Home Update: Mini Projects

Good afternoon and happy Sunday!!!  Things have been slow here.  We had an unexpected setback this summer with one of our dogs incurring an ACL tear.  Her surgery was ungodly expensive and we haven’t had extra spending money to invest in more substantial home projects.  Instead, we’ve picked up little things here and there (thank you IKEA!) and are constantly thinking of how we move through the house, thinking not only of what works for us but what isn’t working.

Unlike other bloggers, I don’t necessarily write as a means to educate others on how to do certain projects.  There’s nothing wrong with that approach; it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle (all the time) and for the most part, I like sharing the process of falling in love with my work and exploring what I’ve learned.  The photos are evidence of personal growth and I hope these inspire others to love where they live.  It is my goal for family and friends, especially those who don’t live locally, to feel they are connected to my home’s development as well.  So let’s get straight down to things.

What’s New

Project 1 (Awhile Back): Updating the Downstairs Closet

The coat closet wasn’t bad before but with the standard shelf and bar it really lacked the defined storage we need.

closet before

Coat closet: Before

We settled on one of our favorite places, IKEA, to get our storage needs met.  My husband and I were both pretty fond of their Algot series storage since it has metal frames and bins plus it has such a variety of arrangements we knew we could find a solution to find the narrow confines of a coat closet.  Thankfully this closet has a good amount of vertical space and we used nearly every inch.

We used two Algot frames and they aren’t expensive at all, but appear to be well constructed.  Depending on whether you pick the wire baskets or the mesh baskets (our preferred choice) the cost for a similar project will vary.  The small mesh baskets were $5 a piece and the larger ones are sold for $7 each.  Overall, the project wasn’t too complicated although my husband did the installation.  I handled the basket construction and did struggle with some of the click construction as nearly each pullout stop didn’t click into place as easily as I expected.  (Honestly, a dose of frustration is not that big of a deal given the final result and the low cost of the project.)

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closet after

Coat Closet: After installing the IKEA Algot frames and baskets

One of the things I love most about this set up is the fact we all get our own baskets for particular things.  Exercise gear, art supplies, some law school books, etc. it all has a defined place to go.  I now can easily find the reusable shopping bags.  The plethora of dog items in our lives are no longer hidden away in our laundry room storage but out for easy accessibility.

Utilizing Underused Spaces

When we first walked into this home there was a plush Easter bunny toy sitting in the ledge.  It was one of the most personalized touches in an otherwise bare house and I remember thinking there was TONS I could do with this space.  Below are some of the images I’ve saved to Pinterest  as ideas for what I can do with a home and a gallery wall, such as one of these, full of photos and books would really liven up the long window above the ledge.  I don’t care that it’s not practical for dusting purposes.  (We live in Arizona; I’m dusting all the time anyways.  I’ll buy a Swiffer for this sort of project.)

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For now, the ledge was simply graced with the candles and the presence of a few books.  The window is quite tall and we’ll need a good size ladder to properly remodel the staircase.  Our plans include tile or wood on the stairs and shiplap on the walls.  We were originally thinking we’d just paint the entire space but with two large breed dogs we need something a bit more durable.  They’ve already chipped the paint downstairs in several places and shiplap is surprisingly more affordable than what I thought it would be.  It may sound naive but I figured with the popularity of Fixer Upper shiplap might start to become a less affordable product.


With some books being moved over to the ledge our downstairs bookcase looks more tidy.  I left out the more fancy books as I love the look of leather-bound books (plus they are also the ones my younger dog pushes into the bookcase than tries to pull off the bookcase).  I’ve also added more of my daughter’s books to our downstairs book collection so I can encourage her to read more; she’s at that age right now where reading is not her favorite task.


Coverage in the Right Places

Speaking of the little one, her room needed an update.  I’m quite happy to encourage her to have a space where she can sleep more soundly and putting up curtains were a must in this household.  The better she sleeps (and the more sleep she gets) the more I get a bit of a break on those Saturday and Sunday mornings where the dogs get me up early.  I often use this time to write, catch up on reading, or indulge in my Instagram habit; I think I love my ‘me’ time more now that I am a mom than I did when I didn’t have a tiny human to care for on a day-to-day basis.

We gave her the two red curtains (formerly in our bedroom, so yeah cost savings!) that are blackout curtains.  The blue curtain is a new find today we picked up at Lowe’s.

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The curtain is more of a dusty blue than what is shown in the full length photo but it suits her bedroom well.  (For any parents out there, her room was intentionally cleaned up for the sole purpose of taking a good photo.  It is only this clean when I step in to help.)


I am equally happy with the curtain rod we purchased.  I like the little leaf detail.  I am not a fan of decorating a kid(s) room with cartoon characters, etc. as the main focus as those are things kids outgrow quickly.  (My daughter has run the gamut of loving My Little Pony, Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, mermaids, and Voltron so a basic wall with toys to appease her kid tendencies is just fine with us.)IMG_4652

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Putting the ‘Home’ in Home Office

This year I had the pleasure of switching employers and now I occasionally get to work from home.  I am enjoying my privilege and responsibility immensely as I like working autonomously but having a good work space isn’t always easy.  I share my home office with my husband and we both have desks in this space.  We also have every other wall in the room (the smallest one by the way at 10′ by 10′) taken up by some piece of furniture.

The room is slowly getting to be a comfortable space but it will take more time than the other spaces.  We have our largest collection of books in this room and until we can replace the bookcase with suitable shelving and transition most of the books to other spaces in the home, it will be one of our biggest challenges.

For me, I need peace with my room every step of the way.  The same steps I’m taking including adding strong punches of color and little touches of interest to balance the masculine touches of technology.  I particularly love the curtain rod we found today at Lowe’s.  (By the way, I’m just shouting out I bought my things at Lowe’s in case anyone else wants the same thing in their home; I have in no way been paid or compensated for my thoughts on this blog.  If that ever happens, I’ll be responsible and let you know. )


The green curtains I found today made me really happy as I wanted them the last time I was at Lowe’s so I could do alternating colors.  They had a blue before as well but I thought with the Behr Marque New Dawn (gray) paint it would be too much.  Thankfully, the green curtains were on sale today so I picked those up for less than $11 a panel to complete our weekend home projects.

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You may notice that I’ve chosen to have the curtains puddle on the floor a bit.  This decision is not right for everyone and I cannot determine if this style will work for you and your family.  If you want some advice on different drape lengths you might want to check out opinions on the matter here.   We tend to keep our drapes closed most days, especially now in the summer heat, so I’m not bothered by extra fabric skirting the floor and we also don’t open and close our drapes frequently.  I might even consider puddling the curtains in the laundry room and living room when we find curtains for those spaces.

On the Horizon

As time permits, we have larger projects we’d love to complete in the next few years.

  1.  Update the kitchen with a white colored arabesque tile backsplash and paint the upper cabinets white while darkening the lower cabinets.
  2. Use shiplap throughout the staircase leading upstairs into the hallway.  Still deciding between whitewashing or graywashing the wood.
  3. Tear out the master closet and replace with IKEA wardrobes.
  4. Replace the carpet and tile with wood like tile.  We might need to keep wood for the stairs so we might do a dark flooring to contrast with the shiplap.
  5. Finish painting the upstairs rooms, laundry room, and powder room.
  6. Replace the sliding glass doors with French doors.
  7. Epoxy the garage floor.
  8. Update our daughter’s bathroom with an acrylic tub, tile the walls, replace the toilet, replace the sink and faucet, and paint the vanity.
  9. Update the powder room with paint, a new toilet, and IKEA vanity.  Consider replacing mirror/updating with frame.
  10. Update the storage in the second and third bedrooms.
  11. Completely redo the master bathroom by painting vanity, replacing sinks/faucets,updating mirror/medicine cabinet, taking out the tub/shower combo, and replacing with a full shower enclosure.

I think I’ve captured almost everything that would help personalize the home and undo the builder grade feeling it has currently.

Fingers crossed we can start chipping away at some of these goals later this year.




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