Quotable Friday

via lonny mag

Background photo via Lonny Magazine.

If you haven’t voted in Apartment Therapy’s Homies Awards, head on over and vote! Today is the last day! You can vote for as many blogs as you like, including this one!

Countertop Options

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When we started our restoration project, we decided to hold off on doing a full kitchen renovation.  The kitchen does not necessarily have a look or layout that we would choose, but it is functional and, for now, that’s what’s important.  So we wanted to spend as little money as possible in this space until we do a full renovation down the road.  We have done a few easy upgrades that we think have really made an impact in that space.  We painted the walls (Sherwin Williams Morning Fog) and trim (glossy white), painted the cabinets white, installed new engineered hardwoods, installed a new sink faucet and garbage disposal, installed a 5-burner gas range we found on Craigslist, and bought a new fridge.  With the exception of the fridge, which was our big splurge (although still a bargain), we’ve spent less than $700 in the kitchen.

But there’s still one glaring problem area: the countertops.  They are ugly and cheap laminate countertops with lots of stains–paint stains, burn stains, food stains, etc.  And no amount of cleaning is going to make them look better.  So I’ve been exploring some options…

1. Paint – Apparently you can paint countertops.  See examples here, here, and here.  This would be pretty inexpensive and give us a lot of creative freedom, but I worry about durability.

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2. Concrete – This would be an inexpensive and durable option, but it could prove difficult to do ourselves.  Also, to my knowledge there isn’t a food-safe concrete sealer available.  We could get around this by always using cutting boards, etc. but it may become a nuisance.  Examples here and here.

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3.  Buy New – We could purchase new, inexpensive countertops from somewhere like Ikea.  This would probably be the easiest option for us, but the most expensive of the three.

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We have less than 25 square feet of counter space, which would make any of these options pretty economical.

Does anyone have experience with any of these methods?  Is there another option we should look into?  What are your thoughts?

If you haven’t voted in Apartment Therapy’s Homies Awards, head on over and vote! You can vote for as many blogs as you like, including this one!

The Snail Mail Project

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Do you have mounds of beautiful stationery that you aren’t using?  Do you get stationery for multiple occasions, but then have very few occasions to use it?  Do you miss getting cards and notes in the mail for no reason at all?  If so,  you’re like me.

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So I’ve decided to start my own little Snail Mail Project, and create those occasions.  My goal is to send at least 3 handwritten notes, cards, or letters each week.  It can be anything from a birthday card to a little note just letting a friend know I’m thinking about them.  But it has to be handwritten!  No typing.  No email.  No text.

Are you a lover of snail mail? Would you like to receive a cheery note or a funny card?

Email me your name and address and you just might get a little snail mail from me!  My handwriting is nothing to write home about (pardon the pun) and it may not be overly creative, but I can promise it will brighten your day.  You can email me here: 702parkavenue (at) gmail (dot) com.  You can also instagram or tweet your own snail mail…just use #snailmail702!

If you haven’t voted in Apartment Therapy’s Homies Awards, head on over and vote! You can vote for as many blogs as you like, including this one!

Fireplace Happenings

First of all, I want to start today’s post by wishing my sweet big brother, Jason, a happy happy birthday!!  I love you very much and I hope today is splendid!  (PS- did I mention he’s getting married this year? It’s a big one!)

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A few weeks ago, we did something so simple that I think really made a big difference in the downstairs rooms.  We have fireplaces in four rooms downstairs: the foyer, the formal living room, the dining room, and the den.  Three of those got a bit of a face lift.

Along with the two tubs, we decided the fireplace inlays should get a coat of Rustoleum as well.  So each fireplace was cleaned (for the first time in probably at least a decade), each inlay was taped off, then primed and painted.  We chose to go with Flat Black instead of the glossy.  In the pictures, it probably looks like a very subtle, almost unnoticeable difference.  But if you see it every day, the fireplaces just look so much more fresh and clean.

Here is the den fireplace before:

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Not too bad, just very dirty and kind of gross.  Here it is after a round of paint.

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Unfortunately, it’s not that the floor tiles aren’t clean…they are stained.  That’s what 112 years does to tile, I guess!  I’m looking into some deep cleaning options.

Here’s a look at the dining room before:

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We immediately got rid of that dingy old screen and went to town cleaning this fireplace.  Here it is after a coat of primer (which just happens to be the ugliest color ever):

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And here it is after a coat of paint:

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For this fireplace, I’m looking into tile painting options.  Nothing major, but I’d like to paint the black border tiles black again to give the whole piece a fresh look.

Here’s the foyer before:

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Again, nothing terrible, but in need of a deep cleaning.  Here it is after paint:

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Now all that’s left is the formal living room fireplace, which is actually accessible now that we’ve moved our furniture into the rest of the house.  Maybe that will happen this weekend?

On another note, I love that each fireplace inlay is completely different and each room has a pattern all its own.  No repetition here!

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If you’d like to know exactly how to go about painting with Rustoleum, you can follow the same process that we used for the tubs here.  It’s a quick, cheap, and easy fix that can really make a difference throughout your house!

Side note: Rustoleum goes a VERY long way.  We bought a quart of primer and it covered a standard pedestal tub, a “baby” clawfoot tub, and three fireplace inlays, including two inlay doors.  And we still have about a third of the can left!  So if you are planning to prime or paint with Rustoleum, you can probably get away with less than you think.

PS- This blog was nominated for The Homies Award over on Apartment Therapy (I know, I can’t believe it either).  If you enjoy reading, hop on over there and vote…you can vote for as many blogs as you like! Thanks friends! :)

Rollin’ with the Homies

I feel so honored to have been nominated for Apartment Therapy‘s Homie Award in the Home Project & DIY category!  I know I don’t hold a candle to most of the bloggers nominated, but it feels wonderful to even be included in the discussion.

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If you enjoy following along and would like to vote, you can do that here.  While you’re there, look around at all the other nominees…it’s a great way to discover some interesting new blogs!

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