In which my pantry wasn't large enough to house my m&m's obsession so we built a new one


Wahoo! It's happened: my insane sweet tooth now has affected the architecture of our home. WIN!

No, just kidding. For real though, we already had a pretty great, large pantry in the kitchen. The only problem with it was that Chad loathed the whole thing. He didn't like how deep it was (we couldn't see what we actually had or didn't have), he didn't like the width of the shelves, he didn't really like ANYTHING about it. In fact, he wants to demo that there built-in pantry below on the left hand side.

Finally - A Functional Play Room!

It's a miracle! I don't LOATHE our play room anymore. Hip hip hooray!

Ever since moving into the new house in March after selling our last mini house, this room has been in heavy use... by everyone except me. We hooked up the TV and video game console within the first few hours of ownership (priorities, right?), and of course, threw every last toy in there on it's bare floor and crammed all that would fit within the closet.

It was chaos, you know? The only good point to it was that we (and by we, I mean "I") didn't have to look at the disorganization in the living areas - but other than that, entering the room-of-toys was a miserable experience. The (albeit pretty) hardwood floor and (not so pretty) built-in that was already in place felt cold and horrible. 


Our ultimate plan is to completely change everything about this space (floors, move the built-in to the other side of the room and change it up, and then of course, paint!), but we needed a temporary solution to get us through to that point.

So what's a gal to do when the play room isn't her top priority on the "home improvement money spending" list? Shop the house! We hung the kids' initials up from the old nursery and bedroom over the make-shift daybed (two end caps to these beds from IKEA), and then put a cheap rug in there from Target - BOOM: instant coziness!

(My) Dog Crate of DREAMS!

I'm obsessed with my dog... but the hardware that came with him when we adopted Snow two years ago? Not so much. When he was 9 weeks old, it was estimated that he would eventually weigh in at 50 pounds - pretty large, right?! So we got him one of those giant dog crates. Well, now that he's 85+ pounds, that large crate was a good buy - BUT IT WAS JUST SO UGLY!

SO UGLY. Our newest DIY though? IT MAKES MY HEART SING:


But back to the ugly crate. From day 1 I couldn't stand the big metal, space user-upper, but it's usefulness was undeniable. (I know that a ton of people out there are against crates - to each his own! I understand the merits of both using one and foregoing. With Snow being our first dog ever, we turned to our friends and family for advice - all of which use crates and seem to be happy with them. So that's what we did! Both Snow and us have always enjoyed his little "room.")

Ya win some, ya lose some - diy antiqued mirror gallery wall

I mean... I guess this wasn't a TOTAL loss - it doesn't look THAT bad. And in fact, post-editing (bahaha that's quite the disclaimer, isn't it? "Once edited, they don't look that bad!"), I actually kind of like them a tiny bit more...

But it for sure wasn't what I was expecting baha! I had grand visions of a lustrous, gold framed, large scale gallery wall of mirrors - so lovely, right? So when I came into a bunch of giant goldies (literally from the '80's) at a garage sale for $2 each, I knew where those bad boys would end up: DIY'ed into antiqued, mirrored beauties.


I followed this tutorial by one of my FAVORITES, Jenny Komenda, and while the frames DID look antiqued, they're VERY, very dark when looking at them.

OUR FURNITURE IS IN A STORE!

Oh yeah, no big deal, I'm just over here still PINCHING MYSELF!

This was the biggest project Chad and I have taken on - in total it was two 10' tables, four 10' benches, one 7' arbor, one 9' arbor, one kid sized table and two kid sized benches - ELEVEN PIECES ALL TOGETHER!

When it was all said and done, we pretty much felt like the coolest humans on the face of planet earth (both of us were like "WE CAN DO ANYTHING! COME AT US, WORLD!").



It really boosted the ego that they wanted to "work with us" because this particular store is THE CUTEST LITTLE SHOP IN THE UNIVERSE. I mean, look at it!

BIG baby gate, babay!

So we know we're not mavericks of design with this thing, but what a rad addition it is! We're the proud new owners of a GIANT baby gate, much to the happiness of my PEACE OF MIND.

I really shouldn't call this thing a "baby gate." It can keep large children, dogs and probably livestock from the upstairs, it's so solid and legit.


The baby gates I had for the older two kids were sad, plastic affairs - this thing is a beast in comparison. And it just looks sooooooo pretty in the wasteland that is the front of our house (read: zero furniture so far).

a little love for the garage

***ZERO editing has happened to these pictures because... kids. I just wanted to record what we've been up to these last 2 weekends without it taking me 50,000 years, ya dig?

I've been pretty dang lucky on the DIY front thus far - most of our projects revolve around things I want done... but Chad is the one who ends up doing the bulk of the work. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE HIM?) So after several projects around here, I seriously felt like he needed to do something for himself. (That sounds nobler than it really was)... I mean, who can say no to some legit storage in the space where I knew he'd want to work on: the garage?!

First he cleared out a massive "catch all" area along the right side of our 3 car garage. He then decided that him and Carter needed some serious storage for hockey gear - an open-air, mudroom type thing. So that's where he started!


Not bad, I'd say! I'll post a full "after" picture with all of their gear pegged on there. It actually looks super cool with everything all organized - if you're a hockey  mom, you KNOW how insane all the gear can get. So aside from the RIDICULOUSLY pungent smell of sweaty-ness, the whole thing has turned out awesome.

Next.... well this is where I feel like people think we're crazy. The previous owners had installed super legit cabinetry along two walls of the garage but... they just weren't working for us. We had stuffed a few things in there, but overall it just seemed dysfunctional. We wanted a place where we could place large bins and the standard sized cabinets weren't cutting it. So Chad stopped wasting time and just took the dang things off! We're really turning into "on the fly" DIYer's over here.

tint, be gone!

Well gosh dang, some projects just don't pack as much KAPOW in pictures, you know what I mean? BUT those ones sometimes end up making the biggest difference in our lives - LIKE THIS PARTICULAR UNDERTAKING WE DID ON A WHIM LAST WEEK!

There was a DARK tint on the windows of this house - and I mean MIDNIGHT LEVEL, OUTER SPACE INTENSE DARK. When we first moved in though, although it felt closed-in, everyone kept telling us how nice and luxurious it was that we had this heat protection for the summers, and hey! It would protect the floors and furniture from the sun. All good things, right?

The only problem was, WE WERE THE ONES LIVING INSIDE THE DEPRESSING DARKNESS ALL DAY EVERYDAY!


diy restoration hardware console table

I heard once that creative beings change their minds a lot - I'm here to report that this is correct. Chad and I have lived in approximately 405,000 different homes in our 8+ years of marriage - do you know how many furniture changes that computes to? Baha! Truth.

Anyhoo, I ended up moving this console table from behind the couch in the family room to the entryway. These sad, Z Gallerie inspired paintings I had made (that, please don't remind me, look NOTHING like something one would purchase at the Z) needed some serious love - they just looked so lonely. And (embarrassingly) bad.


Funny story about this console table: I gifted it to Chad for Christmas back when I had no idea what I was doing with a power drill - it's actually super rickety, complete with screws popping out everywhere. Usually people think the decor I place on top of it is because, hey, it looks good on there - but no. The decor is strategically placed to hide stripped screws that won't go in any further. Also, one of the posts swivels bahaha. And when I say "I gifted it to Chad," what I really mean is I was gifting it to myself and disguising it as a "hey, I love you so much! Here's a table I made with my bare hands!" But really, I just wanted an entryway table in our old house. 

we got our first type of "order" for a retail space! (an in-progress post)

It's happened: we're actually constructing furniture for human beings other than ourselves - bahhhh! What is going on in the world? It's for this LOVELY store that's opening up here in our community of Corona: Cursive - a brick and mortar extension of the insanely beautiful blog/website, Life in Cursive by Tracy Carpenter.


I mean.... pinch me? Someone pinch me!

It's Friday today and these things are "due" tomorrow - Chad and I have been working our butts off night and day - we are truly just hoping that the quality of our work holds up and everyone just doesn't hate it all bahahaha. It's a very simple style the owner has chosen but gosh be-darn, it's giving us a run for our money! I think it's because the table top is actually heavier than the base and then there's the issue of small amounts of warping - dear baby Jesus in heaven, please PLEASE allow these things to turn out well!!!!

so long, rickety pool equipment fence - hello beauty!


The backyard is SHAPING UP, I say! I'm pretty proud of ourselves for sticking to our guns: we don't want to do anything to the inside of the new house before finishing a few projects in the backyard, what with summer upon us (OH BEAUTIFUL SUMMER, WE HAVE LOVED YOU SO!). It's been tough living in an interior of nothingness, but man-oh-man, are we loving our outdoor space.

So far we've completed our 8.5 foot restoration hardware inspired tress beam table, amazing patio furniture that we are obsessed with (shared by ANA WHITE and REMODELAHOLIC - I'm still not over it) and now A MAJOR REFRESH FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNER'S RICKETY PICKET FENCE SOLUTION TO HIDING THE POOL EQUIPMENT! 


As per usual, Chad and I thought this project would take us no time at all - maybe like a swift afternoon undertaking? Look how "simple" it looks! Just a few 4x4's, planks and some hardware - how hard could it have been? WELL IT TOOK US 3 LOOOOONG DAYS.

z gallerie inspired canvases with paint samples for the house

***UPDATE: you can see how I styled this project here!

What's a chick to do when she needs to pick up paint samples for her house but ALSO wants to swing through Z Gallerie in pursuit of canvased art to give the empty entryway some love? KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE, THAT'S WHAT!


So I headed to Home Depot to grab some paint samples for the house because the ol' girl could use an update (Kendall Charcoal and Simply White from Benjamin Moore but with Behr paint). After grabbing 2 canvases from Hobby Lobby for 50% off, I then spent the rest of the day experimenting with the two different tones by adding white until my heart was happy, both on the canvases and on the actual walls. Add a little white here, a little white there not only for the art's effect, but to figure out just how light I wanted the grey to end up on the walls with the current paint color as it's predecessor.


While I was attempting this whole art thing, I obsessively looked at Z Gallerie's canvased art selection. I noticed that I was always drawn to the ones with a bit of glam in there - glitter and shinyness forever, I guess? I just LOVED them! So over the neutral grey's of my experiment, I decided to add a metallic paint and ATTEMPT to recreate some type of thang from their amazing collection. Also, I loved the drip look from Tatertots and Jello's tutorial, then got further tips on how to attain the drip look from here. So I guess what I was trying to do was a big freakin' mixture of all of them.

insanely expensive outdoor taste on an insanely tight budget - patio furniture diy!

* Really quick: like all of our projects, this set isn't PERFECT, but it's PERFECT FOR US. Pocket holes and other screws are still visible, but hey - as long as no one gets any splinters and they won't fall apart, I'M ALL ABOUT 'EM.


The absolute NUMBER ONE AND ONLY REASON Chad and I ever turn to DIY always comes down to cost - ALWAYS. In fact, in our new house, I got a little high-falutin'ish - I started making sweeping statements like "Oh yeah, I just don't want to DO that, who wants to get their hands dirty? Let's just hire someone!" thinking I was hot sh**. Then, feeling super cool, I would call a few contractors and/or specialists in whatever project I wanted to accomplish, resulting in several different quotes. THEN... I would remember why we DIY bahaha.


So anyway, imagine my surprise when with what I thought to be a "higher than usual" budget to spend on patio furniture turned out to be pretty dang low on the totem pole of outdoor seating options. I had $500 to spend on whatever the heck I wanted out there! Lounge furniture to enjoy the pool with - how exciting! How unlike us, entering into the retail jungle with $500 in our pocket, ready to SPEND like the high rollers we thought we were! Well - come to find out, $500 could buy us two very cheap-looking chairs with - wait for it - cheap-looking ottomans to go with them! No table, though. No, no. Not for $500.

restoration hardware truss beam outdoor table base - our first diy in the new house!


Way back in 2014, right after we bought our first house, Chad and I tried our hand at DIY for the first time. We made THIS table (and it straight up took us 2 weeks - TWO WEEKS TO COMPLETE THAT PROJECT - bahahaha. We were SO inexperienced). Here's a pic from that precious post - we were so thrilled with ourselves! (And how about that cute 4-year-old-at-the-time Carter?)

So yes, preciousness. Looking back, constructing it in that way was probably the most roundabout process ever in terms of making a table - I mean, kindaaaaaa over kill (hence the 2 weeks construction timeline?... Let's be real, we were just slow workers back in da day). But hey, it was the first thing we ever made and gosh dangit we loved it then and we love it now. 

That table top has lived a full life since 2014 - making a stint as our master bedroom's headboard for a bit there - and now is nestled in our backyard upon a new TRUSS BEAM BASE that we, a much more experienced DIY duo, completed.

THANKS AGAIN, ANA WHITE, WE LOVE YOU SO!

But anyhoo, here was a bit of us making it (in pictures). Honestly, who needs an additional tutorial from me (like I've done in past posts on this here record-o'-our-projects blog) when every DIY we ever tackle comes from a much more DETAILED and HELPFUL tutorial anyway?
 ^^^One of the two benches we made! So darling!

Our last DIY before selling our tiny first home

Well gosh-be-darn, we bought a new house (UNEXPECTEDLY!). If you're interested, you can see what went down here on the ol' family blogular. But I just couldn't skip over our final DIY at the old house on this here home improvement project site of mine! It would be blasphemous.

So anyway, this project started out with us just wanting to oomph up the entryway, specifically this one, giant wall - it was just a huge, blank, vaulted ceiling-ed thing of nothingness. When I discovered Lauren over at Blesser House and began stalking her site regularly, I became transfixed by her DIY batten board project and so it was decided - BATTEN BOARD IT WAS!
So yes, anyhoo, it started off as us just wanting to do that one, entryway wall. But then, when we (very briefly) decided it would be in our best interest to stay in our tiny home for a few more years (baha! We were unaware of how we would be selling the ol' thing just months later), the project's scale escalated. All of a sudden, instead of just doing the one entryway wall, we decided to do the 7' batten around the ENTIRE entryway ROOM. So just to start things off, we did the entryway walls on BOTH sides (making one section into a tiny mudroom type area) and wrapped it around to the wall where we had a TV mounted.

We did it all based off of THIS tutorial - straight from Blesser Heart OF COURSE. (If she leaves, I will find her, Wedding Crasher style. Obsessed with her visions!)

*Lame photography comin' atchyu. I got lazy and didn't want to edit.