Side Table Makeover

I was given an old table that I decided to paint. I’ve spent most of the past year sanding, priming, and painting baseboards, trim, and doors so I really wanted to minimize the amount of time I spent on the table because I’m in need of a break from this kind of work. Because I put water-based paint over oil-based stain, I should have sanded and primed, but I didn’t. Instead, I just wiped the table off with a paper towel and slapped on some paint by Behr in the color Bit of Sugar. I put two coats on the sides and three coats on the top and then I lightly sanded with 220 grit paper to distress the table. I think it turned out great!

Here are some before and after pictures.



I put it next to a chair in our entryway and it really brightened the space.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!


Replacing Trim and Baseboards – An Update

As originally mentioned in my DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors post from last April, we spent most of the summer and fall replacing the trim, baseboards, and interior doors and closets in the entire house. We are not 100% finished but I wanted to go ahead and write a progress post to avoid trying to cram everything in to one post at the end.

I do plan to write in more detail how we specifically did this so anyone who is interested in doing the same will know the technique we used and read some tips that we have based on our experiences of trial and error. This will come in the spring when it is warm enough for us to resume (and finish!) our work.

As a recap, we spent the end of September through mid-December 2017 installing hardwood floors and you can read about that here.

Below is a timeline of the work we did on the trim and baseboards.

April – May 2018 (Dining Room)
We took a break between January and April 2018 and resumed our work when the weather was warm enough to work outside (cutting wood, painting, etc.). We started in the dining room by removing the chair rail and refinishing the bookshelf.  Then we removed the chair rail. The baseboards were removed the previous year before we installed the hardwood floors. We bought new trim and baseboards that has already been primed and then cut them down to size. Using several saws, paint, staples, and caulk, we installed everything in about six weeks (only working on weekends).


Top picture was taken in 2012; bottom picture in 2018

June 2018 (Entryway)
We then moved on to the entryway and took the old trim off of the front door and the side windows. This was a really easy room because the baseboards had been cut the previous year and we just needed to install them. We had to sand and prime the sills of the windows next to the door and then install the trim and paint everything.


Right picture taken in 2017; left in 2018

May – July 2018 (Hallway)

The longest portion of this project was the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. The reason it took so long is because the hallway contains 3 bedroom doors, a laundry closet, a regular closet, and a bathroom door. All of which had to be removed and replaced.

We started removing the bedroom doors in early May and then replaced them one-by-one with new doors that we had to paint (two coats of paint on each side).

Here are the old (left) and new (right) bedroom doors:

The laundry closet doors were in good shape so we just sanded, primed, and painted those instead of replacing them.

We decided to trim out all of our closets. To do that, we installed 1 by 6 inch primed casing (that we cut to the thickness of the wall) to the inside of the closet opening, filled the nail holes, and painted the wood.


After we installed the casing to the inside of the closet opening

From there, we added trim to the outside (then filled the nail holes and painted). Next was to install the new door track and the new doors. Then we had to drill holes in our lovely new floor so we could secure the closet doors at the bottom. Finally, we added a simple piece of baseboard to the top to hide the track.

When that was done, we installed baseboard like we did in the dining room and entryway.


Left picture was taken in 2012; right in 2018

August-September 2018 (Living Room)
We then moved on to the living room. This was daunting because we have a built-in bookcase and a large bay window that both had to be completely sanded and primed. I hate sanding because I have to wear a mask that fogs up my glasses and the dust gets everywhere. I also hate priming because it smells awful, it’s watery and messy, and it is hard to clean up (I just throw away the brushes instead of trying to clean them with paint thinner. No, thank you).

I started with the bookcase. I took the shelves outside to sand them, prime them, and paint them. While they were drying, I sanded, primed, and painted the inside portion of the bookcase. When everything had dried, we brought the shelves inside, installed white tracks, and installed the shelves.

Here is the before and after picture of the bookcase:
Then I started working on the bay window using the same method I used on the bookcase. The only thing left to do here is to buy a new light for the top of the window.


Top picture taken in 2011 a week after we moved in; bottom in 2018

After the window and bookcase were done, we put down baseboard and installed new trim around the other windows in the room.

August-November 2018 (Bedrooms)
During the time we were working in the living room, we also worked in the bedrooms to refinish the trim around the windows. We decided not to replace the window trim in the bedrooms because they were in good shape. So instead, I sanded, primed, and painted them. This was a pain because of how much I hate sanding and priming but also because there were 7 windows.  Which doesn’t sound like a lot but it felt like a lot.

In October, we removed the old baseboards and replaced them with new ones. We also worked on removing the closets, trimming them like we did the hallway closet, and painting new doors.

In November, we got carpet. I know a lot of people will wonder why we covered old hardwood floors with carpet and I get what you mean but we had several reasons: 1.) The hardwood floors in the bedrooms are 50 years old and in really bad shape. They’re also outdated in terms of thickness and color. We talked about refinishing them but it’s a super expensive and messy process. 2.) We didn’t want hardwood floors throughout the entire house 3.) I prefer carpet in the bedrooms. It just feels more homey/comfortable to me.

Anyway, we also primed (with some heavy-duty stuff) and painted the ceilings to cover up the ghosting that was showing.


Top picture taken in 2011 right after we moved in; bottom in 2018

What’s left to do:

  • Install closet doors in the bedrooms
  • Finish installing hardwood floors in the back hallway, the stairs down to the basement, and in the back hallway closet
  • Replace the doors of the back hallway closet
  • Install new baseboard in the back hallway
  • Replace the trim around the back door

Given everything we’ve done so far, it’s not a lot. I am going to include more before and after pictures after we are further along. Stay tuned.

The Project Board – A Look Back

Today marks 6 years since I started my blog. I’ve found it very helpful to keep track of how I’ve done things throughout the years like how I made curtains or a certain recipe. I don’t otherwise mark a lot of this down and it’s been helpful to be able to come back and follow a recipe that I liked a few years ago. I hope you’ve also found it helpful to read some of my blog posts and be able to come back to things you liked.

My most popular posts are:

Slide1Bathroom Before and After posted on October 14, 2012 has 7,420 views, most of which come from Pinterest.  The bathroom looks exactly the same now as it did then, except it now has a shower curtain instead of glass doors. We’re talking about replacing the baseboard next year but otherwise have no plans for changes.


DIY Curtains posted on December 12, 2012 with 4,369 views. I made the curtains to go in our bedroom as pictured right but they have since moved to our home office. I replaced them with black-out curtains because we got tired of our neighbor’s flood lights keeping us up at night. Our bedroom is currently going through some renovations and I will post pictures of that by the end of the year.  My 3rd most popular post has been the Bedroom Makeover Pictures that go along with the DIY curtains.

My personal favorites are:

Buffet1_wordsRefinished Buffet posted on July 14, 2015.  I still can’t quite believe my luck at finding this on the side of the road out with the trash. I worked really hard on this and it was worth it. People compliment it when they come over and are often surprised to hear that we didn’t buy it new. Actually, the only furniture in our house that we bought new is the couch, coffee table, and end tables in our living room. Everything else was either given, bought at Goodwill, or found on the side of the street like the buffet. I am getting to the point, though, that I’m willing to spend some money on new furniture, especially because I think new furniture would look great with the renovations we’ve made on the house recently.  There are two things I’d really like to have soon and that is a new dining room table and a big, comfy chair for our entry way.

Here is what our buffet looks like now –
Buffet_UpdateI made the tray at Board and Brush.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should.  They have locations all over the U.S.

DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors, posted on March 18, 2018.  As you can tell from the picture on the right (and from the post), we installed hardwood floors throughout our house and also replaced all of the trim and baseboards. The two of us (my husband and I) did all of the work. In the “after” picture, we still need to do some touch-ups on the bay window and put the shelves back on the bookcase behind the couch. But we think it looks a lot better than the early 1990s carpet we had before (no offense to 1990s carpet).



My Starter Story, posted on January 18, 2015.  I like this post because it bring back memories and reminds me how much progress we’ve made on the house.  After we are finished with installing the hardware floors, new baseboard, and trim, it will be fun to look at before and after pictures again.  Soon the bedrooms will have new trim, new closet doors, new interior doors, and new carpet so I’m looking forward to before and after pictures of those changes.  It’s also interesting to look back and see some of the decorative decisions we’ve made and how things have changed even since 2015.  The picture to the right is a reminder that one should always, ALWAYS spend the $3 to get a sample before deciding on a paint color.


IMG_1691Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, posted on December 2, 2012.  One of my co-workers gave me this recipe and it is one of my favorites.  It makes a few dozen so it’s easy to give them to family and friends, especially around the holidays.
Thank you to all who follow my blog!  I really appreciate it.

House Update

As a recap – my husband and I began installing hardwood floors almost a year ago.  During this time, we decided we should go ahead and install new baseboards, door and window trim, and interior doors.  The reason is because we had to remove the baseboards in order to install the hardwood floors and it seemed silly to put old, worn, and scratched baseboard and trim next to brand new, shiny floors. Exhibit A below.


For contrast, we decided to go with white trim and doors.  In our opinion, it makes our house look cleaner and more modern. Additionally, it’s much easier to paint everything white than it is to try to match stain colors.

We still have to install baseboards in the bedrooms and finish installing hardwood floors in the hallway that leads to the back door.  We also need to install (and paint) new closet doors in the bedrooms and the back hallway but we are really close to being done.

Here is a sneak peek of the before and after. The closet in the hallway is not yet finished but everything else in the picture is.


What house renovation projects have you done this year? After we’re done with this, I hope we get a LONG break before we have to do anything else to the house.

Painting a Built-in Bookcase

We are in the process of replacing all of our old wood trim with white trim.  I am going to write a separate post about replacing trim once we are further along but one thing we finished is a built-in bookcase in our dining room. The back of the bookcase is drywall which is why the back of it was originally the same color as the rest of the dining room walls.  Here is a before picture:


I started by removing the shelves and taking them outside to sand.  I used an electric sander and 80 grit paper to remove most of the stain from all sides of the shelves.  When that was done, I applied one coat of primer.  Then I added two coats of semi gloss white paint from Behr using a roller brush for smooth surfaces.

Back inside, I removed the tracks from the sides of the bookcase. They were really flimsy so removing them was easier than I thought it was going to be. Then I filled in the holes that were created when the tracking was nailed in to the bookcase.  I used DAP DryDex for this.  After the filler dried, I sanded it smooth.  Then I sanded the wooden sides of the bookcase by hand with 80 grit paper.  I wanted to keep the amount of sanding dust to a minimum so I only did enough sanding to scuff up the wood and allow the paint to adhere better.  After sanding, I wiped the wood down with a damp cloth to remove all dust.

Next, I added a layer of primer.


After the primer dried, my husband caulked the joints to make everything connected.  It made a pretty big difference as you can see below:


Then I added two layers of white semi-gloss paint using a roller brush for smooth surfaces.

We decided not to install a track similar to the one we removed.  The nice thing about the track is that you can easily adjust the height of your shelves or add more shelves.  But we wanted to go for a cleaner look so my husband made small wood supports that we nailed to the sides (and then I filled the nail holes, caulked, and painted).


After the wood supports were installed and everything was caulked and painted, we added the shelves back and put up new white trim (that had also been caulked and painted). Here is how it looks now:


I hope you like!  We still have some old trim to remove and new trim to put up as you can tell from the above picture but we are getting there.  Thanks for reading!


Refinished Desk

This past week I worked on refinishing a desk for a friend.  When I first saw the desk, I thought it was really cute and didn’t really need to be refinished but it did have quite a few scratches on the top and drawers and the finish was dull in a lot of places.  I was excited to work on a quality piece, especially since my last project was built with wood veneer and that can be a pain to work with.  Here are some before pictures:


I started on Monday by taking out the drawers and sanding the top.  I took most of the finish off with an 80 grit and then I moved to 100, 150, and then 220.  It took about 45 minutes to get everything completed removed.


Afterward, I turned the desk upside down on top of towels so the top wouldn’t get scratched and then I taped off the edges and added a layer of primer.


After the primer dried, I lightly sanded it, otherwise the brush marks would be visible underneath the paint.  on Tuesday I added two coats of Undersea by Behr which looked dark when I picked it out in the store but it turned out much more blue than I wanted:



I also thought I would like the flat finish but I didn’t.  So the next morning I went to Lowe’s and bought Corduroy Black by Valspar in a satin finish.

On Wednesday I added a layer of Early American stain by Minwax.  I also filled the holes on the small desk drawers because I wanted those to have a knob instead of a pull.  I also vacuumed out sawdust that had collected inside the desk.

On Thursday I added a 2nd layer of stain and a coat of the new paint I purchased. It was starting to look pretty good.


On Friday I added 4 coats of satin polyurethane from Rust-Oleum and wiped the painted part of the desk and drawers down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust.  On Saturday morning, I distressed parts of the desk with 220 grit sandpaper, had my husband drill holes for the knobs in the small drawers, and then I added the knobs and drawer pull and brought it inside.

Here is how it looks now:


I am really happy with how it turned out! If you like the hardware, you can find the knobs at Lowe’s and the drawer pull at Home Depot.



Good luck with any projects you have this summer.


DIY Professional Looking Pedicure

Hello!  Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’ll probably all start wearing sandals more often.  I know it can be relaxing to get a professional pedicure at a salon but sometimes we don’t have the time or money.  If you are looking for tips on how to do your own pedicure at home, here are some recommendations I have.

DIY Pedicure
Purchase quality supplies
I know one purpose of doing your own pedicure is to save money so this might sound counter-intuitive but keep in mind that whatever you buy is going to last a long time.  I’ve had most of the products in the picture below for years.  Here is what I use:

  • A good cuticle softener and oil.  I currently use products by California Mango but you can use whichever brand you’d like.
  • Nail polish base coat.  Some people skip this part but it’s really important because it helps your nail polish stay on longer without chipping, it prevents your nails from being stained by your nail polish, and it also helps your nail polish dry more smoothly and evenly.  I use OPI for this.
  • For nail polish, I really like OPI and China Glaze.  I sometimes use cheaper polish like Revlon which looks fine if I use good base and clear coat nail polish.
  • A good quality clear coat.  For me, it’s important to find one that dries quickly because I want to get on with my day.  I have previously used Poshe which I recommend.  I am currently using a quick drying top coat by OPI which works just as good as Poshe but is more expensive.
  • Optional – I use OPI’s Rapidry Nail Polish Dryer spray to help the polish dry even faster.  I think it also gives a nice finished look.


Prepare your nails
After you’ve cut and filed your nails, put a bit of cuticle softer on your cuticles and leave it on for a minute or so.  Then push back your cuticles using the nails on your other hand or a tool.  Wipe everything off with a cotton ball or tissue.  Then, put a small amount of cuticle oil around your nails.  Leave it on for a minute or two and then wash and dry your hands.  It’s important to hydrate everything around your nails because your pedicure won’t look as nice if it is surrounded by dry skin and cuticles.

Apply a base coat
After your nails are prepared and clean, apply a coat of base.  A thin coat is perfectly fine and it dries quickly.

Apply 1-2 coats of nail polish
A minute or two after you have applied the base coat, you can start painting. I usually have to apply 2 light coats to get an even finish.  Waiting 2-3 minutes between coats is fine.  It’s helpful to have some q-tips nearby so you can wipe off any paint that gets on your skin.  I sometimes pour some nail polish remover in the bottle cap and dip my q-tip in it to make cleaning off nail polish easier.

Apply the clear top coat
I usually let my nails dry for at least 5 minutes before applying a top coat.  You only need one layer.

Optional – Spray on nail dryer
If you have purchased spray that can help your nails dry faster, you can spritz it on soon after applying the top coat.  The OPI spray says 45 seconds but I usually wait a minute or two.

If I use the products listed above, I can go about my day pretty quickly.  Actually, I usually paint my nails at night and have no problem taking a shower and going to bed within an hour of painting my nails and everything stays in place.

Happy painting!  If anyone likes the nail polish in the picture above it is called “Rose Among Thorns” by China Glaze.