Search Results for: Hall of Shame

Hall of Shame-Color Splash!

Saw this poster on Pinterest and LOL. It should say Attention Decorating Disorder! When I am in “home improvement” mode, I move from room to room making mental notes of everything that needs to get done immediately. So I wonder why projects never really get done?!? During the plate rack project this weekend, as I was flitting around town rummaging through antique shops and junk sales, I figured I should stop and get the paint for the hall of shame project at my local Benjamin Moore store. I had definitely decided on the trim color: Snowfall White.

For years I have been mixing  White Dove and Linen White together to create what I thought was the perfect white-creamy white with slightly gray undertones. But, mixing two quarts is quite a bit pricier than purchasing pre-mixed by the gallon. And, who was I to mess with the Benjamin Moore’s color gods?!? So I finally went through all the white chips and found Snowfall White. I believe it is the closest in tone and shade to my self-blended color. 1 gallon please. Smoke was the color I chose for the walls. The description is: “A subtle, sophisticated grey that infuses a space with a sense of comfort and contemporary style.” And, it is part of Candace Olson’s Designer Picks Collection! Loving that! But just not 100% sure, so I only got a quart. In a moment of inspiration, (while I was putting off hanging the plate rack) I decided to just “try a little on a wall to make sure I like it before I do the whole thing and then regret it”. No prep, no drop cloths, no painting clothes. You can guess the rest. I was happily painting away, got distracted (I don’t know, something sparkly?) and dropped the whole freaking can!

Not only did it splatter all over the hall- and me, it made its way into the living and the dining room- thankfully my new beautiful rug was spared! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to grab the camera- had to work fast! The next 1/2 hour was spent scrubbing and cleaning (almost all) the paint out of all the cracks and crevices, off the floor and trim,all the while keeping Daisy out of the way. Don’t need “Smoke” pawprints running through the house.

Rugs were hosed down in the yard, clothing discarded and paint scooped back into the can. At $18 per quart, I wanted to salvage what I could! So the end result is: 1. I do like the paint color and will go back and get a gallon. 2. Now I have to sand and restain the two thresholds leading into the hallway-more work for the weary 3. Time to go hang the plate rack!!!

Happy Painting! Susan 

The Hall of Shame Updated!

Since I wrote my last blog “The Hall of Shame” on Sunday, I vowed to focus my energies on my current project, hoping to have it completed by Easter Sunday. Soooo, that hasn’t happened. While working on this project was my top priority, I also had to work, take Daisy to the vet,

walk the lake, make repeated trips to the paint store, Home Depot, the bank, HomeGoods, blah, blah blah. So here it is Wednesday, and although the progress is intermittent and the pace is slow, things are coming along. Of my to-do list that I posted, the accomplishments thus far are:

1. “Make a Menu” Done. Menu created for Easter dinner, shopping list made, email invites sent. Casual attire, bunny ears optional.

2. “Re-paint and wallpaper something” I began the wallpaper stripping, the puttying, the sanding and general prep work to complete the transformation successfully. Can I tell you how much I hate prep work!?! The walls below the chair rail were covered in wallpaper- 3 layers deep, my doing, that I decided to remove to start with a clean slate. Using my handy Wagner 905 Power Steamer made this job a bit easier. It’s an all-purpose steamer that I use everywhere in my house to clean and sterilize without any chemicals! Along with a spray bottle filled with Vinegar, Dove dish soap and hot water, the stripping took approximately 4 exhausting hours. Puttyed and sanded all the holes, dings and scrapes. I typically use these sanding sponges because they fit into small corners and cracks, and you can rinse and re-use them. And this is the putty-Drydex. It is creamy pink before you apply it and turns white when dry. And I love pink!

And then came the bannister and railing. Curvy and dark, very beautiful, with 150 year old varnish that is virtually impossible to remove. The remaining progress has come to a screeching halt as I work my way slowly up the railing. I may hand everyone a sanding sponge on Sunday- do you think they will work for Peeps?

3. “Clean out and mulch the garden”  (No, this isn’t my garden, it’s Monet’s in Giverny, France. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Ok, well I hired someone to do the front part. He only did half and hasn’t come back to finish. Not gonna name names, yet. During the great stretch of weather we had a couple of weeks ago, I started raking down in the “back 40”.  Kept looking at the white picket fence and thought that it needed a nice new coat of paint. So I started painting that, and then I ran out of paint. Where’s Tom Sawyer when you need him? So I haven’t finished raking. Or mulching. Or painting.

4. “Wash all the windows” Haven’t finished yet, but I did make a great head start using this crazy “As Seen On TV” “Streak-Less Microfiber Cloth” that someone just gave me! You wet it and wipe the windows-no cleaners required and guaranteed not to streak! Guess what?!? It works!!! It only takes seconds to wipe each window, even the one’s with Daisy’s nose prints all over them. When the cloth gets dirty you wash it and keep using it. Crazy stuff. Too bad it won’t remove varnish from the railings…

5. “Buy a Ham” Hubby does the shopping. It’s on the list. He just asked me what size ham- the size of a football or a basketball? 

So there’s the update. I have four days left. Wish me luck.

The Hall of Shame

With Easter coming up next week, it’s time to make my “to-do” list, since we will be hosting the family celebration at our home. Typically, prior to most holidays, my lists look something like this:

1. Make a menu (this one’s not mine, but it looks good!)

2. Re-paint and wallpaper “something”- in this case, the front hall.

3. Clean out and mulch the garden. 4. Wash all the windows.

4. Buy a ham.

5. The night before- prepare the side dishes and desserts, clean the house, set the table, create some fabulous decorations for the holiday.

For some reason, it never occurs to me to NOT do a full-on reno project right before a holiday. So many times, with the deadline looming, the projects are not fully completed, or don’t get done properly. New wallpaper slapped over older wallpaper that never gets stripped, paint only gets one coat, the surfaces not properly prepped and sanded.

On several episodes of Modern Family, Phil Dunphy makes a mad dash up his stairs, tripping halfway up on a loose stair tread. As he mutters “I’ve got to fix that thing”, I think of our front hall. We use it 100 times a day, but at some point, we just stopped seeing it- the scraped walls, the torn wallpaper, the threadbare carpet.

Our “Hall of Shame” is like poor, overworked Cinderella. With some loving care and a glass slipper, it could be the Belle of the Ball, but right now it is the ugly stepsister. It was updated back in the 80’s, with cherry burgundy carpeting that is now thread-bare and worn from years of kids’ cleats and muddy paws. The floor is stick-on faux marble black and white check, with most of the ends curling up. The wallpaper has been changed a couple of times, but always with a nod to the horrible carpet. The bannister and railings? Well, they have been sanded and sanded and stripped and sanded some more, but never completed. I spent one whole summer stripping the paint off of the stair treads, only to find that that the wood was so worn, I went ahead and repainted them. BIG mistake!

So this time I started a week early-lol! But this time I am going to take my time and do it right, from the ceiling to the floor, both upstairs and down. I am creating my “mood board”, choosing my colors thoughtfully and adding the accessories carefully. As this week goes on, I will keep you updated on my progress. And if it is not done by Easter Sunday, so be it.

Hopefully, for my guests it will conjur up lovely images of faraway rustic Italy. I will just pour some wine, carve the ham and no one will even notice my latest work in progress. It’s gonna be a long week…

Happy Renovating! Susan

Bathroom Remodel Week One

Since the bathroom remodel is in week one and moving full steam ahead, I thought I would share a few photos along the way, kind of a NON-DIY diary. I am very, very grateful that this is NOT a DIY project by me, but instead is in the very capable hands of our contractor Matt from Couture Construction. I know that working in a 160-year-old house has its unique challenges and I think Matt has his hands full trying to make sense of the Jenga-style construction techniques that were used to build this bathroom back in the day.

Bathroom Demo Wall ExposedBetween the horsehair plaster and the patchwork of flooring (using whatever boards they happened to have handy) and an occasional mouse in the wall,

Bathroom Remodel Trapped Mouseevery day I see Matt digging in and pulling junk out until now there is less actual bathroom and more bags of demo trash sitting in the driveway next to the toilet and sink. So here is the before…please don’t judge me because of the seashell sink. It was a thing once…


Bathroom Remodel BeforeThis is day one: horsehair plaster & lathing exposed (wait, is there supposed to be daylight shining through along that eave?)

Bathroom Remodel Horsehair Plaster Wallsday two: the walls come down

Bathroom Remodel Day 2day three-whoops- almost fell in!

Bathroom Remodel Day Three FloorRemember the time when I tore up the hall carpet to remodel the hallway in time for Easter (in 2012?!?)? Well, thank goodness we never added the carpeting to the as of yet unfinished Hall of Shame, knowing that we would eventually be remodeling the bath at the top of the stairs. Because look at these stairs now!

Bathroom Remodel StairsThey were really bad to begin with after two years of white paint and no carpet, but now with muddy shoes and boots coming and going, they’re just plain gross. I cannot wait for this bathroom reno to be finished so I can finally carpet those stairs-perhaps in time for Easter 2014?? But from that point on, its shoes off when you hit the hallway! Have a great Thursday, everyone. Just remember to be grateful for the simple things we so often take for granted here in the US, like a functional toilet and a nice, hot shower…mine soon enough. Susan

 

 

Thanks, Black & Decker For My Big Finish!

Recently, I had heard of a contest sponsored by Black & Decker called Your Big Finish!

Black & Decker Your Big FinishTheir goal is to get America to finish what they started-“It’s All For Done…And Done For All”! You know all of those projects you have started along the way that are in different stages of completion…like my Hall of Shame...and my mom’s thrifty kitchen makeover? Well, those were not eligible because they are still (unbelievably) in the works. BUT, there is one finished project that I am super proud of…my HI! Rusty Bedspring Marquee Sign.

Rusty Bedspring Marquee SignSo I thought, sure why not enter it? Well, I did, and guess what? My mug is now plastered on a billboard in Times Square!

Black & Decker Times Square Billboard  Times SquareWhat?!?! Now, since I don’t live in NYC, I have no way of actually seeing my face in lights  (ugh, I hope it’s not high def so you can see all those wrinkles), but I am told that it is on the CNN billboard on the corner of 46th and 47th street. So, if anyone happens to be in Manhattan between now and December 27th, could you take a peek? Just look for the giant HI! that is rotating along with the 100’s of other featured projects. You can check out some of the others here (you’ll note that the Times Square featured projects have a little green street sign in the top right corner : )

Black & Decker Project Page

Like my friend Sarah, from Little Red Brick House’s beautiful Fireplace Makeover.

Little Red Brick House Fireplace MakeoverIn the meantime, if you would like to see the now famous Rusty Bedspring Marquee Light in person, it’s hanging in the shop at the Barn at Todd Farm. But right now it says JOY.

Joy Sign in the Barn at Todd FarmBecause that’s a little of what I am feeling right now : ) Thanks to Black & Decker for sponsoring this contest and allowing everyday folks the opportunity for their 15 minutes of fame. And for encouraging all of us procrastinators to finish what we started!! You, too can enter for the chance to have your photo plastered on a billboard in Times Square, but also for some great prizes like some new Black & Decker tools and a grand prize of $10,000!! (which I could then use to buy the new cordless drill that I have been coveting-Santa, are you reading this?!?) Have a great finish to your Friday everyone!! xoxo Susan

Thrifty Kitchen Transformation-DIY Series-Painting & Glazing

As you recall, part one of this series was the cleaning and priming of the cabinets: doors, drawers and boxes. Since the wood was so dark. each required 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. The paint we chose was a Benjamin Moore Eggshell in a custom color called Design Studio White-very soft and creamy white, but not ecru.

Benjamin Moore Eggshell Design Studio WhiteSince the appliances are bright white, the cabinet color needed to be just the right shade of white. Since we wanted the cabinets to appear somewhat aged and glazed, a pure white would have been too stark. However, choosing a beige or a white that was too creamy would have highlighted the difference between the cabinets and the appliances. Here are the painted doors all lined up and ready for glazing! I chose the eggshell finish because I knew I would be finishing the doors with some sore of glazing or waxing, and the matte finish is more porous which may have resulted in too much glaze being absorbed into the paint

Painted Cabinet DoorsThe same decision went into the glazing process. Initially my mom wanted to just keep the cabinets white, but I convinced her that glazing them would highlight the door detail that was completely hidden when they were dark oak with the white panel.

Kitchen Cabinet Doors BeforeGlazing them with a faintly tinted glaze highlights the edges and moldings and creates a nice antique look without darkening the cabinets too much.In this case, I used Martha Stewart Antique Effect Glaze.

Martha Stewart Glaze EffectsI found these in a mark-down bin at Michaels awhile ago and they were so cheap I grabbed a bunch of them!  I figured this was the perfect glaze for the cabinets, because it allows you to tint the color and then use as little or as much as you like to create the perfect glaze. I poured all of the little bottles, plus my colors into one large mason jar, ensuring I had enough for the entire kitchen.

Kithcen Makeover Glaze MixtureFor the tint color, we decided on a very light combination of the wall paint, which is a Benjamin Moore Whitestone and some Rustoelum Java Brown Cabinet Glaze I had left over from another project. 1 teaspoon of each went into the quart jar of glaze. You know that old adage, “measure twice, cut once’? Well, that applies to mixing colors as well! I had to know the exact formula, in the event that something catastrophic happened to my jar of mixed glaze so that I could replicate it if need be. (Sooo, remember the time when I was testing out my new paint in the hall and I got distracted and dropped the whole can? No? You can read about that here: The Hall of Shame-Color-Splash!)

Hall of Shame Color SplashSo the formula for this jar of glaze is: 1 quart of glaze + 1 teaspoon of Rustoleum Java Brown

Kitchen Cabinet Glaze Rustoleum Java Brown+ 1 teaspoon Benjamin Moore Whitestone

Mixing Glaze color 1 tsp paintSince all three are water-based, they mixed together easily with just a paint stirrer. Yum-looks like mocha swirl!!

Glaze in mason jarApplying the glaze is simple. You simply paint the glaze onto the entire piece, using a foam brush. If you are planning on doing both sides of the cabinet doors, you have to allow each side to dry and cure (approx. 24 hours, depending on the humidity) so they don’t stick to the work surface once you flip them over.

Kitchen Cabinet Brushing On Glazelet it sit for a moment, then begin wiping it away with a damp rag. Gloves, people!

Kitchen Makeover Wiping GlazeThe more you leave, the darker the piece. Conversely, the more you remove, the lighter the piece. Once I went over it with the rag, I allowed it to sit for a couple of minutes, allowing the glaze to settle into the corners. Then I wiped away any excess I didn’t want. The final look: a soft white with just a hint of darker glaze in the corners and moldings.

Cabinet Door Glaze and DryNext up: the finishing wax! We are getting there! Have a great (hopefully not too wet) Thursday, everyone!! Susan

A Big Thank You!

Zazzle Thank You

So, I didn’t realize until Word Press (my host server) sent me a little congrats card that this week marked my one year anniversary of this blog-unbelievable!! What started as a simple marketing assignment has blossomed into a full-fledged, time-consuming, educational, inspirational, often-times ridiculous look into the daily lives of myself and Coach and my family and friends. At 150 posts and counting, some of my personal favorites have included guests spots for New England Home Magazine featuring the works of Interior Designer Rachel Hazelton

 Rachel Hazelton

and photographer Paul Granese,

 Paul Granese Photography

my work on the Glidden Project,

The Glidden Project

my posts from some of the amazing weddings we attended this past yearWedding With A View

The Whale’s Tale, a refurbishing D.I.M. story

Ann Whale's Tale

the special tribute birthday cake I created for my sister in Faded Photographs

Ann Faded Photographs

and of course, my most recent post about our mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Laundry on Barbed Wire

Over the years, I have always looked for new challenges and adventures-whether its traveling, cooking or creating art or design- and my motto is “I can do that”. Or, at the very least, I can try that (see Kayaking…The Launch)

Kayaking- The Launch

This blog has given me a voice, otherwise unheard, to share my successes and my abysmal failures (of which there are soooo many). Looking back over this past year, it is clear by your responses that you have enjoyed many of my posts about interior design, whether country pretty- yay Buffalo Plaid!

Buffalo Plaid

or chic and glamorous.

Green With Envy

Also big on the hit lists were my ventures to the SOWA Vintage Market

SOWA Market

and the Vintage Bazaar @ Pettengill Farm (can’t wait for that one again!)

Vintage Bazaar

and the Brimfield Antiques Show.

My Sister's Garage @ Brimfield

And, then, of course, there is that whole are you freaking kidding me, I dropped the whole can of paint?!?!” posts,

Hall of Shame Color Splash

where I have been sharing our crazy lives, living in, decorating and preserving our 1850’s farmhouse and barn- featured in Rejected and Dejected

Rejected and Dejected

and so many other posts. Those of you who know us personally have been hearing and witnessing those stories first hand for many years. For those of you in “blog land”, it has been great fun sharing those follies and receiving responses letting me know that you have been there too! For the coming year, I am hoping to expand my horizons and find new places, new spaces and new ideas to share both here and on my Pinterest pages. Endless adventures await, and I never go anywhere now without my camera and iPhone in my pocket. I love comments- so please feel free to weigh in on any subject and “like” a post (the button is at the bottom of the page) so I know you are reading! And if there is something you would like me to feature, check out or write about, drop me an email @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com. Thanks for following my blog everyone! Susan

Excited About Electrolux!

I know, excited about a vacuum- seriously!?!?! But, it’s arrived!! My brand new sparkling, shiny, super sexy and sleek black Electrolux Jet Maxx Green Canister Vacuum– this week’s High Five For Friday! We immediately got off to a good start when I noticed a little tag line on the box-“thinking of you”-awwww, so nice!

vacuum box

A few weeks ago I published a blog about finding the perfect vacuum cleaner: Living In A Vacuum. From that blog post, I received multiple suggestions regarding styles and brands to try. The one name that kept popping up was Electrolux. Comments like: “my grandmother/mother/aunt had one for years and it sucked up everything in sight -heck it would have sucked up the dog!”  (note that not one person said “my grandfather/dad/uncle- just saying…) made me take a serious look at this brand that has been around since 1918. I did a lot of online reseach, and headed out to my local stores to do some hands-on brand demos from other manufacturers, but this Electrolux Jet Maxx was the clean winner. Where to buy? Online, of course. The MSRP is $499.00, a hefty price for a small appliance! But, on Kohls.com, it was on sale, and then I had the magic 30% off coupon code from Retail Me Not– AND free shipping!!! Plus, I received $60 in Kohls Cash (if you are unaware of this deal, for every $50 you spend you get $10 in Kohls dollars to spend-sweet!) So, with the sale + tax and the coupon and the Kohls Cash, my final price was $274.68- almost half off! (Coach, just ignore that part-OK?)

But nothing is a good deal if it doesn’t work- right? Right off the bat, I was pretty impressed by the overall appearance-looks quite space-aged, kind of Darth Vader-ish, don’t you think?! Very heavy components, and the plastic, which is made from 55% recycled materials, was hefty and strong, unlike some of the other brands’ I had sampled.

vacuum coupling mechanism

Good thing they marked this package in the box. Had I tossed this,  I would have spent most of my vacuuming time on my hands and knees!

vacuum box warning

Love the shape of the handle-looks like a gas pump nozzle! But it contours to your hand, and has the on-board tools that you can switch easily.

Loving the retractable cord feature. You just touch the button with your toe and the cord gets sucked back up inside- brilliant!

Electrolux Retractable Cord

Although gotta be careful- awhile ago I had an old dust buggy with a retractable cord- touched the button with my foot and the cord end-with a plug adapter attached-came flying up and hit me across the bridge of my nose and almost knocked me out! (Still haven’t regained my sense of smell from that trauma) OK, so the true test is in the suction and the Jet Maxx passed with flying colors. My beloved dining room area rug, that hasn’t had a good cleaning in months, took on a new life once the nap was raised with the powerful Jet Maxx suction.

vacuum carpet

With little pushing or pulling effort on my part, the vacuum powers its way across the rugs and, on the low nap ones, it actually took off on me! The canister follows me around like a puppy on a leash, and the floor adapter with a swivel head makes it simple to get around and under the furniture on the hard wood floors. The stairs. The toughest area for any vacuum. Apparently there is a separate rotating brush you can get for the stairs, but it didn’t come with my vacuum. So, I used the crevice tool for the corners and edges, and the power head for the treads. Perfect.

vacuum hall of shame

Lightweight, easy to maneuver, got all of the dog fur and raised the nap so it looks somewhat presentable (part of the Hall of Shame project, it’s threadbare, and oh, it’s maroon! and needs replacing, so not even this vac can save it). So, there you have it- my unbiased, non-sponsored, personal opinion and a well-deserved High Five for this canister vac. I will let you know in six months if this is the vac of my dreams, but for now- this one’s a keeper!! It’s Friday everyone-have fun!! Susan

Primed for Success

OK, so back to the Hall of Shame Project…we are getting closer. Time to paint the balusters that have been covered with the drippings from the Minwax Antique Refinisher I used a while back to strip the railings. I don’t know about all of you, but I HATE prep work. The stripping, sanding, tack cloth wiping.. and the prospect of prepping all of those white poles was daunting. 

Then I remembered a product that my design instructor had mentioned: Gripper, By Glidden, this week’s High Five for Friday!

It is an interior/exterior primer, sealer, all-purpose stain killer and bonder for walls, woods, masonry, glass and previously painted metals. If you have a surface to prime, they’ve got it covered. And you don’t even have to sand!!! Just so long as it’s clean and dirt/oil free, you are good to go. OK, I am soooo in. Upon opening the can, I discovered that it is essentially odorless (although it does have all of those “harmful if inhaled warnings”), and the consistency of white school glue.

It glides on easily and smoothly, and leaves a nice, even coat. It even covered all of those brown drip marks on the first try!!

This is DIY magic in a can : ) So if any of you are attempting to complete a major renovation in the next week leading up to Thanksgiving (I know, who is dumb enough to do that?!?) then get to your local big box store and grab some Gripper! And while you’re at it, could you find me someone who will install carpeting in time for Turkey Day? TGIF everyone!! Susan

Brushing It All Aside

This weekend, in preparation for the upcoming holidays, I have been working on the Hall of Shame (yes, we are on the home stretch now!). Basically I am finishing up the painting begun back in April, on that fateful day when I dropped the entire can onto the floor. Yesterday I completed all the trim, then tackled the remaining wall with the 3rd quart of Benjamin Moore Smoke paint- pretty, huh?

All was going well until I reached the very top of our hall stairway, which is very narrow and steep with a high ceiling. (Please don’t judge me because of my burgundy carpet. That was from the 80’s, and I knew not what I was doing!)

With no way to reach the very top far corner, I had two options…

 1. Suspend myself from the top stair to the wall and essentially dangle over the stairwell.

With Coach not being around, and my poor track record with disasters and mishaps in this hall to date, that did not seem like the best alternative. OR 2. Find a way to reach that corner without endangering life and limb. So I give you: Extend-A-Brush! 

With necessity being the mother of invention, I figured out a way to make my arm 6 feet long and reach that top corner!

Supplies required: 1 short handled 3″ angled brush + 1 long-handled mini-roller (minus the roller) +  masking tape (duct tape would do as well, but that was the first one I grabbed from my stick drawer in the HICC- Home Improvement Command Center)

My Extend-A-Brush made short work of that dangerous corner, and now, for the first time since I began this mecca back in the spring, all the walls are smoke blue- yay! And have this awesome invention to use in a tall or tight space! Do you think maybe I should patent this?!?

I could use some really cute zebra striped duct tape and jazz it up.

This may be it…time to hit up the guys at the Shark Tank!

Have a great Sunday everyone! Stay inspired, and enjoy the beautiful fall weather! Susan

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