Thursday, March 27, 2014

Before and After: Dining Room

Today we take a walk down memory lane that ends at our dining room.  One of the main things that attracted us to this house was the large formal dining room, with its wood floors, high ceilings wallpaper border? Since our visions of big family dinners did not include heavy brothel-like curtains and hunter green walls, we had to do some major redecorating.

Silly us, at first we thought it would be a relatively simple project.  After all, it was just a matter of some paint, right?  But we neglected to consider just how large the room is.  We are talking a LOT.OF.PAINTING here, people.  WHY did we think doing three different colors was a good idea!!? And we tried to get all fancy and add a chair rail, which turned out to be a nightmare because this was the first time we noticed that our house has perhaps settled a bit over the last 120 years.  How do you install a chair rail when the floor isn't level!? Measure from the ceiling? The floor? Because no matter what you do, part of it is going to look slanted and uneven! Luckily at this point we had my dad on hand to help and somehow it ended up working out (as long as you don't come over with a level and check our work too closely).

The whole project took about two weeks from start to finish.

I got the idea to paint the edge of the door red from something I saw in a magazine. I kind of like the extra bit of red in such an unexpected place.

Pay no attention to the feline snoozing on the radiator by the windows!

One of my favorite little details- the antique glass curtain tie backs.

So far since we've re-done the dining room, we've hosted a few big gatherings- namely our housewarming party and our wedding rehearsal dinner, and it's worked out very well!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Before and After: Front Porch

When I read design blogs (and believe me, I spend waaay too much time doing that- especially since we don't have HGTV) my absolute favorite posts are always the ones featuring before and after shots. Those are also my favorite posts to write as well because it means we have actually completed a project and checked another thing off of our to-do list.  When looking through my iphoto library today, I realized there are several projects that pre-date this blog, and so I haven't ever bothered to post before and after photos.  So just in case anyone out there loves these "big reveal" posts as much as I do, I thought I would share some pictures of some of our very first projects.

When we moved into the house (on May 17, 2012), one of the things that bothered us the most was our front porch.  We have a beautiful, large enclosed front porch with lots of windows, but unfortunately the previous owners had painted it in incredibly depressing shades of gray and blue (with bright red trim around the front door).  It made the whole porch look dark and depressing to the point where we decided it was our first priority for redecorating.

So, we spent our first Memorial Day weekend as homeowners knee deep in paint chips and drop cloths.  We wanted to go for a Victorian conservatory kind of feel, so after several hours on Sherwin Williams' website (they have a Color Visualizer tool where you can upload a photo and then "try on" different paint colors), we opted for a bright green and while color combination with some brown accents.  We were a little nervous about such a bold color choice, but we decided anything was better than the current color, so we were willing to take the risk.

I spent the first full day scraping loose paint off of the trim and window frames while Lance got right to work painting the frames for the screens.

We were unsure what to do with the vinyl floor- the previous owners had painted a bright blue border around the edges of the room and then covered the rest of the floor with a rug, so we didn't have a lot to work with.  We decided to prime and paint the whole floor brown to mimic a wood floor look and match the trim of the window ledge.  We weren't really sure how it would hold up or if it would even work, but even now two years later the floor still looks great.

The old icebox was a garage sale find and the botanical prints were just cut out from an old book we found at St. Vinny's for under $5.00 and placed in some Ikea frames we had lying around. If we ever get to Ikea again, I would like to buy 3 more frames and do six prints on this wall (3 on top, 3 on the bottom).  

Before we'd even moved into the house, we bought an old porch swing at an auction with the intention of hanging it from the porch ceiling.  Upon closer inspection, Lance and my dad discovered that the ceiling beams were not actually strong enough, so we had to come up with a Plan B.  Luckily, my dad had recently build a free-standing frame for his aunt's old porch swing, so he used that design to build another one for our porch!

These photos are a couple of years old, so there have been a few of decorating additions to the porch since then, but I don't have photos of those and the porch is still in "winter" mode (meaning there's a bunch of stuff piled in there for storage at the moment), so I can't go out and take new pictures.  

Right now we're looking to change the seating up a little bit.  While we love the old Seller's table, it takes up a lot of space and doesn't leave a lot of room for comfortable seating, so we're on the lookout for an old ice cream table and chairs and some lounge-ier side chairs.  Garage sale season (and warm porch-sitting weather) can't come soon enough!