Thanks for stopping by!
We are two house-loving DIYers now onto our second house. One of us has vision...and one has actual skills.
Design and working on our home are our major hobbies, whenever we have a few moments of free time not devoted to our daughter or jobs. We are hoping to share our ideas, triumphs and mistakes to help other DIYers and get new ideas from all of you!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Curb Appeal - Front Door and Shutters

The front of the house when we bought it had a mix of original details (porch, curved windows, original shutters) and yucky distractions (storm door..front steps...weird bushes...patchy lawn). It also just felt a little...sad. Perhaps it was the powder blue.

Brent knew he wanted to strip and refinish the front door for sure. I was super excited to abolish all powder blue and opted for classic black for the existing shutters - why buy new when these were (mostly) still in one piece? Plus, Brent learned how to use the paint sprayer in the process!

Not only does the refinished door look and feel amazing, but the "extra custom" (Home Depot's terminology) storm door allows it to shine.

So there is my not detailed summary of the door and shutters :) If you have any questions about the technical details - leave a comment for Brent below!


AFTER! (so far ;)

The Tale of 2 Grays

Ok, actually I think it was more like 5-7. I think I have finally learned the lesson of how to work with our gorgeous, but imposing, original, dark-stained trim when choosing paint colors. I thought I had it covered...I had done my research, including the color with dark trim. I was convinced Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl was our winner. But I didn't get cocky - I still got a sample and had Brent paint  squares of it on all of the surfaces on the downstairs, upstairs hallways and stairwell.  I was confident this was going to look great. I even convinced Brent that painting the hallways was really not as daunting as it seemed...really it was 3 rooms....downstairs, upstairs, and the stairwell - and really only a part of the stairwell was the really, really tricky part. He got to it in his usual energizer bunny kind of way, starting with the downstairs, which is also the spot with the least natural light. One coat done...hmmm...not what I was picturing. Second coat done....oh dear.
"Brent....I think we need to talk before you paint any more."

This is the second time I have done this to him (though to be fair, the first time, he bought the wrong color... see Living Room posts). Again, I thought i was being so cautious, following the right steps to be sure we got it right in our space.

The problem was that none of our sample squares was right next to the trim. Next to the trim Gray Owl looked...like dead gray owl that was covered in some mud. Not the cool, airy gray I was going for. Back to Johnson's Paint for some more samples. This time we tried: Classic Gray, Wickham Gray, Horizon, Abalone, and Shoreline.

Here the new samples are painted on top of the Gray Owl that was already on the first floor.
In the end we chose...Horizon OC-53! And while it is difficult to capture the transformation from murky to a breath of fresh air...

It really has made a huge difference in the feel of our home, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I cannot wait to get some art and mirrors hung.

Hey, at least I only made Brent do this...

once! I think there was another ladder involved for the tipptiy top - I couldn't watch, but was ready to call 911.

The trim is its own color that is already in every room and must be respected as such. I'm discovering that, in general, colors with blue and green undertones are what make the trim sing to me.  And I'm not seeing any of the undertones of Horizon in our spaces. Honestly...I now want to repaint the mudroom (and maybe the living room) Horizon. (don't tell Brent!)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Library Built-in Bookshelves Progress

One strategy of DIY-ing with a small child is to get the small child out of the house. In order to enable Brent to be able to set aside some dedicated time to work on the library (and the painting of all the hallways, but I'll talk about that in another post), I have been taking Tessa to a 9:00 Barre3 class followed by her 10:30 gymnastics class every Saturday morning.  Or I have taken her out of state for the whole weekend. This dedicated time has allowed Brent to make some serious headway on the library's built-ins, and I love being exercise buddies with Tessa.

After we had assembled the Ikea bookshelves, Brent started to work out how to build them in in such a way that they would make sense with the original mantle and trim in the room.  Step 1 was to raise the bookcases up so that the baseboard trim will be able to continue around the base of the bookcases.  Next, Brent built boxes to separate the upper added on parts from the top of the Ikea bookshelves.  This is also where the wiring for the lights runs (you can see the boxes above the wider sections). Some strategic painting has also happened so that the outside edges won't need to be painted in place.

Tessa did get to help out on this part.

Next came some more of the tinted primer. (Again, this is NOT the final color - this was tinted NY State of Mind, and our final choice is Washington Blue)

Next step: base molding is in the works!

I had a very difficult time choosing lights - partially because the picture-light style fixtures I have been eyeing are just so expensive! There was no cheap way around this one...and on top of that, all the options I liked were out of stock.  It was starting to look unlikely that we would have lighting for our upcoming holiday party! (We use our two annual parties as hard deadlines for house projects) Wayfair's back-in-stock-notification to the rescue!

Funny thing - I just tried to link the lights here...and they are already sold out again!  Luckily, ours arrived on Halloween. I can't wait to see them in action.

So, I believe the steps we have left are:

1. The vertical trim
2. The middle trim (continuing the dental molding on the fireplace around the bookshelves)
3. Top trim (a stand-alone, fairly substantial crown molding, I believe)
4. Paint
5. Install the lights
6. Find knobs for the drawers that I love
7. Move rug, sectional, chair, end tables, lights back in
8. Purchase new coffee table (I'll gladly take your ideas on this one)
9. Move TV back in on its current stand for the moment
10. Artwork on wall
11. Style bookshelves


we still need to figure out window treatments that will also be in the Living Room...they have to be mounted outside the trim...I will accept ideas here as well! I'm 90% sure I want bamboo shades like in my inspo pics...

I'm wondering JUST how expensive this will be to pull off for 6 rather large windows :(.

Posts coming soon:

  • The painting of the upstairs and downstairs hallways and main stairwell (including an engineering feat)
  • The front door refinishing and shutters