To add a personal touch to our bedroom, we decided to make our own upholstered headboard.
Want to learn how we did it in one afternoon? Read on to find out.
1. Know your dimensions. We got a new king-sized bed, so that determined the width we needed. We also planned to hang it on the wall (rather than try to attach it to the bed) so we then figured out how high we needed it.
2. Get your board. Get a piece of 1/2-inch plywood cut to size at a big-box hardware store (they usually cut it for free).
3. Choose your fabric. You’ll want something rather weighty that will stand the test of time. We chose this one from a book of fabrics in a design store. It was expensive, but overall much less expensive than buying a finished headboard, so we decided to splurge.
|Creating the basis for a beautiful palette with so many colors to choose from|
Oh, and choose a pattern you won’t get sick of! Timeless is preferable to trendy – unless you plan on starting this whole process over really soon 😉
4. Add depth. We added a 1/2-inch trim on the back to make the whole thing appear thicker. (We didn’t want super thick board because it would have been too heavy to hang).
5. Glue your foam padding. We got 3/4-inch foam from an upholstery store (they sell it in giant rolls). We gave the guy our dimensions and they cut it to size, and even offered to do a (free!) diagonal cut along the edges to give us a smoother finish. Cool. Secure it in place with spray glue. (Use spray glue outside if you can – it stinks!)
|Foam padding with a diagonal cut|
6. Tack on your batting. The batting is the white cushy fabric that makes it all work, smooth and uniform. Without it, the edges would be too sharp, and could wear down and fray your pretty finish. Also sold in rolls, just get the amount you need to extend maybe 6 inches larger than your board.
Start in the middle and pull it taught but not too tight, tacking with a staple gun every few inches. Work your way toward the corners, and finally, tack down the corners.
|We have an air gun but a manual staple gun will do a great job too.|
|See what works for you. We tried hospital corners, and diagonal corners.|
|We ended up with excess fabric to snip away.|
|It ain’t pretty, but it works!|
7. Tack on your fabric finish. Repeat Step 6, but with your nice fabric.
|work in progress… fabric is tacked and we’ve got two out of three buttons done.|
8. Make it your own. We added 3 handmade buttons for a tufted look, and nailhead trim. We made the buttons with a $3 button-maker from Fabricville (so cool!)
|Making buttons out of pieces of scrap fabric|
|Coolest gadget ever!|
|The button is threaded through a loop and pulled into the board, then you tie the string in the back.|
|don’t tell anyone but this was super easy for such a professional finish 😉|
We ordered the nailhead tacks from the same place we got the foam and the batting. Adding the nailhead was really fun and super satisfying. Now I’m always looking for more stuff to trim with nailhead.
|They’re not super straight, but that’s part of the charm. It’s not made by machine 🙂|
9. Hang it and you’re done! Make sure you get heavy-duty hardware designed for the heaviest of artwork, and look for the studs in your walls for added security.
Welcome back! So here the Master Bedroom story continues. You can catch Part 1 right here.
|How did we get from the Before to the After? Read on to find out!|
First things first, we needed a new bed. Well, need is a strong word. More like longed for. It turns out, while we’d just assumed we could never fit a King size bed in our smallish room, once we actually measured the space, the bigger bed was only going to take an extra 3 inches on each side.
For nights when our two dogs climb into bed while we sleep and then proceed to takeover the entire space, and now that baby makes three, I was definitely willing to sacrifice those three inches of walking space! It’s not like I wake up and do jumping jacks by the bed each morning – what do I need the space for?
|Story of my life|
|We slept so deeply the first night, we actually woke up disoriented.|
|Bedding and reversible blanket found @ Target. We heart Tar-jay.|
This sweet, sweet shrine of sleep sits on a standard-issue metal frame. So next, we needed to address the headboard.
We’d been watching inordinate amounts of design shows, so we decided to build our own. Anything we hadn’t pieced together from the TV shows, we supplemented at the mighty home-based University known as Youtube.
We found a wonderful decorator’s store not far from our house, and they stock gorgeous fabrics. This is when I learned the hard way how expensive fabric is and it really burst my bubble. Luckily, I bounce back quickly.
We went through many sample books and settled in this one, because it’s elegant and brings together lots of pretty colors to work with.
|We like its timelessness|
|It also pairs nicely with bold two-toned graphic prints like this one|
|Almost finished… We love it!|
|Sprayed to match the color scheme and enjoying a new drawer pull…|
Our his-and-hers dressers were recent purchases, so we were happy with them. We thought about repainting them, but settled on leaving them their rich mocha color.
We did decide to customize them with new Asian-style drawer pulls, which helps them be a little more unique and ties the space together.
|These are available through Richelieu Hardware.|
|New drawer pulls. Vintage chair used to belong to my parents.|
|Picture rail is a nice perch for sweet photos|
|His items corralled in a vintage silver tray from Value Village.|
|Her items corralled in a repainted mirror tray, also from Value Village.|
The Rug, Curtains and Lamps
We searched for a long time for something that could feel luxurious underfoot, with some kind of pattern, but also that would not compete with everything else going on. And damn, rugs are expensive!
We finally found this velvety little beauty at Winners/HomeSense for around two hunny. Not bad, not bad.
|Our room is above the garage, so this really helps warm the floors in winter|
Coincidentally, the rug gives a shout-out to the pattern on the walls, found in the wallpaper. Cool.
The curtains are from Tar-jay. They’re lovely to look at but quite stiff. I prefer flowy to buckle-y, but the colors all work together, so we’re pretty happy.
The rod, with its lovely mother-of-pearl detailing, is from Lowe’s.
|Curtains and rod work within the overall scheme but aren’t too matchy.|
|Lamps are Debbie Travis @ Canadian Tire.|
A note on the lamps: although we love them, they came with drama. We bought a pair. At home, we opened the box to discover that the ceramic base was cracked (even all sealed up in its styrofoam shipper). But a few weeks had passed, so we had a really hard time exchanging it.
When we brought the next one home, there was a part missing! Back to the store we went.
I’ll spare you the rest because ultimately we decided to keep them, but I wonder if after all that we’re the lucky ones with the only two complete, unbroken lamps in this model!
Faux Crown Moulding & Architectural Detail
|Shhh! Don’t tell. This faux crown moulding is actually base moulding.|
We’re going to post a full tutorial very soon on how we installed faux crown moulding using much-more-user-friendly base moulding (the kind that’s flat in the back).
|A shot of our new “architectural detail”|
Want to know how we created this look on the walls? Read all about it right here.
The Final Result
Lush, warm, inviting and supremely comfortable. What more can a girl ask for?
|The final result.|
We love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think! xo
- Demo the wall between the kitchen & dining room, having it evaluated first to learn whether it was a supporting load-bearing wall or not. Turns out no. Yay!
- Have the electrical switch & wiring for the dining room light moved elsewhere.
- Address the flooring, having created a big gap in the floor by removing the wall.
- Come up with ways to tie the spaces together (matching cupboards? Paint colors? etc.)
- Add more lighting
- Change the dining room window into a patio door leading to a deck of some kind.
|This wall used to separate the kitchen & dining areas.|
|Baby makes a big show of leaping over this hole.|
|The Little Troublesome Wall.|
|Daddy and Baby check out where the wall will be cut out|
|Yay! We can finally see outside!!|
Open space? Check. Now, to make use of that space, we decided to make a shelf to sit on top of the opening.
We can use it not only as a small bar-height sitting area, but also as a platform for dishes coming and going to the backyard patio.
We opted to make the shelf out of MDF because it’s a smooth and strong material to work with, and quite easy to handle.
Here’s how we did it:
|Cut ‘er up|
|We had to go in manually to finish because the MDF cut-out broke off|
|Checking the fit!|
|This was the surface of the hole; a 2×4 was added to fill so we could drill in a shelf|
|we opted to drill, but not glue|
|Countersinking the holes, so the screws sit below the surface. Holes are filled for a smooth finish.|
|Adding moulding to round off the edges|
|And some brackets we had lying around for extra stability|
|First coat of paint, done while the hole-filler was still drying!
So… Remember the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room? Gone.
|After… Ahhh, open space!|
|Gone! And now there’s a nicer and brighter new range hood.|
|And there you have it!|
We are so happy with our decision to open up the space. Making two rooms into one was an easy decision, but cutting out the small wall was a last-minute add-on. Sometimes it’s the small things that can have the greatest impact.
Now we can see outside, the space lets in much more light, and there is no more visual barrier between the rooms. Plus, we have a handy shelf and sitting area.
There are many more changes coming to the kitchen/dining area, so stay tuned!
We love to hear what you think, so please feel free to comment. xo
A bunch of you have asked what our house looked like before we started working on it. So here is the tour of our home before any projects began, on Day 1. These photos were taken the day we got the keys to the front door.
The trick here is to see her good bones, because she’s not much of a looker… yet.
In the coming weeks, we’ll show you the room-by-room improvements we’ve done to bring this 1950’s split-level house to the 21st century.
|Our first house!! Yay!|
Our goals when redoing any room are:
1. Keep costs down. Money is tight, so sometimes we make do with an improvement that will make things better for a few years until we get to do it the way we’d really like it to be.
2. Be as eco-friendly as possible. Whether it’s a choice of materials (like low-to-no-VOC paint) or processes (like having our floors refinished with water-based products instead of harsh toxic chemicals) or product selection (like Energy Star machines instead of the alternative) we try to make the world a healthier place one decision at a time.
3. Start with a vision and carry it through to the end. This can mean lots of magazine research, and lots of discussions about what hubby and I both want before we begin a new room. If we’re not sure yet, we don’t touch it!
|Sheer ice outside – no fun for the movers!
Main Floor – Living Room
|What lurks beneath this old carpeting?|
|View toward kitchen and entryway|
|View towards the kitchen|
Upstairs – Master Bedroom
|Baby’s Room, view 1|
|Baby’s Room, view 2 – no closet door, it was replaced by blinds. Why? Dunno.|
|Not the day we moved in, but one of the only pix I have of this small 3rd room|
To see the whole story on this room, check out Project Dream Closet: How to Turn a Junk room into Paradise Without Spending a Bundle!
Street Level – Long Narrow Room (aka the office)
|View to front|
|View to the back|
|That’s not mold on the walls, thank goodness, and we have the certificate to prove it… Phew!|
|Future guestroom? That will be our more elaborate redo yet!|
|Perhaps a Home Theater one day?|
|This pic is more recent, but the outside is still pretty much the same|
|View to font|
|View to the back|
Well, there she is. We love her, and are slowly and steadily leaving our mark on this old house.
As I mentioned, in the coming weeks we’ll be posting photos of the updates and improvements we’ve done room by room, so be sure to come back and check it out.
To see some pictures of inspiration of the look and feel we’re trying to achieve, check out Our Dream Home… isn’t really a home.
What do you think? Have we bitten off more than we can chew?
We are working our way through our home pretty much redoing every room.
Although many more people see the main part of the house, we decided to start with our bedroom because it was smaller and more manageable and because, let’s face it, it needed the most help:
|The Master Bedroom was just a sitting room when we visited.
And not a very nice one, might I add.
- It was orange. It wasn’t the color in itself that was the problem, it was that the walls were all dirty and hastily patched over. That, and we were seeking a slightly more restful color scheme in the boudoir.
- The floors were a mess. Once-beautiful-50-years-ago, the floors were now worn down thin oak planks with mysterious and creepy stains all over.
- Room itself was just a rectangular shoebox. Absolutely snoresville. No architectural detail, nothing to look at.
|We made do with this arrangement for about 48 hours.|
|Hubby felt these mirrored cupboard doors made our room feel like a dorm room, so out they went.|
First: we painted the room a nice, calm, Dove Grey.
Cut to: Two Years Later. With the exception of the floors, the three images below show what the space looked like for the next two years.
Nice. Simple. No fuss. We made do with stuff from our other apartments.
We worked All. The. Time. So it didn’t bother us much.
We put up some photos and tried to make the space ours. But still… Not all that exciting.
|Matching his-and-hers dressers bring a touch of grown-up glamour.|
During that time, we cleared out all the rooms upstairs to have the floors refinished. We had a team come in to sand, stain and varnish the floors. That’s a project this humble DIYer wasn’t ready to undertake! We’re proud to have kept the whole process as eco-friendly as possible by choosing water-based stain as well as varnish.
Instead of going the route of popular super-dark mocha brown, which we’d had in our previous condo and was a nightmare to maintain because of our shedding dogs, we decided to go with a charcoal grey. And we’re so happy with our decision!! The woodgrain really popped and we love the feel these floors bring.
|puuurdy grey floors!|
Add some personality to the walls
We struggled to figure out what to do with the walls to inject a little visual interest. Wallpaper? A new color? Maybe some moulding?
As it turns out, we kind of did all three. How?
We set out to create wall panels (basically rectangles made out of moulding) with some textured wallpaper inside of them. We’d add a chair rail at some point halfway up the wall, and paint everything underneath it white.
Not knowing what the heck to do first, we set off on our adventure.
We stumbled upon some pre-made moulded rectangles at Home Depot, so those were the dimensions we worked with. We could have crafted them ourselves, but that seemed like a lot of extra work when the finished product was already right in our hands.
|Tip: To save money and cheat the system, we put them lengthwise to trick the eye into thinking there were more panels.|
- Measure your space very carefully to figure out how many rectangles you can fit. Tip: Symmetry is the main goal here. Make sure opposing walls have the same number of panels on each. For example, our room is a perfect rectangle so it was 5 on each long wall, and 4 on each short wall. All with perfectly even spacing for the wall they’re on.
- Figure out how high up you want your chair-rail to go. (Chair-rail is that line of moulding that cuts across the middle of a wall, often used in dining rooms to protect walls from chairs backing into them, hence the name). We decided to put ours at 3 feet, and taped up the room accordingly. Tip: We also added some base mouldings to equalize the height of the radiator all around the room, and it looks elegant too.
- Mark the walls where the rectangles will go. I can’t say this enough: make sure you measure well! Tip: Use a measuring tape and a laser line level for your markings… Do not use the walls themselves, especially in older homes, as they may not be straight and your angles may not be a perfect 90 degrees. We learned this the hard way.
|Your friend, the Laser Line Level device (it has little tacky bits on the back that stick to the wall)|
- Cut rectangles out of textured wallpaper (aka paintable wallpaper) and apply them to the walls, following the product instructions. Let dry.
|We measured not once, not twice, but thrice! It took forever! If you can make it to the end of the measuring process with your spouse and still agree on the plan, you’ve got yourself a solid marriage.|
Here’s a close-up on paintable wallpaper. Big box stores usually have lots of models to choose from.
|Pretty! Reminds me of those vintage ceiling tiles in a Parisian restaurant.|
- Install mouldings around the wallpaper, base moulding and chair rail with either glue (can get messy, not recommended), hammer and nails, or the fastest method: a nail gun! Nail guns are fun 🙂
Note: People who write sentences like that and put smiley faces at the end probably shouldn’t be trusted with nail guns.
|You’ll need to get creative around obstacles like door frames, wall outlets, wall panels, windows, etc.|
- Tip: For a professional seamless finish, fill up all the nail-gun holes with a white putty pencil and seal everything up with paintable caulking.
- Then, to complete the look and highlight all the new architecture, paint it all white with a high-traffic trim and moulding low-VOC paint, which is a great choice when you have kids and dogs!
Pheew! That was a lot of work. Now the stage is set to fill this room up with pretty and, most importantly for us, comfortable things.
Check out Part 2 to learn about our homemade DIY headboard, new furniture additions and updates to older pieces, our sneaky crown moulding secret, the chosen color scheme and how we tied it all together.
See you there!
So we have this little extra room in our house, just outside our bedroom. When we first moved in, it just collected junk.
We’d clear it out, and it would mysteriously fill up again. I blame the Night Gnomes.
|I swear I just cleaned the floor.|
|Random homeless items collect here.|
|The flower wreath is a nice touch to the room void of purpose, don’t you think?|
Meanwhile, we struggled with putting our clothes away in our too-small 1950’s master closet. Back then, I can only assume, women owned 3.5 dresses, 1 sweater and 1 skirt, and men owned 4 shirts and 2 pants. That’s the roundup of what fits in our bedroom closet.
One day, we started eyeing that extra room and daydreaming about turning it into a walk-in closet. Even if it may not last forever, at that time we had no kids and the room really didn’t serve any purpose. It wasn’t long before Project Dream Closet was launched.
Here’s how we did it… on the cheap!
First, we measured all the wall space and got creative envisioning where we’d put shelves, rods, drawers and shoes. We assigned his & hers sides of the room to simplify things.
Then, we bought adjustable wire rack shelving at Home Depot, and had the shelves cut to size. There’s no charge for that service, which is great because you can have custom-fitting things for your space at no additional cost.
|Visions of well-ironed pastel clothes danced in our heads|
Next, we headed over to Ikea to buy some inexpensive clothing racks to use as hanging rods.
|This one is close to what we have, called the Mulig. And 12 bucks! Woohoo!|
Next, we pulled in some elements from elsewhere in the house, to warm up the space. A velvety soft rug underfoot makes for better dressing on a cold winter’s morning! Also, a little cushioned bench to perch on to pull on socks or act as a folding surface is always handy.
The final touch? A nice chandelier lamp, for a touch of glamour. I believe we spent about $60 on this one at a big box store, and chose this timeless style because we can repurpose it pretty much anywhere in the house at a later time.
So here she is…
Project Dream Closet was completed in one weekend! There’s even enough room for off-season storage up top, which was a happy surprise.
What do you think?
I wanted to share another redo project with you, this one is an old buffet/hutch for our kitchen.
We were on the hunt for a piece like this for a while, since lots of them are turning up everywhere. I guess people are getting rid of them because they can be boxy and imposing in a dining room, where they are usually found, but we had a blank wall in the kitchen we wanted to fill with cupboards or storage of some kind on the cheap. (Even though they’re out of fashion – whatever that means! – people are still trying to sell them for several hundred dollars.)
The key is finding one that works for your budget (or non-budget, as was the case for us) and has the right proportions for your space, not to mention is as simple or as ornate as you like. Note: Some of the buffets out there are pretty heinous. It may take some time to find a good one.
This was the wall in our kitchen before we cleared it. Everything you see here was in-the-meantime. (Funny how that state can last for years!) The three square cupboards stood in for a messy pantry, and the butcher block-topped island (although we love the piece!) was just a catch-all for junk.
We actually got our hands on this really nice buffet/hutch from friends by trading it for a couch we no longer needed. They had inherited the buffet but had no need for it, and it was sitting in their shed.
Trading is a great way of doing things, because everybody wins and ‘unwanted’ things stay out of landfills… This also avoids stuff getting parked indefinitely in garden sheds, basements and garages. Do you have anything you’d be willing to trade for something you need more?
|Not bad, not bad at all!|
We loved the size and shape, and knew that with some fresh paint and new handles, this could work well in our small kitchen. However, it did need some TLC. Because it was built old-school, the middle bottom door was bolted into place, as were the two upper glass doors on the sides. Not so handy. We figured we could easily update it and make all the doors open independently.
|that’s not dust…|
First things first, the clean-up. There was just a smidge of mildew on the lower doors (a side-effect of being kept in a humid shed). It looked like dust, but didn’t wipe away. To eliminate it, a scrub of warm water with baking soda and bleach did the trick. (If you have allergies, best to have someone else do this.)
We cleaned the rest, removed the back panel and handles (carefully filling the holes) and were ready to begin painting.
This time, we used our spray gun attached to an air compressor, which is a thousand times more fun (and satisfying) than painting by hand. We chose a glossy white for the outside and a gorgeous turquoise called Jamaican Sea (yes please!) for a pop of color in the background.
|Behr ‘Jamaican Sea’|
Here is the final result:
For the bottom doors, we swapped the medieval-looking handles for some white knobs with a cute crackle-y effect.
|I love how the lines really come out beautifully in white|
|Turquoise makes the white dishes really pop!|
I have to say, we were happy with the overall effect. It’s light and airy, and offers lots of storage right where we need it. Also, having dishes and glassware behind glass doors is really awesome when you have people over because they can find things really easily!
A few challenges…
The rejigging of the doors proved to be much more of a challenge for us than we anticipated. We had to get extra crafty… and the project fell into that gray area somewhere between fun and when-did-this-get-so-frustrating?
On the bottom part, because the three panels were so close together, it was too tight to add hinges anywhere to make the middle door swing open. Trust us: we tried every which way. Maybe we could just leave the door bolted into place and reach in behind it? Or perhaps craft a door-within-a-door? Or have it swing out from the top or bottom? Folks, this stumped us for days on end.
Finally, a flash: why not join two doors together to make one large, folding double-door, like a bifold door? And so that’s what we did. (We also added a simple cabinet-door magnet from Home Depot to help secure it in place, because it’s quite heavy.)
On the upper part of the hutch, the challenge was not only the lack of space between the doors, but also locating just the right hinges to join the doors to the frame. It was hard because they’re old, so matching the style as well as finding the right mechanism was especially difficult. (The glass panels were never intended to function as doors, so they were inset into the frame).
We searched for weeks, tried (and failed with) many different models, and finally succeeded when we went to Lee Valley. They carry all kinds of specialty items, and had in-stock what we needed to match older methods of furniture-making: hinges made for inset doors/panels. In the end, we learned that really specific parts may be tough to find, but with a little patience you can find just about anything on the internet.
All that to say, if you’re feeling cocky about how easy it will be to make structural changes to the architecture of a piece, either take a minute to bring ‘er down a notch, or make sure you leave yourself a whole lot of extra time… because you’re probably going to run into a bunch of problems!
The only thing left is to add two more handles to the doors on top. But otherwise, we’re happy with our handiwork!
What do you think?
On the far side of the house, our landscaping company recommended installing a Celtic border, which helps water drain away from the foundation. It’s basically a bed made of river rocks, about 1.5 feet wide. It’s nice and tidy: the perfect solution for a mostly-shady side of the house which tends to stay a little wet.
Now the backyard is welcoming and neat, not a eyesore and source of endless work. There are quite a few phases left until its transformation is complete, which include the addition of a patio door into the house and a new patio, building a pergola/poolhouse, creating and decorating an outdoor living space, and landscaping with large potted plants (elevated plants are a bonus when you have dogs!). But for now, we are definitely one step closer to our little slice of heaven.