One Room Challenge: Week 1, The Werkroom Speakeasy Cellar

Oh hiiiii! The Spring 2021 One Room Challenge has officially kicked off and your boys are so excited to have been selected as one of the featured designers!! The next eight weeks are going to be a mix of emotions while we completely transform a space in our Brooklyn brownstone. So which space is it you might be asking….

If you’re just tuning in….welcome!. We’re Barry & Jordan, a loving DIY couple that are now project managers for historic renovation in Brooklyn NY, We also live in a Brooklyn brownstone that we renovated ourselves.

The One Room Challenge you ask!?

The One Room Challenge™ is now on it’s nineteenth season and is a widely anticipated bi-annual event. Each round, twenty design influencers are selected to take the challenge, as Featured Designers, and transform a space in their home. We are still pinching ourselves that we were chosen as one of the featured designers this season! We are huge fans of so many of the past designers and proud to be included among the 19 other extraordinarily talented designers. We’re secretly hoping to become friends with each and every one of them! Thank you Linda Weinstein for making this event possible and for thinking of us to take on this challenge.

The One Room challenge™ will provide participants with a supportive, enthusiastic forum to share the process of transforming a room. The ORC is not actually a competition, but rather a celebration of creativity, inspiration, and a support for the DIY community. We’re so excited to not only follow the featured designers but also see what other projects people are taking on this spring in their own homes.

Ok so what space are we actually doing you might wonder?

We would like to tell you that we had to think really hard about which room to make over, but we knew immediately! It’s a space that we rarely use and cringe a little when we have to so it was the perfect space for a makeover. It’s not our kitchen, or a bathroom, or a bedroom. It’s a bigger space than all of them combined. Drum roll please!……It’s our really scary Brooklyn basement! In fact, here in Brooklyn it’s technically called the cellar.

If you’re visiting our page for the first time, we live in a Brooklyn brownstone! The narrow and stately row houses with inviting stoops on tree lined streets throughout New York (and a few other cities in the northeast). The stoop is the main entrance that takes you up to the second floor, we call the parlor floor. Below that is what is called the garden floor, but is technically the basement, at ground level. Then below that is the cellar, the subterranean space where the home’s mechanicals are, commonly used for storage, where creepy crawlers reign. It’s an entire floor of the home that has a lot of potential, but is often underutilized. That is definitely the case for us. Don’t judge! It’s unfinished and stacked high with lots of stuff that we should have thrown out long ago. Truth be told, we attempted to makeover this space but gave up right after we started collecting more and more samples. It quickly became our hiding spot for pretty much everything and now it’s FINALLY time to get rid of it all and start over! It’s such a good feeling!

It’s time! We want to make this a useful space and we need it. We now run a very busy business designing and managing renovation projects for clients with brownstones of their own and we need a workspace. We have stacks of samples, catalogs, and design inspiration that we pull out to complete a design. We want to spread it out on a big work table in a space that inspires us.

The Before Pictures (there is nothing cute about this space currently… sorry!)

Let’s talk about the necessities:

  • This space must hide some of the ugly basement storage. Currently this room is covered in crap! You name it, it’s probably found in our current basement. We just have no idea where. We will be spending the first couple days just clearing the space out.
  • This space has to act as a laundry area. Our units were placed in the scary space right after we renovated and its a place where we go to wash & dry our laundry and so does our tenant.
  • We must have room to store samples collected to show clients. We have collected a plethora of tiles, hardwood, and other materials that we would like to display nicely in the new basement area.
  • We need an area to work, bring clients, and be inspired. It’s going to be a real challenge but we’re up for this!

So after thinking about this night and day since we were told that we were going to featured is turning our basement into a 1920’s NYC Speakeasy Werk-room! We will actually have a full speakeasy room in the basement. And that space…. folks…. Is still going to be a secret!

We also have some other problems to solve:

  • Our first problem to solve is how do we make a dark space like our cellar into a space that will provide inspiration. Well, we’re not going to fight the fact that it’s a space with no windows or natural light! We’re going to go with it! Our space will be New York speakeasy style. An unexpected space intentionally hidden out of view, but cozy, warm, and inviting.
  • The space has low ceilings, so we want to incorporate this into the design.
  • There are ugly mechanicals that we can’t get rid of (i.e. structural columns, boiler, electrical meters) but need to hide.
  • The foundation walls are exposed and the floor is painted concrete.
  • It’s dark, and needs attractive lighting solutions.


Gotta Get to WERK!

We’re calling it Studio 2B or The Werkroom! We can’t wait to give you more details next week but we’re so excited to build the space and share the process with you. Whether or not you have a cellar (or basement) space that you want to makeover, we hope you enjoy the ride and find some inspiration to transform a space in your home as well.

Next week we’ll dive into more details, talk about all things design, and even update the progress. Obviously we can’t share the detailed plans yet… we gotta leave some suspense! This week we’re focusing on clearing all the crap out! Anyone interested in a stoop sale!?

Follow Along!

One small thing we might have forgotten to mention- we are doing the ENTIRE transformation ourselves! Drywall, electrical, and many other DIY projects. If you’re not already following along on Instagram – ,come check it out,,! We’re even posting weekly VLOG videos on our YouTube channel that you won’t want to miss starting this Saturday! We’ll be providing design details, places to shop for inexpensive (and nice!) materials, and other tricks & tips to tackle a DIY project. We’ll write a blog post a week so subscribe below for updates!

See you on the other side and wish us luck!


Jordan & Barry

Make sure to give each of the other featured designers some love and checking out their spaces- we’re so excited to see what magic they create:

Ariene C. Bethea | At Home With Ashley | Banyan Bridges | Bari J. Ackerman | Brit Arnesen 
Brownstone Boys| Cass Makes Home | Dominique Gebru | Gray Space Interiors| Haneen's Haven 
Home Ec. | Nile Johnson Design | Pennies for a fortune | Prepford Wife | Rachel Moriarty Interiors 
Sachi Lord | Susan Hill Interior Design | This Is Simplicite | Tiffany DeLangie | Victoria Lee Jones  
Media BH&G | TM ORC 

Managing Lead Time’s in a Renovation

Photo: You will want to make sure all plumbing rough-ins are onsite right after demolition.

Lead times are one of the most important things to manage in your renovation. It’s one of the things that can affect your timeline the most that you also have the most control over. If the materials are not onsite on time to be installed it can create a delay. That delay can create delays in the installation of other items as well. Over the course of a months long renovation repeatedly losing time on things like this can drastically affect your timeline.

Fortunately, with a little planning you can avoid costly and frustrating delays. You can also avoid having to choose your finishes based on what you can get in time and not what you might really want. If you are starting your bathroom renovation in 2 weeks and you expect it to take 3 weeks, the custom tile that takes 6 weeks to arrive isn’t going to work! In a major renovation this can be compounded many times over. With every material choice you make the lead time is just as important as the price and other specifications you’ll be looking for.

Give yourself enough time before your renovation starts to choose the majority of your finish items, noting the lead time of each. Create a schedule for your project so that you have a general idea of when different kinds of work will happen. That way you can order items to arrive ahead of when that work will start. Give yourself enough time to receive the materials and ensure they arrived accurately and undamaged.

Custom tiles and appliances are items that we are seeing have the longest lead times during the pandemic

The opposite problem of having some items arrive too soon can also affect the speed of your project. You don’t want big bulky appliances sitting around on your job site before hardwood floors are installed. The construction crew will speed valuable time moving them around from room to room to get them out of the way.

Finally, for anything that has a long lead time get extra! If you run out of the custom tile that took 6 weeks to arrive because you ordered 10 square feet less than you were supposed to, guess how long your tile job will sit unfinished while you wait for more, 6 more weeks!

A note about Covid…

Covid has been having a severe effect on lead times and availability of materials. Manufacturing has been affected, supply has been affected, and it has been changing rapidly. Even if you thought you knew the lead time for some materials it’s worth checking back in. We have seen things go from days to weeks, and weeks to months long waits. We have had to pivot to alternative materials or pay more for items that were less only weeks ago. Things like plumbing fixtures, hardwood floors, and appliances have been severely affected. Double check and keep and eye on how things are evolving to avoid delays.

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Excavating A Cellar

What if an entire floor of your home was dark, damp, and scary. So much so you didn’t want to set foot in it. What a waste of space that you could be using as an office, or a studio, or a gym. That’s what many people are doing with their dark, scary, and damp cellar spaces. One big obstacle is often the height of the ceilings and the solution is usually to excavate and dig down to create more height and add an entire extra floor of livable space in your home.

Before we can go on we have to address the elephant in the room, what do you call it? A cellar? A basement? Both? In NYC, officially, a basement is a story of a building that is below curb level but with at least one-half of its height above curb level. A cellar is a space that has more than one-half of its height below curb level. So typically in NYC what many people refer to as the basement is actually the cellar. The basement is the story of the house, like a garden level, that has windows and doors and already meets code as a living space. So we are talking about the cellar.

A work in progress excavation and benching project

The first thing that you’ll need for this type of project is an architect and a structural engineer. There are many code considerations and structural concerns that need to be addressed, so although we’ll talk about basics, you’ll rely on the professionals to figure out the details.

Excavating your cellar involves removing the slab and a few feet of soil. It’s a difficult and dirty job. The first thing your structural engineer will consider is how deep your house’s foundation walls go. They will likely want to dig a probe hole next to the foundation wall to determine its depth. It’s very common for the foundation walls to not be deep enough below the floor of your existing cellar to extend as low as you might want to excavate. That’s a problem that needs solving. You can’t excavate lower than your foundations walls go.

Cement Benching in place, before cement slab is poured

There are typically two techniques your structural engineer will take to solve this issue: Underpinning or benching.

Underpinning involves carefully excavating the soil under the foundation walls in sections, building forms, and pouring concrete to extend them down to the desired depth. It can sometimes be difficult when your house shares a foundation wall with a neighboring house. Your neighbor may not be willing to give you permission to undermine their home’s foundation to create your cellar home gym.

An alternative would be benching. Rather than removing the soil under the foundation walls, you leave it undisturbed to continue doing the job it’s had for likely over a century, but encase it in a concrete bench. The bench extends all the way around all of the foundation and acts like a retaining wall for the load bearing soil under the foundation footings. The soil in the other side of the bench can be removed to the desired level to create the extra height. One drawback is that the bench is often about 2 feet wide which eats up some of the usable square footage of your cellar.

You can raise the ceilings in your cellar to the same height as the other floors on your home. It’s possible to create a clean, pleasant, and dry space. It can be an entire extra floor of living space. It can also be an expensive endeavor, clocking in at $60,000-$100,000 depending on the extent of the scope. But for most people who take it on, having an entire floor of their home too freighting to enter is a price too high to pay, and the expense is worth it.

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Home Improvement Loan with LightStream

This post is sponsored by ​LightStream​, but the content and opinions expressed here are our own.

Over the past year that we have all been spending a considerable amount of more time at home many people are taking a harder look at their homes. Some parts of it might be a little tired or not as functional as you would like it to be. With a bit of extra time on your hands you might be dreaming up some renovation possibilities! That’s one of our favorite things to do! Many people hit a dead end on their renovation journey once the dream turns into the reality of the cost. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Investing in improvements to your home can be one of the best financial decisions you can make. Usually the cost of smart renovations can be recouped during the sale of your home down the road. But once the reality of the costs start to impact the dream it might cause you to make some sacrifices, but how many sacrifices are too many, and how can you bridge the gap?

Anyone who has a mortgage knows that when it comes to your home, debt isn’t always a bad thing. Improving your kitchen, bathroom, work space, or even your backyard can make an impact on your quality of life and enjoyment of your home now and the value of it for many years into the future. So for many taking out a loan for home renovations is a smart choice! LightStream is one of the most uncomplicated ways to fund your renovation, allowing you to focus on the dream and not the financing.

Many people don’t know where to begin or think that applying for a loan will be a long, arduous process. Fortunately LightStream allows you to apply in 3 simple steps, all online, and you can have funds in your account as soon as today. ( See important details here.)

That means you can get started on your renovation with no delay and you will have the freedom to make the dream a reality.

Budget is one of the first conversations we have with our clients and often it is the most important. Everyone has one, and it almost certainly will determine the scope of the project. In our own home an open kitchen with a big island for entertaining was very important to us. We also knew the impact it would have on our homes value if we want to sell it in the future. Achieving the big, beautiful, open kitchen we wanted involved us removing a load bearing wall and putting up a structural beam. Although it was a big project, it’s a sacrifice we were not willing to make! The improvement to the enjoyment of our space and the value it added was worth the expense.

In some situations using smart debt to finance your renovation might even be a better choice than using savings. Renovating your home can be extremely rewarding but it can also be stressful. LightStream’s lending uncomplicated philosophy and ease of use can help relieve the stress and make your renovations dreams a reality.

Through our special link ,here you can receive a .10% APR discount on loan, if approved #LightStreamLoans. Visit , to learn more.

Happy renovating!

The Lowdown on Leveling Floors

In many old houses walls and floors are not straight, level, or square. It’s something that you learn to live with and occasionally enjoy as a character of a historic home. Watching the dog drop his ball and look in confusion as it slowly rolls to the far wall can be entertaining. Floors often develop grades over the years. But why?! What can you do about it? And how much does it cost?

Why do the floors in your Brooklyn brownstone have grades?

Most Brooklyn brownstones have masonry walls on all four sides. They are very stiff and support the wood joists that pocket into them. The wood joists typically span 17-20 feet and usually have a deflection bearing wall somewhere close to the middle. Because the wood joist is a softer material than the masonry walls over the years it can sag in the middle. So most old brownstones will see the grades all pointing toward the center of the house, the furthest point from the outside walls. So if you’re missing the dog’s toys or just don’t know where all those marbles got to, that is probably where you’ll find them!

All the joists have to be exposed in order to level the floors.

What can be done about it?

This type of sagging usually doesn’t mean there is a structural issue to be overly concerned about. Most of the time it’s a cosmetic issue and can affect the comfort of the space. Having one nice level plane of flooring can be a big improvement to how the space feels. Leveling can be done but it is a big job. It would need to be part of a larger renovation. All of the existing flooring and subfloor will need to come up to reveal the joists.

At this point you can get a good look at them to see if there might be something contributing to the issue beyond the usual settling. Sometimes plumbers cut through them to run pipes. If the damage is extensive it can weaken them. You’ll want to consult your architect or structural engineer for the fix, but usually the damaged joisted can be replaced or reinforced.

To bring the floors up to a consistent level you’ll need to start at the highest point (usually at the masonry walls) and a board can be attached to the joist in a process called sistering. So that the new sistered joist is one flat level surface all the way across. The new board will usually start at the same level of the old joist at the masonry wall and you’ll see a gradual difference until it gets to the lowest point before it slopes back up at the far wall. After all of the joists are sistered a new subfloor and hardwood floor can be installed.

Unfortunately this is rarely the extent of the scope of work required. Since the level of the floor is adjusting up sometimes several inches in the middle of the house all of the door trim and baseboards need to be adjusted as well. This often involves installing all new trim, although if you have beautiful original moulding they can be removed and reinstalled.

One of the more complicated situations that can arise is the level of stairs. Often adjusting the floors up will mean the last step will get higher…sometimes too high to meet code or just to be comfortable. In that case the stairs also need to be adjusted. Sometimes each tread needs to be adjusted or the entire staircase can be jacked up to a new level.

Adding trim to a recent re-leveled staircase

How much does it cost?

If all of this sounds expensive, it definitely can be. Removing and disposing of all of the subfloors and flooring is a big job. Sistering every joist to create one level takes precision. All new subfloor and flooring is a lot of material to purchase. Finally the fallout of adjusting the trim and stairs takes time and skill. Depending on how extensive the scope it might cost $20-30,000 per floor. Some of the work might even already be part of the scope which can reduce what the additional expense ends up being.

Having one nice level plane of flooring throughout a space can make it feel cohesive. We’ve seen it completely transform a space. Depending on how bad the grading is on the floors it is often worth the expense.

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Our Favorite Quartz Stone – HanStone Quartz

Photo: Photo: Bridget Badore @bridgetbadore

Montauk Quartz from HanStone fits beautifully in our kitchen and bathroom.

Photos by Bridget Badore

Choosing stone is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your kitchen renovation. You can go with something dark and moody or something bright and white. You also have your choice of many types of material like marble, quartz, or granite.

There are lots of options out there but we have our favorite. We like to install quartz because of it’s low maintenance, durability, and stylish aesthetics. Most of our projects are for homeowners who are busy families. They need something that will clean-up quickly and easily without showing stains and etching as you can see in natural stone.

Natural stone is undeniably beautiful, so it was important for us to find a quartz company who makes products that we feel are equally as beautiful. As important as durability is we didn’t want to sacrifice looks!

,HanStone Quartz is by far our favorite. We love the designs and natural looking marbling. Whether we are looking for subtle veining or something more dramatic, we are always excited to bring in their stone for install! It’s affordable for any budget and

A look that we can’t get enough of is running the same quartz that is on the countertops up the backsplash as well. It looks amazing and makes for a very easy clean-up. If you have ever tried to clean spaghetti sauce off of backsplash with a lot of grout lines you know what we’re talking about!

One of our go-to styles from ,HanStone is Montauk. It has a pearl off-white base so the veining appears more subtle than on a brighter white base . It reminds us of the look and vintage feel of carrara marble.

We also love Chantilly. It has a brighter white base and more dramatic veining. It’s a perfect component to white, dark, or wood tone cabinets.

We agonized for weeks over which stone to install before we found Hanstone Quartz in our own home. Now that we are helping other families choose finishes in their homes we are always confident bringing ,HanStone Quartz samples over to them to choose from.

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Maximizing Natural Light In Your Home

Most brownstones or townhouses are narrow and long. Usually 20 feet at the street and 40 feet long. Natural light only enters at the front and back so that leaves a long stretch in the middle with no windows. Squeezing every bit of natural light out of the windows that are there is crucial.

Lighting is very important to design, and no kind of lighting is more important than, natural light. It’s something that no light bulb, no matter how sophisticated, can replicate. Natural light helps any space look warmer and more vibrant. It also makes spaces look larger and more open. A small office or reading nook has an inviting and cozy feel when positioned in front of a window. Suddenly the size of the room isn’t as much of a drawback, but imagine that tiny room with no natural light and it has an entirely different feel.

How can you make sure you are taking full advantage of every bit of natural light entering your home, especially if you live in a brownstone? One of the first things we do is take note of the direction light enters a home. Get a compass out and determine which direction is south facing. The main advantage of a south-facing window is the amount of sunlight you’ll enjoy. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the south side of any house will see the most hours of sunlight during the day in the Northern Hemisphere. Also note the location of trees (considering trimming them) and other buildings that might obstruct the natural light from streaming in. This will prepare you to design your space to maximize the natural light that you get.

Big Reno

Not everyone has the ability to rearrange walls in their home, but it might be the easiest way to help light flow freely. If there is an opportunity you should take it. Even removing a small section of wall can greatly increase the amount of light flowing through. It’s also rarely possible to put in a new window in a brownstone, but it could be possible to replace them with new ones that let in more light. Removing dark trim and anything else that might obstruct them is also helpful.

On the top floor it could be possible to add skylights to rooms. We added a big skylight to a bedroom we have with no windows and it’s now the brightest room in the house! If the room isn’t on the top floor try a sun tunnel. It’s a long tube that can go from a skylight on the roof, through a wall, and opens to a room on the next level down. It might only be done during a bigger renovation, but it doesn’t add that much expense if work is already being done.

No Reno Necessary

Many people have window coverings that are permanently installed to cover some of a window. Look for options that extend beyond the window that can completely open to reveal the entire glass.

Position furniture to take advantage of better natural light. Create spaces that give you the best opportunity to soak up the rays in your own home. Place a comfy chair and table next to a south or East facing window to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning to start your day off right. Position furniture in a room you might spend much of the day in to maximize the natural light you will get.

Not all rooms are created equal when it comes to the amount of natural light it gets. You can’t change the fact that some rooms might be north facing, have a lot of tree cover, or possibly another building blocking light. Make sure those rooms are painted with light neutral color. Don’t be afraid to use white! There lots and lots of shades of white. Think Scandinavian design. They are pros at dealing with very little natural light. Any Scandinavian designed space will include white walls, light wood tones, natural elements, and small pops of bright color. It’s the perfect solution for keeping a space light, bright, and airy even when there is little natural light.

Try going up one sheen level on the walls and ceiling to help bounce light around. We are fans of a matte/flat wall paint but in our north facing bedroom we painted the walls and ceiling with satin paint. There is a slight sheen to it when the light hits it the right way and it definitely helps brighten the room.

Install a big mirror. Plain and simple, it will bounce a lot of light around a room and can almost give an effect of an additional window.

We like installing interior doors with glass in them to help light move around the space. In our guest bath we installed a vintage door with chicken wire glass and stenciled “WC” on it. It’s a fun feature and brings natural light into the hallway, which is usually a space that doesn’t get a window.

Finally, lose the clutter. One of the hallmarks of Scandinavian design is a cozy but minimal space. Too much stuff will take the focus off the natural light and how it strikes the surfaces of the room and on all of the stuff filling up the place.

Whether or not you can go as far as moving or removing walls there are so many ways to take better advantage of the natural light entering your home. Even some simple changes can improve how your space looks and feels. So take some action and soak up those rays!

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Ikea #DIY Hack. Making Over an Existing Piece of Furniture

Before & After of our DIY Ikea Hemnes Hack

This #valentinesday we’re embracing our strongest love/hate relationship ever….. Ikea!

We all have that one Ikea piece of furniture that’s been with us a little too long. For us, it’s the Hemnes 3 drawer that’s hiding in our guest bedroom. We decided it was time for a little #diy love-makeover. This makeover cost us under $50 and took us just a couple of days to make! Now, we have a new “old” dresser


  • Cordless drill & drill bit
  • Stapler & staples
  • Paintbrush
  • Clamps (or tape to hold the moulding in place while the glue dries
  • Jigsaw
  • Mitre Saw (Alternatively: Fine saw & mitre block)
  • (If you don’t have power tools and don’t want to get any, you can take the drawer fronts to a local wood store and they might cut it for a small fee.)


  • Ikea Hemnes Chest of Drawers (we have had ours for over 8 years!)
  • Handles –we got ours from House of Antique Hardware
  • Cane Webbing- Amazon (cheap and ships fast!). Make sure you order a little overage
  • Moulding for Cabinets- we picked up simple 1/4″ rounds at Home Depot. Our advice is to get one that is on the smaller side and doesn’t feel too large in the drawer.
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Wood Glue – this is our favorite wood glue
  • Paint – we went with Clare Paint Greyish. Clare has our favorite colors to elevate any space. We love that this color is a mix of grey, white and green!


You will want to get everything out of the drawers. We have been hoarding a lot of our clothes we don’t usually wear in these drawers. So this gave us the perfect opportunity for some early spring cleaning. Once everything was cleared out, we removed the drawers and then took off the existing hardware. It’s Ikea, so you won’t need any special tools for this – a screw driver will do! Remove the cabinet fronts and make sure to keep the screws for them!


Next, cut the square holes into the drawers. You’ll want to decide how much border you want around the webbing. You don’t want it to be too narrow otherwise it could leave the drawer too weak and don’t forget that you also still have to have enough space to attach your new handles, too (if you will be using handles!)

We went with about 2″. Measure all the way around and draw the square you’ll be cutting out onto the drawer front. Now you’re ready to grab your jigsaw and start cutting! If you don’t have any power tools you can bring this to a local wood shop and they may be able to cut it for you. But we recommend having a few handy tools around and maybe this is a good project to get your toolbox started! Before you can start cutting you’ll need to drill a hole inside the area you’ll be removing that’s big enough for you to insert your jigsaw blade. Carefully cut out the square and try to follow the lines exactly. Don’t be discouraged if this is difficult at first if it’s your first time using a jigsaw you’ll need a bit of practice. You will also be putting trim around the cut edge to hide some imperfections.


Sand all edges with sandpaper and make sure everything is as smooth as possible. Since the edge where you cut will be unfinished (and possibly with some imperfections from the cutting) you’ll want to hide it with moulding. We used a 1/4 round trim to give it nice curved edge detail. You need a miter saw or a miter box to cut the moulding on a 45° angle and miter it at the corners. If you’ve never done this before our advice is to get an extra couple of lengths of moulding. It’s a little tricky and you might have to re-do a few of them.

Assemble the moulding into the cutout to make sure it all fits. If it’s not perfect at the miter joints and if there are small gaps where the moulding meets the cutout it’s OK! We’re going to fill it with some wood filler before painted. Glue the mouldings onto the cut edge and use clamps to hold it into place until it dries. If you don’t have clamps just hold it in place for about 2 minutes and it should be good from there. It should be dry enough to continue after a couple of hours, but we waited until the next day.

When it’s dried, fill any gaps, uneven cuts, or chips from the cutting with some wood filler and let it dry before sanding everything so that it’s smooth and ready to prime and paint. The wood filler is sand-able and paintable so you won’t see these imperfections after it’s painted.


When you’ve finished all cutting, glueing and filling it’s time to give everything, including the entire dresser, a sand with some 120 grit sandpaper. We just did ours by hand!

Sanding the surface will roughen it up ever so slightly and provide a good base for the paint to stick. Give everything a wipe down to make sure it’s dust free before painting.

Now we could have used primer (might be recommended) but we were working with Clare Paint so that we know is a durable paint. We skipped priming since the existing cabinets were white and just decided to give a couple coats of fresh paint. Don’t forget that you also have to sand between every coat of paint to remove any imperfections, air bubbles and provide more little grooves for the next coat of paint to stick to.


When you’ve finished painting and everything has thoroughly dried (give it a good 24 hours just for good measure) you can start to update your Hemnes dresser with cane webbing. Flip over the front of your drawers and staple a piece of webbing over the opening. Cut and measure the webbing first! Also, we made sure to flatten our webbing a couple days in advance. It comes rolled up and will be hard to work with if it’s constantly curling up on you.


Once everything is looking like its back to being a dresser, drill the holes for your new handles. We used these beautiful handles from House of Antique Hardware which meant that we had to drill two holes into each of the larger drawers and one each in the smaller drawers.

TIP- we could have spent another couple hours measuring exact screw locations for the hardware but we just used painters tape to mark the screw holes and then transfer that from the tape onto the the drawers! This will save you so much time and be more precise!


We’re absolutely in love with how this Ikea Hemnes dresser with cane webbing turned out! It’s fitting right in with our vintage botanical room and the dresser has a whole new life that we will enjoy for several more years!

We’d love to know what you think of our Ikea Hemnes dresser with cane webbing! Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to check out our Instagram for more details!

Spacekit- An Easy & Fun Way To Decorate Any Space

Spacekit has transformed our dull, dark hallway with a bright pop of color!

A big battle in our home is color. Barry loves the grey’s while Jordan likes it bright & colorful! Our hallway leading to the coat nook has always been a dull, dead, and dark space. No more! (Jordan won ) .

We just installed customizable wall decor from SpaceKit and it’s giving so much life to this space. Space kit couldn’t be easier: shop & design, unpack & install, and snap art panels into place! It was a fun project to design and install it. We’re also already looking forward to changing up the pattern when we’re ready for something new. But right now we’re liking the pops of color it’s bringing to this formally big white wall.

The installation process doesn’t damage any walls so if we wanted to move it to another room we could with no sign of where it was left. The unique connecting system comes with leveled adhesive clips that just stick in place and the panels pop in. You pick a place to start and build out from there. It can be as big or small as you like by adding or removing tiles. It literally took us under 15 minutes!

Here’s a video of the entire process from Spacekit! It couldn’t have been easier: shopped and designed online, unpack & install, and have fun putting the piece together!

There are several options for patterns and colors and you can put together the design yourself on their online tool. We highly recommend giving it a try on their website: #spacekit #spacekitdecor

USE CODE: BB20 for 20% off a one-time purchase per customer.

Designing For Small Spaces

Everyone’s got one. That small and possibly awkward space that just isn’t nearly as functional or beautiful as you would like it to be. Maybe it’s a tiny powder room or a guest bath. Is it your kitchen or office? Or maybe it’s your entire apartment! Any room or home that is short of square footage can be a challenge to design. How do you squeeze every bit of space out of it without a cluttered look? Whether you are renovating or rearranging, we have some tips!

Customize Your Storage

Off the shelf storage solutions are great but only go so far. If you want to truly use every inch of space you’ll need to take it a step farther. Basically it comes down to creating space for the way you live and work. If you’re an inspiring chef have organization for your spices and gadgets, if you’re a book or record collector have dedicated storage that makes you comfortable to continue collecting, if you’re a designer or artist have space to organize your brushes, pencils, tools, and a workspace that keeps you inspired. Use space under seating, above cabinets, behind or above doors, there are a few options you likely haven’t considered. If you have a space that is too shallow for an off-the-shelf unit building a shallow storage can be incredibly useful for the right items.

Build Up

In New York City, where some spaces lack square footage they make up for it in ceiling height. Build up! If you can’t reach it, store things that you don’t use often like the expensive juicer that takes half a cabinet that we got 5 years ago and used 5 times. Or have a step stool or attractive ladder on the ready when you need it.

Closet Culture

If you are lacking in closet space (who isn’t!) make sure you are squeezing every inch of space out of it. Invest in a closet organizing system to turn your small closet into something that rivals many walk-ins. If you have a standard 48” wide closet and install double handling in ¾” of it, you now have 7 feet of hanging space. Maybe there is room to squeeze in a shelf or 2 and possibly some of our favorites, coat hooks!

A recessed niche and nook will give any room extra character! It’s also a great use of space.

Nooks and Niches

You might know that we love a niche! They just make so much sense. If you’re renovating and building a wall, it costs nothing (or very little) to take advantage of the space in the wall and build it with a niche. We’re fans of putting them in the bathroom by a vanity, or in a bedroom over or next to the bed, or in a hallway where the walls are almost always useless. Books and other items can be tucked away and you can eliminate the need for additional pieces of furniture.

We utilize our kitchen island and dining room table as both a eating area and a work space.

Dual Purpose Furniture

Don’t crowd your room when you can have furniture that can do double duty. A dining table can double as a desk with a long bench seat that can tuck neatly under when not needed. Keep the seating flexible. Your living room likely doesn’t always need seating for 10. Floor poofs that tuck under a coffee table can easily be pulled out to squeeze in the guests (post pandemic obvi).

Declutter and Purge

Get your Kondo on and purge! If you don’t wear something or use it over the course of a year, do you really need it? Do you have too much stuff? Have a stoop sale. Invite your friends and maybe some of your stuff you may not want to part with will find a nice new home and you can visit. Remember, less is more!


Don’t underestimate the role lighting can play in helping your space appear larger and more appealing. Especially when combined with the above mentioned recommendations. If you layer lighting it can help define areas within the room and make it feel cozier and more purposeful. A single center light fixture creates a bland generic space. Instead install a library lamp over a shelf or picture, use a reading lamp in a corner, or use a directional pendant that creates a pool of light over a table.

Your space might not be sprawling but it doesn’t mean that it has to feel cramped. Smart storage, furniture, renovation, and lighting choices can create a very comfortable and cozy space you won’t mind sharing with your stuff!

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