...because home doesn't happen overnight.

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Mary Ann and Kelly! I have already emailed you two with more info about your prizes. Thanks!

studio kitchenette 2

My kids are on summer break which means they are either bored or hungry until mid-August. Ha! (I’m half joking.) I signed the boys up for a free camp program that our local park district offers three mornings per week, and they are taking a tennis class twice a week in the evenings. Mabrey takes a gymnastics class with her cousin (same age) once a week. Other than those activities we have the library, a pool pass and the studio to keep us busy this summer.

studio kitchenette 6

The kids have been good sports about hanging out in the empty studio while I clean, take measurements, check in on progress, paint and make plans. In fact, they’re usually excited to go and that makes me happy. (It could have something to do with the NatureBox snacks.) I’ve always envisioned them playing, crafting, messing next to me at the studio. I want it to be a creative haven for them, too. But a few changes need to be made in order for that to happen.

For one, I need a large work table. I’ve been stalking an old dining table on ebay that would fit the bill, but I want to add casters to make it portable. It’s located here in Ohio. I could avoid shipping costs by picking it up myself. I haven’t pulled the trigger just yet only because I’m working on painting the floors. The table has been up for auction numerous times and keeps getting relisted when it doesn’t sell. With the floors almost done, I think I’m pulling the trigger this week!

studio whiteout 2

The other must-have is storage. Originally, I had planned on bringing in a wardrobe or armoire for storage, but with the kids in tow I’m leaning toward adding a few cabinets with drawers. I’ve rolled the idea around in my head over and over and I think a simple dry bar setup would work best. The space doesn’t have plumbing and there’s a cleanup sink just down the hall. I’m thinking a small bank of base cabinets, a mini fridge and a simple open shelf would suffice for housing the kids’  art supplies, snacks and packed lunches. The entry wall (shown above) would be the perfect location.

I busted out a very rudimentary sketch of what I have in mind. On graph paper…because that’s where the magic happens for me.

studio dry bar

As far as aesthetic, I’ve been writing down words that come to mind when I think of how I want the studio to look and feel: industrial, modern, farmhouse, imperfect, casual, durable, versatile, informal, functional, ever-changing, simple, inspiring. That list is pushing me toward Ikea cabinet frames paired with notched, flat panel drawer fronts similar to these.

studio dry bar 2

Lately, I’ve been drawn to cabinets painted in earthy greens. If I can make it work with the painted concrete floors, I’d love to use the DIY slab-style drawer fronts from Semihandmade and paint them a shade of green. I’ve always wanted to try Semihandmade drawer fronts / doors and this seems like the perfect excuse to do so. Even though there is a cleanup sink down the hall, the water isn’t drinkable as-is. Hence, the mini fridge so I can utilize a water filter.

One of the cabinets will be designated the snack cabinet. My kids are huge NatureBox fans. The monthly snack subscription is great for busy (summer!) months when we’re traveling back and forth to the pool, the library, the park, the studio, etc. They make great snacks for longer trips, too. I’m able to select which snacks are delivered to my doorstep. With over 100 options and no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no artificial colors, it’s easy to find delicious snack options everyone loves. Each bag contains 3-5 servings so one bag feeds my crew. The salt & pepper lentil loops, antioxidant boost and granny smith apples are their favorites.

studio kitchenette 1

Does NatureBox sound like something your family would like to try this summer? Maybe you have a vacation coming up? Today NatureBox is offering TWO free 6-month subscriptions. See entry details below.

PRIZE: Two H*T readers will win a 6-month subscription to NatureBox.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. or Canada. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Browse NatureBox’s snack selection here then leave a comment on this post sharing which snack(s) you’d like to try.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST Tuesday, June 23rd. Two random winners will be announced Wednesday, June 24th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Join NatureBox today and get a FREE sample box of some of their fan favorites. Click here to get started.

Good luck!

*This post sponsored in part by NatureBox, a product and service I use personally. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

images: 1-4 & 6) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 5) (clockwise from top left) Lincoln Barbour for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design; The Urban Farmhouse; Mazen Studio; Laure Joliet for Remodelista

06.15.15 / Liked & Linked

studio floor paint

dresser rehab

Last week Mabrey helped me choose a paint color for the studio floor. Don’t get me wrong. I love concrete floors but these are badly stained, cracked, crumbling, etc. If paying someone to fix and polish them didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I would totally do it. But, alas, it seems the going rate for finished concrete floors is one arm plus one leg. So a few gallons of porch and floor paint it is! I literally threw a bunch of swatches on the ground then we walked all over them. I picked the one that showed our dirty footprints the least.

I also finished rehabbing a pair of vintage dressers for a client. Fancy new dressers weren’t in the budget so I found a matching midcentury pair via craigslist for $45. The tops were fugly laminate and I used Ardex feather finish to give them a new look. I’ll be sharing the tutorial and before-and-afters later this week. It was a really fun project.

More fun stuff…

*Real estate finds: I want to show it some love. I want to save it.

*A dreamy marbled duvet.

*Browsing Remodelista’s considered design awards. (You must check out the amateur garage-turned-kitchen by Jo Flavell under the “Amateur – best kitchen space” tab. So mooooody.)

insieme house

*I have two new instagram crushes: Gray Benko and Insieme House. One makes me laugh and the other makes me want to buy a teeny A-frame ASAP.

*I just finished reading this book and now Steve is reading it. The tiny house lifestyle really appeals to me. I’ve all but decided that when we’re empty nesters we’ll have a tiny house. Steve says okay as long as he gets a big workshop.

*Steve has been dropping hints as to what he wants for Father’s Day. It’s either a food processor or a BBQ Dragon.

Happy Monday!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Insieme House

06.03.15 / Studio Whiteout

A quick backstory: Lowe’s invited me to their headquarters a few months ago. I’ve never really been a fan of blogger conventions / events. I guess that’s the introvert in me. But I was suffering from a major case of cabin fever and Steve was encouraging me to go so I accepted the invite. I got a behind-the-scenes peek at the company’s thought process and was asked to give honest feedback on everything from products to advertising to store layouts. I was nothing but honest. Maybe even a little brutal? Let’s just say I didn’t hold back. But they took it all in stride, asking more questions. They really want to be better – even different – at what they do.

On the last day of my visit, I was paired with another blogger and we were given creative freedom to create a room of our choice using Lowe’s products. We designed a bathroom and it was so much fun! I really appreciated the fact that we were not pressured to create a certain look. Honestly, that bathroom was a space I would want in my own house. Before I left to return home, they told me to contact them if I was ever in need of help with a project. That offer came to mind when I started making plans for the studio so I reached out. I can’t thank Lowe’s enough for the drywall and paint. And they didn’t ask me to say that either. In fact, they didn’t ask me to say anything.

Remember what the studio looked like a month ago? It’s well on its way to becoming a blank canvas.

studio whiteout 1

studio whiteout 2

Steve and I briefly discussed hanging new drywall and painting the room ourselves but, when we looked at our busy calendar, considered the scope of the project (the ceiling is 18′ high!) and couldn’t come up with a good solution for childcare, I decided to hire out. As DIYers, that was a hard pill to swallow. But since I’m renting the space, time is money. It helped that Lowe’s stepped in to cover the cost of materials. For that, I am so grateful.

One of the best things about this space is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. We aren’t going to be living here, just making messes and being creative. Instead of ripping out the original drywall, the drywall guys simply hung ½” drywall panels over the existing walls. This kept demo, waste and cost to a minimum. They ran into an issue with the studs…or lack thereof. The “studs” are aluminum and not spaced properly so there was some guesswork involved. The room is located in an old warehouse so it isn’t surprising that there are dubious things going on behind the walls. The walls aren’t going to fall down or anything like that, but it does make hanging things a little tedious. It took a team of three guys one week to hang, tape, mud and sand the walls. (It probably would have taken Steve and me all summer.) It isn’t the most impeccable finish work I’ve seen but it will do.

studio whiteout 5

studio whiteout 6

A painter sprayed the walls and ceiling. We went with Kilz latex primer, followed by two coats of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams primer + paint in one. The paint color is pure white (SW 7005). Using two different primers might have been overkill but there was quite a bit of staining on the ceiling and brick (window) wall that had to be blocked. Per code, the sprinkler system remains red. The exposed conduit, various pipes and old fuse boxes are now all white and not nearly as noticeable. White paint is magical!

studio whiteout 3

From afar, the metal window frames look black but, in reality, they’re mostly corroded. I will probably end up painting them (black or white?) but I don’t mind them as-is for now. Cleaning the dirty panes is a higher priority, I think. The green paint is on the outside of the windows. All of the windows at the warehouse are green on the exterior.

studio whiteout 4

I’m going to paint the radiator white…after I clean it. I don’t think it has ever been cleaned. Ever. It looks like it’s covered in soot but I’m assuming it’s just charred dust and dirt. As much as I love the look of painted white floors in a studio space, they aren’t practical here. The space is accessed via a loading dock so grime is constantly being tracked in. The concrete is in poor condition so I think painting the floors a dirty gray is the way to go. The concrete gives way to wood right in front of the radiator. (Not sure what that’s all about?) Some of the boards need replaced.

I took these photos several days ago and the space is already looking so much better. I’ve spent all of my spare chunks of time at the studio cleaning this week. It’s been difficult finding the time with end-of-school activities taking top priority, but I did manage to log 5 hours of quality time with my shop-vac the other day. Between the original gritty condition of the space and the new layers of drywall dust, it was pretty gross. Today Everett and Mabrey “helped” me scrub down the radiator. We had to change our clothes when we got home.

The shell of the room is coming along! I took precise measurements and drew up a floor plan today so I can start space planning. The landlord claims the room is 1,000 square feet but it’s closer to 870. I’m more comfortable with that number. I’m excited to put my spin on the space and try some new things that aren’t necessarily practical, or even possible, in my own home.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking