One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 4: Guest Bedroom Progress

April 25, 2018

Nightstand with midcentury lamp and rattan headboard

Wow. Week 4 feels much different than the previous two weeks because it’s just now dawning on me that THERE’S NOT MUCH TIME LEFT. I need to make like the great Orlando Soria and GET IT TOGETHER <– PS if you haven’t purchased this book yet, get on that.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

I don’t have any fun diagrams for you this week, I just have a lot of lists and thoughts and hopefully moments of clarity while I type this at you.

Here’s what’s been done so far:

  • Week 1 – Planning!
  • Week 2 – Thinking about curtains!
  • Week 3 – Making my own art!
  • Week 4
    • Layout – This week Andy and his brother, Chris, moved all the furniture around to match my dream layout. The room is so much more inviting now and just feels perfect.
    • Rug Pad – We added an extra cushy new rug pad under the rug so stepping out of bed will feel extra luxurious for guests. The 9×12′ pad was cheaper than the 8×10′ so we got the bigger one and trimmed it. We always save the trimmings to patch together new rug pads for smaller rugs.
    • Nightstand + Lamp – Andy built one nightstand and one lamp, pictured at the top of this post. I wasn’t sure if the wooden pull that came with the nightstands would look good in person and it definitely doesn’t so I ordered something fancier to dress them up.
    • Blanket Ladder – This has been ordered, it arrived, it has been built, and is hanging out in the room ready for duty.
    • Curtains – I took all of the curtains out of their bags and draped them on all the things in the room. I looked at them in the daylight and I looked at them in the dusk light and I took pictures to see how they’d photograph. I think I’ve made my decision. I promise I won’t ask you to pick for me again.

One Room Challenge week 4 trimming the rug pad

Rug pad trimming professionals in action.

One Room Challenge Week 4 putting the bed in place

Here’s the bed frame being very precisely put into place. Seeing the new layout made me SO HAPPY. So did seeing the light from the window shine through the headboard.

Here’s a list of things that still need to happen:

  • Curtain rods – Ok. I am going to save you from the ramble I have about curtain rods (I hope you don’t run into me in person because I will corner you and talk at you about this for a full hour) and just tell you I have a lot of curtain rods in my house right now and I love none of them. I have forgotten how to return things and I need an assistant.
  • Sewing – No matter which curtains I chose (I am so mysterious) they need to be hemmed or altered to the correct length so I’m going to bring out (find) my sewing machine and get to it. I also contemplated making my own blush pink lumbar pillow but now that I understand how time works, I have ordered this beautiful rose lumbar pillow from Jenny Komeda’s Juniper Studio Home.
  • Painting – I started the first piece of art I am making for the room but have not finished it. I did buy more paint and an additional paint brush so things are headed in the right direction.
  • Floating Frames – When my paintings are done, they’ll need lovely frames to make them look extra lovely. Hollister Hovey recommended floating canvas frames from to me (we talked via Insta comments and I feel like I met a famous person, like the time I met Alexis Bledel and talked to her like I didn’t know who she was and like I’m not a huge Gilmore Girls fan.) It is still my goal to make my own frames with my dad though to save cash and because I know what time is now and there is none of it. I sent him some SketchUp plans for the frames and my plan is to build those with him this weekend.
  • Bedding – I’d like to have a nice white linen duvet cover for the guest bed because I love the way linen wrinkles and adds texture. Do you have a linen duvet cover you recommend? Is the West Elm Belgian Flax Linen one great in person? I dreeaammm of the Blair from Pom Pom at Home.
  • Dresser – I am having some anxiety about the dresser because the room is missing a vintage piece and I’d love for that to be the dresser. I picked out an IKEA dresser that will work well in the room if I can’t find the right vintage piece, but a room never feels finished without the age and wear of something old.
  • Additional Art – My plan is to hang some stacked art near the corners of the room. I haven’t picked it yet though and need to get on that.
  • Mirror – I’m kind of waiting to see what dresser I go with before I order a mirror, I picked this one, which kind of looks vintage itself, so it may be a good choice no matter what.
  • Accessories – Adding accessories really finishes a room, and I can already tell this will be done in a mad rush as I style the room for the reveal.

Does this list soothe you or give you anxiety? Are you reading this and saying “EMILY. E M I L Y. What have you DONE to yourself?”  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Dark green bedroom midcentury lamp nightstand

My fellow ORCers, this may be my first One Room Challenge but I have some advice for you. Week 4 is a rough one as it sinks in that there are only 2 weeks (1.5 really if you plan to shoot your reveal next weekend like me) and you may feel like a total mess. I know you’ve got some good things together, so arrange a little vignette that makes you feel good, style it up, make it cute, use stuff that won’t even be in your finished room and take a nice photo. It will make you feel like you’ve got this. You can do it, and it’s going to be cute.

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!


One Room Challenge Guest Participant


Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Interiors Inspiration One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 3: DIY Abstract Art

April 18, 2018

DIY Abstract Art

Welcome to week 3 of the One Room Challenge!

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

Be sure to check out week 1 and week 2 to see the plans and progress on my first One Room Challenge. I’m making over our moody green guest bedroom.

ORC Week 3 – All About DIY Art

While I wait for backordered curtain rods and watch boxes and boxes of things arrive at our front door (and grow a pile of items to return), I’m focusing this week on the things I can control – like art. Our guest room has a long, blank wall that I haven’t been sure what to do with. A gallery wall seemed like a good choice but I kept thinking I wanted something tidier. And then the internet blessed me, as it so often does, with just the inspiration I needed.

DIY Art Inspiration

Hovey Design Home Tour via Cup of Jo

[Hovey Design Home Tour on Cup of Jo | Photo by Julia Robbs]

The term “DIY art” seems weird because all art is a DIY right, BUT in this world, it applies to art done by non-professional artists. Sometimes I come across things on the internet that just speak to my soul and inspire me. This home tour did that. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. Sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey run Hovey Designs, an apartment staging and styling service in New York. Their taste in vintage (and IKEA, and everything) is impeccable. I’ve never considered myself a maximalist, but if this is maximalism, I’ve got to reassess.

The sisters create their own art to use in their homes and for their clients. They have a relaxed approach and offer this advice to anyone scared to try:

Hollister: Truly, don’t be afraid to try it out. You can do squares, circles on a canvas… I’m not a painter, never was, but you can mess around.

Porter: People can get so nervous about art. But look at what’s in museums! I love abstract expressionism, and I know those artists were the first to do it, etc., but it’s random! You’re not trying to sell a museum piece anyway, you just need something nice for your house. You could frame linen and it will look pretty.

Cup of Jo Hovey Home Tour

[Source: Hovey Design Home Tour on Cup of Jo | Photo by Juia Robbs ]

I mean, come on. SO good.

Those deep green walls, that pink, everything.

Color Palette Inspiration

Hawkins New York pillows and blanket

[Source: Hawkins New York]

I was tempted to go with the same color palette as the Hovey sisters but I decided I needed to lighten things up. The color palette in this photo from Hawkins New York is so perfect for bringing some brightness into the moody guest bedroom.  Actually, if I could just hang a giant version of this photo in the guest bedroom, I’d just do that and call it a day.

I am creating this art myself not because I don’t want to support artists or because I think original art is overpriced or not worth it but because I want to get back to making art. I grew up drawing and painting and I thought I would go to art school. I ended up pursuing studio arts and then art history and arts management at a university and got away from actually making art. One of my personal goals for this year is to art more, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get back at it.

Art Planning in Procreate

DIY abstract art concepts drawn with Procreate

I treated myself to an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil for Christmas and I am in love with it. I used the iPad App called Procreate to mess around with blobs and lines. It’s so easy to sketch things out, move them around for balance, and adjust scale as you go. The app also makes it easy to try different colorways for indecisive people like me. Once I was happy enough with my sketches, I airdropped them to my laptop (you can export them as PSDs, JPEGs, PDFs whatever you need).

I’m not sure about the first and last drawings so I’d like to spend more time reworking those. I feel most confident about the middle drawing so I decided to start working on that one first.

Painting in Progress

I’ve tasked myself with creating 3 original paintings over the next few weeks. I mean, I could have just had my digital drawings printed, framed (I love Framebridge), and called it a day but that wouldn’t be the Emily way. My sweet Andy said to me just this morning in the middle of my first ORC meltdown “I’m trying not to add any stress to the stress you’ve already created for yourself.”

DIY abstract art process with ipad

My process so far is this: I sketch out shapes in pencil on my 24″ x 30″ canvas (I got mine at Jo Ann’s on sale for 60% off) and then start mixing paint. I picked up some Liquitex tubes and am also using some super cheap craft paint from my craft stash. I got richer tones out of the inexpensive paints by mixing a number of colors, adding white, adding gray, adding green, until I liked what I saw.

My very professional paint mixing palette is a cute Cheeky paper plate from Target.

I’m having trouble getting the right color for the big bottom blob. I started with a more teal blue, then a bright blue, and for now, it’s green. But not the right shade of green.

DIY Abstract Art

I’m adding texture with small brush strokes using a 1″ brush rather than a big big brush for the large areas. I’ve got some clean up to do, some extra coats, and I’ve gotta pick a color for that dot. But I’m pleased with my progress so far. It feels so good to paint again.

I’ll be making some wooden floating frames for these canvases to they’ll look extra polished up on the wall.

So where is all this art going to go?

Art Placement

arranging art around a door

This week’s dilemma is all about art placement. When the bedroom door is open, part of the wall is covered and depending on where the art is placed, some of the art would be partially hidden. We leave the bedroom door open all the time unless we have guests. I was thinking I could hang the art so that the left piece of art would be completely hidden by the open door, and then revealed as a fun surprise, but once I measured it out, the canvases would have to be hilariously far apart. So the options are:

Option 1:

Center the middle piece of art and cozily place the other two canvases on either side. When the door is closed, about half of the left art is covered.

Option 2:

Hang all the art in the space that is never obstructed by an open door but make guests live with the empty space behind the door.

HELP! Which would you do?

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to for week 3!

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 2: All About Curtains

April 11, 2018

Green Guest Bedroom with Vase and Tassel Quilt

It’s week 2 of the One Room Challenge! Take a look back at Week 1 to for a refresh on my plans to makeover our guest bedroom.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

If you watch my stories, you know I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about curtains and shades for the guest room. I’ve done light filtering shades in most of the windows in our house, but this will be the first room to get curtains. And guess what? I’m overthinking it. Come with me on my overthinking-the-curtains-all-week journey.

Curtain Challenges

  • How high should you hang curtains if you’ve got an angled ceiling?
  • How do you hang long curtains when you have baseboard heaters and not burn your house down?
  • What if you want 2 different light filtering options?

How high to hang curtains with an angled ceiling

How to hang curtains with an angled ceiling

One of the greatest crimes against curtains is bad hanging. Hang too low or too narrow and you’ve made a mistake. The internet pretty much agrees (and you can’t swing a cat without hitting a curtain hanging diagram on Pinterest) that you need to hang those babies HIGH AND WIDE. I like to go by what the queen says (Emily Henderson, of course) and hang the rod 2/3 of the distance between the top of the window casing and the ceiling and extending 10-12″ on either side.

I’m dealing with walls with two different ceiling heights due to an angled ceiling line from the angle of our roof. On the long wall with the wider window, the angle starts just 9″ above the top of the window casing. Using the 2/3 rule, I’d need to hang that curtain rod about 6″ above the window. If I went by the ceiling height of the other wall, I’d be hanging the curtain rod 16″ above the window casing.

The curtain should match across the room so even though the ceiling is higher above the second set of windows, they’ll still need to be hung at the same height. To make the angled ceiling look as tall as possible, I’m going to hang the curtain rod as close to the beginning of the angle as possible, at close to 9″ above the window casing. The same will go for the other set of curtains.

How to hang long curtains with baseboard heaters

I was pretty worried about hanging long curtains in front of baseboard heaters. I definitely did not want shorter curtains that would fall above the heaters because that’s just not my look. I searched the internet and found these general guidelines:

How to Safely Hang Long Curtains with Baseboard Heaters

When hanging curtains in front of baseboard heaters, the curtains should fall 1″ from the floor and hang 2-3″ from the edge of the heater.

For me, that means that my curtain length shortens by 1 inch and curtain rod brackets become an issue. I know that my baseboard heaters stick out about 2 3/8″ from the wall. Add 2 inches to that, and I need brackets that are at least 4 3/8″ long from where they mount to the wall to the middle of the part that holds the actual rod, where the curtains hang. I ordered brass curtain rods from Crate and Barrel without knowing the brackets were only 3 1/8″ long end-to-end, so they will be going back. I’m eyeing up a similar set from CB2 that are listed as 4.5″ deep but I think that might be cutting it close. I may have to go with a double rod set, which would have brackets with a depth of 6.5″.

Two options for filtering and blocking light

This room has a general need for some light filtering and privacy, so we decided to go with the simple (and perfect) IKEA roller blinds we have in the rest of the house. The challenge comes in the form of an outdoor light that shines into the guest room at night. We want our guests to be comfortable, and I know wouldn’t be able to sleep with a light shining on me, so we decided blackout or room darkening shades would be the best pick to make our guests sleep well.

If you remember from last week’s post, the previous owners used blackout roller blinds in this space and we’ve kept them up (despite their scallop shape) since we bought the house.

Removing old window blinds

Goodbye scallop edge roller shades! Andy popped the old roller blinds out of each window and then unscrewed and removed the new hardware.

To install the new IKEA SKOGSKLOVER roller blinds, Andy marked the placement of the two hanging brackets along the top of the window and used the holes to mark the new drill locations with a pencil. He then drilled into the frame around the window and secured the hanging brackets with the included screws. The main shade piece then rocks/snaps onto the brackets.

Just a note to everyone on why you don’t see me in these pictures doing this work – I pride myself on being a seasoned home DIY-er but I have been struggling with a shoulder injury since October and have had to take it easy. Andy has been sweet and kind in taking over doing a lot of the labor on our projects that I otherwise would help with – so that’s why you see him and not me!

one room challenge ikea skogslover roller blinds

one room challenge ikea skogslover roller blinds

one room challenge ikea skogslover roller blinds

What I love about the SKOGSKLOVER roller blinds is that they fit our windows perfectly, they filter light beautifully, they have built-in stopping points so you can match their length along multiple windows, and they roll up smoothly with one little tug – like some kind of machine magic.

Blackout curtain options

I have been going back and forth on different blackout drapes for this room. I’ve been bugging everyone on Instagram about it and I’m here to bug you about it in this blog post. My first instinct was to brighten the room with white or off-white curtains. And then I remembered how much I’m into tonal looks and thought maybe a matching green or lighter shade of green could work.

I am a visual person and too impatient to wait for all the curtains to arrive to see everything all together. I took some photos of the room, patched two of them together in Photoshop, and threw in some items from the mood board from my One Room Challenge Week 1 post.

Option 1: White Pom Pom Blackout Curtains


[Option 1: curtains | lamps | nightstands]

I put these pom pom blackout curtains in my week 1 mood board. I was worried that pom pom curtains are for kids and teens – these specific curtains are, in fact, from PBteen. I like how the white curtains add brightness against the dark walls, but I am worried that there will be too much white and too much high contrast when white bedding is added. What do you think?

Great tip for those looking for blackout curtains – check teen and kid stores! I am not a parent myself, but I have learned that parents love having blackout curtains to get their kids to nap when they need them to.

Option 2: Light Green Velvet Light Blocking Curtains


[Option 2: curtains | lamps | nightstands]

These SANELA curtains in gray-green are the first of the two green velvet curtain options, both from IKEA. They are not lined, but I think the dark velvet will do a good enough job blocking out the light. At 98″, they are longer than I need them to be, but I’d want to take out the grommets and sew in tabs instead anyway, so hemming away the extra length won’t be a problem.

I’m really liking these as an in-between option. The lighter green looks great with the pink accents I want to include and ties together the dark walls and light bedding really well.

Option 3: Dark Green Velvet Light Blocking Curtains


[Option 3: curtains | lamps | nightstands]

The drama! These SENELA curtains in dark green from IKEA almost perfectly match the walls. The sheen from the velvet would add just enough interest but let the dark green walls really be the star of the show. I think these curtains are the coziest option but I wonder if they make the whole room feel too intense.

Leave a comment and tell me which curtains you’d pick! PLEASE.


One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to for week2!

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Old House Design One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 1: The Guest Bedroom Plan

April 5, 2018

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

I’ve decided to do a crazy thing (with the sweet encouragement of Ashley from The Gold Hive, one of last year’s winners alongside the fantastic Natasha Habermann) and jump in as a guest participant in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge! Participating itself is not a crazy thing at all, but I do consider it bold to jump in and get on board less than a week before it kicks off. If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

So what room am I going to transform over the next 6 weeks? It’s gonna be our guest bedroom! This challenge came at a great time because we were already planning on sprucing up the space for Andy’s dad’s first visit to our home in May. Participating as a guest in the ORC will help me stay on task and stay accountable.

The most dramatic change in this space would typically be painting it a new color. Buuuut we already did that about a year ago. I also blogged about big plans for our moody guest room in this post but never moved forward on more than the paint. For the real, true before, though, let’s go take a stroll back in time and look at where we started.

Listing Photo for Boys Room

Here is the listing photo of the guest bedroom. If you’re not sure, yes the ceiling is blue.


This is a more accurate photo of the green color of this room. The green walls and blue ceiling worked well as a room for the young boy who lived in it, but not so well for soothing our guests to sleep.

Our guests genuinely loved the space lamp, and if I were a fun person, I’d have kept it. The stars and planets glow in the dark, even. I am no fun and it is gone.


Behold the scalloped window shades. This won’t be the last time you see them. They are, in fact, still up in the guest room as I type this.


I include this painting process photo so you can feel like you’re there with me. I’ve always been one to cut in first but I’m hearing so much lately about people rolling first and then cutting in. Also, this is the room where I learned the hard way to always paint the ceiling first.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

Painting the walls Behr’s Black Evergreen made a HUGE difference in this space. The rug and bed moved over from our apartment guest room as did the desk and chair(s). The only new things we’ve put in this room are the wall hanging, the mushroom lamp, and two pillowcases.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 BeforeThe vintage end tables from our apartment living room have been serving as nightstands until we find the right replacements. I love them but they are too deep and are too squeezed into the space for my visual comfort.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

I can’t wait until we have a guest bedroom with two matching nightstand and lamps. I’ve actually never had two matching nightstands and two matching lamps in all my furniture and lamp owning life. I got that lamp with the funky shade from Urban Outfitters probably 10 years ago now. I no longer care for it.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

The windows in here are beautiful and let in the best light in the afternoon. We have kept the scallop hem shades in here because they are blackout shades and one of the exterior house lights shines in at night.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

The guest room has a long wall that we’ve left completely blank all this time. The door on the left leads to the hallway and the door on the right is a closet door. I can’t get over how this dark green paint makes the woodwork glow.

The Challenges

  • Creating a space that our guests find comfortable, soothing and perfectly cozy
  • Providing the accommodation of a nice hotel while feeling like home
  • Finding a solution to block out the exterior light and morning daylight for sensitive sleepers
  • Solving the tech charging dilemma – an extension cable propped on top of a nightstand is no longer acceptable

What We’re Planning on Keeping

  • The bed + mattress
  • The ceiling light
  • The ceiling and wall paint
  • The rug

So you’ve seen where we’ve been and where we are, are you ready to know where we’re going?

One Room Challenge Green Guest Room Moodboard

[ Paint | Curtains | Curtain Rods | Roller Blind | Flushmount Ceiling Light | Bed (similar) | Brass Double Lamp | Nightstand | Flower Print | Painting Print | Quilt | Sheets | Dresser | Pink Lamp | Mirror | Blanket Ladder]

These are the beautiful things (or similar beautiful things – I’m giving myself permission to change my mind here) that I’d like to see in this room, along with things we already own. I’m a little worried that the walnut nightstands might be too dark against the light rattan bed and light dresser –> I would love your opinion! I’m also wondering if painting the dresser is the right call too. I definitely want to bring in more pink and gold/rust accents in accessories and bedding because they’ll look so good against the deep green walls.

Guest Bedroom Layouts

Where am I gonna put this stuff?

SketchUp Layout of Current Guest Bedroom

Our current guest bedroom layout is pretty simple and not ideal. The rug placement is awkward, the nightstands are really packed in there, and when two guests stay, one draws the short straw and has to squeeze into the bed on the tight side by the window. I like that this layout allows for a desk, but I’d like to have a dresser in here for guests that stay more than a night or two.

The new layout makes for a much nicer room-entering experience. We are going to add blackout curtains to block unwanted light and layer sheer, light filtering roller shades mounted inside the window frames. Moving the bed to underneath the windows gives us much more room for nightstands and for guests to move around the room comfortably. A small dresser is just enough room to store folded clothing and to give guests surface area to lay out jewelry and odds and ends at the end of the day. Adding a blanket ladder will be a great way to store extra blankets in plain sight and also provide an extra place to hang towels if our guests don’t want to hang them in the bathroom.

That’s so many things! It feels like so much but at the same time, it feels manageable, which worries me because I know myself. I feel a time consuming DIY brewing in my brain.

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Before and After DIY The Scenery House

Our Two Weekend, $600 Kitchen Facelift

March 26, 2018

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

kitchen facelift oak cabinets neutral pinterest

We started the year with some pretty optimistic ideas about what big projects we could tackle this year – I even made a lofty 2018 project plan post about it. A new kitchen was a front-runner for our big-budget project for the year, but we soon realized the kitchen we want just isn’t in the cards for 2018. We let ourselves be bummed about it for 24 hours and then set to thinking about how we could give our current kitchen a facelift so we could make it more liveable for the next year. Because we do want to redo the whole thing SOMEDAY, we didn’t want to put too much time/effort/money/sweat into it to turn around and tear it all out in a year or two. I also didn’t want to make it SO liveable that we would put off a remodel indefinitely. With all this in mind, we set the following guidelines for ourselves:

Project Guidelines

  • <$700 total spend
  • No renovations/knocking things down/removing cabinets
  • No painting the cabinets
  • Let’s stick to things we can order with quick, free shipping or things we can pick up locally
  • Let’s get this done in a weekend or two

The Kitchen: Before

kitchen facelift before outdated giant fan

the worst kitchen fan with fronds

Oh yeah. Take in that fan.

honey oak kitchen cabinets coffee nook before

At the end of the kitchen is an extra space that Andy uses as a coffee nook.

oak cabinets with leaf hardware

Leaf hardware!

The biggest issues we have with our kitchen are not fixable under the guidelines we set – we don’t care for the aggressively honey oak cabinets, the shape of the upper cabinets, the Ubatuba granite countertops, the faucet, the curvey ornate wood business above the sink, the vented microwave that is not actually vented properly and also is hung upsettingly low above the stove and a fridge door that opens into a wall. *Deep breath* we’ve accepted that these things are beyond our control… for the time being.

So what the heck can you do?

  • Remove what’s left of the wallpaper border I ripped down over a year ago (don’t worry, I’ll show you)
  • Finally, dispose of the dead stink bug that’s been stuck in the corner by the ceiling for maybe a year and also shame ourselves about it on the internet so we don’t let that happen again
  • Paint!
  • Replace the outlets/switches with white (not almond/ivory) ones
  • Get a nice rug to really tie the room together
  • Style those shelves, good heavens, Emily
  • Recaulk the backsplash

Let’s get to it!

Weekend 1

Ok, well before we get to the first weekend, I told you I’d show you the wallpaper border looked like when we moved in.

kitchen facelift aggressive wallpaper border

kitchen facelift wallpaper border removed

I know. Of course. What a perfectly aggressive match for that fan. When I pulled the border off the wall, it left some paper behind and we just lived with it. It was an improvement. It also left behind a darker green painted border, leftover from when the kitchen was a darker shade of green.

Ok, back to weekend 1 of the great kitchen facelift!

how to remove wallpaper border

We used a wallpaper remover spray and a metal scraper to remove the paper backing. There was some adhesive still left so we went around a second time and cleaned it all with TSP substitute. I promise I did some of the scraping too, Andy just looks better doing it.

kitchen prepped for paint

Next, Andy removed the old light fixtures, leaving the recessed lighting (which I kind of didn’t realize we had because of THAT FAN.) Even with a ladder in it, the kitchen looks so much roomier sans palm leaf fan. Andy taped off the cabinets and hung plastic drop cloths to protect all the things. I patched areas where the plaster fell away with the border and cleaned up a messy patch job from when the A/C vent was installed. Then, I painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Simply White from our paint stash.

After that it was just more painting. Cutting in, rolling on, just a lot of painting. And then more painting until we fell alseep, the whole weekend gone in a blur.

Weekend 2

I picked up my brush and climbed the ladder once again to finish painting the coffee nook and touched up other areas I missed in the kitchen. You may have noticed the chair rail in the coffee nook, which matched the orangey oak wood of the kitchen. Rather than tear it off (that’s demo, folks, and we said no demo!) I decided to paint it. This is my tiny attempt to be more like House of Brinson, ok?

I tore out the old caulking between the countertop and backsplash on the sink side of the kitchen. It took forever. Andy recommended I try heating up sections with a hair dryer to make it easier to pry out and it worked so well. Just don’t heat it up too much or it’ll melt and come out in tiny globs rather than one nice strip.

Andy swapped out the old leaf hardware with the new hardware we ordered from Amazon. He also replaced the old ivory outlets and switches with crisp white ones. Because our house is old and the wiring is old and every person who has owned it has done a new dumb thing concerning electricity – this was a harder task than it should have been. Andy communicated with my dad and to solve the mysteries lying behind our faux GFCI outlets via several hand-drawn diagrams. I found the diagrams lying around the house and at our place of work and it was like that moment in movies where the lead character finds a secret room full of drawings and pictures for a dramatic reveal that someone they love is losing their mind. Anyway, with the help of my dad, the internet, and Andy’s persistence, we have outlets that work.

Enough about that, let’s look at our new and improved kitchen!

The Kitchen: After

Kitchen Facelift Oak Cabinets Classic Gray

Andy and I wanted a moody color in the coffee nook but definitely wanted to brighten up the kitchen. I didn’t want to go full on white on the walls, so we looked at a variety of light grays, but most looked too cool against the warm (too warm) white of the backsplash tile. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray on the kitchen walls and Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron in the coffee nook. Both ceilings are Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.

kitchen facelift oak cabinets classic gray walls

styled kitchen shelves plants wrought iron paint

The kitchen and coffee nook are separated by shelves. Before our facelift, these shelves were sorely neglected junk collectors. Now that our kitchen is much more pleasant to look at, I wanted to pretty up those shelves with books and plants. I’m excited to restyle this over and over again.

kitchen shelves plants sonos dark walls

Amazon Kitchen Pulls and Knobs

The new hardware is simple and classic.

Kitchen Counter Tool Caddy Eucalyptus Tea Towel Granite Countertops

The Coffee Nook – After

Coffee Nook Wrought Iron

Coffee Nook Plants Bodum Coffee Nook Storage Painted Chair Rail

I really love that painted chair rail.Coffee Nook Storage Leaded Glass Window


kitchen facelift moodboard

[ Ceilings – BM Simply White | Kitchen Walls – BM Classic Gray | Coffee Nook Walls – Wrought Iron | Light Fixtures – Discontinued (Similar) | Light Bulbs – Daylight Edison Bulbs  |Cabinet Pulls – Franklin Brass Pulls | Cabinet Knobs – Franklin Brass Knobs | Rug Runner – Edessa Tribal Medallion Rug ]

The Cost

  • Light Fixtures – $195.98
  • Light Bulbs – $9 ($27 for 6)
  • Rug – $83.85
  • Cabinet Hardware – $65.80
  • Paint – $84.00
  • Switches + Switch Plates – $60
  • Caulk, Drop Cloths, Misc Supplies – $100

Total Spend – $598.63

Art + Design Shopping

7 Really Good Things on Etsy Right Now

March 16, 2018

The Best Things on Etsy | The Sweet Beast

[Favorite Etsy Find: Rug by GUR hangs in our guest room with the Hanna Pink Lamp from CB2]

I was rambling to a friend this week about how it’s so hard to find the good stuff on Etsy these days. There’s just SO MUCH on there – which is great – but the last few times I visited, I got tired of sifting through all the things and gave up. And then I thought that if I’m struggling, maybe everyone is, and maybe I can help by finding and sharing some of my current favorites. Let’s go shopping.

7 Really Good Things On Etsy | The Sweet Beast

Rug by GUR | Monkey’s Fist Earrings | Palisades Grey Mug | Folded Paper Scarf | Sisters Print | Eyes Cushion Cover | Lotta Earrings ]

These picks really represent my top interests in that they are either textiles, earrings, ceramics, ladies, or pillows or combinations thereof. We have the Rug by GUR pictured hanging in our guest room – we just picked up a metal rod at Home Depot and slid it through the sewn edge at the top and attached some string. Magic!

I know the maker behind the Monkey’s Fist Earrings and she is extremely talented, savvy, and thoughtful in everything she does. I have a different pair of her earrings and a big beautiful necklace but have always had my eyes on those mint knot earrings.

The gray glaze on matte gray stoneware on Mud to Life‘s Palisades Grey Mug is so simple and stunning. Speckled ceramic mugs have been my go-to vice but I think I’m ready to embrace some stripes.

I’ve had the Folded Paper Furoshiki handmade scarf in my Etsy favorites for years. They also make a beautifully executed wooden hanging display pole set so you can hang the scarf as wall art.

I purchased a wooden block necklace from Depeapa years ago and am loving her Sisters Print. I am forever drawn to prints depicting women, especially wearing good orange-red lipstick.

Zana Products has such good, clean and fun prints on textiles it was hard to pick just one thing to feature here. Their Eyes Cushion Cover has tassels on the corners and would look so good on my guest bed.

Statement earrings! I can’t get enough of deeeez. And statement earrings that with gold, pink, black and speckles? Dang. Gimme these Lotta Earrings!

Happy Friday, happy shopping.

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Friday Favorites

I Love the Internet

March 9, 2018

Shiny Eggs Still Life Painting

I love the internet like I love this still life painting I had to have as soon as I saw it. I look at the internet all day and I see things I like. If I like it, maybe you will too.

So, let’s look at the internet together.

This isn’t new from this week but I can’t stop thinking about the Hawkins NY home tour from Sight Unseen. It’s modern, Memphis, 80s, traditional, and farmhouse all at once and it’s perfection. Blending all those styles in one home is a bold move but they’ve executed it perfectly. Of course they have, they’re the folks behind Hawkins New York. Thanks to my friend Jen for sharing this with me and knowing I’d love it.

Making It Lovely - Custom Curtains

Nicole (Making it Lovely) inspires me endlessly with her dark walls and unpainted woodwork – I really can’t get enough of her Victorian home. And now she has me wanting curtains. I just have to figure out how not to burn our house down with curtains + baseboard heaters.

I think about the work I do and the love I have for the people I work with a lot, so these words from Sara Hendren (via Swiss Miss) spoke to me:

The people you spend time with literally co-create who you are, down to the near-cellular level. You’re building a life. The ones you build it with will be critical to your professional success, not because they’ll be in your field, but because they’ll be in your corner. The good ones will give you a kind of emotional buoyancy and a head-shrinking perspective that will nourish the person you’re trying to become—and yeah, that’ll enhance your job performance immeasurably.


The extremely talented Ashley Goldman of The Gold Hive was a guest on the Style Matters Podcast this week. Her drive and hustle inspire me to get it together and do better, and she’s been personally supportive as I’ve ramped up my game. I really enjoyed hearing her talk about reigning in her taste to decorate for the home she has and what will suit it and how she tackled her One Room Challenge. Slow decorating is ideal but in blog life, there’s pressure to pull things together quickly – give her episode a listen!

Kim Verbist Interiors Dining Room

Are you following me on Pinterest? I’ve been pinning up a storm, especially kitchens and dining rooms like this one from Kim Verbist Interiors.

Did you see good stuff on the internet this week? Don’t let me miss anything good.