Monday, May 18, 2015

The White Country Kitchen: The Paint I Chose to Transform my Cabinets



white kitchen

In Febuary, we finished updating the kitchen in our victiorian farm house. With the help of a gallon of primer and white paint, we transformed if from dark and dated to bright and fresh.




For this project, I knew I wanted the look of a traditional country white kitchen. 


I also knew, having worked as a decorative painter and having painted my fair share of kitchens, that painting kitchens is neither fun nor easy.  It is a lot of work. So, you want to make sure that after all that work, it looks professional and will last. How do you do that? By making sure you select good products that are easy to use and durable

Now starting out, I wanted to use chalk paint. you see I am a chalk paint fan. A big chalk paint fan. I use it almost exclusively for my furniture. But, I knew I had to be sure that chalk paint would be the best choice for me. 
As much as I love it, would it be cost effective, easy and durable? 
After a lot of online research, I decided against chalk paint. 

Now if want chalk paint in your kitchen, go for it! 
I actually followed up with a friend who painted her cabinets with chalk paint a year ago to see how they have held up. She said she just used wax and they have held up great. 
For my project, it just wasn't the best choice for me.
Here are the products I chose to paint my kitchen...

Primer…
Benjamin Moore does offer an ADVANCE primer too, but I used this as it was highly recommended by our contractor. I loved it.





Now don’t skip this step. Not on kitchen cabinets. 
Don't let anyone tell you different. No matter which paint you go with, oil, acrylic, or chalk kitchen cabinets are used and abused so you want to ensure that paint adheres well. Use white for white cabinets or have it tinted as close as you can to the color you choose. This step will also help you get better coverage and use less paint which means less money.

Paint...
I used Benjamin Moore ADVANCE alkyd paint.


After a lot of internet research and recommendation from painters, I went with Advance paint. Thin and creamy it went on smoothly, self leveled and best of all, it required no top coat. I have easily wiped away spills, even dried on food, since painting my cabinets. Also, if I ever have nicks, I can pop open a can and touch up without worrying about a difference in sheen from a topcoat. 

As I said earlier, I love chalk paint. I really was planning on using it in my kitchen, 
but here is what stopped me...

  • You still need to prime in kitchen..I recommend using primer no matter what so even with chalk there is that extra step.  
  • Your must use a top coat with chalk paint. That costs money and time. You would need two coats to ensure coverage and you have to worry about drips.
  • Now that you have it top coated, if you ever have nicks you need to paint and topcoat again.


To show you how the primer and paint will look. Here is after just one coat of primer. I did two coats on everything so my white paint would cover easily.


Then, using a brush and roller, I applied two coats of paint.



 After two coats of paint.

Finished.





Find beauty in your day!
Debbie





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Grain Sack Striping on Furniture, Quick and Easy

One of my favorite ways to add personality to a piece of furniture is with grain sack striping.
 I know. Grain sack stripes are everywhere, but I have yet to tire of them.
 In fact, I don't think I will tire of them. They are just good ol' clean and simple.



Recently, I finished updating a tired Queen Anne styled drop leaf coffee table. (Didn't everyone have a grandmother with some Queen Anne pieces like this?)  



A fresh coat of chalk paint and some distressing updated it entirely.
 But, it was a simple Paris Gray grain sack stripe that let it make a style statement, ever so simply.



Grain sack striping is definitely not rocket science, 
but I wanted to share how I do quick and easy striping. 
My mostly full proof method for painting grain sack stripes? I let the tape do all the work.
For this process, I used 1 1/2 inch and 1/2 inch painters tape to lay my stripes.  You can find a good assortment of painters tape here


Starting with a table freshly painted with off white chalk paint.


Find your center, and lay out your middle stripe with the 1/2 inch tape


Follow with 3 stripes of 1/4 inch tape on either side of the middle. 


Here are all your taped lines.


Now, pull up the middle stripe and the second in on each side of the thin tape.



 There, perfectly even stripes... without measuring.


Fill in stripes with your color of choice. Here I used Annie Sloan Paris Gray.


Pull your tape up after paint is slightly set. Then add distressing as desired. And when don't we desire distressing?






 xo Debbie


Monday, February 2, 2015

A Tour Inside Our Old Victorian Farmhouse....The Day We Moved In


Last May my family and I moved into an 1860 brick Victorian Farmhouse. 

It was old and charming and as soon as the last moving box hit the floor, I shared with my readers the grounds of our new home. The landscape and surroundings were enchanting and they had captivated me just as much as the home itself.  (Visit that post here)


What I didn’t share was the inside.

Now for a home that was nearly 200 years old, it actually was in beautiful shape. It had been well renovated over 30 years ago. But still, 30 years had left some renovations dated and the paint colors (and there were a lot of them) from the previous owner weren’t for me.

With a lot of projects ahead of me, I decided I would post each room after it was updated. 
Well, that is what I planned.

Even as my husband and I worked on the house, painted and painted some more, we really hadn’t created any great transformations. Instead, I found myself with a home that was still a work in progress and a business that I had unintentionally put on hold. I hadn’t restocked my Etsy store and I had not posted to by blog.

It was then, months into our move, that two things dawned on me. 

First. With time, money, oh and lets not forget, my indecisiveness always an issue, it would be a long time before I felt a room was “finished.”

Second. I realized that a “finished” room is not really the story. Sure a good before and after picture packs a lot of punch, but the real story is in the process. It is the design ups and downs, the good decisions and bad decisions that are truly interesting. 

So, I am now ready to share our design journey in this old house of ours, as long and imperfect as it may be....and not wait for the destination. 

So for starters, 
here is a tour of our old Victorian farmhouse the day we we moved in.  


Here is the enclosed side porch off of the kitchen.
French doors lead to the garden.

This is the second area of the enclosed porch,
 which can be closed off from the main area.
I am hoping to make this my studio by summer. 


The Country kitchen.
Just off of the mudroom and laundry.

We start updates in two weeks, so I am looking forward to sharing the changes.

Another angle of the kitchen.
How about that for an accent wall?

The dining room that we will use as a sitting room.

 Here is the main living area. 
Pretty! This space didn't need much work. 


The front stair case.
This was one of my favorite features.
 I can't wait to share more detailed pictures coming soon.

Upper floor landing, outside of master bedroom. 
There is another set of stairs leading to the kids bedrooms.



The master bedroom. 
Painting in progress...


Second floor hallway.



Guest bedroom.
 Round the corner, another bath, office and servant stairs.

So there you go.. 
 A little glimpse of "what we got ourselves into." 


Friday, May 16, 2014

My Top 11 Graduation Gifts from Etsy


My Top 11 Graduation Gifts from Etsy
Gifts that are unique, thoughtful and affordable.



This June my oldest son Hunter will graduate from high school. It is an exciting time. There are senior dinners, awards ceremonies, proms and soon...graduation parties!

And that means lots of graduation gifts. 

For years, I had always given the children of friends and family a gift of money. Of course, money is always appreciated. But now with my own child, I have realized that graduation is one of the most meaningful days in a young adults life. So, wouldn't it be nice to give a gift that is meaningful too? I set out to do some online shopping and was thrilled to find some gifts that were unique, thoughtful and affordable. 

Here are some of my favorite finds, from my favorite website Etsy.com. Give them on their own or add a little more with gift cards and money.

  1. (a &b) Every student needs a back pack or satchel and these two are both stylish and sturdy. Handcrafted and beautiful from Leizi Studio.
  2. I love this bracelet for its simple and powerful statement, "Make History", as well as for its sleek style. Designed by Amy Waltz at Amy Waltz. Her jewelry is not only beautiful, but also  empowering.
  3. I had a t-shirt quilt similar to this made for my husband after college and he loved it. And he is hard to buy for. Trust me, a graduate will love this. JJs Quilting.
  4. This necklace is designed with the perfect sentiments for the graduate. Visit White Lilllie Designs to find even more special charms and quotes to inspire your graduate. 
  5. How fun is the title of this notebook/journal which is also personalized. I can't even tell you how many other cool sayings are available. Check them out at Zany. I have already ordered one for my son with a Steve Jobs quote. Slip some money inside for a unique money holder.
  6. Of course a bottle opener is best suited to a college graduate. But I love this design. It is simple, on a handy key chain and customizable with dates and words of your choice on both sides. Love the typography too. Find it at Tomi's Treasures.
  7. A monogram makes even something ordinary special. And these towels won't end up lost. Choose one from Embroidery by Sharon.
  8. Maps are such a classic way to personalize a gift and they make a cuff link suddenly interesting. Choose their college town or where they are headed after graduation. Design yours at Bookity.
  9. Dorm caddies from Studio Four Designs. Every student needs one of these for the dorm and at only $20 each, they are super cute. Fill with essentials to make the perfect gift. 
  10. This item is from my own shop. A custom mile marker sign. A friend of mine requested this for her son's graduation and I think it makes a great gift. Custom made at Tweak and Style.
  11. I think these luggage tags are classic and so affordable at only $7.99. So many other cute styles available at Village Vinyl. Want to add a little more to your gift. Add new luggage with the tags.










Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Farm House Tour

A Barn and an Anvil Stole my Heart...The Wilson Green Farm Tour


For years my husband and I had talked about moving. We lived in a normal builder four bedroom colonial. Over the years, we had fixed it up, adding character with things like wide plank wood floors, new banisters and a white country kitchen. The house was pretty and comfortable and the neighborhood was great. Excellent schools, trails and parks and even a historic downtown. Our kids loved it.

However, by middle school we had started to send our boys to a private school. A  great school, but not a great drive. It was a 45 minute commute each way. That's 1.5 hours round trip. And that was a lot of time and gas.

So, we would day dream about moving closer to the school. We would day dream about just making a change.

I longed for something different. I had visions of front porches, plaster walls and private gardens. But, the market was moving quickly and I didn't know what we would find. Or, what we could afford.

All I kept telling my husband was that it had to be "something special." That didn't mean big. It didn't necessarily mean expensive. It simply meant a home that had charm and character. A home with spaces to sit and dream. I didn't want anything to do with typical.

And along came Wilson Green Farmhouse.

grey shutters on brick

The funny thing was I had our wonderful realtor Donna take us to Wilson Green, but I hadn't told my husband. I had shown him online pictures and he wasn't interested in seeing it. The interior design wasn't really our style and it didn't translate well to pictures. But, now that we were already out seeing other houses, he agreed to look, reluctantly. We walked through with the owner as she showed us around the home and like me, he fell in love. Donna fell in love with it too. And she made certain the not real cow conveyed with the home.

Earl the Cow....and yes I know it should be a girl

Long story short, after weeks of dealings, stressing and reassuring our boys it absolutely wasn't haunted, we moved in.

Now many people don't get old homes. They are work, they are quirky. But to all of us that love to touch the walls of an old home that have surrounded families for generations, they are the only places that really feel like a home.












After moving in, many friends have expressed their love of old homes, how they always wanted to live in something old. I want you to go ahead and dream. Hold whatever you truly want in your heart and it will come to you. Your old home will find you too!

Debbie




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Add Some Character to a Fireplace. Flank it with Repurposed Closet Panels and Lanterns.



Recently, we put our house up for sale. After years, and years, of commuting our boys 45 minutes each way to school, we finally are hoping to get closer to their school. YAY!

And this putting a house up for sale thing is extremely consuming.

Every minute has been about getting the house ready and keeping it clean. Every minute. How do you keep a house clean? I finally figured it out. All you do is clean. So, due to all this cleaning, my posts have been down and my inventory on Etsy is low.

But now, I am eager to share some things. In preparation for putting our house up for sale, I did finish a couple of projects. Here is an easy DIY you can finish in a day:

One area of our current home that has always bothered me, has been all the negative space around our fireplace. Lacking any windows or built-ins, it needed something to flank the fireplace to give it more presence.


I had purchased these two closet door panels at $5 a piece at the Second Chance store in Baltimore. I had planned to use them to flank the our master bed, but when I changed some design ideas for our bedroom, I decided to use them around our fireplace.


I first used wood putty to fill any holes and then lightly sanded. I painted the already off-white panels with Navajo white chalk paint by the American Paint Company, then lightly distressed them and added some dark wax along the edges to bring out the wood details. Finally, I screwed in a metal hook and painted it white.


Next, I hung a pair of lanterns I already had on the hooks and added some battery operated candles on timers.

Now, instead of a fireplace swallowed up by a large wall, it has become a beautiful focal point.
 Best, of all this project was easy and inexpensive.




Find beauty in your day!
Debbie










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