DIY Window Seat and Built-Ins: Project’s Started!

Window seats are one of the most charming things you can find in a house, right?  And with built-ins around them?  Even better.  So in a effort to charm-up this old house, I’ve been busy building a new window seat with built-in bookcases on either side.

framed window seat bookcase built ins

Clearly, nothing’s done, but it is a long way from where we started.  One of the reasons we bought our house was because of its window seat.  Yes, there was already a window seat in this same spot, but it wasn’t charming.  At all.  So a year ago we tore out the old window seat and cabinet situation to open up this end of the living room.  I shared some progress along with window seat inspiration here, but here’s a short photo recap:


old window seat

cabinet demo

The plan was to create a window seat with drawers and then bookcases on either side to frame our window at the far end of our long and narrow living room.  After I cut and built the drawer boxes last year, we ultimately decided that we should probably install our new floors first.  That way, any future homeowner could tear out the new window seat and not have a surprise of old, mismatched floors underneath.  So the project stalled for months.  Okay, a year.  Then a couple weekends ago I just wanted to make it happen (or avoid working on finishing the kitchen), so I got my lumber and tools and went to work.

window seat base frame

diy window seat drawer boxes

I used really basic construction, with butt-joints, wood glue, wood screws, and my trusty pneumatic nailer.  The hardest part was measuring everything out in advance and then adjusting as I went along due to our really crooked walls and ceiling.  I also am face-framing everything, which will help keep it sturdy and, I think, looking much more professional, or at least more finished.

face framing cabinet boxes

solid wood cabinet construction

So that’s the progress for now.  Next up is to finish all the face-framing and trim work, caulk, paint, build the drawers, add sconces, and then decorate with a cushion and pillows.  Sometimes I hate writing out a list like that – sounds so long!  But it will get done eventually.  :)

cabinet bookcase frames diy

Feel free to follow along on Instagram to see updates in real time like this (as opposed to my very slow-paced blog time).

Oh, and I’m on the fence about whether to give a more detailed tutorial and how I am building all of this, so if that interests you, let me know…

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Kitchen (and Mental) Status

Well that was quite the long, unplanned break. I can only blame the very common ailment of “just-general burned-out-ness” from work, living in a construction zone, travel, more work, etc. Every January I usually get a crazy surge of energy (ahem) where I feel high on anticipation of the year’s coming success. I must have overdosed last year as this January I missed that surge altogether. But now I think I’m in a good spot where I’m not a crazy-eyed house-obsessed lunatic, but just a regular person bored with winter tv (except for The Bachelor).  I think I’m ready to fill my spare time with house projects, mostly so I have a slightly better excuse than laziness for avoiding outdoor exercise.  During the blog silence, we actually made some great house updates, but still not much is actually done. This year I have no big plans to start new projects, just plans to complete the ones started last year. Like the kitchen. The kitchen that snowballed into remodeling just about all of our house. Here’s where the kitchen is at now.

peek of viking stove white pendants coral

chalkboard fridge

Since I last gave any updates, I added toe kicks, vertical filler pieces, finished the lazy susan, drank wine, and added hardware. After that debate over brass or matte black hardware, we went for brass from Schoolhouse Electric. I happened to be in Portland for work one day so took a few minutes to drive over to their shop, pet everything in it, and leave with a box full of beautiful brass hardware.

brass hardware white shaker cabinets

Now that the hardware is in, we really couldn’t be happier with the brass. Best of all, we are no longer constantly tearing off our tape “handles” and teaching our kids swear words in the process. Side note: hearing your kids use your own words back to you is amazing – apparently my favorite word is “literally” as evidenced by my 4 year old’s frequent, emphatic use of it.  We also added our pendants, which are glossy, white, and wonderful.

caravaggio white pendants

white pendants blue star vent

Now here’s the list of items to complete in the kitchen:

  • Build a custom cabinet with retractable doors to hide the microwave, toaster, and Nespresso machine.
  • Install the looooong shelf for open shelving (alternatively, install open shelves just beneath the upper cabinets).
  • Add undercounter LED dimmable lights.
  • Install and paint crown molding/upper cabinet trimwork.
  • Finish the wine cabinet (not that it’s unfinished state has stopped us from using it).
  • Install the backsplash.

In the scheme of the kitchen, what’s left is like nothing at all. You would think we’d have finished the kitchen in time for Christmas, as was the goal. But no. Instead, we abandoned finishing the kitchen to in favor of installing flooring so our family could sit and open presents without getting butt-splinters. A worthwhile trade-off.

waterfall marble island with industrial stools

chalkboard fridge and caravaggio pendant

So hopefully I’ll bust out the table saw and a bevy of other tools to get this kitchen on the road to DONE. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few other updates we’ve been making around here. It’s so fun to be blogging again!

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Finishing the Kitchen Island

Thanks for all the love on my boy’s room – you guys are awesome!  It was super fun to do but now I’m glad to get back to working on the rest of the house.  Sometimes you need a good break to rev up the motivation, you know?  We’ve been working like maniacs to make some progress on the flooring, kitchen, living room and lots of other random stuff so we aren’t living in a construction zone forever (a girl can dream…).  One little area we finished that has made a big difference is our island.

finished back of island tolix stools

When we abandoned the kitchen a month or two ago, we left it with the back of the island unfinished.

unfinished back of island

Finishing the island was pretty straightforward.  We added a 1/4″ thick panel to the entire back of the island and then framed it out with pre-primed pine boards.  Then after some caulk and paint, it looks like a real island instead of some super-hokey, cobbled together wood beast in the middle of the kitchen.

trimmed back of island

Next we added some stools.  Classics.  We got the gunmetal finish so they are nice and shiny.

industrial gunmetal tolix stools

The kids’ favorite spot to eat for sure is at the island and these stools are so easy for them to climb (maybe too easy – lots of on and offs at mealtime).  I used felt pads to protect the floors but after they came off a thousand times, whipped out some epoxy to adhere the felt pads to the bottom of the stools.  Now they are perfect.

finished island with tulips

Since finishing the island, we also got our pendants installed, so the lighting in the kitchen is officially done.  You can see a pic of the pendants here, but the install is a story for another day.  We’ve also been pounding out lots of new flooring, literally.

wood flooring white kitchen

The floors used to stop at the edge of the island but we’ve moved onto the dining room, entry, and living room – progress!

Hope you guys have a great week - cheers!

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One Room Challenge: Boys Sports Room Reveal

This boy’s room is complete!  And I even finished it in time to share with all the other One Room Challengers (and squeezed in a few weekends of hardwood flooring install downstairs during this challenge, too!).  The very best thing about this room re-do is that my boy is beyond thrilled with it.  It just feels so good to see him so happy and excited!  And that’s why all the work is worth it.   Happy kids = happy mom.  Okay, enough sap.  Let’s do the the pics.

gray bunk beds orange blue bedding

young boy's bedroom

boys room reading nook

I’ve already shared the painting, bunks, floating book ledges and nightstands, and DIY baseball scoreboard, so the one major area of the room that I had to finish was the the corner next to the window.  I had purchased a set of 2014 World Cup flags (that my boy picked out) and had the hardest time figuring out how to hang them in this awkward spot.  So, I just grabbed a bunch of Ikea frames I had from around the house (from my temporary kitchen backsplash and my boy’s first mini gallery wall) and hung them like that.  This was an easy way to add more color and sports to the room, without painting a big soccer ball on the wall or something (neither my paint skills nor my eyeballs could handle that).

world cup flags gallery wall

bright and cheerful yellow gray boys room

I also struggled a little with the window covering situation.  Our neighbors are VERY close on that side with lots of windows looking into my son’s room, so wanted to give him some privacy while letting in the light (not that there is much of it in Seattle in the fall/winter).  So I went for long, white Nate Berkus window panels with some basic navy panels on the sides.  I feel like having floor-length curtains in his room makes it feel so finished – why did I wait so long?

reading nook boy's room

The wire ball holder is actually a laundry basket from The Container Store, but after removing the canvas liner it was the perfect place to stow all the sports gear.

kids room ball storage basket

The rug is from our living room (RugsUSA) but a temporary placeholder (moved out of the living room while I am painting that ceiling).  The rug I ordered for his room should be here in a few weeks.  The poufs were an unplanned purchase but the kids use them all the time for playing – so glad I got them.

young boy's bedroom

target gray poufs chevron rug

What I really love is that the space is super cheerful, kid-friendly, but you don’t walk in and think THEME-ROOM!  I like how we incorporated sports with World Cup flags, the scoreboard behind the door, the sheets, and a few other touches.

boys room

boys room floating book ledges

sports boy's room

kid's clock ikea

bright and cheerful yellow gray boys room

So that’s it!  I’m hoping this room will last him for a few years to come.  And when he is sick of sports it will be easy enough to get  him new sheets and a couple of new pictures to transition to whatever he is into next.

Thanks everyone for all the fun encouragement in this challenge (and to Linda for hosting it) – I kind of want to do another one already…


  • Bunk Beds – Bunk Bed King
  • Duvet Covers – West Elm
  • Baseball and Football Sheets and Shams – PB Teen
  • Clip Lamps – Land of Nod
  • Floating Nightstands – Ikea
  • Book Ledges – Ikea
  • Desk – Ikea
  • Chair – Overstock
  • Clock – Ikea
  • Lamp – Target
  • Rug – RugsUSA
  • Yellow Chair – Kasala
  • World Cup Flags – Amazon
  • Blue Pillow and Throw – Ikea
  • Baseball Scoreboard – DIY
  • Hanging Plant Holder – Ikea
  • Curtains – Target
  • Wire Basket – The Container Store
  • Poufs – Target

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One Room Challenge: DIY Baseball Scoreboard

I’ve been working on creating a new bedroom for my boy and his primary request for the room is “sports”.  And not just sports, but  “sports EVERYTHING!”   So far I’ve painted, assembled bunk beds, hung nightstands and book ledges, added lighting, and created the wall-o-books.  But I haven’t added much in the way of sports so it was time to get on that.  Enter the DIY baseball scoreboard.

DIY baseball scoreboard personalized

DIY baseball scoreboard chalkboard

Can you tell this kid has been into the World Series (or World Serious as my daughter calls it)?  I’ve seen a few versions of this type of scoreboard but decided to create my own for pretty cheap.  And that way I could customize it to say “Pierce Field”. I used a $3.99 board from Home Depot, some paint I had on hand, my favorite chalkboard contact paper (which I also used in the kids’ playroom and for our fridge), and then some vinyl lettering.  Here’s how it went down.

painting a baseball scoreboard

In other words, take a board, paint it, tape off some lines to paint, then add lettering.  I added individual chalkboard squares for the inning scores but in retrospect it may have been easier to just add one large area of chalkboard contact paper and then to draw lines if I wanted.  That aside, it was a pretty straightforward project and so fun to make.

DIY baseball scoreboard and hooks

I hung the scoreboard behind his bedroom door, low enough for the kids to write on it easily.  I also grabbed an extra board I had on hand and a few hooks from Home Depot, and created a row of hooks to add more function.

DIY baseball scoreboard blue white hooks

What I love about this corner is that it takes a previously ignored spot in the room and gives it some life.  Here is the before – boring:

blank wall behind door

And now, even with the door fully opened, you can still see that something fun is happening back there.

how to decorate behind the door

And when closed, it is no longer a dead, bare spot but it totally fits into the room.

boy's room sports book ledges DIY

The kids have been playing on this daily (I credit the World Serious timing) and have been having so much fun making up scores and then acting out all the plays to get to those scores.  Not that I’m a fan of kids playing baseball in the bedroom, but it is pretty cute…

blue and white boys room

Okay, next week I’ll share the completed room.  Guess that means I need to actually finish it.  I’ve done all the stuff I think is “fun” – using power tools, doing a little DIY, and creating a new layout, but it is the finishing stuff that I have a hard time putting together.  So wish me luck on the final touches.

P.S.  Be sure to check out all the other fun spaces in the challenge here.

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