Before & After: Stairway

When we bought our home it was bare. Completely bare. No window treatments; even the curtain rods were missing,  and no towel racks or toilet paper holders. In fact the first night we stayed here I had to change in the stairway as to not scare the neighbors.

What else was missing? The stairway had no handrail. It made moving furniture upstairs really easy, but the stairway always looked a bit naked. To add to its nudity there was no runner-up the stairs. I love how wood stairs look, but in a house that was built-in 1950 a naked stairway is a noisy stairway. Guests, not to mention my sleepy husband, could easily be woken by this girls love of the early morning quiet.


So, when we learned of Oliver’s upcoming arrival we made the list of to-dos and the stairway was on it. First, we needed a handrail to create a safer passage way with a wobbly newborn and second we needed to sound proof it the best we could to make it easier on our babe’s ears when he is sleeping upstairs or down.

We looked into our options for months and didn’t really like what we were finding. In the end it came down to paying someone to install a runner, which was expensive or purchasing carpet stair treads from The Home Depot which we didn’t like the look of.

So, we created our own solution. We found runners we liked at Target and purchased 4 of them, to fit the length of our stairway and padding from The Home Depot. Using a nail gun, we placed the padding the runner and went to town. The end result is exactly what we wanted, the look of a custom piece with the price of 4 runners on clearance from Target and some padding, not to mention a little sweat from M.

stairs after

I think Oliver likes it too- at least we think so as he hasn’t complained about the creaky stairway!


DIY: Chalkboard

I come from a family of teachers, including my mother. For many years I would stay late with her after school and play teacher with my younger sister. We had the perfect setting- a real classroom- to let our imaginations run. We also did our homework, enjoyed Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies and practiced our writing on the chalkboard while waiting for my mother to finish up her day. Many classrooms don’t even use chalkboards anymore. They are simple and classic and for some reason make me feel at ease. I never thought it would one day find its way into design.

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The Patio Post

While most people sipped lemonade, ate grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and american flag cake made with blueberries and strawberries (you know what I’m talking about), Marshall and I were slaves to our patio. Let the record show that I said we could complete this in a weekend, if we worked hard enough. M said it couldn’t be done, that we’d have to draw it out over two weekends probably. Here’s the rundown on how we completed our patio in three days and still loved each other at the end.

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Picture Perfect

I’ve been in love with gallery walls since my first Pottery Barn magazine. For years I have been staring at that one- you know the one– the blue wall with black and white photos. It’s been calling my name and it’s perfect for an entryway. Now that M and I have our own house and our entryway is less grandiose we’ve decided to think outside the box and find a new space. Oh and I failed to mention that we haven’t made any decisions when it comes to hanging frames or art, we are paralyzed by fear. Fear of making a mistake or not liking the end result and ultimately wasting time and money and not wanting to fix it.

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DIY: Pottery Barn Moss Letters

I grabbed my coffee and Pottery Barn’s March catalog this morning and parked myself on the couch. There they were, right on page 4, Pottery Barn Moss Letters. When we were planing our wedding we wanted it to be full of personal touches and we wanted it to feel different- don’t we all? We couldn’t stop brainstorming ideas, moss letters was one of those ideas. At the end of the day we might have been the only ones to notice, but we still love those letters. It didn’t surprise me that PB was selling moss-covered letters necessarily, it was the price tag, $79.

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DIY: Window Panels

Do you know that feeling when you look up at the clock and realize you’ve lost yourself in what you’re working on, because you’re enjoying it so much? Shockingly, that is how I felt working on the curtains for our dining room. We got started around 9 a.m. and measured until 1 p.m. That’s right, measured. Lost in fabric, pins, and two irons that were working on and off, I completely forgot the time. I should have made sewing one of my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been wanting to try to make curtains for so long. You see, I’m one of those people who looks at curtains, pillow cases, and other things and say “I can make that.”

I feel confident now that I could make panels of my own, although I might need a mathematician to help me get the measurements down.

Materials needed:

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