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Friday, February 18, 2011

Adding Moulding to Your Staircase - Decor Chick Guest Post

Today I want to welcome Emily from DecorChick! Isn't she gorgeous! But, she's not just attractive, she is brilliant! (And fun to hang with.)

Why do I think she's brilliant? Because she has one extra special, creative brain. Just look what she made out of a little lonely drawer!

I love her home and all the changes she's made to it. Especially her staircase makeover! I'm jealous of her staircase because, I live in a two story home, and I spend A LOT of time going up and down the stairs. Every step I take on the stained carpet stairs with an ugly banister and spindles makes me long to live in Texas in Emily's home. I have been wanting to give our staircase a makeover since we moved in. Sadly, I haven't started it yet. But, I know when I do I will be more in love with my home because of it.

Emily has agreed to share her staircase moulding tutorial with you today. So, please give her a big welcoming hug.

Heeeeeeeeeeeres, Emily:

Hi everyone, I'm Emily from Decorchick. I'm so happy to be posting on Brittany's blog today. I've always been a fan of Brittany and her blog, and I was fortunate and got to hang out with her at Blissdom and it was so much fun. Brittany is such a sweetheart, but I know you all know that already. :)

I finished a big project (with the help of my Dad) and transformed our staircase wall with lots of moulding. I couldn't be happier with the results and I will be showing you the makeover today.

So, let's take a look at the before photos.

And now....the after!

Ahhh, don't you love wainscoting??

I was actually smart for once and painted the wall white before we added any boxes. I know, can you believe it? I actually followed my own advice. :)

When you are trying to do wainscoting up a staircase, you are going to have odd angles and cuts. But this new little gadget my Dad introduced me to is so cool. You just set it on your angle, say for instance our staircase banister, and it tells you exactly what angle it's sitting at.

Pretty neat right? Oh, and those are my Dad's hands. I don't have man-hands and hairy wrists.

The angle of my staircase is 37 degrees, so the cuts were all made to compliment that.

For the moulding, I chose to use the foam stuff again. The pieces I bought were 7ft in length and cost $2.38 for each piece. I ended up buying 27 pieces. So that is $64.26 just for the moulding for the stair boxes.

First thing we did was cut all of the pieces for all 21 boxes.

Then we used this make-shift template so we could glue each piece together at the right angle, and on a flat surface.

We glued 2 pieces at a time with hot glue, and let them cool.

Some pieces cooling...

And then we would glue a box together.

And eventually got all of these.

Then we put up the frames temporarily with double-sided tape to get the spacing correct, nailed them in with a nail gun, and added the chair rail. The rail is not an actual "chair rail" but is window casing trim. It is decorative like a chair rail and has a nice ledge to it.

Then came a LOT of caulking and spackling of all of the boxes and chair rail, more painting, and then done! And please, if you need to cover nail holes, use spackle and not caulking. I already knew this but for some dumb reason I used caulk and ended up redoing it with spackle. Caulk does not sand well and it gets rubbery. With spackle, it sands down nicely and you can't even see the holes. Just my little tip!

I'll just show you all more after photos because I know that's what you really care about. :)

And here are a couple of night shots. P.S.- the sconces have flameless candles in them and they are on a timer, so they come on at the same time every day and stay on for 5 hours and turn off.

So what do you think? I think this is one of, if not, my favorite transformation so far. I think I always say that though. :) This wall was always a challenge to decorate, so that's why it's been empty for 2 years now. I think having the wall more as an architectural feature was the way to go.

To see how the design of the staircase came about, you can read about that here. To see a more detailed how-to of the moulding boxes you can read that here.

Source list:
  • Starburst Mirror - Pier 1 for $69 (was on sale over half off! The original price was $149)
  • Candle Sconces - Hobby Lobby $30 each (with half off)
  • Flameless candles - Pier 1. I already had these candles but had to buy one more for about $14. Pier 1 flameless candles are my favorite because they glow from the bottom up, instead of just the top like a lot of others do.
Materials - $64.26 for moulding boxes, and approximately $20 for the chair rail.

Wall color - Baguette from Sherwin Williams -- (But it's soon changing to a different color)

I hope you enjoyed my staircase makeover, and thank you so much for having me Brittany!

Thanks Emily! I appreciate that you shared your tutorial with us. What do you guys think? Pretty fab, huh?! Well, you haven't seen nothin' yet.

Checkout her fabulous pantry! Seriously, I love her pantry (and her Dad who helped her build the custom carousels for her pantry. DecorChick Dad, can you adopt me please!!!)

See for yourself:
Pantry Makeover HERE.
I hope you will hop over to her blog and tell her I sent you. Enjoy your visit!

Stay tuned, we have a few more guest posters helping me with "Falling in Love with Your Home" February!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Light Fixtures to Light Up Your House Love

Earlier in the "Falling in Love with Your Home" series, we talked about increasing natural light. Today I will be expanding on the topic, but this time I'm talking about the man-made type of lighting!

As I mentioned in my previous post, in the quest to fall in love with our home, we have painted almost every room in our home, but I have also replaced almost all of the light fixtures as well!

There is no excuse for putting up with dated, dim, or just plain ugly light fixtures! (Although, I will accept "but, I have 25 foot ceilings" as an excuse.)

I know that sounds like it would cost a fortune, but honestly the average cost I've paid per light fixture is $30. I've paid as little as $5 and at most I paid $125 for the drum shade pendant in my office.

My sources for lighting are: Craig's List, Habitat ReStore,, eBay and friends! A new source you might also try is, it is kind of like a Craig's List for building supplies.
One day's haul from the Habitat ReStore!
$20 Semi-flush light fixture from Craig's List.
And, you do not to spend money hiring an electrician. Removing and rewiring a light fixture should not stop you "Dead in Your Tracks." Sorry, bad pun, I know. But, seriously, it isn't rocket science. As long as you are safe and Turn Off the power (flip the circuit breaker) that your fixture is on, you should be able to replace your own light fixture.

Here is a good instructional video for replacing a ceiling light fixture:

Note: They mention you will need a helper in the video. I've only needed help when removing a heavy fixture (for example a ceiling fan.)

Still a little scared? Well, think of it this way, all you are doing is unscrewing screws, paying attention to how the light that you are removing is installed. Then repeat the same set up when installing the new. Easy peasy. Oh, and I don't use the circuit tester (although I should). I turn the light on before I flip the circuit breaker. That way I can see when it is off.

To view another tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl for replacing wall mounted fixtures, CLICK HERE.

Now let the lighting parade begin:

In our foyer I wanted an open glass hanging fixture to light up the small space.

Before: Foyer Brass Light

But, I hated the brass light so much that I settled on a Costco semi-flush light that I paid $45 for.

Interim Foyer Light
Little did I know that I would find the perfect fixture a year later at our Habitat ReStore. A little Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and I was in love with my new foyer light. 
$10 Spray-painted Habitat Light Fixture. Tutorial HERE

We have all seen the hideous Hollywood style strip lights in a bathroom. That is exactly what we had in our master bathroom. I ended up finding this temporary fixture on Craig's List.

Brushed Nickel wall mounted sconce from Craig's List.

You have to love to hate this dated 1970's fixture. Antique Brass and globes as big as duckpin bowling balls make for an interesting bathroom fixture.

An inexpensive wall mounted light fixture from Lowe's really brought this bathroom into this decade (not to mention some paint and other updates. Details HERE.)

This shiny brass chandelier was the last of our light fixtures to be converted. I knew what I wanted here, but couldn't find an affordable black chandelier.

Before: Dining Room Shiny Brass Chandelier
As luck would have it, I saw this baby hanging from a friend's ceiling and remarked how much I liked it. Right there and then he told me I could have it. I'm only kicking myself for not installing it months sooner!
After: Black Chandelier
(FREE because it wasn't a friend's style! I know – seriously – don't hate me.
Because I would if your friend gave it to you for free!)

When we moved into our home, the light fixture over the kitchen table was a dim 60 watt bulb fixture that really left me craving more light.

Before: Kitchen Brass & Glass Pendant Light
Okay, I really hesitated to post this next picture, but I refuse to hide any of my flaws from y'all. Well okay, maybe just a few.

I bought this light fixture off of Craig's List hoping to improve the light on our table. BIG MISTAKE! It was such a harsh and direct light that I turned around and sold it a month later.

Interim Light: Modern Glass & Brushed Nickel.
"Ummm, Mr. Spielberg, I have something you might be interested to see in my kitchen."

A few keystrokes on the keyboard brought me to this little gem for our kitchen. I just love the quaintness of this light fixture that I found on Small, whimsical, yet not too cutesy. To center the chandelier over our kitchen table, I installed a ceiling toggle style hook and sewed a swag cover to hide the chain.

After: Rustic Bronze and Silver Leaf Chandelier $65 from

Chandeliers aren't just for your dining areas. I've seen them in laundry rooms, bedrooms, and even mudrooms!

Black iron & rope 3-arm Chandelier.
Renee's $10 Habitat ReStore light that we installed in her mudroom.

Don't neglect your exterior lighting. These wall mounted lights were so small and looked very weathered.

Before: Dirty Brass & Shiny Black Exterior Lights
I finally found some beautiful old world lanterns at Lowe's for $24 each! SCORE!

After: Copper Wall Mounted Exterior Lights. Installation Tutorial HERE.

Light fixtures don't have to be hard wired. Some ambient lighting in our home comes from plug-in style lighting. Like these pendant lamps I made from minnow (fish) traps:

They started life as a $5 fisherman's trap.

And now they have a new life on our screened porch.

$3 Thrift Store Lantern retrofitted with a plug in light kit.
Perfect for reading stories in Pretty Handsome Son #1's bed.

I saved my favorite light for last. This star light hangs in our upstair's hallway. The light is on a timer and gives off just enough illumnation for our little late night sleepwalkers.

Paper star light plugs into nearby outlet and is set on a timer.
So how about your home? Do you have any light fixtures you detest? Have you scoured Craig's List? Be sure to check weekly for new postings.

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