Earlier in February 2015 we found out some thrilling news. We were expecting our first child October 2015! After much celebration with family and friends, we knew we had to get down to business. There is no way we could bring our chubby, perfect baby home to THIS!
Everything part of this room needed an extreme makeover and that 36 weeks began to seem like a lot less time. Since it was far too early to know what the sex of the baby was, we decided to go for a gender neutral theme. We had come across an amazing artist and author called the Black Apple (Emily Winfield Martin) on Etsy. She makes some of the most beautiful, whimsical pieces of art and writes equally wonderful books. One particular book, Dream Animals, ended up being our inspiration for the nursery. We were even able to purchase prints from the book and found two that were perfect centerpieces for our room! Our aunt Melissa purchased two of Martin’s books, Dream Animals and The Wonderful Things You Will Be for our baby shower. Needless to say, we were pretty stoked.
We wanted our nursery to be very Wes Anderson-esque and found some really great inspiration around the web!
We felt we had a really great idea of the type of look we wanted for the nursery. The next step was to get the room in decent order. This meant new floors, fresh paint, new trim and new electrical switches/outlets. Our sister, Britni got us going by painting our walls a lovely shade of Secret Passage gray.
After that, the room quickly transformed into an updated beauty. We ripped out the tile sill and replaced it with a much prettier one as well as added molding around it.
The floor came together very quickly as well!
We were now ready to move onto the fun part, getting ready for baby! New furniture, new closet shelves and lots of decor!
It is hard to believe that it is already 2016. So many wonderful things happened last year but the most wonderful thing was this boy!
Booker was born in the wee hours of the morning after nearly 28 hours of hard labor! Being parents has been the most rewarding and incredible gift we have been given. It feels as if Booker has always been with us. We are so excited to see how he grows and changes this next year. Maybe we can even get him to pitch in with home improvements!
This year we only have one real resolution: to be a happy family. We hope each of you have a bright, happy and fulfilling New Year!
We did it! Our first area has been updated! Throughout our journey we vanquished hollow core doors, battled stairs, and conquered pink carpet and beige walls. There were many lessons learned and even more tears shed but more than anything, we had a boat load of fun! And now we are DONE! Well, we still haven’t decorated but we have plenty of time for that later. With so much work to be done, we are focusing on getting the bones renovated first!
The hallway that was, is no more. The ugly duckling has emerged as a swan. From the ashes, a phoenix has been born and without any further ado, we give you Hermia the Hallway from beast to beauty!
Our victory has flamed the fire. We are on to our next adventure: The Nursery!
Nothing quite “blahs” out a house faster than those cheap, faux-wood hollow core doors and we had more than enough to go around.
One day we’d love to replace all of our doors with these beauties but at $100 a pop for the door alone, it wasn’t happening last year… or this year.
So we put our creative hats (read: logged on to Pinterest) and set our sights on a cheaper prize. The first idea we came across completely stole our hearts! Fiona at Just Paint it White transformed her boring and dated door into a masterpiece!
As in love as we were with these doors, we ran into a deal breaker right off the bat. Panelling the front and back made the door hang improperly. Rectifying this would take quite a long time and we had 8 doors to do! With plans to panel a closet door or two like this, we continued our search. Our inspiration came from the Brittany, the Pretty Handy Girl.
With a cost of about $10 a door, we could create a dramatically more stylish door. We started by simply painting the doors.
We quickly realized skipping a few thin coats of Primer was a BAD IDEA. The semi-gloss paint loved to peel off at the slightest disturbance.
It was a painful lesson but we powered through. It is safe to say it was worth the tears! Even just painting doors made them look a million times better!
Once we had our doors primed and painted, we measured out our panels and cut pieces of beadboard wallpaper to size. Still not sure how we feel about the beadboard wallpaper. On the positive, it looks great and is easy to apply. We just slapped on some wallpaper primer waited for it to dry and then applied the wallpaper paste. We immediately put the wallpaper on and after smoothing out any bubbles, just let it dry.
On the down side, a scraggly fingernail can be its undoing. About a month after the doors were finished one of us (*cough* Finkus) stumbled against door and scratched the wallpaper and that scratch has graced our door ever since.
Other than a few bumps and bruises, the wallpaper has held up pretty well. Still, we may end up replacing it with pieces of beadboard in the end. Last but not least, we added the trim. This is a pretty basic trim profile. We were able to find it at Lowes and Home Depot in painted or primed options. We spent a few extra cents on the painted trim. Ah, life’s little luxuries.
Our brother Jake did simple 45 degree miter cuts to create a perfect frames with the trim. Using a thin squiggle of construction grade adhesive, we stuck the trim to the door and held it in place in place with the painter’s tape like Brittany suggested. Worked like a charm!
The last step was to caulk the nook and crannies. This made a HUGE difference.
And this was the finished project! We were very pleased with the results and can resoundly say all of the effort was worth it. We were especially grateful for our amazing family who came over to battle the doors with us!
Thanks for tuning in! Come back next week for the hallway reveal!
Has it already been a month since our last post? Yeah, definitely been a month and a crazy one at that! Derek started school last month and boy has it been rough! We had the crazy idea that half term classes were the way to go this summer. Take a full semester, cut the time in half. Thats our life for the last month! Derek’s been a trooper, can I tell you! He wakes up earlier, goes to work on hot cars all day only to go to a 3 hour class after work on Monday and Wednesday. Every other day he is shackled to his laptop doing mountains of homework or working on the house and yet manages to pamper the crap out of pregnant me. Can we hear it for the boy!?
Scary news, Derek also got into a accident in early in June. Everyone was okay thankfully, but it was the last ride of the Brave Little Toaster. Good bye old friend.
We just barely got a new car last weekend. Yes we were a one car family for the last month, going completely opposite ways every morning! It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I loved the extra time I got with Derek in the morning and after work.
We have still been working on the house! I finally bought some much beloved art from the Black Apple for the nursery. I would buy everything she makes were I rich woman. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get to share our finished nursery! The nesting is real, folks!
The dogs are still learning to love each other. Ellie insists on harassing Wicket from the minute she wakes until she passes out. She is not his favorite for obvious reasons.
She does have Asher Badasher though! He is the only one who can keep up with her!
As promised, I’ll be posting about the doors soon. Promise!
When thinking about what style we wanted our home to have, we came across this picture from Better Home and Garden’s blog. Everything from the color pallette to the runners were exactly what we were looking for. With muse in hand, we set to work.
We had already ripped up the carpet on the stairs during our first great carpet removal but weren’t lucky enough to have beautiful hardwood underneath. We did have some decent builder grade particle board for the tread and risers. Our first idea was to buy some new stair treads. Home Depot sales some nice pine ones for about $10 a pop. The price wasn’t bad but we had to still purchase new tools, materials and a fridge. We certainly wanted to stretch that $70 further. Pinterest had lots of tutorials on how to paint stairs but the treads were really porous and the risers were pretty rough.
In comes one of our favorite products. We picked up this Durham’s Water Putty at Home Depot for around $8. Since it comes in powder form you have power to make it whatever consistency the project requires. When it is dry you can sand, drill, sawed and painted this bad boy. It isn’t just limited to wood either. You can use it to fill drywall, stone, tile, and concrete among other things. Needless to say it has since become a household go to.
For the deep holes from nails and staples, we made somewhat thick mixture similar to the wood filler you buy in containers.
It is hard to see in this picture, but the filler has very little shrinkage after drying.
For the rest of stair treads, we mixed up a thin batch and applied several thin layers onto the entire tread to fill in all of those tiny porous holes.
It only took about half of the powder to do the entire set of stairs even with waste. We had learned the hard way that the filler dries pretty fast. TIP: Mix up filler in small batches.
Even with the fast dry time, we let the stairs dry overnight to be safe (read: we wanted to go to bed). The next day we gave the the stairs a thorough sanding.
The results were delightful! The stairs were smooth and gorgeous! Well, for particle board.
The thin layers of filler did a great job filling all those tiny crevices for a smooth finish.
With our stairs prepped, we were ready to paint. After wandering around the paint aisles for a while, we came across this oil based paint. Figuring if it was strong enough for a porch,it was strong enough for our stairs we had a batch of black paint mixed up for us. Neither one of us had ever used oil based paint before. It was quite the adventure. We learned the high price of spills and drips and the necessity of painting with gloves as well as ruined a paint brush or two. The Craftsman blog, has a great guide on how to use polyurethane oil paint. It would have saved us many tears and much time had we read this first!
Slow drying time is one of the most defining characteristics of oil paint. Since we needed to access the upstairs, we painted every other stair. We let the paint cure for 2-3 days and then painted the remaining stairs, letting these stairs cure just as long. Our glutes got a great workout this week.
Wicket didn’t quite get the skip-a step-concept. Rather than risk paw prints we opted for a state of the art barrier.
The barrier may have not been necessary. Wicket seemed more than happy to let us haul him up and down the stairs.
Finally, after a week of dry time the stairs were complete!
There was still the problem of the risers. They could be painted but were still rough even after a generous sanding and we wanted to dress them up a bit. If you have read any of the DIY blogs out there, you have come across the paintable beadboard wallpaper. Eventually we want to replace it with real beadboard but we are still stretching those dollars for the time being. We found some Martha Stewart Paintable Beadboard online at Home Depot for about $25. We must have missed the big hype. All brands of paintable beadboard wallpaper at Lowes and Home Depot were only available online.
We collected some wallpaper primer, wallpaper paste, seam roller, wallpaper blade, small paintbrush and roller to tackle the risers.
The first step was to prime the risers. TIP: Don’t skip the primer. At first we thought it was an unnecessary step but soon discovered the damage a swamp cooler can do on wallpaper. Primer is a must!
To be safe we painted two thin coats of primer on each riser, allowing 1/2 hour dry time between coats.
We measured out the risers beforehand and cut the wallpaper to the appropriate size. After applying a good amount of paste on, we attached the wall paper left to right, top to bottom. We used the wallpaper blade to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles as we went along.
After applying all the wallpaper to the risers, we began painting right away.
To finish off the steps we caulked any and all seams around the stairs. It made a huge difference!
And here they are! To our amazement they turned out great! Later on we added in shoe trim to every step and a DIY runner but we will go through that during the finishing touches post!
After the stairs were complete we moved to the floor. We used simple tongue and groove bamboo planks. We will go more into floor installation later!
Voila! We had tackled on the biggest parts of of the hallway. Although we were exhausted, every time we went up our stairs it pumped us up to finish the hallway!
Next time we see what happened to those dated hollow core doors!
We had not even finished unpacking before we were making our first home improvement battle plan. We were to attack the hallway first. It was small and weak. Surely it would be a two weekend battle at best! We quickly found that the hallway, though she be but little, she is fierce. And she began like this:
She was an image of beige and pink and it was that pink that had to go first. We ripped out the well-loved, 30 year old carpet with satisfaction. Even the bare particle board was a welcome update!
With bare wood under our toes, we were ready get some paint on the wall! We decided early on we wanted board and batten (thanks Pinterest). With this in mind, we used painter’s tape to split the wall where the board and batten would begin.
n the next few photos you can see the glimpses of the new ceiling and lighting! Derek used a drywall texture technique called Knockdown to create a beautiful texture on the ceiling to replace the interesting original. We then painted it with pure white ceiling paint and added two dimmable recessed lights which really made the hallway pop! Unfortunately, we have lost the photos showing the ceiling progress but never fear! We will go more into lighting and ceiling when we come to the great room.
We decided to paint our main rooms Anonymous by Behr in a satin sheen. It is a sophisticated, crisp gray that really gave the hallway a pretty, posh look!
For the bottom half of the hallway we painted Ultra Pure White by Behr in semi-gloss as this would later be board and batten.
Next time we will be shoving the floors and stairs into the Face/Off machine to turn these ugly ducklings into swans.