Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Makeover Tuesday: Blueprint Door

I have a new favorite zero dollar improvement to our house. This post has been in the works for years. I mean years. My most memorable home design magazine cover is without a doubt this one.

I subscribed to the magazine simply because I was in awe over that front door from the ad for Martha Stewart's Blueprint magazine. I vowed, six years ago, that one day I would have a door with a gorgeous number on it like that. After receiving paint from Behr for a house makeover I had the front door paint just waiting to go on the door. I knew that would be an easy to tackle project.

Here is the before with our sample paint swatches on the left. The door was painted "Fig" by Martha Stewart. Notice how great our lights look. The mismatched look is in now. :)

Here is the after. To say I'm thrilled would be an understatement. :)

The door is Club Navy by Behr.

Here's how I did it...
Once I painted the door navy I made a stencil for myself. I traced the characters that I taped to the door and then did a little free-handing on the "N" where the closest font in Word didn't match up to the vision I had for the door based off the Blueprint magazine photo.

pardon the huge dot on the photo... something was on my lens. :)

I made sure to press down incredibly hard with my pen so there would be a faint outline that I could use while painting. Once I was done attempting to fill in the outline with Country Chic Paint's Simplicity for the numbers I realized I had to do some touch-ups with my navy paint after it had thoroughly dried. 

I love what The Nester says: It doesn't have to be perfect be beautiful... does it look as crisp as vinyl letters would? No. But I love knowing that I did a custom job myself and that it was a $0 update. 

I used plastic garbage bags and painter's tape to tape off the door and I spray painted the door knocker and door knob. They are so sharp and really pop now. 

I'm in love.
And I think the neighbors must think I'm crazy because I just stand in the street and stare at it multiple times a day.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Elle's First Birthday Party

We hosted Elle's first birthday this weekend. I mentioned here that I was going for a pink and eyelet themed party because I wanted something that was quintessentially little girl looking. Let me refresh your memory on the invites:

Here is the first glimpse you'll get of our makeover hutch. I was out for a run one day, the time when a lot of good ideas pop into my head (when I'm not delirious with exhaustion), when I got the idea of really utilizing the hutch that I'd made over with scrapbook paper as the backdrop for the party goodies.

I did the whole room very simply since we were having about fifteen people in our small home. All the chairs were moved out of the kitchen so everyone could easily maneuver around the table where I set up the ultra simple buffet.

I made homemade chicken salad on croissants and all-natural brioche rolls. I found the most amazing tip from someone I am following on Instagram: a Kitchen Aid mixer will shred it for you. I can't even tell you how much time it saved me...

Instead of spending forever slicing up fruit for a fruit salad I just cut up a watermelon and washed some grapes and strawberries. It was so simple.

Are you catching onto the theme that I was going for simplicity here? I opted for a salad, which I think is fairly fall-ish in it's ingredients, but AJ and I love it. It's mixed greens, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese and sunflower seeds. It took me all of two minutes to throw it together.

The day before the party I baked a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies. I could eat a thousand of them. They never come out looking too flat and they never taste too dry. Best recipe ever.

I then made my first ever vegan recipe... which I just translated into an egg-free recipe (because of Elle's allergy) by using regular butter and milk instead of margarine and soy.

The chocolate cupcakes turned out well and I just did an easy butter cream frosting on the top. Our neighbor brought over the adorable pink flowers for Elle. They were perfect as the center of her little cupcake stand and the cupcake liners were just made out of leftover scrapbook paper. Waste not, want not, right? :)

I set up the drinks on the bottom of the hutch. We used paper straws from Target with our goblets (remember my post about getting great things at the Dollar Tree? Most of the goblets are from there!). I served Trader Joe's sparkling pink lemonade. I'm pretty sure (no joke) I was the only person drinking it... not arguments from me though... I still have some leftover!

Here is my DIY project that turned out so much less amazing than I anticipated... I wanted to make kites out of this gorgeous little girl-ish fabric and eyelet and hang them above the table. I couldn't even tell what they were when I hung them and I made them. Option B: Hot glue them to the stair railing. :) 

The top shelf of the buffet was filled with pink cardboard boxes... filled with Trader Joe's Kettle Corn. Love that stuff! I gave them out to people as appetizers while I finished up a few last minute things in the kitchen and dealt with Elle.

Unfortunately for the baby girl she was sick that day. Every time she gets teeth she become very sick... so she certainly wasn't herself during her party... you can see her tired eyes in this picture with us.

My outfit: Stella and Dot necklace | J. Crew cardigan | Old Navy black skinnies

One of her hit presents was this great Melissa & Doug grocery cart my parents got her. She loves it since she's dying to walk but doesn't really have the courage, or core strength, to do it yet and this will stabilize her pretty well.

Her dress was a birthday gift my grandparents sent her but it was too chilly to have her wear it without the sweater... hopefully I can get a photo shoot of her in the dress to show off later on. It went perfectly with the party theme. :)

There you have it... our pink and eyelet first birthday. :)

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Beachy Hallway Makeover {dreaming}

AJ and I are itching to work on our stairway and the landing at the top of the stairs. I've been brainstorming ways to make it look comfy, casual and beachy (and AJ's on board for something like this!)... currently it looks like this... we need to touch up the stain, do some molding, painting and plastering...

A driftwood chandelier like this one. You might recognize it from Young House Love's showhouse. 
I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.

Our stairway is loud and creaky and has zero personality. After replacing the stair treads we'd like to get a runner. We're drawn to the simple understated look of these two Dash and Albert runners. It'd only be about $250 for the runner for the entire stairway!

I'm brainstorming putting one large color family photo of us instead of the few black and whites. The last good family photo we have was on our Christmas card so we are due to get some new shots taken... I'm shooting for a good beachy shot this summer to go with the neutral color scheme.
Lastly, I have two navy outfits from the kids that I'd like to frame and display in the landing like so... 

Elle wore her's for her newborn photo shoot, it was a steal from Carter's:

And Drew wore his when he was about seven months old for a photo shoot at Tuck's Point (the spot where AJ and I had our rehearsal dinner). The outfit is an adorable little Nordstrom Baby outfit that was in perfect condition and handed down to us.

Do you have any plans for a space in your home?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Staging to Sell

I love going to open houses. Especially well staged open houses that really give a potential buyer a feel for how a particularly tricky spot can be laid out... like this little desk right in the entryway. 

I was touring open houses a few weekends ago with some real estate clients and came across this little ranch. It was a flip and because no one was living there while flipping it they had it staged. You can totally sell a flip with very little (or no) staging and do just fine... that's what we did when we sold the house we flipped (to make enough of a down payment for our current house) and we got above asking for it BUT I think that's the exception. Staged homes generally sell for more than unstaged homes.

I want to show off this particular home because I think the stager (unfortunately I have no idea who they were) did a great job finding tasteful furnishings that accurately showed off the size of the house. You'll probably notice that every room has a neutral paint color... which could look very blah to potential buyers if it wasn't paired with great pops of color. When flipping a home you can't go wrong with a neutral wall color... buyers will have a much easier time envisioning their own belongings in the space if they aren't imagining how much work it'll take to paint over a bold or bright color.

I find staging to be especially helpful when you have small bedrooms. A typical home buyer has no idea what size bed would fit into a small space but it's must easier to envision your things in that house if you see that a full sized bed is able to fit with two end tables, for example. Simply staging the bedrooms could protect a seller from just walking away believing the rooms / house to be too small for them.

The person who staged this home did a great job making the bathrooms feel spa-like with white towels, zero clutter and calming accessories. If you are selling your house, or intending to, take the lead from this home and have zero clutter out (ie: buyers don't need to see any of your toiletries)... it's amazing how much more restful it makes the home feel.

I think the kitchen is one of the few rooms that don't need to be staged but if you are going to then take the lead from this kitchen and use plants, food that won't spoil and white or neutral dishes.

What are some of the best home staging tips you've seen?
I'm itching to flip another house... whenever I see homes with potential on MLS I get all excited and think about what we could do to them... :)


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