Category Archives: DIY

Bathroom version 2.0

I don’t think I ever shared my first attempt at my bathroom renovation, but I’m sure you guys can guess what it involved? That’s right, removing wallpaper! After I stripped it, I painted it a cool blue color but nothing really got done in the room. A few lost shelving units got hung up and a random piece of art thrown on the wall, but over time the room just kept disappointing me. Here’s what it looked like before:

So a few days ago, I decided to lighten up the room!

Here’s the after, if you can call it that – of course I’d love to re-do the tile, the light, the window, etc, etc. But since I’m working on a small budget this will have to do for now.

The yellow is leftover paint from the hallways and living room, so the whole house has a much more cohesive feel. My favorite part is the homemade open shelving – just a few pieces of wood I screwed together, painted and then anchored into the wall.

Like the art?? Well, you’re in luck! We’re selling it on MINT Studio’s etsy right now, along with some other great typography prints!

This is behind the door – I wanted to start hanging towels there, but wanted some unique towel hooks. (Also, has anyone ever noticed how expensive a few towel hooks can be!?) So instead I went to our local recycled home resource store and found some vintage doorknobs! Just glued them together then screwed them into the wall.

I love using unexpected containers to hold things! A few teacups hold bobby pins, nail clippers, tweezers, etc. Glass jars hold q-tips and cotton swabs. While it’s not a crazy makeover, it really proves how much a coat of paint can really lighten up a room! I feel like my mornings are much brighter these days…

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DIY – Plush Letters

I love the trend of typography as a design element – but even more as something fun and playful. I knew I wanted something in my kitchen that spelled out “EAT” – but did I want wooden letters that I painted? A framed triptych of a great font? Or something even more fun? Of course I went with the last one! With the work we’ve been doing at MINT STUDIO regarding fleece and plush items, I had a few ideas stored up and plenty of material to work with.

Today I grabbed a few extra pieces of a great mustard yellow and decided to plush out my chosen word. They were super easy to make – I just made sure each letter was 7 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide at the widest point. I hand drew my letters on the fleece but if you have a favorite font, print it out to size and cut from the pattern! I made sure to leave an opening while sewing each letter, turned them inside out, stuffed them with polyester fiberfill and hand sewed the opening shut. No, they’re not perfect but that’s part of the charm!

I made these not really sure where I’d hang them, so they got a few test runs in a friends’ kitchen. Hanging over the door?

Leaning on the corner of the kitchen table?

But when I got those mustard letters into my own kitchen against the newly painted gray wall…. Well, let’s just say it was love at first sight.

It looks a bit silly just floating in the middle of the wall, but I have two long shelves that are going up there in the future, which I’m sure will help the overall balance. Is there a better color combination than white, gray and yellow though? Not in my book! To attach these letters, I actually just used push pins that went through the back, and straight into the wall. Barely leaves any mark and allows  tons of room for rearranging! (Or even spelling new words – who knows, maybe this will actually mark my tea storage!?)

These were super quick and easy to make, and there are so many options regarding the letters! They’d also be cute with a striped fabric or chevron pattern. Spell any word you want for any room, make a child’s name or first letter for their room (or for them to play with!), or even make some letters for a recent engagement! How cute would a their two first letters and an ampersand be?

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MINT STUDIO

I’m here with a big announcement! I mentioned in my last post about a project my friend Molly and I have been undertaking and I’m here to tell you guys all about it. Molly and I actually went to high school together – we then both went away to school for graphic design for a year before returning to our hometown to study media arts. So not only are we in the same position school-wise, we both have a crazy similar passion for design and crafts. This summer we decided to open our own design studio and start sharing our work with the world. We currently set up shop every Saturday at a local craft market, which is a really fun experience – have any of you done craft shows?

Our logo in the bottom right corner, and we made a sign out of paper-mache letters from a craft store. We hust painted the front of them mint and punched holes in the side to string wire through them to hang in our booth.

Our display includes lots of wire baskets, vintage suitcases, wine crates and a really great old tin bread box. We just used some simple burlap fabric for a table cloth and even had a candy jar to lure people in. (Is that considered cheating?)

Some of our plush sewn creatures and prints with our branding. We’re using a really nice brown paper for all our tags and signs that I just love.

So I’m here to announce MINT STUDIO! We’re still working on getting our site just the way we want it, but it’s a brief overview of our portfolio  Even more exciting, we have a shop on etsy! ShopMintStudio is where we sell our various crafts, including plush dinosaurs and robots, Montana pillowcases and unique watercolors (a taco wearing cowboy boots? Yes please!). We’d be honored if you gave it a look!

The best part? We do custom orders on both crafts and graphic design. We focus on branding, identity and motion design, but we can also do illustrations, web design and even banners for your own blog! So don’t mind my shameless promotion, I’m just so excited to share our current adventure with you all! Thanks for looking!

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Sweet Succulents

Just like everybody else these days, I can’t deny my love for succulents, especially in small containers. So when a friend and I teamed up to sell stuff at a local market next week, I couldn’t resist this idea as part of our inventory. We picked up a few tins from the dollar section of Target, and a few different sized and patterned teacups from second-hand stores, then went on the hunt for small potted plants.

Our arrangement of cups and cacti. We put a few red lava rocks on the bottom of each cup for better drainage, then some cactus potting soil and started re-potting.

I’m not sure I can actually part with these, I’m so fond of them!

They’re currently sitting in an old wine crate, which just adds to their charm. Wouldn’t they look great bunched together on a sunny windowsill?

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Pallet Coat Rack – Mudroom Reno Part 3

Reusing old pallets is a huge trend right now and one that I just LOVE! There are so many things you can do with them. This is already the third pallet project here at The Sisters K! If you missed Karlie’s creations, she’s made an awesome coffee table and these perfect little benches.

With our mudroom renovation in full swing, I knew we would need somewhere to hang up coats and scarves and maybe even a spot for my purse to live when at home. There’s no closet even in the near vicinity so that meant it had to be hung on the wall and therefor something interesting and unique and fun to look at. So with all the pallet re-purposing I’ve been seeing lately (I blame Pinterest), I dreamed up this idea to make basically a big square out of some old boards and frame it with some chunky white molding to contrast the dark boards and then find some kind of hooks to attach that would work to hang our coats on. This was a bit of an adventure – we’ve never really even tried to tackle anything like this before so we had some fun just figuring it all out as we went along.

I actually had kindof a tough time finding free pallets but ended up getting a couple slightly banged up ones from the free pile at a local resource yard and then my lovely husband spent some long hours while I was off at work ripping them apart! What a nice surprise to come home to…

Look at that gorgeous rainbow of old boards! I love the varying colors and levels of cracking and how rustic they are. I really wanted to keep the boards looking this way for my finished coat rack but there was a slight problem – they were super gross! Covered in cobwebs and super dusty and probably a bunch of bugs living in them. Karlie kept telling me just to sand and stain them but I knew that would change the look and feel of my boards. In the end, we gave them a little scrub and then decided to seal them with some satin polyurethane. All that changed was that the boards became a little darker.

Then we got to wait for them all to dry…

I was so impatient to get started! Before doing any cutting, I had to figure out how I wanted them all the fit together. This involved a lot of rearranging….

Once I was finally satisfied with my layout, we took a straight edge to mark where to cut.

And broke out our ‘power tools.’ Ha! This thing worked surprisingly well and what an arm workout!!

You just line up where your cut needs to be with the slit and slide the saw right in and off you go. It even has 45 degree angles which we would use later to cut the frame out. We really wanted this thing to be sturdy so we applied some wood glue to the back of each board and attached them to some fiberboard we had cut to size (a 48″ square) at Home Depot, and then put some short screws in from the back.

I did a lot of jumping around and squirming with excitement after each completed step of this project – this one especially. It was really starting to look like what I had pictured. So exciting!

Cutting the molding for the frame was a little more difficult, somehow the 45 degree angles just would not match up! So we decided to be ‘artistic’ and float them just slightly off the boards and leave a little space between the corners.

Oh I just love that big crack on the top board!

We attached the frame the same way, just some short screws in through the back…here’s a shot of the back and our insanity. I’m a little embarrassed at how much of a mess this is but it gives you an idea.

Check it out – all finished! Eeee!

Next we had to figure out how to attach this big heavy thing to the wall. We found out where the studs were and measured the spaces between them and marked where they would be when it was hung and then pre-drilled some holes.

And attached it to the wall! I found this little rack of hooks at The Container Store (love that place!) that I think fits perfectly so then we centered and attached that as well. Pardon my big head; got to make sure it’s level….

And it’s finished! I think I’m in love….

And it’s still so rustic – my favorite parts are all the gashes and cracks and imperfections.

Time to put this thing to use! We hung it a bit off center on this wall and got a separate hook for my purse to hang on so it would be out of the way of our coats and have it’s own special spot

It is perfect – even better than I had imagined. And I can’t believe we made it and it’s still in one piece and functional!

Pallets are so fun to reuse. I’ve been dreaming of doing an entire accent wall in our bedroom but Adam’s not quite on board yet (ha! no pun intended) so for now this little coat rack will have to do. I think something like this would be SO cute as a headboard to frame out a bed and make it a little extra special. I am all about the contrast of rustic and dark with smooth bright and white and this satisfies that quite nicely.

I have a lot more faith in our handiness after such a successful project…which one of my 53 project ideas should we tackle next?! Oh the possibilities….

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A Cushion for the Bench – Mudroom Reno Part 2

The time has come for the second installment in our massive mudroom makeover! This is all about my adventures (read: frustrations) at making a custom cushion for our new bench. I found some fun fabric at Ikea…actually it’s the red version of what Karlie used for those adorable pillows in her new kitchen nook. (I can’t wait to come visit and we can sit here and sip coffee and eat treats and discuss decor ideas!!)

First step was to track down the foam. I originally wanted a 4 inch thick cushion but man that stuff is expensive! Settling on 3 inch, I waited (not so patiently, I might add) for it to go on sale and still ended up spending $40 just on the foam. Good thing my fabric was so cheap! Just like how you buy fabric, they cut the length you need at the store but then you get to take it home and cut the specific dimensions yourself. Here’s my pile of supplies:

Those fun stripes, my foam, piping, and some dark gray fabric. You can actually buy this piping in a bunch of different colors but sadly not in a dark gray so I set about making my own. First you need to make bias tape…yes you can also buy this but it’s a good thing to know how to do when the specific color you want isn’t available, or piping with a fun pattern on it would be cute too!

You need to cut a bunch of strips on the bias (diagonally) that are wide enough to wrap around your piping. This is standard 1/2 inch piping so I cut my strips at an inch and a half. Cutting on the bias means the fabric will have a bit more give to it so when you’re sewing it in place on your cushion, there won’t be any pulling or bunching.

Measure around the perimeter of your cushion and add a couple inches to get the length of finished piping you will need. My cushion is 72 x 18 so I made mine 184 inches long. And remember, if you want piping on the top and bottom of your cushion, you get to do this twice! Pin the ends of two strips together at right angles and sew, continuing until you have your two very long strips.

Once you have your nice long pieces of bias tape done, simply wrap and pin it around the piping and then sew in place.

A zipper foot really comes in handy for this because you can get the needle so much closer to the piping.

Then it’s fabric cutting time! You need two identical pieces for the top and bottom, and then four pieces to go around the sides. Don’t forget to add seam allowances! Also, you need to think about how to get in and out of your cushion cover. I decided to make a big flap along the whole back side.

Because apparently I like to make things harder for myself, I decided I just had to have the stripes going ‘vertically’ rather than ‘horizontally’ but my fabric wasn’t long enough for that. So! I had to strategically cut and sew a couple pieces together. This means my measuring and cutting was a bit more specific and complicated than it really needed to be. So much so that I ended up mapping it out to ensure I would get all the pieces I needed cut out of my fabric. It was pretty close but I made it!

As you go about pinning in the next couple steps, I think it really helps to lay everything out on the foam to get it all in the exact right place. Pin the finished piping along the edge of your top piece, cutting up to (but not through) the stitching at each corner so it can bend and create a nice square corner.

When you get to where the ends meet, just overlap them and pin/sew in place and then trim off the excess.

Pinning and sewing corners and 90 degree angles while matching stripes is so fun! Please note the sarcasm here….

From now on, you need to fit and pin (and sew) everything inside out.

Lining up the stripes perfectly was probably my biggest struggle with this project.

I actually sewed half of the top together before checking and realizing it was a good 1/4 inch off. I know that doesn’t sound like much but it was way more noticeable than I was wanting. So yaye for seam ripping and redoing! I finally got the hang of it and they started matching up. So relieved! Here’s the top and sides put together; I laid this out on the floor…

…then put the foam on top and pinned my last piece in place.

Pinning while on the actual cushion will ensure a nice tight fit on your cushion cover. Then because I made a flap along the back, I just undid the pins holding the flap closed and slid the cover off to finish sewing.

All finished! Or so I thought. I didn’t realize until fitting it onto my foam that these giant flaps would keep it from fitting tight enough. It just looked so loose and sloppy.

Nothing a bit of velcro can’t fix! Actually, a lot of velcro.

Here we are – much better.

I just love these stripes! And the contrast of the dark piping.

It’s coming along…

We’re getting closer to the finish line every day and I am loving it more and more with each addition!

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Paint Chips – Mudroom Reno Part 1

One of my least favorite spaces when we bought our house was the “office.” It’s a small room full of built-ins located on the main level, towards the back of the house, kindof tucked away in the corner but it has no door. Just a gaping hole, meaning it didn’t quite make sense for Adam’s home office (that and the lack of space) so it was decided this would be a good craft and sewing area for me. I quickly realized the dis-functionality of this room while attempting to organize and set up shop. There used to be (!) a whole wall of cabinets reaching up to the 10 foot ceilings that were made even harder to access by the presence of a large L-shaped laminate desk directly below them.

Basically from the day we moved in up until about a month ago, this room unintentionally became the ‘junk room’. It got a little out of hand and was driving me crazy; so naturally, my mind started reeling with possibilities of how we could transform it to make it both more functional and pretty. I have a slightly overactive imagination and I love going into a space (yes, I do this in other people’s houses too…) and just letting my brain take over. I’m kindof proud that I can do this so easily – it’s like I can erase whatever is there and I just start seeing colors and themes and furniture and patterns and accessories and it all just keeps snowballing. I have always loved the casual coziness of mudrooms with cute coat hooks and storage benches; so once I started toying with the idea of this being a multi-functional space of entry/mudroom and craft room I was sold.

I honestly thought this would be one of the last projects we’d ever get to; it just seemed so daunting with all the built-in removal that would be involved. I should also mention that we are probably the two least handy people on the planet…another reason these big projects make me nervous. Not a clue what we’re doing…. But we sure had a lot of motivation – this room is the first thing we get to see when we come home since we enter from the garage instead of the front door. You walk in through the laundry room then there’s a half bath on the right and this little room straight ahead with the rest of the house (living/dining/kitchen/stairs up and down) off to the left and around the corner. Walking through the door and seeing a giant mess was getting old fast. How would you like to come home to this?

Not very welcoming. I don’t know what it was that gave us the kick in the pants to get started – but a couple weeks ago we decided to just go for it and starting tearing stuff down!

Of course we had to clear out the mess first. Here’s another look at what we were dealing with.

After a few hours of unscrewing and prying and yanking and a lot of sweating, it all came out! Naturally we were left with quite a few holes to patch and what fun is a renovation project without a surprise or two? Here’s a nice one…

The ends of that big L-shaped desk used to sit on top of some little cabinets and when we finally got everything out we were left with these lovely holes where they used to be. No carpet, no molding, no matching paint. Awesome. Luckily we have a lot of stuff leftover from the build that the last owners saved, like boxes of extra tiles and a big roll of carpet, and all the paint colors. So all we really had to do was cut some carpet and molding to fit. Yes, patchwork carpet is a little odd and someday we’re hoping to redo the floors in here completely, but my new plan for this room would cover these little corners back up just enough to where our fixes would hardly be noticeable.

Then as we’re rummaging in the basement for this room’s matching paint (which is the main color throughout the entire house), Adam goes and says this will probably be my only chance to repaint this room…ok let’s go for it!! Now, here’s a cool technique I just learned and applied and it worked amazingly! I wish I had known this when painting those stripes in our toilet closet! The concept is that you put your tape up and then take the old color and paint over into the new color space, let it dry, and then paint as usual. What happens is that if there’s any bleeding, it’ll be in the old color and not the new one. This blog gives an awesome and super detailed tutorial.

See how textured our walls are? LOTS of bleeding paint before this genius technique. Ready for the color we picked? I took some advice from Karlie about going a little more bold than I was comfortable with and we LOVE it! The color we chose is Rhythmic Blue by Behr in Semi-Gloss for easy cleaning. Little known fact: interiors are usually painted in flat with the exception of kitchens and bathrooms where walls need to be washed and still hold up. Good to know, huh?

Look how perfect that line is! I love how professional it looks. There was still a little bit of touching up to do but nowhere near as bad as the bathroom project.

This room is so light and airy feeling now. Already so much better, even with nothing in it!

Check out our carpet patch! Good thing there’s a giant bookshelf there now….

For Adam’s office upstairs we had bought one of these with the desk attachment a couple months ago and after some careful measuring it was discovered that it would fit in this room quite nicely. It’s a little crazy how perfect it fits actually, just clearing walls and doorways by a couple inches. And the cool thing is that they have these bookshelves in all different sizes. So back we went to get a skinny one to lay on it’s side to use for a bench under the window. And now we’re on the hunt again for a new desk for Adam’s office. Whoops!

After assembling and turning it sideways, this poor bookshelf bench seemed a bit short and dumpy…so we bought some little wheels at Home Depot and screwed them into the bottom. This is awesome for cleaning too, just wheel the whole thing out of the room to vacuum underneath it. Plus I really think it adds some fun.

Then we needed something to put in the cubbies to hold all our shoes (until now they would just pile up in the laundry room) so I found these crates at JoAnn’s and put a little stain on them and voila! Cute old looking crates!

Now, I bet you’re wondering what we did with all those cabinets…who cares, right?! I was all for throwing them to the curb but we’ve been trying to organize the tandem part of our giant garage without spending hundreds of dollars on fancy storage solutions and my clever husband suggested reusing what we’d just taken down. Some of the parts were a little….destroyed? Again, we’re not handy so we literally ripped some parts off the wall when we couldn’t get the screws out. But the majority of these cabinets were unharmed and look at all the storage we have in here now! And a workbench/table of sorts….

It’s not the most beautiful but it sure is better than the growing mess we had in here before. At least we can pretend to be organized now.

Next up, making a cushion for the top of this bench – big chunky red and white striped fabric with dark grey piping! Can’t wait to share the finished room – it’s almost there. Just a few accessories left to find and some curtains to hang….

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DIY Benches

It seems the making of my pallet coffee table started a new obsession – making furniture out of reclaimed wood. So when I started thinking about renovating the kitchen and changing the seating I immediately thought of making my own benches. And so out came the leftover pallets and hammers, and to work I went. This project actually took longer than expected, because my leg ideas changed over time, mostly because I had to accommodate the heater that ran along the side and back walls. I knew I wanted the bench to sit flush against the wall, but had to have the legs at least 3 inches in in order to avoid the heater. I thought of steel pipe legs (01), of hairpin legs (02) and finally just settled on making them out of wood and staining them black, to imitate a metal finish (03) – because of easier construction and cost. Making these benches would have been way easier if not for that heater though…

First step involved tearing apart my remaining pallets.

Second step, cutting them to length. My original idea was to construct one ridiculously long bench for that area – just over 90 inches long. My dad helped me realize how unsteady that would be, and the idea changed into take two 45 inch benches that can now be used elsewhere when we move, even for outdoor seating!

The eight boards for two bench tops.

And here the legs are being constructed – a rough box shape, with an extra 3 inches on one end to accommodate the heater. We clamped these together and simply screwed in the from the top and sides.

Four constructed bench legs.

And the final product – the legs were screwed in from the top, and a middle 2X4 was placed underneath in the center, for extra support and to prevent warping. Sanding came next…

Followed by staining…

And putting them into place! I used a stain in Golden Pecan, painted the legs with black paint and added coats of polyurethane to the stain. The benches fit perfectly in the area, they don’t move at all and they’re super stable.

Here you can see the heater underneath, but thankfully everything measured out correctly and it fits just right. I might add a long cushion in the future, but for now I’m enjoying just the wood finish with some decorate home-made pillow covers (the fabric is actually from Ikea!).

 

 

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The Start of Something Big

You didn’t think I gave up on my wallpaper removal process did you? I took a little break for school and spring break but came back with a vengeance, this time to tackle the kitchen. I have big ideas for this room, but started with the basics and a new coat of paint.

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Here’s a before photo of the counter next to the doorway – this built-in shelf was always covered in stuff, one of those areas that collects items that don’t really have any other home

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Doorway to the dining room – wallpaper + old appliances + dirty cupboards + outdated tile…

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And there were valances over all the windows, in the same pattern as the wallpaper.

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Time for removal! The shelf came down with the wallpaper, and look what I found underneath! I love these random paint colors, pretty fun, right?

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Bright orange doorway.

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And the new paint! I chose gray – I love gray kitchens – but it was a really difficult decision. Dark, light, finding what works with the brown cabinets? I like the choice, but the blue tiles do give the walls a blue tone which I’m not too crazy about – but I’ve still got plenty of work to do!

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Updated corner – we’ll be adding some art and floating shelves in the future.

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And the seating area – we also painted the trim and wainscoting white – it was a faded cream color that refused to get clean but these made a huge difference. You can sneak a peak at my latest project that I’ll be posting about next – those “built-in” benches against the wall!

The changes so far: wallpaper to gray paint, trim painted white, “built in” benches, removal of the valences/window coverings and new white chairs!

So what else is on the current to-do list for the kitchen?

A few things include changing out the light fixture (I have one ready and waiting, just need to switch them out!), making a new wooden/steel pipe table, and making and hanging new shelves!

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A Chair With My Name On It

You know, it comes in handy having a mom that obsessively collects and holds on to funky pieces of furniture (among other things….) It makes for some fun DIY projects and I remember spending many a bored summer day in our attic having all kinds of adventures with whatever we could find up there. My most recently acquired treasure  from her ever-growing collection came down with my sisters when they visited for spring break a few weeks ago – a nice solid old wooden chair. The construction is beautiful and it’s super sturdy – which is much appreciated in our house of rickety items (soon to be replaced!). However, the paint job is a just boring and very chipped and in need of some serious TLC.

Mind you this is after I did some sanding but that it honestly didn’t change much – the seat was in the worst shape and I just knew this little guy could be beautiful again! Here’s a look at the back.

I think this one was taken pre-sandpaper attack – see the legs and spindles weren’t too bad. After sanding I just wiped it down with a damp rag to get rid of all that dust and get it ready to be painted.

So, I refinished a dresser a couple months ago and learned a very valuable lesson when painting furniture: always use semi-gloss paint! I used flat for that first project and it looked great for about 10 minutes, but every little nudge leaves a mark or scuff and you can’t really clean them up that great. With semi-gloss you can even wash your painted surfaces so we might be doing another quick remake of that little dresser before long. I decided I really wanted to brighten this chair up so I just asked the paint lady at Lowe’s for a nice bright white that wouldn’t scuff….this is how I learned the trick of semi-gloss. I also picked up some bright color samples for a second dresser project (you can see it hanging out in the background of some of these photos) and thought it might be fun to do an accent color on the chair as well.

It didn’t take long after one coat of white to realize that I’d be painting for a while…..

That stubborn black just kept trying to peek through – in the end I think I did 3 coats of the white and then I had to decide on which accent color to use and how much. I finally landed on a pretty pale blue (not one of the samples I bought of course – but some extra paint leftover from our mudroom renovation project we have in the works) and doing the bottom “notch” of the legs and the armrests so time to tape!

Tape removal always makes me nervous and for good reason – something bad usually happens. This time it pulled off a little of the white paint underneath so then I got to go back again and do some touch ups but it was definitely all worth it in the end. I am SO pleased with how this chair turned out.

I even really like the “shininess” of the semi-gloss paint and I think it looks so good against the hardwoods! And remember these? They look super cute paired together with my new revamped chair!

How perfect! And a shot from the back.

Yes I did paint those little knobs on the back blue as well. It just adds to the fun, don’t you think? Working on little redo’s like this gets me so inspired and excited to tackle bigger and more involved projects. As I mentioned we went a little crazy and started a renovation on what used to be a small office with tons of completely non-functional built ins and is now becoming a mudroom/craft area that is turning out great! I’m hoping to be completely done in a week or two so be on the lookout for some posts about that. I’ve got all kinds of of fun tutorials coming including; turning a bookshelf into a storage bench, sewing a custom cushion for said bench, and creating a coat rack out of some old pallets and a bit of molding. I honestly can’t wait for this room to be completed – I already love spending time in there and we still have a ways to go. That must mean we’re on the right track!

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