Wednesday, November 30, 2016

7 Laundry Room Update: DIY Floating Wood Shelf

Well, we finally committed to a backsplash for our kitchen! This is extremely exciting for me as I really wanted to do something a little bold, but then I would find myself getting nervous to actually go bold. So after ordering at least twenty five samples over the last two years in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, I decided that I had been pondering long enough and pulled the trigger.

It's been quite some time since we have tiled a backsplash, so while we wait for the beautiful kitchen tile to arrive, we thought we would warm back up by tackling our laundry room wall first. In this space, I saved a little moolah by going with a simple beveled subway tile to mimic the shiplap wall across the way. The final step will be to give the room a boost with a lively and colorful wallpaper.

We have only just begun with the tiling project, and will share the full tutorial as soon as it is completed, but we thought it would be a little easier to start it before installing our floating shelf. That way we could put in complete rows of tile, install the shelf, and then finish tiling up to the ceiling.


With this laundry room update, I am setting out to add some natural wood tones to the room to warm things up. But I didn't want anything too dark or heavy, in fact, I have really been digging the look of natural, raw oak lately. Which is such a weird full circle moment for me because I couldn't paint over our oak trim fast enough after we built our home over 15 years ago. But that was more of an ornate golden oak so.... anyway.

There are a 101 tutorials on the net for installing a floating shelf, but I hadn't found any that covered this particular look, so I thought I would quickly share the steps we took.

The shelf itself is approximately five feet long and two inches thick. My goal was to make it look like a single, thick piece of wood, and a little brainstorming between the hubs and I allowed us to do just that!

SUPPLIES:

TOOLS:
  • Tape Measure
  • Stud Finder
  • Saw (table or circular)
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Brad Nailer
  • Iron
  • Utility Knife
  • Wood Filler
  • Stain/Poly
  • Foam Brush

To prep for the project, we began by finding the studs and marking them accordingly on the wall. We then measured to determine our cuts for the guts of the shelf, which would be created with the 2"x2" furring strips.


We cut the furring strips accordingly and placed them on the counter in front of the wall to dry fit the design.


It helped to mark the strips with the stud location to determine where to place the cross supports of the shelves. We actually needed to screw the back of the frame to the studs, so the cross supports could not land where the wall studs are located.


To assemble the frame, we began by pre-drilling, then screwing it together with 2" wood screws. 


The back rail and cross pieces were assembled first and then screwed into the wall studs along the back and far left side. We also attached the right side by screwing into the side of the upper wall cabinet.



Above you can see how tiling the first few rows above the counter helped with the ultimate location of the shelf. This prevented us from having to make an abundance of partial cuts, and also from trying to install the shelf directly over the tile.


We used our clamps to hold the outer board in place while we pre-drilled/drilled to finish the frame for the inside supports of the shelf.


Once the frame was complete, installed and level, we measured for the cuts of the 1/4" red oak plywood pieces. We cut two pieces from a 4'x8' board, one for the top and another for the bottom, and we measured them so they would be flush with the face of the frame we had just built.


We don't want these outer pieces to bow or warp, so we affixed them to the frame with both construction adhesive and our brad nailer.




The total width of the shelf was now at exactly 2", and we were able to track down some 2" red oak iron-on veneer edging to finish off the face of the shelf.



I used some scrap pieces of wood to test out a few stains, but ultimately decided that I didn't want to stain the wood at all. I filled the brad nail holes with a tiny bit of wood putty and then gave the entire shelf a coat of satin poly.




The poly dried clear and the natural wood looks so very lovely!


Although the tiling isn't done and we still have so much to do, this shelf really added a lot to the project and the room in general. I just love it!


What I love most is that it really does look like a single piece of oak. I am so happy with how seamless the entire build turned out.



Now, back to tiling all the way to the ceiling and wrapping it down behind the sink. And then grouting, sealing and sharing!



Catch up on previous laundry room update posts below:

Lowering Hookups & Installing a Counter
Installing a Drop-in Sink
Adding a Decorative Toe Kick


Monday, November 28, 2016

5 UHeart Organizing: Five Tips for a Smooth Holiday Season

Happy day! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend and that your turkey hangovers are wearing off. We hosted a slew of people on and off for the last four days and then dove back into some laundry room projecting so it was definitely a good mixture of fun, relaxation and a little work tossed in there too.

But now it is time to really start thinking about Christmas and the New Year! Time to pull out the Christmas Tree, count down the days, drink endless cups of cocoa, decorate, shop, give, party, cook and bake... sigh... Just typing it all makes me a little exhausted.

In the past I would try and be an over-achiever and "do it all", but I really wasn't enjoying the season and just found myself stressing and by Christmas morning I was almost too tired to see straight. It completely took away from the whole point of this time of year and after a few years in a row of over-committing, I had a reality check. Especially being so deep in the world of blogging with Pinterest-pretty decor around every corner, it is easy to fall down that "be all the things" trap.

With that in mind, Megan's tips today are spot on! I love her perspective for heading into the season with priorities in check. I would really love for you to chime in at the end and share how you be sure to really soak in these final days of the year as well.



Hi lovelies! I hope your holidays are off to a wonderful start! We have extra reason to celebrate this year with the addition of our adorable nine month-old daughter, Jordan. Especially since I had her later in life, it makes me all the more thankful for her and our son. I'm sure the holidays will be extra special with her, even though we might have to keep the lower half of our Christmas tree ornament-free from little hands!  

I've also found going from one kid to two seems to make it harder for me to get things done around the house, so holiday planning early is a must! For my sanity, and maybe yours, I put together a list of 5 Ways to Make the Holidays Run Smoother.  This post could also be titled, "How to Not Lose Your Mind During the Holidays" because, let's face it, it's easy to go nuts this time of year!

Of course, planning in advance is really key to keeping things in control, but you already knew that. In an ideal world, our gorgeous family Christmas photos would have been taken in September, our cards ordered in October, and our presents already chosen by Thanksgiving.  All that would be left to do is put up the tree and sit back and relax and enjoy the season!

In real life, at least mine, it's not like that! We still haven't taken Christmas photos, let alone chosen a card, and I still need to make our gift list. But, we do have one room fully decorated, so that makes me feel ahead of the game! 

But where do you start if you're starting now?  How can you truly enjoy the holidays and make the most of this time of year without stressing?  Below, I offer 5 Tips to help!


PRIORITIZE HOW YOU WANT TO ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS

Of course, we want to "enjoy" the holidays, but only you can decide what that means for you and your family. For me, it certainly means being together, doing a few 'special' things throughout the month of December, attending parties and mingling with friends, hosting Christmas dinner, giving gifts to family and friends with a heartfelt note attached, decorating our home, and giving to families in need. But that's a lot right there, so I also need some days where we don't have anything planned, 'bed days' as my 6 year-old calls them. A day where we stay in pajamas and get in bed with books, toys, magazines and hot cocoa and just chill.

If you don't stop to consider what's important or the most "enjoyable" for you and your family, you might spend your time being busy with lots of things that don't really give you much joy.

festive red holiday decor


BE REALISTIC ABOUT HOLIDAY EXPECTATIONS

After you've decided what's really important to you, it will be easier to say no or limit the rest. Every year, I either create or use a pre-made advent calendar to count down to the big day. In the past, I've filled each day with an activity for the family to do even if it is just "watch a Christmas movie".


But, over the years, I've found that an activity a day, as simple as it might be, it still too much to accomplish each day. Inevitably, I realize I forgot a day or two or three and I'd worry we were "missing" it. Instead of savoring just a few things to do, it could easily become just another thing on the never-ending "to do" list.

diy advent calendar

This year, I'm taking just a few of our very favorite things to do and sprinkling them throughout the month, leaving the rest of the days with just a small gift/toy/ornament, etc. 

dining room

Likewise, our "Elf" doesn't come out every night, but will make only a select few appearances before Christmas.


START HOLIDAY DECORATING BEFORE THANKSGIVING

I realize this tip may be taboo or controversial to some people who feel like Thanksgiving doesn't get it's full appreciation if we start decorating for Christmas too early. I was a strict "no Christmas decor until the day after Thanksgiving" until recently. It was our family tradition to always put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but I've found getting it up early does no harm to our Thanksgiving at all. We still spend that day eating our eyes out and being thankful for all our many blessings.

Going back to one of those things on my "enjoy" list is decorating our home and, realistically, to do it justice and create something new each year, takes a long time. And I like to savor it for as long as possible. 


I chose to decorate our master bedroom in early November this year and turned it into our version of a mini Winter Wonderland. I have absolutely loved it! It's so nice to walk into that room in the evening and see it all lit up with holiday magic.  



UTILIZE LISTS & YOUR CALENDAR FOR HOLIDAY PLANNING

In order to fit all of your "enjoy" moments into the holiday season, it's important to write them down and then plan them into your calendar. If you don't, I'm sure you know it's easy to over commit and then you realize you don't actually have time for everything.  

Jen makes the most useful and pretty (free) printables to help you keep everything holiday-related in order. The gift planning guide is especially useful because you can see on paper all the gifts you plan on giving and the budget for everything.  

free printables


START WRAPPING RIGHT AWAY

As soon as you start buying gifts, get down to business wrapping them! Don't let them pile up until the mountain feels overwhelming! I'm the designated gift wrapper in our family because my husband might actually resort to tin foil if left to his own devices! #notkidding 

If you've taken the time and energy and spent the money to lovingly choose a gift for your loved one, take the extra time to wrap it up in a pretty package and ideally, prepare a nice note!  


Wrapping gifts takes a lot of time so wrap as you go! Part of my "enjoying" the holidays is turning the lights down in the living room in the evening, lighting candles, and sipping hot cocoa while I wrap gifts. My family might be watching TV, but we're all together in the same room and it feels nice to have this slow time at the end of a hectic day.  


GIVE TO OTHERS

Number 6 is my bonus tip for you that helps put everything else into perspective. At Christmas-time especially, we want to keep in mind the 'reason for the season' and one way to do that is to give to others, beyond your family and friends. If you have children, it's great to get them involved too, whether it be volunteering, giving toys to those less fortunate, or donating to an organization you feel passionate about. In my town, we like to support our local preschool-aged children with Kids' Meals and in the broader part of the world, World Vision is an organization we also believe in.  

When you kick off your holidays by doing some small part to help others, you realize just how blessed we all are and the stress of the season seems to take a backseat. 

From our family to yours, we're wishing you all the love and joy you can possibly stand!  

_______________


My name is Megan and I am a lawyer by day, design and decor lover by night, and Mama to the sweetest two children. I'm passionate about fitness (and chocolate!) and could not live without my relationships, girl talk, and my morning coffee. I've been blogging for years over at Honey We're Home, sharing my love of keeping things organized and beautiful at our house. My efforts to live in the moment and cook more are an adventure in progress.
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