Saturday, September 22, 2012

Family Memo Station & Mini Mudroom

For quite sometime I've been browsing around for inspiration for a family memo station. A nice place for all incoming and outgoing mail and paperwork, a place for keys, and a place to keep up with game schedules and appointments.

Our dining area is the first room we enter when coming in to the house, so naturally the dining table gets cluttered with everything that we bring in with us. 

This was driving me batty! When the table is cluttered I feel like the whole house is a mess for some reason! Plus, it makes serving dinner more difficult. It's an added step to move all the stuff off the table from the day's events before prepping the table for our meal.

So, our family memo station and mini mudroom was born!


It's located directly behind the back door so it's easily accessible when entering and exiting the house.

The wire magazine rack is from TJ Maxx. I created the top for incoming mail and paperwork and the bottom for outgoing mail and paperwork.


I don't always have time to sort through every piece of paper as soon as it comes in the house, so this is sort of a drop zone for all that kind of stuff until I can get to it.

The little key holder is from Target. It's nice to have a place just for them, so they are not lost. Plus it's easier to grab them on our way out the door. The decorative "O" is from TJ Maxx and is hung with a piece of jute twine.


I found this neat dry erase calendar in the clearance aisle at Walmart last week for 3 dollars. I like it because it works for magnets as well.


Now, we have a place to double check what's on the day's agenda before we head out the door.

So that takes care of the paper and key clutter, but I also needed a designated place for jackets, bags, and shoes.

I made the other small wall in this space into a mini mudroom. 


The hooks on the wall are from Lowes, and the Closetmaid bench is from Target. Now we each have a basket for shoes, and a place to hang our jackets and bags when we come in.

Here is a view to see how both of these new areas tie in with the rest of the room. (The door you see to the left is to our laundry room.) 


Now the dining table can stay clutter free!


Little by little this place is getting organized!

Have a blessed day!
Leah

UPDATE: I updated our mini mudroom, check it our here.


mop it up mondays

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jute twine drawer pulls

A while back I painted a dresser that once belonged to my husband's great grandmother. I decided to give it a distressed look and place it in our master bedroom.

The original hardware was not really my style, so I went ahead and refinished the dresser, thinking I would buy new hardware later.

After a few months passed, I finally got around to going shopping for new dresser drawer pulls. I took measurements and headed to Lowes. 

After looking though their entire selection, I realized I wasn't going to find anything that would fit the existing hardware holes due to the age of the dresser.

So, I figured I would DIY something instead, and left Lowes with this:
 
Blue Hawk Twisted Jute Twine.

Here is what I started with:

I simply cut two pieces of twine and ran them through like this:

The next step was to tie them, just like you tie shoes, and double the knot to make it durable. Also, I was sure to leave enough space for fingers to be able to grip the twine to open the drawer.

I like how each pull is a little different, and how the bows give it a little femininity. It's a nice rustic touch to my distressed dresser. So far, they are working out great!

From a distance, it looks like this:

Sweet and simple!

Have a blessed day!
Leah

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Recent kitchen changes

I wanted to share a few updated pictures of our kitchen. Things are looking a bit different in there now thanks to our new kitchen cart that I made out of a desk, a couple of rug switches, and the addition of a small ottoman.

Here is the photo of our kitchen that I first shared on the home tour:

And this is how things are looking today:

The space feels a little more filled in now.
I still need to paint the shoe molding around the lower cabinets to match the darker cabinet color. I will get to that one day! I replaced the rug in front of the sink with a more colorful one to help tie the new cart in with the area. Luckily I already had the rug in a different room, I just switched them around.

Here is the little kitchen sitting area when I first shared it on the home tour:

And this is how the sitting area looks today:
The larger rug, which I moved in from the living room, is a much better fit, plus the addition of the ottoman adds concealed toy storage. The throw pillow, also from the living room, adds a touch of color to the otherwise neutral space.

Here is another view, standing from the stove facing towards the sitting area and dining area:

And a few more kitchen views:





Small changes, but they really make a difference! Especially in the way our kitchen functions for our family.

Have a blessed day!
Leah

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From desk to kitchen cart

For a couple of years now I have been dreaming of a little kitchen island. I know my kitchen isn't the largest ever, but I still knew somehow I could accommodate a kitchen cart/island in there.

I shopped around for a while and nothing ever really sang to me. (well, nothing in my price range!) I moved on to other things with the hope that one day something would come along that I loved and would work for our limited space.

A few months ago a few furniture pieces were passed down to us from my husband's great grandmother. One of them was this awesome desk.




Can't you just see the potential! It's perfect! I love that it is symmetrical and narrow enough for the space. As soon as I came up with a plan, my kiddos and I headed out the door to Lowe's and came back with these things:

 *4 casters 
*2 little baggies of screws
*1 sample container of Valspar paint (Prussian Cadet is the color)
(for small projects I always have a sample mixed in the color I want.)
*1 can of Rust-Oleum wood stain in dark walnut

The first thing I did was screw the casters on to the bottoms of each desk leg.  Doing this first made painting much easier since the legs were off of the ground. This was actually more time consuming than I expected. I wanted to make sure the cart had wheels so it can be versatile in the kitchen. Plus it gives it that look that says "I belong in the kitchen and I'm not a desk!"



Next up was the painting. To begin, I lightly sanded the desk with a sanding block and wiped it clean with a damp cloth. I painted the blue first, and then stained the top and the bottom shelf with the dark walnut stain.

I didn't take pictures of the painting/staining process. I kind  of got on a roll and forgot. Plus it was 4am so maybe my brain was a bit foggy! Yes, most of my projects get done at crazy hours! You know how it is when you are a mom! You have to do things whenever you can.

Anyways, here is the end result! Along with a little rug switcharoo.




Do you see the sweet white dish I placed on top of the kitchen cart? It started out like this:



 I picked this up at my best friend's yard sale a while back for 10 cents! After a coat of spray paint primer and glossy white spray paint (I use Valspar spray paint) it became my new favorite kitchen accessory.

My new kitchen cart/island cost less than 25 dollars to make-over and I love that it has a sentimental meaning as well. It completely pepped up our kitchen and added some much needed surface space.



Have a Blessed day!
Linked up to:
TDC Before and After

Photobucket

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Updating old kitchen cabinets

Our kitchen cabinets are the original cabinets that were built with our home back in the 70's. I would love to replace them completely, but that isn't an option right now, so I decided to jazz the old ones up a bit. Luckily, they are in pretty good shape, and the design is simple. They were already painted white, but they were in major need of a massive cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.


We removed all of the doors and old hardware. Then we sanded and cleaned each cabinet door and all of the cabinets inside and out. After two coats of paint, in Behr's swiss coffee, and new hardware and hinges, in a brushed nickle finish, they were looking like this.


Definitely an improvement but still lacking the character I was going for. The more I looked at the scalloped piece above the sink, the more I disliked it. So we turned it into an arch instead in an attempt to make it look a little more updated. I also decided I wanted to go for a more open look so I removed a few cabinet doors and created a little open storage. The lower cabinets got a coat of soft blue/gray paint.


I painted the interior cabinets the same blue/gray color as the lower cabinets. I was beginning to like the space a little better, but at this point I felt like it was looking to country cottage instead of the modern cottage look I was going for. So, on to the next project. 

We eventually removed the arch piece completely and removed the section of paneling that connected the two upper cabinets above the sink. Crown molding was turned upside down and added to the tops of the cabinets. We turned it upside down since there isn't any open space above our cabinets. It fit better that way.


Ahh! Looking much better! When we added our laundry room on a few months ago, unfortunately we had to lose the window. In it's place I opted for bead board along with a piece of crown molding to visually connect the two sets of upper cabinets.  Then we installed floating shelves to give things a more modern cottage look. 


The combination of open shelving above the sink and open cabinets was just too much, so the cabinet doors were put back on. New door hardware, a fresh coat of paint on the lower cabinets in a more beige/gray color instead of gray/blue, and new flooring (it's actually vinyl!) and this kitchen is complete!  Well, for now. :) Oh and I also painted the wall you see here a darker gray color, and painted the upper cabinets bright white. Additional upgrades we made to the kitchen when we moved in were new counter tops, new sink and fixtures, new appliances, and a bead board back splash.


This is what our kitchen is looking like now. I'm finally getting the modern cottage vibe I was going for! It was definitely a lot of trial and error to figure out what I liked and disliked, but well worth it in the end!

For fun, here is the before:
and the after:

Have a blessed day!
Leah

UPDATE!!! 
Here are a few updated kitchen pictures that I have recently taken:

















And now with our new appliances in place:



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Customized chalkboard pantry door

Chalkboard paint has become so popular over the last couple of years. There are a million plus ways to use chalkboard paint. It's really endless what you can do with it!



I have used it in different ways all through out my home. One of my favorite uses of this fabulous paint is in my kitchen, on my pantry door.

My pantry door was just plain before. Our interior doors are smooth without any raised panels so they are pretty boring. I thought this would be a fun and useful way to jazz this one up a bit.


I began by taping off the areas I wanted to paint so I could create 3 blocks of chalkboard space. I didn't do any measuring (shame on me!) I just eye-balled it and used the edges of the door as my guide.


I used regular masking tape for this project because I was out of painter's tape at the time. I'm sure painter's tape would result in sharper lines, but honestly the masking tape worked pretty well.




I used Valspar's chalkboard paint and a simple paint brush to brush on the paint. It took 4 coats in all! Luckily the paint dries quickly so there was very little waiting time in between coats.

The next step was to create individual borders around each chalkboard square. I used the same taping technique, using the edge of the door as my guide.


Here is the finished product!


I completed this little project before our addition was done.  The exterior door you see above is no longer there. In it's place is a wide doorway that leads to our new dining room/mud room. I also re-painted the top and bottom chalkboard blocks in a different color to tie it in with the rest of the space which I will show you very soon!

Here is what this area looks like as of now.


I love how this technique creates multiple zones. I use the top block for welcome notes, grocery lists, or special reminders for the week. My daughter uses the lower two blocks for writing and creating! It's functional for our entire family!

Have a blessed day!
Leah