Monday, January 31, 2011

White chairs

We hosted a new years party for 12 people and I really wanted to create a cohesive look and when I stumbled upon four foldable wooden chairs with 50% off at the local thrift store it saved my day.

They werent the nicest to begin with, but two layers of paint later meant I could create a new years dinner table with all white chairs of different kinds.

 The dinner table.. although it doesnt show the chairs very well so I guess I will have to find a reason to use them again soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The first signs of spring

To me, tulips are the first sign that spring might eventually arrive, although it will still be three more months before it gets warmer.

I got these lovely bouquets for my birthday and they really add color and a bit of happiness to the room.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A store I miss

Some days ago Apartment Therpy featured a post about the store BHV in Paris. I lived in Paris for two years and I really liked that store - especially once I had found the basement.

The upper floors look like any standard department store with perfumes, beddings, table ware etc (no clothing though..), but the basement is a reall "bricolage" - full of everything you need for DIY. Unfortunately my apartment was too small for any big changes, but there was still a lot of nice stuff to find there.

I wish there was a store like that here.

When we first met...

We are getting married this year and I decided that this could merit an ego wall (after all, it is our own house so where else could we put a lot of pictures of ourselves) to remind us of all the years we have spent together. The frames are RAM from IKEA painted white and the quote says

 "When we first met, I had no idea you would be so important to me." 

I found the quote on the net so I do not know who said it, but I like it because it reminds me of how hazardous meetings can be and how people you meet only briefly can be more important to you than you can ever imagine at that first moment. And vice versa.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Details from the hallway

I know, I know, I should move on to another room, but I just want to show some of the details from the hallway too.

The mirrors have a special history and I am acctually a bit proud of them.

Some years ago we rented an apartment that we never moved into (because we found the house before we had moved) and in that apartment there was a lot of sectional mirror (mirror walls?) that the previouse renter had left because we said we wanted them. That almost turned into a problem when the next renter did not want them, but luckily the landlord promised her new wallpapers and so they had to take all the mirrors down. We asked to get them (and since we didnt even spend one night in that aparment they were the only value we got for two months rent, so they were bloody expensive!) and put some of them up, but the eighties callled and wanted their decoration back so when we redid the hallway we needed something different.

At the lumber yard we picked up some very simple planks that I cut and painted white and used as basic frames. I think they turned out quite nice, although at some point we will have to add a fullenght mirror in the hallway as well.

We also added this rope that we found in one of the storage rooms. Obviously the previous owners had planned to use it and then left it there for us. It fitted perfectly and due to my unknown talent of falling down stairs I am quite happy to have it there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Today is my birthday, so there has been no time for blogging. I will make it up to you tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The color in the hallway

It is almost impossible to show the real shade of a color on a photograph, but this is what the hallway looked like when I was done painting it. The shade is acctually more grey and not so purple/blue as it looks in the pictures. It also goes better with the floor in real life, but in the pictures it looks kind of odd.

I am extremely satisfied with the result, because it is the first room people see when the step through the door and it looks so much more modern now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Painting the hallway

The hallway was the one room that remained unpainted for the longest time. The wallpapers might not have been my first choice, but they were not bad either and they went very well with the colors of the floor.

However, if you know me, you know that I like to paint things and it was indeed only a matter of time. I found a grey paint that I liked very much that I used to paint several furniture pieces and I was even more pleased when I learned that I could use the same paint (which was on sale!) and did not have to order a special mixed one.

This is what the hallway looked before (after the painting of the stair as described in the post below).

 The wallpaper. 

I thought that the paint would be more expensive than ordinary white one and in order to save time and paint I decided to cover all the feathers on the wallpaper with white paint and then paint everything white. In the end, the grey paint turned out to be cheaper than the white one and only required one layer, but at least I will know for next time. 

Halfway through. 

Finished! I realized I do not have any full picture of the finished look and it is too dark to take one now, so you will have to wait until tomorrow. I can only say that I was sooooo satisfied.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Archive: The stairway to...

This house was full of different kinds and shades of wood when we moved in, and the stair had a yellow tone that we did not like. For a long time it felt like an impossible project, but after some time spent on various DIY sites we decided to attack it.

It had been laquered and it took us many hours of sanding before we had removed all of the finish (and even more hours cleaning up the dust afterwards).

This is what it looked like before. Not bad, but way to yellow and woody for our taste:

Sanding the whole stairway took forever, or at least several hours. In the end we were both very, very tired of it and almost regretted doing it.

Halfway through. Everything was sanded and everything except the steps painted white:

At first we thought we wanted dark steps (like this) but once we saw how good it looked with lighter steps we decided to go for that. We used this coloured wax, first applying one (or two, I am not sure) layer(s) of white coloring and then sealing with the top coat. 

I have to admit that I was not as careful and throughly as I should have been - I applied the wax with a brush, left it for a while and then moped it up with a cloth. It seems to have worked just as fine as the more time consuming way the company recommended. 

Waxing the steps meant some trouble as we could not step on it until it had dried, and so we were not able to reach all the thing we had on the top floor.

We also removed the rail and painted it all white.

With a little help of course.

Putting it back together was easier than it looked and we were very satisfied. It goes so much better with the rest of the house and even though it was one of the hardest projects so far (mostly due to the sanding) it was definitely one of the most revarding.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The tools

I found this one on and couldnt wait to share.

Easy change

I bought this fabric a couple of months ago but forgot it when winter arrived and christmas came along. Today I wanted to add just a little touch of spring to the kitchen (even if spring is still far away) and this just fit perfectly. I also picked up two matching light holders on the sale, and I think it makes a nice match.

I often buy fabric and while I am trying to figure out how to use it I use it as table cloth, but to be honest it usually ends up being just that. Changing the  table cloth really makes a big change for the room.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The kitchen before and after

I can not believe it took us so long to re-do our kitchen. By changing the doors to new ones from IKEA and putting in some DIY, our kitchen went from this... this:

There is only one small thing left... replacing the temporary handles made out of packaging tape to something real.

Adding the work top

We bought a work top in oak from IKEA, but then found a cheaper one at another store. Sawing was not the easiest thing as oak is a very hard wood, but we managed.

I sanded it and treated it with some oil (also from IKEA).

We then added some old wall-paper on the pillar (to cover up the edges) and painted it white but I forgot to take a picture of this.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The kitchen

I promised to follow up on our kitchen re-do.

While I loved all the storage in our kitchen, I always wanted to have an open kitchen with a "bar" and so I had been thinking about tearing down part of the wall for a long time. I also wanted to make it easier for air and people to circulate  between the kitchen and the living room. To be honest, I would like to knock down a whole wall, but since Darling says no I will have to live with it until I can persuade him.

Maybe I should start by saying that me and my fiancĂ© have different views on DIY-work. Having grown up with parents that were constantly building or tearing down something have made me love it and I am always up for a trial-and-error or learn-as-you-go-project, while he just hates the mess it creates and rather have everything planned for the beginning or even  preferably contract someone else to do it.

Because of this I began the kitchen remodelling when he was not home. 

This is what it looked like before I took down the shelves.

The empty wall with the previous wall paper shining through.

I first wanted to find out if there was a pillar that was bearing the roof, and it seemed to be something there, so I decided to start somewhere else.

I drilled four holes and then used the saw to get a small hole before I took out as much as I could to see what the wall really looked like. 

Then I continued. And removed everything inside.

Finally - hours later - I came through and got a first glimpse of our living room.

Most of the wall is down, but unfortunately there was indeed a pillar that could not be removed (or, of course it could, but it would be such a bigger project that I decided to just keep it there) and also quite a lot of electricity that I was not allowed to change myself.

In retroperspective, I do not really recomend my method, because even though I really enjoyed sawing the stuff, I got the dust all over the place. Luckily I managed to clean most of it up before Darling got home, but next time I will use some other way.

Beginning of day two where we also removed part of the other wall to make it more open.

Notice how I am dressed in real working gear. Or not.

Waiting for the electrician. In fact, the kitchen remained like this for quite some time because it took a long time before the electrician arrived.

I will post pictures of the finished result tomorrow.

Of course, I didnt do it all by myself, I had my little helpers with me.