Category: Before and After

DIY Gilded Picture Frame

diy gilded picture frame

Thrift stores are a great place to pick up picture frames. Even if they’re a bit beat-up, they can often be restored or re-invented with just a bit of paint. I found this wooden frame last year and it has been sitting around for a while:

thrift store frame

I wasn’t a huge fan of the generic print, but the frame was wood and was a nice shape, and the matting was also in decent shape. So I decided to reinvent it with a bit of paint.

painting a picture frame

I picked up a jar of Martha Stewart Metallic Paint in Vintage Gold at Home Depot. It was only $6 and it’s a pretty big jar (10 oz) so I should be able to use it for lots of projects. The description says it is an “all-purpose finish for walls, furniture, and accent pieces”, so I thought it would hold up better than a simple craft paint.

I didn’t bother to sand, just wiped the frame down and painted the gold paint on with a sponge brush. I decided to leave part of the frame bare just for a fun twist. After I let the first coat dry (about an hour), I brushed on a second coat, which seemed to give it the coverage it needed.

diy gilded picture frame

(Sorry about the lack of process pics. I got caught up in it and forgot.)

I didn’t have any art that I felt would fit the style of the frame, so I just made my own art using some colored Sharpie markers on watercolor paper and added a few gold accents.

Modern gilded picture frame diy

Right now, my little DIY gilded picture frame is hanging out on a little chest of drawers that is tucked under the spiral staircase in the family room. It was kind of a dead space so I thought I’d fill it up with something useful.

Have you updated an old picture frame lately?

Sharing over at Thrifty Decor Chick!

DIY Behind-the-Sofa Table


Chris’ latest woodworking project is done and is now adding a ton more warmth and charm into our living room!

This one was a fast one, thank goodness. No more 4-month-long projects like the family room reno please, at least for a while. This DIY console table (or sofa table, or what have you…) only took Chris a few weeknights to knock out. I think it looks great AND adds a ton of function.


Chris and I were browsing around at West Elm a while ago and noticed all of the “rustic” furniture that is sooooo trendy right now. You know, the recycled “pallet” furniture look. Chris remarked that he thought building some of those rustic-looking furniture pieces wouldn’t be difficult, so I challenged him to do it!

We actually had a goodly amount of “reclaimed” wood (a.k.a. scrap wood taken out of the house during renovations) and an L-shaped sofa table seemed like just the right project for it. We had been wanting something behind the L-shaped sofa in the living for a while. The sofa was looking kind of tiny all smooshed in the corner of the room and we wanted something to help float it out off the walls.





The reclaimed wood is all battered and scraped, which is definitely in keeping with this trendy industrial-rustic look.


Structurally, it’s an incredibly simple piece. We knew it would mostly be hidden behind the sofa so we didn’t bother to finish off the inner sides:


Here’s what the legs look like in case that helps. The legs were just scrap 2×4’s screwed together and the top/exposed sides are three 1×4’s screwed side by side. The 1×4’s were pretty old and brittle so we had a bit of splitting but nothing too bad.

diy console table

Then we gave it a light sanding with coarse-grit sandpaper just to remove any splinters. It’s definitely pretty bare-bones on the interior.


But the parts that show look great! The L-shape makes it so unique and perfect for our space.


You can’t really see it until you get close. But it’s a great place to set a drink and warms up those cool gray walls a TON.

I’m still figuring out how to decorate it. The budget is pretty tight around here so I’m not really looking to buy a ton of new accessories, so I’ll be rummaging through what I have in the house. I did add some of my DIY napkin pillows for a nice pop of color.


IMPORTANT UPDATE! We have now created plans that will will help you to build this project. Better angles, more info, and measurements! Go take a look at the plans for the DIY sofa table!

Sofa Table

I can’t decide whether we should have built it out longer so it reaches the other side of the window. What do you think? Is this a project you would tackle?

If you like this project, check out our DIY Dining Table too!

diy dining table 3

Sharing over at Not Just a HousewifeThe Shabby Nest, SavvySouthernStyle!


The Fireplace is Done!


The reason we called this blog “Something Is Done” is partly an inside joke and partly because nothing ever seems done in this giant project we call our house. So when little projects get finished, we encourage ourselves by saying, “something is done”, even though the larger project isn’t finished yet. Baby steps. Slowly but surely.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the fireplace in the family room really DONE, done. After we refaced the fireplace with quartz ledgestone, we added base molding around the bottom and carpeted the room. For the longest time this corner fireplace felt like an afterthought and now, with the new paint, stone facing, hearth tile, and accessories, it really makes the room.

It used to look dated and depressing, like a black hole sucking the life out of the room.


And now it’s bright, cheery, and cozy!


The sunburst convex mirror is from Home Depot’s Martha Stewart collection and was a mere $35! So affordable. Gotta love Martha. I bought the huge blue vase from West Elm (on the left of the mantel) a couple months ago, hated it, and was going to return it, only I found that the large size helped to ground the empty space on top of the fireplace, so I guess I might keep it.


The rest of the accessories are from Ikea, West Elm, Marshalls and thrifted.

I really need to put a shade on the little window on the right. I love roman blinds but they’re so expensive, so I may need to get my DIY on sometime!

Update!  Budget Roman Blinds are in!

Read more about Refacing a Fireplace with Stone Tiles.

Fireplace Revamp


Here’s the promised post about how we took our fireplace from this:


To this:


Although we had lived with the old fireplace for a year and it had been doing just fine, we decided that since we had the flooring out and everything, we might as well reface the fireplace while we were at it.

First, Chris removed those awful builder-grade brass sconces and patched the drywall. We then painted the walls a lovely happy spring green and painted the fireplace mantel a bright white (instead of that yucky off-white color).


This already made a huge improvement in the space but after all the work we had given the rest of the room, the imitation slate tile on the fireplace was starting to look really dated and ugly. We decided to tile the fireplace surround.

So we made a quick run to Home Depot and picked up $100 worth of new tile. At first I was considering a penny or mosaic tile but Chris thought they looked too bathroom-y. We decided to go with a pretty light quartz ledgestone for the fireplace face (Desert Quartz Ledgestone, I can’t find the exact product again online but this one from Home Depot is almost an exact match) and a porcelain tile for the hearth that looks almost exactly like rough flagstone. Seriously, Chris’ Dad could hardly believe it was tile and not real stone.


Chris removed the old tile, which came off pretty easily. It had been mounted directly on the plywood and the fireplace face…which doesn’t seem very secure…that might explain why it came off so easily. Chris laid out the pattern on the floor so we were happy with the color distribution.



Chris and his dad mounted cement board onto the fireplace face and then screwed a piece of 1×4 to the cement board to act as an anchor for the top half of the tile (we didn’t want the tile sliding off before the Thinset dried!). After the top half of the fireplace was done we had to let it dry for 3 days while the Thinset cured, so Chris and his dad tiled the hearth, which was relatively simple (we’d had a bit of experience tiling the laundry room so we knew what to expect). The hearth was even easier because we didn’t have to cut any pieces to fit.


Here I am applying grout and buffing excess grout off the surface of the tile (that was kind of a chore because of the rough surface of the tile).


And then Chris finished tiling the face of the fireplace!


I love it. I think it looks so much more updated and cozy than before. Of course it will look nicer once it is styled and the surrounding carpet is in. We also need to cut some molding to cover those unsightly gaps on the bottoms of the wood pieces.

The surprising thing is that this project really didn’t take very long AT ALL. Especially compared to some of the other tedious long-term projects we’ve had going on around here. It took us two evenings, and a few days of drying time. AND it was cheap with a price point around $100. Just a little work and not a lot of money, but it makes a HUGE difference!

Sharing at HopeStudios!


Before and After: Painted Stairs

Remember this hideousness?


As we work on getting the family room fixed up, one of the biggest impact projects we undertook was to remove the carpeted stair treads (they were grody, stained, and all-round nasty), and to repaint the badly scratched and stained metal staircase.


Here it is half painted and already looking much nicer minus the awful stained carpet. We used Rustoleum Hammered Dark Bronze spray paint. That stuff is seriously amazing. You spray it on (after cleaning and priming of course), and moments later, it curdles into a beautiful hammered finish. It looks much more expensive and professional than just a simple smooth finish.


Ah much better! With the dark bronze color I feel like it looks more industrial-modern rather than dated-80s. We also painted the stair treads but we intend to fill them in with stained wood treads.


It’s hard to show you in a photo what the hammered finish looks like but this gives you the general idea. It is MUCH nicer than a smooth finish…that speckling is ALL paint, folks! It helps to camouflage imperfections in the underlying metal nicely.

We’ve still got a lot to do in this family room but we’re starting to feel like we’re really getting someplace! Can’t wait to see the finished product!



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