Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Solarium Floor

I want to start this week's post with a big giant THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to vote for The Cow Spot last week for the apartment therapy Homies Awards. I ended up coming in 9th place in the semi-finals. 9th place in a National competition, not too all are the best and I was very honored to be considered. 

Back on the home front Brent and I have been busy sprucing up the solarium. Last we talked we had painted the ceiling, which really helped liven up the space.

The room was looking good as long as you were looking up, but as the eye drifted down....OY-VEY....palm... to...forehead....The floor was a whole other bucket of blah and needed some serious help.

 The floor is a 12" x 12" tile, which isn't setting the woods on fire in the cool department, but even worse, it always looked dirty. The grout was light colored and already stained when we bought the house. No matter how much we cleaned the tile, it always had a grimy vibe to it. Plus, the light colored tile with the light colored grout showed dirt very easily. Even when the tile had been deep cleaned, one trip outside to let Luke out or to throw some burgers on the grill and it seemed we were back to square one because every piece of debris that was tracked in would show up instantly. The solarium is the bridge between the deck and the den so it sees a fair amount of traffic, thus the flooring in this space really needed to be something more forgiving. 

As we considered our options we really wanted to find a solution that would solve our problem aesthetically without breaking the bank. We have big fish to fry all over this house and didn't want to spend a big chunk of money on the solarium floors. So, for  a while we stuck a big "TBD" on that project and went on with life. Then one random day, as luck would have it, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted about a DIY makeover they did to their bathroom floor. The long and short of it - they purchased a stencil and painted a design on their floors. The results were dramatic and it took them 5 hours. Light bulbs went off, angels started singing and this little voice inside of me, the one that tells me to buy horse heads and other fabulous things, screamed......"BINGO!"

I clicked right over to Royal Design Studio Stencils and began perusing my options. There are a lot of cool stencils on the site and Brent and I spent a few nights narrowing down our favorites, but ultimately decided on the Herringbone Shuffle Stencil.

Photo from google search. 
While we waited for the stencil to arrive we prepped the space for the new floor. To begin we purchased Sherwin William's pre-catalyzed water based epoxy paint in extra white.

This paint came highly recommended for our specific application because of the durability the finish offers. This paint is often used in commercial spaces with high traffic areas like schools and hospitals.   

The space was already feeling better with the floor half painted in the extra white color. 

With the floor painted and our stencils in hand we were ready to go. This is what the stencil looked like pre-paint. 

Let me stop here and say this photo of me all chipper and smiley holding the stencil was taken in late October and the final picture you will see further down the post is from early February. That's right this project took about 4 months from start to completion. We did not work on the project every day, but it did prove to be a bit more involved than we anticipated. I was counting on the whole 5 hour scenario, but unfortunately for us that timeline was not in the cards for our space.

Let me explain:

We went to town taping down our stencil and rolling on some paint just like YHL and countless other people have done before us with great results. Sadly our first stenciled square did not yield good results, nor did our second or third. WHAT. THE. HECK? Why was this not working for us? The answer became obvious quickly: Grout. Young House Love had painted their stencil on the sub floor AKA a flat surface with no grout. The grout lines created small valleys in the floor, where the paint from the roller would pool and run, getting paint outside the stencil lines as well as on the back side of the stencil (a big issue when it comes to stenciling). If we had continued down this route, we would have had to get a small paint brush and literally  hand paint each area of the stencil that was along a gout line. 

So, we RE-painted OVER the first stencil pattern with our white paint and came up with our plan B: Spray paint.  Genius, right? We thought so too. But before we could start using the spray paint we hung poster board around the entire perimeter of the room and then we taped poster board on to the floor around the stencil we were working on.  

This was a pain to say the least, but if you' have ever used spray paint you know the paint fog travels and will quickly coat all that it lands on. Because our walls and the floor were white, this was essential because the dark gray fog would of been very obvious. 

Once a square had been sprayed we would let it sit for awhile. Sometimes hours and sometimes days.  We wanted to ensure the paint was good and dry so that it would not smear when we lifted the stencil.  

This approach is one of the main reasons the project took so long, but it worked and left us with very little touch up at the end. 

We would complete one cycle and then begin again. 

Note: We also had to cover the completed tiles with poster board to keep the fog off of them as well. Yet another reason it was imperative the paint was good and dry. Wet paint would have stuck to that poster board and poof….ruined. 

The process wasn't hard but it took time. The actual act of spray painting the pattern was easy. It was all of the prep work and waiting that drug the project out. There would be days where we would complete the cycle 3 or 4 times and other days we would do one cycle before bed and then not touch it again for a week. 

But the more we did…..

the more excited we became at how it was all coming together….

Then one day a fire got lit under us. I'm not sure if it was the weeks worth of snow days we were given or just a general need to check this bad boy off our list, but we went to town and before we knew it, we were done. I can only describe the feelings I felt the day I was finally able to rip off all the poster board and tape and throw it away as pure joy. I cleaned the floor, wiping away the little bit of paint fog that had settled, and BAM:

We have ourselves a funky fun floor that literally makes the entire space have more personality. Suddenly just like that it was all worth it. The frustration is forgotten and all we can see is a happy space. 

The floor feels so fresh and is easy to clean because of the pre-catalyzed water based paint, but when debris does sneaks in, it isn't as noticeable because the pattern helps to camouflage it. Functional and pretty, does it get better? Obviously the space has a ways to go, we need to figure out furniture and a rug may or may not be in this rooms future, but for now we are letting the floor bask in all it's glory and we couldn't be happier with the end result!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spotted - 2014 Homies Award Nominee

The Cow Spot has been nominated for a Homies Award for Best Home Projects & DIY Blogs, through apartment therapy AGAIN in 2014!

You love me, you really love me!!!!

We, me and The ol' Cow Spot, are SO grateful to be nominated and would REALLY appreciate your votes! 

To vote, follow the steps below:

If you already have an apartment therapy account - click here and sign in. 
  • Once you are on the page, scroll down until you see The Cow Spot and add your +1
**Reminder, I was nominated last year, so if you voted for me you may already have an account**

If you don't have an apartment therapy account - click here to sign up. 
  • Once you have signed up, click on the "Home" Page at the top. 
  • Then look for "Homies Award" on the far left and click there. 
  • Once on the Homies Awards Screen you will see the category - Home Projects & DIY - click there. 
  • Scroll down until you see The Cow Spot and add your +1
Voting ends this FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21st at MIDNIGHT EST.  The top 5 most nominated blogs in each category will become finalist. I would be beyond excited to be a finalist, so please spread the word and help The Cow Spot!!!
You are allowed 1 vote per email so if you have multiple email addressees you can vote more than once! Heck, if you feel so inclined you could take the day off tomorrow and spend the whole day creating email addresses for the sole purpose of getting more votes for the Cow. Nay, this would be wrong. Scratch that. :)

Thank you in advance, as always I appreciate the love and support of my readers! 


Photo from apartment therapy website. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Mail Home Part 2.

This week you get a front row seat at the epic battle between

The Happy Mail Home vs. The Shearers

You may remember the Happy Mail Home project won the first round thanks in large part to it's evil counterpart - Rust-Oleum magnetic paint.  Team Shearer was slightly discouraged and majorly annoyed, but would not back down.

When round one ended we were left with this non-magnetic, magnetic paint painted pantry door. Try saying that 5 times fast.

The photo you see above was the result of 5 days and 12 coats of Rust-Oleums magnetic paint. It became apparent we had two options that would help us maintain what little bit of DIY dignity we had left. Option #1: We could come up with another plan to achieve the desired concept or Option #2:  we could pretend the whole project was just a silly idea anyway and rip the door off and forget about it. I'm not organized enough to go without a door on my pantry so option #1 it was. 

Thanks in large part to many of you, we came up with our plan B. A lot of you offered up suggestions that would allow us to bi-pass painting on the magnetic surface and instead install it, and that's just what we did. We purchased a large piece of sheet metal that Brent cut to fit the pantry door. 

Once the metal was cut Brent installed the piece by screwing it in place. 

FINALLY! A magnetic wall! Now, it was time to make it pretty. 

We taped off the door in preparation for painting. 

But before we painted we sprayed on this Zinsser primer to ensure the paint would adhere to the metal surface. 

Oncer the primer had dried we were ready to paint. We decided as long as the DIY stars were aligned in our favor we would try our luck with Rust-Oleum's chalk board paint. 

This would essentially kill two birds with one stone. Actually three birds. 
  • Bird 1: We wanted the magnetic part of this door to be painted black anyways. 
  • Bird 2: The ability to have a message board of sorts would add to the functionality, not to mention the cool factor. 
  • Bird 3. If this worked it would semi restore my faith in Rust-Oleum and I would feel comfortable throwing their voodoo doll away.
So we sprayed on that chalkboard paint and hoped for the best. 

As is the case with spray painting, drips/runs happen. It's just the nature of the process. If and when this happens it's best to let the paint dry and then lightly sand the areas with the drip and repaint. 

Next, it was time to trim out this beast. So we headed to Home Depot for some material. 

Photo from my Instagram.
OK, OK - all of that trim wasn't for this one project but I mean really, how tough does the little Honda look?

Once home Brent took some measurements, he made some cuts and began installing the trim around the chalk/magnetic surface to create a wooden frame. 

Vertical pieces first...

and then horizontal....

Once the frame was up, we caulked the nail heads and corners and were ready to paint:

With the door FINALLY complete, we were ready to start posting our invites and announcements, but first we ran to the store to pick up another necessity - chalk! 

I hung my happy mail and scribbled in a Yoda quote and boom. The winner of the final round of this match up was determined................

The magnets stick and the chalk board paint actually made a legit chalkboard that can be erased and everything!

It's everything we had hoped for and it functions just as we had envisioned it. 


Organization, kicking a projects butt, winning - all good for the soul and today our souls are very happy just like our mail. 

All photos are my own. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

KBIS 2014

Whew! What a jam packed, invigorating and exciting last few days! I just got back from Las Vegas where I attended the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show - KBIS. I always look forward to this event, but this year's show was especially exciting because for the first time KBIS joined up with IBS - The International Builders Show, for one giant collaboration of all things Home.

All things Home? Enough said, I was there and I was excited! I attended the show with Mike and Melissa, owner and co-worker at Bell Kitchen & Bath Studio. We came to the show with our eyes and minds open, ready to see what was new, what was cool and what would leave us feeling inspired.

OK, here we go….my highlights from KBIS 2014:

I  think the most slap you right in the face, obvious trend was color. It...Was...Everywhere! I'm not talking a little subtle color here and there - no, there was bright, bold color around every corner.

Let's start with the wood, there was a bright yellow island:

This Hermes orange door I posted on Instagram:

A glossy bright red vanity with matching mirror:

And some mix and match color with coral wall cabinets and dark gray bases:

Notice how all of the bold colored cabinets have a corresponding white countertop? It's as if the white countertops sort of tame the colors a bit, almost inserting a sense of calm. 

Next up, appliances, they were not about to miss the color train. Cute little blue oven anyone?

Range by Viking Appliances. 
Or maybe yellow is more your speed?

Double Oven by Viking Appliances. 
The color wasn't the only cool aspect of this little oven, take a look at the french door application for the top oven doors.  

Color, color, color, it was everywhere... Except for when it wasn't, which brings us to the next trend I observed: White. 

White hardware:

Hardware from Atlas. 
I really loved the glossy finish, it gave this hardware a certain elegance.

Hardware by Richelieu.
See, God agrees, notice his light shining down on the pieces above?

White Appliances:

Range by Viking Appliances. 
I know, I know the world just gave white appliances the boot in favor of stainless steel. But THESE white appliances are different than the ones you tossed. The pieces featured at the show had the same industrial look we have all come to love, but with a glossy white finish mixed with chic and sharp. 

Hood by Vent-A-Hood.
Exhibit B: This hood is so clean, crisp and so yummy with that polished metal detailing. Bonus - Vent-A-Hood allows you to custom make their hoods, so one could choose to do the metal detailing in brass and then all would be right with the world. 

Speaking of brass and hoods, a lot of you joined me in celebrating the greatness of this little jewel I posted about on Instagram and Facebook:

Hood by Wilsonart. 

Hello Pretty. Interesting fact my friend Brittany pointed out - this hood is made out of metal laminate by Wilsonart - how cool is that? Oh, and please note the yellow toned cabinetry....color, brass, chevron - so many trends, so little time....

Another obvious trend we spotted were modern lines in cabinetry. A lot of vendors were showcasing sleek designs with minimal hardware and moldings. Interestingly, the spaces did not come across bland and cold, but instead came across warm and interesting. A style we dubbed - Warm Modern.

 For example:

Cabinetry by Northern Contours. 
This display was at the Northern Contour booth. This space is sleek - slab doors and drawers, no hardware, linear lines, but it's also warm thanks to the mix of the wood tones with the white. I was instantly drawn to the color combination, but think I appreciated it more because of the modern-esque qualities. 

One of my favorite kitchen and bath design features to focus on is the activity INSIDE the cabinet. Internal cabinetry components can take a cabinet from a simple shell to an organized haven for your possessions. It's amazing what a difference a little thought in this department can make to a kitchen or bath's ultimate functionality. How to make a cabinet function at it's highest potential is the name of the game and this year's show had several players.

By JTech. 
An outlet IN a drawer. Ladies, how convenient would this be? No more cords strewn all over the countertops, now your grooming tools can be stored and operated out of the same place!

By Elmwood. 
The pots, pan AND lid organization in this drawer under the cooktop is pretty genius and super savvy. 

Pullout by Rev-A-Shelf. Photo by Melissa Nagle. 
A knife block in a pullout next to the cooktop - how convenient! I really love the concept of all things cooking in reach when you are, well, cooking...It just makes sense. 

Disclaimer: IF you have little people in or around your kitchen you may want to look into installing a lock on a cabinet with the knife storage down low. The ease of accessibility could quickly become a stress factor if a child was to try to open this cabinet.

If this is a concern, but you still like the idea of the knife block off the counter - check out this option Melissa came across:

Pullout by Rev-A-Shelf. Photo by Melissa Nagle. 
And finally there was some general fabulousness in the form of animal print glass. Yes, animal print glass....

By Kallista. 
By Kallista. 
There were so many people crowded around this area it was hard to get a good picture, but you get the gist. I like the concept, but definitely feel it should be designed into a space with care. It could go Jersey Shore fast if done in haste.

Well, there you have it, my favorite KBIS moments of 2014. It was a good show with some good products. I can't say I came back feeling rejuvenated because frankly a 3 hour time change completely kicked my butt, but it was well worth it. KBIS 2014, well done!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.