Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The hallway

While I work on finishing Ashford's room, I wanted to share the little transformation in our typical '70s ranch' hallway.  Here is how it looked when we first moved in.  Dark, boring, empty....but accessorized with a cute kid!  To be fair, this is an awful photo, so it's not really a fair representation.
We do get some decent light in this hallway during the day, as you can see in this photo from the floor refinishing project.
This beauty was in there, with broken bulbs stuck in the sockets.  I had already thrown away the glass cover, but I'm sure you are all familiar with this style of light!  I liked the brass, but the style was not I replaced it with a $10 special from Menards until I figured out what I really wanted. 
Here is the boring, dim replacement, complete with medallion to cover the peeling popcorn texture. 
And months later, I finally found the light I wanted...brass to match the door knobs and hinges, flush mount, not a boob light, stylish, unique, wide enough to cover the peeling popcorn, and bright as the surface of the sun with 4 bulbs!  Find it here, but be sure to call them to get the best price!  I got it for $120 so I am pleased.  It's not great quality, but it's fine and too far away to notice any flaws.  (It isn't quite flush on the edges due to the weight of the fixture)
I actually had to reduce the wattage because it was too bright with four 60 watts.  I also found cute round bulbs to increase the style of the fixture.
With the new light, I was inspired to finally get a runner for this hall.  I am using our zig zag runners in the lower level because they didn't go well with the wall color up here.  I went to my old stand by Overstock, and found this beauty!  
I wanted a tufted rug rather than a flat weave, and it needed to look good with the orange rugs in the living room, and the gray on the walls.  It was a happy bonus that there is red to go with our little cabinet in the hallway.  Here is everything all put together...
It looks so fresh and clean now!  I also love that the yellow in the runner echoes the yellow moorish tile rug in the guest room.  
My fancy white mirror found it's home at the end of the hall, and the little vegetable cabinet got a mini makeover with some gold spray paint for the knobs.  I may paint the entire thing one day, but for now it works.  I have to repair the doors and mesh, after that happens I have some baskets that fit perfectly and will hold some miscellaneous items. 
I have plans to add a gallery wall to the large area between the bedrooms, but I'm not sure what that will look like yet.  
For now, I'm really pleased with how nice this dark hallway turned out!  I would love to add some can lights one day, but that is on the 'would be nice, but probably will never happen' project list. 
For this space, I spent around $25 in trim, $120 for the light, $70 for the rug (after Overstock rewards) and $25 for the gallon of SW Popular Gray that we used throughout the main level.  Not bad since most tufted wool runners cost at least that amount!  Still to do in the hallway - clean and shine up all the doors and casings.  I may have to restain, some of them are in pretty bad condition.  I'm not looking forward to that project! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ashford's room AKA tiny wallpaper room

Here is Ashford's teeny tiny room right after we moved in and organized.  The room is just 9x11. 
Please allow me a mini pity party as I mourn the room he used to have.
Ok, back to reality.  I hated the tan color on the walls, and of course this was before we refinished the floors. 
The main thing that was wrong in this room, though, was the dreaded wallpaper.  Complete with border.  The seams showed through the paint and just annoyed the hell out of me daily.
You all know I am intimately familiar with removing wallpaper, and there was just no way I was going to paint over this mess again!  We started the horrible task of getting it all off last month. 
We started with a steamer, but I quickly realized I was peeling off the damn popcorn on the ceiling, so we stopped using it.  We are just in NO position to scrape the popcorn right now, so it has to stay.  Unfortunately, we ran into a different problem. 
The original coat of paint was coming off with the wallpaper!  We ended up down to the bare drywall in several spots, the worst one being near the door. 
Seriously, it was so classic that this would happen to us! 
Despite the issue with the paint coming off with the paper, what ended up working best for us was a spray bottle with hot water and fabric softener.  We sprayed the paper, peeled off the top layer, then sprayed the remaining paper backing and scraped that.  It took us all day to get this much done. 
Some of it came off in sheets, but most of it didn't.  I guess that is one advantage to a teeny room, less walls! 
Ashford was still sleeping in here throughout the weeks we were working on this, so you can imagine how fun it was to move everything back and forth every day.  Nothing but the best for my kid.
After all the paper was removed, Shaun spent quality time washing all the walls.  Thankfully, one wash seemed to do the trick.  I came in after that to sand down any remaining adhesive that wouldn't scrape off.  To prepare for the skim coat to cover the bad spots, I used a product designed to stop further peeling on surfaces.
Eh, for a 'high build' primer it was surprisingly thin and unimpressive.  I should've just saved my money and used the Zinsser 1.2.3 instead.  When the spots were all primed, I also went over the old seams.  There was some discoloration, so this helped a lot. 
Next came some lightweight joint compound on all the spots the paint was removed from the drywall.  This took me forever and I had to bust out my drywall pan and knife.  Do you like this anonymous photo of me skimming?  I can't really explain my socks, my pose or this photo.  Let's move on. 
After an entire day of horrifying sanding in which everything in our house somehow got covered in white dust, I was finally able to prime the walls in their entirety!
Oh, it was so wonderful to have normal walls back!  And to have a Coors light!  At this point Ashford was sleeping in our room on a mattress because it just stunk too bad in this room.  So, I took my time and decided to paint the walls their final color later the same day after priming. 
This color is a greige, SW Anew Gray mixed in Behr.  However, it was looking extremely tan going on the walls and I freaked out a little.   Luckily, it ended up like this.
Isn't that crazy?  It doesn't even look like the same color!  Now we just need to find a day to put the painted baseboards in here, and put his room back together permanently with a twin bed instead of a crib.  Ahhhhhh! 
Fun fact:  I was so on point with the skim coat that I spackled all the screw and nail holes that we still wanted to use for the smoke detector, shelves, etc.  Awesome!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trimming the house

Hello!  This post is not a (very) belated Christmas decoration update, but instead a peek at our new white baseboards.  Just in case you are offended that my blog didn't provide any Christmasy inspiration, I submit the only good holiday-esque photo I took this year...and that isn't even our tree!  
I could not get this child to sit remotely still or even stand by our tree, so I put a cookie on the branch of my mom's tree and told him he could eat it if he could find it.  Success!  I had to act fast though, he can sniff out a cookie like a bloodhound.  So, back to our baseboards!  We started our installation in the dining room because it seemed like the easiest space to handle. 
It was exactly as I had envisioned it with the pale gray walls.  We had this space between the back of the cabinet and the floor that needed to be addressed.
We got a simple lattice trim to cover it, I will either paint it white to match the trim, or paint it the color of the cabinets.  I'm thinking it will be the cabinet color - whenever those get painted!  I'm not even close to deciding on that. 
The problem we have on the main level is all the tile next to the hardwoods in the entries and kitchen.  We don't have a table saw, or any other way to rip the trim to fit over the tile, so I'm not sure if we will buy the tools we need, or hire it out.   
I was a little worried about the area butting up to the coat closet door.
Luckily, the little piece on that side fit fine and the door was not a problem. 
Every little piece of trim that goes over the ugly bare spots is a victory!  I was worried about the white trim looking weird with the white tile, but I think the paint color I chose (Behr Popped Corn) looks fresh without being too stark against the creamy tile. 
The real test of how this was going to look was in the hallway.  There are a lot of doorways with original 70s casing.
I was unsure about keeping the casing and doors dark when this was going in. 
But when it was all in, I liked it much more!
I think it will be even better when I get more things on the walls, and a new brighter light fixture. 
The next thing up was addressing the stairs.  While I really like the rich look of the wood, I knew the risers and stringers needed to be white to match the baseboards. 
I used my absolute favorite primer, BIN to prime everything.  It looked terrible but was ready for paint! 
I freaked out a little because when we refinished the treads, there was a little build up of poly on the edges, so it made a clean line with the paint almost impossible.  Also, these stairs probably weren't meant to be stained, the treads are cheap pine and not super even along the edges. 
Even still, it looks pretty good after two coats of paint!  I still have to buy and stain some cove trim for underneath the lip of the treads to make it look more finished.  I also have to figure out how to transition the top of the stairs to the hallway trim.  Oh, and restain the handrail. 
Here you can see I also have some caulking to do!  So, that is what I've been doing since December.  I appreciate everyone reading the blog, even though I don't post very often.  I have been working on other spaces over the holidays, too...I hope to post about those sooner than a month from now this time!  Does anyone have any tips on ripping the base trim to fit over the tile?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Dining Room

I wanted to share our mostly-finished dining room.  This used to be a strange little space complete with off-center boob light and awkward tile near the door to the garage. 
Well, the tile is still there because we really do need it, but I think the addition of our teal rug really helps the space feel cozy and intentional.  And no more boob light!  We have also started installing the new white baseboard which we love. 
This rug BARELY fits here.  It is 6x9 and I'm so glad I already owned a rug this size, because anything bigger would've gone on top of the tile. 
 It does half cover the heat vent by the doors, which is slightly annoying.
The new chandelier is this one from Sea Gull lighting. 
I was able to swag it so the light actually hangs centered on the doors.  I like it, but I am disappointed that it hangs slightly crooked.  I'm thinking about putting some little fishing line weights in the side that hangs high. 
The table is beautiful, if slightly mistreated.  The veneer has some blemishes and one of the legs is broken and needs new bolts, but I do love it.  I got it for a good price from a guy on Craigslist but he had already sold the chairs.  SO, I had to find chairs to match which wasn't too hard. 
They aren't an exact match, but are very close.  Obviously, they need to be recovered!  I'm not sure whether to do a retro pattern, a neutral solid, a bright velvet, the possibilities are endless. 
In the corner I put the antique shelf I got from a friend.  It holds some photos and knick knacks, but most importantly, it stores my camera and lenses.  I know it probably seems weird to keep that expensive equipment out in the open (and at Ashford's level!) but if it's not in plain sight, it doesn't get used as much.  This way, when I see a photo op, I can jump on it.  Luckily, the little tornado has never given it a second look.
I also got these orange enameled stools from Overstock, the overhang of the counter is only 6 inches so it's probably not meant to have stools, but I do use them sometimes and Ashford loves to roll his cars on them. 
My beloved pole lamp got pretty banged up by the movers, one of the globes was broken and I know that I can't replace it, so I just taped it up and put it right back on the lamp. 
It works, and nobody can tell.  The mirror on the wall is a vintage 60s mirror I found at a thrift store.  It probably needs to be repainted, but for now I'm leaving it as I found it.  The tray is also from a thrift store.  I love these old pieces!
So, that is what we've done.  I'm taking votes for the chair fabric!  Give me your ideas!