Indoor Photography Tips

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I have absolutely loved learning how to use my DSLR camera and all of my accessories for it. I feel like my photos have gotten much better and I have become a lot more knowledgeable about photography. Last week, my mom had me take some pictures of her house because they put it up for sale a few weeks ago, but she wanted better pictures taken for her house listing.
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I was excited to help my mom out, and get to play with my camera some more. I took a little photography course online, read a photography book, and have done a lot of research on photography, but it was nice to do some hands on learning. Why is photographing an interior difficult? Here are a few key reasons…
*Lighting- The sun isn’t inside your house, therefore it is darker in there! You have to learn how to make more light come into your camera without the full sun.
*Uneven lighting- Even when there is a window in the room, it can be difficult to make a room evenly lit because of more light hitting certain areas.
*White balance- White balance is just the fancy term of how your camera sees the color white. It has to adjust under different types of light.
Those are just a few of the reasons why taking photos inside can be difficult, but hopefully these tips can help you. Keep in mind, that none of the photos that are in this post have been edited anymore than just cropping and adding text. These are raw photos to help you learn!
1st thing is 1st. ISO. The ISO determines how much grain shows in your photos. For crisp, clean photos, I suggest using a 200 ISO for shooting interiors. Keep in mind, this is for photos with no movement in them at all. If you are taking photos of people inside, you will most likely have to have a higher ISO. Once I set my camera’s ISO to 200, I didn’t have to really think about it again.
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Set your aperture. This will determine how much depth of field is in focus. Because I wanted the entire area I was shooting to be in focus, my f stop number was set to 1/16. This is also something I didn’t have to think about again while taking these photos because I knew I would always want the entire room to be in focus.
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Tripod- This is essential in photographing interiors. The photo above was taken in a basement. I didn’t want the lights on because it would make the colors look funky. It made the room too dark to take a decent photo without a tripod. I had to set my shutter speed down to 30 seconds to capture this shot. This room is exactly these colors. I couldn’t have done this without a tripod.
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Now to shutter speeds. I was just talking about them a little, but what is the big deal about shutter speeds? Like I was saying earlier, the interior of a house just doesn’t have the natural light that you can use when you are outside. By slowing down the shutter speed, the camera is able to bring in more light so that the picture is brighter. You will have to play around with this a little bit. If the photo is too bright, it will make parts of the photo disappear because of too much light being in that spot. Look at the photo above. I took one picture with a very slow shutter speed and I couldn’t see the lockers at all, but once I took the shutter speed up a little, it was still bright, but you could see the lockers!
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Lighting in the room- Check out the lighting in each room that you photograph. Try not to use the lights in the room. Try to only use natural light to create more natural looking photos. There will be times when you need to turn on lights because the room is just too dark, but you will have to adjust your white balance to work with the lights too. I will get more into that later. In the photo above, it was taken in the basement. I couldn’t get the lighting that I wanted without turning the lights on.
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With that in mind, remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people may prefer the photo of the projection screen above with the lights on, some may like it with the lights off more. Use your discretion with this and do what you think looks best.
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Remember to adjust your camera settings. From room to room, even different angles of the same room, you need to adjust your camera settings. For me, all this meant was adjusting my shutter speed. Not all rooms are lit the same way. Be sure to adjust for each room. The bathroom above, was lit much more than the basement photos. I needed to have a faster shutter speed for it than I did for the basement photos.
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Create even lighting. In the pictures above, this room has one (functional) window in it. Because the light was coming in it so brightly, it would have made the lighting in this room very uneven. This window shade still was able to bring in enough light, but I was able to create even lighting so that no matter where I took the photos in this room, they were all evenly lit.
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Take several pictures of the same thing. Maybe you feel a little silly clicking over and over again without moving your camera at all, but if you take photos with different shutter speeds, you are able to find the perfect settings for that photo. In the photo on the left (above), the bathtub is lit nicely, but the light makes the detailing on the window disappear. When I adjusted the shutter speed higher, it made the detail show, but the tub was too dark. When I went right in the middle, I was able to see the detail in the window, and have the tub nicely lit.
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When the light is behind you, magical things happen. When taking pictures of my brother’s room above, I couldn’t cover his window because he doesn’t have blinds on it, so I had to change my angle to bring the light behind me. This makes for a much more evenly lit room and a lot prettier photo in general.
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Staying with the theme of where the light is coming from, you need to use your discretion with this too. Where I was taking photos for my mom so that it would show off the great things about her house, I wanted to be sure to show off some of the great windows that she has. These photos above are great examples of having the light from some of her big windows just spilling into the room.
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I mentioned this before, but white balance is so important to play with too. All of the photos above were taken of my mom’s awesomely humongous storage room. This room is lit with fluorescent lights. I had to be sure to adjust my white balance to make up for the fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lights give off a blue tint to them so I needed to adjust to make the white wall turn white. Once the white turns white, you have the correct white balance.
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Now my last tip has less to do with interior photos and more to do with taking photos of a home you are trying to sell. When taking real estate photos, be sure to photograph things that make the house unique. Make it stand out in the crowd, such as all of the great closets in my mom’s house and her amazing bake center with all of her small appliances and baking supplies tucked away in a cabinet. Sell your potential buyers on what makes your house AWESOME.
I hope you can learn from these tips! If you are interested in seeing more photos of my mom’s house or need more photography advice, email me! Remember I am no professional, but I love to share my new knowledge with others. If you want to see the house listing (with the old photos) look here.

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Strawberry & Strawberry Lemon Fizz Drinks

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A few days ago, my sweet mom brought me some lunch. Included in that lunch was the most amazing drink I have ever tasted. It was a Diet Sprite with strawberry syrup and fresh strawberries in it. I instantly fell in love, but wasn’t a fan of knowing there was syrup in it. I wanted to create my own version of this with no syrup and more flavor options! Strawberry and strawberry-lemon. Yum.

Recipe time!
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Well as far as recipes go, this is about as easy as it gets. All you need is Diet 7 up or any other lemon-lime soda, a lemon (for the strawberry-lemon flavor), and strawberries.
Pour the 7 up in cups. Add ice if it is needed. Slice the fruit. Stick it in the cups.
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Guys. This is seriously good. Not only do you get the strawberry taste, but you also get to munch on the fruit when you are done with the drink. It is such a refreshing drink for the summertime and it isn’t chuck full of calories like many drinks can be.
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4th of July!

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Independence Day is one of my ALL TIME favorite holidays. I love all of fun festivities that happen, all of the red, white, and blue clothes, and the generally happy people everywhere!

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We had a 4th of July practice last weekend with a Celebrate America event we went to. It was so fun to feel the sun on our skin and enjoy the time celebrating our great country! Enjoy your 4th everyone!

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Date Night

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When grandma says she wants to play with the babe on a Friday night, we take full advantage. Farmer’s Market, frozen custard, walk around the park, and a ride on the carousel.

That is how we do date night. 

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15 Summer Beauty Tips

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There are 2 things that I especially adore. Summer and beauty. Well, one great thing about both of them, is that they go hand in hand. No matter what size or shape you are, you can be Summer beautiful! Here are my top 15 Summer beauty tips, in no particular order…

1. Wear color- Color is something that I am not afraid of, but recently I looked in my closet and realized that I am really lacking in color. Luckily, I was given a few pairs of colored skinny jeans for my birthday. That makes me feel colorful again. Just because you aren’t daring enough to wear colored skinny jeans, doesn’t mean that you should shy away from color. You don’t have to follow specific color rules either. Pick out what feels good to you. You will be noticed more, but who says that is a bad thing?
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2. Waterproof mascara- This isn’t just for your trips to the pool or going to a Nicolas Sparks movie. Waterproof mascara is great for the Summer because you never know what your plans may turn out to be. Maybe your kids decide to have a spontaneous water fight. Do you really want the fear of having mascara drip down your cheeks stop you from the memories you could make with your kiddos? Or maybe it is more like in my latest case of my husband rolling down the window, just as a sprinkler hit my side of the car. Accident? I think not. It could have “ruined” my day, but waterproof mascara allowed me to laugh.
3. Get outside- I can’t stress this enough. I have made it a point to go walking with my little family (husband, baby, pup) a few times a week. Not only is this a great form of exercise, but it is now a treasured memory. There aren’t many months out of the year that you can play outside. Take advantage of that. One great bonus could be getting your booty a little tighter for the swimming suit!
4. Wear light accessories- I am an accessory girl. I think jewelry or a headband can add so much to an outfit. During the Summer, it is all about being cool and comfortable. Don’t over accessorize! Nothing is worse than wearing a thick, heavy necklace on a hot day. Maybe choose 1 or 2 great accessories that could really add to your outfit, and rock it. Don’t be afraid to mix different styles either. Case in point: My headband that was originally made for a Thanksgiving dress up day (I dressed as an Indian) and my necklace that was worn by my bridesmaids. Do those accessories have anything in common? No, but they work.
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5. Wax- I know, I know. That is a banned word for a lot of people, but whether it be eyebrows, armpits, or legs, the pain is totally worth the gain. Does anybody else hate shaving and tweezing as much as I do? Get the pain over in a few quick rips and you are good for weeks! You will not regret it.
6. Deep Condition- Some people only think of hair, others have no idea what a deep condition is. Deep conditioning not only your hair, but your skin during the Summer is crucial! All of that swimming and sunshine feels great, but it dries out your skin and hair big time. You don’t need to do anything ultra fancy to deep condition. For your hair, use your favorite conditioner and put it in after you get out of the shower and your hair is damp. Clip your hair up and let it sit in the conditioner for as long as you have time for. It could be 5 minutes or an hour. Doing this weekly or monthly can drastically help your hair. As for skin, use an intensive moisture lotion day and night. Preferably right after the shower and right before bed. If you can handle it, sleep with socks on right after putting the lotion on.
7. Sun Dresses- Wear them! They are the easiest Summer style to wear. They add a little glam to your wardrobe, but are most likely going to be the most comfortable item in your closet. They make GREAT swimming suit cover ups too. I always feel cuter wearing a sun dress over my bathing suit, rather than board shorts.
8. Sunscreen- Duh. That should be the most important beauty item of the Summer. Is it usually? Nope. I rarely wear it, but I will be wearing it now! Spending 8 hours in the blazing sun did nasty things to my skin. Case in point: My nose. Makeup over a sunburn isn’t chic.
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9. Dewy lips- What does this mean? It means, make your lips look a little wet. Don’t do this by licking your lips constantly, just buy a good lip gloss that does it for you. Wet looking lips are sexy lips.
10. Air dry your hair- Your hair will thank you a thousand times if you let it air dry once and a while. Now when I saw air dry, that does not mean it has to be 100% natural. Who’s hair looks good 100% natural? If yours does, I want to slap you. As for the rest of you, use product! This may take a little practice, but letting your hair air dry can look great, save you time, and protect your hair from split ends.
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11. Lighter eyes- Take off all of that makeup you have been caking on all winter. Embrace your natural beauty. Wear lighter colors of eye shadow and less eyeliner. You will be an instant natural beauty.
12. Show your toes- There are few times a year that you can wear open toed shoes. Having painted toenails makes you feel cute. I promise you will feel 10x better if they are painted. If you want to try something new, go to a salon and get shellac polish. That stuff rocks. It stays on my toes for 4-6 weeks even when I swim!
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13. Try wearing a hat- Baseball, floppy, or newsboy. It doesn’t matter. Hats are hot. I love wearing fedoras. They make me feel like I tried, without really trying at all. Be brave enough to wear a hat. They are Summer staples for me.
14. Wear colorful, comfortable shoes- Going along with the colorful clothing. Why not wear colorful shoes too? If your shoes have many colors, it may be easier to “match” but who says they have to? Fun colored shoes make a statement. Remember, summer isn’t enjoyable if your shoes are comfortable.
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15. Cardigans- You may be thinking, cardigans? Now? Isn’t a cardigan a sweater? Yes. BUT just because it is summer, doesn’t mean that it will be warm all of the time. Be prepared with a cute summer cardigan for the chilly bonfires or late night baseball games.
Phew! We made it! Now go beautify your Summer!
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Crazed Organization

When I decided to make my organization board, I was looking for a way to keep my life on a schedule. I decided I wanted it functional, but cute. I planned it in my mind for months. Then one day, I took action.

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I loved how it turned out, but I had no idea how many other people would love it too. I have been so humbled by the power of Pinterest. A while ago, I did a post asking readers to send me pictures of the organization boards that they had made. It is really cool to see how people personalize it to make it their very own.

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Broke Girl Bible– I really like how she did this on a wall, without the board. It is a nice way to cut down some of the time involved.

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UGA Crafts– As a college football fan myself, I can respect this organization board. I never would have thought to theme it after a team, but it makes it really unique!

Domestic Mama– I love this board so much. I love that she added the corkboard details to it. I also am totally in love with the background on it. It makes it a total focal piece.

Laura Aldridge– I was tagged in this photo on Pinterest. Laura was inspired by my board to create this wall. I think adding the shelf is genius!

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar– First of all, I can’t even describe to you how unreal it was to meet Cheri from IAMHMR at Snap and having her tell me that she had  seen my Organization Board. I felt pretty cool for a minute. Also, I TOTALLY want to redo mine now that she made hers with the wood. I am obsessed.

I tell my husband all of the time how surreal it is that people read my blog, or use my tutorials, or care what I do. I can’t thank my readers enough for all of the support I have gotten and for the unbelievably kind things that have been said to me. Thank you for creating and sharing with me!

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Enclosed Porch Makeover: Help me choose colors! Daring to be bold.

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It is time to get some color in this place! The trim will be up soon(ish) and then it is all about the décor! Best part right? Well, I didn’t tell you about the full details about when I was choosing the stencil. I originally wanted to go with a trellis. Long story short, that didn’t happen. I wasn’t sure what to do. I showed Dave the stencil options and he instantly told me to go with the houndstooth. He told me that I wouldn’t be happy with it unless I took a risk. SO true!

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Totally worth it right? Well, next item of business was choosing a color scheme to add some brightness! I had been thinking of some colors and one that I wanted for sure was a bright, aqua blue. Other than that, I was lost. I told Dave this and do you know what came out of his mouth?

Yellow, Orange, and Blue!

For real? My first thought was, orange?! I don’t know if I can do orange. I can do yellow and blue. No problem, but orange?! Then I remembered what Dave said about taking risks. I need to jump in the deep in and take a risk! I have been wanting Dave to be able to feel more involved in decorating our house, so what a better way to let him be involved than by having him choose the colors? I did some research and this is what I have come up with so far. P.S. I LOVE the Chip it button! If you don’t have it, use it! I am obsessed!

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Thoughts? Tell me what colors you like in these samples. I would love to hear your suggestions for blues, yellows, and especially oranges! What is your vote? Do you think I am crazy?

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It was a good day.

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Yesterday was the first Father’s Day that I thought a little more about than just picking something (that my dad may or may not like) up for my dad and calling it good. I realized that Father’s Day really is a special day. I have been blessed with good fathers all around me. Dave was given a copy of a children’s book that he wrote for Harper that I had printed. He was so excited to read it to her. I got her ready for church and handed her off to Dave. He was shocked to see her shirt. The rest of the day was spent playing card games and enjoying good food with my family. I would say yesterday was a total success.

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I Heart Dad Onesie

I am SO excited for Father’s Day this year! It is Dave’s first “official” Father’s Day. I got him a big present a while ago that was a combined present for a few holidays, but I wanted to do something inexpensive that would still make him feel special. When I saw this post over on Expressions Vinyl, I knew that is what I needed to do.
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Harper baby is going to wear this on Sunday with a cute little jean skirt. I think it is going to be so cute! I am so happy with how it turned out and it was the easiest thing ever. I was able to find these shapes and cut them out on my vinyl cutter with t-shirt vinyl. The post I talked about earlier gives you exact details. Doesn’t this shirt look just like Dave?
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It cracks me up how much it looks like him! What are you guys doing for the dads in your life?
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Enclosed Porch Makeover: Painting and Stenciling TILE!

Ah! You guys. I did something totally crazy in my enclosed porch makeover.
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Do you guys remember my ugly “before” tile?
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Hello, nasty! Let me take you back a little bit and tell you a little story of how I thought to do what I did to this tile. When I was at Snap Conference, I went to some AMAZING classes. At one of those classes, Mandi from Vintage Revivals who I BEYOND adore, talked about making your house, YOUR OWN! The entire conference was themed “Just Be You”. Mandi talked about how important it is that you love your house for what it is and not worrying about what future home buyers think. It is your house and you need to love living there. That got my wheels spinning. That is when I went to another totally awesome class. This time, it was given by Melanie from Royal Design Studio. This lady is a total stencil ninja. That was a comment in the class. I was sitting next to Cassity from Remodelaholic during the class when I had this idea and I asked her what her thoughts were. She said it sounded awesome and she gave me a few tips. Well, that is all I needed before I decided it was time to take the plunge and makeover my enclosed patio. This ENTIRE makeover has been centered around the FLOOR. I know that is kind of a weirdie focal point, but it is what it is!

Can you even believe it is the same room? It is going to be so amazing when I get the trim up and furniture in (once I get furniture! That is for a later post).

Here is what I used…
Behr Porch and Patio Floor Paint
Behr Paint and Primer in One
Behr Low Lustre Sealer
No, this project was NOT sponsored by Behr. I went to Home Depot and that is the brand they had. I WISH this had been sponsored by them!
First, I was sure to tape off all of my walls so that I wouldn’t get any of the floor paint on my freshly painted walls.
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Then, I lightly sanded my tile with a sanding brick and swept all of the dirt and junk off of the floor. At this point, my heart was beating fast. It was beginning to be the moment of truth. I went into the other room and grabbed the floor paint. I had this tinted to “Cement Gray” by Martha Stewart Living.
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Now it was the moment of truth. Was about to ruin this tile that was doing just fine doing its job as being tile? I could always just turn back and forget that I ever thought of doing such a crazy thing. Then I looked at that ugly tile again and realized that I wouldn’t like this room UNTIL this green was gone. I dumped the paint in the tray, dipped my roller in it, and started rolling away.
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Talk about instant gratification! It felt so good to tell that nasty tile goodbye. I put two coats of the floor paint on and I fell in love.
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That is when the paint plus primer and the houndstooth stencil came into play. I got the paint tinted “Seal” by Martha Stewart Living.
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I started the stencil over in a corner and laid it down against the corners of the room.
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I painted the houndstooth print in, took off the tape and realize that it took a little of the floor paint off, so I stopped using tape after this and touched up my floor paint after stenciling the entire room. The great thing about the Royal Design Studio stencils is that they have markings on their stencils that show you EXACTLY where to lay your stencil. I have used other stencils that have marks on them, but there are only 1 or two of them and it still makes it very difficult to match up. These ones are all over the stencil and are perfect for all over stencil work.
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I stenciled a few of the patterns on the floor using a technique I learned at Snap, but because the paint was pretty thin, it didn’t work as well as it would with thicker paints and the paint bled a little and the technique wasn’t as quick as I had hoped, so I decided to use my mini roller!
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When I had to go over the grout lines of the tile, I would use a stencil brush to get deep in those cracks.
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After 1-2 uses of the stencil, I would lay it on a towel, spray it off with all purpose cleaner, and wipe it clean with a damp wash cloth to keep it nice and clean to work with.
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To clean up bleed spots, I used wet Q Tips and wiped the extra paint off of the floor. Do this lightly, so you don’t wipe the floor paint off too.
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I repeated these steps over and over again until I had the room covered. I thought I loved it before, but I know I am in love now.
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I am now in the process of putting a few coats of the sealer on it to protect it from damage. That is put on just like paint is, just be sure your surface is dry and very clean!
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Are you as in love with this floor as I am? I love the contrast of grays in the room. It really may be the most beautiful floor I have ever seen. Dave even told me that he loves it and that he’s pretty sure that it is the only floor like it in the world. That made me feel pretty special. Who wants to try their very own Royal Design Studio stencil now? Well, you are in luck! They are giving a lucky reader one. Go enter the giveaway!

UPDATE!! Here is the AFTER of it all! If you want to see the full post about my reveal, look here!

I am linking to these great link parties here.

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