Category Archives: Rookies

Domino Feature!

Cake Pan Tray

This just in…we’ve been featured!

domino magazine

…Not just “featured” but we’ve been named one of the 17 Best DIY Blogs! (wait, whaaaaaat?!). Don’t worry, we can’t believe it either. We find ourselves alongside some of our all-time favorite DIY-ers…. like crazy talented people that inspire us each and everyday.

Like how crazy is it to be in the same company as 4 of our all time favorites — John & Sherry from YoungHouseLove, Mandi from Vintage Revivals, Dana from HouseTweaking, or Kate from Centsational Girl. I don’t know how we snuck in there, but heck… we’re not asking any questions!!

Make sure you check out the list. We can guarantee you’ll be inspired and possibly even grabbing for your hot glue gun to get DIY-ing!

Here’s a sneak peek at the project we’re spilling our beans on in the series…

You have to read the sweet surprise that we cooked up for the post— let’s just say we’re bringing a little bit of the kitchen into Bridget’s office (cause we all know that any kitchen item will get a lot more attention in B’s office rather than her kitchen). Here’s the step-by-step tutorial.

And in case you missed it, check out our Ikea dresser in another Domino article (10 before-and-after DIY projects) right here.

But let’s be real here… NONE of this would be possible without all of you tuning in and cheering us on everyday. We cannot be more thankful for all of your love & support. It’s all of you that keep us motivated to stay in the DIY game.  Sincerely, thank YOU, each and every one of you busy people that take a couple minutes of your precious day to hear what we have to say. Heck, I think you’re the ones that deserve the award here.

Bridget and Casey DIY Playbook
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Q & A with The Rookies

Okay, okay… we promise this is the last day of non-DIY centered posts. We will be back Monday morning (9:00am) with what we’re here for… DIY blogging!! Less about the players, more about the game. 

Where is your home located and how long have you lived there?


C: My fiance Finn and I rent a loft space in a condo building in downtown St. Louis. We have lived here for almost 2 years.

B: My +1 Matt and I recently bought a house in the suburbs of Chicago. We’ve He’s been in the house for about a month…. I’ll join him once we make it “official” #oldfashioned 

How would you describe your decorating style?

C: Overall, I would say my style is comfortable. I try to create a place where anyone can come right in and automatically feel cozy and welcome. You won’t see anything too stuffy in our space. I also want our home to reflect our personalities, so you get a feel for us as people (and a couple) when you walk through our door.


I tend to lean more towards a traditional, simple, and clean look…but I like to add a trendy touch too. I typically start with classic, neutral pieces and then add pops of color with accessories. I also like mixing old and new pieces all together. So in our home, you’ll see decor from Crate & Barrel and Target…mixed right in with flea market and thrift store items.  I’m also not a big fan of clutter (and our place isn’t very big!), so you’ll often see baskets, ottomans, and secret storage all around our home. 
B: Yikes! What a tough question. I guess I never thought about exactly what my design style is. I guess I would say… Rustic meets farmhouse meets grandma chic with a hint of preppy. I attract to rustic furniture because something about it screams coziness, which I love. The farmhouse component brings the “casualness” to the mix while the grandma chic accounts for my love for all things vintage, old school, and/or self-proclaimed grandma-ish. That clears it up, right? Oh, and I can’t hide my attraction to hints of preppy. Bring on the globes, stripes, and bow ties (That means you, Matt). #hinthint

Where do look for inspiration?

C: These days, blogs and Pinterest are my source for DIY inspiration. You can see some of my favorite blogs on our sidebar under “Hall of Fame Bloggers

B: Beyond the ever-inspiring blogs and Pinterest as Casey says, I also find inspiration from the wonderful people around me. I am very lucky to say that my family is full of creative people (most who think they are not creative at all)! Each is creative in their own way and they inspire me to tackle new projects and ideas.


Where is your favorite place to shop for home decor?

C: Without a doubt, thrift and antique stores. You just never know what you’re gonna find. I like to find quality furniture (they just don’t make it like they used to) and then revamp the pieces to our style.
I also can never ever visit Target without perusing their home area (such cute, and reasonably priced goodies!) And Home Goods…I’m obsessed! If I had an unlimited budget, I would love to go crazy at West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Pottery Barn. 

B: Wow Case, I couldn’t have answered this question better myself! I would have to add that our new house is literally 60 seconds away from a TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s/HomeGoods combo so I am definitely a little too Maxx-inista lately. I also spend a lot of my summer searching for local garage sales and estate sales. It’s the ultimate trash to treasure challenge and I am hooked!

Describe your home in 5 words or less.

C: Comfortable, personal, relaxing, contemporary.
B: Full of personality, tradition, coziness & happiness.  


What’s next on your to-do list for your home?

C: Ahh..there is always something isn’t there?! I would really like to focus on the dining room table. Maybe find a big industrial or farmhouse table for a reasonable price and DIY some chairs & a bench!

B: Any and all decorating & personalization. One month in to our new house, we have nothing hanging on the walls and have lots to do to make this cozy ranch a home. 
What’s the best decorating tip/trick?

C: Be true to your style and personality. You don’t need to run out and buy whatever is “in” or trendy that season. Pick pieces that reflect you, and they’ll never go out of style in your eyes. For example, if you enjoy relaxing on the couch each night…buy a comfy couch that you love. It’s always function over fashion for me.

B: Don’t buy something unless you love, love, love it! Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale, super cheap, or at a store that you love. Don’t settle for buying any new lamp because you need a lamp. Hold out until you find that lamp that you absolutely adore. With a home filled with items you l.o.v.e, you are bound to create a place that reflects your style and (most importantly) that makes you proud. (I guess this same advice is true about finding your future prince charming… don’t settle for any old frog!)

How did you first catch the decorating “bug”?

C: It all started with these old, antique chairs. My future mother-in-law gave them to us, because they were in her family for generations. They needed a lot of TLC and I wanted to keep them going for years to come. I researched online how to spruce them up, and came across the home decorating blogosphere that I now love! Once the chairs were done, I was hooked and have been working on projects ever since.
B: I’ve always been really interested in all things decorating, fashion and general creativity. I took every “home ec” class that was offered in high school and ended up majoring in Home Economics (formally known as Family and Consumer Sciences) in college. Some of my college courses included sewing, fashion design, housing, and even cooking. To say I was in my glory is quite the understatement. This creativity morphed into a more DIY focused interest when I stumbled upon some of the Hall-of-Fame bloggers several years back and have been combining the two ever since. 

Let’s be honest, DIY isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. What do you dislike about DIY?

C: I’m the kind of person that likes to start a project and finish it right away! So, painting projects can be so hard for me! I want to get it done and into our space quickly…so waiting for the paint to dry or cure is absolute torture!

B: Impatience is a huge problem for me as well. I am just so excited to see that final product that it’s hard for me to patiently wait. Tools also intimidate me so… any projects that require some (or any) tools tend to scare me.  

Check back this afternoon for a peek into next week’s projects along with some “breaking news”
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Style Stats

As you follow our DIY adventures, we think it’s important that you know a little bit about each of our styles. You may be more neutral and traditional like Bridget, or more colorful and contemporary like Casey. Check out our style boards to see our must-haves and see where you measure up…  
1. Traditional. I like how this clock adds function, style, and tradition to any room. It’s never too late (pun intended) to add accents and a little charm to your space.

2. Coral. A great way to add texture and feel like you are living in a cottage on the east coast. Need I say more?

3. Being from the suburbs of Chicago, this masterpiece reminds me of all the wonderful memories I have growing up around Chicago. My parents were amazing and made a point to expose us to the city as much as possible.This particular place in Chicago is one of our favorites. It’s the place where we gather to watch the river turn green on St. Patrick’s Day each year…. one of my favorite traditions. (Plus, you can’t go wrong with some vintage travel artwork).

4. Organization is really important to me and these fabulous metal bins from Home Goods offer organization that is affordable & stylish! I love the hint of industrial that these baskets offer and appreciate their versatility. I use them in my guest bedroom to hold towels, my bathroom to hold clutter, my bedroom for storage and my family room to organize books.  

5. Recently, I started my own little collection of globes. Garage Sales, Estate Sales, Thrift Stores… I’m always on the look out for these treasures.  They bring a taste of vintage to any space…. plus they make any room more well-rounded.  

6. Industrial pendants like this one from Urban Archaeology make me swoon. I’m on the look out for new lighting in our space and I can’t resist a fixture just like this! Industrial meets rustic meets vintage… yes please!

7. From a home of two teachers, we love the hint of classroom that this chalkboard from Amazon.com brings. We haven’t tackled any large chalkboard projects just yet, but we definitely have some big ideas on the way! Stay tuned…

8. I am quite the sucker for all things stripes, especially navy and white stripes. To me, stripes mix my love for nautical with hints of “preppy-ness”. Our master bedroom has a rug similar to this from West Elm, but this pattern can be incorporated just about anywhere. Pillows, sheets, artwork, towels, a shower curtain, napkins…. you just can’t go wrong with thick stripes.

9. I strive to make my home as comfy and cozy as possible and cable knit pillows like these seem to be just the ticket. Nothing screams out come cuddle like this cozy cushion. Plus, lots and lots of pillows are a must to create a cozy space that make you feel home sweet home.  

1. Throw pillows are the perfect way to add a pop of color and personality into your home. I have a love for anchors and you’ll see many throughout our home. So this pillow from Joss & Main was a must for my style board.  I also heart chevrons..so I could definitely see this Target pillow getting comfy on our couch.

2. I die over this chair. It has such a clean contemporary look, but the nailhead trim adds a dramatic touch. A chair like this could work great in our master bedroom for a little reading nook.

3. How about this crafty little bar cart from Crate & Barrel? I’ve already posted about our $20 bar cart, but if we ever want to upgrade this one would be next in line! It provides stylish storage and would be a hit at any party.

4. I’m pretty much obsessed with chalkboard everything! We actually made our own DIY chalkboard with an old frame (spray painted white) and sheet metal (painted with chalkboard paint). It’s displayed in our kitchen and it is always fun to write sweet notes or to-do lists right up there.

5. You’ll find many, many baskets around our place. We live in a loft and don’t have a ton of storage options so baskets help conceal our clutter. I especially love baskets with tops like this one, so everyone doesn’t have to see what is inside.

6. The pattern and color on this rug are fantastic! The subtle blue would work great in our home, and the pattern is right on trend.

7. You won’t find any living plants in our home (I have a very brown thumb!), but we do have a few fake ones around the house. They bring a bit of nature and greenery into our space. This succulent is a very cute find.

8. This media console is FANTASTIC! I want, I want, I want! I love the distressed wood and industrial look. The draw pulls are adorable, and you could hide all types of goodies in those drawers. Fabulous TV stand to splurge on one day…

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Meet The Rookies: Casey

1-CaseyHeadshot2013

Well hello there reader. I can’t believe I’m actually writing to you right now. I’m not gonna lie…I can chat about home decorating and DIY projects ALL DAY LONG. But when it comes to telling you all about me…well that’s a different story!

For you, dear reader, I will do my best to sum up my 25 years…

My name is Casey O’Halloran and (just like my blogging buddy) I too grew up on the south side of Chicago. I come from a fun-loving, rambunctious, Irish family of 6 and I’m the youngest of the bunch.
I’m blessed to have parents who encourage and support me everyday. And are even willing to participate in crazy events like this one.
Rounding out the clan, are siblings who love me no matter what (even though I was the younger, bratty sister growing up)
My family has a love for all things Notre Dame…
So it was only fitting that I attend the University of Notre Dame to follow in my parents’ footsteps.

After college, I moved to the big, popular, trendy city of Wausau, Wisconsin.  
 
Oh what’s that…you’ve never heard of Wausau? Well, neither had I…
It’s a small little town in Northcentral Wisconsin, where there is snow on the ground 8 months out of the year #imnotevenjoking.
I moved there to pursue my career in broadcast journalism. I worked there as a news reporter and anchor, and I freakin’ loved it!
After a year, it was time to move to a larger market. So about 2 years ago, I moved to St. Louis to continue my career.
I currently work as an on-camera host/video producer for a large company in the area.  It is fabulous and I’m privileged to work with a creative group of people.
Eventually, I would love to move back to Sweet Home Chicago. If the right job knocks on my door…I’ll take it in a heartbeat #seriouslyhiremenow


Here are the main players you’ll see me chatting about here on the DIY Playbook:
 
Finn; Mike; fiance; the boy; manfriend; roomie; high school sweetheart; boy toy; boyfriend; future hubby
Any combo of those names may be used to describe the man of my dreams. Finn and I have been together for an eternity 8.5 years, and we will be making it official in the Fall of 2014.
Luckily, Finn supports my crazy career (he moved with me up to the tundra of Wisconsin, and down here to our current St. Louis loft). He’s also a DIY-er at heart, and will spend Saturdays with me searching for treasures at the local Goodwill (But not Sunday…no siree…Sundays are reserved for football).  

We’ve had a blast creating a home that is personalized to our tastes, and represents both of our styles.  
I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have Mike, and even though I’ll miss my last name…I’m secretly pumped to have the cute name of Casey Finn (seriously so short and cute right?!)
Jan; Janimal; Mom; Mrs. O’:
Jan is my mom and she is quite possibly the kindest, most generous, friendliest woman on earth (I swear I’m not biased). We’ve been best friends for years, and I talk to her on the phone every.single.day. My siblings and I adore my mother, as you can see by this fabulous gift we made for her last Christmas.
I’m sad to live far away from her (Mom, I promise I’ll be back soon), but I make it home every chance I get so we can do fun things together like this and this.

The Janimal totally supports my DIYing, and has secretly been reading the unlaunched version of our blog for the past 6 months. We make a point to work on a craft or project every time we get together, and Jan even caught the DIY fever when she re-decorated her laundry room.
Okay, so you just learned way more about me than you ever possibly wanted to know.
I’ll leave you with this. This blog is going to be just like our personalities. Fun, laid back, and friendly. You won’t see any crazy, super-difficult tutorials here. You won’t see us posting 3 times a day, clogging up your Google Reader.

You’re a reader, and therefore you’re our friend, and we will treat you that way. So dive right in, feel free to reach out to us, and join us as we give this blogging thing a go.
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6 thoughts on “Meet The Rookies: Casey

  1. Erin (Running Tall)

    Ahh Wisconsin sounds like where I live! I’m up in Canada (Saskatchewan to be exact) and it’s winter here 8 months out of the year too (if not more). And my live-in BF of 6 years is named Mike. Mikes are the best 😉 PS: Your loft is super cute. I’m trying to turn my tiny condo into a personalized haven and this site will be a godsend!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Erin…that is too funny! When we lived there, I bought so many cute scarves, hats, & boots to at least make the 8-month long Winter stylish! Now, I never get to wear any of them. I should send them all to you 🙂

      Your Mike sounds awesome! Let me know if you do any cute projects for your condo. I would love to see them.

  2. Angela Frey

    I’m not even sure how I found your blog, but I saw prints of Wisconsin in your decor, so I had to read more about you. I grew up in Fond du Lac, so I know exactly where Wausau is. Even crazier, is one of my best friends work at WSAW! I’m guessing if you were there a couple of years ago, you would know him. Do you know Mike Lauber? We’ve been friends since the 1st grade. I also live in Missouri, just on the other side of the state near Kansas City. It’s a small world!

    Reply
  3. DIY Playbook

    Angela what a small world!! Yes, I absolutely know MIkel Lauber. What a great guy, and now with all of his cute daughters.

    So happy you found our blog, and you’re both a Missourian and Wisconsinite too!

    Reply

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6 thoughts on “Meet The Rookies: Casey

  1. Erin (Running Tall)

    Ahh Wisconsin sounds like where I live! I’m up in Canada (Saskatchewan to be exact) and it’s winter here 8 months out of the year too (if not more). And my live-in BF of 6 years is named Mike. Mikes are the best 😉 PS: Your loft is super cute. I’m trying to turn my tiny condo into a personalized haven and this site will be a godsend!

    Reply
  2. Angela Frey

    I’m not even sure how I found your blog, but I saw prints of Wisconsin in your decor, so I had to read more about you. I grew up in Fond du Lac, so I know exactly where Wausau is. Even crazier, is one of my best friends work at WSAW! I’m guessing if you were there a couple of years ago, you would know him. Do you know Mike Lauber? We’ve been friends since the 1st grade. I also live in Missouri, just on the other side of the state near Kansas City. It’s a small world!

    Reply
  3. DIY Playbook

    Angela what a small world!! Yes, I absolutely know MIkel Lauber. What a great guy, and now with all of his cute daughters.

    So happy you found our blog, and you’re both a Missourian and Wisconsinite too!

    Reply

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Meet the Rookies: Bridget

Wedding

Welcome back to the DIY Playbook! On behalf of the both of us, we would like to say how truly thankful we are for all of the love and support we received on yesterday’s launch. We are overwhelmed by all of the support and want to thank YOU, our fabulous readers, for all that you have done to make our launch day so special. We have lots of projects ready to go and we can’t wait for you to see what’s in store!

Now, back to your regular scheduled post….

Welcome back to the DIY Playbook, we are so thankful that you’re here. If you’ve stopped by for the same reason I think you you have (some DIY fun, of course)…. you can do this! Whether you’re a hall-of-famer or just a rookie like me us, I hope the Playbook can provide you with some inspiration that will lead you to a new project, idea, or gift you can be proud of. For all the rookies out there that are a little hesitant or intimidated by all things tools, paint, or mini construction, join the club. We understand these fears, but urge you to dive right in anyway… what do you have to lose? Like my dad always told us girls growing up…. “Get a mitt and get in the game!”

I hope that this blog does just that…. urges you to “get a mitt, paintbrush, stencil, hammer, or drill and get in the DIY game”
My name is Bridget O’Connor, and I grew up in a southern suburb of Chicago. I have a wonderful family that doesn’t necessarily love, love, love DIY as much as me, the middle sister, but supports my crazy ideas anyway. I have two sisters that are my best friends, and we share parents that are the most selfless, supportive, and hardworking people we know.
Growing up, we lived in a modest ranch that we affectionately named the Chestnut Club. My parents treated the Chestnut Club as another member of the family, showering him with endless love, sweat, and commitment; keeping him up-to-date, fashionable, and always a proud staple of the O’Connor clan.

This commitment, hard work, and creativity that my parents always showed towards the Chestnut Club mixed with my passion for crafts, scrapbooking and organizing paved the way for my grown-up passion; DIY-ing. #thankspatandmike

In high school a few lockers down, I met my creative match. With two irish names that started with O’, we were bound to be best friends. We spent one night a week scrapbooking, many endless hours making puffy paint t-shirts, and later graduated to helping each other decorate college dorm rooms. Over ten years later, we live in separate cities, see each other far less than we want to, but still share a love for DIY. Although our projects and decorating styles have changed (thank goodness), we still share our O’ last names (not for long…tear) and we still share late nights DIY-ing (like this one or this one) and gossiping like old times. We’re teammates, best friends, and starting this blogging journey as complete rookies…. together.

My other DIY partner-in-crime and teammate is my uber creative and supportive boyfriend, Matt. After Matt created a scrapbook of pictures and commentary of each of our date sites in honor of our first Valentine’s Day together…. I knew he was a keeper. From our small town tours (complete with a favorite small town voting ballots) to hilarious rhyming stories he created to celebrate big events in our relationship, Matt is definitely a DIY-er at heart, and I’m so lucky to have him! I definitely could not have created this without his help and support of my garbage picking habits. More on that later…

Outside of my passion for DIY-ing, I work as a high school Family & Consumer Sciences/Special Education teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember… read more about that here. This is a career that I absolutely love and a career that I am extremely thankful for everyday.

Join me as I try to juggle time with my family, friends, main squeeze, career, grad school and anything else that pops up along the way to continue my love for all things DIY. I hope to take my Rookie salary and Rookie status to transform my new house to a personalized masterpiece that I can call home. Just like my parents did for the Chestnut Club, I hope to mix the perfect ingredients of love, creativity and hard work into our new ranch in hopes that the Longview Lodge can be just a part of the family as the good old Chestnut Club. Take a tour of our new home here and check out our home announcements here!

Now that you know far more than you probably ever needed to about Bridget, it’s Casey’s turn to step up to the plate. Get to know more about my favorite teammate and DIY rookie, Casey, in tomorrow’s post.  
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