I see your bathroom has a nautical theme…

but, how did you find all that decor?

Bathroom After 6I recently had a reader ask if I could update my bathroom ‘before/after’ post (the one from wayyyy back when) with a little list of where I got everything I used to decorate the space. For a request like that I’m more than happy to oblige! Gotta help spread that nautical decor around. 🙂

Here’s how it all breaks down:

Bathroom After 6 with details

1. Distressed wooden block with a painted anchor: sadly, it looks like this item is no longer available on Etsy, but I got it from this shop, here.

2. Lantern for a tealight: found that little gem at Ikea, of course.

3. “Never a ship sails…” print: this shop is closed on Etsy now, but looks like you can still find that quote in other Etsy shops!

4. Faux floral bouquets: found those at Hobby Lobby. Each bouquet was $4.99! (no link available) The blue and white pots were both found at Ikea.

5. Anchor hook: also from Hobby Lobby and it looks like it’s on sale.

Bathrom After 2 with details

1. “Bath” sign: also a Hobby Lobby find. Looks like they still have the sign online, but it might be a slightly different color.

2. Striped anchor print: courtesy of Etsy, but it looks like that exact print may no longer be available. However, you can check out the Etsy shop I got it from, here.

3. White shelves and brown storage baskets: both finds came from trusty Target.

Seems like if you shop on Etsy, or at Ikea and Hobby Lobby then you’ll be set. Apparently that’s all I did!

Hope you all found this helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Spice up your life…

every boy and every girl. Spice up your life? No? Okay. Well, then maybe spice up your kitchen?

Pallette Spice Rack

Jeff woke up last weekend and declared he was going to make a spice rack out of the extra pallet we had leftover from the wine rack he made last spring. And make one he did!

Palette Spice Rack 1

This is where it all began.

He got to work sawing, sanding, nailing, staining, etc… You know the drill by now.

Palette Spice Rack

And I got to work finding spice bottles and labels to make it look all cute. You’ll be surprised to know that Jeff didn’t care so much about that step in the process. Boys.

DIY Pallet Spice Rack 2

In addition to finding the spice bottles with the black lids at Bed, Bath & Beyond (with a coupon of course!) and the ones with the white lids at The Container Store, I came across a handy and creative blog with FREE printable spice labels. Are these not the cutest?

Spice Labels 1

Spcie Labels 2

Oh and because I had different spices then there were pre-made labels, I also sprung for the five dollar blank labels where I could type in my own text. For someone slightly neurotic like myself, this was a dream come true. It might also be somewhat sad that these are the things I get excited about nowadays.

Jeff even included a few handy hooks on the rack to hang pot holders and if ours weren’t old and crusty (TMI?) I’d have those on display too. I guess it’s just another reason to go shopping!

DIY Pallet Spice Rack 3

So there you have it, our latest DIY project. In a tiny kitchen like ours, any little storage space is a huge help!

P.S. Jeff tells me this is something anyone could recreate themselves, but if you have any questions let me know and I’ll pass them onto him. I don’t think I’m qualified to help.

If at first you don’t succeed…

try, try again, right?

Welp folks, this weekend we had a little mishap with the counter tops Jeff was working on and basically, it ended badly. News Jeff was less than thrilled to share with me and all of you.

Broken Countertops Broken Countertops 2

^^Those would be the countertops after they broke in Jeff’s arms while he was trying to move them. Opps.^^

I must not have as much faith in the process because, I was ready to throw in the towel, dip into some savings, and pay someone to do the work, but Jeff’s wasn’t quite ready to give up. So back to the drawing board he went!

Jeff believes the reason the concrete broke when he went to pick it up was that it was weak where he left a hole in the form for the sink. This time he’s going to fill in the entire mold and then use a saw to cutout the hole for the sink after the concrete is cured (aka dry).

Counter top platform 1 Counter top platform 2

This weekend Jeff got to work building a new platform to hold the counter top form. He said this time around he’s focused on building a stronger, sturdier platform. Jeff also said he took a different approach this time, because although the last platform didn’t cause the problem, it wasn’t as sturdy as he had hoped, so it likely contributed to some of the issues.

On Friday afternoon I was feeling confidant we’d have new countertops in our kitchen in the next week, but boy was I wrong. What can you do? We’re definitely learning as we go, and we’ll of course fill you in on all of our DIY successes and mishaps!

I’ve been meaning to post these updates for a while…

so much so that you probably don’t even remember this little room we started working on before I ever moved in with Jeff.

office 4

I’ve put off this post because I keep telling myself I’m going to do more decorating, fixing, changing, etc…but I’m finding no room is ever going to be 100% complete. A few months ago, I swore to myself I’d never live with working projects, and that I’d complete each room before starting a new one. Wow, how the times change.

So for now, this room is the closest it’s going to come to finished! I’ve actually featured a few DIY projects from this room already, so see if you can spot them.

Finally, for the the “finished” product…

Office Before and After

office before and after 2

You may remember that Jeff and I decided to make this my office/dressing room/closet because we don’t really have enough space in our bedroom for both of our stuff, and this was the best use of the room when we moved-in together. I have to say, it’s been really nice having our “separate” spaces. Though if you just ask Jeff, he’ll claim that I really just have two rooms. 🙂

Dressing Room - Office 1 Dressing Room - Office 3 Dressing Room - Office 2

In order to get the room in tip, top shape we spray textured and painted the walls and ceiling, added and painted trim, put up new wood blinds, and finally added a new door. It’s amazing how much work one room can take!

As I mentioned earlier in this post, this room also features a few DIY projects we’ve talked about previously on this little blog and they’re all really just at my desk space, or as I like to think of it, Less Than Average Height World Headquarters.

Dressing Room - Office 4

Not only did we refurbish the desk, but I added some budget friendly wall art and push pin boards. I also bought the mirror at HomeGoods for under $70. So all in all, this desk area cost me just under $250!

vintage vanity chair

^^^I have one major thing left and that’s to figure out what to do with my grandma’s old vanity chair.^^^

I haven’t decided if I want to attempt to reupholster it myself or take it to a professional. If anyone has any advice let me know!

I hope you like all the changes!

Whoa, we’re halfway there…

and we’re kind of living on a prayer, but we’ll make it, I swear. 🙂

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 1

While this past weekend of DIY counter top making didn’t come without a few bumps in the road, Jeff still managed to get all of the glass broke, and most of the concrete mixed with the pigment, and poured into the mold.

Here’s a few photos of my man hard at work. I’m one lucky gal.

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 2

Well this one is obviously not of Jeff, but you get the point.

DIY Polished Countertops 3

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 4

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 5

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 6

Poor guy. He’s gotten so used to a camera in his face when he works that he’s really mastered the art of ignoring me. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

So towards the end of the long morning of work, Jeff realized after pouring part of the concrete mix into the small bar mold that he wasn’t going to have enough to finish that part and thus would have to start that one part over on another day.

DIY Polished Concrete Countertops 7

Yea, it looks like kind of a mess right now, but Jeff assures me it will come out all nice and pretty. As for the bar, Jeff will rebuild that mold next to the others and re-pour the concrete mixture.

It’s a good feeling to make some headway on this long project and I’m hoping we have new counter tops before we know it!

We’ve only just begun to…

to live….err, start our counter tops. 🙂

Well guys, the big project is finally underway. I feel like I’ve been talking about all things kitchen counter tops for far too long, and unfortunately, the fun doesn’t stop just yet.

Beer Bottles for Kitchen Countertops

So many beer bottles in my dishwasher all weekend!

I mean the fun kind of stops, because we’ve collected enough beer and wine bottles to mix in with the concrete and now the real work begins. Lets not kid ourselves, I’ll probably have a glass or two this weekend in between helping Jeff with the labor part of the work. 😉

So, a few nights ago Jeff took the first step by creating the form (I called it a mold and I was corrected) for the counter tops. This form will hold the broken glass and wet concrete while it’s sets and dries, creating our new counter tops.

Kitchen Countertop Mold 1According to Jeff, the bottom of the form was made using three 2′ x 8′ sheets of melamine, (similar to what IKEA furniture is made of but with a plastic veneer) and the form edges are finish grade pine 1x2s. Again, that last sentence was all Jeff.

The form is measured to the current dimensions of our counter tops with a cutout for the new sink, (double sink, woohoo!). There’s also a form for the new small side bar we’re adding.

Kitchen Countertops Mold 2It might be a little difficult to see just how this fits in our current kitchen by looking at this picture, so check out the photo below for a more user-friendly guide. Caution: I made it very technical.

Kitchen Countertops Mold 3As an FYI, from this photo it looks like the sink and little bar are right next to each other, but that’s not the case for our kitchen. They’re just like that in the form to make room for everything.

Still confused? Don’t worry, me too. Jeff keeps assuring me it will all work out.

We’re getting back to work this weekend and I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Hope you all have a great weekend too!

And the results are in…

and I have to admit, you all really surprised me with your favorite choice for our potential new kitchen counter tops.

Polished Concrete Countertop Readers choice

It turns out that sample #1, with nearly 50% of the vote, was the clear winner. Here’s how the results breakdown:

Polished Concrete Countertop Poll ResultsNow when I said you surprised me with your favorite pick, what I meant was, how did you all pick the one that wasn’t my favorite? It’s just not possible. 😉 Don’t worry, I’m slowly coming to terms with it.

With that being said, we haven’t made any final decisions, but we’re thinking we like the darker shade of #1, combined with the browner tint and greater prevalence of stone pieces in the concrete of #2. Many of you said you liked the darker concrete with our new lighter cabinets, and I have to say I agree. See, we’re all about compromise over here. 🙂

Now about that blue glass…well, that’s still up for debate. Jeff likes it (and so do many of you) and I don’t, so we’re working on finding a happy medium. The perils of a young couple (madly in love, of course) renovating a home!

Here’s a refresher of what the four samples look like:

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops SamplesI’m really looking forward to the next steps in the process, and of course keeping you all in the loop. Jeff’s warned me that making the actual counter tops will take some time given the amount, size, and time it takes for everything to set and dry. So I guess I’ll be working on my patience too.

Happy weekend all. Thanks for your feedback. We appreciated it!

This is where you come in…

and I meant to ask your opinion sooner, but with the excitement of last week I kind of got sidetracked.

You may remember that Jeff and I are setting out to re-do our kitchen countertops on our own, not only to save money, but because Jeff really likes the polished concrete look and he’s slowly convincing me I like it too.

So over the past few weeks, he’s made four samples with the four different color pigments he ordered from Direct Colors. In addition to the different colors, Jeff’s varied the type, size and color of broken glass in each concrete square.

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops Samples

Here’s exactly how the samples breakdown (Jeff thankfully weighed-in on this part of the post):

*All samples were polished using diamond polishing pads starting with 50-grit and ending with 3,000-grit.

1. The concrete was pigmented with Direct Colors pigment #649 with a concentration to match their color “walnut”.  This was the first sample where we played around with different color glass and different size pieces. This sample contains blue, brown, clear, and a little bit of dark green glass.

2. This was the last sample completed, using pigment #653 and is supposed to be a “cocoa brown” per Direct Color’s chart.  This has mainly brown and clear glass pieces (we invested in a tile nipper to help make the glass pieces even smaller). The aggregate, or stone pieces in pre-bagged concrete are more prevalent, because we made sure to vibrate the concrete in the form really well.

3. Made at the same time as sample #2, this one was created to match Direct Colors’ “deep bronze” #680, and turned out much lighter than the color from their color chart. Again this one has smaller glass pieces, (mainly brown and clear) and more pronounced aggregate.

4. One of the first samples we used, pigment #500 is the “wildwood buff” color. This has varying sizes of glass in clear, brown, blue, and dark green.

Since these are just the samples, once we complete the actual counter tops there will be more consistency to the amount and sizes of the broken glass in the final product.

As a reminder, this is what our kitchen looks like with our newly painted cabinets.

Kitchen After 2

Now, this is where you come in (finally)…tell us what you think.

I have a favorite and I’m really hoping you share the same opinion, but I’ll try not to hold it against you if you don’t. 😉

I’m still not totally convinced…

about how we should do our new kitchen counter tops, but Jeff’s worked up a few samples of polished concrete and I have to say that I’m liking them more than I thought I would. Who knows, he may be right for a change. 😉

Concrete Countertops 8

After kicking off the kitchen renovation a few weeks ago with our newly painted cabinets, we decided to take the next step and tackle the old laminate counter tops currently in place.

Kitchen After 2

To be honest, I came into this part of the renovation with the idea that I just wanted to spend the extra money and pay for someone to install granite, with the hopes that we could be done quickly and moved onto the next project (the list is long my friends). However, Jeff’s had other ideas in mind. He’s been really eager to try polished concrete, and since I was very hesitant (kind of still am), he decided to work up a couple samples to see if we can find one we both agree on.

Concrete Countertops 2 Concrete Countertops 1

So far, we’ve stuck with Direct Colors concrete dyes, and we’re liking all the options they offer. While we originally ordered two colors to test out, we’ve since tested two more to see if we can find the perfect color for our kitchen. All of them are in the brown(ish) category.

On top of the pigment, we’re adding pieces of broken glass in hopes that it adds another level of customization and variety. Drinking beer and wine to ensure we have enough glass? I guess I can handle that.

Concrete Countertops 3 Concrete Countertops 4 Concrete Countertops 5^^Someone else was curious to see what Jeff was up to. Luckily, he’s the cutest spectator around.^^

Concrete Countertops 6 Concrete Countertops 7

I hope not to keep you in suspense too long (I know it’s rough), but I’m learning this is not a quick process and we need a few more days before I can show you the samples.

Stay tuned!

And the endings of a little transformation…

Kitchen Before and After

and I must admit I was feeling pretty good about our project until I took a few photos and realized they don’t look as good in pictures as they do in person (I could be overreacting). So I’m here to tell ya, I love the new look, but before you make any final judgements you should all just come over and see for yourself. Only come in groups of 5-10, because that’s about all our house can hold at one time. 🙂 Also, and I say this mainly for myself, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the cosmetic updates we’d like to make. Many more posts to come. (Hopefully sooner rather than later!)

Having aired my insecurities (thanks for listening), I will say the most amazing part about this transformation was that we did it all for $100. As you may remember, we’re budget-friendly over here, but even this low price tag amazed me.

I know you’ve been eagerly awaiting the details since I showed you the “before” look a few days ago, so I’ll get to it.

While I wish I could say we thought of, and executed this look all on our own, I have to admit we purchased a handy four-step kit at Home Depot.

Painting Cabinets Steps

Overall, pretty user-friendly.

So we cleaned and deglossed,

painting cabinets-2

No you’re not mistaken, that’s me working.

measured for the new hardware (you can find our pick for the cabinets, here),

Painting Cabinets 3

painted,

Painting Cabinets 1

painted some more,

Painting Cabinets 2

*applied the decorative glaze (completely optional, based on the type of look you’re going for),

Painting Cabinets 4

wiped off the decorative glaze,

Painting Cabinets 5

and brushed on the protective top coat.

Painting Cabinets 6

After a full day of drying the cabinets were back up and order & cleanliness were restored. 🙂

Kitchen After 6 Kitchen After 3 Kitchen After 4

So far, (two days worth of my expert opinion) I think the work and heat were worth it, but maybe ask me again in a year or two.

Like I said, we’re not finished with the kitchen just yet! Now it’s onto the counter tops, back splash, new appliances (possibly?), and painting! Is that all? I sure hope so.

*When I noted that the glaze was optional, I wanted to clarify that this kit allows you to do only the solid paint color in step #2, which in our case was a stark white, or add a glaze that will give it a more antiqueish look. Since we have white appliances we went with the glaze, because the stark white made the appliances look discolored.