Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, it seems like a good time to relax and let the home projects rest. NOT! Just kidding, it really does. In fact, I really can’t wait for the nights this winter of curling up with Netflix or Hulu, or (here’s a novel idea) a good book. (Oh wow, that was an awesome unintentional pun.) I’ve gotten behind on my reading, but honestly it’s mostly because I’m afraid I’ll get sucked in to a good one and lose sleep for about a week- cause that’s how I roll.

Anyway, the direction I meant to go when I started writing this, is that now that it’s cold, I’m putting more focus back on the inside of my house. I have a new secret project that I can’t wait to tell you about (oh the suspense!) but I’m thinking that my bedroom needs a little lift as well. You guys have all met my bedroom.

My friends have bugged me about the purple walls since the moment they laid eyes on them. I truly believe that it could be pulled off, but not by me. Lately I’ve really been loving dark, dramatic bedrooms. Since this room gets a lot of sunlight, I think it could work. And since this is my sleepy place, it might be good to have a nice cozy cave-like shade in here. I obviously don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

But these people do:

Martha, found here

Nicole, found here

I know I’ve seen a bunch more beautiful spaces with deep tones on the walls, but I’m kinda feeling too lazy to find them right now. What do you guys think” Is it something I could pull off? Would I get sick of it? Would it be depressing?

Last time we left off, the shed was looking clean and spider-less but still pretty fug.

Then I primed it and the door fell off for good.

Then I painted it at reattached the door.

See that paver under the left corner? Yeah, my nifty little base isn’t level. I wouldn’t even give two craps, but it turns out that doors need a square frame in order to shut. Who knew? So yeah, that means some more digging and raising the base for me. Joy.

I am liking the paint job though.

K guys. I’ll admit it. Many of you have done refinishing projects- many of you. And I have a shameful confession to make.

When you post about your adventures in refinishing, I don’t read them. I scroll quickly, watching the pictures fly by up my screen, then compare “before” to “after”. I promise that I really do actually read most of your other posts- refinishing just seemed like such a boring topic.

I have learned the error of my ways.

J & S, why didn’t I read your step-by-step tips for refinishing?

Kasey, why didn’t it sink in that it was a total pain in the b-u-t-t?

Of course I didn’t think of that until I was standing there frustrated, dripping in sweat, cursing the sander and anything else that came in my path. (It might not have helped that my dear grandpa’s belt sander hadn’t been used in 15 years and wasn’t working so well.)

Okay, on to the freakin post.

A while back I was given this old (old!) patio set by my Aunt Soozie and my Grandpa Workman. It’s a little wobbly and not in the best shape, but it holds a special place in my heart. I remember it being on my grandpa’s back patio when I was a kid.

I actually really liked the turquoise paint job that Soozie had done on it about 15 years earlier

Unfortunately it had been left out in the weather for quite some time, and presented a few challenges in the aesthetic department.

I invested in a scraper to get the big flakes off. At this point I should have just sanded it smooth and painted the whole thing. But I thought “Wouldn’t it look cool to be partly painted and partly stained?” I may as well have asked myself “Wouldn’t it be cool to spend all day on this project, versus a couple of hours?” Luckily I had my awesome mom here, and some more awesome friends to help me along the way.

They seem to have commandeered my camera.

Working hard, girls??

Both of these girls actually recently bought properties too, and they also have blogs! You can find them in my “Friends in real life” blogroll- Kristin and Schmandice (Candice). It’s too bad that neither of them is as addicted to blogging as I am, because they are hilarious!

Anyway, I decided it would look cool if the top of the table was stained wood, along with the backs of the chairs/bench and armrests, and everything else was painted. So we sanded the crap out of these slats…

then it became obvious that I was going to have to take them off to get to the paint in the cracks. Boo.

Meanwhile we scraped and sanded the worst of the flaking paint off the chairs and bench:

and had to remove the backs too, so they could be sanded down to bare wood.

By the end of the evening, the set looked like this:

Yes, I am aware that my "lawn" is disgusting, as is the view into the neighbors' driveway.

If you’re interested in the color I can get back to you- my mom actually picked it out while she was at the store. I liked the existing color, and the one she picked was a brighter version of it, so pat on the back for mom! (She almost wouldn’t do it because she was nervous she’d pick a bad color.)

I was reeeeeeeally getting frustrated with the belt sander by now. You can probably see in the pic above what the problem was- the belt kept sliding off, resulting in not only uneven sanding, but ugly gouges in the wood that made me want to cry a little (no I didn’t take pics- what am I, some kind of masochist?). So by those around me who were probably starting to use my face as a barometer for their own level of safety, I was convinced to just paint the armrests instead of trying to fit the crazy-eye-inducing sander where it needed to go. Good choice, guys, for all of us. Although I think it would have looked really cool, it just was not worth it to me.

Are you ready for the finished* product?


*Fooled ya! The slats are actually just sitting on top- I bought the wrong kind of screws to screw them back on, but I was too impatient to not blog about it. The other *last thing* I need to do is sand and put a couple more coats of poly on top, so we can spill spinach dip and orange Crush to our hearts’ content, and wipe it right up.

As you can see, some of the wood is a little “rustic” looking. Where the paint had peeled, weather had been allowed to seep deep into the grain, and I would have had to sand half the slat off to make it look “right”. So I left it.

As if this post wasn’t long enough, let me explain the post title. You know that saying that has to do with shooting for the moon, and even if you don’t make it you’ll at least end up among the stars? (Which totally doesn’t make sense astronomically, but I think we can all get the symbolism.) Well since I pictured a beautifully smooth refinished table, my real efforts at least resulted in “rustic charm”. Now if my goal had been “rustic charm”, I probably would have ended up with “getthispieceofcrapoffmybackpatioimmediatelywhatthehellwereyoutryingtodo?”.

I finished it! The fireplace, that is. The one that used to look like this:

First I painted it white, which I talked about in this post.

But the brass was all nasty looking so I decided to just spray paint it with some heat-tolerant spray paint. So I masked it all off with blue painter’s tape

then used cheaper masking tape to put newspaper all around so I wouldn’t get black overspray all over my beautiful white.

Then I went to town! I thought about doing white but I quite  like how the black turned out. Validate me.

I still have yet to light a fire. But I did bring some firewood in and set it next to the fireplace, so that’s a start.

Oh yeah and I ran ten miles on Saturday.

I think there is probably some really cool stone under this fireplace, but the previous owners/crackheads had painted over it with this textured gray RhinoLiner-type stuff which is really hard to strip off. Jonny tried seeing what a burnt red would look like, but I wasn’t too crazy about it.

Over at my favorite home improvement blog, they are all about painting brick white, especially fireplaces. And when Jonny told me that one of his (stylish) clients had recently requested his whole rock fireplace be painted white, I knew I had to give it a try.

Ta-dah! Better, no?

Here’s a shot of the whole room, so you can see how it really brightens it up.


As always, this room is far from finished and I still need to decorate and get some chairs and blah blah blah. But I did finally get around to hemming those curtains.

But what should I do with that brass? Polish it? Spray paint it black or some other color?

Update: Please click here to see the finished fireplace!

I finished these unfinished Ikea RAST dressers a while ago, but I just haven’t gotten around to showing you yet.


I decided to just do them white. I thought I would stain them dark, but that was boring (and white’s… not?). I tried to do a cool stripe design but it looked like it belonged in an 8 year-old’s room in the 80’s. So I just bailed on that idea and did them white, which worked out nicely because I had some paint leftover from the bathroom. I may end up adding a cute stencil or stripes or something later, who knows.

I had to do a couple coats, and I probably should have sanded them better first, because they were pretty rough:

I should also probably do a clear coat on the top to protect them from all my snotty tissues and magazines (eww magazines!).

Trying to be thrifty, I bought a 10-pack of knobs. I needed 12 knobs total, so I picked out two more that looked the same from the little bins. Well, once I unwrapped them they weren’t exactly the same (uh… not even really close)

but after fretting for a while (and Matt giving me “the look” when I asked him if I should take them back) I decided it didn’t matter. I liked the shiny ones better but unfortunately those were not the ones in the ten-pack so I just put them on a bottom drawer.

The nightstands/dressers give me enough space for all my skivvies, pajamas, and workout clothes so yay!

I think they go well in there, even though Wendy says they look like they belong in a little girl’s room (THANKS). I do want to bring more dark colors into the room though, because it’s feeling a little Eastery. Hmm.

I changed my mind on the dark stain for my dressers. I thought I should do something a little more fun, since I was starting with such a blank slate:

I thought I could mix white paint with dark stain and it might look kinda cool. So I settled on white stripes with gray outlines, with the rest of it stained dark. It was hard to get a nice even line.

And it was a pain, because I had to tape three separate times. I was excited to pull the last of the tape off, but I was less excited when I actually saw the finished product:

What is it that’s rubbing me the wrong way about this? I liked the white and gray stripes before I put the stain on… I thought I would like the stain… is it better than leaving it plain? Hmm… it somehow looks like it belongs in an 8 year-old boy’s room… but why?

Finally, Stan picked up the drawer, held it over his shoulder and said “Go long!” That’s it! it looks like a football! I knew something deep within me was rejecting this, and now I know why. Although Stan did find this beauty that would go quite nicely in my room should I decide to keep them like this.

It even has a “foot” rest, he said. Hilarious.

Needless to say, the dressers are still a work in progress. I’ll keep you “post”-ed. As in blog post. Hilariousx2.

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