Turn Ikea cabinets into a sideboard

Jul 30, 2017

Sideboard are useful on dining areas
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There's a first time for everything and I can now say that we've mastered an Ikea Hack! As you may all know by now, we live in a 1938 Miami house with roughly 1,300 sq feet; so space is very limited. I needed an area to store all my seasonal decor (because the mini garage is already cramped). I thought about finding a long and skinny sideboard to fit in our dining area, but couldn't find one within our budget. In-comes-Ikea!

Three cabinets are top with lumber
We bought three Eket cabinets and their birch underframe which are sold separately. 
I found at Ikea the Eket cabinets with a depth of 9 7/8". The only problem was that I needed more than one (three to be exact) and couldn't take the idea of them seemed like individual modules. To remedy this situation I came with the idea of placing a wooden top over the cabinets to give them a sense of unity.
I wanted a piece of wood that would sort of grasp the three cabinets just like the top of a shoe box.

After discussing the project with my husband, we decided to built just that, and for this we bought at The Home Depot a Pressure Treated Lumber 2 in. x 12 in. x 8 ft. To start, we needed to hollow 1/2" of this piece from the bottom part, which will allow it to perfectly sit on top of the cabinets without interfering with the door. We left a border of 3/4" around the wood as you can see in the diagram above.

A box helps the router stay in its place
A box helps the router stay in its place

To start hollowing out the piece of lumber, my husband made a mold (or box) where the router would sit and that preserved the 3/4" of the side borders. This box allowed him to move from side to side and upward.

A box helps move the router
Almost there! Just 1/8" more and we are good to go!
After he finished working this area, he sanded the piece and cut the excess length to fit the area. We then stained the wood using Varathane Stain in Golden Oak.

Top wood piece of cabinets
The grain of this wood really added an additional level of texture to this cabinet, now a sideboard. The wood hurricane lantern adds the final touch. You can find similar ones here:

This top wood really fitted like a glove. Everything now looks like one piece and the color of the stain goes perfectly well with the rest of the space. To end up the look of the cabinets, I added some brass pulls from Target.

Sideboards in dining area for storage

Now I can proudly say that we pulled an "Ikea Hack"! Have you upgraded the look of an Ikea piece?

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A quick review for Martha and Marley Spoon

Jul 26, 2017

Steak and potatoes ingredients

Martha and Marley Spoon is our first "dinner in a box" service. In the past we've seeing a couple of similar programs and while many of them have a pretty convincing ad or beautiful images, I have to say that what sold us into this was the name and face behind it all; Martha Stewart! Knowing how delicious her recipes are (I've tried several with success) we really wanted to have a real taste of some of her best recipes.

Martha and Marley Spoon recipe sheet

For our first week we order the Pan Roasted Zucchini, Steak and Potatoes and Skillet Ravioli Lasagna. When the Martha and Marley Spoon box arrived we had a look at the ingredients and were so happy to see how neatly wrapped was everything and how fresh it all looked. Yesterday we did the Pan Roasted Zucchini and have to say that it really surprised us! At the beginning, we had our doubts about the portions (we ordered for two). But once done and we finished eating, we truly felt fulfilled. We've never tried this interesting mix of ingredients and wow, this recipe really blew our minds! The roasted pecans gave this toasty taste, just YUM!

Fresh Garlic and Shallots

Today we did the Steak and Potatoes recipe and again, portions were perfect as well as the taste.

Martha and Marley Spoon Recipe Sheet 2

I'm really looking forward to our next recipe and to many more. I was telling my husband how interesting these recipes from Martha and Marley Spoon are and how easy to do they've all proven to be. Before this I would have never thought I could have a savory weekday dinner like this. I now know I want to repeat these two delicious recipes soon.

Steak and Potatoes dish

Have you met Martha and Marley Spoon?

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Best plants to enhance a shaded area

Jul 21, 2017

Deck area surrounded by greenery

I love plants and truly enjoyed working alongside, as a blogger, with Costa Farms for this sponsored post. The opinions stated here are my own. For more updates on their products and gardening ideas, you can always follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

When it comes to plants and flowers, I want them all! I'm so appreciative of the good energy they carry and how they unintentionally can bring a fresh look everywhere they are placed. When I designed our new deck area I've envisioned it to be surrounded by plants. But I have a confession, my plant selection for this shaded area was very peculiar because I wanted the plants to be green and white. If you ask me why, the only reason I could think of was because of its simplicity. I'm always attracted to simple and minimalist spaces, so for my outdoor shaded area is no wonder that I wanted just that: simplicity.

Costa Farms Plant Library

I'm not an expert in this area, but I know I can always count on Costa Farms when it comes to choosing the right plants. On their website you can find, among other things, a "Plant Library" with an amazing explanation for each of them. I also had the opportunity to talk with Justin who works with Costa Farms and he gave me some great ideas on what plants would do best under our mango tree.

Swingasan and small deck

Ideal plants for under the tree
After going through Justin's suggestions, I opted for these beautiful plants I'm about to share. Keep in mind that the plants that I'm using are for shaded area or part sun.

White Diamond Caladium"Grown exclusively for its foliage, caladiums offer green arrow-shaped leaves variegated in cream, red, or pink. They go dormant in winter, but pop back up in spring". And because like I mentioned before, I love simplicity, the Variegated White Diamond was the one that I chose on the right side of the deck.

White Diamond Caladium
Caladium plant for shaded area

Alocasia: "...big, bold and dramatic, a few of these as a focal point will create a wall of color and texture behind your patio". The perfect backdrop for the deck! The big leaves of this plant and its form, bring an added touch of elegance to this shaded area.

Alocasia plant for shaded area
Alocasia plant for shaded area

Vinca (Annual): As an accent to the Alocasias  I added the Vinca to bring in a bit of the white I love so much under these big plants. There are two characteristics that I really love about the Vinca: 1. these "nonstop flowers show from early summer till fall" and 2. it "is drought tolerant and requires almost no maintenance".

Vinca plant for shaded area

Carcuma Ginger: "This tropical shows off tulip-like flowers on and off all summer long with attractive foliage. In winter, it goes dormant (loses all its leaves), but comes back again the next spring". I really love how elegant this flower looks and if you look very closely, you'll notice it has little purple flowers inside some of its petals. This makes it perfect to pair it down with the Persian Shield.

Carcuma Ginger plant for shaded area
Carcuma Ginger plant for shaded area

Persian Shield: The color of the leaves of this plant its unbelievable! It's a deep almost iridescent purple which makes it perfect as an accent. I mixed the Persian Shield with the Carcuma Ginger  and added these to the exterior borders of the deck.

Persian Shield and Carcuma Ginger plants

The perfect mix of plants
Having a variety of plants under our mango tree is such a treat for the eyes. These plants really have enhanced this shaded area by adding a rich variety of textures and forms. Our little corner now feel energized and welcoming thanks to all these beautiful plants from Costa Farms!

Deck surrounded by plants

Have you created a little outdoor corner with plants recently? If so, which plants did you choose?

Succulents, Carcuma Ginger and Persian Shield

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Refresh your dining room with some basic pieces

Jul 17, 2017

Refreshed dining room ideas

I'm so honored to be part of the BHG Live Better Network where, as a blogger, I've received compensation by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. The opinions stated here are my own. For more updates on their products and decor ideas, you can always follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

For awhile now I've been dreaming about a dining room refresh. And after changing some basic furniture and accessories, I was able to achieve that upgraded look I was looking for. This month the styling/decor challenge assigned to the bloggers at the Better Homes & Gardens network was just that, to refresh a family gathering area. With so may amazing options available online and at Walmart stores, the only difficult part of this task was deciding which piece to choose.

Metal Farmhouse inspired chairs
Metal Farmhouse inspired chairs

As you might have guessed, I ended up choosing accessories that could easily flow with the rest of my neutral palette. I started by selecting the dining chairs. The Collin Silver Dining Chairs from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart come in a set of two and they are a contemporary version of those Farmhouse style chairs. 

Distressed gray rug brings interest
Distressed gray rug brings interest

An area rug comes in handy when trying to define a space. This Gray Distressed Ogee from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart comes in different sizes; from 22" x 34" to 9' x 12'. I used a 5' x 7' which I think goes very well in this space but would have love to try the 7' 6" x 9' 5".

Black matte silverware for contrast
Black matte silverware for contrast
These black matte silverware is also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. I bought each piece separately in stores. Check your local store for this and other styles.
I set the table with some beautiful plates also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. The Bramley Gray Crackle Glaze style is hand-crafted with a rustic finish and black matte back; a strong trend nowadays. I combined the diner plate with the Ashmoor Salad Plate (also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart) and some fun wood bowls I already had at home.

Simple galvanized centerpiece with succulents

I managed to keep the centerpiece simple with the Better Homes & Gardens Serve Caddy (a set of galvanized buckets and a tray). A couple of succulents from my garden did the trick while keeping things fresh and modern.

Plants and natural elements dining table decor
Glass lanterns and planters are also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. Check your local store for these and other styles
As you can see all it took for this dining room refresh was some basic and affordable key pieces that at the end paired perfectly with my style and the rest of the decor. There is a great selection of furniture pieces and accessories for the home that Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart offer for every style. Find yours here.

Plants and natural elements dining table decor

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