A Mixed Bag of Design Thoughts

This week is one of those weeks. You know the ones… where I can’t seem to get the DIY flow going again. Usually, all it takes is a little momentum – like last week, where my dining room paint job morphed into also painting the upper hallway (THE hardest-to-reach spot in the house).

But this week? Totally different. I guess that’s the ebb and flow of DIY. I also have project ADD (which I disguise as my “one room at a time is for suckers” mantra), and right now, none of my current projects are really speaking to me. Not even ones I really need to get to, like a long-overdue landscaping project on the side of the house:

All it takes is one summer of neglect, and I’m in the weeds. But more on that later. (That whole area is a beast and will take its own full post to explain. My neighbors should all be considered for sainthood with that kind of patience, but then again, this area is kind of masked by my neighbor’s big-ass, smelly tree, so it’s not really all that visible from the street until you’re actually standing in my yard. But in the interest of keeping this blog 100% authentic, I sucked it up and snapped a photo for you to feel superior to. So hey, at least it will make the after that much more jaw-dropping – right?)

Anyway, I did what any girl in my situation might do when they’ve reached an inspiration plateau: I’ve gone shopping.

First, I’ve been hitting the gym kinda hard lately. All of this working-from-home stuff makes me a virtual houseplant since I do almost 100% of my job from my computer. I’m not complaining. Really, working from home is awesome. But it takes more of an effort to get me out of the house and moving about. So I recruited a friend of mine from grad school to remind me how not to injure myself when doing some strength training. And then, of course, we grabbed a post-workout beer (I earned it, I swear).

I also changed my hair. I have yet to find myself in a situation where I’ve fully styled it, but here’s a hint at the new color:

I haven’t gotten any good photos of the new color yet, so I’ll grab another sometime soon and post it on Instagram. It looks really different when the sun hits it!

Naturally, when you find yourself working out more, you also start ogling new shoes to go with your new gym schedule. Or am I the only one? It’s been over two years since I bought my last pair… seemed like a good time. But why do the guys’ shoes always look so much cooler than the women’s?

I wound up finding ones that fit me like second skin, but I had to order the color I wanted online. I saved myself another $20 bucks for my trouble thanks to coupon codes (Remember: no matter what you buy online, if there’s a box for a discount code available during checkout, it pays to do a quick web search to see if there’s a discount code floating around somewhere. Nine times out of ten, I save myself at least ten bucks on average and get free shipping too).

But, that wasn’t the end of the shoe story; it wasn’t all new stuff – some of it involved getting rid of the old. When I got home, I took one look in my closet, and I’d had enough. I love shoes, but I get bored with them. And I buy new ones, but do a lousy job at getting rid of the ones I never wear. Which is what prompted me to suddenly tear through my shoe collection and just start chucking. It felt great. I should do this more often :)

I also perused Etsy for some new prints to fit the gallery wall that will go in the hallway. I’ve bought a handful of them already, so I’ll share the lot as soon as I’ve got some of them in frames. The last time I bought a few, it was figures and abstract art; this time around, it’s all animals. Especially birds and whales.

new prints

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I’ve been tempted a few times to also go for some typography prints, but each time I’m about to pull the trigger, I stop. I guess I find it harder to justify spending cash on a font when I’m confident I can create them with a few clicks in Photoshop. But aren’t they clever? I can imagine myself buying the one on the left for my office and the one on the right for the guest bathroom (the idea that this is the first thing that a guest might see stepping out of the shower cracks me up). I’m super tempted to create one of my own out of my favorite song lyrics as well.

office guest bath

I’ve been eyeballing a few others, which you can see on my Etsy curated collection here if you’re curious. But I’m also curious to know how you discover new art for yourself. Any shops you just love, Etsy or otherwise? Do you feel the same way about typography art as I do? Or perhaps you like men’s sneaks more than women’s too?

Latest: House Tour

new stairs

Latest: Project Gallery

moscow mule

On a Roll


Sometimes long projects can make you feel like you could use a good rest before beginning the next one. And sometimes, they do exactly the opposite and give you more energy to tackle other spots in the house. And after seeing such a dramatic change in my dining room last week, I was on a roll (as in, roller?) – I decided that the long-awaited hallway paint job would finally be done. One room at a time is for (Thanks, by the way, for all of your awesome comments on the dining room paint last week. Going bold with color can leave a person stuck and wondering if they made … ... READ MORE

Dining Room: Paint!

Olympic Smoke Blue dining room

Okay, so we've both been waiting long enough for this one. My dining room has NEW PAINT, BABY. Bla-DOW! This is the first room where I've ever gone BIG with color. I stepped outside my comfort zone of gray (and more gray) and went for deep, moody, vibrant blue. And so far, I'm really, really liking it. Remember how I did my mom and dad's dining room using Olympic ONE Paint + Primer? During that same trip to the hardware store, I snagged a gallon for myself as well. I hadn't yet chosen the actual paint swatch for the room at the time, so I decided to take … ... READ MORE

Painting Prep after Drywall Repair

painting prep

Last post before the  new paint, promise! I had to wait for the right lighting this afternoon to snap a few photos, so those are being edited. But since new drywall (or in my case, repaired drywall) is a little different than just slapping up a coat of paint, I thought covering some info on the prep work was worthy of writing about first. When you are dealing with repairing damaged drywall after wallpaper removal, there are a number of things you have to stay on top of. One, of course, being that you properly repair the surface. I've covered skim coating on this blog … ... READ MORE

The Dining Room: Ready for Paint

finished walls dining room

As of this evening, I will officially be done with staring at white walls in my dining room. And it's about damn time, because it feels like I've been staring and sanding the same wall for a month now. Oh wait – that's completely accurate. The hardest part about skim coating is staying patient. When you hit a certain point, you start negotiating with your own self on just how much smoother can you really get with an additional skim coat. Are those little imperfections really going to be noticed by anyone but me? It already looks perfectly fine when I photograph … ... READ MORE

How to Paint a Tall Hallway Above Stairs

hall ceiling

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... one room at a time is for suckers. At least, that's how I justify skipping around from project to project like I do. I don't seem to have the ability to simply focus on one room at a time, and it's often to my detriment. Instead of one room being finished, I have basically all rooms in this house at some type of percentage of completion. And that means living in my own personal brand of hell chaos. But, in my defense, sometimes it's a matter of circumstance. I've committed myself to finishing off the dining room this week, … ... READ MORE

A Lesson in Patience

fan on oil primer in dining room

When I last left off in the dining room, I mentioned I'd probably paint the walls with some oil primer to make sure that nothing bubbles up when I put a second thin coat of joint compound on the walls (to fix any bumps or lumps from wallpaper removal). Well, fast forward a couple of days (and a lot of airing out), and the dining room now has a fresh coat of oil primer. And I'm getting so impatient because the walls look smooth already. I am itching to paint the walls yesterday. But, I know that it's an optical illusion; I still need at least one more skim coat and … ... READ MORE

One Hell of an Arm Workout

The dining room is at an awkward stage right now. Awkward, as in if I showed you a picture of this room yesterday, it would have looked exactly the same as today. Only the difference between them is a couple of hours spent sanding joint compound with my new favorite tool. And therefore rubbery arms. But I'm grateful to find new ways to get in shape (she said, sarcastically). To give you the full history of progress, let's backtrack a bit: The wallpaper was taken down, which left an awful mess of torn drywall behind (before you regale me with your favorite … ... READ MORE

Count Your Brush Strokes Instead of Sheep

when i can't sleep

Last night, I had a tough time sleeping. I just couldn't get tired enough, and always catch a tough-to-fight second wind around 10pm. So, knowing that I wasn't going to be hitting the hay quite as early as I would have liked, I used my go-to cure for when I can't sleep: painting something. I don't know precisely what it is: the soothing and quiet house, the repetitive nature of painting, or simply knowing that I'm getting something done, but this method seems to work for me each and every time. I paint about half a wall, wrap up the brush (I don't bother rinsing this … ... READ MORE

Haven, You Exhaust Me (In a Good Way)

haven conference 2014

Today, I'm back from the exhaustive DIY conference known as Haven. Thankfully, this thing is held in Atlanta every year, so I don't have to deal with the whole travel thing quite so much as the rest of the attendees. But if you've never been to a conference before, trust me when I say that I am tired. I spent all of yesterday (the first full day at home afterward) sprawled out in bed with Charlie, dealing with what should be dubbed "The Haven Hangover" (it impacts even non-drinkers, but in my case, I'll admit that mine was helped with a few beers in the … ... READ MORE

Next Up: MY Dining Room

dining room mood board

Maybe it's that Mom and Dad's dining room is now finished off so nicely, that I can't help but want one of my own. Or maybe it's that it's been months since I've worked on this room and I'm too project A.D.D. to not switch back whenever the hell I want to. Or, simply, I'm tired of having absolutely everything that belongs in the dining room and kitchen (including furniture) piled high in my living room like an episode of Hoarders. Yeah, probably the last one. But at any rate, I'm ready to get the walls in my dining room finished off. I've already sketched up my game … ... READ MORE

Easy Storage for Outdoor Cushions


This post won't be as long as the forever-taking reveal of Mom & Dad's dining room that I posted last week, but I thought this idea was one of those perfect and simple tips that's prime for the sharin'. So that's what I'm doing. This past winter, Mom scored a pretty good deal on an outdoor dining set and umbrella. Only issue was, the cushions had seen better days. So she went to a local home store called At Home, and picked up some inexpensive outdoor cushions to replace them. I can't say they're my favorite choice (sorry Mom), but hey - they do the job (and … ... READ MORE

Mom and Dad’s Dining Room Reveal


Remember back in March when Dad and I spent a weekend putting up drywall in his dining room? Maybe not, but trust me - it totally happened. And Mom was pretty excited when she got home from her birthday weekend and found that the makeover she's been waiting nearly twenty years for was finally happening.  Get ready for a lot of pictures (seriously- you're going to suddenly see why I do all of those partway, unfinished reveal posts by the end of this!). You see, normally, Dad comes over to my house to help me make a big mess and improve things around the UDH. … ... READ MORE