Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DIY Rustic Shelves

I posted a pic of these shelves in my master bathroom last week, and I received a few requests asking where I got them.  Well folks, I am here to tell ya, I made them and they are super easy!  Like most of my DIY projects, if I can do it, so can you!

DIY Rustic Barnwood Shelves / Midwestern Mama.  Don't have access to old barn wood, no problem!  Grab some at Home Depot and make some of these custom shelves!

I looked and looked for some rustic style brackets, but no stores around here had what I was wanting.  I found these online and they were perfect!

I opted for a grey barn wood--the same wood I used for my jewelry organizer frame--which I purchased from Home Depot.  But, you could easily get any kind of wood and stain or paint it any color your heart desires!

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Master Bathroom Remodel

It was this time last year that we finally said sayonara to our master bathroom.  I have been meaning to share this update for a long time, but you know when you have really good intentions of doing something, and then....LIFE happens?  Yeah.  I can't believe it has been ONE YEAR since we renovated 2 of our bathrooms!  Crazy!  This post has been a long time coming.  I knew it was going to be a rather lengthy one, so it took me a while to get it all put together.  I would work on it and then forget about it for a few days months.  Then, I'd come back to it, only to abandon it once more.  And now, the time has come my friends!  I finally hit publish.

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

We have lived in our current home for about two and a half years now. The first time we looked at this house, my immediate impression was not exactly warm and fuzzy.  The kitchen and the bathrooms were terrible. Those are the 2 things that usually end up making or breaking a house sale and this house was definitely lacking appeal in these areas, among others.  There was old, dark wallpaper on most of the walls, the floorpan was rather choppy, the bedrooms were small, bathrooms were smaller, and the basement was not anything we could really finish into a living space.  Buuuuuuut we loved the land and the setting, so I swallowed my pride and we bought it.  I enjoy a challenge, but this is definitely my biggest challenge to date! 

Before renovations
We did a few things prior to moving in: we opened up a wall that divided the entryway from the breakfast area and also removed some cabinets in the kitchen that separated it from the breakfast area. Both of these small changes made a huge difference and really opened the area to make it feel more spacious and less closed off.  

We opted to take the entryway wall down to a knee-wall instead of removing it completely simply because we didn't want to deal with the flooring.  We really liked the original hardwood floors, but there is tile in the entryway.  If we would have removed the entire wall, we would have had to add additional hardwood and refinish the flooring in the entire house to make the new and old floors match.  That wasn't something we wanted to tackle right up front, so we settled for the half wall to still give the room a more open feeling, but also allow us time to decide what to do with the flooring situation.  

The kitchen had the classic 70's drop down cabinets that really divided it off from the eating area. Once we removed them, the kitchen seemed so much bigger and open.

Before we moved into the house (left) and prior to renovations (right)
I still have a long list of improvements I'd like to make to the kitchen/living area, but we decided to tackle the bathrooms first.  Our master bathroom is not exactly a master of today's standards.  It was very small, had 1 sink, and a small shower with no tub.  We got several bids for knocking out our exterior wall to expand the master bathroom as well as the boy's bathroom, but it was just not financially smart to sink that kind of money into this house.  The cost per square foot was insane, and even the contractor agreed it wasn't worth the expense.  Being stuck with the existing walls really proved to be a challenge since our main problem was space.  

before renovations
We knew we were going to have to forego any sort of tub in our master bathroom.  And, honestly, that's ok with me.  I am not much of a bath person, and I think only our kids used the jacuzzi tub in the last house we had.  Our existing shower was cramped though, so we really wanted to try and enlarge it if possible.  For some reason the water pipes were on the exterior wall, and therefore, the people who built the house had to build in extra insulation to protect them from freezing.  

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

We moved the pipes to the interior wall, and gained about 3-4 inches by getting rid of that built in insulation!  We also extended the shower outward into the bathroom a little bit, but a few inches on this end, and those 3-4" on the side really made a big difference!  

before renovations
Because we expanded the shower, we had to flip the position of the toilet, so we knocked down the dividing wall that held a pocket door and repositioned the toilet against the back wall.  

Removing the dividing wall was the best decision because the room feels so much bigger!  I'm working on a tutorial for those shelves above the stay tuned!   

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

I REALLY wanted double sinks in here.  Several of the designers/contractors who gave us bids tried to talk me out of double sinks since we had a tight space, but I am SO glad I went with my gut.  We chose small 16x11" rectangular sinks to allow us more counter space, and they are prefect.  I don't feel cramped at all and we both have plenty of room to get ready without being on top of each other.  

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

One of the reasons people tried to talk us out of double sinks was that we would lose some of our vanity storage.  We went from drawers on either side of the single sink to just one set of drawers in the middle.  A friend suggested we get medicine cabinets to provide some additional storage and that was SUCH a great idea! (Thanks Nan!)  I found these framed mirror medicine cabinets at Home Depot and I absolutely love them.  They don't look like medicine cabinets at all, and they have mirrors on the inside as well.  I love having my things in there because it is so much easier to find what I'm looking for rather then thumbing through a drawer.  We have more storage now then we did pre-renovations!  

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

Our previous vanities were so low.  SO LOW!  I guess that was popular back in the 70's, but they seemed child size.  I literally bent over at the waist when I would wash my face each night.  It was the strangest feeling.  Thank goodness we aren't super tall in this household!  The new vanities are a standard 36 inches, and they feel so much more normal to stand next to!  We chose granite for our countertops.

We removed the soffit above the sink, which held a single can light, and replaced it with this fixture.  I loved this one in particular because it had a modern mason jar vibe!

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

A couple of things that were must haves in our master shower were the shelf insert to store shampoo and other products, and a small shelf that I could rest my legs on to shave them.  It was pretty much impossible for me to shave my legs in our old shower, so I ended up doing it in my super low sink ;)  I must admit it's been preeeeetttty nice to shave my legs in the shower again!  My husband just doesn't understand the sacrifices I've had to make since moving here!  ha!  We used the same chevron tile for the shower shelf insert and for our vanity backsplash.  

DIY sliding Barn door

Since we removed the pocket door in the toilet area, we decided we needed a door to close off the bathroom from the bedroom.  Enter: homemade barn door!  My super talented husband and brother in law tackled this project and it turned out amazing!  The old pocket door that used to divide the toilet area didn't even work (it would get stuck and trap you in the tiny toilet room), so I have been without a bathroom door since we moved here.  Again...sacrifices!  I'm SO thankful to finally have a bathroom door!  

Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile

I had the tile laid in a herringbone pattern, and I LOVE how it turned out!  

I have to give a huge shout out to my contractor, Kenny Soule with KJ Remodeling.  He was absolutely amazing to work with!  Kenny is a firefighter who also has a construction and concrete business.  This guy is BUSY!  He has a lot of irons in the fire, but he is on top of everything and his crew was wonderful to work with!  I HIGHLY recommend him if you are looking to have any work done to your house.  We got a total of 4 bids and Kenny came in lower then anyone else while still allowing me to do what I wanted and not sacrifice anything (like my double sinks!)  I'm telling you, he's awesome!  
One more side by side before and after pic!

Ok, so here are the deets:
Master shower raised subway tile:  I was unable to find the exact tile we used.  We had to hunt it down because it was being discontinued by the manufacturer.  Here is a similar tile.
Chevron tile
Small shaving shelf 
Shower floor penny tile
Framed Medicine Cabinet
Sink faucets
Shower faucet
Double towel bar
Vanity drawer pulls
Vanity light
Toilet paper holder
Black paint: Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black
Trim paint:  Sherwin Williams Dover White
Wall paint:  Sherwin Williams Mindful Grey

Stay tuned and eventually I'll reveal the boy's bathroom!

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission.  Thank you for your support!

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Personalized Valentines

Each year I make my kiddos a personalized Valentine for them to give out to their friends.  If I'm being completely honest, I really just make it for myself, and then print extra copies for them to hand out.  I don't know why, but I just really love this little tradition we started and I am going to do it as long as they comply!

Personalized Valentines / Midwestern Mama

As Chase gets older, it has become a little more challenging to think of something that he approves of.  Last year was just a simple picture of him with a Valentine graphic.  It was cute but pretty simple and I thought for sure he would not be into my silly ideas this year.  I was pleasantly surprised!

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Friday, February 9, 2018

What I'm Ordering From Amazon This Month (February)

It's that time of the month again!  No, not that time of the month...  It's time for me to share what I order from Amazon's Subscribe and Save program.  I have loved this subscription service for years and years, but I am always finding different things to add to my order.  I thought I would be helpful to share what I have delivered to my door in hopes that it may save you a trip to the store in this cold COLD winter!  

For those of you who are not familiar with Subscribe and Save, I'll give you a run down below.  If you already know the ins and outs, please feel free to scroll on down!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Target Does it Again

Just when I think Target can't possibly get any more trendy...they come out with a new line that is pretty freaking awesome! 

I have been very impressed with their new Universal Threads line and I wanted to share some of my favorites.  I recently ordered a few pairs of shoes to try, and it's going to be hard to decide which ones I need to return.  Especially since the prices are unbeatable!

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Everyday Makeup Tutorial Video

Hey there fellow makeup lovers!  I think makeup is such a fascinating thing.  I love how it can boost a woman's confidence and make us feel grrrrrrrrreat (am I right, Tony the Tiger?).  I used to wear makeup, but then....motherhood.  I noticed that when I would go a while without putting it on, I just felt blah.  It's amazing how a little bit of makeup will make you feel human again on days you may otherwise not.  You know, those days when you are sleep deprived, have dried spit-up in your hair, and are wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday and maybe all week.

I am by no means a makeup professional!  Not at all!  But, I have been getting some questions about what products I use, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone and showing you everything via video!  Some of my products are department store brands, others are drug store brands.  Some of them are more natural and free of toxic chemicals, and unfortunately others aren't so great with their ingredient lists.  It's just a big giant mix of everything!  Below, I'll try to explain a few more details, things I may have forgotten to mention in the video.  And, I will link up everything incase you see something you would like to try!
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

DIY Board and Batten under $100

Hey friends!  I have been bitten by the DIY bug and have been itching to make some changes around casa de French.  I have a long list of things I want to do, and some are more complicated than others.  So, like any other to do list, I started with the easiest thing first.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Enter this board and batten wall I created for our coat and backpack storage.  We have a small coat closet, which does have a few coats in it, but the reality is that the coats we use on a regular basis don't get hung up in the closet.  They are draped over the back of a chair or the couch because to open the closet door, get a hanger, and hang up the coat is just  I had a small coat rack for the boys' coats and backpacks, but it was overflowing and it crowded our small hallway that leads to the garage.

The wall I chose to put the board and batten on is part of a random hallway that has a closet on one side (which we use as a pantry) and a blank wall on the other side.  The door at the end of this hallway leads outside to our back patio.  We didn't previously use this door because there are 2 other doors that also lead to this same patio, so we stuck a time-out chair at the end of the hall and never went in and out of that door.  Up until now, this was known as the "time-out hallway".

1x6 pine boards for top horizontal board  **I used pine, but not the cheapest knotty pine.  I wanted a smooth finish, so I paid a small amount more for the smooth pine boards.
1x4 pine boards for lower horizontal board
1x3 pine boards for vertical boards
trim piece for the top (optional)
finishing nails
2.5" wood screws
tape measure
sand paper and/or electric sander
paintable caulk
painter's tape
stud finder

Your wall and measurements will obviously differ from mine, but just to give you an idea, my wall is 118" long.  I spaced the vertical boards 14.5" apart from each other, and the top and bottom horizontal boards were 13" apart.

The first thing I did was measure out where I thought I wanted the boards to be, then I put tape on the wall to help me visualize it.  I am glad I did this because my original plans were to make the horizontal boards higher then they ended up being.  I was working around the light switch simply because I didn't want to have to cut a board to go around it, so I had to decide if I wanted the lower board above or below the switch.  I decided to put it below because the purpose of this wall was to organize coats and backpacks, and I was worried if I put it above the switch, the boys would not be able to reach the hooks...which defeats the whole purpose.  I have seen board and batten at all different heights, so this is a personal preference and depends on your ceiling height and the purpose of your wall.  Luckily, I think it all looks great, no matter what height it is, so there is a lot of flexibility!

After measuring and determining the distance between boards, I headed to Home Depot to gather my materials.  Here's a little tip: If you don't have a table saw, or other means to cut the boards, they will cut them for you.  Just be sure to have ALL of your measurements when you purchase the boards!  My husband was able to help me cut the boards, so we did all of that at home.

Here are the dimensions of the boards I used:

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Because I was hanging hooks on my board and batten, I needed some of the boards to be secured in the studs.  The horizontal boards were screwed into the studs, while the vertical boards were all just nailed to the wall with finishing nails.

Just like any other DIY project I have attempted, I ran into a little bit of a glitch.  I knew I wanted some sort of trim at the top to make it look more finished.  I originally put a 1"x4" board along the top of the board and batten, but when I put the trim piece over the 1x4, it looked funny.  It was too small and not the look I was going for.  I added a 1x2 to the top of the 1x4 to make it a 1x6 (have I totally confused you yet?) and then put the trim piece over the 1x2.  Those extra 2 inches made all the difference and really made the top more of a statement, especially with the trim piece attached.  I just caulked the seam between the original 1x4 and the added 1x2, and you can't even tell they are 2 separate pieces now.  Live and learn!  That's what it's all about!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Let's talk about the bottom of the board and batten.  I had looked up numerous inspiration pictures online before tackling this project.  One of my concerns was how to make the new boards blend into the existing trim on the floor.  This same trim is all throughout our house, so I knew changing it was not an option at this point.  Lots of other board and batten walls have a bottom horizontal board to frame out the entire project.  However, with our puny little trim, the new board would have looked awkward next to it.  Instead, I decided to cut the bottom of the boards at a 45° angle.  This way, they merge nicely into the existing trim and don't appear to stick out too far.

After I got all of the boards screwed/nailed to the wall, I caulked all of the seams.  I did this because I didn't want any cracks where the paint might seep in between the wood and the wall.  Just run a thin line of paintable caulk down the seam, then use your index finger to smooth it out.  Wipe any excess away with a damp cloth.  They sell tools for this, but I find that my finger works so much better!  While the caulk is drying, fill in the nail/screw holes with spackling paste, then let everything dry.  I let it dry overnight, but you can read the package for the minimum dry times if you're in a hurry.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

This next step is my least favorite part of the whole process.  SANDING.  Can't say I'm a fan of sanding.  I used an electric sander for the flat boards, but I had to do a lot of sanding by hand when it came to the crevices and the trim.  My arm wanted to fall off and the muscles in my palm were so sore!  But it wouldn't be DIY without a little blood, sweat, and tears!  Thankfully, there was no blood involved in this project.  Or tears for that matter...but you know what I mean!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Now that the wood and all of the caulk/spackling is as smooth as a babies bum, you are ready to clean it up.  I vacuumed the space and tried to get rid of as much dust as possible, then I wiped down the entire area with a damp cloth, rinsing it often.  Once it dried, I used a tack cloth to pick up any remaining dust particles.  Just lightly run the tack cloth over every surface you plan to paint.

My walls were already painted, so I just primed the boards with 1 coat of primer.  Once that was dry, I painted the entire area, boards and wall, with 2 coats of semi-gloss paint.  I used Sherwin Williams Dover White because that's the color the rest of our trim is painted.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Honestly, I was so happy with the way it turned out, I didn't even want to drill holes in it and hang the hooks!  I just love how it brightened the space and really transformed this otherwise boring little hallway!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Buuuuuuut, the whole point of this project was to help organize the coat clutter.  So, despite my hesitations, I proceeded with adding hooks.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

All in all, this project was super fun, extremely inexpensive and a huge bang for my buck!  I spent $72 on materials, not including paint or hooks.  I happened to have some paint leftover, but even if I had to purchase paint, the total would have been under $100!  There aren't too many home improvement projects out there with that low of a price tag.  And the best part is, you don't need to be super handy to tackle this one!  THESE are the hooks I added, which also added an extra $50 to the total cost of my wall.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

I hope this tutorial helps you if you are considering adding board and batten to a part of your home!  Now, I need to find a new place for the time-out chair.....

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

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