Category Archives: Home Tour Tuesday

Home Tour Tuesday: The Laundry Room

Even as the organizational process is slowing down in our house for a variety of reasons, I still get bursts of inspiration here and there. Today’s Home Tour Tuesday is a testament to that!

Today I’m proud to introduce our laundry room. It won’t take your breath away with its beauty or special touches (… yet. We have plans!) but it has improved our lifestyle tremendously, even in the past few days that it has been organized.

We moved into our house about six months ago now, and we still had all of my dad’s supplies for cleaning and home repairs stored up on the top shelf in our laundry room. We piled the floor with our items. I had originally hoped the laundry room could double as a pantry, so I had added portable shelving and stashed oversized kitchen items on them. It was a bad idea. There was no room to sort or fold clothing, so our laundry inevitably spilled over into the kitchen.

Daniel prompted the beginning of the laundry room overhaul. He suggested we buy the sorting hamper we’d been eying for a couple of years. Done. We took the trip to the Container Store after church one day and came home with this beauty:

He assembled it for me and we began using it immediately. It’s fairly large, so storage in our room isn’t that practical, but the three large fabric compartments, sturdy frame, and casters make sorting laundry easy. We simply wheel it back and forth from our bedroom or bathroom hampers to the laundry room. (And once we cleaned out the laundry room, we could store it there, as well.)

On Friday, I decided that even that big help wasn’t enough. I was tired of having a messy laundry room that didn’t function as well as it should. I took nearly everything out, dusted, swept, and put only what we used or needed to keep handy back. I removed the pantry items (minus our huge bread maker that only gets the occasional use and doesn’t fit on either our counter or our cupboards). I threw out things we hadn’t used in the six months since I’d stored them there. I ruthlessly disposed of duplicates. (Since when had we had FOUR dustpans??!)

As a result, the laundry room went from this:

to this:

Yay! It’s inspired us to do more laundry and even sort and fold right away. I’m pleased, and I can’t wait to dress it up and make it “purtier” sometime soon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Home Tour Tuesday, Laundry, Organizing

Home Tour Tuesday: The Master Bathroom

Well, I said I’d write about our master bath today, and I haven’t forgotten. Yes, I know I’m cutting it awfully close. So here it is, the master bath:

Oh, the master bath. Nothing grand or glamorous here. On the one hand, it is so convenient. On the other … what am I to do with it? It is the original neutral tan it was painted years ago and the cabinet is basic. The mirror is huge and flat, there is not a single medicine cabinet to be found.

There’s a few updates I’d love to add someday. Perhaps I’ll paint or re-stain the original cabinets. I’d add some shelving on the sides for our toiletries. I’d get rid of the massive mirror, or maybe add a frame somehow.

For now, we are making do with baskets to hold grooming products. Daniel has a little plate I got him from West Elm that has a shaving brush and scissors on it. He keeps his shaving supplies there. I have a small plastic make-up organizer I got at The Container Store. I love it. It keeps my brushes and small make-up-y things all neat.

Under the cabinets is a mess. A big one. It’s sad, because I had gotten the bathroom cabinet at our old house so well organized. When we moved I had to stuff a lot under the counter in this bathroom, since there are no drawers. I’m sorry; I’m just not brave enough to show pictures at this point.

I’m trying to pick a new color for the bathroom walls. What to choose? What to choose? Our bedroom is a medium blue-gray. The current beige doesn’t exactly clash, but it doesn’t exactly contrast, either.

While I’m caught in indecision, I haven’t added art or even installed the shower curtain we purchased last year and put in our old bathroom. For now, the bathroom serves a purely functional purpose, and I’m okay with that. There’s something to be said for being content with what you have.

What is it about bathrooms that attracts so much dust, though? It seems like I’m constantly wiping down the surfaces of the bathroom from the same layer of dust that I’ve apparently just displaced for awhile. I’m glad I have a favorite all-purpose antibacterial cleaner for the process, so at least that part of maintaining the bathroom is enjoyable. My recipe has been tested by myself and my friends over the past few months and so far we’ve all loved it, so I thought I’d share my all-purpose cleaner recipe with you today. I modified it from recipes I found online and in the book The Naturally Clean Home. So many of the recipes I found only made enough for a few uses, but this one lasts much longer (unless you have to tackle a particularly tough clean-up job, of course!)

Andrea’s All-Purpose Antibacterial Cleaner

(Makes one large batch — enough to fill roughly two large spray bottles or several small ones, if you want to give some away as a gift.)

3 tsp. unscented liquid castile soap. I used Dr. Bronner’s.

¼ c. + 1/8 c. white vinegar (3/8 c. total)

½ – ¾ c. lemon juice (I used ½ and it was just fine)

6 c. water

10 drops organic orange essential oil (I purchase mine from Natural Earth Oils on Etsy)

20-40 drops tea tree oil organic essential oil (I eyeballed it, so if this seems excessive, just tone it down)

10 drops organic lemon essential oil

5-10 drops organic peppermint essential oil

3 tsp. Borax.

Mix well. I used a cooler jug and shook it a lot, then poured it into my spray bottles. The mixture does separate into layers over time, but a quick shake of the bottle will blend it again. This recipe is good for refrigerators and stove tops and surfaces that need to be cleaned of grease and/or disinfected.

NOTE: For women, if you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, I was recently told that using tea tree oil is not considered safe for the duration of your pregnancy. The concerns seem mainly to stem from consumption of tea tree oil, not topical exposure, but I did find an article online that suggests abstaining from any use of the oil during pregnancy. If you are concerned about this, I would simply not add the tea tree oil to the recipe.

I use my all-purpose spray all over my house! It smells so fresh and clean and does a wonderful job cleaning counters, sinks, and even floors. (Although when I mop I generally just add a few drops of lemon essential oil and a bit of white vinegar into my pail of water.)

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Bathroom, Home Tour Tuesday

Home Tour Tuesday: The Master Bedroom

Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.

Today’s tour is of one of my favorite rooms in the house. I love, love, love the paint color. Our bedroom has a high ceiling, gray-blue walls, and white accents. I’m working on adding artwork, prints, and pictures on the walls, but for now I’ve just been trying to get it organized. I think I’m almost there!

You can see in this picture that the left-hand bookshelf has a white box on it. I put it there so Daniel could have a place to hold all of the wires and electronic bits and pieces that accumulate on “his” bookshelf. It works pretty well! Someday soon I really need to get him a better nightstand solution, but for now the box and the bookshelf do their job.
For my part, my growing accessories collection has been haphazardly strewn across the top of my dresser for awhile, until I realized I could continue “shopping” in my home and reuse something for an organizational purpose. If you look on the left-hand corner of the dresser, you’ll see a white tray. Guess what? That tray is actually a serving tray from Bed, Bath, & Beyond that we got for our wedding. I’ve used it for parties, but usually it is stored above our refrigerator. Not now! Now it is the perfect place to store my bracelets and sunglasses. I’ve also put a white ramekin I rarely use on top of it, to hold loose rings that I don’t wear every day.
Here are few close-ups of the room. I spy my white owl!:
And finally, a couple of shots from inside the bookshelves. Yes, I know the gold-framed picture of us has showed up all around the house:
So that’s our master bedroom! In a couple of weeks I’ll delve into the master bathroom.
p.s. If you’re new, welcome! I invite you to sign up for an email or RSS subscription to receive updates and budget-savvy inspiration on organizing and decorating your home.

4 Comments

Filed under Bedroom, Budget Decor, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Tour Tuesday, Organizing, Storage

Home Tour Tuesday: The Kitchen, Part 2

I think one of the most uncomfortable things about blogging is opening up your life for anyone and everyone to see. It’s kind of the point of having a personal blog, but at the same time there are certain things that you just keep under wraps. Like, say if this lady had a blog where she wrote about having an organized home, she probably wouldn’t want to take pictures of her kitchen cabinets and drawers that were in chaos, right?

Right?

Yikes!

This blog post is probably all the things you shouldn’t post in a home organization blog. First, the photos aren’t my best. (Sorry, iPhone, you just didn’t cut it this time.) Second, all these shots begin to look a lot like the other ones after awhile. Third, well, I’m not Martha Stewart and while my cabinets and drawers are organized enough for daily use, they’re hardly drool-worthy.

Yet.

In the meantime, here they are. In the spirit of “keeping it real,” I’m holding nothing back.

For additional home tour posts, check out my home tour page. To subscribe via RSS, click here.

2 Comments

Filed under Drawers, Home Tour Tuesday, Kitchen

Home Tour Tuesday: The Kitchen

Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.

Today we’re in my kitchen! Oh, the kitchen. I love this kitchen, but it could stand some updating to bring it up to speed. Unfortunately, kitchen remodels are probably the most expensive part of renovating a home, so I’m not sure how much I can do. I’ve been following with great interest the renovations that John and Sherry over at Young House Love have been doing. They’re pretty much making my dream DIY kitchen; I’d love for ours to turn out that beautifully.The harsh truth, though, is that our kitchen isn’t that bad. Sure, the cabinets are the most “in” color right now, but kitchen trends come and go. Yeah, we don’t have the stainless steel appliances that are in demand, but we have excellent black appliances that are in great shape and much better than any other appliances in rental kitchens I’ve come across.I dream of an overhaul that will catch home buyer’s eyes and make our duplex stand out in the crowd when the time comes for my dad to sell, but the reality is probably I will manage to add a tile back splash, new faucet fixtures, and maybe stylish cabinet knobs and hardware, and that’s it. If I’m really lucky, that renovation will include a granite counter top.

Outside of the annoying and awkward overhang on the peninsula (shown here, in our living room tour), the most annoying things currently about our kitchen are the lack of shelves tall enough to hold cereal or cracker boxes (see above, how we store them currently as a result), and that the two lower corner cabinets are just big old black holes under the counter, with no shelving or lazy susan to help with storage. Seriously, who does that? We’re going to need to fix that issue somehow. I’m still working on it.
If you look closely, you’ll see my husband working in his native habitat.
Sorry about all the color changes in lighting. Apparently while the iPhone is great for natural light photos, photos with variances in lighting have significant color fluctuations. Sigh.
I’ve been fiddling with the idea of downloading the IKEA kitchen planner to see what I could do with this space. Has anyone used this tool?
p.s. If you’re new, welcome! I invite you to sign up for an email or RSS subscription to receive updates and budget-savvy inspiration on organizing and decorating your home.

Leave a comment

Filed under Budget Decor, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Tour Tuesday, Kitchen

Home Tour Tuesday: The Living Room

Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.

Today’s tour is the room we spend our most time in–our living room. We watch movies, read, and sometimes eat in this room together. I blog, write, edit photos, list items for sale, and relax in this room. While Daniel spends most of his time working in the office, I like being able to turn the tv on during photo editing sessions, or keep up with the laundry and dishes while writing a blog post. It really is a living room.

Basically, it takes a beating. Our favorite spot for coats is hanging over the back of a chair (much to my chagrin) and it doesn’t take long for it to look cluttered or dirty due to all the functions it performs and all the traffic the floor gets.

Here is what it looks like currently:

… from another angle …

And here is what I’d like it to look like eventually:

Living Room Inspiration - Behind Closed Drawers

Painting, a lighting fixture/fan update, new tables, possible wood flooring, a fix for the awkward space between the chairs and the kitchen (bookcase installed under the counter overhang maybe?), curtain rod and drapes, and decor is all in the plan.

But whatever other improvements we make, we need to purchase a rug. I’ve had my eye on ivory flokati rugs for some time, but I have to admit I’ve been nervous to take the plunge. You have to rake them, for goodness’ sake, and they aren’t exactly kid juice friendly. We don’t have kids currently, but we do have friends and family with kids, so it doesn’t hurt to be ready for spills and messes.

I’ve considered a patterned rug, but if we go that route I’d like a simple geometric pattern and I’m picky and we have a limited (small) budget and Overstock.com only carries so many items in our budget … so … um … yeah. The hunt continues  and the money we’ve saved up stays stashed away.

It’s all a work in progress.

p.s. If you’re new, welcome! I invite you to sign up for an email or RSS subscription to receive updates and budget-savvy inspiration on organizing and decorating your home.

Leave a comment

Filed under Budget Decor, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Tour Tuesday, Living Room

Home Tour Tuesday: The Dining Room

Ta-da! It’s Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I reveal a new area or room in our home. Since we’ve just moved in, for now I’m just experimenting with what I’d like to do to improve it or decorate it. Eventually, I’ll show off before and afters. (Can’t wait!) But for now, it’s just the “before” and an explanation of what I’d like to see happen in the near future.

Today’s tour is the first room off of the entryway from last week–our dining room. Most of our downstairs is an open plan, but the dining room is set off by itself so it has a more formal feeling.

So here is our plain vanilla dining room. Mid 90s builder basic at its “best,” no?

And a few more close-ups from various room angles:

Overall, it is a very serviceable, decent dining room. Yawn. It plays its role well, and we use it on a regular basis. I am even planning to entertain there soon, as Daniel and I enjoy opening up our home to friends and family for dinners or parties occasionally. (Why wait for something to be perfect? We’re gonna enjoy our home now, despite its flaws!)

That being said, my goal is to makes the room feel richer and more vibrant by adding texture with patterns and bold punches of color.

We don’t have the money for a full overhaul; everything we do will be on a tight budget with lots of elbow grease instead of dollars. So, for this room’s upgrade, I’m hoping to add some DIY wainscoting, paint rich color on the upper part of the wall, and install a more modern light fixture. We’d also like to update our dining room table and chairs. I’ve been haunting Craigslist for about a year … eventually we’ll find one we like and can afford.

In addition, the current window sheers are a terrible burnt yellow color. I’m living with them for now, but, trust me, they will be one of the first things to go!

In the end, I’m hoping it will look something like this:

Dining Room
Much better, dontcha think?
p.s. If you’re new, welcome! I invite you to sign up for an email or RSS subscription to receive updates and budget-savvy inspiration on organizing and decorating your home.

1 Comment

Filed under Budget Decor, Dining Room, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Tour Tuesday

Home Tour Tuesday: The Entryway Hall

Is it Tuesday already? Crazy. But here goes … welcome to the Brame residence. Come on in and stay awhile! Here’s my little ol’ entryway hall in all its (non) glory. Our home is a builder basic house with its share of little quirks. Not the least of which is a funny curvature of the wall where the hall ends. The bottom is wider than the top. You can sort of see this in the first picture with the shot of the entire hall. Hmmm.

From the perspective of our kitchen and living room, looking down the hall, the dining room is on the left. (Or, if you prefer, it is on the right immediately upon entering.)

I knew that I eventually want to get a console table for the hallway, to hold miscellaneous items and pull the hallway together. For now, that dream table is going to have to wait; we are operating on a tight budget as we pay off debt, and I’m okay with that.

Not having money to buy new things has made me re-purpose those items we have. Hence, the use of two tv dinner folding tables we got for our wedding. Ta-da! Instant “console.” I added the crocheted lace runner from my grandmother to tie the two pieces together. The lamp is another item stolen from another room. Its mate is in our bedroom, but I like to have a softer light than our overhead light to leave on when we go out, so that it is easy to see when we first enter the hall when we return. The letter “B” was a thrift store find before I even met my husband. Funny how that works out, huh? The bulletin board is for storing notes and our gym’s class schedule (and most recently Christmas cards from friends). The basket in front of it is yet ANOTHER item stolen from another room. I use this one to hold keys until we put up a key-holder, but its siblings are in our bathroom, holding toiletries. Finally, the white plastic-coated wire “mail sorter” is actually a plate holder from The Container Store.

I’ve had this set-up in the hall for several weeks now and can’t imagine living without it. My keys are usually handy, as is an iPod for runs, and any outgoing mail or bills I need to remember to take with me to the post office when I make a Creative Salvage shipping run. Having a “landing strip” is an invaluable tool for staying organized on the go. I love mine, even if it is pulled together from the most unlikely culprits. Spending $0 on it was worth the sacrifice in other rooms, although I admit I’m really looking forward to purchasing new or new-to-me furniture and trimmings that will let me return the current items to their original uses.

I got the idea to create a landing strip from Apartment Therapy. If you’re not familiar with Apartment Therapy, go check out their site, but for now, here’s a video their founder, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan created to discuss the importance of having a landing strip in the entryway of your home.

Day 8 – 20/20 Home Cure – Fall 2010 from maxwell gillingham-ryan on Vimeo.

What vision do I have for this spot in our home in the months to come? Well, I pulled together a little somethin’ somethin’ with Polyvore. Take a look!

Entry Hall

We already have the sweet branch hooks from Urban Outfitters. I am working on finding a good, simple console table. They don’t call me the Craigslist Queen for nothin’ … I’m haunting that site all the time! I would add the baskets for storage, the umbrella stand for looks and practicality, a box to hold the dog leash perhaps, and if budget allowed, a new (fun) lamp and maybe a cool lighting fixture for the ceiling … like maybe a chandelier? Oooh, that would be nice. My big dream is to get rid of the boring, bland tile and install hardwood or laminate flooring. That may or may not happen, but I added it to the inspiration board, just in case. Oh, and the wire basket for files? I already bought something similar this weekend, and I’m excited to install it!
So, then the BIG question is … paint color. The hall expands into the main living space with our living room and kitchen, however there is that small edge where the hall ends and the wider kitchen/living are begins, so I could possibly use a different color.
Which color would you use? Each color patch is an option. I’m just figuring this out slowly, over time, so I make the correct choice.
And that completes this week’s Home Tour Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you’ve checked out the fabulous free giveaway I’m hosting. The deadline is this Thursday at 9pm CST, so add your comment to enter the drawing today!
p.s. I’m trying out a blog photo layout from Pugly Pixel. Isn’t it pretty? Many thanks to Katrina for being so generous with her lovely creative freebies!

3 Comments

Filed under Entry Way, Home, Home Tour Tuesday

A Tour, A List, and a Giveaway Announcement!

Wow. I can barely believe it. In just two days, this blog will turn 1 Year Old. I’m strongly considering making it a smash cake.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m rolling out a smorgasbord of goodies and new projects in the coming weeks and months. The move and the holidays took so much out of us over the past few months, but now that we’re all settled in, we’re ready to begin again with renovating and decorating and organizing. I can’t wait to begin!

I realized I haven’t shown off the new house on the blog yet, except for the office, so in honor of our one-year blogiversary, I’m launching a new series, Home Tour Tuesdays, to expose the rooms in all their bland glory and then we’ll revisit them again after projects are completed along the way.

Which brings me to The List. Daniel asked me to make a list to keep track of all the things I think need to be improvement upon in the house. The idea is to budget out into the future and pace ourselves financially. There’s just one “little” problem. The List is really, really long. Seriously. It’s so long I had to make it its own page so I wouldn’t bore you to tears in this post. We’ll be referring to and adjusting The List as we can over the next few years. As projects occur, I’ll link to them and mark them as in progress or complete.

My hope is that by the time we are ready to move out and into our first completely-ours home (as in, we bought it), we’ll have the list completed and the duplex will sell quickly to a new owner who will appreciate the updates and love it as much as we have. Fortunately for us, my dad owns the home and is in support of any renovations we will do since it will hopefully enhance his likelihood of selling his investment property.

Finally, stay tuned after this inaugural House Tour Tuesday for my very first giveaway announcement! It might be Behind Closed Drawer’s birthday, but we’re the ones giving away the gifts! Sweet.

My room-by-room tour will begin next Tuesday, but for now I’m starting things off with just a little teaser of what’s to come. I give you … our front door:

Welcome to our house! It’s not fancy, but it is home. When we walk over this threshold, we walk into a place where we work, relax, and live. There’s happy doggy paw prints scattered across the tile by the back door on rainy days; there’s dishes in the sink; there’s empty walls waiting for the money to fill them with artwork; there’s even dirty socks on the bedroom floor sometimes. But, above all, there’s love. Love and faith and family and friends and the things we’ve collected in almost two years of marriage that make the place ours. Our deep desire is for this home be a place where loved ones are welcome, where old and new friends can stop by for a cup of coffee and good conversation, and where Christ is always honored.

So, welcome, friend. I can’t wait to show you more! My initial 365 days of organization are nearly up, but each year brings 365 more. The journey is not over. In fact, with this new place of residence, it has only just begun. I hope you’ll join us as we discover what new things this year will bring.

Okay then, you’ve been very patient. Are you ready to learn about this fancy giveaway I’m doing in honor of my first year blogging?

Starting on Thursday (our first blogiversary!), I’ll be collecting entries to win this book by Jennifer Ford Berry, plus a few extra goodies.

You can cast your vote by commenting on the giveaway blog post on Thursday, and you will receive additional entries by sharing the giveaway blog post with others in your social network and posting another comment to let me know.

I’m so excited! Tell your family and tell your friends. Tweet it. Pin it. Facebook it. Spread the word. I’ve flipped through the pages of the book after purchasing it for the giveaway and let me say, it’s pretty good stuff to give your own organizational journey a kick start.

{Image credits to stoon for the frame, Ralph Aichinger for the key, and AssasinM for the bokeh background. You guys rock.}

Leave a comment

Filed under Entry Way, Home, Home Tour Tuesday, Organizing