Let The Kitchen Overhaul Begin!

So about this kitchen…where do I start?! Demo can be scary but so liberating at the same time.  The thought of ripping your somewhat functional kitchen down to it’s bare bones is a little daunting but let’s face it, you have to start somewhere. Not every kitchen needs to be stripped down to the studs but this home being the age it is was missing some crucial things like insulation, plus I really needed to have the electrical brought up to code. Most of us need more then 2 electric outlets in our kitchens and preferable ones that don’t throw sparks at you when you try to use the microwave. Bring on the demo!

Kitchen Demo
Kitchen Demo

Now remember, being open to change is a must with home improvement. Your best laid plans may go to hell and a hand-basket in a blink of an eye. For example: when I started to demo I realized the original floor plan I had designed wasn’t going to work. The refrigerator was almost out in the middle of the kitchen floor…son of a (insert choice word here). So what is a girl to do? Time to think outside the box and get creative!! The photo on the right hand side has a closet that I had thought about keeping but soon realized by removing it I could utilize that entire wall for a built-in pantry and appliance garage with microwave storage…WINNING!!!. Hindsight I should have paid someone to draw up a functional floor plan for me, it would have been money well spent. Oh well, lessoned learned. Bye-bye closet…hello functional floor plan.

For the Love of Poly!

Polyurethane has always been my least favorite product to use until yesterday. Yesterday I met Varathane Water-Based Polyurethane in Satin. It’s a dream come true! Here is why, no mineral spirits needed for clean up, no special brushes and no more long drying times. Can we say, winning!!


-Twice as durable as traditional wood floor finishes
-Clear, non-yellowing
-Maxium scuff and scratch resistance in high-traffic areas
-Fast drying
-Self-leveling eliminates brush strokes
-Water clean up

varathane polyurethane the vibrant pad

Now that I have brought you up to speed on what it does for your floors. let’s talk about the finish…AMAZING! I’m so happy with the way the floors in my living room are tuning out.  The only down side is the manufacture suggests 4 coats for maximum durability which can be a little labor intensive but the end result is worth all the work! A new coat of stain can give any room in your home a whole new look and if you are willing to do the work yourself you can easily keep this project under $100. Happy Staining!

gel stained wood floors the vibrant pad

gel stained wood floors the vibrant pad


Refinishing Old Windows

Wow, this project is taking forever! What should have been maybe a day or two project has turned into 2 weeks. The stone texture that was sprayed on the original trim around the windows has been a serious pain in the butt to remove…talk about a process.

faux stone texture on window trim the vibrant pad

scrapping old windows the vibrant pad

First, I tried to use paint stripper, huge mistake! There was so many layers of paint that stripping the trim caused  major unevenness on the painted surface and required a bunch of sanding. Lesson learned. Next time I will just sand down the finish, primer then paint…much easier. So after stripping and sanding for hours on end here is what I came up with…


restoring old windows the vibrant pad

restoring historical windows at the vibrant pad

I still have some work to do on the sides but it’s night and day difference from what we started off with.  1 window down, 2 more to go. Got to get these windows done so I can move on to staining the floors.

refinishing window trim the vibrant pad

Putting Together a Living Room Design

This room feels like it is taking years to put together…mostly because of the scrapping and sanding of the original window trim.  Hoping the windows will be the crowning jewel of this room. The good news is, I did get all the walls painted in Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore and the floors have been sanded and prepped for new stain. We are making small strides.  If all goes well we should be able to wrap up this project just before the new sectional arrives…I have my fingers crossed!

I figured it was about time that I put an idea board together for this room so I can start putting all the colors and textures together.  I not a big planner usually but it’s time for change.  I want to buy items with a purpose no justt because they are on sale. That being said, here is what I came up with for the living room design.

living room idea board the vibrant pad

1, The color palette for the room is a soft relaxing gray, I decided on Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore.  This will keep my small living room looking bright and spacious. Plus by keeping all the trim bright white the room does take on a beautiful classy look.

2. I need away to bring in some complimentary colors with the gray tones in the room.  A area rug is the prefect way to do this.  By keep the background light, the busy pattern takes on a more classic look and doesn’t darken the room.  I do love the pattern on this rug.

3. The sectional I order from England is smaller in size with a lower back.  I choose Caprice Gray in a durable texture for the fabric.  I can’t wait until it arrives, only a few more weeks!

4. I already own these lamps.  The substantial bases in a white washed finish make a bold statement in the small living room plus they give off a great glow!

5. I need to add a little “bling” to this room and some brass light fixtures are the prefect way to do it.  I’m hoping they will add a nice glow to our built-in bookcases. Plus they look nice and they serve a great function!

6. We already have built in bookcases in our living room but they need some revamping.  The main issue is the lack of concealed storage space for electronics.  I want to keep all the receivers and wires hidden. It makes the room feel less cluttered to have the electronics tucked away.

7. Still torn on the end tables but I think the glass and metal may be a good look for this room. This nesting tables from Pottery Barn are prefect.  The size is good and they have an awesome finish on the metal.

So there you have it.  My first planning attempt! Now back to window scrapping and painting…yippy.


Give Me Gray!

Back on my gray kick again! Time to start transforming the living room before the new sectional arrives. This transformation will include stripping down the faux stone finish on the original window trim, re-staining the hard wood floors and changing the wall color from a dark tan to a soft gray…my favorite of course.

We started with the faux stone finish on the original stone work…talk about a process. We tried paint stripper, which worked but created a huge mess.

faux stone texture the vibrant pad

historical wood window trim the vibrant pad

Now, the color that was on the walls wasn’t a horrible color but being so dark it made the room feel smaller and it wasn’t really the look I was going for.  As we all know picking out the right gray color can be a little challenging but after a few weeks I finally had chosen “the one”…Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. I absolutely love it. It is light and airy and makes the room feel so different.


living room at the vibrant pad


owl gray benjamin moore the vibrant pad

oewl gray benjamin moore the vibrant pad

Now that we have the walls done I guess I should move on to the trim and floors.  Stay tuned for more updates to come this week. I have a few long nights ahead of me 🙂

Built-in Shoe Storage

Here is a flash from the past on a project that we did a few months ago.  As you can imagine an older house is seriously lacking some storage space.  As a lady with a great love for shoes the lack of storage creates a whole new problem and literally turns my world into complete and utter chaos.  I needed a solution and fast! Enter the fabulous world of IKEA HACKS!

I had a long wall next to my small closet in my bedroom that was screaming to be used for a built-in.  A built-in would solve my shoe storage issue, allow me to start organizing my life, help control some of the morning chaos that erupts in my house and hopefully add an eye pleasing aesthetic to my master bedroom…but how?

Pinterest seems to be my necessary evil. It’s how all my projects start. While scrolling through built-in storage ideas I came across some very useful Ikea Hacks. Bingo! Dilemma solved…sort of. We just needed to figure out how to build the darn thing.


master bedroom built in
master bedroom built in the vibrant pad

We started off by making a trip to our Ikea store and purchasing a White Hemnes 6-drawer chest for $199.  I selected the Hemnes because it had the right measurements I was looking for and it was already painted, which meant less finishing work for me. YEAH!!!! The height of this dresser played a big role as to why I selected it. I plan on mounting our flat screen tv above the dresser so it couldn’t sit to low. I didn’t want a lot of extra space around the tv.

ikea hemnes hack the vibrant pad

simple arrow graphic the vibrant pad

white melamine shelving the vibrant pad

We centered the Hemnes dresser on the wall next to the existing closet, making sure to leave equal space on each side of the dresser for the built-in shoe closets made from the white melamine shelving. For aesthetics reasons it was important that the closets were the same size. The top of the Hemnes dresser is wider then the dresser base so you will need 1×3 filler pieces along each side to fill the gaps between the dresser and closets.  No project is never complete without a little trim work.

built in closet detail the vibrant pad

french doors on built in closet the vibrant pad

After both built-in frames where up, it was time to add the doors.  A single door would have been much to large and really wouldn’t have been the right look so I decided on slim french doors in a simple 2-panel design. It turned out the exact way I had imagined.

built in closet with doors the vibrant pad

Almost complete!! Just need to add the bottom trim pieces and the trim around the tv. Plus, I need to figure some sort of doors for the existing closet. The good news is… the tv is now the prefect height to watch all the Dave Matthews Band shows I want from the comfort of my own bed.  Talk about bliss!!

Choosing The Cabinet Paint Color

The kitchen planning is still underway…and will be for the next month or so.  Now that I have the style of cabinet selected here comes the hard part, selecting the right color for the upper and lower kitchen cabinets.  I have been in love with the soft grays, mixed with brilliant whites but picking the right color of gray can be some what of a challenge and with dark counter tops I’m not sure if gray is going to be the best bet. I might need to consider lighter counter tops. That being said here are the gray colors I’m considering.

top gray paint colors choices the vibrant pad

kitchen cabinets in stone harbor hray the vibrant pad

I do love this look so it may be time to kiss the dark countertops goodbye…back to the drawing board I go. Some many choices and so little time.

Choosing the Right Sandpaper

Well here is a somewhat important topic for us DIYER’s that isn’t talk about nearly enough…SANDPAPER!

I really don’t know anyone that actually enjoys sanding but having the right sandpaper can make the world of difference on how your project turns out and the amount of time you have to invest.  Here is a quick guide that will hopefully help you on your next project.

Extra Coarse: The toughest of tough. Used  for removing paint and varnish that seems like it will never come off. Can be used to sand old floors that sometimes requires the abrasiveness of extra coarse sandpaper. ONLY USED ON TOUGH JOBS!

Coarse: Rough shaping is where you want to use this grit. Also, can be used to remove old finishes. Grit ranges from 40 to 50.

Medium: Final Shaping and general sanding work is best suited for medium grit. Grit ranges from 60 to 100.

Fine: Fine abrasive papers have a grit in the range of 120 to 220. Prefect for final sanding before finishing work.

Extra Fine: This grit is to be used between coats of paint of varnish. Grit of 240, 320 and 400 are termed very fine, while superfine sheets with grits of up to 600 are available for polishing jobs.

How to Get That Factory Paint Finish.

First and foremost I’m a huge Sherwin Williams fan. Not just because their paint is amazing but also they have huge sales where you can save 40%!! Can we say winning!!! I recently finished my staircase project (which you will see later) and I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic semi-gloss Enamel on the balusters and it finished like it was professionally sprayed. I was absolutely floored. Here are the steps I took to make inexpensive wood look like a million bucks!



Let’s Talk Shopping. Here is what you need.

80 Grit Sand Paper

120 Grit Sand Paper

220 Grit Sand Paper

Tack Cloth


Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Enamel in Semi-Gloss

I started by using a palm sander with the 80 grit sandpaper to knock down all the rough edges, then moved to the 120 to smooth the wood out. (If you are unsure what grit sandpaper does what check out this informational post.) You may need to use a little wood putty in fill in some of the wood knots. After the putty is dry (roughly 30 minutes) do a little sanding again with the palm sander using the 220 grit sandpaper.

After your wood is sanded down make sure you wipe down the surfaces with a wash cloth and warm water followed by a tack cloth.

Once the wood is dry you can apply the first coat of primer. Allow to dry for 1 hour. After primer is dry light sand the surface with the 220 grit sand paper and wipe down with tack cloth. Apply first coat of Pro Classic Enamel. Allow to dry for at least an hour. Lightly sand with 220 grit sand paper for the last time and apply our final coat of paint.



I know it seems like a hassle but the end result is amazing and just think about the money you will save. Happy painting!!


Dreaming of a Beautiful Kitchen

This ugly kitchen of mine is in dire need of a face-lift or to be slightly more accurate a complete gut job right down to the studs.  Over the last few months I have been putting an idea board together that will help me put my ideas into an actual plan. Being a small kitchen every nook and cranny needs to be utilized and the floor plan needs to have some adjustments made. When complete the kitchen will have a very timeless look. I’m really excited to start this project!

The idea is to be very budget friendly with this project and be able to finish the project for under $5000. Crazy I know, but I’m always up for a good challenge. Up first on the inspiration block is some new kitchen cabinet. This is what I’m thinking so far.

beaded face frame kitchen cabinets the vibrant pad

How can I get this high end look on a budget?? A router and a specialty bit will be the tool of choice.

I may have the correct tool figured out but I’m still debating on what type of wood to use.  I don’t want to use something extremely high end because these cabinet will be painted not stained. Gotta save money where I can, that way I can splurge on the high ticket items I can’t live without. Back to the idea board for some more brain storming.  The clock is ticking and I have a lot more planning to do!



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