A Little Update

Whew! It’s been awhile!

Sorry about that. I was gone for a week, then I got out of the weekly post habit, and the rest went downhill. BUT! This doesn’t mean things haven’t been happening. If anything, the pace of our house projects has ramped up. Most of you reading this blog know me in “real life” and know that I’m pregnant (but to those of you who don’t, SURPRISE!) so September (and really, August) is when I need to have a lot of this finished.

What’s on my mind/littered across the floor right now?

Built-in Dining Room Cabinet

Please excuse the crazy colors – it’s to make creating the cut layout/diagrams easier in SketchUp! There’s an unused, rather large corner in our dining room, and since we own no fancy dining room furniture, I decided to create some built-ins. An ambitious project, particularly for someone with just a circular saw and (corded!) drill… But it’s coming together nicely. The bottom cabinet carcass & face frame are all done, just need to build the drawers & sliders, order the doors/hardware, and decide what sort of countertop I want. Then it’s on to the upper cabinet! I’m excited about that, with the cute little wine bottle holders. And of course, the last step is the trim.

I’m less excited about finishing the cabinet, for obvious reasons, but there’s enough other work still left to do to keep me going. I plan to paint it white and leave the inside natural (but coated with poly). Ooh! And I’m eyeing these beautiful pulls from Rejuvenation…

Kitchen Cabinet Painting

The saga continues! But in a strange and glorious twist, the chalk paint disaster may have ended up as a good thing. After seeing a bunch of the cabinets painted white, we started to question whether white was really the best choice after all. Would the kitchen feel too bright? Would all the white be overwhelming? I consulted Photoshop to get a sense for how the whole kitchen would look with white cabinets – and wondered why in the world I hadn’t tried it earlier.

I didn’t love it. Then on a whim, I tried a charcoal gray – and we DID love it! At first I was thinking just lowers painted dark, uppers white, but the (rough) mockups looked great with the uppers AND lowers painted charcoal. I threw in a little flooring mockup too because a girl can dream, right?

So, I’ve spent the last couple days sanding the chalk paint off, cleaning/deglossing all the doors & frame, priming, and painting. I’ve got a lot of work left (this is a long process) but I’m WAY more confident that this will turn out well. I keep telling myself that it’s not going to get any more comfortable to be crouched down on the floor trying to paint all these doors & frames, so I’m trying to get it all done as quickly as possible. A 16-hour recoat time has other plans, though. But I get so wiped out so quickly now that it’s a little relief not to be able to do 2 coats right in a row!

Room Musical Chairs

Since we moved in, husband and I have been in the second-largest bedroom. Our house is old, so there’s no master bedroom or bathroom. We have four bedrooms total, three on the second floor, and one in the finished attic, and our room so far has done us just fine. But with a baby on the way, suddenly our current room makes way more sense as a nursery, so we’re moving out!

The room we’re moving into has been our catch-all room since we moved in. Winter/camping gear, bikes, guest bed, another desk, random boxes we never got around to unpacking… And it’s painted purple (shudders) So, we’ve got to move everything out of there, turn our attic bedroom into a real guest room, REPAINT THOSE DANG WALLS, move our stuff in, and then work on the nursery. We have a loose timeline for all of this, but as I’m realizing now, it’s not going to get easier as I get, uh, bigger ????

A Master Closet

As with most old homes, the closet space in our bedroom is far from impressive. As in, there barely is any. Adding to our situation is the fact that I’ve had my IKEA dresser since grad school (it’s falling apart after SO many moves) and husband’s dresser is probably going to stay in the baby’s room, since it’s the perfect changing table height. Not a lot of clothing storage options! I’ve done some scheming, and I think I’ve figured out how to build an open closet-type wall in our new bedroom with IKEA stuff and some strategically placed rods. That way we can use the existing closet for shoes, extra tall hanging clothes, and whatever else fits in there. Probably not much. Stay tuned.

Rugs and Curtains (and Bears, Oh My!)

WHY oh why is it SO hard to decide on rugs and window treatments??! I’ve been thinking about this for months now and still haven’t nailed it down yet. I did finally pull the trigger on rugs for the new bedroom, nursery, and dining room, plus an upstairs hallway runner. Rugs USA was having a crazy sale and I put on my decision-making pants and got down to it. Rugs can be SO expensive… I spent less than $900 on 5 rugs: hallway runner, master bedroom area rug, dining room area rug, and nursery area rug & cozy sheepskin.

Not so much luck with curtains. I ordered some for the living room (currently completely window treatment-less) off of Woot for $20 in desperation – we’ll see how those turn out. And I’ve almost hit “purchase” more times than I can count on these curtains from PB Teen in Navy/White, but I just can’t bring myself to pay that much (over $80 on sale!!) per panel. It seems insane. IKEA has some nice options, though – I’m looking at these now for our master bedroom, though I’d really love a linen look. Linen fabric itself is so expensive I wouldn’t save much making them myself, unfortunately. The hunt continues!

But in the meantime, I’ve taken things into DIY territory…

DIY Roman Shades

This is just a tease here, since there’s a full post in the works – and I need to hone my technique a bit – but I’ve been amazed at how expensive window shades are! Over $100 easily for even unimpressive middle-of-the-road fabric roller shades or even more for roman shades. Ugh. There are lots of windows in our house that need shades, so I found a DIY way to make roman shades. I haven’t seen any tutorials for cordless roman shades, though, and that’s what I’ve been working on. It looks a little wonky here (it needs some additional work) but this is my first one:

Not bad for a mis-sized liner and $6 vinyl mini blinds! The limitation right now is my own sewing ability. Yes, it should be the easiest thing in the world to create a straight double-fold hem, but I find that the fabric just wants to curve on me when I press/sew it, so it ends up bunching up and getting all gross. Very frustrating.

Any tips?


These pants have become my new favorite pregnant thing ever.

While I’m painting, I’ve been listening nonstop to the How I Built This podcast. It’s fascinating… My favorite stories so far have been Haim Saban, Barbara Corcoran, and Nolan Bushnell.

I recently discovered that my community offers home DIY classes, and I took one last week on vinyl & laminate flooring! They didn’t so much go into the demo process, but I’ve got a much better feel for the different options. Hoping to get that broken tile kitchen floor replaced before baby shows up, but that’s a real stretch goal…

Husband and I built a raised planter per these plans, and when we’re past the last frost of the season, we’ll start our first garden! We have no idea what we’re doing! It’ll be hilarious!

Baby things are adorable. And expensive. Oof.


  1. I can see you hit the ground running after returning home. Love the charcoal gray, the pulls and the rugs. Text me about the pulls.

  2. Regarding sewing the fabric – If the fabric is thick, baste the edges with a long running stitch. It will move less. Also, if your fabric is thick,, try raising your sewing foot so that the feed is looser.

    1. Thank you Donna! I’ll give that a whirl – if I can figure out how to adjust the sewing foot. It’s been hard to even press the seam straight, never mind sewing, it always wants to stretch out!!

  3. Wow – you’ve been busy! I say spring for the PB Teen navy/white curtains. I just clicked on the link and it offered me an extra 15% off the sale price! No time to lose!
    Love the charcoal cabinets. They go with the house better than white would have; they have more character. You are definitely making progress! XO

    1. Good catch! I signed up with my other email address – I think I’d already let my first 15% discount lapse… I’m torn about whether I should be spending $380 on curtains!!!

  4. If your curtain/shade fabric is thin, it may benefit from a thin iron on interfacing. Any baby stuff in particular you’re looking at? I may know someone with some barely used stuff they’re trying to get rid of…???? Text me!

    1. You’re so sweet Marlo! Too bad I’m not your neighbor anymore… and by neighbor of course I mean residing in the same state!!

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