I’m so excited to have my friend, Alicia Bertram ofBerties Build on a Budget, guest posting today to share Part II: Our DIY Fixer Upper Reveal – her family’s incredible story of building their dream house, and turning it into a custom home using creativity, inexpensive resources, and lots of elbow grease. To hear how they built their own home, and the crazy sacrifices they made to get out of consumer debt while they did it, please hop over to read Part Iof their story!
Last week, I sharedhow our family built our own home, nail by nail, all while making some incredible sacrifices to get out of consumer debt. This week, I’m excited to share with you the pretty part of our journey – that is, our DIY Fixer Upper reveal!
Pinterest is a girl’s best friend. Am I right!? I knew I wanted to put special touches in most of the rooms but also knew I had to keep our budget in mind at all times. The most important thing I could do in the planning of our house was to first decide how I wanted the house to FEEL. Our last house was dark, choppy but cozy. The dream I had for this space was bright, open and airy. A space that you walk in and just take a deep breath. Cool tones, light wood floors, clean crisp lines and simple.
So here’s what we did:
Entryway: Summer of 2015 we went out to my parents farm where we pulled approximately 500 square feet of barn wood off the barn. It now covers the ceiling of our exterior entryway and also our range hood. We also turned an inexpensive antiqued decoration into a light fixture!
All Photos by Licia Marie Photography
Decoration: Purchased 5 years ago and I think it was $10 on sale!
This year I’ve started getting into the Christmas spirit early. In the past I’ve been a traditionalist – no decorating until after Thanksgiving! However, I have a little girl who loves the decorations even more than I do. So, after years of her asking, I decided this year I’d decorate her bedroom for the first time. And hey – it’s on the second floor so *technically* I’m still in the clear, right?
It’ s been awhile since I’ve shared on the blog. I ran out of steam there for awhile, but I’m back with a project I’ve been planning for some time, and finally got around to: my self serve sign for the kitchen.
We’re slowly but surely making some changes to our builder grade home, like a new back splash that we love. Still, I thought the kitchen needed a little more character.
Do you love the look of those great pallet signs on Pinterest (my own version here!), but not the time and labor that goes into them? You’re in luck! Today I’m going to share with you how to make a faux pallet sign in just 10 minutes using inexpensive wood print paper.
This is one of my favorite projects to date – also the easiest and least expensive: the children’s artwork display located in our Family Command Center – otherwise known as the mud room.
I wanted plenty of space where the children could hang their artwork and good grades with pride, without that messy cluttered look on the fridge. It also needed to be really flat to the wall, since the area I’d designated is in a space the width of a hallway.
Here’s how I did it:
Buy these eye hook screws and wire at the hardware store for less than $5 total (or spend a few extra bucks and shop Amazon at the links above if you want to save a trip to the store).
Drill holes into the wall where you want your eye hooks to go. Screw the eye hooks into the wall by hand. Then, wrap your wire around one of the hooks a few times. Stretch it to the other eye hook, pulling and straightening as you go. Wrap it around that eye hook 2-3 times and cut the wire.
I already had these cute little inexpensive clips on hand, leftover from Eve’s party favors.They work great for holding the various art and school papers the kids bring home.
Voila! Children’s art center complete in 20 minutes and for less than $5.
As for the rest of our family mud room command center, it’s still a work in progress. I have dreams for this space!
I found that sign at the thrift store. I think it was from a hotel long ago. I just love it!
What do you think of my low-tech art center for the kids?
I’ve always loved this book by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, and all of my kids have, too.
It’s hard to believe this little ‘ol blog is more than two years old now. I created it shortly after my third baby was born as a creative outlet for my craftiness. Today, my baby is a toddler and will be transitioning into her “big girl” room soon!
Recently, I converted the design I created for Baby ‘Belle’s baby announcement to create this printable artwork for her current nursery / soon-to-be big girl room.
When I see this hanging in her room, it reminds me of the baby she was, and of course these sweet words I want her to remember always.
In celebration of the two year anniversary of my blog, I’m making this art available by free download to my readers! If you take the time to print this for your sweet little girl’s room, please take a moment to tell me about it below. Even better – share your snap with me! I love to see my artwork in your homes!
I recently posted a photo of our family room on Instagram and got lots of notes asking me about the space. I had friends tell me it looked like something out of a magazine. What a compliment!
I was really surprised by the reaction I got, though. The truth is, anyone can make a space look amazing in just one photograph. Our home is a work in progress. Most of our home is not decorated. I finish little areas of a room and wait to finish the rest of the space as inspiration strikes me. That means there are uglier areas of the room that don’t get shown in photos – like the comfortable, oversized, slightly worn leather chair the corner where it doesn’t quite fit. The lamps that don’t quite match but that continue to live on in the room until I find the perfect lights that fit my budget.
I’m not very confident as a decorator, so I just go by my gut feeling. If I put a rug in the space and I find that I don’t feel comfortable, it’s not the right fit for me. If I put a wild throw pillow on the couch and it makes me want to sit down and enjoy the space – it was the right design choice for me.
Here are the design tips I follow in my home:
Start with high quality, neutral furniture This means a great neutral couch with clean lines, a high quality rug and furniture in the space. Keep the colors neutral so they can last – both in structure and in design taste – for many years. Like all things in life, when you get the foundation right everything works much better!
Bring in texture In our home, we add lots of texture with mixed leathers, deep rich woods and distressed reclaimed woods, too. It means sleek cool mirrors and hard metal vases and decor juxtaposed with wild flowers and dried wild grasses. We use fabrics with varying textures, too – but they must always, always be comfortable and soft! Make sure your throw pillows are filled with down, too. They will look 100% better and will be more comfortable, too.
Add pops of color For me, this means bold colors and patterns, as you can see with our throw pillows. I love all of these colors and patterns, and somehow when I mix them all they come together perfectly to me.
Personalize This is my most important design rule. Nothing makes an environment more sterile than lack of personalization. I like to decorate with lots of pictures. Some I keep in their frames forever for nostalgia. For our main wall, I use updated family photos every year.
Keep it versatile One of my favorite tips when buying mats and frames is to buy square or symmetrical frames, and have the mat cut to the size of photos you plan to use. Here’s why this is genius: if your favorite photo this year was portrait – oriented, inevitably you’ll one day have a favorite that is landscape – oriented. Instead of buying a new frame and re-hanging the photos on your wall to fit, you just turn the frame on its side, and you’re in business. See how I have examples of both portrait and landscape photos on my wall?
It’s feeling more like fall outside, and I’m loving my latest mantle decor. I’ve struggled with what to do above my fireplace and have discovered the following tips to make my changing decor look good, every time:
I’ve been working on Dub’s bathroom from some time now. My vision keeps changing as I find little treasures here and there, and it’s becoming kind of an eclectic hodgepodge instead of a well thought-out theme. I guess that’s about perfect for a boy’s space, right?
I’d started out planning to use this artwork I designed (check out the free printables), but then remembered the vintage Star Wars metal art I’d picked up at Hobby Lobby awhile ago and thought it would be fun to frame it for this space. I bought custom mats and framed them with Ikea Ribba frames.
I wasn’t sure what to put above the towel rack, but when I was out thrifting and found this Wax & Polish sign, I just had to have it!
I love the crisp clean lines of the gray walls and white frames against the rustic barn wood vinyl floors and vintage finds.
Now I’m on the hunt for cabinet hardware. I’d really had my heart set on using these utility pulls from the hardware store. I just love this look. Unfortunately, they are just a little wide for the cabinet trim so I need to find a new option.
Which pulls do you think would be the right option for this space?
These are a shorter version of the same utility pulls – they are only 3 3/8″ inches, but would fit the width of our cabinet trim.
I’ve been dreaming of this sign for Eve’s room for some time now, but when I recently realized I already had the materials, I got moving.
I had a thrift store canvas that I’d previously tried (and failed) to artistically repurpose, so I painted it using a paint sample I already had on hand. Besides the price, the best part of repurposing a canvas is that you get fabulous texture under your new creation.
I used my Silhouette SD to cut the verse onto clear contact paper. I make so many mistakes that I’ve found this to be a cost saving way to use the Silhouette. I used a slightly imperfect font that would give me grace should the painting not go as I hoped.
After spending way to long placing the many pieces of contact paper on the canvas and lining it up just so, I spray painted it with my favorite Rust-Oleum metallic gold spray paint. I was worried it would get under the contact paper. but as long as I made sure the paper was adhering around the letters I had absolutely no trouble.
To build the frame, I used a similar technique as with Dub’s big kid room wall gallery, but I used wood that wasn’t quite as deep, since I wanted this particular frame flush with the art. I used Minwax stain in Early American, which is lighter IRL and gives it the right amount of color and rustic vibe.
I debated (and am still debating) taking a tiny bit of wood stain on a rag and dry rubbing the canvas for a subtle shabby chic look. I’ve also considered dry rubbing a tiny bit of the white paint over the frame very lightly for the same reason. But, at this point I’m afraid to ruin it!
I’m so happy with how this turned out. I love the contrast of metallic gold and ivory against the rustic frame, and the sweet reminder my little girl will wake up to each day.
I’m already dreaming of how I might create a variation for Belle’s room 🙂
When I was shopping for stools for our new home, I wanted something that looked sophisticated, yet was comfortable and fairly inexpensive. I found what I was looking for in Target’s Brookline Counter Stools in Sandstone. But, buying furniture online is tough, and there weren’t many helpful reviews on this particular product – so I’m sharing mine here.
Price – The major reason I bought these stools was the price. They were the most inexpensive upholstered stools I could find that were available at counter height.
Color – Online, it was difficult to tell what I’d really be getting, but I’m happy with the neutral, slightly greige color to these stools.
Comfort – There is really no way to test these stools out. They have samples of 1-2 colors at my local target, but you can’t take them off the shelf to sit on them. So this was a gamble, too. Overall, these are reasonably comfortable stools, with a nice cushion on the seat and back.
Durability – With three kids ages 2 through 7, I needed these to be fairly durable. I knew choosing a neutral upholstered chair would be a test on even the highest quality furniture, which is why I chose the least expensive stools that fit the style I was going for. That way, even if we destroy these, I reasoned I would learn my lesson with less to lose. My husband put these chairs together quickly and easily. If he found that one wobbled, he simply adjusted it until it was level. We then taped off the wood legs and I sprayed two coats of Scotchgard over the next several hours.
Getting it done: I used painter tape and a garbage bag to protect the wood legs from the Scotchgard.
The kids sit on these stools for breakfast, drawing and doing homework, but we don’t eat all of our meals here. However, they have had their fair share of food smears from sticky hands, and so far they’ve wiped clean every time, even if it takes a little fabric cleaner for the extra ground-in, dried messes.
Overall, we’ve been happy with these chairs. I hope this review helps anyone else who is on the hunt for new stools for their home!
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I’m very slowly beginning the process of decorating our new home, and focusing on the areas where inspiration strikes me the most. Dub’s room is the one I have the most concrete vision for, and I knew exactly where I wanted to start when I saw this idea for engineer prints for a boy’s room.
I immediately set out taking images of the things most important to Dub. He loved being able to be a part of it in this way. I sent the images to the FedEx copy store and ordered 18×24 engineer prints. Not only do I love how they turned out, but you can’t beat the price! All four for around $20.
I mounted the engineer prints to inexpensive particleboard with a white coating, so the wood color wouldn’t bleed through on my white images. I chose particleboard because I was worried that foam core would warp over time, and I plan to have these images up for years!
We recently made the decision to sell our “starter” home and build a new home that better accommodates our growing family. We bought this home just months before our wedding, had three babies here and many, many precious memories as a family. We’re ready for the next chapter, but this sentimental mom is feeling a bit emotional about it, as well.
The moment we signed the papers to build our new home I was immediately motivated to take on a project I’ve been meaning to for a long time – make a family growth chart that we can take with us – wherever we go. Our former growth chart was done the old fashioned way – with pencil on the wall of our kitchen (that I still can’t bring myself to paint over even since I’ve made this beautiful new chart).
I’d once tried my hand at an embroidered chart that was supposed to be cute and charming, but didn’t end up looking quite as polished as my inspiration. I also found that I was too lazy to embroider once a year. My laziness factor is high.
So I moved on to those cute reclaimed signs I’ve seen all over Pinterest.
I started with a 3/4″x7″x8′ piece of cedar lumber that I purchased at Home Depot for less than $9. First, I enlisted Dub to weather it for me. I gave him chains and a hammer and let him have at it. I stained it with leftover stain that I used on our stairs for our garage makeover.
From there, I had to get measuring – my least favorite part. Our family is really tall, so I cut my board to 6′ tall and painted 1′ white stripes using leftover paint from the garage makeover. These are some terrible progress photos, but you get the idea.
I actually liked the way this looked when I was done, but I went ahead and sanded it to give it a more distressed look.
Then, I used my silhouette to create the measurement marks. I barely use my Silhouette but I used it for this, figuring it would make the measuring much easier for me. I measured it on the computer, cut it out on the Silhouette and then used transfer paper to stick it right on the board without having to re-measure.
I’m super happy with the way that it turned out! I can’t wait to hang this measurement chart in our new home next year. I can see keeping this chart in our home forever, and measuring little grandbabies someday.
Postscript: after completing my chart, I stumbled upon this cute version by Handmade Charlotte
If I had to do it over again, I think her way of painting the numbers would be a lot cheaper and easier. However, I’d still want to make the measurement marks so that I could tell visually exactly how tall the kids are. Everytime they get measured they want to know EXACTLY how many feet, inches and centimeters tall they are. Because that matters to 4 and 6 year olds.
What do you think? Do you have a family growth chart in your home?
Looking for custom decorations for your child’s room or nursery? It’s super cheap and easy to design a custom silhouette in Adobe PhotoShop, and today I’m showing you how.
My daughters share their bedroom, so I wanted to create silhouettes that would match the room but would be a bit unique. I created a digital background using colors from their toile bedding accents:
Here is my result, but you don’t have to create your own custom background to make this work. You can find lots of super cute digital scrapbook paper on Etsy that would be perfect for this project.
Next, I took profile pictures of each of the girls. This does not have to be a high quality photo; in fact, my camera phone snaps leave very little to be desired! All you need is to be able to see the profile of their face – the nose, lips and eyes.
Next, I opened it in PhotoShop, clicked on my selection tool, and got to work outlining her head, neck and shoulders.
Once I was happy with what I selected, I hit Command + J to duplicate just that selected area.
Next, I wanted to fill it with a color that matched the background. I hit Edit + Fill and chose a color from the background.
Then, I simply dragged this image onto my original file with the custom background. You’ll notice a lot of bumps and jagged edges on her silhouette, so I used a hard eraser to smooth out the edges.
Finally, I added their names using Jellyka Delicious Cake font. I had it printed by a professional photography lab, but you can also have it printed at Shutterfly for $7.99
To finish this project, I framed it in a very inexpensive wood cutout that I found at Michael’s for $3.99 on sale (or just $4.79 after using a 40% off coupon). I spray painted it in a high reflective shine metallic gold spray paint by Rust-Oleum.
Last weekend I had the DIY bug – I was really in the mood for a project but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. We’re planning to sell our home within the year and don’t want to invest much more into this house. We landed on a garage to mudroom transformation.
Baby #3 is on the way soon(!) and the nursery is officially done. We live in a 3 bedroom home with cozy (aka ridiculously small) bedrooms which meant lots of creativity and organization.
I tried my best to create the illusion of space with monochromatic touches of taupe and pink with gold accents against white. We used a pink and taupe toile in the bedding for both girls and carried the colors throughout the room. Here is a mock up: