Today I’m sharing how I got a light and airy living room refresh with this surprisingly affordable room makeover! Thanks to the addition of a linen-look sofa & ottoman and some fresh accents & accessories, I was able to create a calm, relaxed vibe that’s perfect for our casual cottage living room!
This post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart.
Hello Foxes! This months Better Homes & Gardens assignment asked us a question; “How do you make a house a home”? Well funny they should ask, because here’s what happened…
— That’s how all the best stories start right?
What happened is, I made a mistake.
But let’s just keep that between us okay? Admittedly, I sometimes rush into decisions. I was so over that huge sofa, chair and a half and ottoman that I had in my living room for 13 years, that I shoved it of our living room without a proper replacement in place. Thinking I’d make-due until I could afford the sofa I really wanted. No big deal. I’d save up, and all would be well. But life has this funny way of interrupting our plans, with those never fun, unexpected expenses we all know and love. I know you know what I’m talking about. And suddenly, I found myself in need of a sofa. Fast.
So there I was scrabbling for a full size sofa and having no luck finding anything even remotely affordable. And then I got lucky. Luckier than I deserved to get. I found this sweet little Better Homes & Gardens Easton sofa, and it was on clearance! In a tan color that would easily slide into my living room and still give me the light and airy look I crave almost year round! This was an answer to a prayer because my mom will be here in a few short weeks, and I discovered she doesn’t want to stay in the loft, but wants to be here in the house with me (awe) which is so sweet. So I absolutely had to have a sleep-able size sofa for her! FAST.
And as cute as that white one was, and it was CUTE! It was completely uncomfortable, so it just kind of sat there taking up space. This one is much cozier. And a quarter of the price. Go figure? If you like a little bit firmer sofa, you’ll like this one. I expect it to relax a bit over time. I’ll let you know!
Details: The sofa came in a box, fully assembled. I just had to attach the feet. The bottom and black cushions both have removable covers, which is great, because that means they are washable! If you like a prefer a bit firmer sofa, you’ll like this one. I expect it to relax a bit over time. I’ll report back on that. The fabric has a great linen blend look, and the light color and neutral tone are beautiful!
I don’t think I could’ve gotten much luckier, and let me tell you… that did not go unnoticed! And next thing I knew, I was able to grab the matching ottoman too, and I was making my living room back into a comfy-cozy spot that felt more like a home! So I kept going.
When I saw this shelf I had to laugh… because you guys, I had the first River Crest Bookcase in the black and rustic oak!
Do you remember it? It was an amazing shelf! I raved about it when I got it. And I only let it go because with what I do, I can’t keep everything forever. But obviously I meant every word because when I saw the new white and light oak, my eyes popped out a little. hehe.
It’s sooooo cute, and just as well made and beautiful as the other. It’s funny, I had thought about painting my black one white, but instead passed it on to a friend. I always miss it a little bit when I see old pictures.
So this was meant to be! And a total treat. I’m super-thrilled they re-imagined it in white with the washed oak shelves. And if you prefer the black and rustic oak version, it’s one clearance. So yay for you!
I’ve deleted so many of my surfaces with furnishing changes, it’s kinda fun to have a shelf back to display some of my favorite goodies and collections on. I kept it styled fairly light though, as I’m striving for a balance somewhere between hoarder and extreme minimalist.
Keeping It Simple Summer Home Tour
Hello sweet Foxes! Today I’m sharing a mini Summer home tour. If you are looking for a bit of seasonal Summer decorating inspiration, but you want to keep it easy and affordable, come on in. I’m your girl! It’s all about simple and no-fuss at our house. Now, more than ever.
In fact, I may have sort of kind of cheated a wee bit. When I took photos to share my deep love for my new Swiffer, I went ahead and took extra pictures with more angles and views, (without the mop in them. hehe) because this is going to be it for me! Short of adding some fresh branches… or maybe a pillow switch (I mean, this is me we are talking about here) I don’t have any fabulous plans for an elaborate “Summer look”.
So this is our cottage, right now. Minus the branches because darn it, those real ones go and die on you. It was bliss while they lasted, and if you’ve got the opportunity to clip anything from the yard and bring it inside just to have some green, do it! And they don’t have to be fancy. Not everyone has a bottomless flower budget, like I’m beginning to suspect some do.
It makes all the difference in the feel of your home and for me, it just elevates my mood! I lucked out and my brother in law clipped a few branches from up the river at his mom’s place and gifted these to me.
ACQUIRING FRESH FLOWERS:
ADD A FLOWER BUDGET TO YOUR MONTHLY EXPENDITURES – I would previously treat myself to grocery store bouquets a few times a month, but I’ve since put that on hold as we are saving and I decided to forgo that little splurge.
GROW YOUR OWN – You can plant a cutting garden, flowering shrubs and trees. I realize this doesn’t work for everyone. Like me. We’ve got Deer that devour almost everything.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FRIENDS & FAMILY – Some folks are overflowing with flowering shrubs and flowers and they don’t mind sharing. I’ve been gifted Cherry Blossoms & Hydrangeas on several occasions because everyone knows how completely tickled I am by them!!
ALWAYS KEEP CUTTING SHEARS WITH YOU – We get Queen Anne’s Lace, Sweet Peas and more growing wild and profuse here, right along the side of the road (Always be safe please). If you’ve got access to public lands and it’s allowed, trim away.
INVEST IN GOOD FAUX FLORALS – The fake stuff has come a long way! I mix those in and they really help feed my desire for plants & flowers when there are none available, or within the budget. I’ll link to my Olive Tree Topiaries at the end of the post. Check HomeGoods for great faux Fiddle Leaf Figs too!
For instance, I’ve had the white faux Geraniums for so long I can’t recall where I found them. But I do recall they were a little more than I’d normally spend. Turns out, it was some of the best money I ever spent.
The very popular and pretty peonies aren’t easy to find here, but HomeGoods often has the faux version and they are great quality. I’ve had these a few seasons now. I just cover them when I store them. So far, they’ve stayed beautifully.
For so many of us, we crave light and airy when Summertime hits.
This console table was down in The Little Cottage bathroom, where I could never see it, so decided to steal it away up here. I had tried a different furniture set-up, but I always seem to go back to visually separating the living and dining room with a furniture piece.
The coffee table is also holding some faux flowers. They came in a more modern thick glass vase, but I simply popped them in an old brass pot I picked up junking for a little more cottage flavor. The brassy tones pick up the table legs, and the other warm brass accents throughout the main floor.
Like the (clearance find) Target bar cart.
Along with the wall sconces, and our kaleidoscope, which is a family heirloom.
You guys will recognize the chippy green metal basket. I use it frequently.
INVEST IN VERSATILE BASICS:
I can’t stress this enough. I’ve got pieces, like that giant glass vase on the console table, that I’ve had for years & years. Console tables themselves can go from sofa tables, to entry tables, to slim desks and even night stands (if room allows). And the green shade of that metal basket makes it usable for Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. I’ve stuffed it with Pine-cones and love it just as much that way.
Having a mostly neutral home that I can strip of color & noise, or add accents to works the very best for me. It allows me to have a very relaxed space almost devoid of color when I crave that. As well as one I can layer color into if I desire.
It’s pretty quiet right now with a relaxed feel that is calming to me. The green seems to add just enough life to the living & dining areas.
It might just balance my (possible overabundance of) Lemons in the kitchen. I can’t help it. They are so zingy and happy, and kind of a Summertime decorating staple.
Side note: We continue to be so pleased with our unexpected kitchen island/bar purchase! The way it’s opened up the traffic flow to the kitchen, and provided just the storage we need has been such a gift. I’ve got the barn door section stuffed with paper towels and every time I slide them open to grab a roll, I’m thankful for how well it worked out.
All About Lavender Topiaries [click here]
My sister sent me both the little lemon signs, and I stuffed one in my years-old Target clearance lemon wreath. (Shopping after the season pays off!)
One day, I’ll get these cabinets painted, and maybe even get countertops that don’t involve grout. But for right now, I’m busy being feeling fortunate for what has been accomplished. We got our kitchen refresh part one complete!
We got a bit interrupted by the big repairs and window replacement to the exterior of our home, and my car breaking down… life right? It’s probably going to be some time before we get back on schedule, as the home repairs were a bit expensive.
Almost Effortless Wood Floor Cleaning With The Swiffer WetJet Wood Mop
Yes, I typed that, and I did not do it lightly. Almost effortless wood floor cleaning (even dark hardwoods) with the Swiffer WetJet. I said it again!
In all the years we’ve had these dark wood floors, I like them more in the last few months than I have since we first installed them. The honeymoon period was short lived… but now, I’m ready to renew my vows!
I admit to being kind of a skeptic when it comes to what I think of as gadgets. Not anymore. I’m all about work smarter, not harder.
And the Swiffer WetJet Wood is smarter.
I’ve been using my Swiffer WetJet Wood from Walmart for almost 2 months now, and it’s proved it to me over & over.
It pops together right out of the box, and it’s got a cool battery (they are included) compartment that slips in and makes the quickdry cleaning solution spray out! So no more having you and your mop in one spot, and the flooring cleaner out of reach, with a wet floor between you! I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me.
Never with the Swiffer Wet Jet, it is all-in-one.
Motivation to fix all the little scratches and nicks in my floors even showed up, and I attribute that to feeling so positive about them again. Previously, I just didn’t feel like bothering. I’m actually feeling proud of my house again. That might sound silly… but my floors have been a nightmare. Everything showed up on them and I couldn’t keep up. Even the second after I cleaned them, they would look dusty and linty. It was really discouraging.
After I zip the Swiffer WetJet Wood over the floors, the sun can stream in and my floors not only feel clean, they look clean too! That microfiber-like pad is magic I tell you!
Talk about a perfect combination — It’s quick + effective. It makes me want to use it all the time, because I can give the floors a fast swish and the whole upstairs feels clean.
I’m sure you can relate to the kitchen being the busiest room in the house. I think it’s like that for most everyone. Our kitchen works so hard for us. I’m always in & out. Cleaning paint brushes, filling my watering can, trimming flowers… and we make dinner at home almost every night. Inevitably the kitchen floor shows it. Even loading the dishwasher produces splashes and slops onto the floor around it. Rain or shine, we are also in & out the sunroom door down to the BBQ regularly, so having something I can grab for a quickie is a life saver. Or I guess in this case, maybe a floor saver?
It’s definitely a sanity saver — mine!
Anyone who’s got sisal rugs knows that they shed, but again, the microfiber-like cloth picks all that up at the same time my floors are being cleaned.
So, can you tell I like my Swiffer WetJet Wood? I love that I was able to really put it through it’s paces before I shared my thoughts with you. In two months, it hasn’t let me down.
Not even today. I was using a walker (my knee surgery can’t come soon enough) and I dropped a half a bag of shredded cheese on the kitchen floors. One of the big bags. Picture cheese as confetti, and you just did a gender reveal. I wanted to cry. Okay, I may have cried. It was not a good day. I swept up what I could, but that still left smeared cheese all over the floor. I was able to hobble to my Swiffer, and one-handed, in a few strokes, get my floor perfectly clean. I can’t tell you what that meant for my piece of mind not to have to walk away and leave that mess. I really did’t need my eye twitching on top of everything else. I am team Swiffer for life now!
This post was brought to you in partnership with Swiffer. The opinions & experiences shared are all me!
In today’s post, you’ll find that the loft guest bedroom makeover reveal all started with ripping out the old beige carpet. It involved some serious scrubbing to reveal the beauty of the wood floors beneath it, adding a DIY board and batten accent wall treatment, lots of fresh white paint, and getting it dressed with a brand new metal daybed and useful accessories & furnishings to unveil it’s full potential.
It’s Loft Guest Bedroom Makeover Reveal Day!!!! If you’ve been following along since the beginning, you’ll know the loft was a beige carpeted, glorified dumping ground for excess furniture & decor that didn’t have a home. One-by-one as we started working on the rooms at The Little Cottage, everything sort of got shoved out of sight up into the loft. I knew it couldn’t last, but I kept contributing to it anyway. I’m sure some of you can relate. And if not, please don’t judge me too harshly.
B E F O R E
bare, with fresh paint and board & batten
We started with a clean slate by clearing out all the clutter, taking up the carpet, and working with what we’ve got for now. You can read all the how’s & why’s and get the details on our new board and batten by [clicking here].
I think by now, you all know how much I love my monthly assignments with Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. I so enjoy sharing my personal selections, and spotlighting the vast line of furnishings and home decor available in-store and online with all of you! It’s always a favorite post, and I know we all appreciate the great quality and the affordable prices! I also love that the monthly assignments often light a fire under me to check something off of my to-do list. For this months sponsored assignment, I choose to dress the newly refreshed and naked loft guest bedroom.
Before I go any further, I feel like I need to say something. DECORATE NOW. Don’t wait. Life is so short and it goes by so quickly. If I waited until I could have all my dream finishes & dream furnishings, I’d be frozen in time. Instead, do what you can, with the spaces you’ve got, and the budget at hand. And be happy in each stage. This might not be the forever look for the loft, but it’s a start. All you really need is function, and whatever form (decor) you can afford. The decor can always come later, and be layered in. But please don’t be afraid to simply start.
I started out with the most important item for our space. A bed! I really wanted two twins, but a daybed made so much more sense for the space, primarily because ceiling height wouldn’t allow for double bed placement. And it’s higher than it looks in these photos, promise! You can actually sit on the bed (as it’s placed here) and not bump your head.
Though I’m not using it presently, I bought the daybed set that included the trundle frame. It’s tucked away until the budget or necessity calls for a second mattress. Whichever comes first. That is… unless another idea I’ve got for it comes into play first. Some major sweet talking and some extra time might be in order to make that project happen.
Even though we put a brand new light in the ceiling, it’s always nice to have a lamp right next to the bed. This little metal stool I scored for a dollar is just the right size for it to perch on, and doesn’t take up too much room.
BONUS — the lamp has a USB port so you can charge your phone, tablet, Kindle, etc… right in bed!
This vintage shade of aqua & that soft brassy gold is so delicious! It’s just a lamp, but it’s so cute right???
I needed to be a contortionist with Stretch Armstrong arms or have a reallllly expensive wide angel lens to capture this tiny room. Instead I wedged myself back in the corner behind the bed with my neck at a crazy angle and did my best. LOL.
The wicker chair works so well up here because it’s comfy enough to sit a spell, or perfect for tossing clothes on. But most importantly, it’s really light. So it was easy to get it up here, and to move around!
I added the little trio of bowls nestled on the wood tray (sitting in the window sill) for tiny things we all seem to travel with. So often, you need a safe place to set those things, especially when you are out of your element and away from your everyday routine.
This console table was something I already owned, and it fits the room really well because it’s so slim. Although it wasn’t nearly as easy to get up here as that wicker chair!
I’m still playing with this spot, it’s definitely a work in progress. I’ve got to feel the room for a little bit longer before I settle on all the little details. I think I’ll end up leaving the bottom shelf empty for pillow storage when the bed is unmade. It’s nice to supply empty surfaces for your guests so they’ve got places to put their things when visiting. I think it can be really easy to over decorate a guest room.
Normally before guests arrival, I like to put a basket or tray of snacks and goodies together, but since I have no eminent guests I skipped that step.
Short of balancing on top of the pony wall… this was as far back as I could get to show you the daybed. I felt like a peeping Tom trying to snap a photo from behind my big Ficus.
So… I ended up shimmying everything around.
You just have to see how cute the bed is.
It’s kind of the most important thing in the whole room!
Oh and I put tiny fairy lights in the Ficus plant. Which now, it’s easy to spot the cord since I moved it and it shifted. Gah. Sort of takes away from the mystery. haha. Anyhow. Aren’t they so sweet?
Loft Makeover Part One – Real Simple DIY Board And Batten
Hey Foxes! I’m happy to be checking in with the completed part one of the loft makeover. We got the carpet and pad torn out, Austin (bless his heart) scrubbed as much of the drywall compound as he could off the old wood shiplap sub-floors… and, Jimmy and I got the board and batten accent wall done!
I did a live walk-thru on my Instagram stories before we started this project that showed exactly how much extra “stuff” I had stored up in the loft. Before we even started getting the carpet and pad up, I had to work thru that. I had furniture, two metal military cots, and a plethora of home decor. I gave one of my pink velvet chairs to my sister in law, and almost everything else got put in the shop for our garage sale. I just can’t keep everything. I thought I learned that after the massive garage sale we had last Summer when we liquidated our vintage booth and back stock. Apparently, I didn’t. Because I still had way more decor than one person needs!
So often when we work on a room makeover, I just do one big reveal. That’s not a bad thing, but it feels like a lot of the details that aren’t decor related don’t get enough individual attention. For instance. Jim and I worked for weeks & weeks over the Summer to re-case and custom trim the four big windows, down at The Little Cottage. Then I spent a few more weekends caulking and painting everything before we added the plantation shutters. And I never even blogged about it. Time gets away from me, and we start another project, and I feel like I’m doing a disservice to you when I gloss over such big details, and to my husband who helps me with so much of it! I take pictures and video and everything. I’m such a bad blogger sometimes you guys! I should be fired.
Not this time, I wanted to make sure and share the whole process, not just the pretty after part. Well, what I hope that will be the pretty part.
Now, what I decided on isn’t going to be for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be. I’m always saying you need to do what makes sense for you, your taste, your skill level, and your budget… in YOUR home.
I did not like the beige carpet that was in the loft — at all. And I was 100% prepared to paint the sub-floor and throw down a rug because right now, I don’t have the physicality with my knee situation to put a new floor in. And even if I did. It’s not in the budget or a really even a priority. If we get new flooring, I want the same flooring throughout the house. So this worked for ME.
My son Austin is home for the Summer and he spent two days going board to board and scrubbing the drywall compound off the shiplap wood sub-floor for me. He used warm water, a little scrub brush and old towels. We started with TSP, but the warm water alone, scrubbing and drying as he went worked just as well, and was chemical free. I helped him get started and we determined what worked best, and then he dug in. He was spoiled and well rewarded for helping me! I couldn’t have done it without him.
Next up, Jimmy and I started on the Board and Batten.
I wanted a big fat board running the length of this main wall, divided by the window. We bought clear vertical grain Douglas Fir for our project. Pine is cheaper, but it’s also a softer wood and tends to have a lot of knots and flaws. We didn’t want that for our project. You can also use MDF but Jim pretty much refuses to work with that.
As some of you know, we took a big hit late last Fall when we found a bunch of rot on the entire two-story back side of our house when we were painting. It required ten huge new windows, siding, etc… and a lot of money to repair. That is why you see an aluminum window, not being replaced. It’s in good condition, and we can always replace it from the exterior later. Plus I figured by the time I added a window covering it would barley show! I do still need to clean it though.
Once the window was re-cased and trimmed out, the main vertical board was installed, and we started putting in the battens. We used really thin lattice pieces for two reasons. They are inexpensive and most importantly, the depth allowed them to flow right into the baseboards seamlessly. Since we weren’t putting new flooring in, I certainly didn’t want to replace those. Anything chunkier would have sat on top of the baseboards where they meet.
The ceiling line is not even close to square or even, but some things you just need to roll with. Neither is the wall… and that is why you see that section with the boards nailed in wedged against the one batten. If I shot it from the side, you’d think the wall was 4 months pregnant.
When all the wood work was done, it was my turn to come in and caulk the heck out of everything! The caulking and painting has always been my job.
I really don’t mind at all. I find it very zen. I just put on my music and paint away. I continued the Sherwin Williams in Extra White from down below up into the loft.
I had intended to use Sherwin Williams Pediment on the board and batten wall, but after I primed everything, I knew I wanted the simplicity of white. And I was also afraid a color would just accent the many imperfections in the ceiling line.
Funny story: I’m not saying I “recommend” this… but I ordered the woven window shade before we decided to re-case the window. Do you see where this is going? Yup. It was too big. Well, we decided we didn’t have anything to lose since it was custom ordered, and we rolled it up super tight, tied it up (several inches in from the ends), and shortened it with the chop saw. And it worked!
I need to give the floors a quick sweep, clean the windows and get this pretty spot all spiffed up now! It’s got such a neat feel. And it holds so many good memories.
DIY BOARD & BATTEN:
We used clear vertical grain Douglas Fir
Our horizontal board is 8 inches wide
It was placed where the two side wall lines died into the ceiling
We used lattice (.25 X 2) for our battens
Batten placement will depend on your exact wall width
We used a compound miter saw for our cuts
We used a brad nailer to attach the boards and the batten
We did use some liquid nails on that troublesome board where the wall bowed
Lightly sand any rough spots/raw edges on the wood with 220 grit sand paper or sanding block
Wipe clean of any dust or debris
Caulk all seams
Fill all nail holes, sand, wipe clean
Prime all raw wood, lightly sand, wipe clean
Apply wall paint, repeat is necessary
I used Sherwin Williams, Harmony paint in Extra White eg-shel
We also added a new woven blind, pot light & smoke detector
Thank for popping in. If you’ve got any questions at all, I’m always happy to answer. Can’t wait to share the next step with you!! XO Shannon
Cottage Farmhouse Farm Table Setting with Cherry Blossoms for Spring
How to create a light & airy cherry blossom tablescape. Today I’m sharing how I used the Better Homes & Gardens porcelain collection to achieve a soft, Spring table setting featuring the natural element of fresh Cherry branches. This pretty porcelain dinnerware & serve ware would be perfect for a Spring brunch, Mother’s Day, a baby or bridal shower luncheon.
Hello my sweet Foxes! Spring is upon us, Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and next thing we know it’ll be Summer. Which we all know is my favorite time of year. However, the magic of Cherry blossom snow swirling in the breeze is always pretty enchanting. And in celebration of those delicate petals, I just had to use some on my farm table this Spring.
Cottage Farmhouse Farm Table Setting with Cherry Blossoms for Spring
If you are new here, I am an Brand Ambassador and I each month I partner with Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart sharing my personal selections, and spotlighting the vast line of furnishings and home decor available in-store and online with all of you! It’s always a favorite post, because we all appreciate the great quality and the affordable prices.
For this months Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart assignment we were asked to share how we use the new white porcelain dishes & serving pieces that are available in stores and online. This girl loves white dishes so when we got the assignment I was like, “Yes”! hehe
I got so excited about the whole “light & airy” look of the table — with the white dishes, and the Cherry blossoms…
That I went and re-painted my black chalkboard fireplace wall in a brand new cottage-y green shade called Coastal Plain.
Don’t get too attached. It is not well-loved by me. It’s not the color itself, it’s the color in this location. The lighting isn’t right in here, and the tone is off. But that’s okay. I’ll try again soon. Soon’ish. Okay, when I get a chance. It could be 6 months!
But I absolutely loved decorating my farm table.
HOW TO GET THIS LOOK:
Place a table runner down the center of the table
Select a centerpiece — I used free Cherry branches and a vessel I had on-hand to keep costs down
Candle light is always a good idea — I used two hurricanes and battery operated candles (no worry)
Add place mats
Place desired/meal necessary dishes on place mats
Add drink ware, wine glasses, etc…
Add cloth napkins if possible
Decorate and dress table to taste, and according to the meal you’ll be serving
TIP: If possible, set your table the night before for one less thing to do the day-of
The best thing about white dishes is that they go with everything! And you guys know what my favorite V-word is.
If I can have dishes that go with old, chippy enamelware, and pale pink vintage salt & pepper shakers…
And, soft matte gold flatware…
Well then I’m in heaven.
Better Homes & Gardens has several white porcelain dinnerware set styles to choose from. I went with the Sophia because I liked the beaded boarder so much. It feels cottage style to me, and extra charming.
The small rectangle dishes are such a neat shape! We ended up using them later in the week for serving Jim’s too-good-for-his-own-good Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies and then I used them for homemade taco night sides.
If I was serving a meal with them at the table, they’d be perfect for appetizers, dinner rolls, a wedge salad, side dishes, even a chic dessert with beautiful presentation. I really love the shape!
My table felt so pretty, I didn’t want to put everything away and I waited until the Cherry blossoms started to fade to clean up. I definitively need to “set” a table more often.
It was a special little treat to have the vintage pink salt & pepper set sort of watching over me as I worked. They were my mother in laws, and such a joy to use on this table. She’d have loved it. xo Shan
As always, I’m including clickable affiliate shopping links below, to all my Better Homes & Gardens items featured in this post so if you can’t get to a Walmart, or find what you are looking for at your local store, you can shop online!
Are you eager for Summer & sunshine? We are so ready for both here in the Pacific Northwest. In true Oregon fashion… it’s been a wet, wet, wet Spring. In fact, I had one day to share how ready we are before the rain returned. But I know both Summer & the sunshine will be here soon enough, and I can’t wait!! You saw our new sectional style patio set in March, and now I’m sharing how I’ve built on that basic and added to our Summertime entertaining arsenal! We are ready and set for Summer — And here are my outdoor entertaining ideas, so we can have fun from sun-up, long into the night!
Of Course, Our Allie Was All About The Sunshine Too And Lazed About While I Worked
I’m thrilled to continue being a part of the Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart team! I’ve been shopping the line at Walmart in-store and online for years now, sharing my personal picks, and how I use them here in our home as well as down at The Little Cottage. I’ve had so much fun making my selections and styling them up, and sharing them, and I love that you all seem to love it too! The quality & style of Better Homes & Gardens paired with the affordability and accessibility of Walmart is so perfect! I’m always extra excited to share these sponsored projects with you. As always, I’ll link to each product at the bottom of the post for your shopping convenience.
START WITH A CLEAN SLATE
Just as with decorating indoors, it’s best to start with a clean slate. Do any repairs, cleaning, weeding or trimming before you begin bringing in any furnishings, rugs, decor, etc…
Power Wash, Hose Down, Apply Wet And Forget, etc… whatever it takes to get your entertaining area clean. Be it patio, porch, deck, siding or pathways.
Weed any flower beds or surrounding areas to get them nice and tidy.
Trim back bushes and shrubs that may be overgrown and infringing on your entertaining space or walk ways.
I mentioned earlier that we were ready for some sun, and I wasn’t kidding! Our composite decks are old but they are now freshly power-washed. We really took advantage of that one nice day! Though I can see we missed a section. A homeowners work is never done, right?
After the power washing was complete, I added some fresh ground cover and filled-in, in front of the decks with some Lithodora. We love that it shows off tiny blue blooms almost year-round. It’s a bonus that the Deer don’t bother it, and something I always have to take into account when planting anything new. Weeding is never ending on our property and we are always chipping away at that.
Unfortunately, that one day of sun wasn’t enough to facilitate finishing up the house painting after that big repair job we squeezed in on the main house before Winter hit. We are still sporting grey primer on the new shingles. On the upside, we are so very thankful we got to go through Winter worry-free that rain would continue doing damage. We were all buttoned-up now! And I know everything will be white and right soon enough.
Good thing that doesn’t take away from the fun on the table here!
WORRY FREE OUTDOOR DISHES & SERVING PIECES
Better Homes & Gardens comes out with some of the cutest melamine dish patterns. I’ve picked up a few sets over the years. That didn’t stop me from grabbing a modest setting-for-two of the succulent pattern this season though. Hey, that was me being restrained. They are wonderful because they are shatterproof and perfect for outdoor use. Dishwasher safe too. Whoop! They also offer acrylic tumblers. Again, shatterproof and a must if you have a pool or spa. We all know water and glass don’t mix!
While this “gimmie the dirt” concrete-cutie is clearly intended as a planter, it’s nice and heavy (I’m looking at you wind!) and perfect for gathering our cutlery. It’s got a removable plug in the bottom so you can use it indoors or out. Love that double duty!
If you are a sucker for hand towels, like me, make sure to check the kitchen isle at your Walmart for these super cute new additions! I got two sets of 2 — the farmhouse stripe with fringe and the buffalo check, both in grey. Or you can grab them online in this cute set of 4 [here]
I use my tea towels to add texture to my decorating, as place mats, for laying in baskets filled with whole fruit, for garlic bread (to cover and keep warm) and I list goes on! I already had my succulent dishes so I went with the grey, but as you could see above, the aqua is really cute too!
It’s important to decide exactly how you want and need your space to work for you before you select your seating. Will you be having morning coffee in your space, eating, lounging, reading, hosting small intimate gathering, or entertaining large crowds? Once you know that, you can drill down on how you need your patio furniture or dining set to serve you.
What ultimately sold me on this particular patio set is that not only is it a roomy sectional, with space for stretching out with a good book or for a nap, but with ottomans that double as extra seating, we can host a large group too! Bonus, it can also act as a dinning set for causal meals with this super versatile table.
I’ve got to admit.. shooting for this post was a bit of a challenge. And I’m going to tell you about it. hehe. Lucky you. Okay so firstly, I dropped my camera lens (I know, I about died!) so if things are looking a tad less crisp than usual, sorry about that. The wind kicked up, as it’s want to do on the coast, and it was blowing tree dandruff everywhere! I mean, not just on the furniture, and the rug… but into the food, and the snack tray and even in the drinks. And that doesn’t make for appetizing photos. Yikes! Luckily I had a galvanized caddy set of cute mason jar glasses (with the lids) on hand. Oh those lids. So smart!! No tree dandruff, or bugs. What a smart solution. The dishes were taken inside, cleaned, and came back out food-free. And the super cute faux wood & marble snack tray, and it’s dander filled dip, were washed and put away for another day. These trees are magnificent, and offer beautiful shade, and are home to delightfully twittering sing-song birds… but boy can they make a mess! With all the wind the umbrella was having a tough time staying upright. And things were being difficult in general. Then the knuckleheads, as I loving refer to the two rescue kitties we adopted, would not stop playing in and on everything. And because they follow me all around, they didn’t understand “not now” and wanted to be right where I was. It was like juggling sugar-rushing ninja toddlers. But I still manged to be outside almost all day!
How foolish of me, I thought I’d shoot my project and sit and leaf through a magazine afterwards. hahaha. That joke was on me.
Every bit of prep is worth it though! And now that the power washing, and planting, and fluffing is complete… we can just simply..
Happenings At The Hollow 7
Hello my foxy friends! I’ve been meaning to write this for some time, knowing that I really needed to touch-base with you all, and kind of let you know what’s going on with me. It’s been almost 5 years since I did a “Happenings At the Hollow”. Which I instituted to be able to stay in-touch when I had news or smaller tidbits to share, that might not fall into a DIY or Decorating category. Today’s post made a reappearance of HATH necessary. Some of you may recall that I started having problems with my right knee a few years ago. I think I even wrote a post a silly post about having to travel at the time. Well, it got to the point that I could not put any weight on that leg. But after an intense physical therapy routine things were looking up and I was able to walk again, and even stand like a Flamingo! I graduated from PT, and that was such a good day!
Unfortunately, my problem reoccurred and we discovered I had a serious issue that would eventually require surgical intervention. I spent about the last year receiving Cortisone injections (which helped considerably). Until they didn’t.
That leaves me on the journey that I will be beginning on April 29th, when I will undergo surgery to have a full and total knee replacement. Just typing that kind of makes me sick. I am equal parts nauseous, nervous and excited. The excited part stems from I hope that I will be able to regain my physicality and be able to do all the things I want to do. Because slowly, and overtime, the trouble with my right knee has caused considerable issues with my good left knee and my left foot, due to over compensation, etc… that’s all a whole nother mess. But we’ll address my right knee first, and hopefully things will settle down and I’ll be right as rain.
These multiple issues I’ve had going on have really limited my mobility, and subsequently, my ability to do all the projects that my mind can dream up. It’s really diminished my quality of life overall, and that’s what prompted me to go ahead with the surgery. it got bad enough. Some days it’s all I can do to get my basics accomplished. Things like showering, marketing and general home upkeep… cleaning, dishes, laundry. And tackling them in a two story home. It’s why my posts have gotten less frequent. My body just doesn’t want to cooperate with all my mind wants to do. And I’m stubborn, so I push more than I should.
And when you see my new posts, please know I still love and enjoy what I do! I’m driven to continue to make our home the best it can be, and to make it work well for us (and our guests at The Little Cottage). I’ve just been doing them a little slower than usual, and they take a lot more effort and determination.
Overall I am still very happy, and I’m basically trying to think forward! I’ve definitely been through worse (you can read what I mean here) I know this will be behind me soon and I’ll be back on my feet and doing all the things I love to do. But much faster!
NEW DEVELOPMENT: I was all ready to hit publish on this short update, but in true Shannon fashion… there has been a hiccup. When I attended my first pre-op physical therapy session, it was discovered that I’ve got a pinched nerve in my back and it’s affecting my right leg. And could hinder my post-op recovery. I’m now awaiting a call for a MRI and X-ray of my back. My surgery has been officially postponed. Jim’s week off (to care for me) has been postponed, and my mom’s flight (to come help out) has been… yep, postponed. It’s important for me to have help afterwards, as I will be using a walker and pretty limited for the first week at least, and restricted from driving for 6 weeks. And our two story house is going to present some challenges.
In short — I’m living in limbo right now. When I’ve got more information I’ll let you all know. And I promise, you WILL NOT be seeing pictures of my knee on social media afterwards. I vow that to you now. I will save you that horror. LOL – I won’t even want to look!
There will be NEW POSTS popping up though, because I’ve been working to be ahead of the game for my Better Homes & Gardens projects, and I’ll be bursting to share them by then!!!! And when I do, any social shares will be extra appreciated – Like hitting SHARE on my Facebook posts, or pinning on Pinterest. Of course, that is ALWAYS appreciated at other times too.
Okay foxes, I tried to keep it pretty to-the-point for you. This is not exactly what I planned to share (the postponement), but I’ve been keeping pretty mum about this and I thought I’d better chat with you guys before I just went off the grid and had you wondering where I was.
If you’ve had a knee replacement, I’d love to hear your good advice, but please don’t scare the bejesus out of me. I’ve put this off for too long, and I’ve finally committed to it. Don’t make me contemplate running away from home instead of going through with it. Because I’ve already considered that, but sadly… I wouldn’t get far. hahaha
Thanks in advance for your support!! It means SO MUCH!! xo Shan
How To Make And Hang A Chunky Wood Wall Shelf
Hey Foxy Friends! This one has been while in coming but I finally got a few spare minutes to share how to make and hang a chunky wood wall shelf! I’m gauging that this DIY project just crosses over from beginner to intermediate. But I have every confidence y’all can do it with a little time and patience!
We made the first chunky shelf out of some vintage wood mouldings we scored at an estate sale a few years ago. We knew we wanted to do something special with it, but we were not sure exactly what that would be. When we gave our combination laundry room & powder bathroom a refresh, I knew I wanted to change the shelf over our washer and dryer to something more our style.
I think this design has a very Pottery Barn vibe, and it feels to me like a perfect blend between cottage & farmhouse! The previous one worked, but it was very sleek and utilitarian. Thankfully, Jimmy was game and was able to whip up exactly what I envisioned!
We decided to use some of our precious stash, and together we came up with a design that used both the crown moulding, as well as some additional moulding we bought with it, to create a seriously fat & chunky shelf. And when I say we… I mean, Jimmy mocked it up, and I said YES it’s perfect I love the design!
The great thing about it being custom is we were able to make it the exact length we needed and the perfect depth too, so that we could easily and fully open the washing machin lid! You’ll most likely want to make your shelf to fit your space, with both a custom length and depth. And it’s really easy to customize! For example, we made our shelf 55 inches long and 9 inches deep.
YOU WILL NEED:
Nail gun, lumber: crown moulding & favored trim, board for top shelf and bottom, compound miter saw (or compound miter box), tape measure, construction pencil, stud finder, level, drill & bits, screws, scrap lumber (for wall hanging), wood putty, sand paper, paint, paint brush.
One board for the top shelf (we used Douglas Fir)
Crown Moulding (ours was vintage, the wood species was Douglas Fir)
Additional decorative moulding (again, ours was vintage, the wood species was Douglas Fir) — often this wood piece is coordinating, sometimes called a double stack crown moulding
Lumber, cut to fit for closing up/finishing the bottom
Scrap for creating the brace and wall hanging portion
Tape measure, construction pencil
Compound miter saw/miter box
paint & brush
drill and bits
TO MAKE YOUR SHELF:
Measure your main, large crown moulding piece to your desired length and make your 45* cuts to fit the one front and two side pieces together. Nail in place. You can glue and nail if desired. Set aside.
Next, repeat the same process with your smaller moulding pieces, cutting exactly the same length & depth as your larger crown pieces, and join them together.
Next, cut a board to fit along to bottom of the smaller moulding section. Nail this to the lower trim section. This will give the shelf a finished look.
Lastly, you will add what should be your largest board (this will be the top of your shelf) to fit atop the upper part of the crown moulding. Nail into place. This can exactly match the crown moulding, or you can go larger and extend it to create a lip or more of a profile for your shelf.
Fill any nail holes with putty, sand, sand rough edges, paint, stain or finish to your taste.
This next part is just something Jim completely made up. It will help you securely hang your shelf on the wall.
Jim added three sections of 2 inch thick scrap wood to the inside of the shelf, and screwed a length of 2 x 2 (checked for level) to it. Make sure you’ve got the 2 x 2 level! It’s very important.
Find the studs in your desired hanging location. Attach a pre-drilled 2 x 2 to the wall, again, check for level.
TIP: Pre-drill to prevent splitting your wood, and add screws about halfway in to make it easier to attach to the wall, all while keeping it level!
Lift the shelf to the wall and fit the 2 x 2 between the top of the shelf, and the 2 x 2 on the inside. Check for level if desired and make any adjustments. Drill through the top of the shelf (up close to the wall) right down into the 2 x 2 you screwed into the wall. That shelf shouldn’t be going anywhere now! Fill and touch-up over the screw holes. (You can counter sink them if you want to get fancy)
Our combination laundry/powder bath isn’t fancy, but it’s neat, clean & tidy and I love my chunky shelf! It’s the little bit of cute, in my mostly functional space!
While we were at it… Jim created a way to cover the exposed water & hose section by the washer. It’s simple and we used what we had on hand. Wood.
And afterwards, I painted it the same exact color as the wall.
We used wood as I said, and he made a box to cover the space, but still allow the hoses to exit the bottom.
To mount it, he made a little notch in the top of the box.
And added a screw & washer underneath the shelf.
The box slips onto the screw and slides snug up against the wall, but it’s really fast to remove if we need to!
Some of these photos were quickies with my cell phone but I think they give the general idea. If I missed or skipped anything, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as fast as I can!
Back a few months ago we used the same general build-guidelines when we created a shelf for our living room. This time, I opted to leave the very chippy original paint color as-is.
Without painting to marry it all together, you can really see the top shelf addition.
I didn’t have the heart to paint over the thick old chippy paint though…
We shall see how long it lasts… I’ve been thinking of a soft black. Only time will tell. I most definitely get whims.
Thanks oodles for tuning in, you guys reading means the world to me!!!!
I know posts & projects have been a bit sparse. I had a post almost ready to publish explaining what’s been going on with me, but some new issues popped up and it’ll be a just a bit longer and then I hope to share more with you. Right now, I don’t even know. Yikes! Love & light, xoxo Shannon
Cozy and Colorful Country Cottage Home Tour
Hello I’m Courtney, and I want to start with a huge thanks to Shannon for inviting me to share some pictures of our home with you today. Shannon has shown me so much support (and so many laughs!) in her comments and shares through the years and she truly is one of the kindest people in all of Blogland/Instagram. Today, I am here to share some pictures of our home all decked out for Spring.
I enjoy decorating for all the seasons, but I really went all out for Spring this year. It was a long and cold winter here in NJ where I live with my husband (a recently retired police officer and all around handyman), our 3 sons (ages 20, 17 and 13) and two golden retrievers.
It’s where my blog name “Golden Boys and Me” comes from. I was so anxious for the warmer weather to arrive that I began decorating my home despite the snow on the ground to help coax the warmer weather into arriving soon. So far, I’m happy to report, it’s working! Maybe more in lifting my spirits than anything else, but I’ll gladly take that.
Our kitchen is the heart of our home and where most of the family living takes place – the real stuff of life. When we purchased our home 12 years ago, it was a fixer upper split level in a great location that was last updated in the 1980’s. We began to make it our family home room by room. It has been a true labor of love! We added the creamy white cabinets about 10 years ago. The kitchen island was originally a darker walnut color that we recently updated with a few coats of Oval Room Blue paint by Farrow and Ball. It changed the entire look of our kitchen.
We enjoy sharing tutorials on Golden Boys and Me that share how we completed small projects to personalize our kitchen to give it a more custom look for less.
A few of those projects include:
We removed the walls that separated our kitchen from the dining and living rooms and this open floor plan suits our family much better.
I dream of living in an older home that is full of character someday. But, in the meantime, we have made the best of what we have.
There isn’t much inherent charm that comes with a split level house built in the 1950s, but we’ve done our best to add some of our own with details like built-in bookshelves and the faux fireplace in our living room.
Next, let’s head down the stairs to our front entryway and family room.
Our family room is just through the french doors right off the entryway. This room has a cozier feel thanks to the stone fireplace and more traditional decor.
We also carved out a bit of space for a small mudroom. With three growing boys, that was a great decision. I have fun adding some seasonal decor but, in an effort to keep it real, if you visited my home today, you would see the mudroom jam packed with shoes, book bags and sports equipment. I’ve also really been enjoying infusing my home with more and more color lately!
Before you go, I want to take you all the way upstairs to our master bathroom.
This room was the $7K DIY project that actually sparked my little blog journey six years ago when I shared all of the sources for this space (you can find that post here). We removed a wall to enlarge the previously very small bathroom and this has become my own private retreat. I recently painted the vanity and am loving the vibrancy and life it has added to our bathroom.
Finally, here’s one more bit of charm that we added with a couple of old bookshelves from a dated wall unit that we used to flank an upper kitchen cabinet to create a window seat in our bedroom.
I’m a huge fan of looking around at what you’ve got to see how you can make it work in a new and unique way.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into our home. I enjoy sharing pictures on Instagram and love how that platform allows us to easily connect and interact so I’d love if you’d join me there and/or on my blog! Thanks again for having me, Shannon!
PS: Shannon here… Hi friends! I had such a strong feeling you guys would just love Courtney’s home. It’s sooo warm and inviting and it makes me feel welcome and wrapped up in cozy!! While there is nothing at all wrong with it, the trend seems to be leaning towards a more sparse approach to decorating, and while that might be right for some, I wanted to embrace what a well curated and collected home can make some of us feel. I absolutely love her rich colors, bits of vintage flair and the FEEL I get when I look at her home! I thought you might too. Big hugs! I’ll be catching up with you all very soon and let you know what’s going on with me. xoxo – Shan