Before & After: Fireplace Hearth Makeover

We did a thing! We finally checked off another house project… that oooohhhh has been on the to-do list for the last few years. It wasn’t a huge project, but it was a little one that makes a bit of impact in one of the most lived in rooms. We retiled our fireplace hearth and completely refreshed the dated red tile!
Tile-beelifeblog(2)Honestly the toughest part and reason this has been on the to-do list for so long was just deciding on and figuring out the right tile.  So I finally got smart and figured out my newest project hack, especially when it comes to projects like this! What is my little secret you may ask? I bought a few tile samples from Lowe’s to put them into my space to help envision the whole look.

The Tile Dilemma. I definitely wanted to go with something a bit more modern and pull in white tile into the space. I was initially thinking larger marble, then wanted to do a bit more of a hexagon pattern — but I just wasn’t sure! Then another part of me wanted to do something with a pattern or a bit more Spanish style. I grabbed four different styles that I liked and brought them home and saw how they worked with the rest of our patterns and textures and colors in our living room.
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The Decision. We ended up going with a off-white blue patterned tile that had a little bigger footprint, similar to the original red tile square. B even ended up finding a blue herringbone pattern that we ended up cutting to make a boarder, which helped keep the large tiles full all the way across without having lots of little pieces for an awkward boarder.

The Project. Demo took B all of an hour to get up the old red tiles, from there he bought some cement board to get the surface level and prepped for our new tiles! He did this over the course of the week, so we were queued up and ready to work on it come the weekend. We even ordered the remaining tile for in-store pick-up and it was in and out to keep our project time low.

We ended up renting a tile cutter from Home Depot and completed the cuts and project within a few hours. I am the tile worker, and B is my tile cutter! It worked out well and came together after some trial and error. The boarder tile was much thinner than the main tile, so we had to really build up with mortar. We also ended up using pre-mixed mortar and grout that we had left over for previous projects, I think we only needed to purchase an additional pre-mixed mortar to finish the project. So within a few hours we had our tile laid and cut into place in it’s new home.
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The Result. After giving the mortar time to dry, we were able to grout! We used the same left over grout we had from our Basement Bathroom Makeover.  The cool grey color really complimented the tile color and style we picked to make it a cohesive space. We also had to be a little smart with tile positioning and organic since we were working with an un-even 100 year old space that certainly was not perfect or level, no matter how hard we tried!

Shop our products: Elida Ceramica Porcelain Tile from Lowes | Boarder Midnight Satin Herringbone Tile from Lowes | Warm Color MAPEI Flexcolor Grout 

I must admit — when it was first finished I didn’t completely love how this turned out. But I did like it and was happy to get rid of the old red tile and gross grout. It’s grown on me some, I like the boarder because it helps break it up and keep the larger tiles even but it also throws me off! What do you bees think?

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House Tour: Our 5 Favorite Projects to Celebrate 5-Years in our Home

This week marks our 5-year house anniversary! It’s sort of funny and crazy to think we’ve lived in our house for 5-years, because when we were looking our realtor and even friends buying houses at the time were saying “this could be your 5-year house.” Well… when B and I were searching for homes, we were considering something that could live with us for awhile. So to have a little fun with this post, I sat down with B and we chatted through our favorite house projects!

His #1: Attic Renovation – This was a space that when we first moved in we weren’t using so when we finished it, it opened up so much space on our second floor. Not to mention we use this room everyday since it’s our master suite! This project was our first big project and took longer than we wanted but we did 90% of it so it was really cool.

Hers #1: Basement Living & Bathroom – This is my number one because it was a space that I never had any plans or expectations for, especially within the first 5-years. I basically wrote this space off as basement storage. But once the vision, planning and work started and we starting seeing the potential of this space it was a really incredible feeling. Especially creating two new function spaces on top of maintaing storage and laundry, this makeover just pushed everything over the top!

His #2: Back Patio (he thinks) … haha B said it’s fun to entertain and have a space outside especially in the spring/summer months. It’s the perfect spot for weekend afternoons, late nights with friends or family or even just the two of us.

Hers #2: Our Dining Room – this was the first room that really came together and we actually had furniture for.  Once we figured out paint and had the chandelier put in, it was like one of those moments like ‘Wow we have a dining room.’ We also designed and finished our dining room table, so it’s a custom piece for us. I wanted this room to be a space where everyone could gather around this huge table and when those moments come true I just want to pinch myself.

His #3: Basement Bathroom –  B said it was tough to nail down why but said he thinks it’s because it’s functional for when we have overnight and weekend guests are over. B said he also likes how I really took over with the design and vision of the space that we actually made happen.  This was also a project that we did 90% on our own, and the satisfaction after finishing one of those is indescribable.

Hers #3: Attic Renovation – This project will always be special to me, because it also holds a lot of memories around when B and I got engaged!  We had actually spent all afternoon working late to get a lot of it wrapped up before he proposed. This space was always planned to be our master and it definitely came out way better than I think both of us imagined and like B said it was our first big project that he really tackled and he really did like 90% of all of it – I was totally impressed!

His & Hers #4: Front Landscape – This project just gave our house a complete transformation and added so much curb appeal.  Our front was always pretty much a blank canvas that we always had plans for, but just never had the time or full commitment to figure out the design, plants and getting the job done.  It was also a project that was on our house project to-do list every year since we moved in and we finally finished it up last summer.  Once we finished we were both blown away, and our plants all came back year 2, wooo!

His #5: Floating Shelves in the Office – We were trying to remember, but this was definitely one of the first DIY projects we tackled together (without having any of the right tools or experience). So B said; “this was the start of everything and we’ve learned so much but also knew of all the bigger and better projects that were to come after this.”

Hers #5: Back Patio – This was a project that I didn’t have prioritized to get done when we did it, as it was definitely something B wanted done more than me.  So after some discussion, compromise and design considerations, we pulled the trigger.  It’s a massive space and it’s really like having another living and dining room outside during the warm months – we truly live back here in the summer! We also splurge on furniture that is modern, functional and classic that really makes the space.

We are lucky that we both enjoy working on house projects to transform and continually make this century home ours, while still enhancing all of it’s beautiful charm.  We still have a few other big projects that we want to do at the house, with the big one being our kitchen — although we talk about it every year, so we will see when we can actually turn it into fruition!

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Want to see more from our house? Check out these links: Office Tour | Our Living Room | Basement Bathroom | Basement Living Room | Our Sunroom | Guest Room Makeover

Nursery Closet Makeover for under $200

Oh my gosh! I’m so excited to share this fun before and after with you on a recent nursery closet makeover, I helped my mom with! Plus, I’ve included products, price details and specifics in case you want to recreate or source for your own closet makeover.  I was so happy my mom asked for my help, as this was a baby shower gift from my parents to my brother and sister in law.  Which is also such a fun idea to help get the nursery baby ready and organized!
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Starting with an empty slate and working from Kiera’s Pinterest board, my mom really figured out the solution for the space and I was pulled in to help put the finishing touches on it. The closet had a few oddities that had to be considered and worked around, but they actually ended up working out perfect for the customization we added.  There was a weird step that ran most of the length of the closet and then a lower ceiling drop down.  Here’s a side by side of the inspiration and a sneak peak of the finished space:

We sourced a cube storage unit from Target that had the perfect dimensions to fit on top of the weird permanent step. There were a few options to pick from, but the dimensions were the difference and we settled on one that was a little more money but the perfect size for the space. We ended up getting this 6-cube unit for $59.99. We also knew we wanted to add in some shelves as there were wood rails along the back and on the side area – that seemed to be made and waiting for shelves.  We bought two different pieces to fit the spaces.  The first shelf was the perfect fit for that area, which we secured this by drilling down into the wood rail that was already there. The side shelf was cut to fit in the space, this was accomplished through a little trial and error.


For the deep side of the closet, we added another shelf and then stacked clothing bars for adorable baby clothes.  This was an idea that I helped finalize for mom – because it was a little awkward where a clothing bar or two might be able to go based on the shelf space.  The stacked clothing rods are perfect for longer items and even as baby gets bigger for tee and pants.  We grabbed cute storage bins/cubes in various sizes to fit into the spaces and incorporated pinks and whimsical patterns to play off the woodland nursery theme.

Price Breakdown:
– (1) 6-cube bookshelf = $59.99
– (3) 13″ Fabric Bins = $30
– (3) Medium Bins = $18
– (1) Large Shelf = $16
– (1) Small Shelf = $13
– (2) Closet Rods = $17
TOTAL: $154
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Shop the pieces: 6-Cube Storage | Medium Weave Light Pink Baskets | 13″ Fabric Storage Bin in Green | Metal Closet Rod | Laminate Wall Mounting Shelf 

The finishing touch to get this ready for the big reveal to the parents to be was staging it with all of babies things! I had a lot of fun doing this part to get it ready, while also thinking through all the possibilities and everything that can be stored in the newly organized space. We instantly took this closet with no storage into a fully functioning closet, ready to stock all of babies things from diapers, to wipes, to books and all the adorable clothes you could think of!

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Closet inspiration link resource: ShopStyle

House Tour: Back Patio 2.0

In my July latest obsessions, I was gushing over our outdoor living space and back patio. Well it’s been two years since we first created this space and shared the initial reveal – but I don’t believe I ever shared the before pictures *shocked face* so on this house tour, I’m going to share a few befores of the space and where it is today.  Every year it changes a little bit – last year we added more furniture for company, the plants and greenery change each year, and the bistro light pattern gets mixed up too. This year we even rotated the dining table, I know – HUGE changes. *teasing*

The Furniture: We still love the furniture we got from Target and always keep our eye on the summer sales to see if there are any new pieces we want, or if we are ready to upgrade the dining set with one that matches our furniture. I was tempted, B however was not on board after he saw the price (boo!) – B has ulterior motives and wants the Fernhill Metal sofa, so that he can fit more comfortable for afternoon naps.  We also want to get another umbrella to have for our seating area, as the afternoons around 3-4pm is prime sunshine time, so it gets pretty toasty (and a little unbearable to be honest) which will be functional and pretty.

Color Scheme:  I’ve tried to stick pretty close to black and white to compliment the patio furniture – and I am sure you’re thinking, white cushions for outside?! They’ve lasted pretty great and came with Scotch Guard on them, and I recently learned you can buy Scotch Guard and reapply annually, so these beauties are getting a fresh coat so they can last! I’ve added in pops of green this year with the fun banana leave Tommy Bahama pillows from TJMaxx online (which are 50% off from what I got them for!). And splurge on the black and white pillows and chair cushions for the dining area last summer time.
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Stamped Concrete: When we were discussing our patio, we were gun-hoe on pavers, but after research in materials and then even discussing with family friends that pavers didn’t hold up as well. So we started looking more into stamped concrete and determined that was a more sustainable investment for our space, plus we had a little more customization options – we were super happy with the way it came out!

Gas Fireplace: This was another must-have on my list, as I HATE the smell of bon fires and smelling like them at the end of the night — this is the perfect central spot for heat, roasting marshmallows or even just a drink holder when the fire isn’t on. We didn’t want anything too big and something a bit more natural looking.  I also love the lanterns scattered throughout the space to give it a homey feel – especially at night it has quite the ambiance.

House Tour - Patio (4)We were able to completely transform a somewhat awkward nook and blank space in our backyard to a functional outdoor living space with living and dining space. It gives us the right amount of privacy, while still being open to the rest of the backyard.  Eventually we want to close off the small back porch to be all kitchen and would put a sliding door in where the window is in that back nook area – yes always planning for the next project.

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How To: Install Vinyl Flooring

As we were getting ready for our bathroom project and pricing out various materials and finishes, we quickly saw the dollar signs as we wanted a completely tiled shower stall and initially wanted a tiled floor.  In addition to the dollar signs, time, effort and labor came into account and as I found slightly more affordable vinyl adhesive flooring options – that also had great patterns – it quickly rose to the top as a realistic option for this space.
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In addition to being more affordable than ceramic tile, vinyl flooring has other benefits like it’s highly resistant, it’s easy to install and low maintenance. Which is exactly the perfect mix of things we needed for this bathroom floor space! It really ended up being a no brainer – so let’s breakdown what you’ll need and how to install your own vinyl floor!

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Easy Small Pantry Makeover

Being cooped up with the cold weather, I’ve been slowly working through the house and either deep cleaning or organizing and cleaning stuff out.  And one space that is neglected but highly needed and functional is our kitchen pantry! We already have a tiny kitchen with not a lot of storage so making sure this space is utilized and fully functional has been on the to-do list.
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I was inspired to organize the space, but as I was thinking about that I thought – what if I paint it? Which then spiraled into, oh! I have some left over wallpaper – so this turned into a mini-makeover that I did in a few hours. Our pantry was a place where we just threw stuff – probably because it helped cover the old and ugly, hence not being the most functional.

Tips for Organizing Your Pantry:

  1. Expiration Dates.  I know I’m not the only one that had a few pantry items that were expired – these are easy items to toss, especially if you’ve just been holding onto them – but not actually using them.  Even if things aren’t expired – clean up those straggler bags with the crumbs in them!
  2. Consolidated. This is crucial when you have a smaller space – I had multiple bags of confectionary sugar – so combining those into a container quickly gained space.
  3. Get Creative. Even though this is your pantry, have a little fun with the space! It would’ve been easy to paint it white and use generic shelving liners – but if you have some wallpaper consider using it for the shelf liners or the wall backs!
  4. Get Storage Containers/Shelves.  Luckily I had shelves that were white and useful in our odd space – so I just made a list as I was cleaning out my pantry of things I needed baskets or containers for.  In between coats of paint I made a Marshall’s run and was able to stock up on some containers to dried goods and clear trays for spices and such! I would’ve preferred all white lids, but since this was a bit impromptu – I bought what was in stock! I’m sure I’ll upgrade eventually.
  5. Organize By Food Group. I tried to think through the layout and organization by food group/pairings – for example – all of my baking ingredients on one shelf, spices and other cooking supplies consolidated together, etc.

8For our pantry makeover – I ended up painting the entire inside, this is one of the few spaces that lingering green from the previous owners – and although I’m a fan of some color, I love what white paint does to a space, especially a small one!  Since this space is not the greatest constructed – I didn’t want to mess around too much so I stuck with aesthetics and just updated the existing layout & pieces.  Here is the evolution off the de-greening. 9
I ended up taking the shelves out and gave them a good scrapping to get off the old wooden shelf liners.  They were so gross, not to mention hiding a few layers of other stickers underneath! So it was good to give it a good clean and fresh couple coats of paint. I had leftover wallpaper from my Skinny Dresser Upcycle – which I initially wanted to use this on the backs, but luckily decided to go the easier route with using it to line the shelves, which worked out because I wouldn’t have had enough! Plus I love the subtle pop of color and pattern that it adds to the shelves with the white backdrop.

67The other benefit of cleaning up the pantry was I ended up organizing and consolidating some things like our tin-foil, plastic wrap and sandwich bags into a hanger on the pantry door which basically freed up an entire drawer in our kitchen! So the organizing, consolidating and purging spread out beyond the pantry which actually gave us room for things. With using up leftover paint we had, and buying some organizers and the leftover wallpaper I spent about $60 for a small thing of paint and 10-different organizers.  I’m unsure about adding labels, so I may still add a few more fun and functional finishing touches.

Beyond this space looking pretty awesome and making such a difference – it feels good to have this space cleaned up, organized and efficient.  Plus it was an easy weekend DIY with a HUGE impact, although I’m sure I’ll rearrange it like 20-more times. Yay, for easy makeovers!

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DIY – $50 Trunk Makeover

You see, we found this old trunk on a neighbors tree lawn and had to snatch it up, it had admittedly seen better days… but that never stops me.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it just yet, but that would come in time… after some trunk searches on Pinterest I determined to flip this baby into a coffee table, but I had a hard time figuring out how I wanted to finish this piece.   I was tempted to go the all white route or maybe pink with gold accents? And then the inside… what was I going to do with the inside?!  Oh, and we didn’t need another coffee table. *smiles*

The trunk was pretty banged up, it had old stickers all over it and then the inside was a little stinky with some blue paper that was torn.  It was a little daunting – how easy was the inside paper going to come off? What about the outside… and getting those stickers off?  Well with a little bit of water and a scrapper the paper came off with a little added elbow grease and help from B.  To my surprise, the stickers came off the same way! Although, I still didn’t know how I wanted to finish this sucker.

After doing some research, I liked the look of Hairpin legs and found these 6″ black ones on Amazon, so I purchased – still trying to figure out the color scheme, knowing I could spray paint to match if the black wouldn’t work.  I finally decided I was going to stick to the trunks original colors and just bring some life back to it! I loved the gold accents and couldn’t cope with the idea of painting over them in white or another color. After a good clean and a few layers of paint, this trunk was seeing new life.

To finish off this DIY, I finally went with some fabric for the inside vs. peal and stick paper.  I thought the fabric would be nice to work with, and a lot of options for the patterns and colors.  $18 later we had our fabric picked out, I bought 4-yards just to be safe and within one night cut and place the fabric to line the trunk with 3M Adhesive spray.   Before adding the fabric, I did spray the inside with bleach a few times (with weeks in between) to help with the smell and kill anything that might be hanging out!

DIY Cost Breakdown:

  • Trunk = $0.00
  • Hairpin Legs = $25.00
  • Paint Supplies = $12.00
  • Fabric = $18
  • TOTAL = $55.00 

We also figured out a home for this guy, with our Basement Makeover happening, this was another piece of the puzzle that fit just perfectly with the overall look and feel of the space.  It’s a little side table and perfect for some extra storage for blankets, games and extra candles!  Of course, I love the way it came out and how the gold pops against the black – plus it looks perfect in the new space.

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DIY – Upcycle Skinny Dresser

You guys, I’ve been so excited to share this DIY with you all.  We first picked up this piece in the winter on a curb, it was calling my name – although banged up with multiple broken drawers, I saw the potential.  I didn’t even have a space for it at first, but I just needed to take it and make it over – and I wanted to pull out the stops to make this a show stopper.

First we had to assess the situation, three of the six drawers were busted up, one significantly cut that needed a little extra TLC (still a work in progress).  With a little bit of wood glue and updating, B helped put these back to life.  The old handles really dated this piece, so we removed those and got to work sanding down the surfaces.  Surprise, surprise we went with an off white color that we had from the house and painted this piece instead of spray painting, which is usually my go-to.  Painting was surprisingly really easy, and covered the piece well with only a couple of coats needed.
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Let’s talk finishing touches. I wanted to splurge a bit on the finishes and was really hoping to indulge in some hardware from Anthropologie, as mentioned in my Latest Obsessions.  But I didn’t want to order them online, the store near me was SUPER picked over and I couldn’t talk myself into spending $8 or $10 per knob, when I needed six!  So I stopped at Pat Catans on a whim, and found some knobs I kind of liked ($2.99 each) – the first knobs I bought didn’t do much on the drawers, they were small – I need something more… bold. I went back and traded the pink blah knobs for these chunky stunning silver ones.  These still might get switched out one day…

Inside of the drawers was another place I wanted to find something a bit more fun and fancy.  Just as I was about to compromise on some typical contact paper from Target, I ended up getting distracted, swooning over some Opalhouse when too my surprise noticed the wallpaper was 50% off! Light bulb! I put down the gross contact paper and bought this elegant peel and stick wallpaper! For $15, I was leaving with my show stopping piece I wanted to help finish off this piece – not to mention the peel and stick was super easy to work with and customize per drawer.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Knobs: $18
  • Stick Wallpaper: $15 (on sale)
  • Paint: $0 (already had it)
  • Sandpaper: $5
  • TOTAL COST: $38

We have this piece in our dining room for now, and aired out a few other pieces to make this work.  Worst case I will put it in my walk in closet and use it to organize my clothes (bummer!)  But it was a fun piece to update and bring back some new life too.  The drawers still aren’t perfect – but you’d never know!

DIY – Side Entry Tile

Our latest home project was tiling our side entry and the stairs that lead up to the kitchen area.  When we first moved in, the space was drab with gross stick-on tile with wood panels and layers of wallpaper.  Well our quick fix was an easy paint job and removing the wallpaper and floor.  We painted the revealed wood floor white and added some grips on the stairs – but as you can imagine white floors for an entry is not the cleanest or the prettiest. So, like I said, it was a quick fix in need of more help.

So it was Bentley’s idea to finish this space and add tile to the landing and to the stairs. This was the first time we tiled a space, so it was a little daunting at first figuring out what we needed, what tile we wanted, and when we would be able to do this.  The biggest piece that helped save us and this project, was being able to borrow my Dad’s wet saw to cut the tiles. B and I split up tasks, he would cut the tile and I would lay the tile!

The stairs went surprisingly well, but because we used large tiles there was a lot of cuts involved, although less pieces. I’m not sure if the stone we picked was the most cost effective (actually I am fairly confident it wasn’t) but we were going mainly off of aesthetic. Once we got to the platform it was very messy and hard to maneuver in the tight space without stepping on the tile! But we finished with only three trips to the hardware store once we got started. *smiles*

We waited the appropriate amount of time and then some before B finished the space with the grout and once that was dried he added some trim work. We finished off the space with a new storage piece to hide shoes and we were wrapped up!  It was fairly easy project once we got going, and we definitely feel like we’re tiling pros now.  This space has been instantly upgraded, it’s more durable, weather resistant and easier to clean up. We love how it turned out!!