Holy Paintbrush! I Painted the Dining Room Too!

I was planning on doing it, just not right now. I was planning on concentrating on the living room, making that room thoroughly fabulous before moving on the another room in the house. But after living with the fresh new paint in the living room for a few weeks, the rest of the downstairs started to feel a bit jarring and cave-like. The rooms totally disconnected from one another. I already had all the tools, so I thought why not!

Here’s the before and after:

When you walk through the front door you essentially see a long hall. Too the right is the living room, then a half bath, then then the dining room. The kitchen is to the left, across from the dining room. All the way to the back is the master suite, aka our new playroom.

Now you see:

Minus the kitchen (which I have BIG plans for!), It looks like the rooms belong together again. Once again, they flow, and it’s a lovely feeling.

 Before the red made an awesome statement (my husband would disagree), but the room was just to dark and felt a cramped.I could have added lighting and bought new furniture, but that just isn’t in my budget right now. The color I used is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks, same as in my living room.

I’ll be the first to admit, the afters are significantly less exciting, but use your imagination to slap some art on the walls and add a couple colorful accessories, and it’s going to look good.

The dining room is also home to our 90 gallon salt water fish tank. Say hello to the fishies.

Side note: This is my favorite fish, he’s a Mandarin Goby. Psychedelic and frog-like, isn’t he?

The tank is pretty awesome… most of the time… when your trying to paint the dining room is one of those exceptions. Then it’s not so awesome. So, a single red wall lives on in our house (secretly, I rejoice in it’s presence!)

You probably noticed that I rearranged the furniture too.

I moved the table off to the side to get it out of the way, and turns out I like it there. The placing is odd, but the room finally feels open.  It’s the first time it’s ever been easy to get to the patio door. I can even contemplate fun things, like curtains!

Of course, ideally, the table and chairs should go where the fish tank is and the tank should be moved to the the other side. Just one monkey wrench it that plan, according to Devin (it’s his tank,) moving the across the room would take a day or the and that is an effort he’s just not willing hasn’t been convinced to make in the name of good space planning. So for now the table stays here. (Feel free to tell him I’m right in the comments, I’m be sure to relay the message!)

What do you think? Any painting going on at your house? Any serendipity happenings in your furniture arrangement lately?


Mirror, Mirror

Another living room project to check off the list! I’m on fire this week!

I bought this mirror a couple years ago from Pier 1.

I have always liked it… but not really that much. It just never really jibbed with what I was trying to accomplish in the living room. When I decided give the living room a serious makeover (read more about that here), that mirror was one of the first things that I knew needed to change. I didn’t want to trash it- there’s nothing wrong with it, and I paid a pretty penny for it (well, a pretty penny in my world, a world where large accessories are not normally purchased, but made.) So I decided to paint it.

I’ve been working on it for months, just a half hour here and there, whenever a surge of focus and energy coincided with a sleeping toddler.

And drum roll please!

I am really pleased with it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt that before it just took itself to seriously and now it has that playful to match the rest of the room.

You can see I wasn’t real precise about staying in the “lines”. Believe or not that was intentional. The imperfections adds the whimsical quality. I think my favorite part is the yellow- it really pops! Although the blue holds it’s own too!

I opted not to paint the red on the bottom. I may one day, but for now it works, keeps the frame grounded. I already had the black and grey,  but I picked up the blue and yellow up at Hobby Lobby. They were on sale for 2 dollars each. That’s right, this makeover cost my 4 dollars plus tax…. that’s right in my budget!

Doesn’t it look good with my freshly painted walls? Oh, I love easy improvements!

Before & Progress: The Living Room

It’s been quiet round here, atleast at the Schmitt House Blog. At the actual Schmitt house- it’s been anything but. Perhaps you remember my longwinded, gripe-filled post about my living room a few weeks back? Well, no more griping, it is official- I have completed the first few steps towards making my living room fabulous!

I am so excited about how it is coming together already! And this is just the beginning!

Before I reveal all, let’s back track… Here’s a few before photos:

Kind of makes you want to pull your hair out, right?

And now, the very same room after a couple coats of paint!

Don’t mind the dust on the mantle- I was a bit over eager to document the loveliness that is my living room, I promise it has been since cleaned up. And ignore the toys all over the floor, just keeping it real. If it’s between 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening, there’s no getting away from them. But other than those little details… isn’t it just a marvelous change? Come on say it.. Oh la la! The color we went with is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks. I love it, It just infuses light and warmth into the room.

Here’s another view:

We also got new curtains. That was a big decision. That bag in the foreground- it’s filled the three sets of curtains that didn’t make the cut. As for the keepers, I have had my eye on similar curtains from World Market for a while, but at 25 dollars a pop, I was waiting on a super good sale. Instead, I scored these sparkly gems at TJ Maxx for $25 for the pair. At the store, I thought they might be too bright, but no, they are just right. It’s not over though,  I might add some white sheers… What do you think?

One more angle:

(Please excuse the exposed bulbs on the fan. Another project to put on the list.)The red wall is gone. I kind of thought I would miss it, I fought so hard for it, and defended it for so long, but I have to admit (grudgingly), everyone was right. It was too dark. Although I remain fond of the memory, this is so much better. When you open the door and walk into the house, this new color quietly beckons you in, tells you to take off your shoes and gives you a hug. The blood red wall just kind of said “BAM! I’m here!”

There must be a dozen things I still need to do, the biggest of them being to paint all the trim and moldings, the smallest being to put up art. One wall hasn’t even been painted yet. But It’s an inspiring start. Devin, who could care less about anything decor-related(, unless it relates to where his electronics are stored,) actually told me that “he can see the room’s potential and is excited about it!”

What about you? Anyone painting? Redecorating? Anyone else tripping over Let’s Rock Elmo all day long?

Oh, Happy Room!

Ahhh… my living room… it drives me nuts. And now that I am staying home, I am in there constantly, looking at it constantly.(That was not bad grammar, it’s meant to emphasize, that I am in fact staring at the walls in this room constantly.) I know decor should not be one life’s greatest stresses, but it is.

Our living room is the first room you see when you walk in the house. I want the room to beckon you in, beg you to take off your coat and shoes and get cozy. I want the room to glow bright. Be charming, Ooze with happy sensations.Be eclectic in a put together sort of way.

But it currently doesn’t.

(Before I go any further, I want to warn you, I spend the next part of this post detailing what I don’t like about the room. After reading it, I believe It sounds a little like whining. Sorry. I know it could be worse, all the issues are issues born out of vanity. But truth be told, that’s part of what drives me crazy. A million little things that just take a little time and a bit of focus. And a little money, unfortunately.)

Currently, the walls are a grey that I am fairly sure that you would find in a prison cell. We have one bright red wall (which to be honest, I love, but my hubby doesn’t.) And here and there there are gouges. The paint is peeling  in two spots and there is chaos were the wall color ends and the trim color starts. Never knew I was OCD, but, at this point, I think I might kill for a clean line.

Currently we have a random assortment of furniture and decor. No, let me correct that… We have a couch, a couch that is so big that  no other furniture fits in the room, and, by decor, I mostly mean stacks of DVD’s and piles of toys.When we moved in, I started to decorate the room with all the colors of the rainbow. Over the years, that color palette got lost… and the room was filled with randomness.

But words don’t quite describe it.

Let me give you a tour.

The room was really hard to photograph and I see now that I missed a few spots. but you get the idea. I took these back in the beginning of November. That’s how long I’ve been pondering a solution to this mess.

Above is the front door. I love it, except it (and it’s frame) is desperately in need of a fresh paint job. The framed watercolors are from a trip to Italy while I was in college. They are ok, but as we’ve become a family, I’d rather replace them with something that is meaningful to all of us. The curtains are red.. the problem? The couch is red and the wall is red (I went through a red phase) There is insulation that expanded out of the window. The couch needs new cushions (the damask ones are so old that the pattern is fading. The British-esque ones were purchased because I love a good turquiose- red color combo, and it is so hard to find.I saw those pillows and though maybe the living room could be filled with red and turquoise Somehow I missed Big Ben… And I didn’t realize the small one says London until about two weeks ago.

Our accent wall. Problems:There’s a dartboard. Enough said. I painted those paintings years and I’d like to replaced them with something a little more…Modern… Abstract… Not sure what the right words to describe what I want. I am envisioning something Jackson Pollock-esque.

Not so bad so far, right? The other side is really where the chaos is begins.

What a mess. The DVD’s, the toys, The staircase. There used to be a more size appropriate (and colorful) painting at the foot of the stairs, but my hubby needed it to cover a blunder on another wall and replaced it with that. No, I never took that grey all the way up the wall.

The mantle in my opinion was the worst. But, hopefully will be easy so fix. I got the mirror when I was prego. I decided that since we were having kids, the place needs to look more ‘adult.’ For whatever reason, I translated adult into less bright colors and more wood tones. The whole thing makes no sense. I blame the hormones. The sticks in glass was an attempt at Halloween decor. I thought that if I spray painted them black and put them in a case they might look cool and spooky.After completing the left side, I wasn’t too sure, so I filled the right side with unpainted sticks to see how it looked. It looked like sticks in a vase. They stayed up there for months.  The rug was chosen because it was the brightest one I could find on the cheap. The rocking horse is a family heirloom on my husbands side.It looks cool neat, but I just don’t know what to do with it.

Final stop on this tour. Just another view. I think I have already covered most of what drives me crazy here.

End of the whining.

Also back in November, I put together this inspiration board for, well, inspiration and direction.

That’s right. Full circle. Back to bright colors. I just can’t keep away from them. They make me so happy!

I have a board on Pinterest exclusively dedicated to my soon-to-be-rainbow room. It’s filled with images like these:

Pinned ImageBright Rooms: Good Cheer

From: http://smallplacestyle.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-02T13%3A14%3A00-06%3A00&max-results=7http://www.designsponge.com/2011/05/make-it-yours-gemma-ahern.html#more-89132http://www.ivillage.com/40-bright-rooms/7-b-336494

The problem is we’ll be moving in a year or two, so that dark grey is out. I’ve been trying for months to find a grey that isn’t to bold that I could accept. I just couldn’t find the right one.

Then I saw this loft in Paris.


3From: http://art-decoration.dekio.fr/reportages/contemporain/Un-loft-moderne-confortable-et-colore

I pretty much fell head over heels in love. I am obsess with this apartment. Now, I obviously don’t live in an old factory that has amazing architectural features, high ceilings and natural light pouring into every room, but I can take this style and make it my own. I’m sure of it. I am so inspired! So excited!

Step 1. Find tan wall color. I was under the impression that the tan/ beige gravy train departed about ten years ago, but now I see it everywhere. It’s definitely ‘in’ again. (I don’t really care about trends…. but the sake of resale.)

I got the 4 samples above. The colors aren’t quite right in the photo. The two left colors are a little two orange, so I eliminated them. That leaves the two on the right. The upper center one in is Sherwin Williams 7532 Khaki Shade and the lower right is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks. If you happen to have a paint deck handy, let me know what you think. Khaki Shade is a little lighter, more neutral, which I like, but in some lights, it kind of looks like the color of skin, which creeps me out. I naturally gravitate towards bolder colors. Outer Banks is a little more robust, it’s presence is less suble. What so you think? I guess I really don’t have to decide until all the prep work is done (i.e. spackling and caulking, maybe even priming.

I am also contemplating painting the wall behind the TV a bright turquoise. I know, I keep mentioning resale, but what’s one little wall? It’s little more than six feet wide and would make me endlessly happy. But that’s another post for another time.

I am hoping a week… Maybe two weeks? And on to the fun stuff, I absolutely can’t wait to flick paint on to a giant piece of plywood!

Stay with me as this decorating journey unfolds!

DIY: Brother Dresser

A couple months ago I bought a pair of dressers from Goodwill. I only needed one,  but they matched, and it was thirty dollars for two of them. It was a deal too amazing to pass up. I call them Brother and Sister Dresser. I refinished Sister Dresser right away. She lives in our bedroom facing our bed.

Here she is:

Devin and I both love her dearly. She has helped keep the bedroom much cleaner and she fits right in… and she looks ‘fancy’. You can’t tell from the photo, but the dresser’s body is stained Ebony, the drawers are painteda creamy gold color (which I already had on hand, it  is the base color of the wall in our room) and the hardware is original, just freshened up with a little Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint.

Brother, however, has spent several months in the Garage, looking like this:

Clearly unloved. I’ve been hesitant to fix it up because I am not sure where he will go. Devin convinced me that Brother could live happily in his closet, so, armed with the motivation to clean out the garage, and just generally accomplish something, I got started.

I have a folder of really great dresser rehabs, and I took a look at those…

Pinned Image    love!   Pinned Image   Pinned Image

Found on Pinterest  from http://missmustardseed.com/http://www.casasugar.com/How-Transform-Dresser-17903149?page=0,0,0#2http://thesassypepper.blogspot.com/2011/05/little-gals-dresser.html, and http://wildwoodcreek.blogspot.com/2011/10/turquoise-princess-dresser.html

But they were all a bit girly for a man’s closet. I moved on to really wanting to incorporate Scrabble letters into the new piece, but Devin hated that idea and, well, I like to play Scrabble and wasn’t ready to give up the game for the sake of interesting furniture. So I decided to make Brother match Sister. I already had all the supplies on hand, and the first time was successful, so why not?

Step 1: I used my trusty handheld sander to sand the whole thing down. I used 60 grit sandpaper. Looks better already, doesn’t it?

Step 2: I wiped it clean.

Step 3: I applied the first coat of stain to the body of the dresser. I did my best to create a thin and even coat.

Step 4: After about 15-20 I wiped it down to get excess stain off. (Confession: I forgot this step a couple times. It turned out ok though.)

Step 5: After the stain set, I used 220 grit sandpaper and sanded it down by hand (Another Confession: I didn’t so this on Sister, I didn’t read the instructions properly, and I felt the stain was more even initially, but it could just be a fluke. Do you have experience  with this?)

Repeat 2-5 as many times as necessary. Sister got 4 coats of stain. Bother got 6. Sister is a little browner around the edges. Brother is so black he almost looks painted. I prefer Sister. Devin prefers Brother. To each his own.

Step 6: Paint the drawer faces. I used as brush to get the paint in the nooks and crannies and a 3″ roller to evenly distribute the paint. I like the texture of the roller better. (I am not sure of the color I used- but this is the sticker on the can, hope it helps)

Repeat 6 as many times as necessary. I put two coats of paint.

Step 7: Coat body and drawers with Polyurethane.

Step 8: Once the Polyurethane dried, I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper by hand again.

Step 9: Wipe Clean

Repeat 7 through 9 as many times as necessary. I gave the body two coats and the drawers only got one coat. More coats= Glossier finish. After the last coat do not sand it. 

There I am putting the last coat of polyurethane on. You can see the garage door is closed. I wouldn’t recommend this course of action if it’s avoidable. But opening the garage door might have woken the baby, so I took much chances with the toxic fumes.

I gave the old hardware new life back when I was working on Sister. But, it was easy. I first put a coat of metal primer on the hardware. Then I used Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint. Once the first coat dried, I turned the pull parts over and used the oil rubbed bronze again.

I waited a little over 24 hours, then I recruited some big strong men to move the dresser and it’s bits in to our room. I put all together and here it is:

OK there’s a tiny bit of it…. I’m trying to add to the drama of the big reveal… Can you feel a little tingling in the air?

All right, here is the whole shebang:

He looks exactly like Sister, but taller and skinnier. I would really have liked to produced something completely unique and exciting, but he works. Devin loves him. He’s now refusing to put him in his closet because “something so beautiful should be out for the world to see.”  Uhhh, I appreciate the compliment, but the last time I checked, the world was not in our bedroom. (Well, technically, maybe it will be once this gets posted… but not the point) I can see right through that one, so clean out your closet, my dear! (Sorry, didn’t mean to get catty on the blog.)

Obviously Brother’s story is not over… he’ll still be moved, but he’s out of the garage and into our lives!