Monday, April 30, 2012

Demolition of the Granite Breakfast Bar

We had yet another productive weekend at the McKeown Residence. We demo'd what was called a breakfast bar by the listing agent. I don't know in what capacity this ever served as one, but it didn't function as that for us. 

I do like the idea of the breakfast bar because I stand there with my cup of coffee and watch Maddie play in the mornings. When we have parties, people stand up there with their drinks and mingle. However, I just don't like the look the of the granite tiles. The hole that you see in the wall was not original to the house and added by a previous owner. So, in order for this to flow more seamlessly with the house and not look like a home DIY project, we had to say good bye to the granite tiles.

Demolition begins.

Then we removed the three layers of plywood that supported the granite tiles to reveal the studs.

Next we placed a single piece of synthetic wood and attached with finish nails. Sorry for the awkward picture.

Then we added some crown molding underneath. 

Then finished the ends by cutting returns from scrap crown molding.

Next, we filled the nail holes with wood filler, sanded and painted. We hand brushed the paint to give the surface more texture, since we didn't use a real wood. 

We also put three coats of a polycrylic protective finish on the top. 

Here is what we have so far.

I think it looks A LOT better. It flows with the rest of the house and transitions better from the dining room to the living room. It still has the same functionality as before. I can set a cup of coffee on there or lean on it while I watch Maddie or catch the news in the morning. 

I still need to do some touch up paint on the walls before I can move the furniture back into the room. I will be working on that today.

Here is one more before and after shot.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Pia Side Table Look-A-Like: Part 2

I saved the best for last this week. I finally finished the Crate & Barrel look-a-like side table that I have been modifying. Considering the price, I am pretty happy with results. To read my earlier post, you can click here.

When the FedEx box arrived at the front door, I was eager to get to work.  I put it together first to make sure that I had all the pieces and everything fit together. You never know when your furniture arrives in a box. Once assembled and satisfied, I was ready to start.

All I needed for this project was a good ole can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint......

....and a bottle of vinegar. I read somewhere that you can use vinegar to remove finger prints and other residues left on the surface. Some websites say to use spirits and some use a liquid deglosser, but I use vinegar. I think they all accomplish the same goal, which is to clean the surface so that spray paint bonds properly.

I set up in the garage using the cardboard that it came with.

Here is a close up of the color (antiqued black) before I started spray painting. 

Once ready, I started the process of spray painting. I am not going to go into too much detail other than I spray painted 3 coats on each side. There are lots of nooks and crevices in a project like this. So the trick here is to be patient.

Once you have done 3 coats of spray paint, you got stop for at least 24 hours, let it cure, and then you can start again. It helps to rotate each individual piece on its side so you don't miss any spots. 

After six days of spray painting I am excited to show you my new side table.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Entry Way Revamp

I mentioned earlier this week that we had a busy weekend. In addition to installing new base board and painting our master bedroom, we also revamped our entry way.  It used to look like this when you walked in the front door.

Pretty boring and everyone always asked what I planned on doing with the doorbell niche. My thought was that if everyone had to ask about it, then it needed to go. 

When we moved in, we installed a wireless doorbell and really didn't have the need for this niche anyhow. I know some people say it gives charm and character, but for me it just made the house look dated. To help us fix this, we called the help of my amazing, wonderful and handy Dad. We bribed him with dinner and wine he showed up with tools in hand. Here is how to frame in a doorbell niche.

Step 1: Frame in the niche with wood.

Step 2: Cut drywall to fit hole and attach with drywall screws.

Step 3: Tape

Step 4: Apply mud over the tape.

Step 5: Let dry and then sand.

Step 6: Apply joint compound while matching existing texture on wall. Luckily for us, my Dad re-textured all the walls before we moved into the house, so he was very familiar with the texture we used. If your wondering, we used a texture called "imperfect smooth".

Step 6: Let dry and then sand again. This is a very messy process. Lay tarps down and be prepared to dust tirelessly for the next couple weeks.

Those two dark patches are spots where the texture hadn't dried yet.

Step 7:  All that is left to do now is a coat of primer and then 1-2 coats of paint. Our paint color is called Snip of Tannin by Kelly Moore Paints.

Here is the final product. I hope you like it!

The work never ends. We will soon be tackling the front door, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Master Bedroom Baseboards

This weekend was crazy productive for us.  I'll start with the master bedroom because last week, I wrote about the progress happening in there on this post. Remember this list of things left to do in the master?

1. Install new base board.

2. Install crown molding.

3. Replace light fixture with either a smaller fan, chandelier or recessed can lights.

4. Finish paint touch ups. 

Well, we accomplished two more on the list and can now cross off item #1 and item #4.

Pretty much everyone has some form of baseboard in their home, but until you live without it, you can't really appreciate how much it adds to the look of the room. Here is what it used to look like.

Our walls also had patches of wall putty on them like this.

We had to clear the room of everything inside, which turned the guest room into a hoarders worst nightmare.

Luckily it was just temporary and now our master bedroom looks A LOT better. 

Back to normal!

Monday, April 23, 2012

5 Reasons to Have Indoor Plants

We were cleaning out the garage last weekend and were trying to clear up some of the clutter. My husband kept telling me, "If you aren't using it, then get rid of it". So when he came across a perfectly good pot for an indoor plant, I had to "use it".

So off to Home Depot I went to look for an indoor plant. I found what is called Spathiphyllum plant or Peace Lilly and bought it. There are a million different indoor plants, but I picked this one because I liked the way it looks. 

More than just some nice greenery in the corner, it provides much more. Did you know that having indoor plants actually provides you with some benefits? Here are 5 reasons why you should have an indoor plant (or more) too.

1. Plants remove airborne pollutants. Common household items such as furniture, carpet, etc., produce toxins into the air. Plants can significantly reduce the amount inside your home within 24 hours of planting.

2. Plants can reduce headaches and allergies. A study from The University of Agriculture in Norway has found that indoor plants can reduce headaches, sore throats and dry skin by up to 30%.

3. Plants act as a natural humidifier. Plants release around 97% of the water they take in.

4. Plants can make you happy. Studies show that people who care for plants have an improved mood.

5. Plants improve air quality in your home. Remember 7th grade science? Plants need carbon dioxide as part of photosynthesis to produce food so they can grow. Unlike humans, who produce carbon dioxide when they breathe, plants release oxygen. By adding some plants into your home, you can actually increase oxygen levels.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pia Side Table Look-A-Like

I have been lusting after this Pia side table from Crate & Barrel.

The only problem is that it costs $349. If I have learned anything about myself since I started blogging  it would be that I change my style faster than my daughter can gobble down a cookie. So I thought I would start looking online for something similar, but much cheaper.

My requirements were that it be composed somehow of glass and metal. Glass is great because it creates functionality but doesn't take up space like a solid piece. I like metal because I have enough wood objects in the room (wood floors, wood coffee table, wood media stand, wood buffet) and thought it would be good to add some different textures into the room.

 Here is what I found.

It's pretty close right? I think I like it more because of the extra shelf, not to mention the price. The price was $109.99 on!  There is one crucial thing about it that I don't like. The color is antiqued black. My room colors are more in the brown tones so I would need to change that.  Nothing a can of spray paint can't change, which is what I plan on doing. I will be getting my spray paint on and hope to have a finished product for you to see early next week. Stay posted!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Faux Flower

I love, love having fresh flowers around the house. But sometimes, it isn't always budget friendly to have them in every room throughout the year. Especially when the place you want to put them sits right in front of a fireplace. I have been secretly waiting for summer to arrive so that we could shut down our gas fireplace and I could put some fresh flowers on the coffee table. When I was running errands yesterday, I came across this lovely arrangement at Pottery Barn.

This is the perfect solution for the coffee table! I no longer have to wait for summer and can enjoy this faux hydrangea arrangement all year around. It was only $39.50 (free with gift card) and the quality is great.

Coffee table before.

Coffee table after.

 An easy and reasonably inexpensive way to spruce up the house for spring. Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Master Bedroom Progress

Let's take a look at the progress going on in our master bedroom. Remember what this room looked like before we moved in?

Here is a refresher.

It was really bad.  The house was unoccupied for several months prior to us moving in and in desperate need of TLC. The walls were extremely dirty with hand prints and film. The window sills were yellow. The blinds were caked with dust and grime. The hardwood floors had urine stains and rot. The outlets and light switches were original to the house and a brown color. 

After months of work and sweat, here is what we have done so far:

1. Refinished hardwood floors. We went with a stain that was 80% walnut and 20% ebony.

2. Removed old base board.

3. Painted walls. We used a color called Dolphin from the Martha Stewart Collection. It's grey on the swatch, but looks more light blue in our room.

4. Painted window sills and trim. We used a color called Swiss Coffee from Kelly Moore Paints. 

5. We took out the closet doors and installed a wire rod with a white sheer curtain panel. It makes the closet easily accessible and softens the feel of the room.

6. Disinfected wood blinds with TSP solution and reinstalled.

Here is how it looks today.

Here is our list of what we still need to do:

1. Install new base board (we ripped out the old, but haven't put in the new's sitting in the garage).

2. Install crown molding.

3. Replace light fixture with either a smaller fan, chandelier or recessed can lights.

4. Finish paint touch ups. 

Progress is happening!