Posts Tagged ‘Makeover’

You know how you should never tempt fate without knocking wood?   Saying that I thought we were just about done with the dining room, well, that was just silly on my part.   From here on out, I will accept that the house is always evolving and changing with us.

So, when last we spoke, Justin and I were lovingly debating whether the back wall in the dinning room needed anything else.

I smugly said no.  I was wrong.

Joann Fabrics was having an excellent sale this past weekend and I was there picking up fabric for a side project I will soon be sharing with you.  Justin and Audrey came with me and when I let Justin out of my sight for a few minutes, he came back with a literal arm load of picture frames, all 1/2 off.  That man of mine sure can spot a bargain!


So much for the bead and batten board.  I have to say though, I think I like this better.



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The best house projects are the ones that Justin gets involved with. It automatically skips the steps where I have to lobby for an idea or theme. Case in point, the dining room.

dining room

Our first joint purchase as cohabitators in 2006, was the bistro dining room table.  We bought that together and our parents each bought us chairs.   It was a fun set to have for entertaining and we used the extra two chairs to eat at the kitchen counter.  Unfortunately though, we realized quickly that a) you couldn’t substitute in a regular height chair for larger dinner parties so someone was either standing or eating at the coffee table and b) a little person would never be able to get up in the chair on their own for meals.  Also, Neuman and Piper the dogs had both done a number on the foot rest part of the chairs during their chewy puppy phase.  It was not pretty.

Luckily, I had a great family heirloom table waiting for me in my parents’ basement.  When we made the switch, we kept three of the bistro chairs, the three that hadn’t been chewed to bits by wild animals, with the intention of painting them white.  So far I’ve got one chair kind of spray painted.  I am so out of my depth with spray painting, being a tried and true paint brush kind of gal.  That will be a project for the warmer months.

While we were making changes, the $20 chandelier had to go too.   I’ll always have a soft spot for the old guy.  He was Justin’s first attempt at home electrical work and he knocked out power to the back of the house during the install.  Sam the local electrician had to come in to bat clean up.  In Justin’s defense, Ikea light figures are notoriously a bit wonky to install.

Justin actually picked the new chandelier out. It ties in beautifully with the brushed metal knobs and light fixture in the kitchen.  Time and experience has made him an excellent amateur electrician, so this install was a breeze.   Although, looking at the pictures, I think we might need to add a few extra rings to drop it down a bit.   I had also painted the ceiling white which makes the room look a lot brighter.


In January, Justin, Audrey and I happened to be in Ikea in New Haven shopping for who knows what and on our way to the check out, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a turquoise chair. I love the color turquoise and use it as an accent color all over the house. The chair was the absolute perfect color but and this was a big but, it was a metal folding chair.


I had never seen a turquoise chair before and definitely never seen a turquoise folding chair. I knew immediately though that a funky fun chair would work with our very classic looking dining table. While we didn’t actually fight, there was a mooning and some serious discussion about the chairs in the Ikea warehouse that day and in the end, we left with only two of the chairs for a “trial run”. A few days later two more chairs appeared. In a perfect world, I’d love to have six, but marriage and decorating is compromise. Trust me.


Now that we’ve gotten the room mostly complete, someone thinks they might want to install some bead and batten board this weekend.  Well, I’m on board with that.  Ha Ha.

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One last thing, Justin wants to put something in the corner of the room in between the window and the floating shelves.  I say no, but what do you think?


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As you may or may not have noticed during our kitchen renovation was the hugely messy pantry closet. The contractors took the door off to replace the flooring, so our disorganized mess of a closet was on view for everyone. I finally hit a wall on that this weekend.


I’ve tried to hunt down storage baskets for a while now and was pretty shocked at how $$ they can be. I hit the jackpot this weekend though while I was picking up supplies for my Thanksgiving Weekend Project (you’re going to want to hang our for that). Joanne Fabrics was having a 50% off sale on storage baskets so I scored five!

I started with cleaning out the closet of everything, sorting into piles of non-expired food, doggie stuff and kitchen supplies. Then I pulled out the shelves and painted them with a semi-gloss white to match all the trim in the house (I always have a can or two of the trim paint in the house for those quick touch ups).

I asked Justin how he felt about a color. I had leftover turquoise paint from when I painted a roadside find table about two years ago. The paint was a semi-gloss though, more appropriate for furniture or trim. It was also bright turquoise, a bit scary for an actual wall. To fix both problems, I dropped in some white paint specific for kitchens and bathrooms and mixed. The color mellowed out a bit.

What we both liked about the color immediately is that it matches some of our kitchen accessories (our cast iron pot and nesting bowls that are on display on top of the fridge), plus once we put the door back on, it will be our secret and not as visible as it is in the picture above. And yes, those are the baskets I bought sitting on top of the dishwasher.

I started sorting food items into the baskets. I’m not sure if this will be practical long-term, but I’m going give it a shot.

So here it is as of now before we put the door back on. The kitchen guys will be back to run the Whitewashed Pine Pergo Flooring into the closet and drop baseboard trim in there too. I’ll go back in then and touch up the trim that I hit with the blue paint brush. I also put a secret message in there to honor the renovation.

So as I mentioned earlier, stay tuned because this week is going to be nuts. The counter top gets templated tomorrow and the contractors come back this week to finish up installing the small stuff. I know I left a bit of a cliff hanger last week, but everything is A OKAY! I’ll also be starting a pretty ambitious bathroom project. I can’t wait!

I hope everyone has a great short week.


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Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. 
When we moved into our condo, we knew that making over each room to our taste was going to be a continuous work in progress.  
One room that we have always wanted to tackle but couldn’t come up with thousands of dollars to do so was the kitchen.  We do an impressive amount of entertaining.  I have found myself a bit embarrassed about how dated the kitchen looked with its all beige, all the time style. 
After what was the longest winter in my own memory, I took charge and decided to just go nuts with it.  I set a $150 dollar budget for the entire project and a three day weekend to get it all done.  I’m talking countertops, cabinets, the works.  I was in school this winter every other weekend, so free time was at an absolute premium.  Now, my loving husband knows when I get that look in my eye and I’ve sent him detailed email lists of what I’ve got in mind to just safely back away from the Kate.  This particular project was no different, except that he would frequently poke his head in the kitchen to make sure I wasn’t destroying the most important room in the house.  This was all me and if it failed, I no doubt would have never heard the end of it.
Without further ado…here are the before shots:


Before you start, it is really important to scrub the heck out of the countertops.

Doing ALL of the dishes beforehand? Nah... I spy a Piper.

My first decision was to re-surface the countertops.  After a great deal of googling, I found this great product called Giani Granite Kits.  It is a specialty paint that changes your countertop laminate surface into a granite finish.  I won’t go into too much detail, because they get PLENTY of free advertising on other home blogs, but needless to say, it was well worth the cost and pretty easy if you followed the instructions.  One minor tweek:  Get a sea sponge roller and paint the paint on it.  Don’t dip directly into the paint.  Trust me on this.

Step 1: Paint it black, which is, in a word, terrifying.

No going back now.


It dries in an almost chalkboard matte. Good thing we weren't stopping here though.

These are the three paint colors that you sponge onto the countertops to create the granite look.

Not too bad for some paint, am I right?


My other decision was to wallpaper over the existing cabinets with paintable bead board (or wainscoting, depending on where ya’ll are from) wallpaper.  In full disclosure, this was my first time wallpapering.  I have a feeling that I might have to re-do some of the cabinets in the future, but for now, it will do.  Yes, indeed, it.will.do.


 The wallpaper process required removal, cleaning,  painting and wallpapering of ALL of the cabinets.  I still wonder what kind of crazy I was operating under that weekend to get it all done and how I can tap into that energy source for other projects.

The high gloss finish comes with the Giani kit.

Close up of countertops and drawer fronts. Sooo pretty.

And there you have it folks.  For under $150 bucks and a weekend you can turn your dated, laminate kitchen into something beautiful. 


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Back during the days of endless Summer, I had a rocking chair that I was tasked with giving a makeover to.  You might remember from this post.  It was a fun job.  Due to some shipping challenges with the fabric, the project got shelved. 

Finally, as the days got cooler and the leaves started to change colors, the fabric arrived and it was time to shake a tail feather and get that rocking chair back to its rightful owner (and outta my garage). 

This is what the rocking  chair looked like the day I picked it up.  It had some wear on the arms from being an obviously well-loved piece of furniture and the owner wanted to update the fabric seat to match her newly designed living room space. 

I promptly took it home and started gently sanding off the old stain.  Our original plan was to re-stain the piece, but in the end, a rich, dark chocolate paint seemed to be a better fit.

After being painted!

After the paint was dry, the chair came into the house for the last step of its makeover.  The fabric that the client picked out was truly gorgeous. 

It was hard to say goodbye to my friend, the rocking chair.  I hope that it enjoys its new look as much as I do!


p.s.  The third floor is just about finished with its magical makeover.  Check back later this week for the fabulous Before & After shots.

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