Category Archives: Before and After

before and after projects

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.

bedroom IMG_9966

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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Funky Junk Interiors: Party Junk

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!!!

Sharing this post with:

Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday
The Shabby Creek Cottage:Transformation Thursday
Miss Mustard Seed:Furniture Feature Friday
Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Home by Christmas – Part 2

Home by Christmas – Part 2

I was all psyched to do my remake of Home by Christmas. By the way, I figured out why I am so drawn to this movie. It’s because of Linda Hamilton’s character’s “pick yourself up by your bootstrap” tenacity, her creative approach to life’s dilemmas and, of course her passion for home decor.

I had big plans to have a beautiful styled room for No. 1 Son coming home from college for the holidays. Let’s just say that the final result didn’t quite match my good intentions My room makeover resulted in a calamity of events, back aches and shear exhaustion. The sore back came from going up and down 2 flights of stairs all day long and hauling furniture, retrieving supplies, tools, etc. between the basement and 2nd floor. At first, I was wondering why I was so exhausted and then by day 3 I decided to put on a pedometer. Turns out I was averaging 10,000 steps, mostly stairs each day. I think that would exhaust just about anyone, don’t you think? If this is sounding like a pit party, I assure you it’s not. Well maybe a little:)

What exactly did I accomplish?

I removed the decoupaged sheet music from the nightstands I had refinished a few months back.

The veneer was in such bad condition and I was looking for a quick fix.

It just didn’t work and they sat it my garage ever since. So I removed the decoupaged paper and started over.

Boy was that a challenge! After much scraping and sanding, I patched the veneer, worked out the blisters and repainted.

I refinished his dresser

and stained his desk.

Installed cellular shades.

No success finding any curtains as of yet. I might resort to making some if I continue to have no luck.

After that, it was mostly cleaning and tidying up. I discovered No. 1 Son, like Mr. DIY, has paper issues. He still had high school papers nestled in this book case. It was a mess but it’s organized now. I wanted to paint it but I ran out of time.

This photo album was buried in all the rubble. His grandmother arranged a montage of his life. I stopped to reminisce for a while. Time flies much too fast.

Hard to believe my now 6’2″ son was ever that small.

I stuck a lame bow on the door. When No. 1 Son arrived home, I accompanied him up to his room. A young man of very few words, his response went something like this:

No. 2 son: New furniture?
Me: No
No. 2 Son: This is my desk?
Me: Yes
Taking a closer look, then quickly diverting his attention to the dresser
No. 2 Son: (Wide tooth grin and shaking his head) That is NOT my dresser!
Me: Yes, it is.
No. 2 Son: Wasn’t my dresser wider?
Me: No. that’s the same dresser.

He took a couple of turns around and smiled.

That’s all I remember. It was extremely late and I was exhausted having worked right up to the last minute. Although it was a great learning experience (I will save that for another post), I was glad to be done for now. The end result was a spanking clean room, three furniture redo’s – a blank canvas, ready to be accessorized.

Can you relate? What do you do when your vision and execution are out of sync and frustration sets in?

I’m sharing this post with:

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Dresser Recovery

Dresser Recovery

What a difference a day makes! No more blue madness! After soliciting suggestions, I considered painting the room a more neutral color but then I caught myself. I rather redo a piece of furniture then paint walls. I painted the dresser black and it looks so much better with the blue walls.

One day my dresser was suffering the blues

And the next day it looked like this

I used black milk paint, stenciled the numbers using Paris Gray chalk paint and added new hardware.

I still have to drill new holes on drawer no. 1 for knobs. I haven’t reattached the lower trim piece. I might alter it some more or use a straight piece of trim instead. Not sure just yet.

But it has come a long way

I’m so glad it’s no longer blue:)

And I am no longer in over my head:)

Sharing this post with:
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Globes and Maps Are Now Design Tools!

Globes and Maps Are Now Design Tools!

Apparently, globes and maps are no longer just for geography lessons. Lately, I have been running into some inspiring DIY global designs. Here’s a sampling of what I found:


Better Homes and Garden


Apartment Therapy


Marie Claire Maison.com

Equally, I am enamored by the varying colors as I am about the ingenuity behind these upcycled designs.

And how about these mapping treasures:


Image Remix

I hope you will stop by and take a look at this transformation for yourself. The before condition of this piece would have made most people turn away.

Now take a look at this map chair makeover by Jessica at Nouvelle Vie.


Nouvelle Vie

Could a map be any more appropriate for this schoolhouse chair? You can check out her inspiration for this piece here:

So clearly, maps and globes are not just about geography, they can also be a creative tool as well.

What do you think? Have any global or mapping treasures of your own?

Linking to:

Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Beyond the Picket Fence:Under $100 Linky Party

DIY by Design: Swing into Spring

Domestically Speaking:Power of Paint Party

Faded Charm:White Wednesday

Handy Man Crafty Woman:Wicked Awesome Wednesday

Primitive and Proper:Piece of Work Wednesday

Primp:Primp Your Stuff Wednesday Link Party

Restore Interiors: Restored It Wednesday

Savvy Southern Style:Wow Us Wednesday

House of Hepworths: Hookin Up with HOH

No Minimalist Here:Open House Party

The Shabby Creek Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Addicted to Decorating: Addicts (not so) Anonymous Party

At the Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday

Chic On A Shoestring: Flaunt It Friday

Common Ground: Vintage Inspiration Friday

Finding Fabulous: Frugalicious Friday

French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday

Miss Mustard Seed:Furniture Feature Friday

My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can Party

My Romantic Home:Show And Tell Friday

Redoux:Friday Feature Party

Simple Home Life:Simply Creations

Tatertots & Jello:Weekend Wrap Up Party

The Charm of Home:Home Sweet Home

The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday

Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Beneath My Heart: Best DIY Project of the Month

China Cabinet turned Bookcase- Part 1

China Cabinet turned Bookcase- Part 1

A few years ago I discovered this china buffet in one of my favorite thrift stores.

The only reason I bought it was because I had plans to repurpose the china section. Immediately, I sold the bottom portion at a consignment store.

I’ve been using it for our family library. We have lots of books and the glass doors are great for keeping them dust free. It was on my “to do” painting list but that never happened. Although it was displaced to No. 2 Son’s room during a renovation that has yet to be completed, it’s original home was on the second floor landing. But now that I wanted to incorporate our books into the main family areas, the size of this piece didn’t leave me too many placement options. I thought. why not cut it into two sections so that I can place it on either side of the media console in our basement family room.

Step 1- Remove molding.

Step 2 – Make the cuts. Mr. DIY taped and cut off the side edges from the center section.

First the top,

and then the bottom

And now we have three, but not for long.

I decided to cut off the side sections rather than splitting it down the middle because I wanted the doors of each cabinet to open from the center. If I had cut it down the center, both doors of each finished cabinet would open from to the left or right and it would have required the addition of side panels as well.

As for that curved cut out, originally to make room for the flourescent light fixture, I am not sure if I will fill it in or leave it as is. Sometimes I like the quirkiness of things like that. You know, a conversation starter so to speak. Maybe, maybe not. I will decide that later.

Step 3 – Adhere the two side sections together to match it’s twin, the original center section.

To do that, I had Mr. DIY add a thin piece of wood between the two sections to compensate for the wood loss during the cutting process.


Step 4 – Use a heat gun to remove the trim residuals left behind.

And there you have it, all glued up, sanded and waiting to be primed. It’s twin is ready as well.

Wow! that was a lot of work but there is so much more to go. Not entirely sure what color to paint them. Same color as the media console or another color? Not a fan of matchy, matchy, but I think that might be the way to go. What do you think?

I sure hope you will come back to see the rest of this transformation. To be continued…….

Linking to:
Beyond the Picket Fence:Under $100 Linky Party

DIY by Design: Swing into Spring

Domestically Speaking:Power of Paint Party

Faded Charm:White Wednesday

Handy Man Crafty Woman:Wicked Awesome Wednesday

Primitive and Proper:Piece of Work Wednesday

Primp:Primp Your Stuff Wednesday Link Party

Restore Interiors: Restored It Wednesday

Savvy Southern Style:Wow Us Wednesday

House of Hepworths: Hookin Up with HOH

No Minimalist Here:Open House Party

The Shabby Creek Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Addicted to Decorating: Addicts (not so) Anonymous Party

At the Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday

Chic On A Shoestring: Flaunt It Friday

Common Ground: Vintage Inspiration Friday

Finding Fabulous: Frugalicious Friday

French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday

Miss Mustard Seed:Furniture Feature Friday

My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch Can Party

My Romantic Home:Show And Tell Friday

Redoux:Friday Feature Party

Simple Home Life:Simply Creations

Tatertots & Jello:Weekend Wrap Up Party

The Charm of Home:Home Sweet Home

The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday

Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

Beneath My Heart: Best DIY Project of the Month