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  • Welcome!…

    to “A Step Inside”… our personal family blog, documenting the craziness of our every day life.. Sit back, enjoy, laugh, and share in the road we travel..

    I'm Bridget.. A SAHM (stay at home mom), mother of 3, and a follower of Christ. I'm also a photographer, and passionate about life.. I hope to share that w/ you too! Life isn't always perfect, but it's perfectly created in His plan. I'm beyond thankful for God's grace and His many blessings!

DIY Board & Batten Wainscot Combo Wall |2-Story Family

This wall…. it’s been the bane of my existence… Okay, it’s not quite that dramatic, but it kept calling for a DIY.  At least I try convincing my husband I can “hear these walls talk” telling me what the house wants/needs 😉

Thinking about the board & batten process on the wall, I originally thought I would do a pattern similar to this;

But after consulting w/ my friend Julie, who is an amazing interior designer, she came up w/ this;
Knowing that this wall was going to be in the works, I knew the fireplace wall was also going to get some updates.  I started w/ that because I wasn’t sure if I would be “wrapping” the framework across that wall, to the built-ins, then the large t.v. wall.
DIY fireplace mantel tile wall frame before & after 7And here is the family room as of today!… I love how the board & batten turned out and totally transformed the feeling of this space.  The wall, being 19ft tall was literally a big, bear, empty wall.  The room itself is good sized at 19ft x 17ft, and the tall walls made it feel less intimate.

diy family roomBEFORE & AFTER DIY FAMILY ROOM 3Here are some before & afters;
BEFORE & AFTER DIY FAMILY ROOM 2I can’t believe how far this room has come since we bought our home… It’s definitely more our personal taste now.  It’s really a refreshing, cozy feeling now, and I love it.  BEFORE & AFTER DIY FAMILY ROOM

This was also a fun little task to do, and super simple!  The vent cover before wasn’t the prettiest to look at, and you could see the studs behind it.  A quick DIY frame w/ the Kreg Jig and some aluminum sheet metal cut to size, viola!

A couple of iPhone pictures throughout the process;

The next project?  Building a custom piece to go under the t.v. along that wall.  It definitely needs to be more proportionate to the wall length.  Since the t.v. is mounted, we don’t need it to hold the t.v., but the satellite box, PS3, etc.  The large speakers are getting moved across the room and cables hidden beneath the carpet line.  Here are some pieces that I love the style of… I will make ours to fit the height under the t.v. and a bit wider;



I’m even thinking a nice pop of color… Like this:



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Kim K - July 27, 2014 - 8:40 PM

This is gorgeous! You are so talented! Check out Annie Sloan Before and After FB page. The chair you posted last looks like something painted with chalk paint.

ImaginatePhotography - July 27, 2014 - 10:40 PM

It is… Annie Sloan "blue robin"… But I make my own 🙂

DIY Fireplace Tile & Surround Custom Build

Another project completed!  Our family room walls are 19/20ft high.  We love the openness, however it creates a LOT of wall space.  For that much height, a lot of bare wall space… I started w/ updating the fireplace tile.  After some research, I decided instead of removing the existing ceramic (builder grade) tile, to tile over the top of it.  There were no cracks or damaged tile to worry about, and the surface was nice & flat.


It’s crazy to see rooms from our walk through before closing & move in.  I’d say things have changed a bit! 🙂

The glass tile came in 12in x 12in sheets, but the edges were puzzle piece like, so I had to borrow a wet saw from a friend.  Very first time using one, but it was fun!  I did end up drenched from the water spray, and apparently the tile dust mixed w/ water will make you look like you’re 90 when it dries (white) in your hair… lol

The mixed glass & stone tile came from Lowes, called Venatino Mixed Material Mosaic Wall Tile.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle getting the tile just right around the framed crown boxes at the base of the columns, so my friend mentioned, “Can’t you pull the mantle off the wall?”…  Well, I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t take long to figure out how it was attached.  Off it came!  My husband was traveling to another state during this project, and had he seen this image, I’m sure he would have flown back home!  hehe

I first measured & cut all the tile and laid them out on the floor prior to installing.  This way when I was ready to hang the tile, I could keep moving w/out going back & forth to the wet saw.
I tried a product I had read on another blog about, Simple Mat.  It eliminates the need for grout to adhere tile to the surface.  I still used grout to fill in the spaces once the tile was completed.  It was really easy to cut to fit, and I was a bit nervous about the tile holding.  The sheets were rather heavy, but the adhesive was pretty darn strong.  It had great reviews online as well, so it was worth a shot.

This tile specifically was great because it tied in colors we already have throughout our house.  I loved the combination of glass, stone, and the textures.  (You can see how the edges of the tile sheets looked to lock in to the next, in this picture)

Once the tile was finished up, and spaces grouted, I had a heck of a time fitting the mantel back on.  There was about a 1in gap all the way around, because the new tile added depth to the mantel sitting flush to the wall.  I even had to rebuild the bottom boxes.  Good practice for miter cuts!  I bought a product called backer rod to fill the gaps.  Then I was able to fill in w/ spackle over to make a seamless finish.

Once the tiling & mantel was completed, I built a frame and added crown to mimic the existing design of the mantel.  It was a fairly simple way to add more character to such a boring, blank wall.
The next project?  Which actually sparked the fireplace project initially.. The wall just to the right of this one..  Thank  you to my sweet friend, Julie, for drafting the blueprint for me!

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4th of July | 2014

What a great day we had celebrating our country’s freedom!  Wonderful friends, delicious food, and a perfectly warm summer day.. The kids had a blast swimming together.. Our 4th of July past years:   2008201120122013
 This little diva… Always ready to strike a pose;Maybe she learns it from her sassy big sister?  🙂This is what happens when 3 photographers are good friends… Silly pictures of each other!These girls are so special to me… I don’t think  you realize until plenty of life events what it means to truly have best friends.  So many moments of laughter & fun times w/ them;The kids LOVED doing a balloon toss.. How fun!Then it was time for the grown-ups to have a little fun w/ an egg toss… This game got serious!A little more swimming, then the kids all dressed to get ready to watch some neighborhood fireworks.. Daddy was making his best attempt to do balloon art for Ashlyn.. What a goof… We finally packed up and headed back to our friend’s house for a family sleepover party… The kids were STILL going strong.  They loved every minute of sparklers..4th of july 27This is our friends’ little girl… Isn’t she adorable, watching her sparkler?..We started to have a little fun w/ the camera and sparklers too…This was Kaylor’s heart attempt; Lastly, we ended w/ cooking s’mores over the fire… Oooey gooey goodness!Took a few tries, but Laura got her initials work!..The kids slept GREAT and had such a blast w/ the slumber party… Such a fun time, all around.  So glad to have these memories to cherish.  Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July too!..

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