We are a young couple remodeling our first house...one outdated / ugly thing at a time. This blog documents our remodel projects and ideas.
RSS

12.31.2010

New Year - New Me

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~Benjamin Franklin

A new year equals new resolutions. It is a time to kick bad habits and start anew. According to the Internet (so you know it must be true), the top resolutions usually involve promises to exercise more (37%), increasing the time devoted to study or work (23%), losing weight, stop smoking or drinking (alcohol and/or coffee), and eat healthier. Well, not me.  Here are mine:

1 - Gratitude journal - which I started in November
2 - Live with less

Gratitude Journal. You can read about my gratitude journal here. I am still writing a few things in it every night that I am thankful for and I resolve to continue this through the new year. I try to remember things that happened throughout the day and list those. However, if I can't think of anything, I can always list the good ol' standbys - mine and the family's health, having a great job, etc. The journal helps me focus on the positive things that happen in my life everyday. And I hope the gratitude journal will help me to notice the little things in life that might normally go unnoticed.

Live with less. I plan to accomplish this by organizing and decluttering my house, donating my time and items to a good cause, and being more "green - basically editing out the unessential. I want to make more room in my life for what is most important, my family, and I want my focus to be on what’s essential.

For example, my over-stuffed closet:
This is just my side. And I couldn't even begin to tell you what all is in there, or under there. This is an embarrassment to show...so not like me. My clothes are hung up by color, which is a plus. But everything else is stuffed in there in no particular order...and that creates chaos. I don't need chaos. So, I am going to go through every closet and figure out what is essential and what is not. And then I can live with less.

The plan is to be a better person by the end of next year by completing my two resolutions.

12.30.2010

Hardwood Floor Installation - DIY Style

Yesssss! We installed the hardwood floors! After tearing out the built-insdemoing the fireplace, and removing the carpet, it was time for the much feared anticipated installation...and of course we did all the work ourselves with the enlisted help of my parentals. What - did you think we would hire out the installation? Of course not, we are DIYers! And this was a first for this little DIYer. I have installed hardwood floor to a wood sub floor using a nail gun, but we are on a concrete slab and this installation was a whole new ballgame.
To keep this from being the longest how-to post ever, I'm not going to bore you with every single detail of the installation. If you want the details, hit me up on the contact page with any questions and I'll be more than happy to fill you in. I am thankful that we only laid hardwood in the living room. Not because it is hard to do (it was actually easy), but it will make you feel like you are 108 years old the next day. Trust me. Being on your knees on concrete all day is not fun.

Okay, let's get started with the tutorial! The needed supplies to install engineered hardwood floors include hardwood (duh), adhesive, square-notch trowel, white rubber mallet (white won't scuff the floor), tape, a mitre saw, and knee pads for good measure. And some words of advice, make sure the floor is completely clean before you start. The adhesive is very sticky and you don't want any debris getting into it and under the hardwood. The only "rule" of laying hardwood floors is to make sure that none of the joints are next to each other. And when laying the floor, be sure to only beat on the groove side so you don't ruin the tongue side. Here is a picture of the tongue and groove:
 
Step 1 - Glue. Using the trowel, spread a semi-thin layer of the glue onto a section of the concrete starting in a corner. Make sure to go longer along the wall than deeper so you will be able to reach and lay the hardwood. Go back over the glue, holding the notched side of the trowel at a 45 degree angle to create ridges. (Use the same method on the hardwood adhesive as with tile adhesive.) Let the glue setup for about 10 minutes before you lay the hardwood. Step 1 is done. Easy, huh?

Step 2 - Lay Hardwood. After the glue has setup and become tacky, you can start laying the hardwood. The first piece and row are the most important because it is the baseline for the rest. Lay the first piece down, making sure that the groove side is towards you and the tongue is facing the wall. This way the tongue won't become damaged if we have to hammer a piece into place. Continue laying the hardwood until you have covered the glue. If a piece is stubborn and doesn't want to go into place, use the rubber mallet to tap it into place. Also, tap the pieces along the groove side once they are laid down to ensure a snug fit. When you get to the end of a row, cut the last board to the appropriate length with the mitre saw.
You can see the adhesive on the floor and the stair-step install of the hardwood. This picture is looking down toward the extra bedrooms. The hall used to have carpet in it, just like the living room; however, it now will have hardwood. Only the bedrooms will have carpet now.

Step 3 - Tape. This isn't a requirement; however, if you are going to walk on the floor I would suggest it. We placed a strip of gorilla tape (which is the best tape ever) every few feet just to make sure the hardwood wouldn't move. And between the stickiest adhesive and the best tape, that floor didn't go anywhere.

Step 4. - Repeat. Keep gluing, laying, and taping until the floor is done.


That's it folks. Like I said, it really wasn't hard - just don't tell my knees it wasn't hard. Laying the hardwood is easy work. The hardest part for us was blending in the new with the old, and it was all because of that carpet inset we removed. The hardwood floor going into the sun room was straight cut across and we couldn't lay the hardwood down with a straight cut end in the middle of the floor. To fix this straight cut end, we had to tear up a few boards of the old floor so the new floor would blend in. Like this:
My lovely mom is tearing up some of the old floor so it will be staggered instead of straight cut. This was not an easy task. But, we succeeded and got all the hardwood installed.

Now we need to sand it all down and get it ready for refinishing, which of course we will do it all ourselves. Are you a DIY hardwood floor installer? Or do you prefer to have the pros install?

Psss - We also sanded and refinished the floor, total DIY of course. Here is the rundown on sanding and my how-to refinish here.

12.29.2010

And I Said No, No, No

You have to sing the title like Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and you can thank me later for getting that song stuck in your head. Anyways, this post is about things that are not allowed in my house - hence the song reference. I am fairly open about the house decor and what is allowed; however, there are few no-go's and I am going to passionately tell you what is not okay, at least in my house.

#1 - Taxidermy Mounts - I call them dead animals.  Being from Arkansas, these ugly creations are just about everywhere, and I cringe every time I see one. So you got the best buck of all times and want to proudly display your trophy kill for all to see...I'm sorry, but I think animals are beautiful in the wild, not hanging in your living room above the fireplace. I am married to an avid hunter, but we do not have dead animals prominently displayed on the walls of the living room, or in the Man Cave. If you absolutely must have one of these dreadful "trophies", the only place it belongs is in the garage...which is sadly where my hubby hangs his dead animals.

#2 - Gold fixtures. This might have been the popular pick when my house was built, but not anymore. Everything was gold when we bought our house, even the switch plate covers. It was over the top and comparative to Mr. T. Not anymore. We successfully changed all the gold out to brushed nickel.

#3 - Faux Finish Walls. It is just a fancy word for fake. Although not in my house, I think some faux finishes look good when done correctly. However, this faux trend is going to far and there are way too many walls that would look better off un-fauxed. Just think before you faux. Take this ugly room for example:

#4 - Overstuffed Furniture. Is it really that much more comfortable with all the extra stuffing and fabric? Yes, I want a comfy couch too, but there is a happy medium between stiff-as-a-board and overstuffed. And over time, the overstuffed furniture turns into droopy and sad. This chair looks like you could get lost in there and never make it out:

There you have it - a few things I won't allow in my house. If you love and swear-by the above mentioned no-no's, I am happy for you and hope they treat you well. However, please don't try to bring dead animals or gold fixtures into my house as they are not welcome.

What are the no-go's for your house? Or are you a no-holds-bar, nothing-is-off-limits type of homeowner?
Faux finish pic

12.28.2010

Finishing the Unfinished

After demoing the built-ins, round two of opening up the foyer involves finishing out the un-finished 16 sq/ft they previously occupied. This is the space I'm talking about:
Things to do include painting the walls, adding baseboards, and figuring out what to do with that bare concrete floor. First up is painting. And this was an easy space to paint because I didn't have to worry about a drop cloth or cutting in. I just slapped some paint on the wall and called it done. Here is what the space looks like with a few coats of paint:
Now to address the one minor issue with removing the built-ins, the concrete floor. This doesn't appear to have an "easy" fix and you can't leave a bare concrete floor in your living room when there is hardwood and carpet all around it. The options to fixing this spot are replacing the carpet, staining the concrete, or laying hardwood. Let me explain. Our house came equipped with a large, inset carpet piece in the living room - I don't know why. Stepping in the front door, there's hardwood, then the carpeted living room, and then the kitchen  has the same hardwood as the foyer.  I hope the builder used carpet for a reason - like adding comfort in the living room - and didn't just put carpet there because they ran out of hardwood. Either way, I think the carpet square looks out of place and weird so that quickly crosses out replacing the carpet.

Staining the concrete, after removing the carpet, is not a good option for three reasons. One, there would still be a space in the living room with a different floor finish (like the carpet square now). Two, we would have 4 types of floor finishes in our house - carpet, tile, hardwood, and stained concrete. And three, the stained concrete would be a step-down from the already in place hardwood. Not good. Stained concrete is quickly crossed off the list as an option.

That only leaves replacing the carpet with hardwood - which I am excited about. Hardwood floors was one of my must-haves on the house shopping list, and now we will have hardwood throughout the open living space! Let's rip that carpet out!
Of course we will install and refinish the hardwood by ourselves, no professional help. I will be sure to post the how-to's for the install and the refinishing. It will be another DIY first.

12.27.2010

Chipmunk Cheeks

My wisdom teeth came out today. Ouch! Now I am suffering from chipmunk cheeks and slurred speech, and my hubby is quick to point it out. I'm glad I could eat over the holidays because the diet is very limited right now.

Anyways, I'm not in 100% remodel-mode right now, but I still wanted to show you one thing I got for Christmas:

You know you are a DIYer when you get excited about a present like this. This little puppy will be used, and used, and used some more. Until now, I have had to borrow my dad's compressor and nail gun...and they live 45 minutes from me. But not anymore! I've got my very own, grown-up girl air compressor!

I can't wait until I'm off this couch and working on the house again, with my new nail gun by my side.

Did you get any drool-worthy tools for Christmas? Any plans to tackle a project over the holidays? Maybe with the new tools you just received?

12.24.2010

Merry Christmas

Paris & Baby
Merry Christmas from Remodel This House! We hope that you have a blessed Christmas surrounded by friends and family.

12.23.2010

RTH Answers - Small Bath Mood Board

I received an email with a question and I'm going to do my best to answer. Here is the email:

I recently found your blog and really love all the thrift projects you have done so far! I think you might be able to help me with my design dilemma. My small bathroom is in need of a remodel but I don't have the cash to replace everything. The floor is basket-weave tile, a pedestal sink (no storage), and a grungy tub/shower combo. I would love to get a new look in there and update it. What thrifty ideas would you suggest to get me started? Thanks, Kristi

First let me say that I am blushing. You want my opinion? Yay! Okay, now getting down to business. I threw together a mood board to help with the design and visually share my ideas for your bathroom. And, all of the products in the mood board can be purchased in store in Arkansas, so I bet you too will be able to wrangle the items up.
1 - In order to make the small bathroom light, airy, and spa-like, a simple color palette of storm gray accents and smoke blue walls will compliment the black and white basket weave tile. And the colors are featured on Benjamin Moore's 2011 color forecast so you know they'll be extra great.

2 - You mentioned the limited storage with a pedestal sink. My suggestion regarding adding storage is to go to the wall. You could either replace the mirror with a medicine cabinet, or add wall storage. You can find shelves and storage cabinets at thrift stores that can easily be spray painted and will add the extra storage you want when mounted to the wall.

3 - A simple white waffle weave shower curtain will help conceal the shower. And instead of the regular 72" shower curtain, try bumping up the rod to an 84" or a 95".  If you want to repair the tub/shower combo, you can either hire a professional to reglaze the tub, DIY the reglaze, or check the Habitat Restore for a new tub. The easiest fix is to hire a professional to reglaze the tub, which will cost about $300. I have never reglazed a tub, so I can't help you out on how hard or easy it is to do. But you can pick up a DIY kit for about $30 at a home improvement store.

4 - This sea blue coral will add some great texture without breaking the bank. I actually have this coral in my guest bathroom. I would suggest keeping the accessories to a minimum since space is limited. You wouldn't want the bath becoming too overcrowded that you couldn't comfortably use it.

5 - I love these gray towels from Target - I am a sucker for a cute pattern towel. And if the price is a little high for a full set, add some solid color towels into the mix to boost the amount of towels.

6 - A few small potted plants set on the top of the medicine cabinet will help anchor it in the bathroom. You can pick up used flower pots at thrift stores and spray paint them gloss white for a cheaper alternative to new.

7 - The blue and gray stipes in this rug pull the entire color palette together. The pattern is just enough to compliment the bathroom without being distracting.

If you have tile on the wall that you don't like, an easy fix is to add wainscoating or paint it. You can probably get the wood from a Habitat Restore and save some money. And, if the floor tile is still in good shape and nothing is broken, I would clean them up and show it off. The best way to clean tile is with a magic eraser. And you are in luck because you can get a magic eraser mop which will make the job much easier. Basket weave tile is amazingly gorgeous and a great feature. I think you should use the tile to your advantage and showcase it.

And yes, I am still blushing and have a mega perma-smile right now. I hope this thrifty mood board suits your fancy and it will help whip that small bathroom into shape.

Oh - and a Happy Birthday shout out to my wonderful hubby who is 28 today!

12.22.2010

Goodwill Hunting

I went and did one of my favorite things this past weekend - thrift store trolling. My parents love to bargain hunt too, and the funny thing is, I used to almost hate going to thrift stores and flea markets when I was growing up. I just got so bored and would sigh out loud when we went to another flea market. (Sorry mom and dad...I never told you because I didn't want to break your thrifty hearts, but you probably knew all along.) I guess the stars aligned and pigs flew because I found the thriftiness in my blood and love thrift store trolling now.

Anyways, fast forward to today and bargains make me almost as happy as spray paint. Combine the two, a bargain needing spray paint, and it is instant euphoria - read about my spray paint problem here. And since I hit up the thrift stores and found some killer bargains, I have a perma-smile on my face right now. Behold what $15 buys:

Let me break it down for you. The large white vase was $4! That's right, $4. I quickly put it under my arm and guarded from any other potential buyers. The woven grass runner was $1 and the antiquing spray paint was also $1. And my favorite find is the black two drawer filing cabinet for $2 which is going to become a coffee station for the kitchen.

The glass ware was $1 each. I don't plan to change anything about the apothecary jar and cake stand, but the other 3 globe-like vases were turned into mercury glass via a DIY knockoff project.

The books were on sale 2 for $1 and the cute little owl book ends were $1 for the set. The little bird was also $1. I plan to spray paint the owls and the little bird gloss white to make them look ceramic.
Yes, I am happy with my finds. And in case you were wondering, my go-to thrift stores are Salvation Army, Habitat Restore, Goodwill, and Savers. I usually find the best treasures at my huge Salvation Army, it is always stop number one.

What are your go-to thirft stores? Do you love to go thrift store trolling?

12.21.2010

Mercury!

FIND ME AT MY NEW HOME - LAVISHYOU.COM
Maybe it is just me, but I have noticed that mercury glass is everywhere this season! I think mercury glass is timelessly beautiful, even if it is a cheaper substitute for silver. And while looking through the West Elm catalog, I saw some mercury glass vases and thought to myself...I can make that! So, this is my West Elm knockoff mercury glass vase how-to. Here is my inspiration picture:

What you will need: silver leaf, adhesive, umber glaze (I didn't have this and used antiquing glaze), a sponge brush, and a glass vase that you can stick your hand into. Since this is a trial-and-error DIY knockoff project, I am using three different types of glass and techniques to determine the best method for the mercury glass look. All three of my vases came from a thrift store for about $1 each.
Let's get started! Be sure that the glass is clean and dry. My plan it to add the antiquing glaze in with the adhesive on the plain vase, antique the crackle vase as the last step, and just silver leaf the ridged vase. And let me tell you now, the plain vase method was a fail.

Step 1 - Adhesive. Brush the adhesive onto the inside of the vase using the sponge brush. The adhesive is white so you will easily be able to see where you have put the adhesive. Cover the entire inside of the vase, making sure that the adhesive doesn't puddle in the bottom of the vase. If it does puddle, just wipe it out with a paper towel - I had to wipe out the extra adhesive. This step is easy peasy.

I added the antiquing glaze to the adhesive for the plain glass and created a major fail. The adhesive never became tacky and the silver leaf would not stick to it. So, don't try to add antiquing glaze to the adhesive. Wait until the end to antique!

Step 2 - Dry time. Let the adhesive dry for about 40 minutes...it will become tacky and a creamy color. While you wait, grab yourself a cup of hot cocoa and catch up on a TV show, which is what I did. Or if you are an over achiever, you could do laundry and dishes...but who wants to do that?!

Step 3 - Silver leaf. Take a piece of silver leaf and place it onto the adhesive with the silver side towards the adhesive. The key is to not be a perfectionist. If the silver leaf crinkled up on you, no worries it will look great. Press the silver leaf into the adhesive. Next, slowly peel off the wax paper leaving the silver leaf behind. If the silver leaf rips or comes off in pieces, even better. We don't want the glass to be all silver, we are going for mercury glass which is imperfect.
video
It was hard to hold the camera in one hand and silver leaf with the other. However, if you have two free hands, the silver leafing goes much quicker than in the video.

Step 4 - Brush it off. Brush the excess silver leaf off with a sponge brush. The silver leaf will fall to the bottom of the vase. Shake out the silver leaf into the trash. You now should have a happy little silver-ish vase.

Step 5 - Glaze. If you are happy with the look of the mercury glass, stop now. However, if you want a more antique look, this would be the time to add the glaze. To do this, brush the antiquing glaze onto the inside of the vase. Then, immediately wipe off the glaze. You can wipe off as much as you like, or leave as much as you like. Completely personal preference.

My original plan was to leave the ridged vase plain, no antique glaze. However, I liked the look and depth that the antique glaze gave the glass, so I antiqued it. I am pleased with the finished product, but I think next time I will add more silver leaf to make the vases look more like the inspiration picture. More is better. Also, I managed to salvage the plain glass vase by wiping out the antique adhesive with a paper towel and starting over with plain adhesive. Here are the finished vases: 
The plain vase doesn't have the antique glaze on it and the other two do. I think the best method is to antique at the end, if you want that look. If not, just silver leaf the vase and call it done.

Project cost breakdown:
Silver leaf          $4.50 (half off at Hobby Lobby)
Vase                 $3.00 for all 3
Adhesive           $2.00 (used a 40% off coupon)
Glaze                $0, already owned
Brushes            $0,  already owned
Total                $9.50 for 3 knock-off mercury glass vases

I love my knock-off mercury glass vases! And for $9.50 for three of them, you can't beat that deal. This post might seem long, but that is only because I was very detailed. It was super easy to make these. So easy that even I could do it.

FIND ME AT MY NEW HOME - LAVISHYOU.COM

12.20.2010

New Surround-ings

I can now add another "I've done that" to my DIY list of accomplishments. What am I talking about? Tiling the fireplace surround. I was a little hesitant at first since this was my first time tiling and also because it is a wall, which I read was more difficult to tile than a floor. But fear not, it wasn't hard.

Of course I'm going to tell you how I tackled tiling the surround, but I am not going to advertise this as a how-to. Why? Because it was my first time tiling and it was more trial and error than how-to. I do suggest researching some expert tutorials and asking the pros questions before you just dive in head first. I used this DIY tile forum and it really helped boost my confidence and the finished project. My only words of advice for tiling - make sure the first row of tiles is level. I got off easy on this since I was starting from the concrete floor.

Let's get started with the tiling project. First, the needed weapons tools:
Or you can get the all-in-one bucket if the trowel  and spacers are the right size for you. The size of the tile will determine the size of the notches on the trowel and spacers size. If you are unsure, the thinset has directions and a chart to help you pick the right trowel. My tile is a brick mosaic pattern on a mesh sheet so the spacing was already determined. 

The first step in tiling is to get the right amount of thinset mortar onto the wall. To do this, use the flat end of the trowel to spread some thinset around on a section of the wall, trying to maintain an even coat. Then place the notched side of the trowel at a 45 degree angle to the wall. Using a little bit of pressure, go back over the thinet to make ridges.
Once the thinset is on the wall, press the tile into the thinset making sure it is level and flush with any surrounding tile. Add spacers to make sure the neighboring tiles don't crowd each other. Now you can rock-and-roll up the wall, continuing the thinset, tile, spacer system.
If you notice extra thinset squeezing up between the tile, try using less thinset. The more grout lines (mosaic tile), the less thinset you will need to use. If you still notice the oozing thinset, clean it up as you go along with a paper towel or rag. Trust me, it is much easier to clean it before it dries. If you wait until it dries, you will have to use a grout cleaning tool to remove it from the grout lines before you can grout.
I also found out that it was much easier to cut the mosaic tile with a manual tile cutter instead of a tile saw. The tile cutter is really simple to use and dummy proof. To cut tiles, line up your cut line on the tile with the lines on the tile cutter. Press down on the handle and then move it forward and back a few times to make the little wheel score a line on the tile - listen for the screeching noise to know if the tile is being scored. Then apply a little pressure with the pad thingy to snap the tile cleanly in two. Easy.

After a few hours of work, I have tiled the new fireplace surround and added another project to my know-how list. I don't know why I was a little leery to begin with because with the right tools and a little research, tiling is easy! The fireplace is now ready for grout and then a new mantle. Oh, and don't worry about the uneven edges of the tile on the outside of the surround because the mantle will cover those.
If you are thinking of tiling your fireplace surround, I say go for it! It was not hard and now I can tell everyone - I did that!

Be sure to check the built-in demo post and the fireplace demo post to see the before pics.

12.17.2010

House Humidity Woes

I know that humidity is usually lower in colder temps and a sign of low humidity is being shocked by static electricity. However, I didn't know that low humidity can have some major negative effects on my house. Yep, that's right. Low humidity not only dries out skin and sinuses, it does the same to houses. It can cause trim and hardwood flooring to shrink and the joints open; cracks in drywall can develop; and joints in wood furniture can become loose. Yikes, that's serious!

After a quick google search, I found out that a relative humidity of about 45% is ideal. To test the humidity in our house, the hubby used an inexpensive hygrometer which can be purchased at either Wal-Mart or Target . After a few minutes, we found that the humidity in our house is 29%!!
That is way too low. No wonder I've been shocking everything in sight, the dogs included. I haven't noticed any damage to the house or cracks in the drywall, but I don't want to take any chances. The only way to fix this problem is to add water into the air and the easiest way is with a humidifier. We went to the Walgreens down the street from our house and bought two $20 humidifiers. We set one up in the bedroom and one in the Man Cave and were almost excited to see what the humidity would be the next morning. (Is it sad to be excited over the humidity in your house?) Flash forward to morning and we check the hygrometer and guess what...the humidity is even lower?! What? Huh? We knew there was no visible mist coming from the humidifiers, but they made noise so we assumed they were working . Well, obviously they weren't. So we got on the Internet to see what might be the problem and found out that the two humidifiers we bought have a terrible rating and horrible reviews. Everyone complained about them not working. Wow - who knew that you should research humidifiers before buying?! Lesson learned. But the good news is that we found a well rated / reviewed humidifier and quickly purchased it from Target. Enter our new humidifier:
It is really quiet and super cute, which is a plus. We plugged in this little penguin-humidifier and it immediately started spitting mist. Hallelujah, hopefully the humidity will be in the ideal range pronto - at least we could see the mist this time. And after a day of the penguin-humidifier doing its job, the humidity in the house rose to 46%.
Woo hoo! Us and the little penguin-humidifier saved the house, actually the penguin did all the work. And I have already noticed that my skin doesn't feel as dry and my fingers aren't near as shocking as they were.

Do you have house humidity problems? Is a humidifier a permanent fixture in your house? Or is your house humidity perfect and you don't have to worry about this?

12.16.2010

As Good As Gold

This saying might be true about a lot of things; however, not in my house. Gold is not good in my house - it is overbearing and doesn't play nice with the other fixtures. So, I am changing the saying to "As Good As Brushed Nickel". It might not have the same ring to it, but with big-bully-gold getting kicked to the curb, it better applies.
That's right, I'm evicting all of the gold fixtures from my house since they are no longer welcome. And let me tell you, there is a lot of gold to get rid of!  From the ceiling fans and light fixtures, to the switch faceplates and knobs...it is all gold. I previously mentioned this project in the post about the garage lights, and now I'm telling you how we accomplished this de-gold task.

All 14 of the interior door knobs used to be gold. Not anymore. These were replaced with brushed nickel knobs. Also, the 4 exterior knobs were rid of gold too. I did try to spray paint the knobs; however, even with a clear coat, the paint wore off. So this was a DIY fail and it was best for us to buy new.
The 5 ceiling fans were white and gold. (I have a love-hate relationship with ceiling fans.) These were replaced with much sweeter cherry and nickel finish fans. And guess what, we purchased the fans from Wal-Mart. They were half the price as the comparable from a hardware store, and they have the same warranty - too good not to get them.
The cabinet knobs were all replaced with brushed nickel. Found a screaming deal on cabinet pulls at Tuesday Morning - $1 each. And all light fixtures were also replaced with brushed nickel.
And the master bath, well, it's going to take some major de-gold work:

Have you recently accomplished ridding your house of a finish? Or are you happy with the finished in your house? Do you have any tips on spray painting knobs and getting the finish to stay long term?

12.15.2010

Demo-happy

We got a little demo-happy while tearing out the built-ins - which is easy to do in the heat of the moment - and also took out the hearth, surround, and mantle of the fireplace. The fireplace and long-gone built-ins sit right next to each other and when you have a hammer in one hand and a pry bar in the other...things get taken out.
As you can see from the picture, demoing the fireplace was not a bad thing. It was due for an update, especially since we are tackling a complete house remodel. And we hated the ugly fireplace anyways, so it was the perfect excuse time to destroy an entire side of the living room. Oh happy day!

We took out some major home remodeling frustration on the demo of the fireplace, and it was so much fun! The hearth was kicked out the front door and the mantle was ripped off the wall. I mean business when it comes to demo. Here is the hubby removing the trim, a little more calmly than I demo:
And guess what, I don't have a picture of the final demo of the fireplace - I know, I'm a terrible blogger. Accept my apologies, but the demo went so fast, I hardly took time away from it to snap pictures. And the fireplace didn't stay naked long...I was excited to start tiling a new surround. 

Do you get demo-happy?

12.14.2010

Memory Foam - I Heart Thee

I cannot thank my dear mother enough for my memory foam mattress. It was a great day when she told me that she did not like her brand new mattress and asked if I wanted it. Are you freaking kidding me? Of course I want it! It's like sleeping on a slightly-firm cloud. Sorry, I digressed.

This post actually serves two purposes. One - I can brag tell about my new memory foam mattress and two - we now have two mattress sets. This is perfect since we were in the market for a mattress for the previously empty guest bedroom. Now we could move our mattress set into the guest bedroom and have the memory foam all to ourselves. Yeeessss! So, this is what the guest bedroom looks like with a bed in it:
We are making progress. Although the room is lacking in color, we at least have a bed in there now. And see those gold knobs on the closet doors? Those are the next thing to go. The desk I built out of bar stools is in there too, just not visible in this picture.

Also - Remodel This House is a featured blog on Picket Fence this week!

12.13.2010

Spray Painters Anonymous

Yes, I am addicted to spray painting. If there was a Spray Painters Anonymous, I would be a proud card-carrying member.
It might actually be a problem, this addiction of mine. When I go into a thrift store, I get a little giddy with the prospect of finding an ugly treasure in need of some spray paint love, like the bench I redid.  When I get bored, I look around for something I can spray paint for a quick update. I am also quick to suggest spray paint as "the fix". And I watch the weather to see if it will be prime spray painting conditions. Maybe it is just the DIYer in me, but I don't think "normal people" get excited about spray paint...yes, this addiction is indeed a problem.

But, as you probably know, spray paint can do wonders. It is the best remodeling/reinventing/redoing tool ever and I have an entire arsenal of spray paint colors ready on a whim.

I spray painted these cheap little friends picked up from thrift stores:
Do I have before pictures of them? No, I got too excited and just started spray painting - it's called an addiction people. I can tell you that the owl was tan, the flower was pink, the armadillo was brass, the elephant was silver, the peacock was gold, and Paris, although not from a thrift store, is just too cute not to have in the picture. None of these looked bad before I spray painted them, but they look amazingly good now.

My hubby semi-shares this love of spray paint. He whipped the old bike frame in his Man Cave into shape with a few coats of spray paint. And the asymmetrical wall arrangement above the sofa bed or the DIY graphic art couldn't have been completed without spray paint.
Is this spray paint addiction of mine sad? Well, I am finally taking the first step to recovery and admitting to the entire world that I have a problem. However, I have no plans to stop anytime soon - I think my spray painting finger would have withdrawals. With that said, I have some spray painting projects up my sleeve and grand plans, which of course I will share.

Anyone else want to be a card-carrying member of Spray Painters Anonymous? Is spray paint your go-to DIY tool? Do you too share in this addiction?

12.10.2010

It's Art Gone to the Dogs

Did you know that my dogs are artists? Can't you tell? Maybe I'm a little biased since they are my kids.
That's Paris on the pillow and Baby is asleep.
In the ugly bench post there was a picture of my girls' artwork. Yes, artwork made by my dogs. Why artwork made by the dogs....because it is almost free! I love free!

I got the idea of doggy made art when refinishing my hardwood floors. I let the girls outside and upon their re-entry, they left wet footprints on my stained, but not yet polyurethaned, floor. Yikes! And if any of you have a Pomeranian, or know a Pomeranian, they are hyper...all.the.time! Like this:

video
Proud of my Southern accent and excuse the talking bird in the background.

It is like that everytime she comes inside. The footprints looked like she had done the salsa with a little square dance thrown in for good measure - not the look I wanted on my hardwood floors...but cute for wall art! I had to mimic the paw pattern that was on the floor, onto the wall. Here's how-to...

The necessary supplies for this project: paint, paper, cheese, and a dog...or dogs if you have two.
Behold the power of cheese.
Step 1 - load paint on your dog's front paws. 
Putting paint on Baby's paw, using an old lid to hold the paint.
Step 2 - use the cheese (or whatever your dogs favorite treat is) as bait and coerce them around the paper. Or if you have a hyper Pomeranian, just hold the cheese up and she'll start prancing her feet and jumping.

Step 3 - clean up and let the art dry

Step 4 - Frame and enjoy
Baby's on the left, Paris's on the right
Project cost breakdown:
Paint          $0 - already owned
Paper         $0 - already owned
Cheese      5 cents....maybe, already owned
Frames      $24 for two @ Target
Dogs         Priceless
Total         $24.05


$24 for two pieces of art. And, if you had extra frames laying around, it would be free art! What do you think? Do y'all have any artwork made by a pet? Have you ever considered your dog as an artist? Or does your dog think it's an artist by tearing up paper or leaving paw prints on the floor?