Fireplace Makeover – An Easy Update with Paint

 

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.

The fireplace was the first area I started painting, even before the kitchen cabinet makeover I did in December.

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?

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

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.

After Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

After Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

Materials

These are the supplies I used:

  • 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

Priming
Removing Upper Doors – Hardware taped inside each cupboard.
Painting the doors in the garage. I used a brush to paint the inner edge and then followed up with a roller.

Upper Doors Painted

This is how the kitchen looked for one week! It was definitely a relief to have the doors back on.
The outer cabinet doors – BM Vanilla Milkshake vs the island doors – BM Pashmina

This is how the kitchen looked when I was still painting the walls white.

After – Paint, Trim on the island, stools, 2 drawer pulls.

 

More to come with how to add more details to the kitchen such as:

  • Moulding & Trim to Cupboards
  • Choosing a new counter & backsplash tiles
Before – Builder basic kitchen. oak cabinet doors, laminate counter, no backsplash.
After – Painted Cabinets, Backsplash, Trim, Quartz Counters

Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

 

 

New Kitchen Reveal

Ta-Da!

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.

 

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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.

Fall ORC – Home Office Reveal

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.

Fall ORC – Week #3

 

Unifying with Paint

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:

 

UPDATE: Thanks Apartment Therapy for featuring this project!

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We Sold our House, now onto House #3

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.

The reality of the last few days before moving…naps on the floor.

 

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.

 

 

Spring ORC – Reveal Week 6

 

Week # 6  The Reveal

Here is the final reveal of our bathroom makeover – the mirror, vanity handles & light fixture were the only new pieces. Everything else was done with paint and materials I already had. Reimagining the space and making small, manageable changes made all the difference.

The ‘floating’ wooden shelves are finally as I imagined them, as a feature area rather than just a large wasted space that became a dumping area. More information about how this layer of plywood was added on top is in my last post.

These crates are the basic kind from the hardware store that I stained with vinegar & steel wool. We each have one to throw our toiletries in.

We have a lot of plants throughout our home and garden so we moved a few extras into this room to soften all of that white.

This is the view of our ensuite from the bedroom.

Here is the way it originally looked when we moved in. I hadn’t even painted the walls because I thought it wouldn’t make any difference.

The shower curtain is something that I made a few years ago with canvas and grosgrain ribbon. White and black are the main themes throughout the house.

This is what it looks like when the door is closed. The barn door idea didn’t end up happening because we ran out of time but I left the mirror up to reflect the natural light. We usually keep the door open because it makes the bathroom look bigger.

A reminder of the shelves before.

Another shelf detail because it is finally a space worth showing!

 

Is there a room in your house that could look entirely different by using some creativity and making a few small changes?

To see the other reveals – both small project and major renovations visit the One Room Challenge website.

ORC – Spring Weeks 4 & 5

Weeks 4 & 5

 

Here we go with the last update on the bathroom project I’m working on during the One Room Challenge. I haven’t done many updates because we had some major things happen during the past few weeks — we actually decided put our house on the market and it sold a couple of weeks ago.

I had been planning to do the One Room Challenge for a few months and the project was supposed to be all about doing small manageable updates that could be done over a couple of hours each weekend. Well, good thing it was a simple plan since we had to cram the whole thing into one weekend.

I had planned to do all of the work myself but we were so lucky to have good friends come visit for the weekend – good friends who are very skilled with home improvement. This is Alfredo and he was the one who brought my vision to reality. He brought his circular saw and years of experience doing his own projects. I have so much to learn from him!

I had wanted to create the look of floating shelves in our bathroom closet while using materials I already had. My plan was the use plywood that was from a booth I had made for the One of a Kind Show.

This is the booth I made a few years ago to sell my art & accessories. It has been in storage in the garage and I’ve been saving the wood to repurpose. (You may recognize the shelf & storage unit from my studio).

Shibang Designs / How to create the illusion of floating shelves

Alfredo traced the shape of the shelves onto the plywood and then cut them with the circular saw.

He then created thin strips to go on the front of the shelves to give them depth.

Now the shelves are a feature waiting to be styled rather than a messy storage area — All with reused materials. I had planned to stain the wood but I ended up liking it as is. With the walls and tiles all being white, the wood here warms up the room.

 

Here’s a little step by step guide for how to update a vanity without doing a renovation — it’s easy and makes a world of difference. Next week will be the final reveal.

 

 

 

To see how everyone else is coming along with their rooms follow the link below:

Weekend Project – Panel Moulding Feature Wall

Christmas may be over but I am in no rush to take down these holiday wreaths from the dining room.

This wall has become an area that I love to decorate for special occasions and it really was the addition of moulding that finished off this space.

A couple of years ago I partnered with Metrie to add wainscotting to the front entrance, stairway and upstairs hallway and had a bit of extra panel moulding leftover. That panel moulding from their French Curves Collection was the perfect solution that I had been searching for to go above the wall of the banquette in our dining area.

 

This is what the room looked like from the real estate listing photos when we purchased. Bit by bit I’m working to add layers and architectural interest to our builder basic home.

One afternoon I drew up some sketches to figure out proportions and by the end of the day, this was complete.

A small project like this can easily be completed with a few manual tools, including a hand saw and mitre box.

So if you’re looking for a little project this New Year, here is one that is very doable over a weekend if it’s a small space.

Here’s the original post:

Right now Jennifer Flores at Rambling Renovators is in the midst of powder room makeover that she plans to have done before hosting here NYE party and it’s looking so good. See the progress on her Instagram

 

 

 

How to Paint Thermafoil Cabinets

Bathroom before and after text

Do you have old cabinets in your home that are tired but haven’t tried painting because they aren’t wood?

That was the case with our bathroom vanity. I didn’t like our cabinets but didn’t know how to change them – until one day I figured I had nothing to lose and I peeled off the vinyl layer that revealed MDF on the surface below.IMG_7290This was what our bathroom looked like for the first 3 years we lived here. There is no major bathroom renovation happening in the near future so instead, I did a $25 makeover that made a huge improvement and only took a few hours. IMG_7292.jpgSince I had nothing to lose I pulled off the vinyl cover from the cabinets. On the inside edge it was easy to peel the white cover off and then take off the whole front layer in almost one piece.IMG_7293.JPGFirst, I did a base coat of chalk paint, next I mixed up a custom colour to coordinate with the wall colour and vanity countertop. What I used was a combination of chalk paint and wall paint.IMG_7295.jpgIMG_2218.jpgIMG_7296.jpgThe final step was to drill a couple of new holes to accommodate the new hardware that I bought which was where the $25 cost came from.IMG_2178.jpgIMG_2192.jpg

It has been a year and a half since I painted this vanity which gets a lot of use and the paint is durable. Until a major bathroom renovation happens, I am much happier with the way the bathroom looks and you can’t beat the low effort and cost of this project.

IMG_2198.jpg

Here is an article from Better Homes & Gardens about different kinds of cabinets to determine which kind you may have.

To paint wood cabinets here is a tutorial using paint:

renovating-for-resale