I’ve been super busy this weekend finishing up some projects. I’m very excited and can’t wait to show you some of them.
However, because several of them are tutorials (which take a little longer to write up), I decided to share with you a guest bathroom makeover from our old house.
This poor bathroom had an identity crisis.
With its 1970’s light fixture,
Harvest gold laminate counter top and dark wood vanity,
Sunburst shaped handles that hurt your hands to use them,
and Laura Ashley style wallpaper.
The first thing we did was strip the wallpaper in this room. If you have never stripped wallpaper, there are two types of wall paper stripping projects. The easy ones and the hard ones! Luckily we had an easy one.
Awww, doesn’t Pretty Handsome Guy look happy?!
The walls had been primed before the wallpaper was attached (as opposed to gluing the wallpaper on top of the drywall (or sheetrock as some people call it.)
Forget the steamer, forget the chemicals, we used these tools:
Cheap, cheap, cheap pink fabric softener mixed 1:1 with water
Spray Bottle to pour your fabric softener mixture in
Paper Tiger or wall scoring tool
Wallpaper scraper – We really liked the Piranha shaver since it has a razor sharp blade
Or Wallpaper Trim Tool
You start by scoring the wall with the Paper Tiger or similar tool. The more holes the better, so put on some dancing music and get busy.
Then you spray the walls with your fabric softener mixture. Really saturate them! Wait 15 minutes, then spray them again. Now, use your scraper to start peeling. I truly hope your sheets come off in nice big sheets like ours did. If not, you may have to have your walls re-skimmed with spackle or joint compound.
Or, I hate to mention this, but you could paint over the wallpaper. We have two rooms in our current home that this was done in (we know for a fact that the wallpaper was glued to the drywall without priming first.) If you take this route, I want to let you in on two secrets:
Use an eggshell or satin finish paint (it will not show the edges or imperfections as easily.)
Take the time to make sure all the wallpaper seams are glued down and then spread some joint compound or spackle over the seams and sand it smooth. This will get rid of the tell-tale seam lines when you paint over wallpaper.
After you have removed all the wallpaper you need to wash your walls really well to remove the glue. We saturated the walls again with the fabric softener and then cleaned it off. Finally, we used TSP cleaner (available at any home improvement or hardware store) to get the walls perfectly cleaned.
Then I painted the walls a bright Nickelodeon slime green. I kid you not, but I didn’t take a picture of it in that state. My friends thought I had flown the cuckoo’s nest. But, I went back with a creamy lemon glaze and ragged it on top. The result was a beautiful lime sherbert color (perfect for a little boy or girl’s bathroom.)
Next, the light fixture had to go, and it went quickly!
I replaced it with a four light chrome fixture.
Then, I had to paint over that ugly vanity cabinet:
Now that is looking better! I added new chrome/porcelain pulls.
But, that harvest gold vanity would not stop shouting “groovy dude” whenever I saw it. So, it had to go too. Unfortunately, we were on a limited budget, so I had to get creative.
I fixed the chipped corner and seams with wood putty.
Then I sanded and primed the countertop with Zinser Oil based primer
(A necessity to get the surface prepped with a super adhesion coat of primer)
so I could do this:
Beautiful blue water reflections
I painted the vanity top and then added five coats of polyurethane to seal it. I recently had the opportunity to visit our old house and couldn’t wait to see how the vanity top held up over the years. It really held up better than I expected. There was some slight chipping where the back of the sink met the back splash. I should say that our neighborhood has very hard water and this is where the splashed water would hide and sit. So, for the cost of paint, we had a new vanity top that has held up to use for over three years so far.
So, are you ready to see the final reveal? Here it is:
In case you are wondering what ever happened to those sunburst tub faucet handles:
Yes, that is me, installing new valve stems at 8.5 months of pregnant bloated-ness.
That was also THE day I went into labor!
Anyone else have some crazy last minute pregnancy stories?
I love the little recessed ledges inside each dormer. But, the window in our hallway always looked so sad.
Then one day it hit me! This poor window has been neglected and has no character, jewelry or bling! For whatever reason (maybe because I was sleep deprived?) it took me a year to realize that the window itself had not been painted white like the other windows in our home.
The first thing I did was grab a paint brush and paint the muntin bars (or grille), the bars that separate and hold the panes of glass. Don’t say I never taught you anything on this blog! Want to learn more about the anatomy of a window? Look on Pella’s website.
It looked better, but there was too much white, so I painted the recessed area a sunny yellow.
Wow, that looks better! But, the window still looked a little stark. That lonely plant just wasn’t pulling its own decorative weight.
So, I ran up to the attic where all the original shutters from our home are stored. I pulled two out of the attic and painted them with a pretty aqua blue oops paint.
Next, I took a sand paper and roughed up the edges and distressed them until you could see the dark green peeking through.
I bought four gate hinges at Lowe’s and mounted them on the bottom and middle rails. I knew that there were studs on the edges of the window well, so I drove my screws into those corner studs.
The tops of the shutters protruded over the window well, so I couldn’t use a gate hinge there. I painted a faux hinge on the shutters instead.
I also painted a little sign over the dormer to fill up the visual blank space between the tops of the shutters. The board was just piece of scrap cabinet toe kick. And, yes, those are simple upholstery tacks holding it to the wall.
To create this little sign, I found a font I liked, then typed out the phrase on the computer. I was able to tile two sheets together to span the width of the board. I rubbed pencil on the backside of my paper. Then traced the letters on the front of the paper. By pushing hard with the pencil, my type was transferred on the wood. This allowed me to paint over the pencil marked letters: “Here Comes the Sun…” one of my favorite Beatles songs.
Sweet little birds waking up in their nest.
I dressed up the shutters by adding little keyhole drawer pulls.
I accessorized and put a little $5 Goodwill chair in the corner.
Around Christmas time I hung the star light for decoration, but it puts off the perfect amount of light for those darn night wakers. (Anyone else have those in your home?) So, it now hangs year round.
I think this window is very happy now!
What do you think? Does it need anything else? Maybe paint the chair or distress it? Or maybe that chair just needs a colorful cushion.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/keypull.jpg426640Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2010-09-18 17:07:002021-08-23 19:19:07Dressing Up a Dormer Window with Shutters
Well, despite the fact that I am starting to feel my age, this post will help you achieve that beautiful well worn, loved, aged and antique look on furniture and decor items. This is something you can do to new furniture or to give old furniture a new rustic look.
Aren’t these layers of paint, scratches and wear marks art to your eyes?
Nothing shows character like chipping paint and multiple revealed layers on metal.
Weathered paint worn thin and rubbed off give a table character!
Paint splotches on an old ladder beg to tell stories of the projects it has seen.
And you can’t forget rust, love that beautiful brown patina!
I have been experimenting with several techniques to add age to “newer” pieces of furniture. Here are a few ways to add some character through distressing. (This post contains affiliate links. To learn more read my disclosure page.)
Achieving a worn look can be as easy as adding dings and scratches. This process can also be a great stress reliever! Grab some chains and let’s work out some of that pent up aggression!
Throwing a chain at wood gives you those elliptical dents. Dragging the sharp edges of a pry bar across wood will give it some deep grooves. Set a screw on its side and lightly hammer it into the wood. Finally a few random hammer marks here and there finish off the worn look.
The easiest way to add some age to a piece of furniture is to expose layers of paint. Whether you paint a few contracting colors on yourself or you sand a pre-finished piece, sanding is one of my favorite ways to add age. A note of caution: Before you begin sanding, always check for the presence of lead paint. You can learn more about how to detect lead paint in this post.
You’ll get the best results using 150 grit sand paper (but use whatever you have on hand). Attach it to your power sander and go to town on the furniture! Work in areas that would normally get a lot of use or abuse. Corners and edges of furniture usually take more abuse. Table center is a good place to show signs of worn paint. Be sure to move the sander around and be random rather than symmetrical. A good example of a sanded finish can be seen on this Trashy Coffee Table.
A table that was previously painted white received a sea-inspired blue layer of paint on top of the white. (You could always add a third color if you want more colors showing through.) Sand through the layers of paint down to the bare wood in spots. The challenge with a new piece of wood is it lacks the deeper darker color tone of antique lumber. Unfortunately, when new wood is exposed, it will look blonde and – well – brand spankin’ new. Read on to learn how I solve this problem.
Faking Age with Stain:
I have a trick up my sleeve for creating those darker wood tones in seconds! Ready to learn my secret?
Glazes add depth and dimension to furniture that has a detailed profile. Glazes can be used on everything from kitchen cabinet doors to table legs and picture frames. But, don’t let that limit the places you can use glazes.
The table legs on my DIY Farmhouse Table have Van Dyke glaze on it that accentuates the rope turns.
This dresser needed more than a coat of paint to give it an attractive new look. I added black glaze for pretty gray tones.
Simply brush on the glaze (again use a ratty almost dry brush.) Push more glaze into the gouges and crevices to show off the details.
Wipe off any excess with a clean dry rag.
The glaze stays wet for longer than the wood stains. It can be wiped off immediately if you make a mistake. Once you like the look, let the glaze dry to permanence.
Dip a foam brush into the stain and wipe off any excess. Then gently tap the brush on a stick or handle of something sturdy. (A large screwdriver or other solid object works well.) This time I don’t wipe the stain off. Let it dry a little then dab up any excess.
With these techniques, you can take a plain painted side table from this:
To a more sophisticated antiqued older sister:
Once you have achieved the antiqued look you like, be sure to put a protective coating over your furniture. I prefer using Minwax Oil-Based Polyurethane. This adds the perfect age to furniture. (If you use new oil-based poly, it will yellow in a few years time.) If you don’t like the yellowing effect, stick to Minwax Satin Polycrylic.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/age_antique_distress_wood.jpg420420Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2010-09-07 07:44:002018-07-10 15:54:21Aging is so Distressing – Techniques for Antiquing Furniture
…to another busy day in the life of Pretty Handy Girl!
I had fully intended on posting a tutorial on distressing furniture for you today. But, I got side tracked today and then let’s just say that my evening ended up with a visit from these guys:
Thank you Raleigh Fire Department for putting out my oven fire!
Let me tell you, it is a scary thing to see your heating element turn into a 4th of July super-sized sparkler! Luckily no one was hurt and our kitchen is still white (not smoky gray.) Needless to say, we will be in the market for a new oven this week. Any recommendations or “steer clears” would be appreciated. And a word of advice, if your heating element shorts out, sparks and catches fire, turn off your circuit breaker.
Not exactly what I planned on dealing with today! I did have plans for one tiny little project. This little project had me on a hunt for the illusive and extremely rare chalk marker. I have been looking everywhere for one of these exotic creatures.
Target – nope
Walmart – nope
Ace Hardware – nope
JoAnn’s Fabrics – nope
Jerry’s Art-a-rama – Ding, ding, ding! Finally found it!
If you’ve been around the blogosphere lately, you have seen chalkboard paint projects everywhere! I probably wouldn’t be surprised to see a chalkboard painted dog next week.
I had some leftover chalkboard wall decal material, so I cut a little label for our jar of colored pencils. But, I really wanted a chalkboard marker so I could write on the label and not worry about it smudging from little hands using it daily.
So, naturally after using my new chalkboard marker and LOVING IT! I decided to paint some more things with chalkboard paint and use my new marker.
I put up my homemade spray tent (I’ll have to show you how I made it later.)
And got busy. My mind played “Back in Black” in my head as I sprayed. (Any other AC/DC listeners out there?) I decided to use automotive black primer (for better adhesion on the plastic spice lids.)
First up where these Goodwill candy jars all four and the rack for $6.99!
U-G-L-Y oak lids, but not for long…
Blackified, labelled and now looking good.
Next victim was a spice rack and jars (I’m embarrassed to say)
that I repainted years ago.
That’s right, back in the sponge-era.
The gold ink labels are impossible to read.
I carefully lined them up and made a list of the order
they were in to make re-labelling them easy.
Seemed like a great idea, UNTIL my oven caught fire.
Then I swept everything off the counters and away from the stove.
After testing my sense of smell, I put the lids back on. And now that I can read them,
I shouldn’t mix up red pepper and paprika anymore.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/newspicelids.jpg480640Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2010-09-01 22:57:002021-08-23 19:23:45Chalk it up…to a busy day.
And as promised, we’ve arrived to Step 3 in our Living Room renovation.
So, I admit it, I’m gaga for those silhouetted wall graphics. Some of my favorites are from Leen the Graphics Queen.
Because I have a background in illustration, I didn’t think twice about customizing the wall behind our bookcase with a design. If you have a super shaky hand, definitely stop here and head over to Leen’s!
If you are up for a challenge, keep reading. After clearing my built-in bookshelves, I started by lightly outlining where the bookshelves met the wall with pencil or chalk. Then I took out the bookshelves.
Next I used chalk to draw the outlines of my design. I was careful to avoid having a bird where the shelves would meet the wall.
Don’t think you can draw freehand? Try this trick (it works for enlarging a design also):
You can always print something you find online or make a copy of a design you see in print.
Legalese: Please be respectful of other’s artwork and
don’t try to sell anything you put the image on.
That is copyright infringement! Technically even copying the image from
someone else’s site or from a book is too. But, we’ll bend the law just this once.
You can take your print out and draw a grid across it (see above). Then draw your larger grid on the wall and focus on drawing one box in the grid at a time.
Now get your good brushes out. Make sure you have at least a small round brush with a good tip. And a flat brush will help too. A good brush really makes all the difference.
So, here is something I didn’t tell you yesterday. I actually left the dark pine green behind my bookshelves in the living room. So, when I used the lighter wasabi powder green it showed up lighter on the pine green. It is an optical illusion that the graphics are lighter than the rest of the room’s color.
After the paint dried I used a damp rag to remove the pencil and/or chalk marks. Then put the shelves back in.
See, no birdies were harmed during the creation of this wall treatment. By tracing the shelves from the start, I was able to ensure that the birds were not covered up by the shelves.
I love the whimsy that the graphics add, don’t you?
When I style my shelves, I TRY to keep it sparse.
And that was it! The cost was next to nothing since I used the same gallon of paint for the walls in the room (from yesterday.)
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/finalbookcases.jpg388559Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2010-08-19 19:47:002021-08-23 19:27:10Painting Decorative Graphics on a Wall