Knock off wood art, take 2

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 0 comments

Hello there! First of all, thank you all for the suggestions on the kitchen post last week – I’m still reading through all of them but have a few ideas in mind from what I’ve seen so far. Also, thanks for the ideas on the family vacation spots in my last post – I’ll be checking them all out!

So I’m not a big art-from-the-store kind of girl. I love having pieces in our home that are one of a kind and better yet, reflect us personally. I’ve purchased plenty from stores so it’s not like I’m an art snob, I just prefer to create pieces that are just right for certain spots in our home.

There was a spot in the “old” family room that needed large artwork so I decided to knock off some wood plank art I saw on the Pottery Barn website:

Pottery barn art knock off

Back then (I can’t believe that was two years ago already!) I was using a lot of blue tones and some pops of red in the family room, but I’ve gone to a more neutral pallet since.

I’ve had that art hanging in the room even with the softer colors in the room and it’s stuck out like sore thumb to me. The red and aqua colors were too much, and I wasn’t a big fan of the dark wax look anymore. I wanted something simpler and cleaner, but loved the look of the wood planks.

So. I decided to repaint the whole thing, but to do that took some time (more time than I imagined). I started by sanding the whole thing down really well:

The dark wax I used won’t take on new latex paint well so I tried my best to get every surface as sanded down as possible.

The wax gummed up my sanding pads quite a bit so it was a job to get it prepped:

I wiped it down really well with a wet cloth before I started taping off the strips. I used painter’s tape to tape off each board:

Taping them off really doesn’t take that long, especially the first couple of colors. If you don’t get the line perfect early on it’s easy to paint over down the line with a later color.

The time in this process came in the sheer number of those little bitty wood pieces and the drying time. Gah. SO. many. pieces. I don’t remember this taking this long when I first made this thing!

Once you get the first color done you’ll want to be careful taping over what you’ve already painted. For the next couple of colors I used a mix of regular green FrogTape and their yellow delicate tape:

taping off planks

Both work great – I actually use the delicate more than the regular over all because it works so well. I know I don’t have to worry about it pulling up any paint.

I did have a few spots lift up but those were areas where I hadn’t sanded well enough and there was still wax. I had a few of those. ;)

A couple hours later (that drying time dragged this project out longer than I thought it would take) and five colors later and I had finished artwork in much more soothing tones:

DIY wood strip artwork

I used paint colors I had from previous projects for the whole thing – hoarding paint pays off folks! ;)

The colors are Agreeable Gray (from the powder room) for the light beige boards, Rhinestone (lightened 50 percent) for the nearly white ones, Whitestone (from the master bedroom) for the light gray, Marina Gray (from the basement, lightened 25 percent) for the mid-gray and Storm Cloud for the darkest one. I’ve had that color so long I have no idea what I first used it on. I just grabbed what I had and I love how they look together!

I plan to hang this in the family room again but with the trimwork it may not work vertical like that. I actually like it better horizontal anyway:

DIY wood artwork

I left the nail holes on purpose – I kind of dig them. I plan to take a toothpick between some of the boards to get a more even look…but I couldn’t get to the toothpicks in the kitchen. ;) More on that in a minute.

Here it is hanging horizontal just to show how it looks – I LOVE the colors! It went from country looking to a lot more updated:

DIY wood plank artwork

It’s hanging too high in this spot, but it’s the only open wall I could get to today – our house is a total disaster. I’m not like, oh, ha ha, our house is a disaster! I’m like, seriously, never before has it been like this ever EVER disaster. The reno is coming to a close this week!!

Over the past week the floors in the family room and kitchen were patched, sanded down and then restained.

This is what’s really like behind the photo:

That isn’t even the half of it. :) Tonight we can start moving things back into the room and by the end of this week all the contractors will be DONE. Whoohoo!! I’m hoping to paint a fireplace this weekend!!

So there’s how I reworked one of my DIY art pieces – it took longer than I thought but the result was worth it! It looks totally different!

Family getaway

Monday, July 28, 2014 0 comments

Hello my friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend!

We were away with family this weekend and it was wonderful. One weekend a year my entire family -- parents (my dad and stepmom), the kids and all the grandkids get together. It’s a treat from our parents and it’s turned into a wonderful tradition for us.

The problem is finding a location that can fit us all. I’ve mentioned before that I’m one of seven kids – there are full, half and step and I’m the oldest of them all. I was an only child for ten years too, the oldest and only is a dangerous combination. ;)

This time there were about 20 of us – you can see why it’s hard to find a place to fit everyone. Usually we go to southern Indiana in the fall but this year we took a trip down to Kentucky to a spot our parents love.

It’s called Mountain Laurel Lake in Harned, KY and there aren’t any mountains and the lake is really more like a pond, but the name is pretty, yes? We were truly in the middle of nowhere:

kentucky fields

It was SO quiet. And a welcome change from all the activity at our house over the past few weeks.

The main cabin was the biggest so it’s where we ate dinners. The kids (OK, and the adults) loved the horses:

And there was a fenced in area for all the dogs (we are an animal loving family) and plenty of places to sit and swing:

kentucky cabins

Down some steep roads were the rest of the cabins off the lake. We couldn’t swim in it but the view was lovely off our deck:

mountain laurel lake

We sat on the deck during a massive storm the last night and it was spectacular! Actually, we were out on that deck about 90 percent of the time, day and night.

They had little boats we used to just tool around in or get to the other cabins: kentucky cabin

The kids (OK, and the adults) loved them! Since there were so many of us we were in three different cabins and this made it easy to get to each other.

My favorite part was the hike my Dad kept telling us about. I’ve never seen so many mossy rocks!:

mossy rock

They were absolutely everywhere!

Big ones too:

It was really, really beautiful. I eat this stuff up – just love it:

The bugs…not so much. I think Dad was a little over his five girls and our fear of ticks and GINORMOUS spiders on this trip. But seriously Dad. GINORMOUS.

The scenery was just gorgeous though. Dad said there are usually waterfalls coming down but it hadn’t rained much before we went on the hike:

Kentucky hiking

A few of us climbed to the top:

That’s me up there. :)

And we got a hiking selfie while we were at it:

It was another wonderful weekend with some of the people I love most in this world. The only one missing was my husband – he’s been away on a work trip to Singapore for 11 days and is on his way back as I type. We can’t WAIT to see him!!

Did I mention there wasn’t any Internet or cell phone service? Well, we would get spotty service up at the main cabin, but we weren’t there much. So we were forced to bond and the cousins had a ball together. It was nice to get away with my boy too:

family cabin weekend

The heart and soul needs weekends like this sometimes. I love our parents for making it happen for the whole family.

Do you ever get away with your extended family like this? Any favorite spots? Anyone know of a a cabin big enough for all of us within three to four hours of Indy? We’re considering Lake Michigan sometime – that would be spectacular.

Kitchen table: to move or not to?

Friday, July 25, 2014 0 comments

Hello and happy Friday to you! Ya-yah.

I need your help today! I mentioned earlier this week that I was able to start rearranging the furniture since the TV was moved. We are now using our family room space how I’ve been hoping to use it for weeks! SO awesome.

Now that the wall is down we’ve moved the furniture down into the old office quite a bit – so much so that we have a bunch of space in the kitchen. Like, a ton. WHOOT!

One of the main reasons we considered adding on to the house was to give us some more space in the kitchen. Ours is tight and it’s bothered me for years. The rectangle table has helped a bit, but this shot shows you how much space we were working with:

black atrium doorWe had about three feet between the table and the sofa table – maybe four? And no matter what table we’ve had in here the pantry area felt tight. 

Here’s another shot:

DIY farmhouse table

Our original plan was to bump out that bay window a bit to give us a little more room. Now…I don’t think we’ll do it. There’s just no need, which is great!

My plan is to add french doors in the family room so we won’t need the door in the bay window. If we keep the table there we can push it back into the bay area and put a window where the door is. I would love to build some kind of banquet but to do that would mean replacing the side windows.

Here’s that area as it looks today:

Just imagine it pushed into the bay window area some more (and the door gone/light moved).

That black dresser is way too deep and won’t stay on that wall to the left, but I will have something there. The patched floor to the right is where the island will be.

But here’s the thing – look at all this space!!:

Wow! What do I with all of that? It’s feels like too much to just leave as is. The sectional is staying where it is – it moved down into the old office quite a bit.

If you remember – the sofa and table used to sit back to the middle of the wall where that black dresser is now:

corner fireplace

People. SPACE!!!! So much space I’m not sure what to do with it. Am I dreaming?

So. I moved the table over to see how it would work:

IKEA kitchen table

I think one or two of you actually suggested this – I always wondered but didn’t think we’d have enough space. We have plenty. :)

Sorry for the blurry pic – here’s a better shot:

IKEA farmhouse table

The island will be put back but it will be so far off to the right – there will still be a ton of space. Of course I’d have the light fixture moved over the table. I think it could work really well, it’s just such a big change! I’m not used to having it there. 

We have so much space I’d probably get or build a bigger table eventually – you can’t even imagine how exciting that would be for this girl who has struggled to find small tables for our kitchen over ten years! (It’s why I DIY’d that farmhouse table.)

I love that table though and would keep it -- there’s a spot in the basement where I’ve been wanting to put a table and this one would be perfect.

The question is, if I move it, what to do with the space where the table was?: 

black interior doorsThat left end of the patched wood is where the island ended – it will be placed about six inches closer to the door when we reinstall it. My dream for years has been to extend our island for more storage (a whole other post) so if the table is moved then there will be plenty of room for that to happen. But then we’ll still have quite a bit of open space. I feel like it would look odd to just leave it empty. Maybe not with a bigger island?

There are pros and cons to both options. If we leave the table in the area where it's been all along then we’ll be able to keep all that open space between the kitchen and the family room, but it feels a little too open. Not sure what I would do with it. The con is that we’d have that door taken out and replaced with a window and that’s an added cost for sure.

Moving the table to between the family room and kitchen feels like the right move, really. It will just take time to get used to it. And the thought of a bigger table someday makes me all kinds of giddy. I can’t think of any cons – other than the open space in the bay window that I’m not sure what to do with. This option would be lower cost – we actually would probably not even do the french doors if we keep the back door and that would save us money. It would be silly to have the two doors so close to each other.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m leaning toward moving the table – I’m plan to live with it there for a week or so to help me decide. :) Thanks in advance for your thoughts and have a great weekend!

Family room – almost there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 0 comments

Well hey there! We’re heading into week four of our family room renovation and I wanted to give you my weekly update. First of all – the whole it will cost more and take longer than you think thing? Yep. I thought this process would take maybe two weeks. It was on track to be done by the end of this week (three weeks in) but the sander the flooring guy uses is being fixed and that will push us back. So by next Wednesday I hope to have a “completed” room. Completed in that the construction is done – then my to do list starts and it’s a doozy. :)

After they are done I can start on the wall treatment, baseboards, priming and painting the fireplace and tiling it as well. Oh, and painting the whole room and kitchen. I honestly can’t wait.

Today two big things are happening – the floors are getting patched!:

patching hardwoods

I can’t wait to see this process! Our guy is feathering in new boards, then will sand down the entire room and restain and poly. Smaller areas he’s OK with just feathering and not redoing the entire floor, but he said it looks a ton better to just redo the whole area.

We have three areas total. The one above where the long wall was, a tiny spot where another one was near our mud room, and the last minute addition is this one:

patching hardwoods

Back when we had the fridge leak (that resulted in these beautiful hardwoods) we had the island put down before the floors. I immediately regretted that but it was too late. We were just so happy to have our island back in place after weeks of mess. :)

But the whole kitchen redo I've had planned for years involves a bigger island, so I will be building on to our current one. I want to move it away from the fridge and cabinets just a bit – maybe six inches both ways.

The floors won’t be sanded and stained till next week but by tonight we’ll have smooth floors and won’t trip in holes, so that is AWESOME.

The big progress has happened over by the fireplace. I showed you this pic early on I think:

building a fireplace

Here’s how that area above the fireplace looks now:

wall above fireplace for TV

Well, actually, they installed the board in the middle yesterday so I primed and caulked last night:

alcove for TV mount

The TV bracket will hang in that little alcove, so when it’s hanging it will look flush with the wall. I didn’t want to see the big bracket and I’m hoping this helps. The audio/visual guy comes today to finish all that up – for the first time ever I’m going to have someone else hang one of our TVs and it’s pretty awesome. :) (He is installing a wireless program too so it just made sense to have him do it all.)

The lighting is DONE and I’m SO HAPPY. They put in two directional lights over the fireplace – we had them before but I chose four inch lights this time. (Just for this spot – they are expensive!):

recessed light placement

Since the ceiling was already opened up and we were doing drywall repairs anyway, we went ahead and had recessed lights installed as well – six to be exact:

recessed light placement

Holy cats, that is seriously awesome. LOVE it. We have two in the old office area and it’s the perfect amount of light – and of course it’s all on dimmers. :) It’s so nice in here at night! My husband was so excited for it to get dark that night, it was hilarious.

MY favorite part is the fireplace area. This is my inspiration as a reminder:

built ins by fireplace

I love it for many reasons, but especially because it has the same deep fireplace that we are dealing with. After studying the photo for a bit I asked the guys to beef up the tops of the side cabinets. They did a great job:

built ins by fireplace

Those cabinets are just stock uppers from Lowe’s – are you surprised? They’re my favorite. ;) I wanted them deeper than 12 inches though so they could hold the TV components – so they beefed them up from the inside. You can’t even tell they were 12 inchers:

built ins out of kitchen cabinets

Brilliant. They even took out the adjustable laminate shelves and rebuilt nicer, thicker ones. I love them! I’ll cut out the fronts of the doors and replace the wood with metal sheeting like this – I have to do that so the components can breath.

So by the end of today, provided all goes well, we will have flat floors and the TV and speakers will be hooked up again. This means I can finally arrange all the furniture just the way I want it – I’m very excited for tonight. :)

I’ll get all that moved just in time to move it all back out next week so he can sand and stain. :)

Everything is going GREAT – I’ve been so pleased with the process and all the contractors. There’s only one hiccup so far – they had to tear the island apart to get it out. It looked like this:

board and batten kitchen island

And now it looks like this:


I nearly teared up, not gonna lie. This poor island has been redone so many dang times. Now the island extension idea may happen sooner than I thought. :)

We are nearing the end – WHOO! The costs really haven’t been that bad at all. We only increased the plan a bit when things like the lights came up. We’re adding some sound system stuff that is a little extra too, but other than that this reno is insanely cheaper than our original plan of adding on to the house.

Thanks for sharing my excitement along the way! :)

Wood planked coffee table

Monday, July 21, 2014 0 comments

Hey hey all! It’s about time to get some DIY going up in here! With the family room under construction, our blogging conference a couple weeks ago and just basic summer slug-ness, I haven’t done much lately.

I’ll have plenty to do starting later this week – the big stuff is almost done in the family room. Then it’s my turn. :)

We haven’t had a coffee table in that room for a while – I took out our square one about a year ago and loved how open it felt, so it stayed that way. (It now lives at my sister’s.)

When I moved the furniture around to the way I’ll have it when all the construction is done I realized I really wanted one again. But I needed it to be long and skinny. I don’t have any long and skinny so I’ve kept my eye out for something that might work.

A few weeks back I found this at a local antique/thrift shop and it had me at WHEELS:

leather top table

You know how I love wheels. They are my jam.

The top of the table was a mess though, and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it as I stood there, so I left it. (No returns so I had to make sure it would work.)

Fast forward a few weeks and I couldn’t get that table out of my head. I went back, it was still there and it came home with me. I still didn’t know what I was going to do with the top but I had to have it.

Initially I was thinking of sanding it down lightly and restaining the damaged parts, but when I got it home and took a closer look I realized it was a real mess:


I thought about keeping the leather top – for a minute. Then I got it cleaned off and saw it was beyond repair. The leather was cracked, which didn’t really bother me. But it also had paint and what looked like burn marks on it as well. And when I got it cleaned off I realized it was a very unattractive puke-brown color. Not so sad I couldn’t salvage it after that. :)

We have enough natural wood in the family room anyway, so my next plan was to paint it. I turned it over and realized I could take the top off:

removing top of coffee tableThen I cleaned the heck out of the thing:

cleaning before paint

Grody. I lightly sanded it to get more grime off:

sanding furniture for paint

Then took it outside to spray prime it -- I just used a basic gray primer. By the way, I mention this a lot but it’s worth saying again – make sure to clean any piece you’re going to spray paint! If you don’t you’ll get the dreaded crackle.

I picked up another gray spray paint called silver fox by Valspar for the main color – I figured it would be easiest with the detail on the table.

Outside it looked decent, but when I brought it in I realized it was BLUE. Like, baby blue. What the??:


ARGH. Spray paint lids not matching the color are quickly becoming one of my biggest pet peeves. DIYer probs.

So I grabbed some chalk paint, which is what I should have done from the start. (But I still would have primed – these reddish stains can bleed through.) I used my CeCe Caldwell gray that I already had:

CeCe Caldwell pittsburgh gray

I shared my thoughts on this paint and how to apply it here – I really love these paints. It dries much lighter:

CeCe Caldwell paint

But when you apply the wax it gets richer and darker. I did have issues with the wax this time though, more on that in a minute.

I came up with a plan for the new tabletop – first I grabbed some scrap luan and cut it size with my jigsaw. I stained it just in case you’d see it under the new tabletop:

replacing top of coffee tableI used my nail gun to nail it into the edges where the old top sat. You can see there how much darker the chalk paint gets when you apply the wax by the way.

Then I used some very thin boards from Lowe’s (they are called craft boards) that I stained dark walnut by Minwax (one of my favorite colors):

 dark walnut stain

The boards were more than I planned to spend but I needed a very specific thickness and they also had to be decent, stainable wood.

I put a little bit of glue down on the luan and then laid the craft boards down:

wood planks on table top

And nailed them in as well:

wood planked table top

I took the old tabletop with me to the hardware store so I was able to find a combination of boards that fit the top almost perfectly. These boards aren’t all the same size – two are the same, the other two are different sizes. It didn’t bother me and I actually like that they aren’t all the same:

wood planked coffee table

I’m not thrilled with how that skinny board stained up – I used conditioner on all of them and that one doesn’t look as good as the others. But it looks rustic…that’s what I’m going with for anyway. If it bugs me I’ll replace it. Or live with it. :)

The top is super smooth – I stood back when I was done and was SO happy with how it turned out:

wood to replace leather top

I LOVE it:

gray table wood top

The sectional will be moved soon so ignore the rug placement and all – this will get flipped to face the fireplace when the TV can be moved over. Hoping this week!


coffee table on wheels

I’m bugged out by the wax this time – this wax has done this the past two times I’ve used it. It gets blotchy and doesn’t dry well in some spots. Most of it looks great – it’s just certain areas. Usually this happens when you use too much, but I wiped this sucker well so I know it’s not that.

It’s frustrating because I’m going to have to sand down a couple spots and do another coat of paint and wax to correct it. But I LOVE the look – the dark wood combined with the gray is luscious. So it will be worth it. :)

There were a few issues along the way but I ended up with a coffee table I love in just the right size. The table was $20 and I spent about $25 on wood (those smaller pieces get expensive!) – not bad at all! Don’t overlook those pieces that are a mess – they can be turned into beauties!

Have you made over any messes lately?