January 14, 2011

Bathroom Vanity Makeover

When I painted the main bathroom last spring, I intended to sand and re-stain the vanity a dark espresso color. That never happened. I don't know why, but I'm intimidated by stain- it might have something to do with the fact that I've never done it, and am more comfortable with paint. With that said, I found some inspiration to darken our vanity on one of my favorite blogs.

I'm supposed to be priming and painting the trim in our hallway this week. We're painting all of the woodwork in the main open area of our house white this spring (since the $2400 quote had our jaws dropping). This project feels rather daunting, so what better way to procrastinate than by doing other, much simpler and less time consuming (and instantly gratifying:), house projects. A can of paint later, bada bing bada boom and the vanity is done.

(I updated the full-on shot... that's why the accesories are different:)
Like I said earlier, we're eventually planning on re-doing this bathroom. However, that project seems like one of those that is always assumed, but never actually comes to fruition. We'll see. The dark brown paint (Betsy Ross House Brown by Valspar- I completely copied Centsational Girl's paint choice. Imitation is the best form of flattery?) makes the vanity look more furniture like. I'm also liking the creamy marble-ish looking counter better. Contrast is a good thing. This project took a couple of hours (spread over three days), and cost $15. Not too bad. Here's what you need:
  • Paint with some type of glossy finish (anything from satin on)
  • Oil-based primer (Zinsser works wonderfully!)
  • Painters tape
  • Old rags
  • Fine grit sanding block
  • Dry wall repair
Start by taking the doors and hardware off (I made sure NOT to throw away the hinges this time!). Lightly sand all of the surfaces down, and wipe up all of the dust with old rags. Make sure to get all the dust off so your primer sticks well. If there are any cracks, holes, or divots in the wood, fill them will the dry wall repair. Let it dry and sand.Tape off all edges that need protection from paint.

Now prime away. Once the primer is dry, add your first coat of paint. I'll admit I picked the wrong color at first (it looked more brownish green in our bathroom than brown) but tried to have an "I already spend the money on this paint and it's good enough" attitude. Thankfully my husband persuaded me to spend the extra $15 bucks and 60 minutes to rectify this. He' gives good advise.

Depending on your quality of paint, you'll probably only need two coats. Let the doors and vanity frame dry, reassemble, and voilĂ ! New vanity.

Much better. Can you believe we stuck with this icky orange wood for so long?

January 10, 2011

Photoshop Decor Mock-up

Thought I'd share a quick "decorating" tip that I use frequently. Sometimes I have an idea of some kind of house project that I'd like to do, but am unsure about the results (ie. would that room look good with an accent wall? would a bench or console table look better in the entry way? would hanging curtains in the basement look weird if the couch can't be centered under them?) The hard way of answering these questions is to paint the accent wall, buy the console table, or hang the curtains only to realize that actually you don't like the end result. Trying out different options until they fit (even if the items can be returned!) wastes time and money.

I've started using a better solution- mock up a virtual photo of your idea in Photoshop. Here's how:
  • Take a picture of the room you're working with, and upload it into Photoshop. Try to take photos from a couple of different angles.
  • If you're curious as to how a new piece of furniture, a lamp, or certain accessories would work in that space, find a similar picture of what you're looking for online. Copy and paste that picture into a new Photoshop document, and use the magnetic lasso tool to select only the item you're considering in that image. Then cut that image, paste it into your room photo, and drag it to size. Place it where you want in the room.
  • For an accent wall (or different wall color), just select each wall and fill it in with that color. This obviously won't give you an exact idea, but it can help.
  • If you're trying to decide between a couple of different things in the same space (ie. which style lamp would look best on an end table) put them all into your room photo on different layers, but in the same place. You can then turn on and off layer visibility for a "quick change" of lamp style to see which you like best.
Sorry for all of the Photoshop lingo. I'm sure this works with other editing software. This is the mock up that I made for our bedroom in July. At this point, we had different lamps and no frames above the bed. I tried a couple of different combinations, and liked this best.

As I posted earlier, I've come pretty close to the mock up. I'd love find a bench, but no need to rush:) Here it is again:

This corner is empty in our room currently, but here's what I'm going for eventually:

I know that's a really crappy job of mocking up the photo, but it gives a good general idea. Hope this helps!

January 8, 2011

New Year, (Extra!) Clean House

Something about taking down Christmas decorations and the tree always makes me want to kick start spring cleaning four months too early. Maybe it's because the house feels back to normal and less cluttered. Who says you can't have "New Year" cleaning instead? This past week I've been thoroughly cleaning our home. Not just the regular vacuuming, moping, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen stuff, but actually taking the time to do those "I really should clean that but no one's going to notice/it only needs to be done once or twice a year" type of things. My goal is to do this for every room in the house this month, so that I've got an organized and clean palate to work with.

Sound daunting? Honestly, it's not. Take it room by room, one day at a time. Last Sunday I cleaned the living room. This included the normal:
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Picking up and putting away random stuff that accumulates
I added a few more items to the list, and it MAYBE took an extra 15-20 minutes
  • Vacuumed those awkward places never get vacuumed on a normal day (ie. under the couch, behind end tables)
  • Vacuumed couches
  • Dusted the top of the bookcase, railing, etc.
  • Washed pillow covers and throw blankets
It hardly took any extra time at all.

Another idea to make cleaning more enjoyable: Get cleaning products you like! I found this great smelling natural cleaner at Target. This sounds weird, but I'm actually excited to clean my kitchen and bathroom with it since it smells so yummy. Hey, whatever helps.

January 7, 2011

I love lamp.

Really, I do. A lot. I am unusually excited about lamps, two specific ones in particular.

I've been looking at new lamps for our nightstands for a long time (we had two IKEA desk lamps up until now. They were fine, but didn't fit the scale of our room or furniture well). A few weeks ago I saw a lamp at HomeGoods and just knew that it was THE ONE ( :D ). Do you ever see something and know it is EXACTLY your style and EXACTLY what you want, and then everything else is compared to that thing, but falls short? How lame that I feel like this about house items. Unfortunately, there was only one lamp. I snapped a picture with my phone, searched online, called other Home Goods, but no luck. I kept thinking about that lamp and how great it would work in our room, (is it unusual to think so much about a light source?) but figured I'd have to look for something else since the lamp had no match.

Mom and I went back to HomeGoods a few days ago and found the same lamp on clearance (woohoo!) AND were able to track down a match at another store. So exciting! What are the odds? I love that God cares about even insignificant things that concern his children (like lamps!)- I felt so thankful that He orchestrated even a little thing like finding these! So here they are. I think they give our room a more "swanky hotel" vibe. At least it looks that way in person :)

Here's the before and after. Improvement, no?

Before: (this is RIGHT after we moved in last year)


Much better. Still need to put real art in those frames!

Yay for new lamps!

January 3, 2011

Mini Painting Project

My husband and I painted our basement, including the woodwork, last January. We have a built in cupboard, and for whatever reason, back then I thought it'd be a good idea to leave the doors off and go for the "open shelving" look. It turned looking crappy, unfinished, and Leo would occasionally run off with and shred a roll of paper towels I'd been storing in there.

So that was a year ago. I've been meaning to paint the doors and put them back up ever since, and finally got around to it a couple of days ago. It was the first time in week where I had any energy to do anything (since being sick with a nasty cold) and of course the most obvious thing to do with my burst of energy was to take the doors of of storage, clean, prime, and paint them. Duh. So I coughed and hacked and painted, and this is what I came up with:

Much better (besides the crappy photo- my camera's on the fritz :( ). Since taking the doors off last year, I accidentally threw away lost half of the hinges, so we ended up buying new ones. And new hardware. So this project really only took $20 worth of new hardware, 40 minutes of painting, and an hour or so (for my husband) to drill new screw holes and hang the doors. I'm so glad it's done!