Here’s a look at our living room in our open-concept main floor when we first moved in. I was excited to have a fireplace again but this colour wasn’t right for me.
Originally I thought I’d paint everything white, including a wash on the tiles but then changed my mind and I’m glad I went with black instead. At the time it felt like a huge risk but it’s just paint and I was happy with the dramatic results.
Here’s the progress…
Before: Beige trim and blue walls.
After: Now the fireplace is a feature and I the room has a more modern feel.
Before: The yellow/beige colour didn’t have the same impact with objects displayed.
After: The tiles now look natural and still go with the house.
Now with the black paint, the spotlight at night and natural light during the day create a great space to make seasonal displays.
This is a wider view of the room before I painted the kitchen cabinets. Once you start changing one area it can start to make everything else look incohesive.
This was not my first time painting a fireplace. 7 years ago we had just moved into our first home near Montreal and this was my first project. The photo will link to the blog post showing how I used chalk paint on the wooden mantel. This is the same couch that has travelled with us from Montreal – Toronto and now Kelowna.
Instead of dreaming of a renovation someday, is there a simple paint fix that could make a big change today?
After showing this before and after photo of our new kitchen that was done with very little resources, I’ve had a few questions from people wanting to know how to their paint kitchen cabinets.
This is the second kitchen I’ve painted and yes, it takes many hours to do but the results and low cost are worth it.
Here are some before & after photos of our former GTA home. I started by painting the cabinets in 2015, then trim & crown moulding and in 2016 we replaced the counter, sink & faucet and added a backsplash. When it came time to get rid of the old counter, sink and faucet I posted it for free on Kijiji and someone came to pick it up – everything got reused.
Primer -STIX by Benjamin Moore (It is expensive but doesn’t require any sanding!!)
Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Pearl Finish
Velour or Foam Roller
TSP to clean and degrease the cabinets first – very necessary!
I considered renting a sprayer to do the cabinets but instead used a roller since I have limited moments of time to work so I could slowly paint a little bit each day. Also if you’re using a sprayer and working in a garage you have to make sure that the temperature isn’t too cold.
Choosing a Paint Colour
There are unlimited colours to choose from. For our last house, I considered a dark colour but since it was a galley kitchen with white appliances I decided on white so that the appliances would blend in and the white would make the small space feel larger.
For our current kitchen, I used the same shade of white as the last time because it worked and I love the name – Vanilla Milkshake. I like classic style and for the number of hours it takes to paint the cabinets, I don’t want to grow tired of the colour.
The shade of beige/grey for the island is Pashmina, which has brown tones rather than purple tones which work with the cooler white.
There are so many shades of white if you go that route and while the paint chip may appear like a dark white it will like a bright white once it’s on the cabinets. In my experience, white and beige/grey look lighter when painted on cabinets.
Cabinet Doors off or on?
For the last house, I kept the doors on to paint because I was apprehensive about taking the doors off and not having the hinges line up properly afterward. It worked fine and I had good light to work with but some areas were hard to reach. It took me one week of late nights and one day to complete this entire kitchen (while my husband was out of town!).
This time I took the doors off and did all painting in the garage. It felt like the process went on forever because I would only work for about 1-2 hours at a time and this kitchen has 24 doors and 12 drawers.
I painted the upper doors first, then the bottom doors, then the drawers.
Each cabinet door needs:
1 coat primer front
1 coat primer back
2 coats paint front side
1-2 coats paint back side
Then you should ideally wait 5 – 7 days until the paint has cured. This step is important. I was eager to restore order and put the doors back on before the paint had cured and I chipped the paint. Even once the paint has cured, small chips happen in frequently used areas like around the knobs and door openings.
Process Photos from Both Kitchens:
The first kitchen had a few more steps after painting. The white opened up this space but it was so basic still. The backsplash was what pulled it all together and the quartz counters elevated the kitchen.
Our Current Kitchen
This is how the kitchen looked when I was still painting the walls white.
More to come with how to add more details to the kitchen such as:
We have a transformed kitchen thanks to new stools courtesy of Wayfair Canada and several coats of paint on the cabinets.
There was no renovation involved and it feels like a new space.
We love our stools which were sponsored by Wayfair Canada. These kick-started the whole project and kept me motivated to finish all of the painting. They’re adjustable in height and kids can’t stain them. I’ve linked to this Williston Forge Halsted Bar Stool below.
This is a photo of the kitchen when we first moved in this summer. As you can see, paint and furniture choices make a huge difference.
The outer cabinets are white and the island is a taupe/greige colour. I had planned to change the drawer pulls but it turned out that the screws were glued into the knob and couldn’t be removed. This is a detail of how the brass knobs look on the island.
This was the before – some knobs are more tarnished than others.
Here’s one process photo with the island being primed. I was also in the midst of making lots of eucalyptus wreaths that weekend too!
On the island, I added some trim that was simple to install and added some character. Along the edge of the countertops I sanded the wood edge and stained it black.
Here’s another look at the before and after.
Now the kitchen feels more like our style and it’s ready in time for Christmas. My parents are arriving in a couple of days and I know that we’ll be spending most of our time gathered around the island cooking and eating. We like to say that a family that eats together, stays together.
I didn’t show any progress pictures from this project but I documented the process along the way to post later.
Welcome to the kitchen in our new home. It’s now been 4 months since we moved from Ontario to BC and now that the main floor painting is mostly complete I’m tackling the kitchen with the aim of having it ready for Christmas.
This is the plan:
Our home is 14 years old and the main floor is open concept with a huge island in the kitchen about 8 feet long. This is how we have been using the space since we moved in this summer – standing at the kitchen island. It took me a while to figure out what kind of stool to use at the island. I usually choose secondhand but finding 4 stools the right height and style for this high island was not turning up any results so I started looking at Wayfair for options.
This kitchen update is the first phase – making a couple of cosmetic changes with paint and a few handles and new stools. Eventually in the future, I’d like to lower the counter and make it all one uniform height which is why I wanted the seating to be adjustable so that it could work now and one day if we lower the counter.
Since our kitchen table chairs are quite high and large I was looking for stools without a back for a lower profile that could be tucked away.
These are some of the other options I was looking at that would be childproof – ie. no fabric to stain, adjustable height and a solid wood top. One of these below isn’t solid wood (Jolene) but the Alva one is.
Here’s a look at the island one more time before I get painting. I haven’t completely decided on the island colour yet. The outer cabinets will be a shade of white and the island will likely be a taupe colour from one of the Benjamin Moore colour samples below.
In our previous home I painted the cabinets and only changed the drawer pulls. That is what I intend to do this time as well. The current knobs are an unlacquered brass and I found pulls at Lee Valley (shown above) that had similar colouring.
Now it’s time to get started and finished because Christmas is only a month away and there’s nothing like a self-imposed deadline to get a project completed!
Today is the last day for the One Room Challenge reveals. What I like about participating is how the event gives me a deadline to finish a room in the house otherwise I tend to let them stay unfinished for months.
I didn’t think that this room was going to come together on time because I’ve been looking for a secondhand cabinet and hadn’t found what I was looking for. When I did the Board & Batten Boys room in 2017 it took months until I found the right solid wood bunk beds and that was in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where the population is into the millions!
Kelowna and the surrounding area is a much smaller population but after no luck on Kijiji, Craigslist and Marketplace I lucked out at Habitat for Humanity Restore yesterday and had the final piece. Secondhand shopping is so much fun when you find what you’ve been looking for.
Here is the cabinet with louvred doors that I brought home last night and painted this morning. I still need to find hardware and raise the height to make it work as a standing desk.
Another more challenging part of this room was installing the floating shelf above the desk. I used blind shelf supports from Lee Valley to display the plants.
Some work still needs to be done in this area but it’s so close to being ready.
I painted the mirror a glossy black to play up the round shapes of the wood and give it a more modern look.
I loved this ceramic lamp base that was hiding beneath a very big and brown shade, I’m still looking for the right shade. Part of the inspiration for this office was the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg that mixes traditional, modern and whimsical decor.
Remember what this room looked like at the beginning of October?
There are so many spectacular rooms that have been transformed in these past 6 weeks that are definitely worth checking out at www.oneroomchallenge.com.
This post from December 2017 about making a Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath has been getting lots of traffic lately so I am adding a new version to the post.
Now that I’ve made 3 versions with different varieties I will share what I’ve learned in case you are thinking of giving it a try this year.
I made that first wreath using seeded Eucalyptus on a 10″ wire frame. It dried out nicely and lasted about 3 months until the green started to turn a bit brown.
I saved the wreath and the following year I took it apart and used the dried leaves as an accent in my holiday wreath mixed with evergreens (as pictured below).
This summer I came across a large bunch of Eucalyptus in the grocery store and couldn’t pass up the chance to try to make a wreath out of it.
It was a bit tricky to work with and my hands were all sticky but the house smelled so good. I also added some lavender from our garden. I used the same process as for the other wreathes linked above.
This picture was taken in July when I had first made the wreath.
These photos were taken in November. The wreath has dried out very nicely, doesn’t drop leaves and has kept it’s colour.
And since I love making wreaths, here’s another one I made last year. This was with seeded Eucalyptus and lavender and it stood up well to a cold Toronto winter out on the front door. Again I didn’t take pictures of the process because I was making it late at night but it was the same process as in my original Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath Tutorial.
A little update on the progress for the One Room Challenge which is wrapping up next week.
The desk in the office is done and now there is 16 feet of desk to work at. This office by Lori Harrison that was featured in Style at Home was the inspiration for the desk configuration. We had an extra IKEA desk leg that I used to support the corner of the desk like in this photo.
I was a bit apprehensive to get started on the desk construction but once we got started it went together fine. My helper found the studs in the wall and we screwed the 1″ x 2″ ‘s to the wall to act as a support for the pine shelving.
After the desk top was in place I used a hand saw and mitre box to cut other 1″ x 2″ wood to face the front of the desk to not only make it look like the wood is thicker but to also add stability to the desk. Gorilla Glue and painters tape was enough to do this job.
A detail of the corner where the two desks meet. The desk wood was stained with my favourite and easiest stain to use. It’s Saman and is a waterbased Canadian brand.
Now one computer is set up with a hole cut out to put the cord through. There are still a few more things I want to do to complete this room. I have had some set-backs with the floating shelf but hopefully now I have the right drill bit to get going on it.
This week’s update for the One Room Challenge is about a quick and easy project.
We no longer have our plants or pots so I set out to get new ones for the office. Finding plants was easy but to buy new pots gets pricey and I needed quite a few. Now that we’re starting off fresh in so many ways and I’m continuing to use secondhand as much as possible I went to check out thrift stores for pots. I decided to unify them with paint and in a grey, imitation cement look. Here’s the before (I’m still looking for a pot for the fern).
I used a chalky finish spray paint (and did a terrible job of it) to have a base for the paint to adhere to.
Then I painted them with a couple of different grey paint samples, Benjamin Moore Willow Creek and Baltic Grey to be specific.
Here’s the finished look. Now that the pots are all the same grey it’s not as busy with lots of colours and the plants take centre stage. Being able to choose secondhand items for their shape rather than colour made it much easier to find the right pieces however I still need to find a couple more!
These will be going on a floating shelf that I’m planning to put up above the desk.
Here’s the link to see how the other One Room Challenge projects are going:
It’s that time of year again for the Fall One Room Challenge. I haven’t been blogging much since our move across the country because we’ve been enjoying the new city and working on meeting people instead of house projects.
I had planned to do a kitchen update by painting the kitchen cabinets but instead I’m focusing on my husband’s office. Since we moved this summer (with very little furniture) we have become used to living with less and haven’t set up any rooms properly yet.
This is the temporary set up of the office and how the bedroom looked from the listing photo.
The main priorities for the office:
In the last home office, I made a large L-Shaped desk using Ikea tabletops and legs which created a lot of work surfaces. This time I’m going to make something customized using wood from the hardware store and secondhand cupboards.
Painting the room was the first step – what a difference already! As with our previous homes, we are trying to use secondhand furniture as much as possible. That being said, it can take a while to find the right pieces when shopping used. I was happy to find two matching cabinets at Restore and the white paint for the walls there too.
I painted the cabinets black to work with the filing cabinet that we brought with us and then tried different layout options.
That’s it so far, excuse the blurry phone photos. To see the progress of the 300 + other rooms being transformed visit One Room Challenge.
After 5 wonderful years in Newmarket, we are now about to start a new adventure in a new home in a new city – again!
In March the opportunity to move closer to my family in Vancouver came up and within 3 weeks we got the house on the market and sold. We bought a new house in Kelowna, BC and to make the big move we sold all of our furniture except for our beds, couch and coffee table.
We still had almost 40 bins of stuff to move but in my experience with moving, often furniture doesn’t fit the same in a new space anyway. Most of our furniture was secondhand and even though I loved what we had, it will be fun to have the chance to find new pieces and do it all again.
The hardest part about packing for me was all of the materials to make projects that I hadn’t done yet. Some materials I kept but all of those scraps of wood and moulding couldn’t come with us, luckily they will be used by others instead.
I had planned to take photos of the empty house before we moved but there just wasn’t time- these are a few I had on my phone. What I did realize was that the house still had so much character from the moulding and still felt like home, despite the fact that it was empty in the end.
We’re still waiting for our belongings to arrive at the new house so I can’t start any projects yet.
My husband and father-in-law, who flew from Colombia to help drive our dog and the car out, have been sleeping on camping mattresses until our beds arrive.
In the meantime, I’m staying with our kids at my parents a few hours away until we have our things and can properly get settled into the new house. Aren’t parents the best?
Here’s Cali (via a Facetime call) at our new home in Kelowna. As with our other houses, this one is in great shape and in a nice neighbourhood. I have lots of projects planned but they will just be cosmetic ones to personalize it and add some more architectural interest.
The first thing I’ll do is paint – that is always the easiest, fastest and least expensive way to make a huge difference.