Before and After: Coffee Table

I love Before and Afters so much, don’t you??

This is the coffee table on my porch in my last post. I bought it at an occasional store, and it was the right size and shape, just not the right colors for me.

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Here’s the frame before I had spray painted it that charcoal color:

032So I used an electric sander on the top to get rid of most of the paint. I didn’t use a paint stripper because I wanted kind of a mottled, weathered look, so I wanted to encourage an uneven color. And because paint stripper scares me.

047Then I used a water-and-paint mixture to “blue-wash” it. And there we go!

048I’ve got another Before and After coming up soon!

 

 

 

Desk Reveal!

Ok y’all! Thanks so much for your input. I got a comment from PearlGirl90, who said that it seemed like I wanted blue the most, which made me realize that that was true. It’s just paint, so if (when) I get sick of it, I can easily repaint it.

For now, I like it a lot.

Before…

IMG_440814818After!

IMG_4410861821. The “stool” is actually a side table, so it’s not really the right height or sturdiness for sitting. I just put it there because the desk needed a chair, and it looked okay. But now I kind of like it. I might replace it with some other chair (see below), but we’ll see. As I said, I will probably never actually sit at the desk.

2. My walls look white in pictures, but they’re actually light blue. If that matters at all to you.

3. I think a stencil or gold accents might look nice, but for now I just wanted to keep it pretty simple. I didn’t even spray paint the hardware. I normally hate brass, but I liked it as it was. Just quiet and unassuming.

4. Yes, I do have a lot of markers.

The chair below is another piece of furniture from my grandparents’ house (the last one I have I think?), so I might fix it up (reupolster? eep!) at some point, and possibly replace the table-stool with it.

IMG_441083117She’s not much to look at now, but she’s got a lot of potential.

Help! What Color Should I Paint My New Desk?

I decided to change up a corner of my room. Here’s what it had looked like until now:

IMG_440809555It’s cozy looking, but I never sat in the chair, so it was pretty much just a dust catcher. So I decided to put a desk there instead. I probably won’t sit at the desk (I’ve never liked using desks), but it’ll be nice to keep stationery supplies in/on it. And I had an old desk from my grandparents lying around, so it’s free!

Ain’t she cute?

IMG_440814818But I can’t decide what color to paint it, so you should help me!

Here are the options I’m considering:

1. White

Under The Table and Dreaming: Home Office and Work Space Ideas & Inspiration | 75 Creative Desk Areas(100+) desk |New office with prints from @Sarah Chintomby Tolzmann @Inslee Haynes Haynes and Southern Weddings Shop via Etsy

2. Robin’s Egg Blue

Love the blue desk and contrasting wood shelves in this modern home office nookThis is clever, very clever.  I would make my closet into my sewing area!  Maybe than I would be able to do more sewing because I wouldn't have to take my sewing machine off the kitchen table every time I want to work on a project!boys room, locker for storage, ive seen these at habitat for humanity

3. No paint!

15 Beautiful and Inspiring Workspaces | Apartment Therapytumblr n2qg9xMw6Y1rqeb09o1 1280 620x413 70 Inspirational Workspaces & Offices | Part 21wooden desk with metal stool and red typewriter

5 Things to Consider:

1. My room is in the attic, where there are sloping ceilings and few windows, so it tends to be a bit darker up here. Having a lighter colored desk is appealing for that reason.

2. I like the clean, sleek look of the white. But white shows dirt easily and I tend to get a little bored with white.

3. The Robin’s Egg Blue is a color I have running throughout my house (lots of light blue, aqua, and turquoise, with yellow accents). I love it, but I might get sick of it at some point. I think it would be super cute, but it might be good to go with something a little more neutral and a little less twee..?

4. I almost always dislike brown wood. (If I’m going to have something wood, I’d prefer it to be kind of grayish ashy, like distressed barn wood.) So I do like the idea of keeping it unpainted because it’s more neutral and “grown up”, but I just don’t know how much I’m going to like having that color wood around forever. It’s also kind of dark for this attic.

5. The finish is imperfect. It’s an old desk, so it’s all scraped up. It’s not terrible (I wouldn’t be annoyed by it if I kept it as is), but it justifies painting it (in my opinion).

IMG_440812802So what do you think? Any preferences? Or do you think I should do something else altogether? And either way, should I do something funky with it like a stencil, two-tone paint, gold accents, etc.?

Office Furniture Redo!

At my new job, I share an office with another person, so I kind of have an office, but it’s more of a corner. And instead of a desk, I have a table, so in addition to sprucing up my office in general, I needed to add some storage space to my corner.

So I spiffed up these two tables:

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Photo (35)

I gave them a coat of paint, spray painted the hardware gold, and did a little stencil on top (which was way harder than it should have been).

Photo (34)

Not my favorite re-do, but I think it’ll be good enough for my office.

And I’ll post a before and after of my office too, once that’s all done. Yay!

Kitchen Redo!!!!

You guys!!! Here is the big reveal of that project I’ve been hinting at.

I redid my kitchen!!

I’ve been wanting to do this since I bought the house 5 years ago, and finally this spring I decided to just bite the bullet and DO it already.

I call it a kitchen “redo” because it’s not big enough for a renovation, but it’s bigger than just redecorating. My kitchen was old and dingy and dark, and I wanted it to look new, clean, and bright. I also wanted to make changes that would be a good investment for resale (basically, keep things neutral, nothing too wacky). I don’t have any current plans to sell my house ever in my life, but I know that it may happen someday, so I always consider resale whenever I make a change.

Here is what my kitchen looked like before:

Photo (25)Old, dingy, ugly, and brown brown brown!

Photo (32)Isn’t that floor gorgeous? The best part about it was that it was stick n’ peel tiles, and the edges of each tile were sticky from the glue, so they would just cling to every speck of dust/strand of hair/food crumb. Impossible to clean. It was greeeaaat.

Also, bonus! I was hoping there would be hardwood underneath the vinyl tiles, but noooope, just even UGLIER vinyl tiles:

Photo (31) - CopySo! My first step in the process was to decide what I wanted.

As inspiration, I pinned about a billion pins on Pinterest of kitchens that look like this:

inspiration#1So, basically, I was planning on doing white upper cabinets, bluish gray lower cabinets, gray counter top, subway tile back splash, and wood floors. It’s been done a billion times (as evidenced by the magnitude of inspiration photos I found), but I just wanted something fairly simple and classic.

First things first, I painted the cabinets. Here’s a picture I took because I was too terrified to actually start. This open paint can is the beginning of this whole odyssey. Can you feel the fear in my hands as I take the picture??

Photo (29)After about a hundred coats of paint (for reals, like ten coats on the outside of the cabinet doors, 5 coats on the inside, etc.), it was back splash time.

This is how pretty the back splash was before:

Photo (26) - CopyIt was like a pinky-tan-ish flesh color with a quaint little leaf pattern. Beautiful. (Oh, and it’s the same material as the counter top.)

And here’s the first back splash panel I put up (again, TERRIFIED!!!):

Photo (30)
(It looks like there’s no mortar on the wall because there isn’t! I used adhesive pads called SimpleMat made for back splashes, and they worked like a dream!)

And here’s another “I’m too terrified to get started” photo:Photo (31)Yep, I painted my counter top. Rustoleum counter top coating review below.

Last, I got hardwood installed for the floor. I looked into many options, and hardwood was just the wisest choice. Due to the layout of my house, there is hardwood on either side of the kitchen floor, so matching that wood makes my house look bigger and has a better flow.

Photo (37)So here’s the big reveal!!!!

Photo (30) - Copy

Photo (29) - Copy

Photo (38)I’m glad it’s done, and while it was a pain in the ass to do, I’m glad that I did it. I learned a lot, and used tools and materials I’ve never used before (tile cutter, electric sander, wall putty, grout, etc.).

Kitchen Before and After

Below are further details on what I did. Stop reading now unless you have some sort of weird obsession with me, or if you’re re-doing your kitchen or something.

1. I did an Ikea hack!

I had heard that you shouldn’t put your oven right up against your fridge because it makes your fridge work harder. So I moved them apart, but then I didn’t want to just have this little gap between them collecting foodstuffs and being difficult to clean. So I decided to use the space for storage. Pshyeah, easier said than done. The space between the appliances was 7 inches ideally, 9 inches at the most (moving the oven over further would have narrowed accessibility to the doorway). Ever tried finding a 7″ wide 37″ tall 24″ long shelf? Good luck! But I found one!!! Kinda. I was wandering around Ikea (after trying many other stores and google searches), coming to the conclusion that of course this doesn’t exist; why would it? And then I saw it and I heard angels singing.

Molger
Ikea’s “Molger” shelf.

It’s intended to be used over a toilet. It was the perfect size (7 inches wide!!!!), it was just too tall. But I’ve got a saw! And a dad who can help me! So we sawed off some parts and made this:

Can you imagine a skinnier shelf?
Can you imagine a skinnier shelf?

2. Another Ikea solution. So here’s the thing: I’m short. The cabinets above my oven are too high for me, and there’s really no other place to put pots and pans, so I just kept them on the top of the stove. Which works, but isn’t ideal of course. So I got myself a rack from Ikea, and my dad did a little problem solving (screwing things into my crazy plaster walls kind of doesn’t work, so we had to attach it to the cabinet), and voila!!

Photo (40)3. Rustoleum Counter Top Coating

Okay, here are my thoughts, in case you’re interested in possibly using this product.

Overall:

It is a good, cheap, relatively easy, temporary solution for an ugly counter top. It is fairly easy to apply, and fairly good at smoothing itself out. I would recommend it, but I would give some advice and some disclaimers. Total project time: 1.5 hours (including prep and clean-up)

Photo (35)

Disclaimers:

a) It smells. If you look at any reviews for it, you’ll see this. Yes, it smells. Like nail polish (I actually think it might just BE nail polish). I had all the windows open, fans going, wore a mask, and breathed through my nose when I used it. It stung my eyes a little as I applied it.

b) It is not acrylic paint. It is HARD to clean up when (not if) you get it somewhere you don’t want it. You will have to throw away your tools after you use them because they will be impossible to clean (unless you use some special cleaner maybe..? Nail polish remover…?).

c) It is not perfect, and neither are you. You will have splotches and little areas that aren’t totally smooth. But it’ll be good enough.

d) It scratches easily when it’s new.

Photo (36)

Advice:

a) The instructions on the can are okay, but just do this: apply painter’s tape first, then sand your surface (it doesn’t tell you to do this, but do it), wipe it clean, let it dry. This took about 30 minutes.

b) Like I said, open all windows, have fans running, and wear a mask. I’d also recommend wearing gloves (I didn’t. It comes off eventually, but not easily. I used nail polish remover.). Do this project when you can leave the house for a little while afterward. It will smell strongly (I didn’t get a headache or anything, but it’s unpleasant) for a few hours after, and the next couple of days it will just smell like you just painted a room (not too bad), and then by the third day, the smell was completely gone.

c) Have a wet rag/paper towel on hand. When (WHEN) you drip on something, you will want to clean it up immediately. If you wipe it right away, you’ll be fine, just don’t let it dry.

d) Like the instructions say, you’ll use a roller (and a small, soft brush for smaller areas). The actual painting part goes quickly because the stuff dries quickly. So once you’re ready to start, just roll roll roll!! Actual painting time for me (including getting into small, tough areas) was about 30 minutes.

e) The instructions say to let it cure for 3 days. Don’t believe their lies. Let it cure for a week (or longer if possible!). It’s dry to the touch basically the next day, but it’s very delicate. Don’t put anything on it for a week, and then start using it verrry carefully for a while after that, then slowly you can start treating it more normally. The woman at Home Depot said that eventually it should be treated with as much care as a marble counter top (she meant that you need to treat it like….kiiiind of carefully. But uh, lady, I’m painting my counter, you think I know anything about marble..?).


 

Hiding Your Router (or anything else)

So! You have an ugly router or some other digital device or object that cannot be moved, but that you can’t stand looking at every day. I had this problem recently, so I set about trying to fix it. (Turns out, I found another solution, but I still went through the trouble of making this whole thing, so I want to get credit for it!)

I decided to make a stack of fake books, a la this:

Hide your router.

I’ve seen this picture many times before, but I’ve never seen a tutorial, so I decided to make one!

Step One:

Measure the device that you want to hide (the width, depth, and height are all important) and the space that you want to use to hide it (e.g. the shelf, table, etc. that you are going to place it on).

Step Two:

Obtain some books. I found all of my books at a local antiques store. You can find cheap books anywhere (thrift stores, Goodwill, etc.), but you may have to pay a little more if you want them to look a certain way. (Mine were about $4 each.)

Photo (24)Make sure that they add up to be the correct width to hold your device, keeping in mind that you will lose some width when you deconstruct them. You may also want to think about how they all look together (i.e. maybe you want them all in the same color family, or you want the titles to relate to one another).

Last, it will be helpful to find books with loose bindings, if at all possible. For example, you will want to avoid books like those on the left (pages pretty firmly bound to the spine), and opt more for books like those on the right (I found that pages bound with that thread band on top tend to be looser):

Photo (21)

Or if you find one that’s already kind of coming apart, that’s would be great. This one came apart like buttah:

Photo (23)

Step 3:

Find a cardboard box or some other container that matches the general size of the device that you’re hiding. Make sure everything (your device, your book line-up, and the box) is about the right size.

Step 4:

Cut the pages out of the books. I used a box cutter, you could also use an x-acto knife or something similar. There was really no special trick to this. The hardest part was just going for it and making the first cut (cutting up books definitely feels sacrilegious).

Photo (19) - CopyFor the first and last book of the line-up, you will want to keep the outside book covers as well as the spine. For the books in the middle, you will just want the spines.

Step 5:

Glue the book pieces to the cardboard box. I used craft glue, you could also try a glue gun or rubber cement. This was more of an art than an exact science. Sometimes I put the glue on the book spine itself, but most of the time I put the glue on the cardboard box and just pressed the spines onto it. I also put glue in between the spines to get them to stick to one another. Try not to smash the spine down onto the box too much, because you still want the spine to look puffy like it still has pages inside.

Photo (20)

Photo (22)Step 6:

Let dry. This depends on the type of glue that you use, but I just let mine sit over night.

Step 7:

Place your device inside, and voila!

Photo (19)

 Bonus project!

I got a few really cool looking covers, so at some point I’d like to frame them and just have them up on a wall.

Photo (26)