Teen Room Makeover Part 1: DIY Tufted Headboard

So my daughter turned 13 this year (officially a TEENager! Gah!). And one of the things she wanted for her birthday (along with mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, ya know, the essentials) was a more grown up bedroom. We had painted her room BRIGHT GREEN when we first bought the house not quite a year ago because that was the color she HAD TO HAVE.
Even in the closet. Just, whatever.
 We also painted her attached bathroom turquoise because green and turquoise should always be together. Again, whatever.
But that was when she was 12.
She's 13 now. 

So, we just MUST paint her room a mature color. Again. Including the closet - which, I'm just going to go on record saying that I no longer paint closets. I, in fact, QUIT all jobs from this point forward that require closet painting. Just don't even ask me to do it because I QUIT. Closets should just stay whatever color they are till the end of time.
The only satisfaction I can truly say I got from all this painting of the closets is that she admitted, like, in person, to me afterwards that I was right and she should have listened to me the first time when I said you probably won't always want your closets painted BRIGHT GREEN so it might be a good idea NOT to paint them? To which she responded with "I want my closet BRIGHT GREEN!"
Whatever. She's still a unicorn. I mean, what teenage girl tells her mother she's right?
So, in addition to painting her room, she also wanted to update her furniture and bedding, including a new headboard. So, we poured thru Pinterest looking for ideas and decided to make a tufted headboard. Now, I've never made a tufted headboard before. I've made cushions and I've done some upholstery type stuff, but a tufted headboard...

Sure! Why not!
So, here's what we did. We got a large piece of plywood (I had Home Depot cut it down to the size I needed) and my handy husband jig-sawed the shape at the top.

I then laid it on the foam and batting (cut to size) and stapled all of that to the back.

Then stapled the fabric to the back. The corners were tricky, but well, who cares. As long as it looks good from the front.
Now, the tufting!

My handy husband had a great idea to use washers and large screws so the fabric wouldn't rip through. I had googled all the different ways to make the tufting and we even tried a few other ways, only to have the fabric tear.

His idea worked perfect and created a nice deep tufted area around each washer.


My daughter wanted some bling on the headboard so she picked out these crystal thingies to go on top of the washers.

We just hot glued those suckers!
Perfect! (Except where it's not perfect, but hey, from here it looks perfect!)
And here's how it looks on the wall! I love it so much I'm going to make one for our bed! We made a hanger for it using some screws and wire so it hangs kind of like a picture from the back, but is flush with the wall.
We had some foam and fabric left over so we recovered an old wood chest she had to match.
Just took the top off the hinges and stapled the foam, batting, and fabric on the back just like we did the headboard, cutting out a small square area where the hinges were. Reattached the hinges and now it's a great little sitting spot by her bed...for her cat.  
Aside from painting some furniture, creating a reading nook in her closet using old cabinets, and updating some of her wall art, the only other 'crafty' project we worked on was updating her lamp. We were going to spray paint it with a glittery gold paint, but it didn't cover the black. So, rather than toss it and buy a new one, we decided to add trim to it and make it more feminine.

Trim + hot glue gun + clip on hair bow = brand new (not new) lamp!

We also added another one of the crystal thingies to the bow to match the crystal thingies in the headboard.

Yay! We did it! And she's happy with it so that's what matters. Well, that and the fact that her closet is no longer BRIGHT GREEN.
Now to find a swinging chair to hang from the ceiling!

Kitchen Renovation Part 2

So, here's our nearly finished/newly renovated kitchen!
Still a few projects left, but for the most part it's DONE!
Here's a few reminders of the before.
The wall that was on the right, separating the living room and kitchen, is gone!
We took all the uppers from the left side down and replaced them with brick pavers and open shelving.
From the column over to the right is where the wall was. We added pendant lighting and a granite topped island there instead. We pretty much only eat at the bar now, so we've decided our kitchen table is fairly useless unless we have company over. I think we're going to turn that area into a coffee lounge! Actually, I think we're going to build a bench seat and put in a farm table there, but that's a project for another day!
The bricks were a bit ambitious for us. And if I'm being honest, I won't do it again.
Like, ever.
It was a lot more work than we anticipated. And fairly costly.
I love the way it turned out! I just didn't enjoy the process.
It was hard!

We thought we would save money buying the bricks in whole form (since we couldn't find pavers ANYWHERE!) We chose old bricks. These actually are 100 year old bricks that came off a warehouse in Chicago. You can still see the paint and mortar still on the bricks. These were hand scraped and salvaged and were absolutely gorgeous and shabby and just the look we wanted for our wall. But had to be cut in half...twice. So we were able to get two pavers from each brick.
This meant standing in front of a wet saw for 8 hours a day times 3-4 days. In the rain. In the cold. Getting covered in brick soot. Ears ringing.
I was nearly in tears after the first day and finally gave up saying I was way too old to work this hard!
So, my man took over.
And he cut and cut and cut and cut. Until finally, some 500 bricks later...

We were able to start putting them on the wall.
I started off slow but then got the hang of it and within a few days I managed to get one full section done. After that I decided to pace myself and did about 30-40 bricks per day. Letting each section dry before starting a new section to make sure our rows were level.

Since we wanted to remove the vent hood, we had to cut out some drywall over the stove and re-wire for a new light, and then brick around it.
I then sealed each brick...twice. With a 'before grouting' sealer, and an 'after grouting' sealer. These sealers were $30 each. But they did a fabulous job of making the bricks waterproof (especially for around the sink) and smooth (nothing flakes off when you run your hands over them). Love love this product.
But, like I said, this was a big expensive project. Don't google DIY brick walls and be fooled by those folks out there saying it's easy and inexpensive. They're lying. The results are gorgeous. But it's not cheap and it's not easy. And grouting those 3/4 inch grout lines was messy as hell. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit and just go buy the plain white subway tiles and be done with it! I mean seriously...we did this entire wall all the way to the ceiling! On both sides of the kitchen!
But, it's unique and gave our boring old kitchen some much needed character!
And I love having the open shelves. In a small galley kitchen like this it makes it feel much more open and roomy. We don't have much 'stuff' in our kitchen so storage wasn't really much of a concern. In fact, the open shelves hold more than the previous cabinets did and with the addition of the island, we now have several empty cabinets and drawers. We're pretty good at only having what we need, and having less storage space forces us to keep the clutter to a minimum. It works for us.

We continued the brick onto the opposite wall over to the fridge. We, ahem, haven't grouted any of that side yet. We sorta came down with renovation burn-out. It'll get done in a few weeks (wink wink)
The column that we left when we removed the wall got a fresh coat of chalkboard paint. We left it as plain drywall (rather than putting texture on it) so we would have a smooth surface...

So we could use it as a chalkboard and leave notes to each other. The kids get a kick out of it.

Found this idea on Pinterest. Found the magazine racks on Amazon. Works great for produce and saves us the counter space.

The apron sink is my favorite part of the reno. We're still working on the framing that goes around it. I'll post pics when it's completed.


The island was built out of the upper and lower cabinets that were removed when the wall came out. The uppers were a different height, so we took the doors off, painted the inside, and built a box under them to raise them up.
Once it was all painted and the kick panels and trim work was added, you can't tell it was even two pieces, much less recycled cabinets!
Overall, while it was a lot of work, we are happy with the results and even happier that it's OVER!
Now on to the next projects! :)

Kitchen Renovation Part 1

So, we decided to renovate the kitchen. This, unlike the bathroom renovation, was planned. However, what we didn't plan or anticipate was just how much harder, longer, and more expensive it would be.
It all started with this wall. 
Around the corner on the right is the living room.
Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhh we can't see the living room from the kitchen!
I know, first world problems.

But seriously, see the wall? It's dividing EVERYTHING!

Taking down the wall of course, also meant redoing the floors...
So, we paused here for about 7 days while my handy husband slaved over jackhammers, tiles, saws, glue, wood, and really sore knees.  Meanwhile, I continued to remove drywall, cabinets and um, the countertops?
Sure! Why not!

But why stop there?!
 Well, I'll tell you why.
Because we ran into more rotted wood (remember the bathroom nightmare?)

Well, it seems all the wet areas in this older home are full of lovely leaks. This one was apparently from the dishwasher and had pretty much annihilated the sink cabinet. It turned to sawdust when we tried to move it. So, my handy husband had to stop what he was doing and run to Home Depot and pick up another sink cabinet.

Once he got that installed, he had to build a frame to hold the cast iron sink.
Well, we've never installed under mount farm sinks before. Or built under cabinet mounts for them.
So, we paused here for a few more days to figure it all out.

Once we got the sink supports completed we made an attempt to attach the new sink cabinet to the old cabinet next to it.
And discovered it was rotted as well.
So, the man went BACK to Home Depot and picked up more cabinets.
Multiply this experience a few more times and we were finally ready to do the sink and countertops.

Butcher block counter tops went in fast. This was about the only project at this point that seemed to go as planned or expected. Oh, and note the new sink and faucet my handyman installed! We did a little research and ended up buying both of these online. These projects were a nice diversion from some of the other more, um, tedious, tasks involved in this reno.
Oh, who am I kidding...this was tedious as well, just in a less annoying way.
But hey, at least the floors look nice!
Wait, is that an electrical cord hanging where the wall used to be?

Why yes, it is.
Remember that wall that started it all?
Well, after we removed the drywall and some of the support beams we realized it was a load bearing wall.
So, we built a temporary support wall and paused here for about a week getting estimates and trying to figure out what our next move was.
Boy was THAT fun!

A round of estimates to the tune of around $5000 to put in a support header helped us plan our next move.

And call for help.
My brother just happened to be in town that weekend so late one night we offered him free beer and a roaring good time installing a support beam.

And by golly, those boys got that sucker UP!
Beer is a powerful motivator.
It was a proud moment.
And saved us a ton of money!
My handy man then spent several more nights trying to figure out all the electrical.

But LOOK! We can see into the living room from the kitchen now!

And only 9 hours of drywall later...
 This part of the reno was DONE!
Stay tuned for Part 2!