Before & After

Oak Mantel Makeover

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

We have some great friends named Tony and Mia, and our girls go to kindergarten together.  Mia is a busy mother of three who runs her own salon four days a week.   By the time she gets home from work, the last thing she wants to do is start a home improvement project.

What I love about Tony and Mia’s home is that every time you visit, you feel the warmth within, from the spice colors on the walls, to the rich and rustic wood pieces, to their doggie wagging her tail to greet you.  Their house definitely feels like a ‘Home Sweet Home’ and that’s why we love to visit.

So when I was in her family room the other day, Mia asked me what to do with her oak fireplace surround.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted to replace it or stain it, but she knew she didn’t care for the natural oak finish.  The wood’s tone clashed with her dark wood floors and furniture, but overall it had really classic lines and was in great shape.

As I leaned in, I could swear I heard the mantel whisper, “Paint me, I beg you.”  So I recommended we paint it white to coordinate with the trim and lighten up the wall.  Plus, a white fireplace mantel is simply timeless.  So in less than four hours, I gave her fireplace wall a fresh new look with just some primer, paint, and accessories.

Here’s Mia’s Before:

mia before

Here’s Mia’s After:

fireplace after from right

Splendid, right ?

The difference is all in the details !

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

Adventures in Wainscoting

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Did you know I’ve had my little heart set on wainscoting in my living room for like ever ?  Have I mentioned this before ?   Perhaps I have. 

So this past weekend was Mother’s Day.  My husband asked the obligatory question, “Dear, love of my life, mother of my children and wife extraordinaire, what is it that you want for Mother’s Day?”  

It took approximately 1.2 seconds for me to shout “Wainscoting!”  

Wish you could have seen him wince. 

I think he was hoping for “Spa Day” or “Chocolate” instead of “Wainscoting” since he had his heart set on a relaxing weekend watching the San Jose Sharks win the playoffs, woot woot !   No, my idea  of relaxation is a home improvement project – call me crazy. 

I started my Saturday morning with some coffee and research.  I learned the following.

thibaut wallpaperWainscot (paneling on the lower part of a wall) comes in many different styles. 

You’ve got your tongue and groove beadboard, board and batten, inverted panel, flat panel, and raised panel wainscoting.  Researching the ‘how to’ is enough to make your head spin.   This Old House has a great article describing all the different kinds of wainscoting.

I had my little heart set on picture frames sitting on top of smooth panels with a chair rail above, or really something that looks a whole lot like this photo to the left. 

Plenty of websites want to sell you prefabricated kits.   Some online articles recommend hiring a carpenter.  For what I had in mind, I was pretty sure we could do it ourselves in a weekend with some simple supplies. 

And so we did ! 

Sort of.  We’re not finished, but we made great progress.

sat a.m.

sun pm

 

Here’s the step by step on our version of this picture frame wainscoting. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare