Monday, June 22, 2015

family room refresh & caitlin wilson textiles giveaway!

Long time readers of this blog know how I've been unable to "finish" decorating my family room for, like, ever. I've been completely stuck and indecisive about it in general. It's a classic case of the shoemakers kids having no shoes. For other people, the ideas are endless. For my own house, it's not so easy. I just spend too much time here! 

I've also learned recently that I have major style ADD. In setting up our Laura Design Company Pinterest boards, my partner (also Laura) and I have been trying to create a resource that will be helpful for our clients in assessing their styles. These "Style Profile" boards range from classic to bohemian to everything in between, and in the process I realized that my style is bohemian and classic and everything in between. That's helpful to know, but also means I have a really hard time decorating for myself. I want everything to be a perfectly blended eclectic mix with tons of layer and interest, and I also want it to be completely simple and minimal. I want a whole wall of vintage prints and I want the same wall to be a giant expanse of empty white paint.

When Caitlin Wilson Textiles reached out to introduce me to their shop and ask if I'd like to host a giveaway, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to spend a little time dreaming about how I'd finish my family room once and for all. I'm always advising my clients to get the end-game in mind before they run around buying pieces willy nilly, so maybe I need to follow my own advice.

Caitlin Wilson's pillow and rug collections were all the inspiration I needed to get the gears turning about how I could create a family room that's casual and kid-friendly (a must!!) but still stylish and interesting. Their textiles have an edited, preppy and feminine feel that is just what I would be going for, and as a mom of three, designer Caitlin Wilson knows how to build a collection with family life in mind. 

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Wilson Textiles

The photo above was the jumping off point for my family room scheme. It combines so many different styles- boho in the rug, mid-century in the lines of the table, some found & foraged with the branches, some prep in the pillows, a classic sofa, and a tiny bit of glam with those gold accents. And even though it has all of those styles crammed in there somewhere, it's still edited and minimal. Just right.

So here's how I'd make that inspiration a reality in our own family room:

Pillows & Rug Caitlin Wilson Textiles // Sofa- IKEA // Coffee Table- West Elm // Side Table- Crate & Barrel // Eat, Drink, Nap Book // Art- Dwell Studio // Mid-Century Dresser- Chairish 

The pillows were definitely the jumping off point, and the rug in the bottom of our inspiration photo (though let's be honest, it's out of my price range) would pull everything together in the best way possible. But even without the rug, the pillows will give this room a great pop of color.

I decided on an IKEA sofa because it's the most kid-friendly option. I can imagine my boys perched on those wide arms to play Mario Kart and my daughter curled up in a nest of stuffed animals sketching 'till her heart's content, without me having to panic about the sofa getting destroyed.

The coffee table seems equally sturdy and kid-proof, and I'm excited about the idea of being able to actually wipe up spills (not possible with our current upholstered ottoman).

The side table is soooo beautiful, and the shape and finishes combine the mid-century and glam touches I'd like the room to have.

Eat, Drink, Nap because the cover says Eat, Drink, Nap. And it's pretty. (Thanks for the recommendation, Joanna).

The art from Dwell Studio is just gorgeous, and I love the deep purple, navy and lavender colors. They'd go great with the rug and pillows.

I personally think every room benefits from a vintage piece, so I would grab a dresser like that mid-century beauty to use as a TV console.

So, what do you think? What kind of house projects are you dreaming about these days??

My friends at Caitlin Wilson Textiles would like to get you started! They're giving away one pillow cover- any one of your choice!- from their collection to one lucky follower.

All you have to do is two steps: 1) Head over to Instagram and follow Caitlin Wilson Textiles, and then 2) Tag two friends on this post. Easy as pie.

One winner will be chosen at random to receive a pillow cover of their choice from Caitlin Wilson Textiles. You can enter up until 10 pm CST on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015. Good luck!

Disclosure: I am not receiving compensation for this post, but I was gifted product to review. As you can see, I styled them in my bedroom as my family room is too unworthy- for now! As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I only share companies with you that I would share with my best friends at our weekly playdate.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

DIY Summer School // Thrifted Raffia Wrapped Pendant

Welcome to Lesson 2 of our DIY Summer School Series, hosted by Beth of designPost Interiors! This week's theme is "thrifted" and as a frequent visitor to the Good Will nearby, this was right up my alley. I'm going to share with you the simple way you can make a pendant light fixture out of a thrift store shade. 

Back when I did our nursery, I was obsessed with some of the woven pendants that Serena & Lily were selling. But their $300 price tag was out of the question. I happened upon a drum shade at our local thrift shop (and unlike some magical thrift store finds that no one is ever going to score again, a pile of discarded shades is a constant at thrift stores), and it gave me a great DIY idea.

I dug through my photos and I can't believe I have NO progress pictures of this project. It leads me to believe my iPhone had been having one of its characteristic melt-downs that week, because I've never not taken progress photos. The good news is, it's basically self-explanatory, and I think you'll understand how to do this even without pictures.


Head over to your local thrift store to search for a shade. Any size that suits you is fine. Mine was about 18” high and a perfect cylinder. A drum shade (cylindrical shape) or something close looks best for this project.

It’s easiest if the color of the shade is tan or cream (similar to the color of the raffia) because it will show through. If it is a drastically different color or wouldn’t coordinate well, I suggest painting it first.

My shade was $1 at Good Will.


You will need:

Glue gun and glue sticks- way more than you think, stock up!
Shade- $1
Raffia, lots of it- about $5
Dried mushrooms (I found mine in the dried florals section of Hobby Lobby)- about $8
Downlight kit from Lowes - $20


This is actually quite easy to do- it just takes a long time. You are going to wrap the raffia around the drum shade, securing it with hot glue every few inches as you go along. That’s all there is to it- start at the bottom and work your way to the top, going around and around and around and around. My shade is very large and took me about 6 hours to complete.

Once your raffia is secured and dry, add your mushrooms. I arranged them in two places and played with the spacing and orientation until it looked right. Keep in mind the side you’ll want to keep facing front, and how it will look when it’s hung at eye level.


After everything is dry, you will install this downlight kit in your ceiling. Slide the shade over the rod and then place the bulb underneath. It is critical that you use a pendant kit with a solid metal rod (not a chain or fabric cord). If you don’t have a solid metal rod, the off-balance weight of the mushrooms will cause the shade to hang crookedly. A solid metal rod will hold it straight. And that’s it! Very time consuming but very easy.

I absolutely love the organic look of this shade and the statement piece that it is in the room. It can go with a range of different styles and adds a unique touch to the room. (Of course I'm very style conflicted right now, as I've been working on setting up these Pinterest boards for clients to help them narrow down their "Style Profile"...and realizing my style is ALL of them! Yikes!) Anyway, I'm glad the pendant has been able to pull off a Preppy nursery and can now morph to Rustic, Cabin and Camp pretty seamlessly as that nursery becomes a guest room. Not bad for under $40.

Be sure to visit the other teachers of DIY Summer School below. I'm excited to see the projects they've come up with after their thrift shopping sprees!

Kevin, Thou Swell

Bloggers, do you have a thrift store DIY to share? We would love for you to link it up below and/or tag a photo on Instagram with #DIYSummerSchool (you don't even have to be a blogger to do that part)! See you for the next class...July 9th for a "wildcard" project.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

DIY summer school // IKEA hack built-in bookcases

Good morning and welcome to the first day of DIY Summer School!

Those of you who've been tracking with me for a while remember my home office project, the one where I finally got a grown-up space to work from home. This office has been a lifesaver! And one of my big Blog Bucket List posts that I always intended to write and never did was about how we actually built the DIY Ikea Hack bookcase wall. 

Since today's theme is "Ikea-Hack," I've finally got the excuse to share. Here is how we did our DIY Built-In IKEA-Hack Bookcases!!! 


We used the Borgsjo Bookcase in white from Ikea for this project. The bookcase is 29-1/2" wide. 5 bookcases fit on our 12'11" wall. I measured, measured again, and even sketched a to-scale rendering to make sure we would like the finished look using this size of bookcase. 

Note your ceiling height at this point as well. Ours are only 8' and these bookcases, which are on the shorter side at 71-1/4"H, fit it well. If you are working with taller ceilings, you may consider choosing a taller bookcase.


If you're getting 5 cabinets, like we did, here is your list:


Construction: (Sorry, from here on out, I don't have exact quantities!)

2 x 4's - around 25-30
drywall - around 3 sheets


In Between Bookcases (to fill the tiny gap): LP Building Products Crystal White 8' Lattice, 1-1/8" x 1/8"


(3) IKEA Ranarp Wall/ Clamp Spotlight (Sconces for above bookcases)

Note: We hardwired these. I told you I'd write a post about how. I tried, I really did. Every time Ryan tried to explain it to me in terms I could relay to you, well, let's just say I don't have good spacial reasoning skills. So, just know, it can be done, and I can't tell you how. 


The short version is you don't have to do this, but we cut out our floor, started with no drywall behind the bookcases, and wired for electrical outlets that would be in the bottoms of the bookcases. 

I’m going to assume you already have a wall you’re building these up against. (We didn’t, which is why you see through the studs in the pictures- that was a new wall as we were building the frame of the room at the same time).

You will want to at least remove the baseboard on your wall so everything can fit flush against it. 

IF you want to wire the cabinets for electricity (we put outlets in three of the bottom cabinets to plug in things like my laminator, pencil sharpener and electronic devices, and added three sconces above the bookcases), you should remove most of the drywall so you can get electricity in it. (I'm not going to counsel you here on how to wire stuff up - my official position is that you should hire an electrician for the parts of this project that could electrocute you). 

The reason we cut out the floor is that we might replace the flooring someday, and Ryan said we should do it this way to make that an easier process down the road. You can choose to believe him or not!

But yeah, at this point you are committed, and you are straight up destroying your house!

Using the circular saw always makes Ryan happy...


These cabinets aren’t very tall, so you’ll want to lift them off the ground so they look taller and fill the wall space a little better. You also need something sturdy to drill them into so they don't move around. So the base is key.

Build two long skinny rectangles from 2 x 4’s that will run along the edge where your floor was cut out (another good reason to cut out your floor- guideline!) A nail gun is the fastest way to assemble these. Set them in place end-to-end and running from one wall to the other, and check that they fit. If they do, nail in a series of short 2 x 4’s running down the length of the cages. The smaller 2 x 4’s should be placed inside the rectangle frames. 

Then, screw a long 2 x 4 to the studs of your wall. The cage you just built will support the front of the bookcases, and the suspended 2 x 4 will support the back of them. (I know you have no idea what I'm saying. Just look at the pictures for a bit and hopefully it will make sense)!

Check everything with a level. Use shims to level it out if needed. Once it's all good, screw the cage to the floor.


Set bookcase cabinets on top (unpainted and without doors on them) and position them all in a row next to each other (sides touching with no space in between) on the base. Make sure the row is in the exact center of the wall, with the same amount of space on either side at the outside edges.

You'll also want to make sure you place your cabinets so they are protruding out from the cages about an inch. Drywall (which will be going around the bookcases on all sides) will be ½” and the trim will go on top of that. You want everything to line up when you’re done, but err on the side of the bookcase sticking out further than the trim. If it doesn’t look right, you can always add a second layer of drywall or wood trim, but you can’t push the bookcase back into the wall further. Make sense?


Remember to cut holes in the bottom backs of the bookcases for access to your electrical outlets if you are installing those.

Now you have three ways to attach the bookcases to the wall. 1) We had an open wall behind them, so we found places to screw into studs from behind where you’d never see the screws. Yay for open walls. 2) If you are building into an existing wall/ drywall, you can screw in the most inconspicuous places you can find and then patch the holes with Fluff and paint over them. Or, option 3), and one that my contractor neighbor recommends, is gluing them. He swears Liquid Nails would be all you’ll ever need to hold those suckers in place. Take them out one at a time, put glue on the bottom and put it back in place. In hindsight, my husband says he would have used method #3 instead of the screws. You run no risk of damaging or splintering the wood and they aren’t going anywhere.


Somewhere during that gluing/ attaching process and before you move on, you'll want to stop and take a good long look at how everything is lining up. Make sure all the cabinets are PERFECTLY level and flush and plumb and perfect. This is an installation with lots of vertical and horizontal lines and you’ll want them all to be square at the end or it will drive you nuts forever. Use shims, and be as OCD as possible.


Build a cage for above the bookcases. Same construction method as the base. It needs to be a very tight fit- touching the ceiling and touching the bookcases when you’re done- so measure well and shim accordingly. Make it snug.

Install the cage at the top of the cabinets by setting it on top and screwing it into the ceiling. Then run a bead of Liquid Nails in between the cage and the bookcases to bond them together. Make sure the cage is perfectly level. Check and check again, use shims. Take care to make sure the front of it is level (not slanting diagonally back or anything but standing up straight and plumb).

Wire it up for electricity if you're planning to do so. 

Styling the still-under-construction bookcases with pink peonies and DIY artwork is optional.


Build mini cages on the sides. This is so you have something to secure the drywall to. We recessed the drywall on the sides but in hindsight I wish we hadn’t. You can suit yourself, but just check the depth of these cages. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have dry wall on top of them and then trim on top of that, so make sure they aren’t protruding too far.

Use screws to attach the side cages to the top and bottom cages and the outside walls.


Anywhere that you installed a cage (top, bottom, sides) will receive drywall over it. Remember to cut holes in the drywall for your sconces if you're doing them. We used a professional drywaller for this step because drywall scares us, and it’s sooooo hard to mud and tape without showing seams. It is not a huge investment of time for such small and few pieces of drywall, so for us it was well worth having someone come in for this step. 

This is where it starts to take shape and gets really exciting!


We started with the piece that rests just on top of the bookcases. Who knows why. You have 6 areas to add trim:

- Crown along ceiling
- Casing along top of bookcase
- Base cap just under bookcase
- Baseboard along floor
- Cove in a "picture frame" formation on sides
- Lattice pieces to fill skinny gaps between bookcases


This is the part of the project where the excitement wears off and the tedious stuff left makes you want to cry. You have to caulk ev-er-y-thing. The bad news is, caulking is nooooo fun. The good news is, caulking is magic. MAGIC. You won't believe how wonderful your bookcases will look when you're done. Don't forget to fill all the nail holes in the trim.


Paint! You're almost there! Prime everything with Zinsser primer and then paint it with a semi-gloss white. All trim, drywall, bookcases (don’t forget to paint the doors, the insides, the shelves, everything) will get the same color. This is a huge time commitment and giant pain in the butt. 

True confessions: You know that drywall guy we hired? We had him do all the painting for us too. While we were out of town. Best thing ever!! This part is a ton of work and by the time you’re done building these cabinets, you’re so burned out, you're missing thumbprints because of all the caulk, and the thought of painting just puts you over the edge. If your budget can at all swing it, have it done for you and have someone paint your toes while you’re at it. You deserve it! (Make sure not to let your painter paint over your shelf holes- you’ll need them to put shelves in). Having this done will save you at least 10 hours of work, and you'll get to come home from vacation to this:


Once everything is painted and pretty (and dry, heh), start putting in your shelves. It’s easiest to do this while your doors are off. Be prepared that you’ll scuff all that new paint when you’re doing this, and touch ups will be necessary. If you already know what will be going in the cabinets, you can space the lower shelves to accommodate it. For the top, where there are glass doors, space the shelves perfectly evenly so they create a uniform look. You’ll see them through the doors!


Put the doors on. The IKEA instructions will tell you how to install them and how to level them. Leveling them is key. Install new knobs.


You get to enjoy your new cabinets! Revel in the fact that you’re done! Sleep! Style them with pretty stuff! Post them to Instagram as if they appeared like magic in your house! Feel yourself regaining sanity as you can see your floors and organize your paperwork once again! Tell yourself if was all worth it! (It was).  


OK, well, let's just be clear, this is going to be a ball park. I always start a project with a budget number in mind, but as second and third and seventh Home Depot trips happen for just the right kind of screws, and as weeks turn into months, I start to lose track. So I'm sure some savvy math blog police will want me to disclose that this is an estimate from a very poor memory and not an exact account of the costs. And I'm absolutely certain I'm forgetting something. Normally I'd count on Ryan to read this and tell me what it is, but since we're on page 40 or something of this post, he's surely asleep on his desk drooling all over his keyboard by now.

Bookcases: 5 x $120 = $600
Hardware: 20 x $2 = $40
Trim: 52 linear ft x $3 = $156
Trim: (9) 8' pieces x $2 = $18
Paint: $150
2 x 4's: 30 x $2 = $60
Caulk, screws, odds & ends: $100
Drywall: 3 x $8 = $24

What am I forgetting?


Drywall & paint labor: $600


The reason this is important is the "Was it worth it?" question. I didn't know until I had a recent conversation with a contractor to price out an installation of built-in cabinets that was smaller and much less elaborate than this one, and the quote came back at $5000. So, yep, we decided it was worth it.

As for time frame, it took us about 5 months. But to be fair, we were doing construction on the whole room, not just the bookcases, AND you were pre-warned that our projects move slower than a 5-year-old making a Happy Meal decision.

In case you'd like to see how the bookcases turned out all dressed up, you can see the complete office tour here!

For more DIY & decor inspiration, follow Avery Street Design on Bloglovin'!

And now, off to see what the other teachers of DIY Summer School have up their Ikea-hacking sleeves. I must thank Beth of designPost for hosting this Series and for giving me the kick I needed to finally make good on my promise to share this tutorial. (I think we can all see why I needed a kick- that was ridiculously long!) Thanks Beth!

Kevin, Thou Swell

And hey, one more thing. Bloggers, do you have an Ikea Hack project to share? Link it up below yo! Tag 'em on Instagram with #DIYSummerSchool too. See you for the next class...June 18th for something from the thrift store!

{p.s. I'm sharing this post with House of Hipsters at Found & Foraged}

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DIY summer school

Well hi there! Long time no talk!

It feels like it's been a lifetime since I wrote my last post. I didn't plan to ditch the blog after announcing my new interiors business, but it sure happened. The new client work (yay!), end-of-school-year rush, a mini-vacation to see my aunt, a crazy fun web project with my friend Travis, and working on our Laura Design Company website snowballed into an avalanche I couldn't blog my way out of, and poor Avery Street was buried! (p.s. I can't thank all of you enough for the huge outpouring of support and love surrounding the new business and the transition to being a working mom!)

This poor blog might have fallen forever into the dark abyss of the internet if not for a sweet gal named Beth from designPost Interiors. She had already asked me to be a part of her DIY Summer School before life spiraled out of control, and you should know this about me...I have a super hard time saying no. Especially when the words "IKEA hack" and "challenge" are thrown around. 

I honestly don't know what the future holds for this blog. It's been such an astounding journey, I'm not ready in my heart yet to say goodbye! But I also have a hard time justifying the time commitment of a regular blog schedule when there are so many other pressing obligations. For now, I've got a fun summer of posts planned, and we'll see what comes in the fall. I'll be doing this DIY series with Beth, a fun giveaway with Caitlin Wilson Textiles (!!!) and a peek into how I'm learning to organize my life and time with the help of a professional organizer! I hope you'll enjoy following along. 

Starting tomorrow, a group of bloggers and I are going to bring you two projects per month, all summer long, with some of our favorite DIY's and hacks. Every time there will be a different theme, and we're starting guessed it, "IKEA Hack."

DIY Summer School, brought to you by:

Kevin, Thou Swell
Laura, Avery Street Design

Featuring these DIY themes:

June 4th: IKEA Hack
June 18th: Thrifting
July 9th: Wildcard
July 23rd: Craft Store
August 6th: Hardware Store
August 20th: Found in Nature

Pretty cool huh? And if you want to join in, there will be a link-up for bloggers, and anyone can post to Instagram with the hashtag #DIYSummerSchool. I'll see you back here for the kick-off in the morning!

Here's to Summer!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips