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Make a functional sofa shelf

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Design & Decorating | 1 comment

We have an L-shaped sofa in our basement family room.  It’s great for lounging and watching movies, but I hate that there isn’t a place to set drinks, remotes, and other items when relaxing (we have an ottoman and a 1 year old, so using a coffee table isn’t an option).

A solution I came up with is making a basic shelf that runs along the back of the couch.  It works great, is easy to make, and was super cheap!  It’s just deep enough to hold glasses without making the couch stick out.  Here’s how to do it yourself!

You’ll need:

  • A board that is the length of your sofa.  I went to Home Depot and picked out the least expensive 1″ thick by 6″ deep board.  They sold it by the foot, so I had them cut the exact length of my sofa.  Too easy!
  • Stain, polyurethane, and 2 foam brushes
  • Mounting L-brackets
  • Screws

1. Lightly sand the board to get rid of rough edges and the sharp ends from being cut.  Wipe off the board with a dry rag.

2. Apply a coat of stain.  To apply stain use a foam brush to evenly coat the wood.  Take a dry rag and gently wipe off excess stain and rub the rag across the whole board for even coloring. Depending on how deep you want the color, you may need to apply more than one coat of stain.

3. Once that dries apply a layer of polyurethane with a foam brush and leave until it’s dry.

4. Mount your brackets.  The width of your sofa will determine how many brackets you should use…. mine are spaced 3 feet apart, so I used a total of 4 brackets.  You can buy these from the ‘closet/home storage’ section of a home remodeling store (I got them at Home Depot).


I pulled the sofa out a few feet, so you can see how the shelf is attached to the wall.  The height of the shelf just meets the top of the sofa.

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My New Chevron Wall!

Posted on Apr 17, 2012 in Design & Decorating | 7 comments

My favorite pattern of the moment (sorry damask) is chevron!  I love it and had to incorporate it into my home somehow.

*paint colors: Silver Sateen by Behr, Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, Warm Yellow by Rustoleum

I wanted to do a gray and white chevron wall, but had to decide where to do it. Our guest room has been gray, yellow, and brown for a few years, so I chose that room.  I liked the brown walls, but thought it was time for a change.  I then had to decide which wall I wanted to create the pattern on.  Originally I was thinking the wall behind the bed, but then thought that it would be too busy (with the window breaking up the pattern, sconces, lamps, etc).  So I decided on the wall adjacent to the bed.  Wall before:

Wall is a custom color = email or comment for the color 'recipe'

**Basically, no matter what I have done or will do to this room is a vast improvement from what it was when we closed on our house (it was a destroyed foreclosure and I am creating a page with before and afters of the whole house, so check back soon!).  Here is the beast when we closed on the house back in September 2008:

This is me (behind) and my friend, Christina, in ’08 painting the ceilings of this room (can you BELIEVE I BOUGHT THIS PLACE?!!?!?)

I will take you through the adventure of how to create a chevron wall.  If you need assistance with figuring out which wall might work well in your home or calculating the measurements please comment on this post or reach out me on my ‘contact me’ page with your email and I will get back to you asap!

Here is what you’ll need:

  • a ruler (I like metal…nice sharp edges)
  • a yardstick or long perfectly straight stick, rod, etc
  • paints and painting supplies
  • painter’s tape (I spent a little more on the kind with ‘edge lock’ for this project…I wanted very clean and crisp lines on my chevron)
  • a razor blade

1. The first thing I did was calculate and plan out my chevron pattern.  I measured the width and height (from the top of the floor trim) of the wall.  I wanted to make sure that I had full sides of chevrons ending at the walls, so the pattern wasn’t cut off.  I wanted the pattern to be fairly large in scale, so it wasn’t too busy.  I decided I wanted 5 points going across and each row to be about 9 inches wide.

Refer to the below image that I color coded to hopefully make sense to you. The width of the main wall (not including area above the door)  is 103.5 inches.  I divided that by 5 (number of points) which meant that each chevron needed to be 20.7 (20 5/8) inches apart.  I divided this number by two and figured each diagonal section needs to be 10.35 (10 5/16) inches apart.

**Spending a little time before you get started will save you frustration and confusion.  I am visual, so I drew the layout of my pattern and referred to it throughout this project.

2. I removed outlet and switch covers, taped off the floor trim to protect it, & set plastic down. I painted the whole wall white.  I painted it the lighter color first, so when I later painted the darker gray I had good coverage.

3. This is where I felt overwhelmed.  I had to measure out all the dots that I was going to connect with tape to create the pattern.  I started at the top corner.  I measured 10 5/16 inches over and marked a dot.  Then I measured another 10 5/16″, etc, etc, etc until I had the top row of my chevron marked out.

4. After that I measured down 9 5/16 inches down from each dot to create my second row.  I repeated this until I had a bazzillion dots on my wall.  I made sure that my rows were staying straight by taking a yardstick every once in a while and lining up the dots.  If I thought they were starting to get a little off I would adjust my dots a bit.


5. Time for a drink.

6. I now had to connect the dots with painter’s tape to create the pattern.  I made sure that I was placing the tape so it would be on the outside of the rows that I was about to paint gray.

7. I then cut off the extra tape that overlapped into the rows that were to be painted gray.  I used my metal ruler to use as a guide to score the tape with a razor blade (you don’t need to cut really hard into your wall, just slice through the tape).

8. I painted the necessary sections gray with a small roller.  I did paint one row at a time and then removed the tape before painting a new row.  This prevented the paint from drying to the tape and then pulling up when I removed the tape.

*I think gray paint is the hardest to get right.  It can have so many different undertones and can look very different in various light.  Make sure you compare various grays between each other, against something gray that you like, and look at your paint samples in different lights before choosing one*

9. Finally it was done! I re-attached outlet and switch covers (and painted them gray, so my pattern wasn’t disrupted).

10. The last step was to get the room back in order, sit back, and feel proud of my new trendy wall!

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Create a swanky and romantic feel with a wall of candles

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 in Design & Decorating | 6 comments

I love the glow of color and warmth that candles create.  I don’t, however, have the luxury of placing many candles around my home (fire and 1 year olds don’t mix very well).   By placing them on the wall I am able to enjoy candlelight and create a focal point on a wall that was very plain before.  I have framed art and mirrors on the rest of the walls in my living room and wanted to have something different on this space, especially since there are quite a few objects on the sofa table a few feet in front of this wall.



I purchased these votive holders at CB2, which is a sister company of Crate & Barrel; it has a more modern approach and less expensive merchandise.  I bought a few extra of the glass votive holders, to replace any that may break.  The votives I get at JoAnn Fabrics, but you can find them fairly easily other places.  The key with this is to get votives that have clear plastic that holds the wax, instead of metal.  This gives a cleaner look and when the candles are lit and the wax melts clear it gives a great see-through effect.

And this is where you get to practice those math skills you never thought you would use!  Figure out how many rows of votives you want across and high.  Then calculate how much space you want in between the rows and add that up.   If you want the candle display centered, measure the distance of the whole wall and subtract the total width of the rows.  Divide that by 2 and that is how far in from 1 side of the wall you will want to start your candle display.  Figure out how far from the ceiling you want the top of your votives.

I used painter’s tape (I use it for everything, even to reclose food packaging…it’s my duct tape).  Tape around the perimeter of your planned candle display.  Then mark how far in between you want the rows and place the tape accordingly.

Figure out the distance where nail holes from one votive to the votive above or below it will be and mark the tape.  Use small finishing nails and make sure they are angled up – with the same angle and distance sticking out from the wall.

This makes a great look day:

….or night:

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Decorating with Found Items

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 in Design & Decorating | Comments Off

I love mixing old and new pieces to decorate my home; I think it adds a bit of interest. I appreciate antiques, but generally don’t use them to decorate my house.  I do, however, enjoy looking through an antique store, consignment shop, and even rummage sales occasionally for something that jumps out at me.  Below are a few items that I have found this way.

-I found these letters at an antique shop and are old newspaper press letters.  I looked through the variety of letters that were for sale to find mismatched fonts – to add a little interest.  They are sitting on our mantel and spell out our last name.

Use old paperpress letters to spell your name or other words

-This doorknob plate and key I found at 2 different consignment shops.  I bought the knob plate about a year ago and then stumbled upon the key recently.  They are placed on a small wall in between 2 doors in our hallway.

-There are 2 of these sconces- one flanking each side of a window in our guest room.  They were cheap and fake gold and at a garage sale, but I liked the shape of them.  I painted them with a little spray paint and I think they look fairly modern and cool now.

 -I was in a clothing consignment shop and I saw this piece of art hanging in the dressing room.  I had been looking for something that was this size to fit in a small rectangular space above our headboard.  The size and colors were perfect.  The traditional feel of this piece balances out the modern print that it is on our bedding.

 -I found this side table at an antique store.  It was damaged with chipped and scratched red paint.  I sanded it and put a couple coats of white enamel on it (leftover paint from painting the trim in our home).  It fits perfectly next to the rocking chair in my daughter’s nursery.

 -This wood vase was found at a garage sale.


-These canvases and frames I found at an antique store (going out of business and I got all 3 for super cheap).  To buy this size of canvas and frames new you would normally spend quite a bit of money. They originally had crazy jellyfish painted on them, but I took some acrylic paints and made three simple swirl paintings.  They are over our sofa in the basement family room.

 -I found this clock at a consignment store.  It was like new and from Pottery Barn, but I got it for about 1/4 the cost.  It’s on a shelf in our guest room.

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Create a Double-Rod for your Window Treatments

Posted on Mar 27, 2012 in Design & Decorating | Comments Off

This idea was inspired when I was going to purchase double-rods for our drapes.  I looked at Pottery Barn and was not about to pay $200 per window for hardware (I had 9 windows to cover!). Hardware for windows is not cheap.  I was able to ‘make’ double-rods for about $35 per window and get the same function as the expensive rods.

I like having sheers on some of my windows.  They add a nice amount of privacy and romance without blocking light.  In fact, light that is filtered through sheers can give your room a beautiful glow. Below are a couple windows in my living room using two separate rods to create the same look as expensive double-rods.

You will need to purchase two size rods that are the same in finish: a larger one for the front rod and a smaller one for the back sheer rod.  Install the larger rod first and then just on the inside of that bracket install the smaller rod’s bracket.  Easy peazy!

Create the function of expensive double rods for cheap!

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