Home Decor · Home Improvement

Twist of Lime: How We Created A Bright Study and Office Space On A Budget

Our need for a big change in our house came along gradually, but this year we finally decided enough was enough with having a huge space that we weren’t really using ninety percent of the time. The space was our oldest daughter’s bedroom. She went to college at 18, and never lived at home since except on semester breaks and some summers. She’s now a PhD candidate. It’s still a big priority for us that she has her own space each time she comes home, but we also needed the space to be more usable at some point.

Add to that that our youngest daughter is in her first semester of college, studying from home (a hundred percent of the time now because of the pandemic), and occupying a small bedroom, and the time was right to give this space an overhall.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all those modern farmhouse and shiplap designs, but I also never want to have a cookie-cutter approach in my interior. I love a shot of bold color in a room, and I like my home to be personalized.

My goals with the space were to improve it for the oldest when she visits home, provide a great study space for our at-home college student, and make the space a functional guest room if needed. I designed this space for my daughters keeping in mind what would work for them and what elements they would appreciate.

The first choice was the color scheme. The oldest had picked super bright colors when she was a kid, and that’s what was there when I started. We decided to keep the lime green (a shade called lime rickey, still available) because it would be a connection to her design rather than just changing the whole thing, and I really felt it could look awesome paired with black and white. The ceiling of this room is lime green, and it does look cool that way. We chose very light gray on all of the walls with white trim to give everything else a neutral background.

And of course, my next step was starting a pinterest board full of ideas!

The first item I chose was the large pineapple botanical print. When I first saw it, I knew that was my color scheme and what I wanted to build the room around. It had the bright green and black I wanted, and featured pineapples, a huge favorite of the younger daughter, both for eating and as decor. 🙂

Next, I brainstormed what kind of furnishings I felt would work in the room. When the oldest comes home, she’s always working, and the youngest would be doing zoom calls and studying constantly. So job one was finding a great desk. I really wanted a white, completely grown-up desk with lots of storage and dark hardware.

Believe it or not, we found someone who was moving and giving away the perfect desk for our space! My husband and son were great, as usual, about taking a drive to go lift something heavy for me so that I could continue the quest for the perfect study lounge update! The desk did not come with a hutch, which I thought was key, so I continued my search.

I found a big solid wood hutch on Craig’s List that was the right width for the desk. I really debated whether or not to even go see it, because it was very 1980s looking and wasn’t even a desk hutch. I’m not sure what it was. Also it was all wood and did not match the desk. But, for $15, I once again talked my husband into going with me to pick up something heavy. 🙂

I painted the hutch, except for the top surface, with an ivory furniture paint. To make the hutch look the same as the desk, I combed the paint some and gave it a grain. The desk has an antiqued or weathered look, so I added some glaze over top of the paint until both pieces matched. I changed out the dated knobs for some that matched the desk. It worked better than I expected! I ended up with the exact big desk I wanted for $15 plus painting supplies!

We already had a vintage mid-century round coffee table in the room, so we kept that. I felt the ideal solution to having a comfy study lounge would be to have a sofa in the space. I wanted a sleeper sofa in case we ever needed it. The mid century style sofa in dark charcoal is perfect with the coffee table. My son also gave me a vintage end table with an iron magazine rack that he and his wife didn’t need anymore to finish out the seating area.

The other furniture pieces in the room are a daybed and a roomy metal bookshelf to store all those academic materials.

I really feel that changing the lighting style in a room changes the whole feel and that lighting is one of the most important design choices. I chose black farmhouse industrial style pendants with edison bulbs. For one thing, they are an absolute steal on Amazon. They also perfectly combine the trendy with the traditional, which is what I was going for.

Beyond that, I personalized the space and tried to throw in touches that are special for my daughters. The pineapples are one of those. I have a small “welcome home” sign on the desk to let the older know this is always her place, too. I looked around for an elephant to feature prominently because she graduated from the University of Alabama where Al the Elephant roams the sidelines as the mascot. We bought some handmade flowers of the kind she always liked to buy from a local craft fair. There are some global touches because we have a multicultural family. Both girls love plaids, checks, and warm fuzzy blankets. And we all traveled to New Orleans together at Thanksgiving a few years ago which was an amazing family trip, so as soon as I saw the French Quarter sign, I knew it would be perfect.

This room was really a whole family effort. My husband was kept busy with fixing some water damage in the drywall most of the time, so I did a lot of the other aspects myself on this one. It was so fun being creative together and coming up with a really great room in the end.

Now, we are using the space every day and it’s also much better for guests if needed.

We have lots of other projects to do in this old house, but I’m thankful now given the study at home situation that we completed this one!

I decorated this space relying heavily on Amazon, so I’m going to provide the shop the look info. I am an Amazon affiliate too, but there was not one purchase I was disappointed in, and I was going for budget-conscious shopping.

Click on links for the full details.

Have a beautiful day, and try something colorful! 🙂

DIY Crafts · Home Decor

DIY Fall Decor: Coppery Hypertufa Pumpkin Sculpture

Making Art With Hypertufa

Aren’t outdoor sculptures so striking? The effect of a well-chosen outdoor accent can really add to the beauty and charm of outdoor spaces. I have been wanting to try some concrete projects for years, but I finally decided to give it a try this week. Creating something out of hypertufa, a mix of concrete, perlite, and peat moss, turned out to be a cool project with some pretty nice results. Since this was my first try, I definitely want to play around with it and see what else I can come up with and refine the technique a little. 

For this project, I made a set of coppery pumpkins. They’re a cute little accent and you could use them indoors, on your porch, patio, or front steps.  The fun part is deciding whether to leave them as-is or decorate them!

Supplies:

Portland Cement

Perlite

Peat Moss

Water

Trowel

Rubber bands

Tights or pantyhose

Dust mask

If painting copper-

Spray paint (I used Krylon fusion copper metallic)

For verdigris highlights: acrylic paints in green, gray, and antique gold

  1. Mix the hypertufa

Wear a dust mask. Mix equal parts portland cement, perlite, and peat moss in a large bucket. Gradually add water, possibly up to one equal part. Mix in very slowly so you are controlling the consistency. It should not be crumbly but it cannot be too watery. It should be like a moldable mud texture. 

  1. Cut a section from a leg of pantyhose. To make a larger pumpkin, use a long section and start at the top of the leg. Tie a knot at the bottom of the pantyhose.
  2. Stuff the pantyhose with hypertufa. Really squish it in there and pat it around to make a good pumpkin shape. I made a couple that were too flat when finished because I didn’t stuff in enough hypertufa, so you want to keep filling it in, forming it, and making it rounded as you go. When you have a shape you like, tie another knot. 
  3. Use rubber bands around the whole thing to form indentions like the sections of a pumpkin. Your rubber bands will be like slices of pie or spokes of a wheel. 
  4. Let your pumpkins dry without disturbing them for 4 days.
  5. Cut off the rubber bands and pantyhose, and you’re done!
  6. If you want to, you can decorate the pumpkin. I decided to give mine an aged copper look. I spray painted them with Krylon fusion copper metallic.

For the smaller one, I added some shading for a verdigris effect. I used folk art acrylic paints in dark green and gray, mixed together for various shading, and also added some antique metallic gold. 

I’m going to be trying some more cement projects, so I’ll let you know how they turn out. The possibilities for making your own decorative pieces with this stuff are endless!

Have a beautiful day and try something new and creative! 🙂