Now and Then

One of my favorite things about doing home projects is the sense of accomplishment I get from doing them. I always feel so proud of Nate and I for making a plan, learning something new, and following through with our ideas. Many of our projects we’ve never done before. Things like board and batten, building a wall of built ins, designing and building a kitchen banquette, and installing crown molding. Looking back on all of our hard work lets me relive all of the satisfaction I originally got from each project.

Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished so far. We didn’t take pictures when we first moved in because we were so excited to start working. To show the “before,” I’m using the MLS pictures.

The outside of our house has already had a pretty decent face lift. I painted the shutters, painted the front door (twice), painted the trim around the garage door black and the garage door white, and replaced the three outdoor lights. The front door is currently a vibrant blue and I love it!

Front of House Collage

Our mailbox also received a makeover which you can read all about here.

Mailbox  collage

When you open the front door, the stairway greets you. We ripped up the old carpet and replaced it, painted the stairway, painted the balusters, replaced the old light, and stained the railing.

Stairway collage now and then

To the left of the stairs is the dining room. To add some interest to this room, we installed crown molding and a chunky board and batten treatment. We also replaced the builder basic pendant light with a modern silver chandelier from Lowe’s.

Dining Room Collage

To the right of the stairs is the formal living room. We painted the walls Iced Chocolate by Valspar, added a chair rail and crown molding, built a floating shelf, and re-purposed an old cart into a bar cart.

Formal Living Room Collage

Towards the back of the house is the open concept living room where we spend the majority of our time. In this room we painted, built wall to wall bookshelves, and added a gallery wall.

Living Room Collage

Next to the living room is the kitchen. In the kitchen we painted the cabinets white, coated the counter tops black, painted the back splash white, replaced the fridge and dishwasher with stainless steel appliances, replaced the broken sliding glass door with a french door, replaced the oak blinds with classic white blinds, fixed up the ugly pantry, and build a custom banquette.

Kitchen collage

Next to the living room and kitchen is the hall bathroom. The hall bathroom looks totally different. We replaced the toilet, vanity, sink and faucet, mirror, and light fixture. We painted and added a toilet paper holder and towel ring. This was one of the first rooms we totally redid and I’m glad we fixed it up so early since it’s what our guests use every time they visit.

Hall Bathroom Collage

The upstairs has also had some major changes. To the left of the stair way is the guest bedroom. We painted this room and I added a faux picture frame finish to add some visual interest.

Guest bedroom collage

Next to the guest bedroom is the 3rd bedroom which we are currently using as Nate’s office. In this room we ripped up the carpet and laid laminate flooring and added a gallery wall. This room reflects my husband’s style way more than it does mine, but it’s his space so as long as it make’s him happy.

Office Collage

I love the guest bathroom. I just think it turned out so pretty and relaxing. I have no idea why this picture is so blurry though. To make this room fit our style, I painted the cabinets white, added brushed nickel hardware, replaced the faucet, added a mirror from HomeGood’s, centered the light fixture, and of course painted.

Guest bathroom collage

In out bedroom, we painted, installed thick crown molding, built industrial pipe curtain rods, hung burlap curtains, replaced the carpet, and built a wooden headboard.

Master Bedroom Collage

We have an en-suite bathroom and vanity area. We painted this room the same as the bedroom, added a new mirror to both areas, replaced the faucet, light fixture, toilet paper holder, towel ring, towel bar, and installed towel hooks.

Master bathroom collage

Home ownership has kept me busy busy busy, but that makes me happy happy happy. (Duck Dynasty is on while I’m working right now…) Anyone have any great before and afters they want to show off? Leave the link in the comments, I’d love to check them out!


Sticking it to the Man

I didn’t realize I was sticking it to the man at the time, but I did. I really let him have it.

Last week I stopped at Goodwill after work for no particular reason. I don’t think this is going to come as a surprise to anyone, but if you want to find awesome stuff at the thrift store you need to check back often, be patient, and have an open mind. I was working my way through the home aisles when I spotted glittery goodness. Someone donated an entire bag of gold and bronze glitter leaves. Perfect fall and winter decor and for $1.97 it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Leaf collage

Rewind to last fall. I was checking out the Dollar Spot at Target and they had items marked off 70%. I bought a branch wreath for 30 cents. 30 CENTS, PEOPLE! I should have bought them all! The wreath has been sitting in my craft room since last fall because I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to decorate it. Glitter leaves, meet wreath. Wreath, meet your destiny.

To make the wreath, I weaved the stems of the leaves through the branches to secure them. Hot glue wasn’t needed because I was able to use the wire in the stems to keep them in place. I alternated size and directions of the leaves to add variety. This project ended up costing about $1 (30 cent wreath and I didn’t even use half of the bag of leaves).

Leaf wreath close up

Front of house with wreath

You’re probably thinking “How exactly are you sticking it to the man?” A few days ago I was shopping at A.C. Moore with a friend to find inspiration for Christmas. We spotted some adorable leaves which we both wanted, but I didn’t need to buy any since I had already scored big time during my last Goodwill run. The most simple sparkly leaves were on sale for a 50 cents each at A.C. Moore and the fancy flowers were selling for 4-8 dollars. Not happening. It would have cost at least $15 to buy enough of the cheapest leaves to make the wreath. I’ll pass. I mean at that point, you might as well skip all the hassle and by a pre-made wreath.

Sam with wreath
Here’s a gratuitous picture of my dog, Sammy who looks eternally sad in photographs, posing by the door. Apparently, his life is horrible.

Final Score:
Chelsea: 1
A.C. Moore: 0

I win craft store, I win.

Stairway to Heaven

Actually, our old stairway could be more accurately titled the stairway from hell. The word “ugly” doesn’t do it justice. When we bought the house it had stained green carpeting, oak balusters and railings, unpainted spackle, and the same paint as the day the house was first sold. Our stairway is the first thing you see when you walk in our front door and it needed some attention right away.

Stairway before

During moving week, we replaced the carpet. We tore out the old carpet ourselves to save some money and replaced the carpet in the stairway, upstairs hall, our master bedroom, and dining room. I don’t want carpet in our dining room, but replacing the floors on the entire first floor is still a long ways away. The old owner’s dog used the dining room carpet as it’s bathroom so it had to go ASAP. The carpet is Stainmaster from Lowe’s and we paid to have it installed by them.

While the carpet was ripped up, we quickly painted the balusters white. It was such a spur of the moment decision. Someone had out a can of white paint because they were fixing up the window trim and I said hey we should paint that too! So we did. That week was such a blur that I can’t remember if I painted them, my mom, or my mother-in-law. Either way, the balusters were painted and it was a huge improvement.

We painted the stairway and the majority of the first floor Iced Chocolate by Valspar. By “we” I mean my father-in-law and friend, Jess. That first week we had a ton of help and knocked out pretty much all of the painting. We painted every. single. room.

One day, I was shopping at Target and I found a frame set on clearance for $12 dollars. I picked up scrapbook paper from Michael’s and hung the frame collage in the stairway. Things were really starting to come together, but it wasn’t perfect yet.

Scrapbook collage

We lived with it like this for over a year, but every time I walked past those oak railings, they made me cringe. I hate oak, I really really do so I decided to stain them walnut. You might be thinking, why would you stain your railings walnut, when the floors in the same room are oak? My rationale is why should I keep something I hate to match something else I hate? I also think it will be a kick in the pants to save money for new flooring downstairs. I’d love to do that within the next two or so years.

To stain the railings, here’s what I did:

Stairway collage

I used 120 grit sandpaper and sanded until I took off the shine from the last stain. Then I wiped the railings down with a rag to remove all of the sand and dirt. Then I started staining. I used Rust-Oleum Stain in Kona, which is a dark walnut color. I bought the stain months ago when we made our headboard so I didn’t spend anything on it for this project. I used a foam brush for the bottom side of the railings because it gave me more control. You can pick that up at any craft store for under a dollar.

To apply the stain, I used a regular paint brush with just a bit of stain. I really worked the stain in by brushing repeatedly even after my brush was dry. I wanted the railings dark, but I didn’t want the stain to be so thick that you couldn’t see any of the wood grain.

Stairs middle

For the top railing, it was held in place by 4 screws. I easily removed it from the wall and I stained it in the basement on top of 2 saw horses. I let it dry over night before reattaching it.

Stair finished 3

Stairs finished 2

Stairs finished 4

Stairs finished 5

Stairs finished

Project Supplies:
Painters Tape
120 Grit Sandpaper
Drop Cloth

I already had everything but the painters tape, which I picked up from The Dollar General for $3.50. I probably used less than a dollar’s worth. Do you have any oak you’re dying to get rid of? Do it! You’ll be much happier. Trust me.


$200 Kitchen Makeover {Guest Post}

Hey! I’m Allie, wifey, mom, cheapo, and blogger over at, where I share the hilarious side of marriage, parenting and DIY home improvements. Feel free to check it out!

Much like Chelsea mentioned in this post, my hubs and I always expect things to go smoothly and drastically underestimate how long a home project will take.

Maybe that’s why we usually finish each major project hating our stupid old house even more, and feeling something other than love in our hearts for each other. What I’m saying is that if the lives of some of these decorating/DIY bloggers are as sweet in reality as they are in virtual reality, then mad props to them.

When Greg and I decide to start a DIY project, like updating our kitchen for $200, which we did a few months ago, we usually begin bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Picture a married couple marching the aisles of Lowes, pointing to every single thing and breathlessly spouting bits of home design mumbo jumbo like,

Hey, wouldn’t this be such a unique yet neutral color for the hallway?”


This is like my ideal faucet. We should totally incorporate it into our ‘phase two’ kitchen project.”


Wait, wait! We could use these for coat hooks! Wouldn’t that read so unexpected yet approachable?”

We were basically holding hands and skipping on the way back to the car.

On the drive home, Greg actually asserted he would start on another project later that night after we FINISHED the kitchen.

We seem to forget two important things in these moments: First, we have a one year old child, and secondly, we have a stupid, 60-year-old house.

Three hours later, it was finally time to start the Project, and we were already grumpy.

Here’s what we started with
Allie's Kitchen Before
Allie's Stove Before

My job was to paint the inside of the cabinets. Did I mention I’ve never painted before in my life? You should have seen my husband’s face when he saw me trying to push the roller into the corners and asking him how I was “supposed to get these stupid corners?”

I only completed three cupboards in two hours.

Things went more quickly once I started painting the right way and Greg came in to help me.

But it still took us four hours.

We were covered in paint, and the kitchen being the only room in our stupid old house with no air vents, there was no A/C.

At first, I thought, ‘Me and my hubs working on our house … sure, maybe we’re tired and overwhelmed, but this is fun! We should talk and have fun,’ and I tried to pull stuff out of my behind to talk about.

So, did you hear about the royal baby?” I asked. “Apparently he gave a little ‘royal wave’ to reporters when they left the hospital. How cute is that?! Hahaha!”

Pretty soon I gave up.

It was 3:30 in the morning when we finished, and we were so annoyed at each other, but also so exhausted that all we could muster up to express it were annoyed glances.

The whole thing ended up taking about four days. I painted the back splash the next day, all by myself, and finished it during Darby’s nap! I was so stinkin’ proud of myself and couldn’t wait to show Greg when he came home.

He loved it.

But then he went into our bedroom and saw that I had used one of his favorite T-shirts as a painting shirt. I thought it was an old, crappy one, and told him that he has a ton of T-shirts; how was I supposed to know?

Later, he brought one completed doors inside very ceremoniously, and attempted to attach it to a cupboard.

From the living room, I heard him talking to himself in a frustrated tone and rolled my eyes.

Then he came in the living room and told me that because we have a stupid, old house, our cabinet doors need a special kind of hinge or they won’t even shut.

So, after a trip to the store for new hinges, coming home, realizing they’d overcharged, and heading back to the store for a refund, we finally managed to replace the cabinet doors.

After a few more changes, here’s what we ended up with:

Allie's Fridge After

Allie's stove after

Allie's Light After

This is a classic “phase one” update because we aren’t in a position to do a major overhaul right now. However, I couldn’t look at that faux tin back splash for one more second. None of the changes are major, and the whole thing took a few days, and cost us a total of $200 in paint, spray paint, hinges and pulls, a sconce and a new window treatment.

What we did:

-Painted the inside and outside of the cabinets white (they were a creamy eggshell color)

-Changed the dated brass pulls and hinges for a simple, modern and sleek look

-Left off the two cabinet doors on either side of the sink (and sanded and filled the hinge holes.) This gives an instantly updated look to a kitchen because open shelving is popular right now (yet classic enough to not make it a waste of time) Then I made sure to style those shelves attractively. There are some bright colors in my kitchen already; the walls and some accessories and artwork, so I tried to stick to glass, including some amber glass which is a neutral color, for the open shelves.

-Painted the faux tin back splash light gray. (This gives the impression of a stony gray back splash, which is our actual ideal for a real back splash one day.)

-Spray painted the country looking pendant lamp over the sink to a dark aqua (Spray painting is our go-to way of changing something cheaply, and Greg does it way better than me, as you’d expect. He gets really sick of me bringing him new things to spray paint all the time.)

-Replaced the curtain with an inexpensive faux jute roman blind. I like to mix modern/industrial (aqua pendant lamp) with natural fibers and objects, even it is faux-natural…. errr….

-Replaced the dated sconce with a cheap one from the hardware store. (This is not my ideal sconce, but there is no connection to a light switch from this sconce, so it needed to be the kind with a switch or pull on the sconce itself. Read me?)

-We did nothing with the countertops or appliances because those will have to wait for the bigger update one day. The counters are just old laminate, but they look like stone because the previous owner was a smarty and purchased one of those “paint your laminate counters to look like granite” kits that Chelsea mentioned being too expensive in a recent post. I guess our previous owner decided it was worth it in order to sell the house, and guess what? She was right because it worked. I literally had no idea the counters were fake until moving in.

But I’m ridiculous like that.

Allie did an incredible job totally changing the look of her kitchen on a budget. It’s crazy that she only spent $200 and was able to create such a difference.  I’m loving the jute roman shades up against the modern pendant lamp and I’m obsessed with the open shelving. Awesome job, Allie! What’s your favorite part? Share in the comments below! If you’re visiting from Cute Kid, Ugly House, I’d love for you to check out some of my favorite posts: Laminate Countetop Makeover and $5 DIY Vases.  If you’d like to get regular updates from my blog, follow Pinterior Designer on Facebook and Bloglovin (links are in the sidebar). Thanks! -Chelsea 

You’ve Got Mail

I hate checking the mail. I’m always waiting for some surprise bill to arrive that I didn’t know about. I almost expect to open a letter one day to see that something like: “Surprise! Your mortgage has magically doubled. Good luck with that!” I don’t know about you, but this home owner thing is expensive. Bills come out of the woodwork man! If I have to check the mail and get letters that say I have to pay you money for picking up my trash and all the other stuff that is zero fun to pay for, then I might as well have a cute mailbox. Know what I’m sayin’?

Here’s what I started with:

Mailbox before

I began by wiping down the mailbox and lamp-post with a wet rag. I removed the old house numbers because they were peeling off. They were pretty stuck on there so I need a flathead screw driver to pry them off. The numbers left a sticky residue so I scrubbed it off with water.  I lightly sanded the lamp-post, but only a little. I have no patience when it comes to sanding and usually do a really crappy job on it. Hey, we all have our faults… Then, I removed the actual mailbox. All I had to do was remove the four screws attaching the box to the post and it came right off. Next, I used black Valspar indoor/outdoor spray paint on the mailbox post and the lamp-post. To keep the glass clean on the lamp, I used Scotch Blue tape to cover each pane. Yes, I love brass, but this looked too outdated so it had to go.

To spray paint the mailbox, I taped the flag using painters tape. I then covered the mailbox with three coats of gold Rust-Oleum spray paint. It’s what I had in my collection so that’s what I used.

The flag needed some lovin too. To protect my new shiny gold mailbox, I slid a trash bag over the entire thing. I then cut a small hole in the bag near the flag and pulled the flag through. I taped the hole shut around the base of the flag. From there, I sprayed the flag with two coats of red spray paint. *I tried blue first, but it was too much. I only needed a bit of paint so I bought a Krylon Short Cuts Red Pepper spray paint from Michael’s.

Malbox after blue

I wanted to accessorize my mailbox because like I said in this post, I’m a fancy girl and apparently, a gold mailbox just isn’t enough so I bought stencils from Michael’s. I taped the R stencil (similar) on to the mailbox and used black craft smart paint, also from Michael’s to paint the R monogram.  I wish I would have outlined the letter in sharpie and then filled in the rest of the letter with my paint brush. Relying on the stencil for clean lines didn’t work out too hot.

Mailbox monogramBonus Point: Can you spot Nate?

To finish this baby off, I bought some gold house numbers (shocker) from Lowe’s. The number’s came with the screws and it took Nate only a few minutes with the drill to attach them. For the record, I am perfectly capable of using all of our power tools. I am not perfectly capable of measuring and all the things involving spacial awareness, which is why Nate often gets called in for jobs like making sure numbers are hung correctly. Hey, know your strengths.

mailbox with numbers

I know this is not a normal mailbox, you don’t have to tell me that. Even I laugh a little when I tell people we’re the house with the gold mailbox. The bottom line is, that shiny guy makes me smile every time I see it so that’s what matters. Have you ever made any design choices that make other people do a double take but it makes you smile whenever you think about it? Confession: most of my guilty pleasure design choices involve sparkles. I’ve loved glitter since the sixth grade and there’s no turning back now. What about you?

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House of Rose

Project Therapy

I have this problem. It’s called I have to do something crafty every week. Somehow my car ends up at Homegood’s/Michael’s/Goodwill/yardsales/thesideoftheroadlookingforjunk trying to find something to do. I get antsy when I’m not being creative. I have a somewhat stressful job- shoutout to my friends from southwest Philly! and I’ve found that having a hobby just for me has been really helpful in not letting myself get lost in the sauce that is urban education. Sometimes my friends say I’m crazy for the amount of projects I take on, but imagine how crazy I’d be if I didn’t do these project? Think about that for a second.

Everyone and their mother’s seems to pin pictures of Prego and pickle jars turned stylish. Naturally, I had to do it. I googled a tutorial for how to reuse my Bath & Body Works candle (love those guys). I boiled about an inch of water in a pan and then held the candle in the pan of water for 30 seconds tops. Seriously, don’t do it longer than that or it gets all melty. Use a butter knife to slice all the way across the warmed candle. Pop that bad boy outta there. From there, use Goo Gone to remove any leftover wax. I finished this project off with two coats of gold spray paint and called it a day.

Candle Tip Jar

Tip Jar

Total cost of this project: FREE! I already had the spray paint and old candle jar. From start to finish, including drying time, this project took about an hour.

Another cheap project was upgrading an Ikea Byholma basket that I picked up for $7.99. I already had a few bottles of craft smart paint from Michael’s. I parked myself in front of the TV and mindlessly painted a few rows on the basket. Sometimes that’s the best kind of project. I didn’t tape anything off because I figured I wouldn’t be able to get perfect lines anyways. Go with the flow.

Ikea Byholma

For less than an hour of work, I ended up with a customized basket that coordinates with the guest bathroom colors. I store extra towels for guests in this bathroom. Whenever we run out of clean towels, Nate always steals this one. I try to explain that this isn’t an actual towel for using, it’s a decorative towel. Either he doesn’t understand our towel situation or he is 100% not interested in my crazy.

Painted basket

Bathroom crafts

Anyone else working on some small crafts or projects just to make yourself happy? Or maybe you do other things like eat Froyo. Don’t worry, I won’t judge because maybe I do that too. What’s your stress reliever? Share in the comments below!

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