I hadn’t thought much about labeling my decorating style before we bought our house last year. When I was trying to categorize it, I kept coming back to modern + rustic (which Chris then labeled “mustic”). I have always loved modern, clean-lined furniture with rustic, woodsy accents.

Since then, I have taken so many quizzes to “define my decorating style.” From ‘worldly’ to ‘earthy’ to ‘modern,’ I always found the answers to be decently correct and never surprising. That is, until last week, when I took the quiz in the new issue of Real Simple. It rocked my (decorating) world. But before I tell you my results, you take the quiz.

Start by (mentally) circling the items on this page that you are naturally drawn to. Don’t take a lot of time to think about it, but remember which ones you liked.


Now that you’re done with that, look back through the items that you like and count how many of those items were A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s. Now read your results…






What’dja think? Was it right on? Obvious? Shocking? Mind-blowing? Shockingly mind-blowing? Mine was.

I had 4 C’s and 2 A’s.

That’s right – I am a Cozy Casual. I could have easily said it was wrong about me…but then I looked at the picture of the Cozy Casual room and fell in love. If there was a way to transport that room into my living room, teddy bear and all, I would. Plus, Crate and Barrel is my favorite store and it’s right there on the Cozy Casual shopping list.

My #2 style is Sophisticated Classic. Makes sense…I have been obsessed with tufted furniture lately.

 I definitely thought that I would be more along the Modern Graphic line with this quiz, but I actually didn’t find that room very appealing at all. Sure, it looks great, but it’s not a style I would implement in my own home. I feel like an entire part of me that I didn’t know existed just unveiled itself to me. But I now have full confidence in what I love. And I can totally see a birch candle or two and a rustic tree trunk, glass-topped coffee table fitting right in that room. And Yoshi can replace the teddy bear.

My entire decorating style identity has been shaken…


Bathroom reno: Stage 2


Wanna know how to get brand-new-looking cabinets for $12? Polystain! Another discovery from the lovely Katie Bower’s blog, Polystain is exactly what I was looking for as a solution to my old, ugly, and water-damaged bathroom cabinet problem. Katie- I am officially on your Polystain Chain Gang. It’s a slightly time-consuming process, but, if you give yourself a week and just do a few coats every night, it will definitely be worth it.

Here is a lovely “before” shot of the cabinets (excuse the mess, we were working on stage 1 when I took this).


See that water stain?


So that’s what I had to work with. I grabbed some Cabot Polystain in Dark Oak from Lowes, a sanding sponge, paper towels, and 3 foam brushes and got to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide to polystaining cabinets the Team Vincent way.

1. Remove cabinet doors and drawers from cabinet box. Make sure to take off the door hinges as well, you don’t want to get stain on those.

2. Lay the doors and drawers out so that you can get to all sides of them without them touching the floor. I took them to our guest room, spread out plastic sheeting (cause I’m messy), laid the doors out on folded up drying racks and laid the drawers across empty soda boxes so that the bottom lip didn’t touch the floor. Because you can only get to one side of the cabinet doors at a time, I just did all the coats on one side, then flipped it over when it was completely dry and did all the coats on the other side.

3. Clean the cabinets. I used a water/vinegar mix to get any dust, dirt, and grime off the cabinets. Make sure you clean both sides of the cabinet doors.

4.  Lightly sand the cabinets. I used a sanding sponge to make sure I could get in all the crevices and rounded edges of the cabinet doors and drawers. I highly recommend this- it was much easier than sanding by hand with a piece of sandpaper, and, when the sponge starts to get full, you can just take it outside and beat it and it’s ready to go again! Be sure to use a fine grain sandpaper/sponge so you don’t wind up with a scratchy finish on the cabinets. You want to sand enough so that the finish is no longer glossy- and sand a little extra on the water-damaged areas- but don’t worry about getting all the past polyurethane off the cabinets. That is the beauty of Polystain!

 At this point, the cabinets are gonna look like poop. This is when you will start to get nervous, but don’t!

5. Brush on light, even coats of Polystain. I took Katie Bower’s advice and used foam brushes so that I would not have to spend extra time cleaning out my brush after each coat. The foam brushes worked like a charm- just make sure you don’t push down too hard or  you will wind up with bubbles that you have to smooth out. The drying process between each coat is 1-2 hours, so I did an additional coat every 90 minutes (always making sure that it didn’t feel tacky before I started the next coat). Squeeze out your foam brush with a paper towel after each coat. I got through 10 or so coats using the same brush this way. Once the brush starts to get  hard, you’ll want to pitch it and grab a new one. To get from the natural cabinet color to the dark espresso color that I wanted, it took 17 coats. It sounds bad…but not nearly as bad as spending a couple hundred on a new vanity! Just plug in some tunes and think about all the money you’re saving while applying each coat.

6. Your cabinets are now stained and gorgeous! Now go pick out some new hardware for the doors to show off your beautiful work…and give yourself a pat on the back….you just DIY’ed yourself some brand-new-looking cabinets on the cheap!

Here’s the cabinet base after 5 coats…


After 10 coats…


And here’s a cabinet door with 17 coats of Polystain next to one with no polystain. It’s crazy the difference it makes!


And for all you “I-just-can’t-visualize-the-end-result-in-my-head” types, you’ll just have to wait…we still have a lot of work to do on the bathroom before the cabinets can be put back together!

Anyone else used Polystain in the past? Got any tips, tricks, or other ways you made your old, water-stained cabinets look brand new? Wanna join me and Katie in the Polystain Chain Gang?

Bathroom reno: Stage 1

And….we’re back! Life (and projects) got the better of me the past few weeks. Working on the bathroom, living room, visiting my new baby nephew (yay!) in MO, a Super Bowl party (boo hiss Saints!), parents in town, and a bout of pneumonia- followed by a lovely sinus infection- have kept me off my computer for a while. But have no fear, I’m back with an update on the first stage of our bathroom reno, which, by the way, has had even more hiccups than the usual DIY project in our house.

The first step in turning our beige heaven into something much nicer to see first thing in the morning (sidenote: Chris and I are both NOT morning people…I don’t think the bathroom was helping. Something much brighter and cheerier was definitely in order.) was knocking down the awkward and useless doorway between the sink and shower area.

Here’s a little reminder of what that looked like (you can see it in the reflection in the mirror).


The first thing we did was take off the door frame. Chris then carefully marked, scored, and removed the drywall from above the doorway and to the right side of it, which left it looking something like this.


We knew that this wall was not load-bearing, so Chris took down the wood beams.


Which just left the ones that were attached to the ceiling and wall studs. He wound up using a circular saw to cut those out, leaving inset beams on each side of the doorway.


We then cut pieces of greenboard (moisture-resistant drywall) to fit into the the inset space and screwed them in.


Then it was on to my least favorite part….mudding. And mud we did…and did….and did…and did…
But finally, after 5 or so coats (and a long wait time in between each coat), it was smooth.

But…it was too smooth. The other parts of a wall are slightly textured, called orange peel texture. Builders typically spray this texture on the walls after mudding to make the wall completely seamless in appearance. Unfortunately, we now had a really smooth area around the doorway that looked obviously out of place. So, we decided to try to emulate the look of the orange peel texture without having to spray it on.

We grabbed a paint edger pad, dipped it in slightly watered down mud, and got to stamping.


This is what the texture of the wall looked like post-stamping.


And this is what the texture of the rest of the wall looks like.


After a light sanding on the new texture, it should blend right in seamlessly with some paint. The ceiling texture is a different story. We have the starburst-looking texture called slapbrush on our ceiling. Following Katie Bower’s post on mudding, we thought we could easily stamp on the texture if we had the right brush. Not so! It must be some mythic form of art, cause, 2 brushes and multiple attempts later, we gave up and decided to use our old method that we used on other ceiling patches… finger mudding. Yes, we dip our fingers in a bucket of mud compound and then manually make starburst shapes with the mud. Not quite the professional way to do it but it doesn’t look half bad in the end…and a whole lot better than the weird mud squashes that came out with the slapbrushes!

So there’s the basics about stage 1 of the renovation. Coming up next…cabinet staining!