The Sunroom

One of the other projects we hustled our butts off to get completed prior to Zano’s 1st birthday party (which was already 3 months ago! Jeeze!) was our sunroom. Unfortunately we ran out of time and couldn’t get the space completely finished, but we were able to get the new tile laid on the floors literally the day before the party #closecall

Here is a photo of the sunroom, the day we closed on the house. I get why the sellers painted the floors, but something about this color just magnified dirt. I could never keep it clean.

SUNROOM Before | brittanyMakesThis space isn’t one I’d expect you to hate, chucks, I didn’t hate it that much, but there’s nothing great going on here and I knew from the moment we bought the house that I’d have to make a few changes in order to make this space feel welcoming.  It’s not pictured, but one of the complaints we had over this space was how it was accessed. We had this bulky (and broken) sliding door that literally took your entire body weight to open. I’m not going to hate on sliding doors, most homes have them, but I will point out that no person ever said “oh! that sliding door really helps make that extra space feel like an extension of the home”. Nope. It’s never been said. I checked!

What I’m getting at is, the sliding door was preventing this space from feeling like an extension of our, rather small, home. It was broken anyway, so we decided to replace the door with French doors (!!!)


Sunroom-door-&-stepWe had to extend the door opening by about 4-6 inches to fit our new doors, which actually wasn’t that big of a deal. We also had to extend the step all the way to the right wall. Luckily our landscapers were working on our backyard and helped our contractor frame out, rebar, and pour the additional concrete for the step extension. It was definitely 2+ man job.



Sunroom-stepWhile our contractor was prepping the sunroom floor for tiling, my husband went on to pre-seal a few hundred individual tiles. If you’re thinking about using cement tile for a project, this step is crucial! Cement tile is SUPER porous, and will soak up anything and everything if not properly sealed. We chose to grout this tile with black grout, and knew if we didn’t pre-seal the tile job could go bad so fast, and there’s almost no method of recovery once the tile has been stained.

Sunroom-tileWe pre-sealed the tile 3 times. There were a small handful of tiles that must not have gotten the triple treatment… we ended up having to strip the sealer and use an acid wash in order to get them clean. Let’s just say that wasn’t a good day. Our contractor is basically a magician. Tile is his trade and he knew the secret concoction to get them back to normal looking. Bottom line, make sure you pre-seal! It would be great if these cement tile companies would pre-seal their shiz so their customer’s don’t have a coronary upon installation.

black & white ceramic tile | brittanyMakesBelow is just after the tile was grouted. Can you spot the few in the back corner that have a darker haze? Those are the tiles that had to get the magic potion treatment.


Sunroom-tiles-groutedBack to the vision of this space… I envisioned this space as being an extension of our house, and a great bridge to the backyard. I wanted to create a casual lounge + play area with built in  benches decked with pillows, hanging plants and cacti, you know – like a mini California retreat.

Sunroom-building-benchesI had it in my mind I would build these benches myself, then the reality check set in a) there was no way I could get them built myself before the party and b) projects like this always take me 20x longer to do myself. Our contractor busted these benches out in a day. I call that money well spent!

Sunroom-benches-1Our contractor framed the benches with 2″x4″s and finished with 1″x2″ cladding and galvanized screws. Then he cut and laid plywood for the bench seats. We left about an inch lip with the top piece of cladding to help keep the bench cushions (which I still have to finish sewing) in place. Also, notice the angled drink ledge! So fancy.

DIY built in bench seating | brittanyMakesI stained the finish wood with a mixture of 2 parts Provincial to 1 part Light Walnut, then applied an outdoor poly to protect from sun and moisture.

DIY built in bench seating | brittanyMakes


sunroom built in benches | brittanyMakes


black & white cement tile in sunroom | brittanyMakes


That’s where we’re at with the sunroom. Hopefully I get these bench cushions finished this week since we’re hosting another party this weekend! If it weren’t for these forcing functions my house would probably be full of half completed projects. No joke.




California Modern brass, wood & marble bathroom | brittanyMakesWe have a MIRROR!!! This mirror has to be the most drama filled project I ever attempted. I don’t even feel like getting into it in this post. I can’t taint these pretty photos with the story about this dumb mirror! I’ll pair the story with the full before & after, how’s that?

What I will tell you is this: this mirror came out to be $65, is a DIY, AND an Ikea hack!

California Modern brass, wood & marble bathroom | brittanyMakes


California Modern brass, wood & marble bathroom | brittanyMakes


California Modern brass, wood & marble bathroom | brittanyMakesThanks for hanging in there while I get this mirror situation sorted out. The take-away from this project is this: spend a little extra when it’s needed. Finishing things off the right way is always worth the few extra bucks.

I’m happy to report I have officially taken the first shower! My husband hasn’t moved in yet, I’m choosing to think he’s letting me soak it all in by myself for a few days, but in reality I think he’s just afraid he’ll get pee splatter all over the vanity and make me mad. #truth

SOURCES: // Matte back hex tile // Matte black wall mount faucet // brass wall sconces // brass knobs // white vessel sink // white subway tile // gold dipped light bulbs

Catch up on the remodel!



Life lately!

Hello, hello! I’ve let a few too many days pass since the last post, sorry! It’s been an interesting last few months. Some of you who have been reading for a while know I’m a financial accountant in my day job (it’s as cool as it sounds). Well.. this past spring I was promoted to Controller (yay me!) and somehow my workload tripled and all my free time disappeared. The blog is taking the brunt of the suffering, which is in no way intentional. The hour or two I have each evening after the kiddo goes to bed, I’ve been working on a very exciting new venture: an online vintage rug & textile shop!

Vintage African Indigo pillow

sneak peek!

(pardon the crappy iPhone pic)

I have a few more very important things to do before launching, but if I were to ballpark a launch date (since everyone seems to ask!), it will most likely be 4-6 weeks from now.  Starting a biz on your own dime is no joke, it takes time and patience! So, thank you for being patient with me, and I hope you’re as excited about this as I am!

Some other super fun updates – we had another bathroom mirror setback. I don’t know why this mirror became such a giant ordeal. I’ll have the full story for you soon, and I’ve been told it’s definitely being installed this week.  I’m so over it.

On a brighter note, we’re teaching Zano how to play bocce ball!

backyard bocce


Italians start ’em young :) PS: how adorable are his sandals!


Nursery Update

My son, Zano (pronounced like “on” not “an”, more about his name here), is technically a toddler now. 14 months old. I can hardly believe it! He is officially saying words now. His vocabulary consists of “shoe” and “cheese”, which sound like “choo” and “chee”. I die.

I think the denial I’ve carried over him growing up so fast spilled over into his nursery. If I didn’t finish it, he wouldn’t grow up, right? Do you recall the mood board I created? I was all about the neutrals, keeping things light and airy and serene in hopes to counteract the loud colors of baby toys.

baby boy nursery ideas


First, I painted his walls a nice shade of gray (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore), brought in the decor and started hanging art and mirrors that I had on hand. I bought a white rug (which I loved but was two sizes too small, ugh!) and told myself “be happy about this, it’s exactly what you wanted!”

DIY leather pouf/ottoman | brittanyMakes

For some reason the space really bummed me out. It was OK, but it wasn’t jiving well. The walls looked dingy, the art and mirrors weren’t purposeful, the rug was too small, the rocker wasn’t working with the space.  I happened to be researching something about light and color, and learned about directional light its impact on the color your walls. Zano’s room receives Northern facing light, and the colors you don’t want to paint in a northern facing room are: gray, white, blue. Basically anything with cool undertones are a no-go. The trick to dealing with a northern facing room is to embrace it’s drama and intimacy, and go dark!

Dark & Moody Nursery with navy walls & a vintage rug // brittanyMakesHere’s what happened. I sold the rug to a cute, expecting couple, and went on the hunt for something vintage. I wasn’t looking for red, but this rug had me at hello!  Then, I painted the walls a dark blue, Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. This wall color is everything!

Dark & Moody Nursery with navy walls & a vintage rug // brittanyMakes


Then, my good friend Shavonda hooked me up with these stellar chairs, for a deal that was basically free! They are in such good condition, I feel terrible even thinking about reupholstering them. I let them hang in our living room for about a month, but I knew they were destined to be set against those walls. Tell me you agree! Mustard + Navy 4eva!

Dark & Moody Nursery with navy walls & a vintage rug // brittanyMakesI would say I’m about 85% happy with the room so far. A larger rug would be preferable, but I love the energy this one brings to the space. I also need to figure out the blank space above the crib as well as the blank space below the wall sconce. I’ll get there soon!

Sources: rug (vintage) / crib (discontinued, similar here) / crib sheets (target, past season) / himmeli mobile / hamper / brass floor lamp (vintage) / side table (Target, past season) / curtains / sconce / wildebeest bust (West Elm, no longer available) / hare print / chairs (vintage) / mongolian fur pillow / flokati / fox / wolf / hedgehog 




Bathroom Accessories

When I originally designed the bathroom, I kind of ignored the fact that not all brass finishes are created equal. Maybe I was hopeful it would all just go together… but it’s kid of a small space which means mis-matched brass finishes would definitely be noticed.  Turns out our sconces didn’t match the mirror I had purchased, and the sunburst brackets I was dying to use also didn’t match the sconces. Light fixtures are kind of a more permanent accessory, being hard wired in and all.. so I decided to return the mirror and the brackets ::sad face::

The replacement mirror is in progress. I swear, the mirror design is a genius idea! A genius idea that has now delayed us moving into the bathroom by what, 7 weeks now? I found out yesterday we didn’t order enough of one (very important) piece, so now we have to wait for that to get ordered, shipped & delivered. #storyofmylife

I still need to pull the trigger on bathroom accessories. The longer I wait the more I second guess myself. I need to just do it! Things I need: shelf above toilet, tissue cover, soap dispenser, trash can, soap dish, bathroom stool, etc. Help me decide!



I like both options for different reasons, black will tie with our fixtures and yet the white marble will blend in perfectly with the walls and vanity counter. One will stand out while the other will blend in.  Considering all these options are on sale right now, I think I should pull the trigger this weekend.



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