Painting the Guest Bathroom Green

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I’m back with another edition of the slowest blog post series ever seen.  Once the wall paper was removed and the holes patched, it was time to start painting.  For this room I decided on Glidden Hazy Sage color matched in Behr interior Semi-gloss paint with primer.

Choosing paint colors- try lots of samples

I wanted the guest bath to have a calming, spa feel to it.  My inspiration came from this room from Better Homes & Garden.  I love the calm green walls, dark cabinets and open shelving.  Peaceful and clean.

Guest Bath Inspiration 2

So I grabbed a sample can of Hazy Sage and put a spot on the wall to see how it looked .  This is one of the few rooms in our house where a second sample was not necessary.  I immediately knew this was the color I was looking for.

Guest bath medicine cabinet before

On with the painting…I love this color!

Painting our guest bath sage green

Once all the edges were cut in, it was time to tackle the cabinets next. I’ll back back soon with an update on how they turned out!  Anyone else tackling a bathroom facelift recently?

Painting bathroom cabinets for an upgraded look


Prepping Guest Bath for Makeover

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Why is it taking me so long to finish posting about our bathroom makeover?!?  I mean seriously, it took a week to complete and over 8 months to post!  Wow, crazy.  Anyways, when I last left you hanging 2 weeks ago on my guest bath updates, I had a bad case of “claw hand” and was slowly cutting away the remnants of wall paper along the molding and bead-board.  After hours of tedious work, the wall paper was completely gone and we were left with a few gouge lines and cut marks along the trim.

Ready to caulk

I grabbed a bottle of white paint-able caulking and went to work filling in all the gaps and crevices.  Being a novice with most things home improvement I was not really sure what I was doing, but overall it was a pretty easy and fast process, although messy.

Caulking the guest bath bead board

I would squeeze out a line of caulk and then using a paper towel or my bare finger I would smooth it out and wipe off any excess goop.

Re-caulking the bathroom wainscoating

And the finished product looks so amazing.  I can’t believe what a difference some caulking can make!

Beautiful new caulk line on wainscoating

I also walked around with some spackling paste and filled in any other small holes along the walls.  Crisp, clean and ready to be painted!

Clean bathroom walls ready for some fresh paint

Well, almost ready to be painted at least.  While the caulking and small spackle spots dried, I went to tackle the larger patch job that needed to happen above the sink.  You may remember the bar light with exposed light bulbs that ran along the wall.  Upon removing it , we discovered that we were left with a couple big holes.  Bummer.

Bathroom re-do in progress

I knew these holes were not going to be as easy to fix, but it was too late to turn back now.  So off to Home Depot again we went.

Patching holes to paint walls

We found this wall patch kit and decided to give it a try, along with our spackle and a sanding square.

Hole patching tools

The first step was to cut a square patch of the plaster mesh large enough to cover each hole and then some to make sure it have coverage to attach to the wall.

Hole patching in the guest bathroom

Next I laid the patch on the wall with the hole in the middle.  It is slightly sticky so it stayed in place while I grabbed my water bottle.

Patching holes before painting

Now it was time to mist the entire patch to wet the built in plaster.  Using my hand I rubbed the entire surface gently to activate and adhere.

Patching the guest bath wall

Once it was blended in, it was time to add the spackle.  Here is where the problem started.

Hole patching in the guest bath

We have textured walls and no matter how hard I tried, I could not mimic the texture pattern with free handing it.  I should have stopped and gone back to get a texturing kit or something, but I decided I could wing it.

Patching holes from removed light fixture

Once dry, I opted to try sanding down the whole area, hoping it might blend a bit better.  While that did help a little, it is quite noticeable that the texture is missing in the area of those two patches.  Oh well, you live and learn right?  And with the new light fixture over the top it will be less noticeable…hopefully.

Patching holes before painting- remember to sand it!

On to painting…..


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.


Painting Our Kitchen Grey

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I am so far behind in posting our home painting progress!!  So far we have worked on the kitchen, guest bath and dining room, but I have yet to post any updates…crazy! So to start off, the first room we tackled with paint after moving in was our kitchen.  We had to decide on the right kitchen paint colors with white cabinets.

Our Kitchen Before

We loved the kitchen from day one and did not plan to do much to it.  The counter tops are beautiful and the white cabinets keep it light and open.  I had always envisioned my kitchen with dark wood cabinets, but more and more I loving the look of white.

Kitchen French Doors Before

I mean just look at that beautiful counter top with the white cabinets!

Kitchen Island Before

To start out with making it feel like our home, we knew that we would want to remove the wall paper back splash border, paint the walls and bring in new cabinet hardware.

Kitchen Before

So tackling the “easiest” project first, we went to work on the hardware. You will understand my sarcasm with using the word easiest soon…

Changing out kitchen knobs and pulls

After a quick trip to Ikea, we were back with new black pulls and knobs.  The knobs were only $4.99 for a pack of two and the pulls were $7.99 for a pack of two; so overall a cheap way to update the look.

New cabinet pulls and knobs from ikea

We quickly went to work removing all the old hardware, simple enough a process to do.

Changing out knobs and pulls

Then it was time to put on the new hardware.  While the knobs went on easily, we ran into a roadblock with the pulls.  Our current pulls were standard English measurements, but the new ones were metric. What does that mean?  Well, it meant that the holes did not quite line up, being off by like 1 centimeter.  So close, but so far.  Plus the screws they came with were too short to go through the cabinet and reach the pulls.  After 5 trips to different hardware stored we were finally able to scrounge up enough metric screws in the right length to work.

black knobs on white cabinets

We debated what to do about the mis-aligned holes, and opted to just use one of the holes as it was and screw in the second side right next to the old hole.  This means that our cabinet pulls are now off center by about 1 centimeter, but we decided that was an evil we can live with.

Updating kitchen knobs and pulls

And yes, there was a few days of debate and searching for screws, leaving us living with half finished cabinetry. During that time we also spent an hour or so removing the wall paper back splash.  I used the same fabric softener treatment to remove the wall paper and again it worked like a charm.

new kitchen knobs and pulls

Once that debacle finally was conquered, it was on to painting.  We decided on a nice neutral gray for the walls and we are planning to add in color in accessories.  I am thinking of citrus inspired colors like yellow, orange and lime green.

Painting the kitchen grey

For the walls we went with a semi-gloss paint being that the kitchen gets a lot of action. Our paint color of choice for this room was Behr in Dark Granite.  I know, I did my painting a little backwards, rolling the walls and then cutting it.  But it still turned out just fine and you cannot see any overlapping lines.

Painting the kitchen

Look at the difference a coat of paint and some new hardware can make!  It was Alex’s idea to go black on the cabinet hardware and I love it.  Makes it feel a little more modern and less country on the white cabinets.  Next on my list for this room is accessories, new rugs and a new light fixture.  We also changed out the hardware on the french doors to be silver and it looks great.

Newly painted kitchen - Work in progress

We still have some accessory shopping to do so I am using the rugs from our apartment, but with new towels, so it is an eclectic mess.  I will be back with more pictures soon once we get around to finishing it off.  Wezley and Augie don’t seem to mind, all they care about is getting treats while I am cooking our dinners :)

Grey kitchen


Best Air Conditioned Dog House – Part 2

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We are back with part 2 of building our awesome air conditioned dog house!  If you missed part one, you can view it here.  With the pieces pre-built and ready to go from our weekend working on the dog house with my dad, it was time to assemble the dog house in our new back yard.

Dog house ready to be assembled

Alex decided the dog house would fit best on the side of our yard leading into the garden boxes.  I was not sure about it at first, but after setting up the floor and a couple walls, I knew he was right.  Even Wezley agreed that this would be a great place for his new house.

Wezley checking out his new dog house

I mean look at that little face!  This was a costly and time consuming project, but seeing him jump around in it while we worked on building his new house made me sure it was a good idea.

Wezley checking our his new dog house in progress

Once all the walls were securely nailed together, it was time to install the wall air conditioning unit.  One thing we did not really plan for was the space needed to bend the cord to the outside.  Normally a wall ac unit is plugged in inside, but since we are running an extension cord on the outside, we needed the cord to go out the hole, while keeping it snug.

Installing an air conditioner in our dog house

So with some quick chisel skills, my dad notched out a cord size groove that works like a charm!  Now the cord goes to the outside, but it does not leave a large gap to let the weather in.

Installing the ac unit for our dog house

The next step was to finish attaching the ac unit in the wall.

Installing an cooler in our dog house

Looking good!

Putting our dog house together

With the air conditioner in place, we moved on to the window.  My dad started with a line of caulk all around the outside of the window hole.

Building a dog house with a window

Then we held the window in place and he worked his way around nailing it in down.  Once the window was nailed down it was time to go out for a quick lunch and a trip to Home Depot to pick up roof shingles, trim and hinges for the door.

Installing the window in Wezley's dog house

The roof shingles we picked out were simple comp single shingles.  We ended up needing about 20 shingles to complete the roof.

Dog house roofing

Once we got back home we nailed on the trim and the shingles.  We mis-calucated on the trim and will need to come back and finish it out before the rainy season.  We will also need to paint the wood too, but I am still deciding on colors.

Roofing for our dog house

Last but not least we attached the door with the doggie door framed in it.  After adding a bed and some blankets, the house is ready for use.  It has been a few months since we finished this project (still to be painted and finish the trim), and I am happy to report that the boys love it!  We find them coming out of the house each day when we get home from work and sometimes they go lay in there if we are all hanging out in the yard.  I could not be happier with how it turned out and I am glad our pampered pups can stay out in the yard year-round without me having to worry about the weather.

Custom dog house for our pampered pooch


The Most Amazing Air Conditioned Dog House

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I figured it was about time that I share our amazing air conditioned dog house. We built it back in June, but have yet to finish off the trim and paint it. Being that we live in a hot climate in the summer and we wanted the dogs to stay in the yard while we are at work, we decided to build a insulated dog house. It came in quite handy this summer when we had 7 days over 100 degree late June/early July and plenty other hot days throughout the summer.  First things first, we went to work sketching out a plan.

Original dog house plans

The first plan ended up being a little excessive.  After measuring it out on the floor and marking it with tape, we realized that this was going to be a bit too large, especially for our small dog (now dogs).  I really wanted to keep the door in the front for us to be able to access easily, the air conditioner and a window. After talking it over, Alex came up with plan #2.

Revised dog house plans

While similar to our first plan, this one is a bit smaller with the window on a side wall instead of on the front wall. It is still an impressive dog house, but will fit much better in our small yard.  Now that we had a plan, we were off to Home Depot to buy some of the supplies, starting with the air conditioner unit.

AC unit for our dog house

Before we went to Home Depot, I did a lot of research on the different models.  We did not need a large unit since the dog house is so small.  I found the GE 6,400 BTU Window Room Air Conditioner on Amazon and knew that was the right option for us.  I was able to find out that it was in stock at Home Depot so we opted to pick it up instead of having it shipped. Next we needed a doggie dog.

All weather dog door for our dog house

We decided to get the Ruff-Weather Pet Door.  It has two flaps to help keep out the elements and is built really well.  It was a bit of a splurge at around $100, but if we are paying to insulate and air condition this dog house, then a quality door makes sense. Last item we bought was a window.

Items for our dog house

The window was also from Home Depot and was a 2 ft x 2 ft bathroom Jeld Wen window and costs about $70.  After we had these supplies on hand I gave my dad a call and made plans to come visit and get working on the dog house.  My mom and dad bought the plywood, framing wood and insulation sheets for us as out house warming present, making this project a bit more affordable.

Materials for our dog house

After going over the plans together, we knew how we were going to get this dog house knocked out.  Our plan was to pre-build the walls, floor and roof and then my parents would come down one weekend and we would assemble it in our new yard.

Dog house plan drawings

With my dad leading the charge, we went to work measuring…

Making our dog house

and cutting out the pieces we would need.

Framing our awesome dog house

I love seeing it start to take shape.  Super exciting to see a vision on paper become reality.  We could not have done it without the expertise of my dad!

Walls for our dog house

Once the pieces we needed were all cut, we moved along to framing out the walls.

Custom dog house

Since they are going the be insulated, they had to be built-out with frames like this.

Dog house walls to insulate

We bought 2 types of insulations.  The first was this insulfoam that was used in the walls.  This foam is good, but for the roof we stepped it up.

Insulated dog house walls

The roof foam is reflective to help keep the heat out even more.

Insulation for our dog house

Alex cut the insulfoam for the walls and stuffed it in just like a puzzle piece.

Building a dog house for Wezley

Once all the walls were insulated, we lightly tacked them together to make sure everything fit together correctly.  It would be quite a bummer to get to our house to assemble and find out a measurement was off this whole time!

Building a dog house with insulation

Next the roof and back wall were built and added on.  Here is a view of the side with the hole for the air conditioning unit.

Awesome insulated dog house

And the larger hole on this side is for the window to fit into.

Building a dog house

Once we were sure that all the pieces were correct, we stacked them up with the other materials to be ready to drive down to our new house and assemble the following week.

Dog house ready to be assembled

Phase one complete!  Click here to read on about how we assembled the house in our new backyard (Part 2 coming soon).


Bamboo Privacy Fencing

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After moving into our new house, we decided on a quick and fairly cheap project that we could do immediately in the yard.  Being that we moved in at the end of June, we wanted to make the backyard feel like ours so we can eat outside, play with the pups and finally enjoy a yard of our our after years of apartment living. So, we hopped in the car and went to our new favorite store to look for some bamboo, and ahhh what a difference it makes!

Install Bamboo Privacy Fencing

My Uncle had some bamboo privacy screening along one of the fences and we really liked that it blocked some of the view between the fence boards. It was weathered and faded, so we bought enough bamboo to cover both side fence lines (the back of our yard is a brick wall, so that side looks great already).  We found the basic 6ft x 16ft rolls here and bought 3 of them to have enough coverage.  We also picked up a staple gun and staples.

Privacy Bamboo Fencing

Before getting started with the bamboo, Alex walked around the fence looking for loose spots that a 15 pound chihuahua might fit through to make sure the yard would be secure for the dogs.  We found a few scrap pieces of wood in the garage and a couple random screws for the minor fixes we needed to make.

Quick repairs to loose boards before privacy bamboo is installed

This was a quick fix and since we were covering the fence with the bamboo, we did not take the time to make it pretty underneath, just functional.

Quick repair to loose boards before privacy bamboo is installed

Alex then rolled out the bamboo along the fence and got to stapling.  We had a few frustrating moments with the new staple gun not firing, but overall it was a success.

How to Install Bamboo Privacy Fencing

It was easy to overlap the seam when we ran out of one roll to start the next without it being very obvious.  The bamboo was held together with wire strips every 6 inches or so, making it easy to cut the size we needed to finish the fence line without it unraveling.

Installing Bamboo Privacy Fencing

Just a few quick clips down the length with our cutters and boom, two pieces.  We stapled it up first to make it easy to just cut off the loose side and move on the other side of the fence.

Bamboo Privacy Fencing-A cheap way to dress up an old fence

And there you have it, a super simple way to spruce up a old fence.  Kinda looks like we should have a tropical themed party and sip on a cocktail out of a pineapple now right?!?!

Privacy Bamboo Fencing to cover old fencing

Bamboo Privacy Fencing- a low cost way to dress up an old fence


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


Appliance Shopping

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Buying our first home had lead to a lot of other firsts for us. One of those firsts is buying appliances. A new refrigerator, washer & dryer to be exact. Fun and stressful, we started our process doing lots of online research and price comparison before hopping in the car to hit the stores on Memorial Day.

Appliance Shopping

We kept our hunt to the two stores closest to home, Best Buy & Home Depot. Since we had done our research already, we did not need to spend days driving from place to place to get what we wanted. We ended up going with Home Depot since the prices we comparable and they were offering interest free financing and a nice discount on the washer and dryer set.

Shopping for a new refrigerator

Our main requirements for the refrigerator was to find something for under $2,000 that would fit in the space constraints in either stainless or black. A lot of the ones we looked at were an inch or two too tall to slide under our cabinets.  We finally found this LG model at 69 3/4″ height which we hoped it would just slide under our 70″ clearance space.  And at a sale price of $1,899, it was right on budget.

Buying a new fridge

Plus I loved the french doors to make it feel a lot more open and spacious.  Compared to our apartment fridge, this was amazing.  It ended up being a really good thing that we went with french doors, since it is close to a wall on the right side, that door only opens about 90 degrees and without the second door opening fully it would make it way to tight.

Buying our new fridge

I have never had a refrigerator with the bottom drawer freezer, but this is pretty awesome too!

Buying our new refrigerator

It’s a snug fit, but it just slipped under the cabinet with no room to spare and looks great with the other appliances. One problem we are now realizing is how easy the finish gets smudged dirty fingerprints on it.  If you have kids or are a perfectionist when it comes to a clean look, you may want to go with a different finish.  After the fact we saw a sweet matte silver fridge that might make a nice alternative too.

Kitchen Fridge In Progress

The decision on our washer and dryer was made up in store based on the great deal we saw.  I love the look of front loading machines and have this vision of a tiled wall behind the washer and dryer and a nice wood table top to fold close on top of the units.  Going into the store, I had settled on the fact that it was too expensive to get the look and we planned on the top loading unit.  Low and behold, these beauties are on sale for only $100 more that the top loader so I get my beautiful front loaders after all!!

Buying a new washer & dryer

Another tight fit, but they squeeze right in to the space!  Front loading washer machines are a bit more work that the top loading kind when it comes to maintenance.  We have discovered that they require draining the line and keeping the seal clean and dry.  But they are so beautiful and fit a larger size load than what I have had in the past.  I am in love.  Now to work on paint, tile and making this room into my vision :)

Laundry Room In Progress