Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

fireplace

The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations 🙂

fireplace3

Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

fireplaceremmy

As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear 🙂

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts. I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p. and I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite a few things, but there are so many gifts I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness has made this holiday season fly by so far. Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

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Furniture

Gray painted dresser

I have a (bad) habit of taking any and all furniture that people don’t want. So when my mom and stepdad cleared out their laundry room to make way for some nicer storage, I happily took the dresser they’d been using for years downstairs.

Our family friend painted this for my older sister — in fact, she had a whole matching set at one point! I kept it as is for a while, knowing at some point I’d want to update it.

Painted Dresser_BeforeTo update this dresser, I opted for paint. Since it was already painted — and rather nicely, too — I didn’t want to go through the hassle of stripping and sanding it down.

I splurged on paint, buying Satin Impervo Benjamin Moore paint, which is made for kitchen cabinets. It’s an oil-based paint that cures, not dries.

Painted Dresser_Satin Ipervo

And you know what else? It is stinkyyyyy. Holy smokes, is it stinky.

Painted Dresser_Mask

I wore this bad boy the whole time I used it, which I should be doing anyway when I paint… but it was way necessary this time.

Before I could start painting, I sanded the whole dresser down.

Painted Dresser_Sanded Drawers

Then, I filled the wholes and sanded down again. This ended up being an unnecessary step because I ended up using the holes anyway. Oh well!

With everything sanded, I started to paint.

Painted Dresser_Drawers

I let the paint dry for days (I think 4) before doing a second coat. I was worried because the paint seemed to be tacky for the longest time, but the more I researched I learned that the paint cures, not dries (I know I said this earlier). That’s really important though, because you can’t add your second coat until the first cures completely.

When the first coat cured, I added a second. And then I let that cure, too.

When everything was dried and hard to the touch, I added back the hardware. I chose black cup pulls and I love them. Seriously, they are fabulous.

Painted Dresser_Finished Product

The cup handles are fabulous, the paint is fabulous. I mean, just look at the top and how smooth it is!

Painted Dresser_Angled

The paint, while expensive ($25/quart), was worth it in the end. Much better than anything else I’ve used. We’ll see how it holds up over time, but at least right now I am so super pleased with how it turned out.

Quite a difference from before, huh?

BEFORE:

Painted Dresser_Before

AFTER:

Painted Dresser_Final

On an unrelated note, happy birthday to my neighbor Allie and her twin Shelly 🙂

Furniture

Console Table Magic

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted on the blog and I’m happy to share that my tomato tally has crossed the 100 tomato threshold! Yes, this weekend we hit a Tomato Tally of 102. I probably have a dozen more needing to get picked, too. Craziness.

Anyway, this isn’t actually a post about tomatoes. Shocker, I know.

Ever since we rearranged our living room to accommodate my slipper chairs, I’ve wanted to get a console table for our living room.

Slipper chairs

The room is starting to really come together. New chairs, new pillows… and now, new table!

Console before

I found this console table on Craigslist for $25 and an office building 4 minutes from my house. I emailed and was super pleased to hear that I was the first person to reach out and the table was mine if I was interested.

I left work in a hurry to make it to the office complex before they closed at 5, bargained them down to $20 and left with a new table!

The table was wobbly and a bit dated with the gray glass, so I took the glass out and tightened all of the bolts with a ratchet set. Then, I whisked myself off to Home Depot to buy some wood to replace the glass.

IMG_0434

I roped in this kind gentleman to help me cut the wood down to size since we don’t have a table saw (and 51″ is too long to cut even remotely straight with a circular saw). Twenty minutes later, I walked out with two new shelves and some scraps.

IMG_0435

I set up shop on our patio, sanding and staining the wood. I mixed a walnut brown with a light gray stain to lighten the brown color a lot. I ended up with a light brown with hints of gray in the knots of the wood. Two coats of stain, two coats of poly, one light sanding and voila!

Console After

Love love loveeee. It fits perfectly against the wall opposite our bay window where the couch used to sit.

Console In the room

It even matches the style of our coffee table (You can see the style better below when we used them as end tables).

End Table

I waited a day to let everything dry and cure completely before staging it.

Console2

I’m still working on that, but this is stuff I had all around the room just waiting for a home on a nice console table like this one.

Console3I just love having a spot to put out pictures and flowers 🙂

All in all, this project cost a little less than $70 — not too bad for a new console table, especially when it’s twin at Ballard goes for $350!

Next up, a mirror for right above the table, which is centered with our bay window. The mirror will bounce the natural light around the room and really anchor the table with the wall. Now I just gotta find one I like!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Between the console table (I did this whole project in one night after work last week), a BBQ and a river walk, my weekend was a blast.

RemRiv

Rem had a pretty good weekend, too.

Happy Monday!