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For the last two years, we’ve focused almost every bit of our attention on the first floor. It’s where we spend most of our time, and with the kitchen finally checked off, we’re calling the main level done-for-now! That said, the second floor – with the exception of studio updates and the smaller work room – has taken a big time back seat.

At the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to downplay how much energy we’ve put into laying the groundwork upstairs! During round one of our home’s renovation, we did shuffle quite a few things around on the second level – taking down a (crooked) wall, eliminating an unnecessary closet and opening the second floor landing, and while we were at it, we nixed the second kitchen in favor of a master suite. I told you that we were feeling refreshed and invigorated after our cross-country journey, and I wasn’t kidding. Next on the agenda? The whole bedroom-slash-bathroom-slash-laundry-room chunk of our house, tucked away in the back half of the second floor, here:


We have been looking forward to this day so hard. Not to take any joy away from the work we’ve put into the downstairs (so far), but the most personal part of our home has been sorely neglected, and we are really, really excited to get going on these rooms that should be considered more of a retreat. I took photos of the bed, bath and laundry rooms over the weekend, and I’ll share each one in their own post. These three rooms could easily be classified as our home’s ’embarrassment’ in their own right, and so I’ll say this: Can we still be friends after we give you the tour?

I mean, let me explain.

Before the first phase of demolition (two years ago!), these three rooms were okay, I guess. To be honest, I feel like we both sort of blocked out how bad things really were, as we had a lot of issues to address – damaged carpet and an insect issue (I cringe!) among other things – but we definitely made things even worse by ripping out problem areas and not always following up with temporary solutions that could hold us over. We knew these three rooms would need a complete overhaul eventually, so it felt silly to throw money, no matter how small, at the problem if we couldn’t just do it right the first time. We liken these rooms to the broken window theory – once the neglect started, it quickly escalated, and so we have missing floorboards, cracked tile and molded caulk and, well, it’s like all hell has broken loose!

You poor rooms, you. Needless to say, we’ve been planning for this day for a long, long time, and now, we’re really doing it!


Today, let’s narrow down our focus and talk about the bathroom. No matter how hard we scour those walls, tiles and sink, they never (ever!) look clean. Like, ever. This entire room received a fresh scrub down before I snapped a single photo, but it’s the most unsatisfying cleaning routine you can imagine. I actually get angry cleaning this room; it makes me mean. What a waste of time!, I say. We should have just torn down this whole house!, I’ll shout. (At this point, Scott, ever helpful, will swoop in with a glass of wine.)

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To this point, the bathroom received a new solid wood door, and we took out the old medicine cabinet and sliding glass shower door. After adopting our Chocolate-y Chunk, we picked up a handheld shower head for the doggie bath time routine, but that’s where the improvements stopped!

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The tiles have been missing their grout since move-in day, and the only thing holding them down is a sad strip of duct tape. Baseboards were caulked but never smoothed, and we can’t even talk about the shower without me getting anxious; it’s just a big, hot mess, and again, I’m happy to say that we’re finally doing something about it!

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Feeling overwhelmed by the renovation possibilities, we put a call out for help on our Instagram a few months ago. To choose finishes would have been one thing, but we were also looking to push back a wall and rearrange the layout, and we wanted to make sure we were doing things properly and to code. As a result, we found Jen*, a designer by trade who has been our saving grace on every level. We’ve been working with her for the last couple of months on these key items:

Space planning
 What’s possible versus what isn’t
Contractor wrangling and negotiating

Jen came over for a full tour, and we gave her our whole rundown of wishes, needs and would-like-to haves. We told her what was important to us (double sinks!) and what wasn’t (a separate tub and shower). Because Scott and I have been tossing around ideas for almost two years now, we gave her an earful, and she was kind, patient and incredibly informative. In the end, she presented us with four different plans, and together, we frankenstein-ed all the essential elements and layouts into one just-right space plan. Below is our starting point, with notes on demolition:


By the end, our hope is to have three rooms that look more like this:


For the bathroom, this will mean pushing back the shared laundry wall several feet, making way for a double sink and allowing more room around the toilet; as it stands right now, the toilet is practically hugging the wall, which is awkward at best.


We’ll also be swapping the placement of the toilet and sink, and the plumbing in the shower will move to the inside wall. Below is a mock up of what could be nice – a trough style sink with wall mounted faucets, double mirrors and a pair of sconces, although a lot of these decisions are still being pinned down and nothing is set in stone – yet. There are many other factors in play, too, such as a ceiling vent (for the first time if you can believe it!), central overhead light, shower lighting, proper outlets at the proper heights, and we’re currently wading through piles of tile and wallpaper samples. It’s all so, so exciting!


Jen helped us meet with three contractors and presented us with quotes, a service that felt invaluable and worth the entire cost of her fee, in our opinion! For the bathroom, the contractor will run all the plumbing roughs, handle all electrical and prep the bathroom for tile and paint. We’ve since hired the team that fit us best and signed a contract. As we’ve been doing and to save some money, Scott and I will be tackling most of the demolition ourselves in the coming weeks.

Next up, the bedroom!

*If anyone in the Chicagoland area needs a Jen in their life, let us know (or comment below), and we’ll get you connected! It’s surprisingly affordable, and a time (and headache!) saver.

PS! To see the bed + bath + laundry renovation party unfold, make sure to check out part II (the bedroom) and part III (the laundry room)!

  • Valerie - November 3, 2015 - 6:51 AM

    When you bought your home how did you decide what needed work immediately and what could wait?

    We just purchased a 1920s colonial and almost everything inside the home is original to 1920 (yikes). I too sometimes feel like we should just gut the whole home top to bottom and install everything fresh and new. Then I remember that I am not independently wealthy and need to be selective given we need to do important things like insulate and rewire the entire home. But that’s so hard when there are things that need to be changed/updated in

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 9:03 AM

      That’s a good question, and it will definitely be different for everybody, but for us, we had a couple MAJOR issues to address first (a sagging ceiling), and we wanted to get the layout of the home mostly in order. The last thing on our mind was any design decisions – we just wanted a starting point. I actually dive into it in this post:

      As you can see, this bathroom has been put on the back burner the entire two years we’ve lived in this house, and a few posts back, you can even see how long it took us to polish the living room! Eventually, you’ll turn a blind eye to those really ugly things, and it will be SO exciting once you’re able to finally dive in – even if it takes longer to get there than you might think. It’ll be worth it!ReplyCancel

      • Valerie - November 4, 2015 - 6:25 AM

        Thank you, Kim! And good luck with your project. I am very excited to watch it evolve as we begin our master bath and laundry space reno in the next few weeks.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen from Ask Away - November 3, 2015 - 7:07 AM

    omg i love how you have all these blue prints and room diagrams. So awesome!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 9:04 AM

      That’s Jen’s handiwork! :)ReplyCancel

  • Anni - November 3, 2015 - 7:28 AM

    I’m so excited to follow along and see how this one turns out! The plans sound great. We did the same thing with our reno – started with the kitchen and living areas – so we have two not-so-nice bathrooms on the waiting list. We did a mini-refresh in one to hold us over, but still… I totally get your level of frustration and now excitement to finally address the issues!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - November 3, 2015 - 8:30 AM

    Hi Kim and Scott,

    I really love your blog and I’m excited for this new set of projects! I was wondering if you could speak to your decision not to create a master bathroom out of the existing laundry room, by moving the laundry somewhere else? It seems like a big selling point to have a master bath these days. I’m wondering if maybe the space was too small, or you didn’t have anywhere else to put the laundry? It would be really interesting to hear about the thought process if you have a moment down the track. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 9:07 AM

      Yup, happy to answer – we actually considered having the bathroom door open into the bedroom, but in the end, we had to nix it completely. There’s one other bedroom on the second floor, and if we ever have a kid, that’s where his/her room will be (friends and family – don’t get any ideas!). We wanted the bathroom to be open to whoever needs to use it, rather than have children or guests have to go through our room.

      As for the laundry room, Scott wasn’t totally on board with that right off of the bedroom (we initially considered it off of the kitchen where the workshop is now), but I wouldn’t give in on that one! We’ve had the machines off the bedroom since plumbing was installed – more on that when we get to the laundry room post – and it has been a game changer! Having it off of the master makes so much sense, since it’s all our clothes anyway!ReplyCancel

      • Anna - November 3, 2015 - 9:51 AM

        I never thought of having a laundry off the main but I can definitely imagine how convenient that would be! Game changer for sure :)

        A follow-up if you’ll indulge me! What about turning the laundry into a (second and master) bathroom? Did you discuss that? I’m guessing since there are two bedrooms upstairs, it seemed a bit indulgent/OTT to have one bathroom per bedroom, so maybe that’s the answer, and then added to that, the fact that you’d have to find somewhere else to put the laundry (and it would inevitably be somewhere less convenient).

        I’m looking forward to the laundry room plans too. I’m not very creative, but imagine those of you who are might have some interesting ideas for how to up the convenience factor even more with an off-bedroom laundry room. Happy planning!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 9:59 AM

          We didn’t discuss a second bathroom off of the master (or turning the laundry into one), only because we love the laundry room being there SO much.

          Also, our house is currently a 3 bedroom, 2 bath. There is another bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, so a 3 bedroom with 3 bath felt like too much for us – not to mention, a lot more expensive to create and more time consuming to clean! ;)ReplyCancel

          • Melissa - November 10, 2015 - 8:04 AM

            Yet another follow-on question!! Did you consider flip-flopping the laundry and bathroom but then making the laundry a pass through to the bathroom for the second bedroom while still making a master bathroom?ReplyCancel

            • Kim - November 10, 2015 - 12:28 PM

              That’s a great idea! I could definitely see that being a great solution – but it’s definitely out of the budget for us. :)ReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - November 3, 2015 - 8:37 AM

    Everything looks amazing (as always)! I love your taste! Okay – here’s my crazy question that once I know the answer to I’ll be, “OF COURSE, how could I not see it immediately!” but what’s at the foot of the king size bed in the finished layout? A chicken with a hand? A normal hand and a small hand joined together with wings? One of the dogs? One of the cats? I give up!ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - November 3, 2015 - 9:06 AM

      I thought the same thing at first! It’s a person walking, as seen from overhead.ReplyCancel

      • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 9:07 AM

        Thanks, Michelle! Susan, what she said. :)ReplyCancel

      • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - November 3, 2015 - 10:21 AM

        Haha! NOW I see it! Man-oh-man I had no idea at first though!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ onesuchlife - November 3, 2015 - 9:42 AM

    Excited to see how this turns out! Need to update two more of our bathrooms still…ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Z - November 3, 2015 - 10:39 AM

    Hi Kim and Scott. I love your home so much. I love to seeing your progress, and your process, and your hard work coming to such beautiful finished states.So, keep up the great work!

    I’m especially excited about this new project because my husband and I are looking to gut/remodel our master bathroom. We’ve had about 5 different contractors come in to give us quotes and we were absolutely FLOORED by how expensive labor is. Most of the demo we can do ourselves, but that literally only saves us about $1K off a minimum $22K job! Can you believe we got a quote for $45K on an 8’x8′ bathroom?? I don’t understand what we’re doing wrong! Could it just be where we live that labor costs are so high (we live in the Twin Cities)? I’m not sure if this is normally what you do, but it would be great to hear you talk a little bit about contractor/construction costs and how you save money on big ticket remodels like a bathroom and kitchen. I feel just terribly defeated by all of this :(ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 11:03 AM

      Thanks for the kind words, Sarah!

      That is a serious bummer to hear about your costs! Does that $45K number include all new everything, in addition to labor and materials? Even still, that number seems insanely high. Are you comfortable with tackling your own tiling work?

      I honestly can’t speak highly enough about how much Jen helped us. She works with contractors day in and out, and she sent us her top two guys to bid on the job, and she also walked through with the contractor who installed our kitchen door (who we loved). Our contractor ended up pulling out, only because he wasn’t comfortable with us wanting to do all the finish work (which is totally fair). The remaining two quotes came back with a $5K difference between them, but luckily, the guy we had a better gut feeling about came in lower. We decided to go with him, and he’s not charging a premium for material costs. In fact, he charges us exactly what he pays.

      It may be worth looking into hiring a designer just for the initial space planning and contractor walk throughs, as they may be able to provide a little more insight and find you the perfect fit – rather than you guys meeting with GC after GC and not feeling satisfied. I get it. We’ve been there before, and we’ve had some pretty bad experiences ourselves.

      Chin up! We know this can be so, so frustrating, but I encourage you to consider outside help even if it’s just someone who can wrangle the contractors that work best for you.ReplyCancel

      • Sarah Z - November 3, 2015 - 11:23 AM

        Yeah, regarding the contractors and quotes: so much of it is figuring out how to talk about what we want. I can see what I want in my head, but I’m not sure how to get there. I need someone to say, “actually, your old cast iron tub is totally fine, and you can save $400 by refinishing it instead of buying new” but it seems like most contractors don’t want to go through that extra step and it’d be easier for them to just replace it. Having Jen or someone who understands what we want and can translate that into “Contractor Talk” would be so helpful.

        Does Jen know anyone who does similar work in the Twin Cities? ;)ReplyCancel

        • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 12:38 PM

          Oh, you could not be more right. A contractor isn’t going to tell you what you can DIY or get refinished, because it’ll take money away from him! Definitely search Yelp and make a few calls. Before we found Jen, that’s what we did.ReplyCancel

  • Claire - November 3, 2015 - 1:15 PM

    I love your blog, but first time commenting! I just wanted to say I noticed that you’ll have a bit of dead space at the foot of your tub, due to what looks to be a column? When we remodeled our bathroom, we had a small dead space as well at the foot of the tub. We used this space to build in shelves, which now hold shampoo, etc.

    They are almost a foot deep, so I’ve rolled up towels on the higher ones for guests (but they get dusty up there, so mostly that’s just putting on a good show). Our shower walls are marble subway tile, so the shelves were cut from 18×18″ marble floor tiles. I’m happy to send a picture if that helps, but we love the extra bit of storage!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 1:23 PM

      Good catch! Yup, we’re planning on putting a pull out storage unit there. We’re not exactly sure how yet (it’s small, like 9″ wide), so we were thinking of DIY-ing it. We would LOVE to see a photo of yours though! Do you have a pic hosted online? Otherwise, please email us:

      Thanks, Claire!ReplyCancel

  • Dani at Danielle and Co. - November 3, 2015 - 2:33 PM

    It is great to see someone else with similar caulk/grout/everything-falling-apart issues! I love it when people share real-life looks at what they’re working with, and not just the after photos. We are about to work on our full bath, and have everything from old screws in the trim in weird places, to grey vinyl stick on tiles to deal with. I can’t wait to follow along as you transfer the space!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Dee - November 3, 2015 - 3:04 PM

    I love looking at other people’s floor plans they give you so many ideas, but they are also so personal. As an engineer I don’t like how there isn’t a correct answer.

    I know it wasn’t really your point, but your layout made me imagine a walk in closet with washer and dryer inside, and in my head it is kind of amazing. Then I thought about how weird it would have been to do laundry in my parents bedroom closet when I was in high school… very weirdReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 3:11 PM

      Haha, you’re right! I guess it might be weird to do laundry in your parents’ bedroom. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it?!ReplyCancel

    • Melanie - November 3, 2015 - 4:53 PM

      It is so hard to live in a space that you just hate! I can’t wait to see this all come to life for you.ReplyCancel

  • Kate S. - November 3, 2015 - 4:05 PM

    This looks awesome and I can’t wait to see it unfold! But, I have to tell you that, at first (and second, and third . . .) glance the little walking man outlined in your overheard floorplan looked like nothing so much as a seal rolling around on the floor. I was about to comment asking if you had a pet sealion (or planned to adopt one to keep in this room maybe?) when I finally realized it was a man. In case you can’t see it–its head was to the lower right, tail upper left, man’s head and protruding knee would have been flippers. Maybe I’m overdue for a nap, lol.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 3, 2015 - 4:28 PM

      Holy smokes! Your description is dead on!! Hilarious.ReplyCancel

  • Brynn - November 4, 2015 - 10:49 AM

    I’m sure you’ve deliberated this a lot on your own already, but can you speak to the decision to do 2 sinks (or, 2 faucets/mirrors/etc) instead of one? I feel like with a 48″ vanity, the extra counter space would be way more valuable than having the ability to separately control water at the same time? Then you can put one oversized mirror up that’s as wide as the 2 individual ones, so you could both be standing there getting ready at the same time. Granted, you guys seem to have mastered the art of de-cluttering surfaces (wish I could say the same!), so the counter space may not be as critical for you personally. Totally just curious.

    BTW, I was so pumped to see plans for a new big project when I checked in. Love following along as you guys do your thing. And, I love reading about Chicago. I lived for many years at Wabansia & Wood. Such a great neighborhood! You could say that I’m living vicariously through you :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 4, 2015 - 11:23 AM

      Hi Brynn! The double sinks are a must-have for us. Scott and I crowding over our tiny sink has been a pain point in the evenings, and it felt like something that would be a luxurious upgrade – since we’re going through the whole renovation and all!

      The double mirrors and double sconces aren’t set in stone just yet though. I’ve been eyeing a few wide mirrors, and we’ve been checking out some shelving or wall mounted soap dishes/etc that will all free up counter space (that you’re right – we’ll be losing with double sinks). A roomy vanity is also a must.

      And thank you for the kind words about Chicago! Best. City. Ever. Wabansia & Wood is an awesome area!ReplyCancel

      • SLG - November 4, 2015 - 9:04 PM

        Longtime lurker, first-time commenter here. First, I’m so excited to watch this unfold. We have a bathroom remodel on the horizon (our current one is SO yucky — I know what you mean about losing motivation to clean it!) and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do.

        A comment on the mirror: we have an extra-wide mirror in our small bathroom and I love it. It makes the small space seem much bigger, and you don’t have to stand in just the right place to see your hair, makeup, etc. Daniel Kanter over at Manhattan Nest did a celebrity bathroom remodel last year or so, including a wide mirror, and that gave me some good ideas for making it look good. Might be worth checking out!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - November 4, 2015 - 9:30 PM

          I love Daniel, and I remember that bathroom very well! (Hi, Daniel!)

          You’re right, we’re sort of leaning towards a larger wide mirror, and we have a few in mind. Thank you so much for the input. We need to hear these things to keep us on track! Second opinions are always very much appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - November 4, 2015 - 10:30 PM

    In lighting design class, I learned that the most flattering and useful vanity light placement is on both sides of the vanity mirror, at head height. It’s best for applying makeup, and general grooming, and does not accentuate things like under eye puffiness. I unfortunately have lighting above our vanity mirrors, and it is not something I will ever select when designing a bathroom! I would consider lighting on a very large mirror, although drilling through mirror is costly. Then again, because I am so near-sighted, I will always want to have a surface-mounted medicine cabinet so the mirror will be closer to my face – I am even considering a shallower bathroom counter so I don’t have to lean towards the mirror, although I should just get an articulated makeup mirror.
    Having a wall-mounted soap dish and other accessories will help with your limited counter space, but I would opt for small basins since I never need a large basin, but I do need counter space!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 5, 2015 - 2:31 PM

      Hi Caroline – interesting, and I can definitely see that being true! It’s funny because as I was reading your comment, I was thinking back to every apartment or place I’ve lived in, and due to small spaces, lighting was always above the vanity. The mirror and sconce placement isn’t set in stone, so thank you for the input! I think once we nail down the vanity and sink configuration (and soon!), we’ll have a better idea of what will make the most sense given our smaller bathroom.

      Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy A - November 5, 2015 - 10:24 AM

    I’m obsessed with storage, so this might sound insane, but since you are already moving/replacing windows, have you considered moving the window in the laundry room to create more storage on the wall opposite the washer and dryer? I know that the window is centered with the door and it might not be worth the hassle or cost, but I truly wish I had more storage room in my laundry room which only has a washer dryer and sink(with storage underneath)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 5, 2015 - 2:26 PM

      It was something we considered, but nixed due to a high cost for little return. We have almost 10′ ceilings, so our goal is to have the cabinets in the laundry go all the way to the ceiling!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - November 5, 2015 - 12:48 PM

    Love your blog…been following for a while!
    Seems like a good place to throw in my two cents. It appears you have already signed with a contractor, etc. BUT, ( and I say this with a smile on my face), have you considered an alternative plan?
    I think you are dead on with the laundry room access/bathroom access configuration as you have planned. However, have you considered keeping the majority of your water lines all on the same wall? It would appear it could save you considerable cash to have it in one place so to speak. I have no idea if this is possible, but here goes.
    First of all, you may have to take a bit of space from the laundry area…like maybe 6-9 inches, and move the pocket door closer to the outside wall. Similar to your downstairs configuration. This would allow more wall space on the other side of the closed in wall for furniture in your bedroom/more space between short closet wall and doorway to laundry. Next, I would flip the laundry sink and appliances to the opposite wall (180°). Window would be near sink in laundry. Appliances would go next to sink, waterline shares with that of bathroom.
    On to the bathroom. Since you are moving plumbing anyway, have you considered rotating your bathtub around the corner? The plumbing would share the same wall as the laundry sink on the opposite wall. The toilet could be in the corner with the tank sharing the same wall as the washer/dryer on the opposite wall. Since you require waster water drain pipe for tub/toilet/washer it might save you some $$ for plumbing to have them near each other. And lastly give yourself a longer run for your sink area. You could have two freestanding sinks/pedestals with a high tower of cabinets in between to store items, plus a make-up mirror with a plug inside the cabinet for down the road when your eyesight isn’t as great. :)
    I had to get this off my chest since I’m always one to save $$ as much as possible, but still have a comfortable/classic/modern layout. Take it or leave it, your plan will work no matter what you do! You both have incredible vision for youngsters. (Yes, I’m in the older set, say above 50). ;) Good luck, and can’t wait to see the progress!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 5, 2015 - 2:28 PM

      Pamela, thank you so, so much! I’m trying to imagine everything you’re saying – the good news is that the plumbing swapping isn’t terribly costly, and we did go over several options to make the most sense of where things are now vs. where they’ll end up. I sincerely appreciate your feedback, and I’ll noodle on it a bit more.ReplyCancel


Late last year, our friends Amy and Ed told us that they finally were doing it – they found the perfect space, they signed on the dotted line, and they were really doing it!

It is now called The Laboratory, a Chicago learning center using STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) to encourage children to wholeheartedly use their imaginations and explore their world in new, creative ways. The space feels like a happy, bright playground for kids and adults alike – which is perfect, because that was the plan all along!


Amy and Ed have been good friends of ours for years (we initially found them through Chicago Sociabulls, Jack’s doggie walking group, and you might remember when we overhauled their entry), and they had been talking about creating this space for just as long. When they signed the lease on the (gorgeous!) West Town building, they called us up and asked if we could lend a hand with design input. We were so, so thrilled for their dream-come-true, that we couldn’t wait to dive into ideas and see The Laboratory unfold.

While we pointed them in the right direction – sourcing furniture, where to buy what and which tutorials to follow – we were blown away by their execution, and we happily pass the credit entirely to them! We joked that Ed had turned into the mad scientist of the woodshop; he built each and every table, and together, they scored deals off of Craigslist and worked local store sales like seasoned pros. Note by note, they took our advice, put their twist on it, and created a place that makes us wish we were young enough to take their Zombie Science Camp. (Or attend the Frozen birthday bashes or classes on Training a Dragon!)

As inspirations to us, we asked them to share the story behind The Laboratory, because we have been itching to share it with all of you. Amy says:

We’re always talking about big ideas, but The Laboratory was that idea that we couldn’t shake. I’m not a big risk-taker, but we kept wondering if we would regret not at least trying to make it happen. After a long search, we found a beautiful, light-filled, empty box to rent, and we were investing our life savings while figuring our way through the red tape of small-business ownership in Chicago. We loved the space, but I was overwhelmed thinking how we could turn this blank space into something that was functional and fun that could work for both children and adults – especially on our budget.

laboratory-before2 laboratory-before1

We feel so lucky that we know Scott and Kim, because they are so full of advice and budget-friendly ideas. (Even though I read everything on their blog, I’m always amazed to go to their home and see everything in person and how all of the small details work together). [Editor’s note: I respectfully considered taking this out, but the feeling is mutual – so there!]

While I was filled with anxiety about how we would put together a fun, professional-looking space (again, on our budget!), Scott and Kim were filled with ideas – and big notebooks full of resources! They were beyond excited for us and they suggested ways to take the space we had to make it functional for classes while still looking good. 

laboratory27 laboratory30 laboratory03 laboratory04 laboratory07 laboratory19

From our ‘Safety Corner’ with mini-lab coats and goggles, to the functional open storage, I began to see how we could, indeed, transform that open space into something that would work. For example, the rolling tables can be configured in different ways, the reception area is welcoming but still separate, and the chalk and dry erase walls double as art installation.  

laboratory18 laboratory11 laboratory13 laboratory15 laboratory21 laboratory05

We never thought everyday people like us could really pull this off, but we’ve watched as people literally gasp when they come into The Laboratory. They are so excited to explore our space, learn, and draw on the walls. We’ve even had families go home to chalk paint their walls and DIY their own tables and benches. We’ve been so happily overwhelmed by the fun we see taking place and the support we’ve received.

the-lab-kids1 the-lab-kids3 the-lab-kids2

Their passion is undeniable, and after an incredible summer success (these reviews couldn’t speak more true to Amy and Ed’s character), we are so in awe of what’s to come. If you’re local to Chicago, we urge you to check out The Laboratory – even as a grown-up! Evening and weekend adult workshops are not only available for Demystifying the DSLR and making Gourmet Dog Treats, but if you have a trade to share, instructor positions are always open (apply here!).

We’ll be taking the instructor role ourselves starting next year, and we’re eager for your input: Is there a fun DIY you’d like to try? Or are you interested in photography? Art? Blogging? We’re all ears!

Photos of in-session classes by Amy, all other photos by me.

  • Brynne@TheGatheredHome - October 28, 2015 - 8:35 AM

    Oh my goodness! This place looks like the most fun place EVER! Mad props to you and Scott and Amy and Ed for collaborating on such an amazing space! I wish I was local so I could join you guys for a class!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 28, 2015 - 1:24 PM

      It’s worth a visit! :)ReplyCancel

  • Debra - October 28, 2015 - 9:07 AM

    Their space looks so fun and inviting!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ onesuchlife - October 28, 2015 - 9:40 AM

    I love this so much! Such a unique idea.ReplyCancel

  • Raha - October 28, 2015 - 11:00 AM

    Wow!! This is so great!! As an engineer and a new mom to a little girl, this makes me so happy!! Chicago is on my bucket list of cities to visit and this space just shot it up to the top.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 28, 2015 - 1:23 PM

      They were really set on bringing a love of STEAM to young girls, and they’ve knocked it out of the park! When you visit, call ahead to see if there may be a class you can attend while in town!ReplyCancel

  • Ursula Ellis - October 28, 2015 - 1:12 PM

    The Laboratory is truly awesome, and I can really see your influence in the design and set-up. I only wish that we had had something like this in the DC metro area when my son was growing up. Also, kudos to the artist you did the plant designs on the chalk paint. They would look fabulous in a kitchen!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 28, 2015 - 1:24 PM

      They hired an art student to do that! Isn’t it awesome?!ReplyCancel

  • The Laboratory Chicago - October 28, 2015 - 9:49 PM

    Wow! Thanks so much for such a great write-up! And of course, for helping us take our space from our empty white box to what it is now. So excited to have you as instructors soon!ReplyCancel

  • Jason - October 30, 2015 - 7:54 AM

    This is such an awesome idea and the place looks amazing! If only I lived in Chicago. I’m sure my son would love it.ReplyCancel

  • Dani - November 1, 2015 - 2:54 PM

    This is so amazing! I’ve lived in a few different college towns over the past decade, and all of them have had a children’s science museum that is cute and full of activities. However, none of them have this locally-owned, authentic feel to them! My children would adore this place – I wish we lived closer!ReplyCancel

  • Lincoln - November 22, 2015 - 3:27 PM

    … They aren’t using goggles the right way..!ReplyCancel



With the kitchen and nook checked off our list, we were asked earlier this week if that completes our first floor, and if so, what’s next? Well, we’re thisclose, with the exception being a teeny bathroom that’ll have to wait. In the meantime, we’ve been kicking out a handful of things that we’ve been meaning to do for a while – pruning our house plants, potting new, deep cleaning area rugs (so wonderfully satisfying!) and making piles to donate or sell as we purge, purge, purge. (Apparently our spring cleaning memo came late this year? Just kidding, purging is, like, my favorite thing ever.)

Most recently, we finally set aside time this past Sunday to update our media center, and you guys, what a difference that made to the whole first floor! You might remember a long, long time ago, we bought this credenza, made a few alterations to fit our things and then made a few more while upgrading our speaker system. Out of curiosity, I looked back on that first post, and I made mention that we were thinking of painting it – 2 years ago:


This piece was a steal at about $60 from Jubilee Furniture (city locals, you must go!), but here’s the thing: It’s not real wood. The entire top and drawer/sliding door fronts are all a laminate veneer, with only the legs boasting a thin wood veneer. We’ve never loved the orangey tone, but it’s served us well for the last couple of years, and we’ve always loved the slim, simple shape. It’s built with a strong, hefty weight to it, and it’s the perfect size for our space.


Jumping back to last month, I attended an Amy Howard workshop in Memphis alongside fellow Ace Hardware bloggers, which was, without a doubt, one of the most eye-opening workshops I’ve ever been a part of, as we got to play firsthand with her artisan quality paints, patinas and waxes. DIY game changers, for sure! Amy Howard is a long time furniture designer (and an all around warm, inspiring woman) that created her signature chalk-based product, One Step Paint, and has, in turn, flipped my world upside down! Her new product line has since debuted at Ace Hardwares across the country, and as cliché as this must sound, the possibilities are endless – from ultra matte finishes to high gloss, from painting glass to veneers to fabric, she’s got it covered.

But! The One Step Paint, my goodness. At the beginning of the workshop, she asked each of us to share what we were most excited to learn, and I admitted that I needed to see this One Step Paint up close; could it really be one step?, I asked. We’ve painted a lot of pieces that have held up incredibly well over the years (not without trial and error, of course), and just when we thought we got our three-part-system down to a science, Amy threw a wrench in our plans – in the best possible way. 

And so the media center received yet another makeover, this time with One Step Paint + wax!


Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint
Amy Howard at Home Clear Wax
Diluted Simple Green
Painters tape
Wood filler + putty knife
Fine grit sandpaper
2″ angled paint brush
4″ mini roller + tray
Amy Howard at Home 2″ round brush
Spare cardboard
Clean lint-free rags

WHAT WE DID. The day before painting, I filled dents and missing veneer with wood filler and sanded those parts smooth with fine grit paper. Once that was done, we took out all the drawers, taped off the drawer glides and used diluted Simple Green to wash everything down. Once dry, I followed up with clean water to get rid of any remaining residue. Because One Step Paint is a no VOC formula, we laid down drop cloths to prevent drips on our rugs and set the credenza up in our living room. (Note: Simple Green is a degreaser that typically comes in a concentrated form. Always dilute following label instructions before using.)  


We wanted a color that would lighten the room, and although the One Step Paint has pre-mixed colors available, it can still be tinted to any color you like! We considered pure white, but after staring at swatches for two days straight, we landed on a gray-like off-white, Valspar’s Shrouded Lace. We liked that the color gives off a monochromatic vibe with our walls (although it is a teensy shade darker), giving it a slightly modern edge.

I used a 2″ angled brush to get in the corners and a 4″ mini foam roller to cover the larger flat surfaces. With One Step Paint, there is no need for priming OR sanding (although I’ve since converted, this is where my hesitation showed through during the workshop!), but because the credenza is dark, I did go over everything with two coats, plus a third on the top and sides. The paint dries incredibly quick, so much so, that once I was done with round one, I could go back and continue with the second layer!

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And that’s it – if you’d like! If you enjoy the pure matte look, you can call it a day, but we pushed on with clear wax to give it a satin sheen. I’d never used wax before the workshop, and I learned that the trick is to use it with a gentle touch. We picked up Amy’s 2″ round brush from Ace, which was helpful for our large piece. To use, I lightly swirled my brush in the wax, and I off-loaded the excess on a sheet of cardboard. From there, I made quick criss-crossed motions with my wrist as I covered the credenza, continuing to swirl, off-load and criss-cross until finished. Tip: Never, ever go from the wax to the furniture. Always off-load the wax to prevent unnecessary build up. A little goes a long way! When done, clean your wax brush by soaking in mineral spirits and following up with a warm, soapy water rinse.

amy-howard-media-makeover-10 amy-howard-media-makeover-11

After an hour, I used a soft (lint-free!) microfiber rag to buff the surface, and the credenza was done. I feel as though there should be more to say, but it really is that easy! The One Step paint feels fool-proof; the consistency is slightly thicker than your usual latex-based formula, and the matte finish helps to conceal flaws. The wax coating gives it a silky feel, and it hardened up nicely.

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We also added hardware with these edge pulls (and a dose of gold spray paint for good measure!), and if it looks lower to you, it’s because we cut the legs down for a sleeker look before adding these casters, too. (The cute planter was picked up at Humboldt House!)

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Inside the drawers, we stash games and extra cables (for connecting our laptop to the television, for example), and our receiver and cable box sit in the middle:

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One of the best parts of keeping an online journal? We love to look back and see where these rooms started! In calling the living room done (not counting impending tweaks, you know?), I couldn’t help but dig up these old photos before we reconfigured a few things. Below, you’ll see how this room looked before we moved in versus today, as well as get a sense of how the living area connects to the entry and nook:

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Here’s an angle taken from the dining room, but this obviously shows that chaotic, somewhat-stressful, somewhat-hopeful state during construction! Just looking at this photo, I can feel the dust hanging in the air:

amy-howard-media-makeover-30 amy-howard-media-makeover-31

Living room, you’ve come a very, very, very long way!

If you’d like to lean more about Amy Howard products, she’s hosting a free live workshop with Ace Hardware today, Thursday, October 22nd, at 12pm CST. You can register right here and see how Amy rescues furniture using her signature One Step Paint! In addition, you can enter Amy Howard at Home Sweepstakes to win $500 to Ace + a Memphis trip for two and attend the workshop in person – a real treat, truly.

And, and! Together with the Ace crew, we’re giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader!  The giveaway runs through Wednesday, October 28th at 5pm CST; simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced within this post by Wednesday evening. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. See all the blogger projects on the Ace Pinterest page.

  • Danielle - October 22, 2015 - 6:42 AM

    Wow — that looks amazing! The new pulls and casters are the *perfect* finishing touch.ReplyCancel

  • Alli - October 22, 2015 - 6:43 AM

    Wow! Love it. I usually am not a fan of painted wood but this is fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Chessie - October 22, 2015 - 7:02 AM

    I saw the Amy Howard paint pop up in our ace, so I’ve been curious about how well it works! I’m looking around the house wondering what I can paint, now!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 7:37 AM

      The One Step paint can be used in anything with no sanding – ceramic, glass, fabric, veneers… It’s nuts, I tell you!ReplyCancel

      • Rebecca - October 22, 2015 - 7:55 AM

        So use on Ikea furniture….?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 8:01 AM

          Yup! No priming or sanding either! This credenza is basically a well made ikea piece when you consider the veneer. :)ReplyCancel

          • Steph M. - October 22, 2015 - 8:27 AM

            I just got so excited! I’ve hated our dark IKEA dresser almost ever since we bought it. Since I’ve yet to find a replacement, I’m totally painting it this weekend!! THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

          • Kirsten - October 25, 2015 - 12:53 AM

            This is actually perfect! My tv and stereo sits on an Ikea piece that is functional but looks very out of place in my house. I haven’t known what to do with it because of the veneer, and now I have an idea. The tip I’ve been waiting for, hooray!ReplyCancel

      • Jaclyn Reynolds - October 27, 2015 - 8:31 AM

        That sounds amazing! We have some projects that that paint would be so useful for!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - October 22, 2015 - 7:20 AM

    After I saw the commercial for this paint I was hoping that you would do a review before I gave it a go! Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 7:36 AM

      Amy also gives in depth tutorials on her blog including you tube videos as well! Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Jess S. - October 22, 2015 - 7:27 AM

    This process looks PERFECT for some pieces we are wanting to freshen up! Exciting!!ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias Blog - October 22, 2015 - 7:28 AM

    Ack, I used wax once and it was disaster…wish I realized that less is more! Where was this post a year ago? ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 7:39 AM

      Always off load the wax on cardboard! I was tempted to add more, but it’s not necessary at all.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Brown - October 22, 2015 - 7:38 AM

    you did an excellent job on your project.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - October 22, 2015 - 7:40 AM

    I’ve been really wanting to try some chalk paint! I have a console table I’ve been debating sanding and restaining or painting a fun color!ReplyCancel

  • Brent - October 22, 2015 - 7:43 AM

    This looks incredible. It makes a statement without overwhelming the space. The color really complements the walls and lightens the whole room up! Love a matte piece of furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Cassie - October 22, 2015 - 7:47 AM

    This looks awesome!! Definitely going to look into this paint line – thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - October 22, 2015 - 7:53 AM

    We have two wooden crates that we use for our daughter’s book bins. I have been thinking about adding casters so they can be easily moved around. Is this tough? Any advice on type of caster?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 8:01 AM

      I’d get casters with screw in plates rather than stems (which we used here). Your hardware store will have them in a ton of sizes and because it’s on a plate, it’ll be super easy to install – typically 4 small screws per caster!ReplyCancel

  • Laura C - October 22, 2015 - 8:27 AM

    Looks great – will definitely have to try this line of paints.ReplyCancel

  • ellen from ask away - October 22, 2015 - 8:29 AM

    i just want it to be friday!!!ReplyCancel

  • Erika - October 22, 2015 - 8:31 AM

    Lovely, thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - October 22, 2015 - 8:34 AM

    I have a table that’s veneer…that’s been (poorly) painted. But a sunscreen dribble actually ate through the paint and poly on the top (yikes!) and has me itching to come up with a new solution for the table. Would this stand up to daily dining table use? And painting over paint and poly? Or better to strip it first? I’m not sure what I’d find under the existing paint, since it came that way from the Craigslist seller. Thanks for sharing your insights!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:00 AM

      Hi Jessica,

      If you’re concerned about daily use, I highly recommend treating it with wax for your final step! The can does say that the wax should be applied about once a year if it’s a high use piece of furniture, but I imagine you could just dust the top if it gets worn down. I think an advantage to waxing (instead of my usual poly) is that if it gets scuffed or worn down, you can blend in a little more paint and wax, rather than having to STRIP the whole thing again.

      I don’t think stripping would be necessary, but I would go over any imperfections with wood filler and sand those parts down. Going over the paint/poly finish that’s there already is no problem either! I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with the durability of the One Step paint! Also, Amy Howard has super in depth You Tube tutorials if you want to see it in action. :)ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Wellman - October 22, 2015 - 8:35 AM

    The gold painted hardware is so dreamy! Everything looks so fantastic :)
    What’s on my mind today? I’m still basking in the nerdy bliss that is (was?) “Back to the Future Day”. Great Scott!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - October 22, 2015 - 8:41 AM

    So glad you posted this when you did! I literally just bought that one step paint but have been to scared to try it…. now im back to being excited to try it.

    I couldn’t help buy notice the new living room rug? What happened to the bright Persian one? If youre selling it I WANT IT. for real though ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:02 AM

      Yup, we picked it up form a local vintage shop (it’s a bit bigger for this space), and we moved the other one upstairs! Sorry, not selling. We love them both equally. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ onesuchlife - October 22, 2015 - 8:50 AM

    Makes the room look more pulled together, but I kind of like the orangey fake wood tone. :PReplyCancel

  • Amy - October 22, 2015 - 8:52 AM

    Yes, the LR rug, where did it come from???ReplyCancel

  • Kate - October 22, 2015 - 8:52 AM

    What an inspiring space! I really like the color you chose – subtle but makes a bigger impact than pure white in my opinion! This is timely since I have a dresser in need of paint. It’s for a nursery, and since I’m expecting, I’m interested in this since you mentioned there are no VOCs. Do you know if there are still no VOCs after it’s tinted? Or perhaps you know where I can look to find the answer? Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 8:56 AM

      Oh, that’s a good question… I don’t think I can answer that honestly, so I would ask the paint counter at Ace. I will say that it was very refreshing to be able to paint something so large in our living room, and it smelled as though I wasn’t painting at all, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Brynne@TheGatheredHome - October 22, 2015 - 8:53 AM

    Oh Kim! What a great choice to go monochromatic with the soft gray! It’s so mod and streamlined and elegant! And those gold pulls are amazing – I’m bookmarking them for future inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - October 22, 2015 - 8:57 AM

    You and ACE make great partners.ReplyCancel

  • Alex - October 22, 2015 - 9:05 AM

    oh my goodness, your living room has come a LONG way!! looks beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - October 22, 2015 - 9:05 AM

    i just saw her commercial on tv yesterday.
    Now your grandparents’ clock gets more attention .ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:14 AM

      YES! I think that’s definitely one of the perks of this makeover, too.ReplyCancel

  • Hailey - October 22, 2015 - 9:06 AM

    Does this paint work on cabinets? We’ve been looking for a good cabinet paint, and this sounds right up our alley!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:11 AM

      Hey Hailey! It’s SUPER durable, but it is a matte finish. So if you were doing with this cabinets, I’d definitely use the wax to finish – or if you want something even more crazy durable, I’d just go forward with a water based poly to seal it one time and be done with it!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - October 22, 2015 - 9:06 AM

    I love the rug! The Ashley Howard paint looks great and way easier. Would love to try it.ReplyCancel

  • susan - October 22, 2015 - 9:07 AM

    That looks amazing! Do you think it would work well for kitchen cabinets, too?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:12 AM

      Amy has said she uses them for kitchen cabinets, but keep in mind that the paint itself is a matte finish, so you’d want to seal it with the clear wax or a poly (water-based is our preference, since it doesn’t yellow over time).ReplyCancel

  • Loryn - October 22, 2015 - 9:07 AM

    The gold pulls were the perfect finishing touch! I have a couple dressers that need redone, so i think this paint might be perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - October 22, 2015 - 9:10 AM

    Y’all. I have been looking for a media cabinet and it’s The Worst! This gives me hope that I’ll find something out there!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - October 22, 2015 - 9:25 AM

    I really like how that came out. I also like that you added the casters. Makes it look like a different piece of furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - October 22, 2015 - 9:25 AM

    We have an Ace Hardware store very close to us!ReplyCancel

  • Allison H - October 22, 2015 - 9:26 AM

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this transformation! the room is looking so great and pulled together (PS love that rug and the color of the nook- its such a cozy contrast to the living room!
    isn’t it weird being an adult and looking at your home and saying, wow- we made this happen! my husband and i just renovated our dining/kitchen and whoa doggy, it was a task! but we did it, together, and we love the feeling of our achievements!
    the credenza looks great! i have never used that wax before, but i have a bookshelf i painted 5 or so years ago and need to paint again- How does the wax do with things sitting on the shelf? will it get on anything i put on the shelves? Thanks for all the info!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 10:27 AM

      Thanks, Allison!

      I was a little worried about the wax too, but it dries really hard, and I waited a day to put the books and planter on the credenza. Later that night, I checked to see if there’s any residue on the books or if the books would leave a mark on the wax, but nope! All was good and perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah B - October 22, 2015 - 9:42 AM

    I love how you opened the space! Looks great.ReplyCancel

  • Esha - October 22, 2015 - 9:43 AM

    This is really inspiring me to re-tackle my first DIY (disaster), which is currently tucked between a wall and a sofa with my mistakes hidden from the world.ReplyCancel

  • Jacki - October 22, 2015 - 9:44 AM

    I have a dresser that we’ve been using as our media console. It needs a paint job, but I have been so overwhelmed by the prospect. Not now. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie G - October 22, 2015 - 9:46 AM

    Ok. It’s done. First Deuce Cities posted their update with Amy Howard now you. I clearly have to pick this up. At first I got nervous about you painting that lovely wood credenza then saw the after. I love it. Also – your new rug in the living room is killing me. I should not have this much rug envy but…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 9:51 AM

      Her table and bench is good, right?!

      If it makes you feel any better, the credenza is a laminate veneer. It would pain me to paint really beautiful wood that could be sanded and re-stained!ReplyCancel

  • Christy G. - October 22, 2015 - 9:47 AM

    I really like this piece in white. Looks beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Grover - October 22, 2015 - 9:50 AM

    Love the finished product! Would this work on a wood bathroom cabinet? We are looking at a house that needs some love and if we could cut down some of the work on the projects that would be awesome, especially if it was a product that would hold up!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 10:01 AM

      It absolutely would! It works on wood, veneer, fabric, glass, ceramic… I mean, it’s just crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - October 22, 2015 - 9:57 AM

    I’m a big fan of chalk paint and wax, but I haven’t tried this brand yet. It might be next on my list!ReplyCancel

  • susan - October 22, 2015 - 9:58 AM

    I’ve wanted to try chalk paint, now that Ace carries it, I’m all in! Thanks for the great post highlighting how simple it is.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - October 22, 2015 - 10:04 AM

    WHOA. That last set of pics is just incredible. Holy smokes, you guys must be so proud looking back at all that work.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 10:44 AM

      Aw, thanks, Jenn. It is weirdly fun looking at those before photos, not really knowing where we’d end up!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - October 22, 2015 - 10:05 AM

    Looks fantastic – love the before and after shots of the room.ReplyCancel

  • Elle P. - October 22, 2015 - 10:12 AM

    The finished product looks great.ReplyCancel

  • Anna Kristina - October 22, 2015 - 10:21 AM

    I’m so intrigued! We’re still getting the bigger pieces of our home put together, but I’m definitely keeping this in mind when it’s time to look at the details!ReplyCancel

  • Scrubber - October 22, 2015 - 10:31 AM

    I’ve been seeing this all over my blogs… looks interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Ariella - October 22, 2015 - 10:51 AM

    This looks great, and I love that shade of grey. Every time I see those dinosaur posters of yours, I wish I could find a copy of that book you used. I love, love, love dinosaurs!ReplyCancel

  • Jody - October 22, 2015 - 11:04 AM

    Your home has come such a long way, looks great! This makes me want to tackle painting my media console :)ReplyCancel

  • Beth - October 22, 2015 - 11:14 AM

    Brilliant! I really want to paint our kitchen cabinets but have been agonizing over the process since we did it in our last house. If we could skip the whole sanding and priming steps and just add a coat or two of poly at the end would be awesome. Now I have to convince my husband we can do it before Thanksgiving. Nice post!ReplyCancel

  • Christina - October 22, 2015 - 11:14 AM

    This is so exciting – I often put off painting pieces because of the long process… but this might just change my life!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - October 22, 2015 - 11:18 AM

    What a reveal! That piece looks awesome and is inspiring me to repaint a flea market find in desperate need of a makeover.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Flasche - October 22, 2015 - 11:20 AM

    I love this and plan to try it. Thank you for bringing us new and creative ideas.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly H. - October 22, 2015 - 11:28 AM

    Your LR is fantastic! Can I move in? :) Also, will you please post your rug deep-cleaning secrets? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 12:30 PM

      I’ll be writing a post for the Bali Blinds blog on our rug cleaning secrets (hint: it’s super easy), and I always share those links via our Facebook and/or Instagram page!ReplyCancel

  • Erika - October 22, 2015 - 11:32 AM

    Looks great! Love the gold pulls!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - October 22, 2015 - 11:33 AM

    What a great transformation! I love the gold accents on the console. :)ReplyCancel

  • Megan - October 22, 2015 - 11:42 AM

    I love it! And I love the fact that you can use her paint on laminate veneer, I have some little girls bedroom furniture I wondered how I was going to update because they have laminate wood veneer tops – you have inspired me!ReplyCancel

  • Mary G - October 22, 2015 - 11:51 AM

    i absolutely love your style! i found this blog by chance and am so happy that i did :)

    the progress you’ve made on your house is so impressive and inspires me to make my own fixer-upper just as beautiful! little steps forward are so rewarding.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 12:29 PM

      Thanks for commenting, Mary! So happy you found us!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - October 22, 2015 - 11:53 AM

    I bought Valspar paint at Ace Hardware for my front door. It’s was the easiest home project to date! We went from dark red to medium grey in only two coats. Love Ace!!!ReplyCancel

  • Fara - October 22, 2015 - 12:12 PM

    We have so many projects we’d love to do, but budget is an issue. Paint is definitely the plan for lots of those things. One-Step would be great with 2 kiddos keeping us busy!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - October 22, 2015 - 12:14 PM

    Love that you painted it white! I’ve been contemplating painting my bed frame white. It’s actually the same color as your credenza, just a little lighter, and I think this is the final push I needed. Thanks!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • Toria Smith - October 22, 2015 - 12:22 PM

    I saw you post about this wonderful one step paint a few weeks ago and am going to give it a try to paint a bedside table and a dresser. I’ve put off this project for a long time because, similar to you, it is mostly veneer and I really didn’t want to take the time to do it. I am so looking forward to trying this product! Now what color to choose…ReplyCancel

  • Jess - October 22, 2015 - 12:31 PM

    I love the drawer pulls!ReplyCancel

  • Gillian - October 22, 2015 - 1:04 PM

    Would this work on varnished oak? I’ve been wanting to refinish an old table with water damage, and this may be the solution!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 1:19 PM

      I think it would. The old fashioned girl in me would suggest giving the varnish an overall quick sand with 220 grit sandpaper, but I bet Amy would tell me to skip that step! Even without the sanding, I think you’d be fine, really.ReplyCancel

  • alex - October 22, 2015 - 1:05 PM

    love the made over look of this piece and its like it was made for that wall!ReplyCancel

  • Lolly - October 22, 2015 - 1:06 PM

    I’m so tempted to try this on my dining room table but I worry about scratches! Maybe I can find a smaller piece to try it on first!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - October 22, 2015 - 1:13 PM

    I love seeing the transformation. Especially when there is no drywall!ReplyCancel

  • Laura J - October 22, 2015 - 1:39 PM

    Oh that looks amazing! I love the color you chose, and love all the storage it will have! I have a old wooden corner hutch in my kitchen I would love to do that too! Turned out so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • amanda sakovitz - October 22, 2015 - 2:31 PM

    I have a dresser I would love to paint!ReplyCancel

  • Carley M - October 22, 2015 - 2:47 PM

    Ooo, very pretty. :)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah H - October 22, 2015 - 2:48 PM

    Where was this post 3 years ago when I went nuts painting all of our furniture :) Super great to know! I did miss the pet photos in this post, though. I don’t think I could get a photo without a stray tail or nose in our house. We have three animals as well. 2 cats and a dog – all from our local humane society. So. Much. Fur.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 5:22 PM

      We hear you on the fur! Thank you for rescuing your pets! :)ReplyCancel

  • Cair - October 22, 2015 - 2:53 PM

    Gonna go buy all my amy howard painting supplies as soon as I win this drawing!

    You totally sold me.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - October 22, 2015 - 3:16 PM

    I’m loving how the front door color ties in with the new nook color.ReplyCancel

  • Erica - October 22, 2015 - 4:13 PM

    I am been looking for a credenza exactly like that one for ages. Hopefully one will pop up soon in my hometown!ReplyCancel

  • jan - October 22, 2015 - 4:22 PM

    perfect timing… my daughter was just talking about doing a similar project… great tips! thanksReplyCancel

  • Carla S - October 22, 2015 - 4:24 PM

    I like the atmosphere of ace hardware much more than the other stores.ReplyCancel

  • Elena - October 22, 2015 - 4:31 PM

    I like Ace Hardware stores. Thank you for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • David - October 22, 2015 - 4:38 PM

    Paint is the cheapest way to completely transform a house. A new coat of paint makes the room look brand new, and it will cost you under $50.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - October 22, 2015 - 4:58 PM

    I love how clean and light everything looks. I strive to make out home similar.ReplyCancel

  • Roxanna - October 22, 2015 - 5:19 PM

    I have been wanting to paint a headboard and just watched the Amy Howard video. I have only painted one piece of furniture in my life and I used latex paint. No matter what I did, I have visible brush strokes. So question, how is the paint in regards to brush strokes? I am definitely an inexperienced furniture painter. Thanks for the awesome giveawayReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 5:23 PM

      Hi Roxanna,

      I use a foam roller to avoid brush strokes, and the key is to not overwork the paint! The good news is that the matte finish is VERY forgiving.ReplyCancel

  • Susan S. - October 22, 2015 - 6:08 PM

    Nicely done! Third time’s a charm, right?
    I like the shortened legs and casters, but mostly I love learning that a laminate veneer can be made to look so lovely.
    Thanks for the give-away!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - October 22, 2015 - 7:33 PM

    Wow! What a transformation! I’ve been looking for a similar credenza for our living room and am now inspired to look for one that I can makeover with some paint rather than something from a big boxed store..which are pretty hefty in price for the size we’re looking for. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Nicki J. - October 22, 2015 - 7:50 PM

    I would love to paint our dresser! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • sandyhills25 - October 22, 2015 - 7:50 PM

    I would like to say that I am excited about making pecan pie for this upcoming event this weekend for sureReplyCancel

  • Susan - October 22, 2015 - 7:59 PM

    Well you’ve convinced me to try this paint and on laminate veneer! My daughter-in-law and I have a nursery/toddler room to makeover before she has her second child. Hoping the painted projects will hold up to a child’s room. But I missed exactly what the process is to tint the paint…? I’ll go to Ace to check on it and read the prior comments, but that’s my only question. Love your blog and your house!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 8:15 PM

      Thanks, Susan! Just choose any color you want from the Paint Studio at Ace – have fun browsing all the colors! – and ask the guy at the paint color to mix it to Amy Howard One Step Paint. That’s it! She also has a lot of beautiful colors pre-mixed to choose from.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - October 22, 2015 - 8:07 PM

    Would it be hard to use this on a bookcase? I’m wondering if the wax application is easier on a flat surface.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2015 - 8:16 PM

      You’d have more corners to paint, but I don’t see why it would make it any more difficult! There’s no priming or sanding, so you wouldn’t have to worry about dirtying multiple brushes or rollers, and the paint dries VERY quickly. Waxing will take a little longer, but as long as you follow the instructions, you’ll have a very durable piece on your hands.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy - October 23, 2015 - 2:19 AM

    It looks epic! I’m not sure we have that brand here in the UK though :(. Can I ask what spray paint you used on the pulls? I don’t know enough about spray painting metal and am unsure about the paint scratching off easily?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2015 - 8:53 AM

      Hi Lucy, we just used Rustoleum brand, and the label on the can specifically says it covers metal. If we were going to cover something very large that would be touched ALL the time, Amy Howard does make high end furniture lacquers as well!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - October 23, 2015 - 5:54 AM

    I wish I had your vision.ReplyCancel

  • Avery - October 23, 2015 - 7:37 AM

    My boyfriend and I are thisclose to buying our first home–we’re under contract now! I know that gift card could go a long way. ;) Love seeing all your tweaks and changes–big and small!–and can’t wait for everything to come!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2015 - 8:51 AM

      Congrats on your first home! Very exciting!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - October 23, 2015 - 8:21 AM

    I’ve been curious about chalk paint – thanks so much for the inside scoop!ReplyCancel

  • DJ - October 23, 2015 - 9:41 AM

    I could really use some new paint for my kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Erin Ellis - October 23, 2015 - 10:23 AM

    Today I am sorting out how I want to re-do my upstairs bathroom! Finally! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot comReplyCancel

  • Nathan - October 23, 2015 - 10:37 AM

    Definitely need to do something like this with our media center. Would really like built-ins, but the cost is too much. Maybe I will do some painting!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa S - October 23, 2015 - 11:07 AM

    Just did a DNA test on our “boxer/pit” mix, only to find out she’s a full blood American Bull Dog! We had no idea! Time to start researching a new breed!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2015 - 11:20 AM

      So fun! We found out that our Chunky girl is half American Bull Dog. SO CUTE.ReplyCancel

  • Joelle Brower - October 23, 2015 - 11:08 AM

    This room! LOVE it…I couldn’t get into it with that reddish rug you had in there. it’s just not my style, and that’s ok. but now…I really love the new rug, the new media console. it just flows a bit better for me. with the blue nook in the back? looks really amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - October 23, 2015 - 11:51 AM

    Thanks for showing your process! The paint sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • SARAH - October 23, 2015 - 12:05 PM

    Love how it is all coming together!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Alvarez - October 23, 2015 - 12:40 PM

    Awesome job guys! I turned a old french dresser into my media station also. Love it! Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - October 23, 2015 - 2:09 PM

    Looks great– I love the color!ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 23, 2015 - 2:45 PM

    I’ve come to the conclusion that one of my favorite things about your home/style is that while it all feels collected and styled, it doesn’t feel cluttered. It’s very impressive! I feel like the line is so thin.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 23, 2015 - 3:31 PM

    I have mid-century style dresser that got pretty scratched up in a cross-country move (from Memphis actually!) I was hesitant to try painting it since it is veneer. Thanks for reviewing this type of paint! I’m excited to try it out.ReplyCancel

  • colleen long - October 23, 2015 - 8:29 PM

    I am really craving chocolate chip cookies!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Z. - October 23, 2015 - 10:36 PM

    I love the touch of gold. It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - October 23, 2015 - 11:04 PM

    Thank you very much for sharing your talents, skills and home with everyone. Your remodeling and decorating ability is outstanding. As for me and probably many who are also overwhelmed and challenged by creating our own dream home, your help is invaluable.

    This post has convinced me to try to redo a piece of laminate furniture we have hidden in the attic. I am so excited!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 24, 2015 - 11:02 AM

      So sweet, Tracy, thank you very much. This paint is just the cure for hidden away laminate furniture!ReplyCancel

  • Tamara - October 23, 2015 - 11:43 PM

    That paint sounds pretty nifty!ReplyCancel

  • Erica p - October 24, 2015 - 9:43 AM

    What a huge difference the room looks with the walls opened up! So worth it. Looks great.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy A. - October 24, 2015 - 11:50 AM

    Wow! I love everything about your home/makeover. Thank you so much for sharing the transformation and also for offering such a wonderful giveaway.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly D - October 24, 2015 - 6:04 PM

    Right now I am thinking about getting prepared for the winter months. I love the work you did in your house.ReplyCancel

  • Lee - October 24, 2015 - 7:06 PM

    That star clock (or would it be called a sunburst clock? I’m not great with terminology…) is so neat, do you mind sharing where you got it?ReplyCancel

  • Holly - October 24, 2015 - 7:44 PM

    This turned out really fantastic, love it!ReplyCancel

  • Tina W - October 25, 2015 - 2:18 AM

    Right now I’m chuckling to myself because that orange wall you guys got rid of? That’s almost EXACTLY what I’m wanting to add to my house right now, a big bold pop of color!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 25, 2015 - 11:19 AM

      We used to have an orange wall in our last house, and oddly enough, it still is my favorite color. Go for it, Tina!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Smith - October 25, 2015 - 2:19 AM

    That looks great! There is a wall in our house and we have similar plans to open things up a bit.ReplyCancel

  • HilLesha - October 25, 2015 - 4:34 AM

    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Kara - October 25, 2015 - 12:35 PM

    I love how cohesive everything is looking – what a long way you’ve come! Perhaps I missed it on an earlier blog post – did you hide the cables from the tv/accessories in the wall?ReplyCancel

  • Rust - October 25, 2015 - 12:48 PM

    I’m browsing spring seed catalogs, planning my spring garden.ReplyCancel

  • Tara Singh Carlson - October 25, 2015 - 5:02 PM

    This is the second blog that has featured Amy’s products and it’s convinced me that this is the paint I want to use for my next furniture makeover!ReplyCancel

  • Cassie - October 25, 2015 - 6:58 PM

    I’m so impressed with this paint! It really is a game changer!ReplyCancel

  • Haley W - October 25, 2015 - 9:25 PM

    I would love to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Rust - October 25, 2015 - 11:01 PM

    On my mind today: Fall is finally in Texas!ReplyCancel

  • MELISSA - October 26, 2015 - 1:18 AM

    WOW! You are really good at choosing paint colors. The color you chose for the credenza is so good. Can you maybe do a post about how you whittle the colors down and why you go in the directions that you go? Amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Carolsue - October 26, 2015 - 1:53 AM

    You did a nice job on that credenza! I wish I could do that well on some of my projects! LOL.ReplyCancel

  • Peg - October 26, 2015 - 9:20 AM

    I’m a fan of chalky paints. Love the tutorial you provide and the one’s at Amy Howard’s site as well. Very informative and instructional and helped me better my painting techniques and I look forward to finding the Amy Howard product line at my local Ace Hardware store.ReplyCancel

  • christine - October 26, 2015 - 9:34 AM

    I love this! I’m always too wimpy to attempt painting furniture, but these products seem like they could really help.ReplyCancel

  • Kala - October 26, 2015 - 5:08 PM

    I love the look of the whole living room! We’re in escrow on our first home and I can’t wait to use some of your tips & tricks to really make it ours :) Thanks for the chance to win!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson - October 26, 2015 - 5:39 PM

    Wow – those before and afters are incredible.

    You’ve probably mentioned this before, but is that clock a vintage find or a reproduction? I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Pry - October 26, 2015 - 8:32 PM

    i defintely would like to try these products on a few furniture pieces we haveReplyCancel

  • Kristen - October 27, 2015 - 3:42 AM

    Well now you have me thinking about painting my bedroom.ReplyCancel

  • cassie @ primitive & proper - October 27, 2015 - 7:38 AM

    beautiful! i love those casters on it!ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - October 27, 2015 - 9:40 AM

    Love the transformation of the cabinet as well as the whole downstairs. You two have done an amazing job! But I have to say…where are CC and Jack!? A post without them just doesn’t feel right without at least one picture. ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 27, 2015 - 9:44 AM

      Haha, have we become those crazy pet people?! I thought maybe you guys might be overloaded with too many unnecessary Jack and CC photos. Lesson learned. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Joan - October 27, 2015 - 11:21 AM

    This is inspiring. I have a tricky piece to paint and the thought of getting it completed in less steps makes me want to run out and buy this immediately.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - October 27, 2015 - 12:20 PM

    Still nervous about the no sanding part but I can’t wait to try this on great grandma’s dresser that I’m converting to a kitchen island!ReplyCancel

  • Elyse - October 27, 2015 - 3:00 PM

    Love the color and the pulls!ReplyCancel

  • Gina M (Wild Orchid) - October 27, 2015 - 5:07 PM

    I love how your project turned out!

    Entered the Rafflecopter as “Wild Orchid”

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT comReplyCancel

  • Amanda - October 27, 2015 - 5:20 PM

    first time visiting this blog and I love your content.
    instant follower :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 27, 2015 - 6:00 PM

    Such a very long way – so inspirational! :) Can’t believe this is the same piece, love it!ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 27, 2015 - 6:02 PM

    Ooooo…. I might have to check out that paint since it looks so good in your space! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Thomas Murphy - October 27, 2015 - 7:09 PM

    I would love to win this! Thanks for the giveaway.ReplyCancel

  • Molly W - October 28, 2015 - 11:14 AM

    I love the color you chose!ReplyCancel

  • Gloria - October 28, 2015 - 3:50 PM

    My sister has a similar piece, it’s laminate too. I’ve suggested painting it to her before but seeing this might push her over to that side! Plus, the hardware you chose was spot on!ReplyCancel