Duo Ventures

Friday, March 21, 2014

Kitchen Update: Paint Touch-ups, Window Sill, & a New Light

Now that we are completely done with the backsplash install, we can finish up on the last few projects!  (If you'd like to see our progression from start to finish, check out these posts: ordered countertopspicked out a sink & faucetdemoed our existing backsplash & countersinstalled Frosty Carrina quartz & sinkinstalled our faucet & drywallinstalled backsplash, & grouted backsplash)

Here's where we left off in our last post, after grouting & caulking the backsplash:

There were still 3 more items on our to-do list: we needed to install a new light above the sink,
re-install the window sill & trim, and touch-up the paint around the backsplash.

First thing we started on was the painting - since it was looking like this:

We had some leftover Wheat Bread by Behr in the garage.  Problem was, it didn't quite match anymore.  You might have seen this photo on our Instagram:

Ugh.  You know what that meant, right?  Yup.  We had to repaint the entire kitchen.  While the actual wall surface that needed to be repainted wasn't huge, it did require a lot of cutting in.  There was no way around it though, so Mel spent a couple of hours repainting the kitchen on a rainy day:

Next up, re-installing our window sill & trim.  It was still unfinished from when we tiled the backsplash:  

First, we had to cut down the window sill so it would fit behind the new taller faucet.  After we trimmed it down, we puttied & sanded any dings & dents since they were pretty beat up looking:

After the wood filler was dry, we painted them with some white semi-gloss that we had in the garage:

After we nailed down the window sill, we attached the trim piece below the sill using an adhesive that was made for both wood & ceramic use.  We left the painters tape up overnight...
just to make sure it didn't slide down as it dried:

The next day we caulked all the cracks, crevices, & gaps with a paintable caulk.
Using a wet finger, we smoothed out all the caulk seams:

After the caulk was dry, we did some touch-ups where needed:

Lastly, we needed to find a new light for above the sink.  We have replaced every single ceiling mounted fixture (AKA: boob light) in our house - except this one:

We had pinned a few options that we really liked & we seemed to gravitate towards a few specific styles:

First places we checked out were our local home improvement stores.  There were several options that we liked, but our favorite light was the Home Decorators Collection White Opal Pendant from HD.  We really liked the look of it & the fact that you could use a 100 watt bulb (we wanted bright task lighting).  Plus, the glass shade would hide the bulb.  If we had used a light with an exposed bulb, we would of had to use an Edison bulb, which generally aren't as bright.

It came with 4 metal extension rods, but we only needed one - if that:
We loved it.  

Unfortunately, once we switched positions & Mel held it up...we had an issue.  It hung too low & came close to hitting Nader in the head.  We were bummed because we really liked this look (they obviously have higher ceilings though).  So, back to the drawing board...

We ran back to HD & decided to try out a couple of semi-flushmount ceiling fixtures instead.

We tried out the smaller option first & it looked a little dwarfed:

The larger version filled the space much better:

Although we originally wanted a pendant, we had to go with what worked best for our space.  Luckily, this fixture was similar to the pendant in that it also used a 100 watt bulb & had a similar opaque glass shade.  We removed the old light & installed the new one in about 15 minutes.

old light vs. new light:

It also coordinates well with the existing track lighting we already had up:

Here's a reminder of what the sink area looked like at the beginning of our makeover:

So far, we are very happy with our mini kitchen makeover.  We really like the juxtaposition of the modern elements (like the quartz and stainless steel sink & faucet) & the more traditional components (like the schoolhouse light & subway tile).

Now that all the renos & updates are finished, our final 'kitchen update reveal' will be up soon!

Mel & Nader

Monday, March 17, 2014

Organizing: The Office

Last week I shared how I quickly & easily added labels to our dresser.  I also mentioned that I finally finished organizing our office.  Since we are still trying to finish up some projects for our mini kitchen makeover, I wanted to share a little organizational content in the meantime!

When we finished converting our dining room to our home office last year, it looked something like this:

What you couldn't see was the mess hidden in the drawers and all the paperwork
& office supplies that had slowly been spreading all over the place.  Exhibit A:
We had notepads/paper stored in a kitchen drawer, pens/pencils in our 'junk' drawer, not to mention the disaster of receipts, mail, & paperwork that was splayed all over our countertops & on our office floor.  And of course, don't forget the hidden mess in the dresser & desk drawers.
Needless to say, it Stressed Me Out.

With both our desk & dresser, we have ample storage in our office - so that wasn't the issue.  The problem was I just needed to take a day or two & organize everything.  Simple as that.

I kept trying to get everything organized last year, but the mess just kept building & building.  We were traveling a lot for work last year & it was super hard for me to actually complete anything.  Since we haven't been traveling for work this year, I've finally been able to finish some projects!

To begin organizing our office, I dumped everything (meaning everything from the collage above) right onto the living room carpet.  Then I sorted everything into groups so I could asses everything we had first - sort of like this:

The piles helped me determine which drawers would work best for each group, based on the amount & size of the items.  Here's how it worked out:

Here's what the drawers look like in more detail - starting with the desk...

In the top left drawer I stored all of our small office supplies.
I bought the organizers from Wal-Mart a couple of years ago:

All of our writing utensils are kept in the second drawer.
I need to work on this drawer a little more, but for now I'm using an old check book box
& a random container to organize anything that doesn't have an original box:

 Hanging files are stored in the remaining 3 large drawers (more on that in a future post):

We also have 4 large IKEA KASSETT boxes which we use to store previous tax records & any other files or documents that we need to hold on to for a few more years.
Currently, we are only actually utilizing 2 of the 4 boxes - but it's always good to have extra storage:

Moving on to the dresser...

All of our larger office supplies are in the top left drawer:

In the middle drawer we have all of the extra page protectors & dividers:

In the bottom drawer I stored all our extra binders & folders:

I decided to store all of our mailing/postage items in the top left drawer:

All our extra paper & notepads are in the middle drawer (again, using an old check box to store post its):

Our stationary & greeting cards are stored in the bottom drawer
(I also created a binder to organize all our greeting cards - future post on that):

Behind the dresser doors, we have 3 more drawers:

In the top drawer we've got all of our printing paper:

Next, all our extra manila folders, hanging file folders, & tabs:

The bottom drawer houses our printer.  Eventually, we are going to buy a new wireless printer to go here:

On top of the dresser we keep an organizer I picked up from TJ Maxx.
This is our catch all "To Do" spot.  Any mail that needs to be opened,
paperwork that need to be filed, & receipts that need to be organized stop here first:

All of our washi/paper tape is stored in a bowl: 

We're going to live with this set-up for awhile & see if anything needs to be tweaked.  I'm also almost done organizing all of our files/paperwork & will share that as soon as I finish...

Have a good week everyone!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thriftstore Dresser: Labels

Labels have helped us stay organized in many areas of our home - including our pantry, coat closet, & spice cabinet.  There was one item I needed to finish labeling though: our thrift store dresser.

The dresser already had built-in labels on the pulls, but the middle drawers were lacking:

It was such a quick & easy fix - I picked up a pack of Martha Stewart adhesive metal bookplates from Staples.  They came in a pack of 3 which was exactly what I needed:

They came in a silver finish - so I gave them a quick coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint:

After they were dry, I centered them on each drawer.
You would think I would have measured, but I had no patience...so I just eyeballed it:

The bookplates come with 3 paper inserts, so I made some labels using clear label tape:
These labels are super versatile too.  You can stick them on just about anything -
binders, closet drawers, & office organizers.

Here's the finished product:

I'm so happy with this piece - it was definitely worth all the sanding & painting!
What a difference from where it started in the thrift store: 
Even though adding the new labels was a small project, it makes it look complete!

I also recently finished organizing the office.  FYI: I've been talking about organizing our office supplies since we finished converting the dining room to our office...last April!  Procrastinate much?

More on that coming soon...