paint

Re-Imagined Dollhouse

I was at a loss for what to suggest my parents buy for our daughter for her 1st birthday. They always ask if there is something specific- needed or wanted by us for our kids or that the kids would want for gifts. A friend suggested a dollhouse, but when I looked at them online at my favorite places (PB Kids/ Land of Nod) they were just so pricey! But I mentioned it to my mom none the less, and what did she find that week at Homegoods? A doll house!!IMG_2402

It was broken and chipped in a few places and missing a door knob and some screws, but I suggested we could paint it, and she saw the potential as well. She ended up getting it for $50 and took it straight up to her barn so we could work on it.

Now, I’m the type of person to jump into creative projects without pausing to make a plan or look over everything thoroughly…. so, I grabbed a brush and just went for it! My mom started asking pretty quickly, “are you sure we should have done this?” with a nervous edge in her tone. Welp, there was no going back. It looked way better already! And also a little worse.IMG_2401 (2)

I wasn’t worried about being too careful with the white because I figured I could go back with white and fix it, but that little 1/8 or 1/16 of an inch edge around the windows and shutters was so difficult to navigate, and I didn’t really think about how much harder black and slate are to cover up with white than white would be to cover up on them. Anyway, this is where I stopped on day 1 of work.

The next day I was much more resolved to be careful with all my painting. I painted over ALL the white with a new white; that took a couple coats. I painted over the birdhouse and tree on both sides, and painted the inside of the side windows with a white paint pen. I thought the flowers looked hokey, so I painted them a dark green. Found something to work as a doorknob and painted it, as well as the french door knobs, gold metallic, and then the door was painted robins egg blue. After all was said and done, I was PRETTY happy with it! It’s not perfect, and it was more work than anticipated, but I ended up with something that was made more special by personalizing it, and that wouldn’t be an eye sore in her room! Now all I will add is a little wreath on the front door to add that last touch of homeyness!

What do you think? Ready to move in??IMG_2728

What would I do differently next time?

-take the windows and trim off the house & paint everything separately, then glue back on
OR (if not possible to take those off)
-tape first, paint WAY more carefully
-use a quality white paint with primer that covers the dark colors easily
-tape the inside of the windows so the paint doesn’t look messy from the back side of the front house door when open. (the whole front swings open to access the inside.

Ikea Rast Glam-Over

FullSizeRender-3

I have never owned a nightstand I truly loved. Or even liked, for that matter! So when I got married this was something I wanted- because it was finally my call! (I had a whole paragraph of a saga about my nightstand woes here, but it was boorish, so let’s cut to the chase) Now that we own our first home, I still can’t afford anything that I really like and is the right size, so, inspired by my friend Jenna who DIY’d the crap out of some Malm dressers from Ikea, I set to work… Found a few ideas I liked, bought the Ikea “Rast” dressers and some overlays from this shop– I went with the Xandra style- and then they sat in my house untouched for several months. This is typical of me- if I don’t do a project right when I’m excited about it, it sits around unfinished for weeks, months, sometimes until my husband throws it out. Anyway, with this newfound fervor for DIYing, I finally have the drive I need to get this project under way! So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I did get as far a spray painting the overlays gold. But I bought a cheap random gold at Ace, sprayed them on the grass- which meant the sides were hard to get and then a bunch of blades of grass were stuck to them when they were dry, and the shade of gold was just… the most blah gold you could imagine. See that sadness here: FullSizeRender

No sheen, no pop…. blah. So I’m hoping to bring them to life with a coat or two of Montana Gold! And now for the nightstands… so they start out like this:

rast-drawer-chest__25877_PE057109_S4

Ideally I would have liked to go with a larger, slightly better quality dresser like the Malm that has smooth rolling drawers as opposed to the Rast that has cut outs in the sides of the drawers and a funny plastic bar that they slide on in the inside of the frame, but our bedroom is pretty small and we couldn’t go with anything bigger- bummer, I know. Here they are with the first coat of Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore in an eggshell finish …

IMG_4447

Alright, so the drawers come pre-drilled with two holes for knobs. I feel like it won’t look amazing with two knobs but I can’t just leave the holes. Hence, my first step into the land of wood filler and sandpaper. It may have been more prudent to fill the holes before painting, but I was anxious to start painting. And, as per usual, my impatience won out. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I happened to have some wood filler and a putty knife on hand from the house renovations- all I needed was sandpaper…

IMG_4458

I really wasn’t sure what I was doing so I just went for it and quickly found the more filler, the better! Left is the filler already scraped into the hole and right is the little pile of filler just blobbed on. At this point I realized I’d probably need to let them all dry, sand them, and then add a bit more wood filler so there’s no trace of the old knob holes.

IMG_4457

Here you can see that after the first application of wood filler had dried and been sanded, it still wasn’t flush with the drawer front, so I added more and let those dry.

IMG_4463 IMG_4467

I also decided that although I liked the look after just one coat of paint with the woodgrain showing through, I just couldn’t live with the texture of the wood- it felt too rough to touch and was not going to be easy to wipe clean when needed. Anything fabric would probably catch on it… I’m one of those people that can’t stand the feeling of chalkboards or anything similar (like the plates at Melting Pot- cringe!) and these felt chalkboardy to me! It could have been that the wood sucked up so much of the paint that it had that effect just on the first coat, or just that eggshell was too matte of a finish to use on raw wood. Whatever the case, I just had to try and remedy the feel. Off I went to Ace to buy a quart of the same paint but in a satin finish- which they only had in the aura collection that’s pricier, so I went with semi-gloss to save a few bucks and hoped I didn’t regret the decision! Here we are with the second coat- this time in a semi-gloss finish- applied and dried…

IMG_4497

And here is how I got all the edges painted on the overlays:

IMG_4496

I brought one inside with the overlays to see how it looked. I was thinking I miiiiight want to dry brush some light gray on to make them look a bit distressed/antiqued…. So I wanted to see them as they were before making a decision.

IMG_4509 IMG_4510

I decided to leave them for now, I could always add the gray paint down the road should I decide they need it.

And now, time to adhere the overlays onto the drawers. I originally bought wood glue, but after watching the how-to on the myoverlays blog, I went with their suggestion of the Liquid Nails Clear Silicone as it can supposedly make them removable if I ever wanted to put new ones on or repaint the dressers.

IMG_4523

See all that grass stuck to the back of the overlay?? Haha, I am so lame for thinking spraying them on the grass was a good idea… but I digress.

IMG_4524

I eyeballed it when putting them on…. I think they turned out even.

IMG_4525

So once they had dried it was time to drill the holes for knobs. I bought two different knobs at Anthropologie to try- one bigger, fancier, girlier- and as such- more expensive, and one smaller, simpler, “fade into the drawer” knob. Deciding which I liked better was not easy at all. Off the drawers I liked the bigger ones the best- perfect match color wise, and just too fun to pass up.

image1 image2 image6 image5

I just couldn’t decide without seeing them in the drawers, the drawers all in the stand…. But I have no drill, and frankly was worried I’d screw the drawers up if I had tried drilling the holes myself anyway. So away for the night they went until I could convince someone to come over with a drill and help me.

Hoorah! My mom came over and decided I needed to lower my sons crib (which I did, but hadn’t gotten around to) and so she called my dad to come over and help her. He brought the drill and drilled the holes for my knobs! And thus, the night stands were finally finished!!….. as soon as I could decide which knobs to use:

IMG_4594

Boring.

IMG_4595

…nice, but maybe a little much?

IMG_4592

…closer…

And the winner is……………………

IMG_4593

PERFECT!!!!! Now all I have to do is get all new bedding to complement them and some new fabric to drape over my headboard so it isn’t clashing like crazy until we can buy a new one!

UPDATE…. here it is in our room with our new bedding and headboard 🙂

FullSizeRender-3 ikearast2 FullSizeRender-2

Kitchen Remodel

Last year we bought our first home… 400 miles away from our Orange County home of 5 years. I was pregnant with our first child and itching to get back to the family friendly bubble of a town I was raised in in Northern California. So my loving husband obliged and we embarked on a crazy journey. We bought this adorable house that needed some TLC and all around general upgrading.

IMG_4433

Here’s what we were working with in the kitchen…

IMG_6032 IMG_6034

Don’t mind my dad standing in the middle of my picture.

On the other side of that back wall is the entry hall containing 2 small closets. We decided to enlarge the kitchen space by removing those closets and pushing the wall back, leaving the entry hall the same size, but gaining a little over a foot in the kitchen. Also, notice it’s galley- boo. I wanted to be able to see and interact with people in the living room from the kitchen, and also bring a bit more light into it because it’s in the middle of the house instead of on an exterior wall so there are no windows. Dark and dumb, am I right??? So we also wanted to take down the wall to the living room.

At the time we remodeled, we were 9 months pregnant, living in Orange County, unable to travel back up to deal with any renovations in person. So all the design and materials decisions were made from down south based only on seeing the house when we bought it, looking at materials and ideas online, and getting pictures and FaceTiming my parents and contractor. I picked everything out without seeing anything but the flooring in person, and without seeing any of it together. It was a challenge and I was terrified I would make one or many mistakes. A lot of the ideas came from my imagination as well, so I usually didn’t have a picture or example to send my contractor or parents to convey what I was talking about unless I drew it myself, haha! Which I totally did on a few occasions, by the way.

I trusted all this madness to my parents and my oldest childhood friend, Jacob, who was our contractor. He’s an absolute perfectionist, so I knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong!

Let’s take a look at the progression of the remodel from Demo to Done!!

IMG_7027 IMG_6906 IMG_6905

Turned out the ceiling in the kitchen had a different texture than the rest of the house, so our contractor re-did it for us. Also, the wall we removed was load bearing, so we had to leave a post- which initially I wasn’t stoked about, but we ended up wrapping it in reclaimed wood (as you’ll see pictured below) and I am completely obsessed with it now!

IMG_6985 IMG_6982 IMG_7090

How great is it looking??! So spacious. The floors were a no-brainer. We went with a hand scraped textured laminate called Saratoga by Hampton Bay, I believe? It’s amazing- Looks so great. We painted all the main parts of the house in Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. I cannot express how much I love this color. I might just use it forever in every house I own. It’s a soft, warm gray, and it’s basically to die for.

IMG_7103 IMG_7154

Alright, let’s talk cabinets… I was pretty stressed about this part because it’s easily the most expensive part of any kitchen renovation. I went to Home Depot- the stock stuff was atrociously cheap, and the stuff you sit down for hours picking with a “designer” was so outrageously expensive- and the process of getting a quick general estimate was such a turn off- it took an appointment booked ahead of time, and then an hour to find out that it’s nowhere NEAR the advertised 10×10 price on the pamphlets. I looked at Ikea over and over, but the price was still high and assembly was rumored to be a nightmare. Enter Google. My mom saw this random site and told me it looked affordable and decent. So I checked it out for myself… if you are redoing a kitchen or thinking of it, RUN to Lily Ann Cabinets!! They’re based out of Ohio so I did it all over the phone and online, but shipping is free and the product is absolutely superior to even custom kitchens I’ve seen. Soft/self close drawers and cabinets are STANDARD! They come in so many gorgeous and current styles, I cannot recommend this place enough. I feel like I got a steal too, but they’re just that awesomely priced! We got ALL OF THESE CABINETS for just over $3,000. I know, it’s unheard of. They didn’t have a farmhouse sink cabinet, so we had to MacGyver one out of a refrigerator cabinet and some trim, but it worked out.

IMG_7603 IMG_7175 IMG_7607 IMG_7600

And now it’s time for countertops! I have always wanted marble counters- I love white with white, so marble is what we got- it’s not Carrera, our countertops guy said it yellowed and wasn’t the best for counters, so we went with this stunning slab of some other kind of marble:

IMG_7249 IMG_7606

I never did get the name of the Marble we used, but it’s gorgeous. BTW, the sink we had picked was out of stock and not due to be restocked for MONTHS (huge bummer) so we had to go with a different one that is quite a bit smaller and much pricier, but it does the trick. It just meant we had a little more trim showing on the front of the cabinet than originally planned for. I’m thinking of tiling it with the backsplash tile (that I have yet to pick out) and/or putting a cool pipe/industrial looking towel rod on it. The Faucet is Moen- I love it. The pulls are some random non-brand I found on amazon- super inexpensive, but beautiful. The light fixtures are West Elm. Another design choice I made was to install open shelving made from reclaimed wood above the sink- I always feel like a cabinet there is awkward and invasive. You spend a lot of time at the sink, it doesn’t need to feel more claustrophobic than it already is. I love how this turned out- I really didn’t know if it was going to be awesome or miss the mark.

IMG_7705IMG_7808

IMG_7704  IMG_7805 IMG_7810

IMG_0223IMG_0233

And there you have it! All finished and moved in. We still need to do the backsplash and address the sink area, but all in good time. I’d like the counters to be less cluttered- eventually I’ll move stuff around, but for now, I’m happy with it. I think it’s just stunning. Would I have made some different choices were I to see it all in person as it was happening? Sure. I’d have either done a different cabinet style in pure white to go better with the counters, or chosen a different countertop to go with the cabinets, I’d have waited for the bigger sink to become available (were that an option)…. But really, that’s it. I’m so happy with it. It turned out amazing, and came in under budget. All in all I think we wound up with it totaling less than $15,000 including labor (which also includes labor and materials for all the flooring throughout the living areas, tearing out a huge built in, painting all the living areas, and a few smaller labor items elsewhere in the house).

I wasn’t sure it would all come together and look like a cohesive design, but it did, and we are so happy with it.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 3.01.28 PM