Friday, January 31, 2014

Master bedroom make over

The fourth and final bedroom is now decorated, yay! Of course it is a shade of grey, but I would like to say the inspiration for my colour scheme came from various sources not just the book of grey.

My husband bought these little glasses for me from a yard sale over the road from us.  He knows me well, I love the sugary colours of them.

The swallows duvet cover set was a gift from my parents from Heals (I don't 'do' ironing as you can see!). Sadly they don't stock it anymore. The colours seem to compliment the glasses which then led to my fabric choice for the curtains...Malin Cirkel from Ikea.  It is a lightweight cotton which was fine for these curtains as they are just decorative panels, and bonus - only $5.99 a yard.
We opted for a double cell black out shade from as we get full sun coming in the window during the summer months.

My cheap as chips curtains and rod were a breeze to do and added bonus they do actually draw!

The night stands were a craigslist score which I painted and changed the handles. And of course my first attempt at upholstering a chair; if I dare to be so bold, I would say it was actually easy!

I just love how the room as come together, although now the carpet looks shabby! Doesn't that always happen after you paint?!

DIY kitchen makeover part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1 painting the existing cabinets was the way to go for us. I hummed and ahhed for a while about painting (white) vs. staining them dark. I opted to go light as the kitchen area is quite compact and so can be a little dark.   

Finished kitchen
Now before I get into the nuts and bolts of the job let me just tell you, it wasn't that bad. Yup, you read me right, painting the kitchen cabinets wasn't as painful as I had anticipated. I broke it down into jobs I could do in a couple hours either in the mornings whilst the girls were at school or in the evenings.  Having said that painting the cabinets was only really a half of the job of renovating the kitchen. As with every job the list of snags is endless.

Here is a list of the jobs, each of which took between 1-3 hours. I tried to do something everyday, however small, just to keep momentum going.  I think it was about a month from start to finish.

1.  Remove existing hardware and take off cabinet doors.  Label the doors so you know what goes where.

2.  Empty out cupboards. Pack away all non essential items (you're not gonna be baking cakes over the next few weeks)

3.  Clean cabinets. The nice guys at BM recommend good old TSP solution.

4.  Clean doors & draws

Before cleaning

Scrape out crud whilst cleaning
5.  Fill any holes with wood filler. Caulk any joints (e.g. between top of cupboards and ceiling)

6.  Sand cupboards with medium grit (180) sand paper.

7.  Sand cupboard doors.

8.  Wipe doors with tack cloth. Apply one coat of primer (I used Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer). Always paint the back of the doors first just in case they mark when you turn them over.

Use a brush over any indents/grooves then a foam roller

Don't forget to prime & paint the sides.  I bought a load of these painters pyramid's to rest the doors on. Well worth the money.

After one coat of primer
9.  Wipe cupboards with tack cloth. Apply one coat of primer.
  • NB: the guy at BM said I only needed one coat of primer & one of the Advance (satin finish) paint. In retrospect I would do 2 coats of primer to get a better coverage.
10.  Lightly sand doors (fine grit, 220 paper) & wipe with a tack cloth.  Apply first coat of paint.

11.  Lightly sand cupboards (fine grit, 220 paper) & wipe with a tack cloth.  Apply first coat of paint.

12.  Wait at least 24 hours before applying second coat to doors & cupboards.  The finish was pretty good after one coat. Where I had used the brush was ever so noticeable which is why I did further coats. 

13.  I did a third coat on the doors for good luck & because I had enough left.

14.  Leave well alone for at least 3 days; the longer the better for your paint to 'cure'.

15.  Attach doors to frames, much easier and quicker if there are two of you.

16.  Attach handles.  I made myself a template for the drill holes from card stock to save myself measuring each one. It really saved time, and stress!

The bar handles were from Glidrite via Ebay. They are solid stainless steel and half the price of the exact same handle from big box stores.  Again I shopped around online for the hinges and found the best deal at  It really is worth a little bit of time to shop around online; I saved over 100 bucks on the handles and hinges.

17.  After a week stock up the cupboards.

18.  Stand back and admire your work!

Love my tumble weed!

Other changes
  • Replaced the glass slider which leads out to the garden.  Luckily we have great handy friends who helped us; that is one heavy door!  
  • Several months ago we ripped down the central bank of cupboards above the island. Wow, what a difference that made. Light now streams into the kitchen and you can actually see from one end of the room to the other without having to bend down.
  • A ceiling mounted extractor hood is now in place. I choose this one by because of price and size.  As with all DIY projects its never straight forward; Mr. had to cut the central column of the hood to get the height right (the ceiling is lower in the kitchen). Any excuse to get out the power tools.......

  • Will put in the same LED recessed spot lights as we used in the dining area. Unfortunately the 'well' in the ceiling is structural (why??); to remove it would have required ripping out the ceiling and replacing all the rafters.  We copied our friends 2 doors down who have the same feature and highlighted it with a hidden rope light. It gives off an ambient light and does make the ceiling seem a little higher.
  • Open shelving replaces the cupboard next to the sink. We used Ekby Jarpen/Bjarnum from Ikea as they can be cut to the desired length and the brackets fitted neatly into the notch in the granite left from by the cupboard :)

I'm very proud of my succulents grown from cuttings!
  • Added pull out inserts to the pantry cupboard.  

2 deep draws and 2 wire baskets. Both from Ikea. Contrary to popular believe you can get Ikea inserts to fit regular cabinets!  This is now home to all our dry goods; the pull outs mean you use every inch of space.

The all important before and after...

So there you have it. Large exhale of breath, the kitchen is done!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY kitchen makeover part 1 - Billy becomes built ins

Redoing a kitchen can be a pricey affair.  After doing rough costings for completely replacing cabinets, changing door fronts verses painting with a few new inserts it was a no brainer to go for the painting option.  Even with an Ikea kitchen as the replacement it was considerably more expensive.  Our cabinets were a non offensive style with not too much chintz about them and the doors were in reasonably good shape, good enough to take paint.

The counter tops had been replaced by the previous owners so they didn't need changing. Although the granite would not be my choice its practical and still desirable in our area (gotta think about that resale value!).  

We switch the function of the rooms when we moved in; the previous owners had the space adjacent to the kitchen as a TV/family room and then the dining area through and arch way in the kitchen which was effectively part of the sitting room. We now have a large eat in kitchen/dining area and a TV room off the more formal sitting room. For us it seemed logical as we spend most of our time in the kitchen area.

Saturday morning craft activities
It made sense to tackle the dining end of the room first; the built ins along the end wall could store kitchen items whilst I painted the kitchen cabinets.  There are 4 Billy bookshelves with plain flat trim in between. 

Spacing out the cabinets

I choose the slightly deeper 15" cabinets as its a long room. We decided on 4 as that was the best fit for the space.  The tricky bit was attaching trim to the top and making it appear seamless with the doors which we wanted at either end.

Door on left with replica trim on center cabinet

Trim surrounding cabinets
After caulking, filling and painting the joins are now seamless(ish).  I did an extensive online search to determine the best paint to match Ikea white, apparently its Valspar Dove White.  Its pretty good, not exact. If you want an exact match I would recommend taking a shelf into HD or Lowes and getting them to color match it.  NB. the trim we used came already primed, winner!

We are so pleased with the end result. They are Tardis like in the amount they can store. So much so I need to get thrifting to fill a few empty gaps.

The handy husband installed recessed spot lights and a new fan, we opted for the same one as we have in the bedroom from Minka Aire.

Finished trim

If you are considering adding a 'Billy built in' I would strongly recommend getting the doors. We opted for the full length doors with glass inserts (link here).  You can hide even more junk behind them; one side we have the router and all those nasty cables hidden & the other the girls craft/coloring supplies.

It is a night and day transformation. It is now a light, bright and modern functional space.  What a relief to get rid of that hideous yellow! So here is the before and after. You can just see we also squared off the arch into the hallway.


 Yes you can spy tools still lying about!  There are always snags to complete (trim around new sliding door).

If you want details on how to convert the bookshelves or any other info get in touch.  

Part 2 of the kitchen makeover to follow soon...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Embroidery for babies

Perhaps the title is a little misleading. I don't actually mean embroidery for babies but embroidery for babies. Get it?

One of my best friends at home (UK) had twins before Christmas; a boy & girl.  I've been rather slow getting round to making them a gift what with Christmas, sickness (yup we had the lurgy for Christmas too) and a family ski trip all happening straight after their arrival into the world. Anyhow that's my excuse....

Nicola (of a Pip and a Peach fame) introduced me to embroidery. She gave me this pattern last year when she came to visit; the fruits of which now hang in my youngest daughter's bedroom. I thought I could utilise the same pattern for the twins as it had a boy & girl version.

Embroidery is a great sewing skill to add to your repertoire.  Its gratifyingly easy and you get results fast.  There are many super cute designs out there, Etsy is a great source in case you are looking.  There are many ways to get the image onto the fabric, this YouTube video explains them well.  I just traced mine through the fabric.

Did I forget to do her legs???!

I added a back to these two as they are a gift. Gather in the edges of the fabric by pulling together with a running stitch then secure with a knot. I then hot glued the backing fabric to the other fabric.  You could also sew the two pieces of fabric together.

Welcome little babies :-) xx