...because home doesn't happen overnight.

painted bathroom 1

Staying true to the “slow and steady wins the race” motto, we’ve been plugging away at the hallway bathroom when time allows. All the grout has been sealed. Baseboards have been installed, painted and caulked. The walls are painted, too. I’ve been doing this for a while now but the effect of finishing touches (like baseboards and paint) never ceases to amaze me. All of a sudden a project feels like a room!

painted bathroom 2

We had to order additional base molding to match the baseboards in the rest of the house. We had a small section leftover from the whole house renovation but were ~20′ short. The baseboards in the rest of the house are painted Benjamin Moore white dove but when I held a swatch up to the subway tile in the bathroom, it was too creamy. I ended up painting the baseboards in Benjamin Moore super white. It’s a great match but I’d be lying if I said having a different white in the bathroom doesn’t make me the slightest bit twitchy. The tile is a very cool white with bluish undertones and the room itself is north-facing so the light in here isn’t as warm as in other areas of the house. But it’s all good. I think repeating black and wood accents in the bathroom will help to tie it in with the rest of the house.

painted bathroom 3

Steve and I had assumed I would paint the walls Benjamin Moore tapestry beige to match the hallway and main living space. But when I painted a swatch on the bathroom wall, it looked so wrong (i.e. dirty) in the context of the bathroom. That’s when I made the executive decision to stop worrying about “matching” the bathroom to the rest of the house. Instead, I focused on selecting a paint color that suits the room and its cool light.

I considered painting the whole room out in BM super white but, (I think I’ve mentioned this before) as much as I like looking at white rooms online, they don’t feel right in real life…at least not in this house. The super white looked, well, super white. So stark, so cold. I kept looking and searched hundreds of paint colors and finally landed on Ace Paint lost spur. (The color number is D35-2. Ace Hardware should have an Ace Paint color deck at the paint counter. If it’s not on display, ask for it. My local store doesn’t have it on display.) I had it mixed in Clark + Kensington primer + paint in one. This is my go-to brand ever since I painted the mudroom walls black. I’ve used it in the boys’ room and on the brick fireplace and TV surround. The coverage is great. (Not sponsored, just sharing.)

painted bathroom 4

painted bathroom 5

I love the color. It’s a subtle green-gray with some blue in it. It’s one of those colors that looks different every thirty minutes. Sometimes it’s white, sometimes gray, sometimes green, sometimes blue. Sometimes it’s warm, sometimes cool. I love chameleon colors like this – colors you can’t put your finger on. I like that it’s light but not an obvious match to the tile. Also, this room is so difficult to photograph. I wish you could see it in person. You really have to be in the room to get the full effect.

painted bathroom 6

Steve and I installed the wall sconce last night. It’s the same light we have in the master bathroom. I’m itching to get the vanity in so I can start The Great Mirror Search. But, first, the tub.

unpainted tub

Here it is hanging out in the garage in all its one-legged, heavy cast iron glory. We recently cleaned out the garage (yep, this is the cleaned up version) to gain access to the tub. We hadn’t looked at it in years and were pleasantly surprised to discover the inside is in excellent condition. (The previous owners had it reglazed.) There was a lot of drama surrounding the acquisition of the tub. So much so, that I think we forgot about the condition. To be safe, I tested the interior and exterior for lead. The results were negative. I know it looks kinda shabby but I think it just needs a good cleaning and a few coats of primer and paint on the exterior.

black jack paint swatch

We’ve already agreed on a paint color for the exterior. It’s Benjamin Moore black jack. I’ll probably go with an oil-based paint in a satin finish for durability and ease of maintenance.

reclaimed beam

For weeks we’ve been scouring the internet for wood to attempt a DIY cradle base for the tub. We were looking for specific dimensions. The ideal beam turned up at a local reclaimed materials supplier this week. It set us back $40 and Steve hauled it home in his truck on Wednesday. After some deliberation, it looks like we’ll need to take it to a saw mill to have it cut. We don’t think the rough cut of a chainsaw is the look we’re going for. We don’t want perfection (it is a reclaimed beam after all) but we don’t want rustic either. We’re hoping to have it cut to size this weekend. Steve and I both predict that once the tub is in, things will roll pretty quickly. Let’s hope so!

painted bathroom 8

So that’s where things stand with the bathroom. We ran out of caulk and still need to caulk around the window and where the tile meets the drywall but that’s small potatoes. I swear. Gathering supplies is almost always the rate limiting step for us in any project.

painted bathroom 7

In other news, Cheetah is my shadow and quite the camera lover. Such a photobomber! Is cat modeling a thing? If so, I’m signing her up for the next animal talent search.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

09.23.14 / DIY Lavender Sachet

DIY lavender sachet 1

I had a small scrap of fabric leftover from the Hmong pillows I made a few weeks ago. I’m trying not to let too much time pass between sewing projects (my sewing machine has sat unused for too long) so I brainstormed another easy DIY for the scrap…lavender sachets!

DIY lavender sachet supplies

Assuming you have a sewing machine, scissors, needle, thread and paper on hand, this project requires only a few supplies: fabric, leather lace and dried lavender flowers. As I mentioned, the fabric was leftover from a previous project. It was roughly 12″ x 11″. I found the leather lace at JoAnn’s for less than $3 on sale. (It’s with the jewelry supplies.) The bag of organic lavender was $19 from Amazon but it looks like it isn’t available directly right now so the price is screwy. Maybe check it in a few days or weeks and see if Amazon has it back in stock. Or this looks like a similar alternative. Of course, you could always opt for a difference scent if you wanted, too.

I ended up making two sachets (with plenty of leather lace and lavender leftover for future sachets). Here’s what I did…

DIY lavender sachet 3

1. I cut two 11″ strips of leather lace to create hanging loops for the two sachets.

2. I cut my scrap fabric into four equal “squares.” (With my scrap, this equated to four pieces that measured roughly 6″ x 5.5″. They weren’t perfect squares.) I layered two squares on top of each other – wrong sides facing out – and repeated with the other two fabric squares.

3. I folded a leather strip in half and placed it between two layered squares leaving ~½” of the loose ends sticking out past the fabric. I placed the leather loop about an inch or so away from the top right corner. I repeated this with the other strip of leather lace and remaining fabric squares.

4. Starting at the leather loose ends, I sewed around the squares in a clockwise manner but stopped about 2″ shy of my starting point to leave an opening.

DIY lavender sachet 4

5. This is how the inside-out sachets looked after sewing and leaving a small opening at the top. I trimmed the excess fabric around the edges then turned the sachets right side out.

6. I used the eraser end of a pencil to help push out the corners.

DIY lavender sachet 5

7. I made a makeshift paper funnel and used it to fill the sachet with lavender. I filled each sachet with about 1 cup of lavender.

8. I closed up the small opening at the top of each sachet using a blind stitch.

DIY lavender sachet 6

Voila! A super simple sachet that smells pretty amazing. As you can see, I switched up the fabric so one sachet has solid fabric showing and the other has patterned fabric showing. I like them both! The leather loops allow me to hang them up almost anywhere. The possibilities are endless.

DIY lavender sachet 2

Try one on a hook near the front door so guests are greeted with a gentle waft of lavender.

DIY lavender sachet 7

Hang one on a bathroom doorknob to keep things smelling fresh. *BONUS* – Steamy showers will help release the scent even more.

DIY lavender sachet 9

Instead of wearing perfume, loop a sachet over a hanger in the closet to scent clothes for a special occasion.

DIY lavender sachet 8

If you own thrifted or vintage furniture pieces, try tossing one in a drawer to ward off musty odors.

DIY lavender sachet 10

Sachets aren’t just for the home. Hang one from the rearview mirror in your car.

DIY lavender sachet 11

Handmade sachets are a great gift idea, too. Personally, I like giving gifts that are one part bought and one part handmade. Pair a handmade sachet with a pretty scarf or sweater for a more thoughtful gift. Seeing as how I have a bag of lavender leftover from this project, I can’t wait to hit up some local fabric stores for discounted scraps to make more sachets. Wouldn’t they make cute teacher gifts for the holidays?

Anyway, these were a lot of fun to put together and I’m happy I used up all the Hmong fabric. Two sewing projects in two months?! My sewing machine doesn’t know what to think.

images: Dana Miller fro House*Tweaking

09.22.14 / Made Me Smile

This post is going up a few days late but for good reason. I met up with my college girlfriends for the weekend and I purposefully left my laptop at home. Normally, I bring my laptop on trips but this time I didn’t want its presence distracting me. The goal for the weekend was to wind down and catch up. We had such a good time! I’m so happy we’ve been able to preserve this tradition for the last 12 years. It’s never easy to sync our schedules but it’s always worth it.

Without further ado, a few links from last week…

nate berkus fabric for joann fabrics

*I finally checked out Nate Berkus’s fabric line at JoAnn. I fell in love with the Warehem upholstery fabric (shown above) and have been brainstorming ideas for incorporating it into our home. I’ll keep you posted… (FYI – All JoAnn home décor fabrics are currently on sale!)

*Modern cat shelters – how timely!

*How to mix old and new cabinetry successfully.

*A DIY kitchen makeover that cost <$500!

*I’ve been waiting for these afters ever since I interviewed Orlando earlier this summer. Gah! I especially like how he carved out FOUR different zones (den, living room, dining area, bar) within one large space. Seriously. I don’t think Orlando could be / do anything ugly at this point even if he tried.

*Yes please!

marion house book entry light

*Emma’s entry is the epitome of fall.

*My favorite nail polish for fall. (It’s on my fingers as I type.)

*(Technically, this isn’t from last week but that’s the beauty of waiting until Monday to post links.) Daniel is well on his way to becoming the male blogger version of Nicole Curtis. It’s a good thing.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Tomorrow is the first day of my favorite season but it also means winter is near. It’s bittersweet but sweet nonetheless.

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Emma Reddington for The Marion House Book

family photo books 1

I’ve been meaning to create family photo books for a while now. I held off as long as I did because I was waiting for the perfect photo book to come along. I really didn’t want the thick albums of yesteryear with their photo pockets. I’m horrible at printing out photos. Horrible. Not to mention, traditional bulky albums take up a lot of space – space we don’t have. It saddened me to know the photos of our life were stuck in limbo on our laptop and phones. Surely there was a tangible yet beautiful way to share family photos.

Enter Artifact Uprising. The company offers a variety of photo products you can hold in your hand: photo books (hardcover and softcover), calendars, postcards, prints, etc. It doesn’t sound all that different from any other company offering similar products but Artifact Uprising focuses on design-worthy aesthetics and eco-friendly materials. Photo book pages are made of 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and wood items are handcrafted from local, fallen beetle pine – versus healthy trees. The commitment to quality along with the inspiring back story are what set this company apart from the rest of the pack.

“We believe that doing good is more important than doing well – and that kindness makes the world right. We believe in travel and the things you can learn from getting lost. And we believe the best lessons come from the listening. We try to laugh when light is needed and persist when the path requires it. We love wide open spaces and campfires and the kind of quiet that allows you to hear the snow crunching below your feet. We believe in those who wake up every day to choose joy. And we believe in the underdog. We believe in always remembering where you came from. We believe each of us will – in time – do something really, really nice for the world.” – Jenna Walker, CEO & co-founder of Artifact Uprising

family photo books 2

So, yeah, choosing Artifact Uprising was a no-brainer. I sat down one afternoon while the boys were at school and Mabrey was napping and created nine softcover photo books in the 5.5″ x 5.5″ size. They candidly document the last three years of our life. Most of the photos are from my instagram account but I downloaded a few from our computer as well. I didn’t include every photo from my instagram feed – only the ones that were family-oriented. I chose mostly nature-themed photos as cover photos so the books would look pretty on display. They. are. gorgeous.

family photo books 3

The day the books arrived I tossed them in a bowl on the coffee table and immediately the kids were flipping through them. They are the perfect size for little hands. To say we LOVE them is an understatement.

family photo books 4

I can’t believe how one photo can spark a memory and suddenly we’re talking about “that one time…” They are such great conversation starters for kids. Mabrey especially enjoys seeing pictures of people she knows in a book. “Dat’s ME!” She thinks they’re legit books and we’re all famous ;)

family photo books 5

One softcover book runs $16.99 and would make a special gift for a family member or friend. Mine are in chronological order but you can create “themed” books, too. A book that tells the story of a child from newborn to graduation would be great for a graduation party. A book dedicated to a family vacation could be fun. Steve and I have even talked about creating a book that documents our home’s renovation.

How do you display family photos at home? We have a gallery wall plus these new photo books and we also stream our computer photos on to the TV (via Apple TV) on the weekends when we have guests or are working on a project. The kids love seeing themselves on TV. #mininarcissists

*I love Artifact Uprising‘s mission so much that I contacted them about becoming an affiliate soon after our photo books arrived. They agreed! While I purchased the photo books shown above on my own with no special discount, I do earn commission on any orders placed via affiliate links. This post was NOT sponsored and Artifact Uprising didn’t request a post. I just love sharing good stuff. Thanks for your continued support!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking