Back Wall Painting Done

You may remember this post from March when I was quite indignant about getting a $20,000 bid to paint the back of our house. You will also remember that I decided to buy the tools necessary and paint myself. Since that time, we have been sanding, scraping, priming, caulking and painting on the weekends.

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Today, I totaled all of the receipts on materials and tools we spent.  We spent a grand total of: $1,792.12!!!  That is over a $18,000 savings for doing it ourself!

Here is our cost breakdown:

House Paint (Benjamin Moore, White Heron, bought at Joseph’s Paint)    $323.06

Primer (Valspar Exterior primer, bought at Lowes) $213.30

Paint brushes and caulk $39.82

2 Wagner paint eater sanders and 8 discs $251.04

Graco paint spray gun and tips $300.00

Scaffolding rental $664.90

Now, we are done! This past weekend, we finished up cleaning the paint overspray from the windows, caulking the windows so they won’t rattle (YAY), and painting the window trim.  Thankfully, that was the last bit needed until we could really call this house DONE!

Of course, I have painting the shed, backyard landscaping and some other spiffy things up my sleeve. But, as far as the house…inside AND out, we are DONE!

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Great Hall Interest Wall

I was flipping pictures and found some from when I put up the interest pieces on the hall wall.  For quite some time I have gathered pictures and ideas on what I wanted to do with the wall once everything was painted.  In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we completely finished sanding and painting the wainscot and refinished the floors.  My hall wall was ready!!!

Here are a couple of my inspiration pictures:

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Here is what I scrounged the shed and attic and found:

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I laid it all out on a quilt in the hall to see how I wanted to arrange it all.  I disliked the different colors and decided to use some Martha Stewart metallic paints to unify them.  I also bought some black silk ribbon to hang some of the frames and painted some clothes pins with acrylic paint to match.

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After laying it out and measuring the wall, I realized that I did not have near enough items to cover the wall. So, back up to the attic for a couple black shelves and a couple other misc. items.  I come back and find my daughter like this. She told me that she was “framed!”. It made giggle…

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More items……more paint………more arranging………..and here it is:

 

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I am looking for a small flat sign that says “FAMILY” to go in the top right ornate frame. I may either make or order a decal. I haven’t gotten that far yet.  The above picture was taken right after i got it all on the wall late November (I believe) and below is a picture I took today.  I need to fill in the empty picture frame. I really like the shelves. I have moved things around according to season and according to what I want to look at.  Overall, I was pleased with it.  You will notice that I did not repaint the pew. I think the color has grown on me.  Most of the frames I bought from garage sales or goodwill.  The black shelves I had in the study, but when we added the bathroom, they came down and I had nowhere to put them…until now.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Landscaping Mania!

This is probably one of my most favorite projects to date. Landscaping! Not that I know what I am doing or have a green thumb, but I have dreamed about pretty flowers in the front yard forever.  Over the past two years, I have looked into full sun plants and different varieties that grow in Louisiana. Last year for mothers day, I think, my husband bought me a book called Louisiana Gardener’s Guide. This book has been my go to when laying out the new flower beds. It shows many plants that thrive in our hot weather, as well as when to plant them and how to care for them.

Another great resource was a video entitled “How to design a garden.”   Some of the questions it asks is: What is your purpose? What kind of plants do you need to buy? Focal point in your yard? Everything should be visually balanced.  This video made me make a list.  Far too often I see yards that have all of these plants haphazardly placed and it just looks weird.  I didn’t want my yard to look that way. We pulled up, to the consternation of our neighbors, some of the different shrubs that were scattered across the yard in different places.  I really wanted the front yard to make sense and to be visually pleasing.

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The azaleas above we kept. They are on the left of the entry stairway. they are beautiful and did not have much ivy growing in their bed. The bed to the right of the stairwell had poison ivy ropes bigger than my thumb!!! We were always battling “the jungle” over there and decided to just level it and start over. The only thing kept were the two dwarf palmettos. I was looking at the pictures of the house when it was built and I am almost positive I can make out a grainy dwarf palmetto where these two sit. So, it is possible that they are original to the house.

Here is another video about laying out plants and flowers:

Here is a video about: Landscape design basics. This is a simpler design than the previous video.

Another great tip was that amateur gardeners (such as myself), tend to go and buy a bunch of plants and expect them to get along. Sometimes too many plants are bought and not given enough room to grow. These were all things I took in to consideration when sketching my plan.

So, after figuring out what plants would thrive, the next thing I did was visit a few local places to see what they had. I am sad to report that the big box home improvement stores had very little to choose from and that most varieties of plants were not very hearty in our weather.  So, I skipped those and went to Fads and Frames, a local hobby/craft/nursery here in town.  WOW!  Not only did they have an amazing selection of plants, most of them were sourced from area nurseries in Forest Hill and the staff was very knowledgable.  One awesome man saved me from buying three plant looking shrub things that can grow up to ten feet tall!!!  So glad he pointed that out!  I wanted something tall in the back of the bed, but not THAT tall! haha.

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My sketched plan!!!!

I loaded up my car a couple times and brought my plants home. According to the advice above, experts say when starting out, pick three colors and bring them all the way down and around the full length of the bed so your eye will follow it and it will be pleasing to look at. I thought this was great advice!  I chose red, white and purple.  The left side of my bed gets partial sun and allll the way to the left, in the summer, it gets mostly shade.  The bed that curves around the house and is on the right side of the house gets full sun. At least 6-8 hours a day.  So, I knew that I needed to pick different flowers for either side. But, I still wanted to keep to my red, purple and white. I poked around a couple days and went back and forth, took pictures, sketched it out and then found enough plants within my color scheme that would work and that were not too fussy or hard to take care of.  This is how it went:

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Forgive my photography and my finger in the frame above. I had the sun in my eye and did not know, until right now, that I managed to get my finger. Oops! The first thing we did was lay out black thick trash bags, contractor grade, over the grass that we wanted to kill so we would not have it coming up or taking over our flower beds. We left it like this while the brick work was going on and due to it getting moved accidentally and the high winds, we had a couple spots that got uncovered and the grass never fully died. That, combined with it not really getting very hot and staying cool, it did not kill the grass as well as we hoped. Going back and reading, it is better when you do it and the area has full sun and gets hot. I already bought the flowers, so I really did not want to wait.  I also used round up “everything” killer to spray along the bricks in the back of the bed and also in the front of the bed.  We have a very aggressive variety of St. Augustine grass and I wanted to make sure that it was knocked out in the back and front of the bed. It also helped when we laid the brick border that the grass was already dead.  Our grass has been known to take over stepping stones and bricks. We have had to dig them out.  I will most likely spray round up around the border once or twice a year, just to keep it at bay and out of the flower bed.

On to plan B which was laying kraft paper over the half dead grass and shoveling the new topsoil on top.  You can also use newspaper or cardboard.  Using paper, cardboard or kraft paper is more natural than using landscape fabric. I was reading that landscape fabric is petroleum based and does not really “return to the soil”.  I really wanted whatever we laid out to disintegrate that, and the worms like cardboard and paper. When they eat it, they basically compost it and keep your flower beds rich with microorganisms that flowers like.  So, kraft paper it was. I happened to have a roll left over from another project and interestingly enough, it was exactly how much I needed.

The topsoil I had delivered and pictures of laying the kraft paper.

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I used an old hose to map out where I wanted to set up the brick border for the flower bed. We have piles of bricks in the back yard. After the brick mason used all the bricks he needed, that left the rest up for grabs to be used for the flowerbeds. Most of the bricks are from the chimneys that were taken out, plus there are street pavers and old “Rapides” bricks. We did not even take a small dent out the huge pile. Geez! I guess that means I have plenty of bricks for backyard landscaping too!!!

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After doing all that. I laid out on the porch with my tongue hanging out telling myself that I was getting too old for manual labor! 🙂 It was then that I noticed that the porch light is hung crooked…..sheesh…another thing to add to the “fix it” list.

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We wheeled around the topsoil and mixed in Black Kow manure compost. My kids were absolutely fascinated that we were putting “cow poop” in our flower bed. It was really fun trying to explain. It was even more fun listening to the silly songs they made up about “cow poop”. hehe

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Goodness, there is that finger again!  Time to bring the flowers around and to lay them all out according to the plan I sketched to see if everything is going to work out.  The kids helped us with misc. chores as you can see. They had a lot of fun and were excited about it. (Now, even two weeks later, they ask how “their” plants are doing and help me water them. I am happy that they take pride and ownership in this project).

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I quickly learned that saying “put the caladiums over here, put the Dianella over there” meant absolutely nothing to anyone but me. So, instead, I just handed them the plant tag and said “go find this plant and put it there”. That worked!

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Here it is all laid out. I was pleased to see that I bought enough plants and that everything worked out nicely. I left a lot of space in between the flowers to give them room to grow and spread out this summer. A couple varieties, like the shasta daisies, like to have lots of room.

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In the picture above, you can see a very old yellow iris bed. We had an old pecan cut down last year right in front of the bed. It was getting brittle and dropping limbs. Now that it is gone, this bed gets a lot of sun. In the eight years we have been here, I have never seen these irises grow like that!!!!  I was reading that irises need to be culled every 2-3 years and redistributed. I have never done that. I guess, now that I know, I will do that this fall.  I also learned that irises will not bloom unless you cull them and they have enough room to grow and get enough water. They are very compacted, several layers deep. Sounds like a good fall project!!!!

We did have one lonely iris bloom on the edge of the bed. He must be new and got enough water.

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After we got them all planted into the ground, we put black mulch on top to keep the weeds out and to make it look purty. 🙂 (There is that dang finger again….sigh…my photography skills are seriously lacking).

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Ewwww yuck! We got the job done though!

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Dirt pile before, dirt pile after! That is a LOT of dirt…ouch my back!!!!

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Anyone need some starter pots for square foot gardening or misc projects? Shoot me an email! Reduce, reuse, recycle!!
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Some things you don’t see: the tiny dwarf palmetto we planted all the way to the right of the bed so that we would have a third palmetto. We found it close to one of the other established palmettos and moved him. Rule of thirds. Also, we planted about 3 dozen gladioli bulbs along the back edge of the far right corner by the steps. I have not had very good luck with bulbs. They should start coming up soon as the ground gets warmer. According to the package, April is the time you plant them in Louisiana!

So, there you have it. Amateur gardening. Not sure what will happen, what will die, what will thrive, etc., but I will keep you posted this summer.  If anything bites the dust, I will make a note of it and try something different.  Right after I planted it all and mulched it, I watered the beds thoroughly. The next day we had lots and lots of rain, so that made them even happier. I have tried to go out and water them every other day (they have been in the ground for two weeks now), to make sure they get good and established. There are couple of them that do not like to stay drenched, so I made myself a binder with all of the tags showing the watering schedule.  I am hoping this helps keep them alive a little longer. I am always amazed that there are some plants that do not like too much water. That is almost like bears not liking honey. Its just not right. Haha.

A list of what I planted starting from left to right:

Caladiums (red. white and purple-part shade)

Laguna (purple- part sun)

Coleus varieties (red, purple – part to full sun depending on the kind)

Dianella or wax lily (white spiky grass thing in the back – full sun)

Geraniums (red – full sun)

Shasta daisies (white – full sun)

Senorita rosalita (purple – full sun)

Salvia (purple – part to full sun)

Thanks for stopping by.  I plan on taking pictures throughout the summer to see what happens.

Andrea

DIY utensil holder

Spring is in the air and summer will soon be here. Time for outdoor parties and summer BBQs. I ran across this adorable utensil holder idea here on Put It In a Jat and was inspired to make my own. Normally, I collect links and ideas with the hope that I will one day remember to do any of them. :). This time was different.

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I remembered that I had a wood basket type caddy sitting in my giveaway pile and I have an embarrassingly huge collection of jars…old and new. Combine that with leftover spray paint and chalk tags from another project, I had a basically free utensil caddy.

Before:

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After:

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While digging through my pile of misc junk in the attic, I ran across another wood caddy. I now have plans to put all of the old bottles we found in the attic and other misc. bottles Steven has collected, in this caddy and display it on the living room coffee table. More to come on that later.

What I’m working on now is a long post regarding our front landscaping showing the realtor walk through pictures to present. Following that will be pictures on our Last Project (eeeek!), which is painting the back of the house. I can’t believe that we are completing the very last project on our six page list!!!

Stay tuned!!!!!

Painted pew

About five years ago, Steven bought me this pew in New Orleans for an anniversary present. I was ecstatic! Now that our floors are refinished, We were able to pull it out, wood glue some of it back together, reinforce it, and get it ready for its new debut in our hall. Steven picked out Moroccan Red by Benjamin Moore in the pearl
finish for the pew (shout out to Joseph’s Paint on Bolton Avenue. BEST customer service—buy local!!!!) and I went to town painting today. Here are the results. I will be back tomorrow with a picture of it installed in the hall.

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I was really pleased with how it came out.

Andrea

Dining Room Chairs

For a long time now, we have had folding chairs around our 10 person table. While I thought it was an ok solution for the time being, I really yearned to put “real chairs” around the table. The folding chairs, I bought wedding chair covers for the time being hoping that I could figure out how I could afford 10 dining chairs!!!

Anyway, fast forward a couple years later….I saw a couple pictures on Pinterest where some really crafty ladies have taken mismatched wood chairs and painted them all the same color to unify them. I thought this was a great idea! I had 4 wooden chairs in my shed from a couple people giving them to me. I just had to find 6 more. I called a friend who owns a flea market and she rounded up 6 more chairs. All total, I spent $80 acquiring the chairs.

Pinterest picture:

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Now, all I had to do was figure out what color to paint. I really wanted to paint them turquoise, but I worried about it being too bright. I pittered and pattered and pondered….

My mood board and ideas. For accents, I could not figure out if I wanted to do yellow, chartreuse, lime or acid green.  I think I settled on somewhere between chartreuse and lime. 

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mood board

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So, the day I decided to paint, I bought 6 cans of 2x coverage Rustoleum satin black spray paint. I sprayed them all black. I had a gallon of leftover turquoise satin paint from when I painted a room in the house. I intended to leave some of the chairs black and paint some turquoise. Then after it was all said and done, I didn’t like it, so I painted them all turquoise. I am glad I did!


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Even though the turquoise is bright, I think the dark color of the room and the other accessories blend in together nicely.

I also had a beautiful medallion my mother in law gave me. It has moved from room to room as we have remodeled and worked. Finally! I am able to give it a home! I painted it a darker turquoise and had my handy hubby hang it over the fireplace. Perfect!

So excited! I can now call my dining room done…errr…ahem…for now! Until I get a hankering to paint again….if you don’t know what I am talking about, click on the tag dining room and see the several transitions it has made. ha!

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So, this is how it all came out. I am happy with it!  I repurposed a cream colored metal tub that I had in the attic and painted it navy blue for the flower centerpiece. The flowers were bought from Michaels and Hobby Lobby this week. The two owls were bought at Hobby Lobby. The turquoise bird was one I had. It was green. It got painted 🙂  I am known to paint things to match my room. I usually shop in my attic first before buying anything new and repurposing what I can.   Soon, I am going to post 360 video tours as we have just about finished every project in the house. Hopefully sometime early this Spring those will get posted.

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Hope everyone had a great weekend and you got something crossed off your list!

Andrea

Front house work

Last weekend, we decided to tackle the jungle bush in the front yard. Unfortunately, the azaleas could not be saved. After digging deep, we found a huge wisteria vine and poison ivy ropes bigger around than my thumb. We got tired of battling the ivy and always having to cut it back, so we pulled everything up! That did not go over very well with our neighbors since they know the azaleas have been here 50+ years.

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We decided that the only way to get rid of all of the wisteria and poison ivy, we had to take it all up. Here is the base of the wisteria vine!

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Here is the after pic. We are going to wait until next spring to plant the flowerbeds. This is what it will look like until then.

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Yesterday, I decided to paint the top of the porch rail black. I like how it came out. I procrastinated for so long because I could not envision it. It is not easy to paint over black if you change your mind. But, I am very pleased with the outcome.

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Back Porch Finished

Remember this??????

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It now looks like this!!!!!!!! TA DA!!!!!!!!!

AFTER:

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The porch rail was built by Steven out of leftovers from the front porch boards that we cut down last year.  We have a pile of them!  I really like the pattern. The 4×4 posts were leftover from our fence project from almost 2 years ago.  We only bought the post anchors, the solar caps (which are really neat by the way) and the pocket hole jig to mount it.  Our back rail cost a grand total of….drumroll….$40!  Woot woot! The rail we took down was not the original rail and it was rotted in many places. Instead of trying to match the back porch to the front porch, we decided to update it and give it a more modern deck look.  I love it!

To see the evolution of the back porch, you can click here, after that it looked like this: click here

Goodbye carpet!

We used to wonder why the master bedroom was the only room in the house carpeted. That was until we cut a piece out and looked underneath. It appears that the old, old, old carpet backing was stuck to the hardwood floor. (Maybe 1940ish?). We hemmed and hawed for a while until we just decided that easiest thing would be to replace the carpet. Sure, we could move everything out the room and try for a couple weeks to scrape, sand, and glare this crazy carpet pad off the wood. But, in all honesty…I’m just tired and have way more things to do (like graduate this Spring) so we elected to just replace the carpet. Yesterday, the crew came and took out the horrific carpet (blue! Ugh… Not to mention all the contractors trooped in and out with their muddy shoes through that door while working on the house) and replaced it with a beautiful cafe au lait Stainmaster. It is divine. I think I am prouder of this project than any other to date–andi did nothing but pay for it (oh and breathe down their necks a little…hehe).

I am so pleased! Soon, I’m gonna call the interior done! We are right at 95% complete. Have some trim and ceiling paint to do, but other than that, I finally have a tool free, organized, remodeled, rebuilt,fully functional house!

Anyway…here are the pictures from yesterday.

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I guess I did do one thing….I painted the vents to match the carpet.

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Update: 2-9-14, I wallpapered the unsightly fireplace cover. I’m not sure what to do with it yet, but until then, it is sporting some really neat looking wallpaper.

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Back porch deck down

I am so happy with the progress on the back porch today! Here is what has been completed today. Steven has a pattern for a rail he would like to build, so he will be working on and building the rail in the upcoming weeks. Plus, after our carpenter is finished Thursday, I will pressure wash and start painting the ceilings, columns and siding under the porch. In about 3 weeks, after the boards have cured, I’m going to stain the deck. Super excited!!!!

I’m going to see if I can talk my hubby into building me one more planter for the back and, while he is at it, turning the 100+ year old cypress boards they took up, into a long bench. One can always hope, right! .

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