Category Archives: Before and Afters

Chalk Paint Mix for Front Door Redo

Chalk Paint Mix for Front Door Redo

Everyone says that first impressions are lasting, right?  Well, if you’d driven by my house before, I don’t think you would have remembered anything about it.  Everything about the front porch is blah.  Ours features a concrete slab to sit on, grey siding, and a white door. Definitely had little curb appeal.White front door

I have tried to add color by the cushions on the furniture, but that only goes so far. I have wanted to paint the front door now for a while, and I always knew it would be yellow. With the grey siding we have, I figured the yellow would go great, and provide a pop of color. The hard part was deciding which yellow.

I finally read a tip about mixing two colors of Annie Sloan chalk paint, Arles and English Yellow, to create a nice soft yellow. Ultimately, I decided to go with this tip, because I didn’t have to do any prep work with the door that way. I bought one of each color, in the sample jar size, and used an old coffee canister to mix the two colors together.Annie Sloan Chalk paintArles and English yellow mixed

I started painting, and did the inside trays first. The first coat went on really fast, and I used a brush to edge around the doorknob. In this picture, it was night, and so I was pretty excited about the color. First coat

However, the next morning, in the light of day, the yellow seemed overly bright.  It was like the two photos had two different colors.  It wasn’t the color I was wanting, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy with it. Too yellow

I was panicking a bit because chalk paint is expensive, the nearest store that sells Annie Sloan is 45 minutes away, and I didn’t want to feel like I was wasting the paint.  Finally, I thought about adding some white paint to the mixture, just to tone it down a bit.  I had an almost full bottle of Wicker White acrylic paint, so I added that to the paint, a little at a time, until I felt I had the right color. I ended up using the entire amount that was in the bottle.  I figured that if adding the acrylic to the chalk paint ruined it in any way, then I would just have to start over with new paint, which I was going to have to do anyway.Add Acrylic white

I got to painting the second coat on, with the new paint color. Even as I was brushing it on, I could tell that I was going to like this color. I also did it during the day, so that I could really tell what it would be like. Second coat with whicker white

And here is the door with the second coat on.  Much improved, and more what I was wanting. Whew!  I didn’t notice any problems with adding the acrylic to the chalk paint, as it was being brushed on, or drying. It still had that chalky finish to the touch.finished second coat

For the final coat, I didn’t use wax, like most would.  Since this is the door that gets the most use in our house, I wanted something durable for the sealer.  Also, it gets super hot here in the summer, and didn’t want the wax damaged from the heat. I decided on a clear semi gloss Spar Urethane.  top coat sealer

And here is the sheen the semi gloss provided on the door.  It is very nice, and went on well over the chalk paint. I ended up doing two coats of this as well. Let’s hope it is durable enough to stand up to the wear and tear the front door gets. Sheen to the front door

I have to say I love how it turned out.  I like the pop of color it provides to the front of the house, and I like how the cushions have a bit of yellow to pair with the door. Now, I just have to get rid of that concrete slab. I have ideas for that, but have to wait for now:)chalk painted front door

Thanks for looking!


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Closet Tranformation: Converted to Usable Space

Closet Tranformation: Converted to Usable Space

This is probably the most embarrassing post I’ve written, just because we let the closet under the stairs get in such bad shape. We had water come in the basement about seven years ago, and we had ripped the paneling off in the closet, just to see if it was leaking in there.  The leak turned out not to be there, but we never did fix the paneling.

Fast forward to now.  I decided I wanted to turn the closet into usable space, but keep the portion that was actually under the stairs for storage. I had multiple ideas, including a really expensive one of putting Air Stone rock strips up to hide the concrete wall.  Ultimately, I decided to save some money and use drop cloth to hide everything.

This is what we started with.  A good sized room, with a concrete wall and floor, paneling, and one light fixture.  We had been using it for our exercise area and storage. Originally there were two doors that closed, but we had taken them down when we started this project.  We did save those, just in case we wanted to use them again in the future.Original storage room

Double D removed the rest of the broken paneling, and we started replacing it with new that we bought.  It didn’t match, nor did we take time to line the lines up.  We knew we would be covering it.  Why did we take the time to put paneling up if we were just going to cover it?  Well, I thought it might save some time in the future if we had it done. Since this is the only paneling in the house, I would want to fill in the lines and paint everything anyway.Adding panelingPaneling up on wall

Once the paneling was up, I started with the curtain.  Since we wanted it to cover in a U shape, we measured the two sides, and back.  I purchased two drop clothes, one a 12’x9′, and another 6’x9′, and washed and dried them since they tend to shrink. I sewed the 6’x9′ to the 12’x9 to make one big curtain at 18’x9′. I then laid it out on the floor and pinned a pocket for the top. Since I wanted to go all the way to the ceiling with these, I was happy to have a bit to play with on the top.Drop cloth curtain

While I was working on the curtain, Double D started laying the carpet squares that we got for this project. These in no way match the carpet we have down there, but since we want to replace that, I can live with mismatched carpet for a bit. These were very easy to install, and actually looks pretty good with the original carpet. Carpet sqares

Next, it was time to assemble the curtain rod.  We made a custom one out of 1″ PVC pipe, in the shape of a U. PVC curtain rod

From there we could think about hanging the curtain.  We went extremely low tech here, but the curtain has stayed up for several months now, so it must be okay.  What we did was drill screws halfway into the pipe, one on each elbow, two more in the long piece and then one on each end. Then we screwed hooks into the ceiling about where the screw heads would be.

Before we got started hanging it, I cut little holes in the back pocket loop to let the screw heads through. Then I wrapped thin wire around the screw heads with enough left to wrap it around the hooks, which Double D did. This brought the PVC up close to the ceiling and covered that gap. In addition, I hope it will be easy to take down and put back up when washing the fabric.hooks to hang curtain rod

Here is the finished room. I did need to steam the drop cloth to get the wrinkles out, but it looks great and it covered the paneling, concrete wall, and the additional storage. Cover for downstairs closetDrop cloth curtain

The last bit was adding lights to the room, which we did by buying a two fixture light kit from Ikea.  I moved one of the china hutches downstairs and filled it with some dishes. The room is now able to be part of the house, and be functional.  We estimate we spent about $150, but that is much less expensive than the rock wall would have been.  Still would have been awesome though!Lights hung

Thanks for looking!


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Portable Tiki Torch Pots

Portable Tiki Torch Pots

We have a large yard and the tiki torches we already have come in handy in several different places.  Since the two that we have are taller, and are made to go in the ground, moving those to different spots was getting to be not so much fun.  The other thing is that once they were in the ground, they were hard to mow around. So I came up with an idea that would make the torches portable by putting them in large garden pots.

This is what I started with. I already had the tiki torch parts, the two large pots, and two cute cup holders that we had found when we moved into our old house. Parts for project

Double D and I had come up with the idea to get the bricks with three holes in them to put in the bottom to hold the torch post upright and provide some weight, but we spent an entire day looking for those.  Evidently, home stores no longer sell those and we didn’t have any lying around. Our last stop was to a flea market, which didn’t have any bricks, but did have some four pound weights with holes in them.  That would work just fine, and the price was right at just $1.00 apiece. We did put a small amount of glue between two of them. 4 lb weights with hole

The next step was placing the post, and making sure it was standing straight.  I’m pretty sure that was the hardest part of the project. torch post in hole

Once we got it straight, we used the cup holders planted in the ground to provide support, and then Double D started filling in the pot with spray foam. The spray foam is pretty light weight, and very easy to work with. beginning spray foam

I did start out with one can of the spray foam, but the two pots ended up needing four can all together. These pots were very large, but the foam did cover the weights though. 4 cans of spray foam

I let the foam harden and expand a bit more overnight, and then used two bags of Spanish moss from Joann’s to cover the tops of the pots. I also inserted the cup holders, which I just pushed in through the spray foam.  Pretty easy peasy. spanish moss

And here are the finished pots. They are easily able to be picked up and moved around the yard now, whether we use them up by the fire pit area, or down by the picnic table. And they won’t be in danger of being mowed over:)  The right one does look crooked in this picture, but I’m pretty sure the ground is not level.Completed tiki torch pots

This was a pretty easy project, and most of the materials I had already. Now I just need to put them to use in the upcoming summer months!

Thanks for looking!


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