Though out the past year, my husband and I have been working hard to make our house feel like a home. This translates into hours of wallpaper pulling and plaster repair, as well as painting, flooring and general house up keep. We have started filling rooms with plants and our photo, as well as thought carefully about how to make the best use out of every room.
One thing that has come of this is the slow creation of built in furniture (he made me a countertop bar for crafting and other activities) and upcycling thrifted finds to add personal touches. My most recent project was to create throw pillows for a guest room we converted into a quiet room, they add a beautiful pop of color and allowed me to practice working with invisible zippers (spoiler alert: I still suck at them).
Supplies to make ONE pillow:
22×22 Pillow insert
20in invisible zipper
1/2 yard of of fabric or 2 fat quarters
Sewing machine (recommended)
Cut the fabric into 2 20×20 squares
Attach the invisible zipper to both pieces of fabric, leave the zipper slightly unzipped
Sew the remaining three sides right sides together
During these trying times, it’s hard not to look around and be thankful for those around you and for the things you have. I couldn’t be prouder of my community and my neighbors — one of whom is a pregnant nurse! I’ve also reached out and rethanked my realtor for helping me find my home, I can’t imagine any other place I’d rather be “stuck” for the foreseeable future.
The funny thing about being “stuck” at home, is home projects you’ve been putting off are glaring you in the face. There are the smaller projects, like giving your washer a good clean or being so on top of laundry that your dresser drawers are ready to burst with clothes. Then there’s the “getting ready for spring” projects, like bringing out the deck furniture and changing your clothes around (I haven’t done this yet, we still have near-freezing temperatures at night). Then there are the ones you should be a little embarrassed about… like the hole a plumber put in my kitchen ceiling over a year ago when he fixed a leak that I’ve been strategically avoiding looking at.
You know who doesn’t strategically avoid looking at it? My partner. He can’t help it, it’s something that requires fixing and he doesn’t understand why I haven’t pulled my thumb out of my arse to fix it.
The truth of the matter is I haven’t fixed the hole in my ceiling because my entire kitchen needs to be redone and I’ve told myself that fixing the hole means fixing the entire kitchen. Sure that’s a little extreme, but I’ve had such a mental block about what to do with the space that I can’t help it. Do I rip everything out and start over ($$$)? Do I replace the cabinet doors and their hardware and make the most of everything else ($$)? At this point, I usually turn to my partner and politely remind him that I’m trying to rebuild my savings account and can’t invest in such a big project right now.
Enter COVID-19 and being forced to be at home – with my partner – whenever I’m not at the grocery store or in the woods (to be fair, minus game nights, thrift shopping and driving into work this isn’t that much from what my life looks like). More specifically, enter my Dad’s request to borrow my dog for a week for a morale boost. Not having a dog around makes certain things a lot easier to do, like fixing up a kitchen.
Next, came the serious discussion: what, realistically, can we do to improve the kitchen without requiring a) outside help and b) a lot of money? After a lot of back and forth, I fell in love with the idea of painting the cabinets navy, the wall mint, and the countertop charcoal. So simple, we can totally do that in a week!
Step one: Finish removing the wallpaper. This one was another one of those shameful things not to have done already. It was half done and I had had help getting it started.
Step two: Spackle. Why why why did the previous owners put so many holes in the wall? We also took down a set of cabinets so I had a few larger holes to fill that we created. Of course, any step with spackling also has the step of sanding the spackle down…
Step three: Removing the old caulking and recaulking. My partner took this step on while I worked on the first two, it’s safe to say that he drew the short straw.
Step four: Scrub everything. A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen!
Step five: Paint the cabinet doors. It took us three coats and you can see the roller marks a little bit, but it definitely provided the motivation to keep going. Talk about instant gratification!
Step six: Paint the walls. The walls were always going to be mint, I have an accent wall in my living room that I wanted to use in the kitchen to make the space connected as you stand in one and look towards the other (we won’t talk about how the spaces are already physically connected). Another one of those jobs I could have done at any time over the last year. Still blaming the kitchen mental block!
Step seven: Prep the countertop for painting. This actually had a lot of steps! My partner fixed the chipped edge and I sanded it before getting started. We then painted it with special laminate paint — fancy.
Note on that fancy paint: It’s ok. It looks great after several coats and after waiting longer than the suggested 3 days we started using the counters again. Unfortunately, we already have a few chips! In places that we didn’t touch, I foresee some touch-ups being done in the future (and someday we’ll probably replace them with butcher block).
Step eight: Wait, wait and then wait some more. This is where not having a dog really came in handy, it allowed all the paint to dry without any dog hair, nose prints etc.
I’m so happy with the final result! It was an easy facelift, didn’t produce a lot of waste and utilized curbside pickup because we were confident in our color selection. Win, win win :]
Note: We still haven’t fixed the hole in the ceiling. I swear it’s on the to-do list. Really, I purchased the materials and we’re just waiting for them to be delivered!