China Hutch Upcycle

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I didn’t actually realize how long this project had been in the works until I sat down to write about it. For those who follow me on Instagram, you might remember the stories I posted about this hutch. I found it last year in May and HAD to have it. The problem, it is HUGE, weighs a ton and we don’t have a truck to haul it with.

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Small Buffet Upcycle

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Hi everyone!!! Wow, it feels like I’ve been gone for SO LONG! I mean, 2 months isn’t forever but still, I missed posting for you and I’m glad to be back at it. Thank you for hanging in there while I took a little break. I was able to accomplish quite a few things around the house, get myself organized and reprioritize what I want and need to do with this blog going forward. I’m so excited to get back to sharing things with you and have so many fun projects in store, so I hope you love them as much as I do!

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Deck Restoration, Part 2

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When I got to the point of being ready and able to start getting projects done again, with the urging of my husband, I knew I needed to finish up some things I had started before I got pregnant. A few examples…

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Nursery Side Table

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Landon is officially moved into the nursery! He has slept in his own room the last 3 nights. I’d like to say it’s going well but…not so much. His first night was amazing, slept 8pm to almost 7am, only waking up twice for his pacifier. The last 2 nights and now today, however, have been a bit more challenging.

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Nursery Crib

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Someone contacted me asking about some of the furniture details in Landon’s nursery and I realized that I never shared the finished crib! No time like the present…

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Nursery Closet Makeover

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I CAN NOT believe my baby is already 2 weeks old!! How did that happen already! We have spent the last 2 weeks getting to know each other, I’m learning all his cues and we are really starting to get into a good rhythm. Luckily, it seems he has taken after me in the sleep department and not his dad because he is a GREAT sleeper! We get a 5-6 hour stretch each night and then back to sleep for another 2-3 hours after feeding! Can’t complain about that! On top of that, he is eating really well and gaining weight 🙂 Happy mama!

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Changing Table Upcycle

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If you’ve learned anything from me over the last couple years, it’s probably that I like white distressed furniture and it is extremely hard to find already finished. There is plenty of white furniture with no distressing and plenty of off white or cream with distressing and I even found a few bright white distressed dresser but they were $900!!…which is why I end up building my own furniture or buying an old piece and refinishing it myself.

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Vintage Baby Cradle

vintage baby cradleIf nothing else, at least Baby Blackwood has a place to sleep when he comes home for the first time.

All of these projects have been so slow moving because 1) I procrastinate…my mom will attest to this and 2) I’m a perfectionist. However, I am absolutely IN LOVE with this little corner of our master bedroom for baby. Everything about it is very simple, just the way I like it!

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Breakfast Nook Table

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So it’s been a month since I’ve posted 😦 #1 I can’t believe it has been that long! #2 That also means that this pregnancy is moving along insanely fast! In just 1 week I will already be 24 weeks!! I’m starting to panic about all the things I haven’t even begun to tackle in the nursery yet, not to mention finishing my registry, researching daycare/nannies, take some baby classes…the list just keeps piling up!

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How To: Adjust Chandelier Height

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Before baby came to be, the room getting all my attention lately has been the kitchen. Now, I’ve realized my bedroom and the nursery need to be ready in just 6 short months. That may seem like a long time, but, I tend to move at a very slow pace. I’ve really done nothing to our bedroom since we moved in other than painting the walls that same color as the rest of the house. The thing that really drove me crazy was the huge Tommy Bahama style ceiling fan that just didn’t go with any of my décor. So, I decided that would be the first thing to go.

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How to: Change a light fixture

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My friend, Janine and I made a trip to Ikea the other day. On the way, we decided to pull off the freeway in search of a cute little café she had heard of. We didn’t find the café, but we did find THE BEST home store I have found in Portland to date. It is called City Home and it is the most amazing mix of vintage & new, rustic & eclectic. It really has something for everyone. I just know I am going to be back again and again, especially after bringing home this light fixture that I am absolutely obsessed with. And don’t worry, I did get some cute little faux herb plants from Ikea as well, those will be used in a later post.

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Upcycled Queen Bed

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So it’s been almost a month and a half since my last blog post and I have felt like a part of my heart was missing! It has been an absolutely crazy past 6 weeks with work. And when I say work, I’m not talking about fun blog stuff in the works. I mean, my real-life, money making job. As much as I wish the blog could pay my bills, that is just not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my job, but blogging and DIY has really become a huge passion and I have felt a little lost without it.

The hiatus is over and I am so thrilled to be back at it. I also realized today that my blogiversary is coming up very soon, it’s already been 1 year since I started this crazy journey! (Did I just use the word journey? What am I, a Bachelorette contestant?!?!). On one hand it feels like I just started yesterday, and on the other, I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. Either way, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

On to the post…

We have a queen bed in our guest bedroom, that, for the longest time, has just been sitting on a boring metal frame. I forgot to take before photos of this room when we bought the house so I snapped a quick photo before I started painting.

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I bought this queen bed over a year ago. I was furniture shopping at thrift stores and came across it. I certainly didn’t need a queen size headboard/footboard/frame but I loved the look of it, it was super sturdy and very well built and was only $150, so I brought it home. And there it sat, in my garage, for all this time. My husband is a big fan of that, by the way, all the stuff I buy because I think I will use it someday that just sits in our garage or extra bedroom. Oops.

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I did a quick and easy update on this piece, just 1 coat of white chalk paint and then sanded it down to let some of the dark wood show through and get a worn look. When you paint a light color over dark wood, people think it takes a lot of coats. If you are going for a worn, antique look, 1 coat should be enough.  After just one coat, here is what the wood looked like…

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Don’t worry if the paint looks streaky or doesn’t completely cover the wood. When I sanded, I used a fine grit (220) sand paper and ran it all over the wood. As you come to a spot where the brush strokes really stand out, this is where a put a little more pressure on the sand paper and make that a “worn” spot. Ultimately, the key is to not worry too much as you sand. You can always go back and sand more or add another layer of paint in some spots if you need to but you don’t want it to look perfect.

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The bedding used in this room is from Pottery Barn, part of our wedding registry, so it isn’t available any longer but their Jessie Organic Duvet & Sham are a similar color palette and pattern.

Now that I have the bed done and in place, I can’t wait to finish painting and decorate the rest of the room. Stay tuned!

Painted Front Door

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My mom painted our front door black when I was younger and I’m pretty sure I looked at her like she had four heads…and look at me now. Yep, four heads, just like my mama. When I decided to change my front door, what I really wanted was a huge, knotty pine wood front door with a speakeasy grille for a peephole. Like the one on the vacation house in the Hamptons on the current season of Kourtney & Khloe take the Hamptons…anyone know what I’m talking about? However, that kind of thing isn’t in the budget right now so I decided to try painting the door before anything else.

As always, lets start with the before photo:

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Nothing special, just a plain white steel front door. To prep before painting, I wiped down the door with a wet rag and then took 200 grit, fine sandpaper and lightly sanded the door to get any imperfections out and also create a rough surface for the paint to stick to. Then I wiped the door down a second time.

I decided to leave the door on the hinges while painting, 1) because I was by myself and didn’t know if I could lift the door once it was off the hinges and 2) because I didn’t want to deal with keeping the dogs away from a wide-open front door and thus having to chase them up and down a large hill which is my neighborhood if they got out. I did remove the doorknob and deadbolt before painting and changed the hinges out afterward. Keep in mind when doing this that you will need to leave the door open partially as it dries between coats, which will take a couple of hours. Mine took about 5 hours to dry between each coat but I also did this on a pretty wet, cold and rainy day. Painting on a dry, warm day will speed up dry times.

For the paint, I chose Rust-Oleum High Performance Protective Enamel in High Gloss Black. This paint is super sticky but it covers well, it took just two coats. The key when you are painting a door is to go slow and to paint in the direction of the panel.

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Can you tell how I changed the brush strokes on the different sections of the door? It’s a bit tough to see. Start by painting the deep grooves between each panel, turning your brush horizontally for the top and bottom grooves and vertically for the side grooves. Next, paint main panels that are surrounded by grooves, moving  your brush vertically. Third, paint any horizontal panels on the main frame of the door, moving your brush horizontally. Finally, paint the outside and center vertical panels moving your brush vertically. See the diagram below from the blog Love, Pomegranate House…hopefully it helps. She does a great job of demonstrating the flow and direction to take.

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Once your paint has dried, you can change your hinges and put the deadbolt and doorknob back on. I updated mine to a Schlage brushed nickel metal handleset.

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And that was it! Any easy update that you can complete in one day to update your home! Would love to hear if you try this out on your own door. Comment on the post and let me know how it turns out!

Painted Chandelier

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This is one of the first things I did when we moved into our house and it didn’t start out as a DIY project at all. Initially I hated this chandelier and was simply going to take it down and replace it with something else but my mom was visiting, and we decided, on a whim, to get a little creative before spending to money on a new chandelier. What the heck…why not, right?

I apologize up front for the “before” photo. Since I didn’t know it would be a DIY project, I wasn’t exactly prepared…

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Once we disconnected the chandelier, and stared at it on the ground for a while, we decided it might look completely different in a new color. This was such a random and un-thought-out project that the steps are as simple as it can get and kind of turned out as the easiest update ever.

Supplies
semi-gloss interior paint in your color choice
paint brush
ceiling medallion

There are many different sizes and styles of ceiling medallion on Lowes.com and they are fairly easy to install. Once the light fixture is taken down, the medallion is secured directly into the ceiling and the light fixture can be put right back.

I didn’t do any prep to the chandelier itself before painting. Depending on what material it is made of, you may want to apply one coat of primer first. It took just 2 coats of black semi-gloss paint fully coat the fixture. Then I replaced the frosted glass light bulb covers (these can easily be updated as well, home improvement stores have many different shapes and sizes) and voila! a beautifully updated light fixture.

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Converting carpeted stairs to hardwood

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I feel like I’ve been a bit MIA this week. There has been a lot going on and a lot of good things in the works but this week I definitely struggled to balance it all. Here’s to hoping I get my act together next week 🙂

The exciting news is that I did get my carpet stairs converted to hard wood! This was by far my biggest project to date. Now, luckily for me, my stairs are fairly simple in that it is just the risers and treads, no banisters or newel posts to deal with. I was hoping that when I pulled up the carpet I would get lucky and discover original hardwood stairs but sadly, just nasty, paint-splattered plywood.

I am most certainly not an expert on this so all I can give you is advice from my experience.

Tip #1: Be ready to complete the entire staircase once you start, if possible. Once you start taking the staircase apart, you are going to have a big mess (and in my case, insulation) under you staircase and you won’t want to leave that open to rest of your house for too long.

Tip #2: Start at the bottom and work your way up, one step at a time. Start by removing the existing stair parts, risers and treads for the bottom 2 steps. Cut you new hardwood risers and treads to fit the space. Place the first and second riser using wood glue and nails. With the upper and lower risers in place, you can place you first tread in the same way. As you work your way up the stairs, you’ll lay the upper riser followed by the tread below it.

Tip #3: I used both wood glue and nails to secure my stairs and will counter-sink the nails, fill nail holes with wood filler and stain the wood later. Because I used glue and nails, the stairs were VERY secure right away. If you are not using nails and are just gluing your stairs, be prepared to not walk on them for at least 3 days. The most common reason to not use nails is if you paint you stair parts before installing them. I’ve come to learn that when installing anything, it’s going to get dirty and you’ll have to touch it up anyway, so better to save time and paint once you’ve installed.

Here are my photos in order of how my stair parts went in. I used Unfinished Oak Interior Stair Tread & Unfinished Oak Interior Stair Riser, both from Lowe’s.

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My first step was to remove the carpet, underlayment, treads & risers from the first two steps.

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Second, placed the 1st and 2nd risers.

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Third, place your first stair tread. Don’t mind Ella in the background, she’s just supervising my work 🙂 At this point I also removed the parts from the third step.

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You get the pattern at this point, right? 🙂

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Finished product! They turned out so well! Now to touch up the walls, and stain the steps 🙂 my plan is to have white risers and stain the treads the same color as the floors. I’ll be sure to post the completed photo once the painting is done!

Baseboard How-To

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I started installing the baseboard in the foyer this week and realized I should have done this before the crown moulding because it is way easier to do. The fact that the baseboard sits flat against the wall makes both cutting and installation much easier. I actually used door & window casing as my baseboard because I liked the look of it more than the floor baseboard options. And I chose a moulding that was already primed because I wanted to paint it white.

Supplies
Baseboard
miter box & saw
measuring tape
1 1/2″ finish nails
hammer
nail punch set
wood filler
paint & paint brush for finish

When I did my crown moulding, I painted the boards before I cut and installed them and I ended up having to repaint them to cover the wood filler, marks from the hammer, etc. So this time, I decided to wait to paint until after installation was complete.

Some rules to follow for cutting and installation:
1. Pick a starting point and move clockwise around the room
2. If possible, try to use one continuous piece of moulding per section so there are no seams in the middle of the wall.
3. Determine what type of cut you need on the left side (flat, inside corner, outside corner) and make that cut first. Then measure the section you are working on, keeping the measuring tape flat against the wall. Remember: measure twice, cut once. Using that measurement, mark the back side of the moulding.
4. Using the miter box, place your moulding flat against the side of the miter box with your cut line lined up with the proper angle cut.
Take a look at the photos below for some visual aids.

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My first section needed to be flat on the left side (to go up against the door casing) with an inside corner cut on the right side. My cut line is on the back side of the moulding and is lined up with saw guide for the 45° angle cut on the right side. Use the pegs to hold your moulding in place while you cut.

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Check your work by placing the cut moulding in it’s designated spot to make sure you have a snug fit. I also don’t nail down the moulding until I’ve cut a few sections and made sure it all fits together. The next piece needed an inside corner to fit  with the first piece and an outside corner on the right side.

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The final piece of moulding for this section needed an outside cut on the left side and a flat cut on the right side to meet the closet door casing. Once all three pieces were cut and fit together nicely, I used the 1 1/2″ finish nails to secure the moulding in place, counter sunk the nails with the nail punch set and then filled the nail holes with wood filler. I also used wood filler on the corner seams to give the moulding a smooth and seamless look.

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I had removed the old baseboard in order to lay the new flooring and the new moulding I installed was shorter than the original so I used plaster to smooth out the wall surface so I could paint over it with the wall color. Then I used my Valspar Semi-Gloss interior paint in white to finish the trim with a nice glossy look.

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Vinyl Plank Flooring

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I’m almost finished with the flooring in the foyer and I’m so impressed with the look and how easy it was to install that I just had to share the details with you all. When I was trying to decide what flooring to go with there were a couple of factors I considered:
1) Price – I got an estimate from a home improvement retailer to install wood plank flooring and the cost was going to be similar to sending our future children to private school in Switzerland. Ok, maybe not that much and the estimate was for the whole house but still, more than we wanted to spend right now. However, I’m an instant gratification type of gal so I needed to figure out another option that could happen in the coming weeks.
2) Waterproof – I wanted the flooring in our entryway, powder room and possibly kitchen and master bath but everyone knows (at least my mother’s horror stories tell me) that you don’t put wood floor in rooms where water leaks are a possibility.

I started looking at other options and came across this vinyl plank flooring at Lowe’s (Shaw Matrix Floating Vinyl Plank in Franklin Hickory).  Yes, I cringed a bit at the word vinyl because it conjured up images of the faux tile flooring in my childhood home. A cream “tile” with pink flowers with large green leaves all through the kitchen and hallway. (Sorry mom, totally throwing you under the bus in this post. Love you!) That floor has long since been discarded but I still couldn’t help but think of outdated material when I see the word vinyl in reference to flooring.

I really liked the look of this particular color of “faux wood” flooring and it was relatively cheap in comparison to the other floor options, waterproof and you install it with nothing more than a tape measure and a box cutter! So, I brought a box home and gave it a shot. You install this product right over existing tile or over subfloor, no underlayment necessary. Before I knew it, I was back at Lowe’s buying enough to finish the whole foyer.

As with the crown moulding, I didn’t take pictures as I went because I wanted to get a little experience first. I’m feeling quite confident with it now and will post a Part 2 when I tackle the next room. However, I will say that the flooring comes with instructions in the box and it is SO EASY that you probably don’t need the photos.

Until then, check out the photos, check out the flooring and seriously consider it if you are looking to update your home. Below is the original flooring and then a few more shots of the new floor. Now to tackle the baseboard and stairs!IMG_2420 IMG_2694 IMG_2711

Crown Moulding

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This is the project I am most proud of so far, it took me a while to get it right (and by that I mean to get to the point that my perfectionistic personality was satisfied) but I did it and am super pleased with the result.

I used 5 1/4 inch angled moulding to get a prominent look that adds depth to the walls, rather than a moulding that lays flat on the wall. You can tell the difference by looking at the back of the moulding. If it is completely flat on the back then it lays flat on the wall. If it has a slanted edge at the top and bottom then it sits at an angle with the slanted edges sitting on the wall and ceiling. Most moulding comes in 8ft or 12ft lengths, measure each wall, the goal is to use just one piece of moulding for each wall so you don’t have to deal with seams of connecting 2 pieces of moulding. However, if you have a long wall and can’t avoid this I will show you how to create a smooth seam. I painted all of the moulding and corner blocks with white semi-gloss interior paint prior to installing it.

Supplies:
Evertrue Interior Primed MDF Crown Moulding from Lowe’s
Evertrue Outside Corner Crown Moulding Block
Evertrue Inside Corner Crown Moulding Block
15 Gauge 1 1/2 Inch Nail
13 Gauge 2 Inch Nail
Nail Punch Set
Miter Box
Wood Filler
Fine Grit Sandpaper

1. I started by attaching the corner moulding blocks to each corner using the 2 inch nails. Each block has predrilled holes so attaching them to the wall is fairly simple. Once you have secured the nail on both sides of the block, using the nail punch set (I used the smallest in the set) to countersink the nail then cover your nail hole with wood filler and allow it to dry for at least a half hour before painting or sanding.
2. Once all your corner blocks are in place, you can put up the moulding. Measure the distance between 2 blocks and cut a piece of moulding to that length. Remember the rule: Measure twice and cut once, and you can always cut off a bit more if it’s too long but you can’t fix it if it’s too short. Angle your moulding so the edges sit flush with the wall and ceiling and anchor in the center of the wall with the 1 1/2 inch nails, one nail into the wall and one into the ceiling. Do the same next to each corner block, and depending on the length of the wall, halfway between the corner and center of the wall. I personally anchored the moulding approximately every 2 feet.
3. After you’ve finished anchoring the moulding, go back with the nail punch and countersink each nail and fill the holes with wood filler like you did with the corner blocks. After the filler has dried for at least a half hour you can lightly sand it so the surface is smooth. Now you can go back with paint and touch up the nail holes.

Because this was my first attempt, I didn’t take photos of the cuts and installation as I went, however, I will post an update soon with more detailed photos of installation and cuts for seams, edges connecting with corner blocks and corner without corner blocks.

Stay tuned!

Foyer Table Re-do

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  I’m SO excited about this table you guys!! This was my first project with Annie Sloan chalk paint and I’m hooked. My mom has been using Annie Sloan paint on her furniture (she re-finishes old furniture and does an amazing job, check out her Facebook page…Simply Country Quilts & Antiques) and she swears by it.

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Deck Restoration

 

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Whoever lived here before us didn’t seem concerned with the obscene amount of rain we get in the pacific northwest and saw no reason to put any sort of finish on the front porch deck. The wood was weathered and worn, dirty and grey; much like the wood I take off of a pallet for some DIY project. I thought for sure that we would need to replace the whole deck if I ever wanted it to look new again. Boy was I wrong!

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