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Daily Archives: April 25, 2021

DIY

dining room refresh

The dining room had gotten a little stale, to put it mildly. We’d had a Christmas drawing framed on our wall for over a year. Plus, two of the dining room chairs my family used when I was a child finally bit the dust.

We moved the two intact chairs to other parts of the house and bought four inexpensive wood chairs online. Although assembling them was a pain, I’m happy to report that they’re very solid and comfortable. A great deal!

I moved the chairs to the driveway and applied stain and polyurethane. And then left them outside for hours because we’re classy.

We bought black picture frames from Michaels and filled them with pictures of people who inspire us. John chose John Brown, the abolitionist. I chose Dorothy Day, one daughter chose Michelle Obama, and the other chose Ruby Bridges. One of the boys wanted a Russian dictator, and we somehow talked him into Eisenhower instead. The other boy refused to choose, so I picked Jimmy Carter for him.

Despite the drama involved, it was a satisfying (and easy) project. And the selection process led to some powerful conversations.

My mom suggested that we switch out the photos every week, which made me smile. We’d never have the time or patience to switch things up that often, but it’s nice to know that we can change out the pictures every few months. For now, I’m enjoying our low-cost refresh.

Walls: Snowbound and Light French Gray, both by Sherwin Williams. Rug is from Wayfair.

spring house tour

After spring cleaning, I just had to bust out the camera and take some pictures! Grab a cup of coffee, and come on in.

Azaleas are a divisive flower, don’t you think? Are you pro- or anti-azalea? Every year I threaten to dig them up, and then they bloom and all is forgiven.

John built the outdoor couch, and I stained it with Varathane white wash. The outdoor white chair and the coffee table are from Article. I absolutely love the chair, but in my opinion the coffee table isn’t worth the money. The finish on the tabletop degraded very quickly, and we had to sand it off and re-stain it after a few months.

House: Bunglehouse Blue by Sherwin Williams

Door: Colonial Yellow by Sherwin Williams

The wallpaper in our entry is one of my favorite things. We live a few miles from DC, and the wallpaper is a vintage map of downtown DC by Swag Paper.

We found the card catalog at a junk store in rural Maryland. What a find! The back is falling apart, but we make it work. It’s a great spot to store spare keys, coupons, and all the other little things. For the drawer names, I “aged” cardstock paper by soaking it in black tea and air-drying it. My mom has the best penmanship so she wrote the names: “fire in the hole” (matches), “detritus,” “sticky and pointy” (scissors and tape), “bows and curls” (hair ties for little girls), “scriveners” (pens and pencils), and “Hollywood” (sunglasses).

And here’s our house mascot, Pearl. She thinks she owns the joint.

Door: Expressive Plum by Sherwin Williams

Wall: Imagine by Sherwin Williams

When I bought the house, this fireplace was painted a sickly mint green. I scraped most of the paint off the bricks and then used a chemical paint remover and wire brush to scrape paint from the mortar. Finally I used Sherwin Williams Alabaster paint, cut with 50% water, to whitewash the bricks and mortar. My mom sanded and stained the mantel. The faux jade plant is from Crate & Barrel, the nature photo is from a vacation a few years ago, and the charcoal drawing I found in my neighbor’s trash!

The cozy leather chair is from Article, and it’s both comfortable and supportive — two thumbs up!

The kids love to read in the window seat in the afternoons. My mom sewed the seat cushion (wish I had that skill!). John and I found the typewriter at an antique store during a weekend getaway, so that piece carries happy memories for us.

John got really into mixing cocktails a few years ago, and I’m not complaining! We cleaned out this sideboard to support his new hobby. I bought the cow drawing from a local nonprofit that supports adults with intellectual disabilities, and my mom gilded the frame. I bought some very old wood from a local shop that reclaims wood from old houses and barns, and we turned it into open shelving with the help of some inexpensive brackets and gold spray paint. The wallpaper is from Lowe’s.

We recently switched up the art in the dining room, as discussed in this blog post. Each of us chose a famous person who inspires us, and we put the photos into inexpensive frames from Michaels. It was a fun and quick project, and it led to some good conversations with the kids. Plus, now that the frames are hung and leveled, we can easily swap out these photos for kids’ art or vacation photos whenever the mood strikes.

When we moved in, we renovated the kitchen top to bottom. I was pleasantly surprised to find affordable cabinets at Home Depot, and my mom and I thought the in-store kitchen designer was brilliant! The countertops are tanzanite. We had some extra space in the corner, and my dad built shelves for cookbooks. Those shelves and the glass-front cabinets are my favorite elements in the kitchen.

Door: Rock Bottom by Sherwin Williams

The circle in the middle of the door is a very, very old doorbell. I love fixtures like this that bring history alive. Several generations of kids have run through this door, slamming the screen door on their way to the backyard, and neighbors probably ran this doorbell when they walked over for a chat. No one uses it anymore, sadly–all of our guests come to the front door–but we love it still.

Next to the sink I display some art I found on Etsy. It’s a good reminder to be grateful even when I’m facing a pile of dirty dishes at the end of a long day. Next to it is a mug that one of the girls, inexplicably, made as the dog’s water dish. It doesn’t hold water, and it’s nowhere near big enough for its intended purpose, but I still love seeing it on the counter.

Wash the plate not because it is dirty, nor because you were told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.

Mother Theresa (@fawnlyprints)

That’s all for now, more coming soon. Happy spring!