Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cabinet Makeover: Chalk Paint with Antique Wax

As you may know if you've read some of my recent posts, I'm no stranger to chalk paint. I've painted all our kitchen cabinets, plus a coffee table and a couple other small pieces of furniture with various brands of chalk paint (aka miracle paint). However, up until now I've only used clear wax to protect said pieces. 

This past weekend, however, that all changed. *cue dramatic music* On a whim, I decided to paint a small cabinet in our dining room which holds all our kitchen towels and such. Several years ago I had actually re-stained the cabinet a dark espresso brown. But since then we've installed new flooring (also very dark brown), so this little corner was feeling pretty heavy and monotone. And to be honest, I was feeling antsy and in need of a smallish, weekend DIY project to feel productive.



For those of you that need immediate gratification (trust me, I get it), I'm just going to show a "before & after" right now. Of course, hopefully you'll still read the rest of this post to see the whole process and more pictures of the final result!


Initially I thought of painting the cabinet Annie Sloan Graphite to match our lower kitchen cabinets. But that just seemed too matchy-matchy, plus we just have a lot of gray shades happening in our house already. No, it needed to be a color with a bit more punch — yet still tie in to our other decor. Digging through my stash of chalk paint, I pulled out a bottle called Teal Lagoon, which seemed like a solid choice given we have some other teal accents. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Boosting Our Curb Appeal: Front Porch & Landscaping

Well, it's been a minute since my last blog post. Or three months. Whatever.

For those of you on Instagram, I do tend to post small (generally un-exciting) updates more regularly there (@lhotc_amanda). 

Anyway, we've made a bit of progress in our kitchen remodel, but I'll save that for another day. Today, I'm just sharing some simple improvements we've made on the outside of our house.



Back in May, we had the house exterior painted (see the reveal here). It was a major upgrade, and since then I've felt increased pressure to up our curb appeal game in other areas. It started with tearing out some overgrown, ratty-looking hedges in our landscaping, which have been replaced with some flowering (bee-friendly!) plants.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Our Staircase Photo Gallery Wall - Finally Complete!

Way back in 2011 (holy cow, was it really that long ago?), I shared the reveal of the gallery wall in our staircase. It only spanned one wall at that time, and I figured eventually I'd fill up the other wall but it's never really been a priority. To say we've had some other projects on our plate since then would be a severe understatement. 

Below is a quick reminder of what the existing gallery wall looks like. (If you want to see a blast from the past, you should check out the first reveal post to what the wall color used to be!) The frames are filled with photos from vacations, but they were starting to feel pretty outdated.




Seeing as how we've taken quite a few other vacations over the years, I recently decided it was time to extend the gallery to the opposite wall, down the stairs that lead to our basement.



I wanted to take the same approach, which was a variety of different frame designs and sizes that would all be painted white or ivory. A couple weeks ago as I drove by an At Home store, I decided to pop in to check out their frame selection. There was conveniently a clearance event taking place, so I ended up filling my arms with as many frames as I could hold — some of which weren't on sale, but still cheap. I bought 9 frames for a total of $58, which felt pretty reasonable.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Home Exterior Painting Reveal: Quest for the Perfect Gray

Hello again, friends — I have a lot to fill you in on since my last update two months ago! Although if you choose to just skim through and look at pictures rather than read my long post, I won't blame you.

If you'll recall, I was internally tortured with deciding on the perfect gray for our home exterior. Well, we finally did settle on Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal at 75%. (The 75% is an important detail, as you'll find out later...)


Label from my sample container. We had it matched at Sherwin-Williams even though it was a Benjamin Moore color.


Since this was one of the few projects we were not going to DIY, we hired a small local painting company (after getting three different quotes) and got on their schedule for June 11. Well, they called me up on May 20 and said a client had cancelled so they could actually start on our house the next day. Yikes! I felt a little un-prepared but couldn't turn down the chance to have the house done even sooner.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Home Exterior Painting Decisions: A Gray Area (Part V)


Did you think I would be done with this dilemma after Part IV? Oh no, my friends. It's not that easy! 

If you've been following along, you might remember that we had narrowed our gray paint colors down to Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, and Sherwin-Williams Gauntlet Gray. The two BM colors appear to be a bit more gray-gray, whereas SW Gauntlet Gray leans a little warmer, brown-gray in comparison.

In an effort to look at just one more option and try to find something a little lighter than Kendall Gray but darker than Chelsea Gray, I decided to get a custom sample of Kendall Charcoal at 75%. You can see this compared to the original Kendall Charcoal in the photos below. (I still have SW Westchester Gray at the bottom, which I never repainted from the first round of sample colors. But it's out of the running because it's a little too blue-ish/cool toned). 


It's a pretty noticeable difference, right? I was pleasantly surprised at the color achieved by having Kendall Charcoal lightened by 25%. [Note: I got this custom sample mixed at Sherwin-Williams, even though it was a Benjamin Moore color to begin with. That's because we're probably going to go with SW SuperPaint for our exterior, and I wanted to make sure the sample is going to be an accurate representation from where we end up buying the paint).


And just around the corner of the house, here are the three different Benjamin Moore colors for additional comparison. I'm digging the 75% Kendall Charcoal, with Chelsea Gray as a second favorite. This is the first time I've ever experimented with getting a standard paint color lightened, but it could (hopefully) be the answer to our quest for the perfect gray for our home.

So, what do you think of these latest options? Have you ever painted your interior or exterior with a custom color?



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Space-saving Solutions for the Pantry

My biggest achievement of the week is actually hidden behind a closed door. Go figure. But that doesn't make it any less gratifying!

Lately I've grown increasingly frustrated with our cluttered pantry. I've already come to terms with the fact that it will never be a bright, beautiful, Instagram-worthy pantry — but surely I could at least improve upon its current state: 




The issue really boils down to not using the space that efficiently. Although the freestanding red wire shelves have certainly helped by giving me two levels to work with, there was still a lot of vertical space to be taking advantage of. So one night last week I headed to Amazon in search of organization inspiration. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Home Exterior Painting Decisions: A Gray Area (Part IV)

Someone send help. I've been sucked into a world of grays and I can't get out. If you can't tell by the post title, this situation has gotten a bit out of control. What started out as just three paint swatches grew to five, then ten, and now... 


I've somewhat reined myself in when it comes to buying actual paint samples though — only seven of those (so far). After initially debating between several Sherwin Williams colors in the gray family, I decided I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't also check out some Benjamin Moore colors. Upon a visit to the paint department in Ace Hardware, it looked like Ben Moore offered a couple promising gray options: Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray

Once I painted these two samples on the house next to those from the first round, I definitely liked the Kendall Charcoal better than SW Peppercorn (which now appeared more blue-ish and too dark). Kendall was like a happy medium between the Peppercorn and Gauntlet Gray.

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