My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.




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Entries in Master Bedroom (6)


Curtains for the Master Bedroom

After rearranging the master bedroom to fit in our new king size bed I wanted to add some new curtains to replace my roman shades. Being a 140+ year old house, the windows are a bit of a crazy situation. The windows on the front of the house sit a little lower down then the ones on the sides plus one of the side windows is a larger replacement window I had to install to bring the house up to fire code for egress. I thought by using some shades and curtains I could disguise the mismatch of windows in the room.

After a little hunting around I found some pretty steel and ivory canvas curtains from West Elm marked down from $44 to $19.99 and jumped on buying them. I then bought allen + roth natural fiber roman shades and Threshold knob drapery rods in brushed nickel from Target. 

I bought 72" length shades so that I could hang them right under the beams in the room. This not only makes the windows seem taller but also helps mask fact the the windows on the front of the house are lower than the ones on the side.

Next I hung the curtains snugly under the beams. It is really amazing how these two windows which are the same size can look so different with a change of window treatment. I just love how the window on the right appears so much larger.

The new window treatments make the room seem so much larger and taller plus it makes the crazy window situation appear much more uniform. I am so happy with how it all turned out.

Pulling the curtains a little closer together on the window along the side of the bed disguises the fact that it is over a foot wider than the other windows.

Next up I want to add some art over my dresser in the corner. It is going to be a little tough since the dresser is on an angle but I have an idea that I think might work.

Have you been doing any refreshes in your home this spring?


Rearranging the Master Bedroom

After I moved back to the US from living in Japan I set up my bedroom with my bed between the windows. I liked the setup so I never changed much in the intervening years.

When Frank and I got married and he moved in things needed to change. While my full size bed was fine for my life as a single lady Frank is a foot taller than me and there was no way it was going to work anymore. Since we also needed more storage space for Frank's clothing I set about looking for a king size bed frame with storage drawers.

I spent a little while hunting around for something just right. Some frames had drawers only on the sides or only on the ends but I wanted both. I also wanted something that would coordinate well with the antique dressers I inherited from my great grandmother.

Finally I found the Abbott Storage Bed at Art Van. It had a classic style with six deep drawers plus the mahogany stain was just the right color.

Purchasing the king size bed necessitated rearranging the layout of the room. The full size bed had barely fit between the two windows at the front of the house and the king bed looked quite awkward in that spot. After a combination of sketching a few things out and moving things around I came up with a new room layout that I liked.

I started by putting the new king bed centered under one of the windows which opened up the other side of the room. Although I like the night stands that I have, they get in the way of opening the drawers closest to the headboard so at some point I would like to replace them with something wall mounted.

At the foot of the bed I put my one of my great-grandmother's dressers. I plan to remove the mirror from the dresser (it is simply screwed on with brace plates in the back) and mount the TV to the wall in the future.

On the other side of the room I centered Frank's great-grandmother's desk (a new addition to the room) under a window. I angled the second of my great-grandmother's dressers into the corner of the room since it looked too cramped flat against the wall. I love that we have furniture from both my great-grandmother as well as Frank's in our bedroom.

With the furniture layout worked out for the room I have a bunch of small things that I want to do to pull together the room:

- Hang new blinds and curtains
- Hang some art on the walls
- Get an area rug
- Remove the mirror on the dresser and mount the TV on the wall
- Build shelf night stands 

So far Frank and I have loved our new bed and the storage has been a wonderful addition to our room. I'm excited to get the room all organized and finished.


Beginning the Master Bedroom Closet Makeover

Since we got married and Frank moved in with me this summer he has been hanging up his clothes on a standing clothes rack in the bedroom. Originally our plan was to use a beautiful antique armoire to convert into a closet for him. It is enormous so we checked the measurements for everything to make sure it could get through our front door, the bedroom door and fit in the bedroom itself. What we didn't account for was the headroom in the stairway which is just a smudge too short.

So apart from figuring out a long term solution for the armoire on the first floor Frank needs some place to hang his clothes which is bringing about this closet makeover.

The old closet system doesn't work for a few reasons. Originally it had only one bar on each side with the shelves above. The shelves are largely useless and just gather my junk so I want to hang the rods higher. I hung a second rod on one side of the closet but because the top rod wasn't very high it works for my clothes but not for Frank who is a foot taller than me. All in all if this closet was going to work for us I needed to completely rework the organization to maximize the space for both of us.

To start I set about cleaning out the closet (no easy feat with my pack rat ways!) and then demoing the existing organizers last weekend. I was as careful as I could be but the walls were pretty scuffed up and had a number of holes in the walls from where the old shelf supports were attached.

Using a putty knife, I filled all of the holes plus a few small dents the closet had acquired with some joint compound. After it had dried I applied another thin layer and then sanded everything smooth once it was dry.

While I was at it I wanted to paint the trim white so a little prep work was required there as well. I applied a bead of paintable, sandable caulk in all of the gaps and then smoothed it with my finger.

If you don't use a caulk gun very often one thing I'll mention is that right after you are done applying caulk hit the release on the back otherwise when you set it down it will slowly keep oozing out. I learned my lesson about this several years ago with a construction adhesive mishap. In case you are wondering construction adhesive is very tough to get off your hands and will turn them black. It made for a slightly awkward few days at work.

Anyway, back to the closet! With a coat of primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore's Simply White on the trim followed by two coats of Valspar's Oxygen White on the walls my closet was a fresh blank slate.

Next up I have some fun plans for the ceiling and closet light plus I'm going to build organizers that maximize the space for our needs. I can't wait to get the clothes back in the closet!


The Armoire of Armoires

Now that Frank and I are married and he has moved in, we are in the process of turning my bachelorette pad into a house that works for both of us. One of the key issues that we have is clothing storage. When I remodeled the second floor I combined two tiny bedrooms to make a master bedroom and reworked the floor plan to make the closet as large as possible. The closet is pretty decently sized now (especially for a 130+ year old house) but it isn't enough space for both of us to store all of our clothes. 

Knowing that closet space was going to be an issue, this past spring I started looking around at some of my favorite places in town as well as Craigslist for an antique armoire. Everything I found seemed a bit too fussy looking for my tastes or not big enough for our needs. Then earlier this summer I stumbled across this ad on Craigslist for an enormous armoire.

At nearly seven feet tall and six feet wide it was the armoire of armoires so I showed the listing to Frank. It was enormous, but we both liked the style and it would easily take care of our clothing storage needs. The only hitch was that it was located an hour south of us. We decided to gamble on it so I called the shop and asked them to hold it for us. We rented a flatbed trailer and hoped that the armoire was as nice in person as it looked in the pictures.

When we got to the shop we made a beeline for the armoire. We knew it was going to be big, but it seemed even more enormous in person. The oak was quite pretty and each of the panels was trimmed out with small egg and dart molding. The armoire had a large drawer at the bottom and the top had enough space for me to build two shelves and a hanging rod for clothing. We decided we wanted to get the armoire if we could negotiate the price down a little bit.

The shop was actually in partnership with a few other shops that were linked together. Unfortunately, the owner of the armoire was on vacation so no one actually manning the store that day could discuss the price with us. Luckily, the guy at the register had the owner's cell phone so I called her and worked down the price from out on the street since there was no cell reception in the store. It was a bit comical at the time but in the end it all worked out.

While we were there Frank and I took a little look around the rest of the shops. There was a lot of neat stuff for sale and if I had unlimited budget and space at home I would have filled up the car and trailer.

I couldn't resist buying a tin mail sorter that I found near the register. After I clean it up I think it will make for some awesome storage in my craft room. We also got a cool ten gallon stone crock that we plan to use for making pickles later this summer.

Once we checked out the next trick was trying to load up our purchases. The crock and mail sorter easily fit into the back of Frank's SUV, but getting the armoire out of the store and into the trailer was quite a feat. After some wrangling and fancy dolly work we were all set and on the road back north.

Since there was no way that the two of us were going to get the behemoth armoire up the stairs by ourselves, when we got home we used our dolly to get it into the garage and there it has sat ever since. Frank is understandably getting pretty tired of having his clothes hanging up on a cheap metal clothes rack so we need get on reorganizing the bedroom to make space and moving the armoire up there!


Master Bedroom: Then & Now

Today I thought I would share part of my house that I haven't shared before, my master bedroom. When I bought my house it had six bedrooms. It sounds great but they were all tiny rooms and the layout was really awkward. In the back of the upstairs I reconfigured a 10'x10' room, a small bathroom and an awkward space to make a large master bathroom and a 13'x13' room which I now use as a craft room. In the front of the upstairs I decided to combine two small bedrooms to create my master bedroom. I was happy to lose a bedroom and turn my home into a five bedroom house if it meant I would have a decent size bedroom.

The two small bedrooms were a hot mess: holes in the walls, no insulation, no electrical outlets (?!?) and the light switches for the lights were outside the rooms in the hall for some odd reason. On top of that the rooms were absolutely filthy and the room with carpet had a bunch of disgusting stains. Here are a few pictures of the rooms back when I bought my house.

All the walls had to be gutted to the studs in order to add insulation and electrical because besides needing to bring the house up to code I like to be warm and plug things in. I started reconfiguring the floor plan by removing the wall between the rooms. To open things up the old ceilings were removed to expose the old attic area and I had the resulting vaulted ceiling finished and had beams added to keep the house from spreading. The space above the bathroom was then turned into a loft space overlooking the master bedroom. To bring the house up to code, I had to replace one of the windows with a larger window that met egress in case of a fire. To say it was a challenge to get it approved my the historic district committee is an understatement.

I also readjusted the closet situation. Because the house is over a hundred years old none of the rooms originally had closets so they were just oddly added in at a later date. In one of the rooms a closet had been built out over the stairway. Not only was it super awkward, but it also was not up to code since it reduced the headroom on the stairs to less than the state minimum.  Because of this the closet had to go but I saved the old five panel hardwood door, of course. 

The other closet in the upstairs was off of a room that I think may have been a kitchen, that I turned into my master bathroom. Since the second bedroom door was eliminated (again, I kept the old door) I had room to expand the closet. I then added another door to the closet so that I could enter it from my master bedroom as well as my bathroom. It makes for a nice little pass through.

Here is how my master bedroom looks today. There are a lot of things that I still would like to do and I am not sure that I am sold on the way I have the furniture arranged but I like having a lot of space. 

Over my bed is a three panel hand carved wood plaque that I brought back from Thailand. I love the detail on it. My bedspread is from Target and the pillows are from a variety of places but the brown one with the teal is special to me since it is hand appliquéd and I purchased it at the Night Market in Luang Prabang, Laos

Both of my dressers are from my great-grandmother's bedroom set that I inherited. I think they were built in the 1930s and they definitely need some TLC but I love having a little part of her in my room.

Over the tall dresser I have hung a reproduction poster that I bought in Sevilla, Spain and I have some Japanese glass fishing floats, an antique Japanese abacus and a glass jar full of sea glass from Panama sitting on top.

In the corner I have my TV which Frank finds incredibly embarrassing since it is so old. It is about as deep as it is wide and is a TV/VCR combo. I bought it used back in grad school and it seems fine to me! I bought the little cabinet that the TV sits on at a flea market in Kyoto when I was living in Japan.

The poster between the doors is from a play in college where I was the lighting designer. I also have a desk sitting on the back wall that I bought at the Ann Arbor ReUse Center awhile back for $20. I need to refinish it but haven't had a chance yet. The lamp is another item from my great grand mother and used to sit on her desk.

My favorite part about my room is the vaulted ceiling and my ceiling fan. I searched around a lot for just the right fan. Since my house is old a modern fan would look strange so I really wanted something that looked period and had four blades like early ceiling fans did. I looked high and low and then found this fan that is a reproduction of the original Westinghouse ceiling fan design. I love it! 

So there you have it, my master bedroom as it stands right now. There are so many more things that I want to do in there but I just need to remind myself that these things take time...


DIY Crown Molding Closet Shoe Organizer for Heels

I am short but I would just love, love, love to be tall. Because of this I have a high heel addiction and wear them everyday. In fact, I am so used to wearing heels that I can run in them as fast as I can in flats. Before you are impressed, I must disclose that I am painfully slow in whatever footwear I choose. I would tell you to think tortoise slow, but that would be slander against the tortoise.

Anyway, I digress. The point of all of this is that I have a lot of heels. I also happen to live in a house that is over hundred years old built in a time when thoughts of master suites with shoe closets were not exactly on the radar. As a result I need to make the best use of the closet space that I have to store my shoe collection. 

My old solution was terrible. It was a cheap over the door organizer that had all sorts of problems. First, it stuck pretty far out from the door making it a little unwieldy to get in and out of the closet. Second, it was just flat out ugly made from cheap plastic with metal rods. It doesn't look so bad in my pictures, but it real life it was an eyesore. Third, and most importantly it covered over the inside door handle. Normally, no one would care about an inside closet handle but when I remodeled the second floor of my house I reconfigured it to expand the closet as much as I could and to make it a pass through into the master bathroom. If I want to go from the bathroom to my room I have to wrangle the door knob through my shoe organizer. It's really annoying so I tend to just leave the door open which is not the best solution. 

Several months ago on Pinterest I pinned an image of crown molding on a wall for hanging heels from an article on Houzz.com thinking it would make a great solution for me. It has languished among my many pins, but I decided to use The Pinterest Challenge hosted by SherryKatie, Carmel and Sarah to finally get around to doing something with the idea.

Unlike the pinned image, I wanted to keep my heels inside my closet instead of displaying them on the wall. Also, I didn't want to make any holes in my old solid hardwood door (yes, I know it is bad need of refinishing). On my other closet door I had previously made a laundry sorter system from hanging baskets and had used Command Hooks so that I wouldn't damage the door. Command Hooks wouldn't be an option for this project, however, since any shoe organizer would be too heavy for them. As I was taking down my old shoe organizer, I realized that the metal part that went over the door could be slipped off the rest of the organizer and would make the perfect solution for me.

With how to hang up the shoe organizer figured out I next had to tackle the frame. I needed to make it as light as possible so it wouldn't put excessive stress on the door hinges. After sketching some ideas I decided to use 1x3s for sides with a 1x4 brace at the top. I measured a few pairs of my heels and determined that spacing the crown molding shelves 12" would allow me sufficient space for things not to be too crowded and give me six shelves. I was also careful to determine the width (22-1/2") so I wouldn't have interference with my door knob.

I didn't want to have the top have a square sharp edge so I traced a design on the top of my side supports and cut it out with my jigsaw. Next, I held up the crown molding against the side rotating it until I determined what angle I wanted it to be, which ended up being 40 degrees. I measured down 66" inches from the top (12" x 5 for the spacing between the six shelves plus an extra 6" at the top), clamped the two sides together and cut the bottom at 40 degrees. I then made a mark every 12" starting from the bottom and used the trimmed off piece as a guide to mark the angle for the molding on the sides.

With my sides cut and marked, I cut the 1x4 brace and five of the shelves at 21" and an additional shelf for the bottom at 22-1/2". I made the bottom shelf the full width because I planned it to go over the supports instead of inside like the others. I wanted the brace to be well secured to the shelf so I decided to use my Kreg Jig to make pocket holes to attach it to the sides.

To attach the crown molding shelves I put some wood glue on the ends, aligned them with the marks that I made and used some brad nails to secure them. For the bottom shelf I used glue and brad nails, but placed it on top of the angled bottom. This left a little gap which I filled in with wood putty and sanded flat.

I filled in the rest of the brad nail holes, sanded the whole piece, wiped it down with a tack cloth and I was ready for paint. I kept things simple and just gave the organizer two light coats of white spray paint.

Once the organizer was dry my last step was to attach the old metal over the shelf brackets. I drilled a pilot hole for the screw, attached the brackets with 1/2" screws and my organizer was complete.


I am thrilled with how my shoe organizer turned out. Not only is it much more functional than my old organizer (I can reach the door handle!) but it is so much prettier. 

Here is a view of the old organizer and new organizer from afar. I think it looks much cleaner to have the shoes spaced out, plus my newly built organizer sticks out less than half the amount from the door as the old one making it much easier to get in about out of the closet. Also, it is needless to say that crown molding looks prettier than cheap metal tubes any day. 

Did you make anything for the Pinterest Challenge? If so, leave a link in my comments because I would love to check it out!