Choosing a new couch is tough. Getting rid of the old one, definitely has its bittersweet moments. You’re tired of saggy cushions, and the aches that come with spending any amount of time on the thing. Yet, when you look at it, you remember all the special moments, the memories that make up the stains removed and the cushions well-loved. Once you’ve processed the change and gone through the emotions you are ready to move on- new couch here we come! But where to start?
First things first - room design. Does your current couch fit your family’s needs? Is it the right configuration? Or was it something you bought when you were in an apartment but never splurged on once you moved into your new home? Now’s the time to get real and think over what you truly want. Ottoman’s can be nice. Do you want a sectional? Do you want a fold out option for guests? Make a list of your wants and desires, this will come in handy.
What kind of uses will your couch get? Do you have little kiddos? Do you like the look and feel of certain fabrics? Consider the needs of your family for this as well. And also seek out removable or washable couch covers if that’s something that you are interested in. It’s good to have some options and know what you are getting and what additionally is out there for your new couch in the way of accessories and such.
Look closely at what you are purchasing. Ask what the frame is made out of. A lot of furniture these days is not made as it once was. Particle board is also more common. Inquire about guarantees offered. When in doubt, ask, ask, ask.
Ask what the cushions are made out of. Often feathers need constant fluffing and the alternative, foam often weakens over time. Opt for something that has a mix of both, this will allow you to get good use out of this often bigger ticket item.
Get out there and sit one some stuff. Sample as much as you can. Feel fabrics, bring a tape measure (or many furniture stores have their own), take note of what you like and what you don’t and add those to your list.
Was this helpful? I would love to hear more about your experience shopping for your couch. Leave a comment below.
Even when we aren’t remodeling our home, most of us daydream about the new kitchen we want someday, or imagine how we will reinvent the living room, or eventually remodel the master bath.
Improving laundry efficiency probably falls short on the list of lifetime goals for most. The majority of us, I’ll guess, don’t spend much time dreaming about improvements we would make to the laundry room or the mudroom.
But if you are planning a new layout for your home, time dedicated to the space for the things we often take for granted – the laundry and mudroom – is time well spent. I’m an advocate of combining these two complimentary spaces whenever possible. Afterall, both rooms are meant for cleaning tasks, but neither is necessarily the showcase item in your home.
Many items commonly stored in both rooms overlap in uses, so naturally, it's convenient to have them near each other. Storage spaces enable effective organization while also creating a place in the house where you can feel okay about not leaving the space spotless all the time.
Keep Your House Clean
If you can find a space to convert into a combination laundry/mud room, do it. You don’t need a lot of square feet to meet the basic needs of a space like this.
Closets or cubbies are efficient storage units for essentials like raincoats, sporting equipment, and car tools. In a mudroom, you want a place for shoes and boots (particularly winter shoes) that you don’t want to see tramping through the rest of the house.
A good laundry/mud room has as much storage as possible. That means plenty of cabinets and shelves - along with a table or table-height counter on which to pile and then fold clean clothes. This is an especially fun spot to have if you have kids; it makes teaching your children how to do laundry much easier and more fun.
Just as in most rooms, you should arrange for good lighting. In this room, though, you specifically want to concentrate light colored paint to create the feeling of an expanded space.
Inevitably, every photo of a laundry or mudroom shows a clean floor with everything in place. If you can’t keep the space uncluttered all the time, a well-designed room and efficient storage will make tidying up a breeze.
Bins, drawers, and doors or curtains over cubbies will help maintain the illusion. Nothing has to be too fancy. Hardware and home goods stores offer a wide range of products to increase storage.
Our lives improve when we are able to plan a thoughtful space for laundry and storage in our homes. That’s because a certain amount of real living happens there. When we are able to deal with these tasks efficiently, we give ourselves more time for the activities that add meaning to our days.
If you’ve done any research about remodeling lately, most likely you've come across Stikwood. A company that is changing the game when it comes to offering sustainable (and easy to install) wood planking.
Founded in 2012 by Jerry and Laura McCall, Stikwood offers both products for both commercial and residential projects. Jerry’s wood-working experience and desire for sustainable planking that reduces waste, lead him to the creation of Stikwood. Now offering nearly 30 options for use on walls and ceilings, and ranging from $8-$14 a square foot.
Products offered include everything from golden hues, to dark rich tones, and light neutrals with names like minimalist fir, vertical caramelized bamboo, hamptons, sienna, and reclaimed rustic slate. See a full list of products here.
Perhaps you are interested in integrating more sustainable materials into your next remodel, but aren’t ready to make the full leap. Stikwood offers a DIY Barn Door option as well. “Stikit barn doors are lightweight and straightforward, offering an excellent option for anyone who loves the concept of wood walls but isn’t ready for the full commitment that comes with it.“
Stikwood samples are offered in a variety of ways. You can purchase a custom 5-pack, 10-pack or a StikPick Sample Set that includes top picks from the previous year.
Interested in learning more about how Stikwood is made? Check out this blog post.
I have written previously about the many different options for turning your laundry room into a Taj Mahal of washing and drying. But what if you only have room for the basics?
The one companion to a washer and dryer that I always try to find space for is a sink.
Without counter space, you can pull clothes and towels out of the dryer and fold them as you place them in the laundry basket at your feet, hang the delicates in the shower stall to let them drip dry, and store detergent and similar items in the kitchen if necessary.
But a laundry room sink serves multiple purposes that make doing laundry more convenient. It’s the place to scrub a stubborn spot that needs extra attention, plop a pile of wet clothes that aren’t ready for the dryer, and wash those delicates by hand. A laundry room sink can also be used for tasks that having nothing to do with laundry, such as cleaning paintbrushes and washing a small dog. If you don’t have a sink next to your washer and dryer, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. It’s convenient and installation is easy because plumbing is already available for the washing machine. The only possible drawback could be a lack of space.
An easy solution for this is to stack the washer and dryer, something you might be accustomed to if you have ever lived in an apartment. The sink can then be installed where the appliance would have gone.
If you don’t have the right situation for stacking, remember that sinks come in different sizes, and a small sink is better than none.
To consult about a tight space that you would like to make as efficient as possible -- for a laundry room sink or any other purpose – contact me at Cassandra@pulosdesigns.com. I will work with you to help you find the right fit.
When it comes to updating cabinetry in your home for a reasonable price, the first step is to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t going to be able to get custom cabinets built without spending a pretty penny. But not to worry! DIY to the rescue!
There are tons of wonderful DIY options out there. My new favorite that I recommend to homeowners wanting to refresh their space without a full renovation is, gel staining!
Gel staining is amazing because it doesn’t require you to strip and sand your old cabinets before staining, but you still get that beautiful wood-stained look. Plus- it’s much less work!
Below you'll find the supply list and step-by-step process I used to gel stain the vanity cabinets in my guest bathroom and powder room.
Step 1: After removing your cabinet doors and drawer faces, lightly rough them up with the 220 grit sandpaper. When I say lightly, I mean lightly. It just roughs the previous stain up a little bit to make the gel stain “stick” more effectively. If I’m I'm being honest, I may have forgot to sand one side of the cabinet doors the first time I did this, and they still turned out just fine! So, not to worry! Also -sand the actual vanity. And after sanding, wipe the dust off with a damp (not wet) cloth and let the wood dry for a few minutes before moving to Step 2.
Step 2: Apply the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Slather it all over the vanity, doors, and drawers. Don’t leave globs, but you don’t have to be super careful with this. When you’re done, wash out the brush really well so you can use it for the finish later on! Let this all dry for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Next, apply your first coat of gel stain! Now, the gel stain is truly gel. It’s thick and I was so confused the first time I tried it. I attempted to wipe it on with a cloth like I did normal stain, but I didn’t care for the way I could see the wipe strokes in it, and it would have taken about a million coats to get as dark as I wanted. I switched to my trusty bristle brush and was SO happy with how much easier it went on. It doesn’t take much to cover a decent area, and getting too much will leave globs behind anyways. A quart will go a LONG ways and last you multiple projects. My first time I just let the first coat dry for the day, but it really needs to dry over night before applying the second coat. It may seem dry after a while, but if it’s still sticky at all, it needs more time to dry.
Step 4: After letting it dry over night, apply the second coat. This second coat will cover up any brush strokes that you may be able to see from the first coat and really give you a clean finish. I only needed two coats using the above, 'Dark Roast' stain, but you may need more with a lighter stain, depending on the look you are going for. Once again, let it dry overnight,
Step 5: Using your previously used but clean brush, apply the Polycrylic Finish! The great thing about the gel stain is that it isn’t going to chip and show damage like painted cabinets often do. However, applying the protective finish is still a great idea. The stain is pretty shiny as it is, but applying your preferred Polycrylic Finish will give it the final look you want! Let it dry overnight.
Step 6: Put your drawer faces and cabinet doors back on, and step back and admire your beautiful new vanity!
My friends were incredibly impressed with my gel stain project and considered how easy it was, I considered making some changes to my kitchen. Though, I’m still partial to my white painted kitchen cabinets, so maybe later. I love our guest bathrooms now, and can’t wait to work on adding counters, a new sink, and knobs and pulls next!
In general, marble can add beauty and elegance to your kitchen for many years to come. Like this one from Caesarstone and @threebirdsrenovations.
While I do love I do love a touch of marble in a backsplash, perhaps mixed with another material such as glass, it isn’t my first recommendation for a kitchen countertop material. Using marble in areas where splatter is unlikely is fine. This gives your kitchen a high-end flourish while complementing a range of other natural or manufactured materials.
In my experience, I tend to like other countertop materials that are just as appealing to the eye, yet easier to take care of. You may have heard that you have to be careful with marble countertops. That’s because marble is a metamorphic rock that started as limestone and gained its lustrous look over millions of years of heat and enormous pressure. The limestone characteristics make it susceptible to damage by acids like the juice of lemons or tomatoes. That’s where durability issues come in. And because it is softer than granite and other finishes, it stains more easily, too. As far as maintenance goes, marble is sealed when it is first installed and the homeowner should apply a new sealer every year.
The Value of Personality
Unfortunately, in my experience, no matter how careful you are about using cutting boards and how quickly you wipe up spills, your marble countertop will eventually show signs of wear. Every surface is susceptible to scratches and etching, but I’ve found marble shows abrasions more quickly than granite and other countertop materials.
That doesn’t mean the surface is ruined! Most marble-lovers accept the new imperfections as signs of a lived-in kitchen. Their countertops are personalized with memories of good times and delicious meals.
Color And Finish
Marble can also be economical. Carrera marble is among the least expensive stone surfaces, although there are different grades and price points. Although marble can come in shades of black, green and pink, Carrera is most often white or gray with soft veins. Calacatta offers a white background with warmer veins of golds and browns. This image from Marble.com, helps illustrate the difference between the two.
Most homeowners choose a “honed” finish, which is created by sanding and creates a softer look that more easily hides blemishes. A polished finish is highly reflective and shows off the stone’s character, as well as every slip of a paring knife and stain of red wine.
When you design your kitchen, you aren’t restricted to just one surface material for counters. You may choose a durable granite or quartz for the areas where you do most of your cooking, and order marble for the island or the area you will use for baking. A combination like that creates visual interest, saves money and elevates a kitchen from nice to spectacular.
Hardware design is decoration with a purpose, and it’s purpose goes beyond the utilitarian. People who design cabinet door and drawer pulls consider the shape, feel, and aesthetic, and well-designed hardware conveys its beauty in a subtle way.
My favorite place to find beautifully-crafted hardware is Top Knobs.
This firm’s products cannot be found in Home Depot or Lowes, they are in the medium range and Top Knobs says it is the number one brand of professionally installed cabinet hardware in North America. They offer a lifetime warranty for defects in materials and craftsmanship.
Top Knobs hardware products are distinctive because of their distinct quality. When handling them you notice they are quite heavy and feel solid. Although, Top Knobs is not an e-commerce business, the company does provide a free sample program on their website. There, you will find hundreds of designs within many collections, which means you have a great variety from which to choose from. In addition, you can mix and match knobs and pulls of various shapes and designs and still achieve a unified style in your kitchen.
If you want to replace the hardware on existing cabinetry, Top Knobs’ wide selection ensures that no matter what your design theme is or who performs the installation, you won’t have to worry about sizing.
One of the things I like most about this company is the time and energy they devote to satisfying your kitchen hardware needs and desires. In my experience, their company slogan, “We will have one that fits,” really lives up to its word.
Top Knobs has worked hard to conceptualize kitchen pulls, which is clear from this description of their ‘Serene Collection’ on the company site: “Available in 35 shapes in five series, the Serene Collection is the essence of refined style. Each series of elegant, transitional shapes is the ultimate accessory to a kitchen designer’s vision.”
When I work with a homeowner on projects contain hardware decisions, I suggest design lines that complement their style, vision, and budget – and there are many to choose from. If you are ready to discuss a design for your kitchen, contact me at Cassandra@pulosdesigns.com.
Now that you have your sustainable light bulbs, bought a filtering pitcher to replace your home’s tap water, and installed an energy-efficient heating system, you realize that you want to do more to add Earth-friendly touches to your home. This blog post will teach you how to add small, green touches to your home decor.
Use Decorations From Nature
You can use plants to add a bit of color to your decor. It doesn’t matter whether you arrange branches in an abstract formation or put cherry blossoms in a pot, the plants will improve the air quality of your, making your home a healthier place to spend your time.
Upcycle Your Furniture
You don’t have to purchase build-it-yourself furniture made from materials sourced from some random place. Go to garage sales and thrift stores and find furniture that you can give a makeover. Some paint, sandpaper, colorful fabrics, and a bit of energy and elbow grease can help you turn an old coffee table into a beautiful bench, exhausted china cabinets into a showpiece for your dining room, and rickety chairs into a sunny reading nook.
Buy From Local Stores
If you can’t or don’t particularly want to fix up a piece of furniture, then look through local shops before you head to national chain stores. A good source for unique decor is artists in your local area who make anything from cabinets to pottery to tables. When you buy locally, it’s a lot easier to learn the source of the materials and the processes that the artist used for the creation of the item. And by doing this, you’re not only supporting your local arts economy, you’re taking a chunk out of your carbon footprint at the same time since you’re getting your furniture locally, instead of having it shipped from halfway around the world.
Use Eco-Friendly Paint
A lot of the paints that we put on the walls of our homes are not the best for the overall health of the planet. Many paints contain chemicals and fumes that could negatively affect people with conditions ranging from respiratory ailments to skin issues. Look to eco-friendly paint brands such as Earthborn Paints, which have a broad variety of colors for Earth-conscious homeowners.
Use Bamboo Accessories
If you want to be glamorous and eco-friendly at the same time, purchase bamboo accessories for your bathroom. Bamboo as a material is ideal for wet rooms. You can also put these accessories in a “high” or “low” decor scheme, depending on your personal tastes.
Many people want eco-friendly decor for their home, but they think that they have to pay a lot of money for the privilege of saving the Earth. This is certainly not the case. Homeowners who want planet-friendly decor can do anything from buying all of their furniture locally to putting up plants in their living room. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do your part to save the planet. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your hometown. Do you have additional tips? Leave them below!
Most homeowners dream about renovating their home. Whether it’s new counters, painted cabinets, or gutting an entire bathroom or kitchen, people dream big, and some decide to take the plunge! Before taking the plunge yourself, prepare yourself by reading these tips for living through a house renovation!
Pretty soon your plans and budget have expanded and your wallet will be screaming! Not to mention, your easy weekend project has turned into a month long fiasco and every time you use the toilet you walk through dust, debris, tarps and it starts to drive you crazy. Stick to your plans, however big or small, and you’ll be much happier with the results.
For example, one weekend I helped a friend take out a bathroom sink and paint the counters. Well, he accidentally chipped the sink when handling it, and pretty soon we were at Lowe’s looking at new sinks and sink repair kits and let’s just say it took a little longer than a weekend to finish! Oh the joys of renovations.
Take my advice and please, don’t do this to yourself! Take it one step at a time. Do the appliances. Then do the cabinets. Then move to the floors and trim. Stay sane by doing one project at a time.
Make sure you have a comfortable place to rest your head as well as a living area or somewhere you can go to relax without seeing the deconstructed part of your house. The most important part? Don’t let your “Safe Zone” be touched by the mess of construction. Another great tip, if you can plan a getaway, take the opportunity and take a break! Whether you choose a “Safe Zone” and/or a weekend getaway, both will help create a sense of peace and solace for you among project filled days.
5. Don’t Let Your Renovation Consume Your Life
It may seem like an easy task, however, upon closer inspection it can be more difficult than you anticipated. Don’t let your house renovation consume your life and every waking thought. As we went through our kitchen renovation, I remember constantly walking around everyday feeling like I had unfinished business and worrying about what needed to be bought or completed next. Guess what, I DID have unfinished business. But stressing about it just ruined my mood and my productivity outside of the project at home. Stressing about it absolutely did not make it magically happen more quickly. When you worry, you really just put yourself through everything twice—once while you’re worrying, and once again when you meet the event or circumstance you were worrying about beforehand. Take it from me and imagine everything progressing naturally and think of how happy you will be with the finished product.
I just know your renovation (whatever it may be) will be so worth it! Good luck, and remember, don’t stress about it! Things will fall into place and you will forget all the bumps along the way. Are there any tips you would add? Comment below!
Wallpaper is back and better than ever. Long gone are the days of hiring someone to come in and do that watery-goopy-voodoo magic that makes designer paper stick to the wall and not look like a toddler’s paper mache day care project. Of course, that option is still available (and recommended if you’re installing actual wallpaper), but if you’re a finicky do-it-yourselfer who likes the Joanna Gaines farmhouse style right now, but used to like modern textures and may fall in love with a yet to be revealed new trend in the future, you can have the luxury of wallpaper without the expense--and can do it all yourself.
If you’ve recently found yourself meandering the aisles of Target (I know you have), you may have noticed that they’ve recently added paints and home products outside of just decor. These aisle additions are making a room re-do easier than it should be thanks to Devine® Color by Valspar®. With premium paint and removable wallpaper you can change the look and feel of a room in an afternoon (after you get the hang of the hanging the wallpaper, of course). Like the website says, with their new collection, “it’s easy to create designer looks for walls, furniture and decor.”
Not only does Devine offer beautiful, more traditionally styled wallpaper, like the Mirage.
They’re on point with bold, leafy prints, as seen in the Jungle - Horizon and dark, modern designs found in Celestial in Compass and Karat.
If you’ve been binging on Fixer Upper and are absolutely salivating for your own shiplap room, you can turn the dream into a reality too without breaking the bank with Textured Shiplap in Ultra White. One roll of this paper magic will transform a 27.5 square foot area and works best when applied to an eggshell, satin or semi-gloss painted wall.
Taking the simplicity a bit further, when you pick your wallpaper...maybe you choose Wildflower in Sterling like I did… Target and Devine tell you exactly what color paint to choose to compliment this self-adhesive wallpaper by sharing this nifty little swatch (found both online and on the wallpaper tube).
It’s best to have a smoothing tool on hand...you can buy one made by Tempaper from Target too. And scissors (to help trim the paper as you work). And an exacto knife or box cutter (so you can make clean cuts at the ceiling, baseboard and around all doors). And a screwdriver (to remove all outlet and light switch coverings). That’s it. That’s really all you need--no water, no glue, no muss, no fuss.
(Side note, Tempaper also sells TEMporary PAPER at Target. Installation obviously works the same way.)
This product is seriously great if you want to change a room, but don’t want to paint the whole thing or if you just want to add a pop of drama to an otherwise bland area. It is easy to remove when you leave, so is great for making apartments or temporary dwellings feel more personal (just make sure you clear everything with the landlord first). Use a little--by just doing one accent wall--or use a lot--by covering all the walls in a room. The great thing about this product is that it allows you to be both the designer and the installer, so you can make changes as you go and remove what you don’t like or add more as you get the feel for it.
Go ahead, get yourself to Target!
Have you tried using the adhesive wallpaper before? Do you love it or hate it? Any tips you can share on making installation easier?
Need ideas for a baby nursery? The Internet is literally brimming with nursery ideas from the wacky to the whimsical to the downright inspired. These 7 baby rooms are just right when it comes to design aesthetics, color palettes, and the right touches that will make the nursery a home for your precious little one.
This baby nursery is fit for a literal king. Its purple color palate, crown and lion imagery, and a comfortable couch (which pulls out) and ottoman made in decadent fabrics all tie together to create a room where anyone who loves luxury would love to spend some much-needed relaxation time.
Cons: While the crown above the baby’s crib looks beautiful, it might be a tad too much on the royalty front. One can make nods towards a royal theme without being so literal. Plus, some of the overnight guests might get overtaken by all the purple around them.
With help from Jessica Green.