...because home doesn't happen overnight.

What. A. Week. We’re rounding out our second week of HH being away. Being a single parent to three kids is no joke. It’s busy, chaotic and exhausting but I’m grateful to be able to stay home with the kids while HH is traveling so there is some stability and consistency in our house. I have so much respect for single parents!

So, yeah, the kids have been my priority and the blog has taken a back seat. As if you didn’t notice. To remain sane, I’ve had to limit my time online. Ma’am, step away from the computer. I hope you understand. I couldn’t end the week without a little update though.

After repainting the mudroom {funny how it seemed like such a chore before I worked up the gumption to do it and now it seems like eons ago even though it’s only been six days since I repainted} I wanted to give the laundry nook a little flair. I’m all about making the mundane feel less so. I figure if I’m going to spend a lot of time washing/drying/folding clothes, then I might as well make the most of it!

I decided to DIY a stenciled pattern to the laundry nook wall. I didn’t want it to be a WOW! statement but was looking for more of a subtle surprise. So when I’m standing there doing one of the 8+ loads of laundry that I do weekly I can look at it and smile. I thought a graphic pattern in a tone-on-tone color scheme would be best. I chose this stencil and used leftover trim paint in semi-gloss Benjamin Moore White Dove to DIY the patterned wall.

The stencil arrived rolled up so I used a hair dryer and heavy design books, of course, to flatten it as best I could. {I didn’t remove the stencil from its packaging upon arrival like you’re supposed to. Oops but no biggie. I’m blaming it on the kids.} Sorry for the poor lighting. I attacked this project one night after all three kids were tucked in bed and I’m still learning the whole ‘white balance’ thing on my camera.

Just as I was setting up, a black cat made an appearance outside the door. My immediate thought was ‘uh oh, a black cat just crossed my path.’ Bad omen? I considered backing out but decided to snap a picture of the cat instead. That way, if the project turned out to be a disaster I had a legit excuse. Haha.

I hung the stencil with painter’s tape after measuring to find the center of the wall. The stencil came with a nifty little level that you can rest on the top of the stencil to make sure you don’t end up with a pattern that slopes off to one side. I was pleasantly surprised to find that where the wall met the ceiling was already level so I used that as my guide.

To apply the paint, I loaded a small foam roller then rolled the foam roller onto a stack of 2-3 paper towels until the roller was nearly dry. This is key in avoiding excess paint slipping behind the stencil and onto parts of the wall that you aren’t stenciling. As you can see, there were a few pieces of the stencil that still weren’t lying perfectly flat against the wall. On those areas, I made sure to roll opposite the stencil {i.e., down} so paint wouldn’t seep behind the stencil.

To check that things were going according to plan, I peeled back the stencil for a peek. Nice.

I moved the stencil down and lined it up with the already painted pattern on the wall. The stencil was smarter than me and it was really easy to overlap the stencil onto a previously painted area to keep the process going. FYI – The stencil also came with a clever, smaller top stencil for filling in that gap at the top of the wall.

HH and I have plans to disguise the washer/dryer/water valves with a reclaimed wood countertop and hanging curtain so there was no need to extend the stencil all the way to the floor.

Once I had the center of the wall completed, I worked my way to the edges. Here’s where things got a little squirrelly. If it hadn’t been for those pesky wall cabinets, things would have gone more smoothly. But HH was out of town and I wasn’t about to try my hand at taking down two wall cabinets on my own. My only option was to stencil around them. Basically, I treated the cabinets as wall corners bending the stencil into the corner and around. But I had difficulty getting the stencil to stay in place while I rolled so I ended up holding the stencil with one hand and rolling with the other. Hence, no third hand for pictures of this step. And, yes, I did stand on the dryer. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t recommend it. Do as I say not as I do.

Once I had stenciled all that I could, I used a tiny paint brush {stolen from my kids’ art supplies} to draw in the pattern right up to the corners and cabinets. It was tedious but necessary and really didn’t take that long to do. When the paint dried, I went back with my tiny paint brush and some of the wall paint {BM Halo} to polish up the pattern. As hard as I tried, some paint did slip behind the stencil but it was easy to paint back over with the wall color. Like it never even happened.

This is what I was left with…

It’s not perfect but the pattern works like an optical illusion so the imperfections blend in.

I’m really happy with how it turned out. I especially like the tone-on-tone, semi gloss-on-eggshell effect. It makes the pattern look like it’s glowing.

Here’s the final product in daylight…

Again, this laundry nook is far from done {wood countertop with a feature to cover the water shut off and electrical outlets, hanging curtain to hide the washer/dryer, some open shelving between the cabinets, maybe a mirror in there somewhere} but the stencil adds a nice layer to the space. Laundry just got a little more fun.

What about you? Is there anything you’ve done to turn the mundane into something marvelous?

Cutting Edge Stencils sent me the African kuba allover stencil for a product review. All images, labor and thoughts are my own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

38 Comments

09.November.2012

Ooh! Love the stencil! Great idea for a laundry room! Hoping to work on my girl’s Big Girl Room this weekend… all the little details take the longest! Pics to come soon… hopefully!

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09.November.2012

Love it! Have you seen the paint-rollers with patterns on them? Like a big stamp for your wall? I’m tempted by those, but I have this feeling I’d veer off to the side and have some wacky ugly walls at the end.

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09.November.2012

That looks amazing. I just don’t know how you find the time. I am in awe of your skills and time management. Great for you!

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I love the tone-on-tone look. I know if I had your laundry nook it would make me smile ;-)

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09.November.2012

It looks nice! Great stencil choice too. It dresses it up alot. Great job. Oh, and your kids are lucky to have you home with them.

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09.November.2012

I am really loving the stencil tutorials that keep popping up in my Google Reader because I reaally want to repain my bathroom with a stencil. I especially like the extra little tips and the fact that you made sure to iterate that it can get tedious. I think this will be a holiday break kind of project! Thanks!

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09.November.2012

I have a front loader and have the pull out drawers underneath that not only saves my back when I bend, but it hides the water lines…ever consider them?

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09.November.2012

The stenciling looks great!! I’ve been brainstorming some laundry area sprucing ideas myself but unfortunately our laundry area is in our pantry. Let the thinking continue! :)

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Be still my heart…..I love it!

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09.November.2012

SO pretty. I love your blog and your DIY spirit. Nicely done!! I am itching to do another stencil project but I have about 6 different ideas floating around. I hadn’t thought about my laundry room, it’s just SO small, and I hate the thought of moving my machines to do it.

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09.November.2012

I love how that looks! I’m a huge fan of making little, unnoticed spaces like that beautiful, so I love that you did this!

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09.November.2012

perfect perfect modern pattern choice. and i love how you dont have to strain to see it but its not in your face

i dont know how you do it. i dont even have children so im not sure what my excuse is…

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09.November.2012

The stencil looks really nice. I love the subtle shine. I’m not sure how you do it. I’m semi-retired with my child away at college and I think you accomplish more than I do!

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09.November.2012

ok, Im loving that stencil!

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09.November.2012

Great job, I love how it turned out.
I also love your feature in YHL’s new book :)

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09.November.2012

LOVE the pattern! I like tone on tone patterns the best. My hubby and I turned our ‘blah’ hallway into something special by painting a tone on tone herringbone pattern on one wall. We couldn’t be happier.
You can check it out here:
http://www.tudorsdownblog.com/2012/06/how-to-herringbone-wall.html

LOVE your blog!

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replied on November 9th, 2012

What a fun little wall!

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09.November.2012

One of my favorite things to decorate is my laundry area! It really makes a difference since more time than we realize is spent there, and it’s fun to look at nice things while loading the washer or dryer or folding clothes, etc. I love what you did here! So pretty and I’m really looking forward to seeing it with the shelves, curtain etc. It will be nice to see more of those reclaimed wood shelves. I love those!

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It looks great, Dana! I applaud you for taking this on at night. My husband travels, too, and I’m always too wiped out after the kids go to bed to do anything but lay on the couch and read blogs. Not that reading “House Tweaking” is in any way a waste of time : )

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Love that you chose the subtle colour. It adds so much interest without being overwhelming. Did I mention that I love it? Love it. ;)

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10.November.2012

Beautiful job, love it !!! My laundry is in the garage…yuck…

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10.November.2012

Very nice and subtle ! It adds a little something to a room/nook made for boring chores :) Are you going to use some of HH barn wood for the countertop ? It is soooo beautiful. Good luck for your last week before HH comes home. Take care !

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replied on November 12th, 2012

Yes! More barn wood will make up the wood countertop that will go above the washer/dryer.

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11.November.2012

Looks fabulous! Love the tone on tone. : ) I have a randomish question that relates to your kitchen… I love what you did with the reclaimed wood on the open shelving! We are installing open shelving in our kitchen and I was curious if your IKEA metal brackets that hold the wood to the walls were 11 inches or 7 1/2 inches deep? : ) I like how yours look so I was thinking of just going with the same depth as yours. Thanks so much!

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replied on November 12th, 2012

11″ deep. I had to find something deep enough to hold our 10″ plates.

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replied on November 13th, 2012

Perfect! Thanks!! : )

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11.November.2012

What a lovely idea! The little something extras make such a difference.

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12.November.2012

Pretty. I like that it’s subtle and geometric.
And I’ll be feeling your pain as far as being a sort-of single mum in a few months. My husband is transferring this spring and this job require about 3 months of travel per year, usually in 2 or three large chunks. We’ve done many small chunks many times before. Still it could be worse – he’s military so he could be away for a year at a time and that won’t happen for the rest of his career. Good luck!

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12.November.2012

This is great! I’ve been eyeing the tone-on-tone painting for a few rooms in my house. You have inspired me to go for it!

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12.November.2012

Great look and tutorial…especially like the bit about having the “dry” roller to prevent bleeding behind stencil.

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12.November.2012

This looks great! I check Cutting Edge stencil’s website at least a few times a month and stare lovingly at their stencils. Right now I can’t paint any walls but am saving up for a stencil to do a furniture project sometime soon. I love the accent wall that you created, though! I bet it is fun to look at all times of the day and see how lighting changes the way it looks. Beautiful!

B
http://www.atightsqueeze.com

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12.November.2012

Nice!! I really like the tribal feel of the stencil

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12.November.2012

Love this!! Just a little pop of pattern and pretty into a nook where you wouldn’t expect it. Looking forward to seeing your reclaimed wood counter! The whole space is going to look so great :)

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13.November.2012

My laundry room has horizontal two tone stripes in it…my husband doesn’t get it but I love it!

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I. LOVE. THIS.

I stenciled our hallway a while ago..and it was completely worth the 9 hours of labor!! http://retroranchrenovation.blogspot.com/2012/07/fos-fear-of-stenciling.html

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15.November.2012

This was just the inspiration I needed to decide to work on my own laundry. Thanks for the inspiration!

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16.November.2012

The neighbors’ cats are always looking into our living room windows at night… and at first it would creep me out, but now its kind of fun to have visitors. I guess cats do that all the time!

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[…] laundry might be an enjoyable task in this white on white stenciled laundry room.  Dana from House Tweaking, decided her laundry nook needed a stenciled flair.  She preferred a more subtle surprise which is […]




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