If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may know that I have been working on building a Habitat for Humanity house with my church Westover Church, in Greensboro, NC. Building a Habitat House has been on my bucket list of things to do FOREVER. When I heard that my church was sponsoring another build I knew I had to be there! The build kicked off March 22nd and I was HOOKED from the first nail I hammered! Very empowering!
On the first day I picked up this green hammer…the only colored hammer in the bucket….and declared it MINE! I love that green hammer. I’ve used it to frame walls and shingle the roof so far!
Yesterday I spent the entire day on the roof with Fred, pictured above in the red shirt and BULLS hat. This is Fred’s house that we are building. He is from Liberia. He is married and has 3 children. This is his dream. Honestly, I really had no emotional connection to his dream, until I spent the day on the roof with Fred and his friends, all from Liberia and West Africa. You can see a person, hear their story, and think to yourself “oh that is so great, his dream is coming true…”, or whatever you might think or feel. But, I’ve got to say that working alongside this group of men yesterday really changed how I felt about a lot of things. I felt Fred’s dream, I saw it in his eyes. I felt his humanness. I understood he was a man, a husband and a father.
At first I’m not so sure what they thought of me when I climbed up on the roof to join them. And that would be after I declined any help in getting up there! I’m just gonna say it…I was indeed a pasty white female…and the only female or pasty white person on my side of the roof. It did not take long for them to realize that I was indeed serious about getting this roof done. Serious and stubborn, but fun and a little goofy at the same time!
Most of the guys had worked all night the night before and had come straight from work at 7:45 am to join Fred in building his house. Some going back to their jobs that night as well. A true sacrifice for their friend.
The most important part of the roof was the first shingle in a row, and every few rows we had to ensure that the top of our shingle was indeed on the “chalk lines” that were carefully measured out. Every time we got to the “chalk line”, Toyota (in the yellow shirt!) would yell out in his thick West African accent “Chalk Line, Chalk Line!” So we all started chiming in the entire day, yelling out “Chalk Line” every so often and laughing as we did. Those words bonded us together for the day. The guys told me that every Saturday they came up with a new word or phrase they use all day. I love that! I loved being a part of the “chalk line”! I loved my pasty white hands side by side with rough and calloused hands of these men. By the end of the day I knew in my heart that Fred did know that I was a little bit more than a pasty white chick (who by then was a red lobster with a sunburn!) with a hammer, I was there to nail each nail for him and his family. And I knew Fred a little bit more too!
Now that the kitchen makeover is done, and the master bathroom is complete (reveal coming soon!) I’ve been back in my studio doing some custom work! I just completed a lovely headboard using Old Ochre and Napoleonic Blue! I am LOVING Napoleonic Blue and was so excited my client wanted it on her headboard!
The before was not bad at all…it just did not match her decor and she was ready for a change.
I sketched out a idea and got to work…
I was thrilled when the only guidance she gave me was color and let me do what I felt the headboard needed!
I painted it all in Old Ochre, highlighted it with Napoleonic Blue, finished it all with Clear Wax and then added some Dark Wax.
My kitchen makeover is almost complete…is anything ever completely complete?
Here it the official before photo, taken on the day we moved in.
I love this kitchen!
I love it because it is really big and functions really well for us. I know lots of you are ripping out the kitchen desks (mine is located on the wall on the left), but I love a desk in the kitchen! The kitchen is the central place in a home, especially with kids. We have our computer in the kitchen. I think with kids that is a very good idea! One of the biggest reasons we bought this house was for the kitchen. I could see right past that outdated oak cabinetry because I knew that I could paint it and love it. Also, the counter tops and appliances were fairly new. Knowing I did not need to replace them right away really helped.
The first thing we did was have the popcorn ceilings scraped and the walls painted. That alone was a huge improvement! I lived with it like that for several months trying to decide how I would paint the cabinets. I LOVE white cabinets, but I did that in the last house. White cabinets are fabulous, but a pain to keep clean!
On a whim one day, I broke out the Paris Grey Chalk Paint….because I had about 20 million more pressing things to do…but oh well….
These cabinets are 21 years old, they did indeed need a super duper clean job. ALL kitchen cabinets, regardless of age, need to be THOROUGHLY cleaned an prepped….no matter what kind of paint you are using. I lightly sanded them with 150 grid sandpaper (to loosen the debris)…and used some child labor for this one. I then SCRUBBED the heck out of them with TSP cleaner and a Scotch Brite Pad, and then wiped them down with Denatured Alcohol.
I applied 2 coats of Paris Grey Chalk Paint, lightly distressed the edges, and then wiped on some clear wax.
Look, I even painted over ALL of the hinges! I did not want to invest the money and time in purchasing and installing new hinges for cabinets that I hope to replace in a few years.
I got all new brushed nickel hardware online from Cook Knobs and Pulls for $63 for the ENTIRE kitchen, and that included shipping!
I painted the inside of the shelves above the desk in Pure White Chalk Paint.
I removed the cabinet doors from this section, and painted the insides with Pure White Chalk Paint.
We also removed the wooden valance board that was over the sink. It was hiding a super ugly florescent light. We trimmed out the sides with the pieces we took off and had a pendant light ($89 from Home Depot) installed. While we were having the bathroom done, I sporadically decided to do a white subway tile backsplash…that made a huge difference as well!!
The cost of the materials for the backsplash was only $200, plus the labor to install. Very pleased with this decision!
I’m so, so, so in love with it! It feels so light and bright!
I also installed a $29 brushed nickel barn light from Home Depot to replace the oil rubbed bronze one.
I still need to do something about that ceiling fan. I will either replace it with a flush light or paint it white so it just blends into the ceiling.
Basically in 6 weeks, and not a whole lot of money, I was able to completely give my kitchen a whole new look and feel!
And because many have asked, my counter tops are actually laminate, although they look like granite, and I really love them! I’m surprised at how much I love them. Many of my friends with granite have complained about the clean up of their counters. These wipe up great! And ironically….we have the same countertops in our RV….CRAZY! It was meant to be!
Now I can just kick back and enjoy the fabulous view from the kitchen window!
Here is a resource list for materials used and costs:
Paris Grey Chalk Paint® – Purchased 2 cans, used about 1 and 1/2 cans (I did not paint the inside of the cabinet doors so this saved a lot of paint and time) $83.16
Pure White Chalk Paint® – Purchased 1 can, used about 1/3, for the inside of the cabinets – $41.58
Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax – I used about 1/2 a can, but still need to finish putting on a second coat – $28.78
The kitchen back splash was tiled by Andy Beach of Champion Tile, based here in the Triad area of NC. Cost of tile $200 plus labor.
In case you don’t know, I work for my local Chalk Paint® stockist Total Bliss. I spend Tuesdays and Thursdays interacting with our customers and helping them with Chalk Paint®. I love it! My 5 hours a day there feel like 5 minutes….good problem to have huh?
It seems lately that much of our dialogue has been about Brush Strokes and Chalk Paint®.
Yes, you will definitely have brush strokes if you use Chalk Paint®!
Is that bad or good?
It’s a good thing and even and awesome thing most of the time. Annie created Chalk Paint® as a decorative paint primarily for furniture. She created it to do lots of different things, and many of those things are based on the texture that you can create with the paint. You create that texture primarily using a natural bristle brush. If you are using the Dark Wax you can achieve a much better look with it by having brush strokes, especially when they are in different directions and length.
Can you see how the Dark Wax sits in the strokes here?
On this piece I only used the Dark Wax in small areas, so my strokes give it texture only where I want and the other areas the strokes are really not noticeable at all unless you really look closely.
There are ways to lessen the appearance of strokes…
First of all the lighter the pigment of color, the more brush strokes the color seems to show.
1. You can control the paint and lessen the appearance of strokes by using some water to thin your paint. I always like to keep a spray bottle of water by my side to either mist my brush or the actual work surface. The paint drys so fast that if you brush through drying paint, you disturb it and create “texture”. Spritz that spot with some water and “paint it out”.
2. You can also be more “anal” about your strokes. Painting in one direction with longer strokes helps.
3. You can also vary the tools you are using to apply the paint with. I have found that using a flat brush that is either all synthetic bristles or a blend of natural and synthetic bristles produces a much smoother look. Foam brushes and rollers also are great ways to apply the paint for a smoother look.
4. You can also perform a light sanding between coats, or after your final coat to smooth out your surface.
I generally use 150 or 220 grit sandpaper…but you can even go up into the super fine grits like 600 to really smooth our your surface. Yes, this take extra time…but if that is the look you want then a few extra minutes to do this really is not that big of a deal.
I’ve had people come into the shop and be very frustrated because their pieces have brush strokes. They are under the impression that the furniture we paint in the store is “perfect”. I usually walk them around and show them our pieces and our brush strokes. It is funny when they realized that they are really just being hyper focused on their piece, and when they step back and look at the piece is really is beautiful and perfect.
Don’t hyper focus on the strokes!
That being said, if you are extremely OCD and just can’t handle it….then maybe Chalk Paint® is not the right paint. There are lots of other paints and products out there. Choose the one that is right for you and your desired look!
Andy Beachy, owner and installer at Champion Tile, installed the floor. I know I’m going to get TONS of questions about this tile. It is a Farmhouse Plank tile in Winterwood that my designer Julie Jersey got at Traditions in Tile in Greensboro, NC. The moment I saw it I knew it was “the one”! I knew it would be awesome, but seeing it installed was just incredible!!
The vanity is WHITE. Just as I wanted. WHITE. I ordered WHITE. I got WHITE.
I looked every where for mirrors. I finally decided on the hotel recessed medicine cabinets from Pottery Barn.
And I ordered WHITE. OK, so PB’s idea of WHITE….is a very CREAMY WHITE. UGH!
They are scheduled for install tomorrow…I just got them out of the boxes Friday after vanity was installed.
So….I broke out the white semi gloss paint leftover from the trim in the house. It’s oil based….praying it is dry enough for install!
And while the paint was drying….I enjoyed a beautiful NC Sunday afternoon at my house
I lay in the warm grass and hung with Sweet Pearl!
Once Upon A Time, in April of 2013, I went for my first time to the Liberty Antiques Festival, in Liberty NC. (And because she will want a mention…I was with my friend Angela Clodfelter!) Anyway, I had been excited for WEEKS about finally going to this festival, which so many people had raved about. As the day approached for our planned trip I found myself in extreme pain in both feet due to a major onset of plantar fascists. But, I’m a tough girl (can I get an “Amen”?) and of course I went anyway…and did every stinking row…twice!
When my eyes spied this table…it spoke to me…it moved me…I had to touch it immediately. I wanted to know all about it.
The gentleman who was selling it told me that it had been an old shop counter that had been rescued from South Boston, Virginia. I knew I wanted it, but had no idea what I would do with it. At 6 feel long it was not an easy size to pop into just any room.
I walked away…but it “haunted” me the rest of the day. As the sun was setting, and the vendors were packing up, and I was in extreme foot agony…I decided to take one last stroll by. Just as I did, I noticed that she was being loaded back onto the truck she came in. No one had bought her! It was a sign! I ran up into the truck and negotiated a deal just in time! I wish I still had the pictures from that day from my phone…oh well.
When I got home, I put it in my garage, thinking that I would sell it to Nancy, the shop owner at Total Bliss (where I work). I had already texted her pictures and told her I had this fabulous table that would work great in her store somewhere. It was pretty apparent when I got the table home (to my old house) that it was not going to work anywhere in my house. It was just too big! But, I walked past her each day in the garage and could not part with it. She stayed in the garage until August. In August, we moved Total Bliss to new location, and I decided that I would just use it at work for my “desk”. That way I could still be near her every day!
And guess what fits perfectly into our kitchen like she was made for it??
We love it!!! I left it completely natural, as is. We have a giant roll of craft paper. We just rip a big piece off, eat dinner on it, and then throw it away when we are done! I might seal the wood on top, but I have not decided. Nothing else has been done to it, this is the natural patina from over the years!
The table is counter height. So, I got these adjustable bar stools to use at the table. The source is Foreside Home and Garden . I was able to get them from here because Nancy has an account with them.
Here is another goodie I got at the festival. I’m super drawn to anything metal, and rusty and old these days!
I’m kicking off the new year with some custom projects from some really great clients!
It is a honor when they trust me to “do what I want” on a piece. But, at the same time I totally stress out What if what I like is not what they like???
I recently picked up this chest from a designer to do for one of her clients, whom I have not met. I was told she wanted Provence with Dark Wax and was not afraid of color.
I painted it with Provence Chalk Paint® and then applied the Clear Soft Wax and then added Dark Wax on the top. It did not feel “right”. I looked at it everyday for 4 days and I could “not like it”.
No worries….I just painted right back over all that wax (just on the top)…easy peasy!!
It just felt “too bright” with just distressing and clear wax.
I love my collection of Royal Design Studio Stencil Cremes. I dug into those and picked the Aged Nickel. It felt richer and darker to me, and had the metallic element I feel this piece needed.
I also used the Aged Nickel Stencil Creme on the handles and hinges.
Here is a funny story about delivery of this gal. She was loaded in the back of my car, and I often take my dogs in the car with me. Well, I had to slam on my brakes and the chest came flying forward and …..
…OOPS…somebody got stuck!
Even funnier…my son grabbed my iPhone and immediately snapped a photo! Poor girl!
The moment I saw the basement workshop in our new home I knew that this house was for us. I immediately had visions of what I wanted it to become. A comfortable work space for myself…MYSELF….did you catch that? That would be Me, Myself and I! We have 3 acres, a 2 car garage, a basement rec room, and the boys have HUGE bedrooms. So there is really no reason for anyone to be in MY space!
Almost 3 months later here is the reality of the situation…..
This is the nook that I have planned for my office or an area to photograph pieces of furniture in. I’ve tried throwing those plants away several times and somehow they end up back inside….
Apparently this chair is a great place for BB guns and Airsoft pistols.
Here is my fabulous super long work bench! Yep….its a complete unorganized mess!! I can’t find anything when I need it…but that is how I operate….in complete chaos. I had visions of all that pegboard….that it would be all perfectly organized with all my “stuff” and I would just get what I need and put it back when I was done!
Kinda like this!
And check all this stuff out…Its the entire contents of our RV that has landed in MY SPACE!!
So, if I need to BBQ up some lunch, or sit in a reclining outdoor chair I’m all set!
I mostly don’t eat though when I work….I just get so busy…I live on Cliff Bars and trail mix….and wrappers are always scattered about!
A girl can still dream! I do have visions and plans for this space!
I pointed out in a previous post about our new home, that this bathroom was almost a deal breaker on buying this house. It is a bowling alley nightmare! I also knew right away that any type of solution was beyond just a little paint.
Check out the space capsule shower straight out of 1991….I feel like for 1991 this was still a serious crime the day it was done!
I’m kinda a shrimp of a girl and I’m totally claustrophobic in this shower! So thankful for my 20/400 vision so I don’t have to really “see” the nasty stained fiberglass. Hello curves that won’t let any bottles rest upright on them!
This bath tub is another crime! 57″! Dang…that is a hard space to replace with anything stylish or worthy of “sitting” in.
It is currently serving as the place in which I bathe the dogs!
We’ve tossed around many different scenarios in making this bathroom more functional and enjoyable, yet still not spending every last penny we have to remodel the house with. We considered moving plumbing, primarily the toilet, either into the linen closet space, which then required us to move the entire entrance into the bathroom. We also considered moving it to where the bathtub currently is. We even considered doing something like this….
…where we kept the bath tub in a large shower area at the end of the bathroom. But, then the quest for a bath tub small enough to fit in 57″ began. By the time we added up the expense of the bath tub and fixtures our budget was BLOWN!
My fabulous friend, and Interior Designer (who knows me really well since she did spend 11 years right across the street from me!) Julie Jersey, of Julie Jersey Designs, pointed out that I DON’T TAKE BATHS! Yep, this total ADD girl, (me!) cannot sit still long enough to even enjoy a bath!
Problem solved….back on budget…we are nixing a bath tub, and going for a HUGE double shower (using the entire space where the bathtub and shower currently are!) with 2 shower heads!
That also means we are leaving the toilet where it is…but we are OK with that.
I’m also working with another FABULOUS friend and business, Dustin Marsh of Omega Creations Kitchens and Bath Design. He has patiently listen to me jabber (aka. whine!) on about this bathroom, spent hours measuring and spearheading design and solutions within my budget. He is currently working on our double vanity! Which I think I have decided to have gray cabinetry.