Archive | Before & After

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.

Spray Painting Vents to Match Your Ceiling -

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…)

Spray Painting Vents to Match Your Ceiling -

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!

Spray Painting Vents to Match Your Ceiling -

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

Spray Painting Vents to Match Your Ceiling -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -


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 - Are we crazy? A little. Justifiably crazy? I think so! Because the end result of everything was this!

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

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table -

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

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

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

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - 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 - 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 - DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - To this:
DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - DIY Butcher Block Dining Table -
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 - 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!

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 - Below you can see a few of my mocked up options. Lots of red and navy involved

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

The Persian Rug Bug - 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!

The Persian Rug Bug -

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 - 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 -

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

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

The Persian Rug Bug - The Persian Rug Bug - The Persian Rug Bug - The Persian Rug Bug - 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.



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.

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop - 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!

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop - 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!

Bedroom art + how to mock up a gallery wall even if you don't have photoshop -

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!


Big Ass Art Using an Ikea Print – 2!

Hey y’all! I’m back with our second adventure in giant cheap re-purposed canvases and lots (lots!) of paint. If you missed the first giant Ikea print we painted over, you can check it out here.

IMG_7490 Evan hit the ground running on that painting and had it done in about an hour. Which in my mind is pretty amazing. Not to brag on my hubby, but he’s got mad confidence with a paint brush.

Me, not so much. I work more in the digital art side of things, meaning if I can’t ctrl-Z away a mistake, I get a little nervous/sweaty. So thinking about painting a giant 55” x 39” canvas had me doubting my skills. But determined to turn this old print into something we really loved, I grabbed some tape, some paint, and a big brush and I got to work on that canvas. Very. Slowly.

I started by taping off the edges to protect the frame, then I roughly painted a coat of white over the old print. I didn’t worry about getting the white perfect- it just needed to be a light base for the other colors to go over, like a primer.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! What followed is a clear evidence of me not knowing what the heck I was doing. I’m a planner y’all, and when I don’t plan, bad stuff happens. I really struggled at the beginning, but then I realized the ctrl-Z of acrylic paint is just add more paint. So that’s what I did. In 15-20 minute increments over the course of a few weeks, my painting evolved:

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! I just squeezed paint directly onto the canvas and mixed it with any other colors that were still wet. First I tried a combination of long and short brush strokes, then I settled on short and it started looking a lot more like an actual painting. Finally I looked at it and said hey! I think I’m done!

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art!  Just to be sure we hung it up on the wall before taking the tape off the edges. After a couple days of still liking it, the tape came off and we called this baby officially complete! (sorry the gif is so dark- did it at night, was too excited to wait for good lighting!)


Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! And this concludes our big ass Ikea print double feature! After the success of these two, we are seriously considering buying more prints just to paint over them next time we want a really big canvas! It really does feel good to turn something you’re “meh” about into something you’re “wow!” about.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art!


Big ass art using an Ikea print

You may remember a couple large Ikea prints that lived in our apartment above our desks. At one time or another, each of these made their way onto our dining room built-ins. You can see them both in the photo below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For a while after we moved into the house this one hung out in our dining room:

IMG_3271 And by the time we swapped out our light fixture, we had swapped the big paintings too.

IMG_6100 We loved the size of those things but we were getting tired of the prints themselves. When you’re getting tired of something SO BIG, it’s very frustrating because it’s not like you can just pretend you don’t see it.

We originally thought about getting rid of them, but then we realized hey- if you can’t beat em, paint em! After all, at $49.99 and 55″x39″ it would be way more expensive to go out and buy a frame and blank canvas of that size.

I mocked up a few photoshop color schemes to see what we would look good before we committed with actual paint. There was already a lot going on on our shelves, and with such a large canvas, it could get crazy and overbearing fast, so we wanted something more abstract and sublte.

Evan first started by taping off the frame and painting a layer of white over the whole canvas. Well, except not in that order, because it wasn’t til after he started painting that we realized taping the frame off would be a good idea. Ooops!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Painting something so big can be a little daunting. Unless you’re my husband, who did this whole thing in about an hour flat! Look at him go!


One reason he was able to do it in one sitting is because we mixed a slow-dry medium with the paint that kept it workable for longer. So he never had to worry about the paint drying out too fast.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - We used acrylic paint, which adhered well to the sorta fakey-canvas (it wasn’t actually a true canvas material, but it was close enough). Something like watercolor for example may not have stuck as well. We are super happy with how it turned out!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - After looking at the photo above we realized a lot has changed on our built-ins since we actually took this picture, and especially since the last time they were featured on the blog. Crazy how much of a difference little changes here and there can make over the course of a few years! Here are the built ins (with the big art) now!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - The large piece is perfect for layering with other art, which is great because art is something we have a LOT of in this house. Also before you ask, yes, that is a tiny 3D printed octopus sitting on the frame.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - And here’s a fun little side by side. The shelves look so empty in the beginning (the far left).

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - After seeing the finished product we started thinking that we might even go buy MORE of these cheap Ikea prints simply to have a huge frame and canvas to paint on at a low price. But before we buy more ourselves, we have a second big ass Ikea print to take care of… and I’m gonna attempt to paint that one, so wish me luck!


Patio! Finally!

Do you guys remember wayyyyyy back when we first bought the house and wrote a couple big lists of all the projects we still wanted to tackle? Let’s take a moment to throw our heads back and laugh at those lists. Ha! Hahahaha! Most of that stuff never happened.

IMG_0812 copy BUT there is one thing that did happen. One BIG thing. We upgraded our patio y’all!

20151108_103834 You may remember our teeny patio of yore. It was about 10ft x 10ft and had sunk several inches into the ground over its 38 year lifespan (we’re prettttttty sure it’s original to the house. It was in that bad of shape). It was barely enough space for a grill and a couple fold out chairs.

IMG_0813 We naively thought that we would someday bust it up ourselves and lay a new patio like true DIY-ers. We even bought a sledgehammer for that very purpose and went as far as taking a practice swing. We should have listened to Evan’s mom in the clip below.

Thinking we had done enough work for that day, we hung up the sledgehammer. And the patio stayed as is for almost 3 years.

Along the way, my parents gave us their old fire pit and we squeezed that onto the small space. Then we scored 6 free curbside patio chairs a neighbor was getting rid of and things got really crowded. Like can’t-even-walk-back-there-without-banging-a-shin crowded. So-bad-we-never-took-a-photo crowded.

20150913_175341 We held off on upgrading the patio for years because we weren’t sure how much we would actually use it (Houston weather is humid 60% of the time, all the time). But for some reason, getting these free chairs spurred us into action. Probably because with their addition, it was really pretty impossible to get around, and our options were either get rid of them or finally commit to something we’ve kinda been wanting to do anyway for years. Commitment it is!

First we had to figure out what we wanted. We knew we wanted concrete instead of pavers since it’s quicker and cheaper, and we didn’t mind the clean look of it. But having concrete means you can’t pour over any important lines buried under your yard. (Pavers are different because they can be pulled up individually if necessary). So we called the utility companies to come out and mark where our lines were. They spray painted but it was hard to see so I photoshopped the lines in.

IMG_1361 copy We decided to expand away from the house as far as we could (up to the edge of the gas line), go almost the neighbors fence back there, and almost to where our gutter drains (didn’t want to deal with drainage issues) . This gave us a pretty solid working area.

We called a guy we found on Angie’s list, he met us the next morning to give us a quote, and by that afternoon we pulled the trigger and he and his team got started ripping the old patio up. Can you believe there was about 6 inches of concrete buried into the ground? That’s how much it had sunk over the years!

IMG_7873 He texted me pics throughout the day of the progress they were making. I don’t think I’ve ever stared at my phone so much waiting for a text (except maybe when Evan and I first started text-flirting back in the day).

New patio! Usually I have little pangs of doubt when we decide to hire out a job instead of DIY it ourselves. But look at all this stuff that was hauled out of our yard. No more doubt here.

IMG_7879 By the next day we had a finished patio!

New patio! Crazy to think that such a big change can happen in just a couple days!! We basically tripled our patio square footage!


20151108_103834 We’ve since taken a few steps to pretty it up, but this post is already getting long so we’ll save those updates for another day! For now, please excuse us while we dance around our patio simply because we ACTUALLY HAVE THE SPACE TO DO SO! :D

New patio! Oh and what’s that ladder doing out there you ask? That’s news for another post! :)