...because home doesn't happen overnight.

mudroom doors black 3

I’ve been meaning to paint the mudroom doors black since the day we moved in over three years ago. I finally got around to it. Why do I put off little things like this for so long??!!

mudroom doors white

During renovation we had pre-primed french doors installed to replace original sliders out to the backyard. This is our main entrance / exit in real life. It’s where we put on and take off shoes, bring in groceries and mail, hang up jackets and unload backpacks and lunch boxes. Needless to say, the white was never white. It showed every dirty fingerprint and was impossible to keep clean.

mudroom door paint

I used Glidden’s trim & door paint in deepest black. It’s the same paint I used on the french doors in the kitchen. (Which begs the question, why didn’t I paint the mudroom doors at the same time?) It was leftover which was nice because it’s a little pricey. The oil “paint” is more like a gel. It has the consistency of finger paint but, please, don’t apply it with your fingers ;) You don’t stir it and it has a strong odor. Cure time is longer, too. It took three coats to cover the white. Keeping the kids and kitty at bay was probably the hardest part.

mudroom doors black 1

The black hides fingerprints and the extra high gloss finish is super easy to wipe down. I love that this paint is dramatic AND practical.

mudroom doors black 4

It irks me that the doors in the mudroom are recessed while the ones in the kitchen are flush with trim surrounding them. This stems from the fact the mudroom doors were once sliders and the kitchen doors were once a window. I don’t really prefer one design over the other; I just wish they were the same for consistency’s sake. It’s one of those minor details we overlooked during renovation. Ah, live and learn. Catch you next time french doors.

mudroom doors black 5

The way the newly painted doors frame the view out back is icing on the cake.

mudroom doors

While I was at it, I went ahead and touched up the paint on the exterior side of the doors, too. (It’s evening hush by Behr in a satin finish, and it matches the front door.) It was nicked up from keys and such, and it really stood out to me once the interior sides were freshly painted.

Btw, the DIY outdoor art still looks great two years later!

kitchen doors gray 1

My painting streak didn’t stop there. I painted the exterior side of the french doors off the kitchen as well. (Again, it’s evening hush by Behr.) They’re Cheetah’s doors.

cheetah door

Every morning she meows at the doors until we open one so she can closely watch the birds, rabbits, neighborhood cats and deer frolicking in our backyard. As you can see in the photo two images up, we keep sliding screens on the doors so Cheetah can’t escape. (We have screens for the mudroom doors, too, but they’re a little cumbersome to open and close numerous times per day so we don’t use them all that much.)

kitchen door open

I sorta fret over the doors being painted two different colors, inside and out. But it really isn’t a big deal. I think it helps that they’re both dark colors.

It feels good to finally cross all those painted doors off the list. What tedious projects are you putting off / tackling these days?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

fridge side panel 3

When we were designing the kitchen, we were a little confused about what to do for the exposed side of the fridge. A side panel would most certainly tidy up the appearance but would it be weird to have a full-length white side panel in a tuxedo kitchen? Would a white panel extending all the way to the floor look strange with black lower cabinets elsewhere? We couldn’t decide. So when we ordered our Ikea kitchen and discovered the side panel we needed was on indefinite backorder, we let it go.

We lived with one side of the fridge exposed to the living room for a few years. As much as I adored seeing my kids’ creations and accomplishments stuck up there, things felt cluttered and chaotic. In preparation for the photo shoot, we finally got around to purchasing and installing a side panel…three years later.

Luckily, Ikea sells a white 36″ x 96″ cover panel in the current SEKTION line that matches the older AKURUM cabinets – which we have. (It’s the FÖRBÄTTRA cover panel in case you’re wondering.) We simply cut it to size and screwed the top into the cabinet above the fridge. The bottom is secured to the floor with small L brackets.

fridge before after

I love how the side panel visually connects the cabinet above to the fridge below. The fridge looks more built-in so the entire kitchen feels finished and polished from the adjacent living area now.

fridge side panel 1

The crazy thing is the white panel is a non-issue after all those weeks and months of rolling around the idea in the early stages of renovating. It just makes sense. (Can you spot the kitty lump in the mudroom? Haha.)

fridge side panel 4

The way things were displayed before was very random and haphazard. Just papers and magnets in disarray. So much so that it was hard to appreciate any one thing. After the new side panel was up, I slapped on some of my favorite family-oriented instagram prints from Artifact Uprising using washi tape. I find Mabrey standing on the step stool studying the photos on a daily basis. It’s so cute.

fridge side panel 2

I guess the takeaway here is, if you’re in the middle of renovating and you can’t quite figure out a particular detail, it’s not the end of the world if you need to wait it out or live with it a while for it to make sense. I can remember getting so caught up in stupid little things mid-renovation. They drove me nuts! Often times, taking a step back and focusing on something else helped. I’m just not sure why it took so long with this one.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

play kitchen after 2

Santa gifted Mabrey this play kitchen last year. I didn’t find it obnoxious for a toy. But Mabrey kept asking, “When are you going to paint my kitchen?” Girl catches on quickly. Store bought items rarely stay the way I find them.

play kitchen before 1

In an effort to tidy up the side of the fridge, I decided to tweak the play kitchen with paint. And by paint, I mean paint, backsplash, new hardware, open shelving and an oven light. I may have taken things too far. Oops.

play kitchen before 2

The before. Again, it wasn’t obnoxious but there was room for improvement.

play kitchen steps 1

1 – The first thing I did was remove the chunky handles and patch the holes with wood putty.

2 – After a few applications of putty, I lightly sanded the patches and surfaces to be painted – just enough to scuff them up a bit.

3 – I taped off the oven window, control knobs and countertop.

4 – I gave the kitchen two coats of Sherwin-Williams coastal plain in a satin finish. (Btw, did you know you can purchase Sherwin-Williams paint at Lowe’s now? So convenient!)

play kitchen steps 2

5 – I bought two sheets of Smart Tiles subway tile in white. I had been eyeing them for a while but many sellers only sold them in packs of six and I didn’t need that much. When I saw them on sale at Wayfair for $5.99 per sheet and sold individually, I bit.

6 – The sheets are self-adhering vinyl with an easy peel-and-stick installation. The tiles are staggered on the edges for an overlapping seam.

7 – When positioned properly, the seam is barely noticeable. Lining up the grout lines carefully is key. I had to readjust the second sheet a few times to get a perfect fit. I don’t know that I would ever use these in a real kitchen (maybe a rental?) but they’re perfect for this application.

8 – I cut away the excess tile with utility scissors.

play kitchen steps 3

9 – I cleaned up the edges with a utility knife. I cut from the backside of the kitchen and pressed a board against the front side of the backsplash for more control. I ended up painting the top of the wood backsplash white for an even cleaner look.

10 – I used scraps cut from the first sheet to fill in small portions of tile on the second sheet. I had just enough tile!

11 – I added new handles. Because the play kitchen’s cabinet doors aren’t a standard thickness, the included screws were too long. I had to rummage around in the garage to find a few random ones that would work.

12 – (This is where Steve says I went overboard.) I cut a piece of lumber (thrifted from our garage) to fit the width of the backsplash. I sanded it smooth by hand and added a quick coat of wood conditioner.

play kitchen steps 4

13 – I applied two coats of wood stain. (It’s Minwax special walnut, my favorite.)

14 – I secured the shelf with two wood screws, using the original screw holes (from the original shelf) as my pilot holes. It’s super sturdy.

15 – I spray painted the faucet flat black to tie in with the new hardware. (Don’t think I didn’t consider adding a small bathroom faucet, but that really would have been too much. Ha!)

16 – The finished product!

play kitchen oven light

For fun, I added a battery-powered LED tap light in the “oven.” Mabrey LOVES this new feature.

play kitchen after 5

play kitchen after 4

play kitchen after 3

Just this morning she made me a broccoli cake ;) She couldn’t care less about the gray-green / subway tile / reclaimed wood / matte black hardware mix, but I’m all over it. One in my size, please?

play kitchen basket 1

Mabrey has a basket of play kitchen accessories. I keep it on a low shelf in the living room when she isn’t playing chef. She likes to carry it over to her kitchen when she’s playing. The red stool stands in as extra countertop space.

play kitchen basket 2

She was gifted this toaster, this coffee maker and a slew of faux food including some felt items from etsy. So cute!

play kitchen after 6

When I was tweaking the play kitchen, I couldn’t help wondering if there was a market for unfinished playthings that consumers could put their own spin on. Someone should do that. I think it’s so nice when toys (especially larger ones out in the open) meld with a home’s decor. I’m more likely to leave it out which means it’s more likely to be played with which is the whole point anyway, right? Or, I might be cray-cray.

At any rate, it was a fun little project and Mabrey seems to enjoy it. Now to tackle that messy fridge!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking