step one.

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with Liz Galvan’s blog, Liz Marie Blog.  If not, you should definitely check it out.

I’m obsessed with her style.  I mentioned last week that I wish I had a magic wand for decorating and could just wave it and magically transform my house.  If I had that wand, I would wave it once and my whole house would now look like Liz’s house.

Not only do I love her style in general, but I also admire her bravery when it comes to things like painting all of her floors white.  I love that she doesn’t aim for perfection, or feel the need to spend a lot of money on every project.  Her recent staircase makeover is a case in point.

Well, as we’ve already established, I don’t have that magic wand so I’ve decided to start transforming my house in a more practical way, one step at a time.

Item no. 1 on my to-do list was repainting and restyling the built in bookcases in my living room.  I’ve totally taken my inspiration from Liz’s home office built in bookcases.

After all, my bookcases already had the bare bones in place.  They even have the same bead board backs.  They just needed a fresh coat of paint.  Here’s how they looked before.  White on the outside, and a blue green color on the inside.

By the way, have I ever mentioned that my handyman/neighbor Ken built these bookcases?  And he did it for the previous owners of my house.  I didn’t even know that until after we’d lived in our house for 20 years or so!  I always just assumed they were original to the house.

Anyway, they’ve undergone a couple of transformations since we’ve lived here.  The last one was a coat of blue-green paint on the insides that would showcase my pottery collection.

To prep the shelves, Mr. Q sanded them lightly all over for me and vacuumed up as much of the dust as possible.  Then I wiped them down with hot water and a cloth.

Next came two coats of Fusion’s Raw Silk (thank you Fusion for supplying the paint needed for this project).  It took most of two jars to paint the insides of the shelves along with the long shelf that sits on top of the radiator under the windows.

Fusion Mineral Paint is always my go-to paint for things like shelves.  It’s extremely durable and washable once cured.  It doesn’t require a topcoat, so less money spent on products and less time spent applying them.  I painted the plant ledge in my dining room window in Raw Silk two years ago and it has held up beautifully, even though it frequently gets wet and dirty.

I also decided to remove the wood corbels at the inner corner of each shelf and replace them with a rusty, crusty pair of metal brackets that I had on hand.  I found these at a garage sale several years ago and always intended to use them somewhere in my own house.

Luckily my bff was here helping me paint this weekend so I was able to have her and Mr. Q hold them in place so I could see how they would look before we installed them.

I gave the shelves a couple of days to dry thoroughly before putting things back in.  You need to give any type of paint time to cure to reach maximum hardness.  I find that is especially important for shelves that you’ll be putting lots of stuff on.  Total cure time for Fusion paint is 21 days, but surfaces can be gently used after 24 – 48 hours of dry time.

Next came the fun part.  I pulled out all of my black and white vintage goodies and started styling.

I brought in quite a few of my vintage cameras, as well as a couple of my vintage alarm clocks.

I returned most of my white pottery to the shelves as well.

I purchased this gorgeous old scale at Reclaiming Beautiful a while back and hadn’t quite found a home for it until now.

I added a few old family photos too.

I absolutely love the new look of these shelves, and now I can check off the first project on my magic wand decorating list!

Next on the list is painting the walls in the living room and as I mentioned, my bff came over to help me with that over the weekend.  I’ll be sharing their new look on Friday, so be sure to stay tuned!

magic wand decorating.

I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned it before, but one of the reasons I started this blog was to provide myself with some accountability for completing projects.  Yep, believe it or not, I often struggle with ‘follow thru’.  You’re all probably shaking your heads and thinking to yourselves “but quandie, you get so much done, how is that even possible?!”

You know what that proves?  It proves that my strategy worked!

Knowing that I need to get something finished in order to have a post for the coming week is often the motivation that pushes me to complete a project.

Not only does this work incredibly well for my furniture projects, but it has also worked fairly well for my own home decorating projects.  So far I have shared home makeovers on the Q Branch

The dining room

The living room and piano room

The master bedroom

The photo cottage

The front porch

and the guest room.

And let’s not forget the pantry

or the front stairs.

But somehow in 2018 I totally lost my mojo when it comes to redecorating at my house.  It all just felt so overwhelming.  I have a long list of decorating ideas in my head, but whenever I would think about them I would promptly feel overwhelmed by just how long that list was.  I would often say ‘if only I had a magic wand’ that I could wave and have it magically finished overnight (much like it seems to happen on TV).

But this past weekend I came to my senses and realized that I don’t have a magic wand and I’m probably not going to find one anytime soon.  If I’m going to re-do anything at my house I need to break it down into smaller chunks that I can handle in a day (or maybe two).

So that’s what I’m going to do with my living room and piano room over the next couple of months and hopefully by spring I’ll have a new look in those rooms.  In case you’re curious (and to help keep me accountable), here’s the project list:

  1.  repaint the insides of the bookshelves in the living room
  2.  repaint the living room walls
  3.  replace the living room furniture
  4.  paint the baby grand piano
  5.  replace the ceiling fan over the piano
  6.  repaint the piano room walls

So, six projects that will probably take a week or so each and will also take me away from furniture painting for a bit.  But that’s OK, this is definitely the slow season for furniture sales anyway so it makes sense to focus on something else for a bit.

I hope you’ll stick with me on this journey and help keep me accountable.  Up first, repainting the living room bookshelves.  Be sure to stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

let the decorating begin.

Normally I get most of my holiday decorations up on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  I’ve never been a Black Friday shopper, instead I like to spend that day putting up the tree and adding other holiday touches around the house.

But this year I was traveling home from Italy on Black Friday.  Speaking of which, one thing that really surprised me on our trip was how many Black Friday sale signs we saw!  Especially in Ravenna where we spent a little time on their pedestrian shopping street.  I had to take a quick photo of this window display because it was so fab.  I love the clock and the peg board on the wall.  You can’t see them in the photo, but there was a stack of vintage books on the floor too.

In hindsight, now I wish I’d taken a photo of one of the Black Friday sale advertisements.  Many of them were painted right onto the windows of the shops.  But I wasn’t thinking ahead on that one.

Anyway, celebrating Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November may be an American thing, but apparently celebrating Black Friday on the day after is universal.

So, after a bit of a travel related delay, I finally found the time to do some holiday decorating last Sunday and this year I decided to change it up a little and decorate our master bedroom.

I’ve never done much decorating in here in the past, but I’ve always thought it would be nice to have some twinkling lights and a small tree in the room.

The red and white knit stockings garland is from Michael’s.  It was on sale for only $6.  I just purchased one for our headboard, but my sister bought three of them and will use them on her tree.

The cable knit throw pillow is from Target.  The furry white throw probably was too, but I’ve had that for several years now.

I tied together small bunches of dried boxwood from my local Bachman’s, added some pretty silver ornaments that I purchased in Germany a few years ago and then hung them above my old photos on either side of the bed.

Over on the other side of the bed (ie. my side) I placed a stack of my favorite holiday decor magazines, a cup of coffee and a lavender topiary in the shape of a Christmas tree that I also purchased at Bachman’s.  I haven’t quite found the time to enjoy coffee and those magazines in bed yet, but I am determined to do that before the holidays are over.

My co-worker Jodie gave me the cute galvanized pot that the topiary is in, I just doctored it up a little with a Prima Marketing transfer from their French Pots IV set.

I added lots more holiday touches on the other side of the room too.

The little tree in the bucket is faux and I just purchased it a Target.  It was the perfect size for the old bucket.  I wrapped it with one small strand of battery operated lights which was just enough to give it some sparkle.

I also added a small strand of the same lights to the cotton bole swag that I draped over my old window.

I also purchased these cute little wooden houses at Bachman’s, one of them this year and two of them from last year.  They have little lights inside, but I’m finding that the light in the newest is one so much brighter than the other two.  Too bright in fact, so I don’t even turn it on.

My friend/co-worker/picker Sue gave me the calendar for my birthday last year.  It’s not really meant to be a Christmas decoration, but I like using it that way.

I purchased the paper tree from my friend Lori Miller at the Holly Jolly Market just before I left on my trip.  Isn’t it unique and fabulous?  Lori always manages to find the coolest things.

I’ve had this adorable little linen ‘woolens’ bag for years and I think I very well may have purchased it at Lori’s old shop, The Round Barn (it’s no longer in business).

I’d never really figured out a great spot for displaying it in the past though.  Turns out that it’s perfect hanging here on my cupboard in the bedroom.  Who knew?

The girls are not especially dressed up for the holidays, they pretty much wear their fancy jewelry all year long.

I did add a dried boxwood wreath hanging from a vintage hanger behind them.

It was fun snazzing up the bedroom with some holiday decor.  I think this just might become a regular thing from now on.

Speaking of things that become a tradition, tomorrow I’m heading over to my sister’s house for our annual Christmas baking.  I’ve pretty much perfected my ball rolling skills now, so this year’s baking should be a breeze 😉

I hope you have some fun holiday season plans for this weekend too!

re.design with prima.

A while back the folks at Prima Marketing contacted me and asked if I’d like to try some rub on transfers from their new re.design line.

After I danced around the room with glee for a few minutes, I promptly responded with um, yes!

One of the designs they sent to me is called L’Amour Et Des Reves.

As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the blank wall above my guest bed.  Normally I use the rub-on transfers on furniture, but did you know that they can also be adhered to walls, windows or even mirrors?

So last Saturday I decided to get to work and apply it to the wall.

The first thing you’ll notice when you remove the transfer from the tube it came in is that it’s in separate pieces.  If you’re used to the IOD transfers that come on one big sheet, this is going to be different for you.  The L’Amour transfer came in four sections.

I laid them out on my guest bed to get a better look at them.

First of all, let me point out that I have the floral section upside down in that photo.  Oops.

But what kind of clicked in my brain at this moment was that I could pick and choose which sections of the transfer I wanted to use quite easily.  Also, this would be super handy if you’re putting the transfer on the front of a dresser and you want to put each section on a separate drawer front.

Initially I didn’t think the full design was going to fit on my wall centered above the bed.  I had to contend with that slanted ceiling.  So I thought I might not use the floral section (as shown above), or maybe just remove that one narrow section of wording (as shown below, with the flowers still upside down).

However, as I studied the design I bit closer I realized that I could overlap the sections a bit and then the entire design would fit my wall.

Make sure you notice that at this point I still have the waxy backing paper in place so that my transfers aren’t sticking to the wall yet.  I wanted to be able to play around with the layout first and make sure it was going to fit.  And apparently this was also fortunate since I still had the floral section upside down, duh!

Once I had the entire design placed where I wanted it, I removed the lower three sections and put them out of the way on the bed.  Then I moved my yellow tape from the side of the transfer to the top.  That makes it easy to keep the transfer in place while you carefully lift the top sheet and remove the waxy backing paper from behind it.

 Next I just followed normal procedure for applying a rub on transfer.  Using the flat stick that came in the package, just start carefully rubbing over the design while lifting the clear sheet slowly making sure that everything is sticking to the wall.  This is really the trickiest part of the entire process.  Just go slowly watching to make sure that each part of your design is sticking before lifting away the transfer sheet.

And remember, if you mess up in a couple of spots you’ll probably be the only one who notices.  I messed up in about 4 different places on this one.  I challenge you to find them.

Once the first section was applied, I kept going.  Putting each section in place, carefully removing the waxy backing paper and then applying the transfer to the wall.

And hey, look, I got the flowers right side up finally.

I didn’t time it, but I would say it took me about an hour from start to finish to get the entire transfer onto the wall.  That includes frequent stops to take the photos for this post.

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Seriously.  Every time I walk past the room I have to stop for a moment to admire it.

By the way, were you able to pick out my mistakes?

I lost the bottoms of a couple of S’s, and the very bottom of the F.  My point in showing you these is to show that it doesn’t matter if your application isn’t perfect.  The designs are meant to look distressed a bit, not new and shiny, but old world aged.

That’s just my kind of design!

If you want to order your own re.design transfer, you can order online from Red Posie.  You can also find them on Etsy.  In addition, currently both the How to Paint Like a Pro and the Paint it Beautiful Facebook groups are hosting giveaways from the re.design line so be sure to check those out too.

 

a blank slate.

If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you’ll know that I have horizontal grey and white stripes on the wall in what I call my ‘piano room’ (for obvious reasons).

It took me a long time to get to these stripes.  I’ve painted this room so many times since Mr. Q and I moved in.  Well, first I stripped the existing wallpaper and then re-wallpapered with a white on white damask (very trendy in 1988).  Then I stripped that and painted the walls red.  Didn’t everyone go through a red phase in the 90’s?  Next after painting the kitchen its current dark color, I tried bringing that color out into the piano room too.  It looked awful, which I blame on a difference in lighting and a different ceiling color.  At that time the ceiling was still both white and popcorn-ed.  Next I tried a mustard yellow.  That never even made it beyond just one wall before I realized it was a terrible choice.

That led to olive green horizontal stripes.

I loved the horizontal stripes, but it didn’t take long after starting my blog to realize that this particular wall in my piano room was where I would have to stage all of my furniture photos in the winter.  And the olive green was not going to cut it.  Especially paired with the Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale that’s on that buffet!

So I switched to white and pale grey stripes.  Somewhere in between there we also had the dreaded popcorn ceilings scraped off and I painted them in a pale aqua blue.

I loved the pale grey and white.  And immediately my furniture photos were improved.

But here we are almost 4 years later and I am absolutely fed up with trying to make those horizontal stripes work as a background for all of my winter furniture photo shoots.

They worked OK for some pieces …

For others they just really didn’t cut it.

I tried covering them up by layering various things over the wall, which helped somewhat.

But this year I decided the stripes had to go.  I needed a clean, blank slate to use as a background.

So last weekend I pulled out the paint I used for the white stripes and after sanding the tape lines, I painted over the stripes.

Today’s q-tip:  If you have used tape to paint horizontal or vertical lines on something, always sand over that paint line before re-painting.  Otherwise you will have a visible ridge of paint along those lines.

I was worried that the paint wouldn’t match perfectly and I’d end up having to paint the entire wall from base board to crown molding, but no, it blended perfectly.

And now I have the white background that I have been craving.

Well, except for that electrical outlet, but look how easy it is to edit that out, and while I’m at it, also edit out the thermostat …

As you can see over at the right edge of the photo, I still have the stripes in the living room.  And actually, I even kept the stripes on the opposite side of the room for now.  I may ultimately paint those out as well, but then again I may not.  I’m going to live with it for a while and see how it feels.

In the meantime, I’m very happy with my blank slate.

By the way, are you wondering about how practical it is to move that large cupboard out of the way every time I want to take photos of a finished piece?

At the end of the summer, Ken came over and helped me add wheels to the bottom of it to make it simple as can be to move it in and out of that spot.

I have to say, I always learn something new from Ken.  This time it was that you can get these extended length Phillips drill bits for your drill.  It made it so much easier to get in there and attach those wheels.

It might seem a little crazy that I’ve painted a wall and modified my furniture just to accommodate blogging, but I’m learning that it pays off to find ways to make the ‘things’ in my life more functional for me.

So if that means a blank white wall and a cupboard on wheels, so be it.  Right?

 

 

 

french pumpkins.

When it comes to fall decorating, I’m not exactly a traditionalist.

Last year I made a French pumpkin using Fusion’s transfer gel and a printed French opera graphic.  And you’ve all seen my ‘hello fall’ book page banners.

This year I decided to add another white pumpkin to my line up.

I started out with this orange wooden pumpkin wall hanging with a decidedly 90’s country look.  In fact, I do believe I’ve probably owned this since the 90’s.

First I de-countrified it by taking off the heart and the “Autumn Greetings” top.

Next I painted it white with some Homestead House milk paint in Sturbridge White.  Once that was dry I sanded it to distress, vacuumed off the dust and then added a Iron Orchid Designs transfer.

I totally ignored the fact that pieces of the design got lost in the cracks.  It really doesn’t matter.  I was going for a very distressed look anyway.

Next I sanded lightly over the transfer with 220 grit sandpaper.

Since I was planning to hang this outside, I added a top coat of the Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat to protect both the milk paint and the transfer.  However, you should note that Dead Flat is not intended for outdoor use.

I have it hanging on the carriage house where it is partially protected from the elements by an overhang and it will only hang here for a month or two, not year round of course.  Still, I’m taking a bit of a chance.  If it gets ruined I will only have myself to blame.

How about you, are you more of a traditional orange pumpkin sort of decorator?  Or do you also prefer some pumpkins with a french twist?

 

 

 

 

finally.

You might have noticed that I never really quite revealed our entire master bedroom makeover in one complete post.  That’s because I was waiting for one last detail, the light fixture.

I waited, and waited, and waited.

I had ordered it online from Menards because I thought that since I drive right past my local Menards on my way home from work it would be incredibly convenient to just stop and pick it up when it came in.

Ha, famous last words.

It was put on back order, and then it was put on back order again, and then the store lost it and had to re-order it.  But then they found it and said I could pick it up.  Although it probably wasn’t worth the wait, and I could have found a dozen similar light fixtures elsewhere, it’s finally in place and I love it.

You might be remembering that we had a ceiling fan in this spot before, and quite a few of you recommended replacing it with another fan.  We really planned on taking that advice.  For a house without central a/c, ceiling fans are a plus.  We did buy a ceiling fan, but it met with an unfortunate accident.  During installation it fell from a great height, that being the top of the ladder, and was irreparably damaged.

We took that as a sign, and that’s when I ordered the schoolhouse light fixture.

So, after all of that, we now have a light instead of a fan, and I am calling this room done.

One other detail I didn’t really share with you yet is my choice of window treatment, or probably more accurately, lack of a window treatment.

For now I’ve opted to go with privacy film on the lower halves of the windows.  It was perfect for summer, but I’m not yet sure about winter.  It might be nice to have something ‘warmer’ on the windows for winter.

By the way, remember that cool vintage farm photo I picked up while garage saling a few weeks back?  It found a home here in our master bedroom.

It fits in perfectly.

OK, let’s recap the entire project, shall we?

The budget for this room was $1,500 and as is typical, I went way over budget.  I lost track of the spending somewhere around the $2,000 mark.  But considering that in the end we really made over all three of our upstairs rooms, that’s not so bad.  Here’s a reminder of what we accomplished.

The floors were refinished, resulting in a lovely pale natural color and a matte finish.  This was by far the largest expense of the entire project.  I’m including the total cost of all of the floors ($1,000) on our upper level in the final tally although obviously a chunk of that expense was for other rooms.

The walls in all three rooms were painted and we put in a ship lap feature wall.  The paint cost around $70 and the ship lap materials were $55.  I love my ship lap wall and totally recommend adding just one feature wall to add some fixer upper style to one of your rooms.  I have to note that this task was super simple for us because we didn’t have to cut around anything (like electrical outlets, windows or doors).

I added a pair of wall sconce reading lights from World Market at $120 for the pair.

I updated our existing nightstands with a couple of coats of milk paint.

I’m not counting this as a ‘cost’ for the project since I used milk paint that I already had on hand.

We purchased a new bed frame for $40 and an antique full size headboard that I painted black. I purchased the headboard as part of a set.  I sold the other pieces from the set at a profit, thus making the headboard ‘free’ and again I used milk paint that I already had on hand to paint it.  We also purchased new bedding at a cost of $650.  Gasp!  I know.  The second largest item in the budget.  Bedding is just so expensive, but that does include new pillows, a new feather bed, a new down alternative duvet, plus two duvet covers and pillow shams.  I also added a DIY bedskirt made from a drop cloth at a cost of $15.

I added a vintage cane back bench with a European grain sack cushion at the foot of the bed.  I paid $125 for the bench and another $69 for the grain sack.

I painted my existing clothes cupboard, again with milk paint I already had on hand.  I added two Iron Orchid Designs transfers.  These transfers came in a set of 3 for $10.  I purchased two sets so that I had two of the same design, but I still have 4 more left to use on other projects (and you’ll see a couple of them next week). 

 A lot of the miscellaneous decor I used came from other parts of the house, like my faux dress form Lula, so they didn’t add to the cost.

Or they were just things that I already had on hand, like the vintage advertisement hangers.

I debated adding an area rug to the room, but in the end the floors are so pretty that I hate to cover them up.  Also, this room really is rather large and for a rug to not look lost it needs to be a good sized rug.  Since I’d already blown the budget out of the water I decided we could live without a rug for the time being.

As requested, I’ve updated this post to include some ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparisons.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

So, it’s official.  Mission Possible was indeed possible after all.  And this time it didn’t take me three years to finish.  It helped a lot that I took an entire week off at the day job to get a lot of things done including the ship lap wall, painting all three rooms, painting all of the bedroom furniture and having the floors done.  Phew!  It was an exhausting week, but in the end it was totally worth it.  Now that we have all of the final details in place, we can kick back and enjoy our new bedroom.