Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sometimes Those Walls Must Come Down!

As I stepped through the front door of this house with the realtor for our initial walk through I immediately thought "Houston, we have a problem", you could see the kitchen sink from the front door! Now I don't know about you but as a homeschooling momma of three lets just say my kitchen sink is not the first thing I want people to see when they walk into our home!  Below I drew the layout of that part of the house so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about.

This is how the dining area looked on that first day we saw the house with our realtor.

As we conducted the house tour I quickly realized that we could make a wider opening to the right of the kitchen doorway since the breakfast nook was on the other side. Oh what difference it would make, I was sure of it! I loved the location of this particular house above all the others I had seen and I knew we could more or less transform the whole feel of the house with just that one simple (not so simple?;)) change.  This is what it looked like after hubby removed the old carpet and tore that section of the wall down to create the new opening.

Former entrance patched up and flooring being installed.

We decided to make the spot where the former entrance was a big slate colored chalkboard and painted all the other walls a light cream color. We also painted the dining table and chairs in Creamy a Sherwin Williams color.  To read more about how we painted them without sanding go here.
I still have to move the chandelier and hem the curtains but we are so glad to have most of it done!  Here is the after (So sorry for the glare created by the windows. I love all the light that streams through them during the day but it is not good for picture taking!)


A better view of the wall to the left.

Before ( Looking in from the breakfast nook side, realtor picture )


Close up of opening
Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to tear down a wall (or two), sometimes it can make all the difference!
If you like the print on the breakfast nook wall learn how to make it here. You can also see more of our makeovers, Before and After's here and here.

I am linking up to Modern Country. Check out her blog for lots of inspiration!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheap Ikea Art Transformed!

Have you ever bought something even though your insides were screaming WRONG! for the space you had in mind?  I am usually a cautious shopper who thinks and rethinks every purchase but a trip to Ikea on Memorial Day (think throngs of shoppers, long lines, three boys and a Mr. who could think of a million more appealing things to do on a holiday etc.) found me at the front of the checkout line (finally!) with a cart full of Ribba frames and you guessed it, this piece of art, that I knew in my heart of hearts would be totally wrong for our home.  I stood there unsure of what to do as the cashier rung up the frames at lightning speed.  Just as he picked up the item in question I looked at the Mr., who, as if reading my doubt riddled mind, quickly mouthed in my direction "We can return it later.." and calmly proceeded to pay for the purchase. And just like that the deed was done and I became the reluctant owner of a cheap piece of art I knew not what to do with.

The nearest Ikea store is 45 min. away so it did not make sense to return it.  Since I really liked the overall size for the breakfast nook wall and the hanging hardware attached to the back was very sturdy, I decided not to throw it away and coated it with primer instead. After first coat....(I used two coats)

 I am really loving a quote by Albert Camus that really speaks to what our family has discovered while going through a difficult time in our lives (you can read more about that here).  I painted the whole board burnt yellow and used white acrylic paint for the lettering.  I first tried using a stencil but did not like the perfectly uniform look.  I wanted more of a free style so I lightly wrote out the letters myself in pencil and then painted over them with white acrylic paint.

I am by no means experienced when it comes to creating wall art so I was pleasantly surprised when it actually turned out to be something I wanted to display!

another angle...

If you want to see the print in living colah' watch the short video below.  My dear sister was visiting us from New Jersey and so the family gathered at my house for the weekend.  While reminiscing about our childhood my brother and sister decided to try a clapping game we loved as children .  Hilarious I tell you!  The print is in the background...

The primer I used was Olympic's No VOC Primer and the burnt yellow was a sample of Behr's Wild Bamboo with some brown acrylic paint I mixed in.  What items have you dramatically altered lately?
To check out our different makeovers with before and after pictures go here.

I am linking up to Boogie Board Cottage and C.R.A.F.T..  Please visit them for lots of inspiration!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fireplace Makeover With Details and Before and After Pictures

Do you have a fireplace that is an outdated eyesore?  Here is how we updated ours without removing a single brick.
 Before (realtor pic from our initial house walk through)

This project is a good alternative for those of you that desire to give your outdated fireplace a new look without all the mess that tearing it down brick by brick would create. My husband and I had never done a project like this before and neither one of us had any carpentry experience so if we were able to do it anyone can!

This post by The Lettered Cottage started the ideas swirling in my head. I drew some pictures and haphazardly :o) covered part of the fireplace with white cardboard so that my husband could kinda see what I wanted it to look like.

We ended up using..
about 10 furring strips
6' of Crown molding
6' of 3"x1" mdf
5' of 1"x 4" wood
liquid nails
6 concrete anchors
two 4' x 8' x 1/4 inch plywood luan (luan wood is a mid grade mahogany plywood)
lots of caulk
a bit of wood filler
a jig saw
a few carpenter clamps
and a drill
We began by attaching the furring strips to the brick facade with liquid nails (the painters tape was used to secure them to the brick while the adhesive dried)
Hubby also drilled two concrete anchors (pictured below) into the first and last of the furring strips for extra support.

While the adhesive dried hubby used the jigsaw to cut the 1/4 inch plywood luan facade that would be nailed onto the furring strips.
The facade he cut out was carefully nailed directly onto the furring strips.
The original fireplace mantle was made out of three sizes of pink brick that were stacked up on top of each other.  It was a pretty horrible sight...  

Creating a mantle without chiseling off the protruding brick shelf took lots of effort and I am very proud of hubby for doing such an amazing job. He started by attaching a 1"x 4" piece of wood to the bottom layer of mantel shelf bricks with two concrete anchors. He then attached a piece of crown molding to the second layer of  mantle shelf  bricks.  Lastly he attached a 3"x11" piece of mdf to the crown molding to cover the top layer of mantle shelf bricks.  The mantle that hubby ended up creating is very beautiful and was so inexpensive to make. Bingo! 
Hubby cut leftover pieces of wood into wedge shapes and used them to secure the crown molding to the mantel shelf brick. Hopefully the pictures below will help you better understand how it was all accomplished.:)

After the mantle was done we attached furring strips to the top half of the fireplace brick just like we had done to the bottom half. We cut the 1/4" inch wood luan and nailed it onto the furring strips.

 I then used wood filler on all the nail holes and caulking on all the edges.  I coated everything (except the inside of the firebox!) with Olympic's zero voc primer which provided fabulous coverage. I painted the area around the fireplace box with Olympics Flat latex Zero Voc paint in Black Magic and the rest of the fireplace in Cloud White (flat latex) a Benjamin Moore color. 
Before (on the day we moved in)


The inside of the firebox will be painted with black, heat resistant paint sometime before winter arrives :). You can find two more of our makeovers here and here. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.

Party Time! Please visit the following blogs for lots of inspiration


Friday, June 17, 2011

Framed Art For a Child's Room

All three of my children are avid readers (the youngest is an avid listener ha!) so we own many, many books. There are old favorites that I have read to them over and over again throughout the years.  I chose to frame five pages from those favored books and created a (mini) gallery wall.
 I framed a page from  "Good Work, Amelia Bedelia" (one of my favorite stories as a child as well)

One from the book "Madeline and The Bad Hat" ( "Careful, girls, watch your feet" love it!)

One from "The Story of Babar"

One from an all time favorite around here "The Christmas Day Kitten" from The James Herriot's Treasury For Children.

And one page from "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel"

The boys really liked this idea and we plan to continue adding more pages down the road. The frames are all Ribba from Ikea.

  Hope everyone has a great weekend!