Category: Master suite

Another new to us dresser

You can definitely file this under “furniture we don’t need… but we really, really wanted.” I blame the knobs. Look at them!


This is yet another (but the last one we’ll talk about for now) find at South Jefferson Mid Century Modern. It’s one I saw on Instagram that made me pause, scroll back and think “Would Aaron like that?” I wrongly assumed he wouldn’t and kept moving because who really needs 5 super skinny drawers?

When we went in for THE desk, this dresser was still available. Aaron gravitated toward it instantly, and I discovered that it was actually a stack of three drawers on each side (and therefore MUCH more functional.) We reasoned that we could swap out the behemoth of a dresser we have in our master bedroom for this much more stylish piece. So we included it on the wishlist and toted it home with our other scores. It waited alongside the Broyhill before being moved to the (future) downstairs living room/current workshop disaster zone to get some love.


Seriously, the knobs.


It had a little wear all over and a little rogue paint.

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The worst part was the top, which lost its luster many years ago.

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Aaron cleaned the whole piece with Murphy Oil Soap and gave it a coat of Danish Oil before turning his attention to the top.


He sanded the top and rubbed on three coats of Danish Oil to bring it back to the right color.


You can really see what a difference it made.


Then he coated it with 2 rounds of Feed-N-Wax to bring back some of the shine.

Here’s the dresser we retired to make way for this mid century beauty.


It was super functional, but also super huge. So huge that we couldn’t open the door all the way.

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Much better!

Here’s a look at the drawer configuration.


When I shot this I realized that I forgot to fill up the bottom left drawer. This dresser doesn’t really come close to fitting all of the clothes the other one held… but ignoring a drawer completely certainly wasn’t helping!


Oh those knobs…



We always prioritize our bedroom really low when it comes to updates. Even at our house in Kansas City, it took us about four years to paint our master a color we liked. In fact, the only reason we painted this room was for an Alive Magazine shoot. Otherwise it would still be the dreadful green and brown combo we inherited.

All that is to say, it’s nice to have a fun update in a space we use so often. And since this is my dresser I get to enjoy those knobs on the daily.

Sugru the shower handle

Have you heard of Sugru yet? You probably have, because, like me, you probably follow many of the popular home/DIY blogs, including the hilarious Katie of Bower Power who talked about the magic of Sugru a few weeks ago. Basically, Sugru is a cool substance that starts pliable and dries as a firm plastic. It’s play dough plastic, and I instantly thought of a spot in the firehouse that could benefit from some fixing.

Welcome to our master bathroom. I don’t talk about this space much because it’s functional and oh so boring. It’s also years away from any kind of facelift. But the shower door was in need of a minor repair.


In a burst of vigorous cleaning (because soap scum is a B! Side note: When the cleaning crew tackled our house, we tacked on the master bath even though it wasn’t covered in dust. The cleaning ladies actually apologized for not being able to remove all the soap scum from the shower door. In related news: I no longer feel bad about my cleaning skills.) I digress. Whilst cleaning, I accidentally broke some sort of plastic ring that was holding the two sides of the shower door handle together. I’m fairly certain that it was brittle from old age. Another ring soon followed suit and since then we’ve been living with a wobbly handle, which felt like it might break off at any moment.
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Sugru seemed like the perfect solution. I snagged a pack at Target and after our showers one night, it took 10 whole minutes to make the fix. I used one pack on each side of the door, splitting the Sugru into two pieces for each connection. After wiping down the door, I rolled out the Sugru, stuck it in place and let it dry for the prescribed 24 hours. Voila!

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So far it’s working perfectly! Aaron pointed out that it’s not a very pretty fix, likening it to chewing gum. I don’t disagree, but in this destined-for-an-eventual-reno space (and on a handle that we use repeatedly each day) I’m ok with function over form. So are you on the Sugru bandwagon?

I feel like it’s a blogger duty to mention that I wasn’t paid by Sugru. In fact, no one has ever paid me to write a single word on this blog (so far, but if the right company came along, I’d consider it… just putting that out there. COUGHSchoolhouse ElectricCOUGH) I just thought this product was cool and wanted to share.

The master bedroom gets a facelift

The renovation drought is officially over, but a month ago I wouldn’t have guessed that we would choose this space to go first.

Let me back up. Let’s talk about the master bedroom. It’s a fine/functional/we-just-dropped-furniture-in-here type of space. I mean, we were using moving boxes for side tables until September!

We don’t love the space, and there are plenty of things that need addressed:

  1. Awful paint scheme
  2. Random unpainted access panel in the ceiling
  3. Inadequate lighting
  4. Ugly tile
  5. SIX DOORS and no place to put the bed except the half wall
  6. Bizarre closet arrangement that blocks a window
  7. The half wall
    Oh, half wall, you flow interrupting, unfinished eyesore. Before we closed on this place I had grand plans to knock you out. “First thing! FIRST THING!” I swore to anyone who would listen. You’re the worst.









Besides the long list above the room had some other minor issues, like a missing doorknob. (Broken off with a brick from the yard in a fit of panic at the sound of rushing water. Don’t worry, the water was actually seeping through some random holes in the laundry room and this occurred well before we had anything in the firehouse that could get ruined.)


Plenty of light switches and outlets that simply don’t work. Some were painted to match the wall. Some were plate-less.



Missing trim…


This mess… which is certainly our fault, but easy to look past on a daily basis.


Trim that is in place but not nailed down…


And this mess… which is ironic because we’ve had the mount for the TV since before we moved in. It did get a  lot of action through the temperate months when it held one of the windows opens for us.


And, honestly, none of that bothered me that much until (there’s always an until) a local magazine contacted us wanting to include the firehouse in an upcoming issue that highlights interesting rehabbed spaces. I tried explaining that the studio is the only space that’s really done. While looking at pictures on our blog, the editor said, “The master bedroom looks pretty good.”

I (obviously) protested. She wanted to talk to her art director. I wanted to talk to Aaron.

When I looked at the space with fresh/maybe-we-could-fix-this eyes, I thought, “It wouldn’t take that much paint.” I causally brought up the idea of, “Hey, if this magazine wants to come shoot our space, maybe we should paint the bedroom.” Which snowballed into his suggestion to paint the trim, doors and half wall to make some of the suburban disappear. Cut to us grabbing some paint swatches from Home Depot.


Because this is truly an “in between” makeover (we have big plans for this space… and every space so there was no reason to linger over the choice) and I’m married to a photographer who has a color sense that would make any designer jealous, we quickly honed in on Dark Cavern (bottom right). We wanted to go with a darker shade than our previous bedrooms (we’re still strongly considering black after we renovate) and the warm tone matched our bedding the best.

In the meantime, the editor decided that “yes, we would love to feature your space” and gave us a whopping 10 days to complete the makeover. A few days later and a LOT OF EDGING we had this:


What a difference a few cans of paint make!

Of course, we took a few minutes to add some trim (which had to be custom fabricated, because nothing is ever easy at the firehouse), replace the switches and outlets with black versions and spray the handles and hinges a darker color so everything blends in.



I have momentarily stopped cussing at the half wall.






The access panel (upper left) even got a quick swipe of Antique White so it would blend in. Can we not talk about how much it pained us to buy “white” paint with any kind of tint?






I went into full staging/nesting mode in light of the impending photo shoot. My bedside table got a few new pieces of milk glass that we picked up in recent jaunts to surrounding antique malls.



The walls even got some art. (ART!!) A few fog pictures from long ago.






And Aaron got his very own side table staging thanks to some vintage pieces that haven’t seen the light of day in nearly a year.





Oh my! It feels good to decorate!


Obviously, it’s not perfect. The half wall disdain will surely creep back, in and we decided to nix the light gray curtains in favor of black pull down shades, which are on their way. But I actually smile when I walk in the room. We can certainly live with this, and actually enjoy it, while we focus on some more public spaces over the next few years.

This wasn’t the only thing we painted in that tight timeline. The others are looking a bit brighter (white… obviously). Any guesses?


Furniture swaps

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for the studio tipping point – the point when we actually move in, the point when the dining room starts to get cleared out, the point when we think “YES! This is why we bought this place.” I’m seriously enjoying the fact that it feels like we’re moving in. Nesting is at an all time high.

So it’s no shock that some unexpected furniture swaps have me doing a happy dance. First we moved our desks into the studio, freeing up space in the upstairs living room.


At the same time, we moved everything into the viewing, freeing up a media unit that has always lived in the studio. Our initial impulse was to sell it, but we decided to try it out in the upstairs living room first.


It turned out to be a great fit. We love that the TV is lower and therefore more in our line of sight from the couch.



This freed up the record cabinet turned media cabinet/bar turned put-the-TV-on-there-for-now. We plopped it down where the desks used to sit and promptly filled it with all our bar parephenalia.


It also gave us a chance to fill and display the decanters we’ve been collecting. Ultimately these will probably live in a bar downstairs, but it’s nice to use some of the fun things we own.






Now the upstairs living room looks like this.


It’s so much less “maybe you should do some work” and so much more “Relax! Have a drink!” Even the view from the stairs is better. Hello wide open goodness.


This, however, is my favorite view. Looking down the hallway from the bedrooms, all you see is living room furniture instead of our cluttered desks. It makes me happy on the daily.


Moving the alcohol back to the record cabinet freed up the white Ikea cubes and they suddenly looked like good temporary night stands.


So now, we have bedside tables! Beside tables that are not made of cardboard and threatening to cave in!



They’re definitely temporary, but the kind of temporary we can live with until we actually get to redo this room. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I grabbed one of our favorite lamps and pulled out gobs of milk glass to hold my jewelry.



There’s something about a jewelry in a retail display that makes my heart happy.





The closet, former home of jewelery stuck in plastic trays and piles of Aaron’s belts and watches, also got some milk glass. My inner storage geek rejoiced.


Can I get a ‘hooray’ for finally feeling a bit more settled?!?

Building floors in the pole closets

The firehouse came with 5 pole holes and just one pole. (I feel like there’s a potential dirty joke in there, but haven’t had enough wine to figure out exactly what it is…)

Because 4 human-sized, holes that will literally let you fall to your death is too many for one residence, they were near the top of our repair list. They zoomed up even further when we realized that they would be easier to work on while we had the rented scissor lift in our possession. As a bonus, finishing the bottom side would allow for an even coverage of paint on the studio side.

Three of the holes had questionable floors. If you put just a bit of weight on the floor, you could definitely feel it give. We assumed low-grade plywood was to blame, but we found out it was actually due to large metal plates. Seen here above ground:


We left one of these plates intact in the 4th bedroom because there was literally no way to get it out thanks to furnace pipes. That space will always be a closet so there’s no chance for someone to hang out there. The metal plate will do for that area, but we wanted a bit more support in the other bedrooms where we have plans to remove the pole closets.

Let’s take a look at what we’re working with. Looking up from the studio:


Looking down from our bedroom:


Imminent death:


Aaron started by attaching 2″ x 6″ ledgers to 3 sides. The glazed brick is hollow so there was no reason to add a ledger there because it wouldn’t be structural.



The floor is solid concrete so he used a hammer drill to make way for heavy-duty concrete anchors, which hold the ledger boards in place.


That is the official hammer drill face…

Actually, he did have a bit of a scare on the very last hole. In the midst of drilling one of the holes, sparks flew back out of the hole and a run of lighting in the studio went dead. Thank god for circuit breakers. Apparently, there was conduit in the concrete ceiling. The firehouse has so many treasures and secrets… Luckily he was able to identify which circuit was compromised and was able to disable it before the break. So it’s all good now, but it was not a good day in firehouse work.

Anyways, from there he basically built a mini-deck in each opening, squaring up the corners and adding joists.



This floor isn’t going anywhere. Looking up from the studio:



He added drywall on the studio side. Eventually the top sides will get insulation and plywood, which will sit flush with the concrete so we can run new flooring over it … whenever we get to that… in like 5 years…

Also, eventually we’ll drag those metal plates to the dumpster… it’s only been 3 weeks since this was done… have I mentioned this blog is a judgement-free zone?


Final shot looking up from the studio.


Only 2 more posts until I show you the rest of the space. Two more posts! Two more posts! Ok… now I’ve had enough wine…