DIY Faux Floating Shelves

As you know, G and I recently moved into our first home and are currently in the process of getting the house together. We are slowly going room to room. We have already demolished a wall between the dining room and living room to provide the house with an open concept floor plan, switched the old electrical fuse panel to a modern breaker box, and had the main cast iron water line replaced to PVC piping. This is all on top of painting our main rooms and doing some major cleaning as well.

The living room is our main focus now. Before we even moved in, I had stripped the room of wallpaper, painted the walls a simple gray, and pulled all the old trim work from the windows and baseboards. G and my dad finished flooring the living room last weekend, and so now comes the decorating and finishing touches — my favorite part! So to the delight of my inner interior decorater, I decided to hang some “floating” shelves in the living room. These shelves are do-it-yourself, and appear to be floating but are actually faux floating. They are the perfect inexpensive addition to our social space!

I looked at alternative options for quite a bit of time before decided to DIY. I considered ladder shelves, bookcases, and actual floating shelves for this space. All were incredibly more expensive than I was hoping to spend — over $200 for any quality products. Instead, I set my mind to creating my own shelves for the decorative space. Here is how I made my Faux Floating Shelves:

SUPPLIES

  1. 2 x 10 pieces of wood pre-cut to 3 feet in length — I bought 4 pieces but only used 3 after seeing them on the wall hung. (Helpful tip: hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot will cut longer pieces for you at no charge.)
  2. 4″ corner (sometimes called L) brackets — I used 2 braces per shelf.
  3. #12 x 2 1/4 inch wood screws (flat Phillips head) — I used 2 screws per brace.
  4. #12 x 3/4 inch wood screws (flat Phillips head) — I used 2 screws per brace.
  5. Wood stain, stir stick, paint brush/foam brush, work rags — I used Minwax PolyShade in Espresso Satin as my wood stain.
  6. Sanding tool and sand paper — I used both 120 and 220 coarse sand paper.

To hang the shelves you may want:

  • Level
  • Stud-finder
  • Pencil (to mark where screws will be places in the walls)
  • Phillips screw driver
  • Power drill (with bits to drill into wall and studs, screw braces in place, and pilot holes in wood)
  • Second person for longer shelves

Prepping Your Wood Shelves

Step 1: Sand the wood
Sanding your shelves is important as it not only smooths the surface of the wood, but also reduces streaking of the wood stain. I bought pre-cut wood pieces that have a bullnose to them, but they still needed quite a bit of sanding. Be sure to sand the flat surfaces as well as all the corners and edges. Wipe the dust away with a cloth while also feeling if the cloth snags anywhere. When sanded correctly and completely, your wood pieces should be smooth to the touch with no slivers sticking to your hands and/or a clean cloth.

Step 2: Stain the wood
I had never stained wood prior to this project, so I was excited to practice something new. Your wood stain should come with directions on the can, so I urge you to begin here. Be sure to stir your stain from the bottom up! Stroke the stain with the grain of the wood evenly and cover the top surface and all edges.

I waited about 10-12 minutes per piece and then took old rags and wiped the stain away. The color I chose, espresso, was dark after one coat and I felt that was sufficient to match my living room furniture. If you would like a darker color after your first coat of stain, simply repeat this step until you get the color for which you are looking.

Step 3: Allow resting dry time
I stained my wood pieces in the basement, though I have heard of some people staining outside due to the strong smell. We’re having an overly rainy autumn here in Michigan, so this option was out for me. I set up two saw horses and placed two boards on them at a time to stain. Once I had the top surfaces and edges stained and wiped, I allowed two hours of dry time before flipping them and staining the bottom. I probably should have been more patient with this step because two of the boards did have small indents on the first sides from the saw horses because they were still a bit wet. However, I allowed the second side to dry almost 24 hours before handling them again which seemed to be a good enough amount of time.

Another option you may choose to do is seal your wood pieces. I bought wood stain which supposedly has seal in it, but I also so not plan to handle my shelves too much once they are hung other than changing seasonal decorations. Sealing is completely up to you, and if you choose to add this step, I would love to hear your results — does it change the color at all? Do you see a difference between sealed wood and unsealed wood with past projects? As a first-timer, I’m curious.

 

Hanging Your Faux Floating Shelves

Step 1: Determine placement of first shelf
I recruited a cute helper for hanging my faux floating shelves. G and I measured how far from the floor we needed the first shelf to be hung. As I wanted to have enough space for a basket or two of blanket beneath the shelving unit, we settled for two feet from the ground. Using a stud finder, G located the 16 inch difference we would need to place our shelf’s two brackets. Luckily for us, we were setting our shelves directly to the corner of the room, and the brackets were almost dead-center to the shelves. I bought pine laminate boards which were already heavy enough on their own, so it was imperative we anchor the wall screws into a stud to handle as much weight as possible.

Step 2: Hang first shelf
Once we anchored one bracket into the wall, we leveled and placed the second bracket as well. After the brackets were secured into the wall, we placed the board on top of them. I chose to level again just to confirm our prior measurements. Except for the board being a bit bowed in the front-left corner, the shelf remained level. G had me put weight onto the board as he screwed the 3/4″ wood screws into the bottom brackets to hold the shelf. It is important to note we primed these holes first in order for the wood not to split. I then took a dry cloth to the top surface and wiped all drywall dust away and — voila! We had our first faux floating shelf.

Step 3: Coordinate your other shelves
Having our first shelf complete meant we had a solid foundation to hang our other shelves. After arranging the second shelf around, I settled on a distance of 18″ between the shelves. G marked this distance and we set out to hang our second and third shelves in the same fashion as our first. When I had a look at three shelves, however, I decided not to hang my fourth. There was a perfect space above the shelves where I could envision placing either a clock or a seasonal wreath, so G and I put our tools aside and stepped back to enjoy our handiwork.

Which leads me to our final step…

Step 4: Decorate!
Always my favorite, decorating the shelves has been fun with our seasonal treats. I absolutely love Fall, textures, and neutrals with little pops of color, so having the shelves ready in time for October was perfect!

As you can see, I’m continuing to play with how I want the shelves decorated. Our living room has also gained more and more furniture over the past few weeks, including a beautiful area rug and (eek! my favorite!) a beautiful espresso-colored faux fireplace TV console.

Interested in a few of my decor pieces you see?

  • Frames around pictures: all bought at Michaels
  • Framed quote: handmade by my amazing friend Toto ❤
  • Mini felt board: wedding gift from Panda bought here
  • “S” Pumpkin, galvanized “S”, and hanging “S”: all gifted from Kohls
  • Fall floral: top shelf are stems bought at Michaels I put together into an old vase I had sitting around and some brown coffee filters, middle shelf was bought at Michaels, and bottom shelf is a leaf garland placed into one of our wedding centerpiece vases
  • White lantern: bought for our wedding centerpieces (I bought mine for a steal off eBay, but they are available on Amazon as well.)
  • Blanket basket: also from Michaels — I kinda of love that store.
    And last but not least…
  • My Mickey Mouse Hatbox Ghost Nutcracker — a special surprise from G last Christmas. I am honestly not sure where he found him because this nutcracker has been out of stock online for quite some time and is only available in-store at the Disney parks. However, I collect nutcrackers for Christmas and this Haunted Mansion version has been on my wishlist for some time. He is perfect for the entire Fall and Winter seasons.

We’re planning to get baseboard trimming done this coming weekend, and then our living will be complete.

I absolutely love these shelves and could not be happier with our little social space. If you have any questions while attempting this project, please leave a comment below!

Find this post helpful? Pin it!

 

Happy hanging, friends, 

Add Another Candle

I am now 27-years-old. Another candle is being added to my cake and I could not be happier. So many people dread the aging process and are “forever 29,” but I relish what each new year brings to my life. Every year I am taking another step in the direction God is leading me to go.

It has become a tradition with my blog to post on my birthday about my life and what has changed over the course of one year. I began this tradition in 2014 when I turned 23 in “The Life of a Twenty-Something” and talked about myself growing up. Then in 2015 I discussed finding my faith again in “The Year I Grew Up” and how life had changed so drastically in one year. Then in 2016 I wrote letters to my younger selves giving advice on how I would do things differently. This year, however, I want to focus on my future…

As a 26-year-old, life was rapid. On my birthday last year I was newly engaged, already stressing about wedding preparation, and focusing on bettering myself to become a good wife. Since last October, I have not only gotten married to my best friend, but also completely switched career paths from the active event industry to the routine and stable nonprofit world. And if those two transitions weren’t big enough, G and I also bought our first house. So, yeah, this past year has consisted of a lot of up-current swimming.

It is no longer a surprise when transitions occur. Life changes, and I am quickly adaptable. However, with another year drawing me closer to the big 3-0, I want to set some goals for myself to continue striving forward. Sooner or later my life is going to be consumed with motherhood (God willing) and my goals are going to take the back seat. Before life becomes even more hectic, there are a few things I would like to achieve though:

Begin my own business
This is something I have been wanting to do for awhile now. I won’t go into details – yet – but I would like to open and run my own creative business in the near future. Not only for an additional income, which is always welcomed, but also to give me a goal-oriented hobby that comes with accountability. I have my base-work figured out, so we will see how things unfold over the coming months.

Strengthen my physical self
Working out and weight lifting have been a part of my life for several years, but the habits fell to the wayside over the past year. The lack of activity is becoming more and more clear as I suffer body aches and lowered self esteem nowadays. It is my goal to begin incorporating yoga, weight lifting, and HIIT back into my life on a regular weekly basis. With life finally slowing down now that we are moved into the new house and my daily schedule is becoming more routine, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Go minimalist
I have been slowly edging towards a minimal closet since my Spring 2018 cleaning spree. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clothing I either have seldom worn or are no longer in-line with my styling. I would like to slim my closet down to 50 pieces only. That means only 50 articles of clothing including shirts, pants, layers, and dresses. I continue to get rid of specific items as I peruse through my closet, but with only 50 items to choose from in the future I imagine life will become that much easier because the greatest amount of my time each morning is spent trying on different outfits just to choose the same ones I wear every week.

Explore two new places
G and I have plans to explore the Northeast Coast for our 1-year anniversary, but I would also like to schedule a mini-vacation to one additional location sometime within the next year. Perhaps Brown County or Wisconsin Dells. Somewhere not requiring more than a weekend, but also somewhere I have never been before.

Nourish my mind
I once would have labeled myself as a bookworm, but it has been some time since I’ve actively read book after book for the simple pleasure of doing so. I recently began a book club with some girlfriends which has encouraged me to read at least one book a month, but I would like to push myself harder. My SMART goal for nourishing my mind is to focus on reading 20 pages every day. Be that 10 pages in the morning and 10 at night, or 20 altogether, twenty is not a huge number and should have me flipping through covers like a pro in no time.

Life is hectic, and it seems to be gathering steam as each day passes. So I am setting these five goals for my future with the hopes to achieve at least one before next October 13th. When I look back over my 26th year, I am aware of how quickly things can change. I learn this more and more each year. And I know one year is a short amount of time to cross each of these goals off my list. As I transition into being 27 I know I might not accomplish all these goals over the course of the next year, but I do want to at least begin taking the steps forward in setting the foundations for each goal.

Now I need to get ready for a fun and entertaining day with my husband to celebrate me. I have never been one to make a big deal about my birthday, but I am thankful to have a man who treasures me enough to cause a fuss over the ordeal. Not only are we traveling to my favorite restaurant this evening (sushi, get in my tummy…), but we are also spending some quality time doing “Autumn activities” like visiting a cider mill, picking some apples, and getting spooked at a haunted house. He definitely knows the way to my heart!

Thank you to all my friends and family members who have wished me a HBD so far, and to everyone who will throughout the day. It is a wonderful thing to be loved.

To another year, friends,

Wedding Shots: Bridal Party

It has been awhile since I did a Wedding Wednesday, eh? I’ll be honest: I forgot. As with most people, Life sometimes gets away from me but I am still here and am still very much in love with weddings. Especially my own wedding. It is hard to believe our wedding was almost four months ago already. Marriage is phenomenal and I continue to thank God every day for this adventure in which He has placed me.

I was all up in the feels this past weekend as I was going through our wedding album and attempting to choose some pictures to display in our newly remodeled living room. I chose a few family pictures, but also had to go with two bridal party options. I am biased towards these photos already, but I love the people in them even more. And so, I’d love to share my bridal party with you today in this week’s Wedding Wednesday:

I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends in my life who have taken the place of the siblings I never had. These people have been with me through some difficult times, and have helped piece me together following failings, heartbreak, and deaths. I would not be the woman I am today without their love, laughter, and advice.

Focusing on my girls, I could not be happier to call these ladies my close confidants. I have my cousin who has been a role model to me since I was a little one wobbling around and following her at our grandparents’ house. Then there is Toto, one of the most generous and kind girls I’ve ever met. Toto and I met by a whim of luck when a mutual friend brought us together to go on a cruise our senior spring break. One week on a ship, and now she’s who I turn to whenever I need some calming words of reason. Next I have Courtney. Courtney came into my life through my brother-from-another-mother and is my closest girlfriend. We can roll our eyes together over wine while our husbands talk mechanics and I feel secure knowing she is always just a quick call away if I need a girls’ night out.  Finally, my Panda. We lived together for an entire two weeks in college before she moved back to her parents’. Fortunately, even without a residence in my apartment, she would faithfully come back each week to force me to watch the Bachelor. Since graduation, her laughter has continued to brighten my life and I love knowing that no matter how much time and space may sweep into seeing each other, we can pick up like no time has passed.

I feel blessed to have such a great connection with the guys in our party also. Of course, Mascot’s husband was actually my Man of Honor. Growing up from our Dairy Queen days, Josh has become the closest thing to a brother I can imagine. We word-joust constantly and can squabble like the best of them. But we also have gone to war for one another and been by each other’s sides through our darkest days. Passing through your teen and college years with someone can be a difficult thing to do, but we always stayed in contact and witnessed the highest and lowest points of one another’s growth.

Speaking of brothers, when G and I married I actually gained a sibling. Legally. G’s brother was his Best Man, and it has been amazing to not only form a family relation with Colt and his wife, but also become an aunt when they had their first son at the end of July. As an only child, becoming an aunt was not something I envisioned for myself. Yet it is one of the biggest blessings in my life to date.

G’s other groomsmen, Aaron and Floyd, have been amazing supporters and encouragers of our relationship, well-being, and faith. Aaron and his wife are a couple we not only enjoy double-dating with, but who we also see as inspiration for a happy and healthy marriage. Neither are hard to approach if we have questions or concerns. Marriage is wonderful, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. So it is nice to have fellow couples in our lives to turn towards and lean on.

 

All in all, I cannot say enough good things about the members of our bridal party. We wanted to keep the numbers small, but we also couldn’t imagine the day without having these eight people by our sides. Be it the little hand squeezes, tight hugs, or tearful laughs, some of my most precious moments of the day were those where these ladies and gents made G and I feel peaceful and unrushed. And so, so loved.

As I said, I’m pretty biased with these photos already simply due to their beauty. (Dear Olive Photography is fricken amazing!) But I’m truly in awe of the people that make these photos so wonderful. From G and me, thank you so much to our lovely friends for being more than friends — thank you for being our family.

With love, 

House Hunting Adventures v. 2

Lesson Learned v. 2: Angles Mean Everything

I know I’ve broken the news that G and I are now homeowners. However, it took us quite a bit of hunting to find the house we love. In my first addition of our House Hunting Adventures, you might remember that we visited three houses that had some serious foundation issues going on. Unfortunately, it seems with the high levels of rain this year, foundations were an issue for a number of houses in our area.

Oddly enough the next three houses we toured did not have foundation problems though. Instead, they had a lot more going on which turned us off pursuing them longer. We quickly found out pictures never tell the whole story. How in the world can some couples buy houses without ever going to look at them thoroughly?! There would be no way after these three (which looked great online) that didn’t quite meet up to our expectations. Let me tell you about our next little jolt in attempting to become homeowners…

House #4 was one I had been eyeing for a few days before I asked our agent to schedule a visit for us. The house’s online pictures held a lot of potential. The house was in a country setting, had a big barn, a large deck, and was a three bedroom, two bath. It fit our criteria to a T. Even when we began looking around the outskirts of the property and peeking into the barn, G and I thought this house might be a winner.

Then we took our first step inside.

Straight into the kitchen, I raised an eyebrow. Cosmetically, the house had a lot of issues that were not photographed. Where the angle in the picture captured a large, functional kitchen, in reality the entire left side of the room was unusable. The counter tops were severely cracked, cabinet doors were either falling off the hinges or gone, and the ceiling sported several spots indicating a leaky roof. Moving forward, the living room was so long and narrow that it would be difficult to place a couch inside the space. Then the bedrooms were so small that only a bed would fit into them with no additional space for dressers, nightstands, or anything. We realized the angles of pictures taken were misleading.

What looked so good online, was not good for us in many senses. G and I decided to not even look in the basement because we knew this was not the house for us. So we left.

And the kicker was, as we were leaving, I walked down the deck steps and fell over as my ankle rolled. A huge hole rested at the bottom of the staircase hidden by the uncut grass. I took that for another sign to be more hesitant in our search from online galleries.

It took an entire weekend for my ankle to heal enough for me to be able to walk. Once mobile again, G and I decided to venture to two other houses Monday evening. Learning from the previous week’s mistake, we chose to look at these houses strictly based on the information given rather than the pictures provided. (In all honesty, we looked at the pictures following the visits and they held no benefits to either house, so we wouldn’t have been swayed.)

House #5 sat on five acres and was over 2000 square feet, both interesting factors given the price point which was one of the cheapest we’d seen. Driving to the house, we actually missed the driveway because it was hidden by a lot of brush — something which G loved right away. The house itself was hidden from the road behind the brush as well. Sitting about 300 feet off the road and on a hill, the location was perfect. We wanted to live in the country for the peace and quiet, and House #5 definitely fit that bill.

Have you ever been somewhere that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? You know, that feeling you get when someone is watching you or something simply isn’t right? I can’t explain why, but House #5 gave me that feeling.

Perhaps it was the unusual layout of the house. Two small closet-sized bedrooms lay on one end of the house with a large bathroom separating them from the kitchen with a partial wall. Then, on the other end of the house, sat a huge master bedroom with two rooms behind it. One would think these two smaller rooms would be a master bath and a walk-in closet as the only entrance is through the master bedroom. Strangely, though, these rooms both were additional bedrooms where the current tenants’ children slept.

Or perhaps it was the dark and dingy basement. We scared two cats out of hiding when we crept into the make-shift pantry downstairs. And we were left scratching our heads when we came across a single-stall toilet closed off by a cinder block wall… with a window. That is difficult to describe, but picture this: in the corner of this dark basement is a cinder block stall with a large window directly across from your washer and dryer. You open the door to this stall thinking you’ll find the utilities — furnace, hot water heater, etc. — but instead find one lone toilet with a single light bulb above it. No real privacy doing your business in this house.

Besides the oddities, though, the house just gave me the creeps. There were random holes behind doors where I swore – twice – I saw eyes looking back at me. There were hobbled remodeling jobs begging the question as to why certain things were the way they were (such as the three different tiles in the dining room.) There were the tight passages through the sellers’ hoarded belongings that screamed way more work than this house was worth.

In a few simple words, I did not like this house.

When another real estate agent pulled up to show the house to another family, I about ran back to our car in order to leave. Getting far away from this house was more than I could ask.

I sighed with relief as we journeyed to the second house of the day. Away from the country, we entered a neighborhood filled with a diverse community. It was an older community, but the houses seemed to be in good shape and taken care of. House #6 was on a dead end street and beside a tree line hiding one neighbor from view. On the other side, was a neighbor who appeared to live in a tent. He sat watching us with a 24-pack sitting beside him as we walked around the exterior of the house.

Though I was not opposed to a small, quiet neighborhood, G was not a big fan of anything other than country-living. Seeing a neighbor so close and having his eyes on us the entire visit was not ideal. Given the fact House #6 also had no back yard, we had pretty much made up our minds on the house before ever setting foot inside.

It was unfortunate of the setting, because the interior of this house was actually the best out of all the houses we were shown. It obviously had been remodeled recently, and smelled of fresh paint and new carpets. The rooms were decent sized, the layout was functional, and there were no ghoulish chills.

But again: location, location, location. G and I loved the house for what it offered, but having no yard and no privacy was not an option for us. We departed the week’s findings with a little bit of a heavier heart, and wondered when we would find the correct mix of location, functionality, and warmth to call a house our home.

We continued to look, and our next set of houses were very tempting, but alas, it was still some time until we found our perfect little fit.

So, until our next hunting adventure, 

Bathroom Remodel: Inspiration

As the excitement of buying a home is nowhere near wearing off, G and I are constantly crossing out, reorganizing, and creating new ideas on projects we want to do to our new house. The house is a great little place already, and it has perfect bones, but it is in need of some modernizing. Plus both of us are handy, creative, and excited to make this little place our own.

One of our first BIG projects will be remodeling our bathroom. This is our only bathroom in the house (though we have plans to add an additional full bathroom downstairs in the faraway future.) The bathroom currently features a walk-in bathtub, small entry to the hallway’s linen closet, and an oddly proportioned laundry chute. Honestly, the shoot is only 3 inches wide and wouldn’t allow more than a pair of socks down it.

Being our only bathroom, when we finally bite the bullet and begin our remodel, we want to have all our plans laid out and materials purchased to make the project as quick as possible. This means we’ve been having a lot of fun walking through Lowes and scrolling through Pinterest for design ideas. We have many ideas of what we like, but I still have a few questions and prospects rolling around my head. So I’m bringing my ideas to you, friends, and asking for advice and suggestions before G and I begin stripping our only bathroom and remodeling.

First, our current layout. Our bathroom is long and narrow.  Currently, the left-hand corner directly inside the door is partitioned off and hiding the HVAC system. This is also where our unhelpful laundry chute hides. To the right of the door is a half-door which opens to a linen closet accessible through the hallway as well. The walk-in tub takes up a lot of space on the right wall as well, and a small vanity and toilet sit on the left wall along with a medicine cabinet and wall shelving unit. The walls are wallpapered with a floral design, and the flooring is laminate tiling.

The pictures above are proportionate to our bathroom’s measurements and show a very simple layout of what we are seeking. I would like to eliminate the laundry chute altogether and have the wall directly to the left of the door painted and blank. Being the bathroom is long and narrow, the space is limited and I want to make the room feel as large as possible. This means we are aiming for as much openness and lightness as we can create. The walls will be painted a light bluish-gray and the flooring will be the same as throughout the entire house: light pine with streaks of gray.

As we move into the bathroom, to the left will remain our vanity and toilet. We were leaning more towards a dark walnut vanity, but after perusing Lowes’ options and tackling Pin after Pin of bathroom-scapes, we decided to find a white vanity instead. We want to keep in mind that we’re aiming to make the bathroom feel larger than it is, and the dark cabinet would make for a shock with a white toilet and white bathtub at the base of the room. We felt white was more subtle to the overall ambiance. G likes vanities which have symmetry and bases to the ground for easier cleaning purposes. I, however, am liking styles more like the one in the bottom right-hand corner above.  I can see a very cute basket with towels resting on that lower shelf — ideal for my inner-host to squeal with joy.

We want to have a  large mirror above the vanity. Though we’re torn if this should be a darker tone or brushed nickel like our hardware. As our theme in the bathroom is outdoorsy, I am looking for a frame that is rustic-esque.  Above the mirror would rest a light, and I am really digging the fixture above because it looks a bit like candlelight. With our hardware brushed nickel, the bathroom’s ultimate color scheme will be cool and relaxing.

To the left of the vanity and mirror will be a recessed medicine cabinet. I am trying to decide if I prefer the picture hiding the cabinet or the open cabinet. Hmm… what do you think?

Moving past the vanity we find the toilet. This is pretty straight forward, right? Above the toilet, though, would be something similar to this:

I have never been a huge fan of shelves above the toilet and would rather have the wall decorated with a cute outdoors-themed sign and greenery. I’m loving the simple flower pails in this image and could easily replicate this to add some texture to the bathroom.

Moving on to the right side of the bathroom, we will find a soaking bathtub and shower. We plan to encase the shower in white subway tiles and have a recessed shelving unit similar to the larger one pictured below.

Directly to the right of the entrance door, we are going to close off the linen closet to the bathroom and only make it accessible through the hall.

Last but not least, we registered for our shower curtain and received it as a wedding gift. It is so beautiful, and I cannot wait for it to be the final touch to the bathroom. The grayish-blue trees match our wall color perfectly, and the white background will only help with making the bathroom appear larger.

I’ll update on our bathroom remodel when we take the first swing of the sledgehammer to the walls. Until then, please feel free to share any advice or suggestions which you feel might extenuate our future bathroom!

Thanks so much, friends,