Transform a Room with Paint

Remodeling does not have to be expensive.  You can change the look of your room completely with a fresh coat of paint.  When we bought our “fixer-upper” condo, the paint had not been refreshed in many years and was drab and boring.  The first thing we wanted to do was paint it and bring some color into the room!

View from the Living Room

Because the color of the furniture was very light, we decided to paint a darker “feature” wall and paint the rest a brighter yellow.  Our goal was to create a Caribbean beach look and make it fun and inviting.  At first, I thought the color may be too dark, but it is only paint and you can always change it!


A couple of months ago we were back down at the condo and decided it was time to replace the furniture.  The furniture was old and sagging and it was time for a refresh.  Of course, the furniture we chose was simply not going to work with that Caribbean blue wall!  We decided it was time for the condo to grow up and look more sophisticated, so we repainted the wall a soft green.  Now the look has changed from the fun beach look to a calming island look!

Living Room After 2

We love the look we have created and it only took a couple of gallons of paint to change the tone of the room.  Don’t be afraid of color…you can always change it!

How to Turn Landscape Rock into Grass

When we purchased our little fixer-upper, one of the things I wanted to change immediately were the white rocks in the front yard.  The landscape fabric underneath was old and weeds were coming up in the rocks everywhere.  It was, well, ugly!  We tried for awhile to live with them, but after awhile, they had to go.

130 I St Before130 I Street 2

We started digging up the rocks and found more rocks of a different color.  Because of the size, we knew we could never get all of them up.  so, we decided to get as may as we could and then just cover the rest with top soil.  We added 3-4″ of top soil on top of what was left.


After we got all the top soil in place, we started laying the sod.  It is a small yard so the job was not that difficult!  We picked up our sod at the Home Depot and it really was good quality sod.  The result is awesome!  We have now had the sod in place for two summers and it still looks great.  So if you find yourself with the same issue with landscape rocks, consider this approach.  It worked great for us!

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130 I Street 3

What to Do With Wallpaper on a Ceiling? Cover it With Tin!

Our next project in the I Street House was to remove the wallpaper on the living room ceiling.  Yes, it is true.  Back in the day, they wallpapered all surfaces including the ceiling.  We knew this wallpaper would be tough to remove because the same stuff on the wall held tight and we ended up priming and texturing right over the top. (Check out my prior post “Can you Paint Wallpaper?”).  After spending a couple of hours scraping and scraping, we decided to cover it with a tin ceiling.


Living Room Before 3

We ordered ours online from  Because our ceiling was lath and plaster, we chose the Snaplock 24″ x 24″ tile.  The tiles attach to the ceiling with drywall screws that are hidden in a channel when the next tile snaps over the top.  The ceiling was super easy to install and the website has a video you can watch as well.  The most important thing is to get the first row straight and then the tiles just pop together.  When you have to make a cut, it is easily done with a good pair of tin snips.  It is a little pricey.  We spent about $800 on this small room, but the impact of the tin ceiling is worth it.

There are many color and trim options to choose from.  We decided to trim it with crown molding to save some money and it looks great.  This tin tile would also be great to use on an accent wall or as a kitchen backsplash.  So the next time you have stubborn wall paper to remove, remember, you have some options!

Living Room Tin CeilingLiving Room New Finished 1

Can You Paint Wallpaper?

As we started to work on the living room at the I Street House, we didn’t know where to start with the living room.  We removed the nasty carpeting and then started the task of removing the vinyl wallpaper.  This wall paper was everywhere…including on the ceiling!  As we started to remove it, we also discovered there was older wallpaper under that and all of it was really stuck to the walls!  So we went to the internet to look for options…

Living Room Before 1

We discovered a tip that said, if the wallpaper was holding tight too the wall, you can paint it with an oil based primer, texture the wall  with drywall mud, prime and paint it.  So we took a deep breath and did that for  the walls.  We used Kilz oil based primer and after it dried, we checked the walls to be sure the wallpaper was not bubbling up.  We planned to strip the wallpaper on the ceiling so more about that later.

Living Room Before stonework

After the primer, we painted it with a primer/paint combo and we were finished with the walls.  It has been about a year now and there are no signs the wallpaper wants to come off, so we are good to go!  It saved us hours of stripping wallpaper and the result looks great!

Living Room New Finished 1Living Room New Finished 2

Saving Vintage Door Hardware

As we continue to work on the finishing details of our 1904 house remodel, we are finally getting to stripping the doors.  More on that later, but we started to work on the hardware for two doors and for the life of me, I cannot understand why they painted door hardware.  In our case, they also painted the door knobs.

Hinges BeforeIMG_2825

The easy thing to do is to just put on new hardware, but if you look closely at the detail, it is too beautiful to throw away.  We didn’t want to use any harsh chemicals, so I thought I would try something I saw on “Rehab Addict”.  We took all the hardware and put it in a crock pot with water!  No need for soap, but it takes a couple of hours and some scraping.  I used a 5 in 1 tool to get into the crevasses and it worked great.

The hinges shown above took some work, but in the end it was worth it!  The hot water bath did not do any damage to the hardware and it removed about 5 coats of paint.  It was well worth the effort.

Hinges AfterIMG_2820

So next time you are tempted to get rid of that old door hardware, give it a second chance.  You won’t be disappointed!