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Remodeling | Manolo for the Home
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When I See Things Like This I Have to Ask Myself:

Why have I not tried painting a floor before now? Have any of you lovelies done it? How did it work out? Because we have, in our house, what is essentially an unfinished room. No walls, just beams. Sub-floor. Bare insulation. Windows that are older than my mom. And as much as it pains me to admit, we don’t have the means to finish it any time soon. Currently, it’s storage space, which is nothing to complain about. Unless, that is, your husband wants an office and you want a craft room and a little more family-oriented space. Point being, I can’t do anything about the room structurally, but I’ve been toying with the idea of sanding and painting the sub-floor and when I see these things… well, how could I not want to do it?

No trick, just stencils - heavy duty ones.

Think they did it freehand?

Yellow! *dies*

Am I totally crazy? Or could painting the sub-floor actually work? Why can’t I go out and buy a copy of this book and go to town?

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You Just Have to Love an Awesome ‘After’

There’s something to be said for before and after photos. Of anything, really. I’m absolutely terrible at remembering to ‘before and after’ any project, so I’m always in awe of the people who do remember. I’m especially in awe, though, of really extra sweet afters. Like this absolutely beautiful one, whose before can be seen at Rambling Renovators:

It's already a gorgeous room, but so much lovelier even when viewed in the context of the before.

Want to know why I love before and after pictures? And especially ones like these? Because they show you that the beautiful spaces you see that not only make you jealous, but also make you question your own decorating and design abilities didn’t always look like that. At some point in the past, they usually looked not as great, and someone had to make the decisions that led to the amazing transformation that led to the room you’re so envious of looking like it does today. A before and after photo set lets you see that change and furthermore shows you that there’s no reason at all that you can’t be the catalyst for a similar transformation in your own home.

In other words, before and after photos are inspiring. They show you what you can achieve. They’re encouraging, not disheartening like seeing a finished project out of context can sometimes be. So GO FORTH! CREATE! BE CONFIDENT!

Would You Try a DIY Finished Basement? If So, Keep These 8 Tips In Mind!

Having a usable finished basement can add a ton of value to your home, but not everyone has the money to drop on a down-downstairs reno. So what about a do it yourself finished basement? Insane? Maybe not, provided you don’t have a lot of moisture or flooding issues and you’re not starting with a dirt floor and cracked foundation walls. Maybe you want a man cave or a rec room complete with extra classy globe mini bar or extra office space. Trust me when I say it can be done, but the results you achieve will always be better when done right versus done half-assed.

Would this work for you?

So how do you do up your do it yourself finished basement while also staying on the right side of the law and the wrong side of pesky stuff like mildew? Follow these 8 tips, for starters!

1. Do you have a building permit? Do you need one? It may seem like yet another hoop you have to jump through to finally get your exercise bar media room, but having the proper permitting in place before you do anything is the way to go. Do you have a plan? Now is the time to figure our your basement reno, not as you go along. Which I think is how our finished basement came into being *sigh*.

2. Let a pro handle the electricity if you need more outlets. It’s just the right thing to do, whether you’re finishing a basement or expanding a bathroom. For real.

3. Your basement needs to be DRY. Bone dry. Especially if you’re putting up walls and laying down floors and plan on putting furniture up against the walls. Mold and mildew sure do love that damp that so many basements are famous for.

4. For those putting up walls – as opposed to just using something like this to seal up foundation walls – should make sure there’s AT LEAST a half inch gap between the wall and the foundation. That’s what furring is really for – as opposed to what, say, Urban Dictionary would have you believe.

5. Buy this book. Or check it out of the library. Seriously, the Black & Decker Guide to Finishing Basements is awesome.

6. Drop ceilings aren’t the most attractive option, but they’re the option that lets you continue to access pipes and wires running through the floor/ceiling that may prove important or broken in the future. More than one contractor has had to get at stuff in our finished basement’s ceiling, and as much as I hate drop ceilings, I’m glad it was there.

7. Speaking of wires and pipes, you may have some that stick out in weird places. It wasn’t an issue when your basement was housing a workbench and unopened boxes from your move four years ago, but if you’re trying to class up your finished basement, you may want to do some buildingaround these. Still keeping in mind the possible need for future access.

8. Finished basements do not have to be a second living room or an entire apartment or a full-fledged movie theater. As in the picture above, sometimes some walls, some shelves, some furniture, and a coat of paint on the stairs will do the trick. If you’re okay with your basement’s existing climate, no fancy flooring necessary. You can just throw some paint on the concrete floor and call it a day.

And there you have it. Would you consider finishing your own basement? Or have you actually done it?

NtB Has a Real Bedroom Again!

How many times have I mentioned that we were having a little remodeling done? A bunch, I know. Which means it’s only fair that I share at least one picture of my new bedroom, which was finally finished at the end of last month, yay!

Want some details? We went with mismatched bedside tables and no-VOC paint from Freshaire in a pretty gray color. Our color scheme includes gray, a very dark gray for detailing, white, and red, with some black furniture and some wood. We decorated using furniture we already had, which has saved a lot so far, though I did make some quickie DIY “art” using scrapbooking paper and picture frames I had lying around. (But it wasn’t this or this, for the curious.) I’m loving it so far – and I’m feeling especially proud of the work we put into it!

What have you done in your home lately that you’re especially proud of?

An Inspiring Transformation

As ‘before and after’s go, this one from AB Chao is pretty sweet. It also proves that you shouldn’t judge a space by what it’s been in the past, but rather by what you want it to be right now. After all, does this garage look like anything other than a garage? Nope.

And yet this is what it became! *blinks eyes and looks again*

Just when I start thinking my little house has got it going on (maybe just a wee bit) I hit up a blog like AB Chao and am once again humbled.

NtB Loves: Barneby Gates All Star Wallpaper

I am in love with this All Star wallpaper from Barneby Gates, and not just this wallpaper. Have you had a peak at Barneby Gates? They – where ‘they’ is Vanessa Barneby, Vogue Living Editor, and Alice Gates, fashion textile designer – create amazing wallpapers with a quintessentially English feel.

But if it was just Englishy wallpaper, I’d probably say ho hum. What makes Barneby Gates wallpaper so sweet are the little details like metallic finishes, humorous and unexpected patterns, and fantastic color pairings. As you might expect, this wallpaper doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re too in love not to have some, you can always request a sample!

A Sweet Set of Stairs or a Trip to the ER?

When small spaces have an upstairs and a downstairs, it’s still more common to have stairs in place than, say, a ladder or a tiny elevator. But stairs can take up a lot of room, even so-called space saving stairway options like traditional spiral staircases. Enter EeStairs, with what it calls its efficient stairs.

Space saving stairs like these give you more free floorspace in your home while also giving you access to the next floor up (like any other staircase) but EeStairs efficient staircases are built differently from most in that they start with a plain metal tube that reaches from floor to ceiling and then attach steps to the tube. If you need stairs that are extra tiny, these space saving stairs are made to fit into openings of just 1m x 1m and are designed to be placed where no staircase was ever intended to go.

Hmmm. I like the idea, I like the execution, love the look… but judging by the number of times I have butt slid down my stairs into the family room, a call to EeStairs is probably not in my future. Would you give them a go?

What Do You Do With a Finished Attic, Anyway?

The second story of my house was meant to be an attic. Maybe. We’re not really sure. An elderly neighbor who has lived in our house’s double since both were built told us the tale of refinishing his upper story a little bit at a time, so we know that the second stories of our Capes didn’t start out finished. But there were standard-size staircases in both houses from the very beginning. So our homes started out with giant unfinished attics accessible by full stairways and two windows in each “room”? Or were the houses built with the intention that the homeowners would eventually finish the second story spaces? We don’t know.

What we do know is that between then and now, someone decided to finish one half of our second story very, very badly. I’m talking gaps between drywall, icky carpet, cheap heaters, outlets on the sloping parts of the walls, and more. And the other “room” is still unfinished. Bare beams and boards. No outlets at all. What’s this mean for us? It means we’re looking for sloped wall bedroom/office inspiration so we can make our second story an adults-only zone.

Here’s just some of what I’ve bookmarked thus far:

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