Category Archives: Before and After

before and after projects

Dining Room Table Part 2

Dining Room Table Part 2

I finally finished the dining room table I started a few weeks back.

So here it is when I first spotted it in a thrift store.

Thrift store dining room table

 

I took my time experimenting with this table. I didn’t want a solid painted surface and wanted some of the wood grain to be visible yet I wanted the parquet tiling to disappear.

dining room table paint experimenting

I tried various colors of  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and then lightly sanding it but the parquet detail just didn’t want to go away.

So I thought I would try a wood graining tool to create a faux wood grain instead.

Dining room table IMG_0168

Annie Sloan paired with a  wood graining tool? Unconventional? What can I say? I’m just an unconventional kind of girl! LOL

I used  Annie Sloan Old White and a thin layer of Paris Gray, followed by subtle distressing and a few coats of clear wax, Finally, I achieved the look I had envisioned.

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I cleared everything out of the dining room and moved it in from the garage..

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An easy task since it meant relocating one piece of furniture,  the sideboard.

I just wanted to start from scratch,

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like the empty frame hanging on the wall. Rather symbolic, wouldn’t you say? Now I have two blank canvases to fill and layer slowly and thoughtfully over time. I think it’s obvious what’s top on my list? Yes, the 70′s or is it *80′s ceiling fan.

dining room table blank canvas IMG_0469

Having gone chandelier shopping too many times,  purchasing a vintage chandelier on impulse and later falling out of love with it,  I think I finally found “the one”. Anxious for it to arrive from World Market.

Until then, I’m enjoying my unconventional Annie Sloan Chalk Paint finish.

Dining room table IMG_0473

I hope you do too. What do you think?

 

 

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Summer Highlights

Summer Highlights

Bye bye summer! I blinked my eyes and you were gone. Time is moving fast! What’s going on?

Oh well, here are three of my summer highlights:

First, my tidy garage is in order and I can now re-purpose and refinish to my hearts content.

garage clean out IMG_9947

A big improvement from this before pic, don’t you think?

garage clean out IMG_8531

I donated, had a garage sale and donated the rest.

 

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Although, my DIY and creative abilities allow me to rescue and save just about anything, I am going to be very selective and careful to prevent garage overload from reoccurring.

 

Next, there was Moonwalk NYC 2014. I participated last year as well. Our team of two became a team of four. Our fourth teammate took this pic.

moonwalk 2014 IMG_3053

We named ourselves Bosom Buddies United. Here we are at the starting line up.

 

moonwalk 2014 125629-020-034h

I didn’t train as hard as I did the last year, yet the half marathon walk seemed so much easier.

 

moonwalk 2014 125629-054-001h

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect too. All smiles at the finish line yeah!!!!!

 

And then my seedlings matured and grew beautifully.

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Not bad for my first try starting with seeds. One thing though, everything comes at one time; talk about tomato overload!

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0393

 

I guess canning or freezing is in order, but I much rather use it fresh from the vine. I’ve been giving a lot away.

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0198

It’s been a joy watching them grow organically.

Although the plants might be withering away, there is still  more to be harvested..

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0395

 

To think these beauties

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0408

started from these tiny  seedlings

 

seedlings IMG_9886

and thrived in this dysfunctional mess. LOL

tomatoe plant chaos IMG_0035

How gratifying!

Hope your summer was a good one as well! have any highlights to share?

 

 

 

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Before i begin,  I would just like to acknowledge everyone who was affected and/or lost a loved one on 9/11. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Last November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I had a grandiose plan to revamp my tiny kitchen in time for the holidays. LOL LOL LOL I laid out a detailed plan on paper and convinced myself that it can be done in a two week time frame. Although my mental clarity was not compromised, looking back on it, I don’t know what I was thinking. Through it all, I learned a lot about myself and what I really love, and what I don’t really love which is always a good thing. I realized that I enjoy DIY with limits. I now know, if it involves plumbing, electricity and gas, I’m out.

Let me start from the beginning. I moved into my home 13 years ago. During that time,  I did 4 kitchen facelifts, mostly with paint,  replacing kitchen counter tops and trimming the cabinets. Unfortunately, I have very few pics of the original kitchen and the previous facelifts as I wasn’t blogging back then. Our home was built in 1947 and the cabinets were a dark brown laminate with  light grey/beige Formica counter tops and back splash and a white linoleum floor that was impossible to  keep clean and all white appliances. And  there was no dishwasher!

original kitchen montage 2a

When we moved in, immediately,  we replaced the old refrigerator with another white standard fridge and pulled out one of the nine cabinets to make room for an apartment size dishwasher. I was more than willing to sacrifice a cabinet for less dish washing. And then there were eight, cabinets that is.

Quickly, I painted the cabinets in desperation. At the time, I was pregnant with my second son. I have to say this disposable camera shot did not do this first attempt justice.

kitchen reno 2 pic 6

It was a step in the right direction and, I assure you, it get’s way better with facelift #2. I finally got up enough courage to rip the Formica backsplash off the walls. And after some patching, I was glad I did.

 

Kitchen reno backsplash removal

I added trim to the cabinets and painted them white, replaced the counter tops and painted the walls Benjamin Moore Bradstreet Beige  This began a love affair with all the shades on that paint strip. Various shades, including Jackson Tan started popping up in every room of our home. I did a faux tile paint treatment behind the stove atop vinyl sheeting that I didn’t want to mess with. I like how this makeover turned out, however, after a few years, I got tired of having to scrub the cabinets all the time so I opted to go dark again.

2nd kitchen facelift

The next attempt was a disaster! I’m amazed that I even took a picture. I was going for a faux wood look but instead it looked like someone smeared you know what all over these cabinets. Yuck!

Picture 095

I was rather distraught over this botched paint job and decided to rekindle my love affair with Jackson Tan since Bradstreet Beige was already on the walls..

Benjamin Moore jackson tan bradstreet beige paint chipsSo I painted the cabinets Jackson Tan.

kitchen reno 3 before

I just wanted to give you the back story before showing you my latest update.  As I write this, the new stove is sitting in the middle of the kitchen waiting patiently for the plumbers to hopefully shorten that gas line enough so that the stove can fit flush against the wall instead of sitting out as the previous one did. Wish me luck, as it has been the bumpiest of rides this time around.

How about you, do you have any DIY limitations?

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

The last few months, I took an unintentional break from DIY . Let me rephrase that, I’ve planned, I’ve started, I’ve dabbled but I haven’t completed anything  that I was inspired to write about.  Hence the blog posts have not been forthcoming because I’ve been in a DIY slump.

Happily though, I think I am now back into the DIY spirit and started finishing a project I started last November, my kitchen. It was suppose to be a two week facelift but one thing lead  to another and it turned into a mini makeover.  I have a ways to go and will post about it soon.

Mr. DIY and I have been tackling the dreaded garage for three consecutive weekends.

garage clean out IMG_8531

I realize this before shot could qualify for an episode on Hoarders and  is rather shocking. But we are ready for change.

We devoted two hours each weekend  and we made real progress. We donated a lot to Build It Green

garage clean out IMG_2904

Doing our best to spare the landfill as much as possible..

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Then week 2 and  another trip to Build it Green, minus the dishwasher which is going to the salvage yard.

garage clean out IMG_2928

And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

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As, the clean out progressed we were throwing away less which always makes me happy.

garage clean out IMG_2931

 

These days, things are a little more orderly now. Not pretty, just orderly. I can find things again! Yeah!

garage clean out IMG_9947

One more weekend and we should be done and then it’s garage sale time.

garage clean out_9939

And, of course,  whatever doesn’t sell will be donated.

Our Summer plan is to turn the garage into a functional workspace . That is a DIY dream that both of us share. Oh that would be such blissful goodness:)

Do you have one of those spaces that always seems to turn into a dumping ground?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Home is Almost Cured!

My Home is Almost Cured!

I haven’t been online too much because I am trying to keep up with my assignments for the Apartment Therapy January Cure; I started it at the same time I vowed to explore minimalism; actually both work hand in hand beautifully and shoving things in a drawer or closet is no longer an option.

So this past weekend, the assignment was to deep clean the living room. It wasn’t too difficult because my living room was already in a good place. To be true to the assignment,however, I did move all the furniture and vacuumed thoroughly including the baseboards. I’m still in the process of doing a family photo collage wall (Assignment 6 Making Your Home Your Own: Prep Artwork for Framing & Display). Haven’t located all the photos just yet and have to paint some of the frames but I’m just glad that I am on my way.
photo collage IMG_0230

I recently did a collage on the other wall after painting, but I’m altering that as well. I guess I have a thing for collage walls; perhaps because they can be rearranged and edited pretty easily.

Assignment #12 was bedroom  and wardrobe cleaning which I blogged about here and almost completed with the exception of my closet. Oh my closet, as tiny as it is, was a disaster. I’ll spare you the before pic. I took everything out and dove in.

 

bedroom closet IMG_0099

As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to try Project 333, limiting your wardrobe to 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. You can read more about it here. It’s suppose to include shoes, but I didn’t take it that far, although I did downsize my shoes collection and donated 10 pairs and plan to list a couple I never wore on Ebay. The beauty of the Project 333 challenge is you can adjust it to your comfort level. There are no hard and fast rules. You decide what works or doesn’t work for you. So here’s my tiny closet that makes me smile each and every time I open it!

bedroom closet IMG_0138

I now have empty hangers!  And the top shelf  is devoted to most of my out of season clothing stored in those two grey totes.

bedroom closet IMG_0130

 

Assignment # 15, Declutter and Organize Bathroom Cabinets Cleanout,  which includes the linen closet, since there’s just no storage space in our pint size bathroom. Let.s just say it was another disaster that happened over time.

 

bedroom closet IMG_0162

You can see why it took me the better part of the day to get the job done and restore order.

linen closet  IMG_0278

And yes, my heart sings once again. I’m in love with the order of it all.

linen closet IMG_0259

For those of you who may not know, square footage is a premium when it comes to New York real estate. I just went to an estate sale this past weekend. The home looked fine from the outside, but the entire inside needs to be gutted and the unfinished basement has some serious water and foundation issues; it was over-the-top moldy. The asking price is $869K. Realistically speaking, it would take at least $250K to fix it up. I know I digressed but I just wanted to explain why the majority of us live in tight spaces, real estate is very expensive. Even the million dollar homes are small and can still need work.

Back to the linen closet , would you believe I found a pair of my earrings stuffed in a bag of toiletries, left over from one of our family travels? They almost got thrown away!

linen closet IMG_0209

Here’s my outbox, a designated spot to put things to be donated tossed or waiting for a new home, looked like after a few of my assignments and decluttering sessions.

out box IMG_0243

I dropped off most of it off over the weekend. And a local animal hospital was as happy to take my old sheets and towels as I was keeping it out of the landfill. Yeah!

Flowers area a part of the weekend assignments so I picked up some from  Trader Joe’s. Their flowers are reasonably priced and I usually separate them and make two arrangements. One for the dining room table

flowers IMG_0296

and one for the bedroom.

flowers IMG_0288

Although this is the last week for the cure, I have a ways to go. The room by room project list I created at the start of the cure will take a while to complete. But in the meantime, everything is looking up! My home is almost cured and I am steps closer to my goal, keeping only what truly matters:)

 

 

Making Progress

Making Progress

Well I am making progress following Apartment Therapy January Cure and my quest to embrace minimalism. Although I am not completing all the assignments as scheduled, I am making a world of difference in my home and retaining only those items that serve me and donating the rest. Speaking of donating, I found a couple of new places like Project Linus, which takes quilting fabric donations and the New York Public Housing Authority which takes furniture and household items for  residents in need. It takes a litte effort and a few phone calls to locate the right places; however, it is well worth it. Not only does it  spear the landfill, it also is helpful to people who need help.

Back to the Apartment Therapy January cure, I decided t spend a day restoring my bedroom to it’s former glory. It never got back to normal after painting it.

bedroom IMG_9955

This says it all. Aside from the messy desk, notice the headboard behind the chair. It never got attached to the bed after the bed was moved to the front of the window. How sad. Never rehanged the curtains, mostly because I didn’t want to use the same ones that I had taken down.

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And the shelves have become overloaded with too much stuff.

bedroom IMG_9968

I belong to a book club and  I donated most of the ones stacked back there.

So, I tidied up the desk and vowed to stop  using it as a dumping ground anymore. Those vertical surfaces are so inviting and become magnets for anything and everything, don’t they?

bedroom IMG_9978

Attached the headboard to the frame.

bedroom IMG_9986

 

By the way, this headboard used to look like this.

headboard-before_2503 copy

You can see the transformation here

Next, I tackled the shelving and got rid of the excess clutter.

bedroom IMG_9967

So much better now.  Changed the lower fabric containers since they were getting a little too floppy with these sturdy replacements.

bedroom IMG_9999

I didn’t bother to style the shelves in my effort to keep it real. The books, binders and paperwork hidden away in the magazine holders are used regularly.

As  for the drapes, I have amassed a large collection of drapes over the years but,I just wanted something different and my color and design aesthetic is changing AGAIN. I was  a  brown, cream, blue fanatic, however, these days I gravitate more toward all shades of blue, various shades of white and cream for a  more airy and soothing pallete. And, I am only interested in furniture and  furnishings that are versatile and will work in almost any room. I like to have the ability to mix it up when the creativity juices start flowing..

So I  hung these Ikea sheer curtains I haven’t used for a while.

bedroom IMG_9979

I love them! In the daytime especially because they let all the light in.

bedroom IMG_0003

And now, I have a blank canvas to work with. The board you see leaning on the desk, actually there are two,  will serve as my inspiration boards.  I need to hang them and decide what else to hang on the other walls as well.

 

bedroom IMG_9984

 

Also want to purchase some adjustable arm lighting fixtures for each side of the bed. Just haven’t found any that I like just yet.

bedroom IMG_9986

Oh and yes, those temporary vinyl shades need to be replaced; yet another thing that i have procrastinated about all because I keep changing my mind about what type of shade to get. Lastly, although I changed the dust ruffle, I didn’t get around to changing the rest of the linens. I have a collection of shams, blankets, quilts and throws to choose from. As you may have guessed, I have a thing for linens and I have to get in check because they take up way too much space and conflict with my new minimalist mindset. A lot has already been donated. Future purchases will be scrutinized or maybe I will just stay out of the home stores because, quite honestly, I’m a linnen addict.

For now, I’m just glad the bedroom is decluttered and ready for the final touches.

bedroom IMG_9979

 

How about you? Any decluttering or changes going on in your home?

Off to a Good Start

Off to a Good Start

I signed  up with Apartment Therapy’s Janurary Cure. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your home on track. As instructed,  I compiled my room by room project list. This weekend,  I took full advantage of being snowed in and decided to start in my boiler room clean out. It was a little overwhelming and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday sorting through fabric, trim, patterns, craft supplies and a host of other household stuff that got thrown in there because it was easier to do so rather then find a proper place elsewhere.  As a result, it became a catch all area that got out of control.

After some very strong internal dialog with myself, I began the process of letting go of the my unused creative stuff I got real with myself and packed it up to be donated to Material for the Arts which provides arts supplies to public schools and non profit organizations with performing arts programs. The rest of the household items will be donated to Savers and The Salvation Army, all to be dropped off ASAP because I want it gone!

So this is what it looks like now.

boiler room IMG_9930

It still has a ways to go, however,  it is the unfinished part of the basement. I’m ecstatic that I can see the floor again. Once the entire space is totally decluttered, Mr. DIY and I have plans to make it into an organized functional workspace.

By the way, if you are not impressed with the  picture above, perhaps you will be after you lay your eyes on the the before pic.
boiler room IMG_9915

Be honest, did it make you gasp? If it did, take a minute to catch your breath. Just wanted to keep it real. I m sure some of you can relate to  trouble zones such as these, whether it’s a junk drawer, catch all space or overcrowded garage. It’s something that just creeps up on you, festers and turns into an out of control beast. Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic but the trouble areas in my home are disturbing to my overall well being. Thankfully, I’m on my way  to turning all that around and enjoying the ride to only having what matters.

Do you have  a trouble spot in you home?

It Takes Two Baby!

It Takes Two Baby!

It takes two, baby, it takes two, baby
Me and you, just take two
It takes two, baby, it takes two, baby
To make a dream come true, just take two

The “me” and you” is me and my sister and the dream, is two gallery walls. This song from very long ago popped into my head while we were styling living room gallery walls first at my mother’s apartment and, then, at my home. Care to have a listen?

.

Her pictures hadn’t made their way back on the walls since she moved into her new apartment and my living room was waiting to be redressed after painting. Speaking of painting, still not done! I just completed painting the trim in the office. Mr. DIY and I decided to go on a brief hiatus. Hoping to get to the dining room and kitchen done before the end of the summer, fingers crossed.

Anyway, I think a partner is a must when styling a gallery wall. It’s so much easier when you have someone to bounce ideas off of and provide a second set of eyes and hands.
For my mother’s wall, we just laid everything out on the floor first and then took a pic with my my phone for reference. We tweaked it as we went along so it ended up a little different then our initial layout.

gallery wall mom IMG_8822

For my wall, I got inspiration from Pinterest and Houzz, to identify gallery walls I liked. Next, I pulled out all the frames I had, even taking them down from my dining room wall to come up with various options. We arranged and rearranged,again, on the floor, until I was pleased with the arrangement. In order to not get distracted by the busy rug pattern I covered it with an old shower curtain similar to wall color to get a better idea of how it would actually look.

gallery wall layout floor_8807

This time, however, I made a paper template to make the hanging process a little easier.

gallery wall template IMG_8846

And here is my wall that will always be a work in progress.

gallery wall completed IMG_8948

The beauty of a gallery walls are that they can be easily changed.

gallery wall completed ver 2 IMG_8956

And stagnant decor is no fun.

gallery wall completed ver 3 IMG_8984

Next, I have to decide what, if anything, to fill some or all of the empty frames, starting with the lower black frame that came with it’s own print that I have yet to remove.

gallery wall close up IMG_8950

Quite honestly, I have a thing for empty frames, so I will take my time filling them as I continue to tweak, edit and change this arrangement. But, for now, I’m happy with how it turned out.

gallery wall ver 1 IMG_8948

How do you feel about gallery walls? Do you prefer matching frames lined up and evenly spaced or an eclectic mix of frames that looks like it was arranged over time?

Diary of a Paint Job – Day 1

Diary of a Paint Job – Day 1

I decided my home needed a pick me up. It was feeling a little drab and I was tired of t he very neutral beige. Starting with the living room, it’s out with beige and in with some grey!

Living room before IMG_8633

Bought a few sample pots and painted a few swatches.

Swatches on wall IMG_8690

Left to right: Behr Millenium Silver, Wet Cement, Stone Fence and Dark Pewter

I wasn’t completely satisfied with any of them but when I lightened Stone Fence with some white primer, I was happy with it’s greyish blue tone (third swatch down in the center).

I sent Mr. DIY to Home Depot with the sample I made and instructions to get Stone Fence about 10 percent lighter. Their coloring system is computerized so isn’t it reasonable to think that they can program a 10 percent lighter shade? Apparently not. Mr. DIY returned with two gallons of paint that had no resemblance to my sample. It was a pretty shade of blue and although I love blue, I wanted a grey blue; more grey than blue. Back to Home Depot, I went, purchased a can of Stone Fence, returned home and mixed it with one of the cans Mr. DIY brought home, hoping to get close to the shade I wanted. Well, not quite. Here’s how day 1 ended. It’s still too blue:(

Living room day 1 IMG_8693

Live with it or start over? Not sure just yet. Can you relate? Any paint disappointments of your own?

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A Desk Molded into Shape – Part 2

A Desk Molded into Shape – Part 2

Here’s where I left off with this desk a few weeks back.

desk front  IMG_8148

Anytime I’m unsure of how to proceed or I second guess myself, procrastination sets in, and there you have it, an unfinished piece waiting for closure far too long. Taking note of it’s unfinished state when passing by, I get so annoyed with my indecisiveness. Can you relate to this experience?

But the other day, I decided to embrace the uncertainty of it all and take a creative stand once again. I stained the molding I added to drawers. At first, I stained everything in varying shades of brown as you see in the second drawer. However, I liked the mix of the natural and stained wood tones and went with that.

MCM desk stained drawers IMG_8196

Mistakenly, second guessing my original creative decision, I sanded off the previously painted top and tried a dark painted/stain finish instead. It looked hideous!  I didn’t  take any pictures, but trust me, it wasn’t pretty. I repainted  the top white again, afterward, uttering a huge sigh of relief.

And after all that procrastination and second guessing, here it is:

MCM desk angle view IMG_8398

 
I used the original hardware.

MCM hardware IMG_8351

However, the finish was really bad, so I decided to spray paint them white.

 

As for the legs, I sanded off the original finish and couldn’t decide, dark or light.

MCM desk angle view IMG_8399

So I left them natural.

 

All it needs is a couple coats of wax and it will be ready to begin it’s second life.

MCM desk front view IMG_8390

Not sure of it’s final destination, but it has lots of storage, two drawers on one side and a cubby on the other.

MCM desk open drawers IMG_8404

So here’s the before, tired and leaning to one side.

desk before front  IMG_7464

and here’s the after, strong and confident.

MCM desk front view IMG_8390

All in all, I’m pleased. Mid Century Modern Desk completed. Check. So many more pieces waiting in the wings but I’m making progress and have kicked procrastination to the curb once again. Hands on hips, I almost feel like a creative super hero. Yeah!!!

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