Archives For December 2011

Worth the Wait

Jennifer —  December 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

We moved into the house and I immediately wanted to paint the fireplace white.  I may have even mentioned it in the walk through of the house when we first looked at it.  It immediately got the “kibish” from the hubs.  When we bought our house we had not dabbled into home renovating yet.  My only design experience was watching HGTV.  I really don’t have much more than that now but at least I have a few rooms/houses under my belt now of making design decisions.  Anyway, the hubs had seen it but didn’t know if it was needed.  He was right.  We had bigger fish to fry like the kitchen and the laundry room.

We bought our first couch and I still hated the brick fireplace.  Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with an exposed brick wall.  I think it can be the perfect quirk in a room but I quickly decided that it only works in  large spaces or a spaces with tall ceilings.  We have a small living room and no matter what you put in the room your eye always caught the redbrick fireplace.  It broke up the room in a bad way.

It took me almost four years to convince the hubs of paining it white.  He wasn’t stubborn.  His response was “Not now”.  He was making me wait to make sure I really wanted to go through with it. He wanted me to finish the house bit by bit and see if I still wanted to do it.  He was waiting to see if I would grow into it.  The more I finished the house the more I wanted to paint that sucker.

I finally sat down after three and a half years and gave him three good reasons to paint it white.

  •  It would make the room more cohesive….thus making it bigger
  • It would soften the room and make it cozier.
  •  I pulled out Pinterest.  He just had to see that it was a desirable thing for others and not just for us.

He agreed to let me do it.  I was ecstatic but yet still nervous.  I was nervous down to the moment t I made the first brush stroke.  You can’t change this one.  The black kitchen cabinets…a bold choice but yet, it still could be changed.  The white fireplace…not so easy of a change.  I read about if for a week, sought out advice of a neighbor, and then proceeded to begin.  Here is what I needed.

  • One Can of Kilz Oil Based Primer
  • One very nice brush
  • Painters tape
  • One can of decorators white (Valspar) semi-gloss paint.
  • Metal spray paint primer for the vents
  • Metal spray paint for the vents

This post is not a how to post.  These posts are a dime a dozen on blogs.  There are a 1000 ways to paint a fireplace and I don’t want to write like I am the only one to ever do it.  I did not use a roller, I used a paint brush the entire time.  The High Nap roller was not that great.  My brick was really pourous and the joints (mortar lines) really deep.  This made the roller harder to use.  I painted the joints and then painted the brick each coat.  If I would have done this when I moved into the house…with no furniture….I would have used a paint sprayer.  I did three coats of oil based primer and two coats of paint.  It was worth the work to even out the red color. (It took three coats of primer to do that).  I also cleaned and spray painted the vents.  Here is how it turned out. (This is before the vents are inserted)

Frequently asked questions by my friends:

Was it hard? – No, it’s like painting a wall but more time consuming

Can you use your fireplace? – Yes, we have a wood burning fireplace and we have used it multiple times.

Do you have to use high heat paint? – Not on the brick.  If I were to repaint the doors (the black surround) then yes I would have used high heat spray paint.  I used that on the fireplace in the flip house.  If you are wanting to repaint the inside of the fireplace then you have to use high heat paint.  I did not do that.  Since we were only painting the brick, which does not get hot, we did not use high heat paint.

Why Oil Based?  Can you use latex primer?  I am sure you can but oil based primer covers fire smoke stains and the deep red brick better.  IF you don’t use your fireplace you can use whatever you want.  Always remember that the next homeowner might want to use it if it’s possible.  Don’t be selfish on big decisions like that J

Why didn’t you paint the doors white? – I do things one step at a time.  I am not sure it is necessary.  I kind of like the contrast because I have black furniture pieces in my living room, but I haven’t ruled it out.  I have learned to be patient with these decisions.  I can thank the Hubs for that one.


The goal of this post is to inspire you to be patient if you must, be confident if you must, or wait for your husband’s approval if you must.  I have read many comments on other blogs of people who want to do something but their husband does not.  My advice?  Be patient.  Don’t die on that hill, work on another part of the house and work towards it.  You might change your mind anyway.  If you don’t, you have more of an opportunity for your husband to see your vision as you guide the direction of design in your house.  The Hubs was able to see it more as more of my plan was put into place.  Our marriage is better for it and his input is valued. He has a design eye, but I know that your husband might not.  Your last resort would be consulting a professional with him (like an interior designer or realtor) to see if your idea is a good one.  In the end you have to remember that your husband lives there too.  My husband respect and looks to my opinions but I trust his advice and leadership.  I would have been bummed if he really didn’t want to but it’s not my dream home and I could live with anything.

I have also read posts of people who are just not confident to do something.  If you are not confident call in an expert to see if it’s worth it or the right decision.  Google the mess out of “how to” and get after it if you really want to do it.  It never hurts to wait.  I am sure you have enough projects to do in the mean time!

All that being said, I love my white fireplace.  It makes the room look bigger and it fits.  The hubs loves it too.  Thanks for letting me try my ideas babe!

Thanks for reading!




No Peeking

Jennifer —  December 26, 2011 — 2 Comments

No, I am not talking about looking at Christmas gifts before its time.  I am talking about bathroom privacy.  What?!  First let me give you some context.  I took two weeks off of work for Christmas and last week I spent getting ready for the guests.  It was great motivation to get some projects done on my list.  Since I work full-time these projects have to be done either after work, on weekends, or when I get time off. If nothing else got done in the house for my guests.  If I only had time to do ONE project…it was this one:

The window in the guest bathroom.  It’s in the tub/shower area.  Its view is the front yard…our main street.  Even worse, it is the window right next to the front door.  YIKES!  This is how I have remedied it in the past:

It’s a plastic shower  curtain with a tension rod.  It has fallen TWICE when I was in the shower.  The moisture gets to the tension rod and it falls for all the neighborhood to see you in the shower. Before we moved in, the previous owner had just put frosting on the windows.  You could totally see the silhouette of the person taking a shower from the road AND you could kind of see the person if you walked up to my porch. I don’t know about you, but that is not very guest friendly.  Here is what I did to fix it.  I bought this fabric shower curtain liner at Ikea this past fall.

I found this blog post by Little Green Notebook  when I googled “DIY Roman Shade”.  The blogger figured out how to use old mini blinds to make a roman shade.  This was perfect because I have old mini blinds still hanging in the third bedroom.  Those windows are the same size as the one in the bathroom.  I followed the instructions to a tee.  Instead of using upholstery fabric, I used the fabric (not plastic) shower curtain liner.  This shade needed to be water-resistant.  One other little change was I doubled the liner up so it was completely non-see through.  I had to sew it together and then fold it over and super glue it.  (I used super glue because I didn’t want the heat from the shower messing with tacky glue

I moved the attachment brackets over to the window:

I hung it and this is how it turned out:



If you wanted to open it you can but I probably won’t ever.

It is completely private.  There is definitely no silhouette during the day.  There could be at tonight (not see through) but I hung the shower curtain tall and picked a dark fabric.  When you close it with the liner, even at night you can’t see the silhouette.  There is just enough light to see in the shower but not enough to project a silhouette outside.  One last thing I think I will do is I am going to put a removable frost on the window.  This is not for privacy but because I don’t really like how  the back of the roman shade looks on my front porch.  Put that one on my to do list.

Did you have a Merry Christmas?  Some of my family is still here and we are about to spend the day out on the town.  Any good movies we should see?  Here is our family right before we went to Christmas eve service.  Don’t you know our best pictures are the funny ones.

Thanks for reading,


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Company Is On Their Way

Jennifer —  December 21, 2011 — 2 Comments

This is iloverehabs in real-time.  I am getting reading for Christmas.  That means I am getting ready for guests.  Sometimes I need motivation like this to finish a project.  Here is what I am working on today.

Our guest bathroom looked like this when we moved in:

YIKES!!!!!  It just  pops you in the face and makes you take a breath.  I think you need another look.  How about the window to the shower overlooking the front porch.  I might be wrong but I don”t think that bottom frosted pane is hiding anything from the unexpected visitor.

This was our main bathroom while we renovated our master bathroom so we couldn”t change it up that much, but I could not deal with the orange.  So here it is with a calmer color.


The mirror is gone because you have to squat to see yourself.  The light fixture is gone mostly because its not my style but also because it wouldn”t allow a higher mirror.  Sadly, the above pic is how it remained.  Well, minus the mirror and light.  (Yes, we have been without a fixture for about a year.)  There is an overhead light and those wires are tied off safely.  I was waiting to find the one that I wanted.

Here are some inspiration that is going into this overhaul:


I love the barn light.  This is from barnlight electric.

via barnlight electric

Love this blue mirror.  Check out Our Humbled  A{Bowe}d  They have great stuff over there.  Love it.

via our humbledabowed

I love this blue Ikat.  This is actually a rug from Liora Manne but its my inspiration for a shower curtain.

via Liora Manne


Finally, my main source of inspiration.

via this old house


Do you think this room could escape having stripes?  No way!  I better get back to work.  I have tonight and one full day to finish!

I pray you all have safe travels!



If you like this post check out these:

My Master Bathroom:

Tips:  Refinishing a Tub




Christmas Bells

Jennifer —  December 16, 2011 — 1 Comment

Halloween is over and I am moving on to Christmas.  Just kidding.  I love Thanksgiving, but I do start my Christmas shopping before december.  Apartment Therapy is doing a little Handmade gift posts so I thought I would link it up and then read all the goodies that people are making.  I had planned on reposting this but I figured why not join in the apartment therapy fun.

Christmas Bells 4

I Love My Christmas Bells. Every where I take them everyone loves them.  They are a home run hit for your family for for a gift.  This year I planned on making these for some good friends (which ones….I cannot say).  These are an inexpensive gift that will last for many Christmases to come.   We always have fun with them at every Christmas party we go to.  Here is a picture of my family playing these on Christmas Day.

Here is my family playing these things.  I am trying to post a video on our crazy family playing these things.  Its hysterical.  Lots of laughter and Christmas fun.  A family member posted it on facebook so, if I can figure it out, I will.

This is great gift idea that people will love!  Its unique and it allows people to be a “hit” at their next Christmas party.  I am going to make these for people at Christmas.  I have done it before and it really isn’t that hard.

Here is what you need:


Christmas Bells 8


Here is a closer look.

CHristmas Bells 6

  • 1/2 inch Conduit Pipe.  The expensive kind does not cut well. Don,t get it.  The inexpensive kind actually sounds better as a bell.  I bought mine at HD for $2.97  You will need two.
  • Kobalt pipe cutter (Seen Above) – $9.00 (Just tell the Hardware store employee you need a pipe cutter for 1/2 inch conduit.  They will take you right there.)
  • 5/8 inch metal boring drill bit (seen above) $4.00
  • String ( you can also use skinny ribbon or the gift wrap ribbon that curls)
  • Sharpie
  • Ruler or tape measure

When it’s all said and done your first one will cost you $19.00.  Every time after that it will cost you $6.00 because you already have the cutter and drill bit!


  1. 13 & 3/8 inches
  2. 13 inches
  3. 12 & 5/8 inches
  4. 12 & 1/4 inches
  5. 11 & 7/8 inches
  6. 11 & 1/2 inches
  7. 11 & 1/4 inches
  8. 10 & 7/8 inches
  9. 10 & 5/8 inches
  10.  10 & 1/4 inches
  11.  9 & 7/8 inches
  12. 9 & 5/8 inches
  13.  9 & 3/8 inches
  14. 9 & 1/8 inches
  15. 8 & 7/8 inches
  16. 8 and 5/8 inches
  17. 8 and 3/8 inches
  18. 8 and 1/8 inches
  19. 7 and 7/8 inches

How to:

Step 1

Measure where your first cut will be.  Mark a line at the measurement with a pencil.  Cut right at the line or if you want to be super accurate just to the right of the line.  It doesn’t matter though.  I have done it both ways.  These are not symphony instruments.  They need to be close but if they are one 16th off…it will work.  The smaller you get the closer they are in size.  Be as accurate as you can when you get smaller.

Step 2

Use the pipe cutter as instructed and cut the pipe.

Step 3

Mark the pipe with the corresponding number

Christmas Bells 5

Step 4

Drill a hole at the very top with your drill bit.  I used a clamp to hold the bell down.

Christmas Bells 2

Step 5

Tie string, or ribbon loop through the hole.  (You have to hold the bell thru the loop or it won’t chime.)

Christmas Bells 3

Step 6

Repeat for all 19 pipes (each pipe has a different measurement)

Step 7

Print off the music.

Here are two sheets of music for these bells.  I plan on posting more soon!  I realized I only have about four songs.  Go make your bells and then come back to grab all the music.  I literally have to string up the bells on a broom, write out the words to a Christmas song and figure it out.  I am using those flute playing skills after all.  My musician dad should be proud.

Away in a Manger Music



O Little Town of Bethlehem Music

Click on the image, save and print.  I would print at least 10 copies of each song so a big group could play.  This is super cheap at Staples or Office max.  I might make folder of Carol Songs.

Finally, to give them you can wrap them up in a fun way.  I wrapped mine in some extra Jute Webbing and some plaid ribbon.  I would also write a little instruction note to go with them.

CHristmas Bells 1


How do you play?

With Spoons of course!  You have to put your hand through the loop and let the bell dangle and smack it with a spoon when your number comes up on the music.  

Thanks for Reading,




Chalk It Up

Jennifer —  December 9, 2011 — 2 Comments

This little area of my living room needs help:

Look past the couch that looks smooshed in the picture that has some white fluff from a pillow I stuffed sitting on top of it looking like a stain (real-time people)  Look past to behind the couch.  That big wall over the console.

It needs help.  It needs something tall.  It needs some love.  This little console has become the dumping ground of everything I don’t have a place for.  Not anymore.  But I am not going to share that in this post.  I tackled my need for something tall.  First to go…the small little lamps.  They are dinky.  I bought them in my first trip to Ikea 4 years ago and they have moved all over.  One is now in the laundry room.  The other is residing in Asa’s room.  Here were my top three ideas:

  1. Large piece of art
  2. Mirror
  3. Grouping of frames

#1 was out because I don’t have the cash for a large piece of art.  I am not an artist and neither is the hubs.  David Bromstad where are you?  I also didn’t want it to be a big poster.  #2 was out after I decided that a mirror is going on the mantle.  It either had to be one or the other and I liked the mirror on the mantle.  #3 was out when I decided that I would do a grouping of frames on this large wall of the living room. (Look at the left wall).  I didn’t want the living room to be too “framy”  (is that a word? because spell check doesn’t think so)  Every time I look at this pic I am reminded how much I didn’t like the wall color!

What!?  Option one, two and three are out?  Time to go Pinteresting.  (also not a word that spell check recognizes)  WordPress, you need to recognize that Pinterest should be in your vocab.  My best friend and I used about 50 times yesterday in conversation.  Anyway, I fell in love with this:

via miss kinch

I liked the idea of me changing up my entry space quote or verse or greeting.  The problem is that I don’t have paneled molding in my home.  I also found this one:

via pottery barn

Of course this is for a buffet table and it looks like a bunch of panels put together,but I like it.  The easy thing to do is paint my walls and frame it but I can’t do that because I have textured walls.  It wouldn’t look right.  So off to Lowes I go.  My goal is to find some clearance drywall.  Thats what makes a flat wall anyway right?

I scored it and cut it to size (35 X 45 inches).  I hung it on the wall with dry wall screws.  Drywall is heavy to make sure you screw it in on a stud and screw it about 2 inches away from the edges so that it will hold and yet still be covered by your 3.5 inch trim.

Here is an upclose look.  I covered the sides with tape just to keep the flaky drywall from getting everywhere.  There were also some places that the tape had been cut.  I used a little putty to even it out.

I painted the drywall with about 4 coats of chalkboard paint.  I cut my drywall  almost accurate, but a little off can drive me nuts.  The problem was the width of the top was 35 and width of the bottom was 35.25.  I used some 1 inch pieces of trim/ wood that I found at Homes of Hope.  It was 1/2 inch think just like the drywall.  I painted it (specifically the outside) and framed out the drywall.  I used a level to make it square.  To do that it had a few gaps in between the trim and drywall.  These would be covered up by the trim.

I used a nail gun to install the framed trim above.  This gave a level space for the trim to frame the drywall and look like the chalkboard is framed.  (The edges of the drywall would not be seen and with some caulk the sides would look seamless to the front trim.

Next up is to paint the trim then cut the trim.   You will have to touch up paint but this keeps you from having to tape off the drywall. I used our miter saw to make the cuts.

My trick to perfect mitered cuts is to cut the top and bottom pieces and install them first.  If you have done your edge frame right you just line it up with the edges of the frame.  Next, you measure from the top corner to the bottom corner (the outer corner not what will be the inside corner) and use that measurement to cut your side pieces.

Nail them up, caulk, touch up paint, and here is the finished product:

Do you like my new Salvation Army Lamps?

Here is the cost:

  • Drywall:  $1 because I found it at the damaged section.  It says $2 but they always charge $1
  • Chalkboard paint:  I had it leftover from my garage cabinets
  • Trim:  3,5 inch trim at Lowes, $17.00
  • Roller:  $3.00
  • Edging: $1.00 at the Home of Hope Re-store
  • Caulk:  Had it
  • Paint:  Had it for the bookcases/fireplace painting
  • Total:  $22.00

I have recently changed out the IKEA bookcase to a danish modern dresser.  Here is my updated photo:

Living Room Final 13

Next week will be Christmas week so get out your hot chocolate, snuggle up by the tree, and I will tell you what I am up to this Christmas season.

Thanks for reading,


Open Craft Organization

Jennifer —  December 7, 2011 — Leave a comment

I realized a few days ago that I wanted to post about my craft organization system in my Laundry room.  I don”t have a ton of storage in my house but I have a ton of things to store.  The craft storage was key and there was not a lot of options to fit in the small space I had.  My initial thought was a cabinet or closed storage.  I tried a few things but the bulky cabinets made the room look a little closed off and seems a little bulky.  The funny think is that the shelves are about the same size but their openness takes the bulky away.  It”s funny how your eye perception can make or break a room.  Anyway,  I ended up buying from Lowes and spray painting it white.  I ended up with this as the end product.


Here is what it stores:

Here is what is stored on the bottom:

Don”t you love Finnley”s little feet sitting there taking a nap?

Its been a great system for me and it helps keep all of my stuff in one place and not stashed all over the house. you can enjoy the excitement of roulette, blackjack, slots games and online poker. title=”Craft Storage 4″ src=”” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”653″ />

Here is where I got everything:

  • Fabric Bins:  I used a $5 collapsible crate and covered.  I showed how to here.
  • Green and white boxes:  Ikea
  • White Canvas Bin:  Bed Bath and Beyond (wedding present!  I am telling you brides…register for all sorts of baskets and bins.  I am so thankful I did!)
  • Baskets: Bed Bath and Beyond or Pottery Barn (Wedding gifts wohooo….still going strong 6.5 years later!)  If you are reading this and you got me these.  Thanks again!
  • Library Drawers:  Garage Sale.  $2.00
  • Photo boxes:  “Hobby to the Lobby!”
  • Paint and Sewing Spool boxes:  Oatmeal canisters that I keep meaning to cover in scrapbook paper.
  • File boxes:  Ikea or target (the two between the library drawer and basket are from target. The rest is from Ikea)
  • Red File/Pattern Box:  Target Real Simple like four years ago.  They always have great organizers and when they change it up…it all goes on sale.

Most of things I have had on hand.  The only things that I have bought for this was the library drawers, Ikea boxes, Ikea file boxes and a few more photo boxes.  I had everything to begin with and just made it work.

Are you reorganizing?  Pull out all your containers.  Look for recycled items that you can “upcycle” and group them together to make it look nice.  If there are ugly ducklings in the group….spray paint or recover if you can.  It doesn”t take a lot of money.  The bulk of the money was spent on the shelves.  I explained here that I got them at Lowes on a black Friday sale a few years back.  Money well spent.

Is there an area of your house that you would like to be organized?

Thanks for reading,



If you like these posts, check out these:

I Love Crafts

Cratetastic Part 1

Hollister Rehab:  My Hallway



Primed And Ready

Jennifer —  December 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

Dear Primer,

Why do you take so long to dry?  Don”t you know the anticipation is killing me?  Don”t you know that I don”t want to wait for you to dry and harden?  Why can”t you work fast?   I have waited a full week and its time to get painting.

Dear Bookshelf,

I can”t wait for your entrance into my living room this weekend.  It has been fun building you but I am anxious to get you in your planned location.  My Christmas tree can”t arrive until you are here.  Please don”t take too long for your paint to dry.


This little project has been fun and yet has once again tested my patience.  I am wanting my bookshelves to have the look of this bookshelf from Ikea (obviously not the same size)

  • Seamless,
  • glossy,
  • 2 inch think
  • white
  • no wood grain showing

How to hide the Wood Grain?

The Tip:

  • Sand with 60 grit wipe off
  • 120 grit wipe off
  • wood fill the knots and dings
  •  sand with 150 grit
  • caulk the seams with paintable caulk
  • two-3 coats of primer and wait at 5-7 days.

Primer is a beautiful thing.  It will fully cover your wood grain but you have to let it harden.  It will help you transform your laminate furniture…but you have to let it harden.

How to get seamless paint:

The Tip:

  • Use a sprayer.  Its my first time and I love it!  Much easier than rollers.  We bought it on clearance for $30.00.  It will pay for itself with the amount of rollers I don”t have to purchase.

How to protect your garage?

The Tip: 

  • Plastic sheeting attached to the garage ceiling with staples and painters tape.
  • Painters paper taped to the floor.  Nothing surrounded harmed.

Where are these bad boys going?  They are flanking the fireplace.


Stay tuned.  My living room is making some headway.  It really has come so far from that orangey beige paint and those brass switch plates.


Thanks for Reading,



If you liked this post check out these:

DIY Laundry Cart

Storage Rehab:  My Master Bathroom


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