Phase One is Better than Phase None – A Staircase Gallery Wall

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

I am usually fast to get to projects. I make a list and I don’t sit around and talk about it – I jump in and do it! Though we had our whole downstairs painted within 3 months of moving in, we still have a line where we quit painting at the landing of our staircase. We plan to carry that gray color (Sherwin Williams Online) up the staircase and into the upstairs hallway. But… it remains unpainted.

When you should start a DIY home project even if you know that you can't finish it right now - when phase 1 is better than phase none - Charleston Crafted

Why? Well, we need to scrape the popcorn ceilings, which is a full weekend project plus we will need to borrow some kind of intense ladder. Then we can paint. And while scraping the ceilings is a very low cost project, it’s hard to squeeze a full weekend long project into my current project schedule – the stairwell just isn’t our top priority at the moment.

We have been planning a gallery wall for our sunroom, and sometime in the process Sean said that I really shouldn’t be buying more frames and printing photos when we have a huge stack of them waiting to be hung on the staircase. I thought about it and said that we couldn’t hang the photos until we painted the walls and we couldn’t paint the walls until we scraped the ceilings and we couldn’t scrape the ceilings until we finish the kitchen.

So, we couldn’t hang the frames until the summer. At which point we would have been living here for a year! It struck me how sad it was that all of our wedding photos would be in a closet for a full year (they were on full display in our condo).

But why? Why not just hang the dang pictures already? Who cares if the wall isn’t painted yet! So I decided to go against my own grain and start a “phase one” staircase project.

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

What is a phase one project? It’s something that you do knowing that it’s not how you want it to look in the end. It’s a quick fix, a band-aid, and usually I am really against them. Phase-ones can quickly become phase-forevers and fall into the rut of “good enough.”

But, sometimes, Phase One projects are good.

  • When Phase One is free
  • When you have a time or money constraint holding back the full project
  • When you know that you will definitely follow through on the whole project once you have the time and money

So, here’s our temporary, Phase One staircase gallery wall. As always, my tip for gallery walls is to cut out newspaper the size and shape of each frame and use a marker to label which way is up. Use painters tape to re-arrange them on the wall until you are satisfied.

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

We hung them with small nails that, yeah, we will have to take out when we paint. But, I am so glad that we got these frames out of the closet and up on the wall. It’s starting to feel really homey!

How do you feel about Phase One projects? 

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6 Months In – Updated House Tour!

Six Month Home Tour - Charleston Crafted

Hey guys! Can you believe that we have been in our new house for six months now? It really feels like we’ve lived here for forever and I feel like we have gotten so much done! We wanted to share a current walk-through of how the house is looking at the moment. Check it out below, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as we don’t always run a blog post every time we make a video.

Here are some of the highlights:

Six Month Home Tour - Charleston Crafted

Keep following along to see what we do next to make this house our own!

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How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains)

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

It’s a new year and I am excited for the new projects in our home. This is month six and we have both big and small projects on the radar. One of the small projects is to start decorating our sunroom more. It is our main tv/living space and it is really just our furniture sat down when we moved and we haven’t touched it since (except to paint). The best feature in this room is the wall of four windows overlooking the lake and backyard, but I wanted to figure out how to make the windows look bigger and make it really look like a “wall of windows”.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

I did some research on design sites and came to the conclusion that the consensus is to hang curtains high and wide around window frames. I decided that I wanted to hang curtains between each of the four windows (single, double, single) to make the wall feel more grand.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

I actually ordered several sets of curtains and returned them before finding the perfect set. I will just say that, if you want to hang curtains high and have standard 8 foot ceilings, you need at least 96″ curtains. Don’t waste your time on anything shorter unless you want a “high water” effect. I ended up with these curtains from At Home. At Home is an awesome store for home decor and furnishings, and I really need to go there more often! They were $35 for a pair so I spent $70 on 4 panels. I will say that I considered sewing or making no-sew curtains, but with the cost of fabric it really made more sense to buy these inexpensive ones.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

The other thing that I needed was a curtain rod. This space is 19 feet so it really was a big buy! For a 228 inch single rod I of course turned to Amazon. I ended up with this adjustable 144-240 inch rod in black. It’s actually two rods that join together to form one extra long rod. I got it for $67.99 right after Thanksgiving and it has been chilling in our garage ever since.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

Hanging such a long rod was really a two person job. I suggest hanging one curtain on the rod, getting the correct height, and marking the wall with a pencil. Then use your rod (without the curtain) and a level or a laser level to make marks across the long wall. Once you hang your curtains, I really recommend using a handheld steamer to get the creases or wrinkles out, especially if they are new out of a package.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

I love how the wall of curtains turned out and really think that it makes the windows feel and look larger.

How to Make Windows Look Bigger (With Curtains) - Charleston Crafted

What else is coming up in the sunroom? A new rug (this one looks old in person), some sort of art or shelves around the TV, shelves above the bar, getting rid of the dinky bookshelf, and revisions to the window seat! Also, if you have any advice on how to/if you should add crown molding to rooms with slanted ceilings, please weigh in below!

Stay tuned as this will be an ongoing project in 2017.

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7 Unexpected Moving Expenses

7 Unexpected Moving Expenses - Charleston Crafted

If you are planning on buying a house and moving, you probably know that it is really expensive. While you might be focused on budgeting for a down payment and closing costs, you also need to consider moving costs. Aside from actual movers, here is a list of actual unexpected expenses that we or friends have incurred when moving. Make sure that you budget for them right alongside your down payment and closing costs!

7 Unexpected Moving Expenses - Charleston Crafted

Moving Supplies – boxes, tape, and packing materials can all add up, especially if you need a lot of them. We shared this post on our favorite resources for free moving boxes, so really try to get as many as you can for free to save a lot. At the store, large moving boxes can cost over $2 each, plus the costs of packing tape, bubble wrap, and other supplies.

New Locks – most anyone will tell you that the first thing that you should do after moving is change the locks. We went ahead and changed the knobs and locks on all of our exterior doors. Depending on how many doors you have, it can really add up when you’re looking at between $25-50 for different lock types.  Consider buying a pack with multiple locks in it to be more cost effective.

Light Bulbs – It was important to me that we had LED light bulbs in all of our fixtures. Light bulbs aren’t expensive, but replacing every bulb in a house can hurt your bottom line. Once again, consider buying in bulk to save per item.

Blinds – we somehow never realized in all of our walk-throughs of our house that not a single window had blinds. It was a vacant house that had renters in it before and apparently they were so destroyed that they just took them all down before they listed the house. Well, we figured out pretty quickly that we needed the privacy and the thermal protection from blinds, and even choosing plastic “faux wood” blinds seriously adds up! Price these out in advance and prioritize which rooms you need to do first if you can’t swing them all right away.

Any Immediate Repairs – did you agree to ignore any problems in your home inspection? Ours revealed that our garbage disposal was broken but we overlooked it because we knew that we could DIY the fix (and we wanted to focus on getting them to pay for a new HVAC system). Make a list of any problems in the inspection that you don’t have fixed and go ahead and repair them immediately or you will never do it! However, that will come with a cost. So try to make sure to lower how much you pay for the house.

Yard Equipment – if you are moving into your first house with a yard, you probably don’t have a lot of yard equipment. We previously lived in a 3rd floor condo and definitely didn’t have a yard. We moved during the summer and pretty quickly had to get a lawnmower, rakes, shovels, edgers, a hose, and more. Luckily, we were able to get some things as “hand-me-downs” from Sean’s dad, who was downsizing at the time. If you are in a pinch, consider pawn shops for larger equipment like mowers, or ask your neighbors if you can borrow things for the first season. We apologized to our new neighbor the first few times we asked them for help and he kept saying, “don’t worry about it, we’re neighbors.” They are happy to help. Sometimes, when you feel like you are hemorrhaging money, “good enough” is good enough for now!

Appliances – is your seller taking their washer, dryer, microwave, or refrigerator? Those are big ticket items that you probably need right away. If you can swing purchasing them on a holiday weekend, big box stores are more likely to have sales. You might also need to budget for delivery fees for those items if you don’t have a truck or don’t want to move them from the store yourself.

What unexpected moving expenses have you encountered?

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Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Growing up, we stored all of our annual and infrequently used stuff in the attic. It was natural. I never would have thought differently or that any other house would be different. That can have its own set of problems (like when you go help your dad move out and it takes hours to empty the attic…) but it was the perfect solution for storing our things. So when we moved into our house, I assumed that we would be putting our Christmas decorations, camping equipment and other infrequently used things in the attic. However, when I went up there the first time, I found out that the only flooring was a small landing pad where the air handler was. Not to mention that all the duct work went around the entrance to the attic and the rest of the attic that was available was tortured with slanted beams holding up that pesky roof of ours.

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

We needed to store stuff up there, so I had to get creative.

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

The first thing I did was to collect plywood from construction dumpsters and the side of the road to use as some flooring. I would never buy plywood for this. Plywood is one of those things that is pretty easily accessible if you start looking for it. Once I had some decent pieces, I carried it upstairs and laid it out on the accessible floor space. The only thing to remember when doing this is to make sure it is resting on studs, otherwise you’ll just plummet through your ceiling.

Next was the storage. Like I said, the space is really awkward with air ducts and slanted beams, so I couldn’t put much on the ground. So, I had to go vertical. I measured the distance between slanted beams above the air duct on one side and found it to be 42 inches. Using scrap pieces of wood, I created supports on the beams by nailing the scrap pieces into the beams across from each other. Then, did so on the beams next to them to create a four post base. I did this all the way across six sets of beams at the same height across.

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Then, I simply laid down pieces of MDF board (you could use free plywood here too) to act as a long shelf across the beams above the air duct.

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

I finished it off by driving a single nail through the boards into the support pieces so that they wouldn’t slide around. Then, I was ready for storage.

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Creating Storage in a Cramped Attic - Charleston Crafted

Going vertical is a great way to create storage in any situation. People always assume that once something is on the ground, it also owns all the space above it. Sometimes, especially in a case like this, you have to improvise. This didn’t open up a ton of storage for us, but we were able to get all of our Christmas decorations out of the garage for the year. Plus, this is a project I can add on to in the future in other places where the air duct runs between beams.

How do you store things in your attic? I’d love to hear more tips from you about adding more space!

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