Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Three and We’re Done!

Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Three and We’re Done!

We finished our kitchen renovation a few weeks ago and I’m finally ready to share an update and pictures. If you’d like to see the process, here’s a link to part one of our kitchen renovation and part two of our kitchen renovation. To finish up this stage of our renovation, we needed to:

  • Build and install open shelves to replace the bank of upper cabinets that were removed
  • Build and install shelves to replace an unused desk area directly behind the sink
  • Paint the ceiling…this little job was made necessary by an overzealous bottle of kombucha that exploded all over my kitchen. 
  • Paint the wall behind the open shelves

I’m happy to report that we got every bit of this done and we are loving the result! Here’s the before:

And some after shots:

Overall, we’ve been so pleased with how our renovation turned out. I’m enjoying our quartz counters from Traders Market. They were very reasonably priced and are holding up well. The open shelves make me smile on the daily because I love seeing all my china on display. I also love the lower open shelving. That little space is a power house of storage. One basket holds bread, one basket holds crackers and chips, one basket holds onions and potatoes and one basket holds lunch box snacks. I love the convenience of having each one of those things close by when I’m cooking.

It’s worth noting that my man is a beast who gets it done. He spent hours upon hours working in the kitchen to make my plans come to fruition and I’m so thankful. He even wore a mask before the coronavirus hit! Isn’t he the trend-setter??? It’s been so nice to hear feedback from you all about our kitchen renovation. I can’t thank you enough for following along on our journey.

Tween Room Makeover

Tween Room Makeover

My husband and I recently set aside a day to give our girls’ room a makeover. Our twins have shared a room their whole lives and I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to keep their room organized. Before I jump into how I spruced up their room, I’ll share a few tips on how to tackle your kid’s room.

First things first: toy cycling….if I want my girls’ room to stay neat, I can’t let them keep all their toys out all the time. What this means for our girls is that they have a few big bins of toys that take turns being stored in the top of their closet, or some lesser used toys are stored in the garage or attic. Each bin holds a different category of toys. For example, they have a bin full of dolls and doll accessories, another bin for stuffed animals and another bin for crafts. At some point, the girls will ask to switch out their toys or I’ll notice that they’ve not played with the toys that are in their room. We’ll get the bins down and swap out their toys. This has saved me so much time over the years and it definitely helps my girls keep their room neater.

Another way I’ve kept their room from getting overwhelming is by periodically going through their rooms and getting rid of things that they aren’t using. Sometimes I involve them in this process, and sometimes I don’t. Of course, I don’t get rid of anything that is particularly special to them if I can help it. If you are familiar with the Marie Kondo method, this is what I used when we organized the girls room recently. We brought everything in their room other than clothing and furniture and organized it in our dining room (see below). This process took hours and I really felt like I deserved some type of medal by the time it was done. My hubs and I started out with the girls helping us, but we eventually sent them to go play in another room so that we could really organize all this random stuff.

The girls also have a shelves in their closet where the bulk of their toys are stored. These bins came from Target over 10 years ago and, while they’ve seen better days, they’re still going strong. Quick tip on how I keep my sanity where a kid’s room is concerned: I don’t spend a ton of money on my kid’s rooms. If I want to really invest in a space in my home, it’s usually a main living area or the master bedroom. My kids play in their rooms a lot, so I find it’s best to keep the spaces fairly utilitarian. In the bins below my girls have stored makeup, crafts, hair bows, shopkins and who even knows what else? Note the bookshelf in the right of this picture. I intentionally left a good part of the shelf empty. I know this space will eventually be filled with something, be it library books or art projects. Keeping space open in our kiddo’s rooms gives them space to breathe and gives us the freedom to not feel like the room is packed to the gills.

Lastly, I highly recommend being very choosy about kid’s clothes. A child’s room can be overrun by clothes in a hurry. My kiddos each have a smallish chest of drawers and I try to keep their clothing limited to what will fit in their chests and what will hang loosely in their closets.

As for decorating their room, I bought them new curtains and rearranged their furniture just a bit. Before we spruced up their room, I had a chest of drawers on each side of the room, but their long, narrow room felt crowded. I moved the two chests together and hung a photo ledge that my husband made years ago above the chests. I styled the ledge with artwork that was already in their room. Hanging the ledge above the chests unifies the two pieces to make them look like one unit. This also helps the room to feel more open and airy.

For their bedding, we’ve had good luck with these soft sheets from Amazon. I made their quilts for them a couple years ago and my sister knitted beautiful afghans at the foot of their beds. Again, I keep their bedding very simple. We have duvets and duvet covers that they use in the winter, but for now they are folded and in the closet.

We bought the majority of their bedroom furniture at a local furniture store that is now out of business. The girls’ desk was made by a cabinet-maker several years ago and we got their desk chairs at TJ Maxx.

Revamping my girls’ room has been such a fun process. I mostly used what I already had on hand, with the exception of buying new curtains. They are enjoying having a freshened-up space and they’ve each thanked my husband and I multiple times for helping them get better organized.

Below is the design board that I created for this space. I had such a good time pulling all of these elements together in a simple, kid-friendly, inexpensive way. If you need me to help design your kiddo’s room, shoot me a message and we’ll work together to create a space that you and your kiddo will love.

Light and Airy Master Bedroom Redesign for The Thorpe Family

Light and Airy Master Bedroom Redesign for The Thorpe Family

When my dear friend, Catherine, came to me and asked me to help her with her master bedroom, I immediately said yes. Catherine’s home is absolutely lovely, but like most of us, she’d put off decorating her master bedroom in favor of taking care of other areas of the house. We worked together remotely for a couple months and I installed the final design just a few weeks ago. Here’s a before shot for reference.

Master Bedroom Before

Let’s take a minute to talk about the before picture. Catherine had already chosen some great pieces on her own. I love her bedside lamps and the super fun acrylic ceiling fan (because hello, this is Arkansas people, we gotta have ceiling fans). We’d picked the rug together but I didn’t see it in the room till the day of the install. This is a really great example of a rug being too small and not quite the right color for the room. Mixing warm beige carpet and a cool grey rug just did not work in this space. It made the room look cluttered and unfinished. Catherine had already decided she didn’t love the rug, so I took it out, with the help of my trusty assistant, my dear, sweet Nana. While we’re talking about rugs, it’s worth noting that placing a rug on top of existing carpet is not always an easy fix. Catherine plans to eventually replace the carpet in this room with hardwood flooring. The existing carpet, on it’s own, was a better fit for the room than trying to make a rug work. This is a great example of the less is more approach. Choosing to remove the rug actually made the room look more put together and feel more peaceful.

Master Bedroom After

Once the rug was out of the way, I added in some art that the Thorpe’s bought while traveling that I’d had framed at Hobby Lobby. I replaced their duvet cover with a simple white cotton duvet and replaced the Euro sham covers as well, both from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Catherine and I found the throw and the pink lumbar pillows, both from Homegoods, and the patterned lumbar pillows, from Hobby Lobby, on shopping trips together.

The Anthropologie drapes are one of my favorite finishes in the room and one of the first purchases we made during this project. The drapes set the tone for us as we chose the remaining finishes. Catherine chose the art between the windows on her own and it compliments the space well.

Opposite the bed is a fireplace and a cozy sitting area. Catherine had already done a great job choosing chairs and a coffee stand in the corner with it’s own Keurig, complete with all things morning coffee. Catherine and I found the pillows during a Homegoods trip. The Thorpes had several pieces of art that they’d purchased while traveling and I had most of it framed at Hobby Lobby with ready-made frames or with semi-custom frames during a big sale.

The Thorpes had recently had family pictures taken and I was able to frame several great pics of their crew. I used this frame from Target in several different sizes for a very custom look at a great price.

The dresser on the wall opposite the windows was a great place to style with more art from the Thorpe’s travels. Again, I used the Target frames linked above and I love the way they turned out.

While I was steaming the duvet and euro shams and doing all the things that come with sprucing up a bedroom, my Nana was carefully placing most of the pictures and pieces of artwork into frames. She helped me every step of the way and we had such a great time working together. When she was done helping with the pictures, I found her downstairs cleaning the Thorpe’s kitchen. This woman is gold and I hope to be more like her!

My Trusty Assistant and Me

The most rewarding part of this project was seeing the joy on Catherine’s face when she saw the completed room. She was and is so thrilled with her master bedroom. Catherine is a business owner, her sweet husband is a doctor and they have three kiddos. To say that these two hard-working people need a peaceful retreat is an understatement. I’m so thankful that my dear friends let me play a small role in creating a soft place to land in their home. Look for a blog post soon about how we brought some life and order into the Thorpe’s master bathroom.

Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Two

Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Two

Hey y’all! We’re trucking along on our kitchen reno. You can read about part one of our renovation here. By way of review, this is what we’ve done so far:

  • Removed the backsplash (and the sheetrock that it was adhered to!) 
  • Removed a large bank of cabinets that was sitting on the counter and using up too much of my counter space
  • Hired an electrician to replace all the plugs and bring them up to code
  • Hired an electrician to update all the can lights and add one new one
My hubs taking down cabinets that we plan to replace with open shelving.

I’m so happy to say that we can check several of the above things off our list! Over the last few weeks we’ve:

  • re-installed the sheetrock in order to replace the backsplash
  • ordered new quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash
  • ordered new sink and faucet
  • scheduled and oversaw installation of countertops, backsplash and sink
Buh-bye formica countertops!

Our countertop installers were scheduled to arrive around 8:30 the morning of the install. We woke up early and made sure that the kids had all eaten and gotten out of the kitchen in order to give the installers plenty of time to work. Five hours later, our install crew arrived. Help me, Rhonda. During that time, Justin removed all the countertops himself, which saved us a little money. This is not our first renovation, so we’re familiar with having to wait on installers and etc. Buuuuuut, I have to say, we’d both forgotten how stressful it is when someone is that late. To complicate things further, the install was scheduled for the same day as our oldest son’s very first homecoming dance. Not only were we trying to get him ready, we’d also invited some of his buddies over after the dance to hang at our house. We would not normally plan to host a group of teenagers on the same day as our countertop install, but that’s the way it worked out this time around and we all learned from it.

New countertops and backsplash make a HUGE difference!

The installers came back the next morning and finished up and we were so happy with the result. Since then, Justin has put the face-plates back on the outlets and re-installed the vent-hood over the stove.

You see those two little stools? My sister got us four of those as a wedding gift sixteen years ago and they’ve been in every place we’ve lived. Our kitchen did not have a bar previously, so we added a twelve inch overhang when we had the counters cut. This is our third house, and we had a bar in each of the kitchens in our previous two houses. It has been so lovely to have bar space again! The twins have pretty much taken over those two stools and sit there and chat with me as I wash dishes and prepare meals. I love having my kiddos close by when I’m cooking, but I don’t always love having them underfoot, so the bar provides the perfect compromise.

We’re planning to finish up our little renovation of the next week or two. We have just a few things left to do:

  • Build and install open shelves to replace the bank of upper cabinets that were removed
  • Build and install shelves to replace an unused desk area directly behind the sink
  • Paint the ceiling…this little job was made necessary by an overzealous bottle of kombucha that exploded all over my kitchen. 
  • Paint the wall behind the open shelves.

It’s so fun having you all follow along with us and truly care about our project. I’ll keep you updated as we add the finishing touches to our kitchen!

How to Breathe New Life into an Old Dresser

How to Breathe New Life into an Old Dresser

We bought our girls this tallish, fairly long dresser when they were toddlers. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve needed more space, so we bought them two separate dressers and moved their old dresser to the garage with plans to sell it. We’d just moved when we bought their new dressers and I wasn’t quite sure how to configure all our rooms. I was in need of a piece of furniture for our sunroom to hold our TV, some dvds, remote controls and video games. After scouring the internet for inspiration, and coming across the photo below, I realized that the girls’ old dresser would be a perfect fit for our sunroom and it would barely cost me a dime. I changed out the drawer knobs from pink porcelain knobs to oil-rubbed bronze nobs and voila, I had the perfect dresser for our sunroom. Inspiration photo here from one of my fave Arkansas designers:

After using the dresser in the sunroom for a couple years, I realized that at least two of the drawers have been sitting empty for some time. I asked my hubs if he could convert the two empty drawers into one big drawer to use as a filing cabinet. Our current filing system consisted of two hard plastic file boxes that are on a shelf in a closet. As you can imagine, this filing system isn’t user friendly and our paper clutter has been piling up and driving me batty.

The two bottom drawers on each side of the dresser looked like this before my man converted one side of the drawers into a single drawer to hold files.

In order to convert the dresser drawers into one drawer, Justin removed the drawers from the dresser and then removed the screws that attached the drawer faces. He then built one large drawer box using half inch plywood and used pocket hole screws to assemble the drawer box. He bought heavy duty glides for the drawers and installed them onto the side of the drawer and the inside of the dresser. To hold the files, we bought this metal file frame at Office Depot. I went through my files while watching Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana on Netflix…the documentary was so good and it definitely made going through my files more fun. I used this article for reference.

Above is the file drawer with the frame in it and a few hanging file folders.

This little project has brought so much ease and organization into my home. Being able to get to my files quickly without having to squat down on the floor of a dark closet and dig through one of two file boxes is a game changer!

For reference, this dresser was originally a medium brown. I sanded it a little bit, primed it, painted it with one coat of flat paint by accident and then went back over it with one or two coats of semi-gloss latex paint in China White by Benjamin Moore. The finish has held up well for quite a while, in spite of my very imperfect paint job. 🙂