Showing posts with label DIY in the White House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY in the White House. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24

The Mudroom & Laundry Room Reveal

Can’t believe that it took me 5 months to reveal another room in the house, since the kitchen. I’m going to blame it on Thanksgiving, Christmas, sickness, kids, and pregnancy…sounds good, right? Our old mudroom functioned for both mud and laundry, but barely. There was not much room for storage or anything else, and coats always seemed to be piled up on the floor or washing machine. The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

It was a general mess that always entailed quite a bit of time hanging things on hangers. The one nice thing about the old mudroom was it was very bright! Between a window and a door, there was always light in this room.

While we had really wanted to make the room bigger, there was only so much that we could do with the space we had allotted the room. We spent a lot of time figuring out the best layouts, whether there should be a window, and a lot of other things.  Originally, I had wanted an actual closet with a mud bench, the washer and dryer and sink behind the door, a big window, and a lot more things that just didn’t fit in the reality.

I did really want a bench with hooks and a shelf, and that is part of why this post took so long to get up. Matt and I spent a considerable amount of time looking on pinterest trying to figure out just what we wanted it to look like and how we could fit it in the space that we had. Then Matt spent a considerable amount of time building the thing in place, and I spent a considerable amount of time sanding, caulking, and painting the thing {and the trim and door}. Also, a trip to Ikea was necessary to get the hooks that I wanted, as well as some baskets.

Here it is:

The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

The door is Behr’s Scotland Isle {same as the kitchen} and the walls are Behr’s Midnight Dream, the bench is Behr’s Ultra Pure White.

The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

From the outside doorway.

Mudroom bench for 7 with hooks, board and batten, and shelving. The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

A close up of the bench {I’m still waiting on one more basket in green to show up}. We had approximately 66” of space to work with, in order for the door to still open and have room for the vacuums and mops. After scouring the internet we determined the appropriate space between each hook and how many hooks we could fit. Conveniently, we could fit 7, which just happens to be the number of people in this house {or will be}. The baskets hold the dress up clothes, the hats, scarves, and mittens, and stuff I haven’t decided on yet.

And lest you think my mudroom is empty all the time {haha…just to take the picture a ton of things were thrown in the kitchen temporarily}, here it is with everything back in:

Mudroom bench for 7 with hooks, board and batten, and shelving. The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

We use a big rubbermaid bucket for shoes. I find it to be the easiest way to keep track of the kids stuff. I try and keep it limited to shoes they need now and only a few pairs. The fact that it’s a bucket makes it very easy to just spray out with the house when it gets nasty. Matt’s shoes go on one side and mine on the other.Mudroom bench for 7 with hooks, board and batten, and shelving. The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

The cleaning tools all have their own place, tucked nicely behind the door, and the we have additional hooks on the back of the door, which allows a lot of the bags and heavier things to be out of the way too. I find that heavy bags on hooks doesn’t usually work too well; hooks seem to break or get ripped out of the wall.

Mudroom bench for 7 with hooks, board and batten, and shelving. The Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

The curtains opposite of the bench cover up the pantry and the washer/dryer/sink/shelves. I intentionally did not want people to walk in here and feel like they were walking through the laundry room and pantry. Most of the time they’re open, but it’s nice to have the convenient option to just shut it.Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

And for all the instagram’ers I did hang up the mirror, just not where I was asking about. It’s there for those that need to primp a bit before walking out, but it isn’t a distraction. I wasn’t too worried about the room appearing bigger or smaller and we didn’t need a place to hang keys or anything, since that happens in the kitchen hallway.

Cleaning supply storage in a small space, approximately 3.5' by 2.5'  Mudroom/Laundry Room/Pantry Reveal #WhiteHouseReno2014

So, there it is. What do you think?

Friday, January 16

a Preview of the Girls’ Room

The room won’t be DONE-Done until the end of the summer. We have to build the bunk beds, but we’re not doing that until the newest one is born; One of the rooms will get a double bunk, the other a triple. The other thing that’s needed for the girls’ room is their quilts, which I’m hoping to finish sometime before Christmas…seriously.DSC_0921DSC_0923

The cream walls we left what they were {Martha Steward Heavy Cream} and the red wall is Behr’s Pomegranate Red…I had it color matched from one of the fabrics in the girls’ quilts. The carpet I bought at HomeGoods for our living room, but it is too light and the weight is too little {every time I tried to vacuum it it would move}, the color does match a color in the quilts.

I had wanted to change out the curtains and all that nonsense, but I might just leave them, they work in the space. I bought the mirror above the dresser at the World’s Largest Lawn Sale last summer, for $10. I had planned on painting it to match the dresser, but I’m kind of liking the black as an accent in the room. It will help balance the quilts.

There is still some work that needs to get done. Obviously bunk beds, but we also need to put a piece of crown molding up on the red well, with some rope lighting behind it. When they had to cut the house apart, to tear down the back piece, they cut into the sheetrock in the corner {wall-ceiling} and it was going to be a nightmare to fix, I decided not to fix it and just cover it up. The close is still filled with Matt and my clothes, so that’s another project {but we need a closet first in our room}.

I’ve always loved this room {and was actually sad to leave it}! The sunlight in the afternoons are glorious, there is a huge tree right outside the two side windows {there are 3 windows in the room}, and it’s just such a magical place relax and read.

*Sorry the pictures are kind of wonky….it was a bright sunny day and hard to get a good picture.

Tuesday, December 16

The Girls’ Big-Girl Room

One of our goals over Christmas {since Matt is off for the week} is to get the girls transitioned to their Big-Girl room; which means we have to get it all touched up after the de-construction damage. There’s not much damage, but enough to make it a hassle…I think it would be easier if there were a lot of damage.

Most of the work consists of touching up the sheetrock that was damaged when the other part of the house collapsed, and then repainting one wall. It always seems to me that the projects that take the least amount of time are the ones that take the longest.

I’ve kind of wanted to do an English/Fairy Garden themed bedroom for the girls. I’ve been pinning whenever I see anything on Pinterest.

Girls room
I found fabric a while ago that I loved, but never bought it…then it became impossible to find. Fortunately I did, on ebay, of all places, and some random other websites, I was able to piece together what I would need to make the quilts.

Honey Sweet

I’ve really been loving sampler quilts this past year, so decided that was my best bet. This quilt is what I decided to do…it’s a bit small, but I can easily add another border to make it what I need.

Here’s where the work, and your opinions come in. The room is already the same shade of cream that’s in the fabric and the floor is painted Martha Stewart Brook Trout, which is very close to the gray/brown fabric. There’s one wall that is currently green, that is going to get repainted, but I just can’t decide on the color.

Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to:

A) Pearhoneysweet_solid_pear_20199_34

B) Raspberry


C) Persimmon


D) Pond20217_16_20140224190238

E) Soft Peach {the light pink in the roses}brocade_hazel_20212_17

See the problem! The quilt is going to be bordered in the pond and backed in the brown/gray. I just can’t decide how brave I want to be, in regards to the persimmon and raspberry. Which would you choose? That’s my question.

The other thing I’m debating is stenciling a few big flowers on the floor…something along these lines. Not a ton of them just a few…to kind of make the floor stand out a bit.

FLoor stencil

Thursday, November 13

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {For a lot less than buying them}

This post does contain affiliate links. You can find my complete disclosure policy HERE.

I've had several people, online and in person, ask where we found our gallery shelves for our hallway. The short answer: We made them. I had looked at buying them and as many have found, they’re not cheap to buy: Upwards of $50 for nice looking ones. I headed over to Pinterest to see what I could find there for ideas. How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

There were tons of plans for “$10 Gallery Ledges” but they were all very simple, and I have no idea how they actually were $10 each, because the materials alone were more than that….maybe the posts were old. I ended up spending about $50 for materials, which gave me 3 – 32” shelves {still pretty cheap at $16 and change each.

What did I need:

If you have a nail gun and finishing brads, awesome! If you don’t I would recommend using a power drill, small screws and a drill bit slightly smaller than your screws {always pre-drill your holes so you don’t split the wood}. If you don’t have either, see if you can borrow them, OR if you want to take things a little more chancy, just glue it with a strong wood adhesive and clamps {I don’t recommend just using glue though…the last thing you want is glass all over your floor}.

I ended up picking up 2 – 1/2”x 4”x 8’ board, 1– 1” x 8’ lattice trim, and 1 – 2” x 8’ molding.

I also picked up some Gorilla wood glue {which I love}, 150 grit sand paper, a disposable paint brush, and black semi-gloss paint.

If you’re in a Home Depot or Lowe’s they’ll very often cut your lumber for you {I’ve never had any luck finding someone though}. They do have the saw and miter box for you to cut your own lumber, which works too. I came home and used our chop saw {I had all 4 kids with me, alone!}.

I cut all the pieces 32” long (or 1/3 of 96”). I wanted to get the most pieces I could out of my wood, without things being too small or too big: 32” worked perfectly for the space I had in mind for my shelves. Do double check that your pieces are all the same length before cutting them down, if they’re not, make them the same length and refigure your width.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Once I had all my pieces cut and they were the same lengths, I took my sandpaper and just smoothed ALL the edges down a bit, not a ton, just enough to make them not sharp. This is really easy to do by hand, but I just had to use my handy-dandy new birthday present, which was AWESOME! How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

I’ve wanted a sander for a really long time, and finally, with all the projects we have this year, I got one for my birthday! I may have been unusually excited about this…I have a thing for power tools, especially when they’re MINE! This thing is fantastic! It works well on small projects AND big projects! I used it to smooth out some of the flooring in our master bathroom.


Once all the pieces were sanded I grouped them together for each shelf, it just made it easier to focus on the project this way. Now remember you can make these shelves as simple or as fancy as you like, depending on the types of molding you use…take your time looking at pictures of gallery ledges and decide on how you want them to be put together. I wanted something a little more fancy, so mine have more pieces.

The first thing I did was {following the directions of your adhesive} glue the 2” molding to the bottom of a 1/2” x 4” board. I put glue only on the molding, then I made sure it was flush to the edges. We clamped it {you can use some heavy books to do this too} and let it dry.

While I waited for those to dry we took the other 1/2” x 4” boards and the 1” lattice and glued them together: The lattice trim to the short edge of the board {this is what’s going to keep things sliding off the shelf}. It isn’t really necessary to nail/screw this part, we did just to give it a bit extra stability.How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Now you have 2 pieces to your ledge: The back part with the fancy trim and the shelf part with the lattice. This part was a bit tricky and took an extra pair of hands. Using the Gorilla glue again we put glue on the narrow edge of the shelf piece and placed it just above the molding on the back piece, again making sure it’s all flush and nice. We did clamp this for a little while, it was tricky because of the varying heights of all the molding.

IMG_5239Once it was all dried {we left it for a couple of days, but the instructions say it’s dry in 2 hours} we flipped it over so all we could see was the back and very careful nailed a couple of brads through the back into the shelf pieces. This is definitely the part that I would screw or nail, because it’s what’s going to be keeping the whole thing together with all the weight on it.

Once it had all setup and dried nicely, I ran some sand paper over it one last time before painting it black. I did put some push pins on the back side so that I wouldn’t have to touch it when it was wet. I didn’t get crazy with painting the back either. I even missed some places in the front {Oops!}, but they’re not spots that people will see.

After that they were all done! They sat around for a few more days, until I made the kids help me get them on the wall {I need someone to hand me tools!}. I made sure that I found studs in the wall, marked a level line to follow on the way, and put 2 screws straight through the back part of the ledge into the wall. They’re not going anywhere. You do want to make sure you get a stud, so that they don’t rip out of the wall and come crashing to the ground in a heap of glass and memories.

Once they’re up, then comes the fun {or hard, depending on the kind of person you are} part…figuring out the placement of frames and pictures! I still have no pictures in my frames….maybe by Christmas.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Let me know if you make one and how it came out!

Monday, November 10

The Back of Our House Reveal

You can tell there is still quite a bit of work, but boy! what a difference!B A House Collage

We still need to finish fencing in the yard, move some of the old stone slabs out of the yard, and move the swing set. We had every intention of getting the deck and porch painted this Fall, but it just never happened. Now it’s too cold and the weather too unpredictable to attempt. In the Spring that will be one of the goals.

It’s still crazy to walk in the backyard and look at what is NOW the house. Everyone comments on how huge the addition is. It’s big, but it’s more a better use of the footprint that existed before that makes it look so big {a full second floor}, we only gained around 700 sqf overall.

If you want to check out more of the destruction the building of the foundation, you can find those posts HERE and HERE.

The deck is still boarded up so that the kids can play out there and not escape the yard. Once the fence is up we’ll remove it, and then build an actual gate in the Spring. We ended up going with LP SmartSide for the siding {in cream}, which is a wood composite, that doesn’t rot and takes paint, just like regular clapboard. We mistakenly ordered enough to re-side the ENTIRE house {Matt forgot to deduct for the windows and doors}, so next Spring we’ll redo the front of the house.

We re-roofed the entire house. There had been a fire in our house at some point and it had burned out part of the roof, so the front was metal roofing and the back was shingle, which was really damaged from the huge tree standing over the house. I’ve always wanted architectural shingles on the house, but given the tree and the cost of them, we went with the metal {in charcoal} roofing.

No one asked me what color storm door I wanted for the basement, that red just doesn’t work for me, but I’m not sure I can do anything about it.

The new windows {there are 17 of them} still need added trim work to get them to match the original windows, and we need to do a ton of landscaping: Know anyone who likes to rake rocks up? The back deck is all the wood that we salvaged from our old deck. We only needed to spend a few hundred dollars on some wood to finish it {it’s a bit bigger than the old deck}.

So, that’s the outside of our house now….or at least the back of it.

Wednesday, November 5

The Big Kitchen Reveal

This past weekend was Ave’s birthday party, which meant the house was actually {relatively} clean! I decided to take advantage of it and dry to get some pictures; mind you there is still a ton of little work that needs to be done, as well as a lot of setting up of wall-art etc.

Remember this post from last Spring?

This is what our kitchen looked like: Very chopped up, not a lot of windows, and lots of little rooms.

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

This is what it looks like now, standing from the same exact place. So much brighter, so much more space, so much MORE!

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

This is what we did for our small appliances. We didn’t want to see anything, but my beloved Kitchen Aid stand mixer, so we put it all in a cabinet. It’s great! All easily accessible, none of it actually seen.

      White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

We built a sideboard along the half-wall into the basement, which gives us a bit of extra storage for all those things you end up having in a kitchen. It’s also great for parties! We put an outlet on the other side of the wall, so that there is a place to plug in hot plates or crockpots.


Looking from the back doors in.

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

There’s still a lot of work. We need to build a back to the island, touch up paint along the ceiling and actually paint the stairwell into the basement, as well as wood fill, sand, and paint all of the molding. Fun!

White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at LifeintheWhiteHouse.comI still need to actually put things in the china cabinet, and eventually we’re going to frame it all in so that it looks like a built it, but for now it works. DSC_0345

My gallery shelves and the door to the mudroom/laundry room, which is now central to the house {I didn’t realize how awesome this was until we moved back in. I don’t have to take the kids and the laundry from one end to the other.}


Our command center {or will be} and the entrance into the living room.White House Reno 2014 Big Kitchen Reveal at

So that folks is the new kitchen….it’s quite a bit different! We’re loving having so much space in it. This winter we’re planning on putting a wood {or natural gas} stove in the far-outside corner where the table is. The room is big, lots of windows and doesn’t seem to want to get overly warm, having a stove will definitely help.

I’m also looking to get an area rug to put behind the island to give the kids a place to play. Right now they love just laying there {I had an old area rug down before the party} and playing Lincoln Logs. Their other favorite past time is playing chase around the island.

Ask me your questions: What do you want to know?

Thursday, October 2

I Haven’t Disappeared; I’ve Just Been Busy

If you follow me on instagram you know that I haven’t fallen into a pit and disappeared; it’s just been crazy-busy in this house! I keep thinking that I’m going to get time to sit down and FIGURE OUT what I’m going to ACTUAL BLOG ABOUT, but it doesn’t happen. The days are just blurring together and things just don’t happen the way I plan. Of course it doesn’t help, that I think I have to have Better Homes & Gardens quality rooms and pictures to share.

I keep wanting to start sharing the house pictures, but I’m either working on said house or it’s too dark to start tacking pictures. I told Matt that one of these days we need to ship-out the kids, spend some time cleaning {forget decorating}, and just get some pictures taken. I keep taking lots of other pictures, wanting to blog them, but that would require time to actually sit down, upload pictures to the computer, and put them in a post with words. Yea.

Painting seems to be the bane of my existence lately…and not the paint a big room and have something to show for it. It’s the touch up holes in trim, sand, and re-paint; the painting that no one is ever going to notice. Except for me and there is TONS, TONS of it to do. It’s the projects that require time, but have so little impact on anything visual {like sealing the tile in the shower, or fixing a drain in a sink}.

I’m really hoping that this month, we have all our weekends free, that we can get some stuff accomplished. We did get a bunch of things done that move us that much closer to having our home back to normal, this past weekend: Like shelves in the old bathroom closet, so that we can stop living out of boxes and get the boxes out of the dining room. It’s the little things in life.

How are we? We’re good. The kids are good: Avelyn has started ballet and {homeschool} kindergarten, the boys are doing great with their speech therapy, and Elanor is flashing her smiles at everyone {mostly to get her own way}. Matt and I are sorely in need of a date-night, but would rather spend every free moment trying to get the house put back together before Thanksgiving {my deadline}. We were joking last night about just ordering in dinner for us one night, after the kids have gone to bed, to just chill for a bit.

Life is good, and time marches on. I’m truly, truly hoping to start having something to show for the past 6 months of effort. That said I will leave you with some pictures of the gorgeous leaves that are changing around here.




You can see more of the leaves changing on my instagram feed Smile

Monday, August 11

Master Bathroom

It’s fair week! Which for some reasons always makes me think that I have more time for things, but always end up having less. Right now I have this vision that come the end of the week our Master Bathroom will be finished, and I will have some grand reveal for Matthew come Sunday afternoon.

The reality is that there is way too much work for that, and come Sunday afternoon Matt’s going to be ready to sink in to oblivion for the next week…not look excitedly at the revelation of my vision for a bathroom.

This is what we’ve got right now….it’s not much:


It’s painted and has a floor, but that’s it. I still have to finish the floor {which I’ve been procrastinating about for the past month}, then all the electric needs to be installed, vanity/sink, toilet, tile, shower heads, and washer and dryer. If I had nothing else to do for the next week {ie. 24/7 child care} it would get done, but I don’ Staggered Mix Glass Tile

Check out my Pin Board for our Master Bathroom!

I have spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to layout the tile, and what tile to use for the accent tile. We have a white subway tile 3” x 6” as the main tile. I had originally ordered a tile from; which ended up being a total disappointment. I loved the tile! Couldn’t wait to get it, because it was exactly what I wanted it.

I ordered it the beginning of July, by the end of the month I had contacted them several times about not having received the order and asking when it had shipped. After several attempts I got an email saying my order had been canceled. No explanation, just done.

Then I was scrambling to find another tile that I liked. I ended up going with the and getting their Frosted, Glass, Rippled mix mosaic tile {I can’t find a good picture of it online}. It took about a week to get here, but it should do what I need it to do.


After several searches through pinterest and google, I finally figured out how I wanted the shower niches done and how they needed to be laid out. Of course, what I have in my head, usually doesn’t translate to what our contractor gets in his. I’m hoping that having it all drawn out on graph paper makes it easier for us to communicate.


There are 2 12” wide niches: A larger one on top for bottles and a lower one for soap, razors etc. My big thing is that I really want the tiles to line up as nicely as possible, with as few cuts as possible, so I’ve been putting a ton of time into figuring out how best the tiles need to be laid out. This will go somewhat centered {there’s a stud in the very center} of the shower.

It’s a lot to do and I don’t know how much of it will get done.

If I could beg your prayers for this week: That I would be productive, the kids and I at peace, and Matt for all that he needs to function this week, I would greatly appreciate it.