Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Upgrading Light Fixtures: An Enlightening Experience

The gradual transformation of our house over the past year has included several upgrades to existing light fixtures. Last fall, we were having our entire main floor ceiling refinished anyway (because of some walls we'd removed ― another blog post in itself), so this created the perfect opportunity/excuse to re-work our lighting situation too. Why not cut out a few extra holes and just get it all fixed at the same time?

In fact, at one point it looked like someone had just taken a giant hole punch to our ceiling:

Here, let me try to clarify this picture a bit...

Clear as mud? 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Our Stairwell Makeover: An Evolution over the Years

You may recall that, during the process of all our renovations, I've been gradually painting pretty much all of our woodwork white. Last week, I finally painted the stair ledge, which was one of the few remaining pieces still stained Colonial Maple (i.e. "orange oak"). 

As I was going up and down the stairs for laundry this past weekend, I stopped myself and decided to take a few pictures of our stairwell. The transformation over the years has been pretty major, so I thought it would be fun to share. And also because sometimes I need to remind myself of how far we've come and how much we've accomplished -- especially when it seems like the renovations will never end.

But first... in order to really appreciate the end result, let's start with a look at the stairwell from when we first bought the house. The rest of our walls were a warm gold color, but the hallway/stairwell was a dark reddish color, maybe brick red? I admit that I liked these colors at first, but that was way back in 2008, so it just goes to show how times and tastes have changed.

Wow... warm tone overload!

(You'll notice that some of the woodwork in the hallway and stairs was already white, while the rest of the woodwork throughout the house was Colonial Maple. A precursor to the eventual identity crisis...)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Prepping Our Butcher Block Countertop for the Kitchen

Although most of my previous kitchen makeover posts have been cabinet-related, there's been other progress (slowly) happening as well. Just to quickly recap, we decided to go with butcher block in our modern farmhouse kitchen as it's a very cost-effective option for the amount of counter space we'll have. (Especially considering we're adding a breakfast bar.) 

Old tile countertops.

Getting these layers off was not fun, in case you were wondering.

The new countertops we chose are builder oak from Lumber Liquidators. Although something like walnut would have been beautiful, the oak was much cheaper and still gives us that natural look we're going for. We actually ordered them about three months ago, but they sat in their boxes a good while before we were ready to do anything with them. Finally, a couple weeks ago, we figured we could go ahead and at least get two simple pieces cut for one side of our kitchen. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Creative Decorating Alternatives to a Fireplace Mantel

I've probably mentioned before (most likely in a Christmas-related post) that we don't have a fireplace in our house. Which makes me feel like I'm really missing out on mantel-decorating opportunities. That's right, I have mantel envy.  I would even go for an electric fireplace just to get that mantel. 

But until that happens, there is still hope for me and others who lack a fireplace. I've done some browsing and gathered these alternative decorating ideas for your inspiration. Some of them involve creating a faux fireplace, and others are unique ways to emulate that coveted mantel-esque focal point! Mantel wannabes, if you will. 

Want to go with the more "loose" aesthetic interpretation of a fireplace mantel?  Some common decor pieces you'll want to keep an eye out for include:
  • Old doors
  • Chunky shelves
  • Architectural salvage pieces
  • Old window frames
  • Decorative wood corbels
  • Shallow buffets/dressers/sideboards/console tables

{ image via indulgy.com }

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Painting Interior Doors: From Outdated Orange to Updated Gray

In the process of our kitchen renovation, we came across a minor dilemma recently. What to do about our pantry door and garage door? I had already painted all the surrounding woodwork white, but the doors were still that orange-y Colonial Maple stain.

It's worth noting that these are your average flat panel doors with no detail or interest whatsoever. Painting them white just seemed like it would be too much white, since the two doors are right next to each other. And I didn't want them to detract from or compete with my newly white upper cabinets

(Old picture before the cabinets were painted and the floor was removed.)

But buying some fancy new doors was not an option, so the solution had to be found in a paint can. After much debating, we finally came to our conclusion: the door to the garage would be painted to match the wall color, and the pantry door would be painted to match our dark gray lower cabinets. In my mind, it was somewhat of a bold move since all the other doors in our house are white (but they're also six-panel doors instead of completely flat). 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bar Cart Styling Ideas for the Holidays

In case you hadn't noticed, bar carts are kind of having a moment right now.  It's easy to see why -- they add a touch of sophistication along with a fun way to display adult beverages and pretty accessories. 

I don't have a bar car (yet!), so unfortunately I have no pictures of my own to share. Instead, I scoured the interwebs to find some of my favorite bar cart styling ideas.  And with the holidays right around the corner, bar carts also provide another opportunity to show off your festive spirit! 

{image via Inspired by This}
I'm kind of obsessed with copper, so it's no wonder this bar cart caught my eye. Love the neutral, understated elegance for fall gatherings!

Friday, November 4, 2016

DIY Farmhouse-style Wall Organizer for the Kitchen

For quite some time now, this idea has been percolating in my head. With the ongoing transformation of our "modern farmhouse" kitchen, I knew we would need a new wall organizer customized for this space. (Here are a few kitchen de-cluttering inspiration ideas I posted recently.) 

The existing organizer, which hangs on the narrow wall behind our door to the garage, was very sad and outdated. Along with being a holder for our keys and dog leashes, it had become a dumping ground for random receipts, appointment reminder cards, gift cards, etc. Quite frankly, we had let it get pretty junky looking. 

At first I thought of just painting the wood frame white to give it a fresh updated look.  (That's pretty much what I've done with everything else around here.) But I still really didn't like the look of the corkboard anymore, and the three cubby holes were too small.  On to Plan B...


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