...because home doesn't happen overnight.
06.30.14 / Made Me Smile

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If you follow me on instagram then you probably already know that Steve underwent an emergency appendectomy on Friday. He’s home now and resting but the recovery has been much more difficult than either of us were expecting. Obviously, our priorities have completely shifted. The kids have been good about bringing Steve water and snacks and reserving their aggressive hugs for when he’s feeling better. Mabrey is keeping us stocked up on groceries ;)

I wasn’t able to post my regular “Made Me Smile” links but there were too many good ones not to. I thought you might enjoy seeing them even though it’s Monday.

*I don’t know about you but I can’t think about appendectomies without thinking of Madeline.

*A $22,000 dream house…on wheels. (Steve and I are inspired by the couple’s desire to live mortgage-free.)

*One of the best nursery reveals I’ve seen. I love the mix of old, new and handmade.

*A young family is just beginning the decorating adventure in their newly constructed home. Damn good start if you ask me.

*Who wouldn’t want to stay at the Lombardi House?

*The mom behind the popular General Store.

*Coming to bookshelves in the fall of 2015: A Field Guide to Decorating.

*Daddy’s kitchen.

*Mabrey’s shopping cart.

Happy Monday, friends!

A quick update on the bathroom…

bathroom tile progress

We have two walls of subway tile! Tiling the uneven window wall was difficult. Tiling the smoother wall on the left was like tying a shoe in comparison. Steve knocked it out in one evening.

bathroom tile progress 2

Look at those perfectly wrapped corner tiles. Reason #99 you should marry an engineer.

In case you’re just now tuning in (or maybe you didn’t even know we had a second bathroom because we’ve shunned it for the last two years), this is the main bathroom in the house. A freestanding shower / tub will eventually live right in front of the back wall. We’re taking the tile to the ceiling around the shower / tub and the rest of the room will have tiled wainscoting. After much debate (I wanted tile. Steve wanted baseboards.) we’re installing the same chunky baseboards in here as the rest of the house. That’s why you see a gap at the bottom of the walls between the wall tile and floor tile.

As the shell of the room started to take shape, I got to thinking about how we would trim out the wainscoting and shower walls.

tile molding

I don’t even remember doing it but I selected this curvy tile to act as molding atop the tiled wainscoting. I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, wait, I was pregnant. I probably wasn’t thinking. Maybe I was thinking about lunch. Maybe I was thinking about a nap. Most likely, I was contemplating how I could eat lunch and nap at the same time.

But I digress.

There’s nothing wrong with the tile itself but when you butt it up against the skinny modern subway tiles it looks strange. The profile is all wrong. And Steve and I were confused about where exactly to install it. Just along the wainscoting? Up the side of the shower walls? It would look weird if we ran it along the top of the wainscoting and dead-ended it at the shower. And it would look just as weird to have a mitered inside corner at the shower wall and continue the molding up the edge of the shower only to dead-end at the ceiling. We were at a loss.

That’s when an image of black pencil liner popped into my head. It was similar to this. I tried explaining my vision to Steve but he wasn’t catching on. (This happens a lot.) It was decided that I would head to The Tile Shop the next morning to scope out some options to help Steve better grasp my idea.

I wasn’t there five minutes before I found exactly what I wanted. Which was a good thing because my kids were play fighting in slow motion and everyone was staring. I quickly snapped a picture of the simpler design I had in mind and sent it to Steve. “Gorgeous” was the reply back. We had a winner.

pencil liner + bullnose trim

I bought the imperial bianco bullnose to match the subway tile and the noir honed somerset to tie in to the floor tile. We’ll run both along the wainscoting and shower. The end result will be similar to the last photo seen in this bathroom renovation post. The pencil liner is a little thicker than the subway and bullnose tiles but I think the difference in profile will be a nice finishing touch. I love that the single black stripe will pick up on the hex floor. And you know how I feel about stripes in general! The liner is also a subtle nod to the bathroom’s midcentury roots. Many ’50′s bathrooms boasted contrasting pencil liner. This is my attempt to bring it back in a modern way. What do you think?

Can’t wait to share more progress as we make it!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

It’s house tour time! I mentioned doing a general tour then breaking it down room by room into individual posts with source lists and links to related past posts. The plan is for everything to end up under the “see my house” tab on the side bar. Today I’m sharing an overview of befores & afters. The goal is to give you a general idea of the layout and major renovations. We bought the house in 2011 and a lot has changed since then. Let’s take a look!

First up, the current floor plan. I hastily drew this up in Floorplanner, an online site that allows you to create house plans for free. It isn’t exact and doesn’t include doorways but, hopefully, you get the gist of things. If not, you might find this post helpful.

floor plan

Part of the remodel included tearing down walls that separated the original kitchen, dining and living rooms.

floor plan walls removed

This allowed us to create an open kitchen – living space conducive to our casual lifestyle. It also made the modest house feel larger without straying from the original footprint.

exterior 2011

When we bought the home it was surrounded by numerous trees – some not in the best health – which prohibited the house from drying out properly and ultimately led to mildew problems and termite infestation. The exterior was in need of long overdue maintenance and repair including a new roof & gutters, new windows and general yard cleanup.

exterior 2014

We had several trees removed and installed a metal roof along with insulated vinyl windows. The yard was excavated and we added basic hardscaping and landscaping. In an effort to preserve the home’s midcentury roots, we rehabbed the original front door.

view from entry 2011

The original view from the front door looked into the dining room. Dirty and worn shag carpet was abundant. There were termite trails in the carpet pad and the baseboards were disintegrating due to termite damage.

view from entry 2014

After removing walls, vaulting the ceiling and adding skylights, the space feels larger and brighter. We switched out the dining room window for a set of french doors to help connect the new kitchen to the backyard.

kitchen 2011

The original kitchen was small and closed off from the living room.

kitchen 2014

The new kitchen is open to the living room. A nine-foot-long island provides plenty of room for food prep and casual dining. It’s the hub of the house.

kitchen-2 2011

The original kitchen cabinets didn’t open / close properly and some were rotted through in places from years of neglect. The layout assigned the refrigerator to a corner all by itself and didn’t include a dishwasher.

kitchen.2 2014

We left the kitchen sink under the window but ran new water and gas lines to relocate the refrigerator and stove and gain a dishwasher. We installed Ikea cabinetry. All appliances (save for the microwave) are Ikea as well.

kitchen.3 2011

The original kitchen’s footprint was quite small.

kitchen-3 2014

We relocated the dining room to make way for a larger kitchen. One side of the kitchen functions as a home workspace.

fireplace 2011

The living room – while dirty and outdated – boasted a brick fireplace and a large picture window. Chimney and roof leaks had caused damage to the ceiling and wall.

fireplace 2014

As much as we loved the idea of a wood burning fireplace it wasn’t a practical feature for our young family. A new gas line and a craigslisted gas insert allowed us to convert the fireplace to gas. We lived with the red brick surround for more than a year before deciding to take the plunge and paint it white. With limited wall space, we mounted the flatscreen TV above the fireplace and recessed it in a planked bump out.

everything room 2011

This room was used as a den originally. Sliding doors look out onto the backyard. Notice the window A/C unit. The house didn’t have central air conditioning.

everything room 2014

This room serves multiple purposes now. It’s our dining room, mudroom and laundry room. We installed a heat pump found on craigslist for $500, got rid of the window A/C unit and added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to stand in as closets. Hardworking tile and planked walls were specifically incorporated for their practicality.

laundry 2011

A laundry closet housed the washer and dryer behind cumbersome folding doors.

laundry 2014

We ditched the closet and created a laundry nook with a floating countertop and upper cabinetry.

main bathroom 2011

Moving onto the more private rooms in the house, here is the main bathroom. After discovering black mold within the walls, we gutted it.

main bathroom 2014

We moved into the house with this bathroom unfinished. (Luckily, the master bathroom was fully functional.) We’ve sloooooowly been working on the bathroom when time allows but have recently given it more attention. We tiled the floor and are in the midst of tiling the walls. The wait will be worth it!

nursery 2011

The smallest bedroom came to us with peeling paint, nonexistent baseboards and scary carpet. When we bought the house, we were a four-person family. Three bedrooms would have allowed each of our two sons to have their own bedroom. But three months after we closed on the house, we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting a third child.

nursery 2014*

The smallest bedroom became the nursery. I installed the engineered hardwood flooring (same as in the main living space and all other bedrooms) while seven months pregnant. And, yes, I want an award for that.

boys room 2011

The only thing this bedroom had going for it was its size. It’s the largest of the three bedrooms.

boys bedroom 2014

Naturally, it became a shared bedroom for our two boys. We’re currently working on bringing better design to this room. I’ll share the results soon!

master bedroom 2011

There wasn’t anything master-ish about the master bedroom other than it sported an adjoining bathroom. More crumbling baseboards, more gross carpet…you get the idea.

master bedroom 2014*

Three years later, it’s our retreat at the end of every busy day.

master bathroom 2011

The original master bathroom was very PINK. The shower tiles were cracked. The floor tiles were hideous. The vanity was too small. The fluorescent lighting was unnerving.

master bathroom 2014

We demo’d the bathroom down to the studs. We kept the original layout but updated the fixtures and finishes.

That concludes the general house tour. Our goal was to make the modest ranch work for our family and lifestyle without adding square footage. I should probably mention that we upgraded the electrical, had a radon mitigation system put in, added insulation to the exterior walls and vaulted ceiling, and installed all new interior doors. We still have a few big projects in the works: finishing the main bathroom & boys’ room, installing a new driveway, hanging a new garage door, organizing the garage, improving the backyard, etc. so we aren’t done by any means. I’m including links relevant to the larger renovations we took on below and will include source lists when I discuss each space in more detail.



































For easy access, this tour and info can be found under the “see my house” tab. I’ll gradually be adding individual room tours and will update the tour with new projects as we finalize them.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

06.23.14 / DIY Bullseye Art

Things are moving right along in the boys’ bedroom.

Currently, this lil’ corner of their room is a new family favorite. Layne requested the reading chair. I added a vintage ottoman and dresser (off to the side) for added comfort and storage, respectively. With the major furniture pieces in place, I’ve turned my attention to accessories and art. Ever since Apartment Therapy featured this home tour, I’ve been itching to DIY some bullseye art and this corner seemed like the perfect place for it.

glidden DIY

With the help of Glidden® paint, I was able to pull it off. Here’s what I did:

bullseye DIY

1 – I used a square canvas (found in my attic) and two quarts of Glidden paint in blue-grey and fire engine red. First, I painted the entire canvas a warm white that I already had on had. This step is the secret to achieving nice smooth curves in the final product so don’t skip it! (You can easily touch up stray brushstrokes with the white paint later on.) I let the white paint dry completely.

2 – I found the center of the canvas then used a pencil to trace a large pot lid right in the center. This would later become the inner curve of the outermost bullseye ring. I determined how thick I wanted my outer ring then cut a length of string accordingly and tied one end to my pencil and the other end to the handle of the pot lid. Holding the lid in place, I carefully drew a larger circle around the pot lid. I had my outer bullseye ring.

3 – For the inner bullseye, I traced around a small glass container in the center of the canvas.

4 – My pencil lines were faint which made them easy to edit and also easy to paint over.

5 – Working from the center out, I painted the canvas using foam brushes and a steady hand. I gave the center bullseye and outer ring two coats of paint each. After the paint dried for 30-60 minutes, I went back with the white paint used in step #1 to touch up any brushstrokes that inevitably made their way out of the lines.

DIY bullseye art via House*Tweaking

I decided to frame the canvas with inexpensive wood trim. I left the wood unfinished for a casual look. I think the thin frame is the perfect touch!

DIY bullseye art via House*Tweaking

Glidden paint made it easy to finally turn my inspiration into reality. The boys LOVE the bullseye art! They keep telling me how cool it is. I think the bullseye is a great symbol to use in a boy’s room without feeling too theme-y. What do you think?

FYI – Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Glidden paint through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write about Glidden paint, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking