Tag Archives: diy

The Living Room, Living Room.

Hi. It’s been a while.

People keep asking me if I’ve stopped doing this blog.
Apparently, yes.
But, no, not intentionally.

You see, the thing is, when we moved into our new, 80+ old, bought “as-is” home, I was really excited and thought, there’s so much to do here, I’m going to have soooo much to blog about! But in all reality, there’s been so much to do here, there’s been no time to blog about it! The irony has settled in.

Combine that with finding out within a month of moving that there would be a new family member joining the home this September, and posting about the house got even more challenging. Especially considering I thought I could be super mom-to-be and have this blog and a baby blog…while also maintaining that old full-time job I have as a writer, too. Oh, and I’m still trying to figure out my new camera

Anyway, enough excuses. I owe the blogoshere a little peek into our home thus far.

And since I’ve titled this blog Living Room, it seemed only right to show you….the living room.

So, this is a look at it before we even closed. Luckily, this room was free of the wallpaper that had taken over the rest of the house. But the walls were incredibly bare. The floors, though hardwood, needed to be freshened up. The fireplace was brass. The window curtains had seen better days.

And a few shots with our stuff thrown around, but no “decorating” accomplished.

Now, 6 blood, sweat and tearful (yes, there have been tears…I’m pregnant, too, peeps) months later — it finally feels like our bright, fresh, liveable home.

– I painted the walls Behr Pismo Dunes, which is a grayish, clayish sort of color. I didn’t love it at first, but it’s growing on me.

– We also gave that trim a fresh coat of white to help it pop.

– I painted the fireplace black (transformation and steps here).

– I found the beveled mirror  above the fireplace at Pottery Barn

– We replaced the curtain with blinds, to help show off the beautiful molding around the windows.

– We had the floors in the entire first level refinished for a richer, warmer look.

One of the challenges from the beginning was working with the long shape of the room. With my mom’s help, we found just the right pieces to create a cozy, yet attractive little sitting area in front of the fireplace.

I found the mirrored table immediately, for $40 at Marhsalls.

 And, might I add, it looks awfully similar to this one at Pottery Barn for $250:


The chairs didn’t come so easily. I knew I wanted something simple, and not too large. I love the built-in bookcases, and the last thing I wanted to do was block them. Finally, after months and months of searching, I found ONE chair that I loved at, once again…Marshalls. But, they only had ONE. I bought it anyway, and called my mom and told her how half-way thrilled I was to have THE chair(s) I was looking for. I told her I would have to start searching HomeGoods and TJ Maxx’s across the city until I found its match…or else it would have to go back. Then, the very next day, I got home from work, and guess what was there? The second chair!! My wonderful mom went out on her own and found me the second! You guys don’t understand what a pain in the a$$ this search for the perfect chairs has been for both of us. So I can even tell you how thrilled I was to finally have them!

Then, behind those chairs are the awesome, solid wood, built-in bookcases. And probably the first thing I loved about the house. It’s actually been pretty fun trying to figure how to make the most of them.

One thing that I think is incredibly cool are the antlers (and if you know me, I’m typically not one to find pleasure in the sight of animal remains).

But, Lucas had actually been storing these in the basement of our old home. His dad is a biologist for a local college, and had found them out in the woods in the 70’s. Somehow Lucas ended up with them and thought they’d look cool on our shed in the backyard. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him that I would actually like to have them in our living room.

On the other side of the fireplace, I have a random little mix. I got fancy and created that artwork in Word. I had the birdcage leftover from our wedding, which we used as the envelope drop box. And I found that fish a while back at a local shop called Moonbeams.

I’ve also found a new love for Overstock.com. AKA, the TJ Maxx of the internet. That’s where I got our farmhouse coffee table.

And our apothecary-style TV stand. I was flattered when my aunt ask me if it was an antique, which totally reminded me of that episode of Friends when Rachael keeps buying things from PB but tells Phoebe they’re from flea markets…I digress.

So now, a few before and after looks:


I would still like to get a new couch at some point. But, with the dogs, cats and baby on the way, we’re going to go ahead and hold off on that one. And I would like to find a rug that adds a little more splash of color at some point, but that one works for now. Once again dogs, cats, baby…

Overall, I’m so happy to have this major room completed. It’s so nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the living room I’ve been working for!



Filed under before and after, cottage, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel

The Old High School Try

My goal for this weekend is to create attempt a slipcover for this lovely loveseat we inherited from Lucas’ mom.

We’ll see how it goes. From what I’ve been told, it’s fairly easy to do. I learned to sew in high school, where I actually took Sewing I and Sewing II. During those two semesters, I vaguely remember making a skirt, a fleece, a dress and a pea coat. And so I asked for a new sewing machine for Christmas, hoping I could save some money while rekindling my old bobbin-threading skills.

Results to come. Wish me luck.

Leave a comment

Filed under before and after, decorating, DIY, the great indoors

Fireplace Transformation

A few people have come to see the house and said, “you’re lucky you have that black fireplace, we have one of those old brass ones, and it’s like $500 for a new one.”  Actually, friends…it was brass. But for $9, and about 45 minutes of my time, I was able to give it a much needed update.

The trick is high-heat paint. It works on surfaces that can reach up to 1200* and is also great for grills, radiators and fire pits.

Once I got the paint, I used painter’s tape to protect the glass and a thin paintbrush to make sure I covered every inch. And, just FYI, this isn’t like your normal latex paint. It’s super runny, so it takes a little getting used to at first. But pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

Once it dries, you have a brand new look…at a totally great price!

And here’s a final peek at where I am with the whole mantel. We have a gorgeous mirror to go above, but due to the old plaster walls, it’s still in waiting to actually be properly hung.
Now I just need some cozy seating beside it, and a good chimney sweep so we can heat it up!


Filed under before and after, decorating, DIY, remodel

Out-To-Dry Paint Brush Holder

Since my past month has been dedicated to repainting our entire house — and the color in some rooms is taking 1, 2  and 3 tries to get right — I’ve been going through a lot of paint brushes. So I’m doing my best to rinse and reuse them as much as possible. I’m really struggling with the kitchen color, so last night I was playing around with some more color samples.

I used 3 different paint brushes, rinsed them, set them by the sink, and went to bed. This morning, I was still feeling that urge to try more, and noticed that my brushes weren’t dry yet. And that’s when something caught my eye. This little container of chocolate powder was waiting to be put outside to recycle. Hmmm. Recycle…That shape. That plastic. That solution!
I immediately rinsed out the chocolate, found some scrapbook paper to pretty it up, and just like that…a totally cute, totally FREE place to dry my paint brushes! My drying spot went from this:

To this!

This would also be great for other storage – markers, pencils, rubber bands, buttons….

I love it. Not bad for a 6 am creation!
And, hey, it ended up being “recycled” after all.


Filed under before and after, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel

The Ugh In Updates

“What’s that?” you ask. That’s what you get 3 weeks after you move into a 75-year-old home and realize that the soothing sound of water that comes when you’re using the sink isn’t as soothing as you had hoped. It’s actually the original cast iron pipes in the basement letting out a quiet plea for help. Ugh. Luckily, we took our realtor’s advice and got the home warranty at closing, so this expensive job is not quite as horrific as it could be. Instead, it’s just a big ‘ole pain in the plaster.

The plumber finished yesterday (though now a pipe in the bathroom seems to be leaking). And someone is supposed to be calling to repair that beautiful hole in the wall.

And once it’s all done, I can get back to the fun stuff, including finishing my “new” white cabinets and repainting a new shade of blue.

On the brighter side of waste management…check out the compost bin Lucas built this week. With almost an acre on our rather wooded lot, this is going to come in handy. Especially in pumpkin season.

And in case you’re wondering, the dogs are very content with the new home.

Couldn’t help but finish up this post with something that makes me smile. :)


Filed under DIY, life with fur, remodel

The Dining Room (An Easy One)

Our dining room was probably the most low-maintenance makeover in the whole house. And since that was the one room I instantly had a color for, it was the first room to get a fresh coat of paint. The color of choice — Storm. A Benjamin Moore color from the Pottery Barn Winter 2010 collection.

Benjamin Moore — Storm

Of course, since I’ve had to buy about 12 cans of paint so far, I saved money and bought the Behr color-match version from Home Depot. It looks pretty gray, right? Well, up on the walls it definitely projected more of a bluish tone, but I still loved it.

The first time we saw the house, there was a bed in the dining room (the previous owners were older, and after living in the home for over 50 years,  had difficulty using the steps every night). Luckily, I am a fairly visual person, and had no problems imagining our dining room table placed beneath that sparkly crystal chandelier. And now, here is the dining room…after the bed — before the fresh coat of Storm.


The flowers to the left were the ones sent by the previous owners. The door to the right — reveals the scary sight of our kitchen in the midst of wallpaper removal.

The messy room through the door in this shot is the den.

Before the paint was even up, I loved the pretty chandelier, the gorgeous hardwood floors, the molding on the floor and the ceiling and the deep, deep windowsills. But, with a fresh coat of paint, the chandelier now sparkles, the hardwood floors are  more noticeable and that molding really, really pops.


You might have noticed the ceilings in the above shot. They’ll be repainted soon, too…

Still on the “To Do” list for this room:

And…get a new camera that does these “before & afters” some justice


So, that’s it! Nothing too dramatic in this room, and still some touches to be made, but at least it’s a start!



More before and afters to come!


Filed under before and after, cottage, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel, the great indoors

Paint, Plumbing and Pure Pandemonium

I’ve  been meaning to update this blog with new house pics and progress on its wondrous transformation. But, it just so happens they have taken every bit of time and every ounce of energy I have had in the past 3 weeks. Things are finally getting in order, so I promise to post a few “before and afters” this week. Or at least the before and on-their-way-to-being-afters.

Yes, this house has been quite a task, not to mention chock full of homeowner surprises. So, while I’ve crossed a few lines off that list from a few weeks back, quite a few more major tasks have made their way on it. Including new plumbing stacks, new gutters, invisible fence (luckily there’s one in the ground, just need a collar), sewer lateral and trees coming down. But, rather than submerge you in our backed up sinks and waterfalls in the basement…I’ll stick to the pretty things. Like, color.

At this point, the guys at the Home Depot paint counter are becoming old friends. But, I can’t say enough about how pleased I’ve been with the multiple gallons of Behr paint I have been purchasing (just $19 a pop). For every room we’ve tackled thus far, it’s taken just one, solid coat of Behr to get the job done (including picking and repainting a new color in the foyer for the 3rd time this past weekend).

And yes, I once again started buying samples to help me cope with the overwhelming color combinations before me.

As for what’s been checked off the original list:

pull down the kitchen wallpaper (thanks mom)

go to the paint store to officially choose the paint colors

paint the living room (neutral)

paint the dining room (gray)

paint the den (blue)

paint the kitchen (blue) … but going to paint it another blue

paint the kitchen cabinets

paint the foyer (?)

get cable and internet

pull up the carpet in the office

make room for the cars in the garage

configure beautiful display on our built-in bookshelves around the fireplace

get the items we were “temporarily” storing at my parent’s house

find the box with the dogs’ bowls and leashes and enjoy a walk in the new neighborhood

We’re getting there. Last week we had our scary, vintage electric box switched out. Tomorrow the plumber comes to replace our stacks so we can once again use the garbage disposal and the kitchen sink as much as we please (oh, and if you’re buying a house, get the home warranty – already saving us lot’s ‘o $$$ on the plumbing). And the tree guys will be coming to take down the monstrous ash who’s leaning just a little too close to the house. And thanks to the help of my mom and mother-in-law, the painting of the downstairs is very close to being complete. Just need to get to that trim…and ceilings…and windows…and touch-ups…

And tomorrow, I plan to present my first semi-complete room transformation – the dining room. So be on the look-out!

Leave a comment

Filed under decorating, DIY, remodel, the great indoors