Thursday, February 26, 2015

Painted End Tabes

Did someone say you can paint furniture without sanding or priming?! Sign me up! I love to take something old and make it new again. Even if a piece of furniture is black, wood toned, white or red, it's fun to change things up every now and then (or every month if you're me). I first fell in love with Chalk Paint about 2 years ago. The brand I use is Annie Sloan. She has beautiful colors. However, you can make your own chalk pant and I've also seen some stores like Home Depot now carry it.

Here is a plain IKEA end table that I'm sure some of you have. After two years of kids banging toys all over it, it was in need of some help.

I used the amazing Annie Sloan chalk paint, some blue painters tape, wax and I went to work. I love the contrast of the gray and blue but at the same time they compliment each other. Note to self: learn to how to take better pictures.

Here is an antique end table. It's tall and has beautiful curves. However, the top of it needed some putty and then sanding down. I will admit this was my first time to attempt a repair on a piece of furniture. I was so giddy to get painting that I did not do a good job. Lesson learned - be patient and take your time with your projects so they come out looking better than the way this one did.


This piece only cost me $15 at a local thrift shop. Do see a common color theme going on here? Gray and blue are my favorite decorating colors right now. Although they could change in two minutes. I'm such a moody decorator (at least if you ask my husband that's what he'll say).

The finished product:


Again, no need to prime or sand your furniture if you're using Chalk Paint. Just make sure it's clean and start painting. You can use blue painter's tape if you want to make stripes or if you're not used to cutting in around the edges.

With Chalk Paint you need to apply a wax on afterwards. There are two types of wax: clear and dark. I used clear on the first end table and dark on the second. Dark wax gives your piece a distressed look and also slightly alters your color. It's fun to experiment with both on different projects.

To use the wax, take part of an old t-shirt to wipe the wax around your piece. Then take another piece of the t-shirt to buff the wax. Which basically means scrub your waxed piece to death! This will make it smooth and also seal it. Let your project dry for 24 hours before you put anything on it (lesson learned the hard way for me!).

Are there any pieces of furniture your ready to try chalk paint on?

Happy chalk painting!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Kitchen: After

Welcome back! Hopefully you read yesterday's post and saw the before pictures of the kitchen in my last house. Today I'm excited to reveal the after pictures so let's get right into it.

The first thing we did with this kitchen was pick out the flooring. Mistake #1... I should have gotten samples of flooring, cabinets and backsplash and see how they worked together instead of making individual decisions. In the end it does all flow nicely but I now know to look at all my choices in one sitting and dwell on them for a month week.

I knew I wanted a very soft vinyl floor. Easy to clean up with kids, fairly inexpensive, and feels good on the feet. If hardwood were an option, I would have been all over it. Literally, I would have laid all over it!

One problem with my tile sample I got from the store was that it was not big enough for me to see all the colors and patterns I would be getting. However, I did not know that at the time. So when my husband sent me a picture of what the floors looked like installed my instant thought was, "why is there orange in there?!!!" I thought maybe there was something wrong with his camera! Nope.

These floors did hold up nicely with the kids and were a lot softer than I thought they would be which I loved. They were also easy to mop so bonus points for that. Another bonus point is that the vinyl actually stays pretty warm in the cold Michigan weather so keep that in mind if you're considering this.

The cabinets came next. With our time crunch and my inexperienced decorating skills, I literally looked at 3 pictures of kitchens before this process and knew I liked the white look. However, in those pictures the cabinets looked off-white so that's what we went with. We chose Kraftmaid cabinets in the color Canvas. Excellent soft closing cabinets and looked great.

Note to self: I love white cabinets. I will never again get off white cabinets because it doesn't go with my love of all things white and gray.

Mistake #586, we picked Thermafoil cabinets because they were cheaper. Within a year of having these cabinets, they were already peeling off at the bases because of this cheaper option. Lesson learned to save up that money and get the more expensive cabinets because you will use those babies every single day.

I knew I wanted some of the cabinets to have glass doors. I thought this particular pattern would be interesting and different from the norm that most people do. It had slight ridges in it which was good so it wasn't completely see through. You guessed it, they bothered me a few months later when I really learned what my style was. However, they looked great in the kitchen and functioned well.

I loved the look of black countertops against the white cabinets so we chose a dark granite from Lowe's. I would highly recommend upgrading your countertops from laminate to granite. The granite was my favorite part of the whole kitchen.

The backsplash was next. One day the tile guy showed up and I knew what I wanted in my head (which was more of a stone look) and he changed my mind. He said he brought some other samples of what was more in style now and my husband and I made a split second decision to go that route. Good decision? Yes.

We picked this color combo because it matched the floor. In the end I am happy we had them match. This room was all about the tan and brown. Which would soon begin to bug me because of my love for all things gray.

Meet our pretend island. This kitchen was definitely a good size but not quite big enough for a real island. A few months later I actually put a counter height small table in the middle of the room with two chairs so that the kids could eat in here while I was doing dishes or other random things you do in the kitchen.



There she is, the big kitchen reveal! I learned so much with this renovation but it really wasn't until after I had lived with it for a few months. I figured out my style, what I like and don't like, and what works best for our family. All of which really helped us in choosing our current home and will help with future renovations.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Kitchen: Before

I had a love-hate relationship with my kitchen in my last house. We only had a month between the time we purchased the home and when we needed to get stuff ordered so the pressure was on. Like I have mentioned before, I had very little decorating experience at this point and was basically clueless. If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to research. Spend hours looking at online photos or magazines of that specific room. You'll start seeing a pattern develop. Similar wall colors in your pictures, light versus dark cabinets, or lots of wood versus an all white room. You'll eventually get a feel for what you like and don't like. Then from there start planning out your room based on your favorites.

It wasn't until about 6 months after the kitchen was finished that I started realizing what I did and did not like. It was a great learning experience though and I'm glad I had the opportunity to completely renovate this room.

Let's start at the beginning. The before kitchen had red carpet, outdated cabinets, a yellow countertop and did not scream "cook in here" to me.

We live in a small town so our choices were limited with kitchen design companies. We also had limited time to make our decisions and lived 2 hours away. So we decided to work with Lowe's because we could use the one closest to us at the time and wouldn't have to drive 2 hours every time we needed to talk to them.

One of the things I realized post-renovation was that we could have changed the layout in the kitchen. It had never even crossed my mind before nor did the sales associate anyone else suggest it. It's ok, I spent the next 2 years coming up with my own changes in my head and then telling my husband what we should have done. I'm sure he appreciated me agonizing over it for that long.

If you take anything away from this post, please please please take your time with big investments like this. If you are planning a huge remodel, be patient. Really know what you want before you jump in with both feet.

My husband and cousin did the demo part to save us some money. We actually ended up reusing some of the cabinets and countertop in our basement for storage. We also took this time to do some electrical and drywall work. We added a water line for our fridge as well. So many things to think about!

Tomorrow I'll show you the after pictures and give some more tips that will maybe help your future renovations!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finding the Spark

When we moved into our second home there were just so many things wrong with it. It was cheap a fixer upper. Two-thirds of the house was built in 1860 so it needed some work. It had low ceilings on the second level, bathrooms that should go back to where they came from, and a kitchen that needed a magical wand placed over it to bring it into the current century. 

{Sorry for the blurry pictures. This was before I had a cool phone with a cool camera}

Can you see how low these ceilings are? Right to the door frame!

Then the rest of the house was built around 1970. They added a huge living room and a gigantic master bedroom (thank you whoever you are). However, the wood paneling and orange brick fireplace did not hold a special place in my heart. And that ceiling... it taunted me every single day. This was our main living space so changing this room was a priority to make mama happy!


{We completely renovated this bathroom so keep your eyes out for the reveal soon!}

When we bought this home I had a 13 month old, was 6 months pregnant and worked 50 hours a week. I had no time for HGTV, decorating magazines, or even a precious moment to look up paint colors on the internet. I was CLUELESS. My passion for decorating was born out of two things: the desire to bring life into our 150 year old home and the mistakes I made while doing it.

Now with our third {forever home}, I have every intention of making it the home we've always dreamed of. The possibilities are endless and I have all the time in the world. With our last 2 homes we knew they weren't forever homes. They were only ours for a few years and we were always thinking about investment return and if the next home owners would like this or that. But now I can take my time adding board and batten, bead board, fixing up bathrooms, coming up with new DIY projects, and making it OURS. My passion is to make this home a place we can feel comfortable in and enjoy being in.

I will say that I am proud of where I have come with my skills but I have learned so many things along the way and I am excited to share them all with you. Come back for Monday's post where I'll share Part 1 of our Kitchen Renovation!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

I have only been making my own hand soap for about 8 months now but I am hooked! It's super easy and the best part is, it's cheap. I was paying between $2.50-3.00 every time we ran out of foaming soap. With 3 bathrooms and a kitchen sink to keep soap at, they were getting replaced quite often. But now it's costing me just pennies every time I make up a new batch. And it's not complicated at all, I promise.

At first I just reused a grocery store plastic dispenser that was out of soap. I wanted to make sure this was something the whole family was going to enjoy before I went and bought a more permanent solution (well really my husband wasn't sure this fad of mine was going to last... guess I proved him wrong!). It didn't take long for me to purchase one from Amazon (love that place!).

I use Dr. Bronner's Soap. I think there are like 100 uses for this stuff. You can wash your body with it, shave your legs with it, wash your dog with it, or as we are doing, wash your hands with it. It comes in a variety of scents and so far I have collected 4: Citrus Orange, Lavender, Baby scent and Almond. I mean, who wouldn't want to smell like a baby??

First I needed to clean my awesome dispenser because it had been a while since the last refill.

I emptied her out and cleaned her up (yes my soap dispensers are girls).

This specific dispenser has lines that tell you how much soap to put in and then how far to fill it up with water. No complicated math equations here! I chose Lavender this time around and filled it up to the little bubble line.

Note to self: Find a better background for my pictures other than the table where my kids eat. I spy with my little eye a green booster seat!

Then fill the dispenser with water up to the line.

Now she's beautiful and all ready to be used.

I do occasionally have to shake up the dispenser to re-mix the soap and water but it only takes a second and so far hasn't really been a hassle for me.

Now we can all keep those germs away this winter and smell like lavender at the same time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Cabinet Removal

One of the first drastic things I knew I wanted to change in our home were these 4 cabinets. They are totally blocking the view of well, everything. It took me about 3 days of living here before I convinced my husband to take them down with me. I made sure to not put anything in these as I was unpacking our kitchen. That way I would know for sure if I needed the space or not. I haven't even filled my other cabinets so we were good to go!

Isn't this so much better?!

Of course I couldn't get any pictures as we were actually taking them down but picture me trying to hold up half of the cabinets while my husband unscrewed and was holding the other half. I'm sure it was a sight to see!

I have some big plans for this kitchen. We don't plan on doing a major overhaul for about 5 more years but our short term plans include getting new counters, a new sink, possibly putting bead board on that back side of the peninsula, and painting the cabinets and trim. I'll admit I'm a little overwhelmed with the process and time it will take to paint the cabinets but I know it will be worth it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Before and After: The Laundry Room

I did a small makeover in our laundry room. I'm only 50% done but for the time being this is how it turned out.

It started out with plain white walls. That cabinet and wire shelf next to it were there as well. Of course I did a good cleaning all around first and also did some samples of paint on the wall. Since most of our house has gray walls, I wanted to do something a little different in here.

My inspiration for this room were 2 things: black and white carpet tiles and a blue/gray wall color. A little different from the very neutral gray and white that I like to keep in the rest of my home. I went with Sherwin Williams Silver Strand lightened 50%. Silver Strand in its normal hue was way too dark because there are no windows in here. I always recommend getting a sample of a color. A color can look amazing in one person's house and look awful in someone else's.

My first step was to cut in around the ceiling, trim, corners, and cabinet. You'll notice my lines are all over the place in some spots and that's because I wasn't going to take the extra time to paint behind the actual washer and dryer. No one will see it! So I was using those lines as my guide because I measured out where the washer and dryer would sit beforehand.

If you're a beginner painter then you'll definitely want to get either blue painter's tape or Frog Tape to seal off any areas you don't want to get paint on. Like the ceiling, cabinet, or trim. Unfortunately I've painted way too many times in my short 5 years of being a home owner and am now a pro at this.  

I usually recommend taking off light switch covers but I knew this one would be hidden behind the washer/dryer and a board I plan on putting over top of the washer/dryer.

Freshly painted and everything has a spot. Can you see the awesome carpet tiles in the reflection?


I am in love with these carpet tiles. I got them from a local carpet store and they only cost about $15 for this room. I did put them behind the washer an dryer so everything would be level.

My future plans for this room include putting a 12 inch board right above the washer and dryer that actually rests on them. It gives some extra storage and will also hide the water line and outlet. I would like to take down that cabinet and wire shelf. In their place will be 2 smaller cabinets on the sides with 2-3 shelves in the middle of them. I am in love with thick chunky wood so maybe the shelves will be made out of that. I would like to get a picture or sign for the wall when I find the right one.

There you have it, my first room reveal and definitely not the last. I am very pleased with how it turned out and look forward to more fun changes in the future.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Easy and Cheap Under the Sink Style

Our area under the sink has some water damage but we don't plan on replacing the cabinets for a good 5 years or so. It also doesn't look very pretty under there so here's a quick and cheap way you can give that space some style while also helping to protect the wood from future water damage.

I went to the flooring department at Lowe's and grabbed some vinyl squares that have the sticky backing. There were probably about 10-15 different styles to choose from but I wanted the cheapest thing possible. Let's be real, I'd rather have a big comfy couch then a glamorous under the sink space! These were the cheapest I could find at $0.38/each and I picked up 10 of them just incase I needed extras.

You can see the water damage on the base and the sides. These will help protect that base and also not make you cringe when you reach in there to grab your cleaning products!

Before taking off the backing, I started off by laying out the squares to see how they would all fit and decide where the cuts would need to be.

 Make a small mark where you'll need to make your cut. We did this with a utility knife.

Make sure you're not cutting these right on your floor or counter. Place something underneath first. Then use a metal ruler to guide you while you make your cut. We used the same utility knife.

Keep repeating this process with the rest of your squares and before you know it you'll be done!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fireplace Lovin'

{This is from House #2}

This is the wonderful huge orange blob that was in my living room. It was my plan from the beginning to paint it.  Although, it took me a good 6 months of living with it before I couldn't stand it anymore.  I had seen so many painted fireplaces roaming around the internet and I knew that would be my solution. If you have an orange blob in your home, this may be the answer you've been looking for.

Here she is. I tried so hard to decorate her but my decorations paled in comparison to her overwhelming... well she's just overwhelming. (I was also in the middle of painting that cute little seat in front).

This project was more time consuming than anything else. But I was so excited for this transformation that I got it done in one day.

First up was cleaning this beast. I just took a damp cloth and went all over it to get any soot or cobwebs off. Then it was time to prime. I got Lowe's brand regular primer, nothing fancy. I did 2 coats of primer because I did not want any brick to show through. I used a brush for the whole process. The bricks are very porous and not flat so I wasn't sure how a roller would do.

Next I got out the white paint and also did 2 coats. Lowe's brand right off the shelf in satin. I wanted a little bit of shine but this area gets a ton of light so I didn't want to be blinded throughout the day. What a difference white paint makes!

Last up I painted the "mantle." Which is really just a heavy piece of wood so I'm not exactly sure how it can be called a mantle.  I used French Linen Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan then waxed it up with some clear wax. Don't forget to buff your wax so it's smooth like a baby's bottom.

We decided to put the TV up on the "mantle" to clear up some floor space. I had been dreaming up that idea for a while but had to wait to get my husband on board. I had been wanting to spray paint the brassy surround but never got around to it before we moved.

One tip: if you decided to paint the surround, be sure to use High Heat Spray Paint. They only make a few colors - black, white, and I believe silver.

Now I can have fun decorating this space and not be taunted by the orange brick. It is definitely a focal point of this room and I'm very happy it's not an eye sore now.

Look for a new post on Friday!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Chair

I have been obsessed with decorative chairs for a while now. But wow they can be pricey! I recently found 2 older chairs on a local garage sale site for $45. I had every intention of reupholstering them. Now do I know how to do that? No. Do I have time for that? No. So what was I thinking?!

The bones were good. They were comfy, they had cute little legs and they were the perfect size. But I had to let them go. I resold them. With us moving, I decided I wanted to go a different direction with our style in our new house. And really, I do not know how to reupholster these things.

I had been eyeing these gorgeous things at my local grocery store (of all places!) but at $170 it just wasn't going to happen.

I really didn't have a favorite... until one day when I was stalking them I saw this...

GASP!! This was a joke, right? I'm on America's Funniest Videos and they want to see me lug this chair up to the checkout only to say April Fools... right??

So I looked at the chair to see what was wrong with it. The legs were loose. I figured at best we could take the legs off and replace them. At worst, it would just look pretty in my house with a warning sign on it saying "do not sit on me." So I basically ran out of the store with this thing. I was too excited! I got it home and did a quick tightening with the screw driver and she was perfect. God was watching over me and probably felt pity on me because I have waited 2 years for a chair like this.

So here she is being modeled by this handsome young man {at house #2}.

I seriously left that sticker on for a whole day because I was so excited about my awesome find. What amazing deals have you found lately?