Chandelier - after

old chandelier - before

I’m happy to report that most of the work is done on my dining room makeover that American Express generously sponsored. Unfortunately, however, I ran into a few snags. The dishes I ordered using my Membership Rewards points arrived broken, and other items were backordered. The replacements are due to arrive when I’m away at girls camp. So, my big dining room reveal is postponed until June 20.

Until then, I wanted to give you a peak at one part of the room: my sparkly chandelier. I bought this old chandelier years ago for $20 at a salvage yard in Berkeley. I cleaned it up, and my brother rewired it. I’ve never been a fan of brass, so it got a fresh coat of paint. Read more »

The plan…

Dining room makeover - the plan

UPDATE: Click here to see the “after” photos.

Wow. I should ask for reader input more often. You gals shared some great ideas! I didn’t think it was possible, but you changed my mind about some of my original ideas for this dining room makeover sponsored by American Express. After careful consideration, I chose products to buy with my Membership Rewards points, and I made a sketch of my plans—many of them inspired by you.

It’s amazing what you can buy with American Express Membership Rewards points. It was a difficult choice with so many great options. In the end, I chose items that I most needed for entertaining: tableware, table linens, and somewhere to store it all. After all, Membership Rewards points are intended as a social currency that helps bring people together. Read more »

Dining room makeover

An update…

First, I know I still have three tutorials to go to finish off my office/guest/craft room makeover series. But they’re going to have to wait, for a couple reasons. I’m once again planning new camp crafts for a girls camp in mid-June. Rest assured that I’ll also blog about the crafts when I get back from camp.

A before…

Second, I’m pleased to announce my next room makeover! American Express has asked me to make over a social space using merchandise available through Membership Rewards points. I’ve been an AmEx cardholder for years, but I didn’t know that American Express launched Membership Rewards 20 years ago as a first of its kind program. Today it offers rewards from over 500 brands.

Best of all, Membership Rewards points don’t expire and you can redeem them for anything from gift cards to movie tickets to travel. Now I buy everything with my credit card (and pay it off monthly, of course) to take advantage of the rewards. Read more »

Studded mirror

I have a history with tile mirrors. The house in which I grew up had a rustic fireplace with 1970s tile mirrors glued to the wall above it. Painted in the center of the grouping of mirrors was a tall ship. It had a face. I swear I could see eyes and a mouth peering out at me through the sails of that ship. As a child, I was afraid of it. You wouldn’t catch me alone in that room at night. (I’ll show you a picture as soon as my mother finds one.)

As a teenager, I discovered glass etching. I bought boxes of mirror tiles and used etching cream to transfer my designs onto each mirror. I etched everything from roses and ’34 Fords to the Statue of Liberty. My older brother, Aaron, was taking woodshop at school, so he built square frames for them. Together, we gave them as gifts to family members. I still have a stack of etched mirrors that never got framed.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Magnet boardIn the photo: blue glass lamp bases, aluminum wall clock.

This giant riveted sheet metal magnet board was the centerpiece of my office makeover that SYLVANIA sponsored. And now I’m going to show you how to make it. This is the first of five tutorials from the SYLVANIA blogger makeover challenge. Next week, I will show you how to make the studded mirror.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

My SYLVANIA craft room makeover taught me a few things that I wanted to share with you. Here are my top five decorating and lighting tips:

1. Combining up and down lighting

Most homes—especially older rentals like mine—don’t have enough built-in lighting. And one lamp will not do the job, even in small rooms. To brighten up your space without much effort, combine up lights (table or floor lamps) with down lights (pendants) and spotlights (under/inside cabinets and closets or hung over a piece of art).

Up lighting

Up lighting

Down lighting

Down lighting

FOR EXAMPLE: My small office/craft/guest room now has eight light sources: three up lights, two down lights, two spot lights, and one night light/flashlight. All of them use SYLVANIA LED bulbs, which are so energy efficient I can afford to have all of them on at once. With multiple light sources, I have more control over the level of light in the room. And SYLVANIA’S ULTRA Aline LED light bulb is dimmable, so my main light is now on a dimmer switch, giving me even more control. Read more »

Office makeover - view from the door

This is the first whole-room makeover I have attempted on Crafty Nest. What an undertaking! I had been planning to make over my office/guest/craft room for some time. The makeover involved a ton of DIY—which is definitely why I procrastinated the job. Then SYLVANIA invited me to participate in their blogger room makeover challenge—just the impetus I needed to get started. They sent me a $500 gift card to Lowe’s, a bunch of SYLVANIA’S new LED light bulbs and light fixtures, and gave me a weekend to get the job done.

At the start, I knew I needed to call in a reinforcement: my younger brother, Troy, who blogs about his construction work at Hardhat13. And it was a good thing I did. At the end of day two, we realized we were only halfway done. So, this is technically a two-person, two-weekend job.

Check out all the SYLVANIA blogger room makeovers over the coming weeks on their Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can enter the daily sweeps to win your own SYLVANIA lighting products and Lowe’s gift cards so you can perform you own room makeover!

Here’s the “before” video. Let’s all make fun of how many times I say “love it.” One thing I do not love is making videos. My videos are unedited, so kindly forgive my rookie mistakes. It’s hard to believe that I stuffed so much furniture in that one little room, isn’t it? Amazingly, though, there is more furniture in the room after the makeover, yet everyone tells me the room looks bigger now. Mission accomplished.

The look I was going for is beach cottage meets industrial chic. The colors: blues, greens, whites, and silver—all cool, calming colors of the sea. I infused liberal doses of galvanized steel, paint, lighting, white fabric, and tassels. Now the room is serene, less cluttered, and oh-so-practical.

Dresser corner

I designed the studded mirror to echo the look of my riveted steel magnet board. It’s made from 12-inch mirror tiles. The mirror adds more light to the room and makes the potted plants look even more plentiful. Mirror tutorial coming soon. Click here for the mirror tutorial.

The pom-pom paper lantern you’ve seen before on Crafty Nest. The white twill curtain panels and the plush Wooly Bully accent rug are from Lowe’s. I made the tassels from yarn I had on hand. Curtain and tassels tutorials coming soon.

Here’s the “after” video. As I mention in the video, the room is now organized into three zones: the craft zone, the office zone, and the guest bedroom zone. Surprisingly, Troy is more versed in feng shui than I am. He informed me that the energy in this room was all wrong. Moving the fabric cabinet to the other side of the room made a world of difference.

More photos and videos after the jump! Read more »

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