Faux Shiplap Kitchen Island

When we decided to panel the island I thought we would be super organized and get it done quick since we had already done Waylen’s room. (You can check that project out HERE.) Now we actually did finish it quickly but OH MY GOSH did we make the stupidest mistakes along the way. First, we took Chappy car (TWICE) to Lowes instead of my truck to get the wood. Like how dumb can we be???? Ha 

We had decided to prep the wood the weekend before so we bought it, had lowes cut it down to size, and then I painted it with two coats of white. For this project we purchased two sheets of birch plywood and wanted them to be 6 and 3/4″ strips. Key word .. wanted .. 

Sounds good enough right? Wrong… Chappy had them cut the strips to the wrong size soo alllllllllll that prep work went out the door when we had to go buy new wood. Ha Luckily we will eventually be shiplapping the powder room and we can use the wood in there so it’s not a complete loss. 

(Note: we didn’t haveeeee to get new wood but we planned the size so we wouldn’t have to cut around our countertop supports so it would be an easier fit.) 

I was not about to lose another weekend prepping wood so once we got the new pieces we just dove right in and started putting it up instead of painting it first. 

We started at the top and worked our way down making sure to cut the corner piece edges at 45 degree angles.

We used wood glue and a few nails to hold everything in place and had to insert two outlet extenders. (Remember to cut the power first!) After all the wood was up we sanded the corners so they wouldn’t be so sharp, painted it white, and then caulked the top, bottom, and sides.

We did the entire project over the weekend while Waylen slept! If we didn’t have an adorable babe to entertain we definitely could have knocked the entire project out in one day it was really that quick! 





HELLO NESTING. Designing the nursery has been by far one of my favorite things to do this pregnancy. My main goals were 1) to not break the bank and 2) to not have the nursery look like it threw up baby if that makes sense.. haha. Basically I am not really into anything that screams baby or is too “baby’y.” For example, I could really care less for pastels and don’t get me started on baby blue. HELLO, we are a DUKE household here; we can’t bring that color into our home! Kind of kidding but still serious because neither Chappy nor I are really fans of baby blue anyways.

I think one of the funniest/annoying things people would tell me is how they knew I was having a boy because of how my nursery looked and what I put on my registry. I hate to break it to everyone but EVERYTHING—literally EVERYTHING on my registry was picked out before we knew the gender and about 99.9 % of our nursery items were not only picked out but also purchased before that too. So if we were having a girl, I promise you, literally nothing would be different. Ha. I really just prefer neutrals and don’t even own one pink article of clothing for myself so I wouldn’t have bought any if I was having a daughter either.

Alright now back to the nursery. I pretty much wanted the room to feel cool, relaxed and a little modern. I seriously scoured the internet looking for the perfect rocking chair. I really wanted something that could easily fit into the décor of our home if we wanted to use it after bambino was grown and didn’t scream NURSERY ROCKER. I ultimately fell in love with this chair from The Land of Nod.

At $1095 plus tax and shipping though I think Chappy would have divorced me if I came home with that. So the internet search continued and lucky for me (and Chappy) I found this  beauty from Interior Express for only $352.00. Plus they were offering 20% at the time so compared to the one from The Land of Nod I was getting a steal.

Here is the overall finished product:

I could not be happier with how everything turned out. I love all the neutral tones throughout the room and I even more importantly I love how it matches the rest of our house while still looking like a kids room! Here’s a list of the bigger furniture and decor items we purchased for the nursery:

  1. Crib: I had been wanting this crib for what seemed like forever but didn’t want to pull the trigger until I could get a good deal. In the end I found it on sale at o.co for under $200 including tax and shipping whereas it normally retails for $279.00. 
  2. Side Table: Just a warning, this so called “black” table was actually more of a midnight blue so we ended up spray painting it a true black. I loved the design (and the price) so it seemed easy enough to just change the color ourselves.   We also ended up painting the wooden part of the legs to match our name letters we made. I would LOVE to show you those but I can’t because we’re keeping the name a secret for now!   Sorry guys!                                                   
  3. Bookcase:  This was probably the easiest piece of Ikea furniture I have ever built. I think it took us under 5 minutes to get the entire piece up. Since the white color of the bookcase was actually more yellowy compared to our crib and dresser we decided to paint it grey to match the bottom trim on our crib.   
  4. Dresser:  Ten hours later we finally finished building this piece… Okay so that’s a total exaggeration but whatever.  
  5. Dresser Nobs: Chappy wanted to add a few more pops of color to the room so I found these nobs on Etsy and they were the perfect addition. I went with the larger size because I felt like it would look more like a kids room then.  
  6. Area Rug: This is Ramone’s favorite thing we have ever purchased. He’ll spend 2o minutes rolling around in it every day and I can’t really blame him because it is SO soft.                                                                      
  7. Pouf: The first pouf I purchased was too high for our rocker but luckily this one worked perfect at 16″ tall!                       
  8. Storage Bins:   We got these cute bins to store all the extra baby blankets, stuffed animals and toys we received. Seriously, we were gifted SO MANY BLANKETS so these bins definitely have come in handy.                         


Now I can’t really talk about my nursery without mentioning my favorite items. Realistically these are probably more for me then the baby but who cares they were adorable and I couldn’t help myself.

  1. Sheepish Throw Pillow: I mean… who doesn’t want an adorable black sheet throw pillow in their nursery.           
  2. Animal Prints: I seriously LOVE these! They were so cheap and really add a lot to the space. I purchased the downloads, got them professionally printed, and then stuck them in some cheap $3.00 IKEA frames.             
  3. Terrier Bookend: The only way I could justify purchasing this is because of… hormones??? And getting 30% off but still, please don’t tell my husband! ha.               
  4. Keekaroo Changing Pad: First, there was no way I was going to spend money on an actual changing table. Second, the idea of buying a foam changing pad that you had to buy sheet like covers for seemed a little weird to me. Why would I want to change my baby’s diaper on some fabric object that I would potentially have to change and wash every day. I do NOT want to add anything extra to the crazy amounts of laundry I’m bound to do once this baby arrives. Plus I’m having a boy, which I heard pretty much means I’m going to get peed on a thousand times.                                         

The only downside to creating my dream nursery is that I won’t actually use it for months! Little bambino will be staying the night in our room the first 6-12 months so I’ll just have to bring him in there during the day to actually enjoy the space. Now if there are any items I didn’t identify that you have questions about feel free to ask! Less then four weeks until my due date! Eek!! 

DIY Coat Rack Shelf

The main issue I have with our new house is something that really only comes up around Christmas time. We have no mantel! When building our house we had the option to add a fireplace but since we have a townhome the placement was not ideal and it also took out one of our downstairs windows so in the end we decided against it. Now 11 months later I am struggling with where I’m going to hang our Christmas stockings come December.

I’ve gone back and forth between adding a temporary vintage fireplace mantel just for the holidays, floating shelves, vintage crates with added hooks, etc. etc. Finally I decided on a stained wood coat rack with a shelf. It seemed the most practical for year round purposes but then would still get the job done come December. We decided to build our own since I really needed to do some more projects with this baby on the way. Ha… kidding. We decided to build because 1) it’s cheaper and 2) we could make it the exact size we needed.

Here a list of all the supplies you’ll need:

  • 10” x 1” x 6’ Wood plank (cut to size for the backing)
  • 4” x 2” x 6’ Wood plank (cut to size for the shelf)
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Stain
  • 120 Grain Sand Paper
  • Wood Screws
  • French Cleat
  • 6 hooks

First we cut our boards down to size (which for us was 42” long,) sanded and then stained them.

Second we used wood glue to attached the shelf piece to the backing and then used 6 screws to secure it through the back

Next we attached the 6 hooks using wood screws

And finally we added the French cleat to the back. Of course you could easily use another method to attach the rack to the wall. Since our piece was extra-long and I wanted to make sure it could hold a good amount of weight, we decided the French cleat would be easiest. In the end the project turned out exactly how I hoped! Now I just need to find some new stockings! 

Faux Shiplap

Sometimes the easiest project turns into the biggest nightmare. Ha. After paneling our dining wall with pallet wood I thought this project was going to be a breeze. (Honestly it wasn’t thattt bad, but it should have been a lot easier/quicker.) Basically the entire project was supposed to be simply buying plywood, having the store cut it into 8” boards, nailing it up on the wall with spacers, and then painting it. Easy enough, right? Well first off it took us going to three different home improvement stores to finally find one where their saw wasn’t out of order. Then our nail gun stopped working so we had to hammer everything in by hand, and then we quickly realized our walls were pretty wonky so we needed to add trim around the edges to make everything have clean lines.

Starting off the project really wasn’t bad at all. We found the studs on the walls, lined them out and then started attaching the wood boards. We originally started by using a few pennies as spacers between the boards (both vertically and horizontally) but eventually just eyeballed it. We love the rustic look anyways so nothing needed to be perfect.

The boards went up so FAST compared to our pallet wall. Seriously using 8” boards was a dream come true. We alternated which side of the wall we started on and cut down the length of some of the boards so all the gaps wouldn’t line up. We mostly just nailed the boards into the studs but did use some liquid nails on the shorter boards that did not hit a stud. We had one outlet on the wall so we used an outlet extender to pull it out flush with the wood. (Remember to turn off the electricity before messing with any outlets!!) Also for our last row of panels we cut the wood to 9.5” instead of 8”. We were so close to the baseboards that putting an 8” board in and then a 1.5” board would look silly. In the end you can’t even tell the last board is actually larger.

Next up, we painted! First we went around in all the cracks with a ½ inch paint brush and then we used a small roller on the rest. This is the point where we realized we were probably going to need to trim out the wall. In pictures the wall looked fine but I swear the edges were driving me crazy! Some of the boards had areas where only ½ of them were touching the wall. Ha I think it was one of those things where no one else would have even noticed anything but it was literally all I could look at. So we went back to the store to purchase trim and some caulking.

We cut down the boards, painted and then attached them to the wall using liquid nails and nails. We also caulked some of the areas where our walls weren’t straight. And F-I-N-A-L-L-Y we were done!!

Yes, this project was a little more of a headache then I had wanted but honestly it was still super easy, especially compared to all the work we put into our pallet wall! Now we just need to do some more upgrades on our master so our new little bean doesn’t have the coolest room in the house.


The original plan was to save upgrading our light fixtures until the very last project but clearly I just couldn’t wait. Before we installed our pallet wall I really didn’t mind living with the dining light as is (I honestly barely noticed it) but immediately after finishing the wall I realized it HAD TO GO. It just didn’t fit the style of the room anymore and it really was taking away from the unique, cozy vibe we were going for. Even my husband agreed that the light was wrong for the space which was a pretty big deal since he didn’t see the need to replace it in the first place.


So three days after finishing the wall I order this beauty from West Elm.


I had been eyeing it for the last couple months so when it just happened to go on sale I pounced. Installing it though was an entire different story. Changing out a chandelier seemed a little intimidating. I mean we didn’t even own a real ladder so how were we supposed to reach the light??! The task seemed a little daunting.

Okay so that was dramatic and getting a ladder was pretty simple. We borrowed one from our neighbors. Ha. The actual installation really wasn’t that bad either. First and foremost we shut off the electricity to the light. This project would go downhill fast if one of us got electrocuted within the first 5 minutes.

After that we took the old chandelier down and opened up the new one, making sure everything was prepped and ready to go. 


Everything else went pretty smooth. We basically just followed the directions ha. There was one moment of improv. when we hit a stud where we were supposed to use toggle wings. Luckily that was an easy fix and we just used screws instead! 
So in the end it really wasn’t that bad. Overall things would have been a lot easier if a) I was two inches taller or b) we had two full size ladders. There were a few moments of me awkwarding standing tip toed on the top of a ladder in order to hold the top plate in place. I’m sure it was really safe. Oh well! It worked and we finished!

Bar Rehab

If you know my husband you know he has a slight obsession with craft cocktails. I really can’t complain though since I have been given the job of number 1 taste tester. As soon as we started to build our house he was been pretty adamant about getting a bar. I kid you not he literally wanted a real bar that he could stand behind. Considering we didn’t build a mansion we compromised and decided to get him an upgraded Bar Cart. Easier said than done. For a man with such a small budget he sure had picky taste. And now just for the record our idea of a “budget” was far from the same. He’s the type of man who thinks spending 30 dollars for a shirt is expensive. After months and months of searching every furniture store, discount retailer, and online website we finally decided we hadn’t found anything that we both agreed on. HA. I had one option I liked from World Market but he still thought it was too pricy for not being exactly what he wanted.

That’s when I suggested thrift shops and antique malls and that is how we came across this.

So basically it needed a lot work. (As I’m sure you can tell.) Everything was rusted; it had a missing side wood panel, and a horrific paint job but we saw potential. The first thing we did was remove all the paint using a chemical stripper, clean the rust with a simple water and vinegar mixture, and then seal it with Penetrol (to prevent further rusting) and a polyurethane top coat.

 Next we fixed the right door which wouldn’t stay closed and replaced the flaking side panels.

To make it practical we added stemware racks to hang our wine and punch glasses and a dishtowel bar to the side. We wanted to add some glam to the rustic piece so we decided to purchase a remnant marble slab for the countertop and paint the entire piece a minty turquoise color.


Here is the finished product! 


Considering this is my first EVER furniture rehab I am pretty excited with the outcome. It’s glamorous and practical and really reminds me of a bar you would find in an old speak easy. It may have taken some extra TLC but even with all the work we put into it the entire piece cost us the same amount as the bar from World Market. And about 99% of that cost was for our Marble Slab splurge. The best part though is that we got to get exactly what we wanted. Now I’m obsessed and can’t wait to start another project.

Pallet Wall

The time is finally here!!! My husband and I have wanted to do this project since we first put a deposit down on our house. Besides being an accountant my husband also runs his family’s small manufacturing company which made collecting old pallets extremely easy and the best part, FREE. When we first envisioned this project we didn’t realize we were going to have a small (5”x5”) bulk head across the feature wall. Although I was extremely disappointed at first I ended up loving the overall look of the finished project.

First thing we did was start collecting wood! Make sure you look out for certain stamps though so you can avoid bringing dangerous chemicals into your house. Check out Diyready.com for more information. 

Next we (I mean my husband) separated all the pallets, salvaged all the usable wood pieces, and started cleaning and sanding them down. We decided to be cheap so we literally hand sanded everything. First we used a coarse sand paper and then a fine. Somehow this process made me sorer then even my recent AIR classes. Ha. Since most of our boards weren’t as worn as we wanted we decided to get a few different wood stains to help imitate the look. This is where things got a little messy. I ended up with black fingernails for a few days but it was totally worth it! (And for the record I did start out by wearing gloves but they became too much of a hassle so I said F it!)


Now it’s time to prep the wall. Since the boards are weathered, bowed, and also have knots or nail holes we painted the wall a similar color to the wood. That way there wouldn’t be a glaring white line in every single gab or hole once the wall is completed.


After all that groundwork it was finally time to actually put up the wood! Always start at the place that will be most noticeable. For us that is the top! This is because your walls may not fit the perfect amount of pallets so you will want the last piece (or partial piece) to be towards the bottom and out of your immediate sight line. We attached the wood with wood glue and then a few finishing nails into the studs. We also invested in a laser leveler to makes sure we stayed relatively straight throughout the process.


We also had two outlets to address on our wall so we had to buy extenders to pull the plugs out to be flush with the wood.


Overall I am completely in LOVE with our new wall! It really brings so much warmth into our living space. If only someone would pay me to redecorate my house, then this would totally be my dream job.