Tag Archives: remodel

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!

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Filed under decorating, DIY, remodel, the great indoors

Color On My Mind

When we went to the inspection on our new house, I focused particularly hard on what I was going to do to bring some life to the blank palette before me.
After we left, I headed straight to Home Depot for some color coordination inspiration.

For now, I’m leaning towards a tranquil, yet warm, blue and gray scheme.

There are about 8 billion swatches to choose from –  creating quite a challenge in finding that perfect combination of colors. So I  decided to start where I last finished – my current kitchen. Since it took me 4 shades of blue to get to a color I loved, and I’ve only had about 2 months to really enjoy it, I’m going to carry the perfection of that “Rocky Mountain Sky” into our new home.

Yay! A starting point. So then I decided to keep something neutral for the living room. I (in an anticlimactic fashion) thought that the color of our current dining room matches that blue pretty well.

And though that line of Ralph Lauren paints has been discontinued (which I learned the hard way when we had to touch up around a new thermostat last winter), I found a Martha Stewart color called “Tobacco Leaf” that I think will have the same effect.

Now that I had those two figured out, it was onto the dining room and the den. For some reason, I’ve been craving gray lately. I saw this on Martha’s Stewart’s website and was instantly drawn. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me the color, only said it was a “mousey gray.”

Right now, I’m thinking this Behr “Granite Boulder” might do the trick in our dining room, as long as it’s not too dark. Or too brown.

And then there’s the den. To carry on my neutral grayish, blue theme, I thinking I need a blue that’s just a tad bit deeper than the kitchen, like Behr “Prelude.” It would also possibly work in the foyer.

So, to put it all together, I played around with a little paint-swatch blueprint. Hmmm. You get the idea.

Or, like this…

But now the dining room is looking more brown than gray, so I might have to rethink that. And there’s also the bathroom. And the upstairs will soon follow after all of this is figured out. Ahh, decisions, decisions.

At least I’m getting closer. And I have all sorts of great people offering to help get it on the walls in return for some pizza and wine. Plus, it’s only paint, so if one doesn’t work, we’ll (I’ll) try, try again!


Filed under decorating, DIY, painting, remodel, the great indoors