We’ve been mentioned!

We Can Make That was mentioned on a list of 50 must-visit DIY blogs. We are sooo honored, especially to be on a list with blogs like Young House Love, The Lettered Cottage, Bungalow 23, and many other well-known and highly respectable blogs. Thanks to homeownersinsurnace.org for the mention, it made our day!

http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/50-do-it-yourself-blogs-diy-must-reads-for-home-improvement-projects/

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Bathroom reno: Stage 3- A Painted Throne

Yes, I am finally updating again about the bathroom! The good news is we are able to use the master bathroom again. The bad news is that it still isn’t completely done and probably won’t be for a little while. But we have made a lot of progress and I have quite a lot of updating to do!

That being said, let’s talk about the best seat in the house.

My advertising courses in college solidified in my head to never show pictures of toilets. Well, today, I’m blowing that out of the water! I feel like such a rebel.

Here’s a pic of our bathroom when we first bought the house.

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Of course, I immediately changed out the toilet seat, but it was still an ecru toilet…which blended right in with the walls, the shower, the countertop, the sink, the floor…but let’s not revisit the past, right? Moving on.

So, when we were gearing up for our bathroom reno, we knew something had to be done about the toilet to truly polish off the look of the bathroom. It seems like the only logical solution would be to replace the toilet.  But then I got thinking….see, I’m a little bit of a paint-a-holic, or paint crazy, if you will. I have a reputation of painting…well, everything. And, frankly, a new toilet didn’t fit in our budget for the bathroom makeover. But surely I’m not crazy enough to paint a toilet, right?

Yep, we painted it. I did some research via my bff Google and found a bunch of this, this, and this. Kinda scary, and not exactly what I was going for. All in all, I wasn’t finding anything out there on painting your entire toilet a different color. Am I really the only person out there crazy enough to do this? Apparently so! Anyway, in all my research, I came across this:

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Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refreshing Kit. Not exactly made for toilets, but it’s an epoxy glaze intended for use on porcelain, cast iron, etc. For the price of $30, I decided it was worth a shot. Best case scenario: I get a brand-new looking toilet with the same great functionality for $30. Worst case: I lose $30, several hours of time, and the opportunity cost of $30 that would have been spent on a new toilet. Oh yeah, and it would be hard to find someone else that would want to use a perfectly functional, but very strange-looking toilet, so there would most likely be waste involved as well. We decided to go for it.

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I’ll be honest, the process was not as easy as it sounded. The fumes were HORRIBLE- much worse than I’ve ever experienced with any other refinishing product and it was difficult to get the glaze to go on smoothly. 5 hours and 3 coats later, we decided that we were done and we would wait to see how it turned out ( hoping the glaze would smooth out and look more even). It takes 3 days to fully cure, so we turned on the bathroom vent, closed the door to the master bedroom, and parked it in one of the guest rooms for a couple of nights. 3 days later,when we went to check on it, we still weren’t sure. In fact, I was pretty certain that it was a failure and we would be buying a new toilet. But we chugged on with the bathroom makeover and decided to make the final call when we were ready to re-install the toilet.

*Insert a lot bathroom reno progress here (to be posted shortly)*

I was so surprised and shocked when we put the toilet back in place and it looked good! The toilet seat didn’t fare so well with the re-glazing (there were parts not fully covered and obvious brush strokes all over), but a quick change to a new white one did the trick. There are still a few brush strokes on the tank, but, due to the way the light hits the toilet, you can’t see them unless you really, really try. Here’s the finished product.

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Would I recommend this for everyone? Not a chance. But I am super pleased with how it turned out and I would totally do it again.

Has anyone else ever painted anything that seemed un-paintable? I know I can’t be the only one out there….even though Google suggests that I am. Help me out here!

House-iversary

 

We closed on our very first house one year ago tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s been one whole year already. We have learned so incredibly much in that year. Before this house I had never painted a room, torn down a wall, tiled a floor, chopped down a tree, and a gazillion other things that we’ve done to this house. I had hardly any confidence in myself to begin a project and had no idea what I was doing half the time. Ok, so I still don’t know what I’m doing, but at least I’m no longer afraid to forge ahead through the muddy waters to making my vision for the house come to life.

It’s amazing how we started out with a list of 30ish things we wanted to get done and now it’s at least doubled, even as we check things off of it. I wonder if it’ll ever be completely done. I’m thinking not…and that’s good, cause I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t always crazily working on a project…or 2…or 3…ok, so we are in the midst of 5 big projects right now. That’s normal though, right?

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You’ve come a long way, old friend. And you still have a long way to go. Happy House-iversary!

All the small things

Thanks to This Fresh Fossil for awarding me my first ever blog award! Go check our her blog if you get the chance, it’s amazing!

Well, I haven’t been posting very much lately, but we have managed to get a few things done around the house! We are trying to prep the house to get ready to tile 800 sq ft of the house (I know!) in May, so we’re trying to finish up the bathroom and wrap up a lot of small projects before we hit this major redo.

Here’s a photo of the tile we are going to use. We will be laying it in the entryway, hallway, front living room, dining room, and kitchen (which are all connected). The tile was $1.58/sq ft which is a steal considering it is 16×16 porcelain.

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We also ordered new carpet (the same frieze that we laid in the family room and master bedroom a year ago) for the 2nd and 3rd bedroom – to be installed once we finish tiling. Once we are done with all that (probably mid June), we will have replaced every single square foot of flooring in our house. Is that ridiculous or what? I’m in shock that it’ll all be done just slightly over a year after getting our house. I knew it would all need to be replaced, but I assumed it would happen over a 5 year-ish period. I’ll be sooo happy when it’s all done! Tiling is not my favorite work…but it really does pay off.

Anyway, back on topic.  Here are a few small projects that we have knocked out recently.

See this banister?

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 Yeah, it’s been on the list to take down since we bought the house. Well, in a sudden moment of inspiration, I finally got to it the other day.

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If I look super tired and strangely mismatched, that’s because I was. The inspiration hit me as I was waking up from a nap. This happens a lot…

Here’s the banister mostly out.

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And here it is completely gone!

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Watch out visitors!  A couple of steps to the left after entering our house will send you in a free fall down a whole… 10 inches! Gosh, so glad that banister was there to keep people safe before! But you know us Vincents, always the risky ones. I’m sure we will make do just fine without it. 🙂

Another project I have been putting off for a long time is replacing the doorknobs in our house. We actually bought the doorknobs about 6 months ago, but never got around to installing them. Here are some before pictures of our doorknobs.

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All I had to do was remove the old doorknob by unscrewing a couple of screws and pulling it out of the door. Then, on most doors, I had to take a chisel and mallet chisel and chisel out a square for the new door latch to fit in (most of our old doorknobs just had round latches).

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This was actually amazingly easy. Then it was as simple as putting the new doorknob in place and screwing it in.

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Much better!

I’ve also started refinishing the $50 piano we bought a year ago.

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Yeah, it’s been sitting there looking like that for a year!

In other news, all the daffodils I planted last fall are starting to bloom! Nothing says spring to me quite like daffodils.

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We also started some seedlings in our garage for the gigantic veggie garden we are planning. All we did was take a few old egg crates, plant a few seeds in topsoil in each space, and put a light over it with plastic on top to keep them warm. They are coming up very nicely!

Oh, and just in case we forgot that it was spring when we were inside, this guy decided to pay us a visit and remind us that it is bug season once again…

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Disgusting. And yes, I did make Chris get out of bed to catch the monster…he was huge!

We are still slowly but surely making progress on the bathroom. I should have an update for everyone soon on the progress!

This weekend we have big plans to install a new door (complete with a giant dog door for Penelope) in the garage, get started on building the raised garden in the backyard, and finish off the shelving in the bathroom. Plus, we have to watch the Final Four on Saturday night…go Bulldogs! That’s the second time this year that an Indy team has made it into a major sports playoff. So much more exciting than living in Missouri!

And a gratuitous picture of Chris and sweet little Mongo in the spirit of Easter weekend.

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Have a blessed Easter – and don’t forget about the real reason we celebrate (hint: it has nothing to do with bunnies)!

Homeland Security

 

We did a few non-decor related updates in our house recently. A couple weeks ago, our truck was broken into in the middle of the night. Thankfully, we didn’t have anything expensive in the truck, but it made us realize how vulnerable we are in our house during the night (and all the time). So, we added some security features to our house.

One thing that has been bugging me since day 1 is not having a peephole in our door. The window from our front living room isn’t angled in a way to be able to see our porch, and, when someone came to our front door, we couldn’t see who it was. So, the next day after the break-in, we headed to our second home (Menards) and grabbed a peephole for $8. About half an hour later, it was installed. All you have to do is grab the correct size drill bit (it should tell you on the package what size you need), find the horizontal center of your door at eye-level (most instructions I read suggested to install the peephole at a 5 foot hight for a universal eye-level fit), and drill a straight hole through your door.

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 Then, it’s as simple as putting one piece of the peephole on either side and snapping them together. Sooo easy and cheap! And now we feel that much safer.

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The second security update was adding door alarms to our 3 exterior doors. While not the most attractive update, we barely noticed them anymore after a few days and the payoff is definitely worth it. We found some pretty good, coded door alarms for $12 at Wal-Mart. They came with double-side mounting tape, so that you can install them wherever you want on the door. Then all you have to do is set the code, and remember to turn it off within the 30 second time limit when you come in the door. We might have forgotten a few times, even though it beeps to remind you, and temporarily gone deaf. But it is nice knowing that anyone that decided to come into our house uninvited would also temporarily go deaf and not know the code to make the horribleness stop.

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So that’s a little peek into what we’ve been up to lately. Anyone else making a few changes around the house to feel safer?

Mustic?

 

I hadn’t thought much about labeling my decorating style before we bought our house last year. When I was trying to categorize it, I kept coming back to modern + rustic (which Chris then labeled “mustic”). I have always loved modern, clean-lined furniture with rustic, woodsy accents.

Since then, I have taken so many quizzes to “define my decorating style.” From ‘worldly’ to ‘earthy’ to ‘modern,’ I always found the answers to be decently correct and never surprising. That is, until last week, when I took the quiz in the new issue of Real Simple. It rocked my (decorating) world. But before I tell you my results, you take the quiz.

Start by (mentally) circling the items on this page that you are naturally drawn to. Don’t take a lot of time to think about it, but remember which ones you liked.

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Now that you’re done with that, look back through the items that you like and count how many of those items were A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s. Now read your results…

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What’dja think? Was it right on? Obvious? Shocking? Mind-blowing? Shockingly mind-blowing? Mine was.

I had 4 C’s and 2 A’s.

That’s right – I am a Cozy Casual. I could have easily said it was wrong about me…but then I looked at the picture of the Cozy Casual room and fell in love. If there was a way to transport that room into my living room, teddy bear and all, I would. Plus, Crate and Barrel is my favorite store and it’s right there on the Cozy Casual shopping list.

My #2 style is Sophisticated Classic. Makes sense…I have been obsessed with tufted furniture lately.

 I definitely thought that I would be more along the Modern Graphic line with this quiz, but I actually didn’t find that room very appealing at all. Sure, it looks great, but it’s not a style I would implement in my own home. I feel like an entire part of me that I didn’t know existed just unveiled itself to me. But I now have full confidence in what I love. And I can totally see a birch candle or two and a rustic tree trunk, glass-topped coffee table fitting right in that room. And Yoshi can replace the teddy bear.

My entire decorating style identity has been shaken…

Bathroom reno: Stage 2

 

Wanna know how to get brand-new-looking cabinets for $12? Polystain! Another discovery from the lovely Katie Bower’s blog, Polystain is exactly what I was looking for as a solution to my old, ugly, and water-damaged bathroom cabinet problem. Katie- I am officially on your Polystain Chain Gang. It’s a slightly time-consuming process, but, if you give yourself a week and just do a few coats every night, it will definitely be worth it.

Here is a lovely “before” shot of the cabinets (excuse the mess, we were working on stage 1 when I took this).

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See that water stain?

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So that’s what I had to work with. I grabbed some Cabot Polystain in Dark Oak from Lowes, a sanding sponge, paper towels, and 3 foam brushes and got to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide to polystaining cabinets the Team Vincent way.

1. Remove cabinet doors and drawers from cabinet box. Make sure to take off the door hinges as well, you don’t want to get stain on those.

2. Lay the doors and drawers out so that you can get to all sides of them without them touching the floor. I took them to our guest room, spread out plastic sheeting (cause I’m messy), laid the doors out on folded up drying racks and laid the drawers across empty soda boxes so that the bottom lip didn’t touch the floor. Because you can only get to one side of the cabinet doors at a time, I just did all the coats on one side, then flipped it over when it was completely dry and did all the coats on the other side.

3. Clean the cabinets. I used a water/vinegar mix to get any dust, dirt, and grime off the cabinets. Make sure you clean both sides of the cabinet doors.

4.  Lightly sand the cabinets. I used a sanding sponge to make sure I could get in all the crevices and rounded edges of the cabinet doors and drawers. I highly recommend this- it was much easier than sanding by hand with a piece of sandpaper, and, when the sponge starts to get full, you can just take it outside and beat it and it’s ready to go again! Be sure to use a fine grain sandpaper/sponge so you don’t wind up with a scratchy finish on the cabinets. You want to sand enough so that the finish is no longer glossy- and sand a little extra on the water-damaged areas- but don’t worry about getting all the past polyurethane off the cabinets. That is the beauty of Polystain!

 At this point, the cabinets are gonna look like poop. This is when you will start to get nervous, but don’t!

5. Brush on light, even coats of Polystain. I took Katie Bower’s advice and used foam brushes so that I would not have to spend extra time cleaning out my brush after each coat. The foam brushes worked like a charm- just make sure you don’t push down too hard or  you will wind up with bubbles that you have to smooth out. The drying process between each coat is 1-2 hours, so I did an additional coat every 90 minutes (always making sure that it didn’t feel tacky before I started the next coat). Squeeze out your foam brush with a paper towel after each coat. I got through 10 or so coats using the same brush this way. Once the brush starts to get  hard, you’ll want to pitch it and grab a new one. To get from the natural cabinet color to the dark espresso color that I wanted, it took 17 coats. It sounds bad…but not nearly as bad as spending a couple hundred on a new vanity! Just plug in some tunes and think about all the money you’re saving while applying each coat.

6. Your cabinets are now stained and gorgeous! Now go pick out some new hardware for the doors to show off your beautiful work…and give yourself a pat on the back….you just DIY’ed yourself some brand-new-looking cabinets on the cheap!

Here’s the cabinet base after 5 coats…

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After 10 coats…

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And here’s a cabinet door with 17 coats of Polystain next to one with no polystain. It’s crazy the difference it makes!

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And for all you “I-just-can’t-visualize-the-end-result-in-my-head” types, you’ll just have to wait…we still have a lot of work to do on the bathroom before the cabinets can be put back together!

Anyone else used Polystain in the past? Got any tips, tricks, or other ways you made your old, water-stained cabinets look brand new? Wanna join me and Katie in the Polystain Chain Gang?