Wednesday, August 29, 2012

26 Reader Space: A Fresh Coat of Paint

If I could combine my two favorite hobbies, they would for sure be painting and organizing.  For me, they often go hand in hand, as I love to give any organizing project a fresh new feeling with paint.  It motivates me to get really excited about the organizing part.

So when Deme popped over her projects, I was in ooh la la heaven.  Her blog is titled, A Fresh Coat of Paint, and she loves to organize.  We should be best friends I think.

Although I try to never have {or state out loud} favorites when it comes to just about anything {features, rooms, kids...}, I can't help but have a huge favorite when it comes to the spaces that Deme popped over.  They are all miraculous, inspirational and beautiful... but she created a vanity for her daughter, and I think it's my favorite because I always wanted to do the same for my daughter.  But I never had a daughter, which I am totally cool with since my boys are absolutely incredible, but if I would have, her vanity would have looked just. like. this.

"I walked into my daughter Mia's room one day to find a bomb of toys, books and pink frills had exploded.  When it started to become a regular occurrence, we realized this was a room full of entirely too much stuff and systems that weren't working.  A total overhaul was in order!

My parents had scored this beautiful {but dark} Jenny Lind style bed and vanity at a friend's garage sale and had it painted a fresh white.   The vanity was our first victim in this room overhaul.  We started by clearing everything off the top and out of the drawers until we were left with a totally blank slate.  Next we had to reassess how Mia uses this space.  She loves to sit here and put on her costume jewelry and dress up clothes, and she loves to dig into my stash of note cards to write letters or invitations to her friends/family, play on her Leapster or listen to audio books during her afternoon quiet time.  And she loves to stash anything and everything into it's drawers.

We decided that all toys and other randomness would find a home someplace else and the vanity would help us organize her jewelry and quiet time activities.  We also decided to move all the accoutrement needed to do Mia's hair out of the bathroom and into this space.  We needed it all to be easily accessible and easily maintainable for a sweet 4 1/2 yr old.

So we purged, sorted and reloaded! 

With the help of some supplies and storage containers from the Target dollar bins, the drawers on the right (lined with scrapbook paper) now hold all of her note writing supplies {pens, note cards, paper, envelopes}.  They also house some of her favorite activity and sticker books. 

The drawers on the left hold her CD case and Leapster, along with jewelry and hair ties.

We took a white birdcage from a Hobby Lobby clearance rack, gave him a happy coat of green spray paint and used him to corral all of Mia's hair clips.

We swapped out the hard wooden seat for this upholstered ottoman from Target.  It definitely ups the comfy factor for that little tush, and it brings a welcome pop of color and soft texture to break up all the hard wood.  A few sweet accessories, including new pink acrylic hardware, finished off the space.  The best part is that Mia not only loves this special spot just for her, but she's able to keep it clean and organized all on her own.  Win for both of us!"

Pretty incredible right?  But wait, there is SO much more to see!  Next up, her son's closet!

"Our boys Jack and Sully are just 15 months apart, and at 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 yrs old you could say we're about neck-deep in the "diaper phase".    Sully recently moved to a big-boy bed, graduated from the pacifier and is potty's been a big year for the little man!   But with two boys in different sized diapers and adding in the pull-ups for potty training, I'm pretty sure the diapers were winning the closet battle.  With the boys so close in age, we were also having serious issues managing the in/out flow of clothing and the current inventory.  Addressing their closet was high on the priority list if we didn't want to be swallowed alive by adorable toddler clothing and Huggies. 

Much like Mia's room, the boys' closet had too much stuff and there were multiple systems in their room that weren't working.  Again we started by pulling everything out....including the closet doors!  It drove me crazy that I could only access one side of the closet at a time and never really get to the middle. 

Then came the sorting.  Keepsakes were moved to a special box and outgrown baby gear and clothes were moved to the donate pile.  We kept books and the boys' train table/trains in the room; all other toys went to the family room. 

Then we thought about the storage systems in the room.  A giant set of plastic drawers took up a ton of space and held clothes in the upcoming size/season.  We moved the drawers to the garage for additional storage and moved the boys' clothes in the next size up to flat plastic bins under their respective beds. 

The colorful storage tub system in the closet attracted all sorts of items.  So,we gave him a specific job!   All the diapers are now accessible and organized by type {regular, night-time, day pull-ups and night pull-ups}.  We use the smaller bins to store shoes in the upcoming size/season.  We also moved the boys hamper out of the room and into the closet.

We invested in a large dresser that holds the boys everyday play clothes, pj's, socks and undies.  In the closet, the boys clothes are divided on either side and further distinguished by these non-slip ghost hangers my MIL found at Home Goods.  Sully's clothes on the blue; Jack's on the green.

We added a few bins from Land of Nod to the top shelf for extra bedding, misc items and to collect clothes that Jack has outgrown {Sully's outgrown clothes go straight to his younger brother's bin under his bed}.  Bookplate labels from Martha Stewart keep everything clearly marked.

We carried the paint color on the walls into the closet and added a bold curtain in place of the old 
doors.  This is now a closet that completely works for us and our current season of life, but also leaves us the option to add a built-in system or other features to better fit the boys' needs as they grow."

It's  not only important to ensure our kiddos are well organized, we also have to be selfish and organize our own belongings.  Deme did a superb job with her bangles!

"This is one of my favorite projects because we didn't spend a lot of money, used things we already owned, and I now have a beautiful, organized little space that I'm excited to use every day!

When we bought our dining set from Craigslist it came with a handsome {and monstrous!} buffet.  Since we already have a built-in for storage in the dining room, the buffet went to the master to serve as my dresser.  The top 3 narrow drawers would be perfect for solving my jumble of a jewelry collection. 

I first lined the side drawers with an osnaburg fabric {similar to linen} and then lined the center drawer with some pretty wrapping paper.  Long beaded and gold necklaces went in the left drawer and short beaded necklaces and belts went in the right. 

I rounded up some bowls and a long, shallow plate to hold my bracelets and long hook-back earrings.  An unlikely find in the kitchen section of Marshall's at just $7.99 {a white ceramic egg platter with blue details} was the answer to corralling my stud/short earrings and rings.  Everything is tucked away in the drawer and I love opening it up to a view of pretty little things each morning!"

I couldn't leave y'all without an incredible Before and After to drop your jaws at.... so last but certainly not least, check out Deme's nook:

"The summer we began the 2nd phase of our kitchen reno and this breakfast nook was high on the to-do list!  We started out with a dark, scary corner and now have a bright multifunctional space!  The kids ate breakfast and lunch here but there were a few problems.   They had trouble accessing the chairs against the wall.  It could only seat 4, so one member of our family was out of luck if we wanted to eat here together.  We used this space for play-doh, painting and crafts but the art/craft supplies were scattered throughout the house.  With school starting, we also needed a place for homework and learning activities.

We said goodbye to the dungeon by having a contractor friend install recessed lighting.  HUGE difference!  To expand seating, we took advantage of the corner space by using an L-shaped bench.  I found one on Craigslist and even though it looked a little generic, I couldn't resist the built-in storage in the bench seats.  The honey colored benches got a fresh coat of white paint and l lined the drawers with some graphic shelf paper.  One bench holds a box of painting supplies {so that I just have to pull out one thing when we decide to paint}, as well as crayons, pencils and tape.

The other bench has drawing paper, a couple of dry erase handwriting boards {dollar bins at Target!}, a box of dry erase markers, and activity books.  We absolutely love having everything we need to create and learn in one place, concealed and organized!  We also created a kids' art gallery in the dining room, so new art projects can go right on display.

I normally don't jump on trends but ombre {color gradation} has been calling!  I wanted to use stripes to help the small corner feel larger and a subtle ombre affect with grey stripes did the trick!  We printed and framed one of our favorite Dr Seuss quotes  {"The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."} using a digital scrapbooking kit, to really mark this area as a place to explore, learn and create!

Using an outdoor fabric is a great option for covering bench cushions....they hold up well to little ruffians and clean up well too.  If that's not an option, you can use a regular fabric treated with Scotch Guard to create a more durable and protective fabric {same for the fabric used on pillows!}.  Perfect for an active area like this!

We kept the same table and chairs, but changed a few things up.  We painted the table white and took a bright coral to the chairs for an added pop of color.  In the 'before' shot you can see these chairs were really tall.  Before we painted them, I had the hubs cut them down to the next rung and they're now a much better height for this space.  Between the benches and chairs we can now fit up to 6 people at this table {the 2 other chairs are stored in the garage}.  And my boys are loving that they can easily climb onto the benches without help from mom and dad.

We still have a lot to do in this kitchen reno but having this little area done, feels great!  The kids love it and I can't help but smile whenever I walk into the kitchen."

She has quite a gift right?!  Wow, all of her colors are so divine and work so well together.

  • Deme is definitely not afraid of color, and she demonstrates in these projects what an impact some color and paint make!
  • She loves to be resourceful and use things she already owns and scours Craigslist for inexpensive finds.  Then, pulls out the paint to make her pieces fabulous!
  • She mentioned that when working on a project, she pulls everything out and starts with a blank slate, there is no better method for organizing than that!
  • Deme appreciates mixing organization with style.  Evident in the photos above. Sigh.  So beautiful.
  • All of Deme's systems are simple to implement, simple to maintain.  
  • She always takes the extra step to line her drawers.  I bet it's a huge motivator to keep things organized, to ensure that pretty paper always shines through!

What do you love most?  Hard to decide right?  You can find all the details and more pictures for each project over on Deme's amazing blog here.  Be prepared to lose track of time!

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog! 


  1. love the pink girl's room...I don't have a little girl, but it gives me something to daydream about : )

  2. Toy storage unit in the closet! Why didn't I ever think of that? Ours is currently corralling toys but I will definitely give it a second life in the closet when the boys are older.

  3. Totally stunning! I love the pictures of the vanity! lovely!


  4. I too had bells go off in my head when I saw the toy storage unit in the closet! My baby's room is in total choas of outgrown toys, clothes and shoes and his older brother's clothes waiting to grow into. We are also changing seasons in MN right now. This is a great solution so I can SEE and easily locate where everything is.

  5. Yay! So excited to see this. Of course I love everything and am totally inspired by Deme--and have been my whole life. She's my cousin! I'm so blessed. :) Thanks for featuring her, Jen! She completely deserves it.

  6. WOW! She has such fantastic ideas. I just love the ombre nook and Dr. Seuss inspired art. Great great feature.

  7. Holy Creativity Batman!! My brain hurts right now from all the fabulousness.

    1. Ha ha, I couldn't have put it better than Holly, above. Some truly great home inspiration there. Makes me realise just how much I need to get on with in our home. (Note to self: less blog admiring, more doing!)


  8. Thank you so much for the incredible feature today, Jen! We're so grateful to be here :)

  9. Deme and her blog both are amazing. She has so many great ideas, tips, and tricks that are something that you can ACTUALLY do yourself. Her blog is definitely one to follow if you aren't already. I can't wait to see more from here. This is by far one the most deserving people I know to be featured here. Props to you Jen for featuring the blog of not just a creative woman, but an amazing mother.... and cousin too. Now I must say I'm a bit bias because like Chrissy, she's my cousin too!

  10. That vanity is just precious!

    But I really love the nook. I have a dark corner in my dining room right off the kitchen, and a similar situation with chairs and walls and whatnot. I'm totally on the hunt for an L-shaped bench now! Great idea, I'm so inspired! Thanks for sharing Deme and her blog.

  11. I hope I have a daughter some day!

  12. I love the use of the deviled egg tray and the bright chairs in the kitchen! Looks great!

  13. Hi Jen,
    i love this!Lovely.. I heart your blog too
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. That toy storage unit in the closet is sheer genuis. Will be doing that TOMORROW!

  15. I think my obsession with red chairs continues... ohmygosh love her dining nook! And the egg tray is always a favorite organization tool of mine -- I have one in my living room and if I had the space, would probably buy one for every room in the house! <3

  16. Would love the triple wicker floor lamp!

  17. I would really like to know what the fabric is called that she used on the pillows sitting on the L-shaped bench at the kitchen table. Especially the multi - colored scalloped stripe. If you know I would love to know too!

    1. Hi Danita! The scallop stripe fabric is Michael Miller Sorbet Spa Scallop Coral (from The white/grey ikat is premium prints chipper storm; the pink I found at Joann's in home dec, and the others I cheated a bit.....the light blue graphic print is a pillow case from Target and that white and brown one is actually an 18x18" double sided placemat I found on clearance for $1.98 at Target too. I just opened up one end and stuck an 18" pillow form inside :) Hope that helps!

  18. I feel like this house is my twin! Seriously my closet in my boys shared room is exactly how her "before" problems were (I have 2 in diapers/pull ups...boxes of wipes everywhere and all the same issues she had!). And my breakfast nook area has been calling out for a corner bench since we moved in our house. My husband owns his own plumbing business and is very handy but has NO time for our own house! It's been such a struggle...he has been telling me he will build a corner bench for over 4 years now! I have been on the fence with picking up one when I see them on Craigslist for a long time now, the good old saying "If you want something done you have to do it yourself", well now I am on it! I love this post!!

  19. this space is so cheery and bright. love the fabrics for the cushions!

  20. Everything about all of these spaces is perfection! I have gotten so much inspiration just from this one post!

  21. Each and every space here is awesome! Deme has really done an amazing job! Not sure how she can do it all, but she does...and she's amazing at it.

  22. Each and every space here is awesome! Deme has really done an amazing job! Not sure how she can do it all, but she does...and she's amazing at it.


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