Design 101- Decorating with Heirlooms & Antiques

In the past several Design 101′s we’ve been discussing the importance of balance in creating spaces that are pleasant and cohesive.

One aspect of design that can often be overlooked by homeowners is the balance of new and old.

via Houzz

Designers love shopping antiques stores!  Why?  Because they know for a home to feel personal and unique (
and homey) there must be a mix of new store bought items and ‘older’ items that appear to tell a story.


Imagine if you filled your home with let’s just say a bunch of home décor from Target.  Target has some awesome décor items these days but it would just look like a Target store display–something would be lacking.

Home Clearance

via Target

Visa versa what if you just decorated your home with solely a bunch of family heirlooms and antiques?  Your home might look a bit too eclectic and outdated.

via French Market Antique Store

So what is a good balance of new and old?  There is no set ratio but if I had to make  one up I would say  a good ratio is 4:1 or 5:1.  For every 4 or 5 store bought items having a 1 antique or more personal item is a good balance.

When shopping at stores or antique markets it is important to only purchase items that you love!  Similarly when you are given family heirlooms decorate with them only if you love it or the particular item has special meaning to you.

Displaying old books is a great an easy way to make your home feel more cozy and homey.

I have had friends who have been given items from grandparents or other relatives and who feel obligated to display them in their home.  They love their relative but the item is not their taste.

I don’t think we should ever feel that displaying a certain item in our home equates love.  There are lots of other ways we can celebrate our loved ones and keep their memories alive.  So please don’t ever feel obligated to decorate with heirlooms you’ve been given.

On the other hand if you do love the heirloom item by all means decorate with it!  A few years ago my paternal Grandmother passed away.  I have great memories of visiting her home throughout my childhood and into my adult years.  Her home was magical–it was filled with love, cozy snuggles on her lap, delicious meals and sweets, and family time with Aunts and Uncles and cousins.

image not displayed
A picture with my Grandma at her home taken about 5 years ago.

After she passed away I had the opportunity to choose some items from her home to bring home with me.  This is what I chose:

1. A silly framed photo of a man and woman dressed in colonial attire.

Decorating with Hierlooms


This framed photo was in my Grandma and Grandpa’s basement bathroom.  They had a finished basement that served as guest quarters when we (and other relatives) came into town.

I took it home with me because I like colonial décor and I like that it is kind of a random, silly photo.  I definitely have a silly side to my personality which I believe comes from both of my grandmother’s (we have a picture of this grandmother on a skate board and she was known to run aside (race) our car down the street when we left from visiting her home well into her 80′s).

The framed picture is now in our dining room.

colonial picture antique Decorating with antiques

2.  Another item I took was this great, large, textured basket.

basket for holding toys

It held loads of magazines in her basement.  In my home it is a keeper of toys in the family room.  When I don’t want to see the toys I just put a throw on top as shown above.

Decorating with old and new decor

3.  I also took this wood vintage Pespi holder.

How to decorate with antiques

I liked the vintage look and Pepsi resonates in our home because my husband is a BIG  Mtn. Dew drinker which is Pepsi product.  It sits on the sofa table behind our couch in our family room.


4.  Lastly, I took my Grandma’s pitcher and basin.


It used to sit on her buffet table in the dining room where we would eat the delicious family meals she cooked for us. It reminds me of a basin of water and it is what I imagine Jesus using when he washed his disciples feet after the Last Supper. It reminds me of serving others and showing love and it’s new home is in my master bathroom between the sinks.

Even if a home had the most stylish store bought pieces it would be lacking if it didn’t contain some personal or unique items from the past.  Decorating with a few antiques and heirlooms (that you love) infuses personality, interest, and warmth into our homes and help them feel like home.

How have you incorporated antiques and heirlooms into your home?  Do you think a 5:1 ratio sounds about right?

For more Design 101 posts you can read HERE.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!!


How to Remove Tile

NOTE:  The new look is due to technical difficulties.  Thanks for your patience as it gets worked on!;-)

Tile is all the rage in design and I can understand why.  It is a durable surface that makes a statement in bathrooms, kitchens, on floors, on walls, and even on ceilings(haha, j/k I haven’t seen in on ceilings but I wouldn’t doubt it happening).  I love tile!  I even created a post on how to tile a backsplash (you can view it here) but what can be troubling about tile is the quandary of how to remove it!

 Style Underfoot


As I dreamed about installing our new hardwood floors I also simultaneously had nightmares about removing our 600 sq. ft. of 12 x12 ceramic floor tiles.  I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around how these tiles were going to come up.  I researched and listened to people explain but much like my perplexity in comprehending how a plane can fly I didn’t quite have confidence that tile could really be removed with just a pry bar and a hammer!

It was definitely one of those things I had to experience for myself to believe! :-)  Hopefully you will be more trusting than I was when I say it’s totally a DIY project anyone can do and it’s really not as daunting as I had feared.  Don’t get me wrong if you have a lot of tile it might take some time but the process is really quite simple.  Here is a step by step complete with my first ever youtube videos (lets just say that after viewing these videos I promptly scheduled an appointment to get full highlights.  After 4 babies partial highlights are cutting it anymore!!) :-)  :-(


The process is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1.  Locate a place to start like the edge of the tile.  When we took up the carpet in the living room it left the tile edge exposed.  This is where we started.

How to start the tile demo

2.  Using a pry bar and hammer

pry bar and hammer

Or a Crow Bar and Mallot

crow bar and mallot

rest the front part of the pry or crow bar next to the tile edge and whack the back of the pry or crow bar firmly and repeatedly until the tile loosens from the adhesive below.

To watch a Video Demonstration of me using a small pry bar and hammer to remove tile click HERE

To watch Video Demonstration of me using a crow bar and mallet to remove tile click HERE

3.  Have a large garbage can nearby to throw away small tile pieces and debris.  You can stack tiles that come up in one piece and then put them in a trash bag and throw them away.

Tile Disposal

4.  Often if floor tiles are installed correctly they will be installed on top of a board above the subfloor and not on the subfloor.  If this is the case remove the board using the same method of removal as the tile (crow bar and mallet work well for this).

pulling up the board

Once you get the crow bar under the board pull down and this will leverage the board up.  Be prepared for the underside of the board to look like a death trap.  There will seriously thousand of nails poking through.  Dispose of carefully.

 5.  If the tile was adhered to the subfloor, slab, or wall there is a tool called a scraper that can help remove the thinset residue.  For a easier faster removal you could rent an electric scraper for about $50.

To watch a video of this process-Click HERE

I hope this tutorial on how to remove tile empowers you with the confidence you need to create a home you love if for you that means removing tile.  It was physical work but I enjoyed it and I found it interesting to see parts of our home that I’d never seen before (namely the subfloor).  As always let me know if you have any questions!! :-)

5 Ways to Save Big on Hardwoods Floors & New Floor Reveal

From the moment I first saw our home I knew that someday (and I really hoped sooner than later) I would want to get hardwood floors that flowed seamlessly from room to room throughout the majority of the main floor.


I love these floors!



Abbott Moon via Houzz

Our main floor jumped around from carpet to tile back to carpet then back to tile and back to carpet again.  We have two halls  that run parallel to each other on either side of the staircase and it always bothered me that one of the halls was tile and the other carpet (I know, what a strange pet peeve to have).  Anyways, throughout the first year of living at our home I was determined to find a steal of a deal on hardwood or engineered hardwood floors as well as the labor to put them in.  Ha, no such luck!

I saw some engineered hardwood I liked for as low as $1.69 once but when I called around to see how much it would cost to have them installed my hopes were dashed to pieces (I love how dramatic that sounds).  The lowest quote I secured for floor installation was $2 a square feet.  We would be installing a little over 1,000 square feet so labor would be at least $2,000 (not including demo for the tile which I got a quote for $500).   If you add that all up plus $250 in underlayment the total would have been $4,440.

Believe it or not $4,440 is not a terrible price for 1,000 square feet of hardwood floors but was definitely NOT in our budget.

I normally would have then concluded that I should install the floors myself but being heavily pregnant at the time stopped me very quickly from entertaining the thought!   Heck, even not pregnant the thought seems super overwhelming.

Anyways, I accepted the fate that my dream of hardwood floors would have to wait 3-5 years down the road.  Well, that was until last November when I got a Lumber Liquidator’s flyer in the mail.  I had somehow gotten on their mailing list and had received flyers from them before but their prices although competitive were never the rock bottom low that I needed.  Well, until that cold, crisp day in early November when I thumbed through the flyer and saw the words 5/16 x 5′ Mayflower Bund Birch Engineered Hardwood Floor .99 cents sq. ft.

I read it many times just to make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me.  I had never seen engineered hardwood that low so I called to make sure it wasn’t a typo!  To make a long story short I went in the next day (it was only a 2 day sale) and brought home a couple of samples.

Because it was the color, size (5 inch wide), and price we were looking for we decided to buy it even though we were not in a position to install it yet.  It patiently sat in the basement for 9 solid months until we were ready (physically, financially, and psychologically:-)) to install it.

Here is how we saved big on installing our hardwood floors.

1.  Be familiar with the going rates for various kinds of hardwood flooring so you know what a good deal is when it comes.  Saved us over $1,000

2.  Do the demo yourself especially if it’s just carpet you are pulling up.  Saved us $500

3.  DIY or look around (I looked on Craigslist just be sure to get references) for a flooring person who will assist you on an hourly rate rather than for a whole job quote.  After some searching we found one that charged $25 an hour and had lots of tools, experience, and references.  Saved us $1,000

4.  Do your research on prices and reviews of underlayments and get the best price without sacrificing quality.  Saved us $140.

5.  Re-install baseboards and shoe molding yourself-  Saved us approx. $300

This equals a total savings of almost $3,000!


Here are our floors!  I’m still working on putting up baseboards in the kitchen, powder, bath and halls so I’ll save those photos for later!


Here is the Dining Room–this photo gives the most accurate depiction of the floor’s coloring!

Engineered Hardwood in Dining Room

The Living Room-  The middle of the room where the light is hitting the floors isn’t true to color in real life.  I’m brainstorming on possible rug options for this room.

New Floors in Living Room


We chose to keep carpet in the family room and “media room” because they are rooms that the kids like to sit on the floor and play in.  Here is how the wood in the kitchen looks next family room carpet.  And as I squatted to take the picture our lioness came beckoning for some lovin’.

New floors in Family Room


I do love the look of the floors, however, in the process of installing the floors we have realized that this particular brand and make of engineered flooring has a pretty thin (equals sensitive) top layer of wood.   Hopefully we can keep it pretty!  High maintenance is definitely a con of hardwood floors.  We’ll see how it goes!


I noticed when I was trying to find a link to the floors we bought (I couldn’t find it I’m wondering if it’s been discontinued) that Lumber Liquidators is having a sale on a very similar flooring (pictured below) for only $1.69 sqft!  You can check it out Here.

Mayflower Natural 5/16"x4" Birch Betula Spp. Stained Finish Engineered


What do you think about hardwood flooring?  Is the beauty and warmth worth the upkeep required?  Have any money saving tips to add to the list?

To see Before photos of these rooms, click HERE.

To see some photos of the floors during the installing phase, click HERE.

Blog Tour and Baseboards

Today we have our hired helper coming out to fix the area of hardwood floors that was damaged by a water leak the day after it was installed! Once that it done we will finally be able to put our furniture back into place and I will be able to snap some pics of our new floors!

There is a bit of a ‘tag, you’re it’ game going on throughout the blogosphere. It is basically a FUN way of sharing with your readers more about yourself and introducing them to a few new bloggers.

Amy from Home Happy Home was kind enough to invite me to participate. She spotlighted my blog and answered the same questions that I will answer below here.

I will share more about Amy and introduce you to 3 more blogs (that I love) after I answer some ‘getting to know you’ questions.


My Q&A

Question #1- What am I working on right now?

Right now my prioritized task is installing baseboards. When you put in new flooring whether it is vinyl, hardwood, or carpet you have a choice whether to take off your baseboards and have the new flooring run all the way to the wall or leave the baseboards intact and just run the flooring to the baseboard. Professionals always advise taking off the baseboards because they think it grants the best looking result.

We decided to take off the baseboards in our recent installation of engineered hardwood flooring. I wasn’t sure when we took it off if I was going reinstall the same one back on or purchase new ones. Our baseboards are very basic, pretty little, and have been abused over the years. I’ve always dreamed of having beautiful baseboards like the example below.


I seriously considered the exaggerated baseboard method with our original basic baseboards BUT when a few of the baseboards got damaged in the demo process we decided that completely new baseboards were in order.

I ended up finding a pre-primed 12ft. 5 1/2 inch tall baseboard option at Lowes for $12.47. That’s only $1.04 a square foot! It’s very basic but hey it’s a 5 1/2 inch tall baseboard!! I’m pretty excited and have already installed 24 ft. of it is our living room. Now about 144 square feet of it to go!

To be honest it’s a bit of a tedious job but it is saving money for me to DIY it and it’s definitely doable little by little.

Plus, I’m motivated to get it done because the next project on my list is much more exciting. I already started it before we put the floor in because I just couldn’t wait. Think DIY stair runner with these IKEA rugs. Can’t wait!

via Ikea

Question#2- Why do I write/create what I do?

Let’s first start with why I create what I do. Over the years I’ve have realized something about myself. I am very affected by my surroundings. When I am in spaces that are light and airy and somewhat orderly I feel calm and strengthened. In contrast when I am in spaces that are dark and with no cohesive design or order over time I feel like I can’t relax and feel pulled down.

I realize that not everyone is as affected aesthetically by their surroundings (my husband admittedly being one of them). But knowing this about myself and since I spend a lot of time in my home has given me the drive to create a beautiful home–one where I and I hope others can feel edified and buoyed up.

Which leads me to why I write? It is through blogs that I first learned that I could actually do something about the unattractive features and items in my home. The first time I began reading DIY blogs I was blown away! What??? I can actually upgrade all our dated oak furniture and cabinets without buying new ones?

These bloggers shared step by step instructions on how to make homely furniture gorgeous and much much more. Through them I learned how to paint furniture, do woodwork, and make my own décor. I felt so empowered each time I accomplished an update no matter how big or small it was. And through this process the more joy I felt being in my home.

So why do I write? I write with hopes to inspire and teach others confidence and skills to creating a home they love! I see it as a gift given to me through other bloggers and a gift I hope to now pass on to others (you)!


Question #3- How does my work differ from other others of its genre?

I think each blogger has a personal style that is unique to them. Just like there is no one individual that is just like the other. One important aspect of my work is my devotion to getting ‘the look’ for less. A lot less!

I have never been in a financial position to go out and buy the things that I like at full price. More often than not even sale prices are still too expensive for me. I may share inspiring pictures of beautifully (and expensively) decorated homes but I am always conjuring up ideas of how to make that look achievable to anyone on any budget. Which leads to the next question.


Question #4- How does your writing/creating process work?

Because I’m a writing newbie I can’t quite say I have a writing process yet. I’m still figuring this one out. However, my creating process often goes like this–I see something I like whether it’s a specific piece of décor or a photo of a room, I study it intently, I decide what it is I like about it (is it the color(s), the shape, the feeling) and I think up ways to recreate what I like about it (on a budget of course).

I have always been one who naturally thinks ‘outside the box’. It hasn’t always been a very helpful trait to me as you can imagine. However, when it comes to ‘creating beauty on a budget’ it is essential. When I see a wire waste basket on clearance I think of using it for the new lighting needed in the boys’ bedroom. When pondering long white flowing window treatments for the living room I use white flat bed sheets.

If shopping at garage sales or thrift stores I’m always looking at items in terms of what they could look like (with a little paint or diy magic) rather than what they are.

What are some of my favorite sources of design inspiration to start the creative process that inspires me?, Ballard Designs catalogs, Pottery barn catalogs, and Blogs.

Can you ever have enough blogs? No, I don’t think so. Each has their own style and treasures to share.


Here are 3 wonderful blogs (and talented bloggers )I want to share with you today.


First up is, Jennifer, from Decorating Delirium.

I found Jennifer through reading a comment she made on another blog. It was thoughtful and articulate and she is just that and more. She shares a passion for Interior Design and decorating and is often where I go to for reading about the latest and greatest.

It was from one of her posts that I became aware of the much less expensive and more accessible Americana chalk paint and from her Mother’s Day Gift Guide that I was inspired to DIY Gold Chevron Glassware.


She is also an avid DIY-er. I adore the pom pom trim she added to her daughter’s drapes (Tutorial found here)

Pom Pom Drapes 4

blog tour

and her super chic style!

Blog tour2


Next up is, Val, from Home Made Modern

I first learned about Val’s blog when she featured one of my DIY paintings in her 7 Subtle Coastal Projects Post. I was immediately intrigued when I read the subtitle of her blog which states “Home Made Modern- Where Domestic Isn’t a Dirty Word.”

She shares how to be domestic in our world today and does a great job at it! Her blog has everything– DIY, Crafts, and Mouth Watering Recipes like these.

vis Home Made Modern

And look how ingenious this craft is made mostly from her Hubby’s old shirts


And last up (but not least) is, Tracy, from Right up My Alley

I was ‘introduced’ to Tracy when she was paired up with one of my favorite bloggers, Kate, from Centsational Girl in the East Coast Creative’s Creating with the Stars Contest. They did a fabulous job and I was so impressed with Tracy’s ability to decorate with color. She has a gift for it!

It was from Tracy that I got the accent wall color inspiration for my boys’ room. It is SW Dovetail and looks oh so lovely in her Library/Music Room.

and check out a great Board and Batten Tutorial she and her husband did in their dining room Here.


I hope you enjoyed this blog tour and get a chance to visit these great blogs! If you want to see who they ‘tag’ make sure to revisit them for their Blog Tours which are scheduled for Next Monday, August 25th!:-)


And again thanks to, Amy, from Home Happy Home for inviting me to play.:-) You can check out this gorgeous stenciled wall gallery she created over at her blog! :-)


Hope you have a great day!

DIY Wood Bedframe in 5 Easy Steps

Happy Friday!  I was planning on sharing all the details and photos of our new floors today but then life happened!  It’s been a crazy week getting the kids back to school and finishing up the floors!

Boys Beds DIY

And of course the night after the floors got finished being installed our refrigerator had a pretty major leak resulting in about  5 ft x 5 ft of the wood floors needing to be replaced.  Fun times (Boohoo cry)!  So I’m hopeful by the end of next week there will be a lovely wood floors reveal post.:-)

Today I want to share with you a simple step by step tutorial to making a bed.  To clarify I’m not talking about the kind of bed making that refers to sheets and comforters being tucked in just right.  I’m no Martha Stewart and half the time probably don’t make our bed (and a 100% of the time I’m about sure I don’t make it the proper way)!  I am speaking of making an actual wood bed which is something I never thought I could do.

Well, until I found Vintage Revivals tutorial on how to make a platform bed.  I made a few changes in how I made the bed and will share with you an easy 5 step tutorial.  I will share the supply list at the end of the post.  Sorry in advance about the low quality Ipad pictures.


DIY wood bed


In 5 Easy Steps:

Step 1: Apply wood glue to the tops of all support legs.

glue on the legs of bed



Step 2- Place particle board onto top on supporting legs and position them.  Note: You cannot see it in the picture but there is an additional leg placed under the middle of the particle board to give support to the middle section of the bed.

add legs to plywood


Step 3:  Drill 3 holes going through the particle board and into each leg.

drill holes into  bed frame



Step 4:  Using  2-inch screws drill the screws all the way down through the holes.  You may want to use a washer to sit under the screw.

put screws  into legs


Step 5-  Last step is to add the sides to the bed.  You do this the same way as adding the legs–drill pilot holes and then drive in the screws.  Note:  Make sure to line up the screw so that it enters into the middle of the plywood and so that the horizontal sides and vertical sides match up nicely at the corners.  I don’t know why I took the picture below before screwing the screw in all the way but hopefully you can get the idea.

Screw bedframe into plywood


You’re finished!  You can paint or stain it to your desired color or just leave it o’ naturale.  Tip:  If there are any gaps where your corners meet you can fill them in with caulk for a more seamless look.

see screws on bed

bed frame all done


I decided to paint mine with the Behr Dolphin Fin paint I had left over from the walls and then I painted the legs espresso.

How to Make a Bed


The reason I needed to make a new bed for my son was because he completely split the wood of his previous bed (“No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”) and it was not fixable, believe me I tried.

boys room

My sons’ beds were matching (as shown above) so after I made the new one I used a jigsaw to cut off the top part of the remaining oak bed’s headboard and footboard and then painted it to match the new bed I had made.


I am happy to have figured out a way to make them still match!!

How i made a bed
Answer: The one on the left.


The total cost to make the wood bedframe came to $48 and the total cost of one DIY Tufted Headboard was $20.  Total bed and headboard equaled $68, not bad!!


Here is the Supply List:


  (1) 3/4 inch 4×8 particle board- $21 at Lowes

(3) 8’ pieces of premium 1”x4” pine (cut 2 at 41” and 2 at 80” for standard twin size)- $20 at Lowe’s and they cut the wood for me.

(1) 8′ piece of premium 2.5″x 2.5″ pine (cut into (5) 13-16 inch pieces) - I don’t know how much this costs because I cut off and used the legs from my son’s old bed

#12 x 2 inch flat head screws- 25 ct. cost $6

wood glue

a drill

As always let me know if you have any questions!!  Hope you have a great weekend! :-)


~Creating Beauty on a Budget~