A Dining Room Becomes A Music Room: Curtains and Furniture



Removing Wallpaper


Target Cube Organizer

The music studio is complete!  Last week, I moved some basic cube storage (from Target) into the room to hold music and teaching supplies.  I added a few light weight but comfortable leather chairs (found at T.J, Maxx a few years ago) for parents or students to sit on, and a neutral storage ottoman (found on clearance at Target) for additional seating and storage.  I’ve been teaching at home for almost a week now, and I absolutely love it.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?

You can find the gray storage bins here.  The ceiling light is from Home Depot, but not available online.  You can find a similar one here.

Nail Head Trim Cloth Bulletin Board

I love the bulletin board I purchased from FleurDeLizDecor on Etsy.  You can find it here.  I contemplated making my own for all of five seconds, then I remembered that I’m not crafty and have a 4-month-old who screams when he’s in his car seat running errands with me.  So, yes, I broke down and ordered the expensive bulletin board from the comfort of my computer chair.

Petrof Grand Piano, Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams

The piano move went smoothly, and it fits nicely in the room.  I was a little worried about the baby grand engulfing the room as it’s only 9.5×14′.

The wall color we chose is called Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams.  It’s such a livable neutral.  It has a green cast in all these pictures, which I’m not happy about, because it’s really a true gray-tan. I tried about 17 different shades of gray before settling on this one.  It’s so hard to find a gray without a purple, green or blue tone to it.

West Elm Curtains

I went with the Pinwheel Linen Curtains from West Elm- you can find them here.  I went extra long on the curtains, and hung the rod well above the windows to give a feeling of extra height to the room.  I love the way it looks!

Clear glass lamp and black shade are also Target finds.  I like how a black shade can dress up an ordinary lamp.  The aqua vase is a gift from my paternal Grandma, something she’s had displayed in her house for years and years.  It’s extra meaningful because she was my first and most influential piano teacher.

West Elm Curtains

I’m still looking for some art to add a pop of color to the room, thinking about something like this or this (can they mark it down to 95% off for me?).


Painting Project


Before: Monroe Bisque walls.  I liked them, but I didn’t love them, and I wasn’t feeling a connection between the walls and the floor.


After: Walls in Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.  It’s so much cozier, and it brings out the warm grays in the tile.  Now, to do something about my less-than-beautiful kitchen table.  I would just spray paint it black, but it’s on loan to me from a relative.

I have looked at so many pictures of gray paint in rooms over the past few weeks, always searching for the perfect gray that didn’t have a blue, brown or purple tint.  I settled on Ozark Shadows by Benjamin Moore.  One brush of that on my wall and I could tell it was a definite no.  It was so purple!  So, I searched again and found Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore, and I love it!


Before: Primed trim that desperately needed a coat of glossy white paint.


Before: Primed and puttied crown moulding that also needed a coat of glossy white.



After: It was a lot of tedious work, but the trim feels so much cleaner and really pops out now against the darker walls.

I still need to finish painting the kitchen (I’m down to just one more small wall) and the adjoining hallways.  I can’t wait to share pictures of the finished room!

Downstairs Bath: Before and After


Before: Tiny-feeling room with no windows and a 7-foot ceiling.


Demolition: Tearing out plaster while living in the house.



Between: Drywall is hung and mudded and repair work on the floor begins.


Between: Shower walls, shelf and bench have taken shape.



Window, electrical and plumbing are installed.


The beginning of a week-long process to water proof the shower floor and walls.


Laying the shower tile.




Cleaning grout residue off the tile.



Watson would just sit in here with us and watch us work.


Sink #1 is installed and the plumbing is working!  Watson approves.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Finished!  Sink # 1

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Toilet area.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Sink #2.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Walk-in shower.

Bathroom Update

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silver

We had some downtime Sunday afternoon between family dinners, and we decided to cross another thing off our list- hanging the towel bars and blinds in the downstairs bath.  I couldn’t believe what a difference it made, and it didn’t take long!

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Finally, I won’t be on display through this VERY large window in front of the toilet.  Yes, it’s a new window and we put it there.  This was originally going to be the laundry room, but we re-imagined the space after we installed the window and it just wasn’t worth it to move it.  Love the light it it gives for putting on makeup, but being on display….not so much!

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

We went with towel hooks instead of a large towel bar, and I can already tell that it will be easier for towels to dry.

All the towels are from Target, as well as the big aqua vase.  The branches are from Pier 1 (it’s only 3- they are really full).  The cabinets are a copy of these Pottery Barn ones I found.  I had our cabinet maker build them for us, and I feel the quality is better, and we didn’t have to pay shipping.  Wall color is Ice Cube Silver by Benjamin Moore.  It’s okay, but I don’t love it.  I intended for it to be a true gray, and it has a blue tint in real life.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

We had the hardest time finding a vent cover to fit here.  We bought a couple different covers and they didn’t work.  Finally, we ended up using a hack saw to make this one more shallow, and it worked!


Just so you can see the difference these little changes made, here are the two BEFORE pictures:


Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

And the two AFTER pictures.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Laundry Room: Quick Update

I’m just popping in to show you the little update that we did one evening on the laundry room.  We’re plugging away here through our list of details to finish on the house, and I’m hoping that by the end of summer, we will have most of it done.  With the hanging bar done and the cabinet hardware installed, I think we are done in the laundry room for now.  Eventually I might hang some pictures to bring a little “pop” to the room.


The wall color is Misty Moonstone by Glidden.  The cabinets are just stock cabinets that I got for just $300.00 and then I painted them with a couple coats of Martha Stewart’s Cement Gray.  The colors are really soft, which I love.




We’re planning to get a stacking washer and dryer, too.  Our dryer is broken, but we’re waiting on the washer to die so we can replace the set with a stacking one and gain some floor space that way.  We bought the set used three years ago, so it surely will die soon.  Of course, now that we want it to quit working, it’s going to hum along for a decade…


The high ceiling makes such a big difference.  Remember what it looked like before?






The transformation is awesome.  Thanks, amazing handyman husband!

Before and After: Our Bedroom

A couple years ago, this is what our room looked like.  You can’t tell in these pictures, but the ceilings were just 7 feet tall.



The floors were original to the house, and over 100 years, the finish had worn off and a leaky roof and windows had caused water damage.


Closet view


The original windows were broken out in several places in our room.  Sometimes relatives would drive by and call my in-laws, “Does Nathan know that there are some windows out in his house?”

We contemplated fixing the plaster in our house.  In fact, I spent a couple of afternoons with a bucket of spackling trying to fix some cracks before we decided to go all in and do this:


These pictures, people, are after we partially cleaned up!  Nathan and friends knocked out all the plaster and lathe, leaving a mess that was 3-feet deep in our entire house.  When the old windows were out and the new ones hadn’t been put in yet, they scooped all that mess out the windows into a tractor scoop that was raised to the second story of the house.



After the plaster was out of the house, it took several weeks of work to take out the old, low ceiling, and build a new, vaulted ceiling, rewire the room, and put in the insulation.  We added a lot of new outlets and installed the new windows.  Then, over our first married spring break, we spent a week learning how to drywall.  It was about 30 degrees that week and the house didn’t have any heat.  I hate getting dirty, we didn’t know what we were doing, we were dog-sitting an English Bulldog that attacked the tape measure every time I pulled it out, and did I mention it was freezing?  Needless to say, that wasn’t the best week of my life.  Or Nathan’s.


There are a lot of angles in this room, which makes cutting and hanging the drywall more difficult.  Still, we laugh when we look back and remember that it took us 7 days to hang drywall in one room.



And now, for the “After” pictures.  This time last year, I was painting these bedroom walls.  It was so exciting to finally be painting, and I would run over here in the mornings before students and get some work done.  The wall color is Shale by Martha Stewart mixed in a Behr paint, since only Martha Stewart colors exist now, not Martha Stewart Paint, if that makes sense.  Ceiling color is two different colors of white (see, on the left, the darker white?) which we still need to fix!



I took these pictures this morning when the sun was streaming in and the windows were open.  I always say that fall is my favorite season, but this time of year is definitely a close second.


I bought this cheap cubby from Target a couple years ago when we lived in an apartment, and I used it to store all my music.  Now I store it in the bottom cabinets of my living room bookshelves, so this comes in handy for socks, swimsuits, underwear, tights, etc.



I got those sparkly candle holders at a garage sale last fall for $5.00.  Thrift shopping for the win!


This is the view when you walk into our room.  The wall color is quite a bit darker in real life.  I think it turned out so light because of all the natural morning light because my camera stinks!


I love this white bedding because it’s so washable and because it shows everything.  That might sound weird, but I like to know that things are clean.  It’s a little more work to keep looking good, but I didn’t wash my old tan and brown bedspread for about two years, and it looked great.  Um, yeah, it was obviously good at hiding dirt.  Same thing goes for wood floors.  They are so much more work than carpet to keep looking clean, but then, I KNOW that they are actually clean.


This is absolutely my favorite room in the house- so peaceful and warm.