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!

Faux Wrought Iron Wall Decor

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While online shopping for some wall décor that I liked, I came across a gorgeous hand carved wood plaque that came in 3 panels. It was beautiful and the perfect size for the large wall space I was wanting to fill. Then I looked to the right and saw the price…$800. Of course! This is why I started this blog, as my dad always says, I have champagne taste on a beer budget. I want to find ways to create a chic and stylish home without breaking the bank. I wanted something that looked hand carved or like wrought iron and realized a rubber door mat was exactly the design I was searching for and all needed to do was paint and sand it to get the desired look.

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I started with this Allen & Roth rubber floor mat from Lowe’s. This particular mat is 24″ x 36″ so I bought 3 of them to cover the space I wanted and to get the same look as the wood carved panels I was dreaming about.

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Next step was to paint. Now I could have easily used spray paint (which would have been much easier and faster!) but spray paint is pretty sticky and adheres to most surfaces well but I wanted to get an antique look, for the paint to flake off in places the way it does on rusty old wrought iron. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in pure white. Once the paint had dried, I used an electric hand sander to chip away some of the paint.
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Once I got the desired look, I hung it up! The paint did continue to flake off a bit as I handled the mat and hung it so be careful. I may try some type of spray on sealant to keep it looking to way it does now, if I do, I’ll keep you all posted.

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Enjoy! And happy DIYing!
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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

Antiqued Mirrors

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So I have this large blank space above my front door and for the life of me, I could not decide what to hang above it. I was thinking just one large mirror but then I had this obnoxious fear of that big mirror falling to the ground when the front door slams shut someday. I hate hanging super large objects, to avoid this, I decided to hang a bunch of small objects instead. Must less scary but a bit more work for me.

First I thought I’d buy plain 12×12 mirrors and go through the whole antiquing process. Let me tell you, I don’t recommend this. It was tedious and it was a workout. You have to use paint stripper to get the backing off the mirror, then remove some of the actual mirror film with chemicals. All the while, you are scraping away with a paint scraper, getting quite the arm workout. By the time I was done I needed a drink, and I’m not talking about water. Anyway, I finished scraping the mirrors, antiqued them and then started to hang them but quickly realized I didn’t like the look of a bunch of square mirrors all in a row. I wanted different shapes and sizes all with decorative frames on them but I discovered I was going to be paying at least $30 per mirror for this. Now, I do have some mirrors with great frames that I may antique in the future so that post may come at a later date. This post, however, will teach you how to turn plain glass into an antiqued mirror, and it’s SO easy!

Off I went to the thrift store where I found a huge assortment of picture frames of all shapes and sizes. I picked out 11 of them (sadly, I broke one in the process of turning it into a mirror). Then I went to Home Depot and picked up a few cans of Rust-Oleum Laquer Gloss Black Spray Paint for the frames and a few cans of Rust-Oleum Mirror Finish Spray Paint for the glass. I came back home and got to work.

The steps themselves are pretty simple…
1. Remove the glass and backing from the picture frames
2. Spray the picture frames with the chosen color of spray paint, allow to dry completely. This may take 2 coats depending on the color you choose and material of the frame.
3. Using the mirror finish spray paint, paint the back side of the glass and allow to dry completely. If necessary, apply a second coat once the first coat is dry.
4.  To get the antique finish on the mirror: Using a spray bottle, make a 50/50 water and bleach mixture. Spray a bit of the mixture on an old cloth (that you don’t mind ruining) and rub the cloth lightly in a circular motion around the outer 2 inches of the glass and anywhere that you want the mirror to look distressed. Reference the photo above to see the distressing on my mirrors, the more or the harder you rub the cloth on the mirror, the more the paint will come off.
5. Whatever piece of cardboard or backing is going directly behind the mirror, spray paint that piece black to get the full distressed look.
6. Reassemble your frames (remember the non-painted side of the glass faces forward) and voilà, you have a custom distressed mirror.

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Table Arrangement

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I know, I know, you can just buy this in a store rather than spend the time making it yourself. However, an arrangement this size would easily cost you $100-$150 at a higher end home décor store. My main motivation for making a faux arrangement myself is because I had a specific idea in my head of the style and size that I wanted, I couldn’t really find exactly what I wanted already made and I already had the 2 magnolia branches that I wasn’t using. And, as much as I would like to be like Lisa Vanderpump and fill my home with giant fresh flower arrangements every week, it’s just not going to happen. So, what the heck, I thought I’d give it a try and see what I came up with.

I started with a stone container from Home Goods, which was actually grey. I wanted a black container so I used the leftover paint from my chandelier and put a thin coat of black paint on it.

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Next step was to create a base to stick the stems into. I used Floral Craft dry foam from Michael’s Craft Store. It comes in a package of 5 bricks and you can cut them to fit your container. I ended up using 2 1/2 bricks to fit the container and the cut the tops off so the foam was even with the top of the container.

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Then I started creating the arrangement. I started with the 2 magnolia branches that I had on hand from Z Gallerie. You have to be careful with faux flowers because they can look very cheap so this is were you want to be discerning and spend a few extra dollars (I think I paid around $15 per stem for mine). I also got 2 packages of curly willow branches from Michaels to fill in the spaces between the blooms in the arrangement. The nice thing about faux flowers is that they are wired, so you can bend them anyway you want. I place the magnolia branches in the center of the arrangement, stems about 2 inches apart, then bent the branches and blooms to get the placement I wanted. Then I started adding the curly willow branches, one at a time, turning the arrangement as I went, to make sure I was placing the branches evenly all around. Be sure to think about where the arrangement will sit in your home and whether it will be one sided or seen from all angles.

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Now, I didn’t do this with mine, but if you really want to keep the arrangement nice and sturdy you can use a hot glue gun to attach each stem to the foam. Take them stem, place it in the foam where you want it, take it back out, put hot glue on the end and put it back. Once you are done placing all the stems you can finish off the container however you prefer. I chose to use moss as my foam cover, but you can also use rocks (just cut your foam down 1-2″ below the top of the container). And again, you can use hot glue to adhere your foam cover. I had a lot of stems to wedge the moss between and a small gap between the foam and the container to tuck in the edges.

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Done and done!

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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.

I wanted to get a distressed and “roughed up” look with this so I really got after the sanding but I love how it turned out. The great thing about finishing your own furniture is that you don’t pay much and if you don’t like it, just paint it again!

Here are my steps to get this kind of look…

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I started with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White, the Soft Wax in clear and her small pure bristle brush. Her paint brushes are a little spendy but the quality is amazing and you can use the same brush for paint and wax by just washing with soap and water and letting it dry completely in between uses.

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I found this round pedestal table at a thrift store for $35! I did sand the table down before I painted it but only because I was using white paint and there were some stains in the finish that would come out with cleaner that I didn’t want to show through the paint. Otherwise, you can paint right over the top of whatever color or finish is on the furniture. Keep in mind that if you are going to sand the furniture down to get an “antique” look, whatever color is underneath is going to show through.

I put on 2 coats of paint, letting it dry for about 2 hours in between coats. Then I applied a coat of the clear Soft Wax, which helps to protect the furniture and seal in the paint. I applied the wax 1 section at a time and then after a minute or two, used a clean, dry cloth to wipe away the excess. Once I was finished waxing, I began to sand the table to get the desired worn look I was going for.

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I used a small electric sander because I knew I wanted a fairly distressed look, however, if you want it less distressed, just use a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the edges and moulding by hand. Once I finished sanding, I wiped the table down to get rid of the dust left behind by the sander and then applied a second coat of wax.

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And that’s that! I can’t wait to add some decorative touches to the foyer now and I especially can’t wait to do my next piece of furniture!

A Closet Makeover

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When we moved into this house and I began to think about decorating, I told myself that I wouldn’t have those couple of areas in the house. You know what I’m talking about…the black holes, where things get stored, never to be seen again. Well, for me, that has always been the coat closet. And wouldn’t you know, I started putting all the random junk (box fan, cleaning supplies, vacuum, old DVD players that will never get used again) into the coat closet in our new home. It quickly becomes a spot that you never want anyone to see but yet it’s front and center when guests arrive. Then you have to deal with that awkward moment when you need to put their coat away or retrieve it on their way out. You strategically open the closet door as little as possible so that you can 1) accomplish your task without anything falling on top of you and 2) do so without letting anyone see what you actually keep in there.

Well, no more!

Here are my steps to a beautiful entryway coat closet you’ll be proud to open the doors on:

1. Clean it out

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You have no idea how embarrassing it is for me to post these photos! Anyway, the most tedious step, taking all that junk out of the closet. Most of this stuff probably belongs in the garage, or in a garage sale, so be honest with yourself and what you actually need to keep in this closet. For us, it is coats, hats, gloves, scarves and shoes.

2. Prep

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Once you’ve cleaned everything out, it’s time to decide what type of shelving you need. I knew that I wanted a custom shelf built into the wall so the first thing I did was remove the base board inside the closet. Once that was finished I built a frame for the shelves out of 2×4’s. Now, if you aren’t quite at the point of building your own shelving, no worries. You can find great shelving in all different finishes and sizes at places like Home Depot.

3. Insert your shelving & paint!

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Now, the reason I put my shelving on a frame is because, once the new flooring goes in, I wanted to be able to put base moulding up against the shelf. Next, I painted the walls in the closet the same color as my foyer, Valspar Lyndhurst Timber from Lowe’s in an interior flat finish. The trim and shelving I painted with Valspar Ultra Paint & Primer in White semi-gloss.

4. Finish with the details

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Now for the fun stuff, the finishing touches! I got new hardware from Home Depot for the closet doors, the same thing that was on it before but a nice brushed nickel finish as opposed to the scratched gold finish. Next I got rid of those plastic hangers, the ones that you have in about 20 different colors, hanging in your closet right now. I got these great, dark wood hangers from Home Goods, they come in a pack of 5 for about $5. And finally, I added some cute black baskets from T.J. Maxx to the shelves to hide all the shoes, gloves, etc. and give it a nice, clean, finished look. Now these came with different colored fabric liners inside them, I just cut them out for a uniform look.

And that’s it, you’re done! Now let’s go have a cocktail party in the foyer to show off your new masterpiece!