Kids & Pets

Door Decisions, Art Updates, & One Big Belly

At two weeks from my due date we’re checking off a few more lingering nursery updates, like painting the closet door, organizing the clutter within…

… making/hanging some more art, and changing our minds in the curtain arena (you know we love a good final-hour switcheroo).

The green closet door was heavily influenced by Clara, who kept saying “my baby will like a colored door like mine but not pink” – and since a bold green door was originally in our plan back in January (which we mentioned to Clara, hence her obsession with it) we decided to stop hemming and hawing and just go for it.

After hanging our apple-green curtains and adding a kelly green sheet to the changing table, we worried a bright door between them would be too much. But the realization that we already had some breezy Ikea curtains from our last house meant we had nothing to lose by tossing those up to see how they looked (they used to hang on the deck sliders, but came down when we got french doors).

Although I couldn’t recoup the time I spent making the colorful curtains, they were under $10 a pop, so it seemed silly to stay married to them at the expense of losing something else we had all looked forward to in the room. And I pulled off the faux-changing-pad-cover (just a fabric remnant I tossed on to picture what a green cover might look like) when we decided a bright closet door was too hard to resist.

We still think the curtains need something (I want to line them in blackout fabric, and maybe trim them on all sides with black or brown ribbon – maybe green? Not sure) but we’re getting closer I think. And of course we still need to get a real changing pad cover, so that’s on the list.

As for picking a green door color, we relied on our usual method of taping up contender swatches to see which one we liked best in a bunch of different lighting scenarios (early morning, afternoon, late at night with the light on, etc). The winner was Irish Moss by Benjamin Moore. Not too dark, not too light, not too neon, and not too yellow or blue.

I only needed a quart to get it done (I went with semi-gloss), even though it took three coats to get a nice shiny finish with good coverage. Bold colors like this tend to look horrific for the first coat or two and then magically shape up at the end. Tinted primer probably could have saved me one coat (in exchange for one coat of that) but I didn’t have it on hand, so I just did three coats of paint instead. I applied the first one with a brush…

… but switched to a brush + small foam roller combo for the second two coats, just to knock things out a little faster. It’s the same method we used on Clara’s door (three coats of paint applied with a roller/brush combo) which has held up well for the last five months with heavy use so that’s nice to know.

As for actually getting the closet ready, that just meant organizing things (lining up shoes, putting a few empty baskets on that top shelf for future use, placing some extra toys in a bin on the floor, and transferring excess clutter to the hall closet). The hall closet is a more spacious double-doored closet, so things that we won’t use for a while like a bumbo and the play table can go in there. We’re sure the nursery closet will evolve into more sophisticated storage as the baby grows (might add some cubbies, a basket system, or a reading area on the floor depending on our needs as we go), but it’s nice to have a clean slate in there now.

We also had two nice wood frames that I wanted to hang on the curtain wall, so I was inspired by this no-longer-for-sale pear poster and just drew the shape in pencil on white foam core and used green & brown finger paint from Clara’s stash. I’m sure as the bun grows we’ll switch it out for a family picture or a subject/animal that he loves – but it’s sweet to have something there for now.

To make the lettered “Love You Forever” message below that, I took inspiration from this print from a no-longer-in-business Etsy shop, and used black construction paper and a pencil. I sketched out the letters roughly, cut them out, and laid them on another white piece of foam core. I tried to keep them all similar in height, but I didn’t get caught up in perfection, thanks to the charming irregularities in the inspiration print.

When I was done I showed John and he came up with the idea to add some color to the V’s, so I used decorative paper from my craft closet and a glue stick to attach them all to the foam core. We both love how it came out – and you can’t beat the price (free) or the amount of time it took (around fifteen minutes).

Since Clara has a print in her room that says “You Are So Loved” it feels nice to have a similar sentiment hanging in our son’s room. Sniffle.

Aren’t those wood frames nice with the stained top of the built-ins and the dark hardware on the drawers?

They also tie-in to the frames of the bike art and the changing table on the other side of the room, so there’s more balance going on.

Speaking of wooden things, we found this cute rocker at a local thrift store called Consignment Connection for $15. Clara is obsessed (even though it looks fragile it easily holds her weight) and thinks her brother is going to LOVE it. Can’t wait to see if she’s right.

Slowly but surely, this room is coming along – we even think we have a plan for the wall behind the crib after this post o’ brainstorming (thanks to everyone for their thoughts and ideas!). We might wait until the baby’s here to knock that out, but in the meantime everything from the toys on the built-ins to those elephants marching across the crib sheets and our new green closet door is making us more excited than ever to bring home this little man of ours.

Even though we’re not done in here, we worried we’d miss the chance to re-take our family picture before the bun is born (a tradition that we started with Clara), so here’s the one we took when we started on the room back in January…

… and here’s one that we snapped yesterday. Could I be more pregnant? I laughed and asked John if he inflated my bump in photoshop (or hid my legs). Turns out I just look like this and my belly really is that far out in front of me. #watermelonsmuggler

And just because I can’t resist a good waaaay back shot, here’s how the room looked before we moved in last summer.

Even though we still have a bunch of remaining to-do list items, it’s definitely feeling more like a baby-ready space.

So our to-do list officially looks like this:

Is anyone else making art? Having a curtain change of heart? Or painting something a bold, saturated color? We never could have guessed we’d have a bold foyer door along with two in our kids rooms, but they’re proving to be somewhat addictive.

Psst- To read about all of the nursery updates from the beginning, here’s how we painted all the pink trim, laid new hardwood floors, got a rug, painted the walls and ceiling, added built-ins to each corner of the crib wall, tackled some baby bedding, hung some extra thick crown molding, filled up the built-ins, made some curtains, added a cabinet for open storage and diaper changes, and made a mobile for over the crib.



Hey Girl

We spent the weekend checking off a bunch of hands-on projects for the girls room in the showhouse. It’s definitely still looking sparse, and is far from done, so I’m sure it’ll keep evolving right up until our deadline.

But we did manage to significantly shrink the to-do list this weekend.

We got the wall stenciled, the headboard painted, hung some art (that awesome chicken painting was done by a friend of ours named Lesli DeVito), and then we painted/upholstered two secondhand chairs – and even had some fun with a few wall hooks.

You might remember this old full-sized headboard find of ours (it was $9.98 at a local place called Family Thrift Center).

Now it’s sporting a fresh coat of paint (Hydrangea Flowers by Benjamin Moore) along with that freshly stenciled wall behind the bed. Both of them were done by Parker, one of the builder’s right hand men – who apparently is a stenciling expert among all of his other talents.

It definitely felt foreign not to be up there on ladders doing the walls ourselves (along with priming and painting that headboard) – but with 3,500 square feet of house to furnish & accessorize, it was also pretty amazing to be able to tackle a bunch of other tasks while those got checked off the list. The stencil was donated by Royal Design Studios, and the room is painted Simply White with Hibiscus by Ben Moore layered on for the stencil.

It’s another example of wanting to take some risks to keep the show interesting (we love how it mixes with the pop of color in the headboard) and it’s nice that it can just be painted over if someone moves in and wants to change the look of the room – so it’s one of the more flexible choices.

We did get to roll up our sleeves and refinish some furniture ourselves, like these two chairs that we found for $16 each at another favorite thrift store (Love of Jesus on Midlothian).

Here’s what they looked like when we found them.

We actually debated staining them, so John sanded them all the way down to the raw wood, but the more we stared at the girls’ room, the more convinced we were that paint was the way to go (there’s carpeting in there instead of hardwoods since the builder said most of his buyers prefer that in a kids room – and with other painted furniture going on, we thought wood stain might feel like the odd main out). I’m sure we could have stained them and made them work, but a little more fun color in a kids room was too hard to resist…

So we primed them with two coats of Kilz Premium (rolled on with a foam roller in most spots and with a brush to get into the nooks and crannies) and then we gave them two coats of Hibiscus paint, which was leftover from the stenciled wall (once again, applied with a small foam roller and a brush to get into those tighter spots).

While those were drying in the garage, I recovered the seats with extra loft batting (you can grab that at any craft store like JoAnn) and used a manual staple gun to pull that firmly around the front of the seat, and staple it around the perimeter in the back.

Then it was time for some playful fabric called Candy Floss that we found at U-Fab (they kindly donated a yard of it, which was enough to cover both seats). Here’s a shot of how I deal with corners. If you fold them sort of like when you wrap a present you get a nice clean look in the front.

One tip for working with a pattern is just to make sure to keep it straight as you staple (I occasionally flip it over to check, and you can pop out staples and redo things if your patterns migrates and it looks wonky). The other pattern tip would be to make sure if you’re doing more than one chair that you’re keeping the fabric running in the same direction (assuming you want your chairs to match). So since the white arrows seem to be pointing down on this cushion, I made sure they went the same direction for the second chair.

Then you just screw the seat cushions back into the chairs once they’re dry and you’re done. Boom – new chairs. Except they’re old. But they look new, so… huzzah!

You’ll notice some ceramic animal friends on the wall behind this chair, so let’s get a little closer…

They’re HomeGoods finds that we grabbed to hang up a few colorful imaginary daughter items like a purse, a mini backpack, and a scarf.

Here’s what they looked like when we bought them. Going onto a white wall we worried they might be a little flat, so we dipped their antlers just to add some interest. We didn’t want them to look too matchy or perfect, so we went with two different colors (Hydrangea Flowers and Berry Fizz).

We didn’t tape them off and paint them – we literally dipped them right into the cans.

They were a little drippy…

… so we hung them from our grass seed spreader with some old foam core under them to catch the splatters.

It was crazy easy, and the dipped tips look awesome – sort of like powder coated resin since it’s so thick and glossy. I love that they’re imperfect and angled too. For some reason it seems more interesting than if the paint followed the ridges perfectly. Nothing like a little rebellious outside-of-the-lines coloring.

And you may have noticed our Burger pendant light. We couldn’t resist. Just don’t tell Burger or his ego won’t fit through the door anymore…

The room’s definitely looking a lot more finished than the view that greeted us about a month ago.

Now we just have about a half-dozen other changes/additions to make in here… and 24 other spaces to finish in the next 14 days or so.

Update: There have been a few questions about having a double desk for a single kids room. John actually grew up with two desk areas in his room (one for a computer and one for homework/writing/drawing) so our team figured since two chairs fit easily along that wall it could end up being really practical.

Update #2: A few others have asked if these furnishings/accessories need to be universally appealing for whoever buys this house. The answer is that they’re just for the show (where we’ve been encouraged to take risks, have fun, and do different things so each house feels set apart). Once the show’s over, the homeowner has the option to buy a few items of furniture or art if they’d like – but will mostly be furnishing/decorating this house so it works for their family.

As John mentioned on Friday, things are going to be super showhouse heavy for us throughout this week and next week, so forgive us in advance if we’re behind or off schedule (or slow on comments). We’ve somehow managed to squeeze in some our-house projects among the chaos (like some nursery updates), so we can’t wait to share those whenever we can.

What did you guys do this weekend? Any art hanging, headboard painting, chair makeover-ing, or ceramic animal dipping?