2.26.2014

DIY Pendant Light from Glass Vase

As part of our master bathroom makeover, we converted wall sconces over the mirror to pendant lights. Buying back that real estate above the mirror allowed us to take the floor mirrors all the way to the ceiling and gave us a more unique, designer look. Parts of this project were tricky (the electrical work), but other parts of it were relatively simple (creating the pendant lights).

Let's walk through it...

I originally wanted to just buy pendant lights instead of DIY-ing them, but I couldn't find any that I liked within our small budget. I really wanted a simple glass pendant to allow maximum light into the bathroom, and inspiration struck when I was walking through HomeGoods looking for something else. I knew I'd see other projects where people converted mason jars and other ordinary items to pendant lights, so why couldn't I do the same with glass vases?

At $10 a pop, I thought these vases would be perfect. The circular honeycomb pattern would tie in nicely with the capiz chandelier over the bathtub, and the glass pattern would obscure the ugly light bulb inside (something I'm very particular about when I know the snazzy Edison-style light bulbs won't provide the functionality we need).


Once I got the vases home, I tried to convince the husband that my plan was brilliant. He was skeptical. He needed proof that it would work. Then I found some awesome tutorials like this one about how to drill through glass by Mandi over at Vintage Revivals. I got a good laugh out of it when I realized she chose the exact same vases as me. Great minds think alike.

She also has a thorough tutorial for how to create a custom pendant light, so I won't reinvent the wheel today. Her instructions were GREAT!

The husband was interested to see if drilling through glass would be as simple as she made it seem, and it is! The running water is key to the equation, so don't leave that out. We found our kitchen sink was a great place for this. It probably would have been smart to wear safety goggles, but... Sometimes we're not smart. Oops! (Glass pieces weren't flying around, so no damage was done. The water pushes the tiny glass pieces down and away from the face.)


Once the holes were drilled in the bottom of the glass, it's as simple as attaching the light kits (we bought these.) Hello, custom pendant lights!

Creating the lights was fairly easy, but relocating the electrical from the wall to the ceiling? Not quite so simple! Luckily for me, the husband has gotten very good at electrical work and was able to navigate this with just a little bit of extra elbow grease.

We knew we needed to run the wiring from the wall to the ceiling. The first problem we faced was that there were two lateral wooden studs between the existing wiring and where we wanted to go. That meant we needed to drill holes through each stud so the wires could pass through, which is not very easy when you don't want to tear up the wall.

Electricians have super long drill bits for problems like this, but we don't have one of those so we had to cut a bigger hole in the wall. That allowed the husband to reach his arm in the wall with his drill and drill upward through the stud. 




Once he drilled through those studs, he had to go up in the attic and drill through the top stud. That's when this little "oopsy" happened:


No worries, it was nothing a little spackle and paint touchup couldn't fix. Never a dull moment in DIY land!

If you want a really fun marriage test, have your husband go up in the cramped, stuffy attic while you stay below. Work together to blindly run a wire through a tiny hole behind a wall while yelling instructions to one another through another tiny hole in the ceiling. Make sure you don't stand directly below the ceiling hole because you'll surely get insulation in your eyes while he shuffles around up there. Then you'll be kind of mad at him for kicking insulation into your contact lenses while he'll be irritated that you didn't have the common sense not to stand under the hole and look up.

It's SUPER fun, and I totally recommend it. (I guess this is why some couples think DIY = divorce!)

Let's just say we both breathed a sigh of relief when the wires were safely where they needed to be. Marriage crisis averted, woohoo!


Once we reached this stage, the husband just did his thing and installed our new lights. If you don't know how to do electrical work, definitely hire a professional. Scott's buddy is an electrician and has taught him how to do this stuff, which is such a handy skill. He's basically obsessed with installing new lights now, but I'm not complaining. :)

Once the lights were up, we put in a normal, non-frosted lightbulb and turned the power back on. I was so excited for the big reveal. However, this was NOT what I was expecting!


I got a little panicked at this point and had some fun conversations in my own head: "What was I thinking when I chose the honeycomb glass? This is completely nonfunctional! I'm not going to do my makeup with that lighting. He's going to kill me when he realizes he's done all this work and I don't even like the new lights!"

Sensing my panic (and desperately trying to salvage the project), the husband suggested we try a frosted light bulb instead. Brilliant! Who knew it would make such a difference?


It was such a relief when the new light bulb solved the problem. Thank goodness we didn't have to abandon all of the work we'd done. Phew.

The vases were $10 and the pendant fitter was $16, so we spent about $26 per light. Not too shabby for a custom look! Since we splurged on the $80 floor mirrors above each sink, we were relieved to save some money with the lighting.

For more on our bathroom makeover, check out my previous post. You can see the full details on how we went from this...


... to this!

Well, that's a wrap for this bathroom makeover! Unfortunately the guest bathroom is another story; that room needs a full overhaul. It hasn't been updated since the late 1980s. We're making plans and pricing options for that space as I type. Stay tuned!

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2.24.2014

Vote: Nightstand Remix

If you looked really closely at the photos of our master bedroom, you may have noticed a difference between the two nightstands.

Exhibit A on the husband's side features one of our $5 thrifted nightstands in its original form. I was drawn to the texture of the rattan/bamboo piece and liked how the double decker design would give us more usable bedside storage. I'm the type to accumulate many books and cups of water beside my bed, plus my phone charger, Nook charger, all that good stuff. Storage is key!


Exhibit B on my side features the same nighstand with some black inserts (made of poster board)!


I felt like the back part of the nightstand was a little busy with the crisscross pattern, so I tried to modernize it by adding the deep black solid inserts to the bottom shelf and back side. It's just a piece of chalky black (not glossy at all) poster board from the craft store, so it is very cost effective and easy to change out.

I also thought the black would tie in with the sconces and help the unusual mix of rattan, leather and brushed nickle make more sense together. (I have eclectic taste, what can I say?) Plus, let's be honest– I can't resist a $5 nightstand. I spend more than that at Starbucks!



I stopped after I finished the first nightstand because I wanted some feedback before I spent any more time on the project. I figured I would put it on the blog and see if you like it before or after the poster board makeover.

What do you think? Should I keep them in their original bamboo glory or make them a bit more moody and modern with the black?

Let me know in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading and weighing in. The best part about having a blog is chatting with like-minded people!


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2.23.2014

Favorite Craigslist Purchase Ever

Something amazing happened last week. After more than a year of searching for the perfect bed for the master bedroom, I had all but given up when I spotted a gorgeous leather sleigh bed from Ethan Allen on Craigslist. You better believe we bought it!


My bed requirements went something like this:

• Upholstered
• Includes both headboard and footboard, not just rails
• Dark color or some sort of stain resistant material

I've been funneling money into a "bed fund" for months and months now. A recent bonus put my piggy bank up to $1,500, which I figured was plenty to accomplish my simple requirements. However, have you searched for upholstered beds lately? WHOA! We went to Bassett this past weekend and created our ideal bed with their custom upholstery program, and it was $3,000– double our budget. It was super discouraging. I'm pretty sure I made several dramatic statements about how we would never find the perfect bed.

Throughout this past year I'd been randomly searching on Craigslist, but I never found anything that looked promising. Two days after the Bassett ordeal, I typed in a new search term "king sleigh bed" with the idea that we might be able to upholster a regular sleigh bed. Lo and behold, this bed was one of the first listings that popped up. After the hubby confirmed he liked it as much as me, I bit my nails while waiting for the seller to respond. Five LONG hours later, she finally let me know the bed was ours if we wanted it. HOORAY!

She said she originally paid $5,000 for this Ethan Allen bed, and we purchased it from her for $725. Of course that's quite a bit more than we've ever paid for anything on Craigslist, but we knew it was worth it. This bed weighs a TON and is extremely well made. We feel great about our purchase.


Our dogs love to lean against the side of the bed and used to make our former bed skirt super dirty, so I knew we needed upholstery that was durable. I've actually been hoping to find a leather bed the entire time, but I couldn't find any with a leather color that I actually liked. Everything was either black, chocolate brown or bright white. This particular cognac color is my absolute favorite leather because it's so warm and doesn't bring up any bachelor pad connotations. 

I love how the bed walks the line between masculine and feminine very closely, which is perfect for a master bedroom. 


In case you're wondering why I didn't buy any of those $600-$800 upholstered beds that pop up on Joss and Main all the time, it's because I don't like when there is a gap between the upholstered headboard and the mattress. Every affordable option I found online (and in person) had that particular gap, and I just wasn't willing to compromise on that. After holding out for more than a year, I didn't want to give in and let that detail drive my crazy.


We are so thrilled with how the bed brings the whole room together. The yummy brown leather warms up the grey and white color scheme, and I love how the wooden details make it feel extra special. It also ties in nicely with our ceiling fan color, which was a happy accident. Plus I'm a sucker for turned feet on any type of furniture!

So, what do you think of our bed? Have you bought anything great on Craigslist lately?

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2.17.2014

Master Bathroom Makeover

We've been plugging along on our bathroom for the past couple of months, and I'm thrilled to finally show you the progress. We got a sudden burst of productivity this weekend and were able to finish up the last couple of projects for this space.

The master bathroom we started with wasn't terrible at all. I think the tile and paint choices were a bit questionable, but it wasn't bad enough for us to throw a big wad of cash at this room. We figured some relatively minor updates to give this room some personality without a complete overhaul.

This is how it looked when we toured the house. 


And here's how this room looks today:


The first thing we did was paint. I really wanted to downplay the brown/tan accent tiles and create a room that felt more spa-like, so we pulled out the grey from the main tiles and put that on the wall instead of the yellow-y beige color that was there before. The wall color is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, which is the color we have used in almost every room. I like to stick with what works! We also painted the doors, cabinets, moulding and trim a crisp white (Pure White by Sherwin Williams).

We removed the ornate chandelier above the bathtub and replaced it with a fun capiz chandelier from the Pottery Barn outlet (it's actually a PB Teen product, but they don't carry it anymore).

The bathroom faucets in this room are a really unique finish. My best description is sort of a rose gold mixed with champagne and brushed nickel. I searched high and low to find the exact faucet, and it turns out the finish is "vibrant brushed bronze" by Kohler. Once I saw this particular faucet was worth nearly $600, I decided we should keep it! But of course, that meant it would be nearly impossible to match the rest of our hardware.

For the new cabinet pulls, we decided to mimic the minimalist look of the faucet and use the same hardware as our custom master closets. Even though they weren't the exact finish of the faucet, we felt like the coordinated well. With a fresh coat of paint and the new handles, the cabinets got new life and emphasized the serene grey walls.

I wanted to embrace how tall our ceilings are in this room, so we placed a big floor mirror from HomeGoods above the tub to draw your eye up. I like how it ties in with the brown/tan accent tiles and makes those look more purposeful. I still have no idea why they matched the grey and tan tiles together in the original design, but I've got to embrace them at this point. It's not my favorite but we're going to keep them since they are in good shape and aren't overly offensive.

As for the sink area, we aren't sure why they only installed one sink. Seems odd, right? I originally thought we'd want to install another sink, but we've found that this setup doesn't bother us at all. As long as we have our own counter and mirror space, we're fine.

Once again we wanted to emphasize the high ceilings, so I asked the husband to relocate the lights above the mirror so we could have huge floor mirrors above the sink. I LOVE the giant mirrors and the way they multiply the space in the room. They instantly made a huge difference and made the room feel so much more luxurious than it did before. Each mirror was $80 at HomeGoods.

The pendant lights are a fun DIY project we completely yesterday. I'll be back with a separate post explaining how we made those from simple glass vases. We're thrilled with how they came out!

How about a little before and after action? It's just so satisfying to see them side-by-side.

Before

After


Before

After

So, what's your favorite part? I'm definitely partial to the floor mirrors above the sink area. It's an unconventional idea that makes our bathroom feel special!

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2.12.2014

My Thumb Needs Help

It seems I have a knack for killing plants. Especially outdoor plants. We certainly have crazy weather changes in North Texas, but I still deserve a lot of the blame. I'm unattentive and have no patience for high maintenance chlorophyll!

On the plus side, I've noticed that I have better luck with indoor plants. In fact, there are four plants in our house that I've kept alive for more than a year now! It's a miracle. (I've killed quite a few indoor plants too, but let's focus on the positive.)

As we've worked on this new house, I've discovered how much I love having plants as part of the decor. There's something fantastic about having a natural, living object in a room. Plus I love the sculptural quality they add and the fact that I can't control how they grow. It's part of the fun!

Here's a photo of my office from back in the summer (right after we moved in), but you can see my two fiddle leaf fig trees by the window. I really love them and am so happy they are still alive! I hardly ever water them, so you know these babies are pretty low maintenance. 


I have two smaller house plants that I move from room to room, but I have no idea what they are called! I picked these up on clearance at Lowe's a long time ago. The way the vines curve over the side of the planters is my favorite part with these plants. I think they make each room look better. I want many more of them so I can spread the wealth!


Does anyone have any idea what type of plants those are in the photos above? 

When I was researching plants, I decided to find some that help purify the air. (Will new plants counteract the dog hair flying around our home that kicks up my congestion? It's worth a shot.) Apparently the following plants help downplay chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene found in common household items like carpet, adhesives, paint and pesticides. Those of us with pets need to ask questions before purchasing to make sure we aren't buying plants that could harm our pets when ingested. I know my pups have a wild streak and have been knock to eat a plant or two.

Plants that Purify:
- English Ivy
- Peace Lily
- Golden Pothos
- Wax Begonia
- Spider Plant
- Philodendron
- Rubber Plant

Healthline.com recommends bringing in 15-20 plants in 6 inch pots or bigger for a 2,000 square foot house. That's a lot of plants! I'm going to shoot to have at least one in every room. These are my favorites:

Houseplants that purify


I think those bottom two look similar to my little houseplants, especially the golden pothos. I love that bright chartreuse color of the leaves. I'm definitely incorporating more of those to my decor!

If I can keep these alive, anyone can do it. I promise you, I hardly water them. They are very, very low maintenance and perfect for people who are on the go. Black thumbs, rejoice!

If you're one of those lucky people with a green thumb, which indoor house plants would you recommend? I'm eager to learn!


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2.06.2014

Group Therapy: Troublesome TV Wall

I'm back with another installment of Group Therapy! This time we're tackling a dilemma from my friend Christin, who isn't sure what to do with the wall behind her television.

"I have a decorating question I was hoping you might be able to help me with if you have time. It concerns decorating the wall space around a TV that is sitting on an old buffet. My house is small, so it does not have a lot of places to set picture frames, etc. I was hoping to put up some kind of shelving. An eye like yours would help me determine what would look good or and more importantly, what would not look good!

Christin sent along a few photos to go with her question.


This particular question is near and dear to my heart because I have also been debating what to do with my TV wall. It's a really tricky space, don't you think?

So the first thing I did was search around for ideas on Pinterest, naturally. I found some fantastic examples of shelves and photos around a TV. 

I can't read this blog (What language is that?), but I sure do like this image:

Marits Vita Skrin
This set up could be really good for Christin. I love the way the TV is oriented, and the shelves give her flexibility to switch out the photos and artwork.

Breath of Simple
I have personally used these Ikea Ribba picture shelves in our old house and had fun switching out the art and frames for each season. They are super affordable and easy to install. Christin could use them to do something like this around her TV.

4 Men, 1 Lady
Now it's time for your brilliant ideas! 

Let us know in the comments what you think Christin should do behind her TV. How can she use the space to hang more family photos and artwork? Let's put our heads together and figure something out!

 
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2.04.2014

The Wall Hooks That Changed My Life

Behold, a classic example of a [incredibly] simple DIY that has made a world of difference:

It was early December, and we were iced in. "Icepocalypse," we Texans were calling it. I was bored, so I decided to organize my closet. As part of that reorganization process, I asked the husband to hang two wall hooks right outside my closet door.

Let me back up.

I'm not really a morning person. I'm just not. But I'm trying to get better. I tell myself things like, "The earlier you get to work, the earlier you can get home," and "Early bird gets the worm." (OK, I don't say that second one because it's way too cheesy, but you know what I mean.)

In an effort to improve my morning routine (which is basically me shuffling around the house in a glorious zombie-fog with no urgency or clear thought process), I thought it would help me to pick out my outfits the night before. No more trying on multiple outfits and strewing different pairs of jeans around my bathtub only to choose the first thing I put on in the first place!

I actually started this practice before I had the hooks, but the husband hated it because I kept hanging my clothes off the towel racks and cluttering up the bathroom. The husband does not like my mess. (He's a neat freak.) My brilliant idea to lay out my clothes the night before meant that I was laying my clothes all over the bathroom. He did not approve.

Now, back to the magical hooks. I figured these two hooks would give me a place to put out my outfit the night before. Lo and behold, they do! They are one of the most functional and helpful things I've ever hung on my wall, and they cost me all of $3.

I hang my pants/skirt/bottom half of clothing on the lower hook and place my blouse/jacket/top half of clothing on the upper hook.


These hooks are extremely affordable and can be found at any big box store. I spray painted mine champagne to help match the odd rose gold bathroom hardware we inherited. 


I'm actually not being dramatic when I say that these tiny hooks have improved my life. It is a HUGE help for me to have a place to lay out my clothes. I'm less grumpy in the mornings and have been much more efficient. The best part is that I don't make a huge mess in the bathroom every monring. As a direct result, my husband loves me more.

Wall hooks = happy marriage. It's just logic!

What simple things have you done that streamlined your life? It's crazy how sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest impact. Maybe I need more wall hooks in my life...


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