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Before & After: Master Bedroom

26 Jan

When we first started designing the master bedroom, we knew we wanted it to be a peaceful retreat where we could relax, and I especially wanted to take advantage of the small bay window by turning it into a reading nook. While we’ve made a lot of headway with the room, it’s not quite finished. I was waiting to post pictures until I had it completed, but I’m realizing it’s going to take longer than I thought.

We painted the walls a wonderful color called wheat bread, added a silky-soft area rug, and two vintage tufted chairs that I picked up from a local resale shop for $25 a piece. I plan on recovering the chairs, but that’s one of those projects that may take awhile to get to.

So, here are the almost-after pictures:

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Flip This House

24 Jan

We have some exciting news! As you know, Husband and I purchased our home when it was in foreclosure and disrepair – just check out these before pictures (which don’t really do the damage justice). After 8 months of hard labor and nonstop projects, we decided to refinance the house at a lower interest rate.

Included in the refinance is another home inspection, which was completed by the same person who did our inspection the first time. In addition to saying he was impressed with our work, he valued the house at $40,000 more than what it was valued at when we bought it and $70,000 more than what we paid for it! While we did have to put some money into the house to get it to this point, our return is almost triple our investment.

We have no intention of selling anytime soon, but it was a satisfying feeling to know that our hard work (and the hard work of our loving family who painted countless walls and ceilings) has paid off. Here are some of the room makeovers we’ve completed:

Guest Bedroom


Media Room

Half Bath

Master Bath

Formal Dining



Building Our Home On a Solid Foundation

4 Jan

“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Jeremiah 24:15

These words greet all of our guests as they walk through the front door. They are words that we strive to live by, and while we don’t always succeed, the words are a constant reminder of how we want to run our household.

We had this verse in mind back in March when we first purchased our home. The house was in need of some foundation repair, and as a result, we had holes drilled into the two front rooms of our house so that beams could be placed beneath the foundation. Although it created quite a mess, we used the opportunity to live out the words in our entryway.

We found verses that had to do with building a home and a foundation and wrote them on stationery. Then, we wrote prayers on the back of the paper asking the LORD to help us live out the words we had written. We threw the prayers into the holes before they were filled so that the scripture could literally be the “foundation” of our house. It think it was one of the best improvements we made to the house!

Husband and I have plans to plant more verses around the house in the future, but we want to hear your ideas. What creative ways do you use scripture in your home?

Before & After: Guest Bedroom

25 Oct

One of my favorite projects since moving into the house has been decorating the guest bedroom. While Husband had his man cave in the media room and the study, I had the guest bedroom to adorn as I pleased, and I didn’t hold back on giving the room a feminine feel.¬†With a black-and-white damask pattern, red accents, and the incredible seamstress skills of my mother, I created a girly retreat on the second floor.

As usual, my goal was to pinch pennies when pulling the room together. The bed and dressers came from Ikea, while the mismatched nightstands came from Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart (both on sale). All of the accents in the room came from either Hobby Lobby or Kirkland’s and I didn’t pay full price for anything – including my best steal – the picture over the headboard that I found buried in the clearance section of Kirkland’s for $20. I took a black Sharpie to a scratch in the frame, and it’s as good as new.

Lastly, the bedding and curtains are custom, but we found a cheap fabric at a local warehouse for only $7.99 a yard and the curtain panels came from Ikea (more on those later this week). Now, I can’t claim that this is a from-scratch room makeover because many of these accents were in the living room of our apartment, and I have had a few years to collect them. But, if we had done this all at once, the room (not including the furniture) would have been about a $300 makeover – not bad!

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The Blind Leading the Blind

13 Oct

As you know by now, there wasn’t much left to our house when we purchased it back in March. When the house was foreclosed the previous owners took all of the blinds and window treatments. Husband and I thought replacing the blinds would be one of our easiest projects, considering the renovations we were planning, but we were wrong.

As newbie homeowners, we thought windows (and thus blinds) came in standard sizes, so we took some generic measurements and went merrily on our way to Home Depot. Little did we know that this would be one of many trips because blinds are cut down do the exact measurement of the windows – leaving a 1/4 inch gap on each side for the brackets.

But, we finally got it right, and the managers at Home Depot were even kind enough to recognize a cry for help when they saw one and allowed us to return the misfit blinds – even though it was our fault. We went with white 2″ faux wood blinds for all the windows, except for our kitchen window where we went with real wood to compliment our cabinets.

So, learn from our mistake and be sure to take exact measurements if it’s ever time to replace your blinds!

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Before & After: The Kitchen

17 Sep

Fridge/Range Area of the Kitchen - Before the Renovation

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. That has certainly been my experience in life – how the fragrance of my mother’s stew on the stove and cornbread baking in the oven can transform a house into home. Or, how at all family gatherings no matter what is happening in every other room of the house, we swarm in the kitchen.

I can’t explain this phenomenon, but I knew I wanted the kitchen in our home to have that same ephemeral quality. I also knew that, along with all of its appliances, our kitchen had certainly lost its heart. Husband and I were determined to right this tragedy, and we started from the ground up.

The cracked tile in the kitchen was going to be difficult to replace because it was an exact match of the tile back splash. So, we decided to go with hardwood floors with the hand-scraped look. Then, we picked out appliances. One stainless steel refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, gas range, garbage disposal, and microwave later, we now have VIP status at Best Buy (not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing, though). Next, we polished up the beautiful wood cabinets and granite countertops that had played a big part in what sold me on the house.

Husband put his homeowner skills to work by re-grouting the area where the counter meets the backsplash, and hanging a new light fixture in the breakfast area. We also painted and added decorative face plates for all of the outlets. Finally, it was time for me to add the decorations, and I stuck with my favorite little chef motif that had been the decor in our apartment. I considered making a change, but there’s something so endearing about a chubby little chef – he’s my muse while cooking.

So, 2 months later, we finally gave the kitchen back its heart. The appliances work like a charm, and the wood floors have even doubled as a dance floor when our favorite song comes on the radio. Welcome to the heart of our home (with a few before pictures mixed in):

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Before & After: Media Room (a.k.a. The Man Cave)

5 Sep

It wasn’t much to look at. Just a perfectly square room with white walls and nothing to speak of but a ceiling fan. At least, that’s what I saw. But from the moment he stepped foot in the media room, Husband was having visions of what would become his future Man Cave.

His obvious choice for decor was paying homage to our alma mater, Texas A&M University. We chose to go with a two-tone, maroon and charcoal color scheme, and Husband impressively cut, painted and hung chair railing around the perimeter of the room. Just to make sure our school spirit could not be mistaken, we finished of the room with a collection of memoribilia.

The result is a cozy room that provides a fun, casual atmosphere whether we’re having a movie night or entertaining friends for the big game. As always, I tried to recycle many of the accent pieces from our apartment, and I got creative by using some of our favorite collectibles from our college years. The last piece (which will be in place soon) is a flag we are going to have framed and placed over the couch on the back wall. Have you tried a sports- or school-themed room in your home? We’d love to see pics! Here are ours:

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