Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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Zippered Pillow Covers

We’ve done a lot of work in the Guest Room since moving into our new house. The original room inspiration and all the work can be seen here, here and here. It’s coming along :-).

I really wanted some throw pillows for the bed (I LOVE throw pillows) however neither of us could decide if we wanted the accent color to be light blue or yellow – so we decided to make it changeable so depending on the season or our mood we could change it up. I started with the yellow accent pillows and added a zipper to my homemade pillow covers to that I could re-use the pillow insert.

here's how it's done

here’s how it’s done

I started with the pillow insert I was going to use and measured the entire width and height of the pillow.

make sure to go seam to seam

make sure to go seam to seam

Your fabric needs to be 1 inch wider than your pillow to allow for a 1/2 inch seam allowance and 1 1/4 inches longer to allow for the seam allowance on the top and the zipper insert on the bottom. My pillow was 21 inches square so for my fabric I had to cut out two pannels to be 22×22 1/4.

Draw out your measurements on the BACK of your fabric. If you have a directional pattern like my chevron make sure the lines are straight with the pattern not with the top of your fabric. Its not always the same thing.

see how my line doesn't line up with the edge of the fabric?

see how my line doesn’t line up with the edge of the fabric?

one cut the chevrons are even

one cut the chevrons are even

iron your fabric pieces

iron your fabric pieces

Lay your ironed fabric pieces out and line up the zipper on the longer side of the fabric facing down towards the side of the fabric. I used a 12-inch zipper so I centered it on my 22 inches of fabric. You can use a zipper the entire length of your pillow – its probably easier but thats what I had on hand.

zipper pull should face down

zipper pull should face down

pin in place

pin in place

Sew the zipper to the fabric using a zipper foot. Make sure to not sew around the zipper pull. When you reach the pull manually wind your needle down into the fabric lift the foot and zip the zipper out of the way so you can continue sewing a straight line. Make sure to backstitch at the begining and end so your zipper stays put.

attach the first side of the zipper

attach the first side of the zipper

Do the same process for the other side of the zipper. Make sure the right sides of your fabric are facing each other.

repeat the process with the other side.

repeat the process with the other side.

Now you have two fabric squares attached in the middle with a zipper.
zippered pillow case (9)

Fold in half right sides together at the zipper and pin the pieces together around the entire perimeter – make sure your zipper is at least half unzipped so that you can turn it right side out when you are done.

pin all sides

pin all sides

Sew the two squares together backstitching at the begining and end for added support. Flip right side out through the zipper.

empty pillow cover

empty pillow cover

Stuff your pillow insert into your new pillow cover. If you used a small zipper like I did – be careful you don’t want to pop your stitches.

carefully stuff your insert into the case

carefully stuff your insert into the case

There you have it, a professional looking zippered pillow case!

zippered bottom

zippered bottom

Add it to your bed or sofa and change out the cover to your hearts content!
zippered pillow case (15)

Zippered Pillow Tutorial

Zippered Pillow Tutorial

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A Splash of Color

What color to paint the front door?  It’s such a big decision it sends the first impression that visitors and passerby’s see of your home.  It was such a big decision in fact that when the builder offered to paint the door for us before we closed we couldn’t come to a decision.  I even went so far as to PhotoShop different colors onto a picture of the house to help us decide.  In the end we decided to live with the house for a while and just had him paint it white.

white house with a white door - how ordinarily boring

white house with a white door – how ordinarily boring

close up

close up

After several months we finally came to the consensus that we wanted yellow. It’s such a happy color, how can you come home to a yellow door and not become instantly more upbeat? Now the only question was what kind of yellow?

This was our inspiration that I found our Pinterest.  We both loved it.  It’s from Beautiful MattersBlog

Inspiration Door

Inspiration Door

So we went to the paint store and looked at all the options of paint swatches and came to a decision.  I was slightly worried it may be on the bright side, but hey it’s only paint and the whole point is to get the door to “POP” right?

So I got to work cleaning the door with some mineral oil to get off any dirt and grime that was on it. (I read this is extremely important in order for the paint to adhere properly.) It turned out to be a LOT dirtier than I could have imagined.

look how dirty!

look how dirty!

Then I got ready to start painting – shook up the can to mix the paint properly and popped it open…

the first sign this might not go so well...

the first sign this might not go so well…

It looked awfully bright, but hey the inspo door is bright and you can’t always tell by what the color looks like in the can right? After all there is way more of it concentrated in a small little area and it always looks different once its dry. So I got to painting. Here’s the finished product:

close up

close up

far away

far away

My eyes! MY EYES!!! We couldn’t have possibly picked a color this bright! the swatch must have lied to us…

oh but we did pick it

oh but we did pick it

What were we thinking? I’ll tell you what I’m thinking now, I’m thinking I need a re-do. As its now the end of October and its getting too cold outside in New England I may have to wait until spring. It’s possibly it may grow on me in the next couple of months – stranger things have happened.

The bright yellow on bright white is just too much – the inspiration door is bright yellow on gray which helps tone it down… Rookie mistake!  We should have known better!

So what do you think is it too bright or just right? I’d love to hear your opinion!


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Spray Painted Dresser

Back in June we spray painted our vent covers in the condo to match the baseboard trim. This was my first introduction to spray painting and I immediately had ideas swirling in my head.

When Ken bought the condo the previous owner had left an old solid wood mid-century modern dresser in the attic. We never thought much of it and used it to store Christmas decorations and things. However after we sprayed the vent covers and they came out looking all shiny and brand new I got the idea to spray paint that old dresser. We thought it would be the perfect addition to the guest room

I unfortunately didn’t get a photo of it with all the drawers in before we started as we took it apart to move it but here it is without the drawers.

wood dresser no drawers

wood dresser no drawers

Here's a close up of the doors

Here’s a close up of the doors

Aren’t those gigantic wooden knobs gross? That’s part of the “re-style” of this dresser as well. The first step was to remove the knobs then clean all the surfaces with mineral oil to get rid of any dust or anything that was on it. (Who knows how long it was in that attic)

cleaning the drawers

cleaning the drawers

Then we created the “paint studio” out in the middle of the yard to ensure we didn’t get stray paint on anything. We tarped a large section, held it down with bricks then tarped over a moving dolly that we put the dresser on. The purpose of this was so that we could easily spin the dresser so as not to spray directly into the wind. I apparently missed that memo as I was in the zone and ended up covered in blown back paint. C’est la vie.

"paint studio"

“paint room”

side after coat one

side after coat one

front after coat one

front after coat one

I did two full coats of the entire dresser and the drawers. The drawers came out less than ideal as I sprayed them with the can facing down to the ground instead of level and some of my back spray from painting into the wind left little dimples on one side of the dresser. Also, something I hadn’t counted on was that the white paint would highlight all of the dings and scratches that were all over the old dresser. However, for my first time I think it came out pretty good and is worthy of its current spot in the guest room.

ta-da

ta-da


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Painting the Stair Trim

This is sort of an addendum to the post on the trim in the condo Read That Post Here since the stairs we a much bigger undertaking than the nice straight trim over tile and hardwood… It warranted it’s own post.

The first thing to do in order to prep for the job was to make sure it was adequately taped – top and bottom.  The top is easy enough, its nice and straight although on an angle.  It’s the bottom on the carpet that is the challenge.  Here’s the nifty little trick on how to move the carpet out of the way:

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

You’ll notice I am using masking tape… DO NOT USE MASKING TAPE! Learn from my mistake and pay the extra money for painters tape. There is a reason painters tape is more expensive, because paint doesn’t stick to it! Ingenious I know. As you can probably tell the masking tape was a pain and a half to remove and took a good chunk of the paint with it.  I have learned my lesson.

All taped up and ready to paint!

All taped up and ready to paint!

Once its fully taped you just get to painting it making sure to push the brush down into the grove you taped down to paint as close to the carpet as possible. I started on the right side of the stairs, and since I’m right handed it went pretty nice and smooth and I was starting to think maybe this project wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought…

First coat on the right side

First coat on the right side

At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself and jumped right into the left side. It was every bit the nightmare I anticipated this project to be. Right handed people are just not meant to paint the left side of stairs, it’s like cruel and unusual punishment. I probably should have started at the top and worked my way down, rather than working up then the angle would have been slightly better.

It takes 3 coats to get the right amount of coverage to actually look nice, so this was weekend two weeks in a row. 🙂

I think it was worth it, it makes the walls stand out so much more and looks clean and modern.  What do you think:

White stair trim

White stair trim


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Spray Painting the Vent Covers

In the never ending work that is being done to get the condo ready for the rental market on that list came up what to do with the vent covers.  We could either replace the wonderful almond colored vent covers with white ones for $10-$12 a piece :-0 for a total of over $100 for the entire place.  OR spray paint the almond ones white for $6.

How to Spay Paint Vent Covers | Hicks House

Given that option it seemed like a good idea to at least I try to spray paint before throwing another $100+ dollars into the place.  Hey if it doesn’t work, we’re only out $6 and if it does hello savings.

So we bought two cans of this:

White Spray Paint

White Spray Paint

Then Ken got to work cleaning them with a wire brush to make sure they were smooth and there wasn’t any weird things that would show through the paint.

scrubbing the vent with a wire brush

scrubbing the vent with a wire brush

Then we rigged another one of our handy dandy wire drying racks so all sides could be painted without having to flip them over.

hanging the vents from the garage ceiling

hanging the vents from the garage ceiling

Spray away!

Spray away!

Can you see what a nasty color they were? Eeewwwwww See that handle attachment on top of the spray can, that is your best friend if you’re going to tackle a spray paint project. It will seriously save your trigger finger from feeling like it’s going to fall off.

Here is what it looked like freshly sprayed:

fresh coat of white

fresh coat of white

And here it is installed! (Yes you are getting a sneak peak at some white trim too)

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Doesn’t it look brand new?! Not bad for $6 huh? It makes me want to spray paint MORE things. I have already practiced on an old cabinet Ken got to hang in the garage and hold his tool accessories. I also have my eye on an old wooden dresser that the previous condo owners left in the attic. I think with a fresh coat of spray paint and some new knobs it could be the perfect addition to the guest room!


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The Easiest Way to Paint Doors

During our “Operation Rent the Condo”  one of the things on the list to make the place as pretty as possible was to replace all the old flat panel wood grain doors with white 6-paneled doors.  I originally thought this was going to be such an easy project – I mean they sell the doors already white and pre-drilled so all you have to do is hang them right? WRONG

The Best and Easiest Way to Paint Doors | Hicks House

For starters because our condo was built in the early 1980s, or just because of the way it was built each doorway is not identical to each other.  If you are buying pre-drilled doors this is a big problem as they will not line up.  So we bought the ones that were not yet drilled – which although cheaper required a lot more labor from Ken to get them ready.

Measure each door, mark where the hinges go, where the knob goes, router out the hinge holes drill the knob hole.  It was a big production.  However it happened pre-blog so there are no photos of all that.

Perhaps the most helpful of tips though is how we painted the doors (yes you still have to paint them – even though they look white they are just primed).  I thought the idea was ingenious, and even though Ken said he didn’t come up with it on his own I’m giving him credit anyway :-).

Step 1 –  Drill 2 screws into the bottom unfinished part of the door and one screw into the top unfinished part of the door only about 1/4 to 1/2 way.  You are going to use the screws to balance the door on sawhorses so no surface of the door is actually touching the sawhorse.

Top of the door with one screw

Top of the door with one screw

Bottom of the door with two screws

Bottom of the door with two screws

See how the door is balancing on the screws?  This is important, you’ll see why in a minute.  Don’t worry about the little holes this will create as once the door is hung you won’t be able to see the top or bottom edges.

Step 2 – Paint the door.  We used Beher Ultra Premium Ultra Pure White Trim and Door paint in Eggshell and rolled all the flat parts of the door then did the panel cut outs with a brush making sure to get the corners real good.

Step 3 – Flip it!  That’s right you don’t need to wait for it to dry because the door isn’t touching anything!  Here’s how:  On the end of the door that has two screws, pick up one screw in each hand just enough so the side with one screw doesn’t lift off the saw horse.

Pick up the two screws

Pick up the two screws

See how the door is balanced on the one screw?

See how the door is balanced on the one screw?

Flip it 180° so the unpainted side is pointed up and then rest the two screws back on the sawhorse.  You can know pain the other side while the first side dries.  I know, my mind was blown as well.  My husband is a genius.

Three doors set up all at once.

Three doors set up all at once.

We had more than 6 doors to do and only room to do three at a time, so we also came up with a neat way of drying them in order to free-up the sawhorses.  Again the screws came in handy.  Ken tied a wire around the top screw then we stood them up on the bottom two screws and tied them to some sort of pipe hanging from the ceiling of the garage.  (This made me nervous but I was assured it was OK and nothing bad happened)

Drying station

Drying station

If you’ve ever tried to paint doors by resting it on the sawhorse or worse not taking it off the hinges, this method will change your life. (for the few times in your life you have to paint doors anyway)