Butler’s Pantry Blues: Before & After

I know I’m a little silly, but the first time I walked through our current house, I was excited to see it had a butler’s pantry (I’ve never had one before).  And why was I so excited?  Because I am … Continue reading

What’s in a Ceiling?

I’m sure many of you have been on the edge of your seats to learn what I’ve been up to this past week.  After all, my life is so exciting.  So, without further ado (drum roll, please)…

Ta-dah!  I’ve been painting my 2 year old’s ceiling (enter sound of crickets).

Addie Ceiling Before 3

Okay, so that’s not so exciting.  But, oh what a difference a ceiling can make!  As you can see from the left side of the above photo, the ceiling paint in my daughter’s room was a little sad.  It was just an unhappy, rainy day gray.  I traded the tired gray for a warm white and even I am pleasantly surprised at the difference.  Unfortunately, I’m not quite ready for the big reveal, but the process got me thinking about how most people probably don’t even realize what a difference ceiling paint can make.  Just take a look at these lovelies (click on the images for source info)…

Green Painted Ceiling


Purpple Ceiling


And of course, I have to share my own colorful dining room ceiling.
Entry and Dining After 1 - NN


Now, before you think I’m completely nuts for painting my ceiling such a daring shade of blue, let me explain.  I had the most wonderful privilege of inheriting the chandelier that hung in my grandparents’ house for over 40 years.  In my eyes, it’s a beautiful piece of art that has a story to tell (you know me and my love of things with a story).  This is why I really wanted the chandelier to stand out and be a focal point in the room.  I did this by adding a pop of color and by anchoring the chandelier with a ceiling medallion (if only you all could have been a fly on the wall to see my husband and me try to hang both items – yikes!).

Chandelier - NN

Anyway, I know a colorful ceiling isn’t for everyone, but my #1 rule for design is to design for YOURSELF, not other people.  I also particularly love the idea of something unexpected in the dining room.  After all, it’s supposed to be a place for special occasions and festive gatherings.

Later this week I will post a full before and after of the entire space so you can really get a feel for the transformation.  For now, I’m off to finish painting my daughter’s ceiling so I can turn her nursery into a big girl room (sniff! sniff!).  Stay tuned!


A Devil of a Hutch

Eight years ago I spotted this hutch at an antique fair and just knew I had to have it.


The piece isn’t very sturdy (it’s made of only plywood and pine) and it needed A LOT of TLC.  But, it had so much character and I loved the hand carved detailing and antique glass.  Plus, the seller knocked 40% off the price (I’m a sucker for a deal).  When I bought it I was a newlywed with no kids, no dogs and I just knew I would have plenty of time to give it a makeover, however, I somehow managed to find other things to do.  Fast forward 8 years, 2 kids, 2 dogs and 4 moves later and there it still sat, with no love and now I really didn’t have any time on my hands. One day last summer, for some inexplicable reason, I woke up and thought, “NOW is the time!”  So what if I had to refinish the piece in my garage…in Texas…in July?  GREAT idea!  So, off I went to purchase supplies…

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Since I don’t want to bore you to tears, I won’t go into each detailed step of the refinishing process (feel free to ask me questions about it, though).  But, I am going to tell you Citristrip is the most amazing stuff ever.  It makes removing old varnish a breeze….And I had LOTS of old varnish to remove.  Let’s take a look at all of the before shots, shall we?

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It  had clearly seen better days.  After stripping off the varnish, the hutch looked like this (sorry, no pics of the top half.  I think it melted)…

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Now, keep in mind I am in the midst of a Texas summer, with ZERO wind.  At this point, I really wanted to forget the whole thing.  I was in hell, dripping sweat, and my hutch was mocking me.  She was the devil and I just assumed use her as firewood the next winter.   Seriously.  Then, I added the first coat of gel stain.  Hmmm, did I just feel the hint of a breeze?


So, I carried on and am so glad I did.  After a week in the heat, this was my end result…

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No more reddish, uneven, chipped, neglected finish.  My hutch is now a rich, even chocolaty brown.  Here is a side by side before and after comparison…

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Isn’t she beautiful?!  So, was refinishing this piece in a garage when it was eleventy billion degrees worth it?  You bet!  Not only did I sweat off 5 pounds (bonus!), but I have a piece that I will be proud of for years to come.

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