Archive for the 'My House : Projects' Category

A Hallway Update!

Work on the hallway is coming to a close. We have only one project left – replacing the attic door. I think after the last door debacle, Aaron and I are both a little hesitant to rip the old door down. We’ve got to build up our DIY courage again!

Ok. Maybe we haven’t done it because we’re lazy. So what?

Regardless, we’ve managed to paint the walls, ceiling and trim, replace the light fixture and doorbell and remove the old security system hardware. Check it out:

You can read about replacing the doorbell here. As for that little plastic box leftover from the previous security system, we weren’t sure if electricity still flowed to that box or not. But while the breaker was flipped, I unscrewed the plastic box and removed the circuit board. To be safe, I wrapped the exposed wires with electric tape and stuffed the wires up into the ceiling, then patched the hole with spackle.

I changed the light fixture here.

We painted the ceiling Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. We bought a 5-gallon bucket of the stuff when we moved in and are still chipping away at it. The walls are “Cookie Crumb” in Olympic’s Zero VOC paint, leftover from the guest bedroom, which means we spent a whopping $0 on paint for the walls and ceiling.

Five of the doors and their hinges were a Christmas gift from my mother. I purchased the 18″ closet door for $20 and the six knobs for $9 each. That’s $74 (I purchased more doors and knobs, but those weren’t for the hallway.).

Aaron purchased a gallon of Sherwin Williams Alabaster paint in a semi-gloss finish for the doors and trim, which cost $40, and we still have plenty leftover for the other doors in the house.

And finally, I purchased a light fixture ($11), a doorbell ($27) and three switch plates ($3) which brings the cost so far to $155. Assuming we can replace the attic door for less than $50, we’d bring this hallway in at around $200. Not too shabby if you ask me.

The Big Door-y Reveal

Ok. Are you ready? I showed you how the hallway used to look last night:

And as of right now, it looks like THIS:


I know. I KNOW. It is now glaringly obvious that those dark doors sucked up all the light in the room. These photos are untouched and my camera was on the same settings as the “before” photos, but the hallway feels twice as light-filled with the lighter doors.

Here’s another picture, facing back the opposite direction:

I’ve already started on “Hallway: Phase 2” a.k.a. painting the doors, trim, walls and ceiling white. But tomorrow, I’ll post step-by-step instructions and photos on how we did it. And by “we”, I mean 65% Aaron. And 25% my mom. And like 10% me.

Ok, 9.99% me and 0.01% Lula. Hey, someone’s got to take the pictures. And paint.

I paint alone.

I’m in love. Also, all new hinges and door knobs that ALL match:

ANYWAY, here I mentioned that my mom bought us five 32″ doors for the bedrooms and hall bathroom. Well, this hallway has 3 bedroom doors and 1 bathroom door (the fourth bedroom door leads in from the kitchen). But the hall also contains 2 closet doors.

It should be mentioned that around 7:00pm Sunday night, Mom and I made a “quick trip” to Home Depot for some hardwares. In our excitement, we spontaneously bought 4 more doors: two for the closets in the hallway, one that leads to the furnace/hot water heater closet in the kitchen, and one for the small closet in the bathroom.

Aaron was thrilled. Ha.

It’s for this reason that you’re now viewing photos of an all white-doored hallway. And we’re not finished. More “afters” to come – and more old doors to take to the Habitat ReStore. YESSSSS!


Guest Blogging for Tobi Fairley

Yes. You read that correctly. Today, you can read all about my stencil adventures at Tobi Fairley’s blog. I’m beside myself, because in case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Tobi Fairley is….like…a big deal. One of Traditional Home Magazine’s Top 20 Young Designers in America in 2009. You can hardly pick up a shelter magazine these days without seeing one of her beautiful designs – sometimes even on the cover (hello, House Beautiful!). So go check it out and be sure to peruse her blog, site and monthly web features while you’re there.

A big THANK YOU to Tobi for including me as the  inaugural post in her Tobi’s DIY Diaries series!

Stencil, stencil on the wall…

Previously on Rosemary on the TV:

I took a stab at stenciling. It turned out terribly. Read more about that here and here.

Not one to be outdone by a flimsy piece of plastic, I tried again. Starting over from the beginning by painting over my first failed attempt:

The best part about stencils: they’re just paint and you can hide all your indiscretions faster than you made them.

So I started over, and this time, I was certain to use the “dry brushing” technique. You’re basically blotting paint on the wall a little at a time. Your stencil should look like this as you paint:

Blotting like this also kept the blue paint from peeling away with the stencil when I removed it. Before long, I’d made a heck of a lot of progress:

And yes, it looked good up close too. Not perfect, but you have to remember this is not wallpaper manufactured by a machine somewhere. Unless you are a stencil machine. In which case, why didn’t you offer to stencil my wall for me, stencil machine?

Anyway, things went pretty smoothly and I thought I was becoming a total pro when this happened:

Ahhhhh, man! The stencil has little markings to help you line it up, but you still need to use a level every time you stick it to the wall. I got cocky with my stenciling skillz and quit leveling. And…this. So once again, I found myself hiding my indiscretions.

Aaron thought we should include a photo of me actually painting, in case any of you doubted that I actually do this stuff myself. But I usually look terrible when I paint. So I told him hands only!

This is the calm before the storm, folks. Because when I made it to the corners of the wall, I realized that I don’t have two things that stenciling requires:

1. Loads of patience

2. A prescription for Xanax

If there is some magic secret to getting your stencil to lie flat in corners, I don’t know it.

I even tried tracing the stencil onto a magazine cover and cutting it out with a box knife. It didn’t work:

Turns out paper gets a little flimsy when you try to paint over it. Duh. After muttering strings of profanity that shocked and appalled even Aaron, and throwing a few fisty, foot stomping hissy fits, I finally decided I would have to do a lot of touching up anyway.

And I did. With tiny paint brushes, freehand, around all sides and the ceiling, making a HUGE mess on the ceiling that I’m not even remotely worried about because it will be so easy to fix.

It’s not perfect. But I’m human. And for human, it looks pretty damn good if I do say so myself. So finally, after a week’s worth of work and one million cuss words, I was finished.

And it looked like this:

BAM. STENCILED. I’ll be honest. It was hard. And time consuming. But I keep staring at it, partly because I love it and partly because I hope a dinosaur stereogram will pop out of it if I stare long enough.

Let’s take a look back at the dining room’s journey thus far:

She ain’t done, but can I get a high five for how far she’s come?



Just thought I’d update this post with a few new photos of the dining room. I took these before guest blogging for Tobi Fairley, but after Aaron fixed the crack in the ceiling.

Rosemary vs. the Stencil : Round 1

This post comes to you for the sake of full disclosure. I’m honest. And I’m going to be honest with you right now: That stencil owned me.

I did everything right! I read up on stenciling. I followed all the rules! I made sure not to put too much paint on my brush like EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE tells you to. And I still got totally owned.

Let’s walk through this step by step, shall we?

Step 1: Start with the center of the stencil at the center of the wall, up by the ceiling. This way, the pattern will end in the same place at either side and will flow along the top edge of the wall where everyone will see it. If it cuts off at the bottom down by the floor, it will be more camouflaged by furniture. So, I measured, I marked.

Step 2: Get some stencil adhesive spray (available at Michael’s fer next ter nuthin’) and give your stencil a “light misting.” Too much adhesive will pull your base coat off the wall! Let it sit a spell, then stick it to the wall. BTW It won’t feel super sticky to the touch, but it will definitely stick to the wall.

Step 3: Stick it to the wall. The adhesive should be enough, but if painters tape will make you feel better, use it. I did. Give it a light coating of paint. NOT TOO MUCH! Too much paint will make it bleed through.

Well….I followed all those steps. When the paint was dry, I removed the stencil:

From across the room, Aaron said, “Oh that looks good!”

Ahem…that was from across the room. Up close, things did not look so good:




I know what you’re thinking. I got too much paint on my brush. The stencil bled.

I won’t say that’s completely untrue because as I was painting I realized there was one spot (top right of that last image) where the stencil wasn’t adhered to the wall.

But the main problem was that when I removed the stencil, tons of blue paint came off with it, stuck to the edges of the stencil.

DO YOU SEE THAT? Turns out, you’re not supposed to let the paint dry all the way before you remove the stencil. If this is common knowledge to all you stencilers out there, do this girl a favor and MENTION IT SOMETIME, wouldja?

Rosemary: 0, Stencil: 1

I’ll see you this weekend for round 2, Stencil.


Conquering the Brass Monster

Previously on Rosemary on the TV:

Evan, Matt and Lizzie paid a visit, bearing gifts both large (piano) and small (blueberry). Rosemary and Aaron cleaned up the dining room, despite Lula’s fear of the unknown. But just when they thought they were safe from hideous fixtures… BUM BUM BUMMMM:

I call this chandelier the Brass Monster. Because that’s exactly what it is. A big brass monstrosity. It’s ugly and I’m constantly bumping my head on it. Unfortunately, a new dining room chandelier isn’t in our budget.

So we decided to go DIY on that brass b*tch.

Here’s what we purchased for the project (all from Lowe’s*):

1. Two cans white primer spray paint : $6

2. One can clear sealant spray paint : $3

3. One ceiling medallion : $19

4. Five 2-packs of 40 watt round bulbs at $2 each : $10

Being the safe, responsible guy he is, Aaron started our project by turning off the breaker to the dining room. Then, he measured to make sure our medallion would fit. The instructions called for screwing the medallion into the ceiling, but because our chandelier’s plate fit right along the outside of the medallion’s inner circle, no screws were necessary.

He removed the chandelier from the ceiling and removed a link from the chain so it wouldn’t hang down quite so low. Then I gave it a good scrub down and took it outside to paint it, being careful to cover the little socket thingys (professional terms here, folks) with tape, so no spray paint could get in there.

The chandelier took about three coats. It was a bit tricky since we didn’t have anywhere to hang it. When we painted the bottom, one of us had to hold it while it dried. The neighbors probably laughed at us. The medallion also needed to be painted. It came white-ish, but didn’t quite match the painted chandelier or the ceiling.

Fast forward a few hours after everything had dried and we were ready to put this baby back in place. First, we taped the medallion to the ceiling to keep it in place while we put the chandelier back.

Aaron flexed his handy man muscles and rewired the chandelier, then put the ceiling plate back in its place and screwed it in. The plate went around the inner lip of the medallion, so screwing it in place also kept the medallion in place.

Then, while Aaron went to turn the breaker back on, I screwed in the new bulbs. I chose a round bulb because it’s a more modern shape than the lame-o Christmas Carol candle flame bulbs that had been in it.

And now, we have a chandelier that not only matches our stuff, but is actually cool and hip (like us, duh). And all for less than $40!

*As for Lowe’s, we’ve made the official switch from Home Depot and here’s why:

Home Depot is right by my office, so I was stopping by there a lot out of convenience for paint and supplies. One night, Aaron and I went to shop for blinds, light fixtures, plants, grass seed, bathroom fixtures and even a vanity. We were in the store for about two hours. Not one single employee asked us how we were doing or if we needed help, despite long periods of time spent scratching our heads in a number of different aisles.

That, my friends, is not a good sign. We ended up buying very little that night, despite our plan to buy more. Partly because of the lack of service and partly because of the lack of choices available.

The first night we drove over to Lowe’s in North Little Rock, it was like paradise. The plant and gardening section? Out of this world in comparison. The lights? Seemingly endless. Employees asked us if they could help us and seemed very knowledgeable when we asked questions.

Consider us converted.

Paint dreams.

This story begins with my dad. You see, my dad, being exactly who he is, has been receiving Southern Living magazine for two years because he once agreed to a free issue before swiping his debit card at a local department store. Those tricky sales gimmicks – they don’t mention that what you’re actually signing up for is a free issue followed immediately by a paid subscription. And now that they have your debit card information you must call and cancel your “subscription” after you receive that one free issue. Or you will be charged for it.

Yeah, my dad didn’t call and cancel. He still hasn’t actually. He just receives his Southern Living magazines, then gives them to me, without argument. At first, I thought Southern Living magazine was all casseroles and doilies – a grandma magazine. Oh how wrong I was.

Southern Living is straight dope, y’all. And I bet that’s the first time it’s ever been described in exactly those words.

Well, one month, I opened my Southern Living magazine and saw this:

Oh my mother of holy wow.

I was immediately love-struck. Everything about this room was perfect. Most perfect of all : that paint color. I knew immediately that I wanted to paint our living/dining room THAT color. Such a sophisticated blue-green. Perfect.

The magazine credited the paint as (try not to giggle when I tell you this) Farrow & Ball’s Dix Blue. A little bit of research told me that a gallon of Farrow & Ball’s Dix Blue would cost $123.

Ha. So that option was out.

Next idea: acquire a paint chip, take it to Sherwin Williams and have them match the color in a more affordable paint. Easy enough right?

Uhhhhhhh….no. Turns out, Farrow & Ball paints are available almost exclusively to the trade only. Ugh. I am not “the trade” nor do I personally know anyone in “the trade” to ask them for a paint chip. I searched for Farrow & Ball locations online. Not a paint store anywhere even remotely close to me.

There was, however, a Farrow & Ball showroom in Soho. Yeah, as in New York. So I found myself emailing my New York friends late at night, begging them to take the subway WAY out of their way and get me a paint chip from Soho.

They laughed at my insanity, but a few weeks later, I was the proud owner of not just a paint chip, but an entire pamphlet of Farrow & Ball’s entire paint collection, thanks to my dear lil’ dawg, Elizabeth. Aaron and I wasted no time getting to Sherwin Williams and getting three gallons of Dix Blue matched in a low-sheen paint.

Now, let’s all take a look back at the living room’s journey:

When we moved in the walls and ceiling were a pleasant but too-dark-for-the-space grey. If I had high ceilings and lots of big windows, I would not have minded that color one bit. But it made the living room feel like a cave.

Painting the ceilings helped immensely. When you walked into the room, it felt like a literal weight was lifted from your shoulders.

When we put the paint on the walls, I’ll be honest, it turned out more blue and less blue-green than I expected/than it looked in the magazine. At first, I was unsure, but it has since grown on me tremendously.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand now, it looks like this:

Yes, I chose this picture because I was watching LOST and happened to snap the photo right when Desmond was on the screen.

Also, those couches are OFFICIALLY for sale. Email me if you want.


Ceiling the deal

Welllll…we did it! We painted the ceiling in the living/dining room! And I feel like a big, dark grey weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Ahhh.

I can’t begin to tell you how much bigger and lighter the room feels. Pictures just don’t do it justice. The ceiling feels at least three feet higher than before. I can’t wait to do the rest of the house!!!!!

Sorta. :-\

Anyway, Aaron left town Wednesday morning for a work conference, so I got to work taping the ceilings and hand painting around all the edges. This was actually the hardest, most detail-oriented part and took me a solid four hours, at the end of which, it seemed little progress had been made.

A time lapse illustration:

Lula loves it when I flash the camera in her face.

Anyway, Aaron arrived home Friday while I was at work and managed to do the first coat before I got home! Then Saturday, we finished the job  together. High five for teamwork (though, teamwork is not displayed in these photos…someone’s gotta hold the camera!).

And now for the big reveal!  A before shot, to remind you of its dark, dankness:


Now, let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

If you’re considering painting your own ceilings, we bought a five gallon bucket of flat ceiling white from Sherwin Williams. The technical color is “Alabaster.” According to Aaron, it’s recommended that you not use a bright white on ceilings. We’re hoping that the five gallons will last us the entirety of the house…but we’re not totally sure. So I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that.

It’s tiiiiime! The official “before” house tour.

Sorry for the lack of Monday Mood Enhancers yesterday! I was working on a freelance project, then after work, I went to help Aaron with some yard work at the new house (more on that to come).

Before I start talking about before-and-after projects, I thought I should show you all some photos of the house, since I got some empty “bare bones” photos over the weekend.

Here you go:

The front of the house! There are already improvements, but I’ll show you those later.

The living room. And yes, that is dark grey paint. AND YES, they also painted the ceiling dark grey. (???!?!?!!?)

Going directly through the doorway and turning to your left, you enter Bedroom Numero Uno. Also grey. With a grey ceiling. This room will eventually be the office/media room/man cave to end all man caves.

The next room down the hall is the first full bathroom. With grey paint. And pink tile. All design input is welcome. :-\

Moving right along, at the other end of the hall, we have Bedroom Numero Dos. Pretty basic, you know…WITH GREY WALLS AND CEILINGS. Grrr…This room will probably function as a guest bedroom and I think I’ll keep my desk in here, making this room Rosemary on the TV’s official headquarters. 🙂

From Bedroom Numero Dos, you take a right to enter the master bedroom. It’s a lot larger than it appears in this photo and has two large closets and a master bath:


The doors directly ahead are closet doors. The door on the right leads back out to the hallway/guest bedroom, the door on the left leads to the….

KITCHEN! You can’t tell from this photo, but that oven is the biggest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.

And turning around, a doorway leads back to the dining/living room. And yes, we plan to keep that bronze chandelier EXACTLY as we found it (jk).

One last look at the living room from the other direction, for good measure.

And that’s that! Lots of potential, but lots of work will be involved. I know I’m up for the challenge!

Baby’s first DIY

When I moved into my first apartment back in March, it was a solid 700 square feet. More than enough space for me and the pup. The only downside (besides a general lack of character – it was a cookie-cutter first apartment, to be sure) was the tiny kitchen with little to no storage space.

My mom was very disturbed by this.

While I tend to shrug my shoulders at things most people would find troubling, my mother was convinced that I needed more storage. And if I’ve never mentioned this, now’s the time to tell you: My mom has a lot of stuff. As the once owner/now executive director of a non-profit dinner theater, my mom has a warehouse of stuff. Some cool vintage stuff, lots of old junky stuff. People just give her stuff, assuming that any of their old junk will be useful in some play at some time.

So one day, while rummaging through her piles of junk, my mom sends me a picture text of what she says I can have to use as kitchen storage.


Yikes. That’s hideous. It’s actually upper kitchen cabinets turned upside down with a piece of countertop placed on top. It’s a testament to how desperate I was for storage that I agreed. So she loaded up her car and delivered them to me one day.

Of course, I had managed to dust off the cobwebs and apply a coat of primer when my apartment flooded. My new apartment ended up having even less storage than my old one. So finally, with a bit of elbow grease and a few bucks, I finally finished it.

And it turned my kitchen from this (painter not included):

To this:

I KNOW RIGHT?!  Do you even recognize it?! This little corner of my kitchen has turned out to be perfectly useful. The open shelving was a minimal Home Depot purchase (less than $30 total). My mom returned to screw the counter onto the cabinet, so it’s stable and I can use it for chopping or whatever. The cabinet holds all my pots, pans and other baking needs since the two shelves in my kitchen were just big enough to act as pantry space.

All that was needed:

A quart of Behr paint : $11

New hinges from Home Depot: $7 for 3 sets

These adorable knobs from Anthropologie: $24 for 3

Total: $42

Yeah. You read that right.


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Sundry Mumsy