choosing white paint

I was ambitious and decided I would paint all of our upstairs walls prior to the wood floors coming in. I knew from the get go that I would go with Benjamin Moore paint because it has/had my favorite white, Dove White. Though, when it came down to it, I ended up going with BM Simply White in an eggshell finish for our walls and Chantilly Lace in semi-gloss for our trim. Dove White has more cream in it and the Simply White is a crisp white (a little more grey undertone than cream). Simply White is my new favorite white.

True was my assistant while she was here. She removed all the electrical plates and helped move things around. That was so helpful! She left to Texas and I had a room and a hallway left to do. It’s not as fun painting without an assistant.

I didn’t worry about taping off the baseboards or spilling on the carpet, since I know those were going to get ripped off. I taped around the trim, and with a slightly angled brush, I cut in close to the ceiling, and then rolled everywhere else. Since I was painting white on white (our previous white was a Swiss Coffee flat paint by Dunn Edwards), I only had to do one white coat on our walls. I didn’t paint the ceilings or the closets, but I plan to work on the closets slowly. They are small enough spaces to tape off and cover easily, so I will get to those when I have time. The ceilings were already a slightly lighter shade, so I left them as is.

For the baseboards, our floor installers painted and installed those. Chantilly Lace was used for the baseboards and I love how bright that white is (this is the same color I used on our stair spindles).

We chose the Benjamin Moore Aura paint because it was self-leveling. Since this was my first time painting, I wanted something that would make things easier. It is more expensive, but I think it was well worth it. We purchased our paint at OSH during their Memorial Day sale, and total it was less than $400 for 6 gallons of paint. I used about a gallon per room. The best tape is hands down green Frog Tape.

While I was painting, you could definitely note the difference between the old white and the new white, but once it was done, the girls said, “Mommy, it looks the same!” LOL. The white is definitely crisper and it’s a better paint finish, so it will be easier to clean. Previously, we had flat paint on the walls, so we could not wipe it clean. The dirt would just smear more.

Now that upstairs looks fresh and clean, I’m going to attempt to paint our downstairs. All the dirty walls downstairs really stand out since upstairs looks so nice. There are two really high walls, which I can’t do, so we are having painters take care of that, but I’m going to slowly work on painting everything else. It will take longer because I have to cover all the floors and be mindful not to spill. Also, our downstairs baseboards have remained unfinished for the last 3 years, so I need to finish those too. My goal is to have everything done by the end of the summer.

Tricks that made painting easier and fun for me…
1. Tape trim with Frog Tape.
2. Cut in close to the ceiling with a brush.
3. Roll the paint like W on a wall trying to cover a 3′ x 3′ surface area.
4. Involve the kids! They have fun helping and trying to paint.
5. Blast 90′s music and dance while you paint.


featured in mollie makes

Mollie Makes is a lifestyle magazine for those who enjoy living creatively. They bring the latest crafting trends in easy-to-follow how-tos, encouraging you to adapt and share your own crafty spin on things. They celebrate creative industries and give up-and-coming designers their first platform.

I’m honored to have our home featured in their most current issue (issue 67). In the article, I get chatty about our eclectic style and share all about how we make our house a home. You can pick up your copy at your local bookstore like Barnes & Noble or subscribe their magazine here. If you’re an online reader, download the iPad version here. Hope you all enjoy it!


goodbye carpet

The carpet is getting ripped out as I type. Hooray! It had a nice run for 8 years (almost 9), but now it’s time to move on. I’ve been sharing bits of the renovation over at snapchat (username: mycakies). I’m a total newbie, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think it’s good for quick snaps, but it’s also kind of weird. I do like how I can give quick tours (unfiltered), so I’m sharing some of our space over there. One of the things I’m most excited about is removing all those cabinets in the hallway. It’s supposed to be a desk area, but we don’t use it as such, and I would rather have more floor space than cabinets. We’ve been saving for this for 3 years, so I’m ecstatic that it’s finally happening. Once it’s all done, the decorating can commence.

Anyone else doing home updates this summer?


painting stair spindles

In my mind, it was gonna be a piece of cake to paint the stair railings, well, until I started. Prior starting, I researched what to do and other DIY blogs regarding it, but once I started, I panicked. I was brushing the first few spindles, and oh man, it was tough to get all the nooks and crannies smoothly. I considered just wiping of all the paint off and hire a professional, but then I turned to Pinterest. That’s when Pinterest came in to save the day. Whew!

First, I did all the traditional stuff when it comes to painting stair railings… I cleaned all the railings and lightly sanded them down. I used Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint, which is paint and primer, so I went straight to that when it came time to paint. The miracle worker that Pinterest gave me was to paint the spindles with a sock! I wore a plastic glove, put the sock over that, then dipped my sock covered hand in the paint, and rubbed all along the spindle to get paint in all the nooks and crannies. It worked a million times better than a paint brush and went so much faster too! This post taught me all about it, and if you get adventurous and want to paint your stair spindles too, I definitely suggest the sock route.

Supplies used: Fine sand paper, rag, plastic glove, sock, mini roller, frog tape, and paint (of course!).

For the base of the spindles, I used a small roller to get the paint spread out nice and smooth. It takes about a full day to get all of the spindles and base painted (I did two coats), and it looks so much better than before. I let it dry completely, and painted the second coat the next day. It was a white before, but it had more yellow in it, and this time we went with a much crisper white. The white on the stair railing is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace; it is what we will use for our trim too. I’m still debating if I want to put a polyurethane coat on it or just leave it as is. It didn’t have a polyurethane coat before, so I’m leaning towards doing without it. It’s quality paint in semi-gloss, so it should be pretty easy to keep clean. If you have any tips regarding this (I’m a total newbie), do share.

I will have another post to share of what I learned painting the upstairs and the white I chose for those walls.

You can see a bit of our stained carpet, but I’m happy that in about a week, the stains will be gone and we will have pretty wood floors in its place. I can’t wait to share all the after pictures!


rattan mirrors

Since we are doing some home renovating, I’ve got lots of decorating on my mind. I’ve always adored vintage French rattan mirrors and was considering one for one of the girls’ rooms. A few months ago, I saw Target carried one that looks just like the vintage ones, and it recently went on clearance. I texted Ben to see if he liked it or if he would rather have a vintage one. Unfortunately though, he was “eh” about them. Then, he said if a Target one looks just like a vintage one, then it’s probably not unique enough. I chuckled at his response, and while he’s not wild about the mirrors, I still like them.

First one below is this vintage one and the second one is this one from Target. Would you do vintage (and pay more) or just pick up the Target one?

image above via the jungalow.


hunting for a wardrobe

We have this long hallway upstairs with some built in cabinets (and desk area) on one side. The builders intended the space to be computer area, but we don’t use it as such. We use the cabinets to store towels, blankets, and pillows, but they are kind of shallow and don’t store those things well. It has always been my intention that once we get wood floors in, to remove all the cabinets and put a wardrobe in its place, so now I’m on a hunt.

I love the DIY-ed one above (details on the Jungalow), but not sure I could do it. I’ve completed painting all 5 rooms (woot! woot!), but the idea of painting furniture intimidates me, especially if it’s dark wood. When it comes to vintage things, I love them as is, and every time I buy a piece with an intention to paint it, I never get to it. I was debating the two options below (top from west elm, bottom from shop found), but we kind of wish the West Elm piece had head to toe cabinets (we like the idea of a wardrobe the girls can hide in because we are reading through the Narnia series). That old one looks cool, but Ben isn’t wild about it. I started looking through Craigslist and saw a couple options, but nothing that made me dance. I am resolved to be patient until I find just the perfect piece.

top photo source: fiona galbraith for the jungalow


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