Thursday, March 05, 2015

Closet makeover {Then and Now}

Last time we talked home renovations, this is what I showed you.


This pile of dry wall use to be our closet.

USE to be.

Main word.

I have been closetless for two plus weeks and my daily fashion sense is now totally waning and basically hangin' out on deaths door step. 

I know this is not actually the end of the world, and I am well aware that I am lucky to have more then one outfit to choose from each morning, but guys, I am falling apart over here and so is this closet.

I have never claimed to be overly fashionable, my little sister got the fashion forward gene. Come to think of it though, I didnt get the great singer gene or the technically savvy gene, my brothers stole those,  and I didnt even get the patient gene or the networking gene, my other sisters got those, I'm just over here waving a hammer around like a lunatic while wearing the same outfit for a week straight okay, actually, two weeks.

Where is that annoyed emoji face when I need to use it.

Enough complaining though, let me describe my daily life right now, so you understand. 
(If you are the visual type, just skip this blabbing until you come to the pictures)

First, I search dig like a crazy woman through my piles of clothing, make a big mess out of all the tangled hangers throw them every which way out of pure frustration, promptly get upset and then end up giving up wearing basically not basically, put on the same outfit as I have done for the past week straight.

Somewhere in there, I also end up crying like a five year old for a few seconds until I snap myself out of it.


This is the current state of our master bedroom.

I am trying to remember that though I cant reach my clothing without a struggle, that every single day for three weeks, I am being taught another valuable lesson in patience.


Can you see wayyyyyy back in the corner at the end of the closet?? That is our master bathroom that has been its own thorn in my side for four years, but right now it is serving its purpose as the place where we have haphazardly piled all of my clothing while we jumped into this project with both feet.

Even though it can be frustrating that we don't plan out our projects in a step by step form like normal sane people, with a time line and an end in sight, I DO love that we just get right down to it and figure it out together. 


PS: Dont ask my husband about this love of working together. Im sure he is done looking at all of my Pinterest posts and listening to my constant changing ideas and the theories behind each.

The above picture you just saw was what our master bedroom looked like right before we moved in, four years ago.

Here is another version of a "before" photo showing you what it looked like in the realtor listing. Our master was basically a blank slate for us and I fell in love with the idea that we could put our own spin and style on this room.

These pictures also show the small narrow hallway that houses our closets on either side of it which leads to our master en suite (that hasn't been useable since the day we moved in when we quickly gutted it. Note to self: it isn't always good to jump in to something with no plan. I would have loved a bathroom door for the first three years we lived here. #modestyisthebestpolicy) ;)

Even though we stalled on the bathroom reno and havent tackled the closet until now, we did move ahead with some bedroom changes. 

The first thing we did upon getting possession of our home was rip out the soiled and damaged blue carpet on our upstairs level and replaced it with a durable variety with a neutral tone.  I love a good hardwood like the next traditional home enthusiast, but the fact that our kiddies can roll around on the floor with books and trains and have a soft landing for their wresting moves, is awesome too. ;)

We added some simple chair rail around the bottom half of our walls and I painted the top a soft colour and added a large damask pattern on to it.

You can read about the cost of our bedroom breakdown HERE

I promise that after you read our cost budget friendly makeover, you will want to meet up with the kids and I at the treasure stores. I'll bring the coffee and we can meet you there for a leisurely shopping day, okay? :D

 Over time I added some DIY side tables, changed out the furniture, added a cozy carpet underfoot (Im obsessed with layering carpets!) added some drapery for some extra softness and added new lighting.

And now, after fixing up the "bedroom area" if you can even say there are "areas" within our itty bitty master ;), we are finally working on the other side of our room by giving it some extra lovin' and organization.

Hence this ole mess.

Obviously, it has to get really bad before it can look better, right?

This is the mess I have had to climb over during those middle of the night trips to the bathroom. Yeah, if you live in the neighbourhood you have probably heard me fall and scream a few times at 3am. Sorry about that. ;)

This messy view point will eventually turn into my side of the closet...

..and this side will end up being an extended version of my main man's closet. 

Did I mention yet that I love my handy hubby? 
I hope he started reading this blog by now, by the way.

In the near future, this wall will get framed in, puttied, sanded and painted to match the rest of our room. 

We also have big plans for a fun and interesting door to the closet that you wont want to miss.

Lets just say that we are learning and did do our research for parts of this project and we even dragged all three kids kicking and screaming to 6 hardware stores in one night this week.

We are hoping that the door we choose will still allow some light from our bathroom to filter into the room. 

Stay tuned!

As you can tell, currently the bathroom that is past the potential closet area is serving as a giant laundry pile.

Moving all of this electrical is what is holding us up, but we are going to work away at this thing this week before all the permanent wrinkles set into my giant pile of clothing/ wardrobe that is keeping our master ensuite floor warm and cozy.


Here is our present situation (see above)

...and here is where we started. 

We are super excited on where this project is heading. (the kicking and screaming children in the hardware stores are a different story)


We are plugging away at this closet and meanwhile dreaming of relaxing on a clean bed in a room that isn't littered with power tools and dry wall dust. 

No one said living through a renovation would be easy, but we have learned that with a lot of dedication and some brow sweat, creating a space you love to live in, is worth all the time and mess.

If you need us, we will be comforting all the monsters that use to reside in our closet. 
Even they cant stand some living conditions.


Happy Thursday lovelies!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread {Tried and tested from This Little Estate's kitchen}

Some of my fondest childhood memories are from the times I spent in the kitchen with my Mom. 

My loving Mama had limited sewing abilities and yet she slaved over the the cutest little aprons for my sisters and I, and even made us tiny matching oven mitts with little dancing teddy bears all over them.


Originally, for me, I loved baking because it was the chance to get to wear the cute baking outfits I loved so dearly. Then later, I would find myself pulling up a stool next to my Mama in our little country kitchen, because I loved the special memories her and I would make as we mixed, poured, stirred and waited anxiously for the oven timer to ring at us.

One of my first jobs as a young enthusiastic teenager, was at an authentic Italian bakery. This opportunity solidified my everlasting love affair with baking. 

I still feel like I was living the dream since I got to work doing one of my favorite things and they didn't even care how many cannolis and cream puffs and pastries and icing and macaroons I taste tested.

Fast forward 17 years (I cannot believe I just typed that) and I'm still in love with all things baking, but I have been successfully incorporating some gluten free recipes into our lives due to old lady tummy issues.

 If you have someone you love who is gluten free, THIS is the recipe that will make them love you forever. If you bake this up WITH them, they will probably love you for forever and a day.

Wet Ingredients:

    3 extra ripe bananas (mashed)
    ¼ cup of coconut oil (or substitute for melted butter)   
    ¼ cup maple syrup
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 large sized eggs

Dry Ingredients:

    ¼ cup coconut flour
    1 cup millet flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon all spice (or cinnamon)
    Optional chocolate chunks


 Preheat the oven to 350F   
Grease up a loaf pan.
In a medium-large bowl mix all the wet ingredients together.
In another small bowl mix the dry ingredients.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mix until most of the   lumps are gone.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
If you're feeling risky, drop big chunks of chocolate into your batter.
Shake loaf pan until batter is smooth. (this eliminates any air bubbles from forming in your loaf)
Bake for about 45 minutes. (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.    
Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan
Let cool and then slice and serve.

 This recipe is tried and true and all the baking lovers and cannoli enthusiasts wont even know that there isn't a drop of wheat in this recipe.

Nope, just good tasting goodness that will have you scribbling this recipe down on a 4 by 6 card in no time and adding it the classic recipes you keep protected in your recipe box.

All babies born post 1998 may not know what a recipe box is, but trust me, you may need one in case this whole Pinterest thing doesn't catch on. ;)

Happy Friday lovelies!

 I hope this recipe comes in handy this weekend when you feel the urge to make some memories stirring, pouring and cracking with the ones you love, in your kitchen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

20 Beautiful Closets {and a peek at our newest project!}

We are at it again.

This scene of closet carnage has been a foot away from where I lay my head each night  - for two weeks.

Nightmare inducing, yes.

Unfortunately for us, renos don't pan out in the same manner as they do on HGTV. I wish they did. But with two working parents and evenings full of children's activities, we typically only get a few hours a week to bust out a project.

BUT, this project has been a long time coming, so I am soaking in this big fat mess!

This closet makeover-overhaul has been four years coming.

When we bought this house four years ago, we inherited two of the tiniest master closets I have ever seen. We tried to make the best of our limited storing situation by adding more storage inside of our closets, but lately, it just hasn't been cutting it anymore. Even after I did a major closet purge, there just seems to be little wiggle room in our closets along with some bad design elements that make me want to live out of the laundry basket.

And, it's not like I need another excuse not to put away all those baskets of laundry, you know?

We have big plans for our little closet that could and hope our budget friendly tips and tricks will help you if you too are hoping for a fresh start with a fresh closet this year.

I will definetly be sharing all of our messy details with you in a future post; if you like that kind of mess-diy-during-destruction-pictures, but until then, wont you dream with me for a moment?

Here are 20 beautifully finished closets 
 (that will probably never be our reality, but boy do they make me want to go organize and color coordinate all of my  wrinkly tshirts.)

Contemporary Closet by Edmonds Home Builders Chermak Construction, Inc.

(IF you want to see even more closet prettiness, feel free to checkout my Pinterest board called "CLOSETS". It is full of my current inspiration!!)

So, what do you think? Are you as smitten as I am? These closets show organization and beauty combined and make my detail oriented self so happy! 

Tell me, do you keep an organized closet? Ive acquired a lot of organizational ideas after having a small closet for so long! Do you have any tiny closet organizational tips and tricks for me? I would love to hear them!

Friday, February 20, 2015


A few weeks ago we were taking all things family room. 
You can get caught up by reading:

I shared our love for late night projects and for clean and crisp moulding.

Last time we talked, we were neck deep with the addition of panelling our entire family room with the addition of board and batten, and I'm pretty sure, you and I both knew, there would be a lot of work in front of us!

Since sharing our big plans, many of you asked the specifics of our idea and inquired on cost and basically all the nitty gritty details all savvy DIY-ers would want to know to make your own board and batten panelled wall.

So, please forgive the dark pictures #Canadianwinterproblems but today I wanted to share with you the "how" before we move on and show you the "pretty", otherwise known as the finished product. 

(BY DIY-ing a panelled wall)
  1. First go to your local hardware store and buy MDF boards and strip each 4 by 8 foot board into four inch wide pieces. (We got ours for $21 from Lowes) If you smile super sweetly they may just rip them for you too!
  2. Come home and paint your walls. This will save you so much time cutting into your panels with paint. You wont have any of your old paint peeking through if you follow this important step! We used Behre Paint from Home Depot in Bright White.
  3. Then remove your baseboards. We chose not to add ours back on, but that can always be an option for you if you want to layer your baseboards for a heartier look.
  4.  Figure out what you would like your spacing to be like. We wanted our moulding to be as high as five feet 3 inches. So we took a level and drew a line across our wall.
  5. Then we added our top piece straight across the wall. We secured it in place with wood glue and then used our nail gun to secure it to the wall.
  6. Then we added strips perpendicular to the floor as we would with a baseboard. We glued and secured them into place just like we did with our top piece.
  7. Then we took our strips and spaced our pieces/panels 16 inches from end to end.
  8. Then to finish it off, we stripped a piece of MDF to be 1 3/4 inch wide and glued and nailed it width wise on top of our flush "top" piece. 
  9. To completely finish it off, we used 3/4 inch moulding. Instead of having a convex curve though, it is concave in shape and is called "cove" moulding. 
  10. Putty the seams. For a finished and professional look you will want to carefully putty the seams, nail holes and spaces on your wall. I used "Dap" for this and smoothed it into place with my finger and made a clean finish by using a wet cloth to remove any excess
  11. Paint over everything and anything until satisfied.
Now that all of that wordy-wordiness is out of the way. 

Here is the tutorial for all you visual learners.


Take off baseboards.

Paint your walls.


Have fun with this part (ie: take lots of selfies, wear sweat pants, crack open a cold drink of your choice, play loud 90's pop music and enlist some funny kids to cheer you on)... because this part is going to be long and tedious and you will want to quit. The sweat pants and Justin Timberlake tunes help. Trust me.


Put all your outlet covers in one place. If you cant find a screwdriver to take them off, use a kitchen fork like my Mama use to do.


Figure out your spacing. Hire good help if it is available to you.

Attach  your panels to the wall with glue and a nail gun. Make sure you have a hairy supervisor overlooking the project to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Seal and putty any spaces and nail holes then paint over your wall and board and batten panelled wall.

Paint second coat and third coat and fourth coat of white paint but only throw the paint brush once.

Be prepared for this to be a weekend project not a nightly project. 

Don't tell your Husband.

Add top trim piece and freak out with happiness since it looks so darn good -- even in the dark at midnight.

Add your concave moulding for a finished look.

Putty and fill a million nail holes and paint some more.

Take some fuzzy pictures due to delirium and pure excitement.

Putty and fill and paint some more.

Now, watch as your boring walls gets transformed into a room that looks full of character, interest and texture. Not to mention, you will be freaking out about how big and wide your room now look with its bright and white walls!


I hope that answered most of your questions and gives you an idea on how you can add moulding and trim work to your space.  We are absolutely smitten with how this panelled board and batten treatment turned out and I cant wait to show you the whole room reveal.

If you add this to your honey-do-list this weekend send me an email or give me a tag so I can cheer you on during that whole painting part, k?

Happy weekend and happy DIY-ing friends!

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