Entryway Bar

Man oh man, as we approach our one-year blogiversary I am constantly surprised by how much our home has changed in just a few short months! Take for example the entryway. . . here it is during our house tour in July.


Here it is today.

TFP Kitchen Bar 10

What a beauty!

Let’s see, we took down the wall paper, textured and painted the kitchen, added some built-in benches, thrifted some new-to-us chairs, and just earlier this week I showed you how I redid my kitchen desk. Whew! We have been busy bees! (I also got a new camera which helps a LOT!)

Did you notice something else that’s ‘new’? Here’s a hint. . .

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That’s right, we’ve updated our kitchen bar! When my in-laws were here last fall, you know, updating my kitchen, they were also on the hunt for a Christmas present project and they found it in that ugly blue laminate bar.

My father-in-law, Greg, is a fanominal wood worker had the idea to build a cover for the existing counter-top so we sent him the desired dimensions, he built the cover in Florida and we brought it back at Thanksgiving. Side note, the bar had a large over hang on the the eat-in kitchen side which made it really uncomfortable to sit on the bench. When my brothers were here at Christmas they helped Phillip cut the existing bar down to size.

They started by removing the counter-top. . .

TFP Kitchen Bar 1

. . .which caused a few stones to loosen and fall . . . .

TFP Kitchen Bar 2. . . which got put back in place with heavy-duty adhesive. . .

TFP Kitchen Bar 3. . . .ahhhhhh, much better.

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The counter-top was cut to fit the cover and screws were attached to the bottom (this part will make sense in a minute). . .

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. . . concrete was mixed and put in the center opening. . . .

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. . . the counter-top was placed on top (screws went into the concrete) and checked to make sure it was level.TFP Kitchen Bar 8

We let the concrete sit for a few days and then began the process of staining and sealing the cover.

My dad is a farmer which means he has lots of awesome (as Phillip says, “old”) stuff. A few years ago he gave some old barn wood to Greg and he’s been using in on projects for us ever since. This particular piece has a walnut inlay from the barn wood.

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The outer pieces got a few coats of stain and then the whole thing got LOTS of poly which brings us to the almost-finished final product.

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I say almost because you see that little white square at the end of the bar? That’s how far the original counter extended and it needs to be sanded, textured and painted before we permanently attached the cover.

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I’ll just add it to the list of 100 other small things that need to be done around here. . . . but there you have it, a brand new bar! What room in your home to you feel has made the most progress?



Kitchen Desk Restoration

When we were working on my dream eat-in kitchen I mentioned that I finally got tired of looking at the ugly blue laminate on the built-in desk in the kitchen. Luckily for me, this beauty was underneath. . .

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So 2 weeks ago I drug out the sander and set to work.

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Most of the desk was covered in the glue left over from the laminate but there wasn’t any poly or other finish so it made the sanding process fairly easy. After a few passes you could already tell the difference in the color of the wood.

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It then got a few coats of my favorite Minwax Poly Shades Bombay Mahogany and an extra coat of poly just for good measure. Here’s the after:

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(Just imagine that my kitchen chairs have already been painted and reupholstered.)TFP Kitchen Desk 5

The desktop has space for my cookbooks and my recipe card box. . .

TFP Kitchen Desk 6. . . and remember that hippo is recently thrifted for $1? Turns out his mouth is the perfect size for my iPhone which comes in handy when I’m making my grocery list from recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest.

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Here’s the before:

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And the after:

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Do you prefer wood that is painted or stained? A mixture of both? I’d love to hear what you think!

How to Hide Your TV Cables the Hard Way

Just before Christmas we rearranged our living room but when I wrote that post I left out 1 small detail. . . the whole reason we flipped the layout of this room was to move the TV. You see, one day we’re going to rebuild our fireplace and when we do, the TV is going to be mounted above the mantle.  So like logical people we thought, if we’re going to mount the TV on the wall one day, why not mount it now? And if you’re going to flip your living room so you can mount your TV on the wall you might as well hide the cords while you’re at it! And if you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to want something to drink. . . .

There are LOTS of great tutorials around the blogosphere about mounting your TV and hiding the cords like this one from the Harpster Home and this one from House of Hepworths, so we bought a mount and set to work.
TFP TV Mount 1

We’d lined up a vintage dresser to convert into a media console and since we were eventually going to rip the sheet rock out anyway and in the meantime it was going to be covered up by the TV and media console, we cut nice big holes so it would be easier to thread the cords through. Great idea, right?

TFP TV Mount 2

So we hung the TV and. . . if you guessed we hung it too high you would be correct! That means that we had to remount the wall bracket, cut another hole in the sheet rock and leave the existing hole somewhat exposed.

Don’t worry, things got much worse after that. Phillip started from the top hole and tried fish a small dowel rod through the wall just to make sure everything was clear and no insulation was in the way. About 2 feet down he hit something that was really hard. No worries we thought, he can probably dislodge whatever is stuck if he comes up through the bottom. He began to fish through from the bottom and about 4 feet up he hit the same something. What could be in our wall that’s really hard and lodged in between 2 studs. . .

I’ll tell you what, a mount for a fireplace mantle that’s what! We actually don’t know that for sure but that’s our best guess. Remember how there used to be a fireplace on this wall? You know, the one we’re going to rebuild with those stones that were in our backyard? Yeah, we determined that when they took the fireplace out they left the mantle mount in case it was ever rebuilt. How thoughtful.

So at this point we had a mounted tv, 3 holes in the wall and no way to hide the cords. (Short of ripping out the sheet rock and removing the mount which we were not about to do!) And then it hit us, what if we built a frame . . .

TFP TV Mount 3

. . . and covered it in fabric. . . . TFP TV Mount 5

. . . and cut a hole for the TV mount. . . TFP TV Mount 6

. . . and hung it on the wall behind the media console and it turned out to be the most awesome idea we’ve ever had! Pretty great idea right?? So that’s what we did and today things are looking much improved.

TFP TV Mount 8

My parents delivered this dresser to us over Christmas and it’s in line to get some serious love in the next few months.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane. . . when we first moved in (almost a year ago!) our living room looked like this.


Yeah. . boring. Ugly. Blah! Here’s what it looks like today!

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It’s hard to believe how far this room has come in just 11 months! Last fall we got a new-to-us couch, added new legs, made some custom curtains and painted the walls! Then in December we flipped the layout and added the deacons benches all in one fell swoop.

So there you have it, how to hide your TV cables the hard way. . . anybody else had a similar experience? How you ever started a project that went horribly awry?

TFP TV Mount 9

Bathroom Inspiration

Whew! I feel like I’m still recovering from the holiday whirlwind! I’m almost back in the regular rhythm of house projects and blogging but I realized, I haven’t given you an update on the front bath! I thought I’d take a step back and share some of my bathroom inspiration with you (although I’ve already done a few of these).

If you’ll remember we painted our bathrooms last fall but I was still looking for a few items to complete our beach theme. Of course, I originally started my beach themed bathroom to mimic my favorite Disney movie, The Little Mermaid.

Here’s what I’m dreaming of:

Here are some things I’m looking for:

a small open shelf

I hope to make a bubble chandelier

and create some nautical art

A New Front Door

In the first part of December I got attend a conference for my job in San Diego and while I was gone Phillip was busy at home working on a surprise for me. The last time you saw my front door was in the first part of December when I made this DIY Winter Wreath.

DIY Winter Wreath from The Front Poarch

It wasn’t a bad door but it just didn’t really inspire me. Luckily our neighbors got a new front door and were looking to give their old one away so I snatched it up and stored it in the garage. In July. Yup, that’s right, 5 months ago.

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And not only that, I actually sanded, primed and painted it. In August.

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After a lot of procrastination, here’s what it looked like when I got home!

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Isn’t it beautiful? Phillip and our friend Jay had to re-drill the knob hole. . .

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. . . and remount the hinges.

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I love that you can see it peeking around the corner.

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A Dream Come True

Can you guess what’s finally finished?

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That’s right! My eat-in kitchen! I’ve been dreaming about it for months and when my in-laws came in October, they did the hard work of building the benches. After several weeks of procrastinating, I made myself  ‘sit down’ and stain them (see what I did there?).

Here’s the before:TFP HT 9

And the after:

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TFP Bench 6

I used what I’m now referring to as the Front Poarch stain, Minwax Bombay Mahogany in PolyShades. I know true woodworkers are cringing right now but I know myself and if it was up to me to stain and poly (double the amount of time on every project) nothing would ever get done! Plus, it’s very forgiving as long as you just keep going and don’t try to sand once you’ve started. (Trust me on that one.)

TFP Bench 1

I love the rich brown color of the stain and how it lets the grain peak through.

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How’s coming for dinner tonight?

Bathroom Paint Reveal

We found a paint color! I’m so excited to share this some-what of a reveal with you! Before we see the after, let’s remember what we began with. Here’s the bathroom as we saw it in the House Tour I did this summer. I like to call this phase the “plaid wallpaper saturation” phase.

Please also notice the blue curtain rod and blue shower curtain.

And who could forget the hideous light fixture with not 1, not 2, but 3 different light bulbs!

Whew! This room was in desperate need of a rescue. We then ripped down the wall paper and went through the great paint fiasco of 2012.

That brings us today, where I’m happy to announce that we finally found a paint color that we LOVE! We ended with Kelly Moore’s Castle Rock. Aren’t you just dying to see it? Here it is!

Ahhhh. . . doesn’t it just make you feel relaxed? We also found a light fixture that I liked and that lit the whole room.

Blue & gray. It could be my new favorite!

The master bathroom also got a fresh coat of paint.

It however, still has the ugly light fixtures. One step at a time. At least these all have matching bulbs.

For now the master bath is done but I’ve got big plans for the guest bath before the end of the year. First things first, we need a new shower rod and I hope to paint a new shower curtain.

Also on my list is refinishing this original to the house vanity stool

What do you think of the new paint color? Could blue and gray be a new color combo in your home?

Update: Bathrooms

I feel like the title of this post should be Update: UGLY Bathrooms! After we finished tearing down the wallpaper in the kitchen last week during the in-law visit we set out to do the same in the bathrooms. The front bathroom went rather quickly but had not one, not two but in some places 3 layers of wallpaper!

The master bathroom however was another story. It’s the room that all homeowners dread. . . . it was the room where wallpaper was adhered directly to the sheet-rock without priming or painting first. Yeah, it was pretty much a nightmare.

After debating for a day about how many layers we should try and remove I got frustrated and decided to prime and paint the whole thing. Lucky for me things turned out great!

We picked out the a light fixture that I absolutely LOVED and Phillip installed it for me.

But it was too dark. WAY too dark. As in cave dark.

So it came down and was returned.

Then we began what I’m calling the great paint fiasco of 2012. I really wanted the bathrooms to be a lite gray so we picked out Kelly Moore Gray Mare. Before we even finished the first coat I knew it was going to be a disaster. Turns out blue/green tile makes gray paint look baby blue. Yuck.

So Phillip went back to the paint store and got the next darkest shade, Rain Nation and it was still too blue. He went back and got the next darkest shade, Cold Steel and it was ok. . . . ish.

Despite making trips to the paint store 3 days in a row, for the past couple of days our bathrooms have looked like this:

Let me just say, you don’t want to brush your teeth in this mess. Learn more at PHXHomeRemodeling.com.

So yeah. . . we will eventually find the right paint color and get things wrapped up. Until then, welcome to our mess!

Update: Kitchen, Part 2

Once we got the kitchen painted and added a service water heater, Phillip and his dad had a few more projects for the kitchen. For a few months now I’ve been dreaming of an eat-in kitchen and after several days of hard work, measuring, adjusting and cutting (again, mostly while I was at work) this beauty now sits in our kitchen!

Here it is with trim and the baseboards put back on. During the building process we realized that we were going to cover up 1 of my 3 kitchen outlets so we were able to move it over, do you see it there on the end?

The coolest feature? The lids lift up and there’s built-in storage! I will be painting the bottom white and staining the top in a dark finish so be sure to look for the finished project in a few weeks!

I also had 1 more project in line to finish up my pantry makeover. . . I left a teaser on my Facebook page today and if you guessed a screen door you would be correct!

When we moved in there was a screen door on the garage side of the kitchen door which I thought was a rather strange place to put a screen door. Phillip took it down and I’ve been saving it ever since for the pantry. He was able to peel the screen back, cut the lateral slats down to size and reattached the same frame piece.

Isn’t it just dreamy??

So what’s left in order for the kitchen to be “done”?

1. paint and stain the eat-in bench

2. purchase and refinish chairs from Exquisite Living to complete the eat-in kitchen

3. paint the screen door

4. Rehang all of my gallery art

5. sand and stain my newly-discovered kitchen desk

Can you believe that this beautiful wood was hidden underneath that ugly blue laminate for probably years! One day I was just really disgusted with it so I decided to start peeling off the trim piece and wouldn’t you know this beauty was underneath.

6. sand and paint my vent hood (which is currently MIA) (and by MIA I mean in the garage)

Update: Kitchen

Finally an update as promised! Last week Phillip’s parents visited us from Florida and helped us start a few renovation projects. Since the kitchen is the closest to being done, I thought I’d start with it!

The last time I mentioned the kitchen was in our house tour and we left things looking like this:

The floral wallpaper is a nice touch, don’t you think?

And now, after days of hard work, this is the sight I come home to each day.

Isn’t it just a ray of sunshine??

Most of the wallpaper was taken down while I was at work (thanks Brenda!) so I don’t have many pictures but once the wallpaper was down I had a mostly beautiful blank slate.

After washing the walls I came in with joint compound and textured the walls. We purchased this high-texture roller and after some trial and error on the wall behind the fridge I found it best to transfer the joint compound to a small trough and use a drywall trowel to spread an even coat in small sections. I then gave it another pass with my roller and . . . .

I ended up with this amazing texture! I did use a small, cheap paint brush to reach the sections that the roller couldn’t reach.

We let the texture dry for 24 hours and then Phillip helped me paint. The color is Kelly Moore’s Country Sun.


More updates are coming soon!