Nursery Reveal

We made it!  The nursery is officially complete even before he has decided to make his arrival.  It has taken a lot longer to put together than I envisioned back in January when we started this project, but considering the construction, all the DIY, our insanely busy spring and that I am the ultimate procrastinator, it is really not that surprising.

But before you scroll down to see what we put together, let’s walk down memory lane with the befores to see what we we were working with. 

What the space looked like when we moved in-


And then what it really looked like for 2 and half years…..affectionately referred to the junk room.  Don’t know where to store something?  Throw it in there.  Need to paint some cabinets?  Scoot some crap around and have at it.


And now here it is waiting patiently (unlike Derek and I) for it’s new occupant-

completed nursery

completed nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

Back in the beginning when we were planning the space, my first idea was an orange and aqua color scheme but no real theme.  I figured once we knew if we were having a boy or a girl we could add blues or pinks to make it a more gender specific space.  Of course, I figured a lot of DIY and sewing was also going to be in the cards.

One of the biggest projects in the room (and our first) was the window seatcompleted nurserycompleted nursery

Because of the window configuration, limited furniture was going fit on that wall anyway and I thought that an architectural feature that was also functional from a storage and seating standpoint would make the room.

After the construction and painting was going, we started to pick up random items we found that we thought we be good fits in the space.  Hmmmmm…somehow we had a lot of animal things so that is the loose theme we decided to run with.  However, I am a big believer in adding things that you love and not just because of a theme. 

completed nursery

completed nursery

Items with personal significance were also something I wanted to incorporate in the space.  We have not shared baby boy’s name with anyone (but my mother-in-law has a pool going if anyone is interested).  However, the first initial is common knowledge.  So of course I had to incorporate that.  On the gallery wall are also photos we took at the San Diego zoo during our last vacation (technically baby’s first).  After he is born, the clip art hand and footprints will we replaced with his (and yes I realize my stand-in has a disproportionate hand to the size of the foot…I was just using those to make sure I liked the idea).

But personal items don’t end with the gallery wall as I wanted things that meant something to us, but not scream “look at my name" all over the place (although I know some curious family members that were voting for that tactic).

For example, I needed some bookends and I love that this has his birth month stamped on it.

completed nursery

Or that all of those blankets were handmade for him by generous friends and family.  And that the silver scooter reminds us of Italy.

completed nursery

And that cross from the Vatican in Rome was the very first thing we ever bought for, at the time, our future baby.  completed nursery

I won’t bore everyone with the personal significance of everything in the space, but overall I tried to have at least one item with meaning on every shelf.  However, don’t get me wrong, some things are in the room because they are fun and I like how they look.  Like this…

completed nursery

I guess you could also say that DIY was a major theme in the space.  The only pieces of furniture that were store bought were the crib and the chair.  We either made or “revised” everything else.  I have already talked about most of those projects as we embarked on them but in case you missed them check out the abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

The space also had to be functional besides nice to look at.  We have never done this whole baby thing before, but from what I have heard, they can be messy.  So every single cloth surface (minus the chair that is stain protected) can be thrown in the washing machine.  Every pillow and cushion cover is removable and the although it took forever to find curtain fabric that I loved and could be thrown in the wash, I was ultimately successful.

The curtains are also not just for looks.  I made four panels that stretch all the way across for light control.

completed nursery

I am still planning on adding black out lining to the back of them for even more light control, but I decided not to sew them together as I read varying reports about the washability of black out lining.  So it is getting hemmed separately and then just clipped behind the panels.

The cushions also remove from the window seat easily to access all the storage underneath.  In addition, the neighbor kids have shown me that they make great hiding places.  Maybe we need to drill some more air holes.

completed nursery

Also every item that is hanging on the wall in baby’s reach is securely fastened to studs with screws.

completed nursery

And the ultimate storage area also went through a little makeover.

completed nursery

Lots of clothes and other baby paraphernalia waiting for him, but we still have tons of room that I know we will fill in the future.

completed nurserycompleted nursery

And finally just some more pictures of details of the space that I love…

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserypinwheel mobilecompleted nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

abacus makingcompleted nursery

pinwheel mobile

So what do you think?   You can see from some of the pictures that a furry friend already likes to spend time in the space.  Although this is normal position…

completed nursery

…trying to will the stuffed animals that make noise when you squeeze them from the crib into his mouth.

Want to know where I got something?  Here is the source list for everything in the space.  Just got a little too long for a single post.

Missed the other nursery posts and want to see the DIY how-to?  Catch up with the window seat construction, abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

2 Steps Forward….and 1 Back

I had this blog post all planned out in my head yesterday (first mistake)….it was we got a new fridge and I love it and the white monstrosity is gone and here is also how we finished updating our cabinets with glass. Yeah!

Not so much.

But at least it is going to start the way I planned.  Here is the white box that is was our fridge. 



Not terrible and actually a pleasant surprise when we closed on our house as we thought the previous owners were taking it and we assumed we were buying a new one right away.  But we are slowly changing the appliances to stainless in the order of function.  As I mentioned before the dishwasher…well sucked so it was the top of the list.  The water and ice in this fridge has never worked so it was next…even though the stove won in the ugliness contest with the bisque color. Unfortunately totally functional.

Shopping for fridges made me realize that we have a really short space to work with that severely limited our choices especially in the ones with the features I wanted.  But we found one and I love it.

Unfortunately, to get the height we needed, it is about 3 inches narrower than our old fridge.  Which did not sound like a big deal in the store.  But compared to the old fridge that slid next to all the cabinets with less than a 1/4 inch to spare, we have some gaps. 


Not a big deal from across the room, but up close you can see the sides of the cabinets.  That are still honey oak. 



Way to be really thorough in my cabinet painting.

I told myself that we left it way on purpose so if I ever wanted to remember the pink countertops and honey oak goodness, all I had to do is pull out the fridge.


Oh and there is a little wallpaper left too….


So even though I had the official “I am not painting in anything else else in the kitchen ever again” celebration, I am sadly breaking up the paintbrush today.  But this can be a lesson if you are painting cabinets….don’t be lazy like me by not pulling out the fridge….or just never buy a thinner one.

Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

I love how some brown glaze can redo honey oak.  Like in the guest bath.


But why should cabinets get all the love? What about other types of wood or furniture?  Like dressers?

nursery progress

Well I was going to find out.  These dressers were hand me downs from my family and they were solid wood and not oak.  Which were two huge bonuses in my book.  But considered that the cousin whose nursery they were in is now in college, the color needed some updating.  Not to mention that the bow and flower decals did not fit in our boy decor.

(For the full glazing how-to, please go to this post)

Of course we started with the worst part of the glazing process…the sanding.  Luckily for me in my delicate state, Derek took over this arduous task.  Two hours later it was sanded and Derek was very dusty (and will think again before volunteering for the next sanding project).

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

Then the glazing started.  We wanted the dresser to match the crib as much as possible, so we started with Behr’s Spiceberry mixed with the glaze like I described in original full how-to post.

dresser glazing

After it the first coat was dry, it looked too red and too light in relation to the crib. Hmmmmm….

dresser glazing

So to darken it up, I mixed a second glaze with Sherwin William’s Black Bean and put this on as the second coat.

dresser glazing

Much better.  And I loved that the two different color glazes gave the finish even more depth.  My color misjudgment turned out to be an awesome find.

I added 5 coats of water based polycrylic to get this finish.

dresser glazing

Perfect.  You can still see the grain and the finish is really close to matching the crib as planned (don’t worry that is not the mirror’s permanent home…..the floor is not exactly a child proof spot)

dresser glazing

The drawers were painted with my favorite paint….Ace cabinet and trim in high hiding white.  And then polyed for durability.

So happy how it turned out…..

dresser glazing

The lamp is not permanent….just a stand-in stolen from the guest room to figure out spacing until I find the perfect one.  Homegoods has been letting me down lately.

Anyway ignore the accessories and just enjoy the dresser….

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

What should I glaze next?


Honey oak has officially been eradicated from another room.  The future nursery is oak free which feels nice. Now it only lives in some random closets that I have been too lazy to paint and the window in our second story entry that I cannot reach.  But I am just going to pretend that it is gone.



And current state:nursery progress

The construction is pretty much done and now we are getting closer to the fun part….decorating!

Some furniture has made its way in.  I am in love with our glider and all it’s orangeness.  Our color scheme is going to be aqua and orange.  Silly me assumed that orange baby stuff would not be difficult to find.  I was wrong, But nothing a little special ordering at a local furniture store could not fix.

nursery progress

And we set-up the crib in the midst of the construction.  As parenting newbies we did not realize that it was too large to fit through a doorway once it was assembled. So we had to cover it with a dropcloth and paint around it.  Live and learn.

nursery progress

The closet got a little orange treatment as well.

nursery progress

Is is bright?  Yes….but I promise not as neon as the picture makes it appear.  My new shopping weakness is also on display.  Who can resist buying cute baby things?

Now to the things I am stuck on and need some opinions.  The light fixture.

Because the sexy light bulb hanging from the wire is not permanent.  Very child friendly.

nursery progress

Option 1: a cute orange drum shade

land of nod

Pros: it is cute and orange and modern and not that expensive

Option 2: a ceiling fan


Pros:  It is practical for a warm room and babies seemed to be mesmerized by them (or so I have heard)

So what do you think?  Practicality or orangeness??  I am torn. 

While you are mulling that one over, I have another one for you.

The original plan was to refinish both of these dressers and use the long low one for a changing table.  Hence the changing table pad.  (ignore the baby unfriendly tool paraphernalia)

nursery progress

But after we got all the furniture in there and determined that this was the only configuration that would work, I got worried that the long dresser was…well too long.  And that the corner had too much “dresser” going on.

Not a lot of room in between the dresser and the glider for baby essentials such as a diaper pail, hamper, and ottoman.  I was also thinking a side table was necessary to set things while I am feeding baby.  Could get a little crowded.

nursery progress

Another option? 

A changing table that can be converted to bookshelves when baby is older a la

free furniture plans simple changing table 3

It is shorter than the dresser allowing more space for other stuff and it breaks up the whole 2 dresser corner thing. 

So what’s your vote….dresser or changing table?  And fan or drum shade? 

And then we can move onto more fun things….fabric!


The garden has been taking a lot of my attention (and posts) lately.  So for all those non-gardening people out there, I wanted to share what else is on the DIY to-do list.  

Since we are on a tight DIY budget this summer I had to be a little creative with our next project.

Therefore with a little inspiration from Sara at Russet Street Reno, our master closet is the next in line.

Is it terrible? No.  And it was actually a huge selling point.  Coming from a house that was over a hundred years old and therefore the closets were the size of three hangers, all the closets we were looking at were awe inspiring.  I might have squealed a couple of times and said that we could make the closet a guest room in a pinch.  For the record the phrase “this is is a great closet for me, but where are you going to put your clothes?” did not cross my lips   Once,  And if you watch House Hunters you know exactly what I am talking about. 

Anyway even though our master closet was not the biggest we looked it, it is more than adequate for the two of us.  And it already had pretty good storage built in.  So we did moved in, put in our stuff and did absolutely nothing to it. 

But of course my orange arch nemesis always makes an appearance-

Closet Before

Sidenote….have you ever tried to take pictures of a long skinny closet with a window? Well it’s not easy.  So I apologize for how badly depicted this is.

And the white has faded into a dingy yellow.  And they are an awkward size for folding storage.  My excuse for stuff falling all over the place. 

Closet Before

And the walls are blah.  (Well at least before I tried some paint samples.)

Closet Before

And the light fixture is dim and ugly.

Closet Before

And the shelves do not have enough support so they bow in.  Again this is the only reason why old purses and stuff is falling everywhere.  Obviously I did not clean up before taking any of these pictures.

Closet Before

So the plan is to re-stain and finish the clothing rods, add more shelving to reduce the  size of folded stacking, new wall color, and new light fixture.  And maybe some snazzier storage.   Or a fun paper or color behind the shelves And possibly a new hamper….or re-do of the current one.  And maybe a window covering.  Because after two years of thinking how far and high this window was from the neighbors, I just realized how wrong I am.   Not going to think about that.

I have been given the timeline of a long weekend to get the project completed because someone (aka the neater side of the closet) does not want this to become the never ending project with stacks of clothes all over the house.

Think we can do it?  Any other great closet ideas?


Wanna Paint Some Cabinets?

So did you happen to see our bed on the bragging board on Knock Off Wood?


Welcome to all the new readers/followers that found us.  Yeah!

With all the new people joining us, I have been getting a lot of email and one one of the most frequent questions is “What’s your process for painting cabinets?”

I touched on it on my post about my love affair with Ace Cabinet and Trim paint.  But I did not spell it out specifically for cabinets.  Or windows.  And I want to give you guys what you want.

So why have I not done a post like this before?  Was it a secret?

Well, back before I was blogger I did not take pictures of every.single.step of a project.  Crazy huh?  I always thought that the next time I decided to paint a cabinet that I would make sure the camera was not far away.  Because strangely that is the way that DIY bloggers have to roll.

But that has not happened because frankly I am starting to run out out of honey oak to paint.   Which is a tragedy/celebration at the exact same time. So if you can forgive this post for the lack of pictures on every step, I hope you can learn a little something about how I did things.

Without further ado, the process for painting cabinets-

!. Start with gorgeous cabinets.  Pretty pink counters and florescent light fixtures were an added bonus in our kitchen.DSC00912.

2.  Take down all the doors and remove hardware.  I would recommend numbering the doors with blue painter’s tape and draw yourself a diagram about which goes where.  Unless you really like puzzles and think that a game at the end of the project would be fun.DSC01136

3.  If you are replacing hinges or drilling for a different type, this is a good time to do that.  We went from exposed brass hinges to concealed hinges.  Was it a huge pain for a minor detail?  Yes.  But it was so worth it because I truly believe that this little detail helped make the kitchen.  For the handy hinge how to go to this post.

4. Wipe down cabinets with TSP substitute (buy at a hardware store).  I did this step outside on a tarp and let them dry on the drywall.  I was amazed how much grease and grime came off with this step. Yuck.

5. If you are replacing you old hardware with new hardware that will be installed in a different location, fill the old holes with wood filler.  If you are doing the new hinge thing, this is also the time to break out the wood filler.  For large areas to fill on the hinge holes, I used wood epoxy (also can be found at your local hardware store).  It had to be mixed and it was more difficult to use than wood filler, but it is sturdier and does not crack.

6. Empty your cabinets.  Unless you want them covered in dust and paint.

7. Sand with an orbital sander with a medium grit sand paper.  I would suggest wearing a mask and protective eyewear while doing this.  Being outside for the door sanding  is another bonus because it gets everywhere.  I did a quick sand by hand on the parts that I could  not get with the orbital.  But if I am being honest, it was not the most through job (just a couple of swipes) and it turned out OK with the paint.DSC02764

8. Wipe down everything with a tack cloth in order to get rid of the dust.  Vacuum the floor and any other flat surface where dust collected. A smooth finish and dust are mortal enemies.

9. Set up you cabinet doors and drawers in the area you are planning on painting them.  Make sure to tarp the floor. We were lucky enough to have two empty bedrooms and the cabinets took every square inch of them.  To minimize the amount of contact the doors had with a surface while they were drying, I set up thin boards to keep them off the ground.DSC01140

10. Prime with water-based Zinsser 1-2-3 primer.  For the black cabinets I used a gray primer (tinted at hardware store as "dark as they could make it").  For the doors, flip and prime the other side.  Except for the cabinets that will eventually have glass doors, I did not paint the inside of the cabinets.  One because I am lazy and two I think it would be difficult to find anything in black cabinets.


11. Apply two coats of your paint.  I used Ace Cabinet and Trim paint in Cannonball.  (post here for paint application tips…check it out)  For the doors this means paint, flip, paint, flip, paint, flip, paint, flip.  Since the paint takes a least 24 hours to dry, this takes while.  Read more about this here. I started with the back so that the final front side would never touch the wood support and possibly mess it up.  To apply the paint, I used a high quality brush.  Even on the larger surfaces, I did not use a roller because I wanted to minimize my brush marks as much as possible and with a brush I had figured out how to do that using the technique I linked to earlier.  Could a roller have worked just as well?  Possibly, but I cannot comment because I never trusted tried  it.


12.  After they dry, finish two coats of polyurethane in a satin finish.    I skipped this step the first time I painted the cabinets.  Frankly I was sick of painting and I thought they looked fine.  And they did, but a year later they were not cleaning as easily as I would of liked them to.  So I had to do half of this process over again (like I mentioned here).  Not fun.  Learn from my mistake and do the poly the first time.  An added bonus to the ploy? This also seemed to also make the paint harden faster.  I did not sand in between coats of poly, but make sure you apply it really really thinly or you it has the potential of it getting overly shiny.

13.  Re-install with hardware and hinges.  And enjoy your brand new cabinets!DSC01411  Hope this tutorial helps if you are thinking about tackling cabinet painting.  It is a huge job but makes such a difference for not a whole lot of money.  I am starting to get reader pics of their results following my process and I hope to share them soon.  If you have any you would like to share, send them my way!

If painting is not your thing, check out my how-to on cabinet glazing.  Another effective way to tame the honey oak beast!  Happy painting!


Painting Addiction

For the last couple of days I have gotten this brilliant crazy idea in my head that just maybe we should repaint the entrance foyer.

Since I have missed painting so much.

And even though that poses many challenges.

First of all…the current color is OK.  It is actually the single room in this house that has not been repainted from the previous owners.  And really the color is fine.  When we first looked at the house with our realtor, I actually commented that it was good thing they picked an OK color and no wallpaper for that room because it would be awful to paint.


Issue #2 is that this room is 2 stories.  And I am really not a big fan of heights. So it will involve a lot of paint and a lot of time on a very tall ladder.  Yikes.

(Ignore the Christmas garland….it was the best “two story” pic I have)DSC01647

Issue #3 is this monstrosity.  Yuck.IMG_0654

I refuse to clean it or change any of the light bulbs in it because it is so ugly.  And even with a very tall ladder we cannot replace it because it is in the middle of the ceiling requiring scaffolding.

When the furniture delivery guys were bringing in our new mattress they whacked it pretty hard and I really hoped it would come crashing down so that the replacement would be on their dime.  Unfortunately it did not fall and shatter.

So even if I go through the pain of painting I will not be any more satisfied with this room until that thing is gone.

Why am I even thinking about doing this since I have all these good reasons not to?  Other than than the fact that I am strangely addicted to an activity that I largely cannot stand to actually do?

Well, first of all the front of the house faces north and does not get a lot of light so  lighter color would really help open it up I think.  I am thinking of an elegant light gray.  Like this….



Then there is this little detail-


Classy. I guess they got tired of painting?

And then finally.


The last.oak.window.

If I get enough courage to be that high on the ladder (it on the second story over the door), I will also have to be brave enough to climb there and de-oakify.

So I guess the questions are…how much do I love gray? …..and… afraid am I of heights?


Glazed Over

Wanna know one of my favorite parts of blogging?

Seeing how readers take my how-tos and run with it which result in stunning results.

I was on the Nest the other day and happened to see how Beth&Derek was doing her part to rid the world of honey oak one room at a time. 

She used the glazing technique from my honey oak bathroom vanity and applied it to her entire kitchen with amazing results.

Here is what she had to say-

We're still not completely done refinishing our cabinets (need to finish adding the molding and hanging a new wine rack),  We used 4 parts clear mixing glaze and one part paint (BM Branchport Brown).  The hardest part was definitely the sanding. Removing the hardware was easy, but the pulls we had were 2.5" and 3" is pretty standard (the new ones we got are 3") so we needed to fill one of the holes and drill a new one on each door/drawer before painting.  I should add that even though the sanding sucked, it only took 2 days (I was home on vacation). The painting and the poly took longer because I had to wait for each coat to dry. I have to thank you for the inspiration!!

Here is the honey oak glory she started with-eh0rax

And then after the glazing-2iuxlhi

Wow! I can’t get over how much better the appliances, wall color and counters look with a different glaze on the cabinets.  She did an amazing job and it looks like a completely different kitchen.

Want to try it for yourself?  Check out the how-to here.  I would love to see what you come up with!

On a unrelated note….after many emails about how to become a follower of my blog I finally put the gadget in my sidebar.  You see when I first started writing it, I did not want a big fat “0” sitting there for everyone to see how pathetic I was so I left it off.  But since it has been requested many times and I want to make it easy to be follower, it now there and I would love if anyone wanted to click it to make me look less pathetic…..or you could just come over to look at the number and laugh.  Either way your choice…..


At Last

The laundry room is done.
This might just have been the 2nd longest timeline for a room reno (the kitchen still puts it to shame), but I am so happy it it finally done.  I won’t bore you with the process (in case you missed it click here) and get straight to the before and afters.
Ahhhh honey oak, how I love that you are in every room.
And the afters (which I might add are very difficult to take in a small room)
laundry room
What did we do?  Well first we got new machines by default of the old ones breaking.   This allowed us to rework the entire space and add a counter and other shelving.  And hanging space.
After much discussion and my bright pink getting the husband veto, the walls went from 20 year old dingy stained cream to Foggy Day by Sherwin Williams.
laundry room
On the other side of the room we also added another cabinet and a pegboard.  And hanging space for brooms and such.
laundry room
And a random shelf for random crap that belongs in a laundry room.
laundry room after
Some people might think that it strange to have a picture gallery in a laundry room.  Originally we were going to tile the backsplash with left over tile that we bought for the kitchen, never used and forgot to return.  But since we did not want the counter to be permanent fixture in the laundry room in case our washer and dryer bite the dust and we have to buy different size machines.  That would suck, but it would suck even more if we had to rip out tile and drywall as well.  And let’s face it…laundry is not one of my favorite activities.  Looking at fun personal pictures makes it just a little more bearable.
And then there were also the water valves I wanted to hide.
laundry room afterlaundry room after
Much better.
The counter followed a similar theme….cheap, cute and non permanent.  The counter also had the extra special issue of having to be higher than the actual washer and dryer because of outlets, making anchoring something heavy like granite more problematic.  Not to mention expensive. So we went with MDF.  For the whole how-to, click here.  Let’s just say that pattern involved some beer drinking.
laundry room

laundry room

My new drying rack inspired by Centsational Girl and with materials left over from the bed.  I love it for how it functions in the space but becomes invisible when it is folded up.  For the complete how-to click here.

laundry room

I think the chandelier gets the most comments.  As in “You put a chandelier in your laundry room!?”  Well yes I did.  And I like it.laundry room after

And we can’t forget the laundry basket storage/sorting area (which also conveniently serves as a dog storm shelter when it is thundering…who would have thought?)laundry room after

And here it is in use…because you know that I can only wash white clothes in this room now since it matches the color scheme-laundry room after

And now for the nitty gritty-

Wall Paint Color-$40-Foggy Day-Sherwin Williams

Counter Color-Free (used leftover from master bedroom)-Dovetail-Sherwin Williams

Wall Cabinet and Floor Cabinet- $175- Lowe’s

Wood Supplies for Shelving and Counter- $100

Picture Frames- $25- Wal-Mart (and some I had laying around)

Phone Enlargements-$50

Chandelier-$50- Lowe’s


Grand Total- $445

Maybe laundry might even be fun now?  No I didn’t think so.  Oh Well.

Before/After- The Guest Bath

Ready to see the After pics of our guest bath? Just to make sure you remember where we came from (like we posted here) behold what we started with-

When we moved in we fondly named it the "Wizard of Oz" bathroom. You know- Dorothy gingham paired with the yellow brick road. Mix that with the fact that we live in Kansas and it becomes such an "awesome" theme.

Add more honey oak, a huge builders mirror, brass, and blue peel and stick tile and this bathroom landed with every other room in the house on our makeover list. To complicate matters the floor also sloped...a lot. Not the kind of sloping that you need a level to see, but the type of slope that makes you say "holy crap is the house falling down" when you walk on it. The home inspector reassured us that nothing structural was wrong with the house, but we still needed to fix it as we remodeled this room.

Oh yeah I almost forgot that it glowed-


We started by taking out the vanity, the glued on mirror, the vinyl floor and the toilet-

We fixed the subfloor and then laid a vapor barrier and metal bracing for the cement to level the floor-
Then to level the floor we poured cement. The low side was about 2 inches below the other side....hence the slope-
Then the beadboard went up-
We fixed all the walls, painted and then put down the tile on our newly leveled floor-
I glazed the vanity in other room during this process as detailed here-

And now drumroll......The After.....

So what do you think? This bathroom will eventually will be our future kids so we wanted it to be easily converted to a kids bathroom. But at the same time be elegant and functional for our current guests. So we decided on a light blue (the paint color is Sherwin William's Sleepy Blue). Of course we used my favorite paint (detailed here) on all the new beadboard.

The shower curtain was one of the most difficult design decisions. We started with solid white and it blended too much with the wainscoting. But I did not want solid brown because it would match the cabinet. But all the patterns with blue did not match the blue on the walls at all. After going to numerous stores (it is actually is embarrassing how much time we spent on this decision) we found this one which I like because it is a little more modern.

Anyway let's get to the nitty gritty of the budget. Our goal was to spend less than $700.

Things that were free:
Shower hooks/liner- from previous house
Toilet Paper Holder and Hand Towel Ring-free with faucet
Faucet-Bought for old house and not used
Vanity hardware-left over from kitchen remodel
Vanity Glaze-supplies left over from kitchen remodel
Towels-used at old house
Accessories on shelf and toilet-from previous house
Sticks in vase-harvested from yard
White Paint-left over from other trim

Things that were not-so-free:

Light Fixture-$69.99 (Home Depot)
Mirror- $49.99 (Homegoods)
Paint- $35 (Sherwin Williams)
Beadboard/Cement/Thinset/Grout/other hardware- $200
Tile - $200 (closeout at tile and stone warehouse)
Silver Tray- $19.99 (Homegoods)
Silver Tray Accessories- $8 (Homegoods)
Shower Curtain- $26.99 (Target)
Towel Bar- $7.99 (Homegoods)
Brown Shelf-$6.99 (Homegoods)
Vase- $14.99 (Homegoods)
Orchid- $14.99 (Home Depot-yes it's real which is possible because of the skylight)

Grand Total: $654.92 Not bad for a complete bathroom overhaul including a sloping floor if I do say so myself. I hope our guests love it as much as we do!

Craft Room Reveal

I love craft rooms. They can be painted in fun colors and contain DIY projects on the more "funky" side and can get away with it because it is a "creative" room. They also have to be heavy on organization if they are not going to be a mess. Not to mention that they are a room that you can start projects in and then leave them out without worrying about stuff being all over the house. I am so lucky that we have space so that I can have an entire room to myself right now. Once we have two kids I will have to fight them for it.

This craft room reveal has been a long time coming. And honestly there are some things that I can see changing in the future.  But before we see what it looks like now, let's take a stroll down memory lane and see where we came from.

All my favorite design features in one room-wallpaper, honey oak and a poorly anchored brass ceiling fan.

When we moved in I thought a good solution would be just ripping down the wallpaper and enjoying the pink paint until I got around to painting. Unfortunately after ripping down the wallpaper I learned that the previous owners had not painted all the way to the ceiling. So I lived with this for about a year.

It was nice to have a room dedicated to creativity, but I was majorly lacking organization and did not have enough workspace.

That brings us to what it looks like today-

The cutting table/craft desk was DIY and you can make one too following the tutorial here.  I knew that this was the one space I could get away with some fun stripes and while it took awhile for all the taping, I loved how it turned out (tutorial here).

And I love my sewing corner….

craft room

Across the back wall I had Derek install a curtain rod for me to hang “in progress” projects.  I love how it works, except for the fact that a lot times projects don’t move from “in progress” to “complete”.  Oh well.


Above the rod are pictures I cut from an old Anne Taintor calendar.  Would they look better in frames…yes.  But this is a low budget craft room redo.

craft room
Above the cutting table is my inspiration board/bulletin board to hang random stuff.  To make it look non-bulletin board like, I wrapped it in fabric and stapled it to the back.  Super quick and easy.

In the other corner we have more storage space.

craft room
Oh and the chandelier.  I really wanted something cool (and expensive) of course.  But the ole budget brought us back to DIY as I detailed here.

I still have one blank wall which my ironing board sits below.  My plans for this area include adding a quilt design wall so that the floor can be retired for this purpose.  Oh and getting a new matching (and unstained) ironing board cover.

craft room

At one point I wrote a post about how I was organizing everything (here).  Well that has all changed as my fabric stash has grown and I am making different things.  And it will most likely change again.  But for now here is the newly organized closet.
craft room
Yes that is what I call organized….you should have seen it a couple of days before this.
I am also utilizing the storage on the cutting table for in progress projects.  each cubby is a different project.
craft room
Like I mentioned before, this room was done a low budget. Here is the breakdown in case you are curious:

Craft Desk: $125 (how-to here)
Sewing Desk: $100 (JCPenney outlet store)
Paint: $70 (painting stripes how-to here)
I used one gallon of Tupelo Tree and one gallon of Sassy Green from Sherwin Williams in this room. We had all the other painting supplies.
Chandelier: $40 (how-to here)
Drapery: $20
For the curtains I used some of the fabric I had originally bought for the kitchen (you know the ones that turned out to be two different colors like I mentioned here). Well, I recycled two panels of that fabric and I had lining fabric left over from the family room panels. So all I needed to buy was the rod and the rings.
Shelving: $125 (from Home depot)
I decided to go with adjustable shelving because at that time I was not sure how I was going to organize everything and it would give me flexibility in the future if I ever changed my mind. Not that that ever happens....
Miscellaneous Organization supplies- $75
Most of the organizational things I had previously and either repainted or recovered them. But I did buy some things to organize all the drawers as well as other things for the shelves.
Sewing Chair- Free
I swiped this chair from Derek's poker table in the basement. Eventually I would like something cuter....but this one matched as was the right price so it got moved to my room.

Grand Total: $555

Not bad for an entire room make-over.  But of course that does not include my fabric stash.

How-To: Reglaze Honey Oak

It's not news that honey oak and I are not friends (like here, here, and here). The guest bathroom remodel of course included honey oak that needed to be conquered. I have painted honey oak and loved the results, but this time I wanted to try something different. My goal was to make it look like wood-dark wood-but not dark oak that restaining would result in. The answer I came up with-reglazing. How do you think it turned out?


After -
The best part? So cheap....we did this entire cabinet makeover with materials we already had.

So this is how I did it......


Ugly oak vanity
Orbital sander (not required but will make it so much easier)
Clear Mixing Glaze (I used Valspar)
Paint (I used paint sample from Benjamin Moore in Branchport Brown)
New Hardware

Wood Filler in color close to final stain
Empty container with lid for mixing and storing glaze

If replacing hinges with concealed or euro hinges-
New hinges
Hinge template set

1. Start with an ugly door with ugly hardware and ugly hinges. Wash it with soap and water. Remove the said hardware and hinges.

2. We replaced the external brass hinges with euro hinges that you cannot see from the outside of the cabinet. This added extra steps but in my opinion it is so worth it and totally modernizes the cabinet. In order to install these hinges some extra steps are involved. Home Depot and Lowes sell a template and special drill bit for using these hinges and the couple of bucks was definitely worth it. (We also did this in the kitchen)

Derek marked the spot to drill using the template (he centered it on the hole from the previous hinge.)
And then drilled with the special bit.
Leaving this hinge hole-
But when you set the hinge in there, the old hinge hole on the side is ugly.
So fill it with wood filler in a similar color of the finish glaze. This step is my second least favorite of the whole process as it takes multiple fillings and lots of messy fingers (and maybe some cursing).
3. Now for my least favorite part- sanding. I used an orbital sander with a medium grit sandpaper on the large areas which was not so bad. But then I had all the edges and crevices to hand....very thoroughly....which sucked. This step is the primary reason I could have never have used this method in the kitchen. It took forever and I only had four doors and two drawers. I did not worry about get all the honey oak color off, but the coat of gloss poly had to go from everywhere if the glaze was going to stick. Here is a door all sanded-4. Now onto the fun part.....glazing. I used Valspar's glaze and a Benjamin Moore paint sample that I picked up awhile ago. The bottle said you could mix the glaze with a ratio from 4 parts glaze and 1 part paint to the ratio of 8 parts glaze and 1 part paint. I wanted the glaze to be fairly thick to hide the oak ugliness, so I used the ratio of 4:1 (and started on the back side of a door in case I was wrong).
Here is my mixing can and measuring device that just might be a shot glass. I promise that it won't go back into the bar.
I put three very thin coats of glaze on all the doors and cabinet face. By thin coat I mean I was almost drybrushing to make sure it went on evenly.

5. To protect the finish I then put on three very thin coats of MinWax semi-gloss polyurethane.

6. Add the new hardware and hinges. We used hardware that had the same drilling space as the old hardware so we did not have to refill holes.

Put it all together and you get this-

I like it because it still looks like wood and not just brown paint sitting on top of wood. But is better than stain because it minimizes the oakey grain. At least I think so....but I may be delusional because I want to think all that sanding was worth it.
I am living on the edge and going out of my normal order of posting the room reveal and then how-to projects but I wanted to share since we put it all together over the weekend. I can't wait to share pics of the entire room, but right now I am just happy to report that honey oak has been banished from every room in the house (ok except one).

Update: Complete Guest Bath pics can be found here.



Update on My Favorite Paint

I seem to remember mentioning that this paint is my best friend and has made the task of de-oaking our house almost easy. I said almost.

And obviously you guys want to know more about it too this post was one of my most popular. I know when I was thinking about using it in our house I googled Ace Cabinet Door and Trim Paint to death but was frustrated with the lack of information out about it at that time. So I hope my experiences are helping someone else. I also have received a lot of emails about it as well as questions on message boards. So I wanted to answer the main question I have been receiving: dry time.

On the Ace Cabinet and Trim paint can it reports that dry time is 24 hours to recoat and longer with darker colors. This is a long time in comparison to normal paints and quite frustrating when you have something small to paint and have to wait 24 hours in between coats. I know, I have been there. But in my opinion the self-leveling properties of the paint and the hard shell like finish are worth the extra frustration (not to mention it is cheap).

When I am using the straight High Hiding White I have not had to wait more than 24 hours in between coats. (and maybe I cheated a couple of times and did more like 16 hours.....but don't tell). Twenty four hours after two coats it still felt a little "soft" and I would not go hitting it with a baseball bat or scratch it with a nail but it was definitely not sticky and able to be used. In my opinion it felt totally hardened and ready for full abuse in about a week.

The darker colors did require a little more dry time. I especially allowed more dry time with the cabinet doors since I was flipping them back and forth to paint them.

The staircase I allowed a full day and a half in between coats and tried to keep our hands off of it for a couple of days after it was finished. But considering it was a staircase and it's purpose is to be touched, again we cheated on that with no negative results.

The cabinets (painted black) I allowed two days between coats and then three days after that to totally harden before we had our hands all over them, putting up on the hinges. Again we were gentle with them a week or two after that until they totally hardened. When I added a coat of polyurethane they seemed to harden even faster.

But I have noticed the upside of longer drying time with a darker color is that you have longer to manipulate the wet paint on the surface before it starts to set on you. This is especially helpful on larger surfaces with multiple planes like cabinet doors.

All of my drying times are based on painting indoors. Most of the painting was done in the incredibly humid midwest summers but the A/C was providing some relief. I did not turn on fans to speed it up as I was concerned that it air movement would deposit dust on my newly painted surfaces.

I have had a report that people are experiencing longer drying times than what I did. Since I am not a painter and have not used this product anywhere else than my house, I have no idea why that is. But if you are thinking about using this product I wanted you to be informed of all the positives and negatives so you can make an informed decision and if you are needing a short dry time this is probably not the product for you.

I still love the paint and will use it on all my remaining de-oaking projects. In my opinion that smooth sprayed-on look is worth the inconvenience of longer drying times. And I am happy to report that only one room and one addional window still are honey oak. And that room is the future nursery. Oak is almost history at our house.

Happy Painting!!

Sneak Peek

All week I having been saying to myself that tomorrow was going to be the day that I got to post the new craft room pics. But each day I kept thinking that I needed to to one or two more things before it was ready for it's unveiling.

Well it is the end of the week and there are still things on my DIY to-do list. So I am going to to a little preview of the progress so the new craft room does not go the way of the new laundry room (you know the room that I have been promising pics of for over a month and have never posted because it still needs finishing touches).

Almost everything in this room is DIY- the tall cutting table, the chandelier, the cork boards etc. Stay tuned because I have tutorials, more details and budgets for everything coming up.

I went a little crazier with the paint since it was my creative space and I love the way it turned out (even though Derek has coined it the "Dr. Seuss room").

Things that should have been simple in this room like spray paint and changing a light fixture turned into long projects which was incredibly frustrating. But again....details later.

So here is the before in case you don't remember it from a previous ugly pic post-

So pretty.....

And here is the preview pics. Another room is officially de-oakified.

Of course, I still have a lot of accessorizing to do and more shelves to hang but I thought everyone would like to see what we have been working on. The color looks a little off in the pics-the green is more muted....I swear.

Stay tuned for the final unveiling and all the how-tos (I have enough in this room for a post a day for entire week-whoo hoo).

Before/After- Powder Room

I have been a slacking in the posting department lately because of projects at work and the laundry room (posts coming soon I promise). But in the meantime I have another before/after to add to the list-The Powder Room.

Don't you love the wallpaper? Fake green wood paneling and angels and birdhouses to top it off? Of all the wallpaper in the house, this was the worst to remove. No matter what you did it came off in pieces about the size of a half a penny. When my parents came in to help us with the reno the weekend after we closed, my mom spent hours and hours in that room and only managed to get a part of one wall off. Good thing it was not a large room (and that my mom has a lot of patience).

Of course there is also honey oak, brass, a shell sink and a ugly light fixture (which missed the picture) to add to the charm. Ignore the sexy picture of me in my home reno outfit......

THE AFTER (Disclaimer- this room is very small with no natural light and so is very difficult to photograph)

Probably the best representation of how the paint color really looks

This picture is now hanging on the big empty wall. Click here to see how I got rid of the brass frame for less than $5.

This project still needs some finishing touches but overall we are happy how it came out. But this room took a lot longer than we imagined it would.

Our original plan involved pulling the honey oak vanity and putting in a pedestal sink or another more modern vanity. But the hardwood floor did not run under the oak vanity and the builder ran the water lines from the floor and not the wall. So those options were removed and we decided that painting it was the best idea. Then my bright idea was to paint the cabinet creme to lighten up the space. After painting the entire thing I decided I hated it because the color was too white. So I got a "creamier" color. Still hated it. So I switched to dark brown and was finally happy.

Then the crown molding saga....

We thought that since we had successfully done crown molding in the office that we could handle the little powder room and do it in a hour or two. Yeah we were really overestimating our abilities. Slight problem....the corners are really not square and even with multiple cuts, a lot of cursing and many trips back to Home Depot over multiple days, we were still not lining up. Our little project suddenly turned into a nightmare. So we cheated and bought the corners (you know the ones that we made fun of on previous visits). They were pricey but worth it (and we learned not to be so confident with our skills in the crown department).

The details-

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Latte
Counter top: Stock granite with undermount sink from Home Depot or Lowes
Faucet- Home Depot
Mirror- Homegoods- $50
Light Fixture- clearance at Lowes-$30 (originally $80)
Vanity- Painted with Ace Cabinet and Trim color matched to SW Black Bean
Accessories- Bed Bath and Beyond

Before/After- Office

Welcome to Anything Pretty Headquarters.

It would look more realistic if HGTV was on the TV and a glass of red wine was on the desk.....but I trust you can use you imagination.

The original color in this room really wasn't bad but the trim was, of course. Also the crown molding was really puny and there was no overhead fixture which made the room very dim at night.


During:Adding another layer of crown and testing paint colors.


This room was originally designed to be a formal living room, but we knew would never use it for that. We are not that kind of people.

So we tried to make a home office that was functional but pretty enough to be by the front door. Eventually we will probably add french doors, but since the doors are an odd size that will be pricey.

I am toying with the idea of adding a rug, but I am not sure if it would make the space look too small. Also I am torn about how I feel about rugs on top of carpet. The color in this room is Sherwin Williams Ivoire. I also tried Blonde, but it was too yellow for what I was picturing.

I have tried yellows before, and I have to admit, this is the first time I got it right. On the paint chip it looked really cream and not bold enough for my tastes.  But on the wall it really reads yellow and turned out perfectly.  Who knew yellow could be so difficult?

Where We Got Stuff:

-Drapes-Target- around $20 a panel
-Ceiling fan-Home Depot- $40
-Art-our photos printed in black and white
-Furniture- Nebraska Furniture Mart (see a theme?)

Before/After- The Family Room

I wish I had taken the time to take more before pics of this pretty room. It would even be better if I had pics with the seller's furniture so we all can take in the view with hunter green and mauve couches as well as fake sunflowers.

Just picture that for a minute....

OK try to stop shuddering at another room with terrible colors paired with red.

Some of the trim in this room was painted white....but looks can be deceiving. They put on one coat of primer, dripped it all over the place and then called it good. The ceiling fan was not properly anchored and the fireplace was living in the 90's in all it's brass and honey oak. The one thing that this room had going for it was it did not have pink blinds like all the others. Small Victories.




family room
So what did we do?  Well first everything was painted obviously.  The trim got the the proper sanding and priming and painting.  And the walls were painted Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage.  Because of all the doors, furniture placement in the space….well was interesting.  But after many many attempts and me saying “it is just not all going to fit” numerous times (and some cursing), we made it all work.

family room
New ceiling fan was properly installed and anchored.

The fireplace was probably our biggest DIY in this space.

family room

Ahhh the fireplace.  The project that was supposed to be lower on the priority list because the tile was not great, we were going to live with it for awhile.

Until I went to Home Depot to grab some things two days after closing and found my husband and friend beating it with a sledge hammer.  Nice.

Only to find it was set in cement.  Which needed to be re-leveled before anything could be retiled. 

Officially in over our head.

Luckily my father-in-law came to the rescue to level it all out so Derek could embark on his first solo tile job. In the end it turned out great.

Also we did not not replace the brass accented fireplace doors.  Just a little high heat spray paint made them good as new. 

family room


The gallery wall was added after our Italy trip (blogged here).

family room

All the pillows and drapes were sewing DIY.  And since the pillows can all be changed easily, hopefully this will fulfill my need to make changes in the space when the urge hits.

family room


ACE Cabinet and Trim Paint: Honey Oak's Perfect Companion

As you can see our house has a honey oak problem. Thus began my love affair with this paint:

I first read about this paint on the Paint board on Gardenweb. So many people were asking how to paint their kitchen cabinets and the painting pros on the board suggested this paint along with some others. The reason I tried it out- it's cheap ($26 bucks a gallon baby), you can have it tinted to any color, you can buy it at Ace Hardware and even when you use a brush to apply it, it is self-leveling so the brush marks disappear. After using it I have also found that 1 gallon also goes a long way (for example it only took 1.5 gallons to complete two coats on all my kitchen cabinets). After thinking it was too good to be true, I wandered over to my local Ace to buy a quart an and try it out. Then a small problem occurred-not all Ace's in this city carry it. Luckily I found one and even though it is a half hour away from our house, it is worth every mile. I read advice about how to apply it, practiced using it and then set off to paint away the oak. I used it a lot in our house-all the trim, cabinets, doors, crown molding, and window panels. Each time I impressed with the finish--it just looks so smooth. But in order to make it look nice, you have to know how to apply it. This skillset Derek has not learned (and thus his excuse not to have to paint trim) but I hope that after this tutorial he too will be able to master it. Disclaimer: I am not a pro painter, just a DIYer but this is what I learned about spending many hours with this paint!

1. Prepare whatever you are going to paint. With all the wood trim in our house I sanded and then primed before I used this paint.

2. Use a high quality brush. And if your high quality brush gets all junked up, go ahead and buy a new one.

3. Plan how you are going to paint. This paint can only be brushed for about 30 seconds before it starts to set up. Then if you brush it after that it is almost sticky and will not level the same way. So if you painting a door, window or anything with multiple parts, plan how you will start and stop because you need to keep a wet edge and move very quickly. It works well on square things to start and stop at a natural seam and even better at a seam away from your line of sight.

4. Dip your brush in and get a medium amount of paint. I have found this paint to be a little thinner than typical paint and it tends to drip, especially on the first couple of brush strokes.

5. Brush the paint on in long even strokes. Practice on the thickness in which to apply it. You need to put it on a little thickly to get a really level finish....but not too thickly otherwise you will get tons of drips.

6. Reload your brush, start away from your wet edge and then paint into it again using long strokes. Like this:

7. Repeat. As you move along, keep an eye out for drips and lightly wipe them away with your brush. If you notice drips more than a couple of minutes after you painted that area, you have two choices. Leave the drip, sand and repaint later or wipe at the drip, sand and then repaint. Once the paint had set and starts to level it is difficult to fix so be really careful with drips and catch them early.

8. If you are painting something like a 6-panel door, I have found it to be more successful to paint each panel separately being careful not to get paint one the outer part. When I do get paint on the those I wipe it with a damp paper towel to stop it from setting up. After each panel is painted, I then paint the long parts of the door keeping multiple wet edges at a time and moving very quickly between them.

9. I have found I need one coat of primer and two coats of paint on anything wood. Things that were already painted white, I have just used one coat.

10. This paint takes a long time to dry. According to the can, you need to wait 24 hours between coats. This is especially true if you are using a deeper color as they take longer to set and then dry. But on the plus side I have observed that I have longer to brush before those colors start to set.

11. This paints looks terrible as it is drying. It looks splotchy and uneven. Even though I have already gone through multiple gallons I still need to remind myself not to look at it as it dries. If I look at it, I am convinced that I forgot how to paint properly and I am tempted to rebrush it. Just don't look at it for at least a couple of hours. And if you do, sit on your hands and don't touch will just make it worse.

My number one tip is to practice, practice and then decide your plan of attack on each thing you are going to paint. I hope you enjoy this paint as much as I have!

Some things I have used it on:

Bye Bye Oak!

(Check out my other posts about this paint here and here)