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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DIY – Painted Valentine Table Runner

Ohhh, you guys!! This was a fun, easy and affordable craft and I just love how it turned out! This custom Valentine-inspired painted table runner is a spin on an everyday piece and not one that I really ever thought about making, at least one that didn’t involve buying fabric, sewing or investing a ton of time on. Read more to see my supply list, project cost and step-by-step for painting and creating your own X’s and O’s table runner, just in time for a Galentine’s brunch!
DIYTableRunner(3)Craft Supplies:
Off-white plain linen table runner from Amazon ($14.99)
All purpose craft paint: Pink / Rose from Michael’s ($0.79 each)
– Smaller paint brush – I have this 7ct Paint Brush set from Target

Project Cost: $17
(not including paint brushes)

Step-by-Step:
1. I order my linen table runner from Amazon, there was a brief though to try and make my own with buying fabric – but I quickly saw that being a disaster. Two-day shipping and $14.99 on Amazon, sounded way better! I compromised on the size (14″ x 72″), as I like a wider table runner since we have a larger dining room table, but found a off-white linen that looked to be perfect.
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2. Paint color was my toughest decision – I initially planned to do black, but thought red could be fun and then ultimately decided on a lighter pink as that worked better with dining home decor and I love how it turned out! Now to the fun stuff…
3. Before I got painted, I did have to iron my table runner to smooth out some of the fold marks! I didn’t get it as smooth as I would’ve liked, but it was much better than before – this was definitely needed before painting.
4. Get ready to paint! I put paper bags down in order to paint, and painted on my dining room table — which was a good feel for the space while I painted and scaling my X’s and O’s. Starting in the bottom corner I kept it simple and fit four across and repeated the pattern by alternating which letter I started with and worked my way towards the center.
Pro-tip: I eyed my spacing and letter size, but you could use a ruler to keep spacing even between lines and/or letter height!
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5. Keep going until you finish up the length of your runner! Keep in mind as you’re painting if you mess up, or have brush strokes showing, it’s OK — it’s suppose to look hand drawn and painted which gives it a unique look. Besides, from a distance you can’t really see any of the imperfections.

I let this dry overnight before styling this up! I had another pink table runner that was a little wider than mine, so I was able to layer underneath and the pinks complimented each other perfectly! I then added a few jars with conversation sweet heart candy, some fun colorful garland, this table was just needing a few finishing touches for a Galentine’s brunch!

Besides just completely loving how this came out (slightly obsessed!) — the price can’t be beat for a custom piece that fits EXACTLY what you were wanting.  $16 is about the going rate, if not more for you’re every day or holiday themed table runner, so I imagine I’ll be doing this in the future for more holidays or special occasions! Plus it only took me about 45-minutes to iron and paint.

What do you think!?

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House Tour: $30 Christmas Front Porch

With consistently colder days during the Christmas season, and the inside being the main event — the outside decor doesn’t get as much love as I’d like it too. We also string some oversized colored bulbs along the back fence line and I always have intentions to do more, but usually run out of time.  This year I finally added a little more umph and switched up some decor to make a little more of a statement for only $30 – plus I got a warm day to finally put everything up!

My Decorations: 
(2) 6ft Red, Green & White Ball Garland (I got mine for 50%, they’re even cheaper right now!)
(5) 16″ White Snowflake Ornaments (I got mine 50% off!)

The Garland. I mixed in the ornament garland with extra greenery garland I had around the house, this helped fill it in and make it more lush.  I opted to do the garland as a 3/4 quarter around the door, because of our Ring and not wanting to get in the way of that especially during holiday delivery season.

The Statement Door. I initially had plans to hang the larger snowflakes along the front of the house under the porch, but didn’t have enough and didn’t want too much going on especially with the garland around the door. I then got the idea of tying the oversized snowflakes together to create a falling wreath — they really pop with our blue door, and I love how this turned out.

Simple to Finish It Off. To finish off the look, but still keeping it simple, I stacked our lanterns underneath the main box. This helps fill the space by giving it the finishing touches it needs — plus these are the lanterns I usually have on our back patio, so they’re getting another season in use and not out in the elements under the covered porch. We added a spot light on the door, so it can be viewed day and night in all it’s glory!

After the Christmas holiday, the falling snowflake wreath will be perfect into the winter months especially with the lanterns! I grabbed these items earlier in November when the holiday decor was just getting out and still 50% off — not to mention I had a few 20-25% off entire purchase that I tacked on top of those. Making a statement can truly be affordable especially if you’re thinking ahead, like I finally was this year!

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DIY – Wooden Couch Sleeve

Ever have those pins that you saved at the beginning of Pinterest-time and have always wanted to make? I’ve wanted to make a wooden couch sleeve for a long time — it seems like an easy, practical solution without having side tables everywhere.  But our main living room furniture has rounded arms and these wooden couch sleeves definitely seem better suited for a squared off arm.
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I knew I would be able to make this fairly inexpensively as long as we had some scrap wood laying around — and luckily we did! I was able to utilize tools that we already had, so this project cost me $0.  And with our basement makeover, our furniture downstairs had squared off arms with a lower side table that only serves part of the seating, I thought this would be a perfect addition to our ‘finished-unfinished’ space especially with the natural rustic wood piece.

What You’ll Need:
– Scrap wood
– Table saw
– Sandpaper
– Satin/Gloss Clear Coat Spray Paint
– Nail gun
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Step-by-Step:
1. Determine the length of your main top piece based on your furniture. I decided on 13″ long and kept the original width of the board. You’ll want your sides to be the same length, width of sides can be all equal or shorter.

2. Using a tape measure and straight edge, draw a straight line for your top piece, then cut with table saw. For the sides because my scrap wood was older, I cut the same length and it pretty much split down the middle to make two smaller pieces.  I liked the more unfinished, raw edges as I wanted to keep the integrity of the older wood.

3. I then sanded the pieces on both sides and all of the edges.  Again, I liked the color of the wood – I just needed to work out a few rough spots and clean it up. After sanding, be sure to wipe down the pieces with a cloth to get rid of extra dust.
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4. I then did a top coat with Satin finished spray paint — that I happened to have at the house already.  Spray top coats are a little trickier to see full coverage until dry – so for that reason you may need to do a few coats depending on the finish and coverage you want (above picture before spray, bottom after spray).  I did two coats on the main top and sides, and one on the underneath part.

5. Once I was content with the top coat it was putting everything into place with the nail gun.  I opted NOT to use wood glue for two reasons (1) being lazy (2) we don’t have clamps, so we would’ve nailed in place shortly after gluing like we did for our floating shelf. This was a two person job to ensure the nails went in securely.  We put the sides in a bit so they would be snug against the couch, since I opted to keep the top the original width of the wood, avoiding too many cuts.

Pro-tip: I made sure all my cut edges were in the back of my piece, so the original rough edges would be facing out. I also determined my top early on when measuring and cutting pieces.
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This is the perfect addition to the space, and it’s sturdy for an afternoon cup of coffee, the remote or a glass of beer watching the game! Although we have a super cute trunk side table in this space, it’s much lower than the couch and chair so it isn’t exactly convenient for ongoing sipping. This couch sleeve is also portable, so it can move around depending on which spot you’re in or who needs it. I love how it turned out and it’s imperfections!  Plus — this could also be a sweet Christmas gift for just about anyone.

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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

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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Trend Spotlight – Fall Opalhouse at Target

It’s the first day of Fall! And the new Opalhouse collection at Target is here to satisfy all those #falldecor vibes.  This brand always brings their A-game, but it’s especially hard not to swoon over their seasonal pieces, because they’re fun and trendy, but also classic and adaptable year after year. Opalhouse is known for it’s funky and electric flair, amazing patterns, deep colors while also bringing an effortless balance through whites and neutrals in color or in material.
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The other weekend, I saw the shelf switch happening in Target in the Opalhouse section, I was immediately excited for all the new, beautiful things to come and couldn’t help but swoon over all the new seasonal table decor. If you read the Bee Life often, or just know me, you know I can’t help myself with a good seasonal tablescape. I typically like to keep my fall table decor a bit more streamlined with a white/gold table runner and decorating on top.  But after seeing this rich, beautiful pumpkin table throw I think I may be changing my tune and wanting to add a bit more color.  I love the deep pattern complimented with a sheer, lighter table runner over top and more electric pieces mixed in through the placemats and decorative pumpkins.  What do you guys think?Opalhouse Fall - beelifeblog(1)Shop table decor pieces: Pumpkin Table Throw | Purple Velvet Pumpkin | Pink Metal Pumpkin | Shear Woven Orange Table Runner | Round Basket Placemats – 4pack 

So beyond having a killer fall tablescape there are lots of other ways to start introducing fall into the home.  Easy ways to do this could be anywhere from an entry rug, fun faux wild flowers, festive coffee mugs (I love coffee mugs), or even transitioning your comforter with the change in seasons. One of my favorite parts of fall are all the deep and sultry colors – but I am also loving seeing some lighter blushes, natural whites and hues thrown into the mix to help soften everything up.

Another fabulous thing about fall decor? All of the patterns *heart-eye emoji*, there is just something about leopard print in the fall! Is it just me? I can’t explain it, but as soon as I saw that circular velvet leopard print pillow, I had to push my jaw up.  And complimented with the orange fringe, #needtohaveit. What are you favorite patterns and colors of fall?
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Shop more fall faves: Woven Fringe Rug | Round Velvet Leopard Pillow | Straw Flower Wreath | Hyacinth Natural Pumpkin | Sunflower Mug | Faux Pod Flower Arrangement | Pink Crochet Throw Pillow | Printed Stripe Duvet | Yellow Metal Pumpkin

So in advance, I’m sorry to your credit card, but also you’re welcome to your home… I am pretty obsessed with those colored metal pumpkins, and might be getting a few of each color! I still have yet to pull out the fall decorations, but this might just jump start it before I head to Target to grab a few of these pieces.

Have you decorated for fall yet?
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Easy Wall Decor Upgrade for $30

Our favorite, homey guest room needed a little upgrade.  This one larger wall space, that had a half finished gallery wall that was honestly just thrown together…  It just wasn’t working. I had switched out a few frames – added a few and then slowly started deconstructing it.  As you can see in the only before picture I have below it was a little sad looking. So, I had been thinking about what to do with this wall, how to incorporate a few photos still – but also wanting to simplify the space.

I started looking into a few DIYs around picture ledge shelves and considered the time, money and effort it would take into making one, and I didn’t necessarily love how you would have to hang the DIY ledges either.  So I popped on my trusty Target App and found these 23″ x 4″ White Picture Ledge Shelves – they were even 10% off at the time! The price was reasonable and the color and style was just what I was looking for.  Based on the space of my wall, I ended up getting two shelves to create one long ledge vs. stacking as many of them are styled.

The install was easy, with a hanging template included – we were able to secure the screws and hang the shelves (and by we I should really say B!) within 30-40 minutes.  Creating one long shelf with the two, the space was instantly cleaned up and transformed.  Plus these wall shelves, allow for endless ways of customization and easy to switch up frames, photos, styles based on the season or as the room changes! The only thing I will say about the shelves is they’re pretty fragile and got dinged easily, the corners were a little rough, we checked these out before purchasing at the store.
Wall Decor - thebeelife(1)After styling with my grandma’s gold finch painting and a few other sized photos it was exactly what this space needed.  I’m sure this will change a few more times, but for now it’s more finished, polished and still helps fill a big empty space! And the best part is it was affordable and minimum effort to give this space a little upgrade.  What do you guys think?

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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