bright & white

Nope, I’m not plugging a new laundry detergent- I’m celebrating our “everything closet” makeover!

Our new house lacks adequate closet space.  The bedroom closets aren’t too bad, but all we have is one coat closet near the front door and this cupboard in the mudroom:

ugly mudroom cabinet

Lovely, right?  This is exactly what the cabinet looked like when we bought the house last fall–down to the empty dog bowls and extra trash compactor bags!  Even though this little cupboard wasn’t winning any beauty contests, I convinced our designer to keep it when we took over part of the kitchen to make a mudroom because I knew we’d need a place on the main floor to store, well, everything.  For example, where, in an open concept kitchen like this, do you put your broom??

kitchen painted 1So this cupboard, which I now endearingly call the “everything closet” stayed.  And lots of new stuff got put in around it.  Which meant that it was looking especially shabby next to all the new stuff!  And I do love a good makeover story, so last weekend I got to work on making over this little guy!

First, I removed everything from the cupboard that had accumulated there since we had moved in:

CIMG4526 - Copy

And I had another “what were they thinking?” moment as I took a good look around: the varnished pine and yellow interior?  The linoleum on the floor?  Yikes.  But then I set to work: I removed the shelves, did a bit of sanding, and then applied a coat of really good primer:


And then another:

CIMG4529And then I re-assembled the cupboard and did a coat of white paint:

CIMG4530Ahhhh.  Much better!!  Then the fun part began: organizing and putting things back together!  I sorted through all the accumulated stuff and consolodated, trashed, donated, and found new homes for many items.  I then hit up my supply of leftover organizing products I had gathered during our move and set to work:


Quite the transformation!  This small but mighty closet now holds a broom, dustpan, step stool, extra plastic bags, extra bath towels, medicines, cleaning supplies, and cleaning rags!  Before the makeover the cupboard had always seemed really dark despite getting a lot of light from the fixture right next to it; but with everything painted white, it was suddenly much easier to see what I needed.  Hooray!

Of course, you’ll still notice that there’s quite a bit of yellow to deal with on the exterior, but I plan to tackle that soon.  For now, at least when I open the cupboard I get that lovely “ahhhhh” feeling of an organized space that functions as it should.  Ahhhhh.



Fireplace makeover, part I

When we bought our new house one of the things we loved about it was it had a working wood-burning fireplace.  I would have settled for a non-working one because I was just excited to have a mantle at all!  Who doesn’t love a well-decorated mantle at the holidays?  What we weren’t very excited about was the look of the fireplace:

fireplace original

Yep.  The whole fireplace area, from the brassy doors down to the paneling above, were woefully dated.  After owning the house for more than 7 months, things didn’t look much better–in fact, I think they almost looked worse because the fireplace looked so out of place near the new kitchen:

CIMG4196All we had done was start to peel back the paneling.  Yet, thanks to the zillions of ideas available on Pinterest, I knew as soon as we decided to buy the house that I could make over the fireplace on the cheap.  I’ve seen lots of other bloggers update old fireplaces with nothing but elbow grease and paint, so I was confident I could join their ranks.  Enter this little guy:

heat resistant spray paintYep, one single can of matte black spray paint (specifically formulated for high heat applications like grills) was all there was to my “step one” of the fireplace makeover–updating those brassy doors!  I couldn’t believe how easy this actually was.  What took the most time was actually prepping the space to be painted.  I scrubbed down the doors with soap and water and dried the area thoroughly.  Then, I used some old cardboard that was lying around to protect the brick:

CIMG4197I opened all the windows in the house first, and wore a mask and goggles to protect myself as best I could.  Then applied two light coats of spray paint, waiting a few minutes between them:

fireplace two coatsI waited about 15 minutes and then removed the cardboard, and ta-da!

CIMG4203No more brassy doors!  The glass still needs a good cleaning but I figured I’d wait on that until the construction is done on the rest of the house.  Next step for the fireplace?  Painting the bricks!  I’ve gone back and forth on this one a bunch of times, but the brick isn’t in very good shape and the orangey-red just doesn’t work with our design aesthetic, so we’re planning to paint the bricks.  Right now I’m leaning towards white, but I’m still looking around at different ideas.  We’re actually still not sure what’s under the paneling above the fireplace–more brick, or something else, but we’ll find out this week so I’ll be sure to post soon!