Monday, January 26, 2015

Living Room Reveal

So I wanted to show you the last place of our house that I hadn't really touched on....The living room.
We did a complete overhaul here too.

If we could have bought any kind of house, we would have picked something older, something with more character. But we had to be in a specific area for the school district, and were forced into a builder basic home. 

So the only thing to do, was make it into something that we wanted. Paint, and simple changes can help make a house into your dream home...but sometimes you need more. Making areas that are super simple look more custom can help you get there. In each room of our house, we changed a big part of the room, something that was permanent. In the living room, the floor was changed, which carried through to the whole lower floor. That wouldn't be enough though to set it apart from any other house. 

The fireplace was the most obvious in this room. It was a super ugly tiled surround, with a dinky mantel above it. 
I want to say this was an easy change, and when we were finished and look back, it seems like an easy change...but it was be messy and frustrating along the way. 

My husband found this antique mantel on Craigslist, a major deal! And it almost fit perfectly. The bigger problem was the tile surround. 

Luckily the tiles popped off pretty easy, it was the thin set left behind that made the mess. We dealt with this at our last house, so we knew what to do, and how to do it, but that didn't make it any easier. A scraping tool with a blade, took off most of the thin set, and a grinder tool with a heavy duty wire brush attachment, helped clean up the rest of the floor.
This makes a HUGE mess..... prep your space, and wear goggles and a respirator.
Think, giant dust cloud inside your house.
 In the entry way we used plastic and tape, to block the upstairs from getting covered with the dust.

As far as the wall  goes, instead of trying to salvage the drywall, we just cut out the messy stuff, and replaced it. As you can see here below, only a little bit was showing. You don't need to be, or need to hire a professional drywall person here, it's very simple. I used a putty knife to fill in the new drywall area with a thicker than normal layer of joint compound ( you can but it in small quart tubs), covering a bit over the exsisitng wall as well. After drying, I gave it a good sand, and used a can of spray texture to lightly cover the area. We did repair the wall, before attaching the mantel to the wall. For the texture, you can try it on a piece of cardboard until you get a heaviness close to your existing wall. 

I knew I didn't want the mantel to be the solid white, like it was...but you never know what you will find underneath. I took a heavy gel stripper, and tried it on the side of the mantel at the bottom. Putting enough on to get through any layers of paint. It looked like it had only ever been a cream, and a white. So I went ahead and distressed the whole thing. I wanted it to look old, since we were going to all the trouble to install an old mantel. You could just paint it a solid color, but I wanted to see the age. I took the same heavy duty gel stripper, and worked in small areas at a time, just brushing enough on to cover the surface, then with a metal putty knife, I scraped away at it slowly. Not adding enough gel, and not pushing hard enough to take off all of the paint. I wasn't trying to get to solid wood here. My father in law was in town, and was a huge help at getting the paint off. Once it was to a look I liked, I took some sandpaper to it, just to clean up the surface, not to take off an paint. I took a tiny bit of stain to the decorative piece in the middle since the wood didn't have the same tone as the mantel itself. It was much lighter. This just enhanced it a bit so it didn't blend in. 

Once the mantel was attached and the walls were painted, you would think the piece was built with the home. If the mantel doesn't fit perfectly to your fireplace, you can always add a bit of wood, or molding to make it cohesive. 

Our theme to the house was a farm-house, meets beach-house. So we used a good mix of the two. Not all of our pieces we added were meant to be there for ever. Some, like our tv cabinet, were a temporary fix and didn't fit either theme. 

I'm a big fab of a full mantel space. Not everyone would agree, but I think you can get into a space not looking proportionate, or to simple with nothing on it. So I pile all sorts of old books, and beachy decor on. I had revamped this mantel probably 10 times in two years. The mirror was a generic mirror from Hobby Lobby, that I painted in a navy, and added a glaze to. 

LOVE this lantern, I found it at Target a few years ago, and loved the frosted lettering on the glass, and the galvanized look of it. I filled the inside with driftwood, instead of your typical candle. 

This sponge was one of my most favorite finds ever. Strangely from a restaurant gift shop at the coast...but I had to have it. I love the shape, though it is quite large, and was hard to find a spot for.  Using old nostalgic books (off clearance section) from the used book store, is the perfect way to prop up items, and give a varied height to a mantel. You don't want everything on the same level. 

This beautiful crock held some "faux" firewood. 

Since the living room was open all the way through to the kitchen, none of the pieces could be very heavy in color or pattern. Otherwise the room starts to feel heavy on one side or the other. Since we went with a white on the cabinets, we kept the large sectional sofa (from Ikea) in a similar color. This is by far the cheapest slip covered sectional you will ever find, at around $800. It has been comfy and has held up great. I would have loved a white (bleach-able) but my husband vetoed that from the get go.  We had a more formal linen colored slipcover before, and had just changed over to this softer, actual linen fabric cover. 

Our coffee table was made some time ago, inspired from a Ballard Designs table. We bought some old barn wood, and I cleaned it up, distressed it, and sealed it. Originally, I had made a wood frame base, and painted it to look like metal. When we moved into the house, the movers destroy the base, so we had a friend of my husbands makes us one out of steel. Painted it again, in an aged bronze finish. Costing less than $80 for the whole thing.

Window treatments can get expensive, so I just used yards of this red striped linen fabric. From Renees Fabrics on Etsy.

Hemming the tops, bottoms, and sides of each panel. I didn't really want them to close since we had blinds, so I made them to be thin panels.  

The chair and ottoman are also Ikea, with the red striped cover.
 Some antique boat paintings, done by family members, hang above the chair.

Since there wasn't much space by the chair for a side table, I used an antique metal milk jug as a spot to rest a glass. 

You can see how the space is just one long narrow room. So you have to be conscious of each piece, and how it balances the whole room out. I love a white base, and adding in pops of color. It makes it easy to change up the room, when your style or color choices change. We used lots of reds, and blues throughout our home. 

The floor was obviously the biggest change in the space, and unified the whole lower level. 

We have two small dogs, and instead of using a traditional dog bed in the space, I made them a custom bed. I found this antique wood wagon, at an antique store. What made this piece so great was that the sides came off, each panel, individually. 
My husband thought I was nuts when I brought it home!!
 He took off the wheels, and we added a 4"x4" block of wood to each side, where the wheels were previously attached. I gave them a quick wash of stain to match the rest of the wood. I took off one panel so they could get in and out of it. 

For the bed, I used a 1' thick piece of foam, cut to the size of the bottom. I found a kind sized pillow case, in a color similar to the wood. The case fit almost perfectly so I just left it as it was. Super easy to take it off and wash it. 
The dogs love it!!

There you have it...our farm-house meets beach-house styled living room!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beachy Playroom Area

Since Christmas, I have been weeding through all of the kids toys, adding the new, donating the old, and tossing the ones with missing parts. In all of the chaos, it got me missing my house, and my nicely organized play room area. We have all of the same pieces at our temporary location, but with all the extra floor space, the mess seems to expand as well. 

The apartment kitchen has an eat in area, and there is also a dining room. Since we had gotten rid of both of our dining tables, I gave the dining area up for the kids play room. The space works well, and is bigger than the kids play area at our house, but with room, comes more places for crap to sit. 

When we were purchasing the house, this room seemed like such a strange spot. It was about only about 10 feet by 8 feet. You couldn't really add any big pieces of furniture, and a desk and chair, would take up too much of the floor space. Since the loft area is just around the corner, we opted for that to be the toy free, lounging location, and for the toys all to be in a central location. This is a great idea if you have the means to do it. 
In our place now, the toys seem to get up and walk to the kitchen, the stairs, and I find Lego's in the bathroom, and my office....dang Lego's!!

Since we had a beachy theme throughout the house, I sort of stuck with the same theme, just made it more kid friendly. The chair was one we had in my sons nursery from Ikea, a Poang Chair. It's a good little rocker ($99), but had a woodland print on it.  The chair pad is removable, and I just recovered it with an Ikat print. 

To save space, since the room was so skinny, I made a wall mounted book shelf. I saw a book ledge at the doctors office that I liked, but you couldn't fit very many books on it. I even tried to find a planter trough to mount, but couldn't find the right length or depth. So I ended up making these. They are just a simple box construction, slats of wood, screws, wood putty, stained, and painted, and disressed. 
They were mounted straight to the wall. 

I found these vintage, metal beach shovels on Etsy. They were the perfect color, and how stinkin cute! Every time we would take a beach trip, my son insisted we take them. 

On the large wall I made a gallery wall with frames. Notice I didn't say photos. That would require time to sit down, pick photos, and send them off to get printed...
Never did it....
Don't judge!!
 But I did plan on doing that, sooooo......I did take 5 different sample colors of paint, and painted the frames in different colors. They were all just a shade or two off from each other. I did hang the same frames up at the apartment, and guess what.....still half empty :) One day!!

For toy storage, I went with cloth boxes, Drona in a Kallax shelving unit from Ikea. They have held up pretty good, surprisingly enough.
The curtains were a cheap fix, I use a flat double sheet, cut it in half, and stitched up the edge's, it only cost about $15 for the sheet. 

 We used a large brown sectional in the lounging space, we had it in our previous house....not super pretty, but super comfy. The rug was $50 from Home Goods, major deal!! A grass cloth basket with a lid, hid the stuffed animals. 
The giant wave art was from Ikea, and all the pillows were all from Pottery Barn.  Super simple decor, but a good hang out space, to watch movies.

There you have it...a super cheap, and kid friendly space.
 Use small spaces, and good storage solutions to house the toys.  Find a spot in your home, closets, awkward corners, and weird nooks like this one.
Again, a small space,  means less crap makes for a much easier clean up!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hidden Coffee Storage &Trashcan Cabinet

Since January seems to be the month we start organizing, and getting things stashed away...I thought I would show you an easy fix for hiding a few things, that usually end up cluttering counter tops. 
I like decor stuff just as much as the next, and I actually don't mind having all the empty spots in the kitchen decorated. The one thing I don't like looking at though, is all the small appliances.  
Alot of homes have them built in to the cabinets, and sometimes they are above the stove. This house didn't actually have one anywhere. It did how ever, have a dinky little vent hood, which we ripped out and replaced with a custom made vent hood, which you can see here. I know it may seem a bit extreme, ripping out useful cabinets, but those half sized cabinets rarely hold much of use anyways.

We bought a small microwave, and I tried it on the counter, but it took up so much room, that I had to find a solution. Obviously I would have loved a microwave drawer, but that was out of budget, and I was out of storage space to give up. There was a large area next to our back door that wasn't being used, and the door didn't seem to interfere. It seemed like the perfect spot for a new cabinet.

I thought about having one custom built (costly), but ran across an unfinished pantry cabinet at Lowes for around $200. They had two styles that were two different sizes. One was the depth of the upper cabinets 12", the other the depth of the lower 24". The deeper cabinet was far to skinny to fit a microwave inside, so we grabbed the 12' deep, but wider version and had to made it work. 

Strangely enough, the style of door, was almost identical to our existing cabinets. I know this wont always be the case, but If you are painting all of the cabinets, it should all blend when finished. 

The only difference in the doors, was the new cabinets had routed edges on the outside of each door. 

New cabinets door
Our existing cabinets doors
It ended up being a 30 minute fix on the router table for all of the existing cabinet doors.

After routing our existing doors

To fix the problem of the cabinet depth, we basically made a 2x4 frame behind the cabinet to set it off the wall, just enough to be flush with the lower cabinets, about 12". 

This actually worked in our favor, since we could run cords behind the cabinet without having to move the electrical outlets (saving more money). Lowe's carries the side panels for both sizes of cabinets. We just bought the bigger sized panel 24", and once attached you would never know the cabinet doesn't go all the way to the back of the wall.

The cabinet got the same molding at the top, and the doors were all matching at this point with the help of the router. After paint and knobs, you wouldn't even know this cabinet was added later. 

Now for whats inside....
The microwave was the main reason for installing the cabinet in the first place, and since the shelves were adjustable, I got the coffee maker, and some cookbooks in to boot!! The drawers held my coffee pods, and coasters.

Hoop art, by Raising up Rubies.

The cabinet unfortunately only housed about a 10th of my cookbook collection, so I just used some of my favorites.

 For the bottom cabinet, we decided to alter the door to make a pull out trashcan. I looked for the right sized trashcan system that you could mount onto the door, but had alot of problems finding the right size, and the ones that were, seemed crazy expensive. Since we were doing the kitchen on a budget, we opted for making it ourselves.

We ended up using two small sized trash cans, one for recycling. I did have to cut one side of the lip on each, to make them fit in. 

I put a cup handle on all of the drawers, and used the same here. 

Now unfortunately I don't have a photo how-to for this little system. But as you can see in the pictures, it is a pretty simple construction. We used a piece of plywood that we had laying around, and cut it to fit just inside of the cabinet, as the wood platform. A brace was added to the back of the door, on the bottom, to mount the platform system to. The whole thing is similar to a drawer, just without the sides. A couple pieces of 1"x1", were mounted under the platform, and are what the rails are attached to. 

Richelieu 2 pack 24" drawer slide rails $19

You don't want it to heavy, and its really not holding all that much weight. We angled one more 1x1 on each side of the cans to keep them from shifting around. The other half of the railing, was mounted to the inside of the cabinets, on another 1x1". This will keep the whole thing strong, and it will slide smoothly.  

A simple fix to loosing counter space. If you don't have room for a whole new cabinet, consider using an existing one.

For the rest of the how-to's for this kitchen check out these posts...

Kitchen Remodel
How-To Faux Reclaimed Wood Counter Tops
Tips To Installing Cabinet Molding