Wednesday, April 1, 2015

26 One Room Challenge Week 1 - IHeart Living Room Plans

I typed the intro to this post about 62 times and each time sounded equally as crazy.  Things like, "YOU GUYS!" and "Oh My Greatness!" and "Squeal!" and "Holy Bananas Batman!"...  I just had to give up and come to the conclusion that I am harboring a boatload of excitement about today's announcement and dive right in.  So here it is.  I was asked to participate in the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling it Home!  #gleefulcheeringcommences

What is the One Room Challenge?  I am SO happy you asked!

The short version - 20 bloggers have exactly six quick weeks to completely transform a space.   And really, it is more like five weeks.  This is where the, "Holy bananas batman!" comes in.

When Linda sent over the invite, I took some time to really go through the decision process because I knew we were in the beginning stages of our kitchen renovation.  After a lot of back and forth between the red horned version of Jen on my left shoulder and the halo adorned Jen on my right shoulder, I said yes.  Surely we would be done with our kitchen by the first of April right?

The one stipulation of this challenge is that we had to select a space that needed an overhaul.  Oh, and it had to be a space that we hadn't already shared our plans for or started working on.  That is why our living room suddenly went dark on the blog. 

I thought when I initially accepted that I would maybe renovate our lower level bathroom or finally finish our oldest son's bedroom, but as the start date for the challenge continued getting closer and closer, I knew I had to do our living room.  It is now wide open to our kitchen, and being that the kitchen is still far from finished, there was absolutely no way I was going to start on another giant project that had nothing to do with said kitchen.

Plus, the living room is about the blankest slate in our home.

Another plus?  We had already budgeted and planned for updates to the living room with the kitchen, so it really just makes sense.  So now, you will be getting weekly living room updates each Wednesday until the final reveal in six short and sweet weeks from now.  And just because we are about to tackle this fantastically fun family space, that doesn't mean we are stopping with the kitchen.  In fact, it means we are about to work in overdrive double-time.  So fingers crossed we will also continue to have weekly kitchen check-ins as well.  Wish us luck, it's about to get CRAZY exciting around here.

So what do we have planned for this space?  Well, floors would be nice. And so would trim.  Ha!

My vision for the space has been changing by the minute, but at the very moment, it looks a little like the grouping above.  

Ultimately, I have a few goals for the end result of the space:
  • To finish on time (I am totally biting my nails).
  • To remember that this space is about family first, design second.  Challenges like this are sure to make someone put on a decorating cap and have fun completely transforming a space, but we have to live in this space after the six weeks are up.  So sure, I want it to look good, but more importantly, I want it to function good.  
  • That said, I do want this space to reflect our style.  I hope to keep the final room youthful, family friendly and colorful.
  • And finally, to be resourceful.  We sold our lower level sectional and moved all of our previous upstairs furnishings to our downstairs family room.  We have a few new pieces coming in to the new living room, but everything else has to be done by reusing what we have, getting creative, scouring thrift stores and DIY'ing our hearts out.

Keeping those goals in mind, the first step will be to install the flooring and trim.  From there, the plans are to completely revamp our bookcase and build it up to the ceiling.  I think that is what I am most excited about, I have been wanting to do that for years now!  I found a fabulous spindle chair last summer that I am planning to have re-upholstered, and we put our old sectional moolah towards a smaller, apartment sized sofa (our space is only 12 feet wide).  I really wanted to replace our windows with beautiful, black paned options, but we didn't really have a need other than aesthetics so it didn't make the budget cut.  To bring in the dramatics I heart in those black paned windows, we will do simple linen drapes adorned with beautiful black banding.  I am also hoping that the black accents ground all of the soft gray-blue on the walls.  The rooms needs a little drama.  

The rest of the pieces are all items we had prior to our gut job.  We still have our IKEA shoe cabinet and school cubby credenza, but it would be fun to find a way to dress those up a bit more.  And now that we finally did our major furniture swap, we can wrap up our stairway project as well.  Finish it all off with some throw pillows, accessories and lots of love, and we have ourselves a living room makeover!

So many ideas, projects and ambitions, so little time.  I hope the adrenaline from our excitement stays strong!

What do we win at the end of this challenge?  Our finished space of course!  The goal is to have fun, share our story of a total transformation, and take part in a really fun challenge with fellow bloggers.  

Speaking of other bloggers, are you ready to see the incredible lineup?  I am trying my darnedest to not feel intimidated by all of the awesomeness!

Each of the bloggers listed above will also be taking on a total makeover over the next six weeks as well.  Each Wednesday I will update you on our progress, and also include their links so you can catch up on A LOT of room makeover goodness.  I think it is time for me to purchase stock in coffee beans,  I can't even begin to imagine how amazing this all is going to be. #oneroomchallenge

Want to participate?  I sure hope so!  You can share your weekly updates as part of this challenge also, Linda has all of the details for you on her blog here.

I wish I could think of something better to say than, "Oh My Greatness!" and "Squeal!" but I think they sum things up perfectly!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

22 Quick Tip Tuesday: Magical Stain Be-Gone

This week's quick tip comes courtesy of my fabulous sister-in-law.  She shared a solution to a common problem and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  So, I had to try it myself, and share this cool little gem of a tip with all of you.

Stains.  Always a word with a negative feeling.  And although a ring is a positive sign of eternal love in marriage, an eternal ring on a piece of furniture or counter-top doesn't emote the same level of happiness.

Last week, my sister-in-law and I were chatting about kitchen counter-top options (as we are in the process of selecting ours for our kitchen renovation), and were discussing the pros and cons of each type.  We talked about how overall, our laminate counters held up fairly well over the years of our abuse; we really only had issues with seams, the color/finish that was selected and a few areas where we made the poor choice to skip a cutting board.  She then proceeded to tell me that one thing she appreciates about laminate, is that if they happen to be stained with a ring of red juice or wine, hand sanitizer magically will take the stains away.  Hold the phone.  What did she just say?  Hand sanitizer + red stain = no more stain?  I had to see it to believe it.

I thought about staining my own white laundry room counter top just for the thrill of the experiment, but we all know how silly that sounds.  Then, this afternoon, I spotted a stain that happened on a piece of our furniture back in December.  I had filled a vase with flowers and water and the bottom of the vase was wet enough that it left an awful ring of discoloration on our white furniture top.  I scrubbed, I cried, I scrubbed some more. Gah, so disappointing and sad!  Nothing seemed to work.

When I spotted the stain, I recalled last week's conversation and I started wondering if it was worth testing out the hand sanitizer trick.  Although it is not a laminate counter, it does have a laminate-like finish.  I dabbed some sanitizer in a location of the furniture that was not visible to test things out, letting it sit for about 30 minutes.  The furniture held up to the test with no signs of wear, so I decided to go big or go home.

I applied a generous amount of sanitizer around the ring of the stain.  I then let it sit for 15 minutes.

After my timer went off, I used a soft microfiber cloth to wipe up the sanitizer.  I was surprised to see how about half of the stain was gone!

I tried to scrub a bit, it helped a little but I concluded it wasn't really about the scrubbing action.  I think it was more about the sanitizer just pulling the stain up and out of the furniture.

So, I applied again, for another 15 minutes.

Patience is key.  I did this three times, but in the end, the stain was completely GONE!

So, if you have a stain that you have been frustrated with, I say, give it a whirl.  Do a little research ahead of time, my guess is that there are some surfaces you definitely would not want to try this on, such as solid wood (the key ingredients in hand sanitizer are water and isopropyl alcohol), and always test a small area first.  If you do try it and it works, be prepared to CELEBRATE

Looking for more quick tips?  Check out the entire series here!

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