Monday, June 1, 2015

Up Close & Personal With Our Office Built-Ins

Although we still have to put up the moulding, I wanted to share with you a few more up close pictures of the built-ins.  I am still struggling with styling the bookcases and making tweaks when a new idea pops in my head.  Most of the items on the shelves are from things we already had in the house and most, like the books, were packed away in the garage.  It was definitely nice to put some of  our favorite things all in one place.

Over the past six months, I have been scouring the clearance section at Target and picking up a few things here and there to add a little extra pretty to the office.

One of the first things I added was some of our favorite pictures of the girls and another set of books from the girls' library in a white basket from Target.  In true fashion, I did spray paint a few things that didn't match the color scheme like the picture frame below.

My NASA stuff has been packed away since I left in 2011, so it has definitely been nice to see some of it back out.  The painting of the shuttle on the slate was painted by my lovely husband...his talents still amaze me!

The shelves above the file cabinet are mainly reserved for our go-to items, like our planners and printer paper.

I found some magazine file holders at Target on clearance, but they were just plain cardboard so I wrapped them in wrapping paper to give them a little something extra.  I also found the paper tray holder on an online garage sale site and knew it would be perfect to hold our printer paper.

The box I found on clearance at Walmart during black Friday a few years ago is still going strong and holding our cords.

I also decided to spruce up some antlers with some spray paint!!

We did manage to install some hooks on another wall, a set of hooks on each side of the door.  One set is for Jeremy's photography bags and the other is for the girls' backpacks.

I am planning to cover a large cork board in some leftover fabric I have in the closet and hang above the girls' backpacks.  The plan is to use the cork board kind of like a message/information board.

Right outside the office doors is our entryway table, which has a basket on it that I drop our mail in before I sort through it.  Usually around the girls' nap time I will sort through the mail or later in the evening, so I wanted to create a little drop-zone in the office that was quick and easy.  I painted a few labels I had in my scrapbook pile with chalkboard paint and then attached them to the basket with some baker's twine. I then labeled some folders I purchased from Target about a year ago with my label maker.

There are still a few things left to do in the office, but we have been loving the new set up!  I am still working on organizing all of our files in the file cabinet and hope to share with you soon how I tackled that beast! 

With much love, 


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hometalk: Closet Systems

Last week, the awesome team from Hometalk asked me to curate a board for closet systems and the timing couldn't have been better!!  I have been dreaming about a closet system for our master closet for over two years and have been collecting inspiration.  We gained some experience from the girls' closets and even from the office.  Fortunately, we have also picked up some tips and tricks in the DIY world and know that the closet won't be done overnight...though I wish it would at times!  Until the time comes, I will be planning and researching the web and magazines for different ideas.

Hometalk is a great site with a focus on Home and Garden, and great community to ask your DIY questions!  You have the ability to clip (save) different pictures and create boards of interest, like closet systems.

Although we are still a long ways away from completing a master closet remodel, it is never too early to start planning ahead!!  Speaking of planning ahead, we plan to build a few cubbies and drawers to hold our fresh veggies from the garden in the next week.  I hope to share the plans and finished product with you all soon!!

With much love,


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Office: Built-In Bookcases

I hang my head in shame over here after realizing it has been months since my last post and update on the office remodel.  The last few months have definitely been busy around here with family time, birthday parties, weddings, and enrolling my baby girl in kindergarten....I can't believe that day is almost here!!  We haven't done much in the sense of home projects and when I seem to get quiet time I have been watching re-runs of Sons of Anarchy...I really miss that show!

Well, I totally digress and should give you a proper update on the built-in bookcases.  The last update left you with the cabinets, cabinet doors, and pine top installed.

Next up, the built-in bookcases!  Per the norm for our projects we had an eleventh hour design change.  The original idea was to build each vertical shelf individually and then install the shelves.  In between waiting for coats of paint to dry I decided to go back and read the blog post that sparked our inspiration.  Sarah, from Thrifty Decor Chick, had a brilliant idea and it could really save us a lot of time on the vertical part of the bookcases.

The supports for our bookcases are placed in a different spot than Sarah's since our cabinets were different widths than hers, but other than that the process was the same.  We constructed the verticals while it was laying down on the floor and screwed the supports into the board that would be the top of the bookcase.  Jeremy screwed two long screws into each support, while I held the board and made sure the screw didn't go out the side or splinter the wood.  Here is a diagram from Thrifty Decor Chick that shows how it all looked once ready to install.


At this point we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and thinking this was going to be awesome.  Well, it did turn out awesome in the end, but around midnight when we were trying to actually install the vertical supports things were looking bleak.  Since the built-ins go from wall-to-wall and the vertical supports were built in the office, it was a tight spot to lift the whole piece up and try not to damage the walls in the process.  We managed to get it up and installed still in one piece with minimal damage to the walls...nothing that couldn't be fixed with touch-up paint.  I will say it did get pretty comical for a while there...I guess that is what happens on lack of sleep and working past midnight, but all is well in the end!

The next morning, after a cup of coffee of course, we tackled installing the top board to the studs.  Again, per the norm for this house, nothing is ever perfectly straight and level so we had to do some improvising in some spots.

We had some backing leftover from a few Ikea dressers that we used in the girls' closet, and they were the perfect fit to fill the gap.

You might notice the mark on the ceiling, this was for the location of the studs.  We secured it to the ceiling beams and on each side of the wall.  Once it was secured, it was time to put the supports in for the shelves.  To make sure the verticals stayed straight and kept the same width, Jeremy temporarily secured a 3/4" cleat to the bottom of the bookcase.

Instead of adjustable shelves, we opted for permanent shelves with this bookcase.  For each shelf, Jeremy used the same process he used in the nursery closet and girls' closet.  Jeremy worked his way across for each shelf securing the cleats.  The cleat against the wall is secured into a stud.  

There will be 1x2's on the face of the entire bookcase so the cleats will be 'hidden'.  Here is a full view of the cleats all completed and waiting for the shelves to be installed. 

From this point, Jeremy installed the shelves using the same method he used for the girls' closet.   Unfortunately, this is where I dropped the ball again and didn't get any pictures of the shelves being installed.  I, also in all my excitement to start filling up the shelves, did not get pictures of the almost completed office.  

We still need to finish putting molding at the very top of the bookcase.  It will either be a decorative molding at the top or crown molding all the way around the room...decisions, decisions!  I still struggle at styling bookcases, so it is still a work in progress.  Since this picture was taken, quite a few shelves have already been rearranged.  I can't wait to show you a better picture and more details of what is on the shelves...until then, please share any tips on styling bookcases you might have up your sleeve! 

With much love, 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Office Built-Ins - Cabinets & Counter Install

I last left you with an update on the office back in November...sheesh, that was a long time ago.  Back in November, Jeremy had completed the construction of the cabinets and installed them into the studs, but that is where we left everything until a few weeks ago.  We got our behinds in serious gear and pushed forward on finishing up the office.  Also, when I say 'we' that is probably an overstatement...Jeremy did most of the labor and I was his cheerleader and painter.  So, while he was busy constructing, I was busy shopping our home for what I could eventually fill the built-in bookcases with!   I also know I have been dragging my feet on writing this post and the next few because I am impatient and just want to get to the final product...definitely Miss Impatient over here!!

Enough of that, let me show you a few pictures from the installation process.  The cabinets were already installed, so now it was time to install the file cabinet.  I purchased the file cabinet used and sanded down the face of the drawers knowing we would be painting everything white later.  The file cabinet wasn't the same height as the cabinets so we had to use shims to level it all out.  Then there was also the issue of filling the gap between the cabinets and the file cabinet.  Originally, there was supposed to be a 3-foot cabinet in that spot, but since the cabinets were already built we had to do a slight change of plans to get the file cabinet to work and filled the gap with a spare piece of wood.  To  have a nail-able surface, Jeremy first nailed a 1x2 board to the side of the cabinet and file cabinet.  With this in place, he could nail the filler piece to something secure.  

The same concept was used to secure the file cabinet to the wall.  Jeremy used another 1x2 to create a nail-able surface and then screwed the file cabinet in place.  He also had to fill the gap at the bottom of the file cabinet, which he used the jig saw to cut down a piece of wood to fit in the spot.  At this point, things are definitely not winning any awards in the pretty department and still so much to do, but to have all the cabinets installed felt like a tremendous victory!  

Before we started installing the file cabinet, we placed an online order for the cabinet doors since they would take about 10 days to arrive.  While we waited for the doors, Jeremy worked on making all the seams flush.  Thank goodness for water putty - this stuff is awesome!!  Simply mix with water, but suggest you make small batches because it dries quickly.   

After a few cans of water putty and sanding, all the seams were looking pretty fly!!!  During that process, the beautiful doors arrived.  

We cannot say enough about this company, Cabinet Now, we absolutely love our doors!  They make the doors to your specifications, just provide the measurements and pick the style you like best.  They will even pre-drill the holes for the hinges - well worth every penny for these beauties.  Jeremy put the first coat on the doors and during nap time, I finished up with two more coats of Behr Ivory Mist in a satin finish.      

While I was painting the doors, Jeremy was working on the counter top for the cabinets.  For the sub deck we used MDF, and used shims to help level it out.  The sub deck had to be perfectly level before we could put the pine top on.  Once the sub deck was level, Jeremy nailed the pine top onto the MDF sub deck.  Then he put a pine 1x2 board across the face of the counter top.    

The picture in the bottom right shows the counter with two coats of the stain on it, but ended up putting another coat on since I wanted it a little darker.  You can also see the bead board was installed as well using a little glue and a nail gun.  I painted the bead board after installation and then Jeremy stained the counter top.  The paint I used was oops paint I purchased from Lowe's for $5.00, Valspar Allen + Roth Jazz Club.  As you can see the bead board does not go all the way to the top, which was done on purpose for our original design for the bookcases.  However, we had another slight change in plans, which I will share with you all in the next post.  

You can also see in the picture above that the doors are installed, but sadly no pictures were taken of this process.  

Here is a picture of the pre-conditioner and stain we used, which I highly recommend pre-conditioning first before any staining!   

While, I know this isn't the most exciting post, I wanted to break up the construction/installment posts so it was an overload.  Stay tuned for how we constructed the bookcases and hopefully that post will come sooner rather than later!  

With much love, 


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kitchen & Laundry Room Organized

Well, I finally got the kitchen cabinets all cleaned out and organized.  I found once I started sorting through everything it was a little easier to get rid of things I didn't need anymore.  I managed to actually sell a few pieces and donated the rest of the items.  Before I started filling up the cabinets, I did put some thought into where was the best place for each item based off of our habits and needs.

For example, I do most of the prep work like chopping at the kitchen island, so moving the knifes to a drawer over there made the most sense for us.

The knife organizer was purchased at The Container Store last year and I am still in love with it.  It has been a tremendous help to have all the knives and other cutting tools in one drawer.  The drawer right next to it holds all the other kitchen gadgets.  A drawer that used to hold utensils, now holds our drink accessories and tools, which you can see in the top right picture above.  As for the utensils, I put them right next to the stove in an utensil holder so they are all in one place now.

One of the things I am most giddy about is my new spice drawer.  All of our spices used to be in a cabinet and it was seriously becoming the black hole of spices.  I have been searching for some time now on how best to organize all of our spices, but I knew I did not want them on the counter.  I really, really wanted them in a drawer, but was having trouble finding ones that would fit until I found some inspiration on A Bowl Full Of Lemons.  I snatched up the same spice jars on Amazon and got to organizing as soon as they arrived.  I also found a free printable through Pinterest for the spice jar labels.

I put the spices in the drawer to the left of the stove and then all the measuring spoons and cups in the really small drawer to the right of the stove.  There are a few spices I buy in bulk, so I put those in the old spice cabinet.

Although, I cleaned out and organized all the cabinets I decided to only post pictures of what I thought were the highlights and displayed some practical organizing tips.  I purchased this bakeware organizer on Amazon about 6 months ago and I am not sure why I didn't buy it sooner...I love how it neatly displays our baking sheets.

I also purchased a few clear command hooks and strips to hang my pot holders...although I should probably purchase some new pot holders since these are looking a bit shabby!  I have the other pot holders on another hook on the cabinet door where I store the pots and pans.  Both of these cabinets are right next to the stove/oven.

Although organizing the tupperware isn't the prettiest, I wanted to share how I was able to hang the strainer with a command hook.

I used the same hooks to hold the cutting boards on the inside of the cabinet doors of the kitchen island.  So now I have the knives and cutting boards all located at the kitchen island!

We downsized a few of our glasses and coffee mugs and were able to fit all plates, bowls, and glasses in one cabinet.  And in the other cabinet, I put all of our plastic plates, cups, and bowls, which are mainly used by the girls.

That pretty much highlights the kitchen, but I wanted to share with you how the laundry room turned out.  A few years ago, my husband put cabinets above our washer and dryer and made a shelf to go right above the washer and dryer.  They have both been a tremendous game changer for that area, but were never used the best.  Last spring I changed out the majority of our home cleaners to natural cleaners and I am still in love with it all.  Because of that I was able to make one cabinet all cleaners and cleaner products, which has left the other cabinet completely open for future use!!

So the cabinet on the left side holds all the supplies to make the natural cleaners and the one of the right is empty for now!  On the shelf, it holds a laundry cheat sheet that I framed as well as my homemade laundry detergent in the yellow bin.  Then I have a bowl for loose change, some clothespins and a little cup for chalk (which is used on our chalkboard menu).  The empty bin labeled 'dirty' is for the used microfiber rags that I clean everything with.  Then last but not least, are my little collection of Food Network magazines.

So, how are you guys doing on the home organizing challenge??  This week is the pantry, so I will be cleaning and purging that next!!

With much love,


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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hometalk: Mudroom Storage

Happy Wednesday!!  I am still working on my week 1 kitchen challenge from A Bowl Full Of Lemons and will have some awesome pictures for you soon!!  I wanted to pop in today and share some cool news with you all.  A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by the wonderful people at Hometalk to create a board for mudroom storage.

Hometalk is a site similar to Pinterest, with a focus on Home and Garden.  You can clip pictures to save and create different boards, like mudroom storage ideas, and they have a great community to ask your questions!  You can also follow different people and see what projects they have been up to.  Here is the board I created for Mudroom Storage.

Well, it is time for me to get back to cleaning out the new spice jars arrived last night so I know what I will be doing!!

With much love,


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Monday, January 12, 2015

Organizing Challenge

Hey there!!  Sorry I have been MIA this year, been a little under the weather and have had zero motivation to get moving.  We finally got all the Christmas decorations put up in all their boxes and actually labeled what was in each box this year....woohoo!!!  After all the decorations are put up, it is nice to have a clean slate to start with so I plan to take advantage and get after it.  This weekend, while trying to stay warm by the fire, I managed to read a few blogs and the inspiration has finally hit me full force.  Well, now it is time to take action.  A new year and new beginnings, anyone with me??????

One of the blogs I recently started following is A Bowl Full Of Lemons, and I am absolutely in love! She is currently doing a 14 week home organizing challenge and I have signed up for the challenge.  I will be a week behind, but it is never too late to get started!  Week 1 is the kitchen, and after taking a quick peek in my cabinets I know this will be a hard one for me.  For some reason, I have an attachment to my kitchen appliances and day I might need five spatulas all at once!

So, who is with me???  Let's get this party started!  Time to make your piles: donate, toss, and keep!  I hope to share with you all next week an organized kitchen and would love to see your pictures too!!

With much love,


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