We say this every time for every room, but we’ll say it again, bedroom, you’ve come a long way! We’ve been using and loving this room with our whole hearts for the last several months, but over the past few weeks, we’ve been dialing it in just so. It’s funny, because we thought our bedroom would be the easiest of the three room trio we began last winter, but shouldn’t we have known better? A simple chimney tear down turned into a full blown re-venting of our first floor furnace (new water heaters, too!), but the effort and floor space gained was worth it. We removed a back door in exchange for a wall of windows (a pre-cursor to our now-in-progress backyard plans), painted the room almost black and carved out a little retreat that we consider to be the coziest room in the house.
We couldn’t be happier with our decision to paint the walls dark, and we’re glad we really went for this bold choice, Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur. It’s a step down from a pure black, and there’s the smallest hint of blue. Our friends have asked, Is it gray? Or Navy? Or…? It’s all those things! We dropped the color 16″ down from the ceiling to hide the fact that the ceiling itself isn’t perfectly straight, and although I feared it could make the room look more squat, instead it keeps the room from feeling too heavy and highlights the bright white trim work we’ve installed.
Our freshly re-wired vintage sconces flank our rescued 80s-esque headboard, and we took your advice and kept the wall above free of any art prints or decor of any kind. Instead, we each hung a framed photo on our respective bedsides that makes us happy. At first, Scott was at a loss of The Perfect Thing, but when I told him we’ve yet to hang his Parisian cobra-battling-mongoose in our current home (so much art still in storage!), he was all, yup!
On my side, I chose a shot taken of us on the beach in Santa Monica, just an hour after reaching the finish line of last fall’s Route 66 trip. I also included the teeniest framed photo of our Maddie girl wrapped in a blanket burrito. We miss her every day, but seeing her before we fall asleep – well, it helps.
Our closets were – and still are! – a game changer. We worked with IKEA from starttofinish on the perfect PAX wardrobes for our space, and our friend Meg of MegMade helped out by spraying the doors pure white to match our ceiling and trim (Behr’s Ultra Pure White). We topped them off with the hunkiest, most handsome 18″ brass pulls provided by Rejuvenation. They’ve begun to lightly patina with our daily use, which we absolutely love. Side note: The same patina can be said for our DIY kitchen island, which only adds to the charm and beauty of natural brass!
Tucked in the corner under our windows is Grandma’s chair, and we’ve crowned her with the sweetest black and brass sconce from TripleSevenHome. Long time readers might remember when this chair used to be peachy-coral, but we’ve since recovered her in an emerald velvet. She’s so pretty! You know that question about what’s the one thing you’d save from your home in a fire? (Besides the obvious – Scott, Jack, CC and Libby, of course.) For me, it’d be this chair. It was a gift to my grandparents on their wedding day, and after my Pap Pap passed, my grandma gifted it to me. We always say that no inanimate object in our home is too previous, but this one might break that rule.
Across from the bed is our IKEA floating vanity hack, and we’ve leaned a tall mirror against the wall, close enough to our closet for the final dress-check before facing the day. The constellation print above the vanity was found at a thrift store, and due to its odd size, we had it nicely framed by the team at Framebridge. And finally, the snake plant is the same one from the studio shipping room, but it continued to grow (grow, grow!), and so we repotted it in a larger simple black planter and moved it into here. (In its place is Ron!)
When digging through my hard drive for the proper ‘before’ photos, I had a hard time deciding what could really be considered the starting point! When we first moved into this house, we ripped out a kitchen and plopped down our bed (these floor plans should help make sense of that!). We proceeded by putting no effort whatsoever into the space, instead counting down the days to any future travel where we could count on a clean hotel room; for years, it was simply a hodge podge of clothing racks and dressers to tide us over for the big overhaul. Before demolition began, we cleared out the room, and so I thought, maybe these will work as a ‘before’? The following photos are pre-demolition but post-kitchen. Makes sense, right? Man, looking at these before + afters never, ever gets old.
THE BED WALL, BEFORE|AFTER:
THE WINDOW (FORMERLY DOOR) WALL, BEFORE|AFTER:
THE VANITY WALL, BEFORE|AFTER:
THE CLOSET WALL, BEFORE|AFTER:
The room feels like our own private sanctuary, which, shouldn’t a bedroom always feel that way? This room has been 3 years in the making, but it was worth the wait. All sources are listed below, but please let us know if we’ve forgotten anything!
Things seem to be busier than ever around here, and yet I’m having a hard time sitting down to write about all the updates – mostly because I don’t even know where to start. Summer is in full swing, and so in-between barbecues and late night gatherings and weddings and nights away and and out-of-towners in, we’re watching the back of our house take shape (siding is up and 95% complete!), we’re sketching plans for a new staircase (who knew we were so picky? Oh. Wait.), and we’re hacking away at the final to-dos of our laundry room.
Which brings us to today!
You’ll remember that we had the best luck with style, sizing and options for our laundry room cabinets from TheRTAStore.com, landing on the Aspen White Shaker for their classic look and clean finish. Two of the upper cabinets fell into backorder right after ordering, but as of Friday, all the boxes found their way to our front door, and so we got to work!
The plans for our space can be found right here, but basically, the tiny room calls for one wide sink cabinet and three uppers that will go all the way to the ceiling. We chose to use all 24″ deep upper cabinets, knowing that we’d pull the base cabinet about 32″ away from the wall to line up with our (stacked) washer and dryer. The boxes were packed similarly to our favorite Swedish megastore, but we were surprised to find that a large part of each cabinet was put together straight from the box, as in, the doors were already on the hinges and attached to the front face!
Instructions were limited, but as we quickly found out, there was a reason for that – it was as simple as 1, 2, 3. No, really – not only are the doors already on, but with the exception of a handful of set screws pet cabinet, the majority of the screws were already in place, too. With the cabinet front facing downwards on a table, we clipped in the sides, bottom and back. All the existing screws were tightened, and we finished them off by adding one set screw per clip – more on that in a minute.
Although the instructions inside the shipping box were sparse, TheRTAStore.com sent us links to videos that helped a lot. Each video was between 5-10 minutes, which is the same amount of time it takes to complete a cabinet!
That said, we couldn’t finish the cabinet building without at least a small glitch; it’s a DIYers rite of passage, after all. One thing we couldn’t find information on were the support braces for the sink base cabinet, so at one point we had to remove the back, install the supports, and slip the support back into place. It only set us back all of two minutes, but along the way, any confusion was resolved with a quick re-watch of a video and, of course, common sense.
As previously mentioned, every cabinet build begins by placing the front face down, and the sides, back and bottom are all slipped into place and secured with ‘clips’. Below, you can see how they snug together and lock into place. Just one additional screw is needed to ‘clip’ them together, and the rest of the screws just need a quick tightening:
Soft close hinges came standard with the Aspen White Shaker cabinets, and once they’re hung on the wall, we’ll still have the ability to align them – although they looked pretty good right from the box!
We couldn’t wait to put them in the room, even though we haven’t had a chance to hang them yet! The two uppers that are currently sitting on the base cabinet will be mounted to the same level as the cabinet above the dryer, all of which will be hung 3-4″ from the ceiling allowing for 18-20″ of space between the countertop and uppers (depending on the thickness of countertop we choose). Eventually, we’ll fill the cabinets with detergent, towels and bed linens, and lesser used seasonal items (kitty litter, too!) will be stored in the highest cabinets. If you squint, you can kind of see how they’ll look once they’re actually on the wall; do you see it?
We also added trim to the laundry room window, opting to use chunky (but less wide) brick molding since it’s a tight squeeze in the corner. The nail holes have been spackled and all the seams are caulked, but it still needs a quick sanding and one more coat of paint. Even still, what an improvement!
Besides the obvious need to hang the cabinets, we’ll need to trim them with crown and filler pieces (for a more custom look), install baseboards and door trim, mount a new ceiling fixture (we chose this one after spotting the same in a historic building downtown), choose a countertop, plumb the sink and lay down a tiny rug. Hmm, before I typed that out, I could have sworn we were thisclose to being done – but! Hooray for every small victory!
TheRTAStore.com provided us with cabinets for the laundry room, and all opinions belong to these two. We hope this gives you options for all the flat-packed cabinetry out there!
I’ve been working from home for several years now, but sometimes, I imagine what it would be like to go back to a bustling office job. When I worked downtown, I loved it. Well, I loved taking the train, grabbing my coffee from the bakery and – for the most part! – I loved the people I worked with. (Not always the work, but you know.) I do enjoy feeding off the energy of others, but over time, I’ve adjusted to home-working, and I’ve got my routine down. I like having a desk and curtains and rug and all the art that I chose, and I like that if I want to, I can take 15 minutes to drink my coffee on the front porch swing. But! I think, if someone offered me a sweet job downtown right now, would I do it? I go back and forth with my secret what if? answer all the time, because doesn’t it always seem like the grass is always greener?
Anyway, all this to say that I tend to start daydreaming more than ever when I’m feeling frazzled. Frazzled, because I start to feel like nothing has a place and the house is a mess (so much pet hair! I think, how long has it been since I’ve vacuumed?), and even though I have my row of paper trays and my desk drawers organized, there are still boxes of camera equipment and paint supplies tucked into closets. That’s not to say we haven’t put any effort into our home studio, but it’s always the first room to become the dumping ground during any renovation, no matter what we’re working on.
I’d like to change that.
We’re in the midst of a big purge as we prep for our annual yard sale, and we’re letting a lot of things go that we’d been saving for different rooms – for example, chairs or benches or ottomans – but as we renovate, sometimes those items don’t make their way in to those rooms, and so, they sit and accumulate dust. We’ve got a big ol’ pile ready to sell, and soon we’ll have a big ol’ mostly empty studio that needs some organization!
Enter our home’s second fauxdenza (but our third overall if you count this one in our old studio). Instead of IKEA’s kitchen cabinets that we’ve used in the past, we found a less expensive option using components from the BESTA line! On our shopping list:
We wanted to create a fauxdenza (fun fact: a term originally coined by Anna so many years ago!) for the insane amount of storage it offers, its pretty looks and its ability to be wall mounted (so good for our hairy home with pets!). Once I had the frames put together, Scott mounted everything to the wall using the suspension rail system. We found it to be a little tricky at first, but once we got the first double-box hung, the single box was a snap. No big secrets here; we just followed the IKEA man’s instructions, but we did use toggle bolts as an extra precaution where we weren’t able to locate a stud.
For the 24″ frame, we cut off the bottom half of the back for our electrical outlet, and to prevent it from slipping down in its track, Scott used tiny screws in the track to hold it in place:
We added the doors next and leveled them up, and once everything looked good, we did a final measurement of the overall depth, doors included. The BESTA is a hair more than 16″ from front to back, so we ripped down our project panel using a circular saw, sanded the edges, and stained it in three steps: one coat of wood conditioner + two coats of Special Walnut + two coats of Polycrylic in a satin finish. Tip: An extra coat of wood conditioner on the ends of the project panel will help keep the stain even in color (where it typically wants to go much darker).
The next day, we attached it to the top of our BESTA units by using wood screws from underneath and inside the cabinets, and for any electronics, Scott used a 1″ paddle bit for cords to pass through the cabinet to access the outlet!
The photos below might give you a better idea of where it is in the room. We’re using the entire open space on the second floor for the studio, so this side of the room will ultimately act as a lounge area. We often use the television downstairs as a giant computer screen when we’re in the idea-gathering stage of projects; it will be so nice to do it up here now! When possible, I prefer to keep work and play separate (a necessity for work-from-home-ers, I think!), but I’d still like this work-slash-lounge area to be comfortable.
Inside, I’ve started grouping office-y things into little bins, and even after organizing camera gear, fabric scraps and lesser used painting supplies, there is still a lot of room to grow. I love a good, empty cabinet. So many possibilities.
Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve made two floating credenzas in the past using IKEA’s AKURUM (now SEKTION) kitchen cabinets, and while we have no regrets – the functionality and slim design packs a punch! – we wondered why we didn’t gravitate towards the BESTA from the very beginning. Maybe these options weren’t available a few years ago? The BESTA is less expensive ($300 for our dining room fauxdenza vs. $200 for this one) and has in-store top options should you choose to skip the DIY wood panel!
What you don’t see in any of these photos is the massive yard sale pile behind the camera. Once this room is cleared, we’ll have the space we need to start building our laundry cabinets, and then we can really start to plan this space for a proper lounge! That has always been our goal, but it was never a priority. We’re excited to put this room one step closer to the front burner!