Basement Remodel: Paint and Crown

Last week, I showed off the new basement floors.  It took us a while to get to the point where we were ready to install the floors. Earlier this Spring we hired out the job of painting the ceiling, installing some crown and doing a final count of paint on the walls.  It was probably the best decision we’ve made in a while! (Thanks Jim!)

On the left is where we started (this picture was taken during our home inspection) and the right is where we were when all the painting was done. What a difference right?Basement Update Before and After

Looking back, I almost can’t believe we bought a house with a basement that looked like this! All of that wallpaper! The hideous dark brown molding everywhere! The blue carpet. The hideous wetbar.

Basement Wet Bar - Before

Oh, and then when we got the first layer of wallpaper off, we found the second layer… Oh man, then stories this wallpaper must have been able to tell.Tikibar Basement Wallpaper

The place already looked SO much better after Jim got the crown up. We selected a narrow composite crown molding since our ceilings are low and we needed it to fit between the window molding and the ceiling.

I was really happy that we realized that the ceiling needed painting, as it looked seriously yellow once we had the crown up.

Walls and Ceiling - Crown

And here it is after Jim got some paint on the ceiling. What a difference right?! Oh we also updated the bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling with inexpensive lights from Ikea. Andy’s dad helped to install them last fall when he was here (thanks Chris!) and although they’re not the most beautiful, they are unobtrusive, inexpensive, and bright!Walls and Ceiling - Ready for Floors


Venturing into Urban Gardening

Basil! Radishes! I can’t believe Andy’s gardening adventure is already paying off.



Oh, I guess I should tell you how we got here.  With the lack of blogging and all it was probably to miss that we built a veggie garden (although I did post about it on Instagram {ThisSarahLoves} – you should follow me there for little in-progress project snippets).

We meant to build a raised garden bed last summer, but never got around to it. We saw a DIY vinyl kit at Costco a while back, and almost bought it, until we realized that 4’x8′ was WAY too big for our backyard. Instead, we found this 4’x4′ cedar kit at Home Depot. We added organic dirt, and grabbed a bunch of seedlings and some seed packets to fill it.

The kit was SUPER easy to put together. In the time it took me to run to the car and back (to grab the weed barrier pins) my dad and Andy built pretty much the entire thing!

Backyard - Garden Bed Build

We filled the bed with organic raised planter bed dirt (we just found it at Home Depot) and used twine and a staple gun to divide the garden into 16 square feet. Next, with Penelope’s help  we planted our seedlings and seeds. We bought a selection of herbs and veggies. (The unlabeled one, is bee balm, to help attract bees and butterflies to our garden).



It looked a little sparse when we first planted everything, but we probably should’ve been a little more careful about the size some of these would get! The poor lavender in the back corner is being a little over-shadowed by the Zucchini, and two dill plants were probably one too many.  Oh and we realized we don’t really like basil all that much…


Here we are one month in! Can you believe how much everything has grown?! The carrots stand a chance now that we pulled out the crop of radishes in the front-center part of the bed. The basil also looks a bit healthier after a trim.  Oh and the rosemary got a bit of a haircut too to help season the leg of lamb we had this evening.

Can you believe this is where we started about 18 months ago? Shrubs, shrubs, and more shrubs!

Backyard - Before


Hairpin Leg Coffee Table

Finally, a post that’s NOT about sewing! Aren’t you excited?! Ever since we assembled the Karlstad, we knew we needed a new coffee table. A couple of weeks ago we sold the coffee table on Craigslist to give us the kick in the pants we needed to figure it out. And here she is!

SONY DSC Continue reading

Living Room Upgrade

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that our living room was overflowing with boxes.  The good news is we no longer have the boxes; the bad news is there are two couches in my living room (one of which is the massive Karlstad sectional). It took 4 of us about 1.5 hours to put the couch together (and another 30 minutes to move things around in the living room.)

You may recall, that this is what our living room has looked like for the last few weeks. (I think it’s probably been months, but I’m going to keep saying weeks because it makes me feel better, okay?)

The Current State of our Living Room - Karlstad Boxes


Within minutes of walking in the house, my cousin decided that the boxes had to go and the couch had to be assembled.  We stashed the side chairs in the basement and cleared some space to build the couch. There were A LOT of pillows. And a lot of small little Ikea screws and bolts, but we split into teams and got the couch built in record time.


We had only two minor injuries; and I was the unfortunate recipient of both. One bonk on the head with a piece of wood during the building phase and one elbow to the nose during the fluffing phase. I’m happy to report it was nothing an ice-pack couldn’t fix!
New Couch - The Process


I LOVE the fabric we chose for the cover – it’s the Isunday Grey.


And here it is! It takes up approximately the same floor space as the brown sofa / rattan chair combo, but it feels like there’s so much more space to sit (and in reality there is, since we added the corner and subtracted a bunch of the sofa and chair arms).


The brown couch is currently sitting between this couch and the bar. Since it’s a super-heavy sofa-bed, we won’t be moving that into the basement until after the floors/walls are done down there.

Sarah Signature

Dining Room Updates

Since the last time I showed you the dining room, we’ve made a few changes: we got a new, bigger table; two extra chairs; found a table cloth that fits the new bigger table; and switched some art around!Dining Update - New Table

We used to have the small Bjursta, which really only seated 4 even with both leaves pulled out, mainly because of the leg placement. We managed to get 6 people at the table for Easter when my parents and my cousins were in town, but honestly, it wasn’t the most comfortable!

After lots of back and forth, and spending way too much time looking at tables online and in person, we realized that we didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a table that may only be our “just for now” table.  So we took advantage of Ikea’s family price on the bigger Bjusta (the 4 to 8 seater) and super-sized our table.

Dining Update - New Table

It may not be the prettiest, but it’s functional, and both the price and size I wanted! We never had any trouble with the little Bjursta in about 6 or 7 years and about 4 moves, so we’re hoping not to have any trouble with this one either!

And since we could now seat 6, we needed two more chairs. I like the idea of adding unique chairs at the head of the table, but wasn’t sure if I wanted nice upholstered ones that could easily be pulled into the living room or something more fun. When I found these metal bucket chairs for about half the price I thought I’d have to pay for anything else, I was sold, and immediately loaded them into my cart.

Dining Update - New Chairs and Table

I love how the rounded backs coordinate with the rounded backs on the wood chairs, without looking like we tried to make a set of something that’s clearly not a set. Penny approves too, although they’re not her favorite surface to sit on. (I think they remind her of the stainless table at the v-e-t-‘s office.)

I like protecting the table, and adding a bit of softness on that side of the room with a table cloth. This table has strange dimensions (long and narrow), so I had a bit of trouble finding the right size at first, but I found this linen look one at Home Goods and it’s a good size.  For once I’m actually hoping it shrinks a bit in the wash!

Dining Update - New Table Cloth

Here’s one last look at the table cloth. I’m thinking that once the canvases also move down to the basement (no idea what will go on this wall then!), I’d love to add some more of this golden yellow color to the room to add some warmth.Dining Update - New ChairsWhat room in your house seems to get a disproportionate amount of your attention? I feel like I should much rather be working on the master bath or the basement, (or the kitchen or our bedroom), but instead I keep tweaking the dining room.  Maybe it’s because I can see it from the couch?

Sarah Signature

Basement Color Inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing around the blogosphere, and happened upon Lucy from Craftberry Bush’s Summer house tour.  I spotted a gorgeous painting in her house and I just had to have it. Luckily, after clicking around a bit, I realized that not only is Lucy the artist, but she sells prints of her art, including this gorgeous seagull print.

So about a week later, this arrived at my doorstep.  Gorgeous no? These colors will be the inspiration for the basement, you know once we have the walls, and molding, and floors sorted out…

New Art - Seagull Print


Of course I couldn’t possibly just leave this gorgeous print in its shipping tube for the next few months, so when we took our visitors to check out Ikea, we also picked up one of their giant frames (the Ribba in high-gloss gray) and another print that had a smaller mat in it.  The mat the frame came with was slightly off-white and much too big for the print. However they had some pre-matted art prints on sale for just $10, so we picked up a print we didn’t care for just to use the mat.

Inexpensive Art Upgrade


Here’s how it turned out. Apologies for the glare – I did the best I could to minimize it.

New Art on the Wall - Seagull Closeup

Rather than lean another piece of art against the wall, I grabbed a nail and hung it in an open spot in the dining room. It looks gorgeous there, and I think in the long run I’ll replace it with another large scale print, when we move the seagull (and probably the fabric covered canvases) down to the basement.

New Art on the Wall - Seagull

How do you pick art? Any new favorites?

Sarah Signature


Keeping Cool

I know that ceiling fans are pretty much the devil of the design blog world, but let’s face it, moving air > stale air. And if you don’t like running the A/C all day long, fans are a must.  So I’m here to announce that the the picture below is the “after” and not the before!

Master Bedroom - New Fan

In fact, here’s the fan we inherited when we moved in.  Can you say “monstrosity”!  It was WAY too low for the ceiling height, not to mention quite dated.  It also had a giant light on it, which we never used since we have a bright standing lamp and two bedside lamps.  Despite it being hideous, we used the original fan a lot, so we looked for a non-offensive one to replace it with.

Master Bedroom - Old Fan

We found this one at Home Depot. We made sure to search for one that allowed for a close to the ceiling mount, since our ceilings are pretty low.  This weekend, while most of us went shopping, Andy and my cousin removed the monstrosity and installed our new sleek, flush mount, ceiling fan.

Master Bedroom - New Fan from Bed

And the best part is that we got an inexpensive on/off remote kit so we can easily turn the fan off and on, as it’s not wired to the light switch. We chose to go with one that doesn’t allow for speed control, since we pretty much just leave the fan on slow all the time.

Master Bedroom - New Fan Remote

Here it is in all of its spinning glory. I am so excited to no longer have to stare at the giant light and ugly wicker blades.  Maybe someone at Goodwill will be able to give the old monstrosity a new life…

Master Bedroom - New Fan Spinning


How do you feel about ceiling fans? Yay or nay?

Sarah Signature