Category Archives: Updating Builder Grade

Master Bath Paint…Choosing a Color

Here is the master bathroom before the blinds were installed. Check out this fancy-dancy window treatment here. I know, you’re jealous. Try and calm down though because for about $1.99 this gorgeousness can be yours too.

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Below you can see the honeycomb shade that I installed and then the process of picking a paint color begins. I’ve learned my lesson with neutrals and have resorted to buying samples of paint now. Picking the right tan/gray/beige or combination of the three is very difficult. So here are the before shots of my bathroom.

If you’re curious what color I chose you’re just going to have to wait. Is the suspense just killing you!? I know, probably not but it’s still fun for me to have a teaser moment. I have a few minor touch ups to do before I post the final product. It’s amazing what a difference paint makes. I LOVE the new color. Buh-Bye boring builder paint!

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Coffered Ceiling Install

Our house has undergone quite a bit of change since we purchased it in 2012. Just recently we did a major update to our living room ceiling. This is what it looked like originally…

LivingRoomYou’ll have to forgive the photo quality. The only picture I have was taken with my cell phone. So as you can see it’s just pretty Plain Jane.

We hired a contactor, as we’ve done with numerous projects around our house, and I have to say he was THE best one yet. He, with the help of one other man, measured, cut and installed a complete coffered ceiling and put crown molding up in our entire kitchen all in one day. The guys worked from 8:30am until 6pm until the job was done. We had one piece of molding slip in the kitchen and when I called him he came back out within 20 minutes and fixed it. Now THAT is how contractors should always work. I would hire him again in a heartbeat.

Here are some in progress shots

This is how our living room looks today.

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I’m absolutely in LOVE with this ceiling. It makes such a huge difference. Originally, my husband and I didn’t even consider any homes that didn’t have a two story living room because we liked how spacious and grand they felt but I have to say that since we have had the coffered ceiling put in it has added so much grandeur and character to our home. We recently had a realtor walk through our house to tell us what he thought we could list it for and he said he’s only seen another ceiling similar in one other house that he has listed. We have walked through some new construction houses where builders have installed coffered ceilings but they used drywall and put up some whimpy molding inside of the drywall boxes. Let me tell you it does NOT have the same affect whatsoever. For those interested we have 9 foot tall ceilings in our living room and the molding inside of the boxes is 7 inches thick.

The molding is painted “Mystique” by Valspar.

The inside of the ceiling squares is “Sandy Clay” by Behr.

The wall color is “Toll Booth” by Valspar.

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Item details:

Pottery Barn: Floor Lamp, Floral Pillow Cases and Inserts, Urn by Fireplace

Arhaus: Crank Table

Art Van: Couch and Ottoman

Home Goods: Tan decorative pillows, Basket Tray, Mirror

We are about to have more of an update though because on Saturday we have having new furniture being delivered. I’m so excited to get rid of this green couch and ottoman!! So stay tuned!!

New Kitchen Paint Color: Oyster Shell

I recently painted my kitchen. In case you don’t remember here is a picture of some of the different paint colors I was deciding between. In person each of these colors are very similar to one another and unless you were in really good lighting deciphering the difference between them might be difficult. Each was only slightly different, more green, more blue, more red etc. I was going for a color that would be relatively neutral as I like to change my decor and table settings often. However, I didn’t want Plain Jane tan. I also wanted to pick a color with a depth of saturation; one that was pretty dark as far as paint colors go because I think dark paint colors add drama to a room.

I picked the top swatch of paint for the kitchen.
I picked the top swatch of paint for the kitchen.

I picked the color on the top: Oyster Shell. It’s a funny color. Sort of green, sort of taupe and sort of gray. Depending on the time of day and lighting it looks a little different. Here is what my kitchen looked like BEFORE. This is the yellowish tan the builder painted throughout our entire house (that we didn’t pick). I’ve lived with it until now because I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do.

Spring/Summer Kitchen Decor 2014
Spring/Summer Kitchen Decor 2014
Wall Art from Home Goods
Wall Art from Home Goods
Hobby Lobby Candlesticks
Hobby Lobby Candlesticks
Hobby Lobby Decor
Hobby Lobby Decor

And here’s what the kitchen looks like newly painted. I carried the paint into the entry off of the garage which is connected to my kitchen.

New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
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I had alot of questions from people about how I was going to stop the kitchen paint color without continuing it into the foyer. My foyer and my kitchen sort of share some walls. The most logical thing for me to do was to stop when the wall ended.

How I Stopped the Paint from Continuing into the Foyer
How I Stopped the Paint from Continuing into the Foyer
So in this picture I painted the wall along the ceiling on the side facing the kitchen and the underside of it. The wall with my collage frames in the foyer is the original builder paint which I didn’t change. The wall that my kitchen pantry is on is painted. This picture also helps demonstrate how much DARKER the new paint is from the original color. I am absolutely in LOVE with it. It looks so much richer in there. It’s hard to tell in the pictures because the flash makes it look a little lighter than it looks in person.

This wall is mostly in my kitchen so this wall did get painted the kitchen color. DSC_0854

What do you think?? Not to shabby! I actually like the color so much I almost wish I painted the living room the same color lol.

A Little Jewelry for the Scraproom

Yesterday, my neighbor Paige and I headed out to Somerset Mall in Troy (where some awesome home stores are). I only go there a few times a year because I have a severe phobia of heights and that mall is 3 stories and lots of escalators (which I also don’t like), and glass elevators (kill me) and shiny marble tile on super open staircases with glass railings (catch my drift?). Anyway, my major purpose in going was to spend a gift card to a chocolate store that some friends of us gave us awhile ago and also to see if Arhaus had a table in their showroom that I have been eying online. I wanted to see it in person to make sure it was all it was cracked up to be before purchasing and it was on sale BONUS!

I pulled the trigger on it. Yayyy!! I’m super excited for it. Unfortunately, I have to wait until next Wednesday before it will be ready for pickup at the store. But I’ll certainly be posting pictures so check back next week for that post! For some reason every time I buy furniture I’m with Paige. That’s actually sort of strange now that I think about it lol. My husband may never let me hang out with her again.

After purchasing my table and drooling over everything in their store (I seriously love everything in there) we walked around Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie.

It was at the final store that I spotted some GORGEOUS knobs that I thought would be beautiful on the closet doors in my Craft Room. I have had the original knobs off the bi-fold doors in that room since the day I painted it because I knew I didn’t want to keep the ugly knobs the builder installed. Here’s what it’s looked like this whole time.

Bi-Fold Doors
Bi-Fold Doors

I thought about buying this rose shaped knob but thought the purple might be slightly redundant since the walls are all purple AND it seemed a bit “young” for an adult space. Then, I spotted these filigree knobs.

Gold Filigree Knobs From Anthropologie
Gold Filigree Knobs From Anthropologie
Gold Knobs from Anthropologie
Gold Knobs from Anthropologie
Gold Filigree Knobs from Anthropologie
Gold Filigree Knobs from Anthropologie

So as you can see, the base of the knobs are a pretty pale mint color (they come in gray and white also). The shape is sort of a four leaf clover and it has this amazing gold filigree design and then some type of clear material over top of the filigree. I think it adds the perfect amount of sparkle and I love the unexpected contrast of the mint color with the rest of the room. One day I hope to find a gold, antique chandelier which will match them perfectly. Until then, these will serve as some jewelry for the room.

Here’s what the doors look like now.

Doors after new knobs
Doors after new knobs
Doors after new knobs
Doors after new knobs

And if you’re looking for other unique hardware I highly recommend checking out their website.

–Robin

New Living Room Paint Color!!!

It has now become a priority for me to get some of the rooms in this house PAINTED!! Not only because all of the walls in our house are the same color, but also because it’s a bit bland and it’s crappy builder’s paint that can’t be washed. We do have some marks on the walls from moving in furniture and it’s just time. I’m also gradually changing all of the trim in our house from white to cream/off-white. The trim the builder put in is absolutely stark white (no warmth at all). It also needed to be painted because it had marks from the nail gun and I think it was the pre-finished moulding that just comes already white so it was a little dinged up.

I decided I wanted to start with the living room because the ceilings are low enough for me to handle without purchasing a ladder (yes, we don’t own a ladder yet lol). It’s also the room we spend most of our time in.

First step was moving the couch so I could get to the walls and can I just say, “ewwwwww.” It was dusty and I found some missing dog bones and whatnot. Marshmallow certainly had a good time investigating the debris though. DSC_0712DSC_0711DSC_0713

I had paint swatches taped to the wall for a few months before deciding on “River Bed Brown.” It’s a paint from Menard’s. It was a beaufitul color on it’s own but after I completely painted the entire living room and wasted a whole can of 30-some-dollar paint I decided the shade was exactly what I wanted…however it looked like it had a purple tint to me. My couch is olive green, the pictures on my walls have greens and yellows and oranges, the olive vase in front of my fireplace….everything seemed to clash with the pinky/purple tint in the paint. Here it is with some of the original paint color and River Bed Brown.
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First Paint Color. River Bed Brown.
First Paint Color. River Bed Brown.

I lived with the room being this color for about 24 hours before deciding I just couldn’t take the pink tint and set out to find the exact same shade but something that didn’t have any pink/purple tint and that would go with grays as well as browns. It couldn’t have too much warmth (yellows) because it wouldn’t look good with my gray accessories, but I wanted it to read overall as “brown” by anyone who looked at the paint. You’d be amazed at how many different browns there are that all have the pink or yellow warmth to them. Something I also considered (and you can call me crazy) but I also chose the paint color knowing that my Christmas decorations are chocolate brown, cream, gold and olive green. I want my decor to look beautiful with every season so I didn’t want to pick anything that would clash with my existing decorations. I went to Lowe’s and took my original swatch of River Bed Brown and found three new colors that looked almost exactly the same but that had just a different undertone to them. I took the samples home and painted them each on different walls of the living room so I could see the way the colors looked with the lights hitting them differently. Eiffle Tower looked like it had a blue tint, Lyndhurst Tan had a pink tint (slightly less pink that River Bed Brown) and Toll Booth looked like it had a gray cast. Toll Booth it is!!!

Here you can see the difference between the River Bed Brown and the Toll Booth with is on the left side surrounding the window moulding. I used Valspar brand paint in a Satin finish for this room. I chose Satin because I wanted a pearlescent finish and I wanted it to be as washable as possible because it’s such a high traffic area (not to mention we plan on having children soon so durability was important.)

The Difference between Toll Booth and River Bed Brown
The Difference between Toll Booth and River Bed Brown
I think here you can really see how the original color had a bit of a rosey undertone compared to the new color.

You may or may not be able to tell there was a change in the trim color. It’s difficult to see the way the room photographs but it’s so much warmer and homier in here. I’m seriously IN LOVE with this new paint color. I know alot of people are afraid to choose dark paint colors but DON’T BE!! They add such richness to a room. Everything pictured was already in the room (although you may notice a silver tray on the mantle that wasn’t there before. I recently inherited that from my Aunt Jan who is no longer with us, but little things like that around my house make me think of her. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep it there or if it makes my mantle look cluttered but I’m going to live with it for awhile and see how it fits. Anyway, here are the before and afters.



With my original paint mistake, the new paint and supplies it cost around $90 to update the paint color and trim color. I think it was well worth it. What do you think?

Magnetic Vent Covers

For some odd reason our builder decided to put a floor vent in our kitchen right under the kitchen sink. It’s amazing in the winter because when you stand there washing dishes you have the heat blowing right on your feet. However, in the summer when the air is running you literally cannot stand there for even a minute before your feet are frozen solid. Over the last 2.5 years or so we’ve lived in this house I’ve been straddling the vent during the summers because I’m typically barefoot at home. That is, unless I’ve had the forethought to put shoes on which I think may have happened only once or twice. Here is the ice box as it normally is.

Toe Kick Vent with no Lever to Close it off
Toe Kick Vent with no Lever to Close it off

My vent doesn’t have a lever to close it off either so it is what it is. I didn’t care to change the vent out or spend much money on it so…enter, THE MAGNETIC VENT COVER!!

Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers
Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers

I bought this 3 pack of Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers from Home Depot today for under $5 for the pack. They’re white on the front and just magnet material on the back. It says on the label that you can cover it with wallpaper, paint or stencils to make it blend into your decor which is even better. When I’m feeling antsy I may just cover it with some leftover contact paper I have from lining my kitchen cabinets. It’s dark brown faux leather so it would blend in much better to my cabinets so you wouldn’t see if from a distance. I wasn’t motivated enough for that today.

White on the front, Magnet Backing
White on the front, Magnet Backing

It’s a really thin material and was super easy to cut with ordinary scissors exactly to size. For those crafty crafters out there you may even consider cutting this with your Cricut or other cutting machine into cute shapes for fridge or office magnets that you can decorate or glue pretty 3d objects to. At under $5 for 3 giant sheets it’s MUCH cheaper than buying magnets at JoAnn’s or Michael’s craft stores. Actually, for those parents out there why don’t you buy this and glue your kids school pictures to it or those keepsake photobooth pictures from weddings and use the pictures as magnets instead of holding those photos you want to have up all year with other magnets that just make it look more cluttered than it needs to.

Really Easy to Cut with Scissors
Really Easy to Cut with Scissors

Here it is after. It’s just a magnet so it sticks and there you have it! No more frostbitten toes washing dishes!!

No More Frozen Toes!
No More Frozen Toes!

Blast from the Past– Backyard Overhaul

Well it’s been raining all day which has thwarted my plans to work in my backyard garden. So, to pass some time I thought I would post a little showing how far we have come with this house in the last few years. Moving into a new construction home really is alot of work. We had absolutely NOTHING in the backyard when we moved in (other than dirt). Our first project was having a stamped concrete patio installed.

Many of the concrete patios I’ve seen are only a few inches off of the ground. I told them I wanted it raised up so that from our doorwall we only had one step down to get to the patio (which makes it about 2 feet or so off of the ground.) It was also important to me that it extended from one side of our house all the way over to our egress window (which is as large as we could have made it). We have a huge backyard for the city we live in and having a small patio would have just looked dinky in comparison and wouldn’t have fit the space. I also wanted the two octagon mini patios coming off of the main patio. I really had to convince my husband to do that as it definitely raised the price of the patio. We were always supposed to have the one for the fire pit and I called the extra one “my tanning pad” lol. I still can hear him saying, “Are you serious?! You really need a tanning pad? Can’t you just tan on the main patio? Well, of course I could tan on the main patio, it was more for asthetics than anything. Plus I wanted as big of a patio as possible for entertaining. I don’t have any pictures of the patio after they put the sealer on for some reason but it really darkened it up and put a glossy shine on it. I’m so happy with the completed project and I personally think we have the nicest stamped concrete patio I’ve seen.

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After the patio was installed it was time for sod and sprinklers. We got the builder to throw those in with the price of the house so, sometimes you get what you pay for. He waited until the middle of July, the hottest time of the year and as you’ll notice from the pictures it was basically dead from sitting on the truck all day in the heat. I also think they underestimated the amount of sod they would need for the job because they didn’t put the pieces of sod right up against one another. They left inches of gap space around many of the pieces which unfortunately left room for weeds to make their way in and the first two years we had the lawn it was a battle to get the sod to fill in and get rid of the weeds that grew in between the patches of grass.

After our grass and patio had been in for a year we decided to take on a backyard landscaping project in the summer of 2013. See the before pics here.

Here are the pictures taken while the workers started on the project and put in our 7 foot tall gorgeous Arbor Vitae trees, boxwood bushes, pink Rose of Sharon Bushes, Ewe bushes, the black trellis we bought from Weigand’s Nursery and the flagstone pavers underneath the trellis.

We came up with the design because Mike’s parents have some really tall Arbor Vitae surrounding their backyard and theirs is grown in and forms a beautiful green wall of privacy to seperate them from their neighbors. I wanted the Rose of Sharon bushes because my parents have a wall of them in their backyard which is probably a good 12-15 feet tall or so and is covered in pretty pink flowers in late summer. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the Rose of Sharon any larger than what you see planted here but we were assured that they grow pretty fast and should actually outgrow the Arbor Vitae in a few years. We will see!

Looking back I probably would have put some Arbor Vitae going across the back of the lot and had a few Rose of Sharon mixed in so that we had some evergreens in the back and more instant privacy from the neighbors behind us but it will be beautiful when it grows in. I also wanted planting space in front of the “natural walls” we planted so they left me some room to put in my own plants over time. The Ewes were put inside of the planting wall of our patio and they get red berries on them when it’s cold which is pretty and they are evergreen.

Overall, it was exactly what I wanted. Hope you like it!