The Downstairs Facelift Is (Finally) Beginning

So…you are all aware of “the wall” incident.

Well, the hole in the wall is fixed and I took that opportunity to start working on selecting paint colors for downstairs.  I can’t wait until it’s time to really get it put together.  In a perfect world, I would at least have a majority of the painting downstairs (in the living room at least) done before I start decorating for Christmas. (Side Note: I am going to start decorating for Christmas the Sunday after Thanksgiving–Nov. 28–so I don’t know how feasible that is…maybe it is though.)

So anyway, to help you understand what my plan is, I’ll fill you in a little bit.

I am painting the “hole” wall (which is a tiny wall that lines the back of the living room, but also acts as a banister for the stairway and leads into our kitchen) in Hopsack…the color I used for the guest bedroom upstairs.  Now, originally, I didn’t want to do that, but because the walls are so small, I didn’t think it would be bad.  Plus, the colors actually look quite different because of the lighting in the different rooms and the way they get sunlight through the windows.  So, that tiny wall–the “hole” wall–is getting Hopsack and so is the tiny wall that separates our kitchen from the living room (for those of you who have been in the house, it’s the wall that we hung the Mike Berry print I got Tanner for his birthday last year…or the wall directly to the right of the couch…it’s about 2 feet wide).  I’m also painting around that corner into the kitchen Hopsack (because that tiny wall kind of completes the “hallway” into the kitchen), but not the actual kitchen.

Let’s take a quick sidebar…


Obviously, I know that a quick coat of paint can make a major difference in how a house looks.  We are already seeing that in the little bit of painting we’ve done at our house.  But, to keep me in check, Tanner sent me an article from entitled “It Doesn’t Pay to Remodel Your Home.” We have discussed this before and I know that it probably doesn’t help us much to do a TON to the house, but at this point…we’re just trying to make it the home we want to live in.  We plan to be there for a while (it’s the right size, in a safe neighborhood and in a great location), but know that we will, eventually, move to the other side of Kingston Pike.  So it can’t hurt us to do a little bit now. (And, I’ve been in the homes on either side of us–that are the exact same floor plan–and done a little bit of online stalking of realty websites to see the inside of the other houses in our neighborhood that are up for sale and, if I do say so myself, we are looking pretty good).

So, anyway, here is what the article said:

  • Fiber-cement siding (recoups 80% of cost)
  • Add a wood deck (recoups 72.8% of cost)–Tanner did this, and we have a nice deck, and we’ll do you one better in that we fenced in our back yard…let’s don’t pay any attention to the fact that the back yard is a straight down cliff, but let’s focus on the fact that it is the most private back yard in the whole neighborhood AND that our dog is in peak physical condition.
  • Minor kitchen remodel (recoups 72.8% of cost)–our plan here is to paint, of course, and add a backsplash.  Also on my wish list would be to replace our microwave oven/its filtering system and replace our two-sided sink with a single/big bowl sink and get our sprayer to start working.
  • Vinyl siding replacement (recoups 72.4% of cost)–our siding looks good to me…what if we just repaint/replace our shutters and sand/repaint our porch spindles?
  • Wood window replacement (recoups 72.4% of cost)–we don’t have wood windows, so we’ll just replace our plastic blinds with wood blinds…does that work?
  • Upscale bath addition (recoups 53% of cost)–we’re not doing any kind of addition in our house…not even sure how we would begin to do that, but I have painted and redecorated both the bathrooms and will, eventually, get to the laundry/half bath.
  • Master suite addition (recoups 52.7% of cost)–no idea what we would do here…no additions coming our way I don’t think.
  • Sunroom addition (recoups 48.6% of cost)–no real need for a sunroom since we already have a great deck.  We have discussed paving in the area under the deck though to make it a little nicer for Toby and maybe more usable for storage.
  • Home office remodel (recoups 48.5% of cost)–I painted the office and hung a valance.  We will eventually put blinds up in there as well and hang a fan.  Beyond that, no remodel happening.
  • Back-up Power Generator (recoups 45.8% of cost)–whatever!

Now, let’s go back to the minor kitchen remodel.  The article above linked to this article entitled “Three Cheap Ways to Make Your Old Kitchen Feel New.”

Here are the three things they suggest:

  1. Update your backsplash–Most of you know I’ve been dying to do this.  I’m planning to paint the kitchen (we’ll get to those paint chips in a minute), but I absolutely think that a backsplash will help the way our kitchen looks a lot.  I have been looking at tile at Lowes.  Tanner (and this article) suggested using something called Aspect Peel-and-Stick Metal Tiles.  So maybe we’ll consider that.  Either way, though, we’re doing a backsplash at some point.  Thoughts on which would be better?
  2. Dress up old appliances–the article suggests, basically, that you paint your old appliances.  This seems like a shoddy fix to me, and I’m not sure it’s something we should explore, but maybe getting a NEW stove and microwave would be a good idea eventually.
  3. Make your own concrete counter tops–supposedly, polished, colored concrete has all the burn and scruff resistance and visual appeal of granite, but is pricey if it is professionally installed. Apparently, though, you can buy a DIY kit at You’ll get everything you need to cast, polish, and install your own counters, including a customizable mold and detailed instructions. I don’t know about this undertaking.  Our counter tops aren’t AWFUL, and I don’t know if this is a project we could do.  (Tanner is probably nodding in agreement right now!)

So anyway, we’re starting with the “minor kitchen remodel” but sticking with painting–the walls not the appliances–and the backsplash, tile or metal is TBD at this point.

Ok, so back to the post before the sidebar.


Keep in mind, that our color palate (for the house) and for the kitchen is fairly neutral.  So far, the gray office is about as vibrant as we’ve gotten with the orange accessories.

Our dishware and bedding are very earthy.

Kona Coffee 4-piece Place Setting


To stimulate you visually, I’ll insert some pictures now of our paint colors. (Lita, this is where I expect you to comment. :))

L to R: Moose Mousse, Hopsack, Cream in my Coffee

Now, I know the coloring isn’t great here, but you get the idea.  Essentially, my plan is to do a couple of small accent walls in the Hopsack (middle) and then do the rest of the downstairs–sans the kitchen–in the Cream in my Coffee (right).  The Cream in my Coffee is very similar to what is already on the walls, so would just make the house a little warmer and cleaner with the fresh coat of paint.  I’m  toying with the idea of painting the kitchen in the Moose Mousse because it is in the same color family as the other two, but a little darker to add some drama.  My concern is that the Mousse Mouse is too dark for the kitchen because there isn’t much natural light that feeds into there.

L to R: Humboldt Earth, Universal Umber, Au Lait Ole

This paint chip is the color swatch just before we get to the one above (it’s numbered 9, while the first one is numbered 10).  Obviously, any of these could work for the kitchen as well, but I’m afraid they too will be too dark.  The darkest I would probably go in the kitchen would be the Au Lait Ole, which is just a hair darker than the Mouse Mousse above.

Here is the whole gradient:

L to R: Humboldt Earth, Universal Umber, Au Lait Ole, Moose Mousse, Hopsack, Cream in my Coffee

So again, the accent walls are already being painted Hopsack and the plan for the rest of the downstairs–sans kitchen–and stairwell and upstairs hallway is Cream in my Coffee. Leaving the color of the kitchen up in the air, but most probably leaning toward Moose Mousse or Au Lait Ole.  Suggestions? Thoughts?  Please share.

Of course, the idea for a red kitchen was also toyed with as most of our accessories (throw pillows and blankets, plus some of the bathroom stuff I registered for for downstairs) are a deep red.

Throw Pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond (to go with our brown suede couch)


Devon Bathroom Set
Devon Hand Towels
Devon Bath Rug

And a lot of our kitchen accessories were registered for in red as well.  See below:


Kitchen Aid Teapot--Red

Fall Leaves Apron

Paula Deen Dutch Oven

Paula Deen Red Square Griddle Pan

Red and Neutral Mixing Bowls

As you can see, we are sticking with neutrals, but integrating some pops of color.  So the red wouldn’t be totally out of the question, but I fear that if/when we are ready to sell the house, the pictures of a red kitchen in an otherwise neutrally painted house on realty websites would be too jarring to the eye.  Also, I envision people thinking, “Jeeze, I’m definitely going to have to paint over that when I move in.” Thoughts?

Something like this actually does look good (Louis’ kitchen is red, too, and I love it!), but I just don’t know if it would work for us since the WHOLE house is in a neutral palate and because all the walls lead into one another (in that no room is really a room with just four walls…they all have several other walls overlapping into the room.  Those of you that have been to our home know what I mean).  Still, thoughts?

Here are some pictures from the backsplash people I mentioned above:


Brushed champagne, long grain Aspect

I actually kind of like that brushed champagne color, but am not sure how it would look in our kitchen.  Fine I think.  We had considered just tiling behind the stove as well (see below), but I’m not sure that’s what I’m looking for.


Obviously, this is a little different than our kitchen, but basically with the stove and microwave where they are and the way the counter tops are spaced's similar. But I don't think I like that the tile is just behind the stove, it's kind of randmon.

I will post pictures of the newly painted walls later today or tomorrow.

Please, share your comments here…on walls, on backsplash on paint!



Filed under Home Repairs

2 responses to “The Downstairs Facelift Is (Finally) Beginning

  1. Kathy Taylor

    I agree with you I’m not liking the tile only behind the stove idea.

  2. Stephanie Patrick

    I’m liking these Aspect tiles. I agree with you and your mom though, I don’t like just behind the stove. But I definitely think that finish gives the room some added dimension, and really makes the kitchen look modern, which is exactly the room in your house you want to look the most modern. Wonder if I can talk Tyson into taking on this project when we move in to the new place??

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