It’s been two years since I shared our last house tour (November of 2012). Last November (2014), I got to thinking that it would be nice to take pictures and do another house tour, to see how our home has evolved over the last two years. I took these pictures in November, but with the craziness of the holidays and such, I’m just now getting to post them (sounds a lot like last time as well!). The empty room photos are from move-in day (which also happened to be my 20th birthday) in 2011. In just a few months, we’ll have lived in this apartment for four years.

Our home is at a really nice place. I’m finally satisfied enough with everything that I don’t have a big, long, to-do list anymore. Sure, it would be nice to paint the kitchen (I’d renovate it if we owned the house) and hallway, replace the bedroom curtains, make a more welcoming entry, get a nice, neutral colored sofa, etc., but for now, I’m happy with our home as it is! So happy to have this cozy little spot to call ours.

Foyer & Dining Room:

foyer color edit1

foyer console table color edit1

foyer from living room coloredit1

foyer into living room color edit1

Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teenplant/console table we built ourselves, dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, dining chairs are vintage, rug is from Target, baskets on the console table shelves are from Target, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, and small white cabinet are thrifted, black lamp was given to us by Drew’s mom and then I gave it a makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut is by me, paintings in the room are by me, framed engagement photos we took ourselves, the glass jar candles on the side table and console are from our wedding, door wreath I made, wooden stump is the cake stand from our wedding, gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted, crock planter is vintage from my dad, and all other plant pots are either from Lowe’s or TJ Maxx. Walls are painted Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish.

Things on our to-do list for the foyer:

  • Sand and paint the little white cabinet (I like it white, but the paint is old and chipped/peeling).
  • Create a little entryway/mudroom area right inside the door with a little bench, a mirror, and some coat hooks or something.
  • Eventually, I would like to get a china cabinet of some sort to go on the entryway wall in here for storage/bar area.

Living room:

living room look from foyer color edit1

living room gallery wall color edit1

living room loveseat tv color edit1

living room color edit1

living room look into color edit1

Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, coffee table/bench base was bought from a little shop in the French Quarter and Drew and I made the tufted top, white coffee table tray is from West Elm, neon pink side table is from Target, white bookcase is from IKEA, painting was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), gallery wall pieces: “I love you” print hand-lettered by me, my favorite vintage photo of my grandparents, one of my first surface pattern designs (!!!), a test sheet out of my watercolor sketchbook (that one will probably change eventually, I just put that in for now), an elephant print  that reminds me of my Mamaw (she collected little elephant figurines and that print reminds me of a shirt she used to wear), “Yours Sincerely,” painting I did a few years ago, my favorite picture of my sisters/nieces/nephew that I took when we were in Puerto Rico (with a stray cat), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a gold skeleton key that opened my childhood bedroom door (and was the official key for our secret club), a photo I took of my childhood front yard when I was home for my Papaw’s funeral last Spring, and my final drawing for the first art class I ever took at Tulane, curtains I made from white sheets, big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), glass candy dish, wooden ladder and quilts are vintage/thrifted, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), and the three abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me. Wall color is Asiago by Valspar in a satin finish.

Things on our to-do list for the living room:

  • Eventually replace the rug with a nicer one.
  • Eventually replace the couches with a nice grey velvet sectional. (I can’t wait to not have green couches! But these are comfortable and in good shape, so replacing them is not a high priority.)
  • At some point, I want to cut down the tree stump in the foyer (the cake stand from our wedding) and turn it into the table top of that neon pink side table. And then paint the pink either oil-rubbed bronze or gold.

Hallway:

This hallway, right off the side of the living room, runs all the way down the house. The kitchen is the first door on the right, office/studio is the second door and then at the end of the hallway is the laundry room. At the laundry room, the hallway turns to the right with the bathroom straight ahead and our bedroom to the left.

hallway from living room coloredi1

hallway 2 coloredit1

hallway kitchen living room color edit1

Hallway bookcases are from IKEA, little cabinet of drawers was thrifted on a vacation in Savannah, GA, LOVE painting was a bridal shower gift from my friend Tonya, streetcar cross-stitchwas made by my mother-in-law, fleur-de-lis coat hook was a gift, small country scene painting was painted by my 8th grade teacher (a friend of my mother-in-law), biggest framed print is by Katie Daisy, the rest of the pictures are either wedding photos (by Stephanie of Stephanie’s Photography), small paintings my me, or random things like framed fortune cookies, a painted piece of wood (not sure why that’s up there actually), or prints collected over time (a couple are from our honeymoon).

Things on our to-do list for the hallway:

  • Paint the walls the same color as the living room?
  • Extend the frame gallery farther down the walls?
  • Put in a pretty hanging light fixture (one that’s thrifted and refashioned).
  • Get a nice rug/runner for in front of the bookcases?
  • Add a wooden top to the bookcases?

If I owned this house, I would install tall board and batten all the way down the hallway, painting the lower part the same color as the trim and the top half a different, contrasting color. I would hang art in white frames all along the top part. I would also probably build in some nicer bookcases. But alas, we are just renting, so that probably won’t happen.

Kitchen:

kitchen look into color edit1

kitchen tall color edit1

kitchen cabinet 2 color edit1

kitchen cookbooks color edit1

kitchen color edit1

kitchen island 2 color edit1

Kitchen rug is by Dash and Albert, checked hand towels are from Target, green utensil holder is a plant pot from Hobby Lobby, gold tray and wooden cheese board were Christmas gifts from my sister, ceramic apple and stool are from TJ Maxx, artwork above the sink is from here, cookbook holder was a wedding gift from Target, baking station cabinet is from Nadeau in New Orleans, wooden cabinet and small white floral plant pot were thrifted.

Things on our to-do list for the kitchen:

  • Add bamboo or white fabric roman shades to the windows.
  • Paint the walls the same Smoked Oyster color as the foyer?
  • Hang something on the wall between the pantry and the windows. Maybe a hanging spice rack?

If we owned this house, I would extend the cabinets along the window wall, moving the sink to be underneath the window closest to the pantry, add a backsplash, replace the countertops, and re-paint the cabinets. But we don’t own it, so that will probably never happen. Nice to dream though.

Office & Art Studio:

office look into color edit1

office art studio color edit1

office tall 2 color edit1

office desk color edit1

office cait desk 3 color edit1

office comparison print color edit1

office desk side color edit1

office desk 2 color edit1

My desk chair is from World Market, Drew’s wooden desk chair was thrifted, baskets on the built-in shelves and the middle desk shelf are from Target, other smaller baskets on desk shelves are from Michael’s, rug is from Target, curtains I made out of sheets from TJ Maxx, easel is from Craigslist, pink curvy glass lamp is from Home Goods (got it on vacation years ago in Charleston, SC), standing lamp is from Target, small wooden table was thrifted years ago (it used to live in my childhood bedroom), shelves DIY built-in out of IKEA Extra-Deep Billy Bookcases, Painting Taboret is IKEA kitchen cart, big ornate gold frame, small brass pineapple, and brass plant pot were thrifted, elephant print on bookshelves is from this Etsy shop, Live Simply print from this Etsy shop, small purple/yellow print on bookshelves we got in Portland, OR but is Old School Stationeersgreen elephant piggy bank is from Urban Outfitters, glittery gold frames on wall are from Michaels, prints in them are prints of my paintings, wooden abstract painting on desk is by me, two taped up paintings on my side of the desk were bought at an estate sale and painted by Pierce Jonassen, “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a taped up print-out of one of my first repeatable patterns, taped up painting on Drew’s side is by me, crewelwork embroidery in gold frame was thrifted, white ceramic turtle is from West Elm, silver desk lamp is from IKEA, and rose window print is from here. Read more about my art studio inspiration wall, here. Read about how we built our desk (an IKEA hack), here). Walls are painted Grey Ghost (Olympic from Lowe’s) in a satin finish. Chalkboard wall is painted with black chalkboard paint (also Valspar from Lowe’s).

Things on our to-do list for my office/studio:

  • New desk chair (my current one has a wobbly leg and it is too short for the height of the desk).
  • Eventually, get a nicer (larger) rug.
  • Eventually, maybe, add nicer bamboo blinds to the windows to replace the cheap vinyl ones?

Laundry Room:

laundry look into color edit1

laundry color edit1

The curtains used to hang in my freshman college dorm room (originally from Wal-Mart), the laundry basket is from TJ Maxx, the ironing board and cover are from Target, ladder from Lowe’s, my dad bought the washer and dryer for me (they were from a friend from our hometown that used to live in New Orleans –she was moving from New Orleans and didn’t need to take them with her), the deep freezer is from Lowe’s, the rug and the wire baskets on the shelves are from TJ Maxx, wall shelving Drew and I bought from Lowe’s, standing shelving unit is the MULIG from IKEA.

Things on our to-do list for the laundry room:

  • Nothing really! This room is tight and stuffed, but I’m so happy to have it!

Bathroom:

back hallway with bathroom color edit 1

bathroom look in closer color edit1

bathroom color edit1

bathroom art color edit1

bathroom accessories color edit1

bathroom built ins and painting color edit1

Creme-colored rug from World Market, magazine rack and grey/white hand towel from TJ Maxx, abstract painting by me, old books and brass bowl are thrifted, soap dispenser from Target, frames from Michael’s and spray painted gold, striped Turkish towels from Loomed NOLA, shower curtain made by me from a sheet, and houses plant pot is vintage. Small hallway right outside the bathroom is painted Semi-Sweet by Valspar in a satin finish and top art is thrifted, bottom is by me.

Things on our to-do list for the bathroom:

  • Repaint or replace the magazine rack (the cream color isn’t really jiving with the white in the room).
  • Add a patterned rug to the small hallway right outside the bathroom.

Bedroom:

bedroom look into tall 2 color edit 1

bedroom look into color edit1

bedroom bed 2 color edit1

bedroom tv console 2 color edit1

bedroom end of bed look color edit1

bedroom dresser 2 color edit1

Headboard made by us from an old door, sheets are a mixture from Target and TJ Maxx, coverlet/bedspread and gold pharmacy-style table lamps from TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, dresser from Drew’s childhood bedroom, cream curtains from the pergola at our wedding (originally from Target) and white ones are from IKEA, rug and black pharmacy-style floor lamp from Target, painting by Lulie Wallace, white bookcase from IKEA, and fushia velvet chair from World Market. Walls are painted Grey Ghost (Olympic from Lowe’s) in a satin finish, the same color as the office.

Things on our to-do list for the bedroom:

  • Find (or build) nightstands. Since this room is small and they have to fit underneath the overhang from the headboard, they have to be a really specific size and I haven’t been about to find ones that will work.
  • New curtains. The cream-colored ones clash with the grey walls and the white ones are too short.
  • The bedding could still use a little work. I think sheets in a bolder pattern would be nice.

———————————————————————–

So happy with the changes we’ve made since the last house tour!

Merry Christmas from the Rowlands!

christmas card color edit1

Sending Christmas Cards might just be my favorite Christmas tradition. I love getting them in the mail from our family and friends and I love looking back at our past Christmas cards and seeing how much we’ve changed over the last few years. Ours this year includes our sweet little Violet. It also includes my hand-lettering again! See last year’s card, here.

three christmas cards color edit1

Here are all the Christmas cards since we’ve been married! 2012, 2013, and 2014! All washi taped to our French doors along with the other cards we’ve been receiving. We’ve gotten several more since I took this picture and now almost the entire door is covered up.

tree cards color edit1

Our tree looks pretty similar to last year, with just silver, gold, and white ornaments. I love using the beads we’ve caught at Mardi Gras parades here in New Orleans on our tree.

tree 2 color edit1

My favorite part of our simple Christmas decor is the sparkly, white, metal snowflakes we hang from the curtain rods in here. The closest thing to real snow we see here in New Orleans!

snowflake 3 color edit1

This year I also added some homemade Crochet Snowflakes to our tree.

tree color edit1

I also finally bought a tree skirt as well! (The last few year’s I’ve just bunched up a quilt under the tree.) I bought this metallic gold fabric one while shopping with my sister and mother-in-law the day after Thanksgiving.

manger 2 color edit1

We also have a sweet little wooden nativity scene out this year. It was a Christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law.

o holy night print color edit1

Love my Lindsay Letters print of one of my favorite Christmas songs.

violet color edit1

Of course, the most difficult part of this Christmas has been keeping this little kitty out of the tree! I’ve hung lemon slices along the bottom of the tree and we daily spray it down with orange citrus spray which helps, but she still gets in there. I didn’t put breakable ornaments on the tree this year, so I’m less worried about the tree and more worried about her unwrapping all the gifts. Eating paper is her favorite. So far, most of the gifts have a few bite marks and a few straightened bows, but only one gift has had the paper ripped off. Hopefully it stays that way!

Past Christmas Posts:

Merry Christmas 2010! (the Christmas we got engaged) and Christmas Eve that year

Christmas Shortbread Cookies (from before I was Gluten-free)

Christmas Decorating (our first year in this apartment)

Doily Christmas Wrapping

Our First Rowland Family Christmas Card

Our Second Rowland Family Christmas Card

Last Year’s Christmas Decor

Scenes from Last Christmas

Christmas Memories, Heartache, and Peace

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

 

In the last couple weeks I’ve finished yet another project that has been on my to-do list for years: re-finishing Drew’s childhood dresser.

looking out brighter1

Here you can see what it looked like before. When Drew was younger a faux metal paint finish had been done to the front of the drawers. I painted over it as a temporary solution years ago until I had the chance to sand the entire thing down and completely refinish it. The top had some water damage (from a fish tank that had leaked) and the sides were just generally beat up from years of use.

before1

I paint stripped the front of the drawers, sanded the entire thing down, gave it a good cleaning, applied a coat of wood conditioner, three coats of dark walnut stain, and three coats of satin polyurethane (same process I used here). The results are pretty gorgeous.

after 4 color edit1

after side color edit1

I think it turned out beautifully. I love the new crystal and brass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby (they were on sale, so I got all 8 for $20) and I think they accent the dresser perfectly.

after 3 color edit1

So happy with the results and to have this project off my to-do list!

P.S. You can see that we also re-painted our bedroom walls this weekend too…

 

If you’ve been reading my monthly life re-cap posts, then you know that I’ve been talking about hanging a new gallery wall in the living room for months (seriously, I talked about it here, here, here and here.) The old gallery wall we had in there didn’t really have a lot of personality,  I didn’t really like the frames, and it was a little too small for the size of the wall. I’ve wanted to change it out for a few years now, but I didn’t take the old frames down until this summer when we painted the living room. That wall has just been sitting empty for the last few months, until now:

lr3 color edit1

front color edit1

Sorry for all the glares on the frames. There is a wall of windows opposite these, so getting shots without a glare is impossible! I’m really happy with how this turned out though. I think it is so much more interesting and meaningful now.

lr2 color edit1

frames color edit1

“I love you” print hand-lettered by me, my favorite vintage photo of my grandparents, one of my first surface pattern designs (!!!), a test sheet out of my watercolor sketchbook (that one will probably change eventually, I just put that in for now), an elephant print  that reminds me of my Mamaw (she collected little elephant figurines and that print reminds me of a shirt she used to wear), “Yours Sincerely,” painting I did a few years ago, my favorite picture of my sisters/nieces/nephew that I took when we were in Puerto Rico (with a stray cat), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a gold skeleton key that opened my childhood bedroom door (and was the official key for our secret club), a photo I took of my childhood front yard when I was home for my Papaw’s funeral last Spring, and my final drawing for the first art class I ever took at Tulane.

close right color edit1

side 3 color edit1

I also love the more neutral color palette of this gallery wall. I love the gold/wood/white frames and the black and white photos and prints. Now let’s just all imagine that couch is really a deep grey, clean lined, velvet sectional…

vi color edit1

Meanwhile, Violet is all like, “Ma, we all know who the real attraction in this room is…”

One of the things I learned in art school is that, as a creative professional, it is important to surround yourself with work (specifically by other artists/creative persons) that inspires you. Your work becomes better by looking at other artist’s work and thinking through their processes, studying their compositions, color combinations, flow, brush marks, lines, movement, etc. I love using Pinterest and Instagram to follow and pin work of artists I love, but I find that it is most helpful to have that inspiration close at hand (in physical rather than digital form) in my studio/office space.

When I was in college, I turned an old thrift store ornate frame I had into a inspiration board (see here in my Tulane studio and again here, here, and here in my home studio). I loved having my inspirations close by, but it was a really small surface area and I was constantly having to pick my favorites to put on it. For a while I’ve wanted to build something a little bigger than that, but I just hadn’t decided on what. Should this one be another fabric-covered cork board or should I look into a large piece of metal to make a magnetic one? I was talking through my ideas with Drew one evening and he was all like, “Don’t you have a bunch of washi tape? Why don’t you just tape them to the wall?” Well hello, genius!

desk area 2 color edit1

I had an empty wall in my studio just sitting there waiting for all these beautiful photos!

with lamp color edit1

Washi tape is great for this because it holds the images up nicely, but is also easily removable without damaging any walls. I love that the tape can add a little extra color/pattern to it all as well.

down desk color edit1

My placement got a little crooked but I don’t care. That is the imperfect beauty of it. The only bad part is that the only wall space I had for this was next to my desk area, which is across the room from my painting studio area. I wish I could have these right next to me when I paint, instead of across the room, but this solution is still better than what I had before. Plus, I still have extra space to expand with more inspiration in the future. No more having to pick favorites!

close up color edit1

Aren’t all of these pieces just gorgeous? I have a few paintings and prints by these artists, but I wish I could buy them all!

Since there are so many images, it is too hard to list sources in a clearly labeled and legible way on here, so if you want to know what artist a particular painting on here is by, check out my “art” board on Pinterest, which includes the photos and links to the artists, or comment about which one you are wondering about and I’ll give you the info. They are all fabulous artists so go check out their websites and follow them on Instagram or through their blogs!

What inspires you? What are your favorite artists?

P.S. These inspiration images are for inspiration only! Never copy another artist’s work and make sure you keep track of the artists that you are inspired by to give them proper credit.

This Summer was the Summer I finally said “enough” to the living room paint color. I’ve wanted to paint the walls in our living room for years (I didn’t like the color and they were splotchy from being touched up with color matched paint that wasn’t perfect), but for one reason or another, had never gotten around to it. Finally, I not only painted the living room, but I finally painted the French doors in there (red isn’t my color of choice), and the foyer/dining room as well! It was a productive Summer for painting rooms!

living room before after

It seems like August is the time to work on projects in the living room for me. Last August, I added the Teal/Turquoise pillows in there, the August before that I added the photo gallery wall above the couch (which I’ve since taken down and plan to re-do soon), and the August before that, we re-arranged the space and added the Drop Cloth Curtains and TV stand (the curtains I just replaced this Summer).

Here is a little tour of our foyer/dining room & living room now:

door open color edit1

foyer 2 color edit1

We still LOVE the plant/console table we built ourselves (one of our favorite things in the house!). Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teen, which I love, but I’m a little disappointed in them. They weren’t cheap (they were my Valentine’s Day present one year, lol!) and they’ve faded quite a bit, especially in certain spots. Dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, dining chairs are vintage, rug and baskets on the console table are from Target, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, small white cabinet were thrifted, wood stump was the cake stand at our wedding, black lamp was given to us by Drew’s mom and then I gave it a makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut  and small abstracts are done by me, the glass jar candles on the table and console are from our wedding, door wreath I made, and gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted gold.

foyer color edit1

plant table color edit1

I really love how the color on the walls came out in here. It’s a nice taupe-y grey (Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish). It’s two shades darker on the same paint swatch card as the color in the living room, so they tie in well together. All the windows in this room really play well into having a slightly darker color on the walls. I love how it makes the art and trim pop.

view to living room color edit1

I’m so happy that the entire house isn’t painted the same fleshy-red-tan color anymore!

windows color edit1

I finally replaced our Drop Cloth Drapes with some simple white curtains (I made these out of white twin bed sheets I ordered online for super cheap!) I love how the white brightens the room up! I was tired of the dull tan of the drop cloths and the seam down the middle of them always bothered me. They served us well for several years though!

lr 2 color edit1

I LOVE the French doors in black. I think they make such a pretty and dramatic statement. I love that they are a neutral color that allows my art and accessories to really shine. I didn’t love the red before because I don’t use the color red very often and I felt like they didn’t go with the rest of our house.

Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, white bookcase is from IKEA, painting above loveseat was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table next to loveseat is from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), remote box, and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), wooden ladder and quilts were thrifted, beads are from Mardi Gras parades, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), small pink table is from Target, and the abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me.

lr tall color edit1

The coffee table/bench is also new! When my childhood best friend, Tonya, and her husband, Peter, were visiting New Orleans this Summer, we spent one evening in the French Quarter eating and walking in antique shops before heading to the Frenchmen Art Market and to listen to some music on Frenchmen Street. In one of the little shops we walked into, I found this wooden table base (without a top) and we bought it for $30. I cleaned it up and rubbed it down with some coconut oil, and Drew and I made a tufted table/bench top for it out of wood, foam, linen fabric and fabric covered buttons. It was an exhausting project (much more so than I had expected), but I’m pleased with how it turned out!

paint colors color edit1

The wall color in here is Asiago by Valspar in a Satin finish. I wanted something that was almost white, but had a soft white creaminess to it (to go with the trim that looks white, but is really pretty creamy-off-white). I love how this color turned out. It brightens up this room and I think it is really going to look great with the new gallery wall I have planned for above the sofa! I really love how it looks with the black French doors (I’m loving the high contrast of black and white these days) and the color in the foyer/dining room too.

dark hallway color edit1

Last, but not least, this photo is of the small little hallway at the back of the house (right off the long hallway that spans down most of our apartment). It leads to the bathroom and our bedroom. We painted it Semi-Sweet by Valspar (also in a Satin finish) this Summer as well. I think it looks great! Dark and moody and works so well with all the white trim and the fact that the bathroom right next to it is full of white tile, white walls, white sink/toilet/tub, etc. The art in the white frames pop off this wall so perfectly! It makes this little space feel more like a “room” and less of just a pass-through space.

I’m so happy that after 3 1/2 years of living in this apartment, we have finally painted some walls! Only $30 for a gallon of paint and a few hours of time, I don’t know why I put it off for so long!

Forewarning. This is sort-of a random post. I feel like the majority of my posts now are about recipes and house projects. It has been a while since I’ve posted about small little things. So here is one.

Welcome our new addition to the living room:

remote box on shelf edit1

We took a quick trip to TJ Maxx this weekend and I fell in love with this little inlaid wood box with a Moroccan tile pattern. I love the pattern. It looks great on our bookshelves and I think the color is a nice contrast to all the blue/teal/turquoise in the living room.

remote box edit1

But it serves a greater purpose. A purpose for which I have been searching for a box like this for years to fulfill.

remotes edit1

It holds all (four!) of our remotes (one for the cable, one for the television, one for the sound system, and one for the Roku box). Having four remotes, two of which are only normally necessary for TV watching (the cable remote and sound system remote for volume), made it a pain to find a place to keep them before. They cluttered up the coffee table, fell off the arms of the couch, and none of our side tables had drawers to keep them in. It’s so nice to have a pretty little box to keep them in now! They are close at hand but out of sight!

P.S. You can see part of a crochet project I’m currently working on in the top photo. 🙂

P.P.S. My sister, Kelsey, and her boyfriend, David, got me a similar box for Christmas last year that is currently in our bedroom. It is smaller, black and white, and also has a similar Moroccan tile pattern. You can see a bit of it in this post. I’m totally loving little storage boxes like these lately!

I didn’t take any before pictures of this bulletin board (bad blogger, I know!), but it was just your average cork-covered, wood-trimmed, basic office bulletin board. Now it looks like this:

bb5 color edit1

Less than a yard of fabric (home dec from Jo-Ann’s), some brass tacks (I used ones like this that I also bought at Jo-Ann’s), and a few staples in the back and voila! A much more sophisticated office bulletin board. Seriously though, this was a super easy project. Iron your fabric, cut it about 2 1/2 inches wider on each side than your bulletin board, lay flat, space out your tacks, push them in place (as you keep the fabric taut and the pattern aligned), then use your staple gun to staple the fabric around to the backside. Add your hanging hardware to the back and you are finished.

crsip edge 2 color edit1

I love the crisp look of the tacks and the fabric stretched all the way around the frame. A high-impact look for little money!

art and bulletin board color edit1

It looks great here in my home office, but I actually made it for my work office. It adds a little bit of interest to my otherwise boring work office!

 

DIY double desk ikea hack1

Last week I shared our recent office makeover, including the DIY 12-ft long double desk we built. Today I’m here to give you the how-to so that you can build your own.

This really is a pretty simple DIY project (especially compared to our DIY Old Door Console Table that we built from scratch), that even the less-DIY-savvy of you can do pretty easily.

I had been thinking about this project for a while, so I already had an idea of what I wanted (here are some similar desks that I used for inspiration: thisthis and this), so I measured our space to see what would work best and then made this quick sketch to show Drew. He was on board immediately (he was ready to overtake the room that had long been only my office) and we came up with a plan.

desk plans 2 brighter1

We started with a trip to IKEA (the closest IKEA to New Orleans is in Houston, TX, so we made a weekend trip of it), where we purchased three of these BESTA bookcases, along with these feet for the bottom of them (the BESTA bookcases have a variety of feet options, so you can change up your look if you want something different).  ***SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE BESTA PRODUCT LINE & LINKS.

set up bookcases brighter1

Once we were home, we cleaned out the room, painted it, and then put our bookcases together and placed them where we wanted them in the room. The spacing of our room turned out perfect for these! We set those couple boards on top to mimic the desktop, just to make sure the height would be okay. It really depends on the height of your chair, but for me, the desktop is a touch higher than I would have made it for myself. However, I’m sharing this desk with my husband, who is a big guy, and the height is perfect for him. (I’ve been sitting on a pillow in my chair, which makes it the perfect height, but I’m going to look for a taller office chair at some point.) You might find that you don’t actually need the legs on them to be the right height for you. (The BESTA Bookcases without legs are about 25 1/4 inches tall, with legs ours are 29 1/4 inches tall.) With the desk top attached, our desk turned out to be a total of 31 inches high.

unstained wood for top brighter1

Next, we made our final plans for the top, measuring to see how long we wanted our desktop to be. Our wall is about 12 feet long and we wanted the desk to be slightly shorter than that, to give it room to actually fit in the space (it is a free-standing desk, not a built-in, so it doesn’t need to be completely flush against both walls). We decided 140 inches long would be perfect for us. We made a trip to Lowe’s and bought three 2x8x12 untreated pine boards and had them cut down in-store to 140 inches. When choosing boards, make sure you lay them flat on the ground in the store and pick ones that are as flat/straight as you can find. (We had some issues with one of our boards being warped because we didn’t check them well enough in the store!) After we got them home, we gave them a good sanding to smooth the surface and also to remove any stamps/marks on the wood. Make sure to also wipe them down and remove any dirt/dust before staining.

stain products1

We are still really happy with the finish of the top of our Old Door Console Table, so we used the same method and same stain for this project as well. We used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, 2 coats of Minwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut, and (later, after the desk top was attached) we gave it three coats of Rustoleum Water-Based Polyurethane in a Satin finish.

staining top boards 2 brighter1

I would recommend staining your wood outside or in some other well-ventilated area. Since we live in an apartment, we were forced to do this inside (with the windows open and a fan blowing the smell out), but it was still pretty stinky. After the stain has cured for a day or two, then you can start attaching the top boards together.

attaching top boards together brighter1

We used these long metal connector bars that we found at Lowe’s. We used 4– one on each end of the desk and one in each open space (where our chairs go). Make sure you pull the boards together as you screw these in, to prevent large gaps between the boards.

top boards attached 2 brighter1

Once we had the top boards connected together, we measured out our bookcases, put them in the right places, then set the wooden top on top of them. We left a couple inch overhang on each end and each open chair space is 32 inches. The bookcases are only 15 1/2 inches deep, whereas our top is 22 inches deep, so there is a 3/4 inch overhang on the front lip of the desk and about 5 1/2 inches of space left behind each bookcase (which has turned out great for storage of art materials!).

underneath brighter1

Once we had everything situated where we wanted it, we used these small L brackets to attach the top to the bookcases. There is a slight gap between the bookcases and the top on ours to accommodate the curvature of the wood (no wood is perfectly flat!), but when making your own, you might find that you don’t end up with as big of a gap there (one of our boards was slightly warped). The weight of the wood also holds the top down, so we didn’t think it needed more attaching than a few of these on each side of the bookcases.

underneath brackets brighter1

After everything was attached and together, I gave the top 3 coats of Satin finish Poly and let that cure for a few days.

seal top 4 brighter1

seal top brighter1

So happy with how it turned out! It is the perfect space for Drew and I to work. We each have plenty of storage space in the bookcases and lots of work space on top (with plenty of space between us so we don’t bother each other while working either!).

desk all together and sealed brighter1

It also makes the perfect use of the space in this room. It might be a 12 foot long desk, but it doesn’t feel like it takes up very much space in the room! I still have room for my easel/art stuff on the other side of the room with plenty of open floor space to spread out in the floor if I’m working on a crafting project.

whole desk from closet 2 brighter1

cait desk area long 2 brigther1

office look in from side 2 brighter1

See more images of the room, here.

Budget Breakdown:

IKEA (BESTA Bookcases ($46.75 x 3 = $140.25) and BESTA Legs ($8.50 a pair x 6 = $51.00) family discount pricing + 15.78 tax) : $207.03
Wood for desk top (3 2x8x12 boards at $7.43 each): $22.29
Metal Connector Bars (4 at $2.80 each): $11.20
Metal L Brackets (3 packs of 4 at $2.27 each): $6.81
Stain/Wood Conditioner/Polyurethane/Foam Brushes: already owned (but would be around $30 to purchase if you didn’t already own these)
Screws, Sandpaper, etc… already owned (but would be around $10 to purchase if you didn’t already own these)

TOTAL: $247.33 

$250 isn’t bad for a 12-foot long desk for two! Plus we sold Drew’s old desk on Craigslist for $100, so that brings our out-of-pocket cost down to under $150!

One of my favorite projects that we’ve done together and we are already getting a ton of use out of it! Yay for pretty projects that increase our productivity!

P.S. We did plan ahead and made sure that whatever connecting methods we used (the metal connector bars and L brackets) could be disassembled rather easily in the future to move to a different house. We also thought ahead before we bought our 12 ft long boards and measured to make sure that we could even get them in the house. Some things that you also might want to consider before building!

***UPDATE 12/3/15: Several people have asked if IKEA still carries the BESTA bookcases, since my original links above don’t work. IKEA still does carry them, but they have changed a bit. When we bought ours, the frame and shelves came together as a “bookcase” that you could choose to add feet to, but now they come in different parts so that you can customize/build the exact piece you want (they have doors and drawers available instead of just shelves!). You buy the frame, shelves, doors, drawers, feet, etc. separately. I believe this frame is the equivalent of what I have: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20245964/#/30245850But here are some other helpful links:

Frames (different sizes): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12151/
Doors and Drawer fronts (different sizes): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12152/
Interior fittings: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12158/
Accessories: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/12159/

The last time I shared photos of my office/studio, it looked like this:

view from hallway brighter 1

It continued to look like this until about a week and a half ago. Now it looks quite a bit different (but we’ll get to that in just a second).

The room was great before. It was pretty. It was functional for storing my things. But I felt a little like that was all it was being used for. Just a room to house my stuff. During college, it was great to have this space to myself. I needed a quiet spot to write papers and do homework. However, now that I’m out of school, I found that I didn’t really use the space as much anymore (only when painting). I still work some from home, I still blog, and I still spend a lot of time on my computer, however, I found this space to be too quiet (and lonely) for me to work in very often. Since Drew and I both work away from home during the day, we only get to spend time with each other at night and on the weekends. If I spent all that time working in here, with him working in the other room, we would never see each other. So we would both end up bringing our computers into the living room where we could work together.

So we decided to give this room a little makeover. One that would make it work a little better for both of us. Now it looks like this:

office look in 3 brighter1

office from doorway brighter1

office look in from side 2 brighter1

I’ve always loved the look of double desks (especially since Drew and I both do a lot of work from home that we need office space for) and I’d been envisioning one for this room for a long time. This wall is just the perfect spot for it. (Inspiration: this, this, this, thisthis and this.)

whole desk from closet 2 brighter1

We built the (nearly 12 foot long) desk ourselves using Besta bookcases from IKEA (outfitted with these legs) and wooden 2x8x12 boards that we stained/sealed/and put together. A longer post coming soon about exactly how to DIY one of your own. (We did a few things differently, but our process was very similar to this one.)

whole desk from studio area brighter1

We ended up painting the wall behind the desk with chalkboard paint (Valspar from Lowe’s) and it is one of my absolute favorite things about the room. I’ve always admired chalkboard walls and I love the functionality of this one (inspiring quotes, to do lists, etc.) and the gorgeous statement it makes (I’m so into high contrast these days!). It took about 3 coats of paint to cover our wall and even though our walls are bumpy plaster, it still works great. If you do this in your own home, remember to “season” the entire wall with chalk dust before using (it makes what you write on there easily erasable without leaving an impression of what you wrote on the wall), but I will warn you that it makes a huge mess! Totally worth it in the end though.

drew side tall brighter1

drew side 3 brighter1

The other walls in the room are painted in Grey Ghost (Valspar from Lowe’s) in a satin finish. I love the contrast of the black chalkboard wall with the lighter grey walls and the white bookcases, etc.

cait desk area long 2 brigther1

cait side long 2 brighter1

cait side tall 2 brighter1

cait side wide brighter1

cait side 4 brighter1

cait side art brighter1

cait desk area brighter1

I’ve found lately that my style is changing quite a bit. I’m into really high-contrast and neutral spaces (black, white, grey, gold, and wood), with just smaller bits of color (and I would even like a little less color in here, but I’m working with what I’ve got — LOVE this office), patterns, abstract art (when wasn’t I into that though), elegant but with a more casual feel (love the imperfect to do list and the art taped right on the wall), contrasting textures (matte black wall with satin grey on the other walls, smooth white bookcases with an imperfect wooden desk top), a little old with a little new, and a little bit of quirk. This is definitely my favorite room in the house.

See more of my office/studio inspiration on my Pinterest board, here.

studio area brighter1

studio space wide brighter1

The room feels so much bigger now! Not only is it such a better use of the space in our small apartment, and more functional, but it also provides so much extra storage and organization. It is so nice to have a desk with shelves. I didn’t even know how much I missed that before with my open desk. The small gap behind the desk bookcases, between the wall, is also great for storing art paper pads, unused art frames, etc! A nice little accidental perk!

This room has come so far from the before pictures in this post!

Now I’m on to the search for a larger rug for this space!

****UPDATE**** Want to build your own DIY Double Desk? Check out the how-to, here

———————

Sources:

My desk chair is from World Market, Drew’s wooden desk chair was thrifted, baskets on the built-in shelves and the middle desk shelf are from Target, other smaller baskets on desk shelves are from Michael’s, rug is from Target, curtains I made out of sheets from TJ Maxx, easel is from Craigslist, pink curvy glass lamp is from Home Goods (got it on vacation years ago in Charleston, SC), standing lamp is from Target, shelves DIY built-in out of IKEA Extra-Deep Billy Bookcases, Painting Taboret is IKEA kitchen cart, big white ornate frame with painting inspiration pics is thrifted and turned into bulletin board, big ornate gold frame is thrifted, elephant print on bookshelves is from this Etsy shop, Live Simply print from this Etsy shop, small purple/yellow print on bookshelves we got in Portland, OR but is Old School Stationeersgreen elephant piggy bank is from Urban Outfitters, glittery gold frames on wall are from Michaels, prints in them are prints of my paintings, wooden abstract painting on desk is by me, two taped up paintings on my side of the desk were bought at an estate sale and painted by Pierce Jonassen, taped up painting on Drew’s side is by me, crewelwork embroidery in gold frame was thrifted, white ceramic turtle is from West Elm, gold plant pot was thrifted, silver desk lamp is from IKEA, and rose window print is from here.