accent wall

DAY 17 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Make Your Bed

This here is one of those situations where my Airbnb bedrooms are top notch, but my home was not. As per usual. Kinda like my towel situation. But, I raised my standards last year and man has sleeping been better. And so has just walking into my bedroom! Today we make the bed of our dreams.

Click  here  for West Elm bed in photo.

Click here for West Elm bed in photo.

Another top client complaint is that they have worked on a lot of things in their home but have never put energy toward their bedroom. On Instagram we see beautiful pictures of people’s place of rest. But, for the rest of the world the bedroom is pretty much a square box with a sad looking bed, old discolored sheets, an ugly comforter and a depressing looking pillows. Sleeping pillows that is. Decorative pillows are likely a decade old or non-existent.

Let’s two-step (with mini steps in between) our way to a perfect bedroom retreat!

Strangers In My Bed

Let’s pretend some strangers are going to come stay at our house and sleep in our bed while we are gone. Isn’t that a little disturbing? It’s not if you call it Airbnb. Would you let someone sleep in your bed in it’s current status? I know I wouldn’t. So why am I sleeping in these “conditions”? Let’s follow these steps to make our beds stranger worthy. I’m sorry that sounds really weird. We’ll start from the base and work our way out.

Bed

Are you still sleeping on just a metal bed frame? It’s cool. You can keep doing that, but, did you know you can buy a bed with a headboard for pretty cheap? There are always our friendly neighborhood Craigslist and Offer Up deals to be had of course. You can even buy a bed at Goodwill. I have been binge shopping Wayfair for my Airbnb beds. I like that they are new and inexpensive. Keep in mind whether the bed you choose needs a box spring or not so you can avoid that expense if necessary.

Mattress

Are you sleeping on that same mattress you inherited from someone and it sucked back then? Try adulting and getting something that actually helps you sleep. My favorite two mattresses are Tuft & Needle or Wayfair mattresses. I have them both in my home and my Airbnbs. Throw a padded mattress cover on and it’s golden. Gone are the days when you had to buy something for over $1,000 to actually be comfortable.

Sheets

I’ve said it a thousand times but I don’t buy anything but these bamboo sheets anymore. When I find something I like, I stick with it. I think I’ve now bought about 20+ sets of these sheets for all of my Airbnbs and my own home. They are so soft and so inexpensive! I also buy extra pillow cases for back up.

Comforter

I personally can’t stand down comforters with duvet covers. Even when I lived in Cincinnati and I was cold AF they made sweaty AF. Now in the desert it’s definitely not happening. They are also way to big to wash in Airbnbs so now I stick to quilts. White ones of course so I can bleach them. I also prefer the white backdrop for my ever changing pillow situation. White looks clean, fresh, bright and inviting. And all pillows go with it FTW. This is my favorite quilt that is comfy and priced well. As of this post, it is also 10% off with code HOME. I love this quilt because one side has raw edge type of ruffles, but not really ruffle-y while the other side is just stitched. Switch depending on your mood.

Strangers Looking At My Bed

Ok let’s now pretend we are going to show strangers our bedroom via Instagram. This may be silly to think of making your bedroom camera ready, who really cares? For some reason we do. If you really don’t care what your bedroom looks like, then don’t move forward. But, if you are tired of it looking the way it is, and thinking about showing it to others helps you allow yourself the simple pleasure of a nice bedroom, then do it. For some reason if it is just for ourselves we feel too self indulgent to go all out.

Pillows

Go back to DAY 5 where we went pillow shopping and do the same thing with your bed. I’ve actually started to back off of the pillows all over the bed a bit. It’s just so much to take off at night and they end up just laying on the floor. One or two are nice, though. Decoratively speaking. We could all probably use a couple new bed pillows. I get these inexpensive ones from Target and they hold up pretty well for a while considering their price. Order online and ship or pick up in store so you don’t show up and there aren’t any there to buy. I find they are all sold out at times.

Accent

Go back to DAY 12 if you haven’t done it yet and add a painted accent wall behind your bed. This is one of my favorite places to put an accent wall because it helps anchor the room.

Feet

Ok not really your bed but it does have something to do with waking up in the morning. Doesn’t it just feel good to step off of your bed onto a rug? The answer is yes. If you didn’t do DAY 6 yet, get to it now.

Ok so with all of that your bed should be super fabulous. If I were to choose a place to start I’d go with a new mattress or sheets first then work to the “prettier” things after that. Below are all of the items mentioned in this post.

*Affiliate links included.

DAY 16 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Address Your Toilet

This one won’t be very fun, but your bathroom experience may be better because of it. That’s worth it.

Time to address your toilet.

I’m not necessarily suggesting you decorate around your toilet like have. I will admit this is the only room in my house that is complete. But even I have some more projects to do in here like get a new toilet seat that self closes without slamming down. That would be music to my ears. Here are some other ideas:

  1. Change out the handle for something sexy like this Delta Trinsic handle or this farmy looking one.

  2. Change out the guts for something less jenky..

  3. Scrub around the back of the toilet.

  4. Replace the bolt covers

  5. Get a new toilet brush. Look at this sexy beast that I found while looking for the link to the item below.

  6. Get a new plunger (or get one of these combos that I get for my Airbnbs. I might start getting this one, though.)

  7. Get a new toilet paper holder. I love my vintage telephone holder turned TP holder. You can search your second hand stores or grab one from Etsy or Ebay. My sister also sent me this fun animal ones.

  8. Add storage above and around your toilet with some shelves. These Home Depot shelves come in a couple sizes. Use them to put plants on obviously. Also baskets with extra TP are good.

  9. Add some art.

  10. Paint or wallpaper behind your toilet to add an accent wall to your bathroom.

  11. Change out your reading material.

  12. Change out your poo spray.

You spend a lot of time on the toilet in a given week. Might as well make that 90 minutes beautiful.

Below are some of the bathroom beautifying items listed above.

Miss a challenge? See them here.

DAY 12 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Paint Something

You know this one was coming. Today throw some paint on something.

This isn’t rocket science. Find something, paint it. Perhaps that thing you’ve been meaning to paint for a long long time. Here are some ideas

  1. A piece of furniture

  2. A door

  3. An entire room

  4. Your kitchen cabinets (google how to do this or ask someone at your local paint store. The cabinets and wall above were painted with a wipeable matte paint from Home Depot)

  5. An accent wall

  6. An appliance

  7. A railing

  8. Spray paint a light or plumbing fixture (see ones that I spray painted in this post)

  9. Patio furniture

  10. Your floors

  11. Some Shutters

  12. Door handles

  13. Cabinet Hardware

There are so many things to paint. In the link above I even painted a shower curtain rod. If you are hesitant because you don’t want to sand something, then try chalk paint which literally needs zero prep, just slap that shit on. I use this one pretty often.

If you are hesitant because what if you mess up or you are afraid of the outcome, then your job is to first go spend some time on Pinterest looking for examples. But, it’s just paint. It can be painted again.

Show me what you painted!

Camper Update: This Ceiling Is Bananas

Guys I can't wait to show you how the ceiling in my camper has turned out!!!

I partnered with Milton & King on this project which was awesome because from the start I knew I wanted to wallpaper the ceiling of this camper. They have so many great options and I wanted this place to be a bit wild. The biggest surface area to do it on is the ceiling. Liz Kamarul's RV was an initial source of inspiration. 

It wasn't my intention to do tropical like she did. At first I was thinking about something a little more geometric and subtle like the one on the left. Then one day on the way to school, my 4 year old daughter says, "Mommy, I think we should do palm trees on the ceiling in the camper." I don't even know if she knew I was doing something on the ceiling. I'm don't know where that came from, but I did have the Jungle Palm wallpaper on the right in the back of my mind and asked, "How about banana trees?" She screamed, "BANANAS!" which I took to mean "Hell yes." and so the decision was made. The wild factor in this camper multiplied by 100 thanks to my design assistant.

Then the doubt set in. I'm about to install banana wallpaper on a ceiling. In a camper. I've never installed real wallpaper, only peel and stick. And did I mention in a CAMPER. Also did I mention that I am alone in this renovation? I've been determined to do most of this camper reno myself bc honestly I need a long LONG break from contractors. But, anyway, I realized that I cannot in fact install wallpaper on a ceiling by myself. So, I enlisted the help of my husband. My husband geeks out as a system's engineer and programmer wallpapering is not in his list of repertoires. This should be interesting. At the time I wanted the wallpaper go up, he was preparing for a very important upcoming conference. I had to wait. I wanted the wallpaper to go up first thing after painting in case any goop dropped down from the ceiling or something of that nature. Why go and put new floors, cushions and kitchen stuff in if the ceiling was going to rain goop? You see how this is becoming dramatic?

Let me paint a picture for you about how this was to go down. The camper is parked at a storage lot. No water. No electricity. No one to install wallpaper for you. My daughter and her friend were also with us. Let me remind you they are 4. So, when the day came I was at anxiety threat level: MIDNIGHT.

Luckily, inside the camper we had two very long benches to prep everything on and I didn't quite care if I scored right through the paper to the bench. It would be covered with paint and a cushion eventually. Here are the materials we used including this glue from Home Depot. Believe it or not it is not that easy to find wallpaper materials these days even though wallpaper is all the rage.

So, we finally got started after weeks and weeks of self imposed stress. Would it be falling down everywhere? Would we be able to match up the seems? Would we kill each other? So many questions. And guess what....

IT WAS EASY.

The most difficult part about this process was thinking about it.

I mean why WHY did I let this get so built up in my head? All we did was paint the glue on the ceiling with a paint brush. Then we lifted up a sheet together and got it lined up. We didn't fight! I mean we aren't really fighters but you know when frustration is high, barking ensues. But, no need for that because this was EASY.

We worked in small sections so we didn't have to hold up a really long piece and try to work around too many obstacles at once. In the camper there are a ton of obstacles like curved walls, cabinetry, more cabinetry, appliances and doors all within a foot or inches of each other. So, small pieces it was.

We were even able to match up the pattern pretty well considering the non-straightness of....um everything. We layered up the paper in spots so that it matched and honestly you can see the layered areas but you can't. I mean who will be inspecting the ceiling except us at this very moment?

It easily could've taken us 3-4 hours to complete but we instead stopped after 2 hours because 4 year olds. We came back the next day and finished up within an hour or so. I think Dusty was probably getting sick of me saying "OMG OMG OMG I FREAKING LOVE THIS!" and "DUSTY, I'M SO HAPPY WE DID THIS AND WE DIDN'T WANT TO KILL EACH OTHER."

It really was so easy. I encourage anyone to give it a try. If you know how to work a paint brush and a have a buddy to help out, you'll golden. Check out Milton & King's full inventory of wallpaper! They have so many options!

 

 

 

 

 

Before & After: Client Abstract Gets A New Kitchen

Gray Kitchen with Subway Herringbone Tile and Quartz counter tops

Client Abstract had been living with her blah oak laden kitchen for years. Not only were her oak cabinets a seriously depressing shade of....oak, the brown floors and the beige walls were just not helping matters. She tried everything she could to give it some life by infusing some decor and a bit of her own bold artwork. Wasn't working. Nothing could overcome the beige!

Beautifying it was only have the battle. You can see in the photos that the room is quite large, but the layout of the old kitchen was ridic. The sliding glass doors are placed right in the middle of the room separating the kitchen and dining area. Now the kitchen is all squished into one side making the center of the room useless. The appliances are all sitting on top of each other, meanwhile there is a dance floor size space going unused. Unless you're dancing of course.

Oak Cabinet Kitchen Beige with Dance Floor

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that this one was a tricky floor plan to overcome. It was a big room, but very long and not very wide if you're going to try to squeeze an island in. Also, the length of the room was becoming an issue because we needed to include a way to allow the dogs to get out to that section of the yard. The doggie access point was right in the middle of where we wanted the new kitchen.

Moving on to the other side of the space was the dining area. Client Abstract wanted to put in a new slider to the pool deck here. We'd need to move the one in the middle of the room to make way for the new kitchen, so this was a good plan. But, space was already an issue. It was getting pretty tight as it was.

Dining Room Before with Red wall

I ask a ton of questions during design consultations. Through this questioning I want to know what people want, but I also try to discover what it is they REALLY want. Many of my clients hire me because they have so many ideas and need help making sense of and weeding through them all. It's my job to take those ideas, try to implement many of them but also make sure that the overall goal (what they REALLY want) is achieved. Client Abstract, for instance, wanted a bar area in the dining room. After some debate, we realized it was a fun idea, but in reality it would probably just collect dust and be in the way. Not only that, all of those bottles would really take away from the new uncluttered vibe we were going for which is what she REALLY wanted. So, instead of a bar we made sure there was a dedicated area in the kitchen cabinets for the booze, as well as a wine fridge to take care of the important stuff.

So, back in the kitchen I set to work trying to come up with a game plan for these cabinets. We originally thought a peninsula coming off the wall where the original sliding doors were was the best option since the room wasn't very wide. Only problem was that it eliminated the doggie door. There was just no way to fit the sink, the range, a peninsula and room for seating on the wall and still allow for the doggie door. We also didn't want to move the sink because we didn't want to move the plumbing or do new flooring. To move the plumbing, we would have had to jackhammer up the floor since houses here in Arizona are generally on a slab. No basement ceiling to run plumbing through. The flooring was in good shape and replacing the entire first floor would be a huge expense.* Long story short, a peninsula wouldn't work.

An island would work but could only be 2 feet deep to allow enough room to move around it. Also, we'd have to axe that arch that looked important but was just really in the way.  Client Abstract didn't mind losing the arch, but didn't like the idea of looking at the kitchen and seeing the side of an island. Hmmmm....then I discovered the answer. An angled island. It was weird, but good weird. AND it worked.

Long Skinny Island Floor Plan with Angle

In real life the island is not angled this much. We set the cabinets exactly where we wanted them to allow enough clearance all the way around. The red lines in the floor plan indicate countertop placement. We were able to angle the island because the counter on the range wall ends while the island continues. Normally you wouldn't have the island jut out longer than the cabinets on the opposite wall, but then again Client Abstract and I are not normal. The angle helps the longer island feel balanced in the room. We put 2' deep cabinets in the straight section of the island so it could house an trash bin cabinet and plenty of storage. The angled section we made 1' deep with an overhang to allow for seating. Here's the new and improved kitchen.

Angled long skinny island with gray cabinets
Gray Kitchen Cabinets with White Quartz Countertops, Sputnik chandelier and wire pendants

You may have noticed in the floor plan the area opposite the island that had a counter overhang. Also seen in the photo above where there is a counter but no cabinets below. Say hello to the doggie door!

Doggie door built into cabinetry

This is one of my favorite parts! I felt like a mad kitchen scientist when I came across this idea. Putting the doggie door "in" the cabinetry allowed the counter to extend under the new window replacing the slider. We wanted the width of the new window to match the existing window over the sink. The doggie door closes and locks if Client Abstract is away. If she or a new owner are no longer in need of a doggie door, they can frame in and drywall the area inside and slide a stool or a rolling cart under the counter. Shelves could even be made to fit the space.

On the other side of the room is where I put my client to work. Don't worry, she was game. We needed something on that far wall as an accent to break up all of the white paint and her husband wasn't feeling the whole wallpaper thing. I found in her Pinterest boards a piece of abstract art that looked like giant black brush strokes. I knew she could pull this off after seeing some of her work around the house. It would be perfect! Nice and bold, but yet would not detract from the monochromatic uncluttered feel of the room. She did a great job!

Abstract Black Brush Strokes Accent wall
Gray Kitchen with Abstract Art Accent Wall

My client was also gifted this great mirror that kept with the theme of uncluttered-ness, but also was useful in reflecting the light from the new patio sliding door, as well as a view of the pool. 

I'm very happy with how it turned out, not only in aesthetic but in how it worked for my client's needs.

Before and After: Oak to Gray Cabinet kitchen
Before and After: Dining room with abstract black and white accent wall
Gray Kitchen Cabinets, White Quartz, Herringbone Backsplash

Even though there are twice as many cabinets and added seating now, the new kitchen feels much more open and airy. I can only imagine the sort of buffet she could serve on that huge 12' island! She could even take the booze she was going to have in her bar and set up a mixing station with plenty of space left over. I see many parties in her future.

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*Side note: we did have to run electric in a small trench to the island but got lucky! The tiles popped up and we were able to replace them no problem.