My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.




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Entries in Painting (5)


A Few Kitchen Updates

It has been a long time since I posted anything about my kitchen and since over the past few months I've made several changes I thought I would share.

First up was swapping out the vintage red and white enamel topped table that I had been using as a kitchen island. Let me just say that I love that table. I think it is fantastic. Since I stand at a towering 5'2" it is perfect for me as a work space plus it is super cute. My husband, however, had some differing opinions. He's a foot taller than me and it was way too low for him to comfortably use as a prep area in the kitchen, or as he would say the table was designed for munchkins.

Marriage is all about compromise (plus for selfish reasons I love having him make me dinner and thought removing any impediments to that would be in my best interest) so I had planned on building an island after we got married. Unfortunately, I have way more plans than time, so although I still intend to build a fantastic island that Frank will love the reality is that is likely a few years down the road. With that in mind I set about searching for something that would work better for us, but not break the bank.

I had no idea that kitchen islands were so dang expensive. Everything I seemed to like was about $1500 which was way more than I wanted to pay. Eventually I found a black kitchen cart with a stainless steel top on Overstock. At $368.99, it was still more than I would have liked to spend but it was the best option and by far the least expensive of anything I had found and I ended up ordering it in March.

When it arrived while Frank was out of town on a business trip I was excited to put it together and surprise him when he came home. Of course as I started putting it together I discovered that the two locking casters were missing and both side panels were broken. After some frustration I was able to get the replacement parts for the island a week later.  At this point I had become pretty annoyed with the kitchen cart so Frank, who had since returned home, kindly assembled it. 

In the end it has been pretty awesome. It is a great height for Frank to use as a prep space and I still have my lowered baking center to use when I am working on making something. I also like that the black color ties in with the black granite and the stainless top matches the appliances. The only thing I am not a fan of is the weird handles on the drawers. They have a strange cross hatch pattern on them, which is hard to see in the picture. Someday I will swap them out, but that is a minor thing to do down the road.

After we got back from our Scandinavia trip in May, Frank was off to Japan for work. I decided while he was gone that I should paint the kitchen. This is what happens when I am left to my own devices. The color has been a pretty green since I remodeled it when I first bought the house, but I was growing a little tired of the color. Additionally, the green was a little jarring with the macchiato color of the living/dining room that you could see through the pass through.

I wanted something lighter as well as a neutral and settled on Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak. Two coats of paint later and my kitchen was transformed.

With the fresh paint color on the walls there were a few more changes as well. While Frank and I were on our Scandinavian vacation most of the hotels we stayed at had a muesli bar as part of the buffet breakfast. We loved it and decided that we should make our own small version at home. Frank found the jars and filled them up with goodies and I found the wood tray at HomeGoods to stack them on.

The old red, white and green rug that I had been using in front of the sink had seen better days, plus with the new wall color I wanted something different so I replaced it with a hounds tooth check runner that I found at Target.

On the wall next to the window above the baking center I hung another HomeGoods find. I loved the mix of the white wire with the wood slats and rope hanger. On the top shelf I have a little bowl that I picked up at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul paired with some sake I bought in Japan. The second row has two pestles that I bought at the Chichicastenango Market in Guatemala, my great-grandmother's coffee can, an antique milk bottle that I bought at the Osu Kannon Flea Market my last day living in Japan and a tiny brass spice mill I bought in Turkey. On the bottom sits a hand painted bowl that I bought with Frank when we were in Positano, Italy two years ago. 

Overall I am really happy with the kitchen updates. They aren't the biggest changes but to me it really freshens up the space and makes everything seem so much brighter.

Still on my to do list in here is to sew some cafe curtains for the windows and add a subway tile backsplash, but I really need to finish tiling the downstairs bathroom before I even begin to think about that...


Mudding, Taping, Sanding and Painting!

Of all the basic remodeling jobs, finishing drywall is my least favorite. Covering screws and flat seams aren't so bad, but corners are the worst for me and unfortunately, even though my bathroom is small it has a lot of them at strange angles because of the sloped ceiling.

I had done my initial mudding and taping a while back but had been procrastinating about finishing everything up. Since I had a four day weekend from work I used two of the days to mud, sand and repeat. Because the spot where the sloped ceiling meets wall with the door is less than 90 degrees, my small angled sanding sponge came in handy to get in the tight spot for a nice finish.

After several rounds of mudding and sanding I finally had things smooth and to the point where I could finally move on.

I used my shop vac to clean up all the sanding dust and wiped down the walls and ceiling before putting on a coat of tinted primer.

Two coats of paint later and the ceiling and walls were all a nice dark charcoal grey (Valspar's Mark Twain Gray Brick). To help disguise the low ceilings I painted the ceiling and walls the same color and I thought the almost black color would be nice to balance out all of the white tile and woodwork that will eventually be in the room.

Next up is tiling the shower surround, which I already got started with on Monday. Despite having a hard time finding time to get this bathroom done I can't wait to get it finished!

For other related posts about this bathroom renovation check out the history of my downstairs bathroomfixtures for my bathroom renovationplumbing in the downstairs bathroominstalling the floor tile underlaymentinsulating the ceiling, installing the vapor barrier for the shower, installing drywall and cement board and tiling a vintage mosaic border. If you are interested in my completed master bathroom renovation check out master bathroom renovation recap.


Beginning the Master Bedroom Closet Makeover

Since we got married and Frank moved in with me this summer he has been hanging up his clothes on a standing clothes rack in the bedroom. Originally our plan was to use a beautiful antique armoire to convert into a closet for him. It is enormous so we checked the measurements for everything to make sure it could get through our front door, the bedroom door and fit in the bedroom itself. What we didn't account for was the headroom in the stairway which is just a smudge too short.

So apart from figuring out a long term solution for the armoire on the first floor Frank needs some place to hang his clothes which is bringing about this closet makeover.

The old closet system doesn't work for a few reasons. Originally it had only one bar on each side with the shelves above. The shelves are largely useless and just gather my junk so I want to hang the rods higher. I hung a second rod on one side of the closet but because the top rod wasn't very high it works for my clothes but not for Frank who is a foot taller than me. All in all if this closet was going to work for us I needed to completely rework the organization to maximize the space for both of us.

To start I set about cleaning out the closet (no easy feat with my pack rat ways!) and then demoing the existing organizers last weekend. I was as careful as I could be but the walls were pretty scuffed up and had a number of holes in the walls from where the old shelf supports were attached.

Using a putty knife, I filled all of the holes plus a few small dents the closet had acquired with some joint compound. After it had dried I applied another thin layer and then sanded everything smooth once it was dry.

While I was at it I wanted to paint the trim white so a little prep work was required there as well. I applied a bead of paintable, sandable caulk in all of the gaps and then smoothed it with my finger.

If you don't use a caulk gun very often one thing I'll mention is that right after you are done applying caulk hit the release on the back otherwise when you set it down it will slowly keep oozing out. I learned my lesson about this several years ago with a construction adhesive mishap. In case you are wondering construction adhesive is very tough to get off your hands and will turn them black. It made for a slightly awkward few days at work.

Anyway, back to the closet! With a coat of primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore's Simply White on the trim followed by two coats of Valspar's Oxygen White on the walls my closet was a fresh blank slate.

Next up I have some fun plans for the ceiling and closet light plus I'm going to build organizers that maximize the space for our needs. I can't wait to get the clothes back in the closet!


Michigan Racing Stripes For the Man Cave

After getting the plywood up on the ceiling and carpet pulled up from the floor in the man cave it was time to do something about the walls. Frank is a huge Michigan Football fan so there was no question that the room was going to be Michigan themed in Maize and Blue (the University's colors).

I thought that all Maize or all Blue walls might be a little overpowering so I suggesting to Frank that painting the walls white and having Maize and Blue racing stripes encircle the room would be cool. Frank thought it was a great idea so we went with it.

Here is what the room looked like before we painted:

The walls were pretty filthy so the first step was to wash it down with TSP followed by two coats of Benjamin Moore's Spanish White.

While waiting for the second coat to dry I laid down the roofing felt underlayment for the hardwood floor. I'll go into more detail about the hardwood later this week.

Once the paint was dry Frank and I taped off the stripes in the room. We made the top stripe 5" and the bottom 13" tall.

In order to get the stripes crisp and sharp we used a credit card to rub across the painter's tape to make sure it was really well adhered to the wall.

The next step was to paint Spanish White over the tape along the edges where the stripes would get painted. This is critical for getting a perfect line because any bleed through under the tape is in Spanish White which matches the wall. 

Next it was time to paint the stripes. I bought Benjamin Moore's Glimmer and Polo Blue which I thought matched Frank's Michigan football helmet pretty well.

I started with the top stripe using a 6" roller to paint it Glimmer. Two coats gave it good coverage. 

As soon as I finished the Glimmer I pulled off the top strip of tape. If you leave the tape on after it dries you risk pulling up some of your paint. I then rolled two coats of Polo Blue on the bottom strip.

I peeled off the tape and was pretty happy with the result. Most importantly, Frank loves it. I think it is going to turn out to be a really cool room once we are done. Next up hardwood flooring!


Paint For the Hallway (Finally!)

On Saturday I finished what I started on the hallway last weekend and finally got some paint up on the walls. First, I had to do a final sanding of the drywall compound on the section that I had drywalled. It can be easy to miss spots when you are only using your eyes so I always rub my hands over everything to make sure I have everything perfectly smooth before I prime the walls.

Here is everything before primer. I really hate doing corners but after a lot of mudding and sanding this one came out pretty well, I think.

The raw drywall had to be primed, but I decided to also prime the rest since the dark orangey red was going to be a bit tough to cover.

One trick that I learned to get really smooth walls is to lightly sand a wall that was raw drywall after you prime it. The reason is that the sanded drywall compound is really smooth, but the drywall around it that has been sanded gets a little fuzzy. Below is a picture showing that before I primed. Once you prime the wall if you give it a light sanding it knocks down the rough texture from the fuzzy drywall and makes everything very smooth.

The final step was two coats of paint on the wall. I love the grey color with blue undertones of the Nimbus Gray walls. There is no natural light in the hallway so I kept the lights on to take the photos, but that makes it hard to get good pictures. I am going to have to do some experimenting to get better shots in the hallway.

Next up in here is to add crown and put down some hardwood flooring. Longer term I plan to replace the door molding to match the rest of the house (that's why I wasn't too careful with my cutting in) and add beadboard wainscoting. For now I am just happy that I have finished walls with paint!