Study Plans

If you follow along on Instagram, you know this room is well on it’s way. I wanted to share some of my inspiration and design decisions as I style out the shelves, await my art to arrive and put the finishing touches on this space. I have to admit when we moved in I was pretty stumped with this space. It’s a lovely “bonus room.” But in my mind there is not a whole lot of function to it. It’s right off the living room in the front center of our house. There is a closet and large window, plus it connects to the bathroom, which also connects to the kitchen. So it’s a good pass through room. I did not want to use this room as my office, because my office is a disaster 99% of the time, and also because, despite the large window, the lighting stinks.

I future vision is to open this room to the kitchen and turn it into a dinning space, but when faced with what to do with it in the mean time, I was pretty much stumped. The navy patterned wallpaper was not my choice, but there is worse and the bookshelves were nice, just not my taste at all.

Study Before

Flash forward to my discovery of Mandi Makes on Instagram. Her home and feed is a glorious journey of unbelievable and super-creative before and afters. The moment I saw her study I knew it was the direction I wanted to go for my own study. For someone who painted their entire house white (Polar Bear actually) within the first few weeks of living in it, I fell hard for this green-grey color. I loved how her shelves were filled with books like a traditional library, but yet it all looked so modern. See more of Mandi’s room on her blog.

The color Mandi used is called Oil Cloth by Benjamin Moore. I pulled about 35 green-grey swatches from every paint brand. They all looked so different in this room and so different in each light of day. The Oil Cloth color Mandi used looked really blue and really dark in my room. I ended up going with a color called Dusty Miller by Benjamin Moore and I could not be happier with how it turned out!

Study Inspo 1.jpg

I know I’ve seen and pinned that monochromatic look before, so I hopped onto my Pinterest to find all the interesting colored libraries that skewed modern. Many were a little too traditional for my taste, like this room. I had crafted my idea, now on to the executing and the dreaded tearing down of the wallpaper.

Study Inspo 2.jpg
Study Inspo 3.jpg
Monochromatic shelving

photos: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I have lots more to share about this room and the reveal coming soon! See the items I’m shopping for styling over on my Pinterest Board.

Powder Bath Plans

Last week I gave you the overview on house projects for the year, and as I go along, I will break down my inspiration and plan for each room. If you have been following along on Instagram you know that I already dove into tackling my powder bath. I had the mirror and the light, so I figured I’d buy the paint and start with phase 1. You can see the before here and scroll to the bottom of the post to see where I am today. I still need to replace the toilet, vanity, flooring and tile the walls. But she has come a long way! Here is the inspiration and the detailed design plan. Looking forward to finishing it off in the next month or too.

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POWDER-ROOM-PLANS.jpg

floor tile / scalloped wall tile / toilet / rug / art / faux plant / plant sprayer / sconce / mirror / faucet / vanity (custom) / paint color - My Sweetheart

Powder Bath update

Pedestal Bowl Round-Up

The perfect styling piece I am currently coveting is the pedestal bowl. It is absolutely perfect on the center of the kitchen table, as a decorative object on a coffee table, on your open kitchen shelving or styled on a built it. It is the avocado of the styling world - a little decadent and perfect on whatever you put it on. Ever since I missed the boat on this beauty from Anthropologie a few months back, I have been on the hunt for the perfect bowl. Scroll down to see the alternatives I found.

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Pedestal Bowl Round-up

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

SHOP THE POST

DIY Upholstered Bench

Today I’m excited to share the first of many DIY projects in our new home. The best news is that this project is really easy, I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took me about an hour to make this bench. Except for the batting I had all the supplies on hand. I even used the legs from a disassembled coffee table I made many moons ago for my New York City apartment. Chances are, if you’re not a borderline hoarder, like me, you may need to pick up a few items, but even for a novice, this project can be completed in an afternoon.

DIY Upholstered Bench
DIY Upholstered Bench

DIY Upholstered Bench

SUPPLIES:

Step 1: Cut your two pieces of wood to size and sand the edges.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 2: Layout the batting and cut to size of top of bench. You will only be using one piece of plywood for the next few steps.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 3: Staple down the batting.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 4: Cut the fabric to the size of bench, plus about a 3” border around the edges.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 5: Staple the fabric to the bottom of the plywood.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 6: Trim extra fabric at corners and tuck in to achieve the cleanest possible fold at the corners.

DIY Upholstered Bench
DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 7: Layer second piece of plywood on top of the upholstered piece, sandwiching the stapled fabric. Drill in about one screw in the center of each of the four sides.

DIY Upholstered Bench

Step 8. Add the legs.

DIY Upholstered Bench

And that’s it! You can even have them cut the plywood to size at your hardware store. This project is super easy, minimal mess and no staining, so no harsh odors. I just love the little touch this piece adds to our staircase wall!

DIY Upholstered Bench

SHOP THE POST


House Projects for 2019

If you guys have been following along on Instagram with the house updates, you know I am not wasting any time. I love getting these projects done, and if I have the vision and the energy and the cash (unfortunately that’s lacking at the moment), why not knock it out? My strategy is to tackle all the low budget projects right away so the home feels happy and our style while we save for the big budget projects, like a master bath overhaul, new flooring and a kitchen renovation. The five big projects I have on the docket for 2019 are all DIY, mostly painting and tiling with a couple exceptions. Without further ado, here is the list of projects I plan to tackle this year.


  1. THE POWDER BATH

If you follow my instagram stories, you know I already started this project. This past week I tore down the wallpaper and painted a pretty soft pink color and painted the trim white. I replaced the mirror and light and added a picture ledge. Phase two is on pause for a moment, but we are still planning to replace the vanity, update the flooring and tile the wall half way up. I’ll be sharing a post with my full reno plans and finishes soon.

Powder Bathroom before

2. THE STUDY

In the next month or so, we will be moving on to the study. We are planning to add trim to the walls, and paint everything, including the built ins and trim and light grey-green color. I have a cool vintage pendent to install and of course, style it out.

Study before

3. THE SCREENED IN PORCH

Thinking I want to tackle this room for the spring One Room Challenge in April. I want to paint the wood white, to bring it from rustic to modern. We will replace the track lighting with a pendent, figure out a space heating option and update the carpet to a patterned tile.

Enclosed Porch Before

4. KITCHEN REFRESH

We don’t have the budget for a renovation, but I’ve painted enough kitchen cabinets to know that a small budget can go a long way. We plan to paint the lowers and uppers shown below. We will take out the uppers on the opposite side of the kitchen, and replace with open shelving. We will replace the hardware and either paint or retile the backsplash.

Kitchen Before

5. UPSTAIRS BATH

I’m hoping that after the powder room, I will be brave enough to want to DIY this bath. She needs a complete facelift. We will replace the vanity and toilet, update the floor, pull out the tub and surround and replace with a new tub and tile.

Upstairs Bath Before

Check out my Dream Home 2.0 Pinterest board for all my inspiration and products on my short list to purchase. Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram.

Introducing Our New House!

We put the One Room Challenge project to bed just in time, because we bought a house! After six months of looking, we finally signed the papers and made it official on Tuesday, November 6th! We looked 21 houses, there were three we really considered. We put an offer in on one that didn’t get accepted, and finally, we have a new home! We worked all weekend painting and getting things ready. One third of our stuff arrived from storage and this week the rest will be delivered and we plan to move in next weekend. I am most definitely in the stay up until all hours of the night scrolling Pinterest and Instagram gathering inspiration phase! Check out my “Dream Home” series to get an idea of where my head is at.

A few quick stats about the home, she was built in 1984, 2900 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths.

Our New House

This bright open living room is what sold us on the house. After spending most of our time in our old living room, which was open and inviting, we knew a big living room was pretty much at the top of our must-have list. I love the balcony and the stair case. I keep picturing Ollie waking up on Christmas morning and running down the stairs to see what Santa left him.

LIVING ROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint, we actually already got to business on this one. This weekend we put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and trim. Next we will update built in with floating shelves.

  • In the next 6 months to a year: Change out the light fixtures, update flooring, paint the fireplace

New House Plans
New House Plans

The kitchen definitely isn’t the big open dream kitchen I was hoping for. But it’s bright and somewhat open to the living room. I love the built-in breakfast area and I think with some small changes it could be really good and eventually we can save up and make it great!

KITCHEN PROJECTS

  • Immediate: update the breakfast nook, remove built-in desk and shelving

  • Next 6 months: update backsplash, remove uppers and bulkhead above the sink, and add open shelving. Paint cabinets and update hardware.

  • Long term: Open up wall between kitchen and library (where the fridge is in the photo below) and move the dining table to the library. Replace flooring, new cabinets (or reface).

New House Plans
New House Plans

Next room is the three seasons room, right off the kitchen. Currently it’s the plant room. I plan to put the dining table in here, but the problem is that the room is not heated, so unless we get a heating source, we won’t be dining in there anytime soon. I love the lighting and to me it feels like a great place to have a dining table.

THREE SEASONS ROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint the paneling, change the lighting

  • Next 6 months: replace flooring with tile

  • Future: add a permanent heat source

New House Plans

This is the room I referred to as the library above. I haven’t quite cultivated a vision for this room. But I think we will start with removing the wallpaper.

New House Plans

Our master bedroom is just off the living room. It has tall ceilings, a sliding door to the deck and a big closet. There is a lot to love. But the bathroom. Oh lordy the bathroom. She needs a facelift!

MASTER SUITE PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint closet and bedroom

  • Next 6 months: replace flooring

  • Next year: Gut bath renovation. A year might be a pipe dream, but it’s bad, so hopefully we can pinch our pennies enough to make it happen.

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New House Plans

There are two bedrooms upstairs. One will be Ollie’s room and the other will be a playroom until another little comes a long. I am so excited to design these rooms for my little man, who has been a trooper living with only a few toys and no space of his own, now he will have two rooms to enjoy!

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: Paint

  • Next year: replace floors, replace closet doors

New House Plans
New House Plans

All four bathrooms in this house need serious updating. I plan to tackle the powder room soon. Once I cut my teeth with the small bath, I will probably DIY the upstairs down the road. I definitely won’t miss that blue countertop!

New House Plans
New House Plans

Check out my Dream Home 2.0 Pinterest board for all my inspiration and products on my short list to purchase.

One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 6 - The Reveal

It is finally here, the big reveal! I am so thrilled to show you this finished room!

To catch you up to speed. I am in between homes, my family recently moved back to our home state, Michigan, from New York. I decided to tackle my mom’s kitchen as a guest participant in the One Room Challenge, both as a pet project while I was unemployed, as well as a way to give something back to my mom. We lost my dad a year and a half ago, he was the one who instilled the fearless DIY into me and the one who would have been there by my side coaching me if he were still alive. I am certain he would be just as over the moon as my mom is with the end result.

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE RECAP

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

BEFORE

One Room Challenge Kitchen Before
One Room Challenge Kitchen Before

What we did:

  • added trim, painted cabinets, changed hardware

  • updated trim (goodbye scallops)

  • installed butcher block counter tops

  • tiled backsplash

  • installed new sink

  • built in banquet seating that will also function as a dog cage

  • removed wallpaper

  • added trim to paneling and pained walls

  • updated lighting

  • styled to add function and maximize beauty

Completely DIY and all on a budget of around $4k!


One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Makeover Reveal - Lauren Koster Creative
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

I added so many special and personal touches to this room. I had my son, niece and nephew paint pictures to use to style the shelves and walls. I added a gallery wall with photos of the family for grandma to proudly show off as guests enter. And, the landscape below was painted by my great aunt. I dug it out from the basement and gave it a frame update.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

There are a couple tiny items I still might tackle, including modernizing the chairs by painting them black and finding a few more pieces of art for a couple empty wall spaces.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

Of course this project was so close to my heart. My mom has given me so much, I was honored to give her a beautiful kitchen to be proud of and enjoy hosting her kids and grandkids in.

One Room Challenge - I made over my mom's kitchen!

resources:

Lighting: school house fixture / chandelier / pendant

Hardware: pulls / knobs

Counter tops: Lumber Liquidators / sink: Wayfair / rug in front of the sink: With Love From Her Heart / rug by door: vintage

Paint: walls - Cotton Grey by Behr / uppers - Swiss Coffee by Behr / lowers - True Taupewood - Behr / door - Opera Glasses

storage bench/dog crate: custom / curtains: Target / curtain rods: Target / floating shelves: Target / fruit bowl: Target / blue serving tray: Target / candle: Target / yellow vase: Target / placemats: Target / napkins: Target / pillows: The Counting House / gallery wall frames: Ikea / cutting board: Target


SHOP THE ROOM


Check out all my inspiration and products I’m using on my Pinterest board. And, click here to see the other participant's progress.

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One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 5

The home stretch, you guys. Week 5 of the One Room Challenge is here. If you are just popping in, I am participating in the One Room Challenge, an awesome blogger challenge where several hundred bloggers, including 20 headliners document the makeover of a space in 6 weeks. I am updating my mom’s kitchen. Catch is, my mom lives 2 and a half hours a way, so I am basically doing the entire job in four long weekends. Things are going pretty well, though there are a bunch of little finishing items left to tackle and only one day I can make it over there to finish, style and shoot. Here’s to a speedy finish!

Last week I shared the dining half of the room, which is so so close to being done. This week I am getting a little more real, sharing all about the big parts of the job, the counter tops and the backsplash and the lessons I learned while installing for the first time.

One Room Challenge - Kitchen Update

First I’ll tell you about the countertops we chose. Butcher Block was really the only material I considered. Because of budget and ease of install, it was really the only choice. There are several wood choices when looking at butcher block. I knew I wanted maple, which is a light wood with yellow undertones, because it is cost effective and would look really pretty with the cabinet colors I choose.

I researched butcher block countertops from several major home improvement and flooring retailers. Home Depot (my go-to) was sold out of many options. Menards only had lengths up to 8’ and I needed at least 10’. My friend Bri just ordered hers from Floor and Decor, because she only had good things to say, I was planning to order from there, but it was going to take several weeks for them to come in, so I passed. Finally I found what I needed at Lumber Liquidators. It was a little tricky to order online, so I went into the store and placed the order with a real person. The were able to help me and found the two lengths I needed in stock at a location not far from my mom’s. Then I planned to have them delivered to my mom’s house because the 12’ length was way too long to fit into any of our cars. But ultimately we decided to save a little cash, rented a truck from Home Depot and picked them up ourselves.

Next let me tell you about the tile backsplash. I am in love with the handmade Cle tiles that are so perfectly imperfect. This terracotta beauty is the tile I really wanted to use for my mom’s kitchen. Even though my mom didn’t give me a specific budget, I knew almost $15 a sq/ft was out. I found nice alternative grey subway tile with some color variance and texture. And once I added the white grout, the look is just what I was going for.

In case you are curious, here is the sink I bought.

I installed Butcher Block Countertops!
One Room Challenge Work In Progress
One Room Challenge Work In Progress

10 Things I Learned from Installing My First Counter Tops and Backsplash


  1. Factory edges of butcher block counter tops may not be 100% straight or square. Check before making your cuts.

  2. Start prepping early, you need to put multiple coats of sealer on your counter tops and they need 6 hours to dry between coats. I put on 5 coats of Watco Butcher Block Oil & Finish.

  3. When using your circular saw to cut your counter tops, go for it, don’t pause, keep moving the saw forward and make the cut.

  4. Put a line of painters tape where you plan on making your countertop cut, this will help prevent splits in the wood.

  5. Measure all aspects of the sink - the spacing of the drawers next to the sink, how deep it is, the dimensions of the apron if there is one. All of it! I found a sink that was “pretty much” the same width of the sink we were replacing, and it was so so close to not fitting.

  6. Tile spaces are harder to use than it looks, or maybe I am just a novice.

  7. Don’t grout all the way down to the countertops. This was an oops for me and my mom has to remove before caulking.

  8. There are several options when finishing a tile edge. We actually used two different edge finished. I was really nervous that it would look funny, but after seeing it, I’m sure I’m the only person who gave it a second thought.

    • Bullnose tile - a tile that coordinates with the main tile, but is rounded for a nice finish

    • caulking - cost effective and easy, but not always the cleanest.

    • metal edging - clean and minimal.

    • moulding

  9. Do some research on the size of grout lines you like, aka the spacer size you need to buy. I first bought 1/4” spacers because I wanted slightly larger grout lines. Then once I started laying out, 1/4” was just too wide, I made an emergency trip to get 3/16” spacers. Yes, 1/16” makes a big difference.

  10. Grouting hides a lot. As I mentioned, spacers are not as easy to use as they look, so things weren’t perfect, but once I grouted it all looks as good as perfect.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Check out all my inspiration and products I’m using on my Pinterest board. And, click here to see the other participant's progress.

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