what we’ve been up to lately…

Easter Finger Foods Brunch
Cruising: The Perfect, Affordable Family Vacation
Fried Chicken and Waffles
Spring Home Tour 2017

Fireplace Makeover -One Room Challenge Week 4

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

Today I’m sharing with you my Fireplace Makeover, and all I can say as I enjoy it now is why didn’t I do this sooner?

It’s Week 4 of the One Room Challenge, hosted by Calling It Home where bloggers make over one room of their homes in six weeks.  We’re nearing the end.  If you need to catch up you can check out my previous weeks here:

Week One -Living Room and Eating Area

Week Two -Light, Bright and White

Week Three -Expert Tips on DIY Shiplap from a Contractor

Things are starting to come together, but I have to say at this point I can’t wait for it to be done, and our main floor to get back to normal.  The furniture is here, and the new rug but I’m afraid to put the rug down incase something gets on it before the final reveal pictures in two weeks, haha.  It is all finally coming together.  The fireplace and redoing the harvest table were my last two big messy projects…although now that it’s coming together I think I might add in painting the t.v. unit out white too.  What can I say the more white I add the more I love it.  So onto that newly white fireplace.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

You may remember how it looked before.  It matched the hardwood colour and the stairway beside it, so it worked in Maple.  The thing I always hated about it most was that wooden decal on the front.  It bugged me from the beginning and I always intended to remove it.  I even asked someone to help me years ago.  Although it was maybe 5 years ago, so we’d lived in the house 5 years already and the woodworking friend said that the wood around it had faded from the sun, so there would always be a spot showing where it had been.  I knew then we should go ahead and remove it but he convinced me it would look worse.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

With the One Room Challenge I knew I had to finally get it off.  I took advantage of my woodworker brother-in-law Shaun working on the shiplap –read all about that here if you missed it, and asked him to remove it for me.  I had visions of trying myself and making it worse by marking up the wood around it.  He popped it off in a matter of seconds.  He used a small putty knife to get underneath it, and pry it off.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

It came off all in one piece.  He then carefully pulled out the four finishing nails that had held it in place.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

I sanded it down and debated whether to refinish the one panel where it had been removed, or paint the whole fireplace white.  I never minded the wood, and it did match the rest of the wood floors and stairs.  But, all the inspiration pics of Scandinavian living rooms seemed to have white fireplaces, and in the end I decided to go for it.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

I thought I was being a good, responsible, non-lazy diy-er by taping out the fireplace before I painted it.  It is the same colour as the walls -JoJo Whitewash by Para, but the walls are eggshell finish and I used the semi-gloss on the fireplace.  I wished I’d never taped it along the walls, because although I thought I’d done it really carefully, it was a little too close, and left a thin strip of wood showing between the white of the shiplap and the new white of the fireplace.  And, as I peeled off the tape, the paint was peeling off too!

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

What can I say, I’m a learner.  So, I give myself permission to make silly mistakes, and learn from them.  Hopefully you can benefit from my errors if you’re about to do yours, haha.  I used a utility knife to carefully cut the edge of the tape and paint so that it won’t peel off the paint as I removed the tape.  The next morning I used a little artist brush and fixed up my edges.  No big deal -all’s well that ends well.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

The other big change is that I painted out the brass.  I swear from the time we moved in I meant to get around to this job and it took ten years.  Do you have any little projects like that at your house?  It looks sooo much better, my first thought when I put the painted grill back on was why didn’t I do this years ago?  Oh well, it’s done now and I love it.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

It was super simple to do.  I picked up some matte bbq spray paint -it’s specifically for surfaces that get hot, so perfect for this job.  I removed the brass grills, they just pop off and spray painted them in the garage.   I gave the front and back several light coats, making sure not to go too heavy and cause the paint to run.  When they were all dry I popped them back on -easy peasy.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

Just a few inexpensive and quick changes and what a difference it makes!  If you have a builders fireplace and hate the wood decal and brass now you see how quick and easy it is to update it to something a bit more modern and clean lined.  I’m so glad I finally did mine.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

So, for the One Room Challenge this week I got the fireplace done, refinished the harvest table (which I’ll be showing you soon), we installed the new light in the eating area, and started some macrame.  I’m still thinking about painting the t.v. unit out white too.  I also have to do one more macrame piece, make some pillows, add the rug in, and then it’s on to all the fun finishing touches, like art, and plants.  It’s starting to come together.  We’ll be hosting my youngest daughter’s birthday party this weekend and I just hope the new white couches survive all the ten year old little girls, haha.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

Thanks so much for following along on this redecorating adventure with me, you can see lots more behind the scenes and sneak peeks over on Instagram.  Also, be sure to check out all the other One Room Challenge guest participants progress this week.

Fireplace Makeover -how to remove a dated wooden decal, paint out your brass and modernize your builder basic fireplace.

With a new white fireplace, life really is a party!

Expert Tips on DIY Shiplap from a Contractor

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

Welcome to Week Three of the One Room Challenge!  I can’t believe we’re already half way through, although I have to say I can’t wait to get my main floor back to normal.  If you missed it click here for  Week One our Rustic Scandinavian design plan and inspiration, or Week Two where we painted the rooms.

This week we installed DIY Shiplap on a feature wall in the living room.  When I was designing the room, I was a little worried that all the white might be a little boring, so I knew I had to add in layers of texture to add interest and warmth to the space.  Shiplap has the perfect Rustic Scandinavian feel -although we’re used to seeing it used in the Modern Farmhouse look, it’s definitely at home in Scandi decor too.  I was a little nervous about DIYing it myself, but my friend Kim of Kim Power Style has installed it herself in her beautiful Modern Coastal Cottage home and she talked me through the whole process.  I decided to give it a try -although I was a little worried about all the crazy cuts and angles around the fireplace and stairs.  I knew I wanted the shiplap on the feature wall, but since the fireplace is in the corner, I had to wrap it around that small wall too.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

I chatted about it with my brother-in-law Shaun, who has his own company Benjamin Woodworks, and got a few pointers and suggestions from him.  By the end of the conversation though, he was volunteering to come and put it up for me.  He’s truly the best.  So we made a date for Easter Sunday for the install and my family all hung out and cooked a turkey together while he worked on the wall, and I chipped in where I could.  Here’s a before shot of the space.

Spring home tour 29

Shaun did an amazing job, and as he worked I gathered a few tips from the expert in case I ever want to try it on my own, or in case you’ve been thinking about doing DIY Shiplap in your home.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

Materials

  • RevolutionPly Plywood -cut into planks
  • 1 1/4 ” brad nails
  • 18 gauge brad nail gun
  • level
  • 1″ utility knife
  • level
  • caulk
  • filler for nail holes
  • fine sandpaper
  • paint and primer

How To Install DIY Shiplap

1.  I looked at a few tutorials and took the advice of my friend Kim and decided to use 5.2 mm RevolutionPly Plywood to create the planks.

Diy shiplap 2

It was the cheapest option and looked great everywhere I saw it used.   I had the wood pre-cut before so it was all ready for Shaun to install.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

We had the plywood cut into planks at the hardware store.  They have a big machine that insures straight cuts, and is quite quick.  We had them cut  into 5 7/8 inch strips, so that with the gap in-between they’d be 6 inches.  One little tip -make sure to keep your off cuts separate, you don’t want to mix them in by mistake and mess up your whole pattern when you’re installing them.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

2.  When you begin to install the shiplap on your wall start at the bottom with a level board.  Our baseboard was surprisingly level so we didn’t have to adjust ours at all.  But if yours is out a bit, make sure you get the top of that first board level.  Start as you want to go.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

We used the width of the board as a spacer, giving us 3/16″ gaps.  Be sure to keep checking occasionally that your boards are still level as you go up the wall.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

3.  We went with a staggered board pattern, and nailed them in with 1 1/4″ brad nails using an 18 gauge brad nail gun.  This made the project go fairly quickly.  Try and nail into the studs.  You can find them with a stud finder and mark the wall if you need too.  An expert tip, the outlets will be attached to studs, so start your search there.  The studs will be equally spaced.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

4.  We cut the boards to length with a simple utility knife.  Shaun said that the thin boards might be damaged with the up and down motion of a big  saw, so he cut them using a set square for a straight edge, and a 1 inch utility knife -scoring a few times, and sanding off any rough edges.  If you were worried about having to use a big saw for this project, you can do it with a simple utility knife.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

5.  I didn’t know this, but with the switch plate cover removed you can adjust the depth of you outlet boxes, with two simple screws.  Shan adjusted them slightly so that they’d be flush with the new wall treatment.

6.  If you have some tricky cuts around something like a fireplace, like we did, here’s how the experts do it.  Use an everyday geometry compass to scribe your difficult cut on to the wood.  Set the compass, and then run the metal piece along the profile of the trim and use the pencil to transfer it to your wood.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

Shaun used a jigsaw to cut out these more difficult cuts, and then smoothed the edges with a file.  Another expert tip, draw it out and cut it  first on a scrap piece of wood.  When you’re happy with the fit, use it as a pattern and trace it on to the good board.  If you’re working around a fireplace like we were, both sides should be the same, so you should be able to re-use your pattern piece.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

7.  We had some funky angles along the trim on the stairs.  There’s a simple tool you can use to get your angles perfect.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

Just line up a carpenters sliding bevel to the trim edge and then move it over to your board and trace the exact angle on to your board.  I love little tools like this one that make life so much easier!

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

8.  Final expert tip, finish up with a little paintable caulking.  Even the experts have a few gaps here and there, for a professional finish caulk the edges around fireplaces, and trim where needed, the corners, and along the ceiling and baseboard.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

To finish, I filled the nail holes with a little filler, and then sanded it smooth.  I vacuumed off the wall afterwards to remove the sanding dust, then it was time to paint.  The Scandinavian look is all about white, so I used JoJo Whitewash by Para to match the rest of the room.  I just love how it turned out.  It feels rustic and warm and cozy.

It was fairly inexpensive to do, and it really adds so much to the room.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

If you’re local to the GTA Shaun does AMAZING work and I highly recommend him for any tile or woodwork or renovating jobs you might need done.  Check out his website -Benjamin Woodworks for more details about his work.  It was so much fun to partner with him for this project.

It’s already Week Three in the One Room Challenge and I still have a few projects to do.  I’ve already painted the living room and kitchen, and now installed and painted the shiplap.  The last big painting project is to re-do the fireplace.  The brass is getting painted out, and the rest is getting painted white.   I also need to refinish the kitchen table still.  The new kitchen light needs to be installed too.  Finally I want to leave myself a little time at the end for some DIY artwork.  So, there’s still lots to do, but it is starting to feel like we’re making progress. This week we bought new furniture for the living room that I can’t wait to show you.  The rug also arrived and some of the beautiful accessories, along with the stunning new light for the kitchen.  I hope to paint the fireplace over the next day or so, and finally put the painting stuff away!  The kitchen table can get refinished in the garage now that the weather is nicer, hopefully that project will get started this week too.  We’re getting there -slow but sure wins the race! Be sure to check in on everyone else’s Week Three One Room Challenge progress too.

In the meantime, I’ll just be staring at my beautiful new shiplap wall.

DIY Shiplap -expert tips from a contractor on how to instal your own DIY Shiplap

With DIY Shiplap, life really is a party!

Light, Bright, and White -One Room Challenge Week Two

Jojo whitewash para paint 1

I’m not really the best painter…I was raised by reluctant renovators.  My mom was always a bit afraid of projects, of making things worse than they already were, of wasting materials by doing the job wrong and then having to pay the professionals to come back and do it right.  They did do their own painting…but there is a little fear in me, way down deep, and a bit of my mother’s anxiety.  This really isn’t a great attribute in a blogger.  And in many ways, I don’t think it’s really me.  I’m not really a worrier by nature.  My sweet husband is though.  And I suppose his worries remind me of my mother’s and get me sometimes all worried feeling and reluctant.

Re-doing the dining room for the last One Room Challenge was a real step of bravery for me.  Painting walls and furniture and sewing slip covers and refinishing the table were all firsts for me, and I was a little worried about how it would come together…or not.  But I love, love, love how it turned out, and it’s got me all brave inside and excited to take on the living room and eating area for the spring One Room Challenge.  So here’s my update for Week Two -it was all about painting, painting, and more painting.

Jojo whitewash para paint 4

Painting isn’t really that big of a deal…it’s just a lot of work.  And, when you’re painting walls white, it’s all kinds of forgiving.  Your cut-ins don’t have to perfect when you’re working with an existing white ceiling and white trim.  And you know what, the more of this DIY stuff I do, the more I love it, and the more I want to do.

So if you’re a little like me, a little scared, and with a partner who isn’t a natural at cheering you on, let me be your cheerleader.  Want to paint something?  Go for it!

Spring home tour 22

What a big change some paint has made.  Above is a little reminder of what we started with, in the eating area of the kitchen.  I loved the beige in the living room and green in the kitchen when we first had it done.  We had just moved in and wanted to cover the builder’s boring white -haha who would have predicted then 10 years later I’d be so excited about white!  The beige and the green we had weren’t too dark, the house still seemed bright with its high ceilings and lots of windows -but wow does the white ever look brighter.  And I love it!

Jojo whitewash para paint 2

Ever since we tackled the dining room at the front of the house and painted it JoJo WhiteWash by Para in the fall for the last One Room Challenge, I’ve been eager to paint the rest of the ground floor to match.  This week I took on the kitchen and living room, with the same JoJo WhiteWash by Para.  I knew from the other room that it would take 3 coats -since it was white, and I think I knew what to expect better so it didn’t seem quite so bad this time.

I’m so glad it’s done, and I love how it turned out.  It’s like the foundation for all the makeover goodness to come.

Jojo whitewash para paint 3

Well, it’s almost done.  I’m not quite done all the painting just yet, because one wall in the living room is going to be a feature wall.  I’m adding the shiplap that I’ve been dreaming about.  My sweet brother-in-law Shaun of Benjamin Woodworks is going to help me out with it over Easter weekend.  I’m imagining a chaotic but fun day full of chocolate Easter eggs, excited children, the chaos of the living room stuff still being in the dining room while we work on the feature wall, and a turkey dinner for everyone right in the middle of it!

Oh the fun of room makeovers.  I’m so glad already I started, and so pleased with the new bright white walls.  Today I’m sharing some peeks of the eating area in the kitchen with you so you can see what a difference it’s made, and through out the next few weeks you’ll get to see how great the living room is looking already.  Be sure to follow me on Instagram for even more sneak peeks.

If you missed last week, be sure to go check out my Week One post, where I share all my plans for the living room and eating area, as well as the before shots.  And head over to Calling It Home to see all the other guest participants Week Two updates too.

With beautiful white walls, life really is a party!

Para generously supplied the paint for this project.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Thanks for supporting the brands that make Life is a Party possible. 

One Room Challenge Week One -Living Room and Eating Area

I had so much fun participating in the One Room Challenge (ORC) last fall, that i knew i wanted to participate again in the spring version.  This time around I’m making over the living room and the eating area of our kitchen.  I want to continue the Rustic Scandinavian design I used in the Dining Room make over.  You can read all about the Dining Room Makeover from last time here.

Before and After

Here’s what the room looks like now.  It was decorated by us when we moved into this house about 11 years ago now.  It’s pretty neutral and has served us well, but it’s time for an update.

Spring home tour 32

The room really has great bones -9ft ceilings, hardwood floors, and great light.

Spring home tour 30

It’s time for some new furniture.  We’ve had this couch and chair set since we got married, and we’re coming up on our 16 year anniversary next week. They’ve lasted pretty well.

Spring home tour 23

Spring home tour 31

Over on the other side of the room, is the fireplace.

Spring home tour 29

I always intended to give it a little makeover, but never got around to it, so now is the time.

And attached to the living room is the kitchen eating area.  With replacing the green furniture in the living room, it’s time to say goodbye to the matching green walls in the kitchen too.  This area will get an update with a new light, and new accessories too.  I’m thinking about refinishing the kitchen table too.  It’s a family antique I found in my Grandma’s barn long, long ago.  I love it, but it does sometimes look a little orange-ish, especially in photos on the blog.  I do a lot of photo’s here because the light is great, so I’m thinking about refinishing it.  I had quite the time refinishing my dining room table for the last one room challenge -you can read all about it here.  It was a steep learning curve, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now.  Hopefully I’ll have enough time during the six weeks to tackle this table.

Spring home tour 22

Here’s some of the inspiration for the rooms.

And here’s the mood board for the living room.  This should give you a sense of where I’m headed.

Rustic Scandinavian Living Room Mood Board

I’ve got big plans to replace the couch, chair and ottoman, and maybe the rug too. The living room and kitchen will be painted JoJo White Wash by Para, to match the dining room, and tie the whole main floor together.   I’m thinking about planking one wall in the living room to add a little texture for this very white colour scheme -but I haven’t totally decided yet.  I’m excited to add in lots of natural elements like sheep’s skin rugs, wood, antlers, and plants.  I’m also planing to add in lots of cozy texture with chunky knits, wood planks, a shag rug, and some macrame.  I’ll be stream lining things a little by getting rid of the shelf unit.  I’m also planning to finally give the fireplace a little makeover -by removing the wood decal from the front and painting out the brass.  I’m thinking about painting it white, but we’ll see how it looks when the walls are painted.  I’m thinking about painting the tv unit too.  I can’t wait for this space to become lighter and brighter.

I love the Rustic Scandinavian look for it’s neutral bright white and mix of modern with rustic pieces.  I think the design will be very easy to live with.  Having said that, I’m a little tiny bit nervous about white everything with two kids and a dog, but I’m thinking that just like the dining room, slip covers are the key to living with an all white scheme -I guess we’ll find out. 😉

And so the adventure begins.  In six weeks I’ll be revealing the final living room and eating area, along with all the other One Room Challenge guest participants.  And each week along the way, I’ll be checking in with an update on my progress, and joining in with all the participants -so be sure to check out all their rooms here.

With a Rustic Scandinavian Living Room and Eating Area make over, life really is a party!

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