The Excavator has arrived!

The Excavator has arrived!

After six months of waiting, ground has finally been broken! Who knew having a big hole in your backyard could be so exciting! There is no going back now! I have to say my poor husband handled the tearing up of his beautifully manicured lawn very well. I think maybe all of us are a little in awe of big machines tearing stuff up! We watched from the kitchen window, as Glen from ( Glen Amesbury & son) handled the excavator. He was so precise and squared the corners perfectly. Glen has definitely done this before! It took just a day and a half to dig out the area. Big trucks hauled all the dirt away. Again, very cool to watch! On Friday, two men came to set up the wood forms for pouring concrete for the foundation. I have no idea what that means. I am just repeating what they said. The rain kept them from finishing. They should be back on Mondayto complete it and concrete will be poured on Tuesday!

Glen heading to the backyard!
There goes the lawn!
That night, the two bunnies that frequent our yard came by. They were like… What!

It took eight truck loads to remove all the dirt.
After all the dirt was removed, they started assembling the wood form to pour concrete.
This is a view from the back. It definitely helps with envisioning the space. Next week, concrete will be poured and who knows what else!

French dining chairs painstaking revival!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Weekend! We remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we have today. We are very thankful for their service!

Guess what did not happen this past week? Ground was not broken on the new addition. Not all of the dig approvals were received. In case you do not know what that means (like me), it is the okay from gas, electric and cable to dig in that area. They will start on Tuesday! C’est la vie.

I had plenty to keep me busy, as in eight French chairs to refinish!

IMG_6860 (3)                                            The $20 dollar chairs themselves!

I began stripping them using all of my favorite tools. Klean Strip stripper and odorless mineral spirits along with steel wool and a small wire brush.

IMG_6902                                        Look what was hiding under that dark finish.

IMG_6898      The intricate detailing took a long time. I used a tooth brush to get into the crevices.

IMG_6896                    After it dried, I used a pointed stick to dig out the leftover residue.

IMG_6927 (2)                                  After all the dark stain was removed, it was ready for sanding.

IMG_6892                               Because of all the little niches I had to hand sand it.

IMG_6917  I carefully sanded and used my hand to feel where the rough spots were. It was truly a Zen moment for me!

IMG_6925 (2)   The three stages: 1st)Removing upholstery 2nd) Stripping off stain 3rd) Sanding smooth.

IMG_6929IMG_6930IMG_6931

IMG_6928 (2) After I get this far with each chair, I will put it aside until all eight are done. Then I will decide on what finish I will use. I am thinking maybe some kind of lime washed look?

New construction site and deal of the day!

For the past six months or so we have been in the planning stages of doing an addition to our house. The reason we need to add on is so my mother-in-law can come live with us. I know some of you are thinking this, so yes it is a good thing. I adore my mother-in-law! The plans had been approved and we were waiting for construction to begin when the Coronavirus struck and everything was shut down. We all understood and had no problem putting everything on the back burner until it was safe to start.

As of Friday however, New York State has had a partial reopening. This includes construction, manufacturing and some retail stores. Our contractor let us know that he could start breaking ground on Monday. If everything works out, the project will take about four months. In order to add on the space for my mother-in-law on the first floor, we will need to also bump out our kitchen to connect the new space with the existing house. Another consideration for us was to create space for our washer and dryer on the first floor so my mother-in-law will have access to it also. Most importantly, we need to build in all of the things that will make my mother-in-law’s new space feel like home for her. Lots of moving parts and pieces to say the least.

Over the next few months I will be sharing the transformation of our home. In preparation, I have been transferring plants to the back of our yard to protect them during construction. I have moved six bushes, three hydrangeas and two rose of Sharon plants. Whew!

I do want to share with you my deal of the day! I have been checking Craigslist every week or so for years in hopes of finding French style dining chairs. It started when I actually found four French chairs and purchased them. Ever since I have been on the lookout. When I say years, I mean years. Probably 10  years but who’s counting? They are hard to come by. As I found out, I am not the only one looking for them.

Last week, I was checking again and there was an add for eight French dining chairs. It only showed one, an arm chair, and that seemed like it was in great condition. And they were still available! The seller and I discussed social distancing, and we agreed that she would put the chairs in garage, and open door when we arrived. She wore a mask and so did I. When I got there and saw the chairs, I was so excited. They were in great condition, except some of them needed new caning. The chairs themselves were solid and well built. I asked the price and she said twenty dollars. I thought she meant twenty dollars for each chair, which would still have been a great deal. But, she was only asking twenty dollars for all eight chairs. She said they needed repair and she already had a new dining set. I took them and if I say I was beyond excited, that is an understatement!

IMG_6860 (2) Here are the chairs. They need work, but they are beautiful! There are only seven in the picture because I started to work on one already.

IMG_6881 My tools for taking off upholstery. This job is on par with painting the ceiling as one of my least favorite jobs to do!

IMG_6876                                                 Look at all those staples to be pulled!

IMG_6878 (2)                  The beauty of the chair, and the results at the end will keep me going.

The next weeks and months are going to be so overwhelming, exciting and unbelievable. I can not wait to share the step by step progress with all of you along the way!

Master Bedroom Reveal!

I think a lot of people are guilty of redoing every room in the house, except their master bedroom. It is only natural to want the part of the house that people see to look good. The problem with that is you have to see the master bedroom every night. We have lived in our house for twenty five years, so that is a lot of nights. I am not going to say I hated our bedroom, but it has never been a tranquil place for me. Before we were married, we were given bedroom furniture that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, we were extremely grateful at the time. The furniture was in great shape and very good quality, but it just wasn’t our taste. The other problem in the room, is the king bed. It is super comfortable, but it is also too big for the room. With the furniture not being our taste and no room to move, you can understand why it is not my favorite place. The push that finally gave me a glimmer of hope was the time I moved the bed. My husband was away for business, and that is when I usually try things. It is not that he prevents me from trying new things or doesn’t lend a hand. The issue at times is his analytical mind (which I love). His mind doesn’t understand moving things just to see how they look. He questions the move, I explain my reasoning and then it takes longer than it would if we had just moved it. So when he was away, I decided to move the bed to another wall. To my surprise it made the room seem more spacious. It was great except there was only one window on that wall and the room seemed unbalanced. My mind started working right away on how to solve this problem. The first thing that came to mind was somehow creating a faux window. So that is exactly what I did and the rest morphed from there! I hope you like the final result. It has taken months to accomplish and I am so excited to share it with you! I will start with a recap of the transformation…

faux 5                                      Starts with the frame for the faux window.

IMG_5797 (2)                                   Finding gorgeous fabric to make roman shades.

IMG_6099 (2)                                          Dying existing drapery to go with shades.

 

Refinishing bedroom furniture.

IMG_6506 (2)                                                           Upcycling old lamps.

IMG_6759 (2)                                                        And, here it is…the final result!

IMG_6758 (2)              You don’t know how exciting it is to have a headboard and night table!!

master 7   I love these lampshades from Ballard Design. They bring in the texture I was looking for.

master 11                             The furniture makeover was the icing on the cake.

master 13        This print is of a painting by Mary Cassett. She is my absolute favorite artist.

IMG_6742                     Those of you that have been following remember “the beast”.

master 15 (2) I purchased this picture a long time ago. It evoked a feeling of calm and tranquility.   Everything I was looking for in a master bedroom.  Mission accomplished!

There are still a couple more things to do. Add crown molding, refinish floor and put up a ceiling fixture. But with the situation right now, those will have to wait. In the meantime I will be looking forward to going to bed every night!

A little of this and a little of that!

I was planning to reveal the master bedroom makeover this week. Unfortunately, everything I needed to complete the look did not come. There was a delay in shipping and it will not arrive until next week. In the meantime, I will share some other projects I completed or am in the midst of doing. The first thing I tackled was a bench in the backyard. It had definitely seen better days and needed some TLC! I also began work on one of the antique doors I purchased a few months ago.

IMG_6631           This is the bench I was talking about. It has been in the backyard for a long time.

IMG_6632                         I decided to spray it with some leftover blue paint but I was not feeling it!

IMG_6636                                           Maybe a good cleaning with a wire brush would help.

IMG_6635                                                          Starting to look better!

IMG_6644 (2)              After all of the guck was removed, I turned my attention to the bright blue color.

IMG_6638 (2)             I used Klean Strip Mineral Spirits and steel wool to try and tone it down.

IMG_6641 It not only toned down the blue paint, it also exposed other layers of paint and rust, giving it a beautiful aged look!

IMG_6643                      That is what I’m talking about! Look at those delicious layers!

IMG_6648 (2)                             “Voila”, she is ready for a new life! Now where to put her!

I often wonder what my neighbors think of me. I dragged ( literally, it weighs a ton) this bench all around the house stopping to try it in different places. Stepping back, walking around, then moving to another space and repeating the process. Maybe, I do not really want to know what they think! Yikes!

IMG_6666                                   After all that, she found a spot in my front garden.

IMG_6663 (2)                   When the flowers start to grow around her it will look amazing!

doors This is one of the doors I purchased off of Craigslist. This particular door I have earmarked for my pantry, if all goes well!

IMG_6356                                           I started by scaping it with a putty knife.

IMG_6358                                       It was incredible how easily the paint came off.

IMG_6365 After scraping the entire door. This is what was left. I am not going to lie I was freaking excited! It was perfectly aged with a whitewash look. I was in love!

IMG_6367 Then I flipped it over…not so easy. I applied stripper and ran into layers and layers of paint. It became more and more difficult to remove the paint. Sander here we come!

door sand                                                     This is after an hour of sanding!

sand door 1                            You can see the layers of paint. I kind of like the blue-gray.

IMG_6667 (2)

Viola! The completed door. It took about five hours of sanding over two days. It was so worth it!

These are some examples of finishes that I am thinking of for the pantry door. The first is a light stain with polyurethane. The second door is done with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Duck Egg Blue or Provence) and clear and dark wax. The last is a whitewashed look. It is going to be tough to decide. I like them all

“The Beast” is done and fun new purchases for the master bedroom!

Yesterday, was a wonderful day! The sun was shining, birds were chirping, buds are beginning to pop up, the air was crisp and it felt really good! It made me feel like everything was going to be okay and we can do this! Hope everyone is well and safe!

In a recent post, I showed you how I worked on a dresser in our bedroom.  At the end of the post, I mentioned the second dresser I fondly called “the beast”. I started work on said dresser this week. Along with the dresser, I have been pulling other things together for the master bedroom. I ordered two lamp shades and a duvet cover and shams from Ballard Designs, two night tables from Wayfair, a full length mirror from Hobby Lobby and a quilt and sham set from Pottery Barn. I normally don’t do a lot of online shopping. I like to touch and see what I buy in person. But we adjust to the times, so I ordered. To my delight I love everything I ordered and it was all at great sale prices!

IMG_6566 (2) Just like the other dresser, I stripped the top and the drawers and then sanded them. In this case, the dresser was so tall I needed a stool to reach the top.

IMG_6581 On one of the drawers, a piece of veneer was coming off. I needed to repair it before I sanded.

IMG_6582                                                    I used Titebond III wood glue.

IMG_6585 (2) With a small brush, I was able to get the glue under the veneer without damaging it further.

IMG_6586 (2)      After wiping off the excess glue, I clamped it together and let it dry.

IMG_6595 (2) After sanding and adding Minwax Polycrylic protective covering. The area that was damaged is not even noticeable.

IMG_6592 (2)                     The top of this dresser came out just as good as the drawers.

IMG_6597 (3)

Just like the first dresser, I painted the body of the dresser with Annie Sloan Versailles Chalk Paint. Once it dried, I sanded it smooth. After removing any dust I, applied Annie Sloan clear and dark wax.

IMG_6600 (2) I have to admit I was a little nervous trying to recreate what I did on the other drawer pulls. Note to self, do all the drawer pulls at the same time! All in all, I like the result. Maybe a little greener than the other pulls, but they will not be right next to one another and no one will notice.

IMG_6613 (3)                                                               The “beast” is done!

Now it is a matched set! These two are now ready for the next 100 years!

 

IMG_6573 (2) I have been looking for side tables on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for quite some time. I needed small tables with storage (either a drawer or bottom shelf).  The tables I saw were too big, dated or just did not fit what I was looking for. I decided to try looking at online retail sites. I found this table on the Wayfair website. It fit all the criteria and I love the color. Boom!

IMG_6500 (2) I told you I had ordered lamp shades, but first I had to revamp the lamps. As you can see they were black. I almost forgot to take a before picture.

IMG_6601 (2)                        I used Annie Sloan Country Grey and Versailles Chalk Paint.

IMG_6470 (2) I painted the lamp with Country Grey first and then Versailles. I wanted to give the lamp more depth and not look like the dressers.
IMG_6506 (2)                       After painting, I sanded the lamp to bring out the undertone.

IMG_6472 (2)                 As I was sanding I went down to the base color to give it a worn look.

IMG_6602 (2)                After sanding was finished, I used Annie Sloan clear wax to seal it.

IMG_6508 (2) I really like the distressed look and the way the Annie Sloan Country Grey Chalk Paint shows through.

IMG_6510 (2) Here is the finished lamp with my gorgeous new Ballard Design shade. When I ordered them I wasn’t sure. I knew I wanted something with texture, but these went beyond my expectations. Love, love them!

IMG_6603 (2)            These are the Duvet cover and Euro shams I ordered from Ballard Design.

IMG_6604 (2) I knew I wanted a neutral color to balance out the bold pattern I chose for the roman shades in our bedroom. The thing that drew me to this particular set were the pleats on the duvet cover. It matches the pleats in the drapery I dyed and put up in the bedroom.

IMG_6610 (2)     This is the quilt set I got from Pottery Barn. I was drawn to the color and the texture.

IMG_6607 (3) Lastly, the full length mirror I got from Hobby Lobby. I decided I am not going to use the big mirror I had over the dresser. It does not fit the look of the room. This full length is exactly what I was looking for.

I purposely did not show any of the new items in the master bedroom. I am getting close to a full reveal and wanted it to be completely done before I showed you. I am getting really excited, it has been a long time coming!

From work comes calm…

Well it has certainly been an interesting few weeks! I am starting to wrap up the whirlwind of projects that I started all over the house. My way of dealing with things being out of whack is to stay busy. Busy enough to get you so tired you just drop into bed. By doing this you do not have to think about what is going on. This has been my MO forever. Luckily, I have a very understanding husband who lets me run my course. He knows that eventually I will slow down and accept what is going on around us and deal with it. I am at that point! I am so grateful and humbled to live in a country where people risk their own health to care for others and keep our country going. Cheers to all of the doctors, nurses, aids, grocery store workers, postal service, delivery service, sanitation workers and the many others that keep us going through this crisis. Thank you!

As I promised I will keep writing my Blog, with the hopes that it brings you a little distraction in this strange time! Here we go! I am going to show you how the upstairs hallway has come out. This is the hallway that began with re-organizing the linen closet and then painting all the doors from black to white. It somehow morphed to include painting the ceiling, walls, touching up crown molding, baseboard, door jams and changing light fixtures. Yeah, I know!

IMG_6478 Before I started to paint the doors, I made sure to sand any areas that may show. In this case the new door knob is smaller so I sanded down where the previous one was.

IMG_6479 I also looked for drips that may have happened previously and sanded them out.

IMG_6481 After sanding it was nice and even. Ready for painting!

IMG_6482 (2) I prepped the doors using Kilz All-Purpose primer. Painting two coats on both sides.

 

IMG_5624 I then painted with Behr interior eggshell enamel ultra pure white paint. I also put two coats on each side.

IMG_6476 I reused the hinges on the doors. I had to rough them up with steel wool to help the paint adhere. Then sprayed them with Rustoleum black satin enamel paint.

IMG_6477 Reusing the hinges works because they really aren’t touched that often. Reusing and painting the door knobs is another story ( I speak from experience). I tried it once and it kept peeling and chipping from the use. Nothing ventured as they say!

IMG_6555 (2) Speaking of doorknobs, who knew that there are so many different types of doorknobs?

I chose privacy door knobs for the bedrooms and bath. They have push button locks and a pin key.

IMG_6527 I put this painting at the top of the stairway. I am not showing you the actual stairs yet because they are not finished.

IMG_6521 (2) This is the view of the hallway from the stairs.

IMG_6533 (2) This was a picture wall, but I wanted to add some interest. These shutters were in my dining room and I decided to use them as a backdrop.

IMG_6516 (2) The colors in the shutter work perfectly with the new paint color.

IMG_6522 (2) I also added these to the hallway. Again I took them from another room.

IMG_6525 (3) There is a great story to these pictures. I purchased them from Target a long time ago. The actual picture was just mounted on a board and framed with no glass. I was moving it one day and it fell and broke and could not be repaired. I really loved them so I looked for a frame to fit it. The problem was it had to be a square frame and there were none off the shelf that I could find. I went to Michael’s and the price tag was to high to custom frame them. When I was leaving, I saw a cork board with a square frame. It would work perfectly as a frame. I went back to person I had been working with and showed her the frame. She said it would work. I ordered mats and asked if she would be able to put it together,  and she said yes. I took the frames home and painted them both black. I went back to Michael’s and she put them together for me no charge. I love them even more than I did before!

IMG_6564 (2) The other thing I changed was the lighting. We have had this fixture from the day we moved in. I have always disliked it. I would like to say they have been in the garage and that is why they are dusty. Unfortunately, this is not the case. They are a nightmare to clean and I put it off until we have guests that will go upstairs.

IMG_6410 I found this ceiling fixture at Home Depot a few weeks ago. It was only $9.00. I bought two and I thought they couldn’t be any worse than what I had.

IMG_6403 I painted them black to go with the black door knobs. After installing the light I turned it on and was blown away. I could not believe how pretty they were!

IMG_6534 (2) I love the way the light plays on the walls.

IMG_6529 (2) I kept coming upstairs to look at the light!

IMG_6553 (3) Just like when I look in the organized closet and it gives me satisfaction, so does the hallway now. It gives me a calm feeling every time I come upstairs. Right now I need calm!