House For Six

A Quick Coat Closet Makeover

Deme CrinionComment

The coat closet makeover has to be one of my all time favorite projects.  They give you such a big bang for your buck in the function department, but don't demand a ton of time or resources. All it takes is a little creativity and resourcefulness.  

Our most recent closet makeover was small scale, but made a huge different in how we come/go each day....and how pleasant we are now that we don't have to wrestle a snow gear monster before greeting each other.

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

We're dedicating an entire room to laundry/corralling our kids gear (those lucky ducks), but James and I were still in need of a space for us to drop our own bags, shoes, and jackets.  There's a tiny little coat closet right next to the garage door we had been using.....which mostly consisted of jackets on hangers above a heap of jumbled shoes, more jackets, and bags on the floor. 

It was like being welcomed by a crap avalanche every time we came home and opened the door. Super serene and welcoming, right?

With the rest of our house in disarray, I needed to claim myself a corner of sanity.  So during one naptime a couple months back I pulled everything out, dug through our extra hardware for leftover hooks from our last coat closet project, and grabbed a can of leftover paint.  

I didn't let myself get caught up in design details or color schemes and just focused on getting it DONE before the baby's chants of "Up!" rang out from her room.  I didn't even take before pics. #badblogger   

I started like I do any organizing project and pulled everything out of the closet.  I wiped down all the shelves and baseboards, then grabbed a paintbrush.  I wanted something darker that would hide scuffs and dirt, but the only colors I had were a deep but bright blue we used in our shared boys' room and the black paint we used on our shutters and garage door when we painted the exterior of the house (post on that coming soon!). 

More neutral felt right since I do have some colorful accessories, but that also meant that two coats were needed.  Since I was in a time crunch I opted to only paint the section below the shelves and leave the top lighter.  I set up a small fan on a chair to give the drying process a boost. 

Once it was dry enough, I grabbed our drill and screwed in some hooks.  I screwed them right into the existing trim so they're extra secure.   I also had these simple shoe shelves from Meijer (just $10 each). I planned to use them in our boys' room, but they didn't work and they were the perfect side-by-side fit in here.  Well almost...   

They fit with 1/2 inch to spare going wall to wall, but the quarter round along the baseboard took up just enough space that these would not sit flat on the floor.  So, I pulled off the quarter round and figured James could cut the trim pieces to fit around the shelves if we really wanted a more finished look. 

For now, we sort of forgot all about the missing quarter round because with just a little paint, a sprinkling of hooks, a few baskets, and some shoe shelves, we now have a high functioning sliver of a closet. 

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

I've taken the hanging rods off of closets in exchange for hooks in the past, but this closet is quite small and we do keep multiple coats in here during the fall and winter months. Keeping the rod and a few hangers seemed a good way to store multiple coats and keep the hooks free for bags, purses, scarves, etc.

Quick and easy coat closet makeover

That woven basket keeps some of my running gear and gloves, while the bins up top hold on-the-go resupplies, tools, and off-season items.  

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover
Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

Definitely my favorite kind of project: quick, minimal investment, reuses what we already have on hand, and makes our lives less chaotic. Since I was able to use leftover paint and hooks I already had, the only cost was the $20 spent on the shoe shelves, but even if I did fork out the cash for hooks and a quart of paint, I think this could have easily been an under $50 project. Cheers to that!

Quick, easy, and budget friendly coat closet makeover

The Year Of Stewardship

Deme Crinion6 Comments

With January almost over (how?! why?!) and our household finally out of the pass-the-stomach-virus game, I needed to sort through the spaghetti of thoughts I've had swirling about the new year.  Our new home marked a shift in our family's life, and I'm only just beginning to understand the ways that move positioned our family for new things and to better invest in what was already there.

To be honest, the past couple years have been full of so much change that we became really good at survival mode.  So good that we almost forgot what it was like to thrive.  Of course life wasn't without joy, but it felt like we could never seem to get our feet planted on solid ground. 

With our family a little larger (Hey, Liv!) and having committed to laying roots in a new place, I'm not quite sure what thriving looks like for us now.  But I think it's time to find out.  

 (blank slate #seewhatididthere)

(blank slate #seewhatididthere)

Before Christmas, I started praying about the coming year.   I don't pin myself into a mega resolutions list each year.....sometimes I might land of a few specific goals, other times it might be a general area to focus, or maybe there really is a single word that feels appropriate for the year.  So many different areas came to mind as I thought about where to focus in 2017, but all of them carried the same theme:  stewardship.  

Stewardship is what we do with what we've been given, and I feel God asking me to look at how I can be a better steward of the gifts in my life, in our new season.  And there are many...

How am I using my time?  Where am I wasting it?

How do we view and use our home?  

What is my mindset towards our "stuff" and how do we treat it?  

How am I caring for the relationships in my friendships, my children, my marriage?  

How do I view and treat my body? What about my family's health?

How am I cultivating my faith?  Where have I become stagnant?

How am I using my unique gifts and talents? 

How are we managing our finances?  

It feels like so much to work through, but I'm not trying to figure this all out in a week.  I'm taking the year to really dive into this concept of stewardship, one area at a time.

Admittedly, I've avoided those questions, because I know some of the answers are ugly and embarrassing......we've been exhausted and over-committed. I've been lazy and indifferent. I've been anxious and fearful.  I've been irresponsible. And I've floated through the monotony of routines.   

And floating is dangerous, because before you know it the days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, that turn into years. I'm so much more aware of how fast the time is going (with our kids in particular) and I don't want to waste this time.  I can't afford to.  It's all far too important....for the here and now, and the life to come.  This is not about being perfect (no hope there), but about having my head in the game.  

So!  I'm going to offer myself a nice dose of grace, muster the courage to face some hard realities, and get ready to make changes for the better going forward.  I obviously don't have all the answers, but I hope we can explore this topic of stewardship together throughout the year.  

There will still be plenty of home projects and organization happening around these parts too, so I'm planning to run this as a monthly or bi-monthly series on the blog.  January always seems to bring that desperate sense of needing to PURGE ALL THE THINGS and I think starting with the excess STUFF is a good place to start.

How about you?  I would love to hear what's on your mind in 2017! 


Entry Inspiration and Plans

Deme Crinion2 Comments

Throughout this month I thought I would show you some of the spaces we plan to give some love this year.  After Christmas I like to sit down with a notebook and brain dump on house projects for the coming year.  My list is almost always too ambitious, but I do allow myself to just dump all those ideas onto the page and then I go back over it with a realistic editing eye.  

I've come to realize that too much of a rigid schedule gets me derailed and discouraged almost immediately, but I also know that I need some structure and guidance or I will be all over the place.  As much as I would love to knock out projects left and right, I can't keep up with that kind of pace.  

I haven't always planned with the seasons in mind either (I do not recommend attempting to paint furniture in the garage in the suffocating humidity that is summer #askmehowIknow).  I seem to have better success with 2-3 projects per season.  That usually ends up being one larger project per month, along with a few smaller things like organizing a cupboard or hanging some pictures. 

The two areas we're focusing our energy for the rest of winter are the laundry room and the entry. You've seen our plans and progress for the laundry room and I'm working on slapping a big fat "Done" bow on that one by the end of the month.  

As for the entry, a water leak damaged the flooring in our 1/2 bath and entry area....which sort of bumped this project up the list by default.  Can I admit that I'm secretly giddy about it?

We've spent a lot of time working on the main living/dining areas of the home, but this is the first thing people see when they walk in the door.  I'm really excited about creating something that reflects what you'll find throughout the rest of our home in this space.  

We had to rip out the flooring in the entire entry which includes a 1/2 bathroom (where the leak originated) and a full sized coat closet. Since the entry shares a wall with the stairs, I'm hoping I can convince James to suck up the pain and let us tackle the stairwell while we're at it.

When we ordered the flooring we used throughout the rest of this main level, we actually ordered enough to eventually do this entry space too.  Or so we thought.  We didn't account for the bathroom or closet space, and we would have been short just a couple of square feet in the main entry too.  No problem, we'll just order a couple more boxes right?  #ifonly

I could only find that flooring a couple of places online.  One didn't ship to our area and the other had ridiculous shipping costs for just 2 boxes of flooring (shipping was free when we placed our original bulk order).  We could have tried to order though another vendor but then we started entertaining the idea a plan B. 

Sometimes plan B turns out to be even better than plan A.   I simply hadn't let myself envision any other options in this space because THAT WASN'T THE PLAN.  Once the crew pulled up all the old flooring I could start to see something different altogether. 

If we were going with a different material we wanted it to be distinctly different from the wood flooring in the adjoining it would look intentional and not like we ran out of flooring #oops #wedid

We narrowed our search down to a darker grey/slate tile, some sort of brick option, and something more bold in the way of color or pattern.  I'll spare you all the back and forth and in between.  

Bottom line: the slate tile felt too safe (and we have that look in our mudroom), the patterned tile felt too busy and had the potential to lose our adoring gazes over time, and the color options were limited and pricey.   Which left us with the brick.

At first, this felt a little safe too but then I came across this entry by Rhea Crenshaw.

It's still neutral but laying the brick in a herringbone pattern will give us the interest and impact we're after...while hopefully standing the test of time.   There are many expensive options out there, and we really needed to stay within our approved amount by the insurance company. So when I found this product at Home Depot we were sold. We're going with grey (which we saw in person at our local store) and it should be installed next week!

When we think about our plans for the space as a whole, this flooring makes sense.  We definitely want bring some white trim work onto the walls.  I love the architectural interest they add, not to mention the functionality - super easy to throw up some hooks for guest's jackets, bags, etc.  And then this space needs some color.  Our whole house does and it's one of our main house goals for the coming year.  

I sort of went color crazy in our first fixer and then went the other extreme in our last house.  I think I've finally realized that I need a mostly neutral base, so that I can bring in the bold color I love without it feeling overwhelming.

Here's a few more spaces that are getting us excited to tackle this project!


Entry by Studio McGee

Entry by Mary Ross

via Southern Living

Our entry is covered in wallpaper and I really don't want to remove it (we still have the battle scars from our Albuquerque fixer).  It's in great shape, so I think if we take the proper precautions we can trim/paint right over it.  #fingerscrossed

Anyone else had success painting over wallpaper?  How about using a brick material for flooring?

Organizing and Storing Christmas Decorations

Deme Crinion2 Comments

I'm probably waaaay behind the power curve (and disclosing my complete slacker status) with this post as most of you probably packed up the tinsel weeks ago. But if there happens to be any fellow Christmas clean-up procrastinators out there, this one's for you!

Great tips for how to organize and store Christmas decorations.

I shared this photo on IG and it sounds like a least a few of you have similar looking dining rooms at the moment:

I finally finished purging, organizing, and boxing it all up yesterday and feel like I can breath again.  I did things a little differently than years past and thought I would break down that simple process today for anyone that needs a little encouragement.


The end of the season is always a good time to take a look at what you have, what you actually used, and what things you most enjoyed or added to the season.  We're at a point that we're craving more simplicity in basically every facet of our lives, Christmas decorating included. I used a lot more greenery than I have in years past and want to go more that direction in the future. Less chotchkies, more natural elements and accenting what's already there.  Hopefully that translates to less to pack/store!

I already purged quite a bit when we moved, but it seems every season we find or receive new things to add to the decor stash.  Which means we need to weed out some of the old if we don't want to end up adding a bin to our supply every year.  

If anything was broken, crunched, missing pieces, or otherwise falling apart it went in the trash.  If I haven't glued on St. Joseph's head by now then it's probably not ever going to happen.  In the past I haven't put out every single thing from the bins.  So this year, If there was anything I left in the bin for 2 years in a row (or more) it went to a donation box.  Even if it was something I really liked.

Wipe everything down  

Let's face it.  Our Christmas stuff stays out for a good number of weeks and even if we dust/clean during that time, there's still plenty of dust o' gathering.  No one wants to crack open a decor bin come next Christmas to be greeted with a nice puff of dust.  Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like an allergy fit.  

This year I dusted most of the decor items with a Swiffer duster, but I took an antibacterial wipe to all the kids stuff so that I could be assured everything was clean and ready to be played with when I pull it out next year.  

Little People Nativity

For those cloth items like stockings and hand sewn decorations, I used a sticky roller to get off any lingering dust/fuzz.

Separate Into Categories

I started our Christmas take-down by directing the kids to go through the house, grab anything that qualified as "Christmas", and bring it to the dining room table.  From there I purged out the trash/donate items and was left with what we planned to keep.  

I could have just started packing it away and making a list of what was in each bin, but I thought I would try to make things a little easier on myself next year.  I started by sorting all the items into categories which ended up being Tree Decorations, Kids decorations, Advent Items, Books/Puzzles, and General decor.  

This gave me a better idea of how many bins I would need and in what size.  

Box it up  

There were some great comments on FB/Instagram about how to categorize and box up all your merry stuff.  Dwija said something that really made sense for me: some of us decorate in one fell swoop and others of us decorate over the course of days/weeks.  So she packs bins according to how they decorate in phases.  

I realized that my categories had fallen into a similar pattern.  We don't always put up Christmas and Advent at the same time, so dedicating the Advent items (Advent wreath, Giving Manger, Advent cards, Calendar) to their own box will make it much easier than trying to pull those items out of a larger bin.  On the same note, we usually spend a day finding and decorating the tree, another to the outdoor decorations, and yet another to sprucing the rest of the interior. So, everything we need for each of those events is together.

It's not that I didn't do this in the past, it's that I would put multiple categories into one big box, so the stockings and Elf would be in with the tree stuff, and I wasn't necessarily ready to put them all up at the same time.  Which meant the bin stayed out longer, half-emptied until I was ready to put out the rest.  Keeping the categories for each bin more specific and their containers smaller if needed was a key change that will hopefully make things easier in the long run.

I ended up with 1 large bin for the tree decorations/ornaments, 1 large bin for general decor, 1 medium bin for kid stuff, 1 medium bin for books and puzzles, 1 small bin for Advent, and another small bin for my white ceramic village. Within the bins I used smaller boxes and plenty of zip lock bags to keep items organized and contained.

nativity .jpg

I know many people have specific wreath holders (which I may invest in someday) but for now I stack mine inside a large trash bag and tie it up.

Label It 

It doesn't have to be fancy, but somehow creating a label that details what's inside each bin will make it super easy to grab what you need.  Next year I might be more motivated to create something cute, but this year I just used a sharpie and some large note cards.  I taped the labels on the outside of the larger solid bin and slipped them on the inside of the clear bins.  Then I moved them down to the basement and called it done!  

That pic was taken before I brought down the wreath bag and our outdoor decorations (2 light-up skinny trees, 2 light up deer, and one XL ziplock bag of bows/garland).  And I actually feel pretty good about bringing it all back up in approximately 354 days #dontfreakout

Hope that helps some of you that may not know where to start!  Or just be dragging your feet like me.  I admit the clean up sucks, but it sure does feel good to have a blank slate again.  Feel free to share any of your tips in the comments!

We'll be back later this week with an update on our entry.  3 months ago we had a major bathroom leak that damaged the last section of old flooring in the house (and thankfully didn't touch any of the new flooring!) and after working through some kinks, we've finally landed on a new plan.  So excited!