The Uncluttered Life: Kid’s Toys

Are you tired of spending your free time dusting, picking up toys or generally taking care of your possessions?  Wouldn’t you rather be reading a book, taking a walk with a friend or hanging out with your kids?  Around two ago, my husband and I decided to make a conscious effort to get rid of our ‘junk’.  Basically, we grew tired of not being able to find items when we needed them.

Fast forward six months, and I would say there is definite progress being made.  I am now a regular in the donating line at the thrift stores instead of in the purchasing line.

IMG_6144Donations ready to go!

I can easily find items in the kitchen, our bedroom and in every closet in the house. Progress has been made in every room, but one area that we are still really struggling with is the kid’s room!

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So, this photo was taken over a year ago, but if you really look at this picture, you will notice that our kids like to play with the laundry baskets, toy baskets, blankets and pillows.  I tried sorting toys into plastic bins and plastic shoe boxes, but the system is hard for my 5 and 3 year old kids.  I love sorted toys and the kids could care less.  I have also used pretty cloth baskets to corral toys, but they either don’t play with the toys inside or they dump the entire bag out to find what they are looking for.

In my search for a solution, I came across the book, Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home, by Joshua Becker.  I was sold from the beginning where he writes, “Living life is more enjoyable than managing and organizing stuff.”  We spend so much time trying to organize our possessions, only to have to do it again in a week or so.  If we owned less stuff, we could spend our time and money on efforts that actually bring us joy.

While the messages and tips in the book were very helpful for all aspects of downsizing, there were some great hints for making it work with kids.  One of my favorites was ‘periodic minimizing,’ where you go in every month or so and remove toys that aren’t being played with.  I’ll admit to ‘sorting’ toys into a toy basket that I then snuck out to dump into a donation bag. This eliminates excess clutter and allows kids easier access to the toys they love.

Another tip I loved was to be intentional in your buying (or not buying) of toys.  Instead of a lot of cheap toys that will likely break in 10 minutes, consider holding out for quality toys that encourage creativity and exploration.

Kids playing

Legos everywhere

We have eliminated a lot of excess toys over the past year, and the kids haven’t missed any of them.  These days, our biggest (littlest?) problem with clutter is Legos!  Both of our kids love Legos, and honestly, I do too.  Aspen is incredibly creative with all of these colorful little pieces, and Landry loves the Lego duplo sets.

Yesterday, the kids and I very purposefully went through all the clothes and toys in their bedroom once again.    They spent the remainder of the day playing in their room with their favorite toys.  I call that a win/win!

Any tips for keeping Legos in check?  I am all ears!

 

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DIY Picture Ledges

Is it just me, or does anyone else like to update a room every few years or so?  Jer thinks I am crazy, especially when I talk about redoing things that he thinks of as ‘done,’  Every time I look through old photos or blog posts and realize how long a picture has been hanging in the same place or the walls have been a certain color, I get the urge to start changing things.  I just tell Jer that is what he gets for marrying an interior designer!

Lately I have been feeling the need to give our living room a bit of an update.  It was one of the first rooms that I painted when we moved into our home almost five years ago.

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One of the main walls has a gallery wall full of photos and art that are fun and meaningful to our family.  I have added to the wall over the years, but it is getting too full to add much more.  I started thinking about some options that would allow me to rearrange the wall and change out items a lot more easily, and with fewer nails pounded into the wall.

blank wall

Hanging picture ledges was an obvious solution.  Picture ledges are screwed into the wall and then you can just lean your photos and art on it without the more ‘permanent’ nails.  This means you can layer items, and you can also switch them out a lot more easily.  I have looked at hundreds of images for inspiration, but this one is what finally motivated me:

one kings lane_rebecca minkoff_FAMILY PORTRAIT IN FRONT OF GALLERY WALL

I have looked into purchasing picture ledges, but most were either too small, too expensive or not good quality.  This week, I decided to tackle building my own ledges.  After researching several tutorials and plans on the internet, I found Ana White’s Ten Dollar Ledge tutorials.  She has both written instructions and a video.  Both are very helpful if you are relatively new to woodworking.  I ended up purchasing four 8-foot 1×4 boards and two 8-foot 1×2 boards.

ledge wood

My ledges would be called Twelve Dollar Ledges (inflation since 2010), but that is still a great price.  I also purchased a Kreg jig to make pocket holes, so I could hide the screws on the underside of the shelf.

jig set up

It was incredibly cool and rewarding to end up with such a sturdy and professional-looking product when it was finished.

 jig hole

I built two 6-foot ledges for our living room wall, and plan to use the remaining 2-foot pieces to make bookshelves for our kids.  Many people paint their picture ledges black or white, but I decided a light pine stain would give me the desired look.  

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I can always paint later if we get tired of the wood.  Once the ledges were aired-out enough to bring into the house, I marked their placement on the wall and located the studs.  

Underneath view

(The above picture reminds me; make sure the boards you purchase are straight.  I laid all mine on the floor on all sides, and still one of the 1×2 pieces ended up a little wonky on the end).  

Since the ledges are 6 feet long and will be holding quite a number of pictures, I wanted them to be as secure as possible on the wall.  To make sure they were in the right place and level, I first used painter’s tape as a guide.  I screwed in the center screw first, and then rechecked to make sure it was level before putting in more.

pic ledge measure and level

Once the ledges were hung safely on the wall, it was time to arrange the pictures.  My ledges are about 4 inches deep, which means there is room to layer frames, and I can also add in smaller objects for display.  

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I started by placing the larger frames in the background, and then began adding in the medium and small frames.  I am sure things will be rearranged often, but to me that makes it the perfect solution.  I quickly realized that the round frames were not going to work on the ledge, so I ended up hanging them on the wall instead.

Final ledge

We can have the gallery of photos and art we love, but I can change things up whenever things start to look stale.  I finally got around to updating some of the photos and filling in some blank spots.  I still want to repaint soon, but this little project helped give me a needed change in only a few hours.

 

DIY Worry Beads

Many times when I am looking through a magazine or retail catalog I find items that I like, but I know I could make it myself for much less.  Thankfully, most of the time I don’t actually do it, because I would have a house full of things that I don’t really need.  But, sometimes the idea sticks and I find myself trying to replicate an item for a much lower price.

beads on cinder block

The ‘worry beads’ I made this week are actually for a friend.  I thought of her immediately when I saw them in a cb2 catalog, but the $190 price tag seemed a little over the top (they were a limited edition and are now sold out).  Worry beads, or komboloi, originate in Greece and Cyprus as a way to pass the time and relieve stress.  They are typically a small string of beads that can easily be held in both hands.  The act of moving the beads along the string and hearing them click against each other is relaxing, though some people even learn a few tricks to practice with their beads.  Traditionally, worry beads are made from coral or amber, with a tassel on the end, and a ‘shield’ to separate the two sides and allow the beads to move easily.

hanging beads

The string of worry beads I replicated were much longer (more like necklace length) than traditional beads, and were made out of wood.  The ‘shield’ consisted of three beads and there was a black tassel on the end.  I chose to make the string of beads pretty long, because we plan to hang them on the wall as a decorative piece.  

I found all of my materials at JoAnne’s Fabric:

1) wooden beads (two packages of 20 mm natural beads, and one package of colored beads). You could always paint or stain the natural beads, I just already had colored ones at home.

2) Leather craft lace (about 2 yds)

3) Drapery tie back (for the tassel)

Tassles

4) Sturdy wire.

5) Embroidery thread in your choice of color(s).

After a ‘practice’ session or two, I figured out the best way to keep things connected together.  The first step is to connect the tassel to the decorative hoop above it.  I made a hoop out of several loops of wire. (Pay no attention to the already-strung beads.  I had to take them all off…)

Worry Bead Hoop

 

Then I wrapped the cord from the tassel around it.  While holding it all together, I began wrapping the wire and the cord with embroidery thread.  

Wrapping hoop

I kept wrapping until the whole hoop was covered in embroidery thread.  

Embroidery thread

Next, I took the leather lace and tied the center to the hoop.  It was finally time to thread the beads.  I put three beads on with both laces together, then tied it off.  

Hoop close-up

Then, separate the strands and thread the beads on each side until it is the desired length.  I tied the leather cord together at the top and it was finished!

Beads on Hook

For around $20 (with coupons) we have a fun string of worry beads that coordinates with my friend’s decor.  It is great way to add some color and natural wood accents to a wall, without taking up a lot of space.  

 

Repainting a Doormat

April is the month when our homes and yards come out from hibernation and are begging for some freshening up.  There are several quick and easy tricks to help make the most of your home’s curb appeal.  

Doormat AFTER

This week, I focused on the doormat.  A doormat is a fun way to add color and personality without a big commitment.  A few years ago, I found an extra large doormat at Costco, and I really like how the size fits our porch.  Of course, after a year or two, doormats start to fade significantly. 

Doormat BEFORE

I decided to start painting our old doormat, because I really hate to throw things away that are still in good condition and have a useable life.  I read online how people have used spray paint or craft paint to make designs on doormats, so I decided to give it a try.

Doormat some color

Because my mat had deep cutouts, I worked with the raised shapes and painted on lots of bright color.   Where the rug wasn’t completely faded, I used the pattern and lines that remained as a guide.  I used leftover acrylic craft paint from my stash, and a medium-sized paintbrush.

Doormat progress

Since I used several different colors, I tried to balance their placement across the rug.  I also tried to use each color at least three times.

Doormat midnight

It took quite a few hours to paint everything, so I am hoping it lasts for a year or two, but we’ll see.

Doormat AFTER

Is your home calling out for a refresh this spring?  Have you ever tried painting a doormat?  If you have, let me know how long it was until the paint faded again!

Bright and Breezy Office Update

Pretty much everyone has some sort of ‘office’ in their home these days, whether it be at the dining room table or in a room by itself.  It is where you sit to pay your bills, organize your finances, search the internet and maybe even do some paid work.  I am currently working on a home office remodel for a local couple, and want to share some of the thoughts and ideas in the early stages.

Bunker Office Ideas Numbered

1. Color Palette: BHG 2016  2.  3. Ceiling Light  4. Orange Mirror 5. Gray Bookcase  6. Corner Desk with Hutch  7. A Little Window Photo: Minted.com 8. Ranunculus Photo 9. Tape Dispenser and Stapler  10. Desk Lamp  11. Blue Monday Photo: Minted.com  12. Storage Basket  13. Desk (similar to client’s)  14. Succulents: Image  15. Blue Box Planter and Mint Planter  16. Orange File Cabinet

The first thing I like to do is to make a list where I break down the requirements and challenges of the space.  

-The office needs to accommodate two people and their furniture.  

-The room is small (~10’x10’), with three desks currently in it.  Two of the desks will be staying, because one is a family heirloom and the other is a corner desk that does help maximize the space.  The heirloom desk is nice looking, but the corner desk isn’t beautiful.  The corner desk is also the home of a desktop computer.  

-The office now has a tall almond colored filing cabinet and two shorter ones, which are topped with a printer/copier.  The closet is filled with books and other miscellaneous supplies.  There is florescent lighting and tan carpet, both of which need updating.

 Bunker Office window wall before_edited-1

My clients are a fun couple who will be retiring in the next few years.  They like bright and unfussy spaces, so there will be no dark ‘den’ or ‘man-cave’ designs here!  We both fell in love with Better Homes and Gardens 2016 color palette, which includes a light gray, dusty blue, bright orange, mint green and blush pink.  In the right combination, it is both masculine and feminine, which is ideal for this couple’s shared office.  Adding in black or a dark stain on the desks also keeps the look from being too soft.

 A few DIY projects using some of the existing furniture will help keep the budget down.  Their current filing system will likely be downsized, but we plan to paint the filing cabinets that remain, since they are high quality.  We will be working on the two desks to help them blend more cohesively.  My clients are happy with the comfort of their current office chairs, so we will be recovering at least one of them with new upholstery.  Fresh paint on the walls and ceiling will brighten up everything, as will the addition of a new ceiling fixture and a desk lamp or two.

The closet space will be reconfigured to store books and office supplies more efficiently.  Quality shelving might have a combination of open and closed storage, possibly with some baskets or closed doors.  They are considering a small chair for a reading nook, so we will see how the space goes together once we get the space plan worked out.  For now, check out the idea board I created for a bright and breezy office space. 

 

 

Focal Point Range Tile

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Ok, so clear back in August when we were starting to tear apart out bathroom, I found a small box of shiny gray square tiles at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Pocatello.  My idea was to ‘practice’ hanging tiles by putting those behind my stove as a focal point backsplash.

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Yeah. So in the middle of my bathroom renovation, I mixed up a batch of thinset and attempted to put tiles up behind the stove in my kitchen.  They slid down the wall.  I had a momentary breakdown/panic session as I thought I would have to call in someone to tile my whole bathroom, since I was obviously failing.  My mom wisely told me I was taking on too much, and to just focus on the bathroom.

Obviously, she was right.  I eventually figured out the right consistency for my thinset, and the bathroom tiling went pretty smoothly.  I did learn that it was much easier to lay tile on the floor than on the wall, but I made it through to a pretty decent finish.

Fast forward 8 months (!), and the area behind my stove was still splattered with old thinset.  I had to avoid photographing that area, because it was obviously not finished.  But, all of the tile materials were finally put away, and it was hard to think about getting that mess started again.

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Lately I have been trying to finish projects that I already have materials for, so I got out the little box of gray tiles and started playing around with the layout.   Then, I added in a few tiles I had remaining from the bathroom floor.  And I eventually decided (after taking lots of pictures) to use just the prettier tiles. 🙂  They are from the Merola line at Home Depot.

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Of course, then I had to decide on a pattern for those tiles that would best fit the small space behind the stove.

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We decided on the last one, so then I had to get out all the messy tile stuff and get to work.

Unfortunately, even with all my bathroom tiling, I didn’t really learn the concept of tiling UP the wall, instead of down.  I started at the most obvious place to me: in the center, right under the range vent.

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Which meant I spent a LOT of time doing this:

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Which was very tedious, especially since the kids were hollering for something every two minutes (they were sick all spring break).  But Landry did step in and help.

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So, what I should have done is to measure out where my bottom row would be and nail up a ledger board.  Then, start the tile at the bottom and build up.  Yep, much easier and much less time-consuming.

Many, many hours later, I finally made it to the end.

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I framed in the tile with some 3/4 inch wood slats I had from another project.  I painted them a dark charcoal (the same as our table) and it really tied everything together with the charcoal grout left over from the bathroom remodel.

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I ended up tiling a whole row below what is seen behind the range.  I figured this way, if we ever get a lower profile range, the backsplash will still work really well!  I know I sure wouldn’t mind seeing a little more of that awesome tile!

A bit of art

The beautiful warm days have inspired me to do some freshening up around the house.  There is nothing like bright sunshine lighting up the walls to make me realize just how long it has been since the art has been updated.  I was also going through photos for one of my classes and felt the need to change things up.  I decided it was time to take a look at some of the art I have been pinning and magazine pictures I have torn out and actually create something new for our walls.

I recently saw a painting in DIY Magazine that really stuck with me. It was a colorful abstract of sound waves done by the fun lady behind Cuckoo4Design.  I loved the idea of using colors that I liked to make my own version.  I decided to use watercolor paper and paints, since I had both on hand and I haven’t had the opportunity to use them for awhile.  The kids and I set up a painting station on the kitchen table, and I drew some light guidelines on my 22×30 paper while they happily painted their own masterpieces.

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To start the painting, I used a ruler to draw lines both horizontally and vertically through the center.  Then, I measured ¾ inch from the vertical line, and drew another vertical line.  I marked every ¾ inch and drew vertical lines across the entire piece of paper.  I made sure to make the lines lightly with pencil, since I was using watercolor paint.  Some marks can be erased, but I like to make them light enough that I don’t have to worry about it.

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After making my lines, I started around the center with my colors.  In the center, where the sound wave is focused, I used full-strength color, or less water.  As the line goes toward the edges, I gradually added water to make the color lighter.  I also left some white squares to accent the colors and give it sort of a pixelated look.  I randomly chose the order of the colors to give it a looser and non-repetitive feel.

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 Because watercolors tend to bleed into each other, I quickly learned to leave a space in between lines so the fresh paint had a chance to dry.  Then, I went back and carefully filled in the spaces with a little less bleeding into each other.  Blotting excess water and color with a paper towel also worked pretty well.

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Painting this abstract watercolor took longer than anticipated, but I am pleased with the finished product.  Using acrylic paints and a brush that is the width of your vertical lines would speed up the process considerably.  The fun thing about creating your own art is that you can mix and match colors to work with your decor and create an absolutely unique piece.

I am still looking for a frame that will work with this large of a painting.  Until then, it makes a great backdrop for some recently repotted plants!

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Have you seen something that inspired you lately?  Now is a good time to break out the paints and make your own wall art for spring.

 

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Loving Our Homes

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to take a moment to stop and appreciate our homes for all of the warmth and security they give us.  As a designer who is always looking at images and plans for beautiful spaces, sometimes I get caught up in everything I want to do to change our home.

I have all these ideas to make it better and often focus more on the problems our home has than on all of its great attributes.  So, at least for today, I want to think about what makes our home special.

I like the idea of taking a minute to write down three things about your house that you are thankful for.  It could be that you are thankful for a kitchen that supports you in making food for your family.  A refrigerator that keeps your food cold and fresh, or a table where your family can all sit down and have a meal together.  I am grateful for the sliding doors leading out to our backyard and garage.  They allow me to see the kids playing outside, and they let in beautiful sunlight to warm the kitchen.

sliding door in sun

It might also help to focus on all of the areas you have already improved your home.  Instead of stressing about the horribly desolate laundry room, I can focus on the beautiful bathroom we just carefully remodeled.  The kitchen floors might still be ugly, but the cabinets and shelves are a huge improvement from when we moved in.  Taking before and after photos can help remind you of all the love and hard work you may have been pouring into your home.

Think about the connections you make with family and friends in your home. The games you play around the coffee table, the forts you build with sheets and sofa cushions, and the conversations with your friends and family around the dinner table.  If we appreciate and focus on the small joys, it helps us to see the beauty in all of our home’s imperfections.

dining table

As I look around my home, I see a lot of messes.  But if I look at the meaning behind the messes, I can be thankful for many things.  The legos strewn all over the kid’s room means that my five-year-old daughter is building and creating, using fine-motor skills and her incredible imagination.    IMG_5548

The fort in the corner of the living room was a labor of love between my three-year-old son and his daddy.  

Landry grin

The stack of bills on my desk means that we have heat and water, and a roof over our heads.  We are living life, and that is why there are a few messes.

If you like to take pictures, one way to appreciate our homes more is to carry your camera around and take photos of the little things that really matter.

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What makes you smile?  It could be the dog napping in the sun, your kids playing together, a good book waiting to be read or the chairs you lovingly painted to bring color into your home.  I think we would all be surprised at how many positive and wonderful things are happening in our imperfect homes!

 

Ready, Set, Organize!

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but January was all about organizing.  And for those of us who didn’t get it all done in January, February is about organizing, too. 🙂

It seems that with a new year, people get excited about putting their possessions in order, once and for all.  I am right there with you, getting sucked into all the ads for storage containers and articles about shelves and colorful baskets and tidy bins being the solution for corralling our possessions.  But before you go out and buy 50 new containers to stylishly store all your shoes, let’s talk about clutter.

Those of you who know me personally are probably laughing right now.  I know a lot about clutter, because I deal with it every day.  My little family has made huge progress in the clutter department over the last couple of years, but we are still working on the tendencies my husband and I (and our two kids) have to collect various items.  And to not put things back where they belong.  We all like to create, and surroundings sometimes get a bit crazy during the creative process.  

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But, the important lesson we have each learned is that it is much more fun to work on a project when we can easily find all of our materials and when our environment is uncluttered.  

Aspen and legos

There are so many reasons why we as humans tend to collect too much stuff.  In fact, I teach a whole class about clutter Monday, through ISU Workforce Training. My biggest personal reason is that I plan to use it or ‘I might need it’ someday.  So while I wait for that ‘someday,’ the stuff is cluttering up my workspace and causing me stress.  Before I purchase any ‘get organized quick’ storage system, I must first declutter.  I know from experience that getting rid of anything that is not bringing joy to my life is incredibly rewarding (this does not include my son at 3 in the morning).

closet organized

While our home is small compared to the average, we really have more than enough room for the four of us.  We hope to downsize even more in the future, so learning how to keep clutter at bay is essential.  My husband and I are really good at repurposing items, but we also tend to buy ahead for future projects.

Goal #1: Stop buying ahead!  If I am not ready to do the project right away, I should leave the materials at the store.  What do I think is going to happen?  That I will finally have the time to do the project and the roads will be closed so I can’t get to the store?

Goal #2: Set a deadline and plan for projects I already have materials for.  If I am still not inspired to do it, get rid of the stuff because it likely won’t ever get done.  Only after all the excess clutter is gone can I even start to think about goal #3.

Goal #3: Organize.  By this time, all that should be left are the things that we really use and actually like.  I don’t want to organize junk, I want to organize things I care about!  And guess what, by this time I will probably have discovered I don’t actually need any more storage containers.  Well, except maybe those cool glass jars with the copper lids I saw over at Ross.  I am sure I could find a good use for them. Someday.

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Chair before and after

Colorful Chair Makeover

Finished Chair

According to my patient husband, I am a hoarder of chairs.  Admittedly, we might have a few extras hanging around, but they all have so much potential!  In an effort to update a hand-me-down and create comfortable seating for our little guest room, I finally refinished one last week.  

When they replaced their conference chairs at my husband’s work, he brought home two of the old ones for me.  Even though he fusses a bit, he is actually an accomplice to my hoarding. I have been eyeing them for awhile, and finally the opportunity arose to use one in the guest room.

FullSizeRender (5)The chair before.

I had a yard of indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric I had purchased for some outdoor seat cushions, but hadn’t used yet.  Sorry outdoor cushions, you aren’t a priority right now.  It turned out to be the perfect amount for one chair, and it had all the colors I have been using in the room.  I also have an embarrassing number of sample paint pots.  I found a great blue in my stash, so I was all set.  I did purchase some quilt batting on sale over the holidays so I could plump up the softness in the chairs a bit.  There is plenty of batting left for several more chairs. Using materials I already had meant this chair refresh cost less than $5, but even if I would have had to buy it all again it would have been less than $20. I have a hundred projects (not kidding) in my head all the time, so I almost always wait for sales.  Waiting takes patience but it allows me to do some pretty fun things.

After gathering all the materials, the next step was to take the chair apart.  The seat was easy with just two screws holding it into the frame.  I had a harder time getting the back off, so I ended up starting to remove staples to see if I could figure it out.

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The back eventually required chipping out the wood plugs in the side of the chair to get to the screws, which were all stripped and mangled by whoever assembled the chair originally.  We had to break out a hacksaw for a couple of them, but finally got it all apart.  Then came the most time consuming part of it all: removing the remaining hundreds of staples holding the original upholstery on the chair.  I used a flat screwdriver and needle-nosed pliers for this job.  

Once the cushions were off the chair, I washed the chair with soapy water and then sanded it lightly.  I used two very thin coats of paint, allowing it to dry thoroughly each time.

Painted chair frame

While paint was drying, I removed more staples.  When the staples are all out, you can take the fabric off and use it for a pattern.  I made sure to label the back of the fabric and the back of the seat so I could put it back together correctly.  Pin the the old fabric to the new and cut out the shape.  My fabric had a direction to the print, so I made sure the pattern was facing the right direction before cutting.

I wrapped the seat and back cushion with a piece of batting and then it was time to staple on the fabric.  I started in the center of each side and then worked toward the edges.  When you get to the corners, fold the fabric like a present and staple away! Screw the seat and back onto the frame again and you have a unique and comfortable chair that works perfectly with your decor.  Here’s a side-by-side!  What do you think?

Chair before and after

Creating a Reading Nook

Have you ever wondered what to do with that extra corner space on a stair landing, or an odd shaped bump-out in a bedroom?

My friend Stephanie had this great extra space at the top of her stairs that she wanted to make into a reading nook for her girls.  Stephanie had a few key pieces picked out, but she enlisted my help to put it all together.  After the back-and-forth texting, pinning and emailing of many images and ideas, I put together an idea board of our favorites.  Idea boards are great, because they help you envision all of the elements on one page.  

Martinez Reading Corner Idea Board_edited-4

1. Gold Paper Garland, etsy.

2. Watercolor Fox, etsy.

3. Adventurers print, etsy.  Stephanie ended up ordering Stay Clever, Little Fox, etsy, which is so sweet!

4. Rustic Arrows, etsy.  Stephanie ended up getting these arrows instead, from the same artist.

5. Executive Nod Chair, Land of Nod.

6. Blue Clamp Light, IKEA.  We eventually chose this copper one.

7. Spice Racks, IKEA. Painted Gold with Martha Stewart craft paint.

8. Squirrel Pillow, The Company Store.

9. Blue throw. We ended up using one of the girl’s blankets, made by her grandma. 🙂

We had a few key things in mind when we were gathering our ideas for the kid’s reading space:

  1. Provide a comfortable place to sit.  Whether it is a pile of pillows, a bean bag or a kid-sized chair, a cozy spot to read will encourage kids to settle in.  Stephanie chose a soft child’s chair from landofnod.com.  I have also seen little tents or teepees made into reading spots.  Think about your child’s interests and current reading habits when choosing a seating type.  Here is Miss Reese in the chair, before we worked our magic:

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2. Place books at their level.  You want to have the books very accessible so they can easily grab the one they want.  We also chose to place the books with the fronts facing out, using spice racks from IKEA.  When kids can see the covers, they are more likely to pick up the book and start reading it.  Just pay attention to what the kids are reading/looking at and rotate the selection when they get tired of the ones that are out.

We installed four shelves, using self-drilling drywall anchors and screws.

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3. Provide adequate light.  The corner at the top of the stairs was a little dark, so we attached a small led clip-on light to one of the shelves.  It can be angled easily to spotlight on the book.  Some other options are pendants or fairy lights, depending on the location and the amount of light needed.

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Those three things are really the only necessities for a reading spot, but we added some color and decorations in a self-titled ‘woodland animals and mixed metals’ theme.  The watercolor print of a fox with flowers on her hat tied right in with the tiny flowers on the chair.  We also wanted an uplifting quote, which was found in another fox print from etsy.  

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A gold paper garland, copper lamp, and gold painted shelves added a bit of metallic glam for two fun little girls.  We are still waiting on some wooden arrows, but they will compliment the wood frames and add another ‘wood’land touch.

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The girls love their special reading corner and it adds a sweet welcoming scene from several viewpoints in their home.  Thanks Stephanie and Tyson!

Fun cb2 Surprise!

You can probably imagine my surprise and excitement when I finally sat down with the latest cb2 catalog last night and opened it up to this:

IMG_5413image source: cb2 catalog

It’s my tile (!), and the mirror from cb2.com, and even the gray shower sort of mimics the exposed cinder block in our bathroom.

Bright and Peaceful Bathroom Remodel

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Fun, huh!  I really like how they continued the tile up the wall, but I think something like that would be too much for our little bathroom.

Anyway, wanted to share! Let me know what you think in the comments below!  Happy Tuesday!