Monday, November 18, 2013

PolyShades Dresser

So, I'm all about this new Minwax product, Poly Shades. It's taken my furniture redo/revamp projects to a whole new and easier level. It covers old stain fabulously, and adds a nice layer of gloss at the same time (because poly is built in).

This dresser was started on before we got pregnant. I had sanded the top two drawers, but then we had to stop. This meant no fixing the top, no hiding the scratch on the side... nothing. We used it in it's beaten up shape anyway.

From this far away, it might not look so bad, but trust me, it was. It had seen MANY better days.

Fast forward to one application of poly shades:
AMAZING. It also matches our buffet in that room, so I'm extra thrilled. It was very low fumes, but still, I wore a nice respirator. I did go back and stain those top two drawers with a very light second coat, which makes them blend in just a bit better with the rest of the unit. And, sometime this week, I'll probably apply a layer or two of just poly to the top for extra protection. It's protected now, but since it's the top, we want to make extra sure it's durable.

The scratches are pretty much hidden. The big gash on the side the stain has hidden pretty well and I'm happy. Maybe someday we'll go back with filler and sander and everything to get it perfect, but it's so exceptional now that I'm pretty darn happy.

I cannot WAIT to use this product again. Only light buffing before application has me SOLD!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Big News!

You might have thought the house painting project and other things have been going pretty slowly recently. 

Well, there's a reason.... I'm pregnant! We're expecting a baby next spring. Since it already feels like winter/late fall here (we've received a lot of rain and a sudden drop in temperatures), this feels like it's just around the corner (though it's MONTHS) away. 

Here is our announcement photo. I'm happy to report the furbabies are excited and bewildered. They don't quite know what to make of the recent reshuffling of furniture and all these new items that smell like little humans.

And, of course, the runner up announcement photo. We didn't choose this one because we thought it looked too much like we were announcing that we were getting another puppy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kitchen thoughts

While I'm fixing up the bedroom, I've been thinking about the kitchen.

When we moved in, it looked like this:
LOTS of potential without a dramatic amount of heavy construction.

We painted the walls a gray/green/tan color, by Behr, called Ashwood:
I love it because it changes colors throughout the day. Sometimes it's green, sometimes's it's brown, sometimes it's gray.You can see the brown undertones in the deeper colors on this color swatch.

But recently, I've been thinking about the floor. It's a simple linoleum, but it shows EVERYTHING. Dog paw prints, any little speckle. 

Now, I'm not saying I want to live with dirty floors.... but I also don't want to have to be pristine ALL THE TIME. We already have that with the cabinets being white. 

So, I'm thinking of the idea of putting in faux wood floors. They make linoleum/vinyl planks that are about 1/8" thick and attach to your floors with adhesive. You put them in plank-style, as if they were wood floors. 

It wouldn't be absolutely perfect, but it wouldn't be that expensive to do (they run about $2ish a square foot, and with our cabinetry and island there aren't large swaths of empty space), and it would let us determine if down the line we want to rip up all linoelum and put down wood floors. I could see this lasting 10+ years though. The visible floor space in our kitchen is approximately 189 square feet, but add in about 12 more for the area under the fridge and in one big cabinet. So we're right at 200 square feet.

And, the end result would give our kitchen this feel:
At some point in the next 5 or so years, I can see us replacing our tile countertops with something less icky, and I already plan on staining and resealing our butcher block (on the island) within the next year (already have the special food-grade sealants and everything).

So hmmm.... 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bedroom Color Scheme

As I mentioned in my last post, we're redoing the bedroom. I'm painting the walls black pepper by Benjamin Moore. I was perusing color palettes recently, and I came across this one. Wouldn't you know it-- our bedroom wall color is very close to the top color swatch.

I LOVE this color palette. We'll get the greens through plants in the room. I'm thinking of making the light blue actually an ivory white instead-- we'll get that color through translucent window coverings.

We also have these roll up curtains:
I'm THINKING about spray-painting them a new color. Maybe white too, but I haven't yet decided. Regardless, I think our room gets enough browns through the brown wood floors, so we don't need them on the windows... especially with the trims painted an off-white white color. Maybe a light cream? I think that's enough in the palette to work.

We'll get the other colors with a throw and pillows and nightstands. 

I'm very excited-- 2.5 years in this bedroom and it hasn't felt "like ours." With this transformation (and really, we're not revolutionizing too much), it's really beginning to feel permanent and like it's ours.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bedroom colors

I've stuggled with the bedroom ever since moving in. The room isn't huge, but it isn't tiny either. It has one wall taken up with the door and closet, and two of the other three walls have windows (which makes bed placement challenging.

We've literally had our bed in about 6 different positions in the room. 

Add to that 3 dogs that like to sprawl out on the floor (well, one of them also loves her kennel) and it makes nighttime bathroom walks an obstacle course.

Finally though, I think I've narrowed in on a solution, color-wise at least. I think I've determined a room layout solution too, but that's for another post.

But to recap, here are the colors our bedroom has gone through:

The bedroom was a tan when we bought the house. I should note: the color pops more on this photo than it did in real life. The window trim blended in with the wall color, which was the same as it was in every room downstairs except the kitchen.

So, we went a little crazy and painted the walls gray. We thought we were all hip to the max, but after almost a year, it just wasn't hacking it. It was really cold. The tone of the color was good, but it wasn't warm.

We decided to bite the bullet and paint the walls orange. This lasted for a while, but after again, about a year, we decided the orange was overpowering. Everything was wood-toned. The floors were a medium brown, the walls were orange... it was just a bit much.

So, this past April (yes, only about 6 months ago), I painted the walls a lighter blue. I liked it at first, but it lacked depth and warmth. It also felt a bit too baby blue. 

We did add a frame wall to the one wall, but our bed was against a different wall and the frame wall never felt right (more on that in the next post).

Yesterday, I began the job of painting.... again. The new color is one that I think will last a while. It's called "black pepper" by Benjamin Moore. 
I've decided that I really go for colors that cannot best be described in one word. This color is not blue, it's not gray, it's not purple... but it has hints of all three. As the light changes in the room, so does the color. 

It also feels a lot more... adult(?) than the baby blue.

As of right now, I'm about halfway done with the room. I'm hand-painting it this time, since rollers don't give us great coverage on our walls and I actually have a nice paintbrush. 

I'm getting a really nice feeling from this, like that maybe, after 2.5 years of a lot of changes, we may have settled upon the color that works. Next up: the layout that works....!

Monday, September 16, 2013

House Progress

The front by the garage before...

And the same spot now...

We are almost done!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

House update

Not a ton to report on the house painting front. It's about 80% done, and will likely get 100% done the weekend of September 7. But... between the afternoons being HOT (especially since our home faces west) and it getting darker a little earlier, it's just not happening.

And that's ok. It'll get there. And the neighbors understand. :)

The left to do list:

  • Caulk and paint about a 5'x5' patch by the kitchen the blue/green/gray color. (about 1 hour)
  • Spray paint the last shutter. (5 minutes)
  • Hang 4 shutters (30 minutes)
  • Paint the kitchen window trim (30 minutes)
  • Spray paint (and regular paint for the unreachable areas) the gutter above the kitchen (30 minutes)
  • Paint the trim under the gutter by the kitchen. (30 minutes)
  • Paint the lower trim around dining room and living room. (10 minutes)
  • Paint the small dining room window's trim. (30 minutes)
  • Test the area above small dining room window, decide on color, and paint that 4'x4' area with someone holding the ladder (1 hour)
  • Paint the backside of the last stairwell wall (after caulking the one trouble spot) (30 minutes)
  • Paint blue/gray/green behind the downspout by the living room window (10 minutes)
  • Spray paint the downspout by the kitchen window (5 minutes)
  • Paint the ceiling on the front step landing (30 minutes)
  • Paint the trim on the front step landing (20 minutes)
  • Paint the surround on the garage. (10 minutes)
  • Finish stripping the garage, sand, and stain (final house project this fall) (ugh)
  • Paint the foundation cinderblocks. (2 hours)
See, all in all, not tooooo much left to do. 

Friday, August 9, 2013


The importance of prep in this project is key. Specifically: caulking. All the cracks get sealed. Here's a series of photos to show it paying off:

Here's the house corner before caulking. Zoom in to check out all the cracks.

Same corner, but now with the cracks fixed-- only the first five feet or so length- wise and the first four singles high (that's what I can easily reach).

It lookalike I painted it, but it's just because the house was brushed and caulked. Crazy, right?

Here it is after paint:

Sure a far cry from the cracked yellow.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Paint Progress....

The painting is going well. I'm almost done with the front side by the dining room and living room windows, and the stairwell has coat 1 on as well. I'm going to go over everything again with a roller, but probably once the whole project has coat 1 on it. 

This photo gives you a pretty good idea of the before and after. The yellow paint was done poorly. I think only one coat (or, at least it has worn like it was only one coat). The siding is cracked (which happens with cedar siding, but you have to fix it). The shutter is still on and is white. 

Compare that to the other side, which has been caulked, fixed, and painted. The shutter will be black. 

Oh, and imagine the house with these new lamps:

I reallllly want to buy them. They're not cheap (though they're still reasonably-priced). I might do it as a "hooray the house is done!" present. Much better than our current cheapo lamps, and much bigger!

Here's the street view of the front so far:

Yes, one of the windows in one of the dormers is out. That's a story for another post.

And so, here's what's left to do:
The good news is that we're halfway done. The bad news is that this side has a LOT of wear on it. Luckily, I have six tubes of caulk with my name on them. 

And, funny thing: When I was taking this photo this morning, I didn't realize something-- FRANKIE IS ON THE ROOF! I'll have to go home and make sure he was able to get back inside and isn't stuck on the roof roasting.

Friday, August 2, 2013


TOTALLY not expecting to buy anything, I went with a coworker yesterday to the salvage/recycling place. She'd never been, so I gave her the tour (it's huge and a little overwhelming).

They normally have a LOT of doors, but many of them are old, broken, thickly painted, and not our style. I did buy our chicken coop door (actually, it was free) and our two french doors (one is hung on a closet door, the other is waiting) from Bring, but normally, it's a lot of hunting with no reward.

And I wasn't even looking for a door yesterday. I was just showing her around.

And then I saw it:
Huge, but gorgeous. Solid maple or solid really nice pine. 

I didn't know our door dimensions though, and since I'd have to cut it down a lot, I held off until I knew our door height and width. I found those out last night, as well as what the cost for new glass would be (about $14 a panel for tempered glass-- there are three panels). 

And this morning, I went back to measure. I take a little more off the top and bottom than I'd like, but I don't hit the glass or the paneling, so I'm ok with that. On the sides, I leave plenty of room. 

AND SO I BOUGHT IT. Cost? $150 (plus the approx $45 for glass).  Brand new, this baby would be $700-$800+. I'm pretty darn excited.

But, it's not going to be hung right away. First we have to finish painting the house, and then we can work on this baby.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Project Paint (and don't die while doing so)

The current project (and sorry for the lack of posting) is painting the house. It's a HUGE project, to say the least. There are parts of the house that are 20' up in the air... and those dormer windows are on a pretty steep slope. All this is why I'm dubbing project: "Project Paint (and don't die while doing so)"...

The reason why we're painting: The house desperately needs it. The previous painters did a cruddy job. There was no caulking of cracks and no sanding (or very little if there was any). So, as I told Bob: "we either paint at least the front of the house this year or have to replace some siding by next year."

So the house front is getting painted.

The good news is that only the front NEEDS to get done this year (you can't see any of the other sides from the street), and it's the side that most desperately needs it. It faces west and bears the full brunt of any weather and wind and pelting summer sun.

We're going with a fade-resistant and UV-proof paint. NOT CHEAP, but I'm hand-painting which saves a LOT of paint. It has to get hand-painted.... there's too much fixing that has to get done  and too many nooks and crannies.

But it's a lot like that book "Give a Mouse a Cookie".... what was just painting became painting and caulking, and then that had trim work, new planter boxes, new lights, some siding repair, some step repair, etc etc.... Very dangerous to have the project take on a life of its own and grow grow grow.

I'm trying not to get overwhelmed.

But, for now, here are some photo updates.
You can see the number of cracks and caulk work needed. We'll be replacing that dinky house light too (hopefully)... It's bad, folks, bad.

And the after. A blueish/grayish/greenish color. MUCH BETTER. A black (I think that's what the color will be) shutter will also eventually get hung (yes, another thing to do-- spray the shutters....).

Oh our poor railings/stair sub walls. What a MESS they are. Bumpy with too many sloppy layers of paint on them and bruises from abuse. Trim is missing in three areas, so we're going to tear it all trim out and replace (joy of joys).

Here is a railing sub-section after significant sanding, patching, and sanding. We'll need to repeat this about 5 more times and then add a thick layer of gloss.

But, it's slowly morphing into something that looks FAR more elegant and upscale. It's amazing at how BAD it was before... .we never really noticed, until we started looking a lot closer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spalding House,

We went to Spalding House, the Honolulu Art Museum's second location. It's in the hills above Honolulu and gorgeous, particularly the grounds.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Foodie delights in Oahu

Roadside shrimp...

Pink guavas, Chico, and egg fruit (I ate it all and it was phenomenal-- pink guava is one of my favorite foods)

And other farmers market delights...

And poke plate, deconstructed (essentially, raw tuna with sauce)

And mango mojo to with spiced rum:

And fresh pineapple... That I ate do much of that the acid burned my tongue!

And delicious ramen bowls...

And more farmers markets!!

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