Before + After: Front Door

With all the changes going on in the inside of our new home, I wanted to do something small but with big impact to make the house feel more like ours from the outside. While we will probably repaint it in the next couple of years, it's not at the top of our list for now. I opted instead to change the front door color. Front door colors are kind of like lipstick, a color can change the whole look.

Our house started with a plain white front door on the outside. When I spotted this front door in my first HGTV magazine (July 2013) I knew that something bright and cheery was just what the house needed to feel like "ours."

That is seriously cheery, right? [source]

Initially, I had a tough time narrowing it down to one choice. The Pantone paint selection at Valspar has a ton of saturated brights so that's where I pulled my chip choices from. There were about 5 paint chips taped to the front door for two months while I debated. It came down to two so we decided to paint the lighter color first for ease of painting over it with something stronger if it didn't feel right.

The final choice? Pantone's Bay from Lowe's. It's a soft and minty sea green that looks pretty with the grey exterior and black and white trim.

As for tips and tricks, this was pretty straight forward. Just remember to remember how your door handle and dead bolt lock go back together. I left the door on the hinges because they were too hard remove and wiped down the door to get dirt and grime off before painting and didn't prime it. I bought a quart of paint and that was more than enough for two coats.

While I was feeling super productive I decided to sand part of the jamb surface of the door that had been sticking when closed. While it helped the door close easier the sander "grabbed" the painted surface of the interior of the door and peeled off a huge chunk of the interior coat of paint. Boo! Down the rabbit hole I went ...

With large swaths of latex paint peeled off and the primer exposed I had to tackle the new eyesore. Rather than try to re-paint over the primer that seemed suspect (given how easy it was to pull large sheets of paint off) I opted to strip it down to the original wood.

Enter Citristrip, my new favorite paint stripper. Not only can you use it inside, you don't have to wear a mask to protect you from the fumes. Score! I did wear eye protection though. Two trips to the doctor for stripper/sand in the eye was enough motivation to avoid another incident. 

The tools I used were: nitrile gloves, a new plastic putty knife, a plastic drop cloth over a canvas one (just in case, I'm clumsy), lots of wooden skewers for cranny strippy (not Granny stripping -- you creep), an old brush, a wide-mouthed jar and Citristrip. You'll also want some paint thinner to clean the wood surface of excess stripper and any last stubborn bits of paint. Beware of where the stripper and paint thinner are at all times, you don't want any stray drops contacting anything other than what you want stripped -- it will affect the surface it touches.

Stripping in progress. Coat the surface with an old paint brush and the stripper and then stick a cut open plastic bag against the surface and wait. The plastic bag helps the stripper to stay moist and really helps with peeling the paint off. You'll also want to use the points of the skewers to scrape all the paint bits out of the corners of the moulding details.

The paint on the door was hiding some patched areas and quite a few dings and dents. Luckily, I dig it. Eventually, I'll be tackling the stairs with a fresh coat of dark chocolate stain on the tread surfaces and the railing and painting the spindles to match the house trim. My plan is to use the same stain from the stairs on the door to tie it all together for a cohesive entryway.

**UPDATE** I have finally stained the inside of the front door. Mr wasn't into my idea of black stain so I went next darkest and bought a little can of Rustoleum in Kona. I did one liberal coat of stain with a cheapie 3 inch foam brush and then wiped up the excess with rags. I did let the stain sit on the surface for a little bit before wiping to really let that dry wood soak it up. There are a couple imperfections in the door surface where the stain didn't take so well but for now I'm leaving them and calling it "rustic." After about four days of drying I bought a can of poly sealer but I've not put it on yet. I like the feel of the raw wood but I think I'll do one coat of matte for good measure. I didn't take the door down (again) so we'll see if I can do it without getting too many drips and runs.

Office Chair Make-over Quickie

 Nothing satisfies the DIY heart as quickly as changing the fabric of a chair. This office chair is no exception! In need of a comfy chair for my art table, I nabbed this office bad boy at my local GCF Store for the sale price of $5.99 plus tax. It has a nice "sit" to it and is slightly bouncy given the shape. The back is soft too and the right height. The chair's only negative was that scratchy, drab, office-blue upholstery.

I set off for a fabric pick-me-up at this awesome local fabric store called The Cloth Barn. It is a veritable fabric haven and I've found myself wandering the racks for many an hour. If you ever hear audible "Oohs" and "Awws" among the bolts, it's me. Coincidental, if I am ever reported missing, look for me there first. Anyway, there is a remnant room that is always good for a rummage and that's where I found a 3/4 yard piece of thick, upholstery weight, grey and yellow ikat. (I don't know about you, but I love a good ikat). It was a whopping $3 per yard.

Score! (Cody the dog is equally excited)

For that seamless look, this chair has a panel on the back that snaps in with four plastic plug thingies. Once I snapped those off the rest of dis-assembly was a cinch. Before recovering I didn't bother removing the existing fabric and just stapled my fabric over the top. The yardage wasn't quite big enough to center the main ikat element and leave enough fabric for all the necessary pieces so I opted for an off-center set up that allowed alignment between the top cushion and the bottom. I probably just lost all you OCD perfectionists out there but please bear with me to the end?

After a moment of hesitance I remembered this re-do was about quick frugality and one must not fret about the whole symmetry thing.

After many staples, the cushions were complete and I was on to the back panel with my fingers crossed that I had enough fabric left to cover it. BARELY. The panel is metal and the fabric had been stretched and anchored with metal hooks and my last scrap was not big enough. What to do, what to do?

Hot glue gun.

Tenuous moments and burned fingers later, the last bit of fabric somehow managed to cover the back panel. A quick assembly and BOOM. I have one snazzy work chair. Bye, bye drab office blues!

Ain't she a beaut?!
(See, the off centered pattern works just fine since both the top and bottom cushion are matched up. 
I told you it'd all work out!)

Project budget:  roughly $10.00
chair - $6ish
fabric - $3ish
staples and hot glue - $0 (already had these)

At home next to my messy art desk.

Note: I briefly considered spray painting the chair frame but the gray powder coating works well enough with the fabric and I worried about the potential of paint rubbing off into the carpet and making me a nasty mess. So I opted to leave it as is.

Put Junk in that Trunk!

Vintage style steamer trunks are all the rage right now in home decor and styling. If you have the moolah there are many great options for purchasing your own. If you have the patience to hunt you can score your own at flea markets, thrift shops, and online re-sale sites. If you have a DIY-thumb you can build your own. The opportunities are endless!

Let's start with the DIY. If you're not already familiar with Ana White and her awesome website you need to get familiar. Lucky for us, she just posted a plan to build your own wood trunk!

image by Shanty2Chic

I've also found a four part video tutorial for building a wood steamer-style trunk HERE.

Do you have already have a trunk that needs some love? Here are some blog posts about revamping old trunks that may inspire your own revamp project.
There are many more to be found around the web, so go forth and search for your perfect diy match!

What, you don't have a trunk yet? You'll need to fix that first. My go-to resources for finding treasure are , and eBay . I'm also a fan of local antique shops and malls, flea markets, garage sales and even the occasional classified ad in the newspaper. The hard part is finding what you want for a price you want to pay.

You don't like how antique shops smell? You're afraid of strangers from the internet? You have money to spend on the stuff you want? Okay, then, let's do some shopping!

a steamer on legs that'd work as a coffee table for $590.00 from

good for storage and budget friendly at $279.99 from World Market

detailed leather and very budget friendly this is $119.99 from

eBay links in this post are part of an affiliate program.

Before + After: Side Table

Say hello to my first painted furniture project.

I picked up this end table for $5 from someone on my local website when it looked like this:

water stained and boring

To begin, I removed the old pulls and used wood filler on the holes. Once filled and dried I had my first chance to use our electric pad-sander and, in my excitement, failed to don the proper eye protection. You would think I'd not mess this key step up again (I got paint stripper in my eye when I tackled a massive dining room chair project). But I did and I ended up with some particles under my contact lens and by the next morning I couldn't open my eye. Diagnosis? Scratched cornea. While this really has nothing to do with my project I'd just like to impress upon you to PROTECT YOUR EYES!

sanded, primed and ready for paint

I immediately went to the home improvement store and picked out a whole mess of brightly colored paint chips. It took me a few weeks to decide on a color but I settled with Minted Glory 6 by Dulux in high gloss.

first coat

Once painted I scoured local stores, antique shops and the web for the perfect knobs. You wont be surprised to find out I picked some vintage inspired, cut black glass knobs from Anthropologie. Specifically, these.


Scratched cornea aside, I had a great time working on this project. I have since purchased a tall dresser for my next painting project and discovered a great series on Design*Sponge by Barb of Knack that you absolutely have to check out if you're into refinishing furniture. It's called Before & After Basics and covers everything from lining drawers and stripping paint to cleaning up old hardware. Go forth and tackle that project you've been putting off!

Wedding Re-Do

Back in November, a friend and I went shopping for evening dresses. We were on a quest for long dresses and I wanted color. After every department store we could find we went to White House Black Market. (Why we didn't go there first. I'm not sure.)

Immediately, my friend found a great slim, long black dress with beautiful painted white flowers along the whole length of the side. While she was trying it on, the sales ladies were unpacking boxes of merchandise that had just arrived that day. One of the sales associates brought a beautiful red rose patterned, satin gown, out to show the other employees. I had to try it on!!

It was gorgeous but well out of my budget for this event. I didn't buy it (it's out of stock online) but I still find myself thinking about it and have a saved search for it in eBay.

Getting to the point ...

While perusing the WH BM website today I stumbled across the same gown in ivory!

I wish I could have another wedding. I'd do many things different (but I'd keep the same groom) and one of those things would be to wear this dress! I cannot express how madly in love with it I am.
How about a two-year anniversary vow renewal? Sigh. If any of you wear this for your wedding, can you show me the pictures? I'm happy to live vicariously through someone else!

Shop Update

Greetings from England!

I want to fill you, my readers, in on what's been going with my move to the UK and the status of re-opening my shop.

The move has gone well, though quite a bit slower than it would in the States. About 80% of our household is unpacked into our new home with the remaining 20% due to arrive any minute. Today we finally got the Internet set up and my work computer is here along with half of my desk. In my oodles of free time waiting for stuff to arrive, I've been working on an identity re-design for 2birdstone as well a comprehensive product and price list and a customer contract.

It may not look like much right now, but there is a lot of action going on behind the scenes and I am very excited to re-launch and can't wait to see what 2010 brings!

On that note, I'll leave you with some "before" photos of our new home.

the living room and fireplace

the kitchen -- this wont change too much

the dining room

my office

master bedroom (it is absolutely HUGE!)

the upstairs bathroom was just renovated before we moved in