Adventures with Chalk Paint

I wanted elaborate a bit on the bed and dresser I painted using chalk paint. I love this product because it’s relaxing to use, in that it’s so easy to use. The leisurely weekend projects I come up with actually happen. Here’s why I like chalk paint –

  1. It can paint over any surface without major sanding and prepwork. I, for one, have no time or patience for such measures.
  2. You don’t need 4,000 coats. For those of us who have thought spray-painting or “regular”-painting a dresser would turn out well, chalk paint accomplishes what you were picturing in your head versus the lumpy, spotty failure you may have encountered.
  3. Annie Sloan, original chalk paint queen, charges $30/tub for hers and you have to order it online, but the knock-off Americana Decor brand sold at Home Depot worked just great. One small tub is less than $10 and typically yields enough to do 2-3 coats on one piece of furniture. This keeps project costs down.
  4. Glazing is not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be and, especially if you buy the wax brush, is simpler to apply than other paint sealers.

Scroll down for pictures!🙂

Here’s what I used for the dresser project. The materials cost around $30 and I applied the winter white paint on day one and the black stripe and glaze on day two.


BEFORE – a Craigslist find for $20:







For this project, I didn’t buy the wax brush for the glaze, and instead applied it with a rag. But I now have the brush and it makes the process faster and easier, while helping make sure the right amount of glaze is applied. I will need to re-apply glaze to the dresser at some point, since the rag kind of wiped off some of the glaze I was trying to apply and it’s wearing through in areas where there’s more wear and tear.

Our traditional sleigh bed was transformed into a gilded statement piece thanks to black chalk paint and gold leaf paint by Martha Stewart. I used the same black paint and glaze as in the previous project (new containers) and again was able to finish the project in one weekend.







I’m still a tad intimidated to do the rustic application of chalk paint, using brown glaze instead of clear glaze. For instance, I believe the inspiration for my dresser is sealed in a brown glaze:

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Anyway, though I am craftily inclined and detail oriented, I am impatient with projects. Once inspiration strikes, I want my vision to become reality, like, yesterday. If you’re like me, chalk paint will be your new best friend!






So, this room is BEYOND just the basement remodel. I’ve had this bedroom design in mind for nearly three years, ever since one of my first blog posts, Winter Bedroom Inspiration.

I finally finished gathering all of the pieces for the design just in time for summer – ha! But I have a summer version of the design which I’ll implement next year. In the meantime, it’s certainly cozy!

My inspiration was the Ralph Lauren Duke Collection in the winter that can convert to the Apartment No. 1 collection in summer:


Ralph Lauren Home

Ralph Lauren Home 2





Here is the before:

basement 2

I wish you could smell those carpets

Here is the after:


The duvet and euro shams were sewed by Savvy Seamstress using flannel from Joann’s. It was difficult to find a plaid that included black, green, red and gold and of course, Ralph Lauren’s Duke tartan fabric cost a fortune. I ended up paying $60 for the flannel during a crazy Joann’s sale. It’s not an exact replica like the Glen plaid fabric you’ll see below, but after months of research, I decided that no one was making the Duke plaid affordably.

Note the new windows and windowsills, courtesy of Tristan.🙂

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The Ralph Lauren version of this wool throw is $350+. While still pricey, I got this Lands Downunder throw last Christmas and it was around $100. I have never felt so grown up!

Tristan had the FABULOUS idea to re-paint his traditional sleigh bed black with gold accents. I LOVE it now! I will post more later on this project.

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We still have to build a top for this nightstand, but in the meantime I purchased a large clear acrylic picture frame and removed the back. I’m liking the peek-a-boo to my jewelry.


Tristan calls the wall above our bed the Wall of Death, and if there were an earthquake, it would NOT be a fun wake up moment.


The sham fabric was also used in the curtains, made by my mom. Go mom!


Closet, for reference


Really excited about this art from Etsy – it includes the blue, green, red and gold from my winter bedroomscape but also the magenta and purple from my spring/summer bedroomscape. It took me awhile to find pictures that would blend with both!


Obligatory vignette


Rug purchased in Mexico – fun Aztec-y pattern



This bedroom took awhile to put together and it seems overwhelming to comment on it all. If you have a question about a source or how-to, let me know!





Our upstairs kitchen was barely functioning by the time we moved downstairs, so the brand new appliances, counter space and functioning outlets were a REVELATION.

I was a bit more involved with the kitchen remodel – I went to the marble slab yard to pick out the counter tops and numerous tile shops to pick out the stainless steel penny tile. Home Depot, a bajillion times. Tristan and I installed the backsplash together. Tristan did everything else🙂. I’m so thrilled with how it turned out!

Here are the before pictures:

basement 7

Entry from living room to kitchen

basement 8

Nothing like dented linoleum to really drive home the need for change

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A weird small room adjacent to the kitchen which we ended up including in the kitchen footprint

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… as tempting as it was to try to salvage this bookcase with three-inch-deep shelves …

DEMO (2)Here is the after:









I had some leftover fabric from when I had slipcovers made for the Parson’s chairs, so I whipped up some matching curtains





Any excuse to show off my vintage barware collection…



We needed to keep a pole here, so we added wine storage as a filler so that the oven could open without hitting it


Yays! For those who are curious, Tristan poured the concrete floors and dyed them the burnt umber color. The cabinets are from





This is one of those rooms in which one can’t appreciate the after without noting the atrocious before, including baby blue sink and toilet that was impossibly positioned (you can’t see it but it’s behind the raised shower). Seriously, there’s no way an adult male could have done any business on that thing.

Here is the before:

basement 14

Here’s the after:


In terms of decor, the After bathroom would be snooze-ville without the magical hands of Mandi at Living for Pretty. Given her entry way stencil experience, she graciously said she’d help make my ikat stencil dreams come true. Without her, I would’ve collapsed in tears several times I’m sure. But because she was there, I had to be on my best adult behavior.


There used to be a hallway AND a bathroom taking up this same space. Tristan combined the spaces and now you enter the laundry room on the other side of the ladder shelf you see. The angled door helps keep the space feeling open.


View from the door


View from the shower


These are regular sheer curtains with a white plastic liner behind. We mounted them as close to the ceiling as possible to make the space feel light and big.



I’m really happy with this double medicine cabinet you see here. I was surprised to see how high-end medicine cabinets can be and was initially super opposed to the idea. This one has mirrors on the inside as well and is SO convenient.



The larger photos weren’t working of the light fixture, which I LOVE, so here you go.


This vanity is by Martha Stewart at Home Depot and the color is Sharkey Gray. We liked it so much we painted the entire basement Sharkey Gray!

I am loving our peaceful new bathroom with good storage and new plumbing! And I’m happy with how the stenciled wall came together. I’m on the hunt for some bright orange and magenta bath towels to freshen up the color palette even more.




I’m really excited with how the downstairs living room came together. We first put this design together while living in the upstairs unit, which we are now remodeling. We used 90% of the same furniture as upstairs.

Here are the original inspiration pictures for the design concept:

Living Room Inspo

Living Room T&T

Here’s what it looked like before:

basement 9

basement 7

I mean, ICK, right?

Well thankfully my hubby can handle a hammer, and VOILA!

Here’s what it looks like now:



We have since finished the trim around the front door



Tristan ordered extra kitchen cabinets to make the TV build-in. We love!



A refurbished dresser-turned-shoe cabinet and side table. This was my first experience with chalk paint, my new obsession.




View from the kitchen


So what do you think?

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House Tour: Downstairs Unit Reveal

Well, the time has come when I’ve finally had a clean house and fresh flowers simultaneously. Therefore, I was able to complete the renovation pictures of our splashy new downstairs basement!

Come on In!

The Living Room.

The Bathroom.

The Kitchen.

The Bedroom.



3 Cinco de Mayo Tablescapes


For the last two years, the weekend coinciding with Cinco de Mayo has not been a night of Coronas and mariachi bands, but rather a Mexican-themed auction to benefit our mission trip to Tijuana.


Tristan and I aren’t going to Tijuana this year due to a forthcoming Europe trip, and will be attending a wedding in lieu of the auction this year. But my heart is with our team who is working hard on the auction details, and our fearless leader Colleen, who has been bringing folks down to  build homes on some of the poorest, roughest terrain in Tijuana for 20+ years.

Some images from our previous trips:

Last year, I was in charge of the auction decor. It was a great opportunity to implement this festive tablescape I saw at the International Food Bloggers Conference many years ago, put together by Hostess with the Mostess.



The budget for decor was $300 and I wanted that to include both fresh elements as well as reusable pieces for future auctions. I paired down the centerpieces to 4 items each – runner, mason jar, glass vase and can. I also copied the baby blue, royal blue, orange, red and pink color scheme.

My right hand gal, Diana, and I scoured thrift stores for three months straight looking for scarves to use as table runners and clear glass vases. We needed 28 sets – one for each table. Diana scooped up the cans and mason jars within one week. We then had a team craft day to deck out these centerpiece items with paint, paper, tissue fringe, baker’s twine and washi tape. We also threw on some leftover tassels from my wedding, because why not? We made a tissue garland and I used the printables from the inspiration post to make signs. I picked up a flat of succulents the day of the auction from Home Depot and 48 flowers from Pike Place Market.

Here are two centerpieces as examples.


Here you can see the tissue garland and two of the signs at the entrance.


Each table had a unique scarf:


My friends came out to support us – thanks, girls!:


The scarves were the largest investment and weren’t quite as cheap from thrift stores as we thought they should be. We ended up cutting some of the larger scarves in two or three and spent around $175 total at thrift stores (including the glass vases, which generally cost around $1 each). The succulents were $70 and the flowers were $40. There were light tissue, tape and paint costs which I covered as a donation (and kept the leftovers).

Here are some other of Hostess’ fiesta-esque tablescapes, for further inspiration:



A Fiesta First Birthday Party (cute little donkey and pom pom placemat!)


Fresh and Sophisticated Dinner Party (love the cabbage and color scheme!)

Whether you are planning something special for Cinco de Mayo or just want to pep up your next Mexican feast, Hostess has some great ideas and your local thrift store has some great cheap supplies.

If you would like to learn more about St. Paul’s of Shorewood’s annual Mexico mission trip, click here. This year’s auction will be held Saturday, May 7 at Seattle Lutheran High School and includes an authentic Mexican feast, wine and Mexican dancers for just $15 a person or $25 per couple. It’s a steal of a deal, for a good cause! Tickets are available at the door or in advance by emailing colleencrandell [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Adios, amigos.