...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.20.14 / The Nursery

The nursery we weren’t expecting…

nursery before

The before: not a lot to say here. Questionable green carpet, peeling paint, disintegrating baseboards but, LOOK!, a new window! This is the smallest of the three bedrooms (it’s not even 10′ x 10′) but it faces south and receives a good amount of natural light. When we bought the house, we had planned on this being Everett’s room. But a week before we sold our previous house, we discovered we were unexpectedly expecting. Surprise! In an instant, this room became the nursery. Well, not really in an instant. Mabrey was five months old by the time the room resembled anything remotely close to a nursery.

nursery after 1

nursery after 4

I don’t know about you but my number one goal for a nursery is to make it conducive to sleeping – the more, the better. I chose a deep blue-gray for the walls and Steve thought I was insane. (I was extremely sleep-deprived at the time so it wasn’t much of a stretch.) Once the paint was up on the walls, though, he came around. Somehow, the moody walls made the teeny space feel larger. There’s so much depth to the color, it’s as if the walls recede. It continues to be one of my favorite paint colors in the house.

nursery after 2

Along with a good amount of natural light, I used lots of white to brighten the space. I love the contrast. I chose pinks and corals as accents. In keeping with the vibe of the rest of the house, I added hits of texture with layered rugs, a woven shade and seagrass baskets. Since the room is so small, I chose a simple (and inexpensive!) crib that can be converted into a toddler bed. Two years later, I have nothing but good things to say about it. The quilt is a family heirloom. My great-grandmother made it. It was my dad’s when he was a baby then mine. I’ve used it with all three of my kids. It’s starting to show some wear but I think that only adds to its beauty.

I created the art above the crib using an old mirror frame, leftover tongue and groove planks (from our mudroom renovation) and paint. It’s reminiscent of a sunset. It’s secured to the wall with drywall anchors and 3M adhesive strips. Mabrey has never shown an interest in playing with the art but it’s nice to know it’s not going anywhere if she decides to make it her toy. (I know it looks substantial but it weighs less than three pounds.)

The room wouldn’t accommodate an oversized rocker so I chose one with a small footprint. A lumbar pillow and floor pouf (which now lives in the living room) made late night feedings comfortable enough. Luckily, Mabrey was a fast eater so I never spent more than 15-20 minutes in the rocker at a time. Today, it’s where we sit to read nap time and bedtime stories. We’ve made a lot of good memories in that rocker.

nursery after 3

A trio of floating shelves holds books, baskets and decorative items without taking up precious floor space. Two fabric bins on the floor corral toys for easy access and cleanup.

nursery after 5

A makeshift changing table sits opposite the crib. We’ve had the horizontal bookcase for several years and it has served as a living room console, playroom storage and media stand in our previous residences. It’s so versatile! I added a contoured changing pad, toiletry basket and lamp to give it a completely different function in the nursery. The bins and baskets hold the majority of Mabrey’s clothes and diapers.

nursery after 6

Just like in the other bedrooms, I removed the closet door. The door to the room opens up right in front of the closet and it was cumbersome having so many doors (if you can consider two doors “so many”) in such a small space. I hung a curtain panel from a tension rod in the door frame and called it a day.

The closet is super tiny. I put a standing utility shelf in it for extra storage. The closet primarily holds a few hanging items (like dresses, coats and jackets) that are currently in rotation along with hand-me-downs that don’t fit just yet. I keep a laundry basket in the closet and throw in things that are too small as Mabrey outgrows them. When the basket is full, I donate them. It’s a good system. The basket on the floor next to the changing table acts as a hamper.

nursery after 8

The curtains framing the window match the one hanging in the closet. The woven shade is mounted outside the window frame while a room-darkening roller shade is mounted out of sight, inside the window frame. The trunk under the window was a wedding gift from my mom. I tweaked an off-the-shelf dollhouse (it originally featured blue and orange accents) because I’m crazy like that. Sometimes we bring it out to the living room to play.

nursery after 7

nursery after 10

nursery after 9

nursery after 11

nursery after 12

nursery after 13

I caught quite a bit of flack in the online world for creating a dark nursery but I don’t regret it one iota. It’s actually a very happy place to play and sleep. I’m pretty sentimental about this room. I never thought we’d have a little girl in our family (and I was content with that) so I’m really grateful for this space and the amazing little person in it. She’s quite the firecracker and I can’t imagine life without her. Also, I’m already brainstorming ideas for a “big girl” room. It probably won’t happen for a year or so but, be warned, it’s coming. And then, technically, I won’t be able to call it a nursery anymore and I will sob. The end.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore dark pewter
trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
ceiling light – Ikea, discontinued
curtains – West Elm, discontinued
curtain rod – Target
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
room-darkening roller shade – Levolor from Lowe’s
dollhouse – Plan Toys terrace dollhouse
trunk – gift
area rug – jute chenille herringbone from West Elm
sheepskin rug – Ikea
floor lamp – gift
crib – GULLIVER from Ikea
organic mattress pad – Amazon
crib sheet – Amazon
crib bumper – Amazon (white version unavailable)
artwork above crib – DIY
quilt – vintage
striped crib pillow – West Elm, discontinued
rocker - Amazon
lumbar pillow – etsy
floating shelves – Ikea
wire book bins – Kroger
various seagrass baskets – Ikea, Kroger
fabric toy bins – Target
resin deer head – White Faux Taxidermy
fabric garland – DIY
wall mirror – Ikea
table lamp – Morten table lamp from West Elm
extra long, contoured changing pad – Amazon
changing table – EXPEDIT from Ikea, discontinued
striped bins – Ikea, discontinued
doll stroller – Land of Nod

In case you haven’t seen enough of this itty bitty room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:

RENOVATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/01/04/the-painting-saga/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/01/11/the-flooring/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/07/05/hold-the-door/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/15/a-date-with-my-doors/

FURNITURE, DECOR & ORGANIZATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/08/28/mabreys-room/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/10/03/diy-fabric-circles-chandy/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/01/22/a-crib-review-with-special-guests/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/25/playing_in_the_nurser/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/10/free-for-all-white-faux-taxidermy/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/12/13/making-the-most-of-small-closets-nursery/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/01/07/a-dollhouse-for-mabrey/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/03/the-boy-version-of-mabreys-room/

*BONUS* – Mabrey’s birth story.

You can access this nursery tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

08.09.14 / Made Me Smile

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Last week I didn’t publish a Made Me Smile post. My grandmother passed away and my heart wasn’t up to the task. So this installment includes two weeks’ worth of smile-worthy links. I hope you find something that inspires you in some way!

*Did you listen to NPR’s TED radio hour, Growing Up, last week? I loved it.

*SHE FOUND HIM.

*Terrible real estate agent photos + hilarious captions = a good way to waste time.

*Be still my organizing, laundry-loving heart.

*My favorite hand soap in bulk refills!

*Such a great mix of old + new in a home with a family history. (The home is also featured in the current family issue of Anthology magazine. So good!)

*A smart and stylish galley kitchen. (Don’t let the initial 30-second ad turn you off. You won’t be disappointed!)

ensemble architecture

*Architecture lust.

*I’m usually one of the last people to try new apps and tech-y things but the issuu clip is right up my alley. Clipping and pinning directly from the pages of a magazine? Yesssss.

*Patrick Dempsey’s thoughts on being a caretaker of a home (not just an owner) make him even hotter. Trust me, it’s possible.

*Tips for creating a bright kitchen in a basement apartment.

*A house inspired by Tom and Jerry cartoons. Needless to say, it’s a giant indoor playground – for kids and adults!

*It’s National Book Lovers Day! A few on my wish list: Clutterfree with Kids, Tiny House Living, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap).

What are you up to this weekend? We’re laying low and gearing up for the start of another school year. Here’s to backpacks, jackets, lunch boxes, books and homework overtaking the mudroom once again!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Ensemble Architecture

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Jessica who isn’t a jewelry girl, per se, but loves the skylight disc pendant!

Do you display your jewelry at home?

jewelry crate 2

I have a porcelain egg crate on my nightstand. I use it to corral my favorite pieces.

jewelry crate 3

It also makes a great dumping zone for my everyday studs, wedding band and hair elastic at the end of the day when I’m crawling into bed.

jewelry tree 1

I recently added a jewelry tree to the top of the dresser. I love the simple, modern design. (It was an etsy find.) I had been stashing the majority of my jewelry in plastic sandwich bags in a drawer and, as a result, it wasn’t getting much wear time. I’m hoping that by displaying everything in plain sight maybe I’ll be more inclined to wear pieces I haven’t worn in years.

jewelry tree 2

The top tier is perfect for watches, bracelets and dangly earrings. The bottom tier holds necklaces galore. I was a little worried about the display looking too busy (I tend to like things uncluttered) but I think it looks so pretty!

circle hooks 2

A trio of wood dot hooks is another fun way to display jewelry. I hung these in Mabrey’s room just this week. At two years old, she’s a little young for jewelry yet, but maybe she’ll use these to display her baubles some day. (For now, I hang her towel, sleep sack and favorite tutu from the hooks.)

circle hooks 3

My jewelry is a mix of high and low. The red triangle choker was a flea market find. It’s very Wilma Flintstone, no? In general, I’m drawn to beaded necklaces and bracelets with a few special pieces thrown in.

 

round-black-diamond-18k-yellow-gold-pendant

Speaking of special pieces…Gemvara sent me this skylight disc gem pendant to share. A small black diamond eclipses the gold disc and it’s just about the cutest thing ever. This is going to sound far-fetched and cliché but the pendant makes me think that no matter how big our problems (the black diamond) might seem, in the grand scheme of things (the gold disc) they’re just a blip. I like that this necklace can be dressed up or down. It’s perfect for day or night.

gemvara skylight disc

For years, I swore off gold jewelry but I’m having a big love affair with it at the moment. If black diamonds and gold metal aren’t your thing, no worries. Gemvara jewelry is customizable in over 20 different natural gemstones and 9 precious metals. (You just click on your preferred gemstone and metal then the site generates an image of your selections so you know exactly what to expect.) There’s no inventory. Each piece is handcrafted in the U.S.A. and shipping is always free. If something doesn’t fit (or she says no – AH!), you have 101 days to return all items – even engraved pieces.

jewelry tree 3

Does all this talk about jewelry have you itching to get your bling on? Yes? Then keep reading because Gemvara is giving away a $1,000 credit to their site! See more dazzling pieces and find the giveaway entry details below.

 

gemvara

 

gemstones by the yard stud earrings // zoe band // roxanne band // cecelia ring // emerald isle ring // gemstones by the yard solitaire necklace // gem wire earrings

PRIZE: one $1,000 credit to Gemvara

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

TO ENTER: Click here, sign up for email, then link to your favorite Gemvara piece in the comments section below.

DEADLINE: Enter before Thursday, August 7th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Saturday, August 9th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Score 15% off your Gemvara purchase over the next 72 hours by clicking here. (The discount will automatically apply. No promo code is necessary. Easy!)

Good luck! I hope you win something special.

*This post is sponsored in part by Gemvara. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.30.14 / The Master Bedroom

Once upon a time our bedroom was a very scary place.

master br before 2

From what we can discern, the previous owner used it as a painting studio. The room was home to dozens of canvases and numerous dressers holding art supplies when we first toured the house. The green shag carpet was horribly stained. One corner of the room showed signs of water damage. (We later learned from neighbors that a tree fell and damaged that corner of the house when Hurricane Ike barreled through in 2008.)

master br before 1

The room faces northeast and receives the least amount of natural light of all the rooms in the house. In the summer (shown here and in the “afters” below), the room takes on an eerie green glow.

master br before 3

An adjoining bathroom – albeit small – was the only thing this room had going for it. Please notice the dark trail from the hallway to the bathroom. (!) I don’t even want to know. Let’s hope it was paint.

master br 5

We added foam insulation to the exterior walls, ripped up the carpet, sprung for new windows, laid engineered hardwood flooring, installed chunky new baseboards and had the electrical upgraded to include a ceiling fixture. Among other things. Choosing a paint color for this room proved difficult. Before moving in, we painted it the same color as the main living space but the light hue looked very dingy in this room. I repainted the walls a warm gray with green-blue undertones that play nicely in the dim light. Sometimes it looks gray. Sometimes it looks green. Sometimes it looks blue. But it always feels calm and soothing – even under artificial lighting at night.

Placing the bed under the eastern window was our only viable option in this room. I initially bought a curved headboard but the lines were all wrong under the squarish window. I switched it out for the straight, upholstered one seen here.

master br 6

In each of the bedrooms, we ditched the closet doors in favor of curtain panels hung high and wide. For us, it’s easier to access the closet contents this way. The panels make it feel a little like a dressing experience, too, if that makes any sense. Most of the time, I stand inside the closet to dress. Hanging the curtains outside of the frame gave us a good 6″ of extra closet depth. All of Steve’s and my clothing is in this modest closet. Everything is organized with off-the-shelf wire racks and drawers. We were even able to incorporate two pull-out hampers (one for darks, one for lights) in the closet design. Shoes currently not in rotation are stored in the slim wall cabinet to the right of the closet.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful it is to have a pared down closet. Steve and I both enjoy expressing our styles via our wardrobes and, before living in this house, we were accustomed to large, walk-in closets. What we’ve found though is that we are much more focused on quality vs. quantity when it comes to buying clothing now. We’re spending less money on clothing by buying more long-haul pieces. Since space is limited (we have a set number of hangers and shelves) we subscribe to the “one thing in, one thing out” policy. And the closet is always tidy! Don’t let anyone fool you into believing you need a walk-in closet to be happy.

master br 7

Matching sconces and nightstands flank the bed. Framed prints bridge the gap between the sconces and the top of the nightstands. We don’t keep too much bedside but I love having greenery (I clip it from the backyard) and a stack of books nearby.

For cohesion, we hung the same woven shades found throughout the house. For privacy, we installed blackout roller shades within each window frame. They aren’t visible until we pull them down at night. A nubby jute rug picks up on the woven blinds.

master br 11

I tried to keep the bedding gender neutral with a striped duvet and embroidered hemp pillow. IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I like stripes and natural textures.

master br 3

A vintage dresser sits opposite the bed. I think it’s my favorite craigslist find of all time. The black and white abstract art was painted by the previous owner. I leaned it against the wall to “try it out” nearly two years ago and liked the casual look so much I left it that way.

master br 4

We rigged the top dresser drawer so that it’s hinged and can be used as a keyboard pull-out. It’s lined with cork so no mouse pad is needed. The “dresker” is the perfect place for Steve to take evening conference calls or work from home when necessary. I keep a wool blanket in the second drawer for freezing winter nights but the bottom two drawers are empty!

master br 12

This is the view looking into the bedroom from the doorway. You can barely see the door frame to the bathroom on the left. The large canvas was a controversial DIY. (You can read more about it via a link near the end of this post. There’s an interesting discussion in the comments section.) I love it nonetheless.

master br 9

master br 10

master br 1

master br 8

It took us every bit of two years to get our bedroom just right. I can still remember the nights of insomnia staring at the ceiling contemplating this room. My goal was to create a peaceful place to retreat at the end of every busy day. I can’t say I won’t tweak things in here ever again but it does offer the calming respite I was hoping for. We sleep well.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore half moon crest
trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
ceiling fixture – Robert Abbey axis aged brass ceiling light
woven shades – petite rustique from Overstock
blackout roller shades – Levolor from Lowe’s
curtain panels – Ikea
curtain rods – Target
closet organization – ClosetMaid
bed – West Elm (discontinued)
headboard – West Elm nailhead upholstered headboard in brushed heather cotton, gray haze
duvet – DwellStudio draper stripe
white blanket – Target
embroidered pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
sconces – House of Troy addison swing arm lamp in antique brass
nightstands – Vilas one-drawer nightstand from Overstock (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
wood frames – Target
art prints – printwork on etsy
yarn-wrapped gazelle – Target
Barcelona bench – Rove Concepts in palermo caramel leather
sheepskin – Ikea
9′ x 12′ jute rug – Overstock
shoe cabinet – Ikea (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
mirror – RSI from Wayfair
desk chair – West Elm saddle office chair
kilim pillow – Sukan on etsy
chevron art – DIY
dresser – vintage Willett via craigslist
lamp – Robert Abbey delta table lamp
black and white abstract art – estate sale
faux antlers – One Kings Lane
driftwood sculpture – thrifted

If you’re interested in seeing how this room evolved, here are a slew of bedroom-related links:

FURNITURE

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/08/10/recent-purchases-3/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/11/i-like-to-move-it-move-it/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/17/wayfair-in-the-house-lets-talk-about-my-bed/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/06/a-desk-disguised-as-a-dresser-a-k-a-the-dresker/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/17/a-bench-in-the-bedroom/

DECOR

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/29/looking-for-a-bedroom-light/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/08/31/the-pursuit-of-a-casual-bedroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/27/wayfair-in-the-house-swing-arm-wall-lamp/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/05/i-dont-want-to-leave-my-bedroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/17/wayfair-in-the-house-lets-talk-about-my-bed/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/21/our-bedroom-window-treatments/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/07/11/his-hers-nightstands/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/08/01/wayfair-in-the-house-a-bedroom-mirror/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/12/the-fruits-of-my-antiquing-adventure/

ORGANIZATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/06/14/closetsmaid-right/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/25/making-the-most-of-small-closets-master-bedroom/

DIY

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/07/05/hold-the-door/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/04/diy-hinged-drawer/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/09/one-ticket-to-hell-please/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/15/a-date-with-my-doors/

You can access this master bedroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking