Welcome Home

Curb appeal speaks volume to the overall look and feel to your home. Want a quick fix?  Treat your front door to this easy two step update.

First, slap on a new fun paint color to your front door. In our case, we took an once maroon colored front door and chose a cool navy inspired hue.

Next, add a personal touch with a monogram.  I chose this moss covered letter “H” found on Etsy.  This “H” has adorned our front door now for the past year and a half and it still looks great!

I love the thought of having something green around that doesn’t require watering but still has major “welcoming” impact on a budget!

Front Door - New Blue Hue - Moss Covered Monogram www.middleredefined.com

Front Door – New Blue Hue – Moss Covered Monogram http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

[caption id="attachment_265" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Welcoming Entry - Monogram Moss Letter Welcoming Entry – Monogram Moss Letter

Welcoming Front Door Entrance

Welcoming Front Door Entrance

Stay tuned for my next front door decor – can’t wait to show it to you!

Citrus Garlic Chicken

Thank goodness it’s finally nice enough outside to start grilling! There’s just something about that grilled flavor that makes everything taste better. Here’s an easy weeknight recipe for Citrus Garlic Chicken that my entire family loves.

Step 1) Slice your boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half so they’re really flat - this helps them cook a ton faster and keep more of the flavor of the marinade

Step 2) Dice up 1 clove of garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary

Step 3) Juice 1 lemon and 1 lime, whisk in olive oil (I just do equal parts citrus to olive oil)

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinade Recipe

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinade Recipe

Step 4) Season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper then pour the marinade over it – on a weeknight, I’m only able to let this marinade about 15 minutes while I start prepping my side dishes, but 30 min to an hour would be awesome if you have the time

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinading

Citrus Garlic Chicken Marinading

Step 5) Grill your chicken at medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until cooked completely through

Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken - Middle Redefined

Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken – Middle Redefined

Enjoy your incredibly flavorful chicken with whatever pairings you have on hand. I served mine with corn, ceasar salad and rolls. Delish!

New Life for Pendant Lights

When we moved into our current house, unlike most traditional newer suburban homes, we inherited really modern light fixtures on our main floor. Nothing wrong with these modern blue pendant fixtures if it fits within your style aesthetic. However, they just really didn’t work for us.

Blue Modern Pendants

Blue Modern Pendants


I researched and researched to find affordable pendant light fixtures and just didn’t happen upon anything in the price I wanted to pay. So, I turned to Craigslist and happened upon these little gems. I could see the hidden beauty right away – can’t you?

Craigslist Pendant Lights

Craigslist Pendant Lights


With a little high gloss black paint and vintage bulbs, such as these, the refreshed pendants turned out to be the perfect addition to our kitchen. I paid $25 for the pair, $5 for the paint, and $9 for each bulb at Lowe’s. I’m obsessed with vintage light bulbs right now, so you’ll hear me talk about them more in future posts.


New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs - Middle Redefined

New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs – Middle Redefined


All-in all, I spent $48 on my new pendants. And the best part is, I sold the modern blue ones right back on Craigslist for $40!

Check back next week for more on giving new life to light fixtures. Have a wonderful Friday!


Powder Room Pizazz

The powder room is a space in your home where you can have A LOT of fun – take risks – and in this case perhaps make your guest dizzy in the design.  I wanted to do something bold in the powder room, incorporate a pop of color and perhaps drive the mister crazy on a Saturday night (or two) with taping, painting, taping, painting, well, you get the process.

First, paint the walls the color that you want the lines of the herringbone print.  In this case it was simple white.  Start taping the vertical lines a foot a part.

Powder Room - DIY Painting Project

Powder Room – DIY Painting Project

Next – the tricky part of measuring out the necessary angles for the tape to create the herringbone print.  Keep in mind, you can use this same method on many different scales.  If you want a larger scale of herringbone make the vertical lines farther a part and same goes with the diagonal lines.

Powder Room - DIY - Herringbone Paint Project

Powder Room – DIY – Herringbone Paint Project

I would like to pretend that this takes 20 minutes or so…try 4 hours or so and can’t all be accomplished on one night.  The massive taping job we did do on one night and we may had a bottle of wine (or two) during this process so the time flew by – or I may have blocked it out of my memory.

Powder Room - DIY - Herringbone Painting Project - applying paint

Powder Room – DIY – Herringbone Painting Project – applying paint

Add your first color of paint – for this project I wanted the pattern to be bold so I chose the herringbone print to be the statement and chose a neutral hue to tone down the print.  Many people ask me why we didn’t just wallpaper – well for one, paint is much more inexpensive than wallpaper and in a month or two when I want to change things up I can simply paint over this – whereas removing wallpaper would have been a more larger burden of removing.

Powder Room - Herringbone Painting DIY - www.middleredefined.com

Powder Room – Herringbone Painting DIY – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

The next step was to add the second color -which was very similar in hue but it has a metallic sheen to it which I love.  (Sorry it is hard to tell from this pic – this was pre-having-an-awesome-camera-to-take-pictures).

Now time for the pop of color and some fun decorate details…

[caption id="attachment_225" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Powder Room Art - LA Freeway Map Powder Room Art – LA Freeway Map

Powder Room - Decorative Items - Pop of Color

Powder Room – Decorative Items – Pop of Color

Powder Room - New Hardware

Powder Room - Wall Art - Live What You Love

Powder Room – Wall Art – Live What You Love

Powder Room - Candle Display

Powder Room – Candle Display

And you have yourself a fun, funky and hopefully unforgettable powder room to enjoy…and perhaps make your guests a bit dizzy in dynamic design.

DIY Goodness: Make Your Own Roman Shades

I can honestly say I’m never really “done” decorating any of the rooms in my house. Every once in a while, I won’t even notice that I’m lost in thought staring at a room, or a wall, or a shelf, and my husband will say, “What are you thinking about changing now?”

And obviously since we live on a budget, we DIY projects where we can. Not only is it easier on our bank account, it’s so satisfying to say, “I made them,” when a friend compliments my new roman shades (don’t forget there’s a comment box at the end of this post).

Speaking of roman shades, I MADE these! Well, my mom did all of the sewing, but I supervised it all. To figure out how to create the shades, I turned to Jenny Komenda’s blog, Little Green Notebook. She is a genius DIY-er, so we followed her step-by-step tutorial to get these babies put together. We had a few tweaks to make the project work for us, so I’ll share our adjustments and my learnings along the way.

Step 1: Buy inexpensive vinyl blinds or use ones you already have. In my case, I already had blinds up, so I just used that existing hardware. I even kept them hanging throughout the process. My first task was to cut all the slats out. However, make sure you DO NOT cut the cords that pull the blinds up and down. Just cut the ones that move them back and forth.

Making Roman Shades - Step 1

Making Roman Shades – Step 1

Step 2: Cut the front and back fabric - measure the size of your window plus the size of the hem. We wanted a 2 inch hem on either side, so we added an extra four inches to the width and the length. I chose a gray chevron fabric for the front and a creamy fabric for the back. After using a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for both, I ended up paying about $5.99 per yard for each! I’ve been so impressed with Hobby Lobby’s fabric choices lately, and the coupons just make everything such a deal.

Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Here’s Kingston trying to help grandma cut the fabric.

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Step 3: Pin the edges and sew them (yes, these are my fingers…my mother didn’t do everything). To attach the cords to the back of the fabric, we sewed plastic rings about 10 inches apart all the way down to match up with the three cords – this was because I thought I’d want the folds about 10 inches apart. That didn’t end up being what I wanted, but I’ll explain that later. We then used the old blind slats to help us figure out exactly how far apart the rings should be sewn.



Step 4: Attach a small piece of wood (about an inch wide) to the back of the shades 8-10 inches from the bottom. I got mine from Michaels for $2 a piece. This photo is from Jenny’s blog showing what it looks like. You can attach the wood with fabric glue. Then screw tiny eyelet screws into the wood to which you can tie the cords.

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades


Step 5: Jenny recommends to attach the final product to the top of the hardware with fabric glue, but I was afraid it wouldn’t end up holding because the whole thing felt kind of heavy, so I used industrial velcro. So far it has worked really well. Then run your cords through the plastic rings and tie the bottoms to the eyelet screws. The nerve-wracking part is when you raise it and see if it all actually worked!!!

Here’s my final product!

DIY Roman Shades - Middle Redefined

DIY Roman Shades – Middle Redefined


I love, love, love the way they help tie my room together. So thankful to my mom for taking so much time to help me out with this.

When planning out the design of this room, I chose to go the Roman shade route instead of curtains because I really didn’t want to screw hardware into my woodwork for curtains. Also, I have limited space on either side of my massive windows for artwork, so I decided I wanted something a bit more tailored and contained within the window frames. The old plain white blinds behind our cream couch (I shared the before photo here) just didn’t do anything for me, so we needed the change.

This entire project cost me $125. When I priced out custom Roman shades for the size of my three windows, they were going to be at least $250 a piece just for one because of their odd size. I was just not willing to splurge when I had a perfectly-good DIY solution.

A couple final notes: 1) While we did sew the plastic rings 10 inches apart, in the end, I needed a bit more space between my folds, so I ran my cords through every other one – that ended up being about 20 inches apart; and 2) When you raise them, don’t just expect them to fold perfectly. You have to work with them a bit to make sure the flaps are folding under nicely. Otherwise, it tends to bunch on the sides.

What do you think?


Be Our Guest

The coveted guest room…we are grateful enough, well until baby number three is here (yes, boy number three is on it’s way!), to have a guest room for a couple more months.  I view the guest room as a room where you can take chances, have some fun with design but where you want to create a soft, warm space for your guests to make them feel welcomed and not forgotten.  And of course, all on a budget!

With the custom DIY artwork project on one wall, I put the mister to work on my grand plan to have a custom upholstered headboard.  I snagged some great clearance fabric for 9.99/yd, the mister went to “the depot” and built a very sturdy base and 564 staples later we had a headboard. This headboard is massive.  It is comfy, sturdy and sometimes I wish I had it in our master bedroom.

DIY Headboard - www.middleredefined.com DIY Headboard – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Next up, the bedside tables that don’t match and I love them for that.  This black little number is one I snagged at an antique store in Lawrence for $29 dollars!

Guest Bedroom - Side Table Antique Find www.middleredefined.com Guest Bedroom – Side Table Antique Find http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

The other side is a garage sale find – it is a Baker piece folks – complete score as I got the pair for $75.  The other side table is in Liam’s “big boy room”.

Guest Bedroom - Side Table - Garage sale find www.middleredefined.com. Guest Bedroom – Side Table – Garage sale find http://www.middleredefined.com./caption

Notice the tables are different heights but to even the lamps out I added some decorative books to make up the difference.

Dress up the lighting with some glitz and glamour with a sparkly chandelier.

Guest Room - Chandelier - www.middleredefined.com Guest Room – Chandelier – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Guest Room - Chandelier - www.middleredefined.com Guest Room – Chandelier – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

This chandelier was actually a gift from one of my friends – yes, she actually gave me this puppy!  So chalk that one up to good friends and free fabulous lighting – major necessities in life!

Add some more pretty details around the room…including these little beauties that I traded out for the traditional wooden knobs.  Amazing what a little knob can do to dress up and add to a simple little dresser.  All for less than $30!  I HIGHLY recommend this little change to an old or worn out dresser.  Try it, you will be amazed what a new knob or handle can do for your dresser.

Guest Room - Dresser Hardware - www.middleredefined.com Guest Room – Dresser Hardware – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Beautifully covered book and who doesn’t need a candle or two?!

Guest Room - Bedside Table Decor - www.middleredefined.com Guest Room – Bedside Table Decor – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Custom painted tray from recent summer trip to Maui – for guests to rest jewelry.  If you can name the fish you get a prize…

Guest Room - Dresser Decor - www.middleredefined.com Guest Room – Dresser Decor – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Guest Bedroom - Window Treatment - Wall Art - www.middleredefined.com Guest Bedroom – Window Treatment – Wall Art – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

A soft roman shade to match paint trim and an unconventional way of hanging wall art and this room is complete…at least for now, until this space has to be turned in to boy room number three.  I might just try and incorporate the chandelier into the design somehow…

Weeknight Dinner Redefined – Panko Encrusted Tilapia

I LOVE to cook. I honestly would cook every meal if I had the time, and if someone would come and clean my kitchen every time. So, since this is one of my passions, I’ll share meal and entertaining inspirations with you from time to time. After all, Middle Redefined is about everyday inspiration, and for me, that includes lots and lots of simple food that tastes absolutely fabulous.

So I thought I’d start out with this super easy and incredibly tasty panko encrusted tilapia. Most of my go-to’s for everyday cooking are: lemons, garlic, and fresh rosemary or basil. So you’ll see a lot of that in my recipes.

Step 1: Set thawed-out or fresh tilapia in a baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Panko Encrusted Tilapia Recipe - Middle Redefined

Panko Encrusted Tilapia Recipe – Middle Redefined


Step 2: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and pour over the tilapia. Season it with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides.

Step 3: Make your topping. Put these ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork:

  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of old bay seasoning (season salt would be great too)
  • Drizzle of olive oil, just so the mixture browns when baked
Encrusted Tilapia - Middle Redefined

Encrusted Tilapia – Middle Redefined


Step 4: Cover the tilapia with the mixture. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Easy side dish: While that’s baking, cook two pieces of chopped up bacon in a skillet. When that’s done, set the bacon to the side, and then sautee two cans of green beans in the bacon grease. Add the bacon back in just before serving. This is a delicious and hearty side to go with our tilapia.


Green beans sauteed with bacon

Green beans sauteed with bacon


Step 5: I always have fresh basil or rosemary on hand, so I chop some basil to sprinkle over the top of my tilapia when it’s done. However, it’s totally not necessary if fresh herbs aren’t a normal thing at your house. It just makes this dish taste so incredibly fresh – never mind the fact that these were frozen tilapia.

Here’s the final dish.

Panko Encrusted Tilapia - Middle Redefined

Panko Encrusted Tilapia – Middle Redefined

And here’s the part where you ask me if my four-year-old actually eats tilapia. Absolutely not. I always ask him to try something once, but fish is one of those things he has not grown to love. However, he gobbles up green beans. So in the case of this meal, he got green beans with extra bacon along with some other goodies on his plate.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it!

Wall Art – Easy as 1, 2,…9?!

Problem – Large wall in my guest bedroom and don’t want to spend a ton of money on the wall art.

Requirement – The wall art has to be big enough to make a statement on its own – so one piece of wall art wouldn’t work.  I also wanted something unique and meaningful.

Solution – Luckily the mister and I took our honeymoon to the fabulous city of Paris, France.  I snagged this clearance linen fabric in the color tone of the room…

FOR 6.99 / YARD!!!

I then grabbed a coupon to Hobby Lobby and snagged some solid black square frames and grabbed my scissors and went to work…

Paris Fabric Art - www.middleredefined.com Paris Fabric Art – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption


Paris Fabric Art Paris Fabric Art – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

NINE square cuts later and inserted in to frames…

Hang and you are done.  Total cost of project – under $40!

Stay tuned for more pictures on this project and the guest bedroom – featuring a DIY upholstered headboard.

Hanging the nine square framed "paris art" Hanging the nine square framed “paris art” – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Bar Carts Revived

I love bar carts. They make me feel very Mad Men-ish. When bar carts were first born, they were created for people who wanted to have “bars” at their house or office that were easily moveable or stored away when they didn’t need them. However, over the years, built-in bars and loads of cabinet space in today’s homes caused people to cast the bar cart aside.

Today, there’s a new bar cart revival.

DustJacket Attic Blog

DustJacket Attic Blog

Every major home retail store now has carts of varying styles – modern, glam, and vintage. The prices vary too for the new models, ranging everywhere from $50-$200+. The beautiful one featured at the beginning of this post is $515. NOT in my price range, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have one – you agree? Because of their new-found popularity, they are popping up in flea markets and second-hand stores all over. Last month, Jill and I bought one for less than $50 at a flea market that we’re glamming up with a fresh coat of black paint on the aluminum shelves and gold on the legs. More to come on that in a future post.

Here are some popular modern uses for bar carts that will have you dusting yours off or finding one to personalize for your style:

1. Mini bar revitalized. Instead of hiding all your bar glassware behind closed doors, bring it out and put it on display. Set out some bar accessories, fill a glass jar with wine corks, and line up your favorite wine or liquor bottles for added fun. Here’s the one I have in my house.

Bar Cart - MiddleRedefined.com

Bar Cart – MiddleRedefined.com

2. Industrial bathroom storage. Colorful or crisp white towels are an inexpensive way to brighten a bathroom. Store them on a bar cart next to your bathtub along with candles and glass containers filled with toiletries. This one is from Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware Bar Cart

Restoration Hardware Bar Cart

3. Mobile kitchen shelving. There’s something about having open shelving in your kitchen that just feels welcoming. Load a vintage bar cart up with large bowls and kitchen accessories for a moveable storage option that’s also stylish. LOVE the one below from the Decor8 blog.


Decor8 Blog Bar Cart Kitchen Storage

Decor8 Blog Bar Cart Kitchen Storage


Even if you’re not Don Draper and don’t need a cocktail at your fingertips for a 10 a.m. meeting, the bar carts of today have been re-invented and are a fun and practical addition to any room of your home.

Do you have a bar cart in your home?

Cookin’ Honey

As in honey oak EXPLOSION that was happening in our kitchen when we moved in…

Awkward island shape

Awkward island shape

Wasted empty space + ceiling fan = no bueno

Wasted empty space + ceiling fan = no bueno

I have a serious problem with ceiling fans…I need to get over it.  Believe me now?  HONEY OAK in your face.

First step, PAINT.  Cabinets.  Walls.  Trim.

Refinish cabinets.

Refinish cabinets.

Fresh paint on walls - grey hue

Fresh paint on walls – grey hue

Refinish hardwoods

Refinish hardwoods

Progress.  So. much. better.
Next step, get rid of that island and refinish the hardwoods.
Beautiful dark hardwood floors

Beautiful dark hardwood floors

I have to sweep my floors almost daily but it is worth it. LOVE them.

Replace old square tile with glass subway tile.

Replace old square tile with glass subway tile.

Next remove the awful white square tiles…

Replace with beautiful glass subway tile in a subtle gray hue…obsessed with subway tile.

Then I do what I do best…SHOP…on craigslist of course.  I really wish I had a before pic of this puppy.  It was an old, honey oak (of course) console that the mister did what he does best…refinish…antique… and slapped some granite on the top.  My father in law built a base for it, new hardware, sealed it and put rollers on the drawers to make a trash can slide out of the right side.  And voila…custom kitchen island for less than $150!
Redo - buffet turned custom kitchen island.

Redo – buffet turned custom kitchen island.

Next, remove the ceiling fan and add some wonderful pendant lights…

Replace ceiling fan for killer pendant drop lights

Replace ceiling fan for killer pendant drop lights


Three drop down pendant lights - replace ceiling fan

Three drop down pendant lights – replace ceiling fan

And some DIY artwork done on a Saturday night with a couple bottles of wine…Custom subway art

Custom subway art
Moral of this story….
Life with a toddler and a baby + new home with honey oak, house fans, bad tile, awkward island and early 90s fixtures = Saturday night house projects.
Maybe I should learn how to cook now?!!  Look for Erica’s wonderful posts on cooking – she is the master chef.

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