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    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    With Christmas about a month away, it's not too early to begin planning the decking of your halls.

    The undisputed queen of beautiful holiday decor is Martha Stewart, and we've partnered with her team to complete some easy, festive DIY projects that anyone can do. 

    GIVEAWAY! 

    But, that's not all! We're also giving away everything you need to decorate your own tree! Here's what's included: 

    Scroll down to find out how to enter to win!

    We created two projects using products from the Martha Stewart line at The Home Depot. Yesterday, we shared a lighted sign, and today we're back with a hanging ornament tree project. There are a host of festive DIY holiday projects (with video tutorials from Martha herself) here!

    Supplies

    * If you're going to create your own branches out of dowels like we did, we recommend using 1" diameter dowels, white spray paint, and a permanent marker to create a pattern on your dowels.

    Step-by-Step

    Collect 6 branches from your yard or the woods. We had a hard time finding branches we liked, so we created our own branches using wooden dowels from the craft store, paint, and a marker. Cut your branches to be 6" inches to 36" long (6", 12", 18", 24", 30" and 36" long). Drill through the ends of your 'branches' at an angle so that the tree takes on a triangular shape.

    Thread wired lights or ribbon through the branches, beginning at the bottom and going all the way up to the top. We threaded our lights back down to add strength to the tree.

    To prevent the wired lights from sliding, we looped the wire around the back side of each dowel to hold it in place. With ribbon, you could just knot the ribbon below each branch.

    Hang the tree on the wall with a removable picture hanging strip and decorate. We used the Martha Stewart Snowberry ornament collection and stuck with a mixed metal (gold, copper, brass) theme because it complemented the colors on our tree. 

    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    GIVEAWAY! 

    To enter to win the giveaway prize (and make your own awesome, festive decor using the same materials we used), follow the instructions below:

    If you liked this project, please help us share it on Pinterest! Here's an image just for that!

    DIY Wall Hanging Christmas Tree

    I partnered with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. for this holiday series. All words, opinions, and experiences are my own.


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    DIY lighted cloches are easy to make and affordable.


    Tiny twinkly lights on bendable wires may be the best invention ever. They're star-like, and whimsical, and they make everything they touch immediately festive and delightful.

    While you can wrap these bendy little strands around everything from branches to ceramic figurines, my favorite use for them is to cloche them, alá Restoration Hardware:

    Restoration Hardware's cloched starlights are DIYable.
    Photo: Restoration Hardware

    Do you see how those beauties are like magic captured under glass? The only problem with the Restoration Hardware version is that they cost a pretty penny (or rather, a zillion pretty pennies). The very smallest cloche and the very shortest light set from Restoration Hardware will run you $84. And, you need at least three of them...

    But, fear not, because if you must have these wonders, you can DIY them for significantly less. And, the best news is: it's actually the easiest DIY project ever.

    Lighted Cloche Supplies: Domes, Wire Lights, and Tape

    Here's what you need:

    • Cloches: Glass cloches abound in vintage shops and cost $10-$40
    • Wire lights: We used these battery operated Martha Stewart lights ($14.98 for two sets!)
    • Scotch tape (to hold your wire lights in place)
       

    And, here's the step-by-step:

    Simply place the wire in the cloche and tape it in place. That's it!

    Since our cloches had no base, we placed them in trays to make them feel like a cohesive unit. 

    If you have a hard time finding cloches you like, you can do this project for even less by using a set of overturned vases, like these ones. The end result is still magical.

    DIY lighted cloches in overturned vases.

    If you liked this project, please help us by sharing it on Pinterest!

    DIY lighted cloches and vases you can make in minutes.


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    DIY Color-pop tree ornaments


    This holiday season, a group of Curbly contributors and editors got together to create a series of DIY ornament projects. We'll be sharing our creations each day this week.   

    For the first inaugural Curbly Ornament Challenge we wanted to do something colorful and simple. After seeing these unfinished wood pine trees at a craft store, we were inspired to create a stripey, colorful forest.

    Here's what you'll need to make your own:

    Tree ornament supplies
    • A few wooden craft pine trees. We found ours at Michael's, but here's a similar set.
    • Acrylic paint. We used Martha Stewart's acrylic paint in the following colors: Gold, Deep Sea, Caribbean Blue, Spring Pasture, Party Streamer and Wedding Cake 
    • Paint brush
    • Eye hook
    • Hanger

    We played around with the order of paint on my trees, using gold, white, and navy blue as the bases, and decided to have only one pop of color on each tree.

    Painting the color pop tree ornaments

    Once your paint dries, simply screw an eye hook to the top of your tree and add a hanger.  

    If you like this project, please help us by sharing on Pinterest! Here's an image just for that:

    DIY Color-pop tree ornaments

    What are your favorite DIY ornament ideas? Share them in the comments!


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    Update: The Ultimate DIY Bundle Sale is now closed! If you missed your chance to get the bundle, you can still purchase a copy of our awesome Make It! Hardware Store Decor eBook for just $9.99!

    You guys! Remember our Make It! Hardware Store Decor eBook? Well, this week only, it's on sale as part of an amazing bundle of DIY books. For one week only, you can get our book (a $9 value), plus a bunch of other cool eBooks (total value of over $1,200), plus get access to some great eCourses, for only $34.95!

    You should definitely head over to the sale page right now and check out everything that's included. There's a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee, so there's no reason not to take a look.

    These are 11 of the 76 eBooks and courses that are included! (Ours is in the second row, third from right)

    We wanted to be part of this bundle because the quality of some of the DIY projects is great. Here are some of our favorite projects (all of these are included in the bundle!): 

    These crocheted bowls (from "Handmade Gifts for Every Occasion" by Kim Layton):

    DIY Crocheted Bowls

    These tassels (from "Updated and On-Trend Tassels" by Myquillyn Smith):

    DIY Tassels

    And, these thumbtack gourds (from "Easy DIY Crafts for Every Season" by Amy Clark).

    DIY Thumb Tack Gourds

    And of course, our very own Hardware Store Decor eBook includes some of our best, timeless DIYs, like an industrial desk made from piping, and a classic lighted marquee letter that's totally customizable. 

    DIY Industrial Desk Made from Pipes
    DIY Customizable Marquee Lighted Letter

    We'll be back later this week with a Hardware Store Decor-like project to give you a taste of what you can expect. But, in the meantime, we want you to take advantage of purchasing this bundle o' books for a steal. For the next 6 days, you can get our eBook (and 76 other books and eCourses) for $34.95. All told, the content in this collection is worth over $1,200 (so you're saving 97%). 

    Full disclosure: while there are some wonderful eBooks in the bundle that totally align with Curbly's aesthetic, some others miss the mark (some of you might still love these, some of you may not). But all of the projects contain detailed information and we believe you will take away lots of great ideas from this collection. Plus, just the Craftsy eCourse bonus alone is worth more than the purchase price. And with a 30-day-money-back guarantee, your risk is nil.

    Here are just some of the Craftsy.com courses you can choose from (yes, you get one course FREE with the bundle purchase!)

    Now here's the really fun part: to get you even more excited about our eBook bundle, we're giving away a Kindle Fire. Yep! We are! To enter to win this Kindle, see the instructions below (and no, you don't need to buy a bundle to be eligible to win the Kindle):

    Update: The Ultimate DIY Bundle Sale is now closed! If you missed your chance to get the bundle, you can still purchase a copy of our awesome Make It! Hardware Store Decor eBook for just $9.99!


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    DIY geometric brass pendant


    This easy, gorgeous DIY pendant light echoes the projects in our Make It! Hardware Store Decor eBook, so we're excited to share it with you, and hope you'll also check out the eBook!

    Ok, on to the DIY: 

    To create your own DIY brass tubing pendant light, here's what you'll need:

    Here's the step-by-step:

    1. Run your string through three pipes at a time, forming a bow tie shape. This will serve as the base of your pendant. 
      Run wire through copper piping.
      Bow ties shape using copper pipes.

    2. Play around with different configurations until you find a 3D shape you like. You can go free form with this, or stick to something symmetrical like we did.
      To create a shape like the one we did, add two more pipes to both sides of your bow tie shape to close the shape.

    3. Using a pipe cutter, cut one 12" pipe in half.
      Using a pipe cutter.
      Two 6-inch pipes.

    4. Using two 12-inch pipes, and two 6-inch pipes, attach the piping to the corners of your base. Make sure the 12-inch pipes are opposite one another, and the 6-inch pipes are the same.
      Six-inch and 12-inch rods are positioned across from one another.

    5. Cut four 1/4-inch pipes to attach between the tops of your remaining pipes. You'll create a 'collar' of sorts, which will allow the lamp cord to pass through neatly.
      Measure 4 1/4" pieces of brass piping to surround your wire.

      Notch to house the wiring.

    6. Attach your Nylon-wrapped lamp cording to the socket according to the manufacturer's instructions, and then thread the cord through the collar in your pendant. We did this using a copper metal fastener to hold the pendant in place on the wire.
      NOTE: Lamp cords are not meant to bear weight, so if you'll be mounting this thing from the ceiling, please check local electrical codes and make sure your pendant is properly supported (i.e. with chain or wire to the ceiling).
       
      Copper wrap to attach wire to notch.

    7. Depending on where you live, building codes may require that an electrician wire your pendant up to the ceiling. If not, you can just install it like you would any other pendant lamp (if you don't know how to do this, you probably want to check with a pro).

    DIY brass tubing pendant

    DIY Brass Pendant Light

    DIY Brass Pendant

    KINDLE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

    And don't forget to check out Make It! Hardware Store Decor today!


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    DIY vintage flash card wall
    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    During the last year, our sun room has slowly morphed into the room that holds all our kids' stuff. Toys, books, artwork, and other moppet accoutrements grace every surface of the room; the reality of living with active children. A leopard can't change its spots, and because we love this nook, we decided to swap out some of the artwork and create an accent wall that was a little more playful.

    Before photo of the room
    The sun room, before. Photo by Melissa Oholendt.


    Using Glue Dots and vintage flash cards we collected from one of our favorite stores (Hunt & Gather), we created an easy accent wall in about an hour. Here's everything you'll need to create your own:

    Supplies

    • Glue Dots Brand Adhesives - We chose the Repositionable Formula. They're super-easy to use, and can be removed without damaging the wall.
    • Flash cards - We chose about 50 vintage ones with lots of wear and tear
    • Painter's tape - To define the grid

    Vintage flash cards, Glue Dots, and Tape are all you need

    Step-by-Step

    1. Create a temporary frame using painter's tape to define your work.
    2. Roll the Glue Dots onto the back of the flash cards. We did two rows to help the cards completely adhere, and to make sure they lied flat against the wall. 

      The Repositionable Formula Glue Dots hold up to two pounds (!! - that's way more than these cards weigh, but still), and won't stain or damage surfaces (even painted drywall). 
       
       
    3. Attach the flash cards to the wall, and continue until your grid is complete. No need to get fancy with levels and lasers. Your eyeballs are good enough here. 
       

       
    4. Be sure to create a little variety. We thought a true grid would be a little monotonous, so we added a couple rows of longer cards to create some visual interest.

    The finished product is adorable, and our newly-reading kindergartener is loving the challenge of figuring out all the words on our new word wall.

    I love that we were able to switch up the whole look of the wall quickly and easily, and that it'll be really easy to change back once we get tired of it. 

    Simple wall art with vintage flash cards - feature image
    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    Simple wall art with vintage flash cards - feature image
    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    If you liked this project, please help us share it by pinning to your Pinterest boards! Here's an image just for that purpose:

    Share on Pinterest: simple vintage flash card wall art.
    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    This post was sponsored by Glue Dots, all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Curbly, and help us continue to create free original content.


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    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue // ManMadeDIY

    Curbly's Editor and ManMadeDIY extraordinaire, Chris, recently hosted an all-out backyard barbecue, and he's got all of the details - including clever tips, delicious wine, and recipes - on ManMadeDIY.
     

    You can check out the whole series by following the links below:

    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue, Part I: The Plan

    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue, Part II: The Food and Drinks

    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue, Part III: Bringing it All Together - The Big Reveal

    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue // ManMadeDIY

    How to Host an All-Out Backyard Barbecue


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    Truth be told: Cleaning is a bear. If I had an infinite amount of money, I would hire someone to clean my house from top to bottom several times a week. In the meantime, I'll stick with our "Clean Like a Maid" Cheat Sheet.

    Clean Like a Maid with this FREE Downloadable Cheat Sheet

     
    To download this free cheat sheet, simply head over to our Fan Downloads page on Facebook and download away. You don't even have to "like" us to download this cheat sheet; but, once you know how to clean like a maid, you'll wanna!

    Clean Like a Maid with this FREE Downloadable Cheat Sheet


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    What do red wine, gum, and Play Doh all have in common? They all present a stubborn stain to remove when they land on your new sofa. But fortunately, you can tackle most of them with household staples you already have in the cupboard.

    Learn How to Remove even the most Stubborn Stains with this FREE Downloadable Cheat Sheet
    Brittni Mehlhoff


    To download this cheat sheet for free , check out our Fan Downloads page on Facebook (you don't have to be a fan to get the download, but while you're there, you might want to become one)!

    Learn how to effectively remove stains with this FREE downloadable cheat sheet!
    Brittni Mehlhoff

    Or, hey, if you've already liked us on Facebook, why not share this download with your friends on Pinterest (you follow our boards on Pinterest, right?).


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    Boy's Room Mood Board 1

    We moved into the Curbly house when our little boy was two weeks old. It was a whirlwind, an epic frenzy of a time, and while we eventually put together a cozy nursery for our new little bundle, his nursery never developed a personality that reflected him. 

     Somehow, years passed, and despite me begging him daily to not grow older, he became 2 1/2-years-old. And, he has a lot of opinions. He knows the names of more heavy machinery than I do, he has a coterie of "guys" (little Playmobil figurines) that go on adventures together. They have names like Miguel and Benji. He loves dogs and trains and mountains. 

    In the last few months, he has outgrown the babyness of his room, and we were excited to create a bedroom to reflect the little guy he has become. We partnered with Land of Nod (our very favorite kid's furniture store; it's all so magical) to create a room for our budding boy.  

    But, before we tell you about our plans for the room, let's take a look at the "before" space.

    Here's the room the day we closed on the house and the ceiling began falling:

    Before: Little Boy's Room Makeover

    And, here's the nursery a few months after we moved in: 

    Boy's Room Makeover, Before


    To be clear, there was nothing wrong with this room. It was just devoid of any real personality. 

    Building upon some of the things our son adores, we put together a room centered on mountains and adventure. Because, mountains were the greatest common denominator among his interests. 

    We created two mood boards that featured large- (a painted mural) and small-scale (tiny hand-drawn peaked wallpaper) mountains. 

    Boy's Room Mood Board 1
    Boy's Room Makeover 2

    Mountain Image from: Syrinveien

    We've said the following sentence so many times we sound like a broken record, but is deserves to be said one more time: Creating a mood board whilst putting a room together will be your BFF

    Here's why: There are so many directions a room can go when you're starting with a blank slate. And, while spending time on Pinterest is a great way to gather ideas and inspiration, it can quickly become overwhelming. Instead, choosing a few gorgeous pieces (in a bedroom, a staple like a bed is a good place to start) is helpful because it keeps you focused. Building a room around a few integral pieces is wise because you already have the bones of the room in place. And, working those key pieces into a mood board makes it easier to visualize the space as you build the room.

    In our case, we chose to focus on a bold accent wall: hand painted mountains, a gorgeous bed that is aesthetically flexible (it can really go any way in terms of style), and a vibrant rug that grounds the room (literally...BAM!).

    Land of Nod Andersen Bed

    Land of Nod Andersen Bed 

    Land of Nod Patina Rug

    Land of Nod's Patina Rug in Blue 

    From there, we mixed the old with the new and composed a room that feels layered and very much like our little boy. A peek at our Pinterest board will give you an idea of what's to come, and we'll be back with the big reveal tomorrow; in the meantime, here's a sneak peak:

    Curbly: Little Boy's Room Makeover

    We partnered with Land of Nod to create this bedroom makeover. All opinions, words, and designs are mine alone. 


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    Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover!

    Yesterday, we told you all about our plans to make over our little boy's bedroom. Before we get to the big reveal, let's do a mini recap. 

    We moved into the Curbly House when our son was two weeks old. Because we were insane people who purchased, gutted, moved into, and attempted to furnish and decorate a whole house with a brand new baby, his room was left looking fairly generic.

    Curbly: Boy's Bedroom Makeover Before
    A view of the nursery the day we closed on the house and the ceiling fell down.
    Boy's Room Makeover, Before
    A view of the nursery a few months later.


    But, like sands through the hourglass, days turned into years, and our boy grew from a wee sprout to a 2 1/2-year-old joyful little guy with lots of opinions and interests. Mainly, he loves things that go (specifically: trains), "guys" (little Playmobil figurines that he names), and creating mountain adventures for his playthings.

    After putting together some mood boards, we set out to create a room that was centered on the theme of mountains. Let me digress for a moment and say that mountains are having their moment. Emily Henderson did them super-well for Oh Joy's nursery

    Oh Joy's Mountain Mural
    Photo: David Tsay

    And, Pam Lostracco created this magical wall in her bedroom.

    Photo: Pam Lostracco


    Mountains are the poster children for adventure, so we were excited to put our own twist on the trend. My favorite thing about our mountain mural is that we made it magnetic so that our little guy could play with his little guys on the wall. We used several coats (five, to be exact) of magnetic paint and to magnetize our wall. Then, we drilled holes into the backs of several Playmobil figurines and inset magnets using industrial strength craft adhesive. The magnets are securely locked in place, which is important because strong magnets and little children can be dangerous together.

    From blank wall, to magnetic mountains, to magnetic mountain climbers!

    We were incredibly lucky to partner with Land of Nod for this project (if you haven't seen it already, check our Curbly friends Al & Meghan's nursery makeover, also in partnership with Land of Nod). We love the charm, style, and quality Land of Nod weaves into their furniture, and we adore the playful aesthetic they embody. 

    With our mountain theme fresh in my mind, I created mood boards featuring some Land of Nod pieces we wanted to incorporate into the room's design. Namely, the Andersen bed and the Blue Patina rug. These two pieces really grounded the room making it easy to build character into the space and give it a layered feeling. 

    The final result is a space that reflects our growing boy; it suits him perfectly.

    Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Night Stand - Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Book Nook - Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover

    Playmobil toys
    Hang on, Steve! I've got you!

    Playmobil toys mounted with magnets
    Megan, I swear, if you give him one more treat, I'll let go of this rope.

      

    Mountain Accent Wall - Little Adventurer Boy's Room Makeover


    And, here's our resource list for those interested. All pieces are from Land of Nod, unless otherwise noted.


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    If I go to Hell, I'll be cleaning bathrooms all day long. The taming of the loo is easily the most dreaded cleaning job of them all, because...ew. To help make the job more manageable, we've created a free, downloadable Bathroom Cleaning Guide and it's yours for the taking!

    Learn to clean your bathroom more effectively with this FREE downloadable cheat sheet.

     
    To download this cheat sheet and checklist for free, visit our Fan Download page on Facebook and grab your rubber gloves. While you're there, would you consider "liking" our page? It'll make us happy, and keep you up to date with the latest Curbly DIY projects, downloads, and blog posts.


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    It's spring cleaning month on Curbly, and we're sharing a whole bundle of cleaning and organization downloads to help you manage the beast of a mess winter left in your house. Continue reading to see how to download our Clean Home checklist for free!

    Learn How to Keep Your Home Neat and Tidy with this Clean Home Check List

     
    To download this general cleaning cheat sheet and checklist, hop on over to our Fan Downloads page on Facebook and get cleaning! While you're there, would you consider "liking" our page? It'll make us happy, and keep you up to date with the latest Curbly DIY projects, downloads, and blog posts.


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    A place for everything and everything in its place is now completely possible with this handy cheat sheet. 

    Download our FREE Home Organization Cheat Sheet to keep all your ducks in a row!


     
    To help you keep all your "everythings" organized we're offering a free downloadable cheat sheet to keep your home clutter-free.  
     

    Download our FREE Home Organization Cheat Sheet!

    To get this sheet for free, simply head over to our Fan Downloads page on Facebook and download at your leisure. You don't need to "like" us to download this cheat sheet, but we'd love you even more if you did!


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    It's time for spring cleaning! Check out our free downloadable cleaning cheat sheet to get your kitchen spick-and-span!

    Free Downloadable Kitchen Cleaning Cheat Sheet

     

    To get the download head to our fan download Facebook page. While you don't need to "like us" to get the free download, we'll be your best (super-clean) friend if you do! 

    Free Downloadable Kitchen Cleaning Cheat Sheet


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    Moen Magnetix Spray

    It's giveaway time! Who doesn't love some new free stuff, especially when it's something that will make an important part of your day - like showering- a little more enjoyable?

    We recently installed Moen's Attract 6-Spray Handshower with Magnetix (in Chrome) in our family bathroom. It's shower head with a magnetic release and return that allows you to snap it in and out of place, even with your eyes closed (it's available now at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com).  

    Moen Magnetix Handshower

    It also happens to be very easy to install. We simply removed our old wall-mounted shower head, attached the new one (it was a 5-minute job that involved attaching three parts and washers). 

    Moen Magnetix Installation 1
    Moen Magnetix Installation 2
    Moen Magnetix Installation 3


    The hand-held shower has a shiny chrome finish that matched our other bathroom fixtures, and it offers 6 settings, so you always have the spray you want.  

    Moen Magnetix Front View

    The best part about this hand-held shower is something you won't read on the packaging. It makes bathing our children a breeze. Our kids love bath time and are still at ages where we can bathe them together. All goes well until it's time to rinse their soapy bodies and hair. They hate this part and huddle into opposite corners of the tub while we try to rinse their bodies using a cup.

    Moen Magnetix Spray



    They both like the hand-held shower because it's much gentler and they can help with the process. For the last couple weeks, bath nights have been much more enjoyable for all of us.

    And, now for the fun part. We'll be giving away one Moen Attract 6-Spray Handshower showerhead (Retail Price: $44.98). To enter to win, simply follow the instructions below:

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Moen. The opinions and text are all mine.


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    Our porch makeover - before.


    National Painting Week might be our favorite week of the year - because the power of paint in a room's transformation is astounding and it never gets old. We're participating in Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week once again and we're delighted to be in the company of a group of beautiful bloggers to show off the power of paint.

    This year we decided to paint our porch for National Painting Week because we're lucky to have one and ours has been totally misused and disrespected since we moved into the Curbly House. Our guilt has gotten the best of us and we're totally prepared to love this porch up and restore it to a space of beauty.

    The much-improved porch floor after hours of sanding and varnish.

    While we finish up the final touches, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of what we're thinking. 
     

    Sherwin-Williams National Panting Week Porch Mood Board


    Our color palette is neutral (to match the eventual color of our home's exterior) - but we're adding a smidgen of color on the front door to make the space feel more welcoming and joyful. We also added a few easy DIYs to personalize the space. Here's a sneak peek at what's in store...



    We'll be back next week with our big porch reveal. In the meantime,  you can follow Sherwin-Williams on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for more updates. And, if you're impatient like we are, you can revisit our National Painting Week project from last year!

    This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams; all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who support Curbly!


     


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    How to style a credenza

    Everyone should have a credenza, buffet, or side table somewhere that they can style differently throughout the year. It's great to have a space that is basically just sitting there, waiting for you to try out different styles on it. Think of it like a painter's sketchbook; a place to explore design ideas that you might later develop more fully throughout your house.

    This year, we were excited to participate in Sauder's "Put Together" Design Challenge this spring, because few things are as fun as dressing up a piece of furniture and making it your own. Read along to find out my three steps for styling a credenza. 

    We started with a staple piece from Sauder's line called the Soft Modern Credenza. We liked the piece because it had beautiful lines and movement (the layered wood panels on the doors are wave-like and really quite beautiful). We also liked that the piece was unassuming, an easy one to add to any modern or vintage-inspired interior decor.

    Sauder Soft Modern Credenza

    Once we assembled the piece - this, admittedly, took us a while because the credenza comes in several pieces, and we're fairly meticulous when it comes to assembling furniture - we began the process of making it our own.

    We created two different looks for the piece, because we wanted to show how versatile it is. The first look is a fairly traditional design style with neutral colors and an organic vibe. 

    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge
    Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

    We used creams, whites, soft blues, and plants and antlers as a little call to nature. We chose a beautiful Clare Elsaesser painting as the boldest statement on the credenza and kept everything else very quiet.

    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge
    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge


    Our second look is full of color. We were able to give the credenza a much different feel by simply swapping out the artwork and adding a few pops of color. 

    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge

    We chose a modern painting (a family heirloom) as our bold statement piece, and added pretty bottles grouped together on a tray, and a simple flower arrangement for a little burst of color.  

    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge
    Soft Modern Credenza Styled - Sauder "Put Together" Design Challenge

    Adding personality to a piece of furniture makes it yours. It transforms a basic piece, making it look and feel like you. It tells a story. The best thing about Sauder furniture is that it's easy to make your own. To peruse their complete line, click through to view their lookbook.   

    My Three Steps to Styling a Credenza

    1. Start with a strong base. Go online (Sauder's lookbook is a good start), or hit some vintage shops, and find a credenza with bold lines and character. This is your canvas.

    2. Gather your favorite knick-knacks and paddy-wacks. When you style a piece you tell a story. Aim to gather books, interesting trinkets, and mementos that are significant to you. You want to have a variety sizes, shapes, and weights among your items so that your styling has some depth. 

    3. Stack, group, and vignette. Use books as your base to give your vignettes some height. Using a few anchor pieces like lamps or candelabras is a great way to anchor your piece. When it comes to the special knick-knacks that make a piece your own, try grouping them in 3s, and work in a variety of materials (e.g. paper, metal, organics).

    (And remember to have fun! The great thing about a credenza is that it's easy to do over, and over, and over! Don't take it too seriously!)

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.


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    Our National Painting Week porch makeover
    This is what our porch used to look like. Seriously.


    It's officially National Painting Week - one of our favorite times of the year, because paint is, well, magical. You just wave a magic wand (ahem, I mean...brush), and it transforms rooms like nothing else. It's a powerful feeling, holding so much potential in your hand, wielding that brush and roller like a wizard. Kazaaap! 

    For this year's project we focused on the bonus room of our house: the porch. The truth is, we are porch people. That soft summer air drifting through the screens, the cool fall nights lounging with friends, the sunset on city streets. That’s what your porch is for, and if you have one, you know how lucky you are. Read on to see how we transformed ours.

     

    The Curbly House Porch Makeover
    Now that's what I'm talking about. Summer Sunday crossword puzzle in this room? Count me in.

    In the beginning, the Curbly House porch the province of mean squirrels and soggy carpeting. And then, while we focused on fixing the inside of the house, it got worse; a dumping ground for construction debris, and later storage space for sleds and strollers.

    Our Porch: During its housing construction debris phase.
    Our Porch: During its housing construction debris phase.

    Our Porch: During its housing all the things that we can't put in the basement or garage phase.
    Our Porch: During its housing-all-the-things-that-we-can't-put-in-the-basement-or-garage phase.

    Finally, we decided enough was enough and began bringing the porch back to its original roots. We started the makeover by tearing up the carpet and removing a quarter inch of carpet adhesive. A combination of a frighteningly toxic chemical stripper and four days walking behind an orbital sander did the trick. Note: Upon returning the orbital sander, the nice rental lady informed us that we were given a broken sander by mistake. So, should you choose to take on a project like this, your sanding experience will likely not involve four days of your life. 

    Damaged floorboards were only the beginning of our porch woes.
    Damaged floorboards were only the beginning of our porch woes.

    We patched the damaged floorboards with new fir planks and gave the whole thing several coats of clear polyurethane.

    Freshly sanded and repaired floor.
    Freshly sanded and repaired floor.

    Sherwin Williams Color to Go sample size paint buckets make testing out colors easy.

    Next, we painted the stucco, windows, and cement perimeter wall. We used Sherwin-Williams’ Duration Exterior paint in Dovetail (for the walls) and Kestrel White (for the wood trim). On the stucco we used an acrylic latex paint (recommended for stucco because it allows the walls to breathe), applied first with a roller, then a brush, and finally a sprayer. Guess what? Stucco is a real challenge to paint.

    Painting Stucco
    Hand Brushing // Splotchy Results // Airbrushing

    Before painting the woodwork, we sanded and primed every square inch of it. This was a huge task, but it made the painting process go much more smoothly (in every sense of the word).

    Detailed Trim Painting


    Once the paint dried it was time to make the space our own. To help define the seating area, we layered a striped outdoor rug from Dash and Albert over a simple jute rug (pro-tip: layering rugs is a simple way to give a space depth and dimension).

    Since the porch is the transition between our house’s exterior and interior, we wanted it to feel organic, comfortable, and functional. With the exception of our aqua-colored door (in Sherwin-Williams Halycon Green SW 6213), we kept the color palette neutral, and incorporated a variety of wood tones on the floor and furniture.

    Trying out color samples. That yellow didn't make the cut.

    Painting the front door.
    Painting the front door.

    We used weather-friendly, natural fibers like jute and hemp for the rug and lantern. We also brought in bronze metallics that we used on our planters to bring more depth to the space. We housed our greenery with wall planters and clearance planters and vases that cost less than $10 a piece at Goodwill, and added a few sculptural candle holders to round out the decor.

    The result is a space we love. We are enjoying an early spring in the Midwest and we are taking advantage of the long sun-filled evenings on our pleasant porch. 

    the finished porch

    The re-finished Curbly House Porch

    Curbly House Porch: Coffee Table

    Curbly House Porch

    Wall Planters for Succulents

    Discount Planters and Catch-alls


    Here's a source list for those who love 'em:

    Wall Color:Sherwin-Williams' Dovetail (SW 7018)
    Trim Color:Sherwin-Williams Kestrel White (SW 7516)
    Accent Color (On Trim):Sherwin-Williams' Gauntlet Gray (SW 7019)
    Door Color:Sherwin-Williams' Halcyon Green (SW 6213)
    Jute Rug:Overstock (5x8)
    Striped Rug:Dash & Albert Trimaran Striped Navy Indoor/Outdoor Rug (4x6)
    Coffee Table: Made by Alicia's dear, old dad! Here's a similar one.
    Wicker Chairs: CraigsList lucky find ($30 for a complete set!). Here's a similar option.
    Couch: Target's Smith & Hawken Brooks Island Patio Love Seat (slipcovered)
    Planters, Vases, Catch-all Dishes: Goodwill (all under $10)
    Jute Lantern: DIYed, but here's a similar one
    Wall Planters: Arcadia Round Wall Planter
    Bench: Crate & Barrel (past season). Here's a similar one.
    Toss PillowsBali Set& Geometric Links Set


    This post was sponsored by Sherwin Williams, but all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Curbly!

     


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    created at: 04/29/2015

    We love a good kitchen update like we love a good cup of coffee in the morning. Our friend David from ManMadeDIY is in the midst of a small-scale kitchen update (read: lots of paint, tiling, new lighting, and new appliances... but no major structural shenanigans), and it's heading in a beautiful direction. Check out what he's got cooking below!

     From David via ManMadeDIY:

    Like most people, my family spends a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s where we start our day (coffee, papers, kids), and where we inevitably land every evening for dinner. Despite its small size and builder-grade cabinetry and appliances, it’s a space that works for us. But my wife and I have long been looking for simple kitchen upgrades to bring more personality into the space, and allow us to really expand on our passion for cooking.

    We’ve grown tired of cooking on our wonky electric range, and we’re constantly exasperated by our tiny, hard-to-keep-organized refrigerator. After enjoying a meal with friends in their very functional kitchen, we decided that the time was nigh - we were ready to do a mini overhaul. 

    We were very lucky to partner with Lowe's and Frigidaire Professional on this project. In addition to installing appliances from the new Frigidaire Professional Series, we’re also painting  the cabinetry, installing a new back splash, adding a tube skylight for more natural light, and injecting some much needed “us” to the space.

    Here’s the game plan for our week-long kitchen makeover.

    New appliances

    New Appliances

    I love cooking, but doing it on outdated, low-grade appliances make the task more difficult. Our electric range never heated pots evenly, our refrigerator was constantly overpacked, and our oven was finicky and took forever to heat up. We’ve selected the following appliances for the space:

    • Back control gas range: This range has a massively powerful 18,000 BTU burner for searing and boiling in a flash, and the convection oven has a power-plus mode that preheats in just a few minutes. Adios electric range, ever gone are the days of scorched meat that manages to be undercooked in the center! 
    • Microwave hood: The convection oven feature built into the microwave hood is great, and we’ll likely use it as a fast-access warming area for food during meal assembly. 
    • French door refrigerator: This upgrade will add a huge amount of accessible space to our current refrigerator situation. The large gallon-sized doors, adjustable shelves and drawers, and LED lighting throughout will make it easy to see and access our bounty. Additionally, with three little girls and twice as many dirty hands, the smudge-proof stainless steel was an immediate winner for both looks and easy clean-up.
    • Dishwasher: The most notable feature on our new dishwasher is the lack of buttons on the front. This makes it look clean and professional while still remaining fully functional with top access buttons. It also boasts a quick 30 minute cycle, which really cuts down on clean-up time. 

    Our kitchen upgrade mood board

    Updated DIY Design

    My wife is a Pinterest master, so we immediately created a board with inspiration ideas and a few great upgrades for making it all flow together. Here they are:

    1. Polished Natural Stone Mosaic Subway Tile

    Tile adds color and texture to the walls which give the counter-tops an appearance of more depth and character. Since we were planning on stainless steel appliances, the tile pattern with natural stone accents and grey and white marbled variations was a great way to tie them into the rest of the room. The tiles come in 10”x12” standard configurations so the wall gets covered quickly..

    Materials:

    1. Tiles –  allen + roth Venatino Polished Natural Stone Mosaic Subway Tile These tiles came in a 10”x12” sheet. We covered about 25sqft of wall so that meant about 28 tiles (get a few extra for filling in the ends and any odd angles).

    2. Adhesive – TEC Tile Adhesive (we used about 1 gallon for 25sqft)

    3. Grout – MAPEI Unsanded Grout (use unsanded when the grout lines are about 1/8” or less for a smoother finish, use sanded grout for any gaps over 1/8” for better spanning of the gaps).

    4. Tile installation Kit (gloves, trowel, grout float, sponge)

    5. Tile Nippers or Wet Tile Saw

    The project consists of prepping the surface, applying adhesive, attaching tiles, and final grouting. It takes between 2 and 4 hours depending on the size and complexity of the space.

    Kitchen inspiration

    2. Painted Cabinets

    Changing the color of the cabinets is one of the most ambitious projects that can happen in a DIY kitchen. Painting the upper cabinets white makes the space much brighter and allows for a cleaner look that feels more open. Using a darker color on the lower-cabinets really will make the appliances stand out, adding more visual interest to the space. The key to painting cabinets is preparation and even coverage. This comes from cleaning all surfaces, sanding well, and priming before the paint goes on. Adding new handles with a silver-pewter design completes the update nicely.

    Materials:

    1. Cleaning supplies – Using TSP, or another degreaser is important to cut through the layers of cooking grease on the cabinets. Anything left behind can bleed through the paint and ruin the finish over time.

    2. Sanding supplies – We use 120, and 140 grit sandpaper (& sanding sponges) to give the paint a good surface to stick to.

    3. Drop cloths and plastic – Keeping paint where it belongs is a huge part of the challenged when painting so many items in the garage. I layer the floor (and walls if necessary) to keep it all clean

    4. Primer – No matter what I’m told, I still prefer to use a binding primer to make sure the paint has a good seal and surface to stick to.

    5. Paint – We’re using HGTV semi-gloss paint on this project. This paint is nice and thick thanks to the primer so a few coats offer great coverage.

    6. Brushes and Rollers – I always use a brush whenever possible, with a nice foam roller it leaves a nice smooth finish. I’m partial to Purdy brushes myself.

    7. New Handles – We’re using allen + roth Pewter 3in handles that match up to the handles on the appliances.

    Skylight in kitchen
    Photo: Velux 

    3. Skylight

    Just about every space can use a bit more natural light. I love how easy the Sun Tunnel skylights are to install, the kit comes with everything needed to fully install a weatherproof tube of light in any room. The skill level necessary to complete this task is moderate to high due to the need for a tight seal on the roof, so read up ahead of time. The installation can be fully completed in just a few hours.

    Materials:

    1. Sun Tunnel Kit – Velux 10” rigid Sun Tunnel
    2. Hole Saw – I use my multi-saw for most of these types of holes, but a drill and small saw can also make a fully acceptable hole in the roof sheeting and drywall with some careful cutting.

    4. Faucet Replacement

    Water is a part of just about every kitchen task, and a great faucet makes it all flow a little better. The hardest part about this project is the tight quarters under the sink. A few specific tools make the task a bit easier, but no matter what at least a few hours will be spent getting everything nice and tight. A pull-out spray nozzle that secures back cleanly is a nice touch for getting water exactly where it needs to go during clean-up.

    Materials:

    1. Faucet – The Giagni Fresco Pull-Down Faucet has a nice look that will complement the appliances. A nice stainless finish keeps the water spots to a minimum, water saving spray is great when hosing down a big round of dishes after the party.

    2. Stainless Steel Lines – Stainless reinforced lines are a bit more expensive than PVC, but worth the cost on something that can easily flood the house.

    3. Plumbers Putty or Silicone Sealant – It’s always a good idea to get it all sealed up to keep the water where it belongs

    created at: 04/29/2015

    Timeline

    We’re planning to complete this kitchen update in a single week. The bulk of that time will be dedicated to painting the cabinetry. It’s a tight timeframe, but we’ve made a rough schedule to help keep us on track and we'll report back on how well we stuck to it.

    Although it'll be a hectic week (or so), I know this project will be well worth it. We’re excited for the new look and professional series appliances that will help us cook some great meals for family and friends for years to come.

    Check back next week to see how things are coming along!

    This post is sponsored by Frigidaire Professional, but all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade and Curbly.


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