Stripe It Up

By: Chelsea

It’s no secret. I love stripes. My eyes have long been drawn to their horizontal and vertical classiness. Fat stripes, skinny stripes, contrasting stripes, tone-on-tone stripes, The White Stripes. I love them all and henceforth declare them to be my favorite ever geometric pattern.

I love them so much that I now have 3 (small) rooms in my house that have stripes painted on the walls. Crazy, I know. I’m addicted to stripes.

With relative ease anyone can jazz up their walls by painting on stripes. All you need is some painters tape, a level, painting tools, and a little time.  The possibilities with such a project are endless, as color choice, size of the stripe and direction of the stripe are all up to the painter. In other words, have fun. Go crazy. Here’s what I’ve done in my house.

The first project I tackled was our small 1/2 bath. I used this tutorial to figure out how to measure the stripes. Thank goodness the math was basic.  I’m about as good at math as these guys are at proposing marriage.

I went with a horizontal stripe and carried it across all the walls. Here’s what the during process and finished product looks like:

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Cafe Curtain

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wall stripe

wall stripe

Next up is our entryway. Actually, it’s more like an entry cove. Our house’s entry space is nearly non-existent. Right when you open our front door…BAM! Stairs in yo’ face. No place to stand. No place to greet guests. Our lack of entry space is our least favorite feature of this house.  Even though most people probably aren’t as annoyed by the small space as me, I wanted it to somehow look inviting.  So what did I do?  I painted stripes on the wall. Duh.

Again, I went with the same tutorial and same approach. I simply painted our “cove” area with thick horizontal stripes, alternating between the same colors I used in our 1/2 bath. And I love the result:

(Uhhh…forgive my terrible camera skills in these photos. I clearly shouldn’t be operating anything other than a point-and-click.)


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The most recent space I added stripes to is our office. And by “office” I actually mean “oversized closet off  the master bedroom that more frequently plays the role of catch-all than place-to-get-work done”. It may not be functioning as it’s intended to, but hey, it’s cute.  This time I changed things up a bit. Broke out of the mold. Went a little nuts.

Instead of painting horizontal stripes, I made them vertical. Oh yes. I did. And instead of thick stripes, I skinnied them up a bit.  I’m totally off my rocker, eh? I dig the skinny vertical stripes.  Here are a few pics for you (I’ll do a more complete before/after of our office makeover sometime soon so you can see more of the entire project).

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And there you go. Stripes are my jam.


Customize it!

by Allyn

Do you have any outdated or just plain boring bed skirts hanging around your house? I did! After I got married, the pretty eyelet bed skirt just didn’t seem to fit the Master bedroom.  I love to get creative and reuse every chance I get, so I decided to do the same with this bed skirt.  I found a beautiful outdoor fabric on sale at Joann fabrics, as well as two complimentary ribbon spools to use to finish the top. Why the outdoor fabric? I knew it would keep it’s shape and stay flat like a panel over the eyelet fabric.

Next and most important step, I cut the whole inside of my bed skirt, leaving about a three inch wide border around the top.  I HATE the way bed skirts, bunch and slide and never seem to stay in place.  To prevent this, and make it easier to sew on the new bottom of my bed skirt, I essentially cut it into one long strip.  I cut my material to come up the same distance on both sides of the eyelet fabric, pinned on the ribbon finish and sewed it all in two seams on either side of the ribbon. Viola!

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The best part is, no bunching under the mattress, because I attached it with sticky velcro to the box springs. Yes! I have won the battle against that crazy bed skirt!


For a plain bed skirt that is pretty, but unremarkable, I added a double length of ribbon and gave a little extra something to my daughter’s room.



And of course, attached it with velcro. Velcro, you rock!


Now get out there and see what needs a quick pick up around your house.  Unable to complete your vision yourself? Give us an email and let’s get together to complete your project:

Making a statement in the bedroom

by Allyn

Have you ever seen a room in a movie or in a magazine and thought, “I wish my room looked like this?” I have! After watching the movie The Proposal, and flipping through some decorating magazines, I fell in love with the idea of a giant headboard for our master bedroom. I loved the idea of a statement piece that defined the bed as well as providing comfort while sitting and reading or talking.  The best part, seeing something that would be expensive to buy outright and saving money by doing it yourself!

To begin, take measurements, list supplies, and gather.


Time to pad the giant back piece and then install the frame support that it will stand on behind the bed.


Next, it’s important to minimize any attachments and make the piece look seamless.  To do this, it was critical to attach the fabric and side supports in a sequential order so that side screws would be hidden, and staples would only be on the back.



My amazing husband used a french cleat to attach the headboard to the wall and allow it to still sit on the floor to create a sturdy and comfortable headboard.

And the finished product is fantastic!


It gives the feeling of crawling into a sheltered, cozy spot to enjoy a great library book, share secrets with my best friend, and get a great night of sleep.

In a coming post, we will share some fun tips to spice up an old and outdated bed skirt, but for now, here is a sneak peek:


May all your dreams be as cozy as mine!


Cutting Corners in the Kitchen

By Chelsea

Our kitchen renovation was the first major project we completed in our house.  Oh, my, was it exhausting. And it took FOREVER…or so it seemed. But in true Ewald fashion, we saved money by cutting corners and doing (almost) all of the work by ourselves. Here’s a look at how we saved on costs and still ended up with a kitchen that we love:

1) Painting Cabinets

Here are a few before shots of our kitchen from shortly after we moved in  (we had already removed wallpaper and painted the walls):



The cabinets were in nice shape, but made the whole space feel dark and dreary. I’m often a fan of tone-on-tone looks, but not in this case.  The dark cabinets matched the dark flooring (like, they were twins…can you see it in the picture?) and so one of them had to go.  Our options? Buy new hardwood flooring, buy new cabinets, or paint the ones we had.  This wasn’t a hard decision for us and probably took all of about 2 seconds to decide.  Of course we opted to paint our cabinets!  This decision easily saved hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Here’s the rundown of what we did and what you’ll want to consider doing if you’re thinking of painting your cabinets:

1) Remove doors and hardware

2) Sand and clean

3) Prime with a good primer

4) Paint in a color of your choice, using a high-grade semi-gloss paint (we used Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in Alabaster).

5) Let doors dry for several days before re-hanging.

It’s time consuming, but it’s easy. And cheap. And the results are so worth it:



We actually had our cabinet doors sprayed by a professional painter, but otherwise, we did all of the painting ourselves. We LOVE how they turned out!  So much brighter and happier!

Here are a few other ways we cut corners on this project:

2) Craigslisting appliances

We don’t seem to have any pictures of our stove and microwave before we replaced them, but they were old, white and dirty. Since our dishwasher was already black, we decided to simply match our “new” appliances to that. Black isn’t our first choice for appliance color, but we didn’t want to pour money into new stainless appliances at the time (and probably won’t ever in this house). We did a little searching on Craigslist and found these nearly-new:


Intead of paying big bucks for each appliance, we got the deuce for about $600. And did I mention they were only 3 years old?!? Craigslist, you are indeed our friend.

3) Subway tile

Save LOTS of money on a backsplash by installing subway tile.  It’s classy and uber-affordable. I think we paid about  4 cents per tile for our backsplash, which added up to a grand total of about $12 for the whole backsplash.  Crazy, eh? And it’s totally us. Clean, bright and classy (ok, you’re right, we’re not that classy, but we try). We added a little pop of color by choosing a tinted grout. Chip saved us even bigger bucks by installing it himself.  Again–it didn’t get done in a day (or a week, for that matter), but it was worth the wait!


4) Countertop material

There are so many alternatives to expensive granite and quartz out there. We knew we didn’t want to pay for either of those materials, and truthfully, we like the look of less expensive materials better. Though laminate has come a long way and can mimic more expensive options, we ultimately decided against it. Instead, we went with solid surfacing. It’s far less expensive than granite, quartz, soapstone or any other high-end material, and yet it looks great and is really durable. We chose a dark granite-colored finish that has little flecks of gray, brown and white in it.  It goes great against the white cabinets and subway tile. We opted not to add a counter backsplash (that little lip that often sits up a few inches against the wall) to give it more of a clean, high-end look.

5) Adding cost-effective storage

We obviously have a small kitchen. Not a lot of cabinet space. Not a lot of counter space. Where to store everything? This was a question we struggled with for a long time. Our answer?  Inexpensive furniture pieces and baskets. Enter the Ikea Norden Sideboard. Perfect solution to our small kitchen woes!

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We also added one extra little cabinet where there was previously just an empty space where we stored our garbage can. The little bit of extra storage it brings is great!



6) DIY Window Treatment

Last, but not least, rather than purchasing a custom roman shade (which can cost hundreds), I made my own. I’m no seamstress, but I can sew in a straight line.  I followed a simple tutorial which gave clear and easy steps…and voila!  Cheap answer to a window covering!


And there she is!  Our cost-effective kitchen transformation.  No matter what your budget, there are ways to refresh and renew a space.  Anyone working on a kitchen project right now?  Let us know if you need some help!


Get Inspired!

I am a craft and art enthusiast. So when I was asked to complete a wall art installation in a craft room, I said, “Yes please!” I love knowing other crafty people are out there and are carving out spaces in their homes to indulge in such a fun hobby. These spaces thrive on color, whimsy, and inspiration.  For this client, nature is the number one inspiration, and thus a tree mural was designed.  This is the space at the start:

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It is a basement in the process of being finished. In essence, a perfect time for painting on the wall. The client wanted to stick with the colors of nature: browns and greens, but with a pop of brightness, yellow!

First step, the tree, lightly sketched in pencil and then brushed on using an angle brush to bring dimension and movement.

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The next step, adding the leaves.  I think we are all tired of the lingering winter we have had, and what better way to anticipate spring than to help your own tree leaf out!

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The final touch, birds!

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As you can see, since the project was started, the room around it continues to be finished. Next up for this room? A faux bird house applied on the wall to add dimension, a magnetic inspiration board covered in the green fabric,  frames to display artwork, and tons of organizing!  The client stated, “This is my favorite room now! I love to sit under my tree and read a book, or plan my next project.”  I hope this tempts you to think about a room in your house that needs a little extra something to turn it into your favorite room to spend time in.

Jimmy Buffet and my own personal secretary

by Chelsea

If you know anything about my approach to renovating a space, you know that I first attempt to work with what’s already available. There are so many ways to bring fresh life to an old space by simply working with what you’ve already got. Not only does it save you cash, it also forces creativity–two things of which I’m quite fond. Paint is a frugal DIY-er’s best friend. Get to know it. It can transform nearly ANYTHING in your home from old and drab to new and fab.  Case in point: take a look at these pieces of furniture that I’ve painted over the past few months at my house.

First up, our dining room buffet.  We found this guy on Craigslist a few years back. I don’t have any pictures of it in its original state, but I can assure you that it was ugly. Not quite as ugly as Kim’s Met Gala dress, but ugly nonetheless. The golden oak color and the hardware was old and dated–but overall, the piece had great bones. First,  I gave it a good cleaning with vinegar. The previous owners had been smokers and the smell had been absorbed into the piece. It took some time to fully air out, but you can’t smell it at all now. Next up, as with most furniture painting jobs, this one required sanding. Once it was nice and smooth and wiped clean, the primer coat was applied. Primer can be tricky if the piece you’re painting has a poly seal or varnish on it. In those cases, you’ll want to spend a little extra on a really good primer that will seal stains. For this piece, we were able to just use standard water-based primer.  I always use an angled brush to get into the little nooks and crannies of the piece, and a roller to tackle the long, flat areas. The first time I painted this piece 3 years ago, I chose a pretty, feminine green color called “Fennel.” It worked well with the color scheme at the time. But then we redid our dining room. And with the new room, I wanted our buffet to look more sleek, dark and handsome. Less “Jane Buffet.” More “Jimmy Buffet.”



And after a couple of coats of Rockport Gray (Benjamin Moore), meet Jimmy:


Handsome, isn’t he?  And speaking of furniture that gets a face lift, here’s another piece I painted recently. It’s an old hand-me-down secretary from Chip’s sweet aunt who is always giving us stuff she no longer wants. Everyone should have an aunt like that. And everyone should be able to say they have their own secretary. Even if it’s not the kind that answers your phone and takes your messages. Anyhow, our secretary sat in our living room in its original 70’s green finish for a good couple of years before I even touched it. Though it’s still not complete (we need to add glass to the doors that once hosted chicken wire and I’d like to add a patterned wallpaper or fabric to the inside back), it’s looking a lot fresher these days. Here’s the before (excuse the poor picture quality):


And now the brighter, whiter version:


I was going through a phase and spray-painted the hardware in gold.  Though I like it, I’ll probably change it up this summer and paint it in my standard go-to: Oil-Rubbed Bronze. We just aren’t glam enough for gold in this house. So how about you?  What old, worn piece of furniture are you going to revive and revamp with a little paint?

What is a mood board?

Many may wonder, what does my consultation fee buy me?

As part of your consultation, we view your space, take measurements and pictures and discuss your desires for the space, your design aesthetic, your budget, color preferences etc. At your follow-up meeting (approximately 2 weeks later), you receive a custom floor plan and mood board.

Mood Board 1

This is a sample mood board for a Master Bedroom consult. It begins with the inspiration picture and layered over that are the recommendations. Some of the furniture and pictures may be things you already own, but with a recommendation for a makeover before being added to your new space. The mood board comes with text tags that display the store where you can find it and the price it is currently listed for sale. In this particular mood board, we recommended reusing a current painting that was no longer relevant to the room.


We recommended sanding and painting the frame red and painting over the existing canvas in a similar pattern to the birch trees found on the mood board.


In this instance the homeowner is a bit of a do-it-herself gal just like us and embraced the artist within. This is her beautiful work in progress. If that moniker does not apply to you, we are artists ourselves and would love to help you complete any of the projects we recommend on your mood board.

As a result of your consultation you have a few options:

You can take off and complete your recommended plan based on the provided floor plan and mood board

You can hire us to complete this plan for you based on the recommendations

You can hire us to complete parts of the plan for you based on the recommendations

So the only question you need to answer now is, which room should you call us for first?