Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paint Scraping: Not My Idea of a Good Time

I'd love to report that my kitchen cabinets are finally finished and looking gorgeous... but I can't. Because they aren't. With this whole oil/water paint debacle, I feel like I've taken two steps forward and twenty steps back.

I googled how to remove the latex paint from an oil painted surface and got the recommendation to give them a hard sanding down through the layers of paint.

Um, no. DON'T DO THAT. It is a waste of time, as you can't sand off the peeling paint. It just won't work.

So, I googled it again, and found the majority vote for removing the paint was washing it off with soapy water and a sponge. Seriously, I found that answer in so many forums I figured it had to be the best way.

After about 20 minutes of soapy scrubbing....

Same cabinet door. Time lapse: 45 minutes.
(Not even making that up)

Soapy scrubbing with a sponge: DON'T DO THAT. You'll waste the rest of your life, getting that paint off.

In complete exasperation, I posted how much I was hating life on my Facebook page... and got a reply from my awesome pal Michele, who said: "Get yourself a paint stripper and then just scrape it all off."

Never in a million years would that have occurred to me. Hurray for social networking! I went out right then and there and bought myself a container of paint stripper, some protective eye-wear (so hot) and a scraper. Now, I'm in paint-scraping mode. I didn't want to use the chemical stripper in the house, because of the kids (okay, and also because I couldn't figure out how to remove the child-proof cap) so I'm going to leave the cabinets doors and drawers for later... but in the meantime, I'm just peeling the paint off strip by strip.

Yes, it absolutely sucks. But at least it is working! Hopefully soon, I'll have the whole finished kitchen to show off!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Kitchen Cabinet Revamp... Gone Wrong

I had a post all ready to go for today. It was going to be about my kitchen cabinet revamp... about my process start to finish, as I prepped and primed and painted my cabinets. It was going to be about my hard work for four days straight, as I busted my behind to get my kitchen in shape... It was going to be filled with butterflies and unicorns and whimsical songs about lovely kitchen cabinets and the joy of working hard to turn something not-so-fabulous into something FABULOUS...

But then, last night as I was unloading the dishwasher, a large chunk of paint peeled straight off of the cabinet door and I froze in horror...

What. The. HECK?

So, I scraped the chunk with my finger, and even more peeled away.

I called my grandma in a panic, and what did she tell me?

"Your cabinets were painted with an oil based paint, and you painted them with a water based paint."

Oh. Right.

You know, the annoying thing is that I knew that oil and water paints react to each other like, well, like oil and water, obviously. I knew it. I shouldn't have been surprised. And truthfully, I wasn't surprised. Nope, I was pissed. Because the guy at Lowes who picked out my primer for me, said that the primer I was paying top dollar for was so good, that the walls/cabinets didn't even need to be sanded first.

And I fell for it because I'm Marisa: The Most Trusting Girl in the Universe.

So. Now I have to take down all of my cabinets and spend another four days prepping and priming and painting them. No, make that FIVE days, because it will probably take me an extra day to sand it all back down. And as for a post laced with butterflies and unicorns and sweet little songs about the joys of painting cabinets... that will have to be reserved for a day when I'm not stomping my feet and crying my eyes out in frustration.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Color Inspirations

I love color. Love it. And, as wall color in a home really effects a person's moods, picking the right color scheme for my house was very important to me.

In my last post (click here to see), I shared my wall colors, before and after, from when I moved in, to the colors I ended up painting them. In this post, I want to share my color inspiration for my major living spaces (living room, dining area, kitchen, family room, studio), as well as share the most awesome room color resource ever.

My mom bought me the book Color Schemes Made Easy which is a Better Homes and Gardens book, to help me figure out the color scheme for my house. I wanted all of my main living spaces to flow from one room to the next, while still having their own wall colors and decor. This book majorly helped me out. It has you pick your one inspiration piece for the room/house (fabric, paint color, accessory...) and then choose your wall colors and accent colors from that inspiration piece.

I had a problem from the start, in that I had 2 inspiration pieces. Pieces that did NOT match.

The first: Fabric from my living room couch.

This floral corduroy sofa is HUGE and a major focal point for the living room.

The second: The wall color of my studio which sits directly off the family room (the doors to my studio are glass-paned).

Yikes, right?

So... you can see that my color inspirations are very, very different. Using the book, and with the help of my mom, I was able to choose a color palette for my entire house, so that each room flows while keeping their individual colors and style (my style is very eclectic, so each room will have a mix of contemporary, traditional and whimsical elements, pulled together through art and accessories).

This page has many of the colors in my house.
  • Living Room: the buttery yellow color.
  • Dining Area (which sits directly off the living room): the camel color, which is the top most color block
  • Kitchen: the mustard color (I'm going with a lighter shade) The kitchen also has white cabinets and appliances, so the color wont be overpowering.
  • The Family Room: color not featured in above picture... I found a light green that looks beautiful with the other room colors
  • The Studio: the blue
  • The Laundry Room: same blue as my studio, on the opposite side of the house
As I'm almost starting from scratch with my house, not having had more than small apartments with institutional white walls to decorate, I'll have a lot to add to each room as I decorate.

For my studio, here is a sample of the illustrations which will be on the wall:The blue going around these garden gnome illustrations is the exact color of my studio wall. I designed these illustrations specifically to go in my creative space and am thrilled to finally have a place to put them!

For my mustard and white kitchen, which will flow off the living room and dining room colors, I love this print:

Salt Meet Pepper
by Emily Martin of The Black Apple

Look! The blue is the perfect match with my studio and laundry room!

The pillows I'm going to have in my family room:

Pillows by lindylou
(who is actually my mom)

The green that is in the center, behind the bird in the above pillow is almost the exact shade of my family room walls.

So this is just a start. I'll be able to show more as I pull the rooms together.

If you are looking at my color choices and eclectic inspirations and thinking, "Marisa, you will NEVER pull off the flow from one room to the next with those choices..."

Well, all I can say is: stay tuned!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Painting, Painting, and Painting Some More

Let me tell you a little something about me... I don't like painting rooms. In fact, I don't like painting at all. I'm a colored pencil lover for a reason: Anything that takes longer than .5 seconds to dry is not my friend.

But my new house needed a major paint job, so for the last few days, we've been painting, painting, painting. I was lucky that my mom came up from Austin to help me out (thanks, Mom!). She is my complete opposite when it comes to painting. She loves to slap new color on a wall; I am happy taping a room off so I don't have to touch the paint. In the case of my new house... I had to touch the paint. For four days straight. My poor arms... so tired!

We did a pretty good job, considering that the power and the water was turned off in the house. That didn't make things easy, but the companies couldn't get them on any sooner for us and I wanted to get the walls done before our truck load of furniture and boxes came in.

You're going to have to wait to see how it is decorated. A long time. The exciting thing about moving into a house double the size of your tiny apartment is having double the space to decorate and buy new furniture. The sad thing: spending all your money on the down payment, moving expenses and apartment lease-breaking, and not being able to decorate or buy new furniture right away. Oh well, I've got time.

Wanna see what has been done so far?

My Studio:

Priming and painting bead board walls is probably one of the most annoying things EVER. But worth it in the end! Look how cute:

My Living Room:

A cold (and dull) light grey.

I really, really, really wanted green walls... but I couldn't find a green I liked.

A bright and buttery yellow.

I like how cheerful it is with the yellow, but I'm a little unsure of the color as my furniture for this room is in Austin at my mom's, so I can't see how it looks. We haven't had a space big enough for the furniture since we moved from California and I'm so excited to finally have space for it again! Once I see how my furniture looks in here, I'll decide whether to try a different color or not. In the meantime... it is cheerful!

My Family Room:

Here is my green room!

It is actually much lovelier than this picture shows. And all molding and trim will be a bright white (they are mostly light yellow in this picture). And look: no Texas stars going around the ceiling! Man, those things were terrible to remove. I have slices in all of my fingers. Boo.
Annelie (age 2) didn't even get into the paint. Or touch a wet wall. My little girl is growing up!

There is a lot more to do. Tons. But I'm going to take a nice break for a few days. My mother-in-law comes into town next week... she doesn't yet know that I'm putting her to work as I get the rest of my house finished! Surprise!


"This is the Inspector!"

My husband Will picked out our very first house accessory the other day. We knew we needed a fridge, a microwave, and other assorted necessities... but we figured our first house purchase needed to be something fun and frivolous.

Our house has a phone stand built into the wall in the hallway, so naturally that frivolous purchase needed to be an antique rotary phone. Because how else are we supposed to pretend we are in an old British inspector film if we don't have a phone that we can pick up and declare (in our poshest accents) "This is the Inspector!"

Will really does that every time he walks down the hall, and he's got me doing that, too - although, my British accent is terrible and I tend to sound Indian. Don't know why. He is more convincing.

But seriously, isn't this phone the best? It works and has the cutest ring EVER and Will picked it up for only $20 at a nearby antique store.



Our Home Sweet Home

A new, charcoal-colored roof was put on since this picture was taken. Cute!

Our house keys are jingling from my key chain and I can't help grinning from ear to ear. Why? you may be asking yourself. Because....


Not just any house... our very FIRST house. Goodbye rented apartment. Goodbye crashing at my mom's house between moves... we are finally, officially home.

I have some photos to show you all. I took them on the day we first went to see it, so the family before us was still moving out... don't mind the mess! Also, I'm missing photos of the bathrooms (one finished, and one unfinished - needs a toilet and sink), the laundry room, the dining area, and one of the bedrooms, but I'll show those as I decorate them.

It will take us a while - a long while - to set up, decorate, buy new furniture for our larger space, but all that will come in time, so come on in for the grand tour!

I need to take a picture of the living room ceiling... it is awesome. Its an ornate, white textured plaster (the house is from the '40's, after all). My husband Will and I love older houses with tons of character, and this house definitely has character!

See the silver Texas stars going around the ceiling? Our realtor (a Texan) loved them and was happy to tell us that they come with the house. The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas! I'll be removing them, but seriously... they crack me up.

My studio... the best room in the house. It is actually supposed to be the master bedroom as it is the biggest room, but we figured since this will be the most used room, where all the drawing, crafting, and computer working will be, the large space is necessary as a studio! The window looks out over the backyard, so I can work while the kids play. Also, the doors going into the room have clear glass windows, so I'll be able to see into the family room and the hall, even with the doors shut.

I can not wait to decorate this room!

Gracie (age 4) wanted the room with the window seat, so this one is hers. She also fell in love with the clouds on the ceiling, so I'll be keeping that up. But those shiny wood walls... I'll be painting those a soft pink (her request) next week!

Annelie (age 2) wanted the room with the chalk board walls. YAY, she can finally have a room she is allowed to scribble all over!

The half-finished train table is staying, so I'm pretty excited to turn that into a double sided play surface for their train set and fairy dolls.

The previous homeowners were very happy we have kids... they left a whole bunch of things behind, including this little playhouse, which Gracie decided to call Strawberry Cottage. We plan on giving Strawberry Cottage a couple coats of paint, moving the big shed next to it over to the corner of the yard, and planting a children's butterfly garden in its place. Gracie can't wait to have her own garden of flowers.

Big backyard! This picture doesn't even show how great it is. The previous family left us all sorts of stuff. In addition to Strawberry Cottage, we have a pirate ship swing set and slide, a metal arbor, a garden swing, a tricycle (Annelie's favorite) and a soccer/football goal (Wills favorite). Can I just tell you how much I love the previous homeowners?

I love them. Very much.

And here is our street! Will and I were so excited to find a house we loved, at a price we could afford, in such a great neighborhood! The girls will be going to an award-winning elementary school, and there is a huge neighborhood park and skate park just two blocks away.

So what do you think of our new house? I can hardly believe it is ours!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Who Am I?

Hello and nice to meet you! Just a little bit about me... I'm Marisa, a 29 year old wife, mother of 2 little girls, and all around artsy/craftsy kinda gal.

My husband and I just bought our very first house and, not only are we thrilled to be done with renting apartments, but we are finally setting down some roots and couldn't be happier to build a home for our daughters. In the last 5 years, we have moved 8 times. Now, we can let those moving boxes collect some dust while we begin to enjoy life as a family in a sweet West Texas neighborhood.

I'm excited to share this blog with you all, sharing my decorating style, favorites, ideas and creative projects. I hope you love it as much as I do.

A Home Where Love Abides blog may be a new venture for me, but I'm not new to blogging at all... Interested in learning a little more about me?

Come on by Elegant Bloggery, where I share my life as a mom of two zany and creative girls, and as an illustrator with my own cottage-industry illustration business.

I'm also a contributor for The Mama Dramalogues, a one-stop spot for humorous anecdotes about being a mom and life with kids - hair pulling, kicking and screaming included - awesome family-friendly recipes, pampering DIY projects and crafty tutorials.

Thanks for popping by and I hope you love my little corner of the world.