eva higgins photography

Dear House on the Mill

Posts tagged DIY
Spring Home Tour

Welcome! If this is your first time here, my name is Nicole and my family turned a 1923 mill house into our home.  Spring is the best time of year (even though in SC it only lasts a couple of weeks before the heat takes over).  This season epitomizes my style - simple, natural, light and bright! 

To be invited for the Hello Spring Home Tour with all of these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful homes is inspirational.  It's only Wednesday and I'm already planning projects for this weekend because these ladies have given me so many amazing ideas!  Carrie with Lovely Etc. did an amazing job hosting.  There is something new everyday this week so follow the links at the end!

For me, Spring means being outdoors!  We love to grill, sit on the back deck, wave to neighbors, and my son absolutely loves taking rides on the golf cart.  (Riding around the neighborhood on your golf cart is kind of a thing to do on week nights around here - welcome to Small Town, SC.)

So, let's start outside.  A broken old chair adorned with flowers and an old window, mismatched seating, and Ikea dinnerware complete the look.

From wreaths to counter tops, I really am a Do-It-Yourself person.  And if you can't DIY, buy it really cheap :) Michael's had their floral stems for 60% off so I stocked up on some really pretty stems for all of my Spring projects.

A few new (and on sale) pillows, bringing out my colorful throws on the quilt rack, adding simple touches of flowers, and freshening up the mantle complete the living area.

For Christmas I asked the hubby for things from local thrift and antique stores.  I gave him no direction and honestly just wanted to see what he would think I'd like.  He was spot on!  Seriously!  He scored a trunk (below) that was in great condition and only needed a little paint to take it from black and bold to bright and beautiful.  He also picked out the above RC Cola tray and everything that's on display in it. 

Our home is on the smaller side so our main living area doubles as my office.  By painting the desk my favorite color, teal, keeping the cords hidden, and having simple decorations I turned an eye-sore into an extension of the room.

I think our kitchen is the heart of the home.  When people gather here we tend to spend most of our time in this area.  If it's just us hanging out, you can always find us making snacks, cooking dinner, or toy race cars lining the table.  When friends and family arrive, coffee is brewing, desserts are devoured, and our children race around the island.

With the amount of traffic in this area, I really keep it simple in here.  I thrift containers to hold wooden spoons, use dough bowls for fruits and veggies, and my refrigerator is our social calendar (I mean wedding season this year is CRAZY!).

We did almost everything in this kitchen ourselves - from painting the cabinets and the counter tops, installing an island with a dishwasher, to painting the second-hand table and chairs.  This home has a lot of sweat and tears involved but it's our sweat and our tears.

It just so happened that the day I snapped these photos was the same day of a very special dinner with our family.  We are expecting another baby this September and we all gathered to find out the gender :)

These are the moments our home is made for.  It's great to take photos of a spotless home and wish that it would stay that way forever.  But, honestly having 15+ people over, a toddler running everywhere, crumbs on the counter and laughter in the air - that's beauty.

After a delicious dinner, we handed out surprise-filled cupcakes and waited for everyone to take a bite.


It's a Boy!


I beyond thankful that you stopped by and spent a few minutes with me today.  I'd love to get your feedback or simply say "Hi" so feel free to leave your comments below.

It's only mid-week so there are still lots of wonderful blogs to tour for the Hello Spring Home Tour.  You do no want to miss anything that these lovely ladies have in store.

Merry Christmas Tour!

First off, welcome - I am so appreciative you are here!  I love this time of year and celebrating the true love of Christ with family and friends.  "We love because He first loved us."

Before our 2 year old woke up and started pulling toys into every room, I had about 30 minutes to photograph a clean home!  I love traditional reds and greens and this year I also decided to add some cotton and natural elements into the mix. 

I had the pleasure to photograph Christmas mini-sessions at a local tree farm in Greenville (Mystic Tree Farm) and while I was there, I picked out our tree.  Instead of the traditional green fur, we went with a Blue Ice tree that really does have a little blue hue to it.  It's beautiful and smells so wonderful!

I didn't have room on my mantle to put four stocking holders and I don't like using command hooks since the top of our mantle is a little thinner.  So, a white curtain rod and two flat stocking holders did the trick! 

Décor in the kitchen is a little more subtle - just a few small wreaths and pops of red and green!

I shopped around for a cotton wreath but the price tags were a little more than I wanted to pay...so a friend informed me of a place in Greenville called The Tomato Vine and they sale cotton by the stem or by the bunch for super cheap!!!  So, a DIY cotton wreath it is!

I've spent weeks searching for a wooden bench for our kitchen table.  I wanted to move things around and center the table with the mantle.  After no luck at my favorite antique and thrift stores, my wonderful father made me one instead.  I can't decide what color to paint it though...all white, stained and white, a color...

Our son will empty an entire toy box looking for his cars (he calls them "beep beeps") so I've started putting them in smaller containers that he can easily find.  This saves us a few minutes of toy clean up each night...one afternoon, he put them in this dough bowl on his small table.  So for Christmas, I thought I'd keep it that way!

But literally, as soon as he woke up - straight to the toys and the photo taking was done.  Mostly because I wanted to play with him too!

I hope this season is merry and bright for you all but never forget why we truly celebrate.  We can make our homes beautiful and get inspiration for one another but His beauty, love and inspiration are unending and all powerful.

Merry Christmas!





$1 DIY Christmas Garland

I'm probably one of those people who start Christmas decorating a little earlier than most.  It's only November 6th and Christmas movies take up my television, Christmas music is on my radio, and I browse the holiday aisles at every store. 

I know the most important reason for this season is to celebrate our Lord and Savior (as should every day be) so there is no reason to limit it to just December...

So, with my Christmas mini-sessions coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a grand idea to start decorating my own home! 

A friend and fellow photographer wanted some festive garland for upcoming Christmas sessions but the cost online was $75!! A trip to my local craft and dollar stores changed that.

I was able to make three different types of garland or banners for $1 or less each! 

Here is what you need:

  • String, yarn, twine, or thread (I had some white yarn already on hand)
  • One bag of cotton balls
  • Paper (the color and thickness is up to you) I usually pick the individual scrap-booking pages that are $0.20 a piece
  • Mini Plastic Ornaments (These are usually $1 or less for a pack of 8)
  • Black Marker (I already had this on hand)
  • Scissors (I already had this on hand)
  • Hole-puncher (I already had this on hand)
  • Threading needle (I already had this on hand)

For the cotton garland, cut the yarn to the length you want and tie one end to the threading needle.  Thread the needle and string through the middle of each cotton ball and adjust the cotton balls to be as close as you'd like.  I mixed it up and put about 30 on the first one (they were closer together) and only 20 on the other (so they were further apart). 

For the ornament garland, cut the yarn to the length you want and tie it to the threading needle.  Thread the yarn through the top of the ornament and then tie a knot around the top so that the ornament stays in place.  I alternated colors of red and gold.

For the banner that says, "Merry Christmas,"  cut the scrap-booking pages into any shape you'd like.  Make sure to cut them so that you have enough room for one per letter.  Using a marker, write the phrase you'd like spelled out.  Use the hole-puncher at the top of each letter (I put hole in each top corner) so that you can thread the yarn through.

Decorating is always fun - it's even more fun when you can save money!!! 

Happy Crafting!





Last Minute DIY Halloween Costume

Most of my family is all about "last minute..."

When you get the label in your family of being the "crafty one," you get lots of requests for help - especially with those last minute projects. Which is why, I spent my afternoon making a scarecrow costume for my cousin (who is 20 months old and adorable)!

After a detailed phone call with my aunt while she's in Hobby Lobby, the list of supplies was purchased to make a cute scarecrow costume.


List of items needed:

  • Tulle (and lots of it) - we used 4 rolls of 6in tulle that came in 25 yard spools.  The colors used were brown, yellow, orange, and cream. 
  • Ribbon - we used 1in thick brown ribbon for the waist and the neck tie; also used was 1/4in yellow ribbon for decoration on the front
  • Faux Sunflowers - we purchased one stem that had approximately 6-7 sunflowers in various sizes
  • Burlap - we used two colors (orange and regular) for the hat "patches"
  • Straw hat
  • Hot glue
  1. For the tulle you will need to measure from above the chest to the desired length.  Multiple that times two and that's how long one piece of tulle will be.  My cousin's length needed was 15in x 2 = 30in per strip.
  2. Cut the first piece of brown ribbon to be enough to go around the waist and tie a bow in the back.  Then fold the tulle in half, wrap it around the ribbon, and pull the tail pieces through the loop to tie a knot around the band. 
  3. Cut another piece of brown ribbon long enough to tie around the tutu and around the neck (think halter).  Take the middle of the ribbon and wrap it around the center of the ribbon on the tutu and tie a knot.
  4. Hot glue a sunflower on the knot and tie some smaller decorative ribbon to hang in front.
  5. For the hat, cut smaller pieces of burlap and hot glue them to look like patches.  Attach a few sunflowers and viola! 
  6. You can also add leggings and a shirt for those cooler nights!

There are so many DIY Halloween costumes you can make - happy crafting :)


Fall tour

I was able to sit down and enjoy an almost spotless home for about 15 minutes yesterday before I heard the first, "Uh Oh" that came right after a dropped cup of milk - lucky for me my dog licked it right up...  This preceded the sandy footprints, crumbs on the floor, and toys thrown about in every room.  But, that's life and that's my style. 

I've had several people ask how I can manage to decorate with a son who likes to climb, crawl, run, and jump on everything!  I don't purchase expensive items for a reason.  I have a two year old and many of my friends that visit have children the same age.   That doesn't mean I don't like nice things, I just keep things simple.  My decor fits with our life and our home.  Small items that are clean and simple with pops of color (usually teal haha).  I also really like old pieces that go with the feel of our 1923 home. 

More times than not if you visit you will see dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and smudges on surfaces.  But, you'll also hear a lot of laughter, little feet running and songs being sung.  Occasionally you will find my home "presentable" but those times only last for about 15 minutes! 

But, here is one of those 15 minute moments from yesterday morning...welcome to my Fall home tour.


Thank you for stopping by - I truly appreciate it.  You took time in your day to come here and that means so much to me.  Have a blessed day!



Simply Fall...

My love for Fall is beyond words - I mean college football, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, perfect weather, and colors that match my hair - what's not to love!  I couldn't resist and I started decorating before September...I tried to hold myself off but once the store shelves were lined with candles and white pumpkins, I just couldn't make it. 

I thought this was the best time to work on a project I have been envisioning for a few weeks.  We have some great, original mantels in our home (but no actual working fireplace).  To showcase the one in our main living space, I thought a simple window with a magnolia wreath would look great.  The task was, how to get the window to "float" where I wanted it to.  So, a drill, four hooks, and heavy duty twine later - it's a hanging window!  The best thing about this, I can use the hooks for so much more than just this window (hanging mason jars with flowers, Christmas decor, you name it)! 

It wasn't the easiest thing to hang - these mantles are made of super hard wood (I actually lost a screw from the back of the hook in there somewhere).  I also had to make sure to get products that could hold the weight required.  The hooks each have a safe working load of 35 pounds and the twine has a working load of 90 pounds.  The little extra elbow grease was worth it though :)

I've added simple touches of Fall throughout our home - white pumpkins, candles, some wood pieces, and an adorable sign I found on clearance at TJ Maxx that says "Pumpkin Kisses; Harvest Wishes."

To start off September 1, 2016 I even made pumpkin cookies...yum!

Happy (almost) Fall Y'all!





DIY Toddler Activity Board

Aden is so hands on now and picking up on almost everything he sees...it's crazy!  He's already figured out how to open and take off the kid-proof locks on the kitchen cabinets.  His little hands need something to play with...something that looks like it isn't a toy...something that he thinks is off limits but wants to play with anyway...but also something that will help him learn...

So, we made a toddler activity board!  It was so simple and cost maybe $25.  I bought all of the items at a local hardware store and most of them were on clearance. 

He can now pull his own toilet paper off of the roll and HOPEFULLY leave what's actually in the bathroom alone.  With five locks, two of his own "boinging" door stoppers, push lights, spinning wheels, and a pipe attached with velcro, there are plenty of things to occupy those little hands.

Seriously, it was so simple!  Take a board that is at least 1/2 of an inch thick (so that it will be thick enough to hold the screws needed for assembly), add a small border (to cover the rough edges), paint, and then add whatever items you want.  Most of the items come with the screws needed to attach them to the board so the only additional item I needed to find was a hook big enough to fit the combination lock.  The lights slide off of the base so that the batteries can be changed and the pipe is also big enough to fit some of his toys (cars, balls, etc.) and act like a shoot.  You can go as large or as small as you want and you can pick any combination of items from the hardware store.  I honestly just picked what was on sale!

We are going to hang it on the wall in his playroom so that it is at his eye-level.  But, as soon as I brought it inside he immediately wanted to play with it and hasn't stopped yet...

I will say the push lights are a HUGE hit with him!


I'd love to hear if you've made any activity boards for your children!



A Room to Play

This morning we ran around the house until I was out of breath and then we had to take every toy Aden owns out of the toy box.  I realized then I had never taken photos of his playroom.  Mostly that's because it's always littered with books, cars, blocks, and balls.  But, before it became too cluttered with this morning's top pick of toys, I snapped a few photos.

When we decided to convert this room from a guest bedroom into a playroom, I wanted it to be a colorful room that he could grow into and make his own.  The walls are a bright green and the accent wall sports large stripes of red, blue, purple and orange. 

This adorable frog shaped toy box was given to us by his aunt who also used it when she was a little girl.  It's the cutest thing - even when it's "mouth full" of toys risk spilling out at any minute.

Reading is a huge passion of mine and I hope that Aden loves it as well.  A reading nook was a must-have in this room and the large, stuffed bear gives him a comfy place to sit.  I love watching him grab a book, plop down and start "reading."  His favorite books right now are shape books that he can go through and pick out familiar items while he yells out, "ball, boat, cookie, etc."

The colorful owl futon cover and pillows were made by my favorite Etsy shop, Studio Slumber.  It gives a fun pattern to break up some of the bold colors on the walls.

This room belongs to Aden and his imagination can run free.  Cars come to life and chase over blocks and stuffed animals, the walls become bumpers to his ride-on cars, mirrors reflect his silly faces, and he scores goals using whatever will fit through the hoop. 

He's such a joy to watch and we're so thankful for him.  And I'm thankful for you too - thankful that you stopped by to read what I had to say.  I hope you have a blessed day!



Bedroom Update - Floors!

Here's a bedroom update - the floors are now completed!  My original plan was to have the bedroom hardwood floors sanded and finished to match the rest of the hardwoods in the house.  However, the hefty price tag wasn't as appealing.  The floors have been painted a few times (I'm not actually sure how many times total) in the last 93 years.  So, that means to get them sanded down it adds a lot of money for each paint layer.  So, what's one more layer of paint until I decide to pay to have them refinished...

There is specific paint to use when painting your floors because it has to be durable enough to withstand everyday walking, moving, playing, furniture and little paws.  Oil-based enamel floor paint is durable enough to paint high traffic areas.  The brand we chose didn't have many colors to choice from but it had great reviews on the paint itself so I picked, "Brown."  Nothing fancy, a color that wouldn't bring too much attention to the floors but gave the room a cohesive feel.  It brings out the stained wood in the headboard and makes the white in the room really pop.

This process has just a few steps: 1. Remove ALL furniture, rugs, or anything that sits on the floor that is removable. 2. Clean the floors. 3. Paint the trim area using a brush. 4. Paint the main area of the floor with a roller.  Your biggest challenge is not painting yourself into a corner :) 5. You can also add a sealer top coat if you think the area needs it.

The worst part of this process is the smell - it's unpleasant and calls for several outside breaks during the process.  Make sure to ventilate the area you are working in REALLY WELL!  It's also best to not stay in the home for 24-48 hours - especially with children and pets.  We planned it out so that it was over an extended weekend and we wouldn't be home.  My Mother-In-Law was such a HUGE help during this so a special thanks to her!

Overall, I'm very happy with the results.  The room looks so much better without the chipping grey paint all over the floor. 


Our son really wanted to be in the photo but was very unhappy when our dog decided he no longer wanted jump on the bed with him...But...This floor will withstand many, many more tantrums, toys, dog and son chases, falls, and spills.

I'm so very thankful for the emails and comments I've received for this blog.  I simply try to remember that you can find beauty in everything - so open your eyes and look around.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

As always, thank you for reading.



Bedroom Makeover Part I

We have a lot of projects going on at the moment that I'm so excited to get completed - new fence, windows, retaining wall, and the bedroom floors.  As we check each item off of the "to-do" list I feel like I add one more... 

For the inside of the house, we put our bedroom last.  There are still a few more things to get completed (the floors, barn door, and small décor items) but overall it is coming together quickly. 

I have to brag on my mother-in-law for an awesome surprise.  We had plans to paint the bedroom one Saturday.  The day before my mother-in-law had other plans to do some outdoor work.  The weather didn't cooperate exactly and that Friday was a downpour.  So instead, she paints our entire bedroom! Without us even knowing!  Like I said, awesome surprise!

My parents helped us pick up and install this amazing headboard that we had made from someone local.  Needless to say, I'm in love with it.  Before we didn't have a headboard and I feel like it has anchored the room so much.  Not to mention is only set us back $170...for a custom, handmade, wooden headboard...for our king size bed!  I can give you the couple's contact information for anyone really interested in their work. 

As you know, I'm all about bargains.  The same yard sale I found those adorable wicker chairs (you can read about those here), I also bought khaki curtains and a white curtain rod.  I love floor to ceiling curtains but these were slightly too long and bunched a little too much at the bottom.  So, I tied a knot, problem solved!

Here is the before photo.

The space has a relaxing feel to it now with the light walls and dark wood tones.  It also still has a lot of the original character - original doors, fire place, mantle, and wood floors.  It's definitely becoming a favorite place to relax, read, pray, and nap.  I'll keep you posted with the remaining updates - floors and adding the barn door. 

As always, thank you for stopping by.  I hope I've inspired you to create something in your own home that you will cherish but most importantly to create spaces that allow you and your family to grow together and grow with God.

Thank you friends :)




Table and Chair Set

This morning my husband and I got up a little early to go check out some local yard sales, thrift stores, and antique shops.  Our first stop was a yard sale at one of my favorite houses in town. As we drove past I immediately noticed several child-size antique chairs, a table, highchair, etc.  Already in love with the table and two chairs, I walked right up to ask how much those were.  Before answering, the woman explained that not only did these belong to her grandmother but she and her sister grew up playing with it.  She loved this table and chair set and was reluctant to get rid of it.  But, they were selling the home and they didn't have a need for this so it was time to let it go. 

I purchased the set for $35 (her full price) and before she handed me my change she looked at me and asked, "Do you have children?"  I knew this question was only to make sure that this table and chair set was going to a home that would use it and love it just as she and her sister did.  My answer made her smile, she gave me my change, and said "Thank you." 

The paint color had darkened with time, some paint was chipping, and it was a little covered in dust and dirt.  But, a little cleaning and some fresh white paint gave a new life to this set. 

I love that we are able to continue to use a piece that has been around since the 1930s for our home. 

Our son will enjoy eating meals here, reading books, coloring, and more - which is exactly why she asked me if I had children, to make sure it was going to be used and loved.


As always, thank you for reading.


Patio Seating for $65!

Now that the weather is perfect for cookouts and late night talks under the stars, it was time for me to look for outdoor furniture.  Last year we built a new deck and decided at the same time to get rid of our old patio furniture.  So, that meant I had NOTHING!  I of course loved everything in the catalogs I looked in but didn't love the price.  So instead, I just kept my eyes open to discounts or yard sales. 

I first found a beautiful garden bench (on Craigslist) from a local antique store owner.  I jumped at the price (only $40) and immediately called the hubby so that he could pick it up that evening.  It's a pretty shade of mint green and fits just right on one side of the deck. 

A few weeks later, a friend was having a yard sale and just happened to post some of the items on Facebook.  Something caught my eye so I texted her.  That text turned into me buying SEVERAL items - including two cute wicker chairs.  She was very upfront that the chairs needed some work and cleaning but for $15, they were definitely worth it!  That very day I decided that pressure washing them was a good way to start.  It did wonders by stripping the dirt and paint.  Ten dollars and four spray paint cans later these "Ocean Mist" chairs were ready for family cookouts, early morning coffee and prayer sessions, and late night talks.  The best part is they were easy on the wallet and still look cute!

Don't underestimate a diamond in the ruff - it's fun to see what you can create with a little work!

New and Old

Dear House on the Mill...

I was a little undecided about how I would design the living room.  I started with a sea foam color on the walls but it divided the space too much.  Mill homes don't have an open floor plan and our home specifically doesn't have a wall that could easily be taken down to create an open floor plan.  So, I brought the same color walls from the kitchen (Frappe by Valspar) into this space as well so that it would flow better.  And it certainly helped! 

BEFORE (The door with the wreath was the one we moved behind the computer desk)!


I also painted the mirror above the mantle...and of course I chose to paint it TEAL!  What you can't tell in these Before and After photos is that the area under the mantle actually used to be black.  I painted it white and it lightened the space so much.  I'm thinking now that I'm going to tile that area in white marble...but that's a story for another day...

Here is what this area looked like before I painted it all white! I think it made a BIG difference.


When we started shopping for a new couch my initial thought was something lighter in color and maybe a small design on it as well.  But, my husband brought me back to reality by reminding me we have a son under 18 months old and a dog...I could see myself now constantly cleaning up cheesy hand prints, muddy paw prints, and milk stains.  So, instead we bought something durable, easy to clean, and a little darker to help mask those types of everyday life stains.  It's definitely comfortable and we love to lay around watching family movies together on it!

Even though we are bringing new items into our home, I've loved using some of the original elements in my designs.  Not only are some of the original doors still used (as actual doors and as decor) but we also have all of the original windows in storage.  I've used two so far and I have so many ideas for the others!  But, my absolute favorite - the original hardwood floors!


This space is always evolving and changing...new throw pillows, baskets, curtains, photo frames, etc. and that's possible because the colors I've chosen make it easy for those changes.  By going with a color that's light but also neutral, you an add and change the details of your space to bring in the color and texture you want.  And, by having the two largest areas of my home the same color, I can take items from one area and put them in the other!

As always, thank you for stopping by.  Next time it's all about the antique pieces left to me by my Great-Grandmother!

- Nicole



Thrift Store Score

I am constantly checking by thrift stores to see what I can find - props for photo sessions, weekend projects for my home, or things that others have asked me to keep an eye out for. 

When I invested into a new desktop computer for my business, I needed a place for it.  Before this we only had a laptop so with only 1200 square feet to work with, I had to find something cute but small.  It took me a few weekends of searching different thrift stores to find the perfect desk! 

It's a great size and has two drawers for storage - score!  Being a little rough around the edges didn't bother me - that was nothing a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint wouldn't fix.  The only place I have for this desk to currently go is in my living room, so I needed to create a space that was both functional and charming. 

I've decided I like the door sitting behind the desk - it's original to the home and it gives it a new purpose.  I can hang wreaths for each season, photos, fresh flowers, or leave it alone and it still adds a little something extra to the space.  My husband also agrees that it's staying there (most likely because it weighs a TON and he's not moving it again)!  Either way, I adore it!   

This was definitely a thrift store score since it only cost me $20.  I'm still searching for the right knobs and I'll update once I've added those.

Don't be afraid to put a little elbow grease into a project - it makes the finished product that much better knowing that you transformed it into something beautiful. 



This is the BEFORE ... this cute little desk was just waiting to be found!




Eva HigginsDIY, Desk, Thrift Store

Who doesn't love free things?!  Well, I got my hands on a FREE kitchen table with four chairs.  It's in perfect condition but it was just all white.  It needed color.  Chalk paint to the rescue - this stuff is amazing (and a little pricey) so I stuck with only painting the chairs.  However, I couldn't decide on just one color...so I picked a different color for each of the four chairs.  It turned out amazing - one is teal, one green, one grey, and one yellow.  It sounds like a lot of color but with soft grey walls and white cabinets, it really looks great together. 

Now, I'm in love with the color teal! I've decided I want to incorporate it into ALMOST every room in my house.  For the kitchen, the one teal chair was not enough so the mantle received a fresh new paint job.  It started off just blending into the room but now it is a focal point of the kitchen.  The color just pops against the grey walls! 

Small accents complete the room and being that they didn't cost any extra money is a bonus.  I already had the mason jars and the paint.  I simply poured a small amount of paint into the jars, mixed it around, let it dry and voilà

The pallet turned wine rack was another FREE project that only cost the time it took to cut the pallet down into the size we needed.



Lastly, the floating shelves were a creative way to display all of the photos I have.  I love having a place that allows me to change out the frames and photos without worrying about nails in the wall.   Special thanks to my father for putting these together for us.


By saving money on the details and décor, we were able to get the new floors and appliances we wanted.  Our kitchen is now a space that we enjoy being in together as a family.  We pray together, share meals with family and friends, laugh, and live. 

The kitchen may be complete but there are still plenty of rooms in my house, so onto the next chapter of our story...Dear House on the Mill



use what you have

Dear House on the Mill...

Before we were able to get to the cosmetics, we had to deal with some "behind the scenes" moments.  From new HVAC, ductwork, re-wiring, decking, patching holes, plumbing, and oh yeah...the time we woke up to ankle deep water in our kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and laundry room... These types of fixes are harder for me because I can't physically see the changes they make.  Re-wiring an outlet or fixing a leak may not add beauty to my home, but it is a necessity and I'm very happy we were able to make those changes.  Now that most of that is (hopefully) behind us, I'm ready to make-over every room! 

Starting with the kitchen! 

Our kitchen is a very important place in our home.  Meals are cooked here, preparations are made, prayers are said, and it's the largest room in our house.  We started with dark, stained cabinets, black and white checkered flooring, and deep red walls.  It was too dark.  I had to lighten the space up! 

When I started designing what this space would look like, I imagined light, airy, charming, and pops of color.  But when I started to shop, I found expensive, expensive, expensive!  There was no way I could make-over every room in my house if I spent my entire budget on just the kitchen.  And so the fun began...

I started with the cabinets.  They are beautiful, custom wood cabinets that just needed to be lightened up a bit.   So with a little elbow grease and the help from a few family members, we were able to sand, prime, and paint these dark cabinets a bright white all in one weekend.  (Side note: having a paint party with family or friends is a great way to knock out painting a large room or tackling something like re-finishing cabinets.  Make sure you provide the food and drinks since they are working for free!)  The last step for the cabinets was to take a trip to the local hardware store to find pulls or knobs.  I went straight to the discount section and picked a simple, stainless look that was only $0.49 each!  What a bargain!

Next - the counter tops!  I was very indecisive when it came to this.  Did I want white and bright or to add a little contrast and go darker...  I couldn't decide.  Then I read an article about painting your own counter tops - using what you HAVE to get what you WANT!  This was a perfect solution for me.  I could try what I thought I wanted and if it didn't look okay, no harm - I could paint again.  The steps are simple... 1. prep your existing counter tops (clean and lightly sand) 2. prime 3. paint your base coat4. using a sponge, dab your second color 5. using another sponge, dab your third color 6. lightly sand and apply your clear, protective coat 7. lightly sand the clear coat after drying and repeat step 6 (I applied a total of 6 clear coats). I used all Valspar paints - Birchwood White for the base color, Very Black for the second color, and Ivory Lace for the third color.  (Side note: they do make kits that include all of the products you need but I saved over half of the cost by buying them individually).

Now the walls - one of the least expensive but most dramatic changes you can do is paint.  It can instantly transform any room.  Take our red kitchen, I needed to brighten the room up and make it feel larger.  So, I needed a color that was light and refreshing.  My dear friend, Dipali, found the perfect color for me - Frappé by Valspar.  The best thing about this paint is that it has paint and primer all-in-one!  That's a huge time saver and worth the extra money.

So for less than $150 in paint and kitchen hardware, my kitchen was already starting to transform - I now have bright, white kitchen cabinets and walls that reflected natural light to make the space feel larger and more inviting.  Remember it's not always about what you need for your space - sometimes it's about what you already have.  Use the pieces you already HAVE in your room but change them up a little - add some paint, new knobs, or new fabric - and make them work for the space you WANT.

Join me next week as we add that pop of color!



The BEFORE....(the first photo I found of the kitchen)


The AFTER...