The Beetles Have Arrived!

By | Room Makeovers, Wallace Woods House | 12 Comments

The beetle wallpaper from the nursery design plan was installed last week. And I just have to say—it is a WOW moment when you step into that room now. And dare I say a little bit of a shocker? Aaron and I kept smiling at each other saying, “that paper is crazy.” It’s hard to describe, but it’s not every day you’re surrounded by 9-foot tall walls full of giant blue bugs.

And by crazy, we mean totally awesome. 
Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

I have to admit—I was a little nervous about combining the blue plaid floor with the wallpaper. I mean, they both are big visual statements in their own right. Would they look too crazy together? Would it make the room too overwhelming? I am relieved to report that none of that happened and in fact, they balance each other really well. One has hard, straight lines while the other is more soft and curvy. That’s a really bad way to explain the floors and the walls just look good together. 🙂

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

I had a big “first” with this project—I hired it out! I actually paid someone else to do something I could DIY. My goodness it felt good (and a little naughty). I came home from work one day and—poof!—all done! Like magic. The cost was painful (anything is more painful vs. free), but I know hauling my pregnant butt up and down ladders would have been more damaging. My parents offered (they’re my resident wallpaper experts) but these days we need their help on the toddler front more than anything else.

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

By the way, do you know how hard it is to find someone who hangs wallpaper? It’s rough here in Cincinnati. Nearly every painter/finisher specializes in the removal of wallpaper, not hanging. In fact, I got a lot of odd responses as if people were confused as to why I was adding wallpaper to my room versus removing. News alert to the painters’ trade: wallpaper is back! Anyways, I stumbled upon a unicorn paper hanger near me and she was absolutely fantastic. (Locals: Her name is Erin Witko. Email me at emkmay@gmail.com and I’ll get you her details!)

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

Let’s talk about this wallpaper. It’s called Beetle (in the Chambray color way) and if you’re in the US, is available via Sydney Harbour Paint Company in LA. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve loved this paper since I started this blog. Back then, it was only available via its original creator, Porter’s Paint in Australia. Shipping rates to the US were expensive and the order minimum was high, so I could never make it work.

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

Now that Porter’s Paints has a sister brand in the US with Sydney Harbour Paint Company, access to their wallpapers (like the infamous Anna Spiro’s designs!) and paint makes things a whole lot easier for me. I approached SHP with the idea of partnering on this nursery project and they were game! Not only did I get a room full of beetles, but I was able to see some of their other products as well—acrylic paint, natural paint (like milk paint)specialty finishes, wallpaper and more.

Sydney Harbour Paint Company

You guys, these paint colors. If this isn’t eye candy, I don’t know what is.

Sydney Harbour Paint Company

Sydney Harbour Paint Company

Sydney Harbour Paint Company

Our paper hanger was impressed by the quality of paper, so it didn’t surprise me that their paint is high grade, too. Even the paint decks are high quality (and handmade!). Color me impressed. Aaron groaned when he heard me fawning over these paint decks. He knows it means a paint project in his future. I promised I’d go easy on him until well after the baby is here. 😉

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

Beetle Wallpaper for Baby Boy Nursery

Anyways, back to the beetles. I’m so thrilled to have the biggest parts of the nursery behind us. Now we can focus on decor. I’ve got curtains to hang, lighting to install, furniture to find and art to hang. (The idea of drilling holes into this wallpaper is giving me heart palpitations, btw…) I’m not sure if I’ll do another post before the “big reveal” but at any rate, I’ll be posting updates along the way. Things are moving quick around here. I’ve only got another 6 weeks before this baby boy makes his arrival.

xo,

emily

 

House Goals for 2017

By | Wallace Woods House | 4 Comments

It’s nearly tradition at this point around here to wait until February to post our house goals for 2017. January just seems too… soon? I need January to recover from the holidays, recap 2016, and strategize about our approach for the year. It’s really not as serious as it sounds, but when it comes to lists and goals, I’m like a dog to a bone. So it’s got to be a pretty decent goal list! Challenging but mostly doable is the name of my game. Mainly to keep my sanity. 🙂

Ok, here we go. Here is what I hope to accomplish in 2017.

Master Bedroom Refresh

It's Starting to Feel Like Home: Part 3

It's Starting to Feel Like Home: Part 3

It's Starting to Feel Like Home: Part 3

Our bedroom is in desperate need of attention. We have no curtains, rickety furniture, tired bedding, bare floors, zero nightstands… oh boy it’s not good. Our mattress especially, a clearance IKEA model from 8 years ago, has been not-so-lovingly referred to as the “marshmallow pod” for the last few years. All of this to say: it’s time for a refresh. I’m calling it a refresh instead of a major makeover because it’s not in the budget to go nuts here. I’ve started a little bit already with new bedding (not shown—this is bedding from the old bedroom at our previous house), knowing I’m about to spend a whole lot of time in here with the new baby, but the real work will happen in the Spring.

Here’s what I’d like to get done in 2017:

  • Buy a new mattress
  • Hang light-blocking curtains (and possibly blinds)
  • Figure out a new furniture layout
  • Get rid of our MALM dresser (I’ve read enough of those toddler tipping articles to be totally spooked even with tethering to the wall, plus IKEA is offering full refunds on MALMs and other tippable models purchased between 2002 and June 2016.)
  • Buy a new rug
  • Add nightstands with great storage
  • Hang art/object/something above bed
  • Find a new bed frame maybe (but it will have to be a steal of a deal!)

Semi-Finish the Basement

The Gift of Storage

The Gift of Storage

The Gift of Storage

Our basement has some serious potential—it’s a big space, with high ceilings, good natural light and decent temperature control. It’s practically begging to be used more often. And we need the space! It’d be a great spot for the kids to play, especially when the weather is bad and getting outside isn’t possible. While I’d love to really refinish this space—with drywall and lighting and real floors—2017 will be more of a “Phase 1” type job. It’ll still be very much a basement when it’s all done, but with a little more comfort (and less dirt and bugs).

Here’s our plan for 2017:

  • More organizing and purging (that crazy photo above is on moving day… we can see the floors now believe it or not)—a ton of this happened in 2016 but it’s still not enough. We need to make room for tools, get the floor clear, etc.
  • Lots of cleaning—there’s still a lot of construction dust down here from the renovation in 2014 (pre-us) and we’re tired of tracking it all over the house. The floors, walls, ceilings and windows will all be getting a spray down
  • Paint all the things! The floor (natural concrete), the walls and even the ceilings are in need of a paint job. Both due to waterproofing necessity but also for aesthetic reasons. I’m hoping that painting out the ceiling especially will help it look like more of a finished space
  • Figure out some sort of flooring—whether it’s rugs or rubber playmats—I’d like to get something on the floors to help with the echo, cozy it up and provide a cushion for falls
  • Close off the storage space from the play space, behind a door with lock and key to ensure it stays a kid-free zone (lots of very non-safe stuff down there)
  • Figure out lighting—I’d love to add to some overhead lighting, but may have to get creative to keep costs down. It might be as easy as stringing outdoor lights, but we’ll see what happens
  • Furniture! Things like play tables, chairs and some sort of comfy seating would be great. Have no idea what that might be yet, but we’ll see what happens. We need places to sit and hang out!

Finish the New Deck Space

We had our deck built this winter, knowing it would be spring until we could touch it again. Even unfinished, it’s been such an improvement. Our kids are already loving playing out here, it feels safe and yay—we have our backyard again. Everything else will feel like icing on the cake (and hopefully an actual place to sit).

Backyard Fence/Deck Progress

Backyard Fence/Deck Progress

For 2017, we hope to:

  • Stain and seal the deck boards
  • Add a rug (possibly of the painted variety?)
  • Add plants to column planters
  • Add additional landscaping around perimeter, plus more planters
  • Explore adding some sort of sun shade, canopy or giant umbrella—it gets hot out there in the summer
  • Find a super deal on outdoor furniture and a fire pit—or at least build savings for a 2018 purchase
  • Add lighting
  • DIY an ottoman/portable seating of some kind

Give the Upstairs Hallway Some Attention

Upstairs Hallway (Guest Bath is on the left)

The upstairs hallway is also another untouched space. I’d like to do something fun with that little nook at the end—we’ll see. Overall, it just needs a little bit of attention and design. I’m thinking like a one-day job with this space.

  • Add a runner
  • Hang art/objects of some kind
  • Replace the overhead light (it’s currently a boob light)

Random Things to Tackle

Just like last year, there’s a few random things I’d love to tackle in 2017.

  • Upgrade all doorknobs and hinges
  • Find a new living room rug
  • Add lighting to the dark spots in the living room
  • Find a new rug for the master bathroom

Phew…  typing that all out feels incredibly intimidating. And I didn’t even include the nursery project on this list! I know 2017 will be a tough transition year for us as we get used to being a family of 5, but we’ll do our best. Budget is going to be the name of the game, as we’ll also be getting used to increased childcare costs. Good fun! At any rate, I’m just excited to have goals in front of us, whether we accomplish them or not, because it gives us a roadmap of how we’d like to spend our time and money on the house front.

 

Do you plan out house projects for the year? I suppose I should be setting some personal goals too… 😉

xo,

emily

11′ of Hidden Storage For Under $100

By | Haus Hacks, Room Makeovers, Wallace Woods House | 10 Comments

We’re experiencing a major switcheroo in rooms around here—primarily to make room for Baby #3. The guest room, now the new nursery, has been re-located to the third floor. There was just one problem with the third floor: it was chockfull of baby gear. We’re talking totes, car seats, strollers, boppys, toys… the list goes on. Not quite the junk-free zone I’d like to give our guests. The third floor is a wide open space too, with zero closed storage, which means there wasn’t a spot to hide our stuff. I’m happy to report we have a solution!

Hidden Tote Storage

My dad’s Christmas gift to me every year is a DIY build of some kind—like our front porch planters and our basement storage system and this year is the reason for this glorious post: an entire 11′ wall of space to hide the baby gear. *cue the angels singing*

It’s hard to describe which wall we chose, so I’m forced to share with you the hideous picture below. You can see the wall of storage half-done here, but it’s located to the right of the stairs. It’s a good 11′ long. (And if you’re wondering why there is a body bag on the floor, you think too highly of me. I’m told it’s a case for drum stands. Ha!)11' of Storage for Under $100

There’s one kicker to this project. The majority of stuff I needed to hide were 23″ deep plastic totes. Which meant the shelf itself needed to be at least 24″ deep, therefore requiring it to be the deepest shelf required in all of the world. You know what they don’t make readymade? 24″ deep shelves. Luckily, my dad had a pretty genius extra-deep shelf solution: standard size hollow-core doors. More on that in a minute!

11' of Storage for Under $100

The first thing we did was mark the studs on the wall in preparation for bracket installation. I’m using “we” somewhat loosely here. I was in my first trimester when we did this project and while I tried to help, picture me laying on the floor fully exhausted. I did manage to grab tools as my dad requested them, and carry some stuff around, but beyond that, I wasn’t much help. Bleeeccch. (Love you, Dad.) Anyways, the uneven bracket placement is by design—we had to account not only for the length of the doors, but we also wanted to keep as much height clearance in certain spots for the totes themselves.

With the studs marked, we began to install the brackets. I bought four of these 20″ deep brackets on Amazon to support the weight of the doors. They’re heavyweight, titanium brackets guaranteed to hold 1000 lbs per pair, so our door-shelf-hybrid was child’s play.

11' of Storage for Under $100

The doors are these 24″ x 80″ hollow core doors from Lowe’s. (Ours were a natural finish but the price was the same, about $29 a door.) We went for the cheapest option of the 24″ options, just checking to make sure that no doorknob holes had been pre-drilled. A somewhat related aside—one of the reasons I loved the door idea so much was because it gave the “shelf” some serious thickness, about 1 1/2″, which we would not have been able to achieve with a sheet of plywood.

11' of Storage for Under $100

You’ll notice a 2″ x 4″ along the wall—this was to give our 24″ shelf just a tiny bit more depth, inching it to nearly 25″. I wanted to be sure that the depth of the shelf would cover the totes completely, without any funny corners jutting out.

I wasted no time filling up the storage space underneath. Take a look at how much crap fits under there! We built it high enough so that we could stack two totes without losing clearance.

OK, back to the project. We did end up cutting one of the doors down a bit (in length) to fit the space. Cutting the bottom off a hollow-core door takes away a little bit of its stability (remember, it’s hollow save for a frame around the edges), so once cut we slid a piece of scrap wood inside and glued it all together.

11' of Storage for Under $100

After a little bit of dry time, it was ready to paint! I did two coats of primer, two coats of satin latex, then one coat of satin polyacrylic to seal it all up. I wanted a slightly shiny surface to help with wipeability.

11' of Storage for Under $100

I knew I wanted to do a curtain front all along—it was really the only way to keep the length of storage I needed without getting into the expense and hassle of doors and more building. We installed an IKEA DIGNITET curtain wire, spanning from the far wall to the paneled stair case.

Hidden Tote Storage

I ordered 3 of these 30″ x 24″ tier curtains from Kohl’s during one of their many big sales. I paid $45, which gave me 6 panels. I could have gone a little longer (tier curtains also come in a 30″ length typically), but I didn’t want to deal with measuring and hemming. I worked hard to keep this project easy. 🙂 Also, at some point, I will address the sag the curtains are causing. It needs just a small eye hook in the middle to run the wire through.

Anyways, we now have a relatively clutter-free guest room in our third floor space, all thanks to the cavernous storage this extra-deep shelf/curtain combo provide. I can’t thank my dad enough for being the brains and the brawn behind this project. My parents are frequent guests at Casa May anyways, and while they’d probably be content sleeping among mountains of baby gear, I feel a little bit better knowing they have a clean space away from home.

Hidden Tote Storage

Hidden Tote Storage

Hidden Tote Storage

Did you all watch the Super Bowl? For the first year ever, Aaron and I tried to get into it. We made these awesome buffalo chicken meatballs, changed into our sweats and were ready to make a night of it. The Fox streaming app on Apple TV pooped out about 15 minutes in and after fighting load times for a few minutes, Aaron looked at me and said, “Soo… you want to watch Gilmore Girls?” HA! One day we’ll be Super Bowl watchers, but not this year!

More coming later this week on the nursery! It’s wallpaper installation week! EEEEEEEEEE.

xo,

emily