Welcome to the Mile High City and to the home of Mike and Monica, fans of A Guy, A Girl, and A Really Old House! A few years ago, we settled in beautiful Denver to raise our family and bought a really old house. We loved our charming 1912 bungalow in the heart of Denver, despite its small footprint and “cozy” feel. It wasn’t until we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Emily, that we realized that an 800 square foot home with a narrow, steep staircase and exposed earth in the basement was NOT going to work for growing a family.
Lindy arrived early on a Friday morning and stayed through late Monday afternoon. During that time, we completed three big projects and started one more. I was skeptical when Lindy told me we would get through that many projects in one weekend, but she is a miracle worker, and I’m now a believer!
We started with the area near the entry from the garage. There were two things I wanted to accomplish here: We needed a place to keep our keys and I wanted an area where we could display Emily’s artwork. The space is challenging because it’s a small wall right next to the patio door. We could not use shelving or anything else that stuck out from the wall because it would obstruct the door. We looked at a couple of options, including finding something metal on which to hang magnets, but we ended up going with a couple of empty picture frames.
We started by using teal tempera paint to give the frames a little color. The tempera paint didn’t quite accomplish our goal as it immediately soaked into the frame. We had hoped to have a little more coverage, but the subtle teal tint that we ended up with also looks nice. We turned the large frame into a place to display artwork by hot gluing twine to the backside and adding some mini clothespins.
The smaller frame offered a bit more of a challenge. I had hoped to include a chalkboard in our entry display so we could write notes to one another. However, we had some difficulty finding a chalkboard that would fit into the frame. All of the boards we found would either leave a gap or would need to be trimmed. Since we didn’t have access to a saw that was capable of trimming a chalkboard (we do not have the plethora of tools found in the Snethen household!), we had to come up with a different plan. We settled on using a chalkboard placemat that could be cut with scissors. We hot glued the mat into the frame and then filled in the space behind the mat with cardboard in order to create a hard surface to write on. We then added hooks at the bottom of the frame for keys and tied the eraser to the board with twine. The final touch was a place to keep the chalk. We found a drawer pull that, when placed on the frame upside down, acted as a perfect container for the chalk
We added an accent piece that we picked up ready-made from Hobby Lobby and a rustic teal picture frame. All that’s left in this area is to print some family photos and put them in the frame!
For our next project, I asked Lindy to step out of her Victorian art comfort zone and into the world of modern art. Our bedroom walls were looking quite bare, and I asked Lindy to help me create some pieces to bring some color to the room.
We started with the art over the bed after finding a blog (via Pinterest) that had used a piece of fabric with rectangular shapes as the starting point for a piece of wall art we liked so we hunted for some fabric to use for our project. We didn’t find anything we loved, so we decided to go with some blank canvases and see if we couldn’t replicate the fabric art by hand.
As a newbie to freehand painting, I was a little nervous to jump in and start painting. However, once we got going, we realized that the rectangles and squares in various shades of coral, yellow, and grey looked quite nice. It definitely accomplished the original goal of bringing some color to the room!
Next, we tackled the wall across from the bed. Again, we were inspired by pinterest. We found a piece of art that consisted of nine solid canvases, each in a different color. A swirl of white paint was dripped over the top of all nine canvases so, when placed next to each other, they created one work of art. We painted each canvas and then considered how we were going to accomplish the swirl. We tossed out several ideas, but we just kept going back to the same two problems: We didn’t know what kind of paint we needed to get the swirl to look right, and we weren’t sure how to swirl the paint without creating one gigantic mess.
We were still going back and forth about how to do the swirl when Karen, my mother in-law, suggested that we paint a bicycle on the canvases. We had considered this early on because of the bike on the original pillow, but decided against it because neither one of us felt comfortable drawing a bicycle free hand. However, it didn’t seem that the swirl was going anywhere, so we did some research on how to draw a bike. As it turns out, the basic shape of a bicycle is a combination of a few easily drawn geometric shapes. We took the plunge and tried our hands at the bike. I have to say, I LOVE the way this piece turned out! It is by far my favorite of the weekend.
Our last project was left uncompleted only because Hobby Lobby didn’t have enough canvas stretchers in stock. Our house has 22-inch square windows in both the living room and the master bedroom. I love the light and feeling of openness they create as uncovered windows for most of the day. However, there is a one to two hour window late in the afternoon when the sun blares in through those windows. I wanted a temporary, removable solution for covering the windows during those hours without installing permanent window coverings on the windows.
We decided the easiest way to accomplish this was to stretch fabric over 22 inch canvas stretchers and simply place them into the window during the hot hours of the day. This was a quick project aided by the use of a hand-held staple gun. In addition, it solved the problem with the sunshine perfectly! I especially love how the fabric still allows a glow of light to get through so the room doesn’t look dark when the frames are in place
I now have some wonderful pieces of art for my walls and our house is starting to feel a little more like home. The best part: I got to spend quality time catching up with a great friend while creating all that beautiful art. Thank you for all your help, Lindy! You are the best! Are you ready to tackle a living room and dining room, next?
Thanks, Monica, for your guest post, and yes! I’m ready! It was such a blast to spend the long weekend with my dear friends and their precious daughter. Thanks for letting me interrupt your regular routine for a few days!!
The best part for me, besides spending time with Mike and Mon, was when Monica said, “I could probably do some of this on my own.” DIY home decor is super fun and totally doable!