The Work Continues

Now that winter is over, it’s time to come out of hibernation and resume our house projects. Here are the plans for 2019.

  1. Finish installing hardwood floors. FINALLY! We started this in September 2017 and didn’t work on it at all in 2018 because we were busy replacing trim, baseboards, and interior doors. It’s not a lot but we need to finish the hallway to the back door, the back door landing, and the stairs down to the basement (we pulled up the carpet in 2017 not realizing how long it was going to take us to finish so we’ve had cement stairs to look at for a year and a half).
  2. Replace the back hallway closet. We’re going to replace the trim and doors. Also install new baseboard in the back hallway. IMG_7712
  3. Paint the outside of the house. I’ve wanted to do this since the day we moved it but there were other priorities. We found this picture on the Behr website and like the colors so we’re going to get samples and see how we like it on our house.20180331_090757 (1)

Replace/install lights. We’ve already replaced a couple of the outdated hallway lights but we still need to install a light in the bay window and replace the ceiling fan in the dining room with a chandelier.

There are a few other things we’re thinking but I think this is a good starting point for now. Wish us luck!



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!


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.

Refinished Buffet

Last week my husband and I were driving home when I noticed a blue piece of furniture sitting out at the road with the trash.  I was so excited, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “Oh! Ohhh!”  We stopped, checked it out, and put it in the car. When we got home, we unloaded it and I snapped this picture:


Then I sent a text message to my sister that said “Look what I found for free on the side of the road!”  I’m not sure that she was impressed.

When I first brought it home, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I decided to put some paint stripper on the top to see what was underneath the paint.  The blue paint came off with ease but there was a layer of pink paint underneath so I added another coat of stripper.  When it was ready, I cleaned off the paint stripper and found beautiful wood grain underneath.

I still didn’t have a plan for it, but I knew that I wasn’t going to strip all of the paint off.  Mainly because it would be a ton of work to strip two layers of paint off the entire thing – I mean, look at those intricate legs!  Secondly, I didn’t want this piece to be all stained wood because I thought it would be too much brown.  But I still didn’t have a plan.

A few days later I was drifting off to sleep and it hit me!  Stained on top, painted white on the bottom.  Of course!  Four days later, here’s what it looks like:


Here’s what I did:

Most of Saturday was spent trying to get the paint cleaned off the top.  The paint stripper worked well, but it left a sticky residue that I had to clean off with paint thinner.  I had to do a few repetitions of this and then I had to sand by hand because the remaining residue was making my electric sander gunky.

I also took off all of the paint on the doors because if I had tried to paint over them as-is, the chipped parts would show through.  That took some time as well.  I wiped off the other parts of the buffet with a damp cloth to try to remove some of the dirt and grime.  I also vacuumed the inside and underneath.  Some spider homes may or may not have been destroyed in the process.  I applied my first coat of Winmax Dark Walnut stain at the end of the day on Saturday.

On Sunday, I hand-sanded any painted areas that were chipped to try to smooth it out and get it all ready for a new coat of paint.  Once that was done, I painted the bottom white (“Ash White” by Behr in eggshell finish).  I used three coats total – two on Sunday and one on Monday.  On Sunday, I applied the second and third coats of stain and further removed old paint and residue off the doors.  At the end of the day on Sunday, I added my first layer of clear coat to the top.  I used Winmax satin finish polycrylic.

On Monday, I painted on my third and last coat of white paint and two more layers of polycrylic.  I also went on a hunt to find new hardware.

On Tuesday, I added the fourth and final layer of polycrylic. I lightly distressed the piece by sanding the edges and then I added the new hardware and brought it inside.

It didn’t cost much to refinish this piece because I already had most of what I needed.  The white paint was left over from when we painted the stairwell to the basement.  The paint thinner and paint stripper were left over from a previous project.  The only things I bought were the hardware, stain, polycrylic, and some more sandpaper.  So, I spent maybe $40.




I hope you like!


Empty Frame Wall Decor

I’ve been looking for something to hang above an antique couch for a few months.  I wanted to get something other than a picture.  Maybe a large clock or a shelf of some kind, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that was in my price range.

Then, a coworker left this picture behind when he took another job and I saw its potential.  Here’s what it looked like:


You can’t really tell from the “after” picture, but I put a layer of teal paint on it and then a layer of white paint.  Then I took a piece of sandpaper and distressed it.  And I removed the beach picture.

Here it is now:


It was super fast and easy because I already had everything I needed.  Hooray for free decor!

My Old Bedroom

My old bedroom at my parents’ house went un-lived in for 10 years and it started to turn in to a storage space.  It was painted a greyish lavender after I moved out but my mom thought it make the room look too dark and she was ready to clean the space up and get it ready to use as a guest room.  That’s where I come in!

I bought some pictures, made curtains, picked out some paint, and got to work.  With the help of my mom, we completely made over the space in 7 hours.  Here are the before and after pictures.


My mom painted the picture hanging above the dresser

Before_After1 Before_After3The paint we used is “Silver Marlin” by Behr and is a light grey color.  The curtains are “Suzani Slub Yellow/White” by Premier Prints.  There’s no bed yet, but we’ll get one in there soon.

Adventures in Removing Wallpaper

With my husband out of town for work, I thought it would be a good time to remove the wallpaper in his bathroom.  I’ve removed wallpaper before, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal.   I mixed fabric softener and hot water in a spray bottle, sprayed it on the wallpaper, and let it soak for a few minutes.  Then, the wallpaper (and glue) pulled right off.

I was thinking this was going to be an easy job until I noticed that the wall underneath looked a little odd.  It was yellow but looked and felt like unpainted drywall.   The wall was bumpy in places and patched up with spackle in others.   I was worried I’d be unable to paint as originally planned.  Was I spending all this time removing wallpaper only to replace it with more wallpaper?

It took one evening to remove the wallpaper and three evenings to spackle and sand all the imperfections on the wall.  When I thought the wall looked smooth enough, I painted the walls with the same color that’s in my kitchen.  I was surprised by how good it looked despite how rough the walls were initially.  I replaced the wood towel racks with brushed nickle, replaced the curtain in the window, and hung a picture.

Here is a before and after shot:

Bathroom_Before_AfterEventually we are going to replace the cabinet and vanity, but this is a step in the right direction.