Design.

DIY Sunroom Makeover (ft. many emotional breakdowns)

DIY Sunroom Makeover (ft. many emotional breakdowns) 150 150 fortheindoorsy

The most fun thing about remodeling is the memory of remodeling. When you’re in it, it’s actually not very great at all. You remember it nostalgically, thinking about how you created your house into exactly what you wanted, but you forget how much that process completely sucked.

This is exactly the case of our DIY sunroom makeover.

home remodel before and after - sunroom

It was the last massive project we really needed to tackle, so when our house wasn’t glaringly ugly anywhere else anymore, I thought of how *fun* it would be to brick over the awkward window (like who puts a window there into the bedroom? what the hell, Mary?) and paint it all in a weekend. FUN!

In case you missed it, I am horrible at estimating time commitment. And when you think, “oh, me too”, multiply you x10 and you’ve maybe arrived somewhere close to me & my time management skills. So when Zach went fishing one weekend, I called a friend over, and we got as far as taping the windows and completing a patch job on the brick. The mortar was problematic because it dried so quick, I couldn’t really work with it. But give up and hire someone? No way; that would have been too logical — I was on a mission and feeling a sense of misplaced independence. Definitely going against logic and eventually against fun, I wound up laying on the sunroom floor, having my first sunroom breakdown, crying to my brother-in-law on my phone begging him to come help me the next morning. Ah, yes, the wails and sniffles he heard on the phone, true marks of my female independence. *lol not*

home remodel before and after - sunroom

He agreed tacos were an acceptable form of payment, and the next day, my amazing brother-in-law appeared like a beacon in the night. I spent a whole day sawing each individual brick, and eventually, we had filled in the questionable window, allowing us to finish the first task of the DIY Sunroom Makeover.

So with a new zeal for what we had accomplished, I went out and bought 2 50 lb bags of quick-dry mortar mix, hauled them to the car solo, drove home, and started mixing mortar. And just as fast as that zeal had come, it jetted out of my body because who the hell knew laying brick was so freakin’ hard?!

If you’re sitting there reading this and thinking “Bailey, calm down, it’s just like tile” I would like to say that no, my friend, it is not. And if for some reason a professional mason is reading this, I would just like to recognize you for your skills that are probably like Jesus’s when he was a carpenter because this job is not for the peasants like me.

So all that being said, I was over it, and I sped through the whole bricklaying thing, slapping mortar on the brick, the wall, the floor, until it dried up in it’s Home Depot bucket and I had to move to the next bucket and next bag of mix. The big takeaway here is that no amount of YouTube videos will ever make me good at laying brick.

But finally, I had finished it.

home remodel before and after - sunroom

And then it stayed like that. For months. Did it look good? Hell no? Did it look better though? Also no. But I did not 👏 want 👏 to 👏 deal.

But then, two weekends ago, I decided NO MORE. My mind is already filled with negative thoughts and perspectives (hello, history of depression!!) and I am not about to let a room in my house that I hate create more unneeded negativity in my life. This is partially why I love home design. While yes, it is fun, it’s also important for my mental health because a negative space creates negative energy, and I am just not about that life. For most of us, the majority of our lives are spent in two places: work and home. While we can’t always control our work environment, we can control our home. So if there is something I hate in my home, I am very eager to morph it into something positive that I can draw good vibes from.

DIY Modern ranch-style sunroom

And because a sunroom is a less-defined space when it comes to standard use, I realized this room could serve us in a different way. It could be our meditation room, a place for friends to gather and have late-night conversations, a place for sunrise yoga, or a room where we could enjoy a meal with the family while soaking up the last hour of sunlight.

DIY Bohemian Sunroom Makeover // black walls, white painted brick, IKEA geometric rug, Mexican equipale chairs, and plants galore

But this vision was very far from the reality, so I went all in on a DIY Sunroom Makeover, cleaning it up and painting it, staying hyper-focused on the room until Halloween (which, if you’ve met me, you know I am hyper-focused about pretty much nothing in my life other than my daily 2 PM snack hunt where I raid all the mini-kitchens on each floor of my office building until I find some sort of chocolate…but I digress).

First, I decided I wanted to whitewash the brick because I was kind of vibing the rustic brick. So I watered down the paint and went at it. Turns out that when you have a brick patch job, anything that is not opaque is NOT for you.

Sunroom Makeover // black and white sunroom with rattan chair

After a few more breakdowns lying on the sunroom floor, a ton of Instagram stories documenting said breakdowns, and 5+ layers of watered-down paint, we had a wall of white brick. So I moved on to the easy part: painting everything else.

DIY Bohemian Sunroom Renovation // black and white sunroom with Mexican equipale chair

Surprise (!!!) it wasn’t easy. I had bought paint previously and in my mind, it was charcoal grey. Turns out in real life, it was navy blue. So I painted away and realized I hated it, polled the IG community, went out, bought more paint, made friends with a few more Home Depot employees (honestly, some of them probs deserve a Christmas card at this point), and came back and painted over my previous 4 hours of work. While I have been numerous things in my life, decisive and content are not those things, but apparently I’m a solid 10 when it comes to taking extra excursions to Home Depot when I probably could have just made one.

But even with the too-many-to-count trips and the duplicate work, our sunroom is immensely better than it was — like American Idol Carrie Underwood to mid-season Carrie Underwood. While the DIY Sunroom Makeover operation is not done and the room is definitely not Carrie Underwood at the CMAs, I felt I had to at least document its progress. So consider this an update that is more like a halfway point. Hopefully, it will turn into the nice zen little space I picture once I fill it with more plants, create a living jasmine wall over the unsightly brick patch, and put in some accent lighting.

Bohemian Modern Sunroom Remodel // black and white sunroom with Mexican equipale chairs and IKEA geometric rug

But in the meantime, thoughts?

Check out more of our renovation chronicles here.

kitchen design to avoid eating unhealthy

How to organize your pantry to eat better.

How to organize your pantry to eat better. 4414 2943 fortheindoorsy
how to organize your pantry to eat better

Raise your hand if you’ve ever set a goal to eat better. 🙋‍♀️ 

Raise your hand if after 3 days of making this goal you slammed what was left of the girl scout cookies sitting in your pantry. 🙋‍♀️ (#thosecarameldelitestho)

Ah yes — a personal favorite of mine: the aspirational “I probably won’t meet this, but why not at least try” goal. These are the types of goals that require a ton of willpower, so if/when we achieve them we’re super impressed with ourselves. Now, I don’t know about you, but my track record with these goals is 1-50 (with the 1 time being me killin’ it for 3 weeks, then totally losing any morsel of discipline I had and returning to my Netflix binge while eating popcorn, Ritz crackers, and whatever else I could scavenge for dinner because absolutely 0% of me felt like cooking). Ah, yes. Those goals.

So it is safe to assume that any goal requiring willpower or discipline isn’t going to work out for me.

But as I slowly became a BBQ potato chip connoisseur I realized I really needed to change my go-to snack. The only problem is that chips are so convenient and so satisfying, and all other substitutes doesn’t really meet both of those criteria.

Basically, convenience + deliciousness = I want it.

kitchen organization for healthy eating habits

If you know me, you know I like to make yearly food resolutions. Some are pure fun (2016 was the year of perfecting the cheesecake) and some are related to health (2018 is the year of eating more grains I can’t pronounce). So I had grains on the brain and a “back away from the bbq” mantra.

I also looked at our pantry and 👏 could. 👏 not.👏 deal.

So I threw the chips out (which was really just crumbs at the bottom of the bag if we’re being honest here) and got to work on improving our pantry organization. I took inventory of what we had and made a list of all the healthy foods I wanted to start eating that I didn’t currently have — things like freekeh and buckwheat (wtf is amaranth?) Then I went to the Container Store, decided I couldn’t afford it, and went to Hobby Lobby instead to get every glass canister they had (on sale for 50% off heyyyyooo).

pantry organization to eat healthy

Now, our pantry organization is as follows:

  • Things I want to eat more of:
    • Make them visible, at eye-level, and easily accessible | I put all the healthy foods (and generally under-consumed) in glass canisters, labeled them, and loaded them at the very front of the middle shelves with nothing blocking their view. If it was in a box, I removed it from the box and got rid of any packaging so there were absolutely zero obstacles to physically accessing the food. I did this with grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
  • Things I want to eat less of:
    • Block their view and make it hard to get to them | Girl scout lemon cookies went on the very top shelf where I have to get a stool to access them. Chips now belong at the back of the bottom drawer, so I have to pull it out to see them and move about 10 bottles of oil and vinegars to get them. All canned goods and boxed crackers are behind the glass jars, and since the jars are so tall and fit snugly in our pantry, I have to pull at least 3 out (I can’t just shove them around) before I can get the box of crackers; you’d actually be surprised at how truly annoying this is.

why you can't eat healthy

This strategy is effective because it directly alters the convenience of foods. For example, if I hide the BBQ chips on the top shelf behind a bunch of stacked cans and I have to pull a chair over that I have to step on to get to them, they’re inherently less desirable because I’ve decreased their convenience (AKA I’m lazy and don’t feel like doing all that to get a chip, no matter how delicious).kitchen pantry organization: before and after

After 6 months with this method of pantry organization, I’ve come to realize that while this was initially set up mostly as a way to reduce clutter, my food habits have changed dramatically. I seriously have made more smoothies in the past 5 months than I have in my entire life just because it’s so easy to pour nuts and seeds and oats and powders into a blender with frozen fruit, especially when they’re the first thing you see and you don’t have any packaging to deal with. Also as a result our new and improved pantry organization, Zach now eats either pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews or almonds every single day when he gets home from work just because he can grab them directly from the jar and they’re the first snack he sees.

All of this made me realize that the functional design of your home is absolutely critical to achieving your goals.

kitchen design to avoid eating unhealthy

I’ve read so many self-help books it’s honestly kind of embarrassing and every single one argues that willpower will never be enough to achieve your goals; goals are established through habits. The problem I’ve found with this theory is that establishing these habits still require willpower — ie. choosing the less desirable option pretty much all the time, which brings us to the other problem: that isn’t going to happen; if what I want is in front of me, imma take it.

Thus, the solution is design, and more specifically, design for wellness.

Ultimately, in order for healthy eating to be sustainable it cannot be a decision; it has to be obvious and take zero brain power. It has to be as convenient as BBQ chips– there needs to be no downtime between seeing the food and reaching for it; otherwise, your brain will start second-guessing the decision and any obstacle at all will become a deterrent to eating that food, (but you can use that to your advantage on foods you want to avoid). All of this means that pantry organization is the natural place to start when thinking critically about our food choices.

Yesterday, as we were unloading groceries, Zach was trying to put some crackers away behind the glass canisters and he commented on how annoying the pantry organization was because some of the items were so cumbersome to get to. He did this all while snacking away on nuts though, not chips.

Instances like this have me fully convinced that home wellness is a thing. The home isn’t a thing to “keep” and it shouldn’t stress you out. Instead, your home should exist as a tool to help you live better and achieve the things you want to achieve.

But if you ever want to chat this out over a smoothie, I’ve got you covered.

healthy kitchen organization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

open kitchen shelving after kitchen remodel

Before & After: Kitchen Renovation

Before & After: Kitchen Renovation 3648 5472 fortheindoorsy
kitchen cabinet remodel before & after // via fortheindoorsy.com
kitchen renovation before & after // via fortheindoorsy.com
kitchen remodel before & after // via fortheindoorsy.com

Our home renovation has come a long way. I don’t think I’ll ever feel as though it’s finished because of what I like to call “Golden Platter Syndrome” AKA the fear of serving something up on anything less than a golden platter (also known by its street name “Perfectionism“).

In my own mind and for my own sanity, these photos have no finality to them. Our home is by no means finished, and while we’re almooosstttt there, I would much rather we all think of this like a movie scene where you’re abandoned at sea, drifting along in the ocean clinging to a half-deflated inner tube, getting hella sunburned, and then, all of a sudden, you see shore in the distance. That’s where we’re at — we see the shore, but we’re not there yet. (Sorry to leave you all with such a cliffhanger.)

We’re going to do these Before and After shots as a series because otherwise this post would be hella long. In these, we’ll let you know that status of the room, if it’s finished and if it’s not — what we want to change about it.

The first thing we’ll start with also happens to be our favorite: our kitchen renovation.

 

KITCHEN RENOVATION

status: finished

 

BEFORE:
horrible kitchen before renovation // via fortheindoorsy.com 
AFTER:

kitchen remodel with open shelving and modern marble countertops // via fortheindoorsy.com

BEFORE:

 dated 60s kitchen before remodel // via fortheindoorsy.com

AFTER:

Modern kitchen remodel with open wood shelving, marble countertops, and copper accents // via fortheindoorsy.com

BEFORE:

ugly kitchen cabinets before kitchen renovation // via fortheindoorsy.com

AFTER:

kitchen remodel with rug and hardwood floors // via fortheindoorsy.com

MORE AFTERS:

kitchen renovation with copper pendant lighting // via fortheindoorsy.com

styled kitchen shelving // kitchen remodel via fortheindoorsy.com

brass kitchen faucet // kitchen remodel via fortheindoorsy.com

bohemian open kitchen shelving and marble kitchen countertops // via fortheindoorsy.com

modern kitchen with open shelving and copper kitchen accents // via fortheindoorsy.com

bohemian modern kitchen with black cabinetry, kitchen rug, open shelving, marble countertops, and copper kitchen accents // full kitchen renovation at fortheindoorsy.com

What we changed:

Pretty much everything. The kitchen renovation was the one thing I really thought would be a small project, but when we realized the extent of the damage (from the friendly pests we talked about here), we gutted it and started anew. Choosing the design was incredibly difficult because I eventually came to the realization that 1,000 kitchen renovation pins on Pinterest wasn’t going to do me much good due to the fact that I only had one kitchen and I needed to commit to one style.

Here’s a nice & neat list of everything that was done. Doing the following things was not at all nice & neat:

  • Shortened the shared hallway + kitchen wall to achieve open concept
  • Removed and replaced tile flooring, cabinetry, countertops, hardware, drywall, insulation, appliances
  • Added large-format subway tile to wall
  • Added recessed lighting, light above kitchen sink, pendant lights over bar
  • Built & installed mahogany kitchen shelves and waterfall edge bar
  • Added additional electrical outlets

Finishes:

  • European oak wood floors
  • Large subway tile
  • Brazilian marble
  • African mahogany bar and open shelving
  • IKEA black cabinetry
  • Mixed metals of brass, copper, and GE slate grey appliances throughout

I’m now realizing how much I could write about our kitchen alone, so I will go ahead and cut it off there. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

The saga: Choosing Healthy Hardwood.

The saga: Choosing Healthy Hardwood. 150 150 fortheindoorsy

Selecting a hardwood floor

preferably one that doesn’t cause cancer.

NOTE: this post was originally created in May ’16, but was not posted. Posting it now because I think it’s got some good information

We are hopefully over halfway through the remodel process, but I’m not placing my bets. We’ve given up identifying a date of project completion (avoid doing this at work), but it’s working well for us. Previously, we were all stressed about meeting imaginary deadlines we had set for ourselves. Cue stress.

But we have made some serious progress since identifying a floor. To recap last episode (we’re doing this reality tv style), Zach and I just couldn’t agree on a floor. To make matters worse, the criteria we created for the perfect floor didn’t exist (flashback to the “perfect boyfriend” checklist you and your friends made in middle school). We finally agreed on a floor and it meets very few of the criteria we outlined. Alas, I bring you the Chene Lambrusco floor.

**nope, those are not photos from our house.

It’s manufactured in Cambodia and adheres to FloorScore regulations. Our biggest issue is that the floor is still manufactured using formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic (which I discuss more about in this post). Knowing that indoor air can be anywhere from 2 – 5 times more polluted than the air outside (source here), we want to make sure that above all else, our choice in flooring does not have a harmful impact on our indoor air quality (IAQ), that it’s safe, and that it will continue to be as it ages.

While it wasn’t the cheapest, it also wasn’t the most expensive. If I ever needed further evidence that I had champagne tastes (which I don’t), I insisted that we get a European White Oak floor, which generally costs around $12-$22 per square foot, a price range we cannot afford. While I don’t remember the exact cost of this flooring, it was not that, so were were able to settle and finally choose a floor.

We did agree to get an air quality monitor or filter, but we haven’t yet crossed that bridge because they are generally HUGE and invasive. And so the sage continues.

Mohawk Drawbridge Oak

The unicorn of wood floors.

The unicorn of wood floors. 400 400 fortheindoorsy

I know I have given plenty of illustrations of how renovating a house feels, and I’m sure some of them are so great you probably feel like you’re right there with us. Unless you are Zach’s parents reading this (pic below — aren’t they so cute), then I’m happy that this isn’t your reality because it has been a teensy bit brutal.

Zach's parents on a ladder

We haven’t given a ton of updates lately because it turns out this home renovation deal actually takes over our lives. To give you an example, let’s talk about wood floors.

In regards to aesthetics and price point, here is the most perfect floor of all the wood floors I’ve scouted (and trust me, there have been many).

light white oak distressed floors

This is the Artisan Lilith by Green World Industries at about $4-$5/sqft. Isn’t she a beaut?! Distressed just enough, light but not whitewashed, just enough character and texture, all at a great price. The only problem? I was just about ready to sign on the dotted line, when he shows me the documentary 60 Minutes did on Lumber Liquidators, which found horribly high levels of formaldehyde in products manufactured in China.

His primary concern stemmed around the fact that the certifications many wood floors and companies advertise are actually certifying that the factory in which the product is produced is compliant. What this means is that the factory or manufacturer is capable of producing compliant products. In the documentary, one of the employees profiled reiterates this by saying that while it’s possible, it’s also very expensive. All this amounts to products not actually being made at the compliant levels the companies advertise and, as a result, off-gassing ridiculous amounts of formaldehyde. And if you don’t remember what formaldehyde is, then #TBT to middle school science class when you were forced to dissect a frog — that’s what preserves those guys (R.I.P.) and is formaldehyde’s most infamous use.

Here’s where we dabble in conspiracy. Are these Chinese manufacturers always lying? Who knows. Do the new compliance regulations and certifications assess each product that ships or samples of these products? Not clear.

So even though we’re probably in the clear, we decided to cut our losses and avoid the ambiguity by trying to find an American-made engineered hardwood at a price point of $4 – $5 that’s bonded with formaldehyde-free glue and has a a 2mm wear layer. So I’m basically looking for the equivalent of a unicorn.

I think half of this criteria was given as a way to entice me to buy wood-look tile instead of wood floors. But I’m way too stubborn to back down. It’s too hard and too cold and I don’t always want to have to wear socks with rubber grips on the bottom (even though I do love those). And Zach breaks everything. Less than an hour ago he broke a glass, it was a bowl a week ago, a wine glass as soon as it was opened out of the box — a lot of broken things. If we get tile, then picture frames, mirrors and vases will all be at risk. And with this new shared credit card thing, the “you break you buy” doesn’t really work in my bank account’s favor.

So my search has continued over the past two months and I’ve got very few things to show for it besides a ton of wood samples I now own because I’m too attached to their beauty to give them up. I’ve looked at a ton of  eco-friendly or green wood floors, but as weird as this sounds, we’re more concerned with safety. In my opinion at least, a company planting a tree for every tree they knock down doesn’t really solve for the fact that the glue in the floors they make may be slowly causing cancer cells to grow in my body. Fun fact: formaldehyde occurs naturally in wood, and thus, wood floors, so there isn’t much that can be done about that. But as the guy at TreeHouse says, “it’s not like you walk through a forest and say ‘wow, the air quality in this forest sucks.'”

With all that in mind, we’ve come up with one brand that’s actually everywhere that fits most of our criteria: it’s American made with PureBond, a formaldehyde-free glue. It doesn’t look exactly how I want it to look, but I think it’s a decent compromise.

Mohawk Drawbridge Oak

Alas, I bring you Mohawk Drawbridge Oak. It’s a little more consistent in it’s coloring than I wanted with a little less of the wire-brushed character, but it will do (I hope). And for our house, I still think wood flooring (even if it isn’t perfect) is better than tile. Granted, I’m not saying I won’t change my mind on which hardwood we actually purchase; I’m really good at that.

I also have a serious do-it-right-or-don’t-do-it-at-all/go-big-or-go-home mentality when it comes to principles. So if we’re caring about air quality, sustainability, and energy efficiency, we’re going to really care about it. Which is why we’re thinking about American Clay instead of texture and paint. But more on that if we actually do it because who really knows where we’ll end up on this.

I’m trying to get caught up on posts, so more later!

Cheers,
Z + B