How to choose the right paint color!


One of the main themes with my customers, is what color to choose for their piece.  Most of the time there’s more than one “right” color.  But that doesn’t keep people from debating for days, or sometimes weeks, about whether this blue or that blue is best.  So when I came across this palette of color choices I knew I had to pass it on.  Not only did she name 16 amazing colors, but she included pictures so you can get a really good idea of how they’ll look in the end. So do yourself a favor and go check out her amazing picks!

16 of the Best Paint Colors for Painting Furniture

Carpet-to-wood stair treads

Stairs 04
I can’t say there was particularly anything wrong with our staircase. It just lacked a little style. We had added berber carpet to our entire home approximately 7 or 8 years ago. It had help up fairly well, considering we have a 6 year old boy and everything that comes along with him. But the staircase carpet was starting to show a trail. Well, 2 actually, right up the entire thing. You could see the path that every person took walking up and down our stairs. It was a little matted down, and not quite as bright as the remainder of the carpet on the treads. And god knows, vacuuming staircases isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.


Inspiration pic

So one day, I happened to be poking around on Pinterest and I came across this really pretty staircase redo. It became my inspiration. Although, my initial plan was to do lighter treads. I figured the dark treads would be a nightmare because they would show a lot of dust.

I figured, how hard could that be? You pull off the carpet, see what’s underneath, and either stain it (if it’s decent), or paint it (if it’s not). So I mentioned it to my other half that night, to which, he nodded and said “yeah, whatever you want.” And with that note of encouragement, I was off and running. The very next morning, right after breakfast, I started ripping. And ripping, and ripping. To do all 14 steps, and the bottom landing, it took about an hour. But when you add in all the stops (can you get me something to eat?, can you come look at my legos?, can you find my socks?), it took a couple of hours.

The process involved 1) Prying the carpet up at the corners, (use gloves so the staples don’t get ya!). I used a cats paw to get the corner up without damaging anything. Then grab with both hands and start pulling. 2) Remove all the padding. This should be easy to pull up, it’ll just be stapled down around the corners. 3) Now pry out all the staples. Luckily, I had just bought an upholstery staple remover, and it popped out all those bad boys in seconds! If you don’t have a staple remover, try a flat head screwdriver and some needlenose pliers. 4) Next up, sanding the treads smooth and filling any holes. 5) Lastly, choose your poison. Mine was supposed to be a driftwood stain, but it showed too many of the imperfections in the pine so I ended up with Ebony stain and several coats of satin poly.

Starting out

Starting out

Get under the corner

Get under the corner

Suprise - bullnosed treads!

Suprise – bullnosed treads!

Removing the pad

Removing the pad

Prying off the tack strips

Prying off the tack strips

My handy dandy staple remover

My handy dandy staple remover

Filling the holes

Filling the holes

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what was underneath. Nice bullnosed pine treads. I can definitely work those!

Next, after sanding (which is a HUGE, MESSY, project), I prepped the treads for staining with some painters tape. Warning, you’ll be vacuuming and wiping sawdust off of everything in close proximity, unless you’re able to cover everything with plastic.

Prep work

Prep work

After sanding all the treads smooth and cleaning off all of the sawdust, I started staining. Typically, when going for a weathered, driftwood look, I have a multi step process. It starts with Driftwood stain from Rustoleum (Color 260155). I then add a coat of Dark Walnut by Minwax, then one more coat of Driftwood on top. If only I had paid better attention I would’ve had some kick ass driftwood stairs. But my 6 yr old son stayed home from school sick and I was preoccupied by both him and my work-from-home husband all day. If one of them wasn’t bothering me, then it was the other one. They ended up confusing me just enough that I grabbed the Rustoleum Kona stain (instead of Minwax Dark Walnut), for my 2nd coat. If any of you are familiar with stain colors you’ll know that Kona is a super rich, dark dark dark (almost black) brown. So when I added that over the driftwood, then added another coat of driftwood on top, it turned into dark gray. Not at all what I was going for. Although it was still pretty, the gray really didn’t match anything else in my house, and certainly not the Ebony stained hand rail. So I bit the bullet and added Ebony on top of the gray mess. It just so happened that I had a ton of Poly/Stain mix leftover from the handrail project so I grabbed that and got started.

Driftwood stain, 1st coat

Driftwood stain, 1st coat

2nd coat, Kona

2nd coat, Kona

Driftwood again, 3rd coat

Driftwood again, 3rd coat

Once I was finally satisfied with the color it was time to start on the landing and the risers. By now it was the weekend and my handy husband was free to help – thank god!! Although I can operate the power saws, I never trust my measurements so I like to leave those to him whenever possible. Especially since nothing in our house seems to be square and if it’s not square then it’s a total mystery to me.

Phil started out, removing the landing, by cutting it out with his circular saw. He cut some diagonal lines across it and removed everything that he could. That was, until he smelled smoke and realized that by cutting through a nail, a spark had flown into his sawdust catching bag attached to the saw, lit on fire, and was rapidly turning to ashes. It startled him enough that he flung it into the air, simultaneously spewing little chunks of fire-y ashes all over our berber carpet at the foot of the stairs. Yes, you heard me correctly, he lit our carpet on fire. Luckily I had laid down several of our beach towels, just to keep all the dirty tools off of the carpet, and this forethough kept the problem from being much much worse. But sadly all of the towels are now part of our shop towel collection! Sigh. Well, I wanted wood floors at some point anyway LOL.

Porter Cable bag turned to ashes

Porter Cable bag turned to ashes

Holes in the carpet

Holes in the carpet

Holes at the bottom of the stairs

Holes at the bottom of the stairs

Problem solved!

Problem solved!

After all the fire excitement settled down, he managed to not only remove the old landing, but to make a rather nice replacement landing for me. He did that by biscuit joining together some 1″ planking and then dropped the entire piece in place at the foot of the stairs. The result? Awesome!

The unfinished landing

The unfinished landing

The finished landing

The finished landing

Last but not least, the risers. We bought some beadboard wainscot panels from Home Depot for this part. Phil cut them down to size and simply glued them on. And voila, done!

The entire project was not quite as quick as I had originally thought….5 different attempts at stain, setting our carpet on fire, etc., but the end result was well worth it. Would I do it again? Heck ya.

I got a much need makeover!


Well it’s that time of year again. Time to make those New Year’s resolutions. Now, I’m not typically a resolution girl. I’ve never made one, nor broken one. But this year I knew my website needed a new look. She was feeling a bit like the plain Jane, girl next door. Lots of potential, but it just needed a bit of tweaking. So I took advantage of my husband during a moment of weakness and got him to implement some changes that I’d been hoping to make but didn’t have the know-how to do myself.

The basic plan was to have a weathered wood background on all the pages, to give the reader a little more eye candy on each page. But after trying a few different backgrounds, and not liking a lot of things about them, our direction changed toward a blackboard background & chalk font look. It took my husband an entire day’s work, but he did it. And it looks fantastic, if I do say so myself.

The second change I made was to my logo. We added the chalk font for the words, and added the really cool vintage-y gold frame, which I’m IN LOVE with!

Hope you like it!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving y’all’


Why didn’t I think of this?

I’ve seen so many cool projects lately while surfing online…’s really getting my creative juices flowing.  Not if I only had the time to squeeze in a few dozen extra projects!

Factory Cart Coffee Table: (from Making House Calls.Blogspot)

FactoryCart Coffee Table

Pallet Art Shark: (
Pallet Art Shark_thumb[3]

Pallet USA Map: (

Ikea Moppe hack

After pic - Ikea Moppe hack
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Ikea Malm hack

Done, done, done!

Ikea hack: Malm into Campaign nightstand
I’m actually loving how these turned out. I know I was complaining about them earlier, and honestly, I wouldn’t do it again knowing what I know now, but I do like the final product. What’s especially hard to swallow is that I’m the queen of reselling things for a profit. Or at the very least, breaking even. But these, there’s absolutely no way I’ll be able to recoup my costs. That being said, they work perfectly in our bedroom and I don’t think I”ll be selling them anytime soon. Wink wink.

Ikea hack: Malm into Campaign nightstand Ikea hack: Malm into Campaign nightstand


Usually I don’t love Ikea furniture. You’d think that me, being a furniture refinisher and all, would have a fantastic set of nightstands. But I’ve been looking for nightstands for what seems like forever, and just haven’t found any that have quite enough storage. And then one day, in a moment of organizational weakness a few months ago, I broke down and bought a matching set of Malm 3-drawers to use as nightstands in our bedroom. So far they’ve worked out perfectly. Tons of storage space, and they fit nicely, in the space next to our bed. The downside, they’re not that attractive. Too modern for my taste.

So I was surfing online the other day and I came across a bunch of Ikea hacks. That’s where you take a piece of Ikea furniture and spruce it up so it looks like something entirely different.

These 3 were my inspirations:
Ikea hack - campaign style dresserIkea hack - Industrial styleikea Malm-with overlay

After looking at all the ideas out there I decided to go with the campaign style dresser on the left. Except I’m going with dark grey instead of blue. The brass corner pieces I picked up at my local Home Depot.  The handles were a bit of a shocker.  Couldn’t find them in any local stores unfortunately so I had to resort to ordering them online.  Lee Valley & Veritas was the only place that the price wasn’t ridiculous.  I had a hard time paying $6.80 per piece, times 6.  But that was much better than $25 each!  Does it seem strange that the hardware for these nightstands costs more than the nightstand itself????? Yeah, I was thinking that too…..

The overlays are gorgeous…..but OMG pricey.  When you add up the cost of the overlays, plus the price of the dresser itself, you might as well just go buy a nice piece of furniture….that’s solid wood.  There, I said it.

Here’s how they looked when I started:

My Ikea Malm 3-drawer nightstand

Here’s the first coat of grey paint:
Ikea Malm nightstands sprayed gray Ikea Malm nightstand sprayed gray

The finished product!

Coming Soon! I’m 90% done. The only thing left to do is finish adding the corner brass pieces….all 24 of them. Ugh….
All the handles are on. I received them in the mail from Lee Valley Tools yesterday. On first glance they’re gorgeous…all shiny and such. My dad and I spent an hour today installing them. And when I say my dad and I, I mean my dad. I used the Dustbuster and vacuumed up all the bits of wood shavings while he was drilling. So after all 6 handles were on we noticed that they’re almost impossible to use. VERY hard to get your fingers around the little handle pull because it’s completely flush with the rest of the handle. Bad decision. Bad. I would not recommend buying the same pulls if you’re going to attempt this hack. But what’s the alternative really? A $25 pull? Not for me. My solution? I’m going to get some of those little adhesive rubber bumpers and stick them beneath the handle pull, to lift them up off the rest of the handle. Genius, if I do say so myself! :o)

If I were you though, I’d go for something like this:

  1. Paint the dresser dark gray.  If that’s a bit too ‘office filing cabinet-ish’ for you, try a dark teal.
  2. Add Martha Stewart self adhesive bookplates.  The large ones.
  3. Get some pretty brushed nickel pulls, like these.
  4. Voila, you’re done!

Brushed nickel cabinet pull Martha Stewart self adhesive bookplate

Ikat is everywhere!

It seems that you can’t go into a store these days without spying an Ikat print, or ten. It comes in every color under the sun and works with loads of different interiors. Don’t think that your decor needs to be eclectic, or have that world traveler look, in order to make this work. It works with just about everything…..modern, vintage, ‘Pottery Barn’, industrial, beachy, and even traditional. These funky designs are what inspired my recent wrought iron bench redo!

Modern interior with Ikat rug:

ikat-modern rug

Pottery Barn living room with Ikat pillows:

ikat-Pottery Barn pillows

Vintage pieces mixed with Ikat pillows:


Beachy style:

ikat pillows-beach style ika pillowt-beach-ey style

Traditional room with Ikat upholstered chair:

ikat upholstered chair-traditional style

Industrial style with Ikat curtains:

ikat curtains-industrial style

Here’s just a few examples of what I came across on my recent shopping trip to Homegoods!
Ikat print chair Ikat print benches Ikat print pillowsIkat fabric covered boxes

Shopping for vintage stuff @ the NC State Fairgrounds Flea Market

Raleigh Fairgrounds Flea Market

I used to love going to the Flea Market on the weekends.  And if you’re in the Raleigh Triangle area, it’s worth a stop.  I used to go a lot more, just to poke around, but now that I have a 6 yr old the weekends get busy and I tend to forget about it.  But last weekend we didn’t have any plans and the forecast was looking a little murky so I packed the family into the minivan and off we went.

In my experience the Flea Market here is always hit or miss.  You might go one weekend and find so many great deals that you can’t fit them all in your car.  Or it might be a total bust.  That’s pretty much what this weekend was for me.  I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of vintage furniture this time though.  Lots of really beat up, grungy, chipped paint, furniture.  I came across this really cute 5 drawer dresser.  It looked like it had been painted by a 6 yr old.  Seriously…..thick, chalky paint, streaks everywhere, drawers almost painted shut.  They even painted right over the handles.  I mean, they couldn’t have done a worse job on this if they tried.  Perfect! Score! Exactly what I was looking for.  But whoaaaaaaa…..what? $125? You must be joking.  That’s probably what I’d charge for it AFTER I refinished it.  Do people actually pay that kind of money for beat up stuff that they’ll have to then put some elbow grease into? I’m speechless.

But I did manage to leave the Flea Market with one spectacular thing.  A phone number.  There was a fantastic vendor there by the name of Cortland (like the apple!) Pemberton.  He had bolts and bolts of fantastic fabric.  I had been on the hunt recently to find just the right fabric for a little wrought iron bench that I did, and I must’ve gone to 8 stores looking for just the right one.  Most of the local places had crap.  It was all either too frumpy, too boring, or the colors were all wrong.  But Cordland….ooooh, he had loads and loads of great stuff.  And his prices WAY beat the local stores.  So if you’re in need of fabric for a project, and   you’re around the Fairgrounds some weekend, definitely stop by and check him out.  One thing to note though – he’s only there every other weekend. So if you miss him one weekend, check him out on the next one!