Ellie’s Handmade First Home

published Jun 22, 2010
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Name: Ed and Ellie Grover
Location: Roseville (near Sacramento), California
Size: 1,872 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year

Ellie and Ed bought their first house about a year ago. While they would have rather purchased a good ol’ fixer upper, market conditions meant a brand new house made more sense. Fearing that her home would fall into the tract home rut, Ellie quickly set out to “make the new look old and add a little character to the cookie cutter-ness.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The fact that Ellie is a fine artist, a photographer and a pro at taking junk found on the side of the road and making it display worthy definitely gave them an advantage when making their home their own. Having lived in their home for just a year, it is still a work in progress, but the fun is in the details here.

From the newspaper birds in the living room to the wood planks on the breakfast nook wall to the wall of photos in the stairwell, the place is anything but run of the mill. Ellie’s home is full of inspiring DIY projects, but she’s too modest to say so. And even though she won’t admit to it, we think it’s the perfect case study of how anyone can take any home, regardless of style or year built, and make it 100% their own.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My/Our style: Hmmmm, I guess I would say my own weird quirky style 🙂 I have like a sort of vintage look but I’m not really afraid to throw in anything else that catches my eye!

Inspiration: I LOVE old things! I just love the way they sort of tell stories with all the years of use and layers of paint. I would love to create rooms full of old treasures that are just begging to be discovered. My inspiration most definitely comes from the look of feel of the worn and weathered. I like warm and cozy spaces, interesting splashes of color, and lots of texture!

Favorite Element: Probably the fence wood wall my husband and I constructed. I wouldn’t trade the texture on that wall for the world – it makes all the difference in that kitchen and is the first thing I look at when I walk into our house!

Biggest Challenge: The green picture wall! It was SO tall! Not only was it a challenge to paint, it was a huge challenge to configure the placing of all the photographs. I ended up kind of nerding out and making a to scale model on Adobe Illustrator – I arranged all the frames on the model before we even hung them!

What Friends Say: This is funny. I just recently moved from suburban Bakersfield in Southern California (where people just die over decorating and stuff) to Northern California, where most people couldn’t care less 🙂 I actually love the fact that people just kind of let you be who you want to be – whether you have a crazy stylish house or you just went with tan walls and your college couch! However, I do have people ask me for help quite often when they are thinking of doing their own home projects.

Biggest Embarrassment: Before the green wall was green we painted it an AWFUL color of yellow. It was so much work and we both just starred at it and said – this has to go! So it was back to Home Depot for the 20 millionth time to cover our huge mistake. 🙂

Proudest DIY: Hmmmm. I already mentioned the wood wall – and since that’s kind of a given I’ll talk about something else… our “media cabinet”. I love that we found the perfect antique to hold all of our electronic devices for the TV! Random fact about me, I really don’t like having a TV in plain view (I would love for it to be inside a media cabinet with closed doors!). This was a comprimise for my husband and I. We ended up with a sleek TV and no wires or chords – with a sweet piece of furniture I could live with. Everything turns on through closed cabinet doors using an RF signal converter (and don’t ask me what that means!).

Biggest Indulgence: Our bed and bedding. We have never really had a “bedroom” and when we moved into this house I knew I wanted to make our room a cozy place to be. Buying a bed I loved and bedding I was actually excited about seemed like a big expense all in one bundle, but it was SO worth it! I absolutely love to be in my room!! By the way, I think we really scored on our bed buying it from Ikea, most every header/footer combo we looked at was in the $1,000 range until we found this awesome bed for only $300 – I love Ikea!

Best advice: Thrift stores are amazing. Everything can be painted. Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy and try the ideas you’ve always dreamed of!

Dream source: I’m not sure what this means…. but if you’re waiting for me to mention Anthropologie at some point during this survey I think I’ll just go ahead and mention it here. I feel like Anthropologie and I are good friends, somehow they just know everything I’m thinking before I think it 🙂

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orange chairs, both white dressers, old bench in living room, dresser under the TV, yellow lamps, black end table, most of the knick-knacks (frames, candle holders, flour/sugar canisters, vases…)

Stuff we made ourselves:
• The coffee table we made from an old work/art table – we just cut the legs off! It’s awesome and heavy and dirt/dent proof 🙂
• The kitchen wall with the wood was made from old fence wood we found thrown out in a field. We put a thin sheet of wood behind the area we covered, screwed it into the wall and wood glued most of the cut pieces onto that – with a few screws to hold it all into place. The shelf in the living room was made with that same wood (and some Anthro fixtures) and the mirror in our bedroom was also framed with it as well.
• The green wall of photos, that’s like 15″ tall. It was crazy to hang all those! A lot of those frames were thrifted or mirrors we turned into frames 🙂
• I also liked making those little candle holders with the green Pellegrino bottles – I just melted then end of the candle and stuck them down while the wax was still moldable.
• The painting in the striped room was done by me as well as most any photographs or random stuff you see hanging around.

Our bed, yellow chairs ,dining room table and hanging lights are from Ikea. Our bedding is an Urban Outfitters coverlet.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Thanks, Ellie and Ed!)

Images: Ellie Grover

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