Hi All!

Happy Wednesday!  Hope you are having a great week.  You may have caught a glimpse of dark hardwood floors in some of my posts.  Today I would like to share the stairway transformation that became part of updating to hardwood floors.  Here's a sneak peek at how it looks today. 
Below you see how our stairway looked before we got started - navy blue carpet with lots of cherry wood. 
It was time for some updates!

Before we could get started, my husband and  I first had to find common ground in our vision of what an upgrade meant.  Our initial translations were just a tad different.

Translations:  

     To my husband upgrades meant buying new navy blue carpet to
replace the old navy blue carpet.  (mmmmm, no)

    To me upgrades meant hardwood floors, with stained treads on the stairs to match the new floors, risers painted white and a much darker handrail.
 
Once we decided on hardwood flooring (enough said) - I still had it in my head that I also wanted to update the stairway.  You might as well know - when I get something in my head I am determined to accomplish it.  I joke about Mr Niche's resistance to change sometimes - but he really is a good sport; he concedes that when it comes to decorating that's my area - - and when it's all done  - - he's happy when I'm happy.   But I still try to incorporate his desires into any major changes. 
Sooooo, one day I removed the little wooden plugs and started to sand and sand and sand and wonder what the heck I  got my self into and sand and sand and wonder and sand and sand.  Seriously - it  seemed like a gazillion spindles - okay maybe not quite a gazillion - but  there are over 50 of them!   Then after all the sanding and cleaning up  was done I started to stain and then paint.  That part of the process seemed to  go much quicker.  Sorry, no in between photos. 

At some point, I peaked under  the carpet - that is when, I slapped it back down and decided to let the treads  to the professional.  I am determined; however, I also know when to step aside  and hire someone.  Who knew - there are different types of stairs - one for  putting carpet on and the other for looking at - these were not the looking at  kind!!!

So here is what we ended up with. 
I couldn't find the right color of stain; so I ended up blending colors to match the darkest tones in the hardwood flooring.
A view from the top - that's a lot of spindles!
Another look.
Picture
Before
Picture
After
So do you have a stairway that you would love to update?  If so, maybe this can be your inspiration for getting started or maybe you've already refinished yours - either way, I'd love to hear about it. 
Enjoy!!!
 
 
Hi All!

Do you find yourself sometimes hanging onto something that just doesn't work anymore - like this teal vase?
Although, this vase is almost 20 years old - I remember the day I bought it like it was yesterday.  I was in the process of redecorating our guest room and we were traveling through Tennessee.  We stopped to do some shopping and I spotted this vase - it went perfectly with the picture that was serving as the inspiration for the room.  I brought it home and it served its purpose.  When we moved, the vase came with us - and was used for a while before being retired to that "shelf in the basement".  That place where I keep things thinking they may get repurposed some day.

Recently, I was looking for something for inside the front door and this vase filled the bill - except for the color.  I already had the candle pillars and they are a dark bronze - they actually came that way.  Believe it or not - I have not painted everything in my house (yet).  Anyway...after removing a bit of dust and adding some Oil Rubbed Bronze paint that I had on hand - I had a new look without spending a dime!
Without a color change this vase didn't have a chance with my current decor.  But with little effort it now has a place at the front door.  Another look...
Don't you just love bringing new life to something you already have?  I sure do!

Enjoy!!!
 
 
Hi All!

Wow - what is this???  I actually have time to post two days in a row!!!  How can this be.  Whatever it is - I am liking it.  So today I want to share the very recent history of how this rubber mat came to look like this...
Last year I purchased this rubber mat for my backdoor.  Sorry, no picture of how
nice it looked when I originally purchased it.  But, as you can see (below) - it quickly faded and by  the end of last summer it looked like this...all worn and faded.  Needless to say, I was highly disappointed. 
Why didn't I just pitch it?  Well, as is the case with so many things, I still liked it - it just didn't look so good.  If you looked closely, it was in great condition - it was just the worn and faded paint that was bringing it down.  So yesterday morning, I grabbed a couple of craft paints I had on hand and decided to revive it. 

Using a stencil brush, I pounced on some Folk Art - 420 Linen, Americana - Honey Brown and Americana - Khaki Tan.  About 45 minutes later, it looked like this. 
Needless to say, I am quite pleased with this improvement!  And since I used things that I already had (the mat and the paint) - - it didn't cost me a penny.  Now...I can't wait to get the deck stained!

One more look...
Picture
From this - before...
Picture
to this - after!!!
So, maybe you have a door mat that is looking worn or doesn't match your color scheme any more..before you replace that worn, faded or outdated door mat, you may want to consider adding some paint.

Next, I am heading outside to enjoy this beautiful day...hard to tell what I might get into - because I have lots of outdoor projects I want to tackle!   Have a great day!

Enjoy!!!
 
 
Welcome back!

We have  been busy around here and fortunately we got the shutters and doors painted just in time for the Spring blossoms to burst.  The shutters and door were previously dark green.  Ooops, no before picture - I know I have some, I just have to find them - probably on the other computer.  Anyway, this time we decided on black paint, with white trim.  I think it goes nicely with the brick.   It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your curb appeal.    

A tutorial for the wreath on the front door is here.  The only difference now is-  I took the eggs off the wreath after Easter.   

Last year was pretty crazy around here, without getting into the all of the details - - suffice it to say, the shrubs and bushes just didn't get trimmed. They normally get trimmed after the blossoms fade and before the fresh mulch goes down. With last year being a bit very hectic - by the time we realized they needed trimmed the buds were already starting to push for this year. Decision time...shape them and not have as many buds this year or let them go. Shape or blossoms...blossoms or shape...I decided I would rather have flowers and we would worry about the shape later - so we left them go. I'm not saying it was easy, there were a few times after that decision when I just wanted to had to restrain myself from giving them a good trimming.


Now looking at all the blossoms, I am glad I didn't give into temptation and trim them.  But, trust me, as they begin to fade - they are in for a good trimming.

So how about you, would you have trimmed them despite beginning to produce buds or waited it out to enjoy the blossoms?

Enjoy!!!
 
 
Hi All!

Today, I have another piece to add to the furniture revival.  Here is an old cherry desk that I feel in love with on a recent scouting adventure.  
She had some rough spots, needed a good cleaning and some good old fashioned tender loving care.  But look at those lines - great legs, carved detail and the interior is like new!   All for a great price.  Sold! 

This is where I can't wait to phone Mr Niche to find out when he can come and pick it up - oops that should read pick them up.  Them being, not only did I find this great desk but I also found a bookcase and dresser.  Score!!!  And as luck would have it DH was headed in this direction so we would have them home the same afternoon!!!

When I got the pieces home I started cleaning the desk right away.  I came across a couple of address stickers.  It seems the previous owner's name was Amelia - so I decided to name this project Amelia. 

Although I don't normally prime when I use ASCP, Amelia had some rough  spots that I had to touch up prior to getting started.  Some markings add character, you just have to decide which ones you want to live with.   Likewise,  knowing what look you are going for shoul also help you determine how much  prep  work to do.  For example if I was going for a distressed look - I  would have cleaned her up and started painting. 

So here we are after the prep work and a coat of primer.
From the moment I saw Amelia, I knew this was going to be an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  (ASCP) Project.  I decided to mix up a batch of my home brew that I call Vanilla Frosting. 

Here she is - still up on blocks.
Here's a close up of some of Amelia's details; displaying her new coat and her
original hardware now finished in Oil Rubbed Bronze.  As indicated earlier, I am  planning on a seperate post for hardware.
And here is another angle - I just love the details. 
And the total new look. 
I recently picked up a chair that needs a fresh coat of paint - it should look great with this desk.  Hope to get it posted in the near future. 

And now for the side-by-side before and after.  So how do you like Amelia's new style?  Have you done any makeovers lately; if so, I'd love to see them.
Picture
Before
Picture
After
It's a furniture revival - one piece at a time!
 
 
Hi - I'm back!!! 

Didn't mean to take so long since my last post - but sometimes you'll have that.  You know, a girl has gotta have time to create in amongst all the other things in life that demand our time.  Certainly not the least of the time drains is the trips to the hardware stores - I've been there about a dozen times since I last posted.  Pick up paint samples, check them out at home, buy paint - color doesn't look right in this lighting, back for samples, check again at home, back for paint, need more supplies...it's enough to wear a person out!!!  Oh, and that doesn't count the trips my husband made for me!!! 

But even if it takes me a while between posts - please be patient with me as it likely means I am busy creating.  Hmmmmm, let's see, when was the last time I wasn't working on something...I can't remember; in fact I usually have a few projects going at any given time. 

I am also working to improve my camera skills to capture my efforts.   That has been a real struggle!!!  It seems like one day I have it and the next day I am all over the place.  I have always considered my photos above average; but, for some reason taking pictures to share with you has been a challenge.  Part of it is that we get a lot of sunlight and that is a challenge and the other part I would say is the operator - that would be me!!! 

Anyway - - about that accent table...

Here is a small accent table I picked up about a month ago.  I liked the spindles and its sturdy bones.  It's a perfect size for sitting your drink down next to your favorite chair without adding a full sized table.  The finish, although this picture didn't capture it well (surprise!!!), is a high gloss black.  Listen...do you hear something?
A few shake, shake, shakes and the familiar pssssssssssst, pssssssssssst, psssssssssssssssssssssst and it takes on a new look.  
Add a vase filled with pussy willows for a Spring look and pull up a chair .
One more look.
Picture
Before
Picture
After
If you look closely in the background of the before picture you will have a sneak peek at an upcoming post.

It's all part of a furniture revival - one piece at a time! 

Enjoy!!!
Decor Niche

 
 
Hi,

As part of my ongoing journey to update, today we take a look at the fireplace.  This is a really easy project that pays great dividends in blending with my current style.  The fireplace is a natural focal point within the room; however, it seemed like the brass surrounding this fireplace was getting all of the attention.  Here is the look before.
The brass was playing center stage.  In an effort to tone it down a bit, I picked up a can of high temperature paint in black - this paint is also used for painting bar-b-que grills.  The man at the hardware store said I wouldn't need to use the high temperature paint but just to be safe - - I purchased it anyway.  (I am sure the hubby will find some use for the leftover paint).  For this project I went with the brush on paint - it just seemed like a whole lot of unnecessary effort to remove the pieces and mask it off in order to use spray paint.

About a half hour later, ta-da - the new look. 
I prefer the updated look - yeah - I know, someday I may be sorry I did this but for now it's what I like. 
Picture
Before
Picture
After
So, how about you, have you updated your fireplace?  If so I'd love to hear from you.  Someday I might surprise myself and paint the actual fireplace - but for now, this will do just fine.

Enjoy!!!
Decor Niche
 
 
Good Afternoon,

Things are moving along on some of my other projects but I am taking a little break - actually letting some paint dry - so I thought I would post a project I completed earlier. 

I had a spot on a low bookshelf that was missing something and needed a little accent.  The bookcase is black and I needed something with some lift.  So I sorted through some items that I had from past decor and came up with this collection. 
Just an assortment of shapes in different finishes.  The one on the front left (above) still has a tag on it - revealing it's never been used (shhhhh - don't tell anyone).  All are pretty in their current state - but they just don't go with my current style.  About now you can probably hear the rattle of a paint can shaking.  That's right, they are headed for a new look.

Remove any stickers, wash, rinse and dry thoroughly.  Proceed with painting.  Remember several light coats are better than heavy coats and will give you a much nicer finish without any runs.  These are just for accent pieces and won't get heavy wear, so - I skipped the primer.  I like to wipe them down with alcohol as an extra precaution to make sure they are nice and clean.  I wear rubber gloves to handle them after they are clean to ensure they have a clean surface for the paint to stick.  

Here are three of the vases - finished in white and ready for their new place on the bookshelf.  They are actually the same color, the lighting in this picture makes them appear differently. 
And below is the small planter. 
If you wanted a little more color you could add some interest by adding ribbons or other embellishments - or use another color from your decor.  In the picture below red bows were added. 
This little update was all done with items I already had on hand - the vases, planter, paint and ribbons.   Do you have a spot that could use a "new" accent?  Have you looked at those items you just haven't parted with yet to see if a new skin (e.g., a fresh coat of paint) would make it appear as a new accent?  Perhaps you too can use the power of paint to make those unused items into a unique "new" collection.
Picture
Before
Picture
After
So go have fun with it - revive something you already have into something that goes with your current decor. 

Back to painting...
 
Enjoy!!!
Decor Niche
 
 
Hi All,

Geesh - where has this week gone?!  I have a couple of projects near completion; if this weekend goes as planned, they should be posted over the next couple of days.  I have made some changes to the site over the last couple of days.  I think the new format is much easier to read and I like the larger photos.  
Today we look at another painting project. Have I told you I love the power of paint?  Well, I do!  I found these lovely medallions on clearance at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I love the detail on them and although I love the original colors, I immediately thought they would be great painted and used in a grouping. Aha - there is a spot above the guest room bed where these would be perfect!  That area has been a little difficult to fill in; I have tried various items in different shapes and groupings and just haven't been satisfied. As headboards continue to reach greater heights the area above the headboard can sometimes present a decorating challenge - - but with a little ingenuity we can tackle them. That's part of the fun!!!

Here's another look at the medallions in their original colors.  They came with hanging brackets attached; however, we had to move one hanger on the dark medallion because I wanted to hang it as a diamond rather than a square. 
I decided to paint them black to match the finish on the guest room furniture.  Next, - - well, then I hesitated - (thinking) wouldn't they be great in white in the dining room???  However, I did not give in to the temptation and kept my focus on filling in the space above the headboard.  Besides - nothing says they can't be switched out at a later date.  After all, there is satisfaction in using what you already have in a different way. 

Here's a close-up shot after a coat of paint.   The grouping works well in this space because the staggered heights mimic the lines of the headboard. 
Here you can see them with more of the surrounding area.   
Always consider the power of paint when you find something you like but it doesn't come in the right color. 

Enjoy!!!
Decor Niche

 
 
Hi,

Yesterday, I mentioned doing a post on the chandelier.  Well here it is.  This is a picture of the original brass fixture that hung in the dining room.  I was ready for a change   As I started to shop around for new lighting fixtures, I quickly realized that I really didn't mind the shape but I was looking for something - well, in this case not so brassy.  Hmmmmm, I started to wonder - what would happen if I painted it? 
Basically, my options were: a) shell out at least $100.00 for a fixture very, very similar to the one I had (but in a different finsh) or b) spray paint it.  Let's see - I could just buy a new one and figure out what to do with the old light or give it a whirl and see how it looked with a fresh coat of spray paint.  Guess which one I picked...if you selected (b) - hooray for you!!!  (If you selected (a) - well, you need to get to know me a little better!). 

I decided on (b) - - because if I painted it and didn't like it I could try again or give in to frustration and go buy a new light.  You know the old saying - nothing ventured, nothing gained.  If I went with (a) I would never know if (b) was a valid option and get the satisfaction of having done it myself. 

So, first step - Shut off the power to the fixture in your electrical panel!!!!  Always, always, always, make sure you have shut off the power before doing any electrical work. 
After I was sure (checked and double checked) that the power was off in the dining room.  I removed the bulbs and took down the lighting fixture.

I then removed the little white plastic things that look like the base of the candles and the little round things at the base of each candle.  Then I taped off each of the light bulb sockets on the fixture so that paint doesn't get down in those holes (this is also important). 

Next, I figured out a way to hang the fixture, so that I could access the entire fixture in one painting session.  A couple of bungee cords suspended from the garage ceiling seemed to work quite nicely.  I did consider taking it outside and hanging it from a tree but the weather wasn't cooperating.  

With the fixture securely hung, I broke out a fresh can of Rust-oleum, Oil Rubbed Bronze, (ORB) spray paint.  Follow the directions on the can and remember that several light coats(emphasis added - light coats)  will give you a professional finish.  I painted the chain and the cord that run up through the chain in the same manner.  Don't give into the urge to cover all the brass in one coat - you will end up with runs in the paint and you will not be happy!

You will also need to paint the little round things that go at the base of each
candle - I set mine up separately and gave them a light coat each time I
coated the chandelier. 

After applying several light coats to all of the pieces, give your fixture plenty of time to dry.  Once it is completely dry, make sure that the power is off BEFORE rehanging your fixture. 

Reconnect the fixture.  Assemble all of the pieces and screw in the light bulbs.  Turn the power back on.  Enjoy your new look and celebrate the fact that you just saved yourself over 100 of your hard earned dollars.

It wasn't until I took this next picture that I realized - photographing light fixtures is not an easy task - at least not for me.  So forgive my photography...but I hope you still get the general idea.
One more look at the before and after.
Picture
Before
Picture
After
So which way do you like it?  Before - brassy or After - Bronzy?  For my current style, I am glad I decided to go-for-it and saved at least $100.00.  

Enjoy!!!
Decor Niche