The Study is Finished + New Custom Blinds!

home library makeover

I’m so excited to share our finished study with you all! The design of this space underwent a few changes before beginning the actual work, but I’m really happy with how it ended up. You can read about the planning of the study makeover here and here, and if you want to see the full reveal, check out this blog post at A Beautiful Mess.

I’ll be sharing more about our experience with the furniture we selected for the study, and a even few fun adjustments I have planned for later this summer. But first I wanted to talk about the window treatments I chose, plus how you can save 20% on your own window shade order! reached out a few months ago about working with me on a space in our home, but I really couldn’t decide what kind of window treatments I wanted. It took me a while of considerations and back and forth decision making before I settled on using woven wood shades in the study. Phil and I were both so pleased with how the warm texture of the shades really finished up the study, that we just sat and stared at the windows for probably about a half hour after we installed the shades! We liked it so much that we decided to put up a similar shade in the kitchen too.

home library makeover

This before and after shot gives me so much life. Before the makeover, this room felt more like a box than anywhere to rest or study. Now it feels nice and cozy, but also more spacious, oddly enough! This post is sponsored by, but I really have to give a lot of heartfelt praise for the way these woven wood shades really completed the coziness of the room. They also really helped add a touch of boho to a space which could very easily feel pretty traditional, considering the rows of books and the crown moulding details. It was just the perfect touch of coastal casual that my heart desired.

When had initially reached out to me months ago, I was really into the idea of using relaxed roman shades, or something like that, everywhere in our house. It really was a game-time decision that led me to try a warmer, more textural shade made of woven wood. As soon as the huge pile of woven wood samples arrived, I knew this was the look for me, but it was difficult to narrow them down to ones that worked the best for the study. custom blinds

Window Shade Style Selection in the Study

I ended up selecting from the brand of woven wood shade in the Terra Oak color, because it was a bit darker than the shade of our wall color, and the warmth of the wood tones in the shade tied in nicely with the window frames. It also contrasts nicely with the lighter wood flooring in the study. The warmth of the shade adds a nice contrast to the cooler tones of grays, metals, and glass in the room, and it nicely filters the light from the windows.

When I ordered the shades, I spoke on the phone with Danielle at to make sure I was properly measuring my windows for a perfect inside-mount installation. She also explained functionality options for each of the shade styles I chose (in the study and kitchen), so I felt 100% confident making the choice that was best for each room.

how to instal blinds from

Window Shade Installation

I was so excited when the shades were delivered, but then I remember that I had to instal them myself, and I was less than gleeful to have even more work ahead of me after all of the tedious work of the room renovation. I wish I would’ve known how easy the blinds would be to instal, though, because I could’ve been spared that mental stress! It was seriously easy.

For the installation of my inside-mount shades, all I had to do was screw the metal bracket to the inside of the window frame, then use nuts to secure the shade onto those brackets. I installed three shades within 15 minutes. Love it. More time to sit and stare at their beauty afterwards.

woven wood shades from

Enjoy my cheesy glee at how easy and beautiful my new shades are! This dorky grin is absolutely the real deal, folks. Sorry I’m not so good at playing it cool.

white kitchen makeover

After choosing a deeper, more dramatic color for the study, I was a bit worried the room would feel incongruous with the rest of our home. I was trying to think of a way to easily bring an element or two from the study into other rooms in our house, when it occurred to me that incorporating similar woven wood shades in the kitchen would be a great way to do that!

Our kitchen renovation was technically finished at the end of last year, but I had been wanting to put up some kind of window treatment long before the kitchen’s grand reveal. I just couldn’t settle on what kind of treatment to use, though. Relaxed roman shade? Traditional roman shade? Woven wood shade? Some kind of DIY curtain/blind situation? It definitely needed something, though, as the sun is known to blast through that window during the first half of the day.

I’m really glad to have this light-filtering shade in here finally, but I’m actually glad that I had waited to settle on exactly what felt right for the kitchen. These woven wood shade feel so perfect in this space. The woven wood adds a warm vibe to a generally stark white kitchen, and also gives more context to the wooden frame of the window. Plus, I’m really happy with how it brings in that textural element from the study. I think the choice of using the same woven wood shade in here really makes my home feel more cohesive.

kitchen renovation before and after

Here’s a before and after shot of the kitchen space from the grand reveal in January. It looks nice and finished, but still missing one little detail. The woven wood shade feels like the perfect finishing touch. And let me tell you, it’s nice to be able to stand at the sink without any annoying glare from the sun.

I chose an unlined shade to achieve a light-filtering effect, rather than blocking out some of the light in this room with a lined shade. The shade does have more of a presence in the room that is visible in photographs, because window light does blow out objects when photographing a window. But I tried my best to get the most accurate images of the window. You can see more of the texture of the blind in real life, but this picture does show how the shades don’t really block a lot of light, so our kitchen still feels pretty bright. (We also have a sliding glass door in the adjacent dining space which helps light up this room.)

woven wood shades from

Window Shade Style Selection in the Kitchen

For the kitchen, I did choose a slightly lighter woven wood tone than I had chosen for the study, considering the walls in here are stark white— much brighter than the study. I’m really happy with the color and the texture of the Kula Sandy Beach style that I chose for the kitchen window. I also chose a cordless style for in here because I didn’t want to worry about wrapping cords on cord cleats every time I put the shade up or down. The cordless style ended up being super convenient and easy to use.

woven wood shades from

Top/Down Shades vs Cordless Shades

For the woven wood shades I chose, there isn’t a cordless option for the top/down functionality. I decided it was worth the cords in the study in order to be able to get the top/down function. The study is at the front of our house, and sometimes we want to allow extra light in by putting the top of the shade down, while still maintaining the privacy of having the lower half of the window covered.

The shades do come with cord cleats, but I haven’t quite decided where to put them, so I haven’t installed them yet. It is a matter of safety for children, though, so I need to get on that!

woven wood shades from

20% Reader Discount to!

If you’ve been checking out and see something you like, I have good news for you! You can save 20% on your order by using my special discount code: MANDIMAKES. You can save even more by choosing the brand at their website, and I can attest that you will not be missing out on any quality by doing so. I chose all brands and am very happy with the results.

Thanks to for sponsoring this post and for hooking me up with these awesome shades! If you guys have any questions about the shades of about ordering from, let me know in the comments, and I’ll be happy to chat with you.

Study Makeover Update

study makeover

Whew! Is Spring really truly here? And Summer right around the corner? It’s about time I finish up some of these indoor projects so I can move on to our deck makeover. The past three weeks we’ve been hitting the study makeover hard. Quite a few things have changed since my original post about the plans for this space, so I wanted to share an update with you all. In fact, most of it has changed! Yikes!

I committed to a color for the room, and I’m really happy with how it’s looking so far! We’ve only began painting some trim, and I could resist swiping the wall with some of the color. (You can see it below inside the bookshelf and also around the window trim.) The color is a nice muted green/gray from Benjamin Moore called Oil Cloth. It’ll be nice to have another space in our home with color on the wall! So much of our home is white.

study makeover

So far I have the IKEA Billy Bookcase built-ins almost completed, and tomorrow I hope to add the batten paneling strips so I can paint the room over the weekend. I’ll be sharing all of the DIY details for this space on A Beautiful Mess when it’s complete. Right now I’m just chomping at the bit to have it done so I can style the space and finally use it! So many of our books are still boxed up, and it’s frustrating at times to not be able to find a book. It will also be nice to not have this be our guests first view when they enter our home! It’s the front room at our house, and our entryway has been a mess for over a year now.

study makeover

My furniture selections for this space have also evolved. My new friend Susie and I swapped some home items with each other recently, and I got this amazing set of nested tables out of the deal. They’re perfect for this small space! That led me to swapping out the rug for something that wouldn’t compete with the marble of the table, and then to get a more subtle and classic style of sofa from Article to bring a bit of a classic/timeless vibe back into the room.

Choosing a color for my dream chair (The Womb Chair from Rove Concepts) has been tricky, but I think that with a white linen slipcover over the sofa from Comfort Works, I might like a light gray color for the womb chair. It would keep things more neutral in a room where lots of color will be on the bookshelf wall. (There will be no turning book spines into the wall! ha!) Any thoughts?

study makeover

study makeover

I’m still figuring out some of the details on what will make it into the room and what won’t, but here are the big contenders! I’ve linked them up for you below. Hopefully I’ll be ready to share the room in a couple of weeks! A little more serenity in our home, and a lot more books, would be really nice right about now.

  1. Burrard Sofa from Article
  2. Cowhide Rug from Amazon
  3. Shag Pillow from Lulu & Georgia
  4. Pendula Lamp from Article
  5. Stoneware Vases from West Elm
  6. Womb Chair from Rove Concepts
  7. Moon Floor Lamp from Article
  8. Walnut Desk from Lulu & Georgia

Creative Gift Idea: Craft Kit in a Box

create a craft kit box

In the ’90s, little girls’ birthday parties often produced an influx of Barbie, Lisa Frank, and Minnie Mouse. I really don’t remember any of the Barbie gifts I received, but one present in particular still stands out in my memory. It was a gift from my friend Kelsey, probably thoughtfully assembled by her mom. It was a craft box, complete with compartments for beads, ribbons, glue, and other supplies for making whatever I could dream up. I remember the first time I dove into the kit, and I can even picture some of the choker necklaces I made and proudly wore to school!

I wanted to give my girls the same kind of excitement and freedom that a craft box can offer. “This is your box,” I said upon presenting it to them. “You never have to ask my permission to use it, and everything you need is right inside the box! Play with it whenever you want.” The look of bewilderment and joy that flashed across Lucy’s face warmed my heart, as I wondered if she was feeling the same kind of feelings I felt at my second-grade birthday party.

I’ve gotta say, putting together a comprehensive craft box like this wouldn’t normally be an inexpensive project. That’s why I teamed up with Tuesday Morning, to show how you can create a beautiful looking box of craft supplies, but for a small fraction of the price you’d pay at big chain craft stores or online. My local Tuesday Morning store has three aisle of craft supplies, full of paint, yarn, books, card, paper crafts, specialty pens, stamps— really, most of the things you’re likely to find at a craft store. But the prices are marked way lower. Most of the items I purchased were less than 50% off retail prices, but many were much more discounted than that. I felt free to throw lots of beautiful items into my cart, without worrying about the fortune they would cost.

I don’t live and die by name brands, but I can appreciate the style and quality that I’ve come to expect from a lot of name brands in the paper crafting world, like American Crafts, Heidi Swapp, and Crate Paper. Tuesday Morning has these brands, plus a lot of others I’ve grown to love through the years. I definitely recommend you stop at Tuesday Morning first before heading to your usual craft store. They always have new items on the shelves, and your wallet will appreciate the tremendous savings!

For the base of my kit, I chose beautiful magnetic-closure boxes that are big enough to neatly fit all of my supplies, but small enough to sit on the lap of a child for crafting during road trips. My local Tuesday Morning store has an entire aisle for decorative and crafty storage boxes. There were several that fit my needs, but I ended up choosing this beautiful marbled design because it coordinated with the contents I assembled.

To fill the base of each kit, I chose a larger journal, smaller notebook with a fancy case (the girls think those little notebooks are so special!), fancy pens, and a nice canvas case for colored pencils. Tuesday Morning has lots of glue dots and other adhesive options, but I choose clear tape, because the girls get a kick out of using the dispensers.

Because I didn’t feel comfortable giving the girls scissors when they may be crafting unsupervised, I decided to pre-cut the booklet of Crate Paper patterned paper I had purchased from Tuesday Morning. I divided the cut papers into a medium-size envelope and a small size envelope to contain them neatly in the kits.

Using this American Crafts paper cutter made the job of cutting everything quick and easy! And I was able to purchase the cutter from Tuesday Morning for less than half of its retail price. (Six dollars, yo! Retail price was Fourteen.)

create a craft kit box

I removed the packaging material from all of the stickers and chipboard shapes I had purchased, and put them into these cute American Crafts fabric draw-string bags I also found at Tuesday Morning. In addition to regular greeting cards, the store also had a supply of blank cards, which I purchased to include in the craft kit. The girls love making cards for family and friends! And patterned washi tape? The girls have never seen it before, but I know it will bring their love for tape to the next level.

craft kit in a box

After neatly packaging all of the prepped craft supplies into bags and envelopes, I nestled everything into the magnetic boxes, and closed the lid. My plan was to let the girls take these boxes on our three-hour road trip to Dayton this coming weekend, but I couldn’t wait, and let Lucy have some unsupervised craft time today after the boxes were finished. She was so happy, and seemed to notice all of the details that I had carefully considered when putting together the box.

What a fun treat for me to make these, and for the girls to receive them! This craft kit in a box is a gift idea that I know I’ll use again and again, once the girls begin going to their friends’ birthday parties, and also for friends my own age.

craft kit in a box

Thanks to Tuesday Morning for sponsoring this project! Make sure to check out your local Tuesday Morning ad to check out their special weekly deals, and stop into the store to see what new goodies they have on the shelves. Click here to find your local Tuesday Morning store.

If you decide to make a craft kit in a box, I’d love for you to tag me in your social media shares so I can see!