Pavers: A home for the BBQ.

Remember awhile ago when I gave you a sneak peak of our pavers on instagram, and then I never posted it? Well…wait no longer!
IMG_0433Why the delay? Well, 2 reasons: #1 we had a few stones that required the Mr.’s help to cut, and #2 I kept forgetting to take pictures of our new paver patio at the correct time of day.

Here’s what we did:

IMG_4353Here’s a sad glimpse at the before.

Before we did anything, we had to assess the size of the patio we wanted to created. It needed be big enough, not only for the BBQ, but for Mike’s smoker that gets pulled out occasionally. I also wanted it big enough to actually make an impact. After weighing a few options we decided to make it as wide as our actual covered patio, but left some space between the cement patio and the rocks so water could drain during monsoon season. It measures 9’x6′.

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Once we decided on a size, we started digging. Anyone familiar with Arizona knows that digging in the ground is no joke. The earth is mostly clay and ridiculously hard. Because of that, and the lack of “real” equipment, we ended up digging around 6 inches deep. Ideally you would want to dig much deeper to have a more solid base. We did what we could. Once that was done we added a layer of gravel a few inches deep.

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Once the gravel was relatively level, and packed down, we added a layer of sand a few inches thick. We leveled it, packed it down, and gave it a slight slope for drainage.

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After that the fun part started. Placing the stones!

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IMG_4443We selected the Rumblestone from Home Depot in 3 different sizes. We liked how many options we had with it and the overall look. Using the above guide, we purchased the correct amount of stones for the middle pattern. I did my best to actually follow the pattern, but somewhere along the way I got seriously confused and started winging it. The pattern seemed sort of random anyway, so winging it didn’t change the look at all.

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Like I mentioned before, we left a gap between the new paver patio and the covered patio for drainage. It seemed really disconnected to me so I added a few steps between the two for better flow. Once everything was set in place we used a broom to push sand into all the cracks and then we soaked it, and I mean SOAKED it. We wanted to make everything settle as much as possible.

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After everything was dry from our soak/settle session I sealed the pavers with Behr’s Wet-look Sealer. I simply made sure the pavers were as clean as possible and used a regular old paint brush to brush the sealer on. Another option would be to spray it on and back roll it with a roller. My project was small enough the brush was perfectly fine.

IMG_0434IMG_0433IMG_0432IMG_0430We are loving our new paver patio. The look. The function. Everything about it. Was it a professional job? Definitely not. Did we have fun and learn a lot along the way? Absolutely! I wish we could check this corner of our world off the list, but it needs a little more tweaking. Mike wants a new smoker/BBQ, and I’m hoping to do a fun project in the fall to cover up all the damaged stucco on the fence. Here’s a hint: it’s for the kids. Some patio lights might finding a home nearby as well. I’ll keep you posted.

*A little FYI: I skipped the part where we cut the stones because I definitely do NOT recommend what we did. In fact, I’m scared to even tell you how we did it. Just take my advice and rent/buy a wet saw and do it right!

 

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Easy Furniture Refresh

Recently I helped my friend Dawn redecorate her son’s room. It was a blast, and it turned out amazing! If you missed it look here. When we started the project we had to assess what we could use, what we needed to buy, and what we could save. Dawn wasn’t a fan of this little night stand, but I knew it had more life left in it.
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Using my favorite tool, the Mouse Sander, and some 80 grit sand paper (which is ideal for stripping), I gave the whole piece a nice sanding.

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The idea is to take off the poly so the new finish will adhere. I also gave some extra attention to any dents or scratches to try and get the smoothest finish as possible. Because I was using such coarse sandpaper, it only took about 5 minutes to get to this point.

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Once everything was sanded, I switched out the sandpaper for a finer grit and gave the whole thing one more quick sanding. Just until it felt smooth.

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After that I gave it 2 coats of semi-gloss paint using a paint brush, and…voila! Easy as that!

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There are a lot of ways to refinish furniture, but for me, this has proven to be my go to. No crazy stripper, no poly, no wax… just a light sanding and some good old semi-gloss paint. I can’t wait to show you some of the other fun pieces I’ve finished using these simple steps! As always, STAY TUNED!

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A Room for Wyatt

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 My sweet friend Dawn has been asking me for MONTHS  to help her transform her daughters old pink and brown room into a room for her almost 18 year old son, Wyatt. As I understood it, she just wanted to repaint the walls and leave it at that. Nope! She wanted a complete overhaul and I was more than happy to help!

IMG_0263Wyatt loves to play volleyball so I knew we needed to incorporate that somewhere.

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He’s also close to 18 and preparing for an LDS mission. Nothing like a good reminder above your bed, right? (Click here to know more about LDS missionaries.)

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Storage was a huge problem for this kid. I have a feeling it is for most teenagers. I wanted him to have a desk with storage, but I didn’t want something big and bulky because the room is pretty small. With that in mind, I opted for a desk with only 3 drawers and criss cross legs to help the room feel open. To compensate for the lack of storage, I hung a shelf above the desk and loaded it with boxes for all of his junk stuff.


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This kid loves to play video games (what teenage boy doesn’t!) So instead of having 2 nightstands, I decided to fill the space on one side of the bed with a pouf from Target. Now he has some additional seating for friends, or just a place to lounge.

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Out of everything I did in Wyatt’s room, this is my favorite. Wyatt’s AMAZING father recently passed away, and his mom found this picture of Wyatt going in to give his Dad a kiss. As soon as I saw it I knew EXACTLY where it was going.

IMG_0261IMG_0265While I was working on Wyatt’s room, Dawn called me and told me about some old cars that were her grandfathers. She told me where they were and I loved them! Aren’t they awesome?

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I have to give a big THANK YOU to Dawn for allowing me to transform her son’s room. I had so much fun accepting the challenging of designing, not only a boy room, but a teenage boy room. I live in girl land so decorating for a boy was something I had never thought about before…until now.

Here’s a few before and afters just for fun:

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A Gallery Wall for the Hall

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Since I finishing the picture frame moulding in the hall, the wall above it looked so sad and lonely. I knew it would be a perfect spot for a gallery wall. Planning and executing a gallery wall can be tricky. There are SO many options, and if you’re like me, you absolutely MUST try every option before you decide which is the best one. Well, how do you do that without making a hundred holes in your wall, and making your husband curse why he ever let you touch a hammer?

EASY!

IMG_5160Step 1:

find a large piece of paper. Butcher paper, a bunch of papers taped together, poster board, wrapping paper…Really anything you can write on that will span the distance of your gallery wall. I actually used the back side of some wrapping paper. Once you’ve found your paper, place all your items on the paper EXACTLY how you want them. (You see where I’m going with this…right?)

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Step 2:

Trace around each item.

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Step 3:

Tape your paper to the wall making sure it’s level. Once you’ve measured the hooks on your items, mark the paper where you need to add nails/screws. Once you’ve added all your fasteners, remove the paper.

*Notice how my paper wasn’t long enough? It was long enough to at least place part of the items on. That’s all you need. As long as you have a starting point to measure where each hook is, you’re golden.

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Step 4:

Hang your items and stand back to admire your work.

EASY RIGHT?

If you’ll notice, my final layout isn’t the one I started with. I’m fickle I guess. Something just wasn’t right with my first attempt, so I followed the same steps and tweaked it to suit my liking.

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Part of that tweaking was adding this adorable arrow. I love it! It’s made by the very talented Jen Daniel out of reclaimed wood. You absolutely need to check out her facebook page”Vintage Ruffle” and see her amazing products!

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Just for fun here’s a little before and after:

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Open Shelving Revamp

 Awhile ago I decided to add a few open shelves on a small wall that sits at the end of our island. I actually did it on a whim. I was at Ikea buying shelves for our master bedroom when I came across the Fabian wall shelves. As soon as I saw them I thought to myself, “hey, those would work in my kitchen! I NEED to get those (something I may, or may not, say often).

IMG_0064The shelves come unfinished, so I simply stained them with a dark walnut stain, sprayed them with semi-gloss poly, and threw them on the wall with my favorite anchors. I had grand visions of the most adorable open shelving kitchen decor, but well…that sort of didn’t happen. I rounded up some decor I had sitting around the house and called it a day. It always seemed unfinished and empty. Until now that is!

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It finally feels complete! Nothing a clock and some white dishes (which I have a serious weakness for) couldn’t fix!

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This was SO easy I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.

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Ikea Hack: Lack Shelves

IMG_4854Remember these bookshelves that live beneath our family photo timeline? (If not, look here) They replaced some awful laminate bookshelves we had had forever. You know the shelves I’m talking about. The ones that are about $40 and bow the second you put anything on them.

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If you can’t envision it, think of this, but bigger. We had 2 side by side and they just weren’t doing it for me. I really wish I had a before picture for you. Overall these shelves had served us well for 8 years, but ALL of the shelves were bowing, and one had a hole in the bottom. The color didn’t suit the style of our room and I just couldn’t find a way to salvage them. I knew I wanted new shelves, but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them. They were basically just holding Mike’s old textbooks after all. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a husband who refuses to get rid of old textbooks!) In lieu of paying a pretty penny for shelves that weren’t exactly what I wanted, I decided to get creative and do a budget friendly version.

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Enter Ikea! In my mind I envisioned floating shelves and Ikea’s Lack shelves fit the bill. They come in a few different lengths, but mine are 74 3/4″ long and were $19.99 each (they also come in different colors). Each shelf comes with the mounting bracket, but you have to come up with screws and anchors on your own. Am I the only one annoyed by Ikea’s inability to provide you with all the hardware you need? Despite that, I still LOVE Ikea.

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*I found this photo online of what the bracket looks like. The brackets for the long shelves are obviously much longer and have more supports. To make the shelf as secure as possible, I tried to put as many screws into the studs as possible. Everywhere I needed a screw, that didn’t line up with a stud, I used an anchor like…

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…this. These anchors are my absolute favorite! They’re seriously strong! Each one is rated for 79 lbs in 1/2″ drywall. I also love them because you can drill them in the wall just like a screw. No pre drilling a hole! The only down side is they do make a pretty decent hole in the wall if you ever need to take them out. Back to the shelves…Each bracket, in addition to putting as many screws into a stud as possible, has 15 screws attached to anchors. (The screws came with the anchors.)

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I still wasn’t convinced the shelves could hold up to the amount of weight they had to support, so I added L brackets along the bottom at each stud.

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For some additional support, but mostly for looks, I added brackets (found here) at each end of the shelves, anchoring them to the wall.

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After that it was just a matter of placing the books on the shelves and accessorizing. I went through quite a few variations of decor before I realized I needed to simplify. Once getting the books placed where I wanted them, I added some storage boxes and plants. Both of which are from Ikea.

For around $100 we had completely new bookshelves. Ikea definitely saved the day on this one!

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