Sometimes inspiration strikes me all in one piece. Maybe I’ll see something on pinterest or facebook, or an idea will just pop into my head, and just like that I know what I want to do (examples: the mason jar lid pumpkin, $9 compost bin, hand-lettered coffee cup, etc.). Other times, I’ll start with a little spark and spend days or weeks mulling over the best way to bring it to life. For example, my first idea for the skirted counter that hides the litter box was to lay a piece of painted plywood across two short filing cabinets and hang a curtain from a tension rod suspended between them. But the more I thought about it a better plan came together. And I scoured the internet for weeks searching for an attractive and affordable option for pet food storage before finding some oversized glass canisters at Target.

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To illustrate the sometimes complex path that leads me to an end result I love I’ll lead you through the process of creating the painted storage boxes I posted about earlier this week. It all started with a need. My laundry room shelves were empty because they just weren’t working for me. I wanted to fill them with baskets or bins to corral smaller items, but they would have been expensive to buy all at once. I searched the internet for affordable options but couldn’t find anything that worked. Then I got the idea to cover cardboard boxes in fabric! So I posted on facebook and within a few days had a bunch of empty diaper boxes donated.

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When I put them all up on the shelves to see how they would look, I realized that A) it would look much better if they were all the same shape and size, and B) it was going to take me forever to cover all those boxes in fabric! So I waited. That was two months ago.

Then when I started taking pictures of the house for the updated house tour page, I realized I really, really needed a new picture of that side of the laundry room. It was still painted blue in the old picture, which was confusing if you saw photos of the other side of the room painted white. So I started thinking about the shelves again. I even considered taking them down and replacing them with some large-scale art (maybe using this technique). But when I got back home (that brainstorming session happened on a long-ish car ride to visit my parents) I looked at the shelves again and decided to try different arrangements of boxes to see if I could make it work. I settled on just using two rectangular boxes, but then I had to figure out what to do with them!

I thought about painting them first, but I wasn’t inspired by the idea of a solid color. Then I saw this and thought about covering them with colorful/patterned duct tape.

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My Fave 4 Letter F-word

But when I searched online I didn’t see any duct tape I found appealing. But I DID see this, which was done with washi tape. So I started researching where I could get some washi tape for cheap.

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Elise Blaha

But the washi tape was going to add up to more than I wanted to spend and it didn’t seem like it would be all that durable, so I actually went back to the idea of using paint, but this time I would use painter’s tape to create uniform stripes. I raided my paint collection and pulled together a palette of blue, green, pink, and purple.

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I even mocked up the layout on my computer.

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But when I started painting the blue I decided I wanted to do a colorblock instead, with blue on the base and a pink band around the top. In that case it would be easiest to paint the pink first, then wrap the top with 2″ wide painter’s tape before adding the blue. So I started painting the pink.

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THEN I decided I really liked the loose, wavy stripes with the pink, blue, and white primer showing between them. So I tried adding a white stripe. But it looked too much like this:

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image source

So I painted over the white and that’s how I got to here.

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So if you’re perusing pinterest or reading blogs and feeling bummed because you think you’re just not creative, have hope! Inspiration is not always something that strikes in a moment of eureka. It’s a process that’s sparked from a problem, and having limits like a small budget or whatever materials you already have on hand can really be a catalyst for coming up with something special that works for you.

I hope you all have a lovely long weekend! I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ll be taking the day off from blogging on Monday to indulge in some family time, but I’ll be back with regularly scheduled programming come Tuesday! Happy Memorial Day!

The last time I remember updating most of the pictures on our House Tour page is over a year and a half ago! That is way too long! So much has changed since then and I was kind of embarrassed to have all those old pictures on display for new visitors checking out my blog. So, since I had the house and yard looking nice for the baby shower I hosted recently, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get some fresh photos of this little place we call home. Behold: the view from the street.

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The front porch. Somebody needs to sweep that floor! It’s not gonna be me. I want to paint the floor gray but I’ll probably never get it clean enough to paint.

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Nick and I can be found sharing a beer out here at least a couple evenings each week. He listens to LSU baseball on the vintage radio and I read a magazine or play around on my phone. There’s a ceiling fan to combat the heat and that sweet olive planted just on the other side of the railing perfumes the whole area in late summer. I’d like to plant a whole row of them eventually to create an open screen between us and the neighbors.

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The front door opens right into the living room. I created an entryway of sorts using an upholstered storage bench and a shelf with hooks.

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The living room opens into the dining room, which I’ve divided into two spaces for eating and sitting. To be honest, we rarely use that seating area and I’d love to someday replace it with an upright piano and a cushy rug for Jack to play on while I work in the kitchen.

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I love the dining area. We have a portable high chair that we strap onto one of the dining chairs for Jack.

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The kitchen is pretty much exactly the same as the day we bought the house. I changed the window treatment and added the stemware rack under the cabinet, but that’s it.

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I’d love to someday replace the tile backsplash with beadboard and install upper cabinets or open shelves on either side of the stove vent.

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If I had a million dollars I’d also look into opening up that pass-through to expand up and to the right, creating a bar that we can pull up stools to on the other side. It’s hard to put into words but I can envision exactly what I want.

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The laundry room is at the way back of the house behind the kitchen. There’s a door just to the right of this photo that leads to the backyard. The washer and dryer are ancient and dying but we’re making them work as long as possible.

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On the other end of the laundry room, I built that skirted counter to hide the cats’ litter box and a bunch of other random crap. It’s really one of my favorite projects. The dog and cat food are in glass canisters on top of the dresser and the trashcans on the right are labeled with chalkboard paint for trash and recycling.

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I didn’t bother with an updated photo of the guest bath as it really hasn’t changed much, but here’s the old one for continuity’s sake. I recently ditched the cork bathmat and am still on the hunt for the perfect replacement.

Jack’s room. The only thing I’ve changed since he was born is adding more art and accessories we received as gifts.

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Our bedroom is upstairs. It’s sort of a loft setup. I think it was added after the house was built, but long enough ago to have the same style windows. It’s a large room and difficult to capture on camera without a wide-angle lens.

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Back downstairs at the very front of the house is the office slash playroom. I’m trying to simplify things by just calling it a den but I can’t get my mouth to say it. I always just call it the office. This room and the laundry room are definitely the ones that have changed the most in recent months. It’s come a looooooong way from this.

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This is where I sit blogging at this very moment. I use those shelves to store office and craft supplies as well as items I have listed for sale in my etsy shop.

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The rug is usually covered in baby toys.

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And last but not least, the backyard. The deck has become a much nicer place to spend time lately thanks to the fresh coat of paint and colorful umbrella I added to the table and chairs.

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We have a vegetable garden, clothesline, two compost bins, and I’m working on putting in an herb garden (the grass is cleared, I just need to rent a tiller to get the rest of the roots and then build a raised bed. I learned from my veggie garden that just laying down some cardboard under the bed will not kill my grass.). That galvanized pail near the deck steps collects rainwater for me to water the garden with. I’d love to get chickens someday, but I’m worried about keeping them out of my veggies and herbs. And also predators. We live in a densely populated area with the standard assortment of stray cats plus a surprising number of possums, raccoons, and even a family of hawks. I’d like the chickens to be able to free range if I can figure out the logistics.

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So there’s our place! Not pictured are the guest bedroom and master bath, which still leave quite a bit to be desired, but if you’re just dying to see what they look like you can check them out in this post and this post. I’ll be working on getting all these new photos up on the house tour page today, so if you click over before I’m finished you can see what’s changed (and what hasn’t!) since the last tour. I fell in love with the house the first time I saw it and it’s so cheesy but I love it a little more every time I do something else to make it more beautiful, functional, and livable. And if you’ve made it to the end of this super long post then I love you too! Thanks for reading!

So you saw in my post yesterday about the diaper boxes that I’ve been working on prettying up the laundry room shelves.

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Just moving in all the jars and bottles I collect somewhat compulsively gave the space a little more interest and purpose. All that glass used to just clutter up my cabinets and counters so it’s nice to have it all in one place slash on display here. But things were still looking a little boring, so I whipped up some free decor to jazz it up a bit. I started with this piece of scrap wood I already had.

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Then I gave it a super thin coat of pale gray paint leftover from Jack’s nursery.

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I created a little sign pointing to the backyard on the computer, then printed it out and used my go-to technique for transferring simple images: rub pencil on the back of your paper, tape it to your surface, and then trace over it with a firm hand to transfer the pencil.

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Voila. The lines are faint but they’re there.

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Then I just went over it with a sharpie! Perfection was not the goal here, seeing as I am pretty much never interested in perfection and even less so when it comes to decor for a utility room. Plus I like it kind of rustic.

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I hung it up with a command strip, then popped this free printable into a white frame further down the shelf and admired my handiwork.

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It’s nice to have things looking so much nicer in here, especially since I do laundry pretty much every day. And now I can finally update our house tour page with photos of the room painted white!

This project barely justifies a blog post. It was stupid easy and completely free, but inspiration is priceless so I hope you’ll take away something, at least. I needed some boxes for my laundry room shelves, so I begged a bunch of diaper boxes from my non-cloth-diapering mama friends. These two were the same size and fit nicely on my shelves, so they got selected for a makeover.

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First step: spray primer.

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Then I painted them. I went through a whole process of deciding how to paint them and that’s a post in and of itself–how I get inspired. But in the end I decided to do a casual colorblock/painterly stripe combo. Easy was important since I’m just trying to pretty up some storage boxes, not create a family heirloom. I used paint I already had and didn’t even bother painting the inside.

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I’ve been working on making the laundry room shelves a little prettier slash more functional so I can finally update our house tour page. More on that tomorrow. The diaper boxes are perfect for storing lightbulbs, rarely accessed cleaning products, etc.

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Looking pretty, right? A few weeks ago I was thinking of ditching these shelves entirely because they were just not working for me, but my love has been rekindled.

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Both colorblock and painterly effects are very trendy, so I’d probably only use them on something like this that can be changed easily or thrown away without a second thought. But for now I am totally loving the bright and functional addition to this space.