how to remove paint from door hardware

The first thing I cooked in our new house was brass door knobs. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Instead of using paint stripper for the door hardware, Ryan read somewhere that you can simmer them in water with a tiny bit of laundry detergent. (I used a cheapie 3 quart pot from the dollar store with about 2 tablespoons of detergent, and it worked perfectly!) I was a bit skeptical if it would work, but after I let it simmer for about 30-60 minutes, the paint almost fell off.

We didn’t cross everything off my to-do list but we got a lot done. Ryan and John hung the storm door, and the front entry door which takes all day when they’re drinking beer and having heart to hearts. Apparently our entry door is not a standard size (= $$$$) , but Ryan found a solid cherry door on clearance at Home Depot in our exact size! Once the floors are stained, we’re going to stain it the same color so it stands out from the white molding and makes it feel a little more special.

While the boys played inside in the air conditioning, I weeded the garden, laid the mulch and planted some plants. I just wish I would have known that there was a wasp nest in one of the bushes I tore out because that sting was painful! Even though my leg is still swollen from the sting, and I can’t seem to get the dirt out from under my nails, I am ending the weekend feeling happy and content and like everything is finally working out.

guest bedroom: before

I wish I wasn’t so lazy to take better pictures for the before shots. It was that, or my camera battery died that day. I can’t remember, all the days are just kind of blurring together. The before shots were taken on my phone and I’m thinking they’ll make the after shots look that much better. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Basically all of our family lives within 30 minutes of the house, but it’s nice to have a place to offer if someone wants to spend the night. I’m thinking that our nephews will be the only ones sleeping over most often, although they said they’ll miss sleeping all in the same room (a.k.a. our studio apartment).

This room was John’s (Ryan’s brother-in-law) room growing up, so it was funny to see his face when he stopped by this week to be nosy. (You’ll notice that “smurf blue” snuck into the closet again.) So far we’ve ripped the carpet up, repaired the ceiling cracks, and painted the walls a very similar taupey color to the rest of the house. My camera is making every room look like the same color, but they aren’t. I promise you.

This week we’re having these floors sanded and stained along with the rest of the house. After that, it’ll probably have only an air mattress until someone is generous enough to buy us furniture. :)



I’m loving these walk in closets!

The wall color is Benjamin Moore “Valley Forge Tan” and it’s one of my favorites!

this weekends to-do’s

Because we got so much done at the house last weekend, I have high hope of what we’ll be able to accomplish this weekend. This is my very ambitious to-do list:

  • Have John replace all the recepticals and replace all switchplates. (It’s convenient having a brother in law who is an electrician)
  • Remove all brass doorknobs from the doors, remove globbed on paint, and reinstall on Sunday
  • Paint the entry trim and scrape the paint that it currently on the glass
  • Buy the entry door, storm door, and back entry door and have the boys (John and Ryan) install
  • Spray paint outline for where the mulch should go in the garden, till the soil, and lay mulch
  • Color match the exterior paint and prepare wood shingles for touch ups
  • Pick out paint color for the bathroom
  • Buy kitchen and bath paint (…and possibly paint the bathroom if there’s time)

Easy peasy.

the entry: before

Nothing about this entry screams, “Welcome!”. If anything, I’d want to put on an extra pair of shoes on because it looks so… dirty. Luckily Ryan and I can see the beauty in a project even when it’s covered in dirt, blue industrial carpeting, and 300 staples.

I didn’t get a chance to take a photo when it was carpeted, but I’m sure you get the idea. Yesterday I seriously ripped out an obscene amount of staples and hooks from the wall and it already looks different. When I head over there this afternoon I’ll be painting the walls and molding to give it a fresh little face lift. After all, this is the first thing that people see when they come over.

Once it’s painted, we’re going to get four of these IKEA mats to completely carpet the front porch. They are the perfect durability for snow boots and exterior debris. And, the price isn’t half bad either.

Oh, and we’re getting a new door this week too! There’s something about this one that makes me think it’s in a jail cell. Just enough glass to peak in to see what’s going on in there.

our new master bedroom

I don’t even know how to start this post.

You may remember that Ryan and I were trying to sell our condo, but since we’ve listed it we’ve had limited interest and our neighbor is selling theirs for $50k less than we’re asking. Seriously?! Ryan and I can be competitive, so that obviously just frustrated us. (I’d like to use more colorful language, but I’m being a lady.)  With that said, Ryan and I are going to rent out our condo instead of selling it. Since we obviously need a place to live, we’re going to rent Ryan’s brother-in-law’s parents house since they can’t sell theirs either. In one week, it went from doom and gloom, to the best case scenario.

It’s funny because since I started dating Ryan 12 years ago, we’ve been very close with his sister’s in-laws. And every time we went over their house, I was DYING to rearrange their furniture and paint their walls and trim. (You’ll see what I mean in future posts.) So, when they told us we’re the only people they trust living in their house, I jumped at this very generous offer.

Fast forward two weeks, and we’re here. The keys are on our keychains and we have a brand new place to live. Instead of living in a studio apartment, we’ll be living in a 3 bedroom charming colonial with blooming hydrangeas in the yard. But, this is putting it nicely. The house wasn’t cared for properly and needs a lot of work. (Danielle, if you ever learn how to use the internet, and read my blog I’m sorry and I love you!)

I started this post with the master bedroom because I feel it’s going to have the greatest shock and awe. It’s a large space, with a walk in closet and hardwood floors. We already got rid of all that furniture, ripped up the 70’s brown carpet, and painted the molding and wall color. We’ve already gotten a lot of work done, but I’m behind in posting photos. With working on the house, and working on my business I haven’t had any time! Please keep checking back to see the very dramatic updates!

That garland terrifies me. Which is why I ripped it down first.

Please note the sneak peak of “Smurf Blue” trim paint in the hallway.

My walk-in closet that I can’t wait to organize.

our wedding: the table numbers + card box

Ryan and I enjoy wine. A lot. So when it came to designing the table numbers, this design made the decision easy. After peeling off twelve labels (with the most patient best friends ever), I printed out new labels on label making paper to adhere to the bottles.

In going with the wine theme, I was inspired for the card box by a quick trip to the liquor store. (I was probably picking up a bottle to ease the wedding planning stress!) I asked someone at the store if they had any wooden boxes that they were looking to get rid of, and I got 3 for free! (Wine boxes go for about $15 each on ebay, so I was very excited by free.)

Ryan cut out the letters out of painters tape, and adhered them to the natural wood box. I painted the top, over the tape, so when we removed the stencils you could see the grain of the wood. I love the way this came out!

(photos 1 and 3 via John DeFiora Photography, photo 2 from my iPhone.)