Love thy Neighbor: A double room update

So… I love you to the moon and back and am so sorry for my hiatus. I have been *trying* to get my life in some sort of order (one of those “to hear God laugh, tell him your plans” kinda things). I have tons of stuff to post about so the good news is that I am back and will be posting much more regularly. The bad news… gotcha… there isn’t any.

You may have checked out the inspiration board page and I am really excited to reveal two rooms that I worked on with my Neighbor. My neighbor had the initial ideas that I put together the inspiration boards with and from that we have two brand new rooms! Both of their daughters are off at college and they wanted to update the girls’ rooms to be more chic and adult while reflecting their totally different personalities. So, with a few new pieces of furniture and some new decor, the rooms really look pulled together and completely brand new.

Sadly, I didn’t really take any “before, before” pictures. I have one that shows the previous wall color and a little bit of the furniture that was in one of the girls rooms. My Neighbor was really excited to get them some new furniture for their rooms, the stuff that they had was around for quite a few years. But all the old stuff went to great new homes (one piece is currently in my storage waiting for a fun new look, it is going to be an awesome piece in a guest room one day). So I totally scored on this makeover as well. Anywhoo… here are the before pics that I DO have.

You can see the old paint color in the top picture and the new neutral color in the bottom pictures. My neighbor had the rooms and ceilings painted – they may eventually put their house on the market so she wanted it to be something that would be a more universally liked color.

I however, am petitioning for them to never move. If that house ever goes on the market, I have evil plots up my sleeve to be sure that everyone who comes to look at that house thinks that the neighbors are all crazy and then they will never move (not really, but we would be totally bummed if they weren’t just across the street anymore).

Here is the inspiration board for the first bedroom we are gonna call “mini-A’s” bedroom. I asked them about using the pictures for the blogs but not about names. Nicknames are more fun anyway.

And now the BIG REVEAL BEGINS!!! I LOVE both of these rooms. I can’t pick a favorite. They were so fun to work on because the girls have totally different personalities and it was fun to find the individual pieces and see it all come together perfectly. Plus I totally creeped around my neighbor’s house until the girls came home for a weekend visit just so I could see their faces and see how surprised they were.

They knew their parents were updating the spaces but didn’t know the details.

Love the saying in this picture frame. I even made one for myself. We didn’t have any of their photos handy so I whipped this up real quick on the computer and I love how it turned out. Now to the full room…

Mini A loved the room. It totally reflects her bubbly personality. She loves bright colors and she LOVED the painting above the bed which is actually what a lot of the pieces in the room were inspired from. I think the basic gray bedding that has an awesome sheen and small amount of detail allows for everything else to be really fun and bright.

All of the different pillows on the bed totally compliment each other and then let’s not forget the awesome chair that their Mom picked out. That was the first piece in the room and gave us a jumping off point. The arrangement of the room (wish I had a better before picture for you) really opened up the space. Despite the bright colors, the room feels very calm and a cozy to me. Totally a group effort and I totally love it.

However, I love things about “not-so-mini-A’s” space as well. I think both offer simple enough base pieces that they appeal to pretty much anyone no matter your color preferences. I will tell you my faves after you see the awesome room. Below is the inspiration board you may remember. Definitely a much more girly Parisian chic sort of feel for this room.

And here is “not-so-mini-A’s” final room. My FAVORITE part are the puddled drapes. I love a good puddled drape. More than anything. I’m serious.

Note the photographs in this next pic. We picked them up at Ikea and I wanted to run away with them so badly. I love love love photographs of doors. Something about them seems promising to me. It’s a constant reminder that when God closes one door he opens another door and sometimes it is a B-E-A-UTIFUL door.

Heres a close up of the photos. They had a bunch of different doors and fences at Ikea but these were our favorites.

“not-so-mini-A” is usually pretty reserved but she cracked a pretty big smile seeing this room for the first time. I really think it fits her. She is not an ultra girly girl but loves the color purple. So I think we gave her a space that was uncluttered and totally fit the calm vibe that she has.

“mini-a” is the older sister, strangely enough. I only feel okay calling her “mini-A” because we are about the same height even though I’m like 4 or 5 years older and hey, being short is not as bad as some people thing. “not-so-mini-A” is definitely taller but I very much relate to her calm demeanor. I’ve known them both for quite a few years and am so happy that their Mom asked me to help out with this project.

We definitely kept an eye on cost by watching out for sales, using coupons and doing some online pre-shopping so we had an idea on what the total cost would be. Out of respect to clients, I never share their total budget, etc. but if you are looking for a piece in one of the pics, send me a message or leave a comment, I’m happy to help you find anything that you love.

Do you love it? Have any updates you are working on right now?

Another successful bedroom update… times 2! Coming soon I will have a playroom update that I am about to begin with a client. I also have some super fun tutorials including the princess birthday hat that I made for the sweetest and funniest little girl who turns four this weekend (my, how the time gets away from us!)

I’m so glad that you are still reading and promise that I have TONS of fun new things coming soon. I swear!

Hope you have an awesome weekend. Sic ‘Em Bears against TCU tonight at 6:00pm and as always Sic ‘Em Redskins and Texans (haven’t even looked at their schedules yet to see who and when they are playing, but that is a blanket statement for me).



Catching up & Spare Bedroom Reveal!

I apologize for my recent MIA status – I have been crazy busy and sick and all that jazz. Blah blah, but i’m back and I have some awesome new stuff to share with you!

First, I finally scheduled my move and will be moving things next week so that means I have a whole storage unit to go through but I am super excited to get some of my craft items out of storage which means you may see a crazy surge in projects, but I’ve been missing all my stuff and now that I have finished the spare bedroom/craft room/sewing room and gotten that all updated I am totally excited to cross off some of the projects on my list.

So you guys saw a sneak peak at the cornice box for the spare bedroom last week but as I mentioned, I wanted a little something to jazz it up. I found the perfect thing. So without further delay – I’m totally pumped to share the WHOLE bedroom with you!

Let me remind you of what it was looking like before:

Cluttered, messy and a total dumping ground. After a million  enough trips for the Goodwill folks to remember me each time, we donated a bunch of stuff and got this room ready for some reorganizing. The whole update only cost about $150 – some new bedding and pillow covers, a couple of decorative items and the rest was just some careful shifting of items that were already lurking around the house.

So here is the final product

Here is a close up of the key I added to the middle of the cornice box

Lantern, books and an alarm clock on top of the chest. A TV might be going there in the near future. 

2 part desk area with tons of shelves for storage. 

The main part of the desk – can use both desks for sewing or crafts, etc. etc. 

Found an awesome clock for $14 at ross and then made the cork board below it. Tutorial on that to come. 

Got an awesome deal on a lamp at Kirkland’s – covered over the side table with scrapbook paper and mod podge and added a handle – tutorial for that coming up too. One more pic of my favorite part of the room

I love the nautical feel of the bedroom and I also love that a lot of the items were repurposed – the frames on the wall have these awesome coastal town pictures in them. I repainted the 80’s frames they were in and then painted the mats as well. I already had all those supplies so that was totally free. It is easy to get creative once you start rolling and know you have a limited budget.

My parents are totally happy with their spare bedroom makeover and are so glad it isn’t the family dumping ground anymore. Do you guys have rooms that end up being a dumping ground? You just kind of shut the door and pretend it isn’t there?

Have a fantastic weekend!


Mirror, mirror – I think i’m finally finished with you.

Well… I loved the change that adding the frame to my bathroom mirror added. However I just felt like it could be spruced a bit. Here was what it first looked like.

I totally love that it made the bathroom look updated and much more finished but this is such a large mirror and I just couldn’t resist the urge to add decorative touches and get at it with some antique gold rub n’ buff – more on the miracle of rub n’ buff later but I am not joking I had never used this stuff before I went at this mirror and now I want to use it on every project ever. Back to the project at hand.

I thought some thin pieces of decorative wood and then a medallion at the top would really add to the whole look. Off to Lowe’s I went. One gentleman asked me how my projects were going and wanted to see pictures (read: I spend waay too much time in Lowe’s). So I found this moulding that was about 3/4 of an inch wide and I think it is the perfect subtle accent. Each piece was $6.98 and I only needed two pieces.

There is a small rope pattern and since it was flush on the sides I knew it would fit right against the frame that is already completed. Plus if there are any gaps, then I can add some caulk and some paint and no one will ever know.

I also thought it would be nice to add a decorative piece to the middle of the top of the mirror, my lighting is rather high and I think the medallion in the center just draws the eye up. I got this in the same section as the rope moulding. It is just a medallion that they often use for the center of the moulding on the fire-place or something along those lines.

8′ Raw Whitewood Rope Moulding – $6.98

I got the EverTrue 3-1/2″ Raw Whitewood Ornament for $6.92.I already had the paint, adhesive, rub n’ buff and caulk at home so I didn’t need to buy any extra but I also used those items for this project. 

So I cut my moulding pieces and painted them with the satin black paint like before. I also painted the medallion black. Once they were dry, I took a little antique gold rub n’ buff on a soft cloth and lightly rubbed over the rope moulding as well as the medallion to give it a more traditional but rustic feel. We will definitely have a whole blog tutorial on rub n’ buff – this stuff makes my heart sing. For real.

So here is the FINISHED product. I do not plan on doing anymore additions to the mirror and just love the way it turned out. My neighbors have come by and all asked when I can do their house. My dream is to make design my business one day. Baby steps, right!?

Here is a close up of the moulding the rub n’ buff really gives it some dimension.

And here is the big picture:

I love how it turned out. More pics from the decor updates and such to come. Total for these additions to the mirror it cost $22.60. So in all I have spent $154.24 on the bathroom update project. I have $245.76 left for decor and new faucets. I feel like it is all coming along nicely!    More mini updates to be posted soon. Hope you have a great week!

Bella Mandarin blog gets an update.

Obviously, I am new to the whole blog world (ahem I believe this is post #6) and I decided to give the blog a little bit of a facelift. This is (as always) still a work in progress. But I feel like this screams a little more “fun” than the last one.

There are some exciting posts coming soon – the finishing touches on the contractor mirror, getting rid of the gold hardware in your home (if you have a house built around the 90’s or so, you know that it is EVERYWHERE) and some other nifty projects i’ve been working on.

For the sake of being totally real with y’all – it has been a rough month or two! A break up after 3ish years, moving to a new but old city and  friends with some serious health issues going on. However, I rest assured that God has a plan and all I can do is pray. After all I do love the quote I once saw “have you spent as much time praying about it as you have talking about it?” TRUE STATEMENT. I can talk myself into circles but God has got it all under control. He will never give you more than you can handle. If you find yourself with a few spare minutes, prayers for my friends would be very much appreciated. 

Hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July and thank you to all of our military troops everywhere. As a child of two retired Navy parents, I know that we are the land of the free because of our troops who fight for that everyday.

-Bella Mandarin

Loved a lot about the 90’s – the tired standard bathroom lighting is definitely not one of those things.

My parents moved into this house when I was in the 5th grade – I’m now in my mid-twenties. So there are a few things around the house that have been gradually updated in recent years but as with any house, it is always a work in progress. So in the bathroom, the walls have been painted and the cabinets have been painted which definitely updated the place but there are some other simple fixes that will make it look a whole lot better.

First – the lighting. If you remember these little beauties  in all of my “before” pics:

So I did a little pre-shopping online and went to Lowe’s set on these awesome oil-rubbed bronze lights – the picture totally doesn’t do it justice but you can get the gist of what I am after:

These are $59 each and there is a lighting fixture over each sink so for two total it’s $120 then since my parents are retired military, they were able to get these at a 10% discount so after tax it was $114.78 for both of these. So I get home, totally pumped to start the transformation. I take down the first old lighting fixture and discover the large bracket used underneath with HUGE anchor holes, etc. So after some serious frowning, I decided rather than having to patch and paint and on and on, it would be better to find lighting that had a backing piece extending across the entire fixture rather than having it just at the center. So while I loved those beauties, I love the idea of simple updates more. So back to Lowe’s I went where I settled on a “mix & match lighting” set.

The fixtures were $29 each and the glass bells were $8.98 a piece. They look a little more of an ivory color in the picture but they are actually a frosted white linen finish. They are a little bit heavy though so I am glad that I am using the larger bracket.

So for these two fixtures and bells (after the 10% discount) it was a total of $100.80 – I could have gone with a cheaper bell to reduce the overall cost but I just really love the shape of these.

So, up they went. Since we weren’t working on any of the main electrical, we were able to just turn the light switch off to these lights and plug in a lamp in the bathroom (anyone else have a bathroom with no windows? what a pain!) rather than having to flip the circuit to off.

Pretty simple to put these up, just had to re-attach the wires and put the main piece on our existing bracket. No more 80’s dressing room lights – just a simple light change made a HUGE difference:

I love the new lighting. Next thing I will be tackling is the large contractor mirror seen above. So far my mini bathroom reno has cost a total of $100.80.

– BellaMandarin