Tuesday, March 27, 2012

living room transformation: part II

As you saw here, we started the living room transformation by creating some chevron art above the fireplace.  And next on the "to do" list was updating the fireplace insert.  As much as I love brass, it had to go.  It looked like this before:

Cozy didn't mind the brass.
So, on a day off, I decided on spur of the moment that I was going to spruce up our fireplace.  I went to Ace Hardware and found some primer spray paint specifically for metal.  It's best to prime before you paint - especially when the object you're painting is a slick surface.  I also found some "high heat" spray paint in a silver color - kind of like this.  

The nerve-wracking fun part was taking the insert out to prepare for painting.  I had never done this so I just started unscrewing things.  Dirt, soot, and cement were flying!  I was starting to worry that I wouldn't be able to get the insert back in. After I got it out, I was able to clean things up.  I used a wire brush to loosen dirt and soot off the brick.  We have a gas log fireplace so it wasn't as dirty as a wood-burning fireplace would be.  After I got it out, the fireplace looked like this:

Then, I taped the glass off with painter's tape and started spray painting.  The nice thing about spray paint is how quickly you can re-coat.  

After it was nice and dry, I was able to put it back together without difficulty.  Here is before:

And after:


At Christmas:

Doesn't it look bright and happy?  What a quick and cheap way to update a fireplace!  Total cost was around $10.  I had looked online for custom inserts to replace this one, and the one I found and loved was a whopping $3000.  Hmm, no thanks.  I'd rather buy a couple cans of spray paint and do it myself. 

I got it done before Ehren got home from work.  When he got home, I said, "notice anything different?"  Poor guy frantically looked around the house trying to figure out what I had done for fear of disappointing me.  But never fear, my colorblind, not-so-typical husband noticed!  And he approved.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

living room transformation: part I

One thing that surprises everyone when they walk in our house is how open it is.  The dining room, kitchen, and living room run along the back end of the house without any walls separating them.  (Thanks to our friends who did major remodeling over the years). I love being able to cook in the kitchen without being cut off from the rest of the house/people.  Since the living room is the main gathering point of the house and where we spend most of our time, I wanted to make it more my our style.  These next 6-ish posts will be about how we gradually transformed our living room to what it is now... but you'll have to be patient until the final reveal.

Here is what our living room looked like shortly after we moved in.  Don't you love how the fireplace extends to the top of the vaulted ceiling?  This is the view while standing in the kitchen:

I decided that since the space above the mantle on the fireplace was so large, it needed a big piece of artwork that "pops" and is the focal point.  The piece of artwork above is the one that's in our bedroom which you may remember from here and is obviously too small for that space.  I thought about buying a print, but then decided I wanted it to be original.  Plus, buying a print AND buying a large frame could really add up and be more expensive than I wanted.

So, back in November when I was really diggin' the chevrons I came to the conclusion that some zig-zag artwork would work.  I drove out to Michael's to get a large canvas (36" x 48") and some craft paint.  I decided to do yellow because it's a pretty neutral color without being too contrasty to the white.  My other thought was grey, but the walls are grey and I didn't want the room to be too monotone.

I made a stencil that was approximately 12 inches wide and 4 inches tall, then taped it off with painter's tape so I would have a smooth line for outlining the chevrons.

I started in the middle so there would be a centered chevron (I'm a type A person and everything has to be balanced).  I measured along the way to make sure everything was straight and even.

I kept going until someone stole my stencil.

After tracing, I taped it off with painter's tape.

The original yellow paint that I got was a little too sunshine-y for me, so I toned it down by adding a little white and a tiny amount of black.  Then I slapped on the yellow paint.

After impatiently waiting for the paint to dry, it was time for the best part: ripping off the tape and viewing the final product!

After doing a few touch ups, I finally got to put it on the mantle.  I feel like the size of the canvas fits perfectly above the fireplace.

I also painted the mantle black a while back.  I got the two vases from Home Goods (one of my all-time favorite home stores.)  I bought them before we moved in but before I swiped the card I had to get the approval from Ehren... because his opinion doesn't matters.

This was the first step in transforming our living room.  It's crazy to look at our living room NOW compared to what it looks like in this post.  The chevron painting still looks a little too contemporary against the brick and brass fireplace... but just you wait.  Those transformations are coming. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

d.i.o. headboard

Back in November, I decided I was tired of our college-looking, sans headboard bed.  Obviously, with a new house, new exciting expenses (i.e. shovels, lawn mower, garden hose, ladder), we didn't want to spend $600 on a new headboard.  So I put my D.I.O. (do it ourselves) thinking cap on and thought of some  options.  I love the look of the massive headboards in nice hotels and wanted the same for our room. 

So, we headed to Home Depot to check things out.  First, we thought about using MDF boards (2'x4') and drilling them into the wall.  But then the headboard would be about 2 feet wider than the bed and we didn't want that.  We walked over to the doors and windows section and checked out the hollow, panel doors. We decided to go with three 28"x80"doors at $23 a piece.  This way, it would only be about 2" on each side of the mattress yet tall enough to have the dramatic look I wanted.


We had to remove the random, 1970s light and light switch so we could add the doors.

My electrician, Ehren, tucking all the capped wires into the wall so it is flush.  Don't you love the candlestick light?
Up go the doors.  Cozy is already exhausted.
If you ever need advice on a project and you're at Home Depot, my sister said to "ask the oldest man with the dirtiest apron".  When we needed to know how to drill a hollow object into a solid stud, we asked said employee.  He told us there is about 1 solid inch around the perimeter of the doors.  We found the studs in the wall and drilled into them (staying within that solid inch).  We also learned the hard way to make "pilot holes" prior to drilling in the wood screws.  We're learning a lot, I tell ya.

Next, I primed the doors with white, interior primer.  It took about 3 coats to cover completely.  The nice thing about primer is that it dries fast (approximately 1 hour between coats) and rolling it was super quick.  Once it was dry, I started the labor-intensive process off taping off the chevrons.

Since the headboard is seven feet wide, I made each chevron one foot wide.  Five hours later (ughhh) I was done taping and it looked like this...

The easiest part was painting within the tape and the funnest (I know that's not a word) part was ripping off the tape.  The time-consuming taping and measuring was way worth it.

We got new nightstand lights that were more proportional to the height of the bed.  IKEA of course. 

Ooooh, details. 

I'm a little obsessed, can you tell?  I love that it's the focal point of the room.  It has that contemporary, crisp feeling that I'm looking for in this house.  It's amazing what you can do with a few doors and a couple cans of paint.  Plus, Ehren is happy that I saved us at least $500 - who wouldn't be?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

all hands on deck

One of our favorite parts of this house is the deck and the backyard.  The deck was built by our friends (the Nyes) and part of the deck is 25 years old!  That's almost as old as us.  Unfortunately, our deck got no love from the previous owner the 2 1/2 years he lived there.  The wood lacked the rich stain it had before and had algae growing on it.  Since we moved in at the beginning of July, we decided we should take care of it now instead of later.

The hard part of tackling this project was timing it with the weather.  Once you clean it, you have to wait 2 rain-free days for it to dry out and before you can stain it.  We used this deck cleaner and scrubbed and power-washed away.  It took most of the day to clean the deck.  We could not believe the difference it made.

On the left, you can see the clean wood compared to the pre-cleaned wood on the right:

The cleaner.. doin' it's job:

Doesn't it look better?  2 1/2 years worth of dirt, grime, bird poop, and algae... gone!

Oh hey, hot tub. 

After the deck dried out, we had to check the forecast before we could stain it - it can't rain for 2 days after you stain it.  And, since it's an all-day(s) project, we had to make sure the rain-free days fell after a weekend.  So, our project was delayed a little bit.  

Once again, since we knew the previous, previous owners, we called them up and asked what kind of stain they used.  They used this in "oxford brown".  

The deck stain made such a difference on the naked wood:

After an entire day and before the sun finally set, we finished.  It was the most painful project we've done yet.  Since we had to stain between the boards, we used a brush and got on our hands, knees, hips, and butts.  We had bruises on our tibial tuberosities, greater trochanters, ischial tuberosities and lateral malleoli (for you anatomy nerds out there).  And because mosquitoes love me and don't care about Ehren, I was even more miserable.  But so worth it!

After we finished this project, we realized this deck was larger than our previous rental.  Looks like we're moving up in the world... on bruised knees. 

Cozy enjoyed the newly stained deck on the day his manhood was bruised (fixed):

And look how pretty the oxford brown looked during the fall:

Staining our deck was worth the pain, but we're definitely dreading the next time we have to do it.  Until then, we will enjoy it. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Welcome to your new home... and your flooded basement.

Okay, so it wasn't flooded.  That's an exaggeration.  However, I was not a happy homeowner when I did the first walk through and found water in our basement.  When the movers unhooked the previous owner's washer, they didn't realize there was a slow, dripping leak... that leaked 2 whole days between them moving out and us moving in.  The cabinets, wood paneling, bathroom vanity, and carpets soaked up most of the water and were therefore ruined.  Within an hour of moving in, All-Pro was here, and to prevent mildew and other yucky things, everything was ripped out and trashed.  And as a bonus, we got to listen to the jet engine-like fans for the next two days. 

First thing I saw when I walked down to the basement - wet carpet!

Water went through the walls and into the bathroom, ruining the bathroom vanity.

The culprits.  Gross, huh?

Luckily, the previous owner agreed to pay for whatever it took to bring the laundry room and bathroom to status quo.  (Even though we technically owned it).  We got an estimate from a restoration company in Lawrence, and it was a staggering $2,850.  A little ridiculous for an unfinished laundry room if you ask me.  We decided we could do it ourselves (with help from someone who knows what he's doing).  So we ventured to Home Depot to figure out how much it would cost for supplies.

Bead board (pretty paneling): $200
Utility cabinet: $120
Bathroom vanity: $150

A lot cheaper than $2,850!  But then to make it what we wanted and more of a room, we added more.

Sheet rock: $72
Baseboards: $40
Paint for cabinet and cupboard: $30
Carpet: free from my aunt and uncle's house

The paneling was ripped out and part of the shelving removed in order to replace the entire wall:

We decided to sheet rock underneath the bead board to prevent warping and to make it more of a solid wall:

Cozy and Chalmers - being helpful as always:

Putting their heads together:

It's becoming a room!  And I did more than take pictures; I learned to sheet rock and mud. 

Adding finishing touches.  Notice the seam molding and framed hot and cold faucets:

Original cupboards hung (I think they were the original kitchen cupboards from the 70s). We cut the countertop to the length of the new cabinets. 

Finished!  I painted the bottom black and the top grey.  I love how the white walls keep the basement laundry room looking bright. We cut the carpet scrap from my aunt and uncles house to fit the room.  It makes the room a lot warmer and comfortable. 

Notice the indoor clothes line?  I had to get matching storage bins that coordinated with the new laundry room.  I am my mother's daughter, you know?  Cozy says "hi!", I think he found a bug.  

And then of course my Jayhawk mural.  It took about an hour to free-hand this onto the wall in pencil:

Then another 2 hours to paint it using the same paint I used for the cabinets:

As an added bonus, we learned a lot of new skills from my sister's friend during this project that we will be able to use in future projects.  

The laundry room turned out better than I expected.  I guess you could say that I'm glad we had water in our basement when we moved in!  I love doing laundry with our new washer and dryer - that actually washes and dries clothes!  (It used to take 2+ hours to dry a load at our old place, which made laundry and all weekend ordeal.)  Now that our laundry room is actually a room with walls, pretty white bead board, and my favorite Jayhawk it's even more fun!

the black plague, part III: front door

Now the black plague has moved to the front door.  While I think the "rustic" and "distressed" look has its place, I do...

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