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Living Room Inspiration

I don’t know what it was about last week, but we had some bad luck at home!

As we began prepping for our living room project, my husband was up in the attic looking for something, when he tripped and his leg went through the floor/ceiling.  He is ok, thankfully, but he did scratch his leg up pretty bad.  I am just thankful he did not go all the way through.  Since that happened, he was able to patch up the hole, but it created SO MUCH dust in the house from sanding the spackle.  SO MUCH DUST!  He still has a little more sanding left and then I can really get down to clean these floors.

While all of this was going on, our just over a year old microwave decided to die.  There was no coming back and of course, there was no warranty.  And if I have to be honest, it sucked.  We had to drop another unexpected $$$ to buy a new one.

Then throw in our living room.  Guys, last week was exhausting!  And our house looks like we are doing work.  Oh, and then add a toddler into the mix.  Mama is tired.

Last week, I mentioned our first project of the year being the living room and how we were going to totally transform it.  We actually started working on it this past weekend and just the few things we did has made a difference.

Inspiration Board

living room

Details

We took advantage of the new year’s sales going on and bought this couch from Haverty’s.  The color is called Mineral and is mainly gray with slight hints of green.  Very slight.

I also bought two of these bookcases from Joss & Main to sit on either side of the fireplace.  I went back and forth on the height of our bookcases because I did not want to take away from the fireplace.  After looking at so many options, we both liked that amount of storage (and hidden storage) this bookcase offered.

IMG_6411

We decided to get rid of our current rug and buy something new, something a little more toddler proof.  I am so in love with all the neutral looking rugs and how they ground a room, but we needed more.  And I was apparently feeling spicy.  I am 100% going out of my comfort zone with the rug I chose.  I am going to buy this rug from Joss & Main (or whoever gets it in stock first).  This rug is so out of my comfort zone, I waffled TOO long and it was out of stock when I went to order.  I AM SO DISAPPOINTED!  I have been stalking it and I hope it is restocked when they say it will be.

The paint color that you see in the picture of the fireplace above is Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray at 50%.  We love the color so much, we decided to paint the living room the same color.  The main reason we have to repaint this room (and eventually the whole house) is that the flipper painted the whole house in flat.  If you want my advice, do not paint your walls in flat.  It sucks and it looks like we use the walls as hand towels.  We did paint this weekend and if you follow along on Instagram, you know the slight drama we dealt with getting this on the wall.  I will share in another post.

As far as accessories and other pieces in the room, I am going to keep everything budget friendly.  Our brother-in-law built a coffee table for us and I am so excited to see it in person.  I hope we can see it soon.

The main color scheme I am feeling for this space is Black, White, Green, and Gray as my base colors.  That rug is going to help add pops of color throughout, but I really am really feeling green these days.  And mainly I am feeling green in plants.  Maybe it is the post-Christmas life that makes me crave greenery, but I want to add more plant life to this space.  I have always run from it because I don’t have the best green thumb and I have yet to find any faux plants that don’t look terribly fake.

Update on my to-do list:
  1. Sell the couch and loveseat.  Both listed.  Both had bites but people can be so flakey.
  2. Repaint the ceilings. 
  3. Repaint the walls.  
  4. Freshen up all of the trim with paint
  5. Clean and polish the floors.  We may have had some accidents this weekend with paint.  More on that next post.
  6. Probably should add touch up paint to this list.
  7. Mount the tv over the fireplace.  <- This is happening this weekend!
  8. Build new bookcases.  These are being delivered today and with an upcoming work day trip, the goal is to have them built by Sunday.
  9. Furnish and decorate!

 

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Stencling the Stoop

I know, I know.  You are going to say “weren’t you working on the dining room?”  Yes and no.  I have a case of project ADD.  But really, I have not had much time to focus on painting the dining room because of a certain toddler project manager.  Painting a room is a big to do and I generally do not have time while she is with me to start anything so big.  I try to get what I can done during naps, but lately, her naps are far from reliable.

One project I was able to get done during my lunches and late at night was putting a stencil on the front porch/stoop/whatever it is called.  Here is what it looked like before:

Home Down South Front stoop befor

Insert screaming emojis!  I do like the color of our house, but painting the brick here light gray was probably not the smartest decision when you are dealing with Georgia red clay.

I first had to give this space a good pressure washing.  I patiently waited for a weekend where the heat was not so oppressive (which, when is that happening?!).

After a good scrub, I luckily had some exterior white paint from sitting in the garage to use as my base and to cover up the light gray.  You guys, even after a good pressure wash, the bricks are STILL stained.  Adding “paint the brick” to the very bottom of the project list.

Home Down South front porch before 2

I mean, that brick is disgusting.

After I let the base coat dry fully, I waited a few days to start stenciling.  Mainly the heat is what caused more delay.  Also, this spot gets direct sun from 10am – 7pm this time of year and it is a total bear to sit out there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a lot of sneak peaks

I ordered my stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I chose the Santa Ana Tile Stencil.  I love the look of cement tiles and have been dying to put something similar to that in my house for a long time.  This is the third time I have used a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils (this is not sponsored by them) and each time was a totally different experience.  The first two times I used the stencil on the wall, so using it on cement was a first and not necessarily the easiest.  I searched around the internet to see what others have done and it seemed pretty straightforward.

It took me a little longer than I expected because I could not easily roll the paint on.  I had to pounce it on.  So it took a few hours over the course of a week.

BUT

I kind of like it.  A lot.

Home Down South Blog Porch afterHome Down South front porch after 2Home Down South blog front porch after 3

I had some struggles because unlike adhering it to the wall with a little spray glue, NOTHING wanted to keep the stencil sticky on the cement.  I used painters tape to try and keep the stencil down as much as I could.

I love the interest it adds to this space.  I also love that it is going to hide so much like a boss!

The paint that I ended up using was a quart of Rainstorm by Sherwin Williams.  I chose SW because they offered exterior paint in a quart where other places I checked out only offered in a gallon.  For me, a quart was still too much paint and a gallon would have been wasteful.

At some point, I will still need to go back and seal some of the cracks in the cement so I don’t have to deal with weeds growing through.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried out a stencil?  How did that project turn out?

Ok, I promise I am going to work on the dining room.  I have a deadline.  It will be done!
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Farmhouse Candle Sticks

I meant to get this post up at some point last week, but I have been sick and traveling and I was just too tired at night to open my computer and think.

Last weekend, I was cleaning up the house a little bit and was focusing on cleaning up our family room because with a toddler, toys.are.everywhere!  While I was cleaning up, I started thinking about how my fireplace mantle could finally use a small update.  It had sort of became the place where I just threw things up as I was unpacking and left it alone.

Fireplace_before

So, deciding to spend almost no money on this, I started looking around the house and playing with what I had.

A few years ago, I purchased two gold candle sticks from Everything but the House, with no actual plans for them.  I wanted to use them on the mantle but not in the current state.  I still like gold accessories, but these were just so dated and not the style of the room.

What I really wanted was something that looked more rustic and would fit the style of our room.  Something like this:

carved-pillar-holder-o
Pottery Barn

I did a lot of looking around and it looks like most versions of this candle stick are made from wood.  I didn’t want to totally ditch what I had because I already had them.  So I figured I would play around with paint and see what I could do.  If it was a total fail, I would just paint them a solid color.

I bought the Martha Stewart Vintage Decor paint in Linen and Clay.  These had a matte, chalky finish, so I figured I could apply and sand where I wanted to distress.  Also, I was lucky timing-wise that they were buy one get one half off at Michaels because they are a little pricey.

The rest was pretty easy.  I applied two coats of the clay and followed the instructions on the back of the bottle.  Apply and let cure.  I was purposely sloppy with how the paint went on because it was going to be sanded down.

Candlestick_during

After the clay covered completely, I applied two coats of linen and let dry overnight.  Again, not really caring how smooth the paint went on.

Candlestick_during_homedownsouthblog

My plan was to sand most of the linen off the top and expose most of the clay.  Sanding was not going the way I thought it would.  It took a lot of effort to sand and when I made it through the top layers, it went straight back down to the gold.  Hmm

Plan B: Dry brush* the clay over the top and hope it looks good.  And that is what I did for both.

*Dry brushing is when you dip your brush into a little paint, wipe it on a paper towel or paper plate and then paint your piece.  It cuts down the coverage and gives it the look that I spent all day sanding.

candlestick_after_homedownsouthblog

I was so happy I was not particular about how the bottom layers of paint went on because it created this really nice groove effect on the top to give it way more dimension.

I totally eyeballed how much to put on and when to stop.

fireplace_after_homedownsouthblog

I mounted the long window I actually found in the trash back when I was looking for wedding decor.  I think it is such a cool piece and lucky me to find it.

Such an easy and cheap project to take off the to-do list!  I am brainstorming ideas for a new screen.  I will tackle that once we have the fireplace serviced.  When we bought the house, the seller was in the process of switching it from gas to electric and just stopped halfway through.  So we are going to hire someone to come take a look and make sure it works in time for winter.

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Shared Home Office Reveal

I am about to climb on the roof of my house to shout to the neighborhood that my office is DONE!  This has been such a HEFTY project and took way longer than I had hoped but mainly because I did all of this by myself!!

I was planning on writing up a post on how to customize boring stock cabinets, and I still can, if you are interested.  But for now, let’s just talk about how this room came together and I was finally able to clean it out last night!!

Let’s flashback to where we were when we first started:

The room lacked any type of storage and any sort of personality.  Storage was BIG for us because at the time I took these pictures, there were still boxes from moving that needed a home.

I ended up getting a later start on this project because I was not sure what direction I wanted to go with shelving.  I was going to be sharing this space as well so I needed to make sure we both agreed on what I was going to do.

Here you can read about the design plan

When things finally got moving, there were a bunch more hiccups than I had hoped for.  The shelves were a pain to deal with.  Then, while upgrading the cabinets with new and existing trim, so many things got annoying that I had to walk away and rethink.  Painting only takes forever when you do not have a paint sprayer.  And switching out old outlets for new in a house with annoying wiring is, well, annoying! HA

Let’s just jump into the reveal already!  I will try to source everything I can below each picture, but if there is something you see and have a question on, let me know!

Homedownsouth Office Reveal1

I am so happy this is done!  There are a few things I still to take care of in here: fix the front gaps where the cabinets meet the wall, find a plant for the desk, and scrape any paint off the floor.

The desk is from Cost Plus World Market.  It was a tough one to get because it was on backorder for a minute.

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 2

I am currently not a big fan of the camera I am using because it really ran with the green tint coming in from the windows, I assume?  The cabinets are painted Glidden Stone White.  It is really pretty.  It is gray in some light, white-ish in others.  Green apparently to my camera 😦HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 3

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 4

Honestly, I am still getting used to the shelves.  I love them but I am not used to having ALL THE THINGS up on the wall.  HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 5

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 6

There was a lot of going back and forth on what knobs I wanted in here.  Honestly, I did not have the budget to spend anything more than a few dollars on hardware, but I wanted something a little more unique than what you would find in a big box.  I ended up finding mine at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off!

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 8

The chaise is from a local warehouse outlet store but I am pretty sure it originally came from Ashley Furniture.  The Georgia G and the lamp were local thrift finds.  I need to replace the brown pillow that came with chaise, but I have not seen anything that made me stop in my tracks.HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 7 We are each getting one cabinet to do whatever with it.  I have already organized all the craft supplies I wanted to keep and move out of our hall closet to my side (which is the more decorated side because not everyone has had a chance to play around).  I’ll share what I did in my cabinet for another post.

What do you think?

Now that this space is finally done, I can start focusing on the next room, our dining room.  We have been handed the Thanksgiving host torch and the room is in shambles right now …so stay tuned!

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Building Shelves: How-to and What Went Wrong

The biggest project in the office so far was surprisingly the shelves that were placed behind the desk.  I say surprisingly because I didn’t actually build the shelves as I had intended, so I thought this was going to be much easier.  I wanted to mimic the chunky, floating shelves that I built at our old house in the laundry room (oh, how I miss that little space).

chunky floating shelves

My plan was to build a less chunky version of these shelves that spanned the entire wall behind my desk.

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFORE

But then budgets and time got in the way.  This wall is a 12′ long wall and if we wanted to do three floating shelves, that was going to cost a pretty penny.  A pretty penny that needed to go elsewhere in this room.

I started looking at lumber and while I was not worried about being able to find the length that we needed, it was more the thickness that made me re-plan this whole portion of the project.  My worry was would a long 1″ thick board sag over time?  The weight would be practically nothing but then add books and decorative items on there and I was worried I was setting this up for failure.  As we were walking the aisles at the store we ran into 12′ boards at 2″ thick (which are not a true 2″, in case you did not know).  They had the chunk I was looking for and saved me the time and extra cost of building them out.  Sold!

Here is the board that I ended up using (2″x12″x12″)

These boards are MUCH heavier than the 1″ thick board, so I needed to figure out the hanging to the wall process.  It wasn’t going to be as easy as throwing up some brackets and calling it a day (or maybe it is and I over complicated it).  I REALLY REALLY wanted brackets like this:

Source

But the price, well it hurt.  It hurt a lot for what we needed.  The ones in the picture are much smaller than what I needed but we were looking at over $30 for each bracket.  I looked around the internets and found some ways to DIY my very own brackets, but as I was standing in front of the materials, my confidence to create sturdy brackets dissipated quickly.

I settled and ended up using these.  Well actually, I wish I had used those.  I used ones were 12″ long and as I mentioned before, boards are not their true listed size.  The 12″ ended up being too long, so I had to create a slight gap between the wall and shelf to make sure it overhung the bracket

While hemming and hawing over being slightly butthurt over the bracket choice, I picked a color for the wall behind the shelves.  We went with Sherwin Williams Restorative.  But, to my frustration, you cannot find that color on their website.  It was purchased at Lowe’s and it is almost as if it does not exist.  Either way, you can see it here.Home Down South Office Wall Color

When it was time to start hanging the brackets, I turned to trusty painters tape to show me where the studs were and what our shelves would look like.  With the potential weight of these shelves, we needed as many studs as possible.  We ended up with four studs and one center free floater (which meant anchors).

Home Down South Office measuring

The laser level was my best friend through this whole process.  I measured, remeasured, leveled, releveled, checked the level line with an actual level.  Precision is key here.

Home Down South Shelves

After a somewhat seamless first row installation, I moved on to the second row.

Home Down South Office shelves 2

The second row was a little more frustrating because of whatever is going on behind the wall and getting screws to go fully into the stud, but it went up.

The third row, well that was a sonofacrapper.  After all of my measuring and leveling, I pre-drilled my holes so I could easily get the brackets up.  Apparently one of my measurements was off by a smidge and it threw three brackets off and it looked terribly stupid.  They were not in line with the brackets below.  Of course, that also included the bracket in the center with anchors.  #headslam

Home Down South Builds Shelves

I am not kidding when I tell you I went through THREE types of anchors to work in this stubborn hole!  Either they broke or just sucked (being honest).  And that lovely GIANT hole on top, even your basic putty could not fix it.  I had to break out the joint compound to fix that hole.  You guys, that is the standard!  It fixed the giant hole and did not implode when I had to redrill into part of it like the putty did.

Officially, I would like to take shelf hanging OFF my resume after this.  It was so frustrating.  BUT the shelves are up and look quite nice.

As I was hanging the shelves, the screws that I was using were a blinding silver and the brackets were black.  It was like wearing white socks with black shoes.  I grabbed some acrylic paint I had and painted over the tops of the screws and unless you are standing with your nose against the wall, you can’t tell.

As for the shelves, I slapped on a layer of pre-conditioner (NECESSARY) and two coats of Minwax Espresso.

Home Down South builds shelves

Once we got the last shelf up (which is a total team lift item and you should NOT do this alone), they actually looked decent.  Home Down South builds Shelves

Home Down South builds Shelves

I feel like I went a little overkill with the brackets, but as I am styling the shelves, they can be hidden.

Up next: upgrading those boring stock cabinets you can buy at a big box home improvement store!

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Design Plan for Our Home Office

When we moved into this house, we decided to take what is commonly used as the “Formal Living Room” and turn it into our home office. First, what is the actual purpose of the “formal living room”? This house was built 30 years ago, so it was a thing then but now, notsomuch. We do not need a room that will sit untouched (that is what the formal dining room is for). Second, I work from home and Matt is in grad school, so we need a dedicated space to work.

The room is plenty big and perfectly proportional (luck that I have not had before).

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice2BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice3BEFORE

I have noticed for this space our tastes both mesh in the “Industrial” look. It is a lot masculine, but so many yummy wood tones. I think our biggest inspiration for this space was the filing cabinet we scored from someone’s trash pile a few years back. It could use some cleanup, but boy does it serve it’s purpose well.

I decided it was probably wise to start putting some ideas down on paper to avoid going eight directions with this space. My biggest request from looking good is the organization. We have been in this house for seven months and we still suffer from a lack of organization.

Home Office

 

So, here is the baseline design I am going after. I promise to post a source list at the end of the reveal post because some of the items above are just placeholder pieces.The back wall of the office is 12’ long and it is perfect to install wall to wall shelves. Not only will it serve an organizational purpose, but it will also allow us to display nice pieces up there. We have actually already purchased two kitchen base cabinets to go on either side of the room under the shelves. They are totally unfinished and I am still thinking of how I want to finish those off.

I have been researching a way to make shelf brackets to hold up our beastly shelves mainly because they can get super pricey. So far, everything I love that I know I could DIY just makes me too nervous with how much weight they can actually hold.

GREEN! I am making it my goal to have at least 3 – 4 plants in each room. I am trying to steer away from faux mainly because I have not seen any that don’t look FAKE. I can be swayed!!

Paint: I am considering putting a board and batten around three of the walls, but I keep flip flopping. Too much wood vs. my love for BnB. I think this room can easily handle a dark color on the walls because we get a lot of light throughout the day. I have always always wanted to paint a room deep blue but never had the right lighting. If I were to do a board and batten, I would paint the upper portion of three walls in the deep blue. The wall holding the shelves would probably have to be painted all navy.  The choices of the blue I am leaning towards are Sherwin Williams Distance or Sherwin Williams Moscow Midnight.  If BnB is in our future, I am thinking a lighter color that is not pure white.  Possibly SW Pearly White.  I haven’t actually put samples of these on the walls yet so this could change completely!

We also want to add a French door to the front of the room, but right now our focus is getting the inside completed.  I feel like I have been planning this room forever!!

Stay tuned for more updates!!