Subway tile backsplash

As mentioned in the last post, we finally got around to getting our subway tile backsplash up.

It took us about 9 hours that weekend to (nearly) finish everything–cutting tiles, placing tiles, and putting in grout. Sadly, we ran out of grout at the very end with a little over 1 square foot left. That small area will be finished very soon.

A couple pictures of what it looks like now:



And just to show how far the kitchen has come since last year, this is what it used to look like:

Before: Kitchen


We Have Not Disappeared

We haven’t disappeared or quit working on the house. Between the wedding and holidays, we just haven’t had time to take pictures of what we’ve done and write about them.
So, first…the guest bedroom is looking a little more like an actual bedroom and not just a room with a bed and some dog toys. We were able to find the quilt at HomeGoods for about $50 (list price $280). We also purchased blinds to go on the window to the front of the house. We’d like to have curtains on these windows, but that’s a little bit of a problem since the vents are on the wall right below each window. The other window has a Target shower curtain (brown fabric, not seen in the picture below) which will be there until we can figure out what we are going to do about covering that window. For a shower curtain, it doesn’t actually look too bad.

Since we last posted, we also got blinds up in the office, which is really nice. For a while we had the old curtains up in the window (from the lady who lived here last), then decided that when we wanted to cover the window that we could just hang a light blanket from it. We no longer have to do that.

We’ve also repainted the master bathroom. Last time we posted about it, we had taken the wallpaper off but the wall was still covered in glue. As of right now, the tiles are looking a little bit yellow. It is so strange how the tiles seem to keep changing color (started off looking very pink). We plan to find a new overhead light, a new mirror, and new lights beside the mirror. Based on the way the color looks at different times of day, we think getting a lightbulb that is more white will help the color of the tile quite a bit. It would be great if we could also add some little light over in the corner by the closet since it’s so dark over there.

The subway tile in the kitchen is finished. It will have a post of its own.

The closet in the master bedroom is a tiny walk-in closet. To keep it a little more organized, we purchased plastic containers from Lowe’s to keep things in that aren’t in season right now. With as much space as we still have available above that, we’d like to get another shelf added above it. We also still need to figure out what we want to do with the closet overall…especially the shoes. Right now, the shoes just end up in a couple piles in the closet floor.

Photos for the master bedroom wall were finally purchased and look nice on our newly painted white wall.

We’ve also planted a small garden in our backyard. Right now, we are growing some tomatoes, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, and spearmint.


Refinishing a dresser

A few months ago, on our way back from Unclaimed Baggage, we decided to stop at a thrift store we saw as we were getting closer to home. While we were there, we happened to come across an old dresser for a whole $35 (50% off original price of $70). Overall, it was in pretty good shape and all we would really need to do is sand and stain it, but since the car wasn’t big enough, we had to leave it there. Since Kayla’s dad has a truck, Eric asked him if he could go back with him to get it. When they went back the next week, the dresser was 75% off! Once it got home, it just sat in the garage for a couple months until we finally got around to doing something with it last weekend. The dresser has a relatively thin veneer, but it was thick enough to be able to sand it and take a stain.


We went to Habitat ReStore to look for a dark stain. The one we purchased cost about $6. It didn’t end up staining quite as dark as we had hoped, but it did look better than when we first purchased it.  So…the grand total for this dresser is $23! The photos above it are from our engagement shoot with Brandon and Stacey Gresham These photos are not on the wall yet but this option is winning to fill the space.


Finally getting around to the master bathroom

We tore the wallpaper down a couple months ago and have cleaned off some of the glue. We’re now looking at paint colors for the bathroom. We decided to paint it brown, but not as dark as the two brown walls in the master bedroom. It should tone down some of the pink-ish tint the beige tiles can have. Since we are going with brown walls in the bathroom, we need to make sure it doesn’t clash with the brown in the bedroom (as seen in the picture, you’d look out the bathroom door and see the brown in the bedroom), but we also don’t want it to have too much red in it, be too dark, or be too close to the shade of the tile. The towels for that bathroom are teal and white, so it will look nice with the brown walls.

Hopefully we’ll get the glue off the wall fairly soon (this has been a very slow process) so that we can actually begin painting once we select the shade of brown for the walls.


The daily activites of dog

Now that I (Kayla) am working from home, we were wondering if dog (Mordecai) would be any more active during the day/tired in the evening. I took a few pictures during the day of his activities. Click on the picture below to see what his first day with me at home all day was like:

The living room gets a bookshelf

On our recent trip to Ikea, we were also able to purchase the bookshelf we intended to buy when we went back in April. We didn’t get to purchase it then because we had so many other things we were buying that day that we knew it wouldn’t fit in the car. It was pretty easy to put together and looks nice in the living room. It is nice to actually have a piece of furniture there now. We obviously need to get some sort of decoration on top of it in addition to what is currently there, but at least it’s a start. We also now have somewhere to put some books. Until now, some have been hanging out in a closet and others in stacks in the floor.
The vases on top of the shelf also came from Ikea. We’re thinking about adding a white lamp on the top…still have to find one, though.

bookcase decoration
Living room/bookcase

We also finally found some frames we liked at Ikea to fit our slightly larger than 4×6 postcards in:
Virginia Beach postcard
Birmingham postcard

Postcards were purchased from one of our favorite shops, What’s on 2nd?  They are from the 1930’s and are actually a book of perforated postcards. We have 4 books framed down our hallway. We love the vintage design and historic landmarks they are filled with. We have been thinking about going back to get more!

We are finally getting some of the main living space looking like someone actually lives there!

New addition to the dining room–Tea/coffee bar

Several weeks ago we got an idea from Pinterest to have a coffee/tea bar in our dining room. It seemed like a great idea to solve a couple problems in our kitchen and dining room: the large blank white wall and limited storage and counter space in the kitchen. Since we have quite a bit of tea and coffee related items, this would actually free up a significant amount of space.

Inspiration from Pinterest:

We looked for tables/sideboards/buffets at a couple local antique stores but didn’t really find anything we liked in the price range we wanted. We considered purchasing the shelf/drawers/hooks in the original picture from Pinterest (it can be found at Hobby Lobby.), but wanted to look around first to see if we could find any other options that may work just as well for what we wanted and be less expensive. (If anyone is interested in the one at Hobby Lobby, just wait long enough and it will probably eventually go on sale for 40-50% off.)

A couple weekends ago we went to Ikea with just a couple specific things to purchase, but of course we were still going to look around for anything else that might go well in the house. We happened to come across a sideboard (made of solid wood) near the kitchen tables. It looked like a great piece of furniture to use for the coffee/tea bar. We still needed something to hang mugs on the wall, though. On our last trip to Ikea, we purchased a metal bar and intended to use it to hang up kitchen gadgets, but there isn’t really anywhere to put it in the kitchen where it wouldn’t be in the way and still be easy to get to. At first, we thought we’d just use it and buy some hooks to hang some mugs from, but then we saw the little baskets and those only fit on the narrower bar. This turned out just fine, though, since it was less expensive to purchase the bar, hooks, shelf/basket, and ceramic pot-type thing (a total of about $10) for the narrower bar than to purchase hooks and baskets to fit on the larger bar.
With the way this is currently set up, we can keep 8 mugs there–4 hanging and 4 on the wooden stand (hiding behind the sugar in these pictures–only 2 of the 4 are on the stand here). At some point, we may add another bar above that one to hold more mugs and tea. We will also be able to keep spoons available near everything in that ceramic container next to the basket. Somehow we left Ikea without thinking to go by the utensils to get some spoons just to leave with the tea and coffee. (Here’s a link to this project posted on Pinterest.)

updated coffee/tea bar

We now have space to store several mugs, all the tea and coffee, and anything used to make tea and coffee, as well as finally having something on the big blank wall.
(Also, on the far right side of the table there is a bonus project from Pinterest–homemade ginger ale. )
coffee/tea bar rack
coffee/tea bar drawer

We added a few cookbooks to the shelves as decoration (and again, as a better place to store them)–two that we already had and one that we purchased at TJMaxx with a gift card we received at a wedding shower.


Homemade ginger ale:
ginger ale

Sideboard: Ikea
Metal bar, hooks, baskets: Ikea
Baskets: World Market
Tea canisters: World Market
Looseleaf Tea: Dekalb Farmers Market

We added this project to The Pinterest Challenge being hosted by Sherry of Young House Love, Katie of Bower Power, Erin of House of Earnest, and Ana of  (other links will be added as they are posted). Go visit their blogs to see their projects as well as all the other Pinterest inspired projects being submitted.

Improvements to the living room


The sofa that was purchased two months ago finally arrived last week (it had been on backorder), so the living room is finally starting to look a little more finished. The old fridge was finally taken out of the living room and moved to the garage (thanks Ryan!). The rug that has just been rolled up downstairs has now been moved to the living room. The coffee table is a little more prominent now that it is sitting on the rug instead of trying to blend into the floor. Shelves have been moved out of the room and a new TV stand has been put in. The old TV stand now holds the record player and speaker on the other side of the room. (This part is only temporary until we get another piece of furniture, probably a shelf, to go on that wall.) We still need something tall to go in the corner to the right of the TV, something to go on the wall behind the TV, and something to go on the wall behind the settee. We may not actually get anything tall for the corner to the right of the TV until after Christmas. We were thinking that maybe we could put a Christmas tree there. If we will put a Christmas tree there right after Thanksgiving, there is really no need to get something else to sit there for 7-8 weeks, just to have to move it at the beginning of December.

Unrelated to the living room, we have a new dishwasher! No more handwashing (or avoiding handwashing) dishes 🙂

I am also including a picture of a poster that we are adding to the living room.  Not sure how we will mount it yet, but the colors will look great with everything else.


Beginnings of decorating

We have been very slow at getting anything posted the last couple weeks. The pictures today are of something that was done about 2 weeks ago–the beginnings of some decoration. A stereo console was brought by family members (had belonged to grandparents, then aunt) and pictures were hung. The frames are from Ikea. The pictures came from the Birmingham Public Library Archive.

Stereo – closed:
stereo - closed
Stereo – speakers open:
stereo - open
Wall with stereo + photos:
wall - stereo + frames

We are considering painting part of the stereo console. We played around in Photoshop with colors and how much to paint.. At first, it was going to be 100% painted–white with an accent color. After playing around with colors, we decided that if we paint it, it will just be the corners sections on the front panels. Maybe a light, muted turquoise? or white? I don’t remember what we ended with. We are also planning to replace its current legs with peg legs.

Hopefully soon we will be able to show another set of framed historical objects…just have to find frames they fit in first. It turns out that what we have doesn’t quite fit in a 4×6 frame.

Build Project #1: Platform bed and headboard

We’ve shown pictures of build project #2, but project #1 hadn’t been posted yet. Now that the room has been cleaned up a little, here is build project #1:
This was our first attempt at building furniture. We used plans from Ana White. The bed was relatively easy to make, but the headboard wasn’t quite as easy.  Cutting the rectangle hole was a little more difficult; the lines aren’t quite straight thanks to my jigsaw skills.
The plan was the match the orange of the bed to the orange of the pillow.  We ended up finding a paint chip that was perfect, so we didn’t actually have to color-match it.

Paint: Behr Premium Plus Ultra – color: Koi
Pillows: Dwell Studio for Target
Intercom: NuTone (unfortunately came with the house, that’s a later project)