The Kitchen, A Before and After

30 01 2012

So for this paint job, I remembered to first take the before pictures!

This is another room that was painted brown, and actually, I’ve hated the color since the moment I first painted it.  As you know, my cabinets are decidedly 80’s, and when I painted the walls surrounding them a warmer brown (rather than the dreary dirty white that they were), it showed how horrible they actually are.  And then when I painted the wood parts of the cabinets black, it made it even worse.

I decided that I’d paint the walls grey instead (and coincidentally, my sister decided to paint her kitchen grey around the same time, though she finished the project before I started! I chose a darker grey, because I do love the dark colors and it came out very well – I will note that as I started painting, I realized it was fairly close to the blue/grey that the accent wall and back door are painted…awesome.  However, it did dry darker than that, so it ends up looking more like it’s along the same color family.

So here’s the before:


And here’s the after! I took these photos after dark last night, so it does look a bit darker than it does during the day, but you get the idea.


The cabinets still aren’t perfect, but I think the wall color brings the room together a bit more and makes it cohesive. And it was far easier to paint than the bathroom was! Although, I did stand up rather too quickly when painting behind the stove and smashed my head into the microwave there.  I’m fairly sure I have a mild concussion – even tonight I still feel a bit dizzy and nauseous, along with the requisite headache. I’m so graceful!

Clearing off the counters a bit and painting in the kitchen and the bathroom has really motivated me to work on my de-cluttering.  I need to force myself to do one small area each day, to keep the momentum going, and not overwhelm myself. I started with the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom – I should do one room at a time – and I may even get the motivation to re-work the baker’s rack, which is now in the dining room, so that I can use that more for crafts (which is what I’m turning the dining room into for the most part – a craft area!).  The to do list continues to get longer and longer…


The Downstairs Bathroom, A Before and After

29 01 2012

As I mentioned recently, I was feeling less than thrilled about the color of my downstairs bathroom. Sure, brown is a great neutral, and you can jazz it up with accessories, but it was depressing me.  And since it’s also the room where my laundry gets done, I wanted it to feel a little snazzier.

I saw a color I LOVED on Pinterest, and couldn’t decide where in the house I would paint…it was a dark teal jewel tone (I love jewel tones), and it finally came to me that it would be perfect for the downstairs bathroom!

I wasn’t sure when I’d get around to it though, since I’ve been rather tired lately, which makes me lazy on the weekends.  But this weekend, I grabbed my brushes, picked up the paint, and went to work!

I forgot what a pain it is to paint in a bathroom though – I made short work of the preparations; I took all of the switchplates off, and took all of the accessories out to keep them paint free. I knew I’d have to move the washer/dryer, but I thought the rest of the bathroom would go quickly.  The best laid plans, as they say…

It took me a good solid on and off ten hours to finish the whole thing – exhausting.  Because the color was dark, even though I had a fairly dark brown on the walls already and it was a primer/paint combo, I still had to do three coats.  Plus, I forget how much is fixed in a bathroom – it takes quite the acrobatic act to paint behind the toilet, and to climb over and behind the washer/dryer.

But I finally finished it, and it was worth all of the effort! Unfortunately, I’d already started painting by the time I realized that I should have done a full set of “before” pictures.  So you’ll have to make do with some of the old ones I have (mostly from Christmas decorating shots!):

The Before.

The After!

What a difference, don’t you think?

Here are some other shots:

Another before

I just love the color.

Now, here are some tips I find make it easier:

  • Don’t tape: Lots of people swear by taping before they paint, but I find that it takes up a TON of time, and it never seals up properly or completely, so it creates more of a mess than it saves. Instead, I’m just super careful when I cut in – and I start with a few brush strokes away from the edge, so I know my hand is steady and I don’t have too much paint on the edge of the brush.
  • Get the bucket and tray liners: I have a bucket for the purpose of cutting in, which has a magnet on one side to hold the brush up. It is amazing and worth every penny. These buckets also have liners, so you can pour the paint in that you need for a project, and just throw the liner out when you’re finished – it makes the clean up SO. MUCH. EASIER.  Same for the roller tray liners.  I still wish I knew how to best clean the rollers and brushes, but the liners make my life much better!
  • Use a small-handled brush: I found these when I first moved out on my own three years ago, and I find that they fit in my hand very nicely and make painting much easier.
  • Use an old scrubber sponge for clean-up: This time, I was lazy and didn’t put any drop cloths down. I was working on tile, so that was part of the reason – if it had been carpet, I definitely would have put down drop cloths. No matter how careful you are, if you’re using a roller, you’ll get splotches of paint pretty much everywhere.  So when I was ready to clean, I used the scrubber side of an old sponge to scrub the paint off of the floor and counters (I say old sponge because you’ll obviously want to throw the sponge away after using it to wipe up your floors!). It worked beautifully!
  • Always, always remove switch plates and outlet covers: It takes so little time, but makes a huge difference. I didn’t remove all of them the first time I painted the house, which has been so noticeable as I have changed out some of the outlets.  It shows that you care about the small details.

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you the before and after in the kitchen, which I painted today!

This week on Pinterest

29 01 2012

Well, I spent most of the day painting the bathroom.

But you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see the before and after. I’m plum tuckered out, it needs a bit of time to dry, and photos always look better with daylight, even if there’s no natural light in that bathroom!

Instead, I’ll share some of my favorite pins from this week!


Isn’t this laundry room just divine? I particularly love the brick.

Source: via Lindsay on Pinterest


And of course, another divine thing, Mr. Daniel Craig!


I’ve made a couple of these this week – simple and pretty, and hopefully soon to appear in my Etsy shop!

Source: via Lindsay on Pinterest


What a kitchen! Although I’m sure I’d get annoyed with the ladder being in the way after a while!


Love, love, love this! And it’s something I could eventually do myself!


Doesn’t everyone want a little secret garden in their backyard?

Source: via Lindsay on Pinterest


I just laughed out loud at this one. It’s so, so true!


These shoes…fabulous.


How cute is this little guy??


My mom pinned this earlier this week. I love it. She said it reminds her of one of my favorite quotes – “Be alert, the world needs more lerts.”


An elephant night light? Yes please!


Yes, I pinned my new hutch. I couldn’t resist.


Although I don’t love all white rooms, I do LOVE this tub!


Here’s a shot of my pup from yesterday – I stuck it over on my photography blog.


I feel like I might need this, since I still pack like I’m going to be away for years.


You definitely have to click through to get the whole story on this one. I cried reading it – it’s so beautiful, and what a brave little boy.

It’s Here, It’s Here!

27 01 2012

Okay, so I’m neglecting my usual Pinterest Friday post in favor of a post on my hutch…which is finally finished!

This afternoon, the piece I actually needed FINALLY arrived, and I was determined to get the hutch finished and set up tonight (darn it!). I even managed to lift the surprisingly heavy top piece on to the bottom by myself, though I’m sure my back won’t thank me tomorrow. So without further ado, here it is!

Worth the wait!

I am very excited that it’s finally here, and all put together.  There’s still one little issue – the drawer on the left (which needs me to switch the direction of the handle) also has two left sides, instead of a right and a left. So it doesn’t sit entirely properly in the piece, but I pretty much don’t care.

I took some care with what I put in the glass cabinets above, since I can see into them:

My new ceramic baked brie dish gets a prominent spot – it was a gift from my parents for Christmas, and I need to get some brie stat so I can use it! I also put my fall soup bowls on the bottom.  In the other cabinet, which I didn’t photograph, I put some of the more decorative plates and bowls that I have, along with my two original espresso cups.  Methinks I should get an espresso maker or Keuring, because I have lots of espresso cups and only a stovetop espresso maker (which in my hands is not an effective coffee tool!).

In the center, I decided not to put up the shelf, and instead put a ceramic buddha head that I picked up today at Michaels. I knew it would look beautiful in there, and I’m a big fan of Asian touches in decorating.

Michaels has some of the best stuff for homes – it’s a well-kept secret, I think!

The best part about this was the conversation I had with the cashier…she said “I think this is a buddha head, I guess, but I’m not sure.” I said “Yes, it is a buddha.” She said “Oh, I didn’t know. I’m not buddhist.”

Um, me neither.

If I was a buddhist, I don’t think I’d be buying a buddha head at Michaels. Just sayin’.

Anyway, I think it looks lovely and ties the kitchen in a bit more with the dining room.

Along the main shelf, I put the dog treats (having them across the room wasn’t working for me), a basket for the potatoes and bread that had been on the counter in the kitchen, and my mug tree.

I also stuck a tiny painting I got last year from Etsy there.

I’m hoping that this helps make my use of the kitchen much easier. I’ve still got to take some time to work through each of the cabinets and get them to be as efficient as I need them to be, and make sure that I’m not keeping around things I’m not using. But on the surface, the kitchen looks great, and I picked up the grey paint I needed tonight to paint the kitchen! (Although, I think I’ll be doing the bathroom first!)

And I also got the photo of Ollie that I needed to finish off my trio of pup photos in the dining room:

I love using photos as art.

So it seems that I’ll have a busy weekend ahead of me, with some painting and puttering around…and hopefully some organizing! Time to get back to the big de-clutter!

What are your handy homeowner plans this weekend?

Crafting – A Bonus Post

26 01 2012

And, since I missed a post on Tuesday, thanks to my migraines, I thought I’d give you a little bonus post tonight.  I wanted to share some of the crafts I was working on during December, which I couldn’t post about then, since they were all gifts!

A crocheted bracelet

This bracelet is identical to one I made for a friend, but this is the one I made for myself – I never realized I could crochet with wire until recently, and I LOVE the results.  I need to get working on some more of these, so that I can put them in my Etsy shop!

Okay, so you know I’m obsessed with Pinterest, but I don’t spend all my time just pinning potential projects – sometimes, I actually do them! I found this cowl pattern on Pinterest, and since I get a bit bored with my typical crocheting, I decided to give it a try, and love the results.  The pattern itself is a bit of a pain, but it looks so beautiful when it’s done that I made one as a gift for my sister, another as a gift for a friend, and this one for myself! This one was crocheted with my left index finger stuck in the air, because it was just after I’d injured it!

A portrait necklace

Very carefully, I used the exacto knife to create this necklace for my mom – it’s silhouettes of my sisters and I, along with her two granddaughters. It took a few tries to get the sizing right, but I was happy with the way it came out in the end, and so was my mom!

Display basset

I’ve always wanted to get my sister a British flag knit hat, and when I found a pattern to crochet one, I knew I needed to make it for her.  So I did, and used Ollie to model it!

That’s some of my recent crafting, though I’m wishing I took far more photos of the things I made this Christmas! Lately, I’m working on some more crocheted cowls for Etsy and I promise to photograph some things this weekend so that I can get them up there!

Around the House…

26 01 2012

I’ve been dealing with some very frustrating migraines and exhaustion lately, and I’m tired of them, because they keep me from having the motivation I need to do things around the house! I’m hoping that a new prescription for glasses and contacts, and working on changing my sleeping routine will find me in good shape by the beginning of next week.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of small things I’ve done in the house this week.  I realized last week that a lot of the photos that I have in the house are out of date – I had photos of my older niece, back when she was still in a stroller!, but not of my younger niece.  And I have photos of Barney, but not of Oliver.  I’ve got to pick up the black and white I did of Ollie tomorrow, but I did pick out some great shots of my nieces and swap out the photos I had hanging in the living room:

Cute kiddos, huh?

I did put up a photo of my pups, using a frame that my sister got me for Christmas, and I framed Ollie’s pedigree for the wall (I’d done that for Barney – it’s kind of like the equivalent of his university degree, I think):

They are bad to the bone...


My diploma is relegated to my office, but the pups' pedigrees are proudly displayed in the living room!

I also picked up some frames last week to display my niece’s paintings that had been a Christmas gift for me – they look much better in the frames than on the fridge!

Future art student!

And, as I mentioned the other day, I got a carpet for the kitchen.  It’s still taking some getting used to, though it’s definitely cut down on the obvious dirt and warmed up the kitchen.  Plus, the dogs LOVE it.  It’s just made it abundantly clear that my kitchen needs a new coat of paint…I’m thinking grey!

The boys are thinking " we like this or not?"


The brown walls just no longer suit the room!

So that’s the status of the house tonight! I’ve got plans to take a little trip to Lowes for some paint this weekend, hopefully for the kitchen and the downstairs bath (yes, yes, I still need to finish the hallway), and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the piece I need for the hutch FINALLY comes tomorrow, so I can get that finished, show you the final product and actually start using it for some things! One can only hope…

Wordless Wednesday

25 01 2012