A Painted House

Archive for the ‘Our House’ Category

How to drive yourself crazy with a project that was supposed to be fairly simple, if a bit time consuming:

1.  Decide you want a ginormous gallery wall of family pictures.

2.  Stalk your local Goodwill  on 50% off days, raid your Mom’s basement, and eventually collect 58 frames.

3.  Disassemble 58 frames for painting.

4.  Have a stroke of genious and number each frame and its corresponding glass/innards for easy reassembly later.

5.  Lay out all 58 frames on the garage floor.

6.  Spray paint 50 frames and then run out of paint.

7.  Make a special trip to the hardware store.  Buy an extra can just in case.

8.  Paint a second coat to cover all those places missed the first time around.  Watch in irritation as the paint on 55 out of 58 frames bubbles up in one place or another.

9.  Don’t panic.  Let them dry overnight and hope it will be better in the morning.

10.  Hand-sand 55 frames with steel wool to remove cracked paint.

11.  Attempt to touch up the sanded spots on a half dozen frames with your final can of paint.

12.  Feel like screaming when the paint not only bubbles up again, this time it’s worse.  Wonder if perhaps you’ve managed to accumulate 58 frames with some form of Frame Cancer.  Or Paint Repellant Syndrome.

 

 

13.  Give up.  Chuck the entire pile in the garage and call it a night.

Moral of the story:  Always, always, always prime before you paint.  Just, ACK.

 

 

 

 

James’ room was the first room to get a makeover after our move (see: Room Reveal: James’ Room) and is one of my favorites in our house.   Not too long ago our little boy transitioned from a toddler bed to a big boy bed and so his room underwent its second revision in eighteen months.

Oh, how I loved James’ airplane themed bedding.  One of the biggest arguements I hear against buying baby bedding sets is that they’re so expensive and you don’t use them for very long.  And it’s true, they are crazy expensive.  As in, some people pay more for them than they do in deductible to actually give birth to the baby.  So when we were picking out a set for our firstborn’s nursery I deliberately chose one which was more Little Boy and less Baby.  I was determined even then that with a $180 pricetag, I’d use that sucker for more than the first year of my kid’s life.

Here are some snapshots of James’ teeny tiny nursery in our first home.  Sigh, sniff, nostalgia.

 

 

Gosh, I loved that little room even if it had no storage and barely any floor space.  When we moved in to our current house we kept the same motif, subtracted the crib and changing table, and added a cutey little toddler bed.  Again with the sighing and sniffing.

As the crib bedding still fit his toddler bed, nothing really changed except adding the moulding treatment on the feature wall.  (Which had nothing to do with his age and everything to do with my love for moulding treatments.)

 

So several months ago my big kid outgrew his toddler bed and it was time to change things up again.  The first step was to prepare his new Big Kid Bed.  We’d had this fantastically orange wood headboard in storage for years:

It was Travis’ when he was a boy and came with the entire set of bedrom furniture we’ve been refinishing one piece at a time over the years. (The dresser shown above was part of that set too, refinished to a dark cherry color.)  Rather than strip/sand/stain/seal this particular piece I decided to paint it white.  A little room rearranging placed it up against the feature wall and I love, LOVE how the white pops off of the color.

 

 

The bedding was not a cheap find…..but when you pre-determined your colors with an extremely labor-intensive feature wall and your theme from a pre-purchased bedding set, you have limited options.  So when you find a set that a) matches your existing color scheme and b) fits the airplane theme but ratchets the age level up a notch, you just buy it.  It was still less than half of the cost of the nursery bedding. I really love the vintage airplanes because they will carry the theme all the way through elementary age.  Plus oh.my.word. the comforter and sham are the softest, squishiest, comfiest fabric ever.

 

So back to that nursery bedding set.  It came with sheets, comforter, bumper, crib skirt, and window valance.  I was determined to use as much of it as I could and part of that was repurposing the crib sheets into pillow cases.  We had two sheets that matched the set so I cut off the elastic edging, sewed them into pillow cases, and now James has two that coordinate with his new bedding and are super soft from years of washing.

 

The crib bedskirt was repurposed into the new bed’s bedskirt.  Because crib skirts are four-sided and a twin bed only has three sides showing, I was able to cut the skirt apart and piece each of the four sides together into one long strip.  I then tucked it under the box spring and it just barely made it all the way around his new bed.

Next up, every big kid room needs a night stand.  This beauty just happened to be free on the side of the road:

I know, I can’t imagine why, right?  It was a garage sale leftover and it seems no one wanted it despite it’s insultingly low price of $3.00.  I’m never too proud to stop and pick up something free if it has potential, a trait which annoys the junk out of intrigues my husband .   I thought those little cubbies underneath were darling!

The table had a big hole in the top where I’m guessing a lamp pole used to be, but that was pretty easily fixed by plugging the hole, spackling over it, and sanding it down.  Once the whole thing was spray painted a semi-gloss white you can’t even see where it used to be!

 

And there you have the main players in your big kid room: new bedding, big bed, and night table:

The dresser and rocker stayed, though we removed the footstool.  The curtains remain from the original bedding set, along with the blackout panels I made years ago when James started waking with the sun.  Not cool, kid.

The quilt from his nursery bedding stayed as a wall hanging, as again, it’s more boyish than babyish.

The frames are new and started out looking like this:

They were $1.00 each at a garage sale.  I discarded the old artwork and painted the frames a white semi-gloss.  For the artwork I cut squares of fabric and several of the appliques from the crib bumper and framed them.

The rest of the crib bumper was cut up and sewn into pillows.  I just whacked them off at the right length, stuffed a little more padding down inside, and sewed the ends closed.  I stitched leftover cording from the bumper into the ends of my new pillows so they look finished.  I made two, one that sits on his rocker and the other tucked into the back of his nightstand.

The little end table next to the rocker is a square chest and was a garage sale find years ago.  I originally had plans to paint it and cover the rattan panels with fabric but for now it does just fine.  James loves that he has a treasure chest in his room!

The bookshelf display got a little makeover as well, adding a mirror salvaged from my Mom’s house, a framed drawing of James sketched by my Dad, and two wooden puzzles made and given to him by my grandfather.

The final change to James’ room is the one he found far and away, most exciting.  Anyone who knows my boy knows he has an obsession with ceiling fans.  And “obsession” is probably stating it far too lightly.   So much so that he has a “favorite fan”……which just happens to be the fan hung in the master bedroom at our old house, and under which my boy spent hours napping and playing in his first two years of life.  That same fan was on display at Menards for years and every time we went there James would ask to go visit his “favorite fan”.  So when Menards discontinued it and took it off display last year we had one crestfallen little boy.  Enter Daddy to the rescue….Travis ordered this ugly favorite silver ceiling fan online and then earned Daddy of the Year award by installing it in James’ bedroom.   Oh my, if you could have seen the elation on that boy’s face.   Daddy is his hero.

MY favorite part of James’ updated room is the saying above his door.  It was gifted to him by my Mom and truer words have never been spoken.

 

There you have it…..from nursery to big kid room.  May we not redo this room again until he’s old enough to pick out something hideous more mature for himself!

Am I too late?  Are you over Christmas decorations already?  ‘Cause I’m kind of over Christmas decorations.  Mine will last through our last family Christmas celebration next weekend and then those babies are coming down!  But before they do, here is a quick tour of how I sprinkled Christmas throughout the main living areas of our home.

Let’s start with the entryway.  I hung a wire wreath form on the back of our front door and as Christmas cards arrived I clipped them to the wreath with clothespins.  I love Christmas cards and we’re blessed to receive about 100 of them every year.  Our “wreath” is overflowing!

The (still un-painted) card catalog in our entry holds a simple Christmas vignette.

I tucked some colorful ornaments into the silver wreath I bought at a thrift store after Christmas last year.  The personalized snowmen were a gift from my parents our first married Christmas.   The book is an old copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and came in a box of items my Grandmother gave me a few years ago.  The red and silver potpourri was a garage sale purchase about five years ago.  It used to smell like cinnamon but that’s long gone.  Now it’s just pretty!

On to the kitchen.  My Christmas decorating philosophy for this year was simple:

  1. Purchase oodles of ornaments on 80% off clearance last year.
  2. Put them everywhere.
  3. The end.

You guys know I love color in my regular decor and my taste in Christmas decor is no different.  I bought packages of lime green, aqua, white, black, silver, and red ornaments and mixed them all together in any container I could find.  Here is the kitchen hutch all glammed up with sparklies:

(Are you so, so tired of seeing this same shot every time the season changes?  You probably are.  Sorry.  I just love this piece.)

 

This kid-safe wooden nativity was on clearance for $5 last year at The Christmas Tree Shop.   James enjoyed playing with the little figurines and I didn’t have to worry about anything getting broken.

The table’s centerpiece was simple…just ornaments arranged in my favorite Pier 1 bowl and plopped on my Goodwill pedestal.

These colors make me smile:

The island centerpiece was also simple, consisting of the lighted Dayspring knock-off nativity I made a few years ago.

Let’s take a quick time-out.  See that beautiful shot above?  How clean and organized my counters look?  Did I mention we arrived home yesterday from a long weekend of travel with a van fuuuuull of Christmas stuff?  I’m just that good.

OR, this is the wide angle when I stepped back and zoomed out.  Lamps I salvaged from my Mom’s basement?  Check.  Packaging for our new coffee maker?  Check.  Computer, coffee, to-do list, tissue for one kid’s snotty nose?  Yup.  Pants on which I dripped wax at the Christmas Eve service?  Sigh.  Containers of leftover goodies, sink full of dishes from dinner, and a pile of mail to be sorted….in general, Christmas barf.  Feel better about yourself.  Just keepin’ it real.

Let’s move on.

The living room has our stockings hung by the fireplace and more ornament clusters.  Creative, I am.

The back half of the room (hi, new wall arrangement!) displays our ceramic nativity, a vase of poinsettias, and yet MORE ornaments sprinkled throughout the china cabinet.

Finally, the Reading Room.  This arrangement sits on top of the piano:

The jingle bell wreath was on clearance for $3 at Big Lots.  I hung it on the front of the mirror that usually lives in the entry with a 3M removable hook.

This little piece of artwork was a quick Christmas craft.  I covered the cardboard back of a 11×13 frame with wrapping paper then hot-glued on some sparkly snowflake ornaments.  I thought it turned out really cute!

More ornaments, this time arranged in a metal basket found at Goodwill.

Last stop, the Christmas tree.  Of course I didn’t think to take a picture before Christmas when the floor under and around the tree was absolutely covered in wrapped packages for our family, and friends, so instead you can marvel at how simple and frugal we are with our small pile of gifts. 😉

Hope your holidays were as sweet as ours!

This post has been a long time coming.   And not just in the sense that I’ve gotten horribly behind in blogging my projects, though that remains true.  I have about 52 others to photograph and share as well.  But let’s start with the kitchen because it’s new and shiny and my current favorite.  I know you shouldn’t play favorites with your children and your rooms, but there it is.

So. When we bought this house the kitchen was one of the two rooms in which we planned on investing some money in updates (the other was the bathroom).   Here are some shots of the kitchen from the real estate listing:

Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a cute periwinkle girl’s room like everyone else but that’s a rather violent shade of purple for a kitchen, no?  Thankfully they repainted the kitchen to a much more neutral (albeit boring) shade before we moved in.

Here’s a shot of the new paint color, during our second showing:

So much better.  I’ll take Bland Beige over Electric Smurf any day of the week.  Sadly there was no painting those blueish-purple countertops. Believe me, I considered it – after all, I Paint Things White right?  So while we a) figured out what we wanted instead and b) waited until the budget allowed, we lived with the blue.  Embraced the blue, even.  And I decorated other rooms for 18 months because the color scheme I settled on was black, white, and green, and one cannot have a green kitchen when one has blue countertops.  Unless it’s Easter and pastel eggs abound, and then it looks right for a day.  So 18 months went by and I’m not about to pretend I was sad on the day those babies made their way to the ReStore.

But that’s not to say I didn’t start working on what projects I could and making decorating decisions with the big picture in mind.  Here is the kitchen right after we moved in:

See that white fridge back there?  Yeah, it came with the house and only made it six months.  The day before they finished working on remodeling the master bathroom it petered out.  Of course it did.  So with the future plan in mind, the unexpected Step 1: Buy a new fridge.  We bought a black one.

Step 2: Stalk Craig’s List for months and months and sweetly ask your husband to drive your hugely pregnant self all over town gathering furniture to fill the space.  This is a BIG kitchen.  We had a table and chairs that were in sad shape and too small for the space so I began the quest to find a larger, round table.  You can see its transformation here.  That big empty space on the right was filled with the Craig’s List Hutch.

Step 3: Drive yourself off-the-cliff crazy trying to pick the right paint color.  Collect paint chips from every store in town.  Lay them all out in grids.  Finally narrow it down to three and tack them up on the wall.  Pick one.  Stare at it for a while weeks then second guess yourself.  Start over.  Pick two new options and get sample sizes.  Paint samples up on the wall and finally decide on a color.

Step 4: Paint the kitchen including those cramped little spaces where you end up standing on the stove and telling your toddler to never, ever stand on the stove.  Also, remember why you didn’t do this while pregnant.  Realize quickly that because you had the Valspar paint color mixed as a color match instead of in the original brand, the shade isn’t right.  And only you will notice but still, you will notice.  Everysingletime you walk into the kitchen.  Which is about 300 times per day.

Step 5: Have the color mixed in the more expensive correct brand of paint and repaint the kitchen.  Thank the Heavens that it’s the right shade this time.

Step 6: Hire your favorite contractor to come rip up your kitchen.

Step 7: Pick out sparkly new black granite counters and then live without any for a week while waiting for the new counters to be fitted.  Almost set something down on the island that is not there 4000 times.

Step 8: Rejoice when the install is done and new construction is finished.  Stare at your brand new countertops and pretty, pretty island.  So pretty.  Realize it was worth the wait.

Step 9: Buy barstools for the new island.  And then sweet talk your husband into cutting them down a bit because at their original height you’d have to have three-inch thighs to fit under the bar top and that’s just discouraging.

Step 10: Spend entirely too much time playing with your new cabinet and desk, getting everything off of your kitchen counters.  Ahhhhhh.

Step 11: It’s time for curtains so the neighbors can stop watching you have dinner and judging you for serving your child chicken nuggets AGAIN.  Square your shoulders and take on your sewing machine to make lined curtains out of the fabric you purchased six months ago and have been avoiding eye contact with ever since.  Feel tremendous relief when they turn out just as you’d hoped and you don’t have to rip out seventeen miles of stitching.  Not that that’s ever happened.

Feel cheeky because you purposefully mixed patterns like those Real Designers do.  Love, love, love.

Step 12: Use the scraps to piece together a valance for above the kitchen window.  Make it ruffly so no one can see how you can’t sew straight.

Step 13: Add more patterned fabric to the room because you have a small addiction to bold, graphic patterns.  Buy inexpensive white IKEA chair pads and two different IKEA fabrics.  Feel disproportionately proud when you manage to sew covers that fit AND tuft them with upholstered buttons, all without cursing or bleeding.  BEAM with pride.

Let’s take a break in our programming for a Before and After comparison:

Step 14: Feel in love with your kitchen every time you walk into the room.  Enjoy cooking for and visiting with your family and friends even more than you did before.  Spend most of your day in this, the center of your home.  Thank God that He gave you such a space.

Step 15: Feel extremely gratful that no other room in your house requires so extensive an overhaul trickling out over eighteen months.  The end.

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I’m linking this post to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After party!

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Remember waaaaaay back when I redid the laundry room and I mentioned that I had one finishing touch I was still waiting on?  No?  That’s because it’s been ages.  A year I think.  Several months ago I finally found that missing piece and finished that final touch.  And then I didn’t blog about it for half a year.  Score one for me.

What I wanted was a way to tie the yellow, grey, and black colors all together.  I was looking for a fabric that used all the colors and kept striking out.  I finally found on on fabric.com and ordered the measly little 1/4 of a yard  I needed.

And here’s where I added it:

To “line” the underside of my shelves I cut cardboard rectangles that just fit the spaces.  I then wrapped my fabric around them and hot glued it on the back.  I used adhesive velcro strips to stick my fabric-wrapped panels to the underside of the shelves.  I love that you can see the little pops of color in an unexpected place.

I also added a little bit here:

That basket holds wooden clothes pins for the clothes line I no longer have, but some day hope to regain.

As one final touch I bought inexpensive but durable black mat from Menards.  It both grounds the room a little bit and catches all the junk that comes in on our shoes, from the garage.

NOW the laundry room is done.

I’ve finished another room!  It happens to be the smallest room in the house, but a room nonetheless.  The main level half bath is just off the foyer, so it’s one of the first spaces you see when you enter our house.   (Welcome to our home!  Aaaaand here’s our bathroom.)  So I wanted it to be decorated as much as any other room.  Here is where we started:

Builder’s grade oversized mirror, yellowy beige walls, no accessories of any kind.  Then when shopping at TJ Maxx with a Christmas gift card, I happened upon this bathroom rug.  My color scheme was born!

I also bought this matching hand towel….how cute are those little embroidered butterflies?

Here come the Befores and Afters!

I wanted the paint color to be dramatic, since it’s a small space.  So I matched the darkest gray in the rug to a Pittsburgh Paints color called Gibraltar Gray.

The builder’s grade mirror had to go.  After some searching I found this lovely brassy mirror on 66% off clearance at Hobby Lobby. It was originally $89.99 and I paid $29.99.  I gave it a coat of Adhesion Primer and then several coats of white and an accent color from Dutch Boy called College Park Green (though it’s actually an aqua, not green at all).

Before and After:

Remember this?  I told you it was destined for a makeover but I bet you never guessed it was meant for a bathroom!

Here it is now, repurposed as a magazine rack.

This bathroom is tiny and I was having trouble finding a solution for the magazines my husband piles in there that didn’t take up most of the floor space.  (Confession: I totally switched out most of his magazines for mine for these photos because, well, his are ugly.)  So I came up with the idea of a hanging magazine rack and put it on Travis’ To Do list.  Then I spotted whatever this thing is (Any guesses what it’s original use was?  I can’t come up with any) for $3.00 at Goodwill and I knew I could make it work.  Without having to wait six months for Travis to have time to make me one.  Patient I am not.  The best part is how little space it takes up in the room – look at that low profile!

For accessories I mostly “shopped the house”.   The vase on the vanity came with some flowers my sister sent me on my first Mother’s Day.  I kept it because I loved the color…and lo and behold it’s a perfect match.  The faux hydrangeas came from Hobby Lobby.

The little shelf used to be in our guest bath at the Whitehall house.  Now it displays tea cups from a set I pilfered from my friend Emily’s garage sale pile.  The color is perfect and you can’t beat the price!

It also holds an aqua glass pitcher that was a gift from one Shelly Alley several years ago and a little creamer I found at Goodwill.

So should you come visit me you might find 75% of my house somewhere on the spectrum of Unfinished, but my potty will be pretty!  The end.

Is it possible to have a crush on a room in your house?  ‘Cause I think I do.  I’m all googly-eyed over one particular space in our house.

Who wouldn’t be in love with this room?

I kid.

That’s the listing picture of our front sitting room, dubbed the Reading Room.  As you can see, it was probably ignored used for a lot of sitting by the previous owners.  Here’s what it looked like from right after we moved in until just a couple of weeks ago, complete with books piled in the corner.  Nine months of book piles.  Awesome.

And it wasn’t just the one side, we’re equal opportunity book pilers.

The day we walked through this house I told Travis that I’d like built-in book shelves in this room.  I could see them in my head and they were fantastic.  Almost exactly one year later, I had this:

Piles of melamine shelving in the dining room, free standing cabinets in the middle of the floor, new light fixtures strewn about, holes in the ceiling….ahh, bliss.  Oh, you don’t think that’s what I had in mind?  Yeah, me neither.  But  my extremely handy husband was dilligent and patient and accommodating and after living with ^ that ^ for a couple of weeks things began to come together.

But only because he had a lot of very important help.  It’s essential when undertaking a large construction project, to have someone close by who can hand you essential items like your green plastic ruler.

It’s especially helpful if your assistant comes with his own power tools and snazzy training pants.

And next thing you know, you have this:

BAM.  Mama is happy.  And just a little bit smitten with her very own Reading Room.

(We’ve since added hardware to the doors and drawers but I’m too lazy to take the pictures over again.  Plus the sun hasn’t been out once since the day I took these.  Humph.)

I spent two days shopping the house, digging through boxes of long-packed items, finding things I’d love to display, and re-arranging it until I liked what I saw.   It was ridiculously fun.

Some befores and afters?  I think so.

Sigh.  Love.


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