold chair. It was just basically a few folded loops of free fabric from our stash, and I used some white thread through the whole stack to “pin” them in place so the folded stack stays together.

    I also cut out a little rectangle of the same fabric to loop over the little gold hardware bar on the side of the sink as a hand towel. ALSO HOW CUTE IS THAT SINK?! I died over the little ceramic top and all the gold touches. We also cut out a gold mirror from a magazine and glued it on the wall above it. We want to eventually add more real 3D stuff (real miniature mirrors, real lights that work – maybe even some real sconces!!!) but for now, it’s a good start.

    Oh and can you see how in the tub there are little blue-green beads you might use as vase filler or whatever in the photo above? They’re these little round disks, and the kids LOVE IT in the tubs for their figures to take real baths (minus real water). Adding little interactive things like towels for hand drying and “water” for baths makes everything more fun in these little houses!

    So there it is, a tour of our second tiny house makeover, and I promise to update you guys down the road when we’ve done enough to warrant some sort of big update. In other words, I won’t do a post all about how we made the slate roof – but if we redo the roof, add a spiral staircase, and install some real working lights for example, I’ll update you in one big post.

    P.S. These have been such a joy to work on with the kids. I LOVE seeing their little minds churn with ideas, and I love showing them that whatever they dream up can probably be done…

    … and probably a lot easier and for a heckova lot less money than real life renovating! Ha!

    P.S. Don’t forget to check out our first dollhouse makeover if you missed that. And for the backstory on that amazing miniature fireplace made by Lisa in the UK, here’s the full scoop (the Burger pictures in that post kill me).

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    4 Low-Tech Ways We’re Planning Our Latest Room Makeover | Young House Love

    We’re in the midst of two room redos right now and I couldn’t be more excited about them! One is the master bathroom reno that we shared last week, and the other is a much lighter and less dusty one, which involves zero demo or wall moving, but a whole lot of function that we’ll be gaining (plus a wall treatment + wallpaper, which thrills me to no end). We’re “reconfiguring” the middle bedroom at our beach house, which used to look like this. Yes, it’s a very small room that was basically all bed:

    Having a lighter room redo running in the background while we wait for orders like the master bathroom tub & vanity to arrive and finalize our tile selections is actually really fun. And thankfully we left our bathroom fully functional when we knocked out those walls last week, which means we can still use the space while we wait on that stuff to arrive and get deeper into that project.

    But back to the middle bedroom. I realized while we were planning this room update that I have some easy tips that I think might come in handy for you guys if you’re planning any sort of room makeover (doesn’t have to be a bedroom), so I’m laying them all out right here, along with getting you all caught up on our progress in there. While there are lots of high tech ways to plan a room makeover – think 3D planning software, Photoshop mood boards, or even the trick I shared on Instagram last week – we’ve taken a decidedly low-tech approach to this room, and it has been so helpful as we attempt to picture everything & make confident decisions during each step of this room’s update.

    So for anyone else who’s intimidated by fancy design software or just prefers to see things in real life (raises both hands!), we wanted to share 4 things we’ve done in this room to visualize things as we go, and they’re super effective when it comes to confirming that you’re on the right path! I don’t want to skip too far ahead, but the space is already so much more functional for us! Here’s a peek:

    But back to our starting point. For the past 2 years, this room has served as a guest bedroom with a queen sized bed in it (seen below). But since most of our guests use the larger front bedroom, this one pretty much never got used. At most, we’ve had one guest sleep in it (always a kid since the grown ups take the front bedroom) and literally have never had two people share this bed ever. And it has been here for 2 solid years!

    So last month we finally faced the music and decided this space should work a lot harder for us instead of just housing a big bed that takes up space, so we held the bed and the nightstands in our hands and thanked them for their faithful service (Marie Kondo, anyone?) and then sold them to some friends. They’re both leftovers from our second house that we’ve had for over 9 years so they had a good run (you were so good to us, Ed!).

    The goal now is to make it a more multi-functional space. We still want to be able to sleep guests (just in a twin bed, not a queen – since so far it has only been one child staying in there at a time) and with more floor space it means a second kid could sleep in there on a sleeping bag or air mattress if the need arises, but it also means that our own children can hang out and do puzzles and art in there – so it won’t be used just a few times a year anymore and suddenly becomes a lot more functional!

    In some ways, it’s kind of similar to the space that we designed for Real Simple with the single bed guest room + playroom function they were looking for. In fact, we liked that woven daybed so much (more on that here) that I jumped at the chance to use a look-for-less woven daybed in our beach house! You’ll see more of that in a second though.

    Let’s get back to the four low-tech ways that we used to plan this space which… I should also point out, is still VERY much a work in progress! But I couldn’t wait to catch you up on everything that’s going on in there.

    1. Bring In Your Anchor Pieces

    This probably goes without saying, but if there are pieces you already own or you already know are “definites” for the room, get them into the space as soon as you can. Every decision afterward will be easier & clearer if your “known constants” are in there for you to visualize around. For us, this meant the rug (which we already owned and loved) and this beachy woven daybed, which was the launching point for our new room layout (we also started with the daybed in our Real Simple room design – a nice large piece of furniture is a great place to start).

    We love a daybed in a dual-function room like this because it can double as a couch or a lounge area when it’s not actually being used for sleeping. Almost like the more grown-up version of a futon. The kids can lay on it and read. Heck we can lay on it and read! People can sit in there and chat while the kids draw or play a game at the desk (more on that in a second). Suddenly this room has so much promise!

    Actually getting the daybed into the room was a HUGE leap forward in better understanding how the rest of the space would be arranged. One big tip would be: don’t order other elements like the table or desk or whatever until you see your anchor piece in the room if you have the option to do things in that staggered order. We tried the bed in a couple of spots, including the back wall where the old bed had been, but ultimately putting it in front of the windows gave us the most usable wall space for other functions across the room. And then we could decide what would fit best across from it, since we had the daybed’s final placement set.

    2. Tape Things Out

    Painters tape has probably been the hero of this process so far (which is why it’s also the star of most of the photos you’ll see today). Most noticeably, we used it to map out some board & batten molding that we’re planning for the room. We wanted to try something higher than our previous iterations of this project (like this $57 version in our last hallway, and this “fancy” version in our current house). More on why we’re into the idea of some extra height in a minute, but for now you can see how we used tape to help visualize it with two different spacing options:

    Not only did taping things out give us a gut check on the height, but we also were able to easily see which spacing option we preferred. We landed on the wider 18″ spacing since we think it will help the room feel bigger in the end – plus it’s more affordable! So it was definitely well worth the 10 minutes it took to test things out with tape.

    You may also notice some tape on the FLOOR of that photo and this one below…

    That was us trying to figure out the desk situation in the space, since one big goal of this room refresh was to squeeze in an art space for our kids (so we could keep the dining table more cleared & meal-ready downstairs since it had basically turned into their default art surface). Having a designated art area is going to be completely game-changing, and we were excited to see that two of these 30″ white metal desks would fit nicely… but the chairs looked crazy and closed everything in the second we added them to the room, which brings me to our next tip.

    3. Bring In Placeholder Furniture

    The chairs in that photo above were just borrowed from the dining room to help us picture things. THIS STEP IS HUGE – DON’T SKIP THIS! Lugging them upstairs briefly just to look at things was invaluable because it made us realize that chairs with a back were not the best idea. They made the room feel and look so much more crowded – almost like the back of the chairs were a fence separating the desk from the daybed and making everything feel more cramped.

    It was at this point that I started to doubt this plan. Maybe a double desk was asking too much of this room? But since nothing had been ordered yet, John and I decided to keep employing some low-tech planning methods to see if we could salvage the idea… which leads me to a slight variation of this placeholder furniture idea, which I will call:

    3b. Bring in Placeholder ANYTHING

    I thought maybe the desk wouldn’t be so bad if the chairs were backless – you know, maybe a stool or ottoman or pouf of some sort (the kids had been doing art at our dining table for the last two years, which has bench seating, so it’s backless too). We debated a bench for in here too, but thought the idea of a nice cushy stool or ottoman might be even more comfy, and would still give the kids a place to sit & draw, but without the whole fenced off feeling that the chairs were giving off. But we didn’t have any stools or ottomans around to help us confirm this hunch… so I found myself doing this…

    Yes, those upside-down baskets that are playing the role of “stools.” And yes, that cube organizer shelf is playing the role of “desk.” Neither of them were exactly the right size, but what they did is basically convince us not to give up on the desk idea. Because it confirmed that something backless like a cushy ottoman or stool would do just the trick. They wouldn’t visually crowd the room like the chairs had – and as we thought about it more, they could even tuck away entirely under the desk to essentially disappear when maximum floor space was needed. OR THEY COULD BE PULLED OUT AS CUTE LITTLE COFFEE TABLE ALTERNATIVES FOR THE DAYBED! SO FLEXIBLE! SO FUNCTIONAL! (I know, it’s extremely exciting. That’s why I used all caps).

    And that, my friends, is how we ended up at this “still very much a midpoint but it’s progress” stage right here:

    We ordered these two plush stool ottomans because they were the perfect size (and light enough for the kids to move them easily). I also liked that the gold band on the bottom picked up on some of the other brass accents we plan to keep in the room. We also opted for this single desk instead of the two metal desks we were originally envisioning. Not only is it wider and it has two drawers (three cheers to stashing art and pens/markers away when guests come) but it also kinda looks like a cute little console table setup, which is nice in a guest room.

    It’s not the largest art desk in the world, but it’s actually bigger than the one they share at home in our home office so they’re thrilled (plus a bonus space to do something fun like crafts in a house that didn’t formerly have one = all the squealing and excitement). We let them test it out last weekend while we were there and so far they’re giving it four marker-covered thumbs up.

    And remember my caps lock screaming about the flexibility of those ottomans? They didn’t let me down. I love how they work as footstools or mini coffee tables when someone’s using the daybed as a lounge or reading space. This realization alone made me SO HAPPY that we went through the exercise of figuring out this room in person, rather than trying to lay it out on the computer or in an app or on graph paper (all of which may not have caught the closed-in feeling backs of the chairs and steered us towards ottomans).

    But that actually leads me to the last thing we did… which was a smidge more high tech. Emphasis on “smidge.”

    4. Hold The Phone

    I promised I’d explain more about why we want to do the board & batten molding higher than usual in here. Partly it’s just because we think it will help the room feel beachier and more relaxed, but it’s also partly because we want to add some fun and colorful wallpaper above it. Between the sleeping nooks at the duplex (remember those wall murals?!) and the Real Simple room (remember that wallpaper!?), we’re both hot and heavy for wallpaper (ok, maybe John wouldn’t describe himself with those exact words), but we both were talking about wanting to wallpaper our dining room back at home with something tone-on-tone and soft yet interesting.

    And we thought this would be a great room for something even more colorful and bold – so the idea of adding that above a white-painted wainscotting will keep the room feeling relaxed and not too overwhelmed with pattern. Plus we’d save money by not doing each wall floor-to-ceiling (that’s a whole lotta paper).

    After a ton of searching online, I had narrowed it down to these two wallpapers from Anthropologie (Alpine and Synchronized). They were pretty different in style, but the 20″ repeat on each would mean we could do the whole room with just 2 rolls, as long as the space above the wainscot was less than 20″ (another way that taping off and planning helped us!).

    Unfortunately, Anthropologie doesn’t sell samples (boo!) so naturally, I did the next best thing and I opened up one pattern on John’s phone as large as I could and did the other on mine. Then we stood in the doorway, held both phones up in front of us, and squinted.

    I know this sounds extremely dumb, but it did exactly what I needed it to. It gave us a better idea of how each option would read in the room, and it immediately became clear that the larger scale of the Synchronized one (on the right) would work better with our existing rug. We really loved the one on the left, but that stand and squint with your phone exercise really helped me see that the smaller scale was extremely similar to the scale of the rug’s pattern, so they competed in an odd way (ideally one accent with a pattern would be a different scale than another in the room so they don’t feel like they’re fighting). That little activity helped us see that Synchronized was The One, and we placed an order that same day.

    Had we been at home near our computer or printer I probably would’ve been tempted to photoshop it in or print out my own approximation of a sample, but I didn’t and – guess what – I’m still THRILLED with the outcome and completely confident that we picked the right one. The only thing I’m not so thrilled out is that the wallpaper is on backorder until the end of October. Boo. It hurts to type that.

    But clearly we still have lots to do in here before we get to the wallpaper anyway, including adding the board and batten – which I think is next up on our list. And since we’re back to just going there every other weekend or so, the late October arrival of the wallpaper may be perfectly timed after all.

    P.S. Want more posts about planning a room makeover? We got plenty! Here’s (good planning is basically the entire key to a space you love!).

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    This content was originally published here.

    #141: When You See Another Blogger’s Home In Person…

    Our recent Chicago meet-up with fellow bloggers Chris Loves Julia, Yellow Brick Home, and Making It Lovely left us with lots of feels (and very full stomachs). But it was seeing one of their homes in person that completely changed our minds about a “design rule” we had proclaimed for our own home (on this very podcast, no less). We’re also sharing what surprised us most about the final phase of getting our duplex ready to rent. Plus the results of Sherry’s latest staging assignment and a dynamic decor alternative to just hanging another picture frame.

    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


    Finishing The Duplex

    • The calendar below shows the days (marked in red) where we were in Cape Charles working on the duplex over the last four months. It was 16 separate trips – each involving a 5-6 hour round-trip drive (all done in the same day wherever you see a single day that’s red). Looking at it this way really emphasizes how the furnishing phase – which Sherry guessed might take “three long weekends to finish” – ended up being a lot more involved than we thought.
    • Here’s an idea of what many of those early trips looked like. Just lots of unpacking & furniture assembly (and making long lists of what else we’d need for the next trip).
    • In the end, it took longer than we expected, but it feels really, really, REALLY good to be so close to the finish line (still needs to stock some more things in the kitchens, plus a few little outdoor projects – but it’s safe to say that we’re 98% done with this almost-two-year project).
    View Into Open Living And Dining Room With Wood Table And Cage Chandelier
    • We plan to release off-season dates for this fall (which won’t require a week-long stay) later this summer. And we’ll open reservations for the summer season of 2020 after this summer is completed. So there are more dates to come, we’re just taking things one season at a time for now.

    We’re Digging

    • You can see another mobile that we hung – this time in the beach house’s middle bedroom below. This one’s from Target, but is also no longer available.
    • Also, now on to our very important survey…

    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 Rothy’s for sponsoring this episode. Check them out at where you get free shipping and returns on every order!

    Thanks for listening, guys!

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    The post #141: When You See Another Blogger’s Home In Person… appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.