Monthly Archives: July 2013

Trash to Treasure: Rocking Chair

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It’s been about a week since I’ve updated the blog. Please excuse my lack of attention! Life has been extremely busy, and I’ve been celebrating a fantastic (and long-awaited) new job offer!

A week and a half ago, my husband was on his way home from work and took a shortcut through a nearby neighborhood. Someone had put this out to the curb with the trash:

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An old but nicely detailed hickory rocking chair. It needed tightening and some new screws, which hubby so kindly did for me!

I loved it immediately and knew I wanted to make it over and put it in my guest room/future nursery. I have reading chairs all over the house and thought this room needed one as well.

I usually always choose to refinish wood and almost never paint it! I am a wood and furniture junkie and think the grain and quality of wood comprises much of the beauty of a piece. My exception to the rule is kitchen cabinets, because I love a light and bright kitchen!

As soon as I looked at the rocker, I thought “WHITE!”. It just needed to be white, period. I got started immediately. I painted on a coat of my trusty bonding primer after rubbing the chair down with mineral spirits on a clean rag. I then used up some white trim paint that we had left but was unhappy with the coverage, which was uneven around the fine details. I then switched to Rustoleum’s spray paint/primer:

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The rocker was old and worn in some spots, so it did not take the paint completely evenly (and I strive for perfection), but all in all, I was pleased with the results. It got two good coats with a 3rd and final spray in some spots.

Next up was choosing a chair cover. I searched first at Pier 1, one of my absolute favorite home stores. I didn’t see anything I loved for a price I wanted to pay (I’m cheap). I then switched my search to Pottery Barn, another favorite. I got lucky when looking for clearance chair cushions. This color, the blue and white “Maia” pattern, was what I had decided on originally:Image

However, I then came across the Tiffany-blue colored “Alessandra” pattern and fell in love. It was exactly what I was looking for, and even better…less than half-price with free shipping to boot! I bought the largest size cushion because the rocker is pretty large and I wanted the whole seat covered. Let me tell you…it just BARELY fits on. It does, but any bigger and it’d have been too large. Note that if you shop Pottery Barn and find something you love on clearance, you cannot return the item.

Here are the results. Not bad for a side of the road find, right?!

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And, of course, here are some photos of the chair in its “home”…the guest room (click to enlarge them):

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The total cost of this project was a mere $20!

Next time you see something with real potential on the side of the road, consider taking it home and turning someone’s trash into your treasure! It’s inexpensive, easy, and you end up with a beautiful item for your home!

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Cha-cha-cha-chalkboard!

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Remember in a previous entry, I complained about my kitchen appliances? The fridge was the worst offender and the UGLIEST thing ever in life. Black, shiny, non-magnetic front, chrome accents, creme colored sides. It was a sad, sad machine. Also, it should be noted that it was made in 1991, when I was SIX YEARS OLD!  Ugh. However, we are not currently at liberty to fork over the money for a kitchen full of stainless appliances, and I have a “thing” about appliances not matching. So when we do one, we’ll do all.

My lovely friend Kait suggested chalkboard paint one day. I looked into it, thought it was the coolest idea, and we decided to give it a “go”. Even if we royally screwed it up, it certainly couldn’t look worse than it already did! We had a lot of paint supplies left over from previous projects and plenty of leftover bonding primer, so literally all we needed was a $10 quart of chalkboard paint (which was enough for our fridge).

Here was what we were working with beforehand:

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::shudders::

For the record, you can paint virtually anything with this chalkboard paint…walls, cabinets, the glass on photo-frames, mirrors, etc.

We did prep the sides of the fridge to ensure the best possible adhesion of the paint. We rubbed it down with mineral spirits and gave it a scuff-sand. We then painted it with bonding primer. We found that paint rollers were more than up to the job, and only needed the brushed for fine details and some edges.

Here is what we had after the bonding primer went on:Image

Already better than creme!

Here is the product to buy (Rust-Oleum makes it):

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A helpful tip: MIX, MIX, MIX! I had to stir the paint for a good five to seven minutes to properly mix and blend it. You want to make sure it’s as even and stirred as possible so that it works the way it should.

Here’s the so-much-better end result before adding artwork:

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You give the paint three days to dry, then “condition” it by rubbing chalk dust (the side of a piece of chalk) over the surface before drawing for the first time, and then rubbing with a paper towel. This makes the paint easier to wipe clean in the future. After we conditioned it, my beautiful mother-in-law who is up visiting from Florida went to town with the colored chalk, to this result:

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The cupcake on the fridge was drawn by my mom 🙂

Hubby did this:

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My mother-in-law made me this fabulous pink chalk basket with a container, magnets, and pipecleaners:Image

All in all, a fast, easy, cheap, and FUN project! I’d recommend this to anyone. The product is great and so was the end-result. I no longer hate my fridge and therefore don’t complain about it being an eyesore everyday (which Jeff is glad about). A win-win situation.

Dining Room Decor

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Today I want to switch gears a little, from renovations to decor. I want to focus in on the dining room! Maybe you’ve got a formal dining room, perhaps you’ve got just an eat-in-kitchen. Either way, I hope you glean some ideas from this entry that will help you set it up with style.

Let me first say that I didn’t really want the “typical” dining room that is used once or twice a year. I wanted the room to be a showpiece, but one that could be used at any time, one that felt inviting and did not put out the “Do not touch anything in this fancy room” vibe. I certainly enjoy using my china for tea services and even for just my morning coffee. I’m continually saying “Life is short, use the china!” to the amusement of family and friends.

It would be easier to begin by showing you the dining room as it was when we toured our house so you know what we were working with:

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So…yeah…

A 90’s-fab chandelier, decor not to our taste, carpet. AGAIN, though, great “bones”!

If you look back a few entries, you will see that we refinished our home’s original hardwood floors, so I had that to work with when decorating.

The most important thing when setting up a formal dining room is absolutely selecting the furniture, which comes in just about every color, every wood type, every style, every budget. If you do not have a family set, your options are to buy new or buy used. You can go for any kind of look you want…modern, traditional, antique, whimsical. I’m a girl who knows what she wants, so I have always wanted a mahogany set in the formal Queen Anne style. My parents have a stunning cherry Thomasville dining room suite that is Queen Anne style, and I have admired it since the day they got it.

As you can guess, my choice does not come cheap…in fact, it’s one of the most expensive types on the market. I don’t do particleboard and every wood surface in my home is solid. I did not want to plunk $5,000-$10,000 down for a brand new set. My favorite solution? Buy used!

I scoured Craigslist (more on that at a later date), and a family in a wealthy neighborhood was moving. I found my dream set there, for the bargain price of $1,000, which included the table with 2 leaves, 6 chairs (2 captain’s chairs, 4 armchairs), a hutch, and a curio. The maker is Bassett, which is quality. Definitely see if you can find a maker’s mark if you are buying used.

Next step? Getting rid of that awful chandelier! We found exactly what we were looking for at Lowe’s. For fixtures, we gravitate to oil-rubbed bronze, but the bottom line is to buy what you love. $100 bought us our nice, new one.

If you’ve got a hardwood floor, you should absolutely buy an area rug for under your table. It adds style and protects the flooring. I do not like room-size rugs, but that is a personal preference. I like to see my hardwood. I chose just a 5 x 7 area rug to go under the table. My dining room is open to my formal living room, so I used the same rug in that room to, to create the flow and feel of a unified space. The rugs were a reasonable $75 each.

Once you have a light fixture, rug (if needed) and furniture picked out, it’s time to accessorize (the most fun part).

I like formal, but I do not like stuffy!!! I wanted to add some whimsical elements to the room. I am a big fan of the tablescape. Settting up a great table gives your room polish and personality. You can change them with the seasons, which I often enjoy doing. I prefer a runner to a tablecloth, and found exactly what I was looking for in Lenox’s “chirp” pattern:

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It had the perfect amount of whimsy, the russet colors to tie in my seat cushions with the rug, birds (which I wanted), and the fun element of nature. I planned the rest of the table decor around it. I got it on sale for $25.

I knew I wanted to set 4 plates out, so I found great bronze wicker chargers and blue plates with a leaf design at Macy’s. They look great together, the blue “pops” and ties into the blue accents on the rug and in the runner. I paid $40 for all 4 chargers and all 4 plates, which was a great deal.

As for accents, I found a GREAT collection that Rachel Bilson (an adorable actress that I love) designed for Macy’s that is peacock-themed. The name of her awesome line is Edie Rose. I bought her peacock box, napkin holder, potholders, and kitchen towels. She also has a salt-and-pepper shaker set that looks like 2 robin’s eggs in a white nest. Each piece was on sale at Macy’s when I bought them. Here are some photos of this collection:ImageImageImage

Pretty!

I already owned a bronze set of bird tealight holders from a store called Ten Thousand Villages, which went perfectly with everything else.

Now, it was time to select a centerpiece. Giving your dining table a great centerpiece is going to top off the room. It serves as an accent and pulls everything together. I found a fabulous bright silver candelabra at my local thrift store for $4. It was love at first sight! I knew I wanted to put in taper candles that were a unique color. I lucked out at Homegoods when I found a pack of 6 blue tapers that perfectly matched my plates! The candles cost me just $5.99. The combination of the silver with the blue is stunning, interesting, and different. I get so many compliments on my table setup.

No Italian girl’s dining room is complete without a wine-rack! I like my wine, and I wanted something really special. My favorite thrift store had a tall solid wood wine rack carved like a piano down the sides. It holds 16 bottles and has a top rack for goblets. It was so special that I had to have it! It was priced at $65, but I used up $25 of credit that I had there and used a $20 discount card. So I paid just $32 for it. It’s a fun touch of whimsy in the room!

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That corner of the room needed a tie-in with my table, so I found a mercury glass lidded tumbler from Pottery Barn that looks great on top (which you will see in the full photos of the room). The mercury glass matched up with my silver candelabra perfectly.

I kept wall decor kind of simple, with a beautiful, colorful Leonid Afremov painting on the big wall with a set of mosaic leaf sconces framing the hutch. The sconces are from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I love them so much that I bought 3 sets for my house. $8 per set after a coupon!

For china, I have a set of gorgeous Limoges china from France. The pattern is lovely, with a blue and gold design. My aunt gave it to my mother, who gave it to me. I still need to have it insured. My mother has our family china made in the 1890’s in Czechoslovakia. I put my many little mementos in my curio cabinet, and I love how complete having china and treasures makes a dining room feel. Shoutout to my sister’s china too…she’s got 2 Lenox collections. She has the holly motif holiday set that I adore, and a classy, modern white set for everyday.

One exceptionally fun element I found are the trellis brackets I got from Anthropologie to frame where the dining room is open to the formal living room. They are normally $50 a pair, but I got these on clearance for $15. I love the bronze color and the twig motif. They’re perfect!

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Oh, and that quote decal was $1 at my local Dollar Tree!

Now for some photos of my finished dining room:

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It all came together nicely, and all on a budget!

The art of compromise (NOT to be confused with “settling”)

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First, let me explain something about the home buying and house hunting process…

Unless you are one of the very lucky buyers with the budget to build a dream home or buy a 3-4,000 square foot McMansion, you will have to prioritize and compromise. Even buying a huge home, you will still find small things to compromise on. When you are working within a modest budget, there WILL be things that you do without or have to give up. It’s the law of life when it comes to real estate.

Jeff and I rented for 4.5 years. We did not want a starter home. I am not the person to buy a home and go through that process to sell it again in a few years. It’s not our thing. We waited to buy a home we could stay in.

What did “A home we can stay in” mean, exactly? It meant a desirable town and school system, a great layout, and enough space for each child to have their own room, as well as “hangout” space. It had to be able to sustain up to 2 kids comfortably. It had to be close to our family, and I sure as hell wasn’t moving out of Jersey.

2 items on our original “must haves” list were an attached garage and 2 full baths.

And guess what? We are 0 for 2 with this house. And it’s just fine.

We have a large, newer, and fabulous shed, an attic that is easy to access, and an indoor storage room the size of a sizable bedroom. So the original 1960’s sized 1-car garage was closed up and finished to extend the den to 25 feet. Due to that, the den now includes a fabulous fireplace. Guess which room we hang out in the most? That one! We like having the living space.

So how to tweak the house in the future? We’d like to add cement and extend the driveway on a curve up the side of the house for more parking/car workspace, and possibly add a carport. We are a corner lot and have lots of space in the front to work with.

By the time you get your car in these older 1-car garages, you don’t really have room to get around anyway.

The bathroom situation is different. We’ve got 1.5, and they are small. My sister’s 1963 split has a large main bathroom, which is nice. But we do not have large bathrooms.

And hey…it’s fine. We’ve got 2 toilets in the house at least. And when we have kids who start growing up, we can find space in the house to create another. We could do something with giving up 1 of 2 master closets and convert by borrowing some space into the room, which is a good size. OR, we (like many families throughout history) make do. Kids shower at night and the parents in the morning, or vice versa. Whatever.

This is not about “settling” for less. It’s about prioritizing.

Also, when both my husband and I are both salaried teachers, this home will account for a measly 20% of our income! This means we can renovate as we’d like, buy a new car, save for retirement, take vacations, and enjoy the good life. We will never be slaves to our home.

We live in an amazing small NJ town with extremely desirable schools. Before the bubble burst, our home would have cost 250k. We got it for 195k, but 5k of that was closing fees that were rolled in. So the home itself cost 190k. Reminder that this is NJ! Also, I’ll note that when we bought a few months ago, we locked in a 3.25 interest rate!!!

So the cons:

*No attached garage.

*1.5 rather 2 full baths, and no bath in the master (which, though desirable, is not a neccessity. This was not done in the 60’s).

Now for the pros:

*Nice-sized kitchen that has an eat-in area.

*Neighborhood playground around the corner.

*Beautiful formal dining room that is open to the formal living room.

*Half bath downstairs where the entertainment space is located (nobody needs to go upstairs to use one).

*Large den.

*Beautiful fireplace of white brick and silestone. It’s gas but can be converted back to wood-burning if we ever wanted that.

*Plenty of possible play space for kids

*2,000 square feet, a rarity in this area on our budget

*A large indoor storage room.

*An amount of closet space that is almost shocking for this time period. The closets are big and they are deep!

*3 larger bedrooms. This home model came in a 4 bedroom model, which our good friends across the street have. Which means that our 18 foot master would be sliced in half! We love that we have 3 big bedrooms and that our children will never be cramped (they will appreciate their closets, too)

*An attic that is actually accessible!

*Hardwood floors throughout (nice, original oak).

*Heat and AC that are 2 years old.

*Newer hot water heater.

*Newer siding and roof, about 5 or so years old.

All life is a compromise. The important thing was that we missed only 2 items on our dream list!

Don’t be a financial moron….BUY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD! Do not overextend. We bought based on what we bring in now knowing that our income will shoot up within a couple years. You do not buy based on the future, because the future can not pay the bills now! Live below your means, and trust me…when you can afford your home, you love it more.

So don’t be afraid to make concessions 😉

*Quality, expensive shed in the back.

*New white PVC privacy fence

*Great laundry room/mud room.

Light, bright, and white…Kitchen edition!

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When we got our house, our kitchen had extremely good “bones”. It is a nice size, there is a good amount of storage, the seller put “Granite Transformations” counters in (granite fabricated to lay over your existing counter), and there is a stainless steel sink with a fabulous faucet. The floor is a slate laminate that is newer and in great shape.

All in all, not bad and definitely workable!

Here were the downsides:

1.) Walls that were so 1973 mustard yellow that looking at them actually hurt my eyes.

2.) Dated appliances (the 1991 black fridge with creme sides and an old dishwasher that I don’t think has that much “juice” left in it). I will say that I have a fairly new black Whirpool gas range that is very nice!

3.) Oak cabinets with bright gold brass knobs. I don’t like the color of the oak, but will say that these are extremely high quality cabinets that probably cost a ton of money originally. All joints are dovetailed, the craftsmanship is excellent.

4.) An absolutely hideous “backsplash” of shiny, textured linoleum tile with tan flower bouquets on some of them.

5.) Weird, unpainted beadboard in a knotty-wood design.

It just looked really, really dated. And too dark!!! There was way too much wood and it didn’t feel cheery at all (despite the blazing yellow). And it was totally missing what is really important to me…

Whimsy! Where was the element of fun, the touch of the unique? Nowhere to be found!

So as always, here are some “before” photos for you to cringe at:

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See what I mean? Good bones, bad choices. Dated, dated, dated.

I am a “warm tones” person through-and-through! Warm colors feel homey, comfy, and inviting to me. Despite this, for whatever reason, I have always dreamed of a white kitchen!

Before tackling the cabinets and the beadboard, I freaked out one day and couldn’t take the yellow anymore. Jeff and I picked out our paint and the color we went with was Olympic’s “Secret Passage”. We got to work painting the kitchen right away(which was a very challenging room to paint, by the way).

The end result was a color that is my favorite color in the house! To say I love it would be a major understatement. It is a thousand times better, and I no longer want to shove bamboo shoots in my eyes every time I enter my  kitchen.

Here is what our kitchen looked like after we painted:ImageImage

HUGE improvement!

To keep the proverbial ball rolling right along, we decided to paint the beadboard white as our next kitchen project. We had some leftover bonding primer from the den and leftover trim paint from the baseboards and trim on the stairs. Here was the result:Image

It already looks like a different room! Notice my owl switchplate cover (I named her “Hedwig, naturally), the outlet cover that is gorgeous but too small in the photo to see, the bird print, the brass “G” monogram tree centerpiece, the runner, and the 3 small tree stumps wrapped in twine. In earlier photos you will notice the aqua blue and white knobs that look like Super Mario turtle shells. Remember earlier when I said the kitchen needed some whimsy? That’s what I meant.

After this, we were planning to wait a while to do our cabinets, but in the Greenberg household, that seems to translate to “next week”. Hah!

So we went for it! We first got clean cloth and wiped down all of the cabinets with mineral spirits to dull the lacquer and give the paint a better surface to adhere to. With our trusty Valspar bonding primer, we gave the outside of the cabinets 2 coats and the inside of the doors got 1. We chose semi-gloss paint (nice and easy to scrub), and the color was Behr’s “Snow Drift” so that it was a little softer than straight trim paint. We did them while hung, but most people remove the cabinets and hardware. We took off the knobs and taped over the hinges. We found that tiny 4-inch rollers and 2 inch trim brushes (with a tiny brush for details) were all that we needed to give the cabinets a smooth, non-streaky finish. The small rollers really did an amazing job making an even finish, while the trim brushed filled in the grooves where the roller could not reach. Here’s a photo of what you need:Image

Let me note that you CAN get spray paint. You can find a special paint made for wood and cabinets, but be aware that this is a pricier option (though also easier). Our goal was “as cheap as possible”, so we chose the traditional paint method.

Now for the most fun part…the results, the transformation, the “WOW” factor that white gives a kitchen. You will never believe it’s the same room:

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Here

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(Last one is blurred due to the natural sunlight coming in, sorry about that).

WOW, WOW, WOW, RIGHT?!

It does not look like the same space! We are ecstatic about it. It’s bright, light, cheery, and feels even larger. Talk about doing it on a shoestring budget! This “update” was as cheap as it gets.

All right, now for…

The cost comparison:

DIY: $100 for materials that include bonding primer, paint, and supplies.

Professional: A good ballpark estimate for refinishing cabinets is about $2,000. There is a very slight chance it would be lower, but it’s more likely to be even higher.

The future for our kitchen holds:

1.) Stainless appliances.

2.) A glass mosaic tile backsplash.

3.) The wall knocked down to open it to the dining room, leaving a small partition to hold a custom-made island that is both table for 4 and prep/storage space. THIS will not come cheap. We can do most of the demo ourselves, but we will need a professional to move electrical work and finish it off perfectly. My contractor will build me the island, white finished hardwood with a large granite or cement top.

4.) Perhaps furthest into the future, a new floor. My heart is currently set on good wood laminate that looks like driftwood. If not, I will likely go for a medium-colored Pergo. I am not a fan of tile, so laminate it is!

My very fervent hope is that we can get all of the above for between $5,000-6,000, and that is all the money I ever want to put into the kitchen. Compared to what most homeowners spend on kitchen remodels, this is ridiculously cheap. I think we can do it!

But for right now and while money is tight, I love my kitchen.

The dreaded “BEFORE” photos!

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I thought I would show you the “lovely” photos of the house from the original listing and from when inspection was done. A lot of it is…let’s just say, NOT ideal. The house was immaculate and clean enough to eat off the floors, but the decor was completely not our taste. The house had great “bones” and a world of potential. You must be able to look past paint color, carpet, and decor!

This was the bathroom…the very beachy, very busy, very dated main bathroom:

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The half-bath downstairs:

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The den:

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The entryway-foyer:

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The formal living room:

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The dining room:

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The kitchen. Hang on to your hat, because it’s about to get YELLOW:

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Upstairs hallway:

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The staircase:

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The master bedroom:

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The current guest room:

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The current office:

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The laundry/utility room:

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And these beautiful machines!!! I hugged them when we moved in. The very kind sellers threw them into the deal when we accepted their counteroffer.

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The storage room, or what we call the “indoor garage” You will notice wood paneling and green astroturf carpet! We actually don’t care, because all this room is for is storage. Maybe I’ll freshen it up eventually, time will tell:

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The backyard:

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Side yard:

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So, that is what we had to work with. It’s come so far in just a short time and is a continual work-in-progress. I can’t wait to show you the many changes we have made, will make, and the new projects we undertake in time.

The 70’s are calling, they want their wood paneling back!

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Ahhh yes, the classic “never should have happened” fetish that is wood paneling. WHO ever thought this was a great idea?! It is ugly, makes any room feel like an absolute dark cave, lets no light in, and gives you a feeling that your walls are closing in on you.

*facepalm*

You can imagine our delight when we toured what is now our home and saw this. Here come the “before” photos. Brace yourselves, it’s bad. Like, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad awful. Paneling come at you in 3…2…1…Image

Check out that sunburst fixture. HELLO 1960’s! I loved it for about a day and then saw the light. It then became a fun game between us and our friends who own a house one neighborhood away, where we’d each drop it off at the other’s house in weird places and pass it back and forth. It was fun for about a week until I put it at the curb. I digress! Here’s the back end of the room, so that you get the full effect of this loveliness:

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UGH. I can’t even. This room is 25 feet long, and that is a lot of wood paneling.

So, when faced with this, you’ve got 3 options:

1.) Leave it alone (option 1 is for those with rocks in their head, don’t pick option 1).

2.) Paint over it using a quality bonding primer with a good paint.

3.) Take it down.

Here are the possible issues with option 3:

*You have NO clue what is behind it. There may or not be drywall underneath it. If so, it may be damaged and you may not be able to salvage it. If you get lucky, there is drywall under it in good condition and you can paint. Again, this is a risk. If you choose this, be fully prepared to hire out a contractor to re-rock/re-drywall the whole room. THIS, friends, doesn’t come cheap. We know this firsthand (more on that hot mess at a later date).

If you didn’t already deduce it, we chose option 2. And to be perfectly honest, I am thrilled that we did. If you buy the right materials, it’s a great-looking, dirt-cheap update that completely transforms a room. There is no comparison. I hated how dark and cavernous the paneling made our den, which is large with a stunning white brick and silestone fireplace and tons of space. It kind of ruined it. In our minds, while looking at the catastrophe that was the paneling, the only solution was “WHITE!”.

Those who know me well were surprised by this. I like my walls neutral and unexpected color pops in my decor, but I can’t stand white walls. Looking at the room, however, it’s exactly what we envisioned. A beautiful, soft white that would lighten, brighten, and cheer up the room! Semi-gloss paint is (in my humble opinion) way too shiny to use over paneling, so Jeff and I chose an eggshell finish.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty (and photos), I will tell you that painting paneling is not a pleasant task, and is much more irritating than painting flat drywall. But the end result is completely worthwhile. Another thing that shocked me was how much I truly loved the texture/look of the paneling after painting. I am a texture-person all the way, and I find it so pleasing to look at.

The first thing to do is get yourself a good bonding primer. It’s worth its weight in gold and is one of the most underrated renovation products on the market (more on the joys of bonding primer at a later date). It negates the need for sanding or “roughing up” the paneling, and provides a surface that your paint can adhere to. It’s going to give you strong, long-lasting wear. We used Valspar’s, and it’s fabulous:

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As for materials, the best ones for this job are a few different sizes of trim brushes (my local dollar store carries them 3 to a pack (multiple sizes) for $1). You need this for the trim and for between the grooves in the panels (which is a pain in the you-know-what). You’ll also need rollers. Just, please, whatever you do…NEVER use foam/sponge rollers. Foam rollers equal air and bubbles. Here’s a photo of the priming (the rockstar in this photo who helped me tackle this room is my best friend of nearly 24 years, Kerrie):Image

And here we go again:Image

As you can see, my side is a lot heavier. I have a heavier hand with paint than she does, but it all came out even and beautiful in the end. You can already see what a difference it will make in this one small section with the soft white paint on it:Image

It’s already a thousand times improved, no?

If you take on this project, make sure to paint your trim and baseboard, and be sure to get between all of the grooves. Any uneven or falling parts of molding can be nailed back in or up, or caulked for a seamless finish. Hubby went around caulking in here once all was finished. My sister is great at trim and got both the bonding primer and a first coat of paint on all the trim in the room! This space was a true team-effort, and I am so thankful. I can’t say it was fun, but painting this room did turn into a singalong and dance party (typical in our house)!

So to recap, This is what we inherited (also note the “magical” polished brass ceiling fan that has since been replaced):

ImageAnd this fabulous room is what we’ve got now:Image

Image(And in the back of the room, we opted to set up a game table):Image

Here’s a pulled-back view of the room, with my “daughter” hanging out and walking around (you can see a glimpse of our nice, new rubbed-bronze fan, too):Image

And remember the bizarre 60’s sunburst-looking fixture as the centerpiece for the fireplace? Here is the mantle now:Image

See what I mean about the texture of painted paneling being nice? The soft white paint we used (Olympic’s “Delicate White”) ended up being just what we needed. It feels comfy, bright, and inviting in here now. All for the cost of paint and some materials! Such a complete and utter transformation!

The future of this room includes ripping out the carpet and putting down a nice laminate at a later date. For now, I am living with the carpet.

As always, the price comparison of DIY VS Professional:

DIY: About $100 for paint and supplies

Professional: At the low end for priming and painting the room, you’ll see about $750-800. On the higher (and likely more realistic) end: You’re up over $1,000. If you want a pro to take it down, prime and paint existing drywall, you are over $1,000. If they remove bad drywall behind the panels and have to re-rock the room, you’re now in multi-thousands.

Once again, DIY is dynamite.