The floorplan vision



We new right from the very beginning that we’d love this house for the location and the fact that it was move-in ready fitting our needs right then, but to truly make it our long-term home we’d need to expand somewhere along the way. So that’s where has come in. It’s the great little online floor planning tool that’s super easy to use and really helps you see what moving a wall, adding a foot or adding a whole second story can do for your house. But, the best part about it is it’s  F.R.E.E. to use a basic account, no more graph paper and ruler for me!

I’ve been spending the past few days measuring, planning, and virtually building walls to get down on paper what our long-term vision is for this house. While a few things might change as we go along we think we’re headed in the right direction. So without further ado…

Our current floorplan…

and drum roll please…the vision of our new and improved floor plan

Some of the big changes are:

  • An addition onto back of the house where the original deck was
  • Adding some space out the side to give us a true entry way. (Right now the way you walk up to the house you’re confused as to which way to enter).
  • A dining area AND an eat-in kitchen
  • The living room moved to the back of the house
  • We’ve added another bathroom and an office
  • More counter space in the kitchen
  • And maybe most importantly (at least in my book) additional closets

So that’s the pie in the sky vision to turn our lake house into our forever house.  Now we just need to make this vision a reality. What do you think of our forever home plans?

You win some, you return some



When it comes to returning items I’m no stranger to the customer service desk but that still never doesn’t stop me from cringing when I bring something home that I really hope will fit, looked perfectly great in the store, but somehow ended up being not quite right in the space.

Yup, burned again by not measuring before I go out shopping and  impulse buy based upon memory of the size rug I should get, completely veering off the planned course into uncharted bathroom rug territory!

What I originally planned to buy was this rug from in white (pictured #7 above in my bathroom inspiration board). What I liked about it was the texture of the ribbing and the white color will lighten up the black floor tile in our bathroom along with the non-slip nylon backing that I’ve come to appreciate in a bathroom rug after stepping out of the shower one day onto a bathroom rug that didn’t have any backing and nearly breaking my ankle.

No seriously it was that bad.

In any case I’ve come to realize the fatal flaw in my plan was underestimating my level of impatience. Waiting  for the UPS man to arrive with the  rug I hadn’t yet gotten around to ordering yet seemed like a long time to wait when I could just run out to the store and buy one.  I mean how hard could it be to find a white rug? Way harder than I imagined.

Oh well, maybe I learned my lesson…I guess it’s back to the original plan. Time for some internet shopping 🙂

Ballard Designs; Berry Blossom Inspired Tutorial



Did you ever see a piece of art and thought wow I want that, it’ll look perfect only to look at the price tag and groan. That’s exactly what I did when I saw these two.

I put my thinking cap on and devised a plan to create similar pieces for less. The originals are  Berry Blossom Giclees from Ballard Designs. I love the colors in these prints but with a$369 price tag for two,  I knew they weren’t an option for my budget bathroom makeover.

Below is a shot of the art I created taking inspiration from the prints above. This art project was easy to paint and will add much needed style and color to our budget bathroom reno, I love the way they turned out.

Tools and Materials

2.  8×10 open back frames

2. 8 x 10 Canvas boards

Carbon Paper

Paint Brushes

Paints (outlined below)


Step 1. Paint the entire canvas with 2 background coats of a neutral background color. Wait for the background to dry according to the directions on the tube.

Step 2. Using the sketch outline trace over outline with a piece of  graphite transfer paper onto the canvas board. Sketch outline is attached at the bottom of the post.

Step 3. Now we’re all ready to paint. I started with the dots that make up a subtle design of the swirls and leaves. I used the acrylic paint for the background because it dries quickly and allows you to start painting the main part of the picture sooner than if you were to use the water based oils that I used for the rest of the piece. The dots that make up the swirl design were painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue to match my newly redecorated room. They are highlighted in blue below:

Step 4 Next up are the dots that make up the subtle leaf design. I painted them in silver acrylic paint. Those dots are highlighted in pink below.

Once all of that dries you can start the main portion of the picture. I’ve created a paint-by-number guide below and 2 paint type options.

Paint Options

I used Winsor & Newton water mixable oil paints for this project which I happened to have  on hand, but you can use any paints you like. I particularly like the idea of using those sample jars of paints  like Martha Stewart’s that Home Depot carries  you can get them in any color, they’re reasonable priced and unlike artist paints there is no mixing required.

Option #1—Artist paints ( I used Winson & Newton water mixable oil paints)

Background—Liquitex Basics, Acrylic Unbleached titanium white

Background Swirl Dots—Newburyportblue by Benjamin Moore (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Liquitex Metallic Silver

Winsor & Newton Oil Soluable Water paints (according to paint-by-number guide above)

  1. Mix Permanent Sap Green & Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
  2. Mix Alizarin Crimson & Magenta
  3. Mixture number 2 plus Titanium White
  4. Dioxazine Purple & Magenta
  5. Permanent Sap Green & White
  6. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  7. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna
  8. Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  9. Cadmium Yellow (pale hue)
Option #2  Martha Stewart’s paint samples (no mixing option)

Background—Glass of Milk

Background Swirl Dots—Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Mirror by Martha Stewart Living

  1. Caper Berry
  2. Beet
  3. Larkspur
  4. Plum Wine
  5. Rhododendron Leaf
  6. Shortbread
  7. Burlap
  8. Toasted Marshmallow
  9. Burl

Tip: While the paint is still wet dry brush the area with some white paint  to add highlights.

Click link below for PDF of sketch
Sketch outline

Happy painting everyone! Please let me know if you tried this and how it turns out.

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects

Product roundup: 9 vases under $50



Vases come in some many different sizes shapes and colors it’s hard to deny their appeal as a versatile addition adding spark and personality to your room. If you’re not looking to break the bank here are 9 stylish options under $50 that will add sass to any space.

Images above: 1. Skyline Vases $14.95–$19.95 (sale) $198; 2. Normann Copenhagen – Kontur Vase $35; 3. Mini Green Porcelain vase $39; 4. Reflective collection vases $31–33 (sm. & med).; 5. Roost Hammered Silver Bottle Vases $50; 6. Blanc Nior Vase $19.99; 7. Malabar Vase $44.95; 8. Lenox Botanical Boutique $42; 9. Ceramic Multi-Vase $12.99–$16.99 (sale);

Budget bathroom redo: Wallpaper removal…check!



Our first stop in the Budget bathroom redo is the the stripping  of the wallpaper. Yup, I know exciting right. I don’t think this is a job that makes anyone go jumping out of bed, but with a some time and elbow grease think we it’ll  totally be worth it .

If you remember our wallpaper used to inspire me to burst into a chorus of U.G.L.Y you ain’t got not alibi…ala Bring It On. Here’s what our bathroom looked like with the U.G.L.Y wallpaper . See how it’s already starting to lift up in the corner? It’s begging to be stripped, right? Yeah, that’s what we thought too.

Oh wallpaper how I’ve wished for you to be gone for so long. Here’s the step by step guide on how we nixed our nasty wallpaper.

Step 1:Loosen the corner with a putty knife. Slide a putty knife under a seam in the wallpaper. Slowly loosen the wallpaper from the wall. IIf you’re wallpaper is anything like ours, it’s already peeling in some corners.

Step 2: Start a’peelin. Slowly start peeling off the top layer of the wallpaper. I’ve learned from some cleaver internet research if it peels off easily then BAM you’re golden otherwise you’re in for hours of tedious scouring, steaming and scraping. Peel the decorative backing off of the walls in the entire room.

Step 3: Scour Spritz, Spray. Start by mixing fabric softener in with Hot water. We used 1 capful to one small spritz bottle. After we peeled back the top layer we were left with the paper backing that originally held the glue. We bought one of those scoring tools and tried that a couple of times but found that just the fabric softener and water left to soak for 10 minutes did the trick. Tip, shut off the electric in the room in case any water you spray runs down your walls into the electrical boxes.

Step 4. Scrape, Scrape, Scrape. Once the Hot water and fabric softener have time to work it’s magic, scrape the paper backing with a putty knife. We’ve heard some horror stories of people not being able get the old wallpaper off the walls. Fortunately for us ours scraped right off the wall with just a little elbow grease.

Step 5.  Tidy up. We’re not kidding this is a messy job. That’s really all there is to it! With a little time and some scraping you too can bid rid of that ugly wallpaper!

Here’s a look at how the bathroom was before we took the wallpaper down.

And here is after, ALL READY FOR PAINT!

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