Category Archives: house makeover

home makeover – basement staircase progress

This is still a work in progress but I finally took some {grainy} pictures of the basement staircase progress. {Sorry for the quality but I’m still working on my photography skills}.

Anyway, there’s no new concept here. Just a new paint color, Benjamin Moore Silver Dollar, {although it’s hard to tell from the picture}, the same Tangier Wall Pops stripes applied to our Entry Hall staircase risers {which were originally thought for these stairs}, and a lot of black and white frames in different styles and sizes. I also had the rail painted white.

The frames are still empty. I figured if I was going to wait until I decide what to put in each frame, years can pass and the wall would still be naked. I thought once the frames were up it would be easier to know how many pictures, posters and/or art and, their exact sizes, I need.

I didn’t follow any method to hang up these frames, like I did for our Hall gallery wall. I just wish myself luck and began putting up frames, starting from the bottom and working my way up. Risky I know, since I could have ended up with a wall full of holes. Luckily I have a good eye, if I say so myself, and just needed to reposition a couple of frames.

These are small changes but I already see, and FEEL, a huge difference. Going up those stairs looking at that pretty pattern on the risers instead of that ugly, hulk-ish green color, is very pleasing to my eyes. Now I don’t mind going up and down the stairs. All the time.

More projects to come!

home makeover – an update

Hello, hello. Are you still there? I’m still here. I didn’t go anywhere, we’ve just been busy with all our home projects, taking care of our boys, enjoying time with nona and celebrating some important events. Did you all have a great Mother’s Day? We did!

There is a lot going on now. So I thought I’d post the status of the projects that we’ve completed {well, almost completed} and the ones in progress. So far, this is what we have:

The Living Room.  It’s practically finished. It’s been for months now {I’d even say for about a year}. But I still have to accessorize and style it, which is hard when my ottoman/coffee table is displaying a wonderful arrangement of rattles, blocks and balls. G’s toys have taken over this space. It’s an invasion I swear!. My few attempts of cleaning and putting the toys temporarily out for a quick photo shoot have been unsuccessful. Now that we’ve put gates up {the boy is crawling all over the place} it’s going to be even harder. That’s why I can’t wait for the family/playroom to be done. So we can move all his stuff there and I can have my Living Room back.

The Dining Room. We did great progress as I mentioned here. We also put together our console table, which looks great by the way! I still need to decide on some other pieces of furniture, slipcovers and artwork for the walls. But we can definitely see a big difference. And we love it.

The Family/Playroom. Our biggest project. And the one we need the most. We already painted it, added some carpentry (which has a whole separate story, not a very happy one) and we are finalizing the details to change changed the carpet. We still have to buy the couch (we decided on the Ektorp sofa bed from Ikea), moved out some furniture that won’t go in that room anymore and get some sort of storage system. This room is just 50% completed but we are already enjoying it. The mister and the boys get downstairs almost everyday, get on the floor (or should I say new carpet) and play some music. G goes crazy every time he sees his daddy with his guitar. It’s adorable. It’s amazing what a big difference some paint {the right color} can do.

The Patio and Yard. We have a small, small patio which railing needs to be sanded down and painted. And ideally I’d also like to add some outdoor furniture. Our current fence was very old and really damaged so we removed it. Instead of replacing it with a new fence we decided on trees. We also need some major landscaping work. And since this is all new to me my mother-in-law has been helping us a lot.

Laundry Room. I didn’t think too much about this room to be honest. I didn’t plan it or had an inspiration board for it. It kind of just happened, like the powder room. I started changing things here and there, and little by little it started to come together. It stills needs some organization but it clearly looks better than before.

Well, that’s it. I really hope we can finish all this before G’s birthday, especially the yard and patio improvements since we’ll be having an outdoor party. These are all “before” photos of course. I’m working on the “after” and “in progress” shots. You’ll see big changes. Stay tuned.

home makeover – dining room chairs slipcovers I

Getting slipcovers for the dining room chairs is an important part of my revamp plans for this room. We have a nice, solid wood table that sits eight people with extended leaves with 8 brown leather Parsons chairs. Two of them, the ones at the ends, have arms. I want slipcovers for the other six.

At first I thought about getting just plain natural canvas slipcovers. I ordered one ready-made slipcover from this store but unfortunately it didn’t fit our chairs {although according to the dimensions it should}. It fits in the back but it’s too small on the seating area. I looked at other stores and sites and I have the same problem. Apparently our Parsons chairs are a little bigger than normal. That meant I had to order custom-made slipcovers.

That’s when I started thinking, if I have to order custom-made, why not order slipcovers in my choice of fabric? It’ll be a nice way to bring in a different pattern in the room. Our rug and curtains have a damask pattern, so I’d like to add a different one.

And what’s the other pattern I love besides chevron? Stripes. Striped chairs. Why didn’t I think about that before?

image via song of style

image via

image via the inspired room

 image via

image via coastal living

image via architectsforlife

I love the casual but yet somewhat elegant {if that’s possible!} vibe these striped chairs give to these dining rooms. That’s what I’m going for.

Do you like striped dining chairs? Too casual? What do you think?

home makeover – corbel console table

After this post, I kept looking for more options for a dining room console table. I was 90% sure that I’ve found the perfect one. Check it out:

gear console table via CB2

Clean lines, narrow, and long, very long. It looks light and I’m sure it’d fit the room perfectly. However, some time ago, while discussing with my mother-in-law some of our revamp plans for the dining room, she offered us these Pottery Barn architectural corbels. She got them long time ago but never used them.

architectural relic corbels via Pottery Barn

She suggested we could use these corbels to create the console table we wanted, adding a glass or wood top. Even though I, honestly, never considered something like this for the dining room, I immediately like the idea. I like the carving details of the corbels, which I think would add some character to the room. Also we could place the corbels wherever we want so we can get the longest surface possible. If we aren’t completely happy with them we could always remove them and get the CB2 table, if I still like it.

We decided to go with a glass top so it’ll look something like this, but not that massive.

images via restoration hardware

I googled a little to see some real life versions of this solution, and I found this entry table from Abode Love. Exactly what we’re doing but in a smaller version. Doesn’t it look great?

image via abode love 

The mister is going to contact a local glass guy so we can get a custom piece prepared. But first we have to figure out the right place for the corbels. Ours are not as big as the ones from RH, so they would go on the wall, like in the entry table above.They are not that heavy so I hope it won’t be a problem hanging them on the drywall.

Hopefully we’ll get to that soon. I’m excited about how it’ll turn out.

home makeover – the perfect coffee table/ottoman

A while, while ago, here,  I talked about my search for an ottoman/coffee table for our living room. At that time I narrowed it down to two options. After some further consideration I realized the Restoration Hardware bench, even though gorgeous, was going to be too long for our space. All the baby stuff – bouncy seat, glider, play mat, toys, etc.- have taken over the living room and even though a playroom is on its works and eventually all the baby gear will be moved there, we’ll still need  room to be able to move comfortably. Specially with a mobile 9 month-old.

So I kept looking the internet for more options and found these:

Essex Upholstered Ottoman via WestElm

Castered Tufted Storage Ottoman via Ballards Design

Linden Ottoman via ZGallery

After talking to the mister the West Elm ottoman was not an option anymore, since he prefers a rectangular one better. I was debating between the last two and I was very close to order the Zgallery one but I had some reservations about ordering a piece of furniture without seeing it in person first. I’m very glad I didn’t. On a spur-of-the-moment-trip to Ikea, to get some other things, I took a second look at the Hovas ottoman. And? Well, it was perfect. It is rectangular, big, but not too big and it has a slipcover, which makes it baby/kid friendly. Could there be any better option? We got it in an off-white canvas fabric so when the time comes it could be moved to another room and still work.

{the green thing showing at the left bottom corner is one of baby G’s toys. Yes, I was lazy to move it to get a picture. Yes, I could crop the picture. But let’s keep it real}

All this happened at the end of November. Around the same time we were able to sell the coffee and side tables we had. Thanks Craigslist. Just on time to replace it with our new ottoman. Perfect timing.

There are still some finishing touches and some accessorizing but I think finally and hopefully soon, I’ll be able to post about the living room makeover. I’m thinking about changing the rug, though. I changed the rug. The one showing in the picture above. Love it! More on that soon!

home makeover – reclaimed wood consoles

I’ve wanted to redo the dining room for so long because we’ve been using it as a storage room. Anything that didn’t have a place would end up there. It needed immediate attention. Thankfully, a week before our trip to Lima, we finally got to do some changes. And oh! What a difference some paint and little molding can make (more on that soon!). Our dining room is small and since we already have a nice dining room set, we just need a sideboard or console table to complete the space.

While looking for long console tables, I’m not sure how I came across this site, Teva Living (probably through browsing some design blogs). They have beautiful wood reclaimed pieces and, what is even better, at reasonable prices. I think it’s a great alternative to the awesome-but-too-expensive Restoration Hardware stuff. These have captured my attention so far:

all images via teva living

Unfortunately, I don’t think any of these pieces will work for my space. Even though they are very long, which I want, they are also very deep. We don’t have a lot of room like I said, so I’d like to find something narrower and not that heavy-looking. Maybe lucite or glass? I’ll keep looking.

Do you like reclaimed wood pieces?

the story of a hall – part III

If you are not bored by now, I’ll tell you about our last step in this Hall makeover. The main space was almost completed. It just needed some accessories, maybe a lamp, a picture frame and some flowers. 

My main worry was that naked east wall. It needed something.  I considered a big world map. I saw one in Ikea but it was not big enough. I looked in some other places but the colors were not right. Agh! I was getting frustrated. What to put in that wall? 

One day I came across a post in Young House Love, about one of their readers bedroom makeover who used these tiles from Inhabitat Living to make a custom headboard.  So I thought this could be another temporary solution until I figure out what to do. I chose the Chrysalis patter since it kind of related to the decal design on the staircase. 

So there you have it. That’s how our Hall came together. No need to buy any new furniture. I just moved around pieces we already owned and like. It may be a random mixture to some: modern white and black frames, shabby chic mirror, rustic console table, daring wall color. But it works for us. I think it has caracther and it’s very personal.

While writing this post I read this in Isabella & Max Rooms (another great blog I like): 

“A big trend in interior design is to leave behind the notion that one must define exactly what their style is…traditional, cottage or contemporary for example, and then closely follow the guidelines of this definition throughout the home with few variances. Instead, another approach to decorating is to begin with favorite pieces already owned and then complete the space by bringing in only items that are equally appreciated. This may require building a room over time, and an extreme style mix may be the result, but this is a look that is both unique and personal.” 

And I think that’s what we got! What do you think?

the story of a hall – part II

With the walls painted, the staircase spruced up, the next step was furnishing and decorating.

I knew I wanted a console table, maybe an accent chair and a gallery wall. I was looking for something long, narrow, modern, and affordable console table. Anything I liked was either way too expensive or too small or too big for the space. This table was taking too long to find. Meanwhile I was getting tired of looking at an empty Hall.

We had this gorgeous piece that my mother-in-law got from a relative and gave to the mister. It was a very small, very rustic-looking console. It was said to be a piece a native american handcarved for his daughter as a wedding gift.  The mister had it in the Living Room when I moved in. I decided to move it to the Hall. It was small for the scale of the wall but it was a temporary solution while I kept looking for a console table and an accent chair.

I was also planning a gallery wall in the west wall next to the staircase. It’s a big wall so I thought a gallery of photos and some artwork would look nice. I sketched up some layouts in Autocad. But I was a little lost. There were so many configurations, so many options. Which one to choose? Then one night while commenting to the mister my advances in decorating this space, the mister suggested having a coat rack somewhere in the Hall. So it occurred to me that we should have a series of coat hooks on that wall. He didn’t like the idea and later we found out he was right. The first thing you see when you get into our house is not the Hall itself but the staircase and that wall. So having a wall full of coats, scarves, hats as soon as you get in was not the most appealing. I then decided to put up some floating shelves with a big piece of art. I had the mister nailed the wall to then make him removed and patched everything after. Yes, I’m that indecisive. I didn’t know what to do with that wall.

So my little rustic console table was not alone, I decided to move a big mirror we had in the Guest Bedroom and placed it on top. That was all I needed to realize the gallery wall should be in that wall! Having the mirror as the center piece and organizing everything around it made it so much easier! Again I sketched a layout in Autocad and tried it on the wall. The most popular way to do this is cutting pieces of newspaper in all the frames sizes and place them on the wall. I made a couple of adjustments and listo. My gallery wall was up!

And because sometimes things just happen that way, some days after finishing the gallery wall, my mother-in-law gave us a couple of black leather ottomans she no longer needed. They were first placed in the Video Game Room, but since it was getting too crowed in there I moved them to the sides of the little console table in the Hall. I had two long black and white pillows and voila! Our hall was completed. Well, kind of.

We still had that empty wall.

the story of a hall – part I

The story of how our Hall came together is a little long. So I’ll probably do it in parts. No, I can’t do “the long story short” thing. There are too many details I want to mention to show how sometimes time is your best ally when it comes to decorating. I know it could be frustrating. I’m a very impatient person myself and want to see results right away. But sometimes things take their own timeframe.

The Hall is one of the first rooms we repainted in the house. When I moved in with the mister (did I mention the house where the mister grew up is our house now? I didn’t? That’ll be another post then) the Hall was painted this Nantucket Grey color from Benjamin Moore,  which in other room or situation I’d have found elegant and rich. But not in this Hall. Add to that the austere furnishings and decor, and the lack of natural lighting, and the room was, well, sad. I didn’t like going up and down that hall everyday. Walking by its bare, cold walls just put me in a bad mood. It was dark and sad.

At that time we were having our closet done, so the mister thought it would be a good idea to have the same guys paint the Hall. We’d have done it ourselves, but the Hall included the stairhall and the double height which would have been a headache. (we are not that good at painting).

We had someone to paint. Now we just needed to choose a color. The mister suggested purple. I like the idea. Purple is one of my favorite colors anyway. We just needed the right purple. Easy, right? Well, the mister couldn’t pick a more proper time to ask me to choose: a chaotic morning while we are rushing to get L to the bus stop and getting ready for work. He said it was now or never, because the guys were done with the closet. So I grabbed the Benjamin Moore paint chip wheel and chose a random purple. Croqus. I guess I just liked the name. No time for paint samples. Croqus would be.

That day I was up for a big surprise when I got home. Croqus was, how can I say it, overwhelming. It was definitely not the purple I imagined. Needles to say, the mister didn’t like it, and to be honest I didn’t either. But at that point, anything was better than the sad Nantucket Grey.

With the days Croqus grew on us. The more we walked by the Hall, the more we started to appreciate it. It was overwhelming, but cheerful. It was a happy color.

Next step was thinking about furnishings and decor. I probably spent way too many hours on the internet thinking about the perfect console table.  We even visited a couple of places and were very closed to buy a very nice piece, but the price made us reconsider. I’m glad we did.

At the same time, I was thinking about our staircase. I remember a post I saw on Apartment Therapy a while ago. A very ingenious idea that I archived in my “future projects”. I first thought applying the idea to our stairs to the basement. But the main staircase needed something, too. What was the project? A vinyl decal applied to the risers of the stairs. Very clever, right? I remember the minute I read the post I went to the Wall Pops website to see what other designs they carry. They don’t have a big variety to choose from, but I found one that could work.

And it really worked! It gave the otherwise boring staircase a little sophistication. In my plans was also painting the balusters white. I like the look of oak railing and threads with white balusters, and I think that would balance a little more the white in the risers. But that’s a project we are not ready to tackle anytime soon. That went straight to our never-ending project list.

At least the Hall was seeing the light.

the new guest bedroom

Some time ago I mentioned my intentions to complete several projects before my family’s arrival. As time passed by I realized I was not going to be even a little close to get all those things done. So I focused my energy and time in the nursery (old guest bedroom) and the new guest bedroom (old playroom turned storage).

With the nursery almost done, I was able to put together the new guest bedroom in just a couple of days. I forgot to take pictures before my mom took over the room. So I just have this one for now. Hopefully I’ll get to take more photos later.

It was a very, very quick makeover. And even though the intention was to make this room a Guest Bedroom/Playroom, there was no time to design it properly. We decided to make it my Mom’s room during her stay with us. Maybe later we’ll changed a few things.

My inspiration and details for this room to come soon. (although you can read here I was/am obsessed with the color turquoise so it had to have it somewhere).