Laundry Refresh

It’s been a minute since I’ve actually written a post! We have been road-tripping and enjoying what is left of Summer before Hollis starts her first year of pre-school next week. I have been taking a break from projects and have been focusing on organizing ALL THE THINGS. I have gutted all the closets, except the bedroom closets, which I plan to tackle soon. A lot of our closets on the first floor have not been sorted through since we moved here, I kind of just dumped random things in them that didn’t have a home at the time. Now that we are settled here, a lot of the items found homes elsewhere in the house, and other things got purged and donated.

Anyway…while I was organizing the laundry room closet, which is also our coat closet, I felt like the whole room could really use a refresh. The laundry room is right off the entry way when you walk into our house. It’s literally the first room you see and it really doesn’t reflect the style of our house.  It has a door on it, but honestly we never shut it. You can always see right into the laundry room when you walk in the door. Because of that, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the room tidy, but there is no decor whatsoever and the wall color is leftover paint from our last house.

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I had hung a couple of utility shelves with rods when we first moved here. I thought that I would use them a lot more than I do, but I really don’t store much on them and I usually only hang a couple of things at a time so I really don’t need so much hanging space. I ended up taking the shelves down and using them in the coat closet. I hung them quite a bit higher than the rod that was in there to free up space below the coats. I originally had a rolling laundry cart with three canvas bins for sorting laundry….but I NEVER used it. It just collected things in it that we were too lazy to put away. So I also moved it into the closet under the coats and that is where we keep and organize our sport/outdoor activities (ie. balls, baseball mitts, bats, kites, etc.)

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After all the closet organizing, I was left with a half empty laundry room. I was able to really think about what I need in the space and not just feel like I have to fill the space with stuff we already have because that is what worked in our old house. I can’t believe it took me three years to figure that out!

I want to just do a mini-makeover to revive the space and add some style and personality to it, because it’s definitely lacking right now. Here is my to-do list:

  • paint the walls
  • switch out the fluorescent light fixture
  • add a shelf to hold a laundry basket or two
  • add a hook(s) to hang a few laundered items
  • add some artwork
  • add some decorative storage containers
  • maybe add a plant to liven up the space
  • hang items like the drying rack and ironing board
  • find a new runner

laundryroom

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Refreshing Neutrals

After living in this old farmhouse for the last few years, I’m finding myself really starting to embrace this whole ‘modern farmhouse’ trend that is happening right now. (Thank you Joanna Gaines, am I right?!) I fought it for a long time, but I just keep gravitating toward it and I figure what better time to embrace this look then when I’m actually LIVING in a FARMHOUSE. You have probably noticed from my last few projects that things are becoming a lot more neutral.

Our entry way has been in need of some TLC for a while now. It is really the only entrance that we use so it gets a lot of traffic. There are scuff marks on the walls and the trim and it was just starting to feel kind of meh in there. I painted it a mint green when we first moved in and had a little accent paint on the walls, but I was ready for something new. Something fresh. It is such a small space, I decided to just go ahead and paint it a nice neutral color to clean it up and brighten the space up a bit.

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These pics were taken right after the I painted in here when we first moved in. Over the years, not much has changed except the door has been painted a dark navy. And that door across from the front door that leads into the office has been removed.

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I painted the entry with a creamy off-white color. Valspar’s Asiago which I also used in the kid’s bedroom. It looks so much better with that navy door than the mint green did. I also mentioned in my last post that I want to add molding to these doors off the entry and paint them black, so I think this creamy neutral will look great with that.

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I switched out the old mirror to this trio of mirrors to add a little more interest. I couldn’t find the right spot for them in the house, but so far, I like them here. I ended up painting the coat rack hooks black to add a little more contrast. Black spray paint is my BFF lately. I’ve been using it on everything. I also have been trying to add a little greenery to each room in the house. These are faux, but I don’t care, I love them and they are zero maintenance. I ‘planted’ them in these old metal grain elevator buckets that we have scattered around the farm. file_0042

I got that bench a couple of years ago at a flea market for $10. I would still love to find something else for the space, but this serves its purpose for now. I cut off the back and side a bit, because it was just too 80’s country for me. Those hearts on the side still bug me, but not as much now. I also sanded it and roughed up the finish a little to give it more of a rustic look. I would like to find/make a cushion for it, but like I said I really want to find something else for the space, so I haven’t been in a hurry for the cushion.

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I squared off the chalkboard and made it a bit smaller. I plan on trimming it out with some reclaimed wood. I also plan on adding a wreath to the door, switching out the rug, and changing out the fluorescent light. And of course I still have to freshen up the paint on the trim and get on those black doors!

 

Feelin’ Crafty: Coat Rack

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI’m loving this early Fall weather we are having! I’ve had the windows open to air out this old, stuffy house. My apple crisp scented candles are burning away. I already pulled out my favorite hoodies and cozy sweatshirts. I am in no way ready for Winter, but Fall, bring it on!

The only bad thing about this cooler weather is the mess it creates in my house.  Hoodies and jackets everywhere except where they are supposed to be….the coat closet. A closet dedicated to specifically hold coats, yet no one in this house is capable of putting their coat there. We had this same problem in our last house so I can only blame this problem on ourselves. I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to open the door and hang our coats on a hanger, but it is.

So instead of making myself crazy picking up hoodies and jackets all day, I decided to make myself a nice little coat rack. Something to hang right in the entry way that we could just throw our coats on instead of them ending up on the floor or kitchen table (why is the kitchen table a magnet for random clutter?). Could I buy a coat rack at the store? Of course, but what fun is that? I actually looked for a coat rack at many stores, but I just couldn’t find what I was picturing in my head. I wanted one that was the same length as the bench in our entry way and I wanted it to be sort of rustic. Nothing I found really fit the bill and I figured I could make one easily and save myself from having to look anymore.

I started with a 1″ x 6″ 3′ pine board. My bench is 3′ long so this was perfect and saved me from having to cut it down. (Although cutting it down would’ve been super easy too). I think it was about $3 at Menards.
DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI found a recipe for coffee stain online and decided to give it a try. I just used one part coffee grounds and one part white vinegar and mixed them in a glass container. Then I dropped a piece of steel wool down inside, closed up the container, and let it sit for about a day. Then I just pulled out the steel wool (while wearing gloves b/c it’s very icky) and started applying it to my untreated board. The steel wool leaves a little bit of a gray tint to the mixture which was perfect for the rustic look I was after. I’m sure if you didn’t leave the steel wool in as long, you would get less of a gray tint. Warning: this mixture is STINKY! It smells like hot garbage. You may need a mask.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI applied one coat and then let it dry. It only took about 15 min to dry in the sun and then I was able to apply another coat. I only needed two coats for my rustic finish, but you could keep applying until you get the color you want.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI wanted my board to look like an old piece of wood. So after both coats were dry, I started to sand down the edges. Then I lightly sanded the rest of the board. I sanded more vigorously in some spots to give it more of an aged look. The vinegar/coffee smell went away after I sanded everything down. (thank God!)

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got my board the right color and roughed it up a bit, I added some hooks. I had room for 5 large hooks. I also got them at Menard’s for about $4 a piece. I spaced them out evenly and just drilled them into the board.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI used wall anchors and 2 screws on each side of my board to hang it so it would be nice and sturdy. I want it to be able to hold jackets and heavy coats as well as my super heavy diaper bag. I pre-drilled my holes for my anchors and made sure it was all level, then put my screws in.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comThis was such an easy project. I am already looking for other things I can stain with coffee…besides my teeth ;). The whole thing cost me $23 which is way less than what I would’ve spent if I had found what I was looking for in the first place.

Pieces of Flair

“We really need to talk about your flair.” I said to the entry way. And then the entry way was like “Really?…but I have 15 pieces on”. To which I replied “Well, fifteen is the minimum, okay? Now, you know it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum.”

If you don’t like the movie Office Space, we can’t be friends.

I don’t really talk to inanimate objects…at least not when anyone else is around, but I have come to the conclusion that our entry way is a little lacking in the ‘flair’ department. I’m all about keeping it casual and functional, but I think every room deserves a little something special. I had an idea of how I could add some flair.

That being said, not every idea is a good idea.

Sometimes I get these ideas and they look fan-TAS-tic…in my head. And then I go to apply them in real life and they look….well, not so fantastic. Here is an example.

I found this tutorial on Pinterest, where they drew a geometric shape on the walls with a gold Sharpie paint pen. Easy enough. I loved the concept and how simple it was. BUT I didn’t want to be a big ‘ol copycat and copy exactly what they did, so I decided to find another pattern to put my own spin on it. I measured everything out and started marking up the walls with pencil. Once I had it marked, I already had the impression that it wasn’t going to work, but I decided to forge ahead because it looked so good in my head. I just marked off one wall and decided to go ahead and add the gold Sharpie to see how I liked it before I went on to the other walls.

Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comThe truth is, I really liked it, but I knew deep down that it was just too busy for such a narrow space. I also thought maybe I could just do the one wall, but I decided it would just make the room feel unbalanced.  So this is as far as I got before I admitted defeat and went back to the drawing board.

Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I really thought about what went wrong, I decided a little would go a long way in this space.  I thought about drawing the same design with gold Sharpie but in smaller strips. Then I was watching HGTV’s new show Flipping the Block, and one of the teams had a little flare on their walls of a master bedroom they were designing. It was perfect for my space!

flippingtheblockI got to work taping off the section of wall I wanted to paint. It was super easy. The only measuring I had to do was the width of the columns. The rest was just random taping at an angle. I made my angles slightly less severe than theirs.

Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.com Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comThen the paint went on. I decided to use all white paint. It’s actually left over trim paint so it is a semi-gloss and has a little shine to it in the right light.

Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter two coats of paint, I just peeled away the tape and was left with this.

Herringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comHerringbone Accent // thegoldbrickroad.comI really like how it turned out. I think the gold would have been overkill in here. Instead of yelling “hey, look at me!”, it’s more of a whisper. I still have to hang our coat rack on the wall, paint the trim on the attic access, and change out the flourescent light fixture. You know…more pieces of flair.

Any Excuse To Play With Chalk

My days are filled with projects. There are projects that are necessary, projects that are expensive, projects that are time consuming, projects that suck the life right out of you and projects that are just plain fun. Of course the fun ones are my favorite (it would be super weird if they weren’t). Luckily this project falls under fun.

I’ve been working on the entry way the last couple of weeks. Now that all the walls are painted and the trim…oh the trim…that’s one of the life-sucking projects I was talking about. Now that that’s out of the way I can focus on dressing up the space. Or in this case dressing down. I’m going casual on this one. I love the idea of a fancy, grand entry way. But let’s be real. We live on a farm. We aren’t fancy people, and function trumps beauty these days.

I know for sure there will be a bench and hooks along one wall of the entry, but the opposite wall is open for whatever. I’ve been wanting to do a chalkboard wall for a long time, but hadn’t found the right spot. Of course the playroom would be the obvious choice, but Hollis isn’t quite old enough for a chalkboard wall and I’d really like for the whole family to be able to use it (and by whole family, I mean me). I originally thought of the kitchen, but I just don’t have the wall space for it and I’m not crazy about the idea of chalk dust where we eat. So I think the entry way will be the best spot.

I started out drawing a free-form shape on the wall. Sorry for the blurry pic, I just used a pencil to sketch out my shape.
DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.com

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comWe thought it would be fun to make it magnetic so we could hang artwork or notes too. I read online reviews of this Magnamagic and everyone said to use at least 4 coats to get magnets to really work on it. I got magnets to stick to it after one coat, but went ahead and did 4 anyway. I didn’t know if covering it up with chalkboard paint would make it less effective.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comHere it is after a few coats. The paint is really thick and will leave a texture if you don’t smooth it out with a brush or a roller. I have a few ridges on mine that I didn’t catch in time before they dried. (oops!)

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got my four coats on and let them dry, I started adding the chalkboard paint. I used Valspar’s and only need two coats of it. It went on easily and covered really well.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.com

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comI was also able to use one of my flea market finds. I think it was an old wall planter, and now it holds the chalk and eraser.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter all my paint dried, I had to season the chalkboard by dragging a piece of chalk across the entire surface and then erasing it. It was messy, but necessary.

DIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Chalkboard Wall // thegoldbrickroad.comI’ve been having fun with my our new chalkboard. Some day Hollis can draw on it, but for now I like using to leave funny messages to the hubs and filling it with quotes from the Mindy Project and Brooklyn 99….you know, like most adults do.

Color Conundrum: Picking Paint Colors

Everyone has a hobby. Some people love to scuba dive, polka dance, or….iron….? (extreme ironing is seriously a thing you guys) What’s my hobby?  My hobby is picking out paint colors.  People, do you realize how excited about paint swatches as I get? Sometimes I even make up rooms that need to be painted JUST so I can pick out paint for them. (Extreme ironing doesn’t sound so weird now, does it?) So moving into a house where every room needs to be painted, is basically awesome for me.

In our last house, I was very safe with my paint color selections. We lived in a split-level with a fairly open floor plan. From the living room, you could see the dining room, kitchen, entry, and the upper and lower hallways. To keep things cohesive, I used a really neutral gray color palette. We also repeated a lot of the same wall colors.  For instance, the dining room was the same color as our master and the living room was the same color as the hallway and guest room. Not only did we save a little money by getting the most out of our paint, but it also created a nice flow throughout the house.

When we first moved to the farm-house, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having so many closed-off rooms. Our house was built-in the 1890’s so open floor plans weren’t really a thing then.  I missed the open feeling of our last house. Now after living here for a few months, I’m starting to really like having clearly separate rooms that can be closed off when we want. It’s also kind a of game-changer when it comes to picking out paint colors. Since you can’t see the whole house from one room, I feel like I can be a little more adventurous with my paint selection. I still love a good neutral, but I feel like I should embrace this opportunity to experiment with a little more color.

Here’s what colors we have going on so far…

sparkling lake valspar

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exciting orange

Exciting Orange Sherwin-Williams

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grayish sherwin williams

Grayish Sherwin-Williams

IMG_0517These three rooms are all connected by the entry way so I need the entry way paint color to compliment each room. I wanted something just neutral enough that it would look good next to other colors, but not necessarily beige or white. My first thought was a darker gray, similar or even the same as the color of the cabinets in the kitchen. But I was afraid it would look too cold or  be overkill with all the gray going on in the kitchen.  I want it too feel like its own space and not an extension of the kitchen. I ended up with a very pale mint green. It reads kind of gray on the computer screen, but in person it is the perfect shade of pale, pale mint.

ante meridian valsparHere it is before I started painting. I have to admit the brown bothered me a lot less with our new floor and painted trim. As you can see I filled in a lot of nail holes. (just wait ’til you see all the nail holes in the bedrooms!)

IMG_0664IMG_0663Here it is after one coat, sorry for the terrible lighting in this photo, but I wanted to show you how green it really can be.  And yes, I still need to paint that trim around the attic access. I keep forgetting about it until I see it in pics!

thegoldbrickroad.comAnd here it is after two coats. I was a little worried it was too green after the first coat, but after two coats, it’s calmed down a bit.  I think the white trim helps show its true color. I love how subtle the green is, it changes throughout the day in different light.

IMG_0758I still have a lot to do in here, (and a lot to do with that sad little bench) but I am glad all the brown is gone and all the holes are patched up. I want to do something fun on the walls. Nothing too fancy, but I definitely want to add some charm to the entry way since it’s the first room everyone sees.

Inspirado: Entry Way

What’s the one room in our house that everyone sees and is always a mess??…

The entry way.

I’m about to start on our entry way and I’ve been thinking of our wants and needs before I get started. Of course I have dreams of our entry way being grand and beautiful. So beautiful that people can’t help but ooooh and ahhhh as they enter our home. But let’s be honest, it’s just a hallway that serves as a catch-all for shoes, coats, keys, etc. How fabulous.

Living on a farm has turned me into one of those shoe nazis. You know the ones that make you take your shoes off at the door? Annoying I know, but dirty boots have a whole new meaning now that they not only include mud and dirt, but cow feces….yeah. Think about that for a minute. Do you want people walking through your house with boots that they used to walk through cow pastures with?! AND add an adorable 10 month old that crawls from point A to point B all day long who has her hands and knees all over that floor…(shudder).

Okay…I don’t really make everyone take their shoes off (I’d like to). But I do ask that my hubby and anyone else with cow poo on their boots take them off before walking in the living room or play room. I figured if I ask this of people, then I need to provide a place to sit in the entry way to take off said boots like a chair or bench. We also need some storage for shoes and coats, because I know if I don’t they will just end up cluttering the floor or kitchen table. Here’s  a few spaces that are inspiring me right now…

 

 

 

 

I just love how pretty these entry ways all look, but at the same time, they still look practical and lived-in.  I also really like all of the clever, non-fussy storage solutions! Any other shoe police out there? Any tips on entry way storage?