guest bedroom 003

This is actually a photo from my friend Caitlin’s home! She has an amazing blog, too, so be sure to check it out!

Guys, I have some extraordinarily exciting news today. (Maybe not “extraordinarily exciting” for you, but Mitch and I are freaking out.) The final stage of construction on the bedroom–floors and trim–starts on SUNDAY. Like I mentioned in this recent Minted giveaway post (pssst: have you entered?!), we’ve spent a solid seven months sleeping on this thing and living out of suitcases and plastic storage tubs, so we can’t WAIT.

On last night’s walk around the neighborhood with Noodle, Mitch and I were chatting about how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually going to happen. I mean, we know it’s going to happen–we’ve signed on the dotted line and have fully committed. But we’ve just wanted this for so, so long, and talked about it ad nauseam… that somehow, it’s hard to believe that it’ll soon be real.

It’s a feeling similar to the one I had in the months leading up until closing. And going to college. And moving. And job changes. And getting engaged. And getting married. And getting Noodle. And–so many other “big things.” Granted, all those things were much more significant than a home restoration, but have you ever felt like this about something?

So this is the plan: This coming weekend and next, the floors and trim are being installed. And the weekend after that, construction on the master bathroom starts. We haven’t made all decisions about the master bath yet–I’ll surely be coming to you guys for opinions on sconces, showers and cabinet pulls–so I thought today, I’d share some of what we’ve already picked out, and some inspiration photos. Sound good? Awesome. :)


Salerno Porcelain Tile – Burnt Wood Series – “Oak”


This was undoubtedly the most challenging part of planning the restoration project, as we had NO idea what kind of flooring to go with. If you’re new to Kelly in the City, our master bedroom and bathroom are located in the garden-level/basement portion of our home. (I never know what to call it, as it’s not as underground as most basements are, but half of it is definitely under. You can see “before” photos here!) While the area is completely waterproof now, we knew it probably wasn’t the best decision to go with hardwood, as much as we wanted it. We both hated the idea of carpeting–we’d practically ruined the carpeting previously installed in our 1.5 months of living there–and traditional tile looked really cold and uninviting. After much, much research, we learned that tile was, in fact, the way to go, as it’s completely impervious to water… God forbid something ever does happen again. The good news? Tile that looks and feels exactly like wood exists. (See one blogger’s home transformation with wood-grain tile here!) And you can install radiant heating to warm it up.

Mitch and I spent a solid two months visiting stores in Chicago, looking at wood-grain tile. It was incredibly time-consuming and confusing, and we soon threw in the towel, frustrated that brick-and-mortar stores simply don’t carry a lot of options. I was set on a lighter stain, as I wanted the room to be as bright as possible, and Mitch was set on planks that were wide, long and “rectified.” (I won’t go into too much detail, but this allows for smaller grout lines, and therefore makes the tile look more like actual hardwood.) And nothing fit that description that wasn’t exorbitantly priced.

This is basically Mitch and me. ^

Our parents, who both recently either built or purchased new homes, recommended BuildDirect’s Home Marketplace, the world’s largest marketplace for home improvements. The moment we got onto the site, we were sold. SO. MANY. OPTIONS. And we could browse from the comfort of our home, which meant no more sacrificing entire nights to running around the city in the freezing cold trying to collect tile samples. We made a fire, cooked dinner, turned on some music, and surfed the site. And quickly came up with a bunch of really affordable options we liked.

We learned that BuildDirect’s Home Marketplace connects homeowners directly with suppliers, cutting out the middleman and ensuring that costs stay low–often up to half the price found at big box stores. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that new product selections are added every day, so there’s a constantly new products to consider. On the site, you can compare products and reviews side-by-side, thus eliminating the need to shop around… but if you need help, a really nice support team is available online or by phone seven days a week. (Seriously: so nice.)

Because BuildDirect’s Home Marketplace ships five free product samples overnight, Mitch and I were able to hammer down our decision within about a week. (We did end up ordering five more samples after our first round, but as long as you space out your “orders,” they’re all free.) Compare that to our two-month in-person search, and I think it’s fair to say that BuildDirect rocks. ;)

In the end, we decided on Salerno Porcelain Tile’s Burnt Wood Series in “Oak,” and it was delivered earlier this week. In my next post, I’ll explain why we went with it and share some progress photos, but holy happiness, guys. WE LOVE IT. We laid a bunch of them out on the cement and it looks so real!

llbean lakehouse bed

L.L. Bean Lakehouse Bed

The Bed

In a moment of extreme frustration during the drainage system installation, Mitch sold all our bedroom furniture, haha. I liked our old Ikea stuff (the Hemnes collection), but it made many, many moves: from 20th Street to 14th Street to 9th Street to 7th Street to Webster Avenue to this house. ;) Understandably, it was on its last legs. (Haha. Furniture joke. But really: one of the legs had fallen off.)

Anyway, my friend Caitlin has this AMAZING blog called The Picket Fence Projects, and she’s quite the fan of metal bed frames. After I saw her guest room (the lead photo of this post is from Caitlin’s blog!), I knew I needed a white metal bed frame for our master bedroom. I adore the simplicity of it (other favorite inspiration photos here, here and here), and I’m really happy that it allows us to go with other furniture that isn’t from a “set.”

L.L. Bean recently sent Mitch and me their Lakehouse Bed, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it! It’s substantial yet features clean lines, and it doesn’t break the bank. $479 for a queen? Amazing, considering most quality wooden beds are well above a thousand!

llbean rug

L.L.Bean Floral Wool Tufted Rug

The Rug

As much as I’d love to have a pretty blue-and-white striped rug like Caitlin’s, Mitch and I do not lead lives conducive to floor coverings like that. ;) We learned this lesson with our living room recently! (More photos of that gorgeous yet in-the-garbage rug here.) However, we have found that oriental rugs are magic. We currently have one in our living room, which is a high-traffic area, and I only have to vacuum once a week. It’s great!

Because I decorate every room in navy blue, I decided not to go with another navy blue oriental rug, and instead go with a gorgeous red one… that yes, still has some blue in it, but is a bold choice for me. (So daring.) I love it, and think it’s going to add a lot of dimension to the house. (Isn’t the beautiful?!) Not every single thing needs to be navy, Kelly. Not every single thing needs to be navy…



Board and Batten

This is Mitch’s idea. WAY TO GO, MITCH. I always thought that installing “board and batten”–a type of wainscoting–would be complicated and thus extremely expensive, but in reality, it’s very simple and affordable. We’re doing it on the wall behind the bed as well as on the wall between the closet and the door. Again, way to go, Mitch.

Other inspiration photos here, here and here.



Paint Color

I know this sounds crazy, but we’re painting the entire house in Benjamin Moore’s “Gray Owl,” diluted by 50 percent. I’m not a huge fan of wall color, and I’m horrible at picking out paint. But I LOVE Gray Owl (cut in half), and feel that it goes with everything. Right now, we have it in the living and dining rooms, but soon, we’ll have it in the master bedroom and bathroom as well as in the guest room and office (which we’re planning on turning into a second guest room). I love that it’s almost white, yet makes molding and frames pop.

What we still need to pick out

  • Sconces: Oh my goodness HELP. We’d like to install sconces over our nightstands, but I also want lamps. Can you only have one or the other? Should I skip the lamps or skip the sconces? And should I go black or brass? And where can I find affordable, pretty ones?! Suggestions welcome. (Sorry for freaking out on you just then, haha.)
  • Artwork for over the bed: I’m thinking three smaller black frames in a row. Thoughts on what should go inside them? I’d love something sentimental! (Mitch has already vetoed three dachshunds in a row.)
  • Dressers: I’d like white (relatively affordable) dressers. Haven’t started looking yet. Wait. Maybe I like dark brown. No, white. AH.
  • Nightstands: Again, white and relatively affordable. Recommendations?
  • Bedding: I might go with a simple white duvet cover and navy sheets. Or perhaps a simple white duvet with a navy border. Or maybe both, and switch them out from time to time. ;)

Room Inspiration

I know that these rooms are very different, but I love elements from each! Follow me on Pinterest to see all my home pins.











©Jim Zeilan

©Jim Zeilan






























Stay tuned for next week’s progress post!

Disclosure: While BuildDirect’s Home Marketplace is providing the flooring for this project, Mitch and I had decided to go with BuildDirect before the partnership was formed. As always, thank you so much for supporting the collaborations that keep Kelly in the City up and running!