Spray Painting Vents to Match Your Ceiling

Hey guys! Quick and easy update today. One of those things that takes just a little bit of time but definitely makes your house feel newer and fresher. I’m talking about painting those old, discolored fixtures in your house from beige or yellow to bright white.


These fixtures could be anything- vents, doorbells, random things that you know seem important but you can’t quite figure out what they are (I’m looking at you little thingy in our office ceiling… WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?!)


We’ve given this treatment to several random fixtures around the house, but we’ve only documented a few- our guest bathroom vent cover, smoke alarm cover, and an AC vent in our entry. But don’t worry, they all sorta follow the same path: homeowner sees beige fixture, homeowner hates beige fixture, homeowner ignores beige fixture for way to long because ugh I don’t have time to take this thing off and paint it I’m too busy life-ing, and finally homeowner sucks it up, paints beige fixture, and wonders why she didn’t do it sooner.

So we’ll start with the bathroom vent. Quite gross looking right?


Pretty sure that even though the bathroom itself had been redone by our house’s previous owner, the bathroom vent cover was original to the house. Just screams 1978 to me.

Luckily, after putting it off for months and months (years?) it only took me about two seconds to pop off the cover. I was greeted with some of our orange foam peaking out from our sealing-up-the-attic-before-blowing-insulation days.


I know. So glamorous.

After a few light coats of Rust-Oleum white semi-gloss paint in white, this guy was looking WAY better.


Next was the smoke detector in our hallway. Please, pay no attention to the unfinished gallery wall. Yes we will write a post on it eventually, but no it’s still not finished. Anyways, the cover was simple to pop off by hand.


After a couple coats it blended right into the wall! (upon which the art magically rearranged itself into something more photogenic…)


Another offender was the vent cover in our entry way. He may not look so bad from here…


But man was he UUUUUUHH-glee!


A few screws later, he was off and painted. So shiny and smooth!


From this same view as before, now the vent blends in with the ceiling and the smoke alarm doesn’t distract from the art.


Now instead of being looming beige eyesores that taunt me from their perches, they are perfectly unnoticeable.

This was definitely one of those “why-didn’t-I-do-this-years-ago” projects, so learn from  me and go forth! Paint those vents/smoke alarms/doorbells/whatevers that you’ve been meaning to do forever! You’ll thank me later.

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

One man’s trash is another man’s new faux plant

Ever have those mornings where you’re already kinda late but as you’re pulling out of your driveway you see your neighbor has put a perfectly good indoor plant out by the curb and it’s starting to rain so you know you have to rescue it? Yeah neither do I. Which is why when it DID happen I immediately ran back inside and recruited Evan to help me drag it into the garage, where it would be safe for now and we could tend to it later.

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com

I didn’t get a photo of it out by the street or in the garage (you know, the whole already-late-for-work thing) but here it is once we brought it in later that day. Upon closer inspection, we realized what I thought was a real tree was a faux tree; it’s actually a natural wood trunk with faux leaves attached to it. Which made me even more excited because me + indoor plants = dead plants.

We did need to address that basket though. Even though we had turned a fan on it in the garage to help it dry out, it was still a little damp and gross (hence the clear mat under it in the photo above to protect our floors). Plus it was flimsy and starting to fall apart. I actually had a nightmare that night that the whole thing tipped over because the basket gave out.

So the next day, to target I went. And I found this steal:

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com

I got it for even cheaper than it’s listed online, so I feel like I’m doing ok in life.

It’s a really nice sturdy basket. Sturdy was key if I wanted to stop my nightmares of plants toppling over. I swapped the baskets out and ta da! Instantly gives this guy new life (new faux life?):

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com

When comparing them side by side, the new one looks especially solid and the old one looks especially sad. Sorry old planter.

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com

However, I still waned to make extra extra sure that this thing was not going to tip. There was some extra space at the base of the basket because it’s wider there. So I grabbed some Amazon boxes (which we allllllways have plenty of haha), folded them up, and stuffed them around the outside edges of the basket. Then I covered all the cardboard with some leaves that had fallen and called it good.

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com

I’m still trying to figure out how he’s going to live in relation to our chair and blanket basket (do I have too many large baskets? CAN you have too many large baskets?), but for now we are liking him.

One man's trash is another man's new faux plant - evanandkatelyn.com


DIY Butcher Block Dining Table

Hey y’all! You may have seen on our Instagram recently a post about what the heck we did to our dining table. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a hint: it involved drawing all over and drilling holes into a perfectly good West Elm Parsons table (side note, I think we have an older version because ours is longer than what’s online).

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Are we crazy? A little. Justifiably crazy? I think so! Because the end result of everything was this!

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com But I’ll backtrack a bit and explain how we got here. First off, yes our table was perfectly good. It is SUPER sturdy, has a leaf which made it usable in both our little apartment and our current larger dining room, plus it’s lovely and simple and modern.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com BUT we got it secondhand. And the previous owner had abused it with a combination of things-that-were-too-hot and things-that-were-too-wet. So the oak veneer surface was looking pretty rough. I’ve circled some of of the trouble spots below.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The damaged parts have continued to get worse over time, and we knew eventually we would need a new table. Because our issues stemmed from veneer, we reeeeeally had our hearts set on solid wood. But as you know… Solid wood tables cost an arm, a leg, your first born, and your entire collection of Pokemon cards. Specifically I had my eyes on the Blu Dot Branch table that Chris and Julia are rocking. The light wood top and black metals legs had me all googly eyed, but the $1600 (+ shipping + tax) price tag did not. So I put the solid wood dream temporarily out of my mind.

Then one weekend we found ourselves enjoying $2 hot dog and drink combos at IKEA on an un-table-related trip, and we saw that they have a couple solid wood tables at really good prices (in the $380-$450 range). Ring ring, it’s your hopes and dreams of a solid wood table calling back! Here and here are a couple we saw.

But after some measuring and test-sits, we realized that none of them could fit as many people as our current table, which wasn’t going to work for us. We felt kinda bummed until we made our way to the kitchen area and saw Hammarp butcher block in solid beech on clearance ($49 for the 72″ pieces and $69 for the 98″ pieces)!!!!! Wheels started turning. Could we have the solid wood table top we wanted and whatever size our hearts desired?!?!?

Naturally, we bought the entire remaining stock.

Haha, that sounds way crazier than it is. We actually have several projects in mind that could use butcher block (we’ve already used it once for Evan’s desk – we owe you a post on that!) and the “entire remaining stock” was five pieces of the 98″ length. Sorry everyone else in the Houston area. IKEA is fresh out of Hammarp beech.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We actually had friends coming over for dinner that night so we couldn’t construct the new table quite yet. Butcher block needs to be treated before it’s safe from spills and such. We didn’t feel confident in the neatness of ourselves or our friends when spaghetti sauce is involved, so we decided to start the sealing process before the butcher block was attached to anything. We picked up some of those painting pyramids (how have we gone so long without them?!?) and spaced them out the length of the butcher block, then laid the butcher block on top of them.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We did some research and found that there are basically two options when it comes to sealing butcher block: Waterlox or a mineral oil mix. Waterlox is a little more hardcore: if you stain your butcher block you have to use it to make it food safe, and it’s also very waterproof, but it’s harder to apply. Mineral oil is easier and cheaper, but not as immediately waterproof (it takes lots of applications and builds up more of a seal over time). Since our butcher block was for our table, not near a sink or where food would be prepped, we opted for a mineral oil product. Specifically, this one:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com It’s called The Natchez Solution Complete Furniture Care. It’s got mineral oil, beeswax (which helps fill any little imperfections in the wood) and lemon oil (which helps bring out the natural luster of the wood). It goes on smoothly and has a consistency like… salad dressing? Haha not as liquidy as water, but thin enough to be spread. And it really does make a HUGE visual difference in the look of the wood! In the photo below you can see the difference between wood that’s been oiled and wood that hasn’t.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The whole process was really painless. Plus the oil smells nice :)

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com While I worked on treating the wood, Evan got started doing the scary part:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com So here was the general plan – instead of buying new legs for our butcher block or removing the legs from our current table and using those, we decided to just put the butcher block directly onto the old table. Almost seemed too easy to work haha. So to do this, we needed to:

  1. Draw out guidelines on the old table for placement of the butcher block.
  2. Drill holes through our table (eek!).
  3. Place butcher block along guidelines, and mark through the holes onto the butcher block.
  4. Where we marked, add T-nuts into the butcher block.
  5. Replace butcher block onto table along guides and screw through the holes into the T-nuts.


Not gonna lie, drawing all over our table was a little nerve wracking. It was that once-we-do-this-we’re-committed moment.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We drew one line along the center of our table length-wise, and drew two more lines halfway between the center and the edge.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The center mark was where our two butcher blocks would meet. Our table was 96″ x 38″, and each butcher block was 98″ x 25″, so we needed two. I made a couple illustrations below to show what the plan was.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 2.  DRILL THROUGH TABLE

X marks the spots we drilled in the illustration above. We did have to adjust slightly to avoid hitting some of the leaf hardware, but the adjustments were minor and we still stayed pretty close to the line. This was the scariest part! By the way, our awesome Dewalt 20v drill was Evan’s best friend during this project. We use it FOR SO MANY PROJECTS and it’s a powerhouse. If you’re in the market for a drill, we HIGHLY recommend it.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To keep the drill bit going straight down and not at any funky angles, Evan used this V-drill guide. It’s suuuuper handy. We used it to help us drill all four holes.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 3. PLACE AND MARK BUTCHER BLOCK

In this step we used our guidelines to place the butcher block centered on the table. We had about 6 inches of butcher block overhanding each side width-wise, and about 1 inch on each side length-wise.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Evan got under the table and put some white paint from our paint pen (the same one we used to mark up the table) on the end of his drill bit. He poked it through the holes we drilled in the table and onto the butcher block sitting on top of the table.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Hehe. He’s cute :)


We pulled the butcher block off the table and placed it bottom-side-up on the floor so we could see the paint marks Evan left. Then he measured the depth of our T-nuts and marked that depth on the drill bit so we could drill holes to the perfect depth.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com For those who don’t know, these are T-nuts, which are fasteners that have internal threading you can screw into. We could have just screwed into the butcher block directly, but we knew when we move we might have to remove the table top to make it more portable. Unscrewing and re-screwing into the same hole can eventually weaken the grip you have. These metal internal threads won’t deteriorate like screwing directly into wood would.

So to add the T-nut, Evan first created a recessed area for it to snuggly sit so that it was flush with the bottom of the wood. To do this he used a forstner bit that was the same diameter as our T-nut’s diameter. He also drilled a small pilot hole into the center of the recessed area.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Next he used his drill with the marked bit to drill the correct depth for the T-nut. That cylinder in the middle of the T-nut is where the internal thread is, and that goes into the hole we drilled (the teeth grip it in place). You can see in the photo below how he stopped right at the paint mark.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Evan sprayed the T-nut with super glue accelerant (which is amazing by the way… it makes super glue set INSTANTLY) and then applied super glue to the T-nut and pressed it into the hole. The super glue was an optional step to make things even more secure, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to do it.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To get the teeth of the T-nut to dig in, you whack it with a hammer while having way too much fun not being still enough for your wife to take a photo :P

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Here’s how it looks when it’s in:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 5. ATTACH BUTCHER BLOCK VIA T-NUTS

Almost done guys! The last step was to replace the butcher block on our table, once again aligning with our guidelines and making sure the T-nuts aligned with the holes we drilled in the table earlier. Evan drilled through the holes and into our T-nuts, adding a washer to distribute the force of the screw. He did this through all four holes in the table, so each butcher block was attached at two points.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com That’s the last step! Then we stepped back and admired our beautiful solid wood table top.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We weren’t sure initially how we’d feel about size of the table, since it’s significantly wider now than it used to be. But we don’t mind the overhang of the wood and actually REALLY love how much of a statement the extra big table top makes.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We feel like overall it brightens up the space SO much. It was crazy to see our space go from this:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To this:
DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com
Also we don’t feel like we need a runner anymore. We tried it with the runner but opted to go without it and just place a few simple faux plants (and super cheap planters) from IKEA along the center. The wood is so pretty, it really doesn’t need much on top of it.

After the first few coats of oil soaked in, we had our first dinner on it to make it official!

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We are pretty much enamored with our upgraded table. I like to walk by and pet it with hearts in my eyes. It’s true love!


(2) 98″ Hammarp butcher block in beech: $69.99 (x2)
(4) T-nuts: ~$1 (x4)
(1) Forstner bit: $7.89
(1) Natchez Solution: $15.95
(1) set of painting pyramids: $4.97 (optional)
Drill, bits, screws, washers, V-drill guide, super glue + accelerant, and badass skills already owned.

TOTAL = $172.79

Much cheaper than even the IKEA-level wood tables… and insanely affordable compared to any other solid wood table we found, especially considering how large it is. We are super proud of this and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Have you guys used butcher blocks in any projects? We have a few extras and we can’t wait to decide how to use them, so we’d love to hear what you’ve done!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

We’re on Instagram!

Ok ok. We are probably the LAST home DIY bloggers to get an Instagram account. Blame our day jobs haha! After being an Insta-addict myself for years, I’m pretty excited to get this thing going.


We’ll try to stick to home stuff and refrain from posting lovey dovey selfies and photos of our cat. Ok so the first photo we posted WAS of our cat, but our awesome Persian rug was in the background so it’s ok. But seriously, we plan to post project previews, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and overall more content for our readers (all two of ‘em… hi moms!).

You can follow us at @evanandkatelyn. We’d love to hear your comments, questions, and suggestions, or to just say hi! We try to reply to everyone who comments on the blog and we aim to do the same on Instagram, so don’t be shy.

Now to figure out Snapchat… ha!


The Persian Rug Bug

I’ve been bit. Big time. My Pinterest boards are laden with beautiful, colorful, EXPENSIVE Persian rugs. A few areas in our house were needing a rug update (aka our Target rugs were on their last leg) and I wanted some Persian rugs bad. They add so much warmth to a room and can make an space with otherwise modern/new furniture feel more worldly.

So I hit the internet searching for Persian-looking rugs because a girl can dream but a girl’s also got a budget in mind. I looked for hours upon hours. I hit all the big affordable rug sites: Rugs USA, Overstock, Rugs Direct, Wayfair. I check out what my favorite stores had, like West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Ikea, World Market, Target. I did find one online Persian rug seller called eSaleRugs which was definitely less expensive than others, but still more than we wanted to spend.

Basically, for a few months I spent way more time looking at rugs than any reasonable human being should.

It’s not that these places didn’t have nice rugs, it’s just that we had a combination of hard-to-fit spaces and hard-to-match colors, so nothing seemed quite right. Then eSaleRugs had a pre-Labor Day sale. Clouds parted, light beamed down. It was awesome! I found a bunch of rugs I liked so I mocked up mood boards for each room. Speaking of the rooms, I’ll go through them below.

The biggest offender was our master bathroom. What I really hoped to find was a long runner, but it needed to be 2′ x 7′ which is a hard size to match (most runners are around 2’6″ – 3′ wide). Also it had to be a color that looked ok with our dark green slate tile, which isn’t always the easiest to match.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Below you can see a few of my mocked up options. Lots of red and navy involved

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Next up is our kitchen. This space could handle anything between 2′ x 4′ to 3′ x 5′, so the fit was a little easier, but most rugs listed as 3×5 are actually several inches bigger, which was pushing the max size we wanted in this space. Plus, we had to choose a rug that went with our orangey cabinets- which are of course also hard to match.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.comkitchen-before I searched online and found a lot of options. Below are a handful of the ones I mocked up.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Lastly we have our little second bathroom. The orange rug was ok. I guess. I mean, who’s really excited by standard fuzzy bathroom rugs? Not me. This space was also tricky to fit with anything that WASN’T a bathroom rug, because it needed to be skinnier than 2 feet. And the previous owner chose a purply-gray tile which is, of course, hard to match.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Again, here are some of the options I mocked up.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com So now you see the problem areas. Guess which rug we chose for each room? I’ll make it easy – we picked the bottom left rug in each mockup!


We ordered the three rugs and when one package came in, I was so excited to open my first rug that I asked Evan to film it.

…Little did I know all three rugs were in that compact little package! It was like Christmas.

So we excitedly set up our tripod to get these cool before and after shots. Isn’t it crazy how much more finished the spaces look now? Granted, our old rugs really were cheap, temporary fixes that lived on way too long, but I don’t think I realized how “temporary” they made our spaces feel until I saw the new rugs in place.

All of a sudden our master bathroom felt like two actual adults live here! This Persian rug was newly made, so it was a little cheaper for it’s size than the other two.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Our kitchen also now feels balanced and anchored. The old rug was so light and airy it was sort of overpowered by our dark counters and wood cabinetry. This rug is 40-50 years old – older than our house even!

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com And our little guest bathroom finally looks a little less dorm-y. This one is 30-35 years old.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com I’ll post stills of the afters below in case the GIF’s aren’t doin’ it for ya.

The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com The Persian Rug Bug - evanandkatelyn.com Overall we are SO pleased with this change. As we continue to live and grow in this house, I’m loving updating to more permanent, nicer things as our style evolves (not that I don’t still LOVE Ikea and Target – I do!). My question for other twenty-somethings in their first house is this: What things do YOU do to upgrade the feel of your house from “apartment” to “adult-y”? Is it something like adding in older pieces like we did with the rugs? Paying a little extra for higher quality furniture? Mixing in more traditional styles? Or converting that extra bedroom to a ballpit because you’re a grown up and you do what you want!

Bonus “Mochi approves of this rug” pic. Because she’s cute.



Caster Coffee Table

As y’all know, we recently turned our former workout room into Evan’s new office. Which is great for Evan’s goal of having a functional workshop, but not so great for our goal of working out on a semi-regular basis.

As much as part of us would like to say “oh no, guess we can’t work out so we’ve gotta binge watch Steven Universe instead,” we know we’ve gotta have a space to work out in. And I work out to YouTube videos, so it needed to be a space with a TV. Our living room was the logical answer. We’ve got a nice big space in front of our TV on the rug, but unfortunately a super heavy storage coffee table sits in the middle of that. So we decided to make that super heavy storage coffee table mobile.


We looked at different types of casters we could add, but because the base our table sits on is smaller that the size of the top, we didn’t want something that would raise it up and potentially make it topple over easily. Plus we didn’t feel like the look of traditional casters would look great with the style of this table. So we opted for roller ball transfer bearings that would sit as flush as possible to the underside of the table.


And wow… it was so easy. We just removed the storage drawers, turned the table upside down…


screwed the four casters into the four corners through the holes in their plates…


flip and mess around with it (not necessary, but recommended)…


and re-assemble!


It’s super functional and easy to roll out of the way when we need to workout, yet it still feels really sturdy and it didn’t change the look of our table. Now we want to add casters to ALL THE THINGS. Bench in our entry way? Casters. How about our desks? Casters. Mochi’s litter box? Casters.


Cheers to a quick, easy, and super functional project.


Fixing a bathtub with a 3d printer

Hey y’all, Evan here! *gasp* yes I know I haven’t posted in forever, I’ll try to be better! I’ve actually started my own freelance product design and engineering consulting company at eksdesigns.com, which has been keeping me very busy, but hopefully this will also lead to some more crossover posts.  As you might have seen in “office saga continues“, I’ve setup a home office that is very much still in progress but I’ll get working on an update posts with lots of fun things in it such as a custom standing desk, new shelves, and other storage solutions.

For now I thought I would dip my toe back into blogging with how my 3d printer totally saved us. Now to add a qualifying remark here: 3d printing is awesome and you should totally get a printer but it really is only useful if you have 3d modeling skills or are up for learning the programs you need to make 3d printed parts.

For ours I went with a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3d printer (there are so many types out there but most consumer ones use are FFF) from Lulzbot called the TAZ.

lulzbot-taz So to get into the problem, the hot water handle on our bath tub broke… Not an easy to replace part either. It was the stem coming from the valve that broke in half. No good way to get a good picture of it so I found this illustration online that will help:

Two-handle_faucets  (source unfortunately unknown and unattributed)

Now to replace the stem I would have to replace the valve itself, which was underneath the frame of the bathtub and completely inaccessible without tearing up our slate tiles (not at all an appealing idea). I noticed however that the stem that broke off was actually threaded! Using my nut and bolt thread checker (must have tool in my opinion, so good) I found out that the threads were M6-1.0.


This lead to the temporary solution below of a bolt and hex key as a make shift handle:


Not at all pretty but it got me thinking of printing an adapter between the bolt and the handle… Using my calipers I measured the broken off stem and modeled it in Solidworks (but plenty of other cheaper/free 3d modeling software out there).


simple-adapter 61yJDhVX39L._SL1000_

To strengthen the print I added a hex key down the shaft and then glued it together with cyanoacrylate (typical “super glue”) with a kicker. Now I really never understood how great super glue could be until I used it with the kicker/accelerant/insta-cure. Usually you have to find a way to hold two objects in compression for 10 minutes, then 24 hours for full cure. Most of what I’ve tried gluing together are not easy to hold without movement while maintaining compression. This kicker allows for setting in just seconds though. You can put super glue on one side and the kicker on the other or just spray the kicker on top and BOOM you got a good solid connection. I also didn’t know recently that there was a super glue debonder. Great for when you glue your fingers together and don’t want to rip the skin. Or you know, to debond your actual parts. It stinks and is super strong, but works well! Anywho, back to the project…


Using this little guy allowed me to connect to the original handle!

ezgif-1363390562 Success!!!

ezgif-2331949995 I know this post may be a little technical and not applicable to those without 3d printers but I wanted to share a nice little successful project with y’all. Let me know what you think about these types of posts!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


Bedroom art + how to mockup a gallery wall

After having our flooring installed in the bedrooms, I’ve been feeling inspired to spruce up those rooms even more. It’s like when you get a new haircut and you feel inspired to buy a new top too. Or when you have a few bites of chips and salsa and you’re inspired to finish a whole basket.

Our master bedroom has always been a room that’s looked pretty good, but didn’t have enough stuff going on. And by stuff, I mean art. For all the art we have in our house, we only had two pieces in there – not nearly enough!

IMG_7103 copy Which is why we really only ever show this side of the room. It’s pretty finished looking. But the other side of our space has always looked like this.

bedroom art blank small Womp womp. Lotsa black between the dressers and TV and not much else (although I do like our vases from Tarjay and basket from West Elm!)

With all the extra art in our house, there was really no excuse to not put some on that wall. Plus, I’ve never placed art in a space with a sloped ceiling – new challenge!

The way I like to approach gallery walls is how any designer with a Photoshop addiction would: I ‘shop it up before actually doing anything. So I took the above photo of our wall and then took photos of art around the house that I thought could look nice together. Cut out art, paste onto wall, and boom- art gallery mockup (see below).

bedroom art mockup Of course, not everyone has access to Photoshop. But there are other ways to do this folks. One easy method is to use PowerPoint – insert the blank wall photo into a slide, then insert the art photos on top of it. Use the crop tool to crop the art photos in so that no background is showing behind the art. Arrange around wall and marvel at your work.

You could even print out your photos at home and literally cut out the art photos and rearrange them in printed form. You might have to play around with how big you print each art piece so that it is properly sized in relation to the other pieces, but it could work!

Once we had the digital mockup in place, we got out our laser level (Evan has this cool self-leveling one) and started placing things. It was great to be confident in our placement and arrangement of different pieces. Also, Mochi loves laser levels. WAY more than laser pointers.

File_003 Piece by piece we added more art, using the mockup as a guide.

File_0010 A quick tip – if you’re ever hammering a nail into the wall and it goes in too far, use something thin and flat, like this tiny spatula we had, to protect the wall when you’re pulling the nail out.

File_0030 This was a super quick gallery wall – and it adds a ton of life into the room!

IMG_8092 It may seem like a simple change but I think it makes a huge visual difference!

ba After realizing when we did this wall that we had never shared a full view of our room, we snapped some cool fish eye photos with the Go-Pro!


DCIM100GOPROGOPR0772. Well there you have it! A few ways to mockup a gallery wall before you make it, and some new art now adding color to our master bedroom.


Floor like, ever

Y’all. We did it. We are finally getting rid of our carpet once and for all!! Happy dance!!!!!

Those who have been reading our blog since its infancy will remember that swapping out our nasty old carpet and cracked white tile for beautiful, high quality laminate wood flooring was one of the first projects we ever did at the house. And by we, I mean a team of professionals we hired. We need to make a few more sacrifices to the DIY gods before we have the balls to tackle something that big. Which is why this time around, we hired the same guys again to install the same flooring in our bedrooms!

bedroom carpet tryptic We made this decision just in time too- when we called to set things up, we found out our flooring is actually being discontinued!

But before we could get anything installed, we had to remove alllll the furniture from our bedrooms. And our bedroom closets (anything on the floor at least). So our house has been looking a little ragged.

File_000 IMG_7894 combo copy Meanwhile, we realized how sad our bedrooms look with everything removed.

bedroom carpet tryptic empty But honestly, it’s been fun camping in the living room so we aren’t complaining :)

File_000 (2) And it’s been even more fun to see the floors making their way little by little throughout our bedrooms!

bedroom carpet tryptic progress We also had some water damage by our back door after the Houston floods this year. It caused our floors to swell so much that we could barely open the door. So we got a few boards back there replaced too.

File_002 (1) The whole project just took two days- which is massively impressive to me after seeing all the work that goes into it. We are so glad we bit the bullet and got the floors we wanted!

Having the same flooring flow from the hallway into each bedroom makes everything feel more seamless and open. Which is especially important when you have a relatively tiny hallway and relatively tiny second bedrooms. Speaking of which, here’s how they looked once the floors were done!

IMG_7910 IMG_7912 IMG_7911 We are so excited to move our stuff back in and maybe even rearrange the layout of furniture in the rooms. Evans office especially is going to (hopefully) look a little different once we add everything back in.


Office Saga Continues

Oh ye olde office. The room we have arranged, rearranged, and cursed more than any other room in our house. We’ve tried (and failed) for about 3 years to somehow make it a functional but still pretty space. 

officex4 Usually, Evan and I are pretty good about coming to that form and function balance. But when it comes to the office, we’ve struggled. If it was up to me we’d have upholstered West Elm chairs with fuzzy throws, desks adorned with faux succulents and copper pencil holders, and magically none of our technology would need wires. If it was up to Evan, our office would be a maker workshop complete with a 3D printer, enough tools to qualify as a second garage, and a growing collection of way more computers than two people should own.

We also had the problem of not wanting to invest in nicer office furniture pieces, so we have held onto our old Ikea desks and Besta units. Mainly because we never knew if we’d be keeping the office out in the open like this or one day moving it to a bedroom.

IMG_7000 So after 3 years of half-assery in the office department, we bought a 3D printer. And thus the office-battle paradigm was shifted. There was no room for it in the already furniture-packed little space, and even if there had been it’s not something we wanted out in the open area of our home. So we turned our junk room-turned-wedding-room-turned-workout-room into Evan’s office/workshop. We actually got rid of a LOT of stuff before moving it in here… but it’s still a lot of stuff to wrangle, and it’s looking a little crazy right now.

IMG_7881 Here’s a look at the other side of the room. Nerf guns are VERY important in an office :P

IMG_7882 Now instead of one office that wasn’t quite pretty enough for me and wasn’t quite functional enough for Evan, we have a very functional but good-thing-we-can-close-the-door messy office in the extra bedroom, and one prettier but seldom used office still in our main living area. Here’s how our old office area is looking these days.

IMG_7532 IMG_7485 You might recognize the large scale art from our post a while back about painting over big, cheap Ikea prints here.

IMG_7534 So… win? Lose? We both got what we wanted in a way, but now I’m realizing two things: a) I don’t actually need an office since I’m not a full-time freelancer anymore, and b) if left to his own devices my husband would turn our house into a Mythbusters-level workshop/maker space.

I guess for now we will consider it good progress because at least we are moving forward and trying things out! Next steps include improving storage in Evan’s office, considering alternate uses for the space that is now my office, and potentially working toward making our guest room a multifunctional space by moving the office into there (and turning that closet into a mini 3D printer workspace!)

Stay tuned!