Boxwood Avenue

Laundry Room Renovation | Week Two

house & home, interiorsChloe | Boxwood Ave.Comment

Hello! How was your week? If you missed last week, let me fill you in a little bit...We are currently renovating our laundry room in partnership with my friends at The Home Depot, and we have less than 30 days to wrap up the project.

click here to see the design plan

Slate & Terra Cotta Tiles with Aged Nickel Hardware

We started the room last Wednesday, and we are already beginning to put everything back together. This week we wrapped up plumbing, electrical, framing, and almost all of the paneling. 

Our contractor sourced pine tongue and groove boards for me to add vertical wood paneling to the walls. I cannot believe PINE PANELING is back in style (albeit painted), but it seems that it's made its full circle.

There are many ways to add wood paneling to your walls. Metrie has an awesome pre-finished option which is very simple to use, and can be done by yourself. It is even pre-painted, so it's very fuss free.

You can purchase pre-cut "shiplap" from The Home Depot which comes cut and spaced for you. You can also cut down plywood into equal sized "boards" which can be nailed directly onto the walls and spaced out using tile spacers. Make sure they are cut exactly the same size though! 

Since we have tongue and groove paneling in quite a few places in our house, I wanted to keep it consistent, so we went with 8" pine tongue & groove. I was nervous that the pine notches would show through the paint, but my friend Maria (@dreamywhiteslifestyle) talked me off my ledge. She has pine in her house, and loves it. 

We wil be painting the paneling Bistro White by Valspar - it's the color we have in our living room, hallway, and on all of our trim. We will also be priming the paneling with 2 coats of a Kilz primer to prevent any knots in the wood from seeping through the paint. 

Today, our contractor is cutting and placing the paneling onto the walls. To do so, he removed all of the sheetrock and took the room down to the studs. This is because the paneling is too thick to place over the sheetrock. He installed small horizontal strips of wood over the studs so that he had something to nail into as he placed the boards. When he reached the corners he saw that the wall was not perfectly straight, so he cut the board to fit into the space making everything appear to be square, when in reality, it's a bit off due to the age of the home. 

Vertical Pine Tongue and Groove Paneling | boxwoodavenue.com
Slate & Terra Cotta Tiles with Aged Nickel Hardware

I have been in and out of Reno quite a bit lately because we are just about to break ground on a big project. My dad and I are helping a family renovate their home over the next month or two, so I have been buttoning up all of the design details on that before we get started. This week I was able to stop by The Home Depot to pick up the slate flooring for the laundry room as well as all of the hardware

The backsplash tile also arrived this week, and it is absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to have it installed! It is perfectly imperfect in every way. The color is "rice paper" by Clé Tile, and it looks beautiful next to the slate and aged nickel hardware. 

Oh, we also received a new vacuum from Home Depot this week. Greg was so excited to open it up since we have had the same vacuum since college, and this was a major upgrade. He's not letting me use it until I take photos because he wants it to look brand new when I share photos with you guys. You would think it was a much more glorious item than a vacuum by the way he has been treating it. 

Over the next week we are hoping to get the paneling painted and cabinets installed. Then it's tile, lights, and countertops! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and as always, thank you so very much for stopping by! 


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9 Investments I made in 2017 that Helped my Blog Grow

livingChloe | Boxwood Ave.2 Comments

I thought I wrote a post like this last year, but it turns out, it was two years ago that I last shared the best investments I made in my blog and business. I know many of you are not bloggers, but those of you that are may find this post helpful. I am a firm believer that we are all in this together, and I hope that you might learn a thing or two from my journey, and that I might learn a thing or two from yours.

Ironstone Collection in beautiful French Cabinet

9 INVESTMENTS I MADE IN 2017 THAT HELPED MY BLOG GROW


All of Brene Brown's Books 

2017 was a year of growth not only for my business, but also for my faith and spirit. I spent countless hours listening to books on tape as I drove back and forth to Reno and Sonoma. I will forever be a fan of Brene Brown, and although her books aren't focused on business, I believe that a healthier you will result in a healthier work life. If I only had $50 to invest in myself or my business this year, it'd be in Brene Brown's books - audio preferably (The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and The Power of Vulnerability are my favorites). I also loved Oprah's new book The Wisdom of Sundays. On deck? The Untethered Soul

A Full Frame Camera 

Many people inquire as to what camera I use. I use a Nikon D750. I can't remember if I got it this year, or last year, but it has definitely changed the way I approach photography. I started off with a crop frame camera, which was a great teacher to me. As I learned more and more about photography, I realized that to really improve, I would need a full frame camera. You might be wondering what the difference is? 

A crop frame camera, or a crop sensor, captures a cropped image (meaning, only part of the image). While a full frame camera captures the entire image. Since the sensor is the most expensive part of a camera, full frame cameras are more expensive; however, they are worth the additional investment. A full frame camera will capture the entire image you see - giving you maximum area whereas a crop frame camera cannot capture the full image because the sensor is smaller. 

For reference: a 35 mm lens on a cropped frame camera will capture about the same area as a 50 mm lens will on a full frame camera. 

A Better Tri-Pod 

While attending The Academy in France, I learned just how important a really good tripod is for capturing beautiful imagery. If you are a blog or business that primarily centers around interiors, food, or still life, a quality tripod will serve you well. The difference between photos taken with a tripod and without a tripod is astonishing.

without tripod (left), with tripod (right) - notice how crisp and clear the right photo is? 

 

Photography Accessories: Light Boxes, Reflector, Tri-Pod

I mentioned this in my 2015 post, but I thought it was worth saying again. I love my light boxes, light reflectors, and wireless shutter release to help assist me when photographing interiors and still life. Although I will say that I am much less reliant on my light boxes now that I am comfortable with my tripod. I find that slowing down my shutter speed while using a tripod produces better photos than a faster shutter speed with faux light. 

Attending a Conference or Workshop 

I loved my time in France with Heather Bullard, and I always love my time in Sonoma at Oh So Inspired. I don't think a conference makes or breaks your year, and honestly, it's not the learning that I find so valuable, it's the networking. I loved connecting with others that are interested in similar things that I am interested in. Search for conferences in your area or start attending a Tuesdays Together in your community! 

Hiring Help 

This year I was fortunate enough to find someone amazing to help assist me with everything behind the scenes. From photographing, bookkeeping, prepping...she does it all. It is not easy to find someone that you can trust, or that has the right aesthetic for your business. However, if you are able to find someone that fits into your little corner of the world, they are worth their weight in gold. Even though it is an expense to have help, think of all of the additional things you can accomplish. For example, Lori helps me create affiliate round up posts which generally generate income. So even though I am paying her to help me, the work she is doing has a direct return. 

JAXXY 

I have paid for JAXXY for two years now, and I have become very reliant on it when generating blog posts with specific keywords. I am not sure if I have made money back from the expense, but it has definitely helped me improve upon SEO on my site. It is so simple for me to check keywords with Jaxxy, and it is so simple to understand. Perhaps there's a cheaper or better option out there, but for the ease of use, I happily pay for the service each year.  Here is a good video showing how to use Jaxxy if you are interested. 

Squarespace Commerce 

If you have a commerce SS website, I recommend upgrading to the commerce plan on Squarespace. I like this feature because it allows for you to contact many abandoned checkout customers to recover sales. I recovered more than enough sales with this feature to cover the cost of the plan, and then some. I also enjoy the additional analytics it offers! 

Professional Email Template & Convertkit 

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to gather a really wonderful group of subscribers. However it wasn't until this year that I decided to start contacting them. I had read time and time again about how important email subscribers are, so I kept a file of them, but I hadn't ever been diligent about sending out emails. I haven't had a return on this investment yet - but I made the jump from MailChimp to Convertkit, and asked Magnolia House Creative to design a beautiful email template for me (which far exceeded my expectations!). I am ready to tackle this goal in 2018 as I move more towards commerce. Convert kit is about the same cost as MailChimp but focuses more on segmenting subscribers so that you know exactly who your all-star customers or readers are. 

I hope that some of these ideas might help you grow your blog and business this year! I would love to know some of your favorite apps or websites that you rely on to keep you organized and productive during the work day. Staying productive and free of distraction is my biggest weakness, I need all the tips


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