Kitchen Refresh With True Value Part 1


Hello my friends, happy Thursday!  I’m beyond excited to share our kitchen refresh with you today in partnership with True Value- can you even believe what a difference new paint job, cabinet hardware and a few other small alterations made to our space?!  You may remember from our empty home tour that the kitchen is the room in the house I’m least in love with, which is a big deal for me since I love to cook!  The room was dark and felt tiny and cramped in spite of it’s decent size.  We’re planning on knocking down the wall that separates it from the dining room and opening it up to the strange little room beside it someday down the road.  That project will be a full-on renovation where we completely reconfigure the space- and something we’ll be saving our pennies for!!!  In the meantime I was desperate for a way to make it a little more our style- and wasn’t afraid of a little bit (or a lot as it turned out) of labor to get it there!  Below I’m sharing all the steps we took to transform our worn and dated cabinets into a more modern incarnation of themselves- and the other changes we made to update the space.  I’ll share the other side of the kitchen and the updates we made there soon!  I hope this inspires your own DIY adventures!!!  xx- Sarah

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This was our first time tackling a kitchen, so we brought in the help of a friend who gave us some tips and help along the way.  We would’ve been overwhelmed without the help but if you follow the instructions below you’ll see it’s really a step by step process that is more time consuming than it is difficult!  My biggest tips:  take your time, have patience, be meticulous in your prep work and ENJOY THE PROCESS!!!!


Step One:  Empty all cabinets, remove all items from the kitchen.  Use white tape and a sharpie to label each drawer and cabinet with a number, and place tape with corresponding number on the counters or inside the drawers where they belong to make re-installing them easier!  This step saves a lot of trouble and potential headaches when the time comes to install your freshly painted cabinet doors!  Remove all cabinet knobs and set aside.  Remove all electrical outlet covers, light covers and any other items that might prohibit painting!

Step Two:  Use a power drill to unscrew the cabinet mounting hardware from the doors, leaving the hardware attached to the interior of the cabinets and wiggling the mounting hardware out of the doors.  Remove all drawers.  Place all loose screws into a container or plastic bag and store somewhere safe.  Set drawers and cabinets aside.

Step Three:  Use 100 grit sandpaper  to sand all of the surfaces in need of paint in the kitchen.  Rub paper over surfaces in a circular motion, removing all shine and creating a rough surface for paint to stick to.  Wear a mask to avoid inhaling dust!  This process is time consuming but important!

Step Four:  Repeat the above steps with all cabinet drawers and doors.  Once every bit of the kitchen you’ll be painting is sanded, thoroughly wipe down everything with a damp cloth, removing all dust and debris.

Step Five:  Once your entire workspace is clear of dust, use painters tape and drop cloths to cover any areas that you will not be painting.  Pour some paint into a tray and use a 1-2″ angled paint brush to cut in the edges of the room, painting roughly 2-3″ away from the edges.  Paint any spaces that are too small for a roller with the small brush.

Step Six:  Use a roller to apply paint to any walls that remain to be painted, as well as the ceiling (multiple coats may be needed depending on the color you are painting and the original color)

Step Seven: Place cabinet doors on cardboard boxes on drop-cloth covered tabled (see below for photo example).  Remove stickers and place on table while you paint (don’t forget to put them back on the doors once painted!)  If your cabinet doors are Shaker style as ours are, cut in the inside edges about 2″.  Use a 6″ foam roller to apply paint to the doors (ours took almost three coats- so we edge painted three times and then applied paint with the roller three times!).  When one side is completed and dry, flip and complete the other side.  Set dry, fully painted doors aside.  Use a roller to paint drawer fronts and sides (paint interior back of drawer as well if you’d like!)

Step Eight:  Upon completion of the doors, drawers and kitchen painting, reinstall cabinets and drawers, making sure that the drawers align by adjusting the mounting hardware.  Replace cabinet hardware (we replaced the original hardware with these but True Value also has tons of options!).  Replace outlet covers, light covers and any other miscellaneous items.




Happy day my friends!  Today is gonna be all about bathrooms- the ins and outs of determining whether you need a full reno or just some cosmetic updates, as well as what I’ve been dreaming about for our two bathrooms!  {A big thank you to Kohler for their support and sponsorship of this post!}


First up: the green Jack and Jill bathroom.  I totally understand the vision of the owner who previously remodeled this bathroom. Our house is Spanish, built in 1926, their design makes sense in keeping with that theme in a very literal (but moderately updated) way.  But my design loving heart yearns to make this bathroom into something special- a showpiece rather than something that just simply makes sense.  Here’s the great thing about it though- we can make cosmetic updates and make this room SING!  Here are a few images I pulled for inspiration.


{Images via:  1 / 2 / 3 /4 / 56 /7}

I’ve never tackled a bathroom remodel before- so when I started thinking about the design process and all of the elements- it became a little daunting.  It’s not like I’m familiar with a million places to get sinks and faucets the way I am with rugs and pillows.  So I started shopping around on the major bathroom brands sites and became even more overwhelmed. But then I discovered Kohler- and realized that they really stock almost EVERYTHING I need to make both our bathrooms the dream bathrooms that my design obsessed brain can’t stop envisioning- and the site design makes it almost effortless instead of completely daunting.  And if coming up with inspiration and ideas is a challenge for you, they have an IDEAS section of their website that has inspiration ideas and mood boards as well as a planning resources section that is invaluable.

So here’s how I planned the bathroom- I took my laptop into the room, a measuring tape and I sat on the floor and went through Kohler’s website.  Literally.  On the floor, in the space, letting my imagination and the space speak to me.  The site also has an amazing feature that lets you create folders- so I created a folder for the room and just added pieces that I loved to it as I went- this was huge because it really helped me visualize it all together.  And then I measured to make sure the pieces I loved and envisioned would fit.

I thought about things like replacing the shower  with something modern and realized that I didn’t want to take away from some of the original charm- that the coved entrance to the shower was more important to me than my love of modern glass shower doors, but that installing this overhead shower and these faucets would turn it into a space I’d be happy to shower in.  Once I’d picked out all of the fixtures I started thinking about some other design elements.  I love the original tile that’s in there but it’s in rough shape.  And I crave a little more drama in a bathroom, so I started the hunt for some black and white tiles that would pay homage to the Spanish style of the home but also give the modern clean fixtures I’d picked something to stand out against!  I also want to make it more spacious- installing a more streamlined sink, replacing the light fixtures with something with less visual weight and taking out those built-in cabinets and installing open shelves will do just that!


{Sources: b+w tile, shower head, floating shelf, towel bars, medicine cabinet mirror, shower valve, faucet, sconces, towel hooks, soap holder, vanity shelf, towel ring, sink, white tile, toilet}

Above is my design inspiration board for the room featuring the Kohler products I picked as well as tile and a few other design elements I’d love to add.  It gives me chill bumps to see it- I know that the day we manage to transform this bathroom will be a VERY exciting one!!!


Next up:  the master bath.  I think sometimes you have to live in a space to truly understand what can be improved upon.  I know some of you are fans of this room as is- and I get that, I can see the charm too.  But it’s totally not our style (also I promise it looks significantly prettier in the photos than in person).  And functionally, there’s just a few things that don’t make sense.  For instance- most of the light in the room comes from windows that are IN the shower.  Which means that if the shower curtain is open and drying out, the room is relatively dark (these photos were all taken pre-curtain, so it’s effectively much darker in there now that it’s a functional shower.  It also has really extra tiny sinks- which I actually really love BUT not in a master bedroom.

The third quirky thing I realized is that there are two doors to get into the bathroom- one at the end of the extremely long hallway, and one from our bedroom.  The one from our bedroom makes sense- it’s a master suite bathroom.  But the hallway entrance is unnecessary- we already have a guest bathroom and that door makes an already small-ish bathroom even smaller!  It also prevents us from hanging art at the end of the long beautiful hallway.  These old houses tend to have a lot of doors, but they’re not always the most functional!


Sources: 1 / 2 / 3  / 4 / 5 / 67

So with these quirks in mind I once again sat on the bathroom floor with my measuring tape, the inspiration board above, the Kohler website and started playing around with ideas.  My first was to remove the door and move the bath/shower to the other side of the room.  This will allow us to install a big, bright window where the two tiny ones are that are currently hidden behind a shower curtain.  This means the toilet will move to the opposite side as well.  The other perk of doing this is that it gives us extra space to install a longer vanity- to truly take advantage of every square inch of the space.  It will also make the space feel bigger.

Since we’re already pretty much going to have to gut the bathroom, it gives me the perfect excuse to replace the ALL of the tiles with something that’s a more modern interpretation of Spanish.  Below you’ll see the moodboard I created with all of the items I’d pull together to make this our dream bathroom.  I love that like the other bathroom it’s modern, but honors the Spanish style of the house with the tile.  And I really love that there’s some cohesion between the master bath and the guest bath.  They’d both have their own distinct feel, but they go together and make sense living under the same roof.


{SOURCES: tub, bath & faucet trim, spout and handle,  black/white tilesubway tilemirror, sink faucets, vanity, drawer pulls, sinks, towel bars, toilet, toilet tissue holderhanging planters}

OK, so I’m a bathroom reno newbie- I still have yet to actually dip my toes into the part I imagine to be the most challenging (contractors!) but as far as design is concerned- I feel like I’ve got this.  And that it’s FAR less intimidating than I expected it to be.  Honestly, I think that if I had to source everything from a half dozen stores I might go bonkers trying to pick out pieces!  I hope this helps you all with any upcoming projects you have (we have a kitchen on the horizon which is full-on: walls to be knocked down and complete rearrangement of just about every single inch- and I’m thinking I’ll start the design process just about the same way I did with these- a mood board and then tackling it one step at a time!)  Good luck my fellow home reno-ers!  Please please please chime in below if you have any tips or experience to offer up to a newbie like myself!  xx- Sarah

Black and Tan


Happy Friday my friends!  I hope you all have some fun on the books for the days ahead!  I’ll be headed here on Saturday for what’s sure to be the best garage sale of all time!  Besides for that, I’m hoping for some good QT right here with this book and of course, as always, we’ll be tackling house projects like crazy people!  I’ll see you back here next week!  xx- Sarah

Shop this outfit: skirt: DSQUARED2, shirt: Tibi (old), shoes: See by Chloe, bag: Clare Vivier, sunglasses: Karen Walker, bracelets: Kristen Elspeth, Giles & Brother


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DIY Dining Room Makeover With True Value


Hello my friends!  I’m back with another house update in partnership with True Value!  Today I’m sharing our dining room before and after.  I couldn’t wait to get this space updated- it felt so drab, small and dated when we moved in.  But a coat of white paint and a new chandelier changes EVERYTHING, doesn’t it?!!  Now the space feels bright, airy and inviting!  And truly, the amount of work it takes to paint a space in just so minimal for the impact it can have.  Details on what we did after the jump!  And don’t forget to follow True Value on Instagram for inspiration!  And share your own #DIYaDay projects for a chance to win- they’re giving out prizes throughout June!   Happy DIY’ing!  xx- Sarah

Decor Sources:  Table, Chandelier, Rug, Chairs, Otomi artwork, Sanna Annukka print, basket

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No, but seriously! I’m not sorry!


Hi my friends!  I’m sorry for my sporadic posting as of late!  Actually, I take that back, I’m not really sorry.  I recently read and watched this and….. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  Yesterday I caught myself apologizing twice for what was essentially just being alive and out in the world.  One of those times a man was coming in a door that I was going out of- and the door was solid so neither one of us could see the other until we were practically bumping into eachother.  He said “Oh!  Excuse me!”  and I simultaneously said “OH!  I’m so sorry!!!”  WTF!  That auto-apology is no bueno, I’ve got to kick that habit to the curb!

So routing back- my posting has been sporadic, but there’s a reason for it.  That reason, as it is, has to do with my health.  I’ve been STRUGGLING this year.  At first I thought it was the stress of the move- and the six weeks living with friends, the buying and selling of our houses.  But then all of that was behind us.  Next I thought it was that being under that stress for so long triggered my body and that once life settled I would feel better.  A few other things popped up and life wasn’t settled.

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The Almost Dress


Happy Friday my friends!  Hope you’re all having a great week!  Now, down to business: let’s talk about the geniusity (new word, you heard it here first) that is skirt/top combos that are ALMOST DRESSES.  It’s pretty amazing, right?  This one is a personal favorite.  There’s just about one inch of fabric keeping this from being a dress.  But that missing inch, it’s perfection.  I’ve never loved a missing inch of fabric more.  Weird/true.  In other news:  Lou’s birthday is Saturday!  I’ll be celebrating him soooo hard this weekend, with some of his favorites:  friends, pizza and beer!  He’s the best husband I could have ever dreamed up.  I love you Lou.  The rest of you, you have a great weekend, I love you too!  xx- Sarah

Shop this outfit: top: Ronny Kobo, skirt: Ronny Kobo, shoes: IRO, bag: Clare Vivier, bracelet: Miansai, arm cuff: Campbell, sunglasses: Karen Walker


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