Monday, April 15, 2013

Kitchen Updates...It's almost done!

 I finished alot of updates on the kitchen a few months ago...
And then kinda forgot I had taken these pictures :) 
Only 3 lonely to-do's remain on the Kitchen To-Do List. Sometimes I have to look back just to remember how far this kitchen has come.

I re-painted the walls from "Hot Chocolate" to "Partridge Gray":
(And, you've seen my wine rack already)

Installed open shelving over the secretary to display white flea market ceramics:

Enlarged a wedding photo of our cake-feeding fun, mod-podged it onto foam-board, and hung it with an old iron skillet where I painted "Happiness is homemade":


Took down my tiny framed chalkboard and went all in with a chalkboard wall for menus and schedules:


 Added an over-door shelf on the doorway leading to the dining room:

Re-purposed a white ceramic hippo planter into a cloth napkin holder:

 Hung an antique wood shelf in the breakfast nook for more open display:

Like an old family photo of lovebirds behind a heart-shaped cookie cutter:

And praying angels on a pedestal beside my favorite picture of my grandparents:

 Placed my favorite fedora, Sean's favorite fedora, and Sean's grandfather's old newsboy cap on coat hooks behind the reading chair:

Brought in a throw-back diy project from the early blogging days with this serving tray for candles and cotton: 

 Removed the shades from this chandelier and removed the fabric from the cornice boxes, added wood appliques, and painted them white:

 A little before and after action?

It probably took 86 projects to get it to this point, but I think it shows! It feels polished but aged, cozy but airy. And it's almost right where I want it to be.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Navy, Herringbone Dresser for Living Room

I'm still here...Busy and productive as ever. Just simply enjoying more "doing" and less "sharing" as before I guess! I will share another piece added to our living room that really anchored the space and made it feel so much more like home. For our large living space, I pulled all the furniture closer into the center, leaving more room between the sofa and the wall. I hate to have anything hanging on the wall without something below to "ground" it, so I brainstormed a piece to use on this wall that would still allow enough pass-through space for us to walk out into the porch. I LOVE a dresser in the living room!! I've seen it alot lately and they're often paired with lamps and artwork...AND provide a ton more storage.

This is the old dresser I started with:

 Because it was not solid wood, stripping and restaining it, like I originally wanted, was a no-go.

And because the top was so badly water-damaged, paint was not going to cover it there. 
I needed to paint the bottom and somehow cover the warped top surface. 

I remembered seeing a herringbone patterned stained table top from Thistlewood Farms using paint sticks, so that was my game plan for the top.

For the rest...
I could've gone turquoise.


 Or rustic black.

Or clean white.

 But I wanted something to stand out against our white walls and something more classic, so I decided on navy. I used Krylon's Oxford Blue spray paint after priming.

The top was not difficult, only time consuming. But I found it therapeutic and calming. I took my time putting my puzzle together and wood-glued the paint sticks (which I cut with a miter box and saw) in the herringbone pattern until it was all covered. Sanded, Stained, Poly'd. DONE!

The navy color you see in the above photo is closer to reality...Somehow the pictures inside look way more blue. It wasn't a good day for picture taking so they're all terrible, but it looks AMAZING with antique brass hardware and the Dark Walnut stained top!!

 It can be the perfect toy stow-away when future kids are using our living room as a playground. Everything can be out of site but in reach.

I'm a little obsessed with the top. It was a slight labor of love so I find myself running my hand across it every time I walk by. It's so rich and pretty!

~The Grays

Monday, February 18, 2013

Movie House Inspiration

 When I'm watching a movie with a great set, I spend more time daydreaming than following the plot. I get lost examining the molding, the floors, the architectural details...Especially if it's an old southern plantation home or farmhouse. So much so, that now even when I do gasp at a thrilling or exciting part of a movie, Sean will say, "I know, you just LOVE that doorknob."

Two movies in particular feature houses that I've picked apart and drawn inspiration from for our own house.

We recently watched The Lucky One (Sean's independent redbox pick:) and I fell in love. Another Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-movie, it follows a marine returning home from war, who travels to the Louisiana to pay thanks to a stranger whose picture he attributes with keeping him safe. The woman lives in an old, white farmhouse where she runs a dog kennel. 
Dogs, old homes, and the southern life...we knew we were in heaven!   

 I knew while watching it, that this home had more authentic character and "life" in it than most movie sets, and after reading about it, I learned why.

The old farmhouse used for the movie was a sugar plantation in the 1800s just outside of New Orleans. 
After Hurricane Katrina, the home owners were able to salvage most of the furniture that was original to the farmhouse and it was used in the movie as well.
The production designer said the woman living in the home lived to be 98 years old. While preparing to film, they kept finding her paintings hidden throughout the house. With the family's permission, her artwork was displayed throughout the home in the movie.

"She finally got her show,” she said.

The grandmother in the movie, played by Blythe Danner, painted in her art studio just off the kitchen, so it all tied together so well.

Of course there's a breathtaking porch, where they've put a wooden kitchen table and chairs. I looove this idea. The brackets on the screen door are classically southern too. 

I don't have a screen door yet, but it's on the list!
The glass front cabinets are gorgeous, but still not practical for me. I can barely reach them so things often get tossed that extra 3 inches while I cross my fingers that nothing breaks. 

 I think I gasped when I saw this frame. I saw so many things...the white railed porch and black shutters, a black door with old white door knob, sunbeams through the window on the hardwood floor, transom window, chalkboard, and antique pendant lighting.

 The shutters in this shot, overlooking the rose garden, appear to be operable. So charming!

There are alot of black interior doors in this house and they look so gorgeous with the white casings and antique wood furniture. I bought my black paint months ago but haven't taken the plunge yet because in my house, wherever there is a door, there are 4 or 5 right beside it. I'm not sure if I'm going all in or if there can be a mix of black and white.

 This set had white doors too, but each stands on its own. Hmmm. I also really like that smoky antique blue color.


 I love those schoolhouse lights.

 They give such a soft glow.

This house also mixes the white trim with some dark trimwork, seen here. Gorgeous and rich, but I don't think I'd ever go that route.

As with any farmhouse, there was also a barn. Oh how I love a dusty old barn full of treasures.

Who knows, maybe one day I'll find an old farmhouse that needs some tlc and a family to call it home.
{Screencap source}

The second movie, Life As We Know It, is much more pottery-barn inspired and not as "old" but there were so many things that I drew inspiration from. 

I love all the natural jute/rattan/woven material in light colors, which is what I chose for our living room blinds. It's a perfect mix with the gray flagstone fireplace and white cabinets.

Our kitchen has a sitting area attached like this one, and I really like that bench seating. I've been on the lookout for an old church pew to use like this for years.

More of that bench seating in white, mixed with dark furniture. And I like the plantation shutters too.

I think the mix of calm neutrals with that vibrant but peaceful abstract is perfect.
Screencap source

We went to see "Safe Haven Saturday night for a delayed Valentines date. I had not anticipated a movie more than this one in a long time. After reading the book just before and picturing so many scenes and sets in my mind, I hoped to see detailed views of a fixer-upper cottage in the woods and a North Carolina family home. 



I just wanted to scrub that gorgeous, dirty paneling clean...And pick up a brush and help her paint that yellow floor!


In the book, she spruces up the cottage with minimal funds and elbow grease, but I don't remember seeing too much of it in the movie. I can't wait for it to come out on dvd so I can study it all.
{The family home}

I could tell it would be one of those movies I can watch a million times. The scenery, sets, and sunsets were beautiful. Another inspiration source to add to the files!

Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, February 1, 2013

DIY Over-Fridge Wine Rack

I built me a wine rack, yall!

Our kitchen has been undergoing alot of character building lately. What was an outdated, blank-slate kitchen with no built-ins or "character nooks", is now becoming a more customized and functional space. You can remind yourself how our kitchen started here and here and here

The mini-cabinets everyone has over the refrigerator were never used for much in our house. 


I decided to create a built-in wine rack to utilize and showcase the space, like this picture shows.

I loved the look of the X cube wine racks, like this one from Pottery Barn.

I considered buying a ready-made wine rack with the correct dimensions and placing it inside. 
I couldn't let myself do that. It's too easy.

I couldn't even buy wood for the slats at Lowes or Home Depot. So this is what I did...

I first removed the doors, then the random assortment of screws, pictures, magnets, and a wedding invitation I had misplaced before rsvp-ing...oops.

I sawed off the center vertical piece of wood then painted the inside to match the cabinets. 

I found 2 wood crates at Jo Anns ($12 each) that when placed side by side were the perfect length to fill the cabinet.

 I painted both crates the same color.

I bought 2 pieces of scrap shelving from ReStore for $2 each and cut my pieces to create the "X" slats to separate. 
For each crate, I needed one 19.5"x9.25" piece.
And two 9.25"x9.25" square pieces.

 I placed the 3 wood pieces inside to insure that they fit, then used mending plates to connect the 2 smaller pieces. 

I screwed the mending plate into the front facing side, bracing the two small pieces together like a bridge over the long piece.

Then, I slid it out...

 and flipped those pieces so that the mending plate was now at the back of the crate. 
I placed the large piece in between, and installed the second mending plate on the front facing side. This way, the 2 separate pieces were connected at the front and the back.

 I painted everything and waited so impatiently for it to dry.
I ended up needing to saw about 1/8th of an inch from the inside edge of the open cabinet to have just enough room to slide the crates inside.  It just took a minute.

And with that, it was done!

 I propped my wine painting from my old apartment on a brick over the cabinet, with a wine bottle, wine jug, and wine glass.

Now I most certainly need more than 6 bottles of wine. 
I will need to buy some more.


Two, $12 crates + $4 in scrap shelving + paint and mending plates on hand = $28 wine rack. 
But having the wine so accessible at my fingertips...

OR dangerous.
We'll see... 

Be Merry!