Office befores and afters, plus a video tour

I’m loving my newly decorated office so much. There has been sewing, crafting and working–it’s such a fun inspiring space. Even better, everything is still tidy and organized. I’ve been wanting to do a video tour for a little while, so I thought the office would be a good place to start.

Usually in my room makeovers I post a before and after. However, the office was such a blank slate that the before is pretty basic and blah. As well, I didn’t make any major changes so the layout–the window, the doors, the closet–are all the same. Comparing a before and after doesn’t seem very dramatic in my opinion.

Office before

Office after

However, there were befores and afters for some of the elements in the room, so I thought today I’d share some of those as well as the video.

The nook

The video tour gives you a good look at the weird little nook just inside the office doorway. This spot’s makeover started a few years ago when I removed the weirdly high shelving, built a little dresser and hung a bulletin board. What could have been a really awkward part of the office has become a really functional command centre.

Nook before

Office command centre

Little dresser

The search for furniture that fit the little nook was long and challenging. I wanted something tall, but it had to be narrow and not too deep. Plus, as usual, it had to be cheap. I ended up finding a pair of nightstands that fit the space perfectly. And when stacked on top of each other, they made a tall narrow dresser that holds everything from tools to notepads.

Two vintage night stands

Tall narrow dresser

Desk

I’m going waaaaay back in the archives for this before picture. This was what the office looked like when we first bought the farm. The green desk (along with a lot of trash) was left by the previous owners, and I drafted it into serving as my sewing desk. When it came time to makeover the office, it was more than time to makeover the desk too. With fresh white paint, rich dark stain on the top and sparkly hardware on the drawers, it’s become a bright, feminine piece of furniture.

Messy office with green desk

Sewing desk

China cabinet

The hardest working piece of furniture in the office is the china cabinet. It holds so much stuff while keeping it all nicely organized and allowing space for display.

Vintage china cabinet

China cabinet makeover

Slipper chair

The slipper chair was the most complex reupholstery project I’ve tackled. I love that I’ve been able to give this family heirloom a new life in our home.

Reupholstering a slipper chair

Slipper chair upholstered in Brissac Jewel by P Kaufmann Fabric

The office ended up taking awhile–five years since we moved to the farm. I tackled little projects here and there before finally diving into the big makeover at the start of this year. I’m so happy that everything has finally come together in one finished, functional and pretty space.

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Colourful creative office

Office after

My office. A space that’s completely my own. The last bedroom in our house. It’s done. And I’m so happy with how it turned out.

While I’ve used the word “office” to describe this room, it’s really a sewing, crafting, creative space.

It’s filled with the things that I like to do. The things I like the most and that mean the most to me (Bill!). I love that I now have an organized room that I enjoy being in.

Favourite things in the office

This wall used to be filled with boxes that had been packed since we moved in five years ago. Now, the thrifted china cabinet holds sewing and knitting supplies, magazines and memorabilia–and keeps them all organized.

China cabinet storage in the office

Sewing pattersn and knitting needles

Knitting and sewing supplies

Growing up, I never won a trophy. When we were dating, I mentioned this to Matt. One fall, after I ran my first 10K, Matt presented me with a huge trophy. It meant so much to me that he did that. However, the trophy was truly huge. I took it apart and then put it back together in a slightly smaller configuration, and it fits easily on the shelves.

Running trophy

Reconfiguring the closet was also hugely helpful to keep everything organized. Hanging up my big pieces of fabric makes it easy to see what I have and ensures that I’m more likely to use them.

Fabric stash hanging in the closet

When it came to art, I wanted to display some of my favourite things–like this collection of vintage hats. My Mom taught me how to sew. She learned from her mother–the original owner of most of these hats. In fact, my great-grandmother made one of the hats that is hanging on the wall.

I love the idea of a time where people regularly dressed up to go out, and hats were part of the outfits. I don’t live in that world, but I can still enjoy these hats by having them on display.

Vintage hats hung on the wall

The gallery wall is another showcase of my favourite things.

Gallery wall

The same grandma that taught my Mom to sew also had a collection of Red Rose Tea figurines. Often when we were leaving her home after visiting, she would give us a figurine to take home. A few years ago, I decided to collect a full set of the nursery rhyme statues. Between gifts and flea markets, I got every one. However, I’ve never had a place to display them. Now I do–along with a fun photo of my Mom and I modeling some of the hats.

Red Rose Tea figurines

Another small collection that is finally on display is my thimble collection. Matt’s parents travel a fair amount, and my MIL buys a china thimble for me pretty much everywhere they go. I made a really small shelf to go above my sewing machine, and it holds all of the thimbles perfectly.

A magnetic strip from Lee Valley, painted the same colour as the wall, holds sewing instructions where I can easily see them as I’m working.

Thimble collection

While I’m not an official participant in the One Room Challenge, which concludes this week, it definitely helped motivate me to finish off this room. I love that every item on my to-do list is crossed off.

You can check out all of the official ORC participants at Calling it Home.

Feminine blue and floral office

There are so many little details that make this room work really well for me. And I love the beauty and the sentimentality that I was able to incorporate as well. While the ORC motivated me to finish the office, the room itself is now motivating me to keep crafting. I’ve returned to some projects that have been hanging around for a little while and had a super productive sewing month where I’ve churned out a dress, jacket and several pillows. I’m excited by what else this room is going to inspire.

Thanks for following along on the makeover. Do you have a crafty creative space at your house? What helps motivate you to finish projects–whether big like a room makeover or smaller crafts? Do you have a favourite collection on display?

Snoring, storing and decoring in the office

Baxter dozing

My sidekick and I made some more progress in the office this weekend. To be truthful, my sidekick snored and snuggled his dinosaur. I made the progress.

Beyond making the office pretty, I want to make it useful, organized and tidy. Usually when it comes to storage, I make due with whatever freebies I can find–cardboard cartons, shoe boxes, containers destined for the recycling bin.

While sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. So for the office, I bought proper storage containers. Thanks to all of the sorting and tossing I’ve done, I didn’t need too many.

From a big cardboard box full of old school papers, I now have one–much smaller–plastic bin.

Plastic storage box

Six smaller containers hold all of my fabric remnants and fit perfectly into one of the cupboards in the china cabinet.

Plastic storage boxes

On the pretty side of the office makeover, I worked on the gallery wall. I’m actually not a huge fan of gallery walls. But I when I thought about everything that I wanted to display in the office, I realized that the best arrangement was to put them all together.

I am not a patient person, so I tried just laying it out on the floor and translating that to the wall. But it was hard to visualize. I traced each item onto paper and then taped them to the wall. I’m glad I took the time to map it out. It helped to finalize the layout–and realize that the initial placement was much too high.

Planning the gallery wall

Once I settled on the arrangement, I started hammering nails into the wall right away. But then I had to exercise some patience again. It was hard to get the pictures exactly where I wanted just by guessing where to place the nail. I took a minute to run downstairs and grab a paint stick and a screw. I don’t know why it took me so long to make this little tool. It made hanging the pictures so easy.

Paintstick picture hanger

I’m excited to show you the final gallery wall and the rest of the office next week when the One Room Challenge concludes. You can check out all of the official participants at Calling It Home.

Do you have a gallery wall in your home? How do you handle storage? Who else has a lazy sidekick?

Walking down memory lane via the office

Sorting bills

Oooh, you’re in for a special blog post today. The next step in my office makeover was… wait for it… paperwork and filing. You can’t stand the excitement, right?

Paperwork may not be the most photogenic or interesting topic for a blog post. But it’s a fact of life, or at least a fact of my life.

I actually have some great systems to manage paper in my office. I’ve set these up over the last few years and they work pretty well for me. So even though I’m making over the office, I’m not making over absolutely everything.

This mail organizer is my main tool. As soon as the walls were painted, I reinstalled this right away. I only file paperwork a few times a year (all of our bills except for our credit cards are set up for automatic debits), so the piles of mail and bills grow and get messy. The organizer isn’t always tidy, but it avoids the piles.

Mail organizer

Receipts live in a box in a drawer until I reconcile them with my statements.

Receipts

You know we keep a pretty close eye on our finances. This reconciliation is one of the ways I do that.

Once everything is sorted, the papers go into our filing cabinet. The filing cabinet may not be the prettiest piece of furniture, but it’s very functional for us. I’ve seen some cool filing cabinet makeovers with paint, hardware and even fabric, so that may be something to consider for the future.

In the meantime, appreciate the nearly empty mail organizer.

Filing cabinet and mail sorter

The other paperwork I tackled was a huge box full of old schoolwork. As in from kindergarten through to university. Most of it ended up on the burn pile, but I kept a few things like report cards, class photos, my award-winning science project, a couple of memorable stories and this prophetic drawing.

Farm drawing

Even for the things I didn’t keep, it was fun to look back. I could see how my teacher’s comments on my grade 12 English essays made me a better writer–she was a tough marker, but completely right. In the kindergarten folder, I found this mimeographed matching sheet.

First test

On the back in my Mom’s hand-writing, it said “Julia’s first school test.” Awww.

First test

Now that I have returned from memory lane, I’m looking ahead again on what’s left for the office. Here’s where I’m at:

  • Buy and install light fixture
  • Unpack remaining boxes and organize china cabinet
  • Style china cabinet shelves
  • Sort and file paperwork
  • Install gallery wall #1
  • Install gallery wall #2
  • Reupholster seat of wooden chair

We’re down to two weeks to go in this mini One Room Challenge. Remember you can check out the official ORC participants at Calling it Home.

How do you organize mail, bills, receipts and paperwork at your house? Have you gone paperless yet? Has anyone else kept old schoolwork?

Mini One Room Challenge update #1

Vine flushmount light fixture

There are three weeks left in the official One Room Challenge. And three weeks left in my personal mini-ORC, also known as mission finish the office.

Already the motivation of the ORC is working. I had a very productive weekend, and I’m excited to see the finishing touches for the office coming together.

Here’s the to-do list update:

  • Buy and install light fixture
  • Unpack remaining boxes and organize china cabinet
  • Style china cabinet shelves
  • Sort and file paperwork
  • Install gallery wall #1
  • Install gallery wall #2
  • Reupholster seat of wooden chair

As you can see from the photo above, I have a proper light fixture now. I’ve envisioned this light fixture in the office for a long time. I second guessed myself for a moment when I finally bought it, but now that it’s installed it’s perfect. I love the dark metal and the vines and the crystals.

It’s kind of fun and a bit of a different experience to decorate a room completely for myself.

Something that’s also entirely for me is the gallery wall you see behind the light fixture. I’ll share more about that in a couple of weeks when I post the final the reveal.

Another personal favourite is the Brissac Jewel fabric by P Kaufmann that I used on my bulletin board and slipper chair. It’s making another appearance, this time on a wooden chair that past owners left at the farm.

Upholstering this chair hadn’t been part of the original plan for the office, but I couldn’t let this chair go (I have a thing for chairs). Covering a slip seat is a whole lot easier than upholstering the slipper chair. Pulling all of the staples out of the old upholstery probably took longer than adding the new fabric.

The dark wood and the bright fresh fabric look so nice against the white desk and turquoise walls.

Sewing desk

A major perk of the ORC is it ensures I complete all of the little details of a makeover. Details like paint touch-ups (which were also part of my weekend) and upholstering this chair.

It’s those little details that make a room come together. I’m thankful to finally be at that point with the office. Just a little more to go. We’re getting there.

So are all of the other bloggers that are participating officially in the ORC. Even though I’m not linking up, I encourage you to check out the other makeovers at Calling It Home. There will be new updates every Wednesday and Thursday until May 10.

Have you ever decorated a room just for you?

Makeover motivation from a mini One Room Challenge

It’s that time again. The One Room Challenge is taking over the blogosphere. It started last week and runs until May 10. More than 200 bloggers, 200 rooms and 200 inspiring makeovers.

I’m looking forward to all of the beautiful content arriving in my feedly over the next four weeks.

Once again this year, I’m not participating in the One Room Challenge. I’ve loved participating in the past and especially loved the results of our laundry room and master bedroom. But this time around, I don’t have a room ready for the six week timeline.

However, I do have a room mid-makeover. My office.

I’m thinking I can use the One Room Challenge and all of the activity of my fellow bloggers to motivate me to Finally. Finish. This. Room.

Office mid-makeover

So this is it. I’m setting a deadline, people. May 10. The office will be done.

Here’s my original to-do list, and where we’re at:

  • Scrape ceiling – Finished over the Christmas break–oh so long ago.
  • Paint ceiling, trim and walls – Finished over the Christmas break.
  • Add new shelf to closet – Finished and already filled.
  • Redo china cabinet and desk – Finished and partially filled.
  • Reupholster slipper chair – Finished and it’s oh so pretty.
  • Reupholster ironing board – Finished thanks to a lucky thrifting score.
  • Unpack all of my boxes and decorate – Started.

That last item is where I’ve been a bit stuck. I had so many boxes, which had been packed for at least five years–some of them longer. Also, decorating is kind of a big thing.

I know myself, and I know I’ll do better if I can break it down into smaller pieces.

So here’s the new to-do list of the remaining items:

  • Buy and install light fixture – I somehow forgot that I need a new light for this room since I removed and trashed the boob light that was here originally.
  • Unpack remaining boxes and organize china cabinet
  • Style china cabinet shelves
  • Sort and file paperwork
  • Install gallery wall #1
  • Install gallery wall #2
  • Reupholster seat of wooden chair

Totally doable, right? It’s mini compared to the full room makeovers other people are tackling through the ORC.

As slow as work has been on the office, it has been ongoing, even though I haven’t shared many updates. This weekend I made some progress on a few little shelves that will be part of the gallery walls.

Painting little shelves

I’m going to start sharing regular updates here to help myself stay on track. I’m not going to be sharing my makeover through the official ORC linkups on Calling It Home, though, because mine is so mini. I do encourage you to visit Calling It Home and checking out all of the projects for yourself.

And stay tuned here. Soon enough–with a little motivation from the ORC–I’ll be able to reveal the finished office. Four weeks to go.

Are you following any ORC makeovers? Official ones? Are you doing any makeovers yourself? How do you find motivation to finish off a makeover?

How to apply preglued veneer on curved edges

More than two years ago, I wrote a tutorial on how to apply preglued veneer edging. Veneer edging covers up the raw edges of plywood and makes your piece of furniture or whatever it is you’ve made look like one solid piece of wood.

When I made the headboard for the master bedroom, I had a scenario that I’ve never dealt with before: applying the veneer to a curved edge. So today I’m posting an addition to my previous tutorial.

The same tools, techniques and principles still apply (mostly):

  1. Cut a piece of veneer slightly longer than the section of plywood that you’re covering.
  2. Line it up along one edge and apply heat and steady pressure to melt the glue.
  3. Firmly press the veneer down with a wood block (it will be too hot to touch with your hands) until the glue sets.
  4. Trim the overhang with a file.

For a convex edge (think the outside of a U), I didn’t have to do anything special. For a concave edge (think the inside of the U), I had to make a few more adjustments. On the more gentle curve, I found the very tip of my iron worked to soften the glue. I just had to work slowly, about an inch at a time.

Applying preglued veneer edging to a curve

Pressing the veneer into place as the glue dries is really, really important. On a curve, it’s particularly easy for the veneer to pull away from the plywood. A narrow pressing block or your fingers (protected with a glove or a rag)–along with patience–are essential.

For the tighter curves, I discovered why I still have a curling iron in my bathroom cupboard. The barrel was just the right size to fit into the curve at the top of the headboard. Once the adhesive was soft, I firmly pressed the veneer onto the plywood and held it in place until the glue set.

Using a curling iron to apply veneer edging

To trim the veneer, I always rely on a file. For the curved edges, I used the curved side of the file.

Curved profile on a file

Triming veneer on a curve with a file

A couple of swipes over the edge with fine sandpaper further smoothed veneer, and then it was ready for staining along with the rest of the headboard.

(And yes, the veneer takes stain and urethane and paint just like real wood).

Here’s the final product–in its impossible to photograph location in front of the window.

Applying preglued veneer edging to a curve

Anyone else have any tips for working with veneer edging? Who else has an old curling iron kicking around? Have you ever used beauty tools for DIY?

 

Making DIY dropcloth curtains – 8 lessons learned

In the last post, you saw the easy layered window treatments in the master bedroom. I promised more details on the dropcloth curtains I made.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

There are lots of tutorials out there on how to make dropcloth curtains. So I’m not going to write one here. Plus, I totally made these up as I went along, so a tutorial doesn’t really exist. I did want to share some of the things I learned from making my DIY curtains, though.

How to make dropcloth curtains

1. Dropcloths come with seams. I assumed that my 9 by 12 foot dropcloth would be one single piece of fabric. It wasn’t. All of my dropcloths had a seam down the middle. One had a centre seam plus an additional patch along one end.

For my two widest curtain panels, I just left the seam alone. It’s a bit thicker than I would like and a wee bit puckered, but I decided I could live with it if it was hidden in the folds of the curtains.

For the other curtains, my seam ripper and I spent some quality time pulling out the stitching.

Ripping out the seam on a dropcloth

2. Dropcloths come with holes. The canvas fabric of the dropcloths is not perfect. The rustic quality of the weave and the few strands of blue and red that were here and there are some of the elements I like best about using this fabric.

However, in a couple of spots my dropcloths went beyond rustic and veered into unraveled. So if you want to make anything out of dropcloths, check them over carefully. You don’t want to end up with a hole in the middle of your project.

3. Wash and iron before you start. Pre-washing your fabric is a basic tenant of sewing. I didn’t want my curtains shrinking (not that they’re going to be washed often) after I put the effort into making them, so I washed my fabric before I started sewing.

Dropcloth fabric is heavy duty. As a result, it wrinkles easily and the creases are really difficult to remove. I found that ironing the dropcloths when they were still damp from the washer helped to remove the worst of the wrinkles.

4. Use curtain tape. (Britt, this tip’s for you). From what I hear, making pinch pleat curtains is pretty tedious. Lots of measuring and calculating. A much easier solution is to use curtain tape. This is a kind of mesh fabric strip with channels on the back. You pair it with some special multi-pronged hooks, and it basically forms the pleats for you. I bought mine at a local fabric store.

The pleats are softer than they would be if you sewed them without the tape, but that was okay for my rustic fabric and my farm setting.

I sewed the tape along the edge of one of my dropcloths, put in the hooks and voilà, pinch pleat curtains.

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Using curtain tape to make pinch pleat curtains

Pinch pleat dropcloth curtains

You can space your pleats as far apart or as close together as you want. I left one empty “pocket” for a space of about 6 inches between each pleat.

Pinch pleat dropcloth curtains

5. Use curtain tape to measure your curtains. Before I sewed the curtain tape onto my fabric, I formed all of my pleats until I had a strip that was as wide as I wanted my curtains to be. Then I cut the curtain tape at that length, removed the pleats and used the tape to measure the dropcloth fabric.

6. There are different types of hooks. The magic pleat-making hooks are very handy. They come in two different forms (there may be more, but I tried two). Whatever form you choose, the hooks hook onto the rings that go on your curtain rod. Option 1 has the hooks at the end, so the curtains hang a bit below the rings. Option 2 has the hooks in the middle, so the top of the curtain hangs up against the rings. This is the type of hook I ended up using.

There are also special non-pleating hooks (just plain single hooks) to hold up the ends of the curtains where there are no pleats.

7. Take your time hemming. I wanted my curtains to just brush the floor. For my first set, I hung the curtains, found the spot where they met the floor, and then I used a ruler to measure the rest of my hem from that point. The result was curtains that were the right length at one or two spots, but for the most part they scuffed, not brushed the floor.

Curtains hitting the floor

For my second set of panels and for the bed skirt that I also made out of dropcloths, I skipped the measuring tape. Instead, I used pins to mark the fabric at about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the floor. I pinned my way across the bottom of the curtains, marking about every six inches. Then I pressed the hem using the pins as a guide. It wasn’t scientific, but it resulted in curtains that just brushed the floor.

8. You can totally do this too. Dropcloth curtains are pretty easy to make. Honestly, I found them a bit tedious. The only sewing is in straight lines. Loooooong straight lines. However, boring they may be, sewing straight lines is not difficult.

Dropcloth curtains in a navy master bedroom

Let me know if you try them yourself.

Have you ever made your own curtains? Any tips to share from your experience?

Linking up with: Happy Housie DIY Challenge Party

How to make simple layered window treatments

When I had the brainwave to move our bedroom across the hall, Matt didn’t understand why we couldn’t just stay in our current room. He went along with my plans, but he had one requirement: he wasn’t moving in until we had curtains.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

We haven’t had curtains on any windows in any room since we moved to the farm. With no neighbours, privacy is not a concern.

However, our new bedroom is on the east side of the house. There are fewer trees on that side, so more light comes in the windows. At night, the lights on the barn and the driveshed and even headlights from the cars on the far-away road shine into the room.

Plus, east equals sunrise. If we wanted to sleep past dawn on any summer morning, we needed curtains.

But I wanted more than just curtains. I stumbled over Kristine’s window treatments on the Painted Hive and thought her solution was ingenious. (So I really can’t take credit for this idea).

Kristine’s solution is a great mix of form and function.

Function starts with a basic blackout vinyl roller blind, which I mounted above the window casing.

Vinyl blackout blind hidden behind bamboo blinds and dropcloth curtains

Form comes next.

The blackout blind is hidden behind a bamboo blind. Or what looks like a bamboo blind.

In reality, it’s basically just a valance. I took one bamboo blind and chopped it to pieces. For the main window over the bed, I was able to use the full six foot wide blind, but I only wanted it to be about 16 inches long. To shorten it, I clipped the strings that hold the slats together and knotted the ends so that the blind didn’t fall apart. I’m not going to lie, tying hundreds of tiny strings into tight double knots was pretty tedious.

For the smaller side window, I needed a narrower blind. A set of strong pruning sheers and Matt’s strong hands clipped off the excess width. Then, I again cut the strings to give me a 16 inch length and tied another whole bunch of tiny knots.

Cutting a bamboo blind

To put bamboo blind in place, I installed a double curtain rod just below the crown molding. I chose the Räcka and Hugad from Ikea.

The bamboo panels just drape over the rear rod (I tied them in place) and hang over the top of the window. They hide the blackout blind and, because I hung them so high right under the crown molding, they make the windows look much taller.

Double curtain rod

The front rod supports the dropcloth curtains that I made. The curtains are completely functional, but we don’t need to use them, thanks to the blackout blind, so they’re mostly just for form. They do hide the edges of the two blinds and help to block light from sneaking around the sides of the window though.

I’ll be sharing more about some of the lessons I learned from making dropcloth curtains in my next post.

I used the trick of hanging the curtains so that they fall just outside the window casing. This really does make the window look bigger in my opinion.

Altogether, the blackout blind, bamboo valance, double curtain rod and full length dropcloth curtains make for stylish and functional layered window treatments.

Blackout blind, bamboo blind and drop cloth curtain window treatments

Plus there’s the added benefit of keeping Matt happy.

Happy husband. Stylish master bedroom. I’m all set.

What are your master bedroom must-haves? Are you a blackout blind-er or a up with the sunshine-er? What’s your window treatment style?

One Room Challenge Week 6 – Master bedroom reveal

Cross the master bedroom makeover off my Home Goals 2015 list. Thanks to the One Room Challenge, this room is D-O-N-E.

Want to catch up on how we got here? Here are all of the previous posts:

It was hard for me to stay motivated in this makeover. The ORC was the push I needed to finally finish it off. I have to admit that I’m glad the room is done. Even better, I’m glad that it’s pretty… if I do say so myself.

Navy blue and white master bedroom

I think you’ll agree it’s definitely more stylish than where we started.

Master bedroom before and after

The best descriptors for this makeover are three words: simple, DIY and personal.

Simple

We kept things simple by working with what we already had.

First up was fresh paint for everything: ceiling, walls, trim, the door and even the old garage sale dresser we bought when we moved into our first house. After going round and round on paint colour, I love the deep navy blue I chose for the walls (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore).

White dresser with aged brass hardware

Paint took care of most of the transformation, but it only went so far.

For those that have been following along, you know the finish on the sliding closet doors was in pretty rough shape. I didn’t want to replace the doors though (remember, we were working with what we had), so I tried wallpaper for the first time. With a bit of help from my parents and two rolls of beadboard wallpaper, we added a nice country touch to the bedroom.

Navy and white master bedroom

Where we didn’t go country was the lighting. Matt’s reaction when he first saw the chandelier was one word: “Liberace.”

Hello, sparkles.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Even with this light, we were still able to work with what we had (although not that awful ceiling fan, thank goodness) thanks to one of my co-workers. She invited me over to see her new (to her) house, and as we were eating dinner in the dining room she mentioned that they were going to replace the lighting. I said, “I’ll take it!” (Yes, I’m that dinner guest).

I wasn’t sure where I was going to use such a sparkly, brassy, glassy, shiny chandelier–we do live on a farm, after all–but it’s a perfect fit for this bedroom. Navy, brass, sparkle, white, wood… yes, please.

I love this view when I’m lying in bed. Also lovely is the smooth unstippled ceiling above it.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Which brings us to the DIY stage of this makeover (not that painting and lighting aren’t DIY).

DIY

Scraping the stipple ceiling was definitely the most involved DIY in this room. The other DIYs were much easier, but, given my lack of motivation throughout this makeover, tedious.

Well, not completely tedious. I knocked out a couple of hookboards really quickly. Having lots of hooks behind the door helps to corral the piles of clothes that appear so regularly in our bedroom. And if I’m being honest, these hooks are usually smothered in pyjamas and dog-walking clothes, not a pretty scarf and handbag–although Matt’s baseball cap is genuine.

Brass and white hookboards

The headboard was a difficult DIY just because I couldn’t decide what to do. Should it be upholstered? Painted? Curved? Square? It couldn’t stick up too high because it was going in front of the window. I didn’t want to spend too much money because some day post-whole house reno I hope to have a new master bedroom where I can build the wing chair style headboard of my dreams.

I finally decided on a simple wood headboard in an interesting shape. A leftover sheet of plywood and some careful cutting with my jigsaw fulfilled my vision.

After mixing a few cans of stain together, I was able to get a finish that’s a pretty close match to the nightstands from Matt’s childhood bedroom–although I had a really hard time photographing the headboard in front of the window, so I realize it’s kind of hard to tell.

I love the accents of the warm wood against the deep blue and bright white.

Navy, wood and white master bedroom

The other DIYs in this room involved a less typical power tool–my sewing machine. Although the fabric I sewed is a DIY staple–canvas drop cloths. I love the weight and the colour of these drop cloths. I used them for both the curtains and the bedskirt, and I will definitely be using them in future projects.

The window treatments will get their own post soon. They’re super simple, yet we have everything we could ever want: blackout blinds, bamboo blinds for style and full length pinch-pleated curtains–style and function

Navy and white master bedroom

Personal

The final guiding principle of this makeover–of my overall decorating philosophy–is to make it personal.

First up is the quilt on the bed. The quilt is from Walmart, but its patchwork pattern is special to me.

My grandmother was a quilter, so I’ve been exposed to this intricate handcraft my whole life. The double wedding ring pattern has been my favourite for years. I love the symbolism of having this pattern on Matt’s and my bed.

I admit, I wasn’t sure about the patterned quilt as this makeover progressed. So many rooms I see online are all about white or neutral bedding. I think that the quilt works in the room though, and it’s a lesson for me to use what I love, not what’s trendy or stylish.

Blue and white master bedroom

The other really personal element is the art that I chose.

The two pictures on either side of the bed are beautiful Audubon posters. On my side is a Great Blue Heron, an elusive bird that visits the pond occasionally. It’s always really special when I catch a glimpse of one. On Matt’s side is his favourite bird to see at the farm, the wild turkey.

Audubon prints

The final art can’t get much more personal, a family tree. I made each of my sisters a family tree like this when they got married with their wedding date in the middle circle. Now Matt and I have one of our own. (If you want one of your own, Martha–who else?–has a free template).

Fan family tree

So simple + DIY + personal. Plus six weeks (okay, a little bit more). Plus a whole lot of motivation from all of you reading along and all of the other participants in the One Room Challenge. Equals one beautiful master bedroom. Thanks so much for following along.

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