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!

signature Brit pale heart

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

signature Brit pale heart

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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Mini Organization Station in the Kitchen

It has been so long since we gave any attention to the kitchen – will it ever be done?!  Prior to the kitchen hiatus, I did a little project to keep our kitchen organized.  And us organized.  I mean, what is with all the stuff piling up on the kitchen counters?  Mail, lunchboxes, school papers, ads that were hanging on your front door handle, receipts, and more.  Some people are cool with this.  I, however, am not.  So one of my goals in planning our kitchen was to avoid the tons-o-daily-junk-piled-on-the-counter situation.  Enter my mini organization station in the kitchen.  Aka command center.  Maybe it’s called that because the inherent structure commands all members of my house to avoid the impulse of just throwing their stuff on the counter.  Whatever – here’s what we’ve got:

kitchen command center

mini command center fiddle fig

You’ll note it is complete with classy tape handles, because I still haven’t decided between black or brass hardware (ugh!).  Moving on.  Two of our three end-cabinet edges are waterfall edges.  And I love them.

marble counter waterfall edge

But I kept one little area on the far side of our island waterfall-free for organization.

side cabinet for command center

I planned to add something like a bookshelf with cubbies, mail slots, or something fancy I’d build to keep us organized.   Once school started, things started piling up on the counters.  Not. Cool.  To solve the counter-crap problem quickly,  I figured I could create something that will work well now and leave my options open to create a permanent, built-in solution in the future.  Seriously, how do other people deal with the kid lunchbox thing?  I need to keep the lunchboxes out and about so I don’t forget to make lunch but I don’t want these garish rectangles to be the primary things I see in the kitchen.  So I need a spot where they are readily accessible but not front and center.  Time to hook it up.  I looked at a few options and ended up with a couple of basic black robe hooks from Home Depot.  They hold the lunchbags but don’t stick out too far.  And they are subtle enough that even without the lunchboxes they still look a-okay.  And to organize all the mail and paper that comes into our house on a daily basis, I went for an organizer from Ikea.

hooks and mail organizer

Discreet and functional.  Less discreet, but definitely functional, are the folders and labels to make the area a little neater.  I picked some Martha Stewart supplies from Staples because they were the least expensive and the least ugly of the options I saw that day (although turquoise scrolls and flowers aren’t my usual deal).

martha stewart turquoise folders

These folders are getting the job done for now and sure look a lot better than stacks on the countertops.

mini organization station close-up

Even without the lunchboxes things look neat and organized.  Nothing sticks out beyond the neighboring post, so everything is tucked in yet easily accessible and super organized.

hidden command center in kitchen

Best of all, the typical kitchen clutter is contained – finally.

lunchboxes mail station

We are only a month or so into this organization station and so far it is working great.  The kids know where to put their stuff and instead of mail, the primary thing on our counters are crumbs.  I’d say that’s progress.  (Ignore the lack of baseboards – that is the opposite of progress.)  Maybe someday I’ll create a more permanent solution, but for now we’ve got a mini organization station that cost less than $30 total and makes me pretty happy.  Fingers crossed that I can come up with a solution for the crumbs…

signature Brit pale heart

One Room Challenge: Book Ledges, Wall-Mounted Nightstands, and More

I thought there was nothing I’d love more about my boy’s new room than the bunk beds I just assembled, but I was wrong.  Adding this wall to the room is everything:

kid room desk books clock

book ledges and bunk beds

I love the wall-mounted nightstands and book ledges, all the color, and all the function.  Really, cheerful and functional?  Probably my favorite combo.

Ikea desk ledges cubes

Let’s talk about the desk first.  Initially, I was planning on either having book ledges span the height of the wall or putting a small locker or baskets under the ledges.  But when I was in Ikea to pick up said book ledges, I walked through the office section and saw a narrow desk that I thought could be perfect (the Besta Burs). I called home, asked the kiddo if he wanted a desk, and got a resounding “yes!”  Kind of brilliant to trick a kid into thinking a desk is his idea and really using it as an incentive for him to do homework.

kid study desk with book ledges

As for the book ledges, I thought about building and painting my own but it is hard to pass up already finished ledges from Ikea for less than $15 a pop.  So I didn’t.  The best part of the ledges is that all the books on them just add so much color to the room.  Kind of takes away from the gray-on-gray (walls and bunks) prison look we had going in here last week.

Ikea ribba book ledges

The nightstand situation required a little creativity.  An ordinary nightstand wouldn’t work because it would block the under-bunk drawers and would be useless for the top bunk.  Wall-mounted nightstands were the perfect solution.  Again, I found these wall cubes at Ikea that were super easy to put together and hang on the wall.  Basically, this post should have been titled “The Wall Ikea Built”.

striped duvet gray walls

white wall mounted nightstand

I feel like the cubes might be a little “blah” so I’m still playing with painting the back of them - dark gray? bright orange? or be lazy and do nothing?

In addition to the Ikea wall, we also added some new lighting.  Not from Ikea.  The kids got clip on bed lights (Land of Nod) which has helped facilitate late night sneak-reading.

wall mounted nightstands clip lamps

And we installed a new industrial-style ceiling light (Lamps Plus).

industrial three light cage ceiling mount fixture

Best part of this light is the cage all around it – necessary considering the number of balls flying in this boy’s room.  #twss

Okay, so that’s the wall of awesome.

book ledges and bunk beds

kid study desk with book ledges

Next up is actually bringing the sports into this supposedly sports-themed room.  Next week.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out all the other great room transformations happening in just six weeks here!

signature Brit pale heart