Things that make you go… “Umm…yeah, NO.”

We’ve known for a bit that our dining room is going to under go some changes to become more our style.  We started with getting a new dining table and chairs a little earlier this year and have plans for added crown molding and shadow boxes beneath the chair rail and things like that.  I’ve always thought having a sideboard in this space would really help with serving and laying out pretty pieces and decorations.  Truth be told I also fell in love with the idea of having a space to layout a little Christmas village too! We found this piece online and I pinned it to my dining room board loving it immediately.


But there’s no way we can afford that… it’s about $2,000 on sale and I reserve  that amount of money for things I can get more personal with … like a sectional sofa or something!  It’s also incredibly long at 105″ and would fit, but would take up the entire wall end to end, and I wasn’t sure we wanted to get something quite that big.  BUT a few months ago, we came across a piece at Home Decorators that reminded us of this piece in shape and style.

sideboard / cabinet

We just waited until it went on sale with free shipping and decided we could swallow the $550 price tag much more easily.  We have some changes and additions we’re going to make to it which I’ll share down the line, though.  So we have it and the boxes look fantastic!  We have the matter of our current hutch and getting rid of that before we can set this piece up and get started, though.

Dining Room

I love this hutch, but that’s the wall I really want to place the sideboard on.  It’s got awesome wood fretwork details on the glass doors and we added puck lights to the inside so we have accent lighting in it at night.  It’s from the 1920′s and in pretty great shape as well, after I gave it a spruce up with Howard’s Restora-finish years ago.

Anyway, I thought we’d try to move it to see if we could keep it.  So we emptied it out and slid it to the nook where the secretary desk is in the picture above and moved that to the basement for the time being.

Dining Room

The result was a pretty instant, “Ummm… NO!” from both Jake and I.  I pretty much knew in my head it wasn’t going to work there, even without the extra furniture we have in here like the floral chair (which we’ve since sold) and the dresser, which is waiting to be relocated to the front room.  I didn’t even care that I was taking blog pictures with all that mess… just ick. It looks all squished there and closes the room in entirely.

Dining Room Dining RoomDining Room

Yuck yuck yuck.   So it has to go, unfortunately.  I love it, but it just doesn’t fit with our future plans for this space or style we have.  I know it won’t sell quickly since antiques can be so particular, but I couldn’t even leave it here for a while.  This room was making my eyes hurt, so I unpacked it all and we moved it right back to where it was before!

Dining Room Dining Room Dining Room

Sometimes you have to move some things around so you can see it and say, “Yeah, no… no way”.

Anyone else moving some furniture around or trying to make some spaces work better for you?

Decorating the Bathroom – Finally!

I finally got tired of the blank walls in our upstairs bathroom and committed to hanging some art up!  We’ve been looking like this for a couple of years now..


And finally we have some pretty things to look at in here!


Bathroom Bathroom

I wanted to bring some color in since we have such a neutral grey palette going on in this room, so first, I grabbed a bright and colorful rug for in front of the sink and door.


I know it’s all “stripes on stripes” in there, but I love the punch of color in the rug and the larger size.  I picked it up at Target and might head back to see if they have a size small enough for in front of the shower / toilet.

Three of the four prints came from Etsy and one I recreated myself.  The hummingbird watercolor print is one I’ve had in my favorites folder for a while.  The link is here and I can’t tell you how much I love it!  I’m so glad I pulled the trigger on it.  The colors are fantastic and what’s not to love about a painting of birds?

Hummingbird Art

I also purchased some word art to add something graphical and interesting.  Also from Etsy, this typography print was too cute to pass up.

Typography New England

I chose to go with all of New England because, well, we love New England!  I great up in NH, Jake’s lived in both Connecticut and Rhode Island, we got engaged in Maine and live in Massachusetts so seemed like a nice little hommage to this area of the country that we’ve spent so much of our lives in.

This last print made quite the journey to end up in our bathroom!  This feather print came from a seller in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!  I loved the variation in color throughout the feathers and how the object of the print (feathers) played off the hummingbird print as well.  It’s quite pretty!

Feather Watercolor

Lastly, to balance the typography print I decided to go with a quote and chose something inspiring since first thing Monday morning, you could use a little inspiration!


I found an image on pinterest with no link to the source, so I printed it out and used a window as a light table to trace the lettering onto a plain piece of paper and framed it.  It came out pretty good!  The ampersand symbol was a anthropology pick-up on a very rare visit there and just like that it added something sculptural to the wall.  All the frames came from Michaels (I usually pick them up buy-one-get-one and have a 40% off coupon) and I hung them using the Command 3M Strips I first tried in our bedroom.  I’m curious to see how they hold up in a humid environment over time, but so far so good.

And there we have it!  A more colorful and decorated upstairs bath with a little inspiration to start (and end) our day!


Anyone else hanging any art lately?  Ever been to Malaysia?

Brick by Brick by Brick…P2

And the saga continues!  Let’s get the rest of this wall built before the weekend, shall we?  When I left off yesterday (which you can read here) we had laid out the wall with 2 different courses and chose the shorter 4 course wall to construct.

Brick Laying

Putting all those bricks aside we mixed some mortar and we were ready to go!  Oh, and don’t bother asking the seemingly friendly guy at Lowes if there are options in mortar.. he’ll just be flip, give you that “silly girl” look and tell you there’s only one.  Thanks guy. Told you I wasn’t an experienced mason!

Brick Laying Brick Laying

We just mixed it until it was sorta-thick, but not too thick…we could tell when it was too thin because it just slipped right off the bricks and had no staying power, but again, we’re not pros.  This was totally a trial-by-error thing and I encourage you to as questions to the said guy at Lowes or HD even if he’s going to be flip.  #girlpower

While laying the first few bricks we tried to take our time, get a good mortar base on the bottom and one side and level it out as we went.

Brick Laying Brick Laying

It was a little nerve wracking.  At first we were trying to hurry thinking the mortar was like crazy glue or something and was going to dry quickly, but we learned you really don’t need to rush it all that much.  If you mortar starts to get dried out and too think just add some water and mix some more.  And brick by brick you’ll get to the end of the wall.  And here’s where we needed to make a cut.

Admittedly this was the step that led to a big fiasco for Jake and I, plus 4 or 5 trips to Lowes, multiple returned items and blades, quite a few swear-words from each of us and a general wonderment as to why in the hell where we doing this ourselves???  It’s hard to explain all the incidences that led up to us renting a wet saw (for only 2 cuts), but that’s what we ended up doing.

Brick Laying

This thing is a beast.  And NOISEY.  Mental note to add earplugs to our DIY cabinet.  Jake did the cuts because I wasn’t quite ready to tackle it.  Maybe next time.

Brick Laying Brick Laying

And you just lay more bricks buttering the bottom and the side, tapping them into place and leveling them as you go.  Mostly Jake buttered, while I laid the bricks for these courses.  I referenced a You Tube video we watched 4-10 times during the day and I would refer to that to see what we mean.  I really don’t want to give you the false impression that we are so confident in our abilities to show you how it should be done.  Maybe next time. #therewontbeanexttime But all in all it wasn’t so bad that you couldn’t do this yourself.. I’m just not an expert and don’t want to teach you.  Enough disclaimers?  Time for more pictures.

Brick Laying Brick Laying

Brick Laying

When it came time for our top course or “cap”, we turned the bricks lengthwise just like we saw in our inspiration picture, but definitely found it trickier to butter these and lay them properly.  In the end, I buttered and Jake laid each brick – opposite roles which gave me time to take pictures.

Brick Laying Brick Laying Brick Laying

We were about 3 hours in at this point, so ready to have our hands free of mortar but we pushed through and finished the top cap in an hour.  On the very last end piece we had to trim a full brick length-wise which I keep attesting made the $98 wet saw rental totally worth it.  Sure.

Brick Laying

The second to last step is pointing your brick wall.  When the mortar is mostly set, you want to use the tool below to rub the mortar joints and get a little indent.  It looks pretty!

Brick Laying

After that you wash the entire wall down with water and sponge to wash the mortar off the bricks.  This is the same concept as washing all the grout off your tile after grouting.  And obviously you want to do this before it dries or it’s very difficult to remove.

Brick Laying Brick Laying

I mentioned before that we could’ve done a better job at this step, but we really don’t mind.  Our wall is a little cloudy, but I think that adds to it’s rustic charm and makes it looks like it’s been there for a while.

Brick Laying

Once we were done and allowed the mortar to harden up for a few  days , we brought in some top soil to back fill behind it and now have this beautiful raised planter bed that you see today!

Wall 4 Wall 6 Wall 5

Ok, time for the recap of all the tools used to build this wall, what it cost us and wrap this post up.


Bricks, Wet Saw, Concrete, Wood Stakes, Level, Mixing Container (our wheelbarrow), Mortar, Masonry Trowels, Pointing too, Sponge, Puggle (she won’t actually help you.. we tried!)

  • Bricks – 200 bricks for $1/each + $45 delivery was $245.
  • Wet Saw Rental – $98
  • Concrete, Mortar, + Tools – ~$75

So in the end this wall cost us about $400 (I think we got some money back when we returned the wet saw to HD) and took 2 of us about 1.5 days to build.  It’s 16′ long and 4 courses high.  We have a lot of bricks left too, so not all of these even went toward this project.  We wanted to order extra so we could edge our front yard flower beds with them for a more polished look out there.

We love how this wall turned out and although it was hard work and a learning experience for sure, we’re really happy we did it ourselves and admire it with a lot of gratitude knowing the work and planning that went into it!

Wall Before Wall 2

Ever try to build a brick wall or retaining wall?  I’ve never done any tiling…but see some in my future, maybe.  I hope I do a better job of cleaning the tile than I did the brick, but love this wall all the same!