Archives For Guest Bedroom

This is my Pawpaw Hamrick. He’s been married to my Grandma Sandy since they were teenagers and my mom is the fifth of their six children (five girls, one boy).

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Somewhere in the midst of raising teenagers my Pawpaw started to get a tingling in his toes. Pins and needles and numbness. My Aunt Julie drove him to the doctor’s appointment that would change his life. He would soon lose the use of his legs. I don’t think they really knew why. What happened next is legend in our family–he and Grandma went out for ice cream and came home laughing. It would all be okay.

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And it was okay. They kept on keeping on. They’ve since lost nearly everything they owned twice–once to fire and once to flood. He got really sick the summer that I got married and we thought we might lose him. It was during that hospital stay that doctors told him they thought they knew what had attacked his nerves all those years before–Guillain-Barre syndrome. He got off the ventilator and came home from the hospital and has had a really rich and full four years (and a new great-grandchild every year, I might add). But now he’s sick again. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in April and as pre-treatment assessments dragged on his body started to fail. Saturday his heart stopped but they brought him back. He’s in the ICU now and on a vent again and we’re really not sure what’s going to happen. All this to say, please keep him in your thoughts.

Now this is my Pawpaw Gulley. He was married to my Nanny for 60 years and my dad is their only child.

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After my Nanny passed he remarried and moved to Amarillo, Texas. Texas is kind of a big state so that’s actually really far away from South Louisiana. We missed him terribly but he was so happy out there that we couldn’t help but be happy for him. But after eight wonderful years it was time for him to come home. His new apartment in the senior community near my parents won’t be ready until the first of the month and he needed someplace to stay in the meantime. My parents’ house would require him to climb stairs every day, and although he’s the healthiest 90 year old I’ve ever seen they worried about him being there alone while they were at work all day. So I offered my house, and here he is! I’ve never had anyone stay with me for more than a couple of nights before so I was a bit nervous, but even though he just arrived yesterday I already feel like things are going to go great! He likes to hang out with Jack, watch Rangers games on the TV I set up in his room, read western novels on his Kindle, etc. He’s met Jack once before and seen him plenty on Facetime but it is still so special for them to get to spend this time together.

Since my sister and I are their only grandchildren we inherited a lot of stuff when Pawpaw moved out of his old house. My Nanny bought this bedroom set as soon as she finished high school. It’s actually Shannon’s now but since she doesn’t have room for it I keep it here. I rearranged the furniture in here to make things more comfortable for Pawpaw and I actually really like the way it is now. There’s an old TV just to the left of this photo.

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After asking a couple of friends for suggestions I put a couple things in here to help Pawpaw make himself at home. I printed out a list of the channels available on that TV and also printed out another page with instructions for using our alarm system and our cell phone numbers, address, and nearest cross street in case of an emergency. I also brought in a lamp from another room, a cute old-fashioned clock I found at Target, and a small flashlight from the Target dollar spot. Pawpaw doesn’t do much writing these days, his hands are rather unsteady, but I gave him a pen and paper just in case.

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I cleared all my junk out of the armoire and put out two pictures I already had of Nanny and Pawpaw when they were young. Did I mention that their names are Charlotte and Jack?

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The downstairs bath is attached to this room and I added a nonslip mat, a cute bath rug I’ll show you tomorrow, and just last night I ordered this shower grab bar off of Amazon after I started worrying about Pawpaw getting in and out of the tub safely.

I mentioned last week that our grandparents have had drama on both sides of the family. In addition to my two Pawpaws both going through major upheavals Nick’s Grandpa Sam moved into a nursing home last week (here’s an interesting article about Grandpa Sam’s career as a musician and comedian in New Orleans). Luckily Nick’s Abuela on the other side of the family seems to be doing well lately–she and her daughter are even moving from Connecticut to Austin this year and we’re excited to have them closer (though we’ll miss the excuse to travel to what is essentially an outer suburb of NYC). Nick and I are so lucky to have so many of our grandparents still around. I hope we have many years left with them so that Jack can get to know them the way I got to know my Great-Grandma Cookie. Isn’t family wonderful?

I hope you all had an amazing weekend, and thanks for reading!

As I was browsing Pinterest the other day I came across this photo. I think I let out an audible gasp.

Shopping Candy

It’s a coat closet turned into a little mini library. Isn’t it gorgeous? My mind immediately went to the long, skinny closet off our guest room that we currently use as a pantry/tool shed/attic.

This picture is actually from the last time Nick and I cleaned it out last February. It’s a complete disaster right now. The biggest problem I have with our house is that there is no utility storage. No garage, no shed, no carport, and only a tiny little hatch to an attic with no flooring. I dream of someday getting a shed, adding proper attic access, and laying down some plywood up there, but those two projects combined would probably total over a thousand dollars–inexpensive in the grand scheme of home improvement and resale value, but not really possible in the season of our lives in which we live on one income. So the closet will look like this for some time to come, but if I ever do get all that crap out of there here’s what I’d love to do with it…

Floor to ceiling built-ins lining the left side, with shelves that reach between the studs to maximize the narrow space and cabinets along the bottom to provide some practical hidden storage. Eight inch deep shelves and cabinets would still leave 28″ of clearance for the walkway. I’m not familiar with the residential code for our area but google tells me that that meets the OSHA standard for public buildings.

Diane Bergeron Interiors

A glass-paned door at the entrance so you don’t feel like you’re locked in a closet. The door that’s there now is original to the house so I’d like to be able to reuse it elsewhere instead of throwing it out.

Home Depot

A built in bench at the back of the closet, where the space extends to the left underneath the stairs. Maybe we could have cubbies underneath the bench to store extra blankets and pillows. And a little light above to make the perfect reading nook. It’s almost as deep as our Ektorp sofa and long enough for little ‘ol me to stretch out fully.

Of course I’d need a way to reach those top shelves, but one of those fancy rolling library ladders is outside of even my fantasy budget. This stepstool is not too bad to look at and could hang unobtrusively on a hook on the wall.

Amazon

It’s quite dreary out today and I can’t help but daydream of curling up in a pile of pillows to read a good book in my little library. Of course that would require that I actually had time to read a book, haha. But seriously, how great would a space like this be to encourage a kid (or grownup) to read? What could be more fun than a reading nook that feels like a secret hiding spot? I remember hiding in my closet with a book trying to avoid having to do chores. I read all the time, so my mom had no qualms about telling me to put down that book and come wash some dishes.

I hope this Monday morning is not treating you too badly. I had a looooong weekend of single parenthood while Nick was in Baltimore for a buddy’s wedding. I will not be agreeing to anything like that again for a long time. It was HARD being the only parent for eighty consecutive hours, even with a break to visit my inlaws for a few hours Saturday night. Next time maybe I’ll go to the wedding and leave Nick at home with a freezer of frozen milk, haha.

Really, how many pegboards do I need in my house? Answer: quite a few. Houses as old as mine weren’t exactly built with storage in mind. I guess folks in the twenties just didn’t have nearly so much stuff, and we modern residents have to get creative to keep things from getting too cluttered. So after we had a pegboard cut to size to address our storage problem in the office last week there was no way I was letting the 3′x4′ remnant go to waste. I had big plans for that sucker.

In a cruel twist of irony our house actually has a huge closet that makes the other two (that’s right, only three closets total in this joint) look like shoeboxes. It’s unmanageably large, actually. And the long and narrow dimensions aren’t doing us any favors.

As you can see, we pretty much rely on it to serve the functions of a shed, garage, and attic all in one, none of which we actually have. Technically, we do have an attic, but it’s not floored and the entrance is barely big enough to squeeze a person through, much less a bunch of stuff we want to store. So all the stuff that would go in an attic (or in some sort of utility storage like a garage or shed) gets tossed in here instead. We’ve got rarely used items and Christmas decorations tucked up under the stairs, all of our tools perched in the spaces between the studs, paint cans and random crap lining the top shelf, and spare lumber piled up near the back. Some people who live here have a bad habit of leaving the most recently used items near the entrance, though don’t ask me what the ice chests are doing there because we haven’t used them since last summer.

This closet has some big organizational problems. Bigger than I was willing to tackle on this particular day. But I was willing to take one small step: I was going to hang up that piece of pegboard. I marked out where I wanted it to go and Nick drilled holes for it right into the studs. We didn’t need to attach small pieces of wood behind it like a pegboard usually requires since the studs were exposed like this. Very convenient.

Then we screwed it into the wall. Easy peasy. While I had Nick handy I had him move some things around so there wasn’t such a logjam at the front of the closet. The big stuff got pushed to the back so it was still accessible but out of the way. The barstool, in case you’re wondering, is what I use to climb up and access the top shelf. I’m not quite as spritely in my pregnant state and have recently started abiding by a self-imposed ban on climbing up on things, but I don’t have anywhere else to put the barstool anyway, so it stays. Maybe I’ll find myself standing on it again in another six months or so.

We just attached the pegboard to those three studs furthest from the camera. It wasn’t quite long enough to stretch across all four studs so we had to choose one or the other, and I was thinking the further back in the closet it was the better. I suppose I could have scooched it over a bit more so that it was centered across those three studs, but I didn’t.

I picked up this assortment of pegboard accessories at Lowe’s last week for about $7. It was kind of hard to tell what it all was poured out like this, though. I remember from the pegboard at my old house that those black things are to help secure the hooks to the board, but I always found them kind of useless.

I decided to hang all the hooks up on the pegboard so I could see what I was working with.

Then I got started hanging my stuff up. These heavy, dangerous, precariously perched tools were pretty high on the priority list.

Ta-da! I feel much safer and less stressed walking into this place now.

Look how nice and neat everything is! Y’all just have no idea how happy this makes me. It’s like a little organization island in a sea of chaos.

There’s still a lot of empty space on the far side of the pegboard, but all I’ve got left is small hooks. What I really think I need next is some hanging baskets and bins for all the small stuff, and maybe some sort of contraption to hang screwdrivers and pliers and whatnot.

There’s still a ton to be done in this closet, not the least of which is some serious purging. But I’m taking babysteps, people. Babysteps.

When I first started blogging, I thought maybe it would be fun to document and show off all the home decor and crafty projects I ‘d be doing anyway. I had no idea that my little project-completing engine would be hurled into overdrive. I’m so motivated by the desire to always have more new and interesting projects to share with y’all! I’m awestruck when I think about how many projects I’ve tackled just since I started blogging.

Can you believe that this was my entryway for the first year that we lived in this house?

And just look at it now (sporting a new bench and shelf)…

I took the porch from this…

To this (after I added a mailbox,painted the door, added plants, brought in art, stripped the original hardware, and finally spray painted the deadbolt to match the knob and lockplate)…

In the living room, I made a zebra-print floorcloth, constructed a shelf out of a floorboard I found on the side of the road, brought in a vintage quilt, made a pouf, and am almost done reupholstering the wing chairs. (not to mention some smaller projects, like a throw pillow, some wall art, and patterned coasters)

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The dining room isn’t quite as dramatic, probably because I’d already brought in the dropcloth slipcovered sofa, leaning bookshelf, blue painted dresser, and floating wall shelves before I started blogging. But even with all that work already done I’ve tweaked it by switching out the coffee table and painting it mustard yellow, creating a set of eclectic dining chairs, and swapping the tablecloth for a fringed burlap runner.

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Dining Room

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There are lots of smaller projects in here as well, like the paper garland on the dresser, the fabric flower pillow I made using a brooch that I wore with my wedding dress, and the acorn silhouette I made just last week.

The kitchen is woefully stagnant. Nothing has changed at all, but I’ve got big plans for this space, like painting over the fleshy beige, adding some upper cabinets on either side of the stove, and opening up that awkward pass-through to create a casual eating area. I just gotta save up some moolah, which isn’t easy when I’m always blowing through my monthly home improvement budget to fund more projects to blog about.

The laundry room was so sad before I started blogging that I didn’t even include it in the original house tour. But Nick and I painted it blue and switched out those awkward cabinets for some open shelving that spans the full width of the space, adding tons of personality and function.

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Laundry Room

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Upstairs, in the master bedroom, we got new bedding, reupholstered the hope chest, painted the armoire and chest of drawers, made a little chalkboard message area, put curtains on the fifty billion windows, added flair with some homemade throw pillows, and brought in some art.

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Master Bedroom

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Even the rooms we’re not really focusing on got a little love, like new hardware in the guest room

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Some fabric organization in the office…

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And a new shower curtain (with ribbon detail), bath mat, and art wall in the downstairs bath

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I’ve been a busy lady these last seven months! I just can’t believe how quickly things have changed. The whole house just has so much more personality now. A few years ago, I couldn’t have cared less about home decor. But something about having a house awakened the creative bug in me and I’ve had so much fun discovering and refining my personal style (luckily I had a rental house to practice on first–imagine lime green bedroom walls and all my stuff from college. I’m glad those days are behind me). I’m sooooo excited to see what the house looks like six months from now. Maybe I’ll finally have saved up enough dough for some upgrades in the kitchen? Or be decorating a nursery (for the child I have yet to conceive)? Only time will tell, but you can bet I’ll be blogging about it.

P.S. check out the house tour page for more pics of each room!