How to Brighten a Dark Staircase

Mattie would like to welcome all of you to the staircase revamp. She is excited about it being brighter and easier for her mom to clean *wink*

Bringing “light” into my dark and semi-enclosed staircase has been on my project list since the hubby and I bought our house a little over three years ago. Yes, I have a project list that I am still working on from 2014….Most likely it won’t be completed until we decide to move again *wink* Now, this project wasn’t a difficult one. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being easy-peasy and 10 being so-hard-it-makes-you-physically-ill, it’s totally an easy-peasy 1. You might be wondering–if it were so easy-peasy, why did we wait so long to do this paint project? Seriously, I have no idea!

This is the first time I saw the staircase of our current house. I say “current” because the little family and I moved a lot during a relatively short period of time.

Flashback to Fall 2013. The little family and I were house hunting in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The hubby got a new job, and it required us leaving our beloved Birmingham area and moving to the mountains. It was a crazy and stressful time, but we made it through without completing losing our minds and religion. Long story short–I fell in love with an old home (which had recently been renovated) in Johnson City, Tennessee. I had to have it–the porch was perfect, the view from the upstairs was gorgeous, and the neighborhood was friendly and revitalizing. The hubby knew I would have a project list, but we agreed to tackle the list slowly because we were both tired of constant renovations.

The staircase is semi-enclosed and does not have its own light source. The lights in the hallways upstairs and downstairs provide a little light along with all the big windows in the parlor and dining room. Bad news is when the sun goes down, it is a black hole and tripping hazard!

A few weeks ago, the hubby was inspired to paint the stair risers. I use the word “inspired” loosely. Perhaps, he just wanted to cross off an item on the project list or impress the neighbors with his mad painting skills. No matter. The risers are painted, the staircase looks amazing, and the project list is now shorter by one item.

Before I get into Hathorn Hall’s stairway makeover, let us flashback to some past stair projects. It will help explain my love of stairs, and how a little paint can totally change the look of a stairway and entrance.

Upstairs railing of our former home in Trussville. The white contrasted with the stained wood is classic. Both pop against the soft yellow walls of the two-story foyer. It takes a lot of patience to paint spindles, but totally worth the time. If you are not in a hurry to finish (e.g., your mother-in-law isn’t coming to visit next week and/or you’re not hosting a dinner party in a few days), paint a set number of spindles each day. It won’t be nearly as overwhelming + you won’t get tired and grumpy wishing you would have never started!

Basement stairway makeover. For more about this project, click here (which will open up to a Sweet Sorghum Living blog post from the archives), and check out my post about the genesis of the basement revamp and how I thought it would go much faster than it did.

Okay, stairs, steps, staircases, stairways…no matter how you say it, they deserve some love and a little glam to make them feel as special as the rest of the home.

Don’t forget to add a little pizazz and character to the outside steps! The hubby built these planters for the steps leading up to the front porch of our Trussville home.

Now, enough about past projects! Let’s take a look at Hathorn Hall’s staircase + see the hot mess little projects make!

Totally against advice I gave earlier, make sure to pick a time that is really inconvenient–like preparing for a neighborhood yard sale. That way you can really have a hot mess and lose your religion *wink*

First things first. Sand the risers and leave your sander where the furbabies and the wife can trip on it.

Tape off the area around the risers and leave your paint bucket on the stairs, so the furbabies can knock it down the steps into the parlor. *Note: Thankfully, this did not happen to us. **Another Note: Do not leave paint container on stairs.**

View from above. First coat and it is already brighter! **Note: It is a miracle that the furbabies did not get into the paint or knock the bucket down the stairs.**

Pricing items for the yard sale while waiting on the first coat to dry.

We painted the risers in Bright White Gloss. Why? Ziva. Gloss is much easier to clean and really durable. It doesn’t take the best photos, but one wipe with a Mr. Clean sponge, and the furbaby dirt is gone!

This photo was taken late afternoon with no lights turned on–just natural light from nearby rooms. The bright white against the dark stain adds a bit of light to the space making it easier to see going up the stairs.

View up the stairs in late afternoon with only the upstairs hallway light on. The gloss paint reflects the light adding to the brightness.

Almost dark outside. No light on in the hallway and one light on in the parlor. The bright white gloss is shining like a beacon!

Almost dark outside. A few lights on in the surrounding rooms. The crispness of the white really makes the semi-enclosed staircase brighter.

View from upstairs. Love how the white risers stand out against the stained wood!

One more project checked off the list! Time for the next one *big smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about making over a dark and semi-enclosed staircase + looking back at other stair makeovers. It feels good to do a little revamping–just remember no matter how little or big the project, there will always be a hot mess *wink*

“Solitude Ride” by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) For more about my art, please visit my website Chasidy Hathorn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Beauty From Weeds | A Life Lesson On How Giving Up Sometimes Brings You Up

Hey, y’all! Long time no see *smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home projects to easy, peasy gluten-free recipes. Just to get this out on the front in–I blog for fun and for self-therapy *wink* I just want to share my projects and life lessons–in hopes of making someone else’s DIY home renovation or day go easier and better! Consider Sweet Sorghum Living your coffee break! So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and sit a spell because today, I am talking about weeds and how easily weeds and life can overwhelm.

Three years ago, my daughter and I created a little backyard patio. We had the best of plans–oh, how we were going to sit out there and relax. *best-laid plans of mice and men*

A little over three years ago, the hubby’s job moved us from our beloved Birmingham area to Northeast Tennessee. It was indeed a cultural shock for me. Not so much in a bad way. But still a shock. See, I love fashion and shopping. I love art and art museums. I love a fabulous girls night out event (champagne and fashion or wine and art).  While living in Birmingham, I enjoyed blogging events with my daughter–from meeting Ty Pennington and Matt Muenster to attending Ken Laurence’s premiere party and going to Birmingham Fashion Week. It was a whirlwind of fun and excitement!

Fashion event at Saks Fifth Avenue in Birmingham.

I met so many people who loved the same things I did–home improvement, fashion, and art. The family and I were always on the go somewhere doing something–mostly involving my daughter’s successful blog or the independent film in which she starred (which her moving away to college was emotionally overwhelming not just for me, but also the hubby–but that is a story for another day *wink*). Getting dressed up and going out was what we did, and we loved it!

Abby and I taking a selfie in the mirror before heading out to a B-Metro event.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not whining or living in the past. My life is good, and God is good. But…starting over in Northeast Tennessee has been a challenge. For three reasons.

One. I am not much of an outdoorsy girl. I love gardening and flowers. I love visiting botanical gardens and zoos. I enjoy a short hike that doesn’t involve the possibility of seeing a bear or a snake. I love looking out of my window and seeing the mountains. I love driving around and seeing the beauty of the outdoors. I enjoy a short bike ride downtown. However, I do not want to sleep in the woods or in a tent or in a cabin without electricity or running water. I do not want to potty in the woods or bury my poo or potty in an adult diaper.

Two. Access to fashion and shopping for fashion is limited. Really limited. I miss having lots of options. I miss dressing up. I miss seeing other people who love dressing up as much I do. I know this sounds petty. I realize there are much, much bigger and way more serious problems in this world. But dressing up and feeling pretty makes me happy. And happy people spread happiness *cue R.E.M. “Shiny Happy People” and take a moment to dance around the room* Now, where were we? Oh, yes! I also believe in expressing oneself through fashion–whether that is pattern mixing or wearing vintage. Fashion speaks.

Three. The acceptance of art and artists is different here. I don’t know how to explain the difference. I just know it is different. It has been a real struggle for me because I love art–all kinds–I love exploring the world of art. I love experimenting with paint and texture. I don’t want to copy. I want to create. How brave those artists were when they showed the world and those nasty critics their interpretations of nature and the human body and spirit–Pointillism, Cubism, Surrealism…the drips and splatters of those action paintings…the drawing with scissors! Oh, my! I could talk about art all day! But lately, I have struggled to pick up the palette knife because I can’t find my place in this area’s art scene, and I wonder if I am wasting my time on this art career dream of mine. Bless! I have contemplated changing my business cards to–Chasidy Hathorn–professional housewife and stay-at-home mom to three precious furbabies. I apologize. That was a bit whiny. *deep breath–cue Simple Minds “Alive and Kicking”*

Where I am going with all of this? Weeds. I am going to talk about weeds and best-laid plans.

This is what giving up looks like.

Flashback. Three years ago, the daughter and I started a backyard project. It was going to be colorful and whimsical. Full of pretty flowers and a cute table with a couple of comfy chairs. Great plan. But then life happened. I got overwhelmed and a little depressed because I was not adjusting well to an area focused on outdoors and craft beer. I kinda gave up. The daughter was super involved in college and still is, the hubby was traveling more with his job and still is, and I was stuck at home–with the reality that I hadn’t applied for a job in well over five years.

Definitely not the plan.

So, life did not turn out the way I expected it to…the plans never materialized. I rolled around in my self-pity bed wearing my ugly self-pity pjs. Sure, I have been busy doing this or that–teaching children’s art–which is totally fun. Volunteering here and there. Making new friends. As I stated earlier, life is good and God is good, but…I have been struggling. I have been hiding the struggle really well (I think). Smiling. Laughing. Going out and being social. But on the inside, I look like my abandoned backyard project. See, my backyard sadness is hidden by a privacy fence–so from the street–no one can see…Just like no one has been able to see how I really feel.

The moment you realize that you have to snap out of it before the flamingos pack up and move away.

Dirt on the door courtesy of Ziva (my Giant Schnauzer) who likes to “knock” to be let in. Bless! This rug must feel really sad….

Broken pot = broken dreams. **This photo was taken during the revamping.**

About a month ago, I tried to gussy up the little porch. Once again, life got a little overwhelming, so the porch and patio project got pushed aside. Good news is I watered that little plant–because deep down I still had hope.

The plan was to create upcycled yard art to go on either side of the walkway–junky, funky flowers. To be totally honest, it is where the furbabies potty when it is raining….Truth.

About a week ago, I let the girls out to potty in the backyard. I was standing on the patio waiting on them to do their biz, when I realized that my life was this abandoned backyard project. So, I did what any good, strong Southern woman would do. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

I got the hubby to create a gate between the new doggy run (potty station) and the backyard (the area with the grass that hadn’t been mistreated by pups and left forsaken by the humans).

Cleaned out all of the weeds and plants, added pine straw, and rearranged the stepping stones.

Ziva and Mattie checking things out + The daughter and hubby taking a quick break. To learn more about the basket-weave fence the hubby built, click here. (That click will take you to the post called Fence Weaving and Painting.)

Mattie prefers to walk on the stepping stones. Ziva loves it all.

There are still some little things left to do like painting the new gate and door, but I am determined to get them all done this week. The good news is the furbabies have their own little backyard spot (which prevents them from terrorizing the newly landscaped green space), and I have a renewed spirit.

“It’s easy to take the time to stop and smell the roses but one must be willing to give of themselves enough to also stop to admire and understand life’s weeds.” ― Colleen Dougherty

“When life is not coming up roses
Look to the weeds
and find the beauty hidden within them.”
― L.F.Young

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have mentioned my strawberry plants…well, this is my second berry to harvest–the rest the birds have eaten! I don’t think I will be making jam anytime soon *wink*

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Freshly Painted Front Porch Reveal

It is good to have my front porch painted and ready for some good porch sitting *big smile*

It is good to have my front porch painted and ready for some good porch sitting *big smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to gluten-free goodies. Today on the blog, I am finally revealing the freshly painted porch. There are still some touch-ups left to do–thanks to the Robin family building a nest and raising their babies + one of the chains on my beloved swing broke (while the hubby and I were swinging–let’s just say we laughed…afterwards *wink*).

No matter how easy or not so easy the projects are I love gussying up and adding personality to my home!

No matter how easy or not so easy the projects are I love gussying up and adding personality to my home!

I have learned a lot through this process–like how to clean old concrete and prep it for paint and how important it is to represent yourself in your decorating–like using vintage coolers for flower pots and mixing blues with rusty treasures. AND at the end of the day, it is important to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of all the labor (and tears *wink*)!

I am so happy to have my rockers and flowers back on the porch!

I am so happy to have my rockers and flowers back on the porch!

Once the weather cools off (I am thinking late September), the hubby and I will stencil a pretty pattern on the floor. Currently, it is way too hot it Northeast Tennessee to be tackling such a project *wink*

Once the weather cools off (I am thinking late September), the hubby and I will stencil a pretty pattern on the floor. Currently, it is way too hot it Northeast Tennessee to be tackling such a project *wink*

These colorful vintage coolers are perfect containers for pretty pink geraniums.

These colorful vintage coolers are perfect containers for pretty pink geraniums.

Many years ago (like the late 90s), I was into tiles and mosaics. This table was my first major furniture redo. It has resided in Mississippi (twice), Alabama (twice), and now Tennessee!

Many years ago (like the late 90s), I was into tiles and mosaics. This table was my first major furniture redo. It has resided in Mississippi (twice), Alabama (twice), and now Tennessee!

View from my chair

View from my chair

This navy and silver table was a Pinterest-fail project that I rescued. Stay tuned to an upcoming blog post about it!

This navy and silver table was a Pinterest-fail project that I rescued. Stay tuned to an upcoming blog post about it and my Annie Sloan paint confession.

I have this thing for baskets filled with Gerber Daisies--especially, pink ones!

I have this thing for baskets filled with Gerber Daisies–especially, pink ones!

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we took a look at my freshly painted front porch. It feels good to have everything back in its place (and out of the yard!).

I am excited to announce that I will be part of the Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts Visual & Performing Arts Classes for Fall 2016. I will have two wedding and special events workshops: Charming Chalkboard Wedding Signs (September 16) and Country Table Scape + Table Numbers (September 23). Stay tuned to the blog and my social media for more information about the workshops and registration dates. Don't hesitate to comment on the blog with questions, message me on Facebook for more details, or stop me on the street to chat about the scoop on my special events classes!

I am excited to announce that I will be part of the Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts Visual & Performing Arts Classes for Fall 2016. I will have two wedding and special events workshops: Charming Chalkboard Wedding Signs (September 16) and Country Table Scape + Table Numbers (September 23). Stay tuned to the blog and my social media for more information about the workshops and registration dates. Don’t hesitate to comment on the blog with questions, message me on Facebook for more details, or stop me on the street to chat about the scoop on my special events classes!

How NOT To Clean Your Front Porch

The most awesome gift from the sweetest friend. Y'all go check out her Etsy shop like right now! Click here.

The most awesome gift from the sweetest friend. Y’all go check out her Etsy shop like right now! Click here.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to home renovation projects. Today on the blog, I am chatting about what I did for my birthday–which was not what I had planned…it just kinda happened + how not to clean your front porch.

Some of the items from my front porch are now taking up temporary residency in my parlor.

Some of the items from my front porch are now taking up temporary residency in my parlor.

It was a sunny and warm Friday with a gentle breeze. The view of the mountains from my pollen-covered front porch was spectacular. It seemed like the perfect time to give the porch a good cleaning. The hubby and I determined it would take about three hours to get it all spiffy for Memorial Day weekend (and my birthday). It was going to be an easy project….

Shortly after we started pressure washing the porch, the paint began to peel up....

Shortly after we started pressure washing the porch, the paint began to peel up….

Not long into our quick and easy cleaning project, little flakes of paint began to peel away from the concrete floor. At first, we thought it would be okay. A few chips in the paint here and there would be no biggie because most likely the furniture and flower containers would cover up those places. No such luck.

No home project is easy and quick *wink*

No home project is easy and quick *wink*

Three hours later, the hubby and I decided to strip and scrape as much paint as we could from the porch and paint it. And that is what I did for my birthday + I learned how not to clean your front porch *wink*

It was a long and tedious process, but the hubby removed most of the old paint with the power washer.

It was a long and tedious process, but the hubby removed most of the old paint with the power washer. The rest of the paint we scraped away.

Our three-hour cleaning project is now on day five *wink*

Our three-hour cleaning project is now on day five *wink* BUT there is light at the end of the porch!

No, it isn't snowing in May in Northeast Tennessee. That is paint flakes!

No, it isn’t snowing in May in Northeast Tennessee. That is paint flakes!

This is the "back" side of our wrap-around porch. I am so glad that I did not get my flowers planted in this spot!

This is the “back” side of our wrap-around porch. I am so glad that I did not get my flowers planted in this spot! **Just look at all those paint chips I have to clean up!**

My porch furniture and flower containers...they are still sitting there...hopefully, they can find there way back to the porch by this Friday!

Some of my porch furniture and flower containers…they are still sitting there…hopefully, they can find there way back to the porch in the next few days *fingers crossed*

The hubby had just put out fresh mulch a couple of days before...now, I get to pick out all the paint-covered pieces! **Happy Birthday to me! haha**

The hubby had just put out fresh mulch a couple of days before…now, I get to pick out all the paint-covered pieces! **Happy Birthday to me! haha**

Paint flakes are everywhere! I am telling y'all the truth...it is a hot mess!

Paint flakes are everywhere! I am telling y’all the truth…it is a hot mess!

This is how every home improvement addict spends her birthday weekend.

This is how every home improvement addict spends her birthday weekend.

More porch furniture in the yard *wink* BUT check out those freshly painted rocking chairs. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about my Annie Sloan paint confession!

More porch furniture in the yard *wink* BUT check out those freshly painted rocking chairs. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about my Annie Sloan paint confession!

When doing any kind of home project, plan for the worst and hope for the best! *wink*

When doing any kind of home project, plan for the worst and hope for the best! *wink* p.s. the hubby stayed in that corner for like two hours! He is the best *big smile*

I just had to show y'all my cute flower containers. This blog post was going to be all about spring cleaning your front porches + gussying them up for the summer months ahead. **Best-laid plans of mice and men....**

I just had to show y’all my cute flower containers. This blog post was going to be all about spring cleaning your front porches + gussying them up for the summer months ahead. **Best-laid plans of mice and men….**

"Y'all gon' make me lose my mind up in here, up in here Y'all gon' make me go all out up in here, up in here Y'all gon' make me act a fool up in here, up in here Y'all gon' make me lose my cool up in here, up in here"--DMX "Up In Here"

I would like to dedicate this song to all the power washers out there who had planned on just cleaning, but ended up stripping. “Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me go all out up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me act a fool up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool up in here, up in here” (DMX “Up In Here”)

It doesn't matter how easy or not so easy the projects are I love gussying up and adding personality to my home!

It doesn’t matter how easy or not so easy the projects are, I love gussying up and adding personality to my home!

Well, things did not go according to our plans, but that is totally okay because the hubby and I have learned over many years of home renovations and improvements that there will be snags, there will be rotted wood underneath those boards, there will be moments where you just want to cry, scream, and cussBUT–when the project is finally complete–it was totally worth it!

Y'all have a blessed day!

Y’all have a blessed day and never give up on your dreams!

 

 

Powder Room Reveal|Wall Collage Ideas and Tips

I found this ad in a vintage magazine, and I just had to frame it in my thrift-store-find picture frame.

I found this ad in a vintage magazine, and I just had to frame it in my thrift-store-find picture frame.

Whew! The powder room is finally finished *happy dance* And my vision turned out better than I had imagined! Yay *big smile* This room was indeed a challenge because of its awkward location in our house (between the kitchen and living room + it can be seen as soon as you enter the front door) and because of its built-in cabinet (which may or may not be original to the house).

The hubby and I wanted to do something bold (but not a bold or bright color) and a little bit different (not something commonly found on Pinterest), and I wanted to incorporate my love of vintage prints and paintings. It took several months to find all the prints and paintings, and we had to do some DIY framing, but it was definitely worth the wait.

View down the hallway--normally, I keep the door closed to the power room.

View down the hallway–normally, I keep the door closed to the powder room.

Built-in cabinet in the powder room

Built-in cabinet in the powder room

Here are a few facts about the powder room before I reveal all the fabulousness:

  • It is approximately 6′ x 8′ with 10′ ceilings.
  • The original hardwood floors could not be salvaged.
  • The hubby and I put down engineered, oak floors because we needed something a little “thinner” in order to make the transition less significant + we needed something with a little more “flex.”
  • We have no idea what this room used to be, but somewhere along the way it became a powder room.
  • It is difficult to photograph the entire space!
I love the look of this vanity and sink combo because it has a vintage feel.

I love the look of this vanity and sink combo because it has a classic, vintage feel.

There is no "theme" to the prints and paintings. We chose what we liked and put them together like a puzzle.

There is no “theme” to the prints and paintings. We chose what we liked and put them together like a puzzle.

I honestly have not counted the framed items in this room!

I honestly have not counted the framed items in this room!

The is probably the best deal of all the paintings and prints--I gave a whopping $10.00 for it at a local antique mall.

This large painting is probably the best deal of all the paintings and prints–I gave a whopping $10.00 for it at a local antique mall *gasp* *wink*

The hubby made signs to go above all the doors in Hathorn Hall.

The hubby made signs to go above all the doors in Hathorn Hall.

There is a possibility that guests will linger in this room *wink*

There is a possibility that guests will linger in this room *wink*

IMG_0638

This pendant light is really intended to hang above an island, but it was the perfect fit for my quirky powder room.

This pendant light is really designed to hang above an island, but it was the perfect fit for my quirky powder room.

I totally love old, bubble glass.

I totally love old, bubble glass!

View from the toilet *wink*

View from the toilet *wink*

IMG_0624

I used dollar-store frames for several of the smaller prints.

I used dollar-store and thrifted frames for several of the smaller prints.

SSL Tip: When creating a wall collage, mix different shapes, sizes, and colors of frames in order to create a conversation piece that is uniquely you.

SSL Tip: When creating a wall collage, mix different shapes, sizes, and colors of frames in order to create a conversation piece that is uniquely you.

SSL Tip: Don't be afraid to mix a Gypsy lady painting with a John Deere tractor print. It is all about displaying what you love with confidence (and in the case of my powder room, a lithe sense of humor *wink).

SSL Tip: Don’t be afraid to mix a Gypsy lady painting with a John Deere tractor print. It is all about displaying what you love with confidence (and in the case of my powder room, a little sense of humor *wink*).

SSL Tip: From the ceiling to the floor, fill your walls with vintage paintings and prints. Don't fret about spacing because it is all about making them fit together like a puzzle (well, a broken puzzle).

SSL Tip: From the ceiling to the floor, fill your walls with vintage paintings and prints. Don’t fret about spacing because it is all about making them fit together like a puzzle (well, a broken puzzle).

SSL Tip: Bold wall collages need light/neutral walls.

SSL Tip: Bold wall collages need light/neutral walls.

IMG_0613IMG_0609Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we looked at the finished powder room and chatted about wall collage tips. I cannot wait to show y’all more of Hathorn Hall *big smile*

IMG_0608

Powder Room Update + The Messy Truth About Renovation

Oh, no! Not again!

Oh, no! Not again!

Have you ever gotten so excited about painting a room you rushed out and bought the paint that same day? Me too! Did you paint that room the same day or the next day or the next week? Or did several months go by before you got around to opening up that can? Well, if the answer is the latter, you are not alone because I am totally guilty of dust building on the paint can and brushes!

I actually got this can of paint for the laundry room, but that room project has been put on the back burner until the window gets replaces--which is a sore subject in my house at the moment *wink*

I actually got this can of paint for the laundry room, but that room project has been put on the backburner until the window gets replaced–which is a sore subject in my house at the moment *wink*

Several months ago (and I am talking about 6 or more months), I decided to paint my laundry room…BUT…then we got a huge downpour…the old, original window leaked…blah…blah…called a window guy…time goes by…still no window…so, no laundry room sprucing up….Well, what’s a girl with an extra gallon of paint to do?!?Hmmmm, paint the downstairs powder room, of course!

The powder room is an awkward space in the middle of my first floor--nestled between the kitchen and the living room.

The powder room is an awkward space in the middle of my first floor–nestled between the kitchen and the living room. I really wonder what this room was back in 1920???

View from the living room into the powder room

View from the living room into the powder room

There are two vanities and an old, built-in cupboard in the powder room.

There are two vanities and an old, built-in cupboard in the powder room.

Now, here is how the powder room renovation went down. I kinda suggested the hubby and I paint the space over Thanksgiving holiday because we were not traveling and had no major plans except celebrating the daughter’s 20th birthday. Well, what started out as a little painting project became much more–from plumbing issues to new hardwood floors being put down. Did I mention the daughter had a birthday get-together with her friends planned?

The ugly truth to any small renovation project--it will take over your entire house no matter how big or small your house is!

The hubby and I are no experts; however, this powder room makes our 9th bathroom renovation project (that does not include small updates like painting or new decor touches). From all the home DIYs we have done, we have learned a lot. One of the ugly truths we have realized is any small renovation project will take over your entire house no matter how big or small your house is!

The vintage framed prints and painting that belong in the powder room. It took me about a year to collect them--and I cannot wait to reveal them all!

The vintage framed prints and paintings that belong in the powder room. It took me about a year to collect them, and I cannot wait to put them all up in the freshly painted space!

More of the art work for the powder room. Did I mention how a small renovation project consumes your entire house!

More of the art work for the powder room. Did I mention how a small project consumes your entire house!

Hey, there's a toilet in the hall! (the view down the hallway)

Hey, there’s a toilet in the hall! (the view down the hallway)

Let's just prop the ladder up right here.

Let’s just prop the ladder up right here.

The absolute best place to put the wax ring for the toilet. (This is the vintage stool in my kitchen--yes, the kitchen!)

The absolute best place to put the wax ring for the toilet. (This is the vintage stool in my kitchen–yes, the kitchen!)

The door for the power room propped up on the door of the cleaning closet. (view from the powder room)

The powder room door propped up on the cleaning closet door. (view from the powder room) By the way, there is a lot of propping involved in home renovating *wink*

Do y’all want to know the question the hubby asks me that makes me cringe the most during any home project?

“Hey, honey! Will you bring me a towel?”

I know it seems like a simple request, but it is not! That question can only mean there is (A) a plumbing issue (B) an unexpected, complicated mess to clean up OR (C) BOTH.

More mess and chaos--it's like the powder room exploded, and bits and pieces of it went everywhere!

More mess and chaos–it’s like the powder room exploded, and bits and pieces of it went everywhere!

One has to master the skill of moving things around while working on any renovation project. It is really a game of where can I put this so I don't trip on it.

One has to master the skill of moving things around while working on any renovation project. It is really a game of where-can-I-put-this-so-I-don’t-trip-on-it.

Making progress in the hot mess!

Making progress in the hot mess!

I really wanted to share the truth and a behind-the-scenes look of a small renovation project. It is so easy to show the before/after photos and claim how easy, peasy it was to do–BUT–truth be told–home projects are not easy, peasy…AND they are messy, messy!

P.S. this is the G-rated version of home renovating because there are moments when the hubby and I lose our religion, and the language is not-so-Jesus-like.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me as I chatted about the powder room update. Stay tuned for the finished product…and yes, I know I am prone to say “stay-tuned,” and then I wander off for weeks…months…BUT…the reason I go MIA is because I am busy not only renovating rooms and creating art pieces, but I am also cleaning up all the messes generated by those projects *wink*

P.S.S. if I don’t hear from the window guy soon, the hubby and I will be learning a new skill–window replacement!

 

#TBT A Playroom Inspired by Rocks, Volcanoes, and Feathers

My dad made me this dresser when I was a little girl. Originally, it was stained dark--almost espresso. Currently, it is painted a light gray.

My dad made me this dresser when I was a little girl. Originally, it was stained dark–almost espresso. This photo shows the dresser in Abby’s playroom way back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I don’t remember the exact date–but she was still in early elementary school. P.S. I am terrible, terrible with dates!

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, we are kicking off a new series–which will be all about throwing it back to the beginning and early stages of my art creations and home renovations. I believe that having a bit of a backstory is important because it shows the progression and improvement of both the art and the home projects.

In the beginning, the hubby and I had no idea what we were doing–and most of the projects we did because we were young and broke–but we knew we wanted to make improvements…we knew we wanted to create.

From Abby's rock collection.

From Abby’s rock collection.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wanted her playroom to be painted like a handful of rocks that she showed her parents. This little girl had ridden in a Lowe’s buggy just as much as she had ridden in a car. She had very strong opinions on what she liked and didn’t like, so her parents learned to let her pick out her own room themes and paint colors. They explained, “Why shut down the creative process of a little one, when it is only paint and a few decor items!”

Staring at the handful of rocks, her mom was a bit unsure on how to make it work–stripes? No, the little girl did not want stripes. She hated stripes. Hmmmm. Now, while the mom was trying to figure out how to bring rocks to a wall–the little girl brought her a book about volcanoes. She loved volcanoes…and rocks…and dinosaurs…and her American girl dolls…and feathers…and lava lamps.

At first, the mom was going to redirect the little girl away from all of these ideas. Tell her that is was impossible (thinking that it was going to be more ugly than impossible), but what kind of message would that send to her. Limit your creativity. Limit what you want. Nope. The room had to be designed around all of those things to show her that creativity and dreaming has no limits.

Abby helped to tie-dye the curtains for her playroom, and she even helped with the feather boa valance. She decided which colors and the order of the colors.

Abby helped to tie-dye the curtains for her playroom, and she even helped with the feather-boa valance by picking out the ones she wanted and the order of the colors.

So, how in the world did we take all of those very different things and create a space that Abby “designed” and wanted. Well, it wasn’t easy!

First, we painted the walls in a red-orange color that Abby picked out. Next, we painted an abstract border at the top to represent the lava of a volcano (it was Abby’s idea–I remember her sketching it out on a piece of paper!). The final touch to the walls was gold glitter–spray glitter–so many cans of spray glitter. Now, her walls shimmered and sparkled just like the rocks.

100_0747

Abby has been mixing patterns her entire life. The hubby and I wanted her to see her ideas come to life–even though her decorating taste and ours were and still are totally different.

After painting walls, we created the curtains she sketched, and we begin to add all the decor items from her shopping list that she made while “shopping” in a storage closet in our house.

100_0751

She wanted a bulletin board, so we designed and made this one together.

She wanted a bulletin board, so we designed and made this one together. If you look closely in the photos, you can see the shimmer of the gold glitter on the walls.

A little closer look.

A little closer look. Notice all the sparkle! She loved the sparkle–still does *wink*

She picked out the fabric for the ceiling fan blades. Abby helped by applying the glue to the fabric and blades. It was an easy and fun DIY project.

She chose the fabric for the ceiling fan blades because it looked like some of her fossils *smile* Abby helped me with this DIY project by applying the glue to the fabric and blades.

Another easy DIY project was decoupaging tissue paper and paper butterflies to outlet covers and light switch cover.

Another easy DIY project was decoupaging tissue paper and paper butterflies to the outlet covers and light switch cover. Abby got a little carried away and decided to decoupage a few butterflies to the walls *smile*

We went shopping in the closet (you know the one that houses everything from coats to Christmas decorations) for accessories for her playroom. We also took the leftover fabric from the ceiling fan blade project and framed it in a frame that Abby found under my bed. *Our house was a crazy construction zone for several years!*

We went shopping in the closet (you know the one that houses everything from coats to Christmas decorations) for accessories for her playroom. We also took the leftover fabric from the ceiling fan blade project and framed it in a frame that Abby found under my bed. *Our house was a crazy construction zone for several years!*

Abby was so proud of her new playroom. She had a place that she could play with her dolls and read about volcanos, rocks, and dinosaurs. She wanted to spend time in there because it was exactly what she had dreamed of *big smile*

I tell folks all the time to let those kids be creative. Let them pick out their room themes and decor items. After all, it is just paint and trinkets. What they learn from the process is their opinions do matter. Let them help with the painting, with easy DIY projects, and with putting those trinkets on the shelves (right where they want those trinkets). After all, they will be the ones spending time in their rooms. What they learn from the process is that hard work pays off.

A quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama with Abby for the Home + Remodeling Show.

A quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama with Abby for the Home + Remodeling Show.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we threw it way back to when Abby was in early elementary school! I think I am going to go cry that “my-baby-is-all- grown-up” cry.

Be sure to check out Abby’s current home and decorating style + celebrity interviews with some of her favorite designers. Click here for VIP Home.

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Living Room + Deck Update at Hathorn Hall

An upcycled art piece that the hubby and I made for the new outdoor living room. Stay tuned to find out what this "HOME" sign is hiding.

An upcycled art piece that the hubby and I made for the new outdoor living room. Stay tuned to find out what this “HOME” sign is hiding + what we used to make it.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation projects + tips to random road trips. Today on the blog, I am giving a quick update on the new outdoor living room project + showing off what I wore to a meeting (I am taking a little inspiration from my daughter’s blog.)

I have had so many asking and emailing about what is happening with the new deck that I decided to get out there and snap a few photos with my Samsung Galaxy S5–because I am not cool enough for the S6 *wink* It is not that I haven’t wanted to give y’all an update. Bless! Between travels and the weather, there has not been an opportunity to finish the deck or to take nice photos.

Outside view of the deck walls--before the paint.

Outside view of the deck walls–before the paint.

When I got home this afternoon, the sun was shining brightly; and I immediately whipped out my phone and got y’all a few photos. Please excuse all the shadows and such. Y’all know that I am not a professional *wink*

The walls are painted and the floors are stained. Waiting on a few dry days so we can seal the cedar shakes on the columns. Fingers crossed that it will be soon!

The walls are painted and the floors are stained. Waiting on a few dry days so we can seal the cedar shakes on the columns. Fingers crossed that it will be soon!

I am planning a big blog reveal with all the details about the colors we used, the furniture the hubby built, and more. So, stay tuned!

We wanted to have as much light as possible without blinding the neighbors at night *wink*

We wanted to have as much light as possible without blinding the neighbors at night *wink*

A sneak peek at one of the furniture pieces that the hubby built...actually, you can also catch a glimpse at the bar.

A sneak peek at one of the furniture pieces the hubby built. You can also catch a glimpse of the bar–made from pipes we found in the alley behind our house and pipes from Sloss Castle. We believe in saving and reusing as many materials as possible. #savethejunk

A storage area for all the hubby's grilling things. The deck design allows for a kitchen area + living space.

A storage area for all the hubby’s grilling things. The deck design allows for a kitchen area + living space, and the furniture the hubby built allows for us to rearrange according to the occasion. Shhhh! I am about to spill all the beans *wink*

There is still a little work left to do, but I am thinking that we are getting pretty close to having a deck christening party *big smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we took a peek at the latest happenings on the outdoor living space + deck.

The outfit that I sported to a meeting today. Details below the photo.

The outfit that I sported to a meeting today.

Kimono–Molly Green, Birmingham

Green Blouse–Express, Johnson City

Black Pants–Chip & Pepper, Belk

Necklace–handmade by BluKatDesign

New Door for the Utility Room + Deck Update

Happy Spring, y'all!

Happy Spring, y’all!

Happy Spring! Are y’all as excited as I am that spring has sprung?! This is definitely my favorite of all the seasons because it is a time of rebirth and new birth. Speaking of new birth, there is a little bird family building a nest on my front porch–despite my best efforts to shew them away. Don’t get me wrong–I love birds and nests and baby birds…just not on my front porch…where their poop can easily be stepped in + it is in the dining area…yuck!

Dear little bird family, please understand that as much as I love birds...I would really love for you to build your nest somewhere else...or even somewhere else on my front porch...away from where we eat and sit. Much love, Chasidy

Dear little bird family, please understand that as much as I love birds…I would really love for you to build your nest somewhere else or even somewhere else on my front porch away from where we eat and sit. Much love, Chasidy

I will try to keep y’all updated on the bird drama *wink* Anyway…today on the blog, we are continuing the mudroom + utility room + deck (outdoor living room) update. Currently, everything is a hot mess because the deck project is taking over the mudroom and utility room. I’ve almost given up on sweeping up the sawdust off the floor *wink*

The hubby was testing the TV to see if all the wiring and such was working...Bless his loving heart--I do love him dearly--but the TV is still in the mudroom--propped against the wall. P.S. notice the beginnings of the very large coat/hat hanger--it won't be long, and it will all be back to normal and organized *smile*

The hubby was testing the TV to see if all the wiring and such was working. Bless his loving heart–I do love him dearly–but the TV is still in the mudroom–propped against the wall. P.S. notice the beginnings of the very large coat/hat hanger–it won’t be long, and it will all be back to normal and organized *smile*

Today on the blog I not only want to share an update, but I also want to share a few home renovation tips + a story about the “new” utility room door. If you have been following my blog and/or social media for a bit, you probably know I am a huge fan of repurposing and upcycling. The hubby and I try to reuse as much materials as possible–not because we are stingy or following a trend, but because we think it is foolish to toss out something that is perfectly good that could be reused or repurposed.

Now about a year or so ago–I honestly lose track of time–the hubby and I bought a 1980 fixer upper and totally renovated it from top to bottom–inside and out. It was a massive undertaking, but well worth the time, hard work, and money. Long story short–the master bedroom in “Sloss Castle” had three doors (not French doors–all individual) separating the main bedroom area from a little reading nook of sorts. It was awkward. Hmmm, the hubby and I must have this thing for houses with awkward spaces haha. Anyway, we decided on the very first walk through that the doors had to go–the space had to be opened up. Because of this decision, we gained some old doors to reuse and repurpose.

FLASHBACK TO SLOSS CASTLE

The three doors separating the main area from the reading nook. Only one of the doors opened...yep, just one of them. The other two were like windows!

The three doors separating the main area from the reading nook. Only one of the doors opened…yep, just one of them. The other two were like windows! *This photo was taken just before the demolition.

When one door opens, the other two stay closed--never to be opened. Removed, yes. Opened, no. *smile*

When one door opens, the other two stay closed–never to be opened. Removed, yes. Opened, no. *smile* –This photo was taken on our first walk through. I apologize for the poor quality–I am not a photographer!

BACK TO THE PRESENT AT HATHORN HALL

The door that is separating Hathorn Hall's kitchen and utility room came from the master bedroom in Sloss Castle. I am so happy that this old door found a new life *smile*

The door that is separating Hathorn Hall’s kitchen and utility room came from the master bedroom in Sloss Castle. I am so happy that this old door found a new life *smile*

The old door was not tall enough for our opening, but the hubby did not let that stop him. He added a little bit of this and that--and tah da! Perfect fit!

The old door was not tall enough for the opening, but the hubby did not let that stop him. He added a little bit of this and that–and tah da! Perfect fit! During the modification process, the hubby allowed room for the new floors that will be going down as soon as we decide on what we want. We have to be a bit picky in choosing new floors because we want to keep to the era of the home + have floors that are dog-friendly (no “soft” woods). SSL TIP: Be sure to check the hardness rating on wood floors. Be sure to ask the salesperson if the flooring can stand up to dogs and heels *wink*

With any home improvement project--no matter how big or small--expect a mess. My tip is to try to clean up as you go along. Always keep a broom and dust pan on stand by!

SSL TIP: With any home improvement project–no matter how big or small–expect a mess. My tip is to try to clean up as you go along + always keep a broom and dust pan on stand by!

SSL TIP: If you can't afford to lose any natural light, but still want to create separation between rooms, opt for a door with glass.

SSL TIP: If you can’t afford to lose any natural light, but still want to create separation between rooms, opt for a door with glass. It might encourage keeping the adjoining space organized and clean *wink* P.S. notice Ziva…she does not like the new door that separates the kitchen from her dog food room *wink*

Ziva protesting the new door by having a stand-in.

Ziva protesting the new door by having a stand-in.

As much as I would love to snap my fingers and the projects be done and the messes be gone, it just isn’t realistic. The hubby and I believe in getting it right and doing it right–no matter how many tries it might take or how long it might take. The biggest tip I can offer is to be patient because no matter how well-planned a project is something will always happen to interrupt the schedule. Mother Nature seems to be the number one interrupter–so always have an alternative plan for those days when it is too wet or too cold or too hot….

Deck Update

It is still a work in progress, but the overall design is coming together nicely *smile* In this photo you can see where the TV is going to hang. I will give y'all are the details on the deck reveal blog--which I will have the hubby take those photos *wink*

It is still a work in progress, but the overall design is coming together nicely *smile* In this photo you can see where the TV is going to hang. I will give y’all all the details on the deck reveal blog–which I will have the hubby take those photos *wink*

Outside view of the deck walls

Outside view of the deck walls

I am totally crushing on these columns. This is one of those must-have-patience projects *wink*

I am totally crushing on these columns.

The new railing for the backdoor.

A sneaky peek of the new railing for the backdoor. I cannot wait to tell y’all about the colors we are using!

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the latest happenings at Hathorn Hall. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the front porch Easter decor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mudroom + Deck Update

View from the deck last night

View from the deck last night

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home improvement projects to gluten-free goodness. Today on the blog, we are chatting about Hathorn Hall’s mudroom + utility room(s)–it is hard to explain the space, but it is two separate spaces…yet one space because there is no door between them…it’s complicated *wink*…and we are chatting about the deck project–which is currently happening. Don’t tell the hubby where I am…he thinks I am on a water break *smile*

View of the utility room from the kitchen.

Before photo–view of the utility room from the kitchen.

I really love my old house–it has character and quirkiness that can’t be found in new construction. Now, these charms do offer some challenges when it comes to home improvement projects, but the hubby and I accept and embrace them.

We chose to put the laundry room upstairs and to use this space as a catch-all for the downstairs. The hubby added the countertop because every miscellaneous room needs a place to work, sort, or just pile stuff on top of it *wink*

We chose to put the laundry room upstairs and to use this space as a catch-all for the downstairs. The hubby added the countertop because every miscellaneous room needs a place to work, to sort, or just a place to pile stuff *wink*

I have had the mudroom painted for a few months now…I just did not have the nerve to show y’all the color because it is a bright and fun color. Not the Pinterest gray and white palette. Not the popular colors you see on other blogs…and in magazines.

The color has a coastal + vintage feel. It has personality, and it demands to be noticed–to stand out. Not fade away into a sea of grays and neutrals. Why would Valspar offer so many colors, if it did not want us to embrace and experiment with hues?!?

Before--view of the mudroom space from the utility room area. I have decided that I want to keep the chair bench an the vintage bench, but I am going to be creating more useful organization for coats and dog leashes.

Before photo–view of the mudroom space from the utility room area. I have decided that I want to keep the chair bench and the vintage bench, but I am going to be creating more useful organization for coats and dog leashes.

Part of me wants to apologize that I went so far with my color choice. Part of me feels like I have done something wrong as a blogger and a designer–but the artist in me…the adventurer in me…says I should not apologize for daring to be bold, daring to embrace color, and daring to be me in a world of gray.

This door leads to the deck that is currently under construction. This space is long with a

The door leads to the deck that is currently under construction. This space is challenging to organize because it is long and a bit narrow with a catawampus ceiling. I want to take advantage of the large blank wall…and I have a few ideas up my sleeve…

After sorting through many paint samples, the hubby and I decided on this shade of coral.

After sorting through many paint samples, the hubby and I decided on Coral Reef. This shade of coral brightened up the entire space–and it needed it because there is only a door and no windows.

First things first, clear the space and paint the outside lines *smile*

First things first, clear the space and paint the outside lines *smile*

There was a lot of brush painting in this space because of all the character and charm. This room was once a porch--many moons ago!

There was a lot of brush painting in this space because of all the character and charm. This room was once a porch–many moons ago!

Experimenting with ceiling colors. We finally picked "Stillness" by Valspar. It is a whisper of sky blue and perfect companion to the Coral Reef.

Experimenting with ceiling colors. We finally picked “Stillness” by Valspar. It is a whisper of sky blue and a perfect companion to Coral Reef.

Progress being made--and the space is so much cheerier *smile*

Progress being made–and the space is so much cheerier *smile*

We removed the utility sink to make it easier to paint. I am on the look out for an old galvanized wash sink. As soon as I find it, the plastic one is going bye-bye *wink*

We removed the utility sink to make it easier to paint. I am on the look out for an old galvanized wash sink. As soon as I find it, the plastic one is going bye-bye *wink*

I just wanted to share the mess with y'all. Home improvement projects take over every room *wink*

I just wanted to share the mess with y’all. Home improvement projects take over every room *wink*

Now, that is all I am going to share of the mudroom + utility room because I am currently revamping them both because of the reality of winter and the new deck project. I realized that being cute + colorful wasn’t enough…I need more places to hang coats, dog leashes, and the hubby’s hat collection. I need a place for muddy boots and umbrellas. Don’t worry. I will show y’all the before finished and the new finished rooms *smile*

At the end of the day, home improvement is a not only a learning experience, but it is also an on-going one. My best advice is to be yourself and to not be afraid to admit that a brand new space isn’t working. Just sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and make a new plan!

The beginnings of the columns.

The beginning of the columns.

It is bright and sunny, and we are working like mad to get the job done before more rain gets here!

It is bright and sunny, and we are working like mad to get the job done before more rain gets here! I am 100% certain the rain will be here before we are finished haha

20150316_150750_resized

It is a hot mess on the parking pad and in the backyard!

It is a hot mess on the parking pad and in the backyard!

20150316_150718_resized

The hubby came up with a genius plan to keep the concrete steps...we wanted to take them out...but as I have stated before...this is an old house (built 1920) with lots of quirks.

The hubby came up with a genius plan to keep the concrete steps…we wanted to take them out…but as I have stated before…this is an old house (built 1920) with lots of quirks.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about a couple of projects at Hathorn Hall. It wasn’t easy sharing the bold color choice with y’all–but I do hope y’all love it as much as we do. I encourage all of you to go for bold and bring some cheer to your homes *smile*

We have the most gorgeous sunsets here in Northeast Tennessee, and our deck will be the best place to enjoy them *smile*

We have the most gorgeous sunsets here in Northeast Tennessee, and our deck will be the best place to enjoy them *smile*