Laundry Room Makeover

I am always looking for inexpensive ways to update and/or decorate our home, and my laundry room was recently at the top of my list of spaces that needed serious help. I had seen several designers recently posting about using wallpaper to update a space, and my first reaction was not a positive one. I mean, wallpaper?!? Who has time for that??

Well as it turns out, I had time for it, and so do you! Wallpaper has come SUCH a long way from the days where I remembered my grandparents mixing paste and matching patterns, only to have it dry and shrink just enough that it no longer lined up perfectly. I was curious how this “new” version worked, so I ordered a roll from Target’s website, which has dozens of options.

Today’s version of wallpaper has no mess, simply peel and stick. Make a mistake and need to remove it? Just peel it off the wall, no damage to the paint/wall, and you can re-use the piece! This feature in particular makes a wallpaper project budget friendly, I did this entire laundry room makeover with only one roll, which was $30. Don’t worry about matching patterns either, the print I chose has a tiny pattern line on it so you can easily tell where the next piece should line up.

So I went for it and ordered the wallpaper….

Before I show you how it turned out, let’s take a look at some ‘before’ photos!

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This laundry room functioned just fine how it originally was, but I wanted a space that was more inviting and had a ‘fresh’ look. I first shopped the garage for some shelving materials, then picked up a vintage window for the space above the sink, and finally picked out the wallpaper that would tie it all together Somehow, I roped Adam into helping me.

Neither one of us had ever worked with wallpaper, and thus we had no idea how to install it. I envisioned unrolling it and sticking it to the wall (why make it more difficult than it needs to be, am i right?), however Adam had other ideas.

He approached the situation as thought it were flooring, and found the center of the wall and the center of the wallpaper pattern and started there. As a result, the first piece took about 45 min to place, but the rest of it went much faster.

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After the wallpaper was applied, we placed a small white trim around the top edges to give it more of a polished look. Then all that was left was to mount the shelf and hang the window, and suddenly the laundry room had been transformed! Here are a couple photos…

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This budget friendly update has made quite a difference, and I am really happy how it turned out. This was a learning experience, but it really was quite easy, so if you are looking to freshen up a space consider using wallpaper!

That’s all I have for today, I am headed back outside to enjoy this second Summer that Iowa has given us this week! I will be back soon with our latest outdoor client project, as soon as I load and edit the photos :)

As always, thank you for stopping by the blog today! We really appreciate it!

-Rachael

The Kitchen Reveal You Don't Want To Miss!

Sometimes there are home improvement projects that linger, for years. This would be one of those projects. Our kitchen was 95% finished for the last two years, all but for some 6 or 8 back splash tiles and decor. Well, since this winter is approximately 15 months long, we had time to finally get a few things done around here and this project was one of them!

A little background info:

the home we currently live in was designed on a piece of notebook paper by my husband. We eventually had to have an architect develop the house plans off of our drawing (because let’s face it, we know nothing about truss systems for roof structures) but the floor plan stayed the same. Now we had previously built additions to homes, and remodeled existing structures, but building the entire home from scratch was a new endeavor. Oh, and did I mention we had never designed a kitchen… (yikes!).

So off we went with our notebook paper drawing to meet a local cabinet maker and have him help us come up with something. He told us what worked logistically for wiring and plumbing, and showed us some basic layouts he had in production. I knew I wanted something different and unique and by the time we left our first meeting I am pretty certain he thought I was nuts.

Fast forward to that next summer, and we were laying tile and painting the walls in preparation for the cabinet maker to bring and assemble the cabinets. I don’t have many pictures from this point in time (maybe because we were literally building our home during the night and working during the day), but this photo below shows you the basic outline of our cabinet system (excuse the contractor lighting and pizza box).

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The next step was to add counter tops and appliances, which then made this kitchen functional. We were on a time crunch, so finishing touches and decorating took the back burner. We just needed our kitchen to pass the final building inspection and we could worry about the rest later.

Originally, I was interested in concrete counter tops but my husband talked me out of it. We cook A LOT at our house, and he was afraid that we needed a stronger material that could take a beating without showing any signs of wear. I am happy to report that after three years of constant use, these quartz counter tops have held up perfectly and have zero imperfections.

We did add a stainless steel back splash behind the stove area pretty early on, and then gradually finished the rest of that wall with subway tile, as you can see pictured below.

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One of the first comments people usually make when they see our kitchen for the first time is that our cabinets look ‘beat up’. Well, I think this is where our custom cabinet maker thought I was nuts, but I wasn’t going to budge on the distressed look. The material is knotty alder, and we chose all of the wood that had the greatest amount of natural knots and ‘imperfections’. Then, combined with black glaze and iron knobs and pulls, this kitchen has the appearance that the cabinets are older or re-purposed, when in fact they are brand new. I know this is a unique look, and it’s not for everyone, but it really came together in the end and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Ok, fast forward a couple of years to present time, and the last of the subway tile was installed over the kitchen sink. During the notebook paper design phase, I had pictured a window for this space but it was not feasible since the garage was on the other side of the wall. I still decided to put a window in this space, but just had to be a bit more creative.

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I found an old farmhouse window at a salvage barn for $5, and I immediately knew it would work for this space. All of the glass was removed, which was perfect since it would make cleaning a breeze. This window frame is very light, and thus I was able to install it easily with command strips. Plus, I didn’t really want to drill into the fresh tile! (yikes!) And while I love our sink, I would have preferred a copper farm sink but that just wasn’t in the budget for this house (maybe next time!).

Here are a couple more photos/angles of our kitchen:

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Well I could go on and on about this kitchen, it really is the focal part of our home and I am so excited that it is finished. This was a huge lingering project that I can finally cross off of our list, all thanks to our epic long winter this year. If you have any other questions about the materials or process, feel free to leave a comment here or catch me on Instagram. As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today! We really appreciate your support!

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Hanging Cast Iron Cookware

Hi friends!

Today I have a quick post for all the cast iron cookware lovers out there. We love using this cookware at our home but find it impossible to have enough room to store all of the heavy/bulky pieces. My husband has wanted to hang up a pot rack over the island for years, but I didn’t want all the heavy cookware to block the view of the rest of the living area. Finally, during one of the 800 snow days this month, we came to an agreement on how to hang and store our cast iron pots and pans.

Our pantry was the obvious location, due to it’s proximity to the stove and vast amount of unused space. We also needed the pans out of reach of our 1 year old, so hanging them on the wall seemed to be the best choice. Adam found a barn wood 2x4 in the garage and fastened it to the wall in the pantry, and then added the gas pipe and fittings. For those of you that don’t happen to have a ton of gas pipe sitting around in your garage, you can buy them from any hardware store. We used 1/2in size, but you could use larger if desired. The only downside to working with gas pipe (besides the grease) is all the adhesive and stickers that have to be removed. If you follow us on Instagram, you saw my struggles with this the other night on stories.

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Here is a close up photo of the gas pipe hardware. I had some old shower curtain hooks from a previous residence that I used to hang up the pots and pans, but I’m sure you could find something more aesthetically pleasing on Amazon. In the future I plan to hang up another identical rack below this one, and use it for hang baskets for potatoes and veggies from the garden (to get them off of the kitchen counters).

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Here is the view from outside our pantry.

While this was a quick and easy project, it really has been a game changer for kitchen storage. For those of you who use cast iron cookware, you know its bulky and some sizes can be hard to fit in drawers and cabinets. This storage solution took five skillets and one large stock pot out of our cupboards, freeing up space for further organization.

I hope this post brought some inspiration to your own kitchen organization! Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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The Friendship Fireplace Project!

Hey all, one week until Christmas Eve! Are you ready? (It’s OK, I’m not either!) I’m not too stressed about it either, there’s plenty of time left for that! All of that aside, I am excited to share with you a client project we recently finished up called ‘The Friendship Fireplace’. The street address for this home contains the word ‘Friendship’, thus that is how the project name was developed. We do a number of fireplace/mantel projects and have to keep them straight with unique titles!

The fireplace is often the focal point of the living room as well as the backdrop for family photos, and this homeowner wanted a total remodel of this space to bring it out of the 1970’s. To do that, we first had to start with a clean slate!

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Aside from the fireplace itself, there was not any part of the original design that was worth keeping…it all had to go.

And as you can see we made a huge mess, but it was worth it!

 

Progress photos after some new framing, insulation, and cement wall board.

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We needed to redefine this space, and the easiest way to accomplish that was to add a new texture or wall surface. The homeowner chose rough sawn weathered shiplap, which is pictured below. It’s a gorgeous light grey, and really makes this space ‘pop’!

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These barn beam mantels are always my personal favorite. Every single one is unique, bringing a different century-old story into each home. This one was mounted with simple gas pipe wall plates and fittings.

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And here’s a full length view, complete with fresh tile at the base of the new wall. This family will have a fresh new space to take all of their family photos and the mantel will surely be a talking point with guests for years to come!

We really appreciate the homeowner choosing our business to complete her fireplace remodel!

The fireplace insert remains in original condition, as the homeowner has plans to resurface that herself

The fireplace insert remains in original condition, as the homeowner has plans to resurface that herself

And some bonus mantel pictures, because I can’t help myself!

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The 'Great Outdoors' Project

Winter has arrived in full force here in the Midwest, and that means all outdoor projects have to be wrapped up. If Iowa wasn’t such an extreme weather state maybe we could work outside into December, but once the air hoses and tools start to freeze/not function properly, we call it quits for the (outdoor) season.

We did get to finish up one last project for the year, one which completes a series of outdoor renovations at a particular client’s home. This home is situated next to a golf course and has stunning views of the surrounding landscape, however the grading of the back yard and limited outdoor space made enjoying this little slice of heaven challenging.

The projects at this location included a new and expanded deck, new retaining wall and extensive dirt work/grading, as well as a complete overhaul of an existing screened in area to make it weather proof and fully functional addition to their home. All of these renovations were completed by adam and aps construction.


The Raised Deck

Original Deck Photos

As you can see, this deck was functional but small, and showed wear from the elements over the years. In the last picture, you can see the screened in area in its ‘before’ state as well.

New deck photos

This project was completed with cedar boards and aluminum spindles, check out that view!


Retaining Wall and Yard Grading

This part of the project was very important, as it produced level yard space that could then be used for additional structures, fire pit, you name it! Here are a few before/after shots.

As you can see, not much of this part of the yard was usable due to the terrain, but that is no longer a problem!


Screened in porch overhaul

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The final leg of this outdoor project was to update the existing screened in porch/patio area underneath the raised deck. this room was not being used to its full potential, since it was at the mercy of the harsh Iowa weather.

New and improved four seasons room

With new framing, insulation, windows, doors, and stacked stone vinyl siding, this room is now ready for the elements and can be used to enjoy the golf course views and Iowa sunsets year round.

The completion of this project brings our time outside for 2018 to a close, but that doesn’t mean our schedule slows down. we simply transition to more wood working projects, furniture making, and various other items that can be completed indoors. And of course, snow removal, because this is iowa after all!