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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wall Decor in Living Room and Master Bedroom


Attempting to post quality content more often, as promised.

Nothing makes a new home, particularly a rental home, feel more familiar than when you put stuff on the walls.  Just about anything will help it feel less like someone else's home and more like your home.  Still, a lot of times I wait and wait and wait (and pretend like I'm going to buy new artwork and finally print out our wedding photos) and stuff doesn't go up.

In the last house, the Silver Spring house, I put up all our wedding signs about 10 seconds before we had the in-laws over for Christmas, 9 months after we moved.  It worked for that time, but I was hoping for something a little more varied (I wanted to say personal and room specific, but I think our wedding signs are pretty personal) this time around in the different rooms.  I tried to focus on the rooms we used the most, which were the living room, master bedroom, and guest room/office.

Living Room Gallery Wall

If you remember, I did a gallery wall two homes ago, in the Baltimore House.  I used the same artwork in the Silver Spring suburban home, but just hung it in a line across the wall.  It was fine for the space, but I don't have any pictures of it.  I had thought about adding a picture rail there, but that living room space was so small, it just wasn't inspiring to me.

Living Room in Baltimore House

Once I set up the living room in our new home, I thought a gallery wall would again best utilize the space between the two flanking bookshelves.  It's a pretty big wall and it needed something to distract from the television.

This time, I decided to try things a little differently.  Nobody wanted to fill nail holes and search for matching paint again when we moved out.  I still laid everything out on the table and moved things around until I had a layout pleasing to MY eye.  I let our roommate and the hubs vote too.  I hung the pictures using the Command picture and frame hanging strips.  I hung up the first picture in the middle, making sure it was level and following the strips directions.  Then I left it up and hung up a picture on the left and right of the center picture, making sure they were level with the center picture.  Every time I put up another picture, I took the other picture down as it was no longer needed to measure for level.  The Command strips suggested waiting an hour before using the strips, which is why I took the other pictures down.  I only used strips at the top for the lighter pictures.  Heavier pictures needed top and bottom frame strips.  Here is a picture of all the strips in place.

The directions were basically attach one strip to the back of the picture, then attach the sister strip via velco, then press it to the wall.  Everything required being held down for 30 seconds.  Then the sister strip would stay in place on the wall and the original strip stayed in place on the back of the picture.  This didn't always happen quite as described.  Sometimes the original strip would come off and stay on the wall.  Sometimes the sister strip wouldn't stay on the wall.  But after a few tries, I got the hang of things.  I also loosened the sister strip a little before pressing the picture to the wall, so it would detach easier from the original strip. I also noticed paint did come off of the wall in one place when I had to reposition a strip.

After the hour long wait, I put the pictures back in place.  I measured each picture for level, but they were so close together, it was easy to adjust the pictures without changing the velcro strips.

I'm almost done in the living room, so will hopefully do a post of the sources in there soon if you're interested.  In the interim, feel free to drop any questions in the comments.

Master Bedroom Wood Carvings and Shelves

Similarly, I've been collecting these wood carvings from World Market since the very first Baltimore house master bedroom redo.

Over the years, I've collect a few more to fit the walls better, but I've always liked how they look above the dresser in our master bedroom space.  So when it came to the new house, I wanted to go with an old favorite.

We also have some nice built ins in the bedroom, providing an opportunity for some decorating.  I combined our old lanterns and some wedding shadow boxes below.

To hand these wood carvings, I used a level with the help of my roommate to hang a strip of tape along the wall over the dresser.  I then measured things out to perfectly space the wall hangings across the dresser.  I put a similar piece of tape above the first piece for the upper row of wall carvings, though I took some time to decide what height I wanted them at.  From here, I again used the Command picture and frame hanging strips to put there up, as they are pretty light.  I like that the strips don't show behind the pieces, which took some creative strip placement.

Anyhow, getting started on fall decor here along with decorating the new house.  So you'll probably see what I've got going in a few posts.

See you soon,

Monday, September 7, 2020

DIY Ceiling Lampshade

 Hi guys,

So I've got a slew of projects I'm almost ready to share, thanks to the new "Project House" we're renting.  I'm really trying to post things more regularly as I complete both small and big projects and I'm definitely keeping you updated on Instagram more regularly than the blog, if you want to follow me there @agirlandsomepaint

Anyway, I've been doing day in/day out Zoom meetings for work while at home and I have been trying out different spaces to have these meetings.  I primarily use the kitchen nook right now as it has the best overhead lighting and I just close the window blinds behind me and try to limit how much people can see of the...not so great but not terrible enough to cover wallpaper in kitchen. 

And no, that phone does not work (I think) and I do plan to remove it and I do have a plan for this space, with white bookshelves flanking the settee to block some of the wallpaper and a curtain, but it's not a priority space.

I also have my basement office which I use when I need extra privacy for work.  That space is still coming together and I have a cardboard backdrop that I occasionally use for the space when needed, that will need to be...prettified.  And it's cold down there and far away so I prefer using the upstairs space for more informal work meetings and less intense work.

Before I was using the kitchen nook and the basement, I was using the guest room/office/workout space when we first moved in.  It had terrible overhead lighting that created a lighting "halo" that made me really hard to see and was distracting.  And...its the room with the cork wall backdrop, the ugliest thing I've ever seen.  I have a plan for THAT, but it's not ready yet, but I decided to go ahead and tackle the lighting issues.  Our new roommate was also using this room a lot for his workouts and online classes, so I figured this would be a nice upgrade for him too.

I don't really understand the point of this light's "box".  It was ugly, not functional, and did nothing for the lighting.  The naked bulb would've been an improvement, except the halo effect was still present in my Zoom meetings.

So then...a few Pinterest tutorials later...I went with my go to people, Young House Love.


I Immediately found the right size lampshade at Home Goods and it perfectly matched some fabric I already had on hand.  I cut it to about a half inch overhang and put glue around the edge of the lampshade first and then the sides of the shade and folded up the fabric.  

However, my shade didn't have a fabric edging like YHL's did and I couldn't glue it to the inside, so I had to figure out a creative way to cover the extra fabric that would look good with the fabric and cover the glue.

First, I tried cheap white ribbon.  The glue showed through immediately.  A second layer of ribbon looked even worse.  The hubby gave his usual immediate negative feedback when I was trying to hang it up with him, and I was done with that.

Next, I tried wasi tape.  I had a ton leftover from my mirror project (link here) and decided to try some really pretty copper tape that looked great again the fabric.  It stayed put nicely and covered up the glue just fine.  I did a couple of levels and then used a thin strip of the tap to do a little detail work at the middle and top.  The hubs and our new roommate both thought it looked great.

Next, I had to try to hang it up.  The lampshade was truly meant for a lamp, not a ceiling, and had metal bracing around the bottom side, which meant I had to glue fabric on that side of the shade because it wouldn't fit around the bulb.  I tied fishing line to the bracing and then made a loop to the bracing on the same side of the shade, so that I have two loops.  Then I just shortened the loops until the lamp was the right height to cover up the white holder for the last shade and looped them around the holder.  Secure, removable, and the perfect height.  The lampshade is so big that the fabric has plenty of room between it and the bulb and shouldn't get too hot.

I'm considering either thicker white ribbon or white tape, but I'm loving the look for now.  Although I'm not sure I love how it looks at night yet.  Anyway, the actual point is that the overhead lighting is now much better.  The hubs thinks its mood(y) lighting, but you can turn on the other two lamps in the room if you need more light and the room has two large windows as well, which make bright enough to work in during the day but pleasant enough to just hang out with the overhead light on after dark.  I no longer look like a fuzzy distracting angel in my Zoom meetings.

Anyhow, I'll try to keep it coming with the projects somewhat regular for a little while.  But the gram makes it so easy...


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Barn Door with Ceiling Mount

Hi everyone,

I'm back, we've moved, and I'm overloaded with projects.  It's exciting but also exhausting.  I'm really trying to prioritize so I can show you some finished spaces, but it seems like every room needs a tweak or final piece of the puzzle, so, I'll show you one of the first things we did at the new place: building a door for my basement office.

Since we've moved in, I've been using the guest room as my side office, with that beautiful wood and faux marble top desk from my last post.  It's been fine, but it wasn't going to be permanent.  Part of why we went with this house is because it has separate spaces for everyone.  In the Silver Spring suburban house, my office was only a guest room occasionally, with a bed that could fold up and be put away between guests.  Here, given the current pandemic and uncertain timeline, the office needed to not do double duty, have room for my larger desk as well as a door for privacy when I'm working and when the cats leap the gate to crash the party.

Next was figuring out what the right door for the space would be.  I looked at multiple door types, including accordion doors, bi-fold closet doors, and pivot doors, because the opening was wider than a standard door and because we didn't want anything permanent, given this is a rental.  I kept returning to the sliding barn doors as a good cost effective custom DIY option.

The main tutorials I used were from:

Cabana State of Mind, who also referenced a very useful tutorial on Remodelaholic from Chantel from Over-Inspired.

I also drew some inspiration from the look of the door below, available on Etsy.  But my door hasn't quite gotten there yet.  I'm going to give it some time to mature before I get all fancy.  But it still looks GREAT and was REALLY EASY!

Bespoke cypress chevron farmhouse sliding barn door Contemporary modern barn door Modern farmhouse barn door Interior doors - 1 door only , ikeapantry pantrycontainers pantrylabels pulloutpantryDistressed White - Rustic Mirrored Barn Door - 48 "x Barn Door Closet, Diy Barn Door, Diy Door, Sliding Closet Doors, Barn Door Pantry, Diy Sliding Door, Wood Barn Door, Barn Door In Bathroom, Wood Doors

I started out with the measurements, making sure my planned door was AT LEAST 2 inches wider than the opening AND making sure the ceiling mount hardware set I ordered had a track at least double the width of the door.  I would actually say to go as wide with the door as you can because it gives the illusion of privacy.  But I couldn't go wider without buying a longer track and it wasn't going to have much room on the left side of the opening so it would be a asymmetric close, which I didn't like.

I then ordered this SUPER CHEAP tongue and groove flooring at Home Depot.  I wanted to make sure both sides of the door looked good and, as promised by the tutorials above, it had a beadboard look on the opposite side that was perfect.  We did a measurement in place and then the hubs cut it down for me to the exact specifications from our ceiling mount hardware to give us a 1 inch clearance above the floor.  Which was very useful, because our floors aren't level.  Yes, we found this out the hard way, BUT the 1 inch clearance meant we didn't have to change anything, it just stopped the door from sliding any further.  I stuck a few boards together and did a test fit below.  You see I was working around the smoke detectors and that there was no room for the door on the other side of the opening.

As you can see from this shot, I forgot to take pictures of the space in advance for the blog.  You can also see that there's NO WALL above the door, which meant I had to return the initial wall mounted hardware I excitedly bought before we had even moved in.  Sigh.

Anyway, following the tutorials above, I glued the boards together to my desired width of 8 boards. The wood was less than $60!  I bought the same wood glue as the tutorials above and laid out the pieces on the floor.  I agree with Chantel that the glue leaks out less if you stop 5 inches or so before the ends of the board but the hubs has a heavy hand so glue of course leaked out in some parts anyway.  I was able to do most of the boards by myself, but he had to help at the end when I was joining some of the larger pieces.  We didn't have clamps long enough to use for the door width, so we tied rope around the pieces overnight, which worked well.  JUST GLUE.  NO NAILS OR SCREWS.

Notice anything off here?  This is another thing that happens when you recruit the hubs to do the cutting and don't go over everything in extreme detail with him.  He cut the wrong end off the final board and I glued it together without noticing.  DOH.  We're both at fault, but since he was doing me a favor, I should've been more specific.

Still, I thought it looked pretty good and hoped (prayed really) that no one would notice this glitch.  He also cut the trim pieces for me which we were able to measure of the door and get it exactly right (and which covered up the board mistake on one side of the door).  I waited 24 hours for the door to dry and then added the trim the next day.  I was able to get clamps over the trim except in the middle where I used a medical textbook and paint can and gave it 24 hours to dry as well.

We started working on the hardware next.  I used this ceiling mount barn door hardware, just over double the width of my door.  The directions were...useless but the pictures helped.  It was basically a wall mounted kit with one page of pictures for the ceiling mount process.  We did use two of the wall mounts for extra stability, but didn't need it.  We also didn't put the wood dowels into the ceiling as it was going to make huge holes in the wall we didn't need.  We just tried to screw into joists whenever possible.  The good thing is that the door is so light with the flooring method that we haven't had any problems whatsoever.  If you're doing a much heavier door, you may want to use the ceiling dowels and additional wall supports though.  You also have to measure for level at every single step, like the directions say, especially if you don't want the door to slide.  Ours isn't exactly level but it stays closed and stays open.  It also comes with door stoppers, which were also helpful, to keep the door from going off the track.  We put ours where we wanted the door to stay when it was closed.

We then put up the door and measure the door hangers directly off the hardware, using a picture frame to ensure adequate floor clearance.

I added this dual sided door handle and some wall mounted floor guides to hold it in place for when the cats inevitably jump the gate at the top of the stairs and try to come "investigate" the basement where their parents now spend a majority of their time.  This will keep them from pushing and nudging it open.  This is a rental, so we didn't want to use floor mounted guides.  Also, I just used sticky strips to hold it in place for now, with some again the wall side and bottom and some on the other end, as I didn't want to drill into the paneling unnecessarily.  Aside from my office, the finished part of the basement will hold my project space (I just told my husband to stop calling my stuff "crafts" as it much more hardcore than than 😃), a TV area with the hubs speakers for some movie watching, and his office space, which currently consists of boxes and boxes of crap.  Through a door is the laundry area which leads to an unfinished basement space which is housing his workshop currently, which IS completely unpacked and functioning.  Priorities, y'all.  PRIORITIES.

Look HOW GOOD the handle looks. Also, see how the trim covers up my "mistake" on the one side and on this side, the handle was placed on the board placed the wrong way to make the extra width seem like it was on purpose AND the extra width is partially blocked by the door close.  Mmmmhmmm.  Lemons.  Lemonade.  Get some.   I am considering having the hubs detail it out with his dremel to make it look identical to the other boards, but I'm down here every day and haven't noticed a thing.  Make sure to get a handle that fits the size of your door and doesn't look dinky and ridiculous.  I love that this looks good AND makes sense on both sides of the door, given the minimal space on the stairway side.

I waited to attached the guides until I painted the door, since I wanted to use some extra poly protection along the bottom of the door to prevent paint peeling/wear.  I was really considering navy blue (existing paint) but went with my go-two existing white paint that I used on the kitchen cart and kitchen island which matches this heirloom white spray paint.  I thought the space would be too dark with its terrible lighting and wood paneling to have a navy door.

Coat 1:

Coat 1 other side:


I haven't seen a lot of ceiling mount barn door tutorials so I hope you find this one useful.  I've already made one small change since these pictures - I moved the door guide on the left in the picture above closer so that it will hold the door in place when closed.  It was a little difficult to guide the door into the guide from the other side when closed, so this immediately helped.  It's so smooth and so quiet.  And the door is so light I can lift it on and off the track by myself.

I'll keep you updated.  So many projects, so little time!


Friday, May 22, 2020

Wood desk with faux marble top

Hello everyone!

Big news, we're moving BACK TO BALTIMORE!

No more commute.  I'm so excited!

With everything going on, you'd think I'd have more time to blog, but, alas, that is not the case.  The administrative part of my job has kicked into overdrive and I fear that it will only get worse when we return to in house work.  So we found a house the meets our needs right now in the suburbs of Baltimore and we're moving before work picks up even more.

My father is also staying with us intermittently, so our guest room has gotten some major use.  Stairs are a bit of an issue for him (and my brother) so we found a 1 story house to rent with a HUGE basement for O and I to have a bit of work/play space.  It's also SUPER outdated.  PROJECTS!!!

Anyway, I've been working on this wood desk for quite a while.  I picked it up from someone local off Next Door for $50.  I took the hubs with me to verify that the desk was whole wood and not veneer, so we didn't run into the same issues as previous projects.  He verified, I triumphantly bought it, and then we got home and... was totally veneer.

So after a few months of rage/avoidance/vacillation (these are the stages of DIY, my friends), I finally took another go at veneer removal.

I started with trying to pry it up.  Shards of wood were everywhere.  NOPE.

Next, I tried to loosen the glue with a heat gun.  Once I saw burning embers within the desk, that was done.  NOPE.

I did more googling, found a few tutorials to try.  I sprayed it with water liberally and let it sit overnight.  After 24 hours, I was able to pry up sections of it rather easily.  So then I followed the next tutorial and put a wet towel over the table and used a hot iron on the most stuck down parts of the table for about 30 seconds.


This worked PERFECTLY.  And my reward?  Some pretty gorgeous wood underneath.

With a lot of stuck on glue.  Cue my handy dandy orbit sander.

Ummm, hello gorgeous?  Look at those curved legs, people!

It even stole the show on a craigslist ad I posted using it as a prop for the standing desk.  So many people messaged about the wood desk I had to put a disclaimer on the ad.

So, you might be wondering why I would put a faux marble top over all that gorgeous wood?  Well, I had some Pinspiration:

       Home Depot

Alexandra Marble Desk, Office Desk | Pottery Barn

Are you feeling me yet?

Coco Marble Top Desk | Marble top desk, Marble top, Office ...

This last one is a #1 Stunna.

So I'll admit it.  I didn't want to cover up all that gorgeous wood.  But I still wanted my marble top.  Thus began my arms race to see which would look better in order to make a decision.

I did want the table to be slightly darker that when I purchased it.  So I stained the legs with my go to Dark Walnut.

It looked pretty good so I continued with two coats on the top.

I continued with cutting out a similar sized top out of mdf.

Decided to go with curved edges instead of squared off in order to better see the table's details. 

After that, mistakes were made.

I've been trying liming wax every one in a while when I have a table with a beautiful grain on it.  These two tutorials really had me convinced this table would be perfect.

                             How To Whitewash Wood Using Liming Wax                  Limed Wood w Annie Sloan White Wax

                           It All Started with Paint                                 Salvaged Inspirations

Unfortunately the hubs had really done a number on the half of the table he "de-veneered" and it was pretty beat up.  And the liming wax just enhanced the lumps.


For the faux marble top, I decided the MDF needed a firmer underbelly to feel truly authentic.  Enter metal sheeting...

with some slightly jagged edges that would be fine if not for the...

...vinyl contact paper.  Sigh.

Looks really good, right?  Until you get a close up on those curved edges...

Bubbles and rips and tears (and tears!) oh my.

Back to square one:

Sanding and Restaining the wood top back to its former glory.

New mdf, no metal sheeting, watched a great tutorial on curved edges with vinyl contact paper about 5 million times while waiting for the new vinyl contact paper to arrive.  

And then took my time with the heat gun nudging it ever so slightly towards perfection....

The new vinyl was darker in places than the original, making it look more like a granite than a marble, but it was the look I wanted.

So the problem now is that I wanted both options.  A pretty durable wood top to use for a desk and a faux marble top if I wanted to use it as eye candy.  Cause I'm really not going to do anything major on this top after all of the above.

I hemmed and hawed for a few days, and then inspiration struck.

And they came with perfectly size sticky pads.  Winning!

First I made sure the magnets would communicate with each other through the wood table.  No problems here.

Then I just stuck them underneath the table, lined up the magnets back of the mdf faux marble top and voila! a wood table with a wood and faux marble top.  That perfectly sets into place when you lift it up.

Those edges.  We've come a long way.

Anyway, no pretty pictures of this desk ready for prime time yet.  Because moving means boxes everywhere.

I already sold the kitchen island.  Sniff sniff.  To a woman who LOVED it for her newly renovated kitchen.  That made it slightly better.  But there was no room for it in the new house.

Stay tuned.  I'll show some sneak peaks of the new place on the 'gram.