How I Found My Decorating Style

My momma has great taste in decorating. Our homes growing up always felt welcoming, cozy, and put together. The house my parents live in currently looks like it was decorated professionally in my opinion. Her decorating taste has evolved over the years but has always been bent toward traditional style and warm tones.

My husband and I had been married for several years when my parents came for a visit. My dad, while looking around our fairly new-to-us home, said “you have the same decorating taste as your mom!”. He was right that I had carried over a lot of the look from the home that I grew up in. That look was what felt like “home” to me. But the truth was that I was having trouble loving the spaces I was decorating. Partly because of my limited budget and partly because I didn’t really know what my style was.

Pre-Pinterest days, I really loved Cottage Living magazine. I was sad when it stopped being published so I started reading Country Living. I really enjoy that too. While I don’t think of my taste as cottage-y or country I am drawn to any picture that seems eclectic with mixes of different styles, time periods, or has some natural elements mixed in with modern style. I kept an inspiration binder with clippings of pictures of spaces that I loved. I took note of what exactly I liked about the space and tried to work that into my home in some way. I am blessed to be able to stay home with my children but that also means that we don’t have oodles of expendable income to simply buy the look I love which led me to become a little more resourceful. I started finding furniture on Craigslist that I could paint or refinish.

After my first couple of pieces I was hooked. I started using my sewing machine more to make pillows and window treatments with fabric from the remnants table at the fabric store. I read a lot about color and retaught myself how the color wheel works which allowed me to be more creative and confident with my color choices. We started collecting cool items from our travels and around the world. A pair of frames that my brother in law brought back from West Africa are one of my favorite items in my home, because they are unique.

When I had our house staged for sale a month or so ago someone close to me took a look through the house and said “your style is very World Market”. I was pretty pleased with that description because I love that we’ve been able to incorporate so many looks and styles. We have truly grown into “our style”. While we don’t place to much value on possessions of this world, it is nice to have a space that we enjoy spending time in. Having it organized and put together makes it easier to be hospitable and welcoming. I’ve shared these before on my Facebook page but here are some pictures showing how our living space evolved.

living room collageHoliday Ct

I am sure most of you have been on Pinterest pinning away awesome life hacks, pictures of beautiful spaces, and trendy outfits but have you visited Hometalk? It is the new Pinterest for all things strictly home related. It is an awesome resource for finding inspiration. Many people share about their updates and renos on a budget. This week I am featured in a Hometalk e-mail and curating a board on budget bathrooms and I would love for you to check it out here and follow me!

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Tracey

A Jewelry Tree: An Inexpensive & Functional Storage Solution

Recently, we were spending time outside with the kids and My Guy got to trimming our Birch tree branches. I had been in the throws of organizing and staging for our house sale and a corner in our bedroom needed a little extra help. It was one of those corners where stuff collects… I’m sure you have one of those. It’s not pretty. Anyone else struggle with the jewelry organization dilemma? I own a table top jewelry box and a standing armoire but I still was lacking the storage I needed. My drawers ended up overfilled and my necklaces were too long for the designated hanging area. This resulted in piles of tangled necklaces and earrings that I ended up wearing nearly daily and a bunch stashed away that I had forgotten about. Cleaning out my jewelry boxes felt like Christmas! I needed a different solution. There are so many fun options for jewelry displays and storage but I couldn’t get My Guy myself to justify spending the money on purchasing what I thought I needed when I already had two jewelry boxes. Immediately upon seeing the trimmed branches on the ground I was inspired by the branches! I was going to make a jewelry tree.

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I had a glass vase that I previously stored my makeup brushes in that I had just cleaned out. It would be perfect for holding my branches. The glass cylinder vase is actually glued to a candle stick holder to give it some interest and height. Both pieces are from the Dollar Tree! I used the magical E6000® Craft Adhesive 3.7 oz glue to attach them together then I filled it with rocks in the bottom to add more height to my brushes and now to stabilize my branches. You can use any container though! A tall glass, vase, or mason jar would look great. Just make sure it is weighed down!

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I considered spray painting my branches white or a fun color but ended up really loving the natural element it added to the room which is filled with different neutrals. The color of the birch is such a dark brown and the branches and twigs are smooth and very sturdy. I love how it turned out. I’ve added another taller branch in the middle since the pictures were taken and I love how filled out it looks.

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The picture frame is a banged up wood frame that I found at an antique store. It has chicken wire stapled to it for earring storage. In our next home I may try to make a bigger one with hooks up the side of the frame for bangles and bracelets. Maybe a barnwood frame?! We’ll see.

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I found the mirrored tray at Goodwill. It was a bit rusty and VERY grimy. A steel brush, a good cleaning, and some spray paint made it the perfect spot for all my girly necessities. It gives the clutter purpose. No? Well, it works for me. Ha!

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I now can find and wear all of my jewelry and I love that I can decorate the room in a functional way. If you make a jewelry tree or just feel inspired to display your jewelry, share the pictures with me!

Love,

Tracey

house updates

How to Update Your Bathroom for Under $50!

A few weeks ago my husband started an awesome new job that will require us to relocate. We are so excited! Did you know our house was only on the market for 2 days before we found a buyer?! Craziness! I’m excited to be working on a series of posts focused on getting your house updated, organized, and ready to sell (or ready to enjoy yourselves!). Staging, de-cluttering, and updating are key to getting your house sold quick for the price you want. First, I’d love to share a couple of ideas on how you can update a Plain Jane, builder grade bathroom.

Since we moved in 10 months ago we’ve worked on a steady stream of projects to make it more our style, knowing that we’d likely be selling soon. The last 3 weeks before listing we really moved into high gear to finish all of our remaining painting and organization projects, one of them being the hall bathroom.

There are no windows in the hall bathroom and it was dark. When we moved in, we knew we needed to update the light fixture. It still needed something more though. The room felt very plain and “builder grade”. I had two ideas to really give the room an upgraded feel. First, to lengthen the shower curtain in order to visually add height to the room and remove the shadow above the curtain which made the room feel dark. Second, to paint the vanity cabinet. Look at the difference!

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I found the shower curtain at Target last summer. I really like the airy linen feel of the fabric and the color. I understand that curtains are manufactured to come to the top of the prefab bath/shower fixtures probably to leave steam out the top as to not create a sauna but I wish they would make a longer option! I hoped that lengthening the curtain would have a great visual affect, and it really does make the room feel taller and larger.

The curtain measures 70″ wide. I knew I wanted to add a band of white linen at the bottom of the curtain. The linen I bought had a 42″ selvedge, meaning a yard would be 36″ x 42″. Because I didn’t want to be piecing fabric together I went ahead and bought 2 yards. I cut the entire 2 yd long piece down to 15 inches by 72 inches. That length left me enough room for the double hem around the sides and for a few small pleats to give the bottom a ruffle type flow. Adding about 14 inches of length to the curtain gave enough height that the liner on the inside still keeps the water in the tub. I’ve considered adding another layer, maybe 10-11 inches to create more of a double layered ruffle look. We’ll see! What do you think?

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For years I’ve really wanted to upgrade the oak, standard, builder grade cabinet. I hate we didn’t do it sooner because I love how it turned out! The color we chose was inspired by the Centsational Girl blog. I remembered a few years ago seeing a vanity she painted a glossy brown. There are so many shades of brown. I really didn’t want any weird red or burgundy undertones. I was thankful to find that blog post where she shared that she used Betsy Ross House Brown by Valspar. That is what we went with an I am so glad I did. I chose a semi gloss and I’m thankful for the sheen and wipe-ability. After a couple of coats I didn’t feel like it needed a poly coat. Now for the pretty close up… one of these days I’ll get a fancy camera for prettier and clearer pictures.

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Don’t be intimidated by the project -it is just paint! If you decide you don’t like it can be fixed! The cabinet doors were wood but the frame of the vanity was not real wood- it was a dense composite. Because there would be no sanding, I used Zinnser Bonding Primer as a base coat. We took the doors and hardware off and primed the inside of the doors first, flipped and then primed the front. I left the drawers in but pulled them out so that I could paint the drawer front and carefully painted the cabinet frame around them with my 2″ angled Wooster brush (my favorite!). Then, I did the same with the brown. With a gloss finish, make sure you get paint flowing freely from your brush. You want it wet and you want to use uniform strokes in the same direction. No deep brush marks! If you do get some deep strokes, re-dip your brush and go over it again lightly. Some strokes really will look fine. If you are concerned, consider using a small foam cabinet roller on the flat areas.The brown had great coverage with the first coat but it did require a second coat. It cured to a nice, seemingly durable finish.

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I hope this inspires you! Small changes can make a big impact! Go for it, change up that bathroom with a new curtain and rug. De-clutter and search Pinterest for creative storage solutions, if you need it. Choose clean, calming colors, and work in some earth tones for the perfect update. Here are a few pictures of a similar update I did in the master bath a while ago.

Made New Home Furnishings

Made new!

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Before…

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  • This bathroom vanity and mirror is painted with French Linen and Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
  • The shower curtain is from Target Summer 2014.
  • The Light Fixture is here: http://www.lowes.com/pd_590922-43501-FV14-048___?productId=50279781&pl=1&Ntt=brushed+nickel+bathroom+vanity+lights
  • The mirror is an antique Drexel mirror that was given to me by my grandfather’s friend.

Featured hall bath details:

  • Zinsser primer (already had on hand), $10 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_45661-90-2004_1z0yye2__?productId=3610418&pl=1)
  • Quart of Valspar Signature latex interior gloss paint, Betsy Ross House Brown, $15
  • 2 in angled brush, $6-$12 depending on what strikes your fancy. I choose Wooster which is $10-$12
  • Fabric to add trim panel or ruffle to bottom of shower curtain. I chose white linen. 2yds from Hancock’s with 40% off coupon = $15
  • New hardware from Lowe’s, $12
  • Basket and flower vase were relocated from other places in the house. 🙂

Earlier updates included:

You really can make a big change in a bathroom on a budget, and for under $50. The biggest impact was by far painting the vanity and changing the hardware which was $27 because I already had primer and brush on hand. Second biggest impact I think was changing the mirror which was $20. Third was lengthening the shower curtain for $15. Check out your closest Habitat ReStore for paint, hardware, or updated faucets or light fixtures. Remember, light fixtures and hardware can also be spray painted if you find a style you want but in a dated finish. Look for baskets and bins at thrift shops to organize. Plan to shop at your hardware store on holiday weekends, like Father’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, when they have their biggest sales. Go to your Post Office and look for change of address packets, they have loads of coupons including 10% off at Lowe’s… haha! I know from experience. Or take your favorite military friend to borrow their discount and buy them a fun tool while you’re there. 🙂

Love,

Tracey

Turn Your Piano Into a Statement Piece

If you know me, you know I get sentimental about furniture. REAL furniture. The pieces that you can tell a person, or people, put creativity and effort into designing, building, assembling and finishing. Not many pieces become more sentimental to a family than a piano. There is something beautiful about an aged piano. In some cases I would never refinish them but some of them… well, they need a little love to make them the statement piece they deserve to be! See the difference?!

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If you are in the market for a piano on a tight budget, I’d consider buying a used one in great shape that just needs a tuning and a little sprucing up. You can do it! Or hire me to help! 🙂 If you have a piano with the ever so common orange shiny oak finish from the eighties and nineties or a piano that your kids have taken upon themselves to decorate (no kidding I’ve painted two pianos now with tic tac toe carved into the wood!). Then read on my friends!

Here’s a few tips on how to turn your piano a statement piece:

1. Select a paint color. I hear it all the time, “I would never paint a piece of furniture made of real wood” or “why would you paint that instead of refinish it with stain?”. I love a rich wood finish too. But sometimes paint adds just that little extra somethin’ and can serve as an accent piece while many times wood finishes can get lost in a room. Often paint can show off detail or clean lines on piece better than a wood finish can. And to be honest, in this particular situation, you would have to completely disassemble the piano to strip and sand it properly. Those keys can get very tricky! Pick a color that is complementary to the room. I once read a quote by Annie Sloan where she suggests, if you paint a piece and look at it in its space with squinty eyes and it really stands out more than anything else in the room, than it is too bright for your color palette. I love bold color and you can see an example of a pretty mustard yellow piano below that fit in perfectly with the personality and earthy palette of its space. Be brave but with this particular piece don’t pick something you will be tired of in two years.

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2. Tape off around the keys covering them with paper. Self explanatory but this will save you a lot of clean up and you can rest easy while painting around those tricky little things. And if you do have to do any light sanding it will keep unnecessary dust out.

3. Take off any hardware. If your piano has knobs or any hardware or a music stand, I’d take them off. It can be tricky opening and closing the cover without hardware so you may want to paint that last. Patinated brass hardware can be very pretty and I typically leave it as is. If you have that bright 90’s brass, I’d consider spray painting it bronze, nickle, or an antiqued metallic color of your choice. Or you can paint it the same color as the piano with the Chalk Paint.

4. Remove any flaky old paint with a scraper or rough sand paper. Fill in any holes you want filled with wood filler or Plastic Wood and lightly sand down any scratches. Unless you want a brand new piano look, I like the natural distressed look that wear and tear gives overtime. It gives character to the painted finish. Just don’t leave any old childhood tic tac toe carvings!! 🙂

5. Degloss. Use TSP or a deglosser to remove oils built up over time from hands and dusting products so you have a clean surface ready for paint.

6. Start painting! Because we aren’t removing the old finish I HIGHLY recommend using a chalk based paint. This is NOT to be confused with chalkboard paint. A high end brand of Chalk Paint such as Annie Sloan is what I recommend. This paint adheres to anything and you can thin with water as needed (because it will thicken if you leave the lid off). It leaves very little brush strokes and any strokes can be sanded lightly to a velvety smooth finish. You may have sticker shock on the price, typically $37 a quart, but a little goes a long way and it is worth it when you figure in the time you are saving with less prep work. There are other brands of Chalk paint. In fact, Lowe’s just came out with their own version but Annie Sloan takes the cake as far as ease to use, finish, and durability. Its the original Chalk Paint and is super low VOC. I don’t get paid for this opinion though I wish I did because I LOVE this product and I tell everyone about it.

7. Distress around the edges and corners if you want! This is super easy to do with chalk paint. Use a fine sandpaper or a sanding sponge, nothing less than 120 grit, and lightly brush it along the edges or any places that would naturally become worn. This is a great disguise for pieces that may get nicked over time with kids in the house… it’s just part of the look! Many people choose to do this step after a wax finish. I do that sometimes if I want more control over the amount of paint I’m taking off. Just make sure you go back over it with a little wax.

8. Choose your finish. A “finish” is not completely necessary but for longer durability and easy cleaning I recommend a paste wax finish buffed to a matte shine. This finish is my favorite as it somehow gives depth of color to the paint. For a higher sheen you can buff with more elbow grease or use a brushed on Polycrylic with sheen of your choice.

9. Enjoy the view and maintain your hard work! To maintain the finish and all your hard work, clean with only a damp lint free cloth or dust cloth. No products here people! I recommend buffing on a new coat of wax once a year. Use coasters! If you do happen to get a water ring or defect in the finish you can buff it with wax (if it had a wax only finish) and the ring will dissappear or touch up the spot with paint and wax over it again.

Can you see the pretty, light distressed edges? Ahhh 😉

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Love,

Tracey

Board and Batten on a Budget

Dining room collage

We have made many changes and updates to our once cookie cutter, builder grade house. Guys, it was bad… we purchased the home as a foreclosure, an investment. It was in good condition, had lots of natural light, and we loved the openness of the living space but the fixtures in the house were plain and had no personality. See??? Gah!!

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We have chosen high quality products and installed them ourselves to save money. Some of the changes I think have had the biggest impact are changing out the cheap berber carpet for Pergo laminate wood flooring, painting the orange-y oak kitchen cabinets, painting the open living space one unified color and my favorite, the board and batten (B &B from here on out).

The long wall in our living room is 22′ high at its highest point. I needed a way to decorate the beast of a wall but I don’t love clutter on the walls so I didn’t want a large gallery of pictures. I wanted simple clean lines and I have always wanted to tackle a B & B project and it was perfect for this space. There are many board and batten tutorials out there. We looked at some inspiration photos but chose to go our own route.

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See… board up on the left and just paint line on the right. We measured and marked the paint line with a pencil.

Instead of nailing MDF boards to the wall we chose to simply paint the wall white up to just under where the top of the wall feature would be. I chose Rust Scat paint in semi-gloss. Don’t be deterred by this semi gloss for the walls. The sheen is much like a satin but has the durability of a semi-gloss which is what I needed with the many sticky fingers in our house! This is also what I used on our kitchen cabinets and molding.

The boards we decided on were 1 x 3″ x 8′ unfinished pine boards. To reduce waste (and $$$) we chose to cut the 8′ boards in half. We replaced the floor base boards with the 1 x 3″ boards also so that we didn’t have any overhang from the vertical boards or awkward miter cuts to get the baseboard and B & B boards to meet flush. Therefore, our height we went for was 4′ + 3″ (from the new baseboard). This worked out perfect because the B & B would be just shorter than the mantle. I didn’t want the molding on the mantle to get lost since it is white also.

We sanded, primed and painted the boards. I used Kilz primer and the same Rust Scat semi gloss white for the finishing coat. If you get it on the wall and there are spots that need a touch up it is totally fine because the wall is already the same color which makes for easy painting! Yay!

Using the nail gun, we attached the new baseboard and the top board first and made sure they were level. No wonky boards here! Be super picky when you pick your lumber. When they are painted, nicks and blemishes will show up and you don’t want warped boards or they will be more difficult to nail to the wall.

We then put up our vertical boards. I did measure spacing between the boards. The common sense (and easier) route is to go every 16″, with the studs. If you can do that, that’s awesome! In our case, we realized that where we previously took down a wall the studs were off. Also, the spacing around the outlets on either side of the mantle were wonky. We did NOT want to move the outlets. So, we placed them at every stud, including at the end of each wall, and then “eyeballed” them, shifting just an inch or two. So, each board is nailed in a stud but they are not all centered on a stud. Does that make sense?

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Almost finished, pre-caulk

Then… don’t skip this next step… it gives the project a finished, unified look. CAULK! We used white silicone caulk to fill in all the gaps. Touch up any spots that need paint and you are done!

I am no building expert… I’m a furniture painting, DIY-er housewife. So, if you have questions I didn’t answer please ask and I’ll um… ask my husband! 🙂 We sent the kids to the grandparents on a sunny day and finished this in a weekend. If you don’t have young kiddos and a monster wall like ours, it could be done in a day if you are super ambitious.

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If you have a wall that you would like to add a feature to or if you love a bold color on a wall but could use the contrast of a neutral white to tone it down, this is a great option. You can do so much to it also. You can put hooks into the top board for coats in an entryway or you could add molding and a shelf on top for more surface space in a room or bathroom. Please let me know if this inspires you and share pictures!

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More info on the room:

Wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Northern Cliffs (mixed in Valspar Signature Satin from Lowes)

Canvases are from Canvasondemand.com. Check Groupon regularly for 2 for $49.99 deals!

The handsome handy man in the first picture is taken. ❤

Welcome to my new space!

I am so excited to finally have a place other than Facebook to share my projects with you! I am not a professional photographer or writer but I am hoping that this can be a space to inspire DIY projects, budget furniture makeovers, and ways to spruce up your home using what you already have or using minimal funds (seriously… who has an excess of those?! It’s a fun challenge to be resourceful!).

I am a stay at home wife and momma to 3 little ones. I’ve been reviving and restyling since high school when rearranging my room or turning old jeans into a new crossover bag were my favorite weekend activities. To date, many pieces of furniture have come to me as dated or neglected pieces and left my doors made new as a functional statement piece or simply fitting in with my clients’ taste. Helping people update their home or making color choices is quickly becoming a passion. With the prodding encouragement of family and friends I’m excited to share with you, in more detail, my projects along with my processes and tips.

I came up with the name “Made New” three years ago while thinking about how I receive continued renewal through Christ. I am made new through HIM! †

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation:

old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Here is my first piece I ever worked on for a client in 2012! After seeing the transformation I was addicted. This piece was purchased in Germany and relocated to the states with its family. The top received a coat of Restor-a-Finish (more on this product in the future) and was painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint’s Old White.

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This is the same color I’ve painted many pieces including my daughters’ provincial bedroom set. I hope to share those pieces with you too when the floor is not covered in princess dresses and Little People!

First posts are always awkward but for now I simply say welcome! I hope you will stick with me and I’ll try to do the same!

You can check out my previous work (some favorite pieces below) on my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MadeNewHomeFurnishings.

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Love,

Tracey