If you have a leaky faucet, you’re going to replace the kitchen sink. . .

We are back from my brother’s wedding weekend and I am just getting over a cold that had me out for a good part of this week. It’s always amazing to me how much a little cold can really take it out of you! The wedding was beautiful, classy and all around elegant affair and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Elizabeth into our family.

When Phillip and I moved into this house, almost 2 years ago (where did the time go???) we knew that we were getting a house with a lot of character. If you own an old home, you know that sometimes ‘character’ really just means nothing ever works the way it’s supposed to.

Old Kitchen Sink

Let me introduce you to the kitchen sink. At first glance it looks pretty functional but if you take a closer look you’ll see that in fact the faucet leaks. Every time you use it. Annoying.

Leaky Faucet

So, like logical homeowners, we replaced a few seals and like most things in an old home, the problem still persisted. Typical. Around this same time, I noticed a beautiful white porcelain sink on Craig’s List that was in great shape and very reasonably priced.

‘If we’re going to replace the faucet, we might as well replace the sink while we’re at it.’ (I’m not a big fan of stainless.) FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS. You already know where this is going, don’t you??

New Kitchen Sink

So we bought the sink, brought it home and I immediately thought, ‘I can’t put my beautiful new sink on these ugly laminate countertops.’

Blue laminate countertops‘And if I’m going to trade out the countertops, I am for sure going to paint the kitchen cabinets while they’re off.’

Mismatched cabinet pulls‘If I’m already painting the cabinets, I want to go ahead and replace all this ugly, mis-matched hardware.’

Old Kitchen Hardware‘And if we do all that, we’ll have to put in a backsplash and get rid of this awkward, extra-tall countertop extension.’

High backsplash . . . and if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink.

Sorry for the word vomit but, I’ve been dreaming and making plans and I’ll be back next week with more details!

 

White Out

I’ve been swooning over white room palettes on Pinterest lately.

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They’re just so clean and crisp. . .and they seem so bright and cheery.

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And yet every time I convince myself that I want a room to be white. . . I can’t ever quite follow through.

House Tour New CouchI love color. Like, really really really, not afraid to paint my hallway teal, love color.

And  yet, I want to love white too.

Hallway Reveal 6I often long for a room that is neutral among my sea of bold color, but then I wonder, will it stick out like a sore thumb?? Will it seem out of place?

We had a white couch which caused me to immediately paint my living room because I couldn’t stand the neutral-ness of a white couch and tan wall. And then we sold that couch less than a year later, I just couldn’t hack it.

House Tour Old CouchThe Nester wrote a great post on going white slowly in their previous home and it worked wonderfully, but I’m still nervous.

Our kitchen is quasi white but again, the thought of painting my walls white is not appealing.

Kitchen - September 2013I also often think, ‘If only I had hardwood/laminate flooring, then I would be happy with going white.’ This could be true, as in I’m over compensating with color on the walls so as to draw your eye away from our hideous flooring but I don’t know that new flooring will cause a complete change of heart.

What do you think? Is there a trend that you love but just aren’t sure that you’ll love it in your home?

Have you ‘gone white’ and loved it? Hated it?

DIY Fridge Labels

This goes out to all the obsessive compulsive organizers out there. . .

That’s right, you read correctly, I labeled my fridge.

And I’m proud of it too!

Use vinyl to label your fridge - thefrontpoarch.comFor all of you out there who just did an internal happy dance, here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Ideally you would start with a nice, clean, organized blank slate such as this.

Fridge BeforeBegin by deciding what you want to label and where you’d like the labels to be placed. This will help you determine the size and font of you lettering. As you can tell from my first photo, I went with more general titles i.e. butter, and left out the part about my midnight-snack stash of dark chocolate chips.

In Silhouette Studio, I chose the font called KG Eyes Wide Open because it was a script font but the embellishments weren’t over the top. I decided to go with a script font because I thought it would be easier to peel and stick 1 word at a time versus peeling and sticking individual letters. (More on that theory later on.)

Once my text was correct and I had adjusted the size as I wanted it, I used the weld feature (bottom arrow) to ‘weld’ the letters in each text box. (If you don’t do this you’ll end up with a script font where the letters aren’t actually connected and trust me, it is a PAIN.)Design labels in Silhouette StudioNow comes the fun part, applying the letters. I would very much like to tell you that I found a fool-proof method to apply them and it will take you just a few seconds to do the entire thing but alas. . .I have not made such a discovery. I used a combination of my hook tool and transfer paper and worked slowly to apply each word.

Fridge with labels - thefrontpoarch.comI would recommend wiping off each surface just before application so that any lingering moisture won’t come between you and awesome labels.

Fruite & veggies labelBack to my choice of font, even though I chose a rather robust script font, the vinyl was still really difficult to get transferred over in one piece. I think if I had to do it over again I would choose a block font and apply it by drawing a level line with a dry erase maker or something. (Side note: the problem with the transfer paper is that the bond between the vinyl and the fridge is much weaker than between the vinyl and the paper. This means that when you try to peel the transfer paper off the vinyl almost always comes with it. Make sense?)

Lunch & Dinner LabelsOver all though, I am in LOVE with the finished product!

Fridge labeled with vinyl letteringThink you’ll ever label your fridge?

 

SPS: Adding trim to the kitchen desk

That’s right another installment of the Small Project Series! The SPS are all those small things that still need to be done after a big project but you just lack the motivation to finish . . . in my case because I’m already dreaming about the next big project!

Up today is the built-in desk in my kitchen. At first glance I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘That’s looks awesome!’TFP Upholstery 17

But when you take a closer look you’ll see that we never added the trim and you can now view this huge gaping hole where the right side meets the wall. Yikes.

Adding Trim to Kitchen Desk

So last weekend I finally busted out the tape measure and cut three pieces of quarter round, 1 for the right side and 2 for where the back meets the wall.

(This was the first time I’d ever used a miter saw!)

Cutting TrimAs per usual, Phillip was gracious enough to do the hard part: nailing the trim into place! Since it is such a small space it was really hard to get in there with the nail gun much less get a decent picture of the process.

Nailing TrimWhen he was done I filled the holes and painted everything, here’s the finished product!

Kitchen Desk with TrimI know it may seem like much to you but every time I walk by and see trim instead of gaping hole, it makes my heart happy.

Desk with TrimAny small projects on the line-up for this weekend?

That one time we owned 6 fridges in 18 months

Alternate Title: It’s another day so this is the other story.

So as I alluded to last week, we have somehow managed to own 6 different refrigerators in the span of about 18 months. Trust me, I am fully aware of how ridiculous those words sounds coming out of my mouth.

1.When we moved into this house, it came with this beauty. Probably an 80’s model but in both the fridge and the freezer it had these large metal cooling plates that took up a TON of space so even though it looks to have a normal depth, there wasn’t actually that much space.
TFP 626-202. We swapped it out with this, more current fridge via Craig’s List and it lasted for a good few months. . .until it started to freeze everything in the fridge part no matter what temperature setting you had it on.TFP HT 143. So that brings us to #3 (which I don’t actually have a picture of). When #2 started being ornery, we thought ‘let’s go big with our next fridge and get what we really want, a side-by-side!’ A friend had an extra, white side by side that wasn’t working (but thought it would be easy to repair) so they gave it to us! We were blown away with their generosity but when it came down to it the whole thing needed new seals which totaled a good bit more than we had intended on spending. As luck would have that very day we stumbled across an outdoor used appliance dealer. Yes, in case you’re wondering, outdoor, used and appliance should never be used in the same sentence: red flag! Any hoo, we traded him the side-by-side that needed new seals and the top/bottom that froze everything and picked up #4.

4. Let the record show that I LOVED this fridge and I would have kept it for years. . . except that the ice maker stopped working. Now, if you’re thinking ‘An ice maker? Really? Those are pretty easy to install!’ you would be correct. Except for that a friend of a friend was remodeling their kitchen and wanted to give #5 away. (And yes, we have really great friends!)

PS – We also ripped out those upper cabinets so #4 would fit and have needed those extra inches for every fridge since! (Again, ridiculousness is coming out of my mouth.)TFP Kitchen 17

#5. We were so thankful to have such a nice refrigerator just given to us but I have to admit, stainless steel is not my favorite. It’s too trendy, really hard to keep clean plus all my other appliances are white and I like it that way. Phillip’s company is in the process of moving to a new office space, in which they’ll have a break room with room for a full size fridge. So we said why not buy ours? That’s exactly what happened and the best part was that we were able to purchase #6 for the same price!

House Tour Kitchen

#6. Isn’t she a beaut? She’s just a year old and I can tell you that we got a MAJOR deal from a family that had just moved here from east Texas and bought a house with appliances.Kitchen - September 2013

Fridge #6Nice and pretty and white!

6 fridges in 18  monthsSo there you have it. That’s the story of how we managed to own 6 different refrigerators in 18 months. Here’s hoping this one will last us for many years to come!

 

PS – My brother finally asked this beautiful girl to be his bride and she said yes! They’re getting married in January and I’ve got lots of wedding shower and rehearsal dinner ideas brewing in my head so stay tuned for lots of wedding updates!

Save the Date

SPS: I finally fixed that hole next to the entryway bar

Remember that time we installed our custom counter top for the entryway bar?

Yeah. . . it’s a distant memory for me too. . .because it was in FEBRUARY!!

(March, April, May. . .)

7 months ago to be exact. (And really more than that since it actually went in before Christmas, I just blogged about it in February.)

TFP Kitchen Bar 9So hang on to your seats ladies and gentlemen [insert drumroll here] because I have finally patched that awkward rectangle on the kitchen wall!!

Finished Kitchen Bar - thefrontpoarch.com(Please ignore the blue dolly in the back ground, that’s another story for another day. . .)

Back to the awkward wall patch, the original counter stuck about 2″ further from the stone wall which made it really uncomfortable to sit at our new built-in benches. To fix the rectangle, I took the counter top off (we haven’t glued it down yet since I haven’t fixed the wall yet AND because it’s really hard to move refrigerators in and out of your kitchen with it in place. . . .again, a story for another day.)

Where was I??

I took the counter top off and sanded down the area so it would be as smooth as possible. Since the original counter was installed before the house was painted, the exposed area went all the way down to the sheet rock.

Fixing this hole. . . 6 months later - thefrontpoarch.comAfter sanding it got a good coat of primer and paint. . . .

Paint & Primer. . . and there you have it! Quick. Simple. And took so little time I regret 100% not just doing this when we installed the counter top.

Finished Kitchen Bar - thefrontpoarch.comI also took the opportunity to add a little touch up paint to some areas of the kitchen that are already showing wear and tear. We really love our high texture walls, but they do get nicked ALL the time. Behind the trash can is the worst, in less than a year it’s rubbed off an entire strip texture and the lid has left the wall grimy and generally dirty looking.

Trash Rubbing off PaintOh well, a new coat will do for now. Who knows, maybe I need a trash can guard. Anybody else had similar trouble?

 

2013 House Tour: Part 1

Man oh man where has the summer gone? I’m in Sipapu, NM this week running with our last camp of the summer and afterward I’m looking forward to some much needed rest and relaxation!

Meanwhile, it’s time again for the annual house tour and even I am in shock of how much has changed around these parts in just over a year! Because I’m always up for a trip down memory lane, I thought we’d do a little ‘before & after’ with the tour from 2012.

The Front Poarch

2012 House Tour PorchWowza. See what I mean? Let’s see, in the past year we’ve created a seating area on the porch, hung some new bird feeders, created not 1 but 2 pieces of garden art and given that sad looking pineapple a pop of color! Th patio has gotten new planters, a water hose bin and new house numbers (1 of which has gone missing at the moment. . . .).

House Tour EntryHouse Tour Outdoor AccessoriesAnd the front door?

2012 House Tour Front DoorIt got replaced in December and a new wreath this Spring!

Hour Tour Front DoorThe entryway got a new coat of paint along with the rest of the living room.

2012 House Tour Entryway

And we made this wall into a chalk wall!House Tour EntrywayHouse Tour Open to the Living RoomThis little eat-in kitchen nook has gone through some drastic changes!

2012 House Tour Kitchen TableWe updated the bar, completed the kitchen gallery art and built some eat-in seating after we painted the entire kitchen.

House Tour Eat-in Kitchen

Across from the kitchen table, we added a screen door to our pantry and did a little bit of yarn art as well as adding this sweet command center.

House Tour Pantry

Remember that dreamy recipe nook?

2012 House Tour Recipe NookIt underwent a pretty drastic renovation and is now put to great use!

House Tour Recipe NookHouse Tour Recipe StationHere’s another reminder of the beautiful wall paper that used to grace our walls.

2012 House Tour KitchenI’m constantly amazed at what a few coats of paint can do!

House Tour KitchenHouse Tour Kitchen AccessoriesLast but not least, the dining room. I’ve even forgotten how tan everything was!

2012 House Tour Dining RoomWe colorblocked our walls and picked up this awesome vintage buffet from my grandparents house.

House Tour Dining Room

I also tried my hand at hanging un-framed art and it took not 1, not 2 but 3 attempts!

House Tour Dining Room 2Most recently, I created the Happy Day art installation and I love how it brightens up the room!

House Tour Buffet More to come soon because don’t worry, right in the middle of photographing the living room we decided to buy a new couch!

 

 

 

DIY Screen Door Art

Today I have a super fun project to share with you, it’s simple and makes a BIG impact!DIY Pantry Door Art @ thefrontpoarch.com

A few months ago I shared with you how we swapped my pantry for this lovely screen door, which recently got a new coat of paint. Since then, I’ve been dreaming about adding some custom art to it so last week I whipped out my needle and yarn and set to work. Want to make some screen door art of your own??

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Yarn, in a color of your choice
  • Large sewing needle
  • Tape, I used painters tape because it’s what I had on hand
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Optional: needle threader
  • Optional: silver Sharpie

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 1

Start by deciding on what you want your yarn art to say. Since my pantry is adjacent to my eat-in kitchen table, I chose Let’s Eat. Next you’ll want to think about the style and placement of your wording. I chose to use to different ‘fonts’ but wanted the words to be roughly the same width. To accomplish this, I gave my lettering a 2″ buffer on each side and then marked off 2 horizontal lines so that I could keep the text mostly level.

*If you use painters tape like I did, it probably won’t have enough sticky to stay on the entire time. I used my tape as more of a guideline to get started and then free handed it from there.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 2

Thread your needle (I used a needle threader to help me since the yarn is so thick) and tie a strong knot in the end of your yarn. I found that a yard of yarn is about the right amount to work with (when you double it over it will be about 18″) because as you sew in and out of the screen the yarn closest to the needle will begin to fray. In other words, your yarn will likely fray before you can use the entire length of it.

Your first ‘stitch’ needs to start on the back side of your screen, meaning that you’ll pull in through to the front. This will allow you to ‘hide’ the knot on the back.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 3

I recommend starting with your first letter, for me that was L. The first ‘font’ I chose was a block font so I started with the outer layer and then worked my way in, using the ‘rows’ of yarn to create a block effect.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 14

You may find that the tiny squares that make up your screen aren’t exactly what we would call level. Don’t be discouraged by this. Just do the best you can and know that in order for a letter to be straight, you might have to jump from row to row.

Once you’ve finished your fist letter I would suggest stitching your letter last letter, the one that will be furthest to the right. This way you will have 2 ‘bookends’ and will be able to fit your remaining letters in between. It also ensures that you won’t make your letters too big and run out of room at the end.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 5

It took me about an hour to complete the ‘Let’s’ portion and then I moved on to ‘Eat’.

See all those knots hanging over and looking tacky? Don’t worry, we’ll fix those in a little bit.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 6

Since I chose a scripted ‘font’ for the word Eat I chose to free hand a template onto the screen with a silver sharpie. This made the stitching process a lot quicker since I wasn’t having to stop and figure out what direction I needed to go next.
Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 7

In less than 30 minutes, this baby was done.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 8

Now, back to the ugly knots. Heat your hot glue gun up and move to the back side of your screen.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 9You want to place a small drop of hot glue on the actual knot of each piece of yarn. Immediately press the knot, glue side down, back in the direction of the yarn. This will keep the knot in place and ensure it isn’t visible form the front. Once all your knots have been glued, go back and trim the extra yarn.

This step will make a HUGE difference! Here are a few before and after shots.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 10

See what a difference it makes?Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 11

Finally, step back and admire your handy work, you’ve just created custom art for your screen door!Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 12

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 13

Does your screen door have to be on your pantry to create custom art? No! You could easily do this on an exterior screen door with a welcome message.

DIY Pantry Door Art @ thefrontpoarch.com

 

Recap: The Trip of a Lifetime

It’s hard for me to believe that my Trip of a Lifetime has already come and gone! My mom and I had a blast and I will always cherish the time I got to spend with her. I know I won’t be able to give you a complete recap of our amazing week but I’ll do my best and fare warning, you’re about to see A LOT of pictures!

Mom and I have been planning this trip for years and since my parents are train buffs, we opted to take Amtrak from my hometown of McGregor, TX to Pittsburgh, PA. For those of you who have never ridden a train – DO IT! You’ll have the time of your life! Train travel is very relaxing and luckily for us, has awesome luggage requirements as compared to its airline counterpart.

Not much has changed about this old station since my childhood and I couldn’t love it more! I have so many memories of waiting in this station, to travel by train or just watch it go by.Fiestaware Tour 9

Most trains consist of several coach cars, a few sleeper cars (where we traveled), a dining car, a lounge car (the one with the big windows) and of course, an engine.Fiestaware Tour 10

Our sleeper car room had it’s own bathroom which is a huge luxury on the train and chairs that folded out into beds.
Fiestaware Tour 13Coming and going from Pittsburgh we had a layover in Chicago so we took the opportunity to see a few sights! Chicago’s Union Station is beautiful and if filled with lots of classic architecture.

Fiestaware Tour 12

On our way home we stopped by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Museum where we found this Civil War era $500 from the National Bank of Lowell (MA) which also happens to be the name of my brother. Oh, and that large cube? That’s what $1million looks like in $1 bills!Fiestaware Tour 11

In Pittsburgh, we rented a car and drove about 45 minutes to Newell, WV, home of Homer Laughlin China Company that makes Fiestware. The factory itself . . . .is  little lack luster. . . .let’s just say it’s not exactly a tourist destination but since we were the only ones there at 9am and it didn’t open until 9:30am. . . . we had to find a few touristy photo ops. I mean, we came all the way from Texas for this!Fiestaware Tour 14

Fiestaware Tour 17

Just down Fiesta Drive, there’s a bone yard of broken Fiestaware which we later found out has just recently been sold to a start-up company that wants to make concrete counter-tops with speckles of Fiestaware mixed in. I might have to look into that in the future!Fiestaware Tour 22Needless to say, when 9:30am came, we were the first ones in the door.

Fiestaware Tour 18

It was every color of the rainbow we’d dreamed of AND more! I mean, eat your heart out!Fiestaware Tour 15

At 10:30am we got to go on a tour of the factory and as luck would have it, mom and I were the only 2 on the tour! We weren’t allowed to take pictures but we did get to see the entire process from clay to the finished product and it was very fascinating. When I made the reservation I was told we were going to walk a mile and a half and they weren’t kidding, we definitely got our workout in! At the end of the tour we got to see the Fiestware museum, a small room off the factory that had shelf after shelf of every retired Fiesta color.

Fiestaware Tour 21

Just off the main show floor was the 2nds room which was filled with slightly blemished dishes that were a fraction of the price. We spent most of our time in this room, filling egg crates with stacks of colorful dishware. I mainly tried to buy pieces that you can’t regularly find in departments stores so I came home with several different types of serving bowls, a carafe, pie plates and loaf pans.Fiestaware Tour 16

Once everything was said and done we had an entire trunk full of Fiestware!

Fiestaware Tour 19

We packed our dishes into our suitcases and headed home! I didn’t get a ton of pictures of my ‘loot’ but here’s a shot of my kitchen table as I was unpacking it.

Fiestaware Tour 23

Doesn’t it just make you happy? It’s like a rainbow of color everyday!

If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend you make the short trip out to Newell, WV, you won’t regret it! For my mom and I it truly was the trip of a lifetime!

A year in the making – 1 Year Blogiversary

365 days ago, a dream of mine became a reality.TFP Sign

It started probably a year before that when I stumbled across a blog called House of Hepworths. Who even knew DIY blogs existed? It was the first one I’d ever heard of and I was instantly infatuated with Alison and her amazing DIY skills. I was hooked. I read every post she’d ever written and waited anxiously for new posts to be published (yeah. . . I was kind of a creeper). I began to dream and really think, I could do that!

TFP 945 Front Poarch

At the time we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex whose owner barely let us install a ceiling fan (it had NO ceiling fans. . . in the middle of west Texas. . . . yeah, not smart) so I knew a DIY blog was out of the question as long as we lived there. Time went on and I began to follow other blogs like I Heart Organizing and Primitive and Proper and as the DIY bug grew within me and I worked on small projects around our home.

DSC_0225

In January of 2012 this all changed when, through a series of God sized events, we bought our first home. I was ECSTATIC. Long before we moved my head began to spin with renovation ideas, paint colors and flooring options. (Side Note: I didn’t join Pinterest for a long time because my friend Katie told me it was like my brain on steroids. She was right.) I immediately knew the time had come to launch my very own blog, and that my friends is how it all began.

I was so excited I had probably 2-3 posts written before we moved. That’s right, in two weeks time I packed our entire house, we cleaned our new house, did all the techy stuff that goes along with starting a blog and I wrote several posts. Oh yeah, and we both worked a full time job. Needless to say, we were pumped about this dream coming true.

TFP 626-2

Over the past year we’ve learned a lot. A LOT. We’ve learned about working together and communication. We’ve learned that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. We’ve learned that I am a mouse. . . .and I want a cookie. We’ve learned that I have big dreams and can always see the final product where as Phillip never sees the final product and often says things to me like,

“You aren’t finished with that project. . . are you?”

“You want to paint what?”

“Those things don’t match.”

Yet he always loves the result. It’s been an entertaining year of growth and discovery.

TFP House Numbers 5

I’ve learned 3 things about myself over the past 12 months;

  • I love to dream up big projects and see them through to completion.
  • I love writing about what I’ve done. I do the staging, shooting and editing. . . .so that I can write.
  • I love that there are people out there whom I’ve never met who actually read the things I write. It never ceases to amaze me.

So to you, faithful reader, thank you. Thank you for reading, dreaming and learning with me. You are the reason that I continue to write so thanks for the encouragement and love.

Speaking of love . . . . wouldn’t you just LOVE to win a new purse?? I thought so.

Daily Tote Giveaway - thefrontpoarch.com

Without further adieu, the winner is. . . .Heather Jernigan!

Heather be sure to check your email for prize details.

 

Here’s to many, many more DIYing years to come!