July Round Up & Morning Room Updates
And somehow we are already through July! This is our first time experiencing an actual school year for one of our boys so it is our first time experience just how fast summer really does fly by.
I’m shaking things up a little bit this month – since I’ve been really busy with client projects I have been using my little bit of free time to concentrate some updates to one of my favorite rooms in my house – our morning room. So for my monthly round up I decided to share all of these little, but impactful, changes all in one go!
Straightening out the Curtains
A few years ago I shared this looooonnnnng post about how I trimmed out the windows in this room and made my curtains and curtain rods. The lound blue pattern is still one of my absolutely favorite things in the house BUT I was never happy with how they hung. During the fall One Room Challenge I saw Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook show how she hung her amazing DIY IKEA curtains and I had a eureka moment! IKEA curtains have a great strip sewn at the top that gives you several hanging options – and while I had ripped them out when I originally made my curtains liners, now I just needed to re-attach them.
Once I had these sewn back on, I used Jenny’s method of inserting Drapery Pins evenly along this top strip and hanging them onto the drapery rings (I used this opportunity to upgrade my rings to these awesome Pottery Barn ones).
Once hung, I was able to create even, smooth folds that not only look 100xs better – but even my husband noticed that they open and close much easier than before.
A Simple Centerpiece Addition
One reason we love this room is because it is full of windows so the sunlight just floods in! Over time we’ve realized that our plants are happiest in this part of the house too so I have slowly been adding more and more. I have a group of happy succulents, as well as my favorite antique oil can holder turned vase, in the middle of the table and had been planning on creating a simple wooden tray to corral them out of my scrap pile.
Well before I got to that step I started to clean out the garage and discovered that the top of some of the old shelves in there came off and formed the exact design I was going to make! I gave them some quick coats of white chalk paint and the final result is actually better than I had planned because instead of only having one large tray, I can break this apart into two smaller trays and line the whole table to create centerpieces for larger gatherings, kinda of how I set up my Easter Tablescape.
Just a quick note – all of those beautiful flowers come from Blooming Glen Farm, where we have been Crop Share members for the last few summers. In addition to all of the wonderful produce we get every other week, there are also rows and rows and gorgeous flowers that we can go and pick whenever we want. On nice days I love to wander around and pull together different color combinations to fill my mason jars. If you’re local I highly recommend checking it out – if you’re not, I highly recommend supporting your local farming community!
Hacking my Target Cabinets
By far the most involved project this last month was the upgrade I gave to the two Target cabinets that live under the morning room windows. These were actually a housewarming present from my mom and the first new pieces of furniture we added when we moved in. Let me go no the record as saying – THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THESE CABINETS AS THEY ARE! The color is great, the shape and size is great so if you think they would work in your home please go and buy them without hesitation! You may be asking “If you’re saying this then why on earth did you go and change them?” Well, as the house has evolved the pretty teal color just didn’t work anymore with the other blue tones (especially those of the curtains) and I had been wanting to paint them for while. THEN, once I decided to paint them I thought – well if I’m gonna make that change then why not tweak them slightly to be exactly what I wanted if I was gonna build them from scratch. SOOOOO here’s what I did………
My first challenge was turning these two separate cabinets into one larger piece. Because of that small edge detail at the top I’ve never been able to push them flush together, so off came the tops and I ran them through my table saw to remove the inner edges. Next, I clamped the fronts and backs together and drove some wood screws through each.
After that, I was still left with a small gap due to the design of cabinets – since I was going to paint these I filled the gap in with some of my new favorite wood filler, and then added a little to the front just to close that seam a bit more. I also saved a super tiny piece of the edge that I took off and glued it onto the front to bridge the space between each cabinet. Finally I gave the whole thing a quick sanding to rough it up a bit and help the paint take better.
I usually stick with Chalk Paint for projects like this – but I couldn’t find the exact color I had in my head so I changed things up a bit and gave Milk Paint a try. To be more exact I used Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint in Aviary, which is a gorgeous smoky blue. Since these cabinets are laminate I mixed the paint with the bonding agent and then, to bring out some of that edge detail, I finished the whole thing with the White Finishing Wax. I was a little unsure about the process as I started, but I’m actually extremely pleased with the way it turned out. My advice for any other Milk Paint newbies would be to carefully follow the directions (especially for mixing), to stir it up several times as you go, and to go for several thin even coats instead of a few thick ones.
The last decision I had to make was what to do with the doors – I could have put them back on as they were, but I was kinda digging the way the shelves looked open…my only issue was that the piece just didn’t look quite finished without them on. After a lot of experimenting, I actually figured out a way to have the best of both worlds – I put the doors back on but I took off the middle grid so there was nothing obstructing the view through the glass. It was a little nerve racking figuring out how to take the grids out without breaking the glass, but I found I was able to use my Dremel Oscillating saw on a low setting to slowly make cuts along the sides and the middle and ease them out. After a few coats of paint back on they went.
I primarily use these cabinets to store my cookbooks (and actually after a little clean out I totally have room for some more!) but I really wanted to find a way to use the rest of the space to store table linens as well as my random small decorating odds and ends. Luckily my Target had these amazing Hearth and Hand metal storage boxes 70% off one day I was there so I grabbed them all and ran – then ran back because I accidentally left them at the self check out!
The Finishing Touches
After ALL of that I finally got to the best part – styling the shelves! I wanted to keep things really simple because this window can let in a pretty strong breeze and we’ve had many things blow over. A few of my favorite plants, our antique fan, some wicker IKEA bowls, and everyone’s favorite Hearth and Hand houses (also a Target clearance section find!) create a beautiful set up.
In the corner is one of my all time favorite purchases – my card carousel from Pottery Barn, which they sadly no longer have in stock. I hate throwing cards away so not only does this let me nicely display them after birthdays and holidays, it also gives me a place to keep all of the beautiful pictures from our family photo shoots – I just wait until Shutterly has one of their get 100’s of photos for free sales and then stock up!
Eventually we have some pretty major updates planned for this room including treatments for the wall and ceiling, as well as some serious lighting improvements, but those are still a ways off. In the meantime these small changes will more than tide me over and make this room all the more enjoyable – and maybe they’ll inspire you to tackle a few “small” updates yourself this weekend ; )