Take Off Your Coat and Stay Awhile: Entryway “Board and Batten”

Welcome, friends! I say that because today we’re talking about the very. first. thing. you’ll see when you come into our house. I know that some people are blessed with a big beautiful coat closet but umm, our entry/living room is a little odd. When you come in you face this wall. Like, right in your face.


In fact, you have to come in, walk to the right, and close the front door to get to our roommate’s bedroom (to the left). It’s craaaaaazy squished in there. We DO have a coat closet, but it’s on this awkward angled wall and it’s built with an angled wall (where the closet door is) so there is one awkward little shelf, which we actually moved a few years ago.


It holds more coats now than it once did, but it still only holds about…my coats. I have a jacket/coat problem. I look really cute in coats. That’s the problem. Also, we needed it to house some other random things…I think it holds air filters and our little spot-treater steam machine thingy..and extra Ikea throw pillows that don’t have covers…and beach towels? Guests don’t need to be seeing all of that, right? Plus, like I said, really inconvenient to be opening ANOTHER door when you don’t even have the first one closed.

I could never really figure out what to do with that wall right as you come in the door. I think at some time in my roommate history it may have had some kind of picture hanging on it, but that could be totally made up in my mind. Well, I kept shopping around for cool entryway ideas and I found one at House of Smiths. Shelly (co-author of HOS) had a great idea to peek behind her existing closet…and she found the mother lode. She had space to expand on each end and create this cool recessed bench with storage above and below (seriously, go look at it- it’s incredible!). So, I thought, “Maybe the coat closet could become and entryway and we could just tear out that wall, push it back to the depth of the closet…and voila!” Um. No. The closet still has a hole where I cut into it, reached through…and knocked on the wall of our roommate’s shower. That was unfortunate. {note to self: patch that wall!}


Our house has a weird floor plan, obviously, because his shower is right up against the wall you see as SOON as you come in the house. One day I’ll have to share floor plans or something because this house is hard as heck to explain to people. Even once people have been inside the house, they don’t realize where all of the doors lead. In my head that sounded really creepy and was followed by, “Where DO all the doors lead? mwahahahahahahahahaha!”

Like some sort of crazy fate, John & Sherry from YoungHouseLove posted a Reader Redesign by a photographer named Sada Lewis & her husband. Well, to say that I fell in love with her idea would be an understatement. I had seen similar ideas on other blogs for hallways and mudrooms, but we don’t really *have* hallways or mudrooms. Now my house sounds totally crazy. There’s a shower wall as soon as you come in, no formal entryway/mudroom space, and NO hallways- at all. We actually live in a clown car.

Our entryway is not nearly as long as Sada’s so, we altered the plans a smidge and used different sized boards. We didn’t want anything as big as a 1″x 4″ or a 1″x 6″ for fear it would look too heavy and overpower our narrow little baseboards. In all of my amazing design and technical prowess, I drew up some “blueprints”.



Oh yeah, we also had to remove the chair rail that you saw up there. That is the worst and really makes the drywall  hard to paint over. We got it as smooth as a baby’s bottom and it still showed up through the paint…so we had a random step that the normal person without chair rail wouldn’t have to do.


Our supply list was:

1″ x 3″ x 6′  (6)

trim molding (one piece)

white semi-gloss paint (Oh yeah, gotta repaint all of the trim in the house, too. Sweet.)

circular saw (It’s what we have, but you could ask Lowe’s/Home Depot to cut for you.)

Kreg Jig


Countersink bit

Anchors with toggle bolts

Wall anchors


wood filler

regular ol’ drywall spackle

That seems like a lot but we had…almost everything. Just like with our rolling pantry, we originally bought the wood and then let it sit somewhere unsafe for long enough that it had warped and we would be unable to make it level. Genius. We also needed screws, but we had everything else left over. The paint was from the rolling pantry and…some other project I don’t remember, maybe the mirror? That’s beside the point.

At the bottom of my blueprints, I had written steps. Some of these we followed well. Others didn’t really matter if they got messed up or didn’t exactly match my blueprints. I think I swapped the order of hanging some of the boards between the drawing and the steps because I realized it would look less choppy or something.

1. Measure the length of your desired entryway wall and cut one of your boards. This will be your top horizontal. (Sorry, the pictures are grainy. It was very dark, but I couldn’t wait to get better photos.)


2. Cut a second board exactly like your first one. This will be the display “shelf” that rests on top of your horizontal board. Set aside.

3. Using wood screws (for studs) and toggle bolt anchors (for drywall), mark your wood, drill holes (with countersink bit!), and insert anchors (if necessary). Because our wall backs up to a shower and closet, the studs are in weird places so we had one side with lots of studs and one side with none. It was bizarre.

4. Measure from the bottom of your installed horizontal to your baseboards (vertically). Cut four boards at this length. Attach your outside boards first. This is where the job started to be ridiculous because our corners were obviously not square and one of our walls curves so the boards popped out…but we’ll address that later. For now, we just attached them as best we could and got them tightly secured to the wall. You could also cut the bottom edge of your vertical boards at a 45 degree angle (we used a miter box) so that they don’t sit out from your baseboards. We did this, but I’m not sure it was necessary from the angle we typically view this wall. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt. 🙂


5. Measure the space between your two vertical boards. Figure out how many sections you want on your wall. I wanted 3 so I had 2 more vertical boards to place. Take the total measurement (ours was 47 inches) and subtract the width of ALL other vertical boards. Since I had two and they were 2.5 inches wide EACH, I subtracted 5 inches. This left me with 42 inches. Hallelujah, this can be divided by 3! So, since 42 divided by 3 is 14, I needed a space of 14 inches between each vertical board. We started from the left and attached a vertical. Then, we measured 14 inches from the right and attached the last one. I figured that if my measurements were wrong, the two side panels would be the same, even if the middle was a smidge larger. Guess what? I wasn’t wrong. Booyah!


6. Cut 3 (or however many sections you have) boards to 14 inches (or the width of your sections between verticals) and attach them to the wall as well. Yeah, we ran out of screws/anchors and had to buy more. Upside? This joker is NEVER going to fall down. Like, we could climb it.

7. Screw and/or nail in top “shelf” board. We originally tried to Kreg Jig this, but with our wall being so curved, it was cuh-razy. We ended up just nailing it on top. Done and done.

8. Using wood glue and tape, secure your trim molding under the shelf. We actually forgot to do this until after we’d primed, but luckily our trim was pre-primed so it got painted on schedule with everything else.


Once the glue is dry, remove the tape and move on to step 8.


9. Fill…and sand…and fill…and sand…and run your hand over the wood to see if it feels like a baby’s bottom…and sand…and fill…and sand…and vacuum. every. surface. ever. Our downstairs is all open, not as in open concept, but as in, no doors between rooms. The only doors close off our coat closet and our roommate’s bedroom/bathroom. Therefore, every surface in our living room and kitchen is COVERED in sanding dust. I mean, I vacuumed…ish…but STILL. It is EVERYWHERE. I mean, look at those countersunk screws! There was a lot of filling and sanding.


10. Now, prime. We did two coats of primer because the wood was so brand new and we did sand in between coats.


11. When you’re finally done with all that crazy (bonus points if you had to also put drywall spackle in a big huge crack because your corners aren’t square- high five!), paint the heck out of that. Sand between coats with some fine grit sand paper. That entryway will be the smoothest on the block! *I also chose to paint my baseboards (since the whole house’s trim needs semi-gloss) and quarter round, which has been wood-toned since I moved in…almost 10 years ago…

{11.5} Bonus steps: We realized that where we had removed our chair rail to start this project, there was just NO saving the drywall. I mean, the drywall is structurally fine, but there is just no amount of sanding that will make it *look* smooth. It feels fine. SO, we went back and added a second row of horizontal boards to disguise that little guy instead of skim coating. It’s a million times better, than before. We hung it first, filled/sanded, filled/sanded, primed, painted.


12. Caulk. Now, you  might reverse this. We actually do have paintable caulk, but I actually didn’t see all of the spaces that needed caulk when the materials still appeared mixed (and knew I wouldn’t) so we bought paintable white caulk and chose to caulk at the end.If the whites ever look different, it’s paintable. I can go back and paint over it. Here are some examples of how much better it looks with caulk. 🙂

Before caulk there was a pretty big gap that I mentioned above toward the top of the board & batten where our corner wasn’t square (it got thinner as you went down the wall). We went back with caulk later and it looks WAY better…not perfect, but WAY better.


And after, still not *great*, but it looks way better in person than it does in the picture and our entryway light doesn’t do me any favors, hah.


13. Pick out cute hooks (ours are from Home Depot), put them in place, and get to decorating that cute shelf that now welcomes everyone into your home! 🙂 Bonus points if you invite over your neighbors so they can pet your entryway and be jealous of its smoothness!

**For EVEN MORE IRRELEVANT bonus points, while you’re doing wall touch-ups, paint your alarm box! It looks a bajillion times better!**


I took some pictures with flash, too. It was so dark outside that there was no natural light to be seen for the foreseeable future. It helps to see the true colors of the paint and appreciate the contrast of the crisp, shiny white! 🙂



I also realized, while taking pics, that the hooks in the middle make a face…like a teddy bear face. Am I the only one who sees that?


I think the true cost of this project was about 30 bucks. We had to buy the wood (but I’m only counting that once since we messed it up, but will use the other as scraps) and screws/anchors. We had everything else on hand. We DID buy new drill bits because we got the new drill that I can’t. stop. talking. about. for my birthday and didn’t have the drill bit set, but that doesn’t count as exclusive to *this* project. I’m pretty pleased at the bang for our buck and also that our guests have places to hang coats/bags! Hooray for a more welcoming home in 2014! 🙂

Now, how about YOU? Anybody else have a phenomenal mudroom that I can drool over? How about some place to drop your crap that guests don’t have to see? Am I the only one who sees the face in the hooks? Anybody tried board and batten or sprucing up the entryway? Anybody? …Bueller?

Accessorized reveal with *daytime* photos coming this weekend! Hooray!


Rolling Right Along: Our New Rolling Pantry

Our kitchen has the problem that I hear SO many other people have as well: not enough storage. We have two-ish walls of cabinets/appliances. Literally. Fridge, skinny cabinet, stove, corner cabinet, sink, dishwasher, end skinny cabinet. A 3rd wall is our laundry closet and the 4th is a window nook and some floating shelves we’ve added with an antique cabinet (hallelujah, more storage) on that wall that we added in spring of 2013.

AGES ago, I was reading IHeartOrganizing and found a Reader Space by Classy Clutter. And by ages ago, I mean, at the end  of 2012. Truly. We bought these supplies on Super Bowl Sunday (like, February 2013) and finished it like, January 5, 2014. Punctual is NOT my middle name.

This is the plan, by Mallory of Classy Clutter. Her plans are very detailed eloquent and, in fact, this “blueprint”, as she calls it, is what had me at, “Hello.” I mean, it’s SO DETAILED, right?!

Can Organizer PLANvia

I’m going to start this off by saying that we altered the plans. No, that wasn’t on purpose. Yes, I’m severely type-A when it comes to a plan, but my sweet husband got tired of all of the supplies sitting in the floor and went about it in such a way to make it the “most stable” (without realizing I had pinned the plans on pinterest). **Most stable is NOT a reflection on Mallory’s original plan, but more Chris’ opinion when he didn’t realize there was a legit plan from which to work.**

Our two middle shelves are spaced further apart, a.k.a taller, than the others. That is because the middle board braces the whole thing. Spacing the shelves out equidistantly would’ve kept there from being a middle brace in the “ladder” structure of the rolling pantry. I just figured he was finishing a project I begged him to start and then dropped…so, I can’t complain. This is the best picture I have to show you that. I truly thought we took photos of this as we went along, but it’s been almost 12 months so, no surprise, I can’t find them. This picture is well past most of the first steps of her plan, but I wanted you to see what I meant about shelf spacing.

rolling pantry frame

We also built the frame and then put the beadboard on the back…then inserted shelves. This was for a few reasons. #1- We jacked it up the first time and the wood sat outside for so long (note: do projects WHEN YOU BUY THE SUPPLIES) that the wood warped and we had to buy new shelves. #2- We decided to put the shelves in using our Kreg Jig instead of screwing them in from the outside, like the plans instructed. (Dear Kreg Jig, We love you. Love, GG&G) The 4 outside boards were still attached with screws coming from the outside of the structure since we had done them first. In fact, when we started building this, we may not have even figured out the Kreg Jig. This is what happens when you complete projects ELEVEN MONTHS after you start them!

So, basically, we built the whole thing once, took all of the shelves out, built it all again (with the Kreg Jig) and THEN filled, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, drilled for dowels, painted dowels, added wheels, and added a handle! Seriously, read Mallory’s blog for better plans. I couldn’t even pretend like I was as well thought-out as she. I was just really psyched to clean out a cabinet and dump it all in to this guy!

I do have to brag on my sweet husband. He found a box from…something(?) that had one of those unnecessary cardboard flaps on the top. You know, the ones where you open the top and then you have a flap that opens to the left, one that opens to the right, and THEN you get to see the product? Well, this one had holes in it and we may NEVER RECYCLE IT. It is perfect for drying painted dowels!

drying dowels

True life: All I did was inspect, take photos, and add the handle. I was darn proud of that handle, by the way. It was my first time using my birthday present (our new Ryobi one+ drill) and it is THE BEST, let me just say. Here he is, all decked out with his spices and bottles!


Did you SEE that handle?! That is some quality craftsmanship! 🙂

We currently have him to the right of the refrigerator, but are in serious talks to move him to the left…we just have to move the fridge. As of right now, here’s how he looks when pulled all the way out from the cabinets. It fits SO well between our fridge and cabinets. Yeah, it leans a little, but we can usually line it up pretty nicely and Chris can reach a lot of things (spices and olive oil) that he needs while he’s cooking. We even have room to grow into it AND we have cabinets to rearrange! I know that the little guy isn’t built perfectly and we didn’t fill every nook and cranny with wood filler, but for this house at this time, he’s perfect. Hopefully we’ll have a kitchen with amazing storage or at least a more customizable layout. Also, maybe one day I’ll clean up the splashes of spaghetti sauce before I take photos. Nah, probably not. And that spaghetti was DELICIOUS. 🙂


Aaaaaand, here it is pushed in by the refrigerator. If you’re thinking, “OH MY GOSH HER FRIDGE IS SO CLUTTERED?!?!!?!??!!” You would be right. That’s the next order of business once I snapped these photos. Well, that and painting over the yellow, cleaning and repainting the cabinets, and tiling a backsplash. So, not really “next”, per se.


In summary, I love the Kreg Jig. I love the Ryobi one+ drill. Follow Mallory’s plans at Classy Clutter for legit directions and to see her SUPER cute chevron background. We didn’t paint a pattern/design on ours because we’re re-doing the kitchen decor/scheme/painting this year (eeeeek!!!!!) and I wasn’t sure what would go with it. I may punish myself and go back and do a stencil or something later. I’ll keep you posted.

Is this adulthood?! Being excited about moving fridges, tiling a backsplash, rearranging cabinets, and clearing off counters?! Ugh, I’m lame.

What have YOU done for secret storage? Please share tips because our kitchen is still teeny-tiny and we need all the help we can get! 🙂

P. S. Mallory from Classy Clutter? You’re my hero. Thanks for giving me so much inspiration! 🙂

“I see a white door and I want it painted black.”- Painting Our Interior Doors Black!

I hope normal people understand the Rolling Stones reference in the title of this post. My husband started singing this song as soon as I went to start this project, looked at me from the bottom of the stairs and said, “Blog post title!” When he comes up with the title, I’m so proud that it sticks. #bloggerhusbandpoints

OK. So, this was a terrifying project. This was one of those love-it-or-hate-it projects. I have seen some REALLY beautiful doors on pinterest (where you should follow me!) and the backsides were…painted black. The first glimpse I saw of this was from the lovely Carmel at Our Fifth House. She painted both her sliders AND the back of her front door black. You can see that in the photos below. Sidenote: Carmel, if I didn’t source these properly, feel free to give me a virtual stink eye and/or to write me and tell me how you want it fixed. 🙂

black sliding doors

See how she did it here!

I mean, WHAT?! Those are gorgeous…but it didn’t quite sell me (because our sliders are ugly and not super paint-able) until she did her front door, too.


Find out more about her beautiful front door here!

I mean, the DRAMA! I’ll be honest. I didn’t then spend hours pinning different black doors all over the place. I was preeeeetty sold and I told Chris. He wasn’t so sold. Don’t get me wrong, he thought Carmel‘s house looked AMAZING, but he wasn’t sure *our* house could pull it off. Let’s just say our house isn’t as… lovely, distinguished, open, gorgeous, light as hers.

Obviously, I did what any wife would do. I harped on it. Every time we talked about painting something I said, “…and of course that door will be black on one side…” until he finally relented. in fact, when I met Carmel at Haven, I said, “Thank you for having the black doors that helped me convince my husband we could handle it.” I know what you’re thinking, “How does any self-respecting blogger NOT love meeting you, Jessica?!” I truly don’t know.

Well, we got REALLY fired up when Ace Hardware gave away free quarts of paint. We just thought, “Hooray! We can do this for free!” On top of that, a parent from my school (whose kids I love-love-love) called me and said, “I know you do things at your house and there’s free paint. We’ll redeem our coupons for you, too.” WHAT?! I was now looking at a possible FOUR QUARTS- THAT’S ONE GALLON, PEOPLE?!- of free paint!

Too bad they average 40 quarts per store (read the fine print, people!) and I don’t wake up until 11 a.m. on summer Saturdays. They were all out when I got there.

However, my darling husband, in the interests of actually having me complete a project this summer keeping me sane said, “Let’s just go to Home Depot and get a quart of the paint anyway.”

DO YOU HEAR THOSE ANGELS SINGING?! This man bought me PAINT?! True love.

We went to Home Depot and picked out Onyx by Glidden in a semi-gloss finish. I love a good semi-gloss in places semi-gloss isn’t supposed to go. It’s like where the sun don’t shine, only…where the ceiling/doors/trim DO shine. It’s just so…shiny! I love it. A lot. I decided to paint the upstairs doors first. In our little tiny hallway/alcove there are five doors. FIVE. It’s probably less than 30 square feet and FIVE DOORS. To date, I’ve finished three. Don’t judge.

First up, our guest room door. Please don’t judge the spackle on the wall in the crack from where our house settled, the boxes on the floor because this room is stacked 3 feet high with stuff to…deal with, or the random assortment of junk in my hallway. A lot of that is gone now, except for the spackle and the stuff in the room. But! Look at that LOVELY door!


Next up, the linen closet door (the one on the left in the above photo) which is maybe the dirtiest door ever. Why? I have no idea. Three grown adults live here and only two of us ever come upstairs. Why was my door SO DIRTY?!


Lastly, but possibly my favorite, our bedroom door:

Sorry I had to turn the light on for this picture to look even…tolerable. Also sorry for the piece of ceiling HANGING DOWN from the corner. Yes, we fixed it once. Yes, it leaked again. Yes, the leak is fixed FOR REAL now.


So, first I sanded our doors (I forgot to take a photo because, well, I don’t have but so many hands-in fact, just 2), wiped them down (the dust was unbearable, wish I could blame the sanding process instead of my housekeeping skills), and then got to painting. I realize that I probably should’ve used primer and deglosser, but I realized that after there was already a coat on the doors. That being said, I painted more doors downstairs (to come later) and the paint adhered VERY well because they were more recently painted. These doors took three solid coats, but they really do look fantastic…just you wait!

I try to follow an order when I paint doors like this (which has happened a lot in this house):

1. Around the panes and the doorknob with a short-handled, angled brush. I call it my Sherry brush. It is nerdy. I am aware.

2. With a cabinets/doors roller, I paint all of the horizontal sections of the door.

3. I paint all of the vertical sections, including the panes.

Now, a good blogger would’ve showed you a picture of the splotchy, oh-my-gosh-this-will-take-forever first and second coats.

I don’t claim to be a good blogger. I will however, show you the scariest step of all. The first one.

On night one of this project, I was sitting in our floor painting around our door panes when I said, “Honey? Does this black make it look like a crazy serial killer house?”

“No…not a serial killer…maybe Tim Burton.” Cute. Just the look I was going for. Here are the photos of the doors on the Nightmare Before Christmas.

guest-room-door-panes-black linen-closet-panes-black bedroom-door-panes-black

You’ll note that those photos are complete with bad lighting and no focus…just to creep you out a little further. You’ll also notice that I went rogue and didn’t tape off the bedroom doorknob. Watch out! I have a paint brush and I’m on the loose!

Here are the finished doors. I love how the white trim looks so crisp next to the shiny black doors. Did I mention I LOVE semi-gloss paint?!


#hothusbandphotobomb Do you see how baggy his undershirt is? This man has lost a LOT of weight. I am so proud. 🙂


I’m not gonna lie, this was super simple and even though this was a love-it-or-hate-it project, I’m glad to say I don’t just love it. I L-O-V-E-lay-in-bed-and-gaze-at-my-doors-LOVE it. And my husband thinks it’s awesome, too. Now we just have to figure out what to do about all of this mismatched hardware. Brass on the linen closet, brushed nickel on the bedrooms- what?! Ugh.

Coming soon… Back In Black: The Door Painting Saga Continues with our remaining 5 unpainted doors! 🙂

Would YOU paint your doors black? What about navy? Laura from The Turquoise Home just used a stunning navy on the back of her front door. Check it out! 🙂

Manic Monday

I promise I’m coming back this week! I know that if we’re friends on facebook, I promised a post today…but…

-a meeting started late
-it was still dark at 8 a.m.
-it was dark by 2 p.m.
-no recess today
-moved 4 kids’ cards to yellow (that hasn’t happened in awhile)
-found a HUGE scheduling snafu that I was responsible for
-frantic parent came in to the office…at SIX P.M.
-it wasn’t the 70 degrees they said it would be and…

did I mention it’s pouring? ugh.

Anyway, I have a serious case of the Mondays but some things that are getting me through…

Living room progress:

My above-the-buffet project. 🙂 Thanks to my husband for working on it while I babysat SO MUCH this weekend.

SO much better than this…I think it’s coming together!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I’m doing this. WHAT? Most people who read this *probably* don’t know what Haven is…but it’s a HUGE HUGE HUGE DIY blogging conference held in Atlanta, GA. I mean, almost all of my favorite bloggers were there last year [Young House Love, The Lettered Cottage, Bower Power, Ana White, and Sarah from The Ugg Duck…to name a few…]. So yeah, it’s a big deal. I know my blog is but a baby blog. I call it “my little baby blog”, but I feel like I could really grow and be supported and encouraged at Haven. So, I bit the bullet. I’m super excited to be rooming with a fellow Virginia-blogger, Caroline from the diy nurse! Hooray! I can’t wait for August! 🙂
I’ll be back with the “painting project” for the living room tomorrow- I’m hanging it RIGHT now!


Who’s the fairest?

Yup, you guessed it. This is a mirror post. Basically, this post will highlight the #1 clutter reducing, good stuff-scoring thing ever: freecycle.

Freecycle has literally taken SO many things we didn’t want out of our house. I know you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just donate everything?” Here’s the thing, you can freecycle things you canNOT donate. You can freecycle used candles (people melt them down to make new ones or use in warmers). You can freecycle soaps/bodywashes (ie: things not eligible for individual resale)…perhaps even the soaps and bodywashes left behind by past roommates, in case you happen to have had 9 people live with you in the same house in 8 years. Yes, my house has some semblance of a rotating-roommate syndrome.

In this case, however, freecycle HOOKED me up. You see, I got an email saying that someone was offering a ginormous mirror, something like 2+ feet by 3+ feet. CRAZY. And the best part? Obviously- F.R.E.E. My husband went and picked it up and it was…dusty. So, I cleaned it off with some GreenWorks all-purpose spray cleaner and some paper towels Then, I filled the nail holes (previous owners had just nailed it into the wall and we wanted to go the picture-hanger route) with wood putty, sanded, and taped it off to paint! Sidenote: Super stupid to paint with a new rug…but it was FREEZING so i covered it with newspaper, sheets, and then moved the can away to hammer it closed. I painted this with Valspar Interior/Exterior Gloss. We got it to do the floating shelves I still haven’t blogged about we hung in the living room. Supplies: painter’s tape, small roller, angled brush, sand paper (for prior sanding)

Yup. This happened.

 This took a BAJILLION coats. It took me 4 or 5 actually. I went ahead and pulled the tape off after 3-4 coats and then went ahead and touched up with the brush. If paint got on the mirror, I used ye ol’ razor blade to scrape it off of the glass.

 I like to make the same mistakes twice…and in close-up…and after putting on my paintin’ shirt.
 And now, the march upstairs to the bedroom! My husband was still super dressy. I liked it. Please don’t mind the hot mess that is a) my dresser top, b) paint swatches stuck on our wall with electrical tape, c) my bed. We centered the mirror over the two Malm dressers that we have in our bedroom (yes, this led to re-centering out entire bedroom…maybe you’ll hear about that by next month?)

 My husband changed into more comfortable clothes, put the “hanging kit” on the mirror. We bought one at Lowe’s for like, $7? We wanted to make sure it would hold it because this mirror is SOLID. It probably weighs 15-20 lbs. He got a little help from Duchess. #kittyphotobomb
 This is the hanger. Self-explanatory. I still give a caption. I can’t help myself.
We hung it and I just, I didn’t feel good. I could see some of the hanger, but I LOVE the wire hanging kits because you just have to adjust the wire (as seen on the left side of the mirror). He adjusted it, moved out of the way of the photo (haha), and displayed how terribly off-center my bedroom is, as evidenced by the canvas hung on the opposite wall. Ugh.

 Adjusted, wire clipped and hidden, mirror leveled (the tiny red thing to the right of my husband’s head).
 AAAAAAAND…gratuitous smiley self-portrait in the new mirror. Chris likes this because it looks like I’m just doing “victory hands” instead of actually holding the camera. I like that I don’t look as tired-drunk as I actually was. I think we hung this at midnight or, as my husband likes to call it, “the project hour”.

wood putty- already owned
sand paper- already owned
angled brush- already owned
roller & cover- already owned
painter’s tape- already owned
paint- already owned
hanging kit- $7.69ish? I say “ish” because I’m not sure, not because I’m saying “approximately [this] exact amount”…that annoys me.
Total: LESS THAN 8 BUCKS!!!!! Woohoo! A mirror this size would cost me mucho dollars if I had bought it new, or even from many antique/second-hand stores! Hooray! 

Truthfully, I was so excited this happened because I just needed to stop “collecting” this stuff and actually DO something with it. This year’s to-dos are often going to be inspired by John & Sherry‘s “Dude, Get On That Already” series.

So, my list of “to-dos” now looks like this:

-finish painting frame and hang (FREE!) mirror…and blog about it
finish bottom floating shelf with wine glass holders…and blog about it (later this week?)
-finish floor transitions (install upstairs & return crappy downstairs ones and buy the correct ones)…and blog about it (this may take awhile, it’s becoming a headache)
vacuum the rug (before I blog about anything in the living room with pictures)
put away all of the Christmas gifts and clean up!
-blog about the “new” living room (I think we’ve finally settled on an arrangement-this could be coming soon!)

I’m already making new goals for when these are accomplished. Thanks for those of you still checking in! What are some house projects you’re getting accomplished? Anyone thrilled that a quick project was actually…quick? Taking on bigger projects? Leave a comment and tell me all about it! 🙂

Want more fun (and often, cheap) projects? I linked up today at:

Back Where We Came From…50 Shades of Gray

So- last year we decided to paint our living room.

In 2009, I needed a fresh start. The futon-couch belonged to my ex, I had super old end tables from my parents’ house (before I was born), and my living room is super strange. It’s long & narrow (that’s what she said?) and it was difficult to have the TV on a separate piece of furniture, so I was hoping to hang the TV over the fireplace. 

I decided on some paint colors. I wanted a green accent wall and 3 khaki walls. Then, I picked out a khaki couch and some dark brown end tables. Thanks, Value City. 

Fast forward a little over a year and a half to summer 2011: green & khaki are VERY warm and VERY dark in my living room that gets little natural light. Also, my living room was a hot.mess.hoootttt.messsssss. In that year and a half I had lived alone, started dating again, gotten engaged, gotten married, had a husband move in, had one roommate move in (twice) and out (once), and completed another year of teaching. My living room showed it. Are you ready for this?! 

That TV in the corner? Took me MONTHS to convince my husband we should sell. 

I’m not sure what most of this crap is. This is the “middle” of our living room. What. The. What.

Ridiculously blurry. Ridiculously messy.

Where’s the couch?! I DON’T KNOW?!?!?!

Aaaaaand back toward the sliding doors. Whew. Aren’t you glad that part is over?!

 Then…I got an offer from Valspar for some paints. What?! Free paint samples?! Yes, please. We ordered a light gray (I believe it was Foggy Mist) and they sent me this whole kit. 

 Then came my favorite part. We painted on some Foggy Mist and also got about 2 bazillion samples from Lowe’s and Home Depot. We hung them all on the wall over the couch and left them for DAYS to see the 50 different shades of gray. We ended up choosing Nimbus Cloud by Olympic. Why, Olympic? I dislike the VOCs and I like the $5 coupon we got. Haha. I’m nothing if not cheap frugal. If you ever came to my house, you would have seen these colors…where the paint samples were hanging is where the ladder art currently resides. So, big changes have continued to happen this year!

This is with the lamp light. See how blue the big ol’ patch of Foggy Mist ended up? 😦 

Anyway, with our Nimbus Cloud all picked out, we went to Lowe’s and talked to our favorite paint girl. She has piercings and crazy tattoos and a dye job. And I. Love. Her. She knows her stuff and she’s chill and she makes fun of people who ask stupid questions. Luckily, I wasn’t one of those customers…this time.

Then…the priming began! No, we could not take the TV down until it was ABSOLUTELY time. We needed to be able to watch HGTV (obviously) while re-painting. Also, we had no AC during this process. That’s why there’s a fan sitting in front of the fireplace. It was hot in there. Really hot. 

Priming machine. See that rusty looking plant stand with the broom handle resting on it?! That’s a new color! Stay tuned to see that awesomeness! (Seriously- I love it.) Also, the back porch with the extra end tables and junk on it? Those are in the shed waiting for redos, the porch has since had a truckload of spare lumber, and now it’s clean again. Ahhh, full circle.
This corner was never quite as crisp as I’d hoped. Painting the room all one color made me really excited that I wouldn’t be staring at that corner any longer.
…aaaand all the way up the stairs! Our house is narrow…and it’s not open AT ALL so I thought one color might lighten things up and make them airy.

Speaking of “airy”, we interrupt this painting update to show you what happens when you don’t change your air filters regularly. Mind you, our AC was going and “sucking” (literally and figuratively) a bit more, but we didn’t change the filter until we realized it had died. This is what we found. 


 Back to our regularly scheduled painting update. Cats like drop cloths. Exhibit A:

Going up the stairs was fun and exciting…and exhausting. Also, we have this weird flat hand-rail-bannister-creepy-thing-to-look-over-as-you-go-up-the-stairs. It was gross. I wanted to make sure the paint didn’t come off from previous applications. I ended up chipping paint off of it for HOURS. It may or may not have stayed this pukey yellow-brown-off white combo for a few days weeks before we painted it.

Thumbs down for this part of the project. I’m not sure why I took this picture like this…but I did.

Three layers of paint colors later…

 But wait, we’re almost there! I painted and painted (and panted-it was hot!) Final product?! Pictures taken in tons of different lights to make sure it shows up as well as it possibly can with a terrible camera?!


This is purely to express my thanks for “Friends” reruns during home improvement projects.

so grateful for Chandler, Ross, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica

This is coming in the front door.

Isn’t it so light and welcoming now?! Yes, we took care of the brassy knobs/locks. No, it didn’t end up being a permanent fix. Womp, womp. 

Clearly, cleaning the living room was the next step and it was MUCH cleaner for the past year. I was really proud of it. At one point, I sent our friend a picture of something in the floor and he replied, “You guys have a floor in that room?!” I was excited, too.

Unfortunately, there are no “current” pictures because WE’RE GETTING LAMINATE FLOORS. And by “we’re getting”, I mean, they’re sitting in our floor in a huge pile…because we’re installing them ourselves. Fingers crossed we don’t screw this up! 🙂 

Now that I’m finally blogging all of these older projects, maybe someday soon you’ll get a “final” look at our little hole in the wall…and it might even be with new floors! 🙂 There could be a House Tour page up on this blog soon! 🙂 

Anybody else made drastic changes with paint lately? Leave a comment and share your color choices!