*Hangs Head in Shame*

December 15, 2014

I know, I know...it's been MONTHS since I wrote. Obviously that's how I operate. I wouldn't want to freak you guys out by actually posting, oh, weekly...or even monthly.

There has been lots going on in the Wong family!  In September, Clarence applied for a job in Greenville, SC and in less than a week he had an offer. Within a month, we made the move! Good thing we enjoy change. We were blessed to find an apartment that would rent on a monthly basis since we wanted to buy a house. We spent a few months looking at houses and then found one that was the perfect fit! I was able to see it the day it went on the market and we put an offer in the next day. It has a great open plan perfect for entertaining. We wanted an older home with a good bit of land and this house provides just that. We love it!

Though the house was move-in ready, there are definitely ways we want to add our own touch. Because we are surrounded by trees, the living room can feel a bit dark during certain times of the day. I loved the fireplace and built-ins, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought it would suit the room better if we lightened it up a bit.

With flash before

Without flash before

Besides the fact it made the living room feel even darker, I really didn't have a problem with the look before. But I wanted to make it lighter, and I wanted more depth to the fireplace than just a solid one-color. 

I remembered seeing a makeover segment on Rachael Ray featuring John Gidding and an overnight makeover he did for a viewer. He did a sponge technique (I know, flashback to the early 90's) to the fireplace and it looked SO much better! I knew that's what I wanted to try, but I could not for the life of me find a description of exactly what he did. So I did what any woman in her 30's would do...I looked on pinterest! I found a tutorial on Lowes website that I think was probably pretty much the same thing.

First, we painted the whole fireplace Abalone by Benjamin Moore. I was starting to get a bit worried cause it looked SO white. Excuse the iphone pic. 

But we forged ahead. Once we had it all painted, we moved on to the sponge technique. For the color, we used Ashley Gray by Benjamin Moore, at about 75% strength. I really wasn't digging it when we started, but the more we put on, the more it started to look right.

It didn't have enough variation, so we went back over some bricks with the sponge again, so it looked more unplanned and random.

We then decided to paint the built ins as well. I'm not a wood hater, but I didn't like that the wood was only in the front portion of the shelves. Plus, we were trying to lighten up the space. We painted it Ultra White by Valspar both on the outside and inside. It took many more coats than I would've liked and lots of physical contorting to get in all the nooks and crannies, but it had to be done.

I wanted to paint the back of the bookshelves, but just couldn't decide on a color. At first I thought of something bold, but then didn't want to have to change all of our decor afterwards. So I decided on going with a dark gray after seeing a few images on...where else...pinterest.

Oh, but we know what a pain in the booty gray is! I figured one with a bit more brown in it would work better than one with too much blue because of the black mantle and tan fireplace. I settled on Mined Coal by Behr. And because I'm a rebel, I bought half a quart without getting a sample first to "test". I laugh in the fear of painting disasters! Muahahaha. Thankfully, it was PERFECT! Here is how it turned out:

We would still like to add doors on the bottom part of the built-in at some point to give it a more finished look. Still, we think it's much improved and are really happy with how it turned out!

Here it is partially decorated and styled...

More to come! Though I can't promise it won't be another few months...

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