Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Room Curtains...A Goldilocks Tale

I hinted about this post when I shared the fabric "headboard" in my guest room. So here's how we reused some curtains from the basement in my old house in the guest room and made them just the right length (not too short and not too long, hence the Goldilocks reference)...

Here's a pic of the curtains in the basement of the old house.
It's a little hard to tell here, but they are black and white stripes.
The panels were 84 inches, which was perfect in the old house. In the new house 84's are too short but 96 inch panels are too long. But there wasn't enough in the hem to just let it out. What to do?

Answer: The answer in this case was just adding some length to the old black and white striped curtains. We found a fabric that coordinated with the fabric we used as the headboard and added it to the bottom. Now you can start to see how orange is becoming the predominate color in the room too.

This fabric allowed me to get a pop of color on the window treatments. And it saved money--always a good thing!

Here you can see how they look in the room.

Mom kindly sewed the fabric onto the curtains while Brent and I installed the ceiling fan (I'm re-living how hot it was in this room before that fan!). She also used a little bit of leftover fabric to make a pillow for the bed. (I feel like I've talked about her sewing a lot in this blog. I need to learn to sew!)

I like that the pattern is repeated in two places.

And now does my hint from last week make more sense? :)

I couldn't help sharing this pic too. I love this collection of mirrors on the wall opposite the bed.
 I'm still contemplating the paint in this room. I also want to update the lamps--the two in here now were both hand-me-downs and while they serve their purpose, I want something a little more ecclectic.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Not Your Average Fabric Headboard

When it came time to furnish our guest room, I knew I wanted something different and unique. As far as I'm concerned, the guest room is a great place to be a little bit bold while creating a comfortable environment for overnight visitors.

In our old house I had a headboard that resembled an old metal gate. (Very clever, but it banged the wall--not conducive to a good night's sleep.)

In the new house I was starting with a blank slate (you can see it all here). Here's the previous owner's version... 

Oh boy, this takes me back. Look at those curtains.
Mom was visiting one weekend and we decided to go visit the brand new IKEA and there I found my jumping off point in the fabric department. (If you haven't already heard me say this, I'll say it again. If you're starting with a blank slate, I find it helpful to search for just ONE thing that you absolutely love. Then just design the rest of the room around that.) 

Two yards of fabric later (and some hemming that Mom did for me) along with a previously used wood curtain rod and some screws and nails...we had this:

I love how bold and graphic this "piece" is in the room. It is the focal point and provided the inspriation for the other furniture and fabric choices in the room. I think the fact that we hung it very near the ceiling gives the room height.

Here you can see that we simply used a wood curtain rod.

In this pic, I wanted you to see that we ran the "headboard" about half way down the mattress. We also tacked it to the wall with small nails. I didn't want the fabric to get caught up in a pillow toss in the middle of the night. It stays put, just
as we hoped.
 So my next "to-do" for this room is paint. I'm yearning for something warm and slightly colorful. I'm thinking of a burnt orange accent wall. Maybe it would be too much?? 

Stay tuned next week to learn about how we customized the curtains in this room. I'll give you a hint with this picture.

What does this pic have to do with curtains? Check back next week and I'll show you.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Karli's Kitchen Makeover: Part Two

Here's part two of my kitchen update. I thought the last post showed a drastic change, but this one is a very close second. 

So we left off with white paint on the cabinets. It was already such a happier, brighter place to cook. I spend so much of my time in the kitchen, I really wanted to love this space (but not break the bank in the process.)

Just a reminder of where we left off after painting the cabinets.
At this point we didn't have a backsplash on the wall behind the stove--probably the place where I make the biggest mess (hello spaghetti sauce and cake batter splatter).
Painted cabinets, but we were still living with old counters and one missing next to the fridge--a result of my super measuring skills.
At this point, we hired a contractor for new countertops, backsplash and installation of a new sink and faucet. I knew I wanted a fairly neutral slab that would work with stainless appliances, white cabinets, gray walls and the future darker hardwood floors we'll have (these might be in the plan for 2013--fingers crossed). So off to the granite yard we went... 
Brent was holding up a white cabinet door and a darker clipboard to represent the future hardwood floors. We wanted to check out how the slabs looked with those components.

At this point I'd also decided I wanted to do a classic white subway tile backsplash. For many of the same reasons I chose white cabinets, we chose a crisp white backsplash and white grout. My goal was to bring light to the space!

At the same time, I ordered my dream sink and faucet. I HATE (cannot stress this enough) trying to wash large pans in a double sink. So my answer was one giant sink basin in classic white cast-iron. Nearly every day I say to Brent while washing dishes, "I will never regret spending the extra money on this sink. Look at me...I can run this entire cookie sheet under the water!"

After the counters had been templated, cut and were ready for installation, the crew came and took out the old, ugly stuff. I did a happy dance! 

Old counters GONE!
They made fast work of getting the countertops installed and putting my new sink in. That faucet is pretty awesome too. The spray nozzle can toggle on and off and just slides right out of the neck.
This makes me so happy!
The next day the tile guys showed up and started the subway tile backsplash. It was tedious work and they had to make several trips to the house: mortar dry time, grout and finally a seal on the whole thing. 
Woohoo! What a difference with the counters, backsplash and white sink too! At this point we still needed the grout/seal and electrical covers.

Just look at how much brighter it is. I love the way the light bounces off the subway tiles.

I think I may have forgotten to mention in this whole process--that ugly light over the former owner's dining table was one of the first things to go. Before we had our table there, I can't tell you how many people nearly ran into it.  

I'm working on a final post so you can see the real finished kitchen. (Maybe soon I can post more with the wood floors too).


Monday, February 18, 2013

Spring is just around the corner...

That means I'm thinking about my second year of gardening. (I think the topic fits in the scope of this blog, right? I mean, it adds to the beauty of our backyard landscape and impacts my style of cooking. Is that a stretch? I guess I don't care. I'm going to continue writing about the garden...)

When we moved into this house last winter, I was so excited about the garden that was already set up out back. They had a long plot of dirt, a few barrels and a drip watering system. My inner hippie was jumping for joy!

I consulted lots of friends who garden here in Denver to get some pointers, I checked the internet and basically just winged it. I think I did pretty well for just throwing my hat in the ring. I sure did learn a lot along the way and have plans for bigger and better this year.

You can see the garden plot in the section on the right. The barrels held the herbs. (Seriously, I can't wait for this yard to come alive again. It is so beautiful!)

Last year we had zucchini, butter lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, green onions, two green peppers, one jalapeno, one strawberry, parsley, mint and basil. That may sound sort of lame, but I was seriously thrilled. It was my first try, people! I was surprised I had anything!!

One of the first harvests. I made a zucchini gratin with a salad. Amazing how much better food tastes fresh from your backyard!

I think I may look into getting some large troughs to put in the garden, so things are up off the ground and I can control the soil better. Here's what I'm going to do this year:

  • One regular tomato plant
  • One grape tomato plant
  • One heirloom tomato plant
  • One zucchini plant
  • One yellow squash plant
  • One cucumber plant
  • One row of green onions
  • One sweet pepper plant
  • One green pepper plant
  • Butter lettuce (staggered planting)
  • Spinach (staggered planting)
  • Cilantro, basil, thyme, parsley, mint (all in barrels up closer to the house)
  • The blog,, has been inspirational to me this month. Look at all she's doing with her backyard space! Because of her, I may just try out some kale and beans too!
    Visit and be prepared to kill about three hours.

    I've also put a bug in my dad's ear that I think he should help me build a trellis for the tomato plants. Last year I had some fall over from weight.

    Are you starting to think about your garden? What plans do you have this year? If you live in Colorado, what plants have done well for you?


    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    One Year Ago (I Thought I'd Never Be Done Painting)

    One year ago, we had just closed on our house and thus started the transformation. Mom came up the day we closed and spent the next week helping with the giant task of painting.

    We started in the kitchen because it was the room I disliked the most. Here are some of the best (and yet worst) before pictures.
    This was taken during our final walk through, so some of the previous owner's furniture was still there.
    The backsplash had this awesome country motif on random tiles.
    I think the original owner's may have been vampires. They had black out drapes, blinds and shutters on every window. (I'm only kidding about them being vampires)

    The plan was to paint the cabinets white to lighten up the space. Based on the recommendation of one of my co-workers, we used Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations in Pure White. The product comes with a glaze, but we didn't use any because I didn't really want the cabinets to look aged.

    So here's the point of my post (really). This was my life for about a week... 
    The first thing to go was the country tile backsplash. Mom looks very excited to start the "demo."
    Then we took all the doors and drawers to the basement. At this point we also cleaned the inside of the cabinets. Some sticky stuff is still a mystery to this day.
    The basement served as a great place for the painting since it was cold outside.
    You can get a small glimpse of our retro bar too.
    Because we were desperate to see some color and progress, we painted the inside of this cabinet one evening.
    Paint, dry, flip, paint, dry. Repeat three times. (UGH)

    Here you can see we're getting closer. Porter just crashed in the middle of the floor for days.

    And just because I can't forget another happy change during that same time frame...the ceilings were all scraped, re-textured and painted!
    Overall, using the Cabinet Transformation product saved us money. BUT it took a long time, three coats (probably because we went from dark oak to white) plus the finish coat, and lots of energy. There were moments I thought we'd never finish.

    Here's where the kitchen ended up after that first week of cabinet painting. Stay tuned for the rest of the transformation.
    We still had the original countertops, stainless sink I didn't like and no backsplash. But I was so happy and the kitchen finally felt bright and filled with light! You can also see that we replaced the wood in two cabinet doors with seeded glass.

    We also painted the walls gray (SW Functional Gray), which you can see best here.
    I love a good side by side. Wait till you see the final makeover!
    Happy One Year Anniversary to you, dear kitchen!


    Monday, February 11, 2013

    How to Hide Entertainment Center Wires

    Remember that old thrift store buffet that my mom repurposed into an entertainment center for us? We love the style and storage it offers us, but the challenge was hiding all the wires (and wires and more wires) since the lower portion is "open." I seriously wish I had a before picture of the MESS of wires you could see under the buffet. I did get a picture of the back so you can see the sheer mass I had to deal with.

    Look at all those wires! You can see the start of my organization here (and Porter's tennis ball).

    In come the zip ties, thumb tacks, a few finishing nails and patience (a virtue I really do try to possess). First I had to straighten all the wires and figure out what wire was leading to what component. I bundled everything together with zip ties and then started tacking them along the back of the buffet.

    Here you can see how I used the zip ties to keep the cords bundled and attached to the back of the buffet.
     I also put two small finishing nails in the back of the buffet to hold the power strip up off the floor. In case you've never noticed, most power strips have holes on the back so you can easily do this!

    Now I can sit on the couch and relax instead of feeling anxious about the mess of cords and wires right in front of my face. (Does anyone else feel anxious if they are surrounded by any sort of mess? I hope it's not just me.)
    If you look closely you can still see the one cable cord coming out of the floor. I can live with that!

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    Kandy's Upstairs Hall Makeover Project

    The Upstairs Hall project actually started with the simple $1.00 Thrift Store fix on the ugly little light (see the light fixture post). That led to repainting the hall ceiling (flat white) which brightened up the area. But--there is always a "but"--in the process, I had started painting the trim in the guest bedroom which led to painting the doors, etc. To make a long story short...The Upstairs Hall now needed work to be up to par.

    The woodwork and doors were stained, hollow-core, builder basic. 

    I lightly sanded all the woodwork and doors, removed the door knobs, wiped everything down and then put a coat of primer on. I used my favorite, Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3. Primer. I then applied two coats of Sherwin Williams Extra White to the doors and wood trim.
    The doors get the white treatment
    I would have loved to replace all the baseboards with new wide white ones, but this project was supposed to be low cost, so instead I painted my baseboards the same color as my walls, Sherwin Williams Camelback. It basically made them disappear and not call attention to the old carpeting (which is another story).

    I also would also have loved to purchase all new Oil Rubbed Bronze doorknobs, but again, I took the DIY route. After removing them from the doors, I sanded them with medium grade steel wool. I sprayed them with Krylon Primer in Ruddy Brown. After that was dry, I sprayed them with two coats of Krylon Brushed Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze in Satin.

    Here is one door knob before
    Simply the easiest and best spray paint for Oil Rubbed Bronze

    The finished door knob

    The linen closet door got an old antique door knob plate with the same paint treatment.

    I had a salvaged piece of trim that I painted black and added above the closet just for interest.

    Karli thinks this looks like a mustache!
    Then I had to add a little lock and key decor.

    All this work made the rest of hall look like it needed a little sprucing up too.
    The before (notice the gold frame)

    I spray painted the antique mirror frame Krylon Flat Black, followed with MinWax Spray Polyurethane in Semi Gloss.

    I was testing some pictures in that skinny frame--trying to decide what I want in there.
    I also painted the mats in these pictures and rehung them. The mats had been an antique ivory and they needed to match all the other white.

    The bathroom door (down the hall) got some fun plastic molding glued on it (I used Liquid Nails). I found the molding at a flea market and thought it was a great "girly" detail for my bathroom.

    Since I like the idea of running a Bed and Breakfast, and I also think a touch of whimsy is fun, I added a quirky detail to the three bedroom doors. I bought three simple black frames, printed off numbers on my computer and attached them to the doors using Command fasteners. The fasteners can easily be removed if the next owners don't like the idea!!

    Close up of the "hotel room numbers"

    We now have Rooms 201, 202, and 203. There is no confusion as to which upstairs room I am talking about. I haven't labeled the Linen Closet yet, (maybe maid's supplies)?
    Since the hall project is complete, I really need to start freshening up Room 203. That comes next. I'm never done.