Kitchen Progress: Copper Open Shelving

We did it! 
Our quick weekend project that turned into over a month of weekends is finally finished, and I love it!
First things first: here’s our before. 
Big, dated oak cabinets. With such a low ceiling, these cabinets made the kitchen feel very small.
Although I’d love to tear out the entire wall of cabinets and the double oven (which I’ll never in a million years use) and reconfigure the entire space for a better pantry … baby steps. And this baby step made the whole kitchen so much more inviting. 
Cabinets before: 
I liked the glass front cabinets that showed off my pretty dishes, and the other corner cabinets contained double-decker lazy susans, which gave us tons of storage. But, I regret nothing. 
The steps: 
1. Take down old cabinets. We donated ours to Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, although Edison would have like us to keep one for a playhouse. 
2. Paint and patch the walls. We also replaced the white outlets and outlet covers you see below for black ones that will blend into the granite.
3. Paint your hardware. After much back and forth, I went with these Ikea brackets and spray painted them with this copper paint. Actually, I spray painted them, and then I got too impatient while they were drying and I flipped them over too soon to paint the other side, and they had to be sanded and completely repainted. So, pro tip – don’t do that. 
Second pro tip – buy more paint and primer than you will need. I had to make two trips to Home Depot for the primer after running out, but most inconvenient was having to reorder the copper spray paint, since shipping was not fast. Waiting for the paint to arrive delayed this whole project, so be smart and buy three cans to start with. Besides, you’ll find uses for the extra. 

4. Build your shelves. This is the part that I can’t tell you much about, because Brian did all the work. As I told Brian, I’m the Johanna, he’s the Chip in this relationship – I come up with the ideas, and he builds it (Fixer Upper fans know what I mean). Here’s the tutorial we used.

We originally planned on sanding and staining the shelves. And then since this project had already taken forever, we decided not to. Our excuse is that someday, we’d like to replace these pine boards from Home Depot with actual weathered barn wood planks, so these are just temporary.

5. Install shelves, and begin never ending process of styling them.

A commonly asked question: Do you have to dust or wash all the dishes to keep them from looking grimy?

So far, no. The vast majority of the dishes I chose to put out are ones that we use relatively often, so they don’t collect any dust. and so far, the more decorative dishes haven’t either. I’m not sure if it’s because we have good air flow through the kitchen, or what the reason is, but honestly, if I did have to dust them once in awhile, I really don’t mind.

Another question: What did you do with all the stuff that used to be in the cupboards? 
Some of it, like the white plates, bowls, glasses, and most of the mugs, stayed. Other pieces were moved from lower cabinets, like the bigger bowls. I was able to move some of the dishes to the lower cabinets, and others, like all my Tupperware, to a cupboard in the laundry room. So far, I haven’t had any issues with the new arrangement.

There you have it: my copper kitchen! 
Would you ever do open shelves, or is that a trend you’d pass on? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook. 

Living Area Progress: The Difference a New Paint Color Makes

Although I’ve already gotten used to the new look, I realized I never shared any before and after photos of our main living space. So let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. 
When we bought the house, it looked like this: 
And the entryway before: 
And the dining room: 
Last fall, the living room looked like this.
Our first change was to paint the fireplace white, which immediately made the living room feel three times larger. Then in January, we tackled repainting the main living areas of the house, the laundry room, kitchen, dining room, living room, entryway, and hallway from their original beige to a bright, serene gray. 
It feels like we gained a few hundred square feet!

On the wall with our TV, I created a mini gallery wall. It still makes me happy every time I look at it. The print, “The days are long but the years are short,” is from Handlettered Design.

I got my navy wall! It only took two tries to get the right color, but it was totally worth it.
I love the pop of color when you first come in. 
Here’s the view into the kitchen: 

I’ve got big plans for our little kitchen. As much as I’d like to start by tearing out that low ceiling Fixer-Upper style, it’s not all that feasible to tackle first. But I do want to make the kitchen less cave-like by replacing some upper cabinets with open shelves, and painting the lower cabinets white. That will do a lot to take it from totally 80’s to farmhouse chic.

And our little dining room, where one end of the table is often occupied with some craft project I’m working on:

Obviously, this photo was taken around Easter. Or let’s just pretend that I update the chalkboard frequently. 
As you can see, the table is pushed all the way against the wall. And still, it feels too big for the space. So tragically, as much as I love my farm table and chairs, I’ve decided to sell it and replace it with something smaller. If I can’t find a table that’s narrow enough to fit, I might end up having Brian build one. I may not have run that idea past Brian yet, so I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.
No more beige! I love the gray – it really felt like a new house. The color is “Quiet Rain” by Glidden.
One question to those of you with light walls – how do you disguise cords? I hate that the TV cords are black and show up so much against the wall. Do you paint the cords to match the wall? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m thinking about it. 
Next up in this space: finding a smaller coffee table and two small end tables, and a new rug that fits with the color scheme better. I continue to go back to my living room inspiration post to gather new ideas.
Soon I’ll post an update on the progress we’ve made on our office over the last year, and a handful of DIY projects. 
What do you think of the new look? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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DECOR: Bedroom Before and After (So Far)

On Monday, I showed you how I made our book page headboard. Our poor neglected bedroom’s makeover is still very much in progress, but here’s a tour of how it’s coming along.

Before:

As you know,  we got rid of the white bedspread for something more practical, aka, machine washable!
Quilt: Target. Lamp on the left: Walmart. Lamp on the right: Free. 

Before:

On the sofa table under the window: a quilt, a lamp, some “spring” eggs (they’re not Easter eggs, because if they were, I should have put them away by now!), a really neat map bag that’s empty, and a bunch of pictures we havent’ hung up. 


After:

This beautiful French/botanical style box was a gift from my sister. Thanks Elissa!
I also moved my black box full of stationery to this table, kept the spring eggs, and stuffed the map bag with the quilt. 
And we hung some curtains! The sheers don’t keep light out, they diffuse it, which creates a soft ambiance I love. 

Before:

The top of our dresser was a mess: my handmade bulletin board, a painting of mine, Brian’s baseball picture frame with a family photo, and our change collecting box. 

After:

I still don’t like it. But, at least the photos are off of the table under the window, and it’s a little less cluttered.


Before:

The top of the bookshelf: a whiteboard we never wrote on, random cards, black box of stationery, a clock (also from my sister) and Brian’s diploma.

After:

I covered the whiteboard with my vision board! It’s inspiring to look at first thing in the morning. I also added the little wood box and starfish pin, two souvenirs from my trip to Oregon. I’d like to do something with that typewriter photo holder. Any ideas?
I moved my bulletin board into my closet. My side of the closet has several shelves, one of which I turned into my jewelry shelf. All of this stuff used to be on our dresser, so it used to be even more cluttered! I really like it here in the closet, the bulletin board works especially well for holding pins and necklaces.

Before:

This is Brian’s side of the bed, the wall with the door to the closet. The large picture with the tower was a wedding gift from Brian’s parents, depicting a couple outside of the Iowa State campanile, a famous romantic spot. 
And notice the fighter jet calendar. He needed to personalize the space somehow. 

After:

I found this vintage New York City poster in a shop in Cannon Beach, and knew it was perfect for Brian. He lived in NYC for two years, and has always wanted to take me back there. 
I moved the ISU print to the wall between the bookshelf and dresser, and I hung the fighter jet calendar in the closet!
Where there was once blank wall on my side, I hung this vintage French poster, which I also bought in Cannon Beach.

So it’s coming along! I’d like to unify the color scheme more, and do something different with the top of our dresser. Maybe one big piece of art? Or will that be too much with the other large prints and posters? Hm. 

Do you have any tips for decorating problematic spaces? Thanks for reading this little tour of our place!

If Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words…

Then these should make up for my lack of posts recently!
New Dining room + New  Dog

A lot of replacing outlet covers has been happening here lately

And replacing smoke detectors too

And two days of nothing but scrubbing walls caked with grime…

So that we could paint before moving in!

I’m very proud of my masking and draping around the shower!

We decided on the darker brown, and we love it!

I look gross, but I don’t even care. We were up late almost every night, and by late, I mean after midnight. And poor Brian has to get up at 5.

Kopec, the Turkish superdog, as I affectionately call him.

Room #3

Feverish packing on Friday. This is BRIAN’S massive stack of tee shirts. He admitted that most of them don’t fit him, but proceeded to tell me the story behind each one; where he got it, who he was with, and the significance of the occasion. 

Bedroom finished!

It’s going to be another late night…

Moving day! 
You can read more about that here!

What projects or exciting events have you been up to lately?