Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

The Rev. and I love our new apartment. One reason I love it so much is because of its wonderful potential. With just a few cosmetic changes this place will sing.  One space that I have been focused on lately has been our kitchen. When I was working with our painter I asked that he paint the cabinets, but he insisted that this task would be IMPOSSIBLE and way too much work. I said ok, 
filing away "impossible."  Other friends said the task would be too great, but when I asked Liza and Jeremy Coleman they enthusiastically encouraged me to go for it. So, I rolled up my sleeves
and went for it. 

Everywhere I read, I was guided to take the proper steps in prep work. I did that and I am so grateful I did. I just asked at Home Depot inthe paint department for all the proper materials, and I was on my way.  
Step uno was to remove all the cabinets, hardware, and degloss everything by way of Klean Strip. I then sanded our cabinets andpainted one coat of oil based primer (Liza says this step is KEY).Once the base was dry we began painting the cabinets in Popcornby Martha Stewart. Where there were bumps I simply sanded them outand allowed for drying. The cabinets were painted in two coats. I sanded the cabinets in the end for an aged look. Our place after all is over 100 years old, so I thought the details ought to look slightly lived in. 

I can not wait to show you our big reveal and all our fun additions from the mountains. 

Mil Besos,


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sitting Room Makeover

Back when Melina came to visit this January she helped me pick out a fun new area rug to help perk up our sitting room area in our kitchen, which desperately needed some help (check out the original post here).  Even though we spend lots of our time together in this room, other projects in the house needed our attention more desperately when we first moved in, so we lived with the mismatched fabric and tired upholstery.  It's no wonder I never took a true before photo (whoops!)-- but this is at least an early one that shows the new rug Mel and I picked out. 

So at this stage in the process, the rug had given us a starting point, but we hadn't yet decided what to do about the rest of the space.  The couch is a hand me down from my parents and is a sleeper sofa, which could come in handy when we have an overflow of guests... but then again, we'd have to be pretty desperate to put someone up in the kitchen. I love the couch's lines and how wonderfully comfortable it is, but the color of the corduroy fabric has faded over the years into a blah, muddy yellow, which needed to go.  As soon as possible.

Here's what I ended up doing to spruce up the place:

1) Big decisions: have the sleeper sofa reupholstered (professionally-- no way I was going to try to tackle that beast!)
Find another sofa to fit the space;

2) Paint and reupholster the side chair, also in desperate need of some attention;

3) Paint the coffee table in hopes of camouflaging the cheap "wood";

4) Paint the double doors going out to the screened porch to match the trim.

Reupholstering and painting the old side chair was such a fun, satisfying project, and it gave me a chance to try out something wilder than I normally go for on a small scale (knowing if the result was awful I could always repaint it in no time).  

The coffee table (also a hand me down-- we'll take anything from anyone:)) is a great size and has decent lines, but the color and quality of the wood left a lot to be desired.  Two coats of Rustoleum's oil based paint and suddenly this homely, utilitarian table looks a million times better.

And the sofa... After months of considering the pros and cons of reupholstery v. buying a new couch, we finally made a decision!  We had looked online at possible replacements, but I couldn't find something that 1) fit the space and 2) that we loved enough to justify the cost of a new sofa. So when I ran across a single cushion camelback for less than $300 at a local consignment shop, I knew it was time to pull the trigger.  Happily we found a good home for the sleeper sofa and sold it on Craigslist easily, and I figure it can pay for an aerobed for any extra guests.  And they won't have to sleep in the kitchen:)

Here's the after, or at least what it looks like now.  Progress! 



Monday, August 26, 2013

NYC Kids Tour

When approaching the decor of the kids' room, I decided to stay with a simple yet modern look.  We had a very small budget, so we headed to Ikea to complete the look. I am happy with the space and, more importantly, so are the kids.  Here are a few shots from our first few weeks in Tracy House.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Decorating an Apartment

Since last week's whirlwind of manual labor to pull the deck together before our houseguests arrived we have taken a bit of a break on that particular project.  We'll get back to it in a few weeks to finish the railing, create the back stairs and to stain everything, but in the meantime I have switched gears to an exciting new interior decorating project.  Vivian, a dear, fun, incredibly stylish friend of mine here in Louisville has decided to get a masters degree at a seminary about an hour and a half away, and she'll be living in a student apartment for a few days a week while she's in class.  I couldn't have been more excited when she asked me to help her decorate her new place, especially since she has the most beautiful home you've ever seen, so she clearly knows what she's doing:)  We have had THE best time already working on this, and I can't wait until everything is in place and I can show you the after photos!
The seminary included some upgrades that were a pleasant surprise, like the heavy kitchen cabinets and stainless steel appliances, and these student town homes are brand new, which means the place feels clean and fresh.  Vivian wants to be able to make the space comfortable without being fussy or too formal, and with every piece of furniture or look we consider we're trying to strike a balance of clean and refined (she is an adult, after all:)) with student living.

 The kitchen is open to the living room/dining area area, which makes the whole first floor feel open and spacious.  Because the apartment doesn't have a ton of square footage, we wanted to double check our dimensions and picture the layout before buying any furniture to be sure we could squeeze in both a dining room table and a comfortable seating arrangement.  Marking off the area with paper furniture helped us to picture the flow of the space and what all we could fit together in there-- for instance, we realized we weren't just limited to a love seat like we had first feared but could use a full couch as long as the dimensions were reasonable (less than 85").  When you're buying furniture from antique and second hand places and you can't return anything, taking the time to measure carefully and plan the layout is critical.  I didn't really want to be stuck unloading extra furniture on eBay at the end of this:)

 Stay tuned for more planning, shopping and the big reveal!



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A little green goes a LONG way....

Here at Casa Smith, we are in the midst of messiness. We have many small projects going on all while keeping our little ones occupied with art projects, etc..... I say, when you are in the midst of projects, it is always helpful to keep small spaces of sanity. So, while we were in the Union Sq Farmer's Market, S and I picked up some new greens to perk up our space. The right greens in a home as the effect of making your home feel calm and fresh. 

Currently we have many messy spaces. I am always amazed how much more organized and cleaner a space feels when plants are present. 

 With just a few adjustments this small nook came together nicely. The demilune table was given to us by Jonathan Hansen, along with the four Louie chairs. 

 P.S. I also couldn't resist picking up a few blooms for color. As you can see my pink and blue obsession continues.

I feel better about our messy space already.

Mil Besos,


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's a Party (Deck)!

We had the best, most fun weekend with three of my cousins in town to visit us and Kentucky for the first time, and we even got to use the deck!  Ok, so the railing isn't up yet, and the stairs are just temporary, but hoping that none of our friends would fall off the sides we inaugurated the new deck with a dinner party in the cousins' honor.  Here's how last week's progress went:  

Once the structure was built, we installed the posts for the future railing into the sides of the deck frame using enormous 1/2" galvanized bolts to hold them in place.  Then finally, the most exciting part-- we could start laying the decking!! 

Using a framing nail gun we borrowed from an even tool-crazier friend sped up the process of nailing in the decking boards by about a thousand percent, and it made it pretty fun, too!  Once some of the first boards were down we could begin walking on the surface of the deck more easily, too.  Most of the boards were pretty straight, but we had to be careful to keep them evenly spaced.  Using a nail as a spacer and a crowbar to manipulate the decking boards, we managed to maneuver them into place long enough to shoot 'em with the gun.  

We didn't worry about the extra length hanging off both sides of the deck, since we knew we would come back later with a circle saw and trim off the edges for a clean finish.

And then the day of the cousins' arrival: party ready in a hurry!

We are SO close!! I can't wait to show you the next round of photos!


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