Herringbone Shuffle Dining Room Wall


Herringbone Shuffle Dining Room Wall

I finally finished painting my dining room!  (Well, that’s not exactly true, I do still have some touching up to do … but I’m still counting it.)  I used the Herringbone Shuffle stencil from Royal Design Studio Stencils, but because we have heavily textured walls I had to trace the stencil with a pencil …


and fill it in by hand with a small paint brush.


It took AGES, but it did allow for a much more random color placement.


The cats are thrilled to be allowed back into the room, and I’m working on a few smaller projects to finish things off, like hanging the curtains, touching up the paint and recovering the dining room chairs with a bright Marimekko fabric that a wonderful friend gave me.

Recovering Dining Room Chairs

I’m finding the chairs difficult to photograph, but there are the first two.  (Please ignore the puppy-chewed spindles on the chair to the right. )   I may also recover the ironing board because it often sits out in this room while I’m sewing.  It should be pretty too, right?


Birds and Branch Painted Fireplace


Birds and Branch Painted Fireplace

It took me a long time to finally paint my fireplace, and then I took ages trying to decide what should go up on the mantel.  Finally I realized that I wasn’t happy with anything I put up there because I with the bookshelves on either side (shown here), it just seemed like there was already so much on that wall.

I thought about buying a stencil to add a branch and some birds, but with the depth changes between the brick and the mortar, I’d have had to trace it first and then paint it in my hand anyway to get it to look right.  And when I realized a stencil would run about $50 once I paid for shipping … well, NO.  So why not just try painting it out by hand in the first place?  (If it was awful, I could always just paint over it, right?)  I ended up with this, and I think it will do.  Maybe I’ll add some low candles to the right, if anything at all.  Total cost: A tester pot of Martha Stewart’s paint in Seal, about $2.50, and a set of paintbrushes from the kids’ art aisle for 99 cents.   WAY better than $50!

Painted Light Switch Covers

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Copper and Gold Switchplate

Working on painting our kitchen and family room, I’ve realized one extra job that needs to be done:  painting the light switch covers and outlets that I’d previously painted gold and copper.  Silver would look so much better with the new Sharkey Gray, don’t you think?

Silver Switchplate

I just smooshed on some silver glass paint (less than $4 a jar) and gave it a protective coat of varnish (less than $3 for a small bottle).  The result, especially over the previous colors, looks a bit like hammered silver.  Those little bottles should be more than enough to do all the switch plates in the house.  So much cheaper than buying all new!

Silver Painted Switchplate

Back to slowly working my way around the room as I paint walls, trim and now switch plates and outlet covers.

Painted Fireplace


Family Room

Here’s a reminder of my family room fireplace “before”.  The room is really dark, with the only natural light coming from atrium doors to a covered (read: always shady) porch.  This picture was taken with every light in the room on AND a flash on the camera.  In real life, that fireplace looked more like a dark hole.

I found Young House Love’s instructions for painting a brick fireplace and they made it sound so easy, I decided to make it a weekend project.  I went with white semi-gloss paint just because I already had a gallon.

The first coat was a real bear.  I wasn’t thinking about how each brick really has five surfaces to paint, AND there’s another layer deeper of grout surrounding each of those bricks.  There’s a lot of paint “smooshing” to get into all those little spaces.  The next coats were so much easier!  It would have been fine with two coats, but I did one more coat just with the roller because it was quick and I had some paint left in the can.  A tip: if you find little unpainted spaces in difficult to reach places, load a little paint on a Q-tip and dab it on.

Here’s how it looks now:

Fireplace After

Now to decide what should go on the mantel.

Maybe some sort of painting?  These are a work in progress for our bedroom, just to give an idea how a canvas (or four) might look.


Or maybe I need to invest in more locally made Blenko glass?  I love how the white background really shows off the glass!

Blenko Mantel

And here’s what I used on the mantel before I painted the brick:

Fireplace After

Do you see the pop of orange to the lower left?  Those are little Japanese children’s shoes made by my friend Yuki’s parents.

Japanese Shoes

Did you even notice them in the “before” photo?  They show up so much better against the white!

Do you have a preference for the mantel decor, or a suggestion for something else?  I’d love to hear it!