Category Archives: DIY


SimplyChic @ Dwell!

Dwell Localimage via

Hey guys! You might have noticed I’ve been going to town on a lot of DIY signs lately — it’s because I am now selling some of my pieces at Dwell Local, a storefront + design studio located here in Rochester, MN. Dwell offers interior design consultations and their storefront features fun vintage finds + a wide variety of unique & handmade items from local artists. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth checking out!

dwell local

Read more about Dwell here.

For an updated list of “SimplyChic” pieces that are available for sale at Dwell, head to my SHOP page! I am hoping to have new pieces available each week so check back regularly.

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DIY beach sign + summer mantel.

I realized last week that I hadn’t done much to our mantel since adding this window, so I decided it needed a little refresher. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the beach sign I was working on last weekend, amongst a few other DIY wall art projects. The sign, combined with my desire to change up the mantel, resulted in a fun nautical design.

DIY beach sign

I made the sign with a piece of reclaimed wood, my go-to stencils & some sisal rope. (Note: After uploading these pictures, I decided the sign looked too clean and needed a little “roughing up” so I gave it a slightly more rustic feel by giving it a light sanding).

nautical mantel decor

nautical mantel

The nautical-themed mantel is comprised of my large antique window, a vintage fan, a sailboat picture, my beach sign and a rusted blue lantern. As much as I don’t want summer to end, I am already dreaming up some fun ideas for fall decor!

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back entry + DIY key/coat rack

entry way

DIY key rack

DIY key rack

Hello friends! Today I thought I’d show an update of the back entry (really the eat-in kitchen) of our house as well as a new piece I made — a wooden key/coat rack inspired by 7th House on the Left and my DIY towel holder.

To make the rack, I simply cut a piece of scrap wood I had to the same size as the chalkboard window above it, gave it a coat of walnut stain leftover from this project, stenciled on some numbers, and lastly added four hooks I had picked up on sale at the craft store for $1.49/ea. a while back.

More projects to report on soon!


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DIY window boxes.

Last month I mentioned in my curb appeal post that if I only crossed *one* item off my curb appeal to-do/wish list, it would be to install window boxes. I am happy to report that the boxes are now built, installed and boasting pretty red blooms!

diy window box

You might remember I debated buying vs DIYing. I ultimately decided to make my own for the sake of saving some major cash, plus you simply can’t beat the satisfaction of being able to say, “Hey, I made that!” when it comes to the completion of any successful DIY project.

The materials (wood, primer + paint, screws & four L-brackets) ended up coming in at just around $60, as opposed to $150/each for the pre-made ones I had been eyeing at the home improvement store. You can probably do the math but that means I saved a total of $240 by making them myself — score!

diy window box suuplies

First I got all of my wood cut to size, followed by priming it all with an oil-based primer. From there I attached all of the pieces using a nail gun. Once assembled, I filled in the nail holes with spackle and caulked along the inner corners. I then gave the boxes two coats of glossy white paint made for indoor/outdoor use. Lastly, I drilled six drainage holes into the bottom of each box and lined the boxes with burlap so that water can get through the holes but the dirt can’t. The final step was to secure the boxes to the house which I did by using two 8″x8″ L-brackets per box and the help of this tutorial. Oh yeah, and the hubs helped out a lot, too.

DIY window box

To make the boxes look less plain and more “custom,” I added lattice strips to the front. I also figure that if I ever want to take the “custom” look a step further, there is always the option of attaching decorative corbels to the bottom as well.

DIY window box

As much as I wanted to do something bold and really eye-catching to fill the boxes, I kept it simple this time around by going with red impatients to complement our red front door. Next year I plan to get more creative and opt for a mix of plants like this, aka the “filler, thriller, spiller” method.

So there you have it — my DIY window boxes! I’m so glad to be able to check this project off my home improvement list. But of course there are many more boxes to be checked…

Until next time!

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DIY garden sign.

Two posts in the same week from me? Crazy, I know. I’m trying to get back to regular blogging here people, “trying” being the keyword.

So I posted this photo on Instagram a few weeks back of a new garden sign I picked up on clearance for $8 at Hobby Lobby. I had been wanting to make one myself, but a mix of laziness and a tempting red clearance sign got the best of me so a store-bought sign it was. Despite this sign being located in the outdoor garden decor section, it only took 20 minutes of the sprinkler hitting it before all the letters just melted right off the day I hung it up. Wah, wah, wah. So I was left with a blank (yet pleasantly distressed-looking) piece of $8 wood. It was clear this was meant to be DIY from the start…

I decided to keep it simple by using my bold Arial font stencils and black paint. It doesn’t look as pretty as the store-bought one, but sometimes basic is best. This ended up being my easiest DIY sign, yet ironically the most expensive. Without further ado, my simple garden sign:

DIY garden sign

DIY garden sign

DIY garden sign

Click the links to check out my four other DIY signs — Dream | Fresh Eggs | Garden Tour | Market

And on the subject of gardens, I am about due for an updated “how does your garden grow” post to show you guys what we have sprouting up this year.

Until next time…



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bathroom makeover + DIY concrete counters

Happy Monday!

I’m finally getting around to showing you the before + after pics of my main floor bathroom makeover which included DIY concrete countertops! I also revamped the vanity by giving it a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. (Note: prior to this project, I painted the walls and changed out the mirror but don’t have any before/after pics of that).

Let’s get to the details, shall we?!

bathroom before and after


As you can see in this before pic, the countertop was a 60s-era laminate that was not only unattractive, but was starting to chip away in some spots (mainly behind the sink). Rather than spend a few hundred bucks to replace the countertop (we already recently did that in our upstairs bathroom, seen here), I had a much cheaper alternative in mind. I’d been seeing a few tutorials for concrete countertops floating around on Pinterest, namely this one and this one, which turned out to be the perfect solution since I could just apply the cement right over the current countertop.

concrete countertopsA bag of cement, a container of sealer, plus a few weeks worth of time and here we are!

(If you want a detailed step-by-step tutorial, reference the two links above). One thing I will point out, however, is that once you’re done with applying and sanding the cement, the instructions on the sealer say to not use the sealer on cement that is less than 7 days old in order for the cement to fully cure. This is something that wasn’t mentioned in any of the tutorials I looked at but I think it’s important to note for the sake of knowing exactly how long this project will take you from start to finish. For me it was two weeks — applying and sanding three coats of cement to the counters over the course of one week and waiting an additional week to seal.

concrete countertops

You guys know from reading my kitchen cabinet makeover post that I am not a huge fan of distressed cabinets because it can be hard to differentiate paint from dirt/grime. The same distressed finish that was in our kitchen was also on these cabinets (wah, wah, wah). I gave them a good sanding followed by one coat of bonding primer and one coat of paint in ‘coffee white’ by Valspar. The window trim was also sporting the distressed finish (not really visible in the photos), so that got a few coats of new paint, too. The room feels so much brighter and cleaner now!

bathroom vanity makeoverI also replaced the hardware on the vanity using some knobs & pulls that a friend of mine salvaged from when she remodeled her 1920s kitchen. It was a bonus that they happened to match the mirror frame perfectly! And while we’re not sure, we think they could be original to her house, making them antiques — bonus!

before and after

Shortly after I started this project I was super excited to see that DIY-pros John and Sherry from the infamous Young House Love blog were also working on adding concrete counters to their house. You can see their in-depth tutorial here!

diy concrete counters

diy concrete countertops

The counters clearly show the trowel marks and various spots created by air bubbles and sanding. While this look may not be for a lot of people, I love the uniqueness of it — no two concrete counters are ever alike!

diy concrete countertops

window wall art

To go along with the new “industrial” feel that the concrete countertops gave this space, I hung up one of my antique windows that had previously been in the office.

bathroom makeover

Overall, I’m really happy with how the counters turned out. Now it will just be a matter of seeing how well they wear over time.

As for the room as a whole, I’d still like to get a new sink + faucet, and possibly opt for a different light fixture (similar to the one in the basement guest bedroom), but for now I’m calling this space good!

Want more before + afters? See our basement bathroom makeover here and our upstairs one here.

What do you think — could you see concrete counters being a fit for somewhere in your house?

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DIY “dream” wall art.

Aside from the “bigger” projects I’ve been working on as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve also intermittently been working on a few smaller-scale projects like what I’m showing you today.  Say hello to my latest piece of DIY wall art!

diy wall artThis project ended up being completely free because I already had the supplies laying around. Don’t you love it when that happens?

diy wall artI’d been on the lookout for some wall art for this space for a while but hadn’t come across anything I really liked or was willing to spend the money on. While rummaging through our workroom a few weeks back, I was reminded of some scrap wood that I had left over from a previous project (this one, to be exact).

First I secured the wood together with a flat brace. I purposely secured them unevenly for a more “worn” look and painted over them with several coats of different colored paint to distress it. (Check out my distress how-to here). From there, I printed out the letters from a Word doc, cut them, and traced them onto the wood. Once I filled in the trace marks with black paint, a little more distressing took place and that was it! Easy peasy huh?

diy wall art

I am thinking of making a smaller one similar for the office that either says “inspire” or “create.”

This is a project anyone can do at home. Even if you don’t already own the supplies, wood is pretty easy to come by for cheap and all you need are some stencils and paint.

Click the links to check out my other DIY signs — Fresh Eggs, Garden Tour, Market.



P.S. The main floor bathroom project is complete… I just didn’t get around to taking pictures over the weekend. Stay tuned for an update within the week and head to my Instagram for a sneak peek!


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bathroom facelift, round 2.

Last year you guys saw our upstairs bathroom facelift here where we made a handful of basic updates, i.e. paint, new storage cabinet, accessories and framing out the mirror. Well a few months back we finished what I’m calling “round 2” of the bathroom facelift which involved installing a new counter top, sink, & faucet, and I also added a new toilet paper holder, a new towel ring and I gave the vanity a fresh coat of white paint. Oh, and I ended up moving the bird shower curtain from the basement guest bathroom to this one.

sink before

sink after

bathroom makeover

bathroom vanityThe vanity got a fresh coat of paint and a new toilet paper holder. I kept the original glass knobs for their charm.



bathroom before and afterView from the hallway. Previous homeowner pic compared to the bathroom today.

before and afterIn the after: mirror is framed out, new counter top + sink + faucet, & replaced the towel bar with a towel ring.

I would love to replace the light fixture and I’m considering painting the back-splash tile white, so don’t be surprised if you see “round 3” of updates for this room… but that’s all for now!


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how i’ve repurposed old window panes.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know by now that I love mixing old with new when it comes to decorating my house. I think it gives a home more character… a sense of history, if you will. Antique window panes are a perfect “old” item that can be worked among newer/more modern decor.

I picked up my first window pane for $1 at a garage sale which I then turned into a chalkboard. Soon after, I started coming across several other great ideas for how to use windows on Pinterest and before I knew it, I had a handful of them!

Long story short, here are the various ways I’ve used old window panes around my house:

window pane turned chalkboard#1 – Like mentioned above, this was my first window pane I purchase and was only $1 at a garage sale! I simply painted the panes with chalkboard paint and hung it in the back entry way of our home along with a rail, wire basket and S-hooks from IKEA to a make it a mini command center.

how to use old window panes#2 – This window pane was given to me from my mom for Christmas (she got it from the farm of her cousin) and it’s currently just leaning against the wall in our home office. I’m not sure if this is where this one will stay but for now I think it serves as a piece of art in its raw state.

old window pane turned picture holder#3 – This is the largest of the windows I’ve collected and I think it’s the perfect size for our fireplace mantel. (I previously had this one there). This particular one was $12 at a local antique shop. I printed and placed a few black and white engagement + wedding photos into the panes to make it more of a stand-out art piece.

old window pane#4 – This window pane is simply being used as wall art in the basement bathroom off the guest bedroom. There used to be a different piece of wall art there but with the recent installation of the industrial sliding door, I thought the window seemed more fitting for the space. I picked this one up from an architectural salvage store in St. Paul.

DIY window pane idea #5 – This window (identical to the one pictured above) is being used as a picture/note holder. I knocked out the panes with a hammer and stapled chicken wire onto the back. It’s hanging next to the vanity that I turned into a desk. (See that transformation here).

So those are the five ways I’ve used window panes around my house!

What do you think of decorating with old windows? Is it something you’d try?

Here are a few other ideas I love:


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DIY industrial sliding door.

diy industrial sliding door

Remember this recent post about the handful of home projects I’d like to tackle this winter? Well now I can say, “one down, four to go!”

This past week the hubs and I installed an industrial sliding door for the bathroom in our basement guest bedroom. I picked up an old wooden door for $17 at a local antique shop (matches great with the walnut-stained desk top in that room) and bought the “sliding” supplies from Home Depot. The said supplies included one plumbing pipe cut to fit and threaded (they can do this for you at the store), two 2″ casters, two 3/4″ floor flanges, two 3/4″ 90-degree street elbows, and two eyelet hooks. The total came in just under $50.

I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea though; I came across it at Fig Milkshakes who found the tutorial over on Crisp Interiors. Instead of listing out step-by-step instructions, I’ll just let you take a look at how it turned out:



diy industrial sliding doorSee the towel rack in the background? Learn how I made it here.

diy industrial sliding doorAnd just in case you’re wondering — the stool is from IKEA (I painted it light yellow and stenciled on numbers) and the bicycle planter was a 50-cent garage sale find.

diy industrial sliding doorBecause of the low clearance above the door on the left side, we used a circular saw to take off about 5″ from the bottom in order for it to fit.

If you like the look of sliding doors but don’t want to pay for spendy barn tracks (like seen here or here), this is a great alternative.

To see the opposite side of this room, go here. To see the bathroom behind the door, head here. I think it’s safe to say this guest room is coming along, slowly but surely!

Is this a project you’d try in your house?

More DIY projects to come… stay tuned!


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