Painting the Mantel

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As I shared last week, we recently painted our dining room navy.  It was originally a light blue/violet color, so once the three main walls were painted with the rich, deep navy color the next step needed was to paint the ceiling and 4th wall (we planned on having it match the rest of the living room and hallways for flow) and to paint the fireplace surround/mantel.  As you can see, the fireplace now looks out of place being light blue/violet with the bold navy walls. In person it stands out even more.

Dining room fireplace- in progress

I really wanted a high contrast look, so we followed through with the plan of a bright white mantel. Long term I would love to figure out a way to re-surface the entire mantel and surround with wood like this, but with the windows so close it would be nearly impossible without demo-ing the current surround for space.  And right now, that is not a priority for us. So in the meantime, the fast and dirty change was simply to pick a bright white and get painting.

White painted mantel
Stay tuned tomorrow and I will share my holiday decorated mantel, now that the paint has dried :)


Navy Dining Room in Progress

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We have been working non-stop on the house in our free time lately; painting, painting and more painting.  We are starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel with only a couple rooms to go, but let me back up a bit and share some navy dining room progress. Back in September I shared how we removed the wall paper in the arch over the fireplace, which we did immediately, and then nothing changed for a while.

Dining room fireplace before

After going back to view my navy dining room mood board I grabbed a few paint samples and picked the perfect shade of navy; Behr’s Peaceful Night.  And wow, what a difference it makes to this room.

Dining room fireplace- in progress

Before painting we decided to take down the window boxes.  I envision tall white or beige curtains and a more modern feel, so the wooden window boxes were out.  They have been painted over a few times so they did not remove cleanly, but after a quick Spackle job the wall was as good as new.

Prepping dining room for navy paint

Next I quickly taped off the windows and floor board.  We plan on putting in new flooring and in the process also getting new floor boards, but that may be a few months out and I did not want the floor boards to look tacky in the meantime.  We plan on painting the ceiling light grey, so no need to tape it off.

DIning room prepper to paint Navy

Here is the wall after one coat.  As you can see, doing such a dark color required two coats to get the depth of color.  Thanks goodness we opted for paint and primer in one, or this might have been a 3 coat job!

Navy paint needs a second coat in our dining room

I am loving the change in color, so bold but still inviting. And the yellowed map really pops on these walls, so I think it may have found its new home.

Large accent wall in dining room in progress

Still to do:

  • Paint the fireplace white
  • Paint the ceiling gray
  • Re-tile the fireplace
  • Remove carpet and install wood laminate floors
  • Buy a sideboard to replace bookshelf
  • Window coverings
  • Re-paint table (quick fix until we invest in a larger table and plush chairs)
  • New light fixture over table
  • Mirror above fireplace?
  • Artwork on wall
  • Accent wall under bar?  Wood planks? Air Stone?
  • Nice large floor rug
  • Maybe new tall bar bar stools?

Wow….that list was longer than I was thinking it would be!  Quite a ways to go still, but I am loving the progress I see happening.


Removing Wall Paper Using Fabric Softener

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If you have done any research on ways to remove wall paper using common household items, I’m sure you have seen people talking about using fabric softener.  I feel like I kept seeing it everywhere, so when we moved in and wanted to remove the wall paper accent piece over the fireplace we decided to try it out.  I really liked the idea of not having to use a harsh chemical to strip the wall paper, so I had my fingers crossed that this would work out.

Removing wall paper with fabric softener and water

So, how did it work?  Not bad at all.  After a little trial and error I found that mixing 1 part fabric softener to 4 parts warm water was the right ratio.  I started with a 50/50 ratio at first, and while it worked, it left a lot more fabric softener on the wall that was hard to fully wash off to start painting.

Remove wall paper with fabric softener and water

The one trick I discovered was that the fabric softener mixture was not penetrating the top layer of the wall paper.  So I quickly started pulling up the edges and with the top layer removed, the mixture could soak into the under layer and loosen the adhesive.

Removing wall paper

It was quite time consuming, but overall I was pretty happy with how fabric softener worked in removing the wall paper.

How to remove wall paper with fabric softener

As I worked my way along removing the top layer, I would spritz down the under layer and use my hand to rub it in.  Then just simply wait a minute or to for it to penetrate and the paper rolls off easily.

How to remove wall paper using fabric softener

The wall behind it left in perfect condition and smells great :)

Removing wall paper using fabric softener

I sped up towards the end by working larger areas, so that by the time I was done spraying the whole thing, the area I started with was ready to peel.

Remove wall paper using fabric softener

There you have it!  Fabric softener mixed with water is a great way to remove wall paper.  Now on to the wallpaper backsplash in the kitchen and the wallpapered guest bathroom!

Remove wall paper


Navy Dining Room

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Even though we have about 4 more months until we move into our first home, I keep finding myself day dreaming and planning out each room. To keep me occupied, I have decided to create a few mood boards with ideas for each room to mull over until the big day finally comes. To start this off I have worked on a design for our dining room. We have never really had a dedicated dining room in any of our apartments so this seemed like a fun one to start with. The overall look we want is simple, modern and clean.  We want to go with a few bold choices, like navy walls, but pair it with classic simple pieces like white accessories and black furniture.

Navy Dining Room Mood Board
Mood Board Breakdown:

1. Alex and I have been wanting to paint a room bold, and being that we have always lived in cream, bland apartments together we are ready to step it up in colors in our new home.  While browsing ideas on Pinterest, I stumbled across Lucyina Moodie Stylist’s Navy Dining Room.  I love the black furniture against the bold navy walls with touches of white for contrast. For more dining & kitchen ideas, follow my Home Decor – Kitchen/Dining Room board on Pinterest.

2. Our current dining room table is a hand-me-down, that while practical and looking a lot better after we refinished it 3 years ago, is not really in line with our style. For this dining room I really want a glass table. One option we found is the Granas Table & Chairs from Ikea.  What I really like about is the price tag, under $200 for table and chairs.  The seats on the chairs do leave something to be desired, but that would be a weekend project changing them out with a nice cream or white padded seat.

3. As for art on the wall, we are thinking of moving the Just Two Crafty Sisters Original Map Canvas Art from the living room to the dining room.  Navy rooms look great paired with bright white and pops of yellow, so this might be its new home soon. Continue reading »