Welcome Rachel from Silverbobs blog!
So excited to have Rachel here today as my next guest blogger! And whether you are a blogger or would just love a place to share something you’ve done that is home decor related, I’m still looking for guest writers while I prepare and am out for maternity leave. Email me at email@example.com for more info!
It’s a pleasure to get to guest post on Jenny’s site. I’ve been an avid reader for about a year now, when one of my closest friends introduced me to it. (She and Jenny know each other from way back in elementary school. It’s such a small world!). I hemmed and hawed over what to share with you all. It seems that under pressure I get writers’ block. But then I found a project I wanted to do – and it was so easy that it literally took me longer to write the instructions for it, than to finish it. Trust me. If I can do it, so can you.
I’ve always loved these “family rules” signs and since we’re (hopefully) moving to a new house in 6 weeks, when I saw this one I almost bought it for one of our new bathrooms. Then I caught a glimpse of the price. SIXTY-NINE dollars. Ouch!
So I decided to make one of my own.
I started by picking my fonts. I used Bernard MT Condensed, Abadi MT Condensed, and Noteworthy (feel free to be more creative than that). I typed it up in a word processing document, played around with the colors, saved it as a JPEG – and voila! I almost have a personalized version of the sign.
The next step will be to print it and hang it. The super-cheap (read: free) way to do this would be just to print it, put it into a frame I already have around the house, and hang it up. But because I like the look of canvas, my plan is to have it printed after we move, which also saves me the hassle of packing it.
I don’t have a favorite printing place, but CVS is currently running a special 25% off sale (using the code ART25) through July 20th. I usually keep my eye out for sales or Groupons, to get the best deal.
No joke, this took me less than an hour. In fact, if you want to make one, you could probably start and finish it before your lunch break is over. Just be sure to come back here and tell us how yours came out.
And then come visit me at my (currently under-loved-bc-who-has-time-to-write-when you’re-buying-a-house) blog, where I share DIY projects, occasional details of our lives, and other stuff you probably don’t even know you’re missing.
Welcome back guest blogger Joanna, with a fun project for all the shoe lovin’ ladies! To see Joanna’s previous post on her amazing kitchen reno, click here.
New Kid on the Block: Project Shoe Shelf
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe
Amen, Marilyn. A hearty amen. Maybe it’s just me, but when I have a good pair of shoes on, I feel like I can actually do some world conquering. I could go on with more about why I love shoes, but if you are a woman and you are reading this post, then this shoe affinity probably needs no explanation. And neither does the reasoning behind why I needed an organized place to house them. Kitchen, first. Shoe shelf, second. Totally makes sense.
The closet in our master bedroom is perfect for my clothes, but sadly, has no room for my shoes (or any of Dean’s clothes for that matter. Don’t worry, he has the closet in the second bedroom all to himself).
When we first moved in, I put two of my old shoe racks on the floor in the corner, which I realized was great for accessibility and viewing (“I forgot about that beloved red pair!”), but not such a great sight for all to see.
One weekend in May, Dean and I took a typical four-hour trip to IKEA and one of the many things we came home with was this Ivar shelving unit. Hard to tell if this is the exact one since IKEA has a million things that look the same and have the same name but seem to be different in some way — you get the idea. It came with two side structures and you could choose how many shelves you wanted to buy and install. I chose ten thinking I would put three pairs of shoes on each shelf. A lovely home for 30 shoes (no boots).
(photo is from IKEA website and only features four shelves.)
As you can see, the unit came unfinished and what luck! We had a can of white, semi-gloss paint meant for trim sitting in the basement…so glossy white it was.
First, I laid down some rosin paper we had leftover from when we painted all the rooms in the house. Rosin paper comes in giant rolls, has the consistency of construction paper, and is a great drop cloth alternative since you can tape it down and cover the exact amount of floor you want to protect.
“Brilliant!” I thought. I am protecting the garage floor and using up old supplies. Turns out, it was not so brilliant, but more on that later.
Next, I taped the sides of each shelf with Frog Tape, my favorite brand of painters tape, so I could get as messy as I want and keep the shelves’ plastic sides paint-free.
(Apologies for the dizzying birdseye view. Clearly I am new to this blogging thing and found it tough to get good shots when the project was on the floor!)
Then I got to painting. After painting two coats on everything, I came down Sunday morning, eager to flip my shelves and paint the other side, only to find that, thanks to my poor choice of rosin paper and the added summer humidity, everything was stuck to the paper. #DIYfail
Notice paper stuck on the side of the wood? I gingerly tried to get everything up and flipped with as little stuck-on rosin paper as possible.
Before painting the other side, I started sanding…
…which I realized would take a significant chunk of time on my own, so I called in the big guns to take on some of the sanding and scraping with me in order to save some time. You know you have a good husband when he is willing to spend Sunday morning sanding away, all in the name of a pretty home for his wife’s shoes.
After some sighing, head-shaking and laughing, we finished sanding and I painted the other side, let it dry, and with Dean’s help, put the shelving unit together the next day. Thankfully, it fit perfectly in its designated spot and I was able to get three pairs on each shelf as planned, though all flats had to be stacked on top of each other in order to make that equation work. And I found that with tall straps, wedges and heels making up a good portion of the collection, nine shelves fit better than ten.
I’m really happy with the final product and the whole room looks so much cleaner and bigger with the shoes stacked like this.
Takeaways for next time:
Lesson #1: Wet paint sticks to paper. Possible solution: Try sawhorses. Better for your back and for taking photos.
Lesson #2: Brush painting is quite time consuming and can easily be uneven on non-wall surfaces. Possible solution: Try spray paint.
Now on to figuring out how to store my boots!
Are you tight on fashion space? How do you store your shoes?
One of the most exciting things for me in setting up the baby’s soon-to-be room is adding personal touches to the decor.
I knew I wanted to have a mini gallery wall that included decor that was cute, stimulating for a baby, but also from the heart! And so here is a quick look at the wall so far, which includes three pieces of custom “art” that I created especially for this little guy 🙂 As always, thanks Pinterest for the inspiration!
I have a decorative letter that I’ll be hanging below the middle item, but since we’re keeping our baby name a surprise, you’ll have to wait and see!
#1: I fell in love with these hanging elephants that I stumbled upon on Pinterest, and did this paper project on the CHEAP! Get the DIY instructions here.
#2: I made a few of these ombre heart frames as gifts for friends who recently had babies (using pink/red hearts for the gals) and so I had to reserve one for baby Hopf. Make your own here!
#3: I loved the idea of including both the alphabet (never too young to start learning!) and an “I Love You” message. Click here to see how I did it!
Before getting pregnant, I thought “nesting” was an old wive’s tale, up there with crazy pickle cravings and those gender predictor myths. But I can now speak from experience that this pregnancy symptom is 100% accurate!
Nesting: Refers to an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn(s). It is found in a variety of animals (both mammals and birds) including humans. Source
“Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently. Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have “brand new, clean” sheets and towels in their home. They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached to the knobs. Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go to prepare for her upcoming arrival.” Source
Okay, so I haven’t been that extreme (yet!) but I have definitely had this uncontrollable urge lately to organize and clean the house from top to bottom – more than my usual crazy self. I’ve done A LOT of reorganizing these past few weeks, but here are some of the highlights:
Sorted, purged and reorganized our cleaning products
I now have all my cleaning essentials in one handy and carry friendly bucket. I store this under the kitchen sink and it just comes with me when I clean the house. My go to products include (left to right, starting in front): cleaning spray for bathroom, 7th generation natural kitchen counter spray, murphy’s oil spray for wood surfaces, windex for glass and mirrors, all purpose spray (this stuff is amazing for dusting everything), rubber gloves, microfiber cloth, paper towel, bar keepers friend in both powder and gel for stove and stainless. Missing from image: disinfectant wipes
Sorted and filed all of our productmanuals
We have SO many manuals and while I’m sure most can be thrown away and accessed online at this point, I wasn’t ready to get rid of them just yet, so instead went with the binder method.
Look how much more compact that is! Bam, right back into the filing cabinet with room to spare.
Clean the fridge.
This was a full out clean, where I took out all of the food (became a bit grossed out with some long past expiration dates I came across) and removed and wiped down all of the glass inserts and drawers. Then I put everything back in with some rhyme and reason to the organization. It’s amazing how much room this made! Time to go food shopping!
Any other preggos out there feeling as crazy as I am???
Side note: I’m carrying low and front which according to an online gender prediction quiz, I’m having a boy (and I am). So maybe there is some truth to it!
Oh, and I do love me some pickles 😉
Thank you to all who have so graciously accepted my guest post offer!
I am SUPER excited to have some new voices here on HFoP as I prepare for my maternity leave. First up is my BFF Joanna, who has a pretty exciting and drastic kitchen reno to share with you. Take it away, Jo!!!
The New Kid on the Block: Kitchen Renovation Sensation!
Hello HFoP Nation! My name is Joanna and as Jenny’s first official guest poster and best friend, let me first say, it’s a true honor to be here. I hope to be with you somewhat regularly as the resident “New Kid on the Block!”
A little explanation about me so we are no longer strangers.
[Insert long, deep inhale here]
Jenny and I met in 1998 on a trip to Israel with our respective summer camps, (shout out to Camp Pembroke and Camp Tel Noar), re-met in 2000 during UMass orientation, ended up living on the same floor Freshman year, moved in together when we graduated college in 2004, I introduced her to her husband in 2005, her husband introduced me to my husband 6 months later, we got married, they got married, they bought their house, and 2 months ago [drumroll], my husband and I bought a house down the street (quite literally, it’s a steep hill) from THE House Full of Pretty!
Whew, that was a long sentence, but it had to be all in the same breath for you to get the full impact of how truly incredible this is for us. 🙂
Jenny and I have many things in common, and sometimes feel as though we share a brain, but thankfully, we are also different in many ways as well, which I think strengthens any friendship. As a longtime renter and queen of impatience, unlike Jenny, I never cared much about what I was putting in my living space. Granted, I wanted it to look tidy, put together, and inviting, but I was not all that thoughtful about where to hang a frame, where to place a knick-knack, or where I could find the best deal on a new piece of furniture. I was content with our many hand-me-downs and was grateful for a wedding registry.
So when my husband Dean and I bought a house that would require an immediate kitchen renovation, my initial reaction was PANIC! Here is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house.
I am nothing if not organized, so I took that nervous energy and got right to work creating spreadsheets and scouring the Internet for photos (this was my favorite inspiration photo), and Dean began measuring every inch of our small kitchen so we could assess the space and place all necessary supply orders immediately. We closed on the house on April 25 and were set to move in on May 24, so the clock was ticking.
First order of business was to expand the small kitchen entryway and get rid of that weird, frosted glass window that looked out into the living room area. Why, oh why was that there?!
Here is the view into the kitchen sans window:
Not surprisingly, the structure above the entryway was load bearing so we had to call in a contractor to do the job. Enter Peter Duffy of Remodeling Boston to the rescue! We found him on Yelp and boy are we glad we did. His first order of business was to fill in part of the open window space and expand the opening for the entry on both sides.
Next was wallpaper removal which was, well, as you might expect wallpaper removal to be…tedious and rather frustrating. Two spray bottles of DIF, some sticky, destroyed-manicure-hands, and a few days later, we had this. And yes, there was a message underneath the wallpaper, of which we are still not sure the meaning…(Hi Gor Die? Creepy.)
Then came the harder part…demo. Though it sounds stress-relieving in theory, it was a LOT of work for Deano. Every night after work for a week, while I painted the living/dining space, he was hard at work loudly demolishing the old kitchen. A huge shout out to Mr. House Full of Pretty himself, Tony Hopf, who was enormously helpful in lending his muscle (and general home operating knowhow) to help us get the appliances out.
Here are some demo shots:
Hardwood floors went in a few days later thanks to good ol’ Peter, our new best friend…
Originally, Dean and I thought we would just mimic the kitchen layout that was there before since it seemed fine to us, the homeowner neophytes, and the space was so small we didn’t think there was much else we could do. Then we went to Arlington Coal and Lumber and talked to Bob Murphy in their Kitchen Design Center who completely changed the layout…and our lives. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but we were SO grateful to have an expert look at our design and tell us…duh…that we should NOT have the stove and fridge next to each other. And we had a whole wall that was not going to be utilized since we were not planning to make it an eat-in kitchen.
The brilliant new layout:
After much debate, Dean and I decided to have Peter come back another time (as his truck says, “Let Duffy do it!”) to install the cabinets. Though Dean could have done it himself, it would have been weeks of him taking the time after work to sloooowly do the job when trusty, experienced Peter could do it in a mere few days.
Soon, we had this:
Then this…with hardware that we ordered from KnobDepot.com:
Then came the appliances, which Dean installed himself (go Dean!), then the granite counter tops, and the subway tile backsplash… which eventually led the kitchen to look like this:
Can you hear the angels singing and beacons of light emanating from this photo? It was a pretty spectacular transformation, if I do say so myself.
While it was stressful not having a kitchen for nearly a month, it is a fantastic feeling to see the results in the end, and know that, HOLY CRAP, WE DID THAT! And, in the grand scheme of things, a month is no time at all.
So sorry for the little hiatus. Life has gotten a little crazy, mostly having to do with getting ready for Baby Hopf to arrive! I’ve had two incredibly beautiful baby showers (thank you again Mom and thank you work!) and so there’s been a lot of unpacking, organizing, washing, setting up…
HOLY BABY STUFF!!!!
We’ve also been smack in the middle of a heat wave, which has seriously reduced my motivation to do anything that involves sitting my swollen body upstairs at my computer. I wish I could say the hiatus is over, but in all honesty it’s probably just begun as we count down the weeks (4!) for our little one to arrive. I hope to still post about once a week, but just in case I can’t….
Exciting news! Next week I am SUPER excited to share with you a guest post series from my best friend, Joanna. Joanna and her husband Dean just moved into their first home (happens to be down the street from us… can it get any better???) and they have done some incredible renovation work which I can’t wait to show you! Joanna will be guest blogging a few posts for me, so stay tuned! And while we’re on the subject…
I’m looking for other guest bloggers!!!
Are you thinking about starting a blog, and want to get your feet wet?
Are you already a blogger and want to increase your readership?
Do you have an awesome DIY project that you want to share?
Did you recently do work to your home?
Do you just love home decor and want a space to tell the world?
If any of these spark some interest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk specifics 🙂 The only requirements are that posts are home decor/DIY related, and include text and pictures. It’s fun and easy and so I hope you’ll consider it!
Thank you everyone for your super sweet comments about our backyard renovation! It was our longest and most expensive project to date, and while totally worth it, your comments meant so much!
And while we’re on the subject… I’m excited to share with you the latest and greatest addition to the yard. Our new plant and flower garden!
But first and foremost…
HUGE shout out and thank you goes to my mother-in-law who was hands down the MVP for this project. For those of you who may not know, my husband Tony grew up on an organic vegetable farm. We’re talking a childhood that consisted of acres of plants and flowers, tractors, selling at farmers markets… the real deal people. And Tricia, Tony’s mom, has been the woman in charge of this greatness. Therefor when it came time to planting our own mini garden, we had an in-house expert to show us the way.
Tricia not only designed the layout (keeping my not so green thumb in mind) but came out for the weekend with 9 bags of mulch and starter veggies that had been growing in her greenhouse. And well, the woman planted us a garden! Yes, I helped as much as I could (words of wisdom: 8 months pregnant and planting comes with some challenges) but really Tricia was the queen bee on this one. Now it’s up to me and Tony to keep everything alive and flourishing!
Alright, enough background. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Here was the new garden area we reserved during the yard reno. Measures in at 14 feet by 24 feet.
After Tricia finalized the design, we laid everything we bought out in the space to make sure we liked it.
And we did 🙂
Next came the laying out of the landscape cloth (to prevent weeds).
Once the cloth is secure, you basically cut out sections for your plants. A big X works perfectly!
Next was the fun part of putting the plants, flowers and mulch in!
Tricia brought us cocoa mulch and so the entire yard smelled like chocolate. Insert day long candy bar cravings here.
Go Tricia Go!
And after a full day of work…. here is our new garden, complete with what we went with!
So who’s coming over for a salad in a few weeks??? 🙂
You’re given a gift certificate and have to choose to apply it to one of the following….
Option 1: House Cleaning
The deets: Professional cleaning team will come to your home once a month and do a thorough house clean.
The fine print: Service ends after three months, leaving you with an impossible act to follow.
Option 2: Professional Organizer
The deets: One full day visit from a professional organizer to help you get a grip on your files/office/closets and provide tips for future maintenance.
The fine print: Organizer gets to see all your dirty little secrets…
Option 3: Pre-cooked meals
The deets: Every day for 30 days, a pre-cooked and healthy meal for the family will be sent to your front door. All you need to do is reheat.
The fine print: You can’t choose the food, and never know what’s coming until it’s arrived.