Posts tagged painting

Curb appeal in progress

As I was looking through the folders of pictures on my desktop, the pictures of the front of my house struck me.

First off, my house looks a lot different from what it used to. Here, in the spring after I moved in.

Front of house - May 2011

Here is my house in May 2011. I took this picture to plug into a website that would help me find a new color scheme.

One of the first things I needed to do in the spring was get the peeling paint scraped and repainted. That’s required with a first time homebuyer’s loan. Well, technically, the previous owners needed to get it done before an inspection at the end of May, but I worked out a deal with them so they paid me for supplies, and I did the work. Since the inspector wouldn’t care whether the work was done well, I knew the previous owners didn’t need to care, either.

The siding on my house is vinyl. This is not ideal because vinyl doesn’t hold up well to anything. Its only saving grace is that you don’t have to paint it. But, I did need to paint the trim around all my windows, and the back deck. Since I was going to be going to the work anyway, I thought a new color scheme would be fun. I plugged the above picture into a Sherwin-Williams web app, and went to town, playing around with different ideas.

I decided the bricks (which are really fake vinyl bricks installed over real bricks) and concrete would be a dark gray, and the trim a rich blue.

Front of house - October 2011

This is my house in October 2011. Still not finished.

You’ll note there is slight improvement, but it’s not quite there yet. After hours and hours of labor, it wasn’t quite right. A neighbor told me, “I see what you’re trying to do.” But everyone agreed it wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I decided to gather some estimates for new windows. Three potential candidates dropped by to give me their estimates. But one also gave me advice on what to do to make the front of my house look “done.”

At this late hour, I do not have a photo to show you what he suggested. I’m sorry. But I will post a picture soon.

For now, note the photo below.

Front of house - October 2011

Not quite there in terms of looking quite right. But see how the world's ugliest carpet has been removed from the front steps? Oh yes, there are better things to come.

Can you believe these photos were taken in October in North Dakota? Note the living flowers, the garden hose still hooked up to the house, and the Halloween decorations. Very odd and very welcome.


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Clutter anxiety for the generally not-so-neat Nelly

Those first few months after moving in to my place were stressful to me. I didn’t have a schedule or routine to follow. I have never been one who needed that sort of thing, or so I thought. I misplaced my keys, coat, shoes… just leaving my house was pretty stressful until I figured out a rhyme and reason for departure.

Office clutter

Makes me want to scream.

One room I had to allow to remain cluttered was the office.

That’s where all the unpacked boxes with all the nonessentials went. Except I remember spending lots o’ precious time opening and closing all the boxes on these piles over and over looking for things. I would sometimes open and close every single one of them, just to start over again.

My Christmas gifts were not wrapped until late late on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t find the ribbons. Remember, I had moved in mere days before the holiday.

Office clutter

At one time, I really thought I would like to store my shoes in my office. Really?

Of course, the boxes were unpacked slowly but surely. I went to Lowes and bought a fun ladder shelf and bins to organize my office items into.

Office clutter

Starting to come together.

And note the lovely color on the wall. Still blue, but much less chalky and dark. Eventually, I’d like to refinish the floor, perhaps. I do love the real hardwood in here.

Office furniture

So needed.

And I got a desk and office chair for my birthday, which I now sit at to pay bills, and look at Pinterest and Facebook.

Give me some time and I’ll take a couple photos of my office all pulled together now (giggle) and clutter free (HAHAHAHA)…

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Softly ascending and descending

After the monster blog post I already put out here today, I decided a second post published today should be much simpler. Read the rest of this entry »

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Project Paint Kitchen Cabinets: Undone

I’m in the middle of a huge project. I knew it would be a monster from the get-go, and I know I deserve no sympathy for taking it on. However, as I sit here today (sick), I can’t help but agonize.

I started this project Feb. 3, when my faithful helper helped me take down the doors on the top cabinets. I was going to start slowly to make this easy on myself.

kitchen cabinet painting

Day two: Painting to commence.

Aside: If you look at the photo above, you’ll see the stove I have here is different from what you saw in Preheating the oven. The reason for the change is a story in itself which I plan to share later. This new stove comes from my parent’s house, since they were getting new appliances anyway.

Kitchen cabinet painting

Sink side.

The first weekend of painting focused on prepping.

The first full day, I spent six hours prepping the doors from the top of the cabinets. I didn’t take photos.

Rest assured, there was probably an easier way out there. And I learned of one that was easier in some ways and harder in others in the post below…

Source: via Tracie on Pinterest

HA! I never would’ve done this if I had read that post first. NEVER! But my end results would probably be much nicer if I had, and then decided to follow in her footsteps. Moving on…

As I was prepping the doors, I first tried sanding. But when the cabinets had last been painted, they weren’t prepped very well. The paint was sort of balling up with the sandpaper. So, I started using a razor blade. I kid you not, I smelled the delicious smell of bacon as I scraped away that paint. It was probably the bacon of 20 years ago, but it smelled great.

Eventually, I was able to paint the backs of those doors, and move on to the cabinets on the wall. I lightly sanded those, and got a coat on. I loved it.

Kitchen cabinet painting

One coat on.

I began to see the progress I was hoping for. The kitchen looked brighter and cleaner. There would be a light at the end of this tunnel!

I just realized I never told you why I decided I should do this in the first place. I need to replace my kitchen floor. You’ll remember its true ugliness from Preheating the oven. Now, there is a lot to this story as well.

Long story short, it was very difficult to find flooring that matched the color of those cabinets. I knew I could go with almost any color if my cabinets were white.

Also, on Pinterest, I saw many many examples of beautiful kitchens with white cabinets. I loved the look of it, and I knew I could have it for myself with a little work. A little work. A little work. I keep telling myself that.

Kitchen cabinet painting

Progress, progress.

As of today, the work continues.

I’m not showing the latest photos here, because I want to be done with this before I bring my camera out again.

I hope to soon buy a range hood, stove, and refrigerator in white. I have found several nice used stoves for sale in my hometown. People who buy homes and want to upgrade to stainless steel appliances right away just sell the white stoves online. That’s a good thing for me! For my refrigerator, I would like to get something smaller, more suited to my small kitchen. Once all that is white, I really think everything will pop.

Today, the doors are downstairs, their fronts curing before I lightly sand them again for hopefully their final coat.

The drawers are in their slots, freshly painted, their knobs shining gorgeously against the Delicate White backdrop.

Source: via Olympic on Pinterest

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Undoing the sub-mediocre

My headline today is supposed to mean: There is quite a bit in my house done by previous owners that was less than good enough. However, while I’m fixing bad workmanship, I’m not going overboard. I’m certainly not putting the best-of-the-best into my house. It simply wouldn’t make sense financially. But my boyfriend and I are putting the best of our elbow grease into it. We’re doing the best we know how, and sometimes I call in the professionals.

electrical outlet


Check out this electrical outlet in the guest bedroom, for example. This is how all the outlets were in that room. As I was repainting the room, you could tell it had been painted many different colors in the past. But don’t you think this is the very highest level of laziness, to just paint over the outlets to the point you can’t use them?

I think it’s despicable. I called in the electrician, who has replaced many of these, and installed them the right side up, to boot.

Also, I believe it was Christmas Eve 2010 when I painted many of my closets. The living room closet was the most gratifying. You can see the closet here, closed of course. I didn’t get before and after photos, which I’m still angry about today. But I do believe that closet had never been repainted since 1964. Coating it with fresh paint was akin to… well… something I can’t compare it to now, but just a whole new feeling of refreshment and rejuvenation. Ahhhh….

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Brief flashback to a dungeon soon transformed

Before I moved in, I made it my mission to paint all walls and ceilings in my new home. It’s not even that I hated all the colors (see kitchen), but I did feel a need to freshen everything up.

The most dramatic transformation was in the living room, in two ways. The living rooms four walls were painted two shades of brown. The biggest wall, and the first wall you see when you walk in the front door, was a very dark brown. The other two walls were a tan, which I didn’t necessarily mind, but it would go, too.

Living room being primed

Largest living room wall, being primed.

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