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Last weekend started like most. We went on our SociaBulls walk with Jackson, filled up at Bang Bang (we’re officially obsessed) and ran our errands. When we returned home that Saturday, I reminded Scott that we still had to hash out our annual summer yard sale date, and while doing so, I thought, you know, I could sell our ottoman. I’m sort of over it.

After that, it was a bit of a blur.

A recent poll of our condo building firmed up an August 4th sale date (more on that as we near in on the day!), which really isn’t that far from now. A few weeks ago, we had started a list of “to sell” on our chalkboard back splash, and so I added Otto. From there, I asked Scott if there were any items I could gather up, bag, and get out of the way until the sale. And before you knew it, we had added curtains, blinds, an end table, a bench, frames and shelving – to name a few. All of these things, however, came from our living room.

Before that started, you might remember our living room to look like this:

This is before we broke out the screwdrivers and spackle, of course. Scott took down our curtains, I wrestled up light weight furniture, and suddenly, our living room was looking, um, sparse. Of course I didn’t remember to snap a photo (because sheesh, the whole thing was unplanned), but here’s how our room looks after we rearranged what was left (when shot in direct sunlight – our curtain-less windows don’t help, either!):

It’s not terribly drastic, although in a room so small, every move seems to make a large impact. You’re probably wondering, what changed? Some things are impossible to tell from a photograph, so here’s the rundown:

  1. We picked up a $2 chair from a neighborhood yard sale (a few weeks ago) and added it to the room.
  2. No more curtains.
  3. No more end table.
  4. We centered our sofa under the window. How novel! Our media wall is tall, but it’s certainly not wide. For years, we’ve fought that by cheating the center of the window with curtains and pushing our couch to align with the short media wall. Our couch is now a good 3 feet off the art-shelving-wall (trust, it’s hard to to tell in the photo), and as a result, everything in the room shifted, too. Aah, breathing space.
  5. We swapped our Jubilee lamp (currently sitting on our sub woofer) and the red floor lamp – for now.
  6. Our lovely chair moved to the opposite side of the room. Before we centered our sofa, this arrangement would have been impossible.

But the best part, I think, is what can now be tweaked:

  1. We love the clean lines of this chair; we think it’s why it works on this side of the room. The room feels more open, even though there’s more furniture. Unfortunately, the upholstery is beat, and the seat isn’t fully attached. It needs a makeover.
  2. We got rid of the end table I painted (and then stained the top to match our blinds; oh, Kim!). We might add another table?
  3. Those blinds have got to go. This time around, we’re thinking light and airy – potentially white rollers or white honeycombs. We’ll also add back thin curtain panels to hide those speakers that have been exposed.
  4. We love this rug, but Jack has beat. It. To. Death. It was a steal on Overstock, but the 7′ square no longer makes sense with the sofa purposely off-centered. The only furniture legs that touch it is our arm chair and coffee table. We know this can be a spendy purchase, so we’ll be on the hunt for a deal (or a DIY, maybe).
  5. I’m not loving the sub woofer turned end table – perhaps we can encase it to look like an actual table.
  6. We’ve talked about reupholstering this chair since the day we got it. It’s a nubby, neutral fabric, but the felines in this house love the texture. This could happen a ways down the road, as we’d likely have to save up for the job.
  7. (Below) Our staggered shelves of art are competing with our media wall, and we decided something had to give – and it wouldn’t be the wall! It’s still important for us to have art, but we’d like to reassess what we have, rid what we have no sentimental attachment to, and clean up the frames so they’re all the same color. We’d rather the art stand out, and not the frames themselves.

Phew, there it is.

We like change; it’s good for you! For us! And while I had a bit of guilt over things like the curtains and blinds we bought almost 5 years ago, Scott asked me this: If we were to buy curtains right now, would we get those? No. If we were to buy new blinds right now, would we want red toned Venetians? Hell, no. Our tastes have changed, and they’re constantly evolving. As we live with certain items, we find what may work for us, and what might not. We scoop inexpensive finds, fix them up, and in some cases they eventually move on. Hey, remember when we had that massive fish tank? Aw, bittersweet.

Nothing is ever permanent, and isn’t that the fun part of loving your home?

Of course the challenge now is tweaking slowly, one step at a time, and within reason. In other words, what can we DIY? What do we have to replace? What do we want to replace? Where’s the best place to start? And can we do this on a minimal budget, please?

Oh, my. Do looming yard sales have you purging and re-imagining, too?

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 12, 2012 - 8:08 AM

    I agree – Lack of permanence IS the fun art of loving a home! It’s the journey that counts right??? Cheesy but true =) Not to mention the excitement of searching for and finding new things to bring in – It’s sort of addicting…Best of luck with your little tweaks!!ReplyCancel

  • Holyoke Home - July 12, 2012 - 8:10 AM

    We JUST went through the basement and put everything for a to be determined tag sale in one place. Still have to decide on a date and make it happen! Living looks greatReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci - July 12, 2012 - 9:24 AM

    Our upcoming move (September) has got purging on my brain, too! The nice thing is that most of our stuff was free/thrifted so many items aren’t too hard to let go of. It’s nice to freshen up once in a while!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 12, 2012 - 10:55 AM

    I think one large piece of art (print or a mirror) would look sweet on the wall opposite the media wall. I saw this mirror at the store where we bought our couch, and I’m kind of obsessed:
    It looks really pretty in person!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 12, 2012 - 10:57 AM

    My only beef w/ that mirror is the faux crackled look of the goldish circle. If it were plain gold, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat (it was on sale)….ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2012 - 12:28 PM

      Jillian, I actually really like that mirror! And I do like the idea of putting a mirror on that wall, but our only concern is that’s the largest wall in our whole home. (Not counting the hallways!) It might actually be too small for the space, but you’re definitely on to something. Thanks for the idea!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - July 12, 2012 - 1:21 PM

    How rejuvenating! I love your thought, “if we were to buy _____ right now, would we get those?” Gah! So liberating! I am the queen of tweaks, but this has given me a whole new outlook…and a reason to have a yard sale. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 12, 2012 - 1:36 PM

    Now that you mention the wall being too large for just a mirror, i see that. Hmmmm. And now that yoh like that mirror, i’m wanting it all over again (to go on the wall behind our new couch). Eeeeeek!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 12, 2012 - 1:40 PM

    Jill, are you changing your living room layout? I thought you had a giant window behind your couch! Are you reversing the room?

    But yes, that mirror is awesome. I can see it fitting right into your home!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 13, 2012 - 10:09 AM

    We’ll change up the layout a little from the sectional. Since the sectional was so huge, it had to be against the wall. But since the couch is smaller, we’ll maybe be able to have it come out from the wall more (we’ll just have to work w/ things when it comes, you know, you know). Behind where the sectional was is a giant window and a wall, but they share the space equally, with the window in the far corner and the wall meeting the front door. So the wall space for art or a mirror wouldn’t be centered over the couch.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 13, 2012 - 10:17 AM

    Ooookay, gotcha. I can’t WAIT to see how it all transforms. How fun! We’ll have to catch up at your place next time we’re in town. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • finley @ place i love - July 17, 2012 - 4:44 AM

    I think it’s a good thing to be ‘always tweaking’ and making changes otherwise a room can become dull and over crowded with junk that you never move or throw away. I like what you’ve done, good inspiration to us all to keep tweaking :)ReplyCancel


Almost 3 months after we asked for your color input, we’ve finally painted the entryway console! Hooray! Hey, remember when it looked like this?

Now, it’s totally teal. It has little knobs! It’s shiny and blue and pretty!

We painted our table with the same products and methods we (mostly) always do, but due to the intricate Greek key pattern on the sides and a few alterations, we added spray options + wood filler. Here’s what we used:

• wood filler (any will do, we used Elmers)
• Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 water-base primer
• Valspar spray primer
• Glidden’s Totally Teal in satin
Minwax Polycrylic in clear semi-gloss, quart
• Minwax Polycrylic in clear semi-gloss, spray

Our table had a groove design element on the top that we were never really a fan of, so we used this opportunity to get rid of it. After filling the groove with wood filler, we smoothed it with our putty knife then gave it a quick sand to smooth it all down.

All the flat surfaces were primed using a foam roller, but we sprayed the sides and any of the decorative elements to eliminate brush strokes.

We followed the primer with 2 coats of our color and 2 coats of Polycrylic. A 2″ angled brush was used to apply our Polycrylic on the flat surfaces, and in the same way we used the spray primer for the sides, we did the same with the spray poly. Again, this eliminates any visible brush strokes or build up on the key design, however, keep in mind that the shinier your poly finish is, the higher the chances are for imperfections to show through! Using a high quality brush and avoiding over-brushing helps to keep streaks at a minimum.

Once everything was dried to the can’s instructions, we added these knobs from Anthropologie. The Greek key pattern only went around 3 sides, and the back of the console had a smooth, flat surface that begged for a bit of embellishment. I first mentioned the idea here, and while it’s not a real drawer, we can at least fake it!

We’ve since added our yellow vase to the table (sadly, sans flowers right now), but we’ll use the console-top as a drop zone for keys, wallets and lip balm.

My favorite part is – hands down – our fake drawer pulls (I think of them as earrings for the table), and I’m pretty sure Scott’s just happy he has a landing spot for his keys again. We couldn’t be happier with the blue – and we have you to thank for that! Nice teamwork.

What do you think? Is anyone else adding a touch of color to otherwise so-so decor?

  • Suzanna - July 10, 2012 - 10:09 AM

    The table looks fabulous! I love the combination of teal and yellow and I’m a fan of the table’s “earrings” too. :-DReplyCancel

  • kaylan - July 10, 2012 - 11:57 AM

    LOVE it! i can’t help, but feeling like i won since i was voting for teal way back when.

    i’m in the process of stripping and eventually repainting a dresser turned tv console. we’ve been debating colors since we bought it on saturday – white? navy? grey? yellow? i think white will win because i already have all the paint on hand, but a pop of color would be nice too… we’ll see how it ends up!ReplyCancel

  • Helena - July 10, 2012 - 11:58 AM

    Your entryway looks SO good. I love that you added the little drawerpulls. They are perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin @ Desert Domicile - July 10, 2012 - 1:32 PM

    I love it! Although I never officially voted, I was pulling for teal :) By the way, where did you get the little bowl/plate you’re using to hold your keys? It’s super cute!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren L. - July 10, 2012 - 4:34 PM

    It looks great! That table was a great find it’s perfect in that spaceReplyCancel

  • ann - July 11, 2012 - 7:20 AM

    I LOVE IT! You two are so creative. It must be genetic. Are you laughing?ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - July 11, 2012 - 8:03 AM

    That is so fun! Great color and the accessories are fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 13, 2012 - 10:11 AM

    You know me and earrings! pitter patter. I have a lil yellow vase that’s been in hiding since a decor reorg and now I want it out again! Love that blue! It turned out super pretty! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 13, 2012 - 10:12 AM

    Does that thing even open? haha, good call on the pulls, would’ve never thought of ‘em!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 13, 2012 - 10:16 AM

    Jillian, thank you! I do know you and your earrings – you’re the reason I ever wear them in the first place!

    Nope, doesn’t open at all. Totally fake. Awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - November 27, 2012 - 2:04 PM

    this is so cute! what is the name of the paint color you ended up using? I’m painting my media stand and I’m thinking a teal blue would be perfect!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 27, 2012 - 2:10 PM

      Hi Anna, it’s called Totally Teal by Glidden!ReplyCancel


Oh, boy. This has been a long time coming, and there’s a good chance you already have a good feel for what the infamous stu-stu-studio looks like. You’ve seen one side when we finished grandma’s chair, and you’ve seen the other when we finished the shelves. Gah, you’ve even seen the third, lesser photographed wall when we completed the paper pipes! The room as a whole, however? Not so much.

If you’ve been around for a bit, you know that in the last 6 months, we turned our pint-sized very blue office (which doubles as our, shall we say, cozy guestroom) into a pink, pretty sanctuary. I personally struggled with this so-called overhaul at the start; I thought our office was cute. We both did. It had been tweaked over the years, simple switches that were good enough. It was where Scott went to hang out on bicycle forums, where Jack napped by his dad’s side and the grounds for all our files, books and even bikes.

Simply put, we had that office because isn’t that what a young, married couple with no children does with their second bedroom?

Of course, the blue office was set in place before I began my freelance career. So when I first started working from home, I’d keep my tidy notebook and laptop at the kitchen counter from 9 to 5. When I’d paint, I’d pull out the painting table that was living in the limbo-kitchen-slash-living-room and, well, paint. But as I got busier, my kitchen work space flowed from the counter to the couch and (sometimes) to the hallway console. The office was Scott’s space, remember? Just as it took me quite a while to admit that I was a real, legitimate girl that left her job and started an art career (whoa), it took just as long to stake my claim in the office, er, studio.

And finally, this past January, Operation Studio was born.

So. With that off my chest, it’s time to share the damn thing. (The thing that I love with my whole heart and soul, that is!) But first, remember when it looked like this?

Now, finally, it looks like this – and (lucky for you!) I’ll let the photos do the talking!

For a recap on the projects that went into this room’s redo, just click on the corresponding photo + post, below. (If you’re in a Reader, you may need to view the site to see.)

As The Pet Shop grows and our needs progress, the studio will evolve – and it is evolving, right now actually. As a supplement to our laptop, we’ve since found an external monitor to be a necessity, and we have a desk tray to add to the fauxdenza – because as you know, in this 8′x10′ room, every extra surface counts. More on those additions after they’ve been installed (because we haven’t even started!).

And if there was ever a doubt expressed that I was on the fence about my love for the studio, those feelings are long gone. If I could take another, I’d marry her. To me, she’s perfect.

  • Michael - July 6, 2012 - 7:41 AM

    This is just beyond fantastic. Honestly white never looked so go. Fantastic! That gallery wall is probably my favorite. It’s perfect. And by perfect I mean PERFECT. I’m seriously obsessed.

    What an awesome space you’ve created for yourself. Just amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - July 6, 2012 - 7:41 AM

    The studio looks amazing! I love it!

    PS – I love those yellow ball flowers – Daniel refers to them as “Bob Barker Microphones.”ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 6, 2012 - 8:13 AM

    Gorgeous =) It’s incredible what you two were able to accomplish in such a small space. Looks like a million bucks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2012 - 8:50 AM

      Thank you so much!

      Emily, I will now be referring to them as Bob Barker microphones. Awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - July 6, 2012 - 8:56 AM

    It’s amazing! I’m in love with her, too. :) Every little detail is fantastic and I love how bright and airy the whole space is. Great work!!ReplyCancel

  • katie - July 6, 2012 - 9:04 AM

    looks so nice! it’s amazing how much you were able to fit in the small space! love the white.ReplyCancel

  • Liliana - July 6, 2012 - 9:17 AM

    Its fantastic! Planning and imagination go a long way!

    ~ L.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - July 6, 2012 - 10:02 AM

    Hey Kim, I love the sign on your wall that says “Work Hard & Be Nice to People”! May I ask where you got it from? Thanks, KellyReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 6, 2012 - 10:12 AM

    Hi Kelly! You can find that print right here:

  • Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} - July 6, 2012 - 10:37 AM

    The space is gorgeous! It looks the perfect place to spend your days and paint pets. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Adventures in Dressmaking - July 6, 2012 - 10:54 AM

    WOW, what an amazing space!! I love the bright white and pretty blue and other pops of contrast color. Looks like such a great workspace! Must pin!!ReplyCancel

  • kirsten - July 6, 2012 - 11:14 AM

    Hooray for the PERFECT studio! I LOVE how this came together, and can’t even mention my favorite thing because I love SO many things about this little room:).ReplyCancel

  • LC - July 6, 2012 - 11:33 AM

    I would love to see a post on how you convert the studio to a “cozy” guestroom sometime!

    Beautiful work. I especially like the gold touches.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - July 6, 2012 - 11:46 AM

    Talk about eye candy! Looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - July 6, 2012 - 11:54 AM

    This turned out so incredible! Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 6, 2012 - 12:38 PM

    Thanks, everyone!

    LC, we’ll have to document that once we have our first brave visitors…ReplyCancel

  • emily - July 6, 2012 - 1:36 PM

    oh, my gosh, it is beautiful! i love all the gold accents and your awesome DIY dino.

    i have a random question– how on earth do you keep your house so free of dirt & pet hair? it always looks studio-ready and gorgeous. we have 2 pups and our house always looks… furry.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 6, 2012 - 1:54 PM

    Hi Emily, we HAVE hair, believe us! Here are the things we do to keep things tidy (but also know that we “slip” from time to time, just like everyone else!):

  • Andrea B - July 6, 2012 - 2:45 PM

    She’s darling. Practically perfect in every way (to quote Mary Poppins, I think?).

    I think I missed the gold-dipped table info. I’ll catch up on that. I love the rug. It’s been on my own wish list for quite some time now.

    What is in the glass lidded container/dispensers? Paint chips?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - July 6, 2012 - 2:51 PM

    SO RAD!!! My fav is the rug. Makes the space! Congrats on a great room.ReplyCancel

  • jean - July 6, 2012 - 7:23 PM

    Looks wonderful and it is crying for you to start and create… Do you sell your items… can’t wait to see the first item done out to the new room…ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Wilcox - July 6, 2012 - 7:27 PM

    I LOVE this & I especially love that print Work Hard…I saw that you can buy it on that site (thanks, Kim)…but the payment isn’t in $’s… Anyone know how that would work?

    • Kim - July 7, 2012 - 8:53 AM

      Aw, thanks so much everyone! Glad you love the room as much as we do!

      Andrea, if it’s the containers I think you’re talking about, it’s holding little stickers. I use them to seal up paintings and note cards! And if you’re talking about the little Ball jars, it’s holding a bunch of mini Moo cards (business cards).

      Jean, you can see our work in The Pet Shop! We create custom pet portraits:

      Lisa, he ships to the US, and it converts to dollars when you check out. I think it came to around $70 – it’s made to order and hand signed by the artist!ReplyCancel

  • kaylan - July 6, 2012 - 8:57 PM

    i love everything about this room. every last thing.ReplyCancel

  • Erica - July 7, 2012 - 8:52 AM

    Swoon. It looks truly amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Holyoke Home - July 9, 2012 - 7:51 AM

    Wow. My favorite photo is the ‘I love you’ next to the T-Rex. When I looked at the picture, my brain put this together: “I love you something fierce, GRRRRR!”ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 9, 2012 - 9:37 AM

    Holyoke, that is awesome and definitely appropriate!ReplyCancel

  • Kyley and Ammo the Dachshund - July 10, 2012 - 1:21 PM

    I love it! Such a fun space to paint in – and I love how bright it is!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey @ thirfty little blog - July 11, 2012 - 10:44 AM

    Wow, it’s so perfect! It looked great before, but I’m loving the new color scheme and the wall of shelves!!ReplyCancel

  • Justine - July 12, 2012 - 12:53 PM


  • Jill - July 13, 2012 - 5:55 PM

    How did I miss this debut?! I’m scratching my head! The finished space looks beautiful, classy, modern and romantic all at once. And the shot of the mirror w/in the mirror is sweet! And Bob Barker’s microphones never looked prettier. HahaReplyCancel

  • At the Moment // Yellow Brick Home - July 16, 2012 - 6:05 AM

    [...] I drive Scott crazy, but I’d like to think he finds it endearing… BLOGGING ABOUT // The Studio! Scott and I poured ourselves into that room, and I couldn’t be happier to work within those [...]ReplyCancel

  • Bianca @ A Fabulous Challenge - October 25, 2012 - 1:45 PM

    Just saw this today on Glitter Guide and I’m so bummed that the Flor tiles are no longer available! I have a navy entryway and those would have worked great for the size of the space (It’s been difficult to find a rug/runner). Do you have any ideas where to find something similar? Thanks!

    Bianca from A Fabulous ChallengeReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 25, 2012 - 4:29 PM

      Hi Bianca,

      I know that FLOR has a bunch of new styles that debuted for the fall, but if you don’t have luck with that, you could always try or – both are places we check for a great deal and quality rugs. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - January 14, 2013 - 2:08 PM

    The studio has come such a long way from the blue office! I love the whiteness of the new studio, and all of the little details everywhere. I love the artwork collage on the wall and the pop of blue from the rug. When can I move in?


  • Kim - January 14, 2013 - 2:53 PM

    Thank you, Monica :)ReplyCancel

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