DIY Porch Urns

I had been looking for two black urns for a few months for the front porch, but nothing was cheap enough catching my eye. I ended up spotting two stone-like urns at Gordmans that were the perfect size, and I knew with a little spray paint they could be perfect for my front porch. I didn't notice that one of the urns had a little chip in the back making it only $9.99, so the two urns were around  $40 total (originally $29/ea)! 

My mom has a space in her basement dedicated to spray painting (she refinishes furniture for a living), so we set these in there and she helped me get them all covered. I used Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze. I didn't use a primer beforehand because the material of the urns was fine without it. 

And here is one finished! I love how they turned out. 

It was actually snowing in this picture if you can see!
Happy Holidays!

Progress in the bathroom

Brief update! Who knew being a lawyer and renovating a house would make me so busy ;)? We got the bathroom tiled this week! Looks great, although we don't have a counter top for the vanity and the toilet isn't installed. When the project is done, I will post better pics with details. For now, here is a little photo grid with the transformation. 
Happy holidays!

Living Room Design Board

Made this design board last night when I was babysitting my nephew. I've been MIA from the blog, but only because my family has had to take some time off working on the house. We are back at it now!

Living Room

And here is the dining room design board that I created a few months ago:
Dining Room

Before and After: House Painted

This title is a little deceiving. We finished painting the front of the house. We will be working on the sides as time permits. Luckily, the body of the house has a similar light shade, so it is not immediately noticeable that the sides of the house aren't painted. 

The front of the house was painted with one color: Benjamin Moore Victorian Garden. The body of the house was painted at 50% strength, and the top peak of wood siding was painted with 100% strength. 

I absolutely love the color. We were a bit worried it would look super green, but it is a greige-y green and its perfect! Here are a few more photos of the process:

We also hope to add some dark shutters to bring in a little contrast. Possibly black or a very dark charcoal gray. 

All in all, very happy to have this part of the house painted so that more of the focus can be returned to the inside. More details to come :)


Camp Ave & the technicolored dream house

The exterior of the house is sad, in a chipping-paint, leaning-sideways-porch kind of way. Of course, there are a lot of grand plans that we have for the exterior, but they have not been the priority. However, we have been thinking about paint colors. We have been hoping for a mud color--something darker than the current color, but not too dark. Possibly with a hint of green.

So obviously, we had to try out a bunch of colors...on the front of the house. 

We tested several colors. On the left side, from top to bottom, is 1) Benjamin Moore Victorian Garden at half strength; 2) B.M. Senora Gray at double strength; 3) B.M. Victorian Garden.  On the right, I am not quite sure of the colors--one of them is Sherwin Williams Curio Gray, and the light green shade is Senora Gray by B.M. at regular strength. 

Up close, we really liked the Victorian Garden at half strength. It has the green tones, and was not super dark. 

So my parents decided to paint the whole front of the port part in order to see how the color looked and to cover up that patchwork. 
At this point I was really liking it!

So the next day, I came back during my lunch break to check on the house. I was shocked, I seriously could not see the difference between the old light color and the new! In the pictures, it is visible (albeit BARELY visible). 

(hello, color, are you there???!!)
So in the end, Victorian Garden at half strength is probably not going to work. It is a tad too light, and we want to see a bit of a change...something a few shades darker. Not too dark, but not this light tan. My suggestion was getting the Victorian Garden at 75% strength? 
At least the front porch looks a lot better now that the paint patchwork is cleaned up! 

Have you ever painted a stucco house? If yes, did the paint dry a lot lighter than you expected? 

Two girls, one floor sander

So after we removed the carpet in the upstairs, we were left with hardwood floors that looked like this. Dark, damaged, and paint-splattered. Luckily, they were in decently good condition otherwise and just needed to be sanded and refinished. So today, my law school roommate came to town and helped me sand two of the four upstairs rooms and the hallway.  Here is a before: 

I rented the drum sander from Home Depot for a day for $58. The floor is pine, and so they recommended using 60 grit and 80 grit sandpaper. Each 11x11ft room took only one $7.95 piece (although to be safe I would recommend 1.5 pieces per room). The drum sander does not get to the corners or edge of the wall, so I will have to use my dad's edge sander to do that on another day.

Alaina was great with the sander! Honestly, it was pretty easy to use and almost felt like a vacuum. The best tip is to not let the sander drum sit on the floor. It has to be moving all the time or you will ding and dent the ground. Check out the picture on the right. The change was so drastic!

Clean floors woo hoo! Thats me posing on the right with my crazy hair and safety mask.

Here is the floor after we did both grits of sandpaper.

Another shot.

The guest room floor got sanded and looks great!

We sanded the hallway. It was pretty difficult because the hallway floor is uneven due to it being such an old house and it settling. But we got a good first round of sanding and I will have to use the hand sander more here.

Final shot of the guest room!

We still have two more rooms to do, but I'm glad we got these tackled today because that means I am one step closer to moving in! It took roughly 4-5 hours to get all of this done. Once you get used to using the sander, you get on a roll and it goes faster. We also learned that we could go over spots a few times and go against the grain, as long as our last pass over the wood was going with the grain.

Have you ever sanded? Any tips for the last 2 rooms?

Entryway is painted!

The entryway has finally been painted and the new light is hung. It has been a long time coming because of the repairs and because we have gotten distracted on several other projects. 

Here is a before picture from how the house looked before we bought it. The floors and wood detail are beautiful, but there was a LOT of work to be done on the plaster. Cracks everywhere. We also got rid of the random "chair rail" near the ceiling. 

Here is the view from the front door. Unfortunately the floral carpet has not yet been ripped up. We are waiting to do that until the end so the floors don't get damaged. We aren't too worried about spilling plaster or paint on this flowered beauty. 

Here are some photos of the renovation process. The walls got patched up and we put down painters paper so we don't damage the wood floors while we are doing all of the repairs. 

Stairway walls had to be entirely removed and re-drywalled. 

 My sister came and helped with the painting :)

Paint on the walls and light is up. I kept going back and forth about this light, but since we waited so long to hang it up, I can't return it and therefore it IS my light. No negative comments because it is staying! (kidding...kind of?). We painted the entryway with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. It was actually Behr Paint + Primer tinted to that color, and luckily we only needed one coat of that! 

 Gracie had to inspect everything, and she approves. 

 I got the chandelier from overstock (here). 
I'm so happy to be done painting the entryway. We needed to have a room that was nearly complete because everything else is gutted and ugly and it was getting kind of depressing. Now we walk in the front door to fresh paint and a light!

How to remove carpet

I have been removing carpet from all of the bedrooms upstairs...super fun stuff! The actual carpet removal is easier than I thought it would be and it provides some instant gratification when the carpet is gone. 

- gloves
- crow bar
- knife/blade
- tape
- cute canine helper
- nasty carpet that you no longer want 

Step 1: Take a picture of your old carpet in the room so that you can look back later and be very pleased that it is gone. 

Step 2: Use the blade to cut strips in the carpet, about 3-4 feet wide so you can pull them easily and roll them up for easy removal and disposal. Start pulling after making the cuts. (Don't cut too far, you don't want to damage the floor below)

Step 3: Start rolling the carpet and use the duct tape to secure the roll so it doesn't come unrolled and tick you off when you are moving it around! (Not that this happened to me............)

Step 4: Once the carpet is removed, do the same thing with the carpet padding. Roll it up and secure it with the tape. 

Step 5: You are left with whatever flooring is under that carpet! At my house, its some pretty nice wood floor that needs a bit of refinishing. There are also tacks of nail strips and staples that need to come up...I talked about those in the last post. Oy. 
Carpet is officially up in all of the rooms in the house! There is some on the stairs still but we are leaving that until the painting is done so we don't damage the floors any more. 

Floors and demolition

I am finally moved out of my college apartment and done studying (for now...knock on wood!).  I'm living with my parents right now because Camp Ave is uninhabitable at the moment.  My parents have done a ton of work, but every little thing takes a lot of time and energy so it is still slow coming. 

The past few days I have been working on the floors upstairs.  We ripped out the carpet in two of the four bedrooms (other two will be ripped up soon). The wood underneath is beautiful. It is a darker tone than the downstairs and wider planks. Unfortunately, the previous owners decided to paint the walls without covering the wood floors, and there are paint splatters everywhere that will have to be dealt with. There are also a million staples and nail beds that we have had the joy of pulling up over the past few days. 
    (Below: Paint on the floor, nail beds, staple remove tools, oh my!)
 (Below: My loyal companion Gracie)

Also on the agenda is the room we refer to as "the brown room" due to the ugly brown carpet and heinous brown shelving unit.  My parents ripped out the carpet in there while I was gone, and I spent the day yesterday taking out the staples and nail beds from the carpet. 

I also decided to try to channel my inner-rehab-addict and take down that awful shelf. I made sure to wear my coolest safety goggles. 

The result? Not very far but better than nothing. In my defense, this thing feels like it's made out of steel! I will probably need help finishing this job.