trucking right along…

Happy 2013! I had the 1st and took the 2nd off of work and I did what any good little DIYer does and painted!

After giving my hand a rest from the last living room project, I was dying to start painting the trim.  And die I did.

You see, my living room has dental molding. And while it is lovely to look at, it is NOT lovely to paint.  I had to go in between each tooth (I’m pretending that’s what those are called…why else is it called dental molding?) with the paintbrush. And as soon as I moved on, paint would drip out from between the teeth (this is getting weird) and I would have to go back and swipe again. Repeat times a million. I was making such slow progress I almost gave up.


The problem was I was getting too much paint in there, but if I didn’t have enough paint on the brush it wouldn’t go in. And then I had a stroke of genius.


Enter the plastic craft brush. With stiff, coarse bristles, it couldn’t hold that much paint (meaning less drips), but was small enough that I could get it between the teeth.

It was a lot quicker going once I started using that little guy. It still was not even remotely quick though. It’s a huge room and there is ~78 feet (?) of molding. It took me 5 hours to do all of the top trim. And while it was already starting to look SO MUCH BETTER, it kind of sucked that it took that long. I had a little paint left so I did half of the one built-in as well.

half and half

The next day was my birthday, but I was not letting that stop me. My mother-in-law offered to come help and that made it go a lot quicker. We still only got one coat of white on everything, but at least we got it on everything!


Oh, did I mention my saint of a mother in law stayed and painted while Keith and I went out to dinner? This was all that was left when we got back. One ugly door, which was quickly whipped into shape. This is where we are now.


loving my builtins soooo much more now that they are not yellow-ish.

whiteeeee! makes me feel so clean!

whiteeeeee! the mantle is going light grey.

The mantle and the doorway will both be light grey. The entryway is to the right and it will also be light grey. I will eventually paint the shelves inside that closet white and the backs blue to mimic the built-ins, but I didn’t want to bother with those yet.

I should have done a better job with getting the same angles in pictures, but here’s a rough journey of the stages of the living room wall.


And a quick fireplace look from before/after trim.

fireplaceI plan on painting the brass of the fireplace, but I have to finish everything else first. I am sooo close to being done and sooooo excited. It will actually look like a living room soon! Especially since I got a couch! (More on that later.)

goodbye hideously ugly wall!

So this weekend my mom came up to help me tackle my living room. When I last left off, it looked like this:



Pretty gross. All of those white spots on the wall were where the original paint had flaked off. Friday night found me scrubbing the walls with DIF to get the last of the wallpaper glue off (that lovely brown residue). It took almost 4 hours of scrubbing to clean the wall. Again, very thankful it was ONLY that wall.

Saturday, my mom arrived and we went to Lowe’s to get joint compound. First we went and filled all the random nailholes (there were dozens!) then we mixed a bunch with water to a cake-batter consistency and then rolled it on the wall. The purpose was twofold: to cover up all the dents and dings and gouges and to add some texture back into the wall so that the spots we spackled didn’t look ridiculous.

After 3 or 4 hours (I lost track), we ended up with this:

living room, plastered.

living room, plastered.

living room, plastered.

Which, after living with mismatched walls for 6 months, was already a gigantic improvement! We were pretty much done for the day at that point, since we had to wait for the plaster to dry. My mom left and I did the one thing I could, paint the back of the built-ins!

It is always amusing opening a can of paint that has sat for a while, case in point:


So the back of the built-ins were red.


And that just wasn’t going to work with my pretty much all blue home color scheme. I did love the two-toned look though, so I painted them blue! (This blue will eventually go in the dining room as well, tying the rooms together nicely. Here’s how they look un-red:

blue bookcases

Phew. I feel better already.

Sunday my mom came up a bit later and before she got there, I painted the ceiling. I almost left it, but I am really glad I painted it because once I got started I realized how off-white it really was.

My mom arrived just as I was finishing up and she started cutting in the walls.

mum painting

I knew the color I picked was close the the wall’s original color, but it became very clear during this step.

living room progress

To the left is what my mom had cut in, to the right is the original wall color. Finally, a decorating decision we had in common!

Once I finished with the ceiling, I followed behing my mom rolling what she had cut in.

living room, painted!

And then, finally, four walls – all the same color!! (Martha Stewart – Zinc)

living room, painted!

living room, painted!

living room, painted!

It still looks a little weird in there with all that cream trim. That will be gone very, very soon but I really hurt my hand from 3 days of non-stop scrubbing/painting/rolling so it will have to wait until this weekend, probably.

Also, it is not a brilliant idea to paint a room with no overhead lighting in December.

All the trim will be glossy white, the built-ins will either go light grey or white, I haven’t decided yet. The top part of the fireplace will be light gray, Keith has convinced me to not paint the fireplace brick as I previously wanted. I might try to see if I can clean it though.

The walls may need a second coat of grey, it is too dark in the morning and too dark in the evening to actually tell, I know I missed a few spots but I am hoping I can just do some touch-ups.

I also need to paint inside the little closet next to the fireplace, probably the same blue as the built-ins but that can be an easy weekend project.

I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted being this close to completion on the living room. It was a real annoyance for me because it looked so awful for so long.

The rest of my projects pretty much only involve painting. There is wallpaper in the dining room that will eventually come down, but it is only the top half of the walls and is already peeling up, so fingers crossed that is easy.

Yay for moms!

pink is the new pink.

So last weekend, along with ripping wallpaper down, I did a little painting. By little I mean crafty painting, not wall painting.

I have been seeing these “eat” signs in kitchens around the internet and really wanted one of my own.

eat sign

At some point while looking for one, I decided to go in a different direction:


I don’t exactly love the font (I would have rather had all lowercase letters – all though capitals are probably better because Italians yell a lot) but I kind of love it. It’s a shout out to my pap/my Italian heritage/the one word in Italian I know. It’s not as crooked as it looks, I just took the picture from that angle to get both of my kitchen colors in. And you can see my cupcake collection on the shelf. I wasn’t sure where to put it but I figured telling people to eat on their way into the dining room made the most sense!

I also did a little painting in the bedroom, painting these cheap birch frames from Ikea pink. I was struggling with what to put in them since they are so teeny tiny and thought I’d do a little take on “his and hers” but backwards, since that’s how we sleep.

hers & his

I’ll actually probably swap them out for a bigger font, but I just wanted to test and see how it looked. I did the hers in a swirly font and the his in a less swirly font (even though Keith has prettier handwriting). I also bought us some lamps!


I had a tiny little Ikea lamp on my table and Keith had nothing on his. My lamp wasn’t bright enough and I really wanted matching lamps since we don’t have matching side tables. In case you haven’t noticed, lamps are EXPENSIVE. I have been hunting for months to try to find something in a shape I liked that wasn’t 40$ a lamp. I was at Walmart buying the pink paint for my letters/frames and stumbled upon these babies for 14$! They were a great shape and although they were shadeless I grabbed the last two and figured I could deal with finding shades later. And then on the other side of aisle, I spotted these shades, which were pretty much perfect. All blues and silvers, which is right up my alley! The shades were only 6$ so I got two lamps and two shades for cheaper than I could find one single lamp. I am pretty excited. For some reason, it makes me feel more grown-up/sophisticated having matching lamps.


I think they make the bedroom so cozy. Keith said we didn’t need new lamps, but he already used his, so I think I win this round.

I am almost ready to call the bedroom complete but I still want a long dresser for across from the bed. I also want to paint it pink.

I’m so lucky Keith lets me do whatever I want in regards to decorating. I think he’d stop me if he totally hated something, but I’m not really sure, haha.

getting closer….

I spent the weekend in D.C. visiting my friend, Elyse, so I took today off figuring I’d probably be wiped out. And I was, but after sleeping in and then taking a nap, I got to work doing some laundry which lead to FINALLY unpacking the boxes in the 3rd bedroom. I had a big closet in my last bathroom, so those boxes were full of bathroom things that did not fit in my new, closet-less bathroom. There is a closet in the upstairs hallway for that type of thing, so three months later, I put them where they belong.  I also finally took a few more pictures of the bathroom in it’s almost-finished state.


My boring, white shower curtain. Since I did not measure the width of my shower, the outer shower curtain is about 8 inches too wide, making it all bunch up. I took the last panel and folded it behind though and you can’t really tell. I also snagged those shower hooks from Keith’s bathroom, since they were nicer than the plastic ones they left upstairs. And then, since I didn’t measure again, my inner shower curtain is probably a foot too narrow. I don’t really love how the curtain hangs, but thanks to that lovely arch, I can’t do a thing about it. I also can’t move the shower curtain up, because the ceiling slopes inside (and outside) the shower. Haha, oh well. I still kind of want to replace the curtain rod with something silver, but I have stopped caring so much. I also found a roll of white caulk tape in the basement. So maybe they were planning on replacing the lovely orange? One day I’ll rip it off and replace it. I think it will make all the difference.

bathroom door

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the door is blue. I had seen a picture on pinterest with a two-tone door/door jamb and loved it. I think it would work better if I reversed the colors, but what’s done is done. It probably needs another coat. I had thought of scrapping the whole idea and just painting it white, but then my little birdies wouldn’t be so noticeable. That’s a hand towel on there, my bath towels are dark red and don’t match the room at all. Which is a total first world problem, but they were cheap enough (Target) that I don’t feel too guilty buying some different ones to match my bathroom better.


I really, really want to put some white floating shelves above the toilet. I need the storage and I think they would look really sharp, but that’s something I need Keith’s help with. And I am also slightly intimidated by our plaster walls.  One day!

Two weekends ago I also finally painted the trim in the bedroom. It was already white, so it didn’t make a huge difference, but the most exciting difference was the door.

door before and after

Goodbye, disgusting, streaky, beige…hello white!

The door used to look soooo gross up against the white trim/ceiling. Now it’s the hallway that looks gross. The hallway will eventually be a light grey. I’m not sure if I will paint those closet doors out there white or grey, but they are on notice.

I also changed the sheets and put on a new duvet cover. I bought it at Ikea thinking it was sheets and didn’t realize until I got it home. You can see the old one in the bottom left corner above. It was white/grey stripes and although I love grey, it was more of a greige and it bugged me.


I am pretty in love with the new, accidental one. My favorite part of moving into a new apartment used to be picking up a new duvet cover. So maybe it was a subconscious decision to buy the new one. It has matching pillow cases, but I think I prefer the hot pink ones.


I also might have figured out what to do with the three nails above the bed. Since we have plaster walls, I didn’t want to rip them out and have to fill the holes, so I came across these three little frames that I’ve had for years and thought they might work. Ignore that the bed is totally off-center, it is way too heavy for me to move. Also ignore the contents of the frames (two Vespas and an upside-down picture of me and my dad) and the fact that they are very much not straight, but I still think it might work!  I was thinking of putting a floating shelf above the bed too since I think whatever goes up there has to be very clean and simple to not compete with the headboard. I think those little frames will work for the time being, hiding the nails until I either can put up a shelf or do something else. Now I just need something small and simple to put in them.

Pretty pleased with my few, minor tweaks! The living room is still next on the list. This weekend we have a wedding, but next weekend Keith is going out of town, so I will probably begin to tackle it then.

consistency is blue

Not much has been up with the house since I painted the bedroom. I still need to touch up the trim, but just haven’t felt like it. This weekend doesn’t look good either, because I have a paper due and we are going to a wedding. I’m in no rush though.

Even if I don’t spend my weekdays doing house-y things, I do spend them reading home improvement blogs, my favorite of which is Young House Love. They have a gorgeous home, seem really down to earth and aren’t afraid to get to work!

Another blog I really like is Teal and Lime. I found her blog from pinterest, her dining room must be pinned a million times. It was through her blog that I found my future dining room color.

She recently posted pictures of her guest bathroom, which she had painted in Martha Stewart – Enamelware.


I immediately fell in love with the color. It is so fresh and bright and clean. Even though I have already picked out (and purchased) the paint for most of the house I was trying to find a place I could use it. Maybe the powder room? Or one of the upstairs bedrooms? Too bad I already had my laundry room color because it would look great in there against the blue of the kitch…wait a second…


behr - aqua breezeBehr- Aqua Breeze

martha stewart - enamelwareMartha Stewart – Enamelware


Yeaaaa, almost the same exact color I already have in my kitchen. At least I’m consistent!

*See the exposed light switches? They might still look like that. The switches are almond, I bought white ones to replace them and refuse to put the covers on until they are replaced. Because if we put the covers on without replacing them, they will never get replaced. Although it doesn’t look like they will ever get replaced this way either. Ha.

blue in the face

 This past weekend I painted the bedroom. It’s a pretty huge room (16×14) but I did luck out since it looks like the ceiling had been painted pretty recently so I got to skip that horrible step. It took me about 9 hours spread out over 3 days and that doesn’t even include the trim. That has to wait. The previous paint job was very sloppily done, I even found an earwig painted into the wall! Ugh. There was a bright spot though. While removing outlet covers, I found this:


Oh hey, teeny heart wallpaper! I am very very thankful that they at least took that down. I’d take 23 earwigs on the wall before I’d want to rip down more wallpaper. Now for the fun stuff, here’s a reminder of what the room looked like when we first saw the house:



Very, very beige. I’m not into beiges/taupes/off-whites in any form, though the previous owners LOVED them, in all shades, in all rooms. My preferred neutral is grey, so room by room, I am banishing the beige.


This was the room after the first night. I felt like I was sleeping in a haunted house or squatting or something. See that white piece of wall/ceiling over the window on the right? I went back and forth for DAYS (even before I started painting) trying to decide if I wanted to leave it white and pretend it was ceiling or paint it blue and pretend it was wall. They had obviously pretended it was ceiling and it sort of drove me crazy. I thought it might look different when everything was blue so I left it momentarily and it drove me even more insane, so I painted over it the next day. I think it was the right choice.


master bedroom

That hope chest was built by Keith’s grandfather and painted by his grandmother. (It has his initials and year of birth on it, I love it!)

Also don’t mind the dog toy holding open the door, Daisy won’t play with them so we need to use them for something.

I took the pictures at 7pm, so they are a little dark (but still pretty accurate) but I LOVE IT. The room feels so peaceful and calming. The color is Martha Stewart – Washed Denim, the actual paint is Behr Premium Plus Ultra (which all my paint is and I’ve been really happy with it, paint + primer in one rules). So far I am 3/3 for loving the paints I have picked out! Guess I have a knack for paint! 😉 It makes the doors/trim pop like the beige never could and I think it even makes the green carpet look not-so-green (which is a huge plus).

My one annoyance with the whole thing was that the Home Depot guy swore up and down that I would need two gallons of paint for the room and I just barely used one! I am either really good at painting or they are scam artists. Never again buying more than one gallon at a time since I now have two untouched gallons of paint (the kitchen and bedroom). They are distinct enough colors that I don’t really want to use them in other rooms, so now I don’t know what to do with them and have 70$ of paint just sitting there. Blah. So if anyone needs a gallon of Martha Stewart – Washed Denim or Behr – Embellished Blue, I’ll give you a discount!

We still need a bed and some other furniture and I can’t stop thinking that our nightstands need some chrome lamps, but the paint is a huge improvement.

I told myself that after I painted the bedroom, I HAD to get back to the living room and the wallpaper. So that’s my next project. Blah.

dining room

The dining room is to the left when you walk in the front door.

dining room

Keith and I were both pretty excited to have a dining room after eating dinner at the coffee table for 3 years.

dining room

dining room

dining room built-in

And the pictures of the dining room are still pretty accurate because we bought their furniture. (The china closet and built in are completely empty though because I don’t (yet) have knick knacks.) They offered to sell the furniture to us and while it’s not quite my style, it works for the time being. We got the china closet, buffet, table (with 3 leaves) and 6 chairs, and the rugs in the dining room and entry way for 450$. Pretty good deal considering you might have been able to buy one of those things for that price. And now I’m not in a mad rush to find the perfect dining room furniture.

My favorite thing about the room are the hardwood floors and the wainscoting. And the windows. There are 4 windows and they bring in a ton of light. The wallpaper isn’t even that offensive. But since wallpaper in general offends me, it will be going. Someday. I do love the dark blue in there so much that I bought paint similar to that.

It’s Azurite by Martha Stewart and it’s gorrrrrrrrrrgeous. That picture makes me want to add some sort of pink/coral to the room.

So the plans for that room include:

-eventually ripping down that wallpaper (but I am not in any hurry)

-painting everything that is off white – WHITE (these people loved their creams and taupes, blech)

– I would like to spray paint the chandelier a silver of some sort, I don’t dig brass.

– I think I’d like to try to frame out that built-in, it looks sort of incomplete.

-Some sort of window treatments for the windows. Two of them face woods but two of them face the street and that weirds me out.

-Replace the furniture/rugs with something more modern, also in no hurry.

kitchen: after!

Well, the kitchen is complete! It took a whole lot longer than anyone would have guessed, but that’s usually how those things go.  It took over a day to remove the wallpaper. The flowery stuff came off pretty easily, but the blue gingham stuff on the bulkhead was the devil incarnate. And I am no longer friends with the previous owners thanks to this little surprise.

devil wallpaper

That is wallpaper above the sink. It was not only impossible to get to thanks to its location above the sink and behind a board, it was impossible to get off. I probably spent 3 hours working on that and my mom had to finish it. I think my neck is still broken due to the horrible acrobatics necessary to reach it.

Two of the other obstacles are visible in this photo:


The first obstacle was the wall to the right of the stove. That lovely green stuff is a skim coat of plaster that was chipping off in giant sheets. Painting over it would have been a horrible idea, so my MIL chipped off everything that would come off (and it was a lot) and then had to spackle the entire wall. Then it had to dry and be sanded down before we could paint there. That took more than a day for all those steps. The second obstacle might not be that easy to spot so let me zoom in a little for you…


Ahhh, this little electrical box was just wallpapered right over so imagine my surprise when I finally got the devil wallpaper down and found that. The wiring inside looks ancient so I’m sure wallpapering right over it wasn’t the safest thing. I’m calling this an OHS. Old house surprise. And I’m sure there will be plenty more.

So here are some in-progress shots of the kitchen…

kitchen in progress

kitchen in progress

Ahhhhh. It was so nice having that wallpaper off the walls. I felt like I could finally breathe in there. I was almost happy enough to just leave it like that.  Haha. Just kidding.

Now the good stuff. The afters. In just 3.5 days with a few gallons of paint and a lot of elbow grease, we were able to turn my kitchen into this:






I am truly in love. The teal cabinets might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are everything I ever wanted and I don’t think I could possibly love them any more than I do!

Now for funsies, a quick before/after:




Looking at the befores I feel like I am suffocating. (Also don’t mind the lack of switch plates, we need to switch out the light switches and outlets because not only are they almond they are super duper grimey/nasty. So those will be replaced and then covered with some fresh white plates.)

I have to give a lot of thanks to both my mom and my mother-in-law. Without them, I would probably still be up there scraping wallpaper. They were a huge huge huge help and it was also a lot of fun to work with them! Love ya both!

And I feel as sleepy as Daisy looks so I’m calling it a night.


kitchen progress

So we have been super busy at the new house and I have barely had a chance to sit down, let alone sit at the computer, but I figured I’d throw something up real quick because I am so excited!

The kitchen is nearing completion so hopefully I will be able to do a full reveal after, but here’s a sneak peek!

This was our lovely kitchen doorway before:

kitchen before

This is after removing the hippie wallpaper…

kitchen progress 1

(Hi mum!) And thissssssss is the after for that portion! The rest of the kitchen is very exciting but even this just makes me soooo happy!

kitchen progress 2

(I believe this was only the first coat, and the shelf needs another coat so don’t mind any splotches.)

I’d say it’s a definite improvement! And wait til you see the rest!