Thursday, March 22, 2012

Painting Progress

Not a whole lot of dialogue today.  Just wanted to post some progress of our painting job in the downstairs foyer, stair area and upstairs hallway.  It's been a slow process due to so many other more exciting projects (and spending time with family/friends), but I'm determined to have this done by March 31.  No excuses!  I worked on cutting-in the edges this weekend and was happy I chose a tall husband with long arms to reach the parts of the stair area that are well out of my reach.  [Don't read this mom] I also balanced on the window sill at the top of the stairs to cut-in to the walls by the ceiling.  Ryan spotted me of course but it admittedly was not the safest approach.  There's still a lot of work to be done but now that I can see a vast improvement to the walls since spackling and erasing that ugly "meh" tan color with some beautiful BM Stonington Gray, I'm feeling inspired to keep going.

Here's what things are looking like now,
which is a significant improvement compared to this,
and, more dramatically, THIS!
Next up, finish cutting in the edges, rolling on a second coat of paint, and tackling the upstairs hallway.  We can do it!
And yes, I know, the stairs are a wreck.  I read that it is not ideal to paint stairs and other "high traffic" areas in cold weather because the paint takes much longer to cure.  So I had to wait out the winter months before moving on to this project.  Plus I didn't want to worry about dripping wall and ceiling paint on freshly painted stairs so there you have it. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Office Makeover and More Window Shelving

A few weeks ago Ryan and I installed a new shelf in front of the kitchen windows.  If you missed the post, you can read about it here.  Well, the shelf has been such a huge success in our kitchen that I decided to add a similar shelf to the office.  Much like the kitchen, I was looking to achieve privacy (especially since the office is doubling as a walk-in closet) while keeping a portion of the window uncovered to let in as much natural light as possible.  Even though I haven't picked a fabric yet for the curtain part which will be hung behind the shelf down to the windowsill, I am so excited with how the shelf looks that I wanted to post a few pictures of the office/closet in progress.  If you remember, I had the desk along the right-hand side of the room with the chair facing the wall, and now I have the desk in front of the window and the chair facing the window.

Old Layout:
New Layout:
I made the shelf exactly the same way as the kitchen shelf by sanding and priming a plank of pine wood and spray painting two wood brackets that I bought at Lowe's.  I actually bought the supplies to make the office shelf at the same time that I bought everything for the kitchen shelf.  I was even smart enough to paint the plank and brackets at the same time as I painted the kitchen plank and brackets.  I rolled three thin layers of Zinsser's 1-2-3 Bulls Eye Primer on the plank of wood followed by two thin layers of Benjamin Moore white interior acrylic paint in semi-gloss finish.  Then I painted the brackets with two layers of Krylon white primer followed by two layers of Rust-Oleum semi-gloss paint in white.

The picture below shows the painting process for the kitchen window planks (both on the right) and the plank I used for the office (on the left).  At the time I planned to put the shelf along the office wall but after loving the kitchen shelf in front of the windows, I decided to do the same in the office.
This weekend when I decided to install the shelf, I noticed that the paint I used on the plank and brackets was a bit brighter than the creamy color of my "built in" closet and even the white in the chair.  So I decided to add a top coat of white with a little yellow mixed in like I did with the file cabinet.
I'm really happy that I dulled down the stark white because now it has a nice creamy finish and blends with the decor rather than standing our and being too stark white.
I chose a more basic bracket this time around because I wanted something a little different from the kitchen shelf.  I decided again to mount the brackets (with Ryan's help of course!) right into the window moulding rather than the walls. I chose to do this because I don't trust our plaster walls, and I think it makes the shelf look more custom.
You'll notice that I removed the hardware from the desk which I'm in the process of replacing.  More details to follow!
Next up, along with the hardware, is hanging a curtain and adding some more office materials to the space.  So far I'm really happy that I decided to do another window shelf.  Not only did it free up some much-needed wall space but it made efficient use of the window and brightened up the actual work station rather than having it face the wall.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mirror, Mirror...

Hey peeps!  I'm back on the blog today after being offline for over two weeks!  Just to clear the air, I will admit that I spent five hours on Tuesday night sitting on the couch eating Cadbury mini eggs while catching up on six hours worth of recorded TV shows.  But I assure you, aside from that, I have been one busy bee during my blog hiatus as I prepare to transition to a new job within my company at the end of next week and made 70+ wedding invitations for my friend Rachel and her fiance Dave.  So thanks for your patience!

But enough about me, let's talk about one thing I did get around to over the weekend - putting up two new mirrors for the dining room!   Hooray!  This wasn't really a "project" per se, but it did involve some paint and a long-awaited addition to the wall space next to our window seat, so I'm pretty excited to talk about it.

Ever since we moved in to the new house I've been searching for the perfect pair of mirrors to hang on both sides of our window seat in the dining room.  In case you forget what it looks like, here is a picture so of the dining room (sans mirrors).
I always envisioned two identical mirrors to add some symmetry to the room, but I never found anything that I liked that fit the space and wasn't going to kill my bank account (mirrors are expensive!).  I went on Pinterest to find some pictures of what I had in mind and narrowed it down to my three top pictures.
Here is one picture (photo here), but these mirrors are $219.00...
Here is a second idea (photo here) but these two mirrors are on sale for $229.
And THESE are my favorite mirrors (photo here) and of course the most expensive at $525!
I definitely was leaning towards mirrors with a geometric shape especially since they seem more interesting in pairs or quads.  Not only do they reflect a nice amount of light, but they are also a great way to add a pattern or shape to the room.  Last week I was at HomeGoods looking for some items for the office space and walked past these mirrors TWO TIMES before it clicked in my head that these were the perfect shape, size, and pattern for the dining room space.  I can't believe I almost missed them!
The best part was that they were on clearance for $18 each.  All they needed was a fresh coat of paint which I would have given them anyways so it was a win-win for everyone.
I thought I was being such a little smarty-pants when I decided to unscrew the back of the frame to make it so easy for me to pop out the mirror, give it a good cleaning, spray paint the frame, and put it all back together again.
It was a tedious process to remove all the brackets,and sadly, when I did, I realized that the mirror part was glued to the frame with some kind of super-human super-glue and could not be removed. Bummer.

I decided to move on to Plan B and carefully roll two coats of primer followed by two coats of semi-gloss paint onto the frame, making sure to wipe off any paint that got on the mirror part.  I used a small foam roller and as long as I kept the roller nice and even, I didn't have any problems with painting the fame while the mirror was still attached.  Here are the frames after their fresh coat of paint.  I used the same primer and paint that I used for the file cabinet project here.
And here they are on the walls after Ryan and I carefully measured each side and drilled in the mounting screws making sure that the mirrors were even and level. 
I'm really excited with how these mirrors look in the dining room.  At first I wished they were a little bigger but after having them up for a few days, I think the size is actually just right, especially because I have to remember all the other things I want to add to the room as we keep working on it.  Speaking of which, I am going to attempt to make my own dining room table over the next few weeks.  Ain't no thang (or so I think)...

Oh yeah, and since I mentioned Rachel and Dave's wedding invites at the beginning of the post, here's a little sneak peak!  Of course I won't be revealing all the details until after they officially mail them out, but I am way too excited about them not to post a little taste (and give you an idea of why I've been MIA these past few weeks!).  I'll be back soon, I promise!