Thomas Home (Video!) Tour: Fall 2014

In the spirit of catching the blog up to the happenings of the house (as per our discussion here), welcome to your FIRST EVER exclusive full tour of our home… In a VIDEO! house 074You’ve already seen most of these rooms, but sometimes it can be difficult to picture the layout of a house just by photos. So, welcome to our home… video style! Ok, lights, camera, action:

A few things about the movie:

  1. It took me four or five takes to get my act together and stop bursting out laughing in the middle of everything.
  2. But this was not all my fault because what you don’t see is Mitch sitting on the steps making weird faces the whole time (he got out of the way in time for the upstairs part).
  3. Feel free to interpret all of those “and behind this door is just a boring closet/laundry room that no one wants to see” statements as:¬†All of the junk that was on the floors of the other rooms are behind those doors, so we’ll just keep them closed for now…

Hopefully you now have a better idea of how the rooms in our house relate to one another and how everything is laid out. Don’t worry- sometimes even we get lost. ūüôā

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week!


Spare Room Closet Clean Out

Ok, I owe you a closet clean out post… Sorry that it didn’t come at the end of last week. We were headed out to our Middle School Fall Retreat and I ran out of time to get it posted, but better late than never, right?

This one goes out to all of you organizers. If you recall, we already did one closet clean out in our bedroom some time agoCloset Clean Out

Which, quite frankly, could use some more attention these days. It’s amazing how fast piles accumulate in our house, but how loooooooooong it takes us to make them go away. Cripes. ANYWHO, back to the issue at hand: the Spare Room closet. Here’s what it looks like all closed up and un-disaster ish:watermark closet doorsBut inside, things had gotten out of control…

Left Side Bottom (BEFORE):

Closet Clean Out

Left Side Top (BEFORE):

Closet Clean Out 2

Right Side Bottom (BEFORE):Closet Clean Out 4

Right Side Top (BEFORE):

Closet Clean Out 3

It wasn’t so much that the closet was bursting at the seams (ok, it could have used some paring down too) but more so that nothing had a specific place. As a result, things just kept piling up only to topple down on us whenever we tried to get something out. Especially those stupid spray paint cans- grrr! So, everything came out to give us a fresh start:Home Tour 006We needed a system to organize things and give everything a designated “home”. Because custom-built shelving was out of the question (and not something we wanted to invest in if we didn’t know what this closet would be used for in the future), we went for something a little less permanent. The cool thing is, our solution ended up being the best organization system we have in the whole house. And all it took were a few Rubbermaid containers from Target…

Left Side Bottom (AFTER):
Home Tour 014All of those boxes of “good¬†dishes” got moved to our bedroom¬†closet so that we could use the floor space of this one for things that we use on a regular basis- things that are very frustrating to take out and put away when they’re tucked far back in corners and on high shelves. Let me break down what’s happening above. As for the top container, we needed a better method of storing gift wrap supplies. Before, they just got crammed into a plastic bin way up high in our closet. Now…

DrawersDrawer One: Bows and Ribbon

Home Tour 013Drawer Two: Gift BagsHome Tour 012Drawer Three: Tissue Paper

Home Tour 010Drawer Four: Boxes and Extras

Home Tour 009As for the wrapping paper, it now has a home on the shelf above. We used an extra-long storage bin to fit them all. The boxes on top are all of the Christmas stuff and on the highest shelf, we left the paint from various walls in our house that we don’t need to have access to regularly.

Left Side Top (AFTER):Home Tour 015Back to that white drawer system… We grabbed two smaller three-drawer units to house all of our home maintenance supplies. Having more drawers for this came in handy because it allowed us to break up the stuff into categories and give each item¬†a designated space.DrawersHere’s how we broke it down:

Drawer One: Paint Supplies (Rollers, brushes, etc.)

Drawer Two: Sanding SuppliesHouse 133Drawer Three: Spray Paint

Drawer Four: Misc. PartsHouse 132Drawer Five: More Spray Paint

Drawer Six: Small Tools and Supplies (Spackle, zip ties, stud finder, etc.)House 131And as for the rest of the closet, well it might not look all that much cleaner, but trust me- it’s organized.

Right Side Bottom (AFTER):Home Tour 016Right Side Top (AFTER):

Home Tour 017

Maybe this is not all that exciting to the¬†average human, but let’s just say it’s made our lives a little easier and a little less “piles everywhere”. And that, my friends, is a win.Home Tour 014

Have a great day!


PS. I’m working on finishing up a montage video of this year’s family vacation (mentioned in this post), so hopefully that’ll be coming this week! Stay tuned…


Not Your Average Bookshelf

It’s a week of Spare room updates! Yesterday we debuted the big map and you got to meet my grandpa (!!)… win win, huh? Today, I’m going to do my best to give you the low down on how we made the bookshelf in the spare. Remember it from way back when?
after spare

Yep, that’s the one. Here’s a better shot:watermark bookshelves

Funny thing is, it didn’t always look like this. Actually, this is the combination of three different bookshelves cut, copied, and pasted together in a combination that best works for this room. This was a good lesson for us in using what we had and not being afraid to adapt something old to make something new.¬†You can see in the picture above that we used two shorter bookshelves for the base and flipped a taller bookshelf on its side for the top. They weren’t always this sparkly white, though. This is what we started with:new house 016Very cute, Mitch. We actually got these shelves from the Habitat Restore (for pennies!) and they were originally office-esque, super sturdy bookshelves. Heavy is not an accurate enough word to describe how hefty these babies are. There were choice words while trying to get them up the stairs… that’s all I’m sayin. Anyway, they got a crisp white makeover:Bookshelf Evolution

…and then we had to figure out what to do with them. Originally, we thought it could be cool to have floor to ceiling bookshelves. However, once we stacked a short on top of a long (we originally had two of each, so we could create two ceiling-height shelves) we realized how overwhelming it would be in the small house 050 It was towering and immense, but not in a good way. Soooo, back to the drawing board. We tried these shelves everywhere in this house. In our room, downstairs in the family room (before we landed on the fireplace); we just couldn’t figure out a good spot for them. Until we abandoned the traditional bookshelf “stance”. It took us some time, but we originally figured out that we could still achieve (a more manageable version of) the “tall library” look if we pushed the two smaller shelves together and set the taller one on top, but wall 056

So try to imagine the top shelf (in the picture above) without the smaller, horizontal dividers. Originally, when we flipped the shelf it just looked like long columns of empty space, so we added some inserts to create smaller cubbies. All it took was measuring the depth and width of each shelf and cutting some plywood to size.Shelf Inserts

From there, we just jammed them into the existing shelf spaces. Yes, jammed- that’s as technical as the installation process got. We realized that they were such a tight fit that we didn’t need any other reinforcements. Maybe someday down the line we’ll add glue and screws, but this seems to be working just fine for now. I mean, it’s been a year and there have been no book casualties, so I think we might be in the house 171

So the next time you’re in the market for a bookshelf or a “built in” system of some sort, don’t write off the pieces you might already have! Just a few pieces of cut plywood turned this into a spot for books and some of our most treasured nic-nacks. I’m still working on finding the key to styling the top ledge of the entire thing- it seems a little awkward with the few bigger things I just threw up there “for the time being” (*cough*¬†a full year now).¬†gallery wall 056

The good news is that now you can look forward to a future post, entitled “I’ve Figured Out the Top of the Bookshelves and This Is What It Looks Like!”. In other words, stay tuned for the styling portion of this project. For now though, have a happy Wednesday! Go read a good book! That’s what I’m in the mood for… give me a thunderstorm or blizzard and a book any day and I’m a happy camper. It’s the little things.

Oh, the fun!