Wine Down and De-Stress

Oh hey there blog…nice to see you again.  Finding time to jot down a few thoughts or, perhaps, completing a project, are few and far between these days.  This life as a mom, a new mom, is the best thing that has ever happened to me (other than the day I married my amazing husband of coarse), but, leaves just scraps of time for myself.  If there is anything I have learned these last 10 months as a new mom, it is the importance of making time for yourself.  A warm bath with a glass of your favorite cabernet, an ice cold beer and a large slice of pizza (or a whole large pizza for that matter) or simply a quiet 30 minute drive ALONE with no baby.  Whatever that looks like for you girl, DO IT.  It is important to have a “mommy-vacation,” away from your husband and child…time that is all about YOU.  For me?  It’s finding time to do my projects.  I call it my “wine down and de-stress” time.  This usually happens at night, after the baby goes to bed, in the garage with loud inappropriate music (Miley…don’t judge), a nice glass of red or an ice cold beer in hand, something ugly and a paint brush.

This is the best time of the year to stop into the Goodwill.  Rich people are doing their yearly “Spring Cleaning” and giving amazing things to the Goodwill.  Or, ugly things that have serious potential.  Take this china cabinet for example.  It’s not horribly ugly, just…well…it’s pretty ugly.  I loved the detail on the doors.  “Hunny Dearest…I’m ganna need your assistance with driving 30 miles (one way) with the trailer…load the china cabinet I just bought for $99…on your day off…OH, and I am going to need the garage for about a month…THANKS!”  This guy must love me in spite of some of the silly things I ask him to do.

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First things first…this china cabinet is pressed wood.  No problemo!  Nothing a little primer wont fix.  I removed all the hardware, glass and the back of the top piece and lightly sanded.  The orbital hand sanders work the best for projects like these.  It is important to lightly sand furniture you are restoring so that the paint has a grip to stick to.  Next, the priming.  Super easy, I used the spray paint kind.

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Once you are all primed, it’s time to paint.  I found that the small paint rollers worked best for this project.  Of course, you use a paint brush as well for the fine details in the cabinet.  Annie Sloan’s chalk paint…one word for ya…DON’T!  Its like $50 for a small can.  No offense to those that love this stuff, but its is so much cheaper and WAY easier to make your own AND you can use any color paint you want.  Annie Sloan only offers a few colors to choose from.  Here is the recipe I used:

Brittany’s Redneck Chalk Paint Recipe
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of Plaster of Paris (can be found at any hardware store)
  • 1 cup of any color and finish of paint you want
mix well…and paint.  Yes folks, it’s that easy.  A monkey could make this stuff…heck, my 10 month old could make this stuff!

Two coats of paint is all I did.  Let dry over night.  Now the fun part…the sanding.  Turn that handy dandy orbital sander on and start lightly sanding all edges and details.  Anyone can do this step as well.  It really does’t matter if you go hog wild or stay conservative with the sanding.  It looks good either way.  The end goal is to make this project look ridiculously old.

For my china cabinet, I removed the back of the top piece and added a piece of waynes coating that I stained a darker walnut color.  I liked the idea of contrast.  Also, instead of adding the original glass back to the top piece, I added chicken wire that I spay painted oil rubbed bronze.  BOOM – a china cabinet makeover that is much more contemporary.
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My matching china pattern also came from the Goodwill in under $20.

Before & After: The Master Suite

There are a few things missing in this room and a few things that are not 100% complete, however, it is ready enough to share!  I am still on the search for a rug that fits our master bedroom nicely, however, this has been a bit of a challenge given the natural light in the room.  Rugs that are one color in the store always seem to look a different color in this room – such problems!  Also, my fan is almost done…this is a jerry-rig creative adventure that I will explain in just a bit.

So…the master bedroom…that blue carpet again…I can’t take it!  If you look closely, you can see a large round stain in the middle of the carpet.  Perhaps there was a round bed in this room at some point?  Your guess is as good as mine…either way, this stain is just weird and pretty creepy.  The carpet had to go…  We replaced the carpet with hardwood floors to match the rest of the downstairs.  We also replaced the blinds to match the rest of the house.  The previous owners installed brown blinds in just the master bedroom and white in other areas downstairs…WHY?  We replaced the ceiling fan with oil rubbed bronze to match the door handles and fixtures throughout the house.  Interesting note on the fan…I couldn’t find a crystal globe to match our vintage lights in the room, so we got a little creative.  I found an old, horrible ceiling light at Habitat that had a crystal look.  A little switch-a-roo and now we have a jerry-rigged crystal globe attached to the ceiling fan.  We need to install an oil rubbed bronze collar above the globe to make the fan look complete…this is a project that is in process!  Lastly, we installed vintage lights above each night stand instead of lamps.  I found these lights at a local Pittsboro thrift shop and I am obsessed!

Master Bedroom Before:

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After:
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Ahhh, so much more romantic!  Now for the master bathroom!  I think the only word to describe our master bathroom before is…white!  White floors, white counters, white walls, white tub, white shower…white EVERYTHING!  It’s like frosty the snowman threw up all over the bathroom.  Gross.  In fact, if someone wanted to completely torture me, stick me in a completely white room and I might stroke out…this may be worse than Chinese water torture.  I’m being dramatic!  Anyways, this bathroom was in some serious need of a splash of color.  How about a calming grey-blue to give the feel of a nice relaxing spa…ahhhh yes!  A few things that we did to transform this room; tiled the tub and shower, added glass to the shower instead of the random wall that looked like ginormous ice cubes, added oil rubbed bronze hardware, moved the chandelier above the tub and replaced with a new chandelier, added slate floors, added carpet in the attached closet, added granite counter tops for each sink, replaced cabinet doors to match those in the kitchen, replaced light fixtures above each sink and added frames to existing mirrors.  By the way, as I mentioned in a previous post, replacing cabinet doors instead of the entire cabinet is a much more budget friendly option that captures the look you are going for.  Also, ordering frames for existing mirrors is a fun and creative way to achieve the look you want without killing your wallet.  If you are interested, check out mirrormate.com and sign up for their newsletters as often they will have specials.  I got my frames 30% off on cyber Monday…SCORE!

Master Bathroom Before:

Master Bathroom Before
Master Bathroom After:
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There is a little toilet room that hangs off directly in front of the shower, however, I thought a picture would be sorta boring.

Here are a few pictures of our master closet that is attached to our master bathroom.  My husband replaced all the shelving himself…I love him!  Much more space than previous shelves which allows husband and wife to share a closet…if you would have mentioned this option to me a year ago, I would tell you that you are crazy!  But it works!!!
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From Old Desk to Distressed Hall Table

I love the look of distressed furniture but have always shied away because of the massive amount of time and work that goes into this.  I have never been that  patient of a person and was not sure I had the patience for striping, then sanding, then painting, then sanding again and then painting…blah blah blah…  Plus I was not all that comfortable using stripping chemicals while preggers so an alternative was desperately needed.  So, I googled “distressing furniture” and found a SIMPLE and FAST tutorial that involves Vaseline and a little bit of interior paint.  Hmmmm…seems easy enough!

So I was given this old desk that worked great in my guest room back in our old house.  Only problem was, my guest room didn’t have enough room for another piece of furniture so this desk sat in our spare room (aka future baby room) for 6 months collecting dust.  I thought about giving it away or donating it but never got around to it.  One day I was sitting in this spare room with my mom discussing inspiration for a little boy or girl nursery and BAM…it hit me!  I swear I am like a cat…can’t pay attention to anything for more than 5 minutes before my mind wanders into a totally different direction.  “MOM I know what I can do with that desk!”  My mom has dealt with Brittany ADD for 27 years now so I am sure she is just used to it.

Here is a terrible picture of the desk before…sorry for the blurriness!  I can’t believe I found this picture from an old iPhone back-up…some things are just meant to be!
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This desk is essentially two pieces; the top part and the bottom part.  Both parts will be transformed into something totally different, but for today, we will discuss the Distressed Hall Table.  I thought it would be really cool to incorporate an old shutter as the top part of the table…so off to Habitat I went.  Believe it or not, wooden shutters can be difficult to find as many are actually plastic.  Obviously wooden shutters makes more sense for a table if you consider the stability of the piece.  Two wooden shutters for $12…SCORE!  This project only requires one shutter.

How to Distress Using Vaseline:
  1.  Choose the piece of furniture/wood/project that you would like to distress.  Lightly sand the piece by hand.  Seriously, don’t spend more than a few minutes on this step because it is a waste of time.  Your piece more than likely already has existing paint or stain or whatever that you can use to your advantage…be creative!
  2. Blow off your piece with compressed air or a lawn blower (Red Neck but works great).  Paint a super thin coat on the corners and edges of your piece a dark color (or whatever color scheme you would like).  Remember this step will eventually be the color that will show through to give a distressed look.  Let the paint dry (1 hour at the most).  Since my desk was black, I didn’t need to do step 1 or 2.
  3. Now for the fun and moisturizing part of this project!  Smear a thin amount of Vaseline along the edges and corners of your piece, covering the dark paint you just finished in step 2.  You don’t need to let the Vaseline dry because it won’t…LOL!
    1. NOTE:  The thicker the Vasleine coat you use, the more that the paint will come off in later steps…totally your call.  Thicker Vaseline layer is more difficult to work with in the end and will be much messier.
  4. Using FLAT paint in a light color (I used cream color) and a paint brush, apply a light coat all over the peice.  Remember, the goal here is to make the piece look distressed so don’t get all OCD on this step.  The less perfect you paint this layer, the better it will look in the end.  Be creative and try not to cover the whole piece with tons of paint.  Let paint dry (not more than an hour).
  5. Using sandpaper or those sand pads you can get at any hardware store, lightly sand the edges and corners of the piece (remember in step 2?).  BOOM – distressing made easy!
    1. NOTE:  You can incorporate several colors if you wish!  I did this with the shutter.  I used teal, dark brown and cream.  Just be sure to add an additional step of painting before you apply the Vaseline.  Be creative…you can’t go wrong with to many colors.

Shutters

Putting the table together was pretty easy!  All I needed was an electric drill, drill bits, screws and a husband!  Since the desk already has legs and a base, the only step left to do was assemble the shutter to the top.  The desk was already set up for a top so literally all we did was screw the shutter onto the base of the desk…very carefully!  Actually, I shouldn’t take credit for this as my husband did most of the work…okay all of the work!  Thanks Hun!  OH…and I added vintage crystal knobs to the functional drawer.

Crystal Knobs

Table After Distressing with Shutter Attached!  Enjoy!  I am super proud of this project!

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Table in Hallway

Remember that awkward wall I talked about in the “Big H” hallway upstairs?  This desk and picture works perfectly in this space!  To read about the “Big H” in our upstairs hallway and envision where this desk is placed in my house, click HERE.

Fabulously Old-Fashioned!

Hey Guys – my blog is still alive, I promise!  It’s been a while because life has been incredibly busy taking down Christmas decorations outside!  I KNOW I KNOW this is so tacky but seriously we have had no time…and I am waiting on a few finishing touches before I share other rooms in the house!  I can’t wait to post before and after’s of our master bedroom and bathrooms!  Stay tuned!

One of my favorite things to do is find local thrift stores, go to Goodwill or stop by the Pittsboro ReStore (Habitat for Humanity).  Simply because, you never know what you may find… I have been doing this a lot lately and have found a few treasures.  Sometimes you won’t find a single thing and other times, you may hit the jackpot.  With Habitat, I usually consult with my friend Pinterest before I set out to find whatever…usually an old window or door or something of this nature.  Here are a few treasures that I recently found!

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The weathered wrought iron thing on the left…I bought two of these from the Flea Market.  I am obsessed with these guys and plan to hang behind each night stand in our master bedroom (pictures to come).  The bird house made out of reclaimed wood, an old license plate and old hose – I bought three of these guys from the Flea Market and plan to hang on the wall in our powder room.  This room is almost complete and then I will share pictures!  The fabulous old crystal lights on the bottom right – this is my favorite find so far…  This is actually one light with two pendants that I haven’t decided 100% where I will put in the house.  A few ideas; in the powder room with the bird houses or in the future nursery?

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This old guy is an ugly green color…BUT it is wrought iron.  All it needs is a little spray paint and BOOM – he is contemporary!  The thrift store only had one of these guys, not a pair but no problemo…the sconce is large and in charge and will dominate a smaller wall so no need for two.  Add melted candlesticks and this guy is ready to be hung!  I’ll post pictures of everything once they are placed around the house.

If you like to go “antiquing” or “thrifting,” there are a few places that I recommend in the Apex/Pittsboro area.  I am sure there are more places that I have yet to discover…please feel free to share if you have a favorite place to shop.

  • Beggars and Choosers in Downtown Pittsboro
  • Antique Shops in Downtown Pittsboro (main strip)
  • Flea Market in Downtown Pittsboro (next to the Pittsboro Road House aka General Store)
  • Antique Shop in Downtown Apex
  • Habitat for Humanity in Pittsboro
  • Goodwill (Apex off hwy 55)
  • Flea Market at the Raleigh Fair Grounds (Saturday and Sunday)

Or…you could always raid your grandma’s attic or even the dumpster… I have done this before and I am not ashamed!

Another Before and After: The Fireplace

I feel in love with this house when I walked in through the front door and was greeted with a lovely open space with what felt like miles and miles of hardwood floors.  THIS room has some serious potential.  The large windows above the fireplace brought in quit a bit of light but…imagine a floor to ceiling stone fireplace!  We can compensate for less light with a chandelier.

Before:
Fireplace Before

Unfortunately, the fireplace ran by propane and we really wanted needed a real wood burning fireplace.   This meant that my husband would need to spend countless hours in the woods chainsawing rotted trees and axing them into small pieces so we can have a fire all the time.  The man LOVES using the chainsaw and I love that we always have wood for a fire.

After:
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If you are interested in reading other posts about this room, here ya go:
  • How to create Roman Shades – Back Door Window Treatments HERE
  • Decorating an Awkward Space – Under the Stairs HERE
  • Vintage Door Project – Decorating a Large Wall with a TV HERE
  • Story Behind the Picture on the Mantle HERE

A Palette Project And A Mudroom

I have been dying for the finishing touches of a couple more rooms in our home before I could post pictures!  I am finally at the point where I can share.

I have always dreamed of having a mudroom, especially when your husband and brother-in-law like to work on four-wheelers and hunt.  In this house, the mudroom hangs off the garage and is an entry way to the kitchen.  This is PERFECT because it forces the boys to wash up before they can enter into the house.

Before:
Mudroom Before

The mudroom originally had concrete floors which makes total sense but is not the prettiest!  We added tile to the concrete to make the space look less like a garage and more like an updated mudroom.  We found our tile on the Lowe’s clearance rack…SCORE!  The previous owners added lots of cabinets that were really nice, especially since the house didn’t come with a pantry!  Plus, let’s be honest, we need lots of cabinet space for storing things like canned goods in case the zombie apocalypse happens…TOTALLY kidding!  Only problem…the cabinet doors looked like an Elementary School.  Simple fix, we worked with a custom cabinet guy and had him replace the cabinet doors to match the kitchen.  A MUCH more budget friendly option!  And there’s those Miami Vice counters again…yes, those had to go and we replaced with granite that matches the kitchen!  That door off the end of the mudroom?  That is a mini bathroom which I will share in another blog post (it is not done yet).

After:
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So, according to Pinterest, you can make just about anything out of a palettes.  I thought it would be so cool to make a large sign to place above the washer and dryer…out of a palette, obviously.  So the million dollar question, where on earth do you get palates?  A friend and I drove around Pittsboro looking for free palettes.  Food Lion? Nope…  Lowe’s?  Nope…  Then, thanks to my friend’s eagle eye, THERE…on the side of the road…PALETTES!  We screeched off the road into a sketchy parking lot where this really nice man was selling fruits and veggies!  “Excuse me Sir, are you throwing those palettes away?”  “These old things, yes Mam, would you like them?”  HECK YES!!!  Score!  You should have seen my husband’s face when I drove up with 5 palettes in the back of his truck.  Yes, I know, I am palette obsessed and nuts…and I am okay with that!

This was an easy project.  All I did was clean the palette with a power washer, crackle it (see instructions on how to crackle here) and then printed letters onto wax paper to transfer to the palette (see instructions to create words on wood here – brought you by Unexpected Elegance).   Also, I found a little sign that I loved at the local Carolina Pottery and nailed it to my palette.
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Fall Year Round

Hi there!  I am excited to reveal another before and after project that I have been working on, the Guest Room.  In our last house, we did a similar concept in the Guest Room not long before we moved so I didn’t get the chance to really enjoy it.  So, I used the same concept just put a different twist on it.

Here is the before picture…I am not sure where you would find such a shade of forest green and why you would paint a single wall in this color!  Maybe because it compliments that amazing blue carpet so well 🙂

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…and here is the after!  Enjoy!

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This room is very “recycled!”  The bed is my childhood bed that was previously white, however, we painted it black.  The armoire was originally wood grained colored that we painted black.  We found this for a steal at the Salvation Army.  The old window with the orchid painted on it came from the dumpster at my old apartment complex (ewwwww, I know but it was totally sitting next to the dumpster, not in it).  All I did was paint the orchid!  And that beautiful old grandma chest at the foot of the bed – my favorite piece of all and the inspiration to this entire room.  This was my great grandmas piece and I love it.

Here is another Pinterest inspired project, a wreath made from felt circles.  You can find instructions to make this wreath here (brought to you by Design Sponge).

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Replacing Door Knobs & Hinges…The “Easy” Way!

Our house came with those old, out-dated bronze door hardware that I desperately wanted to change.  A couple of things to note about updating door hardware…

  1. Door knobs are significantly cheaper online, even if you have a Lowe’s or Home Depot coupon!  I saved $5 per knob on this website.  Click HERE to find the website I ordered my knobs from.
  2. Hinges must be the exact/correct size…it’s better not to guess.  Bring an existing hinge to Lowe’s or Home Depot to figure out the size you need…this will save you a lot of time and frustration!
  3. Bed & Bath means that the knobs come with a lock.  Hall & Closet means that the knobs do not come with a lock.

Replacing all hardware on existing doors is so much easier than it seems.  To install knobs, follow the directions that comes with the set.  The directions are super easy and once you get the hang of it, you will be able to replace a knob within 5-10 minutes.

QUICK TIP:  When installing a door knob, always put the door plate on first.  This is the piece that catches the closing and locking mechanism on the door knob.   Next, install the actual door knob…but only enough to test that the door will close properly with the door plate you initially installed.  This trick will save you a lot of headaches and time because sometimes the alignment of the door plate and door knob closing and locking mechanism is not 100% – causing issues with opening and closing the door!

Here is the “door plate” I was talking about…

Here is an example of the old bronze hardware before I replaced with oil rubbed bronze.

Now…let’s talk about Hinges!

Have you ever picked up a door?  They are extremely heavy.  I consider myself pretty strong but I am not sure I can not man-handle a door by myself…nor would I want to.  Have you tried lining up the door and hinges?  This should not be rocket science but it is really not easy and certainly takes two people…one to hold the door and the other to fiddle with the hinges to line them up properly…what a pain in the butt!

I have GREAT news…there is a much simpler way to do this and without a man.  Check it out.  Drum-roll pllllleeeeaaaasssssseeeeeee!!!!!!

Replace the hinges one at a time, starting with the middle hinge…brilliant!  My husband is the brains of the family…I can’t take credit for that one!  I will remain the creative one.

Here are pictures to demonstrate how easy this is…

After you replace the middle hinge, replace the top and bottom hinge…one at a time of course!

TA DAAAAAAA!!

It is that easy!

O is for Olds

Our house has a lot of interesting stairs.  This is one of the things that drew us to the house.  When you walk in from the front door, you see stairs.  When you are in the upstairs hallway, you see stairs.  STAIRS, STAIRS, STAIRS…  This is a lot of dusting ya’ll…God help us!  But…we love it!

The stairs are in the shape of a big “H.”  Here is a picture of the big “H” from upstairs…

Before:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One wall was red, another was white and the carpet was blue.  God Bless America and our Home!

After:

The stone in the center of the room is the top of the wood burning fireplace we had put in our house.  That is a topic for another blog post…stay tuned!  Since we knocked out the windows that were originally on top of the existing fireplace, we decided to add a chandelier to match the other side of the “H.”  This would provide additional lighting and create balance to the open space.

…and there is a big wall again…I have plans for that wall!

I recently blogged about my obsession with the Pottery Barn.  I had my eye on these ladder bookshelves.  I seriously considered getting them from the Pottery Barn, but, I couldn’t bring myself to hitting the “add to cart” button on their website.  They were to dagum expensive.  So, after a little research and shopping online, I found similar shelves from JC Penny’s that were two for the price of one (in Pottery Barn terms that is).

Can you tell the difference?  They are pretty darn close…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…decorating bookshelves…  I am not a knickknacks person!  Knickknacks make me think “clutter.”  Books are always a solid choice for bookshelves, but, I am not a reader so my book collection is limited.  I always see people add a large letter, usually the first letter of their last name as a form of decoration.  I love this idea, but, my last name starts with an “O.”  That would look weird and nothing short of an awkward circle if I attempted this idea.  But I still love the concept.  So, I figured, why not spell our last name O-L-D-S in super bold letters as part of the shelf decorations.  It works!  This makes me happy!

View from below…

A Country Home

My husband and I shared the dream of moving to the country with lots of land.  We wanted the ability to ride four-wheelers and shoot guns on our own property without breaking the law or dealing with the Home Owners Association.  It seemed like we needed to wait until we were 50 years old before we could ever make that happen…

Thanks to the internet, we started doing research on foreclosures.  Before we knew it, we were putting an offer in on a foreclosure in the country with 10 acres.   After a month or so, the house was ours.  It is amazing what you can find out there that is in foreclosure.

I know what you may be thinking…THAT is your dream house?  Don’t worry…there is so much potential, I can hardly contain myself.