Tag Archives: family room

DIY Tutorial: How to Add Grommets to Curtains


Now that we are using our family room regularly, window treatments were on the priority list for a few reasons:

1. Did I mention we have 9 windows in this room?
2. Daytime television watching is impossible due to glare
3. With constant sunlight streaming in, the fabric on our couch fading is a concern long term

After hunting around for a while, a regrettable impulse buy at IKEA that left us $60 in the hole, and even searching Joann Fabrics with plans to make our own, we ended up choosing with these punchy geometric Farrah Fretwork drapes in blue from Target.

(The happy ending is that the regrettable curtains are now hanging in our bedroom and look much better there.)


I like the clean look of curtains with grommets, and also think they are easier to open and close. Of course, it’s much harder to find curtains with grommets, so I decided to add them myself! It was EASY.

I purchased 4 packs of Dritz Brushed Silver Grommets from Amazon. They are silver colored plastic, very easy to install and look great!

 How to Add Grommets to Curtains

1. First I hemmed the curtains 6 inches shorter. I did this, first, because the grommet instruction requires a 4 inch header. Second, I needed to make them shorter because we didn’t want the curtains touching the baseboard heating system – fire hazard! They look a little silly right now, but one side is hidden by the couch, and the other will be behind our future entertainment console.

2. Next, I measured the width of my curtain. Don’t trust the measurement on the package if you are using store-bought curtains! It’s not always accurate  My curtain was roughly 62″ wide. To know how to space your grommets, divide this number by 16 (because you are adding 8 grommets), which, for me, comes out to 3.9″. (Doubled to 7.8″ between grommets.)


grommots83. I spent $10 on a measuring square and it made this task very easy. (Even for a typical just-wing-it-and-guess girl like myself.)  Using the tracing circle guide that came with the grommets, I marked out in pencil where the center of each circle should be – 2″ from the top of the curtain, and 3.8″ away from the center of the circle on either side of it. This sounds complicated (and was intimidating at the first go), but worked quite well. ALWAYS measure twice (or three times!) before you cut.


4. Next, cut out the circles. I started by snipping into the middle of the circle, and then cutting around the outline.

5. Next, open the grommets. Each grommet comes in two pieces – one has teeth and one does not.

grommots5grommots66. Place the one with teeth on the ground, teeth facing up. Next, place the fabric over the grommet, with center the hole you just cut out with the grommet.

7. Next, place the toothless grommet over the top. You are sandwiching a bit of the fabric between the two pieces. To get the grommets to click together, firmly press down with the palm of your hand until it clicks into place.

grommots48. Repeat – again and again and again! I was able to do all four panels in an afternoon.


This is not a curtain installation tutorial. There are about 9,405,937,058 of those on the internet, and they will all tell you to “hang them high and wide” to make your window appear bigger. Unlike most people, we did NOT need to make our windows feel any bigger. We just left a little space between the finial and the wall and tried to replicate it on each side.  We chose chunky Allen & Roth curtain hardware from Lowes.

grommots2 And I’ve officially started dreaming up our TV console we plan to build. This is a Photoshopped version of what I’m thinking of. (You can see our current tiny one we are currently using here).

Have you added grommets to curtains before? Where do you like to shop for curtains? They are tough to find!

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)


Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)


We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Before and After: The Family Room (Buh-bye Wood Paneling!)

Silly me. I forgot to share a before and after of the Sunroom-turned-Family-Room.

Once upon a time, people loved knotty wood wall paneling, drop ceilings and linoleum floors. And strange uncomfortable built-in benches.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I must say, this wood paneling was in GREAT shape and really quality stuff. Part of me hated taking it down, but Moose convinced me *and he was right, per usual* that we needed to re-insulate this room.

This paneling had a happy ending though! Our neighbor ended up taking it all to do something in his basement!

But now when I sit in the middle of our (empty) new room… every painful moment of removing mouse-poop infested insulation was worth it.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

It’s hard to believe this is the same room! The room was completely gutted, STARTING with the built-in bench you saw above.

Since the room is built on a concrete slab there was no heat in the room. We added two baseboard heating units (one of which you see above) and can now control the temperature in that room separately from the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

We replaced all of the windows, and installed new window trim to match the rest of the trim in the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

When we gutted the room, we exposed the back of the fireplace – thus my many DIY distressed brick posts!

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick WallBrick Wall Tutorial: Tinting a Brick Wall

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Here you can see the original door from the living room. Also notice that the original room was a step down. When we redid the floor we built a new sub-floor to rise the height of the floor, so now the flooring is now the same level.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

And looking back at this one door…

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

…it looks so skinny compared to the new french doors!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Since we have an older home, we don’t have a naturally open floor plan. Adding in these french doors definitely makes the spaces feel more unified.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I still have nightmares about removing these ceiling tiles.

If walls could talk they might say, “Ick-Ew-Gross”.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled SunroomOur new smooth walls and ceiling are plaster. And the ceiling fan was replaced with recessed lighting.

(And we installed about 10 extra electrical outlets along the way! That’s the royal “we” by the way.)

And here you can see the beautiful new crown molding installed by Moose! Painted by me – I have to get some credit somewhere, right?

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This was the first room we’ve starting doing molding in and he did an AWESOME job! Now for the rest of the house! ; )

Not only was the original floor a step down, but it was a disaster! The old linoleum was cracking and breaking off of the concrete slab. Not much to miss here!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

To finish off the room, we continued on with our honey-colored hardwood floors that are in the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This room has by far been the biggest “change” – I guess that’s what happens when you gut a room!

I remember walking into this room on the first day we looked at the house – we had so many visions for it then. It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed and the vision is finally coming to life!

We’ve ordered a couch for the room, and when that comes our television will be moving over there! We’ve talked about some DIY attempts at furniture making for this room… so I will have to keep you posted on that!

Read all about how we DIYed Family Room:

Who doesn’t love a good before and after!

By the way – it’s National Library Week! Get on over to your local library and check-out a book, pay your late fees or listen to the Story Lady read a book! Celebrate and read!

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

A few weeks ago I posted my Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall.

Since then we’ve made more progress in the room-formerly-known-as-the-sunroom. I think we’re going with “family room”. The trim and walls are all painted.

Crown molding is in progress as we speak I type. I’ve learned today how much I dislike putting up molding. Mostly because the sound of the airgun scares me and you have to hold your arms above your head for long periods of time. But on the plus side, I think I’ve finally convinced Moose to write up some of his wisdom for the blog – so hopefully you’ll get to finally meet him soon.

Back to the brick wall – After I painted the room (Shoreline Haze by Valspar, like the living room), the gray-ness of the brick wall was too cool colored compared to the warmer putty colored walls. That brought me to stage II of the brick wall project: tinting.

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

I took some of the wall paint and watered it down slightly (about 3:1 paint to water ratio – enough that the roller left bubbles but there weren’t drips). I rolled it directly on the brick wall.

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

Then I went to town with some old rags. I rubbed and splotched my way across the brick until it resembled a color and texture I was happy with. Then I repeated until the wall was done.

Do NOT paint the whole wall and then rag it. I worked in 2’x2′ squares to prevent the paint from drying before I rubbed it in.

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

We also had some cracks in our brick wall. After the paint dried, we filled them in with DAP DryDex Spackle- this is obviously only an aesthetic solution. This would not work for structural or outdoor use.

We like to use the pink kind so we know when it’s dry. After the spackle dried it was just a matter of sanding it down.

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

Then I dipped a paper towel (too lazy to dirty another brush and rag) in my watered-down-wall-paint solution and rubbed around the spackled areas.

(In hind sight I would have spackled from the beginning, but we thought it wouldn’t be that noticeable… we changed our minds.)

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

While the brick is still distinctly a distressed whitewash color, the wall blends more with the wall.

See the transition of the color here:

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

I can’t wait until we get the crown molding and baseboard around the brick! I think it will really look sharp next to the crisp white trim and a nice piece of art hanging on it!

DIY Tutorial: Tinting a Whitewashed Brick Wall

Soon enough we’ll be able to rip up the floor coverings and I can show you my new floors – no more cracking linoleum here!