Beach Accessories

I promised my husband that the room would be beachy without putting shells and fish all over it. So, I’ve been on the hunt for touches of the beach that I can pull into our bedroom without getting too “cliche.” These are a few things I’ve spotted that I think could be cool, if done just right…

Photos (from top left) taken at HomeGoods, Michaels, Pottery Barn, and Michaels.
Title photo taken at HomeGoods.


Our Beach’n Bedroom

Well, you learned on Wednesday that we finally finished building our bed! And so after a few more finishing touches to the whole room, our bedroom is finally starting to look like an oasis, rather than a war zone!

We went from this:

Early Bedroom
To this:

Bedroom In Progress
And finally to this:

After Bedroom

Ahh… that’s much better!!

Let me show you around. First, in the photo above you can see that I finally added the curtains in front of the wardrobes to hide our clothes and drawers. I picked up three packs of the Ikea VIVAN curtains for around $13/pack and placed them in front of the wardrobes, in front of the mirror behind the bed, and in front of our real-life window!

The window behind the bed is a mounted mirror with an old paned window (purchased for $25 at a garage sale we stumbled upon in the burbs and painted white) hung in front of it. Hanging the window was quite a challenge.. it is extremely heavy and due to the construction of our condo, finding studs on some walls is nearly impossible. But, we found a solid solution with two of these brackets, which we hung above the mirror, ensuring it was both level and secure!

We finished off that end of the room with two wall-mounted lamps, which I ordered online from CSN Lighting. Unfortunately, the white shades that came with them were HIDEOUS! when the lights were in use, because they made everything look super yellow. So, first, I attempted to recover the shades myself; it was no use, the plastic that held the two rings together (there weren’t metal rods between) was what was causing it to be yellow, so even in a thicker brighter white fabric, the shade was still yellow. When that failed I went searching high and low for new lampshades that would fit with the feel of the room and wouldn’t be too large or too small for the fixtures. I finally found these at Lowe’s and while I had originally planned to recover them in white fabric, particularly because I wasn’t too sure about the pleats, I thought the pop of sand color and the texture of the darker bits actually worked perfectly and ended up loving them just as they were!

I had been looking for a coverlet to fold at the end of the bed in winter and use as our “heavier” sheet in the summer when I found this one at Target for $30 and JUMPED on it. (Seriously, I think the other women in the aisle thought I was trying to steal it I grabbed it and ran to my cart so fast!) It’s super soft and works absolutely perfectly with the teal of the chest of drawers we repainted on the other side of the room:

Bedroom from the Other Angle
In these photos you can also see the seagrass laundry basket I purchased from QVC (this is version 2.0, since the first one’s casters broke off too easily, but they replaced it for free – which is good because I was already pretty frightened by how much I spent on it but it was SO perfect for the room). And you get a glimpse of the fun and practical linen storage bench I got from JCPenney. They each, along with the lamp shades, bring in some nice neutral, earthy touches to the room to help ground it, while the rest is light and airy and just “beach’n”!

Not pictured, but contributing to the light and airy feeling is the new ceiling fan I installed which looks a million percent better than the old one. I jumped on this new one while hubby and I were in Home Depot on a completely unrelated task. It was calling my name – on clearance, clean white lines, and a simple round white glazed light flush to the bottom of the fan, no points or extra space at all! Of course, the installation didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped (what does, really, in this condo?) since one of the screws for the light mount REFUSED to turn and I broke a screwdriver and ended up having to dremel the manufacturer’s screw off and make a new hole to install the light, but it all worked out in the end.

It looks a million times better than it did a few months ago, but I still have a few finishing touches to add, including artwork above the chest, a few extra beachy touches and something to fill those glass fronts of the drawers.

And I’m sure that the Youngsters will certainly see now that I wasn’t kidding when I told them they were my inspiration!

Early Bedroom


A Bed, A Bed I Said

We finally finished making our bed!!! And it was super easy! 🙂

Well, not quite. It took a lot of work:

And quite a bit longer than we planned… as in MONTHS (but that’s mostly because we only worked on it on weekends, took a few weekends off, and my handyman, aka my husband, was out of town for a lot more of the project than I had hoped.)

And we definitely had a few mishaps… can anyone spot the difference between the photo on the left and the one on the right that DOESN’T have to do with the paint job? I’ll give you a hint. the photos were taken from the exact same location… and yet you can see the end of the bed on the right…

That’s right, we definitely built the bed too long at first!

We built the bed using modified plans from Ana White’s Stratton Bed design. We added the drawers, adjusted the plan to remove the “wasted” space in the middle of the bed AND forgot to account for the fact that we were making each of the benches bigger, and would therefore probably need to make one a bit smaller. So, after it was all assembled, trimmed and primed, and we were nearly ready to paint (center photo), we realized that the darn thing was WAY longer than we wanted it to be! Well, time to improvise! We brought in the circular saw and hacked off a section of the top piece, which brought it nicely back down to queen bed size. Phew! Then we repositioned the trim (which we also shortened, obviously), patched a bit more and then painted:

You’ll notice we also designed and built our own bookshelf headboard. We did this because we placed the wardrobes on either side of the bed, which, while providing plenty of extra closet storage, didn’t allow us room for nightstands. The bookshelf headboard gives us the space for our alarm clock, phones, books we’re reading, a waterbottle or glass of wine, a box of kleenex, the remote for our mattress, and anything else we want to have by our bedside.

To do this, though, we had to make sure that we left a space for the motor for our bed, and holes for the plugs to run through for our alarm clock, phone chargers, etc. So we cut a hole in the front of the headboard that was high enough to reach, but low enough that it would be covered by our mattress. We also mounted two surge protectors inside on 2x4s there to keep the shelves stable. Then we drilled holes in the bottom of the two side bookshelves, which we use to run the cords through to the surge protectors.

Then, we added some finishing touches to the drawers.

Handles on the outside:

And fun colored paper on the inside:


And the end result was a heck of a lot better than this:

But you’ll have to stay tuned for the full bedroom reveal!

Slowly Moving Forward

We’ve been trying to chip away at our to do list and have managed to make some progress.

Project 1: Wardrobes/Chest of Drawers

We purchased our wardrobes from IKEA and thanks to a friend of ours, got them home safely. (Who knew those boxes would be so HUGE?) I assembled them and started filling them with clothes. And, several weeks later, they inspired me to buy all matchy-matchy hangers, so we now have coordinating hangers in all of our closets and wardrobes. I’ve got to admit – as geeky as it sounds – this makes me really happy.

In addition, we took on a rather large project when we purchased an unusual set of drawers that were originally intended as a sideboard, to become our chest of drawers in the bedroom. I just loved all of the drawers and the glass fronts on the top drawers. But the color wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I worked on stripping and repainting it. It took longer than expected, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. The before pictures are posted above and to the side. I’ll add after photos once I get the last handle attached.

Project 2/3: Office and Guest Bedroom/Kitchen Nook

Still no progress here, unfortunately. We’re continuing to look for desks that will work in the spaces – one black for the guest bedroom and a white one for my kitchen nook. We may end up having to hack something (I’ve got an idea for an IKEA hack for the kitchen one), but we’re still looking on Craigslist and everywhere else to see if we can find something less expensive.

Project 4: Living Room/Entertainment Center

We’ve finally ordered an entertainment center! See the photo of it on the left. I think this will be a great piece that will be functional (look at all those drawers for storage!) as well as really nice in our space and go well with my old world/new world mixture of design. I’m really excited about it and we get to go take a trip to the burbs (Woodridge, what!?) to pick it up on Thursday night!

Project 5: Patio

Unfortunately, while we do have a lot of great ideas for the patio space, we’re going to have to wait a while to implement these. This is mostly because… the patio is going to be destroyed. Yep- the structural damage that we knew about when we were looking to buy the place is maybe, finally, going to be fixed. Which brings with it, the lovely and large special assessment that we’ll have to pay, along with all of our neighbors, in order to fix it. So, we’ll be paying for improvements on the balcony, they’ll just be of the necessary kind, rather than for fun.

Project 6: Ceiling Lighting

No progress in this direction whatsoever. We’re still suffering from the evil and cheap lighting that was here when we moved in. Someday, hopefully soon, we’ll get them replaced. I’m really getting tired of the lack of a chandelier in the dining room and the ugly light in our bedroom and ceiling fan in our living room. Anyone else dreaming of new lighting fixtures like me?

Upcoming Projects


We’ve got several projects in the burner and so many ideas!

Project 1:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our next major project is going to be installing wardrobes on either side of the bed. As part of that project, we may also end up building our storage bed to fit our specifications. We want something with a shelf for a headboard and drawers underneath. Since most of the bed will be covered by the pillows and comforter, we can stain it or paint it however we’d like. Plus, it gives us time to find a fun, unique piece for our chest of drawers on the other side of the room since it won’t need to match anything else in the room.

Project 2:

There are a lot of options for Project 2, but I think we may decide to try to get the office/guest bedroom figured out. Right now it’s our messiest room, as all of the boxes that have yet to be unpacked (with only a few exceptions) can be found sitting in that room. Previously, we had thought to try to squeeze two desks into the space, one each for Dan and I. After looking around for a corner desk that would fit in the space, we had come to the conclusion that we were likely going to need to custom build something for that room, as well. But dear hubby had a fantastic idea today and I think we may be able to make it work. He noted that we had some usable space in the kitchen nook that could go toward a desk space there for me, allowing the office to just hold one desk, instead of two. Then we’ll have a bit more space for the air mattress when we have guests since that room is just definitely not that big!

Project 3:

Which makes Project 3 the desk out in the kitchen nook for me. I think this could look really cute, with fun organizers and a white board plus a desk surface that I can fold out to create a better art/craft space, as well as a good place to fold laundry fresh out of the dryer. Plus, we can put bookshelves along the wall to hold our cookbooks and our household binders, etc. I think this will be a great idea, as long as I can keep some of my arts and craft supplies inside the office to keep the nook as neat as possible and just wheel stuff out to my desk area when I feel like taking on a project.

Project 4:

And speaking of projects, the living room will need to be our next project. Since we have to get our new big screen TV off the floor! I’ve got the idea to create an “old world meets new” look with a Moroccan flair. I know that sounds like just a bunch of words compiled into a sentence, but I promise that I really do have a vision for the space. (I’ll blog more about that room, specifically, in another post).

Project 5:

We also want to really spruce up our patio to make it a bit more fun and cheerful out there. As many of you know – living in Chicago means that you can only use your outdoor space for a few short months (which seem shorter every year) so really cleaning up the space and bringing some color and texture to it will be key to maximizing our enjoyment of the space.

Project 6:

Then there is the lighting. Ever since we moved in, and perhaps even before then, we’ve wanted to subject whomever installed the lighting in our condo to severe levels of lighting torture. [I’m imagining bright lights shined in his eyes and perhaps being chained to look up at the awful fixtures for hours on end.] We hate pretty much every fixture in the place including the:

  • the ugly ceiling fan/light fixtures in both bedrooms
  • the cheap-o fixtures in the entry, hallway, and kitchen nook
  • boob-like sconces in both the living room and the dining room- which were orange when we first moved in
  • ceiling fan [no light] in the dining room where there should be a chandelier (and matching fan in the living room)
  • the randomly placed ceiling fan (which looks as though it may have been a more recent addition) in the kitchen which can’t be on when you’re cooking or you’ll open the cabinet into the fan blades.
  • the cheap-as-possible outdoor light at the back door and the decrepit light on the patio

As you can see – there isn’t much to love and there is a lot to replace. Not to mention the fact that we seem to burn through light bulbs a lot faster in these outlets than we ever have in any other light fixture. We can’t wait to replace these!

You’re Our Inspiration

We’ve been doing a lot of searching, researching and brainstorming around what we’re going to do with the rest of our condo. We still have a LOT of work to do throughout the place, so it was great to find a blog called Young House Love (formerly This Young House), which gave us a great idea for adding storage to our bedroom.

As you may recall, when we bought the place, the former owner had placed a large armoire in the corner and placed the bed against the wall with the window, with a bright bedspread, a look that made the room look a lot smaller than it really was.

As you saw in our other “A Place to Sleep” entry, we had decided to put the bed on the other wall to try to add a bit more of a focal point to the room as you walk in, adding depth to the room. But it left little room for storage.

Enter “This Young House” (now “Young House Love”) pastedGraphic_1.pdfand their master bedroom – where they added Ikea storage units on either side of the bed to add additional closet space, with a header above and curtains on either side to make it look like it’s built in and the bed fits nicely in the nook between. (Photo to the right courtesy of Young House Love.)

So, today we went to Ikea and priced out the wardrobes that we want with all the little components that we wanted inside and… decided to see if we could investigate other options that might be more affordable. We scampered over to Lowe’s, remembering some closet/wardrobe options that might work. But no luck there – each cabinet was either too big or too narrow. So, we’ll probably end up going with the Ikea version and just making that investment in the storage that we really need in the bedroom, despite the fact that those inside pieces start to add up much more quickly than we’d like.

Next we need to find the actual bed for our room. We’re hoping to find a platform bed with drawers underneath, to add even more storage to the room, including storage for sheets, but we haven’t found one that we like as well as the one on the side here, at a price that we can afford.

Plus, we’re hoping to do a shelf at the head of our bed so that we have a place to keep our phones plugged in at night, as well as the book I’m reading. We’ll then do swing arm lights, like the ones pictured in the inspiration photo. And, since we don’t have a window on that wall to make the inside curtains make sense, we’re thinking of putting a mirror with white gridwork to make it look like a window, which will also make the space look larger.

Needless to say, we still have a lot of steps we’ll need to take before we see the complete bedroom in real life, rather than just in our imaginations.