Renovation Life…Questions? Questions? Questions? and Great deals on lighting fixtures!

Our contractor Vinny and our electrician Matt, came to do some work on our addition/renovation yesterday. After getting all their equipment in and set up, the questions started to come! How many plugs do you want in the kitchen? Where do you want them placed? Where do you want the recessed lights in the ceiling? Where would you like the pendants over the island? Every time a question was asked my husband and I looked at each other and mumbled I…uh…um…we aren’t sure. The contractor and electrician offered suggestions, but we looked at them like deer in headlights. We quickly did a search on the internet, and all kinds of answers came up. Which confused us even more. We finally pulled ourselves together and took the contractor’s, electrician’s, and internet suggestions and then added a little of our own opinion, and hoped it would all turn out all right! It is true. There are a lot of decisions to be made during a project like this. Luckily for us, one area we have a leg up on is lighting. Many of the lighting choices have already been made.

Before the renovation started we began looking for lighting in architectural salvage places. I really wanted to bring character into the renovation and save money at the same time! Architectural salvage places are great places to do both! As luck would have it, on a trip to Pittsburgh to see my son, we struck gold! On the visit, we went exploring and found a salvage place called Construction Junction. It was a really cool salvage place with some amazing lighting (link to “Great Finds In Pittsburgh” Post). The fixtures we found there were in great shape. We would have to rewire some, but for what we paid, it is worth it. The trip was very successful we were able to find lighting that we know we are going to love.

These gorgeous globes will be going in the hallway.

These sconces are earmarked for the dining area. They are really solid pieces!

That left lighting for over the island and the laundry room. In all my white kitchen dreams there are large oversized lanterns above my island. I have always loved that look. I saw exactly what I coveted on an episode of Nate and Jerimiah by Design on theTLC channel . Below is a photo of their kitchen just beautiful! Look at those lanterns!

Unfortunately, our ceiling height quickly put the kibosh on my beautiful white kitchen lanterns over the island dream. So with a reality check in place, the search started for kitchen island lighting that would actually work in our kitchen. We found a couple we really liked, but were surprised by the cost of $250-$300 on average per light. Times three that’s close to $1000. I hate to say it, but all the time I had dreamed of lanterns for the island, I had never really priced them out. I really was in dream land. Even with this newfound information I was still determined to find something comparable at a reasonable price. I scoured online sources, went to local lighting stores, and looked for coupons. I did everything possible but to no avail. I conceded and started looking for other possibilities. I found pendant cord kits in a variety of finishes and different style shades to go with them at Ballard design.

They were at a good price, but I still wasn’t ready to give up on my design. I decided to keep trying. I sat myself down and starting entering different descriptions of what I was looking for. I kept doing it until I hit the right combination and a bunch of sites came up that were not there before. Surprisingly, Walmart was in the mix. It was actually Walmart’s online marketplace and they had some very nice options. They had a fixture that was very similar to one I had seen from another vendor, but at about half the price . I had to say, I was a little skeptical though. But I had nothing to lose. If I did not like them I could always return them.

The fixture below is from Wayfair. I like it, but the price was around $200 for each pendant.

This is the one I got from Walmart. I actually like the shape better than the other one. The price was only $129.

I also needed a light for my laundry room. I have always loved the look of old school house lights. This one is from Rejuvenation Hardware. Just the shade costs $169.

I Got this fixture at Lowes. It had a silver top, but the globe looked just like the school house light but at a cost of $40.

I spray painted the top of the fixture and I think it looks just like the one from Rejuvenation Hardware.

Lastly, I needed a light for over the utility sink in the laundry room. Instead of buying new, I repurposed our old light from over the kitchen sink. I painted the stem from silver to black and replaced the shade with a new one from Lowes. Funny story, we saw this glass shade hanging on a light on display at Lowes, but I couldn’t find any on the shelf. I asked an employee about it. It turns out it was completely out of stock and Lowes did not carry it anymore. So the Lowes employee took it down from the display and gave me the very last one for just $10. What a deal. I think it is going to look great. It was meant to be!

Next week, I will being showing you our choices for the kitchen cabinets and counter!

Long Awaited French Chairs Reveal!

In a previous post, I talked about purchasing eight French chairs off of Craigslist. The woman really wanted to get rid of them. She had purchased a new set and did not have the room. She was asking $20. Not per chair, but for the whole shebang! It was the deal of the century as far as I’m concerned. I had been looking for French chairs for years! I would find some chairs, but they would not be well made or there would not be enough of them. I couldn’t believe my luck! They were sturdy, had beautiful detail and there were eight of them. Six side chairs and two arm chairs. The backs were in bad shape but I wanted to reupholster them anyway. The color was dark but I could change that. So they came home with me and the work started! I painstakingly refinished the chairs. It took weeks, but it was so worth it. After the wood was how I wanted it, I decided to have them reupholstered. We have a great place here in Rochester, NY called Fabrics and Findings. I have used them before and they do an amazing job! It took eight weeks, but they are finally done! I picked them up and I am so excited to show you the finished product! It was a long time coming, but wait until you see results!

First the recap

The original state of the chairs. Structurally sound, the backs were in bad shape, but I was planning on upholstering them anyway. Dark stain which could be removed.

I removed the original upholstery. Literally hundreds of upholstery nails later!

Stripped off the dark finish!

Look what I found underneath. Gorgeous light wood!

I got into every nook and cranny to remove every last bit of shellac, stain and dirt I could!

Then I sanded every inch to a very smooth finish!

Three Phases: Original , stripped and sanded.

And now the reveal!!

Quite the difference!

I posted video #2 on Instagram here is link: Addition Update Video:

Mirror Redo For Powder Room!

This week has been a challenge. My back went out and I could not get out of bed. After a couple of days I was able to stand and walk around a bit. Even though I was feeling better, I still stayed mostly in our bedroom to rest. I know myself to well. If I were downstairs, I would be looking at all the projects I had planned to do and try to do them. In doing so, I would have put myself back to square one. It took an entire week, but I am back to normal and ready to get going. The first thing I did was refinish an antique mirror. I am planning on using it in the new powder room. I found the mirror at Rehouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester, NY. I bought it at the same time I purchased the utility sink I just refinished . The bones of the mirror were great, but some of the detail work had been painted and there were panels on the sides I did not like. But I knew it would be a beautiful piece in the end.

This is the mirror. You can see the painted areas and the wood panels.
I used Annie Sloan Paris Grey Chalk Paint.

I painted the wood panels making sure to get into all the crevices.
It worked great covering up the painted areas.
This is what it looked like when everything was painted.
Next I used Annie Sloan Black Wax.
I put it on the areas I painted.
I did the same to the wood panels.
Then I wiped it off with a paper towel.
After everything was waxed, I used steel wool to shine some areas.
The panels look like it was this way all the time.
The detailing is beautiful!
I am really pleased with how the mirror came out. It will look great in the powder room!

Easy come, easy go!

Last Friday, I was in Rehouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester N.Y when I came upon a really cool piece. It was a very unique antique wash stand.

rehouse 3

It needed some work, but the lines and detail were great!

When I saw it I thought it could be perfect for the new powder room. I put the piece on hold so I could check with my plumber to see if he could fit it with a regular sink. When I got home I sent pictures to the plumber and he said it was a go. I could not get back to the store until Monday so I had the weekend to envision it in the powder room. I don’t know about you, but this is where I can get into trouble. I saw the piece being a show stopper and looking perfect in that space.

rehouse 2

Except (this is where the trouble begins) I had not actually seen it in the space yet. Monday came along and I went back to Rehouse to purchase the wash stand. I took it home and put it in the powder room. It did not look like the show stopper I had envisioned. It was too short and a little too wide. The space between the toilet and basin would be too tight. I tried putting it off center for more space, but I did not like that either. I had let myself get caught up in the idea of the piece instead of waiting to see it in the room.

rehouse 1

As they say, easy come easy go! This has happened to me before and I have learned to not be too disappointed. Lucky for me Rehouse gives full refunds if returned in one day! I returned the basin and got a full refund. Hopefully, someone else will find the perfect place for it!

Now on to something else. The utility sink!

IMG_7717 (4) Thanks everyone for the input on color choice between black or yellow. In the end, yellow won out!

Addition update: I made a video of the inside renovation progress. I posted it on Instagram and this is the link.   Addition Update video

New purpose for a found treasure and addition update!

Last year while visiting family in Schenectady, I purchased two gorgeous leaded glass doors at an architectural salvage place. They were part of a built- in cabinet that had been torn out of an old home. I was hoping to use them in our addition/renovation. Our contractor, (the crusher of unrealistic expectations) advised me they were not weatherized and would need to be retrofitted (which is code for a lot of money to install). Even though it made me sad, I could not justify the expense. I put them away and didn’t  think about them until recently when The Purple Painted Lady had a Facebook post showing a pantry door with mirrored glass. The mirrored look had been accomplished by using Rustoleum Mirror Effect paint. I was thinking about how I could use this product and my leaded glass doors came to mind. I pulled out one of the doors and decided that with a little finagling, it could be turned into a mirror.


IMG_7607 (2) Here it is. As you can see there is a ridge on the left side where the cabinet doors met. The other side has marks where the hinges were. I planned on removing them both with a table saw.

IMG_7612 (2) Measure once, cut twice or is it measure twice, cut once? I never get sayings right!

IMG_7606 (2) A girl and her power tools!!

IMG_7620 (2) So cool!

IMG_7611 (2) This is what I removed from the hinge side of door.

IMG_7624 (2) Both sides cut. It looked pretty good! I filled in all the remaining holes and then sanded.

Rust-Oleum Specialty Mirror Effect Spray Directions were easy. Shake the can for 1 minute, spray light coats, wait a minute between each coat, total of five coats in all.

IMG_7626 (2) Spray in well ventilated area and wear a mask. Very chic!

IMG_7627 (2) The moment of truth.

IMG_7628 (2) It goes on cloudy.

IMG_7633 It dries really fast and gets a silvery look.

IMG_7658 After I finished spraying 5 coats. I waited for it to dry, then sanded the sides and front smooth.

IMG_7661 (2) I love the raw wood look, but I thought around the glass needed to be highlighted. I painted the inside frame with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint.

IMG_7662 I cleaned the front of glass with a Q-Tip to get into corners.

IMG_7665 (2) This is after I cleaned it. The detailing is beautiful.

IMG_7667 (2) The mirror effect looks great!

IMG_7668 (2) The finished product. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. I am thinking of hanging it at the top of our stairs. As far as the RustOleum Mirror Effect paint is concerned, I would definitely use it again.

Addition Update: I accidentally flashed a construction worker today! Two workers came early this morning. The drywall person who started more work inside and a person working on siding. We did not know either were coming this morning and we were not prepared. We quickly hung plastic and put everything on the counters away. The person doing the siding said he was working in the front. After we put everything away I went upstairs to take a quick shower. In our bathroom the bottom window has coating on it so you can not see in. The top is clear because we are backed up to a farm and you can not see in. That is unless you are on the roof! I got out of shower, dried off, got dressed and was in the midst of brushing my teeth when I noticed the siding guy outside the window. Apparently he decided to work in the back too! I knew he most likely saw me in my birthday suit because he was quite contrite. He kept his eyes glued to the roof. Making it very hard to work on the siding. I guess I can add that to my renovation experience! Next week I will share real renovation updates for you!!

Laundry Room – Utility Sink Remake and Design Ideas!

I have always wanted an antique utility sink. Don’t ask me why, I just think they are cool! When our addition renovation plan for my mother-in-law required a new laundry room on the first floor, I realized there would be room for a utility sink. I jumped for joy. As soon as it was a done deal that we were moving ahead, I started the hunt. I scoured Craigslist and Facebook Market Place to no avail. New utility sinks were a thousand dollars or more (not happening). I had just about given up when I found the perfect cast iron sink at Rehouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester, NY. It was priced at $165 and it was in great shape. I snapped it up and took it home. I really did not know what refinishing the sink would entail. I called a few places that did refinishing and all of them were around the same price of $500. I did not want to pay that much, so I researched doing it myself. I found a refinishing kit made by Rustoleum for $27 on Amazon. The reviews I read were great, so I ordered it!

IMG_7233 (2)                           This is the utility sink, just waiting to get pretty again!

The refinishing kit arrived in this box. The only directions were also on this box. I definitely needed more information. Enter YouTube there were many videos showing how to prepare the sink and the refinishing process. It gave me the confidence I needed to try it!


The first step: I cleaned the sink with a mild abrasive cleaner and rinsed it thoroughly. The second step: I sanded out any rough spots and rust. Again rinsing thoroughly. When it dried, I used a tack cloth to get any remaining residue. As you can see, there is discoloration in the bottom. I looked on the box for more direction and there was no mention in the videos. Since I did what they said thus far, I decided to move forward.

IMG_7554 After finishing the prep, the next step was to mix the epoxy. Can (A) is the activator and can (B) is the base. I stirred each one at the same time for a minute per directions. After stirring, I added the activator to the base and mixed thoroughly. Once mixed, I used a 1/4 inch nap paint roller and sponge applicator to apply the epoxy. They also said to wear a respirator mask and use gloves strong enough to resist chemicals.

IMG_7557 (2)    The directions and videos said the first coat would be watery and they weren’t kidding.

IMG_7556 I have to say I was nervous after the first coat. It was streaky and uneven. I had to wait one hour for the next coat.

IMG_7559 (2) Second coat was a little thicker, but still streaky. When I was applying epoxy, it became tacky and pulled the roller. I decided to let it dry for two hours and use a new roller for the next coat.

IMG_7562 (2)                                                       This is the third and final coat.

IMG_7563 (2)         I am very pleased with this product and the results I got! What a transformation!

Now that the inside of the sink is done. I have to decide what to do on the outside.

My design plan for the laundry room will have this fun wallpaper as an accent wall and the floor will be a dark gray tile in a herringbone pattern. I also want to paint the base of the sink. I found these two pictures of sinks online. The yellow will pick up the yellow in the wallpaper and the black would ground the space and draw your eye in. I just don’t know? Let me know what you think. I would really appreciate the input!

Addition updates: Insulation was put into the addition. The crew that came were like a well oiled machine. They did all the insulation in one day. Fantastic!

It is amazing how quiet the room is now with the insulation.

Pantry door reveal!

It has been a long time coming, but the pantry door is finally done! I have to admit this one was tough. It seemed like every time I solved an issue something else came up. I kept going because I knew it would be special and I was right! First a recap then the reveal!

At the end some addition updates!

doors This is what she looked like when I bought her off Craigslist. She had been sitting in an old barn for years. I knew it would take a lot of work. Oh boy was I right!

IMG_6359 After scraping!

IMG_6368 Stripping!

sand door 1 Sanding!

It was time to fill the holes.

IMG_7263 (5)

It was all patched up, but it still needed a little something.

IMG_6669 (2)

IMG_7263 (4) I added molding to the panels on the bottom of the door.

IMG_6669 (3)

IMG_7263 (5) And also to the glass panels at the top of the door.

When I first started the door, I was not sure if I would paint it or stain it. With all the repair work that it needed, I had to paint it.

To help me choose a color, I took my drapery fabric and a picture of the dining room chair fabric as references.

I ended up choosing “Starless Night” from Behr in an eggshell finish.

IMG_7476 (3) I primed and painted.

IMG_7483 (2) Took off the old hardware.

IMG_7494 (2) I replaced it with antique hardware I found at Rehouse Salvage in Rochester, N.Y.

I also wanted to do something special to the glass windows on the door. Not only to hide the pantry contents, but some of the glass was scratched. I thought of frosting the glass or using a mirror effect spray paint. Either would have been beautiful, but I wanted to tie in the antique hardware somehow. I remembered seeing some kind of grating at Home Depot. It comes in a variety of metals, including brass and gold.

IMG_7495 (2) This definitely did the trick!

IMG_7498 (2) After measuring I got my trusty metal cutter snips out.

IMG_7500 (2) Cutting was easy. It was the sharp edges I needed to watch out for.

IMG_7502 (2) The first piece was cut and ready to be put in window.

IMG_7503 (2) This is how it looked.

IMG_7517 The finished door!

IMG_7514 (4) Love the combination of the metal grating and the door hardware!

It was a long process, but worth the end result!

Addition updates: This week was probably the most chaotic it has been in the house since the project started. We had people working most everyday, but Wednesday and Thursday were unbelievable. There were about fifteen people working in the house at the same time. The electrician, plumber, HVAC, window people and framers each had there own team. Managing all this was our contractor, Vinny Orologio of V.J Construction. It was truly amazing to watch! Everyone did what needed to be done very efficiently.

IMG_7466 (2) This was the street in front of our house with all the workers’ trucks parked.

This is just a little bit of what was going on.

More addition updates!

I was suppose to reveal the pantry door, but a lot happen this week and I was not able to finish it.  First, our sump pump failed and the basement flooded. Luckily, my husband was still up and noticed the water. He woke me up and we cleaned up the mess until 2:30 in the morning. The water emergency team came the next day and left a bunch of powerful fans and dehumidifiers. We got used to the noise by adjusting the sound on the television and not speaking to someone unless they were in front of you. As I stated in the last post the framers came in and took down a wall. They also constructed the outline of the pantry, powder room and my office! It is so exciting to finally get an idea of each room and its size. No door today, but I will show you what the framers did and some ideas I have for the spaces.

IMG_7434 (2) The closet on the right will be removed and moved into this space. By doing this there will be more room as you enter the house.

IMG_7431 This is my office the desk fits perfectly! I am not sure how I am going to decorate the office. Below are a couple photos I was drawn to.

See the source image

In this one I like the piece behind the desk. I would love something like that to hold all my things.

See the source image I like the soft cream and white color palette in this office. I also love the chandelier!

IMG_7435 (2) This will be the new powder room. In order to connect the new addition to our house we had to get rid of our existing powder room. In here I know I want wallpaper. I have narrowed it down to two choices.

]See the source image Scandi Flora wallpaper in graphite, by Sarah Richardson

Priano Wallpaper, by Serena and Lily. Both of these wallpapers are outside my comfort zone, but I really wanted to try something different!

IMG_7440 Lastly, is the pantry where my door goes! Here I know I would like storage, storage, storage!

See the source image This is what I am talking about! It will be amazing to have everything in one place.

Can not wait to share what happens next with you!

Preparing the house for demo day, some updates, and new projects!

I am happy to say the renovation is still on track. The roofers put on the entire roof in two days. As with everyone who has done work on the project so far, they were very professional and obviously knew there job well. The framers will start work inside the house tomorrow. The wall between our dining room and kitchen will be coming down. To prepare for this, I have been emptying cupboards and moving furniture. I put all my furniture into the front room and covered it with plastic to try and protect it from the dust and such that will be flying around. I have been trying to work on projects intermittently during all this too. I managed to work on the pantry door and a piece of furniture that will eventually be my desk.

IMG_7353 (2) Working hard in extremely hot weather…

Finished project after only two days! Amazing!

Pantry Door

IMG_7292 (2) The pantry door had two areas that needed patching. This one which was dug out for some kind of latch.

IMG_7264 (3) And this one for a lock at one time.

IMG_7293 (2) Because these areas are so large, I will have to insert wood pieces to fill up some of the space. I made a template for the latch.

IMG_7294 (2) I cut it out of a thin piece of wood.

IMG_7296 (2) Glued it in place.

IMG_7300 (2) Once it was dry, I sanded it to make it even with the rest of the door.

IMG_7301 (2)

IMG_7303 (2) Looks great! I will fill in open spaces with spackle.

IMG_7304 (3) The lock area was a little tricky. In order to fill in the space, I used a hole saw to get the round shape I needed.

IMG_7306 (2) This is what it looked like.

IMG_7307 (2) It was not as thick as the door, but I was able to fill that in.

IMG_7313 (2) I spackled them both then sanded. I did this several times until it was completely flush with the door.

IMG_7378 (2) Once it is painted you will not even be able to tell.

Desk for my office

IMG_7344 (2) I also started to work on an antique serving table, which will serve as my desk.

IMG_7339 (2) A I started to remove all the old gunk, I noticed that it was made from burled wood. (A burl (American English) or bur or burr (UK English) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds).

I was correct about it being burled wood, but mine was a veneer. I used a slow setting when sanding so as to not go through the thin veneer.

IMG_7351 This is what it looked like after applying a wood conditioner. After the conditioner dried. I put on a thin coat of light oak stain. I wanted to tone down the the red color a little bit. It worked and it looks beautiful!

IMG_7369 (2) This is what the top looked like after three coats of polyurethane.
IMG_7363 I love the lines of the legs!

IMG_7376 This table is perfect for my office. It is nineteen inches wide which is great for a small office. But, it also opens up to a larger surface which I can use when working on projects.

IMG_7377 Couldn’t end without showing you the front room with all of our furniture covered up!

Next week hopefully a finished pantry door and more addition updates!

Be well and be safe!

Decorator look on a budget!

Since our addition/renovation started, I have been trying to find ways to get the look I want and save money at the same time. I purchased eight French chairs off Craigslist for $20. It was a great deal if you don’t mind putting in a lot of work. Each chair takes about six hours to strip and sand by hand. When all is said and done. I will have spent about 48 hours working on these chairs. For me it is well worth the effort. A similar chair would cost about $350 each. By doing the work, I am able to have beautiful French chairs at a fraction of the cost. Saving money this way is not for everyone. I happen to love what I do. Over the years I have found other ways to decorate on a budget without all the work. One way is the high-low price game. For this game you have to mentally give up your high priced dream item. Open yourself up to something similar in style, size, shape but at a lesser cost. The hardest part of this game is giving up the dream item. But once you do, you would be surprised how you begin to look at things differently. This has happened to me many times, but one of my favorites was side tables for my front room. I was looking at a Ballard Design catalog and fell in love with a metal side table with a mirror top.

metal atble mirror This is the table. I would need two, one for each side of the sofa. I could already see them in the living room. At $200 times two, it was way out of my price range.

So I started the game and a few months later I found an alternative at Home Goods.

20200217_095908_resized (1) Compared to the Ballard Design table, they both have metal bases, round tops, and are small in size. But wait a minute, where is the mirror you say?

faux side table When I was looking at the table, I noticed a space between the wood insert and the top of the table. I thought this might be enough space to fit a mirror.

I purchased two of the Home Goods tables knowing full well I could return them if a mirror could not be installed. I took them to a glass shop and was very happy when they said there was enough room to put a mirror in. Hurray!

IMG_7310 (2) This is what it looked like after the mirror was inserted. I love the way they look! By opening up my mind to other possibilities I was able to find two tables for a little less than $150 versus $400.

Artwork can be another expensive décor item. I for one, will likely never buy an original piece of art, but prints of an original can be just as beautiful.

IMG_7338 (2)

IMG_7334 (3)

These are just two of the prints I have. The children on the beach is by Mary Cassett and the woman and child is by Renoir. I always get my prints framed at Michael’s. It takes the print to another level and besides, they always have coupons.

What is the saying “Go big or go home.”  Another way to save is by using one large piece of artwork instead of several.

IMG_7330 (2) This piece sits over the couch in my family room. It not only draws you into the room visually, it covers a lot of wall space. If I had chosen smaller pieces of art, I would need several pieces to get the same impact of this one.

Thinking out of the box can also produce beautiful art at low cost. I like to use plates to hang on walls. I found some melamine plates from Pottery Barn with a Shibori print on them. When I hung them on the wall, it just didn’t work. They were too small and got lost on the wall. I was not sure how to fix it. So I went to Michael’s to see if anything jumped out at me. What I found were shadow box frames that I thought would work perfectly.

20190331_132905_resized (1) Because the plates were light weight melamine I was able to hang them with velcro.

20190331_132922_resized I centered each plate. The backing in the frame came with a linen matte. How great was that!

plates in frame Hung them up!

There are so many ways to decorate your home on a budget. Let your perfect item go, open yours eyes to alternatives, think outside the box. But most importantly have fun!!