Painted Baskets All in a Row

Our laundry nook makeover is about 90% finished and I can’t wait to share it with you. It’s slow going considering how busy we’ve been lately, but seriously, it’s almost there. I’m shooting for a reveal on Friday, maybe Monday. In the meantime, I thought I’d share one of the projects I’ve been working on for the room.

One of the biggest problems in the laundry nook pre-makeover was a lack of storage. There was exactly zero. We’d added a couple of cheap shelves, but otherwise everything was just hanging out in the open. Gross.

Laundry Before

There’s not enough space in our little nook to add any cabinetry, so all our laundry goodies needed a different home. I decided to go with rattan baskets from Target. They were only $13 each (and I got 20% off that using their Cartwheel app) and were shallow enough to fit on our new shelf (more on that in another post).

PrePainted Basket

I loved the baskets as they were, but they wanted something more – a coat of paint!

I added a wide white stripe at the bottom of each basket with gloss white trim paint and an old brush.

Paint Basket

It was the easiest project I’ve done in a long time. I had all three baskets painted and drying in less than fifteen minutes.

Finished Baskets

The entire project cost $31 since we had the paint on hand (we’re trying to keep the entire project under $150).

Here’s a sneak peek of them in their homes.

DIY Painted Baskets

Check back soon for a few more laundry projects and for our big reveal!


A Laundry List

There are so many things I love about The Little House. Its arched doors, gorgeous fireplace, and beautiful hardwoods keep me drooling two and a half years after we signed the dotted line. There are a few things, though, I’d change. One of the first I’d tackle is the laundry room.

Laundry Before

Actually, the LH doesn’t really have a laundry room, per se. It has a laundry closet – an open to the hall, teeny, dark laundry closet that was, until this weekend, trimmed in half painted 1x2s. PS. This corner of our hall is pretty dark and only lit by a single boob light, so please ignore the quality of the photos!

Laundry Trim Before

With a rainy, empty Saturday before us, Kevin and I grabbed our crowbars and went to town on the offending trim… if you can even call it trim.

Laundry - Removing Trim

There was a pretty big improvement just by removing the old trim.

Laundry - Old Trim Removed

A quick trip to Home Depot got us some new trim that was the closest to the Little House’s existing (gorgeous) trims as we could find.

Laundry - Measure Trim





Laundry - Trimming the Trim

I held the trim level while Kevin nailed it in place using our pancake air compressor and finish nailer.

Laundry - Hanging Trim

The new trim makes a huge difference.

Laundry - New Trim Installed

There’s still a lot to do to call this upgrade finished, but our goal is to spend less than $200 on the whole schebang.

– remove old trim
– add new trim
– putty nail holes/corners
– sand and paint new trim
– touch up wall paint
– add new shelving
– organize laundry supplies
– add artwork

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken us two and a half years to get to this upgrade. It took us less than two hours to remove the old trim and put up the new!

Back of the Envelope

We’re slowly but surely checking items off our Office to-do list. The latest project? A pillow for our office chair made from the fabric I mentioned last week.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

The cover looks a little big on the pillow right now, but I sewed it that way on purpose. I’ve learned the hard way that cotton fabric shrinks quite a bit the first time you wash it, so if you sew your pillow cover to fit the pillow form to start with it’ll be more than a little snug after it’s first washing.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

And this pillow will need washing. Fievel’s already decided it makes a great sleeping spot and the first time the pups come inside on a rainy day I’m sure it’ll get splattered along with the rest of the room… but that’s okay! Like most pillows I make these days, this one has an envelope back. That means getting it off and throwing it in the wash is a cinch.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

The office list is dwindling. Once we finish it, it’s back outside to finish the last of our backyard reno.

– Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room
– Accessorize Desks/Bookcases
– Make Pillows
– Hang Art
– Spraypaint and hang Ikea Pinboards
– Get Rug (ordered and supposed to ship today)

What have you been up to lately?

Cutting A Rug

The office is coming together so fast.

Office Progress

We’re getting really close to being able to call it our first 100% done room in the Little House.

Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room
– Accessorize Desks/Bookcases
– Make Pillows
– Hang Art
– Spraypaint and hang Ikea Pinboards
– Get Rug

The pillow fabric and forms should arrive today, so I can get sewing on them this week.

Part of the art in our office is going to be (finally) hanging our college diplomas. Kevin has a nice frame from our school with a crest and seal and whatnot, so we’re going to order me the same one.  I’m still working on art for over the chair, but hopefully we’ll come up with something soon.

That leaves the rug. Orignally, I’d planned on going with a navy rug, but after seeing how dark the desks and floor are, we decided to go with a lighter rug that plays off the colors in the lamps we bought from Homegoods a few weeks back.

Rugs USA Moderno Trellis Outdoor Rug

It’s the Quinta Moderno Trellis Rug from RugsUSA. We had a really good experience buying our last rug from there, so we decided to try them again for this rug.

We decided to go with an outdoor rug in this space because it sees so much traffic. We thought that it would be a little more durable and much easier to clean (as in we’ll just take it out back and hose it down), a big concern since it is a lighter rug.

We wavered back and forth on the size, but in the end decided on a 6×9. It’s a little wider than we wanted (it’ll go a bit under the desks), but the room needed the extra length. I even threw together a sketch (on engineering paper, no less) yesterday so Kevin could visualize what I was saying.

Rug Sketch

The room is 16×8, so it’s long and lean. I think the 5×8 rug just looks too short.

It should be here in about a week and a half. I can’t wait to have this room done!

Without a Grout, Part Deux

Hey guys. No, no. We’re still around. We’re just suffering from a case of late summer project burnout.

We finally have a really good DIY project to post on… and I’m so tired of looking at it that I don’t want to write about it. We’ve been spending every spare minute working on the office, so when it comes time to either go to bed or write up a post on grouting our tile… I go to bed. Everytime.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we did finally grout the tile – and it looks FANTASTIC. I keep wandering into the office just to look at it.

Office Tile Floor Grouted

Like most of this project, Kev and I were a little apprehensive about grouting. We had no idea what we were doing – so we got on YouTube and found this awesome video series. I won’t even try to explain how to grout. Just watch the videos and he’ll tell you everything you need to know.

We didn’t get any photos of us actually grouting – both of us were covered in the stuff from head to foot and were afraid of getting it all over the camera.


We did the floor in two sections, grouting and sponging the first half, then the second. This kept the sections manageable so we didn’t let any of the grout sit too long before wiping it up.

washing floor

We’ve since sealed every grout line (twice) with 511 Impregnator Penetrating Sealer.

0043f62b-61ad-4704-a3b7-ae4d52edf397_300We did quite a bit of research as to which sealer would work best for our tile/grout combo. This particular sealer is pretty expensive, but since we went with almost white grout we wanted to be sure to seal the high-traffic areas really well. This is the only way in and out of our backyard and garage, so it see a lot of traffic (both from us and our furry kiddos).

We moved furniture back into the office this weekend, so we’re getting really close to doing a final reveal!

Hope y’all had a great weekend!


Pillow Talk

The office is progressing. I finished up filling, sanding, and repainting the trim last night. We still have to seal the grout and want to give the ceiling one last coat of paint (more on that soon), but in the meantime I’ve turned my attention to the fun part of the reno: decorating.

I’m not going to lie: decorating scares the flibberty-gibbets out of me (So much so that I have yet to accessorize our master bedroom more than a year after doing the update). That being said, I’m trying to conquer my fear with the office.

So I’m starting small,  with a pillow. Yes, only one pillow – and probably a small one at that. Baby steps, guys, baby steps. About a year ago Kevin found this fabulous slipper chair on clearance at Target. It’s lived on our office ever since.

Target Slipper Chair

We’re continuing the gray and navy from the living room into the office, but adding a gorgeous tealy-aqua as an accent. We were inspired by these lampshades that we fell in love with (and bought) at Homegoods. In real life, they read a little more aqua and a little less green.

Homegoods Aqua

I’ve found two fabrics that I love. I only need about half a yard for such a small pillow, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind on which I love most. Click on the fabrics to go to their page.

Spa Ikat Aqua Himalaya Ikat Navy Aqua

I love the navy ikat, but find myself thinking the top aqua would look best on the dark gray slipper chair.  Which do you prefer?

Without a Grout

Sorry in advance for the short post; we’re working like crazy on our office renovation and haven’t taken the time to sit down and write a decent post in ages.

This weekend we finished grouting our new tile floor and repainted the walls.

Office Tile Floor Grouted

We’ve finished the hardest part of the reno, but we still have lots to do.

Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room

Our goal was to have everything finished by Labor Day weekend, but it’s not looking good. Fingers crossed for a super-productive next few days!

What did you do this weekend? What do you think of our new tile floor? Would you have gone with light grout?

Out on the Tiles

We’re one step closer to finishing our office reno! The tile is 100% laid, scrubbed, and ready for grout.

Tile Progress

We started tiling last Saturday. If you remember, my mom, sister, sister’s mother-in-law, and adorable niece, Emma had all drove down from Indiana to help us tile (as a surprise)!

We were all really excited to get the first batch of thinset mixed, especially Indiana. She couldn’t wait to help my mom.

Excited Indiana

Fievel was also really helpful in rolling out the Ditra.

Fievel on a Roll

So what is this Ditra we keep going on about? It’s an “uncoupling membrane.” Basically, the Ditra underlayment is designed to allow for slight movement in the tile and subfloor, helping to alleviate in-plane stresses and prevent the tile from cracking. It can also serve as a waterproofing layer and vapor barrier.

We felt it was important for us to use because both the age of our house and the intense thermal cycles we experience here in Texas can cause movement in a floor, leading to tile cracking over time.

The Ditra was a cinch to lay down: just apply a thin layer of thinset with the recommend trowel, and smooth the Ditra down.

Laying Ditra

Once the Ditra was down, we could start tiling. I won’t go into the detail of how to tile here; there’s tons of great tutorials that do a much better job explaining than we ever could. The basics were simple:

Create a thinset bed, “back butter” your tile, place, and space.

TilingWhen we came to the edges, we measured and cut our tiles using a small wet saw.

Wet Saw

We laid our last tile on Wednesday night. Last night, I had to clean up the mess we’d made with the thin set.

Our thinset came off the tiles pretty easily with a warm, damp cloth and a razor blade, but I have heard that if you have some really stubborn thinset that vinegar (a mild acid) will help get the stuff off.

Thinset Cleanup 2 Thinset CleanupAnd that’s where we are today: ready to grout.

Tile ProgressWe’ve already come a long way and we’re not done yet.

Little House Big Heart - The Office Before

We plan on grouting tomorrow, freshening up the paint in the room on Sunday, and moving everything back into the room Monday night.

What are your plans for the weekend?

A Quick Update

Tiling is hard, guys.

I mean really. I thought we’d have this puppy done in no time.

Don’t get me wrong. When my family came down (all the way from Indiana) last weekend to help, it went along quick as you please. But once it was just Kevin and I again… turns out we’re slow. And messy.

So here’s where we are right now. We’re a day late and a bag of thinset short.


We only have one an a half tiles to lay (plus a few slivers along the door), but we ran out of thinset last night at 10:02 – Home Depot closes at 10.

Whomp whomp.

Hopefully we’ll be able to slap down the last few tiles, grout, and have a full update for you on Monday.

Until then, Happy Hump Day!

Subbing In: Part 2


That’s what Jess and I were thinking this morning.  See, neither of us had tiled before.  In preparation, we studied, watched videos, bought all our supplies in advance, prepared everything, and only then got to work.

Little did we know how much work is actually involved in this process.  You remember this post from last week? You thought we were done with the subfloor. Surprise! We weren’t.

The patch

The bigger patch

Repaired Subfloor

That was only step 1 of the subfloor.  The next step was putting down wood so we had something to adhere the Ditra to (more about that in the next post).  We went with 1/4 in plywood for this step because we already had a sturdy floor with tile on it.  We didn’t want to pull up the tile, nor did we want to make a big step for ourselves to go from our hardwood to our tile.  Commence the nailing of the subfloor.  Make sure you nail in a grid pattern.

Qtr Inch Ply

By the way, it’s important to note here to use nails that don’t go into the  floor joist.  This way, your top layer of wood has slightly more flexibility in the summer and winter when your house expands and contracts…meaning less chance of cracking your tile.  We went with 1″ Galvanized nails to go through the 1/4″ Plywood we put down and the 3/4″ board that was existing.

Oh, if your mom, sister, sister’s mother-in-law, and niece drive 16 hours to surprise you and help, remember to say “Thank you!”  Also, it’s never too early to start teaching your niece how to DIY!

Emma Hammer

About 2 hours in, we had finished nailing the subfloor down with 3 lbs of nails.  We had blisters.  Actually, our blisters had blisters.  LESSON #1: WEAR GLOVES.

At this same time, our knees we aching.  LESSON #2: WEAR KNEE PADS

After you nail down your subfloor, grab a level and make sure it’s almost perfectly level. If it isn’t level, you risk cracked tiles later.  At this point, you’re ready to lay your underlayment!

Good Luck!