Tag: home decor

Fa la la la Living Room

I’m continuing this week’s tour of Christmas decor in my house with a peek at the living room where I’ve decked the halls with red, green and silver accents.
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I mixed some of my old favorites with a few new pieces this year to make the room feel extra festive.
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I splurged on a pair of green and white houndstooth pillows that coordinate with my table runner in the dining room. The couch is the first thing that draws your eye in when you walk through the front door so I focused my attention there this year. A trio of new pillows, glittery garland and DIY holiday-themed art transformed this spot for Christmas. My couch and rug are so neutral that it’s easy to change the look of the room by switching up a few accent pieces and swapping out the yellow pillows for green. My strategy for decorating the living room was to take away yellow and replace it with green which complemented my existing red accents nicely.

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A few silver accents go a long way to make this space feel Christmas-y, too. I found this wreath made of silver, vintage-looking ornaments that I placed on a tray on the coffee table as a statement piece. When we put the tree up it will make my large silver ornaments really pop.

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Silver also makes a statement atop my entertainment center where a bevy of glass Christmas trees in a variety of sizes add interest to this side of the room. I treat my entertainment center as if it were my fireplace mantel (because I’ve always wanted one). It’s one of my favorite decorations in the whole house and I love how it turned out.

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Last but certainly not least is the stairway where I draped the same glittery garland down the banister and secured it with some red and green striped ribbon. I like the fact that you can see the ribbon holding up the garland and I think it gives the banister added character.

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And with that, the tour of our indoor Christmas decorations is complete. Next up I’ll share with you my Christmas tree and our display of lights outside. Also, look out for a new vlog with a video tour of our Christmas decorations which will give you a better feel for the layout of the space!

DIY Target Felt Wreath Hack

I’d like to start this post by saying my husband is both a genius and a saint. A genius because he suggested we take off of work from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday and a saint because he agreed to sit home with me for three straight days while we decorated the entire exterior and interior of our home for Christmas — save for the tree.
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If you know my husband Mike you know he suffers from something my Mommom likes to call “gas ass” (I do too in all fairness) and our social calendar is eternally full. But we spent most of the ENTIRE weekend at home and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house.

With no time constraints holding me back I had a great time DIYing three felt wreaths for my kitchen and powder room. I bought the wreaths at Target a few weeks ago with the thought that I’d cut them apart into separate pieces and use two of them on my kitchen cabinets. This is what I started with:

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First I snipped the burlap holding the wreaths together to separate them.

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Then I snipped these glitter pinecones off of the tri-pick they came in (also from Target.)

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Then I hot glued the pine cones to the wreath, followed by a few white berries.

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I knew I wanted to hang the wreaths from my kitchen cabinets so I hot glued a piece of ribbon to each one. In the meantime I had hung command strips on the inside of the cabinets upside down where I would hang the wreaths from for a clean look.

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Ta da! Here’s the finished product. Very festive! My kitchen is the first room you see when you walk in the front door so I wanted it to feel just as Christmas-y as the rest of the house.

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I hung the paper banner I made last year over the window and weaved a garland through the wrought iron swirls of my vintage ice cream parlor table to give the whole kitchen a festive feel.

With two of the wreaths in the kitchen, I figured the third would be perfect in the powder room across the hall. I added the same pine cones and white berries but wanted to give it some extra oomph. I bought some gorgeous notebooks (also at Target) a few months ago because I loved the cover art but never found a place to put them. Something in my brained clicked and I thought — custom art and paper flowers!

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I just cut out a square piece of the notebook cover to fit my existing frame and cut out the remaining flowers to hot glue onto the wreath. How cute?!

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Here’s how the rest of the powder room turned out:

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I love how both rooms feel holiday ready without screaming red and green! As excited as I am at how the kitchen and powder room turned out — I’m even more excited about the dining room. Stay tuned for more Christmas decorating fun coming this week!

Goodbye Office, Hello Craft Room

Mike and I recently decided to move our office downstairs into the living room for two reasons. One, the living room spans the width of our house and at 21×14 the far end felt empty and lost. Two, we rarely set up shop in the office upstairs because neither of us wanted to feel locked away up there by ourselves. I swear a post is in the works detailing the move and unveiling our awesome little corner-turned-office downstairs, but this isn’t that post.

Moving the Mac, extra monitor and scads of technology down onto the main floor left the office ripe for the picking, and boy did I take advantage of the newly-vacant space. I was so excited to get my crafting/DIY/gift wrapping stuff out of the chaos pantry (though it’s newly organized for the second time) and up into its own space.

Craft & Reading Room

This mix-and-match feel of this room is truly the epitome of me. Every. Single. Piece. is collected/thrifted/salvaged from somewhere. I didn’t purchase any of the furniture specifically for this room. It’s a little disjointed, but I love it.

Craft & Sitting Room

Notice the two nearly identical wingback chairs? One is navy, the other is hunter green, and I successfully made them work — staring right into each others’ nailhead trim…

You may recognize the green chair from our living room downstairs. It sat proudly across from our old charcoal grey sofa. A little too proudly, in fact. It was so tall someone sitting at the newly positioned desk couldn’t see the TV, and that just wasn’t going to work. Another fun fact about our pair of wingbacks is each one came from our grandparents. The navy was given to us from Mike’s grandparents, and the green came straight from my grandparents’ office. The style of both chairs is nearly identical which is why they both work here even though they’re different colors. Another neat feature of these chairs is that each relaxes into a comfortable reclining position, so my goal is to use this as a sitting/reading/writing room when I’m looking for some solitude.

Navy Nailhead Wingback Chair

The Sicilia print is an old linen piece from Mike’s grandmother, too. It used to live in the bathroom of our old apartment, and I think it looks great on the wall in the office. That small chest next to the chair was a second-hand find from my grandmother’s neighbor. She was giving it away and I decided to spray paint it black and cart if off to college with me. It’s been tagging along ever since. When I made this room the craft room, I gave it the new job of housing my plethora of gift bags and displaying my Keyboard Cat and Andy Warhol print — both treasured gifts. A noble task, indeed.

Hiding Gift Bags

Moving to the right of the navy chair, I placed my DIY’d crafting table/cabinet/shelf-like thing-a-ma-bob. This is a TOTALLY makeshift piece. The two white cabinets used to house canned goods and glassware in the kitchen of our old apartment. With an entire room devoted to storage in our new townhouse, I decided to repurpose these into storage space for my crafting supplies. The wooden top is made up of two solid-wood Ikea shelves that I screwed together with brackets to make them extra sturdy. It’s floating on top of the white shelves so it’s easy to disassemble and move if need be. I do want to paint the top white to help it blend in, though.

Craft & Sitting Room

Kate Spade & Craft Paper

Tray & Metal Hooks

Crafting Supply Storage

The black shelf next to it is a hold out from the old office. It was laying on its side housing some office supplies, novelties and the printer. It wasn’t very useful in the office, so I decided to sit it right side up and get some extra baskets/containers to house my crafting and party supplies. I tilted it on an angle a bit to break up all the straight lines in the room, and I took a small globe-shaped light out of storage with a teeny tiny bulb that stays on pretty much all the time to act as a night light in the upstairs hallway since we always leave the door to this room open.

Crafty Shelf Styling

See that graphic black and white pillow up there? It kept catching my eye on Pinterest and in several blog posts so I snapped it up. It’s not the most practical pillow in this space since I already have two other throw pillows in here that work well together and the graphic pattern is a little too much next to the curtains, so I plopped it in a basket above the shelf for visual impact and as an option for future floor sitting. Looking at it makes me happy, so it stays. And those curtains? They dressed the window in our bedroom at the old apartment and I was thrilled to be able to reuse them here. They’re a perfect match with the wall color I chose. What a happy accident.

Gift Wrap

Onto one of my most practical sections of the room – my gift wrap storage. I started keeping all those rolls of gift wrap in that gold bin in the pantry when we first moved into the house and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s so easy to grab what I need in a rush to wrap a stylish gift in no time. And that even more stylish gold bin is a hand-me-down from my Mommom. I know, right? Score!

And finally, to keep it real. This is the office-turning-craft-room transition that I started with. Yeah, a lot of work when into getting this room organized. The closet is even spic and span now. What a relief.

Craft Room Before

Second Craft Room Before

And to go back even further, this is the office I started with.

Office

Book Shelf

Do you guys have a dedicated space for crafting or gift wrapping? Even just a dedicated closet, perhaps? I’m pretty lucky to have a third bedroom at my beck-and-call, that’s for sure. And I’m basking in the glow of extra useable space for now.

New Couch & Chair

If you’ve been following us on the vlog, you know we’ve been shopping for new living room furniture for about six weeks now. The couch we had was less than a year old, but it wasn’t quite big or comfortable enough to make us happy. After weeks of saving and searching for just the right thing, it’s finally here!

Neutral sofa and paint with pops of persimmon and yellow

Isn’t it beautiful?! It’s much better than the old couch. Let’s compare, shall we? Pardon the crappy-quality iPhone photo, but you get the gist.

Living room before

Let’s rewind even further back to what this room looked like after we first moved in.

Old living room layout

Yes, this living room has certainly come a long way. But let’s get on with the tour of the new furniture! Take a look at the new chair, and don’t mind the blurry Cody in the photo below. He loves being in the middle of anything new.

Long living room layout

The chair is so comfortable, and its low profile allows for full visibility of the TV from the desk behind it. This is the view you see down the hall when you walk in the front door, so I’m loving all the visual interest this chair brings to the space. I know the print is busy and probably not the ‘safest’ pick, but I have a feeling I’m going to love it for the long haul.

Check out the living room now from a few different points of view.

The layout makes this long living room work

Long living room layout

I’m sure there will be some tweaking happening over the next few weeks as I get settled in. Our coffee table could really use a refresh (the wood top is pretty beat up) and the stain on the side tables doesn’t match perfectly, but I think this room has really come a long way. It feels comfortable, eclectic and collected to me, so it really represents my design sensibility, even if it’s not perfect.

See those yellow pillows on the couch? They’re looking extra fluffy, right? Our couch came with these throw pillows that just aren’t my style.

Ugly throw pillows

Totally not me, right? But these pillows were much better quality than my original yellow ones. So a light bulb went off in my head. I could take the stuffing out of the yellow pillows and throw the cover over these fluffy-but-ugly new ones.

Check out the ho-hum stuffing in the yellow pillows.

Poorly-stuffed yellow pillows

Pillow stuffing

Bad, right? No wonder the pillows always looked a little lifeless no matter how much they were fluffed and straightened.

Here they are now. Proud as a peacock.

Yellow and red throw pillows

So don’t count out your old pillows. Some new stuffing can work wonders!

Well, what do you think? Doesn’t the lighter couch color make the room feel bigger and more airy? I can’t get over the way a new piece of furniture can make the whole room feel so different!

Easy Art

I’m always on the quest for new odds and ends to decorate shelves and tables, and I wanted to share a quick 10-minute art project that I threw together Monday night while I was putting the finishing touches on my dining room sideboard. I’m a big believer in keeping old papers, posters and even wrapping paper because you’ll never know when you can reuse them. I wanted to replace my Valentine’s Day printable with something more neutral, so I went digging in my crafting supplies to see what I had on hand. This is what I came up with.

Easy Art Not bad for being free, eh?

I cut the middle image from a poster I had in my bedroom in college. The edges were ruined from sticky, oily poster tack (since I didn’t want to spring for a frame back then) so I didn’t mind cutting it up. I sliced it down from a poster size to an 8×10, and I think it looks great.

Italy poster

 

Cutting poster to fit frame

 

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When I fished the poster out of it’s round holder, a few pieces of leftover wrapping paper also fell out. I purchased it at a boutique while I was living in Philly (also during college) and kept the scraps because I love the print and colors so much. I chose two of my favorite flowers and cut them to fit my frame. The frame is double sided so I can reverse it depending on where it ends up in the house.

Floral wrapping paper

Wrapping paper scraps

White poppy art

Red dahlia art

What an easy, stylish update, right? I think this art will definitely come in handy to fill in some empty spaces while I search for more ‘forever’ pieces. To quote an anonymous pin, I think a room should feel collected, not decorated. So these easy art pieces will serve well in my collection for now.

Have you repurposed anything old into something new lately? What are your cheap and easy art tricks?

 

 

New Dining Room Chairs

I’m so excited to share my latest update to our dining room!

Dining room layout

Don’t mind the veeerrrryyy bright light. I guess I didn’t realize it was on full blast when I snapped these shots. But doesn’t this layout make the dining room feel so much more open than it did when I posted my house tour?

My new, smaller dining room chairs fit so much better around our table than the older, more weighty set. My nana graciously gave us her set of five Ballard Designs dining room chairs and they served us very well during our first few years living together — especially since we didn’t have the budget to purchase quality chairs like those on our own. Even though the chairs are beautiful and very comfortable (the two against the wall in the photo above are leftovers from Nana’s set) one of the chairs was pretty badly broken and it always annoyed me that we had to break out a folding chair to accommodate a sixth dinner guest. Not to mention the fact that the big chairs took up all the extra space in the dining room making it feel cramped. Needless to say, I was constantly keeping my eyes open for a deal on new dining chairs in the hopes of getting something more functional for our space.

As I’m sure you know, dining chairs aren’t cheap. So, when I stumbled upon a treasure trove of SEVEN brand new still-in-the-box dining chairs at Ikea in the as-is section marked down to $35 a pop, I almost had a heart attack. Picture me guarding them hoping no one else would discover this awesome deal while I flagged Mike down to come take a look. He wasn’t convinced, but I loved the style and said, “trust me, this is a great deal!!!” And in the cart they went. Just four of them, that is. I hope those other three beauties found a home.

$35 Ikea chair steal

I’m sure you can guess what I did that night, right? I spent what felt like a lifetime putting all four chairs together. Damn Ikea furniture. So cheap but such a pain in the butt. Oh well, it was worth it. I even bought a hex drill bit to speed the process along, but of course my drill couldn’t fit in the teeny tiny space they left to tighten the screws. So cranking them by hand was my only option. Here’s a look at my setup:

Chair assembly tools

Chair in box

Half assembled chair

Chair assembly

See that enormous stack of trash in the background? Yeah, that didn’t get cleaned up until the next day. I was up into the wee hours of Sunday morning finishing the fourth and final chair, and by the time I finished it I was at my wits end. But boy did it feel good to have gotten all four of these chairs for $150.

Just to refresh your memory, this is what my dining room used to look like. So sparse. So lacking in style and interest.

Dining Room

The foundation was there, but it just wasn’t quite hitting a home run. But the new look is starting to fit the bill. I’m psyched!

Dining room layout

Dining room layout from right

Dining room layout from left

Dining room sideboard

The sideboard used to serve as a sofa table in the living room way back when the sofa sat in the middle of the room. When I switched up the living room layout for the holidays the sofa went up against a wall and the table sat awkwardly on the opposite wall. Another recent living room update (post to come) kicked the table out of its awkward corner position and my brilliant husband said, “hey, let’s use this table as a dining room sideboard.” Wow, does he surprise me sometimes. It was perfect!! I love the way the white breaks up the heavy dark chairs and table and plays into the light color in the art above. And it will be perfect for serving food or drinks during a party.

Do you have a war story from the Ikea as-is section? Did you try to hide your finds from fellow bargain hunters when you couldn’t get those deals in your cart fast enough? Commiserate with me!

Weekend Thrifting

I was itching to go thrifting since I started following Better Homes and Gardens East Coast editor/producer Eddie Ross on Instagram and he posted three to-die-for finds in the past few weeks. You can see them here, here and here. That bar cart and those shelves painted white or a fun bright color? Yes, please. Sign me up.

I’d love to have a lengthy list of thrift stores to hit up on the regular, but I haven’t uncovered many stores in my area. Why can’t there be a database of these diamonds in the rough? Wait, is there? Am I totally missing out on some amazing black market thrift store list? Is ‘thrift store’ a section on Yelp? If so, you better bring me up to speed in a comment!

Goodwill

My options were limited, so I headed to the good ole Goodwill last Saturday afternoon with visions of vintage treasures dancing in my head. As is often the case, reality didn’t live up to  expectations and a quick pass through the furniture section was sorely disappointing. A few folding chairs, an ugly TV and some sad 80s lamps were all that was left in the desolate section that’s usually packed with piles of quirky cast offs. It must have been an off day. But as you can tell from my photo above, I didn’t leave empty handed.

Old Books

Some of my favorite things to look for at a thrift are cheap, beautiful hardcover books, and I found three that fit the bill during my shopping trip. Those plastic covers can be very deceiving, so you have to look behind them to see what you’re really working with.

Hardcover Books

Hardcover Book

Ta da! How great are they?! The spines are even better.

Book Spines

Pair a stack of these beauties with a frame and a piece of glassware (hello, Mason jars) and you’ve got a stylish shelf in no time. I like to choose books based on their color and title. If the title resonates with me in some way, I’m smitten. These books ended up on a shelf in my dining room.

Books on Shelf

The best part is the thrift store price. I got all three books for just over $8. You can’t beat it! That’s what I call affordable decor. Have you scored some awesome thrifting finds lately? How have you been styling your shelves?

Here Comes Cupid

I decorated the house for Valentine’s Day! What a cheery task. I had so much fun framing a few love-themed art prints, digging out my heart-shaped plates and gathering all the pink and red decor I could muster from around the house to create cute little nooks.

Here’s what I came up with for the kitchen. Notice the poinsettia leftover from Christmas? It matches my kitchen so well I figured I’d keep it for a while longer and I love how cute it looks in this Valentine’s Day vignette.

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Bee mine art print

And the dining room. Ready to serve a Valentine’s Day cocktail fit for Cupid himself at a moments notice.

Love, Love, Love art print

And finally the living room. Spotted: another squatting poinsettia. I had to let him stay, too.

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Happy Valentine's Day art print

I also love how a few pieces of existing decor ties so well into my Valentine’s Day pieces making the house feel festive and sweet without being overkill or corny.

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. But first up, the Super Bowl! Are you excited? I can’t say that I am, but it’s usually a fun day nonetheless. Go team!

House Tour Part Two

I took you on a tour of the first floor of our townhouse in this post a week or so ago, and it’s time to take a tour of the upstairs. Our home has three bedrooms and two baths upstairs, as well as a laundry closet in the hallway – hooray for not having to climb stairs to do wash! Without further adieu, let’s start the second part of this tour, shall we?

The stairs to the second floor are across from our dining room sort of in the middle of our home. I love having a split staircase with an oversized window to brighten up the upstairs hallway. Isn’t it a pretty window? It’s one of the things I loved about this house when we first looked at it.

StairsWhen you reach the top of the stairs our master bedroom is directly on your right, the office is on the left, and the laundry closet, guest bedroom and guest bathroom are straight ahead down the hall. The washer and dryer are hidden behind bi-fold doors. I think the laundry closet has a lot more potential to be super functional and even kind of cute, so that’s a project I want to tackle this winter. I’m thinking some fun paint could really make this small space pop.

Hall and Laundry Closet

Just before the laundry closet at the top of the stairs is our master bedroom. A walk-in closet and a master bath round out our master suite. It’s a really great space for us and we think it’s pretty large for a townhouse.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom 2

Bed Pillows

Night Stand
My night stand.

Vanity

The door to our master bathroom is just beyond the TV across from my vanity.

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom 2

Across the hall from our master bedroom is our office. This space sort of doubles as Mike’s ‘man cave,’ too. We have some of his favorite knick knacks, bobble heads and awards/plaques as well as our college degrees on display in here. Mike uses the big desktop Mac to edit his vlogs and I hang out on the wingback chair when I’m working on the blog. There’s a huge window in this room so it’s really bright in there during the day. We love it!

Office

Keepsake Collage

Wingback Chair

Book Shelf

Book Shelf Close Up

Our guest bedroom is just down the hall from the office. We’re excited to finally have a place for guests to come and stay the night, and it’s already gotten quite a bit of use! I think it’s a pretty cozy space if I do say so myself.

Guest Bedroom

Dresser Top

Bureau

The last room in our upstairs is the guest bathroom. This is one of the only rooms in the house with colorful walls – they’re mint green. I paired the soft mint green walls with tangerine to help make the white tile and grey tub and toilet pop. We used the art in our bedroom in the old apartment and it happened to work perfectly in here. Score!

Guest Bathroom

Guest Shower

There you have it – our upstairs! We have a lot left to do up here, like upgrading the bathrooms and finishing some painting projects, and I’ll be sure to capture any upgrades on the blog as we go.

House Tour Part One

My husband Mike and I purchased our first home in March 2013, and we’ve been making it our own ever since. The house was a short sale and it definitely needed some TLC. We’ve painted nearly every square inch of wall, ceiling, trim and door in the place in addition to replacing the carpeting upstairs and ripping out dingy carpeting in the downstairs living room in favor of more dog-friendly laminate. We also took down a glitter-tastic popcorn ceiling that spanned the entire downstairs. I’m very proud of the updates we’ve made to our abode and I plan to blog from time to time about home decor (it’s a passion of mine) so I figured I’d give you a lay of the land. The first phase of our virtual home tour covers the downstairs floor of our two-story townhouse. Here we go!

Welcome to Casa Genovese (fondly known by many of our friends as ‘The G-Spot’ thanks to my husband’s wicked sense of humor). Here’s the view as soon as you walk in the front door. The kitchen is at the front of the house (to the left) with a door to a half bath and another to our pantry/garage to the right. You can see straight through to the living room from here.

EntryThis is our kitchen. It’s the most colorful room in the house. I chose to paint it a vibrant red/coral color that plays really well with the cabinets. The bright color works in here because of the floor length windows that bathe the room in sunlight. Eventually we’d like to install a backsplash to kick it up a notch, but this kitchen has come a long way from what it looked like when we bought it. Two words: wallpaper border. Ugh! Thank goodness it’s gone.

Bay Windows

Fridge

Cabinets

SinkA downstairs half bath is one of three bathrooms in our house. I chose to amp up the small space with a fun striped wall. We installed the new vanity a few months ago, and I handled the plumbing!

New Vanity

Hall Bath

Striped Wall

 

Just past the kitchen and bathroom is the dining room. One of our most impactful updates in the dining room was replacing the old ‘boob light’ fixture with this new chandelier. The dining set is very special to us, too. The table was Mike’s grandmom’s that was used for years and years to make big batches of gnocchi for family holidays, and the chairs were handed down to me from my Nana (who has a flair for decorating).

Dining Room

View to Living Room

Our living room is a wide room that spans the entire width of the house. We replaced old carpeting with this new laminate to match the existing hardwood in the dining room and entry. Eventually, we’d like to give the windows a more custom, high-end look by installing built-in bookcases and a window seat. How awesome would that be?!

CouchEntertainment Unit

Finally, our living room opens onto a patio in our back yard. The back yard is one of the reasons we loved this townhouse because it gives our dog Cody a place run free. We haven’t done much out here other than purchasing a grill (which we use ALL the time) and a chimnea to give the patio a little ambience. We’re hoping to purchase some new patio furniture and build out a deck over the old, cracked concrete patio in the spring. The fence will be getting a fresh coat of paint, too!

Patio

 

I can’t wait to show you the second story in a post next week, and I’ll be sure to share any DIY projects as we continue to update our place. Are you working on any renovations right now? What DIY projects got your home looking like new?

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