Category Archives: DIY

Can It

Okay, “Canister It” would probably be a better title, but that’s not really a phrase, now is it? A couple weeks ago it was really, really hot here. Because in case you didn’t know, South Carolina is situated at the intersection of the tip of a volcano, the equator and the surface of the sun. So, that’s not actually true, but it is seriously flipping hot here. Anyway, it was really hot, so every bug on the planet decided to try to infiltrate our comfy air-conditioned house- namely a bunch of teeny tiny ants. I hate ants. Not as much as I hate spiders or ::gag:: roaches, but they’re third on my “Bugs I Loathe” list.

I was not very happy when my pretty, newly DIY’d kitchen was overrun with ants, but I killed them all and felt better. Until I discovered that they had weaseled their way into our sugar canister. We had stainless steel canisters with little acrylic “windows” and I guess someone left the window open because, well, yeah. So seeing as how bugs could get into my stuff, I wasn’t feeling all that secure in my baking supply storage. I knew I wanted some fun glass canisters to open things up visually on the counter, so I went to my FAVORITE place on the planet: World Market. Be still my bleeding wallet.

One problem: they didn’t have a matching set that was big enough. I like to be able to put my big ‘ole measuring cups in my canisters and their sets of matching canisters were really scrawny. So, I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of purchasing a matching set, I went with a very eclectic look and bought three different canisters and just tied them together by putting a chalkboard label (also from World Market) on each one so they looked cohesive.

Here’s the final product:

I did discover that writing on the chalkboard labels with chalk doesn’t actually work all that well, at least not if you want to be able to read what you write. Seeing as how I am kinda partial to legibility, I wrote on my labels with a Metallic Sharpie, instead. This way, the chalk doesn’t wipe off every time you touch the jar AND you can read the descriptions. It’s a good thing, all around.

I’m kind of obsessed with them, I think they’re so much fun! Another upside is that this was really cheap. I think $25ish for everything, including the labels. And did you notice? The sugar jar opening is now encased in metal. There will be no sugar-thieves this time!

Okay, now I have to figure out what else needs a chalkboard label. I vote: everything.

The power of paint (and some other stuff)

With our little forray into DIY/ home improvement in the kitchen, came a few other projects around the house. One of which that has made a gigantic difference was painting our living room. It’s been the same color since we moved into our house and painted (Valspar’s Cafe AuLait Ole). I was totally over it.

Don’t be jealous of our AWESOME early 90s gold and crystal ceiling fan. I know it’s so hard, but try to hold back the envy, just for a minute.

Could it have been any more brown and blah? We used to have a red couch down here but got new furniture a couple years ago, then I switched our curtains for dropcloth panels to make it more neutral, and I think it went a little past neutral and right on into snooze-ville.

Did you spot tiny adorable one year-old Knox? Don’t you want a close-up?

OH MY GOSH. This kills me.

One more because I can’t help it. Bah!! He’s so stinking cute playing in the recycling!

Anyway, back to the matter-at-hand. We carried the same blue from the kitchen (Valspar’s Glass Tile) into the living room to make it feel like one big, cohesive space, which really opened up the downstairs and helped it to feel not so chopped up. I absolutely love it!

Oh, and we replaced the hideous ceiling fan with a new, modern one that is so much nicer!

This is where the living room and kitchen, now seamlessly, meet…

Of course, curtain-a-holic that I am, I had to change those and picked out these awesome “Farrah” panels from Target in “rust.” I special ordered the extra long ones about six months ago…. and they discontinued them. Glorious. Don’t you love when that happens? So, being that I was already obsessed with this color and pattern and could not forget about them, I ended up buying the 84″ and still have to let the hems out and re-hem them (thank goodness for a very generous seam allowance!), but just ignore the fact that they’re currently hanging two inches above the baseboard, mmkay? Thanks. :)

I am mildly obsessed with the whole blue/orange color combo (hence Brody and Knox’s rooms) and figured, what the heck, my whole house might as well match, right? I think it’s so much fun to pair complementary colors that don’t exactly “match” but they “go” (in the words of Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear”). The dining room will eventually get painted the same rusty color to carry the theme throughout the whole first floor.

What do y’all think? Doesn’t it make you tired just thinking about painting?? I loathe painting, but I love the results when it’s all finished! Have you done any seemingly endless home improvement projects lately?

Linking up with:

TDC Before and After

Kitchen: Accomplished!

After several months of hard work, it’s finally finished, and we could not be more thrilled! A lot of time and effort went into revamping our little kitchen into a more beautiful and practical workspace. I can honestly say for the first time ever that  I LOVE MY KITCHEN! Everything was DIY other than our new granite countertops, which we had professionally installed. Let’s do a quick look back at our old kitchen.

Here’s the WAY before (circa 2007 when we bought the house):

And just slightly before (circa 2012 right before we started this little makeover):

Now, without, further ado, here is the after:

Well, there you have it! One newly DIY’d kitchen. We did so much to this space, it’s hard to even remember what all went into it. We definitely had a LOT of help from the grandparents with babysitting on weekends so we could get things done in here- without them, there is no way it would have been feasible to do so much with two babies! Here is what went into this kitchen:

– Demolishing old upper cabinet over the sink
– Ripping out the white laminate countertops (woo hoo!)
– Removing cabinet doors and hardware
– Repainting all the peeling/flaking cabinetry (still white, but a warmer white “Swiss Coffee” in semi-gloss by Behr)
– New brushed nickel hinges to replace the gold-hinges-spraypainted-white that looked horrible (The Knob Shop $40)
– New chunkier drawer pulls (we used the same cabinet pulls we had replaced after we bought the house) (The Knob Shop $10)
– New granite countertops in “Gallo Ornamental” for the majority of the kitchen. This is the one thing we did not do ourselves. I don’t know how to cut rock, so I figured that was a good thing to bring in outside help for (Stone Interiors- $1300)
– New undermount sinks instead of one clunky corner sink (Stone Interiors- $300)
– New gorgeous vintage-style faucet and sprayer (By Premier via Amazon) ($140)- this faucet is insanely nice. I was unsure since we got a pretty good deal on it, but it’s super heavy and of very good quality. I highly recommend it!
– Butcher block peninsula top (Numerar in Beech from Ikea $300 for block and shipping) which required cutting down, sanding, staining (Minwax Dark Walnut) and sealing with Waterlox ($35) to make it food safe over the stain
– Beadboard backsplash (Lowes $80 for four panels)
– Painting the beadboard “Swiss Coffee.” For the record, Painting beadboard=awful. You have to use a brush for all the crevices, and in the end, you might as well just paint the whole darn thing with a brush. It took me eight full hours to paint beadboard and the cabinetry/trim in the kitchen. My hand really hurt after that.
– Lots of new trim for the beadboard backsplash (Lowes- $50ish)
– Caulking, caulking, caulking. Oh my gosh, the caulking. Every single spot the beadboard or trim touched anything had to be caulked over.
– Open shelving- constructed from 12” x 4′ boards from Lowes ($30) and four metal brackets (Lowes $36). I bought four different brackets to decide between, and in the end, we felt most comfortable with the metal ones.
– New wall color in kitchen and living room (pics of that to come later!) in “Glass Tile” by Valspar
– Re-painted trim of our chalkboard to match the cabinetry

I think that’s everything… that was a lot of work, but it was well worth all of the late nights and elbow grease that we put into it. We spent about $3,500 on this upgrade- it’s hard to know exactly how much since we made endless trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s for little things like paint brushes and caulk, but I rounded up! All that remains to be done in this room are new dark wood floors which will be put in either at the end of this year or the beginning of 2013. I can’t wait for that to happen, but in the meantime, we are going to enjoy the fruits of our labor!  I will definitely keep accessorizing and messing with the shelf configuration, but for now, I am content to just rest and look at it. I am definitely in love with our new kitchen! What do you think??

Linking up with:

TDC Before and After

Between Naps on the Porch

Paint, stain and fake age spots.

Despite the fact that I’ve been dying of illness all weekend, we managed to get a LOT done yesterday with our house projects. Thank goodness because I am starting to panic that I won’t be finished by my self-imposed July 7 deadline (the day I’m hosting a double baby shower at our house). The beadboard in the kitchen was essentially finished aside from missing some crown molding. When Trevor removed the existing molding, he discovered some odd angled cuts- his grandfather, Pop, used to be a builder and explained that Trevor needed to “cope” the molding- luckily he knew exactly how to do this and came over and helped him finish that up yesterday. Yay! I can’t wait to get our open shelving up on this wall so I can have an organized kitchen again!

While they were coping, I was painting. And painting. And painting. Have I mentioned that I loathe painting? I adore a good “before and after” but the “during?” Does anyone actually like the “during” part? I think not. Anyway, I finally painted the beadboard wallpaper in the dining room with a white semi-gloss, and it looks great! I am so happy with my decision to use that in there because it really ties together the kitchen and dining room. I still have to repaint the red the same rusty orange the kitchen used to be/kind of still is, but that can wait until after the baby shower!

I also spent a good portion of the day sanding. I had to sand the butcher block for our island re-do before I could stain it. We brought it inside briefly after Trevor cut it to get a better idea of how it would look. It’s sitting on top our our existing top, and you can see we went shorter with it this time. We wanted to broaden our walkway in the kitchen to make it feel bigger, so I think this will help a lot.

Ikea had a thin protective coat over the wood, so I used 80 grit sandpaper to remove that, then 120 grit to smooth it out, then 220 grit to really smooth it out. Yeah… that was tedious. Then, I applied a wood conditioner, then the stain. I was so nervous to wipe the stain off after the disastrous experience I had with trying to stain Brody’s dresser (that wasn’t actually a solid piece of wood… live and learn), but thankfully, it worked as it should have!

Stain applied... I let it sit for a good 20 minutes before wiping it off.

I did two coats of stain and think I’ll do one more tonight before I start sealing it with the Waterlox because apparently the Waterlox will cause the stain to lighten a shade, and I’m pretty happy with the current color. Side note: I got stain all over myself. I looked like I had age spots all over my hands because somehow, I managed to spray stain all over my hands, arms and neck. Yes, it was very attractive. Luckily, some painter’s wipes took care of my false premature aging.

What’s left to do? Oh, only painting all the kitchen beadboard, trim and cabinetry. Painting the walls in the kitchen and living room. Building and hanging our open shelving in the kitchen. Hanging a new ceiling fan in the living room. You know, just a couple quick things. One day I’ll learn to take on only one project at a time. Maybe.

A quick before and after

There was a nail hole beside our front door that’s driven me crazy forever. The previous owners had some kind of plaque up by the door and took it out, leaving a giant hole in our siding. So pretty. I knew I needed something to cover it up, so I started searching online. Um, yeah. Address plaques are ridiculously expensive. We have a door knocker on our door that I adore, I can’t remember where I found it, but it was an online buy a few years ago.

Pineapples are the symbol for hospitality and are a very Southern thing. I have them scattered around our house and absolutely love their look and connotation. I figured something similar would look good but couldn’t find anything in budget. Then, I decided to look at some thrifted stuff on etsy and struck gold. Literally.

I found this pineapple welcome plaque and fell in love with the cute vintage design… but not the shiny brass color! However, being that color is really a non-issue when something can be painted, I went ahead and bought it for a cool $10. TEN. DOLLARS. That’s cheaper than a door mat!

Once it came in, I spray painted it oil rubbed bronze and sanded it ever so slightly to give it the same worn effect our door knocker has.

Perfect! A new look for just $10 and some spray paint I already had?! That’s what I call a successful crafting session!

____________

P.S. Don’t forget to visit my online ThirtyOne party until the end of this month! All proceeds will go to benefit blog reader Corinne’s son with Cerebral Palsy- she’s trying to get him into a new therapy and we’d love your help in making that happen! June’s special is a Large Utility Tote for only $10 with a $35 purchase, so don’t miss out!

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