The Christmas Gift of a Living Room Suite

Hi again! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog because nothing too exciting is happening here on Robin Lane, especially when it comes to home renovations. Andrew and I have been busy working our multiple jobs and saving money for the bigger projects to come.

We are getting ready to come up on F-O-U-R  years of Robin Lane Living and I cannot believe how much we’ve done and how much I still want to do. But that’s for another blog post…here’s an update on our last bit of change.

October 2017-Andrew and I start discussing Christmas and my birthday (December 21) and what we are hoping to get and realize that we didn’t have enough items to really ask for, so I proposed my genius plan for NEW LIVING ROOM FURNITURE.

Don’t get me wrong, the furniture we had was great, but it was old (I’m talking like 20 years old) and was starting to really show wear and become uncomfortable to sit on. This furniture really had made it’s mark on my life, though. My parents bought the furniture for their “fancy” living room when I was about 10 years old. It sat in our home and was rarely used, because who sat in the fancy living room? When I went away to school, my dad packed it into a trailer and hauled it to VA so my roommates and I could use it in our apartment and then hauled in back when I graduated. Andrew and I used it in our townhouse when we first got married and then moved it to Robin Lane where it has been used every day.

Andrew kind of blew off my idea of new furniture, but I hadn’t given up hope yet.
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November 2017- Andrew and I continue to talk about Christmas and gifts and the furniture idea comes up again and he agrees to go look with me with the idea of that being our Christmas gift to each other. We went to Ashley Furniture and looked around but we weren’t thrilled with anything, so we headed to Big Sandy Superstore. We found an Ashley Furniture living room set, ironically, that we both liked and thought was comfortable and could withstand the 95 pound ball of fluff that runs our house, and after some haggling, got what we both considered a great deal!


The couch, two chairs, one end table and the coffee table were in stock, so they could be delivered the following Saturday and then we would have to wait for the love seat and other end table to be ordered. We were thrilled with the idea of having the majority of the furniture so soon and we worked quickly to get the room prepped.

The fun part here is that the house had been half way decorated for Christmas, so we were cleaning and moving around the Christmas tree.

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December 2017- The majority of the furniture was delivered right after Thanksgiving, so we were able to enjoy it during the Holiday season and Big Sandy called me about half way through December to tell me the rest had come in and they were ready to set up a delivery time. I went ahead and had the store hold off on delivery until after Christmas so that we could get all the decorations down and really figure out how we wanted to set up the layout.


All in all, I’m super pleased with how the new furniture has updated the look of the living room and even more pleased with how comfortable the naps are on this new couch!

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Kitchen Cabinets Finale


So in my last post, I walked you guys through the complete overhaul of the kitchen cabinets when my mom and I painted them white. It T R U L Y changed the entire look of the kitchen and had me wishing I had done them earlier.

But when we finished, we still had giant hole in the cabinets from where we had removed the built-in oven and didn’t have doors to cover it up.

I wanted to include pictures of the old oven, the giant spot and what our kitchen looked like for about 3 months so that you can really appreciate the process.

We had planned to create a pantry where the oven used to be and re-use doors from when we cut out the cabinets under the old cooktop stove. Andrew talked to a friend from church  and he said he could make us doors (from scratch) and that it would be easier than trying to jerry-rig the old doors to fit the spot. So we took him up on the offer and the process began!







Aren’t these doors incredible? They match PERFECTLY! Not only are they beautiful and fit perfectly, they cover up the BEST PART….the HUGE pantry thats inside!


I was so excited to fill up the pantry with some of the things that have been shoved into other cabinets. I was not excited, however, to have to get out all the painting supplies and go through the whole process again, because everyone knows that dealing with the supplies is the worst part.

So, here we go again.

Step 1: Remove the doors and hardware.

We had Andrew’s friend go ahead and hang the doors and put on the hardware because I was not about to mess these doors up by trying to do it ourselves. Because of that, I did have to go through the process of taking everything off, oh well, way worth the hassle.

Step 2: Use wood filler to fill in holes

The guy who made the doors/pantry had to drill in the shelves, so we had some holes that needed to be filled. I used Elmer’s ProBond wood filler. It was cheap, $2.98, and worked great. Fill in the hole, scrape off the excess, and then sand down when dry.

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Step 3: Sand down the doors and cabinet box.

For this, I used a 220 grit sandpaper and just sanded enough to scuff the the wood up.  After sanding, I washed the doors and cabinet box down with warm water and Dawn soap to remove any sanding residue.  I allowed the doors to dry for about an hour.

Step 4: Prime everything.

I used a good paint brush (I suggest Purdy or Wooster brand) and a small “no lint” roller to apply the primer. I only put on one coat this time since the wood was “naked” and a light color. I allowed the primer to dry for about and hour and flipped the doors over and primed the back of the doors. While I was waiting for one side to dry, I primed the inside of the cabinet box where the new shelves had been installed. They will also need to be painted white.

Step 5: Paint everything-again.

Just like the rest of the doors when we originally painted, I only gave the backs of the cabinet doors one coat.

After allowing to dry for a full day, I flipped the doors over and started painting the fronts of the doors. Just like last time, I had to pay attention to the details and be cautious of drips and runs. I painted a coat on the doors, went inside and painted a coat on the cabinet box.  I allowed about an hour to an hour and a half and started on the second coat on the cabinet doors, again, being careful to not have any drips or runs.

Once the second coat was on, I waited…an entire day.

Step 6: Put the hardware back on.

Make sure the paint is COMPLETELY dry.

Step 7: Hang the doors back up.

OH MY GOODNESS….this pantry is glorious and WOWZA, this kitchen looks fantastic!



Project note:

I wanted to give you an update on how the cabinets are holding up since we have painted them: everything is awesome!

I was kinda worried that I would be paranoid about touching them or scratching them up, but the paint has held up wonderfully. Yes, they get dirty, especially the ones under my sink because I’m a hot mess when I’m washing dishes, but I just take my dish rag, wet it, and wipe down. SUPER EASY.

Gallery Wall

Ok, so hi again, I haven’t blogged in FOR-EV-ER because of time constraints and because we literally have been doing no projects around here. Sadly I have reached the point in the home renovations where the projects that needed a little money and a lot of elbow grease are finished and I am into the phase where the projects need a lot of money and none of my elbow grease.

Today, I thought I would share our gallery wall, that I’m sure will continue to grow, and where we got everything on it because I always hear of people needing prints made or looking for cool art pieces.

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The center photo is a canvas print I ordered from We have ordered several different sizes of canvas prints from here (and know others who have as well) and they have always turned out great, shipped quickly, and are of wonderful quality. PLUS, this website runs deals ALL THE TIME. I ordered this one, which is an 11 x14 and got it shipped for $25 when they were running a sale.

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The wooden arrow under it was purchased from Hobby Lobby. Nothing special about it, I just thought the wall needed a little more dimension and another material to set it off.

The two prints on the right-hand side were ordered from a favorite Etsy shop of mine called Retro Book Art…check them out here. I have ordered many prints from this shop and I have been SUPER PLEASED with everything I’ve received. I was first introduced to the shop a few years ago when Andrew ordered me a print for Valentine’s Day.

Each “picture” is printed on dictionary paper, which adds another factor to the coolness. I was surprised when looking that the shop offers both Marshall and West Virginia University prints. I ordered an MU and a print with the outline of WV on it. Again, the pieces were well priced and shipped fast!

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On the left-hand side, we have a picture I bought, again, from Hobby Lobby. Nothing too special about it, since it was mass produced, but a good reminder, nonetheless.

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The last piece on our wall, for now, is one of my favorites. I also purchased this from an Etsy shop called Moxie Mermaid, you can check them out here. This shop specializes in water color portraits of houses. You send them a photo of your house and they send you back a hand painted portrait of your home….all for $25!!

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Anyhoo, there you have it. Nothing too special, but definitely some cool pieces that livened up the big ol’ wall in our living room.

Where do you get your custom art pieces?

Hymnal Page Artwork

So I haven’t updated Robin Lane Living in quite a while because not much has been happening on Robin Lane on the home improvement front. Another school year is in full swing and I’m working on my last few graduate classes. I’ve been busy, which hasn’t left much time for crafting…but here’s the latest project…..


I was born and raised in a Baptist church, which means I was born and raised on piano and organ accompanied hymns. We sang all the classic ones, How Great Thou Art, It Is Well, Blessed Assurance, and Amazing Grace, just to name a few.

And as a child, I had memorized all these beautiful words that shared God’s great love for us and could and would sing them throughout my day. I still find myself singing these songs in the shower, while I vacuum the house, or while I’m driving down the road. And to me, there is nothing more beautiful than when a familiar hymn pops randomly into my head and suddenly, I catch myself singing. I don’t think about it, it just comes naturally.

A few weeks back, a duet sang my favorite hymn, It Is Well, during the service at church. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, and PERFECT and brought a genuine smile to my face. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love most of the contemporary worship songs that are on the radio and that we sing in church, but these songs just cannot compare to some of the words that you find in the older hymns.

I know you are thinking, ok, get on with it. Normally this is a DIY blog, where is the DIY? I’m getting there. After the duet sang at church, we, as a congregation, sang another old hymn and while we were singing, I happened to look over to where all of our youth sits during the service and none of them knew the song. This was devastating to me, because these songs were THE songs to sing when I was growing up (and for years prior) and the kids growing up now have never heard the original hymn, let alone know it. I decided right then, I wanted to hang hymnal music on a wall in our house somewhere, so that the words are constantly in our minds and on our hearts. It is also my hope that when Andrew and I have a family, our future children will see these words and we can teach them our favorite hymns.

I went on Ebay and bought a hymnal for $4.00 (plus shipping) that a man had purchased at an Estate Sale. He said it was in pretty good shape, but honestly, I didn’t care what type of shape it was in, I just wanted the pages.

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As I sat there and thumbed through the pages, so many memories came back as I started singing song after song. I picked out my favorites, obviously It Is Well, Jesus Paid It All, Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, and one of Andrew’s favorites, Wonderful Grace of Jesus. I carefully pulled these pages from the binding and trimmed the edges to make them straight.

I bought plain white wall frames from Hobby Lobby in a 5×7 size that included matting down to a 4×6. This is important because the pages of the hymnal are too small to fit in a 5×7 frame, but too big for a 4×6. I used the matting to attach the pages to instead of placing over the pages (as you normally would do with a photo). Andrew’s song was a two pager, so I bought an 8×10 frame and placed the two pages side by side.

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We have this weird wall in our house that was blank, mostly because I didn’t have anything to put on it. When you are first married, the only photos you seem to have are of the wedding, but there comes a time when TOO many wedding photos is a reality. The wall was weird because it is wide, because it overhangs into the entryway, but is also skinny because only part of the wall is technically in the living room.


I used painter’s tape to tape off the sizes of the frames to get an idea of where the pictures would be before putting nails into the wall.


I like how the project turned out and it was about a 1 on the difficulty scale. The music looks great in the blank spot and I do find myself singing the songs because I start to think of the words when I glance at the wall.

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I framed five songs, but decided to only put three here (just based on space), so I have two that still need hung. I haven’t quite decided where to put them just yet.

Faux Fireplace Up-Cycle

We moved into our house in February 2013, and the living room walls have haunted me ever since. The room is so large and decorating the walls overwhelmed me. It took a year, but I finally created the Family Tree that I wanted to use as artwork on one wall but was still left with one wall of blank space.

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Look at how big and blank that wall is…

We had a nice television stand that I had refinished when we first got married that looked great, but it really wasn’t ideal. The cords still showed pretty badly and it really was not a great height for easy viewing. The other issue was that there was no way to decorate the wall around the television. If a piece of artwork was put on the wall on the other side of the television, it seemed unbalanced, but of course no artwork could be put behind the television because of the height. I had been racking my brain for ideas with no such luck.

Andrew and I were sitting watching HGTV one evening and I had an epiphany! Put a fireplace on that side of the wall, hang the television over it, and then hang a piece of artwork on the other side of the fireplace!! He liked the idea and the search for that perfect piece began.

For months I searched Craigslist, yard sales, etc. with no such luck. I didn’t want an actual fireplace with fake logs or something similar on the inside, I just wanted a nice wood mantle. Is that too much to ask? Then, while I was on a girls’ trip with my mom, a friend of mine sent me a link to a Craigslist posting for EXACTLY what I had been looking for and for only $50!!! Sadly, I was out of town but luckily, Andrew, who is the worlds greatest husband, was able to contact the seller and pick up the fireplace. It sat in my garage until I got home the next week.

2015-06-10 00.05.38This piece was killer! Solid wood with just enough details to make it a piece that will always be in style. We started by first removing the fake logs in the center and the barn wood backing. With that done, I could start sanding and filling in any dents or nail holes with wood filler.
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I then used Valspar Stainblocking/Bonding Primer. We had used this when we painted our doors and trim for the floor remodel, so I knew this stuff meant business. I ended up using two coats, sanding in between.

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Next up was to paint. I chose to paint the fireplace white to match our doors and trim and accent the dark wood floors. I used leftover paint from the flooring project, which worked out great. I used both a smaller roller (on the flat surfaces, like the top and bottom) and a smaller brush to apply three coats, allowing the coats to dry in between. Then, once that last coat was dry, I applied a wax seal that shined it up would protect the paint.

2015-06-17 20.15.26The next part was the tricky part. I needed to fill the hole with something that would match the room, as well as stand the test of time. I decided to use the plastic back splash that Lowes sells that looks like tin in a bronze. I cut up some cardboard to use as a backing and stapled it into place. I used two different sheets of this plastic back splash and just hot glued it into place on the cardboard.

This turned out to be a little harder than I had originally thought because I had to line up and cut the pieces to fit perfectly. The back splash is not the cheapest thing either (at $20 a piece) so I really didn’t want to mess up. After about 30 minutes, I was able to get it looking like I wanted and glued into place.

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2015-06-19 15.00.43I now needed to find something to put in the center for decoration purposes and ended up buying a candelabra at Hobby Lobby. We moved the piece up into the living room and then started the process of hanging the television.

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Once the television was up, I had to find a way to attach the cords and power strip to the back of the fireplace, so I decided to use a Command Strip Hook. It was the perfect way to hide the cords inside the fireplace, while still being able to use them.

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I could not be more thrilled with how this project turned out. It is the perfect, eye-catching item I wanted in the room, and it is functional. I know it will be something I enjoy decorating for holidays in the years to come.

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Project Cost:

Fireplace: $50

Primer/Paint/Supplies: $0 (leftover from previous project)

“Tin” Back splash: $41. 36 ( $20.68 per piece)

Candelabra and candles: $25

TV Mount: $75

Total: $191.36

Family Tree Artwork

I’ll admit it, I’m a history nerd. I love studying and reading about past events, especially ones that are relevant to my own life, like stories about my state, hometown, and even family. I have always been fascinated with the idea of having real documentation of family generations. Obviously, being able to discuss with older family members is one way to get some solid information, but even they may not be able to go back as far as you might want when researching family ancestry.

When came out a few years back, the company advertised like crazy! Every time I saw a commercial, I got excited about the idea of using the site to create my own genealogy. I decided to look into it and figured out that the company offers a FREE 30 day trial. I was skeptical at first, but it really was free to use and when the 30 days was up, you could either pay to continue, or suspend your account.

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Thirty days ended up being plenty of time for me to research and document 7 generations on both my mother and father’s side of the family. I ended up using the information and made my mom a family tree documenting my mom and dad’s families for them to display in their home.

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When Andrew and I started planning our wedding for November 2013, I decided I wanted to display family photos and a family tree from both sides of the family at the reception. So Andrew and I signed up for his free trial and started working on a tree for his side. I gave it to my mother and father-in-law as an early Christmas present with the stipulation that I could use it for the reception.


The two trees together created a beautiful table at the door of our reception that people raved over.


I knew that I wanted to eventually merge the two trees together to create mine and Andrew’s family tree.

So drumroll please….one year later, I finally found time to put the two trees together to create a beautiful piece of artwork to hang in our home.

I knew this piece was going to be large, and I was fine with that, the only problem was finding a frame big enough that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I ended up finding one on clearance at Michael’s for $14.99!!!! Orginially it had cost $99 so I couldn’t have been more thrilled. While there I also picked up some green and brown scrapbook paper, some stickers, and some leaf decals.

Since I already had all the information, it was really just a matter of putting it all together. The first thing I did was type out all the names and dates onto the smaller Avery sticker labels. I found a pretty font and added some detail to the sticker to dress it up. They are small, but because I had around 70 names to put on, I knew they would need to be small to fit.

I then prepped the board (I purchased backing board in a tan at Michael’s, but they have every color imaginable) for adding the names. There are many ways to do this, but I have found the best way is to use scrapbook paper as the “tree leaves background” and round the edges at the bottom. Then use brown scrapbook paper to make the tree trunk. I just free hand cut those and then glued them on. This size needed 3 full sheets of green paper and then another 1/3rd added to the bottom of each to make the tree fit the size. The smaller ones I made only needed 2 sheets of paper. I then used light brown paint to free hand the tree branches. Honestly, they can go anywhere and look anyway you would want, they get mostly covered up by the names. I go back and add some darker brown paint to add some detail and dimension to both the trunk and limbs.


Next, I added the stickers for the family name and when OUR family was established. Again, this can go anywhere, I just chose to use it to fill up dead space at the bottom.

The next part is the fun part, adding al the stickers. I started on my side of the family at the very bottom with me. I put the husband on the left and the wife on the right, just for consistency.


When finished with a few generations, I used a sharpie to draw the connecting lines. Again, this can be done however and whenever you want in the process, I just find its easiest to do after a few so the names don’t start running together.

Once finished with my side, I started on Andrew’s side and the whole process started over again.

Side note: On the other trees I had made I didn’t use the Avery labels. I hand wrote the names on tabs and glued them down. The labels were WAY easier!!! No glue to worry about.

IMG_0974So at this point, all the generations are linked together and I painted some grass with plain ol’ green paint to add some color on the bottom.

The next step is my favorite because this step starts to give life to the tree. I mentioned I bought some leaf decals from Michael’s. This is what they look like. They come in packs of 36 with two different sizes. One pack was the perfect amount for my tree this time.


Honestly, I just put these wherever there is dead space. I try to attach them to the limbs that are painted on if possible, but they look fine when just glued down. I used hot glue and was done in no time.

IMG_0978The last step I did before putting the piece back into the frame is painted a light cream over the cream backing on the bottom. There is really no reason for this, I just did it to add a bit more texture to the dead space.

***In the coming years as Andrew and I start our family, I will add our children down the trunk in order of birth (but this will not be for quite a few years).


I could not be more pleased with how this turned out and I know it will be something we treasure for many years. It looks wonderful on the big old blank wall that was haunting me in the living room and really adds a special touch, not to mention it will be an excellent conversation starter when we have guests over.

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Hardwood Flooring Overhaul- Part 4: The Reveal

I’ve been waiting to reveal the finished flooring until we showed our family and FINALLY finished painting the millions of eleven doors to match the new trim.

Honestly the change that these floors have made to the house is crazy. It truly looks like a completely different house. The process was grueling, expensive and stressful but as I sit here and look at everything, I wouldn’t change a thing.

We still have a few things to complete (an area rug to pick out and purchase and some pictures to hang) but we could not be more thrilled with how the floor turned out.

**Click on a photo below to enlarge it and open the gallery**