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!

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#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!

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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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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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#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

Update

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 Rothys.com 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.

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How We Organized Our Beach House Shed (& Two Tips That Helped A Ton) | Young House Love

Earlier this summer we shared how we made over our beach house backyard in one giant post that covered the entire year-long process of taking it from a gnarly jungle to compact-yet-relaxing little oasis. It’s a very small space, so we worked really hard to squeeze lots of function out of it – more on that here – and back when we shared that post, many of you asked for photos of the inside of our pink shed along with details about what we store there. So today all of your shed-poking-around dreams are about to come true.

When we shared that backyard before & after fest, I confessed that the inside of the shed was a “disaster pile” – but we were able to turn that around about a week later in under 5 hours, without purchasing anything beyond some basic lumber and a few hooks. I’m not gonna pretend it’s the most perfect shed that ever shed-ed, but I did do two things that made all the difference in how much we can store (and easily access) if I do say so myself. Overall this project was a good reminder to us that good organization doesn’t have to be overwrought or expensive to be functional.

It also taught me that I’m stunning and versatile model. Is that a smize I detect? #WatchOutChad

While the outside of the shed is an important visual anchor point in the backyard (not to mention a really great privacy provider that helped establish that nestled & cozy feeling), the inside was meant to solve our no-garage, no-basement, no-other-outdoor-storage issue. For more than a year we had been piling lawn equipment, beach gear, tools, and lots of renovation leftovers into the beach house foyer and mudroom. Which as you can imagine was not ideal (hello sand and grass clippings, welcome to our home). So as soon as the shed was complete, we eagerly transferred everything that should live in the shed into the shed. It was a big day for me. And that’s how our disaster pile was born.

It sat that way for a while, just festering – as piles of disaster tend to do – and then we finally had a weekend to whip this shed into shape. The name of the game in here was basically just to utilize the wall space so we could clear the floor space.

The challenge is that we didn’t have a lot of wall space to work with, since the wall shown above is the only wall without doors or windows on it (the other three walls have either three windows, two windows, or two doors that take up most of those walls). Which meant it was the obvious spot to build some heavy duty shelves:

I built these shelves in just a few hours using the same technique I used in our Richmond shed, which was based on this Ana White tutorial. It just uses 2 x 4s and plywood, and involves a super simple trick that saves you lots of measuring and leveling. You can see more of the step-by-step details in this post but the gist is that you build your outer shelf supports right against the wall, literally screwing them (temporarily) into the inner shelf supports. That way when you separate them you’re confident that the front and back of your shelves will line up perfectly. Because you literally build them on top of one another. It makes it really fast too!

You can space the shelves however you’d like (to customize it for the items you’re storing), but I’ve included our measurements below for reference. You can see that we like some big shelves on the bottom for bulky items and tools – and then some smaller ones up top. This gives us a ton of flexibility, which is great – especially when you’re not 100% sure what’s going to go on each of the shelves (the stuff you store in a shed also seems to evolve over time – so versatility is key).

The one thing we were certain was going on those freshly built shelves was all of the spare tile from both the beach house and duplex renovations. We like to keep at least one box of extra tile on hand for every project (just in case something cracks or a plumbing issue pops up and we need to replace some tiles down the line) and the tile from 3 kitchens and 7 bathrooms and 3 mudrooms really adds up (YES, WE TILED THIRTEEN SPACES IN TWO YEARS BETWEEN THE BEACH HOUSE & THE DUPLEX! You can see the results here & here).

Fortunately that all fit easily on just one and a half shelves, so I had lots of room for about 70% of what was originally in our disaster pile – including things like our pressure washer, our inflatable paddle board, the kids’ boogie boards tha, some potting soil/mulch, our miter saw, and our shop vac. I’ll show you where the other 30% of the disaster pile ended up in a second.

Here comes my favorite part of this particular shed project. I kinda hated that I had used up our only full wall to store things we’ll need very infrequently (or maybe never in the case of the extra tile). So I decided to treat the front of the shelves like a wall of their own by adding another layer of organization on top! Kind of like when people hang a picture frame on the face of a bookcase. But more sheddy.

All it took were some strategically placed hooks (like these ladder-hooks-turned-beach-chair-hooks) and now we can hang our more frequently accessed items (aka beach gear) in a suuuuuuuper convenient spot right next to the shed door. I can’t begin to tell you how useful this system has been over the last couple of months. And it’s not like we wish we could see those random looking tile boxes, so hooray for some strategic shed layering.

Now let’s spin around and take a look at the other side of the shed – which is mostly windows. Again, the windows are what help the shed look so good from the outside but they limit our options in here. I managed to make use of some of the narrow wall space and corners for things like our beach kite and our little electric grill, but the area under the big window is mostly consumed by a couple of leaning bikes. They’re hand-me-downs from a neighbor (which is why one is missing a seat) that we’re hanging on to for when our kids are a little bigger – so it’s really nice to have room for them.

The gray storage piece under the other window is actually an Ikea item that we originally bought as a duplex media cabinet. But after assembling it we realized it was waaaaay too hulking for that use (we ended up using these instead) and we sent this to the shed to use for storage instead.

It’s probably not the piece I would have chosen for this use if I hadn’t already had it on hand, but it has turned out to be a decent way to corral smaller items like toys & buckets along with some random garden gear like hoses and gloves (which are stored behind the closed door). Actually having doors that slide instead of swinging out is nice because the area in front of this cabinet doesn’t always have to be completely clear to open the door, which is handy.

The wall to the immediate right of this cabinet has a smorgasbord of random screws, nails, and hooks that we attached to wrangle our various outdoor tools: clippers, a rake, some shovels, etc. I’ve bought some of those “fancy” outdoor took racks in the past, but I can’t say I’ve really loved any of them more than an easy system like this. Just make sure when you’re buying outdoor tools that there’s a way to hang them (most should come with a hole or loop somewhere for this purpose).

For things that didn’t already have a ready-made loop, I used some heavier duty bike hooks to hang items like our blower, weed trimmer, and ladder. And speaking of the ladder…

…this is the second instance were I sort of “created my own wall space.” How? Well I hung it right in front of one of the doors. We put double doors on the shed to make it easier to load in larger or longer items like our outdoor furniture on occasion – but so far we’ve rarely opened both of them. And since that door with the ladder in front of it stays fixed in place unless unlatched at the top & bottom, I figured why not make use of that most-of-the-time “wall” space? I can easily take the ladder down if we ever need wider access, but 99% of the time it’s more useful this way and I love that it’s securely hung and out of the way.

That concludes my guided tour of the beach house shed. Hopefully it has satisfied your curiosity about what lurks behind those blue-green doors.

And if you like organization posts (or SHEDS!) as much as I do, check out:

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Our DIY “Stained Glass” Window (That Hangs On The Wall) | Young House Love

We had a totally different post planned for today, but then a super fun/random project fell into our laps on Monday night. We weren’t sure how things would turn out (we were kinda making up a DIY technique as we went along), but to say that we’re pleasantly surprised is a giant understatement. This might be my favorite under $10 project in the history of my life. And it could easily be repeated with any window you find at a thrift store, architectural salvage shop, or even at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. SAVE ALL THE GORGEOUS OLD WINDOWS, GUYS!

Or you could just wander the streets hoping to be in the right place at the right time – because that is actually how my tale of inheriting this window begins. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you may have heard me gleefully tell The Fateful Tale Of The Old Diamond Window, wherein I randomly took a longer route on my evening walk and it resulted in me coming down our street about 10 minutes later than I usually do, and at that exact moment I bumped into our neighbors as they were loading an old diamond-paned window into their truck to take it to the dump. They looked up as I walked by and said “Hey Sherry! Do you want this old window? It’s super rotten so we were going to take it to the dump, but maybe you can do something fun with it?!”

I hope you know how insane my face was when I essentially screamed into their faces “YES I WANT IT SO BAD THANK YOU VERY MUCH!” and ran away clutching it and whispering “my precious.”

It’s white on the other side, and the purple side above was the street facing side of the window, which is, in fact, extremely brittle and water damaged (some of the trim was missing and just filled with caulk, the actual sides of the window trim were splintered and even missing, etc). So my first thought was that maybe I could paint it with exterior paint and use it in the back garden – maybe as some sort of cool trellis-alternative for something leafy to grow up.

Well, within a few minutes of excitedly chatting about some alternative possibilities yesterday, John & I concocted another plan (PIVOT!) which would mean it wouldn’t continue to get wet & rot outside… and, well, all of the pictures you’re about to see were actually taken THIS MORNING. That’s right, we started (and finished!) this project today. As in, just hours ago. And I was too excited to share my other already-written post today, so I whipped up this one for ya.

As for our materials, all we used was our free secondhand window, two D-rings to hang it, about $9 in tissue paper, and a spray bottle full of water that we already had on hand. And within about two hours (by about 1pm today) we had turned this old window into something we’re crazy about. I KNOW THIS PICTURE MAKES YOU WORRIED. It all worked out, even though this looks like a preschool project gone wrong.

This whole thing started because I wanted to find a way to use the diamond window INSIDE of the beach house, somewhere that we could see it more than having it tucked away in the backyard and somewhere that it would be protected from the elements so it wouldn’t eventually just fall apart completely. And this spot across from the island ended up being perfect. You may remember that we had this large beachy print there before. We LOVE this print – it’s the perfect colors and is pretty affordable for a framed art piece this large, but I found a better spot for it AND it opened up that area right under the sconce for my piece de resistance: The Diamond Window Of My Dreams.

Because I know you like closure, here’s a picture of where we moved that framed print. Looks so nice over by the dining table. The colors go so well with the old chippy blue door to the laundry room.

Heading back over to the sconce that now highlights The Window That I Would Marry If That Were Legal – we think it’s the perfect spot because the window is thick and sticks off the wall a decent amount, so having a sconce that sticks out above it and shines down on it feels really proportional and balanced. As soon as John held the window up in that spot yesterday I knew it would add some nice balance to the room. WINDOW DESTINY IS A REAL THING, GUYS.

We were both happy with the idea of just hanging the window as it was and calling it a day (well, sealing it with some clear Safecoat Acrylacq since that safely encapsulates old paint that might contain lead). Buuuuuut we both agreed that it might be fun to see if there was a way to bring in some color just because it was feeling kinda white on white (white walls, white window, white cabinets & countertop in front of it, etc). That’s when the idea to try to give it a DIY stained glass look emerged. I KNOW. UH OH. That sounds like it could go SPECTACULARLY WRONG. But we already have FIVE colorful real stained glass windows in this house (two going up the stairs, and three in the attic on the front and sides of the house), so it just felt like another one would fit right in… if we could make it look good and not cheesy… (which was a big IF).

Ultimately we knew we had nothing to lose since glass can be scraped if you paint it or cover it with something you later hate. In fact we knew things like glass paint exist for these types of projects… but the craft store scene out here near the beach house is bleak. As in, the closest thing is about an hour’s drive away with an $18 toll. So we decided to improvise using a popular kids craft medium: tissue paper. I KNOW I CAN HEAR YOUR FEAR THROUGH THE COMPUTER BUT HAVE FAITH. Remember: nothing to lose. Tissue paper can go on… and it can peel right off if it looks like something a toddler made at the library and subsequently glued their hair to the paper.

We actually already had some blue and mint tissue paper on hand for gift wrapping – and we darted out to the small local drugstore and grocery store after breakfast (THIS MORNING!) to grab whatever else we could find that thought might be fun… which ended up being some pink, violet, yellow, red, and white.

But before we could start messing around with the paper, we had to prep the window for hanging.

Prepping Your Window

John ended up having some heavy-duty D-rings that we screwed into the back of the window to make it easy to hang. If you don’t have them, they’re just a few bucks at any hardware store. Make sure you’re hanging them equidistant from the top of your frame, since this will make it easier to get it level on your wall. We also subbed out the screws that came with the D-rings with slightly longer ones for a stronger hold (just make sure they won’t poke through the front of your window).

We hung it using these drywall anchors, which are becoming our go-to anchors because you don’t have to pre-drill a hole. You’ll obviously want to use a level and a measuring tape/yardstick to get it exactly where you want it on your wall. We made sure ours was centered on our sconce and the whole hanging part took under 10 minutes.

Once we “test hung” it to make sure we liked it, I spent about 30 minutes “tidying up” the glass. This meant scraping off some of the crusty paint around the edges that overlapped the glass. I like using a flat glass scraper like this and then I vacuumed up the flakes with our shop vac to dispose of it. I DID NOT SAND because there could be lead paint under the newer paint that could aerate and be breathed in (scraping could even stir up lead dust in some cases – mine were just big paint flakes that remained on the glass – but we heavily encourage tons of care with lead).

After scraping both sides clean, I used white vinegar in a spray bottle to clean the glass itself (that’s actually how I like to clean glass and mirrors all over the house – so cheap and it works!).

If we wanted it to look less rustic and old we could’ve done a lot more (scraping more, patching the wood with Bondo, repainting…) but we liked how it looked old and interesting. So at this point we were pretty much ready to get to tissue papering!

Oh, and I should point out that our chihuahua Burger was very interested in posing throughout this project. Scroll through this post when you’re done reading and count the cameos. He definitely thought he was supervising.

Applying Your Tissue Paper

We tried a few different application techniques using what we had on hand, but I’ll just share what ended up working the best for us.

First, cut your tissue paper roughly to size. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you definitely want some overlap so it’s not too small for each window pane. You can also keep your tissue paper folded if you want to cut multiple pieces at once.

Next, spray the glass surface generously with water using a spray bottle. You don’t want a puddle of water, but generally we found more water was better than less.

Next, place your tissue sheet on the glass, starting in the middle and gently smoothing it towards the edges. You can use your fingers to press it into the creases, but wet tissue paper is delicate, so take it slow. We tried pushing it into the corner with a straight edge (like a credit card) but it often tore the paper, so we found that just using our fingers was best.

We experimented with multiple layers of tissue paper too (sometimes of different colors) to create different hues and varying opacities (the more sheets = the bolder the color). To add a second or third sheet, repeat the steps above. Spray over the existing tissue paper and press down your next sheet – first with a finger in the center, and then tap it down all around the rest of the pane.

You can see that our papers hung over the edges a lot, but as long as there’s not too much excess – it’s not at all visible from the front side.

Even though it looked kinda crazy from the back…

Oh and when you finish with your spraying & sticking technique – let it fully dry in that horizontal position. I think if we hung it while it was still wet it would have stuck to the wall and made a huge mess. Only hang it once it has all dried and molded to the glass firmly.

NOTE: Obviously this method only works if you hang the window on the wall so you just see the front because the back is butt ugly. Also, this project is less than 12 hours old, so we’ll update you on how well this water only technique holds up. Our tissue paper completely dried and molded itself into place without anything bubbling or shifting or coming loose. If things somehow change over time and unstick, my next attempt would be to mix Elmer’s Glue or Mod Podge with water and stick them on from behind with that concoction, which I’ve heard works but might result in more creases and obvious “this is tissue paper” evidence, hence the water-only first attempt.

Picking Your Colors & Pattern

Not only were we winging this technique, we were also making up the pattern and colors as we went along. So it’s worth taking some time to just test out what colors you can create using whatever tissue paper colors you have on hand. The photo below is of our “test board” where we were just seeing what would happen when we combined different layers of different colors (the water spray method meant anything we didn’t like could very easily be peeled off without much effort before it dried).

You can see a few of the lower colors we tested were more bold and primary than we preferred, and we noticed that the brighter colors looked a lot more veiny and uneven – especially when we layered white under them to try to mute them a bit from the front (FAIL!). So we very happily peeled off the too-bold primary colors we didn’t love, as well as the white + primary ones that looked all veiny and wrinkled in the bottom left. Then we rejoiced that the colors we liked the most tended to look the most like actual stained glass (the top ones).

All of that experimenting also taught us that layering the royal blue behind a few layers of lighter colors (like two mint sheets or two pink sheets) or putting a fire engine red square behind two sheets of the violet paper gave us interesting variations, which helped to create a more varied final look.

As for the pattern, we contemplated a super symmetrical/traditional stained glass look at first. But whatever I doodled on my phone ended up looking more traditional than we wanted. So we ended up just kinda making a random/organic pattern. Basically putting a few down, holding the window up, and making judgement calls about where to put the next one and what color to make it.

We realized afterwards that the whole thing ended up looking very Matt Crump-y. I love this notebook of his so I’m completely enamored to have a window version to call my own.

I am glad we decided to leave some of the pane totally empty, because I think the reflective glass surface itself is a big reason why it looks so pretty hanging in this room. It’s constantly catching reflections from the various windows and doors in the space, meaning it almost glimmers as you walk through the room. And it’s old wavy glass. MY FAVORITE.

Pictures can’t do it justice. Wish you could all come wash dishes at my sink and stare at it with heart eyes.

So again, I’ll keep you posted on how this DIY stained glass technique holds up over time, but for now we’re feeling pretty plucky about what we were able to pull together in a few hours.

Oh and if you’d like to see some other affordable projects that we’ve tackled over the years, this Crafting & Art category has a lot of ideas for ya. The big home renos are fun, but nothing makes you feel all giddy and excited like a quick & easy project that actually goes your way! They do exist!!!

P.S. Speaking of art, our sweet friend Jenny Komenda is now carrying two photos that we took & framed at the duplex in her print shop (Juniper Print Shop). They’re available as digital downloads that you can print & frame yourself or as prints that you can order that come right to your door. We’re so excited to see Love and Station among all of her lovely prints!

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A Big Kitchen Makeover Created From Little Changes | Young House Love

I’ve been so excited to show you Teresa and Andrew’s kitchen makeover. They’re some of our closest friends whole live right around the corner from us, and ever since we filmed this bookcase styling time-lapse video in their living room, I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for their new appliances to arrive so we could share a big ol’ virtual kitchen tour with you guys.

Not only do they have amazing style, they also made SO MANY budget-friendly choices in this kitchen and I really hope they help to demonstrate that you can often work with a lot more than you might think (you don’t always have to scrap everything and start over!). And you can save a bunch of money doing that! Plus I get to share my trick for refreshing old wood cabinet doors so they look like new for just a few bucks – and I even caught the magic on video – so that’s in this post for you too.

Beyond just being good eye candy, I love that they made a series of bold choices in here (hello colorful painted cabinets and big brass pulls!) and it still shocks me how much of the original kitchen they were able to use as a springboard for their new space.

If you stare at the photo below, I bet you’ll guess that at least 2 things that are original to this space are new things that they added – but they didn’t! Let’s see if I’m right.

Here’s the “before” photo from the real estate listing when they bought the house six years ago. Note the soapstone counters. Note the subway tile backsplash! The layout! The island! The big double window over the sink! EVEN THE CABINET COLOR! All of those elements stayed exactly the same.

And now – thanks to some strategic upgrades like new appliances, new lighting, new wall paint, and new cabinet doors (but not entirely new cabinets!), here is the after. I’ll wait while you scroll back and forth a few times.

The first genius choice that Teresa and Andrew made was hiring a local cabinet maker to create new inset doors for their existing cabinet boxes. That decision saved them the expense of gutting the room and buying fully new cabinets (they got a few quotes for new cabinets, but then realized they could just update the doors and save over 50%!) AND it also meant that they didn’t have to rip out and replace their counters, sink, or backsplash in the process.

Those can all be pricey line items in a typical kitchen renovation, and since Teresa and Andrew had inherited great materials from the previous owner (soapstone! subway tile!) it was a win-win to work with them. I’m sure that not everyone looking at that before picture would “see the vision,” so I love that they went with their gut and kept so much! And the outcome is SO GOOD. Here’s that before shot again for reference:

By eliminating new cabinet boxes, new counters, a new kitchen sink, and an entirely new backsplash from their overall budget, they also got to focus their dollars on other kitchen upgrades that were important to them. Andrew’s a great cook who always wanted a nice gas stove, so he was able to put more of their kitchen budget towards stuff like a new gas range and a pot filler. He was even able to match the existing subway tile and grout color to extend the backsplash up where the over-the-range microwave used to be. You’d never guess that small area is new and the rest is original tile.

Did I mention they did all of their own cabinet box painting and additional tile installation themselves to help save even more of the budget? (here’s a tutorial for how to paint kitchen cabinets and how to install a subway tile backsplash if you want to tackle that too).

But I haven’t even shown you my favorite part of this room’s transformation yet. BRACE YOURSELVES, and please turn your attention to their new pantry / coffee station / drop zone on the left side of the room:

Believe it or not, this wall used to look like this. I’ll wait while you get your scroll on. It’s pretty amazing.

Their washer & dryer used to be shoved behind those bi-fold doors, and they always dreamed of moving them upstairs and creating more kitchen storage and usable space in that area. It didn’t happen right away (remember, they moved in 6 years ago), but earlier this year they were able to have them moved upstairs, closer to the bedrooms… meaning that this corner of the kitchen was freed up to become more open and functional!

They found an awesome local cabinet maker after seeing my friend Carey’s rental kitchen (where she used the same guy to save her old cabinet boxes and replace the fronts). It was such a smart move because he’s a total artist! Not only did he build all of the new cabinet boxes and fronts in this corner to match the rest of the room – since he also replaced the doors on the other side, he could make everything look perfectly matched. Every last cabinet looks new and fresh – even though more than half of them aren’t!

As I mentioned, to save money Teresa and Andrew color-matched the existing cabinets and painted all of the cabinet boxes themselves, and their cabinet guy sprayed all the doors (FYI, I brought over about 10,000 color decks and like the true paint detective that I am, was able to determine that this exact color is Sherwin-Williams Halcyon Green. So if you’re looking to duplicate this look, that’s the color… and it’s GOOD. Even better in person since photos can never capture the real feeling of something as well as standing right in front of it and seeing it at different times of day. It has a ton of depth and dimension.

To save the cost of buying new soapstone counters for this new corner area, they installed some simple butcher block instead, and then DIYed the matching subway tile backsplash. They even bargain hunted a fancy Miele coffee maker (Andrew found a broken secondhand one and repaired it himself!).

I’m not going to pretend that having your laundry appliances replumbed upstairs and getting custom cabinets built is a super quick and cheap endeavor – but spending 50% less than they would have spent if they gutted their original cabinets is a brilliant budget saver! And I can’t get over how many OTHER expensive line items they were able to dodge because they reused what they already had (existing floors, same exact kitchen island, original counters, same backsplash, same sink – even the same cabinet color).

And not to dwell, but let’s revisit the cabinet color for a second. The previous owner had paired it with bright red walls, but the minute Teresa & Andrew repainted them a more subtle gray (Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter) it allowed those awesome green cabinets to shine. Let the record state that I, Sherry “Love A White Kitchen” Petersik absolutely lives for these cabinets. Like I’m actively like “should I repaint my kitchen island this color?” It’s interesting but not wacky, moody but not dark, cheerful but not saccharine. It’s basically the G.O.A.T. cabinet color in my book. And I can’t get over that it was always there!

Let’s just take one more look back at where they’ve been, shall we?

CAN YOU EVEN?! I CANNOT.

Let’s talk about the island for a second. This is one element they didn’t touch AT ALL. You might say that they lucked into the fact that mixing in contrasting wood cabinets is so hot right now, but a wood island is always a classic in my book. This one was showing some wear and tear though (the finish was starting to look scratched and dry in some areas that had gotten heavy use), to the point that Teresa worried that it would look bad for her big kitchen reveal. I texted her a series of ridiculous gifs and told her not to fret. $herdog had plans. Cheap zero-dolla-make-ya-holla plans.

My big plan? I broke out a stain marker that I’ve had for like 5 years to show Teresa that they could look like new again with just a couple of scribbles around each drawer. I actually made a quick video so you can see exactly how fast and painless it was to freshen up these cabinets (the video shows it a lot better than any series of photos could). It literally took me around ten minutes total to refresh the entire island. I didn’t have to sand, seal, or even wipe up any excess stain (although in some cases you may need to if it doesn’t all soak up). Just use a matching tone, color over any worn spots on your cabinets or furniture or floors in the direction of the wood grain, and wipe it if there’s too much sitting on top (no worries if it all soaks in). Then let it dry. That’s it.

NOTE: If you’re viewing this post in a feed reader you may need to click through to see the video. You can also watch it here on YouTube.

I used a Golden Oak colored marker (the brand name has changed to Varathane on these now – remember I told you this stain marker is like five years old – so don’t worry about hunting down a Minwax one). The color doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t panic if you don’t know the precise stain color of your furniture. You just want to get something close enough that it’ll blend. You can actually buy a multi-pack of various shades for the same price as one marker if you want to have some options. Here’s a little side-by-side of the magic it worked on Teresa and Andrew’s island (but seriously watch the video, it shows it better and you can see how I apply it too).

Lastly, a quick note about the soapstone counters because we’ve never had them and I know some people fear the maintenance of them. Teresa reports that they did have to get used to how soft it was (it can easily scratch it with a fork or knife or even the lid of a jar) but they’ve grown to enjoy the patina that adds, rather than fight it. They do try to oil it about once a month, which fills any scratch or ding, and they typically rotate between two products: this Boo’s Mystery Oil and this Soapstone Sealer.

So that’s the kitchen, folks. Can you see why I’m crazy in love with it? Coming off of the beach house and duplex kitchens (which required down-to-the-studs renos to fully update the old electrical and plumbing as well as reinforce the walls and floor so it was all safe and to code) it was INCREDIBLY CHARMING AND REFRESHING to watch Teresa and Andrew’s makeover – not only the result, but also the way they got there.

If you liked this tour, you might want to check out:

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This content was originally published here.