Building A Desk

So y’all ever get like sorta ahead of yourself and create, in your head, what would be your ideal but then you realize over time, it’s probably best to just go for what’s REAL. Like, set your sites a bit, well – smaller.

My dear husband, you guys. He’s the best. I come to him with ideas, and he builds them. Sometimes he complains and grumbles – but what he usually does before he starts belly aching is procrastinate. Now, I can’t blame him for any of the above, but I have an ever expanding uterus and these days I’m on a tight timeline to get things done.

So in the name of compromise, and having something up and ready to go sooner rather than later, instead of my grand vision (this).

Built In Desk Design

I settled on something a bit more manageable. The silver lining was that we were able to use a counter top we had already built this summer for another project that was *literally* sitting in our garage and put it to use, AND we were able to use considerably less wood, which brought our total out of pocket cost to $30 in wood, and $30 in paint (which I plan to use in our daughter’s room, too). You can see the piece of wood peaking behind the plywood.

Built_Ins_From_Plywood

The plywood is what we used for the base of the desk and the main change from my grand vision is that instead of having bookcases flank either side, I opted for a stand alone style desk for now because it was a) way less work and b) way cheaper/faster.

You can see the bases starting to take shape here. We used construction grade plywood for this base and it turned out great.

DIY_Built_In_Desk

It’s the same wood we used when we did our built-ins (below) a few months back, so more or less, we already knew what we were working with and how it would look once finished. It’s $30 per sheet at Home Depot, for those that may want to use it in the future.

Affordable_Library_Sconce


For each of the bases we prepped all of our wood before and very strategically (ie on paper first) decided how we would cut the wood to minimize scrap and make sure we got as far as possible with each wood piece.

H LOVES helping his dad with projects now, but hates the extra noise. I don’t know if other people’s kids are as obsessed with noises as mine but pretty much every single thing on this green earth, his first comment to us is – it made a noise? Yes, child, it did. Plus with anything as loud as a table saw, etc, I want his ears to be covered anyway since I’d feel sorta bad if we gave to poor kid issues down the road from brazenly using all kinds of noise makers around him. (These are the earmuffs we bought for him and he loves them – Jay even wears them sometimes when the kiddo isn’t around, haha!)

Ear_Protection_Child

Once the cabinet bases were trimmed out, each one looked like this! I even had Jay leave out the base on the left side of the cabinet so that we could add in a built-in location for our litter box, haha!

DIY_Desk_Base

One thing we did that actually made a big difference this time around was use a wood hardner compound that made the wood so much smoother, and minimized our need to do quite as much sanding (which was a big time saver). I’d highly recommend this step if you’re new to building out furniture, like we are, because it was a game changer for this build! This was the product we used (left here from the previous homeowner, bonus).

Cliff hanger, I’ll post photos next week for you to feast your eyeballs on!! πŸ˜€

Sconces Up in Here

Y’all – remember when I showed you the progress on our Dining Room, errrr, a while ago? And I made note of the electrical boxes affixing the top of our newly minted bookcases?

A refresher:

Built_In_Bookcase_Dining_Room

Well a finally got around to ordering some new lights for the space from amazon and our space be looking pretty fly, yo!

Unbeknownst to me, amazon has an option where you can (if available) select to buy a re-boxed version of your item at a discount. They’re in varying states of condition (ie fair, good, like new) and have a corresponding discounted price. Well in the name of saving $15 on the pair, I got ones that were reboxed, but in perfect condition otherwise – ummm ok! Sign me up, right?

Library_Sconce_Amazon

The both looked peachy keen when they arrived. One of them looked like it had a slight scuff on one of the shades, but we just made sure to position that out when we mounted it. I took a photo so you can see how *hard* it is to actually see.

Brass_Sconce

The arm on these guys is a bit long, and it’s the one thing I’m still adjusting too. We have the option of removing the arm completely as well (this model had two mounting options) so I may opt to remove the arm on this later on down the road.

I love this photo secretly (below) since it kind sums up a Saturday for Jay. 22 cups of coffee and a harbor freight magazine is like his version of pure bliss. He was trying to pump H up about the harbor freight magazine while they sat eating eggs – lolol.

Library_Sconce_Affordable

He said a few choice words while mounting this (perhaps not enough coffee) since he was having trouble getting all the wires to fit inside the box.

Installing_Sconce_Lighting

Eventually we had this though!

What do y’all think, do you think that arm is too big? I’m still on the fence about it.

Brass_Library_Sconce


Here is a few from straight on. It hangs down a bit into the bookcase, but it’s supposed to do that to a certain extent.

Overall, it definitely feels like an upgrade from the fuse boxes we had chilling up there for the better part of a year. Ha! Baby steps you guys!!
Β  Β 

Affordable_Library_Sconce

Composting Our Food Waste

Maybe it’s nesting for baby #2 over here, but I’m like feeling this urge to turn our house into like a self contained oasis where we can get everything we need from our home sweet home – food, love, little bit of this, little bit of that. I feel like there’s some type of symbolic mama bear thing going on – maybe the world seems a bit different of foreign to me, and I think my way of dealing with the chaos around me is trying to create knowns here at home. And y’all – for so, SO, long, I’ve wanted to have a yard that produces food for us. I mean – I’m realistic, I get that I’ll still go to the grocery store and buy tyson chicken more than I should, but I want to start pushing us toward as healthy a lifestyle as possible, and I think knowing precisely where you’re food is coming from (and what it took to get it there) is a good step in that direction.

So some of y’all that follow me on insta and facebook probably saw my initial inspired rant about the steps we’d be taking to get this rodeo happening. This book was a super fun read for me (it’s like 99% pictures, and explanatory text) and it had a few nuggets of info that inspired me to get started on this little self sustaining journey.Β  Modern_Homesteading_Book_Review

Now it’s a bit of country snobbery IMHO, where they kinda imply that the only way to live sustainably is to like go all out and homestead the heck out of it, and I’m all about finding middle ground guys and empowering people to make small, incremental steps where they’re at. I mean, would it be nice to have a peach tree orchard – sure! But if someone can do something small, and build from that, I’m kinda more on that train.

So our first small step was snagging this compost bin off craigslist for $20.

First_Steps_To_Composting_At_Home

Y’all I love this thing. Like it’s taking the place of the cat in my hierarchy for love for household people/pets in Sell Casa. I feel like wonder woman saving all our food scraps (what, what) and 1) avoiding the landfill and 2) creating some sweet sweet soil for all my crops I be tilling come spring (obvi).

It’s pretty easy concept – just pop open the top and add in your goods. Nothing with dairy or meat can be added, or weeds that go to seed (then you just have compost that’s going to be full of weeds). In fact, I’m so afraid of the whole weeds taking over the compost bin thing, that I’ve decided to avoid all types, not just those (like dandelions) that go to seed. (If anyone knows more about this than me, would love to hear insights)

Compost_Bin_In_City

It’s also super fun to see H get pumped about bringing the compost out and I hope it helps him, in small ways, as he grows up, think about wasting less and wanting less and making things stretch further, faster – vs. this very wasteful society we’re currently all marinating in.

It’s also an added bonus that this little nook of the garden used to look like this.

Hose_Storage_Ideas

And I convinved the hubster to drop six dolla billz at our favorite local hardware shop for this new handy dandy house house thing I’ve been eyeing for a few weeks.

Organizing_Yard_Ideas

Better, right? Not perfect, but definitely better! H always wants to swim in his pool, so it’s nice to have the hose more accessible and less likely to get all tangled up like it did before.

The rest of that row along the house currently looks like this (#dontjudge)Β but I’m hoping my food I plan to grow just grows as quickly as all those weeds πŸ˜€

Overgrown_Sidepath

 

Never, Ever, Buy Things New

Y’all, I mentioned a few months ago our new found journey to becoming frugal masters. We’ve always been sorta inclined toward this path and there are *definitely* those that do this much better than me. Case and point, kiddo clothes. So sometimes, I like imagine a life where I would bust my bootie into Carter’s and Old Navy and just sorta crackle with pure glee as I load up my cart with the bargains around me. $5, FIVE DOLLARS?! Why, I really should grab two! I mean, the marketing you guys, they got that down and the clothes are so. darn. CUTE. Feeling me parents of the internet world?

Well you’ve got to use your imagination a bit more when you shop second hand, because the clothes are not marketed and laid out for you so nicely, but y’all, I guarantee you that there are so many other humans out there that paid full price for kids clothes that got underused, that you’ve got a prime opportunity to swoop in there and get your hands on the goods for a steal of a deal.

I’m {personally} totally hooked though. I just got H’s entire 5T wardrobe for $61 and since a toddler jacket at the Gap runs you around $40, I consider this a win.

Kids Consignment Sales Raleigh

Disclaimer – I’ll probably add a shirt or pair of pants here and there, but overall – this kid is going to be looking j-crew posh when he hits the streets.

A few points really quick – notice I said my kids 5T wardrobe? Y’all he’s in 3T right now, but truly, the only way to successfully keep yourself from having to buy things full price down the road, is to start stashing clothes for them early and then add a few small, key pieces as they get older. Like an extra pair of pants, more jammies, or water shoes. Every one of the items above cost less than $3 and they’re all name brand, really nice stuff! (more here on how I keep each size organized)

Consignment Sales Raleigh

I mean, that sweater y’all. It makes me wish for a nice cup of coco and weather that was not 100. NC in summatime, it’s great! πŸ˜‰

Where_To_Consign_Raleigh

I’m loving this Gap windbreaker, $2. Yeaaaasss. So cute, and barely worn!

Best_Consignment_Sales_In_Raleigh

One thing you do need to be ok with is having other children’s names scribed inside the goods (especially things like jackets, I’ve noticed).

Meh – for $2, if people call my kid Jack, I’m ok with that! If he lands up with a Jack in his class we may have to cross it out to say Henry, just so the coat stays in the Sell Casa πŸ˜‰

Why_Buy_Used_Kids_Clothing

My mom is super amazing and chipped in to help buy the kiddo some shoes, too. These are all in great condition and are brands like Stride Rite and Keen (hello $50 per pair of shoes – no thanks!). More like $5 when you buy them used you guys.

Another thing I’ve personally taken a liking to – is at consignment sales only shopping the 1/2 off days. I’m sure there are better selections on full price days but there is still really, really nice/cute stuff on the 1/2 off day – so I typically wait and see what I can find! When you start early, it’s not dire that you get everything you need in 1-shot, too. Consignment stores will often have dollar days, etc, so you can find good deals no matter the locale.

Kids_Shoes_For_Sale

One of the blogs I read, Frugalwoods is all about clothes bans. Like never buy clothes and I’m all – nope. Not happening! 1) Buying clothes is fun, it’s fun to have the kiddo dressed up and dapper. I like doing it, it brings me joy (she would roll over and die hearing me saying buying stuff is fun BUT my other point is 2) Frugal living is all about the ROI y’all – IMO. I’m confident that all the clothes I buy for H will be sold for nearly what I bought them for, giving the dirt cheap prices I paid. Following me, grasshopper? Sure, some clothes will get trashed, etc, but most of them I will sell for what I paid, which is like a $1 or $2. So, I call that a win – it’s like borrowing a cute wardrobe, right? Either way – I think the path to frugal living is all about carving out what it is that you value and minimizing the rest.

Don’t let friends buy new. That’s your PSA for the day.

Here are some of my favorite Raleigh consignment sale locales, for anyone local!

 

 

Round Two – Nursery Design!

Oh you guys. This pregnancy has been rough so far. I’ve been feeling so sick every day and the last few weeks have just started to feel really depressed about it – it literally starts to feel like you will never, ever, feel normal again. I know we’re getting so close to better days ahead though y’all and one thing that helps calm my nerves and make me forget about all my nausea is – designing a nursery! πŸ˜‰ Haha. It’s THAT fun πŸ˜€

Silver lining with this room is that other than paint and 4-5 fill in items, I’m going to reuse staples like the glider and the crib from H’s room. Henry is actually still *using* the crib (hey, I like having a baby jail, don’t judge me!) so we’ll uhhh, have to address that as well. πŸ˜‰

Here is what H’s never quite complete nursery looked like.

Dark Blue Baby Room

I’ll use this glider and the crib, and maybe the bookcase in the new baby’s room. Dark Blue Boys Room Y’all this is what I’m thinking for the new babes space. A botanical themed space with some paneling on charcoal walls!

Botanical Nursery Design

Different than what we’ve done in the past, but I’m just really into dark colors right now! I think with the lighter details, it helps to balance it out and ground the darker base.

Notice those new doors … I sorta told Jay I want to replace all the doors and hardware in the house (our current style looks like this)

Laundry Room Closet

I don’t know – pinterest has pretty much ruined me. Jay thinks I’m off my rocker.

If you’re extra blog savvy, you’ll also recognize that the room we’ll be using as our nursery for baby #2, is also our office. I know I totally was dreaming and scheming of turning this room into a crazy awesome library esq space (not all dreams come true guys), but I’m actually going to try and recreate that look in a little nook in our house downstairs. Stay tuned, it’s on the honey do list this month so I’m hoping to have progress to share on our new office locale sooner rather than later! (not all is lost!)

I’ve always thought this was a boy, but the past few weeks, as I’m still feeling pretty sick every day, I’m like – crap – maybe this is a girl… Not going to lie, I actually want another boy (same clothes, same everything – easy) but the more I think about it, the more I’ve come around to the idea of a potential girl.

More than anything our only hope is for a healthy baby. Cliche, but especially with these first few uncertain months for us, we’re just hoping we continue to hear good news about the prospects of this little ones health. I’ll keep y’all updated, but we’ll have an amnio in the next few weeks along with an ultrasound, which will provide more information. Please continue to send us good vibes!

Office Inspiration

Learning your husband is actually semi-equipped to build things (like this or this) is a double edge sword. All of a sudden, I’m looking at every nook and cranny in our house and wondering how/if he could build me up some custom bookshelves or a new window seat or another table. The answer is (mostly) yes, I’m finding, especially if I have enough patience to let him finish the project in peace without me nagging him and bugging him to the point he wants to just – well – not build things anymore. πŸ˜‰ What can I say, I’m just so excited for the final product πŸ˜€

Lemon_Grove_Interiors

So in our office, which currently looks like this, is a room I’ve been tossing around in my head for a dramatic redo/reno.

Benjamin_Moore_Moonlight

One day when I was at my mom and dad’s I was leafing through their newspaper and it had a write up on a local carpenter and one of his projects really caught my eye. It was a dark navy bookcase (pair of bookcases) flanking a window. And I started to drift off while looking at the picture – thinking of this window and this corner of our house.

Office_Moonlight_Benjamin_Moore

And I thought to myself – hey! We should build a bookcase with a desk in the middle. Jay built a table for our outside, and I was thinking a similar rusticy type of worn wood would look pretty sweet flanked by some dark and dreamy bookcases. Y’all picking up what I’m putting down? Now bookcases (and the wood required to build them) are not the cheapest DIY, so I think we’re in a holding pattern of saving up some dough for this project, but I’m thinking I’d love a final product that had a look and feel like some of the photos below.

Dark_Blue_Built_In_Bookcase

{source}

And I love the concept of this (with the built-in desk) but I think I want to go dark on these cabinets, vs white.

Built in Desk

{source}

And I love this one, but I think slightly darker cabinets? But that rug. I mean serrriiiously – that rug?! The other night, as I was lying awake in bed specing out this bookcase install in my head I told Jay that I thought we should put wood floors in this room and he only kinda mumbled no, so I think I can sway him on this very important detail.

Gray_Cabinets_Office

{source}

Our carpet is actually pretty worn out upstairs, with a lot of spots bubbling up from getting stretched out, so we’re kinda at the point where we need to decide to put new carpet down orrrr put in wood floors, and I’m sorta leaning toward the latter. πŸ˜‰

Carpet_Wearing_Out

It will mean refinishing our floors upstairs (like we did on this house), but I might just be ok with that! Here is a shot of our hallway when we moved in – prior to paint but still the same floor. Leaves a bit to be desired (too shiny and too orange for my taste!)

Hardwood on stair landing

I figure a few years down the road when H is getting toward double digits and wants his own space, then we could always pop a bed in between the two bookcases vs. a desk. Although, in complete honesty, I may wait until he getting on toward high school before I give up the office because I seriously don’t know what we’d do without this dedicated space for a computer – I love it.

Down the road if we ever convert the space to a bedroom. I’d pop something in that functioned/looked like this gorg photo below. I think the black is a bit too dark, but I do love it in this photo!

black walls in library

Our Office, Currently

Our office you guys – it’s just wanting for some love. I work from home one day a week and I find during those hours of sitting and staring at my (current) completely blank wall above me that this room just needs something y’all. I mean this is the current view, haha. We have not done much in here …

Benjamin_Moore_Moonlight

Leaves a bit to be desired… This room has become sort of an unprogrammed space and I’m just dying to give it some personality and definition. I’ve got some big plans in store for it (that I’ll share next week), but this week I thought I’d post some before shots. Well – truthfully – this is the before shot.

Upstairs Office Space

Which was the photo in the listing before we bought it. Green paint (like the rest of the upstairs) and the same carpet. We painted it Benjamin Moore Moonshine (when we had extra paint from this room), and it’s a definite update and makes the space much brighter and more cheery.

I think it still needs some serious work though as the space is largely just our desk and some random toys for H (like his teepee and dress up clothes) and I think the biggest issue we have in here is that it’s just a drop zone, vs. an intentional space.

This wall in particular, is one I’d like to see a lot of changes for. Maybe a built-in along the back wall (on either side of the windows) for extra storage.

Office_Moonlight_Benjamin_Moore

I tried adding in some artwork, but alas, I have still not put anything in the frames (just found some frames that had the right proportions, so I bought them). Maybe I’m the problem in this equation – I just can’t commit to a look I love in this space, so it’s been an under utilized room since we’ve moved in.

Functional Children's Storage

We do store Henry’s rotating out clothes (I keep a bin in here that I fill as he ages out of clothing), so this room is functional in a sense, but y’all, I think it’s just having little ones but the clutter and just extra “stuff” around the house all the time gives me a slight tick. Must. Put. Away. I just want bookcases and storage and locations I can store everything in a pretty way (vs. tupperware containers functioning as coffee tables…)

Storage_Childrens_Clothes

 

DIY Counter in Laundry

So Jay’s been busy building some tables that we’ve actually been selling on craigslist (woo hoo for handy husband’s with carpentry skills!) and while he was fiddling with those, I asked him, pretty please if he could create a counter top for the laundry room since we’ve had virtually no storage in here for the past 18-months. It was time, as Rafiki would say. He’s a wise baboon, no? (I blame my 2-year old for any Disney references on this blog)

Y’all saw our current laundry room (and upstairs hall) in last week’s post, but here is a quick snap shot in case you’re like me and forget anything that didn’t happen in the last 30 minutes.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

So while Jay was building away, he crafted this little counter, which has a few notches in the back to account for the electrical and plumbing behind the washer and the dryer.

These are just 10″x10′ pine boards y’all – to the tune of $9 each at Home Depot, so this entire project was under $30. Woot!

DIY_Laundry_Countertop

So although we DID account for the notches we had to make in the back, apparently we did not account for the fact that there was a wall on either side of this sucker cause y’all – ummmmm – our walls be looking rough after we got this thing (finally) wedged into place. We probably should have just taken it downstairs and cut an 1/8th inch off the side but I (true to form) was rearing to go and wanted this in place without hauling out the saw (again).

Luckily it was mostly just scuffing (there was a staple on the end of one of the wood pieces, doy!) and with some paint touch up it looks fine, but I was a bit stressed out about it during install. Jay can attest to that πŸ˜‰

DIY_Laundry_Room

We used a vinegar and steel wool concoction that is a natural way to age wood quickly. We just used this tutorial and overall, we’re super happy with the way things turned out.

DIY_Pine_Counter_Top

This did require a lot of experimenting, and I’d highly recommend testing it on scrap wood before you go ahead and put it all over your entire finished piece. It’s a bit of a science experiment,Β and will come out different each time you do it (based on how much steel wool you use, and how long you let it sit, etc) so test it out before hand. You can always dilute it to get a slightly less dark look.

DIY_Pine_Countertop

And a wider angle view so you can see some of the color variation on the counter.

Inexpensive_Laundry_Updates

Over time I’d love to add some shelves but it took us a year + to get around to the counter, so don’t hold your breath on an update any time *too* soon in that department πŸ˜‰

Pine_Counter_Top_DIY

Super easy, darn cheap, and heyo – chic too! Pretty happy with this upgrade for a weekend, a saw, and thirty bucks!!

One last look at the improved space.

Farmhouse_Laundry_Room

And the before!

Renovating Small Laundry Room

Laundry, These Days

So y’all saw some of our laundry room in this post – it was actually our first project here in the house where we installed some subway tile and dark grout (my first time trying a darker grout – I like it!). Here is a progress shot of that room, probably about a year ago now, right after we installed the tile.

Subway Tile Slate Floor Laundry

And if you want to go way back – here it is when we moved in. This green color was in all the rooms upstairs and y’all, it had to go πŸ˜‰

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

Here’s what we’ve been rocking for 2017 so far.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

The tops of the washer and dryer do act as a counter more or less, but there are gaps all over the place and I’ve been wanting to get something in there there was more finished (ie a real counter top).

High_Efficiency_Laundry_Sale

One thing I really love about the laundry room / closet (?) is this hanging rack which is where we try to air dry as much clothing as possible. I swear with a child I feel like I’m constantly doing laundry and I wanted to think of small ways we could make a dent in our utility bill so we’ve been air drying most shirts and all bed sheets. I’ve found that sheets actually dry *better* on our stair railing (within 30 minutes if laid out enough) than they did in the dryer since they’d always get tangled up with other articles of clothing and come out moist after an hour + of drying – so if you haven’t tried air drying some of your laundry you should definitely do it!

Drying_Rack_In_Laundry

Notice in the inspiration board below that there are a few elements still missing from our room? While Jay and I (mostly Jay) have been working on a counter top and y’all – spoiler. it turned out great and was insanely cheap. Details next week! (that much closer to a finish space!)

Here is my inspiration board for reference.

Laundry Room Mood Board

When One House To Reno Isn’t Enough

Every time I type this, or think this, or say this my armpits get sweaty and I question my sanity. You guys – we’ve hard core branched out of our comfort zone and bought ourselves a whole other house, with a whole other mortgage. And for most people that have read this blog for a while you’re probably thinking – you’re moving again?! And for once, the answer is no – we’re not. We’re just becoming landlords.

Sayyyy whaattt?? I know – I know!? It’s crazy. But when one house to renovate just isn’t enough to make your heart happy, y’all, you go out and buy another one. Right? Oh – I’m the only one that does that?? πŸ˜€ So long story short, we bought the cutest little townhouse down in Cary, NC, which is a hop skip and a jump from our abode here in Raleigh. Overall, this joint is cute as a button, updated and ready to move in right now – which is great, because frankly with a two year old and our own renovations always swirling, we were not looking for a tear it out and replace deal.

Cary Townhome

Out of privacy for the people that live here, I’ll not be posting a ton of photos of the new place but will definitely include any updates we do to it here on the blog. In the next few years I’d like to renovate the bathrooms and do a few other things here and there over time. Ultimately, if y’all remember this post, here, where I discussed some of our longer and mid-term financial goals, we’re hoping that this investment will helps us to move toward a future where we can call the shots a bit more and have an income source beyond the 9-5. That’s LONG TERM though folks, so for now, we’re just crossing our fingers that someone signs on the dotted line to pay the mortgage each month.

Now we did not go into this decision lightly – we talked about it and thought about it and sat on it for a few months before we contacted our realtor (who is amazing, if you live in Raleigh or want to live in Raleigh let me know and I’ll hook you up) to help us find a place.

Cary Greenway System
Luckily we live in a county that has an influx of 64 people a day right now by some estimates, so it’s been growing quickly and the demand for rentals is very high as people relocate from out of state of different job opportunities. We’re excited about this locale in particular since it’s very close to downtown Cary and is easily bikable via their greenway system into the heart of their little town which has an increasing number of shops and restaurants and breweries and is really becoming a fun little town! We pretty much bike or bus everywhere in our house, so it was important for us (personally) to buy a property that we felt someone could live a car light lifestyle in. We’re excited to get to know it better over the years of owning this property.

The Pharmacy Bottle Shop

One thing for sure – this is totally new territory for us! Wish us luck you guys – we’re going to need it! Anyone else out there branched out into landlord/rental world? Trying to decide if I’ve totally lost my marbles (leaning toward yes?)