Friday, November 8, 2013

Nesting Ninja Powers

By the end of spring, I was ready to set fire to my house. I really love old homes, but I was so tired of our endless list of pending projects. And the musty smell. And my textured walls, etc.

I decided it was probably time to get to work since I was starting to burst into tears every time I walked into the kitchen. And luckily for me, I was entering the NINJA phase of my pregnancy when nesting instincts come alive! Here's what we managed to accomplish in the past few months:

After years of having a huge patch of drywall mud on our living room wall that I had hidden with frames (it had covered water damage, we didn't have the matching paint, excuse, excuse, excuse), we hired a cheap crew to come in and smooth out our walls and repaint the front room. It isn't perfect because that texture was tough to smooth out, but it is SO much better.
 Long story behind this picture, but I'll cut to the chase: I can be a pill. The date for our crew to come in and smooth out our walls had been delayed twice. TWICE. I was going insane. I finally let the kids paint wherever they wanted in that room to give my husband a subtle kick in the behind to get this project moving. He responded with a kind but brutally honest email that I should be patient and chill out. He sent this email right before leaving for an evening church meeting, leaving me alone at bedtime with all the kids. That's when I broke out the non-washable paint, and added some quotes from his email to our walls. Just to let him know that his words had really sunk in.
I know, I know.
 There's the drywall patch. Outlined with sarcasm. When David came home that night, I thought he'd be mad. Instead, he thought it was funny. He thought it was even funnier that I had almost cut off my thumb as I angrily pried open the black acrylic paint with a butter knife. But he did say that if I had done this earlier, he would have invited all of our friends over for dinner.
Luckily the crew did show up just a few days later and in between their work, we decided to chip away at the fireplace. We are so happy we took the risk! The brick underneath is beautiful.
 With walls smoothed and painted in BM's Linen White.
And after!
It's not quite finished yet, but to me it feels like a new room. I'm so grateful for those smooth walls.
We also traded in our fabric sofa and loveseat for a leather couch. 
We'll see how well it wears with our little ones. I'm thrilled that it's wipe-able!

Next I attacked my office space, which is just off the kitchen. It had become a catch-all for our mail and papers and junk, and I knew if I fixed it up, I would WANT to be more organized and pay our bills on time (right?).
 I forgot to take a before picture of this space. The chair was all white with silver legs and the fabric in the desk was a rusty red fabric with flowers. And there was nothing on the walls.
 I hung pictures of my kids' art and family pics and spray painted a magnet board and clip board I've had forever. I spray painted black and white stripes on my office chair and gutted my desk. Yes, yes, and yes.

 I love my DIY Les Touches peg board. Inspiration from Little Green Notebook HERE.

I love how much this chair stands out now! Taping it was a BEAST of a project, but after that it was easy. Inspiration from LGN of course.  Check out here tutorial HERE.

I fell in love with this fabric from L&S Fabrics. It almost has a marbled look with those bright colors.

And it doesn't end there folks. I talked my mother into coming to help, and she is equal to at least three of me. She gets things done. During the 2 1/2 days she was here, we painted my side entry hallway and three walls in my dining room. And then we wall-papered the fourth wall.
This was a first for both of us.
This time I did get a before shot! Belly and all.
 Halfway done, sometime around midnight, with my beautiful mother.
I bought the removable wall paper from Anthropologie that is literally like one giant sticker. It went on beautifully, but you have to be careful because it stretches easily and then the pattern is off. We had to peel it off and restart quite a few times. It took a lot of pep talks and chocolate to get us through the entire experience.
 I painted an old console that we've been using as our art cabinet in the dining room a bright cherry red. The color is actually called Safety Red from Home Depot, a favorite of Jenny's over at LGN.

 Before I painted it, I added some trim pieces on the front and sides to dress it up a bit.
(My first time using a miter box.)
 I added some brass pulls and voila!
 I had this lovely mirror that came with the girls' antique bedroom furniture, but we weren't using it. I spray painted it gold and hung it above the art cabinet.

 I still need to hunt down some curtains and decor (I'm thinking peacock blue Chinese vases?).  
I really want to recover my dining room chairs with a turquoise leather, but it's PRICEY.

And then the guest bathroom! I just decided last week to go ahead and use all of my leftover wall paper in this room and paint the linoleum floors.  Did I mention my pregnant ninja powers? They get stronger as I get further along...

 Here's the before. The wainescoting needed a good scrubbing and new paint. The walls were an olive green as was the antique mirror I hung in here long ago...Bleh.
 The mirror got a coat of Benjamin Moore's Galapagos Turquoise, which is a deep greenish blue (peacock blue) that I really love.
I literally used every last inch of my wall paper, so there are lots of imperfections and one tiny corner above that door that needs some improvisation (off-white paint and a gold paint pen is my plan), but it looks so much brighter in this little bathroom! There's something about those gold peonies that feels so fancy when you walk in.
 I was curious to see how painting over linoleum worked out, and so far it's holding up well. I found some tutorials on Pinterest if you're wanting more details, but the most important part was the sanding and de-glossing, both of which my stud of a husband did for me. Then I rolled on two coats of primer and two coats of Glidden's porch and floor paint in another Benjamin Moore color that is a beautiful dark moody gray.

    I should seal the floors, but I believe this is officially my last project and I'm DONE. We're planning on painting the linoleum in the kitchen as well, so I figure I can seal both floors when that time comes.
I've been wanting to sew a sink skirt for this old sink for so so long, but I tend to avoid anything that involves my sewing machine. I finally grit my teeth and went for it, using this burlap which is a breeze to work with. I think it turned out okay and I'm way too proud of that ruffle at the bottom. I simply hot-glued this baby right onto the sink! We'll see how well it holds.

We still need some more decor in here, but all in good time.

I'm grateful for our home, even if it still gets a musty old-house smell and the oven timer goes off randomly in the middle of the night. It's feeling a little too small for our growing family, but I love that my kids share their rooms and I can hear everything on both floors. Our old stairs creak loudly, but those creaks would easily wake me up if we ever had an intruder in the middle of the night and there's certain spots I can step on that are silent when babies are sleeping. I love how my kitchen window looks out on our back yard so I can watch the kids play in the yard. You have to body slam our front door to lock it, which means that our kids can't open it and go near the street on their own. Every now and then, a breeze comes in through our fireplace, bringing in the scent of firewood and wintery goodness. I have painted nearly every room in the house myself (pregnant every time), which means it's more mine than any other house I've lived in.

I know now that whenever I want to set fire to something, it is simply time to roll up my sleeves and pull out the paint. (No butter knives next time). I am sad to know that this is the last time I will be able to tap into my nesting ninja powers, but I'd say it was a great last hurrah.

Come any time now baby #5!
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  1. Amazing - you inspire me! This almost makes me want to get pregnant so I can get that nesting phase back. :) Ok, not really. But, we really need to hang out because my girls keep saying we need to be friends with a girl family... and then maybe your creativity will rub off on me! Miss talking to you!

  2. That last comment was from me, didn't realize it wouldn't put my name....

  3. Hahaha, I laughed because this sounds so much like me. From 5.5 months to a week before my baby was born (Jan to April this year) my husband and I completely gutted our bathroom in pour 60 yr old house. My husband did most of the work. But I smoothed, painted and caulked. And then I caulked and painted THE ENTIRE HOUSE by myself (1400 sq ft). I finished painting the last room a week before my daughter born and spent the last few days of my pregnancy making the yard look beautiful because we put the house on the market the day before she was born. On the downside, I paid for all that work in extreme hip pain. On the plus side our house looked AMAZING and sold in 8 days. And if that was't enough, I went into labor a few days before my due date and had a very fast and easy labor.

    So keep working!! ;-) ;-)

    So lucky to find bricks on the fireplace!! Such a preety transformation of your room! Also I like the sink skirt so much!!
    Ozana House@heart

  5. Haha, I actually saw your comment on LGN, which is how I knew you have posted all of your updates! Can't believe all that you have accomplished. You are a ninja, pregnant or not :) Jealous of your striped chair! I've been wanting to try that since I saw the tutorial on LGN. Loving you and hope all goes well with numero cinco!!

  6. Wow girl, I want you to come do my house… or help me.