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.

ORC Weeks #4 & #5

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.

Earlier this week I was excited to see my post from last week about updating plant pots featured on Apartment Therapy.  They called it a Genius Hack to make Thrifted Pots look more Expensive. I picked up a few more pots yesterday (for $2.50) to add to the collection using this technique.

 

Here’s the link to see the other One Room Challenge Participants before the final reveals next week.

 

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:

ORC – Spring 2019 Week 1

 

 

It’s the One Room Challenge again, a chance for interior designers and bloggers to transform a room in 6 weeks. What I like about this event is how it motivating and inspiring to tackle a project along with everyone else – plus having the deadline helps get it done.

 

The last time I did a project in our house was Fall 2017 when I did a board & batten nursery/boys’ room.

 

This time I am doing a small project and something that is long overdue — our master bathroom. Since it’s been almost 5 years since we’ve lived here and we’re not planning a renovation I want to improve what we have by doing a few small projects so that we can enjoy this space.

      The plan:

  • Replace the Mirror
  • Replace the Vanity Light
  • Paint the Walls
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Create a focal area with the illusion of floating shelves in the closet
  • Add shiplap to the walls
  • Replace the closet door with a barn door 

 

This is how our vanity originally looked and it stayed this way for 3 years until I painted and changed the hardware. There is a post about the process here.

For minimal effort and materials, this made a huge improvement and gave me the hope that I could improve this bathroom without a renovation.

 

To see what the other designers and bloggers are planning here is the link to Week 1:

 

DIY Aged Terra Cotta Pots

Do you add more houseplants & flowers to your home this time of year?

Terra cotta pots are a classic & inexpensive option for plants but the ordinary colour isn’t my style. Doing a quick paint job adds that aged look.

Here’s a look at the before and after – which only took a couple of minutes and hardly needed any supplies.

Supplies:

  • Terra Cotta Pot (from a home improvement store, dollar store)
  • Paint Brush (any size or shape)
  • White, Cream or Grey Paint ( I use my leftover house paint samples)
  • Newspaper or scrap paper to dab paint

 

The trick to this look is using a dry brush technique. Dip the paintbrush into a tiny bit of paint, then dab most of the paint off onto the scrap paper. Apply the paint to one spot on the pot and then rub it with the brush and gently spread the paint outwards until no more paint is left. Continue these steps until the whole pot is covered.

Using very little paint is key.

Here they are finished and below is a pot I did a few years ago with white paint. This larger herb pot was left outside over a couple of summers too so that’s what added to the patina.

Well spring may be a few months away still but it feels more lively in here with extra plants & forced bulbs around. 

How to make a Fresh Holiday Wreath

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Every year, my friend and neighbour Kate and I have a tradition of making wreaths together. We call it our own workshop where we have coffee while making some holiday decor.

This year we added juniper berries and dried eucalyptus (from the wreath I made last year) to our base of blue spruce from the tree in our front yard.

Here are some photos from the process.

This is the tree that gives so much to us!

Materials Ready

Creating little bundles with your greens in the secret to getting a cohesive look.

Layer the bundles of green over one another as you go around the wreath form, wrapping with paddle wire.

In a couple of months when the season is over, save the paddle wire to use again next year after you pull out the old greens.

Here it is at the front door — where it stayed for a couple of weeks until I had an idea that involved making a second one and bringing them both inside. More photos of that to come later but in the meantime, there is a sneak peek in my Instagram feed.

 

More Fresh Wreath Tutorials:

Boxwood Wreath DIY

 

Eucalyptus Wreath DIY

Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath DIY

 

Every holiday season I love to make wreathes, each time trying something new. This was my first attempt at making one out of only Eucalyptus.

For the wreath form I used a smaller 10 ” wire frame and 3 bunches of Seeded Eucalyptus from the grocery store.

It took me a few days until I started making the wreath and in that time some of the leaves had started to dry out even though I had kept the stems in water. I started with the dried pieces and made small bundles in the same way that I made the boxwood wreath last year.

These leaves worked the best. When there were so many seeded pieces it was difficult to work with.

Here is the wreath one week later, it dried out within 2 days of making it. Hopefully it will last the whole winter and won’t neede to be constantly cleaned up like cedar.

Update:

This post has been getting a lot of traffic which makes me think that people would like to see more examples of Eucalyptus wreathes so I’ve added a new post with others I’ve made.

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