Category Archives: home

Carmen San Diego

Anyone remember that show?


Because I was kind’ve banking on the fact that the song would now be stuck in your heads.

[you’re welcome!]


Well, I feel like I’ve been singing that song a bit too often, lately, because every post that I’ve written and either published or scheduled to publish the next day has apparently not actually done so.


Every.  Single.  Post.


What in the world?!  I didn’t realize.  In fact, I never even double-checked because I just assumed that when wordpress told me it was publishing that it wasn’t a big, fat, liar-pants.


So I’m sorry for disappearing after saying that I was finally back.  And frankly, I’m not sure I even remember everything that I posted on because… well… nothing is stored anywhere!


Regardless of the list of excuses (ex: “I swear it wasn’t my fault – wordpress ate my homework!”), I’m hoping to post some projects that I’ve been working on here and there for friends and family as well as my own house, and also hope to finally get some half-decent pictures of the house up for y’all so that you can see what I’m working with.  The goal is then to put out some ideas and feelers and see if any of you have some tips for decor or ideas for where I can score some great finds – the plan is for this to be a bit of a collaborative effort, rather than just another DIY page.


I’m also planning to post some half-finished or not-yet-begun projects to get some opinions on where to take them.  A kind of “reader’s choice” for some things, with some already completed projects and how-tos mixed in for giggles.


Well… that’s all.  I know it seems like another excuse, but I swear I thought I had posted at least 3 times within the past couple of weeks, so I’m sorry to seem MIA again… I actually wasn’t this time!  Now this time, I’m copying everything and verifying it has published from a difference device.

Because fool me four times…. and I’ve really just earned it at that point.




Our House: Dream vs. Reality

Studly and I are big fans of Craftsman style homes.  We loove them.

I have LONG admired the clean yet comfortable lines of the exterior and how it’s pretty much a must to have a covered front porch.

It’s just gorgeous.  They so easily incorporate both rustic and clean elements which just feels like it screams “HOME!” to me.

And another bonus the fact that almost any interior style would work well with this home style… but especially things that I love love love, such as:

Five-panel doors –

Bulky, yet clean and simple moulding –

Cozy built-ins –

Barn Doors –

Coffered Ceilings –

Large, open kitchen islands –

School house and/or farmhouse lights –

And board and batten –

Basically… our dream home is a classic Craftsman style home.  Unfortunately, that is just not quite our reality.

Here’s what we actually have:

A 100% Spanish Style House.

Now don’t get me wrong, Spanish style homes can be beautiful.

And since I live in Texas, now… I am totally cool with them (am I the only one who finds it strange that someone would build a Spanish style home in the middle of Maryland?).  They at least make sense to me, here.

Fortunately, there are still a lot of ways to incorporate the features I shared above into a Spanish style home without it seeming out of place.  But some of them… not so much.

So there you have it.  Our dream vs. our Reality.  And it could definitely be worse!  One day, it’ll be perfectly “us”… and it’ll be awesome.  In the meantime, I’m daydreaming of ways to blend the two styles together to create a perfect blend of our style and our current house.  After all, we don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

What style homes do you all live in?  What are you dreaming about and what are you thrilled to have in your home?


Build Me Up, Buttercup

When we bought our home, we did so knowing that it was way more house than we would ever need.  Even once we bring home some littles, it’s still a really large house.

Based on the fact that we live in Texas, cost-of-living means that even though our house is large, we didn’t pay a crazy amount of money for it.  In fact, having moved here from Maryland, spending this amount of money on a house was completely standard (on the lower end, probably) and yielded WAY more square footage than it would have back there… and that’s putting it mildly.

But I said all of that to say this… buying a big house means that you are signing up for a LOT of work.  It takes way longer to clean (which I despise anyway), it took a lot more effort to decorate for Christmas, and when it comes to writing out a list of all of the things we’d like to do to fix the pace up… well that list is loooooooooong, people.

One thing that I’ve decided to add to the list this weekend is the Office/Craft Room.  You see – it’s currently packed with stuff.  There’s just stuff… everywhere.  The mess got much better once I actually starting hanging decor around the house since it had been the dumping grounds for all decor-related items when we were unpacking, but there’s still just a bunch of crud sitting aallll over the place.

Here’s the space we’re working with:


It’s right off the entry and has a large, nicely shaped window to let in massive amounts of natural light.

Unfortunately, the previous owners (or the builders… sometimes we can’t figure out who did what) put these cheapy white plantation-style shutters framed around the window, so you lose the nice shape AND the broken shutters keep all of that gorgeous natural light out.  Granted, I could open the shutters, but they are all broken… so it would take manually flipping each piece of wood open by hand and then manually closing each one at night.  And I frankly don’t care enough to do that, especially since I have been avoiding that room at all costs due to its current state.

We currently have so much stuff piled into this room that the only way to deal with it was to shut the doors, keep the shutters closed, and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Obviously.

But in the real world, it needs some serious attention.  It’s even got this massive closet that is just screaming with potential:


It sits in the corner opposite the window wall and is almost impossible to get a decent shot of.  But I promise I tried!  See?


Between the lighting and the placement of the current furniture pieces, it’s just not happening.  But hopefully you can still tell how massive it is.  Because once all of that storage stuff is removed, there is going to be “SO much more room for activities!!”  (name that movie!)

Now… daydream with me if you will and go with me to a magical place – an imaginary perfect world.  Let’s first imagine that the walls are not yellow any longer.  This is the same color that 90% of my house is currently painted with, but that’s definitely not going to remain the case.  So that’d be the first thing to go in this room, too.

Then, imagine no more clutter.  Let’s pretend it’s even possible to do visualize that… this is my imaginary perfect world, after all.  And then… picture some built-ins on this window wall.

Shelves on both sides and a window bench below the window itself.  Something perhaps similar to this:


Can’t you just see it?  And with the curve of the window adding even more visual interest, I think it’d be just gorgeous.  And that it would perfectly bring purpose to this Office.  And brightening up that space with some real natural light – well that will do a WORLD of good in this space.

And check this one out:


Yeah.  If I wasn’t already, I’m sold on it now for sure.

With the built-ins on that wall, I’ll have to get creative with some things on the wall to its left (looking at the window) so that it doesn’t seem so empty.  But ideally the desk will be on a nice, large area rug and floating in the middle of the room.

And since it’s an office and not a bedroom, I plan to switch out the fan for a nice statement light of some kind… but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen for sure, considering the fact that not having a fan in a room is practically blasphemous in Texas.

Anywho, that’s one more thing on our large list of dreams that we call our “to do” list.  This house may be big, but we really want it to feel cozy and inviting.  And little by little, we will get it there someday.

So let’s hear it – what big house projects are you dreaming up these days?  It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s realistic or if you think you’ll ever get to it, I’d still LOVE to hear about it! 🙂


Color Theory, Part III

I finally did it!

I took out the camera (read: not the iPhone) and took some pics of the Master bedroom so that you can see how the color actually translated in our space.  This is the moment of truth… this is when you either decide I’m super crazy and possibly color blind, OR you join me in my sorrow and admit that it’s not just me!

Don’t know about you,butI’m really pulling for that last one.

Anywho, instead of stretching this out too much further I will jump right to the chase.  As a reminder of how far we’ve come, here’s the “before” collage again:

Yeah.  It IS just as bad as you remembered.  That part is unfortunately not only true, but forever burned into my memory.

And now for the big reveal, here’s the “after” picture (and hopefully soon just a “progress” picture in the journey to a winning, permanent color

*drumroll please*

Agh!  See how not warm and greigey it is?  Not. At. All.

Remember, THIS is what we were hoping for when we picked Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter:


But instead, we ended up with some kind of iced blue-grey color.. which may not be bad for some spaces or tastes, but this is quite a large room, and having all of the walls this ice-grey just turns the space into a cold, wintry, uber boring space.  And that’s SO not what I was going for.

I wanted the warmth of the image above.  The crisp, neutral color that would play well with pretty much anything I put in there.  It’s lighten up the space, but keep it feeling cozy.  It it isn’t too brown or yellow… but it is JUST right.

Welp – that perfect color still eludes me.  And for now, I wake up every morning to quick albeit fleeting, a moment of panic that I’ve been thrown unwillingly into an insane asylum.  And that’s NOT a fun feeling… especially for someone like me who occasionally wonders if they aren’t too far off from being qualified for an extended stay.

So for now, this is what we are dealing with:

In the interest of full disclosure, there are very brief moments in the day, in very small corners of the room, where the sunlight hits the walls just right and we see a tinge of that warmth we were looking for when we decided to pull the trigger on this color selection:


And it’s JUST enough to drive me absolutely batty.  Because when I happen to be in the room during these fleeting moments of warmth, I wonder how it could possibly have translated so poorly throughout the majority of the day and on the majority of the wall space.  Because THAT is eXACTly what I wanted to walls to look like!

But noon.  That’s WAY too easy, Hope.

So when I see this warmth peek through, there’s a part of me that wonders if I should just try sticking with this color, but having it mixed at 125 or maybe 150%.  Perhaps going just a skosh darker would be just the ticket to bringing out more of that warmth we were hoping for.

But instead, we have this.

Although it is definitely temporary, we’re not sure when it’ll bump back up on the priority list enough for us to actually repaint the room (especially considering it took us about 2.5 days to do it the first time).  And frankly, when that time does finally come, I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable enough with committing to another color that may end up steering me wrong yet again.  Because doing this a THIRD time just sounds crazy!

So… that’s where we sit.  I keep from hanging any decor in our room because I just want to repaint it anyway.  Well, that and the fact that I want to find and refinish a dresser to replace the one we currently have, so it seems almost silly to put a room together with all of this still up in the air.

And don’t get me wrong – the change from the before to the after/progress pics is still a HUGE improvement.  And waking up in a stark cold room seems like more of a clean slate then dealing with the baby poo yellow ANY day of the week.  I just wish that I didn’t feel like we wasted 2.5 days of work for nothing.  :/

Now that you’ve seen it… What do you think?  Has anyone else had such bad luck with picking paint colors?  And let’s hear it – do you think I”m crazy for being so disappointed, or do you agree that it is MUCH colder than it appears in the inspiration pictures?


Color Theory, Part II

A few months back, when we finally got around to painting our Master bedroom, I mentioned in this post that it didn’t turn out so hott.

Well, I thought I should maybe show you what I meant so that I could 1) prove it, and 2) see if it’s just me.

As per usual when referencing pictures taken prior to 2015, I have some pretty poor quality visuals for you, but its going to have to do since I can’t “tuuurrrrn back tiiiime”…which would actually be super helpful at times like there where you spend time, money, and effort on something that does NOT turn out as hoped (also, you’re welcome for the song that is now stuck in your head. Point for Me! *selfhighfive).

To start, here’s what our bedroom looked like when we moved in:

So. Much. Awesome.  Right?!

Oofta (shout out to my northern peeps!).

I had almost forgotten how bad it was.  And frankly, as per typical quick-snap iPhone photos – this doesn’t even do it justice.  Imagine the golden-yellowy color to be more of a… we… actually it was quite literally the color of newborn poo.  You know, post tarry black muck, but pre-real poos.  Yeah.  It is exactly that color.

Also, you’re welcome for the poo reference.

And the navy blue was… well… somehow, even though the baby poo yellow didn’t translate, the blue almost did.  Mostly so in the top left shot within the image.  Quick – someone tell me if these are some college team colors, somewhere.  Help me make sense of this!!


I just don’t get it.

I do wish I could locate the pics that this house was listed with, because although it doesn’t seem all that bad in those pictures, it really proves that there wasn’t a lot of intention with regard to these paint colors, either.  It’s not as though they had some furniture pieces or bedding or curtains that they were trying to tie together.  Nothing like that.  I suppose I am just left wondering.


We started painting.  And we aren’t ones to prime unless the colors are drastically different or there are multiple colors in a wall (stripes, texturing techniques, planets – yep. I said planets.  Just you wait.).

The first thing I did was set out to touch up the trim.  And quickly discovered that it was NOT white.  I’m sure this isn’t unusual for most of you, but where I moved here from, everything was stark white.  If it was white, it was WHITE.  So I didn’t think twice when I picked up the pint of high gloss white paint to touch-up the trim around the house.  Yeah… that didn’t quite work.

Oh and also, our ceiling isn’t white, either.  Oddly enough, it’s not even the same color throughout.  The previous owners were not smokers, but it has allowed in some spots and become this interesting variety of shades of white and ivory.


Upon discovering the fun variety of whites in the room, I had a “screw it” moment and decided to just go for it on the walls.  I could just com back and touch up the trim and paint the ceiling later – it’s not the best way to paint, but it certainly wasn’t going to ruin anything in the long run.  Why not.  Let’s just get this mess DONE already!

So I went to down.  Painted along the trim with a brush, first.  Then along the ceiling (where I’d decided that the baby poo yellow was bad enough to just paint over… even if it wasn’t a straight line… and it was the right call.  Even though there’s not a straight line, having that awful color covered made a WORLD of difference in the end result!).  Then we filled it all in, which is basically like coloring inside the lines (one successful thing you learned in kindergarten and can still apply.  Yess!).

And the more we filed it in, the more it felt like we were painting our room white.

But we kept going, because I was convinced that it was just a much lighter color than the baby poo yellow and navy blue inset wall.  And once it was all covered, we’d have a room covered in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (color matched with Valspar, because I’m cheap like that) and it would be glorious.

Afterall… look at all of these Pinterest examples of the absolutely perfect color choice we had made:





Right?!  See how warm and perfectly neutral and spot-on-greige it is?  That’s exactly what I was going for!  I planned to throw in a ton of color with decor and a fun accent space, so it’d be the prefect backdrop for my vision to come to life.

Just oooonnne small problem.  It wasn’t happening.

The more we painted.  And even after coats 2 and 3… it just did NOT appear warm.




My test “splotches” (that’s a very technical term, for those of you unaware) just didn’t truly show the color in a space that was not already painted baby poo yellow.

This is where I had my Nancy Kerrigan moment and threw my two-second “WHYYY MEEEE?!” hissy fit.

(Sidenote:  I’m team Nancy all the way.  You got robbed, girl!  ROBBED!!)

Anywho, that’s not even remotely what we actually ended up with.  Unfortunately, I am at a loss as to where my “after” pictures decided to hide themselves.  And since I want to give the color a fair shot and really want you to see it in all of it’s very limited glory, I will wait until daylight and take them again tomorrow.  I’ll try to take them from the same angles, and with the same quick-snap iPhoto style that seems to be my thang.  Only for comparison’s sake, of course.  I promise.

So stay tuned in for Part III in the coming days.  I’m eager to hear what you all think.  But prepare yourselves… it’s cold and stark (much like Tanya Harding’s heart).

Has anyone else had some terrible paint color luck as of late?  As much as I wouldn’t wish it on you, it’d be nice to know that I’m not alone in this cold, stark, almost-white room of mine… other than Studly, of course.  Obvie.


The Nooky

Breakfast style, that is.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people.

tsk. tsk. tsk.

Today is all about the breakfast nook.  More specifically, the little table that sits in it.  Because what good is a breakfast nook if you can’t actually enjoy your breakfast there, right?  Right!

From the day we moved into this house, I new I needed a round table for the breakfast nook.  You see, the room itself is shaped like an octagon, and even though it’s large, I thought it was seem silly to put a square or rectangular table in it.  In a dream world, I’d love to have some kind of booth-able situation… you know, a room where having a table with a booth could make sense.  But with low windows, a walkway cutting through, and a broad shape… there was no way to make that happen here.  Enter the round table plan.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but finding a simple round pedestal table with four chairs for less than $200 is NOT easy.  Especially not when you only have a few weeks to find one.  And what I really wanted was a nice table that I could refinish myself.  I had just bought my new Ryobi orbital sander for a ridiculous amount of money (I practically stole the thing, you guys.  Seriously – $11?  How is that possible?!) and was itching to try the thing out.  Plus, we had so much deep, dark wood in the adjoining kitchen that I was hoping to something a bit lighter for the breakfast nook so that things didn’t feel so weighed down.

I looked ALL over.  After all the searching, I found a couple options in our area on craigslist, but they weren’t the best prices, and even then… I never got a response.

Do the people want to sell the thing, or what?!  Get it togetha!

FINALLY I stumbled upon an amazing situation.

Not only did I find this 48″ round pedestal table for $150, but it was also raw wood.

Did you read that?!  RAW WOOD!  That meant even LESS time prepping the thing so that I could refinish it as planned… which was perfect, because this was also about the time we found out that we were hosting family Christmas and we only had 6 weeks to get our house ready.

Umm… hold please.

I need to be sure you understand – the 6 weeks was not the amount of tie we had to wash the sheets for the guest bed, run a vacuum, and fluff a few pillows… we had a MASSIVE undertaking with purchasing and refinishing a kitchen table, dining room table, and sorting out the entertainment center situation, purchasing a queen-sized bed, painting the guest room (the walls were covered in planets and personal notes… be sure to look for that post in the new future.  smh), buying and installing shower curtain rods in the guest bathrooms, unpacking the rest of the boxes that were still living in said guest rooms, and decorating for Christmas somewhere in there.  Umm… no big deal, right?  Did I mention that we both have full-time jobs that tend to have us working longer than 40-hour weeks?  Yeah.  I was gonna lose my mind.  No doubt about it.

Anywho – hopefully you can know understand the amazingness that is us having found this raw wood table.  Exactly the size we needed, in raw wood, and available for pick-up immediately.  SOLD!!

Although I once again have crappy pictures (I promise that I finally charged my camera battery, so these awful, yellowy pictures should stop, soon… just gotta catch up on the posts and then I promise that you’ll have some better pictures to look at), here’s a quick iPhone photo of what I brought home that day:

I know it may not look like much, but it was EXACTLY what we needed!  And it didn’t take long for me to whip out all of the stuff I needed and get to work.

Now I’m sure that some of you may be wondering why I needed to sand the table since it was raw wood to begin with.  Well, I’m glad you asked.  😛

You see, even when working with Raw Wood, you want to sand the wood as a way to prepare the surface.  If you were going to apply something like paint (esp. chalk paint), this wouldn’t be necessary.  You’d get to skip this part and go straight to wiping it down to rid the piece of any dust or dirt, or anything that would get into your paint and irritate the mess out of you… because we ALL know that’s what’ll happen.  Lesbionest. (sorry… just channeling my inner Fat Amy. movingrightalong)

Also, when working with Raw Wood, there’s bound to be a knick or mark somewhere on the piece.  So a simple sanding will help to level out these marks and rid your piece of any of those marks so that you can end with a beautifully stained piece and you won’t see those marks peaking through.  Here’s a simple before show so you can see how little the marks and knicks were on mine.

The fact that they were little didn’t really matter, though.  When you put your time into fixing up a piece, you don’t want some junky black mark jumping out through the finish, so that’s why we nip it in the behind right from the start.

In my case, since I was planning to paint the bottom of the table, I skipped the sanding step for the base.  I’ll be honest, though… taking one look at all of those nooks and crannies really just pushed me right on in to painting land.  Sanding all of that mess was not on my list of ideal tasks, so… paint’ll do!

One thing that I didn’t take any pictures of, and I really wish that I had (constantly kicking myself for missing the obvious), is the difference between using and not using wood conditioner.  So I’m going to steal a few example shots from the interwebs (click on pics to link to original posts) because it is a MASSIVE must-do when it comes to staining your wood…

Can you see the difference there?  No, it’s not your screen.  Wood, on it’s own, is going to absorb your stain and finish in a really blotchy and uneven manner (left image).  Applying wood conditioner will reduce this effect greatly (right image).  Here’s another couple of examples, just to drive the point home:

Amazing different, right?  Basically, if you are as invested in the pieces that you are finishing as I am to mine, you do NOT want to cut corners and skip this step.  Now that this poor horse has been killed 3 times over, it’s probably safe to move on.  Aaaaaanywho

I started staining (and once again, forgot to take a progress shot) the top of the table, and planned to paint the base and such between coats.  This, I learned the hard way, is not the ideal way to finish a piece you plan to stain AND paint.  Take it from me… and I’m sure you’ll hear many different preferences and version of this story, but in my experience paint and THEN stain.  You can always touch up paint, but touching up stain is not an option.  Unfortunately.  *le sigh

So I applied the first coat of stain to the tabletop and then moved to the base to apply the first coat of paint.  (Note:  If you have a paint sprayer, your life is better than mine.  Also, this is a good use for it.)

For those of you that are CDO like myself (hint: CDO is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order like they should be), you’re probably thinking “did you use Wood Conditioner?  Because that looks pretty dagger splotchy to me.” Yes.  Thank you for that.  But this is WITH wood conditioner and only one coat of stain (laid on pretty thick, might I add).  I’m sure you can imagine how nasty uneven and splotchy this baby would’ve been without the wood conditioner.  MmHmm.  Exactly.

Oops… did I just beat that horse again?  My bad, dude.  My bad.

If you look in the background of the above picture, you can also see that the base has it’s first coat done as well.  Woot!  *selfhighfive

Another coat on each, and it was looking even better:

Hey there, pretty.

Now she just needed me to paint her trim and then we were golden.  Trim?  Ledge?  Neck?  I think we all know what I’m talking about.

Well, this is where I discovered that painting the TrimLedgeNeck before staining would’ve been better.  Not only does stain take a LOT longer to set and dry then paint does, but because it’s also less forgiving, it makes me a heaping mess of “IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!” while trying to tape everything off underneath.

And I really don’t want you to have to go through that.  Save yourself.  Protect your loved ones.  Paint before you stain!

Now… you guys wanna see something hott?!  You know you do…



Hey there, good lookin’.  Wanna some over to my place and stay a’while?


And there we have it.

Now there’s still a LOT of work to do in this breakfast nook, so don’t judge me for the room… just focus on the table.  Simple.  Pretty.  And finished.

I should probably point out that I used a satin poly finish on this table.  I’m not sure if you can tell, but that’s what helps it look so glossy.  I was tempted to try out a matte poly to give it a more rustic look, but since I didn’t have time to rough up any other bits of the table, I feared it would actually just look dull rather than rustic, and then I’d be super bummed because of all the work I’d put into it.

See?  I get a little too attached to the projects I work on, so it tends to take some time to really finalize what I want to do before starting things.  Hopefully that won’t translate to taking forever to do things, but… I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

For now I’m still recovering from the 6 weeks of jam-packed pre-Christmas house preparation, so Lord only knows when I’ll be picking up another project.

Then again… knowing me, it won’t be long at all.  I’m kind’ve a sucker for this stuff.

Maybe it’s the drama of it all that keeps me going in the end.  HAHA Wait… no… it’s the lack of money and ability to find what I’m looking for most of the time anyway.  Yep… that’s definitely it.  If you can’t find it, just make it yourself.

So what are you all working on these days?  Any big projects around the house?  Are you still recovering from Christmas with the family as well, or is it just Studly and I that take about a month to bounce back?


Let Me Entertain You

When we bought this house, it came with quite an array of …. junk.  Only some of which is even worth mentioning.

We acquired a massive wood pile in the back yard (which may hold some possibilities, but is currently just a massive eye sore and most of it is unusable).  We gained a ridiculous amount of crap in the garage (seriously – how much fertilizer and bug killer does one need?).  And we inherited a massive entertainment center (left in a not massive room) that was too tall to just move into another room without first being completely disassembled.

Initially, this all just seemed to translate into a lot of work.  But once we started to really get a handle on things, much of it started to look more convenient than previously thought.  So we took stock and just added all it to the list.

THEN we found out that family was coming for Christmas and suddenly our list got rearranged and prioritized to an unrealistic amount of things that had to be done before mid-December.  Awesome.  But hey… what better time to just get stuff done, right?  We work better on a deadline anyway.

So as we went through the list and started to determine what we actually had time to accomplish before our guests arrived, we decided that we didn’t have enough time to build an entertainment center as I’d really wanted, and this beast would just take way more work than we really wanted to invest (since we didn’t plan to keep it long-term).  But we had to have something because our previous/current Tv Stand didn’t exactly fare well during the cross-country move.  Enter a certain discounted home furnishings website and our luck in finding the perfect Entertainment Center for what we really wanted in our space.  Boom!  Everyone’s a winner.  Huzzah!!

Unnnnntil we got an e-mail about it not possibly being delivered until the day after Christmas.  Wait – what?!  The website had initially said that it’d be shipped within 3-5 business days… back when we made the purchase at the end of November.  And we paid for standard shipping.  Stupid fine print!  Because it was considered an overpriced piece, the only method of shipment was to have it physically driven from somewhere in the middle of Illinois straight to our home in Texas.  And that alone would take at least 3 weeks.  Sheesh.  Sounds like the worst road trip ever.  NoThanks!

There we were… back to the drawing board.  And our options had now dwindled down to paying a stupid amount of money for a new Entertainment Center that wasn’t exactly what we wanted and would need to be refinished anyway (which seemed like a waste of said money) OR refinishing “the Beast.” And of course now we were only about 2.5 weeks away from guests arriving and were already planning to finish a dining room table and ottoman that were scheduled to be delivered sometime within that timeframe.  Murphy – you ol’ poopstick.  Why does your law always seem to win out?

Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a peak at the beast… in all of its original, left behind glory.  Oh – sorry for the awful lighting and terrible camera angles… this room is long and narrow and there weren’t really a ton of options for better perspective.

Yeah.  It’s pretty massive, right?

And has thus far become the dumping ground for all books and assorted “stuff” that didn’t yet have another home in the new house.

And before you start thinking anything like “it’s not so bad” or “that would be expensive if purchased anywhere”… let me give you a few close-ups from after we disassembled and explain what we discovered.

Among being built without much attention to detail, and without anything remotely close to some level of craftsmanship, it was also not stained until after it was assembled.  And though that may not seem that terrible, when I say “assembled,” I’m even including the insertion of the adjustable shelves.  None of it was stained before being put together.  AND it was stained INSIDE the home.  I know this because of the stain marks on the walls and on my tile floor.  *sigh

Anywho – without further delay, here’s a few close-ups of what we were working with (sorry again for the bad light spots and weird shots… I wasn’t thinking about the blog when I took these and I am kicking myself for that, now):

See those drips and all that goop? And how about some along the wide open sides (before you start thinking that it was just because it was near the floor… which they managed to get stain on anyway):

Yeah. Random and unnecessary.

I really wish I would’ve gotten some better shots, but I was taking them after daylight was pretty much gone and we had turned on the overhead lights (stupid stupid stupid!).

How about one more shot of the brush marks where you can tell they didn’t blend or wipe in the stain, but just brushed it on like paint and left it:

Not exactly my favorite look.  Call me crazy.

And it had also seemed to have taken a pretty good beating over the years – water spots and wax build-up aplenty:

Hott, right?

If you’re into that kind of thing.

So… now that you have a better idea of what we’re up against, let’s get into some progress shots.

Oh a Thursday night, I finally took the plunge.  I pull out my new Ryobi Orbital Sander (now THAT is a score I’ll have to tell you about sometime) and went to town.

Here’s everything laid our in the garage and you can tell that I’d already begun sanding everything:

You see that area in the bottom left corner of the image where it is really light?  Yeah… I hadn’t sanded that down, yet – that is just where the middle piece meet the side piece on this one.  See what I mean about not sanding until after it was assembled?  And if you look at the bookshelf furthest from the camera (*coughiPhonecough*), you can see where the adjustable shelves had been when they that piece was stained.  Nice and thorough, boys.  Nice. and. Thorough.

Anywho, as I got into sanding, the wood looked pretty nice.  Without the caked on stain and sealant it wasn’t so shabby and I was starting to see the possibility of a nice piece.  Just needed a little love and elbow grease to bring it out.

And when I say “little”, what I really mean is a ridiculous crap-ton, of course.  Obvs.  But look at the different!

Unfortunately, I had to get serious.  I do believe with the right stain color and the right technique (read: ANY actual technique) this could be a not-so-bad wood piece.  But I did NOT have time to stain the entire thing in a way that would bring out it’s beauty and still have time to apply a poly to ensure that it wouldn’t get worn too quickly or easily.

This meant that we were going to need to paint it.  My only hesitation to just paint from the beginning was that 1) there’s a lot of wood knots and texture to this piece and was worried that just straight painting would look a little cheap (and I did not have time to distress anything after applying paint), and 2) this is Texas.  If we really were considering selling this thing after sometime not to long after Christmas, I needed to appeal to the masses, right? Nothing too taste specific and nothing to crazy.

Here’s a close-up of some of the neat little knots and textures of the Beast:

See those pretty little bits?  If I was going to be stuck with this piece for any period of time, I was NOT going to lost any of that goodness.  But what would that mean as far as painting was concerned?

Frankly, I didn’t have time to second guess myself and flip-flop around with it.  I need to just make a decision and get to work.

And with that realization, paint became the name of the game.

So I got to work.  I didn’t want to hand paint the entire thing because… let’s get real.  In this day and age, that’s just silly.  So I decided I would “prime” the piece with some leftover paint I had and then spray it white. White is simple, not too taste specific, and all in all would work well in many spaces.  Now we had a plan.

It began.  And as I was working, I realized that the paint I was using as my primer, was actually a cream color and not a white (though you probably can’t tell from this distance).

Dadgummit!  Ah well.  Close enough.  No going back now, right?

Welp, this is where I stopped taking pictures.  Because frankly, this is where things started to get SUPER frustrating.

I had opted to spray paint the entire thing because of time and in order to get an even and non-strokey finish.  Since I hadn’t yet purchased a paint sprayer, but had asked for one for Christmas, I figured I’d super simplify things by just using good old fashioned spray paint.  I’ve done a ton of spray painting in my life and already had a good handle on technique and figured it wouldn’t take too much effort this way.  So why not, right?

Going into this project, I have always been a brand snob when it comes to spray paint.  When it comes to normal paint, I’m more of a color snob, but not really as concerned with brands.  But with regard to spray paint, I have always stuck with the original – Rustoleum.  To be clear, that was before.  I am no longer stuck on Rustoleum spray paint and it may take some kind of miracle (or severe shortage of other options) before I’m willing to purchase another can of their spray paint.

I purchased somewhere around 15 cans of spray paint for this project (though not all at once, because I initially figured I could get it done with much less).  Out of the total, at least 6 cans were defective.

That is over 1/3 of the total.  Are we serious??  Really?!  Come the HECK ON!  And it all translated to 3 total trips to the store for more because I’d need one or two more, would buy more than I thought I’d actually need in that trip, but then would get home and discover that several of them wouldn’t work.  And here are the categories of insanity that I was working with (read: the ways they were defective):

  • watery, yellow liquid rather than the glossy white paint it was supposed to contain
  • something I can only describe as some kind of paint turd slowly oozing out when the “trigger” was pulled, and then never stopping even with the trigger was released
  • messy, chunky bits randomly spewing out all over the piece
  • almost empty! no really – having taken the red stopper off myself, I hadn’t been spraying for more than 10 seconds when it was just done.  empty.  completely out of paint.

Needless to say, I was BEYOND furious.  How many times did this have to happen?  And I had even purchased them from different stores, so it’s not like it was just one bad pallet.  And when I’d run into another bad can, it felt infinitely worse than it probably would’ve been if I had just been starting because by then – I was spraying/spewing this awfulness onto the piece where I had already made so much progress and was trying to blend in where the previously sprayed areas were.  So as it was spreading its ridiculousness, it was ruining what I had just worked so hard to already finish and/or correct.



By the time I finished, I just needed to not even LOOK at the thing for a few days.  Seriously.  I convinced myself that it stayed in the garage to “set” before we brought it into the house, and that was true, but it really didn’t need to set for 4 days.  I was just beyond frustrated.

So here it is.  Far from my best work, and definitely in need of touching up and a little distressing, but it was what it was and it would stay that way for at least a month or more… or until I could build myself up to messing with it again, anyway.

(ignore the laundry basket filled with blankets… you see nothing!)

And here are a couple of close-ups so that you can see how the painting translated with those cute, quirky little knots and bits of texture that I wanted to preserve:

I do wish I had filled in just the little finishing nail holes and just left the natural wood roughness, but it all seems to blend for now, anyway.  Besides… you live and you learn, right?!

And here are a couple of shots (terrible angles, again.  sorry!) from when I finally got some decor up on the shelves (incl. some Christmas stuff).  Also… the Pup says hello?

As you can see, we had to get creative when it came to an end table for now.  These are just two stained crates stacked on top of each other, but it does the job for now.

Well, there ya have it.

I have big plans to switch up the stuff on the shelves, to hang something above the TV (to fill in that empty space when the Christmas tree garland is gone), and to put something on the top of the piece so that it’s not weird and naked when viewed from above.

You start to get a little glimpse into the height of this room in the shots above, but it’s really just soooo massive.  I need to not only put some things along the top of this piece, but then will still need to figure out something to do on the walls above it, too.  I have tons of things pinned as inspiration, but I’ll eventually have to narrow that down and formulate an actual plan.  And then do the same in the open space above the windows, and then the areas below the “window” openings from the floors above on the other two walls.

You know what they say about Great Rooms… with great room comes great responsibility.  Or something like that.

Now that this thing is “done” and back into the house (in a newer, larger room than before), for now, we have decided to keep it for longer than month or two.  It’s still probably not going to be a forever piece unless it really starts to grow on us (perhaps some touch-up paint and light distressing would help with that?), but it more than works for now.  And it’s funny, I can already picture a few things I’d like to do with it in the future (pallet wood backs to the shelves, filling the nail holes, lightly distressing the piece a bit, and many other things that will quite possibly never happen), but I’m not unhappy when I look at this wall, anymore.  And that, my friends, speaks volumes!

So what have y’all been working on, lately?  Any house projects taking up your time?  Is your “to do” list as massive as mine is?  I swear that thing has found a way to clone itself while I’m sleeping.

Hugs and awkward high fives!


Color Theory

Before hitting the “go” button on painting our new Master Bedroom, we tried out quite a few sample samplers before landing on a color that seemed perfect.  I even researched the color… no seriously!  And after seeing just how highly rated this designer solar was, it just felt like it had to be foolproof.

So we pulled the trigger.

And 2.5 days later, we hate it.

The worst part is that it just took us SO long to finish painting, thanks to the ridiculousness that is lay-down textured walls.  Can I get an Amen?!  And that wasn’t just because we’re slow or we took our time, either… I painted for 9 hours on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, and then Studly finished up with a few hours on Monday (thank you Columbus!).

The problem is that the color is just so much lighter than we anticipated.  And we had even painted swatches of it on every wall, sometimes several times on a wall.  Super frustrating!  Really, though – search Pinterest (or Google) for Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.  It does NOT look like a very light, cold color in pretty much ANY of the pictures or articles about it.  So I was thoroughly displeased with the outcome.

Our bedroom is quite large, so now that it’s entirely painted this really light color, and since none of the warmer aspects of the color came through at all, it feels like we’re waking up in an asylum.  The only time you can tell the awl isn’t white is when you look at it right next to the trim.

Oh right… and our ceiling and trim aren’t quite white either.  *sigh.  which I discovered after trying to touch up where the awful previous colors were around the ceiling.

So that’s where we are.  Ridiculously exhausted from all of the time and effort spent painting over the holiday weekend, and really disappointed with the end result.  We aren’t making any rash judgments about the color just yet, but frankly – I’m not at all sure how we could change our minds to keep it.  It’s just not what we wanted and in our effort to make this place feel like home, it feels like we’ve just taken 3 steps in the wrong directions.

Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

Have you ever done something like this?  Have you had bad experiences with paint color, either in your choice or in a house you’ve moved in to?  Any suggestions for painting textured walls?

My biggest thing now?  I’m on a huge paint sprayer kick.  I’m almost positive that an airless sprayer will make painting this house LEAPS and BOUNDS easier than any other technique.  Has anyone had any experience with paint sprayers?  I am ALL ears – err… eyes?

Wish us luck in finding the strength to try again… and in finding the right paint color!


Kick In The Pants

That’s exactly what I need, these days.  Someone really needs to just light a fire under this bum of mine.

I have all these ideas and plans and this big vision… but that’s where it has ended for this chick.  I have no “get up and go” to go with it.  It’s ridiculous.

We’ve been focussing on creating heather habits, which is awesome, of course.  But we really need to tsp up our game.

Sadly, we still have a few boxes that haven’t been unpacked (I’m ashamed!)… and we haven’t done like ANYthing in the way of decorating.  All of this translates to this place not really feeling like home yet.  And that’s almost 3 90 days after moving in.  And since we live in a new city and don’t really no anyone, feeling like home is kind’ve a big deal.  So I really need to get it in gear and start “moving in” to this place.

The problem?  I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to make decorating decisions in a room where we plan to replace big, key pieces of furniture.  Like our living room – our plan, within the next month or two, is to get a new entertainment center.  And that will really change the feel of the room AND mean relocating the things that I hang around that space.  So my “default” would be to hold off on hanging things in that room until that happens.  And then I think “Well, what I even want to put in there could change.  Right?”  I typically look at everything I have, and put things in a room that fits it.  But changing up the room could mean that different pieces would work better in there.

Well this is exactly why I hadn’t even started on this stuff thus far.  BUT the fact of the matter is that I need to get over it and just patch walls when necessary.  Luckily one of my favorite tricks is to not put nails into the wall unless I really have to.  So here’s what I normally use for wall art that isn’t too heavy:

BOOM!  I promise you – it makes ALL the difference.  AND it makes life sooo much easier for the following reasons:

  1. No more measuring for nail holes to be in just the right location to match up with the hanging hardware.  You just pick a spot, put the velcro pieces on the back of the art piece, and push against hard the wall for about 30 seconds.  Wah-lah!
  2. No more swinging art pieces and slamming doors or bumping into walls and knocking pieces off of the wall.  Using the velcro pieces on the top and bottom of the piece provides a layer of security that a couple nails just can’t offer.
  3. No more spackling, sanding, repainting just to move or switch out wall decor.  You just pull the piece off, remove the velcro piece from the wall, and reapply just the wall-pieces in order to re-hang in the decor a new location.

It’s worked so well in the past, so I’m glad to know that there won’t be any issues.  I can solve our problem of not quite feeling at home without committing to permanent decor placement in a room that is going to be changing in a pretty short period of time.  It’s exactly what we need here.

So… assuming that I can get off my bum and just get stuff done, we’ll be in great shape to start cozying up to our homey home (not to be confused with a homie home… ’cause we aren’t quite that cool).

What kinds of tips/tricks do you guys rely on when moving into a space?  How long do you typically take to “move in” to your space?  Am I the only one that still has unpacked boxes in the house?

This week, Hope is Trying to make a house a home.  What are you up to?


Setting the Mood

I mentioned (very briefly) in a past post that I wanted to start working on a few mood boards for the house.  And due to some recent massive and unexpected financial burdens, this seems to be the best way to still get to play around with my ideas without spending money that we don’t have.

So I work in stages – am I the only one?  And to start, I’ll give you the Living Room and our shorter term plan…  Or at least something that could resemble it in the hopefully-sometime-sooner-than-2018 future:


The plans include a couch (which we already own), a tufted ottoman (which I hope to make myself), a rug (since our floors are aaalllll tile), and a new entertainment center (I doubt Studly would go along with this one, but I love it for it’s color, and it’s casual, country-chic charm.  It’s definitely a work in progress, and I know it needs more color… or texture… or just – SOMEthing!  But it’s a start.  And this will be the first room we tackle because it’s really the center of our home.  Heh – that’s both literally and figuratively.  Nice one, Hope. *selfhighfive

So I’m shopping around for a rug that’s neutral, with at least a little visual interest in it… but still simple enough to both last us for a long time AND to go with almost anything as we really develop this room… and SUPER duper cheap.  Also, it must be Studly approved, and that seeeeeeriously cuts out pretty much the majority of the good options I find.  *le sigh

So as I work to develop a more long term plan, play around with some varying colors and styles, and work on improving my seriously hurting photoshop skills, does anyone have any suggestions?  Any styles that you’ve been dying to try yourself, but haven’t had the chance or the guts to commit to?

Help a sister out!


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