Tag Archives: Renovate!

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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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.


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


Doorway to the dining room – wallpaper + old appliances + dirty cupboards + outdated tile…


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


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?


Bright orange doorway.


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!


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


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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Hallway Part 2

I told you I’d be back with another hallway wallpaper update! I tackled the front entryway this week and it turned out to be a hassle for a few different reasons.

A before picture of the front doorway with wallpaper.

Upper level of the staircase that required some innovative engineering in order to get to.

The connecting wall from the stairs. Everything in this picture terrifies me honestly – the fake plant, the mismatched random purple lamp (turns out it wasn’t even plugged in, what the heck was it doing there!?), the sad decorations… But everything was about to change.

Time to start removing wallpaper – and here’s where the first problem started. I discovered that underneath the visible wallpaper was a complete second layer of a different pattern. And look at how crazy it is! Yellow and black florals/stripes/everything you can imagine. So these walls ended up taking longer than anticipated, just because I had twice as much to tackle.

And it was everywhere!

Once all the paper was removed I did one coat of primer. If you’re wondering how I tackled the staircase, here’s the answer:

A precarious yet effective solution my dad created – a 12 foot ladder against the wall, a board placed on the third rung and spanning up to the level stair and then an 8 foot ladder standing on that. I’m actually terrified of heights and get vertigo on regular stairs – so this was a really exciting combination! Especially when you add in a paint roller.

Completed! I carried on the yellow from the other hallway – and I’m actually wishing I choose a more exciting color. That’s always my downfall when it comes to painting. I chose colors too quickly and never go with a bold enough choice. I get nervous about overwhelming the space but I think it would have been much more exciting with something that popped more.

Updated full hallway.

And the most dramatic change on the wall.  The whole space needs more decorating and thought but I just couldn’t wait to share the progress!

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Works in Progress

Over the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a severe procrastinator. Case in point, I meant to make this post over a week ago. Nice, huh? Growing up, I ALWAYS left my science projects and papers and semester long assignments until the absolute last moment. Like, to the point where I’d have to stay up more than half the night trying to scramble and finish. I was also the kid furiously studying at lunch and hiding my notes in unrelated textbooks  to prepare for a test that I’d known about well in advance. What I’m getting at is that I am super good at starting projects…but not so great at finishing them. I’ve been working on this little problem of mine for a while and I really think I’m growing up and getting better. Or maybe I just tell myself that….

So, here’s a look at what I’ve been working on lately and maybe this will give me the motivation to get my butt in gear and keep going! I sure hope so.

We bought our first house this summer and we really got a great deal – it’s 5 years old and has some gorgeous wood floors, and a finished basement, and a huge wrap around yard (yaye corner lot!) with a nice patio, and a 3-car garage, and just so much potential! Really, it’s in great shape and there’s not much we need to do to it but of course I have a few wants. We’ve been pretty bad at buying furniture and decorating and my excuse is that I just don’t know where to start. I got a little upset a few weeks ago that we have this big beautiful house but it’s not even close to feeling like ‘home’ yet. Adam came up with the idea that I make a list of everything I want for the house and when I want to get it done and how much I want to spend on each item/project. Genius! He was pretty proud of himself until he saw how long my list was getting. Ha! Whoops. We decided to start small and the smallest room in our house is what I call “the toilet closet” in the master bath. Here’s what it looked like on the day of our final walk through…ugh.

After a lot of taping and painting and doing touch ups, we had a cute little striped room! I love paint stripes but after this I’m not sure if any other rooms will be getting this treatment. I printed out some 8×10’s we took on our trip to Kauai last summer and found some frames at Target then spent forever trying to figure out where and how to hang them and here’s what it looks like now!

So much better! I still really want to switch out the ugly dome light fixture for something easy and inexpensive and way more fun – this is just one tiny room of our house after all…I think one of these would be so perfect!

Something I have always wanted is to have a huge vegetable and flower garden but somehow I was born without much of a green thumb. I always manage to kill my plants. Oh so disappointing. However! This past fall, while mom was visiting she helped me plant some of the bulbs I’d been stockpiling. Just yesterday I noticed that they’ve started peeking out of the dirt! This is beyond exciting and is almost giving me enough motivation to plant more. The problem is that I don’t know where to put them. We have some lovely rock-piles surrounding the house and I’d really like to clear those out and turn them into some nice little flower beds but I just don’t want to do something wrong! Good thing my garden help is coming for another visit next week…oh moooooom! I have an activity for us! Just check out these gorgeous spring bulbs I just bought! (the paperwhite ziva are the ones getting ready to to bloom – so cute!)

As I’ve mentioned, I have a grandmotherly addiction to knitting and here’s my most recent project. I have a lot more things in the works but here’s the project I’ve been most excited about and what has been occupying most of my time.

Gorgeous and snuggly blanket! Look at the pattern, so so pretty.

I just love it! It’s about…half done and I’ve been working on it since probably September. Someday I’ll finish.

Now this is just a handful of my works in progress….and I think it worked! I am itching for some knitting right now so off I go!

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