House Tour: Basement Bar DIY

Ready for a fun reveal? As we’ve been in influx awaiting the official go ahead for our kitchen, we of course found another project to keep busy with. So why not build a wall in the basement and create a built in bar?

A few years ago, we created a ‘finished/unfinished’ space in our basement for an additional living space with a TV, $60 DIY shiplap wall and some deep couches. To help section this off from a storage area, we created a wall with a large drop cloth and piping, which worked great for an easy, temporary solution – but the plan was always to create an actual wall… eventually. Well, B had been itching to build the wall, and I told him I really wanted to add a built in bar and shared some inspiration, so together we worked to figure out the spacing and how we could pull it together – but not without a few disagreements of course.

To keep it somewhat simple, we bought prefab base kitchen cabinets from Lowe’s — we originally wanted to find something a bit more swallow, but everything was super expensive, so upon searching we found a taller wine fridge and compromised for deeper cabinets. From there we needed to figure out a counter top, all your typical counter tops at Lowe’s were either super basic and blah or a bit more than we wanted to spend, so upon doing some research B found this nicer plywood that we could stack, glue, stain and polyurethane to create our own counter top. It actually came out way better than expected.

Once we had our base all figured out, it was time for the fun part – decorating! We were able to utilize some left over gold handles from a previous project for our cabinets, that give it a modern and sleek look, pulling in the gold accents. I went with a simpler approach to two parallel photos vs. a gallery wall like I was initially thinking – it definitely keeps it cleaner with the two stacked shelves on the right side. We got the brackets off Amazon and then bought the shelves, that were a little more expensive but a nice sleek look that we were also able to stain and polyurethane. We also got the wine glass holder from Amazon, which fits perfectly and has ample counter space still underneath it.

A few other fun touches include the artwork, that B and I ended up hand painting ourselves – I did the fun Notorious B.I.G. quote and B did the champagne bottle! We also had to get oversized snack jars for some sweet and savory treats, although I can’t say they’ve been staying full. Moz also has her own filled with her favorite treats. Lastly, we finally have a place for the cocktail books we’ve received over the years – and the Fancy AF book inspired me to also make this an unofficial Bravo Books library – more to come as my collection grows! Some greenery and other fun bubble trinkets also helped finish off the space.

We are finishing up painting some french doors that will open and close also into our new basement space – which will make it perfect for any guests who may end up staying in the future. The space has seen a complete transformation – and we also now have an enclosed nice big storage closet on the opposite side of the wall too.

We can’t wait to host some friends, catch a football game and eat some snacks – because that counter is also big enough for plenty of food and we’re stocked with plenty of beverages!

Shop Our Look: Oversized Snack Jars | Gold Hand Pulls | Gold Shelf Brackets | Gold Wine Glass Rack | 4.6ft Artificial Palm Tree | Frigidaire 34-Bottle Wine Cooler | Larger Base Cabinet | Smaller Base Cabinet

DIY – Modern Wooden Fence

As we were working through our backyard makeover, one of the curveballs B threw at me was wanting to hide the paint chipping white garage, in addition to adding the raised planter boxes for extra greenery. I instantly jumped on Pinterest searching for inspiration for a decorative solution that we would be able to customize. I searched ‘modern decorate fences’ and found some inspiration that we could easily recreate and pitched the idea to B.
DecoartiveFence(6)The pitch was a success and the project was a go! The advantage of this project and any DIY project is being able to create a completely custom fence that fits your space and dimensions. We ended up throwing in two other fences to place around our ‘property,’ one in front of our garbage cans along the side of our driveway, and then another on the North side of the house in front of our air conditioner. The thing to remember with these fences is they weren’t going to be complete privacy, but help off-set and distract from the ugly things.
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Project Supply List:
– (13) 1ft x 3ft x 8ft
– (6) 1ft x 2ft x 8ft (post supports for smaller fences)
– (5) 1ft x 6ft x 12ft
– (1) 1ft x 6ft x 6ft
– (2) 2ft x 4ft x 10ft (post supports for large fence)
Thompson’s WaterSeal Stain & Foam Brush
– Post Hole Digger
– Quick Time Concrete
– Nail Gun / Screw Driver + Screws (large fence)
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Figuring out the number of pieces of wood and sizes to get and make all three of our fences, was a headache and quite the math equation that B successfully conquered — even though it took us awhile to get there. As I knew I wanted 6″ wide pieces and 3″ wide pieces, I just didn’t have the complete layout and patterned figured out based on the height variations. There has also been a wood shortage this summer, so B had to do some home improvement store hopping to get all the sized pieces we needed — luckily we were able to get everything!

Our Fence Dimensions:
– Back Fence: 7-feet tall* by 4.5-feet wide aka (16) 3″ pieces, (5) 6″ pieces and (2) 1″ pieces
– Garbage Fence: 5-feet tall* by 3-feet wide aka (12) 3″ pieces and (4) 6″ pieces
– Air Conditioner Fence: 3-feet tall* by 3-feet wide aka (8) 3″ pieces and (2) 6″ pieces

*This is the height above ground, we accounted for 1-2ft in the ground depending on the overall height. 

Once we secured our wood, based on our estimations, B cut away to get the estimated pieces per board. Once we had everything cut, I was able to play around with the pattern and get the pieces figured out — it was definitely a move around, take a step back and see what looked and felt right. Once we had our pattern in place it was go time. For the two smaller fences we used a nail gun and getting these put together was relatively quick, as we also just eyed the spacing between each pieces, made sure things were level and fired away.
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The large fence was a bit different and took some adjustments after we created the two smaller pieces. One adjustment was switching up the support pieces to 2ft x 4ft x 10ft — due to the size and slatted wood pieces, this fence was not only heavy but also pretty big (see me standing with it above), especially accounting for 2-feet to put in the group, it was a bit guy to navigate. We also ended up screwing the large fence together (instead of a nail gun) and did the screwing from the back, so that you wouldn’t see any holes from the front.

When it came to staining, we used the same stain we had from our planter boxes, we had plenty left over to create a cohesive look. I ended up staining the fences two different ways, one with the fences built and one as individual pieces — I’m not sure which I liked better, the individual pieces was definitely a bit more tedious. But, I do know overall I would pick staining any day to painting — it’s so easy and workable to make it blend the way you want. Luckily we were staining in the heat, so they dry time was quick if we wanted to apply two coats.
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We ended up angling most of these fences for final placement so that more space was covered and we were blocking the ugly things just right. This of course, took a bit of time and tapping to get just right! We also made sure to strategically place the larger back fence in front of the garage, so that form a farther distance you couldn’t see the end of the fence! I think my favorite fence beside the big one, is the one in front of the garbage cans, when you walk into our backyard it’s just such a welcomed look and as we’ve worked on adding flowers along the side it definitely makes it feel more complete!

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Before & After: Backyard Makeover

B and I have talked about this project off and on for a few years now. We are fortunate to have a decent size yard for the city we live in, and I’ve always loved our green space even if we have a small dog. But, we have a back spot that has some trees and the grass doesn’t grow great, plus we get a small lake back there when we have heavy rains. The back also faces an old paint chipping garage — so we always thought it would be nice to add a little privacy and greenery. The problem though, was we would have to build up the area based on how that area handles the rain.
Backyard(4)We had two different ideas on how we could do this. Mine was making planter boxes and B’s was building up the ground and using rocks to build a sort of wall. I quickly sold B on the planter box idea, for a few reasons — (1) we could customize the dimensions and look however we wanted to fit our space and (2) the stones I would want to put in the backyard would be expensive, as I’m not the biggest fan of the more generic ones you can find in stock at home improvement stores. Thus the planning begun and the measurements started. We ended up adding in a second planter box to the right of the main area to help B out with another dead grassy area that he hates!
Backyard(1)The larger planter box we made was 8ft by 4ft and the smaller planter box was 4ft x 3ft, both 18 inches tall. We used 2×4’s for the posts and then used pressure treated wood for the exterior sides and stained them for extra weathered protection. We cut all of the wood and I stained it while B worked on getting the holes dug for the support beams.

Project Supply List:
– (3) 2x4x10ft posts
– A mix of 1x6x10ft and 1x6x12ft pressure treated wood
Thompson’s WaterSeal Stain & Foam Brush
– Post Hole Digger
– Quick Concrete Mix
Metal Edging
– 2.5-3 cu.yd of Top Soil
– 24 bags of Pea Gravel
– Plants of your choice

Digging the holes for the support post beams was tough, as we were working around roots, we tried to get 2ft deep, but sometimes we couldn’t. Luckily we also used quick concrete mix to help support the beams and keep them in place. We even lined up our cut boards for the first lower box level to make sure we were lining up the posts and box properly and ensure everything was level — this really helped and allowed us to have a good base to work up from once the support beams were secure in the concrete.
Backyard(2)Once we got the boxes in place, we felt super accomplished and add top pieces to help finish them off! From there we ended up lining the insides with a weed barrier landscape fabric to keep the dirt in. Next up, we just needed to order the dirt! The last piece beyond the dirt that needed to be figured out was trying to find some sort of treatment for in between the boxes around the trees. We talked about adding some edging to help break it up, but upon further research and inspiration, we opted to create a space sweeping around the boxes that we could fill in with the pea gravel. I found this metal edging that I just think has such a sharp look, we would be able to create a custom space to help complete this new area!
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Backyard(3)Once we finished the edging off, it really brought this space to life and separated it from the rest of the yard — without taking away too much from our green space (which was a constant concern for me!). We got three yards of dirt delivered pretty quickly – for the record, we ordered way to much and could’ve gotten away with two and a half yards or so. We also got this delivered on one of those red hot July days, B busted his butt and filled the planters (not recommended). When we actually got to planting, we had to remove a lot of dirt so that was why we ordered too much! For the plants, we knew we wanted to get arborvitaes for the large planter box to add a bit more privacy, so we did our research and visited the nursery to pick out trees! We ended up buying a bit more expensive ones that were already 4+ft tall. We also kept going back and forth between getting two or three — we ended up choosing three knowing that we will need to trim and maintain them a bit more!
Backyard(5)For the smaller planter box we got a hydrangea – which I think I’m going to switch out for a Limelight version, like we have in our front yard. In a year or two the hydrangea bush will completely fill this box and will be a beautiful addition to the backyard!

Quick project cost breakdown: Arborvitaes & Hydrangea ($300), Pebbles & Dirt ($225), Wood & Stain ($140), Edging ($50) — Estimated project total: $715 

The plan for next year is to get a bunch of different sized terra-cotta pots and add more plants or veggies around the boxes on top of the pebbles to fill in the space more. You may also notice the large decorative fence (how-to blog coming up next!) that is covering that gross garage! Yes — we crafted that up and love how it helps finish the space.

Questions about this makeover? Leave a comment below!

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Budget Bathroom Makeover

Before we had our incredible second bathroom, we made do with our second floor bathroom, and only one bathroom at the time, with some updates when we first moved in, mainly painting the original green white. Over time a few more updates were made like a new faucet and rug here and there – but nothing major after the first big paint. But those same yellow dingy looking tiles were always there, just staring at me. They had to go! We definitely didn’t want to tear them all off, we have plans for a big gut job one day  — but we aren’t there yet. So how would we get rid of these gross tiles and upgrade our space for under $500?
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Above: Bathroom before

It wasn’t until I saw home decor and color extraordinaire, At Home With Ashley, do an affordable bathroom upgrade, that I was inspired to paint the tile! Painting that yellow, gross and dingy tile to a crisp white to match the upper half of the walls would be the subtle update this space needed to completely transform it and mask an ugly, ugly detail that encompasses the whole room. Painting the tile would of course be the most work in this budget project — but would foster the biggest reward.

First, we cleaned the tile with TSP cleaner and then prepped the walls using Kilz Primer per Ashley’s reco (we bought a gallon, but it goes on so thing you could probably get away with a quartz depending on your space) – we did two coats of the primer, as it’s quick dry. Three things about this primer: it’s super thin, super stick and smells terrible! But this was definitely a necessary step and helped sooo much when it came to painting the top coat. As we started seeing the space transform with the paint, we started getting inspired for a more updates, while still sticking to a lower budget.
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Above: Bathroom after

We ended up pulling the trigger on getting a larger vanity with more counter space! This is something we’ve always talked about for this bathroom, especially since the current vanity is the most generic of generic vanities. Obviously we knew the sink wouldn’t be under the mirror based on the light placement, but that will change one day.  The additional counter space and drawers were two things we really wanted over the awkward mirror placement. We also switched out our mirror to a frameless option. Finding a mirror that works between those two lights is REALLY tough, so we’re pretty limited – another reason to move those lights eventually.
Bathroom_After(2)Shop our pieces: New Vanity | Faucet | Curved Frameless Mirror | Towel Ring | Towel Bars | Opalhouse Soap Dispenser 

When we moved in the previous owner probably had about five or six different shelves and towel bars in the bathroom. We removed a few, but still had two on either side of the clawfoot tub. So we upgraded to, two new silver towel bars to stack at the front part of the shower and opted for a hand towel ring closer to the vanity. I got super fancy with a grey glass soap dispenser from Target and painted our orange hook rack to a lighter and muted blue that matches better to the floor and our shower curtain.

We ended up needing to get a new faucet from Lowe’s based on the mounting options with the new vanity, so we ordered the same faucet we had just the larger one to fit this vanity, it’s a classic look that I just love! A few other finishing touches that I’m still working on are finding some fun bathroom inspired prints to put in the white frame on the closet shelf and maybe a new shower curtain — but I like the current one with the subtle pops of blues.
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All-in-all we spent around $460 on this update and it’s such an improvement! The not so great laminate tile isn’t as noticeable with the white on white updates with the tile and walls. The vanity offers additional storage, more counter space and I know our future guests will love the additional counter space!

Project Price & Breakdown:
– Vanity & Faucet: $299
– Paint & Cleaning Supplies: $55
– Mirror: $30
– Soap Dispenser: $12
– Towel Wracks: $44
– New Toilet Seat: $20
TOTAL: $460

This was a fun quarantine project that we were able to tackle over the course of two weekends. We pre-ordered as much of our materials and supplies as possible and had them directly shipped to our house or did in store pick-ups so that we could limit our foot print and interaction with people! What’s your favorite part of this makeover?

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$12 Custom Bathroom Drawer Storage from the Dollar Store

With our recent bathroom makeover and having the addition of a second bathroom – a few floors below our main bathroom – I wanted to make sure it’s stocked just like our upstairs bathroom with all the essentials. The vanity is extra wide but is the only true storage for this space so I have to be smart with it!
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One of the top drawers has an opening for the sink pipes so it’s an odd U-shaped drawer. But since it’s the first main drawer under the sink, this seemed like a good spot to stock up with all the bathroom must-haves. In order to accommodate this unique space, I created custom drawer storage with a high-end feel using 3-inch square glass votive holders… from the dollar store! I use these for various things throughout the year, entertaining with snacks – votives – seasonal decor, so I gave these a try in the space and they ended up working out perfectly.
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After the glasses were in place, I tested opening and closing the drawer and noticed they were a little clanky.  To help with this, I added felt furniture pads in between a few of the glasses to avoid the clinking noises. On top of having high-end custom drawer storage with these glass holders, they can double for vanity decor holding goodies like cotton rounds, q-tips or cotton balls, especially if you’re having company coming over! Then you can pop them back into the drawer and easy peasy – storage is still on point. So for $1 per glass, you can truly make a statement while staying organized!

Shop the Pieces:
– (12) 3″ Glass Votives from Dollar Store
– Optional: Felt Furniture Pads

And then stock up with essentials like band aids, cotton products, tampons, floss, nail care and toothpaste!
StorageUpdate(2)beelifeblogI’m not used to having so much space to fill up, especially in my bathroom! But I love how this came together and is nicely organized while also having options for guests while the essentials for us — another drawer is completely full of toilet paper, but I still have a few more drawers that have extra space for more towels and other bathroom essentials!

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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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4 Things I Wish We Knew Before Tiling Our Shower

With our bathroom project coming to a close – I wanted to share a few of our trials and tribulations, specifically from tiling our entire shower from floor to ceiling.  Tiling the shower was never something we didn’t feel confident doing – we had successfully accomplished a smaller tiling project a few years prior, so how hard could this be? *smiles*
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To preface, we did extensive research and YouTube how-to video watching and there were definitely a few steps that these DIYers seemed to leave out of their tiling videos that sort of killed us, from a timing and extra work perspective. Also – a lot of DIYers were using individual tiles vs. the sheets, so I couldn’t gauge if we needed to do anything special or not!

What I Wish We Would’ve Known

(1) Over Estimating Tile Purchase by 10%  Soooo this was something I’d seen on the inter webs, but not something we accounted for – this involved us having to run out and buy a couple more boxes of tile, while we were mid-way in the tiling game. This meant extra money we weren’t planning on spending. Not to mention a few of the boxes we’d purchased included broken tile sheets – so we were able to exchange/return others we worked with. We also hadn’t accounted for ceiling tile – so this was something we also had to pick out and purchase while we were prepping for this project.

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Fireplace Makeover Inspiration

Since we’ve been on hold with house projects with all of the wedding planning and expenses – I’m admittedly already secretly planning some projects that B and I can conquer this winter, while the cold and snow surround us outside.  So because I just can’t contain myself, here is some inspiration for a project we’ve had our eyes on.
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Refacing Our Fireplace: This project has me a bit conflicted – but at the same time I’m curious to see how it would work in our space.  We have built-in’s on either side of our fireplace and these are the original oak color with beveled glass windows.  The brick had been already painted white, which we like and still flows with the space, but I can’t decide if white wood over top of the brick would work or if the mix-match of textures is what makes currently work. We definitely don’t want to paint the original built-in’s… they’re original features with original wood, and it would be so painful to do that!  Check out our current fireplace!

New Tile in Front of Fireplace: Because the refacing is a bit more conflicting, we may end up doing this project before jumping all in, since this might be the only update we need to help with the space.  Currently we have maroon tiles in front of our fireplace that meet up with our original oak floors.  We’ve been talking about replacing these for awhile, and since we finally have one tiling project under our belts – we are feeling confident, plus it’s a small space! Updating these dated maroon tiles with some white marble would really make this space pop and be a clean look.

One of the reasons we love our house so much is because it’s a century home and we love a lot of the original features, like the natural woodwork, the built-in’s in both our dining and living room and our hardwood floors.  So whenever we’re updating a space,  we make updates that only enhance and highlight those original features we love!

Photo Sources:  Left Image | Right Image

Latest Obsessions 08.17

This months latest obsessions are a bit all over the place, so bare with me!
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Table Runners: OBSESSED. And the reason I love these so much is because they’re affordable ways to decorate and dress your dining room, or a hutch in the kitchen! Especially if you shop at a Home Good or Marshall’s they’re always switching these out seasonally, so your collection can keep growing. #guilty

Gaga: All over the place… I told you! After seeing Gaga in concert,  I still can’t help but crank up her music, belt out some lyrics and bust a move.  Her latest single, The Cure is also a latest obsession.  Not to mention her upcoming documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two on Netflix looks intense!

House Projects: Since we’ve put a lot of things on hold since our big patio make-over earlier in the summer, and with another big event coming quickly *cough wedding cough* we’ve been behaving ourselves and holding off on a few things! But it’s just about that time when we’re just looking for something to work on.  I’m itching for some landscaping, ready for that new kitchen, and maybe an office make-over?

Trips in 2018:  Beyond seeing 2018 in writing (yikes!) – I’m super pumped for a number of vacations and trips that are being talked about/planned, it’s going to be another busy year of travel. ❤ I am jonesing to add more miles and a few new spots to my list of visited places!

What’ve you been obsessing over lately? Tweet me @mmariebee or leave a comment below!

Photo sources: Gaga Poster | Kitchen | Table Runner | Mykonos