...because home doesn't happen overnight.
Mabrey has a real bed! We actually finished the bed several months ago. Then things kind of came to a halt while I searched for mattresses. More on the mattresses in a minute, but first I wanted to share how we gave an inexpensive, generic bed a unique look.
The catalog image of the bed is horribly styled, but I liked the clean lines, trundle option and price tag. I knew it would look better with paint and different hardware. I originally shared my plans for the bed here, then changed my mind on the brass handles and opted for kid-friendly leather pulls instead. (You can see the mood board I created for Mabrey’s room here.)
When the bed arrived, Steve and I were impressed with the quality for the price. The wood was solid and the finish was super smooth with a slight sheen. We almost hated to paint it, but it wasn’t part of my vision.
Before assembling the bed, I filled the knob holes with wood putty and let it dry.
Then we took turns lightly sanding the surface with a random orbital sander to scuff it up for better paint adhesion.
We decided to assemble the bed before painting it mostly because we didn’t have a way to prop up all the individual pieces. There was no way I was painting all the slats by hand with a brush, so Steve busted out the paint sprayer. He covered the driveway with a drop cloth to protect it from overspray and applied two thin coats of Benjamin Moore pine grove (#511) in semi-gloss, mixed in the ADVANCE line. You can read more about the ADVANCE paint here. It’s a great option for painting furniture or cabinetry because it’s self-leveling and provides a high-end finish.
We let the bed off-gas in the garage for over a week before bringing it inside. Once the bed was inside, Steve and I decided our dream kitchen includes cabinets painted Benjamin Moore pine grove. It’s SUCH. A. GREAT. COLOR.
I did some measuring + math then pre-drilled holes in the trundle for the leather pulls and attached them with the provided brass screws and nuts. (Depending on what mattress you use, you may need to trim the backs of the screws so they don’t catch on the mattress.) I absolutely LOVE the leather handles against the olive green!
For the price (I spent <$350 for the bed + trundle…essentially $175 per bed not including mattresses), I am extremely happy with how the bed turned out. The one thing that irks me are the pre-drilled holes on the side of the headboard and footboard meant to be used for a bunk bed conversion. I could have puttied them, but who knows? We might need another bunk one day.
Believe it or not, the toughest part of this project was finding an eco-friendly trundle mattress. The mattress needed to be less than 8″ deep in order to slide under the bed easily. I found plenty of mattresses that would fit, but they weren’t exactly green. I really wanted to use Brentwood Home since I had great success with one of their mattresses in my bedroom, so I shot them an email to see if they offered anything that met my specs.
They promptly replied and pointed me toward their kids’ section. (I had no idea they even had a kids’ section!) The Bamboo Gel 7 checked all the boxes and it was well priced at $205. Winner! If you’re ever in need of an eco-friendly mattress, I can’t recommend Brentwood Home enough. They have lots of options at different price points for cribs, trundles and larger beds, too. They even have changing pads and nursing pillows! (Totally unsolicited.)
The trundle isn’t on a track; it rolls on four casters. When pulling it out and sliding it in, you have to keep it parallel with the bed or it’ll get wonky, but it’s really not an issue since we use the trundle so infrequently.
Slowly but surely, Mabrey’s room is coming along. (Did you spy the wall coverings?) I’ll be sharing the full reveal next month along with a complete source list, but I wanted to share the source of the sheets because they’re so pretty! Mabrey couldn’t decide which set she liked most, so we bought a set of each to mix and match. They have little tags on the long sides that read “SIDE” for easy bed-making. So helpful!
patterned sheets on top bed – Threshold performance sheet set in neutral, Target
blush sheets on trundle – possibly pink vintage washed sheet set, Target
Hope you’re staying cool!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
So, we bought a house. Now for the tour!
You may have already noticed that the flip house is eerily similar to our current home. It’s a midcentury brick ranch on a slab with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. At ~1,100 square feet, it’s a tad smaller than our home. (Essentially, it’s missing the room that serves as our mudroom/dining room/laundry nook.) The front entry garage extends to the back of the house and is much larger and deeper than ours. (Steve is jealous.) The hunter green doors must go. The roof is in excellent shape, but the eaves need replaced. There are no gutters or downspouts.
The yard is almost a half-acre corner lot with mature trees, including a fruit-bearing cherry tree. The bushes lining the walk to the front door are peonies. When we first toured the house, they were in bloom and so pretty. For the most part, the landscaping is fine. It’s nothing a little weeding, pruning and mulch can’t fix.
Ready to see the inside?
Here’s a rudimentary floor plan to help you get your bearings. It isn’t exactly to scale (I left out the bedroom closets), but it’s pretty close. The front yard would be at the bottom of the schematic, and the backyard would be at the top.
Welcome! This is the view as you enter the front door. Straight ahead is a utility closet that houses the furnace and water heater. On the other side of the wall with the thermostat is the kitchen. The pistachio walls and asbestos tile just scream HOME, don’t they?
The front door opens into the living room. If you enter and turn left, this is what you see. There aren’t any defining architectural features in the house – not even a fireplace. The man door on the right allows access to the garage.
Beyond the living room is a dining space just off the kitchen. (Yes, that’s a dryer in the dining room. It was originally in the kitchen, but Steve pulled it before I took pics.) There’s a closet on the right that completely crowds the kitchen. The facing door opens to the backyard.
The backyard is spacious but a little wild.
Back inside, the kitchen boasts yellow Republic steel cabinets. (You can read more about steel cabinets here. They were all the rage in the post-war era.) YELLOW. There is no legit laundry room in the house. Instead, the washer and dryer are included in the kitchen. The dryer used to sit to the left under the wall fan before Steve moved it to the dining room. Believe it or not, the gas stove is located directly across from the dryer hookup. Can you spy the washer peeking out from the back wall? The refrigerator sits in a little nook behind the closet. I’ll share more detailed pictures and discuss our plans for the kitchen in a future post, but let’s agree that the current layout leaves a lot to be desired.
This is the view from the dining room, looking back toward the living room and front door. The house would receive more light if there weren’t heavy drapes blocking every window. The windows are original, and most of them don’t open anymore.
A hallway off the living space leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms.
This is the hallway bathroom. Do not attempt to adjust your monitor. It is Pepto-Bismol pink. The tile on the walls is a lightweight metal of some sort. Aluminum? They fall off with the flick of a fingernail. The toilet is newish, so there’s that.
This is the smallest bedroom. It appears to be the source of the cat pee odor. Obviously, moisture has leaked in through the window at some point, but our inspector tested it and it’s as dry as a bone now.
At the end of the hallway is a second bedroom. It’s probably the brightest room in the house.
My favorite cranny in the whole entire house is this built-in linen closet between the first and second bedrooms. It could be a sweet little feature with some fresh paint and new hardware.
The bedroom at the back of the house is the master bedroom. I’m using the term “master” loosely; it’s a bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. The air conditioning unit in the window reveals another secret about the house: no central A/C. (Our home didn’t have central air when we bought it either. We bought a unit off Craigslist and installed it with the help of a friend and a plumber to save money.)
Here, we have the master bathroom and more metal tiles. I like the fact that it has a window.
That’s it! The uglier the befores, the better the afters, right?
We had an inspector (the same one we used for our house) come out after our offer was accepted to take a look at the property and structure. Luckily, no major issues were discovered. Even though it needs a ton of work, the house is solid.
Thank you for all of the encouraging comments on our newest endeavor! We could use some cheerleaders ;) I’ll be sharing updates as we go. We’ve already started demolition and designed a new kitchen. New windows and updated electrical service are up next. We’re currently addressing the odor and scouting flooring options. I want to avoid carpet if at all possible. We’re learning that we’re attempting to walk a very fine line between good and good enough. There are definitely things we would do differently if our intention was to live here, but that’s not our goal. We want to appeal to the masses – with style and budget in mind. We don’t want to price ourselves out of the market which means we won’t be vaulting any ceilings, removing any load-bearing walls or creating a separate laundry room. But, I can tell you right now, there will be no blotchy beige tile anywhere. Nada.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
We have a teensy strip of concrete just to the right of our front door. Porch? Patio? Sidewalk tangent? I don’t know what to call it.
I put a bench there a few years back, but we never really used it. The kids and neighbor kids tend to congregate on the planter-turned-storage-bench instead. Then I spotted Acapulco chairs on a recent trip to HomeGoods. (I had gone in for discounted hand soap. That’s how stuff like this happens.)
I wasn’t immediately sold on them. I loved the design but questioned the comfortability. I didn’t have any measurements of the porch on me (a true sign of just how much I shunned the weird, wasted space), but I guessed it could handle a pair of chairs and a small accent table. At $60 a pop, the price was right. Typically, Acapulco chairs go for $225+. I snatched up two of them and told myself I could always return them if they didn’t work out.
But as soon as I got them home, I knew there would be no return, no refund coming my way. They fit the space perfectly and are surprisingly comfortable in a lounge-y sort of way. They’re constructed of a rust-proof steel base and vinyl weave. After a month outside, they’ve proven to be super durable. They look brand new even after several significant storms. Severe thunderstorm winds haven’t moved them. They’re sturdy. Layne made me promise not to add pillows because he likes them just the way they are. He’s totally right, of course.
I had fun searching for a side table. I wanted something substantial that would stay put and hold up to the elements. It needed to be roundish, too, to wedge between the chairs. I probably looked at hundreds but ultimately ended up with this gem-shaped, concrete table. The reviews aren’t great, but after reading them I realized it was because the product image doesn’t show the handle cutouts and kinda blows out the color of the concrete. So I took those observations into consideration and decided to spring for it. I was able to use a coupon which brought the price under $100. It arrived in mint condition and looks as expected. I like how the concrete finish ties in to the concrete windowsill (shown in the first image of this post). It’s heavy!
The lesson? READ REVIEWS. Reading reviews is what persuades me to sometimes buy items with two stars (some consumers don’t look at measurements and are disappointed when the item they bought is too big/small) and pass on items with five stars (I look for reviews of verified purchases).
The table is the perfect spot for a small planter and a drink or two. In the morning, it’s coffee. In the evening, it’s coconut rum + pineapple juice. The planter is from West Elm and it’s one of my favorite purchases so far this year. I keep moving it around, inside and outside. (If you’re looking for a succulent that’s easy to care for, I love paddle plant.) The brass coasters are from Schoolhouse Electric. I bought a set for my sister and brother-in-law as a wedding gift this past spring then immediately bought a set for our house. They already have a good patina going thanks to a few spilled drinks courtesy of the kids.
The little outdoor nook has already seen more action over the past month than it has in the entire four years we’ve lived here. It’s been nice to see our house/yard from a new angle. We live in what I refer to as a front yard neighborhood. Most of the front yards are larger than the backyards. All the action happens out front. It’s where the kids play a miniature form of baseball. Neighbors come over to say hi while walking their dogs. A large running group snakes by on Tuesday evenings. I’m surprised the UPS man hasn’t worn a trail directly to the front door. We’re social in the front, private in the back.
Speaking of the backyard, it’s been somewhat of a construction zone this summer. We’re installing shade sails. Can’t wait to share that project!
In the meantime, I rounded up a few of my favorite affordable outdoor side tables in case you’re on the hunt.
Happy porch sitting!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking