The Office Addition: Finding Hidden Space

One area of our house that could use some love is our master bedroom. The overall feel of our bedroom is comfortable, but unfinished. We made several basic cosmetic changes in this room before we moved in, including replacing the floors and painting, but it needs a more cohesive design. As it turns out, we have hidden attic space in our master. So before I focus on the bedroom itself, we’re working on a home office for my husband.

Here’s the master bedroom during our initial walk-through. (Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures before we started construction so the only way to show all the changes is to use these photos.)

That wallpaper was something special, I tell you! We replaced the carpet throughout the house with engineered hardwood flooring. Since our house was built in the mid-seventies, there are a lot of steps and multi-level areas like this one. We added railings after the first few weeks living here and almost slipping down these little steps during the night.

Here we are in progress…

Since then, we’ve had the railings stained and painted. I also found an area rug for under the bed. Recently my husband changed jobs, and now he works from home more often so we really wanted to create a dedicated office space for him. The house two doors up is the same floor plan as ours and has a little office behind the wall where the bed sits.

When you peek inside that lovely hole in the wall, you find about 10 x 13 feet of untapped attic space!

It certainly isn’t very pretty right now, but it’s going to be great when it’s done! Our contractor got the drywall going up yesterday and it’s so exciting to see it actually looking like a room. I can’t wait to share how this bonus space turns out! Stay tuned 🙂

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Stone Fireplace Update

stone fireplace

I didn’t intend to take a five week break from blogging, but the holiday season really got away from me this year! In November, I shared a partial den reveal after I participated in the One Room Challenge. Due to scheduling issues with our contractor, the fireplace update wasn’t finished at the end of the challenge. Today I’m excited to share our brand new fireplace and mantel!

We moved into our new home in January, 2015 and have been staring at this beautiful concrete hole in the wall ever since. Pretty huh?

fireplace demo

We finally formed a game plan for the fireplace and got the contractor lined up. I was so excited to get this project finished in time for Christmas!


old fireplace

Well here she is now in all her updated glory!


fireplace redo

I could not be happier with how well it turned out! We literally finished painting the mantel just in time for a holiday party at our house. I’m loving the stacked stone and the frame around the TV. It helps anchor the TV and really makes the space feel finished. The new media cabinet fills the space next to the fireplace so much better than our old one.

We took a dated and unattractive fireplace and turned it into a modern focal point for our family room.

You can see the rest of the den and our new work station here. You can see the fireplace in my fall home tour here.

{Linking to The Creative Gallery, Work It Wednesday}

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Master Bath Part One

You got a peek at some of our home’s former “style” when I shared our powder room makeover. I’m here to tell you that the unique decor choices continued throughout the house so we had our work cut out when we finally had the keys in hand. Our house is still very much in progress, but it’s come a long way.

The former owners were super into wallpaper. A couple rooms had solid colored walls, which upon further investigation turned out to actually be wallpaper. Well, the master bath was definitely not a solid color, but the wallpaper was in full effect.

Master Bath

Whoa nelly! We joked that the inspiration for this bathroom was a leisure suit. The thing that bugged me the most was the window on the far right above the sink with its fabulous blinds. Let’s ignore the fact that it made everything feel lopsided and focus on the fact that this window is a direct line of sight into the neighbor’s house! Yes, it lets in some extra light but unless the blinds are partially closed all the time, you need to be careful about what you’re wearing (or NOT wearing since this is the passthrough from the shower to the bedroom) in front of that window. Just. No.

Master Bath Redo

Wondering what that blue box is above the random dolls hanging from the ceiling? It was a massive fluorescent light fixture. Because who doesn’t look flattering under fluorescent lighting?!

Shower Area

The view into the shower/toilet area will help confirm that wallpaper on a door is not a good idea. The electric blue tile could have been cool but it was just too much. Unfortunately we haven’t touched the shower yet. Ugh. It’s just old and brassy and beige. We replaced the fixtures but redoing the shower itself will have to wait for a while. I’d also like to replace the vanity, but for now a paint job makes it tolerable.

We’ve made some solid updates that I’ll reveal soon after a few final touches. In the meantime, you can see some of the inspiration I’ve gathered.Master Bath Inspiration

1. Young House Love  2. Unknown source  3. The Lilypad Cottage

Check back soon for the master bath reveal!

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Powder Room Makeover

In January we moved into our new home after several months of intense renovation. Our house was built in 1976 and has all the peculiarities charm that comes with a 70s era home in southern California. The previous owners had been here since 1978 and had done a few upgrades along the way, but nothing that fit my style.

We replaced the floors, took down walls, painted every square inch and now slowly but surely this house is starting to feel like ours. I admit that I’m slow when it comes to making decisions about what goes where. Every room is still in progress.

A few rooms are coming together so I thought I’d share one today since it’s almost complete. The guest bath on the first floor was literally an assault on the senses in its previous state. It was like walking into a hangover.

Guest Bath Before

I took this picture at our first viewing

The before picture doesn’t even do justice to the color. It was so bright and so magenta! The pink sponge painting did not soften the blow either. The floor was a basic tile that continued into the den/family room which is right outside the half bath.

Powder Room Update

We still plan to replace the vanity and the countertop will be made from a leftover piece of the granite we used in the kitchen. We installed (and by “we” I mean a professional) hand-scraped birch hardwood throughout the house and it is one of my true loves in our home. We painted the room a soft gray and recently replaced all the old aluminum windows.

I want to either frame out the mirror or replace it completely, but for now this room is so much better than it was. I love the serene gray color that doesn’t make you want to shut your eyes while using the facilities. We also replaced the old light fixture that for some reason spanned the entire wall with a simpler brushed nickel option and we traded the brass & chrome faucet for a simpler set.

Powder Room Before & After

I can’t wait to get rid of the old vanity that still smells like potpourri, but so far this is a vast improvement don’t you think??


{Linking to Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Inspiration Gallery, The 36th Avenue}

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The Kitchen Renovation Breakdown

After posting the reveal of our kitchen renovation, I wanted to share some of my favorite elements and a few of the challenges. This was my first major renovation, and I learned a lot along the way. While we planned the design ourselves, we left the construction to the professionals. Fortunately, our renovation process went fairly smoothly and we have a beautiful new living space to show for all the time and energy we spent planning.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.

My biggest tip before starting a large-scale renovation: do your research! A contractor’s opinion can easily come across as expert advice. It’s up to you to know the difference between knowledge and opinion. The man we hired to replace our counters was horrified that I wanted plain white subway tile for the backsplash without any color to break it up. While he has years of experience and did a great job on the counter tops, I knew what I wanted because I had spent hours poring over inspiration pictures. And for the record I love it.

Gas/Electric Range

The new gas/electric range is one of our best purchases, both for form and function. We took the time to research the options and this one has all the features we wanted, while sticking to our price range. I love the gas burners, and I’m so glad that we made that a priority. The oven is electric, heats up very quickly and cooks evenly. I haven’t used the convection option yet but the reviews were all positive.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.

Pendant Lights

Another feature in the kitchen that I love is the pendant lighting above the island. I originally found the fixtures at Ballard Designs, but ended up having to buy one of the lights at a different company because of an unfortunate issue with Ballard. I won’t go into it but it was a pain in the neck to say the least. At Ballard they call this fixture the Newport Pendant and we bought the large size.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.

Farmhouse Sink

I knew I wanted an apron-front farmhouse sink from the start. My husband needed some convincing, but in the end he trusted my judgment. It’s big enough that I can fit the drawers from our refrigerator in the basin for cleaning and they sit flush on the bottom. I love the exposed front with the new cabinetry. Just for clarification, it’s white, not cream as it sort of looks in the picture.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.

Custom Cabinets

One of the bonuses of custom cabinets is that you can tailor the design to your needs. I didn’t want a counter-depth refrigerator, but standard-depth cabinets would make the fridge appear to stick out a lot further. Our solution was to add a large cabinet above the fridge, not only helping it to blend in, but also giving us more storage for large items. The side piece frames in the refrigerator and gives it a more finished look.

We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.
We transformed a small, outdated kitchen into a bright, spacious open plan living space.
 I’m thrilled with the end result of our kitchen renovation. It was a lot of work to plan out all the details, but I’m thankful that we took the time to do it right.
*See the renovation we did on the kitchen in our current home here.*
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