Carmel Welch

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Carmel Welch
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and together we are making a comfortable gathering place for our family of two adult children and three grandchildren.
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Sliding Door

This was a “One Thing Lead to Another” project that happened after finishing our built-in bookcase in the office. The swinging door had been off for months while the bookcase was being built. In fact, I liked it off. It made the office feel bigger and more accessible. And mistakes of all mistakes, when the bookcase was finished and the swinging door went back on, the bookcase was completely covered by the door! So this happened.

We don’t always get the opportunity to repurpose materials in projects, but we had saved this door for a handful of years with the idea that someday it would work somewhere.

Even though the door is almost always open, we wanted to offer privacy inside and used a spray for a frosted glass finish.

Inside the office: the sliding door and the built-in bookcase.    Plus the gong has a new home 🙂

Entryway Update

I was inspired to update my entryway after reading Melissa Michaels book The Inspired Room. Specifically, to add a lamp and layer objects, using a newly purchased wooden red tray.

Before, a somewhat seasonal rotation of décor, no welcoming light for evening and night, a bit tired and bland. The grandkids are allowed one “gong“ each, per visit. But sometimes we get carried away anyway.

The red wooden tray was a find at Christmas and fun to use to corral a wintry scene. The sparkle of Christmas faded into a dull January and I knew I was ready for a change.

The whale’s tail hits the mark for Spring and Summer. Maybe I’ll replace it with a globe in September before the Fall pumpkins return.  

DIY Built-in Bookcase

This DIY, four years in the making, was a satisfying addition to our two-bedroom home where the second bedroom is an office.

Before: Wasted space. A makeshift bookcase fit in here, but didn’t fill the space nor provide enough storage.

Shelves! Deep and wide, a couple of the shelves are actually doubled up with books now. Also, some room to accessorize! These pictures were taken with the door off as well as door trim that has since been updated. The door, back on now, opens to the inside of the room, essentially hiding the bookcase from view! Next project: Barn door-style door in the hallway to close off the room for privacy when necessary. Funny how one thing can lead to another.  Here’s to 2016 and many more projects and improvements!

DIY Mantle Project

This project has been on the To Do list for more than four years! Its a beautiful feature and an instant focal point when entering our home now. This project was a collaboration with myself as designer, sandpaperer, and painter, my husband for figuring out the technicalities and brut force, and my son with some specialty wood-working skills from a couple of earlier years of working in a cabinet shop.  My son is now a Firefighter/Paramedic, also a 2015 accomplishment! :)

This recent before picture with other house updates: the mantle always struck me as not being in proportion to the brick fireplace. We were in a quandary about what to change and our minds changed quite a bit during the four years.

Taking it way back: our “brand new“ house in July 2011. By the way, the trick to removing soot? Scrubbing Bubbles. 

Detail of the column. Designed in the middle of an isle at the home improvement store while referring to magazine cutouts, holding different trim pieces together to get the look I wanted, and making it uniquely ours.  


It’s the most Wonderful time of the Year!

We’ve decked the halls and are ready for family and fun! We’ve had a very blessed year and have even accomplished several projects on a four-year-long To Do list! This picture shows our newly updated DIY mantel in the background.

I read both of Melissa’s books this year, Love the Home You Have and The Inspired Room and am seeing my home and its rooms with new eyes.

The work we’ve done and projects we’ve completed on our home is satisfying and inspiring and we’ve got more ideas and more confidence in ourselves as we look forward to the new year.

I‘m using old school chalk boards I found at an antique fair as placemats for the kids that will also provide an activity! I think it will be a good creative outlet and hopefully requires less parental supervision during final meal prep. I’ll let you know how that went 😉

This red wood tray on the entryway console is new to me and I love the sparkle and shine of the Christmas ornaments in it. I’m working on some ideas for an entryway update that will continue to shine during the Winter months ahead and into Spring and Summer. Just a little refresh but even this small space can have a big impact.

For the first time since we’ve owned this dining set (9 years) I took the leaf out of the middle, not so much to make the table smaller, but to make the dining room seem bigger. There is now more space around the table, though guests will likely be bumping elbows. It just might go back in before the day is done, but I have been enjoying the look of a bigger space.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!


Before and After

Love at first site? Well, we had a vision. 

Now our home is a comfortable gathering place for our family. Future project: paint the brick? or resurface with stone? Modify the mantel and paint it white or stain it dark?

In a previous post I pointed out that the kitchen cabinets and counter-tops have not changed. And it’s my doing. Decisions, decisions. 

We love the openness of these rooms. 

It was a jungle out there!

Welcoming change that says ‘walk this way’! 

Around the House: Outside Tour

The love story of our house begins outside. It was derelict and abandoned, empty for almost two years while we sought to own it. It was a short-sale, fringing on foreclosure. But we loved it. We would visit our house, just hanging out on the porch, looking through the windows, dreaming of what we would do to it.  And finally in July 2011 it was ours. 

The house was built in 1947 and had acres of land. In the 1970’s it sold for $14,000 and included 14 acres. It now has 1.3 acres and most of the surrounding land has been developed. There is a neighborhood of mid-to -higher priced homes built 2005-2008 with a Northwest flavor and itty-bitty yards. 

We have done most, but not all of the work, on the house ourselves. We had many ‘opinionated discussions’ about the deck, especially the open vs. covered areas. It really did take a professional to sort this out and make this masterpiece happen. Sometimes you have to trust the pros, even though it may feel like you are giving up control.  

A professional contractor made this happen. And our bank account. Worth every penny. The decking is synthetic. There is built in lighting on the steps and under the railings. Yes, there’s a hot tub too. 

We do a lot of grilling, year round now. 

Outdoor living area with either rain-drum table in the center or a small fire pit when appropriate (we are both firefighters). 

Outdoor dining area.

These “Stairs to Nowhere” now have purpose with a cover and bench seating. Our guess is that the previous owner intended the garage to be converted into living space with this as a new entrance. 

The shop (where the husband does the wife’s projects). 

There’s a lot more to explore on the property plus projects in the works…it is truly our dream house and a work of love. 

Sharing Myself: Inside and Out

Welcome to my home. I don’t live here alone so it is also the House of Compromise. No Crystal Chandeliers. No Pink. No Purple. But it is mine. And his. Together ours, which is the best place to be.

The Red Arrow gives a sense of direction and a place to hang your coat and hat. Come on in!

Comfortable seating with plenty of pillows is a must.

The living room includes a place on the sofa for the cat. The coffee table is not decorated…it is always buried in never ending reading material and current projects.

Dining room hutch and buffet open to living room on one side and the kitchen on the other.

Dining room table. We live here. It’s laundry day. 

The kitchen. It bothers my husband more than me that it still looks like this after owning the house for 3 1/2 years. The counter-tops are laminate that’s torn in places and all the edging has come off. The only reason it still looks like this is because I cannot decide what I want. Refinished or new cabinets? Granite (yawn), marble (expensive), quartz (1000‘s to choose from), or concrete? And then there‘s the back splash….