7th House on the Left

Today’s post was supposed to be all about the awesome thrift store I went to in LA. Buuuuuut, I had to leave my laptop with my mom in LA because suitcase exceeded the weight limit (go me!). She’s shipping it to me, but all of my trip photos are on that laptop! Boo!

Don’t fret, though! The LA thrift store post has been moved to Wednesday and today we’ve got a fun Reader Reno from Carrie. She set out to transform her guest room/studio – which I have deemed a “guest studio” – into a creative space with feminine touches. As we all know, rooms come together in phases. Carrie’s first phase for this room included some bold, rich colors. While it definitely had personality, the room didn’t have the soft feminine look she was going for. So what did she do? She decided to use the most powerful force known to DIY’ers everywhere… a gallon of paint! Painting is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck, and the reason I love this Reader Reno. Enough chat from me, here’s Carrie’s email…

 Hi, Ashley and Greg! 

I just wanted to share with you one of our recent room redesigns – Namely, our studio/guest room. As an artist and avid crafter, I knew I wanted a space that was calming, feminine and inspiring to get my creative juices flowing. To achieve the relaxed look, I painted three out of the four walls in “Icy Mint” by Valspar. The light color transformed the boring beige walls into a milky, happy oasis that I now look forward to working in. The remaining wall was given a bold pop of pure black paint to give the space a little graphic appeal. Lastly, we layered in the furniture, adding a drafting table and paper storage cabinet that my dad built me, an old vintage desk and a twin bed for guests topped with an antique brass head board. The happy new color, family-made furniture and eclectic collection of prints and accessories finally make this a room that I’m proud to show off!
Hope you enjoy it!

First off, here’s Carrie’s space before before…

And here’s Carrie’s “phase one” and the after… and a perfect example of the power of paint!

I love the little vintage stool (and the yellow polka dot fabric!) next to the bed. I also like how the curtains have been hemmed to give the windows a more clean modern look. Also, the dark rods really show up against the lighter paint color.

Every “guest studio” needs a desk and inspiration board. The floating Ikea shelves add some visual height as well as practical storage.

Speaking of storage… Carrie’s dad built the paper storage cabinet and drafting table!

I have a newfound love for black walls (more on that next week!). Painting a wall black gives the room some depth as well as a fun modern graphic vibe. I love the contrast between the minty green/blue and the rich black. Makes me want to break out the paint bushes… hopefully Greg doesn’t see that note! (I saw it. You asked me to proofread ; ) -Greg)

So what’s your favorite part of Carrie’s “guest studio” makeover? I’m totally digging the minty fresh wall color and the graphic black wall. You? For more information about this before and after and other DIY project tutorials, check out Carrie’s blog here.

A few weeks ago, we received an awesome Reader Reno submission from Amanda. She and her husband started with a dated kitchen and ended up with something much more modern, yet cozy. The transformation is amazing by itself, but there’s a sucker punch coming at the end of her email…

Hello Ashley and Greg!

I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months and love what you’ve been doing!  You kitchen is fantastic.  And, I’ve got a kitchen to share with you.  We remodeled our kitchen around the same time you started yours.  Shortly after finishing it we accidentally found another fixer upper and sold our first house.

This kitchen as complete DIY.  My husband built the cabinets from scratch, installed flooring, cut wood for our counter tops, tore down walls, installed lighting, etc.  I’d love for you to check it out.  If you like it enough, I’d be honored if you featured it.



Did you catch that? … The entire kitchen was a DIY project. At times, I feel like I’m reasonably handy around the house at this point, but I’m no cabinetmaker. Apparently, Ben (Amanda’s husband) is that, and then some!

Here’s what they had to work with…

After months of hard work, here’s their stunning transformation…

So much more airy and open. It looks like a different house! The first obvious note, aside from it being awesome, is that some walls were torn down. It makes the kitchen look SO much larger. Don’t you love a good wall tear-down project?

The wainscoting across the kitchen adds some great visual interest and ties in nicely with the cabinetry. The blue wall color brings in some color and brightens everything up even more.

I like how Amanda and Ben continued the back splash up over the window. This tricks the eye into thinking the kitchen is even loftier than it is. The recessed lighting is also a nice touch!

The wood countertops were a DIY project, too. Is their handiness making you sick yet? Just kidding, of course. Those countertops are awesome.

Since we’re on the hunt for barstools right now, they seem to be in the forefront of our minds – we notice them anywhere and everywhere. My side of my and Ash’s style equation is industrial, so it’s no question that I’m really digging these wood and metal barstools.

Like most of our Reader Renovations, it’s so hard to choose, but Ashley said her favorite part of the kitchen is the painted lower cabinets and the glass upper cabinets. Mine would have to be the fact that the cabinets were a DIY project. That’s crazy! How about you?

For more information about this kitchen renovation, including a budget breakdown, visit Amanda’s blog here. If you’re looking for the entire kit and caboodle, check out all of her posts about their kitchen renovation here.

Do you have a home project, house tour, or DIY project you’d like to have featured? Email your submission to [email protected] Along with your photos, include a description and important details (paint colors, materials needed, instructions, budget, etc.). By sending us your submission, you are giving us permission to post it on the blog. Don’t worry, we won’t post your email address or any personal information. Please Note: Not every submission will be published. If we decide to publish your submission, we will send you an email letting you know when it will be on the blog.

Even though we’re (almost) done with our kitchen renovation, we still love finding little nuggets of style inspiration. When this awesome budget-friendly kitchen renovation came across our inbox, we were floored. It wasn’t just a “little nugget” of solid and inspirational design. It’s an absolutely awesome kitchen at a fraction of the cost you’d probably think. Without further ado, here’s Jesse’s email:

We absolutely adore your kitchen renovation and thought your readers might enjoy ours as well. We bought a 1950’s ranch a few months ago, and with the approaching birth of our second baby, we knew we had to kick it into high gear to get it ready. The kitchen was in desperate need of some love, with linoleum floors, laminate counters, dated cabinets and the original 18′ oven (not the cute kind, ha!). We completely gutted the entire space down to the bare studs and even removed a few enclosing walls. My husband is an electrician and quite the handyman, so he re-wired and re-plumbed the space. We hung new drywall, laid new hardwood flooring, installed new cabinets, a subway tile backsplash, and DIYed a butcher block island. We penny pinched on nearly every aspect (spent just under 10K) to get the kitchen of our dreams and even saved enough to splurge on soapstone countertops! After two months of late nights and weekends spent renovating we were finally able to move in… Just three days after coming home with new baby! With all the hard work we’ve loved every minute of it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Nothing compares to a space you’ve built on your own from the ground up! Hope you can enjoy this space as much as we have!

(Keep those recipes coming. We’re loving them over here!)


 Are you ready for this kitchen renovation awesomeness?!

To open up the space, they took down a wall between the kitchen and living room. So smart! They also reconfigured the layout of the appliances to make for a more functional kitchen.

We’re really digging the dark soapstone countertops and the butcher block island. For the butcher block countertop, they purchased maple butcher block from Lumber Liquidators, cut it to size, then stained it using Minwax Dark Walnut (our personal favorite as well!) followed by Minwax Water-based Polycrylic.

To add some color, they brought in cheerful green and yellow accents. Like with most all-white kitchens, they can easily change up the color-scheme later down the road if they wish, simply by changing accessories.

They also brought in a white and yellow striped rug. We love having rugs in the kitchen (we’re thinking about bringing one into ours down the road). It gives the kitchen a nice, cozy feeling, and it’s a great way to bring in more color.

For the roman shade above the sink, Jessie took a mini blind, fabric, and glue to make a no-sew roman shade (using this tutorial). Genius!

I really like how the black window frame pops against the white subway tile and cabinetry. It also ties in the dark lighting hardware.

We’re huge fans of industrial lighting, and these are 100% total awesomeness. They add yet another darker element to a light kitchen, and add some visual interest to bring your eye to the great DIY butcher block counter.

Now that’s great before and after, right? For more information about Jessie’s renovation, including a source list and full budget breakdown, check out her blog, Cape27. Ashley loves the dark countertops and the addition of the runner and I’m really digging the industrial touches in the lighting and barstools. We still need barstool for our kitchen, maybe we should add these to the maybe list?

By the way… Do you have a home project, house tour, or DIY project you would like to have featured? Email your submission to [email protected] When sending your submission, include up to eight photos along with a description and important details (paint colors, materials needed, instructions, budget, etc.). By sending us your submission, you are giving us permission to post it on the blog – don’t worry, we won’t post your email address or any personal information. That’d be bad. Please Note: Not every submission will be published. If we decide to publish your submission, we will send you an email letting you know when it will be on the blog.