The COVID “quarantine” period has been a dream for me. I have been able to focus time and energy on projects that truly bring me joy. Giving our family cabin a facelift was one of those projects.
For years I have wanted to tackle updating the mobile home style cabin my grandma has on the Mississippi River in Lansing. She had made major improvements to the exterior (siding/roof), plumbing, electric, completely renovated the bathroom, and had new ceilings and light fixtures installed. Huge things checked off the list, all worth it. The thing was, the décor throughout the rest of the cabin wasn’t matching with the updates that were made – distracting from all of the great work that had been done.
Because I didn’t have to work every weekend this summer due to the pandemic, I had time to knock out the work I did over the course of a few consecutive visits up there. I knew that when I did it, I wanted to do it all of the way, all at one time. I didn’t want anything to be partially done – because when I do that – I have a tendency to leave it partially done…I’m also a control freak so I wanted to make sure the way everything was finished was the way I envisioned it!
I ended up doing most of the work on my own, working 12+ hour days. My grandma jumped in to help me with removing wallpaper and final touches. Working on my own knowing I had full days with no interruptions to check things off my list made me very happy! I was focused and fueled by soda, sugar, and Mexican food. Heaven. All work was done on a tight budget. I used as many items I already had or from the cabin as possible, like paint and décor.
I started with the guest bedroom. It had been wallpapered a VERY long time ago and was fully taken up by a set of huge, solid bunk beds. The mood was dark and dingy. The bunk beds were used quite a bit when we were younger, but as everyone got older, the person who drew the short straw got to sleep in that room. The beds needed to go. I was able to sell them on Let Go to a super sweet family who really needed the beds for their growing family. We said goodbye to them and got to work.
Luckily, the wallpaper was done over wood paneling. In this room, removing it was pretty easy for the most part. I removed all paper and glue, filled holes, and caulked some big gaps in the paneling where water had gotten to it (making sure the cause was addressed beforehand – it was). To brighten things up, I taped everything off and painted it a very light grey and navy blue. Here are some before and after photos:
Much more welcoming now. Everyone, myself included, is in love with how it turned out. On a side note – all of the things I did really freshened things up as well because as I was making cosmetic changes, I was deep cleaning along the way.
Next, I moved on to the master bedroom. This room was really just a mish mosh of random things. One of my goals was to give each room a “theme.” Grouping like items together so instead of looking messy/cluttered, the cabin looked clean/curated. It made a HUGE difference. This room became the “fishing room.” I took down wallpaper here as well, patched things up, and painted with a pretty light green.
You’ll see in the photos below that we have fishing poles hung on the wall I painted. There was a rack on one side, not the other, so once the paint dried, I added a second rack so I could hang all of the fishing poles. I was able to use scrap wood I found in the cabin and bought some cup hooks to screw in. I then attached a fishing net to the wall behind the bed and assembled a nightstand to add. Here are some before and afters of this room:
Wow – right?! The vibe is now much more welcoming and it definitely feels more cozy.
The last place I did big changes in was the kitchen. Unfortunately…I’m terrible with before photos and forgot to take some of the kitchen! Please use your imagination to picture an outdated, grimy space with peeling wallpaper that was powder blue and white with a teapot pattern everywhere you looked. Some of the walls were partially painted white over the wallpaper – but it never got finished.
This is the room I’m most proud of because it was the first time I used removable wallpaper. It was definitely the biggest challenge. I was extremely nervous to do it and of course, my grandma wanted to help that day, so I had an audience! But once I had the first piece up, I rejoiced, knew what do to, and was able to get it all done in a day. I applied a weathered wood wallpaper to the backsplash area of the counters and behind the sink. I painted the rest of the walls the same light grey as the extra bedroom.
Cleaning was key in this area. I magic erasered every surface several times! It made an amazing difference. I also rearranged how some of the items were on the counters and bought grey kitchen rugs to bring the grey from the wallpaper into the room a little more. Here is an after photo of the kitchen:
In case you are wondering, I found the wallpaper at Menards. I bought 3 rolls but only needed part of one. It cost around $30.00 – well worth it.
I did a little facelift to the living room. Removed wallpaper, patched holes, rearranged the wall décor, and bought a new cover and throw pillows for the couch. Little things, but the room is now cohesive.
And lastly, I organized the crap out of the dining room. There is a buffet in there that has always been piled with miscellaneous items from years ago. My goal was to at least clear off the top and make room in the cabinets. Mission accomplished! I added a bright tablecloth to the dining table to inject some energy into this area and made the theme “bald eagles and wolves" using décor from throughout the cabin. I also displayed all of the buttons we’ve collected from past “Fish Days” (Lansing's town festival) we’ve been around for. We take a lot of pride in those.
For a quick, cheap update, I'm pleased with how everything turned out! I ultimately did it for my grandma. We are very fortunate that she allows us to enjoy the cabin, so it felt good to show her my gratitude through this work. She was extremely pleased with the results and that makes my heart feel so full. There are a lot of memories in that cabin, many tied to my grandpa. Seeing the cabin change from what it was when he was alive was hard for her, I know, but breathing new life into it has given her a renewed interest in spending time there. I'm so glad I could give her that gift.
It has been a minute since I have attended a Do It Herself Workshop at Home Depot! I’ve enjoyed the past classes I’ve been to - creating this two-drawer nightstand, vertical herb garden, and vertical succulent garden.
Their latest project, the DIY Pegboard Shelf, caught my eye. These types of shelves are very trendy right now. What I especially like is you can change up the shelves really easily to meet different needs you might have, or if you simply want to restyle it to give a room a different look, you can do it in minutes.
When I arrived, they had everything ready! The plywood, shelves, and dowels were already cut. All we had to do was screw the two plywood pieces together and insert the dowels where we wanted the shelves. I was kind of (really) bummed I didn’t get to use the hole saw to create the holes for the pegs, but I can’t complain. I got a free shelf out of the deal!
Because we didn’t do much…I couldn’t take step by step photos…so here is their instructional video:
I chose to paint my shelf a high gloss grey after getting it home. I wanted it to pop against the wall I was putting it on, which is dark poly stained wood.
After letting it dry completely, Joel helped me screw it onto the wall. I love its versatility and it looks great in our dining room area. I didn’t know I needed something on that wall until I had this in place!
In my last DIY post, I shared how (with the help of my parents) I reupholstered our dining room table benches. This next project I’m sharing was inspired by our dining nook makeover.
I believe I made it very clear that I loved the fabric I found on sale to use on the benches. I’m a paisley princess, can’t get enough of it. And the yellow/grey combo has always appealed to me. To have all of these details come together in a fabric was dreamy. Anyway, I wanted to use the leftover fabric to make throw pillow covers for our mudroom so that when you enter our mudroom and walk up the stairs to our dining nook, the spaces felt tied together.
This time with the help of my grandma, together we made throw pillow covers for two pillows I already had and wasn’t crazy about.
She used a basic envelope pillow cover pattern like this one. I am not a sewer, but she did walk me through the whole process and explained what she was doing. I have full confidence I could make a somewhat nice cover if I had to in the future, but for now I’ll lean on her!
Once I had the pillows ready, I decided I was going to give the mudroom a mini makeover by changing the paint color as well. It was a fine mudroom, but it was missing impact. A good punch in the face when you walked in. In a creative impact sense, not a physical one! It needed a little something extra. My mom helped me pick out the perfect gold color that matched a deep yellow tone in the pillow cover fabric. Butterscotch Ripple. Yummy.
Instead of painting an accent wall or the entire room, I ended up creating a faux wainscoting effect around the mudroom and up the stairs leading to the dining nook.
To create the effect, all I needed was:
I made my wood cuts one wall at a time, just to see how things fit and if it would affect my next run of wood. I measured up from the floor to the height I liked, leveled the strip, made marks with my pencil where the bottom of the wood strip would be, and then used the stud finder to mark where the studs were. I used the nail gun to secure the strips, being sure to check that they were level along the way.
I followed the process above all the way around the room and up the stairs. Up the stairs was a little trickier because I had to cut the ends at angles. I’ve mentioned before that math and I don’t get along – and that includes angles. I actually just marked the angle of the wall on the piece of wood with my pencil by eyeballing it, made the first cut, placed the cut angle against the wall, marked the angle of the other end, and made the second cut. Real professional…but, I got super lucky and it fit perfectly.
After I had everything nailed in, I went through with the wood filler before painting. I filled in each of the nail holes created by the nail gun and wiped off any excess with a damp cloth. From there, I started to paint! I had to put two coats on, but it’s a really small space, so it didn’t take long.
Here is a before of the mudroom when we moved in:
Here is the after following the mini makeover:
In total, this project took me an evening and part of the next morning to complete. For such a quick project, I couldn’t be more pleased with the impact it has when you walk in our back door (which is our main door)! People will be leaving with black eyes from the punch in the face they’ll get now (LOL). What are you working on lately? Tell me in the comments!
Our dining room has always lacked a little something. It’s nice, but it’s “meh.” It’s typically a catch-all room – a dumping ground for when we are coming and going. I haven’t been inspired enough to add a unique style to it. Until…I ran across my dream fabric. That changed the game!
My fantastic friend who has a love for all things old and/or Mid Century Modern (the office of the business he owns is right out of Mad Men) gifted me with a table set when I told him what I wanted for our dining room. It couldn’t have been more perfect. He needed to get rid of it, I wanted it, so it worked out for both of us.
I’m terrible at remembering to take before photos…so here are the benches that I reupholstered and the old fabric next to the new (perfect) fabric:
This is what you’ll need for this type of project:
So as I mentioned, deconstruction comes first. I had to take these benches completely apart to do this project. I used the flathead screwdriver and pliers to pull out the staples, utilizing the hammer as needed to get the screwdriver under the tough staples.
After this point, my parents stepped in. My mom is amazing with anything fabric. I couldn’t have done this without her. She did the measuring, I tried to comprehend. Me + Numbers = Disaster. Using the old fabric as the template, we cut the new fabric to size. After she cut, I reinforced the edges of the fabric by ironing them over, applying fabric tape as needed to the areas of the fabric that would get pulled at the most when someone sat down
After we had the fabric ready, we measured the back and seat of each bench to cut the batting and foam. Using the electric knife, we rounded the edges of the foam all the way around.
Then it was show time! As my mom held everything together securely (bench back/seat, batting/foam, fabric), I came in with the staple gun to secure the fabric to the back/bottom of each piece. That was by far the easiest and fastest part of the project!
After we stopped to admire our work, my dad jumped in to help me reassemble. It was tense, we had to get creative (because I didn’t take very good photos ahead of time…surprise, surprise), but we did it! Also could not have done this without my dad because he has the patients and tools to help get the job done. He helped me put better screws in the outsides of the benches as well so they feel completely solid when you sit down.
Here they are in our dining room, back with the table they came with! I’m. In. Love. The fabric was everything I needed to move forward with creating a specific feel for that space. It also inspired me to revamp our mudroom around the corner, which I’ll share in my next DIY post!
Check out my past DIY project to see the mattress spring frame light fixture I made to go above our dining room table. It goes together great with the new fabric and is just another piece that is helping me achieve a cohesive look in this room.
I'll just start like this. Poster frames are EXPENSIVE. If you've been following along with my blog, you know that's not my style. I either get it cheap or make it myself!
We have a lot of posters. Being huge music fans, we have quite the collection. We also love vintage posters featuring interesting illustrations. The palmistry guide poster I created this DIY magnetic poster holder for has been in the back of a cabinet, just waiting for its debut. Well folks, today is the day!
To make this project, you'll need the following:
This project is really as short and sweet as you'd imagine. Measure the width of your poster and cut your wood strips to size. You can either size them to the exact width of your poster or leave a little extra wood on the ends. I left about a 1/2 inch on each side of the poster with my strips.
Choose which side of the wood you want to face out and place that side face down. Start attaching the magnets to the back side so they will line up with each other when it's time to hang the poster.
Snap two of the wood strips to the top of the poster and make a hanger with the twine. I tied my twine to the outside edges of the poster on the wood strips, one of the benefits of letting the wood extend out from the poster just a bit. If you cut the wood to fit the exact width of the poster, you could attach two small screw-in eye hooks to the wood strip that will be flush to the wall, tying twine through the hooks.
Snap the other two wood strips to the bottom poster and hang on a wall of your choice! I love the rustic look of this poster holder. It fits in with our current décor nicely and saved us a few bucks. Have fun giving this easy project a try!
After the Christmas and New Year holidays pass, I like to transition our décor to a winter theme. Normally, this simply means keeping everything out except for the Christmas tree, stockings, Santa figurines, and most of the sparkly items. Not too much work!
I realized last year I didn’t have a good winter wreath to hang, so thought ahead and made one this year! Using old clothing in my DIY projects is something I really enjoy and want to do more of, so I chose to get creative with some Goodwill sweaters in colors matching some of the exterior features of our home.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own cozy winter wreath:
I started by attaching the greenery to the frame. The greenery I used was a little unconventional. I found five felt placemats at Goodwill that worked great. I poked the greenery through the frame and attached each one to the wire of the frame with a twist tie, reinforcing the tie with some hot glue.
Then I planned out the placement of the ornaments. I only had small and large ornaments to use (I was trying my best to use leftover supplies from the basement), but I’d encourage you to use a medium size ornament as well. I think it would give the wreath more balance, transitioning from large to small a little less drastically!
Once I had a good idea of how many ornaments I would need, I began attaching the sweaters to the ornaments. I did this by simply gathering the sweater around the ornament, placing a twist tie around the top, twisting it tightly, and cutting away what I gathered from the sweater. Not very technical…but it worked really well without needing to measure and I had more than enough material to work with. Once the ornament was cut away from the sweater, I reinforced the twist tie all the way around the top of the ornament with hot glue.
Next was getting the ornaments on the frame. I chose to use safety pins to attach the twist tie end of the ornament to the wreath frame. I made sure to loop the pin through the fabric AND the wires of the frame to make sure they were secure. I attached the large ornaments first and proceeded around the frame with the small ornaments.
To secure the ornaments even more, and make them fall where I wanted them positioned, I went around the frame with jute. At the very top, I chose to loop the jute around the frame tightly to add a little open space. I dabbed the ends of the jute with hot glue so they would hold strong.
Because with this method you can see the bottoms/twist tie ends of some of the ornaments, I cut off a long strip from one of the sweaters and wove it like ribbon through the wreath. It worked perfectly in covering up what I didn’t want others to see! I attached the sweater ribbon with safety pins on the back side of the frame.
I’m a perfectionist that loves good balance, but there is something about the off balance look of this particular wreath that I really enjoy. Like I said earlier, if you have medium sized ornaments to incorporate, I think that would help with balancing this type of wreath out. Or you could use the same size ornament all the way around! Use what you have and get creative.
If you are interested in other projects I’ve done using old clothing, check out my no sew cloth pumpkins!
I have never had a pantry as an adult. Over the years, my food has taken up space in cabinets, a gutted antique stove, a counter top bread box, and shelving going down to a basement. Since moving to our new, smaller home, any overflow of canned goods has lived in a cardboard box in our basement. Yeah…not ideal, but we made it work. Even after admitting to this, having a pantry is still something I never thought I needed until I had the opportunity to create one and it has already brought me so much joy!
This post is less of a step-by-step DIY and more of a DIY challenge. Instead of expanding your space or buying storage to accommodate your needs, how can you use a current space in a completely unexpected way?
Enter, our old coal room. This sentence alone should give you a good idea as to how old our home is. Last Fall I had the genius idea of replacing the roof on this room as the old one was starting to cave in and we believed mice were getting into our house through it somehow. My quick and easy fix turned into my dad and I completely tearing it out!
To protect our basement from the elements, we placed plywood over the door opening that led into the coal room, securing 2x4s to the interior door frame to screw the plywood into (this detail is important). I then sealed over the plywood with tar on the exterior facing side and there it sat until this Fall when we were able to track down some free fill to put in the huge hole left behind.
It just so happens that at the same time we were filling the hole, we had started giving our basement a bit of a face lift. As I was painting the walls around the interior coal room double doors, I opened them up and took a good look at our handy work.
Here’s why the 2x4s are important. When screwing them in, we accidentally created THE PERFECT set of shelves…Instead of filling this space in and sealing it up, I knew I had to do something functional with it. After chatting with my dad (my DIY guru and consultant if you can’t already tell) and he thought it would work! That’s all I needed to hear!
After scrubbing it out, I painted the inside a serene green with paint I had bought a while ago but never used:
I then impatiently waited for the paint to dry so I could move every package and can of nonperishable food we had into the space:
You’ll see that the area around the pantry is still a work in progress, but trust me, it’s better than it was! I also chose to not paint the insides of the double doors because I still wanted to keep a rustic farmhouse look to it. Sometimes, you just can’t recreate years of imperfect layered paint and everyday wear.
I hope this little project inspires YOU to rethink your space and to think twice about the projects on your to-do list. The first plan might not always be the best plan. Try to consider all of the possibilities!
From the moment I bought an old baby crib last year at an estate sale, I’ve been dreaming about the light fixture I’d make out of the mattress spring frame.
I used the sides of the crib right away as a cucumber trellis, I’ve now got the mattress spring frame hung, and still have a couple of pieces left to use for some home décor signs. One item, three different types of projects! Always consider the possibilities for what may appear to be “junk.”
Here’s what you need for this project:
First, I sanded down any bubbling rust spots and other imperfections on the mattress spring frame. I then wiped it down with a wet cloth and let it air dry. Once it was dry, I spray painted two coats over the entire frame. I didn’t hang the frame for a few days after I painted it, so it had more than enough time to dry.
While I thought through the ideas I had for the full light fixture, I installed the light pendant. Unfortunately, the existing light fixture was placed in a poor spot that is very off center in the dining room, but this light fixture idea ended up working out well for where it was placed.
Once I had a final plan in mind for where and how I’d hang the mattress frame, I measured out and marked where the swag light ceiling hooks would go. I determined where the marks would go by measuring the frame corner to corner. I didn’t have fancy tools like a laser level to guide me, so I did my best to eyeball my lines. My husband was there as a second set of eyes and we did pretty well!
When my lines were marked, I placed the ceiling hooks by simply twisting them into our ceiling panels.
From there I attached loops of wire to the corners of the mattress frame and placed each corner loop over the ceiling hooks. You could also use small link decorative chain in place of the wire for a different look. I was in a hurry to do this (because I was excited) and strong wire was the only thing our small town hardware store had. I may replace it down the road.
When the mattress frame was securely in place, I “styled” the light bulbs by stringing them through the frame.
The last step was to add Edison bulbs. I used three different styles of bulbs because I love Edison bulbs and couldn’t choose just one style when I had eight lights to fill!
I love how this light fixture looks industrial and rustic at the same time. I plan to completely redo the seating in the dining room which will make the space come together even more.
When you live in a small house, every nook, cranny, and surface is valuable. If you don't want to build on an addition to increase your living space, maximizing the space you have is a must!
Our kitchen is tiny. We have one short strip of cabinets and countertop, most of which is taken up by our sink and stove. We've found it challenging to pull meals together with the limited space, and we certainly can't both be working in the kitchen at the same time.
One day it occurred to me that our stove top area had potential to be a work surface. So I made it into one! Here's how.
What you'll need:
I'll start by offering this disclaimer: This is NOT a cutting board! If you're interested in making this a cutting board work surface, research the correct wood types for that type of work.
OK, now back to business. After measuring your stove top and deciding how much you want the work surface to overlap your countertop, use your tape measurer and pencil to mark where you need to make your cuts on the edge glued board. I chose to have my work surface run the full depth of the stove top and overlap my countertop two inches on each side.
When marking your cuts, make two marks. One for the actual cut and another one inch in from the cut mark (or whatever the width is of the inner piece of your circular saw to the left of the blade). You'll be using the saw guide, so you need to account for the inner piece of your circular saw since the saw blade is not flush to the guide.
Once you have your marks in place, snap your saw guide onto the edge glued board, lined up with the mark to the left of your cut mark. I used a framing square to ensure my saw guide was straight, which I encourage you to do as well.
After the guide was in place, I made my cuts! I included a picture of the saw blade I used. It was pure magic. Cut through the wood like butter! I had been using two other blades that kept binding, but this one pulled through.
When I had the edge glued board cut, I moved on to the pieces that would act as "feet" for the bottom of the work surface. I added these because I didn't want the work surface to slide back and forth across the stove top. I wanted the bottom boards to catch against the edges of my countertop.
I placed the feet around 2 1/4 inches in from the outer edges of the work surface. I secured them to the bottom with wood glue and brad nails.
The final steps were to sand and stain! I lightly sanded the entire edge glued board and feet before staining. I also like to wipe down the wood with a damp cloth. I once heard this helps the stain soak in more effectively.
After applying two coats of stain and letting it dry for a few days, the work surface was ready for duty!
Now that I have this, I can't imagine what life was like before! It is so nice to have 34 more inches of usable space in our kitchen. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it has been a game changer.
I’m a big picture person. When it comes to envisioning a space, pulling everything together, and setting the wheels in motion, I’m your girl. But when it comes to the finishing work, the small steps needed to complete a project, I’m the biggest procrastinator! I want to see the big parts of a project DONE. I don’t have patience for the little things.
Case in point – our bathroom. Our beautiful bathroom that we completely gutted and redid just a little over a year and a half ago. Although at first glance it was wonderful and shiny and new, there were still things to do. Like trimming the tub/shower tile out with bullnose tile. And finding a solution to disguise the water marks that were appearing on our deep blue paint under our hanging bath towels and around the sink. Oh, and fixing the vanity drawer knob that fell off months ago.
I finally decided that I was not allowed to start another project until I finished the little things still looming over me in our house. Such a painful decision, but I didn’t want to be the girl who had a hundred partially finished projects to her name. I want to be the girl that gets it DONE!
We got moving on all of the lingering projects in the bathroom. Bullnose tile is ordered. Vanity drawer knob is fixed. And we found a solution to make visible water marks on our walls a thing of the past. In this post, I’ll show you how we installed wood planks in our bathroom to act as a rustic feature on the wall underneath our hanging bath towels and a backsplash for our sink.
What you’ll need:
You’ll start by measuring the surface area you want to cover to purchase the amount of wood planks you need. We bought over because we knew there would be a boo-boo here and there!
We had floor molding that needed to be removed from the area before we could start, so Joel took care of that with a screwdriver and hammer.
Next, you’ll plan how you want your planks to look. We started with a full plank in the bottom left corner of the wall, measured the gap left between the full plank and the tub, and cut a piece to fit that area. We used the rest of the plank we cut to start the next row, continuing to rotate full planks with cut planks to create a non-uniform look.
If we experienced any issues fitting the boards flush with the wall or each other, we either sanded them down just a tad or tapped them in with a hammer.
To secure the boards, we used an air brad nailer with 1 ¼ inch nails. This nail size worked well because the planks were less than 1/2 inch thick.
The circular saw blade we used worked perfectly, because again, the planks were pretty thin.
We chose to do the wall first because we could usually use at least one full plank in each row, which made it easier, and we didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into! It was good practice for us. Around the sink was a little more intricate. Every piece needed cut, measuring had to be precise, and we had both a corner AND an outlet to figure in.
With come creative thinking and teamwork we figured it out and I’m so proud of Joel for his work around the outlet!
To finish everything off, I coated all planks with three layers of polyurethane to prevent any water damage. I chose a satin finish because I’m not a huge fan of high gloss and I wanted the planks to maintain their rustic look. I may eventually use some clear caulk around the edges to further protect the wood.
Here it is, in all its glory! Very proud of us because this is the first woodworking project we’ve attempted together and it went so well. It really was an easy project that made a huge difference in our bathroom. We both absolutely love how it turned out. Once the bullnose tile is installed (I won’t do a tutorial on that because I already did one on tiling here) the bathroom will be DONE and then I can pick something new to work on!