Tag Archives: DIY

Country Kitchen Redo

18 Jan

Turns out I can’t move into a house without throwing myself into some DIY projects! I knew the kitchen was a must as soon as we looked at this house…

Cabinets were good quality, but the fluorescent light fixture, plastic counters, drop in sink, and dated pulls had to go…

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After a little bit of work, voilà!

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I actually didn’t take any before pictures (whoops), and they only had two pictures of the kitchen that I was able to copy from the MLS listing… So you can just barely see that they had cabinets hanging over the peninsula. Dave and his dad took those out ASAP.

ISy7878ghwn3h01000000000 (2)IMG_20180118_105733_022Ah, breathing room and an eating space!

IMG_20180118_104150108_HDREven though we went with the basic (and classic) subway tile, we added some flair. The edge of our butler’s pantry has a chiseled finish, which is subtle but fun up close. We also couldn’t find any bullnose corner pieces on short notice, so instead of doing 45° cuts on the tile, I had bought these really cool tiles from a local artist in Hendersonville a few months ago, and I had them put in instead.

IMG_20180118_104202376Painting along those grout lines was scary! And the white took three nerve-wracking coats to look good.

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I love our granite (Typhoon Bordeaux Light), and the sink is a regular undermount sink with a low divide. This was the feature I liked best from our expensive farmhouse sink that we had picked out in our last house.

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The counters were hard to pick out. We had a bad experience at our last house with soft granite from India that sucked up every spill no matter how many times we sealed it. Because shop hours in Asheville are mostly during the week, David could never take off work to help me pick something out. My mom came with me one of the several times I went to the giant warehouse that had so many choices I was tired halfway through just looking at them. But I finally settled on one that has delighted us after install. We wanted something with movement and flavor, and we got it! It sparkles and never fails in its beauty. Thank you, earth magma from long ago, for creating this magnificence!

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DIY Postcard Backsplash

6 Oct

Because my husband has the coolest family, I got the idea for our backsplash from his aunt. In her kitchen she has several photos in the same color scheme repeated like tiles, which I always thought was funky and cute. When Dave and I were trying to figure out what we wanted to do and our kitchen budget was running low (thank you awesome farmhouse sink… and all the other things we thought were must-buys before purchasing a backsplash), I thought, I could do like my aunt-in-law! When I asked her about it, she said she slapped them up on the walls with some Elmer’s glue 25 years ago as a temporary backsplash until she figured out what tile she wanted (ha!).

One of the biggest appeals for me (besides the cost being under $100 total for the project) was that if I ever changed my mind, tile could just be put up on top of the cards. No big deal.

I didn’t want to use personal photos, so I bought sets of Paris-themed photo postcards from a seller on Etsy. I used 8 blanc (white) sets, 3 gris (gray) sets, and 3 vert (teal, really) sets for some variety while trying to keep the photos as neutral and un-busy as possible. I unfortunately found out that the postcards were sold out and not going to be printed ever again (apparently) when I was running low and wanted to buy some more mid-project. I had to get creative to finish!

img_20160924_090847438I find it necessary to always have a supply of Mod Podge and foam brushes handy in case of any impromptu projects. I foolishly thought it would take a night to do all of this, but in reality it took three days. If you’re going to do something unique, you better be precise and make it look as good as possible. I glued them on and then after they dried I covered them in another layer of Mod Podge (matte finish). I plan on polying around the sink and coffee maker for extra protection once I’ve verified it won’t turn anything yellow.

dsc_0043I honestly wasn’t really sure how it would turn out, but I like it more than I thought I would. And the key was that my mom didn’t come into my kitchen and immediately notice that she didn’t like it — in fact she didn’t notice at first that I had done anything at all! When I had originally told her of my idea, she told me I shouldn’t do it, and she’s pretty good at design decisions, so I was happy she approved of the final product.

dsc_0044I wasn’t sure if Dave should caulk the bottom of the cards where they meet the granite with white or clear, so for now it’s bare. Gosh I love our kitchen sink.

dsc_0047It took me a while but I finally figured out how to use our new Nespresso machine. Délicieux.

dsc_0046No Parisian kitchen is complete without a little Julia Child sign-off decal! Bon Appétit!

dsc_0045To save on postcard usage, and because I had the idea mid-project and I’m totally in love with accenting our house with Deep Sea Dive, I had Dave help by painting the wall behind the vent hood. I love that we did that. It was the perfect final touch.

Feels good to get back into things

29 Aug

I haven’t done anything purely crafty or artsy in a while. It’s all been home DIY projects. My sewing machine was packed away during the move. I brought my paints with me when we stayed with the in-laws, but they too sat in their bag enjoying a long rest.

For W’s birthday I thought it would be fun to do a bean bag toss game, since we were having a backyard party. I didn’t want too many activities outside besides his new play set, but we needed at least a few other things to do. Turns out Walter needs to practice his underhand throwing anyway!

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I figured this would be a good project to get my feet wet again since it’s very easy. Sewing squares together for reusable napkins is how I started sewing in the first place! I did the exact same thing but I filled them with lentils before I sewed them closed. Finishing the first one felt really good. And my machine only got mad at me once for trying to sew through a lentil.

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We also made our own board! Walter did the design and painted everything. I only taped the lines, and Dave cut the hole. I also glued on the letters that W painted. The glitter lines between the paint were a little more hands on and involved all three of us. Dave was excited to find glitter everywhere for the next few days. W placed and painted the white stars as well (while we held the stencil). We were thrilled with his patriotic spirit!

A mostly DIY bathroom remodel

10 Aug

This is our “master bath,” but as I like to say, this house is much more humble than our other home. So it’s really just “the bathroom we all mostly use,” and it was a disaster until this weekend. Very narrow, and the pink tile was disgusting to me, not because of the color necessarily, but the grout was old and gross. I don’t really feel clean when I can literally see the dirt other people have left behind while I’m taking a shower.

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In this photo we had already removed the shiny, floral wallpaper, the lacy curtains, and replaced the counter.

I wish we could totally renovate and blow out the bathroom to make it more spacious, however, we are the type of people with a budget. A budget that was mostly spent on a brand new kitchen, floors, and a gorgeous fence around our wonderful land when we renovated before we moved in.

I am, though, particularly proud of what we were able to do to the space.

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We got the tile painted by Georgia Tub and Tile. They use a special epoxy paint, and it turns grungy tile into amazing white tile that you can’t tell wasn’t put in that way. Freedom from grime at a fraction of the price! The company was great to work with and they guarantee their work for three years, so I expect we won’t have to worry about it for probably something like five+ years.

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A little bit of elbow grease, paint, and some new fixtures, and I love the ambiance in here. It’s now fit for a relaxing bath!

The Great Deck Adventure of 2015

29 Jan

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Two weekends ago our wonderful, handy friend Lloyd came over to help Dave build my privacy screen idea. They removed the current posts on the deck (very carefully — hello sawsall!) and put in 7 ft. posts. Then they fit in lattice supports, cut the lattice to the correct size, and slid it in to each slot.

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They finished just before the cold rains of last week, and it looked fabulous.

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Lloyd then recruited Dave to help on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend for the HOMES project (a yearly service project that helps elderly, poor people with home repair), and Walt and I went to brunch at Stone Soup Kitchen while he was gone. A little mother-son date!

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I quickly started adding my decorations AKA hanging lights and railing planters. I filled the latter with pansies.

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I began the final (and overwhelming) touches by painting one panel of lattice. It took about 2-3 hours, and I had to use solid color stain. Using a brush left thick drip marks down the other side of the panel. This got done right before our open house.

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The whole week after the open house was gorgeous, until Friday. It rained all day, of course. I was worried but Saturday was fairly sunny (even though not warm). I had to get down to business on Sunday just so I could finish this thing.

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I was really glad to be able to slide out the lattice panels and paint the posts separately. I had painted the first panel in place and that was a mistake. It was a sunny Sunday to get this work done, thank goodness.

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I realized if I made David buy me this lovely tool (oh no, something that requires directions!), my very huge project would become a very quick project. Thank you, inventor of the paint sprayer. It worked pretty fantastically but it ate through the rest of my paint and I had to finish with the brush. I’m not sure I had the settings correct or if I did it right, but I was in a hurry. And the sprayer-painted sides look much better than the brush sides.

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But it’s done now and it looks grand!!!

DIY pantry remodel

7 Jun

I was talking to my friend about our pantry renovation, and her response was, “You know you’ve made it in the world when you’re redoing your pantry”. Made me wonder if I should be spending that money on travel instead! But I didn’t. And now my pantry makes me feel like a queen when I do laundry (which is a lot).

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Even Walter knows that linoleum isn’t classy.

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So our handyman Bruce cut and laid the tile (after putting in backer board), and we grouted it. Next time we might try our hand at the tile saw too. Though that sounds like I want to cut my hands off with a tile saw.

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I have always hated these wire shelves. They are cheap and everything falls over on them.

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So we ripped them out.

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And David cut lots of boards. We used 1x2s to frame the MDF shelves (3/4″ thick), and 1x3s behind the L-brackets for extra support.

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Here I am getting cozy driving home with some trim. Which we didn’t use because 1x2s ended up looking better.

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It only took a day to frame and install the shelves.

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MDF soaks up primer. I had to use two coats of Zinsser. I should have primed them before we put them up.

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Beautiful painted shelves! Almost done! Now just to poly the shelves and paint the rest of the pantry!

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Meanwhile the kitchen has looked like this all week.

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But when your pantry looks this glorious, it doesn’t matter.

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When we sell the house, I think I will miss the pantry the most.

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We were working so hard for so long that when we finally finished I just wanted to sit in front of the TV with a glass of wine. The power went out all night instead. But this was a cool sight to see during the storm.