Kids’ bedroom redo: sleeping for 6!


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redoBy Elle

I know, it’s been waaaay too long between posts, mainly because of elderly parent care (which has dramatically impacted our home renovation progress) but also because I can’t find it in my heart right now to write about fashion when the events of the world, particularly the state of our environment, are weighing so heavily on me. I’ve obviously sidelined the fashion posts, for now anyway, but I will post home renovation news as we have it.

We’ve wanted for some time to create a large sleeping space for most, if not all, of the grandkids (7 in total) when they visit, which luckily is fairly often. The kids’ room had been outfitted with one queen-sized bed and a toddler bed, which could comfortably accommodate no more than four kids. Bunk beds seemed like the right answer so because the room is large enough, we bought twin-over-full bunks, which allow us to sleep up to six people. (The youngest is less than a year, so she still uses an infant bed.)

We had a few “to-do’s” to prepare for the bed install:

  • We patched and painted the room, which had been the color of raspberry sherbet (see photo below) — not horrible but we were eager for a full refresh.
  • To avoid any accidental decapitations, we removed the traditional ceiling fan/light (see photo below) and replaced it with an enclosed fan/light.
  • We repainted all the trim, window/door frames and doors in White Dove by Benjamin Moore.
Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

Photo of kids’ bedroom when prior owners lived in the house.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

Original fan that we removed to avoid accidental decapitations.

Choosing a paint color always feels so serious. I knew I wanted a color in the lilac family, so I chose three options to test. It’s so important to test the colors using large brushstrokes on different walls, and to look at them during different times of day.  In the kids’ room, Gentle Violet turned out to be too pink; Stardust Evening looked too purple; but Brushed Lavender looked just right. We opted for Valspar Signature (no VOC) paint.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

On the left wall, you can see our paint color test. Gentle Violet is on the far left, Stardust Evening is in the middle and Brushed Lavender is on the right.

The bed install was fairly easy and straightforward but because we wanted symmetry with the ladders (and didn’t want a ladder close to the ceiling fan/light in any case), we had to do some deconstruction and reconstruction to the bed on the left.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

The beds are from Wayfair: Viv & Rae Pierre twin over fulls. We reconstructed the bed on the left so that the ladder would sit on the left rather than the right.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

The enclosed fan/LED light combo is from Stile Anderson.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

The L-shaped room is ideal for a reading nook.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

Voila! I’m not keen on the style, size and color of the armchair, but it’s one I’ve had forever and am keeping until I come across another more to my liking.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

I bought the handmade stuffed bunny during my recent trip to Poland for the littlest of my granddaughters, whom I call córeczka, which means little baby girl in Polish.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

I still haven’t settled on quilts or blankets for the beds, but I’m leaning toward lightweight white quilts for a clean, uniform look.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

We’ll probably fasten the two beds together and trim them out so that they look like one large construct.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

We generally paint our ceilings the same color as the walls to give the space a larger feel. The ceiling tends to “disappear” when it’s the same color as the walls.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

In this photo, you can see a portion of our baseboard heater cover, which we painted hammered silver.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redo

So far no one has fallen out of a top bunk, knock wood. That said, one of the grandkids is a boy, and if anyone is to come sailing out of a top bunk, I fully expect it to be him. Sigh.

Fireplace reno project nears a close


By Elle

Oh, friends, it’s been a long time, I know. We’re awfully preoccupied with taking care of elderly family members right now, so thank you for your patience as we try to carve out time for blogging…and for finishing some of our long-abandoned home reno projects such as our fireplace.

The fireplace feels done enough to reveal photos. First, the before. When we ripped out the dining room carpeting and completely replaced the floor with hardwood, we also tore out the fireplace hearth, the bricks from which now live underneath our backyard patio extension, photos to come. (Recycle, reuse is our motto!)

We felt the hearth took up valuable real estate, and it was certainly a hazard for our many grandchildren, one of whom I miraculously saved once from a probable cracked skull as she careened, head first, toward the hearth’s sharp corner. So out it went.

We still wanted a hearth, just one that was flat, so we carved out a spot for it and installed the hardwood floor around it, which you can see on the left in the photo below.

We knew we wanted to update the brick somehow so we’d applied a limewash to it and didn’t love the outcome. Eventually, we just painted it with three shades of copper paint, and that did the trick.

While we were renovating the dining room, the empty fireplace made a great storage spot for all our tools and supplies!

Because the hearth extended about 16 inches up the face of the fireplace, we needed to deal with that mess. We tossed around several ideas and finally settled on facing it with the same porcelain tile we would use for the hearth.

For uniformity, we also lined the inside floor of the fireplace with the tile. We then installed a wall-mounted electric fireplace that offers flame, heat and Bluetooth capability so that we can play music from it. The sound quality is perfect for the room.

The porcelain tile has a metallic finish, which complements the copper color of and gives a modern feel to the traditional brick. One warning though: Although gorgeous, the tile is tricky to cut because of its metallic finish — they have a tendency to chip. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we bought extra.

What’s still undone? Grouting the tile, touching up some of the copper paint and replacing the wood trim around the brick.

I especially love how the metallic tile looks against the cherry and maple floor, and, best of all, no one can trip over or fall into it and get hurt! That said, I’m updating this post to note that I’m not fully in love with the entire look. I feel like it’s what you’d get if a fireplace and a farmhouse sink mated. What do you think?

Although January is nearing a close, please accept our best wishes for a happy, healthy and magical New Year!

The unsolved mystery behind my latest acquisition


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design antique painted shade lampBy Elle

I work hard at not acquiring too much “stuff” — would you believe my beloved just laughed at that? — but every now and again something tugs at my sleeve and won’t let go. Case in point: this lovely antique brass table lamp with a parchment paper shade depicting four Parisian cityscapes that I found, naturally, at the Craft & Antique Co-op in Painesville.

My maternal grandparents were huge collectors of “stuff;” their basement was, quite literally, covered wall-to-wall (including ceiling!) with finds from “rummage” sales, and much of what they collected was high quality, thanks mostly to my grandmother, Rose. She had a good eye for quality glass; my grandfather, Wally, on the other hand, had a good eye for the ladies, and he liked to collect naughty things. I remember being horrified the first time I peered into one of his tiny handheld viewers and discovered a smiling topless woman. I vaguely recall asking my mother why Grandpa liked those things and getting a giant eye roll and sigh in return.  Continue reading

Deck reno, part 2: Extension and slide!


By Elle

You might ask why we’re installing a slide from our deck. Because I sometimes have crazy ideas, and my beloved typically goes right along with them, that’s why. I used to think it was because he absolutely adores me (which is true), but I now know that if the idea requires something to be built, it sparks the Boy Who Likes to Build inside him.

Here’s a story: When Arkady was a wee lad, his parents were still in the process of building (mostly themselves) their brick ranch in a far eastern suburb of Cleveland. He watched as his dad, working on two-story scaffolding, finished the brickwork in the back of the house. He helped his mom shovel backfill, and he probably wanted to help his dad install the oak floor that runs throughout most of the house.
Continue reading

Our big, fat kitchen renovation — the madness begins


By Elle

Spring is around the corner, and we have house renovation on our minds! Since last fall, we’ve been planning our kitchen renovation — no small task and kind of scary, too.  So because we are the quintessential DIY’ers (and quite frugal), we’ve been making trip after trip to the Kraftmaid Outlet in Warren, Ohio, to buy our kitchen cabinets for a steal.

Continue reading

I did not build this…


By Elle

My 8-year-old granddaughter, Kiera, and I recently attended the Wick Juniors Writing Club Summer Camp, where we “camped” in our local national park inside a lovely brick dormitory, complete with indoor plumbing — can I get a hell yeah! I stayed on as a parent chaperone, helping to keep an eye on 10 elementary-aged girls, who, on the first night, refused to sleep. Because, camp.

By the next morning, Kiera had made friends with the other girls, and she was no longer acting like my shadow.  By afternoon, I got the feeling she didn’t want me around much. She now had the protection of an entire army of girls and didn’t need me anymore. My heart felt a little heavy, but I know how these things go. As long as she acknowledges me at our mealtimes together, I thought, I’ll be satisfied. By evening, I barely existed. I WAS the shadow. Continue reading