Nursery

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!! 

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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.

Weaving 

I’ve recently picked up a new hobby, weaving. Super random, I know but we are currently in the midst of redecorating our master bedroom and lately I have been obsessing over finding the perfect woven wall hanging to accent my newly purchased West Elm side table. My husband could literally care less about any of the design choices I chose for our house so when I kept incessantly sending him wall hang after wall hang he suggested I invest in a loom and try it out for myself. He’s never very thrilled about spending money on something that doesn’t serve a substantial purpose so for him a woven wall hanging was a complete waste of money. I kid you not; it took a lottttt of convincing to even get him on board with the floor length mirror and side table ha—I literally had to stand on my bed’s footboard to see if my shoes went with my outfit every day. HELLO?!?!Like it was totally a necessity! Anyways to him, weaving one on my own would have a purpose.

I hate to admit it but for once in my life I am actually thankful for my husband’s stinginess. (Now don’t get any ideas Chappy this is a onetime occurrence!) If it wasn’t for him I would never have purchased the loom and discovered a new hobby that I am utterly obsessed with. Since my day job is the complete opposite of creative it is so refreshing to finally get to do something that stirs my artistic juices again. I weave before work, after work, on the weekends… Yes I have morphed into a complete grandma. I swear I would have a wall hanging in every room if Chappy allowed it. Since he doesn’t though, I’ve decided to sell the extra ones on Etsy so I can keep up my newly found hobby without driving my husband completely nuts. My account just went live today so make sure to go check it out HERE and let me know what you think! Also follow me on Instagram for updates and a chance to win a small woven wall hanging!

Chandelier 

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.

  

Backsplash 

I have always ALWAYS wanted white cabinets, grey countertops, and a subway tile backsplash with dark grout. When we found out our builder didn’t offer a subway tile option I was devastated. Thank goodness the design company our builder worked with had a white subway tile offering for another builder and was willing to sneak it into our house! Dark grout was unfortunately still not an option though. Luckily for us there is such a thing as grout stain! Hello DIY project number 2!

Now all you will need to stain your grout is stain (obviously,) a rag towel, vinegar, and a small paint brush. If your tile doesn’t have a glossy finish you will need to seal it beforehand or your color will stain the tile as well. Luckily for us, subway tiles are some of the easiest tiles to work with for staining grout. Here is what we did: 

First we applied the stain to the grout with a paint brush. When we first started we were trying to be neat and paint as little tile as possible. By the end we were splashing stain everywhere. You don’t realize how out of shape you are until you try to stain your kitchen grout. Ha. By the time we finished painting all the grout my shoulder and back were killing me.

    

Next let the stain dry for at least 30 minutes. Now don’t freak out. It will look extremely messy and horrible while the stain is still on your tile but just squint your eyes a little and you will see how amazingly awesome your kitchen is starting to look. 

  
Lastly, scrub off the excess stain! Now this takes a little muscle but it goes quicker than the painting process. We used a vinegar and water mixture and a painter’s towel.  
 

Here is what the kitchen looked like before:

   
 And here is what it looks like now:  
    
I must say I like it SOO much better. It just really gives that extra pop of interest to our kitchen and for under $15 it was the cheapest project yet!