Look up!

One of our first interior projects in the garage was tackling our dormer ceilings. I had my heart set on some kind of ship lap treatment like this for the ceiling, but we weren’t quite sure how to go about it. Like how/where would we stop it. With the loft open to the shop side there was no good way.  One day we were driving to menards and I ran across this photo while scrolling through pinterest. Perfect! Why couldn’t we just put the paneling in the dormer ceilings?!

That solved one problem. The second issue was that Jerm wasn’t a fan of just ripping the ceiling “planks” out of thin plywood like many tutorials suggested. Since we were doing the paneling in lieu of drywall, he didn’t want to lose that fire barrier.

We wandered over to the ceiling tiles and decorative ceiling treatments in menards and found these Armstrong Ceiling Planks that fit what we wanted. They were reasonably priced ($1.49 per square foot), had enough texture to add interest but not too much, were tongue and groove (read easy to install), and fire resistant!


Sold! They were special order, but came within a week. We were also able to take advantage of one of the 11% rebates that menards runs every so often. The planks are made of a ceiling tile material so they are lightweight and can be cut with a razor blade. For their weight, they are remarkably sturdy though.

The way we installed them was kind of unconventional but worked perfectly. Since you can never have too much insulation, we started by covering the dormer ceiling with a full layer of 1-1/2″ pink foam insulation. Besides the added R-7.5, it gave us a big smooth surface to fasten to, and allowed us to install the planks without having to only screw into studs. A more traditional installation requires furring strips or adhesive.

To secure the foam to the studs, we used screws and large washers. The washers kept the screws from going all the way through the foam by increasing the screw head’s surface area.

Now it was time to start attaching the planks. We thought the first row was going to require some additional fastening (since there was nothing to support the bottom), but once we got it up we found it actually supported itself pretty well.  With the addition of a bead of caulk across the bottom edge later, all was good. We simply held it in place and put a few screws through the tongue on each plank into the foam. Once we finished one row it was easy enough to start the next. Just interlock the tongue into the groove and support with more screws into the foam —  staggering the seams like you would with flooring.




Once we had finished installing all of the planks, we needed to trim out the unfinished corners and the ridges with something. We could have gone with white boards to blend in, but decided we liked the look and contrast of cedar. It just felt garage-y to us. Whatever that means..

IMG_8609Cutting the complex angles on these four boards nearly took us all night, but I LOVE the way it turned out.

IMG_8830_edited-1IMG_8821_edited-1Cedar sills completed the window trim and tied everything together. I’m planning on a built-in style “daybed” in the rear dormer and my desk area in the front dormer.

Next up is flooring! We have some reclaimed maple that we are refinishing, and it has been a long process so far.


Taking it inside – Drywall

Last post pretty much caught you up to speed on the outside of the garage, so now its time to go inside. We came up with a few details to give the garage some character. Lots of pinteresting went into the making of this garage.

The main level of the interior space consists of two car parking/storage on the left side, which we planned to leave unfinished for now, and a two story tall work space on the right. The work space will have a car lift and workbench with plenty of tool storage. The loft sits above the two car parking and is open to the work space side of the garage. I love the openness of it all, and the ability to work on separate projects but still be together.

Prior to drywall and stairs, this is what it looked like. This was taken in the shop side looking towards both the parking and loft side.

View into loft with no stairs

We put drywall up behind where the stairs would go before building the stairs to make it easier.

View into with loft with stairs

This gives a better idea of how the three spaces connect.  For safety we made the cable railing one of our first projects. More details about that later!


And finally a view from the loft down into the shop. I love how the angles of the ceiling come together.


And a look towards the back of the loft


Now time for some drywall. Our methods were very scientific.


It’s amazing how much brighter it gets with a little bit (ok.. a lot) of drywall.

IMG_7331 IMG_7327

Once all of the drywall was up, we called in the taper. For the sake of time, this was one of the only steps we did not do ourselves. Thank goodness. It took our taper a full 5 days to complete all of the coats of mud and the sanding. He was able to come while we were both at work, so it was nice to get home each day and see the progress. If we did it ourselves I think it would have taken months.

We purposely left the dormer ceilings undrywalled so we could do something a little more interesting. IMG_8193

IMG_8197Sneak peek! I’ll share what we used and how we did it next! I think it may be my favorite detail of the garage.

Spoonflower Favorites

A few months ago I (re)discovered spoonflower while I was looking at fabric options for pillows. I ended up ordering a couple yards of this fabric to make some pillow covers for the garage, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I’ve put together a list of some of my current favorites. If you see anything you like, you can actually click right on the fabric image to take you to the page.

1// I’ve been loving more graphic black and white patterns lately. I think they add the perfect pop in an otherwise neutral room.
2// Ombre effect with birds… need I say more? Also available in a few more color ways.
3// I’m always up for a good herringbone pattern — especially in mint.
4// This is another colorway of the dots fabric I ordered for my garage. She didn’t have citron available at the time, but I’ve been loving that color lately.
5// This pattern reminds me of some of the designer fabrics I’ve seen — yet at a much more attainable price.
6// I actually found this print through etsy. Lots of baby-wear shops carry little tiny baby leggings in Emily Sanford’s fabrics. I love the depth of color in her patterns.
7//Here we go with the citron again. I like how it is paired with an otherwise neutral palette and pattern.
8// This print would be perfect in a vintage airplane inspired nursery. Perhaps paired with some large scale prints like I made here?
9//I love the colors and pattern of this. It is like you are looking down into the water.
10// Gotta love some anchors in a classic navy/off-white color combo!
11// I love the linen-like texture and color of this trellis fabric.
12// This reminds me of this wallpaper –which I love.
13// This fabric has the cutest little strawberry dots. The designer, karinka, also has a cute berry basket pattern to go along with it. This would be great as a little tea towel.
14// I love the unique pattern. I can see this in a little girl’s nursery on an upholstered chair or even as curtains.
15// Inspired by this discontinued Anthropologie wallpaper, Laurel-Dawn created this fabric and wallpapered her son’s nursery with it.
If you have any other favorite spoonflower fabrics, please  share in the comments!
Image Map

DIY Baby Blocks

Wow.. It’s been a while since I’ve written here! Hopefully I can make it a more frequent occurrence.

The most exciting bit of news since I last posted is that I’m going to be an aunt– for the first time! My husband’s brother and his wife are having their first baby, and they are due April 2. To help the time go by faster (for myself and my sister-in-law), I decided to give her a baby gift every month up until the baby is born. Since she is due on the 2nd, I have been bringing the gifts over on the 2nd of each month and leaving them at their door to surprise them.

In October, I was lazy and brought them a Sophie the Giraffe. Thankfully my dog didn’t get to it first, because he got mighty excited every time we squeaked it. For November, I really wanted to give them something handmade. After lots of “pinteresting,” I settled on some DIY onesies with my brother-in-law’s cars on them. As a family, we are really into cars. I “race” for run and Jerm and his brother race for reals. One of his cars was even featured in Super Street magazine.

I figured since they were such specific and meaningful cars, the onesies could still work fine for a girl. (They know what they are having, but haven’t told.) I was hoping to machine applique the car outlines on, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the onesies over my sewing machine arm and stitch all the way around a car… Fusible webbing to the rescue! Add in a little bit of hand stitching for details, and you have a 1987 Honda CRX and a 1990 Civic Hatch – with phone dial rims just like the ones on my hatch =). Baby’s got the coolest auntie! Since they aren’t stitched on, the edges frayed a little bit in the wash, but I think it adds to the charm.

DIY EF Onesies
Next up for the December gift is DIY Baby Blocks – not the plastic ones you can buy today – real old school wooden ones like I played with as a kid. This project didn’t cost anything as I already had all the materials on hand.

Here is what I used:

1 – 4’ Length of 2×2 Poplar cut into 26 blocks (and for reasons not understood by me, 2×2 is 1.5” x 1.5”)

Martha Stewart Acrylic Paints.  I used –from left to right– Lake Fog, Scottish Highlands, Sterling, Porcelain Doll, Artichoke, Yellowjacket, Blue Calico, Summer Linen,  Geranium, and Cloud.

Martha Stewart Acrylic Paints

Clear, water-based polyurethane

Vinyl “Stencils” that I designed and cut :: Edited to add, I now have sets of these stencils up in my etsy shop here if you want to make some blocks of your own!

Vinyl Stencils for DIY Alphabet Blocks
Frog Tape

Now, if you don’t have an extra 2 hours on your hands, or blister proof thumbs, you may want to invest in pre-cut and sanded blocks like these from various etsy sellers.

I had asked for a palm sander for Christmas, and Jerm was nice enough to let me buy it early to work on this project. He cut the wood into 1.5” lengths with the chop saw, and I took over sanding each side and knocking down the corners and edges with the sander. I used 220 grit sandpaper since the wood was already pretty smooth. 2 hours and 2 blisters later, I had 26 blocks ready to be painted.
DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks

I had drawn up “stencils” for 4 of the six sides in my vinyl cutting program. I made one side uppercase, one side lowercase, one side cursive, and one side numbers and symbols. It was quick and easy to stick the stencils and paint over them with a small brush.

Vinyl Stencils for DIY Alphabet Blocks

Vinyl Stencils for DIY Alphabet Blocks

At first I stuck all of the stencils, painted all of the blocks, and then removed all of the stencils, but I found that the vinyl wanted to splinter the wood on some of the blocks – especially after the paint was dry – so I started pulling them off as I went. I loved the finished product!

DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks
DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks
DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks

For the remaining two sides, I wanted to divide them in half and paint each half in different colors. That way you could use the blocks almost like a puzzle or to try to make a long chain of colors. For this step, I just cut lengths of frog tape and divided each side in half.

Using Frog tape for DIY Alphabet Blocks
I carefully painted up to the edges because I didn’t feel like taping them off + they were rounded over.

DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks
About 10 hours (spread over 3 days) later, I had finally finished the painting on all 6 sides of the blocks.

DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks : JabaayAve

DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks

Time to seal them. I used the same water-based polyurethane as we used on the floor in the loft. I did a bunch of research and couldn’t find any info stating it wasn’t safe, but any food-grade sealant or Safecoat Acrylacq would work as well if you are concerned.

DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks

This was my least favorite step. After two coats, I gave them a quick sand with a scotch brite pad and put on the final – third – coat. And there you have it! I’m delivering them Monday, so hopefully I can find a cute basket to put them in tomorrow.
DIY Painted Alphabet Blocks : JabaayAve

Out With The Old & In With The New

Finally some progress pictures for you! As soon as we got our garage permit, Jerm was dying to get started. The reason we were in such a rush is because it took forever to get our permit (until November 18th to be exact) and winter was quickly approaching.

Let’s have one last look shall we?

Before Garage

The very next day, Jerm was out there after work with two friends getting ready to knock it down and haul it out. The next step was to rent a jackhammer and break up the old slab. This sounded like an easy task since the slab didn’t seem to be reinforced with rebar or mesh (it was cracked all over), but much to our surprise, we found another much harder, reinforced slab under the first one. The jackhammer wasn’t even being very effective so we soon had an army of sledgehammers in our backyard chipping off tiny little bits until it was finally gone. The whole process took much longer than we thought.

Prepping for Slab 2
Because Jerm and I both work, we had to do a lot of our garage work at night after our day jobs. Thankfully, we had very understanding neighbors. Instead of complaining or calling the cops on us, they came outside and offered us the use of their garage lights and set up portable lights for us. We are so blessed to have them.

Prepping the forms at night
Anyway, after finally getting the slab up, our next step was to prep the space, dig footings, and put up forms for our new slab. Jerm’s family has and old Allis-Chalmers tractor that made easy work of moving some of the larger rocks around. We also used a laser level to make sure our forms were level and to make sure that our stone “foundation” for under the slab was level. Looking back on all of this, I picture those couple weeks as the most labor intensive work we’ve ever done. There was a lot of digging, rock moving, and working late into the night, but for once we got lucky and the snow held out on us.

After the ground was prepped and the forms were up, it was time to get ready to pour the slab. This is one of the few things we didn’t do ourselves because we didn’t want to mess up thousands of dollars of concrete. We hired a local family owned company, and they did gorgeous work. One thing we did to keep our cost down was to purchase all materials and do all of the prep work ourselves (like rebar, mesh, and visqueen). Jerm also wanted in-floor heat, so we ran about 400 feet of pex flexible tubing throughout the shop side and zip stripped it to the mesh. He has big plans for that in the future, but for now, it is all in place and ready to go. Because we did pour in colder weather, we had to keep the slab warm with tarp “blankets” for about a week.

Slab in Progress
Finally, it was time to start building, and I got a nice surprise upon coming home from work one Saturday—the first two walls were up! In case you are wondering, we bought all of our wood at a local lumberyard called State lumber. Smaller, local businesses are often more reasonable than you would think and we got better quality wood delivered right to our house (vs. picking through all of the warped boards at a home center).

First Load of Wood
First two walls going up
Once the building started, it went much quicker than I thought. Pretty soon we had more walls + our metal beam up to support the loft. We got lucky and found the perfect size beam behind a friends’ barn, so that saved a few hundred dollars.  Once the main floor was framed and partially sheathed, we started working on framing the loft, dormers, and roofline. We are truly grateful to all of our friends that came out to help us night after night. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Center wall up and Steel Beam in Place
Sheathing Started on Parking Side
The most challenging part of the framing was getting the huge ridge beams for the roof up into place. For the second beam, Jerm had to get creative and use a hoist to lift the beam up and into place.

Jerms Method of Lifting the Ridge Beam
New Years Eve was spent sheathing the rest of the roof, and finally, three days before the first snow on January 6, we had a roof.

Roof is done
Roofing was the only other thing we didn’t do ourselves. For one, we were in a hurry to beat the snow and couldn’t have done it as fast, and for two, Jerm didn’t like the idea of being up on such a steep roof. We hired a guy from our church, and they did a great job for us. We chose a 30 year architectural style shingle in “weathered wood” that he supplied.

Whew… That covered a lot of ground in one post. Next up, Jerm goes crazy and spends all of our money on insulation… Just kidding, but he did really prioritize the insulation in our garage.

Bakery Kitchen Design Board

I spend my days working in my family’s appliance and cabinetry store, so I am surrounded by cabinetry, countertops, and appliances all day. Very dangerous if you ask me, because I’m always bringing home samples and coming up with new ideas for our house. Based on some inspiration from our own kitchen combined with my dream kitchen, I came up with a design board for a bakery style kitchen.
Bakery Kitchen-02For starters, the cabinetry –I always find myself drawn to white or painted cabinetry. I think white cabinets in a bright, window filled kitchen are perfection. The nice thing about painted cabinets is that you can pair them with a wood floor without worrying about the cabinets and floor clashing or being too matchy-matchy—two common mistakes. As for the door style, I like a simpler, vintage style flat panel door. One tip to mention if you are shopping for cabinets is to look for similar door styles in different brands. For example, the door I had originally picked for this inspiration board was Silverton by Dura Supreme, but you can find a very similar door style like Lincoln Square by Kraftmaid for less.

Bakery Kitchen-03I also love the look of concrete countertops, and we are considering them for our loft workspace. For a less labor intensive (and more durable) option for the kitchen, there are lots of quartz companies that have a similar look available. For that creamy grey color, I like Templeton by Cambria and Misty Carrera, London Grey, and Haze by Caesarstone. Pair with a light grey or white penny tile backsplash for a neutral look. I think it’s a good idea to keep the main components of a kitchen neutral and non-trendy, adding in color through paint and accessories. If your style changes down the line, it isn’t near as expensive to swap out accessories as it would be to change your cabinetry or backsplash.
Bakery Kitchen-04For the appliances, you could easily go stainless in a kitchen like this, but I love the new white ice collection from Whirlpool. The silver handles add just the right contemporary touch without being high maintenance like stainless can be. These definitely aren’t your grandmother’s white appliances. The one tip I have for doing white appliances with white cabinetry is to make sure your cabinets are a true white. If you pair bright white appliances with even a slightly-off white cabinet, it could make the cabinets look dirty.

I tried to keep the accessories functional, yet beautiful. You can’t go wrong with a Kitchenaid stand mixer in a fun color, and I love the idea of displaying baking ingredients in glass jars on an open shelf. It lends to that bakery feel and keeps them easy to access. You can also use unconventional items as art, like a beautiful cookbook or a set of pretty cookie cutters hanging on little hooks.Kitchen Design Board

Cabinetry // Countertops // Penny Tile // Appliances // Sink // Hardware // Faucet

Cupcake Love Print // Glass Jars // Cookie Cutters // Cake Stand // Cook Book // Stand Mixer // Measuring Cups

Mint // Grey // White // Peach // Copper

I hope to slowly add in decorative touches like this into our kitchen. I have plans to take off two cabinet doors for some open shelving display space, but we’ll see if Jerm will go for that or not.

How about you? Any kitchen reno plans for the future?

Minted Design Board Challenge

Minted is having a birth announcement inspiration board challenge right now, and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at making one. I love minted and I am on their site all the time, but I didn’t know that they had a design board tool. All you need to get started is an account.

First things first, I had to pick my favorite birth announcement to design my board around–this was no easy task because they are all so great! I finally settled on the sweet little ladybug by Melanie Severin. I love the vintage feel of the colors and the floral graphic–perfect for a little girl.

After extensive google searching and pinteresting (waaay too much pinteresting), here is what I came up with…

The Sweet Life Design Board via Minted
Clockwise from top left:

1// la dolce vita via merriweathercouncil
2// Glitter hangers from ontobaby.com 3// sweet little ladybug birth announcement
4// baby shoes from seed heritage 5//vintage sheet bunting via intimateweddings
6//gold chevron wall from ontobaby.com

I love the super girly yet classic color scheme with gold, apricot, and pinks…and those shoes are to die for! One of my favorite tips is to use outgrown baby clothes and accessories as decor in a baby’s room. You can hang a baby dress from a hook on a shelf or the wall with a mini hanger, or you can put a sweet pair of shoes in a shadowbox.

If you make a design board, I’d love it if you share!