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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Latest Obsessions 08.19 – Faux Plants

I’m coming clean – I may or may not have a slight addiction with faux plants, as they’ve been my latest obsession.  Ever since our bathroom remodel and adding those finishing touches faux plants have been the answer to help spruce of the space since it’s in our basement!  So, I’ve been on the hunt, looking for great deals while also finding stuff to compliment the space. The ones that didn’t find a home for in the bathroom, have found homes in our basement living room helping give it a bit more life to this darker space.
Latest Obsessions - faux - beelifeblog(1) I haven’t really been a big fan of faux plants or flowers, just greenery around the holidays, until now and that’s because I think the faux plant industry as seriously picked up their game. There are so many more options available, that are beautiful, life like and are now available in an endless number of stores, from Marshall’s, to Target and even craft stores like Michael’s.  From succulents, to cactus or fig trees you can really create a statement in spaces were these real life creatures might not survive or if you want a low maintenance option for you living space – and all sort of styles and sizes.
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Guess what! There are end of season deals on some of these more summery faux plants – so I’ve shopped a few steals for you to keep an eye on when you’re out and about that I’ve taken advantage of our am about too!

Michael’s Craft Store: 6ft Dieffenbachia Tree originally $200 now $40 – style this in a fun basket and you’ve got an awesome statement.  Mini mixed cactus plant pot originally $20 now $4 or this mini succulent plant pot originally $15 now $3 (check stores for availability) I stocked up on these when I saw them severely price cut in stores and bunched them in our basement bathroom on the window sill, even one within the shower stall window! It really gives it a spa-like feel.

Target Opalhouse: 19×14″ Artificial Orbit Peacock Plant in Pot Green/White originally $24.99 now $12.48 in select stores (and other plants too!). I couldn’t pass up this 50% discount, plus it was a decent size to add a little more umph than a table top succulent.  I knew this guy would have a spot in our basement living room (pictured above).

TJMaxx: 36″ UV Proof Rubber Plant in Ceramic Pot originally $49 now $39 OR this 39″ potted cactus originally $99 now $75.  Before I settled on the stems and mini succulents for the bathroom, I REALLY wanted to get a massive cactus for that corner, but the numbers and the size I wanted to make an impact were a bit out of my budget (like this 5ft one from Target, still a hefty $129.99) – so I figured my alternate solution and maybe if I see one I like on sale I’ll go for it!
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I’ve also started to have a little fun with stems and styling those with various vases or even baskets – there are so many fun ways besides the traditional planter that faux plants (and real for that matter) can be dressed up to fit into your home – plus you can find them pretty affordable, without the worry of killing off a cool looking plant. SO! I have to know, have you been on the faux plant train for awhile? Or you a new found convert like me?

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Basement Makeover – Check-In

Over the summer I shared our Basement Makeover Game Plan – which I admittedly had some ulterior motives to have some extra space ready for B’s surprise party back before the holidays (but he didn’t know that *smiles*)! We were able to knock through a lot of the to-do’s and really transformed this space. Here are a few of the first items we knocked through with some photo updates too!

P.S. Before you keep reading – be sure to check out our Basement Makeover Game Plan to see the hideous before pictures, and to truly appreciate the afters!

Created a Dedicated Space: We had to move all of our storage shelves, while also buying new plastic black shelves and containers to get things organized and contained – we moved all of this either under the steps where we have a decent amount of storage and then also created a “storage room.” Also to help make this storage room and create our “living space” – we had a plan to put up a faux wall with a painters drop cloth as a large curtain, curtain clips and a gas pipe for it to hang from. Basement Makeover - Checkin - the bee life (4)Painting & Waterproofing: This was super fun, not! *tongue out face* … in order to properly prep the space we had to do a lot of scrapping, sanding and getting the exterior walls ready for the waterproofing paint.  This was dusty, tiring and time intensive – but we wanted to make sure we were doing this right! Once the wall was prepped – we started painting with the thick waterproofing paint – I think we ended up doing at least 2-coats, and then painted with normal paint overtop the waterproofing paint.  We even painted the floor! So we had a completely white space – the paint alone made our basement look 10x bigger!

Accent Wall: We ended up creating an accent wall with shiplap wall – you can see our full DIY and How-to here for $60.  I’m so glad we did this – it helped pull in the industrial feel I was going for with the whole finished-unfinished look.  Not to mention, this was pretty effortless compared to drywall or something else and cost effective!
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As we continued working through these and saw how the space was really coming together – which was a bit beyond what we both expected, our plans for furniture and a few other finishes started to change.  I was initially just planning on using our patio furniture down here in the off season, butttt that changed and we ended up finding some awesome furniture that we pulled the trigger on.  Even finding the perfect rugs to layer started pulling the whole vision together while using string patio lights from the ceiling to help light the space! Basement Makeover - Checkin - the bee life (3)Basement Makeover - Checkin - the bee life (2)I can’t wait to show the finished space with you soon – with custom art and other DIYs like the old vintage trunk I upcycled for $50, it’s been really great to have a secondary living space as an option, hangout and the perfect spot to watch movies at during the weekends!

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Spring Fever: Home Edition

It was Daylight Savings yesterday! Which means, the sun will stay up and our evenings will be longer… and spring and summer will start creeping in with blooming bulbs, chirping birds, and full of pastels.  I love floral pieces, and bringing in pops of color into our home especially when it comes to the dining room and entertaining.
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I’ve shopped six pieces that will be the perfect transition for all the spring holidays and even work for summer and fall!

H&M Porcelain Motif Plate:  Not only does H&M had these beautiful plates with this gorgeous floral pattern, they also have a stunning table runner, cups and bowls and other plates with singular flowers for a nice balance of the two floral designs.

Hearth & Hand – Milk Glass Line:  The green just scream spring and I love the muted color heading into the fall season.  The Milk Glass style is just so classic and timeless that these cake stands, platters and even salt and pepper shakers are too cute and the perfect accent to add pops of spring.

Succulent Napkin Rings: Succulents are a trend that is here to stay and guess what? They are beautiful for 3 out of 4 seasons and can be the perfect pop of life to your indoor table scape, especially if you’re opting out from adding real flowers to your table decor. Oh! And these are on sale!

Paul Marrot Garden Carafe: This subtle pop of spring brought to you by Anthropologie –  is a nice accent plus water carafe’s are just must-have’s when it comes to entertaining. The subtle flower pattern is another way to have a touch of florals on your table top without spending too much!  The Carafe is perfectly paired with these Garden Juice Glasses.

Multicolor Tassel Placemat: With a neutral base, and again subtle pop of color these placemats will help ground the table while also being able to use this throughout the summer and into the fall, plus they’re just stinkin’ cute and fun!!

Garden Greeting Pot from Anthropologie (on sale!) – um how cute?! Plus they’re bold pops of what we love about spring – COLOR! These would be cute to plant succulents in and kept on a windowsill Spring Fever (2) - the bee life
When I’m shopping for pieces to incorporate into our home I make sure they can be used throughout the year for different events and moments – and I also make sure they’re classic and timeless and not too trendy – I like finding that balance of big statement pieces paired with neutral supporting elements that all work together!

Happy Daylight Savings!

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Accessorizing a Black & White Bathroom

As we continue to work through our bathroom remodel and have made decisions on a lot of the major, more permeant pieces, I’ve started to explore the fun accessories to include in the space to really finish it off! Since our floor tiles are a pretty bold black and white pattern, I’m going to be keeping most of the finishes white – but want to incorporate a little color in to the space without competing with the tiles and letting them be the true statement of the room.
Bathroom Accessories - the bee life (1)Since our floor is going to be our statement, in addition to our shower – we really want to compliment the space, while enhancing the neutral colors and adding a little umph the space.  Since we have gold faucets, hardware and overhead vanity light, the look and feel that we’re going for, for this space is classic with a little bit of vintage glam.

Option 1: To help keep the classic, vintage glam feel – one color accessory option would be incorporating shades of blush pink and more white with towels, baskets and rugs.  If we go the pink/white route, it would still be really subtle and I would continue to work in some gold accents with the toilet paper roll, hand towel bar and maybe even a soap dish for the vanity!
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Option 2: As much as I love the pink route – there is also a part of me that imagines adding in big pops of color, like a deep mustard towels, accents of a dusky green or blues into the space.  Of course, I wouldn’t have all these colors in the space – just a few deep pops to play off our black and white canvas.  With a big pop of color, there would still need to be other supporting accessories of blacks and whites – like the the Jute Storage Basket (also comes in a Laundry Basket size) from H&M comes in this fabulous natural white – but also comes in a dusty rose that could be perfect for option 1!
Bathroom Accessories - the bee life (2) Shop the bathroom accessories:  Tuft Spa Bath Rug from Target | Gold Etched Metal Soap Dish from Target | Woven Pattern Washcloth Peach | Blocked Border Bathroom Towels, Set of 6 from Anthropologie | Brass Medallion Bathroom Hardware Set by Anthropologie |Textured-weave Bath Mat from H&M | Dark Mustard Yellow Jacquard-patterned Bath Towel from H&MSolid Bath Towels Blue from TargetMagazine And Toilet Paper Holder from Anthropologie | Jute Storage Basket from H&M

What do you guys think, Option 1 or Option 2?  I have to say I think I know which direction we’ll go down to help pull together the space.  But I also can’t wait to incorporate an old vintage mirror that was left at our house, maybe a plant or two and some other functional shelving or decor for the space.

Planning a bathroom makeover soon? I’ll be sharing a DIY checklist on an upcoming blog post!

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Latest Obsessions 02.19

If you’re a frequent Bee reader – you might be noticing a pattern – the beginning of the year I start organizing and decluttering the house… and then I start scheming for upcoming house projects planning for when the weather finally breaks, and even a few while we’re stuck inside! So as I’ve been decluttering, I’ve started a list of projects that I’m looking forward to but also still looking for a bit more inspiration and direction!

Front Door Makeover. I shared my front door makeover wayyyy back on the blog and I love our blue front door, but a part of me wants to maybe explore another color? I’m just not sure since our tan house feels like it limits a few options – I was thinking maybe a deep pink? Or another shade of blue? Or a really stunning green? Or maybe back to it’s original wood? We shall see! But she is in need of a little love, or a fresh coat to say the least. More to come on this project!
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Shear Statement Curtains. Yes, I’ve been on the hunt to replace curtains in our stairwell bay window.  It’s great to have such big windows in an otherwise dark and narrow space, they’re the perfect spot for our plants – and I like keeping them fairly open without blinds, while still giving us a little privacy with the pattern on them.  They’re a bit loved and just need a refresh – but I want to find a 2-pack and enough distraction for the shear. I love the idea of these Ruffle Diamond Curtain Set from Target – but keeping an eye out for a better sale since I’ll need 4-panels!
Latest Obsessions 02.19 - the bee life2Front Coat Closet. After updating our kitchen pantry and then our upstairs hall closet (above) with a fresh coat of paint, fun contact paper and matching baskets for better organization – I start thinking about our throw-all front coat closet.  Although it’s fairly functional, which I thought our kitchen pantry/hall closer both where, I think it could be improved more with better shelving and some purging! So I’m looking forward to giving the inside a fresh coat of paint, building some custom shelving and fully utilizing the space! Latest Obsessions 02.19 - the bee life3We’ve been working through some other projects like our bathroom remodel, which was moving quickly but now we’re just waiting to gear back up on it for finishing touches – which I use very lightly! In between, I’ve been decluttering and better organizing these commonly used spaces around the house.  Beyond planning for house projects, we’re starting to plan for trips this year – it’s always important for us to get away, recharge, explore new places and eat some good food!

What’re you plans for the year?

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5 Keepsakes to Incorporate Into Your Home Decor

When I decorate our home, I really try to incorporate personalized touches to each room vs. stock art or random pieces.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love some good stock canvas from Marshall’s but they have their time and place! So if you’re working to figure out ways to incorporate some personal touches and sentimental pieces into your home, here are a few of my go-to pieces I like to decorate with.

1. A Love Letter.  B purposed to be with a long two-page love letter – it was so thoughtful and special, I didn’t want to shove it into a box and find it years later.  So I found these two great matted frames from Marshall’s and framed the love letter – it hangs next to our bed and is one of my favorite parts of our master.

2. Vintage Family Photos.  We have these all around our house! From our gallery wall in our living room, to our built-in’s, dining room and even bedrooms, family photos are a great way to remember loved one’s past and hold onto family legacies’.  I borrowed family albums and made my own copies so I could have my own keepsakes – it was quite the process, but so worth it! Keepsakes - the bee life (1)3. Wedding Invitation or Keepsake.  We had a special map made that we put in our hotel welcome bags for all of our guests – this was one of my favorite pieces so again, I didn’t want to put this in a box and forget about it.  We have this framed in our bedroom as a fun keepsake – this would also be a fun idea for your wedding invites, save the date or other important announcements that are  a little extra special!

4. Old House Numbers.  Our house had ceramic house numbers that probably had some years with them, being our house is over a hundred years old.  I loved the ceramic numbers, but they were small and hard to read from the road – wanting to keep this momentum around I did a DIY with some frames that were left at the house by spray painting the frame, used some scrapbook paper as a background and framed the numbers.  This hangs in our entrance and I love it!

5. Vacation Photos.  I love picking one or two of my favorite photos from a recent trip and working to incorporate those into the house in various spaces or switching out the previous trip picture.  That way the memories are current, and when you go to switch out your picture you’ll see all the previous memories stacked (that’s one of my favorite parts!)  Keepsakes - the bee life (2)
Since our house has a lot of character and charm, I like to add modern pieces while complimenting the modern touches with a little added complimentary charm by incorporating these more personalized pieces that happen to be keepsakes from our family and the history of our home.  Depending on what keepsake you’re incorporating into your home, going the custom framing route is another way to really make this a show stopper and unique piece for your home!

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Mood Board – Basement Bath

Remember when I mentioned we were working through a mini basement remodel for additional living space? Yeah, I know it’s been a minute – don’t worry the reveal is going to be shared in the coming weeks!  Well, part two of this project is working on expanding and updating a bathroom to continue making more of our house livable!

Nailing down the style for this space was key and I did this with a mix of online shopping, Pinterest browsing while working through the function and flow of the room.  I landed on vintage and classic while the plan of resting on classic pieces like penny or octagon patterned tiles as the foundation with the floor, walls and shower.  From there it’ll be reinforcing this style through the color pallet, light fixtures and a classic yet modern vanity.
basement bath mood board - the bee life Shop My Mood Board: Vintage Gold Bath Light | Aberdeen 36″ Vanity in Dove Grey  | Montaigne Weathered Oak Vanity | Retro Octagon Mosaic Porcelain Tile | White Glossy Porcelain Penny Tile | Amberes Azul Ceramic Floor Tile 

Honestly – the vanity has been the toughest part to find, as we’re trying to stick within a reasonable budget yet not something that is completely generic or stock.  But I can’t seem to find a good happy medium, although Home Depot is the leader in variety of style for decent price.

White tile will be a must.  Although I’m tempted to figure out a fun, yet stylish way to incorporate a bold statement tile into the space either a backsplash or statement wall – but I think that is still TBD. I’m also tempted to work in some natural wood with shelving and/or the vanity – since it would be nice to pull in natural finishes like we did with our statement shiplap wall in the living space of our basement.
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Image Sources:  Left image | Right image

How do you plan your home projects?  I like to map out a direction, do my research and usually end up sticking to something pretty classic! We’re excited for this next project and will share the latest DIY’s and How-To’s along the way, all leading up to the grand reveal!

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