Archives For mini-makeover

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the word ‘sofa’? I also hate the words ‘swag’ and ‘sneakers’ in case you are wondering (Apparently, I hate words that start with an ‘s’).

Anyway, the point is there are tables which go behind couches and they are often called ‘sofa tables’, but since I just can’t call them that, I’m going with ‘behind-the-couch table.’ Just go with it.

My living room is long and skinny which makes arranging it interesting. I’ve found that a table behind the couch not only “shortens” the distance between the couch and the rest of the room, but it also gives me a place to display cool stuff. The one I found I wanted was from IKEA and it cost $170 (It is now discontinued). So since I couldn’t afford it at the time I created my very own behind-the-couch table!

I used empty tubs and boxes to create the “table” and then covered it in fabric.

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It was like this for almost a year before I gave it a makeover by adding another layer of tub lids to make it sturdier. I also changed the fabric to a clean white sheet.
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This version lasted another one and a half years. It was always on my to-do list to build or buy something more permanent, but the temporary version worked so nicely it wasn’t a major priority.

But the temp solution definitely wasn’t flawless. Of course, it all comes back to Bob. As you know, Bob sucks. He regularly sits on this “table” meaning it was starting to buckle under his weight. Last week, when he got particularly riled up about a cat/squirrel/mail person he knocked over one of my plants. Thankfully he didn’t break the planter but it looked like this:

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If this were a solid surface I could easily wipe off the dirt, but since it’s a sheet it requires removing all of the things, washing the sheet, and then putting back all of the things. And I’m super lazy. I’m so lazy that I would rather build a table than just wash the sheet. I guess maybe that doesn’t make me lazy, just weird.

So I just did it. I followed a few tutorials (this one and this one). Here is what I bought to make a 75″ long behind-the-couch table to fit behind an IKEA Karlstad couch:

2 – 23″ tall 12″ x 2″ boards

1- 75″ long 12″ x 2″ board

4 – corner braces, size 4″

1 – 15 quantity box of 1.5″ wood screws

4 – 3″ wood screws (I had these on hand)

Honestly the most difficult part of this whole thing was buying and having the lumber cut. It was stressful because I’ve never done it before. Also, loading and unloading the lumber to and from my car and then into my house was a little sweaty.

I connected the “legs” to the main board by using the corner braces. I pre-drilled the holes which made it really simple and fast.

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When I stood the table up (quite a bit more difficult than you would think) it was a bit wobbly. I decided I’d rather lose the smooth top surface for sturdiness, so I drilled four (two on each side) 3″ screws to further stabilize it. Since this step was unplanned, I just used what I had on hand. I was lucky enough to find 4 – 3″ screws but they unfortunately didn’t have a flat profile. Ah well, it wasn’t worth a trip to the store so I have no regrets.

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Next came my least favorite part, painting. I can’t seem to go a weekend without painting something. If I believed in purgatory, I’d venture to say it involved an endless painting project.

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As you can see, I’m so lazy, I didn’t even bother to paint the underside. Future Jasmin may be annoyed at this decision, but present Jasmin is very pleased with the choice.

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I am not the best at being patient so I should have sanded more, should have put on a second coat of primer, should have bought a clear sealer, should have should have should have blah blah blah. You should do all of those things. Do as I say, not as I do.

I tried my hardest to wait a full 48 hours so it would cure, but I only made it about 30 hours. Again, do as I say, not as I do. Seriously.

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A power strip and router are hiding under the table.

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Not bad if I do say so myself!! And the best part is it only cost me $41 and one afternoon. If you are nervous about building a simple piece of furniture like this here’s my public endorsement: You can do it!*

*As long as you have a power drill and a vehicle big enough to transport the wood. Oh, and $41.

Photographs of my Bedroom

October 24, 2013 — 1 Comment

This is my bedroom as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Kitchen Photographs

October 23, 2013 — 2 Comments

This is my kitchen as of September 2013, enjoy!
Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

I love love love my front porch, but when I first bought this house it wasn’t much to look at.

This house was vacant when I bought it and the only thing on the porch was a giant trash can. After buying the house I moved that to the side of the house out of sight and in it’s place I put a beautiful snow shovel which remained there for six months. The house definitely lacked curb appeal well after I bought it. But then, I got it painted and everything changed!
My favorite feature is the original (I’m assuming) porch ceiling. So pretty! After getting the house painted I finally bothered to add two craigslisted chairs and an old table and a bunch of empty planters.
It is finally starting to look slightly lived in but it’s not quite there yet. I’ve found out that most people that read this blog and haven’t been to my house think that this porch is either screened or glassed in well let me blow your minds… it is just empty framing. I know, super cool right? The first time I visited this house I did the cautious arm through the frame thing to see if it was filled in or not. I think I even said out loud, this porch would be so easy to screen in because it is already framed out. Yes, super wise Jasmin-of-the-Past it would be super easy to screen in except you aren’t qualified to do that and paying someone to do it is money you don’t have. So it has sat, as is, for the last 18 months. Unframed, yet still dearly loved. Seriously, this porch is great because it’s just big enough and it is somehow always shady.
But I’ve got grand plans for this porch. Okay maybe not ‘grand’ but definitely an upgrade from how it is now.
Step 1: Screen in the porch and add a door
 
I’d like to finish this step by the end of the summer. I don’t think it will be super expensive and it will be really nice to sit out there and not get bitten by bugs. Although, having a door on the porch will be a sort of an annoying adjustment, but I’ll get over it.
Step 2: Get better furniture
 
The two chairs are great and for only $10 for the pair they were totally worth the money but I’d like to upgrade to something more comfortable. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting a twin daybed out there because it would be nice to sit and nap on, but I’m a little worried about it all getting too wet. I’ve been doing a case study on how wet the porch gets during storms and unfortunately my data is inconclusive. Some storms the porch is bone dry and then one day it will be misty and the whole porch floor will be soaking wet so I’m not sure what to make of that. If I don’t do a day bed I’ve thought of getting something mega comfortable like this:
This one is no longer in stock and is a billion dollars anyway but I like the idea of it, though maybe in a more fun color.
I could also go the DIY route, but that takes planning and tools so that’s probably not going to happen.
Step 3: Repaint the floor or get an indoor/outdoor rug
When I had the house painted I also got the porch floor repainted because it was hunter green which was super random considering the rest of the house was two shades of blue. But over the past year the floor has really gotten torn up.
I could probably call my painter back and have him repaint it but he was super creepy so I’m just going to deal with it on my own. So in my mind I have two options, repaint it myself or get an indoor/outdoor rug. I’m strongly leaning toward the latter considering I’ve done more painting in my lifetime than any sane human.
Step 4: Stylize
I’m thinking art, plants, pillows, lanterns, string lights, basically the works.
When all that is going to happen is TBD but now you know, I got plans yo!

So the thing about weekend to-do lists is that they are a terrible idea. Mostly because as soon as I make a list I get mad about lists, like lists are fascist, I can do whatever I want, ugh. I mean, can I just live?

So guess what got done from my list I made on Friday? Yeah, nothing.

But I did do something else that was on an invisible list in my mind.

This is the corner of my dining room as it’s been for the past 15 months:

Pretty sad and boring. Here is the other corner of my dining room:
I got these two windows from an antique shop for like $5 each. They are huge, 30″ x 20″ and pretty heavy. I’m sort of over the old window as a picture frame thing but since I’ve had them for over a year I just wanted to hang them and get it done with. The reason it has taken me so long to hang them is because they had no hanging hardware on them and I was nervous to attach hardware on the back, but I’ll go into more detail about how I hung them on Wednesday. For now let’s skip ahead to the big reveal:
I hung the windows, added a little side table from a thrift shop, and voila! The previously dead corner has life. Not that I expect anyone to actually sit in that corner and have tea or anything but I like having those two extra chairs in there for when I have more than six people over for dinner so having a little vignette in the corner make the chairs seem a little less out of place. Plus this dining room is so big that it makes it seem less like a big empty room.
My new goal is to make to-do lists of the things I don’t want to get done and then I’m guaranteed to succeed! I’d basically given up on hanging those windows because they had been sitting around so long but then I just got a rush of inspiration and did it.
Do you actually get stuff done from your to-do list? If you do, share your secrets because I’m a big failure when it comes to that sort of stuff.

A few months ago I revealed that I have too much space (I know, major first world problem). My house is just shy of 1,000 sq ft, hence the blog title ‘little house’, but for one person and medium sized dog that is a lot of space. At least more than I was used to. The truth of the matter is that I do not need a guest room/office which I mood boarded here. So I decided it was time to face the fact that I need to rent the room out. My hesitation in renting before was that I really, really enjoy living alone. It is so nice and quiet, I don’t have to wear pants like ever, and I can paint a room at 2 am with asking anyone’s permission; it’s basically heaven on earth. BUT, I was beginning to feel like a bit of a space glutton. I have this perfectly nice room that isn’t being used and I can always use extra money so I (reluctantly) put on my big girl pants and looked into renting out the room. I debated about opening up the listing to friends but instead I opted to go a completely different route. I decide to host an international college student. The reason I chose this route is because it is extremely flexible. The students come for four week sessions and if I ever don’t want a student for a particular month I can just say ‘no.’ I also have someone I can go to if for some reason things aren’t working out and I want the student to move to a different home (you definitely don’t have that option when you rent to a person on a one year lease!). I’m a little nervous but mostly I think it will just be really weird and interesting. Since I decided to host someone as opposed to rent out the room I had to completely furnish the room. Thankfully, I already had a rug, dresser, and bed so this entire room makeover only cost me $100. Not bad!

Keep in mind this isn’t my best work. I by no means love this room and I didn’t ‘design’ it like I have any other part of my house. But I figured that an international student who will be completely out of their element wouldn’t really appreciate my putting them up in a room that had navy blue walls with orange accents. So I went for subtle and sparse instead which is basically the opposite of my style but ah well, here it is… Oh, if you want before pictures go here.

So we are in agreement that this is a really sad makeover right? It isn’t at all what I would have done if the room were for myself. But, I do think it will be perfectly acceptable for a student.
What I did:
– Since this was a zero to low-cost makeover I used the half gallon of paint (Behr- Graceful Gray) I had left over from the first kitchen wall color (here. It is also the color of the stripe in the entry way, here). I should get an award for this paint job. I painted the whole room with half a gallon of paint and I did it under an hour and a half! I just high-fived myself.
– I got the desk chair and matching lamp set from a used furniture store for $44.00 total. I love the chair because it is that old kind that gently bounces.
– I got this awesome desk on craigslist for $60. It was one of those old steel case desks that weighs about 200lbs (seriously). I love the green. I also really like how big the desktop is. It’s perfect for a student.
– I hung art that I had lying around. I tried to pick pieces that weren’t offensive or anything. I got the vintage French ad for my 12th birthday. I was obsessed with it forever. The trend is way over but I still love that piece and I’ll always keep it around.
What still needs done:
–  I want to buy a box spring for the daybed so the bed will have more height. I saw some used ones on craigslist for about $35 so not too expensive.
– The lamps still need some love. The bases are in good shape but the lampshades have seen better days. I’m thinking about wrapping them in fabric or something. Stay tuned…
– I did not get around to changing the light fixture in this room yet, but someday I will. Thankfully the one in there is innocuous. Next time I go to IKEA I’ll probably pick up one of the ones I mentioned in this post about lighting.
– Eventually, much further down the road, I will refinish the hardwood floors.
Overall, it’s an improvement over the former storage room that it was, but not by far.

Bathroom part two. After I got the mirror put in I waited a few weeks and then had the tile put in. The floor in there wasn’t that bad in the sense that it was all intact, but it was so ugly that I could not stand it. Here is the before:

See what a good job I did covering it up? You barely notice it, but still… I knew it was there. Initially, I told my friend that I hired to do the tile work that I would do the demolition. I thought that I could easily pull out the floor… but I over-estimated my abilities. This is how far I got:

My dog was no help. So I left it up to the professional. Apparently I wasn’t that off base because the floor was hard for him to get up too. He pulled up FOUR layers of old flooring! He stripped it down to original studs and the put cement board on top of that. Needless to say it was a big old mess, but it really needed a new sub-floor so I can’t complain. Here is the project mid-way through:

Yeah, it was a mess. But, it was all worth it because it got done and it looks beautiful!

So pretty right? I chose white hex tiles from Home Depot. I vacillated between the all white and the black and white for a long time, but finally decided that the white may be better for reselling the house. I also decided to add some more art and storage to the walls. This is an old orange crate that my grandma gave me. I set it on it’s side and added baskets for storage.

I went to a local salvage yard and found some more crates and decided to hang them on the wall. I also decided to group together all the pencil drawings I’ve collected which is a total of… three. My collection is a little young but it’ll get better. Here is the final collection which is above the toilet opposite of the medicine cabinet.

I’m very happy with the way it all turned out!

Part One: Bathroom problems. Not like that though… I just really hated the bathroom when I moved in. And since there is only one in this house I was itching to make it look better fast. Here are some before shots:

It’s actually not that bad. The toilet and pedestal sink are a classic style and they are white so I can work with those. The shower tile is okay. I like that the majority is white, but that green border annoys me and it all needs re-grouted. The medicine cabinet was disgusting. It was too small in the space and it was so rusty I could barely open it. The flooring was also pretty gross. Hunter green faux marble tiles, they were basically laminate stick on tiles… ugly. My game plan was this: add shower curtain, change out medicine cabinet, paint, and tile floors. A modest over haul. But since I couldn’t start the remodel right away I added a few things to make it passable for a nice bathroom. I bought an awesome shower curtain from West Elm, I love the bold stripe. I also added a pencil drawing from Paris and my mini make over was done until I got the mirror installed.

While I was waiting for my handyman to make time for me (another story all together) I decided to paint. I made a rash decision at Ace Hardware one day and bought a light yellow color.

uh, it was HIDEOUS. I mean seriously, it was like a highlighter exploded in there. I couldn’t stand it for even one day so the next day I went out and bought another color. This time I thought, how about a nice mint color? You’d think at this point I would have been more cautious and bought a sample but no I just went balls out and bought a whole gallon. Ugh

I really, really wanted to like this color for many reason. One, I just bought a whole gallon of it and two, I am super lazy and didn’t want to paint again, and three, it wasn’t that bad… right? WRONG. It was way too bright and just too much so I painted it for a third time. You should know by now I am super ashamed of how rashly I acted so many times in a row, but alas that is my personality. I decided to go back to what is was originally… a soft cream. I actually had a gallon on hand from another project so thankfully I didn’t have to buy a third gallon. For now it looks good. It is a soft color that is slightly warmer than the stark white trim. Perhaps some day I’ll try again but for now I’m happy with it.

My next project was the mirror. I am a Craigslist junkie so when I came across this Kohler medicine cabinet new in the box for $115 I knew it was for me. I negotiated it down to $100 and then hired a friend to help me put it in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t properly measure before buying (a common problem for me) so my friend had a lot more work to do before it could be installed. After pulling out the old medicine cabinet he had to make some major cuts to make it fit. Because of the sizing problem he had to improvise by building a frame around the mirror. Here it is before I painted it.

And here it is after two coats of white paint.

I actually like it better with the frame around the mirror, it adds another layer of texture. I am so happy with this upgrade!

I’ll come back tomorrow with the second half of the bathroom remodel.