Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cleaning Out The Closet

With the approach of Springtime, the plague of the cleaning bug is usually not far behind. Throw in the upcoming arrival of a little human being and that Spring cleaning goes into full force! I've slowly been making my way around the house, cleaning out junk drawers, console tables, and our basement so it was time I moved on up to our bedroom closet.

While I had my dressing room, I only kept a few heavy winter coats and old prom/bridesmaid dresses in my half of the closet seeing as I had a whole room to myself. Now that the dressing room is becoming a baby room, I needed to move all my clothes into the main bedroom closet. Lucky for us, Dan's and my clothes fit just fine into said closet so things weren't too bad to begin with. Cleaning out the closet was simply a good time to re-evaluate what I wanted to keep and what I hadn't worn in quite some time. Obviously I can't wear two thirds of my wardrobe right now anyways so I took the opportunity to be realistic about what I would continue to wear after the baby's born.

As I've shown you before, we have another small closet in the dressing room (to the right in the photo below) and I needed to clean that area out as well. It had really become just a storage space for out of season clothes and other non-essentials and it needed to be dealt with.

It was only this clean after the floors were laid... it quickly filled up with stuff.

Now of course with any cleaning, things had to get bad before they could get better:

Banana box filled with bed sheets, laundry basket of clothes waiting to be folded and put away, mirror from the dressing room that may or may not get hung on the wall it's leaning against...

Having one of my little buddies with me made things more enjoyable

The clothes I decided not to keep got put into two piles, one to donate and one to try to sell. I've never sold clothes before but since some of them were actually kinda nice, I thought I might try my hand at it and see if I can get anything. The pile of dresses were kept, but they just needed to be moved to the back of the closet. Oh and the light in the closet? We had to take it down about a month after Hurricane Sandy when we noticed the fixture slowly filling with water. Apparently when some of our shingles blew off our roof the rain was slowly dripping through and into that fixture. Pretty dangerous. We had someone come and fix the missing shingles right away and took down the light fixture to empty the water. That was maybe the end of November? Yeah, we gotta get on that...

After clearing out my side and then doing a little thinning out of Dan's, I'm happy to report that I either donated or threw out two very large garbage bags worth of clothes and other items and now our main closet is all neat and organized. The dressing room is still not completely emptied of my things but we're getting there. (Sorry, but I'm gonna be a bad blogger today because I have no pretty After pictures to share as of now...just keeping it real)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 Space-Saving Tips for Nurseries

Now that nursery progress is in full swing, it's time I really start to think about where all this baby stuff is gonna go in our small space. I'm also guessing that maybe some of you out there have a small nursery as well (anybody..?) and hopefully this can help you out as you plan your rooms. And if you have any advice you'd like to share, please do!

1. Under the crib. This is a space that will most definitely be utilized in our nursery since it offers tons of storage while being hidden from sight by a crib skirt. In these long lidded bins I can store out of season clothes, extra diapers, and more.

2. Dresser drawers. As I've mentioned before, I plan to use our campaign dresser as a changing table and that means I have six generously sized drawers to hold all sorts of baby paraphernalia. I'm thinking the top two drawers will be designated for changing supplies (diapers, wipes, creams) and their current-sized clothes. All the other drawers will hold more clothes, shoes, or even toys.

3. Top of the changing table. Our changing pad will take up probably two thirds of our dresser surface but for the other third I plan to keep out some of the most used lotions and creams, as well as pacifiers, nail clippers, and other little essentials. A tiered stand would be fantastic as it makes the most of the vertical space in the room while having a very small footprint.

4. Shelves. Like I've mentioned before, I plan to hang three shelves in the room to hold baby gear as well as books. Keeping items up and off of the floor (as opposed to say a free-standing bookshelf) will help the room feel less cluttered. On the top shelf I'll be able to keep an ipod dock, a fan, and even a monitor and I can rest easy knowing it is all out of baby girl's reach.

5. Garbage can vs. diaper pail. In lieu of a traditional diaper pail or Diaper Genie I plan to simply use a space saving rectangular garbage can that I can tuck beside my dresser/changing table. Not only will this save money (I hear those genie refills can be pricey) but I can find a can that fits my space perfectly and not have to choose solely from what's available at Babies R Us. I may even try my hand at making those diaper pail deoderizers I've seen so often on Pinterest.

So there ya have it, 5 tips on making the most of a small nursery. Feel free to weigh in with your own space-saving tips or leave a link so I can see your nursery!

All images via my Pinterest Nursery Board.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nursery: Beginnings + A Mood Board

Seeing as this baby will be arriving in just two and a half short months, it's high time we started on her room, no? I'd really like it to be finished about 3 weeks before she arrives just to be safe but we'll see how that goes...

The room we are going to use for the nursery was previously my dressing room and by that name alone you should be able to gather that this room is small. At 12' x 5 1/2' though, it will definitely be a workable space although the slanted roofline does complicate things just a bit. Ever since we found out we were expecting I've slowly been transitioning my things out and using the room to collect all the baby items we've been accumulating. The one thing I still needed to do was to take down the hanging bar that used to hold my clothes. Removing it was easy but it left quite a mark behind that needed to be scraped and spackled.

For now, that side of the room looks like this:

And the other side, like this:

The back closet area off to the left is an awkward angled space so I'm hoping to add some long shelves for out of season storage as well as a small hanging bar for dresses and coats. Something like this:

We have two light fixtures in the room: one overhead and one on the wall to your left as you enter the room. 

They will both need replacing so I went ahead and removed the vanity-esque one from the wall and spackled over it's odd shape. I'd love to put a nice pretty sconce in its place, maybe something similar to this in either brass (to match my campaign dresser) or black:

That wall will also hold three shelves that we will either build or buy, I'm still undecided.

These shelves will hold books, yes, but also other necessities we need in the room up and out of baby's reach. I'm thinkin baby gear on the top and books on the bottom two. The outlet on this wall is also the only outlet in the entire room so I have to be very choose-y about what gets to be on those shelves.

And finally, my inspiration piece for the room, this black and white Cherokee chevron baby blanket I picked up at Target around Christmastime before we knew what we were having. To tell you the truth I'm really not a chevron girl but for some reason I was drawn to its homemade feel and the graphic contrast of black and white. Plus I feel this is a true chevron versus a lot of other patterns that really are just a zig-zag but try to pawn themselves off as chevron. I'm onto you...

And now for a visual of my plan for the room:

The black angled lines are there to imitate the roofline of the room. The crib (Jenny Lind in white) will actually be against the right wall right under the sloping roofline while the campaign dresser will be on the window wall like it appears. I chose to go with Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak for the walls (instead of Baby Fawn) and even bought a sample. Once the spackle is dry and sanded (ugh...) I can start painting!

The rug in the photo is from West Elm and although I do love it, I think I am going to try my hand at getting a custom-sized rug bound that will fit our long and narrow room much better than any standard 5x8 could. The ottoman I already own as well as the dresser to which I'll simply add a changing pad to the top instead of bringing in a separate changing table.

I've heard such mixed reviews about the shell rocker but I've decided to press on and get it. Only once I've truly "tried it out" when the baby's here will I know if it will work for us or not so I'm gonna go ahead and keep it in my plans. The ceiling fixture is just an idea (a nice linen version from Lowes) so we'll see where I end up with that. The air balloon mobile would be a splurge so I may try my hand at DIYing one or finding a cheaper alternative. And finally, a simple bamboo blind on the window will finish things off nicely. I'm still debating curtains or no curtains.

So there ya go, a little glimpse into my vision for baby girl's nursery. Some color will come in through accessories but I really am loving this clean and serene neutral palate. Keeping things neutral will also be great for possible future offspring as well as help the room feel as big and bright as possible. Luckily the window in that room lets in loads of light, which I guess could also be a bad thing during nap time...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Day of Love

I hope you all get to enjoy this special day with someone you love. Valentine's Day is our engagement anniversary (8 years ago...woah) so we have plans to go out and celebrate rather than stay in, which is our usual custom. Seeing as this is our last V-Day as just the two of us though, we figured we may as well take full advantage. It may just be a Bell's Tavern kind of night.

Images via

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's Go Glamping

Let's be honest: camping is not my most favorite thing in the world to do. I've only ever done it one time but those two nights were plenty. Yes I enjoy the great outdoors, hiking, exploring, and all that jazz but the sleeping in a cold tent on hard ground with no bathroom... not my favorite.

So when I stumbled upon this amazing Airstream trailer renovation I thought to myself, Yeah I'd go camping in that! This is more than camping though, it's glamping.

Oh yeah, I could rough it a few nights in here...

All images via

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our Basement Family Room

This basement has come a long way my friends. From junk room to painting space and now finally family room, it's taken us over a year and a half to make this space into what we wanted it to be all along. With the recent addition of my craft nook, the basement now feels quite finished, although it really isn't (and probably never will be, right?). All the major elements have taken place however so from here on out it will be only be a matter of small tweaks rather than big projects.

When you first open the basement door you're greeted by my cheeky little warning to "duck" that I painted a couple weeks ago.

Then, as you saw yesterday, the first area you hit when you come downstairs is my new craft nook.

Now here's the wide angle version of the space. I really truly love the black wall and think it adds so much coziness to the otherwise beige box. The black paint grounds that area and along with the bookshelf makes it feel like its own room.

Now for the other side of the room, and our piece de resistance: the giant vintage American flag.

My sister and brother-in-law picked it up for Dan at a thrift store and it was originally intended to be used as a headliner for his 1950 Chevy truck. After realizing that this might be the #1 hotrodder sin (apparently you DO NOT upholster with American flags), it remained folded up in our basement awaiting its fate. Now it proudly hangs on our wall and I couldn't love it more.

The wingback chair is down here purely because it has no where else to go. Its twin lives upstairs in our dining room and I always imagined having both of them as head chairs but unfortunately the space just doesn't allow it. So here it lies. The same goes for the hope chest too. I have no where else to put it and don't want to get rid of it so it's down here. Maybe it'll eventually become a toy box?

And just for fun, here's a couple shots of our recently refreshed basement bathroom:

And in true Keeping It Real fashion, here's a shot of the closet area to the right of the flag and behind our bathroom door.

Yeah, I still need to deal with that. I have plans for all the wrapping paper and boxes but everything else has me stumped. Perhaps I'll hang a curtain and forget it even exists? Yes, that sounds about right...

And to think, this same space looked like this not too long ago:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Craft Nook Chalkboard Wall

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all stayed safe and warm during the snowstorm and took full advantage of being cooped up indoors, I know I did. For months now I've been dying to have a place in our home where all my craft supplies can be consolidated into one place and slowly but surely I've been making it happen. Every craft supply has been abolished from our main floor and been stashed away in the basement just waiting for the craft nook to take shape. Now I am happy to say it has!

After deciding which wall I wanted to designate my "craft nook" I had to first clear everything away.

This wall is the first thing you see when you walk down to the basement and hang a right (if you turned left you'd be in the laundry room). For months now I collected all my craft things and plopped them down here so they'd be all ready to go when I finally was ready to get things organized.

Penny inspects the freshly bare wall

Then came the fun part: a chalkboard wall! I've wanted to do one of these in just about every room in our house but could never pull the trigger because it never seemed quite right. But in my new craft nook, it was perfect! Here's a little glimpse into how I paint: first I trim out the ceiling, then I fill in any place where the walls meet, and finally cut in around any outlets or switches. I would normally have trimmed out the baseboards too but I had just freshly caulked them and needed to wait until it was dry before I could touch them up with white trim paint, and then I could finish cutting in.

I used Rust-Oleum's Chalkboard paint in Black and decided to skip any magnetic primer. If I want to hang things on the wall I'll probably make a cork board of some type rather than just stick things right on with a magnet.

 I thought for sure one quart would be enough but as you can see below, it not only took every last drop to cover the walls themselves, I didn't have enough to finish that small patch on the right or cutting in the baseboards. I needed to buy another quart to finish the walls so hopefully I can find some new projects that need a little chalkboard painting (shouldn't be too hard...).

As is the case with chalkboard paint, I need to wait three days for it to cure before I can prep it and then finally write on it. Since I painted on Thursday night (and painted just that small patch on Saturday) I think I should be good to go tonight! I'll keep ya posted of course.

After the painting was done, I needed to add some storage. Enter the Ikea Micke desk. At $89 this desk was perfect for giving me a nice big work surface that still fit in my small-ish nook. This desk also has a closed door and two drawers for plenty of hidden storage. Normally I would have turned to Craigslist for my furniture needs, and believe me I did, but after not finding what I was looking for I turned to Ikea. I love this desk's modern clean-lines, especially with my new mid-century TV stand, and it was relatively easy to put together all by myself. I simply paired it with one of our extra dining chairs and love the contrast of it all.

As for what to do with all the craft supplies, I'm happy to report that everything found a home, either in the desk or on this bookshelf that my brother built for me when I first got married. Eventually I'd like to get some baskets or bins for prettier storage but for now I'm just happy everything has a home.

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