Done!? Are we really?!

I hate to even make an announcement that we are finally finished, after 8 plus years of work (and lots of breaks in between :-D), because as our luck would have it, something big would break…perhaps a geyser in the yard? Or, a random safe falling from the sky making an obscene hole in the roof (hey, I’ve watched the road runner, it happens!). I also realize (cue shaking the head and wiping tears) that you are never *really* done when it comes to old house upkeep. So, maybe I can say that we are done…for now. Will that suffice?

I’ve had a lot of requests for updated pictures and more in depth before/after. In preparation for our appraisal tomorrow, I have cleaned the house and fixed quite a few cosmetic bo-bo’s (I am sure you will find quite a few more I didn’t fix), so I thought it a perfect time to take some 360 videos. Are you game? I will do some before/after photo blogs when I get around to it later this summer.

I only videoed the master bedroom, hall, living areas and kitchen. I’m not brave enough to show the kids’ rooms and who wants to see bathrooms? Coming up tomorrow will be porch and exterior tours. I thought it was fun (and a whole lot easier than taking pictures!) and I can also use it for insurance purposes should that Acme safe ever fall out the sky.

If you are new and would like to see some before pictures, you can search for “realtor walk through”, click on the name of the particular room you want to view in the cloud tag, or click on “before and after”. That should get you some really old photos to look at and compare how far we have come. Here is a post I did right after we updated our major systems (roof, plumbing, paint, mostly exterior projects).

I ordered the videos so that if you watch them in the order I posted them, you will feel that you are walking with me, or at least can make sense of the floor plan. Here you are! Tell me what you think!

PS: Note to all the perfectionists: ignore those cosmetic blemishes.

Note to old house purists: yes, I know I don’t have velvet curtains and Victorian tchotchkes. “Museum style” has never really been my thing.

Note to people who want paint colors: I will publish all paint colors in a future blog post when I do the final before/after pairings.

Did I cover it all? Leave a comment if not ūüôā

Master Bedroom:

Small weird hall and the back of the Great Hall:

Front of the Great Hall, study, living room and dining room:


In Process: refinishing dining and living room floors

I spent all day running the floor sander….hopefully tomorrow stain and poly. The last pic is from Viv. It’s kind of a joke that she always takes pics of me working.








***Update 1: I did stain the floors on Sunday and just added them here. Sometime this week I will get to the poly.
***Update 2: first coat of poly. Wow! It’s purty! Sand and a couple more coats and it’s done!




PS: I used Minwax Red Chestnut stain and Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane for Floors. This poly dries a whole lot faster than the Cabot poly I used in the study. It also didn’t have as much air bubbles when i brushed it on like the Cabot did.

I finally painted! Dining Room Evolution

I painted my dining room today…finally!¬† I have been talking about it for quite some time now.¬† Since April to be exact.¬† I¬†guess the pressure of the summer ending and school about to start, finally motivated me to¬†break out the rollers and wipe the gathering dust off of the paint cans¬†bought back in May.¬† I think the other reason I was dragging my feet was because I worried about the color I picked and whether or not it would all come together in the end –how I envisioned it in my head.¬† I am happy to report that I am very pleased with the outcome and, without further ado, here are the pictures showing the evolution of my humble dining room.

The first pictures are from the realtor walkthrough in 2006.  Unfortunately, this dining room was stuck back in 1986.

My favorite things about these two pictures are: 1. the seafoam green topped by a border topped by a white wall.  Interesting.  2. You can see in the below picture what the kitchen used to look like.  It has red damask fabric stapled halfway up the walls and swaths of material, supposedly valances, also stapled to the windows.  I have already shared pictures of that in a previous post.  The kitchen redo pictures will be upcoming. 3. the curtains that do not even touch the floor.  They are just kinda floating there.

I did not care for the wall color, so I picked something bland (Bonjour Beige, Glidden) hoping it would go with whatever I decided to do later.¬† Unfortunately, it did not.¬† I fell in love with some red silk damask curtains, so I knew painting again would be inevitable.¬† Here are the “waiting-til-something-better-comes-along” pictures.

Here is Vivian’s contribution to the day. She always seems to take pictures of me working.

And, finally, (I really shouldn’t say finally…you know me, I might paint again in a couple years!), here is what it looks like now.¬† The turquoise paint color I picked out was vetoed.¬† So, I painted Anchor Gray, Benjamin Moore, and accented in turquoise.¬† I painted the two end chairs turquoise, put up the decal tree and turquoise birds and pressed a turquoise catchall back into service.¬† Instead of putting plates back on the rail (blah), I decided to use the rail to showcase our family portraits.¬† I am thinking about changing the shades on the chandelier from the¬†frosted ones to clear glass to give the room more light and to allow¬†the chandelier to match a little bit better.¬† ¬†I have a buffet or sideboard on my wishlist. I have lots of linens, candles and decor items I need to store. You also may notice that the mantel is different. We switched it for the one in the study. I hope to replace the slipcovered folding chairs with something more substantial one day.¬† That may be after I win the lottery.¬† Oh, wait, you have to buy tickets for that….darn.

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I know, I know.¬† Its not Victorian.¬† Even though the style of my house is Victorian, that particular style is not where I receive my decorating inspiration.¬† I tend to enjoy modern/country/eclectic…trying to marry all three is definitely fun here at our house!¬† It works for me.¬† I hope you are celebrating this completion of a project with me!¬†

Also, soon, I will post pictures of our bathroom remodel.  I am still waiting for my wonderful husband to install the vanity and hook up the plumbing to our new double sink.  Once that is done, I will post the before and afters of that.

In case you are interested, click here to see my inspiration pictures.

Good night all!


What my garage sale profits bought

2 cans of Anchor Gray Paint (test board in the background)

4¬† 5×7 rugs (put together with seam tape)

Seam tape

Dining chair covers

Tree branch and bird decal for the wall (not sure what to do with this just yet)

From my previous post, I told you about the garage sale I had to raise enough funds to refurbish the dining room.¬† Well, I did not know that rugs were so expensive!¬† The least expensive rug I found that I could live with was $300!¬† I have to have at least an 10×12 due to my dining table being 5×10.¬† Well, I went in to the local home store and saw Berber carpet in 5×7 remnants already bound for $25 each.¬† I quickly did the math….4 5×7 rugs would make 1 10×14 rug and it would only cost $100.¬† I snatched four up, bought two boxes of seaming tape and did exactly what the man is doing in the picture.¬†

Seam Tape

I think it looks good…for now!¬† Especially since I do not have $300!¬† I would have had to spend my entire garage sale profit on the rug…which would not have been bad, but I have already bought the paint and other items.¬† So, this will do.

After school lets out (this week, THANK GOD!), I will be finished for the summer and I plan to paint the dining room sometime next weekend.¬†¬† I plan on decorating and spiffing up the dining room also, then I will take pics and post the final ta-da pics.¬†(***Update…next weekend, yeah right! I just painted the dining room and “spiffed it up”. August 6, 2010).

We are still working slowly on the bathroom.¬† The caulk has dried and I am going to finish this project up (hopefully!!!) next week as well.¬†¬† Vivian will be gone to Grandma’s house (woo hoo!) and will not be underfoot.¬† I have a big superwoman list for next week.¬† We shall see what actually gets done.


Funding my paint habit

Well, it has come down to this.¬† I have been wanting to ‘spruce up’ the dining room and decorate according to my very eclectic taste, but have not had the money to buy the paint or other items on my wish list.¬† My husband told me I needed to find a way to fund my paint habit.¬† Hahahaha…. Well, that motivated me!¬† So, today at 6 am, I got up and had a huge, HUGE garage sale.¬† Did I tell you it was huge!¬† I cleaned out the shed, got rid of old furniture, I parted with some of my dish collections, cannister collections and tin trays.¬† I cleaned out the attic and sold all art and home decor that I was not currently using.¬† I had not looked at this stuff in over three years…time to get rid of it!¬† I feel so much more organized and can breath easier without all the clutter.¬†

I advertised for two days and made sure I took out an ad with the LOOK sign at the top so everyone in Alexandria would come by and see what I had for sale.¬† I was not disappointed.¬† For five hours I answered the same questions over and over; and even though I had everything CLEARLY marked, people would still ask me: “How much you want for this?”¬† However, this is not a complaint.¬† I netted a sunburn and enough money to buy the paint,¬†a large area rug¬†and had $40 left over that I spent at the grocery store.¬† Can’t beat that!¬† So, coming soon: pictures of my new dining room!

Happy Saturday!


What Color Post 2

Well, since I have no takers on my last post about what color to paint the dining room, I forged ahead, brave soul that I am and picked out a dark gray/charcoal from Benjamin Moore called Anchor Gray.¬† I painted it on my ‘try out’ board and leaned it up against the wall.¬† Tomorrow, in the sunlight, I will take pics and post.¬† I have decided to go with that dark gray charcoal color, paint the wainscoting an ivory and accent with turquoise and red.¬† Here are my inspiration pics:


I was thinking about buying a large canvas and covering it in pretty wallpaper for art.  Something like the material on this headboard:

or this:

Can’t wait!¬† I will probably put this project into action sometime this weekend or next.

Happy Tuesday everyone,


What color, what color, what color?

Bonjour Beige, Eggshell


Well Spring is here, which sends me into a cleaning and project frenzy, so I am looking around at all the things I want to ‘spruce up” a bit in my house.¬† You know those parts of your¬†house that you were/are not happy with.¬† For me, that’s a long list! Ha!¬† But, when we moved into the house almost three years ago, there were a couple rooms that were painted hideous colors that I just could not live with.¬† I picked a very boring, nondescript color, and rolled it on the walls.¬† I was hoping that either it would match whatever I planned for the other rooms, or that I could live with it until I could pull the room together.¬† So, this year, I want to change the dining room.¬† This is it currently.¬† and here is the window.¬† First of all, I HATE the rug.¬† It is there because we want to protect the floor and it is the only one we have.¬† I took down all of the vases on the picture rail and just left the dishes.¬† I am thinking about taking down the dishes and putting up ironstone, or all cream and white dishes.¬† I want to paint the walls a dark granite, gray, navy, or green blue color.¬† I think the dishes would contrast nicely.¬† Kinda like this:

white dishes on gray

white on dark background

Here are pictures of the curtains.  They a red and slate damask with a slate hem.

For more pictures of the bay window and curtains, click here.

So, imagine my walls painted a dark color, white dishes on the plate rail (I have many, many, many of those!), the wainscoting repaired and newly painted, a nice new almost room size rug like this:

I also need some dining chairs.  Currently I am using a modge podge of chairs I inherited, along with 5-6 metal folding chairs.  Real classy, huh?  I was thinking about something like this for a dining chair:

This would contrast with the ivory wainscoting.  Or, if I wanted the chairs to blend in and not stand out, I could get ivory chairs like this:

My table is very similar to the one pictured above.¬† I have some vases from Ikea I purchased two weeks ago.¬† I will post a pic of them here, but be warned that we were having a birthday party with the plastic table cloth and whole nine yards, so look past “Bolt” and view the vases.

So….with all of the above changes in mind, what color should I paint?¬† I want it to be dramatic and sophisticated at the same time.¬† I like the streamline of modern elements, but I like the warmth of earthy elements too.¬† Here are a few color chips that caught my eye:

Whatever color I choose, it has to go with the living room which is connected to it.  Here is a pic of the living room:

You can see the dining room on the left.¬† This picture is OLD…lol. I have since streamlined my decorations on the fireplace.

So, what are your thoughts?  Leave me a comment and give me all of your decorator advice.  



I had some paint in the shed that was close to the color I wanted, but when I painted it on a board and propped it up on my plate rail, I found it to be too blue and too light.¬† I think I am going to go with the color chip that is all the way on the left.¬† It is Behr Hidden Path 720F-5.¬† I also like the one all the way to the right it is Valspar’s Signature Graphite.¬†The¬†middle one is Martha Stewart (Lowes) River Rock.¬†Thoughts?

Buying a piece of history: My new table has arrived!

About three months or so ago, Steven and I took a drive down to the Old School House Antique Mall in Washington, La.  Washington is a charming town full of history and well preserved old buildings.  Their Main Street is largely intact.  When you walk down the sidewalk you are transported to back in time.

When we were at the School House we came across a¬†booth¬†containing handcrafted furniture by¬†a local artist, Mr. Walter (last name excluded for privacy).¬† Mr.¬†Walter rescued wood from a pre-civil war warehouse that was being taken down.¬† Mr.¬†Walter¬†used the wood salvaged to make tables, armoires and other significant furniture pieces.¬† We were very interested in his work and commissioned him to make a ten foot long dinner table.¬† Wednesday night, Mr.¬†Walter called us and told us our table was ready.¬† Since he does not cut his boards down¬†(as he explains it, you can’t really do anything with a two inch by ten foot old board) our table came out to be ten foot and one inch, by¬†forty-six¬†inches wide.¬† Mr.¬†Walter delivered our table tonight and it is beautiful!¬†

When we first bought our house, two years ago, we went to Haverty’s to look at dining room sets, but nothing was large enough for our dining room and the prices were outrageous for pressed board, laminate junk.¬† I was definitely not impressed by any of our area furniture stores.¬† I looked at a couple antique places here, but I still could not find anything large enough to fit in our dining room.¬† I wanted a table that would entertain many!¬† I liked this table at Pottery Barn:


The cost: $1,600.00 (plus shipping) and since I cannot see it in person, I am not sure if it is the real deal or some piece of laminate junk.  It is six feet by 42 inches wide.  It comes with two leaves which would extend the table to nine feet.

This is my table:  (For more pictures, click here)

dining room table

Again, it is ten feet long and I don’t have to deal with the leaves…taking them in and out.¬† I also did not have to pay for delivery.¬† Mr. Walter brought me the article in the paper and some history on the building that was taken down.¬† He signed my table and gave us a can of Briwax to keep it in tip top shape.¬† How much did I pay for my table? $1,700.¬† That is a steal!

Article in the newspaper regarding the warehouse being taken down

Article in the newspaper regarding the warehouse being taken down

I am extremely excited!¬† I am having a Valentine’s Day get together, and I can’t wait to put my new/old table to good use!

I need to refinish the wainscoting.¬† We have decided to not strip the paint.¬† I like the light color in there.¬† I think wood would be too dark and, because I am stripping paint in the rest of the house, we are just going to leave it for now.¬† Now, if I can only get rid of the rug (that won’t happen until I refinish the floors) and the very ugly faux brass chandelier. I would like a chandelier¬†similar to¬†this:


***Update: I left a couple important details out regarding the table.  Thanks to those who commented! You are keeping me on my toes!  The table was made the old fashioned way.  Everything is fitted together without nails.  The only things that required a couple of screws were the straps under the table.  As you can imagine, a 10 foot piece of lumber, times 3, can get wobbly in the middle when moved.  Mr. Walter screwed to straps to the underside of the table for stability.  I hope that answers your questions!

Happy Friday everyone!


Dining Room Curtains Are Up!!!

YAY!  I could almost do cartwheels!  Lord knows I have enough space in the hall!  Steven put up the dining room bay window hardware and I just finished putting up the last curtain panel!  I snatched up some red damask silk curtains on clearance at Tuesday Morning almost two years ago .  The only problem was, they were only 108 inches long and I needed them to be 119 inches, so I recently added a charcoal colored panel to the bottom.  The curtains have been sitting on the table, waiting patiently for the day they would get pressed into service.  Today was the day!  Here is the BEFORE picture of the bay window.

To start, I had a hard time finding a bay window curtain rod that I liked.  There are only a handful of manufacturers who make bay window hardware.  Most of them are made to work on a track system.  Almost all of the bay window curtain rods that I could find were made so that the panels go on the rod and then you cover the mechanics with a valance.   I HATE valances and I wanted to use clip rings.  I also wanted the flexibility of opening and closing the curtains at will, as well as letting the sun filter in without all the elaborate curtain trappings.  The windows in the bay are beautiful and I did not want to suffocate them with material.  Last year, I ordered some other corner connectors through the mail, but when they arrived, they were very small. You could only use them with a half inch up to a one inch metal rod and the rod had to be hollow so you could insert the corner connector.  I needed a  large rod to hold up all of the curtains and I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing.  I think it would look ridiculous to put a little skinny rod up on such a large window.    So, with a little creativity, I took this:

bay window hardware

and made this:

bay window after

bay window close up

The lucky find was the corner connectors by roth+allen I found at Lowes yesterday.¬† I was at Lowes for a different reason and was glad I puttered down the window hardware aisle.¬†¬†¬† Anyway… Here is the final product!¬† Now we only have the living room bay window hardware to hang up.

The only thing left for the dining room is: 1) Refinishing the floor; 2) Our dining room table  Our table is being made by a local craftsman out of 180 year old boards salvaged from an old building here in Central Louisiana.  I AM SOOO EXCITED ABOUT THAT!