Guest bedroom, flipped

Into a baby room!

MyChicagoHouse is expecting! We are in the process of flipping our guest bedroom into a baby room for our first child (a boy!) due in August. Thankfully we didn’t spend too much on the furniture in the guest room – only the Ikea bed, a needlepoint rug from Ebay and a side table from Chairish, and I’ve already sold the needlepoint rug (yay!).
I knew for this baby room I was going to need a crib AND a place for guests to sleep, but we weren’t going to be able to fit both the queen and the crib, so we had to get creative. First I plotted my floor plan in excel to get a sense of the space.

Original floor plan left with rug (green) and bed

The bottom right door is our bathroom and top left is a hallway. The closet door is not pictured but it is on the bottom right wall adjacent to the bathroom door. The old rug (that I have since sold) was too small for the changes. It was always a bit small but it worked better with the bed.

I mocked up a new larger rug. Generally, my rule of thumb on rugs is bigger is better. You want to fill up the whole room. If measuring I do 3-4” away from the walls and get as close as I can with a standard size.

New floor plan on right with bigger rug, crib and daybed

After I was happy with the floor plan, we found the Asmara rug of my dreams at http://www.rugsource.com (10′ x 12′) for <$450 and scooped that up with a rug pad, then purchased the Elsie Daybed from Pottery Barn on sale, with the trundle and matching crib.

Pottery Barn Elsie daybed with trundle and Target pillows

PB oddly has two beds called “Elsie” but this one has the spindle sides. It is amazing how much more space we have! It will still do-able for two people to sleep in this room comfortably on Tuft & Needle mattresses (the top fits this mattress, but the trundle will need to be thinner from Amazon). While I did buy new twin sheets, I kept all of our queen bedding, folded it to fit the twins, and added some throw pillows from Creative Co-op at Target.

These Target Creative Co-op pillows are lovely and <$45, pillow incl!
New rug, daybed and crib in place!

Our bookcase has always been a bit of a challenge because we were short on books and long on shelving. Now, we need to free up shelves for baby books, so I moved all of the books up and closed the gaps. This freed up nine shelves! The boxes that remain are empty, and I will leave them there until we have filled the space with books for the baby.

Lower shelves are filled with empty boxes, to be replaced with baby books soon

For now, you will probably notice that we do not have a changing table or chair in this room. I was planning to sit on the daybed and use that as a space to change the baby. We have all of our supplies on the back of the closet door that I customized. I know this isn’t ideal but the room is small and from the floor plans above you can see the door on the right-hand side is actually the guest bathroom, so 3/4 walls have a door on them.

There is not much space for extra furniture so we are trying to be minimal

It is possible we squeeze in a chair next to the crib in front of the bookcase but it seems tight to me. We are also in the process of getting blackout curtains made in a fabric that matches the wallpaper which, believe it or not, was cheaper than restoration hardware!

Let me know what you think about this room and layout!

The den, plaid makeover

Plaid carpet install

The den has been in process for quite some time and not including the kitchen, the last room to finish, but we have a great base with the walls painted Railings by Farrow & Ball to layer on mixed plaid and cozy this room up! As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before we got started. 

The den, from the listing photo

It is amazing to think that our cozy den was once a bedroom!

The first thing we did was paint the space and remove all traces of gray

It still makes me sad that the homeowner painted the entire home gray to sell it, just for me to immediately re-paint, but alas – the gray is gone, and so is the pink square that the mirror was hiding… 

The carpet selection for this room was simple. I knew I wanted a modern plaid rug in a navy tone and was immediately drawn to a carpet from Stark that could be custom cut to fit the room perfectly. 

From selection to installation, the Stark carpet was in place within one month

We had a couple of real-time decisions to make as the carpet was being installed. Namely, whether or not we left the “tail” of carpet alongside the fireplace and behind the door. While it is relatively “skinny” I decided to keep the tail as the door is often open and I wanted to see the carpet extend behind the door. I also did not want the door to get caught up on the edge of the carpet when opening and closing. After months of living with this carpet, I am happy we kept the tail. 

We debated keeping this “tail” or cutting it short and decided to keep it

The addition of the carpet made such a difference in this room and I am so happy with it. It is a perfect compliment to the Railings paint color. 

The carpet is a perfect match to the Railings paint from F&B

Still in process is a cornflower blue pull-out couch from Avery Boardman that will be delivered soon. Once the couch is in place I will select chairs from Chairish (or Ebay) to re-upholster.

Stark carpet in place, waiting for furniture

I’ve narrowed down the fabric to a selection of Colefax and Fowler plaids, pictured below. They all coordinate well with the couch fabric (below, bottom right), and the carpet. I’m debating introducing more than one plaid and am thinking about it all as a big mix and match project. It needs to coordinate, but it doesn’t need to match perfectly. 

Swatches from Colefax and Fowler and our chosen couch fabric from Manuel Canovas, bottom right

Keeping in mind the art that we selected for the room, I am leaning towards the plaid on the top right of the image above for side chairs. The fabric has a sense of plum which helps to pull in the tones of the artwork and it feels like a better coordinating fit, to me. 

Stephanie Hier artwork in the den, wall painted Railings by F&B

Once the couch is delivered and in place, I will make the final decision. I’m enjoying taking my time on this project! 

Raleigh baby room surprise

I remotely planned a baby room design for my friend Meghan in Raleigh. You can see some of my planning here. Last night, while Meghan was sleeping, I made it happen in 4 hours. The best part about this room? All of the major ingredients to make it fabulous were less than $600.
As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before. It was basic – nothing particularly special about this room, but it is a room everyone can relate to. It is a basic bedroom!

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A very basic baby room – the “before” shot

Meghan had recently carpeted and painted the room so there was a nice base to work with, but decorating wasn’t a first priority with the baby only 4-weeks away. The baby gender is unknown and Meghan wanted this room to “last”, so the design is intended to be gender neutral and sophisticated so it will be age appropriate for many years.
When working on a budget, the best way to make a big impact for less dollars is to hang a mural wallpaper. Lulu and Georgia has beautiful choices. I needed 2 rolls for this project. I began at 9PM and started with wallpaper.

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It was my second time installing wallpaper and I did it alone, so I trust anyone could do this. The paper is pre-pasted so all you need to do is use a sponge to spread water on the back of the panel, hang, and push out the air bubbles. The pre-pasted glue is a bit “slimy” in texture once it is activated, so you have some time to maneuver the panel and slide it into place so it matches up. I trimmed the base, top and around the outlets with a sharp x-acto knife and a straight edge (the same tool I used to smooth out the wallpaper).

After the wallpaper was done I worked on the curtains.

DIY Pom-Pom Curtains: The curtains are Threshold from Target. I bought pom-pom trim from Amazon and 1 roll of HeatnBond hem tape. This is all you need, plus an iron. These curtains were less than $50, TOTAL, for BOTH panels! All you need to do is iron the pom pom trim to the inside edge of the curtain with the HeatnBond hemming tape. I had to set my iron to a much higher steaming setting than the directions recommended, but that worked fine. This took ~20 minutes.

Iron on pom-poms, make fabulous curtains for <$50 total

The finished panel from the front. So beautiful and so easy and so inexpensive!

After I finished the curtains, I arranged the furniture around the edges of the room, accessorized with a $36 Lulu and Georgia Zeba pillow, a $48 trio of West Elm frames filled with my own animal watercolors and laid down a $163 Lulu and Georgia Nasra 5×7 rug.

West Elm gallery frames with watercolors by me

Lulu and Georgia Nasra rug, 5×7, brightens up the room and adds a nice extra layer

While I initially planned to make a DIY mobile, I found this Blabla mobile on eBay for $40, so I went with that given retail is $170+. Whenever I’m looking for something special, I always check Ebay first and I always bid under list. Even if the item is an auction item (and doesn’t have a buy it now option), I will message the seller and ask if they will take a lower price. Why? Because negotiating is fun! 😉 This one was listed for $60 and I got it for $40, muahaha.

My Ebay Blabla mobile is FAB and entirely handmade! Fits jungle theme perfectly.

I finished at 1AM. Surprising Meghan was the best, she loved it. 🙂

A 4-hour makeover, complete! Lulu and Georgia Mural

Jellycat doll, Pehr bag, Target Lamp, Wayfair chair, Lulu and Georgia pillow and mural and rug

 

 

Potter Barn crib, BlaBlah (Ebay) mobile, Target side table, DIY pom-pom Target curtain, Lulu and Georgia Mural

Paintings by me! Lulu and Georgia jungle mural

The drawer pulls we planned to update are delayed from China, but they are en route and will be mint green porcelain.

Love you Meghan and baby S to-be! Lulu and Georgia jungle mural

It was such a fun project and I’m so lucky that Meghan let me express all my ideas freely and completely trusted me with this room after a half bottle of wine. Love you Meghan, and baby S!

DIY: Rope Credenza

It’s labor day weekend and we’re making a credenza!

Once upon a time I set my eyes upon a rope credenza at a property that we visit annually on the East Coast. The second I saw it I thought, “I could make that”. And alas, the time has come. Our den walls are plaster so we cannot hide our TV wires within the walls. We will hang a Samsung Frame TV and hide the wires in a credenza. Since I was not originally planning on needing this piece of furniture, I wanted something simple and inexpensive while still appearing high end. I covered the entire IKEA Henmes sideboard in rope. (Naturally!)

Supply List:
1) IKEA Henmes sideboard, light brown, 2) 1,200 feet of 5/16″ Manila Rope, 3) Glue gun and glue sticks, 4) A paintbrush like this, 5) New knobs (optional) and longer screws to fit (rope requires screws to be slightly longer)

Pro Tip: This project took me 14 hours start to finish, so you need a weekend. I’d also recommend a very sharp knife and scissors for cutting the rope.

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IKEA Henmes sideboard: $329

Mecox has some interesting rope covered furniture that serves as a nice inspiration for this project. While I won’t be exactly mimicking this piece, I liked it very much.

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Mecox Pawley Abaca Rope Dresser: $1,875

The rope I am working with is from Knot & Rope supply.

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1,200 feet of 5/18″ rope from Knot & Rope Supply

Beginning with the drawer fronts, work from the outside in to cover them in rope. Do the same with the top of the sideboard. For the drawers, I worked from the center out because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t covering the holes for the drawer pulls, but in retrospect I think this was a harder path. It was harder because I had to measure in from the outer edge to make sure I was starting in the right place.

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Process if you begin in the center, and work out. I found it was easier to work outside in

For the cabinet doors and sides I wrapped the center section first, similar to the top and the drawers, but cut separate strips for the outer border.

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Beginning at the outer edge, wrap to center, then cut strips for sides

I cut the rope with a Global knife that I will be taking to get sharped on Tuesday. Not to say it’s dull now, I’m just expecting that is possible…

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Cut separate strips to cover the border edges

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All the pieces coming together in the living room for assembly

After the credenza was assembled, I glued down the trim pieces.

Ikea Henmes hack, covered in rope

I appreciate that I am did not go into too much detail here, but I am expecting the likelihood of some fellow-crafter following in my footsteps to DIY this piece is somewhere around 0% (rounding). So, please reach out to me if you do want to do this, and I can help guide you through.

Ikea hens hack, covered in rope with Samsung frame tv (waiting on frame)

I will have a piece of glass cut to top this off and help protect from dust. The knobs were replaced with cast iron knobs that I found online for $20. The Samsung frame tv will have a maple frame that is still on it’s way to us.

DIY: Bistro Table

Making use of the scrap pile…

Bistro tables are expensive and it is not hard to DIY. I made a bistro table for our kitchen and am very pleased with the results. This table cost ~50% less than big box retail alternatives, is custom, better quality and has beautiful marble that is superior to the box store choices. It also took less than 1 hour to assemble and required very little time to procure (all online, no in-person).

Supply list: 1) Marble / stone: I purchased mine at Stone City in Chicago by simply emailing, reviewing pictures and selecting for custom cut, 2) Silicon adhesive, 3) Piece of wood, 4) Bistro table base: mine is available here

Pro Tip: Marble from scrap is generally less expensive, as are straight cuts (vs. circle) to produce. This marble was from scrap and was cut to size in a 30″ hexagon.

First, I ordered my base (link above) and emailed the stone yard to get pictures of available scrap pieces.

This is the image that the stone yard (Stone City, Chicago) sent me of my chosen (by email) slab

The specs of this piece of marble is a hexagon, 30″ across the widest point. When the marble was delivered, I glued the wood to the base with silicon glue and let this dry overnight. The stone yard did apply mesh to the base of my cut slab so the glue would better stick.

Glue wood to marble, screw base to wood! (Do not screw base directly to marble)

Flipping the table upright is a 2-man job (eek, I did it alone) given the table weighs close to 125 lbs.

Protective plastic covers the surface

The last step is to simply peel back the protective covering and treat the marble for stain resistance. I love this little corner for weekend coffees in the AM!

Complete DIY bistro table with Frontgate chairs and Schoolhouse Electric lights

The table is very sturdy and does not wobble whatsoever.

Fake flower faux paus?

To embrace or reject fake flowers in design (embrace!)

I’ve noticed that many of the most beautiful homes in magazines share one thing in common – beautiful flowers – no big surprise. This got me thinking – are these flowers all REAL? I did some extensive researching on how designers are using fake flowers and found a spectrum of “never” to “love them”, but my favorite was a use-case in between that blends the real with the fake. Buy a few fake stems and tuck them into greenery. I like this idea.

NDI Flowers – love them, every day!

Now the question is – do they look fake? Take a look for yourself. These flowers were purchased from NDI. NDI is a family business and have been selling beautiful silk florals for 50 years. The flowers are made to order and I think they look great. I have a number of individual stems to rotate through and greenery for the holidays. These arrangements were made by NDI and even the water is faux.

The dining room is coming together with beautiful tulips from NDI

Smaller NDI arrangement on the mantle

DIY: A 1930s desk with leather top

Restored

We found a beautiful desk at Father Time Antiques. The desk is from the 1930s and had a green leather top that was in good, but not perfect condition. The desk fit our room perfectly, has a great classic look with history and was on budget at $195.

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Father Time Antiques desk from 1930s with leather top, $195

After doing some research, I decided to replace the leather top myself with a new black leather top with gold tooling. I had a great experience doing this, it was easy, and the results speak for themselves.

My first step was to vacuum and sand out the interior of the desk and drawers. I waxed and polished the wood and lined the drawers with cork. It initially had a musty smell but that completely dissipated after these steps were complete. I am sure it also helped to have the drawers on the floor for a week airing out.

Cork-lined drawers with bakelite handles

When I removed the leather top, I noticed there was water damage on one area of the desk where the wood felt “soft”. I cut this area out with a utility knife and replaced the veneer with a piece I found on Amazon.

I removed water damaged veneer and replaced with a new piece of wood from Amazon

I measured the space with a piece of magazine, and cut the veneer with a pair of kitchen scissors.

New veneer in place and sanded

I glued the new piece of veneer with wood glue and placed heavy books on top. Then, I filled the edges with wood putty and sanded it down when dry.

I ordered the beautiful new leather top from Dave at DCT Leathers. They are based in Canada and did an amazing job!

Leather top from DCT leathers with gold tooling

All I had to do was follow his instructions: brush a layer of wallpaper glue, roll out leather and smooth with cloth. Done!

Cork-lined drawers in place

This desk will live in the den, which is painted dark navy / black Railings by Farrow & Ball.