Accent Table

Awhile back, I found an accent table I liked at Target. It was a bit dark for my taste, but I needed something that would spruce up a corner in our living room. So I sprung on this dark wood, modern table and added accessories over time:

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Looks decent, but it was just sucking up tons of natural light that we couldn’t afford to lose. I decided to play around a little bit.

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I took of the front drawers and unscrewed the hardware. Oh, I should mention that my FIRST attempt to lighten this piece was to spray the hardware gold, to match some various accents on the table already (like the picture frame, the vase and the mirror). And it was a good attempt, but it wasn’t enough!

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I brought the two drawers to the garage and used 60 grit sandpaper on a palm sander to get the darkness off. Then I went over that with 150 grit. I would have used 3 different grits and ended with a higher (like 180 grit) finish, but I felt that it was sufficiently smooth with what I had available. Once it was sanded I used odorless mineral spirits and rag to wipe off the dust and debris leftover on the drawer front. 

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Once the drawer fronts had “dried” (the wet look that the mineral spirits left) it was time for primer and paint. I usually use Kilz Primer. We pick up a big bucket at Home Depot whenever we’re low. Then I went over it with Behr Ultra Pure White in a semi-gloss finish (which was left over from another project). I trial-ed a foam roller this time around while painting, and I must say: I will never go back! They are perfect for a smooth surface. Probably would have looked even more amazing with self-leveling paint. Next time…

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I popped the hardware back on after everything had dried nicely. And I’m VERY happy with the results.

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It’s like a brand new piece of furniture! Very awesome DIY for cheap. What is everyone else working on? Anyone updating with paint?

Vase Painting

I stopped into Goodwill the other day and picked up a few of these beauties from the glass department.

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I think it was about $3 or $4 for all four jars. This chic, feather-patterned guy is my favorite.

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The intention was to follow this tutorial on how to make some fancy/modern decorations at home for cheap. I’m thrifty like that. I used paint we had in the basement and also picked up a $3 sample pot of Behr’s paint at Home Depot.

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Basically, you pour the paint down the INSIDE wall of the jars and rotate them (mouth of the vase up!) until the inside is completely covered. Then you can flip them mouth-side-down onto old newspaper. They take a while to dry, but I’m loving the result!

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They are not quite as “pastel” in person, that’s probably a camera flaw. I’ve already set them on display on my little accent table of the living room. I’m constantly futzing over what should sit on that thing. It changes weekly. And I’m actually thinking of sanding the drawers down and painting them white for a little pop of brightness in that little corner.

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Oh yeah, I finished one of my designs! It’s a personalized family print. Here’s a closer shot:

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It makes me happy… Any paint-related projects going on out there in the world? Tell me about them! Or link to them! I’d love to see your DIY projects.

Outdoor Updates

Unfortunately, they deemed our little hub here in Wisconsin “Tree City, USA”. Which means every homeowner gets a fantastic tree rooted in the terrace in front of their house. I don’t have a problem with trees. I actually am a huge fan. But it’s just that the city doesn’t take care of them. The wait-list is a few years long if you want someone to come out and trim them back (and I don’t have a cherry picker to do it myself). The root system breaks up the sidewalks, and messes up underground pipes and such. The shade of mature trees doesn’t allow our roof to dry properly after it rains. And, oh yeah.

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The branches break off and hit our house. It’s not a ridiculous amount of damage, but enough that we wanted to contact the insurance company to see if there were any unseen casualties. The adjuster who came out declared that our roof needed replacing… on one side. And one side only. The front side. They are giving us half of a roof. I don’t want to seem ungrateful here… but I have never heard of this. The shingles are pretty old… it’s not like they are going to match them up to anything you can buy in the store. Half a roof is sort of an embarrassing idea to me. And I REALLY don’t want to shell out two deductibles if in 6 months the backside gets demolished by another branch. Am I out of line?

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Okay. Whine-fest over. We chopped up the branch and set it on the curb. Here’s a shot of the offending tree that got all aggressive and tossed a branch at our house:

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Do you like how I personify everything?

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Here’s the back of the house. We had to do some re-grading and while we were at it, we took the opportunity to throw in some boxwoods. I love that plant. After we raked the dirt smooth and sloped away from the foundation, it was time to add the eye candy.

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We actually picked these up about a month ago and have been keeping them watered and taken care of. I have been meticulously perusing the boxwood sections of landscaping stores all summer, and have been really disappointed with pricing. BUT THEN we happened to walk through the gardening section of Home Depot and they had a 50% off sign near the boxwoods. They were only one gallon bushes, but I was psyched. Psyched enough to grab 8, and then later come back for 2 more. We managed to snag them for $3.50 apiece. Which means a grand total of $35 for one long row of boxwoods in my backyard.

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We spaced them out according to the instructions on the card attached to them (these required 36″ of what you might call “breathing room”). When we had them how we wanted them, I took my shovel and dug some holes.

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And then de-potted them…

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And then packed soil around them.

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Afterwards, we got about 8 bags of a dark mulch to cover up the dirt and some decorative looking bricks. I still have to level them out, and am considering mortaring them together, but that might be next year. Sorry for the night shot, I just grabbed the camera and snapped a pic about 10 minutes ago. Teehee!

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I’m hoping they hedge together and we can try to shape them at some point. I realize we will have to be patient…. like a few years patient. But I’m really happy with the improvement. Another reason for the upgrade is that we plan on removing that exterior back door pictured above and replace it with a window (probably the size of the far right one). We will have to have a mason come out and match up the stone as close as possible, but I’m pretty confident that it will look kind of patchy. SO, I’m thinking that mature boxwood will cover up any weird seamless-ness that the change will cause. Hopefully. What updates are you guys doing? Any end-of-season deals that you’ve seen? Tell me about it!

Tile and Countertops

For today’s post, I’m going to shut my mouth and let the pictures do the talking. Mostly. Just so you know, this isn’t the end of things, even though I included a “before” and “after” photo. We still have LOTS to accomplish…

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I’m taking the remainder of the day to start filling up the cabinets… since the kitchen is finally, finally in a LIVABLE state!!!

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Wish me luck!

Windows: Bad to Bright!

Before I get going, guess who moved in?

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My new loves. The cabinets!! Admittedly though, one has the door installed backwards and we are missing some paneling for the sides of the upper cabinets. Remodeling Problems. Speaking of problems, onto today’s post. My almost un-salvagable window trim.

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It’s bad. We’d love, love, love to get new vinyl windows installed, but it’s out of this years budget. Sad day! So I’m getting my hands dirty covered in paint to get these babies looking like something special. First, I trashed the beige mini blinds.

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Ahem, beige mini-blinds? Can you take all the beige light switches and outlet covers with you? Then, I removed the window hardware.

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Hiya neighbors. I am lucky that my camera blows out the windows from far away… We do not have the best view. Next, I removed the frames and took them outside for some priming. I had previously putty-ed up the nail and hardware holes and lightly sanded the frames.

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I used an angle brush on the inner beveled part of the windows, then went over the square frame parts with a 3″ roller. Gave it 2-3 coats. Very, very happy. And… that’s as far as I am. Priming is tedious, yo! Can’t wait to show you the final result. In the meanwhile… what are all you working on? Anything household items that are getting some love or a makeover? Tell me about it!