Saturday, December 1, 2018

Our Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover... almost complete!

Happy December! I don't know how it got here so fast, but then again I say that every year. My morning was spent doing some laundry and general cleaning, then running a couple errands in the blustery weather. Thrilling, I know. Now I'm trying to warm up in the basement with a Christmas movie on in the background as I fill you in on the latest developments 'round here. Which brings me to the big announcement:

Ladies and gentlemen: We. Have. A. Backsplash! I think I'm still in disbelief. It's no exaggeration when I say I thought this day might never come. It felt like ages that we were backsplash-less as we trudged through the multiple layers of our DIY kitchen renovation. In reality, it's been about two and a half years since it all really started in this room (summer 2016).

First, let's take a look at what our kitchen looked like wayyy back when we moved in (circa 2008). Because the end result is always much more impactful if you know what it looked like before!

(These were obviously taken in different lighting, but the paint color's the same in both.)

50 shades of beige, gold and orange, amiright? Then a few years ago I painted all our walls gray, which was a much-needed improvement.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Coming Soon... New Kitchen Backsplash!

I can't believe the day has finally come. After months (and months) of slowly chipping away at our kitchen renovation the DIY way (tearing out old backsplash and countertops, painting cabinets, custom-building a new breakfast bar, installing a new sink and butcher block counters, and adding floating shelf brackets)... We are finally having someone come to install our backsplash tomorrow. Eventually you come to a point where you realize you just don't have enough hours in the day to do it all yourself, and that's where we're at right now. 

In fact it's been such a long process thus far that I don't think I'll actually believe it's happening until I see the backsplash up with my own eyes. We bought these boxes at Menards long ago, and the mosaic tiles inside have just been waiting for their time to shine. 

Here are some photos of our kitchen I just took tonight, in anticipation for the "before and after" pictures of course. But I figured I might as well share this quick update now, since I've been slacking with regular blog updates about all the other aforementioned projects. 

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 (@littlehouse.onthecorner). 

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bedroom Upgrade: Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress Review (Part I)

This past week, we finally bit the bullet on a long overdue upgrade in our master bedroom: a new mattress! For the past 8+ years, we've been sleeping on an old pillow-top mattress that's not been doing us any favors lately. The more I kept waking up feeling sore and unrested (is that a word?), the more I desperately wanted to replace this thing. Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger and I value my sleepy-time, mmkay?

(Before I continue, this is not a sponsored review for T&N. I just like to document things like this and wanted to share our experience in case anyone else is in a similar situation. Frankly I don't even know if we'll be keeping our new mattress yet!)

I'll spare you the details of the entire decision-making process, but essentially we decided to go with an online mattress company rather than dragging ourselves around to the multitude of mattress stores in town... blame it on the millennial in us.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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

I don't know if you've been following along with my last couple blog posts, but I have a problem and it goes by the name of "Gray." This should come as no surprise to anyone, as I've had plenty of experience with gray paint in our house. This decision feels a little more nerve-racking than usual though, since it involves painting the entire exterior of our house (and paying someone else to do it).

The latest update in the saga is that I've tried out five samples of Sherwin-Williams colors:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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

Has anyone else ever tried the Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer? (No, this isn't an ad for it... just a recent discovery.) Last week I bought a sample of Gauntlet Gray and Dovetail and painted them on the side of our house to test them out. 

The Dovetail, while a nice color in general, was way too light for what we want. So of those two samples, Gauntlet Gray won out. But I still struggled with wanting to try out some more gray colors before settling on it. 

Gauntlet Gray... winner of Round 1

Rather than making another trip to the SW store right away (where I would inevitably spend forever debating between swatches), I decided to try this Visualizer tool first to see if it would clear up any of my gray confusion. I'm not sure if it made the situation better or worse... and the more I look at these mock-ups, the more they all start to look the same. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Home Exterior Painting Decisions: A Gray Area

Okay, February. You almost got me. You almost slipped by before I could get a blog post in. But I refuse to let that happen! Surely I can handle at least one post per month this year, right? 

Here's the thing. I have no progress to report on any of our DIY renovations (which primarily involves the kitchen). Although I'm pleased to announce that we finally got around to ordering a new KitchenAid dishwasher this past week — we've been without one ever since ours went kaput about, oh, a year ago. It'll take a few days to get here (via Lowe's free home delivery), but I'm looking forward to the end of my hand-washing days soon!

Also, the unseasonably warm weather this week is making me realize I should get the ball rolling on another project. If nothing else happens this entire year, we desperately need to get the exterior of our house painted. It's been 10 years since we moved in, and she's looking pretty shabby when you get up close (aren't we all). Plus, I'm tired of the nondescript, blah beige color. 

Having had plenty of experience with the world of grays during interior painting projects, we've picked out two Sherwin Williams colors that feel like pretty solid contenders: Dovetail (SW 7018) and Gauntlet Gray (SW 7019). These have brown undertones, so shouldn't end up looking bluish or greenish or any other -ish hue. 

Probably leaning toward the darker Gauntlet Gray for some extra "oomph" and contrast with the white trim. Either of them should hopefully look good with the red brick we have. It's supposed to be really nice this weekend, so I might end up testing these samples out on the side of the house for real-life comparison.

Since we've never had our house painted before — and I've always done my own painting when it comes to the interior — I have no idea what to expect for the cost once I start getting some quotes. All I know is this is one project I'm not DIY-ing!

Which shade of gray would you pick?? Have you used either of these colors before? Any other pointers or recommendations when it comes to hiring someone to paint your house?

NOTE: Little House on the Corner is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Friday, January 26, 2018

Guest Bedroom Revealed (and always vacant!)

Just to be clear, this isn't a reveal that I've been teasing or leading up to recently. And it's not all that impressive, to be honest. It just happens to be one of the few (or should I say only) rooms in our house that is basically done. It's not mid-renovation, and it's not used for storage like a couple of our other extra bedrooms. 

Ironically enough, this guest room also rarely gets seen. The door is generally closed, and we don't often have overnight guests. Go figure! So this is my way of proving that we do actually have a decent looking room in our house.

If you're interested in the gradual transformation of this guest room, or some of the DIY projects seen in the photos below, check out these posts:
There's somewhat of an intended theme as far as the calming blue/gray colors and some coastal accents, but I've also collected some miscellaneous decor pieces here that just don't have a home anywhere else.

Wall color is Valspar Metropolis

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New [Old] Table: A Shabby Chic Chalk Paint Makeover

On a whim this weekend, I decided to tackle another chalk paint project, albeit a small one. That's the great thing about chalk paint -- once you make up your mind on what you want to do, you can just get right to it (as long as you have the paint and brushes, of course). No prep work required, other than maybe a little cleaning of whatever surface you want to paint! 

For those of you out there who like immediate gratification, this Before & After is just for you. Keep reading on for all the details!

So the subject of this latest transformation is a little end table we've had forever (I'm pretty sure it was a hand-me-down from my sister). In fact, it already underwent a basic black makeover several years ago. But the gloss black just wasn't doing it for me anymore, especially since most of our furniture is now matte and distressed. 


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