Sticking it to the Man

I didn’t realize I was sticking it to the man at the time, but I did. I really let him have it.

Last week I stopped at Goodwill after work for no particular reason. I don’t think this is going to come as a surprise to anyone, but if you want to find awesome stuff at the thrift store you need to check back often, be patient, and have an open mind. I was working my way through the home aisles when I spotted glittery goodness. Someone donated an entire bag of gold and bronze glitter leaves. Perfect fall and winter decor and for $1.97 it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Leaf collage

Rewind to last fall. I was checking out the Dollar Spot at Target and they had items marked off 70%. I bought a branch wreath for 30 cents. 30 CENTS, PEOPLE! I should have bought them all! The wreath has been sitting in my craft room since last fall because I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to decorate it. Glitter leaves, meet wreath. Wreath, meet your destiny.

To make the wreath, I weaved the stems of the leaves through the branches to secure them. Hot glue wasn’t needed because I was able to use the wire in the stems to keep them in place. I alternated size and directions of the leaves to add variety. This project ended up costing about $1 (30 cent wreath and I didn’t even use half of the bag of leaves).

Leaf wreath close up

Front of house with wreath

You’re probably thinking “How exactly are you sticking it to the man?” A few days ago I was shopping at A.C. Moore with a friend to find inspiration for Christmas. We spotted some adorable leaves which we both wanted, but I didn’t need to buy any since I had already scored big time during my last Goodwill run. The most simple sparkly leaves were on sale for a 50 cents each at A.C. Moore and the fancy flowers were selling for 4-8 dollars. Not happening. It would have cost at least $15 to buy enough of the cheapest leaves to make the wreath. I’ll pass. I mean at that point, you might as well skip all the hassle and by a pre-made wreath.

Sam with wreath
Here’s a gratuitous picture of my dog, Sammy who looks eternally sad in photographs, posing by the door. Apparently, his life is horrible.

Final Score:
Chelsea: 1
A.C. Moore: 0

I win craft store, I win.

$200 Kitchen Makeover {Guest Post}

Hey! I’m Allie, wifey, mom, cheapo, and blogger over at www.cutekiduglyhouse.blogspot.com, where I share the hilarious side of marriage, parenting and DIY home improvements. Feel free to check it out!

Much like Chelsea mentioned in this post, my hubs and I always expect things to go smoothly and drastically underestimate how long a home project will take.

Maybe that’s why we usually finish each major project hating our stupid old house even more, and feeling something other than love in our hearts for each other. What I’m saying is that if the lives of some of these decorating/DIY bloggers are as sweet in reality as they are in virtual reality, then mad props to them.

When Greg and I decide to start a DIY project, like updating our kitchen for $200, which we did a few months ago, we usually begin bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Picture a married couple marching the aisles of Lowes, pointing to every single thing and breathlessly spouting bits of home design mumbo jumbo like,

Hey, wouldn’t this be such a unique yet neutral color for the hallway?”

or

This is like my ideal faucet. We should totally incorporate it into our ‘phase two’ kitchen project.”

or

Wait, wait! We could use these for coat hooks! Wouldn’t that read so unexpected yet approachable?”

We were basically holding hands and skipping on the way back to the car.

On the drive home, Greg actually asserted he would start on another project later that night after we FINISHED the kitchen.

We seem to forget two important things in these moments: First, we have a one year old child, and secondly, we have a stupid, 60-year-old house.

Three hours later, it was finally time to start the Project, and we were already grumpy.

Here’s what we started with
Allie's Kitchen Before
Allie's Stove Before

My job was to paint the inside of the cabinets. Did I mention I’ve never painted before in my life? You should have seen my husband’s face when he saw me trying to push the roller into the corners and asking him how I was “supposed to get these stupid corners?”

I only completed three cupboards in two hours.

Things went more quickly once I started painting the right way and Greg came in to help me.

But it still took us four hours.

We were covered in paint, and the kitchen being the only room in our stupid old house with no air vents, there was no A/C.

At first, I thought, ‘Me and my hubs working on our house … sure, maybe we’re tired and overwhelmed, but this is fun! We should talk and have fun,’ and I tried to pull stuff out of my behind to talk about.

So, did you hear about the royal baby?” I asked. “Apparently he gave a little ‘royal wave’ to reporters when they left the hospital. How cute is that?! Hahaha!”

Pretty soon I gave up.

It was 3:30 in the morning when we finished, and we were so annoyed at each other, but also so exhausted that all we could muster up to express it were annoyed glances.

The whole thing ended up taking about four days. I painted the back splash the next day, all by myself, and finished it during Darby’s nap! I was so stinkin’ proud of myself and couldn’t wait to show Greg when he came home.

He loved it.

But then he went into our bedroom and saw that I had used one of his favorite T-shirts as a painting shirt. I thought it was an old, crappy one, and told him that he has a ton of T-shirts; how was I supposed to know?

Later, he brought one completed doors inside very ceremoniously, and attempted to attach it to a cupboard.

From the living room, I heard him talking to himself in a frustrated tone and rolled my eyes.

Then he came in the living room and told me that because we have a stupid, old house, our cabinet doors need a special kind of hinge or they won’t even shut.

So, after a trip to the store for new hinges, coming home, realizing they’d overcharged, and heading back to the store for a refund, we finally managed to replace the cabinet doors.

After a few more changes, here’s what we ended up with:

Allie's Fridge After

Allie's stove after

Allie's Light After

This is a classic “phase one” update because we aren’t in a position to do a major overhaul right now. However, I couldn’t look at that faux tin back splash for one more second. None of the changes are major, and the whole thing took a few days, and cost us a total of $200 in paint, spray paint, hinges and pulls, a sconce and a new window treatment.

What we did:

-Painted the inside and outside of the cabinets white (they were a creamy eggshell color)

-Changed the dated brass pulls and hinges for a simple, modern and sleek look

-Left off the two cabinet doors on either side of the sink (and sanded and filled the hinge holes.) This gives an instantly updated look to a kitchen because open shelving is popular right now (yet classic enough to not make it a waste of time) Then I made sure to style those shelves attractively. There are some bright colors in my kitchen already; the walls and some accessories and artwork, so I tried to stick to glass, including some amber glass which is a neutral color, for the open shelves.

-Painted the faux tin back splash light gray. (This gives the impression of a stony gray back splash, which is our actual ideal for a real back splash one day.)

-Spray painted the country looking pendant lamp over the sink to a dark aqua (Spray painting is our go-to way of changing something cheaply, and Greg does it way better than me, as you’d expect. He gets really sick of me bringing him new things to spray paint all the time.)

-Replaced the curtain with an inexpensive faux jute roman blind. I like to mix modern/industrial (aqua pendant lamp) with natural fibers and objects, even it is faux-natural…. errr….

-Replaced the dated sconce with a cheap one from the hardware store. (This is not my ideal sconce, but there is no connection to a light switch from this sconce, so it needed to be the kind with a switch or pull on the sconce itself. Read me?)

-We did nothing with the countertops or appliances because those will have to wait for the bigger update one day. The counters are just old laminate, but they look like stone because the previous owner was a smarty and purchased one of those “paint your laminate counters to look like granite” kits that Chelsea mentioned being too expensive in a recent post. I guess our previous owner decided it was worth it in order to sell the house, and guess what? She was right because it worked. I literally had no idea the counters were fake until moving in.

But I’m ridiculous like that.

Allie did an incredible job totally changing the look of her kitchen on a budget. It’s crazy that she only spent $200 and was able to create such a difference.  I’m loving the jute roman shades up against the modern pendant lamp and I’m obsessed with the open shelving. Awesome job, Allie! What’s your favorite part? Share in the comments below! If you’re visiting from Cute Kid, Ugly House, I’d love for you to check out some of my favorite posts: Laminate Countetop Makeover and $5 DIY Vases.  If you’d like to get regular updates from my blog, follow Pinterior Designer on Facebook and Bloglovin (links are in the sidebar). Thanks! -Chelsea 

Make it Werk

When we first moved in, there were so many projects I had to get done immediately. Not because I was excited, but because I was embarrassed. It seems stupid to be embarrassed by someone else’s design choice, but I was. I thought if I didn’t get rid of it right away, people would think I liked it and would judge my style by it. One of those ugly moments was the “pantry” in the kitchen.

Apparently the kitchen didn’t have a pantry so the previous owners went rogue and DIY’d one. I’m all about the DIY life, but only if you are willing to put in the time and effort into making it look professional. The old homeowners didn’t seem to do either. They added in a pantry that was about four inches deep, threw in sliding closet doors, slapped up some molding on the top only, and allowed their dog to go crazy scratching up the walls. This closet was lit.er.al.ly one soup can deep. Why? WHY?! I wanted to permanently close that stupid pantry and forget it ever existed.

Eating AreaDumbest. pantry. ever.

The first week we removed the closet doors and put them in the garage until we could figure out a plan. My mom patched up the scratch marks with spackle and painted the shelves white. Instead of storing a few food items on the shelf, I decided to embrace the ugly and just make it work. Or werk, as Brittany Spears would say.

Turns out, I actually LOVE the seemingly odd pantry now. I think it provides the kitchen with character and seems like a built-in. You know I’m a sucker for an architectural feature.  It’s going to be perfect for adding a seasonal touch to the kitchen this fall and winter. I don’t really use it for anything useful other than looking good. I styled it simply by repeating items and colors. It’s  no surprise that I’m continuing on the black and white theme with pops of gold into the kitchen. It’s kind of my thing.

Open shelving sideGold spray painted mason jars from Michael’s.

Open shelving with curtains
Triangle stamped curtains inspired by Vintage Revivals. I used a magic eraser in the same Valspar paint as I used on the wall. I didn’t measure the triangles, but just eyed up the spacing for each row. I stamped each row varying the heights for a more laid back look.

Open Shelving

Shelves + curtains
I took these pictures pre- banquette.

Have you ever thought you hated something about your house but it turned out just fine? And you worried what other people would think when in reality, it only matters what you think? Share in the comments!

Psst- do me a favor and like my blog on Facebook and follow me on bloglovin so you can get updates on my latest posts. The links are in the sidebar. Thanks!

I’m linking this post to…
All Things With Purpose

How To: Countertop Makeover!

Update: I’m giving away a quart of Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating…the same stuff I used on my counters to make such a huge transformation! Go to this link to enter the giveaway: http://pinteriordesigner.com/2013/11/19/giveaway-rust-oleum-countertop-coating/ The giveaway lasts from November 19-26, 2013. Good luck!

So there’s this. THIS is the MLS picture of our kitchen. I guess its ok, but honestly it’s 100% NOT my style. I like modern. Black and white. Sleek finishes. Pops of bright colors. Not whatever this is.
Kitchen

Eating Area

Eat in Kitchen

The oak cabinets, oak blinds, outdated light over the table, mismatched appliances, the color, the wood over the sink window, the beige countertops and  back splash, the random closet in the kitchen… None of it was working. I do love the size and that it’s open to the living room.

The first thing on the to do list was to paint the cabinets white. My mom and I tackled that the first week we moved in. Spoiler alert- painting cabinets SUCKS! Shortly after, she helped install brushed nickel handles. Nate and I replaced the fridge and dishwasher with stainless steel appliances and are hoping to upgrade the stove and vent in the next year or so.

The kitchen went through this awkward middle phase where it still looked too country for my taste. Exhibit A:

One week after moving in.

A few months later.

Eventually, I DIY’d valances out of cardboard and hung black and white 8 x 10s of my nieces and nephew. All good ideas, but the kitchen still wasn’t coming together. Finally, the blog Vintage Revivals inspired me to paint the kitchen a dark grey. So dark it’s basically black. That’s when things started to fall into place.

Bar counters

I LOVED the dark color. It lends itself to the modern feel that I gravitate towards, but it only made my countertops look even more blah. I want to eventually replace them with a marble-esque quartz, but I’m still saving my pennies. I looked into the countertop transformation kits, but they cost a minimum of $150 and there was no way I was spending that much cash on a project that was just supposed to hold me over until I could afford what I really wanted. Luckily, a friend said Lowe’s sold countertop coating, not the entire kit and it cost just $21.99. Sold! Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating  have 10 color options and I chose the darkest black. Surprise, surprise.

To coat your countertops, you’ll need:Countertop Materials
60 grit sandpaper
A rag
Painters tape and drop cloths
Foam roller and paint tray
Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating
Patience. Lots of it.

Begin by quickly sanding down your countertops with 60 grit sandpaper (and back splash if you for some reason have laminate on your back splash like me. ugh). Use a rag to wipe your countertops down. Next, begin rolling your ugly laminate countertops with the coating. The coating is super thin and will be runny. That’s normal. Using the foam roller makes the finish appear smoother than a roller with a nap. The back of the can said it would only take one coat, but mine was wayyyy too thin and needed two. DO NOT touch up once you finish an area. Walk away from the counters! I repeat: Walk away from the counters! A few times, I would come to a spot I did a few minutes earlier, notice an imperfection and would roll over it. Good news, that made the problem look worse. Since it was starting to dry, the re-roll never smoothed the area out, but made it look bumpy. Resist the urge to touch-up. I waited an hour and then rolled another coat which smoothed out most of the messy spots.

For the back splash, I used leftover white paint and rolled it on with the same foam roller as the countertops after I sanded and wiped them clean. The countertops and back splash need replaced simultaneously  since they’re basically connected (yay), so I don’t want to sink a ton of cash into them while we save.

The worst part of this process is that the counters take 3 days for the coating to cure. You can’t put anything on them and you aren’t supposed to even touch it. For someone who doesn’t actually cook, it wasn’t a big deal, but for those of you who do need your kitchen, that could get old quickly. BUT! I think you’ll agree that the wait was totally worth it…

Decorated Kitchen Counters

Bar counters coatedPros:
Cheap! $22 well spent.
It only took me an afternoon to complete the entire project (I did have help though)
Totally updates the look of the kitchen
I’ve had them since July and they’ve held up well. Food and liquids wipe right up!

Cons:
The 3 days the counters took to cure tested my patience.
Little things stuck in the counters as they dried and I had to carefully pick them out, like my golden retriever’s hair. Thanks Sam.
There are a few spots from my crock pot that left a mark. I guess the heat affected it? The marks are small though so I’m probably the only person who would notice.

Would you ever coat your countertops? Have you tried any quick fixes to hold you over while you saved for what you really wanted? Share in the comments!

Stay tuned next week for a tutorial and tips on how to build your own banquette like the one Nate and I designed and built!

Banquette

P.S. I’m linking up some of my recent posts at these blogs:
SNAP!
Made in a Day
Hi Sugarplum!
Posed Perfection
www.remodelaholic.
Six Sisters Stuff