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Stencling the Stoop

I know, I know.  You are going to say “weren’t you working on the dining room?”  Yes and no.  I have a case of project ADD.  But really, I have not had much time to focus on painting the dining room because of a certain toddler project manager.  Painting a room is a big to do and I generally do not have time while she is with me to start anything so big.  I try to get what I can done during naps, but lately, her naps are far from reliable.

One project I was able to get done during my lunches and late at night was putting a stencil on the front porch/stoop/whatever it is called.  Here is what it looked like before:

Home Down South Front stoop befor

Insert screaming emojis!  I do like the color of our house, but painting the brick here light gray was probably not the smartest decision when you are dealing with Georgia red clay.

I first had to give this space a good pressure washing.  I patiently waited for a weekend where the heat was not so oppressive (which, when is that happening?!).

After a good scrub, I luckily had some exterior white paint from sitting in the garage to use as my base and to cover up the light gray.  You guys, even after a good pressure wash, the bricks are STILL stained.  Adding “paint the brick” to the very bottom of the project list.

Home Down South front porch before 2

I mean, that brick is disgusting.

After I let the base coat dry fully, I waited a few days to start stenciling.  Mainly the heat is what caused more delay.  Also, this spot gets direct sun from 10am – 7pm this time of year and it is a total bear to sit out there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a lot of sneak peaks

I ordered my stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I chose the Santa Ana Tile Stencil.  I love the look of cement tiles and have been dying to put something similar to that in my house for a long time.  This is the third time I have used a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils (this is not sponsored by them) and each time was a totally different experience.  The first two times I used the stencil on the wall, so using it on cement was a first and not necessarily the easiest.  I searched around the internet to see what others have done and it seemed pretty straightforward.

It took me a little longer than I expected because I could not easily roll the paint on.  I had to pounce it on.  So it took a few hours over the course of a week.

BUT

I kind of like it.  A lot.

Home Down South Blog Porch afterHome Down South front porch after 2Home Down South blog front porch after 3

I had some struggles because unlike adhering it to the wall with a little spray glue, NOTHING wanted to keep the stencil sticky on the cement.  I used painters tape to try and keep the stencil down as much as I could.

I love the interest it adds to this space.  I also love that it is going to hide so much like a boss!

The paint that I ended up using was a quart of Rainstorm by Sherwin Williams.  I chose SW because they offered exterior paint in a quart where other places I checked out only offered in a gallon.  For me, a quart was still too much paint and a gallon would have been wasteful.

At some point, I will still need to go back and seal some of the cracks in the cement so I don’t have to deal with weeds growing through.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried out a stencil?  How did that project turn out?

Ok, I promise I am going to work on the dining room.  I have a deadline.  It will be done!
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Easy Light Fixture Update

I am all about quick and easy around here….for the most part!  Last time I shared with you the plans I am mapped out for our dining room.  I have started playing around in there little by little and one thing I recently tackled was the hanging light.

Over the years, I have been pretty much obsessed with the open-sided, clean lines, rectangular chandelier (which would be perfect over my long table).

World Market 4 sided pendant lamp
Source

The reason I have not sprung on this option is that Project Manager was never really sold on the idea or spending the money.  But IT’S PREEETTYY!  <–Not a good enough argument.

Jasper Hardwood
Source

Another style I was starting to like was something like what we have, only larger in scale.

71metbdJDXL._SX522_
Source

This option is very close to what we already have, so I figured until I am really ready to commit to the expense of a beautiful light or find something I can use to create a masterpiece (HA), I needed to work with what I have.

This is what I started with:

Home Down South Dining Room light beforeNothing particularly wrong with this (other than it is a little on the small side) but it almost seemed like an after thought in this room.  Life in a flip!

I figured, if I couldn’t spend the money, work with what I’ve got.  I started out by doing a search for more modern looking shades.  Those are either expensive or a pain in the butt to find five.  Deep down, we all know I love the exposed bulb look, so I played around.

diningroombefore2

It wasn’t a bad start but those cream-colored sleeves were a big punch to the eyes.  Who thought that was a good idea?

I couldn’t find any sort of replacement at the store while I was there and my search was short lived.  One day, I went into the garage and grabbed whatever can of spray paint that I had that closely matched the finish on the fixture (because I was not about to take it off the ceiling to paint the whole thing..nope).

I happened to have an almost empty can of Rust-oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint/Primer in Oil Rubbed Bronze.  The light is not a black, so this was a pretty close match.

When I was ready to paint and not planning to take the fixture down, I created a high-tech paint box to catch the mess spray paint can make.

IMG_5246

Mind blowing, right?  It actually worked pretty well and the only thing that got messy outside of the box was my hand.

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Not a bad little update for the cost of nothing!!

I am still trying to find a good lightbulb replacement for this fixture.  I love the Edison bulb look but they are too yellow (we have one over our sink).  The ones we have in here are at the left side of the light spectrum and are SUPER SUPER warm.  It is almost too dark in there with the lights on a full brightness.

Update on the punch list:

  1. Update the light fixture  -DONE!
  2. Paint the walls – I am shooting for Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  3. Organize the buffet
  4. Buy a rug
  5. Decorate with as much on hand items
  6. Add my own floral paintings to the room.  Or buy them, we will see how my creations turn out
  7. Switch out all the outlets and outlet covers from beige to white
  8. POSSIBLY add shelves….possibly!
  9. NEW – Sand down the table top and re-seal
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The Budget Dining Room Project

Summer is quickly coming to an end and I can’t say I am disappointed this year.  Don’t get me wrong, summer is my jam and will forever hold my heart tight, but this summer was overly hot and oppressive.  Nothing other than the bare minimum was done outside.  Even the pool felt my neglect!

Now that our office is pretty much complete and I have been picking up small projects around here, the dining room is my next big focus.  We have been handed the torch to host the holidays and the only room that has been untouched downstairs is our dining room.  Sadly, it spent the first eight months of our living here as a dumping ground for things that did not have a home.

Dining Room Before

What helped the clutter problem was actually adding storage to our office and switching out our tv entertainment stand.  After that, it was a domino effect for our things to find their place.  diningroombefore2

Right now, I am playing around with light fixture ideas because as close as we are to the holidays and with some of the other project goals we have, I do not really have much of a budget for this room.  diningroombefore3

This room is tricky to shoot and it is on me to get the right lighting equipment.  There is a green tint on our windows to help with UV rays and it comes through in all of my pictures!diningroombefore4

But it is a pretty bright space in the early afternoon until dusk.

What I want to do in there:

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 2.48.11 PM

This room has the wonderful (and real) wainscoting all around the room so that is 100% staying.  The furniture is not changing either.  I want to keep the “theme” modern farmhouse.  Since I have that wainscoting, shiplap makes no sense in here and I don’t want to be too “farmy.”  Our house doesn’t hold that look well, sadly.

My punch list:

  1. Update the light fixture
  2. Paint the walls – I am shooting for Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  3. Organize the buffet
  4. Buy a rug
  5. Decorate with as much on hand items
  6. Add my own floral paintings to the room.  Or buy them, we will see how my creations turn out
  7. Switch out all the outlets and outlet covers from beige to white
  8. POSSIBLY add shelves….possibly!

Not an overwhelming list by any means!  Honestly, this is a weekend’s work!

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Farmhouse Candle Sticks

I meant to get this post up at some point last week, but I have been sick and traveling and I was just too tired at night to open my computer and think.

Last weekend, I was cleaning up the house a little bit and was focusing on cleaning up our family room because with a toddler, toys.are.everywhere!  While I was cleaning up, I started thinking about how my fireplace mantle could finally use a small update.  It had sort of became the place where I just threw things up as I was unpacking and left it alone.

Fireplace_before

So, deciding to spend almost no money on this, I started looking around the house and playing with what I had.

A few years ago, I purchased two gold candle sticks from Everything but the House, with no actual plans for them.  I wanted to use them on the mantle but not in the current state.  I still like gold accessories, but these were just so dated and not the style of the room.

What I really wanted was something that looked more rustic and would fit the style of our room.  Something like this:

carved-pillar-holder-o
Pottery Barn

I did a lot of looking around and it looks like most versions of this candle stick are made from wood.  I didn’t want to totally ditch what I had because I already had them.  So I figured I would play around with paint and see what I could do.  If it was a total fail, I would just paint them a solid color.

I bought the Martha Stewart Vintage Decor paint in Linen and Clay.  These had a matte, chalky finish, so I figured I could apply and sand where I wanted to distress.  Also, I was lucky timing-wise that they were buy one get one half off at Michaels because they are a little pricey.

The rest was pretty easy.  I applied two coats of the clay and followed the instructions on the back of the bottle.  Apply and let cure.  I was purposely sloppy with how the paint went on because it was going to be sanded down.

Candlestick_during

After the clay covered completely, I applied two coats of linen and let dry overnight.  Again, not really caring how smooth the paint went on.

Candlestick_during_homedownsouthblog

My plan was to sand most of the linen off the top and expose most of the clay.  Sanding was not going the way I thought it would.  It took a lot of effort to sand and when I made it through the top layers, it went straight back down to the gold.  Hmm

Plan B: Dry brush* the clay over the top and hope it looks good.  And that is what I did for both.

*Dry brushing is when you dip your brush into a little paint, wipe it on a paper towel or paper plate and then paint your piece.  It cuts down the coverage and gives it the look that I spent all day sanding.

candlestick_after_homedownsouthblog

I was so happy I was not particular about how the bottom layers of paint went on because it created this really nice groove effect on the top to give it way more dimension.

I totally eyeballed how much to put on and when to stop.

fireplace_after_homedownsouthblog

I mounted the long window I actually found in the trash back when I was looking for wedding decor.  I think it is such a cool piece and lucky me to find it.

Such an easy and cheap project to take off the to-do list!  I am brainstorming ideas for a new screen.  I will tackle that once we have the fireplace serviced.  When we bought the house, the seller was in the process of switching it from gas to electric and just stopped halfway through.  So we are going to hire someone to come take a look and make sure it works in time for winter.

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Shared Home Office Reveal

I am about to climb on the roof of my house to shout to the neighborhood that my office is DONE!  This has been such a HEFTY project and took way longer than I had hoped but mainly because I did all of this by myself!!

I was planning on writing up a post on how to customize boring stock cabinets, and I still can, if you are interested.  But for now, let’s just talk about how this room came together and I was finally able to clean it out last night!!

Let’s flashback to where we were when we first started:

The room lacked any type of storage and any sort of personality.  Storage was BIG for us because at the time I took these pictures, there were still boxes from moving that needed a home.

I ended up getting a later start on this project because I was not sure what direction I wanted to go with shelving.  I was going to be sharing this space as well so I needed to make sure we both agreed on what I was going to do.

Here you can read about the design plan

When things finally got moving, there were a bunch more hiccups than I had hoped for.  The shelves were a pain to deal with.  Then, while upgrading the cabinets with new and existing trim, so many things got annoying that I had to walk away and rethink.  Painting only takes forever when you do not have a paint sprayer.  And switching out old outlets for new in a house with annoying wiring is, well, annoying! HA

Let’s just jump into the reveal already!  I will try to source everything I can below each picture, but if there is something you see and have a question on, let me know!

Homedownsouth Office Reveal1

I am so happy this is done!  There are a few things I still to take care of in here: fix the front gaps where the cabinets meet the wall, find a plant for the desk, and scrape any paint off the floor.

The desk is from Cost Plus World Market.  It was a tough one to get because it was on backorder for a minute.

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 2

I am currently not a big fan of the camera I am using because it really ran with the green tint coming in from the windows, I assume?  The cabinets are painted Glidden Stone White.  It is really pretty.  It is gray in some light, white-ish in others.  Green apparently to my camera 😦HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 3

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 4

Honestly, I am still getting used to the shelves.  I love them but I am not used to having ALL THE THINGS up on the wall.  HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 5

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 6

There was a lot of going back and forth on what knobs I wanted in here.  Honestly, I did not have the budget to spend anything more than a few dollars on hardware, but I wanted something a little more unique than what you would find in a big box.  I ended up finding mine at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off!

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 8

The chaise is from a local warehouse outlet store but I am pretty sure it originally came from Ashley Furniture.  The Georgia G and the lamp were local thrift finds.  I need to replace the brown pillow that came with chaise, but I have not seen anything that made me stop in my tracks.HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 7 We are each getting one cabinet to do whatever with it.  I have already organized all the craft supplies I wanted to keep and move out of our hall closet to my side (which is the more decorated side because not everyone has had a chance to play around).  I’ll share what I did in my cabinet for another post.

What do you think?

Now that this space is finally done, I can start focusing on the next room, our dining room.  We have been handed the Thanksgiving host torch and the room is in shambles right now …so stay tuned!

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Building Shelves: How-to and What Went Wrong

The biggest project in the office so far was surprisingly the shelves that were placed behind the desk.  I say surprisingly because I didn’t actually build the shelves as I had intended, so I thought this was going to be much easier.  I wanted to mimic the chunky, floating shelves that I built at our old house in the laundry room (oh, how I miss that little space).

chunky floating shelves

My plan was to build a less chunky version of these shelves that spanned the entire wall behind my desk.

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFORE

But then budgets and time got in the way.  This wall is a 12′ long wall and if we wanted to do three floating shelves, that was going to cost a pretty penny.  A pretty penny that needed to go elsewhere in this room.

I started looking at lumber and while I was not worried about being able to find the length that we needed, it was more the thickness that made me re-plan this whole portion of the project.  My worry was would a long 1″ thick board sag over time?  The weight would be practically nothing but then add books and decorative items on there and I was worried I was setting this up for failure.  As we were walking the aisles at the store we ran into 12′ boards at 2″ thick (which are not a true 2″, in case you did not know).  They had the chunk I was looking for and saved me the time and extra cost of building them out.  Sold!

Here is the board that I ended up using (2″x12″x12″)

These boards are MUCH heavier than the 1″ thick board, so I needed to figure out the hanging to the wall process.  It wasn’t going to be as easy as throwing up some brackets and calling it a day (or maybe it is and I over complicated it).  I REALLY REALLY wanted brackets like this:

Source

But the price, well it hurt.  It hurt a lot for what we needed.  The ones in the picture are much smaller than what I needed but we were looking at over $30 for each bracket.  I looked around the internets and found some ways to DIY my very own brackets, but as I was standing in front of the materials, my confidence to create sturdy brackets dissipated quickly.

I settled and ended up using these.  Well actually, I wish I had used those.  I used ones were 12″ long and as I mentioned before, boards are not their true listed size.  The 12″ ended up being too long, so I had to create a slight gap between the wall and shelf to make sure it overhung the bracket

While hemming and hawing over being slightly butthurt over the bracket choice, I picked a color for the wall behind the shelves.  We went with Sherwin Williams Restorative.  But, to my frustration, you cannot find that color on their website.  It was purchased at Lowe’s and it is almost as if it does not exist.  Either way, you can see it here.Home Down South Office Wall Color

When it was time to start hanging the brackets, I turned to trusty painters tape to show me where the studs were and what our shelves would look like.  With the potential weight of these shelves, we needed as many studs as possible.  We ended up with four studs and one center free floater (which meant anchors).

Home Down South Office measuring

The laser level was my best friend through this whole process.  I measured, remeasured, leveled, releveled, checked the level line with an actual level.  Precision is key here.

Home Down South Shelves

After a somewhat seamless first row installation, I moved on to the second row.

Home Down South Office shelves 2

The second row was a little more frustrating because of whatever is going on behind the wall and getting screws to go fully into the stud, but it went up.

The third row, well that was a sonofacrapper.  After all of my measuring and leveling, I pre-drilled my holes so I could easily get the brackets up.  Apparently one of my measurements was off by a smidge and it threw three brackets off and it looked terribly stupid.  They were not in line with the brackets below.  Of course, that also included the bracket in the center with anchors.  #headslam

Home Down South Builds Shelves

I am not kidding when I tell you I went through THREE types of anchors to work in this stubborn hole!  Either they broke or just sucked (being honest).  And that lovely GIANT hole on top, even your basic putty could not fix it.  I had to break out the joint compound to fix that hole.  You guys, that is the standard!  It fixed the giant hole and did not implode when I had to redrill into part of it like the putty did.

Officially, I would like to take shelf hanging OFF my resume after this.  It was so frustrating.  BUT the shelves are up and look quite nice.

As I was hanging the shelves, the screws that I was using were a blinding silver and the brackets were black.  It was like wearing white socks with black shoes.  I grabbed some acrylic paint I had and painted over the tops of the screws and unless you are standing with your nose against the wall, you can’t tell.

As for the shelves, I slapped on a layer of pre-conditioner (NECESSARY) and two coats of Minwax Espresso.

Home Down South builds shelves

Once we got the last shelf up (which is a total team lift item and you should NOT do this alone), they actually looked decent.  Home Down South builds Shelves

Home Down South builds Shelves

I feel like I went a little overkill with the brackets, but as I am styling the shelves, they can be hidden.

Up next: upgrading those boring stock cabinets you can buy at a big box home improvement store!

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Design Plan for Our Home Office

When we moved into this house, we decided to take what is commonly used as the “Formal Living Room” and turn it into our home office. First, what is the actual purpose of the “formal living room”? This house was built 30 years ago, so it was a thing then but now, notsomuch. We do not need a room that will sit untouched (that is what the formal dining room is for). Second, I work from home and Matt is in grad school, so we need a dedicated space to work.

The room is plenty big and perfectly proportional (luck that I have not had before).

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice2BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice3BEFORE

I have noticed for this space our tastes both mesh in the “Industrial” look. It is a lot masculine, but so many yummy wood tones. I think our biggest inspiration for this space was the filing cabinet we scored from someone’s trash pile a few years back. It could use some cleanup, but boy does it serve it’s purpose well.

I decided it was probably wise to start putting some ideas down on paper to avoid going eight directions with this space. My biggest request from looking good is the organization. We have been in this house for seven months and we still suffer from a lack of organization.

Home Office

 

So, here is the baseline design I am going after. I promise to post a source list at the end of the reveal post because some of the items above are just placeholder pieces.The back wall of the office is 12’ long and it is perfect to install wall to wall shelves. Not only will it serve an organizational purpose, but it will also allow us to display nice pieces up there. We have actually already purchased two kitchen base cabinets to go on either side of the room under the shelves. They are totally unfinished and I am still thinking of how I want to finish those off.

I have been researching a way to make shelf brackets to hold up our beastly shelves mainly because they can get super pricey. So far, everything I love that I know I could DIY just makes me too nervous with how much weight they can actually hold.

GREEN! I am making it my goal to have at least 3 – 4 plants in each room. I am trying to steer away from faux mainly because I have not seen any that don’t look FAKE. I can be swayed!!

Paint: I am considering putting a board and batten around three of the walls, but I keep flip flopping. Too much wood vs. my love for BnB. I think this room can easily handle a dark color on the walls because we get a lot of light throughout the day. I have always always wanted to paint a room deep blue but never had the right lighting. If I were to do a board and batten, I would paint the upper portion of three walls in the deep blue. The wall holding the shelves would probably have to be painted all navy.  The choices of the blue I am leaning towards are Sherwin Williams Distance or Sherwin Williams Moscow Midnight.  If BnB is in our future, I am thinking a lighter color that is not pure white.  Possibly SW Pearly White.  I haven’t actually put samples of these on the walls yet so this could change completely!

We also want to add a French door to the front of the room, but right now our focus is getting the inside completed.  I feel like I have been planning this room forever!!

Stay tuned for more updates!!

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Welcome!

Hi, everyone!  Welcome to “Home Down South!”

You can read more about what is going on around this place here, but to give you a quick summary…..

We bought a new-to-us house in the suburbs of Atlanta.  This house is the second house we owned and while there are so many great features of the house and it was move-in ready, it was just some flipper’s pet project that lacked in a lot of functional, obvious, and personal features. 

I have been reading home/DIY blogs since 2008 and these blogs have been a huge resource for my to get me started with my own home projects.  And then there is Pinterest…..

While most people like to relax on the weekends, my idea of relaxation is picking up a saw or paint brush and doing something that will make our lives easier or our house prettier. 

For me, to want to start this blog was part “I should probably pay it forward with all the information other bloggers have tested and shared” and part “I can try to make this house look nice on a budget, so who wants to see?” 

So, yeah.  Here we are!

A quick tour of the blog (because I do not have much content yet):  You can find our home tour here.  As projects unfold, I will update the room pictures and post links to projects you might be interested in. 

If you have any questions, want to reach out to me directly, have things you want to see, or maybe you want to collaborate with me on a guest post, my contact information can be found here

You can also follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram.  You will probably find me more on Instagram because it is my jam these days!