LET’S PLAY KETCHUP: NATURALLY CLEANING OLD BRASS HARDWARE

I know things have been a little quit on the blog lately, so I think it’s time that we ketchup. (Wait for it….wait for it…)

I’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful weather lately by taking my projects outside and painting and priming all of the doors in the house. I like the character that these old doors bring to the party so rather than replacing them I’m giving them a fresh coat of white paint to lighten and brighten up the space. naturally cleaning old brass hardwareI think we all know how to paint a flat surface, so I won’t bore you with those details, but the one tip I will give you about painting wood surfaces, whether it’s doors, trim, paneling, etc., is to use a good oil based primer before applying coats of paint. (My go-to primer is this one.) This step will really save you a lot of time and money and help you avoid putting a million thick layers of paint on your wooden surfaces.

So, while I watched paint dry the paint was drying, I got to thinking about the other finishes I wanted on the doors. I had assumed that I would just buy new (probably black) knobs and hinges but the more I looked at the existing (original) hardware, the more my brain wheels started turning. Unfortunately, when I removed the knobs from the doors, they were so old that they really couldn’t be save and then re-installed. If they had been really cool old knobs I might have tried harder to save them but, to be honest, they weren’t worth the struggle in my mind so they will be replaced with new black knobs.

The hinges, on the other hand, were a different story. naturally cleaning old brass hardwareBefore you start calling me crazy, I know the current state of these old brass hinges are rough. They’re heavily tarnished and dirty and don’t look like much but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to save them. The thought of freshly painted crisp, white doors with shiny new/old original brass hinges made me irrationally excited.

With all of the paint, fumes, and other, let’s call it “accoutrement” that comes along with an ongoing home renovation, I wanted to go a more natural route when it came to de-tarnishing and cleaning the brass hinges. So, naturally, I headed to my pantry. naturally cleaning old brass hardwareI grabbed some white vinegar, ketchup and super fine steel wool that I had leftover from my dresser project and got to work on naturally cleaning these old brass hinges.

I wasn’t looking for a super shiny finish on the hinges, which is why I chose to use the ultra fine steel wool, but if you want to avoid dulling the metal, I would avoid using anything abrasive like this that may scratch or dull the surface a bit.

naturally cleaning old brass hardwareI threw all of the screws into some white vinegar and just let them set for about an hour. These guys are so small that I didn’t really plan to do much else to them. Once they sat for a while, I dumped them in a strainer and rinsed them off, leaving them to air dry on their own.

(P.S. You should you definitely use an old bowl or grab a cheap one from the thrift store that won’t be used with food for this project. You don’t want any of those brass particles lingering when you go to use the bowl for cooking.)naturally cleaning old brass hardwareI did the same with the hinges, letting them sit in the vinegar for an hour or so. Once they were good and soaked, I put on a pair of rubber gloves, squeezed a little ketchup on top (just like you would with dish soap on your dishes) and scrubbed with the steel wool.

You definitely need to put on a little pressure when scrubbing in order to really reveal that silky brass beneath but it doesn’t take long to see that prettiness coming through. naturally cleaning old brass hardwareAnd pretty soon, here’s what you get! I wanted to keep a little bit of that tarnish in places to give it a bit of an old with new feeling and bring out some of that old character in the hinges, but obvious, you can control that with you level of scrubbing. naturally cleaning old brass hardwareI think the before and after really speaks for itself and I’m so happy with my decision to refinish these hinges before painting or replacing them.

I’m excited to get the doors finished and dried and ready to re-install with these pretty ladies and you know I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop when that goes down ;)

Happy Hump Day!

LET’S GET MOODY: INSPIRATIONAL MOOD BOARDS

To say that my mind has been full to the brim working on and designing our new house might be the understatement of the year so it’s fun to take break, albeit a brief one, from that and focus on something a little less labor intensive like… inspirational mood boards for my fantasy clients!

By the way, if you can wrangle up some dream clients of your own who don’t speak, love all of your suggestions and opinions, and have unlimited budgets, I highly recommend it ;)

So.. Let’s get moody!

let's get moody: inspirational mood boardsGrand Canyon Painting | Gold Wall Sconce | Gold Side Table | Chandelier | Southwestern Rug | Fiddle Leaf Fig | Mahogany Armoire | Woven Pouf |

This week, I’m designing a living room for a 40-something husband and wife who just bought their forever home in Scottsdale, Arizona. They’re typically drawn to traditional and colonial designs and styles but also want to infuse some southwestern elements and creativity into the living room design. They want to use some of their existing furniture, like the tufted sofa that was her mother’s & an orange club chair they bought antiquing on their honeymoon, but are open to adding new pieces in order to fuse these two very different design styles. She volunteers at the local library sorting books and usually gets lost daydreaming in the Folklore section and, while he works a 9-5 job in a suit all day long, in the evenings a few times a week, he performs standup at the local comedy club.. Needless to say, while they may seem traditional and mainstream on the outside, these folks are spunky and they want their home to reflect just that.

Designing for dream clients from the southwest makes me think it’s okay to say… happy Friday, ya’ll! #itsnot

Check out my other inspirational mood boards here & here.

HOUSE PROGRESS: DINING ROOM EDITION

PROGRESS! Ahhh…I love the sound of that. But you know what I love even more than the sound of that?! The look of progress. See what I did just there? Well, that’s exactly what went down at our house over the weekend, a whole lot o’ progress.

On a side note, I feel like my definition of adulthood is one that has been evolving over the years and is something that I’m truly settling into and embracing now that I am in my mid 20’s but I think I reached a new level of “grownup” this weekend with the intense amount of excitement I felt on Friday evening. Not because of night out I was planning with some friends or a fancy date night with my husband…nay… but because I knew I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything other than working on our house for the next 48 hours. That is truly my idea of heaven these days. But seriously, it was a good weekend. Here’s a look at the some House Progress: Dining Room Edition…

house progress: dining room editionDo you remember where we were when this all started? demo day oneAfter ripping out the carpeting, painting the walls, trim and the dated stone fireplace & taking control our our floorplan to give us this new dining room…We’re definitely headed in the right direction. Day by day, things are starting to settle into place and, luckily, our DIY door table feels right at home in the new dining room. Besides, anything looks good when you plop one incredibly cute black dog in the middle of it, right?house progress: dining room editionWall Color | Trim Color

Nothing has really been styled yet. We’re kind of in a state of limbo between temporarily making things look livable and figuring out what our final destination will be.

Unfortunately, I don’ think a whole love of seasonal decorating will be done at our house this year. If I add more “temporary things” decorations on top of all of the the still in boxes “yet to be organized permanent stuff” that is still scattered around the house post move, I might lose my mind. I’m going to do my best to be seasonal decorating to a minimum in exchange for my mental well-being, so at this point, a few pretty gourds on our newly painting shelves are going to have to do.

house progress: dining room editionThe idea of not doing a whole lot decoration wise these Fall and Winter seasons is a tad bittersweet for me. While I’m happily accepting the excuse to avoid any clutter or stress while I’m still trying to settle into our new home, I do love me some Fall and Winter home decor. But for now, I’m truly just happy to be settling in at all.

Happy Tuesday, folks! Because, like I always say, at least it’s not Monday!

A NEW MAILBOX

You know those people on House Hunters who won’t stop yapping about that “turn-key ready” house that they want? You know, the ones who gasp at that the thought of having to so much as re-paint a bedroom or, heaven forbid, rip out some old wall-to-wall carpeting? Well, I’ve always made fun of those people, and if you’re reading this blog, chances are you like getting your hands dirty and you make fun of them too. The thought of not wanting to do a single thing to the house you’re trying to make your new home is a bit foreign to me and would never be the case for us, in fact, we wanted a fixer upper that we could make our own. And while I will still to continue to enjoy poking fun at those “move-in ready” house hunters, I will say that I am starting to understand, just for one split second, the appeal of a house with less of a to-do. Shhh!

This whole house renovation business is an interesting one and as a first time fixer upper of my own new house I’m learning to except the, often times, slow moving, scattered and chaotic process we’re calling progress around here. More and more lately is seems like there’s so much to do and so little time to do it (this whole darkness at 8PM thing isn’t helping much!) but we are learning to accept and enjoy all of the little bits of progress here and there, and this week, happiness came in the form of a new mailbox. a new mailboxWith Fall weather fast approaching, we realize that we won’t be able to do much, as far as the exterior of the house goes, until next year but a new mailbox was a quick enough fix, that we could handle in just a few hours, that would make a big difference when it came to curb appeal.

The the old mailbox was very sad. Imagine sticking a big old frowny frace right on the front of your house. That’s what that old, brown, wonky mailbox was like. Definitely not the feeling you want when you get home, right!? a new mailbox

Thumbs down!

a new mailboxFrom its sad, weather-stained post to its bad posture and peeling numbers, nothing was working with this mailbox. It wobbled every time it was opened and wasn’t doing our front yard any favors. I just wanted something simple and classic and, get this, straight! Is that really too much to ask!?a new mailboxMuch better! It feels like a breath of fresh air every time I pull into the driveway. So, for a trip to Lowe’s, under $75, and a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, we turned that house frown upside down! (Too cheesy? Whatever, it’s almost Friday.) a new mailbox

Here’s what we used to make it happen… a new mailbox

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Easy peasy! Because sometimes it’s really just the little things. Have you  made any quick updates around your house lately?

Happy Thursday!