DIY Faux Fireplace

I’d like to start off by saying: never in my life have I had SO many splinters. Totally worth it though.

A fireplace was on our wishlist when we started shopping for our second home (our first didn’t have one either) but after 5 years of searching, this home was the closest we could get to meeting MOST of our wants within our budget – fireplace or not. After about a year of staring down our huge, blank tv wall I decided it was time to get to work.

The before – listing photo

I was intimidated at the thought of building something this substantial – but honestly, as long as you can measure and cut – you can build anything…the right tools help as well!

For this project we used the following:

Table Saw

Impact driver

Skill Saw

Brad Nailer

Mitre Saw


• Protractor (for the cuts along the vaulted ceiling)

Not all of these are totally necessary, but they will make the project a whole lot easier. If you don’t have these you could always look into borrowing or renting from your local hardware store. Many hardware stores will rip plywood to size for you as well!

I’m not going to get specific with measurements because every space will be different – this is just an overview of the process.

We started off with the mantle which is actually a floating shelf that we purchased from All Modern. The exact one is linked here. You could easily build something like this with a few 1×6 boards.

Once the mantle was hung I attached 3 1x4s to the wall and made sure to hit my studs. The frame that will support the fireplace insert will be attached to these 1x4s.

Now it was time to figure out my measurements. I won’t get into specifics here because as previously stated it will all depend on your preferences/needs/space. I knew I wanted a shiplap mantle – and to keep the cost down I chose to do a faux shiplap (I’ll explain what that means later). Our fireplace essentially has 4 layers to take into consideration: the frame, a plywood backer, the faux shiplap & trim. When calculating your measurements be sure to take into consideration that lumber sizes often don’t indicate the actual dimensions of your boards. For example a 2×4 is NOT 2″ x 4″ – it’s actually 1.5″ x 3.5″.

Here’s the mockup I used to help me plan out all of my cuts. Having a visual reference really helped.

First up I built the frame out of 2x4s and wood screws. The owners manual for the fireplace insert should provide dimensions of the opening you’ll need for installation purposes. Additionally, I made sure to include extra boards on the bottom to help support the weight of the insert.

Once the frame was build I attached it to the wall using metal L brackets. This was a little tricky because of the tight spacing. If I were to do this again, I would have attached the back portion of the frame first, and attached the front portion after it was secured to the wall.

Once the frame was attached we tested the insert to make sure it fit. It did! However – there wasn’t enough clearance behind the insert for the power cord. We considered moving the outlet, but then found this recessed outlet at Home Depot. A quick switch and this solved our problem.

Next I applied a layer of 1/4″ plywood to the entire frame as a backer for my faux shiplap. Traditional shiplap are tongue in groove boards and only give the illusion of a gap when boards are placed next to each other. Because I’m not using a traditional shiplap, the backer board was necessary. Faux shiplap is generally plywood or MDF ripped into strips. We chose a 6″ wide board for our space.

Applying the shiplap was easy. Start at the top and work your way down placing nickels as spacers between each board. Trust me when I say: ALWAYS cut in with your stain or paint between attaching each board. This will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. If you forget, no worries! Grab a small paintbrush from the craft section and get to work.

Once your shiplap is applied and painted, you can give it a finished look with some trim! I used a little bit of lattice trim for the edges and a nice 1×3 around the base. I painted these boards prior to attaching them so I wouldn’t have to worry about taping.

You could stop here! We chose to run our shiplap all the way to the ceiling 1. because we liked the way it looked and 2. because we have an intake vent that we wanted to hide! It worked perfectly. I used more lattice trim to give it a finished look.

Overall I am SO happy with how this project came together. Our living room finally has that cozy feeling and it transformed a huge blank wall into the focal point of our great room.

A few takeaways I have from this project are:

• Black Paint somehow gets EVERYWHERE.

• Make sure you have the correct saw blade when cutting plywood. Otherwise it splinters!

• Always cut in with paint or stain between your faux shiplap.

• Measure TWICE. In some instances 3 times!

Most importantly, be creative! Make this process your own and don’t feel like you have to make your space look EXACTLY like someone else’s. The best part of DIY is getting to make your home EXACTLY the way you want it. If you give this project a try, be sure to tag us so we can see!

Valentine’s Day – Free Printables

I wanted to share a few of the Valentine’s that I have created for my boys over the years.

Some of these work perfectly on their own and you don’t have to pair them with anything but I like to include a little treat for the kids – plus my oldest always loves to help put them together! My favorite treat bags & supplies are all linked here. I recommend printing these on some sort of card stock!

These hot wheels Valentine’s are the cutest! Use a hole punch on the gray circles, hot glue a hot wheels car in the middle and add some fun twine.

Pair these tags with your favorite flavor of Tootsie Roll!

These sucker Valentine’s are SO easy and SO cute. I found the heart shaped suckers in the seasonal aisle at Walmart.

I paired these “You Color My World” tags with heart shaped crayons. See tutorial here. These would also be cute with some Skittles or other colored candy!

I paired these with these some super cute train whistles I found on Amazon.

For a healthy treat option – I paired these with a cutie!

I paired these with apple sauce and yogurt pouches. You could also attach these to a juice box!

Pre-Holiday Organization Tips + Tricks

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. The next few months will be spent eating entirely too much and making memories with family & friends…and then there are the gifts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while being a mom it’s that people LOVE buying for children. With the gifts comes the dilemma of where to put everything. This is why a few times every year (usually before Birthdays & Christmas) I make it a point to go through the house to make space for what’s to come. I have a few tips for maximizing your space and keeping those cluttered rooms organized.

This year, the first thing I tackled was the stack of board games and puzzles that was taking up a good portion of our 4 year olds closet. The boxes were super bulky, and were starting to look pretty worn down. I found some zippered pouches on Amazon and they were the perfect solution.

Zippered Pouches

These bags came in several different sizes so I was able to fit every game perfectly. I also took the time to snip the name from the side of each box, and tape it to the front of the bags so we can easily tell what’s inside. I was able to fit 8 board games and 4 puzzles into one 21 x 15 inch drawer. This seriously freed up a ton of space and even better – no more torn up boxes!

Next up I wanted to find better homes for his smaller items (like Legos, marbles, etc). These clear flip-top boxes I found at Home Depot are the best! They’re cheap ($2 each), stackable and the fact that they’re clear allows your kids to see what’s inside so they can easily find what they’re looking for.

Flip-Top Boxes

For larger items that don’t fit into cube storage, I like to use these wooden crates. They’re super affordable and bring a little bit of texture to the closet space. You could also stain or paint them, but I prefer the natural wood. We bought ours at Walmart several years back, but you can find them pretty much anywhere for around $10 each.

Now that I had everything sorted into bins & containers, it was time to find a home for all of it. Adding a shelf inside the closet made a huge difference and gave me quite a bit more storage (with some to spare). It’s amazing how much more functional adding a shelf or two will make a space.

Our nursery hasn’t had much in it other than clothes and diapers, but now that our baby is getting bigger, I’ve been pulling more toys out of the attic. We added these $30 cube shelves to the closet and it gave us a great place to store everything neatly. Down the road we’d love to have nice, built-in closet systems installed, but these work perfectly for the time being.

We hope you found some of this helpful as you prepare for the upcoming holiday season. We know all too well that this time of year can be just as stressful and hectic as it is joyous. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Here are a few additional tips to help keep your rooms clutter free.

Things to Remember

Store, Sell, Donate or Trash

A few times a year, inventory the items in your home to figure out what can be put into storage and what could be sold, donated or thrown out.

Baskets + Bins are Everything

Decorative bins are super functional, but also look good and can add texture to any room.

Dressers are Not Just for Clothes

Get a huge dresser. The dresser in our nursery not only holds clothes, but also functions as a changing table, diaper storage and extra linen storage among other things.

Utilize Empty Space

Look at every empty space is potential storage. We built this train board that fits under our son’s bed.
We love it because it doesn’t take up any floor space in his room when he’s not using it.

DIY Basket Christmas Tree Stand

I fully planned on hopping on the “tree in a basket” trend this Christmas – so CUTE! That is until I realized that my tree stands were WAY too big for most of the baskets in our home. I quickly went to Google to try and figure out how to make it work.

You know what I found? Nothing. Well not exactly nothing. I discovered that many people are just stuffing blankets in the basket and hoping their tree stays upright. This gave me all the anxiety so I decided to modify instructions for a couple of full sized tree stands to fit my needs. Both options were super easy and relatively cheap.

Option 1: Wooden Tree Stand

Supplies Needed:

  • 2 x 4 Board (Length will depend on the dimensions of your stand)
  • Drill + Screw gun
  • Tape Measure
  • 12 x 2″ Wood screws
  • 4 x 1-3/4″ Wood screws
  • 1-1/4″ PVC Pipe (Length will depend on the dimensions of your basket)
  • Level

The first option is a very simple stand made from 2×4’s. I found the original plans on YouTube via Handyverse, and modified the dimensions to fit inside of a basket with a 14″ diameter plus added a 1-1/4″ piece of PVC in the center to accommodate the “trunk” of an artificial tree.

This stand was actually the cheapest of the 2 because we already had some scrap wood and screws in our shop. The only thing we had to buy was the PVC pipe.

Click here for the full tutorial from Handyverse.

The stand consists of 2 tiers (shown above). As you can see I configured the second tier of this stand to fit snuggly around the PVC. (If you have plans to place a live tree in this stand, you’ll want to leave extra space).

Once each tier was constructed, I attached the top to the base with 3″ deck screws set at an angle. (We don’t have one of those fancy pocket hole devices). Be sure to drill pilot holes so you don’t split your boards. Finally, I used 1-3/4″ screws to hold the PVC in place (make sure it’s level first).

She’s not the prettiest girl at the ball, but it fits perfectly inside the basket…no one will ever know it’s there. As far as sturdiness goes – because we had to make this one so small, I wouldn’t trust it to hold a large tree but it will be perfect for the 5’ tree we are putting in our oldest son’s room.

Option 2: Bucket Tree Stand

Supplies needed:

  • A Bucket that fits inside of your basket (Planters would work too)
  • 1 Bag of Fast-Setting Quikrete
  • 1-1/4″ PVC Pipe (Length will depend on the dimensions of your basket)
  • Level
  • Water

This one was my favorite of the 2 because it was SO EASY. This option was inspired by Ella Claire & Co‘s DIY Concrete Christmas tree stand – just on a smaller scale. For this I picked up a 10 quart bucket and a bag of Fast Setting Quikrete. I also used the other half of the 1-1/4″ PVC pipe used in the wooden stand.

Place the PVC pipe in the center of the bucket, then have a helper pour the Quikrete into the bucket. It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. Be sure to leave an inch or two at the top so there’s room to add water to the concrete mix.

Level your PVC pipe, then add water per the directions on the bag. Thats it! No mixing required. Once the Quikcrete sets you’re ready to go. This stand is HEAVY and should be quite sturdy – more than enough to handle the 7-1/2′ slim tree that I plan on putting in it.

There you have it. Both options are totally customizable to fit your needs. Now all of your tree-in-a-basket dreams can come true…sans wadded up blankets. If you try either of these DIY’s don’t forget to tag us!

Big Brother Gift Ideas

We are getting close to baby time and we’ve really been putting some emphasis on making sure our almost 4 year old is feeling the love right now. His last few weeks as an only child are rapidly coming to an end. Just this weekend we let him plan our entire day. We hit up the trampoline park, Lowe’s and ended with lunch at Chuck E. Cheese. The 3 of us had a blast!

We have been prepping him as much as possible about what’s going to happen once baby brother is here – it’s definitely going to be a transition for everyone. So far, he is SO excited to be a big brother. I hope his enthusiasm continues once there’s an actual baby living under our roof. Several people have mentioned bringing a gift for him from baby to the hospital. I thought this was GENIUS so I wanted to share everything we found.

Links for everything are listed under each picture.

Big Bro – Little Bro Shirts

The first thing I looked for were matching shirts – because DUH. I ordered a simple, but super cute onesie and t-shirt combo from Amazon. There were TONS of different size combos and colors to choose from, which was great. I am always hesitant to order clothes from Amazon because, quite frankly, you never know what you’re going to get. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of both of these items. The sizing seemed to be spot on as well.

Big Brother Book | Big Sister Book

Cam LOVES to read books. There are a few we’ve read so many times that he can read them to us – almost verbatim. Not bad for a 3 year old! I found this sweet little book about becoming a big brother on Amazon. There’s also a version for all the soon to be big sisters – both are linked above!

Snug Play + Kids Headphones

We also know that life will be a little hectic once baby is here. I have a good feeling that Cam will be getting a little extra iPad time come April while we are all adjusting – no complaints from him there! I found these cute little headphones on Amazon…so affordable as well and have great reviews. Added bonus: we won’t have to listen to his cartoons or games anymore when he’s getting in his screen time.

Instax Mini Film | Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera

For Christmas this year, Camden received this really fun instant camera – he has had a blast taking his own pictures and filling up his photo album. The film is a bit pricey, so we only let him have it for special events or as a reward. This is definitely a prime photo taking sort of occasion! I can’t wait to see what all he captures.

Lastly, (but most importantly) we included a card with a special message from “little bro” in it. It’s such a bittersweet time for us right now. On one hand Camden won’t be our only baby – the center of our world anymore; on the other we cannot WAIT to meet this new little man and watch Camden grow in his new role as big brother. My husband and I both know he will rock it!

Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Oreo Pops

If you’re looking for a super simple yummy Valentine’s treat – look no further. I volunteered to bring snacks for my son’s Pre-K and Daycare Valentine’s Day parties, so I wanted something that was quick and easy. These Oreo pops were a breeze. These could easily be customized for any holiday or occasion. Here’s what you need:

  • Oreos (I chose Red Velvet)
  • Treat Sticks
  • White Chocolate
  • Sprinkles (Optional)
  • Food Coloring (Optional)
  • Parchment Paper

First you’ll want to prep your Oreos. Simply place the treat sticks into the filling. The double stuff or any of the flavored Oreos work the best because they have more filling to help hold the sticks in place.

Next melt your chocolate according to the directions on the package. Sorry if these directions are vague but I know from experience that each brand of chocolate is different. The kind I bought was microwaveable – so easy!

Once you have that ready, it’s time to dip your Oreo pops. Make sure the cookie is completely coated and set them aside on your parchment paper to dry. I needed to make 3 dozen of these bad boys to cover both parties. I made the first dozen white, then added a couple drops of food coloring between each dozen…that way I ended up with 3 different shades of chocolate just for a little variety.

If you choose to decorate your Oreo pops, you’ll want to do so while the chocolate is still wet so the sprinkles will stick. You can also use a fork to drizzle extra chocolate if you like that look.

Now you just have to wait for them to harden (put them in the fridge to speed up the process). That’s it! These are so simple and would be a great recipe for your kids to help with too. Added bonus – you can make these up to a week in advance if needed as long as you store them in an air tight container. Give them a try and be sure to tag us so we can see your creations!

DIY Closet to Office Transformation: “The Cloffice”

This project was so fun and SO easy! We have 2 cedar closets in our Master bedroom. One right off the bedroom and one connected to our bathroom. We didn’t really have a need for 2 huge closets, and with baby #2 due in just a few short weeks, I really wanted to make sure we had a dedicated workspace set up before his arrival – not only for when my husband is working from home, but also because I will be working from home for the 2nd half of my maternity leave.

The before: This is what we started with. Just a plain cedar closet…which quickly became our go-to junk room. New house problems. Just looking at this picture gives me so much anxiety.

For us, every project starts with a trip to Home Depot…and usually several more after that once we realize what we’ve forgotten. Luckily not the case this time. We got everything we needed in 1 swoop! The supplies we picked up were:

  • Desk top: 3/4 in sheet of plywood (we chose Maple – 4 ft x 8 ft – Home Depot cut it down to our specifications)
  • Front Trim: 1 in x 3 in x 8 ft board (also Maple)
  • Supports: 1 in x 2 in x 8 ft common boards (which we ended up returning because we found some useable lumber in the garage)
  • Wood Stain – Early American

Any additional supplies (like wood screws, tools, etc) we already had at home.

After we cleared everything out, our first step was to paint! My husband’s most favorite pastime. We really wanted to brighten up the space since there are no windows, so we chose Cameo White by Behr. We’ve used it in several rooms throughout the house and love it. It’s the perfect amount of white without being too white.

Next came the desk install and you guys…this was SO easy. We are NOT super handy people. We are the type who turn to Google or YouTube for most projects. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so much. If you can measure, cut and use a drill – you can build this desk.

First we located the studs – you’ll want to attach your 1×2 supports to those for added strength. Use a level and set your first support at the height you want the desk minus the thickness of your plywood. Be sure to drill pilot holes for your screws otherwise you might split your boards. You can see how we attached the supports in the image above. Nothing fancy. Just a few wood screws and voilà! Support boards are done.

Next we set the plywood desk top onto the supports, and attached the trim board to the front. We also used wood screws here, but it would have looked much nicer with finishing nails – unfortunately we recently discovered that our nail gun is out of commission.

The last step for this desk (if you choose to do so) is to sand & stain. The natural wood color was pretty, but we decided to do a very light coat of Early American. I used a rag to apply it and immediately wiped off the excess. Obviously the more coats you apply, the darker the stain will become.

Once the desk was built, and the stain was (mostly) dry – it was time to decorate. More often than not, I tend to lean towards the “fashion over function” side of things (while my husband is the complete opposite) but I really wanted this space to not only be pretty, but be completely functional as an office space.

Shelf Brackets | Printer | Camera | Calendar | Storage Book | Wall Hook | Wood Beads

Shelving, a few hooks and some stylish baskets and bins provided much needed storage areas. We were able to repurpose a lot of the shelving that was already in the closet so that was an added cost saving bonus.

Storage Baskets | Terra Cotta Pot | Lamp

I found a few scrap pieces of wood in the garage and made the little display boards you see above. A few eye hooks and some wire and we now have the perfect place to hang artwork, pictures, bills – anything important!

Tiered Cart | Terra Cotta Pot | Basket | Chair | Rug | Clock

I also repurposed this tiered cart from Ikea that we used in Camden’s nursery. A fresh coat of spray paint (it used to be teal) and now we have a spot to store printer paper, power cords, art supplies, etc.

Basket | Chair | Rug

This adorable printed Loloi rug I found on Amazon was the finishing touch. It adds just the right pop of color.

Terra Cotta Pot | Lamp | Basket | Chair | Rug

I’m so happy to have this space checked off the to-do list. It was a very simple and quick weekend project and we’ve already used it a ton! If you give this DIY a try, be sure to tag @houseon610th on Instagram.

Little Explorer Themed Nursery

This nursery is one of my favorite rooms. It’s the perfect amount of baby without being too babyish…in other words I won’t have to replace everything in a few years when we switch to a big boy room. I wanted to be able to reuse a few of the items from Camden’s nursery, so we kept a very similar outdoorsy type theme. Everything came together seamlessly – which made life so much easier.

Rug | Faux Fur Rug | Crib | Crib Sheet | Pillow Cover | Picture Frames | Tree Prints | Pouf | Baskets | Blanket | Infant Lounger | Video Monitor | Window Shades

This rug and that black accent wall are what truly make this room. They compliment each other so perfectly. Just like Camden’s room, I tried to keep everything mostly neutral with pops of color here and there to brighten up the space.

Pouf | Rocker | Lamp | Accent Table | Basket | Hello Sign

We were able to find a spot for every piece of furniture from Camden’s nursery…which made our wallet happy. This rocker from Pottery Barn Kids made those late nights much more bearable. So. Dang. Comfy. It was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it in the long run.

Dresser | Shelves | Wooden Camera | Rainbow Stacker | Globe | Faux Succulent | Changing Pad | Changing Pad Cover | Humidifier | Gold Frame

Another one of the waterfowl mounts found their way into the mix, and I can’t lie. I sort of love it. The colors on this Northern Pintail go so well with the rest of the decor. Those leather strap shelves are an Amazon find that I am obsessed with. They are the perfect spot to display the rainbow stacker that we used in our pregnancy announcement.

Bookshelves | Bear | Basket | Rug

I was super excited to finally find a home for this little wooden rocker. It was my mom’s when she was little, then was passed down to my siblings and I, and now my kids will get to enjoy it. The blanket hanging from the laundry hamper was the baby blanket my husband’s grandma made for him. We’ve put so much love into this room and we can’t want to snuggle our little man in a few months.

Rug | Faux Fur Rug | Crib | Crib Sheet | Pillow Cover | Picture Frames | Tree Prints | Baskets | Blanket | Infant Lounger | Video Monitor | Window Shades | Fox Plush | Duck Plush
Crib | Crib Sheet | Pillow Cover | Picture Frames | Tree Prints | Pouf | Bear
Shelves | Wooden Camera | Rainbow Stacker | Globe | Faux Succulent | Frame | Deer Print
Rug | Faux Fur Rug | Crib | Crib Sheet | Pillow Cover | Picture Frames | Tree Prints | Pouf | Baskets | Blanket | Infant Lounger | Video Monitor | Window Shades | Lamp

Woodland Inspired Boys Bedroom

Before we even moved into the new house I knew that our boy’s rooms were going to be high on the priority list as far as getting things organized goes. Mainly because they both seem to have SO. MUCH. STUFF – and one of them hasn’t even been born yet!

Metal Bed Frame | Mattress | Sheets | Fringe Throw Blanket | Triangle Stitch Quilt | Triangle Stitch Sham | Fox Pillow | Bookshelves | Area Rug | Metal C

Camden’s nursery was Woodland themed – so the transition from baby room to big boy room was super simple and I was able to repurpose a few things here and there. I also wanted to be able to incorporate a few of the waterfowl mounts my husband has acquired over the years – he doesn’t ask for much as far as home decor goes, so I was happy to find a place for them.

Seek Adventure Wall Art | Mini Man Cave Wall Art | Projector Night Light | Humidifier | Cube Storage Shelves | Coiled Rope Bins | Cube Storage Bins | Navy Chair | Growth Board | Leather Pouf | Area Rug

I kept the decor in here mostly neutral with a few fun pops of color to brighten things up. He LOVES to play in his room – which is something that never happened at our old house. Every one of his toys would end up in our very tiny living room so it’s a HUGE bonus that he finally has a space that he enjoys spending time in.

Dresser | Glass Lamp | LED Letter Box | Alarm Clock | Video Monitor | Wooden Tool Bench

Aside from decor we added some fresh paint [Dove by Behr] and we switched out the yucky pink paper blinds for some new window treatments. (You can see before pictures on our instagram @houseon610th). Next on the list is to update the trim and those terrible louvered closet doors, as well as replace the ceiling fan. For now we are so happy with how everything came together. Such a fun little room!

Metal Bed Frame | Mattress | Sheets | Fringe Throw Blanket | Triangle Stitch Quilt | Triangle Stitch Sham | Fox Pillow | Bookshelves | Area Rug | Metal C | Leather Pouf
Metal Bed Frame | Mattress | Sheets | Fringe Throw Blanket | Triangle Stitch Quilt | Triangle Stitch Sham | Fox Pillow | Bookshelves | Area Rug | Metal C | Wooden Tool Bench
Dresser | Glass Lamp | LED Letter Box | Alarm Clock | Video Monitor
Metal Bed Frame | Mattress | Sheets | Fringe Throw Blanket | Triangle Stitch Quilt | Triangle Stitch Sham | Fox Pillow | Bookshelves | Area Rug | Metal C | Leather Pouf | Navy Chair | Growth Board | Window Shades