One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room reveal

Wooooooooowwwww. Even with an extra week, I almost didn’t make it.

When I first started, I thought this small room was going to be a breeze. I even thought it wasn’t worth doing the ORC for, since it wasn’t going to be that big of a change.

Then the ORC gods were like ‘lol, this girl.’

Ok. OK. Some of it may have been self inflicted. Why did self decide this was the time to learn how to build a bedframe and headboard from my brain and upholster it? In the last week. Oh, self, you’re a real pain in my ass.

But, you know what? It’s week 6 7 of the One room challenge and my guest room no longer resembles a crack den hovel!

If you’re wondering what my almost incoherent ramblings about what an ORC is, it’s a biannual event created and hosted by Linda, from Calling it Home. Designers, bloggers, whomever wants to join the madness; choose a room and have 5/6 weeks to complete the refresh/remodel/arson (JK. DON’T DO THAT) and blog weekly with their progress.

Fall 2015 / Spring 2016

I’m not a designer, and I’m barely even a blogger, but, I rate high in neuroticism and I like to spend money. So I’m pretty qualified.

Here’s where the room started: Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room reveal”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Week 6 and we finally have paint.

It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge and normally this would be the reveal post, but, I am so relieved for the extra week this round! If you’re new to the One room Challenge, it’s a biannual event created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. It’s usually the kick in the pants that most of us need to finish a project that we’ve been dragging out. Or is that just me? Thanks for creating this event with me in mind, Linda!

Anyways. We have 4 relatively tiny bedrooms upstairs. I chose to work on the guest room in my house for this round. I love my house, I chose it because I saw the potential and it desperately needed someone to love it. But. The walls are fucked up badly.

For this one tiny bedroom, I had removed the drywall and drywall screws to expose ugly green faux finish and make a planremove the faux finish, repair the walls with joint compound, stripped down the trim and sanded the walls, and then finally primed everything.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Week 6 and we finally have paint.”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.

My finger prints are gone and I’m starting my career as a bank robber. Or perhaps a jewel thief.

I’m pretty much going to have to if I want to keep bankrolling these projects.

It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home, and this week has been tough. All the kind words of encouragement are what keep me going though, and that’s why I’m so appreciative of the challenge. THANK YOU!

Where it started: Here’s where I left it last week:

I am so, so tired and discouraged and I’ve either been wearing the same gross project clothes or the same sweater for several days because I’m too tired to care and I haven’t had a chance to do laundry. I have layers of paint under all my nails, blisters and super sore muscles. Project dust always makes me break out. I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am to double check my calendar on how much time I have and thinking about what needs to be finished. My alarm goes off at 6:00 am, so, that ain’t cool.

My body keeps threatening an ugly cry when I’m at work. Body, you fucking traitor.

To catch you up on what led me to this disastrous state: I previously showed the room I was working on, made fool hardy claims of ease, repaired the walls (much to my chagrin) and decided to strip the woodwork.


JK. Even if you tried to stop me, I’d still do it.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.”

When a project seems too easy, and that stresses you out, and then you tell yourself to shut up and just enjoy it

Now that the dining room moulding is up and painted, it is finally time to add some art! The walls have been blank for years now.

Most of my projects come with a slew of unforeseen problems that require a lot more time, trips to the hardware store and problem solving. Seriously. I just spent 4 hours re-doing the curtain rods in my dining room. I (wrongfully) assumed that the screw holes in the brackets were linear and that caused a slight tilt that made the acrylic bow. Some of the screw holes are off centered. And one cannot simply drill a hole in plaster. Oh, no. There’s an 85% chance that it will crumble and make a massive hole. Which then requires ginormous toggle bolts. And bigger holes. And patching. And painting.

ANYWAYS. Those bitches are secure now. I could probably do pull ups on them. You know, if I ever did pull ups. Or, could do more than one.

After looking at some art online, I decided to order this print from Minted: 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly' 'minted'In the 24″ x 18″size. Somehow the day that I clicked on the site to purchase, it had an option for no white border and the print covering the whole space? Where’d that option go? Witchcraft.

The colors are beautiful. I was surprised by how much my husband liked it, too. In super healthy relationship fashion, I didn’t consult with him before purchasing.

Since I worked hard on those wall panels, I didn’t want to completely cover them with a large frame.

Then I remembered that I had favorited this etsy shop, some unknown amount of time ago.

Now, this listing is for the acrylic sheets and the hardware. Add in $45 for shipping and $184 is no small amount. Which is not to say that it’s not worth it, but when the shop suggested an option to DIY, I was all over that. I purchased the small brass standoffs for $34 and 2 30″ x 28″ acrylic sheets from Lowes for, like, $30ish?

Since purchasing the sheets from Lowes would not give me the custom measurements purchasing from the etsy shop would give me, I also purchased this Olfa plastic cutter.IMG_1548

Let’s revisit my previous statement about my projects usually taking a left turn. I figured that me trying to cut down acrylic would somehow affect the time/space continuum and a vortex would open and swallow the state of Minnesota. Not accurate? Idk. I’m not a scientist.

I was super pleased when cutting down acrylic sheets was a breeze. Like. So easy.

I added 2″ to each side of my art for the acrylic frame – so I kept the 28″ as is and cut down the 30″ to 22″.

First, I marked off my 22″ with sharpie (keep the protective plastic on).

Since I didn’t have a long enough straight edge, and I just accidentally snapped my 4 foot level, I used a spare piece of lumber. I clamped it all down nice and tight to a table and scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction. IMG_1542 IMG_1547

I scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction.

IMG_1551 IMG_1552

When I had a deep groove (like 10 passes or so), I unclamped it and moved it so that the excess was hanging over the edge of the table. From that point, it took a very small amount of pressure for it to snap right off. IMG_1554

When my pieces were cut to size, I lined them up together and clamped them down with some spare lumber underneath. I marked off my holes (1″ from the edges) with a sharpie, on top of the plastic.IMG_1560 IMG_1563

Drilling the holes was easy! I used a 3/8 bit and a little water with soap (to minimize friction and chipping) and used medium speed/pressure.

The whole process probably took 30 minutes – and saved a lot of money to boot.IMG_1604 IMG_1606 IMG_1609

I am way over my tentative 6 week dining room ‘challenge’ but I’m feeling really ok about that. I have been working on things at a steady and relaxed pace, without breaking my back (or checking account) and I’ve still had lots of time outside and chilling.

I am having such an excellent summer with my daughter out of school (I’m still working full time, boo hiss) and it seems like maybe they really do get better with age. Years 3 and 4 were particular lows for pleasant interactions. It’s a wonder that any parents keep them past that age.

In other important-to-no-one-else news: the light fixture is still not shipped out. Any inquires are answered with a vague ‘we will ship it out soon’. I’m kind of a lot bummed. I ordered from the company a couple of years ago, and since then, they have gotten a great reputation in the blogosphere. I feel conflicted because I don’t want to make a big deal about it, but the communication is seriously lacking. I feel like if the company is going to be 5+ weeks past the original ship date – they should reach out to the customer and let them know. And probably set new shipping expectations.

It’s the light fixture that I want, so I guess I’ll have to find some inner zen and be patient.'TripleSevenHome Ursula'

I swear, put something shiny in front of me and it takes over my brain and I forget all else.

Still want to read about relatively non-important things?

Cool. I got you.

I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Modernica Case Study planter to put under the aforementioned artwork.

I was thinking that I would put my snake plant in there, but I quite like it on the credenza. So then I thought maybe a cactus?


There are a lot of cacti varieties.

I’m sure you’re all like: ‘well, duh, Madeline. Everyone knows that.’

and I’m all: NO, guys. A LOT OF CACTI.

If you can believe it, there aren’t a ton of cactus nurseries local to Minnesota. So I’ll have to do any ordering online.

Any thoughts on your favorite cactus? Be sure to include its full and proper name. JK. No, really, please do that.

Then a few days after I ordered the modernica planter. I was like: NO.

That actually belongs with the new fiddle fig in my front room.

Now I need a planter for the dining room. Before the 1st one has even shipped.

I’m the WORST.

I think the retro bullet planter will be just the match for some cacti.


Keeping the momentum going. It’s way harder than it should be.

It seems to be feast or famine around here (both on the blog and at my house) with projects.

Maybe if I posted more, you all wouldn’t be subjected to 1500 word posts. Sorry ’bout that.

I had so much fun with the last One Room Challenge! Thank you so much for all your kind comments.

I didn’t know that I was blogging for all those sweet words, but it turns out that I TOTALLY am. And fame and cash money. Obvs.

I am thrilled to have given my daughter her own space and even more thrilled that it’s having the intended outcome of her spending time in there and out of my face all the time.

I love having a goal, a blogging schedule and being held accountable with the One Room Challenge. But – it is backbreaking work and fucking expensive.

I’ve already sold many organs to bankroll my wants and needs for this house, and some of them were probably vital. Idk. I’m not a doctor.

I like having a project though! It keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. I have to keep my scope smaller, than say, a whole room remodel and furnishing for a while.

Time to turn my attention back to the dining room!

It is open to the living room and kitchen (still majorly unfinished – shame) and can be seen when entering the house.

I started on it almost two years ago?

It sat with it’s first coat of Farrow & Ball Down Pipe on the walls and trim since then.

This would bother absolutely no one other than me, but the egg and dart and crown moulding on one of the windows was not original to the house and didn’t match the other windows. I could not let this stand – apparently.

So I cannibalized the old doorway trim (from widening the opening from the kitchen) and cut it down for the window. Unfortunately, I forgot the angles are different when you cut on the fence vs. on the flat. It’s definitely not perfect, but wood filler, paint and curtains obscure that fact.

And I don’t seem to have any pictures of that process anywhere? Trust. It happened.

I did put the missing baseboards down in one corner, too. It was only like 7 cuts and shaving an inch off the bottom, yet somehow took me several hours? I’m slow AF. IMG_1125 IMG_1127I used a piece of paper to make a template of the outlet, transferred it the wood and cut it out with a jigsaw. IMG_1135It totally worked! Which was a huge relief since it was the original wood to the house. IMG_1136Last month, I finalllllllllly got the finial coat of paint on the walls and trim, and decided to paint the ceiling too (I loved the dark ceiling in my daughter’s bedroom!) The walls and ceiling are in the Estate Emulsion and the trim is in the eggshell. The gloss really brings out the depth of the color – beautiful.

After painting the dining room and working on the bedroom upstairs – it looked like this.IMG_1425 IMG_1427

Cringe. My house blows up with tools and miscellaneous shit when I work on a project. Spanning two levels even. Ya’ll impressed?

I hope I am not the only one in universe who lives in this state more often than not.


Prepare yourself for some legit real life pictures. No deep cleaning, no sweeping, no styling or moving clutter into another room. #liveauthentic or something.

I spent a little time tidying and organizing and now we are here.IMG_1435 IMG_1438 IMG_1442


I mean, there’s still a shop vac chillin’ in the corner.

Once the room was painted with it’s second coat, I hung my drapes. I love, love, love them.

We will get back to that eyesore of a radiator in a minute.

The fabric is the Altpink linen from Tonic Living. I feel like it’s one of the most perfect pale pinks evahhhh.

I shipped my fabric to Divine Panels on Etsy to be sewn. I went with a French pleat header and chose blackout lining. They did a superb job. The quality is top notch and their customer service was excellent.

The blackout lining is perfect at blocking the light when we want to watch tv during the day, or video gaming for my husband. For this reason, I was given carte blanche with the fabric selection and I get to tell my husband that I spent hundreds of dollars to make him happy. And that I deserve thanks. And endless admiration.

The curtain rods are Lucite and brushed brass from Lux Hold ups on Etsy. I think they let the dark paint and drapes do their thang.

I purchased a new light! Which finalizes my plan to get rid of basic bitch light fixtures on the main level.

I knowwww that I had intended to purchase the Millo chandelier, which I still really super love, but I don’t think it will fit the space right. You know when you want something to work so badly, and you try to force it and then it ends in disappointment/purchasing another/money out the pocket for the first one/reflection on your whole past about where you went so wrong in life? I just avoided that last part.

I went with the Ursula from TripleSevenHome. 'TripleSevenHome Ursula'

I saw it when I was looking for alternative sconce options for Ry’s room, and my heart went all pitter patter. I sent a message over a month ago asking if I could have this made with smoked glass, and it took 2 more messages to get a ‘no’ in response. Once I got that – I finally ordered it.

I think it will compliment the Serge Mouille style light in the living room, and the large globe pendant in the kitchen. I shall call it ‘serge-mouille-large-globe-pendant-love-child’ light. Ursula for short.

It’s going to take about 6 weeks before it arrives – which prompts the Unofficial tentative One room challenge dining room. In which there is no official end date, or blogging schedule and it is totally unstructured. But almost exactly like the official challenge.


Check on possibility and price to swap that behemoth of a radiator with a smaller one. Plumbers are expensive, so we will see. The measurements might not even work. If that’s not an option, then finish painting it. Or, whatever.

MOULDING for the enlarged opening between the kitchen and dining room.

God. How many times have I said I’m going to procure it and put it up? I am a straight up liar face. Give me another chance to redeem myself?

Build storage. The craigslist credenza was moved in here, and it works ok but is deeper than I would like and a little shorter. Something longer, less deep and more room will take its place. And I’m thinking burgundy?IMG_4059

I am getting so good with CAD, don’t you think?

What do you mean that’s just a scribble on paper!? Offended. Get off my internets.

Stock the bar cart for the hypothetical cocktail party that I’m having.

Note to self: stop consuming all the alcohol that enters the house.

I bought the copper Plum and Bow cart from urban outfitters when it was on sale. It’s a good size for the room. I’m glad that I bought it on sale though, it’s not the best craftsmanship known to man.

Paint the piece of chipboard and attach it to the makeshift ikea sink/dishwasher cabinet.

Does anyone want to trade me thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that says ‘MY SOUL’ on it so that I can order the last cabinets and finish my kitchen?

No? Cool.

Joke would have been on that sucker, I got rid of that thing long ago.

Painting it is.

I’m going to miss the hot pink chandelier. I removed the shades and painted the metal on the one that came with the house. My husband on the other hand, will not miss it at all.

TBH. If I didn’t already have the pink drapes, I probably would powder coat the new fixture hot pink.

I’ll have to find another way to test the boundaries of my husband’s love tho.

Give those $10 craigslist chairs a face lift. Maybe some faux black ostrich leather?

Finally. The most important part of the plan.

BLOG about it.






One Room Challenge Spring 2016: Blank slate and good vibes

It’s week 3 of the One Room Challenge and I am feeling goooooood. I mean, sore AF and I killed way too many brain cells with spray paint and oil based primer fumes, but good all the same!

If you’re new to this challenge, Linda from Calling it Home hosts this event twice a year. Bloggers get to choose a room to work on, post the progress once a week for 6 weeks and link up to her site. If you’re someone like me, and can drag a simple project out for 6 months, this is super helpful to getting shit done.

I chose to turn our current guest room into a big girl room for my 5 year old daughter. This way, she can stay in her room, none the wiser that this is a surprise room for her.

I’m so excited to do this for her. She has been so patient and understanding of the house renovations, the chaos, the dust over the past 3 years. She really deserves her own space (free of the dust and chaos.)

This is where my challenge started.IMG_1144


Shudders. So. We bought this 100+ house from some flippers, who purchased it from an elderly woman that had lived there for a very long time and did not do proper upkeep. Or do any updates, as evidenced by the pink/avocado green/pale yellow/6 wallpapers in 1 room/massive holes, etc.

The house flippers’ solution to this was to cover all the surfaces with drywall. Great in theory, but it stuck out 1/2″ at the bottom of the walls where the baseboards were flush with the plaster walls and the window casing was close to being recessed. This probably wouldn’t bother the average person, but when it comes to freaking out about miniscule details, I am exceptionally above average.

I have been going from room to room in the house, forcefully removing the drywall, patching holes and cracks in the original plaster walls/ceiling, sanding, priming and painting.

This is the 6th room I’ve done so far – only 5 more to go. Le sigh.


Next time I start a project and think ‘oh, this won’t be so bad!’, I need ya’ll to remind me that I don’t know shit. kthxbye.

For my pitiful 2nd week post, I had only removed the screws and washed the walls and half heartedly patched holes.

That’s when I discovered this little gem:IMG_3955

It brought so much happiness to my life.

Showing up to the ORC challenge linking party with my hands empty was enough humiliation that I was finally motivated to finish repairing the walls this past week. Although, everyone was so kind of absolve me of my guilt and shame. WHO KNEW THE INTERNET WAS SO NICE?! It makes me want to go sit in a cardboard box of fuzzy kittens and let them climb on me.

I painted out the vinyl windows with some black satin Krylon fusion spray paint and the radiator in matte black. ‘Cause, why not?

Then, armed with 1/4″ drywall, 3 bags of DuraBond/Easy Sand 90 joint compound and 3 rolls of fiberglass window screen – I got down to it.

I addressed the deep holes initially. Those jerks are the ones that need countless coats to build up.

For the ginormous hole next to the light switch, I took some extra lath and screwed it to other pieces of lath for some support and strength.DSC_1197

Then I covered it up with a newspaper – done!DSC_1198

JK. I wish.

I used that to make a general template, cut out said template of 1/4″ drywall and then screwed the drywall to the lath. It doesn’t have to be perfect ’cause it will be filled/smoothed out with the joint compound.DSC_1200 DSC_1201 DSC_1204 DSC_1205 DSC_1206

After it was secured, I covered it with a big square of the screen and gave a once over coat.DSC_1207

The first coat is always the DuraBond, it’s super strong, but a bitch to sand – so I use it sparingly. This will go in the screw holes and the deep holes with mesh screen.

I cut the screen in to long strips, and use those for the thousands of tiny cracks in the walls/ceiling.

To protect my brain from the trauma of the next 3-6 coats, I went in to some sort of fugue state. When I came to, all the holes and cracks were smoothed out.IMG_1213 IMG_1214 IMG_1215 IMG_1225


The sanding wasn’t so bad, actually! It took about 4 hours with an orbital sander and 220 grit. I just kept telling myself that it will all be better once I get the walls primed.

AND PRIMED!IMG_1227 IMG_1230 IMG_1229 IMG_1232 IMG_1234

So, so, so much better.

Can you be kind enough to not notice that I missed a WHOLE portion of the wall with primer? I only realized when I was taking these pictures.

And here’s a bonus picture of my daughter popping in and crying because I asked her to wear sweat pants for T ball practice and she wants to wear a skirt:IMG_1233

What huge gaping hole in the wall and ceiling!? You must have had a nightmare. Shhhh. It’s over now.IMG_1228

That first coat is the oil based primer, which in my opinion is absolutely necessary with so much new mud. It’s the best to seal it up and prevent flashing. That joint compound be THIRSTY and will drink up primer like nobody’s business.

PSA – A deep hair conditioner will keep the oil based primer from sticking to your hair, and coconut oil is excellent for removing the oil based primer on your paint splattered face. Otherwise it sticks like a sonabitch. I didn’t mind the paint all over my body. I am currently at work looking like a mess and no fucks are given.

The next coat will be latex primer, then two top coats – I still haven’t picked out a paint color. I couldn’t focus on a new color until that other pink wasn’t assaulting my eyes.

Question. How do black, pale pink and dark green play together? Yes, no?


My lucent lighshop sputnik arrived and is beautiful.IMG_3965

BUT NOT ONLY THAT. Sarah sent me a message on instagram and let me know that her shop could make me the black sconce (that I never got a response on from a different shop.)

My daughter asked me the other day if I ordered that light that she chose out, and I had to tell her that I wasn’t able to yet. She took it all in stride, because her skills for coping with disappointment are on point – which makes me think I need to reflect on how often I disappoint her. Now at least I won’t disappoint her with this!

They are just the sweetest, ever, and prove that customer service still exists.

As it turned out, the ceiling joist was JUST IN THE RIGHT PLACE for a hanging chair. Why, oh why didn’t I write down the exact location though!? I mean, it was right there in front of my face, and now I’ll have to search for it since it’s all smooth and primed.


I happened to pop over onto Serena and Lily’s shop this past weekend and saw there was a 20% off code and I could apply it to the rattan hanging chair! I was putting off ordering the chair because the item description page said ‘5-7 days’, when I checked out though, it said 2-4 weeks. I got anxious and sent Brit from House Updated a message asking how long it took for her to get it. She was so sweet to respond and told me it took about a week. I got an email about 3 days after I ordered and it will be delivered on Friday! Squeals! CH27-01_5

I waffled, but ultimately chose the natural finish.

Rug and textiles will get selected? Bedding seems to be a tough one for me. I want it to be pretty, but, she’s a 5 year old and doesn’t need $200 Egyptian cotton/silk sheets.

SOOOOO basically, I got $100 off my chair, the ceiling fixture is here and sconce for my daughter is on order and the walls are fresher than a mutha.

This weekend is for painting, cleaning, electrical updates and playing at the park.

Make sure to check out all the amazing work the other bloggers are doing!






You know when you have an idea in your head and maybe you even have the items in your possession or favorited on your etsy profile for like EVER and then someone else puts it on the interwebs first? Then you’re left there with a bottle of wine and questioning ‘what is life?’ and ‘if I didn’t put it on Instagram, did it even exist?’

And you’re probs burning up with jealousy because they have angelic lighting and perfect pictures. And perfect houses. And perfect hair.

Then you go: DAFUQ am I ugly crying over? I got some motherfucking curtains, yo. Then you dab at your ‘prom just got ruined’ raccoon eyes with your beautiful drapes.

No? Only me?


That’s right. I finally sent my pink linen to be sewn into wonderful french pleated drapes and I ordered beautiful lucite and brass curtain rods to hang them on. IMG_1124

I’m feeling pretty good about that. Good enough to finally paint the second coat of Farrow and Ball Down Pipe on the walls in my dining room in preparation. Those walls have been waiting 1 1/2 years for that, bee tee dub.

The trim was painted out in the eggshell finish. And am I the only one that thinks the F&B paint smells like damp dirt?

MY WALLPAPER WAS INSTALLED. It is more amazing than pictures can portray. I love, love, love it. ellie cashman dark floral wallpaperBetter pictures when I can figure out how to take better pictures of such a small room.

The door is prepped and painted, but scheduling the handyman (whom I quite like), has been a lot of phone tag. Or…. It’s the fact that I gave that task to the husband and he’s like way lower on the neuroticism scale than me.

I bleached my dark brown hair blonde. Like, really blonde. It’s not house related, but it’s about me and this is my blog sooooooo it counts. I have to go back for another session to lighten it a little bit more. It’s most def an adjustment and people were not lyin’ about the maintenance. I am maybe the laziest when it comes to my hair, I can hardly be bothered to brush it, as in I hardly DO brush it.

See the concentration it takes for me to take a selfie? I might have had a mini aneurism.

I had said that I was planning on giving my daughter a newly designed room. These Roman shades showed up in the mail today!img_3937


I mean, they didn’t just “show up”, it took lots of money and weeks for shipment and then customs gave me a hella hard time to get them through. I had to fill out this crazy detailed form, like I’m some sort of textile expert. I am not, if you were wondering.

Since they have shown up right before the spring One Room Challenge is starting, I think I’m going to do my daughter’s bedroom for it! Yay! Crazy! Exciting! Kind of regretting committing to it on the internet!

So far I am excelling at my goal in spending lots and lots of money on textiles for the house.

One Room Challenge Fall 2015: Now… I wait?

This is now week 4 of the One Room Challenge that is hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. I cannot possibly express how thankful I am to be able to link up to her site and share all the work that we have all been doing! It’s so supportive and motivational. I would not be nearly as far in progress if not for this challenge.

Week 1 outlined my plans, week 2 showed not much of anything and week 3 had a lot going on.

If you don’t feel like going back to read, or want a quick re-cap. The room I chose to work on is the living room in our house. I removed the drywall previous owners put up to expose the damaged plaster, took out the screws and patched it all and sanded smooth.

I left off in week 3 with the first coat of primer on the trim and walls, and caulked/spackled trim.

The inside window moulding was painted with Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur, like the front room. I love painting vinyl windows, the top square was a replacement window and vinyl. Just prime with some spray paint primer designed for plastic and use any kind of paint top coat. 013

I spent Friday evening with my sisters and all the kids, but not until after I taped/papered the windows in preparation for the trim to be sprayed with the next coat of primer and top coats.primed

I used the sprayer on my porch to spray the storm windows, and was excited to see how much it would speed up the painting trim process.

Saturday morning, I quarantined the living room with plastic and used the air compressor and hvlp sprayer and got going on the trim. What a godsend. I was able to get a coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 primer and two top coats of Sherwin-Williams Snowbound 7004 Floor and Porch paint on the trim in a couple of hours!

There was a break between the primer and top coats because I accidentally knocked over a half gallon of primer all over my wood floor. Le SIGH. There was a lot of cupping of hands and scooping action going on.

trim is painted, but the walls haven’t gotten a top coat
So glad that brown is gone on the trim

That is now black mist spray paint, two full beers and half a gallon of primer spilled on my living room floor in a week.

If anyone wants to get on me about painting the woodwork, I’ll leave you with this:007

The wood was painted with opaque brown varnish nasty.

After that, I cut in and rolled a coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 primer on the walls and ceiling and then 2 coats of Clark + Kensington flat enamel in Casa Blanca (which is an Ace Hardware color.) The ceiling and medallion were also painted Casa Blanca.010  012

I finished the last coat on Sunday morning, a couple of hours before my daughter’s 5th birthday party with all her friends (NOT hosted at our house, luckily!) and she was most def not impressed with my paint splattered face/hair. And I quote: “Mom. You need to look fab for my party. Wash the paint out of your hair.”

Whoa, way harsh Tai.

The ceiling looks soooooooooooooooo much better!007 015

Remember how it was?008


The Lane étagères got one last heavy coat of Rustoleum Gloss Black spray paint. Light coats for the first couple, but heavy for the last one if you want it to be glossy.009

I took a break after sanding and painting the living room to…. sand and paint my front door? Damn. I need a social life.

I can’t even hold a pen without my hand cramping and turning into a claw.

This past Thursday after work, I stopped at Ikea and picked up two 30″x15″ Sektion cabinets to start framing out, and got exactly this far. Assembled and shoved into the pantry. 005

I am thinking that will be my weekend project, and then I can start moving things back in the living room. Because my anxiety is mounting living with this chaos. 013 014

The waiting. Which is the hardest part for a control freak like me.

I can feel my shoulders tensing up just thinking about it.

Update from the eBay seller is that my light fixture just shipped from China 10/26. All the sad faces and tears. The new tracking number provided doesn’t give an estimate of when it’s supposed to arrive either. This is outside of the initial shipping time frame that was presented when I purchased. I have lost my chill and opened a formal case about it – not that it changed the speed of the shipping or anything. My hope is that I will get a delivery date though. NOT COOL SELLER, NOT COOL AT ALL.

It is very likely that it will not be in my possession for the reveal. Which is a huge bummer since it feels integral to the design.

Another item that likely won’t arrive until after the reveal is the coffee table I spontaneously decided to purchase (too late.) My initial mock up had the CB2 Shroom coffee table, which I do like. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to splurge and buy a new coffee table at the moment or just continue to use my acrylic waterfall coffee table (which worked when my couch was against the adjacent wall but now partially blocks the walk path in the couch’s new placement).


The West Elm marble-topped pedestal coffee table went on sale and out popped my credit card. This One Room Challenge has me losing my mind and my barely existent impulse control. I ordered it last week to be delivered to the store (saving me $50) and will take “3-4 weeks to arrive”, the sales person said they have to give that time frame but it sometimes arrives sooner.

I guess I just have to think long term, and if/when these items do appear in my life, before or after the reveal, I get to live with them and it’s not only about the pictures.


Let’s look at pretty things, yes? All of these items are the finishing touches and are either on order (the agony of waiting!) or in my possession.


Wow. A lot of West Elm stuff worked it’s way into my living room. Like, maybe I should be embarrassed? Or, have my living room featured in their catalogue. Yeah, let’s go with that one.

They just have some good shit over there. Shiny. I love shiny.

  1. West Elm Cozy texture throw in Rosette

2. West Elm Fabric by the yard – Luster Velvet in Celestial blue (this is the fabric I ordered for ugly couch to be reupholstered in, and when I ordered it was on sale for $17/yard)

3. Pouf from Etsy shop BerberPoufs

4. West Elm Tumbler Side table in Antique brass (which I would have gotten in copper if I had known about the coffee table in my future)

5. West Elm Marble-topped pedestal coffee table

6. West Elm Oversized Metal rod in Antique brass

7. Safavieh Casablanca rug (I purchased the 9×12 from Overstock a couple of months ago and they seem to be out of stock now.)

8. West Elm Cotton Canvas Curtain – I detest purchasing curtains, they seem so expensive but I like having them. I kept putting off picking them up, and in this case procrastination patience paid off. They are on sale for $29 per panel for all lengths! I swooped up 4 of the 108″ ASAP. They have to get hemmed a couple of inches before I can hang them though.

Like I said, a whole lot of West Elm. SPONSER ME, WEST ELM. GET AT ME.

So here I am, waiting. I am still waiting for my couch, waiting for the light fixture, and waiting for the coffee table. The next two weeks are going to be tense, and my husband is probably going to continue talking to me in calming and quiet tones while gesturing for me to calm down and not attack him like some feral animal.

Still waiting for my door and wallpaper for my other project.

And my credit card info got stolen! I may shop at the hardware store pretty often, but I do not generally spend $500+ at sporting good stores. The universe telling me to put it away? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, UNIVERSE.

Plan for this coming week:

  • Build, sand, paint media console
  • Hang curtain rods/panels
  • Paint wood on craigslist chairs matte black (I haven’t decided on the fabric for reupholstering yet – although Braemore Jamil always seems like a good idea. It won’t get done before the reveal either way)
  • Move things back into the room and start styling? Like I even know how to style. LOLOLOL
  • Mental breakdown and soul cleansing cry

and more waiting.


Big plans for the smallest room in the house and the porch and aluminum storm windows got painted

As seems to happen with most of the projects I start, I had no intention of working on this one anytime soon.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it really started years ago when I started renovations on the rest of the house, and decided to paint the original clapboard on our enclosed porch.

I am not really sure what I was thinking, but I went to Home Depot yanked a pine green swatch off the wall and left with a gallon of exterior paint.

In my zeal, I started painting right away. It was going quickly and I was pleased with the progress… until I took a step back. No, no, No. I did NOT like the color and I stopped mid-painting. There ended any emotional attachment to the porch, no longer used for dinners or lounging in the sunshine. Dead to me.020

It was around that time that extra shit that I didn’t want to see inside, or have the room for started to make it’s way outside to the porch. A radiator from the kitchen (still unattached to the plumbing, but now back in the kitchen!), the extra couch when Ugly couch came along. The old tv console when I made over the craigslist credenza. Before I knew it, our porch was white trash as hell and I didn’t even care.

We would just walk past it and straight into the house. I of course had the wherewithal to die a little inside anytime a guest would come over, natch.

Then this past summer, my husband suggested that maybe we should spend some time on it. I was working on the pantry, and pushed it out of my head, kindly suggesting that he could get started on it.

After finishing the pantry (updates soon!), I thought that maybe he was right. Maybe it didn’t have to look quite so terrible. Maybe when the mail man dropped off our mail they wouldn’t assume that we had a distillery upstairs in the bathtub making moonshine.

It was late summer at this point and in Minnesota we never know when fall is going to happen.

I drove off to my local Ace Hardware and picked up a gallon of Clark + Kensington flat exterior paint color matched to Behr Cracked Pepper and a gallon of satin paint color matched to Benjamin Moore Black Tar.

It was relatively quick to clear most of the stuff out of there. After vacuuming and wiping down the walls with TSP, I got to painting! YES! So good to see the green disappear. The clapboard got a coat with a paintbrush in the Cracked Pepper and the trim got the satin Black Tar.023 021

Then… the aluminum storm windows stuck out like a sore thumb. And I HATED the steel exterior door that fit so poorly in the door jamb and almost ruined my marriage.027

You probably didn’t think an inanimate object could do that, but it most def can. Last fall, my husband and I were trying to re-hang the door and adjust it so it wasn’t so drafty. This led to such annoyance and aggravation, which led to a ginormous fight. I was bitterly reminded of this when I looked at the door, and my feeling toward it quickly turned to contempt.

I feel all the feels – strongly.

If we I (as soon as I bought the paint somehow jurisdiction of this project became mine and my husband slinked off to the shadows, thanks hon) was going to spend time painting and beautifying the porch, why would I leave such ugly storms and door?

This is where our littlest room gets affected.

As is common with a lot of older houses in colder climates, there’s a very small room between the exterior door and interior house door. In the case of my house, I have the porch door, the exterior house door, the small room (I’m going to call it a ‘vestibule’) and interior door.

I hate the porch door too – it’s only 29″ wide! Ugh. Can’t hardly fit anything through it.

Anyways, hating two out of three doors was too much for delicate psyche and I made some decisions.

I liked the interior door, it’s solid hardwood with a nice glass pane. And the measurements were 36″x84″… which are the dimensions that the exterior jamb needed and the contemptuous steel door fell flat of (thus the draft.)

OMG! Brillz idea. Let’s get rid of the steel door, move the existing wood door to replace that one and then order a new door for the interior! One with lots of glass that will lighten the area visually.

Except, apparently this is no longer a common skill. I mean, I knew it wasn’t one of my skills, but I figured someone had it. I made several, several phone calls and got the same response: “we only install pre-hung doors.”

Pre-hung doors come from the manufacturer screwed to a jamb and sill. Old houses have to be retro-fitted for that kind of sill, which raises the frame opening up.

I pouted. I already have a jamb and a door. I don’t want a pre-hung door.

I turned my attention to something I could do. Removing some trees that obscured the street from the porch and painting the aluminum storm windows.

It only took about 40 minutes to cut down these trees and bundle them up! Sunshine on the porch!006 007

The previous owners hated me. They must have. That’s only exclamation I can think of for why they put non-paintable silicone caulk on every surface they could.

It took me probably 15+ hours with a putty knife and razors to remove all of it from the 10 window frames.

I removed the bottom glass pane to leave only the top and screen, vacuumed the hell out of them and scrubbed them with TSP and a brass wire brush. I found a garden sprayer to be invaluable for this! It’s a wet process though, I recommend keeping the wet/dry shop vac close by. At one point, I was like a dentist. Spray/suction combo for the win!029 030 031 033 034 035 036

After giving them several hours to dry, I re-caulked and carefully taped the glass off with frog tape and painters plastic. I left the screens in and put plastic loosely on the other side (I did run into a problem with this, but I’m not sure of the solution.)039

I purchased the Campbell Hausfeld DH380000AV Pressure-Feed Spray Gun from Amazon and used a 6 Gal pancake compressor. The manual says it won’t work, but it does.

Two coats of Zinsser latex primer and two coats of the exterior paint in Black Tar went like a breeze! The sprayer made things so so so much easier. I was thrilled.

The issue. The plastic on the outside got stuck to the screen with paint, causing some paint to stick to them. I have decided to re-screen them when I have the chance!

Anyways. YES. DO THIS. It made such a difference visually.033 behr cracked pepper ; benjamin moore black tar ; painted aluminum storm windows

While I was working on that, I started asking my coworkers for recommendations on handy men or carpenters. One suggested a good friend of hers. I gave him a call, explained the situation, he looked at it and promised to come back later in the week to move the door.

Happy dance! Nervousness. Things never go that smoothly.

I had picked out a door to order, but held off since I was worried that there may be in issue moving the door and then I would have a useless door taking up room and mocking my life’s decisions.

As promised, Arnie and his friend showed up and instantly got to work. They planed the door down to fit the jamb and cut new mortises for the hinges in the jamb. Then they attempted to screw the hinges to the jamb and they caught on nothing! Removing the casing showed that there was a several inch gap between the jamb and framing.

At this point, they had been working on this for hours and it was getting late. They used 3″ wood screws and got the door hung.

I was thankful for how much time they put in, and ultimately they did solve my problem.

But, those wood screws were ugly. And I am so over ugly right now.

I spent a couple of hours last Friday putting wood blocks behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing lumber. Then putting the pretty screws in the hinges.

This was a blessing because I was able to shim the jamb so the door shuts snugly! I used great stuff to insulate. No more drafts!009 010

The door is currently painted Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray on one side, and Juniper on the other. I like both the colors, but I don’t like the blue against the black trim. 005


I painted the porch door Juniper and I love the brightness of the green against the black.011

The exterior door is going to get a coat of Clark + Kensington OPI Care to Danse? as soon as I get two minutes away from the living room and One Room Challenge.

Which leads me to the plans for the vestibule….

New door ordered! After I got over my initial shock of how expensive doors are. Wowzers. I ordered through my local lumber yard and chose a Buffelen door in Douglas Fir with 4 glass panes. Buffelen 6054G door

The original doors in the house are 6 panel. I wanted to nod to that but liked the more modern aspect of the larger glass panes. It’s going to get a coat of the pale pink paint and dressed up with some gorgeous crystal knobs from Rejuvenation.

The larger glass will also work better to see this wallpaper that is going up in the vestibule. ellie cashman deisgn dark floral 2 black desaturated

Yes. Black, brass, pink and flowers.

I am also waiting on this little beauty to arrive and light up my porch.lucent lightshop sputnikMy husband had the best idea when he suggested we clear out the porch.