The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Columbus, Ohio

My Home

The Plan to Finish The Boys' Room

Kids' Rooms, My HomeSara Michelle B.Comment

It's been a couple of years since we've touched Miles' big boy room. We basically decorated it when we moved him out of the nursery, and haven't touched it since! Well, now that we will be moving Leo in there soon, we are putting some last finishing touches on the room. 

Here is where we left off:


In terms of what we want to do next, we recently ordered two of these beautiful Millbrook Iron Beds from RH Baby & Child! I've had my eye on them forever and just love the classic style. I think they will go perfectly with the room decor and function well for years to come. Only downside is that they are on backorder until December. Boo. We also picked out these awesome sherpa throws (in navy!) on final sale! They are SO SOFT! Miles absolutely loves it. We are also going to move the tent up to the room to make it the ultimate big boy bedroom (we've had this one for a couple of years now). 

I think that should be it and this room will be 100% FINISHED! I'm not sure I've ever been able to say that about any room in our house before - ha! Can't wait to share pictures when it is all done... In December! ;) 

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Playroom Makeover - a "Boy Cave"

My Home, Miles, Kids' Rooms, Design ProjectsSara Michelle B.Comment

So, this room has had a LOT of makeovers over the years! (You can see photos of the progression of the space here!) However, we are ready to undergo yet another one to make it more suited to being a playroom for the little guys. In fact, we have been referring to it as the "boy cave!"

I've actually always felt a little lost about what to do with this space and how to decorate it, but now that we have a true purpose for it, my vision is finally coming together!

In terms of what the makeover actually entails, we are planning the following:

  1. POTENTIALLY moving the leather couch to this room... We moved it here on a whim over the weekend and we love it! (However, now that living room is empty.. hmm... that is another post!)
  2. Getting rid of the brown paint (it does not mesh well with leather sofa.. It makes the sofa look red, which I hate!) We will be repainting the room Benjamin Moore's Polo Blue. One of my all time favorite colors! You can see in the pictures I have already painted a huge swatch on the wall above the couch.
  3. Replacing the curtains. I like the West Elm ones that are in there, but they are too feminine for the boy cave.  I am thinking I will go with these ones from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child. I already have a pillow in this fabric (see the picture below!) and I love, love, love it! (Anyone interested in buying the old West Elm ones off me? $25/panel for 6-panels!

For not a lot of work and not lot a big investment, we can really transform this room to make it more suitable for the role it plays.

Overall I want to have it have a similar feeling to Miles' big boy room, pictured below. I love repetition in colors and patterns through the house, and having elements that tie everything together.

DIY Baby Gate

DIY Projects, My HomeSara Michelle B.4 Comments

Our latest project was creating baby gates for the top and bottom of our stairs. I will preface this entire post by saying it was WAY more difficult than I had anticipated! Probably one of our most challenging DIY projects to date. There were a lot of steps and it took a lot of patience.

However, the gates are SUPER functional - life changing - and I'm so happy with the result! They look good and blend in with the style of our house seamlessly. Additionally, they are strong and sturdy. The store bought ones we used were so ugly and didn't fit well and I never truly had peace of mind. These ones are awesome. At the end of the day, they are definitely worth all of the hard work!

Below I have included a detailed list of the products and materials we used, along with the process we used to make them. (You may want to pour yourself a glass of wine as you read this! Lol)

- Varathane wood stain (kona) 1 quart
- Varathane Triple Thick polyurethane 1 quart
- Kilz primer
- White paint
- 4 paint brushes and a rag or paper towels for the stain
- Wood glue
- 60 and 120 grit sand paper
- Door jam trim piece 32" long (find in the molding aisle, this is the trim that doors close against on the interior of a doorway)
- Cabinet hinges: Everbuilt oil rubbed bronze 2-1/2"x 1-9/16" (pack of two)
- Slide door bolt:  First Watch Security 2" oil rubbed bronze
- Oak boards:
(i) two 0.5"x 2.0" boards 11 ft long (for the posts, cut into ten pieces 2 ft long each, save a 6" piece for later, includes an additional 6 inches for scrap);
(ii) one 1"x 4" board 12.5 ft long (for the frame, includes 6" for scrap); and
(iii) one 1" x 4" board 32" long (install against the wall and attach the gate to it)

Power Tools:
- Miter saw (required)
- Power screwdriver (required)
- Table saw (optional)
- Power hand sander (optional)
- Router (optional)
- Nail gun (optional)

Optional alternatives provided in instructions



1) Measure width of gate, from wall to inside of stair railing post and subtract 1/2" for the wall mount
2) Cut two pieces to this width from the 12.5 ft board.  These are the top and bottom pieces of the gate frame
3) Cut two 24" pieces from the 12.5 ft board.  These are the sides of the gate frame.
4) Cut ten 24" pieces from the 11 ft board.  These are the gate posts.
5) If you have a table saw, use the table saw to make 1/4" tongues on the ends of each post and the ends of the 24" side frame pieces.
6) If you have a router, cut grooves in the top and bottom frame pieces where the side frame pieces and posts will go. It takes time to ensure that the frame is square and the posts are parallel and equally spaced apart.  Do not glue the pieces together yet.

If you don't have a table saw and router, purchase a pack of twenty 1/4" dowels with a cheap doweling kit (around $5), and use dowels to attach the posts and frame pieces.  This will be time consuming but a less expensive alternative to a table saw and router.

7) Sand each piece, start with the 60 grit, then 120 or higher grit
8) Stain and poly the frame pieces per the product instructions
9) Prime and paint the posts
10) Glue the side frame pieces and posts into the bottom frame piece
11) Glue the top frame piece on to the posts and side frame pieces
12) Install hinges to the gate.  If you have a router, install 1/8" recessed pockets for each hinge
13) Wall mount - If you have a router (and if desired) add decorative beveled edge to wall mount, otherwise leave it square
14) Use nail gun (or power screwdriver) to install wall mount
15) Use power screwdriver to attach gate to wall mount.  If you have a router, install 1/8" recessed pockets for the hinges in the wall mount
16) Close gate and measure where to install latch.  Follow latch installation instructions included with purchase.

As you can see on our upper gate, we had to get a little creative with the bottom of the gate in order to work around the stair molding. Essentially, we added an extra base piece of trim.

Whew! If you read that all the way through, God bless you! Love them, but a lot of work!

Quartz Countertops

Kitchen, My HomeSara Michelle B.1 Comment

We finally have new countertops! Now that we have them, I am kicking myself for waiting so darn long. I was really struggling with the decision to get marble or something more durable.. eventually practically won out and we went with the Silestone Quartz "Stony Ibiza." I could not be happier with how they turned out! (But some day I will have my marble... some day!)

The pictures don't even do justice to how beautiful they are and what a difference they make in the room. To be fair, in every other picture you've seen of my kitchen the counters look better in the picture than they did in real life. They were pretty beat up!

I also repainted the cabinets and Evan re-drywalled the island (it was super wonky and uneven plaster).

I feel like this change has made me fall in love with this house all over again!

The white and gray baskets on the left hand side of the kitchen next to the mixer hold bottle parts, pacifiers, and kid utensils! Essential to have handy, but I hate looking at them. These baskets have helped hide the clutter!

The island here is the biggest change. I love, love, love it!

We decided to do a 2-inch angle on the corners of the island to prevent any hard bumps! I love the look too.

I'm kind of thinking of re-styling the kitchen... the curtains and the rug and the stools, in particular. We'll see!