We love being outdoors and enjoying our yard, but when we moved into our current home we gave it up. Apparently, in 1950 when our home was built, the owners didn't have a love for the outdoors. There is no patio or place to read in a morning breeze or enjoy a cocktail while listening to crickets. Patio plans became a must-do project!
We began this project by replacing the back door (which was actually a front door?), removing the old decking steps and building a more inviting set of steps that will allow access to both the sidewalk and also the new patio.
We decided to make the patio using flagstone and gravel, keeping it more organic feeling and less formal than stamped concrete. Our driveway area has old stacked stone walls, so a stone patio would also keep it feeling like it could have been original to the home.
Next step, layout a design and shape for the patio area as well as the landscape area that will surround it and add some privacy.
Now comes the back breaking part!
Working over two more weekends we kicked butt (and in 95 degree temps!). This involved adding 5 yards of soil, spreading and leveling 3 ton of crushed limestone as a base, 2 ton of sand for leveling stone, 2 ton of flagstone and 35 bags of pea gravel. Did I mention a whole bottle of ibuprofen and a tub of Icy Hot?
Next and final step was the landscape layout, and after another couple of weeks it was finished and we were celebrating!
Sunday breakfast, evening fires, drinks with friends.... have enjoyed each one over the last month and can't wait to enjoy it every summer - minus the work!
FINALLY!! A few rainy days have given me time to finish and photograph my kitchen counter make-over and WE LOVE IT!! I purchased the counter top kit last November before we moved in, and it only took until May to have a chance to dig it out. Not too shabby!
AFTER - Slate Grey Concrete like finish.
Cleaning and taping are the only prep needed - no pre-sanding of any kind!!
Step Two - This adhesive mix is sort of like sand mixed in glue, and is applied twice, with 4 hours of drying and lots of sanding after each coat.
Day two is where you feel like you are really doing something! After following a video tutorial I mixed up the thick batter and began troweling it on. I had taped off and hung plastic over the cabinets but had not prepared for the mess I was going to make on the floor. At least once it hardens I could scrape it up... a little scrubbing did the trick!
Each of these THREE layers also have to cure and then get sanded. I started early enough in the morning to actually complete all three in one day - and had a few fans going to keep the rainy day from slowing down the drying process.
Day 3 was the sealer and boy did it make the slate color pop! That night I put on the satin top coat and now I'm in LOVE!!
The game plan is that later this summer/fall, the two cabinets above the sink will be torn out, with new subway tile going up and open wood shelving. I can't wait until that happens and I'm sure it will feel so much more updated.
If you are interested in this process and product, I used Encore Countertop Kit. It was some work but I would not hesitate to do it again! So worth it for a smidgen of the cost compared to putting in real concrete countertops.
This dated and dark bathroom is being given a new life! The goal was to give it a fresh look while keeping a 1950's feel to stay with the period of the house. Lucky for us that meant subway tile, lots of white and a clean design.
This project has felt never ending due to only having weekends to work on it but it's nearing completion.... thank the Lord! Our backs and knees are shot, as well as the budget.
The above photos show the weird tub... square! Why? To the right of the tub was a wall with a closet on the other side of it. The photos below show how we knocked out that closet, framed in the wall in the next room, allowing us to use that closet space as part of the new bath. This left us room to put in a soaking tub and small stand up shower, but after lots of drawing and reading, we decided to forget the tub (there is another upstairs) and put in a larger shower. Best decision ever!
DEMOLITION!! This was where we realized the job was bigger than we had expected. We had planned on knocking out shower tile and busting out the plaster walls. That is not what happened however! Lurking behind that shower tile was 2 inches of cement and a metal mesh, all put over another layer of tile!! Turns out this was the way it went around the ENTIRE bathroom. Apparently this was a floor to ceiling, wall to wall pink tiled bath and someone cemented over the entire thing rather than tear it out. Demo was very slow and VERY HEAVY! Small sections of tile/cement/plaster had to be taken out at a time. After progress was made on the shower & tub we tore out the built in laundry chute to open up more space. Once the walls were down it was on to tearing out the floor. Another issue altogether.
The focal point of the whole renovation... the shower. Our friend Scott was on hand to help with demo and all the crazy plumbing moves. He also poured the concrete base for the shower. This was one key step Chris and I didn't want to tackle without experience. After framing and concrete, we decided to add a bench. Now with the cement board and niches' installed it was my turn to take over the shower.
For the shower and bathroom floor we chose a pinwheel design in Carrara marble. The shower walls in a 16x4 subway tile and the top 12" done in an arabesque shape tile. I felt the mixture of hard and soft lines would be really interesting. Luckily once up I like it even better! These are all grouted in a white gout.
The skin has finally grown back on my finger tips from tiling and grouting, and as of today I have finished floor and shower grout.
WE LOVE IT!!
The new drywall is up, vanity is in, and sinks working. This weekend we hope to tackle the ceiling.... a little surprise what we are doing there ;). Lots to show you in the next installment!
This is a project that takes some muscle but definitely doable for the beginner DIYer. I was able to finish in 2 days.
Having lived in our "new" 1950's house for a whole month now, I just HAD to get rid of the carpet on the stairs. It was stained beyond cleaning, and the hardwood was more true to the look of 1950.
Here is where the muscle comes in ...
ripping up the old carpet and padding
and pulling out a ton of staples!
Once you are clean and clear the next step is sanding. This isn't hard but very dirty!
This took some extra time for me thanks to
some brilliant person that slopped paint all over the hardwood at some point in time. Also, the previous stain was only half the width of what was going to show with my narrow runner, so I ended up applying a second coat on the unstained portion trying to darken it up and hide the obvious as much as I could.
Oh and the staple holes!! The white risers had dozens of holes in each that needed filled before I painted. I simply used some spackle I had on hand. It dried quickly and just needed a light sanding.
Here is where I saved money, and things get easier! I found 2ft x 8ft runners on sale at Target last week and purchased 4 chenille
runners that resemble the look of jute. Some day down the road when I have some fun money I would love to invest in a real jute runner, but for now this will do just fine.
I used my stapler attachment for my air compressor but I'm sure you could do just fine with an electric one. Get nice long staples! I started at the top, and cut the binding from the ends of each runner, butting each one together at the back of a step. We LOVE the fresh clean look and the dog can still do the steps since we aren't leaving them bare. Got the whole thing done just in time to host a New Years Even gathering with a few friends, and now taking today off!
I have the fireplace on and I'm moving furniture! The chill in the air has put me into nesting mode like crazy! I think I completely ignore my home all summer....who's hanging out in there anyway, right? But now the time to snuggle and be inside is creeping closer and I look at my family room and think "who put all this boring crap in here?"
The quickest (and cheapest) way to feel it's new is moving furniture and swapping out the accessories from another room. Last night I brought in a little side table I had actually hung onto for myself. Turns out my lamp was wayyyy to tall for it, so the merry-go-round of lamp shuffling began. Room to room I steal lamps, accessories and wall art until this room feels new and fresh. My living room however.... sort of a mess but that's for another day of shuffling!
In the spirit of the fall room freshening, I thought I would share a couple of DIY tutorials for quick and CHEAP ways to change your room up.
You may have seen this around the shop when you were in. It's an inexpensive way for me to add some colorful display pieces to perk up vignettes. Enamel painting on the inside of clear glass. Salvation Army and Goodwill will be your best friends! Dozens of clear glass options are available at thrift stores on any given day. You will find easy instructions here at Sugar and Charm.
A nearly free way to add some new decor is to bring some outdoors IN. As we all prepare to spend more and more time inside this fall, having a little of the outdoors around the house feels so good. This tutorial gives you a basic idea that you can take off with and do all sorts of variations in every room.
Wait for a rainy day or a cold evening and then get busy! The possibilities are endless!
Who Am I?
I've tried it all...hair stylist/faux painter/stay at home mom/jewelry artist/late in life college student/retail shop owner/design consultant/home stager. Through it all I've loved doing home renovations, DIY and thrifting.