les industries d’amateurs.

I find that things never tend to look quite like I pictured them in my head.  This is especially true when I am decorating a room.  I’m sure there are people out there who are much better able to envision exactly how something will look, but those people are probably professionals while I am definitely an amateur.  Although then again, I’ve been watching old Fixer Uppers on Hulu lately and I just saw one where Joanna Gaines repainted an entire house because her first color choice didn’t look right.  So maybe we all have this problem.

When I started planning my bedroom makeover I knew I wanted to paint the jelly cupboard in my bedroom that I use for storing my clothes.  Easy enough.  I painted it in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Grain Sack, and then I added some Iron Orchid Designs transfers to the doors.  So far, this is exactly how I pictured the cupboard would look.

By the way, the IOD transfers that I used are meant for clay pots (google ‘Iron Orchid Designs French Pots III’ to find sources for purchasing online).  They come in a set of 3 different designs.  To get two of the same design I purchased two sets.  As you can see the design is curved to work with applying it to the curved surface of a pot, but I thought it worked just fine on the flat surface of my cupboard door as well.

I felt like the design of the one I chose was particularly appropriate.  Les industries d’amateurs for sure!

It was the next step that threw me off.  I had this vision of bringing up the vintage suitcases that were beside the Welsh cupboard in my dining room.  In my head they were going to be perfect stacked next to the cupboard.

But once I had them in place they looked really … well … brown.

Don’t forget that on the other side of the room is my black headboard …

But I do also have the brown bench.  And the bedding and walls are very warm greige tones.  So brown isn’t wrong, but I felt like the stack of suitcases was throwing the balance of the room in favor of brown tones and I didn’t like it.

So I took them away and I brought up the cane back chair from the living room.  I also added an old black shutter on the wall layered with a framed architectural drawing.

Definitely less brown.

But the height of the chair is a bit off, don’t you think?  It’s just too low for next to the tall cupboard.  But I love the shutter and print in that spot.

So I took away the chair and shopped around my house for something else to put in front of the shutter and I came across my faux dress form, Lula.

Turns out she is the perfect height for that spot, don’t you think?

When it comes to adding details to a room I often tend to ‘shop’ my own house.  I like to move things around, they always feel fresh when they are placed in a new spot.

I had to laugh when I was editing the above photo by the way.  Can you see why?  There are two things that are upside down.  I hadn’t really noticed that until I took a close look at the picture.  Did you spot them?  The Arctic Aire label on the fan, and the label on the spine of the book are both on upside down.  What a weird coincidence!

Anyway, I didn’t purchase any new things for this side of the room.  I just worked with items I already had.  Which is a good thing since I am pretty much out of money for this makeover after buying all of that bedding.  Luckily it’s almost done.  I’m just waiting on some mail order items and once they arrive and are installed I’ll share the full reveal.  In the meantime, I’m back to working on other projects.  I have a gorgeous dresser almost completed that I’ll be sharing soon.  So be sure to stay tuned.





the bed.

As part of my bedroom makeover, I knew I wanted to get rid of our 90’s sleigh bed.

I thought about using the barn doors that I salvaged from my in-law’s barn as a headboard.  But with the ship lap wall behind the bed the planked barn door felt like it would be a bit redundant. I also considered using a vintage door that I had on hand and placing it sideways on the wall behind the bed.

But then I saw this idea of modifying an antique headboard from Rachel at Shades of Blue Interiors.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I started looking around on Craigslist for likely candidates and it quickly became apparent that the slanted wall behind my bed definitely limited my options.  Just scroll back up and look at that inspiration photo again, it’s tall!  And the height is a big part of what makes it fabulous.  I found several similar beds on Craigslist, all of which were far too tall to fit under my slanted wall.

Next I started looking for an antique headboard that either was short enough already, or could be cut down.  That’s when I spotted the ad for this bedroom set.

The headboard was about 4” too tall, plus the photo with the ad showed the bed with a mattress and box spring in place.  I couldn’t see the legs of the headboard to determine if they could be cut down.  So I contacted the seller and he happily provided both a photo of the legs and the opinion that I could easily cut 4” off the bottoms of them.

As you may know, Queen and King sized beds did not become popular until the 50’s and 60’s.  For that reason it’s next to impossible to find antique bed frames in those sizes.  But you can modify a full sized antique headboard to fit a queen sized bed pretty easily and I’m about to show you how.

The first step was to send the headboard over to Ken’s workshop.  It was a bit wonky and most of the joints were coming unglued.  Ken enjoys a project like this.  Remember the Humpty Dumpty dresser?  He likes to take these pieces apart and then put them back together again with all new glue (he also really enjoys jigsaw puzzles).  At one point the headboard was nothing more than a pile of pieces.  But Ken put it all back together again and now it’s nice and sturdy.  He also cut 4” off the bottom of each leg.

In the meantime, Mr. Q ordered a basic metal bed frame from Amazon.  Free shipping with Amazon Prime, and it was priced at less than $40.

Next we measured the width of the bed frame and Ken cut a board to fit that width and I painted the board black.

I debated stripping and refinishing the bed, which would have been lovely but a bit of a project with all of those details.

Since I firmly believe that every room should have a pop of black I ultimately decided to paint it black instead.  I painted it with Homestead House milk paint in Coal Black and I used their black wax as a finish.  I like pairing the black wax with the black milk paint because it deepens up the black so nicely.  By the way, in case you are wondering, the black wax has not rubbed off on our pillows at all and I waxed the bed about 4 days before we started using it.

Once all of the details were in place, we brought the headboard, the metal frame and the black board up to our room.  Ken thought it would best to assemble it in place.  Assembly was super simple.  Ken started by drilling holes in the board and bolting it to the metal frame.

Then we simply snugged it up to the headboard and attached the headboard to the board with screws.  Easy peasy.  As you can see, the metal frame is just a couple of inches wider than the headboard.  Once all of the bedding is in place, this difference won’t be noticeable at all.  Honestly, this could not be any simpler.  Anyone can accomplish this with a drill and some hardware.  So if you’re thinking about a new look for your bedroom, check out your local Craigslist and find a gorgeous antique that you can modify (if you are in the Twin Cities and can have a taller bed than I can, check out this one and this one).

Next came the bed skirt.  Since I wasn’t able to use the side rails and foot board that came with the bed, it definitely needed to have a bed skirt.  I looked at several online that I liked and the cheapest option was still $110.  It was much more affordable to copy from Catherine on Home Talk (check out that link if you want specific details) and use painter’s drop cloths.  I was able to get by with one 4’ by 15’ drop cloth that I cut in half lengthwise giving me two pieces that were 2′ by 15′, and it cost less than $15.

Catherine used upholstery tacks to attach the drop cloth, but I just used staples.  Honestly, I’m not sure how well they are going to hold it in place over time, but I can always reattach it with tacks if it becomes a problem.

Now comes the pricey part of the whole deal, the bedding.  Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to spend more on bedding than you do for a bed?  It adds up fast.  In my case I felt like it really was time to update more than just the duvet cover, it was time for new pillows, a new featherbed and a new down alternative duvet, plus the duvet cover and pillow shams that are the only items visible.  So I headed to my local Bed, Bath & Beyond to see what they had.  This was the second highest expense of the entire makeover.  I’d like to say that this post is sponsored by Bed, Bath & Beyond and they gave me all of this bedding for free, but no, I paid for it.

In addition to the pillows, etc. I found a Kenneth Cole stone washed linen duvet cover and pair of shams in the discount bin.  The color is called Mineral and is perfect with my wall color.

Since I wasn’t sure about all of the different shades of greige I had going on in the room plus the lack of any kind of pattern, I also ordered a ticking stripe duvet cover and pair of Euro shams from Ballard Designs in a color called Sandalwood.

I didn’t really intend to keep both duvet covers.  I thought I could try each and pick a favorite.  Instead I discovered that the bed looks amazing with both of them.  Dang!

In addition, the Ballard duvet cover is really very heavy, perfect for winter, while the Kenneth Cole duvet is quite lightweight, perfect for summer.  Can you tell that I’m working really hard to justify this expense?

I didn’t need new sheets, I’m just using a set of white sheets that I already had.  I’m also using a pair of vintage pillow cases with a tatted edge that I purchased at a garage sale.  You’ll sometimes find vintage linens like these at garage sales and it’s obvious that the owner never used them.  They probably were a wedding shower gift and were put in the cupboard back in 1959 and never taken back out.  These vintage linens have the most amazing weight, so much better quality than most things you can buy new.

The France 7 Postes pillow is one I purchased many years ago, I’m pretty sure from Restoration Hardware.  I have a pair of these and they get moved around all the time.  The mate to this one is currently being used on the Belgian bench in my dining room.

Overall, the bedding was a huge splurge for us and this is by far the most beautifully dressed bed we’ve ever had.  I figure now that we’ve made it nearly to our mid-50’s it’s about time we had some grown up bedding, right?

By the way, there is the cane bench at the foot of the bed.  What do you think of my choice to leave it unpainted now that you’re seeing it in place?

I’m loving how much more ‘presence’ the bed has now.  The height of the headboard is perfect.  It fills up the space all the way up to the angle in the wall.  I also love the black up against the ship lap.  I really could not be any happier with how the bed turned out.

So, at this point I’ve shared my faux ship lap wall, my refinished floors, the refreshed cane back bench, my repainted nightstands, and now my bed.  But there is still more to come for Mission Possible, I hope you’ll stay tuned!

Sharing with Feathered Nest Friday on French Country Cottage.

mismatched bedside tables.

I shared my mismatched bedside tables with you in the post about Mission Possible.



I was loosely planning to leave them ‘as is’ in the new version of the room, but as tends to be the case, the more silvery gray on the nightstands ending up being all wrong next to the Edgecomb Gray on the walls.

So I sanded them just a little, cleaned them with some TSP Substitute and painted them both with two coats of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Grain Sack.

Painting previously painted pieces with milk paint can sometimes be a little bit of a gamble.  Especially if you don’t know what kind of paint you are painting over.  Paints with a satin or glossy finish will likely resist the milk paint giving you a chippy look which can be great if you don’t mind the original color showing through all of those chips.  In this case I really didn’t want to see that color.

However, I originally painted these two pieces with homemade chalk paint (latex paint mixed with plaster of paris and water).  So I knew a little sanding and cleaning with TSP substitute would be all I needed to make sure my milk paint adhered fairly well.

I always feel a little more comfortable experimenting with new products on pieces that I’m keeping rather than selling, so I decided to try using Low Sheen Finishing Cream from the Real Milk Paint Co. to top coat both of these pieces.

I applied it using my Miss Mustard Seed wax brush.  The Finishing Cream is really quite different from wax.  First of all, it has a consistency sort of like a thick body cream.  You brush it on, but you don’t work it in like wax.  You also don’t need to buff it when you’re done applying it.  It’s quite a bit less labor intensive than wax.  It is a no-odor, zero VOC, water based gel top coat.  Although I applied it outside this time, you know I love products that I can also use in the house during our cold Minnesota winters and this will be great for that.  After 24 hours of drying time the finish is fully washable.

I read mixed messages online about whether or not this finish will change the color of milk paint, but in my experience it darkened up the color just ever so slightly.  Not as much as a wax would, and definitely not as much as hemp oil would.  It also adds just a little bit of a sheen.  Personally I prefer the really flat finish of milk paint without a top coat, but I want to add protection to my pieces.  The Real Milk Paint Co also makes a version of their Finishing Cream called Dead Flat.  I’m looking forward to trying that one next.

My bedroom is really coming together now.  Here’s my nightstand in place.  Initially I’d thought I might re-hang the floral plates that were over the nightstands before, but I soon realized that they didn’t work with my new look at all.  Instead I added some old black & white family photos in black frames.  I also hung some reading lamps that I purchased from World Market on either side of the bed.

I spray painted the lidded wicker basket where I keep my important bedside items out of sight, like lotion, tissues and lip balm.  I found the inexpensive alarm clock at Target.  Here’s what it has going for it; dual alarms, lights up at night, doesn’t tick (it’s electric) much smaller than my old clock.  Here’s what it’s missing; style of any kind.  If any of you have a source for vintage looking alarm clocks with modern functionality (I must have dual alarms), I’d love to hear about it.  I scoured the internet and came up empty.

Here’s Mr. Q’s nightstand …

It’s totally ‘staged’ for this photo with a vintage alarm clock and fan (both non-functioning).  These won’t actually stay on his nightstand, but it was fun to pretend just for these photos.

The room is really coming together now.  I’ll be sharing the story behind our new headboard on Friday, be sure to check back!

my refinished floors.

I showed you the awful ‘before’ condition of my upstairs floors a couple of weeks ago.

That photo doesn’t even really capture how orange they had become over time.  I think I mentioned in that post that these floors were already in fairly rough shape when we purchased our house in 1988.  And we’ve never done anything with them in all of this time.  Yep, they were very sadly neglected.

After getting the quote from the professional re-finishers and deciding to spend our money on a trip to Norway & Scotland instead, I started to give some thought to DIY alternatives for the upstairs floors.

I seriously considered painting them.  I love the look of a painted floor like this example from vintageinteriorblogs.com …

I even thought it might work to add a painted checkerboard pattern like this example from pinterest …

But I have two painted floors already, my front three-season porch floor is painted.

And the floor in my photo cottage is painted.

I did both of those floors myself so I know just how much work it was, and the master bedroom floor alone is about four times the size of these floors.  So a checkerboard paint job was definitely out of the running.  I also know that painted floors are hard to keep clean and they scratch fairly easily over time which is not a great look.  So after discussing it, Mr. Q and I decided that a painted floor in the master bedroom was not going to work for us.

Next we considered renting sanding equipment and refinishing the floors ourselves.  I knew that applying the finish would be within my skill set, but I wasn’t sure about operating the sander.  I’ve heard that they can be difficult to control and it’s easy to gouge your floor or end up with uneven sanding.  Plus it’s really hard work.

We were discussing this during my sister’s move.  On moving day we had help from some of nnK’s students.  I’ve mentioned before that nnK (new neighbor Karen who lives across the street from me) is the athletic trainer at a local high school.  She always seems able to pull together a crew of athletes from her school to help with any heavy lifting.  Well, it just so happened that two of the guys helping us with Debbie’s move were also working for a company that refinishes gym floors this summer.  They said they’d been learning a lot on the job and would be willing to give us a quote on refinishing our floors.

So we had them out and they looked at our floors and gave us a ballpark price, which was well under the price from the professionals.  We knew we were taking a risk since these guys were young and relatively inexperienced, but they were enthusiastic and we decided what the heck.  It was a way to spruce up our floors and not break the bank.

We set a date and I took the preceding week off work as a working staycation to prepare.  During that week I painted all three rooms upstairs and we started emptying them out.  Yikes!  There was almost 30 years of accumulated stuff in those rooms!  We started out being methodical and putting things out of the way on the front porch or tucked into corners, but by the end we were just throwing things anywhere there was a spot.  Here’s how the Q Branch looked for over a week …

And here is where we slept …

I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was an exhausting week.  Adam and Alek showed up on Friday to start the floors.  It took them a good part of the day to get them sanded.  It was loud, dusty, sweaty, hard work and as I was watching them I realized how glad I was that we hadn’t tried to tackle this project ourselves.  By about 8:30 Friday evening the guys had sanded the floors, cleaned them, put down a coat of sealer, went home for dinner while that dried, came back and buffed the floor again and then put down a 2nd coat of sealer.  They came back Saturday morning to buff again and put down a coat of finish, then again Saturday evening to add a 2nd coat of finish.  Finally they came back again on Sunday to remove the tape around the baseboards and check their work.

I wanted a natural look with no stain and a matte finish.  The guys chose to use this product from Varathane …

And now my floors look like this …

I absolutely LOVE the color.  I wanted them to be pale and natural looking and that’s exactly how they turned out.

Lucy inspected them and was happy with the results too.

Keep in mind that these floors are 113 years old.  They are maple and as I mentioned we opted to not stain them.  There are some natural variations in the color of each board.  They also have some deep scratches and other flaws, and there are spots where the boards are a little warped and thus didn’t sand evenly.  I was OK with those imperfections and did not expect pristine, new looking floors.  Also, the guys told me they didn’t know how to get under the radiators and I was fine with that.  They struggled a bit with the edges and corners too.  There is one edge that really could use a touch up and the guys were more than willing to come back out and fix it.  But in the end we decided that since it would be covered with furniture anyway it just really wasn’t worth the effort.

My main goal with the floors was to get rid of the orange tone that they had developed over the years and that was accomplished perfectly.

Mission Possible is really starting to come together now.  I have a few more details to complete such as new switch plates, re-paint the baseboards, replace the ceiling fan, and make a decision about window treatments.  Be sure to check back next week when I share what we did for a headboard, and how I changed up the nightstands!







embracing the imperfections.

I have wanted a ship lap wall ever since the first time I binge watched Fixer Upper.  I can’t remember who told me about that show (I’m pretty sure it was Meggan, am I right Meggan?), but I watched the first episode and was hooked.  That was back when I still had cable TV and they happened to be having a Fixer Upper marathon one winter day while I was painting a piece of furniture in my piano room.  I think I watched the entire first season in one day.  I fell in love with ship lap walls that day, and I bet thousands of other viewers did as well.  Twenty years from now the next generation of DIY’ers will be cursing us as they have to remove the ship laps walls that have become dated.

But in the meantime, my ship lap dream has finally come true.  We’ve added a ship lap wall as part of our master bedroom makeover.

I read lots of ship lap wall tutorials before beginning my project and although I took bits and pieces of wisdom from each one, I didn’t follow any one method exactly so I thought I’d share a post about how we did it.

I’ve decided to add a new feature to my blog posts and I’m going to call it the p.p.p., the putzy-est part of the project.  It seems like nearly every project has one of these, right?  Well, in the case of this wall for me it was buying the wood.  Please note the important words for me.  I don’t know why, but I find that figuring out and acquiring the appropriate supplies is always the most intimidating part of the project.  I’m sure most of you have no issues with this at all, it’s just me.

It began with calculating how much wood I would need.  I measured my wall and then calculated the total square footage as a starting point.  Then I decided to make my boards 8″ wide because that would fit pretty evenly floor to ceiling on both the vertical lower portion of the wall and the upper angled part of the wall with a 6″ board at the very top.  Next I did the math to calculate how many 8′ long x 8″ wide boards I would need.  Then knowing that I would get 6 boards out of every 4′ x 8′ sheet of wood that I had, I figured out that I would need 4 sheets.  To double check I calculated the total square footage of 4 sheets, 128 square feet, and compared it to the total square footage of my wall, 112 square feet.  Seemed like a good bet, so I went with it.  It was a little nerve wracking because after I had the pile of wood everyone kept looking at it and saying “are you sure you got enough?”  No, I wasn’t sure, but I was optimistic.

Next I made a few phone calls to find out which DIY store would cut the sheets into 8″ strips for me.  Menards was out, they don’t provide that service.  Home Depot said they’d do it for 50 cents per cut.  Perfect.

So Mr. Q and I drove over to our local Home Depot and this is where things really got putzy.  First we had to find someone to help us find the right wood (we ended up using 1/4″ thick sheets of 4 x 8 underlayment).  The first employee had no idea where that was, so she had to call someone from lumber.  That guy pointed out the right wood, but then sent us to the Pro desk to arrange to have it cut.  The guy at the Pro desk was on the phone, so after waiting for about 5 minutes for him to finish that call, he then told us that we needed to go back to the lumber guy to arrange the cutting.  When I pointed out that the lumber guy sent us to him, he then suggested maybe someone at the customer service desk could help us out … all the way at the other end of the store.

But then we got lucky.  Sarah at the customer service desk was super helpful and friendly.  She arranged for our wood to be cut, told us they’d call when it was ready and processed our payment for the sheets without charging us for the cuts.  Nice!  The p.p.p. was done!

My next step was painting the room.  I painted the other three walls and the ceiling in a Benjamin Moore color called Edgecomb Gray.

I wanted just a hint of color so that our beautiful white trim would still pop.

I expected this color to be more gray, after all ‘gray’ is in the name.  It really is a greige, in bright light it looks like a very pale warm gray and at dawn it definitely looks more beige.  The color changes throughout the day as the light outside changes.

The ship lap was was going to be painted in a shade of white from Dutch Boy called Cotton Blossom.  I used this color in my living room and piano room and I knew I liked it.  So I painted the wall that was going to be ship lapped with the Cotton Blossom.  I highly recommend doing this, especially in my case because I can see little bits of wall behind the ship lap.  It’s good that I didn’t leave that wall blue.

Next I had to sand both edges of each of the 24 – 8′ boards.  I tried hard not to think about the math … sanding 48 edges … but sometimes I can’t help myself.  The blade that Home Depot used to cut them must not have been terribly sharp because those edges were pretty jagged.  This was certainly not the most fun part of the project, but I cranked it out in an hour or two.

With the boards sanded and the wall painted, it was time to attach the boards to the wall.   For this we called on our amazing handyman neighbor, Ken.  He brought over his chop  saw and his pneumatic brad nailer.  We absolutely could not have done this job without Ken and his tools.  So many DIY’ers talk about how easy these sorts of projects are, but the reality is that unless you already have the tools, it’s not really do-able.  If we’d had to buy the tools for this project, it would have cost quite a bit more.  Thank goodness we have Ken!  We set up the chop saw right in the bedroom which ended up being the best decision ever.  Running up and down the stairs every time we needed to make a cut (which ended up being a lot) would have really been a pain.

And since we’re having those floors sanded and refinished this weekend anyway, what’s a little more sawdust?

Now, keep in mind that I have plaster walls in my 1904 house.  We’ve never had much luck trying to find studs, so we decided not to bother about that.  We used 1″ brads and just used plenty of them to keep the boards in place.  I didn’t want to use glue of any kind because I know that one day, when it has become outdated, someone (possibly even me) is going to want to remove the ship lap.  If the boards were glued in place that would be so much more difficult.

  I know Ken struggled to come to terms with my decision.  He’s afraid one day a board will fall off in the night and take out Mr. Q and I while we sleep peacefully underneath.  But I seriously doubt it.  If anything the end of a board might pop up, in which case we’ll just add a couple more brads to hold it down.

Ken also wasn’t happy with the cutting job that Home Depot did.  As you can see, some of the cuts were really not straight at all.  Plus the boards ranged in width from 7′ 7/8″ to 8′ 1/8″.  This left gaps between the boards that varied from one end to the other.  At this point, I had to introduce Ken to the concept of embracing the imperfections.

After all, those original ship lap walls were certainly not perfect.  Ship lap was just a base to build upon with plaster, it wasn’t precise or even meant to be seen.  I direct you to this photo from magnoliahomes.net.  Take note of the total lack of perfection, fairly raw edges, uneven boards, and also note that the nail holes are not filled.

To me, this is ship lap at its finest and this is the look I was going for.

So ’embrace the imperfections’ became my mantra of the day as Ken and I attached the faux ‘ship lap’ boards to the wall.  This part of the project went way faster than either of us expected.  We started after lunch and were done before dinner.  I think it took about 4 hours in total.  We did get a little help from nnK and Mr. Q towards the end of the day as we got to the top of the wall.  We needed two people to hold the planks in place and a 3rd to operate the nailer.  We just randomly staggered the lengths of the boards.  I didn’t want to see any sort of pattern.

The next day I primed the boards with a stain blocking primer.  I wasn’t sure what those water stains on the boards were all about, but figured a stain blocking primer would be a good idea.  Then I added a coat of Cotton Blossom.  And if you’re wondering, no, I didn’t fill the nail holes.  They are just barely visible up close.

And voila, my ship lap wall is finished.

Speaking of imperfections, you may have noticed that my bottom ship lap board ends about 2″ above the baseboard.  Yep, my math wasn’t quite right after all.  Ken really wanted to fix that, but I decided to just let it go.  This wall will have stuff in front of it all the way across and no one is ever going to even notice this flaw.

Mr. Q must really like how the ship lap turned out because he suggested we consider adding ship lap to the same angled wall in his new study (the former guest room).  Now that he’s suggested it, I realize he’s totally right.  It would be perfect in there.  While we’re at it, it would also be fabulous in the guest room.  And now that I know how easy it is, we just might do it!

But first, I have nnK’s college kids coming to refinish the floors this weekend.  Once that task is done, the really fun stuff begins.  Bringing the furniture back in, some old pieces and some new pieces (not brand new, but new to me), and changing out some fixtures.

 Be sure to stay tuned to find out how it all turns out!



the dollhouse.

Once upon a time, way back in the early 90’s, my dad took an early retirement from his job at IBM.  I believe he was around 55 or so at the time.  Back in the day an early retirement from an excellent company was totally do-able because companies were more likely to provide you with health insurance after retirement.  That’s no longer very likely and now people like me will have to work until they are medicare eligible because health insurance has gotten so ridiculously expensive.  But I digress.  This is not a post about the ongoing woes of our health care system, this is a post about a dollhouse.

You see, once retired my dad quickly grew bored.  He desperately needed a project.  So when I casually mentioned how I’d always wanted a dollhouse, he took that idea and ran with it.

At the time my parents lived in Kentucky, and I was here in Minnesota.  Now remember, this was the early 90’s.  We didn’t have email.  Nor did we have cell phones.  My dad would take photos of his progress, get them developed and then send them to me in the mail.  I would send paint chips, wallpaper (dollhouse sized) and tiny furnishings back to him in the mail.  It was an awesome way for my dad and I to connect.  We were both so excited about the project.  I will always have fond memories of that time (my dad passed away about 10 years ago).

All of that being said, the dollhouse is large and heavy.  For a long time it resided in what is now the Q Branch and it took up the entire room since you really need to be able to get around all sides of it.  I used to decorate it for the holidays when it was on display in that room, I even had a Christmas tree with working lights.  But eventually I decided that it was a poor use of a really great room so we moved the dollhouse up to the guest room where it has been sitting and gathering dust for quite some time.

Since we had to move the dollhouse downstairs to refinish the floors in the guest room, I did some serious thinking and decided it wasn’t going back up.  This will allow Mr. Q to take over the larger room as his study, and the smaller room will become the guest room  with no space for the dollhouse.  I just don’t have a large enough house to devote so much space to something that I barely pay attention to anymore.

My niece used to always say she would take the dollhouse one day, so I asked her if she really wanted it.  The answer was no.  I offered it to a couple of other family members who also didn’t want it.  I was starting to think I might have to just sell it, when Mr. Q’s step-dad mentioned that he would love to have it!  He loves anything miniature (just check out this post about his workshop for proof of that), plus he’s an extremely talented wood worker, so the dollhouse will be in good hands.

So it’s a happy ending.  The dollhouse is going to a wonderful new home.  Tom is in the process of adding a three season wrap around porch at their farmhouse and the dollhouse will fit neatly at one end.  I’ll be able to visit it whenever I want to, and the grandkids will all be able to play with it whenever they visit.

Before I send it off to its new home, I thought I’d take a few photos to share with you guys.

Gosh, where do I even start?  If you haven’t already gotten yourself a fresh cup of coffee, you might want to do that now.  This may be a long one.

Since this dollhouse was for me, obviously it had to have impressive gardens.

Most of the flowers are made out of Fimo clay.  I made some of them myself, like the trailing vines in the window boxes, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that I really don’t have the patience for working with tiny things.

Let’s head inside …

 and begin our tour in the kitchen.

Did you notice the tin ceiling or the ceiling fan?

Remember, this was decorated back in the early 90’s.  Stenciled borders were all the rage.  I added that stencil myself with a tiny little metal stencil.  And even though farmhouse sinks weren’t quite as popular yet, I wanted one in my dollhouse!

My dad was very detail oriented.  The door between the kitchen and the dining room is a swinging door.  And check out the paneling below the chair rail, the parquet floor and the dentil crown molding above the stenciled border.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but the dollhouse is fully electrified.

Another example of attention to detail, there is a little door under the stairs that opens and closes.  I suppose I could store the Christmas tree under there.  See it back there?

You can catch a glimpse of the foyer through the arched opening in the dining room.  The floor in the foyer is a type of blue shale that is found in Kentucky.  My dad just gathered some up from a field near his house and ’tiled’ the floor with it.

Boy, you can also tell the era of this dollhouse by all of the wallpaper!  My real house was entirely wallpapered at that time as well.  And the garish shades of pink, burgundy, sea foam green and forest green (all chosen by yours truly).  Yikes!

Here’s the living room.  See that wedding photo on the wall to the left?  That’s me and Mr. Q!

Oh, and did I mention that my dollhouse has two original water colors on the walls?  Yep, my dad was friends with local artist at the time and he asked him to paint a couple of paintings for the dollhouse.  The first one hangs over the living room fireplace.

The second one hangs over the master bedroom fireplace.  I really can’t decide which one of these is my favorite, I love them both.  Had I ended up having to sell the dollhouse I would have removed these and kept them.  But now they will stay in place.

Can I just mention here how much I love that fireplace?  Isn’t it fantastic!  This is another great example of my dad’s attention to detail.  He purposely added black ‘soot’ to the brick fireplace insert so it would look well used.  See it?  The little pile of logs on the fire is electrified so that it glows like a real fireplace.

Currently the master bedroom is sparsely furnished with just this lovely four poster bed.

Next door is the bathroom.  Originally there was just going to be the claw foot tub with the towel bar above it, but my dad found this amazing hot water heater and had to have it.

I love all of the details in this room; the tile floor, the wainscoted wall, the tin ceiling, the wall mounted sink, even the little toothpaste box next to the sink.

But I can’t lie.  My favorite detail in the bathroom is the tiny roll of toilet paper.  Seriously, does that thing just crack you up or what?

I decorated the second bedroom in the house as a young girl’s room.  Naturally.

Complete with a faux wicker vanity.

Just above the girl’s room is the attic.

I believe my dad originally came up with the idea for this space when he found the newspaper wallpaper.

My dad had a lot of fun with the details of this room like the exposed studs and electrical, and we both had fun coming up with stuff to ‘store’ in the attic.

The other room on the 3rd floor was inspired by the pool table.  When my dad found that, he knew he had to have a room for it.

Last, but not least, there is one more tiny room tucked away in the tower.

A cozy little reading nook.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the dollhouse.

I’m looking forward to a week off the day job next week.  A little staycation, during which I plan to work on my master bedroom makeover.  I’ve got several projects planned, so be sure to stay tuned!



mission possible.

You may remember that earlier this year I posted about getting a quote to have my wood floors refinished.  The cost was over $6,000 to do the entire house.  But to be truly honest, not only was it the cost that bothered me it was also the idea that we would have to move all of the furniture out of our house and store it somewhere (including a baby grand piano).  Also, the quarter round on the baseboards would all have to be removed.  I don’t care how careful you are doing that, you are going to break some.  And you are definitely going to chip some paint, thus requiring the baseboards to be repainted throughout (by yours truly of course).

So after giving the matter some serious thought, Mr. Q and I opted to take our trip to Norway and Scotland instead.

Ironically both my BFF and nnK (that’s my neighbor across the street) did opt to have their wood floors refinished in the last couple of months.  They both chose a matte finish (which is also what I would have done) and they both now have gorgeous floors.

So as I gaze at their beautiful floors, do I wish I had decided differently?

Nope!  Our trip was amazing.  We’ll have those memories forever (well, until the Alzheimer’s kicks in anyway).

best.  decision.  ever.

I don’t have much money left over after our memorable trip though, so I decided to do a budget DIY makeover in our master bedroom this summer.

I’m dubbing this project ‘mission possible.’  Because while I felt like the whole house floor refinish was entirely impossible, I think this one room makeover is certainly possible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hold me accountable.  You really don’t have to do anything, just the action of putting my plan in writing and sharing it here will give me some additional motivation to actually get this project done (I hope).  Also, feel free to leave occasional comments like “hey, what ever happened to the bedroom makeover?” As always, should I or any of my I.M. (interior modification?) Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of our actions.

 So let’s go over the plan, shall we?

The walls.

I’ve been wanting to do a faux ship lap wall in here for some time now.  Ken (amazing neighbor/handyman) has already agreed to help Mr. Q and me with this project.  It’s just a matter of putting it on the calendar.  I plan to do just the angled wall behind the bed all the way up to the ceiling (wall seen in photo above).

But first, I have to paint that wall white.  The ship lap will be white also, and I don’t want any blue peeking through the gaps.

Although I think the current pale blue walls are pretty, I’ve grown a little tired of them.  So since I’m painting one wall anyway, I might as well paint all of them, as well as the ceiling.  I’m still trying to decide if the un-shiplapped walls will also be white, or possibly a very pale greige.

The framed vintage maps that are currently hanging on the walls are also going to go.  Those white IKEA frames are just not doing it for me anymore.

but I think my pretty floral plates may stay in some capacity.

The floor.

When we purchased our house 30 years ago (good grief, has it really been that long?), the downstairs wood floors had obviously been recently refinished while the upstairs floors had not.  Thus, the floors in here weren’t in the greatest of shape to begin with, and 30 years of living has taken its toll.

As it turns out, nnK knows some college kids that refinish gym floors as a summer job. I’ve scheduled them to do just my upstairs floors at a budget rate.  They may not do the same professional level work as the expensive guy, but it will most likely be good enough and for a fraction of the cost.

The fixtures.

The last time I remodeled this room I was going through a phase.  I liked the idea of combining antiques with modern, clean lines.  Um, yeah.  I don’t know where I got that ridiculous idea.  But as a result, I have a shiny modern chrome ceiling fan in place.

That’s going to be replaced.  I’m still debating replacing it with another fan, or just a light.  Ceiling fans are so ‘out’ at the moment, but they are so very functional when you don’t have central air conditioning.  And now that it’s the middle of July I’m realizing just how valuable it is to have a ceiling fan.  Anyone want to weigh in on this subject?

I’m also planning to replace the current bedside lamps.  I picked these up at a garage sale several years ago.  They are really functional, and actually not terrible looking.

But I found some vintage looking wall sconces at World Market a while back that I love, so they will be taking the place of these.

The furnishings.

Back in the day buying a matching suite of furniture for your master bedroom was the thing to do.  Not anymore.  Now the key is to mix and match.  Over the last several years I have been slowly working on getting rid of each piece of my matching suite (I originally had bedside tables and an armoire to match my sleigh bed).

The bedside tables went first and I replaced them with a pretty table on my side …

and my grandparent’s spoon carved washstand on Mr. Q’s side.

They are about the same size and height and they are painted in the same shade of pale grey, all of which makes them perfect as mismatched bedside tables.  So these two pieces are going to stay.  The pale grey never worked that well with the blue walls, but I think it will be perfect with my new look.

The current cupboard that holds my clothes will also be staying (now that I’ve cured its bad smell), although I’m probably going to paint it.  As much as I love the aqua and white combo, I’m going to be moving away from that color in the room.

I also plan to keep the chippy white stool.

The bench at the foot of the bed is going to go.

Again, it’s the wrong color.  Plus I’ve found an amazing replacement for it, here’s a sneak peek.

so you’ll have to stay tuned to see more on that down the road.

I have a plan in mind for the bed too.

It’s definitely time for the old cherry sleigh bed to go.  Initially I debated just painting it, but Mr. Q really doesn’t like having a foot board.  Then I remembered an idea I saw a while back and was able to find just the right supplies needed to make it happen via Craigslist, here’s another sneak peek …

This is another future post to look forward to!

The window treatments.

I’ve had many different treatments on these windows over the years.  I’ve had wood slat blinds, bamboo roman shades, roller shades, fabric curtains on a rod, yada, yada, yada.  I really struggle with window treatments.  For the most part, I don’t like them.  I would prefer to have nothing at all, but that’s just not possible in a bedroom that faces the street, as well as the house across the street.  I’m sure nnK would prefer we have some kind of window covering.

The current treatment consists of three different vintage linens tacked to the lower half of each window.  The functionality of this system is spot on.  When I open the windows (remember, we don’t have a/c in this room), the curtains go up with them allowing for unimpeded air flow.  When the windows are closed, the top halves are uncovered which lets in maximum light, and the bottom halves are covered which blocks the view of any peeping toms out there.  I really love the trim around my windows too, so I hate to cover that up with heavy window treatments.

Plus, I also happen to have a really lovely view.  Even though these windows face the street, they also face nnK’s yard which is this year’s winner of the Acorn Award, the local award for properties that go ‘above and beyond’ with their landscaping efforts (here’s a post I wrote about her water feature).  As I frequently like to tell nnK, her yard looks amazing from over here!

Window treatments.  Still a question mark.  Any ideas?

So, Mission Possible starts next week, who’s with me?!