Storywood Designs – An Update

Waterlogue 1.1.4 (1.1.4) Format = 8" (Large) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Darker Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Five  Fifteen and Change

Life is a journey and you never know what’s around the next bend in the road.  Last spring, I began to recognize the signs of burnout in myself in regards to my furniture painting business.  My intentions to start blogging again fell by the wayside as I struggled to deal with that and what it meant.  It was hard to feel the frustration and feeling of “blah” about Storywood Designs come over me because I love furniture and love refinishing pieces, love creating new life where there was old and love helping people fall in love with their furniture and in turn their home just a little bit more.  BUT.  There’s a side to furniture painting and refinishing that you don’t see on Pinterest and blogs.  It’s physically demanding… the repetitive movements of the paint brush and a sprayer are hard on the body.   It’s all consuming.  My house was taken over by painting supplies, paint and everytime I walked through my garage doors, I saw the backlog of client’s furniture I needed to work my way through.  Days were full of onsite work at client’s houses – bigger pieces like built ins, vanities and kitchen cabinets.  Nights and weekends found me scrambling to catch up on smaller furniture pieces that clients left for me to paint in my workshop.  I hit that point in my business that in order to continue on, I would have to hire someone to work with me on pieces.  And I was faced with deciding… is that what I wanted?  To grow Storywood Designs to the next level?  To take on the business and management issues that came along with that?  Did I really feel like I could trust someone else enough to paint under my name?  Did I want to?

The answer was no.  I cared too much about my work and am too Type A to feel good about allowing someone else to paint with me.  Plus, I didn’t want to take Storywood Designs to the next level.  I didn’t want to become an administrator and manager of my company and let someone else have all the fun painting and working directly with clients.  On top of that, I’d dealt with a few physical injuries that  resulted from repetitive overuse of my hands and knees on some of my bigger jobs.  I know that as I get older, those injuries will be more likely to happen.  In fact, I’ve been off the tennis courts for almost 2 months nursing an injury I sustained on my last kitchen job.

And so, with that, I rounded a bend in my journey and had a heart to heart with myself about what came next.  When I thought about the things I loved about painting furniture, it was envisioning and experiencing the transformation of a piece.  I loved working with people, helping them with their home… whether it be a furniture piece, a bathroom vanity or their kitchen cabinets, a transformation that I was involved with helped them love their home a little bit more.  And that my friends, was my lightbulb moment.  Furniture, kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities weren’t the crucial element of my business.  Working with clients on their homes, helping them make their home life a little better was.

Want to know something about me that I have never told many people?  The first time I attempted to look at real estate as a career, I was 24 years old, in the IT world and a new homeowner.  I back away from it then because I wasn’t in a place that I could be without company benefits and a monthly salary.  The second time I looked at real estate, James was 6 months old and I knew it could be a career that would allow me to do something I love and set some of my own hours.  That time, I actually got my license.  But afterwards, I realized that while you set some of your own hours, it’s a full time job (and then some!) and I was ill prepared for that with an infant at home.  The third time I looked at real estate as a career was this past spring.  This time, I went into it with eyes wide open, with the experience of running my own business under my belt and with kids who are old enough for me to feel good about stepping back into working full time.  This time, I looking at real estate knowing that my 10 year obsession with the residential real estate market and homes in our area wasn’t a phase or a passing fancy.  It’s what I was meant to do.

Armed with that newfound knowledge, I finished my last pieces of furniture, built-ins and one last kitchen under Storywood Designs.  I emptied out my workshop and my stash (bordering on hoard) of furniture and supplies.  I felt a literal weight being lifted off my shoulders once each piece was done and delivered.  I parked my car in my garage for the first time in 6 years. And I reinstated my license and found a firm to affiliate with that feels like home, full of people that make me happy.  I get to let someone else deal with all the administration and business details and I get to focus on what I know that I love… helping people find home.

The most ironic fact of all these changes?  I’m may not be hunkered down, refinishing furniture and kitchens for clients anymore, but I’m back to blogging.  I’m missed it too much on a personal level to let it go.  I tired of blogging about my furniture pieces, but I never tired of blogging about home and there were many times I’d write a blog post in my head as I repurposed a room in our house or worked on a DIY project.  Now that I don’t spend every waking moment in my house feeling like I should be working on a piece of furniture for someone else, I have time to write about home again.

I’d love for you to join me at Five, Fifteen and Change if you’d like to continue on this journey with me.  It’s a no fuss, simple little blog… my little corner of the blogging world to write about one of the things I love most… home.  Storywood Designs and all of its content will still be here and searchable but I won’t be posting here any more.  Most of all, I want to thank you for being here, for supporting me and cheering me on these last 4 years.  For those of you here in Raleigh that have given me the honor and the privilege to work on your furniture pieces and in your home, your trust and faith in my work means more than you will ever know.   I hope that you will think of me if you ever have any real estate needs and we will have the opportunity to work together again.

And with that, I sign off one last time from Storywood Designs.  It’s time to write the next chapter of my story.

Much Love,  Holly


Makeover Monday… The Game Table

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

Several weeks ago, I received a piece from Sherry, a Raleigh-area designer I’ve done quite a bit of work for.  It was an old leather-topped square mahogany table with a pedestal base.  The table was structurally sound and the leather top was in good condition, but this designer envisioned a different look for her client’s space… and that is how the table found its way to me.

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

I’m a visual person and when working on pieces for clients, it’s always helpful to have a tangible image of what that client is trying to achieve on a piece of furniture.  Most of my clients point me in the direction of a pin on Pinterest or a link to an image on a website.  Pieces from Sherry are always fun because she often gives me inspiration images in the form of a magazine page, torn out and dog-eared for reference.  Those images force me to use my imagination to mix colors and create finishes… there are no details and step by step instructions that you often find on a website.  It’s challenging to work with and rewarding when you finally get the look you set out to achieve.

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

Sherry gave me the image above as inspiration for her game table.  She wanted to keep the leather top but wanted to create an antiqued and aged finish with warm yellow undertones.  To get a look similar to her inspiration image, I mixed Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antique White and Arles and created a soft butter yellow color to use as my base.  Once the color was dry, I liberally applied a deep brown glaze over paint, making sure to work into all the crevices and textures in the paint.  The entire piece was sealed with clear wax and I added more dark wax to areas to age it even more and a touch of Rub ‘n Buff to the base.

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

Storywood Designs ASCP Game Table

With that, it was complete… ready for its new home, ready for the puzzles, games, friends and companionship that gathering around a game table brings.  In fact, working on this game table gave me lots of time to ponder gaming and its effect on our family… and you can read my thoughts on that over at five fifteen and change.

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Savvy Southern Style

Big Changes in the Works

Two years ago, I started my furniture refinishing business, Storywood Designs, and created this website to show refurbished furniture pieces, to give clients a place to see my work and get in touch and to create a presence for my company in the online world.  I’ve been so blessed with the way my business has grown… blessed to work with amazing clients who have become friends and friends who have trusted my work enough to become clients.  I’ve been blessed to be able to create a business based on something I’m passionate about… using pieces passed down through family and through time in your own home, giving those pieces your own style along the way.

What I didn’t expect when I started this journey was that I would fall in love with blogging just for the sake of blogging.  I’ve loved connecting with my readers… and am still in awe of the fact that people are out there reading and responding to words that I’ve written.  As time passed, I found myself branching out on this blog more and more… moving away from furniture posts and writing more about other things I’m passionate about… home design and decor, good food, living life in the South and creating a happy home.  It’s truly become an outlet and a source of pure enjoyment for me.

But, as my business and my blog has grown, I’ve found myself at a crossroads.   Continue down the path of writing what I want to write about and I end up cluttering my online business presence with things that have nothing to do with refurbished furniture.  Stick to painted and refinished furniture pieces and stifle the part of blogging that I truly enjoy for myself.   What to do, what to do…

And so, after much thought and consideration these last few weeks… considering what’s best for the future of my business and my love of blogging, I’ve decided to make some changes…. good changes, but changes none the less!

This blog, Storywood Designs, will revert back to what it started out to be.  It will focus on furniture… furniture makeovers I’ve completed, furniture trends in the design world and different ways to use different pieces of furniture in your home.  It will also document kitchen makeovers and changes I’ve completed.  Storywood Designs, the website, will focus on supporting Storywood Designs, the business.  What does that mean for you as a reader?  Well, if you’re here for my furniture pieces, nothing changes for you.  But if you like following along on my own journey to make a house a home… if you like reading the entries when I venture off of furniture, into things like outdoor living and design ideas I love and enjoy, well…

I invite you to check out my new blog!  Five Fifteen and Change is my place in the blog world for me.  A place with no agenda other than to chronicle my love of all things home, good southern living and my quest to create a happy home for me and my family.

Both blogs will be updated regularly… Storywood Designs will showcase furniture pieces I do for clients and for myself.  Five Fifteen and Change will detail how I used some of those refinished furniture pieces in my own home and venture off into other areas of life at home that interest me.  I envision both blogs linking back to the other regularly… one may start a story and the other may finish it.  Other times, each blog may discuss topics having nothing to do with each other.  But both give me the ability to keep my passions alive, but separate and organized.

So, I hope you’ll join me for the journey on Five Fifteen and Change… and I hope you’ll continue to look for updates on furniture pieces here on Storywood Designs… the adventure in both places is just beginning!

Random Rambles… Where I’ve Been

Just in case you’re wondering where I’ve been the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d post a little update this afternoon.  If you’ve been reading Storywood Designs for awhile, you know that I sometimes joke about getting distracted by spontaneous projects and joke about having ADD.   Well… it’s like I always tell my boys… when someone jokes and teases about something, oftentimes there’s an element of truth underneath it and they’re feeling a little insecure.

Two weeks ago, I sent the following text to some close girlfriends about a furniture piece I planned to finish last week… “No, I am going to finish (the bench).  In fact, I was working on it this morning.  Until I thought about my jammed vacuum cleaner and then found myself taking the screws out of that to fix it.  And then instead of going back to the bench or vacuuming I came upstairs to list my chairs for sale on Facebook.  I got upstairs, forgot to list the chairs for sale on Facebook and jumped in the shower instead.  Then remembered to list the chairs on Facebook while I was drying my hair.  Got bored drying my hair and stopped halfway through to list the chairs on Facebook.”

 Storywood Designs Getting Organized

In response, my friend sent this back.  Laughter is the best medicine…that text makes me laugh everytime I see it!

The honest truth is that I’ve spent the past few months feeling increasingly scattered and unable to get anything done.  I’d stay on the go from morning to night, not stopping to sit down.  But when the day was done, I had a hard time coming up with things I’d actually completed during the course of the day.  I’d started lots of things… but following through and finishing was another story.

Looking at the way I run my life, I realized quickly that things needed to change.  I’m 38 years old, have two busy, young boys, a family and house to coordinate, after school and volunteer activities to participate in and a business to run and I have never kept a calendar.  When I type that out, it’s sounds ridiculous…. because, let’s be honest…  it is ridiculous.  Part of the reason I’ve gotten away without a calendar for so long is that I’m very rarely late to anything… in fact, most times, I’m early to scheduled appointments.  I very rarely forget things that I’m supposed to do and places I’m supposed to be, but they “sneak” up on me… I tend to remember them at the last minute and as a result, am scrambled and stressed out getting things done on time.

And so, in an attempt to take back control of my life, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on client projects and working to organize myself.  I’m using a my calendar and to-do list on my phone, clearing out clutter and things we don’t need and use in the house any longer… I’m determined to make a change.

I apologize that things have been a little quiet around here, but that’s about to change.  I’m almost done sorting, selling and donating the things I needed to get out of the house, I’ve decided I like working off a calendar and a list and I’ve got Storywood Designs projects lined up well into spring.  As always, thanks for reading and supporting me (and all the crazy that comes with me!).  If you have any go-to organizing tips and tricks, please share with me… I’d love to hear them!

The Master Bedroom Details – Creating a Sitting Area

I’m all turned around again this week… the boys are out of school (again!) today and I’m struggling with a few last minute details on my makeover project for the week.  So, today, I’ll post what I planned to post at the end of last week…  my last post about the master bedroom details.  It touches on the part of the room makeover that I was completely comfortable with… the part of decorating that I feel like I know better than anything else… repurposing furniture and pieces within my own home and making a space work by using what you’ve got.

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom Tour

Needless to say, with almost all my budget going towards the bed, there wasn’t much left over for the other parts of the room.  There definitely wasn’t room in my budget to purchase the two cute, upholstered club chairs I always imagined sitting side by side in the little space we’ve carved out for a sitting space in our master bedroom.  One of the selling points for me when we looked at our house was the fact that the master bedroom had just enough room for a little sitting area.  I’d always loved bedrooms with sitting areas and in the 6 1/2 years we’ve lived in our house, we’ve used our bedroom sitting area.  But finding the right configuration for our sitting area has been a different story.

For years, up until this past makeover, a leather chair and ottoman served as our sitting area in the bedroom.  We used the chair because I loved the look of it and didn’t want to get rid of it, but we didn’t have a better place for it in the house.  So it sat in the master and we sat in it, night after night… despite the fact that it was way too big for the room.  With that realization and a master bedroom makeover on the horizon, the game of musical chairs began.

 Storywood Designs Creating a Master Bedroom Sitting Area

The brown leather chair and ottoman made its way down the stairs and into a room they are much better suited for… our living room/reading room.  I moved the old wingback chairs that were always too big for the dining room table upstairs in their place.  Their size and scale fit the space much better… but they don’t exactly invite you to snuggle up and settle in.  And then, one day my friend Amy from Eat.Sleep.Decorate. posted this image on her instagram feed… and I had my lightbulb-above-the-head moment.

Storywood Designs Creating a Bedroom Sitting Area

I loved the settee and thought that it would be the perfect solution for my petite bedroom sitting area.  A blend of form and function, size and comfort…  but with no budget, it wasn’t an option.  I started thinking through pieces in the house and realized that I had the perfect solution sitting right downstairs.  .. the settee that sat in our living room.  Even better, I planned to re-home the settee in the near future as we transition the living room to a reading room.  You can see it in the living room here.

 Storywood Designs Creating a Master Bedroom Sitting Area

The settee belonged to my grandmother and under its slipcover is the original celery green striped fabric that she upholstered it long, long ago.  Eventually, I’d love to recover it in linen or a velvet that works with other colors in the room, but for now, that DIY slipcover works just fine.   I was able to reuse the little round table that has always been in the room… it’s the perfect size for a lamp and a couple of books, with room left over for a cup of tea.  The large linen pillow lived on the settee during its time in the living room and I made a cover for an insert I had stashed away using some of the Sarah Richardson fabric I added to the bed.  The drapes and rods are Ikea sets that I picked up a couple of years ago and never put to use.  One of the few times my hoarding of home decor has paid off!

Storywood Designs Creating a Master Bedroom Sitting Area

I love that this part of the makeover cost me nothing… I love the impact that something as simple as rearranging furniture pieces and moving pieces around your home has on making a room feel fresh and new.  It’s always worth trying to work with what you’ve got before assuming you need something new!



My Master Bedroom Bed | A Perfect Blend of Splurge, Save and DIY

Thanks for all your kind words about my master bedroom makeover!  I really am thrilled with the results and am so enjoying the space.  If you missed yesterday’s tour, you can find it here.


The bed was by far, the biggest piece of my makeover budget.  I think that almost 80% of the total budget went towards items on the bed.  Why?  Well, while we have wooden furniture pieces galore in this house, we’ve slept on a mattress, box springs and simple metal bedframe for nine years.   For nine years, we’ve used spare coverlets, quilts and blankets as our bed linens.  In undertaking this makeover, I wanted the bed to be the centerpiece of our room and for that to happen, I needed to be willing to put a major chunk of my budget towards it.  To create the bed I imagined in my head, I needed to carve room in the budget for:

  1. An Upholstered Headboard
  2. A Bedskirt
  3. A quilt/coverlet
  4. A duvet cover
  5. Pillow Shams
  6. Accent Pillows

It was a tall order to fill and a lot of expensive items to fit into a fairly meager budget.  I made things worse by poring over Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn catalogs looking for inspiration.  What I wanted was something like this…

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard Bedskirt DIY Details

Source: Cote de Texas Blog

… but according to my favorite catalogs and websites, it would cost me almost $2000 to achieve it.  Not.gonna.happen.  In the end, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do… to create a calm, peaceful and inviting bed on the budget I had to work with.   I did it by splurging on a few items, getting a steal on a few others and DIY-ing a couple of items well outside my do-it-yourself comfort zone.

This is a lengthy post, so I apologize in advance, but am hoping that this will answer the questions I’ve had about the bed.  If I miss something, let me know and I’ll be sure to answer!

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard Bedskirt DIY Details

1. An upholstered headboard was first on my list for the bedroom.  I scoured every website imaginable to find something that had the shape I wanted, but everything I loved was well out of my price range.  This was one area that I didn’t want to compromise.  I wanted something hefty and tall and wanted a headboard that I could attach directly to my existing bedframe vs. having to attach it to the wall.  Ballard had a headboard I loved, but at $900 before shipping, it was out of the question.  Overstock had headboards in my price range, but they looked short and it bothered me that they just cut off at the mattress.  On top of that, I felt strongly that I wanted the headboard and bedskirt to have matching linen fabric.  So, out of options to give me what I wanted, I turned to DIY.  I’d never upholstered a headboard and was very hesitant to do it myself.  But I found a wonderful tutorial online (picture heavy, which is what I need) and realized that I could create something with the shape, heft, height and fabric I wanted for about $80.  I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, so I won’t post a headboard tutorial here… but if you’re looking for a well written tutorial, this is the one I used.  It was great, self explanatory and easy to follow.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will be happy to answer!

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard Bedskirt DIY Details

2.  The bedskirt… Oh, the bedskirt.  I could write an entire post on the saga of the bedskirt.  I’ve had my heart set on a pleated linen bedskirt with an 18″ drop for over a year.  I’ve had my heart set on that bedskirt matching my upholstered linen headboard.  To be completely honest, that linen headboard and matching bedskirt were the items that every other item in this room was built around.  But once I priced the bedskirt out, I was in sticker shock.  Because I wanted a very full, pleated bedskirt and because I wanted my bedskirt to match my headboard, I would have to have it custom made.  But custom made bedskirts were not in my bedroom makeover budget.  So, once again, I had to DIY it, not by choice but by necessity.

Now, I am not a seamstress and my previous attempts at bedskirts have been quite laughable.  I scoured the internet looking for another amazing tutorial like I found for the headboard, but this time, I had no such luck.  And so I built off the bedskirt mistakes of my past, and successfully sewed a pleated linen bedskirt with an 18″ drop.  I got my linen on sale at Joann’s and had my other supplies on hand.  I estimate that fabric included, I spent about $80 on creating the bedskirt.  Not a total steal, but a far cry from the $250 a custom-made skirt would have cost me and much more friendly to my budget!  I have thought about attempting to put a tutorial for the bedskirt together since it really wasn’t that difficult and anyone with basic sewing skills would be able to accomplish it.

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard and Linen Bedskirt DIY

3.  Surprisingly, the quilt was my splurge.  I love that it’s slightly tufted, making it a little more substantial and a little heavier than other quilts I’ve seen.  I love that it’s made of linen and I love the simple diamond pattern and banding around its edges. I’ve had my eye on this Pottery Barn diamond tufted quilt for over a year and waited and waited for it to go on sale.  But it didn’t.  And so, one day not long after this makeover started, I caved.  I drove to Pottery Barn and dropped more on a quilt than I’ve ever dropped on anything for a bed in this house before.  It wasn’t a impulse buy and it was something I’d carved out room in my budget for, but I’m not going to lie… I had heart palpitations and guilt afterwards.  While it took a big chunk out of my budget, but I looked and looked for more affordable alternatives and couldn’t find something I wanted.  The quilt is white and machine washable (a number one requirement for all my bedding) and so far has held up well in my house full of boys.

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard LInen Bedskirt Ikea Buffalo Check Duvet

4.  The duvet cover was my huge save.  I had my heart set on linen and buffalo checks in the room.  I’d pored over fabric websites looking for buffalo checked fabric and found some last week at Calico Corners.  It wasn’t machine washable and at $22.95/yard, it wasn’t terribly expensive but it wasn’t incredibly budget friendly (especially after my quilt purchase).  I wanted buffalo checks so badly that I was willing to overlook my “must be machine washable” rule.   I figured that I had enough in my budget to buy the fabric for two pillow shams and down the road I could look at having a duvet cover made.  But then, fate stepped in.  I found myself in Ikea unexpectedly and ran across their duvet sets wandering through the store.  I remembered they had a buffalo checked duvet but the color had always seemed “off” to me.  I went to take a closer look at one of the duvet sets and again, the color wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.  But as I picked up another duvet set, I realized that it was a little darker, a little more “linen” looking… I don’t know if the sets were dyed in different lots or at different times, but it didn’t matter.  The duvet set was almost identical to the fabric I planned to order… it was machine washable… it included the duvet cover and 2 pillow shams… and it was $39.99!  I was so excited that I practically danced to the check out.

Storywood Designs Master Bedroom Makeover Preview

5.  The pillow shams on the bed are just the buffalo checked ones that came with the Ikea Duvet.  The euro shams are Pottery Barn ones that I bought with birthday money last year, but they did still have them in the store when I bought my quilt.  I’m hoping to get the euro shams monogrammed in the near future.

Storywood Designs Upholstered Headboard Bedskirt DIY Details

6.  I definitely wanted the room to be neutral and not too feminine but all that linen left the room in need of a bit of color.  I found a fabric I loved at Mill Outlet Village here in Raleigh.  It was a bit of a splurge, but I loved the soft combination of the taupe, gray and coral and since I only needed a bit of it, the price per yard didn’t sting too badly.  The fabric is a little girly without being overwhelmingly so.  I was able to get three simple pillows out of the two yards I purchased with enough left over for another one down the road.   Doing the sewing myself allowed me to splurge a little on the fabric and pick something that I really loved.

And there you have it… all the details about our master bedroom bed.  Whew… that’s a lot of information!  Thanks for sticking with me to the end.  This bed makeover is defintely proof that you don’t have to blow your budget to get a look you love.

Storywood Designs House Tour | The Master Bedroom

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom Tour DIY-Upholstered-Bed

It’s a little crazy to think that I’m showing you my master bedroom today.  When I made my list of projects at the beginning of the year, I never thought it would be the first room added to my home tour in 2014.  It sat for so long with mismatched furniture, a hodge podge of linens, just a mattress and box springs and no cohesive plan in place to change it.  The master bedroom is an easy room to neglect… it’s a private space that not a lot of people see in your home (unless you put it out on the internet like I’m about to…).  When budgets are limited and priorities have to be made, the master bedroom often falls to the bottom of a to-do list.

Storywood Designs Master Bedroom Makeover Preview

But no more… not in this house.  I mentioned yesterday that this master bedroom makeover was made possible by the hoarding of my Christmas and birthday gift cards.  They gave me the freedom to do something for myself… something selfish… and that something was to finally makeover our master bedroom.   Like everything else in this house, I had a strict budget to stick to… the value of my gift cards.   I always tell my friends that I have Dom Perignon taste on a Boone’s Farm budget… and that can get me into trouble when it comes to decorating the house.  In order to get the look I wanted without breaking my bank, I had to do with what I do best… I had to work with what I had.  Most of my budget went to the bed, meaning that I had to shop the house and work with the existing pieces in the room.  In the end, a little creative spending, a little DIY, a little paint and a lot of working with what you’ve got gave me the look I wanted.  My goal was to create a calm, inviting and warm space using neutral colors and simple fabrics.  I didn’t want the room to feel too feminine and didn’t want it to feel fussy.  I wanted it to be a space where we could sit back and relax without freaking out that someone would ruin something.  I couldn’t be happier with the end result… and crave getting to “retreat” to our room at the end of a long day.

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom Tour

Today I’m posting pictures of the entire room…  I’ll get into some of the details and where I splurged and saved in posts later this week.  Check back tomorrow for details about the room’s biggest project and the one part I didn’t want to DIY (but had to nonetheless)… the headboard and bed! (Update: Bed details can be found here)

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom Tour

This is the view as you come into our room now… it makes me smile all the time.  Such a huge difference from just a few short weeks ago!

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom TourI’ve already shared with you the stories of Mike’s and my bedside tables (if you want to catch up, you can find them here and here).  But, this antique chair was passed down to me and sat, unused, for years. When I redid my vanity, I added a little liming wax to the wood frame and reupholstered the seat in a slubby linen.

Storywood Designs The Master Bedroom Tour

 The room is big enough for the small seating area that we love and use often, but door placement in the room makes the layout awkward and hard to work with.  We went through several rounds of musical chairs before finding the perfect fit for the space with this love seat. (Update: Sitting area details can be found here)


Several years ago, I bought existing bookcases off of Craigs List and “built” them into the nooks in our room.  One belongs to Mike and another belongs to me.  I love that we have storage in the room for our unending supply of books.  I also love the warmth and color that they lend to the space.  The tops of the bookcases below each window are filled with personal photos, sentimental books and trinkets from my childhood.   Master bedrooms, more than any other room of the house, should be a reflection of us and should be filled with the things that give us joy and happiness.

So, that’s just a quick look around the room.  Tomorrow, I’ll share details about the headboard, bed and linens.  The bed was by far my biggest project in the space, where I spent the bulk of my budget and where I refused to compromise the look I wanted with what I could afford.  It’s also the story of the project I didn’t want to DIY… but didn’t have a choice.  Thanks for reading friends and for indulging my excitement at completing Project Take Back My Master Bedroom… I hope to see you back here tomorrow!

Linking up to:

Savvy Southern Style

Project Take-Back-My-Master-Bedroom

Do y’all know that it’s been nine (9!!) years since we had a “real” bed?  Nine years ago, we sold the mission style bed that Mike purchased several years before we were married.  My plan was to put an upholstered headboard in its place.  You know what they say about best laid plans… long story short, life got in the way.    The past nine years have brought 2 little boys into our lives and two little boy rooms to decorate with them.  The past nine years brought a move to a new house and more important rooms to focus on.  The past nine years brought a big career change for Mike and bigger priorities for us to focus on than making a relaxing and peaceful place for us to sleep.  And so, it was easy to let the master bedroom sit, on the back burner, with its hodge podge of furniture and bedding… it was easy to let it become the land of misfit belongings in our home.

Storywood Designs Master Bedroom Makeover Preview

Christmas and my birthday fall back to back and this year my wonderful parents and in-laws gifted Mike and I with gift cards to spend on ourselves… for something we wanted.  I knew what I wanted to put my gift cards towards… our master bedroom.  The master bedroom was on my list of home projects to accomplish in 2014, but it was way down the priority list, because it was a want, not a must-do room.  But when you consider home projects that I wanted to accomplish… that master bedroom makeover was at the top of the list!  After nine years of waiting, it was finally time to take back our master bedroom and make it a space we want to spend time in and retreat to at the end of the day.

Storywood Designs Master Bedroom Makeover Preview

It’s taken a few months to put it all together (a good project for our long, dark winter) and I have a few, very last minute details to deal with this week, but to say that I’ve loved seeing our bedroom come back together is a huge understatement.  So, to celebrate finally being finished, I’m dedicating this week on the blog to Project “Take Back My Master Bedroom”… a story of the journey to reclaim the master bedroom and make it ours again.   All week long, I’ll sharing some of the things I did to get the bedroom I wanted on the budget I had to work with.

Storywood Designs Master Bedroom Makeover Preview

So, be sure to back by tomorrow to see what our room looks like now and check back during the week for the details on all the master bedroom projects!


Makeover Monday… One Paint Color, Two Different Looks

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

I’m sitting here today, writing this post, with both (practical and sturdy) shoes on, a simple ace bandage on my ankle and no crutches in sight.  What a difference a week makes!  I’m still trying to take it easy and give my foot lots of rest… I’m still a little awkward walking around but I’m so thankful not to be tied down by that big ol’ boot… so thankful not to be in pain and to be comfortable walking around.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

During my convalescence last week, I was able to finish a project for a client.   She’d brought  3 simple wood pieces to me to paint… 2 wooden booster seats and an old mahogany coffee table.  None of them were priceless antiques, all of them a little scratched and worn, and all of them prime candidates for a makeover.  In order to cut costs, we decided to paint each in the same base shade… General Finishes Antique White.  But that is where the similarities between the pieces ended.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

The two booster seats were given the same paint treatment… a couple of coats of Antique White and sealed with Polyacrylic.  The end result is a simple and unfussy painted finish…making both booster seats look fresh and clean.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table


One booster seat would be used for extra seating at the kitchen table, but the other made a perfect desk chair for her five year old daughter.  For that chair, we added a sweet monogram on the chair seat in the same shade of pink as her daughter’s bedroom walls.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

The coffee table, with its turned legs and carved details needed a little bit more… a “fancier” finish to highlight the curves and details hidden beneath the dark stained finish.  The mahagony top was scratched and dented and I worried about the bleed through on the entire piece.  I coated the legs with polyacrylic before painting to prevent the red stain from bleeding through and gave the coffee table top a good coat of a bonding primer before adding the General Finishes Antique White.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

After the Antique White dried, the entire piece was waxed with a tinted furniture wax.  I decided to tint clear furniture wax with a little General Finishes Outback brown to create a softer antiquing wax than what I had on hand.  I didn’t want something that would make the surface look aged and dirty… I just wanted to highlight all the carvings, grooves and turns that the coffee table had to offer.

Storywood Designs Antique White Booster Seat and Coffee Table

Two pieces of furniture… the same quart of paint… but two very different end results.  Proof that the finishing steps of painting a piece of furniture is where you really create its ‘look’… that it’s the details that really define the look and feel of a refurbished piece of furniture.

Art in the Master Bedroom

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

A few weeks ago, as I started our master bedroom facelift, I started looking at options for art over Mike’s library table.  I knew I wanted a natural landscape… Mike loves the outdoors, the coast and waterfowl.  I also knew that I wanted the art to be watercolor.  I felt like the softer effects of watercolor would work really well with other planned elements in the room.   As much as I would have loved to purchase an original watercolor for the space, it just wasn’t in the budget.

Mike’s dad is an incredibly talented photographer who focuses on nature and the birds and “critters” of Eastern North and South Carolina.  (His website is here… if you’re intrigued by the wildlife around us in North Carolina, you should check it out!).  We have several framed photos of his work and I actually thought about looking into the possibility of having him send me some photos and using a photo editing tool to make the photos look like watercolor.  But, in the end, that just felt wrong.  He’s already an artist that has created a gorgeous photograph.  It’s one thing to take my own picture and edit it.  Another thing to take a photograph and have it painted by an artist (with permission from the photographer).  It didn’t feel right to take his photo (even with his permission) and let a computer app change it.   So, I moved on to Plan B, found something I loved and ended up with beautiful art for above Mike’s library table (back to that in a bit).  Ironically, about a week after those pictures had been hung, I discovered Waterlogue.  A little too late, but that became a blessing in the long run.

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

Home Sweet Home… in Waterlogue

Waterlogue is fun… if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m more than a little obsessed.  Basically, Waterlogue is an iphone app that takes any photo you upload or take on your iphone and instantly turns it into a watercolor painting.  It’s not a free app, but you can print your “paintings”, so if you use it to create inexpensive art, it’s definitely worth it’s $2.99 purchase price.

Some of my favorite pictures turned “watercolors” via Waterlogue:

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

Sweet Emma

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

The end of Folly Beach, SC

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

My Bedside Vanity

I’ve loved playing with the Waterlogue app with my own pictures.  I’ve realized that while it does a good job of creating watercolor pictures, but the results aren’t always what you want them to be.  Pictures that I think might make a beautiful watercolor sometimes end up too soft, too blurry.  But I’ve had a lot of success with the app too… I’ve loved the pictures of my homes, Gracie and Emma, and still life shots from around the house.

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

But in the end, I’ve realized that technology can’t substitute for the work of an actual artist.  An artist captures the details in a watercolor painting that no app can possibly replicate.  And with that, we’re back to the search for a watercolor for above Mike’s library table.  When I decided not to use photo editing software to create the look I wanted, I turned to one of my favorite sites for art… Etsy.  I was able to search for waterfowl and coastal watercolors and found an artist whose works were exactly what I was looking for (Here is the link to one of the prints I chose).  I chose coastal scenes that look like they could have been painted right here in the Carolinas…. soft muted colors… exquisite details.  An original watercolor print on heavy paper in an 8×10 finished size was perfect for what I was looking for…. and at $20, it fit right into my budget.  It was a win-win.  I found art for above Mike’s table that I loved at a price that didn’t break the bank.  While it’s a print,  it’s from an Etsy shop.  That means it hasn’t been mass produced, and it feels unique and original to me.

Storywood Designs Waterlogue and Watercolor

That’s not to say that I don’t have plans to try printing a few of my Waterlogue creations and framing them here and there around the house.  I think Waterlogue is an amazing, fun (and addictive) app and love the results of some of the photos I’ve played with there.  But for our master bedroom, I’m so glad I ended up choosing “real” art.

So, I’m curious… if you’ve downloaded the Waterlogue App, what are your thoughts on it?  And if you’ve used Etsy to purchase art in the past, who are some of your favorite artists?