Monday, July 28, 2014

Fences- Our Texas Home Makeover Post #16

There are wet swim suits and wet towels all over the house.  They seem to multiply like little gremlins!  There are never enough places to hang them all.

I have three free-standing, outdoor iron fences that I bought for our first house in 1998. I wanted to be able to see the wooded hills out of the top of our bedroom windows, but I wanted privacy as well.  Shutters were not in the budget at the time, so I purchased these fences to get the job done.  I sewed curtains and attached them to the fences with a tension rod and zip ties.

This is the only picture that I could find of the fence/ curtains in our first house.  They worked perfectly to keep the upper window visible while covering the bottom half.  

In Texas, I decided to repurpose the fences again- this time as drying racks.  These outdoor fences are now in two of our bathrooms and the laundry room.  They are perfect for hanging wet towels and swimsuits.  

In the upstairs bath...

In the guest bath...

I bought these from that little old iron store on 8th avenue in Nashville.  If you drive down Franklin road from
Brentwood, the iron store will be on the right before you get into downtown Nashville- I don't know the name of it... Just look for an old house with a side yard full of iron stuff!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TV Storage- Our TX Home Makeover Post #15

Our Texas family room is designed for the boys and their friends... with a pool table and multiple TVs.  We went with two smaller TVs instead of one larger TV so the kids could watch football/ basketball while they play video games.  

Sidebar:  we've never had a flat screen TV- ever.  Our TV in Tennessee was a 36" dinosaur that I believe was in Tommy's parent's house his senior year in 1992.  
The old TV fit perfectly in this gorgeous armoire;  I hated to part with this beautiful piece of furniture when we moved to TX... but now this armoire has a new home in Belvidere, TN, thanks to my brother... I'll at least get to visit it.  

Anyway, in our TX family game room, we needed some way to store the TVs and gaming systems.  We wanted to put the TVs on the wall but didn't know what to do about the gaming systems and cable box.

had a really big set of bookshelves stored in our TN basement for like eight years- they were originally in Tommy's parent's reading nook.  
The bookshelves lived here in our TN basement beside my PIL's wedding photo... I almost gave these bookshelves away before we moved.  

We had room on our moving truck for the shelves, so we brought them to TX.  Somewhere along the way, I decided to use the bookshelves for TV storage.  It worked well, but the shelves really needed a makeover.  

The bookshelves in TX before their makeover- solid oak with lots of potential.

Once I saw this piece of furniture in IO Metro, I knew exactly what I would do with the bookshelves...
My inspiration piece.

One last look at the bookshelves before two cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Emperor's silk.

Here are the bookshelves after one coat of ASCP emperor's silk:
The shelves- drying after one coat of ASCP red... but plastic on the floor was apparently too tempting for a certain member of the Warmbrod household....

... Because here are my recently stripped and refinished Amtico floors with Boo Kitty's red paw prints!!!! I died for a few minutes, but the paw prints wiped right up; this thanks to the three coats of gloss sealer that I applied during the floor finishing process.

The bookshelves got two coats of red chalk paint and two coats of Minwax polycrylic.  I also took the shelves outside and sprayed an extra coat of spray polycrylic on them for added protection.  

Here are my bookshelves dressed in Emperor's silk:

The family game room walls are next.  The painter comes on Saturday to lighten them up.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shutters- Our Texas Home Makeover Post #14

All projects were on pause while we spent some time away from Texas- in Louisiana at Peyton Manning Passing Academy then in Nashville to finalize some business there.  

Since it's been awhile, I thought I would offer a sneak peak at one of our projects-  the master bath shutters.

I'm not good about before pictures, but here's a link to the video the realtor made for me just moments after we made our offer on this house.  I had never stepped foot in Allen, TX, or this house when we bought it; houses fly off the market here so we had to act quickly.

Anyway, I love the master bath French doors.   I don't want to cover them but I prefer a little more privacy than the doors alone provide.  Tommy came home one evening, and I immediately asked him if we could build a wall of shutters to separate the tub/ shower from the vanity area;  he knows I've been on Craigs list when I ask these kinds of question, and he knows I already have the trailer hooked up to the car, too.  He knows he'll spend the rest of his day loading and unloading craigs list items.  I had, in fact, found very tall, solid wood shutters on Craig's list that I thought could be repurposed.  He agreed.  We drove to some swanky neighborhood with a security guard- imagine the guard has never seen a Mercury pulling a trailer load of shutters before... Now he knows what a Warmbrod is.  

The shutter wall was an easy sell- It's never hard to talk Tommy into projects that hint of St. Lucia- 
Our room in St. Lucia  with the open-air, floor-to-ceiling shutters.  HEAVEN.

Anyway, back in Texas... We hung the shutters before we left for Louisiana.  We still have tons to do before this master bath is complete, but here is where we are now:

You can see the wall of shutters in the mirror reflection- it serves as a privacy wall for the tub/ shower.  They are stained a gorgeous grey stain with brown undertones.  The rest if the bath is in process:  The vanity area has one coat of  Annie Sloan Arles chalk paint- it needs another coat and distressing.  

The shutters are offset to create a hallway back to the shower.  The floor will get a makeover soon.

We placed a table in here temporarily (I love this family- heirloom table but haven't found a place for it yet... so it's temporarily stored in this unfinished bathroom). We layered some rugs so I don't have to look at the floor until it's refinished.  I think the French doors and trim will be made over in white; we plan to repaint the ceiling and walls in antique white.  

I'm not sure yet where we are going with the floor but I have a feeling it will be interesting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

St Lucia for Dinner: Our TX home makeover post #13

Tommy & I celebrated our 15 year anniversary a few years back at Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia.  Our room was exactly 250 steps above this beach- the stairs meandered up the side of a cliff.  No, there was no elevator.
This was our heaven for seven wonderful days.

This is our room in St Lucia- no walls, no glass...only shutters separated us from our ocean/ jungle view high in the hill tops.  Note the St Lucian batik fabric on the chairs- I can't get enough of it.

If these pics seem oddly familiar...At least a couple of the Bachelor final rose ceremonies were hosted at Anse Chastanet resort.

Anyway, this is the first house that we have decorated since our St Lucia trip, and there are St Lucian influences in every room- starting with the dining room.  Not that I wasn't already decorating with dark woods and tropical floral fabric, as you could see in my TN bedroom in post #11.
Black walnut bedroom suit and birds of paradise fabric on the drapes- early island influences.

This is a dining/ lounging area at Anse Chastanet- this open air room is built into the side of the cliff between our hilltop room and the beach below.  

There was an islander country western band that played here in this room many nights- St Lucians love classic country music.  No joke.  The soundtrack to this room was oddly enough Waylon, Willie, George Jones- very Nashville.  

The dining room before:
You can see the dining room 'before' pics in this collage from the house listing.  These are extremely flattering pics- the dining room in real life was very dark and the paint job was sloppy.  I love dark grey walls, but not in every room- it was too dungeon-like and dreary.  The modern wallpaper clashed with the floors and had to come down.

I decided to paint the dining room walls a deep golden to contrast with the grey walls in the adjacent sitting room.  I also had three panels of curtains left from my Anthropologie-Craig's-List curtain steal.  I hung the curtains on a whim and the rest just fell right into place.

Here's the little-bit-St-Lucian-little-bit-French-country-on-a-strict-budget dining room now:

Remember that St Lucian batik fabric?  Yes, I brought some home with me!  It looks terrific under Tommy's mother's antique tea set.  The sconce on the wall by the Anthropologie-Craigs-list curtains hung in my grandmother's living room in the 80s.

The table cloth is actually a Land's End matelasse bedspread underneath an extra curtain panel.  I purchased the floral napkins for $1 each to decorate our first apartment in 1996.  The chairs were reupholstered using the fabric from an old decorative duvet cover.

If you've been to St Lucia or Key West or any other islands, you probably understand the chickens.  I purchased these from Hobby Lobby this week at 1/2 off.  The chickens also remind me of the farm back home in Belvidere, TN.

Blaine gifted us this painting he made in art class a few years back... It is strikingly similar to our view of the St. Lucian Pitons:

From this angle, you can see into the breakfast room and get a glimpse of the artwork hanging there:

This cow reminds me of the cows found here and there randomly in St. Lucia;  also reminds me of the farm I grew up in in Belvidere, TN... She didn't make the cut for dining room artwork, but she has breakfast with us every morning.

I bought the light fixture 8 years ago from Home Decorators Outlet- I go it for $35 including shipping.  I got lots of good deals from this site BEFORE they were affiliated with Home Depot.  

My only recent purchases for this makeover were paint, the chickens, the Craig's list curtains and the frame for Blaine's painting... bringing the entire dining room makeover in under $200.  I'll get a rug once the dust settles on our other projects.  

I'm pulling these bright colors into the adjacent siting room to brighten up/ compliment the dark grey walls- we'll see if I can pull it off.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Free chair makeover- Our TX Home Makeover Post #12

When we married 18 years ago, I rummaged through many attics and basements to find lost treasures for our apartment.  I love to reuse things in creative ways.

The duvet cover that I made for our master bedroom 9 years ago got repurposed this week.  Our new master walls are dark grey and the red-yellow-green fabric just doesn't work.
Here are some photos featuring the duvet cover in our prior TN home:

The master bedroom in TN- Tommy's great Aunt Tee's Lillian Russell bedroom suit in black walnut;  my great grandmother's antique sewing cabinet used as a side table;  an oriental lamp rescued from a remodel at Union Planter's Bank in Knoxville where I worked as an exec assistant in college.  We also had two family heirloom secretaries in this room.  


I made the curtains and the duvet cover-  I covered my old king size comforter with striped fabric on top and used a sheet for the bottom.  The curtains were a bird of paradise print- one of my grandmother's favorite flowers and selected in memory of her.

 Here the Lillian Russell dressing table and  both antique secretaries.  All of these items came to TX with us.  

The duvet fabric now covers my dining room chairs.  

Dining room chairs before:


Dining room chairs after:


I have recovered four of the eight chairs this far and hope to finish the rest this week before we head to Louisiana for Peyton Manning Passing Academy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

White is the New Stainless- Our TX Home Makeover Post #11

We had stainless appliances in our TN home- loved them but hated cleaning them. We also lived in an area where high-end was the expected norm- not just in appliances, but in the entire home.  I grew to hate the high-end trap... I wanted to tinker and explore but it's too risky to do that with expensive materials. 

My TN galley kitchen with the stainless appliances that I spent months saving up for... It was the right investment when we built the TN house.
The appliances in this TX house were at the opposite end of the appliance spectrum- black and ancient.  We definitely couldn't give the kitchen a spruce up without replacing them.  
The old microwave/ oven combo

The old oven- not even a digital timer- it was a dial.

'They' told me to replace these with new stainless.  The price tag for all stainless, including the fridge, would have been thousands of dollars.  I will argue this point with anyone, but in most markets, you just aren't going to get a significance ROI on new, high-end appliances on a home you just purchased at market value.  'They' will tell you that stainless appliances are an investment that will pay for themselves, but many times that is not the case.  You should run the numbers yourself on your property before making substantial spends on any home improvements.  

In my case, purchasing and installing $6,000+ worth of appliances was not going to automatically increase property value by the same amount.  Consider also that I live in a neighborhood where the houses sell in a matter of hours instead of months- with and without stainless appliances.  Stainless didn't make sense to me.  In fact, I realized, footing the bill for new appliances wasn't going to be much of an investment for me at all- stainless or not.

We sold our stainless fridge with the TN house and brought our white garage fridge to use in TX temporarily.  Early on in move, I was headed straight into the new-appliances-must-be-matching-stainless trap, but I got frustrated trying to find a new oven that would fit in my small, early 1990s cabinets.  I was also frustrated at the price tags.

So I headed to Craig's list in search of a 27 inch oven... And I found TONS of white appliances on Craig's list as people were dumping them for stainless upgrades almost instantly- many of the appliances are brand new and sold at rock bottom prices. 

I already had a white fridge in good condition, and matching the appliances to it would avoid thousands of dollars in  unnecessary spend.  So I spent a few hundred dollars and got a double oven, microwave, and dishwasher all from one Craigslist listing!

The new microwave installed over the cooktop- looks great with the subway tile!
This 24 inch double oven had hardly been used.

I spent so little on these appliances that we won't feel bad ditching them if we decide to completely remodel the kitchen later (I would like to open it up to the rest of the house eventually).

Here are some tips when buy appliances 2nd hand:
1.  Get serial numbers and check how old the appliances really are.
2.  Be sure to get the mounting hardware and power cords.
3.  Gas or electric- be sure you know what you are wired for before you buy.
4.  Negotiate- most buyers just want these big bulky items out of their garage.  

Tommy & I think we'll move around the country several times over the next 25 years, and I'm not going to spend fortunes with each move to buy new appliances that I hate cleaning... unless running the numbers makes it profitable.