Updates on DIY projects

March 07, 2012

I’ve been planning this post forever, because there’s lots of projects that I do up in here that I’ve been meaning to update you on. When I see projects out in blogland, I love hearing how they work in real life and how they hold up. It’s like those extreme makeover shows when they show the person a year later and you’re all like, ohhh, they look GREAT. Or ohhh, that’s just too bad…

This is the house version.

And so here. we. go.

First up – the beadboard backsplash in the kitchen:

beadboard backsplash

I cannot express how much I LOVE it. It looks fresh and clean and it’s been way easier than I thought it would be to take care of. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve even had to wipe anything off of them in almost two years -- mainly by the sink. The grooves aren’t exactly easy to wipe down, but I figure at least I can wipe them down – I don't have to deal with cleaning grout or anything like that.

If you remember, I glued those suckers right over the tile. And I have no doubt they’ll be there as long as I want them to be. ;)

There was one little spot that wouldn’t stay put, so I tried a nail gun (yeah, into tile, not the best idea), and it left a not-so-perfect part.

Nothing a fern can’t fix:

Ta DA!!! No mess up. :)

Overall I’m thrilled with the backsplash – especially considering the whole thing cost less than $50 (I think? I’m pretty sure!) to do.

Speaking of the backsplash, I get asked a lot about the cereal containers we keep out on the counter:

cereal in glass containers

OK, the Oats are now chocolate rice krispies and the Bran is chocolate frosted flakes (YUMMO), but whatever. I change the cereal but hardly ever the names. ;)

Yes, it stays super fresh in these (you can find them at Walmart and Target) – I swear longer than it does in the box. By the way, you can get the scoops for the cereal for CHEAP at restaurant supply stores – most of them are open to the public and they have some great stuff. (That’s a whole other post!)

Well, speaking of counters, there’s one more in the kitchen – the butcher block! Another one I LOVE:

butcher block counters

I got a butcher block from IKEA, and had it cut down and a decorative edge routered, then replaced the old laminate counter with this beauty.

I used to baby it a bit, but now, it’s like anywhere else. It takes a licking and keeps looking beautiful. ;)

I clean it like I do the other counters, I put hot and cold on it, water sits on it, wine spills on it – it’s fabulous. We don’t have any stains or water rings and I love it.

About once a year I’ll oil it (I explained how to do that in this post), but that’s where the upkeep ends.

In the kitchen, I’d do the backsplash and butcher block again in a heartbeat!

Let’s move on to the family room – where we have our very first, post debt free purchase, the sectional we bought last spring. I researched my heart out and decided on a sectional from Arhaus:

(You can see more about that process here and here.)

This is another one I’m pleased as punch with – I am so glad I did so much research before buying. I went into it thinking I wanted a slip covered sofa, and ended up with a microdenier fabric (similar to microfiber but bunny-soft) instead. And I said I would never do microfiber. That’s what I get when I say never. ;)

The only upkeep for this one is that I flip the cushions every three or four months. It takes a few minutes cause I have meellions of pillows on there:

And yes, usually a little dog.

I take off the seat and back cushions and flip them:

Number two reason I love this sofa so much – the super deep seats! Plenty of room for pillows and tushies.

The number one reason? That these two can do whatever they want to it and the fabric is still like the day we got it:

The Nutter (the dog) jumps on with wet feet (all. the. time.), he digs into it trying to get comfy for his nap, and smushes the back cushions in two spots – one at the back window and one at the end of the sofa so he can monitor the rest of the house. ;) He also cleans his paws and licks the sofa while he’s doing it, which totally grosses me out, and he’s doing it right now. Ew.

And I don't worry about the Bub eating on there – usually it’s just a small snack, but I certainly don’t live in fear of it getting messed up. I think it still looks like the day we bought it!:


arhaus sectional sofa 

The sofa when we got it on the left, on the right today.

I love that the cushions hold their shape – no fluffing needed. EVER.:

microdenier sofa

Now let’s talk about the part of the room that’s not holding up so well…the lovely rug:

I got it from HomeGoods a while back – I think it’s been more than a year ago?

It is NOT doing well. It’s a complete mess actually. ;) You can’t see it well in pics, thankfully, but it’s kind of a disaster. There are small parts the dog has chewed on it, and it’s bare in those areas. But the bigger issue is just the way it wears. It’s not good.

I don’t think I would get this looped kind of rug again. It’s beautiful, and I’m looking for something I love just as much (for a similar price) and not having much luck. But it’s not good quality. For what I paid for it, I guess it’s OK.

A big one I get asked about a lot is the stair redo:

white risers stained treads stairs

Best project I’ve ever done in our house – hands down. The fact that it was SO cheap didn’t hurt. ;) (The wood under the carpet was in great shape and I used stain and paint I already had.)

I was a teensy bit concerned about them being slippery and they haven’t been. I think we’ve had one small slip on them in two years – and that’s WAY less than we had with carpet. At least in our house, the carpet caused more spills than the wood. :) (Knock on that wood.)

There’s not much upkeep on this either – about six months ago I put a quick coat of white on the risers:

hardwood stairs

They were scuffed up just a bit, and I didn’t even tape off to paint over the scuffs. It took about 20 minutes total.

The actual treads have held up fabulously! They look like the day I finished.

We used cheap, basic pine boards from Lowe’s for the landing (this was pre-hardwoods), and this area has seen more wear:

pine flooring

It doesn’t bother me (obviously because I haven’t fixed it), because I think it makes it look rustic and worn (in a good way). The big scratch was from when hubs and I were taking a box spring down (or up? I don't remember) the stairs, and we we scooched it and scratched the floor.

I knew this would happen because pine is so soft – and if you wear shoes in the house this would look a lot worse! Again, I kind of like the look. It doesn’t bother me at all.

Because the stairs don’t match our hardwoods, I’m hoping to get our flooring guy out this year to sand down the treads and install our floors on the landing. Then I’ll repaint and restain everything.

Wooee. I can’t WAIT to do all of that again. Can you tell? ;)  

So there you go! A few updates on some of my big projects and purchases! I don’t steer you Squeezies wrong – I’ll always tell you how I feel about projects and products.

As you know it usually takes me seven years to get any major projects done and that’s because I think them out and plan them for a ridiculous amount of time. In the end it serves me well, so I don’t see that changing any time soon. ;)

Are there any projects I’ve done that you’d like to know more about? I’m happy to share – just let me know! Have any of these little projects appeared at your house? I’d love to hear!

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  1. It's so nice when stuff just works out! Glad all of your projects are holding up great (except the rug). Dogs and kids (and grown-ups) are just not a rugs best friend. :)
    PS: What a bummer about Peyton, can't believe the colts did that to him, NOT cool!

  2. Thanks so much for the honest look at what's worked and what hasn't. That speaks volumes about your integrity. You're definitely a blogger I look up to. As a matter of fact, I mentioned you in my latest blog post. :)

  3. Thanks for the rundown! I love your blog, so inspiring. We've got this boring, new construction home and I'm in need of some character. I'm really considering the beadboard and will be sure to post if it works out! Bummer about the rug. I just bought a fair priced one from Costco a few days ago. I'm wondering now how it's going to wear =/

  4. Well that is a pretty good track record. The sofa does still look fantastic. I have a beadboard backsplash too, with tile above the cooktop. It wears super! I love the stairs. That is on my to do list. My pets want to be in every shot too? Why is that? Great post, very much enjoyed it.

  5. The butcher block island and stair project have to be two of my favorites!! How's the reading nook? Do you still get use out of it and sill love it?

  6. Do your sofa cushions have zippers? Because if they do, you can WASH THEM in the machine. (Warm water with only a little detergent so there won't be any residue) All that dog/coffee/snacks/feet: down the drain. It's a little wiggly to put them back on but SO worth it! I hung mine in the garage on a warm day and the microfiber dried very quickly. They'll look brand new. And thanks for all the updates!

  7. Thanks for the update. I was copying your beadboard backsplash and wondering about cleaning the grooves. I'm also adding a section of butcher block and wondered about the upkeep. Perfect timing! ~ Maureen

  8. Your house is amazing! I love the stairs and landing!

  9. You are an amazing person, with abilities not to be matched, Your home is gorgeous.I don't think I have the nere to do some of the projects you hae done( stairs ).Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  10. i love that you haven't changed the names on your cereals, it's like you are trying to look healthy when really it's chocolate. that's something i would do on purpose. ha!

  11. I love your house and blog! I would like to hear more about the moulding on your walls (i.e. in the stairway)..I see that you have that in your living room as well(stalk your blog much??!)..is it just moulding? Is it mdf? Curious! Thanks for the opportunity to ask!

  12. What a great idea for a blog post! I especially love the pictures of your little kitty that wouldn't get out of the frame :D haha. I'm new to the blogging community and am so glad I have stumbled across your corner of the Internet!


  13. Great post and absolutely love your stairs - but am crazy about your photo arrangement on the stairway wall. Would love the details!

  14. All looking beautiful! I can't wait to hear and see more about your dining room redo. I'm trying to be brave about doing ours. We very very rarely use it as a dining room so I'm considering changing it to a music room/library.

  15. Haha, I love how you call them "little" projects! The only one that qualifies as little is the cereal jars. :)

    Fun to read all those project 'reviews'. Way too bad about the lovely rug.

    I can hardly believe the stairs need to be sanded and changed! Wow. Kinda sad, but I guess you will be happier with it.

  16. I am in the middle (or farther I hope!) of my kitchen and have been trying to figure out a backsplash. We were actually thinking of the beadboard for the ceiling, but I love the backsplash idea! Did you use beadboard paneling or the actual planks of beadboard? We are having a bit of trouble finding it here. Thanks!

  17. looks great thanks for sharing the update

  18. I think imma have to do my back splash like yours. I love the way it turned out and I'm just not in love with our tile anymore.

  19. OMW, do I love your blog. Always an interesting and fun read! The kitty pics cracked me up - so typical of cats, which is why we love them. Bravo on several awesome projects!

  20. I've got that SAME rug and I have the same problem with it nubbing up & shedding! What a shame!

  21. I love the cereal jars! What a great idea. We have boxes on the counter right now because they are too tall to fit in the pantry. These would be perfect!

  22. I copied your little tip for the curtains and it looks great,thanks for the update!

  23. It's always helpful to hear how projects hold up over time- I always wonder about that. I love your cereal jars. The cereal really does stay fresher in glass containers because they are much more air tight. I don't know what your rug is made of, but I've bought a couple of wool rugs and will never do it again- they shed terribly, even after several years (at least the [relatively] cheap ones I've bought do). I love your stairs and wish ours were in good enough shape to do that. We recarpeted and it's so hard to vacuum stairs.

  24. I just recently discovered your blog and I have to say I am in love! Just finished a board and batten project this week in our dining room and LOVE it! You have completely given me the confidence boost I needed to do it myself! The stairs are next! Love all of your ideas...please keep them coming!

  25. this is such a yummy post. all comfort & cozy factor! I LOVE!!!!! your beadboard backsplash & am trying to get my hub on board that is would look GREAT in our kitchen! It is only a matter of time mwahhhhhahahah! the couch is JUST like ours & we love it too (except our bottom cushions keep coming out on their own so I'm continuously having to scoot them back in place (no biggee!) have a great spring day girlie! xo


  26. Thanks for all the updates! I love your beadboard backsplash.

    And I felt like I was reading about myself when I saw that your cat has to try and be in EVERY picture you take. Mine is the same way, but I can't even get mad because he's just too darn cute! :)

  27. I just wanted to let you know that I am HERO because of YOU!! :) My sister and her hubby recently put an island in their kitchen to add a dishwasher. Everything was done but they were waiting on the butcher block counter top to come in. this butcher block cost them over $700 and was on backorder!! I said, "you should have talked to me first! my friend (that's you!)went to Ikea and got a butcher block counter top and it's GORGEOUS and WAY less than $700!!" so, when they called to check on the countertop and were told it would be another 3-4 weeks, they canceled it and headed to Ikea. They LOVE it!! Yay baby sister!!! (that's me!!)

  28. Love your back splash, the floors, the couch, your colors all of the above. FABULOUS my darling! Shared this link on my COM-FB page. winks, jen

  29. I like the pine at the top of the stairs, must try. So tired of the grody beigeish grayish carpet.

  30. Been following for a while. I'd LOVE to read a post about how your painted furniture and decorations are holding up. Spray paint or regular paint. REALLY REALLY REALLY would love to see!! My hubby doesn't believe that spray paint will hold up over time. THANKS!!!

  31. I am beyond thrilled that you posted this today! I am pretty new here, so haven't seen these projects. I just painted our backsplash, and hate it!!! I am totally doing what you did! Plus, our countertops stink. I just bought a huge butcher block piece to use as a cutting board, and love it. I live about an hour from Ikea in Cinci, and may have to check into the butcher block as well...kitchen overhauls can just be soooo expensive. Thanks so much for the inspiration that I have been dying for!

    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real

  32. I love these updates :) I always wonder how things end up. I know I have a lot of projects that don't always end up doing so well months later.

    I still love your stairs! But I guess I missed the post about the pine board flooring :( I'm interested to see how you did that!

    Alicia @ thriftyandchic.com

  33. I love all of your projects, but the stairs are really fantastic! My hubby and I are thinking about doing something similar in our home and it's really fun to see how well yours turned out, and that they're holding up so well!

  34. Ijust adore your home! :) My husband and I are actually moving into a new place next week and I fully intend on utilizing some of your awesome ideas! We have a very similar decorating taste. I'll be sure to link your site to my blog, Dog-tags and Pearls, whenever I fill all of my friends in on the fabulous ideas I copy-catted from you. ;)

  35. I still love your stairs too! I am hoping that when I pull up our carpeting, that I find a similar good surprise with regard to the wood.
    So glad you posted this one! It's my favorite project of yours!

  36. I love that you give updates on projects...it really is helpful to know about stuff like the rug, especially for people who might be in the market.

    Love that cat shots! :) My dog does the same thing. :) They want Glamour Shots!

  37. That beadboard and butcher block in the kitchen are to die for! I absolutely love it!

  38. I have been wanting to try that stair project on our stairway ever since I saw it! My husband informed me that he wants no parts of doing that and I'd be pretty much on my own. I have decided to wait till we are ready to get new living room carpet so that I can take some of the carpeting off the stairs and see the condition of the wood underneath. I guess that will determine if I go through with it or if new carpet goes up the stairs too! Glad they are holding up for you!

  39. I was totally inspired by your beadboard backsplash! I just loved its simplicity and fresh&clean vibe! I was so inspired I did it in my own kitchen but with a twist! I used textured wallpaper instead. I'd love for you to check it out!


    Love love love your kitchen!!

  40. I am actually doing my stairs in 2 weeks-I'm so scared thought because I gently lifted a part of the carpet up and it looks like my treads are plywood and my risers are some sort of press board! But I am determined to find a solution to make it work! Please let me know if you have any suggestions :) BTW, your stairs look great!

  41. I love the beadboarding in the kitchen. At that rate, I might consider doing something like that in my kitchen. I also love your stair case!

  42. Okay, so I fell in love with your stairs and it inspired me to re-do ours. It was easy-peasy to talk my hubby into doing it, because all I had to do was show him your before and after and presto, he was sold! I think you did one of the nicest jobs on them, as they are all over the internet. Great job! Oh, and mine could use some touchup on the white parts as well, but same as you, I don't envision it will take me more than 20 minutes. Thanks again!

  43. stkaylor@yahoo.comMarch 9, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Question: I would Looove to add corbels under my kitchen cabs but there is an overhang (underhang??) in other words the underside of the cabinets are not flat. Does that make sense? So....how do I get past that with corbels so they don't look goofy?

  44. Thank you so much for writing this post. I really appreciate the information. We are just getting ready to remodel our entire house so it's really nice to find out what really works.

  45. I LOVE the beadboard backsplash in your kitchen. In my old house (I've got it on the market currently) I had pine lined walls in the kitchen. Dark and gloomy. I dislike all that timber. So I painted it Antique White USA (my favourite white) and I love it! When I redid the living room, dining room and bathroom, I put in a dado rail with pine lining below and painted it. I must blog about those things. I love the look. I want to do it here in the new house too. When I find time...

  46. I absolutely love your beadboard backsplash. I haven't yet put up my new backsplash and I may be rethinking my decision. I also have the Ikea butcher block and am really happy with it too. Thanks for sharing!

  47. LOVE what you've done! I just discovered your blog and keep clicking from one post to the next.

    How do you like your black kitchen sink by now? I'm doing a kitchen mini re-do myself soon and am thinking about getting one like yours. Thoughts?

  48. I am so glad that you talked about your stairs! Just this morning I slipped down our stairs while on the way to drop kiddo off at school! NOT COOL! Thankfully I just kinda bounced down them, the one time I will ever be thankful for a padded bum! This is not the first time there has been a slip on those stairs in the two years we have lived here! I hate the carpet! I despise vacuuming it! There are plans to redo them in hardwood. We aren't lucky enough to have real wood under the carpet. :( we just have the sub-floor, which after today I might just rip up that carpet and paint the sub-floor! I was kinda worried that the wood maybe a little more slick than the carpet but after hearing your update I think I wont worry about it anymore. It will be funny to watch my male dog on them though. He is 4 going on 5 and still to this day has to walk backwards on any floor that is not carpeted...boy is he gonna love me when I get my hardwood throughout! (makes for really funny moments though)

    Misty K

  49. Where did you get your couch?


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THANKS so much for reading!