Making our House a Home

Remember Admiral Ackbar!? He’s back to show you what we’ve been up to with our most recent home renovations. I tackled the last of the wallpaper removal on the bottom floor (apart from the wallpaper in the closets…don’t get me started), which means no more smoke-stained, ivy wallpaper to greet us outside of the bedroom, bathroom and critter room. Hopefully next time you see this space, the wood doors will be painted white, which I think will really help make the tiny hallway look more open.

I chose the blue-grey color we painted our living room to bring into the small hallway to try to carry the color throughout the house. Painting the teensy space between the two doors was not a good time—I prefer to paint an entire bedroom of walls over trim any day. We’re not sure what to do about the light between the two doors…seems very random and pointless, but for now it will stay I suppose.

Another project I can now check off my to-do list is painting a chalkboard door in our kitchen. This project was incredibly easy and brings a lot of personality to the kitchen. I primed the door with some of the previous homeowner’s leftover blue paint in the basement and then gave it three coats of chalkboard paint with a roller. Once it dries, you have to rub chalk on its side on the surface of the door to sort of seal it.

I figured we could use the door to jot down our weekly menu or grocery lists (or to just write nerdy notes to each other). This way we can avoid the inevitable “What do you want to have for dinner? I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” ten minute, back-and-forth conversation.

I painted the back of the door so we have more room for doodling and staying organized, but I managed to rip part of the paint off by pressing too hard with the chalk (thus the “uh oh”). So for anyone else who wants to try this at home, I suggest being pretty delicate when writing on the chalkboard surface instead of attacking it with the sharpest end of the chalk. Lesson learned!

Hopefully next time I write a home renovation post, it will be about removing the wallpaper in the upstairs portion of our home (I need to get motivated, stat)!

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Kitchen: Before & Progress

This past weekend was spent making over our kitchen, which was much-needed to say the least. My parents and grandma visited from Delaware, which was a nice break. My dad power washed outside while Pete tested out his new battery-powered weed wacker (which he has since returned). My mom and I worked on removing the last of the bunny wallpaper, patching and sanding the ceiling and priming everything. Pete and I decided to paint the kitchen Martha Stewart’s Lagoon color, which matches a lot of our kitchen accessories.

In case you need a refresher of what the kitchen looked like a month ago, here are photos from the initial walk through of the house. The wallpaper which was once bright white had turned an unfortunate shade of brown. The same can be said for all of the ceilings throughout the house, which have been taking at least three coats of paint to cover on average.

We have plans to get a new sink unit and vinyl, black and white checkered floor tiles once things settle down a bit for us. I am in the job hunting process and Pete just accepted a brand spankin’ new job, so we are going to wait a wee bit before we make any purchases for the moment.

The light fixtures in the kitchen made me cringe even more than the floor, which always looks dirty no matter how much you mop it. Luckily Pete has picked up on the handyman thing very quickly, so he has been tackling a lot of electrical projects throughout the house, including simple light fixture installations.

Here’s a glimpse of the kitchen right before we moved in—filled with painting supplies and tools galore.

Notice the wires popping out of the wall from a hideous light fixture which was underneath the cabinets. We ripped it out and Pete replaced it with a much more updated version.

Here’s one of the most unfortunate, unflattering photos ever taken. You’re welcome. This is what I look like after sanding a recently spackled ceiling. And yes, I am wearing glasses under my safety glasses.

My parents brought their dog Whiskey, who took a nap on my grandma’s shoe while she took a nap. It was definitely a priceless sight.

Here’s the kitchen in all of its patched/painted glory. I know it’s only in progress, but I think the pop of color really makes a difference in the mood of the room. The updated light fixtures seem to make an impact as well…thank god for no more florescent lighting.

The door to the mudroom was incredibly scratched, chipping and yellowed, but two fresh coats of paint made it look a lot better. We’ll eventually paint all of the doors throughout the house (we are on a budget, people!) and probably swap out the hardware for something more modern.

Pete’s sister gifted us this adorable, mosaic owl from HomeGoods, which I fell in love with instantly. Yesterday my friend Cubby came to visit and she gave me the mama version of the owl as a belated birthday gift. People sure do know how to make my owl-lovin’ self smile. The chalkboard calendar was from Shauna and Stephen of Something’s Hiding in Here as a thank you for drawing a portrait of their cute pooches for them.

Here’s a peek at some of our kitchen gadgets, which were a gift from my friend Susan a few years ago. I especially love the little veg-hog veggie brush. The “how to eat a lobster” serving tray was a find at one of my favorite thrift stores in the area, Impact.

This is our bird hook for hanging Betty White’s leash, our keys and any other randomness.

I’m hoping to be able to add more photo booth pictures to our fridge after we go to the shore in a couple of weeks with Pete’s family. It’s the little things that make me happy.

This Grandma Was a Cowboy painting is by Jason Sho Green, one of my favorite artists whose exhibition I visited at Art Star a few years back.

Quirky aprons, linens and pot holders are just the thing to cheer up a previously dreary kitchen. The apron and potholders were a gift from my brother and lovely sister-in-law this past Christmas. The tea towel below was from our friend Valerie, who shares an appreciation for all things embroidered. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who know our style so well. I really love looking around a room and thinking of someone when I see a certain object.

Like this teapot, which was given to me by the always stylish Cubby…I like how the cherry red contrasts with the blueish green tint of the room.

Betty White approves of the new lighting since she can see the crumbs on the floor a lot better now.

Speaking of crumbs, she was dying for a Beggin’ Strip while I was taking photos, so I had to oblige. This is her smug, I-knew-I-could-get-a-treat-out-of-you-if-I-flashed-my-puppy-eyes stare. I’m such a sucker.

Anyway, this is our kitchen progress so far! We are trying to make major impact changes without putting a dent in our wallets, which is really making the place start to feel like home. What little changes did you make to your home to make it your own when you first moved in?