Primary Bedroom


We slowly tackled the primary bedroom over the first year of moving into our new home. We knew this was going to be the first room to fix up because of the green-on-green sponge paint. I’m not sure why anyone would choose this color and texture, but I found it nauseating after only a few minutes. One of my suspicions is that it did a great job disguising all of the cracks and damaged parts of the original plaster walls.

We spent many hours trying to figure out the right colors and furniture pieces to create a design that was historic in heart but that also felt contemporary and livable.

While this room originally would have had a standard Victorian full size bed, we opted for a king. This meant sacrificing one of the nightstands because the closet door took up the rest of the wall space. But it is so worth it! Check out my DIY headboard post about how I made the scalloped headboard.

The nightstand was a Facebook marketplace find that I spray painted silver and then did a resin and silver pour on top.

The Eastlake vanity/dresser really brought the room together. It was also a Facebook marketplace find that happens to match the trim in the room perfectly.

This room took a long time and was a much bigger project than we initially planned. In the process I learned how to use corner tape to get smooth edges around the room, how to repair lath and plaster walls, and how to restore the beautiful pine moulding. Check out all of the work below.


The white stuff in these images was my novice and futile attempt to smooth out the cracks in the wall with plaster. I quickly realized this would not work and we started removing the many layers of wall paper that had been painted over several times.

The plaster was in various states detachment from the lath, which is typical for houses this age. When we first looked at the place all of the cracks in the walls had me worried the house was about to fall apart, but our realtor assured me that this was not a structural issue. After watching a lot of YouTube videos I learned he was right and I found that This Old House and OldTownHome‘s guides the most helpful in fixing the problem.

I began by drilling holes in the wall all around the parts that were falling off. Then I pumped in the special glue and secured with special washers and screws.

After the plaster was set, I applied several layers of fiberglass tape and plaster, then sanded down until flat.



painters tape is a thing that exists in the world and it’s incredibly helpful!

I realize that all old house homeowners make mistakes. I’m sure I’ve made some already. But I feel like this is just inexcusable.

Someone in the 1890s painstakingly crafted and installed this beautiful ornamentation on the baseboard and…
You can also use painters tape to protect the trim and get nice clean edges!

I used Smart Strip to remove the paint from the wood and it worked like a charm. After that, I sanded and refinished all of the trim in the room.

As you can see it needed a lot of work. The black stuff here is dried shellac.

A neighbor who does restoration work suggested I try using denatured alcohol. I applied it with very fine steel wool and with a lot of elbow grease and it started to look quite nice!

Over the years people who lived here thought these wood blocks were meant for nails to hang curtains on 😖. To fix this I used a color matched wax to fill the holes.


The state of the plaster on the ceilings was not great. After 127 years the plaster had started to sag off of its lath.

I learned I only had two options to fix the problem. The most extreme was to tear out the entire ceiling and replace it with drywall. I decided against this not only because it would have been a messy and involved endeavor, but because drywall doesn’t insulate or keep sound out as well as plaster. Instead I opted to add several layers of plaster over the existing ceiling and then sand it down smooth.

I also ended up renting a drywall sander with an attached vacuum hose, which made sanding A LOT easier.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It’s not 100% flat, but it looks way better. Now there are subtle waves that give it character, and the texture it lovely to stare at from bed!


The key to any room is lighting. So we decided to swap out the dusty ceiling fan that we never used with this beautiful fixture from House of Antique Hardware.

Window Treatment

Nothing ruins the charm of a room, or in this case the beauty of the original moulding and wood blocks that I restored, then bad window treatments.

Before: blackout curtains with no ties
After: custom made pin tuck curtains

These custom made pin tucked curtains match the ivory duvet cover, and create a nice airy feeling in the room.

Scalloped Headboard

Let’s face it, there are a million DIY upholstered headboards tutorials out there. I knew I wanted one but the ubiquitous rectangular tufted style was not doing it for me. Many look crafty and elegant at best, or trendy and misshapen at worst. I realized this after having bought (and returned) Ikea’s Sultan bed, which had lots of awkward fabric creasing that I could never seem to get out.

Our bedroom already had an Art Deco vibe from this Drew Barrymore Flower Home Petal Chair. I loved the scalloping and wanted an eclectic but similarly opulent look for the bed. The room is a light steel blue and accented with cream colors. After many samples I decided to go with this beautiful Cerva Lemon fabric by Duralee (it also comes in pretty blue and orange tones).

Our cat Fin approves of the fabric 😺

The basic premise from most DIY tutorials you will find online applies here–build a wooden structure then attach foam and fabric with a staple gun. The more complicated part of this project is building the scalloped structure.

I built the whole thing using two large sheets of sanded plywood. The tools I needed were a circular saw, jig saw, electric staple gun, and screwdriver. The trickiest part was measuring and cutting each strip to equal a total width of 76″ (our bed is a king). It was critical to leave about 1/2 an inch on each side of every wood piece where the upholstery would take up space. For the next step I used a compass to draw a half circle on top of each strip then cut them out using a jig saw. Then I wrapped each individual strip in polyester batting and secured with a few staples on the back.

After this I started cutting the fabric. This took some planing so that the pattern did not repeat in obvious or symmetrical ways.

After cutting the fabric to the same size as each piece of batting, I pulled it tight and secured with the staple gun until all the plywood panels were wrapped. Then I used two strips of wood to secure all of the pieces together.


Media Console

Even though our home was built in 1894, I still have a taste for classic mid-century modern (MCM) furniture and aesthetics. We have a smaller room in the back of the house that is the most “modern” in so far as we painted it a cream color offset with navy accents. It functions as a TV room and also my office.

I have been in love with these West Elm media consoles but they’re a bit out of my budget. So when I came across this mid-century turntable/stereo cabinet for $20 on FaceBook Marketplace I immediately drove 30min to purchase it.

As you can see the wood on top was in poor shape, but the rest of the piece was in perfect condition. Instead of refinishing the top, I opted to paint it white.

First I gutted the insides…

Then I went to work sanding the top and sides with a fine grain sandpaper.

First layer of paint: white primer applied with foam brush.

I sanded this down and then put on a second layer, followed by white glossy spray paint.

As you can see the spray paint smoothed out the imperfections of the first layers and gave it a nice high-gloss sheen to contrast its beautiful wood. After one more coat of spray paint I finished it off with Rust-Oleum Lacquer Spray, which gave it that professional right-out-of-the-factory look.

West Elm slatted media console: $1,299

DIY stereo cabinet makeover: $50

The best part? The slats open to reveal two spaces for speakers, which I am going to fill with new speakers that connect to our LCD TV.

Compost Bin

One of the first projects after we moved in was to build a compost bin. I took inspiration from Black and Decker’s guide but made it a bit more simple with less decorative components.

The first step was to build the main box structure. I used cedar for its pest resistant qualities and I sanded the wood as I assembled each piece.

Assembling the doors was the most challenging part of the process. The doors fit but it took a little adjusting to make sure they closed properly. After all of the hardware was assembled I painted the whole thing in shellac, which is non-toxic and won’t pass on chemical residue to the soil.

Next I added the ½” galvanized hardware cloth, leaving about a foot and a half on the bottom that I buried in ground to keep pests from trying to dig their way in (don’t skip this part, we had several intruders attempt it).

The top is where you drop food waste in, and you open the doors to turn the compost periodically! The previous owners had their own compost pile going in this same spot, so there were already worms and other bacterial processes working in our favor.

To be honest I’m still learning how to compost. My partner and I have disagreements all of the time (how many avocado skins are too many?!?). In general, I’ve found this guide from NPR really helpful.

Garden Paving

When we moved in the garden was not in great shape. The back bed bordered with wood was rotting and full of weeds. As we dug up the weeds and carved out another bed in the front by bordering them with pavers, it was like excavating an archeological site. Tongs of toys, bricks, and stones.

I used a stamper, sand, and a level to make sure every paver was in perfectly. Once it was paved, the next step was to plant seeds! The back area would be for vegetables and herbs and the front for flowers.

I planted lots of fox gloves along the fence, wild poppies, calendula, lime green zinnia and teddy bear sunflowers. You can see some of them starting to pop up 🌱.

And here is the herb garden in progress.

See the garden later in the season in bloom here.