DIY Command Center

DIY Command Center

When we moved into this new house, it took me a while before I decided on a place for our central family command center. Eventually, I decided on this wall in the dining room, right outside of the kitchen. I wanted to be able to answer the phone or an email and immediately look and see if we already have something planned for that day. The boys and their friends have also enjoyed using such a central location for all of their magnet fun.

Here’s what this corner looked like when we bought the house. You can see the corner we picked over in the top left.

Fuller House before 6

And here’s what what we decided to do with it.

Chalkboard Command Center

I’ll do a separate post later on where we keep our papers and mail (hint: we finally have an office now!!), but I first wanted to share our DIY command center, in case anyone else has limited funds and wants to imitate it.

First of all, the above chalkboard was something that I acquired at a thrift store around 6 years ago, so I obviously didn’t make that 🙂 I DID, however, paint it using Home Depot’s new line of chalk paints. I didn’t have to prep the surface at all, which is one of my favorite parts about chalk paint.


The magnet/wall calendar below, however, was something I put together from scratch. I used this 2×3 sheet of metal from Home Depot as the base. I then purchased a “chalkboard” peel and stick vinyl wall calendar from Amazon for around $12. Finally, I framed it using cheap hobby boards from Home Depot, cutting each of the corners at an angle with a handsaw (no fancy tools here…yet!). All in all, the project cost around $30, including the paint!

The alphabet letters are from the $ store and spray painted….so I don’t really care if they get lost or hurt because I can always get more!

There you have it! Our DIY command center.

Our Cottage Dining Room

Cottage Farm Table

Okay, I know I said that I was waiting until next week to share our cottage dining room, but I got done editing these pictures and I just couldn’t wait. I am absolutely over the moon about this dining space, because I’ve never actually had a real dining room! Our dining rooms always been a part of the living area, in some fashion or another, and I’ve always wanted one that’s a little set apart from everything (you can see our townhouse dining room and our CA house dining room).

The advantage to our cottage’s floorplan is that they turned one of the walls into a half wall, so the kitchen, dining, and living all feel like the same room even though they’re technically separated. I can be cooking in the kitchen while listening to the conversations going on in the living room or even talk to friends sitting on the kitchen Bar Stools (we hosted a party this past weekend), or handing the boys their oatmeal through the kitchen opening while doing the dishes. You can see here a picture of what it was like when we moved in.

Fuller House before 6

Cottage Dining Room Into Kitchen

I actually just added the headboard and trim in this dining room last week. It was one of those, “this will only take me 2-3 hours, max!”, and instead it took close to 8. Oh well. I’m almost 30 years old. I should’ve learned by now, you think?Cottage Dining Room Pictures

Cottage Farm Table Bench

Cottage Dining Room Table

I love that whenever I get tired of working in the office, I can come out and sit here at this table and watch Gregory play outside in his sandbox. Eventually, we plan on turning this ball bearing sliding door into a walkway, out into a big 16×20 sunroom/family room/attached garage, but our contractor hasn’t even given us a quote yet, so we’ll see how long that takes 😉Cottage Dining Room View

Cottage Farm Table Decor

The door here on the wall is the entrance to our master bedroom (pictures someday….if I can ever get to the laundry!)Cottage Dining Room 2

See what I mean about the openness? The tiled bar stretches all the way around the other side as well. It made the perfect buffet line when we had guests over!Cottage Dining Room into Living Room

Cottage Farm Table Rustic


A little tutorial for this $30 DIY chalkboard command center, coming tomorrow!

Chalkboard Command Center

I hope you are enjoying our cottage dining room as much I am! (Our Cottage Living Room Tour)

Source List:

Dining Room Table and Benches: Handmade by someone I found on Craigslist

Rug:, Outdoor Rugs

Picture Frames: Pier One

Curtains: Target (extra length)

Industrial Chairs: Target, bought on Craigslist

Sheepskin Rug: Ikea

Plates: Anthropologie many many years ago

Glass Mugs: Dollar Store

Lids and Straws: Hobby Lobby

Table Runner: DIY from Hobby Lobby

Our Cottage Living Room

Cottage Living Room 1Cottage Living Room Shabby Couch

We’ve been here for a little over a month, so I thought it was time to share a few pictures!


Cottage Gray Couch

Cottage Rustic Mudroom

Cottage Living Room 2

Cottage Bookshelves 4

Cottage Bookshelves Jars

Cottage Bookshelves 3


Cottage Bookshelves 2

We really love how our living room is shaping up! We are fortunate that the house already came with those beautiful handscraped wood floors, the crown molding and even the paint. We didn’t need to buy a single ceiling light because the house already has built in recessed lighting all throughout. But the other day, when I reached home to a place like that, I couldn’t resist myself from embellishing the house with some items I had on my wishlist on that website.

Eventually, we plan on replacing the TV stand with a plug-in fireplace and a mounted TV, but that’s down the road a bit. We want to put some custom molding on the wall of bookshelves to make them built in. We also want to use the white Ikea bench as part a board and batten mudroom when you first walk in. But, again, that’s all down the road.

We were able to host and entertain 12 adults plus their kids this last weekend, so the set-up is really working out for us. We are so grateful for this little house!

And, for next week, a sneak peek into our dining room!

Cottage Dining Room


Source List:

Couches: Both Craigslist finds

Pillows: Home Goods and Marshalls and handmade

Coffee Table: Ikea

Bookshelves: Ikea

TV Stand: Craigslist find, originally Target

Jute Rug: Rugs USA

Mudroom Bench and Baskets: Ikea

Mudroom Wall Hooks: Handmade

Curtains: TJ Maxx

Gardening Is Cheaper Than Therapy

TX Garden 2

Why is there something so therapeutic about gardening? Everywhere I’ve ever lived, two things have remained constant for me: a) I MUST decorate, and b) I MUST garden. For some reason, a place does not feel like home to me until I’ve put something into dirt.

Naturally, I’ve thought quite a bit about the poetic nature in all of this. When one puts plants into the ground, they are putting down roots. They plan on being there a few months later to harvest the outcome. They are staking a claim, telling the world that this is “their” space in the world, their plant kingdom, and that they can create a space where things thrive and then feed a family.

In my mind, there is nothing so beautiful as learning to garden. And this includes everything from performing actions of weed clearance using trimmer lines to understanding the soil and buying the best soil fertilizer based on it. It is a skill that everyone should dabble in, somehow, and I am glad that my 4 year old is already really into it. Gardening is cheaper than therapy, really.

Even when we lived in apartments and townhouses, I learned how to garden using containers. I wasn’t always the best at it, and sometimes I even went a little crazy and wrote love poems to my Basil Plants.

There was the time I had just found I was pregnant for the first time and began the incessant crazy nesting by building a window-frame garden.

There was the time I gardened in our tiny CA townhouse.

And then upgraded to large deer-proof garden beds once we bought the “Blue House”.

And then we came to TX and I immediately put herbs into some containers.

Last, but not least, we are gardening in our new planter beds, picked up for a steal of a deal (along with the dirt!) off of Craigslist this past week.

TX Garden 3

Obviously, we need a “little” more dirt to fill the other two, and I’d better get a move on because the TX growing season for most of my favorite veggies is short! I had to buy all of my seedlings this time, because I didn’t know whether we’d be getting a house or not until late February, and we were also really busy 😉 Luckily, we have an awesome nursery just 2 blocks away that has wonderful organic seedlings for just $1-2/each! And I was able to pick their brains about some of the ins and outs of TX gardening, which was quite helpful.

All in all, I am so thankful that I get to “put down roots” here in this lovely little cottage, in what is already turning out to be such a lovely Texas Spring.

TX Garden 1