Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SSU Master Bedroom: New Dresser and Bookshelves

#6 on my to do list for the master bedroom spruce up (see post here) was to add a new furniture piece to the long wall. Below is the before picture again. My issue here was there were too many small pieces filling the space. It looks a bit cobbled together. I wanted one big furniture unit that would fill the wall, hide the TV cords, be functional and well, not be brown.
I thought of creating custom built-ins, but knew I was not going to have the time to make that happen anytime soon. No retailer had exactly what I was looking for as one piece so the next best thing was to put together a few pieces from Ikea. We bought the Hemnes 8-drawer dresser along with two Hemnes open bookcases to flank it.
They are affordable, easy to assemble and nice looking. But, I needed to make a few alterations to them before we put them together. First, even though the dresser and the bookshelves were from the same Hemnes line, they were not all the same color white. My husband thought they were close enough, but the difference bothered me so I ended up painting the shelves to match the dresser. I'm picky like that. Second, I wanted to add a little color to the shelves so I painted the backs a soft blue.
Then there was the fact that the dresser top extended on the sides preventing the bookshelves from sitting right next to the dresser. I wanted the three pieces to look as much like one unit as possible and did not want big open gaps in between each piece. 

To fix that, I probably could have just cut down the dresser top that came with it, but I hesitated because it has a nice, hard, smooth finish and didn't want to damage that in case we ever needed to use the dresser on it's own sometime in the future. Maybe a dumb way of thinking since now I have to find a place to store this dresser top, but I didn't want to regret cutting it down the road. The alternative was to buy a sheet of MDF, cut it to the exact width of the dresser and paint it to match. I didn't like the fuzziness of the edges on the piece of MDF so I decided to adhere wood edging to give it a nicer look.
It's real wood that comes on a roll and is backed with glue. I used my old iron to adhere the edging and then gave it a light sanding to smooth everything out.
After a couple coats of primer and paint, I attached the new top to the dresser.
Now the bookshelves can sit right next to the dresser.
All together, the three pieces measure just under 9 ft. wide so it fills the space nicely. 

I still have a number of things to do for the room makeover, including sewing the curtains and accessorizing the space. I'm gearing up for my big garage sale that starts tomorrow so I'm going to have to put this project on hold for a few days. I'll have more to share next week and hopefully I can wrap things up in the master bedroom then too.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SSU Master Bedroom: New Window Blinds

See these boxes? These four boxes, one opened, three not, have been sitting on our bedroom floor for almost two years. Yep. That is how long I've been meaning to paint the trim and hang new blinds.
My mind can change quite a bit in two years so I'm not sure I would have chosen these blinds if I were buying them today, but I wasn't about to let them go to waste. When I was choosing new colors and fabrics for the room, these cream blinds had to be taken into consideration.
The good news is that after hanging them, I really like them a lot more than I thought I was going to. I like that they match the walls and not the trim. It breaks it up a bit. Anything is better than the dark wood blinds that were there before. Even when closed, the room still feels lighter than it was.
Shortening them wasn't my favorite job in the world, but it is nice to have some privacy again and so great to finally get those four dust-collecting boxes off our bedroom floor.
 Now I have to tackle this bad boy to make the new curtains. I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the fabric.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tutorial: A Beginner's Guide to Painting Wood Trim

Do you like the crisp, clean appearance of white painted trim, doors and windows, but don't know where to start to get that look in your own home? This tutorial will walk you through all the steps you need to take to have a successful outcome in your own home.
Note: Read through entire tutorial prior to starting. Tutorial is for painting over stained and varnished existing trim. If you want to paint over already painted trim be sure that your existing trim is painted with a latex (water-based) paint and not an oil-base paint otherwise your new paint will not adhere properly according to these instructions.

  • Premium quality primer. I recommend Kilz Premium Primer
  • Good quality semi-gloss latex acrylic paint
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum
  • Cleaning rags
  • Water bucket
  • White paintable, interior caulk
  • Painter's tape
  • 1" paint brush
  • Foam roller with handle
  • Paint tray for roller 
  • Small artist brush
  • Small pocket knife or box opener
Using medium grit sandpaper, sand down all the wood trim and window and door parts that you want to paint. The idea is to scuff up the surface to give the primer something to grab onto. It isn't necessary to remove all the stain, but try to at least break through the varnish.
Vacuum up all the dust created from sanding.
Gently wipe clean the surface with a wet rag until you no longer see dust on the rag. Be sure not to over saturate the wood. Allow the surface to thoroughly dry.
Look for areas with gaps between trim pieces or between the trim and the wall. Using a white, paintable interior caulk, run a bead along the gap. Run your finger along the caulk to push it into the gaps. This is a messy step. Wash off finger(s). Then, using a clean, wet rag, wipe along the caulk to smooth the surface and to remove excess caulk. Allow caulk to properly dry.
It should look like this when you are done.
Note: If you are going to be painting the walls as well, you'l want to do that prior to step 5. 

Using painter's tape, mask off any areas surrounding the trim that you don't want to get paint on. This includes walls, flooring or non-removable hardware.
Once all your surfaces are clean and dry, apply one or two coats of primer to the wood. I have medium-colored stain in my home and apply two coats of primer for the best coverage. However, if you are painting over a light wood, you can probably get away with one coat.
When primer is dry, apply two coats of semi-gloss, latex paint. Let the first coat dry before applying the second coat.
For tight areas or around non-removable hardware, use a small artist brush.
For doors, I use a 1" brush for insets and foam roller for larger flat areas. This applies for the priming in step 6.
When paint is completely dry, you can remove the tape. To prevent any paint from being pulled off, score the tape where it meets the trim. Slowly remove the tape and discard.
If there are any areas that need touching up, use the small artist brush.

You're done!

Enjoy your freshly painted trim.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

SSU Master Bedroom: Recessed Lighting Installed and Trim Painted

I can't believe it's been a full week already, but I finally managed to knock items 1 and 2 off my list for the master bedroom spruce up (see the rundown here). I cleared out the room just in time for the electrician's arrival. Within in a half-day he installed my new recessed lighting.
Four lights were installed, one in each corner of the ceiling inset. When I flipped the switch to turn the lights on, I couldn't believe how great it made the room look. I could finally see!! I was so happy.
Then it was time for me to get to work on painting all the trim, windows and doors. I've never liked the stain color used in this house and frankly, I just like white trim better than stained. Here are some more before pictures.

I sanded, vacuumed, cleaned, caulked, taped, primed and painted every piece of trim in the room. It was a lot of work, but so, so worth it! Thank goodness I didn't have to paint the walls as well. Here is what the room looks like now.
Ah, it looks so much better. These two things alone (lights and painted trim) have changed the room dramatically. It feels so much brighter. The hard work is done and now I get to put the room back together piece-by-piece. I'll be putting up new window blinds today and working on some fun decorating projects. More to come soon.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Spruce Up: Master Bedroom Before

Well, I'm already 2-1/2 weeks behind schedule on my second Summer Spruce Up series project. I wanted the whole month of July to redo things in the master bedroom next but with the Fourth of July holiday, traveling and family gatherings, I now only have half a month left. I was putting together my list of items to do using my project planning sheets (found here) and there really is no way I'm going to get everything done in that amount of time. So, I either reduce the amount of items on my list or my other projects get pushed into Fall. The latter is not what I was going for, but it just may have to be. So, here is where I'm at with the master bedroom. I don't hate it, I just want to make some improvements.

The space itself is a good size, almost a perfect size, so no complaints there.
The biggest issue in the room is that it is dark. There is only one light in this room, not including the hallway, and it is so dim that I can barely tell what color I have on when I get dressed. We supplement with lamps for a little more light, but it still seems minimal. There are four windows, which you would think would give the room plenty of light, but three of those windows face a bank of trees 10 feet away and then the side of the neighbor's house. No offense to our nice neighbors, but we hardly open the blinds simply for privacy and even if we did, there isn't that much light that comes in because of the tall trees. This is definitely one of the biggest flaws in the design of the house (we didn't build it), not that there are many. On so many levels, it makes sense to have the 3-wide window unit facing the back yard where we would have a lovely, private and bright view. We've always tossed around the idea of moving the window, but it just doesn't make sense for us budget-wise. Plan B is to add recessed lighting and see if that does the trick.

Too much brown. That's all I can say. I like brown, but not this much in a dark room. Brown quilt, brown chair, brown curtains, dark brown stained furniture, brown wood blinds, etc. It's just too dark and a little too matchy-matchy for me. The plan is to brighten the room and mix things up a bit with some lighter furniture, lighter curtains and window blinds, and bring in a little color. I'm also going to be painting all the trim and doors white.

There are still a lot of items in the room that I like, they just aren't going to go with the new lighter look, so they will have to go. Others are just a bit cheesy and have to go. Did I ever mention that I am notorious for buying and displaying picture frames with NO pictures in them? I have to fix that habit.
Looks like I need to find a better mirror cleaner too. Yikes! Look at those streaks. All minor.

I have one long wall with too many items that sort of take up the space, but not in a good way. The plan here is to replace most of these items with one big piece of furniture that will give the room a bit more drama. At least that is what I am hoping for.

One of my biggest pet peeves is that as you look into the room you just see the back of the standing mirror and the back of the TV with all the cords hanging down. Our new furniture piece will take care of that too. 
  1. Have recessed lighting installed so we can actually see.
  2. Paint all trim and doors white to eliminate the orangish-colored stain.
  3. Replace the stained wood window blinds.
  4. Make new, lighter-colored curtains.
  5. Change up decor to eliminate the matchy-matchy, too-much-brown look.
  6. Add new furniture piece to better fill the long wall, provide better function and to hide the TV cords.

Stay tuned for updates.