Saturday, January 23, 2021

Cedar Chest Chalk Paint Makeover

Before yet another month slips away from me, I wanted to share this quick post about a recent DIY project. Over the New Year's weekend, I decided to give a makeover to an old cedar chest I'd acquired several years ago. While the inside of it is obviously cedar, it had laminate (I think) on the outside which was looking pretty rough. And the overall color isn't exactly our style. Oh, and one of our dogs had chewed on a corner of it a long time ago. Yikes. 

But all aesthetics aside, this was a nice solid cedar chest which I didn't want to get rid of. Enter my favorite makeover magic — chalk paint! I figured I had nothing to lose by painting it, just like I've done with so many other pieces of furniture and cabinetry in this house. Not wanting to spend much (read: any) money on this project, I rummaged through my existing stash of chalk paint and decided on Annie Sloan Graphite (the same color used on our lower kitchen cabinets). 

All I did to prep the chest before painting was give it a quick wipe-down to remove any dust. Yep, that's all. One of the many reasons to love chalk paint. I guess I did also have to tape off the back side and the underside of the lid, which took some extra time. 

Then, I thinned the paint with a little bit of water (helps with smoother coverage) and started brushing it on. I decided to do random brush strokes everywhere rather than trying to paint in straight lines, thinking it might add a little "crosshatch" texture to the piece once done. You can't really mess this stuff up either way. (Another reason to love chalk paint!)

It ended up taking three coats of the Graphite paint to attain sufficient coverage, which is about what I had expected. Once the final coat was dry, I applied the clear wax to it. Then a day later, I buffed it with a clean, dry cloth to give it a buttery soft sheen. 

And, voila! Weekend project finished. We moved the chest from our office upstairs into our basement, and it's used for storing board games and other miscellaneous items. I have to say it looks sooo much better in this graphite color! And bonus, chewed-up corner is hardly noticeable now. Another chalk paint win in the books, folks.

And lastly, a couple "before & afters" for the full effect!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Master Bathroom Makeover Part II: The Reveal

I thought this day might never come, but I'm finally ready to share the official "reveal" of our DIY master bathroom makeover. It's been months in the making — a weekend here, a weekend there, you know how it goes. The polished chrome towel bars still haven't been switched out yet, but who knows if I'll ever get to that.

So, is this my dream bathroom now? Well... no. But, it's a vast improvement and much-needed freshening up. All in all, we achieved a big transformation with a fairly small budget (I think we stayed under $1,500).

Keep on scrolling for all the photos and more details!

Before: Dark & Drab

After: Lighter & Fresher!

To be honest, it all looks much better in person. There's no natural light and our bulbs are on the warm side, so it's challenging to get great photos. And, my camera phone was struggling to focus and capture the detail on the distressed cabinets. (Excuses, excuses...) Anyway, here's a brief rundown of the updates which have taken place over the past few months:

Painting the walls Colonnade Gray by Sherwin Williams

Tearing out the old grouted tile countertop and backsplash
(and destroying some drywall in the process)

Patching the drywall, spraying the texture and repainting

Installing a new solid white countertop with integral sinks

Installing new faucets

Though it was a fairly tedious project, painting the vanity instead of getting a brand new one saved us a good chunk of money. Another cost-saving decision was keeping our existing mirrors, light fixtures and cabinet hardware, since they mostly still coordinated with the new updates. Also, we obviously didn't replace the flooring either — that was just way more than we wanted to get into at this point.

Neither one of us was too familiar with the Kraus brand before this, but it turns out these faucets are really beautiful and high-quality. The brushed gold is almost more of a champagne color.

This shelf has been here for years, but now the vases and canvas print stand out much more against the light gray walls. 

I'd love to hear what you think about the new paint colors and other updates! If it were your bathroom, how would you have transformed it on a budget?

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Entryway Makeover with Hanging Wall Planters

 The wall behind our front door has been long overdue for a makeover. Like, it was really bothering me every time I looked at it. The color scheme in our house has gradually been transitioning to a lot of aqua accent colors, so this green/orange/purple combo just wasn't working anymore. And in general I just get bored of things and am always looking for an excuse to make a change.

Step One was to refinish the console table with chalk paint and dark wax, which you can read more about here. As you can see I also did some "shopping" around the house and found some beach-themed decor for the table.

Step Two was finding something to replace the three medallion mirrors. I knew I wanted to incorporate plants somehow (either real or faux), so I began searching Amazon for hanging wall planters. After too much time spent deliberating between all the options and styles, I finally decided to get these unique white ceramic flower planters.

Well, that meant I had to find something to hang them on, as a regular nail wouldn't do the trick. But I also didn't want a big bulky hook. Hello again, Amazon. Another search led me to these gold decorative wall hangers. (They also came with anchors and screws.) I was pleasantly surprised with the quality once they arrived. It was a set of four, even though only three were needed for my purposes.


After enlisting hubby's help with installing the hooks, the planters were ready to hang! 

As I'd hoped, the three planters fill out this wall space perfectly. They're not too big, and not too small. The back side is also flat so they don't stick too far out from the wall which was an important consideration. I dig the leather strap and brass screws, don't you?

Surprisingly my existing craft stash didn't include any flowers that worked well for these planters, so a quick trip to Hobby Lobby was in order. (I actually haven't been there in a very long time.) Luckily it happened to be the last day to get 50% off the floral category. Originally I thought I might get some succulents, but in the end I decided on three dahlia (?) stems for a very budget-friendly total of $12. Each large stem had three flowers on it, which I cut and arranged in the planters. Easy peasy.

You could get really creative with floral/succulent arrangements in these planters, but obviously I took the quickest and simplest route for immediate gratification. Also, in case you're wondering, there's no drainage hole in them. But according to the product description, adding a handful of small rocks and or charcoal to the bottom is an easy way to give excess water somewhere to go to prevent live plants from drowning.

Finally, the makeover is complete! All the pieces and parts came together quite nicely. Not only does it look more cohesive, it feels more sophisticated too. (As an added bonus, our front door wreath also ties in well) The overall cost for this entryway makeover was only about $50 for the planters, gold "hooks" and faux flowers. I purposely got flowers that will look appropriate year-round, but it would also be easy to switch them out for Christmas stems or other seasonal decor. Versatility is always a good thing in my book!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Console Table Chalk Paint Makeover - Quick & Easy!

What's a girl to do after she's painted all the things in her house? Start repainting, of course.

This little console table was a $25 thrift find several years ago. When I bought it, it was hunter green with a lighter oak stained top. I repainted it using a white latex paint and gloss finish, along with refinishing the top with a walnut stain. 

Recently I've gotten the itch to change up our entryway wall, so it was the perfect excuse to give this table another facelift. The white's fine and dandy, but I'm just bored with it. And since I've started using chalk paint pretty much exclusively on any cabinets and furniture, I knew this could be a pretty quick project. Mainly because chalk paint requires virtually no prep and dries quickly. So, after wiping the dust off the table, I just painted right over the existing gloss finish.

Normally for larger projects (like our kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets) I opt for the more pricey Annie Sloan chalk paint. But for this small table I just used Buttercream brand Teal Lagoon (because I still had about half a bottle after using it to refinish this small cabinet a couple years ago). It took two coats to get good coverage over the white.

Once the paint dried, I wiped on some clear wax since this that's supposed to help the dark wax apply more evenly. Then, I wiped on dark wax in sections, let it sit about 20 seconds, then wiped it off. The dark wax really tones down the bright paint and gives it an antiqued effect. With this Teal Lagoon color in particular, the wax also seems to bring out more green/aqua tone which I prefer.

Voila! Finished in one evening for immediate gratification, and it's just the look I was wanting. The table ties in nicely now with a few other pieces of "distressed aqua" furniture we have. It wouldn't take someone long after walking into our house to realize that this is one of my favorite colors.

Next I'm going to replace the circle medallion mirrors (another DIY project from way back when we had more of those colors in our decor) with three white wall planters that I just bought off Amazon. Stay tuned for the next phase of this little entryway makeover!


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