House For Six


Minty Fresh: A Dresser Makeover

Deme Crinion3 Comments
Let's rewind two years back to our family packing up everything we owned in a whirlwind cross country move from New Mexico to Ohio.  When you have three kids under 6, you tend to acquire a lot of kid stuff....and we had to decide what to do with all the baby/toddler gear we had accumulated over the past few years.  Pack it or chuck it?  Jack was 3 years old at the time and not knowing if our family would grow again, we decided to give it away to friends currently living in babydom instead of moving it all "just in case".

We. ditched. it. all.  

Fast forward to us all settled in the new place and two little lines popping up on the preggo stick.  It's a good thing baby/maternity stuff has a way of making it back around (don't be afraid to give it away!).  I gave my entire maternity wardrobe to an expecting friend before we left Albuquerque, but a newly postpartum friend offered hers to me.  Her babe was also outgrowing his baby stuff, like his swing and carseat.  Between all those amazing hand-me-downs and the sweet gifts that arrived upon sharing our news, the only things we really needed were a few key pieces of furniture.

Since this was bambino #4 for us, we knew we wouldn't need all the things that came with the excitement of planning for our first (wipes warmer anyone?). We landed on three key items we wanted for the nursery: crib (for sleep), dresser (for storage), and chair (for feeding and snuggles).   We used some gift cards towards the crib/mattress, which left us with two big items.

Upon hearing our baby news, a friend in the neighborhood said she had a tall changing table/dresser that she had planned to donate and offered it to us free for the taking......uh yes, please and thank you!!  When things come free you really don't worry too much about aesthetics.  She said it was a solid piece and in good condition.  That worked for me.

When she brought it by I could hardly contain myself.  Seriously, God's provision is so good.  Look at this beauty!
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint
She had her share of scuffs and some sticky residue from a sticker collection, but this gal was solid wood with great details that would only shine with a fresh coat of paint.  The height was also a gift.  James is tall at 6'4" and the height of the dresser is perfect, saving us both a lot of back pain from bending low for diaper changes.

Before I even had a design plan for Livy's nursery, I knew this dresser was going mint.  I held off on paint for awhile, but once we brought in that bold pink rug with mint details, I went for it!  I followed the same tried and true steps I've used for painting wood pieces in the past.

I started by removing all the hardware and giving the dresser a good cleaning.  Then came a thorough sanding with a medium grit paper to give the paint a nice surface to grab onto.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

After cleaning the dust from sanding, I dove in with paint.  I used Valspar's hydrochroma Signature line of paint/primer in one (Mint Whisper in semi-gloss).  The coverage was fantastic.  I did three very thin coats - because I was lazy and didn't want to sand in between.  The key to a super smooth finish is thin coats and lightly sanding with a fine grit paper in between coats.  But this paint leveled out really well with no visible brush strokes, so I pushed on in my slothness without sanding in between. I only bought one quart of paint and still had some left over after the project.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

I used my favorite Wooster brush to get in the grooves and a small foam roller designed for doors and cabinets for the flat surfaces.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

Once the paint was dry/cured (a few days), it was time to reassemble and fill her up!  I was really excited about this handy feature of the dresser...until we actually tried it.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint
The top folds down and creates a long surface.  You can turn the changing pad so the baby is facing you instead of sideways.  Much easier for diaper changes and all your stuff sets right next to it.

   Except for one problem...
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint can't access the top drawer of the dresser when the tabletop is down.  Super inconvenient when fumbling around for clothes or supplies.  You would also have to move the changing supplies in order to rotate the pad every time you wanted to put the table up to access that drawer.  #annoying. So, we took it off, patched the holes and called it good.

Next is where I almost cried.  When I removed the hardware I put it all in a ziplock bag so I wouldn't lose any pieces.  Then, I lost it.  After a good amount of frantic pile rummaging and dramatic pouting, I finally gave up.  My mom was visiting and found these knobs at Home Depot that sparked a new direction.  I loved the bit of sparkle and glam it brought to the piece, and started thinking about a new pull to compliment the look.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

I just couldn't land on a metallic finish/style combo that I liked.  Picky, picky.  In the end, I decided to go with a cup pull in a style that played off the scrolling details on the top drawer.  This pull came in a variety of great finishes, but I painted it the same color as the dresser so it wouldn't be too busy.  I love the result!
 Great wood dresser makeover with new tone on tone hardware and mint paint
Great wood dresser makeover with new tone on tone hardware and mint paint

The inside of the drawers were in good condition, but I did line them with some fun wrapping paper.  I'll show you how we organized those bad boys next week.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

We also love these changing pads by Munchkin.  They are washable and perfect for those early blow-out days or great to pop in a carseat or stroller for an added layer of protection.  And they have a sweet little black and white detail, so, you know....#resistanceisfutile
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

So for just a little paint, bit of elbow grease, and some new bling, we got an ultra feminine dresser fit for a sweet little miss. I love the subtle color it adds to the room without stealing any thunder from that gorgeous rug.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

  How bout a side-by-side?
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

The bean approves.
Great wood dresser makeover with new hardware and mint paint

You sure can't beat free when it comes to big ticket furniture items!  How do you find those items on the cheap?  Where are your best places to score a steal?  It's garage sale season here, but the rain has literally rained on my g-sailing parade.  I'm hoping for some better weather because our master bedroom could use a couple of dresser/nightstands and my budget for that room is teeny-tiny.  

*Affiliate links used

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Trim Upgrade For The Bar Wall

Deme Crinion5 Comments
After a few days of nothing but painting, trimming, caulking, and more painting...yesterday, I plopped my butt on the couch and didn't move.  We've made a lot of progress in our kitchen/family room, but the mess that seems to explode when we move things around to knock out a project is making it feel like we still have miles to go.

I'm ready to finish up the last of the painting tonight, but not before a little show & tell of our improved bar area.

You may have noticed two areas that were still green in our freshly painted room post.  One is the half wall in our school zone that's getting a coat of chalkboard paint, and the other is this area under the kitchen island/bar.
Trim Upgrade For The Bar

In my grand scheme of kitchen fabulocity, this island area (bar and cabinetry on the other side) go a darker/saturated color, and all the other cabinets along the back wall go white.

It will be a long time before we're able to do a full kitchen redo (if ever), so we attempted to make the most of what we have.....starting by making this flat wall under the bar look a little more built in.

Simple trim pieces to the rescue! 

This area can seat three people comfortably, so I wanted to create three "panels".  We started with a long piece of trim along the bottom and another on the top.
Trim Upgrade For The Bar

Trim Upgrade For The Bar

Then we slapped up four evenly spaced vertical trim pieces to create those "panels".  We could have just butted up the vertical pieces to the existing base board but the trim was slightly thicker than the narrowed top edge of the baseboard.  The horizontal trim on the top and bottom keep everything mostly flat and flushed.
Trim Upgrade For The Bar

Then there was the issue of the sides.  It looked a little bare and incomplete to leave them blank, so we extended the horizontal trim along the top and bottom of all sides of the wall.
Trim Upgrade For The Bar

We placed the trim on the wall opposite of the bar first.  Then cut/measured a piece of trim for the side long enough to cover both the wall and the exposed side pieces of trim (hope that makes sense).
Trim Upgrade For The Bar

We caulked all the seams, filled all the holes, then gave it a coat of paint/primer combo called Sable Evening in a semi-gloss finish.  It's a dark grey with some warm brown undertones. mud.  But pretty mud.  
Trim Upgrade For The Bar
This is the first coat (still wet) but it's already making a huge difference.  We also hung the curtain rods and clipped up the fabric panels for some privacy in the breakfast nook.  But I still need to hem them.   Almost there!

Now seriously. The addition of a little trim can completely transform a space, and the best part - it's usually cheap.  I spent $28 on four 8ft pieces of pine trim and with a fresh coat of paint this area just stepped up it's game.  I can't wait to see it after the second coat!

And knowing me I will want to go ahead and paint out the cabinets on the other side of the island too.  And once that's done, I might as well just bust out the white paint  for the other cabinets.  Because when you give a mouse a cookie.....

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Impulse Paint Job For The Family Room

Deme Crinion17 Comments
The family room?!  What about Mia's room?  Or your office?  Or the fifty other projects you've started and have yet to finish???

I. know. 

The family room wasn't even near my radar until two things happened.  I looked at the calendar and realized....

1.  School starts in TWO WEEKS.  #commencefreakout

2. We're going to be homeschooling this year, which means I need a space dedicated to TWO WEEKS.

Was an entire room makeover necessary to accomplish that?  Probably nto.  But we had already purchased the paint and other supplies we had planned to eventually use for a room makeover, so we decided to go for it.

The kids were really excited to help create their own space for learning and I was excited to get us off to a fresh start with a room that we could all enjoy.....namely, that didn't burn my eyeballs. (This particular hue of green has much more of a puke vibe in person).

A few months ago we brought home two gallons of "Voyage" by Valspar, a mid tone blue-grey.  The kids wanted blue, I wanted something more muted and blue/green, James just wanted "a color" in not a non-color "Is it blue? Is it green?  Is it grey?"....which for me is the perfect neutral.  But alas, I am not the only one living here so I thought a subtle blue with a grey undertone would keep everyone happy. Incorrect.

We normally don't paint in such a sporadic pattern, but we actually let the kids help. For like two minutes.
As it dried the kids didn't really love it and I could tell James wasn't crazy about it either. Then I pulled the curtain fabric and started to panic.  I found the fabric for the room (inspiring the color palette) after I bought the paint.  Mistake numero uno.  Never buy paint first without a plan.

The blue-grey was nice, but when I put the fabric against it, something felt off.  In person it felt dark and really the opposite of light/bright/playful.  So, I blasted this pic out on Instagram and Facebook begging for your opinions/help, and you did not disappoint!

I had mentioned possibly going with a color a few shades lighter that the background of the fabric, or with a lighter teal blue.  Most of you were fans of a soft teal or even an orange or yellow.  And many of you really liked our original blue-grey paint choice!  While I liked the paint color too, we really wanted something more fun for this kid-friendly space.  The bambinos weighed in too and we finally landed on a lighter version of the teal blue accent in the fabric.

High Noon (Valspar) was our winner!  It's somewhere between an aqua and a robbins egg blue. After I had the paint desk mix her up I started doubting myself again.  Was it too light?  Too bright?  Oh Lord, help me... 

I told myself not to make any judgements until the room was completely painted.  The new color is wet in this iphone pic below but you can see all three colors here.
I also have to say that we went with Valspar's premium paint with a built-in primer and low VOC.  This entire room took just under 1 gallon.  That's only one coat of paint with minor touch ups.  SO happy with that!

Now for some pics.  I apologize that some of these are a little grainy.  Here's the room on our move-in day...

And this morning....
All that mess is the contents of two EXPEDIT bookcases that are getting reorganized, and everything else we pulled off/away from the wall to paint.

Moving day...

And now.  This corner is going to be our school zone.  That green half wall is going to get a coat of chalkboard paint tonight. 


Now.  And the green below the bar is going to either get some bead board or trimmed out in some fashion.

It is definitely not what I would have originally chosen for the room, but I love how fresh it feels.  It's growing on me by the minute.  The kids LOVE it and James is happy too.  I don't think I've ever done a "real color" besides a neutral for an entire room besides a kids' room before.  And while this is a spot for our kids, the kitchen makes this space the hub of our home.  I'm thrilled that we ALL like the direction it's headed.

  And that fabric is looking much more cheerful.

The fireplace is next on my radar, and then we're going to focus on that school zone.  We're still not sure if homeschooling will be a long term change for our family or simply just a path for this next year.  So, I'm not going to go for a full classroom set up.  Especially, not before I see how we really use the space.  I've heard many a tale of mama's setting up drool worthy desk spaces only to have her kids work at the kitchen table or even on the floor.  

But we will be spending a lot of time in here and it's important that I enjoy being in here just as much as the kids.  I think we're well on our way to fun, family-friendly room. 

The kitchen is going to make this great room another multi-phase project (like our last kitchen).  So, here's how the to-do list is shaping up:

Phase 1 (before school starts)
Paint walls
Whitewash fireplace
Add bead board to the bar area
Window treatments
Paint chalkboard wall
Organize school supplies
Create a display area for kids art/projects
Paint the built-in desk

Phase 2 (next year)
Paint kitchen cabinets
Update countertops
Update desk top 
Update lighting
Seating area and rug by fireplace

Phase 3 (in my dreams)
Take out some upper kitchen cabinets
Remove huge range hood & relocate stove
Extend same flooring in adjacent living areas into this room
Rip out the large cabinet/room divider thingy

Anyone else going in a last minute organizing frenzy to get the house ready before school?

*Many of you let me know that you have not been able to leave comments on the blog recently.  I have no idea what's going on but I'm working on fixing things ASAP!  In the meantime....if you're having trouble commenting, please feel free to shoot me an email ( or via the Facebook page.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Fresh Paint For The Living/Dining Room & Working With A Focal Wall

Deme Crinion12 Comments
Once we were under contract on our house, I spent the majority of escrow packing and pouring over the house listing pictures brainstorming our furniture arrangements and plans for the new space.  From the very beginning, I knew that wall behind the piano and the adjacent dining room wall would be getting some sort of bold wall treatment.

I thought about using these faux brick panels like Katie did here, but I worried it wouldn't feel organic to the space given the style of our home..but I may change my mind down the road since I'm in love with that look. 

What I DID know is that I wanted to incorporate a rich dark color somewhere in the house and with the high ceilings and natural light this room receives, it could definitely handle a deep color without feeling like a cave. 

I was truly ridiculous when it came to picking a color.  I pulled out my paint deck looking at all the dark charcoal greys and deep navy's.  I picked this color right off the bat (Valspar's Volcanic Ash) and immediately bought a sample pot.  I LOVED it.  Not too black but not super blue either.  

That swatch stayed up there for weeks, because, of course, I can't make it that easy on myself.... 

Like a broken record I would second guess the whole thing, pull out all 5,000 color choices again, hold them up in all areas of the room at all times of the day....and always land right back on Volcanic Ash.  Every. Single. Time.  It was on a swatch with other colors that had a green undertone, which was not what I wanted.  But with the light in our space I didn't get that green vibe at all.

I finally committed and bought the gallon.  You Insta-junkie's probably saw this sneak peak.

Here's the first coat mid dry...
And I started to freak out.  I always do mid way.  Was it too blue? too dark?  Maybe I shouldn't do the wall behind the piano....maybe I shouldn't do this at all....aaahhhh!!!!  I was a total wreck but pushed forward.

After the second coat dried (sorry for the blurry iphone pics)...and finally I relaxed.
You can see from the above picture that originally I wasn't sure if I wanted to paint two walls of the dining room to help define that space from the open living area.  Or if I wanted to simply wrap the color around the section of wall that sticks out into the room.

Here's where it's important to thing about the purpose of your focal wall.  A focal wall will do just that - draw your focus or attention.  But it can also serve a few other purposes.  I can help define a space in an open can highlight certain architectural can help to anchor a space...etc. etc.

I really wanted to accent the room's high ceilings and help to direct your attention to certain areas in a room that's a little oddly shaped.  So we painted three walls, basically wrapping the area that juts out into the space, avoiding any harsh "stop lines"

And this.  I would never let them do this if we were on carpet but lucky them...
For about two minutes, until I reclaimed my brushes before someone painted over the outlet covers.   

I've been color agonizing in a similar way over the other walls in this living/dining room.  I know many of you are probably cringing that I painted over the "perfect neutral", but I really didn't love this beige (that had a pink undertone in person).  With such a dark accent color, I wanted light and bright thought the rest of the space.   We landed on Valspar's Grey Shimmer, an almost-white with grey undertones.  You can see the difference here....
 With all the furniture moved for the dark walls, it was as good a time as any to push through the rest of the walls.

On a random note - in between coats I wrap my brush and roller in cling wrap so I don't have to wash them out.  This keeps them from drying out and they are ready to go once the first coat of paint has dried.  I also try to empty the tray of all paint (onto the walls) then cover it with Press N' Seal.  I feel like it gets a tighter seal than the cling wrap. 
I also like using a smaller roller made for walls and ceilings because it's not as heavy as a large roller, therefore easier to maneuver, and I find I have less drip accidents. 

Now, I apologize in advance.  These are not pretty "after" photos.  But they are what our house really looks like when a painting project is happening.  The kids get a wild hair because the furniture is all out of place and feel compelled to bring everything they own into said out-of-whack space.  Which I let them do, because it entertains them while we get the job done. 

Now that the other walls are lighter I'm not loving the curtains. 
I haven't even hemmed them but did plan to line them with a colored panel.  Now, I'm thinking the fabric might be better used to recover those dining chairs.  Since the room is very cool with the blue and grey tones I can't wait to warm things up through texture, layers and warmer color hues. 

I'm on a rug hunt as well, so if we end up neutral on the floor we'll go with more color/pattern in the curtains.  If we end up with lots of color/pattern in the rug, we'll go more subtle with the window treatments.

I still have this last wall to finish too.  It's the largest, so...procrastination. Hopefully by Friday.

Then we get to think about dressing those walls!  We have these four frames depicting each season that James picked up when he was deployed to Japan. 

I've always loved them and they're a great height for above the piano. But the frames got a little beat up in the move and need some love. I'm thinking something light would look great against the dark wall...white? gold? silver?  A combo?  What's your vote?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!