Wallpapered Dining Room


The entire crux of this project hinged on the fact that I did not want to spend a lot of money on fancy wallpaper that I might possibly ruin since I had never installed wallpaper before. I scoured every source I could think of to come up with an attractive and affordable option for wallpaper in my tiny dining room. I left no wallpaper site unturned until I finally found the right option for me. That brings me to step one.

1.  G A T H E R   Y O U R   S U P P L I E S.


I used:  Paper •  Glue • Scissors • Ruler • Measuring Tape • Cutting Mat • Exacto Knife

Effectively, it really is as simple as picking out a paper or fabric, slathering the walls with cornstarch paste and then cutting the paper to size. Don’t you dare let yourself be intimidated by a project like this. The absolute hardest part is settling on the paper.

I design a lot of invitations and use a lot of decorative, handmade papers that are sold by the sheet. During one particular journey down that rabbit hole, I found just the right paper I had been looking for, called the Blotto Print Lotka. It had color, texture and an earthy pattern that just got me. I immediately fell in love with the imperfect dye pattern. These sheets are 20×30 and I used about 20 which made this a $100 project. I can get behind that price point.

My absolute favorite source is Paper Mojo. I’m not kidding about this rabbit hole. There are so many options for paper and an endless list of possible uses. This is actually the second time I’ve used their paper to wallpaper. I have a gorgeous, subtle marble paper in my entry way.

In a further effort to save money since I didn’t know if I would even like the outcome, I made my own wallpaper paste. It’s simple, I promise.


I made my own cornstarch paste from some recipes I googled around for. Here’s the basic cornstarch recipe I used.

  1. Pour 2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch and water in small bowl until powder is dissolved.
  3. Gradually whisk cornstarch into boiling water until they’re well blended.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens.
  5. Let it cool before use. Mixture will keep for a week covered in the fridge.

I’ve made a few batches of this by now and the consistency is key. One batch came out lumpy and it still worked on the wall, but the application is just easier if you get the right smooth jelly/paste combo.

2. T R I M   P A P E R   T O   S I Z E 



I worked on this one sheet at a time. Pick your starting point, I chose the bottom left side of the wall since it started on a chair rail and I wanted those pieces to be the most intentional. The paper I chose was handmade and had a deckled edge but I wanted a crisp, clean line so I had to trim the bottom and left side of each sheet. I cut it with a rule, exacto and cutting mat before putting any paste on the wall.

3. S L A T H E R   W A L L S   W I T H   P A S T E 

wallpaper-install_04So I didn’t get a great photo of this. All I did was grab a paint brush and start “painting” the walls with the paste on enough area for one sheet of paper. I coated it enough so that it would saturate the paper a bit to make a good connection to the wall. I kept it all underneath the paper but would brush the mixture over the edges to make sure they didn’t peel up. It doesn’t leave any residue on the top once dried and you can’t tell what spots had it on top or not.

4.  A P P L Y   P A P E R  


Getting into the flow can be a little slow going at first, it usually is for me. With your first piece ready and the paste covering the wall, line up the paper straight on the edge and lay it on the wall pushing the air bubbles out as you go. I found this process really forgiving in that I could pull the paper back if it wasn’t just right and reset it or pull half back to get some stubborn air bubbles out.  I’ve seen others use book pages, wrapping paper or fabric. Get creative!

I let the paper overlap and didn’t bother cropping the edges of the paper that got covered up. The paper was thick enough that it didn’t crunch or wrinkle, something to consider when picking out the paper. This specific pattern hides the overlap incredibly well. For the top pieces I would actually measure out the exact size and cut it before putting it on the wall. In a few places, it was better to go just over the edge, let the paper and paste dry completely and then trim it off with a blade. I tried it at first while it was wet and it ripped up the paper like crazy.



This shot shows three pieces of paper and how the seams look up close. This pattern specifically required some editing and careful selection. I wanted the pattern to look like it was  a wall paper and not a patchwork so I made sure to line up the patterns as best I could so the seems wouldn’t be so obvious.


5.  P O P   A   B O T T L E  +  P A T   Y O U R S E L F   O N  T H E   B A C K   

A quick recap, here’s a good ol’ before photo and a bonus before, before photo.



It’s been awhile since I finished the walls and can say it’s held up incredibly well. I am, however, itching for change in a few other ways in here. Surprise, surprise. I’m swapping out the dining chairs and crossing my fingers to stumble onto a great new table.

I cannot recommend a project like this enough for an affordable impact. I’ve actually ran out of smooth walls in my house to wallpaper, the rest are textured so I resort to paint and making my own patterns on those walls.

Happy papering!

Black + White Pool Bath


A very long time ago I started on a bathroom for the One Room Challenge and well… didn’t quite finish on time. See those posts here week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4. It took a little longer than expected and then with a few summer trips here and there made it even longer to get pictures taken.

Here’s a quick reminder of where it started. It was an unfinished room, so I had the chance to pick everything out and the only constraints really, were the dimensions of the room as I didn’t have to work around any existing elements.


And here’s how it looks today.

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I wanted a very clean black and white look with a little bit of texture. The biggest constraint of the room was the layout. The door was placed in the center of the room which mean that it cut into the available depth for the vanity. Rather than going mega custom, I picked a sofa table to convert to the vanity and put a vessel sink on top.


The finish was not at all what I expected with the silver leaf, but ended up really liking it with the floor. And, ohmygosh, can we talk about the floor? This is by far my favorite part of the whole bathroom. One thing I was insistent on was a seamless floor that went directly into the shower. I didn’t want a curb or any transition so the concrete subfloor was etched out to handle the drainage. The other element I really wanted was the exposed pipe for the shower. With all of the major elements hanging out on the same wall, there needed to be a little bit more on the opposite wall to bring a little balance to the room.



Because of the patterned floors and texture on the vanity, I went with a large white tile installed vertically to contrast the length of the room and finished it with a pencil marble trim.




As my first full bathroom design, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. A lot of times at the end of projects there’s a handful of things that I think, well maybe I would do this differently, but with this room, I really didn’t have much of those thoughts and feel like its very true to my style.

Now, I’m itching for a new project and am like *this close* to demoing out my guest bathroom so I would be forced to remedy the situation.


S O U R C E S :

Floor Tile . Vanity . Marble Vessel Sink . Sink Faucet . Mirror . Pendant . Black Accessories . Shower Curtain . Towel Hooks . Towels . Toilet Paper Holder . Cement Table . Shower Hardware

Quick + Easy Shoe Shelf


2016_0928_Master-Bedroom-Shoe-Shelf2.gifIt was only recently pointed out to me that I am, in fact, a shoe girl. The evidence was all over the floor, the door of my closet and on the floor and shelves inside as well. I asked myself,  “Gloria? When did this happen?” IDK.

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The shoe probs had reached a point where action needed to be taken. I thought about a lot of solutions, cabinets, bookcases, builtins and fancy shelves. Anytime I tried to source out any of those and saw the prices, I thought, “Man, I would much rather spend that money on shoes” and then I defeatedly thought, “that’s something a shoe girl would say.” All of that left me thinking, I need a simple, cheap solution. I went with something I knew would work because I had already done a version in Beckett’s closet.


Home Depot carries these white brackets and I think the have a really clean effect. Plus, they 2.26 each, so win.



The Gray Guest Bedroom

Occasionally, I get the chance to sneak into other people’s homes and leave a mark. Now this is remarkably different from the days in my youth of sneaking into new construction homes simply to take a peek around and pretending like I lived there, how I would decorate it and critiquing building choices. That was me as an 18 year old.

Fast forward ten years and I’m doing a bit of decorating here and there. My task was to make this a guest room and not just a room with a bed in it. Decorating was a bit of a slow process, but I got the chance to make a lot of elements that went in here. I love getting to do that.

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Here’s the poorly lit before of the room. We started off with just the bed and a single nightstand. Once one thing would come it, I would be like, you know…. it really would look good if there was ANOTHER nightstand, and maybe a table in the corner and some art here. Decorating spirals like that. ALWAYS. I don’t care who you are, we can all be victims to the decor spiral.


The bed is really the focal point of the whole room and I wanted it to have a lot of impact. For the centerpiece of the bed, I picked out this gorgeous mirror from Horchow and went heavy on the symmetry for the nightstands. 2016_0524_KOA GUEST 9

These lamps were ones reused from the house and got a simple update with a new lampshade that freshened it up immensely. I’m abnormally picky about the height of lamps matching when they are in a bedroom like this, so one side got a little pick me up with a few books underneath. Scroll back up and admire the balance. 😉 2016_0524_KOA GUEST 2

The photographs above the nightstand are all pictures taken from their own travels. I combed through all of their vacation photos and printed out a few of my favorites. I found the frames at Target and love them, can one ever go wrong with simple, white frames? Getcha some.

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Then there’s the pillows. I LOVE. I found the large denim pillows and Target and can’t get enough of them. The lumbar is from Pottery Barn. I feel like this shot sums up my aesthetic as of late-black/white/neutrals, casual and pulled together.

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This little reading nook really came together as well. There’s a few projects I did here. One, that pillow. I painted the fabric and sewed it all up. I wanted something textural and totally proud of those tassels.

Two, THE COLORBLOCK CURTAINS. They already had these curtains leftover from another room and I really wanted something that hung floor to ceiling, but the existing gray curtain was 2 feet too short. Instead of buying six all new curtains, I ordered the same panels in white –all from West Elm– so the fabric matched and sewed them onto the bottom to give it the extra length and a little punch of interest. It’s a great alternative to too short curtains and I am totally happy with the outcome. A true, make-it-work moment. Smugly pats self on back.

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Another angle of the reading nook shows a painting found via At Home  and is just the right scale/color scheme for in here. 2016_0524_KOA GUEST 10

I used my own art for the wall between the windows. There are three paintings all in a similar color palette. The canvas are 12×12 and I found a white shadowbox frame and squeezed them in there. It’s much cheaper than custom framing at $20 each and it gives the paintings much more substance on the wall. Without the frames, they got a little lost. 2016_0414_painting.jpg

Here it all is again, take in all in. I’m happy with how it all came together, a blue and gray bedroom with a kiss of color. 2016_0524_KOA GUEST 7Does anyone else get a little sad when a project is over?



OOPS. I missed a week. I’m gonna post this a week late and still get an update for tomorrow too. In case you’ve missed the other weeks find them here: 1, 2, 3.

The wall tile started going up! This is one week that calmed my nerves. I worried the tile would look so so, but I’m thinking I’m really liking it. This was the biggest question mark for me because it’s the biggest element in the room. For the floors I was SO excited about and knew I would love it from the sample I saw, but the walls felt like I was stabbing around in the dark. I knew what I didn’t want and felt like I had to make a decision so I went with this 8×20″ white tile and had it installed in a vertical brickwork pattern. Grout will be a soft gray although I kind of dig the contrast to pull out the pattern. Decisions, we’ll see…

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I opted for sleek, modern chrome faucets. I thought the clean lines of the faucets would contrast juuuust right with the weathered vanity and art deco floors. I’m happy with them and extra happy that I decided to swap out the sink faucets. The original set I bought didn’t match the shower. Enough so that I was disappointed when I saw but thought I might just make it work. I didn’t want to come into this bathroom to take pictures and have regrets and ultimately swapped them out. They still have to be plumbed for the wall mount, can’t wait.

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I really love the wall tile with the floors. It ended up being just the right contrast I was after, and feel so relieved by this. The floors were grouted, but came out much lighter than anticipated so right now I’m looking into staining the grout. I think I’ll sleep much better if I do. Again, I don’t want to be filled with regret about decision I am still able to change.

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The sink, oh this sink, cause quite a bit of confusion. It started when UPS called about delivery and told me the package was too big to deliver to a house. Immediately I was confused. It’s a sink. Sure it weighs about 100lbs, but heavy stuff gets delivered. ALL. THE. TIME. So I ask them a million questions about coming to get it. How big? Will it fit in a van?  I’m told there are like five or six boxes and at that point I was BEYOND confused. I’m thinking to myself, Do I have to assemble this sink? IT’S A SINK. What could possibly be the problem? After sending two people out there, on three different trips I finally got the sink to it’s home.  Only it wasn’t sink in the singular, it was SINKS, plural. As in they sent us SIX sinks and it’s still in the process of being figured out. One the upside to that headache, it meant I got to go through all six boxes and decide which one I liked the most! Here’s the winner…

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I’ve bought all of the fun accessories that are sitting in a closet for now. Can’t wait to get them out and play around with them. My next major decision is deciding if I want wall shelving or not?!!?!? I would love some wall brackets and custom cut acrylic shelves I’m not sure if it will look right. Oh that fine line of functional and beautiful, you are a tricky one.

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Here is the oversimplified TO DO list:

Figure out the shower curtain.

Finish tile.

Finish plumbing and install hardware.

Get vanity together.

Paint and Decorate!

Until NEXT week! (Which is magically tomorrow….)




It’s week three and I can happily say the tile has been installed! To see where I started, check out Week 1 and Week 2


There was a lot of work that went into laying the tile. I’ve stubbornly requested for a seamless floor and no shower curb so that it’s one tile running through the whole space. That meant a bit of grading to make sure all the water will be guided down to the drain. Now that it’s in, it looks so great. The plumbing was altered for the shower. The showerhead/system will all be an outside mounted with the pipes coming out where the handles are mounted rather than above the head.


The other thing I was worried about is how the vanity would look in the space. It comes out an inch or so from the door frame and I thought it might cause issue, but after putting the table together and in the spot it’ll be, I’m so happy with the scale of it.


Wall tile and sink plumbing are likely up next. The faucet will be wall mounted since the vanity is so shallow. Wall tile will go up to the white line, I think, it’s one I’m still debating the exact height.


The wood on the vanity is all silver leafed. I took a bit of a risk on this buying online. The pictures looked considerably different online to me but I like it and I especially like it with those floors! Plus that white tile is really going to bring in that crisp contrast and keep things modern.


The white tile with a pencil, carrera marble trim. Can’t wait to see this go in with the block sink!


The mirror came in this week too! It’s so awesome and large, love it. The last product decision to be made are the cabinets/shelving above the toilet. I want the extra room to be able to store things, but the ones I originally purchased are backordered until May sometime, maybe? I thought about doing some open shelving with some killer brackets and cut acrylic for the shelf. I’m not sure if that’ll be too much open shelving next to the vanity which is also open… I’m nearly treading into the overthinking it realm on that one. Oh! and a toilet! At first, I was like, it’s a toilet does it even matter that much? Then, I started looking at toilets and caught myself thinking I didn’t know I could love a toilet. There are some great options out there, just need to pick one.


That’s all for this week, hopefully there will be more noticeable changes coming soon!


Go check out some of the other great entries over at Calling it Home.

Lamp Shade Updates

So here’s a really quick before and after. This is more or less a PSA if something isn’t working in your house, to look at it with fresh eyes.

I’m putting a guest bedroom together right now and part of the plan was to find ways to incorporate existing items already in the house. There were these really cool chunky wood lamps, but the current lamp shade was pretty dark and boxy.




Visually, the base is fairly heavy and I needed something to compliment but still be able to stand up to the weight of the base. I happened to be walking through the lighting section at Lowe’s. I ALWAYS walk through the lighting section even if I don’t need anything at all and I saw these shades. I mentally filed them away because I’m not exactly lamp poor at my house. I’ve got just about all the lamps I can handle and then some.

When I started decorating this guest room, I knew the lamps in the living room would be perfect and immediately had that lightbulb moment that these shades would bring in that contrast I was after. I’ve kept the shades plain for now, but am toying with the idea of painting an abstract watercolor on it. Gosh, to me, it looks like a whole new lamp and I love them in this room now.




For people who devour decor content like me, this is nothing new, but for those who often feel “stuck” in their decorating, this is a great tip. It doesn’t have to break the wallet. So before you default to a standard drum shade, take a quick second to think if a different shape or texture might compliment the lamp base better. It’s like a fresh cut and color for a lamp.

Here’s a few ideas…

Lamp Shades

// 1. LOWES $15 // 2. ANTHROPOLOGIE $118 // 3. TARGET $13 // 4. SHADES OF LIGHT $45 // 5. LAMPS PLUS $30 // 6. SHADES OF LIGHT $95 // 7. ETSY $195 // 8. OVERSTOCK $26 //

There are so many great shapes out there. I threw in that frog shade, because why not get weird? And so what if some of them remind you of your grandma’s house. What’s old is new, right?!

Simply because those are the shades it came with doesn’t mean it has to be the ones it lives with forever. Lamp shade are there own art in itself. You can add fringes, fabric, paint, really endless opportunities there.