Hurray! At last our media room is complete, and I am so excited to share the reveal with you! Remodeling this space during Covid was a challenge, and it really slowed our progress. We had to schedule wood delivery to our home because local wood supply stores were closed, and lots of items were on backorder for months, like our doors. It was a frustrating process, but hey we’re done!! I have lots of photos and so much to share about this space… so grab a drink, you’re going to be here a while!
We previously referred to this room as a basement, I think because our realtor did, but now we’ve renamed this space to the media room. The next photo is from the realtor website, and I remember looking at it being so confused what this space was. Having a junky garage space right off the front door with a bedroom and bathroom behind it is weird. Especially considering we have an attached garage and a larger separate garage on the lower level of our property.
Before I share the rest of the room how about some ugly before photos? Sorry, they’re a bit blurry… I didn’t check my camera settings.
Brian and I both get PTSD looking at these photos. Honestly. This gross space was our bedroom for about 2 months. I put down clean rugs and we had our mattress and boxspring on the floor while we remodeled the upstairs living room and our future master bedroom. The front door was in bad shape which meant a TON of bugs, it definitely traumatized me waking up with things crawling around me.
Once we moved into our upstairs bedroom we cleaned out this space and installed a new wood floor. I did most of the floor installation myself, it was a really satisfying project! The original wall and ceiling texture was an uneven DIY job so we had the ceiling retextured and centered the light. Then the room sat untouched for months until after the holidays. We knew this room would be a workhorse and the details needed a lot of intricate planning. We needed storage, an entry space, and coat closet, and we decided to move our washer and dryer down to this space as well. A lot had to go into this small closet, all while dealing with the clunky furnace.
We were really happy with our cedar tongue and groove ceiling upstairs and decided on the same wood for this room’s walls. Since it’s the first space people see, I wanted the room to feel warm and cozy and set the tone of the rest of the house. Our home was built to be fire resistant, with cement siding and using all metal beams to frame the house. The walls bend around the metal beams on this level, we can’t really do anything about that so we just had to work with it. Luckily the new wood walls help to camouflage it.
Oh how I hate odd placed windows! We’ve taken out windows before when they didn’t work with our space, but this one needs to stay for ventilation. I stared at this wall for months trying to decide what to do with the small offset window, I considered a gallery wall or a large bold piece of art. One day I decided to post on Houzz asking for advice on how to decorate around the window. Big mistake.
I asked about the wall and instead everyone just started tearing down the room. They hated my sofa, they said the room was too feminine, someone said my style of decor was all wrong, they hated my sofa pillows, the white baseboards and my favorite part… someone said I should decorate the room like a trading post and put fur on the walls. It was at this moment I realized that I decorate my home for ME and honestly don’t care if other people like it.
I decided on floating shelves and a bold lamp to draw the eye away from the window. I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out and now I hardly even notice the off-center window.
Now yes, the sofa is a little feminine for the room and unfortunately I didn’t think about the sofa buttons against the cedar wood knots. Yeah, it’s a little busy, but this sofa is bought and paid for so we’re just going to work with it! Haley has already asked for this sofa when she gets her own apartment in a few years so I’ll buy a sofa with cleaner lines at that time. In the meantime I think the large pillows and throw blanket help the sofa blend.
One day on Pinterest I ran across a photo of a wood stained room with white baseboards and trim and I fell in love. I know white trim with wooden walls isn’t for everyone but we both love the contrast. It pops!
For a brief moment… and I mean brief we considered building a laundry room in the back of our garage and Brian was considering having a desk somewhere in this room. Our garage is deep so there was plenty of room, but during the winter I realized I just couldn’t walk in and out of a dirty cold garage for laundry. So instead Brian built an office for himself in the garage and we squeezed the washer and dryer down here. The rolling cart is such a lifesaver for doing laundry and saves us so much space.
My favorite part of a room is always the little details. I’ve always had a thing for the Restoration Hardware chandelier lamps but they’re just so expensive! I managed to find a cheaper knock off at Overstock, I snagged a coupon and had some rewards to lower the cost. I love the feminine lamps against the masculine wood wall, it’s the exact effect I wanted.
A glass coffee table has always been my favorite trick to lighten up a room and make it feel bigger. They’re so easy to take care of and I never worry about spills, I just spray it down with windex and we’re done.
Details… just lots of little details everywhere that I love.
Finally the entryway! We managed to squeeze in a coat closet next to the utility closet. We chose a double rod to maximize space and went with an Elfa door rack. Elfa door racks always save the day! The baskets hold all our weather essentials and the gift wrap attachment holds our umbrellas and hiking poles perfectly!
More hooks, ya know I love them! Our entryway is small but it’s quite effective. The entry shelf and hooks help keep clutter down and our things organized.
The metal S was hanging outside of our last house and over the years it developed a unique rusty patina. It looks even better now!
I’ve always loved black and white photos and I think combined with the gallery frames it created a fantastic modern effect against the warm wood walls. I love these photos of my kids, they we’re running around having so much fun. I don’t frame a lot of serious photos, I’m drawn to the quirky ones because it feels more like a captured moment in time.
There you have it, our media room reveal. It serves as a great second living area for us. I am so happy this space is done! Our new back deck is also finished but I’m having the hardest time finding patio furniture. Ugh… everything I like said it will ship out in 13-17 weeks. So that’s holding me up a bit. I know how fun it can be to shop other people’s homes, so below I’ve linked everything below that I can find that is still for sale.
Any queso fans out there? Yeah… I thought so. Queso has always been our family’s biggest weakness. We just can’t say no to it. I mean who can resist melty gooey cheese over a crunchy salty tortilla chip? Over the years I’ve made tons of different queso recipes and I’ve always cringed at some of the ingredients that go in. Cream of mushroom soup? Yeah, once upon a time I was guilty of that, creamy yes, but it doesn’t belong in queso! I’ve always had issues with Velveeta as well… I’m sorry to all the Velveeta fans out there but unwrapping that orange gelatinous brick of manufactured cheese just grosses me out… I mean it doesn’t even require refrigeration!
With this slow cooker white queso dip we’re getting back to the basics with real cheese! It’s incredibly easy to make and I’m proud to say it’s our family’s new favorite queso recipe!
In this recipe we use pepper jack cheese, sharp white cheddar, and white American cheese. I know american cheese is processed too but we’re using a small amount and it’s not artificially colored, so I consider that an overall improvement.
Crazy fact, did you know all cheese is naturally white and it’s colored orange to be more aesthetically pleasing? We learned that while touring a cheese factory in Wisconsin years ago.
Along with the cubed cheese, we finish the recipe with a brick of cream cheese, garlic powder, milk, and mild verde salsa! Yeah baby! Herdez is our verde salsa of choice and the mild gives the perfect amount of heat.
Cream cheese will always be my guilty pleasure, I can eat it straight out of the wrapper! I prefer full fat because that’s how I roll, feel free to use 2%, just not fat free. Cook one hour on high or 2 hours on low. Whisk until smooth and then devour it!
4ozwhite American cheese (we used Kraft Deluxe Slices)
1/2cupmild salsa verde (we used Herdez)
1-2jalapeno peppers for garnish, chopped, with seeds removed
Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker except for the jalapeno garnish.
Cover and cook on low 2 hours, or high for 1 hour, until melted. Stir until smooth.
Serve with chips and jalapeno garnish.
We love how this queso tastes like real cheese. It’s smooth, creamy, and full of flavor but it still has the slightest bit of cheese grit… reminding us real cheese was used. Don’t skip on the jalapeño garnish either, once seeded you remove most of the heat and it adds a burst of fresh flavor.
I always make a double batch since we’re queso addicts here. You can refrigerate any leftovers, just microwave till hot, and add a little milk to thin it out if needed. Another favorite is serving this queso over grilled chicken or broccoli, it’s seriously delicious!
Nothing is more enjoyable to me than having a nice meal at a beautifully set table. These days it’s challenging to bring everyone together for a sit down meal, but I’ve noticed having a lovely tablescape encourages people to come together for meal times. It creates a beautiful, festive-like atmosphere, and it feels like a fun little private party at your table. I always love creating beautiful tablescapes any time of year and this cheerful summer tablescape is definitely a favorite.
Back on theme with my last hydrangea and rose blog post I’m sharing more of my favorite flowers for the table, but this time I’m adding lemons. We never have a shortage of lemons in our house, we use them for everything, food, drinks, even decorating.
I love the casual summer simplicity of skipping the placemats and other heavy linens and using rustic grapevine chargers instead for texture. I’m so bummed out these chargers from Ballard Designs already sold out, hopefully they’ll get restocked, and in the meantime I have linked some similar ones at the bottom of this post.
When it comes to dinner plates I usually stick with white and bring in color and patterns through my napkins, accent plates, and centerpieces. I’m always on the lookout for accent plates in different colors and patterns. I find them to be pretty affordable and always make the table pop. They make perfect appetizer, salad, and dessert plates too. These buffalo plaid accent plates are pretty amazing, and will work with so many seasons. I picked them up from Hobby Lobby on sale and have them linked below if you don’t have a store near you.
Cut hydrangeas can be tricky at times, often they can wilt the next day and it’s very frustrating. Removing the leaves can help the flowers stay hydrated longer but I prefer to keep the beautiful leaves. A favorite trick of mine is to cut the stem at a sharp angle and dip each end in alum. Alum is used for pickling and canning, and you can find at the grocery store in the spice section. It works beautifully to keep hydrangeas fresh longer and ideally you’ll want to mist the hydrangea with water a few times a day too. Hydrangeas are thirsty flowers!
For the lemon centerpiece I used israeli ruscus as a green filler and it’s commonly found in the floral section of grocery stores. Israeli ruscus is tough and does fine without much water, it’s been a few days and mine are still bright and perky. Just cut the stems down to the size you want and arrange them in the lemons.
The roses in the lemon centerpiece are a different story. Short term for several hours they’ll be fine without water, it you want your roses to last longer arranged with lemons consider floral tubes or placing them in shot glasses with water.
I love to dream up different colors and patterns depending on the time of year and enjoy taking inspiration from nature. The colors and textures are so bright and fresh for summer! While we don’t have sit down family meals every night, we do make it a point to do it as often as possible. It’s easy to create a simple tablescape that encourages people to gather around the table. Sometimes I think the prettier the table the better the food tastes! Feel inspired and bring your own creativity to the table!
Our back deck is nearly done, I’m just waiting on Brian to finish a few small details and then it will be up on the blog. In the meantime I’ve noticed how lonely our door looks and decided to make a nice summery wreath for it. I chose hydrangeas and roses because they’re my favorite summer flowers. I’m in love with the contrast against our new teal door (Sophisticated Teal from Home Depot) and especially the striped bow! Stripes are one of my favorite patterns ever, it goes with everything and always puts a smile on my face.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but I’m still mourning the loss of Pier One. I’m tempted to walk around in a black veil. Oh Pier One you were so good to me, and I especially loved buying your wreaths. Sniff sniff. So it’s time for me to step up my wreath making game, and this pretty summery hydrangea and rose wreath was a perfect way to dive back in. It’s been so long since I made a wreath I forgot how much fun it is! Below I’ll show you how I made this easy wreath in under 45 minutes.
18 inch twig or vine wreath form
Wire cutters (for the flowers)
2 inch wire ribbon
Hot glue gun, with extra glue sticks
The hardest part of any wreath usually is making the bow, or at least for me it is. I really hesitated showing you my bow making steps, only because I lack confidence in my skills. I will say I chose a simple bow style and I really like the simplicity of it. However, if you’re a bow making rock star feel free to make one of your own style. There are lots of great tutorials on how to make more complex bows on YouTube.
I like to keep my ribbon attached to the spool so I don’t waste any ribbon. First I pull out a long tail, then I create my first loop and secure it with craft wire. Next I make a second bow loop and attach it to the first loop with wire.
I repeat the process on the other side making a third and fourth loop, again securing the ribbon with wire. Once finished I cut the ribbon leaving a long tail to match the other side. I generally prefer wire edged ribbon so it holds its shape better but it’s not essential.
I use another piece of ribbon to finish the bow’s center. Because wire edge ribbon can be bulky in tight spaces I cut the wire edges off. From there I slightly scrunched the ribbon up for texture and tied a knot in the back. You can trim the back ends of the knot if they show, or just leave them. There you have it, a simple bow you can make in minutes, and I forgot to take a final photo… but you’ll see it below in a sec.
I love making my wreaths on the floor, I get a better visual than sitting at a table and I can also spread out all my stuff! I bought hydrangea bushes because that’s what was on sale at my craft store and it was cheaper. Using wire cutters snip the flower heads and leaves to a comfortable length.
There’s that bow finally! I started by hot gluing my bow down leaving the ends unattached. Then I glued the hydrangeas and the ends of the bow down. I like my bow tails to have a fun flowy look, so I bended them and glued several small sections down. This is another reason to use wire ribbon, to help shape the ribbon tails. Lastly I finished the wreath by gluing in my leaves and roses.
So easy! Who really needs Pier One anyway?? I’m just kidding, I do… come back… come back to me please! Wreaths can get a little expensive with all the floral and ribbon but I did buy most items on sale. Here is a breakdown of the cost.
18 inch wreath form $3.99 – from Wal-Mart
Ribbon $1.99 (on sale half price) – from Hobby Lobby
Hydrangea bushes (on sale half price) $5.99 x 3 bushes = $17.97 – from Hobby Lobby
Roses (on sale half price) $3.49 x 3 = $10.47 – from Hobby Lobby
Hot glue sticks & wire, free, because I had them on hand
Grand total = $34.42
I used a giant suction cup to hang my wreath on the glass, you can usually find them in the floral section of craft stores. If your door is metal they also have magnetic hooks too.
There you have it, a quick and easy summery wreath! I hope you feel inspired to make your own wreath like mine or your make own glorious creation. I have another hydrangea and rose themed blog post planned for later this week. I love these happy flowers everywhere!
Happy Tuesday! Today I’m excited to share my easy DIY fingerprint wall art with you! Our media room is nearly complete and should be up on the blog within a few weeks. Right now I’m focusing on decor items to finish the space, and one of those things is wall art! Decorating your walls can get expensive quickly, so this time I was determined to stay on a budget. All the time I see abstract art for sale thinking “Oh I can make that” but I usually forget to. Not this time!
Recently I was browsing decor and I was instantly attracted to this art from Anthropologie, but when I saw the price I nearly choked! Of course it’s much larger than I need for my space but I was very much motivated to make my own version. If your memory is really good you might remember I had a similar print like this from Ballard, in our last house. It was too small though and was damaged in our last move.
I’m much happier with this wall art, it has more personality and it cost just pennies to make! I always have extra gallery frames on hand so that certainly kept the cost down. I’m really fond of the ones from Pottery Barn and love the unique shaped mats, but recently I’ve discovered Target gallery frames and they’re just as great too. So if you’re needing to freshen up your home with some fun art I’ll show you how quick and easy to make this fingerprint wall art. It’s perfect for kids to make too!
Any size frame
Poster board or card stock
Cut the poster board or card stock down to the frame size.
I’m using a mat and I didn’t want to paint the hidden areas so I placed the mat over the poster board and ran my fingernail along the edges so I could so exactly where the mat would be. This is optional but I found it helpful. Then I dipped my finger into basic black craft paint and painted dots on the poster board. I know, super complicated right??
Be sure to vary the sizes of the dots for some extra appeal. Let the paint dry and then BOOM you have instant wall art! If you’re wondering, the paint dried nicely on the poster board and didn’t create any rippling. I have such a thing for black and white wall art, it makes my heart sing and looks amazing on our wood walls!
I had all my supplies on hand except the poster board and that was under $1. Canvas art would cost a little more but also look amazing, or maybe a fingerprint accent wall somewhere in your home? Go get creative and have some fun!
Ok, you’ve had a little sneak peak at our media room… just a peak that’s all you get for now. I can’t wait to share the rest of the room with you!