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Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

I didn’t intend to put a lot of effort into the baby’s room, but we just moved into this house and this was my first chance to fully put together a room. Everything else is a coat of paint here, new door knobs there. But here I could take a boring empty (not to mention orange) room and transform it into something I love. I couldn’t resist.

Here is what it looked like when we moved in:

And here is what it looks like now:

The sunlight was drowning out the curtains, so here’s a look at those:

I made them!

Here are a few of my favorite details:

Canvas print of the fortune I got shortly before discovering I was pregnant. Ultrasound pictures. Last name initials.

Alphabet I embroidered inside frame I painted. Elephant hook.

Framed elephant print from Dad. Globe night light.

Elephant globe from Mom.

Dictionary prints in thrift store frames.

Paint swatch mobile.

Elephant mobile.

I had so much fun with this room, and I love how it turned out. Hopefully you do too!

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We finally finished the last painting job we wanted to do before the baby was born. Back when we bought paint for the baby’s room, we also picked up a can for one of the other bedrooms. This was back in early September, and Mike intended to paint both rooms while I was on a business trip. But if you recall, the baby’s room paint job became so much bigger than we anticipated, and it wasn’t finished until mid-October. The other bedroom got postponed as a result.

Finally a couple weeks ago, we moved all the furniture out and Mike prepped the walls for painting. I was at a painting class/party* with some friends one night when Mike put the first coat on the walls. When I took a look the next day, I was appalled. I had picked out what I thought, based on the paint swatch, was a light yellowy-green color. On the walls? Mint chocolate chip ice cream without the chips! This picture doesn’t really show it, but trust me. Mint. Green.

It was awful. And if you’re curious, it was Rice Paddy from Sherwin Williams, which of course looks different on than screen than it it did on the swatch, which was far different than it looked on the walls! Mike didn’t mind it, but I knew I couldn’t live with it. And even though it was a waste of paint and his time, I figured it was better to fix the problem immediately rather than have to move all the furniture out again later when it finally put me over the edge.

We thought about buying some test samples so this wouldn’t happen again, but clearly I suck at picking out paint, so I just wanted to get something boring and neutral and call it good. Maybe we’ll do something fun in the final bedroom or the bathrooms one day. But I just wanted this room done and over with, so boring neutral it was. This time we picked Valspar’s Frappe from Lowe’s.

Yep, just a boring ol’ light grey. I was trying to avoid an all-grey home, but I couldn’t stomach the beiges and tans Mike was suggesting, so we settled on yet another grey. Although, I picked out the mint green, so clearly I should be fired from paint selections! (For the record though, I did choose the colors in the baby’s room and our bedroom, and those both rock.)

Baby’s room – light greyish purple

Our bedroom – light blue/grey

Oh, by the way, those curtains Mike is hanging up there are temporary. I like them, but not with the grey walls. However, almost every room in our home needs curtains, an expense we’ve avoided so far. This room has temporary light blocking curtains because I’m temporarily sleeping in there and I do not do sunlight when I’m trying to sleep!

*You sign up for a one-night class and an instructor helps you paint whatever the art of the day is. We chose a night when they were doing our city’s skyline. There’s also a bar (I had cream soda of course) and you can order in food from a local restaurant. It’s pretty fun. Plus look what we made!

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Getting crafty

Now that the baby’s room is painted and furnitured (it IS a word!), I’m working on some fun decorative projects. Awhile ago I saw an embroidered alphabet that I wanted to replicate, and since embroidered is my thing, it made sense. I made a few adjustments to the original – some different colors, a few less flowery things, and some different stitch techniques. Here’s what I came up with:

For the frame, I took an empty one we had on hand, but it started as an ugly wooden frame. To make it match the embroidery and my style better, I painted a coat of lime green, let it dry, then painted a coat of turquoise. I only did one coat of each so that some of each layer showed showed through. Then I roughed it up a little with an emory board (we didn’t have sand paper on hand) for that distressed look.

If you look closely, you can see layers of wood, green and turquoise.

I kind of love it!

I’ve got a few other projects up my sleeve. Here’s a sneak peek at one:

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So, the house. This is becoming a (really crappy) home improvement blog, but that’s really all there is to write about these days. Our lives = house stuff, baby preparations and work. Here are a few things we accomplished recently:

FIREPLACE

When we moved in, the fireplace had one thin layer of white paint over what used to be very dark stained wood. I know it was a very dark stain because one whole side of of the fireplace was not painted at all. There are lots of weird unfinished paint projects around the house. When we moved in, we immediately painted the orange-y bricks dark grey, but left the rest of it alone. Finally, a couple weekends ago, Mike painted the white…whiter.

Taped and ready to go.

You can kind of see the poor paint job in this one.

Working hard.

When it was all painted, dried and cured, we decided to replace the giant clock with this giant mirror that we got free from Mike’s dad and stepmom. ¬†Eventually I want to paint the frame, and the giant clock will go on a wall somewhere. Here’s the fireplace now:

WINTERIZING

We still desperately need to winterize the pool, which mostly means we need to fix this mess:

Which has gotten so much worse since this picture. The pool cover is sinking in the middle and filling with rain (aka: swamp) water. But we haven’t dealt with that yet. However, we did winterize the porch a bit. We just hung up plastic sheeting to keep the weather out this winter.

(Yes, he’s using a wagon as a stepladder. Add stepladder to our shopping list…)

All done!

Exciting, I know.

COFFEE TABLE

Our living room is a hodge podge of furniture we got for free or very cheap. But the free coffee table (that matches the free end tables) was just too big for the space. And too visually heavy. So we traded it out for another table we had on hand (one that I had before we got together). I don’t have a good before picture, but you can see the larger table in this picture:

The new table feels much lighter and much more airy even though it is a darker wood.

I bought that tray at Marshall’s recently to help control the mess that usually occurs on the coffee table. No solution for the end tables yet though.

SHELVING IN BABY’S ROOM

We have this set of four tall skinny shelving units that we came from Target some time ago. We’ve used them for a variety of things in their lifetime, but when moved into this house, three of them found their home in the baby’s room. I plan to use them for whatever – clothes, toys, supplies. I’ll see what naturally ends up there. We placed them under the window, in between the crib and the closet. They’re also not far from the changing table, so they could easily serve multiple purposes. Check them out in this picture:

I decided I wanted to cover the backs of these with colorful paper to brighten them up a bit. My approach to this room has basically been “lots of colors, lots of patterns” so I bought three kinds of fun scrapbook paper from Michael’s. They each started out like this:

Mike removed nails and replaced them where the backing was pulling off (these are not exactly top quality pieces of furniture!).

We removed the shelves, then I cut all the paper, and we used heavy-duty double stick tape to adhere them to the backing. Replaced the shelves, and voila!

(You can see I cut the first music note (top shelf) paper the wrong direction! But we only had three pieces, so there was no turning back. Good thing it doesn’t really bother us.)

Here are the three together, back in their spot under the window.

I can’t wait to fill them with fun baby stuff!

And that’s what we’ve been up to.

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We’ve made significant progress on the house over the last week. Now that I’m not working every evening, and Mike is working relatively normal hours, we had time to do a few things that have been nagging at us for weeks. First, we bought a wall shelf for above the desk. We had a box of office supplies that didn’t fit in the drawers and that we didn’t want on the desk surface to avoid the cluttered look. That box made me crazy. I tripped over and glared at it daily. Now all the junk from the box is neatly organized on a nice, deep shelf.

We intentionally hung it in against the corner, rather than centered over the desk, so we can hang a calendar or white board or cork board to the right of the shelf. We just haven’t done that yet. But isn’t it so clean and beautiful now?

Mike also finished painting the kitchen! Well, not finished entirely, but finished the walls. To refresh, it looked like this when we moved in:

Unfortunately that’s not a great picture because you can’t see how much of that awful blue abounded. The wall to the left was blue with a chair rail and awful brown paneling beneath. To the right was more blue wall with lots of cabinets.

Before we moved in, we taped the kitchen in anticipation of painting right away. It took awhile, but we eventually got one coat up on everything but the bulk heads, which were covered in old wallpaper glue. After several weeks, we finally dealt with the bulk heads. We, of course, means Mike, who scraped and sanded goo-goned the crap out of them, then added a coat of paint. So for awhile things looked like this:

We pulled the plastic down, but we had run out of paint and so never did a much-needed second coat. A couple weeks ago, we bought the paint on sale, but it wasn’t until this weekend that Mike was able to finish painting. Thank god it looks good and we can be done! This picture is actually after only the first coat, and I think it looks a lot richer with two coats, but you can get the idea (and I don’t have to get up to take a picture…):

From this angle you can also see the brown paneling (left) that we’ll eventually paint white, the orange-hued oak cabinets we’ll eventually paint, the ugly linoleum floor we’ll eventually replace, the missing trim we’ll eventually put up, and the appliances we’ll eventually replace. Eventually. Also, in the above photo, the bulk heads are still white, so picture those grey. The kitchen paint is from the same swatch card as the living room paint, so they’re from the same family, just different shades.

And finally…

We FINALLY finished painting the baby’s room! Do you want to do a celebratory dance with me? Go ahead, I’m doing mine right now. You guys, it was such a project. After over a month, we still weren’t done, so every evening this week we were up there doing something. Eventually we were able to tear off the painter’s tape, scrape the stray splatters off the floor, replace the outlet covers and the door, and put the furniture back in place. And then I cried. Tears of joy.

As you can see, we opted not to scrape the paint off the window panes right now. We’re just so over it, and the paint is on the outside, so we decided to live with it for now.

There’s still a lot to be done, but the rest is fun stuff. Hanging things on the walls, hanging curtains, putting clothes and diapers and other things away. I can actually enjoy this room now instead of feeling my heart race with anxiety every time I go near it. Thanks to Mike for all his hard work!

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The baby’s room. It is making me crazy.

We finished painting the walls awhile ago, and it looked great. But when we took the tape off, we realized just how awful the trim and baseboards looked. The previous painters did such a poor job of painting that everything was covered in multi-colored speckles and streaks.

This is just one corner, but imagine that all over every piece of window trim, door trim and baseboard. It was so ugly. So we thought, Let’s paint it all white! Oh us, we were so innocent back then. Our simple idea has become a disaster. No, a DISASTER!

Mike started the project while I was on a business trip for five days. He painted the ceiling, then took on the trim. But he didn’t tape the walls. Why? Well, the problem is that there is so much paint gunked into all the corners between the trim and walls (see photo above), that you can’t really tell where the wall ends and the trim begins. Had he taped, we would have found orange, blue and white paint still stuck visibly in those cracks when it was removed. So basically he had to slop on the paint, cracks and all. Meaning, there is now white paint on the beautiful Beguiling Mauve walls. Once we’re done painting the trim, we’ll have to to define the corners, then tape the trim and REPAINT the mauve!

So that’s the first problem. The second problem is that the white paint will not cover the stained wood. We did our research before starting, but still failed in execution. Mike sanded, but probably not nearly enough. And we failed to use primer first. So now, nearly two weeks later, he’s working on the fourth coat of paint. And it’s still not fully covering.

The third problem (yes there’s a third) is that out of nowhere, parts of the wall paint started bubbling. Little tiny bubbles spattered across the wall. The only thing we can determine is that somehow moisture (humidity?) got under the second coat of paint, and it just now decided to react. And the only solution Google has provided is to scrape off the bubbles, sand to wall to smoothness, and REPAINT!

I mean really. How much painting can one room require? I’m so over it. I can’t even walk past that room without feeling anxious, so Mike has completely taken over the project. He spends all his evenings meticulously painting trim. It’s no fun for either of us, and we’re not even close to being done with the painting in there.

Oh! One more thing. We decided not to paint the actual windows, just to see how it would look. It looks terrible. Not so much because they are stained wood windows surrounded by white trim (though that’s part of it), but because of this:

HUD paid to have the lead paint in the windows fixed. Which everyone (including our realtor) thought would mean replacing the windows. But instead they paid over $3,000 to have someone paint over the existing paint. A three-year-old, we presume. Because they did such a terrible job, there’s no way it was done by a professional company who accepts payment for this kind of work.

Unfortunately, we can’t get a hold of anybody who will help us fix this problem. It’s been a losing battle since the beginning, but we’ve refused to fix the problem ourselves because we hope someone will eventually take ownership of this crappy work and do something about it.

So now what’s happening is the white of the trim is picking up and emphasizing the white paint slopped onto the window panes. I don’t have a photo to share because, remember? I can’t go near that room without having an anxiety attack, let alone take any pictures of it. Just trust me, it looks bad. We’re either going to have to paint the windows, scrape the window panes (from the outside, on the second floor), or live with it.

I’m leaning toward living with it. At least until the baby is 12 or so. If we can get the trim and walls in decent shape, maybe I can stand to live with the ugly windows.

Maybe.

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We spend all spare time on the house since we moved in. So far it’s not overwhelming and mostly fun. We still have boxes and junk everywhere, and even though it immediately felt like home, we’re not settled yet. I know we don’t have to do everything right away, but I get hung up on ideas that I MUST get done or I can’t relax. I think I’m in full-on nesting mode, and with a new house, there’s a lot that needs to be…nested.

Last weekend we continued to paint the kitchen. It has been such a job because the previous owners had a wallpaper border that was not there when we moved in, but they left lots of glue residue behind that Mike had to dissolve and sand off. It’s still not done, but we’re taking a break because we couldn’t live with our kitchen like this anymore.

Here’s how the kitchen started:

We also finally painted the “master” bedroom. I had picked out a greenish grey color, but in the can it looked like really muddy grey. We decided to go for it anyway, and on the walls it actually looks like a light blue with grey undertones. The color is Valspar’s Woodlawn Sterling Blue. Duh, blue is in the name. Why am I surprised it looks blue? Turns out I love it though, especially with all the dark wood.

This one is a little more true to life:

It was just white before, so not a drastic change, but it classes up the joint.

(As a HUD home, this place didn’t come with any curtains, blinds or even curtain rods. We’re slowly working on that.)

Here it is before we moved in:

Last weekend we also put together the crib! My sister sold hers to me for a great price, and I was so eager to get it in the baby’s room so I could start to envision what the room might look like.

See that sticker on the bottom of the crib? It says INSIDE. Oopsies! We should probably fix that eventually.

Also, a few people have told us we should just keep the orange paint, and even though I love orange, it’s just not right for what I want to do in this room. Stay tuned to see what color paint we bought instead.

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