Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pantry Hallway

Wall filling is an ongoing project when you move into a house.  Especially when you move into a house with significantly more wall space than your former home.  Slowly but surely I've been working a wall at a time.

This little hallway leads to my pantry and laundry room.  It was getting along ok naked, but it's so much happier now that it has some adornment.  

The sign above the pantry, the totally awesome cool postcard/butterfly cork board and the key hooks were from Homegoods and TJMaxx.  If I've never expressed my love for these stores I will state it now.  Love them.  Period.  No one is paying me to say it…unfortunately because that would be pretty cool.  

I needed one more to fill the space.  I picked up this glassless frame at a garage sale for $1.  It was dark brown with some fabric on it.  I whitewashed it.  This simply means I mixed some white paint with water, painted it on and wiped it off.  The result blended well with what I had.  Next I stapled some twine on the back and have used it to hang fabric, seasonal post cards, etc. from clothespins.  This little $1 piece has received more than it's fair share of attention from visitors, it's a popular piece.

I'd love to see how you adorn your odd spaces.  Post a link to your blog in the comments and we'll share the love!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Displaying Treasures

I have to share an incident with you, maybe more of a confession.  I think it will help you understand why this little project was so critical for my household.

My two little ones are in preschool.  This means they bring home approximately 400 pieces of "art" a week.  Fine, maybe more like 20 but that is a lot considering they want it to be prominently displayed on our refrigerator.  Apparently I am a bah-humbug mama because I don't want stuff on my fridge.  Truly, it could be a Renoir and I would still feel like my kitchen was cluttered.  So all art is relegated to the side of the fridge, which leads to some weeding out by mama.

Some time ago my sweet little 2 year old girl went to our kitchen trash and pulled out one of her masterpieces.  She came to me near tears "Mama, why you throw away my picture???"  I of course lied through my teeth.  "NO!  I would NEVER!  I LOVE this picture, I will hang it up right now!  I don't know HOW it got in the trash!"

My husband says I'm evil because it was in the trash 24 hours later, but well covered with other trash.  I aint' no fool.

So I took a trip to Ikea, bought a wire hanging device and clips.  I framed a couple of the more stellar pieces they did this year and I hung it all up in our otherwise empty upstairs hallway.  It is lovely and it allows the kids to come with me and switch out what will hang.  The rest goes into a box if it's keep-worthy.

It both solves our display problem and gives our hallway a little character.  (In case you are wondering, that is our family laundry basket.  I got tired of emptying 3 different baskets upstairs, all dirty clothes and towels go one place now.)

And just for kicks, here is my 3 year old's first ever picture of our family.  He wasn't even instructed to draw it, he was just inspired.  This one's a keeper.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Laundry Sign

I made this sign to go up in my laundry room for about $6.  You can do it too.

Step 1- Buy a piece of white board wood from your local home improvement store.  I bought a piece that was 1" thick, 8" tall and 6 feet long.   Total cost, under $6.

Step 2- Cut the board to fit the space you want to use it in.  I used a chop saw, turned it over and chopped again.  Basically I didn't want to wait for my husband to get home and cut it for me with a circular saw.

 Step 3- Stain or paint a dark base coat.  As the name suggests, the wood is white, or very near it.  If painted white directly, the distressing will not give the desired contrast.  I did not do this carefully, I just rubbed it on until it was dark.

Step 4- Once dry, take a candle and rub it all over the stained piece of wood.  This will cause the paint to rub off more easily when it is time to distress.  I used this method for my kitchen cabinet painting as well, it worked like a charm.

Step 5- Paint the board white.  Again, I used latex I had on hand and a brush.  It was not perfect, I wasn't too worried about perfect.

Step 6- Print out the letters for your text.  I set my font effect to "outline" so I wouldn't waste ink.  Tape it to your board.

Step 7- Using a ball point pen, trace your letters pressing firmly.  This will indent the wood.  White board is very soft, so this method is very effective.  If you are using a harder wood you may need a different transfer method.  I have read you can use newspaper in between and it will transfer. 

Step 8- Paint your letters.  You will need good light to see the indentions you made and small brushes.  I used a black enamel paint because it was what I had on hand.  I am sure using vinyl or making stencils with card stock and an exacto-knife followed by spray paint would give you a more even product.  I was using what I had on hand and I wasn't too worried about perfection.

PS- I did the "25 cents per load" part with a Sharpie marker.

 Step 9- When everything is dry, sand it with a coarse piece of sandpaper until you are satisfied.

 Step 10- Nail hanging hardware to the back.  Make sure you measure down so they are evenly placed, otherwise you will have a very difficult time hanging it level.

Step 11- Hang and enjoy!

If I did this again I would try doing a three layer effect with a dark stain, turquoise paint then white paint so some blue would show through.  Please post a link if you have done something similar or decide to give this a try!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Laundry Room redo

We finished two major renovations this year in our kitchen and master bath.  I am not in any hurry to take on another biggie any time soon, so I've been working on some smaller projects.

Unfortunately, I don't have any 'before' pictures of my laundry room.  It was just too ugly to justify photographing.  I did snap this picture after we popped a few holes in the ceiling to see where a leak was originating.  Drywall repair was going to require removing the kitschy wallpaper and repainting so it jump started this little project I've been meaning to do.

My husband requested plain ole beige, so that's what I did.  I tore up the wavy peeling white and green linoleum and contemplated my threshold problem.  As you can see, the threshold is under the door jamb and I was not up to tiling, recutting door jambs, or anything else major.  I was however very disappointed in the look of most vinyl flooring because it looked like…vinyl flooring. 

Then I came across a vinyl tile at Home Depot that has ceramic mixed into the texture and can be laid flush or spaced and grouted.  I went with the grouted option.  It was extremely cost effective and it is beautiful!  You truly can't tell it's not tile until you reach down and touch it.  

Next I bought this little shoe cubby off craigslist and made a slip cover.

Then I hung a bunch of hooks and I made this cute little laundry sign that I will blog about later this week.

This was not a big project, I knocked it out in about 36 hours while my husband was out of town.   I have to say though, it's made a huge impact.  Just having a place where I can tell the kids to take off their shoes and put them in the cubbies and their bags and jackets on hooks has revolutionized our going out and getting home routines.  I would have loved built-ins and more pretty things, but the laundry room above all things must be functional!  If we ever do build, I will put a great deal of planning into this space because it is the hub of our home in many respects.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Master Bath Reveal…2 years later

Do you remember this post ironically titled "Coming Soon" post of June 2010?  Of course you don't, it was 2 years ago.  Well, soon is a relative term, right?

To recap:  Here was the lovely bathroom attached to our master bedroom when we moved into our home almost two years ago.

It was the carpet that really put it over the top for us.  Overall, it was very very builder grade, and bland.  A cacophony of yellow, white and brass.  The plan was simply to replace the flooring.  Ha!   If you have followed this blog for any time at all, you know that could never stand.  Next thing I knew my husband had ripped out the vanity, shower, toilet and bath casing.

We have since spent two years in various stages of remodel.  The sinks were in first.  We did FINALLY FINISH the shower last summer.  The bead board was up early but the caulking and painting months later.  It took until this month to get the other details in order.  So without any further delay….our lovely master bath.

A little insight into my scattered brain: After installing these vanity cabinets, I searched and searched and searched for a cabinet or shelf that would both fit between and look good.  I was becoming quite disheartened.  Then suddenly I remembered and asked my husband "What happened to the tall skinny cabinet we had before we moved?  What happened to it?  Who has it?  Did we throw it away?  Give it away?  Can we get it back?"  It was in our guest room the whole time.  It matches perfectly.  I suppose I need to dust that room more often.

I also had some difficulty finding matching mirrors.  These are frames bought on sale at Michaels with beveled $10 mirrors from Walmart inside. 

We had planned to only do a detail section in this mosaic travertine but we just kept going.  This was one of the elements that pushed up our budget, but it is really beautiful.

It is difficult to photograph a bathroom.  It is a tight space to work in.  
I will tell you, the travertine is gorgeous.  The softness on your feet, the texture, the color, the warmth of natural stone.  I love it.  We will never, Never, NEVER install it again on our own.  It is a bear.  Once it is set in the mortar it sturdy enough but it is extremely crumbly to work with.  We probably had 30-40% waste on the floor, which is 18" tiles compared to closer to 20% waste when we've done ceramic or porcelain.  

I have no idea what the remodel cost us- that is never good!  I feel confident however it will significantly increase the value when the time comes to sell.  Who wouldn't want to get naked here?  ;)