Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My Living Room Update- adding built-in bookshelves

Well our bookshelves are finished and I couldn't be happier with this project.
Thank you Dad!!
This is still very much a room in progress
--it's now become apparent that our RH couch is way too big for this room--but I did rearrange the furniture to give you a better view at the bookshelves. 
If this picture reminds you of a certain India Hicks photo it's not an accident. When I ran low on books I remembered her collection of beach hats on her upper shelves. So copy I did,---which-is the ultimate compliment because I love her casual, eclectic style.

When I have time I still plan on styling the books a bit, but you can see how much potential  the bookshelves add to our living room.

Let's take a look at this room before these new built-ins. 
 I still remember walking into this house with the realtor and feeling 'cramped' by the size of this entrance into the living room. Truthfully, I think I was just used to our previous home--with its open floor plan and cathedral ceilings-- and it's been an adjustment living with standard sized ceilings.
It also doesn't help that this house doesn't get as much natural light as I would wish.

In a perfect world I'd love to remove this entire wall
(Chip and Joanna can you please come to my house?) 
but knowing that's not going to happen, I decided to make this wall fit our needs.
 And because we still had boxes of books packed away in the garage I decided this wall could be the perfect place for storage. So when Mom and Dad came on their last visit... guess what project we worked on?

On the foyer side (dare I call it that?) we added simple wood trim to give the living room entrance a more substantial presence (more on this later).

And on the living room side my Dad and I designed these built-in bookshelves.

Ok, ready for some Befores and Afters?



Previous owners


If you look closely you can see the wires running down the corner of this bookcase from the surround sound system that we installed into this ceiling. We still need to enclose these wires.

Now to give you a better sense of this room I snapped a few quickie shots this morning with my phone. Here's the fireplace wall that you see right when you enter.


I actually plan on doing a post and showing you how we transformed this wall with reclaimed wood shelves and these farmhouse doors that can hide the TV--this wall is almost done it just needs a mantel.

Here it is before our transformation.

And now ta-daaaaa...
on the opposite side of the room we have our new bookshelves
 which-I-might add- now perfectly frame the staircase that needs to be done. Ah well,..nothing like living in a fixer upper to cultivate patience.

If you're thinking of adding bookshelves around a doorway or window there's lots of visual inspiration out there, here's a few photos that motivated me.

On a side note, I think pray that my computer issues are finally behind me and I can get back to posting again. Thank you so much for following along and being so supportive whenever I share here--it really means so much.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

open shelves in the kitchen and other random fears

Remember this empty corner in my new kitchen nook area?

Well after my Dad left I found some pieces of wood on the side of the house that were leftover from our bookshelf project. I couldn't believe it. There were three pieces of pine --all the same length--that I rescued and decided to use for a few open shelves in this corner.

What's your opinion of open shelving in the kitchen?
Someday when we renovate I'll have to see how I feel about them but for now I thought why not?

 Turn out, I didn't even need to cut them.

After  I painted them I headed to Home Depot and bought six wood brackets and immediately called my Dad and asked him how in the world I was going to get three shelves put up in a straight line. "Straight" is hard for me---so I never do any actual nailing around here, I usually depend on my wonderful Dad do it...
but he just left.
And after staring at this wall I finally got fed up about being so nervous about this project and I decided to jump right into it.

Here's the side of the bracket that goes into the wall.
As you can see there are 2 molly bolts for each bracket.

 Doesn't this look hard? (That's my wimpy voice talking)
Actually I found out that it's not really hard, it just takes some careful measuring and a reliance on a level. Or in my case two levels.

Gotta keep checking these little bubbles.

After they were up I added some wood glue, chalked them and painted them the color of the wall.

And drum roll please......
My new open shelves

Voila! Here they are.
I still haven't decided how I want to style them but I love how they came out.

And wait. There's more. Do you know how one project leads to another?
Well once I got these shelves up all of a sudden my turquoise buffet really stuck out like a sore thumb. My mom has been asking me to paint it white for a while now and I decided she was right.
The only problem was I had never removed vintage hardware before.

Another little fear I got over.


white buffet and new shelves

Do you have something in your life that you're nervous to tackle? If so, this post is for you.
I encourage you to challenge yourself.
It doesn't matter how small and seemingly insignificant it might be. In my case it involved a simple hammer and drill gun and yet, I had this view of myself that "I can't do that kinda stuff." 
I feel the same way about my computer. I've been dealing with some current computer issues that are affecting my blogging lately and even though I've always been intimidated by anything 'techie" I'm actually  learning a few new skills-- I'm talking very BASIC ones but hey, the point is that all of a sudden I'm walking around feeling more empowered.

I just got to a point where I was tired of having all these little fears.

Can you relate?


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Monday, January 25, 2016

the chandelier is up and other house updates

It's hard to believe that it's been a week since my parents left.
During their visit my Mom came down with a cold and the day after she left I got it too. Which is why I've been MIA in the blog world lately--although I've still managed to get some exciting things done around here since my parents left. Somehow working with my Dad always seems to motivate me.
(I can't wait to show you what we did last week. I just need to upload some pictures for you).

Our vintage chandelier finally got hung in the kitchen--yippee--and I did manage to get a few pictures to show you.

Here's a shot showing the plugged recessed holes in our ceiling.
This house had some scary sub-standard wiring issues we needed to address.

I love the details of this old piece.

And just for fun here's a few Before shots.:

Previous Owners:



Our goal is to eventually re-model this kitchen--it's poorly designed with peeling cabinets- but until then we keep plugging away trying to make it fit our needs.
Adding lots of white paint and new wood flooring throughout our house has helped.
And we've made it more functional for our family by adding a table that's used as a kitchen island and this new fixture and seating to create a nook area.

This side of the kitchen stayed dark until I found this fixture.

It's amazing how much lighting affects a room. All of a sudden we're eating on this table now.

The previous owners had a sectional in this corner and a TV on the opposite wall.
A round table was squeezed into the space where you cook.


The ceiling on this side of the room originally had six holes of recessed lighting that had serious wiring problems. We opted to fill the holes (too many anyway) and wire the area for one central chandelier instead.
We still need to paint the ceiling but I'm sorta waiting until we redo the kitchen because I really want a wood ceiling.

Before I go I want to share a preview of some of the painting I've been doing while I've been nursing my head cold.

My awesome, mega-talented Dad really worked his magic on my living room when he was here.  

First, we added some wood casing to my entry and totally changed the entire look and feel of this boring wall.

Project: Adding trim

But the biggest change was in my living room. I've been dreaming of adding a wall of bookshelves to this room but there's limited space.  When it came to this wall, my Mom kept asking us why we were taking so long but we stared at this one wall for quite awhile, took our measurements, looked at my Pinterest photos again and headed to Home Depot. And.... voila!

   Project: Bookshelves around doorway

Can you see where this wall is headed?

It took me a week to finish painting this---what a job--but these shelves totally transformed our living room. These are my phone pictures, stay tuned for some better ones.

In the meantime--I'm off to let the refrigerator repair man in. Oh. Did I mention that our year old refrigerator suddenly stopped working--right after a huge grocery trip? Thank goodness it didn't happen until my parents left.

I hope you're staying healthy and warm these days.


joining these friends:

A Stroll thru Life
The Scoop

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Inspiration (scroll down)

Well we're more than a week into the new year and I've been trying to organize things around here. It's not something I really enjoy doing so I need lots of visual inspiration to keep me focused.

Today I thought I'd share some projects that are inspiring me right now.

First on my list is this
(paint color: BM Summer Blue)

This picture has very eerie powers. It has somehow motivated me to tackle our hall closet today.
I would show you a picture but I'd risk killing myself trying to step over all the sheets and towels (and no mine are not all white--) piled on the floor right now.
And even though I don't have time to wallpaper the inside of our closet  --  I'd definitely consider stenciling.

If you're not sure about stenciling, you really should see the beautiful bathroom makeover my friend Kris completed. It will make you immediately look for something to stencil in your own house.

love the paint color: Farrell and Ball Old White

I stumbled on this kitchen and what I love most about it is that it seems like a real kitchen. It's refreshingly small-ish. Certainly not one of those grand, designer kitchens seen all over Pinterest,
 and yet it's so charming and tastefully done.
I especially like these details

white porcelain cabinet knobs with brass rosette

this Shelf bracket

Pendent light fixture from Circa

And there's some great ideas from this bathroom makeover too.
I've filed them away for our upstairs bathroom.

This weekend I finally had my hair appointment for a color and cut.
 I'm so bad about making time to get my hair done although when I go the whole experience feels so luxurious. Not only do I enjoy chatting with my stylist Kim, but I always stop into the shops next door.

Heirloom is nestled next to Barclay Butera (in Newport Beach) and I always enjoy peeking in to see what's new.

The owner has wonderful taste and is so talented.

She told me she mostly shops estate sales and flea markets -and does an amazing job of transforming her vintage pieces with upscale fabrics and paint.

I always forget to take photos--but this time I couldn't help but notice all the interesting trays she had in her shop.

Here's a few pictures I managed to snap. I wanted to remind you all to start looking for unique trays when you're hitting the garage sales or even thrift stores. 

I might have to go back for this one--its made of shells. And it would look perfect on my coffee table.

After my appointment I ended up buying a white tray from HomeGoods to organize the miscellaneous wine bottles on our open shelves.
It's a little hard to see in this photo.

And nothing too special but hey, now I'm inspired to keep my eye open for some unique ones..

This week my parents are coming for a visit---and I'm so excited. Having my parents with us is such a lesson in slowing down. Just enjoying those little moments because that's what really matters to them now.
I can see that so clearly.
We always have so much fun --whatever we do--- and my Dad is bringing his saw.

Whoo-hoo...I can't wait to see what we do.

peace and love,


(sorry about all these weird spaces and small font sizes--I'm having trouble with Blogger)

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