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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our coffee bar

It's been hard these last few days to think about anything besides the tragedy that happened in Connecticut last week. My heart goes out to those whose lives have been changed forever, and we have been praying for their comfort and healing during this time.  There really are no words to say how I feel about it, and as a mom I have been hugging my loved ones closer ever since.

I wanted to share our little coffee bar that's up and running now.  I think what I love most about it is that it holds pieces that have special meaning to me.

While it's by no means finished (hello tape "handles"), I'm happy to have it set up and I'll slowly add in pieces (I have my eye on artwork that would be perfect here) over time.

Even the little espresso machine has a story behind it. When Cam and I were first married and dirt poor, I saved up every penny I could and bought him this Delonghi machine.  It was around $100.00, but at that time, it seemed like a huge amount of money to me and I was so proud of myself for surprising him with it. I even picked up the little shot glasses, wrapped them separately, and made him open them first as a hint at what his real gift was. We still laugh about it today.

The china set was passed down to me from my mom. It was given to her and Dad as a wedding gift from my great uncle and aunt who lived in England. Every Sunday, Mom would make a huge (delicious!) dinner and we would set the table with this china. There are a few missing pieces, since with 9 kids at the table, there were bound to be a few accidents! I loved the china as a kid and would often be found rearranging the pieces in our china cabinet.

The creamer set is from my grandparents.  I love the gold finish and the way it stacks together!

The rest of our shelves are perfect for storing syrups, our coffee grinder, tea set and more. When we built the bar, we added outlets to the back of the shelves and wall for the appliances, so they could stay plugged in. So handy!

Most evenings after supper, we find ourselves steaming eggnog, making tea or other coffee drinks here.  Once we're able to entertain more frequently, it'll be put to use often for our guests!

Even if you don't have a built in coffee bar, there are other ways to set up something similar to this. 

Head over to my Pinterest board (HERE) for a few ideas!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A mirror becomes a chalkboard

I wanted to share how I turned my Grandma's gilded mirror into a giant chalkboard, giving the ornate piece a modern look. Here's how it was done!

I started out wiping down the mirror with glass cleaner to remove any dirt or dust.

Then, I gathered the supplies needed for the project.

As you can see, I used Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint and also primed with their magnetic primer. Since the mirror is gilded, I used a light pressure when taping the edges of the frame so the gold wouldn't come off when the tape was removed.

I started rolling the magnetic primer with a small foam roller and used a foam brush to cut in the bevelled edges of the mirror. The primer wasn't the easiest to work with. It was stinky and thick as tar! This stuff doesn't clean up with soap and water either, so you'll need mineral spirits or paint thinner for that.

I should mention that priming isn't required with chalkboard paint, unless you want it to be both a magnetic board as well as a chalkboard.

The primer calls for 3 coats with time to dry in between. When it was completely dry I did sand out a few uneven spots, although I don't know if it's recommended.

Once that process was done, I started painting with the chalkboard paint. This was easy as could be, as it is a thinner product and rolls on smoothly. 

I followed directions on the can of paint which called for at least 2 coats and used a foam brush and roller here as well. Thankfully, clean up was easier with just soap and water for this paint.

Once the paint is fully cured, it needs to be rubbed down with chalk. Use a stick of chalk on it's side to quickly cover the entire piece. This prevents ghost lines from any writing you do. later on.

I then wiped off all the chalk with rag (it gets a little dusty and messy, so you'll want to have a vacuum handy!) and was ready to scribble away.

We hung it in our dining room and I wrote this quote on it from C.S.Lewis, as it's a much needed reminder for me. How easy is it to get caught up trying to find joy in material things and "stuff" instead of what matters?

To the right of the chalkboard is our laundry closet where I just painted black and white stripes.

The can of chalkboard paint goes pretty far, so for $10.00 you could do quite a few projects or even whip up a couple of gifts for Christmas!
Monday, December 10, 2012

A stripey closet!

There's my fun little laundry closet!

It looks a lot more exciting then it used to, don't you think?

It was a little more tedious then I expected, but worth the effort!

Here's the basic steps we took to complete this project over the weekend.

First we measured from floor to ceiling and then found a number that divided nicely into that to give us the width of our stripes.  Our ceiling was 105" and 7" goes into that 15 times.  So our stripes are 7 inches wide.  It also helps you know how many stripes you'll have on the wall if you need to visualize it first.

Next, we measured and marked every 7" with a pencil in the corners, all the way around the room.
After that was finished we used painter's tape and started at the top of the wall.  We found it easiest to start in the corner and run a continuous piece of tape around the top and bottom of each stripe.  Having someone hold the tape at your first mark, allows you to unroll the tape and pull it taught, then set it where your next mark is to get a straight line.

Once all your tape is on the wall, take a credit card and run it along to make sure there are no bubbles or gaps that will let paint seep through.

The next step I took was to "dry brush" some paint along the tape to help seal it and prevent leaks.  I may not have had my brush quite dry enough, as there were a few spots it seeped a little. I also cut in the corners too, and then was ready to roll.

Using a small foam roller and working from the top, I started painting! It was clear that two coats were needed, so I let the paint dry over night.

Once you apply your second coat, you need to remove the tape while the paint is still wet. This helps to get a crisp line and prevents paint from lifting like it could if you waited until it was dry to remove it.

Did I mention we used almost 2 rolls of tape?

In about a week, our washer and dryer should show up! Then someday, we'll have flooring, shelving and doors! But for now, I'm happy to look at these stripes!

Here's the link to my post about our new appliances if you want to see what's coming:

Hope you like it as much as I do. Or more then Cam does. I asked him what he thought and after a long pause he replied "it's really stripey."  Stripey. Is that even a word??
Tuesday, December 04, 2012

an upgrade, stripes and more

Thanks to the recent Black Friday sales, these two appliances are soon to show up at our house.
You know you're a grown up when you get very, very excited about new appliances. 

It might have to do with my dryer being an ancient (but appreciated) hand me down, with one setting (extra hot), and a door that won't stay latched.  Not only that, but the washer and dryer we've been using has been "temporarily" set up in our "someday" master bathroom.  Since it was meant to be temporary, the dryer isn't vented to the outside. I am forever trying to clean up dust.

But thanks to the recent Black Friday Sales at Home Depot, this set of LG stacking, front load washer and dryer are coming to stay with us.
They're going to live right here.

This closet is off our dining room, making it a convenient, main floor laundry space.  Once we have a dining table (we plan on having a really large one), it'll be the perfect spot for folding laundry, but I'll also be able to tuck away any mess behind the french doors we'll install.

But for the fun part.
Stripes. Bold black and white stripes. Something like this.

Cam thinks I'm crazy.  "Why would you go to all that work for a closet?"

But I love when tiny spaces have as much thought put into them as large rooms.  And I like black and white, I like stripes and I do a lot of laundry. So that's why.

I have already painted the white base coat and am giving it a couple days to cure before I go to town with tape, a level and black paint.

We'll also need to build in some shelving beside the stacking appliances (they're too wide to fit side by side) to store laundry essentials.  I'm hoping for something similar to what happened over at YHL.

Our appliances won't be delivered until the week before Christmas, but I'm hoping to at least have the stripes painted to show you before then.

And by the way, you might have noticed my grandma's mirror turned chalkboard.  We finally got around to hanging it.

I'll show you the steps it took to complete it sometime.  A little practice is needed with my hand writing skills, but for now it's fun for jotting whatever quotes I come across and enjoy.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012


If this post seems a little scattered, it's because it is. And so am I.
So much is going on at our house right now. It feels like we're in the middle of 10 different projects and trying to do a lot all at once.

Here's what's up:

The dining room got a coat of Benjamin Moore's Moonshine. I could paint my whole house this color.

There's our "coffee bar" above, minus the shelves that will be installed. Below you can see the view of our pantry wall from the dining room along with some paint I was sampling on the wall.

The stairwell to the basement is part of the dining room, so it was painted the same color. How's that for makeshift scaffolding?

Here's the finished result of the wall color. The railing wall and trim still needs to be painted, and we need to find the right sconces for the stairwell too.

A few days ago I picked out our handrail for the basement. I went with a simple dowel shape, with a flattened bottom in white pine.

Now I'm trying to convince Cam to let me stain it one of these fun colors. I have my eye on that bright yellow. What do you think?

These railing brackets were picked up from Home Depot for around $5.00 and just the style we wanted.

Also picked up from Home Depot? Our basement flooring!!!

This week, our brother-in-law, Jimmy, has kindly spent his evenings helping Cameron lay the subfloor in our basement.

Last night they started to lay the floor and it's looking awesome! We are using a floating vinyl floor since we are sitting on this much water (sorry for the old, blurry photo):

As much as we hope our basement never floods, it could happen, so vinyl seemed like the smartest option.

Although I was worried I wouldn't like the color (it seemed a little reddish in the store), it's a pretty, rich color and I'm happy with how it's turning out.

I can't wait until it's all installed and I can show you how the room looks and some of our plans for the space!

And I should mention, while all this is happening, my sister-in-law and I are working on a "secret" room makeover this week. 

 I'll be sure to share it, once it's no longer a secret!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Built in bookcase

We're getting somewhere with our built in bookcase. I should say Cameron is, as he has done 99% of the work. I just pass him tools and tell him he's doing a great job!

All that remains for wood work is a band of simple molding along the top and some finishing trim along the bottom. Once that is complete we'll start filling nail holes and sanding before priming and painting.

We're sticking with Benjamin Moore's Decorators White. We used this white on the staircase we stripped and painted (see that project HERE), and will use it on our trim throughout the house. Once we have trim, that is. 

From what this room looked like a few weeks ago, we've come a long way.

The bookcase has an intentionally-modern style, which works with the sleek glass railing we used around the basement stairwell. 

Our goal has always been to transition from slightly traditional to modern while still feeling cohesive. I don't know about you, but I thrive on that 'aha!' moment when we find a way for the old and the new to live together!
Friday, November 02, 2012

The Basement:continued

Last weekend, we were able to finish up the last of the dreaded drywall work.

That meant the walls were ready to prime, so I took on the job with no complaints. Rolling the walls gives me such a sense of accomplishment, even if it's just primer.

However, progress was s-l-o-w, given that I was only priming during nap time and when I wasn't trying to keep this little guy out of mischief!

So Cameron, being the nice guy that he is, stepped in and had it finished in no time!

It's so bright and white, you would hardly know it's a basement! Above is the view going down to the basement from the dining room. You can see we've started to add trim around the recently installed glass railing. Cameron has also started to replace the temporary treads and risers on the stairs (hence the missing step).

Surprisingly, that window brings in a lot of natural light. That, combined with the 3 rows of recessed lights (all on dimmers), means there's no chance of this basement ever feeling dark or dingy.

To close in the stairwell, and make good use of the space, we are planning a built-in bookcase. Finally, extra storage and a place to display some of the items I've had packed in boxes for years. I expect to be arranging and rearranging things on a regular basis!

I've started putting the first coat of ceiling paint on. Next up is installing the subfloor. The to-do list is still long, but we're happy to be scratching items off one by one. Stay tuned for further progress and plans!