Front Porch Makeover Part Two – Wood Plank Tongue and Groove Ceiling

If you joined me this past Wednesday, I showed how I painted and stenciled my front porch (which I love). But I wanted to take it one step further.

Many years ago in Pennsylvania, I stopped by a friend’s house. She had recently moved into an early 1900’s house. White waiting for her to answer the door, I looked up. Her entire porch ceiling was tongue and groove paneling and was beautiful.

Fast forward to Wisconsin, 2019. In my area, builders take part in what they call “Parade of Homes” where you buy a ticket and then can walk through dozens of newly built homes. My husband and I were touring these open houses to get remodeling ideas. Lo and behold, as I stood on the front porch of one home, I looked up and saw a paneled porch ceiling. That was it. I had to have one too.

paneled porch ceiling

I admit I could not have done this job myself. Thanks to my hubby though, he knew just how to do it. He measured the area and then purchased tongue and groove plank paneling. The boards were unstained, so I applied wood conditioner to each one and then stained them. It was a warm day and they dried quickly, so we could begin.

He started on one side of the ceiling, and I applied adhesive to the plank. Once he was on the ladder, I handed him the plank. I used a pole to help hold it in place by pushing against it with the pole while he used an airgun to nail it in place. We staggered the boards as we went. Each board fit into the board before it. We had a pretty good system going. He cut the board if needed, then climbed the ladder. I applied the adhesive to the plank and handed it to him. He placed it and I used the pole to push against it while he nailed it in place.

front porch ceiling tongue and groove paneling
See the pole leaning against the house?

We were almost finished when we began questioning if we had enough wood. We had odd sizes left, but it became apparent we didn’t have enough for this one small area. Doesn’t it always turn out that way?

front porch makeover wood ceiling
stained front porch ceiling makeover
Gah! Why??

After a quick trip to buy another package, I stained the last piece, Jim cut it to size, and we were done!

I just love the look of this! The planks give it such a warm, welcoming feeling. What do you think?

Front Porch Makeover Part One – Stencils and Paint!

Stenciled porch painted concrete

Painted and stenciled porches are all over the interwebs. There are rave reviews, and everyone agrees the paint holds up very well. My porch definitely needed some pizazz, so last fall I started this project.

I began by sweeping the entire porch and removing cobwebs on the walls. I then washed it down by adding Krud Kutter cleaner to a bucket of water and scrubbed with a broom.

paint concrete porch and stencil
Nice and clean.

After waiting a day to make sure the concrete was dry I began to paint. I used Dutch Boy Porch and Floor paint and primer in one in Battleship Gray color for the base. It was easy to apply using a wide paintbrush. I covered the area with two coats, allowing the first coat to dry before painting the second coat. I almost stopped after the second coat, because the porch looked so much better. But I gave it two coats.

There are many stencils to choose from, but I finally decided on this one from Stencilit. It is 12 inches by 12 inches, so it covers a larger-sized area.

Have you ever stenciled before? It is so simple and fun. Measure and decide on your starting point and place your stencil down. Hold it in place with painter’s tape. (You don’t want it to shift.) Use a stencil brush to make the job easier and more precise. The secret is to pour some paint on a paper plate. Lightly dab the ends of the brush straight down into the paint. Then wipe the brush on a clean area of the plate until almost no paint remains. Begin dabbing the areas of the stencil making sure to apply evenly and filling in all corners and curves. When your stenciling is complete, lift the stencil and line it up to the completed area, tape in place and repeat.

I used Dutch Boy Porch and Floor Paint in white for my stencils. The fun part of this project is that you can use any colors and stencils you like. It was definitely hard for me to decide on my stencil, but I’m happy with the end result.

I spent some beautiful fall afternoons completing my porch. The sun was shining and birds singing and it wasn’t hot outside. There were painters at my neighbor’s house talking to each other the entire time. Well, I should say one guy talked the entire time. The other guy seemed to just listen. Needless to say, they entertained me with their conversations. Added bonus to this job is I sat down to do 90% of the painting.

When the stenciling was finished, I allowed it to dry for a full day. Lastly, I applied two coats of Rustoleum lacquer spray finish for protection. This keeps water out and protects against stains and abrasion.

paint porch and stencil concrete
More dog supervision. Did I do ok Adele?

Here are the supplies I used:

Krud Kutter

Dutch Boy Porch and Floor Paint in the color of your choice and contrasting color for the stencils I used Battleship Gray for the base and basic white for the stencils.

Stencil – I used this one

Stenciling brush

Painters Tape

Rustoleum Rock Solid Lacquer Spray

The weather is warming up here, and I hope it is where you live too. It’s time to plan your warm-weather projects. I think this job is one of the easiest, so you might want to give it a try.

painted porch stenciled porch concrete

This was Part One of my front porch makeover. Stop back on Saturday to see what I did to give my porch some more love in Part Two!

$5 End Table Makeover from the Thrift Store

Thrift store end table makeover

What do you think of this mistreated cane-topped end table? There was so much going on with this table, but I knew I could fix it. What most drew me to the table was that it was very sturdy, but more importantly, the cane insert on top. But first, let’s examine all the problems.

The legs showed a lot of wear. And it was obvious the table sat too close to someone using white spray paint. There was white paint on the legs on one side. Next, someone spilled or painted something red on the top and on the cane. Lastly, on the top, I could see a water mark from someone placing a glass on top.

End table makeover
thrift store end table makeover

Never fear – paint to the rescue! I made sure to tape off the cane to protect it from the paint.

Behr chalk paint red ochre

For this table, I chose Behr Chalk Paint in Red Ochre. Red you ask? Yes. I was hoping to use one coat but then opted to give this table two coats for uniformity. Chalk paint generally dries pretty fast, so in about an hour, I painted on the second coat.

thrift store table makeover with chalk paint

The next day, I applied Behr Dark Decorative Wax.

Behr decorative finish chalk paint

You need to apply wax after you paint with chalk paint so the finish is protected. Just use a soft, lint-free rag and apply the wax in the direction of the wood grain. You can apply as much of the dark wax as you want to give the desired shade to your project. For this table, I only applied one coat of the wax.

Lastly, I needed to highlight the cane. I decided to paint the cane with Behr Chalk Paint in tan. I also gave the cane two coats. After allowing time to dry, I rubbed it down with the Dark Decorative Wax to lessen the contrast between the red and tan. And that was it! Project Complete!

thrift store table makeover with chalk paint

This table will go to my cabin at the lake and will fit in nicely.

Have you been tempted to paint furniture but didn’t take the plunge? Do you have a small table that needs new life? Try chalk paint. It’s so much fun to work with and there are so many manufacturers now to choose from. This little table would agree!

Secretary Desk Makeover – And One Mistake I’ll Never Make Again

I’ve told you refreshing your home is easy. But. We all make mistakes. And we learn from our mistakes, right? When quarantine hit, I spied this secretary desk on Craigslist for $45.

It was cute and I had seen lots of secretary desk makeovers and I wanted to make over one too. I met the seller, mask wearing and distancing ourselves, and I asked him if he would take $5 less than he was asking. He responded, “No. It still has the key. I don’t find many that still have the key.” So I paid the $45 and took it home. It was painted green and the paint had a texture to it. I have never figured out what was done to the paint to get it to look that way.

See the texture of the paint?

No problem I said. And there was when I learned a valuable lesson. If you don’t know what you’re working with, back away. This desk has been my nemesis and has heard me say not so nice words. I began using sandpaper thinking I could smooth out the paint and finish. The paint wasn’t budging, so I got the electric sander. There must have been oil in the paint, because the sandpaper gummed up and I had to replace it constantly with fresh sandpaper. Next up, paint remover. Such a mess.

It took forever to remove and was still so gummy. I eventually got the paint removed from the top where I could see raw wood.

I think it was then I decided to stop trying to remove the paint and do the best with the sander. I was finally able to prime the desk and begin painting. The top and interior were painted with Behr Graphic Charcoal. The outside is Behr Back to Nature. And the inside of the drawers are Behr Bubble Shell.

I was going to stencil the desk drawers but wasn’t happy with the end result.

Not working for me.

I then found some fabric in my stash with all of my paint colors, so I lined the drawers with fabric.

This is very easy to do. You simply cut the fabric to the size you need. Then brush Mod Podge on the area you are covering and lay the fabric in place. The directions are on the Mod Podge bottle. I also applied fabric to the insides of the desk. When I finished painting and lining the drawers, it looked so cute. But I found my next problem. The paint had added a layer so that the drawers and cabinet front wouldn’t close. The drawers became too tight. And the fabric added too much of a layer for the door to smoothly close. I had to remove the fabric on the sides and repaint those areas. Out came more sandpaper. After what seemed like forever sanding and then repainting the sanded areas, the drawers were finally closing easily. The door closed easily. Then, next issue. When I opened the cabinet front and allowed it to rest open, the gray paint above the big drawer rubbed against the green cabinet door, leaving green marks on grey and grey marks on green. Would this desk ever just let me be happy?? More sanding. More repainting. My hubby said, “Let’s add a bumper somewhere so the door doesn’t rub against the wood” or something to that effect. That actually worked, and I was happy. I could actually see the finish line and sprayed some spray protectant all over the desk to help protect against scratches. The desk had other plans. Once dry, I found that the spray left some swirls in one area. So you guessed it. More repainting. I felt the desk might benefit from some decoration on the front when the door is closed, as this area was marked with small indentations when I bought it. I applied this transfer to the front and immediately didn’t like it.

Word to those interested: Transfers are easy to apply and difficult to remove. After a day of removal (and repainting again), it was looking good. I changed out the drawer pulls and added these pulls from Hobby Lobby. I liked the little knobs on the small drawers and kept them.

I bought this desk and owned it for a year. It taught me many lessons. It did turn out cute though, don’t you think? And I love the colors. And it still has the key! But next time – I’ll pass on the previously painted items.

Updated Basement Bathroom

I showed you how I updated a rental house bathroom and also our camper bathroom. My basement bathroom was next on the list.

After our basement was built, we painted the bathroom walls green. The woodwork was stained and we called it a day.

After 19 years, I decided it needed new life. I used Behr’s Subtle Touch,

which was left over paint from another paint job. Who wants to buy more paint when you have leftover colors you love?

I debated whether to change the trim and vanity colors. I didn’t really want to go to that much trouble. I just wanted a refresh. After a week of indecision, I decided the trim, vanity and door colors would stay the same. As it turned out, my leftover paint was not enough to give the walls two coats, so I had to buy a quart to finish the job. Oh well…

We removed the nickel towel bars, toilet paper holder and faucet. I found the black faucet and the other accessories on Amazon for a very reasonable price.

Then I decided to do something I had never done before. I wanted to change the nickel shower door. After a complete washing down and removal of soap residue and adhesive, I coated the glass on both sides with Masking Fluid.

The fluid dries to a loose plastic film that you peel off later and keeps paint from adhering to glass.

I sprayed the metal frame with Rustoleum Hammered Black spray paint. The hammered paint gives a textured finish rather than a smooth finish and is so pretty.

When dry, I did have to go back and use a blade to remove bits of overspray, but the end result was beautiful!

The Bohemian rug was another Amazon steal and fits perfectly in this room.

So, if you’re tired of looking at a room and it’s paint color, take the plunge and update. Start with the walls! You’ll be surprised how inspired you become.

Art’s Stool – A plain stool is upcycled with spray paint and fake fur to become a posh vanity stool

Walking through Habitat for Humanity Restore, I spotted this stool for the amazing price of $1.00.

And you ask- Kim, what the heck were you thinking? Was it the price? Was it the fact that it was so forlorn? The answer: All of the above, but I could also see it’s future!

I was semi-grossed out to find that the seat of the stool was actually covered in yellow and white 1960’s carpeting. Which makes me ask: What did it look like before the carpet? The carpeting was nailed on, and the nails were very easy to pull out. The carpeting was so dry rotted! When removed, I found that the previous owner, Art, had written his name on the base. (Hence why it’s called Art’s stool.)

The frame was wiped down and since it was pitted with a bit of rust, I sanded it down all over and gave it a coat of metal primer spray paint. I then gave it two coats of Rustoleum Sunlit Brass, which is such a beautiful shade and gives metal a soft glow.

I had some leftover foam that I cut to the shape and size of the seat base. I placed some batting over the top of the foam. (Batting is what is inside comforters and quilts so they are fluffy instead of flat.) The final cover would be fake fur. After pulling the batting and fake fur over the foam and around to the back of the seat base, it was all stapled in place with a staple gun.

I listed the stool on Marketplace and a lady messaged me on Christmas Eve. She purchased it for her daughter to use at her makeup vanity. I’m glad I could make her girl happy. 🙂

Don’t forget that old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I knew Art’s stool could have a new life. I wonder what Art would say?

Do it Yourself : How we updated our rental house bathroom from blah to GORGEOUS!

My husband and I bought a house to fix up and resell, but we wound up keeping it for a few years and used it as a rental. It was time to sell it. The home only had one bathroom, so I knew home buyers would want it to be perfect.


The floor was ok! Everything else – not so much. We removed the mirror and found the remnants of a medicine cabinet. And cobwebs. Also, the vanity light reminded me of something from a gas station restroom.


I painted the top half of the walls a pretty dark blue color. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the color, but Naval from Sherwin Williams is very close.

My husband installed beadboard on the lower half of the walls which I painted white. I chose Dutch Boy’s Sandstone Tint for the vanity and mirror.

FYI – If you are at a loss trying to chose a paint color and don’t know where to begin, browse the different paint manufacturers’ “Color of the Year”. They are amazing.

We bought new towel bars and toilet paper holder. The pretty light fixture came from Costco. And I fell in love with the glass vanity knobs and handle from Hobby Lobby. See how they glisten with the sunlight? They were very easy to switch out. I found the cute throw rug for under $4.00 at Menards, and the shelf above the toilet was a Goodwill find I had sitting around at home. All that was needed was a fluffy white shower curtain and bright white mini blinds.

When the realtor came to take pictures of the house, he commented on how nice the bathroom turned out. I agree!

I hope this gives you a few ideas how to refresh your bathroom. You can easily make as many or as few changes as you want.

Happy painting!

Painting Stairs and Steps

The dungeon stairs! 

Actually my basement stairs.  This was an easy redo.  Well, if you compare this to roofing a house, it was an easy redo.  Each step had a piece of carpet held in place by metal strips.  Jim pulled out all the screws holding the carpet in place. 

So many screws.

Then it was time to remove the carpet tape and glue.  The tape came off fairly well, but removing the remaining adhesive was a bit laborious! 

First I tried Goo Be Gone.  Then I tried WD-40.  The WD40 made for easier removal.  I had to spray it on, rub it in, and use a scraper-all while my husband worked from home (in the basement).  I had visions of him slipping and falling down the steps and dying, all because I wanted to modernize the steps.  Thank you Lord.  That didn’t happen.  The steps felt tacky in spots after the WD40 use, so I went back over it with Goo Be Gone.  It was finally removed!  I washed each step down with Dawn detergent.

Now that the steps were clean, it was on to the walls. To remove the gloss on the paneling, I used deglosser applied with a regular dish scrungie. 

Deglosser is wonderful and so much easier than using sandpaper. 

I primed the paneling and trim and started painting with this green paint.  I immediately didn’t like the color.  Very military.  


I decided to go back to one of my favorite paint colors, Fawn Brindle by Sherwin Williams.  I used this color on my trim in my den and am IN LOVE.

Lastly,  the steps.  First primer.  Then paint.  Have you ever painted steps?  It is a challenge of gymnastics, Parkour and ingenuity.

Finally, we applied these stair treads I found at 

I’m so happy how they turned out. No more dungeon steps. They are inviting and so fresh and I’m very glad I changed them.

How to Paint Walls

My love of home and what is inside began when I was young. My mother enjoyed redecorating every few years and painting new room colors. When I started working as a paralegal, my former boss bought and sold houses as a side interest and for investment. I was able to see the houses transform before my eyes, sometimes with just new paint color.

I found that many people are frightened to plunge in and begin transforming their home. Don’t be afraid! Start with something simple, like painting walls. Start in a room that isn’t easily visible so you can practice. Chances are, you’ll love what you’ve done. If not, it’s only paint.


  • Good quality painters tape – You’ll find a wide variety of painters tape on the shelves. Take some time and look at all of them. They are varying widths, and you can find tape for delicate surfaces, exterior surfaces, crisp lines, etc. Get the picture?
  • Good quality paint brushes (trust me, don’t buy cheap paint brushes). Better quality brushes are your friend. They shouldn’t leave brush strokes and can be washed over and over. I suggest a 3-inch angled sash brush and a 1-inch angled sash brush as a minimum to start. Wooster makes this 3-pack that would serve you well. Check the package to make sure the brush is designed for the type of paint you are using.
  • Paint tray, roller frame and paint rollers. It is equally important to buy rollers that are designed for the type of paint you are using and the surface you are painting. Check the packaging. Again, don’t buy cheap rollers.
  • A drop cloth. You can purchase one or use old sheets.
  • Paint! Trust me with this: Become friends with the people at the paint counter. They are highly trained and know what you need. They have given me so much good advice in my projects, and I’ve rarely been disappointed. I suggest starting your paint endeavors by visiting a store such as Home Depot. They sell different brands of paint and are so knowledgeable as to which paint is best for the job you are working on. I’ve also found that the paint brands keep changing their product. What might have been the best one to use 5 years ago may no longer be that particular brand. Ask questions. You will be so happy you did. Experiment with different brands from different stores. Over time, you will know what you like and what you specifically want.
  • Q-tips. Yes, you read that right. They come in so handy for hard-to-reach spots and making corrections.
  • Rags and paper towels. Wipe up those messes immediately!
  • Paint clothes! Believe me, I’ve ruined some favorite clothes by not changing into my paint clothes. If you don’t change, you will constantly be worried you are getting paint on yourself. Come on, this part of the project is easy!
  • Sandwich bag and garbage bag.

You are now armed and ready! If you are not going home and using your paint immediately, make sure when you do begin painting that you stir it thoroughly each time.

Decide ahead of time that you will be doing 2 coats. I know, the manufacturer may advertise it is paint and primer in one, and you only need one coat. That may be true, but resign yourself to the fact that you’ll need 2 coats. If you don’t need 2 coats, happy dance!

Remove all outlet covers! I know, I know, you want to get started. Trust me again. Paint adds a layer to your wall. If you don’t remove the outlet covers, the next time you change your wall color and take off the covers, there will be a raised edge of paint where you stopped painting at the cover. Throw all covers and screws in a bag and you won’t be looking for those tiny screws when you’re finished.

Place the painters tape along your ceiling line, along your baseboards and next to any trim you need to protect. Make sure to press it firmly in place. Use the 1-inch brush and apply paint to the brush. Dip the brush about halfway into your paint and wipe off a bit from the brush or it will drip. Begin painting where the ceiling and wall meet and go around the room. Brush the paint away from the ceiling about 2 inches down onto the wall. When that is complete, start painting both sides of each wall corner. Paint out from each corner about 2 inches. Lastly, paint along the baseboard, painting up from the baseboard onto the wall approximately 2 inches. Allow the paint to dry. Now go back and repeat. Allow to dry again.

You are now ready to roll paint! Fill the paint tray with paint. Experiment by pouring a small amount into the tray. You don’t want to overfill or it will spill out. You also don’t want to completely soak the roller in paint. Roll the roller back and forth in the tray so the roller is covered. Begin at the top of the wall and be careful not to get too close to the ceiling. After you have painted one wall, use your paintbrush to brush back and forth between the edging paint and the wall paint so both are blended together. This will give you a clean look.

After all walls are painted, allow to dry. Then go back and repeat, always making sure to blend the paint together where the edges meet the rolled paint.

Remove the painters tape as soon as you are finished. Don’t leave the tape in place, or the paint will adhere to the tape and be difficult to remove. If the paint is still damp, that’s ok. Just pull off the tape carefully and discard.

If you have to stop at any time during painting, place your brushes in a gallon plastic bag and seal. This is the best way to keep the brush wet. If I know I’ll need my roller later in the day to continue painting, I put the roller and paint tray in a kitchen size plastic garbage bag.

When the second coat is dry, go back and look for missed areas and touch up. Here’s where those Q-tips come in handy. You can use them in crevices or areas where the brush isn’t reaching.

You have just painted and transformed a room! Wasn’t that easy? Have fun on your painting journey!

How to Wash Paintbrushes

I love the paintbrush aisle. Ok, yes, I said that. To me, there’s nothing better than a good quality paintbrush. If you take your time and select the right brush for your job, you will set yourself up for success. Who wants to spend money buying a new brush every time you paint? Not me.

So you’ve completed your paint job and you are loving it and happy dancing around the room. But wait – you have to clean up the brushes! Here’s how to get them clean every time and keep them in the best condition for your next job.

First, warm water. Rinse them in the sink and let the water run through the bristles. (I rarely use dish soap to clean my brushes.) If you are using a paint that is a bit stubborn being removed, by all means, use dish soap.

Push the brush against the sink and bounce the brush up and down in the water. Keep rinsing until you aren’t seeing the paint color in the water.

Next, use your fingernail to pull any thick paint down and out of the bristles. Remove paint from the metal part of the brush too. The longer you spend working the brush and cleaning out the paint, the better.

Splay the bristles. Lastly, turn the brush upside down. Hold the bristles in place and let water run through. Make sure you see no paint color in the water. If you do, keep rinsing.

Lastly, shake the brush to remove the water. Return the bristles to their natural position and lay on a towel to dry.

Your brush is now ready for it’s next job!