Category: DIY

How a few rolls of wallpaper saved us 22k

wallpaper (other color ways, contact Talking Walls Creative for paper details) / rug / vanity / knobs/ ceiling light / shower curtain / shower curtain rod / shower curtain hooks / window shade / faux thistles / shower organizers / corner shower organizer /wallpaper primer / clay wallpaper paste

Over the years we’ve loved on this little, yellow bathroom. I scraped the refinishing paint off the original, cast iron tub. Spent weeks revealing the pinwheel tile hidden beneath the peel and stick. And replaced the tired vanity with a double, IKEA sink.

Eventually we started to think about a complete renovation and even got as far as an estimate. After seeing the numbers, we decided to love on it a little more– hanging the most dreamy wallpaper.

Did the wallpaper fix the original plumbing? No. 😅 But it did stop us from pulling the trigger on a full bathroom remodel. And let us put that money towards sexier things, like HVAC and radon remediation.

Here’s a little throw back to when I thought I saw a bit of vintage tile poking out from under the giant, peel and stick tiles. It escalated quickly from there. It took me weeks to get all the adhesive off and my hands were numb for months!

Somewhere along the way the cast iron tub was painted and now peeling. I used a glass scraper to remove it, with a little monkey helper on my back. Man, I forget how tough that first year was with a two and four year old!

The wallpaper completely transformed this bathroom. I started chatting with Talking Walls Creative after crossing paths on Instagram. Jodi offers both in person and digital consultations, working one on one from the selection process all the way through the installation of the paper. I told her, I dreamed of a dramatic flower pattern paired with the sunny tile. And her suggestions did not disappoint!

Jodi sent over the most perfect House of Hackney samples, in all the color ways. We both knew the Skye Blue color way was the one! Here’s a link to the selection process Instagram highlight.

I can’t believe I pulled off papering the ceiling! See the room reveal on Instagram.

I have a few hints, tips, and tricks in my wallpapering process highlight. I like to use a wallpaper primer. It makes install easier and prohibits mold growth. It can be tinted (to a medium color) and I wish I had done it! Tinting helps hide any seam separations. The other major lesson I learned? Use clay adhesive for ceilings. It has way more tact and made install a million times easier.

After the wallpaper was installed, I color matched the background of the wallpaper for the trim. I just couldn’t decide on a trim color before the wallpaper went up.

Tile repair highlight I have gotten a ton of questions on how I repaired the tile after we removed the handicap bars. I used caulk to top up the tile repair and painted on a tile, color matched paint. The fresh organization pieces also help hide the flaws.

We’ll still need to deal with that pesky plumbing. But we are hopeful we can access it from the ceiling below, rather than chomping through the vintage tile.

Sometimes not having an unlimited budget is a blessing. Things move slower and beauty is uncovered in unexpected places.

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Tale of Two Bedskirts: Emmeline’s Preteen Bedroom is Complete

Canopy Top & Bed Skirt / Canopy Curtains / Wallpaper / Paint: Clare, Wing It & Avocado Toast / Bedding: Red Land Cotton / Bean Bag that turns into bed / Rug / Chunky Blanket / Peel & Stick French Door Blind / Window Blind / Raffia Floor Lamp / Brass Sconces / Three Light Sconces

We started working on Emmeline’s bedroom in the spring. I’d wanted to add a fabric canopy top, but never found anything with the right look and price. I even considered sewing.

Sometime this summer, after I stepped away from the project, I thought about using bed skirts to affordably create the look. I found these scalloped numbers at Ballard Designs. They totally compliments the canopy curtains we already hung.

Her room finally feels finished… At least for a couple years until her goth stage. See the room reveal!

The cornflower blue pairs perfectly with all her layers of Redland Cotton Bedding. Can I just say- I’m super jealous of her bedding.

When we bought our home, this room was tired and a little sad. But what little kid wouldn’t love French doors leading to a charming balcony. Pulling up the carpets and adding fresh Roommates wallpaper really helped cheer things up. With the original floors exposed, we added a squishy rug with a great pattern.

I found the most perfect, vintage art at a cute, little online shop- Curated Home Decor. It’s a reproduction with a fantastic guilded frame. I like how it tied together our unique color pallet, and the girl even reminded me of Emmeline!

I painted the ceiling in Clare Wing It and the trim in their Avocado Green. I wanted the ceiling to be a little more interesting, without adding in another color. And Emmeline was set on having poppy, green trim.

My kids love the bean bag, I picked up locally at Homemakers Furniture, that converts to a bed. It’s the perfect addition for sleepovers. And the cutest chunky knit blanket of every preteen’s dreams, handmade by Lynks, is a snuggly addition.

I also added blinds this summer. Em’s room is the hottest/coolest depending on the season. These fabric shades are so affordable and seriously dropped her room temp by ten degrees! The French door blinds don’t even require hardware- they are peel and stick!

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Everett’s Bedroom Details

PB Kids Blinds / $14 Gingham Sheets/ $70 Room Dividers Rod / $44 Blackout curtains / $13 for two Tartan Pillows

Why hello there! Here are a few details you all said you were interested in about Everett’s cozy, new bedroom. Let me know if I missed any details of interest.

Tone on tone wall paint:

I used the same paint color head to toe in this room, just mixed in different sheens. I’m kinda into this whole dipped look at the moment and it’s perfect for Everett’s pint sized bedroom. At only seven feet wide, the one color gives a more expansive look, making the walls visually recede.

I mixed the wall paint from leftovers in the basement.– part satin, part chalk paint. I think the sheen ended up somewhere near matte. I brought in a paint stick to Ace Hardware and had it color matched in flat for the ceiling and eggshell for the trim.

The plaster was crumbling on this side of the house. A result of water damage from a leaky, original 1935 slate roof. I fixed all the plaster myself and you know what? There are some flaws. Shocking I know. The less perfect the walls the lower the sheen I go. It’s a balance, though, because little boy, bedroom walls need to be wipeable.

Creating the bed nook:

I used room dividers available in a number of finishes and sizes. We installed with anchors in the ceiling. A month in, things still look secure.

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Easy Faux Metal Cord Cover

Customize to any length by trimming plastic, cord covers and applying Rub ‘n Buff (available in multiple finishes)
Supplies: Cordmate (available multiple lengths) & Antique Gold Rub ‘n Buff

Measure and cut Cordmate to size with sharp scissors. Application of Rub ‘n Buff is so easy, you can put your kiddos, on Christmas break, to work. (I prefer the look of a brushed on finish vs using your finger.)

Rub ‘n Buff > spray paint when 1. I want quick dry time. 2. Don’t want to take something down. 3. Want a more realistic, metal finish. (It’s made from actual metal and wax)

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Stair Runner Rundown

Hello! Here’s my brain dump on stair runners. I’m happy to edit and add, so shoot any questions my way.

Current Stair Situation

Click here for details and product links on my entry, stair runner.

Tutorials I like:

I start every project with a Google and Pinterest search. There are so many talented people willing to tell you everything they know– for free. After researching, I take bits and pieces of what I learn and craft my own plan.

Young House Love, Stair Runner Tutorial

I used YHL as my guiding light for my first runner install. Many runners later, I still refer back.

Home Depot’s nuts and bolts tutorial

Ok. So HD says you can bang out this project in 2-4 hours. Don’t believe them. Other than that, this tutorial is a practical reference guide.


Prefer a video with runner eye candy? This one’s for you.

Remember that I am working on my Basement runner? This is still how far I am on the project.

Pit of Despair, stair runner

Your frequently asked questions:

Measuring for a stair runner: Here’s a good guide. I’d suggest buying a few feet extra. More if you are matching patterns.

Staple gun: This is the staple gun I use. If you have the money to spend, an air compressor, fueled gun is a dream.

Stair damage: Does it ruin the stairs? No. Staples only go in the riser portion of the stairs. Not the treads. You can patch the staple holes of the risers and repaint. If you have wood risers, you will need a matching wood filler. The runner will actually protect the treads from foot traffic wear.

This is what my house looks like during projects.

Runner sources I like: Annie Selkie’s, Dash and Albert. and Safavieh rugs via Overstock or Amazon. Locally, I’ve used Flooring America for pro installs for clients. (They carry Stark Carpet. So dreamy.)

What type of carpet works: I love using thin, indoor/outdoor runners. They are easy to install with an inexpensive staple gun, and hold up well to pets and kids. You will need a nicer staple gun for higher pile. I went this route on my basement steps. I like that it hides the staples like magic and it’s so lux on bare feet.

Pattern or plain: It depends… But I have always gone PATTERN. It’s a big impact and fun in a small space. It’s also easier to hide staples and any stains.

I didn’t always take 100s of house pictures. Here’s a plaid runner in our old house with sassy, toddler Emmeline.

Cleaning: Again. Indoor/outdoor makes life easier. It’s a little awkward to vacuum stairs, but I do it every so often. ha

Splicing together rugs: I love carpet tape. The tape acts as a third hand to hold things in place. I fold under the raw edge of the carpet, cover with carpet tape and staple away.

Carpet Tape where the riser and treads meet helps join rugs.

How much wood should show: For me it depends on the staircase. Ugly stairs, wider runner. Pretty? More stair showing. 4″-7″ is a good place to start. You can craft a faux runner with wrapping paper. Adjust the width until it looks proportional.

Stair Rod: Stair rods hide a million sins, if you are joining rugs. Rejuvenation and Zoroufy have some great options.

Turned stair applications: I cut out the odd shape, stair patterns out of wrapping paper. It’s hard to line up large patterns. I’d recommend a small pattern or solid.

Convincing your mate: I think this was a little tongue and cheek. But, I negotiate between client couples often. I find visual examples are a great way to start a discussion. A Pinterest board is an easy way to organize ideas. You’ll likely start to see a theme appear in what you pin. I also suggest starting that chat when your mate is in a jolly mood.

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The Great Makeover: Dining Room Furniture Edition

When we bought our house, we were moving from the cutest, and most beloved, tudor cottage. And we didn’t have furniture to fill our big ol’ colonial.

Our old house

There were a few pieces left in this house– a large, 60’s Frenchie dining table, 10 chairs, and the matching china hutch. Our realtor kicked in $300 for the transfer of these items, as not to leave us languishing with empty rooms, for years.

Former owner’s dining table and chairs

I thought they’d be temporary pieces until flusher times. But, I gave each piece, simple makeovers that had me rethinking. They are Widdicomb made and much higher quality than anything I’d be able to buy from a catalog. And I started to fall in love with French pieces mixed in with other traditional elements, such as Chinoiserie.

First “meal” at our table, during the home inspection

I painted the dining table legs with black chalk paint. Chalk paint allows minimal prep and leaves a velvety finish, once sealed with natural, finishing wax. I used Rub n’ Buff on the feet in antique gold. Just enough of a modern kick to work with my style.

The chairs were upholstered in a bold red and gold stripe. I painted it with charcoal, chalk paint, using a similar technique as used in this Apartment Therapy article. The main difference is I was dealing with very bold, fabric colors. I did 6-8 coats on the upholstery and then used finishing wax to seal. The addition of the finishing wax gives the fabric a soft, almost vintage leather look and feel.

It’s been a year. They’ve held up to daily use by tots and spills wipe off easily. I’d call this DIY a win.

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