Budget Home Office Refresh

It’s nearing the end of July and the the fourth full month of working from home, but for the record — it seems like it’s been much longer than 4 months. With spending a bit more time in my home office (like nearly 8-hours, 5-days a week) — I started scheming for an update. As I mentioned in my May obsessions, our office wasn’t intended to be a working, functional office but more of a home for our sports memorabilia while serving as a third guest room space. So keeping this space true to it’s original intent and sports decor, I still needed to enhance the space.
BudgetOffice(1)For this budget friendly refresh I focused on three things; (1) fresh paint (2) new white shelves and (3) large gallery wall with our sports memorabilia.

We have a little blue alcove, I really was trying to add in a fun pop of pink and was thinking wallpapering a tiny sliver of the blue alcove for a fun accent wall within the accent wall.  I searched on Target, and I searched all over Etsy and I just couldn’t find anything that wasn’t going to completely change the whole vibe of the room. Then I thought maybe I’d paint some sort of cool accent wall with the blue — again, I just couldn’t figure anything that felt right, so I pivoted. The blue was in need of some touch-ups and I had some left over Sherwin Williams Naval, it wasn’t the same blue – a bit dark but close enough so I painted!
BEFORE
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AFTER
BudgetOffice(3)Before we got started painting — we ended up taking our white floating shelves down. This project was one of B and I’s first DIYs we did, and it definitely wasn’t perfect — so we deconstructed and I planned for a new cleaner and streamlined solution to replace them. With a few coats of paint, the blue was looking refreshed and a bit darker. I went for a simple white shelf look with gold brackets. Since I was unable to find gold brackets in stock and for a decent price — I spray painted some white ones that were more affordable! I bought these white brackets for $2.28 each and used gold spray painted I already had and they turned out pretty perfectly. I bought white laminate shelves pre-cut that worked perfectly and were bigger for the space.

Pro-tip: Spray paint the screw tops too for a seamless look once you install. 

The final and biggest piece that took the most time and most money (about $160) was putting together a gallery wall with all the various sports photos and other fun sports souvenirs into a big gallery wall on the large back wall in the office. Luckily I already had a lot of the artwork and frames, but there were some new pieces that we needed to help fill in the space. Some of the fun new additions included a display case for my baseballs, a larger vintage print of Yankee Stadium from the 1920’s and then a fun shelf to display some of our Cavs bobbles heads. A few other frames and prints and we were able to incorporate all our favorite sports teams, memories and a fun race photos too. One fun favorite sports memory that we included was our Game 7: World Series ticket and photo.
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I really love how the gallery wall turned out and it’s definitely the focal point of the room, until you see the fun little desk alcove. Another key part of the gallery wall was pulling some of the 3D elements into the wall and off of the shelves to give those some more breathing space and clean them up a bit! The side roller cart to the right of my desk came from my actual work office and fits nice to be a bit of a desk extender with my monitor set-up along with some drawer storage. Although this wasn’t a complete make over, it’s a good reminder to anyone who is looking for a refresh and are happy with pieces you already own, that you can make subtle and affordable updates to make a fun update!

There are still maybe a few little things and photos for shelves that I want to add, but those are fun little pieces to update along the way. I also have been tossing around getting a pink neon sign for my blue alcove for that pop of pink — we will see! Let the work from home life continue!

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Life Lately – The Month of June

Hey Bee Readers — Are you still with me? I know it’s been a minute, but I needed to take a minute. A long minute. I have also started and stopped writing this post, trying to figure out where I wanted to go. But, I think the best way to reflect and share life lately, especially from the beginning of the month, is by sharing a long winded Instagram post from June 8th.
LifeLately-beelifeblog(1)OK. So now how about the rest of life and what’s been going on for the entire month of June?! The month of May seemed like a slow ease back into visiting with people, while the world slowly opened back up and breaking out of our strict quarantine. But June… there were weekends in June that were packed visiting with friends and family (socially distant, smart and safe, of course) and a bit more old normal, that seemed to come in swift and fast. And for me, a little too swift and fast. I’ve been dealing with some new social anxiety and mixed feelings about it all. But at the same time, these moments have been refreshing, they’ve been needed — but the breaks have been needed too.
LifeLately-beelifeblog(2)So let’s talk about the much needed old normal and fun stuff. Here are a few June highlights: A nice weekend with my parents, lots of burgers and eggs (not together), an afternoon stroll with A + B, doggy play dates, a fun pool day to celebrate Father’s Day, Moz’s birthday, fun impromptu neighbor hangs and even a golf date with B!

And here we are, the end of three full months of corona, four if you want to count all of March. And we’re still living in and navigating this “new” normal. B and I are still working from home, with no major plan of returning from either of our companies — so we’ve mentally adjusted to that mindset. We’ve also been keeping busy with house projects and new plans, itching to go somewhere on an airplane and also praying for a bit of of the old normal before the end of the year (wishful thinking, I know).
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I also needed to reset mentally, reset the creativity, reset the goals and priorities and focus on life. As I mentioned, I have some fun things and cool reveals I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks, while trying to still stay creative and inspired outside of the office. How have you continued to stay inspired? Is your work life back to normal or are you still rocking the WFH office?

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Weekend Roundup – May 2020

May has been tough, but it’s also had some glimpses of normal — well, what used to be normal. And it’s also had glimpses of “the new normal” as everyone seems to be calling it. May has been a month of slowly starting to see family again, some in normal ways, some in different more protected and distant ways. May has seen some lows and it’s seen some highs. May has also been the last month of the temporary hope of this thing all being over, because this new normal definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. May has even had a few WTF moments.
MayRecap(1)We started the month off with a little road trip to finally see my parents.  It was much needed on both sides. The best part was we were able to make it there in one trip, and hunkered in over the weekend with lots of eats, drinks, board games and laughs and still able to maintain social distance from the world. My mom even surprised me with a homemade birthday cake, so we finally got to celebrate a belated birthday since our big plans in March all got kiboshed. It was great to be together in person, instead of 4-hour virtual chats, and as I mentioned, a much needed visit.

Mother’s Day consisted of a masked and mostly socially distant family gathering with our in-laws and supporting local to shower our mom’s with some special gifts. We also attended not one but two of our first virtual college graduations for my younger cousins, and even a virtual wedding (technically the last day of April)! The virtual graduations definitely had their advantages, beyond just being a new concept — but it also gave us an opportunity to actually attend and participate in these moments when we might not have been able to travel to them before (pre or post corona).
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More May highlights included lots of walks with Moz and even a few car rides to the Starbucks drive thru for puppachinos. We’ve also been perfecting our breakfast sandwich making skills, including grilling bacon on the grill in a cast iron skillet along with grilling out local meats from MeatboxLocal to help mix-up our dinner menu. We’ve also finally gotten around to planning a few fun house projects while also reaching out to contractors for a few not so fun projects. We’ve been admiring all of our flowers budding and blooming and all the beautiful green with all the rain we’ve been getting. B and I also celebrated 9 years together with burritos and a brisk walk. We’ve also had fun counting down the days until when we can get our haircuts… which is now only one more week away! The weather also started to feel a lot like summer, so the weekends have been spent outside, like all day, every day — which has been really nice.
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The month of May was also a big month for the state of Ohio as they started the phased re-openings early on in the month of May. I was actually surprised at how much started to reopen so quickly. Dentists, veterinarians, retail, dine-in at restaurants, salons, hair dressers and gyms have all been able to reopen (among many other things) this month. And it’s been interesting to balance and start having conversations with family and friends to understand what everyone is comfortable with as things reopen.

As much as I’m craving for getting back to “normal” and back into a routine, there is still a major fear factor — although it’s not a fear of even getting it, it’s the feat of potentially spreading it and also other people’s perception along with trying to be responsible for our community and those who are close to us. It’s a very weird time, but luckily there were a few moments of normal — so I hope that continues to be the case as we jump into June. And hopefully, we can get a trip in still this year. What were your May highlights?

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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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$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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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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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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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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