Friday, 20 October 2017

Master bedroom makeover

We’ve needed a master bedroom makeover for a really long time now. I’ve made a few small changes a long the way, but for the most part, much of it has remained the same.The thing that really made me realize it was time for  a change was when a company shared a picture of our bedroom, and someone commented on Facebook basically saying,this is the worst bedroom I’ve ever seen. And, not to be overly dramatic about it, but then she came back and commented a second time…  I left, and came back, and nope, it’s still ugly. I have to admit, I receive a fair amount of criticism on the net, and have a fairly thick skin, but the fact that she came back and looked a second time to really confirm how much she hated it,stung quite a bit.

When I knew Bona was going to bring their magic, and refinish our floors, I started planning on how I could update the space, and make it fresh and new. I am so excited to share our master bedroom makeover with you today, and how beautifully our floors have turned out. We are so thrilled, and our room is somewhere we really enjoy being now. The best part of it is when we unloaded the storage pod, it was a great time time to purge, and we cleared a lot of the clutter out. It felt really good to move a lot less junk back into our closets and living space.

Here’s a before picture  of our room as of last holiday season.

bedroom simply decorated for the holidays

Here’s our new light and bright space with our new floors!

Master bedroom makeover a new light and bright space

We painted the walls a very light gray, and added some board and batten. I still have the same bedding,but I added a few new pillows and new curtains from Target.

Small master bedroom idea

We moved our furniture around, and added some vintage Mid-century modern pieces, and I painted new artwork for the walls.

Plants in bedroom with fiddle leaf fig

I love having plants in our room and added a few to our space. I am waiting to see if the Fig dies.

Beautiful wood floors in a boho MCM bedroom

They don’t always like being moved. He hasn’t dropped any leaves yet, so we’ll see if he starts protesting.


I am in love with these floors. I can’t believe we put up with gross carpet for so long!

Boho rattan chair in bedroom

And I love how airy our bedroom feels.

MIdcentury modern dresser and modern round mirror

This black and white abstract art piece keeps moving around. I had it in my dining area recently.

Black and white abstract art


I am so happy that rotten woman said what she said, because it motivated me to stop procrastinating, and make our space somewhere we enjoy being at the end of the day, and waking up to every morning!

This post is sponsored by Bona, opinions are all my own.



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Thursday, 19 October 2017

From dark to light: the living room over the years!

OH happy day! We are starting the move in process and I couldn't be happier. I'm pausing the cleaning, packing and unpacking to share another recap from our old house. 

Want to know something weird? We don't miss our old house. It's so odd -- we didn't expect that. Even on the days when living in our tiny hotel space was driving me crazy, I didn't miss the house. I desperately wanted to be in our new house, but not the old one. I can chalk that up to two things -- one, we've just been so stinking excited about the new one. Two, we get to visit our old house all the time. :) That's such a blessing for me, I can't even tell you. It feels like it belongs to our friends who bought it (as it should). Such a weird, wonderful thing. :) 

So anyway, I've been sharing recaps of many of the rooms in our old house because let's be honest, I don't have much else to talk about lately. 😂 I mean, really. It is what it is. But looking back at the progression of the rooms has always been a favorite of mine, so it's been lots of fun to do this. 

I've shared the guest room, family room, kitchen, library/dining room and bathrooms so far. This next one is a room I struggled with for YEARS. We loved the two stories ceilings when we first walked into the model and it's what immediately sold us on the house. Those tall walls were later what made me shake my fists in the air quite often. I never knew how to address them. 

I started by hanging stuff really, really high after we moved in: 
Living room before

We're going old school with photos, sorry for the quality. Our two best kitties ever are sitting in the windows. :) 

The furniture was all hand me downs. The nesting tables were Bombay Company finds -- remember them? Gosh I loved that store. 

We later bought new furniture (that I ended up absolutely HATING). I also went high with a simple painted box on the wall:
Painted box on wall

And then...they gold and red phase started. You've seen it before! 

I went all out!:
Red and gold living room

I made a quick sofa table for about $20 that we used for years. It's a super simple build and works great if you want to add some lamps or decor behind your sofa: 
Easy DIY sofa table

I changed up that rectangle a lot huh? My love of molding started and I added even more: 
DIY sofa table for $20

Then I started to branch out from my reds and try some different colors. Part of the reason I went with those colors to begin with was because of the wall color. It's hard to tell in some of the pictures, but in some light our walls looked PINK. As you can see here: 
DIY floral curtains

I didn't like other colors with it. It was a taupe color that went really rosy and was a pain in my butt. (And YES, I picked it out, of course!)

We later had half of the house repainted in the analytical gray color it stayed at: 
living room with jute rug

This little corner by the door always felt like it needed something, and I tried a few different pieces: 
desk by front door

Later on I built a bookcase that extended out from the half wall. I LOVED that little change! It added so much character to the room: 
DIY half wall bookcase

We moved some furniture around and then got a sofa (for a steal!!) for the room and I found that glass table on Amazon. I love that table! I plan to use both of these in the new family room. (I shared my layout options with you here.)

It only took me 13 years, but this space was FINALLY just how I wanted it early this year. And then we decided to move. Ha!:
Gallery wall, blue dresser, light sofa living room

Neutral sofa round coffee table in living room

This was supposed to be more of a "fancy" living area but that's not how we live. We used this room quite often -- every day! It was where our tall Christmas tree stood at Christmas and we made wonderful memories in there. It was such a pretty welcome into our home!

Oh and here's my tip for decorating tall rooms...get ready, it's big. Ignore them. :) I lived with them in quite a few rooms for years and that's how I addressed them after trying all kinds of things. Adding detail, art or any focus up high will accentuate what doesn't need to be accentuated. I think it can absolutely be done well, don't get me wrong. But I've heard from so many of you who struggle with decorating rooms like this and that's always my advice. Keep the decor down instead of going extra high. 

You can see more about some of the projects in this space here! If I missed anything feel free to let me know!: 


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A peek at a metallic Fall tablescape

I had sometime to mess around on Sunday, and I worked on a few campaigns. I put together a metallic fall tablescape, and snapped some pictures of our dining area.

FAll dining room with metallic fall tablecape

Remember how I painted that picture for our bedroom and framed it? I really love it in our bedroom, but I moved it down for this shoot, and now I totally LOVE it in our dining area!! I think I am going to have to paint another one!

I’ve had a few people ask me why I only ever use 4 chairs in our dining area pictures, when there are five people in our family? Honestly, it just looks better and is easier to see the table in the photograph.

Fall metallic tablescape with sunflowers

I put together a metallic fall tablescape with a beautiful wood trough we carry in the shop, and fresh sunflowers. I am finding that I am having a hard time not spending all of my money in my own shop. Things keep coming home with me. We have these amazing candles in a wood containers that I’ve been burning every single day when I get home. I might be slightly addicted, and have to order more just so customers can enjoy them too… We also just got in some amazing cheeseboards,and beautiful marble products. All of our Christmas started coming in too,and I can’t wait to start putting all of that out, and flip the store to a winter wonderland! You know me, Christmas is my jam!

Sunflower centerpiece on Thanksgiving table

I picked up the sunflowers at Trader Joe’s. I really wanted to add a ton of Eucalyptus around it, but they didn’t have any this time,which was a bummer, but they did have some pretty looking fall bouquets I was able to pull apart.

Fall tablescape with wood and metallics

The pumpkins are the same that I used in last year’s tablescape. I love it when I can reuse the same decor year after year in new ways. I loved using the large wood trough, because we don’t have a dining room, so any centerpiece I do has to come off for every meal. With a large wood piece like that, I can just lift the entire thing off at meal times, and plop it right back when we are done!

Instead of covering up my table top with the tablecloth, I scrunched it up as an accent for my metallic fall tablescape. I think it looks fresh and pretty and a little purposefully, undone that way. I like the casualness of it.

A metallic fall tablescape and fresh flowers

Thanksgiving is going to be at our house this year, but I need to get through Halloween first! If you are free Saturday, October 28th, come to our downtown (Lisle) from 12pm-3pm, bring the kiddos in their costumes, and enjoy some trick or treating from the businesses, and stop in the shop and say hi!

Sunflower and metallic fall tablescape woth wood trough centerpiece


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Monday, 16 October 2017

Our in between living and why we chose it

My friends...we are just days away from moving into our house! We are beyond excited to get into our new home!! I can barely stand it.

Many of you have asked our our "in between" status -- it's not been very glamorous but it's worked well for us. I figure some of you will be in the same situation at some point so I figured it may be helpful to share what we've done! (I'm throwing in random photos of our old house because you do NOT want to see our mess of a place right now!)

First things first -- in hindsight I wish we hadn't sold our home so quickly. Even though we had our buyers lined up, they had to sell their house and our (shared) realtor highly encouraged us to get it on the market during the summer. I am glad that we got the sales all done in plenty of time, but we didn't realize how much time we'd have to live in temporary housing. If we did it all over again I probably wouldn't have gotten the ball rolling quite as fast, but not worrying about the stress of selling/closing has been nice too.

When we got the sale process started our realtor mentioned some nearby apartment complexes that offered short-term stays. I didn't worry about contacting them until we had our closing scheduled but when I did start calling, I had a bit of a freak out. None of the complexes he recommended allowed stays shorter than six months. I started to panic a bit and kept calling places to be told the same thing over and over. Finally one very kind employee of one recommended that I call newer apartments as they typically offer short term because they aren't full yet. I think she could hear the panic in my voice. ;)

I finally found some complexes that did short term stays, but all did a minimum of three months. At the time we thought we'd only need about six weeks of housing so those were going to be crazy expensive for what we needed. This is the thing with a short term apartment situation -- we would have had to pay around $900 in fees just to move in. Most of that we would never see again. Some we'd get back if the apartment was left in good condition of course, but most (at least $600) we wouldn't get back. That was a tough pill to swallow.

Remember, at the time we thought it would only be a six week wait, so that extra month would have been an entire month we would pay for and not live there. We were also going to have to pay movers four times -- for our moves in and out of our houses as well as the apartment. AND they only allowed two animals, we have three. It simply wasn't an option for us to give one up for even that amount of time.

Soooo. It was discouraging. We started to think about other options. Friends suggested VRBO or other short term options but anything that allowed animals was insane expensive. Then someone mentioned a long term hotel situation and the more we looked into it the more we liked the idea.

Here's what we loved about moving into a hotel instead of an apartment:

  • We could set the exact dates of our stay. 
  • No movers -- all of the furniture was provided and ready to go
  • No limit on animals (they may have one but never asked how many we had!) 
  • One $100 animal fee at the start of our stay and that was it as far as fees
  • Free food! Yessss. Breakfast every morning and some kind of dinner or evening snack three nights a week. 
  • If you don't have animals you'd get "free" cleaning services as well! We have a dog who doesn't take too kindly to new people, so we've never had them in to clean. But man, that would have been awesome!
  • A stocked kitchenette (bowls, plates, some cookware and small appliances)
  • Hot tub and pool anytime you want it!
There are some downsides too -- mainly just the tight space. Six of us (three people and three animals) have shared less than 300 square feet for the past two months. At first it's sweet and cozy and we didn't mind it one bit. About four weeks in I started going a little stir crazy. :) Most of the time lately I spend the day out and about -- either running errands or sitting and working on my computer somewhere. And this time of year our evenings are always busy with marching band, basketball and fitness classes. 

I have learned one thing through this experience...I will NEVER be a tiny house person. It's just not in my blood. I need space! Windows! Doors! Furniture! All the things!! 

With all of the natural disasters and tragedies of late it's made me crave our home even more. I want to put roots down again, bake things, build something(s), organize list is endless. I have a million recipes I want to try out, so many projects I'm ready to tackle and of course, I'm planning our Christmas decor. 😁

Obviously the hotel option isn't for everyone! But if you only need a couple months to cover in between houses it may be best for you. We're spending about the same (or less depending on where we would have ended up) than what we would have paid at an apartment. We would have been dangerously close to having to sign another three month lease with an apartment too, so overall we've been really happy with our decision to stay at a long term hotel. 

With all of that being said...I hope we never have to stay here ever again. God willing. Hotels have lost their luster for awhile. 😂 We are getting packed up, I'm cleaning the hotel room from top to bottom and then we are getting the heck out! Our new home awaits!:

Have you ever done the "in between" and what did you do? Did you enjoy it or go stir crazy like me?


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hits and misses: the bathroom renovations!

Goodness my friends...we're about a week out from moving in and I can barely stand it! We did our walk through today and things are really wrapping up. The house is so incredibly beautiful, I can hardly wait to show you. (If you missed our last update check it out here!)

I've been recapping all of my favorite room makeovers in our last house and it's been fun to look back! I LOVE before and after pictures anyway, but seeing the different designs over the years and all the work I put in is a great feeling. I'm sharing our bathrooms through the years today but you can look back at our dining room, guest bedroom, kitchen and family room as well! (See the bottom of the post for links for these rooms and their resources!)

When we finished our basement years back, we were able to complete the bathroom. It ended up being a long, narrow room because we added a laundry room and storage area as well. This is what we started with: 

We went with a teeny tiny shower in here because we knew it wouldn't be used much. And then of course for years I ended up using it a bunch. 😜 We later put the cat litter trays back there so we didn't use the shower a lot the last year or so. 

I knew I wanted to add some storage to this small space, and the area next to the shower was perfect for it:

You can see how I built the DIY floating wood shelves for that spot. This spot was screaming out for them!: 

We really used them too -- they weren't just for looks. Other than the small vanity in there, this was the only storage in the room. 

I decorated with some items from Target and it turned into such a sweet, pretty space: 

I just loved the colors in this room! And of course, because there were no windows down there, I added the daylight bulbs I told you about earlier this week. ;) 

The next before is one of the best in our whole house! Or I should say befores, plural. Our powder room was one of the first spots I added trim in our house and I went dramatic with the color:

I've always said you should do something fun in the smaller spaces in your home -- laundry rooms, powder rooms, mud rooms -- all great places to try a color or treatment you wouldn't do in a bigger living area. 

And boy did I do that! Next was the chocolate brown bathroom...everywhere: 

I mean. When I commit, I commit

This was around the time I did the same with the dining room as well. I must have really loved brown at the time? I loved this tomb room!

Well, my tastes changed. I slowly but surely started brightening up the house, and after a lot of wood and a LOT of painting, this was the result

I get a lot of questions about that Hemnes bathroom vanity and YES I would highly recommend it! We had one little tiny sliver of the finish come off in all the years we had it, and that was right away. 

Otherwise it's held up beautifully. It's a great deal for the size and the pretty sink that comes with it. 

Later I finally painted that closet door black like the rest of the doors on the bottom levels and I loved it against all the white!: 

See the awesome detail we put in that closet here. At first I didn't use it much but I came to LOVE having it!

And finally, my piece de resistance -- our son's bathroom redo. I worked my tail off on this room!! Blood, sweat and tears, literally. Here's how it looked for nearly ten years

I had an itch to knock down that wall in the middle for forever. One day earlier this year I just decided to start taking it down. It was so exciting. ;) 

It took me a few months but I finally finished the space. It's one of my top three makeovers in the house (I'd say up there with the kitchen and the dining/library). Here's how it turned out: 

Oh I do miss that pretty shower! Someday I'll do the same tile in his bathroom at our new house...someday, a lot of days from now. ;) 

I loved every single inch of this room. I am so proud of it:  

I still love looking at it. :) 

One room we didn't touch much (probably the only room in the house!) was our master bathroom. I shared that with you here -- I made some small changes over the years but since it was set up well and we knew it would be so expensive, we never tackled a big reno. 

Bathrooms are no joke people! They are hard work -- even the small ones. But they make a big impact in your home and can give it tons of personality. 

I'll be back next week as we pack up and count down the hours till we are in our house! As always, thanks for coming along for the ride all these years! :)  

You can see more about each bathroom at the links below, but let me know if you have any questions!:

     - Resources and links for this bathroom

     - Resources and links for this room


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

inexpensive framing idea for black and white abstract art

One of the nice things about having the shop, is being able to have some creative time on the job, and the boss can’t yell at you for not doing your work 🙂 . Occasionally, we won’t be crazy busy, and I’m able to pull out my paints or other creative supplies and make something fun. I’ve been working on a bedroom makeover since we had our floors redone, and I wanted a piece of black and white abstract art with a wood frame for behind our TV. I know that seems odd, to paint something just to have it partially covered up, but the area behind the TV looks so bare with just a wall behind it.

black and white abstract art painted by Jennifer Rizzo

I painted this larger piece of black and white abstract art in the Makery. Once it dried, I wanted to frame it, but large,custom wood frames are really expensive. I had seen several creative ways to build a frame around a canvas, and decided to try it myself. I used 3/4 inch pine slats from the home improvement store, that were about 60 cents a linear foot. I had about 16 feet including waste for the inexpensive framing idea. To see  a DIY wood frame on pretty abstract art with a chunkier frame,and slightly different technique, you can see this tutorial from Jen at City Farmhouse.

Wood slats for framing

I cut them to size around the perimeter edge of my canvas,making the top pieces longer, so they overlapped the shorter sides to make a clean corner instead of cutting miter cut.

Stain pine slats to make an inexpensive picture frame.

I stained them with English Walnut stain on both sides and let dry.

Stained wood slats for gluing to make an inexpensive picture frame

Once they were totally dry, and the stain smell was gone, I glued them directly onto the frame.

Join corner together with hot glue to make an inexpensive canvas frame

You can see how the longer pieces meet up with the shorter side pieces to make the corner.

Gluing backside of wood frame

Once I had them all glued together, I carefully flipped it over and ran a bead of hot glue down the backside where the canvas met the wood.

To hang, I added a saw-tooth hanger to the back of the canvas frame.

I love how the stained,dark wood makes it looks so finished,and the total was less than $12!

I can’t wait to show you how it looks in the room!

Abstract art in large frame with pine slats. Really inexpensive option to frame large art!

For more DIY art ideas. Check out this post on using botanical prints, or  this Thanksgiving printable,

or this wood slice art.





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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Five lighting tricks that make a BIG difference!

We are on the countdown! Now we can say we move in "next week" -- how exciting is that? The house is pretty close to done inside, just the island countertop to install and a few minor things to address. We have a couple bigger projects outside that need completed too. Our walk through is this step closer! 

It probably sounds funny, but some of the projects I want to complete first are not decor-related. Well, at least not in the traditional sense. I want to tackle some lighting projects first, but not just installing lights. I added so many little lighting "tricks" in our old house that made a HUGE difference in the way we lived in it. I plan to repeat every single one of these. 

Here's a recap of my favorite lighting changes! 

The daylight bulb:

First up...most of the bathrooms in the new house have windows, but I'll still be adding the amazing daylight bulbs to them anyway. They make a HUGE difference at night and during the day. I mean...big. You can see them in my son's bathroom here
Bathroom with cement tile wall

I discovered them a couple years ago and ended up changing out all of our bathroom bulbs to daylight. They change not only how YOU look, but they completely transform how the room looks too, even during the day. Incandescent bulbs give off a yellow tint and daylight makes everything it's true color. 

You can see the drastic before and after of the daylight bulb in this post. Our new basement has some windows, but not a ton, so eventually I'll trade those out too. The old basement had zero windows and I couldn't believe how much better it looked with them! 

A few things to consider -- they are bright! Get the dimmable ones (more about that in a minute) if you think that will bother you. Also, I don't like them in most living spaces or bedrooms -- I tried them in our kitchen and hated it. I still enjoy the incandescent look for those rooms. But if you want to see how your makeup really looks, go for daylight in the bathrooms. :)

Dimmers, dimmers everywhere:

That brings me to the next change I'll be making -- GIVE ME ALL THE DIMMERS. Yes, we could have had our builder install them, but we'd pay more. You can get them for around $15 at the hardware store and if you know what you're doing it only takes about ten minutes to change them out. 

I shared a dimmer switch tutorial years ago that will show you how to install one yourself. If you have any electrical experience at all, you can do this (even if you don't!). There are single pole versions (where you only have one switch that operates one light) or a three way (one light operates from more than one switch). I already have plans to add them to all of the bathrooms, our family room lights and the kitchen lights. Oh, and the basement. Basically our whole house. :) 

Our friends who bought our old home laugh at how many we had...but they are the bomb. Especially on a dark winter morning when you want to wake up slowly. Or a midnight run to the bathroom when you only need a little light. Or when you want it cozy at night. OH and they use less energy (when dimmed) and I hardly ever changed out bulbs I had on dimmers...they rarely went out. I adore these and will be adding them everywhere. 

Landscape lighting: 

I joke about this but it's true -- drive around a "fancy" neighborhood at dusk (my favorite time of day) and there will be a common detail that most of the houses have. At first it's hard to put your finger on it but they all look so expensive, and yet cozy because of landscape lighting: 
How to install landscape lighting

It's just something that makes a house feel fancier, but also super approachable because...well, so much pretty light. I wanted to copy the look at our house and the first time I did it, I was totally hooked. I used directional lights that lit up the front of the house as well as smaller lights in the landscaping. 

You DO not know how to to change a light fixture, a plug, or install a dimmer to be able to do your own landscape lighting. I promise. It is WAY easier than you think it would be. You plug in a box and then connect the lights to the wire -- but it's just a matter of snapping them on. I shared a step-by-step tutorial for landscape lighting here

One of the first things I did at the new house was make sure we had outlets in specific spots so I could add them to the front of the house right away. Our exterior is going to look even more beautiful when I get those installed. I hope to do it before the cold temps hit, so I'll be sure to share it with you. 

DIY landscape lighting

Upper and lower cabinet lighting: 

This is another update that was one of my favorites in the house. I've done this myself a couple times over the years -- the first time I installed them (without any new outlets or wiring) I used actual fixtures you plug in and switch on. 

This last time I used an outlet to run them on a switch and it was SO EASY: 
upper and lower cabinet lighting

I shared exactly how I did it and all the materials I used (all from Amazon) in this cabinet lighting post. These little lighting strips pack a big punch!: 
DIY cabinets lighting tutorial

Our new house already included the under cabinet lighting so we paid to have them add some to the uppers as well. I plan to add them to our future basement kitchenette as well. They are SO lovely at night! We absolutely love them -- this lighting is another detail that isn't expensive but makes your kitchen feel custom. 

Sensor switch: 

OK...this one is the bomb. It rocks, especially if you/your kids/your love/your mom/anyone tends to leave the lights on in your house. I changed our our master closet light years back and then moved this one to our mud room: 
DIY closet makeover using kitchen cabinets

The new light was perfect in there (I don't think I ever shared it with you all) because it was a lot shorter. But man, it was BRIGHT. I tried something different in here instead of the traditional dimmer -- a sensor switch

sensor switch for closet

They do just that -- sense when you walk in the room and they turn on the light. You don't touch it! The best part about ours was it also had a dimming function, so you could set it to the amount of light you wanted each time it turned on.

When we walked in the room, it turned on. No reaching for a switch. It's GREAT for closets. And within a set amount of time, it goes off. If you are still in the room and it senses your movement, it will stay on.

The only bad thing about these lights is that if you are sitting on the floor folding clothes or organizing, the light will turn off. Many times I'd have to wave my arms wildly to turn in back on. 😂 But those were few and far between. Totally worth it and I plan to add them in our closets again.

I love every single one of these lighting tricks and will be adding each one again. They are easy fixes that make your home feel warm and cozy, but are also super functional as well.

Here's a recap of the posts I mentioned above as well as links to some of the items I talked about. (Affiliate links included for your convenience.) If you have any questions please let me know!

Get the daylight bulb here

Dimmers (for incandescent bulbs only

Get the sensor switch here

How to install landscape lighting (with list of supplies)

How to install cabinet lighting (with full supply list)