Kitchen Reno – Demo & Mood Board

Welp! Demo has officially started on our kitchen reno, perhaps a little preemptively but after meeting with our contractor to talk him through the plan – we quickly realized there were a handful of hidden outliers that had B and I itching to uncover. So last Saturday, we just tried to rip up a few of the lament floor tiles to see if the hardwoods were wrecked or not… a few hours later – we had half the room ripped up and the floor was looking in pretty tip-top shape. Since then we’ve (mostly B) taken down the ceiling, layers of plaster walls to continue to uncover what we’re working with. I mean… we live in a 100+ year old home. So far, we’ve uncovered a ceiling leak (thanks rain) and a few other janky workings.

I say we preemptively started demo, because once we start something – we can’t stop (especially B) and also because, we don’t actually have any contractor confirmed for when work is going to get started. We have gotten a few different cabinet quotes and think we have that nailed down at least the company and general direction we want to move forward with. But now that demo has started – there is no way this kitchen isn’t happening this year. We’re hoping to get a few follow-ups from our slow contractor and then go from there. So until then, I’m working to finalize some of the design and details as we work through the demo — it’s funny, now that we’ve disrupted our currently living room and are starting to get a blank canvas, the design and finishing inspiration is finally coming to life for me.

So now what? We’re going to continue to move forward and get our kitchen cabinets and counter tops finalized – the company we’re most likely going to move forward with the in home field measurement and design consultation to make sure we’re optimizing the most out of our space. Yes, this is getting us more kitchen, but it’s still going to be relatively cozy (that’s the nice way of saying small) — compared to what we’d really want in a dream kitchen — and sadly that still includes moving walls to extend our footprint.

Having a design consultation will be exciting and then we’ll be able to make sure we’re closer to exact as we’ve learned a few hard ways how important accurate measurements are. For example, our first cabinet quote was through Home Depot, super fast, great way to get an initial price for cabinets — but we ended up having more space in one area than we actually do (we had guestimates of our measurements when we went to this apt.) — the reality is those couple inches significantly impacted the potential sink size (like 33″ down to 27″) and the corner cabinet solution, i.e. lazy susan or something a bit unconventional. Luckily, with this new company – it sounds like they have some fun solutions to get us space to have a larger sink while being able to best utilize that corner spot.

Now, with the demo and our kitchen footprint pretty open, we have been able to put a few pieces to “mock up” the spacing to get a better idea of our kitchen nook area and what we can fit comfortably in the space while still letting it feel big and open. I even sat and browsed for products while we had the nook set-up and it was perfect – I can’t wait to hang out and blog while B cooks dinner. I was even finally able to decide on a few design pieces. I might even be as far as to having an idea of the backsplash that will go counter to ceiling on either side of the kitchen above the stove and sink area. Here is a look at a few of the potential final picks, a bit of mood board for our kitchen – I’m still trying to find an affordable faucet!

Since I want to incorporate brass/gold – it’s going to be crucial to make sure the shades of everything match up closely. That is why I was excited to find the light fixtures as that look pretty similar in the brass color that they are. Our appliances – as of right now – are white and gold, so as long as the back order doesn’t lead us to cancelling, we’ll be having pops of white and gold! Here’s to making some actual progress towards getting this kitchen done!

Before & After: A Glam Front Entry Makeover

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to do a ‘drastic’ decor upgrade to the main floor – either in the living room or dining room. I really wanted to add an accent wall somewhere with some bold wallpaper, but both rooms just don’t have a simple enough wall to be a true statement wall. Then I thought – what if we wallpaper our front entryway? It’s a small space, closed off from the rest of the living room and an opportunity to do something a bit bold – especially compared to it’s pretty basic current decor. Oh, and it’ll be easy and affordable!

The before

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the before except that we had painted her a grey-ish color along with the rest of the rooms on the main floor, added a rug and I did a fun little DIY with some souvenirs from our house – which I love, they’re in the process of being relocated as I type! We have the same original light fixture and that is about it. Take a look for yourself:

the makeover

Super boring, right?

I had two wallpapers picked out; (1) would be a safe option, that would allow us to reuse the current decor and (2) something a bit more fun, glam and daring especially compared to most of my design choices. After consulting with B on both, we decided to go with Glam Option #2! This meant we would be adding in other finishing touches to really pull this space together. Once we had our pattern picked out, we estimated how many rolls of wallpaper we would need based on our small entryway space… welp! The wallpaper added up quickly in rolls and in price, but that was another reason I decided to pick Target, because the peel and stick paper is fairly affordable and decent enough quality compared to other options. We ended up needing four rolls of wallpaper, and used almost every inch.

Wallpapering this space was tough and definitely tested our patiences. We were quickly reminded that our 100-year old house walls are not straight, in addition to having a hell of a time doing the puzzle of making sure the patterns lined up perfectly, while also trying to get maximum coverage from each roll. We got as much of it to line up in long straight pieces as possible, but still had a lot of patching and matching to do. I would definitely suggest sticking to a straight wall for any first time wallpapering projects, especially if you aren’t good at puzzles or have a lot of patiences. We even accounted for starting a few inches from the ceiling in order to be able to get two sheets from one roll (ideally) — starting lower, we planned to add custom ($$) crown molding around the top, as she didn’t have any molding to begin with!

Let me just preference, this glammed up project quickly added up! The wallpaper alone was over $100 and then we probably put in over $100 with just the ceiling updates from the double layered molding to the ceiling medallion that we bought and then spray painted so it would have a pop of gold at the top! Finishing this molding and painting the ceiling, really makes the room look so much taller and bigger. B really did an amazing job repairing some cracks, patching them and then getting her looking like new again.

The side table was also another pain in the butt project, long story short – I was trying to not spend too much on legs for the wood top that we already had (thanks f&d) – and after failing with my “cheap” option, I ended up ordering these hairpin legs, which was the original more expensive option I was trying to avoid and then spray painted these beauties to go with the rest of the room. We also spray painted an old silver outlet cover, that again just pulls all the accents together and pops again this romantic wallpaper.

Now let’s talk finishing touches! The round gold mirror, definitely is the cherry on top — I really was resisting falling on the round mirror trend, but she just does this space so good. I shopped around and ended up finding mine at Home Sense it was the same brass/gold finish I was looking for, same 28″ shape, but $10 cheaper than Target! So if you’re looking for your own, shop around at those home stores for a little better deal. I also snagged that adorable ‘Hello’ gold table top sign at Home Sense, which IMO is just the perfect welcoming accessory to add to this awesome table. Finally, finding a rug that fit this space and warmed it up a bit was key – I ended up buying a few before ending up on this 4′ round woven rug. I’m sure I’ll be adding a few other details to cozy up the space.

Shop My Pieces: Canary Floral Wallpaper from Target / Ivory Woven Rug from Target / 28″ Brass Mirror / 20″ Ceiling Medallion

Even with this project snowballing over budget (even though there wasn’t a budget) and taking a little longer to finish up with some roadblocks — the space is such a little treasure. We get to enjoy it especially now as the weather continues to shift, we ever catch glimpses of the fun wallpaper pop from the living room or even dining room. Now anyone that comes over, will need to come through the front door to soak in all her glam and glory.

House Tour – Our Fall Front Porch

I love decorating our front porch for fall — it is so much fun for me, the colors are incredible the shapes are always different, and I always tend to go a little overboard, but still rein myself in. And because of the stunning floral hoop wreath that is adorning our front door, I definitely wanted to give her a supporting cast of more fall favorites.

As much as I love fall, the thing I love most about fall is the small pumpkin patches and farms I grew up going too. So, one thing, that I’m not sure I’ll ever get ok with, living in/near a city is the lack of traditional pumpkin patches and farms that I’ve known living in a rural farm town. Although we visited my parents earlier in the month, we didn’t get to make it to a pumpkin spot — so I headed to my go-to city spot and stocked up on pumpkins, mums and gourds – to avoid crowds or drive a bit farther out of town.

Besides creating a fun statement on our main front porch around our homemade wooden welcome sign — I also stacked up our steps with mums, pumpkins and even more gourds. If our mailbox wasn’t on our front porch, I would’ve considered doing a complete rainfall affect with all the pumpkins and gourds, but we have to be functional over here too!

The mums were a little smaller and not bloomed yet, from what they normally have been in years passed, but I like the mix of purple and yellow that I was able to get and place them in my white planters. And I even went back a second time after getting my main pieces in place for a few more gourds of all sizes to help finish off the look. I was hoping to grab a few more mums, but they were completely out!

I have fun stacking, layering and mixing up different shapes, colors and textures together with the different pumpkins and gourds, on the porch and along the steps. The colors of fall are truly magical, from the trees to the pumpkins — it is truly a beautiful time of the year, the trees around us are really showing off right now and it’s incredible.

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

House Tour – Festive Fall Front Porch

There may be few things in life that I love more than drinking champagne and decorating our front porch for fall.  There is just something about fall and all the beautiful things that bring a bit more fun, pop of color and truly make a bright statement.  With gorgeous mums, classic orange pumpkins, gourds, lanterns and then even some Cinderella and pink pumpkins — the colors, shapes and sizes make up the perfect combination.

It took me a little longer this year to pull it all together as I’m a firm believer of no mums or pumpkins until at least October 1st, and with our warm weather lingering even into October it was still hard to pull the trigger. In addition to being a big pop of orange this year, our porch and steps are looking much nicer than last year as they got a paint at the beginning of spring so our porch is generally just looking a bit more polished since last year!FallPorch19-beelife(1)
Last year I a bit heavier on the mums and this year I went heavier on the pumpkins and gourds — I also bought larger mums this year, so they took up a lot of space without having to really bunch together while also helping fill in a few empty spaces like the big orange one next to the stairs.  I also love transitioning my lanterns from our back patio *tear face* to the front porch so they get more use and help make the front porch feel homey as the seasons transition.  Sadly the patio hangs are becoming fewer and farther in between.
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One investment I made a few years ago was buying these plain white plastic planters – they were fairly inexpensive and all matched — I use these over the summer for various plants around the front porch and back patio. They’re also perfect for placing the mums in them for a clean look, I’ve looked for more at the spot I got them but haven’t been able to find any, luckily I have a good variety of sizes and quantity so they work all year long!

Beyond the front porch, I even picked up a few extra pumpkins to help decorate inside — my goal for interior decor this fall season was minimizing! I’ll share a few easy tips for making a simple fall statement in a blog post coming soon.

So one last thing, are you more of a mum guy/gal or pumpkins?

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DIY – French Barn Door

Our bathroom makeover was a complete revamp, and figuring out what we were going to do with the door was all over the place.  Since we had limited room we were initially planning to do a pocket door. But then we switched to something more modern with frosted windows – but the doors I found and liked were well over $300, way more than we wanted to spend, so we went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out a door we might be able to make.

We got the idea to check out our local Habitat for Humanity Restore to see if they had any doors that might fit the bill, or even something we could turn into our own.  We really wanted something that had windows in it, like a french door, but wanted to frost the windows since it’s for a bathroom… we just needed to find an affordable french door.  And we did! It was a little skinner than we needed, but we were confident we could extend it and make it our own and DIY-ing our own barn door using black pipe.
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Cost Breakdown:
– French Door – $55
– Frosted Spray Paint – $5
– White Paint – $18
– (2) 2x4x8′ – $8
– Wood Glue – $15
– (2) Wheels – $7
– (2) Hooks – $6
– (1) Bar w/ base and corners – $30
Barn Door Handle – $21
Total Cost: $165

What We Did:

  1. First we sanded down the door and removed some of the extra pieces/frame that was on the door.
  2. Through trial and error we finally figured out the proper piece of wood to use to extend the width of the door which was two 2x4x8′ – this definitely took a bit longer to figure out, including securing it to the door and then using wood filler to make it look like one piece.  Again, this was the toughest part, but we finally got it into a good spot with the wood filler.
  3. Next up was painting the door, white! After a few coats on each side, we were almost in business and then sprayed the windows on the outside of the door with the frosted glass look.
  4. We then drilled in our larger circular hooks at the top, added the wheels (which we had to switch with different ones that worked better), and then put together the pipe bar for placement!
  5. With some tweaking and DW-40 we got this door sliding easily and working great in the space! Once we had the door working, we added the handle while it was standing for more accurate placement.

DIY door 4 - thebeelifeThe frosted windows definitely help the bathroom space feel private, while from the outside it feels welcoming and open.  Since there are two windows in the room, we wanted the light to still be able to come through.  From the bathroom side of the door, you can see a slight difference in the additional side pieces – only because the door width with the wood pieces wasn’t an exact match – but from the outside it’s nearly perfect! 

Although this was a little extra work and challenged our problem solving skills, the end price was still WAY more affordable for the look and type of door we wanted to purchase – it was a savings of over half the price of the doors I wanted – plus we both love the way it came out!  And it’s completely custom to our space, don’t worry the full bathroom reveal is coming soon – in the meantime check out this $15 Floating Shelf, How to Install Vinyl Flooring and What We Wish We Knew before Tiling Our Shower.

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House Tour – Mansion on the Lake

Today’s house tour, unfortunately is not of my own, but a girl can dream right? This past weekend we were able to get a rare look inside a 1910 treasure. There was an estate sale over the course of four days in this mansion along the lake – so before I start gushing the impeccable details, let’s run through the quick specs, built in 1910, 12,280 sq. ft., 10-bedrooms, 7 full baths, 3 half baths, listed just under $5 million.
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Walking up to the property it was everything you’d expect from the pictures and more, although the pictures seemed like maybe it could be a dream.  The brick drive was still in immaculate condition with a grand entrance, stone steps lead into the house into a grand foyer with floor to ceiling wood paneled walls, grand staircase and a stunning fireplace. Walking in, you almost didn’t know where to start, straight into the Sun Room? Left into another great room? Or right another room equal size to the one on the left? We went right, from there we were led into the butler’s pantry with original cabinetry to the ceiling and then into the large kitchen with original gas stove.

Other standouts throughout the property were the ornate ceilings throughout and the windows with brass handles and original fixtures in every single room.  The wine cellar in the basement was a reasonable size for the house (kidding), and the 3rd floor – which was presumably the servants quarters at one point in time reminded be of the Titanic’s 3rd class – yet still incredible with the detail and just completely massive.  The wallpaper, although pretty prominent in the house in absence of wood panels, was mostly stunning and made a statement against the woodwork.
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A little history on the house, it was designed by Stanford White for industrialist Howard M. Hanna Jr.  It’s been registered on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.   It’s hard to imagine living in a house of such grandeur and size, not to mention all the finishings and furniture needed to make it a home… but I’m sure if I was forced I could manage *smiles*

Although a lot of the pieces being sold at the estate sale were way out of our price range (like a $15k table, $18k rug…) there were a lot of unique pieces that were reasonable especially for those with an appreciation of antiques.  Although the expensive pieces were definitely swoon worthy with a few pieces dating to the 18th century.  I did buy two hanker chiefs that had embroidered ‘E’s  – there were a few dish sets with ‘E’s as well, so my guess is that was the previous families last name?  It was really fun being able to check out a home like this, I’m glad we went and I’m going to keep on dreaming.

House Tour – Easter Dining Room

Happy Easter, my friends… well almost! With the holiday quickly approaching, on this house tour I wanted to share our dinning room, all decorated and ready for a cozy Easter meal. It was nice to soften up the room with pastels and floral prints, our head-chairs aren’t enough some times! Not to mention the afternoon light was shining into the room so perfectly after a rainy morning – I couldn’t pass up a little photo shoot.
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I pulled this look together with a lot of existing pieces already in stock.  The only new additions were the white bunny with gold ears, her friend is on our mantle, and the Happy Easter napkins that I  snagged from Marshall’s. I wanted to keep this simple, classic and bright through the use of the pastels and then the white and gold to tie the whole look together.

Happy Easter!

Spare Bedroom – Makeover

I must admit, I’ve had some major writers block on top of feeling uninspired.  Then I realized I should share my latest obsession aka inspiration – our impromptu spare bedroom makeover! It started this past Friday, after a crazy week back to work, a stiff drink, and a few scrolls through Pinterest, I thought out loud to B; “Let’s paint the yellow room.” And B’s response was; “pick a color” – gosh I love him.

Of course, I had a color in mind, so we went to Lowe’s on Saturday, found the color, bought the paint, oh and another can for a different impromptu project and got right to work once we got home. This of course has spiraled into a full room makeover, remodeling some old and buying some new.  *grins*

I’m going for something chic, classic and colorful. My goal is not to rush this and look for solid pieces and see what works in the space as I add in curtains, bedding and DIY’d furniture.

Can’t wait to share our first house project of 2017!

Inspiration sources can be found here