DIY Built-In Bookcase

When we were in escrow with our little abode, I remember showing people photos on our phones of the new joint and they would almost always comment on the little built-in we have in the Dining Room.

And sure, it was nice. But it was also a lot less nice up close in personal than it was in those photographs. Which is why we decided to do a little DIY built-in bookcase action over here.

Vintage Built In

It was old, and the door stuck, and it was our official junk collection spot for things we didn’t know what to do with in the kitchen. A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Plus, now that I’m all in hyper mama bear mode, I also started to think to myself that every time we opened those sticky, reluctant glass doors, we were probably risking exposure to lead paint and the likes.

Lead Paint on Built In

Anywhoo … I just didn’t want to risk it. Plus, the doors were a bit too kitchy for my taste. So one night over dinner, I said to Jay – let’s give that baby a makeover.

I wanted everything to look more built-in, so we decided to scrap the glass shelves that were in here before, and swap them out for solid wood shelves instead to create this little built-in bookcase.

Adding Shelves to Built-in

The good news was that we already had brackets mounted on the cabinet sides from the previous shelving, so it was easy peasy to get the new shelf in. We just measured, cut, and messed around with some different height options for a bit.

Since there were doors mounted to the sides of the built-in previously, we also had to come back through and add some putty into those gaps before we did our final round of fresh paint. Here it is, waiting to get a quick sand down in between coats of putty (I think we put on 2 coats, total).

Filling in Gaps with Join Compound

I can tell you, I’m already loving how simple this looks compared to the rather busy built-in view before. The panes of glass and everything, it made that corner of the Dining Room just look overly busy to me.

Here is a shot of it after we added a coat of Benjamin Moore Simply White.

Adding Shelves to Builtin

I’m really excited to accessorize this built-in bookcase now! I already found this fun serving tray at the thrift store for a few bucks last weekend. I think it would look awesome along with a little mini bar on that bottom shelf.

Brass Bamboo Tray

When everything is said and done, I see the built-in bookcase looking something like this! Stock that liquor shelf up, babbbbeeyy.

How_To_Style_a_Bookcase

MMMMMM – T-minus 4-months until this mama can get her hands back on a Margarita. That excites me more than it should. 😉

Black Friday | Get Em While Their Hot

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with your families! To celebrate Black Friday (who doesn’t love a deal) I’ve got an extra special promotion going on at Lemon Grove Interiors.

Black Friday Sale

Through Sunday (11/30) – snag 30% all design services for any space in your home! Just type in BLACKFRIDAY at checkout!

Whether you’d like to update your Master:

Bedroom Mood Board

Or your Living Space:

Living Room Mood Board

I’d love to help transform your house into a space you love coming home to.

Order here, with discount code BLACKFRIDAY through Sunday.

Organizing the Obsession

Ok, now that I know my little fetus has boy parts I’ve been a little gung ho in the clothes buying department. Like, every few days, I’m coming home with another bag full. Shamefully bad, I know.

BUT – my obsession thus far has been centered around a marvelous little thing called the goodwill quarter bin. Which is a bin, where you get baby clothes, for a quarter.

I know, right? 

How to Save on Baby Clothes

I mean, you have the look. A lot of it is stained, or ugly, or girl clothes. And don’t get me wrong, I’m so tempted to grab the super cute girl clothes, ya know – just in case I have a little lady some day. I mean – it’s a QUARTER!

But for now, I’ve trained my mind to focus only on polos and plaid, since I’m looking to stock up this little guy’s wardrobe on the cheap.

It’s really,  more or less, become a giant game for me to see the swaggest baby gear I can find for a 4th of one georgie porgie.

Buying Baby Clothes for Less

Your eyeballs are not deceiving you. That’s a Lacoste Shirt (retail value $40), some Tommy Trunks, and Polo board shorts. Man, Henry, you’ve got it made, kid.

Not that I’m really a huge name brand wanna be or anything, but ya know, I’ll take it!

Michigan Sleeper

Jaybird is a Umich grad, so when I spotted this sleeper, I had to add it to the bundle. Disclaimer: I’m NOT a Michigan fan (au contraire, GO GREEN!) so this was actually a sorta big deal. Made my man smile though, so I guess it was worth the twenty five pennies I spent 😉

So, as I’ve added to this collection, I’ve realized I need a way to organize the madness, and keep everything ready to go for when little boy gets here in Spring.

I came up with this system to organize all his clothes!

Organizing Baby Clothes

I just sorted out all the clothes I’d found by month. Nice and folded, laundered and ready for our little guy.

When it gets to be a few months out, I figure I’ll load up his closet with 0-6 months, so that everything is ready for him to wear. Depending on how big of a chunk he is, we’ll just rotate out to the new gear as he grows.

How to Save on Clothes

Mama’s first little guy really liked this activity. I think it had something to do with warm clothes out of the dryer and big boxy bins to jump into :)

Kitty Helper

Truth be told, I loved this activity so much, that I went out and bought another bag full :)

Buying Childrens Clothes

For now, the skyscraper of baby clothes sits in the corner of our room, just waiting for my next haul.

Organizing Baby Clothes

Any one else have any tips and tricks for finding little people clothes on the cheap? Do share!

Chandy Candy

Seriously, is there anything more chic than a chandelier? I mean, a pulling out all the stops, stop in your tracks and look at me chandelier.

Even though I know little Henry is most definitely a boy, I’m totally playing the “I’m the Mom” card and beautifying his nursery with some feminine touches 😀 I mean, it’s the age of the gender neutral baby, right? Sorry kid, no tonka truck borders in this room 😉

Which leads me to a chandelier I’ve been obsessing over. OBSESSING. This beauty is way the heck out of my price range, but my love for it goes to the bottom of the ocean and back. Doesn’t it just remind you of a fancy pantsy pair of chic earrings?

Favorite Chandelier

 

Chandelier // Earrings

I mean, of course, of course this chandelier is over $1,100. So, long story short, if I want it, or anything like it, to grace the halls of chateau de Sell anytime soon – it will have to be a DIY effort. Bummer dude.

But you better bet my wheels are already turning on how to get a look for less version rocking in this joint. Think this ceiling mount, and a craigslist chandelier spray painted go to along?

In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite chandy finds while on the hunt to light up our life a little more in the room of our little tot.

Best Brass Chandeliers

Eastview // Reina // Sofia // Elk Lighting // Ramona // Feiss

During my hunt for the perfect chandelier, I found a pretty stellar look for less, as well. I know I can’t be the only one obsessed with the Thomas O’Brien chandelier from Visual Comfort, right? Well check out this nearly identical one I found for $199!

Look for Less

 

Relay Race

One of the things we’re always trying to do better in our house is to buy our food as locally, and organically as possible. Here in Durham we’ve got some pretty sweet options for buying our grocery goods – there’s the farmer’s market, a little truck, portable market called LoMo market, and now there’s a new kid in town – Relay Foods.

Well lucky for us, since Relay Foods was new to the area, they were running an introductory special where we could snag $35 worth of groceries, for $15. I like food, I like a good deal, done and done.

Relay Foods Review

Lucky for all of YOU Relay Foods has a promotion special right now where y’all can snag a $30 discount on a $50 purchase. Yes, you did read that right – that means $20 for $50 worth of groceries – HUZZA!!

In our first order, we got an assortment of daily essentials, like eggs, meat, cheese, and bread.

Relay Foods Coupons

Our cheese and egg CSA that we had recently ended, so we were very happy to be reunited with some more delicious dairy :)

Coupons for Relay Foods

Along with our promo, they gave us a $10 coupon for some additional goodies. I couldn’t help it. The pizza crazed pregnant women in me went for the totally local, absolutely organic and oh. so. healthy. …. frozen pizza. Snicker.

Relay Foods Coupon

I also got some incredibly delicious organic peanut butter cups to go along for dessert. 😀

You better bet that pizza went into my belly promptly after snapping these photos 😉

Pizza Cravings During Pregnancy

Ready to try it and snag your $30 coupon? Get your shop on, y’all!

Relay Foods Coupon

Note: You need to be a new customer to take advantage of this promotion. If you use this link, I also, get a small credit on my personal account, with which, I will buy more pizza for my pregnant belly to eat. right. up. 😀

Deal of the Day

I get tons of emails from readers on the roman shades we purchased for our Living Room and Bedroom, and I wanted to let y’all know that they’re on super sale today if you’re looking to stock up for your own abode!

Ending today – you can use code 4FAMILY to get an extra 25% off (woot!!). Every so often JCPenney runs this special, and I’ve been holding off on purchasing matching shades for our Dining Room and Kitchen until I could snag a deal again.

Best Affordable Roman Shades

Dover Cordless Roman // Bamboo Woven Roman // Custom Textured Roman Shade // Burnout Bamboo Cordless

This deal is only good through the end of the day (10/27) so be sure to stock up while the getting is good! 😀

What Bored Pregnant People Do

When we started our Living Room journey, the room looked like this. I liked it, because it felt cozy and all fireplace-y.

Living Room Furniture Arrangement

We had some extra space behind the sofa, which would have made a nice locale for a console table and some artwork.

Couch Location in Living Room

Let’s call this my second favorite arrangement. I like it, but it had a few dings in my mind as well.

So in the name of opening up the room a little bit, we then experimented with this (highly unfinished layout). I hated it.

Large Open Living Room

Well last week we started doing some final measurements for our FLOR rug, and this crazed pregnant lady got to thinking. Let’s try furniture configuration 3.0, shall we?

Olive Sofa with IKAT Pillows

This option still focuses on the fireplace, but created more of a conversation area.

My favorite feature, is that the sofa peaks into the view of the dining/kitchen area now, so I feel more connected with my husband the chef when he’s cooking dinner.

Here’s a vantage from the newly finished Dining Room. The rooms just all feel much more connected now, which will be nice for baby watching down the road.

IKAT Throw Pillows

I’m so glad we grabbed these tufted arm chairs from TJ Maxx this summer. They were less than $250 each, and they really help to fill out the space! (For TJ Maxx shoppers, you know what a miracle it is to find TWO matching items in one trip!)

Tufted Linen Chairs

As much as I’ve toyed around with the idea of replacing our current ottoman with an actual coffee table – now that we have a mini Sell on the way from Babyland, I’m thinking this upholstered number may stick around a bit longer so we don’t have any sharp corners.

Ottoman Tufted Linen

And although I have lots of love in my heart for our tufted highback linen chairs – I’m even more excited about my latest thrift find that cost me a whopping $8 😀

Bamboo Side Chair

It’s the perfect addition to our empty little nook to the right of the armoire. Love, love, love it 😀

Oh, and we’ve officially got our FLOR tiles in da house now! I’m so excited to show y’all a final shot of how the space is looking with the new carpet in next week!

Who’s the Boss

A few weeks ago, I had Jay bring up the last of the boxes from our basement and I was delighted to find all our artwork in mystery box #1. Between all our moving around and life re-configuring, I think I forgot that I own artwork – a decent amount of it actually. Remember how I lamented that our house was feeling sorta non-homey, well I thought our artwork hanging would be a good place to start to get things feeling a bit more cozy and lived in.

When you walked into the office before, it was feeling a bit bare. In need of some wall adorning, wouldn’t you agree?

How to Decorate Office

So I mixed and matched and tried to find the prints that would look best – but everything I found felt too empty in the room, like it just wasn’t taking up enough wall space.

I finally found a grouping of (6) botanicals, which we had in our dinging room in the last house.

Dining_Room_Botanical_Art_Collage

I loved the idea of grouping (4) on each side – alas if you do the math, that leaves me two short … bummer dude.

But THEN, I remembered that I had two more, that we had in our loo in the last house. Remember these guys?

Botanical Art Work in Bathroom

So I crossed my fingers and headed over to Michaels, where we purchased the initial (6) frames. It was a generic(ish) white frame, but I obviously needed it to match exactly if I was going to group everything together.

And yaknowwhat?? They had the frames and they were only $5.99 each! Huzzaah!! Now that’s what I call a success :)

Inexpensive Frame Locations

While Jay was getting the tools he would need to pop up the prints, I took a quick second to arrange them so he could just grab each one and put it up.

Arranging Artwork

Although the room definitely still needs some accessorizing, I think the artwork definitely helps to make things look a bit more finished.

If I could actually keep fiddle leaf fig trees alive, one would look splendid in the corner of the office, no? 😉

Office Artwork

And another shot of the space, to the right of the computer and desk.

Botanical Art

Since we already had the art and most of the frames on hand, our total cost was around $13, which makes this little momma one happy camper :)

One more before:

Decorating Office

and after!

Botanical Art in Office

Backsplashin

The votes came in and y’all pretty resoundingly said brick pattern on the subway tile. Call me a lemming, I listened. 😉

White Subway Backsplash

Now, as much as I love (love!) the herringbone pattern, we had a few reasons for choosing the traditional subway tile pattern. First, it’s way easier. Like a Sunday afternoon and up, vs. a few days of cursing under your breath and redoing things 😉 Also, we just did herringbone in our last abode – time to mix it up!

DIY Herringbone Backsplash

Truth be told, the kitchen is currently a barf zone for me. I literally cannot walk into the room without feeling like I’m on a vomit comet. I think it’s the fridge, like proximity to the fridge, I don’t even know any more. Forget food aversions, I have room aversions. It’s bad.

So my wonderful, amazing, can do husband just did this all himself. I said brick laid backsplash, and he said – ok!

And he did a swimmingly grand job.

Subway Tile

One of my new favorite areas in the kitchen is our ginormous stretch of counter top space under the window. Since we decided to relocate our sink to the peninsula, we’ve got a human sized stretch of uninterrupted counter space. I’m thinking it’s going to be the perfect built-in buffet for when we have partays down the road.

No Sink Under Window

Another thing that makes me smile, finally being able to accessorize the space a bit! I found these cute little turkish towels at HomeGoods. Adorbs.

GE Cafe Oven

Things that make me frown however, include our little spice cabinet. Best invention ever, turned into biggest headache ever. Home Depot, you guys, we’ve been having an epically hard time getting those sons of guns to react to the fact that our kitchen is still not done, 4 months after we’ve paid for it in full. Fun. Lots of fun. 😉

You can see in the photos that things like toe kick, etc are not finished, but then we have other sad realities, like the fact that our spice drawer doesn’t close. At all (and hasn’t since day one)

Martha Stewart Cabinets

Whomp, whomp. Home Depot is working with us on all this, but needless to say, when the cabinets were paid for on May 13rd, and it’s September 5th, it kinda leads to some head scratching 😀 Fear not, once everything is resolved, I’ll definitely put an entire review together of our experience but right now, we’re not bowled over – that’s fo shizzle.

Ok, back to backsplash. 😉

Right now, above our oven, we’ve got a tall wall full of subway goodness.

Subway Tile Backsplash

When we feel like spending moolah again (read, a while) we’re thinking about putting in a custom range hood above the oven to help with air circulation in the kitchen when cooking.

Word – actually buying a range hood cover to match your cabinets is like a cool $1k. What? No, notta gonna happen. We figured we could recreate the shaker look of the cabinets pretty easily and try to match things up as good as possible, for a whole heckofalot less than a thousand dollars.

In the end, we hope it looks something sorta like this.

Custom Range Hood

Although I’m totally in love with our backsplash (and the concept of having a done-ish kitchen), things are feeling a bit white in here these days. 😉 I’m looking forward to accessorizing though and adding some spice! Other than adding accessories, our general to-do list looks like this:

Customizing Kitchen Cabinets

Subway tile backsplash is one of my favorite super cheap ways to make a space shine. Our total cost, including grout and mortar, was $61 for this space. BAM.

Almost there, y’all! Almost there!

Desiderata

Perhaps it was the two glasses of rum punch in me, but when I sat down a few months ago to use the loo in my friend Emily’s home, I was mesmerized by a little poster she had, hanging on the back of her bathroom door. It was long, but I read the whole darn thing, and then just said a resounding YES in my head. That is exactly it, exactly it. As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to find a print for my own home, which is where dear etsy comes in – does it ever fail?

I found the prettiest version of the Desiderata.

Desiderata

But when we got it to our door step, we realized that it was quite long (abnormally sized) and that we’d have to get creative in the framing department.

So with a twinkle in my eye – I said by George – let’s build a frame! I thought it would be easy, Jay thought it would be hard. Jay landed up being more right than Mary 😀

It started out pretty simple – we found some glass at Home Depot – only set us back three bucks (good to know if you ever need to replace a piece of glass in a picture frame…

Replacement Glass For Frame

After we had the glass set aside, we needed to build the frame exterior. To make sure we got the right angle, Jay used his handy dandy angle finder. We also tested out the angle on a few test scraps of wood first, too.

How to Measure Wood Angle

Now we wanted the print to be as centered as possible within the frame, so we had to do some math to make sure our height and width for each piece matched up with a centered final photo.

Jay sat down and started engineering it out. This is about the time in a project where I start singing the Bob the Builder song :) Bob the Builder can we build it, Bob the Builder, YES WE CAN. It’s my renovating anthem 😀

Measuring Custom Picture Frame

After two tries hacking away with his miter saw, we finally had this – the beginnings of a picture frame. Turns out our first piece of wood was warped, so we actually had to bring it back to the store since we couldn’t use it … bummer dude.

Making your own frame

From there, things were looking up. All we had to do was stain it and attach it and we were on our way. (mostly)

We had two stains laying around from past projects, so we sampled them both and picked a fav. The Ebony felt too dark to me in this case, so we landed up going with Provincial (the same color we used for our floors).

Ebony Minwax Stain

For the backing, we decided to use some scrap from our kitchen remodel. It’s just been sitting in the corner of the kitchen for ages (while we still wait on Home Depot to do some finishing touches, uggh), so we snuck a small corner of it.

Using Scrap Wood for Picture Frame

Our last step was matting the back panel with some linen fabric, which cost us a whopping $1.50 at JoAnn’s. When we were in the check out line with our fabric, something else caught our eye.

Pink Hot Glue Gun

Yes, we are the proud new owners of a little pink hot glue gun :) For $3, we couldn’t say no. Plus, it turns out we needed it to finish our little crafty mccrafterson project we had going on.

Matting Frame with Linen

After we had our mat down and in place, it was the final moment of truth. We used some heavy duty glue to mat the frame (kinda winging it at this point, in all honesty) and in the end – we had this!

DIY Custom Frame

Gotta play it straight – next time, we’ll probably just go out and buy a frame. Our total cost was pretty reasonable though – we spent less than ten bucks – so that’s a solid win!

If you can’t read the print up above, here are the words from the Desiderata. Ahhh, you just feel at peace reading them :)

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.