Archive | design

a story about a ceiling

so i recently posted this photo showing Husbuddy working away:


but i’m not sure y’all know the full extent of where this little project started…

just to catch everyone up, here’s the DAY we moved in photo: studio-guestbedroom   studio-guestbed2

yummy dropped commercial ceiling (blech!) and so low! we thought we could just gain a couple more inches if we took it out. also…the dust and gross musty smell of the thing. get it outta here!


well we started taking it down right away.

but… we didn’t catch this in the inspection:


we apparently, luckily, only took down a couple of the ceiling tiles on the other side of the room. le sigh.

you can’t tell from the awesome picture (from 2013) that actually the ceiling was sagging. the plaster had pulled away from the ceiling rafters… and how about that wall paper?

and also- see the walls? apparently they only thought we needed to plaster the walls up to the dropped ceiling. i mean, the guy was probably thinking, “who would ever want to remove such a gorgeous dropped ceiling?”

ha. {we can laugh about it now.}

also, how about them wires? they weren’t to code— AT ALL. they where wired through the ceiling fixture and down to the outlets in each of those walls. genius.

and horrible.



this was me (prego the first time) sweeping up the mess along with a few tears. it was going to be a lot more work then we had imagined.


in the next few weeks we had a contractor add some beams to pull the ceiling back up to where it should be. the contractor wanted to do just one beam down the middle because that’s all in really needed but this little designer knew that in the future two beams would look OH so much better. tee hee. the contractor also re-wired the electrical… you know, instead of taking the wires through the ceiling light down to the walls… ack.

so this is how the ceiling stayed for the last three years.


well mostly. besides the whole “bat escapade” (see that post here or here if you’re unfamiliar with that disaster) where we figured out {guessed really} there were bats coming out of the holes in the walls so we covered it with cardboard…ahhem… classy. but really, could we do much more with this? lol.

we’ve had guests sleep in this room. with this scary looking ceiling. FOR THREE YEARS. oi. sorry guests. we love you for staying with us anyway.  IMG_2948

so back to the story: i drew designs for the ceiling to my hearts content. with no money to actually do anything it just sat like that for 3 years. until this year when i traded some hours with a contractor friend and we sweet talked him into helping us make this room work. and look SO much better! 2016-07-12 14.13.15

these photos kind of skip a few steps, but first we added support and shims to create a level plane to attach 4×8 bead board panels to.

2016-07-12 14.13.23

it was still impossible to get it perfectly level because just going from one corner to the next we’d be inches off… let’s just say our goal was honestly to bring it up to “quirky old house” level rather then “perfectly level and new looking” and rather then “creepy-old-house-that’s-going-to-fall-down-on-you” level. see? happy medium. LOL.

2016-07-12 14.14.38

here’s a detail shot… ha you can see ALL the layers:

  • the plaster wall not quite going all the way to the ceiling(the pink area next to the ceiling seems to be a wall papered wall behind the existing one that has a wire mesh over it)
  • the star wall paper ceiling
  • the rough 2×4 beam holding up the ceiling from 2013.
  • the classy piece of cardboard covering the bat-hole(ah! how did that not get removed?)
  • the shims and leveling supports for the bead board
  • the bead board panels being installed.
  • and the line of trim and molding to be added.

so we got the bead board up and where Husbuddy was working in this photo was during the wrapping with molding stage. we used 1xs all around the edge and around the beams to really hide the mess clean it all up. then we added a piece of cove trim to the corners to hide all the gaps.

see again? happy medium. 😉


isn’t he so cute?

and here you see where it stands today:

2016-07-16 13.34.45

TA DA! whew! it looks SO much better! we need to add a ceiling fixture (still) and organize the room for guests and for work, but seriously, doesn’t it look a like a million bucks?! {at least compared to before?} 

should i remind you?

before part 1: studio-guestbedroom

before part 2: IMG_2946

after:  2016-07-16 13.36.41

yay! it’s still quirky old house feel…but it’s clean and white and bright and it makes me smile. perfectly imperfect! and i love how the dark gray walls turned out!

Thank you Contractor Kevin for helping us SO much! Thank you Husbuddy for making my designs a reality(i know it’s hard being married to an architect) and thank you to our friend Bill for being such a good friend and helping us paint all of it in one afternoon.

ha. now to find a low clearance light fixture. maybe when we have guests next time the room will actually be put together.

SO, who’s coming to visit?

xo-kimberly renee
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DIY outdoor pillows {for -practically- free!}

diy pillows_edited-1

this project has been on my list for a couple years now. has ANYONE ever priced outdoor pillows? i mean, anyone who lives on a normal or frugal budget priced those suckers? i always hope i’ll find them reasonable somewhere but every.single.time it’s just disappointing. probably because i’m barely willing to spend $5 on a pillow- let alone $35-$50. you read that right. outdoor pillows are PRICEY.

so this little project i’ve been planning and preparing for 2 years now…

you think i’m exaggerating, but i’m not. you will see my crazy in a couple seconds…

and, yes! i made these for free!

what you need:

  • a sewing machine, thread etc.
  • 1 yard +/- outdoor fabric (i already had this- hence why it was free)
  • lots and lots and lots of plastic grocery bags <–the crazy 2 year planning right there folks. i’ve been saving those for a while.

you guys. this is super simple and i was able to finish three pillows during a nap time, so you’ve got this.

start by cutting your fabric into the size of pillow you want. i just guessed. my fabric was an old drape that i had originally used sunbrella indoor/outdoor fabric for. you can find this fabric online at your favorite fabric website, even amazon has it. just make sure it’s outdoor fabric if you want an outdoor pillow! basically, i just cut my yard of 54″ wide fabric into thirds. so they ended up being 18″ wide. 2016-06-06 14.43.18 then fold in half, with right sides together and pin.

2016-06-06 14.43.32

then sew your pillow together!

2016-06-06 15.02.05 just make sure to leave a hole big enough for stuffing the pillow. i should have made mine a little bigger, because it was a little tight. 2016-06-06 15.21.50

guys, this is where my *crazy* comes in.

for stuffing, you use a MILLION plastic grocery bags. i have been saving them for years. i am sure there are easier ways to gather bags. but for me, i just tucked them away in my basement like a hoarder and Husbuddy thought there was something wrong with me.

this was my stash: {puppycakes was very confused}

2016-06-06 15.22.10

minus the huge bag i found after i used these up and needed more and then i just saw yesterday that i have another huge bag downstairs after i finished this project. doh. {remember where you stash your bags, people}

anyway, how AWESOME is this idea for stuffing outdoor pillows?

  • it’s plastic so it’s not going to grow something strange and gross if it gets wet.
  • it’s free because stores just hand these out.
  • it’s recycling to reuse them so it makes you a good person or something…
  • win win win!

ha. {side note, i can’t take all the credit for this idea. i’m pretty sure i saw it on the inter-webs around 2 years ago when i started saving these things… ha. but WHO knows where that was. so if i’m not crediting YOUR brilliant idea please, let me know.}

so anyway, here is the first stuffed pillow. you can see it’s lumpy because i only stuffed it like 3/4 full because i was running out of bags already and i had two more to stuff!

2016-06-06 15.26.02

this is where i may have panicked! but then, i found another stash of bags. the day was saved. (drama much? geez lu eez.)  2016-06-06 15.40.37

2016-06-06 15.50.41 then i just slip-stitched the hole closed and whaala:   2016-06-06 16.14.54

we now have the comfort and class of outdoor pillows without spending almost $100 for them. seriously.

i was a little worried that the plastic stuffing wouldn’t be comfortable, but really, i don’t even notice it. it’s super firm so it’s not like i’d want to sleep on it, but for an outdoor pillow that’s just to lean against and mostly for decoration anyway? super fun!

and free!  2016-06-06 16.15.19  so tell me, who’s gonna start saving those plastic bags for this project? OR, who is already crazy enough to have saved enough to start this project today? fess up people. i know you’re out there.

tee hee.

xoxo-kimberly renee
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our day trip to Savannah

savannah trip group it was a quick trip to Savannah one day last week. it was SUPER quick. why? oh, two toddlers and a five year old is why. but it was still worth it just to explore, see Spanish Moss up close, see the gorgeous architecture, experience a southern city and have yummy seafood for lunch. here are a few photos from our adventure: savannah arch and streets gah. the spanish moss is beautiful! and the gorgeous old houses? amazing.  savannah magnolia tree and i wanted to take home ALL the magnolia leaves.   savannah arch and oil lantern savannah arch 2 savannah arch doorway all these doors were amazing. savannah arch savannah church savannah family and of course we found a park.     savannah boys savannah succulents

family at savannah savannah daddy and girl  by the end the kids(and us adults) were exhausted and hot. but it was so fun to experience a different city, an area of the country i’ve never visited. the cobblestone streets and the spanish moss make me want to go back some day!

God has created some beautiful places in our world, it’s so fun to explore them and be amazed at His creativity! #masterdesigner

xoxo-kimberly renee


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just a little paint

it’s amazing what a little bit of paint can do, don’tcha think?

and really, isn’t that the easiest, cheapest, DIY update and renovation you can make on your home?

Here is the before from our original house tour:

front room

and now, FINALLY changing that BLA-beige to gorgeous grays, you will find i’m a much happier girl. i actually painted back in February but i’m finally getting the pictures taken.

after: {ignore our huge coat rack. lol i should have emptied it!}

Dining Room 4

Dining Room 2

just one room though… i have a lot of work to do if i’m going to paint the whole house!

{and yes, the hymnal wall is still there! who knows how much longer that will last though}

painted DR3 painted dining room painted DR2

it is hard to show on the camera what a difference the gray is from the beige. you can kinda see it in that picture below- the corner of the stairs because i didn’t paint up the stairs yet!

here are some overall room shots:

Dining Room 3 Dining Room  i’m loving it! i was a little afraid the dark wall would make the room feel too dark, but really it just makes all the white things pop and brighter.

what do you think? do you like changing the paint in your rooms? do you like experimenting with color?

xoxo-kimberly renee

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little architect blocks {new in shop!}

little architect blocks title

*New* for sale in my shop. little architect blocks were inspired by one of my favorite places in all the world:

Cinque Terre: this is Riomaggiore:

Italy pics 938

you look at that picture and that rumble jumble of buildings and think- it’s so fun, and different, and beautiful! well, let me tell you, pictures don’t even do this place justice. but that’s not what i’m talking about today. all i’m saying is that- Cinque Terre inspired my design of these children’s blocks:

little architect blocks3

i imagine the bright colors of italy and the tall houses and cozy living quarters as i play with i mean as i paint these. little architect blocks2


they are perfectly imperfect. just like those 5 sweet coastal towns in italy. the lines aren’t straight. they are sketchy and the edges are sanded to give them a rough look and perfect for little imaginations.

little architect blocks


l.a.b play

you may remember that last year i made these for Sophia for Christmas. well, she’s been playing with them all year and i’ve gotten some sweet comments on them.  i couldn’t help but ask if people would be interested in buying them as Christmas gifts!  so i made some more and now i will be offering them in my shop!

l.a.b. playing

the starting set will come as a set of 10 blocks with three colors. you pick colors and tell me if it’s for a girl or a boy. {basically for the color of the little bag that you can keep/carry them in} if you want to add extra blocks and extra colors, that’s totally up to you! i paint them with water based acrylic paint, sand the corners and add pen details and then polish them with beeswax. {just to make it safe, i would say wait till the kid isn’t sucking on everything in the world before you give these to them. they are perfectly safe, just be smart and seriously, the blocks just don’t need teeth marks in them! ha.} girl and blocks2 girl and blocks


who doesn’t want a set of blocks that is TOTALLY different from the normal ABCs?! {yes, those are good too, i’m just saying variety is good for the soul people…tee hee} product boy

product bag

who doesn’t want to inspire the little mini architect to build? to be honest though, my little architect’s favorite part is to destroy…  product info product girl


you can even get them with letters to spell out a name or initials.

product full bag

she also loves to help me pick them up. i think it’s the bag with the drawstring. she thinks it’s fun to dump and then put away and then to drag around the room. playing with bag

walking with bag2


these are the starting colors but we can always think outside the box… there’s a lot of color options!  product colors


what little kid wouldn’t want to build fun little houses {and then knock them down?} 

l.a.b. it’s september and i’ve already got you covered for that Christmas present.

check it out here.

xoxo-kimberly renee.


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“little architect blocks” {easy diy gift!}

i’m kind of in love with these cute little blocks that i made Sophia and our Godson for Christmas. i’ve been a busy bee working on architectural renderings for my etsy shop.  i have windows and doors on the brain and so when i saw THESE cute little blocks, i was inspired to put my own twist on it. AND, i need to start imparting my architecty-ways on the offspring. LOL. ya right.


if you need a last minute diy gift for a baby/toddler in your life, check this out!  diy little architect blocks

first of all, i found these blocks at Michaels.  i sanded and primed them. blocks start

blocks how to 1 then i painted them with acrylic-non-toxic paint and sanded them again. i wanted to make all the edges soft. and i like the worn look so i don’t have to worry about it looking perfect!  blocks how to 2 then i added black shapes for the windows and doors and then highlighted them with white pen. THAT EASY.

just repeat for all you blocks!   blocks how to 3  i may have added letters to the bottoms of the  blocks just for fun. now that i think about it- it would have been a little fun to use stamp letters! oh well! next time!

blocks details1a and for the “roof” i drew on little shingles and pitches. i wanted to cut the blocks to have them have triangle roofs, but this way was simplier and more fun to switch the blocks around.  blocks details3 then i added some details! what are little architect blocks without details? window boxes- check. light fixtures-check. balcony railings- check. round windows- DUH.

the words were a space filler for the bottoms of the in-between-floors… but you could always add more windows or something so it could be rotated.  blocks details2a  they were polished with beeswax which is an allnatural wax that wood-toy makers use. i thought it was a good idea for little people who like to put these in their mouth.

i also made drawstring bags to store them in because of course, the houses need a place to sleep at night.

sophias blocks

for Sophia’s set i actually have two sizes. just an experiment. it will be funny to see which size she likes better. of course, she can always mix and match! that’s the beauty of this “design”! ha.  bag it’s all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree! i hope  this project gives you any ideas for something you can make!

xoxo-kimberly renee

{ps- i also wondered if this would be a fun thing to offer in my shop for purchase? what do you think?}

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abusing the hymnal for the sake of design

hymn wall closeup

well, i guess it was a couple of weeks ago now… i posted this photo on instagram:


I have a little wallpapering helper 😉 #yesimgluinghymnstomywall… #idhtbptbb #decidedtowaittillnaptimetofinish

View on Instagram

needless to say, it took me a little longer then naptime to finish… but it really wasn’t that hard of a project! and once i convinced the husbuddy that it would look cool, and that it’s ok that i’m putting glue on our walls…because well, they are OUR walls… we moved forward! haha.

so i took apart a hymn book and glued it to my wall.

yup. all you book-ophiles. or if you’re like my sister and you’re horrified i’d actaully rip pages from a book. um, i do it all the time for art. so why not? this book was headed for storage or trash. so why not?

yup. all you design-nerds-who’d-yell-at-me-for-doing-this-the-wrong-way. you’re horrified that i used tacky glue. that i used book pages. it won’t last. it won’t keep. it won’t have a nice finish…yaddyaya… well, i think it looks cool, i know it won’t last forever…so WHY NOT?

yup. all you perfectionists… sorry, avert your eyes…cause this is NOT perfect. the pages don’t line up exact. some the rips show the paint through the side of the sheet…um, i’ve allowed myself to not be a perfectionist for multiple reasons and i’m still working on letting that BE OK… so ya. it’s ok. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE BEAUTIFUL {#idhtbptbb}


ok, now that i’ve got that out of my system…

want to see more pictures of my new wall?

hymn wall

i kind of LOVE it.


1. it was CHEAP. i had the book already. and i had the glue. i didn’t have to spend a dime.

2. it was easy. although it took a little longer then i expected(um, what doesn’t these days with a 9 month old?) all i had to do was line up paper and glue.’s pretty! i love having music on my wall! and i love that it’s hymns. i didn’t plan it, but there are a couple of our favorites up there and they make me smile.

hymn wall2

now, once Husbuddy gets over the shock that i got out his cello without telling him{during naptime, i promise!!}… i wanted to mention that this is not how this wall normally looks. some day down the road, we’re hoping to have a little sitting area here. it won’t always be just an empty wall with a music stand and a couple of musical instruments leaning(IN THEIR CASES!!) against it…. some day we’ll have a little side table, a light, a cozy little reading chair… someday! ha.

hymn wall detail wall detail

ha. so, there ya go. this blog was started in the name of art and design and for the first time in months i finally posted about design and art. hee hee.

oh well.

so what do you think? am i crazy because i glued old book pages to a wall? or do you love it like i do?

go ahead and vote… crazy or brilliant?

hee hee. there’s a fine line between the two, isn’t there?

xoxo-kimberly renee

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