Monday, June 2, 2014

Our new bed!

I really should be cleaning my house, doing laundry and prepping supper for the carne asada party we're having tonight with a bunch of friends and family.  But, I'm going to sneak this post in instead as I really want to show you our new bed. It's kind of our first piece of real furniture that hasn't been borrowed, handed down, thrifted etc. Grown up furniture! Since we've been renovating for all these years, it never made sense to put money towards good furniture since it would just be ruined by all the dust and mess that's been made while we fix up the house. So getting to the point where we can buy permanent pieces is kind of exciting.

After sleeping for years on a really cheap terrible mattress and always waking up sore we decided enough was enough and we were going to buy a new mattress. Cam did the research part and we ended up buying a Serta mattress/boxspring from Sears. Not a cheap thing to invest in, but worth every penny for a good night's sleep! This also meant we were going to get a bed (we've just been sleeping with a mattress/boxspring on the floor) too!

Since we knew we were going to blow most of the budget on the mattress, it meant there wasn't a ton left for the bed itself, but we still wanted to get something nice that we would want to keep long term.  I liked the look of upholstered beds and having a padded headboard to lean against for reading at night is nice too.  I had my eye on a few from Crate and Barrel, but they cost about as much as the  mattress. They're likely worth it for the quality, but still didn't fit the budget. 

Instead, I found this one (didn't get this color as you'll see) by Skyline Furniture on

It comes in a few fabrics and was a reasonable price for us. I really didn't like the metal peg legs or how the headboard supports run to the floor behind the back legs.  To me those details make things look cheap but figured for the price I could fix that!

We went with a California King so that it would fit between the window trim better then a King size would. It's a nice upgrade from the full size bed we've been sleeping on!

I choose the fabric color Smokey Quartz and crossed my fingers that it would be pretty in person! It's the perfect shade of lavender grey and the nail head trim is a pretty antiqued brass.  I love it!

To deal with the ugly peg legs.  They weren't just ugly and plain, but spaced strange too.  Instead of being at the corners of the bed, they were inset a lot and looked off.

A couple years ago I found these antique furniture feet at a garage sale. $2.00 for four of them so I got them not knowing what I'd do with them.

I finally found a use for them I guess.  They already had a bolt screwed into them so Cam redrilled holes in the metal bed frame so the legs could be installed closer to the corners like I wanted.

It's a small detail but I like it so much better!

We still need to get bedding, but will likely wait closer to fall to get a duvet of some sort (it's hot enough here we can live without it).  I did find an awesome deal on sheets and feather pillows though. Who knew they sheets could be so expensive!!

I knew I wanted white sheets because they're clean and crisp looking, but didn't want to buy online since you can't feel them in person first.

I stopped into Tuesday Morning and found that they carry high end lines like Peacock Alley and Sferra for way, way cheaper then retail prices. 

These discontinued Peacock Alley sheets were originally close to $600.00 but Tuesday Morning sold them for under $100.00! They're super soft and the eyelet detail is pretty too! They also had king size feather pillows that were priced at $190.00 each (!?!!) on clearance for about $20.00.  I don't usually find much else at that store that suits my style, but it's worth shopping there for bedding!

Anyways, those are the details on our new bed. There's still lots to do to finish this room and I'm excited to (slowly) put it together.  Things are definitely going to go slowly as our third little one is scheduled to arrive in a week today! Thankfully my mom gets here today so if I can I'll share some of the plans and ideas we have for the rest of the room!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

appreciating the now!

Sometimes I get so caught up in all the projects that still need to be done on the house, that I forget to enjoy the progress we've already made. I look around and am making a continual list of things we have to do and feel like we'll never be finished this house when really I should be happy with how far it's come. 

Yesterday, I was quickly snapping a few pictures for this post and was mentally making my list of the things we still want to do to the exterior (replace the steps, replace/paint the door, build something to disguise the trash/recycling, etc....) when I stopped and thought about the sad shape this house was in when we first bought it. I remember after living in it for a couple of years, we would be outside working on something when people walking by would stop to chat about what we were doing and then ask us "So when do you plan to move in?" When I would tell them we already lived in it, the look on their face was priceless.

The house when we bought it!
It made me smile a little when I thought to appreciate what we already have, right now!

The house so far!

With that, here's a little project that's I got to cross of my "list" the other day, thanks to the hubby!

I picked up this copper light off Craigslist years ago for $20. The elderly man that sold it to me told me he got it from a local Quaker Oats factory. Kinda cool! I had planned to use it in the kitchen but forgot we'd wired for a wall sconce instead of a pendant.  So it has sat in the basement until a few days ago.

We picked up some electrical parts at the hardware store and I painted leftover chain from another light fixture with copper spray paint.

I meant to take a before picture of the light we've had hanging above our front door for a couple years but Cam had it down before I could find my camera.

A little too industrial for my taste. Not to mention the bulb has been burnt out for month and months...

I wish I could explain how to wire a light, but Cam had it done in minutes! He's handy like that :)

Not bad for 20 bucks! I love that the copper finish ties it into the new lights we got a couple months ago for our back deck. You can see them HERE on instagram (and follow along too, if you'd like).

This is the first year I've had a garden out front.  So far everything is surviving I think! I have no real gardening experience, so I just picked out some sun loving perennials and small shrubs that I liked and planted them!

I played around with the layout a little, knowing some plants like the boxwood and azalea will get larger and fill out the garden.

Once they were planted I added cedar mulch to keep it low maintenance.

I don't love the usual black tube like edging that is usually used around gardens, so I found this composite edging that narrow and discreet. It blends with the cedar mulch and helps keep the curved shape of the garden in tact. We've used it around the side of the house too, which I'll show you once we get things planted there.


I think it's safe to say the house looks a little more welcoming then it did when we moved in!
Inside too....

We just finally finished the tile in the entry! It dragged on forever and we're both happy to be done with it! More on that later....

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hex tile!

Here's what's happening at our house! Some pretty (but brutal to work with) 2" black hex tile is being installed in the entry! I wrote about our plans HERE awhile ago and now it's actually happening!

Before we could start laying tile, Cam poured a leveling product and then once that dried, screwed down a subfloor used for under tile. 

We just started laying the tile the other evening (We have to wait till kiddos are in bed before we can start, which only gives us a few hours per night.), and it's pretty slow going! Even though the tile is on a 12x12 mesh sheet, the mesh has a lot of give so trying to line things up isn't easy. Lots and lots of spacers get used!

Hopefully this weekend we can knock out a fair bit more of it! So far though, I'm really excited with how it looks and I can't wait to see it finished with a dark grey grout. 

Once it's done, we can keep going with the baseboards. I just ordered the rest of the wall registers (same as what we used upstairs) and can't wait to start painting all the trim and baseboard(you can see them finished HERE in Serena's room, if you like). It makes things look so finished!

We've got a ways to go still, but I had to show you how it looks so far! P.S. If you tackle a project like this yourself, read these tips from House Tweaking first. Cam asked if I was going to post a tutorial on hex tile and I told him instead I'd recommend hiring the job out or installing 12" or larger tile :)

Sometimes it seems like the projects that are the most hassle are the ones that have the best results, don't you think? Ever had any like that?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Serena's Room: Update and ideas

I think Serena's room is my favorite spot in our house right now.  Likely because it's the closest one to being finished!

And since it's always fun to look way back at where it started, here's what the room looked like when we bought the house.

Almost liveable, right? From there we did some demo work.

We removed the plaster, rewired, insulated and added a new window.  At the time, we didn't own a camera, so the pictures of the original rooms are few.  But, it was a LOT of work and sometimes really stressful to get to the point that we're at now.

Anyways, on to better days!

Last summer we installed the flooring upstairs, including this room. Once it was stained (a learning experience all on it's own...), we added the registers and installed/painted the baseboards and trim.

Since we had used this room as our master for a few years while we worked on the downstairs, I had already painted it Sherwin William's Destiny. I loved the color then (a soft grey/lavender), and still love the color as much today, so I just did a final coat after painting the ceiling to freshen up the room.

The light fixture is from Ballard Designs, which I picked up when they were running a sale.  Cameron had to mess with the wiring a little since it wasn't design to be adjusted, but it would have hung too low otherwise.

The rug was a Joss and Main buy made by Safavieh, and might be my favorite thing in the room.  The cute little basket I got on our trip this past summer to Ocracoke, NC. It's from one of my favorite shops on the island and the last two times we've been there, I've wanted to bring everything home!

Call me sentimental, but I love having things from special trips that are both pretty and functional! And if it's something that keeps this little peanut entertained, I'd say it's definitely functional.

Last weekend, I picked up a Jenny Lind style crib on Craigslist for cheap. It's not in perfect condition and a few spots could use a paint touch up, but it seems like babies are in them for such a short time. I couldn't bring myself to spend much on a crib that'll only be used for a couple years.

We also just installed inexpensive bamboo shades (from Menards, I think they were less then $15 each). They don't block all the sunlight, but enough to help naptimes last longer.

I'd like sew drapes to layer over the blinds. This Pindler and Pindler fabric from is one of the patterns I have my eye on for this.

Maybe I'd edge the drapes with pom-pom trim or some of this pretty 2 inch wide tape I found on Etsy.

Or if I wanted more contrast and color, with this instead.

As for the walls, they're way too bare! Here's a few things I'd like to add to take care of that:

For one, this piece of art by Lisa Golightly sold on her Etsy shop Kiki and Polly. I've loved it for ages and something about it makes me smile. I have a gift card that was given to Serena when she was born and it might be going towards this!

Girl in the Yellow Suit
The other thing I want to do is use a shadow box to frame some of Serena's baby things.  Her Auntie Cynthia crocheted her adorable booties and a hat and they need to be on display now that she's outgrown them.  The idea would be similar to this, but smaller.

Via Pinterest

I also have some cute black and white picture's of both her Nanas when they were kids I want to enlarge, frame and then hang together. Color saturating them like THIS could be fun too.

The closet in this room has a good amount of storage with three rods Cam installed back when we used to use this room.  It's nice because I can keep clothes that she'll grow into there too.  We'll add a shelf too so I can keep socks and what not in baskets on it.  In the mean time she loves getting in there and making a mess!

Hopefully we'll get to pick up her dresser that's just been painted since we didn't get to last weekend as planned.  It'll be fun to have a spot to put some of the little books, toys, and nick-knacks I've collected for her. Yup, I get excited about those kinds of things!

That's what we have so far! I'll keep you posted as things progress!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to (easily) remove paint from hardware

I posted a picture on Instagram (@jmmccalley) recently of  my vintage hardware all cleaned up. Someone asked for a before and after, so I thought I'd share.  Also, I found a great product that removes paint from hardware (and furniture too) without a ton of mess and no yucky odor!

This hardware is going back on a vintage Thomasville dresser that has just been professionally painted(meaning it wasn't done by me...). We'll likely pick it up this weekend so I can show it to you soon.

Dresser Before

 For now, I've given up on painting furniture myself, since I usually want a glossy finish and the best results for that are done by spraying. I have neither the time nor space for those project right now, so most of my furniture has made a trip to Cam's cousin in Des Moines. He has a body shop there and is really an artist when it comes to painting cars, so I know my furniture is in good hands!

At the painter's, sanded and ready for a new look

Anyways, here's the simple steps I took to get the caked on paint off these pulls and knobs. I did some research about removing paint and there were all kinds of ideas out there, including soaking them in hot water in a crock pot!

Hardware before!

I found this product at Menards made by Zinsser. I've used their paint before and loved it, so thought it was worth a try. Also loved that it was odorless and didn't have some of the nasty chemicals other strippers have.

I used a cheap disposable brush to apply a thick layer to the hardware, then laid them on a piece of cardboard and let it do it's thing. I didn't get a picture of this part as my hands were kind of messy!

About a half hour later, I used some paper towel and wiped them to remove the paint and stripper.  Almost everything slid right off.  For some of the stubborn spots, I repeated the process and then used an old toothbrush and toothpicks to get the grooves cleaned out.  That was it!

The brass was tarnished and dark once the paint was off, so I applied some Brasso (it's a little smelly, but not terrible) and buffed with a sponge and rag until it shined! As good as new!

Piece on the right after Brasso treatment, on the left is the before.
Hope that helps anyone needing to do such a thing. If you find an older piece of furniture, don't look past it if the hardware's been painted.  While you could just replace it, but often vintage hardware is unique/good quality and worth a little bit of work to restore.  If you have an older house, there's likely door/window hardware that's just been painted over and could be easily restored too!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

more craigslist goodies!

Little by little, we are starting to furnish our house! Last weekend we picked up a dining table and four chairs I found on craigslist. I really liked the lines of the chairs and the size of the table. Plus, the price was right! It's large enough to seat 10, so obviously 4 chairs won't be enough!

The chairs came with brown striped fabric that has got to go.

This past summer I was in Quebec for a day with my sister and mom when I came across this pretty velvet.  It was about 2 bucks a yards so I bought lots!

I popped out one of the seat cushions and wrapped it with a piece of the fabric. A trial run! We'll live with it for awhile and see how it holds up. If it works, I'll finish up the rest.  I might anyways, just so I don't have to look at all the brown.

We still need to get at least 2 more chairs (a few highchairs will be around for a few years yet taking up room too). Something upholstered for the end seats would be kind of fun and an easy way to add some much needed pattern and color.

via pinterest
The other thing is, the set is definitely in "used vintage condition", so there's talk of painting parts of it (chairs/table base?) or refinishing it. While I do like the stained wood, I don't love that there's little contrast between the furniture and the flooring. We'll likely wait until the trim, baseboards and French doors are all installed and painted before making that decision.

The walls in this room (well in the house, for that matter) are pretty bare, and the wall opposite the glass railing has a lot of blank space that needs to be dealt with.

A buffet would fit along the wall here, but there's a built in coffee bar in the corner at the end of the wall. Anything too solid/heavy along the wall would look awkward. But it does need something!

Last night I was browsing Pinterest for a lucite or glass console table($$$)to use in this spot. Something clear would fill the space but appear visually lightweight.  Then I came across a better idea!

Outdoor stone lions topped with glass makes for a pretty unique table! Even salvaged columns could look neat used this way.  It might be an option for filling up that wall if I can get Cam to approve.  Something like this along with large scale art might do the trick.

For now, I'm happy that we're not still eating at a folding table with metal folding chairs. Even better is that we actually get to use our dining room instead of trucking everything at meal times to the basement like we have been for weeks before the floors were done!

Thanks for putting up with my scattered thoughts and ideas.  I've had sick kids and the hubby was travelling so my brain isn't functioning like it should!

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