Styling a master bedroom....

It is no secret I have struggled to “restyle” my master bedroom for years. Truth is, it’s not that I struggled to “restyle” it…I struggled to give it any style at all!.

If you follow the links you can see the transformation over the years!

It started with my grotesquely expensive, heavy, dark and somewhat dated bedroom furniture I bought in 2001!

I don’t know why it took me so long to FINALLY paint it, but when I did it made a huge difference!

The next big change was the flooring…we finally installed hand scraped laminate flooring in both the bedroom and adjoining office.

I love this flooring but after living with it for a few years I will make one observation…avoid dark flooring if at all possible. It is beautiful but shows EVERYTHING…not a good thing if you have a big yellow dog who sheds…or kids with dirty feet! But this was the last room with carpet and I can not tell you how happy I am to have NO carpet in this house!

Next up, changing out the chairs.

LOVE them! But they were a bit on the “grey” side and the walls were more on the “cream” side…so….

Paint…finally got around to doing that.

At one point I even changed out the bed frame….

It had a “distressed” treatment and if you know me that is NOT my thing…but I kinda liked the look for a time.

All of the color choices stemmed from the one color inspiration I found on Pinterest….

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It originated on designseeds.com. This site is a source of endless inspiration and in my opinion it is one of the first sites you should visit when designing a room. If you have an element you HAVE to decorate around it will help you find colors that will enhance and even mask it....like that ugly brown couch or the wing back chair your mom gave you. 

You can see as I moved forward with each new element, I managed to work in these colors…on the walls, rugs, pillows, chairs, etc.

Eventually we transitioned to a king size mattress…so the queen bed frame no longer worked. I searched high and low for one I would love and finally settled on a simple frame.

I have said time and again…go “neutral” with the big ticket items. Use pillows, throws, rugs, art, and accent furniture to make your “design statement.”

On one of my Pinterest email feeds there was a link to the “Top 10 Fixer Upper Bedrooms.” The bedrooms featured are all “Fixer Upper” bedrooms. I love to look at sites like this because they give me inspiration.

This bed is very similar to mine yet the whole room looks SO much more cozy and inviting.

So why doesn’t my space look as cozy and inviting as this space?

I bet you look at blogs and Pinterest and see all the amazingly styled and perfect spaces…bedrooms, mud rooms, laundry rooms, kitchens…and you just know yours could never be as glam because, well, you live in your house…and so do your kids and animals and spouse…and there is NO WAY you could keep your space looking as dreamy and beautiful.

All the beds on Pinterest and on the blogs are beautifully staged and styled with the pillows, throws and blankets. Like no one every sleeps on it…no baby pees on it…no dog sheds on it…

I GET IT!!!

My room isn’t staged for photos…it is “real life.”

I have a real mental block when it comes to wall decor in my room. Seriously…if you followed the links and looked at the dates you may notice I have been trying to style this room for almost 5 years. To date, I have hung one round mirror…

a canvas…

and two other mirrors….

I absolutely LOVE the 4 prints above the bed in the inspiration photo.

It has only taken me 18 years to find 3 square matted frames I like.

I did not like the artwork in the frames but I love the frames and the “3-D” matting. My original plan was to replace the prints with something “light and airy.” Maybe botanicals or black and whites. But I decided to pick out a few photos from our trips to Colorado…photos that have meaning….places we love!

If you have been around long enough you know I make my bed every day. I firmly believe that making your bed sets a positive tone for the rest of your day (and there is the whole “I might die and people will think I am a bum if my bed is unmade!” thing.) Since I might not be inclined to make my bed every day if it takes more than 60 seconds, I keep my bedding super simple…no froo-froo! Sheet, comforter, top quilt, throw for the animals (who never sleep on it) The dogs and cats sleep on the bed and pillows and yes, they all shed. So I need bleachable and washable bedding. I sleep with 4 pillows so there really is no time or room for fancy designer pillows and shams.

I brought my throw pillows down from the guest room and “staged” the bed…it looks AWESOME…but again, not happening…just too much froo-froo!

I really thought the guest room throw pillows would be the wrong color…but I like them and it has convinced me that I may have too much of the “frosted berry” in the room. I was going for a “pop” of color, but honestly, I think there is too much “pop.”

I really need new lamps…mine are Hobby Lobby lamps from 18 years ago that got a little paint treatment years ago. I couldn’t find lamps I love but I did find lamp shades I like better…unfortunately they aren’t “tall” enough…back they go!

I think big area rugs under the bed make a huge statement…I don’t have that. I went with two scatter rugs on each side of the bed. I did that primarily because this room has two distinct areas…the sitting space and the bed space. I threw down the rug Brian had in his living room and it works pretty well in the “sitting” space. I think maybe if I want to “cozy” up the entire space and make if feel a tad more cohesive I could use two identical rugs in the spaces. But again, serious mental block on what to use so I just live with what I have.

But again, the scatter rugs are the “frosted berry” color and now I’m kinda not liking that…that may be something I change in short order!

The paddle fans were pretty awesome (and expensive) when I hung them 18 years ago. Now they are kind of “meh.” I love the chandelier style lights in the inspiration room but honestly I HAVE to have a paddle fan above my bed…I just can’t be comfortable with out a little air movement. Since I have recess lighting I could probably change these out to a less “in your face” fan.

Window dressings! One of the things I noticed about all the “inspiration rooms” are the beautiful window dressings. Almost all have beautiful, full curtains. Truth is, I really don’t like curtains. Don’t know why. I only have curtains in the front window because sometimes I need to close them to block out the hot sun…but since I live at the end of a cul-de-sac I really don’t need them for privacy. And truth be told, the ones I have are too short…I believe I mentioned that here and yes, I have managed to ignore them for well over a year.

Truthfully I have been waiting on Candice Olsen or Joanna Gaines to come knocking on my door but since they have not, I guess I will have to keep trudging along in this space.

What is my point to this rambling post?

Life…life happens in our homes and while we would love to live in the “inspiration rooms” on blogs and Pinterest, we live in the “real world.” We have to style our spaces to fit our life styles and needs, in the time and budget we have available. We have to accept the fact that sometimes it can take years (or decades) to make a space feel “cozy and inviting”…and that is okay.

Yes, look to the blogs and Pinterest for inspiration…but don’t get frustrated when your space doesn’t look or feel like the inspiration photo after a weekend of hard work or a few trips to the home interior store.

I have been working on this space for 18 years and I still have a lot I want to do!

How do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time…how do you style a bedroom…one element at a time!

Modifying a Dillingham MCM dresser....

So often I buy mid century pieces fully intending to clean them up and sell them. But then, well, I don’t. Inevitably I fall in love with them or one of my kids does (just search mid century on this site…you will see)

Such was the case with this mid century walnut Dillingham dresser….

It did have a few boo-boos…a broken corner piece I was able to fix with a little wood glue…

A tiny bit of chipped veneer I decided to ignore…

And of course the finish was a little worn and tired looking and needed some freshening. First I tried a little Restor-a-finish….

You can kind of see the difference…the right side has been wiped down with Restor-a-finish.

It helped a tad but in the end I scrubbed it down with mineral spirits and steel wool and applied 2 coats of tung oil finish…brightened it right up and blended all the scratches and wear…after all it is a 50+ year old piece…it’s gonna have a few nicks and dings. But again, nothing terribly glaring.

Even though the issues were relatively minor, I hesitated to sell it. I considered painting the sides to disguise the biggest issue…the broken corner.

Enter my kid! Matt absolutely LOVED it and wanted it for an entertainment cabinet!

The dark walnut matches his vintage Lane tables perfectly and like me he has a real affinity for MCM pieces.

So I went to work modifying it for his needs..specifically he needs a place for his turn table.

(Side note…I get tickled at the newest generation of vinyl lovers. People my age remember how thrilled we were to get away from bulky old record players and vinyl records that scratched and skipped. Cassette tapes and walkmans and boom boxes…life changing! Now the younger generation have circled back around to “vinyl” and think they have discovered the greatest thing since sliced bread…HA!!! See, if you live long enough, it all comes back in style!)

So…how to modify this dresser without changing it too much.

I decided to make the bottom two drawers one deep drawer. That entailed removing the face front of the middle drawer and attaching it to the black face frame and bottom drawer…creating what appeared to be two separate drawers…but is actually just one deep drawer.

Confusing I know…let me see if I can show you what I mean in pictures.

First I had to cut the face frame in half to detach it from the cabinet.

Since it is a laminate material, I knew I needed to tape it first to keep it from “splintering.” ALWAYS tape laminate before you cut it and draw your cut mark on the tape!

I could have used a skill saw with a trim blade to make the cut. But I knew a skill saw wouldn’t work to cut the little shelf inside that separated the two drawer spaces. So, darn, I had to buy a new tool…I hate that when that happens! (NOT!)

I have a small Dremel that has similar functions but this little guy is pretty heavy duty…and it worked like a charm!

Next I used my Kreg jig and glue to attach 1x2 pieces of oak to both edges of the face frame. The drawer fronts and face frame only over lapped by about 1/8”…attaching the oak allowed me to secure the face frame to the drawer fronts with glue and screws.

We used a hole saw to cut a hole in the back of the cabinet to feed electric wires through.

That was pretty much all the modification this dresser needed to turn it into the perfect entertainment cabinet!

In the photos you get a peak of a few of the changes Matt has made to his house since he bought it a year ago…the painted fireplace I shared here and the new tile I haven’t shared yet.

I have promised for A YEAR to share a few of the projects he has completed on his house…he opened up the entry, painted his kitchen cabinets and installed glass cabinet doors, built open shelving in his kitchen and laid new tile in the entry and around the fireplace. He has even built a little storage shed! I am so proud of his “projecting” so while I was there taking pictures of his new entertainment cabinet, I snapped a few of his entry and kitchen and I PROMISE to share those next week.



The grey couch....

If you remember, I had a booger of a time with my living room couch purchase. I ended up purchasing the “Michael” by Younger Furniture.

A year later, I love it!

One of my biggest concerns was the fact that it is grey. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was really going to like having a “grey” couch. Not grey-grey, but grey enough that I was afraid it would be dull or too trendy…or just “too.”

I felt at the time I was breaking my cardinal rule of going “trendy” on a big ticket purchase.

Truth is, it is a chameleon…it pretty much changes with whatever I throw at it. When I first got it, I had my Christmas decor up…and it looked great.

After the holidays I threw my teal and floral pillows and a teal throw on it and it looked just as awesome. (No photo…wow I need to take more pictures!)

Fall…oranges, yellows, greens, browns…wasn’t sure it was going to cut it.

But it did!

I love that it can take any color I throw at it! After the holidays I am considering transitioning to another color pallet in the living room…maybe a navy blue or olivey green. Don’t know yet but I know that whatever I do, the couch will not be a factor!

(You can see the transformations of grandmother’s chair here, the Drexel coffee table here, the club chair and ottoman here, the round walnut table here, and the large mirror over the couch here. )

And it really did turn out to be quite comfy.

Which brings me to the point I have often made…on big ticket purchases, stay neutral. I love the deep green and vibrant blue velvet couches. Beautiful! And if you KNOW you will love that couch for years to come, I say go for it. But if you just aren’t certain or you know you will want to regularly change up the look of your decor, stay neutral on the “big ticket” items and let your pillows, accent chairs, rugs, wall decor, throws, etc dictate the decor. Those elements can be easily and relatively inexpensively changed to make a big impact on the feel and look of a room!


Just another little makeover....

You are probably asking yourself “WHY?”

Why would she even mess with something so hideous?

Because I knew I could make them pretty…that’s why!!!

Truthfully these pieces didn’t have a lot going for them…but what drew me to them was the really cool hardware and they are pretty sturdy. Ugly, but sturdy!

The hardware is obviously “reproduction”…made to look like the hardware of years gone by.

They aren’t REAL flush mount ring pulls, but they are real brass so I knew with a little scrubbing, they would shine right up!

The top…fake leather…ewww!

But it was in good shape!

The front of the cabinet and drawers were solid wood but the sides were particle board…and it had some minor “water issues.” Some of the particle board had started chipping and “bubbling.”

Rather than use wood filler I decided to add a little trim piece to the bottom. Glue and trim nails…simple!

The trim covered the chipped areas and beefed up the base a tad. The minor “bubbling” on the particle board sanded smooth.

The bottom of the drawers had that “fake print” thing going on but they were in great condition. Ugly, but solid and sturdy.

I decided to disguise the “cheaponess” with paint.

First I removed all the hardware and spend a few hours scrubbing it. Again, I have no deep dark secrets for easily removing years of tarnish on brass. SOS pad and brass cleaner…and a lot of elbow grease!

I Kilzed the entire dresser…even inside the drawers.

Sanded everything smooth.

Tack cloth…always!!!!

I painted the inside and sides of the drawers with a sample pot of latex navy blue paint. (I recommend priming and painting the inside of drawers if they are “cheapos” or if you can’t remove offensive smells with a good cleaning and vinegar!)

Again, I am kind of obsessed with the white lacquer finishes especially with bright brass hardware.

The repaired sides painted beautifully!

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Told you I could make them pretty!

Remember the MCM chest of drawers I featured here? I finally got the brass cone hardware from China…worth the wait!

A mid century chest of drawers makeover...the reveal!

When last we spoke, I shared a little “step by step” tutorial for repairing and prepping this “less-than-desirable” chest….

I can not stress enough the importance of “prep work” on any project. Again, if you don’t take the time to make repairs and properly prep (regardless of whether it is a dresser or a wall or a floor) all the “pretty” is going to be wasted.

(BTW, while cruising Pinterest I found this super awesome tutorial for repairing chipped corners with wood filler! Great suggestions!)

Make proper repairs, sand patches smooth, use the right tools and materials! Do the repairs and prep or you are wasting your time and resources making it pretty.

After all the patching and repairs, the next step is properly priming! (I had already stripped and oiled the drawers and set them aside!)

I primed the cabinet of the chest with Kilz. That is usually my go-to primer since it sands smooth and holds up well. Primer is a SUPER important step on most paint projects…unless you are chalk painting! Since this was a relatively small project I used the spray Kilz…one can.

TIP: I know a lot of paints SAY they are a “paint and primer” in one…I may eventually change my tune but I don’t believe them. I ALWAYS use a primer…always!

After the Kilz had dried well (usually overnight but several days is best), I sanded it smooth with 220 grit paper.

After sanding I checked all the areas I had repaired…there were a few little spots that needed additional putty and one I missed on the first go round…

…no biggy….I just filled them again, let it dry, sanded smooth, spritzed on a little more primer and then sanded it again after that had dried.

Tack cloth…it is an absolute necessity on any paint job. I see tutorials all the time that recommend wiping the piece with a damp cloth or even mineral spirits. Forget about it! USE TACK CLOTH! It will pick up the finest grains of whatever and will make a huge difference in the final look and feel of your paint job!

I’m kind of obsessed with white lacquer these days. i just love the high gloss finish. Spray paint is always a great option for smaller projects and you can find a multitude of colors and sheens! Just make sure you use a quality brand! You can also brush and/or roll alkyd (oil based) or latex (water based) paint. ALWAYS use an additive and use a high quality brush and 4” foam roller to apply the paint. Pay attention to the manufactures recommendation for temperature and application…it matters!

Regardless of whether you use a spray paint or lacquer, latex or oil, always apply 2-3 THIN coats, allowing dry time as recommended. Thinner is better. If you try to get a one coat finish, you will likely be disappointed and make a HUGE mess!

Spray, roll, and/or brush on the paint…a thin coat…let it properly dry, lightly sand the boogers AFTER it has properly dried with a fine grit paper (IF needed), tack and recoat. Regardless of whether you need to sand between coats, always use tack cloth before applying additional coats. I usually apply at least two coats and sometimes three.

Most paints do not need a top coat but if your piece will be getting a lot of use, I recommend a light coat of polycrylic. Polyurethane is some good stuff but it tends to “yellow” so polycrylic works great.

So…before….

…and the oh-so-better after….

You may have noticed one little missing element. The hardware! Why? Well because I didn’t pay attention when I ordered new brass cone knobs and they are coming from CHINA!!! So I should have them someday…maybe…who knows! The hard work is done…knobs are no biggy!

One of the patched areas after paint…

Dry time…IT MATTERS. I cringe when I watch DIY shows and they immediately stage all the pretty pieces they just painted. There is a huge difference between “dry to touch” and “dry to USE.” Truth is, paint and finishes need time to cure before you put all your pretties on it. You can move it in place, but give latex paint AT LEAST a week or two to cure and oil based paints a good 3-4 weeks. Otherwise you may find that your heavy lamp or knick-knacks will stick to the finish or leave a mark!

This is another dresser I finished up a few weeks ago. It didn’t have near the issues the first had, but the refinish process was the same…KSTP the cabinet and refinish the drawer fronts…presto-bingo…

Again, I know this sounds like a daunting and time consuming task…but if you take the time to do it right, you will have a piece that will last another lifetime and one you will be proud to use in your home!

Next week I hope to share my bathroom remodel. In the meantime, you can check out Cristina’s master bath…it will knock your socks off!

Until then….

A mid century chest of drawers makeover...Part one!

While my master bathroom remodel is still progressing (yea!) I finally found time to tackle an amazing mid century dresser I found!

This chest of drawers was pretty shady. Nasty finish, chipped veneers, busted veneers, mismatched hardware…just not something you really want in your home!

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It had many of the problems you may encounter with old pieces so it is the perfect project to share a little “step-by-step” tutorial on turning a trashed dresser into something you will want front and center in your home!

First, there was a busted drawer! (Which reminds me, ALWAYS number your drawers on the underside as you take them out!)

This is NOT a huge issue.

I can not stress enough the importance of making proper repairs to any piece before you start making it pretty. Glue and clamps people…NOT silicone, not screws, not nails…just plain ole’ wood clue and clamps.

This one really wasn’t too bad…there have been some I had to completely tear apart and rebuild!

One drawer was missing the wood slide like this one…

Kinda necessary if you want your drawer to not be all whomper jomped. Again, no biggy. You can buy slides online but I used some scrap 1/4” plywood and scrap trim to make one. Again, glue and clamps and good as new!

TIP: If you have a drawer with wood slides that seems to be difficult to pull out, try rubbing a wax candle on the wood slide. If you have a metal slide, make sure it isn’t bent…if it is, just take a pair of pliers and manipulate the metal.

Also, if you find the drawers to be a tad smelly, first wipe them down with ammonia and water, then spritz them with vinegar water and let them sit. Truthfully, I have found a few that smelled no matter how well I cleaned them….in that case I taped off the fronts and painted the interior and exterior of the drawer with Kilz and latex paint (here is an example!)…sometimes you have no choice!

Next up chipped and scratched veneer.

A lot of the older furniture is veneered. If it is chipped or scratched, take the time to remove any loose veneer and repair it with a little wood filler.

The first few coats don’t have to be pretty…you just want to make sure you fill all the boo-boos well. Don’t rush this process…it may take two or even three coats to get a smooth repair!

In this case it took two coats (sand between each coat) and a lot of sanding with a fine grit paper (220) to get a smooth repair, but in the end it will be worth all the effort!

I have found that after I prime and sand, I can often see how well the “patch” will look and can add more filler and do more sanding if needed. If it looks and feels rough after priming, it’s going to look bad with paint…so do a little more work on it after the primer if needed!

My plan originally was to strip and oil the top since it is a walnut veneer, but I did a number on it dragging it out of my truck…so repair and paint it is.

I would like to stress (again!) the importance of sanding and FEELING! You want it smooth to the touch. If you can feel it, you will see it when you paint it! So sand it smooth.

The veneer on the drawer fronts were in mint condition…the finish just looked old and “muddy.” I removed the mis-matched hardware and then stripped the old finish (using this process). It took me less than 30 minutes to strip all four drawers.

The two on the right have been stripped…the two on the left have not…as you can see, they weren’t THAT bad, but this quick step brightens the color and really allows the grain to shine.

On veneers it is important to use chemical stripping as opposed to sanding. Veneers can be very thin and if you sand through the veneer there is no salvaging it…you will have to putty and paint!

After stripping them I applied three coats of Formby’s tung oil finish. I love this stuff and it is my “go-to.” No stain, just a clear finish!

(It was pointed out to me by a kind reader that the original Lane Acclaim tables came with a “toned lacquer” finish….true of many mid century pieces. That may be the case but again, this is the process that works for me and the one I prefer…do your research and do what works for YOU! I prefer the “easy to wipe on and freshen in the future” tung oil finish over lacquer)

I also stripped and oiled the legs since they were in pretty good condition. Same process, same finish.

If your drawer fronts have MINOR chipping like this one did, I would suggest carefully removing or glueing any “loose” veneer (I use a toothpick to slide a bit of glue under any loose veneer and wipe the glue residue with mineral spirits) and then apply the finish. As my daddy use to say, you will never notice it on a passing train! Any time I can salvage and feature a beautiful walnut veneer, I do!

Again, my apologies…this will have to be one of those “to be continued” posts. We had rain and a cold front roll in (yea! it really is fall now!) and since I don’t have a nice cozy shop I am at the mercy of the elements.

Priming, paint and reveal will have to wait until next week!

This process may SEEM daunting and time consuming but in the end it is all worth the time and effort to bring these sturdy old pieces back to life!

Take your time and do it right and you will have a piece fit for another lifetime of use! Hopefully next week you will get to see the results of all this prep work!









Live edge tile backsplash and a dresser makeover reveal...

In my quest to make changes in my master bath, I FINALLY decided on the a sliced white pebble tile for the shower floor and niches. One decision down...too many more to go!!!

When I first remodeled the master bath, I did a glass tile backsplash on the vanity...I like it, but honestly I am no longer in LOVE with it.

And to be honest, I think the glass tile backsplash craze is running it's course. In other words, it is a fad that is fading...at least in my opinion. Besides, it had brown in it and I am moving away from browns!

Since it is such a tiny bit of tile, I decided to change it up a bit.

AGAIN WITH THE DECISIONS!!!! But I got to thinking...I love live edge wood countertops, coffee tables, benches..."live edge" wood anything is just beautiful! If you don't know what I am talking about, google it!

Why can't I make a "live edge" tile backsplash?

The pebble tile I picked out for the shower floor has a "live edge."

In other words the pebbles are laid on the sheet in such a way that the edges of each section of tile are "natural."

This vendor carries a tile border but it is only 4" tall. You can also remove each individual tile from the netting and place each individually...nah, way to much work for me!

Since I have a small backsplash, I cut each 12x12 sheet of tile in half with a wet saw. I only needed 3 sheets of tile...less than $40!

Then I had to set it on the vanity for a few days to see if I was really going to like it!

LOVE!!!

So here is a tutorial for making a "live edge" tile backsplash...

First, I had to remove the old tile. There are times when the easiest thing to do is to cut the sheetrock along the tile down to the studs and remove the whole kit-and-kaboodle! That was an option, but I decided to remove the tile and scrape the old mastic....

Since that tore up the sheetrock AND the new tile wasn't going to cover the entire section I removed, I had to do some sheetrock repair.

No biggy!

If you decide to cut the sheetrock down to the studs, here is a super simple way to "patch" the section you remove!

I didn't have to do any patching, but the basic rules apply...mud, sand, texture and paint!

Apply a coat of mud, let it dry overnight, then sand. Then another coat, let it dry and sand again. I can not stress the importance of sanding sheetrock mud smooth...FEEL IT! If you can feel it, you are going to see it when you paint it! Sand, feel, sand, feel! I used an 80 grit paper. You are better off sanding too much and having to apply more mud!

This product is one of my favorite little DIY "hacks." Sheetrock texture!

If you have properly sanded, this stuff will blend old with new! Just make sure you shake it WELL and always test spray it before you start spraying your wall. On more than one occasion I have had to wipe off the wall and start over because the texture came out to thick or too thin...so take time to test it before you start spraying it on your wall! The knob adjusts for different "textures." Follow the directions on the can.

Let the texture dry WELL before you paint!

And again, I can not stress the importance of keeping spare paint on hand. Fortunately, I just repainted my bathroom a few months ago so I had fresh paint on hand...

So, on to the fun stuff...tiling!

First, this is a "natural" stone tile (if you don't know if your tile is a "natural stone" vs. ceramic or porcelain tile, ask!) The very first thing you want to do is seal it with an "impregnator sealer." Ask...they have it at most home improvement and tile stores. Super simple to apply...brush it on...let it sit for about 5 minutes, then wipe it with a clean cloth.

I would suggest doing this before you cut it with a wet saw, but definitely before you install it and grout it!!!

Since the top edge of the backsplash is going to be the "live edge" it was important to remove any "netting" from the edge...

The net backing is what is holding all the little pebbles in place so you don't want to get carried away...just trim the netting away from the edge that will be exposed!

I used a utility knife and my little sewing scissors (and I wonder why I can't keep a decent pair of sewing scissors!)

I used a premixed tile mastic. Mastic is for small tiles...thinset for large tiles. Always use the adhesive and trowel recommended by the tile manufacturer. I coated the back of the sheet with mastic using a properly sized trowel. I used a small craft brush to apply mastic to the edge pebbles...it is okay for the mastic to "squish out" between the pebbles a tad, but you don't want it squishing out on the edge pebbles...I kept Q-tips on hand "just in case." Just make sure you get enough mastic on the back of the edge pebbles for good adhesion. 

TIP! Never set a tile backsplash directly onto the countertop...always use spacers and then after you grout you will run a small bead of caulk between the backsplash and the top. In this case I wanted a very small space so I used dimes as spacers! Thank goodness we keep a change jar and I was able to fish out a few bucks worth of dimes!

Let the mastic dry over night before grouting! 

Now this is where I tell you to "tune in next week" for grouting instructions. Why? Well because as I mentioned I needed 3 sheets of tile to complete this task and I only had the two I ordered as samples. So now I am waiting on the other sheet to be delivered so I can finish this little project. 

I know...it's annoying to get engrossed in something only to be told "to be continued." But I promise...next week I will share how simple it is to grout, seal and caulk the new tile backsplash.

Until then, I will share something I promised last week I would share!

(The grouting tutorial is up…take a look!)

A DRESSER!

I shared last week that I have been in "dresser mode" recently. I currently have FIVE dressers and chests sitting in my garage ready to roll! 

Last week I took a dresser in and it sold that day! I think it has been in my garage for over 6 months...I just never took the time to work on it.

It wasn't in horrible shape...just a really bad paint job (you could see all the brush strokes) and the hardware was pretty chippy!

I didn't change it up too much...KTSP...kilz, sand, tack and new oil based high gloss white!

The hardware got a little makeover...I primed it with metal primer and sprayed them with high gloss black lacquer.

Again, not a huge change but enough to give it a new life!

Maybe next week I'll share another one...if I can dig them out of the garage!

Well, that and the "to be continued" of the tile saga! 

Simple "before and afters"...

Some of the simplest "befores" turn out to be my favorite "afters."

Which explains why I often don't have decent "before" pictures...I think "oh, that's no biggy" and dive right in to giving them a simple little makeover. Then they turn out so stinking cute I wonder why I didn't take time to take "before" pictures.

They are a reminder of why do this blog...to show you how easy it is to take a simple, boring, out-dated, dark piece of furniture and turn it into something you will want in your home rather than in your yard at the next garage sale!

We DIYers live for those hidden treasures...pieces of furniture that people want to get rid of... they drop them at their local thrift store or sell them for pennies in garage sales or just set them out on the curb...we take them home, clean them up and work a little DIY magic. 

The worst...you live with the ugly, dark furniture because you can't afford to replace it!

I get it...you paid a small fortune for your "matchy-matchy" bedroom furniture so you can't bring yourself to get rid of it.

I've shared "makeovers" hundreds of time...too many times to link ALL the pieces I have "upcycled" over the years. But I would bet money you still have a few pieces lurking around your house that serve a purpose or are "family heirlooms" or you paid too much to get rid of it...so you just live with it.

Don't fret...take the plunge...buy some primer and some paint AND CHANGE IT!

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE WITH UGLY FURNITURE!

This shelf was your typical Target cheapo...dark finish...no I did not take a picture of it "before." Honestly, I think it was a piece someone left at the apartments so I loaded it up and brought it home.

I removed the back panels...primed and painted the frame and shelves with one of my "sample" pots of white (KSTP). I painted the back panels with a sample pot of teal and then reattached them.

Super simple and too stinking cute!

This little bedside table came with a set I bought at an auction. Someone bought the dresser, chest and bed but didn't want this little table.

Meh....

Simple makeover! I removed the drawer and simply brightened it up with some Restorafinish. I primed the cabinet, sand, tack and white gloss paint. It was missing a knob so I ordered two new ones...

....again, SUPER SIMPLE and so stinking cute!

This old oak dresser...the finish and the little applique' really dated the piece.

I popped off the appliques using a chisel...lift carefully...chances are they are applied with a little bit of glue and a few tiny nails.

... sanded the old glue, stained the top with gel stain (no need to strip the old finish) and chalked painted the rest of it....distressed and sealed the whole thing with poly...

Too stinking cute!

Simple...simple...simple! 

Nothing earth shattering on any of the pieces...just super simple little makeovers that updated the pieces and gave them new life! 

Walk around your house...what simple little piece can you haul out to the garage and work a little "DIY magic." Trust me...if you don't like it when you are done, you won't get any less for it at a garage sale! 

Modifying a cabinet...

When I first remodeled my master bathroom, I loved it...honestly, I still do! But someday soon I want to make some major changes just for practical purposes. Specifically, I want to remove the whirlpool tub (seriously, I think I have used it 3 times in the last 20 years!) and add a walk in shower.

As much as I love the existing tile, I know that will mean picking new tile for the shower....which means I will want to go ahead and replace the floor tiles...you know, while there is already a mess! But picking a tile that will carry me through another 20 years is tough for me...I know people say this or that is "timeless" but I can assure you NO home decor is timeless.

This will all happen as soon as I can find the perfect tile person to construct the shower. I do not want to hire someone who isn't VERY experienced because one of the worst things that can happen would be a shower that leaks! 

There is one other tiny detail that kinda bugged me...the "medicine cabinet."

While I love the look, it just wasn't practical. Why? Because everything in the back half of the cabinet goes there to die! Seriously, I found a bunch of products and pills that had expired years ago.

I cut down my kitchen pantry several years ago and have never regretted losing that extra 12" of space. I like how the smaller cabinet opens up the kitchen a bit! And again, everything in the back of the cabinet had a tendency to expire before I got to it. (No, I don't have a picture of the pantry before I cut it down...that was "preblog!")

So I knew cutting down the depth of the cabinet in the bathroom was doable! 

The first thing I did was take EVERYTHING out of the cabinet and took inventory. Major purgefest! I made sure that what was needed or wanted would fit comfortably if I only had 6" of depth. Yep, all but the basket of old prescription medication and most of it had expired. 

Once I knew that cutting down the cabinet wouldn't pose a logistical problem, I removed the cabinets from the wall, cut them down, rebuilt the back and reinstalled them. (Did I take pictures of this process...of course not...who knew I would share something so mundane!)

Sounds easy...honestly, it wasn't. There was an electrical outlet to deal with and the trim detail and then of course there was the exposed sheetrock boo-boos from the old marble backsplash...curses. I always think a project will be easier than it is!

But again, it was doable, and after a day of cutting and cussing I had a smaller cabinet.

The sheetrock boo-boo was an easy fix...mud, sand and retexture. Since I am good about keeping old paint for touchups...no biggy. Except it had been so long since I painted the bathroom, the paint had hardened. So I got to repaint the entire bathroom! Yippee!

Fortunately I had a couple of left over gallons of paint from when I painted my living areas...

Now I am eyeballing my kitchen again. I am a sucker for the "power of suggestion" so when I read that big ole' hulking over-the-range microwaves are now a kitchen "faux pas" I decided I want to remove the microwave above the stove...which means I have to find a place for a smaller microwave. The counter is not an option since I have a small kitchen and limited counter space. Hum...the pantry...maybe I can put it in the pantry. Well, I could if it weren't so stinking shallow...remember I cut it down so now no microwave more than 13" deep will fit. Thank goodness for the internet...I spent days researching microwaves. Fortunately, I found a few that would work so that's one hurdle! Small little things but honestly the only thing I use a microwave for is to boil water, warm coffee and melt butter.

Hurdle #2...can I afford to loose shelf space in the pantry? Again, I pulled everything out and start measuring cans of beans and moving shelves around. 

Doable! Keep in mind we are now a family of two and I don't need the food storage space I use to!

Hurdle #3...when I take down the over-the-range microwave...what then?

Honestly, I didn't know.

And then I found a solution that changed my whole plan...

A compact over the range microwave by Whirlpool!

I would post a picture but the site won't let me steal the pictures so just go look at it!

How cool is THIS! It's only about 10" tall so I won't feel like I have a big ole' hulking appliance hanging above my head while I am cooking.

I ordered the black stainless even though my stove is black.

I hate to buy new appliances when they work perfectly fine so I thought I would live with my old black stove for the time being.

(Fortunately for me the ignitor went out on the oven this week. Yippeee! Perfect excuse to order the new black stainless stove I drool on every time I go to Lowe's! God forbid I fix it with the $30 part!)

Now I don't have to give up pantry space or counter space. I guess it is still technically a "kitchen faux pas" since it is an "over the range microwave." But you know what...I'm okay with it. I'm probably one of the few who hasn't painted my kitchen cabinets, I have no shiplap in my house and while I would love to retile my entire kitchen and dining area with beautiful, light travertine tile, it's not happening...so I'm okay with bucking the decor trends!

The only problem I have is the space that will have to be tiled after the big ole' hulking microwave is removed. Fortunately, I am a pack rat and kept all my scraps from when I retiled the kitchen backsplash! Yea me! Thank goodness because that stuff was E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E!

So when I get the new microwave and stove are installed and the tile work done I'll share...can't wait!

 

And another campaign dresser makeover...

I shared the "before" of this Dixie campaign dresser here....

A very desirable piece that I knew needed the perfect makeover.

I spent hours cleaning the brass hardware. One of the little doodad brackets was missing so I had to order two on Etsy....they didn't match the original hardware exactly but as my Daddy use to say "You'll never notice it on a passing train!"

A few minor repairs but all in all, it was in outstanding condition for a 50+ year old piece!

A KTSP treatment...kilz, sand, tack cloth and a high gloss oil based paint!

Gorgeous!

This was a tough one to let go! I took it to 410 Vintage at around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon and they texted me at 5:00 that it was sold....I'm so glad someone else loved it as much as I did!

These vintage pieces can be brought back to life with a little elbow grease...if you can find one, don't let the grungy old finish and dingy hardware deter you! You won't be disappointed!