I have to admit, as I have been taking down Halloween decorations, I have been chomping at the bit to start Christmas decorations. I’m blaming it on the new house feeling and it being our first Christmas here. To distract myself though, and come back to Earth that we’re still weeks away from even Thanksgiving, I jumped into re-caulking the bathroom tub. I warn you, the following pictures are graphic. They feature crumbling caulk, 1950s color bathroom tile, and a floor begging to be redone. This bathroom will most certainly be the feature of many posts to come of quick updates you can do if you can’t gut a bathroom entirely.
Wahoo! The first floor doors are painted white and officially match the rest of the doors and trim. Painting the 5 first floor doors was a huge improvement in brightening up the hallways. You can read the progress post and the how-to here.
Tips & Tricks for Painting Doors
One of the issues I ran into was paint drips. As much as I tried to prevent them, I was rushed during one of the days and didn’t do the best job. Never fear though, do you have the dreaded paint drips? If the paint is too dry to fix with a paint brush or is tacky wait until it dries completely and sand it back down.
Since living here, our dining room has been all but ignored. We moved in, plopped any dining room related items in there, and occasionally walk through on our way to another room. We never sit down to eat dinner there together, probably because we never had a dining room table to use so we’re just not in that habit. I would really love to have this space finished to at least the functional point for now to have dinner, guests over, game nights, and as a table for projects. Another piece of the puzzle is to refinish the table and add the leaf since it’s a bit small for now, but more to come on that in the future.
The dining room built ins were an adorable add to two front corners of the room with an over-sized window between. They were, however, a little dated and had a lovely dark pepto bismol like color.
First things first I removed the doors from the built ins for an updated feel. I used a wood filler like this one to fill in the holes where the hinges had been. After that dried I sanded it down to create a smooth finish ready for paint. At first I actually planned to paint the inside of the built ins white but after two coats it just wasn’t feeling right. There was something about it that I just wasn’t crazy about. No time lost though because the white acted as a primer over that dark pink anyway. After looking around for inspiration I decided to go a deep grey for some drama with white shelves. Luckily, that dark grey on the bottom half of the walls below was still in a can in the basement with the date on it – only three months old, still useable. I don’t want the cabinets to match the walls but I also don’t like the contrasting wall colors either. I plan to change the walls in the future, perhaps white on the bottom with moulding. For now though, I’ll deal with the matching since it saved a few bucks by using paint we already had.
When all was said and done I added in some of my favorite pieces – antique books and a Singer sewing machine. I wanted to change the handle on the bottom portion of the built ins but for the life of me could not get the knob off. It had been painted over many many times and would not budge with razors, wrenches, you name it. So I decided to wave the white flag and just spray paint it gold for now. Maybe someday in the future I’ll wage a war on it again and have some luck.
Next project, step right up. All the trim in the house is white as well as the second floor doors. The first floor interior doors though were left the bare wood. The doors in our home are hollow core without any panels so this is a faster, easier update job than if we were painting the classic 6 panel doors. Down the line we will most likely update them to the paneled doors but, welcome to the real world of prioritizing projects, our bank accounts are not bottomless. These last 4.5 doors (one of them is painted white on one side already) will bring cohesion and brighten up the first floor hall.
Sayonara yellow walls! I have completed the mini half bath makeover on our first floor. In addition to the glaring change of the paint color I also removed the toilet paper holder and the second towel bar and fixed some rough spots in the wall that drove me nuts.
Moving into a new home it can take a little bit to not feel like you are just camping out in someone else’s home. When all is said and done and the boxes are moved in it still takes some time to really feel at home. One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to immediately make a new place your own is a fresh coat of paint. Before you dive in head first though, do yourself a HUGE favor and prep the walls for a perfect paint job. Trust me, if you take the steps first to properly prepare the walls you will thank yourself in the long run. First step for paint prep? Remove any nails, screws, wall anchors, or anything else used to hang artwork. Unless of course you decide your decor fits perfectly on the already made holes, have at it, my friend. For anyone whose previous homeowners did not set them up with perfect decor locations, read on.
As I mentioned in this post, I was over the moon to learn about the story of a 1600s barn in my hometown and to be able to have a piece of history with the scrap wood that is unable to be used in its restoration. My mind has been churning with ideas of what to make out of this reclaimed wood. With the limited amount of resources (if I need more or change my mind there is no going to Home Depot for another piece), I measured what I had and got to sketching what I could make. However, before I could hop to making anything I had to stop and remember this wood has been outside for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. That is 400 years of weather and housing animals and machinery. In other words, not the most sanitary thing to bring into my clean home.
Tell me I’m not the only one that goes gah-gah for beautiful wood grain. Ryan Gosling, eh, give me some wood grain to gawk at instead any day. I found this little table an estate sale for $2. As you can see, he has seen better days. There are gaps between the pieces and all over the entire table whatever coating was used has turned into this hideous bubbly mess. Alas, my friend, look deep below that ugly pimply coating and there is some stunning wood. If you can see past this little guy’s mysterious bubble disease, the craftsmanship is beautiful. The legs are delicate and you can see the hardwood trying to show through. I knew I wanted this one to be the chalk paint table I had in my mind.
I posted a picture on Instagram (here) about barn wood I was given a few days ago. The history behind the wood is fascinating. I knew this was one of the oldest farms in town from the 1600s but only recently did I learn more. This barn is the oldest in Connecticut, one of the 10 oldest in the US, and was a part of the Underground Railroad. They have now started restoring it and since not all the wood can be salvaged, the owner showed me the pile of what was not being used. Picture the face of a movie character opening up a long lost treasure chest. That was me. My main plan is to make a bookshelf so I have measured, cut, and cleaned the wood. I had one piece leftover and, in the meantime before building the bookshelf, decided to make it into a wall bottle opener.
Living in an apartment, being smart about storage is key to being able to maintain a clean clutter free space. I went the atypical route in creating a space to get ready and chose to use a dresser instead of a vanity/desk and a cube seat that has more storage inside. This Ikea Malm dresser is the perfect height for me to sit at and has three deep drawers to store products. Being Ikea, it also has plenty of ways to customize.