Friday, July 16, 2010

A little bit of everything

This post is going to be a modge podge of things! (Is that the right saying, or is it hodge podge?). We have finally completed the main living areas to our satisfaction, aside from a few minor decorating things and some non-essential rennovations we'd like to make in the future.

We'll start with the dining room and kitchen. Here is a reminder of what they looked like in the original listing:

In the kitchen we changed out all light fixtures except for the track light that we would like to replace with a track pendant light for island lighting, we painted all the cabinets white inside and out and added hardware, painted the walls and backsplash, replaced the outlets, switches and covers, replaced all appliances except the fridge, had the linoleum replaced by hardwood floors and purchased and re-vamped an island from Craigslist to add some more counterspace. Eventually we would still like to replace our original laminate countertops with granite tile and travertine tile backsplash and replace the sink and faucet and track light.
This is a picture of the food set up after we had the neighbors over for a "get to know you" party.

In the dining room we haven't done much, but we did replace the old window coverings (and added satin ribbon to the ones we purchased from Target), Paul replaced the light fixture, we had the hardwood installed and I re-upholstered our dining chairs with a shower curtain because I just couldn't find any fabric at Joanns that I liked! I still need to find some artwork for the wall next to the dining room table, but I just can't decide on anything that I love yet.

Here is a picture from the original listing of the family room:
There has already been a post where I explained most of what we did in this room, so I will spare you from the repetition, but there are a few things that have changed:

On this wall I did two stencils around the collage of black frames. I still feel like the art display is a little disproportionate to the wall because it looks too small, but that is the way it is staying for now. Maybe in the future I will paint over the stencils and add a row on the bottom and a row on one side, making it a collage of 18, instead of 10.

After searching for months on Craigslist and not finding anything that met Paul's approval for a desk, we broke down and bought one at Target. I replaced the knob with a pretty blue ceramic knob from Hobby Lobby, but I don't think you can tell in this picture. I like the size of the quilt on the wall, but you'll notice the corkboard to the left of the desk on the floor. I would like to hang that next to the quilt on that wall and pin cards and letters that we get to it, but Paul doesn't like the idea, so instead it is still sitting in the same spot as in the picture where it's been for the last month. :-) I'm hoping if it sits there long enough, maybe he'll decide it would look better on the wall than on the floor! ;-)

To remind you of what the formal living room looked like in the original listing:

We did a ton of "work" (meaning really simple things to make it look better) in this room! I scrubbed down the fireplace to get the bricks looking bright and rich again, we had the dirty 20 yr old blue carpet replaced with hardwood, did all the switches and outlets, recovered the roman shades and added curtains that I made, painted the walls and the rest of it is just decorating and furnishing!

A slightly different angle where you can see what we have along the right wall where the previous owners had their sofa table.

This is the view from the front entry way.

I am including this picture from our previous apartment to show how I transformed a piece of artwork. Notice the black frame on the wall in the upper lefthand corner. I bought it at Michael's on clearance for $5 knowing I wanted to turn it into something eventually. In our apartment it remained as it had when I bought it:
To make it go with our lighter color palette I painted the edge of the frame white, removed the painting from the center and replaced it with a piece of canvas that I stenciled and painted artwork that I found online and then stapled it down to the frame and covered the staples by lining the canvas with a chocolate brown satin ribbon.

This is a view from the corner window in the formal living room. In the top lefthand corner you can slightly see the doors to our bedroom and bathroom. Eventually those will be replaced with white 6 panel doors. We don't have any artwork on this wall yet, as it is so huge that it leaves a lot of opportunity!

With a little (not so good, because I didn't want to spend too much time on it) photoshopping, you can see what I have in mind as far as the art for this wall. They sell this "clock" out of Britain and it comes with the 12 different colored frames and the clock mechanism. I think it would be a fun way to display some photos and little pieces of art that can easily be changed out when my mood changes. :-) It's easier than committing to one large permanent piece!
There you have it! The next two projects are the downstairs guest bedroom and our Master bedroom, but I doubt if either of them will get completely finished before the end of the summer considering Paul and I have to be back to school in less than a month! Yikes! Hope everyone else is enjoying their summer, ours sure is flying by!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Coffee Table Ottoman

I knew I wanted to make this project so I had my eyes on the lookout on Craigslist for the perfect coffee table for the job. We found this one for $20 and it was the shape I needed and had two drawers-I always love more storage! It was a little beat up from the previous owner but was sturdy, so it still fit the bill. I sanded the entire thing down, primed it and then painted it with a couple coats of black paint. I had Paul's help to cut down the legs about 5" so it was at more of a typical coffee table height. Then I added some blue antique looking knobs and got to work on the top. For the top, I measured where I wanted my buttons to be, marked them by making a criss-cross design on the top, and drilled the holes. I then used a spray adhesive to attach my 2" thick organic soy foam to the top. Once that was completed, I poked my upholstery needle up through the foam from the underside of the table, and cut out a little circle of foam right around the needle to allow the button a place to go. I then covered the whole thing with batting and stapled it down. I then laid the fabric over the top and attached the buttons that I made using a button kit from Joanns. I just folded the pleats as I went, but this was the hardest part and isn't a necessary step in the process, I just liked the look. After the buttons were all sewn on, I stapled my fabric around all of the edges! It is much more cozy in our living room now! I am glad I did this project because Paulie and I have never owned a coffee table that we DIDN'T use as an ottoman anyway, so this is perfect! I just added a little tray on top so if anyone needs to set a drink down, there is a place to do it!
Materials needed:
Dremmel tool (only for cutting down the legs)
Primer and Paint
Upholstery needle
Upholstery thread/twine
Button making kit from Joanns
2" think foam cut to size
Spray adhesive

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wood Floors

Our cabinet painting project was highly motivated by our desire to get rid of our 1980's linoleum and stained carpet. So as soon as we had that project completed, we called our floor guy up to schedule the installation! In the first picture it gives a close-up of the old linoleum and the second picture is what the house looked like once the carpet had been ripped up and it was officially "under construction". Armando, our flooring guy, told us that he could have the project done in one day...well, little did he know that underneath our linoleum, there was plywood that had been stapled on top of our sub floor that had to be removed before the wood floor could be installed. That removal took almost an entire day! For four full days our house was literally a construction zone with dust coating EVERYTHING! We had sheets up to prevent dust from going into the family room, but we spent hours cleaning up once they were finally done with the installation. Our whole main level looks entirely different now and, although it took longer than we expected, we are definitely happy with the results! All of our main living areas are now officially livable to my standards (of course the linoleum was livable, but the 20 year old stained carpet in our formal living room was a little difficult to deal with, so we avoided the room altogether until now). Hopefully Paul and I can do something with our Master Bedroom come summertime!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cabinet painting project

Here are the pictures from our latest "big" home improvement project: the kitchen. The first picture is from the day we moved in, and the second shows how it looked once Paul installed our new appliances (which work great, especially when compared with their 20+ year old counterparts). We have been putting off having our wood floors installed until we could find the time to paint our cabinets, since we knew it would turn our kitchen area into a complete disaster area, I mean, "construction" zone. :-) We decided to spend our spring break working on this so that we could have adequate time to complete it without other responsibilities vying for our attention. We started immediately on Saturday and spent 6 days total to clean, sand, prime, paint and polyurethane both the insides of the cabinets as well as all the doors. After that was all said and done, we put on the finishing touches, which was the hardware. We worked straight through every day, averaging 12 hour days. At one point I was so sore from all the physical labor that I didn't think I would be able to even get out of bed the next day! To some it may not seem to be a very enjoyable way to spend spring break, but I actually enjoyed it more than I anticipated. I got to spend that time entirely with Paul, we worked great as a team and we both can enjoy our kitchen so much more now, especially since we put in the hard work. Aside from the appliances, we only spent about $100 for the paint, supplies and hardware and it made such a drastic change! Our next plan for the kitchen is to make a kitchen island by hitting up our local restoration yard and re-doing some gem we find there. That project may be a few months away, but I am already planning it, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Before and After: Bookcase

The first picture is the "blank slate" picture of the bookcase we made over. The picture with the furniture in it is what the room looked like the first time we saw the house while the previous owners were still living here. A lot of hours later and the "seen-better-days" bookcase (and our first major project) is re-vamped! Paul had the brilliant idea of adding those white curtains at the bottom so we could hide cords and anything else we wanted to have access to but didn't want to be seen. Paul worked so hard (with the help of his dad, Peter and a little bit from me) to get the tv cut-out perfect and to get it painted to my standard of "finished" and now it serves great purpose and makes our family room look quite cozy in my opinion! I used to not know how we were going to use the family room because the first time we walked through the house the room looked so tiny and dark, but now it is my favorite room in the house!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Late-night Unpacking

This is what happens when Paul starts bringing in boxes from the garage at 10 o'clock at night! And to think we are supposed to have company over tomorrow! Looks like we have a full day ahead of us!