New site + new e-mail list!

12 Apr

Hey lovely readers,
Read Make Do recently got a facelift and a few exciting new changes. Unfortunately, this means our old e-mail list isn’t working at the moment. To stay up to date on the blog, please go to and sign up for our new e-mail list! Then we can stay pen pals.
Thank you! Look forward to seeing you on the new site!

❤ Kate


Trapped in the Closet (Part 1)

10 Apr

That’s right, my Trapped in the Closet dream post came way sooner than anyone could have hoped for.


It’s 5 pm in the afternoon, and I’m arrivin’ home from work,

and I see in my office there’s some shelfin’ that wasn’t there at first,

I rub my eyes and I’m so excited I feel like I’m gonna yell,

and out of that closet pops my good friend Mister R. Kell!

Okay that R. Kelly part didn’t happen. Nevertheless, I was pretty floored that we were able to complete the shelves so quickly. My parents surprised Jason and I by installing the shelves as an early housewarming/wedding/we are the most generous parents on earth-gift. So let’s take a look at them, shall we?

I am pretty excited about these. There’s still a lot we want to do to them, but for now just having them up is exciting. Did I just use the word excited twice? I’m just so excited, if you can’t tell.

But now that they are up, what should I do with them? We’re trying to decide if we want to paint the back wall of the shelves something fun and cheery, like maybe a lime green or sunny yellow. Maybe something like this:

Source: via Kate on Pinterest


Or, if we want to treat these cabinets like built-ins. I used to live in a gorgeous old apartment built in the 1920s that retained all of the original built-ins from the era. They were always so fun to display things in, I loved them so much I even took a picture (long before my blogging days).

While I don’t know how possible it is to turn these new shelves into anything like the old built-in, I want to keep my options open.

The third option would be to put closet doors on these, and turn them back into a closet. The main benefit to doing this is you could truly hide any sort of junk, and you could also trap R. Kelly in there when necessary.

I’m very excited to start organizing these shelves and really making them work for me. So far, the best thing about these is I managed to fit all of my office supplies on the shelves and there aren’t any lingering boxes in the living room (SCOUT’S HONOR!) ! While they aren’t all super pretty and organized yet, for now we can hide everything behind the screen, and keep it on the downlow.

"Skipper Approved!" - Skipper


9 Apr

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Keep it on the Downlow: Hiding Unsightlyness

5 Apr

As much as I love the idea of real life Catalog Living, it just isn’t possible for me. I know that somewhere within these catalog houses there is a closet filled with old skii equipment, an attic stuffed with MVP trophies, a secret dungeon filled with tax returns from the 1970s onward (some of these catalog people are definitely wealthy enough to have dungeons), and what I lovingly call “The crap pile.”

The crap pile, or C.P. as we’ll politely call it, is where you put things that really you can’t put anywhere else, but you need to store them somewhere. So steel yourselves, I am going to show you my C.P.

Printers? Check. Box of crafting supplies? Check. Whitney Houston vinyl that I need nearby at all times so her spirit guides me? Check. RIP Whitney. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I cleaned up before I took these photos. Shame over the C.P. got the best of me.

A few months ago, I tried to dress it up by color coding the books, but there is only so much you can polish a C.P. (However, to see an awesome example of color coding books, check out this post on Remodelista).

The C.P. in this room really is a drag, because otherwise the room is pretty** pulled together, considering we haven’t been here long (except the paint swatch. No we’re not painting the room that color, it was a bad idea).

"All this stuff makes me sad, because none of it is dog toys." - Skipper

My C.P. resides in what was once the closet of the 4th bedroom of this house, which has since been converted into a den. Eventually we are planning on building some shelves and making this shelf area more of a built-in, but for now I need a quick fix to hold me over until that happens.

Originally, I considered getting some curtain panels and a tension rod, and hiding the rod behind the beam that separates the closet. I thought about getting these super adorable chevron curtains from Etsy (and eventually hanging them in the guest room…I’m sure there will be a long post about that room in the near future. SPOILER ALERT), but then I found this:

Okay, not exactly a steal, but we actually were planning on buying this awesome screen from World Market for the wedding to display the seating chart/escort cards on, and then we realized it would be great for hiding the C.P.

And thanks to the magic of the internet and a free shipping promotion, the screen arrived in no time.

It still looks like it is missing something though…what could it be….

PERFECT! Thanks Skipper! Now the room looks way better. Good boy.

So this was a pretty easy and quick fix, and I absolutely love this screen. It ties in nicely with the pseudo Morrocan-themed carpet in the room, and it is totally a piece you could keep for a while and then reupholster on the cheap (or even do it yourself!). Plus it’s great for hiding a C.P. Not like I have one. Nope, There’s nothing to see behind that screen now. Move along.

P.S. You can’t get through a blog post named “Keep it on the Downlow” without some R. Kelly.

P.P.S. I aspire one day to write a series of ongoing, gripping blog posts about closet organization and calling it: “Trapped in the Closet“. Thank you Kel.

** Fact: This room also has a ways to go. But thank God we have a blog to document it all on.

Mirror, Mirror

3 Apr

My fiance Jason started the process of moving his belongings into the house this past weekend (this is getting pretty real!), and while he very graciously declined the use of the master bedroom closet (GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLL!!!), he was scratching his head over where to put his things in the bathroom. Allow me to show you why:

Oh, what a lovely bathroom. But wait, what else is there?

Hmmm…Well, that’s pretty small. But I’m sure there are some drawers somewhere?

See, there are DEFINITELY drawers in there. Wait, what?? There aren’t? Where do you put your toothbrush and thousands of bobby pins?

Oh. Wow. That’s….that is taking up valuable bathroom square footage. I see your dilemma.

I know, right? I thought that the fact it was mirrored would camoflauge it, but it only is a major toe-stubber. It’s okay, I have a plan. Even though this bathroom certainly puts the “Closet” in “Water Closet”, I think we can make it work. I checked out a few blogs on home bathroom organization, and I feel validated knowing that I’ve done basically everything I could with the current setup (Here are some of the links I checked out: this post, and this post).

We decided the best way to make this space work is to do the following: Take down my beloved mirror that I brought with me all the way from my previous house, bite the bullet, and get a medicine cabinet. That’s right guys, if you want to snoop through my bathroom during parties, now you can! I promise you won’t find anything remotely interesting though, since I wear my dentures constantly and keep both my glass eyes in most of the time too. Sorry, bro.

If I’m giving up my beloved current mirror, I might as well get something good. Here’s the rundown for what we need. Ideally, we want a recessed mirror (one that will be installed flush within the wall). My current mirror is 34-inches tall, 21-inches wide…it’s pretty tall, and ALMOST too close to the light fixture. I’d like a mirror that is about as wide as the one that is there now, but maybe a few inches shorter.

So let’s see what’s out there, shall we?

Option #1 This one is really elegant and pretty, but it might be a tad ornate for the bathroom, which has a very streamlined look.

Option #2 Probably the safest option, it is the same width as the current mirror, and is actually the exact same size as the center mirror panel.

Option #3 I really like this mirror, because it is slightly special but not super ornate. The biggest bummer is that it’s very narrow. Bonus though, it is named “Ashton.”

So, if you were me, what would you do? Give up my beloved current mirror, or go for door number 1, 2, or 3? Play it safe, or go big? Since Bob Barker isn’t here to give me advice, give me your counsel!

P.S. Like the paint stripes? Check out my inspiration here and here!

It Ain’t Easy Being…Greige?

29 Mar

Paint color is a big deal. Okay, that’s a loaded statement.

Paint color is a big deal to me [Better]. It isn’t easy finding that perfect color that matches your furniture, soothes your senses, and makes you somehow look flattering in house party photographs (am I hoping for too much?).

When I moved into this house in the Fall last year, I immediately made a mental note that I wanted to change the paint color. While the previous home owner did a lovely job selecting the color since it matched all of their furniture perfectly, it isn’t quite me. It’s actually a pretty dark shade of tan/brown, and given that the house has an open floor plan it is EVERYWHERE. Seriously.

That’s the same color in the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Not pictured, it’s in the hall, and 3 bedrooms. That is a lot of brown.

But Kate! you say, What could you possibly want from a paint color? Well, funny you should ask. I’ve prepared some pictures!

Above is my old bedroom, as it looked before I moved. Gorgeous, right? I know. It was pretty gorgeous that one day I decided to put all my clothes away and actually make the bed. But I digress.

My favorite thing about this room color is that it is a neutral, it isn’t overwhelming, and it has a bit of color to it. My least favorite thing about it is that the color actually skews a little more baby-blue than I wanted (I didn’t like the feeling of living in a little boy’s nursery all the time). What I would say I’m ideally looking for in a paint color is a neutral “Greige”. Like beige, but grey. I’m a real wordsmith.

I stressed and fretted over the color of my old bedroom for weeks before finally taking the plunge, and even still I wasn’t completely impressed. I know, I’m impossible.

Added to my dilemma is the fact that there are probably 2 million shades of gray out there in the universe, and Jason was only going to put up with me getting paint samples of about 8 of them. Thanks for keeping me down to earth, babe.

So where to begin? First, I visited my good friend Google. He offered me a wealth of resources for finding the perfect “Greige.” In fact, Apartment Therapy had a lot of awesome articles on finding the perfect shade of grey. Check them out here and here. But just the fact that they had multiple posts on the subject indicates that they did some serious thinking on the subject as well.

I pinned greige rooms I liked on pinterest, grabbed paint swatches at Kelly Moore, Benjamin Moore, and Home Depot like some sort of paint-swatch hoarder, and creeped on just about anyone with a home blog with a beautiful greige. (Check out Young House Love’s latest home, they have a pretty gorgeous blue-greige throughout their home. It is possible!).

So finally, Jason helped me whittle it down to SIX (I know, incredible) possible contenders. They are as follows:

Benjamin Moore: [A] Balboa Mist, [B] Silver Satin, [C] Moonshine (this is the same color as YHL), [D] Paper White, [E] Horizon. Not pictured, I’m also considering Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware (shown here).

You can see that they’re actually all pretty light when compared to the current tone of beige that is on there. I think I have my two favorites picked, but I don’t want to spoil it. What are your picks? Do you have some other awesome color that will send me all the way back to the drawing board?

Kitchen Chalkboard: Part 1(Or, 2001: A Chalkboard Odyssey)

27 Mar

Last week I realized I needed to make my dream of having a chalkboard in my kitchen become a reality. Never one to sit around and let the world pass me by, that weekend visited the Home Depot and purchased some Rustoleum Chalkboard paint.

Rustoleum apparently makes a variety of tints you can mix into the chalkboard base, but deciding that my fiance probably wouldn’t be too stoked about a hot pink chalkboard in the kitchen, I played it safe and opted for their basic black.

When I got home, I cleaned off the surface with TSP and water (and made sure to wear plastic gloves, since TSP can really burn your skin). I was so glad I did. The previous owner of our home was a smoker, and even though we had cleaned the walls with TSP when we moved in, there still was some residual nicotine on the walls.


Seriously friends, don’t smoke. I didn’t need a deterrent already (after making these bad boys with my best friend for Halloween two years ago...yes those are real cigarettes, and yes we had to burn them all down individually. Pro tip: Don’t buy menthols if you are hoping they smell like mint. They just smell like casino), this just solidified everything D.A.R.E. taught me in the 1990s.

After learning some 21 Jump Street style life lessons, I continued to prep the wall by carefully taping off the trim, floor, and ceiling.

Uhh, no I didn’t just stand on a chair and do this. That would be unsafe. So unsafe. Didn’t D.A.R.E. teach you to make better decisions than that? I’m sure they did.

So after the space was all prepped, I started painting. And whoa.

Queue the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This thing looks like a freaking monolith.

So the black was pretty harsh. Who’d have thought? Oh that’s right, most people.

Well, I started looking around on other Blogs for what other people’s opinions were, and a lot of people were very happy with their black chalkboards. Especially once you “Prime” them with chalk (grind some up and distribute it all over the surface, it turns the board more of a soft gray).

After taking in the monolith and contemplating its virtues in interior design, I decided it was still a bit too much for me. I looked back at my original inspiration, the chalkboard my mom got me as a gift.

I realized that one of the things I really love about this particular chalkboard is it’s soft slate gray coloring. So I fired up the internet and found a “slate gray” chalkboard paint on amazon. Booyah. I painted a swatch on, and am now waiting for it to cure so I can get an idea as to it’s true color.

For now, the Monolith awaits it’s next coat of paint. Or the next phase of man, not sure which will come first.

(Note: If you’re scratching your head about all the monolith references, sorry. I just assume that the majority of the population has [because you should] seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you haven’t, you need to do that the next time you have a spare 3 hours. Then come back here and re-read this post, you’ll laugh.)