Friday, May 3, 2013

Kitchen Remodel- DIY Style

When we bought our home, there were two AWFUL rooms: the family room and the kitchen. We were excited about these rooms because they were begging for us to improve them. The first room that we tackled as soon as we moved in was... the Kitchen (as I'm sure you figured out by the title!) Between cooking with my hubby and making yummy sweet creations, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This is what it looked like when we moved in:

Not exactly a room where I wanted to spend a lot of my time. The floors were dingy linoleum that would never get clean, not matter how many times they were scrubbed. The oak cabinets were in great shape, but the color made the whole room dark. There was a random empty space in the corner by the stove. And that tile work... I just have no words for that bumble bee tile.

Here was our original list to accomplish in the kitchen: 
  • Paint the cabinet boxes white
  • Add beadboard and molding to the cabinet doors
  • Replace hardware on cabinets
  • Tile over the linoleum
  • Build in a new cabinet in the corner by the stove
  • Reface the counter tops somehow
  • Paint the trim and doors white
  • Change the light fixtures: both the main light and the lights over the sink
  • Paint the walls
  • Add another prep area on the empty wall (Not shown, but it is located to the left as you walk in the door in the first picture.)
So lets get started!

First, we had to prep the cabinets for painting. This involved wiping down the cabinets several times, remove the old hardware, fill in the holes, and sand them smooth. We were adding hardware that had different hole placement, which is why we had to fill the original holes. It was a lot of work to prep them and we hadn't even started painting yet!

After all of the prep work was finished, my mom and dad came over for the weekend to help us with the painting. My mom and I painted the cabinet boxes. While we were at it, we painted the trim and doors.

Meanwhile, my dad and hubby were outside working on adding the beadboard and molding to the cabinet doors. We initially were on the fence about the beadboard, but when we tried to paint the cabinet doors, the paint would not take in the areas that we sanded down to the original wood which made our decision for us. I am so happy we went for the beadboard!
Look at my handsome hubby with that saw!

After we got all the beadboard on the cabinets, I fell in love with the look. I had been afraid that it would take the kitchen too country, but I felt it added a "southern" quality without looking like there should be rooster statues. It took us three weekends (and even longer before all the hardware was on and the doors were hung) but take a look at how cabinet doors look now: 

After we finished the cabinets, we tackled the floor. We originally planned to tile over the linoleum with slate. My dad came over to help us as he has experience tiling. While the guys started prepping the floor, I was sent to the store for a part. When I got back, I found that they had made an exciting discovery. When my hubby pulled up the threshold between the kitchen and the hallway, he found wood. He couldn't tell from that small area if it was a sub floor or unfinished hard wood floors, so he pulled back some more of the linoleum: 
We have hard wood floors! So we began the labor intensive process of pulling out the linoleum. Once we got it up, the floor was covered in the old tar that was the adhesive for the linoleum. 

Because I was nervous about using chemical products (mostly because they said to not use them on more than a 3x3 area due to the fumes...yikes!), I started researching alternative ways to remove the tar. Through this search, I read an article about how steam will help you scrape it up and recommended a wallpaper steamer. We went out and bought one for $50 at Home Depot and got to work. Three hot and sweaty evenings later, hubby finished the floor. 
Next, we rented a floor sander from Home Depot and started sanding. Hubby did most of the sanding work, but I took a turn. That tool was just a too big for me, so I left him to it. 

We did try staining the floors ourselves, but the stain turned out more black than a warm brown tone. So we decided to bring in the professionals for this one and we LOVE how they turned out. They ended up mixing a custom stain color just for us using two Minwax colors. I am so in LOVE with my floors!

See my beautiful floors!
After the floors, we tackled building a cabinet in the corner. My dad found a corner cabinet that would fit in the space, but it was an upper cabinet. The guys built a base for the cabinet to raise it up so the bottom of the cabinet was at the same level as the bottom of our other cabinets. We knew it would be a little bit stepped down at the counter level, but we decided it would work. The other problem to solve was a seven inch gap that would be left between the stove and the corner cabinet. I suggested that we build an open cabinet for my pans to slide into. It was a great idea, if I do say so myself, and wonderfully executed by the guys!

Our final project in this stage of the kitchen project was to reface the counter tops. We decided to keep the existing counters as it would be too expensive for our budget to replace them at this point, especially because we would ideally put in granite. We found the Formica board at Lowes that looked granite-like. We cut it to fit each area of the counter.

 As you can see, we also found an island to fit in the blank wall space. It was originally a cart, but we did not put on the wheels and it works perfectly as another prep space.

The other bonus we added was an over the range microwave. We had been planning to add one at some point in the future because of how expensive they are. My dad found one on Craigslist for $90 (!!!) so we lunged for it!

We changed out the lights over the sink for these gorgeous red pendants! We also replaced the main light fixture which isn't shown in this picture with a track light fixture that we spray painted with oil rubbed bronze to match the cabinet hardware.

Thus ended phase 1 of the kitchen remodel. At this point it had been almost three months of living in chaos. The kitchen boxes were piled in the dining room and the living room, so the living room boxes were piled in the third bedroom. We also didn't want our house to be a mess for the holidays. Therefore, we took a break from the end of October through the new year. We finally started back up in April when I found a pin on Pinterest about using bonding primer to paint tile. I was so excited because although I loved all the updating we had done so far, the yellow and black back splash was still an eye sore. I was so excited that we went to the store that weekend and bought the primer and high gloss paint.

I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. It is so much crisper and bright (and this picture is with just the primer!) The great thing about this primer is that it requires no sanding and you can paint regular latex paint over it! If you are painting bathroom tile, you have to put a sealing coat on it to protect the paint from moisture. We decided to do several coats of Water-Based Polyurethane to help the tile clean up easily and add extra shine. 

I knew what would finish it off would be to finally paint the walls. We don't think the walls had been painted in at least ten years and next to the crisp white of the cabinets and now the tile, the dingy white walls had to go. Fortunately we had gotten a free quart of paint from Ace and I had chosen to go with the color "Honey Pot" for the kitchen.

Our list was officially complete, but we weren't done yet! We had two final projects that added a touch of luxury in my eyes. The first project was adding a spice rack by the stove. There was this square of empty space that wasn't being used. We bought spice racks from Ikea and cut them to fit on the side of the cabinet. We added decorative molding to make it look more like a cohesive unit. I bought spice jars from Ikea as well, filled them up, and labeled them. I am so much happier with my spices on a spice rack than in the cabinet.

The other project was so exciting and pure luxury. We installed a tablet mount under the cabinet. I make a lot of recipes off of blogs and other sites on the web so this allows me to display the recipes so I can easily see them. I will be adding a recipe app and upload all the recipes that I use to the tablet. I also use it to listen to music via Pandora or watch Netflix while I work on a bigger project such as my truffles or candy making. 

After all of our work, our kitchen is finally finished! (For now!) We are completely pleased with the results! Drum Roll please....

Isn't it beautiful! I would love to know what you think of all of our hard work while I leave you with one more picture of my favorite space in the kitchen:

Have an inspired day!

Kelsey Noll

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY Shell Frame

My favorite kind of DIY Projects are the quick an easy kind. These are the kind of projects that require very few materials and no prep work. They are completed in less than an hour and does not require much clean up.

My project today is one of these types of projects. In less than an hour I took a boring white Ikea frame and helped it become something beautiful: a Shell Frame.

First, I gathered my materials:
The Frame
Sea Shells
Hot Glue Gun
Paper Towels.

I laid out the paper towel and spread out the sea shells. I laid them out on the paper towel because I have a dog that sheds like crazy and I didn't want dog hair on my frame. I also laid out the frame and had my hot glue gun heating up. Most of the shells that I had were from a package bought at Hobby Lobby. A few, however, were shells that I had picked up on our different cruises. I had already cleaned them by letting them soak in a 50-50 solution of bleach and water, so they were ready to go.

While my hot glue gun was heating up, I laid out a layer of similarly shaped shells to form a base layer. Then I glued them into place one at a time. After I had the base layer, I worked on filling in the gaps using one shell at a time. There is no science to this process. I just played with the shells until I was happy with the look of the frame. I picked a couple of larger shells that I had to create some focal points.

When I was happy with my frame, I cleaned off the strings left behind by the glue gun. (I hate those!) I put the white place keeping paper back in for now until I pick a picture to go in my new shell frame. Now I just need to find a home for it in our beach themed guest bedroom.
                       What do you think of my shell frame?

Have an inspired day!

Kelsey Noll

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shelves in the Closet: What a Happy Thought Indeed!

For any other Jane Austen nerds out there, you may recognize the title of this blog post as a quote from Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennett expressed this statement dripping with sarcasm at Mr. Collin's excitement over shelves in the closet. She would probably utter the same statement to me if she had been in my home the past week as hubby and I installed shelves in one of our closet.

We are blessed to have a lot of closets in our home, especially considering it was built in 1955 which was an era that they did not put a lot of closets in homes. We actually have two closets in each of the three bedrooms. This is especially wonderful because I have 15 boxes of children's books that were given to me by my aunt when I graduated from college. They are for my classroom, but I do not have room to store them  at school. The pile of boxes not only made it difficult to find the books I wanted to take to school, but I also hated the fact that our guest bedroom was cluttered by a huge pile of boxes. Plus, why have a pile of boxes in the room when you have a closet like this! Empty space crying out to be used efficiently. There is a second closet in this room that can hold a few coats and have plenty of room for guest's clothes and suitcases when they come to stay. So why not make better use of this closet?

We started by measuring the closet and deciding how many shelves I wanted. I decided I wanted six shelves and we would put them 10 inches apart. We multiplied the length of the shelves (which was the same as the width of the closet) by six to figure out how many boards we would need. We went with 1x12 boards in 8 ft long sections. We ended up needing 3 boards to make our shelves. Then we bought several 1x2 boards for the braces on the shelves and on the walls to hold them in place. We originally bought more wood than we needed, but we were able to return them after we finished the project.

My hubby cut the shelves and braces using his circular saw and chop saw. He loves any project that lets him use his power tools. Then I helped him put the braces on the shelves using the nail gun! Yes, I have discovered the love of a nail gun. I'm pretty sure that I will steal the nail gun in any future projects!

Once the shelves were finished, hubby installed the braces in the closet that the shelves will sit on. Then we put the shelves in to let them acclimatize to the space before we painted them and the closet. After they had acclimatized for several days, it was time to paint the shelves and the inside of the closet. We had painted the closet when we moved in, but there was a gross looking section where the old shelves had been attached to the wall and the plaster had been damaged by pulling the old shelves off the wall. So after hubby patched the wall and sanded, it was time to paint!

I totally took advantage of a glorious spring day to paint the shelves outside

After painting the shelves and the closet, a couple of the shelves that had been a super tight fit no longer would go in. Since the hubby was at work and I wanted to get to work on putting books away, I attempted chopping a sliver off of the shelves by myself. I'm not gonna lie, the chop saw is a bit scary, but I did it and it was awesome!
The finished shelves!
So after a day of alphabetizing and putting away hundreds of children's books, here is what the closet looks like now:

Isn't it beautiful! And I can easily find any of the books I want for school and the guest room can be reclaimed! So yes, Elizabeth Bennett: What a happy thing to have shelves in this closet!

What spaces in your home could use reclaiming? I'd love to know what you are working on and what you think of my new book closet!

Have an inspired day!

Kelsey Noll

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Home of the Nolls

On July 31, 2012 we closed on our very first home. It was so exciting to own a home! We had been looking for many months and put in multiple offers on different homes. I am so glad that we didn't get any of those (even though that is not how I felt at the time). I am so in love with our home and fall in love with it more and more every day, especially as we put our own stamp on it. As I have not posted anything about our home on my blog, I thought I would take an opportunity to share pictures of the home as it was when we signed the papers. That way, when I post about projects we are doing, any readers (and myself) will have a good point of reference as to where we started our journey.

Without further ado, I present:

The Home of the Nolls!

We were so excited to unlock our very own house for the first time! (Excuse my hubby's finger in the picture). We have a beautiful front yard with mature landscaping and lovely (note my sarcasm) boxwood hedges. I dislike boxwood hedges, but for now they can stay.

 The first view is our living room from the front door. The opening you see is into the dining room. The second view is from the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. I absolutely love the huge windows in the front of the house. I also absolutely loved the light fixture left by the previous owners (no sarcasm here). It is a beautiful chandelier style with crystal pendants. Hubby says I can keep it as long as we can spray paint it bronze since it is currently copper and doesn't match the rest of our decor.

Moving on: Next up is the Dining Room

In the dining room is yet another of these beautiful pendants. To the left of the dining room is the door to the kitchen and to the right is a door into our family room. Throughout most of the house, there are wood floors that are in pretty good condition. We do plan to refinish them at some point in the future, but our money did not allow for it when we first moved in.

Next we will head into the Family Room. Now I must prepare you, when we first moved in, this room was pretty hideous. It was the first room that we dealt with:

Look at that lovely carpet! And wood paneling! And light fixtures! EWWW! It was so full of brown that you could not even appreciate the beautiful brick on the fireplace and the wall leading back into the dining room. Even the blinds were copper... ick! When I say that this was the first room we dealt with, what I mean is that the night we closed on the house, we went in and ripped up that delightful shag carpet. Instantly better! The following weekend, we painted the wood paneling white.

Next up on our tour is The Kitchen:

Can you say scrumptious 50s?

Look at that tile and floor! And notice the gap of the missing cabinets in the corner shown in the photo on the left?

We did really like the amount of cabinets. We also liked that there was a pantry in the kitchen. (We didn't have a pantry in the town home we had been renting.) We also liked that the cabinets were real oak. They don't make them like this anymore! More on what we have done to the kitchen later. For now, just take in that beautiful linoleum and bumble bee tile!

Next up: The Hallway and Guest Bathroom

There it is: our hallway. Lovely right? Right! It leads to our three bedrooms and guest bathroom. It also is home to a wonderfully oversized closet. Did I ever tell you that I love closets? Well I do and we have a lot in this house! Okay, enough about the hallway.

Our guest bathroom is also covered in 50s yellow and teal tile. Lovely color choices, but it is a nice size with a great built in cabinet.

Now on to the bedrooms:

They pretty much all look the same so I wont bore you with pictures that you look so similar you can't even tell them apart. The master and 3rd bedroom have double closets with sliding doors while the Guest bedroom has double closets with hinged doors. The master is the largest and has an en suite bathroom while the 3rd bedroom is the smallest and is my craft room, but pulls double duty as a guest room when needed.

Any finally, The Master Bath which is also known as the smallest bathroom I have ever had: It also has 50s tile work. It does have a shower to the left which is basically a box covered in the same tile work. It works for us although we do plan to update it. At least it won't cost as much money to update this bathroom!

Last but not least, I will leave you with a shot of our beautiful backyard. We also have a shed and a laundry room, but as they are just cinder block rooms, they don't really need pictures at this point in time.

That's our home! I can't wait to share our house projects with you as we finish them!


Kelsey Noll