Kitchen Update: From Navajo Sand to Basic Brown

Our kitchen paint job is the least dramatic of our recent updates. The previous homeowners chose a color called “Navajo Sand,” which although you can’t really tell from the images below, came off as almost an orange-brown. It had to go.

I really don’t like brown. Especially for wall colors. It’s SO boring, but again, we’re just working with what we’ve given right now. And as you can tell the previous homeowners LOVED THEM SOME BROWN.



As you can tell, our kitchen is a bit “dog-friendly.” We’re going to update it eventually. (No more brown!) It’ll be classier then, too, but for now, this will do. ūüôā

We chose Behr’s Gravelstone Marquee paint. Again, although I’m just not a fan of brown, the color (with a slight hint of gray) is a much better fit with the flooring, cabinets and granite and the orange hued walls from before.

Now let’s just fast forward ten years to when the kitchen can be all white with hints of blue. Then again, maybe brown will be back in style by 2030. Maybe?

The Power of Gray(skull) Compels You: Our Family Room Goes Gray

As promised, we painted our family room and dining space gray too. Just like our living room. The results are a bit more dramatic in person, but you might not be able to tell in the photos 1) because the overhead lighting in our house is pretty awful right now and 2) I really need something better than an iPhone to take photos.

Anyway, here are the before. ¬†More beige! (Yuck.) You’ll notice how the previous owners painted the support beam dark brown. Why they’d call attention to a feature like that, I’ll never know.

Before Gray

After Gray

Now, time for the gray.

We painted the spaces the same gray as our living room: Behr’s White Metal Marquee.

I know what you’re thinking, brown carpet and that paint?! Yes, it’s not the best match, but we¬†really hated those beige walls. That carpet won’t be here forever either. (Neither will our blas√© furniture, but that’s a post for another day in the future.)

Before we painted, we once again used Zinsser Bin Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer¬†like we did in our bathroom (I sound like a commercial now). I wanted to make sure we covered the ugly dark brown beam in one coat. Plus the beam was never properly sanded so the primer would help cover some of the wood grain. (Yes, I guess we’re lazy too since we didn’t want to sand it either.)

And here’s the after, which don’t do the room or the paint justice because the lighting is SO¬†poor. (I also blame winter and it getting dark so early. Is it almost June yet?)

I am just SO happy the support beam is so much less noticeable on first glance now!


I once had a dream that all the art in my house would be art that I created. That’s not so much a dream anymore. However our dining area is full of pictures that I took while I was taking photography classes all throughout high school and college. You wouldn’t be able to tell that I once had any photography skills based on these terrible photos of our house though. I might need a refresher course. ūüôā

Brian’s wall of nerd art is on full display here.

A few projects down. Up next, painting the kitchen.

What a Difference a Gray Makes: Painting Our Living Room

When we moved into our new house one of the first orders of business was painting the boring beige walls. Our solution? Lots and lots of gray.

First up? The living room. This post will be short and sweet.

Before Painting

Here are the before pictures, which I didn’t manage to take before we placed our furniture or painted (quite a few) paint swatches on the walls. Probably would’ve been more dramatic if I would’ve staged it correctly, but oh well.

After Painting

Here are the after photos. We selected Behr Marquee’s White Metal as the color. (We’re not quite fancy enough for Benjamin Moore yet, but one day.) The paint really only took about one coat though, which was really nice. A side note: the overhead lighting in this house is THE WORST, especially since it’s winter, so the photos aren’t perfect.

We also painted our family room, which had slightly more dramatic results. Those photos coming up later this week.

From Mid-Century “Blah-dern” to Funky Fresh

Like most new homeowners one of the first things we’ve done¬†since moving¬†in to our new home is paint.

One of our first projects was our upstairs bathroom. Boy, did it need work. Here are some before pictures.

I actually don’t mind all the green tile (while it would never be my first choice, I promise, it’s better in person). I do like what the previous homeowners did with the shower stall to try and modernize the space. However, the¬†paint color they chose had us gagging. And although the shower stall and faucet were attempting to modernize the bathroom, the honey oak sure was dating it.

With everything that needs to be done in the house, and other financial commitments, we don’t really have the funds for a major bathroom remodel. In order to modernize the space, we decided to continue the work of the previous homeowners and bring out the colors from the shower tiles in the rest of the space. Paint was going to have to do most of the work.

We started with the honey oak. That had to go. To get rid of the wood grain, we used Zinsser Bin Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer. After two coats on the cabinetry it did a good job of hiding most of the oak grain. However, to get rid of all the wood grain, it would’ve been best to sand the cabinets and then use the Zinsser¬†Bin. But with a project this small that effort wasn’t quite worth it yet (call us lazy DIYers).

To tie in the shower tiles with the rest of the bathroom, we pained the cabinets Very Navy from Behr. The color is close match to some square tiles in the shower stall. We finished them off with simple, modern cabinet pulls.

Realizing that blue cabinetry and green bathroom tiles are a bit¬†crazy town, we put a very, very light grey on the walls (Behr’s Silver Polish) that actually appears white in the bathroom.

Finally, again¬†to bring out the colors in the shower tiles, we paired the paint with¬†orange towels and a bathroom mat (which aren’t the easiest things to find mind you – especially when you’re trying to coordinate with a shower tile).

Here’s the finished product. A bit out there, I know.

Note to self: No more wrinkly shower curtains next time you take pictures

Now, I’m excited to, one day, design my own bathroom. No more fixing other people’s mistakes.

How A Machete Got Us Blogging

A machete. That’s why we’re blogging, really.

It was October 28 at 5 a.m. and Ellie our affable, friendly goldendoodle woke me (Jason) up. She was pacing in our bedroom and barking out the window that looked out into our backyard. She was concerned.

I got out of bed to see what was bothering her. The motion light in our backyard was on, like it always was (due to animals, birds, wind), but nothing was out of the ordinary. I went to the bathroom and got back in bed. Ellie was still concerned.

Then the¬†backyard gate slammed. I looked out the window and still saw nothing. I thought, “someone must’ve been in the backyard and left” and went back to bed. Brian, and our miniature schnauzer, Frodo, were still fast asleep. Ellie was still concerned.

Around 6 a.m. we all woke up and I told Brian that I suspected someone may have visited the backyard overnight. We ended up venturing into the backyard together. Frodo and Ellie stayed inside.

It was still dark out, the motion light was still on and when we reached the backyard it was a bit chaotic. Things from our shed were strewn about. The backyard shed was propped open with a drill case.

We approached the shed¬†and¬†opened the door. Bags of things from the shed were stockpiled about four feet high in the entryway. No other sign of the perpetrator. “We must’ve scared them off,” we thought. Or maybe Ellie did.

Brian began putting everything away in the shed. The thief tried to take a lot, and after about 15 minutes we headed back toward the house. Brian locked the shed and did one last check of the backyard. That’s when we realized we weren’t alone.

In the darkest corner of the backyard, Brian saw what looked like a duffle bag and signaled me over. About that¬†same time, Brian realized the “duffle bag” had hands.

“Don’t move. I’m calling the police,” Brian said, in his sternest, I-might-beat-you-up voice.

As soon as he hit send on the 911 call, the man, who was very thin and wearing baggy, ratted jeans and an oversized black windbreaker with bright orange pocket lining stood up very slowly. He had something in his hand that I couldn’t quite see in the darkness.

“We need to run,” Brian said.

“That’s right you do,” grumbled the creep.

We ran faster than we have before. Much faster than the man who was likely high on meth. (Crossfit and those Ragnar races have came in handy at that moment.)¬†He chased me halfway through our front yard before we both stopped. I was about 20 feet in front of him. I looked back. He stopped. That’s when I noticed his weapon: a machete. We were chased out of our backyard by a man with a machete! (Note: It was Brian’s stepdad’s machete from Vietnam that the man had stolen for this very occasion). Then the man fled.

The police never found the machete man.

Shortly after, we called our realtor and had multiple offers on our house.

That’s why we’re here. The machete. Now that we’re in a newer, better home (but one that will also require a bit more DIY and renovation), but I am disappointed we never chronicled our two¬†years of improvements on Downington Avenue.

So we’re going to share our adventures in fixing up our new forever home. We hope you’ll enjoy the adventure with us.

And because I’m so disappointed we don’t have more before and after pictures of our other home. Here are a few photos I stole from our real estate listing for posterity.