Sometimes You Just Have To Go With Your Gut!

There are times, when I am designing a room or refinishing a piece of furniture, and I begin to doubt myself. It usually is the result of asking others their opinion or others giving their opinion without being asked. It can make me question my plan, go back and forth in my mind, get wishy-washy and basically stop what I was going to do! Don’t get me wrong. I value other people’s opinions. It can make me look at something from a different perspective and it gives me time to reevaluate my plan. The problem begins when I decide to move forward with a plan, but some uncertainty still remains. When I am wavering like this, I will dig deep and reach for my gut instinct. Ninety percent of the time, I am really happy with my decision! The other ten percent, I use as a learning experience!

I recently had to call upon my gut instinct regarding sconces I purchased on a trip to Pittsburgh, PA. The sconces are antique brass with beautiful detailing. The minute I saw them I knew they would be perfect for our new dining area. In my mind, I envisioned them whitewashed to tone down the brass and complement my design plan. However, the idea of whitewashing these sconces did not go over well with everyone in my family. A discussion brought about a mutual agreement to table the idea until the work on the dining area was finished. As the dining room was coming together, I felt more and more that the sconces needed to be painted. At the same time, my family began to see my design plan, and that the sconces did not fit in their present state. Even though my family was agreeing with me to a certain degree, it did not mean they were keen on painting the sconces. In the end, they trust my work, and left the decision to paint or not paint up to me. Of course this brought about some misgivings, but in the end I went with my gut!

This is one of the sconces. I love it, but the brassiness had to go!

I used Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint. It is perfect for this type of treatment.

I make sure to leave areas of brass showing. I do not want to lose it completely, I just want to tone it down.

The paint consistency is very thin, giving it a transparent look.

Now is when the fun starts. Using a soft cloth and my spray bottle I wipe the paint off.

Look how it gets into the crevices!

One of the sconces had shiny brass coming through. I was not able to tone it down with just paint.

I turned to another Annie Sloan product, Soft Dark Wax.

I mixed the dark wax with some of the Old White Chalk Paint.

It worked great on bringing down the shine.

It has a wonderful aged patina look now. I love it!

My gut did not let me down!

Things in the addition/renovation have slowed down a bit. Two of the kitchen cabinet doors were taken back for adjustment. The powder room is waiting for molding and glass for the mirror. I can not bring in the rest of the furniture in or hang drapes until the stairs and hallway floors are refinished. I am still mulling over ideas for my office. I can’t wait to get in there an arrange thigs so I can share the finished product with you!

Art On The Cheap!

I am starting to put the finishing touches on the new powder room. I wanted to put up some art, but my budget is next to nothing at this point of the project. So, I looked around the house, and found some small plates that might work. A few years ago, I used plates to decorate in my dining room. I had gotten the idea from an episode of “Sarah’s House”. She was looking for inexpensive artwork, and she took decorative plates and put them in picture frames. They were unique pieces and looked great! I used it for the dining room and now I am going to do it again in the powder room.

These are the plates I used to decorate the dining room walls. Just putting them in picture frames took it to the next level!

I love these bird plates! They would be great in the powder room. They have the same colors in them as the wallpaper.

I purchased a shadow box frame from Michael’s. The back is made of linen which gives it a more finished look.

I use Velcro to hold the plate in the frame.

I cut the Velcro and put one on the back of the plate and the other on the inside of frame. To make sure it keeps it holds, I use heavy duty Velcro.

Center the plate and stick!

One more to go!

Artwork down! Now, I need to find something special for the toilet paper and hand towel. I think a trip to the Rehouse salvage store in Rochester N.Y is in order to hopefully find something unique.

Kitchen, Powder Room And Office Updates!

The floors are all refinished and the rooms are starting to take shape. Most of our furniture is still in a POD in the driveway. We stored it while the hardwood floors were being done to keep them away from the dust. The holiday break will be a perfect time to move the furniture back in and get organized. There is still a lot more to do, but at least it feels more like home.

The hutch is almost finished and looks great in the kitchen! Just needs the right drawer pulls. I cant wait to style it with all my pieces. The kitchen is almost finished. The vent-fan in the range hood still needs to be installed, the backsplash needs to be tiled, and the pantry shelves need to be built. I have also done some work on my office and the powder room. There is so much I want to do and so many ideas. My head is about to explode!

My office is really starting to take shape. I decided to turn the desk to open the room up more. I also want to add some architectural interest. I was thinking of using these old muntins from my mother-in-law’s house as wainscoting. Maybe take it all the way around and put a chair rail on top? Still working that one out in my head!

This light fixture was my mother-in-laws. She was never a big fan, so I “inherited” it. Lucky me!

I was looking for fun vintage prints and found these on They originally came from the covers of a French magazine named La Vie Parisianne, founded in 1863.

The wallpaper everyone helped me pick out is up! I am planning on painting the bottom of the wall a darker gray. Similar to the background in the wallpaper and separating it by a chair rail. I think it will make a real statement!

I tinted the ceiling paint with a hint of blue. I’ve done this in other rooms and it gives off a soft glow.

I refinished an antique frame a while ago. Once I put the mirror in, it will be perfect for the powder room!

They really did a great job on the kitchen floors. You can not tell where the old floor was!

The color of the hutch works perfectly with the island color and the counter stools.

Operation Red Clock!

There are some design elements in your home that everyone seems to love. Guests often comment on them and even ask where they came from! Family members look at them as an important part of the home that should never change. It is very nice to have a feature of your design thought of so highly. On the other hand, if you write a Blog that focuses on refinishing, refurbishing and changing your home décor often, it can be a problem! The item that is currently on my radar is a large red wall clock I purchased at Pier One years ago. As I stated before everyone loves this clock. But I want to paint it! It will be perfect for my new office, but the red just will not work. How did I solve this dilemma? With a stealth makeover (Operation Red Clock)! I am an early riser and have been known to move furniture or paint an entire room while everyone is sleeping. Operation Red Clock took place at six in the morning while drinking my coffee. I have to admit, I felt a little guilty, but as soon as I started to paint, I knew it was the right choice. I am sure some people will mourn the loss of the red clock, but change can be good and this clock looks damn good!

This is the red clock! Beloved by all!

Here goes nothing!

I wanted a creamy color so I mixed Annie Sloan Old white and Country Grey Chalk Paint.

I just need to add wax and distress it!

I think it looks great! I can not wait to see it in my office!

Lighting Update And Hutch Progress!

I can not believe it has been a week since my mother-in-law moved in. She is doing great and we are all settling into a nice routine. There is still a lot to do in the house, but we are slowly putting it all back together and trying not to stress about it ( that last bit was for me). But in the meantime, fun things are still happening. The electrician installed the pendant lights over the island and I was also able to work on the hutch I started to refinish. Those of you that follow my Blog will notice that the pendants lights are not the ones I chose. In the original post, I wrote how I really wanted oversized lantern lights, but the cost was prohibitive. Instead I chose a very nice globe light at a great price. As the renovation moved on and it was getting closer to putting up the lights, I began to have second thoughts. My ideal light fixture over the island was always a lantern, so I decided to give it another try. I looked online and found one that had been out of stock before, and now, was available again. The best thing about it was that it cost even less then the globe pendants! When I ordered them, the delivery date we received was not until January 17th , but I was willing to wait. We had put off some of the trades when we went to Binghamton to care for my mother-in-law, and one of them, was the electrician. He rescheduled to come and finish off all of the electrical work on December 6th. Unbelievably, just a couple days before he was set to come, the pendants arrived six weeks early. It was meant to be!

This is Matt, the electrician that did all the electrical work on our house. He and John, his partner in crime, have been just great. A usual job for them takes two visits – one to rough in all the outlets, switches and fixtures, and the second to install everything and finish. They have been to our house a total of five times. We really appreciate the time they gave us and of course the amazing work they did!

Now that I see them side by side. the lantern was definitely the way to go for me. The globe was very nice, but the lantern just speaks to me!

They look beautiful all lit up!

I don’t want to share to much of the kitchen just yet. In last weeks Blog, I said I would share a video on all the progress. Unfortunately, Mike from VHI Cabinets had to reschedule the finishing touches on the kitchen cabinets and is coming tomorrow. I will put out a video during the week to show all the updates.

However, I can share what I have done with the hutch I started to refinish!

This is the hutch in its original state. Beautiful, just not my style.

After I took the doors off. It immediately made it look less formal.

I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco. The color is so rich!

Once I got it all painted I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax in clear, white and dark to give it depth.

I worked in clear wax first, then added the white. Once it looked like I wanted it to, I used dark wax for some aging.

I m really loving the way it is turning out. It still needs some work though. I filled in the places where the hinges were. After I sand them down I will put a piece of molding on to give it a finished look. I also have to find new drawer pulls.

Make sure to look for the video later this week! Can’t wait to share the progress!

The Eagle Has Landed!

My mother-in-law made it to our house! She is safe and sound and getting acclimated to her new home. I have to say, the journey to get her here was challenging to say the least. My husband and I went to Binghamton over Thanksgiving break with the sole purpose of getting her packed and ready for the move. In our minds that meant clothing and essentials and the rest would come later. But the more we thought about it, having her move in without her things surrounding her, seemed rather sad. The three of us sat down to compile a list of items to make her new digs feel like home. As time went on, the list began to grow and grow until we ended up needing to rent a ten-foot truck and a trailer to tow my car (taking away the necessity for a second trip back to get it). When we made the original plan, there was no need for us to have additional help. By the time we identified everything that needed to come with us, the rest of the family was not available. My husband and I did it though. It was difficult, and often comical, but we put our heads together and figured it out!

This is the truck we ended up renting along with the trailer.

First bump in the road: My mother-in-law’s home has two entrances, one in the back where the truck was parked and one in the front. We could not move furniture through the back because there is a staircase with a motorized stair-chair on it. So that left us with the front as the only option. It was quite a distance from the front door to where the truck was parked. My mother-in-law said she had a hand truck that we could use to roll things out with. When we went to look for it, instead of a hand truck, we found a small luggage cart. Great for suitcases, but not for large pieces of antique furniture.

No hand truck, no problem! We used mom Siegel’s wheel chair. It worked great. We laughed every time we did it as we imagined what the neighbors were thinking!

The stair chair kept us from moving furniture, but it came in handy for large boxes. We also had fun riding it back up!

When it was all said and done, the truck and my car were filled to capacity and ready for take off!

Matt drove the truck and trailer back home and I left the next day with mom Siegel. We packed that car to capacity also!

It was such a busy week, I don’t have addition/renovation updates. But, when I got home, I was so excited to see that all of our floors were done. I will share more on that next week along with a video!

Amidst The Chaos, Things Are Still Getting Done!

In the past, I have talked about how my furniture pieces talk to me. I know what your thinking, but it is not in the literal sense. Its more like a feeling. Most of the time it works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. In some cases, I need to walk away from it for awhile and then come back. Other times, like this one, I look for inspiration. The piece I am currently struggling with is a breakfront my mother-in-law has. She has no room for it and asked if I would like it. It is very formal and would not go with what is in our home. I asked if I could paint it and she said yes. With that, I started Googling for inspiration!

There is no denying its beauty. I just need to make it work for me!

In my research, I found this hutch. The minute I saw it, I knew this was the way I wanted to go!

I wanted to mimic the open shelving so I took off the glass doors. It immediately looked less formal.

I also picked the paint color, Annie Sloan CoCo Chalk Paint . Unfortunately, this is as far as I got. With going back and forth to Binghamton, time just ran out.

I do have an addition/renovation update.

The new dining room had unfinished wood laid.

The same wood was feathered in with the original flooring to fill in the gaps from the demo.

The new powder room also needed repair where the wall between the dining room and kitchen was.

Once all the gaps were filled he started to sand down to the raw wood.

You can see the color of the floor before he started to sand. He is going to stain and polyurethane next week!

More updates next week!

Transitions Are Hard!

In my last post, I spoke about my mother-in-law taking ill and going to Binghamton to care for her. I am still here in Binghamton and my husband Matt is back in Rochester N.Y. He is frantically trying to finish my mother-in-laws room so she can move in as soon as possible. While I am here we are beginning the process of packing up her home. We have worked out a system. I clean up the items set them out for her to look at and she decides what to do with it. We are taking it slow not just because of her health, but the fact that these items represent her life for the past sixty plus years. I wish we could take everything, but she has a large old house and has been collecting for a very long time! To help in the process, we made categories; absolute’s ( can’t live without) , maybe’s ( not ready to let go) , and it can “go bye- bye”.

Meanwhile, the addition/renovation continues to move along. They installed the range hood (it looks good) and will be working on the hardwood floors this week. We saved the wood floors we already had and where there are now gaps, unfinished floor will be weaved in and the new areas will also get the unfinished flooring. Once it is laid they will sand, stain and polyurethane it all. This process includes the kitchen, dining room, pantry, powder room and my office. The floors are really the last major item of trades work. We still have painting, staining, building shelves, putting up wallpaper cleaning, more cleaning and putting the house back together! Oh and packing and moving my mother-in-law from her five bedroom home to her new space. I’m tired already!

My husband sent me some pictures via his phone so I can share them with you!

In my dream kitchen there was always a gorgeous range hood. Of course in dreams there is no concern about cost! Did I get a wake up call (ha ha no pun intended) the price was exorbitant! Thank goodness for Nick from VHI cabinets. He was able to show us hoods in our price range. We found one and truth be told I love it just as much!

I can’t wait to see it in person!

We ordered our new stove it will be installed next week. We have not had a stove for months. I can’t wait to cook!

Hopefully, the floors will be done next week and I can share them with you!

Sometimes the Unexpected Happens!

If you have been following my Blog, you know we are putting on an addition so my mother-in-law can live with us. We lovingly call the addition the “Audrey Wing”. When things are moving along and you have your goal in sight the unexpected can rock you to your core. On Friday November second, that is exactly what happened to all of us when we almost lost my mother-in-law. She was having trouble breathing and used her Life Alert button. Life Alert immediately called us to let us know she used it and in turn we called her. While we were on the phone with her, the EMT’S came and were checking her out. While they were examining her she got dizzy and collapsed. We were still on the phone and heard them calling her name to trying to get her to come to. And then we heard them reporting the use of CPR. We were beside ourselves, she was alone, we could not hold her hand or tell her we loved her, it was horrible. Then we heard her voice, and it was music to our ears! She was confused and did not know where she was, but she was back. They took her to the hospital and we jumped in the car to Binghamton. With Covid-19 we knew the possibility of seeing her was not likely, but we wanted to be there anyway. Audrey ended up having blood clots in her lungs that had traveled from her legs. The hospital said if she did not have Life Alert she most likely would not have made. We will be forever grateful to Life Alert, the EMT’S and Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton for taking care of Audrey. She is home now, but will need someone with her until her breathing regulates and strength returns. The doctors said it could take as long as two months. My husband took the first shift, and I am here for the second. Her primary care doctor is in the process of setting up nursing aides and physical therapy visits. In the meantime, we will be working as hard as we can to get the addition/renovation finished . We have a lot of wonderful times ahead of us and look forward to starting them soon!

Since we are talking about Audrey in this Blog, I am going to share a little bit about her and some of her completed space. With her permission of course!

Audrey is a four foot ten inch, sharp as a tact, Brooklyn born spit fire. She knows what she wants and usually gets it! She loves her family and friends fiercely! These are some of my favorite photos of Audrey. She had talked about getting a little girl statue for her garden forever. We surprised her with it on her birthday. As you can see she had no idea and was thrilled!

This is the shower in Audrey’s bathroom. I love the pebble tile she picked out for the floor and niche!

Audrey’s favorite color is blue. It looks amazing with the new dark wood floor!

Next week the hardwood floors in the dining room and kitchen will be weaved into the original floor and stripped and stained.

Cabinets and Counter Tops Are In!

The long awaited day has arrived! My white kitchen is becoming a reality. The cabinets were delivered and installed over a couple of days. First the cabinets against the wall, and then the island. I would come home from work and a new cabinet would be in place. It felt like Christmas everyday! As the cabinets were being assembled we had our last appointment to approve the slab of quartz we chose for the counter tops. I still found it hard to picture it in the kitchen, but there was no denying its beauty! As with all professionals that have worked in our home Mike from VHI cabinetry was fantastic. He answered any questions we had and made short work of the installation. I know I have been continuing to praising all the tradesmen who have worked in our home, but its true all of them have been great! Once the cabinets were finished it was time for the stone to be delivered. I took the day off for this. I wanted to be present while my dream of white cabinets and counter tops was becoming a reality!

They’re here! I am already trying to decide what to put in the class front cabinets. I know a bit ahead of myself…

This is Mike the cabinet installer. He was a beast! He put the entire kitchen together by himself.

Voila’, the first piece of the puzzle: Done!

Now off to approve our slab of stone!

This is our slab!

Approval definitely granted!

The stone has arrived! You can’t see me but I am jumping up and down with excitement!

Jeff, Rob, John and Sam from North American Stone make it look easy!

This sightline from the family room will be gorgeous!

The piece of stone for our island. It still boggles my mind to say the word island in relation to our kitchen.

I am not going to lie. When the stone was all in I started to cry. It was so beautiful and I have waited so long the moment just took over.

We were gong to get a pull down faucet, but it did not come in the color that we wanted. Now, I am glad I love detail in this one!

We decided on a taupe color for the island.

Instead of stainless steel we went with a SILGRANITE white sink. These are the things you have to take a leap of faith with. In this case I love it!

There is still so much to do before we are done with this project! But, every time I see this kitchen not only will it bring me joy it will motivate me to keep moving! At this point I honestly do not know what next week will bring, but I promise it will be worth coming back! Thanks for letting me share with you!