unveiling… a new look for the living area!

I will do an official before and after later when I clean up and finish the decor, but I wanted to share initial pictures to show off our new paint color.

When we bought our house, we painted every wall and ceiling. The living/dining room was the last room to be done, and at the same time Atlanta had the “500 year flood” where it poured heavily for 8 days straight. We couldn’t get the paint to dry (if only we’d had a dehumidifier then!), and we ended up moving in without being able to finish painting. We predictably never put on the final coat. For four years the splotchy and unfinished paint job has annoyed me. Finally this weekend with the help of my parents we rectified that!

It took me a while to decide on a color. I am very happy with the blue we chose. On the exterior walls, we did a lighter shade that was Behr Flint Smoke. On the interior walls, we did an accent color of Behr Nature Retreat. (You can see the whole paint family here.)

Here are before pictures:
Living Room

Living Room

Dining room

New hooks in the foyer

And the after pictures! It’s definitely a lot darker, but I was wanting to go darker than the yellow with more of a contrast between the walls and the white trim. We have more to do – there is some of the trim left to be painted, and I still have a ways to go until all our “stuff” is cleaned up, and I hope to hang pictures.

Living room

Living room

We switched the green bookcase in the foyer with this secretary that was in the dining room.



Our dining room is a mess right now, so please pardon all the clutter. I am working on cleaning and purging, but we’re still far from being done. The green bookcase is only here temporarily… I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with the space. Also, you’ll see the white shoe rack… I realize I never blogged about that. Will have to do that. ;-)

Dining room

Dining room

One of the really awesome things we did was paint all the baseboards. I will have to find a “before” picture to show how awful they looked, and the fresh coat of paint really did a lot to finish things off. Also, another thing my dad did was to replace all the old off-white outlets with white ones, as well as the old light switches with new white switches. It looks sooo much better!

Painted baseboards

We still have a ways to go before I feel “done”, but having a new coat of paint really does make a difference.


trying to pick a new wall color

When we moved to this house, I chose a light yellow paint for the entire house (except the kitchen and bedrooms). We had to paint – the house reeked of curry – but I wasn’t at a point where I could think about the best color for each individual room. I wanted something mostly neutral that I could live with for a while, and planned to repaint later down the road when I had more of an idea of where I was headed with the room design. I’m pleased with the color we chose, but now I’m ready for a change.

I want to focus on the living room first, since that’s where we spend most of our time. We have done some work to it, but we have yet to add any pictures or other decor. My plan is to start with the wall color and work from there. Here is where our living room stands right now:
Living Room

Basically, we have browns going on here. I’m a little tired of the really light walls so I am hoping to go a bit darker, but still neutral. I went to the store and got samples of three browns, trying to match the rug. Here they are:


It was really difficult to get an accurate picture of the colors, especially trying to compare them to the space and the other items in the room. I also painted larger strips on the wall across from the couch.


I’ve been staring at them the past week and have decided I don’t like any of them, so I’m back at square one. I actually am not good at picking out paint colors (surprising since I have a degree in graphic design). Painting that wall has helped in that it’s made me realize I have to take into account some other colors, like our wood floors and our dining room table and secretary. Also, I don’t want to be too tied to the rug because while I like it okay, it has gotten damaged in a few areas and I’m not sure if it’s a long term item in our room.

The curtains in the picture above are not staying. I put them up because I had them already, but have since learned that my cats like to climb/sharpen their claws on them. So the curtains will stay until I figure out a solution that will work for everyone.

I am wondering if blue paint would be nice? I know you’re not supposed to do blue for dining rooms, but I could see it working in the living room.

I think I’ll run to Home Depot and see if I can find a new color. I’m hoping to paint this week!


A full weekend of painting!

As I mentioned, my parents were visiting last weekend. We spent three days working painting the shed and the back of our house where the add-on sunroom was. It looks so much better! I’ll share the before and after pictures first since I know that’s what you’re really interested in. :-)

First off, the back of our house:
Where the porch was

This was what we discovered when we took off the sun porch. Apparently the house used to be yellow. I already touched up the paint around the front door, so this was just a continuation of that. It was a three step process – first, pressure washing the siding. Then we had to sand down all the remnant material from the add-on. My dad guessed it was very old Liquid Nails, or something similar. We used an electric sander to get it all as smooth as possible. Here is the after:

Back sliding glass door

Another angle, before:
New retaining wall

And after:
It looks so much better!

As you can see, the weeds have grown back from the work we had done in June! It looks great right now because my dad and Paul spent a lot of time weed whacking the backyard.

And now for the shed. I’ve been wanting to paint it because the bright yellow is so in-your-face. It also makes the shed look huge and overtaking the yard. Before:

And after:
Such a change over the bright yellow!

Newly painted

We rented a pressure washer and Paul took care of the siding and the shed a few days before we wanted to paint.
Paul pressure washes the shed

Fortunately, Sherwin-Williams was having a great 40% off sale this weekend, so I took advantage. We started with a white primer, which was the only negative of the whole process. I didn’t notice until I got home that it was oil based, and in retrospect I wish I had immediately returned to the store and asked for an exchange. We ended up having to run out to Home Depot twice to get paint thinner to clean the brushes and the paint sprayer.

The primer is on!
(Sorry the picture isn’t great – at certain times of the day there’s nothing I can do about the direction of the sun!)

This was my first time using the paint sprayer. It made the job go a whole lot faster, though my arm was sooo sore from holding the heavy, vibrating machine. And yes, I did get a paint suit – I didn’t have any painting clothes that fit me, and I didn’t want to sacrifice another outfit. I loved my suit even if everyone teased me about it looking funny. It kept my arms and legs free of paint!
I did 90% of the painting on the shed

Using the paint sprayer

I did as much as I could without getting on the ladder, and then my dad did the rest. I dislike ladders so I was glad he was willing to do that for me.
Halfway done

Looking at it, I honestly think it needs another layer of green, so perhaps I’ll get to that someday. I also have a light to put up next to the sliding glass door as soon as I get the chance. :-) But overall, I think the shed and back of our house look great!


Big project this weekend!

We haven’t done much with our house this summer, aside from a few decorative things that I keep meaning to take a picture of so I can post about it. Mostly, our house is just incredibly messy and I keep saying that I need to just go through and do a major decluttering.

My parents are here this weekend and they love doing house projects. I appreciate the motivation, so I came up with a big project: painting the back of our house and our shed.

Where the porch was


We are painting them the same color, the green that is the same as the rest of the house. I hope this will make the shed not feel so big and in-the-way! Today we rented a pressure washer and cleaned the shed and the siding, which has made quite a difference. I think I might keep an eye out for pressure washers on Craigslist because I could see it being quite a useful tool!

Tomorrow we are going to attempt to get as much of the junk off the siding as possible around our sliding glass door. As you can see from the picture above, there is a lot of stuff leftover from when the porch was put on the house. We guessed the porch was put on at LEAST 20 years ago (based on what the neighbors have told us), and more likely it was more like 30 years ago. They used something similar to Liquid Nails it appears, and even pressure washing didn’t make it budge. We talked to the guys at Home Depot and they recommended an old fashioned scraper and sand paper, at least to get it off enough to make the paint stick to it. That will be the project tomorrow, and Monday will be painting day. As you can see, it’s quite a big painting job so we’re going to rent a professional paint sprayer to make our day easier. I plan to paint the entire shed green, and the trim (the parts around the door that are currently brown) will be painted white to match the house.

I am excited! We need to call the landscaper and schedule their return to grade our yard and plant grass back there. That’s next on the agenda and will have to be done by November 15th I believe (before it gets too cold), but I need to look at our finances first and make sure that we’re still okay to move forward with this project.

Oh, in addition to pressure washing today, we also spent a lot of time in the yard. Paul weed-whacked, my dad raked, and I mowed. Our yard looks great! We still need to bag the leaves and pine straw, but already it is looking so much better. I would like to see the area under the magnolia tree cleaned up a bit, but other than that I’m really pleased with how it all is turning out.

Pictures to come!


it’s a gorgeous day for painting!

The weather has been perfect for us to complete the painting projects I have in mind. It’s warm, but not hot, and most of all the pollen hasn’t gotten bad yet. Here in Atlanta, we have the joy of having our entire city turn yellow from pollen every spring. :-) That will probably hit in a week or two, so for outside painting projects this is the perfect time.

I started early and pretty much painted all day. My in-laws are visiting and both helped paint and watch the toddler so I could paint, which I really appreciated.

I tackled the shutters first, then while my father-in-law got the upstairs shutters I painted the railing on the stoop. I painted around the front door yesterday, and today I decided to paint the rest of the wall because while the color is really, really close, it’s not an exact match and the slight different was bothering me. :-) I also started on the front stoop, but had to stop because I ran out of paint. I hope to run up to Lowe’s for more later this evening, and finish the stoop tomorrow. I also need to take the blue painter’s tape off from around the shutters, and then I’ll get a picture of them. I will say, it looks awesome! I am really, really happy with how everything has turned out! Can’t wait to share “after” pictures!


let the painting begin!

I have been watching the weather, anxious for it to be warm and dry enough to paint the outside of our house. It looks like next week is our week! After rain on Tuesday, here is the forecast for the rest of the week:

I will see if I can wash the area I’m going to be painting on Tuesday. It needs to dry for a full 24 hours, so after we pass that mark I can start painting. Here’s the plan:
* I’m going to touch up the paint around the door. I bought some paint that, according to the paint chip, is an almost exact match. We’ll see how it actually looks when it’s dry, but even if the color is slightly off, it has to look better than what’s there right now.
* I plan to paint the shutters a high-gloss black. (I still need to buy that paint.)
* After consulting with my aunt who has a talent for these things, I decided I’m going to paint the railing by the front door black as well. (Here is a picture of our house if you’re wanting to see it again.) I will paint the stoop the green to match the house, but I won’t be painting that until I see how the color looks around the front door.
* I am going to paint the front door a deep red, to bring attention to it. I probably will leave the storm door white for now – I think it would look odd painted red.
* There are two other things that need touched up, if the green is right. First, the wall behind where the sun porch used to be, and second the shed in the backyard. I’m excited about painting the shed because it is a very bright yellow right now, and sticks out like a sore thumb. :-) Of course, this is going to require the most paint so we’ll have to save up for it.


upcoming project: painting!

One project that really needs to be done is touching up the paint around our front door!

Front door

I don’t think I’m up to painting the whole house, nor do I really feel like putting the money into that much paint right now. (My neighbors said the house was painted when the previous owners bought it, in 2006. That yellow was the original color of the house.) Ideally, I should probably paint at least the whole front of the main level of the house, but to be honest I doubt I’ll get to it. So, my desire is to match the paint as close as possible and cover the yellow, then in a few years we’ll paint the whole house. (I’m thinking of changing the color then, too!)

I went to Home Depot and found a color that was pretty close. I’d like to check out Lowe’s, as well, to see if they have the exact match.

I’ve been doing some research about painting the exterior of a house. I thought this article was very helpful. The most important right now is to watch the weather and find the perfect warmth and non-rainy time. I’ll update with some “after” pictures when I finish!!


curb appeal!

One of the things I want to focus on while we save our money for the foundation is small things we can do to spruce up the curb appeal for our house. Both the outside and the yard need a little attention. I want to focus right now on the outside of our house. Here is the most recent picture I have, taken last Christmas:

Snow on the roof

We obviously need to touch up the paint around the front door! We don’t want to spend the money right now to paint the whole house, so we thought we’d find the closest color and try to patch up that front area so it doesn’t look quite so bad. :-)

I also have been looking at the other houses in our neighborhood, and I’ve noticed that usually the shutters are a different color than the window frames. Also, the shutters tend to match the front door. I am thinking of painting our shutters, then, as a more inexpensive way to update the outside. What do you think? And, what color do you think I should paint them? I am leaning towards black. Should we also paint the front door, or leave it white? I’d like to leave it white because we can’t change the color of the storm door (or can we? I guess we could paint that too).

Thoughts/feedback/advice would be helpful. :-) I’m so glad it’s warm enough to paint! (Although everyone thinks it’s going to get cold again before it becomes summer for real.)


one down, two to go! (or maybe three…)

Originally posted at twentysixcats.com

My wonderful sister Amy is visiting this week. It’s spring break for her, and so she decided a trip to Atlanta to see her favorite niece sounded like fun. I, of course, welcome her visit and her company. (Free babysitter!) Also, my sister is very handy and loves to be helpful, and asked to be put to work. So I made a list.

Number one on that list was to get the den painted. Second is getting the half-bath downstairs finished.

Here is what we’re tackling with the den (picture taken before we moved in):
Family room

And the half-bath that’s off the den:
Half bathroom

Today, we started on the painting. I handled the part by the steps that had to be done with the brush, while Amy figured out the paint sprayer that my parents gave us. Paul tackled the bathroom. (And Savannah took a nap!) Amy got the paint sprayer working, but it was super loud. So, she painted with the roller until Savannah woke up from her nap. Then Amy and Paul put in some ear plugs, and I took Savannah and went to Home Depot to kill time until they were done. It took them about an hour and a half to do the entire den. The paint sprayer had mixed results – it was much faster than just using the roller, but the result was an uneven coat of paint.

On my part, it was really fun to wander around Home Depot for an hour and a half! Especially because I actually could buy some stuff. :-) I got a new faucet for the half-bath, plus a toilet paper holder and a towel rod. I also picked up white outlet and lightswitch covers for the den – the current ones are brown to match the dark paneling, but we’re painting the walls a light color. I also priced new overhead lights for the den, and curtains/blinds for the windows. I’m really excited about the possibilities! It reminded me how much fun a fixer-upper can be.

Tomorrow will be coat #2 of the den. I really hope we only need one more coat of the Kilz paint to cover the dark before we put a third coat of the light yellow that’s in the rest of the house. (Reference the title of this post.) I am so excited about how this is going to look when we’re done!! I will definitely upload pictures. :-)