The Closet, a Before and After

7 02 2012

Finally! I managed to get some shots of the closet today.  I didn’t exactly take a before and after picture, but because I only painted one closet, you can get the idea of what it looks like:

Better, right?

It’s amazing too, that the white doors make the room brighter because they reflect the light when it’s on at night. It’s great.

The thing that’s a bit strange is that the trim on the right hand closet seems to lean to the right towards the bottom (of the middle piece). It’s not that it looks that way in the picture so much as it looks that way in person, and there’s a gap at the bottom of the door.

I need to rehang the doors a bit better, but after moving the rollers on the one door, it occurred to me that it was more a two person job.

For some other shots…

Here you can see that I painted the inside of the closet a nice light grey. I think it offers a nice contrast to the white, and makes the inside of the closet seem so clean and crisp.

I should point out that you don’t want to be fooled by how clean this closet is. I left the doors on the left closet closed for a reason – that’s where all of my clothes are.  This closet is kept mostly empty so that there’s room for a man’s clothes (at some point – all about making room, right?).

I’ve got a nice basket to hold the pillows that are on my bed when it’s made (admittedly, that’s rare these days).

And here’s a closeup of the design I stenciled on the door. I used a smaller one than in the guest room because I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy.  Plus, I don’t want the room to feel too feminine, so I thought the small touch would be nicer.  You can see here that it bled a little behind the stencil, but I think I made it work.

And here’s the other side of the closet.  Originally, I was storing this print in here – it had been above my bed, but I found a painting of a couple walking in the rain in Paris that I just fell in love with. So off to the closet it was with this one.  I didn’t want to just chuck everything back in the closet, but this actually worked rather nicely atop the small set of drawers in there, so I went with it. And yes, I know there are approximately four pants hangers in here and nothing else, but I’m hoping to go through my closet and change that!

Another of my projects ended up being this piece of wall in between the two closets – the screw anchor I’d used here to secure the hook to the wall had fallen out, and was creating a general mess (the hook kept falling out of the wall, and it just looked bad). So I patched it up with a little bit of drywall spackle, and painted over the whole thing with the original color to match it (I even had the forethought to paint the edge of the trim on the other closet so that I won’t have to repeat the process when I paint that one).

I rehung the hook in a different spot and voila – I like this hat here for two reasons – the first is that it obviously keeps the hat in good shape (I love this hat, though I’ve yet to wear it out actually) and the second is that the original feel of the room that I was going for was a British colonial one, with the dark walls, dark wood and white shutter-type doors, along with my bamboo shades.  So this hat really lends itself to that theme nicely.

You can also see here the off-white color of the original trim, and how dark the original closet doors look in comparison to the painted ones. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the trim in the room and the doors!


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!

Painting the Hallway

20 09 2011

My mom says she’s created a monster with my sister and I, because we both have addictions to painting.  When I moved in, I painted everything in the house (except the trim) and read somewhere that you’re supposed to paint every two years (who has TIME for that??).  Even though I’m not planning to do anything of the sort, I did want to paint the hallway for two reasons – one, I wasn’t loving the color of it after I’d painting the closet and bedroom doors, and it looked so dingy next to the bright white and two, I have a basset hound who drools.  Ordinarily, the drool is caught by furniture in the way, which I can easily wipe off.  But in the hallway, it ends up on the walls, and no amount of scrubbing makes them look perfectly clean.  So it was time to paint!

I chose a color from a magazine that I thought was yellow.  It turns out it wasn’t.  It’s more like a very light tan, which was a bit depressing, as I realized that brown in the hallway makes it feel darker (there’s no natural light directly in the hallway).  But my mom convinced me that it does the job of brightening things up, and looks lovely and fresh.

I got through one can of paint before I realized I’d need a second, and lost my head of steam by the time I picked up the second can.  So this is all the progress I’ve made so far – I must try to finish this after my trip, or someone will see it before long!



After (still wet) - hard to tell that there's a difference at all, unless you see the two colors next to each other.

It does look yellow here!

In the last picture, you can see the difference between the two colors, and I admit that it does seem to brighten up the hallway – changing the CFL bulb in the one light fixture that I did paint up there to a regular “reveal” bulb from GE also made a HUGE difference.

So I’ve got to dig deep for my painting motivation and finish this up soon!

Small Home Projects

16 09 2011

While I’ve always got an endless number of big projects planned, it’s the little ones that I end up procrastinating! So I finally started working on getting a lot of the little stuff done – I tweaked my back when I moved the closet doors from the guest room a few weeks ago, so I’ve been trying to be careful of it and not do too much lifting.

I managed to finally get every electrical outlet and light switch in my house changed out for updated ones.  No small feat, let me tell you, and one hiccup last weekend that my dad was able to solve.  It makes me so happy!

Since you can only seen an electrical socket so many times, I thought I'd show you the tools I use instead

I also did a few other electrical things. I replaced the back outdoor light with a matching one to the front (and PS, my next door neighbors’ front light just stopped working, so they replaced it with one not too dissimilar to mine. I’ve started a trend!).

I also wanted to replace the light fixtures in my upstairs and downstairs halls – they have a gold-ish base, which makes them look so dated.  I looked a number of fixtures, and couldn’t find any I liked that weren’t incredibly expensive.  So my mom suggested that I spray paint the fixtures with the same bronze paint that I’d used for the light over my sink. Brilliant!  There’s still one left to do, but I need someone to spot me while I take it down and put it back up, because it’s just a bit out over the stairs.  I’m still trying to figure out why they put it there in the first place. I’m not even sure I could change the bulb if it blew!


And after! MUCH better

And speaking of light fixtures – you’ll remember that I said that the glass in the recessed fixture above my sink was broken.  I planned to get a new piece of glass cut, but saw instead a piece of plastic that they use for fluorescent lights.  I got a big piece and decided to cut it myself.  That’s not as easy as it sounds – the plastic does crack a bit when you cut it. I initially tried with a utility knife, but it wasn’t doing the job, so I got out my gardening shears (I’m all about MacGyver-ing it) and used those.  Even though it chipped a bit, you can’t tell when it’s in the fixture.

The after - looks good!

I also noticed that one of my smoke detectors was fairly old and dated looking.  I just wanted to replace the cover, as I did with my hardwired doorbell, so I picked up a cheap one.  Of course, it didn’t work! But I had an inspiration and decided to spray paint it white, since the paint works with plastic.  So I did that!


After! Looks like it was always this way!

I also added a new shade to the back door and put up a wall cling in the kitchen…

Also during my vacation, I decided to give myself the gift of one of those address signs for the front of my house! I didn’t photograph the whole sign, since I don’t want to be publishing my address! But I did get a corner of it to give you an idea.  And as a note – when you’re going to be hanging a sign on brick, you want to use a masonry bit…and a hammer drill. I had a regular drill and wasn’t getting anywhere with it, until my neighbor rescued me and lent me his hammer drill. Much easier!

It’s been busy busy around here!

Guest Room Closet – Painting

3 08 2011

As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on painting the trim upstairs. I thought I’d start with the guest room, since I’d already gone through the closet in there and cleaned it out.  Since it was ridiculously hot last weekend, I decided to pull the doors off of the closet (they can’t be painted in place anyway since they overlap slightly) and take them downstairs to prime and paint.

Once I’d taken everything out of the closet, I also realized that the inside of the closet was equally gross – don’t forget that the guest room is formerly the AIDS cat room (the previous owner’s cat, not a pet of mine!).  So I decided to paint that as well. I didn’t want to leave it just white – I really liked what I’d done downstairs in the closet, painting it the same dark blue as the center wall.  I wasn’t going to use the same blue in this closet, since the room is green, so I chose the leftover paint from the downstairs bathroom for the closet’s interior.

I started with the doors though, and what a PAIN the slats were!

The Before

After primer

I primed the doors first, since I was starting with wood.  Then, I put three coats of white paint on each of them.

Much nicer!

As I was painting the doors, I thought that they looked a bit stark.  The bottom part of the door looked like a blank canvas to me, so I had the idea to put a stencil on there and paint a design.

It was a lot of work, but it was worth it! I picked up a stencil and stencil adhesive to avoid paint bleeding through.  The stencil was in two pieces that overlayed, so I painted one on each door first, two coats, let them dry and then switched.  There was some bleed through of the paint, so then I took a small paintbrush and fixed the white and black paint to get the final design.  It really looked beautiful.

In the meantime, I was also working on the closet. I started with this:

You get to miss out on the grody stuff at the bottom

After the first coat - already much better!

Along with the closet and doors, I was also painting the rest of the trim in the room bright white.  I also moved all the furniture to make sure that all the trim was painted.

I did two coats of paint in the closet, and painted the shelf and bar bright white.

Pretty nice!

You can also see that I painted the metal door hanger white, which really made the closet look better!

After a bit of a struggle to get the closet doors back on, including dropping one of them right on my foot (ouch!), the room was done and looking beautiful!

So clean looking! And I flipped the shelf over so that it would even out again (it was slightly bowed).  It should really be braced better in the center, so I’ll be looking in to how to do that.

I should also mention that I had found the small round door pulls in silver at Lowes a few months ago – I used a hammer and flat head screwdriver to remove the old brass ones, and then hammered in the new ones once I was finished with the doors.  I was really happy to see that I could replace all the hardware!

The final product!

Because the doors are a stark white, they really brighten up the room in that corner, even when the shade is down and hte lights are off.  I’m so pleased with them, and look forward to painting the remaining doors in my bedroom and office! I also picked up some light gray paint for the insides of those two closets, as well as the hall closet.  Soon, pretty much every surface in the house will have been painted!

Painting, Painting, Painting!

30 07 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been busily painting the trim in my house.  It has been on my to-do list for a WHILE, but it’s such a tedious, frustrating job, so I’ve been putting it off since I started with the trim in my front hallway and living room a few months ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to find the motivation to paint my upstairs hallway, and was trying to decide if that was the project I wanted to start – or if I wanted to do something else.

But something other than the hallway caught my eye…this:

The door to my backyard

It’s gets a lot of abuse because Barney is often over there for dinner or when he goes outside, and does a lot of head shaking – which means there’s a lot of drool flung in that general direction.  It was just looking a little tired.

I had my trim paint already, so I thought I’d give this a go.  But I’d recently been inspired – rather than painting it a boring white to match the other trim, I decided to spice it up a bit.

First, I painted the trim around the door and the windows:

I didn't tape around the windows because I could just scrape the dried paint off the glass

Then, I painted the rest of the door the same blue as my accent wall.

What a difference!

This was taken the same night as I finished painting (you can see I have the door ajar).  I put the blinds back up the next day, but of course, they’re off-white (like every surface in this darn house when I moved in!), so they’re looking a little tired too.  I’ll replace those at some point!

But I can’t believe what a difference it’s made! I filled in some holes that had been created by previous window treatments (none mine) and the paint just changes the whole feel of that part of the house. I really love it!

Have you ever done something a little unexpected in your decorating that you really loved? (Or hated?)