The Stairwell Is Painted…Well Almost

I know it’s kind of unconventional to share after photos of a project that isn’t really done, BUT  a.) I’m so dang close to being done b.) I don’t know exactly when I will get it done and c.) I may break my neck in the process of trying to finish it, so I figure I better just share it now.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should), then you already know that I started painting the stairwell a few weeks ago. It is the last area of unpainted paneling in the whole house, so I’m really excited to be done with it…you know, almost. I was super unmotivated to get started on it though, because I knew it was going to be a tricky project. I’ve painted a stairwell before in our previous house. It was a pain….and it was nowhere near as steep as this stairwell, so I was really dreading it. I consulted Brian about it and he borrowed a ladder for me and helped me devise a plan to at least get me started. I knew once I got started, I would be heavily motivated to finish.

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In case you are wondering why we don’t just remove the paneling, our house is 100 years old and the plaster that is behind the paneling is cracked and marked and would be awful to look at and super expensive to fix. So we are keeping it up, and I have to say, I don’t hate it. I quite like the texture it adds, even if it is kind of a pain to paint.

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We used Brian’s dad’s extension ladder, which extends and also folds over into an A-frame ladder. I used it both ways to make my way up the stairs. It was terrifying in some places. I have no problem with heights, but I do have a problem with being at the top of a very tall ladder and it moving on me. So I got as high, and reached as far as I could, but there is still one spot that I can’t quite reach where the ceiling and wall meet above the first few stairs. I can’t get close enough to it without setting the ladder on the actual stairs and I need something that we can put under one half of the ladder to make up the difference in height from the stair that the other half of the ladder sits on…does that make any sense?? So we have a plan, but it sounds super scary and sketchy, so I don’t want to share it just yet until I live to tell the story!

 

So in the meantime, here are some almost after pics. I decided to go with a neutral color, since I have no plans to EVER paint this area again. I used Valspar’s Smoked Oyster which is the same color as in the kid’s playroom. It’s kind of a warm grey beige (greige?). I love how it works with the dark wood trim, but still adds some contrast. It goes with everything so I think we can live with it for a long time…We have to, because I’m not painting in here again…did I mention that already?!

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I love this next picture because I have been DYING to get some sort of window treatment hung on this window along the stairs, but could never reach it. See how much light comes through that window?! It would make the second floor a sauna in the summertime, and I can’t tell you how many birds die because they try to fly through that thing! I’m so excited to have blinds on there and I can actually reach the cord to adjust them, so it has been really awesome the last few weeks with them up.

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If you are wondering if we are living with a giant ladder on our stairs still, the answer is yes. Yes we are. It’s there just taunting me at this point.

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So there you have it! An almost after post. I’m loving how much brighter and less busy the walls feel. I feel like the beautiful wood trim is really highlighted now, where as before it sort of got lost with the pattern of the paneling. I still have to switch out the switch plates and need to add some artwork to the walls, maybe, I can’t make up my mind so I’m living with it pretty bare until I decide. Say a little prayer for me while I finish up this last spot, would ya?!

From Beach to Farmhouse

When I first gave our downstairs bathroom a makeover, I LOVED it. I picked a cheery color and ran some stripes along one wall. It was super cute and I was happy with it. But after sitting (literally) and staring at it for two years, I started to get the itch to change it up a bit.

I have mentioned in the previous post that I am really feeling neutrals lately and that is no lie. After painting our office a dark, dark gray and painting the entry way a nice creamy white, the bathroom really started to stick out like a sore thumb. The bathroom was also starting to take on a more beach-y feel, which is not really what I was going for. Part of the problem is my shower curtain that I fell in love with when I bought it for our first house. I still have all the feels for my octopus shower curtain and want it to stay, but I need to redirect the feel of the room. I’m going for modern farmhouse, not beach.

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Months ago, we hung some reclaimed wood shelves that I made out of wood Brian found on the farm. We love them so much, but the room started to feel a little too busy. There was just too much going on with the bright color and the stripes. I also added some “farmhouse” décor and tried to take some of the “beach-y” elements out, but it still wasn’t quite right. It also made my off white shower curtain look really yellow and kind of dingy.

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I almost didn’t do another accent wall, but I really wanted a background for those shelves that would allow them to ‘pop’ a little more. I used the same dark gray that I used in the office and the upstairs bath, Muted Ebony by Valspar. I just can’t get enough of it! I debated painting the whole room that color, but it’s such a long, narrow space and just one little window of natural light, I decided to go with the creamy, white that I used in the entry way which is right outside the bathroom. I like the way it all flows together.

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I have to admit I was a little sad to see the stripes go…I worked really hard on those! They did not go without a fight, it took some sanding and elbow grease to get the wall back to a smooth surface. I can still see a few traces of my stripes in certain light (dang it!), but they are mostly just a memory.

I love how all the wood and white pop off that dark gray wall. I also think the octopus shower curtain feels like he goes in the room so much better. He felt a little out-of-place before, but now that gray wall really draws him out. I still plan on adding molding and painting both the closet door and the door to the bathroom black. I think they will add a really nice contrast to that cream wall. I actually CAN’T WAIT to get started on that project, but will probably have to wait until after the holidays…:(

 

Refreshing Neutrals

After living in this old farmhouse for the last few years, I’m finding myself really starting to embrace this whole ‘modern farmhouse’ trend that is happening right now. (Thank you Joanna Gaines, am I right?!) I fought it for a long time, but I just keep gravitating toward it and I figure what better time to embrace this look then when I’m actually LIVING in a FARMHOUSE. You have probably noticed from my last few projects that things are becoming a lot more neutral.

Our entry way has been in need of some TLC for a while now. It is really the only entrance that we use so it gets a lot of traffic. There are scuff marks on the walls and the trim and it was just starting to feel kind of meh in there. I painted it a mint green when we first moved in and had a little accent paint on the walls, but I was ready for something new. Something fresh. It is such a small space, I decided to just go ahead and paint it a nice neutral color to clean it up and brighten the space up a bit.

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These pics were taken right after the I painted in here when we first moved in. Over the years, not much has changed except the door has been painted a dark navy. And that door across from the front door that leads into the office has been removed.

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I painted the entry with a creamy off-white color. Valspar’s Asiago which I also used in the kid’s bedroom. It looks so much better with that navy door than the mint green did. I also mentioned in my last post that I want to add molding to these doors off the entry and paint them black, so I think this creamy neutral will look great with that.

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I switched out the old mirror to this trio of mirrors to add a little more interest. I couldn’t find the right spot for them in the house, but so far, I like them here. I ended up painting the coat rack hooks black to add a little more contrast. Black spray paint is my BFF lately. I’ve been using it on everything. I also have been trying to add a little greenery to each room in the house. These are faux, but I don’t care, I love them and they are zero maintenance. I ‘planted’ them in these old metal grain elevator buckets that we have scattered around the farm. file_0042

I got that bench a couple of years ago at a flea market for $10. I would still love to find something else for the space, but this serves its purpose for now. I cut off the back and side a bit, because it was just too 80’s country for me. Those hearts on the side still bug me, but not as much now. I also sanded it and roughed up the finish a little to give it more of a rustic look. I would like to find/make a cushion for it, but like I said I really want to find something else for the space, so I haven’t been in a hurry for the cushion.

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I squared off the chalkboard and made it a bit smaller. I plan on trimming it out with some reclaimed wood. I also plan on adding a wreath to the door, switching out the rug, and changing out the fluorescent light. And of course I still have to freshen up the paint on the trim and get on those black doors!

 

Inspiration: Black Door, White Trim

This old farmhouse of ours has beautiful dark wood doors that I sometimes imagine painting, BUT only for a few brief seconds, then I come to my senses and remember that I love them as-is. I LOVE how the dark wood hides everything and manages to look beautiful all the time. 

There are, however, four plain, white hollow doors in the newer addition of the house. Four doors that get a LOT of use every day. Fingerprints and dirt seem to gravitate to them and I get tired of constantly cleaning them and touching up the paint. These doors include the laundry room door, bathroom door, bathroom closet door and the door to the basement in the kitchen. 

I have been seeing black doors with white trim popping up everywhere and I am kind of obsessed with the look. I also love that it would hide so many fingerprints! The problem is, our doors are so plain. They need some moulding to add interest before I even think of painting. I could buy new doors, but that’s not really in my budget and I think with a little work I can just add my own moulding.  

Here is my inspiration…

Color So Nice, I Had To Use It Twice

Welp, I painted the bathroom.

The bathroom did not need to be painted. It was a perfectly fine shade of mint green. It was light and bright. Yet I painted it anyway.

I just couldn’t help myself. I love this color so much! I recently painted the office (Muted Ebony by Valspar) and as soon as I put it on the walls, I knew it needed to go up in another room too. First I thought of the entry way, because I have the urge to change things up in there. And I thought the darker color would hide some of the marks and things on the walls that seem to inevitably happen in the entry way. But then, I decided it would look so great in the upstairs bathroom. And I was right.

I have a lot of black and white going on in the bathroom already along with some warm wood tones. The mint green on the walls was fine…but just fine. Not too exciting. Things were just starting to feel a little blah. So I thought I would shake things up and do a two-tone wall with dark gray on the bottom and a bright white on the top to keep things from getting too dark in there.

Here is a look at the before.

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This room only has one window, but it gets great light in here so I knew the dark, dark gray wouldn’t make the room too dark. I think if I had taken the gray all the way up the walls, it would’ve been a tad too dark.

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It was a spur of the moment decision to paint, but I’m really happy with the result. It feels so much more pulled together in here now and I love how my plants pop off the gray and white!

 

Office Space

It’s still a work in progress, but I just wanted to take a moment and note that there is PAINT ON THE WALLS!

I honestly don’t know how I’ve gone over two years without painting the paneling in the office. It is literally the first room you see when you walk into the house as it is directly across from the front door. You also get a good view of it from the playroom and the kitchen, which are the two rooms I spend the most time in. And now that it is painted, and painted such a lovely color, I find myself admiring it from every viewpoint.

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Originally there was a door on that doorway in the pic above, but we ended up taking it off because it really closed off the house. With it off we have a much better flow and even though the first floor is not ‘open concept’, each room does open up to the next and creates a circular pathway. I pulled the desk away from the wall and added some much needed seating to create a walkway.

Also, how great are these retro office chairs?! We scored three of them…for FREE. They are from our bank and were sitting in the basement unused. We asked about them and offered to buy them if they were ever for sale and they ended up giving us these three (the other one is currently in our bedroom)! I plan re-upholstering them some day, but I kind of like them as-is right now and they are super comfy.File_003(1).jpeg

 

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Moving the desk away from wall was also necessary because of the lighting in here. There is a small chandelier in the center of the room. With the desk up against the wall, we weren’t getting much light on the desk. All the light was falling behind the desk on our back  which made it really hard to read any papers or anything on the desk. Now with the light directly over the desk, it is much easier to see in here. We would like to replace the light one day too as soon as we find something we really like.

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I hung some IKEA Grundtal shelves we had in storage. The two metal storage units are actually one unit that can be stacked on top of one another. It was a Craigslist find.  I unstacked it because we needed more surface area in here for the printer and things that need to be filed away. It works great for Brian because he can store all of is catalogues and price sheets and everything is easy to see and grab.

I still have a lot of organizing to do in here and I also have the closet to organize. I think cleaning out the closet will make a huge difference, but it is such a daunting task that I keep putting off…It’s still on the to-do list, it’s just at the very, very bottom of it. I’m really weird about organizing things. I will put it off and put it off and then one day I’ll wake up and it is ALL I can think about until I just hammer it out. Is anyone else like that? Basically it just won’t get done until I’m in the mood.

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So that’s it for now. I still have lots to do, but I’m so happy there is paint on the walls finally. And I am so in love with this dark gray. I have already started painting it in another room, which if you follow me on Instagram, you already know about. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@thegoldbrickroad)….you should!

Inspirado: Office

Some rooms I search endlessly for inspiration and design ideas. I usually go back and forth and change my mind a hundred times. Other rooms I know exactly what I want to do with zero hesitation.

The office is one of the few rooms that I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the moment we moved in. And yet, I haven’t touched it since we got here. We use our office…a lot. My husband runs his business out of there and I get so overwhelmed with the thought of organizing everything.

Now that the rest of the house is somewhat in order, I really have no excuse to put it off anymore. Since Brian does use the office the most, I want to cater to him a little more than the rest of us. He could care less what it looks like, he just wants it to be functional. Which I totally get….BUT I need it to look nice too. It is literally the first room of our house you see when you walk in thanks to it’s location across from the entry way.

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Here is a pic of the office right after we moved in. Sadly it still looks a lot like this. It has acted as a catch-all for a long time. The first act of business is to remove anything that doesn’t really NEED to be in the room. We have had the treadmill in here for a little over a year and it never got used….like ever. So it has since been moved to the living room to try to motivate us to use it more. It also housed the dog kennel for a long time so it needs to move elsewhere too. The other issue is a lack of surface space. Everything gets piled onto the desk because it is the only place to set things down and then it turns into a big ‘ol pile of stress. We also need seating for other people for meetings or when I’m in there helping Brian.  Here are some visuals so you can see what direction I’m heading in.

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Right now are we are working with only one desk, but we both agree that this t-shape configuration is the ultimate set-up. I would love to each have our own workspace and a place for the kids to work on homework or crafts. This will happen someday….someday.

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Love this dark gray. It is masculine, but something I can totally live with too. There is so much clutter and paperwork floating around the office so I definitely like a nice neutral backdrop.

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I like the idea of filing cabinets doing double duty as both necessary storage AND holding up the desk. I also really like the way they are finished to fit in with the décor.

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Lastly, I would love a small command center. We need a place to sort the mail and keep it from ending up on the office desk in a big pile. Our calendar gets a lot of use. Brian goes out of town for work fairly often so I need it to keep track of when he’s going to be gone. I use it to plan dinners for the week. And I absolutely need it to write down doctor appointments and things like that because my brain just cannot be trusted.

Office To-Do List:

  • paint the paneling (obviously)
  • hang shelves
  • organize the office closet (it’s full and I don’t even know what’s in it!)
  • better utilize the storage we have
  • build/buy a multi-person desk (need to get rid of the current desk first to make room)
  • make a command center (calendar, mail box, cork board, etc.)
  • new light fixture

I probably won’t get to all of this stuff right away, but I will getting started on some of it. (Which will be a huge improvement from blatantly ignoring it all!) Paint is first on my list. I can’t believe I’ve gone this whole time without painting it yet!