Tag Archives | dining room

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall

We have a lotttt of art. Evan and I both paint/draw, we have artists in the family so we collect art from them, and I have a tendency to save things that I think might make good art someday (a pretty page from a magazine or calendar for example). So yeah, we are overflowing.

Therefore, we’re no strangers to gallery walls. In fact, we have a 23 foot gallery that takes up an entire wall in our living room! But we’ve always played it safe in one regard – when we do frames our frames match, and when we do canvases we do alllll canvases. The living room wall has been 100% wrapped canvases until very recently. Here is a pic of how it looked when we first put it up, and it stayed that way for a couple years.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

A few months ago we decided to start mixing things up and we added some black framed art to our canvas-dominated wall.

The other gallery walls in our house were all black frames – and not even different black frames, all the EXACT same black frame in different sizes. In our dining room I just recently added, prepare yourself, art with slightly different black frames. (those three with the mats…. yes, so different)

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

So after dipping my toes into the mix-and-match-frame pool, I decided it was time to actually jump in. The plan was to fill another wall and not be so matchy matchy about the frames, type of art, etc. The wall we chose for the job: our empty hallway.

You may have guessed that already if you remember seeing a few frames peeking out in our post about painting your yellowy fixtures white. That was somewhere in the middle of operation mix-match, but it’s evolved quite a bit since then. I’m going to show you how it turned out, and walk you through our method.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

So there are two ways you can go about starting a gallery wall:

  1. You can look at the art/photos you already have and then go buy frames for whatever needs frames. Or,
  2. You go buy frames you think will make a nice arrangement, then buy/make/print things to go into said frames.

Because we wanted to get some photos printed and we had enough extra art laying around that we could fill various frame sizes, we went with option 2. If you have one or more specific pieces, option 1 might be a better bet for you.

We’ve tried a lot of different methods when it comes to putting up gallery walls, but in our experience the fastest/simplest route is to lay everything out on the floor in front of the wall, eyeball where the middle piece should go, and work your way out from the middle. Some people will recommend getting butcher paper, cutting out pieces that match your frame size, and arranging those on the wall with tape first, but I think that takes wayyyyy too long. I figure with our method, worst case scenario is that we have to move our art around and fill a few nail holes (or just cover the holes with more art, am-I-right?).

We already had extra black frames, and I wanted to incorporate some white frames, so I decided to get a mix of black and white, some thick, some thin, some with mats, and some without. I laid these out, along with some existing canvases.  The lower left and upper right canvases were just spare ones that I planned to paint over.

So here it is up on the wall. Meh. Something just felt kinda off and not cohesive (and I promise I was trying as hard as I could to use my imagination and see past the frame “filler images” and the smoke alarm with no face).

So I rearranged it to the version you saw from the vent posts. I painted the fern art, the cross-hatch piece in the middle of the bottom row, and the mountain piece in that’s cut off on the bottom left.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

This was definitely better and we kept it like this for a long time. Then I saw the gold Target frames. I immediately bought three in all different sizes and knew I had to make them work somehow. But with our mix of unframed pieces (canvas), white framed pieces, and black framed pieces, I wasn’t crazy enough to add another variable. So I moved a few of these guys to the living room gallery, and painted any black frames that remained with a semi-gloss white spray paint.

After much rearranging, and finally getting off my butt to get some wedding and vacation photos printed, I landed on this layout and I love it!

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

Being in a long skinny hallway, it’s not the easiest to take pictures of, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how it turned out.

Doing a mix-matched gallery wall - evanandkatelyn.com

It was definitely worth the wait because we love the balance of art and photos, the various sizes and how they all play together, and the color scheme that ended up kinda materializing on it’s own (blues, greens, and golds).

Hope this shows that it’s ok for your walls to be continually evolving. It’s worth a few extra nail holes to just start somewhere, even if you don’t quite know where you’re going yet. After seeing how this hallway turned out, now I’m wanting to make even more changes in our living room and dining room – so expect more art wall updates to come!

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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.

1.  DRAW GUIDELINES

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 :)

4. ADD T-NUTS TO BUTCHER BLOCK

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!

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

(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!

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It’s Curtains For Ya! Curtains!

Up until this point, all of our projects have been necessary for the function and/or structure of our home. We thought it would be better to do those projects sooner rather than later, since you know making our house safe and fully functional is sort of important.

But after getting our electrical problems fixed, getting a new roof, building a duct bridge in the attic, installing new floors, fixing a non-draining toilet, clamping a slow-leaking pipe, replacing another pipe with PEX, attempting to level the floors in our laundry room, hiring someone for that instead, removing a loose tile in our bathroom, attempting to remove the old caulk/grout, hiring someone for that instead too, and completing our CRAZY attic project… we were ready to do something that would actually start making the house LOOK more like ours.

Enter curtains, stage left.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

Curtains are one of those things that you don’t think you need til you put them up and realize how plain, bare, and sad your windows looked before. (PS, don’t mind the traveling black Besta cabinet lurking back there. He and his twin have been roaming around since the house tour as we play with new layouts for the media center).

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

Isn’t it crazy how much curtains soften the room? And make our windows look like two large ones instead of five small ones?

We had these curtains and curtain rods up in our old apartment. Everything is from IKEA. Seeing this picture of our finished apartment makes me want to get cracking on the living room in our house! One small step for curtains, one giant leap for living room kind. Wait that doesn’t make sense.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

Hanging curtains is pretty easy, just be sure your curtain rods are level, your curtains are the length you want, and know where your studs are. I found my stud right here, heyo!

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

Hehehehe. While I gathered the curtains and rods out of deep closet storage, Evan tested the studfinder. Mochi helped.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

Then it was time to mark where each curtain rod holder would go and screw them in! If you have to use an extension cord for your drill like we did, it’s a good idea to loop it around your belt loop like so. This helps maintain enough slack and keeps your cords from unplugging from each other.

Also, definitely use a laser level instead of just measuring up from your floors or down from your ceilings. ESPECIALLY if you live in an older house like us where you can’t count on ceilings and floors being perfectly level. One last tip- most people on the internet may know this by now, but sticking a folded sticky note to the wall under your drill hole (see in pic below) will help keep drywall dust from getting onto your floor.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

This was one of those projects where normally Evan’s height would be an advantage, but in the dining room where the ceiling is dropped he ran HEADfirst into a little trouble! Eh? Eh? HEADfirst! I crack myself up.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

But even my formerly non-curtain-owning fiance agreed that it was well worth the effort to be able to sit back and enjoy the view.

It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - evanandkatelyn.com

And now that we’ve started on the living room, we are even more excited to share the rest of the plans we have in store for our most-lived-in space! It’s about time we change things up around here.

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