Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Better Living Room Before

My good friend Marie Riley sent me the link to the listing of our house when it was for sale.

(Marie became our good friend when she listed our big house and sold us the small house. We found her through good friends of ours and we would gladly share her with anyone else who needs an awesome Realtor.)

Here is the living room before in all it's glory:

Brown carpet - gone.
Vertical blinds - gone.
Dusty valance - gone.
Giant wood shelf - gone.
Drab beige walls - gone.

Freshly refinished hardwood floors and soft rug - here.
Soft curtains and sheers - here.
Personal gallery wall - here.
Crisp gray walls and white trim - here.

Plus a bunch of other great things that make it ours.

We love it.

So glad this before picture exists - Look how far we have come! Hard to believe it is the same room.

Little changes can make a big difference - Even a coat of paint can totally refresh a room.

Thanks Marie for the photo!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Living Room Reveal

Once the floors were done, after furniture was moved in (and around) and boxes were unpacked, it was time to get busy putting the living room together. 

It is much easier to live with the kitchen a wreck and a blue bathroom when you have at least one room that feels cozy and like home.

And it feels great to have something finished.

We took the best of the big house living room, moved some of it downstairs, updated a few pieces of furniture, moved a few things from other spaces and made this little living room our very own.

We started with the walls - Painting them Filtered Shade by Valspar (Lowe's). It is the perfect shade of warm gray - not bluish, not greenish, not purplish. The trim is painted Bistro White (also by Valspar). 

Eventually we will paint the kitchen the same color.

Hero made this fireplace for me several years back for Christmas. We never had a fireplace and I had always loved how homey they look. This little cutie has candles and Christmas string lights to give off that fireplace glow. In the big house, which had a fireplace in the great room, we used this in our bedroom. Feels good to share it again in the living room.

I love the gallery wall. I love how personal it makes the room. Anyone can have the couch or the table, but that is our family and our history up there.

Hero made that coffee table. It opens up to store stuff (like magazines) and the bins underneath hold a bunch of games. 

This photo was taken in the middle of the pillow recovering project. The green one on the left recently underwent a transformation here.

That little table on the right came from an estate sale a few years back for just $5. 

The trunk on the left came from a garage sale for $10.

New pillow! Makes a difference.

The trunk link above tells the story of the coffee table and the cabinet in front of the window, too. 

We have had a few comments about the white furniture. They are slip covers - just toss them in the wash. We have done it a few times and they come out awesome. 

Here is a close up of that little pillow on the chair. I ordered this fabric from fabric.com, someplace new for me. It is great quality and pretty inexpensive. (Just saying.)

And here we are back around to this side of the room. 

Check out that office.

And that cute baby.

The rug came from Lowe's. We wanted something subtle and this one was made for the space.

We love our cute cozy living room!

For whatever reason, I do not have any official photos of the living room before it belonged to the Murphys. 

But I did capture this apparently very fun furniture assembly moment that Alex and Brenden had.

Check out those beige walls. Very not what we were going for. 

And see those brackets along the back wall? Those held a massive oak looking shelf, left for us by the previous owner. I think we did not get a picture of that because that was one of the first things to go.

We had a great time getting all this together and making this living room feel like home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Missed My Chalkboard

After a really long time of admiring chalk boards in all their varieties, Hero and I finally decided to put one up in our big house. I loved it! It was mounted to the door to the basement, right in the kitchen. I had visions of clever quotes and neat artwork - And we did some of that. It was lots of fun.

And then we sold the big house about 5 months later.


I did not get that chalkboard thing out of my system though. I still admired them and was feeling the itch to get another one up.

Here is the lumber. A thin board and some trim. Pretty simple stuff here.

I broke out my favorite white - Bistro White from Lowe's. I started with a coat on the trim and they were looking good.

I headed outside to spray the board with this way fun chalkboard paint. I did spray a few coats of regular old black paint to cover the board, sort of like a primer. We have about a million half empty cans of regular old black and I was hoping to get rid of one. But no such luck - I did not empty it, so back in the box it went with the rest of them.

Back inside to finish up the trim while the board dried. This went on for a while - back and forth to paint and wait till it was dry enough to paint the next coat.

All that time, Hero patiently waited on me so he count mount it. 

Here it is in all it's glory! The perfect place was on the door to the basement, right in the kitchen. 

Sound familiar?

Hero used little tiny nails (and a nail gun) to hold that baby up there. It is so fun to have a chalkboard again. After I prepped it (by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk over the entire thing and then erasing) I got my first message up there:

Side note - Although the picture does not show in full depth the amount of paint on my feet, you may want to take a tip from me about proper footwear during spray painting. Flip flops will leave a flip flop line if that is what you choose to wear.

But you may like that look.

Also, be prepared for the scungy nail look when spray painting with a dark color. Although Hero has a huge supply of latex/non-latex gloves at my disposal, they are a little too big. When I wore them to spray, the tip of the glove would hang over just enough to collect paint and drip on my board. Ugh.

There are also cool (and very useful) spray can sprayers that you can attach to the top of the can to spray. They make spraying loads easier.

We have one. 


But I could not waste time looking for it when I had a chalkboard to paint.

It only took about five days for the grease monkey look to go away.

No problem.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Whole Lot of Blue

I have a hard time when I consider my favorite color. I have good feelings about all the colors, even non-colors like white, gray and black. They all have goodness in them.

But if I really, really had to choose, I would choose blue.

Good thing, too, because I have a blue bathroom.

Blue floor.
Blue walls.
Blue tub.
Blue toilet.
Blue sink.
Blue counter.
Blue towel bars, toilet paper holder, soap dish and toothbrush holder. These are all built into the walls.
And blue wall paper.

There is a little bit of accent going on here. Wood molding around the window, door and closet. You cannot tell from the photo, but this molding is nailed right over top of the original (painted) white molding. Can never have too much molding apparently.

The vanity is also stained oak wood color.

And if you count the light fixture, which is bright brass (and oak), we have another accent.

This bathroom is all original, except for the vanity, mirror and light fixture. It was built like a tank, and is actually in decent shape. Just. a. lot. of. blue.

We have future plans to de-blue this room, but it is not in the budget quite yet (kitchen first). But in the meantime, I really could not take it any longer. Something blue had to go.

And that meant the wallpaper. It's free to strip it, and we already have lots of the awesome Bistro White paint we are using throughout the house. 

Hero is pretty great about these kind of projects. I let him know that we are doing something with that bathroom, he questions me about who the "we" are ("Do you have a mouse in your pocket?"), is confident there is no rodent involved and gets all the tools we (he and I) might need.

First up, spray the heck out of that paper. Remember the stair wallpaper removing project?  Really, you cannot over-spray when removing wallpaper. I know there are probably some great products out there specifically for stripping wallpaper, but I have always just used water and it works great. And I already have water.

Good shot of that groovy light. Two bulbs burned out - so nice. And that big hole once housed a medicine cabinet. There is a big hunking mirror in the bathroom now. 

While I am tackling the wallpaper, Hero gets all that molding down, fills holes and preps the closet for a little makeover.

Extra molding removed and wallpaper coming down - looking better already.

Here is a neat-o view of the closet. Trust me when I tell you there was way too much molding going on over here. You can imagine where it was by the exposed drywall.

Did you notice the shelf paper? I edited this photo in the 1970's filter. It totally works. A little too well.

Once the walls are clean, it is so time to paint. White. Not blue.

We found this light fixture at Costco a few months ago for about twenty bucks. Not too bad.

It can be wired to shine up or down. That is quite a feature for only twenty dollars.

We choose down.

Oh, look at that! Less blue!

Those holes right under the window? No need to cover them - We added a row of hooks for hanging towels there. That one blue towel bar is not enough for our family. Bummer, cause I totally love that blue towel bar.

And the closet. All painted white, with new laminate shelves. And easy access. With layers of molding all over the edges, we banged it up pretty quick. Now it is a piece of cake to get stuff in and out of there.

The shower curtain is not blue.

We thought about getting a blue one.

Not really.

I do still like blue a bunch, but this un-blueing was a good idea. 

I want to keep liking blue.