A Fireplace of a Thousand Shades of Gray

This is a tale of everything you shouldn’t do, and everything you should do when painting/staining a fireplace gray. Especially a mid-century, burgandy stained, brick fireplace that takes up half your kitchen/dining space…Oh yeah baby bring on the ugly pics…

Take it all in…Yes, that is mustard yellow walls. Yes, those are pecan/orange built-ins with gold hardware. And yes, that is my half-attempt of making it all work together with a hand me down piece of art.

Now here is the instigator…The Valentines gift from hubby that threw us into action, and made us get off our duff after a year of living with ugly…

Back in October when the basement flooded, we found this relic from the hubby’s bachelor days. During the clean out I had made an off-hand comment, “how great would it be to have a TV in the kitchen so I can watch the news or Food Network while cooking…” And guess what…MY HUSBAND REMEMBERED!!!!!!!

I swear our spouses surprise us sometimes! You wonder how they can forget to buy the milk at the store one day. Then suddenly they remember an inconsequential comment from four months ago. (Who knew?! I totally love this man!)

However hubs had one caveat, a TV would have to wait till our savings caught up to it, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be installed? And a fireplace could be painted?

Now that is love! He hates, painting, I mean H-A-T-E-S… In fact as a rabid UCLA fan he’d rather watch USC kill his bruins in football than paint…


I FEEL SO LOVED! First he prepped and cleaned the fireplace. We had researched a couple of diy brick staining projects and decided to give it a go. We settled on Waterstone semi transparent masonry stain by Behr. It was the lightest gray available, since charcoal would’ve been too dark for our room.

As for the dogs, they had to hang with us because of the weather…They were great supervisors.

At first we were pretty satisfied, yet as the day wore on and lighting changed we noticed the gray turn bluer and bluer…You’d never guess based on the pic below that this was a robin egg blue to the naked eye.

20140222-195554.jpg So we started to get a little desperate and try a new technique…Like paint it with leftover cement gray by Glidden (the same perfect shade of gray we used for the garage) Nope! Still blue!

Poor hubs, he dealt with me as I went through all the stages of grief that Sunday. The Moms were called, and became our color counselors, (the pics and texts were flying furiously that day!)
Finally in a moment of exasperation I just had to leave the room. Then for the first time noticed our olive wood accent wall in the living room, in the afternoon light was gray! I mean the perfect shade of mossy light gray! Immediately I splashed some paint on the fireplace…Voila! Gray!

It wasn’t the stain or paint at all, our backslider lighting was the culprit! See our house is a cute blue exterior and the light from the backslider reflects off the garage and patio creating blue light in our little house! So here it is…

Yay! Color crisis adverted, a light mossy gray that seriously brightens the room..Some before and after pics shall we?


Of course hubs still has some more work to do, (including setting up the TV wall unit) but we are finally tackling this room. We have several big updates in the coming weeks and so excited to share! Happy Sunday everyone!

The never ending Valentines Day…

I had a few more surprises up my sleeve for hubby’s v-day. Again, the rule was to not spend any money…Well I sorta cheated…First I used a leftover target gift card for $8 worth of hooks for organizing his tool cabinet. The second time I cheated was for these…


I bought these lights nearly a year ago for about $15 each at Home Depot with the intention of installing them in the garage. However they somehow got packed away in an old card board box and forgotten. Only after I started organizing the garage I was able to find them. BONUS GIFTS ROCK!
Here’s the before cool industrial lights…



And now the after…


Yes I know not the most exciting post, but hubby is in the middle of my Valentines day presents…We can’t wait to show you all next weekend! (Super excited! He’s doing such a great job!) Happy Sunday everyone!

The “Beast” is gone! Hello new garage door!

I’ve been woefully neglecting to post “before and afters” and “house tour” photos…(For good reason.) We don’t really have any photos to be proud of. Between replacing water heaters, a new roof, new fences, asbestos abatement, etc these are all high cost projects but none are really Pinterest- worthy. Yeah cause I’m sure you all want to see close ups of a water heater right? (Ooh a Rheem 2000, I’m going to pin that!) We’ve been responsible homeowners and savers. We’ve paid cash, (instead of taking the easy route of plastic) and sticking to a strict renovation budget. Putting aside our “wants”, we’ve focused on the “needs”. B-O-R-I-N-G!

But today we finally get to cross a project that was a “want” and sort-of a “need”. Our 1948 solid metal garage door is gone! Or rather what we called the Beast! All metal, no insulation, original springs about to snap, it seriously needed to go! 200-300 lbs of scariness! Our garage guy even had to saw through the rusted metal springs. (It was nail biter today) .


Here is the hubby and installer straining under the weight of it…(looks like some rainy day fun). These guys were troopers!


One of the trickier aspects of the new garage door was to install the modern day springs/pully system. They had to cut into the ceiling to account for our low garage overhead.

Yet I will trade holes in the ceiling for this beauty any day!


Yay to our first true “before & after” shot!



Happy Sunday everyone!

The hubby’s $8 Valentines Day gift…Before & After Tool Storage

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Hubby and I have this “no money gift” policy right now…Maybe after a new roof, a water heater blow up, new fences, asbestos abatement…The “no money gift” policy starts to make sense. I don’t know if this happens after marriage or buying a house, but apparently we’re not the only couple who adopt this policy.

However that does not mean we don’t give each other sweet and thoughtful gifts, or lack in romantic gestures. Hub’s birthday, Christmas and Valentines gift request was ALL organized storage and cabinets.(Every one of them in the entire house!) He and I are both “closet” organization nerds (we love the idea of organization, but not always the doing). His official slogan is “no stuff”, but after two homes, even he realized stuff can accumulate. Hence the inspiration for my next project; including before & after shots, and tool organization tips!

Disclaimer and wife confession…Yes items were bought for this project… $8 for random hooks at Target on a gift card

[RECAP] You’ve seen the Before and the Progress Pics of the husband’s previous Man Cave present…

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(See more on the Man Cave Make-over by clicking on the pics!)

However what you haven’t seen is what we have hidden behind the cabinets…(cue “Jaws” music)

First the ugly before shot…

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(For a supposed DIY couple, we’re pretty ashamed of this photo)

You’d think we’d show more respect for the tools, or at least have more of them. However this is pretty much it. We’ve made it through two homes with barely middle-of-the-line grade, and/or hand me down tools. The only few “quality” tools came as Christmas gifts. (I.e. our dads staging an intervention)

So with Super Bowl and Valentines day approaching I needed to quickly fix this mess…First paint over the really awful original paint with left over cabinet/workbench paint (custom match Glidden denim blue).

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organize tool cabinet diy (47)As you can see two coats became necessary… ( A powder puff teal and blue tool cabinet would not meet man cave criteria)

Next I actually left the original hooks, they did serve a good purpose…The tools just needed to be reconfigured…

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TIP #1 – Take advantage of Magnets! We already had an Ikea magnetic strip, normally used for knives. This became a great idea for storing our eclectic mix of screw drivers and  tool randomness.

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TIP #2- Take advantage of storage cases the tools come in. We just unrolled, hooked and even nailed the current storage cases to the pegboard doors.

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Lastly we still had random odds and ends of power tools that had found their way into the tool cabinet from the cardboard box of power tools (No I did not take a picture of the card board box of tools… There are just some “before” pictures I am beyond ashamed of)…So using a left over metal shelf from our dog proof garden box project, I installed it in another cabinet. Then started the process of reorganizing the power tools. (BONUS tool cabinet!)

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TIP #3- Random hooks sold as hanging bike or yard tool hooks are also fabulous for storing power tools. This entire pack at Target cost about $8 and look at all the great ways to use them. I even found a dowel and with the hooks it became instant paint/duct tape dispenser.

TIP #4- Take a picture of the “after” organization, then place in the cabinet. This will remind husband, you and everyone else how it is supposed to look. (Taking the “thinking” out of reorganizing)



We hope these tips help you on your goals for an organized garage and tools. Happy Sunday everyone!