Category Archives: Home Decor Projects

I hate to pay ridiculous amounts of money for artwork, so I like to make my own. Custom artwork makes your space more personal, and you will appreciate the piece more than any store bought, overpriced item.

Pinterest Musings: Water Cooler Disguises

My current problem is an ugly water cooler.  after several searches on Pinterest, I couldn’t find a solution….So I started an inspiration board after a simple Google search: “how to hide a water cooler”.

Here are a few things that I found. Clicking on the images will open a new tab to the image link.

Mod Boxes

Mod Boxes are simple covers that fit “90% of bottle-type coolers on the market” and is available in unfinished Birch or Oak.  The cover has no backside, so changing the water bottle is simple.

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Water Cabinet

Roundtree Furniture offers an interesting item called the Water Cabinet.  The cabinet offers the same ease of use concept as the Mod Box, but features a cabinet style door to cover the water spigots (or is it spouts or faucets?).

Cooler Cabinet

 

 

Wood & Tique

Wood & Tique offers a cabinet for the water cooler as well, however their product is a full cabinet with a storage shelf.

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The Water Bottle Cozy

Another option available is to do it old-school wiht a water bottle cozy…

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WATER BOTTLE COVER BIRDS PHOTO

 

 

My Solution:

Since I am not a fan of the Cozy and I do not have hundreds of dollars for the furniture style covers, I have decided to enlist the hubby’s help in building a custom water cooler cabinet of my own design.

But until then, I will just live with this…

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Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home: Organizing Our Lives

As promised, here is the article on our Family Command Center.

Welcome to the first post in the series: Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home! As noted in the series introduction, one of my priority tasks was to turn a blank hallway wall into a practical and usable space that will keep my family organized and on task.

As you may know if you’ve been following my blog, I have two teenagers, two dogs, and a very busy husband and I have ADHD (also know as forgetful).  I will be attending intense 5 week courses through the University of Maryland soon and I’ve just picked up a part-time job on post. Life is about to become chaotic again–Yay! No, really–I’m happy about that!

As it is now, the kids bicker about chores–who did what and when (so does the hubby), so I spent hours cataloging the various chores that need to be done around here and created an amazing (at least I think so) spreadsheet. Here is what my first rough draft and testing center looked like for about a month.  It worked out very well, so I decided to forge ahead and finish the project.

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I spent several more hours pondering what the space would like, what I needed to buy, and how I wanted the space to function.

I printed out my pages and slipped them into plastic page protectors and then taped them to the wall.  It worked out well for a test run.

Because I live in Germany now, and am not familiar with the best places to shop, I ordered almost everything that I needed online.  Some of the following images are links to the items that I purchased online (photos that are links are noted).

I printed out my final spreadsheets and framed them. I use a wet erase marker to write on the glass.  Each Sunday, they get erased and I change the dates, notes, and menus.

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8.5″ by 11″ Frames Opens Link in new tab To Product information at Target.com

We are a family of “fairsies” so this requires alternating kitchen duty. I know that I have kids and most people with teens assign kitchen duty strictly to the kiddos, but we are all very busy (well maybe not me right now) and feel that taking turns lessens the burden. So, I came up with this chart.

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4″ by 6″ Frames Links to Product information at Walmart.com

The kids only argue when they together, so they have been paired with a parent. It’s working out very well.

And because I am a control freak by nature, I also create a task list for kitchen duties and a monthly task list.

Organization to the Extreme
Organization to the Extreme

After most of my products arrived and a trip to Ikea, I laid everything out on the floor along the Command Center wall.

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I purchased the dry erase calendar and wet/erase markers (which I prefer) at my local PX (it’s like a target).

After taking care of sick kids and getting over the bug, I finally started mounting everything to the wall.

I’m going to share the OOPS moment with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes!

I mounted all of the frames to the wall using a level to make sure the frames were all very straight.  I wanted a unified look, so I installed them flush against one another.

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It was going to look fabulous! Except that I forgot that the only way to insert the glass is to flex the frame corners! I could not get the glass in there if my life depended on it! So, back to the drawing board I went.

I needed a spacer so that each frame was lined up as exact as possible–because I’m a perfectionist.

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The solution was a dvd case.

*Hubby and I were NOT born in the 80’s–we were born in the 70’s, and this dvd has some cool highlights that we both sort of remember and remember well.

Anyway, here is how I used my “spacer”

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All that was left to do was fill in the frames, mount the calendar, and add a hanging file system and my Ikea finds.

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Only one thing remains: A large hook for my purse that will be mounted under the files.

One project down, several more to go. Stay tuned for the finished Coffee Station project!

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The Cold from Hell and a Peek at the Family Command Center

I didn’t disappear this week, even though there were times when I wished that I could.  I wanted to finish my coffee station and the family command center last week, but instead I had to tend to the kids who were taken down by a microscopic germ–genes in a box–also known as a virus.

My son was the fist victim of the nasty little bug followed by my daughter a week later.  I was super careful about washing my hands and cleaning anything the germ carriers came in contact with, but I was infected nonetheless.

At the first sign–a slight sniffle and runny nose–I knew that I had that little bug in my body. Normally I would attribute the sniffle and runny nose to seasonal allergies, especially since we are still acclimating to our new environment.  I decided that this little bug was going to DIE before it took over.  I pumped up on vitamin C and took 3 doses a day of Airborne.  I wanted to use Zicam, but the PX (that’s like a Target type store on Army bases) was completely out of it.

Here’s how my week went:

Morning of Day 1 (May 17): sniffles, runny nose

Afternoon of Day 1: Headache, sniffles, runny nose

Evening of Day 1: Cough, headache, sniffles, runny nose

See where this is going?

Day 2: STUFFY nose, headache, and RUNNY nose! I don’t understand how that is possible, but it happened!

Day 3 and 4: Fever, stuffy nose, runny nose (couldn’t catch that little guy!), and a cough.

Days 5-6: dry nose but still stuffy, cough, cough, cough!

Today: coughing a little and nose is back to normal.

Since I felt so much better today, I finished the Family Command Center. I will post the full article on Friday, May 24–but here’s a sneak peek!

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Turning Drab Army Housing into Our Home: Blog Series Introduction

Home vs Residence

Home isn’t simply where you sleep or live–it’s the space in which you do your living, and as such it should reflect your personality and express your lifestyle.  It should be a place that makes YOU feel welcome and comfortable.  It should function in a way that makes your life just a tad bit easier.  In all, it should be YOURS and not “theirs” (aka the manager/owner).

The Renter’s Dilemma

Because every rental comes with its own special set of rules, renters often feel that they must live with those white, off-white, or other bland colored walls.  Though we are allowed to paint our space, I am going to try my best to avoid it simply because I don’t want the hassle of repainting them when we leave in 3-4 years (which is inevitable in the Army).  We are however, allowed to mount pictures and shelves with no repercussions or special repairs before we move out.

In this blog series–which I will complete over the next year–I will share the process of making any drab rental into your home.

Drafting Ideas

I have several ideas brewing already and can’t wait to share all of the finished projects and rooms with you.

Here are some of my plans for our new space.

The Entry Nook

After entering the house, there is a longish hallway with an opening to the immediate left that leads to the sitting room/dining area followed by a strange alcove that sort of looks like it could be a closet, and then another opening to the left that leads into the kitchen.

I call this weird space the Entry Nook.  I want to use this space pragmatically, but make it stylish at the same time.  The idea is to have a dresser with four drawers (even though I drew it with three)–one for each family member.  Hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas, purses–or whatever can be stored here. It is a dropping zone right now, and I hate it.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

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 The Dining Room

This is our dining room. In this picture it is pretty empty because I took it the week after we moved in (2.5 months before our furniture arrived).  This is still the basic plan, but we are planning on buying Ikea’s Ingatorp table and Ingolf chairs in white.

The door in the picture leads into the kitchen. The bookcase corner is positioned between the dining room and living room, but the hubby wants to put a large fish tank there. It is still under debate.

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Blank “Hallway”: AKA the Family Command Center

As I mentioned before, there are two openings to the left of the entry hall. This area is almost like a small hallway. There is a good sized blank wall and an otherwise useless space.  Here, I have a temporary “command” center.  I should have all of my supplies for this space in the next week or so.  This will probably be the topic of my second or third posting in this blog series.

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The Coffee Zone

We are coffee LOVERS in this house. As soon as I saw this kitchen, I knew exactly how this space would be used.  After a recent trip to Ikea, I now have pretty much everything I need for this space and will be posting about it soon.

To help make more sense of the layout of the house, I’ll tell you what is behind this wall: It’s the Entry Nook!  And behind the wall of the command center is the guest bath.

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I am very excited about the upcoming projects and hope you will enjoy this blog series.

Tschüß!

Updated Rococo Style Vintage (70’s) Wall Mirror

I found this fantastic mirror at the thrift store for $6.99, but It was purple tag day, so it was marked 30% off! I just couldn’t pass it up! I had been wanting one for a long time to finish off a wall in my modern glam living room…and even Mr. Wallet couldn’t say no to $4.90.

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The mirror and frame were extremely dusty, so my first step was to clean the whole thing.  First, I removed the mirror, then I sprayed a light solution of TSP (yes I know it’s bad stuff) over the frame and scrubbed all the crevices with a nylon brush. After thoroughly rinsing it, I set it in the sun to dry.

The next step in the project was priming.  I used short bursts with the spray.  I wanted to be very careful not to apply too much, as the primer and paint can pool up in the crevices.

I let the primer dry for 24 hours because We had a bit of a late afternoon thundershower which caused the humidity in the garage to rise.

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It is already starting to look fabulous! Next up: High Gloss Black Spray Paint.

Two coats of this stuff, and it looks like the real deal!

Rococo Mirror
Rococo Mirror

Perfect fit for my modern glam wall.

Rococo Glam Wall
Rococo Glam Wall

I’d say it’s a pretty close match to my Inspiration Design Board.

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Just in case you forgot how ugly the mirror was here’s a lovely before and after photo.

Vintage Sewing Box