Interior

STAINING & SEALING BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOPS

The butcher block counters have been the subject of a few questions so I figured it was time to finally share how we stained and sealed them.

For starters, we bought two of the Numerar Countertops from Ikea.  Just as a heads up, I’ve since heard that they may have changed these slightly.  Ours were purchased a little over a year ago at this point.  We ended up stealing my step-dad for the cutting & hole drilling process since we do not have a circular saw.

For the staining and sealing process, I set up shop in our basement.  I read a few reviews on the sealer and let’s just say that stuff is pungent.  Before I started with any staining I did a little bit of light sanding on the edges that were cut and along the top.

Kitchen Reveal Counters

My first step was to seal the bottom of the counters with Waterlox.  I did this in hopes of make the entire piece water safe and my main concern was the piece that would fit around the sink and over the dishwasher.  I applied two coats to the underside of the counters.  I followed the directions and waited 24 hours between coats.  I would recommend stocking up on those foam craft brushes.  I learned after the first coat that it’s not easy to get out of a typical paintbrush.  I would pour the Waterlox into a small plastic cup and use a new disposable brush each time.  I learned my lesson from the below picture and changed my methods.

I’m going to be completely honest and say that I wish I would have done more coats of Waterlox on the bottom side of the counters.  They have held up perfectly fine so far, I’m just paranoid and want these to last as long as possible.

Next, I used Minwax PreStain Wood Conditioner to prep the wood for stain.  I’m not sure if this next step is absolutely necessary but considering this is going to be our only countertop surface in the kitchen for years to come, I went with it.

After all that jazz, I was finally able to work on the stain.  I tested a few different options on the piece that we cut out for the sink and I wasn’t sold.  The stain on the left was a bit plain for me and the one on the right was too red.  That’s when I started to think about mixing a few different stains.

I went a bit crazy on the other side of the above piece and tested probably 8 different mixes of the below three stains.  Dark Walnut, Special Walnut, & Golden Oak (All Minwax Wood Finishes) are the stains we used.  In the end, we both agreed that equal parts of each looked the best.

For this step, I tore up one of Chris’ old shirts and mixed equal parts of the three stains in a plastic cup.  Then just applied the stain as directed, remembering to stir (you’re not supposed to shake stain) it occasionally so the colors would stay well mixed.  The below shows the counters after two coats of the custom mix.

I liked it but didn’t love it.  I still felt like it was reading slightly redder than I had hoped.  This is when I decided to go in with one last coat using only the Dark Walnut.  Another reason I decided to do this was that I had read that the Waterlox can slightly alter the color of the counters, usually tone down/lightening them.  I figured I should go slightly dark than my goal in hopes of having the Waterlox bring it back down to the desired shade.

Kitchen Reveal Subway

The above picture is after a few coats of the Waterlox sealer.  In total, I ended up applying 6 coats of the sealer to the tops and all of the edges of these counters.  Again I waited a day between coats and used disposable brushes.  The only thing I did differently with the top was some light sanding in between coats.

After the second coat of sealer, I didn’t feel like I was getting the smoothness that I wanted so I ran to Lowe’s and bought a small hand sander and some 320 grit sandpaper.  I went over everything with a very light hand between coats of sealer and then wiped off the dust.  I would wait to sand until right before I applied the next coat and I was amazing at how much this step helped!

I hope this answers some of the questions about how we tackled the counters.  Please let me know if you have any questions or need more clarity on anything in the comments!  We’ve been living with these for at least 10 months and so far they’ve been great!  I would avoid placing plastic bags with type or newspapers on them for a while as the print does seem to transfer easily but it can be washed off with a little light scrubbing.  Since I don’t really like to do any hardcore scrubbing on these I just try to avoid that stuff altogether.

Here are a couple more after for good measure:)

Happy Wednesday!

Stay tuned on Home and Style for more home style updates.

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Interior

Our Guest Bath

Our guest bath has been one of those rooms that we really haven’t had to do too much with.  After a failed attempt with a pale teal, this list room got the royal Quill treatment like the rest of our first floor.  This is also the first time that I’ve painted the ceiling of a room the same color as the walls, and I must say that I’m a fan.

I wouldn’t say this room is finished but in an effort to share a more real-time/real life view on the blog here it is.  Ultimately I would like to swap out that DIY artwork above with something else along with a rug swap, preferably something vintage.

This little window sill is probably my favorite in our whole house.  It’s the original marble, but it’s the only one in the house that is white.

Guest Bath

The frame on the mirror along with the sconces (seen in the first picture)  was mismatched for the longest time.  I’m not sure why they haven’t painted the same color but part of the updates for the room included a fresh coat of black paint for everything…you know the oil based kind that is good for metal but bad for clean up?  Yeah…that stuff.  Insert frustrated face here, I got that crap all over me (as I usually do when I’m painting) and it’s super fun to wash off…it’s opposite day.

Here’s something embarrassing.  I couldn’t freakin’ figure out how to style a toilet for ages.  Seriously. Then on Saturday, I was like “let’s try the aloe plant in that cruddy pot down in the basement.”  Boom. Hashtag nailed it.  At least for my font & aloe loving heart.

I swear, when I take the pressure off of myself to “finish” a room and have it be perfect, everything just seems to fall into place.  Sure I’m still wanting to make a few changes but after three years in this house, I’m realizing that the swap outs and tweaks are just my norms and I’m finally okay with it.

Oh yeah, and that basket with extra tp may be my favorite Goodwill score ever.  I’ve also hidden another basket inside of it for trash.

Guest Bathroom window

This definitely isn’t one of those brand-spanking-new room reveals but I really couldn’t be more excited to share this room how it is now.  Everything is original to the house except that the wall tiles outside of the shower were painted by a previous owner.  We have a few cracked floor tiles but I’m learning that’s hardly a thing to flip out about.

I know this is a little bit different than what you’re used to seeing here but I hope you like it!

Happy Tuesday Friends!

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Interior

OUR PAINT COLORS

I’ve been going a little bit crazy with painting over the past month or two.  I feel like I’ve finally hit a groove with a design/look that can be carried throughout our whole house and I’m eager to see it carried out. We’ve owned our house for almost three years now and it’s seen its fair share of poor color choices.  I’m slightly ashamed to say that we had every room a different color at one point.  I suppose that’s what a pent-up desire to work on your own home will do to a girl. OUR PAINT COLORS After a lot of evaluating and being honest with myself about the fact that I just am a “neutrals” girl, these are the colors we/I have settled on.  We’re finding that fewer colors work better in our home since we lack an open floor plan.  It’s also a lot more cohesive and simplified. Our entire first floor will be painted Quill, by Olympic, which actually reads a bit more gray in person than the sample above.  Our stairwell leading to the second floor and my closet/landing area is Best by Ace Paint color matched in Clark & Kensington. The last two rooms are the master bed & bath which will be painted with Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White. We’re only three rooms and a chalkboard wall away!  The only downside (which I literally just realized as I’m writing this) is that they are the three largest rooms in our house.  Oh well, I’m still freakishly excited to wrap up this painting project! If you have any doubt you can contact us here.
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Outdoor

How to Choose the Right Lawn Mower for Your Home

Planning to buy a new lawn mower for yourself? Not sure where to start from? We understand how difficult it can be to choose the best lawn mower for yourself. You have to look at various factors before making any decision. You have to consider the usage, price, features, and reviews of the lawn mower before you make any decision.

So, to help you out with your decision, we have listed down a few important criteria that you must consider to ensure that you choose the right lawn mower for yourself:

Lawn Area

The first thing to consider when buying a lawn mower for yourself is your lawn area. You need to determine whether your lawn is big or small and then consider an appropriate mower for it. If you have a big sized lawn, then it would be better to go for a rotary lawn mower or a petrol lawnmower as it will be effective in cutting the grass quickly and efficiently in the large area. If you have a small lawn, then you can go for a cylinder or electric lawnmowers which are cheaper and don’t require a lot of energy to push around.

Right Lawn Mower for Your Home 1

Terrain type

The next thing that you need to determine if your lawn’s terrain type. If you have a rough terrain, then a gas powered lawn mower would be a smart option as it will provide more power to cut grass than an electric lawn mower.

Time availability

Another thing to consider is how much time do you have to spend on the mowing of your lawn. If you don’t have time to cut the grass, then you can get a robotic mower which will perform the grass cutting task itself without needing any constant input from you. However, a robotic mower can be expensive and so a self-propelled lawn mower can come handy here. You could also go for a powerful lawn mower like petrol mower which will cut up the grass quickly and save you a lot of time.

Right Lawn Mower for Your Home 2

Budget

Another thing to consider is your budget. If you are looking for a cheaper lawn mower, then you would need to go for an electric mower or a hover mower whereas if you are looking for a decent mower without caring about the price, then rotary mower or the petrol mower will be the perfect choice for you. Robotic mowers are the costliest of the lot and so are not as often considered as the other lawn mowers.

Ease of Use

Another thing to consider is that your lawn mower should be easy to use and move around the garden. You don’t want a lawn mower which is difficult to push around and takes a lot of time and effort from you. So, make sure you go for lawn mowers which glide smoothly on the ground while cutting the grass and don’t require any extra effort from your side. Go for an electric mower or a self-propelled mower for this reason.

Right Lawn Mower for Your Home 3

Stay tuned on Home and Style for more helpful tips.

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Interior

BP…BEFORE PAINTING

I just came across some of the first before pictures I took of the house and thought they would be fun to share.  Since the buying and painting process happened during Chris’ busy season I took care of the painting at night after I got home.  I was lucky and got to paint an empty house since we still had our apartment…not so lucky that we had to double up on rent and mortgage for a month or two.  Oh well, we’re home owners now.

I ended up getting primer on part/most of some walls before I remembered to take a picture.  Blame the excitement of first time home ownership!

Master Bedroom –  previous owners had their kiddos sharing this room, hence the ORANGE (it’s so “in yo face” that it calls for all CAPS).  This room is huge, at least to us, and as a sweet little bonus – two light switches to control the recessed lights…one right by what is now my side of the bed!

Master Bathroom – I love this room!  Why you ask, because, while I think it’s safe to say that our humble abode is of modest size, this.room.is.luxury.  Like bigger than my 1st dorm room luxury.  I honestly didn’t think we would be this lucky with the master bath in our first place – score!

Upstairs Landing/Closet – This is another room I’m pretty gosh darn thrilled about.  You guessed it, it eventually got turned into a closet area for me.  I usually try to stay away from “girly” decor/colors but I’ve even been debating pink lately.  The inner lover of gray in me just threw up a bit in her mouth at that last statement but it could really happen…just probably not the wall color.

Living Room – I consider this room our pride and joy currently.  Before moving in we agreed that we wanted to get one room uber comfy as fast as possible and more importantly, done right.  This room won with a new couch, new rug, new curtains, and an oar.

Dining Room – This room has probably been the most neglected since we moved in (until recently).  To be honest, we have yet to have a meal in there, mainly due to a lack of chairs.  We even had Zeke’s crate in there for the first 6 months or so…eye sore.

Guest Bedroom – Formerly known as the master bedroom to the previous owners is awesome.  Here are some guest room ideas,  It’s a great size and actually has two (small) closets.  We currently use one as a coat closet since our home doesn’t have one designated as such. Two walls were also painted the same burnt orange as the office.

Kitchen – This is another pretty small space.  The flip side, it’s still the largest kitchen either of us have had.  We have some pretty big dreams of a gut job that includes another wall coming down but that’s a few years away still.

Has anyone had any experiences with fun paint colors left behind by previous owners?  What drew/sold you on your home?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Interior

FALL IN LOVE ROOM MAKEOVER

Sometimes you just need friends to give you a swift kick in the arse to get something done.  I feel like a common theme among homeowners is to take care of common areas first which usually leaves the master a little ho-hum. We are the epitome of those ho-hummers, our bedroom is bad.

Thank goodness for these ladies!  Who knows how long it would have taken me to get to this room otherwise.

The main plans for this room is paint!  The ceiling had some work done over a year ago to repair some water damage and I have yet to paint that (seriously, who likes painting ceilings?  I might need a six pack to get through that).  The walls are going white and overall, I want a very calm and relaxed feel to the room.

We are currently on vacation (sharing more over here) and I’m hoping to find a few pieces we can add.  Ideally I want most of the additions to be thrifted or straight from a local Savannah/Charleston artisan.  I haven’t found anything that I can’t live without so hopefully my luck changes before we venture home.

I’ll be sharing some pictures of our master in its current state once we get home!  I can’t way to see what some of these ladies have up their sleeve!  Be sure to check in on their room updates as well!

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Interior

MINIMAL MASTER BEDROOM

Hey guys!  So, I’m pretty sure the actual words of this post are going to be pretty lame.  I’m a great procrastinator and one too many social media feeds informed me that Gilmore Girls is on Netflix now.  Gotta pick your battles I suppose.  However, our master bedroom is finished and I’m excited to share it! My design direction has completely changed over the past few years.  I’m in the process of scaling back our things and the Fall in Love Room Challenge was such a great opportunity and motivator to do so. We’ve accumulated way too many things over the past 8 or so years and it was getting kind of ridiculous.  We were surrounded by things that had no meaning to us and weren’t beautiful. I don’t feel like I can say that now.  It’s minimal, that’s for sure, but everything about it feels right.  Over time I would like to add a few more pieces, maybe a proper bed or at least a headboard.  I’m also thinking about swapping out our night stands. Another pretty awesome thing about this new set up, less to clean and easier to clean!  I can dust and run the vacuum in less than 10 minutes.  That has never happened and it just means more time for things I actually enjoy! I’m also pretty happy about all of the white.  It’s so refreshing compared to what we had before.  We have pretty low ceilings on the second floor and I really think that getting rid of the visual breakup that carpet/wall color/ceiling color can have was huge for us.  The room feels seamless now with the wall color and ceiling color being the same. And Zeke seems to be okay with it all too, just as long as he has his toys. So there you have it!  My poorly narrated version of our bedroom changes. Like I said…Gilmore Girls. Now is the time for me to tell you to go check out rooms of some awesome ladies!  I really don’t know what I would have done without this Challenge.  I’ve been putting this off for too long and their support and having an actual deadline was exactly what I needed!
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Interior

FALL/ISH CAPSULE WARDROBE

So I think I’m gonna do it, I think I’m going to try this whole capsule wardrobe mumbo jumbo.  The gist of this to limit your wardrobe to 37 (or so) pieces for 3 months, during which you do zero shopping until it’s time to plan for your next capsule wardrobe.

As crazy as this seems, the whole lack of shopping won’t be that hard for me – my 2013 NY resolution was zero clothing purchases, so this should be easy in the purchasing department.  The thing is, I’ve never really planned much when it comes to my clothing.  For the most part, I stick to neutrals with clean lines and I’m not one for prints, patterns, bright or trendy colors, or embellishments.  However,  I am no a stranger to a little emotional shopping and that’s when I get the stuff (usually fitting one or more of the categories I just listed) that lasts a season, if I’m lucky.  Once my confidence is restored, those pieces are the last I reach for.

This past year I’ve slowly learned this about myself and while I occasionally digress, I’ve also seen a lot of progress.  Over the past 2 years, I would say I’ve reduced my wardrobe by around 70%.  I’m going in the right direction but I don’t feel like I’m close to finished.

In addition to scaling back, I’m also trying to be smarter and more resourceful with purchases.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely willing to splurge on well made, quality pieces but I stalk sales like it’s my job.  Additionally, I’ve recently taken to dying.  These gray jeans had a weird wash on the thighs that was super unflattering but they are the most comfortable pair I own.  Around the same time I was thinking of donating them, I had begun to casually look for some black jeans.  It eventually clicked that I should just dye the ones I already own, problem solved! (They are the jeans I’m wearing in the top right picture below – not jet black but pretty great!)  I now have a robe and blouse I want to dye next!

So that’s a lot of blabbing without me really talking about the capsule wardrobe.  Honestly, this challenge has me a little nervous.  I think I may take a page out of Natalie’s book and allow myself to do a transition during my first go of this.  It’s still pretty warm around here so I’m not really ready to give up my sandals and tanks quite yet.  My goal is to make the swap for some warmer options around Halloween.

I’m also debating the total number I want to land on.  I need to do a bit more planning so I have enough options for work but still be happy with my “regular life” wardrobe.  I like pretty casual clothing so I’m really not a huge fan of professional attire on me but…I gotta do it.  I want to hunt down a few more pieces that can make the transition from work to life a bit better than some current options.

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Accessories

Crushing: Black Accessories

This post is brought to you by my good friend, the color black.

I’m beginning to have a hard time with my New Years Resolution to not purchase clothing for the year.  It was going just fine until about June/July and my will power has been tested ever since.  Lets just say this isn’t something for the faint of heart.  Since my hands are tied I figured I could do a little virtual shopping and show you what I would be buying if I could.  Sure enough everything is black and I didn’t even plan it that way.

On a side note – this week has been super busy but I have a lot I want to share with you.  Flea market finds and a couple of new MCM dressers, you know the works! I also went a bit crazy town at my hair appointment last night and had layers cut for the first time in YEARS.  Seriously friends, if I ever try to go without layers just slap me upside the head.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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Jewelry

DIY Jewelry Dish

During our trot around town after The City Flea a few weekends back I saw some really pretty gray and metallic jewelry dishes.  The price ended up being more than I was will to fork over so I thought I would take a stab at it myself.

My version definitely has more of a handmade feel to it but I tend to lean towards things with imperfections.  I dig it.  It’s also one of the cheapest (and easiest) projects I’ve done, less than $3 for everything used.

one: roll Sculpey clay around in your hands to heat it up for it to become playable
two: shape your dish/bowl, I actually used a large serving spoon to help with this step
three: smooth out the creases, edges, & nicks
four: heat in oven at 275 degrees for 15 minutes (per 1/4 inch)
five: let it cool
six: apply rub ‘n buff, for the whole dish I used a little less than a pea-sized amount (I used my finger to apply)
I may be heading back to Michael’s to stock up on some more Sculpey clay.  This stuff can make a DIY dummy feel like a genius!

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