Monday, May 11

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

This post is about 8 months overdue!  Once we had our den walls painted, I knew our fireplace had to be painted as well.  It was a dark red brick with matching grout, and it would stick out like a sore thumb in this pretty new room.  I love the look of brick though, so I used a technique that would keep that authentic look.  Here are the details!

First, I painted the entire fireplace with primer.  I just used what we had on hand, which was Zinsser 123 Plus.  

While I was painting, this was my view.  Homeownership can be exhausting!  :)

Then I painted the base color, or the grout color.  I bought 4 colors for this project- a grout color (light tan), and 3 shades of brown for a good variation. For all of these, I used samples from Sherwin Williams.   For the bricks, I simply cut a sponge to the exact size of a brick and varied the placement of the different shades.  I also layered the colors on top of each other (I would sponge on the dark brown, then sponge a lighter shade on top, and vice versa.)  The trick is to create a variety of shades to look like real brick.

So I wouldn't have too much paint on the sponge, I used a brush to lightly apply paint.  Don't push down too hard on the sponge, so you get that nice speckled look!

This project took less than a day and was very inexpensive- just a couple of sponges and 4 paint samples!

Wednesday, April 22

Home Office Reveal

I finished up our home office a couple months ago and forgot to share it!  This may be my favorite room in the house (the dining room, which is almost finished, is a close second!)  

These bookcases are what started the room!  When I was dreaming up this office, I had a vision in my head of two large bookcases with shelves on top and cabinets on the bottom and a lateral file cabinet in the middle.  But I thought it would cost a fortune to find what I was looking for and we'd probably have to wait a long time to do this room.  Then a friend of mine listed these bookcases on a Facebook yard sale site, and it all just fell perfectly into place.  It was really meant to be because I already had my eye on this file cabinet (from Kmart!) and the dimensions fit perfectly with it!  They were solid, unpainted wood so I gave them a new look with some paint and new hardware!

I also had a vision for a clock on a rope, and somehow found exactly what I was looking for.  HomeGoods for the win!

After doing countless gallery walls for clients, I finally have one of my own!  

I made this arrow with leftover wood from our headboard (which I don't think I ever blogged about? I'm so behind!)

We are still loving our DIY Iron Pipe Table!

Tuesday, March 3

DIY Iron Pipe Table

Last weekend, Doug and I built an accent table for our home office!  I had been looking for one that would really be a statement piece but hadn't seen anything I loved.  Then I remembered seeing iron pipe tables on Pinterest, and I thought it would go perfectly with our new desk.  Plus, I find it way more rewarding and fun to create something together rather than to just buy something I come across in a store (although that's fun, too :)  I didn't follow any plans or tutorials, we just thought it all out as we went.  This is Doug's favorite part- the sketching and the designing, while I love the actual labor part.  I'm always antsy to start cutting and drilling!  I think we make a pretty good team!  :)

For the table top, I wanted reclaimed wood that had lots of character.  We got some free pallets that I loved from a local tile store, but I really wanted the top to be at least over an inch thick.  So we go to Home Depot and as we're pulling up, we spot this big pile of old wood sitting by the curb.  Some of it was covered in bird poop, but some of it was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for this project!  I found a really nice Home Depot employee who gave us the go ahead to help ourselves!

Once we found the wood for our table top, we sketched out our vision for the table.  We wanted the table to be 31" wide and about 35" tall.  We also wanted several crossbars to add some visual interest, instead of just 4 legs.  We used 1" diameter pipes.

For these dimensions, you will need:

(4) 18" pipes (the tops of the 4 legs)

(4) 12" pipes (the bottoms of the 4 legs)

(1) 24" pipe that we had cut and threaded to 20.5" (the crossbar in the back)

(4) 3.5" pipes (the small crossbars on the sides)

(6) T-shaped connectors 

(8) 1" flanges (the feet and what connects the legs to the bottom of the table top)

All of the pipes cost us about $150.  It was way more expensive than I was expecting, but since the wood was free, I guess it's not too bad for a custom table!  We also used the black steel, rather than the galvanized steel since they were half the price.

We stopped by my parents' house to use my dad's table saw to cut all of the wood, then came the worst part of the whole project- taking all of the stickers off of the pipes!  I scraped them off with a razor then Doug wiped them all down with Goo Gone to get any remaining stickiness (and oil) off.  Once they were clean, we built the frame.  We each put together an "H" (the two legs plus the small crossbar), then we connected them with the long crossbar.  You want to tighten each piece as you go, so you don't have to mess with the connections once it's all together.  We set the frame in place and made sure everything was level and sturdy.  

We used two pieces of pallet wood to secure the two planks used for the table top.  We screwed them together from the bottom, then placed the table top on the frame and screwed the flanges into the pallet wood.  And our table is done!

(Sneak peek of the gallery wall in the mirror!  It's not quite finished, I still have to fill in a few more frames.)

Lamp and picture frame- Target,  Plant- HomeGoods,  Birds- Hobby Lobby


Tuesday, February 17

Foyer and Stairwell Update

Over Valentine's Day weekend, Doug and I tackled one of the more outdated areas of our house: the stairwell and foyer.  The wall color and stair runner needed to go!  I hadn't planned on doing this project until later this year, because of the cost.  Earlier this year, I got a few quotes for installing a new stair runner and also having the stairs painted, and it was waaaay more than I wanted to spend.  After doing some research, I found an affordable stair runner and realized that we could just do the work ourselves and save a ton of money.  I had never stained anything or installed any type of carpet or runner, but it was really easy to figure out!

Here's what the foyer looked like before.

The first step was getting rid of that orange-muddy wall paint.  Friday afternoon, we had the upstairs hallway, the stairwell, and the foyer painted and it was worth every penny.  I was not about to climb on a 20 foot ladder on the stairs!  It also took our painters less than 4 hours-  yup, worth every penny.  I chose a beautiful greige color, Sherwin Williams Popular Gray, and I couldn't love it more!  It really brightened up the space and especially made the upstairs hallway seem twice as big.

On Friday night, we tore up the old runner and pulled out any remaining staples.  We sanded each stair tread, cleaned up all of the dust and dirt, and taped the edges.  I stayed up late to finish the first coat of stain so it would be dry the next morning.  

On Saturday morning, I did the second coat of stain.  I used Polyshades in espresso, which is a stain and polyurethane in one.  It was really easy to use and works great going on a previously finished surface.  

I love that the wood grain shows through, and I think it'll be a lot more durable than just paint.  On Saturday night after the stain had dried, I painted all of the risers and trim white.  I didn't believe how yellow the previous paint was until I started painting over it!

I hadn't painted the spindles yet, but what a huge difference already! 

On Sunday afternoon, we started the final step of the renovation- the new stair runner!  I do love how the bare stairs look, but I am much more comfortable with some kind of runner on them just in case of a fall.  Because of having our pets and (someday) kids in the house, it just seems safer!  We started out by measuring and marking where the runner should go, to make sure once we were installing it, the runner would be centered and straight all the way down.  

Then we installed the pad!  I had a leftover 8x10 rug pad that we didn't use for our bedroom, so we measured and cut it into two strips.  Our runner is 22.5" wide, so we wanted the pad to be 21" wide.  We cut two 42" wide strips and folded them in half, so it would be extra cushy.  For this project, I bought the Bostitch 5/8" electric staple gun.  I used 9/16" staples for the pad and 5/8" brads for the runner.  We tried staples at first for the runner but because the pile is completely flat, they showed.  So we ran to Home Depot and luckily found brown brads that blended in perfectly.

I didn't take any pictures of actually installing the runner because I was trying to get it finished quickly so we could go get our pets from my parents house before the "snow storm" set in (thanks for keeping them all weekend, Mom and Dad!)  But it was really easy!  I used this runner from Target, and I needed 4 of them.  I only used part of the 4th runner to do one stair, so we have most of it left over just in case we ever need to patch a stair if something were to spill or tear.  The only challenging part was to start a new runner.  I had to cut the runner at the top in a straight line and make it match up perfectly with the previously laid runner.  But I think it turned out pretty great!

I was worried about getting a jute runner at first, because of this little guy and his claws.  But so far, he has not been interested in it!  The nice thing is that this runner is cotton and jute, so it doesn't have the bad qualities that jute usually does.  It's a lot softer and doesn't have any dust.  When I cut the runner, I was worried it would unravel but it somehow stayed perfectly in place.  I think it will actually be very durable!

I am thrilled with how it all turned out, and especially how much money we saved by doing it ourselves!  Here's a breakdown of the stairway expenses:

4 runners: $128 (I got them for 20% off)
Electric staple gun: $30
Staples and brads: $7
Stain: $13
Stain brush: $15
2 sanding blocks: $6

A grand total of $199!  

The estimates I got just for the runner alone (installation and materials) were $800 and $1900.  One was pretty cheap carpet (that they would cut and bind) and the other was a nice runner.  So I'm pretty thrilled with the outcome, and the savings!


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