Friday, March 19, 2010

{the power of paint}

We have a large built-in shelving unit in our family room that was quite a scary sight when we first bought our home. The unit was a dark and dingy wood, the shelves were glass, there was blue carpet (YES carpet) on the bottom shelves, and it was overall not a good look. Here are pics before we purchased our house (keep in mind the clutter in these photos is from the previous home-owners!):

We did not want to spend money on this, we originally contemplated knocking down the unit, but moving or losing the fireplace was just not worth it. And I still saw potential in what was there. What was the most economical choice? Paint!! So we chose a warm white and my wonderful husband went for it!

We removed the glass shelves, had wood shelves cut and added a little trim detail (see below), which looks much more substantial.

We changed the flooring in the room, and of course added new furniture and accessories. The wall color is Benjamin Moore's Escarpment (a very moody and warm grey). We also spray painted the gold trim around the fireplace in a brushed silver for a quick and easy update!

Isn’t it great how much a simple and inexpensive solution like paint can make such a difference? I would love to hear about some of your projects where paint alone created an amazing transformation for you!

PS. Thank you to Julia from Hooked on Houses for featuring this post!! If you have not yet visited Hooked on Houses you need to check out her wonderful blog asap! She showcases celebrity homes, houses from movies, as well as amazing before and afters...and who doesn't love a great before and after? :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

{building our aquarium}

My husband is a salt-water tank enthusiast and he has a minor obsession with tropical fish! So when he wanted to get a large fish tank for our home, I got a little worried. Why, you may ask? Well, I was not so sure that ready-made fish tank cabinets have come very far in the ‘design world’ in several years. In fact, most budget-friendly tanks you can buy are a bit of a blast from the past (hello 1970's!), and were not in keeping with the rest of our homes décor.

Yikes! While I am sure there are some incredible ‘designer’ fish tanks out there (built into the wall, etc), that kind of thing was not in our budget. So we had to get creative, and we decided to build one ourselves! This was a large undertaking, since the cabinet had to be able to handle a lot of weight, so we consulted a professional to help us build it and he did an amazing job:  Our starting point was to look at other similar pieces of furniture and gain inspiration into what we wanted this piece to look like. 

It might be hard to tell in the photos but we used an ultra-high gloss white paint (which would make wiping water spills easy and gave a more modern look). All of the front details were done with inexpensive strips of MDF. We found the hardware at Lee Valley Tools.

The tank now sits in our dinning room (which doesn’t have any other furniture yet as you can see! Still a work in progress).

We filled it with beautiful fish and it is so fun and relaxing to watch, I can’t wait to have a table in there to sit back and enjoy them!

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