...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.24.16 / DIY Trundle Tweak

trundle tweak 1

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.

trundle tweak 2

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.

trundle tweak putty

Before assembling the bed, I filled the knob holes with wood putty and let it dry.

trundle tweak sand

Then we took turns lightly sanding the surface with a random orbital sander to scuff it up for better paint adhesion.

trundle tweak paint sprayer

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.

trundle tweak 3

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!

trundle tweak 6

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.

trundle tweak 4

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.

trundle tweak 5

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.

trundle tweak 8

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

interior door 2

Inquiring minds want to know, “Where did you get the black hinges and doorknobs?” I could’ve sworn I shared the source years ago, but after some digging I realized I hadn’t. Better late than never!

interior doorknob 1

We replaced the interior doors and hardware after we moved in. One caveat: We had already removed the original doors, so we lived without any interior doors for quite a while. With a newborn. And two other rugrats. It sucked. I wouldn’t recommend it.

You can read more about the doors we selected here and here. (Eek! Mabrey looks so little.) We wanted a simple design that didn’t stray too far from our home’s midcentury roots, but we were hoping for something slightly less boring than a flush door slab. We were stoked to discover the Berkley from Masonite’s West End collection with its subtle inset detailing. Steve saved us >$2,000 by hanging the doors himself. Eventually, I painted them to match the trim. (It took me a year to get around to it!)

interior doorknobs 3

We liked the idea of matte black hinges and doorknobs to contrast against the white doors. We went with these hinges. For the bathrooms and bedrooms, we used these privacy doorknobs. For the linen closets, we used these passage doorknobs. For the man door to the garage, we used this keyed entry doorknob along with this deadbolt.

interior doorknobs 2

Four years later, the doors and hardware are holding up extremely well. (My kids should work at a door/doorknob testing facility.)

interior doors 1

The Safe ‘n Sound solid core doors have been a worthy investment. They provide great acoustical insulation in our smallish house (i.e., I lock myself in the bathroom from time to time for a quick, quiet recharge). The doors get a lot of compliments from visitors. They’re unique yet understated. I absolutely LOVE the matte black hardware.

In summary, living with interior doors trumps living without interior doors any day. I hope I never have to do that again.

P.S. – Create your own attic access.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

studio matsalla fireplace 1

I receive emails from readers all the time asking for advice on particularly troublesome areas in their homes. Unfortunately, I’m not able to respond to each one, but a problematic area that keeps popping up is the pesky angled fireplace. I would never suggest an angled fireplace in a new build, but sometimes they’re inevitable in homes bought by successive owners. The good news is I don’t think an angled fireplace should be a deal breaker if other attributes of the home are desirable: location, layout, size, price, potential, etc. In fact, they can really amp up the cozy factor in a space. Personally, I’ve never lived in a home with an angled fireplace, but I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on working around one. If I ever end up with an angled fireplace, there are a few general guidelines (no hard and fast rules) I would follow.

amber lewis fireplace 2

clj fireplace

Update an angled fireplace, but don’t make it the star of the room. If an outdated surround is cramping your style, feel free to give it a fresh coat of paint, add trim, upgrade the mantel and/or install new tile on the surround or hearth to better suit your aesthetic. Keep the updates simple so that the fireplace melds with the rest of the space without creating a distracting focal point in a corner. If you opt for a mantel, keep it shallow. Amber Lewis painted the stone fireplace in her previous living room, while Julia and Chris Marcum added basic trim and paint to a contemporary version in their basement family room. In spaces where you don’t want the corner of a room taking center stage, allow the fireplace to become part of the background.

amber fireplace 3

rafterhouse fireplace

Don’t arrange main furniture pieces parallel to an angled fireplace. It’s so tempting to orient a sofa facing the fireplace. However, when dealing with an angled fireplace, it’s better to place the sofa on OR facing another wall in the room to establish a conversation area. This creates a more practical and appealing layout.

makerista angled fireplace

makerista fireplace 1

amber lewis fireplace 1

Balance an angled fireplace with adjacent built-ins, shelving, a large window, french/sliding doors or furniture items similar in scale to the fireplace. In other words, place something of similar size on a wall at 135° in relation to the fireplace. This keeps your eye traveling around the room instead of dead-ending in a corner. In essence, you are creating a new focal point while still benefitting from the coziness a fireplace can provide. Gwen Hefner designed built-ins using IKEA bookcases for a client’s living room. If desired, you could bring in a media cabinet and TV instead. I wouldn’t recommend placing a TV above an angled fireplace!

studio matsalla fireplace 2

Keep fireplace accessories to a minimum. Placing a small accent chair, ottoman, planter or basket near the fireplace can help soften awkward angles. Just make sure you aren’t drawing unnecessary attention to the corner. Hang a simple mirror or piece of artwork above the mantel, or just leave it bare. This is one time you don’t want to layer a bunch of accessories on the mantel. Studio Matsalla added patterned cement tile to an angled fireplace but opted out of a mantel. A modern planter and round mirror are subtle decorative accents. (You can see how this fireplace fits into the bigger picture in the very first image of this post.)

I hope this gives those of you struggling with angled fireplaces some ideas! No need to sell your house ;)

images: 1,9) Studio Matsalla 2,4,8) design by Amber Interiors; photography by Bryce Covey for Style Me Pretty 3) Chris Loves Julia 5) Rafterhouse 6,7) The Makerista