I’ll be the first to admit it—I love TV. My husband thinks that I enjoy watching TV so much because I did not experience cable TV until I went to college. Yup, I grew up with channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, & 13, which seemed just fine to me. Now, what I don’t particularly love about TV is the number of wires/components that go with it.
When we first moved in, we used a large cabinet as our TV stand. It housed all TV/Wireless related components, DVDs, photo albums, and the occasional other random thing or two. Everything was hidden out of sight.
A clear sign of recent moving- sparse rooms
After being in our house a year and a half, it was my project to breathe some new life into our living room. As much as I loved the green piece, I knew I wanted to move it to the bay window and use it to hold platters and things of that nature. Instead of a bulky piece of furniture, I wanted an open piece for our TV in order to keep the room airy.
While furniture shopping with my mother in law, we found this console table at Pottery Barn on super-super clearance, and I knew it was meant to be.
*image taken from Google*
The first thing I wanted to do was lift the TV off the stand and mount it on the wall. Since we didn’t want wires hanging down, we purchased this fabulous kit by PowerBridge that forces the wires to go behind the wall.
*image taken from amazon*
It was a matter of cutting two rectangles into the wall, hooking up the wires, and mounting the TV to the wall. It was a quick, two person job, and I just love having the TV off of the table.
Now, what to do with our cable box, router, and wireless access point/back up hard drive? I was not a fan of how they looked sitting out under the table—it was a bit lackluster and too much metal going on.
It didn’t take but a minute to think of a solution—hide it in a pretty basket of some sort. Yet again I was off on another quest to Homegoods. While I liked the baskets, I was drawn to something else. You’ve all seen the boxes that look like books:
They were smaller than a basket, yet big enough for the things I needed hidden. They were also more sturdy and would allow me to stack one on top of the other.
The only thing I needed to modify was that I wanted air to circulate around the components. My lovely husband pointed out that it would be quite easy to cut the back side of the box, allowing plenty of air flow. I suppose you could do this with a handsaw (it might be hard to get a perfectly straight line), but he used our trusty jigsaw.
With the TV wires and components now hidden, I’m one happy couch potato!
We found our townhouse when we weren’t even seriously looking to move. We saw this house had popped up via foreclosure and when we went for a walk through we knew that the opportunity was too good to pass up. The house was in no means unlivable (compared to my old condo—which upon seeing it for the first time with my father I literally cried while he was like a child in a candy store). The house just needed a bit of TLC and some elbow grease, which we were more than willing to do.
It’s been a process, but we’ve chipped our way along most of the rooms in the house, trying to turn the damaged or lackluster spaces into something a bit more cozy and to our taste. Unfortunately, we’re not Rockefellers, so we’ve had to be very conscious of budgeting money for projects and choosing where to save and where to splurge just a wee bit.
The powder room in our house was a great candidate for a face lift. Here’s a shot before we moved in:
Not bad at all—the brown paint was a lot more intense than it seems in the photo, and the toilet, as in most vacant houses, had seen much better days. There was no mirror, towel bar, or lighting fixture—the bank had sold off these types of things in the entire house. These were some easy fixes.
As the entire house had each room a different color (seriously– avocado green, navy blue, purple, both light and dark, orange, brown, sea foam green, and one in a peachy Venetian plaster faux finish), we chose to have it professionally painted one color before we moved in. With a two story foyer and crazy vaulted ceilings, it was worth it to us to pay to have the whole place painted a neutral color. We could then decide individual room paint colors later on and do this ourselves. We chose Wool Skein by Sherwin Williams- a great, warm neutral color.
Here’s a shot after the neutral color went on as well as after we put in a new toilet (sorry it’s dark).
After adding a mirror, lighting fixture, towel bar, and toilet paper holder, the bathroom was fresh and functional. We left it this way for a little over a year and a half as we focused our attention on other spaces.
Since we decorated our living space on the first floor in hues of greens, blues, and creams, it was time to revisit the powder room. We wanted to coordinate the bathroom with the living space and newly constructed built in entertainment center.
It didn’t take much to further transform this bathroom. I love the look of beadboard in a bathroom, especially in a half bath where there may not be much character in the space. I think pairing blue or gray paint with white beadboard is a classic look (luckily my husband agrees) so our decision was easily made.
We put up the beadboard which was actually fairly easy to do. It is just a matter of cutting the sheet down to size, holding it against the wall, and using a nail gun to secure it in place—definitely a two person job.
Action shot of my hard worker :)
We then painted the walls from the top down to where the beadboard started. We came close to the top of the beadboard but were not concerned about being perfect as the chair rail would cover this anyway. The paint color is Aloof Gray by Sherwin Williams. It is a lovely color that I would certainly use again in the future.
After this dried, we installed the chair rail. We gave the chair rail and beadboard two coats of white paint that we had leftover from painting other trim in our house. After cutting/painting some base molding and then quarter round to match the wood floors, we were all set! This entire project took us a weekend to do.
Keeping with the sailing/Annapolis area theme of the basement, I found two photos, one of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and another of the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. It took a while to find frames that were a good match for the colors in the bathroom. I settled on these Threshold ones from Target:
I just needed a garbage pail and basket for toilet paper, and knew Homegoods was the place to find these. I settled on an antique looking wire basket with burlap lining for our toilet paper holder, and a natural basket for our garbage pail.
Here’s the final product:
I’m very happy with how this mini transformation came out. It was not expensive, took little time to do, and was a huge improvement from the dark cave-like space it used to be.
Have any of you given a mini makeover to your spaces lately?
The largest project my husband and I have done in our house is the built in entertainment center for our first floor. It took lots of brainstorming and planning to make this from scratch, but we are beyond thrilled with the results.
After it went up, we quickly filled it with books and some baubles that went with our sailing/nautical-lite theme. As the months went by, I found myself tinkering with the items on the shelves as well as the layout… I was just not pleased with how it looked.
Here’s a close up of the shelves— they were too cluttered/a bit too full for my liking. We used a textured wallpaper (similar to grass cloth) for the back of the bookshelves—I wish it photographed more like it actually looks! Forgive the TV wires… we haven’t put them through the cabinets yet!
After de-cluttering and shifting some things around, I found a layout that I could live with.
Now that I liked how the shelves were more open, I wanted to make the whole thing blend together. I was not a fan of the mishmash of cover colors and wanted to do a subtle theme of blues, greens, and creams—this would match much better with the rest of the décor in the room.
My husband thought I was insane when I told him I was going to recover the books. When I removed the paper cover, some of the hardcover books were already blue or cream, so that worked to my advantage. It was mostly the paperbacks that I had to deal with.
As I wanted to print on the covers, I referenced/modified this in depth tutorial from the blog The Precious Little Things in Life.
Here’s how I covered my books.
What you need:
Paper (I found some large paper at Hobby Lobby and used brown shipping paper that I
already had leftover from Christmas)
First I had to determine what color I wanted each book to be. I did a rough sketch of our books in the layout that I liked and then assigned each book that was getting covered a color.
Line up your books and group those of the same height together. Under each category of height, I listed the individual measurements for those titles.
Measure your books. You need two measurements, the height of the book, which you already measured, and the book’s circumference. Find the book’s circumference by placing the lip of your measuring tape on the backside of the book, wrap around the spine, and across the front cover.
When you have all of these written down, you are ready to start covering your books. It would have been lovely if I had books that were the same height and circumferences, but alas every book was slightly different. This would have saved me some time cutting out the paper (I could have cut multiple sheets at once). Maybe you will be luckier than I was.
These directions might vary ever so slightly for you, as I was using Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac. In Microsoft Word, navigate to Page Set Up.
In the Page Set Up box, find Paper Size, and go to Manage Custom Sizes—this is where you will type in your measurements to ensure a perfect fit.
In the Manage Custom Sizes box, the Width box is where you will type the height of the book. The Height box is where you will then type the circumference measurement. You can see this in the picture below, as well as the fact that I chose to make my top, bottom, left, and right margins 0.
Your page will now look tall and narrow—this is what you want in order to print the title.
Now that you know your page dimensions, you’re ready to cut your paper. Cut your paper to the same measurements that you typed in the Width and Height boxes. Once your paper is cut, put it in your printer (I had to use the manual feed tray in the back of mine).
You’re almost ready to type your book title onto the spine of your book cover.
You can vary the fonts and sizes to your liking—I chose to keep my font the same for every book. The only thing I changed was the font size. Some of my book spines were 2 inches while others were ¼ inch, therefore I used size 30 font for the bigger titles and size 14 font for the smaller. I printed out one regular old page of a few titles with font sizes of 14, 18, 22, 26, 30. I then held up this sheet to the books when I was ready to type the titles in order to eyeball which size was the best fit.
Remember where you typed the circumference of the book into the Height box? In my earlier photo it was 16.25. In order to type your title perfectly centered on your book cover, you need to take your circumference measurement and divide it by 2.
For example, 16.25/2 = 8.125. Hit enter until you bring your cursor down to roughly 8.125. So long as you are in the ballpark of that number, you will be fine.
Center your cursor, and type in your title and author.
With your paper in the printer and title typed up, go ahead and print.
Lay your book on the printed paper and pull until the title is centered on the spine.
Make a crease where the front/back covers end so you know where to fold your paper. Tape the cover in place.
Step 9: (Optional)
I decided to lightly pinch/crease the spine so there was more definition around the edges.
So there you have it– freshly covered books to go with the color scheme of your choice. Here are a few shots of the books on the shelves. (Pardon the wonky lighting in a few of the photos).
Although it took a while, I enjoyed doing this project. It was kind of like a grown up version of covering your textbooks back in middle school!