This Old Colonial Home

Filling our house with love and a lot of DIY


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Mason Jar Sconce

In our entryway we have a doorbell niche. It’s a long, narrow cutout in the wall with only the chime at the top. It’s a plain feature that’s been begging for a little pizazz. (Sorry, I forgot to take a “before” picture.)

I toyed with the idea of tiling it or painting it a different color. I still may do the latter someday. But for now, I decided it would be a good place for flowers. I thought maybe a nice, faux orchid … but while scouring Pinterest I stumbled upon a mason jar sconce. It seemed like an easy and inexpensive DIY project and one that would go with our vintage style décor.

Simple jar sconce

Found on Pinterest

For this project all we needed was a mason jar, a piece of wood, a pipe clamp, stain, and flowers. We already had a mason jar and we used a piece of scrap wood as well as stain left over from Jamie’s awesome coffee table. I picked up a pipe clamp from Home Depot for only around $1.50. More on the flowers in a moment.

Jamie ended up taking the lead on this quick DIY while I worked on another project. He cut the board, sanded it, rounded the edges and stained it. Once it was dry, I simply hand sanded the corners a little to make it look worn. He added a sawtooth hook to the back and then nailed the pipe clamp to the board and tightened it around the mason jar.Nail pipe clamp to wood

Attach mason jar to wood with pipe clampAs for the flower part of it, I found some clear, vase filler gems at Target for under $5 and I chose a fake hydrangea from A.C. Moore for under $4. You could really fill it however you want. But I like how this adds a little pop of color to the room!Easy DIY wall sconce

Shabby chic decorBall jar with hydrangeas and vase fillerPop of color in entrywaySuch a simple solution that helps make the entryway feel a little more welcoming.

We’re adding a few more additions to the foyer … so look for that soon!

 

 

Linking to:

Serenity Now | DIY on the Cheap | The Shabby Nest


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Celebrating One Year in Our Home

colonial-home-family-photoToday marks one year since Jamie, Luca and I moved into our very first house. On June 8, 2013, we said goodbye to renting and hello to home ownership! It’s been a year full of hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. In the past year we have managed to:

Rip up the cranberry carpeting on the first floor

Refinish the hardwood floors hiding underneath said cranberry carpets

Install a stair runner

Replace the switch plates and outlet covers throughout the entire house

Install a smart thermostat

Paint the living room, family room, dining room, first and second floor hallways, upstairs bathroom, and master bedroom (including a stencil wall)

Replace the light fixtures in the dining room and entryway

Create a gallery wall in the living room

Add decor – artwork, pictures, curtains, etc.

Make a mirror out of a window pane

Refinish a dresser into our new TV stand

Build a coffee table for the living room

Freshen up the front flower beds – ripping out dead bushes and adding mulch

And of course we’re not done — there are always more projects on the list. But the sense of pride in owning your own home makes it all worth it! So please join us for our second year in this old colonial home to see what we’ll be up to next!

 

 

 


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DIY Coffee Table

Aside from finding the plans, I certainly can’t take any credit for our awesome, new coffee table.

It all started when I saw this lovely post on Pinterest/Hometalk, which then led me to the incredible site ana-white.com.

Rustic wood coffee table using Ana White plans

Courtesy Creative Little Daisy via Hometalk

If you’re not already following her – START! Her pieces are gorgeous and she provides free, easy-to-follow plans to make your own furniture — saving you some cash.

Jamie picked up the necessary materials, any tools we didn’t already have, and even got a table saw from his dad. (Thanks, Jim!)Supply of pine and douglas fir boards for coffee table Making cuts for the coffee tableWhile I was working on my dresser makeover, Jamie began working on this project. He followed the cut list and then began assembling the pieces step-by-step.The cut list of boards ready for assemblying Screwing the coffee table frame togetherCoffee table base assembledThis is what it looked like when he was done. Pretty impressive for a novice, right?!Base and top of coffee table togetherDIY coffee table assembledHe did have one slight hiccup that needed to be fixed. When we brought it inside to test if it was level – it wasn’t. After taking the top off and apart, he determined that the base was level, but some of the boards on top were warped causing it to be thrown off balance. Jamie eventually replaced the boards with new ones and – voila! All better!

After that, he filled any major holes with wood filler and gave it a good sanding. He then applied a wood conditioner before moving on to the stain. (We picked Minwax Special Walnut.) He brushed on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and then wiped it off with a rag.Applying pre-stain before stainingA can of Minwax stain Special WalnutApplying the first coat of stainIt took 3 coats to get the look we were going for.Coffee table completely stained with 3 coatsI just LOVE how it turned out! Who knew my husband was so handy?! (I think I’ll keep him around!) Here it is in our living room, where I think it fits in perfectly!DIY coffee table in living room DIY wood coffee table and gallery wall in living room  Close-up of wood coffee tableDIY coffee table and decor Side view of coffee table with XRustic coffee table with blue and green accentsFront view of DIY coffee table Rustic living room with handmade coffee table In the end, this project cost only about $100! Try finding that in a furniture store!


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Dresser Makeover

You may recall several months ago I snagged a free dresser that someone was throwing away. It was literally sitting in the snow amongst other garbage before I rescued it.Dresser set out for curbside trashFree 6-drawer dresser The plan was to turn it into a TV stand. After a good cleaning and sitting in our dining room through the remainder of our endless winter, that idea has finally come to fruition!

It needed to be refinished and I knew I wanted to paint it, so I started with the drawers. I took off the hardware and began sanding it with my new electric sander. (Thanks, honey!)Dresser drawer with hardware beforeUnscrewing hardware from drawerUsing electric sander on drawersI highly recommend using an electric sander for big jobs. I had a battery-powered one for a previous project and it always died quickly. Electric is way better because, in my best Tim the Tool Man Taylor impression, it has more power!  I used course sandpaper – 80-grit – to start and then went back over with finer 150-grit to smooth it out.Drawer sanded downTwo drawers one sanded one not I then took the same approach on the base, going over some of the smaller areas by hand.Dresser base before sanding Dresser base after sanding The plan was to keep the top two drawer areas open. This is where we would put our DVD player and such. My husband drilled out two holes in the back for the cables to go through … and he measured, cut and added plywood to make for a sturdier shelf.Holes drilled in back of dresser for TV cablesPlywood inside dresser for sturdier shelf He also added a few brackets on the inner sides to support some minor splits in the wood.

After wiping it all down with a wet cloth, I then started to prime it. I used one coat of Zinsser Primer that I applied with a paint brush. Once it dried, I lightly sanded it with 180-grit sand paper and then wiped it down one more time. It was finally ready to paint!Drawers primed and ready for paint Dresser base primed and ready for paint I chose regular latex paint – Mystified by Valspar in semi-gloss. I applied light coats using a foam roller and foam paint brush. To get the dark look I was going for it actually ended up needing 4 coats! I thought the painting would never end! The drawers weren’t so bad, but doing the shelf area was kind of a pain.Navy painted drawers In progress painting of dresserPainted dresser with 4 coatsI’m not sure how necessary it was, but I also ended up sealing it with Minwax Polycrylic. It was easy to spray on and I was able to do the recommended 3 coats pretty quickly.Polycrylic spray can Once it was dry, I added new hardware, which I had ordered from Lowe’s. Love this antique look!Brass drawer pulls from Lowes The entire project definitely took me way longer than I had anticipated (3 separate weekends), but I am so happy with how it turned out! And all of my hard work paid off, literally — the total cost was less than $100!!

Dresser before diy project

Quick reminder of the before

Dresser turned TV stand for family room DIY dresser into TV console TV stand from old dresser Turn a dresser into a TV stand DIY

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Projects In Progress

Jamie and I currently have several projects going on all at once. Each one seems to come with its own obstacle and unfortunately since none are done yet I haven’t been able to post about them. So I figured I could at least give you a preview of what we’re working so hard on!

#1 Our biggest and costliest project is widening our driveway. For this we’re calling in the professionals. They just don’t seem to be calling us back. The plan is to turn our one car-width driveway into two car-widths. This way we won’t have to keep moving cars around when the other is in the way. Luckily, we have the room to do it, but our town isn’t allowing us to widen it as far as we’d like. (Bureaucracy!) We’ve been given a few estimates from a couple companies, we’re just trying to finalize and lock it down. Hopefully this will be done soon so we can move forward.

#2 I finally started redoing that free dresser I scored back in February. Last weekend, the weather was nice so I brought it outside and started sanding away! I also finally got to use the electric sander Jamie got me for Valentine’s Day. You might not think that’s a romantic gift, but I do!mask

sanderdrawersI still have to find some hardware I like. Then this weekend I plan to prime it, paint it and hopefully finish it up!

#3 Over the weekend, my husband was working alongside me, but on a project of his own. He took a stab at building a coffee table for our living room. garage

I must say he did a pretty awesome job for his first time attempting something like this! If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook you would’ve seen a sneak peek already, but here it is again in case you missed it. coffee table 2coffee table

Now we just have to finish it up with some stain. There are so many choices! Do you have a favorite?

luca bush

(I don’t think Luca was a fan of all the noise we were making. He hid in the bushes!)

#4 I’m also trying to complete some décor odds and ends. I bought this artwork for our family room from overstock.com. BB art

I love the Brooklyn Bridge! It’s where Jamie and I had our first date (aww). Now it just needs to get hung up. I also bought some curtains for the family room, but of course I still need a curtain rod to hang them.

curtains

It was hard enough finding curtains I liked at the right price (it’s crazy how expensive they can be!) and the right length. I swear 84″ is too short and 95″ is too long 😛 (I’m not a fan of when they “puddle” on the floor.) So the thought of having to look for a rod makes my head hurt a little. Haha!

#5 There’s always more painting to do! We have 5 rooms left. The paint is already picked out and purchased for 3 of those rooms. Eventually we’ll get to it. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all!

Please be sure to keep checking back for the reveals. And make sure to follow @oldcolonialhome on Twitter and Instagram for projects in progress!  How many different projects are you working on at once?

 


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Shades of Gray

I’ve been wanting to paint our master bedroom gray, but little did I know how hard it would be to find the right shade. I picked up a few paint cards from Lowe’s. But I really didn’t like any of them once I had them on the wall.Gray paint card samples with undertonesThe problem with gray is it has so many different undertones – brown, blue, green, etc. I was really looking for a true gray without an undertone. After doing a lot of online searching, I then started looking at Benjamin Moore paints. After going through several options …Pile of gray paint card samples … my husband and I finally decided on Cliffside Gray by BM. It looked to be the truest gray in the lighting in our bedroom.

Of course, once we actually got the paint on the walls it was a little darker and had more blue in it than I wanted, but it still looked nice. I think part of the problem was that our blue bedding was affecting the color.Dark blue bedding with gray walls Gray walls with dark blue comforter I hadn’t anticipated needing or wanting to change our bedding, but I had to do something so the room didn’t look so dull.

In between that search, we also planned on adding an accent wall using a stencil.  I found this one called Marrakech Trellis from Cutting Edge Stencils.Cutting Edge Stencils Marrakech TrellisJamie had painted the whole room in a matte finish. For the stencil I used the same Cliffside Gray color, but in a semi-gloss finish. This is a shot taken during the process.Stencil wall project in progress It was fairly easy, but painstakingly slow. The main thing I struggled with was getting each section to line up. But I love how it turned out! Here are some pictures of the transformation from when the room was all white to where it is today.

Master bedroom before

Before

Master bedroom after

After

Accent wall before

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Accent wall after

After

Master bedroom bedding before

Before

Master bedroom bedding after

After

Did you notice the improved bedding as well?! Instead of breaking the bank by getting a whole new set, I made 3 simple changes. I added the white and gray chevron patterned sheets, which I found at Kohl’s for only $30 (after a 30% off coupon). I added the colorful pillow, which I found at Marshall’s for $17. And I simply changed the way I make the bed – pulling the comforter down and folding it halfway up to expose more of the sheets. I feel this helps break up the blue. Doesn’t the bed look so much more inviting now?!Cutting Edge Stencil accent wall in master bedroom

 

 


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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

A few months ago I was visiting a friend and I noticed she had window-pane mirrors in her finished basement. They looked awesome! I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate something similar in our own house. After doing a little online searching, I realized it would be more affordable if I took matters into my own hands. Besides, I already had a 6-pane window going unused. (It’s the bottom half of the window that’s on our mantel.)6-panel window pane Now I had to figure out how to turn the window into a mirror.

Solution found: Rust-Oleum Mirror Effect spray paint!Mirror effect spray paintI ordered it from Home Depot. It’s a little pricey at $8.50 for a 6 oz. can (and I bought two), but when I consider that $17 is all I spent for this project, I’d say that’s pretty good.

So I started by taping off the window. It has dark wood on one side and light wood on the other. I wanted the lighter side to be the front so I taped off the back. You spray paint the reverse side to create the reflective mirror-like finish. Taping the window was pretty time consuming. You might even say it was a pain! Haha get it?!Tape off mirror before painting Taped off window pane for spray paintingMy first attempt at trying to paint it back in January didn’t go so well. The can says it needs to be between 50 and 90 degrees with 85% or less humidity. I tried doing it in our garage on a rainy day and I think it was just too humid out. The paint was very runny. So I had to wait for better weather, which meant I had to wait awhile since it’s Winter in the Northeast. Spraying inside definitely wasn’t an option. The smell is very strong. But finally, this past weekend was nice enough, and this go around was much better! It took several light coats to get the desired mirror effect.Spray light layers of paint on glass Thin layers of mirror effect spray paint Final layers on reverse side of window It doesn’t have a perfect mirror finish, almost an aged look to it. But I love how it turned out!View of mirror effect from the front After adding some hardware to the window and using anchor screws, we decided to hang it above the love seat in our living room.diy window pane mirror in living room easy window mirror using mirror effect spray paint 6-pane window mirror above couch easily turn a window into a mirrorThere actually used to be a window along this wall (most likely this very window) but it was closed up after an addition was put on the back of the house. I kind of like that part of it is now back where it used to be!


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Another Paint Job

Our family room is still very much a work in progress. But at least now it has new paint color, and we can check another all-white room off the list! We went with Honey Butter by Olympic. Here are some before and after shots. (Please ignore our current TV setup. It will eventually get changed when I get that dresser redone.)

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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Before

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After (We also hung some wedding photos)

Aside from the dresser, I’m also working on trying to find a coffee table and end tables for this room, as well as décor to fill the other blank walls. Little by little.

Meantime, next up on the paint list is our bedroom!! I’m thinking a light gray. What are some of your favorite colors for the boudoir?


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Displaying a Little History

I think it goes without saying that I love our house. But one of my favorite things about it (and one of the many reasons we chose to buy it) is the original chestnut trim. You can see some of it in this picture I took for my Gallery Wall post.Original chestnut trim in colonial home Upon closer inspection, the trim is a little beat up and worn, but that’s what gives it character. And luckily it was never painted over (except in 2 rooms, which I hope to strip someday). That’s not bad for a house that’s pre-war. Along with the chestnut trim are chestnut doors. In fact, we have a total of 18 chestnut doors in our house if you include the closets! That’s a lot of doors! But you know what goes with all of those doors? These awesome skeleton keys!Old metal skeleton keysI couldn’t just let these beauties sit in a drawer somewhere. I knew I had to put them on display! So here’s what I did. I used this picture frame that I had just sitting around. It has some depth to it, almost like a shadow box.Shadow box picture frame with 4 square matte The flower picture is actually glued to the backing, so I had to cover it since the keys were going to be displayed in each square window. I wanted a vintage feel to it, so I simply cut up a brown paper bag and taped it around the backing sort of like a present.Cut paper bag to fit around frame backingTape bag to frame backing Frame backing wrapped like a present Here’s what it looked like from the front.New paper bag frame background I put the matte on it and then worked on the arrangement of the keys. Once I was satisfied, I used these handy 1/2″ Craft Glue Dots from A.C. Moore for about $3.00. (You could also use a glue gun.)Keys arranged within matte I stuck a dot on the top and bottom of each key and then adhered it to the paper bag backing. I didn’t mark or measure each key’s placement, I just eyeballed it. And then I reassembled the frame.Use craft glue dots to adhere keys to backingI actually gave this to my husband for his birthday! Here’s the final product now properly hung in our upstairs hallway!Skeleton key art on display in hallwayEasy DIY skeleton key display DIY art for antique skeleton keys I love having a little piece of history on display! What are some of your favorite items to showcase?


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Gallery Wall

It’s been several months in the making, but we finally completed and hung a gallery wall in our living room. We have a lot of blank walls to fill, and after seeing this post by With Love, From California I was truly inspired! I knew it would be the perfect addition.Blank wall behind couch perfect for gallery wall Following her lead, Jamie and I measured the wall above our couch factoring in a 12″ perimeter. There was one tricky part though. Our couch isn’t centered along the wall because of a door that swings open. So since the couch is off-centered, we figured it was best to keep the gallery wall the same way. That way it’ll still be centered over the couch and we won’t have pieces hidden behind the door, which is almost always open wide.

Once we had the measurements, like With Love, From CA, I cut pieces of string to mirror the dimensions and laid them on the floor to recreate the wall space. I now had a place where I could play with the arrangement of frames, artwork, etc. until I got it just the way I wanted. As for deciding what went into the gallery wall, I started by collecting various frames and artwork I already had. Since I mainly had black and silver and some ivory mats, I decided to stick with that theme knowing I wanted to use just black and white photos. This was the first layout I came up with.lay gallery wall pieces on floor to rearrange (Notice the brown dinner plate. I liked the idea of using a circular piece there to break it up a little, but I didn’t have anything at the time that would work. I also wasn’t sure what to put in the lower right corner. Hence the ‘?’)

I eventually found a clock (on Kohls.com) that I loved. Even though we already have a clock on the mantel, this one was the perfect size and I really liked the skeletons keys on it! So I went for it. I also swapped out the silver frame with the ‘&’ for a black one that I found at Home Goods. I felt there was too much silver. I also swapped the small, silver square frame with the medium, rectangular silver frame for better spacing.Rearranging gallery wall layoutI was almost there. I still needed something for that lower corner. I had thought about just making a piece of artwork out of scraps of wood we have. But then I came across another great frame, this time at Target. Finally, it was set to go!Gallery wall final layout To hang it, we started by using the original measurements and marked off the corners on the wall.Measure and mark corners for hanging gallery wall Jamie then took over the hanging process. He started by doing each corner first then working his way in, fixing any spacing issues or slight measuring errors along the way. (Luckily, any mistake holes just get covered.)In progress hanging gallery wall Here’s what it looked like when he was done.Gallery wall completely hung And here’s how the absolute final product looks with all the appropriate photos in it. I love how it turned out!Gallery wall behind couch in living room Complete gallery wall in living room Use scrapbook paper in some of the frames I  used scrapbook paper in some of the frames.Eye chart displayed in frame I decided to nix the ‘&’ and printed a free and custom eye chart from http://www.eyechartmaker.com. Bonus points if you know what it says!