New Orleans Getaway

I just had the pleasure of spending a few days in New Orleans, you guys, and had the best time! Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage and I celebrated our birthdays with a girls’ getaway weekend. And rather than staying in a hotel, we used Trip Advisor’s vacation rental property site, FlipKey, to find a beautiful home that would fit our needs.  

New Orleans rental studio apartment at diyshowoff.com

Our experience felt way more personal and special because of staying in a residential area, almost like we were one of the locals. Well, locals with cameras, no sense of direction in an unknown city, wide-eyed and excited to see the sights!

New Orleans mardi gras beads

There were so many options on Flipkey, with the ability to select the property features in any area (pretty much anywhere in the world). We found the cutest rental (here) in a beautiful historic mansion (but still close to everything) to spend our time. And wow!, were we ever happy with our decision (this location is said to be perfect for Jazz Fest!). New Orleans home

We chose a small studio apartment (beautifully decorated by the homeowner – with a few fun DIY accents too)! Take a look at how pretty and comfortable our little home away from home was – sweet decorative accents and smart ideas for small space living… New Orleans small space living LOVE pillow original photo by TG Herrington

Minimalistic small space living was a pleasant change and so motivating to make de-cluttering a part of spring cleaning this year.

eclectic entry area New Orleans studio apartment living room small space living console table mirror

The description: The flat is open, airy and just plain sexy. It features high ceilings, large windows, painted hardwood floors, central air, a queen sized bed, flat screen TV, petite couch, an Eames rocking chair and a few other things. The kitchen has all stainless steal appliances, microwave, washer/dryer and an expresso machine. It really feels like a suite in a boutique hotel, its about 500 sq ft. In addition, all linens and toiletries are provided.

New Orleans studio apartment kitchen Small? Yes. But still way roomier than a hotel room. kitchen shelves

The Mansion has some incredible history: it was built by the Storyville Madame Josie Arlington. Although it was her private residence, it was known that she entertained some of favorite client’s here. Josie’s once famed parlor is now a private flat on the west side of the estate with its own private entrance. The bathroom was small but made the best use of space.

small apartment bathroom

Modern, clean, full of charm and beautiful architectural detail. The homeowners were very genuine and friendly and even treated us with a sweet mid-morning snack. 

biscuits and jam

Knowing our obsessions with homes, the homeowners invited us to tour the main house and another rental they’re working on…that decorating and home improvement eye candy was a definite highlight for these DIY girls! Stunning! I guarantee you’ll see their home on the glossy pages of a home magazine one day in the future. And again, getting to know the property owners was way more fun and interesting than strictly polite business of hired hotel staff.

We kept the theme of our getaway schedule-free, stress-free and low key but still managed to eat amazing food, win $9 at the penny slots, walk the French Quarter,

French Market Place carriage tour Rue de Chartres

 sample beignets

hot chocolate and beignets

at Cafe du Monde,

cafe du monde

shop Magazine Street,

Magazine Street

take a cemetery tour (or two)

St. Louis Cemetery 3

and to drool over the history, beautiful trees and architecture in the Garden District, actually in the entire city to be honest. 

New Orleans Garden District New Orleans street car New Orleans historic home

If you haven’t been to NOLA, it’s definitely a spot you’ll want to add to your bucket list (if you need a travel buddy – let me know! I’m ready to go back!) and if you have visited, what was your favorite thing about the Big Easy? I’ll share a bit of what I loved most next week. 

Disclaimer: I was offered a free trial, in part, through FlipKey. As always, opinion is 100% my own.

Junked trunk to coffee table {apartment storage}

Remember this past summer when I scored a lot of a LOT of steamer trunks?

painted trunk

Before…

steamer trunk before

With furnishing the small apartment on a SUPER tight budget, we decided that one of these trunks would make a great coffee table since it would also provide a storage solution for the tiny apartment space.

We started out by cleaning up the trunk. It’s not in mint condition, but my daughter appreciates imperfection and character too or well, the fact that it was a “free” solution helped.

cleaning trunk

We gave it a basecoat of white spray paint and let it dry…

white basecoat on old trunk

We used two strips of FrogTape to preserve stripes of the white spray paint underneath two coats of aqua spray paint. Be sure to press down the edges of FrogTape before spraying!

FrogTape steamer trunk

More spray paint…

spray painted steamer trunk

Then peel off the FrogTape while it is still wet {yes, you will get paint on your hands}. I don’t remember the first aqua-color we tried, but it was too swimming pool blue. DIY is sometimes a trial and error. So, we used the yellow FrogTape Delicate surface for the second try and Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra x2 in Satin Lagoon. Much better…

spray painted steamer trunk

And I always get so excited and want to keep embellishing and stenciling when it’s so easy and fun to do, but Ali liked the simple “Tiffany & Co.” look of white stripes on lagoon blue and who am I to argue with that because I have to agree…it’s pretty darn cute.

Tiffany & Co. spray painted steamer trunk

Painted steamer trunk cost:Great price for dual purpose, first apartment furniture. And the pop of color? Love it!

See all things related to the apartment renovation here!

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

 FrogTape Blog Squad

Partying here:
shabby creek cottage DIY Show Off

DIY Ceiling Mount Drum Shade Light Fixture Cover

In the apartment: Staying within a very tight budget inspires creativity. The main floor of the rental had a boring light fixture and we wanted to do something a little more fun. A thrift store drum shade was a great solution and worked with existing ceiling mounted light fixture base. {peek of the thrifty gallery wall}

DIY Drum Shade Ceiling Mount Light Fixture Tutorial

I originally purchased a steel nipple {are you giggling?! who decided that was a good name for hardware?} for a lamp kit, but it was too big in diameter to fit through the hole in the existing light fixture base. Lucky for us, True Value Hardware is within walking distance of the rental. So convenient. Great for finding last minute things and a huge selection of everything plumbing (and lamp kits too). I found that a ‘toilet’ plumbing piece {a rod threaded on both ends} was a perfect fit. We simply unscrewed the existing base, added a nut near the hole in the center of the existing base and screwed in the threaded rod and re-attached the base of the light fixture.

Next, Just center of the drum shade over the threaded rod and the finial holds it all into place.

threaded rod in DIY drum shade light

 But the ugliness is visible from underneath…

DIY drum shade light fixture

Solution: Measuring the diameter of the interior of the drum shade, I made a pattern/stencil from cardboard (tracing the interior of the shade).

cardboard template

We used the cardboard circle as a template for cutting plexiglass (2 circles). We found cutting plexiglass to be a challenge and cut a larger circle, wrapped the edges in FrogTape to help minimize cracking and chipping then used our Dremel Trio to cut the circle border on the FrogTape. Note: this project is NOT for perfectionists. Amateurs (like us) achieved a jagged circle but we’re okay with that. 

plexiglass with FrogTape

Remove FrogTape and transparent protective cover from plexiglass. We didn’t get a smooth cut, but it’s not extra noticeable when placed into the drum shade and hot glue and ribbon or beads can cover the jagged edge.

We also drilled a hole in the center of each piece of plexiglass for the threaded rod.

I ironed my doily and cut out the center circle…

ironing doily

and put the plexiglass into the drum shade {plexiglass, doily, plexiglass}, resting it on the lamp shade supports (drum shade will be installed ‘upside down’). Note: You may want to use a spray adhesive on one side of the doily to keep it from sliding as you’re layering plexiglass, doily, plexiglass. I also used hot glue to attach a string of beads to hide our jagged cuts.

plexiglass doily drum shade

So pretty DIY ceiling mount light {a little off center, hence the suggestion for spray adhesive as noted above}:

doily drum shade light

Then just put the drum shade into place, secured by the finial…

DIY drum shade light lit

We love how it turned out – but note: plexiglass is more expensive than we anticipated. So while it still worked out to be a less expensive option than a pretty drum shade ceiling fixture and prettier than a boob light, it wasn’t super cheap like I had planned. Approximate cost breakdown: plexiglass $25, drum shade $5, doily $10 + finial and threaded rod.

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We were chosen by True Value to be one of the members of the 2012 DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY projects. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments and no one has twisted my arm to participate.  

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience and project results may vary.

 FrogTape Blog Squad

Tips for painting a herringbone patterned accent wall

Apartment progress!

Herringbone Accent {on textured} Wall

I’ve shown sneak peeks of the apartment renovation progress and you’ve likely seen the herringbone-like accent wall in the kitchen area…

painted accent wall

Base paint color: True Value Easy Care – Baby Elephant (soft neutral gray) & Accent color: True Value Easy Care – Sweet Honey

Since we own this rental space, I was able to get a little creative in adding a fun accent wall as a backdrop behind some open shelving. Before paint…

apartment walls before

Yes…I have ‘plans’ for a DIY radiator cover but I must confess that I feel it’s a LOT ambitious and I’m scared. Working up the courage to give it a try sometime this month. Anyway, after paint {including painting kitchen cabinets and Rustoleum Countertop Transformations}:

find center of wall

The open wall space above the wainscoting was the perfect spot to display open shelving as a solution for more storage/organization in this tiny apartment. True Value’s Easy Care Platinum and FrogTape were all I needed to add some interest to a flat textured wall. The pattern also helps disguise the un-hidden pipes. I put together a quick tutorial video using my iphone {pardon the portrait orientation, poor quality…amateur videographer but working hard on getting better!} explaining how I achieved the herringbone pattern:

The wall was finished and I was so happy to be able to move forward on the renovation! Shelves are budget friendly Ekby shelving and brackets from IKEA… IKEA Ekby

{installation was super easy using the Master Mechanic Swift Driver!}

Woo hoo! painted accent wall And just when I felt super good about a little DIY success, something went wrong upstairs with the plumbing. The joys of DIY… upstairs plumbing leak I was just too exhausted and heartbroken to deal with it. My Mr. DIY fixed the plumbing issue in the bathroom above and Bri’s boyfriend, Steve, saved the day by patching the ceiling below. patching ceiling textured ceiling and I set about touching up the paint… touching up paint Now, all done for real… herringbone accent wall If you missed it yesterday, I shared the hardwood floors before/after refinishing:

staining hardwood floors

More apartment renovation, decorating and furnishing coming soon!

We were chosen by True Value to be one of the members of the 2012 DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY projects. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments and no one has twisted my arm to participate.  This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience.  FrogTape Blog Squad

Refinishing Hardwood Floors {apartment progress}

How I refinished the apartment hardwood floors…

When we started the apartment renovation, I knew the hardwood floors would need to be refinished. Previous tenants had some sort of mishap and the finish was ruined…{I try not to think long and hard about the details of the mishap. ::shudder::}

condition of hardwood floors before:

hardwood floors before

We started by sanding the floors (well, by “we” I really mean, I supervised while my nephew controlled the beast known as the orbital sander). Once the steps to strip the old finish was completed and floors and sawdust were cleaned up, we were ready to refinish the original hardwood for a new look.

All sanded!

sanding hardwood floor

I headed to True Value for the materials I needed {and a few other things too but more coming on that soon}:

  • Minwax Wood Finish, stirred not shaken {Color is “Dark Walnut”}. Minwax has great informational guide too.
  • Minwax High Build Polyurethane (clear satin), stirred not shaken (martini is optional)
  • FrogTape
  • angled 3.5″ Purdy paintbrushes – “White Bristle” {recommended for stain}
  • angled 3 ” Purdy brush – “Black China Bristle” for polyurethane
  • old clean rags {I actually had these on hand but you CAN buy them at True Value too!}
  • Optional: latex gloves {I lived with brown stained nails for a day or two…oops.}
  • Suggestion: pillow for knees and definitely old clothes {not sold at True Value}
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Mineral spirits and clean rags

Staining Hardwood Floors

The process is a fairly simple DIY. The task is just time consuming (and a little labor intensive because of my position on ‘old knees’). Since I was working with two small rooms, I opted to use a brush and work on my hands and knees vs. a roller.

I started in a far corner of the room, working with the wood grain, with the direction of the wood planks, working my way out of the room – don’t work yourself into a corner – no fun being trapped!

For extra protection, tape off baseboards/shoe molding using FrogTape.

I dipped my Purdy brush into the can of Minwax stain, tapped off the extra and applied the stain in a corner, working along the baseboard along the length of the wood plank. When I noticed that some of the stain wasn’t absorbing, I let it sit for a few minutes then wiped away the excess with an old rag.

staining hardwood floors

I worked in 2-4 foot sections in length as I went along right to left in my room, working my way towards the door. Sometimes I did a larger number of planks as well, just find a rhythm that works for you.

refinishing hardwood floors

Bedroom done. I worked my way out into the hallway…

staining hardwood floors

down the stairs and around the bend…

staining stair treads

and started the main floor in a corner, working my way out the door.

staining hardwood floors

Sounds like I ended up at Grandmother’s place (over the river and through the woods) and a lot quicker than it actually took. ! 

TIPS: Since I’m working my way actually out of the apartment, I had to make sure to grab things I needed like purse, keys, cell phone, etc. Turn off things that you don’t want to leave on during the drying period. The radio blasted during our drying time. Oops!

Note: Two coats can be applied (see Minwax for further instructions). I loved the color one coat achieved so I skipped this step. Sealing the floor will also darken the color a bit. One coat of stain:

dark walnut hardwood floors

I let my floors dry a few days but we were working in an unoccupied space. I applied the stain on a Friday and returned the following week to resume refinishing by sealing the floors. Sealing the floors is NOT optional, it’s required. It’s necessary. Stain does not protect the wood, only colors/enhances the beauty.

Sealing the floors…

sealing hardwood floors

I used the same process as above to seal the floors. Starting in the far corner of the room, I repeated the same steps of dipping my paint brush into the polyurethane, tapping, applying in the corner, brushing right to left (the direction I was personally working), along the baseboards and working my way out the door.

It really enhances the rich beautiful color:

minwax high build polyurethane

I let the first coat of polyurethane dry 48 hours.

My most UN-favorite part: once the first coat is dry, lightly sand the entire floor with a 220 grit sandpaper. Clean floors of dust with mineral spirits and let dry. Then apply a second coat of polyurethane using the same steps. Repetitive. Time consuming. But so rewarding!

Allow to dry for 12 hours to resume “light use” (however – test the floor first!). Remove FrogTape.

Stand back, remember the before (try not to gag):

hardwood floors before

Admire the gorgeous after: 

apartment sneak peek alert!

dark walnut stained hardwood floors

Pinterest tip: Did you know that if you rub a wood scratch (floors and furniture) with a walnut (circular motions, filling in the scratch), the walnut oils will fill in the scratch and heal the wood wound? Great snack, too!

Estimated total cost of DIY refinishing 2 small rooms of hardwood (approx. 250 sq. feet) = $250.00 and a few days of recovery…but nothing that would keep you out of your True Value hardware store to prepare for your next DIY. ;)

Joining Sarah’s party today:

TDC Before and After

We were chosen by True Value to be one of the members of the 2012 DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY projects. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments and no one has twisted my arm to participate. 

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

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Painted Striped Curtains {apartment sneak peek}

Painting Horizontal Stripes on Fabric Curtain Panels

Renovating, furnishing and decorating an apartment = very tight budget. With the main floor needing six panels, Ikea’s Vivan panels were a perfect choice. A set of two panels for $9.99 – what a deal! And they’re huge! 52″ wide x 98″ long. I love all white curtain panels but for the main living space, I wanted to add a little texture, neutral accent and simple pattern. I love horizontal striped curtains. We decided to go with three large neutral stripes, starting from the bottom.

Not according to plan: My plan was to do an ombre design from black, dark charcoal to light gray. I ended up with something a little different. Here’s how I did it, my suggestions on what I would have done differently and why my stripes aren’t ombre.

What I did: 

Materials:

  • Ikea Vivian curtain panels
  • Paint (fabric paint or latex paint)
  • Sponge rollers (recommend trying foam rollers)
  • FrogTape
  • Tools used: yard stick, iron, sewing machine for hemming if needed

I started by pre-washing and ironing out wrinkles, then spread them out (one at a time) on the dining room table. I used a vinyl table cloth as a “drop cloth” for underneath the panel.

Ikea Vivian curtain panels

Using my yard stick, I started from the bottom and measured 12 inches, then drew a pencil line.

DIY horizontal striped curtains

I used my FrogTape on the outside of my 12″ line to create a crisp border. For the next stripe, I measured 12″ from the edge of the FrogTape. Note: My straight tape lines extended past the panel to secure the edges of the fabric to the vinyl tablecloth to help prevent shifting.

FrogTape for painting striped curtains

I purchased 3 large bottles of fabric paint in black. My plan was to add white to lighten each stripe. However even three bottles of fabric paint does not go a long way with six curtain panels. I ended up using the black fabric paint for the bottom stripe of each panel.

painting striped curtains

painting stripes on curtains

Dip in paint, roll on cardboard/paper towels then roll onto fabric. My cheap rollers meant I had to go over it a few times but once the roller was saturated with paint, it went quicker. 

painted horizontal striped Ikea curtains

Then…since we are on a budget, I used latex wall paint – which is the reason I ended up with a black stripe, gray stripe and greige stripe…not white ombre, but neutral! Tip: {figured this out after the fact}, water down latex wall paint for better absorption.

DIY painted striped curtain panels

I used a sponge roller from the dollar store for each stripe. Tip: DO not use cheap dollar store sponge rollers. Invest a couple dollars in a better quality foam roller. My cheap sponge roller is part of the reason for a “suede” look…which we were okay with and ended up liking the look, but I also would have liked a more solid result. The faded look is pretty too and when time is an issue, it looks even better. ;)

I painted each stripe, let it dry a little, then hung each panel to dry more thoroughly.  So, with six curtain panels, it did take me a couple of days.

drying painted curtain

I wiped the vinyl tablecloth in between laying out each panel. (Pleasant time saving surprise: The paint on my vinyl drop cloth could be seen through the white curtain panels, meaning after the first one, I didn’t have to measure/mark each panel – I just lined it up on the vinyl drop cloth and taped where the previous curtains’ FrogTape lines showed through.)

how to paint striped curtain panels

I immediately removed my FrogTape once painting was complete.

removing FrogTape from painted curtains

Once all of my panels were dry, I measure the length and cut from the top, adding 3 inches to create a rod pocket (cutting from the top or bottom means one of those needs hemmed and I found painting from the bottom up easier). I love using curtain rings, but again, 6 sets of curtain rings adds up, and this is a budget friendly makeover.

measuring and cutting curtain panels

cutting and measuring…

creating rod pocket

sewing a rod pocket

I creased the extra 3 inches with an iron,

ironing rod pocket

then folded about an inch under and ironed that.

creating and ironing rod pocket hem

I sewed a straight line near the bottom of the ironed fold to create a rod pocket.

sewing rod pocket

***I’ll share what I did with the “top” piece of the curtain panels soon – cutting from the top left me with 6 valances, just needing a hem.

I gave each panel another quick iron over and now they’re hanging!

Before apartment makeover:

door before

Just a peek of the apartment windows before:

chartreuse door

Door paint color is Valspar Gilded Pesto (beautiful chartreuse!).

Sneak peek windows after:

DIY painted horizontal striped curtains

Side note: Since the tiny apartment doesn’t have an entry way or closet, I attached some coat hooks (Hobby Lobby) to a board and screwed it to the door – instant cute coat rack. DIY Show Off bag is from Nest of Posies.

painted curtain after

Whatdoyathink? It might make more sense when you see the rest of the apartment, eh? Patience, my friends. I know – not one of my strengths either. ;)

Note: I haven’t washed the curtains after painting, but I’m assuming all will be well – after all, the paint doesn’t wash out of my paint splattered DIY attire.

Update: More apartment details! We are still working on some finishing touches and last minute issues that have come up {the joys of DIY!}, so the reveal has been pushed back. However, there are a TON of DIY details and I’ll be sharing those over the next week or two {and while we’re on vacation}. We think it’s awesome and can’t wait to hear what you think! Little by little…we’ll work up to the reveal!

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

Show Your Colors

With so many before and after projects going on around here…and you know how I’m always so excited to share…well, sort of like DIY Show Off, MyColortopia.com has a new feature for readers to celebrate their completed projects. It’s called Show Your Colors and not only can you show off your before and after photos, but you’ll inspire others with your DIY talents. Sounds fun, right?

choosing paint colors, paint color inspiration tool, how to choose a paint color

This is how it works:

Remember the apartment kitchen area before?

apartment kitchen before

Blah. But after a lot of painting, the cabinets, countertops, walls and trim have a fresh new look:

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations pure white

and a sneak peek of something you haven’t seen yet involving more paint {details coming soon}…

painted accent wall

It’s super easy. Create and log in to MyColortopia.com, click the “Befores &Afters” tab and upload up to 4 pictures of your before and after room makeover.

All done. You’re all set to browse the entire gallery of before/after photos. The MyInspiration tool will match your favorite colors. And you can share via social media your project or your selected favorites. Super cool!

There’s so much more information at My Colortopia.com to kick start inspiration for your next room makeover including a blog post full of ideas written by some of our favorite talented DIY bloggers. Check it out!

I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations {apartment progress}

I am no stranger to painting cabinets (painted kitchen cabinets). I get a lot of questions about Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations and I love that I had the opportunity to test the product for myself. My honest opinion? I seriously LOVED the kit. Reason #1 – no sanding! That step is my least favorite (and most time consuming and messy) part of re-doing kitchen cabinets.

The apartment kitchen before was looking outdated and sad…(and super dirty!)

apartment kitchen makeover before

and after some clean up and the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations {review} definitely made even the cabinets look better…

Rustoleum Countertops

but with such a small space, I really wanted to lighten things up.

I chose “pure white”. This kitchen is super tiny but I used Rustoleum’s how to measure guide to confirm that one kit would cover our space. It turned out to be more than enough.

painting kitchen cabinets prep work

I removed the doors and hardware. I used FrogTape to label my doors

prep for painting kitchen cabinets

and to prepare my space for painting (where cabinets met the wall and floor in certain areas).

paint prep using FrogTape

 Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

The first step in the kit is ‘deglossing’. Simply generously apply the declosser to the wood (or laminate or even metal!) with the provided green scrubby. Rinse with a wet rag and let dry. This removed a lot of the dirt, grease and the “shine”.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

The next step is applying the bonding coat (or … white paint provided by the kit).  I started with the front side of the doors and while they were drying, moved to the cabinet frames.

Elevating doors made them easier to paint.

When painting doors, I find that after painting the edges, that running my finger along the underside helps prevent ‘drips’. This means painted fingers and old paint pants come in handy but if you skip this, you will definitely have drips/extra paint on the other side!

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

I gave everything 2 coats. I decided not to use the glaze which was provided in the kit since I wanted a clean white look. I think that if you’re not doing the glaze, that two coats is enough (because it will help achieve an awesome glazed look) but if going for the pure white, I recommend using a primer first (not provided) or giving everything 3 coats of paint if you have enough (which I did). I gave the outside of the doors (the most viewed area) 3 coats. The sides of cabinets, which are not seen, got two coats.

painting kitchen cabinets

I removed my FrogTape as soon as I applied the last round of the bonding coat. I felt confident applying the clear protective coat without the FrogTape using an angled brush and didn’t want to pull off any of the bonding coat which can easily happen once paint dries.

removing FrogTape

Once the last bonding coat was dry, it was time to apply the protective coat. Only ONE coat is recommended. I brushed it on in the direction of the wood grain (do the same with the paint). It goes on shiny (wet) but has a beautiful, durable matte finish.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

Once the protective coat is dry, re-attach doors and hardware.

attach cabinet doors

I was going to just re-use the old hardware but I found an awesome deal at a yard sale with a bit of a prettier look. So new knobs for $2.00!

thrifted cabinet knobs

I think the result is beautiful. Painting cabinets is always time consuming but I found that the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit is a great easy way to give old cabinets a new durable look!

This is not recommended by Rustoleum but using the same steps, I even gave the dingy scratched fridge the same treatment. Time will tell if it will hold up but since it works on laminate and metal…I felt it was a safe option. I gave it a ‘light’ brushing of the bonding coat and a layer of protective coat. The fridge looked extra yellow and dirty next to the new cabinets. Who wants that? Now it looks brand new!

Once again, before: {I know – I keep sharing this before but with each new project, I want you to see the progress and what we started with.}

apartment kitchen before

After:

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations pure white

a close up…

pure white

Yes! Time to move onto some decorative details in the kitchen! Wahooooooo! More to come!

kitchen makeover

I can’t wait for this clutter to be gone and for the decorating to begin!

painted white kitchen cabinets

It’s getting there!

More helpful links:

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations tutorial and review.

countertop before and after feature

·         Rust-Oleum has an appliance epoxy for painting appliances: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=391

·         Rust-Oleum also has a product called Furniture Transformations http://rustoleumtransformations.com/furniture/

Sharing here: Home Stories A2Z
Best Sept. DIY party

*I share my experience in this post and it is not meant as a full tutorial. Rustoleum includes detailed written instructions and an instructional DVD tutorial with each kit with additional help at Rustoleum Transformations website. I received product in exchange for my review.

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

Apartment Kitchen DIY – 1 before and 1 after

Hellooooo, DIY friends! So it’s almost midnight here and even up until about a half hour ago, I had high hopes of editing photos and writing up a painting kitchen cabinets tutorial and Rusteoleum Cabinet Transformations review but my long work days have caught up with me and I can barely keep my eyes open so um, yea…not happening. I sometimes tend to get a little ambitious with trying to squeeze so much into one day. When I say DIY is my passion, I’m not joking. And I love blogging but I discovered some times there isn’t enough time for both. You’ve noticed that too, right? This past week and the next few days will reflect all work, no play, no blogging, no socializing but lots of rewards!

I plan to be up at the crack of dawn (or maybe a few minutes after that) to head back to the rental to work on some more DIY. You all know I love me some DIY projects and it’s a three day DIY weekend, friends! At least in this household it’ll be 3 fun days of DIY (although we may be persuaded to spend an afternoon with family, food and swimming one day because that does sound like a lot more fun than our summer: DIY apartment part 452, doesn’t it?).

So anyway, as I head off to bed for a few hours of sleep before heading back to DIY, DIY and more DIY, in place of sharing a full tutorial and review today, I leave you with this…

This is one area of the apartment that we started with…

apartment kitchen before

{and that’s the cleaned up version…see the scary before here}

and this is what it looks like now (still some more to reveal yet/coming soon to a DIY blog near you. There will be much more to this kitchen than this current state!)

DIY apartment kitchen after

{Rustoleum Countertop Transformations review & tutorial}

Well, that is what it looks like now minus the clutter of additional tools and materials and MINUS that smooth ceiling to the left because there was a leak in the bathroom upstairs (uh oh!) and after a major freak out minor breakdown where I had to walk away to cry before gathering my strength, wiping my nose and wishing desperately that I could just run away to somewhere tropical and never DIY ever again –  to return to clean up wet crumbling drywall and water. I may have ran out the door an wailed. Ask the neighbors. It wasn’t pretty. ::sigh:: The joys of DIY. Not always smooth sailing and according to plan. But, nothing to do but persevere and just clean it up and mentally make up a drywall patch check list because it won’t fix itself and a huge 5 x 2 foot hole in the ceiling to expose floor joints and the wood floor above isn’t going to make for a pretty reveal.

Sooooo…if you don’t see me around for a few days, I will be working on this list:

  • painting faux tileboard, ceiling, trim
  • grouting a bathroom floor
  • patching a ceiling
  • installing baseboards
  • fixing a painted accent wall
  • working on a few other *fun* DIY projects (YAY! Finally!)
  • installing a bathroom vanity, sink and faucets
  • installing a bathroom light
  • installing a toilet
  • staining/poly’ing hardwood floors

Again, with the ambition! I’m optimistic. I’ll be working my butt off to get as much done as I can. I’m not kidding myself. I know I’m not going to make my deadline of it being ALL done this weekend but we’re getting closer! What are YOU doing THIS weekend? If you’re enjoying one of those Pinterest inspired recipes…I’m so envious! Anyone else notice that busy DIY days = unhealthy eating?

HAVE AN AMAZING LABOR DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND if you’re celebrating!

If you’d like to see snippets of progress before it’s posted, I share updates on Facebook, Twitter and instagram. 

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I love company! If you’re not available to patch a ceiling or grout tile this weekend, I invite you to catch up on past posts, links from the DIY party or our home tourvisit links on our project page or to start thinking about inspiration for fall!

Did you know that if you subscribe by email (left side bar)…you can view the full post delivered right to your email? A great alternative to the truncated feed! 

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

When I first saw the scratched, lightly burned and stained creamy colored laminate countertop in the rental, I knew I needed  to either board up the door and run for the hills or an affordable and easy DIY solution. Rustoleum’s Countertop Transformations kit was a great way to rescue this kitchen.

kitchen before…

apartment kitchen before

Rustoleum’s Countertop Transformations kit comes in 5 colors: Onyx, Charcoal, Java Stone, Desert Sand and Pebbled Ivory. Since the previous light color was stained, I decided to go with a darker color to avoid the same issue in the future. “Sleek and contemporary, Onyx is one of today’s most-sought after colors. Onyx’s black gleaming finish will modernize your kitchen and accent any decor. It perfectly complements kitchens with stark colors, white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.” The description sold me…an easy DIY way to modernize a kitchen?

A DIY option that doesn’t include removing the old and measuring for new, cutting new/etc.? Count me in! There’s a lot of DIY going on in this apartment and budget friendly, easy choices are a huge help!

I’m often asked about this DIY kit, so it was great to have the opportunity to give it a try for myself. Summary? Definitely worth the money and work to achieve the look of a brand new countertop!

My Rustoleum Countertop Transformations Experience

I read through the instructions. I also wrote down highlights when I watched the instructional DVD. The kit includes nearly everything but I did have to purchase 2 angled 2″ brushes, gloves, a 6″ microfiber roller and a 6″ foam roller (shown on the outside of the box). A shop vac is handy too.

I set up a work station close by with all of the materials on hand and ready to go.

countertop transformations prep

and prepped the area using plastic drop cloths and FrogTape. I did not remove the sink, however removing the sink will make the process much easier.

laminate countertop before

Tip: I taped around the sink. However, if you have a steady hand and an angled brush, I think it’s easier to wipe away basecoat when you get it on the sink. Tape will peel away some of the finish and require touch ups but those are super easy to do too! More on that below. Tape off wall near backsplash, cover cabinets, appliances (if near by) and floor with plastic drop cloths.

The first step is to sand the counters using the diamond embedded sanding block (provided in kit) to remove the shine from the laminate, sanding in a circular motion. It actually not only removed the glossy finish but the some of the stains as well. This is by far the hardest step – not too difficult, just time consuming and requires some muscle.

sanding laminate countertop

{as you can see above, I removed the loose laminate side strips because they were not secure and applied each step to the non-laminated sides}

Once the sanding was done, I cleaned the countertops with a damp cloth, removing all of the dust (several times) then let them dry.

Step 2 is applying the adhesive base coat. Have the materials ready to go including: adhesive base coat, wetting spray, paint tray and microfiber roller, 2″ angled brush and decorative color chips (in the spreader). Stir the adhesive base coat.

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

Starting with the backsplash area, apply a heavy coat (like icing on a cake) of the adhesive base coat to the top and front of the backsplash and two inches of the countertop against the backsplash. Use the brush to apply the adhesive base coat to the sides and front of the countertop. Pour the adhesive base coat into the paint tray and roll onto the large flat area of the countertop. Make sure that none of the countertop shows through. Work quickly!

adhesive base coat

adhesive base coat around sink

Once every spot is covered, quickly move to the next steps. Spray the wetting agent and spread decorative color chips using the spreader according to instructions. Take handfuls and apply decorative color chips in hard to reach places, covering every area of adhesive base coat. There are plenty of decorative chips. Spare no expense!

applying decorative color chips

It does make quite a mess but don’t worry, they’re very easy to sweep up. I let this sit overnight then swept up the excess decorative color chips with a shop vac.

sweeping chips

It’s starting to look awesome!

laminate countertop transformation

Using the scraper provided, start removing build up of dried decorative chips along the coated surfaces (being careful not to dig or remove too much).

scraping decorative color chips

Next, using the sanding block in the kit, sand down the decorative color chips. And sand some more. And sand again.

sanding decorative color chips

Vacuum up the dust

vaccum

and compare the sanded countertop with the sample piece.

textured sample

Sand and vacuum again if needed.

sanding and vacuuming countertop

Clean with a damp cloth, making sure to get all of the dust removed and let dry. Score the FrogTape with a utility knife (we only had a razor on hand) and remove tape.

removing FrogTape

Touch ups: When I removed my FrogTape from around the sink, it did peel away some of the finish. Not to worry. Simply touch up with the adhesive base coat using a foam brush, (wipe away base coat if it gets onto the sink/etc.), apply decorative chips and wait four hours.

Rustoleum countertop touch up

Sweep up the chips. Sand. Clean.

Tip: Note that this process is messy and remember to over protect areas you don’t want involved. I have a little paint touch ups to do.

touch up needed

Again, make sure countertops are completely dust/dirt free and dry. {looking better already, isn’t it?}

cleaning countertop

On to the last step! Once the countertop has been sanded and cleaned, gather supplies and pour Part A of the protective coat with Part B and stir.

mixing Rustoleum countertop transformations

Apply the protective clear coat starting with the top and front of the backsplash and onto about 2 inches of the level countertop. Pour some of the protective coat into a paint tray and apply to the flat areas of the countertop using the foam roller. Don’t forget to apply protective coat to the sides also.

apply protective coat

Keep kids and pets out of the room until the protective coat dries to avoid fingerprints, pet hair, etc. in the finish.

The transformation is amazing. What a gorgeous finish and huge improvement!

rustoleum countertop transformations onyx

Let dry 48 hours for light use and 7 days to fully cure for normal use.

Thoughts: This do-it-yourself Rustoleum Countertop Transformations kit is messy but easy to use, an affordable option and the result is gorgeous. Dried nice to a nice hard finish. The countertop feels durable and looks 100% better! We’re thrilled with the results! Thanks to Bri for her help with this project! Two people are definitely better than one!

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations before and after

What do you think? Have you tried the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations?

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations After - Onyx

Thinking about it? I hope sharing our experience helps! This YouTube video shares DIY tips.

Up next…oh yes I did! I painted those cabinets! I’ll share the process next week. But here’s a sneak peek…

DIY countertop and cabinets

You might also be interested in Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations…making painting cabinets easy (no sanding!):

pure white

 

I did receive product (Rustoleum Countertop Transformations kit) in exchange for a review however experience, pictures and opinion are my own. For more information about Rustoleum Countertop Transformations including a how-to-guide, colors, virtual tool, photo gallery with before and after pictures and where to buy, visit Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

Choosing tile for the apartment bathroom

We were recently asked if we’d like to participate in the Daltile Atmospheres Tile Collection campaign by The Home Depot. With an apartment renovation in progress, timing was perfect. We quickly replied with our acceptance and couldn’t wait to get started. Literally. We do have a tiling project in our plans at this very moment. The super tiny bathroom in the super tiny apartment we’re renovating is in desperate need of a new floor.

apartment bathroom before

Actually it’s in desperate need of a lot more! There’s a need to gut the entire bathroom and start from scratch but due to a very small budget and time constraints, we’ve narrowed the projects down to

  • tiling the floor and installing baseboard trim
  • painting
  • re-caulking
  • new lighting
  • new medicine cabinet or mirror
  • new vanity, sink and faucets
  • and of course, budget friendly decorating

The current flooring is a Pergo-type flooring which is not ideal for a bathroom. {duh} There are a few warped planks. Time to remove it and install something much more bathroom-friendly.

bathroom makeover before

{previous owner forgot their shampoo!}

We headed to The Home Depot: a one stop shop for all tiling needs, whether you’re an experienced DIYer (like Mr. DIY) or first time tiler (like me) to see what would work for this space. Here are a few options that we looked at…

Daltile Atmospheres Tile Collection

Daltile Atmospheres Tile Collection

We headed to aisle 13 and “ooh’d and ahhh’d like kids in a toy store” at the awesome displays. We jumped right in and laid out designs right out on the floor. I promise we personally didn’t open any boxes – other people must need to touch and see tile in real life too. The Atmospheres Tile Collection by Daltile offers a variety of styles, colors and sizes to create unique designs…perfect! Endless possibilities!

Sandy Beach – porcelain tile that has a slate look

Daltile Sandy Beach porcelain tile

Pacific Sand and Briton Bone – glazed ceramic tiles with a natural stone look. I really enjoyed using both of these to create designs. I love the pattern on the left!

Daltile Briton Bone and Pacific Sand

Daltile Designer White – a  glazed ceramic tile inspired by the look of marble

Daltile Designer White

A large pretty collection of accent tiles…

Daltile Atmospheres Tile Accents Collection

Stay tuned to see which tile in the Daltile Atmospheres Collection we choose, my meeting with a Home Depot tile specialist, how to tile a floor tutorial and {keeping my fingers crossed} an awesome bathroom transformation. Which one was your favorite? {I’ve chosen 2. One for the apartment bathroom and possibly one for my future laundry room makeover!} Affordable, stylish and easy to install, Daltile is my kind of product!

The Home Depot

 

Tips for Tiling: http://diyshowoff.com/2012/08/21/tips-for-tiling-a-floor/

How to Tile: http://diyshowoff.com/2012/09/17/how-to-tile-a-bathroom-floor/

The Home Depot partnered with bloggers {like me!} to participate in its Daltile program. As part of the program, I received compensation from The Home Depot in the form of a gift card to participate in this campaign promoting the new Atmospheres Tile Collection by Daltile. They did not twist my arm to participate nor did they tell me what to say about the products used for the Daltile Program. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. 

Apartment: Before Pictures & Plans

Since I’m up to my eyeballs in apartment renovations, you’ll be seeing quite a few posts of our progress leading up to the reveal. Please bear with me until I get to the fun/creative/decorating stuff…I can’t wait for that part myself! It’s the reward for the dirty work, isn’t it? I shared the first project yesterday {sanding floors} and here is the apartment “before-before” and after cleaning/’in progress’ but before paint. Got that? lol It’s just the before pictures before and after cleaning, before and after sanding hardwood floors.

Everything got a bath. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g! It went from disgusting to clean. As you can tell, someone was a heavy indoor cigarette smoker. Thankfully with washing/scrubbing everything, sanding floors and primer+paint, airing out and sitting empty for quite a while, the smell will diminish. I apologize in advance for these ‘before’ cleaning pictures. I did spare you worse ones, I promise!

Okay, ready?

Dirty kitchen ‘before’ and before cleaning…{gag…what is the brown stuff all over the walls? Tobacco? Cooking grease? Coke explosion? Maybe we don’t want to know!}

rental kitchen before

All cleaned up and in progress…ready to move forward

  • paint ceiling {done!}
  • paint walls
  • paint trim
  • paint cabinets
  • redo countertop
  • storage and organizing solutions
  • thrifty furnishings
  • decorate!

There’s a paint fest going on! Envious, aren’t ya?

clean kitchen before

Pantry under the stairs – before

apartment pantry

Apartment before then ‘after’ cleaned/sanded…

wall 1

apartment living room entryway before

living room before

wall 2

living room before

apartment makeover - before

wall 3 – dirty before

apartment living room before

in progress…

apartment before

{You just turned 360 degrees and saw the entire first floor!}

Stairs are so narrow with a bend…we’ll have to get creative with upstairs furniture/getting furniture up!

before:

apartment stairs before

  • clean (done as of yesterday)
  • sanded (done as of yesterday)
  • stain stair treads
  • fun paint technique on the risers
  • paint trim and ceiling
  • patch ceiling/trim

Someone obviously wasn’t too careful with moving furniture out {it’s a super tight squeeze and odd angle for furniture} and tore off the trim and part of the ceiling on the way down…uh oh!

trim before

I love the vintage light fixture hanging in the hallway upstairs…

vintage light fixture

  • patch and paint ceiling
  • fun idea for the small wall space coming up!

Bathroom needs a complete overhaul, but we’ll see what’s in the budget. Hate.hate.hate the faux tile walls and yellowed tub surround. Actually, I hate it all! I may be able to get away with a new floor, vanity and lighting but that’s probably all we can manage financially for right now. Those walls and tub surround have to stay for now. Wahhhh!

  • new flooring
  • new baseboard trim
  • new vanity
  • new mirror/medicine cabinet
  • storage solutions
  • new lighting
  • paint
  • caulking
  • decorating!

This bathroom is so tiny, the sink/vanity only leaves a small entrance…

apartment bathroom before makeover

Bedroom before…

apartment bedroom before

who paints half a room and walks away?

apartment bedroom before

After will turn this small room into 3 areas:

  • office/study area
  • bedroom for one
  • dressing room

Improving with every little bit of TLC and elbow grease. Ah, progress. Still a ways to go, but getting started is always the tough part for me and we’ve passed that goal! ;)
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Apartment Progress ~ floors are sanded!

It’s been a mega DIY couple of weeks here folks! Where I challenge myself to see just how much DIY I can squeeze into a tight deadline (6 wks.) in the apartment renovation. Sounds like work to most people I know but for me, I say “let the fun begin!”. This rental is my life sized mini-doll house! Here’s an update:

how-to-sand-hardwood-floors

{graphic courtesy of Fox Hollow Cottage}

Apartment Progress!

I rented an orbital sander and I enlisted the help from my 19 year old nephew, Kaleb. {muscles, people – I don’t have them!}

orbital sander

HOW TO SAND HARDWOOD FLOORS

{How we did it.}

  1. Floors were cleaned.
  2. Floors were sanded (24 grit) with the orbital sander. Thank goodness my nephew helped because I seriously doubt I could have carried that thing up the stairs and from the looks of it, once the power was turned on, that thing had a mind of it’s own and took off! I know my limitations. And orbital sander wrangling ain’t one of them. Paying a nephew was a wise choice. Much better for Kaleb to restrain the monster sander than me being spun around in circles and crashing through walls, gouging the floor as I go. (It really wasn’t that bad…I’m just little and wimpy but most people would control the orbital sander without difficulty.)
  3. I swept up the dust.
  4. Then he sanded again (60 grit).
  5. Then swept.
  6. Then sanded again (120 grit).
  7. Then swept again!
  8. I used my Dremel Multi-Max and a palm sander where needed in corners, under radiators and around the edges where floor met baseboards. My little muscles could handle those guys. I did the edging with the 3 levels of sandpaper.

{Please don’t mistake these legs for mine…they’re Kaleb’s!}

how to sand hardwood floors

I really don’t know anything about the previous renter/owner. Perhaps their situation wasn’t so easy, but they definitely were not clean and did some damage.

hardwood floors before

So, floors are now sanded!

sanding hardwood floor

There’s a method to my out-of-order renovating madness. I sanded the floors first before painting the walls because I didn’t want to have to scrub the walls twice (1 – the grime before and 2 – after sanding due to the fine layer of saw dust after sanding floors). Next up is covering the floors and painting the ceiling, walls then trim because I don’t want to lose the weekend waiting for the floor stain to dry.

As you’re reading this, I’m probably at the rental DIY’ing! More to come!

Oh! Hoping for better pictures in the near future. I always have trouble making what I’ve learned ‘stick’ and resort to shooting in auto but I sat in on the Photography session at the Haven Conference and Josh and Kevin really had a way with making it more interesting.  I’m all signed up for Photography 101 to learn how to use my DSLR and to finally learn the skills to take better pictures…

ShootFlyShoot.com

I’m also giving their affiliate program a try and invite you to join me in learning! DIY Show Off - FacebookDIY Show Off - TwitterDIY Show Off - PinterestDIY Show Off - Feed

Special Announcement and Our Next DIY Challenge

I can’t wait any more to share the news!

definition of true value

For the past two years, I’ve been honored and super excited to be a part of the True Value DIY Blog Squad. We’ve completed some fun True Value DIY projects in the past.

TRUE VALUE 2012 DIY BLOG SQUAD

We were so surprised when we were asked to participate again in 2012 and there may have been some big smiles and high fives. We humbly accepted because of this…

(scraping and painting the exterior is in the works)

apartment exterior

Side note: True Value Blog Squad is bittersweet for me. Niski was a part of our team that first year and I just miss her soooo much. :(

True Value DIY Blog Squad

We’ll have to motivate lazy Lalka to be a part of the team this year. 

Our plans include giving a tiny fixer upper one bedroom apartment (we’re the owners) a little fixing up and some cosmetic surgery here and there. We’re up for the challenge of making the most of this small space on a small budget and can’t wait to share the transformation with you.

Inside is teeny tiny and dingy/dirty. Previous tenant was there for years and years and it’s now been empty for quite a few years. It’s pretty dirty and run down. It only has 4 rooms – a small combined living room, kitchen, dining area

first floor apartment before

and a small bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

apartment second floor before

Do you see past the dirt to the potential? It’s darling! The goal is a fresh and pretty transformation with a little DIY magic in this cozy little home.

We’ll be sharing some of the DIY home improvement projects very soon along with some awesome giveaways! Here are the ways you can stay up-to-date with the entire True Value Blog Squad so you don’t miss a thing:

Any ideas for that little apartment (besides lots of cleaning and painting)? I can’t wait to get started on redoing those hardwood floors too. Love the wainscoting and those little curved stairs. If you had a completely clean slate with a big green light and super small budget, where would you start?

We were chosen by True Value to be one of the members of the 2012 DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY projects. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments and no one has twisted my arm to participate. 

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