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What Would You Do: Red vs. Blue Front Door?

Gorgeous red front doors and beautiful blue front doors. I love these!

Hope you guys all had a great weekend!

I’m in need of a serious tie-breaker (with myself) for a new front door color and I’m hoping you guys can help. My husband and I bought our house two years ago outside of Washington DC and have been slowly updating it in small phases.

Phase 1 of our exterior updating was landscaping. The yard was very well maintained, but the bushes were too big for the front yard and blocked the wrap around porch. Plus, they were like the local hangout for every spider in Northern Virginia ever. Not even kidding. Ask Kim. Only bonus? Free Halloween decorating.

updating our curb appeal {praylivecreate.com}

After a year of living in the house we ripped almost everything out and started fresh.  We’ve made even more changes this year that I hope to share soon, but here’s a look at our phase 1 in the meantime. We chose plants that will stay under 3′ to allow the front porch to shine.

re-landscaping for curb appeal {praylivecreate.com}

This summer we plan to re-do the siding and shutters. The whole thing has been a major unexpected blessing that just goes to show God really does love lavishing us with unexpected and undeserved gifts. Our siding was 30 year old aluminum and I’ve disliked the harvest gold and brown-green color scheme since day two (day one I was too excited to care). I thought for sure we’d be living with it for many years to come, though, so instead we just thanked God every day for a roof over our heads and a floor under our feet. Then a hail storm came and our insurance company told us we were due for some new siding. I seriously got down on my knees and thanked God for the “best birthday present ever!” True story.

I’m leaning toward an ivory color for the siding called Antique Parchment, classic black shutters, and white trim. The porch will be painted white and the light blue-gray floor will stay. But the door is tricky. I need your help.

I’ve been in love with red doors for years. Like bright-look-at-me-red.

 pin from original source BHGBHG

red front door via House BeautifulHouse Beautiful

pin from original source apartment therapyApartment Therapy

 But I’ve recently fallen for blue doors, too.

pin from original source HGTVHGTV

pin from original source BHGBHG

pin from original source hiyapapaya.comhiya papaya

What would you do? Red or blue?


Linking up with Jack of All Trades at A Harvest of Blessing 

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

connect with steph
Stephanie bloglovin Pray, Live, Create Facebook Pray, Live, Create Pinterest Pray, Live, Create email PLC rss

Making over a stinky dresser (pt. 1)

This is going to be a long post for me.

Kim came down for Ladies Weekend 2014 last weekend (even though my husband stuck around so it was more like Ladies Weekend and one guy. Don’t mind David on his man chair!). As always we had big plans and not enough time. But we did manage to fit in two trips to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The first trips was on Friday afternoon half an hour before closing when I spotted a beautiful full size brass bed. I’m talking old school, antique solid brass, not brass plated, with the most beautiful patina (though y’all know I would’ve taken some Bar Keeper’s Friend to that thing). I had visions of Chloe’s room from The Hunted Interior dancing in my head all night so we went back to ask about the price the next morning.

Making over a stinky dresser {praylivecreate.com}

The bed was still available, but I spotted this dresser instead.

Making over a stinky dresser {praylivecreate.com}

Fluted sides. Tapered legs. Solid wood with dovetailed drawers. It was exactly what I’d envisioned for one of our totally empty spare bedrooms / someday nursery. It was listed at $80 but after a quick inspection to make sure all the drawers were working and the dresser didn’t wobble + a text consult with David we offered $70. Sold!

It took three guys to lift it into the back of our car.

Making over a stinky dresser {praylivecreate.com}

Once we got the dresser home we removed the drawers to help pull it out of the car. Here’s where the plot thickens. At the ReStore the dresser seemed in excellent condition. Sturdy and clean. And we’d reasoned that it must have been recently dropped off since we didn’t see it the night before. But once the drawers were removed it revealed a seriously nasty interior. And a stink. Not just a stink but a stank. Kim and I spent three hours in the beating sun wiping that thing down with soap & vinegar followed by bleach and a serious arm workout.

Making over a stinky dresser {praylivecreate.com}

We knew it would take three of us to haul the dresser upstairs to the bedrooms and after some major scrubbing it looked shiny and clean so we carried it inside and upstairs and opened a window to let the vinegar smell air out, leaving the drawers in the garage to clean out another day.

On Sunday it became apparent as the vinegar smell dissipated that the dresser still reeked. I wiped it down with two Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, vinegar and bleach again and coated the interior with baking soda per some quick Googling around.

On Monday the dresser still reeked. I freaked. And then things got real. I decided the source of the smell was probably mildew from a storage unit or basement. And I determined that it was probably attached to the porous back board of the dresser. So I measured the length and width of the backboard and had a new backboard cut to size at Home Depot. While I was out I also picked up a biodegradable tarp and a bottle of Concrobium Mold Control spray, a non-bleach, no VOC spray that eliminates and prevents mold. Plus a quart of Kilz Premium (my go to primer for No VOCs, stain blocking, and mildew-resistance), a couple different sanding blocks, and some painting supplies. You see where I’m going with this…

Making over a stinky dresser {praylivecreate.com}

When David got home we ripped the old backboard off and trashed it. Thankfully it came off easily without damaging the dresser. Then I vacuumed out all of the baking soda with a Dyson and used an attachment to go over all the nooks and crannies now that the back was removed. We moved the dresser on top of our tarp and sprayed down the whole thing with the Concrobium Mold Control spray. I literally coated it from head to toe, let it sit for a couple minutes, wiped off any excess or puddles, and allowed the rest of the dresser to air dry.

You guys, after 3 days this dresser finally doesn’t smell! Like, at all. Between ripping off the backboard and spraying that thing down I think we’ve eliminated all the mildew and mustyness.

So here’s my question for you. During my freak out I’d determined that I was going to rehab this dresser to get rid of the mildew and then paint and seal it to be extra safe. But now that the smell’s gone, what would you do? I’m not usually a wood purist, but this piece was in such good condition that I originally thought I’d keep the cherry finish. But a white dresser could be ultra sweet for a kid’s room, and I usually lean toward painted furniture for children anyway, so now I’m leaning towards painting it.

What would you do?

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

Yard Sale Finds

This past month has been super busy as I wrapped up my first school year in my current position and prepped to lead summer camp for the first time ever.  I bought skorts. Does that mean I’m officially a teacher now?

Amidst activity planning and classroom cleaning I managed to squeeze in some early Saturday morning yard sales. Last year was a total bust, but this year has been my best year ever. So I thought I’d share some of my fun scores and groundbreaking* tips – and I’d love to hear about or see your scores, too.

*Not groundbreaking at all. They’re actually pretty tried and true, but I just followed the rules this time.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

A pair of matching Chippendale chairs, demilune table, brass tray, and rocking horse = $47. And the horse cost $45.

Did you see that? The horse cost $45! I got everything else for a combined $2! I have plans to redo the chairs, stay tuned.

That leads me to Tip #1: Wear this outfit. And you should probably get close to my friend Nicole, too.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

The secret to my success that day? My friend Nicole who’s just all around approachable, creative, and a total yard sale trooper. But I still told her I’m wearing this outfit every time I yard sale from now on.

Tip #2: Get up early! Withdraw cash the night before, set your alarm clock, grab some oatmeal, and stick a Greek yogurt in your purse for later, because the good stuff is gone after breakfast.

I finally started preparing for yard sales the day before so that I could be out the door by 8am, and it paid off big time.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

Blue & white flower pot = $2.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

Mid century modern brass candle holders = $2 for the set.

Tip #3: Search for yard sales on Craigslist the week before so that you can have a plan of attack. Community yard sales are great because you’ll have a lot of sellers in one area.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

Antique nightstand, sofa table, 2 cans of spray paint = $22. I paid $10 for each table and $1 for each can of spray paint. Makeover to come.

yard sale finds {praylivecreate.com}

The First Christmas pop-up book and Walt Disney Classic Storybook = $2

And that’s that. I scored a couple other fun finds, but these are my favorites.  I plan on giving most of the furniture makeovers this summer, and I’ll be back later to show you what I’m doing with each piece.

What’s your best yard sale score?Any new or tried and true yard sale tips I should know?

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

My Entryway and the Ultimate Score

the score (praylivecreate.com)
The hubster and I have been slowly turning an old fourth floor NYC walk up into our perfect little haven in the city, and I think it’s time to start showing you in. But before we get there, let’s collectively jump up and down about that table in that picture up there.

You know why?  Because it means the entryway is finally coming together. And this, friends, has been eluding me for ages.

Six months ago I decided our entryway, which is basically a long and never-ending dark hallway that leads to a small wall before the rest of the apartment happens, needed to change. Friends, we cannot have you walking straight into a blank white wall when you come into our home. It’s just not natural.

Then I stumbled across this post by the wonderful Sarah Dorsey about her tiny entryway space, and bells started ringing. I would have a turquoise demilune table (Steph taught me that word) in my entryway. We scoured the city. We combed Craigslist. We walked into every TJ Maxx, Target, and Marshalls in like a 25 mile radius. A turquoise table, or a table that I could cut in half and paint turquoise was not to be had.

Until the hubster and I almost had a tire blow up, then had to get a tire fixed, then missed our oil change because of said tire, then decided to soothe the pain in Homegoods two weeks ago and ran into this. We’re styling it just like this, except the budget part of my brain wouldn’t let me spring for anything outside of the table. So we’re going back. Would you believe that once we set it up this way, like a bajillion women tried to grab this table out of our hands? Would you believe the hubster almost pounced on them to make sure we brought this table home?

It’s all good. Love for our neighbor won out, no harsh words were said, and the table’s in our entryway just waiting for a giant chalkboard, huge orchid, and shimmery picture frame to make it feel at home. The chalkboard’s going to say “Well, hello there!”

What do you guys think? Any other ideas? Tell me your thoughts!



Four Ways to Decorate With Old Windows

4 ways to decorate with old windows
When the hubster and I visited Hoffman’s Barn Sale in the Hudson River Valley, I couldn’t get over their selection of used windows. They had huge collections of them all along the side of the barn, and they were crazy cheap. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. These windows above were only $7.00. Do you see all that sparkling treasure just sitting there and begging to be made beautiful?


I was super tempted to grab a bunch for a DIY art piece behind the couch, but since we’re already working on an art piece to hang there (including the frames to end all frames), I ended up letting them go. Still, I can’t help but daydream about all the things that could have been.

Window Pane - A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
via A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

I love the chicken wire in place of glass and her beautiful DIY grapevine wreath.

Window Pane - A Beach Cottage website
via ABeachCottage.com

I’m always a sucker for beach cottage themes. Seriously, heaven will have beach cottages, right?

Window Pane - Liz Marie Blog
via LizMarieBlog.com

Look how simple and pretty this headboard is! Also, her blog is beautiful and full of great inspiration.

fall mantel by craftberry bush
via Craftberry Bush

Last, but definitely not least. This is my favorite of the bunch. I love the old window and white pumpkins on her fall mantle. And I’m loving her latest mantle here, too.

If you stumbled across a bunch of pretty old windows, what would you do with them?

Psst… more good stuff:

30 Creative Ways to Reuse Old Windows from architectureartdesigns.com

51 Creative Decorating Ideas for Old Windows from 1KindDesign

Original photo of Hoffman’s Barn Sale windows by Kim Fernando. Adapted for this post by Stephanie Oh.


Why Making Things Beautiful Matters

Why making things beautiful matters. "The beautifiers are a gift to us from God. Instead of seeing what is, they see what could be. And in doing so, they give us all a little more inspiration, a little more boldness, a little more urge to get out there and create until we see that being disciples demands the same principle - seeing what is around us and asking, "how could this be made a little more like heaven?" (Read the full post at the link)

When I was sick, I would look at people who were focused on making things beautiful around them, and I would think they were crazy. “People are dying out here, and they’re worried about what color curtains to hang?” I would think.

Can I be honest with you? As someone who’s been pulled out of the hard things into better things I can see now that I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Hanging curtains for some people is them being exactly who God has designed them to be and doing exactly what He’s asked them to do in this season. It’s the outward expression of our Creator in them, and it blesses everyone around them.

The beautifiers are a gift to us from God. Instead of seeing what is, they see what could be. And in doing so, they give us all a little more inspiration, a little more boldness, a little more urge to get out there and create until we see that being disciples demands the same principle – seeing what is around us and asking, “how could this be made a little more like heaven?

I love what The Nester wrote in her post on Hope for the Weary Home.

I like to torture myself by adopting messes and trying to bring out their beauty. It’s my favorite and simultaneously, it’s the worst…



Photo by Steph’s husband.

Lamp Lamp

Hope you guys are enjoying this winter weather! We had two snow days and a two hour delay on Wednesday, but I think we’re finally back into the swing of things. So this past Wednesday after a short day of work I ducked into Target on my way home to buy a gift card for our upcoming teacher gift exchange. I’ve made a habit of breezing through the back of the home decorating section to scope of the clearance end caps every time I stop in the store, and it’s definitely paid off, as it did this past week when I saw the deal of the century.

A nautical-ish oil rubbed bronze and “glass” (plastic) table lamp for $3.08.


I’ve been actively searching for a pair of lamps for our dining room buffet for months, so I snatched the lamp and it’s twin and stuck them in an abandoned cart as fast as I could. While I was giving it a thorough once over to check for defects (nope!) a woman walked by and joked that at $3.00 I couldn’t NOT buy the lamp. I approached the checkout counter, bracing myself for the man behind the counter to tell me that there’d been a mistake. But he didn’t. Instead he scanned the attached tag, leaned over and joked “girl, if I was you I’d take this and run.”

The lamps may be a bit too short for what I want in our dining room (I think I want something taller like in my inspiration photo), so they could be an option for our guest room. And that’s where I need you. I’m now choosing between the $3 lamp and a $7 thrifted Asian style lamp for the bedside table in our guest room. And I’d love your votes!

Here’s the $3 Target lamp (overlook the alarm clock, it’s still hanging out from my husband’s bachelor days but it’s days are numbered):


And the Asian style thrift lamp:


I originally picked this one up at one of my favorite local thrift stores after falling in love with the lamps in this, this, and this photo. Swoon!

So what would you do? Nautical $3 lamp or Asian style thrift lamp? Help a girl out!