Fast and Easy Faux Pumpkin Makeover

Over the years, I have accumulated a number of orange faux pumpkins – the kind you find cheaply at Walmart or the Dollar Store.  My current decorating style tends more to neutrals so the bright oranges aren’t really working for me.

I did a quick makeover on my pumpkins with some “parchment” chalky craft paint from Michael’s, along with some leftover dark walnut stain.


 My mom enjoyed painting the pumpkins with the craft paint.  After they dried for a few minutes, I brushed on some stain with a sponge brush in the grooves of the pumpkin and around the stem.  I immediately wiped it off with a soft cloth.


I am sorry I can’t show you the steps but I needed some instant fall gratification so I didn’t take the time to photograph the before and during! But really this is so easy.  And you could substitute the dark stain with whatever you happen to have on hand.


I like how they look elevated on pedestals and nestled in a little reindeer moss.


I mixed them in with a few other neutrals for my fall mantle this year.

Up next:  fall touches throughout my home.

Hope you are all enjoying the change in weather!


Beach House Exterior Progress

Last weekend we turned our attention to the outside of the beach house.  We are still finishing up the fence but I thought I would share our progress so far.

This is  what we started with:



We then painted the house gray and the trim white, added blue shutters, window boxes and a little striped valance.  We also beefed up the porch columns with plastic “sleeves” and some trim molding.  And we had the big tree removed because it was way too close to the house.  That brought us to here:


You can read more about this first round of updates here:

Beach house exterior color scheme

Awnings and porch valances

This past weekend, we brought in stone for the front yard.  Grass would have been nice  but it’s not easy to grow in sandy soil.  So we opted for low maintenance stone.

My son helped us out …


 To soften the lines of the house, we created some curved planting beds.  We used some edge stones from Home Depot to define the curve and keep the new  soil and mulch separated from the stone.


We chose an English laurel to anchor the left side of the house, two boxwoods to flank the entrance and one weeping cedar tree on the far right, all of which will stay green throughout the year.  We also puchased three hydrangeas for the area below and between the window boxes.


We will fill in the gaps with either some grasses or annuals …  or maybe some lavender … the smell of lavender would be wonderful when sitting on the front porch and I love the way it moves in a breeze.  Lavender needs a lot of sun, however, so I am not quite sure whether the front of the house gets the minimum  6 hours of sunlight needed for lavender to be happy.


I found some Pottery Barn outdoor pillows on clearance last week … just $15 each!   They are much thicker and larger than the ones that Home Depot and Lowes had this summer and a better price, too.


My mom painted a clay pot with some leftover turquoise exterior paint from the back door.  She so enjoyed the creative process that she painted the inside of the pot, too!  We set it on the front porch with some white asters to incorporate the turquoise pillows into the blue and white color scheme.


Well, that was our Labor Day!  More to come on making over an old fence…

The Ikea Stenstorp Island

When we did the beach house kitchen makeover, I originally had planned to use the Ikea Groland  freestanding island.  The kitchen needed an additional work surface and I liked the industrial vibe of this piece.

GROLAND Kitchen island IKEA Gives you extra storage, utility and work space.But along the way, I realized that this modest kitchen would function better with some additional seating.  This led us to the Ikea Stenstorp island.

STENSTORP Kitchen island IKEA Free-standing kitchen island; easy to place where you want it in the kitchen.

The Stenstorp freestanding island packs a lot of style in addition to functionality.  It comes with a solid oak butcher block top that can be stained light or dark.  We chose Minwax dark walnut to match the other countertops.


  If this  kitchen had been larger, we probably would have opted to mix the countertops (wood on the island and laminate or maybe granite on the perimeter).

The base of the island is white and it also comes in black.  The painted finish could be changed with some sanding and priming.   We left ours as it was because it matched the color of our cabinets.

On the side facing in, the Stenstorp has two shelves finished in stainless steel.  I love these!  They give the piece an industrial vibe and  provide lots of storage.  We added the two wooden crates from Home Depot for housing paper goods and water bottles.


On the other side, there is plenty of room for two counter stools.  Counter stool choices will dictate  whether the island feels country, modern or industrial, enabling this piece to blend with  any decor.


We outfitted our island with three dark bronze hooks from Home Depot.  These are perfect for towels and it customizes the island so it doesn’t look like every other Stenstorp that’s out there.



For additional functionality and a cool look, you could add casters to the island.


The $399 price tag, together with the fairly easy assembly, make this an ideal piece for a modest kitchen update.

Beach House Kitchen/Family Room Source List


Here’s a source list for everything we used in this kitchen/family room makeover:


walls – Sherwin Williams West Highland White

accent wall and backsplash – Sherwin Williams Atmospheric Blue

picnic table –  Sherwin Williams Aquarium

trim paint – Sherwin Williams Extra White gloss

cabinet paint – color matched to Ikea pantry cabinet


terracotta 12×12 and 6×6 porcelain floor tiles – Lowe’s

grout #19 mocha – Lowes


kitchen ceiling fixture – Barn Light  Electric

rattan chandelier – thrifted

ceiling fan – thrifted

Ranarp floor lamps – Ikea


Bodbyn off-white tall cabinet – Ikea

wine rack – custom

Ikea Stenstorp island

tongue and groove wood backsplash – Lowes

Ikea Hammarp beech countertops  stained in Minwax dark stain


stainless steel refrigerator, microwave, range, dishwasher – all thrifted

Ikea Boholmen sink

Delta faucet – Lowes


Weldon counter stools – Pier I

rattan sofa, chairs, coffee table, occasional tables, picnic table, small bench – thrifted

seascape oil painting – Destiny Thrift Store, Brick, NJ

coat rack –  Pottery Barn

seagrass baskets in open cabinets – Lowe’s Allen & Roth

wooden crates in island – Home Depot

bamboo roman shades –

medallion curtain panels –

embroidered crab pillow, seashell pillow – Target

dark blue sweater pillow – Home Goods

cream sweater pillow –

table runner – Home Goods

cafe curtain, two pillow covers – made from Pottery Barn napkins

dishes, glassware – thrifted

small accessories – thrifted

sunburst mirror – DIY

Beach House Family Room Reveal

If you been following along with our beach house makeover, then you know we are doing a room by room facelift of a 1970s  ranch style house located at the Jersey Shore.  At just 1,200 square feet, we have to make every square inch count in terms of functionality!

We worked on the family room at the same time we were working on the kitchen.  It is the first room you come to when you enter from the rear of the home.  It is a narrow space at less than nine feet wide,  but because it is completely open to the kitchen it  doesn’t feel narrow .  Here’s a rough sketch of the space:


So here’s a few BEFORE photos:

This is the view from the rear entry:



This is the view from the kitchen:



Notice the dark paneling, dated gold carpet and an overall drab and tired feel to the space.


The dark paneling and the two different floorings in the kitchen and the family room made it feel like two separate spaces.

And now for the AFTER photos…


The first big change was to paint the walls in SW West Highland white (it took three coats to cover the dark paneling!) and the trim in glossy white.


 The second big change was to install the terracotta ceramic floor tiles, which instantly unified the kitchen and the family room.



The furniture pieces in this room were all thrifted and got a makeover with slipcovers that I sewed up from drop cloths … my go to fabric whenever I need inexpensive fabric to cover large areas!

 Here’s how these pieces looked when we bought them:


And here’s a closeup shot of how they look now.



The off white slipcovers, white walls and the terracotta floor tile became the neutral  backdrop for layering on the mixed shades of blues carried over from the kitchen.

I made the blue and white plaid pillows using Pottery Barn napkins that I found on clearance.  The front is the napkin and the back is drop cloth. They match the cafe curtain in the kitchen, which is simply two PB napkins hung with clip-on rings.


The sofa pillows are from Home Goods, Target and our etsy store.


We also added the bamboo blinds for texture which I purchased from  and  curtain panels for color purchased from Target.


 I love how the curtain panels bring together the three shades of blue used throughout this space as well as the kitchen.  The lamps are from Ikea.  Love the fabric covered cord and the bits of brass on these.  Oh and the curtain rods were from the Habitat Restore.  We simply gave them a coat of glossy black spray paint.

In the foyer area, we added a Pottery Barn coat rack for jackets and totes.  We also made a row of hooks for fishing rods.


We plan to do a storage bench just below the coat rack by hacking  an Ikea  cabinet intended for use over a refrigerator.  I will sew up a cushion for it to give this area a little color.  The bench will help with the shoe clutter that always builds up here…more to come on that in a later post.



What I really like is how this little house can handle a crowd because these two rooms are now unified and function as one large gathering space!

Thanks for staying tuned on our progress … there is lots more to come!

Beach Kitchen Reveal – Before and After

Finally, we are ready to show the beach house kitchen “after” photos.  I am still tweaking but hey enough is enough!

So, here’s the kitchen as we found it … stuck in the 1970s:



Lots of dark brown cabinetry, outdated brown appliances, laminate flooring and just an overall dark and drab feel.



This was the design board I put together for the space:


And now for the AFTER…


All upper cabinet doors have been removed for easy, self-service in a vacation home.


Stainless steel appliances replaced the old brown ones.  We purchased all of them by trolling Craig’s List, yard sales and the local Habitat Restore.


We installed tongue and groove boards horizontally for a more modern vibe on the backsplash and painted it in SW Atmospheric blue.

I love the new ceiling fixture, which was one of the few things we purchased new from Barn Light Electric.


By removing the double wall ovens, we were able to add a dishwasher and a tall Ikea pantry closet for food storage.


To fill the 9 inch gap that remained between the existing upper cabinet and the new Ikea pantry cabinet, we made a wine rack for holding bottles of wine and sparkling water.


The new hardwood countertops are from Ikea and stained in Minwax dark walnut.

We added an Ikea freestanding island for extra storage on one side and extra seating on the other.

On the other side of the kitchen, we painted one wall SW Atmospheric Blue, to bring the color from the beadboard back splash to this side of the room.


Normally, we wouldn’t paint the closet doors and the trim the same as the wall color, but in this instance we wanted to minimize the closet doors, giving the illusion of of one continuous wall.


The wall provides a nice back drop to our thrifted picnic table, painted out in SW Aquarium.



I’ll provide a detailed source list in an upcoming post.  And stay tuned for the “afters” of the adjoining den/family room!

Sunburst Mirror Made From Shims

We are coming down the home stretch with the beach house kitchen and family room makeover.  One thing that we needed was a large piece of artwork for a blank wall in the dining area.

 I ‘ve been admiring these DIY sunburst mirrors on Pinterest – some made using paint stirring sticks and some made using wooden shims.

diy sunburst mirror, crafts


source:  SgtPeppers 



I decided that a 3 foot sunburst mirror would fill the space nicely and  at the same time add texture and throw more light over to this side of the room.  I opted for the shim method because I like the more rustic feel.

Here’s my supply list:

1 bundle of shims from Lowes

12 inch round mirror from Hobby Lobby

hot glun gun and glue sticks

a piece of luan plywood for the back


Loctite for mirror, marble and granite

dark walnut stain leftover from the butcher block countertops

I started by laying out the shims around the mirror to get an idea of the quanity and sizes I would need.


We cut the shims vertically, some in half and some in thirds, by scoring them with a utility knife and then breaking them with our hands.

We used 3 different lengths of shims:  some full length, some about 2/3rds and some about 1/2.  My husband helped me out here by slicing them with his circular saw.

For the back board, my husband cut an octagon shaped piece of luan plywood, about 18″ in width.  This made it really easy to place the shims symmetrically.


Once I had all my pieces cut, we stained them with the dark walnut stain.


We secured the hanger to the backboard before we started gluing the shims.  We used a two-part ledge style hanger system with the other piece screwed to the wall.  This system allows you to slide the mirror horizontally on the wall to get it centered.



And then I handed the project over to my daughters for assembly. They used hot glue guns to glue the shims to the back board and to each other, one layer at a time.


Finally, we used a product called Loctite for mirror, marble and granite to glue the mirror to the shims and back board.

The mirror fills the space nicely (and hides an unused phone jack).



The mirror also brings some of the dark wood tones in the curtain rods and countertops over to the dining side of the kitchen.image


The project came in at under $15.  And I still have quite a few shims leftover.  The color possibilities are endless with this project, making it a great piece to coordinate with any decor.