November 10, 2013

Bathroom Paint + Unsolicited Advice

What's that? You're shocked we've actually completed something that I've talked about recently? too. Our master bathroom has finally been repainted and no, pigs have not started flying.
It took Brian about half a day to slap the new color on the walls and let me Love is an understatement - I cannot believe how much better the bathroom looks and even feels. The brown (Benjamin Moore Indian River) makes the space feel cozy and warm, stopped the tiles from looking yellow-y and works so much better with the bronze fixtures. Before I show you, let me just say that getting an accurate photo in this windowless, florescent lighted bathroom is next to impossible. My only option was to turn all the lights off and let the flash light the room. So, with that being said, here's the best I could do:

Let's flashback to before:
And after:

Brian was also able to prime the vanity/cabinet:
Once again in this bathroom renovation, I was forced to pick a color right away and didn't have a chance to get any samples. You think I would have learned my lesson from the wall color, but I feel good about the deep, dark chocolate brown that I chose for the cabinets. Almost everyone in the blogosphere has used Bittersweet Chocolate for cabinets and I like that it doesn't have any strong plum undertones. Fingers are crossed that I still feel the same way when it gets painted today.
Now for that advice I mentioned...Amelia's nursery really needs a fun light fixture and I decided to attempt one of those faux-capiz shell chandeliers from Pinterest. Now, maybe its just my severe case of mom-brain (which is very, very real), but I read about three different tutorials and even though they all casually mentioned 'ironing wax paper', I don't feel that any of them are clearly stating that you have to iron three sheets together to create the look of capiz shell. I just skimmed all the instructions and assumed that the ironing was just to make the sheet flat. Fail. I even went out and bought a 1 1/2 inch hole punch and was mind-boggled at how difficult it was to punch one sheet of wax paper and why no had covered that...and in the end, my test string of 'shells' looked crap-py. Thankfully, a dear friend inspired me to try again and I actually read the directions (novel concept, I know) and guess what? It came out aweeeeesome. Look at the different between my first try and second:

Isn't it incredible how well something turns out when you do it right? My plan is to make twenty million more circles and start creating the chandelier this week. We also hope to paint the cabinet, frame the bathroom mirror, a little spray paint project and tons of odds and ends. Hopefully some more updates will be coming soon!

October 23, 2013

State of the Home: Master Bathroom

Welcome to the first installment of State of the Home posts. So many projects have been forgotten, changed or just plain abandoned and I wanted to keep you guys up-to-date (as well as create a to-do list for us to work from).
Our plans for this house have shifted a bit - now that our daughter is here, the realization that she will one day go to kindergarten has set in and we are working on a 5-year plan for moving to a new house. To keep it short, the public schools in our district are atrocious and private schools are not an option for us. Since we know our time here is limited, the drive and motivation to work on the house has waned a bit and we are thinking through our ideas to make sure that we use our time, energy and money wisely. Boring disclaimer aside, I still want to make these next few years enjoyable and make the house beautiful...some projects may just take a littttttle more convincing to get Brian on board.
So, first let's start with our master bathroom: 
We last visited here and here. I vaguely mentioned that I wasn't exactly thrilled with the color choice...and Brian...well...hated it. I was expecting more gray and not so baby blue. In turn, the blue brings out the yellow in the tiles...and no one likes yellow-y tiles. Soooo, what do we propose to do? Repaint of course. I've already bought the paint (Benjamin Moore Indian River), but alas it has been sitting in the garage for months. Repainting this room is the next thing we have planned for the house, so look for that post soon. What else?

We bought a new light fixture (ignore the fact that its dangling from the wall). I would really love to frame out the builder-grade mirror, which in my opinion is a cheap upgrade with so much transformation potential.
To make life easy, we've decided to paint the wood all white and call it a day.

Brian toyed with the idea of hiding the hinges (also to practice for the kitchen, which has 5 times more doors)...but we're not sure the work is really worth the return. New hinges and hardware may just be all the updating this piece needs.

Then the fun stuff - decorating! This Pinterest bathroom has been one of my favorites for at least a year and I looooove the frames over the toilet and the towel shelf/rack.
Can you just picture some frames above the toilet? 
And a cute shelf with towel hooks?

So that's all I got for this bathroom. As I mentioned, repainting is first on the list (since we have the paint and tools handy), so I hope to show you a grand reveal (or at least a decent update) by next week!

October 14, 2013

Estate Sale-ing (with Baby)

Its no secret that Brian and I love estate sales and we've spent many a weekend driving all around Atlanta, checking out unique homes, driving in places we've never been and, along the way, buying some cool stuff. Since we both worked full-time jobs, I fantasized about being one of those people that could get to the sale on Thursday morning (when they usually start) and be able to find all the great things that I've probably missed out on all these years!
When we decided that I was going to become a stay-at-home-mom after the baby, I was most excited to be able to hit the sales during the week. Of course we all know how that really goes with an infant. It took a few months before I made it to my first sale...and even now she is only awake long enough to hit one, maybe two (if its close by)...but let me tell you, Amelia loves it! She is a very observant and curious baby, so wacky estate sales with crazy items and weird people fits all-of-the-above criteria. I've only bought a handful of things - one being an 80's Candyland board game. Yes, I am aware they still sell Candyland, but did you know they've redesigned it? I know that plenty of games and toys get a refresher over time, but the toys of my youth have all become 'sexy'. My inner-feminist died a little when I saw the new version, so when I found the 80's original I was grew up with for three dollars, I couldn't resist! Anyway, here are some other treasures we discovered:
I actually went to this estate specifically for this piano...but alas, it was sooooo overpriced and one of the keys was broken:
Three words: W. T. F?

This was also pretty pricey (I think around 80+ dollars) but I loved it. How cute would it be in a little girl's room, painted a fun color?
I've seen so many dirt-cheap rockers that sometimes I kick myself for not buying one to reupholster for the nursery.

This headboard/footboard was gorgeous and would look amazing painted or even kept as the original wood.

I had a hope this might work for Brian's music room, since he wanted a mid-century vibe, but he vetoed it and it would have needed completely new cushions anyway.

I have no need for these doors in my life, but boy do I wish I did:

And last, but not least, my favorite find...but not for the obvious reasons.
Personally, I don't like this lamp at all, but the second I saw it I remembered this blog post from Emily Clark. It just goes to show that you'll never know what you might find at an estate sale and what kind of DIY project you can create!

September 15, 2013

Featured :: Gabi's Lamp

Oh, hello there! Thought I given up, didn't you? Not gonna lie, blogging has been low on the priority list...right below more sleep and showering. Thankfully it seems to get easier and easier to adjust as our little one gets older and sooner or later I will actually be working on the house again. For now I've resorted to bragging about my creative and talented friends. Case in point? Gabi and her awesome Goodwill find:
You're thinking: 'where is this Goodwill and how do I get there?'. Seriously, I have never found ALL these great finds in one single shopping experience, but Gabi did just that several months ago. We're going to focus on the horse head lamp. The day after she sent me this photo I was window shopping at HomeGoods and saw this:
Who knew ceramic animal head lamps were all the rage? So last week I finally make it over to Gabi's and what did I see?


I honestly almost jumped off the couch with excitement! Look at that amazing transformation. She even spray-painted the ring gold, which is such a nice finishing touch.

Stay tuned and I hope to be back in action soon. I have started to go to estate sales again (Amelia loves them just like her mommy!) and I have a few photos to share soon.

July 9, 2013

Amelia's Nursery

I haven't abandoned the blog just's just that raising and feeding (and don't forget giving birth to) a little human is hard work! The few breaks I get during the day are used for showers, laundry and taking photos of the house has gotten just a little harder. Also, I used to edit my photos with my workplace software...and I'm not going back to let me apologize now for the crappy photos to come. - ha. So, with all that being said, I did find some 'after' nursery photos on my camera.
First let's remind ourselves how ugly the room looked when we started. This was my serving as my office, but I had not done one thing to it since we moved in: 

 And now for the final reveal! 

There are a few things still the ever-elusive perfect nursery rug and Brian reallllly wants a different light fixture. We were thinking capiz chandelier (which he told me to just bite the bullet and order online) but we all know we better than that and I have a DIY version pinned on Pinterest as we speak. Of course when I will find time for this project is a whole other issue. If anyone is interested, here is the source list:
Ottoman/Footrest: Target Threshold Pouf
Mirror & Lamp: HomeGoods
Frames: Assorted from Ikea
Curtains & Crib Skirt: DIY by me (tutorial to come
Dresser Knobs: Hobby Lobby
3-D Wall Butterflies: Etsy

April 11, 2013

Up To Speed...

I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant. I'm cranky. What else did I expect? With such a smooth-sailing, no complication pregnancy, I was bound to hit a wall sooner or later. A lot of people wonder if I have been nesting - I don't think I've done anything crazy and I still could care less about things being clean....but let me tell you, I am throwing things away like a mo-fo. All I want to do is scale-back, de-clutter and minimize. And it's not like I was some kind of hoarder pre-pregnancy - I always threw things away, but it's gotten to a comical level.
Things at Casa Murphy are moving quickly, but all the work being done is really small projects. Hopefully next weekend we can start on something big (like the guest bath, stairway, etc.). For now, let's take a whirlwind recap of what's been going down (sorry for the cell phone pics):


A few weeks back I decided to order a 5x7 jute rug from Overstock for the nursery. Then it came and 5x7 seemed like 2x3. I had never ordered a rug, but everyone said the same thing - you think a 5x7 is going to be perfect and then it arrives and it seems like the smallest rug in the world. We moved the rug into every position we could think of and it just.didn' Booooooo. Thankfully Overstock has a great return policy and now we know that we need an 8x10 or possibly a round rug.

On a high note - we got the crib!!! Honestly the crib itself requires it's own post...but long story short, you get what you pay for. We ordered the Graco Crib from Target and it was terrible. Poorly packaged, scratched, dirty, cheap AND smelled like a hamster cage (I swear). After some hormonal tears, I devised a plan to use a friend-of-a-friend's Pottery Barn discount and we got the Kendall Crib. It was all I ever hoped it would be - sturdy, well-made, well-packaged. Check it out:

We threw up the 'Amelia' sign from my shower just to have something on the wall for pictures. I do love it, but I think we will do a frame with some art above the crib. In a weak moment, I picked up a glass pink knob from Hobby Lobby to see how it will look:

The picture doesn't really do the knob any justice, but it's very pretty and softens the dresser just enough. I think we'll wait until the end to decide if they are worth changing. The most exciting nursery update? I made curtains!! My mom taught me to sew when I was a little girl and I used to make pillows, Barbie clothes - you name it. Then I learned how to knit and cross-stitch. Sadly, I hadn't used a sewing machine in yearsssss and had developed some weird anxiety about it. Aside from a temporary freak-out trying to figure out how to re-thread my bobbin, the project was so easy and now I want to make curtains for every room.

Lastly, I found this capiz mirror at HomeGoods and it was perfect for hanging above the changing pad. The capiz is not as sparkly in real-life and just girly enough! Hopefully we get it hung this weekend.

Master Bedroom:

After the 5x7 rug fluke, I bit the bullet and ordered a Pottery Barn rug off the website. I know, I know...I didn't but it used on CL, or try to make it myself, I actually paid the people at PB for it. This only happened because a) it was on sale, b) I had a coupon and c) I could order it to store thereby saving on surcharges and shipping. All in all, $220 for a Pottery Barn 8x10 rug is a good deal. I chose the Mason Boucle Jute Rug in Linen and ended up putting it under our bed in the master:

Ignore the mess please. What else did we get done in our bedroom? Well, I don't have pictures of this, but we bought a black/brown Ikea Hemnes Dresser off CL and then bit the bullet and bought the matching tall-boy dresser and two matching nightstands. Did I always dream of the Hemnes line for my bedroom? Not exactly, but for the price and design they are the greatest bang-for-our buck until I robbed the Pottery Barn store win the lottery.
New Guest Room:
We decided to move our beloved guest room from the first floor to the second floor, taking over Brian's 'office'. Having a guest room downstairs was incredible, but we had to be realistic and since we only had people come visit us a few times a year, that room could be used in a more functional way for our family. We stuck with the same paint (James River Gray), mainly because I was too lazy to find something new. You know what? I love it more upstairs! I think a cozy (aka: small) room can handle a darker paint better and this room gets tons of natural light.  

We still need to hang the headboard, mirror, art and find a nice, long, skinny console table for this wall. That is on the to-do list.

Well, that's all I have for now...even though I am sure I've forgotten something. More updates and tutorials to come, so stay tuned.

March 13, 2013

Craigslist Find: Crate and Barrel TV Stand

Sometimes in life, things just magically come together and work out perfectly. Sometimes that happens with my beloved Craigslist. This is my story:
I have a daily CL search ritual every morning - checking first for items that we currently need in our house, but always searching "Pottery" and "Crate"...because let's face it, who doesn't want to own a cheap Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel piece of furniture? Well, this particular morning I came across a fifty five dollar C&B television/media console. 
I've never really done an entire post on our living room (just bits and pieces here and here), but we had the world's ugliest, most college-y TV stand known to man. It was black, particle-board, square with CD storage in the front. Yes, I said You can baaaarely see it in this 'before' photo below:
It was the one item in our living room that was keeping it from being 'done'. We had tried to find a replacement a while back, but our wish-list was too detailed and the perfect piece never appeared on Craigslist. Since canceling cable over a year ago, we've had an old laptop permanently living in the console and we needed to make sure that whatever we purchased was going to work with that. So...this CL piece was affordable, in good condition and 4 miles from my office. Even better? My friend let me use her Subaru Outback to transport this random purchase. The people selling it said they would be home around my lunch hour, so Sarah, Devon and I set off on our adventure to pick it up. The unit fit perfectly in the back of her car and, for the price, was in excellent condition (there were a few teeny, tiny scratches on the front that a stain pen could fix in seconds). Ready to see it in our living room?

How perfect does that fit? It matches our furniture/decor, it holds the laptop, DVD player and all our movies. I am practically obsessed with it. Brian and I have been coming home from work the past few days and just marveling at how (5 years later) our living room has finally come full circle.

We are also in the process of turning our downstairs guest room into a music room (more on that later), so the record player and crates of records have found a new home. I was finally able to use this old wine barrel (that was found in my grandparent's Queens basement almost 40 years ago) as a side table and we hung up a painting I scored for twenty dollars at an estate sale last month.

Ignore my feeble table-styling attempt - I need to find some smaller books and a candle-holder. The print is of the Old North Church in Boston and I loved the colors and style. I actually bought it without showing Brian first and turns out he loves it! The black frame is not my favorite, but it works for now and hopefully in the future I can either spray paint it brown or just get it re-framed.


March 7, 2013

Featured :: Megan's Ikea Hack! (Updated)

Lately the Murphy household has been conquering some big projects and the fun little DIY endeavors have fallen by the wayside. It will probably be a few more months before I can start working on 'fun' stuff again, but for now I can just share the fun stuff that my friends have been working on. Megan is almost done with her amazing Ikea hack and I had to show it off for her:
She started with Ikea's FÖRHÖJA kitchen cart, which looks like this before she got to work:
Used this stain:

She stained the top, painted the bottom white and still plans to add a metal bottle opener (and finish those wheels)....but check out how incredible this looks: (Megan said she did not do any sanding, but admits that it would have made things easier - especially where she painted white.)

I had no idea the birch would stain so well and I'm one second away from going to buy one, where could I put it? :)

March 4, 2013

We Painted the Nursery!

After three coats (I'll explain that later), the nursery is finally painted! Not only did we paint, but we also installed a new window, crown molding, quarter round and painted the closet (and installed a new shelf). Phew.
I know I mentioned the color we chose in this post....but even though everyone assured me it would be great, I was still convinced it was going to be too dark. I'll admit I went a little nutty (it's the pregnancy hormones, I swear) and I bought an entire gallon of Elephant Gray lightened 25%....just to see. I thought it was going to the answer I was looking for - and then it wasn't. So, we took the plunge and went with the original Elephant Gray. Brian painted the room while I was in NY for my baby shower, but he said it looked great and I loved it just from the pictures. The problem? We could still see the outline of every sample I had put on the wall underneath it!! We've used Benjamin Moore to paint our entire house and I swear that has never happened. The strangest part was that the lightest color was showing through also...which just did not make sense. It wasn't something you saw right away, but once we pointed it out to someone, they immediately saw it too. So what does this perfectionist couple do? We threw on another coat. Of course we had already gone through our entire gallon, so I went over to the BM store and explained what happened. The guy was as shocked as we were and offered to give us the mack-daddy Regal paint for the same price as the cheaper stuff! In another strange turn of events, Brian used the entire gallon to put on that third coat. All in all, we are sooooo happy we did that because the color is deep and rich and even more perfect that I imagined it. Sometimes it looks so the daylight it looks more gray. Ready to see??

I just love, love, love it. For now we've moved the Hemnes dresser into the room, which Brian insists is too big for the space, but I keep sticking to the functionality of the piece outweighing its size. Every nursery on the World Wide Web uses this dresser and I'm already addicted to how high it is; I was able to fold 100 little baby washclothes yesterday without bending over and hurting my back!
That box/cushion is the start of the Ikea Poang Rocker that I picked up this weekend and the crib is being picked up tonight and hopefully all these guys will be assembled by tomorrow. Stayed tuned for more updates!