master bedroom makeover

Every night for about 6 weeks we slept in our bed surrounded very closely by our dressers. Like I mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t seem to get the mail let alone paint a whole room a couple months ago so it took me way longer than it should have to finish our bedroom. I wouldn’t say it’s completely finished now but man o’ man is it way better than before. Red trim and flower border, be gone!

Here’s what came with the house: floral wallpaper and blood red trim.

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Once the wallpaper was down, I painted the walls with two coats of a Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer that I found on the sale rack in Lowe’s. The trim took a lot longer since it was red to begin with. If I remember correctly I did two coats of oil-based primer and two coats of Olympic semi-gloss white paint.

Tip: To save myself some time I used an angled brush with a short handle to do all of the edges. I only needed tape on the floors to prevent anything from getting on the wood. It would have taken me so much longer if I had taped the whole room too. Get this brush and a steady hand, your patience with thank you.

Six coats and many hours later it was done.

My favorite part is decorating so once the walls were dry, I got to it.

The first thing I did was hang the curtains. The sellers actually left these hanging down in the den. In the future I’d like to sew some big blackout curtains but for now these white curtains are great. They let the light filter in nicely during the day and give us enough privacy at night.

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I already had my bedding. Instead of buying a matchy matchy bed set like I would normally do, about a year ago I went to HomeGoods with my mom and pieced together these colors and textures. The sea foam green quilt is a nice wavy pattern that I thought contrasted well with the gray geometric shams. I added the little accent pillow for more contrast, a different texture, and a little glam. 🙂

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The art above the bed is a collection of random pieces I had up in the attic. To balance out the dark furniture in the room I used lots of different frames. I’ve got a photographic print that my photography teacher gave me, one of our wedding photos, and two paintings I did in grad school. I love seeing them and remembering those moments in time.

Oh and I really just eye-balled the layout. I had a picture in my head so I arranged the pieces on the bed to see if it would work first. Then I mentally measured where the center of the grouping was (on the left side of the big, wood frame) and centered that above the bed. Then I hung the last three pieces about 2 inches from the middle frame.

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Randomly I remembered that I had an old craigslist rocking chair up in the attic so I brought that down to use up an awkward corner of the room. I don’t use it to sit in really but it’s a nice place to lay out my clothes for the next day.

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And last but not least I give you Belle’s fancy new bed oh and some good storage. The lady cries at night so we moved her to our room to shut her up. 🙂 The basket underneath the bedside table is one of two that I found thrifting one day. It holds my iPad charger, old magazines, and my wrinkle release spray.

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It’s amazing what a little (or a lot) of paint and a few decor items can do!! It’s sooo nice to walk into this room everyday. I love it.

Future fixes: New rug (this one is leftover from the seller), paint the basket, paint the lamp and give it a new shade, new lighting on the ceiling, new curtains, and other stuff I’ve probably forgotten.

Nothing like a semi-completed room to give you that motivation you need to tackle your next project! Onto lots of future that needs refinishing. I really am pumped though! I’ve got lots of ideas brewing.

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floors and walls

It’s been a couple weeks since I talked about the house. Al and I needed a little break from weekends filled with Lowe’s trips and physical labor. Now that we’re a bit refreshed, we’ve both started on new projects.

Way back in February I wrote a post about a DIY privacy window. I had to paint the crazy red trim as well as the window. Finally, this past weekend, I had the urge to paint the rest of the red trim as well as the walls.

Since that last window project, we’ve put in all new energy-efficient windows throughout the whole house so I won’t have to paint the entire window this time around. <- I’m so glad!

This weekend, all I did was prep the room for painting.

Do you know how difficult it is to take border wallpaper down?! In the beginning I didn’t score the paper enough so the pieces coming off were tiny. I wanted to cry.

I finally got a better system down and yelled out things like, ‘Yeah baby!’ or ‘Aww yeeeah!’ when I got a big piece to come off. Note that I had no audience to hear my cheers. It’s the little things in life.

After about 5 total hours of removing wall paper, I spackled all the holes and wiped down the walls.

Do you see the difference in the wall color that was behind the paper and the wall below it? That’s after I wiped down the walls! Nasty.

I don’t have any more progress for my project but I do have the paint already!

If you’re a cheapo like me, you regularly check the sale sections in whatever store you happen to be in… just in case. At Lowe’s for me these sections include rugs, gardening, and painting. In the painting department sometimes they have a shelf full of mistakes and returned gallons so I almost always check to see if they have any colors that I’d like.

On Friday I lucked out big time with a neutral light gray. A paint & primer combo for 5 bucks!

I’m hoping to work on painting everything this week so we can actually open our dressers drawers again. All the furniture is squished in the middle of the room. 🙂

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Unlike my small progress, Al has done a ton of  backbreaking work! He is in the middle of installing bamboo floors in the lower level of the house which includes the office/dog room, a hallway, and the big den.

The rest of the house has woods floors while this lower level has linoleum wood grain tiles so we wanted to update the area to make it more cohesive.

We chose bamboo because it’s very durable and ‘greener’ than regular woods floors. Compared to wood it grows much faster because bamboo is a grass not a wood. It also reaches maturity in 5 years and when harvested the root source is left in tack so the bamboo can grow back. (source)

It’s also about the same price as regular wood floors so it was an easy choice for me!

At the moment, Al has finished the office and the hallway. Next weekend he hopes to complete the den.

Then it’s on to wood putty and more painting. If we ever finish painting this house, it’ll be a miracle!

Check back next week for what I hope is a recap and ‘after’ photos of both projects!

Have you ever laid your own floors? It’s tough! I’m so proud of Al for sticking with it.

crisp, clean fireplace

Paint is the bomb. It has taken our den from night to day. It feels more inviting, cozy, and MUCH brighter.

Let’s go back to the beginning for a nice, dramatic before and after.

Here’s what the fireplace and den looked like before the sellers moved out and we moved in.

The first thing I did to update the space was spray paint the fireplace cover to get rid of the gold.

Then we painted the paneling a green which gave the room a big boost of light.

Our most recent step was to paint the massive brick wall.

We started off by vacuuming the brick to remove any dirt and dust. Then we primed it with two coats of Multi Purpose Latex Primer from Valspar. Followed by two coats of eggshell white latex paint. Al also used caulking to fill in the many gaps and holes between the brick, paneling, and trim.

Oh and after we realized the soot around the edge of the fireplace was bleeding through, we painted over those spots with some Valspar High Hiding Primer.

Then the fireplace was complete!

So pretty.

This final step took a while – three weeks. Mostly because after the first weekend I didn’t feel like painting anymore and moved on to other projects so Al finished it up for us me. So when I mention ‘we’ throughout this post I really mean just Al. 🙂

I have proof that I did other stuff though! You’ll see it all in the next week or so.

P.S. I know I have the same exact mirror on the other fireplace right now. I just love them! Last year I found the pair at Marshalls for $12 each then spray painted them yellow.

This little piggy bank is the cutest. The bright colors are awesome. I hope to bring some of them up onto the mantel to balance it out.

Now all we have to do in this room is paint the door (I’m thinking a fun color) AND put down bamboo flooring. <- only the biggest job we will attempt yet.

Sheesh. This reno stuff is tiring but now that we see some major progress we’re feeling the motivation. Al is super proud of his fancy white fireplace and I am too!

Did you enter the giveaway yet? You should!

personalizing some store-bought decor

A little note before I start -> I added an ‘Eats’ tab up next to my ‘About’ page. It has a list of all the food posts I’ve written. If you’re looking for one in particular, you can find it there!

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The other day I was at Target scanning the sale items per usual. Some decor pieces were calling my name so I picked up two.

Al and I obviously both have ‘A’ names so when I saw this big letter, the graphic designer in me had to buy it. And the motto in our house is ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ so there you go. I swiped these babies off the shelf within minutes of seeing them. Ha.

I knew I wanted to alter them since we’ve had enough of dark wood in this house. Like the past two home projects, I painted the pieces to help them fit into our progressing decor.

I roughed up the wood with sandpaper to help the paint bond before starting. Then I painted a couple coats of some colored acrylic paint that I had laying around as well as latex wall paint.

A little tip! I learned a ton about art while in school but for some reason I really remember this specific ‘rule’ very well: Don’t gunk up your paintbrush like I did in the image on the left. The paint will collect where the bristles attach and become unusable. It’ll also hurt your brush over time because it’s tough to get all the paint out when it’s jammed up into the metal. If that happens, the paint can dry and clump up the smooth bristles. Keeping the paint toward the end of the bristles will keep things cleaner and give you a nice, crisp stroke! Interesting, eh?

So anyways, I painted the ‘A’ white on the front and yellow on the sides. The yellow acts as a little or large pop of color depending on the angle. Fun!

With the saying, I painted the frame white and the original dark red trim a messy hot pink.

I’m normally a clean, straight lines kinda gal but I like the rough look (for example the white on the ‘A’ isn’t uniform) in combination with more contemporary colors. It’s a nice little twist. More homey perhaps?

I’ve got a lot of yellow going on in this living room so my new additions will probably make there way to the foyer or another room but for now I’m just admiring the results. It’s crazy what a little paint can do! Keep a look out for those end of the isle deals at Target. You never know what you might find!

How have you spruced up your space?

fireplace numero dos

I wanted to get a good amount of projects done over this long weekend and we sure did. We worked on the mailbox, vegetable garden, decor and lighting but what I didn’t do was paint the big wall o’ brick in the den. Instead I avoided it and moved onto our other fireplace in the living room.

I’ve got to tell a little back story of the fireplace and built-ins because I think the previous owner would be excited. The shelving you see in the photo below are antique display cases from a beauty salon (early 1900s) and the mantel is also antique although I don’t know where it’s from. The lady’s husband told me she just found those pieces and built out the entire fireplace herself! Maybe she had help but from the looks of her elaborate greenhouse, I’d like to believe she did it alone. Super impressive.

I do appreciate the backstory but I thought the look needed an upgrade. A little paint perhaps?

I decided to paint the surrounding wall of the fireplace as well as the back of the shelving to give the fireplace and all my glassware a little boost.

I had a can of gray/blue paint so I went for it… at three o’clock this afternoon. I had a strong desire to get just oooone last project in!

The sun was setting so it’s tough to see the gray behind the shelves but with a little help from my sister I got this baby done in just a few hours.

I love the contrast of the crisp white and gray. I already feel like the gray has always been there. It just fits so well!

Do you see that big rock on the fireplace? I found it on a trip to a rock quarry in NJ when I was in middle school. I flew with it on the plane back home to FL. BTW it’s SUPER heavy. Ha. I may or may not still have a rock collection somewhere in this house.

Back to the main topic. You can see a similar gray in the carpet. Matchy but not too matchy.

My things would get lost in our house before when there wasn’t any personality but now they shine – one of my paintings, a bell from my grandma’s collection, sand dollars fossils from Lily Lake (FL), and a tiny brown elephant I got from the grab bag one Christmas in NJ.

It’s starting to feel more like home. Well, specifically it looks like the home of a single person! I need to get Al’s tchotchkes out of hiding. 🙂

Did you tackle any projects this weekend? Or did you soak up some sun instead? It was a beautiful weekend!

the den paneling

We spend most of our time in one room of the house, the den. This is mainly because it’s where the couch is and the other rooms aren’t completely furnished yet.

He’s what the room, in all its brown glory, looked like before we bought the house and moved in.

I thought we should update it first since it’s used so much! I fixed up the fireplace a tad already which you can see here, but there’s still a lot to do.

You can see from the photo above that there’s a good amount of sun that comes into the room but because of the dark paneling and brick fireplace, the room was sooooo dark all the time. And with it’s very yellow, very 70’s ceiling light, I couldn’t spend even an hour in there without getting lazy sleepy. I knew we’d have to paint all the walls and lighten it up.

We started with the paneling.

Wait, actually we started with finding a rug to base the whole room off of. A couple months ago we bought a couple of used, floor model rugs from a furniture store which are working out great in the house (we steam cleaned them) but this time we went for a new one.

Supposedly it’s an indoor/outdoor rug so we can easily wash it outside if the dogs track in mud. BIG plus.

It has a large floral patten with lots of shades of green and pink. I wanted a light color to help make the room bright but knew that a light pink wouldn’t work – it’s reminds me of the 90’s and my husband wouldn’t have it, so I went with a very light green.

To start, we wiped down the walls and trim, then applied one coat of Olympic brand low-VOC primer.

Then we finished off the walls with two coats of the green paint and the trim with three coats of Olympic white low-VOC. The brown trim was harder to cover than the walls so we (my husband) even had to use a no-bleed paint for the windowsills which equals four coats!

Now that’s it’s finally done, we are super happy with the results! I can’t wait to tackle the rest of the fireplace. We plan to cover it up in white paint to lighten up the room even more.

The only thing we have hanging is this clock! I hope to put up some art to bring out more colors in the rug and make the whole room more cohesive.

Here’s a look at the brick and door against the pretty, green paneling. Just imagine that it’s a crisp white!

Without a garage or basement we decided to hang our bikes up down in the den. I guess I do have a bit more ‘art’ hanging!

Here’s a better view of the wall color, rug, and dog bed to match… of course.

We’ve got a long way to go but I’m glad we’ve made some progress! It’ll be interesting to see how the whole room evolves.
I want it to feel warm and inviting. So far so good.

What spring project are you in the midst of right now? I’ve got too many to count!

refreshing the fireplace

I took the following photo of our den when we were first house hunting. Notice the gold fireplace, brown brick, paneled brown walls, and wood grain (?) tiled brown floor. 1970 as I live and breathe.

We’ll be tackling this room project by project. Course it’ll probably be sporadic since I already went from the master bathroom window to the den but it’ll all get done in time! Shall we begin?

I decided to start on the easiest thing first which was the fireplace cover. I like gold in jewelry form but definitely not on my fireplace.

To keep the project ‘green’ I painted the existing cover instead of buying a brand new one. I used this paint from Lowe’s that withstands high heat. We have black fireplace accessories so that’s the color I went with to tie it all together.

To start I took the cover outside and detached the doors from the frame.

Then, per the instructions on the can, I sanded any rough spots with a fine sandpaper first.

I used this ugly blanket because I didn’t want to get the drop cloth, a material that is supposed to be used to catch paint drippings, dirty. My husband was confused and you probably are too.

The next step was cleaning off all the dirt and debris. I used my homemade all-purpose cleaner which worked fine.

I then started on the spray painting. After the first coat of paint, I had the great idea of putting some of those garden stones in the background of the next photo underneath the blanket to elevate the cover. It saved me some time since I was able to spray paint the sides as well as the front. I did the same thing with the doors using flower pots that I have yet to plant anything in.

I protected the glass on the doors with paper I had laying around and painter’s tape.

The front side of the doors were a little tricky because of the curved edges. I cut up small slivers of the tape and curved them along the gold.

I did two coats of paint and finished off the can. I think I’ll need to add one more coat to smooth out the look. It’s a little blotchy due to my spraying ability the windy conditions. Joking aside, it was a bit windy so I should have moved my project to the carport to help make the spay more consistent. Alas, I did not.

If you can tell from the next photo, the ‘black’ of the fireplace cover is much different than the ‘black’ of the fireplace accessories. I’m not sure if it’s because of the matte finish or what. When I head back to Lowe’s for another paint can I might see if there are any other options that would help with this issue. Maybe I need a glossier finish.

Next it’s on to all those brown elements. We’ve got a lot of painting to do!!

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Oh and this lady is still around! She’s still screaming up a storm when we leave the house but I THINK she’s getting better. She wags her tail once in a while and is getting used to us and our routine. Pretty darn cute.

That’s a cat bell collar she’s got on, it really helps to know where she is! Ha.

She decided that since none of the blankets were readily available, a pillow perch would have to do. Five minutes later she screamed because she wanted the Snuggie. I gave in to shut her up. 🙂

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Have you painted a fireplace before? What color did you use?? I’m thinking white for ours.