Wall Flowers

We have one teeny accent wall in our dining room that houses two former DIY projects: the console table and the mirror we sprayed gold. It’s quickly become the most worked over spot in our house and we’re not done yet! After putting up pink tinsel on this wall for Christmas we decided this space needed something bold and fun all year round.

What better way to do that than to add some colorful wallpaper? There are so many peel and stick options I thought it would be a quick weekend job but like everything it was more involved than picking and sticking. Here are some of the options we considered….

Either stick with the pink and paint the wall rose or get a cool pink design…

The wallpaper samples were about $11 and took about a week to get to me but I have to say they’re life savers. Once you see a sample on the wall it makes a big difference. If it’s big enough you can tell right away if it will work. I have so many samples now I swear I could wallpaper a small bathroom with them. I still couldn’t decide if I like the fern print so Robbie photoshopped some designs onto a picture of that wall. If you know how to do this I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU DO! It’s the best way to get an idea of what it will look like in the space and it’s FREE!! I spent so much on samples I’ll never do that again.

What a difference once you see it on the walls right? #2 was my favorite hands down until I saw the final product on the walls. I’m now leaning towards the first one because it’s not as dark and the print isn’t as tight. Again – if you can photoshop the options on a picture of your space first – we suggest you do!

We were so excited to get the 4 rolls of wallpaper during the quarantine – there’s no better project than wallpapering a wall when you’re stuck inside. We got our peel and stick wallpaper from https://musewallstudio.com/ She delivered it fast and even helped me with a credit card mistake I made. Check out her great site if this is something you want to do. There are also sooo many options on Home Depot’s website and of course Etsy.

We learned a few things about removable wallpaper that we’ll pass on to you. One is to go left to right and it’s best to measure the width of the panel and draw a LIGHT pencil line to line up the edge with. I say light because we drew ours very dark and surprise! It popped through the paper. You can see the dark pencil line even after we erased it. The paper is A LOT more see-through than we thought. You can even see the pink paint swatch I painted under the white area. Fortunately the pattern is so loud your eye isn’t drawn to the pencil marks – so phew but beware!

The other tip is to pre-tape the paper onto the wall before laying down the sticky side. That way you can match the graphics and make sure it doesn’t start to line differently the farther down you go. We learned that even if it’s off a little it doesn’t show so be as exact as you can but don’t sweat minor off-areas.

We ordered 4 rolls thinking we’d have enough extra to cover the area above the door and we were wrong! We had plenty of paper but none matched the pattern correctly. We didn’t want to order an entire extra roll so Robbie stared at it for about an hour and figured out different pieces that *sort* of worked.

You definitely can’t tell when you look at the wall that there are panels that don’t match but because I like you I’ll show you a close up of his sneaky work!

Here’s the process sped up into a 1 minute video! It actually took about 4 hours not counting the arguments we had about “not communicating” well with each other while taping the panels up. Teeeeheeee!


Time For A Rainbow

A few weeks ago I decided to be bold and paint a huge, beautiful rainbow on the blank wall in the playroom. “It will be easy!” I thought. “What could go wrong?” I asked myself as I scrolled through pictures of rainbow murals on Instagram and Pinterest. Wow. Wrong. It was way more challenging once I started stenciling the different arches of the rainbow. Apparently drawing or painting rainbows requires measuring and math and science. Ok maybe not but it started to feel like it so I scrapped that idea and opted for some crazy free form waves instead. Way more fun and no measuring needed. Robbie and I sketched some waves with pencil and used a magic eraser to get rid of the lines we didn’t like. We definitely magic erased the paint off some spots but we knew we’d paint over it so meh….

Next was color selection! I spent a lot of time at the Sherwin Williams paint swatch wall trading different shades of pinks and yellows out. I knew I didn’t want a traditional “ROY G BIV” rainbow/wave and I didn’t want it to be too little girl bedroom-y. We were really going for natural more adult colors (if that’s a thing).

The final selections
The colors we decided on!

We finally settled on a light pink, a bright yellow, pale green and the darker butterscotch. We put a Disney movie on for our 3 year old and got to work! Ok so we aren’t ENTIRELY done with this room but I’ll show what I have for now….The picture below on the left is the original finished product. It didn’t feel right. I think the brown was so dark next to the white walls it made it look too stark….I added a ton of white to it and lightened that wave. It’s a lot better. And surprise! That curtain was hiding a random, useless door that totally doesn’t need to be there. I’m working on getting lighter curtains….

Here’s the completed wall! I’ll add a picture of the whole room once it’s not a disaster….

Console with Sparkle

We love to go antique shopping and in doing that we often see things we want but can’t afford. In this case we were on the hunt for a console table to sit under our mirror in the dining room. The space is super small so finding the perfect vintage piece that had the exact dimensions we needed was going to be tricky. This Teak, vintage table had the look we wanted but it was just a little too short, a little too deep and a little too orange. Here’s the dream table below….

We loved the lamps on top but the price was out of our league.

We we so close to buying it. I mean…..really, really close. We wanted the lamps on top and the suitcase for storage below but the final price tag was going to be about $1500. Thankfully one of us shook the other out of our vintage haze and we said we’d think about it. After getting home we measured our space again and realized the table wouldn’t fit even if the price was right. I took the measurements we needed and disappeared to my work shop for a few hours to gather materials. I found leftover wood from our vanity and some old pine planking that remained from the subfloor in the house from the 50’s. Back inside I found some epoxy, jars of gold glitter and some oil based stain and got ready for a wild Friday night!

I cut the top to the length we needed and cut all the legs to the height we wanted. I laid the top out and sanded it till I removed all the rough saw marks from the milling. This exposed some big knots and cracks. No worries about that I had a simmer and shiny solution for that.

This is were the subtle sparkle comes in. I masked up the back side of all the cracks and knots. Then laid on layer after layer of glitter and epoxy mix. I mushed as much as I could into the cracks and low sections. Once that had cured I went back to the sanding train. I sanded until I had a perfectly smooth surface then applied one thin layer of golden oak stain. After 2 days of that curing I applied 6 or 7 or maybe 8 coats (I don’t know I lost track) of semi gloss clear.

The legs were the next step. We wanted this to sit a little higher then most other console tables that we saw. To make them I cut left over 1″ by 2″ common pine boards from our bathroom vanity build too length. To make them wide enough that I could have a classic tapered mid century style leg, I glued up two boards together to make a 2″ by 2″ leg. After the glue had cured I marked the taper and cut and sanded them. Next step was to add a notch in the leg to attach to the skirt.

For the skirt I mitered all the corners and matched them to the top. I used these little corner blocks to hold everything together with the ratchet strap while the glue cures. I have used these blocks for all kinds of projects and I made them for scraps and cut offs.

After final assembly I glued and screwed the top on. I presented the final piece to Marianne on our 5th wedding anniversary. She got me a coffee mug.

Looks pretty at the holidays!!

Changing Our Vanity From Blah to Boho

Robbie here!! This is the vanity we had in our en suite when we moved in. It looks okay but it’s harboring some stinky mold and falling apart so we had to replace it.

We had to remove the old one, clean the mold off the walls and replace it with something that’s a little more our style. Vanities at the big box stores didn’t seem to have the look we wanted. They were cheaply made and too expensive so after some deliberation I decided to make our own.

I took measurements of the old unit and ripped all the old water damaged garbage out of there.

We went down to the studs as the dry wall was bad too. We then proceded to scrub down the studs and everything around with bleach, mold inhibitor and fungicide. After going over it all twice we sealed it up with oil based paint and then a coat of Kilz primer.

Two coats of the paint to seal everything and replacing the drywall put our minds at ease.

2″x1″ and 3″x1″ common boards

It was then time for our weekly trip to Home Depot. Using the measurements we took from the old unit we purchased some white pine common boards, a 4’x8’x3/8″ sheet of sanded plywood and, a sheet 4’x8’x1/4″ birch plywood

Pre glue mock up

From there it was a “simple” task of figuring out how each piece would join the other so the outside dimensions were correct. I decided to use miter cuts and rabbit joints, this would mean we would have no screws or fasteners showing.

Once I had the main structure glued up and grooves routed for the back I turned my attention to adding that little splash of magic to our custom vanity by including a custom inlay! I have years of experience doing reproduction and inlay work on instruments so creating a custom design on our vanity was a nice change.

Using Walnut and maple veneer I traced out my butterfly shapes and then cut them out with a jewelers saw. The antennae are made from left over copper wire from redoing our laundry room ( more on that later).

After one coat of Puritan Pine stain from Minwax , I laid on three coats of oil modified clear to prevent future water damage. The next step was making drawers and doors. One thing that has always bothered me was that the top two drawers on every vanity are dummies to leave room for the sink. Looking at our sink and measuring it up I saw no reason for doing this. We wanted all our drawers to function.

I cleaned up the salvaged hardware from our old vanity and added a lick of fresh paint. I only had to buy two more sliders to make our new vanity work which is great! It’s always a win when I can reuse or repurpose things.

I definitely lacked some of the necessary tools to do this part of the build so I improvised with ratchet straps from Harbor Freight. They worked great with four blocks on each corner to keep things square. The drawer faces I made the same way I made the vanity frame, miter cuts and biscuits. Each face was made with the birch plywood laid into a routed channel. The faces will then be glued on and held in place with our selected hardware.

We needed the sink to get ready in the mornings so the drawers came a little at a time.

I wanted to make a special drawer for Marianne and her hair stuff. It was a pain not to have a place for her hair dryer and iron. She told me when she was a kid the extra sink in the double vanity was used to hold the hair dryer so I had a little surprise for her.

I started with a really deep drawer and framed half the drawer out. This would be the section to hold these bulky items. I cut a hole the size of her dryer and iron and used aluminum lined PVC pipe to holster the items.

I left room for and future items that may turn up.

With all the drawers and hardware in place I have to say I’m very happy with the way it all turned out. I think it embodies our style and adds a little bit of that “boho” sparkle that others were lacking.

How to Make a Fire Pit That Gets You Hot

Robbie and I have always lived in apartments or houses that have teeny tiny backyards so having this much space behind our house has been a really fun challenge. We dug a little temporary pit right off the deck but realized we didn’t want the fire pit to be the main focal point of the yard so we moved it more to the back and side of the yard to add dimension.

We used the drum from our old dryer as the walls of the pit.

Robbie tied a rope to a pole in the exact center for us to create a good shaped circle edge then I got busy doing what I do best – EDGING!!!

Please excuse my SEXY OUTFIT

Then we loaded the circle up with our leftover landscaping rocks

Next we’ll line the drum with some pretty stones or bricks….get some comfy chairs and it’s S’mores time my friends!! HOT TIP! Don’t forget to lay down weed block/fabric under any stones. If you don’t weeds will grow up through the rocks. We thought the stones would block the sun enough but nope – those suckers are determined!

We lined the pit with old bricks from a chimney we removed from the house and got those cute stumps from trees we had trimmed earlier in the Spring. All free! $$$

Make An Old Desk Look Cool Again!

Seems like everyone had one of these desks in the 70’s or 80’s right? With the antique hardware and orangey tinted wood it didn’t fit our Mid Century Modern-Boho-Unicorn vibe soooo……let’s hit up Home Depot and Amazon!

I grabbed some spray paint I thought would look good next to my peach, clearance Ikea curtains and ran to my favorite store – Home Depot. The drawer pulls I found were really pretty but expensive so I whipped out my trusty Iphone and checked Amazon. Sure enough they were way cheaper online so I ordered them with the very dangerous “One click” option (do NOT use One click while drinking – don’t ask me how I learned that).

We saved $8 by using Amazon and have two extra drawer pulls for some other projects.

Sand, spray lightly (Always do several light coats to prevent drips) and let dry fully!

Voila! All done – a nice update for our guest/office space for about $35 with plenty of supplies left over for other projects. We’ll never run out of things we want to spray paint pink – we have a young daughter after all….

Landscaping an Ugly Corner of the Yard

This corner of our gigantic, empty yard was clearly a dumping ground for the previous owners. There was a pile of rocks and smashed up concrete pieces from their old porch along with weeds, overgrowth and branches. With some sweat and basic garden tools I knew it could be transformed to a great focal point in no time.

I cleared the branches away and burned them

Next I cleared out a lot of the concrete chunks and started edging a bigger area to make a prettier shape.

Wait a minute these concrete chunks sort of look like rocks….I’ll use them!

After edging I lined the concrete chunks up as a border – free!

Looking good!

Lots of mulch and added some foliage – it will be so pretty when it matures

So What’s a Berm Again?

“What’s a berm?” “Why are you building that?” “What’s the reason again?” These are some of the questions I get when I tell people we’re taking dirt from the back yard and walking it in a wheelbarrow to the front yard to build a berm.

Here’s our house “Before”


This is the area behind our house I grabbed dirt, branches and rocks from to fill the berm

I’d say it took a good 80-100 loads of dirt (About 4-5 hours) to get it up to 18 inches. We threw old sand from the sandbox, rocks, dirt, grass – anything we could find to bulk up the berm for free.

After it was an acceptable size I layed down newspaper and old cardboard boxes instead of landscape fabric. This is the part the neighbors were probably the most confused about but hey it’s free and works just as well!

We got 3 yards of mulch delivered to top it off, bought a rhododendron bush, a wild grass bush and some pretty colorful annuals. Each year we’ll plant more until it fills in. For now this is all we wanted to spend but it adds interest to the yard and blocks out some of the traffic noise. It’s a win win!

Here she is right after I finished building it up…

Here’s the berm all filled in 2 years later! I got rocks from a local friend that is redesigning her back yard and wanted everything cleared out. It took several trips but I lined the berm with rocks and continued to plant annuals from seed every summer. Love it all filled in!

2 years later….

Here are the rocks I got from a friend

Here’s a look of the berm in Spring


After renting apartments all my life it’s easy to say I’m VERY comfortable calling the landowner or Super when things go wrong. Robbie, on the other hand is a true DIY’er. If a faucet is leaking or the ceiling starts to crack his first instinct is to grab his tool belt and run to the hardware store to fix it. It took me a while to get into his way of thinking now that I’m a homeowner. I’d have the phone in my hand ready to call someone then slowly realize….there’s no one to call. I have to fix it. BOOOO!!!

Also not running to the store to BUY what I need for the house has been another challenge for me. Robbie is the type of person that re-uses and repurposes things before considering buying a new product. I love this way of doing things but it takes way more patience and compromise AND WHO WANTS TO COMPROMISE??? Yes you can “one click Amazon” that perfect shelf to your house in a matter of hours but maybe go through the back yard and you’ll see some wood you can use instead? Reduce reuse recycle right?

That being said here are some shelves we made out of wood Robbie found in the attic – he cleaned them up and stained them then cut them all the same size….

I found black brackets for 75 cents at IKEA and painted them gold.

The finished (almost) product! Still have to find artwork for the center but the shelves turned out great!

From Thrift to Boutique! How We Quickly Cleaned These Barstools To Look Fabulous

I ALMOST missed these beauties at Savers because they looked so dingy but Robbie spotted them on our way out. They were the right height for a bar we want to make in our dining room. Even though the bar doesn’t exist yet we knew at $20 each they were too good to pass up! They needed some TLC but were in great shape.

Here they are “before” -still have the Savers price tags….

Robbie used this stain to clean up the wicker
Look at the difference!
An “After” and “Before” (After on left)
Ok they don’t have a home yet but look how nice! I still may paint the legs….stay tuned….