Master Bedroom progress

I am excited to show you our new bedroom today! It isn't finished—I don't seem to have a stash of cash to just go out and purchase all the accessories I want all at once, but it is in progress and I am too excited to wait until it is "finished" to show you!

I like things to flow from room to room and feel cohesive. Therefore, I used the same wall color I've used throughout our home, and repeated the accent wall color from our living room. When we remodeled our living room we purchased enough of this hickory wide plank solid wood flooring to eventually do this room also. It sat on pallets in our garage for several years so it felt great to finally get it installed! It was not the most forgiving flooring to lay and it took us several days to get the job done. So happy with the end result!

We formerly had two ceiling fan/light fixtures in this space. We struggled to keep this room cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and knew we wanted to keep a ceiling fan in this room. We opted instead for a simple design with no light, and then added 4 recessed LED lights to the room. We love the new fan. It is so much more efficient and quiet than the old ones, not to mention much more sleek and modern. 

Sources: Paint, accent wall, Behr Dusty Mountain; main walls, Behr Sandstone Cliff; ceiling fan from Wayfair; sconces from Wayfair (no longer available); duvet cover, Thomas O'Brien from Target (discontinued); lumbar pillow, handmade using a Target throw; throw blanket from TJ Maxx; rug from Home Depot; bed from Crate and Barrel; nightstands, vintage.

As a little reminder, this is what the room looked like before. The only place to put the bed was under the windows:

We tore out the closets and moved the bed to that wall. The closet was relocated next to the bathroom by stealing a little space from the office.

We still need to figure out what to use for window treatments. I love the simplicity of blinds, but this is quite a long window. In this case I am leaning towards floor-to-ceiling curtains to provide some softness and an insulating effect in the winter. Something subtle but textural. What would you do?

On the opposite side of the room, this little corner is where I would eventually love to install a gas fireplace. Until then, it houses a dresser (vintage—I bartered with a client to acquire these), and the Eames-style lounger I refurbished.

I would actually like to organize our closet well enough to house all of our clothes, even our underwear and things that are currently held in the dressers in our bedroom. I love being able to go from our bathroom into the closet to get dressed and having everything there in one place. 

Other sources: Paint color, Behr Sandstone Cliff (walls), Behr Powdered Snow (trim and ceiling), Behr Squirrel (doors); wood planter from Target; Union Jack pillow, handmade; magazine rack, vintage from a storage unit sale;  art by Scott Davis, a talented former co-worker—it is hard to tell from this but it features a deer wading through a misty Great Salt Lake.  Here is a closer look:

This was the mood board I put together before the remodel:

We had the bed and nightstands already. A friend sent me a link to the sconces shown above, and I ordered them right away (from Wayfair) only to get an e-mail about 3 weeks later that my order was cancelled. Boo. I had to go to plan B, and found the sconces we ended up purchasing (also from Wayfair, and now also no longer available.) Apparently that is a thing. If you see something you want, snatch it up immediately. 

The pillow in the mood board is from Citizenry (similar). Their stuff is beautiful. And also—expensive. I didn't buy it, but I do rather love the pop of color. 

The leather bench is still very much on my wish list, from CB2.

Finally, artwork. I love these joshua tree prints from Amber Interiors. I wanted to do something original and try to make my own local desert-inspired photos. When the yucca plants were in bloom along the Teton River I shot these images:

I just can't decide what combination to use. A pair of two?

Or one big photo?  Which do you like?

As I mentioned before, we finished the bedroom and office side of this space, and left the old bathroom in tact (i.e. functional) until we can tackle that project. It left some awkward spaces in the meantime. We expanded the bathroom walls by a foot or so, which left a gap between the new wall and old wall. (This is where we hide our stowaways ;) Our closet is temporarily set up where it will eventually go, however the old bathroom walls make it pretty narrow for now. 

Thanks for your input on the bathroom layout! It was helpful to hear your feedback. I am definitely leaning in this direction:

Thanks for following along, and let me know what you think! 

Office progress

Welcome to the new and improved view inside our front door!  (I know that office wall is really bare right now. That will change!)

As a little reminder, this is what the office area looked like before. 

And now, it looks like this! Not quite finished.

We opted to put frosted glass sliding doors in so we could fully close the office off and still let daylight in. The barn door hardware and doors are from Home Depot, and considerably less expensive than most others on the market, but I'm happy to say we were pleased with the quality. 

The little windows on the side were added for architectural interest and to allow natural light to still flow into the hallway. We were worried that closing off this wall would make the hall seem really long and dark. I think it was a great call. We plan to add glass windows with modern black steel frames to the openings. 

From the new (main) entrance to our bedroom, the office looks like this. We have temporarily put our old office furniture back in until we can afford to/have time to install cabinetry. (When we do, our sweet Paul McCobb desk will be for sale if anyone is interested!)

As a reminder, the cabinets will be something like this:

We changed the windows a bit since I made this rendering, but you get the idea. The floor space in the office is quite a bit smaller than it used to be. I did have to fight Tom for the real estate a bit. But I truly believe that good storage and organization is more important than floor space. 

To the right of the office is the old entrance to our bedroom. We originally thought we would put a powder room here, but opted instead to make a small closet. We made it the perfect size to hold our recycle bins and some pantry overflow, and it meets our needs perfectly. We still need to tile the floor and paint the shelves in this closet. Baby steps. 

Still to come—our master bedroom! Thanks for following along!

Master Suite Demo

Hang with me for one more Master Suite progress post—this isn't the one where I get to show you pretty pictures. Lest you think we don't work for the reward I have to show you the dirty work. :)

Paneling and drywall coming down in the office

Paneling and drywall coming down in the office

This is a terrible photo, but this this Tom in the crawl space under the office inspecting the structure to see why the office floor bowed. There are plenty of settling issues in this house and we ended up using a jack to shore up this beam.

This is a terrible photo, but this this Tom in the crawl space under the office inspecting the structure to see why the office floor bowed. There are plenty of settling issues in this house and we ended up using a jack to shore up this beam.

While dismantling the bed it was very clear from the few patches of preserved carpet under the bed area how much wear it had received over the past 46 years. (Eww.)

While dismantling the bed it was very clear from the few patches of preserved carpet under the bed area how much wear it had received over the past 46 years. (Eww.)

We had not one, but TWO ugly, dusty, rattly ceiling fans in this room! This pictures shows the closets coming down.

We had not one, but TWO ugly, dusty, rattly ceiling fans in this room! This pictures shows the closets coming down.

Who thought it was a good idea to use such a giant header beam above the closets?

Who thought it was a good idea to use such a giant header beam above the closets?

At this point we were faced with a decision about how to deal with this header beam. Yes, we investigated up in the attic to make sure it wasn't structurally necessary. It ran parallel with the ceiling joists. The outside walls were supporting the weight. The biggest concern was how to get it out since it protruded into the outside walls! We actually considered leaving it in place and building a soffit around it, like so:

In the end, the guys took it out and the house didn't fall down. We had a bit of a hole to fix on the other side of the interior wall. No bigs. 

After the demo process we:

  • relocated a few walls
  • resheetrocked and taped the new walls and attempted to blend them in with the old walls
  • scraped all the popcorn and retextured the ceiling
  • repainted walls and ceiling
  • installed new lighting and added outlets
  • installed new wood floors (not so easy!)
  • installed all new trim
  • hung new doors

I'm working on the next post to show you how far we have come on this project (not done... but it is kind of gratifying to look back on this list and think about all we accomplished). Stay tuned!

Master Suite project

Well hi there. I thought I would pop in and tell you what we've been up to on our house. Ready for an update?

We finally started in January of this year on our Master bedroom. This is exciting because this part of the house is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door!

Let me throw some awesome before pictures at ya:

The bedroom:

Of course, we moved our own furniture in, but otherwise left things as is in anticipation of much bigger changes when we were ready.

It took us 7 years to be ready. And trust me. We were very ready to rip out that old carpet. 

Back in this post from June of 2011 I outlined my plans for this portion of the house and shared these floor plans of the Master wing:

It fun to see what I was thinking 6 years ago and how those plans have evolved. As you can see, the space is an awkward shape. I translated these plans in SketchUp for some more specific renderings.

The bedroom had two entrances—a small one through the office and the main door across the entry from our front door. It was always a fun dance to climb out of the shower, peek out the bathroom door to see if the bedroom doors were open, streak across the room to the closet and pray that no one appeared at the front door.

The plan was to:

  • relocate the office entrance to the front of the room and close off the side. 
  • make the office smaller to leave more room for bathroom and closet.
  • eliminate the dark room next to the closet (my grandma was a photographer—we just used it as a glorified storage room)
  • widen the door from the office to the bedroom
  • eliminate the front entrance to the bedroom and add a powder room in this spot. (We later nixed this plan. I decided I didn't really need another bathroom to clean).  
  • Remove the closets on the far wall and add a walk-in closet near the bathroom. 

Here is a closer look at the office. Even though the square footage is smaller, we want to maximize the storage by adding cabinetry. It isn't floor space you really need in an office anyway, but I did have to fight Tom for this real estate. ;)

In the bedroom, removing the closets allowed us to place the bed on the far wall instead of under the window. Instead of adding the powder room, we just ran the wall straight across and added a closet that is accessed on the hall side. We would love to add a fireplace eventually on the wall between the bedroom and bathroom because this room tends to be cold in the winter.


The bathroom and closet area was the most challenging space to work out because of it's odd shape. My priorities were to have adequate closet space near the bathroom and a separate room for the toilet so we could still have privacy while the other is using the sinks or closets. Here are a few options I explored:

I thought this last idea had the most potential and flushed it out in 3D. After showing it to my family, however, they felt it was too tight and had too much wasted space. Back to the drawing board.

I thought I might have to resign myself to losing the separate toilet room. This does leave lots of room for everything, including a huge shower.

Then I had an "a-ha" moment. The toilet could go in the same room as the shower and be closed off by a door! In this plan, the shower and closet both would have to be smaller.  The shower is about 48" x 46" in this plan.

As an alternative, the wall could be square with the sink room instead.

Here is a 3D view of this plan. 

(Note: I also moved the wall beside the sinks into the bedroom a bit to leave more room for the vanity. There is a window on this wall that dictates vanity placement. I anticipate doing a lower counter with a stool under the window between the two sinks.)

Construction is done on the office (except cabinetry) and bedroom. Stay tuned for more on that! We knew we would not have time to complete the whole bathroom this winter, so we opted not to demo it. Instead we finished all the walls on the bedroom and office side and hope to tackle the rest when winter comes again. In the meantime, I hope you will weigh in on my bathroom plan options! Am I crazy to insist on a separate space for the toilet?

While we are on the topic of living rooms, I wanted to show you some pillows I made last year. (Actually, Abby did all the sewing. It's great to have kids with skills!)

A friend of mine who went through the same design program as I did at Montana State (Go Bobcats!) did the coolest senior project. She designed fabrics inspired by the prairie where she grew up (she is a farm girl like I am) and sold them on Spoonflower. You can still purchase her designs there on fabric, wallpaper, and wrapping paper. The designs I chose were (front to back) crop rotation, fields of gold, and montana skyscrapers. (The patchwork pillow shown is from Target.)


Lego table

Since we haven't been making much progress on big projects, I thought I would share a small win instead. Since Christmas our dining room table had been taken over as a Lego playground. The kids were playing with them constantly. And since I think Legos are one of the best toys ever in the way of constructive playing, I didn't want to make them clean them up. 

My solution came by way of an IKEA hack. I had this IKEA Lack coffee table in my storage room because we were no longer using it. I recently tackled a storage room clean-out and had set this table out in my huge pile of ReStore/Goodwill donations. Fortunately, this brainstorm happened in the nick of time. It would make the perfect lego table!

We simply used some 1x2 boards we had laying around and cut them to make 3 separate compartments. (The Barbie set above is a different brand so it is nice to have separate areas so the sets won't be mixed up.) The boards prevent the pieces from scattering all the over the floor! Tom screwed them into the table from the bottom. We left them unfinished and the blend nicely with the table finish. 

The shelf underneath can hold containers of their other sets. Simple, easy, perfect! I even have a glass top to set over the top if I ever want to use it without the dividers.

We put the table in the basement, but already noticed the girls don't play with them as much. Since it is easy to move I think we will bring it up to our living room or into the girls bedrooms. At least it isn't on our dining room table!


Front yard landscaping—the plantings

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

I am no gardener, and I've learned what I do know by trial and error. I do know this much about what I want: it must be low maintenance and survive on infrequent watering. I like native plants and like a variety of colors and textures in the foliage. I seem to like purple flowers, especially alliums. And judging by the collage below, I like both random naturalized planting and structured rows. I'm not sure how I will combine that all into a cohesive look, but I'm going to try. 

Sources, clockwise from top left: 1. Europa Concorci  2. Houzz  3. Houzz  4. Feldman Architecture via Desire to Inspire  5. unknown (This along the shop maybe?)  6. Houzz   7. Houzz (I'll take the pool!)

I have had good luck so far with a few things—grasses, Russian sage, purple salvia, some seedums (although the bunnies like them), and thyme. I plan to transplant some native yucca that grow along the river beds locally. Any other suggestions?


Now let's talk about my terraced concrete planting beds and rock garden for a minute. Last summer they were growing in nicely:

But they aren't feeling cohesive enough for me. I think I need to take a lot of it out and start over. I might end up with fewer flowers in the terraced beds and opt for a cleaner look with lots of the same types of plants, like this:

Sources, clockwise from top left: 1. Houzz  2. Houzz  3. Jeffrey Gordon Smith via Desire to Inspire  4. Houzz

That wraps it up for my landscaping plan posts. Now all we have left is to work work work. I will try to keep you updated on our progress! Be patient with us, though. Outdoor projects are hard to accomplish because farm work comes first!


Front yard landscaping—the fence and pergola

Hi! I hope you aren't bored with landscaping posts yet, because I'm back this week to share a little more of my yard inspiration. Today it is all about the fence and pergola.

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

I have no trouble imagining a new beautiful fence in our yard. Building it will be the hard part. Fortunately it isn't a huge area. I'd love to have a fancy gate like some of those shown here, but as long as it is easy to operate, I'll take it. I do know that I want horizontal fence slats. Easier to climb, yes, but it will be nice and tall so at least our dogs won't be able to climb it. (I hope.)

Sources: Clockwise from upper left: 1. DWR via Gardenista  2. Houzz  3. Houzz  4. Houzz  5. Houzz  6. Life of an Architect

Beautiful, right? Can you see it in our little courtyard between our house and shop? Instead of this?

Anything would be a drastic improvement.

The other thing I hope to add is not completely necessary for function but absolutely necessary for aesthetics—the pergola. Don't you agree? This isn't just your average pergola, either. It must have a mix of wood and metal and be lovely and modern. Here ya go:

Sources, clockwise from top: 1. Houzz  2. Houzz  3. Houzz

Drool. Now if we can just execute...  Anyone in need of a summer job? :)

Front yard landscaping—the hard-scaping

To refer back to the plan/layout and before photos, click here.

The major drive behind redoing these our two small front yards is to reduce lawn area and watering. These spaces will be much more usable to us as outdoor rooms for lounging and dining. (Don't worry, we have plenty of lawn for the kids elsewhere.) Now if we could just do something about the mosquitoes...

I really like a permeable hard scape for function, but mostly for form. I think this looks great with our midcentury modern style. It allows you to break up a mass of concrete area with texture and plantings, not to mention allowing for proper drainage. 

Here is my patio inspiration:

Clockwise from left: 1. unknown  2. Houzz; I want my pavers to be a bit larger than shown here. 3. Houzz; This is one of my favorites to illustrate the patio edged by plantings. 4. Houzz; This is probably way more beautiful and elaborate than I will be able to achieve, but I love this. I like how they have mixed rock and mulch areas. 5. Houzz  6. Houzz  7. Houzz; This is the best example I have of what I want the concrete to look like in the courtyard area, leading back to the fence. My plants won't be this lush or my fence this fancy, I'm sure.  

I'm anxious to get to this part of the project because our dirt yard is soon going to = a weed yard!

Front yard landscaping—the plan

Here comes the fun part. 

Bear in mind, I am not a landscape designer. I drew these plans in Illustrator so they are pretty basic. I'll explain.

The first drawing is for the patio part of the yard (to give you a visual):

1. First, we need to add footings for the deck and pergola, then prep the space for pavers. I'd like to do a mix of poured concrete squares (about 5'x5') and smaller concrete pavers with gravel in between. Surrounding this will be planting area. (I'll share inspiration photos later).

2. The deck would keep the same footprint, but it will extend a little further to go underneath the new patio door. Instead of the stairs coming off the end as it did before, they will go straight out onto the patio. On the south of side of the house we will use the existing deck frame, but the entire deck will be resurfaced. My dad wants to use composite decking. I wouldn't be opposed to using redwood, though I know it would be more maintenance. The whole deck will then get a new railing, which it desperately needs anyway!

3. I definitely want a pergola over the top to define the space. We might not get to this right away, but I know it will look sooo amazing. We will need to add the footings for it now.  

4. The concrete terrace beds will stay, but I would like to replant some of them. More on this later.


Next is the courtyard area:

1. There is an existing concrete pad next to the garage on the left side that may or may not stay. (It is a handy place to store bikes and things, but it might sort of interfere with the design??) And as I mentioned in the previous post, the fireplace may or may not stay. I then want to do more concrete pads that meander back to the gate. They will also have gravel in between. They would be wide enough to set up a few chairs and use this as patio space also.

2. A new better-looking fence, of course! Our backyard is fenced (mostly chainlink, but still really nice to have for our pets) so we definitely need a gate here. The fence also masks the propane tanks that sit behind it, so I'd like to keep it at least 6' tall.

3. As of now we are planning to leave the big evergreen tree. I'd like to add another smaller (pretty) flowering fruit tree, but we would put it out away from the shop wall and power line. The rest would be small low-water-use plantings and gravel/mulch beds.

Front yard landscaping—what we're starting with

Spring seeding season has begun around here, so it will be a few weeks before we have any time to work on outdoor house projects. Until then, I am trying to get myself excited and motivated for the work involved. I thought I would share my plans with you, and since I have a lot to share, I'm going to spread it out over a series of posts. I welcome your suggestions and feedback!

If you need a refresher on what we are working with, here are some posts about yard projects we've done to date:

Our farm house—on the outside (August 2010);  Yard progress (June 2011);  Paint your front door (October 2011);  Don't try this at home (putting in our rock staircase, October 2011);  Landscaping project update (lower yard finished, November 2011)

Here's what we started with:

So far, we have replaced the front door, roof and gutters. I also painted the exterior sconces. This past fall we were able to keep one of our harvest hired hands (Jake) on for a little longer and he and I worked together to paint almost all of the trim on the house. (What a job!) 

Jake also used a grinder to get all the ugly chipped blue paint off of the concrete steps. So here is my first question for you. Should I leave the front steps as-is (nice and simple) or dress them up by staining and sealing them? What would look more modern?  I definitely have some other work to do to dress things up: a new doormat, new planters, and possibly a bench. Now it more closely resembles the original colors.

The areas we plan to tackle now are the two small front/side yards. We have the yard to the left of the front door (I'll call this the patio) and the yard between the house and shop (I'll call this the courtyard). Previously they were both planted into grass, but because we often have water shortages, they haven't been watered consistently and they had turned into weed/dirt patches. It was a hassle to mow them. 

This is the patio side before:

(From the opposite angle) This is the patio side today:

We plan to leave the existing concrete border/planters, even though they are a bit rough in places. Last fall we removed this side of the deck (the entire deck needs to re-decked, and it desperately needs a new railing.) This side will be rebuilt altogether because we intend to put a patio door in place of the window (that is why that window trim is still blue). The deck will wrap around and extend all the way under the door.

We also excavated all the grass/dirt out. Tom installed PVC drainage pipes to extend the gutter drainage. Next steps will be to build this back up with a gravel base and install hard-scaping (more on that later).


Now for the courtyard side: 

This isn't the best photo to show this, but most of the plants here were grossly overgrown. There was a tree that was cut back (again and again) to avoid growing into the power line, a couple of dead junipers, and somewhere back there a rickety fence and a fireplace. (Yes! An outdoor fireplace!)

Today it looks like this:

We excavated this out very odd-shaped yard to prep for hard-scaping also. We removed all of the overgrown bushes and trees. (The evergreen is probably too close to the house and maybe should have been taken out also, but for now we just limbed up the bottom. Now you can see the (partially dismantled) fence and that fireplace!

The fireplace was built by my uncle years ago, but we don't use it for a couple of reasons. The firebox is set too far forward so the smoke doesn't ventilate out the chimney as intended. Instead it just comes out the front into your face. Secondly, it sits pretty close to the house, and obviously that tree is in the way. 

So, here is my second question. Should we keep the fireplace? If we want to actually use it as a fireplace it will probably need to be moved and modified. We might be able to add some sort of hood extension that would help it ventilate properly. We could move it to the other side closer to the shop, but our propane tanks sit behind that fence. Or, we could leave it where it is and plant flowers in it. I do like it, but maybe it doesn't fit with my modern vision? 

Coming up—I'll show you what that vision is.

a few new things

Happy Monday, my friends. It is a glorious and sunny day outside and I should be out enjoying it for a change. Too much computer work to catch up on today. 

Since I'd rather do anything other than book work I will procrastinate and share a few of my winter acquisitions instead. 

Last fall I shared this photo on Instagram. I had been saving for a while to purchase a rug for our living room, and I had narrowed my options down to this shag carpet (that I would have bound into a 9 x 12 rug). I was deliberating on a color and looking for advice. I was leaning toward one of the medium green/grays shown. You see, I didn't want to make a wrong decision since it would cost me approximately $1200 to have it made. Ouch.

Around this time, Sam's Club was offering some shag rugs in their store. You know, Sam's Club! The store everyone turns to first for their decorating needs, right? Ha. I had seen the rugs there and had dismissed them as an option because the colors werent' quite perfect. They were also 8 x 10, when 9 x 12 seemed more ideal for my space. Nevertheless, the price tag ($250) made me take a second look.

I brought a gray rug home with me, but it was too steel-colored. Too cold for this room. I went back and purchased the light cream rug to try instead. And, well, it stayed! 

I was pretty sure the light color would be a bad decision, but since it is out of the way of main traffic areas, it seems like it is going to be okay (excepting any accidental spills come it's way). For less than a quarter of the cost, I decided it was worth the risk. 

The cozy factor of this rug is the best. And it does a great job of anchoring the space and absorbing sound.

The 8 x 10 size seems to work okay. I just put the front legs of all my furniture over the rug. I also kept my cowhide rug in the room and layered it underneath.

I thought I would point out that I just love the function of the u-shape furniture layout in this room. The room is fairly large, but instead of hugging the walls the furniture floats in the middle, focused around the central ottoman. At New Year's time we had company over and all gathered around the ottoman to play games. There is plenty of seating, but a few sat on the cushy new rug as well.

Some of my furniture in this room is getting a little tired. The couch style is dated and no longer my taste, and the finish on the leather is peeling (odd!). The ottoman is showing a lot of wear too. At some point I would love to update... but I am going to be patient and look for the right things. (I couldn't commit and ended up missing out on this Craig's list sectional. I did get bids to reupholster and they were $1600–$2200, not including the cost of about 25 yards of fabric.) At least for now I am happy with how this room has evolved, and especially with how it functions.

Back in the hallway I added another new element—these stainless picture rails from Crate and Barrel

I had a bunch of gallery frames from our house in Utah to display. It was fun to get them out again, but since we moved right before Eva was born, I definitely need to update them all to include her!

The hallway where they are displayed leads to two of the girls' rooms and bathroom. This is a good shot to show you what the doors look like in my house. They are inexpensive hollow core doors that I really want to replace. I keep debating whether or not to paint them and update the hardware—or if it is really worth the work. Maybe we will get around to replacing them first! (The cool light fixture was $6 from the Habitat for Humanity Restore).

And back to the topic of rugs, I encountered this awesome Nate Berkus rug on clearance at Target recently. (Sorry, it's no longer available!) I wanted it to work in my bathroom, but it was the wrong shape. I then tried it in the kitchen—and while it looked awesome, I knew I wouldn't be able to tolerate it. It didn't stay put well enough (even with a rug pad) and this area sees WAY too much traffic and food. It had to go back to the store, but not before I shot a photo of just how perfect it looked.

So there you have it; a few of the smaller tweaks we made to our house this winter. Now with the nicer weather my thoughts are turning to outdoor projects. My next post(s) will tell you all about it!

Eva's room

Thank you ever so much for your nice comments about our bath renovation last week! Just for that, I have another before and after post for you!

We completed this project in just over a week. We didn't do any major design back flips or murals in this room though. Like I said before, our goals became a little more practical, and a clean canvas is a great place to start. 

We already had everything just as it is—we just scraped and textured the ceiling, patched and repainted the walls, put in new flooring, and replaced all the trimwork—then moved it all back in. Oh- we did add a new light fixture and rug. 

My before photo was taken back when this room functioned more as a nursery and Eva was still in a crib, but you can see that everything was VERY blue. The carpet was original, and we were pretty anxious to get it out of her room because Eva was suffering from what we thought might be dust allergies.

Here is an even earlier before photo—back before we moved into the house. Pink and blue!

The built-ins used to have doors in the lower portion, but they were difficult to slide open. We removed them to make the shelves more functional for toy storage.


And after—whew! Relief from all that blue. And this is a north facing room!

The room still needs window treatments. I have white linen and all the supplies to sew roman shades.

Her bed is a Craig's list find from quite awhile back, though I never blogged about it. I was saving it for this post! I love LOVE both girls' antique beds!

The shelves took for-ever to paint. I lost track of how many coats it took to cover the blue with white. 

But they sure are great for storage!

The mirror was a prop I purchased for a photo I styled at my former job. I always loved it so I was able to buy it back from the photo department a couple of years after I left!

Simple, clean, and fit for a princess. One more room completed!


  • flooring: Ikea Tundra in white
  • bed: vintage
  • quilt: Land of Nod, no longer available
  • bench: Land of Nod, no longer available
  • mirror: vintage
  • school chairs: vintage
  • Chandelier: Ikea Kristaller
  • Rug: Home Decorators Collection, Cozy Shag Rug in Hot Pink
  • Closet curtain: custum sewed by moi
  • Mirror in shelves: Ikea
  • Artwork: Etsy, prints from Tiny Fawn
  • suitcases: vintage
  • Paint colors: Walls–Benjamin Moore Silver Sage, Trim—Behr Powdered Snow



Bathroom reveal

I had grandiose plans for this bathroom at one point, including adding a walk-in shower and a clawfoot tub. I even purchased an old tub to refurbish. But 4 years into our renovations we are feeling a bit burnt out—or more practical. Either way, I decided to edit my plans to just a tub/shower combo and keeping everything in the same locations. I was going for FINISHED. We had a list of other projects to tackle once this was complete, so FINISHED seemed like a worthy goal.

(For previous posts about this project and to see my inspiration pics, go here, here, and here.)

I will list the sources at the bottom of this post.

I searched high and low but could not find a vanity that lived up to my inspiration and expectations. It took a bit of arm twisting, but I was able to talk my Dad into building it. (I found a builder on Etsy as a backup option, but doing it ourselves definitely saved us money). I chose this insanely gorgeous walnut for the project, and we went for a mid century design that resembled a piece of freestanding furniture. (I would have loved to use an actual vintage dresser, but it would have been a challenge to find a piece that met our size specifications. My search over the past 2 years yielded no options.) I gave my dad a rough design, and he helped me refine it. My dad did all the construction and I did the staining and finishing. It turned out just like I'd hoped!

We built the mirror to match, and saved even more money. 

The light over the vanity was one I had seen ages ago and loved. They were sold out online, but I ended up calling multiple stores and tracked down one of the last ones in stock. When it arrived I was surpised by how big it was... but the store had done me a special favor tracking it down and it didn't seem like a good idea to send it back! The inside is gold, so I carried those gold/brass touches throughout.

We kept the existing ceiling fixtures, although we shifted one so they would be lined up. The spacing was odd before. I adore these lights, and love that we were able to keep something from the old bathroom.

We had several boxes of tile left over from our kitchen/dining/entry/laundry spaces. We calculated it to be exactly what we needed for the bathroom, so we ordered one extra box to be on the safe side. In the end we had one box left over. Go figure. :)

Here are the juicy side-by-side before and afters:

The observant will notice a few structural differences: We removed the soffits above the tub and sink. We expanded the width of the wall between to accommodate the niches in the shower wall. The wall heat register is gone, replaced by a floor vent (we put in forced air heat throughout the house). 

Not exactly the same view here—sorry. The new shower is very light and bright. We chose simple 6x8 white tiles from Home Depot. Cheap and classic. We chose to stack them rather than stagger them subway style for a more contemporary look. 

Sorry- this view is shot at a different angle also, but I wanted to show you how we replaced the doors on the built-in shelves. Dad built these out of the walnut as well.


This before photo of the vanity is after we affectionately bid adieu to the red shag carpet and installed a cheap piece of sheet vinyl to tide us by.  And you may wonder—what could possibly be wrong with this delicious brown 70s tile and brown shampoo sink? If you are crying a tear over their demise, let me assure you they were past their prime. The tile was staring to fall off the front of the vanity, the sink and shower faucets leaked (horribly). Okay, we could have kept the shampoo sink, but I think it was time for a new look.

These shower niches were my brain child. I wanted something to look at other than a blank shower wall since you see this spot first when you walk in the room. Also, I like to keep things off the tub ledge. I think it was worth it, even though it added some challenge to the tile-laying process.

I had a small obsession with finding pretty shampoo/conditioner, but I couldn't seem to find any that fit the design scheme like I wanted. I was able to purchase the empty amber plastic bottles from Specialty bottles, and then I searched for some white vinyl lettering to label them with. I had trouble find the perfect letters, so when I saw these gold letters I thought- perfect! More gold! Tom thinks they look mail boxes now. Whatever. 

I had a couple of unused white frames on hand, so I scoured Etsy for some art to put in them. I ended up falling for these little watercolor dresses from Mary Catherine Starr, who did a "dress-a-day for 100 days" project. These are two of her originals. I thought it would bring a bit of femininity to the space since it is used primarily by our girls. 

We actually ended up replacing the toilet also. The old one was still pretty new—an expensive wall mount toilet with a power flush feature that scared the kids. I think it scared a few grown-ups too with it's sonic flush. Luckily we were able to access the plumbing through a closet in the basement and move the sewer pipe in order to put in a standard toilet. 

The faucets are fun and modern, but I'm finding the chrome shows. every. spot. The countertop is cut from a Quartz remnant I found in a local stone yard.

Finally, I added one last piece of art. I found this perfect frame on clearance at Target, so I just added a gold mat I found in my stash and a sweet photo of Sarah shot by talented Darla of







winter projects

If you've been around me or followed this blog for very long you know that this time of year means one thing—house projects. And I'm past due with a project update. I get caught up in the remodeling chaos and put off posting in hopes that a finished project, a clean house, and a tidy little "before and after" post are just right around the corner. But I realize this blog would be a lot more interesting if I would show you a little in-progress reality along the way. 

Have I even told you what we are working on? 

After we finished Sarah's room in October, we had a stretch of good weather and mostly worked on outdoor farm projects. We also tore up our deck and side yards to start on some patio work... just before the snowy weather moved in. Now we have mud yards. That's how we roll. Instead we moved inside and gutted our upstairs bathroom—right before we had a whole string of company. Again, that's how we roll. It wasn't that having one less bathroom was such a big deal. It's this:

Construction supplies—everywhere.


Drywall dust...everywhere.

Laundry and dishes pile up. Blogs are ignored. But hey—things are getting DONE!

If you come see us right now our house will be a disaster and you might be handed a paintbrush. Consider this your warning.

We tore out the tub, all the tile, and the soffits above the tub and sink. (And by we I mean Tom.) Rather than just scraping the popcorn from the ceiling and retexturing, Tom and Dad installed new sheetrock on the ceiling so we could do a completely smooth finish.


This is a couple of phone snaps of the tiling progress. We had quite a bit of tile left from our kitchen/hallway, so I ordered one more box to make sure we would have enough. Now that we are done we have one box left. Go figure.

Here my dad is holding our backsplash tile next to a Quartz remnant we found to use for the counter top.

Since I couldn't find the perfect vanity, I talked Dad into building one. It was extra work but we saved a bunch of money. And just wait until you see it. This photo was snapped when I was working on staining and finishing the drawers and drawer fronts.

I now have a fully functional bathroom that doesn't leak at every faucet and is at least 100 times less ugly. It isn't done yet however—the finishing touches are taking the most time. Because we like to start new projects before we finish the old ones (who else does this?), the guys are now working full time on a unit in my parent's four-plex. The tenant moved out before the holidays, and the unit needed some updates. (Some updates = gutting the entire unit and starting over, basically). Time is of the essence because they want to make sure it is rentable before spring farm work kicks into gear. 

Therefore, my house projects are taking second fiddle (cue big sigh) and I expect you to feel very sorry for me. I kid. But you will have to be patient while we chip away at the last few details in our spare and rare time. We have a mirror and backsplash to install, some new cupboard doors to build and install, and trim to caulk and paint. 

In any case, THIS... a thing of the past!

Note: You might enjoy this post of the bathroom before, this post of a few small improvements we made, and my Pinterest board full of inspiration we used for the new design.

everything old was brand new once

I recently came across some photos of our house while it was being built. It is so much fun to see these photos and imagine the excitement my grandparents would have experienced as they watched it progress. I know our house really isn't that old by many standards (it was built in 1971-72), but it is older than me!

The shop was built before the house was built. You know. Farmer priorities.

This next picture is funny to me. The house isn't yet finished and there is already a garden out back! (Even though the old house is right down the road.)

The builders and my Grandmpa—presumably celebrating a job finished in the new kitchen!

I love this next photo also. This furniture followed them over from their old house, but it really fit this atomic ranch. I'm not sure when my Grandma upgraded her furniture, but her next choices were much more Victorian in style.

With spring came the landscaping projects, and apparently a new color camera.

Tom was quick to point out the yellow tractor that is still being put to use on the farm today. (Dad says it isn't exactly new here, either.)

Mixing concrete for the terraced flower beds.

And these next photos must be from the next winter. There aren't any big trees around the house yet. It's fun to see the house when it was brown. It is back to it's original color again! (Well, most of it.)

The new garage door looks just like the old one. Especially today with all the snow piled out front.

These photos are taken in our backyard where they apparently flooded an area for ice skating. Sweet!

And here someone is about to bite the dust:

We started to tackle some exterior updates this fall, but we didn't get very far before the cold weather hit. As I mentioned, we have painted all the blue trim back to brown. We tore down half of the deck and have plans to redeck the rest and update the railing. I'd love to show you our plans—and when we finally have a chance to see them through it will be fun to have these true "before" photos to compare to!

Sarah's room details

Thank you for all the super nice and validating comments about Sarah's room (both here and on Facebook)! I thought you would enjoy a bit of info about the process.

But first, my sources:

Wall Paint: Behr Sandstone Cliff, Behr Possibly Pink (closet and niche), Behr Powdered Snow (ceiling and trim)
Mural colors: (All Behr colors) Possibly Pink, Egyptian Nile (green), Gallery Red, Contemplation (blue), Dusty Mountain (gray from my living room), Donegal Tweed (yellow from these projects). I mixed colors together and with white to acheive the different shades I needed.

Flooring: Ikea TUNDRA laminate (white wasn't listed when I went to link so I'm not sure if it is still available...?) We choose this because it was only $1.15/sf. At that price we can change our minds in 10 years and we don't have to feel guilty about it. For now, it brightens the space tremendously and I'm pretty happy with it! It isn't real wood, which I would have loved, but it was significantly less expensive.

Rug: Cozy Shag Rug from Home Decorator's Collection. I'm totally impressed with this rug. It is super soft. I got one for Eva's room also.

Chandelier: Thrifted, Craig's List

Bed: Thrifted, Antique Barn, Bozeman, MT.  The bed is a 3/4 size and I had to buy a custom mattress, which I found at for less than I expected custom would cost. It did end up making the bed a little more expensive than I initially thought, however. 

Bedding: Target, Threshold Collection

Desk, Chair, and Mirror: Thrifted, Craig's List. I bought these as a set. 

White cupboard: one we purchased a few years ago and Home Again in Utah. 


The Mural:

You may remember that I based the mural off of a paint-by-number painting I found on Etsy ages ago. I saved the digital photo—I don't have the painting. 

I took a photo of the wall in Sarah's room after it was mostly empty. Then (in Photoshop) I pasted the painting in the file and determined the layout. To get it to fill the wall I needed to repeat the image, but I didn't want an exact mirror. I flipped the image, rotated, and rearranged it a bit. 

I then borrowed a projector to cast the image on the wall. I had to do this in two sections because I couldn't back the projector up far enough (something to be aware of if you want to cover the entire wall). I then traced the image as well as I could and marked each area. (I used a simple code: LP, MP, DP= light pink, medium pink, and dark pink, etc.) I tried to keep the colors as simple as possible. I purchased 4 colors of paint, and used gray, white, and yellow that I had on hand. I mixed the rest. (See paint colors listed above.)


This is the cutest picture ever:

Eva wanted to help paint so I gave her a paintbrush and a cup of water.

This is what it looked like after I painted the background. I traced the roses but free-handed the background. 


Mostly this project was fun, but it did get tedious after awhile. I can't imagine doing a more complicated picture. I used latex paint for mine (not sure if it would be easier to use acrylics or not) and each color required two coats. Doing everything twice definitely made things more tedious. If I did this very often I would want to find a type of paint that would cover in one coat. I used a smaller artist brush for much of it.

Painting the furniture:

The desk sat in our garage for some time, so it was pretty dirty. Aside from that, it was missing hardware and was scratched up. 

The matching chairs and mirror were in similar condition. 

I decided try Annie Sloan Chalk paint for all the furniture. Her paint isn't cheap and it is somewhat hard to come buy. I bought the paint at the ONE place it is sold in my whole state, four hours from where I live. (Don't worry, I was going there anyway :) Unfortunately they didn't have one of the colors I wanted and I had to find an online retailer that sold in the US (the Annie Sloan site doesn't). 

I painted the desk and night stand in Pure White. It definitely requires more than one coat over darker colors. I painted the chair, mirror, and bed with Duck Egg Blue, and it covered well in one coat. You have to apply a wax over the paint, which wasn't difficult, but I did think it left things feeling a bit... waxy. It might be better after time or with a good buffing.

The bed took forever to paint. In hindsight I might have been better off trying to spray it. As it was I went over each and every spindle 3 times with white, then duck egg, then wax. This paint is ideal for a distressed finish, but I wanted a cleaner look and didn't want any of the wood to show through. 

Here is the desk with it's new coat of white and adorable new knobs. I think it turned out great. The thing I've learned about kids is that they love to collect "things". This is a great spot for her to display her treasures. It is contained to one spot instead of all over her room, so it satisfies my minimal tastes and her treasure-seeking heart.

I just got word that the curtain fabric I ordered has arrived. Hopefully I can get those done soon. And then onto Eva's room!

Sarah's room reveal!

Sarah's birthday came . . . and went. Sarah was gracious enough to allow us until her birthday party this weekend to finish and we just made it by the skin of our teeth. She moved in on Friday night, 10 days after her birthday. (Refer to the previous post for before pictures.)

This project was all-consuming. At least Sarah can't say we don't love her-ha! My house has suffered for it. The piles of laundry and layers of dust are highly embarrassing. It was good to have a deadline to keep me motivated though it. The mural and furniture painting took the longest, so I am hoping Eva's room will go a little faster without so many of those types of projects. For now, I need a break. 


Loving her huge new window! I've ordered fabric to sew curtains (you know, because I apparently can't do anything the easy way in this room).

I took these photos before we moved all her toys back in. I love it all minimal and sparse, but it isn't a very fair representation of reality, I'm afraid. This corner with the mirror now holds her big Barbie house and castle and baskets of toys.

This niche is where the sink used to be. Sarah adores her new desk. 

I plan to sew a curtain for the closet as well. I would LOVE to build (or buy) a closet system to make this space more functional, but that will have to come later. 

The white floors are so clean and fresh and they make the room look huge. Having one bed instead of two helps also. Another favorite is her new rug. It is unbelievably soft—so soft she wants to sleep on it!

I'll do another post with a few sources and details. Chow for now!

Sarah's room reno begins

Actually we have made very little in the way of progress aside from moving her things out of the room. Today marks 2 weeks until her birthday. Yikes!

Here is her room before:

Not long after this photo was taken we moved a second twin bed into this room. It only gets used occasionally for sleep overs and when we have extra company and need to move one of our other girls into this room. The twins needed new mattresses terribly, so about a year ago we invested in two new ones. But more on the beds in a bit. 

This photo shows the old casement window. You can't tell from this photo, but one of the glass panes is broken, and the others are cloudy from condensation between the panes. When evaluating what to do we pulled the trim off and discovered the cranks no longer functioned. With the cost of replacing the glass and trying to find cranks for old windows, we opted instead to replace the entire unit with a big picture window (since there is another functioning window in the room). We have the new window in and it is so light and bright!

We purchased white laminate flooring from Ikea last spring to replace the carpet with. You can't tell here, but this carpet is original and quite stained and dirty at this point.

Also on the list: scraping the popcorn ceiling and retexturing it, painting everything, and adding new baseboard and casement to everything. Much of the baseboard was missing anyway due to the heat registers that were removed 3 years ago.

We are keeping the chandelier! I am definitely going modern in this house, but I like a few ornate and girlie touches mixed in. I don't think it hurts to mix styles to make things more interesting and lived-in. 

The closet doors don't work well and stick out so far into the room, so I plan to remove them. I would like to make grommet curtains to hang (with tie-backs) there instead. I would also like to add more shelving and rails and more functionality to this wide open closet, but that will have to wait for another day.

The built in drawer unit is awesome and means we don't need an additional dresser. I was undecided on whether or not to try to remove the trim and change the hardware to make the look more modern. I'm leaning toward leaving it as-is (besides freshening it with paint) because I think it fits the girlie rooms. What do you think?

This built-in vanity is going to be pulled out and a desk will go in it's place. I have some fun ideas for this area and I already have desk that I purchased on Craig's list. It came with a chair and mirror also. I think every kid needs a place to display their treasures and special art, and this nook will be her space (rather than tacked all over the walls)! With a bathroom right next door, I feel a desk area is way more important than a personal sink.

This photo was taken after we started stripping everything out, but it highlights one of the dilemmas I was fighting with. While I liked having 2 beds (and we had just invested in new mattresses for them) it just made the room feel crowded and furniture-heavy to me. Removing the closet doors to the right would help, but I still felt like it was crowded. And it is really a big room. 

We have an old farmstead here with a mobile home parked on it. While we've had a couple of people stay there off and on, it has been vacant for the most part. My dad had purchased it from an old couple and they left quite a bit of junk in the out buildings. One thing I noticed several years ago was an old iron bed (sort of like this). I knew it could look great painted a fun color but I didn't have a good use for it at the time. 

But wait... I could make it Sarah's bed, and make a trundle for underneath and use the second mattress! (Buying a new bed/trundle combo would be expensive, and you have to use special trundle-sized mattresses). Alas, I could not find the bed. It had disappeared! To who-knows-where...

So, I decided to push forward with the two twin beds. I wanted to paint them white and thought this would be the perfect excuse to try Annie Sloan chalk paints. The one AND ONLY source for these paints in the entire state of Montana was in Bozeman at the Antique Barn. Well, as it happened, Mom and I were planning a trip there this past weekend for the Parade of Homes tour! Perfect!

After I found my can of paint and wax, we of course took a few minutes to peruse the store. They have such a great selection! The back room was dark but I still peeked my head in for a look-see and.... uh-oh. LOOK at this beautiful turned-spindle bed!!! Only $165! 

I wisely left it behind, only taking a little phone photo with me. 

But then I couldn't stop thinking about it! It was the answer to all my problems! (And the source of a few new problems, as it turned out). We had brought my mom's car with us and it was too small to carry the bed. My brother-in-law was going to be working in Helena (halfway between Bozeman and us) this week, however, so I was able to talk him into picking up the bed for me. While I waited for him, I discovered the second problem. It was a 3/4-size bed (slightly smaller than a full), as antique beds sometimes are. But with Lee on the way I decided it was too late to back out so I asked her to shave $15 off the price and bought myself a bed.

Yesterday I met Lee in Helena and brought the bed home. I had considered trying to modify it to accommodate a full-sized mattress, but in the end I decided to order a custom mattress online. It will cost me a little bit more, but in the end I think I will be happy not to have to change the bed shape.

Speaking of changing the bed, I got the side-eye from my dad when I mentioned I was planning to paint it. Sorry! But the wood look isn't what I'm going for! I'm going for something like this:

Jenny Lind from Land of NodIt's going to be perfect! It will give Sarah so much more floor space, and we she can still share it with a sister or friend when she needs to. I was planning to sell the twins to offset the cost, but they were given to us by my in-laws and it turns out they can use them again. We are still hoping to the sell the almost-new mattresses though. After seeing Sarah's old quilt in one of her baby photos and realizing her bedding was almost 8 years old, I had decided it was time to replace that anyway. In fact, I had just purchased 2 new duvets and duvet covers and 2 sets of sheets. I returned it all and traded it for one full-size set, which saved me money as well. With that the custom mattress doesn't sound quite so bad! Now I'm just crossing my fingers that it will get here quickly. They said 2-3 weeks.... 

One more thing:

I have been inspired by paint-by-number murals like this one and this one:

Camp Wandawega nursery muralI want to do one in Sarah's room based on this vintage paint-by-number I once found on Etsy:

Should be a breeze to complete by my Oct. 1st deadline, right?

This is what is on our list:

install new window
remove sink vanity and demo out soffit
figure out what to do with plumbing stubs
raise vanity light
scrape popcorn ceiling
retexture ceiling with mud
patch walls above vanity
paint ceiling
paint walls
paint closet and desk niche different color
paint mural
lay new flooring
install new baseboards and casement around doors and windows
paint trim
paint desk, mirror, chair, and bed with chalk paint and wax
cross-fingers and hope Sarah's new mattress arrives
find a rug to buy
sew new window treatments and curtain for closet
Somehow plan Sarah's birthday party in the midst of it.


We have started fall seeding and are planning to tear up our yard also. Nothing much. Wish me luck! And please do weigh in on my dilemmas.