Upgrade Your Kitchen Island

Upgrade Your Kitchen Island

This was a super quick, inexpensive, easy weekend project, that provides a lot of character to an otherwise basic kitchen island. In other words, you will  get a lot of bang for you buck. 

THE BEFORE:

Here is where my kitchen island started this past Friday afternoon. Let me say, I have always loved my kitchen, and the island is the perfect size for the room which allows me to have four barstools and eliminate the need for a kitchen table which truly opens the space up. However, I have always found that the basic drywall island was very blasé. It also seemed to get very dirty, I noticed lots of shoe marks in the bar stool location, and flat paint is not very scrubable.I did had the option when we were building our home to upgrade to a a furniture leg island, but it just didn’t grab me either, I found the legs were to slim which made the island feel very top heavy. I do actually liked the size and scale of the basic drywall island, but I wanted it to have more of a custom feel.   

    

This is the finished picture made Sunday morning. I am so happy with the outcome and final product, not to mention it literally took about 8 hours total to achieve the look I was wanting. Win, Win if you ask me!!!

As you can see I have a bunch of the Wainscot columns in my home. This particular upgraded trim package is part of the reason we choose to go with our builder. Even though I have a more of a industrial farmhouse chic style, I liked the classic feel of the custom trim and thought it really dressed up all the rooms. We also  have the decorative Wainscot at chair rail height (approximately 32″ above the floor) in our adjacent dinning room. So it only made sense to carry that same application through to the island. Believe me I thought about adding shiplap, which you all know I love, but I felt like the rooms were getting to shiplap heavy, and that they would lose there focus if I continued to put shiplap everywhere. Sometimes you really have to know where to draw the line with an open concept floor plans, how much is actually too much in one space.

Plus you also always want to look at the overall resale value for you home as well, just because you like it does not mean everyone will. Since the island is a permanent piece, like the columns I choose to make feel as if it was constructed that way with the rest of the home. To make it pop I added a deep gray paint to really make the Carrara Marble counter tops stand out.  In design you always want to highlight your higher ticket items, everything else should only accentuate them in a supporting role. 

DIY PROCESS:

Ok so here is the details of what we used and what you will need for this super easy project. 

Supplies:

  • Molding of choice
  • Paintable Caulk
  • Paint- we used Sherwin William Gauntlet Gray SW7019
  • Blue Painters Tape

Tools:

  • Miter Box
  • Nail Gun
  • Tape Measure
  • Level 

As you can see in the picture above we pre measured and drew on the squares where the molding was to be installed. Why, you may ask? Well in my experience nothing is ever level or straight, so I would rather eyeball the squares and cheat them, to look visually correct to the human eye, rather than just doing whatever the level might say. By pre drawing the boxes no only do we one have a guidelines, but I can make sure that level is actually “visually level” which is more important to me (and my husband) at the end of the day. 

Then make you cuts with the miter box to create your frames. We cheated a bit and measured our existing column frames for continuity.

Here is how to do it, first  measure the size of your box. Then measure the width of the frame material you’ve chosen. Double that width and then add it to the length and width of the size frame box you are making. Those numbers will be the length and width of your frame material.

{Example- For example, let’s say you want to frame an 8×10 photo with wood that is 1/2” wide. That means the length of two sides of your frame must be cut to 11” and the other sides must be cut to 9” in length.}

 After cutting your 45 degree miter corners the inside of the frame should line up with your purposed box lines.
You a nail unto adhere the molding to create a frame. Caulk any gaps with paintable caulk, I like the pink kind that turns white when dry. Then paint…. ta dah…upgraded kitchen island.    

 

We also decided to upgrade our plugs located in the end of the island to USB plugs. I have found this seems to be the place our guest like to charge there phones, iPads, and laptops when in this space. So for about $20 a plug plus a new face plate we have built in charging stations on the island, which I am sure will be super handy. 

  All in all,  this entire project cost about $150 to do, a lot less than the $1,500 up grade, and I am very happy with the final results. It is exactly what I had envisioned in this space and it gives my kitchen the instant custom look it needed.  

Here is a look at the back side of the cabinet as well. No we did redo the cabinets, I have never seen painted cabinets that hold up very well so that idea was out. We were lucky that the mill work was already in place to make the backside also look like a piece of furniture. 

As you can see the new upgraded island has become a major focal point in the kitchen. By choosing a darker color paint I have visually weighted the island to feel like a custom piece of furniture which also makes it feel’s very solid and sturdy. The gray also helps to break up all the white in the subway tiles, cabinets and Carrara marble counter top. It also flows very well between all the spaces of our open concept family living area. I hope you have enjoyed this easy weekend upgrade, I know we sure will!!!          

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SHOP MY STYLE

WALL PAINT- Agreeable Gray Sherwin Williams TRIM PAINT- Pure White Sherwin Williams FLOORS- Mohawk 3″Forrest Lake Oak Color: Oxford CABINETS- Georgetown Maple (Color- white) COUNTERTOP-Polished Carrara Marble OVENS- 27″ Double Wall Ovens Kitchen Aid  BACKSPLASH-  3×6 Gloss White Subway Tile Interceramic  BARSTOOLS- Allen Barstool Ballard Designs   ISLAND PENDENTS- Addie Pendents Ballard Designs MIXER- Kitchen Aid Professional 6 SPICE RACK-Kemenstrein 19 jar Revolving Rack BLENDER- Oster 6 cup Heritage 400 TOASTER-Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome COFFEE MAKER- Keurig 2.0 575 CUTTING BOARDS- West Elm (discontinued) 

 

Vertical Pallet Herb Garden

Vertical Pallet Herb Garden

Please join us for a closer look at our hanging herb garden, made from reclaimed pallets and terra-cotta pots. 

 I have receive so many comments, emails and texts from you all asking about the details on how to make the DIY Herb Garden project.  So….. I will be the first one to admit I might have dropped the ball on that follow up article to our DIY PATIO PAVER PROJECT, which would have covered all that information. I did get engulfed in the One Room Challenge, but in my defense I only had 6 weeks to get the Sleeping Porch done, and now I have shamelessly plugged it again…with a link, in case you missed it., or sign up for our bi- monthly newsletter: 

Basically this is an easy weekend project, that takes very little time, money, or effort.

Here is what you will need:

When picking pallets to utilize for furniture or wall treatments, you really want to make sure of two things. 1. What are the pallets are made out of and 2. What did the pallets originally transport. Some pallets have housed potential poisonous substances, while others are made out of wood treated with poisonous substances, and these are not suitable for reuse. 1001 pallets is a great resource for looking up this information and has a great article available at this (article link). I have included a copy of the pallet codes below from 1001 pallets, these are for the wood type used to make the pallets.  Our pallet was HT and were originally used to ship the components of rock fireplace ……bet you can’t guess where I got those from….maybe the patio paver project? We were very lucky and received out shipment on a double wide pallet. 

Once you have your pallet and you have painted it with your choice of Exterior Paint – we used our leftover trim paint TRIM PAINT- City Loft Sherwin Williams. You will want to adhere the pallet to the wall or surface to create the vertical garden. For this we used 4″ decking wood screws drilled directly into studs. We did this just to make sure that the pallet frame could hold the weight of the pots, soil, plants and water weight. 

Then for a rustic farmhouse look  we attached adjustable metal worm gear clamps, available in the HVAC area of your local hardware store, with 1/2″ metal screws. The clamps are adjustable from 3-4″ so you terra-cotta pot can vary a bit in size.  Insert your terra-cotta pot add soil and herbs. Voila, Instant Herb Garden!!!

Just for ease of maintenance we added a small coil water hose  so we can keep the herbs misted in the hot Georgia heat.

We routed the water from a nearby hose bib with a small light weight hose pipe, then attached a hanger to hold the coiled water hose and nozzle. 

If you notice we also chose to locate our herb garden on a wall under our deck. This will help filter the amount of direct sun the plants get. Most herbs prefer filtered sunlight especially the fragile ones like basil and cilantro. The deck also protects these delicate plants from harsh rain storms as well, that will beat them down and break the stems, leaving you with limp droopy herbs.   

Since the entire herb wall is easily rearrangeable, by simply lifting out the pots, you can also relocate plants based on the amount of sun or shade they require. I placed my heartier plants like sage, dill, parsley, oregano and lavender that prefer more sunlight at the edge of the deck to get morning sun. 

Planting Tip: I personally like to use Miracle Grow Moisture Control soil, it keeps the soil moist even if I miss a day of watering…which is critical down here in the south. I also like to use Bonnie’s Veggie and Herb fertilizer for big healthy plants. 

I plant all kinds of herbs for many different purposes. This is a common sage which is handy to keep around. It is pretty good for stuffing and poultry recipes. Not to mention if your home has not been feeling very zen, you can always burn some, with the Native American art of smudging. In case you are not familiar here is a great article about The Ancient Art of Smudging. 

Check out this super healthy dill which is great on grilled fish with fresh lemon or to make a dill dip. Below is one of the 3 kinds of  basil we planted. It seems we use a lot of basil around here. Of course one of our favorite simple summer time suppers is a Caprese salad.  Ummm sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and green basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil. Of course I love the Tuscan Olive Oil from a local shop in Roswell OLI+VE, yes to me it makes a huge difference.

Like what you see, what to get all the fun herbaceous recipes we make with these glorious greens? Be sure to sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter

One Room Challenge Week 4

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: A SOUTHERN STYLE SLEEPING PORCH

WEEK 4: PROGRESS REPORT

So we are in week 4 for those of you following along on the Spring 2017 One Room Challenge. This is a link where you can check at all the participants in the 2017 ORC hosted by House Beautiful and Linda @Calling It Home.  So my rug saga continues….. the replacement rug I ordered and have place into the room to look at, just is not working for me. I truly had my heart set on the other rug and this new style is just not living up to my expectations. Sadly I will probably be returning it….and scrambling to find a new suitable replacement, or none at all. I have been know to just wait for what I want….. once my heart is set on something. So we will see how the RUG SAGA sorts itself out….

 RECAP:

If you missed a week check out the past weeks here so you can catch up:

 Week 1               Week 2            Week 3               Week 4               Week 5                 Week 6

Don’t forget, you can catch a sneak peek of the mystery DIY Antique as a subscriber at

As a recap or to bring you up speed, we are updated a basic screened in porch, into a southern style sleeping porch.  This is the inspiration board for this project: WEEK 4 PROJECTS:

This weeks project scope was 100% focused on building the day bed for the sleeping porch. Last week, we posted the actual blueprint designs for the pallet daybed. These plans were designed and drawn by my uber talented husband Ron Gainer. You can check them out (here) in case you missed them. Just as a quick recap we obtain pallets in Week 1, disassembled pallets in Week 2, drew up plans in Week 3 and are now ready to build in Week 4.  

The project started with building the base for the mattress, or pallet boxsprings. The base is just a little bit longer than one standard pallet width, mainly because we chose to use a full size mattress, a twin would have been the exact pallet width. A full size mattress run 54 inches wide by 74 inches long. In order to accommodate this size we were able to split a pallet and attached it to the back side as seen here. Then we replicated this process for the second layer.

The next step was to build a frame out of 2×4’s to house the pallet bed frame. This frame work creates the faux head board and side rails of the daybed.

Once we completed the frame we added a plywood backer to make the adhesion of the pallet wood easier. I know this seems like a uneccessary additional step, but as we learned on a previous project, if you have a solid backer surface you can cut the pallet wood to any length. This will enable you to make a pretty pattern with the wood, instead of being locked in to full size boards that can only be attached at ends. Plus it also makes the frame very sturdy.  

The final step in building the bed was cutting the pallet boards at random length and attaching them to the plywood.  While attaching the boards keep in mind the more random of the sizes, placement and colors the better. This will help create a that rustic farmhouse look, which is the look we are going for. 

Since the bed is very large, for moving purposes, we will assemble the base, frame walls, and sides on the porch, in place. Please keep in mind that this beast is being moved up 3 flights of steps to our screened porch. Prior to moving up to the porch, I will be sealing the pallets with a great new product I found. Weathered Wood Accelerator by Varathane available at Home Depot.  This product is amazing, with one pass coverage!!! It weathers the all wood both new and old to beautiful gray, brown and black color depending on piece of wood. 

Make sure to check in next week as we start to assemble the room for the BIG REVEAL!!! On the agenda for next week: hang curtains, assemble bed, finish up mystery antique item, and get ready for staging.  

 

SHOP MY STYLE

EXTERIOR WALL PAINT- Dorian Gray Sherwin Williams TRIM PAINT- City Loft Sherwin Williams FLOORS- Thompson Water Sealer Acorn CEILING FAN-52″ White Ceiling Fan Home Depot CEILING PAINT-DCR075 Piazza Blue Sherwin William  RUG- Outdoor Savannah Mist Aqua Overstock CURTAINS- Outdoor Weighted Panels White Ballard Designs MATTRESS- Hampton & Rhodes 6.5″ HR100 Firm Mattress Firm of Cumming (see Aaron) MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS- 4″ Gel Foam Mattress Wayfair  MATTRESS COVER- Waterproof/Bed Bug Blocker Hypoallergenic Wayfair  MATTERESS TOPPER- Waterproof Mattress Topper Wayfair EURO SHAMS- Clairebella 200 Thread Count Wayfair BEDDING/QUILT- Cynthia Rowley Blue Green Medallion

 

 

 

One Room Challenge Week 3

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: A SOUTHERN STYLE SLEEPING PORCH

So we are in week 3 for those of you following along on the Spring 2017 One Room Challenge. (Here is the link to check out all participants) Graciously hosted by House Beautiful and Linda @ Calling It Home

WEEKLY RECAP:

In case you missed a week check out the past weeks here so you can catch up:

 Week 1            Week 2         Week 3       Week 4      Week 5    Week 6

WEEK 3: PROGRESS REPORT

 So….. we have now experienced the challenge part of the One Room Challenge.  I must eat my own words, on the prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. You see I had found a great rug online from a company that will remain nameless…because I still love the company, even though they are out of my rug!!!! Which I found out when I went to order at the end of last week, the size I needed was sold out… not back in stock until July 4th…..YIKES!!! Well let’s just say I saw stars, stripes and fireworks!!!! Well, that was not going to work at all, so I busily started trying to locate a second choice for the indoor/outdoor rug. You know how it feels when you get your heart set on something, and you just can’t have it and that one thing is all you can focus on, and you think nothing else could possibly do!!! Yep, well there you have my week 3 challenge. Oh but on the plus side, I have ordered all of my soft goods, which includes the drapes, bedding and the new 2nd choice replacement rug ( not the one pictured below) . We shall see if it can live up to the ideal rug that I have built up in my own mind.  

“So, other than that Mrs. Lincoln how as the theater????” Despite the slight melt down I had over the rug debacle we are still moving forward I have also obtained most of the hard goods for staging the room for the reveal. I am however still looking for a full sized mattress, as the possible sponsor that contacted me, has not called back to confirm they can work within my timeline. So in order not to be behind, I am moving forward, with the thought that they can not accomadate my criteria or deadline requirements. 

A SURPRISE???  I  LOVE Surprises !!!

Oh and now it is time for the “good news” of the week. I have procured a “surprise antique item” which will be an add to my  DIY list, as a complete refinish to add to the space, not seen on the inspiration board. So be sure to check back in at the reveal to see our surprise antique, Hehehehe it makes me giggle a little when I think about it…… “that’s right” an antique that makes me giddy!!! Can’t wait 3 more weeks? You can catch a sneak peek of the mystery DIY as a subscriber at

WEEK 3 ON GOING PROJECTS:

As far as projects go this week, we purchase and applied the haint blue paint on the ceiling. Which is actually Sherwin William DCR075 Piazza Blue  from the Historic Architectural Collection. They actually had to look it up for me, so you may have to ask for it by name and number. I obtained this color from the SCAD historical design group for the historic preservation homes in Savannah, GA during a visit years ago I just squirreled away the information for a rainy day. Although haint blue comes in several shades of a pale blue/green I just think the historically accurate color was the way to go. Another project we decided to tackle this week is the ceiling fan. I currently had a very plane and basic outdoor ceiling fan in solid white. Which works, and was only about 6 months old, but it was boring. After looking for a rustic outdoor ceiling fan I was highly disenchanted with my options. Most of the styles that had aesthetics I liked either had fan blades that were too big for the space, or it hung too low from the ceiling and not rated for outdoor use. Which will result in those not so flattering, droopy blades you see out there all over the place. So I decided if I can’t find one to buy, I will make one instead….. yep another DIY. We removed the fan to paint the ceiling and while it was down I painted the blades with Amy Howard Selznick Grey  and the body of the fan with Rustoleum Galvanized Metal  spray paint.  I the result is amazing, just see for yourself. Here is a closer shot of the fan blades. I was going for a driftwood color. As you can see the wood grain texture is so real yet so fake. Just like a fake tan so is my fan!!! Obviously I am getting tired as the project is moving along,  as I am now making horrible puns.

This week we will be starting on the construction of the pallet day bed. The pallet boards are all prepped and ready to go. Below is a copy of the blueprints for the DIY build. We are thinking that due to size the bed will be constructed into the 4 pieces as shown below and stained separately. Then the pieces will be move up 3 floors to the master screen porch where the entire bed will be assembled as one piece. 

DAY BED BLUEPRINTS:

 


Don’t forget to check in next week, as we should be almost done building the day bed frame, refinishing that secret antique find, and hopefully hanging some outdoor curtains on a lovely iron plumbing pipe rod.

Can’t wait until next week? Sign up for all the sneak peeks via our newsletter.

We promise you won’t miss a thing!!

SHOP MY STYLE

EXTERIOR WALL PAINT- Dorian Gray Sherwin Williams TRIM PAINT- City Loft Sherwin Williams FLOORS- Thompson Water Sealer Acorn CEILING FAN-52″ White Ceiling Fan Home Depot CEILING PAINT-DCR075 Piazza Blue Sherwin William  RUG- Outdoor Savannah Mist Aqua Overstock CURTAINS- Outdoor Weighted Panels White Ballard Designs

 

One Room Challenge: Week 2

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: A SOUTHERN STYLE SLEEPING PORCH

WEEK 2: PROGRESS REPORT

So we are in week two for those of you following along on the spring 2017 One Room Challenge hosted by Linda@Calling It Home and House Beautiful. If you missed WEEK 1 here is our link, so you can catch up. To bring you up speed, we are updated a basic screened in porch, into a southern style sleeping porch.  This is the inspiration board for this project: 

This week was all about procuring the necessary items to build the pallet day bed, and get the porch sealed up ready for upgrade. So I am know for alway talking about my “7 P’s” which is, ” Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” (I must call out my friend Karen, that taught me this valuable information at an early age!!!) Well welcome to the “prior proper planning phase”  of this project. 
We were able to obtain 15 pallets, 6 of which will be used for the bed base and the other 9 will be deconstructed for wood to create the pattern for the arms and back of the day bed. When picking pallets to utilize for furniture or wall treatments, you really want to make sure of two things. 1. What are the pallets are made out of and 2. What did the pallets originally transport. Some pallets have housed potential poisonous substances, while others are made out of wood treated with poisonous substances, and these are not suitable for reuse. 1001 pallets is a great resource for looking up this information and has a great article available at this (article link). I have included a copy of the pallet codes below from 1001 pallets, these are for the wood type used to make the pallets.  All of our pallets are HT and were originally used to ship concrete pavers……bet you can’t guess where I got those from….maybe the patio paver project?

So as I mention above we had to deconstruct the 9 of the pallets to reuse the pallet wood for the side arm and back of the day bed. The easiest way to do this is to is by cutting directly through the nails that hold the pallets together. We used a reciprocating saw with a Diablo metal cutting blade, which I highly recommend and made quick work this project. The other project we decided to tackle this week was to seal up the screen porch a little bit better, so no creepy crawlers get in.  I am sure many of you know, when a screen porch meet up to the siding on your house a little bitty gap is left which can allow bugs to get in. Now that we are making this a sleeping porch, I have no desire to deal with any kind of bugs getting inside. So we decide to add weather stripping, commonly used on doors and windows, to the seal the  gap. 
Once installed we caulked the remaining opening to insure that no bugs we be able to get through this gap. I don’t know about you, but I feel much better about sleeping in an area that is all sealed up. I know it will not keep all the bugs out, since it is an outdoor space… but it will keep most of the bugs out.

See, a lot can happen in a week…. Be sure to sign up for our bi monthly newsletter to stay in formed

DIY Paver Patio Project

DIY Paver Patio Project-Complete

Now all I need is some great new patio furniture and this backyard transformation will be 100% complete.  

As many of my loyal subscribers know, we have been working on adding a paver patio to our back yard since December of last year. Well I am excited to announce that the patio portion of this project is complete. It has been a long haul, and I needed to get this project finished up so I can concentrate on the One Room Challenge Event due next month. For those of you that missed my big announcement this week JENRON DESIGNS will be a guest participant in the 2017 One Room Challenge hosted by Calling It Home and House Beautiful.  So please check in or sign up for email updates to keep up to date on the latest progress 

Here is the before picture of my very sad yard last summer. As you can see almost all of our Bermuda sod was dying, mainly due to lack of sun and the shadows cast by our house. We decided the only permeant answer to fix this issue was to add a paver patio in the areas where our grass refused to live. This past winter we dug up and removed all dead sod and weeds growing in the area the patio was to be installed. We rerouted the gutter downspout to release water further down our hillside past the purposed patio. This was accomplished by trenching across this area and laying back corrugated pipe, that would attach to the downspout on the house.

Next we leveled out the ground in preparation of the pavers. As many of you Georgian’s know we live in an are full of “Red Clay”which is our dominate soil type. Georgia is synonymous with red clay, in fact we are known for our red clay by many artisans that seek it out for pottery projects. It is not great for planting but it is fabulous for setting pavers. Think of it as big terra-cotta plate for your base, I mean who needs concrete, when you got clay right? During the leveling process, we experienced several rain storms, which was to our benefit, and helped tamp down the ground. So now we are ready for sand, pavers, stone and block.

We ordered the pavers and all the other supplies needed from Lowe’s as they had the best stone color to match our home. We were also very happy to find our that Lowe’s would deliver all of it for a $75 delivery charge. Charles, our amazingly talented fork lift operator was more than happy to place the pallets exactly where we wanted them. This particular step saved us a lot of time, saving us from having to carry every single paver from the front yard around to the back, as we did with the fireplace last year. The next step in the process took place over several weekends, as moving over 5,000 blocks, no matter how close they were just takes some time. We devised a plan to installed pavers in large squared off sections. We would level the area and place sections of paver, tamping each one into to place and make sure they stayed relatively level. Our final patio size was planned to be the full length of the back of our house at approx. 65ft long, and a range of 15-20ft wide depending on the section, which was based off the footprint of our house. When laying the pavers it is recommended to start at a flat sideline such as your house, or patio. This process will keep your pavers square and limit your possible cuts.We added in a knee wall for our existing planter bed, which houses my beautiful limelight hydrangeas. We also have a large specimen urn for my rare Bloodgood Japanese Maple. They have a pretty red/green to burgundy fringed leaf shape with beautiful branches that drape.  The usually start at $100 for a small one gallon pot and can range into the thousands of dollars for more established trees. My sister had a huge one, and was apprised for about $2,000. So if you are in the market to grow and resale plants I would recommend this type,  you could get a good return, if you have a green thumb.   

As you can see in the picture below I wanted the patio to have a curved edge. FYI- not the easiest thing to do according to my husband Ron. LOL, so we rented a concrete saw at Home Depot to make the curved cuts. However, he admits with the proper tools, aka the concrete tile saw, it was actually very easy. 

Tip: If you save the excess cut pieces you might be able to flip them around and reuse them to fill space between metal edge and patio. We were able to use several pieces to create a full edge. 

Here we added a metal edging to hold the pavers in place. This will also help to hold the polymeric sand into the form as well. I know this may seem backwardsor an unconventional step in the process, but it worked well for our yard. Believe me we watched lots of DIY tutorials prior to taking on this project, most of which show putting the frame work down first. My thought on this process was, if you put a frame work down first you make more work for yourself, especially in cutting the edge blocks to fit. I figured place the blocks, and allowing the run to end with a full block and then create your edge. I must admit, I was not exactly happy we were going to have to cut the rounded edge blocks above but I knew ethically the patio needed a little curve to give it an more organic feel instead of a big ugly rectangle. 

The final step for the paver patio was installing the polymeric sand. This was quick, easy and only took half a day, but you must have good weather on the horizon for 3 days during the curing process. So make sure you check you 5 day forecast. You can not install in freezing or near freezing conditions, and absolutely no rain!!!Like I said this was probably the easiest part of the entire process. You dump out the sand, and sweep it into the cracks between the pavers. Make sure to tamp the blocks as you go, to insure a tight fill. Then after you you have filled between all pavers you spray with a light layer of water. I recommend using the mist setting on your hose pipe nozzle, to prevent over watering and run off. I made three full passes across the patio, on the mist setting and called it a day. Three days later our patio was complete.Now that the patio was complete I felt we needed to add on stone bases for the deck columns. The columns felt a little naked, not to mention our deck footings were not even, which created a slight bow in the brick pavers. This solution would cover the bow and integrate the columns in to the final design for a high end finish. We added the stacked stone blocks and backfilled with concrete. This portion of the project was also very easy and finishes the patio off nicely. As soon as the weather gets warmer again, I envision 4 ferns hanging on the inside of the columns from pretty antique style wall hooks. We have had such crazy weather this spring, warm everything blooms and then, BAM freeze warning!!! So I am going to have to waiting until May, I guess. We will also plan to paint the under side of the deck white like our trim and maybe adding Edison bulb string lights, or a fun chandelier, and  I am pretty sure my hammock will be making an appearance too. For those of you that remember my DIY pallet herb rack from last year, that we placed under the deck. I got it all filled up with all my favorite herbs. Now I can actually get to them easier, with tromping through the muddy back yard. Yay, it’s the small things that make me happy!!! You can see from the pictures we were able to integrate the patio with our existing fireplace, as well. We built a fireplace in anticipation for this space, it was all a part of the overall plan to have additional backyard living space. The fireplace was a great find, on sale at the end of season, from Hayneedle. We were able get the entire thing for around $1,700 combining the sale along with a 20% off coupon plus free delivery to our driveway. This was an opportunity we could not pass up, so again, we did things a little bit out of order. Since we have a pretty steep lot, the ability to have a prebuilt fireplace delivered was completely out of the question, all the local landscape companies were to afraid the forklift would tip over. So our only option was to built it ourselves, brick by brick likes grown up legos. Okay, so you love everything, but just don’t understand those little lion statues I have on the fireplace. Why you ask? Well they are actually pretty sentiment to me, and here’s the story you know why. They are the matching markers for 2 of my kitties, Behr & Kramer (brothers), that passed several years ago. We had them in our previous backyard, where they were buried. I could not bare to leave the statues behind when we moved. So, I reluctantly moved them with no plan of what to do with them, and now they will adorn my patio fireplace. A lovely reminder of my boys that can stay with me. I truly believe that even in beautiful designs there is always a place for a few sentimental objects. I think thats what makes your home a home, and not just a sterile designed space like a hotel or museum. So it is okay to let your personality and history shine through, it creates a more believable and unique space.Overall I think the DIY backyard patio project is a success.  We still have a little further to go with patio furniture and other fun accessories, but we have our basic container plants done and will be on the hunt for fun outdoor things this summer so stay tuned for more updates. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Converting a English Linen Closet into a DIY Pet Room

This is how I converted our English linen closet into, a DIY Pet Room, for my 5 cats. You can also do this DIY for smaller dogs or if you have a crate trained larger dog. 

I find living with animals and keeping a home clean can be challenging. They are messy, and  trash your house in seconds, but the unconditional love they give is truly incomparable. This is what prompted us to create a Pet Room for my 5 cats. This rooms many use, is to house their liter box, supplies, water and food station, which keeps my house cleaner.  

In our new home, we had the option to create a larger laundry room by closing in our foyer. Our prior laundry room was tiny, so we chose to implement this option. This change left us with a large “English Linen Closet”. Prior to moving in we predetermined that this area would make a great Pet Room for our cats. Above is a before picture of the room as a English linen closet. I know, not many shelves for a “linen closet”, I thought the same thing. 

The first thing was to add linoleum floors and an exhaust fan. The exhaust fan vents any smells from the liter box, directly out of my home. Good bye!!! This might be the single most important thing we did. As you know, if you have cats, the liter box smell can ruin your home. Next we painted the entire room with a scrubbable satin finish paint. This will help seal the dry wall and preventing even more odors from getting trapped in the walls. Finally we added a large utilitarian light fixture, nothing fancy it’s mainly for us to see to get the room clean.The next big thing we did was cut a cat door through our Master bedroom wall and hall door. Why did we cut a hole in our wall? Well we host a lot gatherings, parties and guests. This room set up will allow me to lock my fur babies in our bedroom during gatherings, which they actually prefer since the do no care for loud noises and large crowds of people. This also allows them access to their food, water and liter box, but with out the fear of a guest accidentally letting them out into the great beyond. The other pet door located on the hallway door gives us the  ability to shut our bedroom door when we have overnight guests. This grants the cats the ability to come and go as they please, which will save your doors and carpet, since they can be quite destructive when confined to an area against there will. So check this out, I came up with idea all on my own!!! JENRON DESIGNS developed this prototype Ventilated Shelf Cover (VSC). A DIY rig to make your room aesthetically pleasing, and on a shoestring budget. This process can be used on any wire shelving. We took teacup hooks to the back of some barn wood and used felt pads for spacers as you can see above. You literally hang the board right on the front of the wire rack. The finished product was this:

We created a facia board to cover the universal ugly wire rack. Then spray painted the support arms black to emulate iron. This process would be great for any wire rack that you would not use for hanging clothes. So try it in a linen closet, pantry, garage storage area or pet room. We also spray painted the wood letters of Meow, and popped them into the wall with a nail gun. 

Designer Tip: A wire rack allows light to pass through the to the floor, which keep the room brighter. Unlike with a solid wood shelving, that would block the light flow and make the room seem smaller and darker. 

We added a trackless liter mat, to cut down on liter leaving the room on their feet. I used pretty baskets to conceal small odd and ends like kitty treat bags, lysol wipe, and air freshener. Then decided to add in all my accumulated kitty art, hey, makes great decorations. We made a small wall hook from barnwood hold the liter scoop, bag holder and our scooper stool. I found these cute iron hooks at the straw market in Charleston, and added them to shiplap boards. You know how I love a theme!!

 

Share us with your cat loving friends, they will thank you for it 😀

 

Bathroom Makeover- DIY Barn Wood Mirror Frame

Bathroom Makeover- DIY Barn Wood Mirror Frame

The Sneak Peek is complete!!!!  Presenting our DIY barn wood mirror frame

This was quick DIY project from the past weekend. Yes, I know it is more shiplap…. I told you it was migrating all over my house. On this project we used the barn wood colored trim boards instead of the actual shiplap cut boards.  Honestly, the last two projects of the Fireplace (click to link) & Drop Zone (click to link) that we have done; this project is actually the perfect way to use up extra supplies you might have bought. For example too many trim boards during your fireplace project 🙂

So as you can see we have the standard install builder grade flat sheet  mirrors. They provide no character or interest to the space, but I do like the size. They reflect a lot of light which makes our bathroom seem much larger. I could easily rip them down and put fun individual framed ones; but because of the scale of the bathroom along with length of the vanities I felt incorporating smaller framed mirrors would not read as well as the larger mirrors do. So the decision was made to frame them out. We did this same technique in our previous home and loved the outcome. 

We measured the length and height of each mirror and decided in keeping with our rustic theme, we would blunt cut or square cut the boards instead of mitering the corners together. I personally felt like to miter cut the corners were a little to traditional and formal for my current home. Our previous home was a traditional style, brick home so it warrented miter cut corners, but we built our new home to the feel of a modern farmhouse. In the spirit of a farm house we opted for simpler cuts, which my husband was thrilled about, it made the project much easier for him. 

Once you have made your cuts all you have to do is glue the boards to the mirror. We used Liquid Nails Fuze It- multi surface, which will adhere wood to glass. It takes about 10 minutes to permanently set. We used 3M Scotch Blue Painters tape to hold the frames in place over night just to be safe.  As you can see the finished project gives a whole lot charter and interest for very little time, effort or energy. Designer Tip: If you are not very handy, you can purchase pre cut frames from Mirror Mate, keep in mind that your are paying for the measure and cut work to be done for you, but you still have to adhere it to the mirror yourself.

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The Shiplap “Drop Zone”

The Shiplap “Drop Zone”

As I mention several times in my previous posts, my shiplap addiction might be getting a little bit out of control. Honestly, I just love the stuff, and it is so easy to install.

After completing the ship lap fireplace (click to link to post). We decided that to add a small amount of the shiplap barn wood to an open area to create a drop zone. In most houses a drop zone is located near the garage in an alcove, hallway or the mudroom. Our floor plan did not meet this particular criteria at the time, but during construction we made a few framing decisions that would allow us to later add in a drop zone. We would need a place near the front door for guests, since our hall closet would be closer to the garage. Here is a before picture of the area where I decided to create a drop zone for our guests upon arrival to our home.   

Drop Zones have gotten so elaborate over the past few years, along with laundry rooms, and mudrooms. They are no longer just a messy corner piled up with dad’s muddy boots, the kiddos book bags and Spots leash. We are talking full on decorated spaces, just like the rest of the home. This is why I felt completely justified in putting such a functional space right in the middle of my open concept great room.

As you guys know I love my barn wood shiplap available from Home Depot, and we had some left over from our previous fireplace project. It just made sense from a design stand point that the drop zone should be the same type of boards as the fireplace, to carry the design theme through the house. 

I can still hear Mrs. Arnold, my interior finishes professor in college saying, ” You should never be able to stand in one place in a home and see more than 2 types of floor coverings.” No worries, as we have hardwoods through out our entire home for this very reason. I still feel like this same principal translates to wall finishes as well. See how this creates a uniform transition between spaces? Pulling the same finish from the fireplace to the drop zone makes the space seem very intentional, not piece mealed together as an after thought. 

Since this is a open concept space, which is mainly designed for guest to drop their coats and purses upon arrival. We opted to install this industrial style coat hook in lieu of baskets, cubes or cubbies. This will also allow this space to transition into something else if drop zones ever become passe’.  We purchased the Cast Iron Row of Hooks currently still available at Pottery Barn. I liked these strong durable iron hooks and how they mirrored our iron balustrades on the staircase. Plus you can also add to additional sections to create a larger size coat rack, which is very handy and adds a custom feel. We topped the drop zone off with our family name art, the pictures were from a local artist at the annual Yellow Daisy Festival, and we were able to find the perfect frame with 6 openings at Hobby Lobby.

Designer Tip: If you have trouble finding a frame with the correct name of openings or you have a longer name. You may want to purchase a long oblong frame and have a matte custom cut for the amount of letters your need. This will save you some bucks $$$. 

So the bench, was a suggestion from one of my dearest friends, Niki. She had mentioned to me that she loved having the ability to drag a bench over to the dinning room table, when you have extra guests. We currently have the Benchwright dinning table from Pottery Barn, which can be extended up to 108″ by adding both drop in table leaves. We decided it made perfect sense to invest in the matching Benchwright bench, for these occasions. So now when we have a large crowd, we can extend the table, and add the bench to one side, which is the equivalent of adding 3-4 chairs. However, in our day to day use the bench stores away perfectly as the seat for our drop zone. Just add a few fun seasonal pillows and now you have a functional yet cozy little drop zone. 

Designer Tip: Always look for items that can be used in multiple rooms, in different ways. I truly believe in a good multi-tasker, in fact prior to buying anything I need to have several uses for that item already in mind. This goes for tools, appliances, and furniture. 

A Sneek Peek Upcoming DIY:

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Farmhouse Light Fixtures

Farmhouse Light Fixtures

Sometimes lighting can make all the difference.

When we moved into our new home, all of our hallways and bedrooms consisted of your basic flush mount dome lights (aka the boob light). This is a common builder staple in new construction, and can be upgraded with most builders prior to closing. I personally decided to go with the basic light package in most of our rooms. Why?

1) To save money on the front end

2) To avoid a rush decision, prior to determining each spaces design direction.

Since the building process can be overwhelming, with lots of permanent decisions made in a short period of time. I felt like focusing on things that couldn’t be easily altered in post-construction, like floorplan layout, electrical plans, trim and final finishes were more important to me in the grand scheme. I also knew at the time, we would be replacing these fixtures upon getting settled in our new home, but it was not a front end priority. 

I chose to go with these beautiful 3 light foyer pendent fixtures that were purchased at Wayfair. They are currently on sale for $144, this weekend, for Presidents Day. I really love the way this fixture looks like and outdoor lantern, minus the glass you have to keep clean, which is a total pain. They are available in 3 colors, I purchased the Burnished Bronze to match the iron balusters on our staircase bannister and upper balcony rails. We took out all of our lower level hallway dome lights and added these pendants to created a semi formal feel. We needed 4 total to complete the look, in all hallways. This is why I recommend purchasing now, while they are on sale, regular price gets expensive when you need larger quanities. Since we are lucky enough to have 9ft ceilings, the pendents can hang 2 ft. from the ceiling and do not interfere in the walk space. This is what creates that very high end, expensive look you might see in a hotel or restaurant space.

DESIGNER TIP: Finally, we added a dimmers to all the switches, so we could control the light level. Many people over look this step, which is a shame, because it ‘s so easy. You can change the entire look of a room just by adjusting the light level. You create very low ambient lighting to for a most cozy setting, or turn the dimmer all the way up for more functional task lighting. This step is one of things, that will separate the “designer show homes” from just another pretty house.

 

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