a few “befores”

Happy Friday, all!

I mentioned in a recent post that I’d have some new house projects to showcase fairly soon. Well that changed when I got a little overly ambitious and jumped into a handful of them at once. Because of all the bouncing back and forth between them all, there isn’t one that is fully complete quite yet.

As much as it pains me to not be able to pair a “before” picture with a pretty “after” one, I figure I’d show you some of the “before” ones regardless so you can get an idea of what I’m working on and get ready for some big transformations.

First up is the utility room in our basement…

utility room, before

utility room, before

Thankfully this project is nearing the final stages and I’m happy to report that all of the clutter you see is gone, the floors have a fresh coat of concrete paint, the work bench has been replaced with floor-to-ceiling shelves from IKEA, and the space feels like an extension of our other rooms, as opposed to a dingy furnace room where the dog sleeps.

The second big project I’ve been working on is updating our main floor bathroom (see the upstairs bathroom makeover here, and the basement one here).


That old school laminate countertop is getting a major facelift thanks to this concrete tutorial I found over on the Little Green Notebook blog. This weekend I’ll be sanding down the third layer of concrete and [hopefully] calling it good with a few coats of sealer. Once that’s complete, the next step will be to re-paint the vanity (the cabinets are currently sporting that same distressed finish our kitchen once had), replace the hardware, and eventually get a new sink/faucet (I am loving this one).

Aside from those two undertakings, I’m also in the midst of spring cleaning the house, preparing for a garage sale in May, and working on a piece of wood wall art (inspired by this one).

Sorry this post didn’t contain pics of a start-to-finish project, but hopefully you’ll be seeing some sooner than later!


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loving lately.

loving lately1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Happy Monday, friends! I have a few new house projects to share with you soon but in the meantime, here are some products/items I’ve been loving lately (links above).

1 – This lamp from IKEA, categorized as a “work lamp”, has become our new bedside table lighting. I originally bought just one, but liked it so much that I went back and bought another!

2 – I’ll never get sick of these soy wax/essential oil candles from Target and I always stock up when they’re on sale (which they were this past week). The vanilla bean scent is a classic but I’m also loving the pink magnolia one, too!

3 – Plants, plants, plants! I aim to have at least 1-2 plants per room in our house (read about the benefits here), but lately I’ve been particularly drawn to succulents.

4 – With garden season right around the corner, I couldn’t resist buying this cute pair of rain boots from Target. (You know I must really like them if I didn’t even wait for them to go on sale…)

5 – I picked up this face cream on a whim a few weeks back when it was on sale at a co-op in the Twin Cities. First off – can you say cute packaging?! But more importantly, this is the first line of skin care I’ve come across that is USDA certified organic which is pretty flippin’ awesome if you ask me. I’ve really been enjoying it and plan to try other products from the Nourish line in the near future.

6 – I’ve been doing a lot of research on the benefits and uses of various essential oils. Lately I’ve been really into mixing peppermint oil into my lotion in the afternoon for an invigorating ‘pick-me-up’ at work. It’s also great for relieving headaches, nausea, congestion & more. (Read more about peppermint oil here).

7 – The Mineral Fusion nail polish line was something I came across last year at Whole Foods and I’ve since acquired an assortment of colors, including my latest favorite, ‘fossil’, a basic nude that goes with everything. (These polishes are formaldehyde, toulene, camphor and dibutyl pthalate free!)

8 – Containing only a handful of ingredients, the coconut almond Kind bars have been my go-to snack recently (since ditching Clif bars and all).

What products or items have you been loving lately?

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bathroom facelift, round 2.

Last year you guys saw our upstairs bathroom facelift here where we made a handful of basic updates, i.e. paint, new storage cabinet, accessories and framing out the mirror. Well a few months back we finished what I’m calling “round 2” of the bathroom facelift which involved installing a new counter top, sink, & faucet, and I also added a new toilet paper holder, a new towel ring and I gave the vanity a fresh coat of white paint. Oh, and I ended up moving the bird shower curtain from the basement guest bathroom to this one.

sink before

sink after

bathroom makeover

bathroom vanityThe vanity got a fresh coat of paint and a new toilet paper holder. I kept the original glass knobs for their charm.



bathroom before and afterView from the hallway. Previous homeowner pic compared to the bathroom today.

before and afterIn the after: mirror is framed out, new counter top + sink + faucet, & replaced the towel bar with a towel ring.

I would love to replace the light fixture and I’m considering painting the back-splash tile white, so don’t be surprised if you see “round 3” of updates for this room… but that’s all for now!


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chandeliers and shenanigans.

Oh what do you know, it’s been a month since I’ve put out a new blog post (reference spiel about my sporadic blogging habits here). And to be honest, I don’t even have a real post put together (as I write this) but figured it was time to get something on here so you know I’m still alive and kickin’. For whatever reason, Sunday mornings always seem like a good time to get words on paper the web.

So a few home updates…

I have decided (for the time being) to not paint the basement fireplace. (A big thanks for all those that weighed in on the subject!) But since I’m not painting the fireplace, I’m looking for other ways to give the space new life, which I hope to update you all with soon.

I finally got around to taking the “after” pics for round 2 of our upstairs bathroom makeover (i.e. new counter top, sink, faucet, and a few other miscellaneous changes) which I mentioned here. I’m making it a priority to get that one on the blog this week, while it’s still relevant.

In other home decor news, here are a few snap shots…

dining roomMy latest [exciting] consignment find is this chandelier I picked up for $38 (probably best intended for an outdoor patio or pergola) that I hung in our dining room. We don’t have ceiling lighting in this room so I like that this gives the illusion that we do, plus what dining table is complete without a chandelier above it?!

chandelier(picture I took on my phone with the candles lit)

mantelWith spring right around the corner, I’m starting to add more greenery around the house. These IKEA plants are always a quick and cheap solution for rooms that don’t receive much light (or if you can’t keep plants alive!).

shelf stylingI’ve also been making an effort to change up the decor and “re-style” our built-ins.

bookcase stylingI’ve started collecting old books that have intriguing spines. These are super cheap at garage sales/thrift stores and add a lot of visual interest to shelves. (Everything on this shelf is either from a garage sale, thrift store, or was a hand-me-down).

tableI moved this hand-me-down table from our bedroom to the living room (where a taller table once was, seen here) which I think looks much better in this space. The galvanized planter was a .50 garage sale find from last summer and the faux sheep skin rug was $9.99 from IKEA.

gold elephantI found this plastic elephant at a garage sale last year for .25 cents and spray painted him gold. He’s now a fun piece of decor in our home office.

So there’s a few snap shots of random updates from around the house to fill the void of my blog posting. Look for more home posts soon!


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the great fireplace debate.

To paint or not to paint? That is the question at hand regarding the brown brick fireplace in our basement.

Let me be brief here. I think the fireplace should be painted white (like here or here). The husband, on the other hand, thinks it should stay as is but knows full well that when it comes to interior design projects, his opinion is taken lightly. So in an effort to not jump the gun and whip out my paint brush before I thoroughly think things through here (after all you can’t exactly un-do a project of this nature), I figured I’d ask for YOUR input to get an outsider’s opinion.

brown brick fireplace

brown brick fireplace

So based on the pictures above, what do you think — paint it white or leave it as is?


P.S. Just for the record, I have no intent to ever paint our main floor living room fireplace as I love the charm red brick gives!


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home trend: windsor chairs.

Windsor chairs emerged in popularity during the 17th century. If you open the latest issue of any interior design magazine or take a trip to IKEA, you’ll likely see that this iconic chair is making a comeback. Rather than pay hundreds for replicas at high-end stores like Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware, there’s a good chance you’d be able to find your fair share of various Windsor-style chairs at your local thrift and consignment shops, keeping in mind that a little paint can go a long way in transforming a piece of furniture!

windsor chairs

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windsor chairsimage via

What do you think — are Windsor chairs a trend you’d try or so not your style?

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crave vs save.

I’m back with another round of “crave vs save”! These product price comparisons just go to show you don’t have to shell out big bucks to get what you’re after when it comes to decorating + furnishing your home. If you look hard enough, there will almost always be a cheaper version whether it be at Target, a thrift store or even something you could DIY. Patience and diligence is often all it takes!

crave vs save

soap pumpAnthropologie, $32                                    Target, $9.99

tree stump table     Crate & Barrel, $399                                   DIY, approx. $15

sheep skin rugs   Pottery Barn, $79                                                IKEA, $29.99

pillow price comparisonAnthropologie, $198                          Etsy, $30 (cover only)

woven storage basketsPottery Barn, $129           World Market, $59.99              Target, $24.99

Have you come across a great deal lately that you know would have costed you a lot more elsewhere?

(View my last “crave vs save” post here)

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how i’ve repurposed old window panes.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know by now that I love mixing old with new when it comes to decorating my house. I think it gives a home more character… a sense of history, if you will. Antique window panes are a perfect “old” item that can be worked among newer/more modern decor.

I picked up my first window pane for $1 at a garage sale which I then turned into a chalkboard. Soon after, I started coming across several other great ideas for how to use windows on Pinterest and before I knew it, I had a handful of them!

Long story short, here are the various ways I’ve used old window panes around my house:

window pane turned chalkboard#1 – Like mentioned above, this was my first window pane I purchase and was only $1 at a garage sale! I simply painted the panes with chalkboard paint and hung it in the back entry way of our home along with a rail, wire basket and S-hooks from IKEA to a make it a mini command center.

how to use old window panes#2 – This window pane was given to me from my mom for Christmas (she got it from the farm of her cousin) and it’s currently just leaning against the wall in our home office. I’m not sure if this is where this one will stay but for now I think it serves as a piece of art in its raw state.

old window pane turned picture holder#3 – This is the largest of the windows I’ve collected and I think it’s the perfect size for our fireplace mantel. (I previously had this one there). This particular one was $12 at a local antique shop. I printed and placed a few black and white engagement + wedding photos into the panes to make it more of a stand-out art piece.

old window pane#4 – This window pane is simply being used as wall art in the basement bathroom off the guest bedroom. There used to be a different piece of wall art there but with the recent installation of the industrial sliding door, I thought the window seemed more fitting for the space. I picked this one up from an architectural salvage store in St. Paul.

DIY window pane idea #5 – This window (identical to the one pictured above) is being used as a picture/note holder. I knocked out the panes with a hammer and stapled chicken wire onto the back. It’s hanging next to the vanity that I turned into a desk. (See that transformation here).

So those are the five ways I’ve used window panes around my house!

What do you think of decorating with old windows? Is it something you’d try?

Here are a few other ideas I love:


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DIY industrial sliding door.

diy industrial sliding door

Remember this recent post about the handful of home projects I’d like to tackle this winter? Well now I can say, “one down, four to go!”

This past week the hubs and I installed an industrial sliding door for the bathroom in our basement guest bedroom. I picked up an old wooden door for $17 at a local antique shop (matches great with the walnut-stained desk top in that room) and bought the “sliding” supplies from Home Depot. The said supplies included one plumbing pipe cut to fit and threaded (they can do this for you at the store), two 2″ casters, two 3/4″ floor flanges, two 3/4″ 90-degree street elbows, and two eyelet hooks. The total came in just under $50.

I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea though; I came across it at Fig Milkshakes who found the tutorial over on Crisp Interiors. Instead of listing out step-by-step instructions, I’ll just let you take a look at how it turned out:



diy industrial sliding doorSee the towel rack in the background? Learn how I made it here.

diy industrial sliding doorAnd just in case you’re wondering — the stool is from IKEA (I painted it light yellow and stenciled on numbers) and the bicycle planter was a 50-cent garage sale find.

diy industrial sliding doorBecause of the low clearance above the door on the left side, we used a circular saw to take off about 5″ from the bottom in order for it to fit.

If you like the look of sliding doors but don’t want to pay for spendy barn tracks (like seen here or here), this is a great alternative.

To see the opposite side of this room, go here. To see the bathroom behind the door, head here. I think it’s safe to say this guest room is coming along, slowly but surely!

Is this a project you’d try in your house?

More DIY projects to come… stay tuned!


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trail mix bars.

healthy trail mix bars

It’s a new year and if you’re like most people (myself included), you’re probably looking for ways to be healthier in 2014. Whether that means eating more greens or simply adding 10 minutes of walking to your day, I salute you for your efforts! Even the smallest changes can make a big difference over time. And on that note, today I am sharing a very easy and healthy recipe that you’ll no doubt find yourself making again and again.

trail mix bar ingredients
This particular recipe actually came about as a mistake. A few months back I was making a half batch of these PB chocolate chip chia bites, but I couldn’t get the mixture to form into balls. I didn’t want the ingredients to go to waste so I decided to pack it all into a pan and cut it into squares instead. The result? A delicious and healthy granola bar, which has since evolved into a “trail mix bar” through my experimentation with different ingredients and amounts. And really, that’s the beauty of this recipe — just so long you start with the right base (a proper ratio of oats, honey & peanut butter), the rest is up to you! I make a batch of these almost every Sunday and they serve as an on-the-go breakfast, snack, and even dessert throughout the week!

Trail Mix Bars (gluten-free, vegan option)

Makes approx. 9-12 bars depending on desired size

Ingredients — always buy organic when possible!

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or agave nectar, if vegan
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • Other optional add-ins: pepitas, almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, flax seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

trail mix bar ingredients


Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pack mixture into a 8×6 pan and place in freezer for one hour. One mixture has hardened, cut it into bars and store in fridge or freezer. (If left out at room temperature, bars will become crumbly). Enjoy!

trail mix bars

Give this recipe a try — you’ll be glad you did!

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