All the renovations we did to our rental

All the changes we’ve made to our rental

Admittedly, it’s not the tiniest of apartments. In fact, when we first moved in we thought it was ginormous, by Denmark standards. We moved here from Copenhagen 7 years ago and did leaps around with “all the space” we had. We started out renting 2 bedrooms and they had another bedroom in the basement, which they rented out to me after about a year for my home studio. It was the biggest room in the house so it was such a step up for me and Lars at the time.

In 2015 I got a studio space in the neighboring town (I should show you all the changes we did to that space, because that’s also a good one!) and then we had a baby in 2018 and things have become CRAMPED! And since COVID we’ve REALLY been feeling cramped in. It’s probably what motivated us to start looking in the first place. Anyone else experience this?

WHY change your rental?

A lot of people have asked us why we’ve done so much to our rental and sometimes I’ve wondered the same thing, but ultimately, it comes down to this: your environment affects your well-being and I was feeling the need to catch up our space to how I wanted to feel. We knew we wouldn’t move until we bought a house so we wanted to make it a home in the mean time. PLUS, our landlords, who own the house and live upstairs, have become our second parents so we haven’t considered anything a loss. We love the idea that we can improve the space for them.

Kitchen

  1. Here’s the timeline of the kitchen. We started out with the top left photo: oak cabinets, laminate flooring, laminate counters, stainless steel sink and faucet, fluorescent lighting. Everything was functional and nice but not our vibe.
  2. Next, our landlords surprised us by painting our cabinets white. Score!
  3. Then, we did a partnership with Pergo flooring and they replaced all of our flooring, besides the bedrooms, with their wood laminate flooring. We’ve loved them! It really improved the space.
  4. Next, we did a partnership with BEHR paint and we did the two toned painted cabinet trend–white on top and blue on bottom. We also changed out the hardware and our landlords replaced the appliances.

Details of my New Kitchen

Finally, we worked with Caesarstone to replace the laminate countertops with the quartz and we LOVE it so much!

Blinds.com

Living room

Our living room is basically our living and family room combined. It’s definitely where we spend the most time and it’s gone through a transformation for sure!

  1. Once again, we started with beige carpet.We initially replaced the lighting fixture with this gold one from Schoolhouse and that made an impact. We also replaced the vertical blinds with curtains.
  2. Next, we got a new green sofa and that changed the whole tone of the room. You can also see when we switched to the laminate flooring.
    Living Room Reveal
  3. Two years ago we updated the living room with this wildflower wallpaper and got a new sofa to go with it. This is the state we’re currently in
  4. You can see the furniture combos I was looking at for the living room here.
  5. Here’s our first iteration of the gallery to showcase our Frame TV, which we LOVE!!!!My new TV looks just like a painting!

Jasper’s bedroom

We used Jasper’s room as our office before he was born and didn’t touch it, clearly! So, we had a bit of work to do.

Baby boy nursery mural

You can see the transformation of his mural in this post when we worked with Behr paint.

And then the full nursery reveal here. We changed out the blinds (worked with Blinds.com), added furniture (care of Crate and Kids).

The only changes that have come to his nursery is the AMOUNT OF STUFF that we’ve somehow accumulated. We are bursting at the scenes here.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom was PITIFUL. I’m so sad looking at it.

And I’m still in love with the results. We did our partnership with Spoonflower and I used them from head to toe, well, from the wallpapers to the bedding to the matching curtains. I love this room! I think this is the one I’m most sad about leaving. I just love the vibe. You can see the full transformation here.

Guest bedroom

The last room that we did before we bought our house is our guest room with Crate and Barrel earlier this year before COVID.

The guest bedroom we added in an alpiney feeling and lots of accents of color and art. You can read about it here.

Ok, that’s it! Looking back, that’s 5 rooms we switched up, some larger than others. Some were just decorative like wallpaper and curtains, while others, like the kitchen, were more involved and more expensive like switching out appliances, countertops, sinks, etc. Would I do it again? For sure! Yes, they were mostly all for sponsorships so they were considered work and we were paid to do them, but even then, I definitely would suggest customizing your space in some way or manner even if you don’t plan on being there for very long. A happy space creates a happy space in your mind too and that’s soooo important!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done changes to your rental and what they are! Tell me more!

3 DIY lampshades made with unexpected recycled materials

DIY Louis Paulsen Pendant Light Fixture

Years ago I came across a classic Louis Paulsen pendant. You know the one. We noticed that the pendants could totally be made out of tableware! Yes, tableware, as in all things plates, bowls, and cups. Cue the DIY Lampshade. Originally, we thought to use paper plates but then realized that they didn’t offer us the interesting shapes we were hoping for. So we decided to take a chance and use melamine and plastic plates for our crafting. The variation of shapes is endless, not to mention inexpensive. Each one of our lampshades were made for under $20! Major score!! With the help of a drill, spray paint, and a glue gun, these fixtures came to life, and I’m not going to lie…I absolutely love the outcome!

Materials:
  • Plastic plates, bowls, cups (we got ours from here!)
  • Drill
  • Craft knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spray paint (this brand is the best for our purposes!)
  • Hanging light cord (we got ours from Ikea but you can find them here)

Instructions:
  1. Play with variations of tableware to plan what your fixture to look like.
  2. Then pick a color palette.
  3. Assign colors to the individual pieces of the figure.
  4. Drill or cut (using the craft knife if the plastic is soft enough) a rectangle big enough to pull the light cord through.
  5. Next, spray paint the individual plates, cups, bowls, etc to the correct colors, you will probably need to apply multiple coats of spray paint and let dry.
  6. Once pieces are dry string the first piece of your fixture to the base of the cord.
  7. Cut a small piece of cardboard, cut a slit in it and wedge the cord into that space to secure the cord. This is an important step, it will help balance your fixture and help it hang straight.
  8. Hot glue the cardboard to the dinnerware piece so the cord is centered in the rectangle. (This can be repeated periodically if you feel that the fixture needs to be stabilized)
  9. Add the second piece of the fixture and apply hot glue to secure it to the first piece of the fixture.
  10. Finally, repeat step 9 until your DIY Lampshade is assembled correctly!

You can find the original tutorial with more photos here.

DIY Fabric Lampshade

While playing with some funky fabrics, I fell in love with the Playa raindrops pattern from Holli. It tied in beautifully with my wallpaper–like peas and carrots! I’m stoked with how it turned out. Spoonflower has a tutorial on how to make a DIY lampshade from scratch here using a kit, but I ended up using the plain white lampshade that I already had on my lamp. This DIY is one that I especially love because it’s so customizable; choose any fabric you want and use any lampshade. One you already have will work great! 

Materials:
  • Fabric in your choice (about 1 yard depending on the size of the shade). I ordered it in the cotton poplin so it would be easier to work with.
  • Spray adhesive
  • ½” Cotton twilling
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Cardboard
  • Glue gun

Instructions:
  1. First, with the fabric wrong side up, start by bring the lampshade on the side and finding where you want the design to be on the fabric. Then, trace it’s path on the fabric with a pencil (I did a Sharpie so it would be visible in photos for you, but don’t do it as it will seep through!)
  2. Leave ¾ of an inch on each side of the traced path and cut it out.
  3. Follow the instructions on your spray adhesive and spray the area in a well ventilated space.
  4. Then attach the fabric on one end of the shade around to the end. At the end, fold the fabric over about a ½”, spray the end, and then attach securely.
  5. Carefully, fold the fabric around both ends of the lampshade, smoothing out any bubbles.
  6. To complete the look, use cotton twilling and glue it on the inside of the lampshade. This will help secure the fabric to the shade, while also allowing it to have a clean line once the light bulb is on and you can see everything!

You can find the original tutorial with more photos of this DIY fabric lampshade here.

DIY Origami Lampshade

I was inspired by the clever work of UK based paper artist, Sarah Louise Matthews. Luck enough for me, she released a paper craft book called Paper Craft Home which is available now! It features 25 projects to cut, fold, and shape. I already dog-eared the heck out of mine! It’s great for both beginners and advanced crafters so you can find a little something for everyone. Today she’s sharing a tutorial from the book, the origami DIY lampshade, which is actually similar in concept to a project from our book, Craft the Rainbow, with a different spin.

Strictly speaking, this lampshade isn’t origami, but it’s a great project to put your paper-folding skills to the test. Once you break the folding down into a step of valley folds followed by a step of mountain folds, it is fairly straightforward, and when mastered, you will be making bespoke DIY lampshades for every room in the house!

Materials:
  • 3 11¾ × 16½ in. (A3) sheets of light card in marble
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal ruler
  • Embossing tool
  • Bone folder
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Scissors
  • Tacky glue
  • Stapler
  • Self-adhesive Velcro pads
  • Ceiling light fitting * LED light bulb (not pictured)

*Warning For safety, make sure you only use an LED light bulb.

Instructions:
  1. Place the first sheet of marble card in a landscape position on a cutting mat. Use a ruler and embossing tool to score a vertical line 2/5 in. (1 cm) from the right edge.
  2. Measure and score seven equally spaced vertical lines to divide the space between the left side of the paper and the line scored in Step 1 into eight equal sections. Use a bone folder to fold each scored line to make a valley fold, then unfold.
  3. Measure 8½ in. (22 cm) from the top of the first, third, fifth, and seventh fold, and make a small pencil mark. Use a ruler and embossing tool to score lines joining each pencil mark to the top and bottom of the fold lines on either side. Rub out the pencil marks.
  4. Then, fold each scored line from Step 3 into a mountain fold. The paper should now form the shape shown (it may need a little encouragement).
Repeat Steps 1–4 for the remaining two sheets of card.

5. Use scissors to cut off the top and bottom corners of the 2/5 in. (1 cm) strip on the right of each piece to make a tab. The corners should be cut at a reflection of the angle of the adjacent folded line as shown.

6. Flatten each piece and turn to the side. Use scissors to make a cut through all layers in the position shown, beginning around 11/5 in. (3 cm) down from the end of the fold and finishing at the top point.

7. Glue the three pieces together: apply a thin layer of tacky glue to the front of the tab, down the right side of the first piece, and attach it behind the left edge of the next piece, aligning along the top and bottom edges.

8. Cut along the second mountain fold from the right end as shown. Discard the small piece.

9. Turn the folded piece upside down. There are triangular folds that stand up from the piece. Work along the top edge of the piece, using a stapler to secure the two layers of each triangular fold together as close to the base as you can.

10. Next, urn the piece back over, then stand it up to make the lampshade shape. Fix five pairs of self-adhesive Velcro pads to the opening, half on the back of the cut edge and half on the front of the uncut edge, in corresponding positions.

11. Last, wrap the lampshade around the cord of your light fixture, then close using the Velcro tabs, and fit in an LED light bulb.

From Paper Craft Home by Sarah Louise Matthews © 2018 Sarah Louise Matthews. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.

You can find the original tutorial and more info here.

If you’re a shopper not a crafter

Here are some of the best lampshades available now! Don’t worry about making your own if that’s not your thing!

 

More DIY lighting tutorials

 

 

Mary’s House Renovation with Crate and Barrel

Here’s what the room looked like before:

As open as the new space was, it still was small; so, Mary wanted to focus on creating plenty of seating options without bulky pieces of furniture. A simple color palette completed her vision, with pieces that were both architectural and artistic.

Enter, Crate and Barrel, the royal family of clean and functional. They partnered with us to make the transformation happen and turns out, they were the best marriage partner for Mary’s more color subdued yet architectural style.

The constraints of the space led to the selection of the Knurl Small Coffee Table. It turned out to be the perfect solution, with thin legs and clean, refined lines that created a distinct but unobtrusive shape. The Fernando Accent Table was an ideal pairing with the Knurl Coffee Table, as it balanced the lighter elements of the coffee table with a solid and interesting geometric shape.

For seating, Mary chose two pieces with distinct shapes and artistic textures. The Gabo Leather Wingback Chair provided height with slender, architectural lines. Lightly colored legs contributed to the wingback chair feeling less bulky in the small space. The Mimi Vegan Lambskin Chair provided contrast with cozy, light upholstery and a low back. A square cutout on the back of the chair creates an interesting shape that adds to the texture of the room. Together, the two chairs fulfilled Mary’s vision for a room that had plenty of seating options without cluttering the space.

Now, this space continues the timeless, sleek style of the kitchen into the living room. Each piece of the room underscores Mary’s artistic intention for the space, while still creating a welcoming environment for anyone who enters. 

Would love to hear what you think of her living room transformation. Are you more of a color lover or lack of color? Dish!

Thank you to our sponsor, Crate and Barrel, who made this transformation happen. 

Brittany’s Guest Room Renovation with Crate and Barrel

Wait…a room inspired by bath towels?

Oh, here they are. Look how happy I am because of them.

Exactly. That’s where this story begins. But to understand the story of our newly redone guest room, we first need to take a look at where the room started. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we live in a walk out apartment. At the time we first moved in we thought it had just two rooms. After a couple of years we discovered there was another bedroom and it was the best room in the whole place! It had served as our landlord’s storage room, but we soon found out that it was the biggest room that also received the most light. Not only that, but it had a bathroom with a bathtub, which is my favorite word in the winter time (I also consider bath tubs God’s gift to birthing mothers, but that’s a story for another day).

At the time I was working from home and after our discovery, our landlords generously offered it to us. I worked out of this room for a couple of years before moving into our Springville studio. The following year my brother moved in and lived with us for about a year and a half, and then Jasper was born and it kind of became this storage/guest room dumping ground. You know the kind of room I’m talking about, right? You’re horrified to actually let guests sleep there but you don’t really have any other choice? 

Yeah, that’s the one. SO, yes, back to the transformation….Crate and Barrel gave me the charge to redo our guest bedroom and I have a feeling they didn’t know what they were in for.  

Look at these before photos: 

I mean, it’s pretty standard rental: beige carpet, walls, outdated lighting. The three storage shelving units are our landlord’s and we’ve kept it for storage. It’s pretty handy, actually!

I’ve long admired Crate and Barrel’s company and how they originally started as admirers and importers of Scandinavian design (have you listened to the founder’s episode on How I Built This? It’s so good!) and how they basically transformed the home furnishings industry. I can get behind that. And they’ve remained true to their vision by providing well made, thoughtful design. 

We get enough guests that I know how I want them to feel, but I’ve never been able to provide that feeling until now. Ultimately, and even though we are in a basement apartment, I want them to feel welcome, cozy, and taken care of. Most of our guests come in from out of state and the country, thus, I want them to feel like they are getting a taste for Utah and all it has to offer. When I found this Pine wallpaper from Sandberg Wallpapers, I thought it was the perfect way to establish the alpine identity. It felt like an escape into somewhere majestic and cozy at the same time. Plus, it was one of the few that Paul and I could agree on 😉 

Bedroom furniture and linens

With the Pine wallpaper setting the mood for the room, I knew I wanted to complement it with warm wooden furniture. I chose the Linea II Natural Bed frame. It has clean lines and works perfectly with the wallpaper. Cabin fever, catch it! 

I paired it with the Dawson side table. I’ve never had a legit side table with a drawer in my bedroom before so I feel like this is a luxury.

To return to the beginning of our story, I knew I’d love something that would tie in the yellow of the striped towels and when I spotted the mustard yellow comforter, I knew that was it.  (This comforter now comes in three new colors for Spring!) It’s a beautiful contrast to the green of the wallpaper. I LOVED the look of the Lior sheet set. I’ve always loved hotel linens and this creates the same look but with a touch more decoration.

Bench

I loved the idea of having a place to set luggage and such, so the Tate King bench in Walnut was the answer!  

Rug

I wanted a rug to cover up the beige carpet because it bums me out, but I knew because of the wallpaper I couldn’t do something too intense. I went with the Azulejo neutral rug that has the perfect amount of pattern for this pattern-on-pattern lover, but is neutral enough not to collide with the wallpaper. And it’s a cut and loop pile so it works just great on carpet, which was one of my concerns. 

Dresser

A high priority for the room was a dresser. There are two small closets in the room, which we have to use because we don’t have enough closet space in the rest of the rooms, so we needed additional storage. I chose to go light with the dresser so that the room wouldn’t be too dark, so I chose the Gia Ash-7 drawer dresser, which fit perfectly under the window.

Desk

The same goes for the desk, which sits against the opposing wall. Paul will also be using the space as his office so he needed a work space that could contain all his equipment. I went with the Kendall Desk in cream and paired it with the gorgeous leather Lincoln Round office chair.

Lighting

I also was tickled to find a gorgeous table lamp, the Arenson, in a similar color way as the bedding. It’s uneven finish makes it feel so rich. Plus, it’s super sturdy and feels luxurious.

Artwork

Though I tried so hard to keep with the natural, woodsy vibe of the Pine wallpaper and accompanying wooden furniture, I couldn’t help but throw in some color. I just had to! I collected quite a few prints from our trip to Denmark last year to visit Paul’s family and the room was begging for it! The exhibition poster by Walton Ford added the much needed dose of unexpected whimsy I was going for in bright pinks and kingfishers, Paul’s favorite.

I needed to balance out the bold colors with another bold color, so I added in a print from my friend, Lisa Grue, a Danish illustrator, whose 20 Birds in a Tree print was perfect. It’s colorful touches like these that make me feel more at home. 

Other items of note: 

Crate and Barrel Guest room selections: 

Bed  | Bench  | Yellow comforterBed Linens | Yellow table lamp  | Side table | Dresser | Desk  | Office Chair | Rug 

The day we finished installing the room, Paul and I immediately decided that we couldn’t keep this to our guest room and we moved into the room that night. Ha! It’s larger than our real master bedroom and now, so much more comfortable. It feels like that hotel experience that I long for–you know…sturdy, clean and well-built. But don’t worry! When guests come, they will still be staying here and we’ll just trade rooms lucky ducks!).

Thank you to our brand sponsor, Crate and Barrel for working with us on this transformation. I’m a C&B lover for life!