...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

06.03.15 / Studio Whiteout

A quick backstory: Lowe’s invited me to their headquarters a few months ago. I’ve never really been a fan of blogger conventions / events. I guess that’s the introvert in me. But I was suffering from a major case of cabin fever and Steve was encouraging me to go so I accepted the invite. I got a behind-the-scenes peek at the company’s thought process and was asked to give honest feedback on everything from products to advertising to store layouts. I was nothing but honest. Maybe even a little brutal? Let’s just say I didn’t hold back. But they took it all in stride, asking more questions. They really want to be better – even different – at what they do.

On the last day of my visit, I was paired with another blogger and we were given creative freedom to create a room of our choice using Lowe’s products. We designed a bathroom and it was so much fun! I really appreciated the fact that we were not pressured to create a certain look. Honestly, that bathroom was a space I would want in my own house. Before I left to return home, they told me to contact them if I was ever in need of help with a project. That offer came to mind when I started making plans for the studio so I reached out. I can’t thank Lowe’s enough for the drywall and paint. And they didn’t ask me to say that either. In fact, they didn’t ask me to say anything.

Remember what the studio looked like a month ago? It’s well on its way to becoming a blank canvas.

studio whiteout 1

studio whiteout 2

Steve and I briefly discussed hanging new drywall and painting the room ourselves but, when we looked at our busy calendar, considered the scope of the project (the ceiling is 18′ high!) and couldn’t come up with a good solution for childcare, I decided to hire out. As DIYers, that was a hard pill to swallow. But since I’m renting the space, time is money. It helped that Lowe’s stepped in to cover the cost of materials. For that, I am so grateful.

One of the best things about this space is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. We aren’t going to be living here, just making messes and being creative. Instead of ripping out the original drywall, the drywall guys simply hung ½” drywall panels over the existing walls. This kept demo, waste and cost to a minimum. They ran into an issue with the studs…or lack thereof. The “studs” are aluminum and not spaced properly so there was some guesswork involved. The room is located in an old warehouse so it isn’t surprising that there are dubious things going on behind the walls. The walls aren’t going to fall down or anything like that, but it does make hanging things a little tedious. It took a team of three guys one week to hang, tape, mud and sand the walls. (It probably would have taken Steve and me all summer.) It isn’t the most impeccable finish work I’ve seen but it will do.

studio whiteout 5

studio whiteout 6

A painter sprayed the walls and ceiling. We went with Kilz latex primer, followed by two coats of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams primer + paint in one. The paint color is pure white (SW 7005). Using two different primers might have been overkill but there was quite a bit of staining on the ceiling and brick (window) wall that had to be blocked. Per code, the sprinkler system remains red. The exposed conduit, various pipes and old fuse boxes are now all white and not nearly as noticeable. White paint is magical!

studio whiteout 3

From afar, the metal window frames look black but, in reality, they’re mostly corroded. I will probably end up painting them (black or white?) but I don’t mind them as-is for now. Cleaning the dirty panes is a higher priority, I think. The green paint is on the outside of the windows. All of the windows at the warehouse are green on the exterior.

studio whiteout 4

I’m going to paint the radiator white…after I clean it. I don’t think it has ever been cleaned. Ever. It looks like it’s covered in soot but I’m assuming it’s just charred dust and dirt. As much as I love the look of painted white floors in a studio space, they aren’t practical here. The space is accessed via a loading dock so grime is constantly being tracked in. The concrete is in poor condition so I think painting the floors a dirty gray is the way to go. The concrete gives way to wood right in front of the radiator. (Not sure what that’s all about?) Some of the boards need replaced.

I took these photos several days ago and the space is already looking so much better. I’ve spent all of my spare chunks of time at the studio cleaning this week. It’s been difficult finding the time with end-of-school activities taking top priority, but I did manage to log 5 hours of quality time with my shop-vac the other day. Between the original gritty condition of the space and the new layers of drywall dust, it was pretty gross. Today Everett and Mabrey “helped” me scrub down the radiator. We had to change our clothes when we got home.

The shell of the room is coming along! I took precise measurements and drew up a floor plan today so I can start space planning. The landlord claims the room is 1,000 square feet but it’s closer to 870. I’m more comfortable with that number. I’m excited to put my spin on the space and try some new things that aren’t necessarily practical, or even possible, in my own home.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

little things 1

With the major renovations completed, we’ve been able to turn our attention to smaller projects here and there. Most of these pesky projects are leftovers from bigger projects. We never truly finished some projects because we let minor details fall by the wayside in favor of: pretending we did them, feeding the kids, going outside, sleeping, working on our fitness, drinking wine, watching “New Girl,” smothering all the edible things in Trader Joe’s cookie butter, reading, showering, singing karaoke to “All About That Bass,” petting the cat, talking with our faces, (insert any action or inaction here). Whatever. It happens. And when we finally do get around to tackling these measly projects, they don’t seem blog-worthy.

But lump all those lil’ effers together and, BAM!, blog post. At least, that’s how I see this playing out. I don’t know. I might be wrong. Let’s give it a go anyway, shall we?

new fans 1

new fans 2

We replaced the ceiling fans. We loved the look of the first fans (seen here) but they hummed and whirred so loudly. In the fans’ defense, they were listed as commercial fans and we overlooked the possibility that they might not be ideal for a residential setting. The other problem we had with them was the fact that, due to unique installation requirements, the canopies didn’t mount flush against the ridge beam so there was a visible gap.

Last month Steve said, “All I want for Christmas is new ceiling fans.” Santa came through with these plus coordinating downrods. (Apparently, Steve made the nice list.) Installation was uneventful which is always a good thing when it comes to DIY. But the best thing? They are quiet. Like, silent. The canopies are flush with the ridge beam. No gap! And we really like the aesthetic. The fans are matte white and super sleek. Functionally, they’re better too. They’re slightly larger than the previous fans and a better fit for the room. They also have reverse switches at the motor so we can change the rotation based on our needs. (Clockwise in winter; counter-clockwise in summer.) The only thing that would make them more awesome is if they were self-cleaning. Someone please invent a ceiling fan that cleans itself.

trim 1

trim 2

trim 3

We installed and painted trim around the fireplace surround. After painting the brick surround and building & painting the TV wall, we lived with gaps at the mantel-wall and brick-floor seams for several months. We added trim last spring (that can’t be right?!) and I just got around to painting it a few weeks ago with the same paint I used on the surround. It’s Benjamin Moore white dove, semi-gloss finish, mixed in Clark + Kensington’s primer + paint in one. It’s really, really good.

painted man door 1

Notice anything else?

painted man door 4

I have been cropping out the man door to the garage for years. It’s solid wood but was orange-y and drafty. I kept an old towel pushed up against the bottom to prevent cold air from blowing in but you can imagine how (in)effective my efforts were.

We reworked the door frame and added a new threshold, weatherstripping, hardware and trim. I painted the door and trim when I had the paint out for the fireplace trim. Now the mudroom / dining room isn’t nearly as cold as it used to be but I still wish we would have added radiant floor heating.

painted man door 3

I added a double hook to the back of the door for my purse and reusable shopping bags. The three wall hooks in the mudroom have been overtaken by the kids’ coats, hats and backpacks. And a certain toddler likes to play “Quick! Take and hide all the things in mom’s purse!” So this seemingly trivial hook is, in all actuality, a game-changer. There’s a set of key hooks to the left of the door which recently caught the attention of said toddler, ifyaknowwhatimean.

You might also notice that we rotated the sisal rug in the living room. See the corner in the image above? That corner used to live over by the media cabinet and the corner that was here (now by the media cabinet) sported a perpetual roll that drove Steve mad. (You can catch a glimpse of it in the seventh image of this post.) He tried everything. It was comical. If you can’t beat ’em, rotate ’em.

kitchen plinth

Finally, FINALLY!, we added a piece of filler plinth to the corner in the kitchen. (You can see the gap here.) This was one of those minor details that we overlooked when we installed the cabinets. We bought the plinth shortly after “finishing” the kitchen but didn’t put it up until, oh, THREE YEARS LATER. We still need to caulk at the wall seam. According to my highly technical estimates, that should happen in 2018. Don’t worry. It will be a blog post.

Have you been putting off little finishing projects too? What’s your excuse? It can’t be any worse than ours.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking