Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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All Deck-ed Out

Easter weekend was a busy weekend around the house. While most people were enjoying eating candy and spending time with family we were de-rocking the lawn and staining the deck (well Ken was anyway. I did housework inside.)

I know, I know your SUPER jealous. All of the advice we had heard and read online suggested letting the wood “season” for a year before treating it. Since we bought our house last June and the deck was already there we figured it had been about a year, and if it was going to get done this year it needed to happen before we put patio furniture on it.

Here is our deck last summer, all we did was move in and buy a nice 6-person table. And here is how it looked before we started the staining process/
Hicks House | Deck-ed Out
Hicks House | Deck-ed Out

We decided to go with this stain. Ken did LOTS of research and the reviews were heads above any other brands. The only catch? They didn’t sell it in any stores anywhere near us so we had to buy it online. Which meant we also had to just choose a color without seeing any in person samples at the store. What we really wanted was gray and white Trex decking… but this is real life where money doesn’t grow on trees and we are not rebuilding a perfectly good one year old deck. So we went with the light walnut color. We wanted it to be darker than the super light natural wood but not red or super dark.

So the three day process began with Ken cleaning the deck then brightening the wood. After that we let it dry for two days. Easter was the actual staining day. He went out to get started at 10 am and didn’t finish until 7pm. Needless to say it took WAY longer than either of us anticipated. We both thought it would maybe take 4-5 hours. Way, way wrong.

It also ended up coming out much darker than we envisioned.
Hicks House | Deck-ed Out
Hicks House | Deck-ed Out

Although slightly darker than intended I think it looks good. With all the rain we’ve been having the last few weeks we’ve been able to see the stain in action as the water just beads up on the surface rather than sinking into the wood.
Hicks House | Deck-ed Out

All this rain has also prevented us from putting out our patio furniture and actually enjoying the deck… but at least the stain is working.

Hicks House

 


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Spring has Sprung

Here is New England it is finally finally been feeling like spring the past week or so (freak snow storm or two aside).

Hicks House | April Snow

So you know what that means in New England? That’s right, yard work!

You may remember from some posts from last year like this one, this one, this one, and this one how last year we had a semi-dead/semi-crabgrass lawn.

Well now its all dead. Which may or not be better than crabgrass – we’re not sure, but what we know for sure is that as the onslaught of snow finally melted the neighbors all had green grass peeking through and we had brown. We are officially THAT house in the neighborhood, and most likely will be for another year or so.

With the long weekend Easter provided to Ken he decided to capitalize on the day off and take Thursday as well to get a leg up on the yard work. Before the lawn can be prepped to be re-seeded (most likely this fall) it needed to be de-rocked.

As you may or may not know the lot our home sits on used to be part of a Christmas Tree farm. When they leveled the lawn they left the majority of the roots in the soil (nice of them right). Along with all the roots were tons and tons of rocks. Many of the roots we pulled last year as they surfaced, but the rocks we left… until now.

Here is a picture of the front next to the driveway where you can see several piles of smaller rocks all around – and our lovely brown grass.

Hicks House | Rock Removal

In the back was a spectacularly large rock boulder that required the help of a friend of ours and his pick up truck to remove.

Hicks House | Rock Removal

So now the yard is de-rocked and awaiting a load of top soil to fill in all the newly created holes and level out the slump in the back that turns into a makeshift pond whenever it rains.

After all that hard work (that Ken did – I was at actual work not working nearly as hard) we unwinded by taking a wine blending class and creating our our custom Bordeaux wine blends!

Hicks House | Wine

Have you been taking advantage of the 50 degree plus days by getting out in your lawn? I’d love to hear what yard work you’ve accomplished!

Hicks House

 


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Drapery Dreams

It’s official.  We finally have curtains in one of our rooms.  This is the most exciting thing that has happened to our windows since we got blinds.

The ironic thing is we have curtains for almost every room and even purchased curtain rods a while back. However in order to not duplicate work we are waiting to hang them until the rooms are painted. That way we avoid screwing the curtain hooks into the wall only to have to remove them to paint and put back up again.

As the first room to get painted, the dining room also received the honor of getting the first set of curtains. If you remember from when we painted that room we had this problem area where the door and window just about meet:

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtians

Here is a closer shot of it. You can imagine how miserable it was to paint in between this itty bitty spot. It proposed an event larger challenge for how we were going to hang curtains in here.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

The edge of the window sill buts right up against the wall. It took many months of brainstorming and research to figure out just how to do this because not having curtains in the dining room was just not an option I could accept.

After looking in countless stores at the curtain rod selection nothing seemed to work. The best working idea we had was to hang the rod with the issue sort of like a closet rod so that it would literally sit against a holder that would be screwed into the wall. We were all gung ho and ready to go this route when we decided to check one more place – Bed Bath and Beyond. Seriously that store has everything, so its no surprise we found our answer – curtain rods with a screw off flat end so the end with the wall could have a flat end while the other end received a finial. Perfect!

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Due to the fact that the one problem window will only overhang the window on one end we were able to save about $10 by purchasing the shorter rod size for that window. I was super excited because I really was hesitant about using a wood rod in here. I just didn’t think it would have the right look so to find a solution in the same brushed nickel finish we bought for the rest of the house was a bonus.

Here’s a closeup of the flat end that came on the rods. You could totally use these on both sides if you wanted – however for our three non-problem sides we decided to use screw in finials.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

These rods also came with super chic curtain hooks. In comparison to the hooks that came with the rest of the rods we purchased at Home Depot there really is no comparison. These actually look decorative rather than merely functional.

In order to hang them up we decided to have them go directly above the window frame. Ideally I would have liked them higher however we only have 8 foot ceilings and curtain manufacturer’s seem to be way behind the curve and still only make curtains in 84 or 93 inches. 84 inches is too short and 93 way to long. So frustrating. By hanging the rods at this height the 84 wasn’t insanely short to the point that I may be able to lengthen them if I ever get the motivation.

So we lined the hook up and screwed it in.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Here is a close up of the bomb.com curtain hooks. And also the best picture to date of the coventry gray paint.  (You can also see a sneak peek at the new color in the TV room that I haven’t even wrote about yet)

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Then just screw in the finials

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains
Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Note: Do not screw the finial in on both ends right now or you won’t be able to get your curtain on the rod… not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… just looking out. 🙂

Then we put up the curtains. You may be wondering why I didn’t custom make curtains for this room after my little rant about the length. I thought about it, however I fell in love with these curtains from Pier 1. They were way higher quality fabric than I would have been able to find or afford and had a gorgeous embroidered design on them in almost the same gray as on the walls. When a 20% off total purchase coupon showed up at my house I decided it was destiny and they were meant to be mine. So I am dealing with the fact that they are too short – and will most likely let out the bottom hem later on (after practicing on less expensive curtains from another room) to alleviate this.

So can we see these fabulous curtains? I know after that description your at the edge of seat on pins and needles awaiting this picture. So without further ado:

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Isn’t it lovely? They also came with grommet tops which was an added bonus when dealing with the problem area if you look close, on that side we folded the curtain in half before hanging so its actually half as wide to accommodate the lack of space.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Now when I come down from upstairs and look over into this room I see these gorgeous curtains and my heart skips a beat. Who wouldn’t want to see this sight?

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

 

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I love it so much I can’t wait to hang curtains in more rooms!

One step closer to a “finished” dining room. Things that still need to be done/want to do.

  • paint the walls
  • hang curtains
  • add a new light fixture that is more than just a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling
  • make a HUGE over scale mirror out of wood shims for the wall
  • paint custom artwork
  • find and purchase a hutch to keep all of our nice plates and servingware
  • get a larger dining room table?
  • install a chair rail and picture frame mouldings and paint the lower half of the walls white?

I’d love to hear what you think! Are you as frustrated with the “standard” curtain length as I am? Have you altered your curtains or just let them hang like a pair of high water pants?

Hicks House

 


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A New “Turn”

The 1980’s called and they want their door knobs back. One of the quickest and easiest changes we’ve made to update our house is the door hardware. The house came with cheap builder grade brass door hardware.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"Hicks House | A New "Turn"

I honestly don’t understand why they even still make hardware in this horrendous color, I’m pretty sure that no one besides the builders buys it anymore. After replacing all of the hardware in the condo we were bummed to be looking at polished brass again.

This time around we wavered on what exactly to replace them with. Should we stick with traditional knobs, or switch to lever handles? Buy new, spray paint the ones we already had? What color – brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze? The endless decisions put this project on hold for a bit as we wavered back and forth with what we wanted. I’ve seen a lot of oil rubbed bronze across the blogosphere but also seen painted black doors which I love. Although we’re still unsure if we would want to ever paint our doors black, oil rubbed bronze hardware would rule it out – too much black.

We eventually settled on lever handles in brushed nickel. They would match the rest of the hardware throughout the house while still being “different”

Changing it out only took Ken about 15 minutes per door. First he unscrewed the hinges one at a time.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Then replace with a new hinge one at a time so you never have to actually take the door down and it should still line up properly with the routered out hinge holes.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

We also added these little “stops” to the top hinge on the doors that would come close to hitting a wall.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

We found these hinge packs at home depot, that were WAY cheaper than individually buying hinges however the brushed nickel seemed to be constantly out of stock. Another delay.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

The next step was to remove the door knob. The inside piece gets screwed into the slot in the side of the door first.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Then screw in the new handle.
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

And lastly screw in the catch on the door frame.
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Ta Da! All done!
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s so fresh and more modern, and less shinny
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

And for comparison sake here is a side by side. It’s so much less reflective and eye blinding.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

So what do you think? Do you like it better? Would you have gone for the lever handle or stuck with a traditional knob?
Hicks House

 


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Relax it Away with Stonington Gray

I apologize in advance if you’re sick of the painting posts. Since the beginning of the year it’s been our main house priority. Especially being in New England and the wicked weather we’ve had this year we are pretty much stuck indoors.

As I mentioned in this post the color we chose for our guest room was Stonington Gray. It’s one swatch down on the same color strip as the Coventry Gray we used in the dining room.

If you are looking for a little refresher on where we last were with the guest room we were here:

shot of them both

shot of them both

I had also created the custom pillows to put on the bed with the intention of eventually altering some curtains to match.
zippered pillow case (15)

Here is the inspiration room we are kind of “modeling” the style of the room after.

getting closer to the inspiration room...

getting closer to the inspiration room…

So far I think we’ve got the bedding nailed. 😉 I actually like my pillows better – I’m not a huge fan of pink.  We followed the same painting technique we’ve done in the other rooms we’ve painted so far which is I cut in the ceiling with Ken following behind taping off the baseboards and side of the doors and windows. The taping generally takes less time than the cutting in so Ken then moves on to rolling the walls while I follow behind getting all the top of the baseboards and next to all the window and door frames.

In the end we’re left with this:
Hicks House | Stonington Gray Guest Room
Hicks House | Guest Room Stonington Gray

What do you think? I love that the gray in the walls makes the white nightstands, dresser and trim POP. It’s still a little too much white though so here’s what’s still left to do.

  • Get pretty bedding
  • Create custom pillow covers
  • Get and assemble nightstands
  • Spray paint the old hand-me down dresser white
  • Paint the walls
  • Make a custom painting for the wall
  • Hang the awesome mirror I found at Khols above the dresser (you’ll have to wait to see it – but it’s perfect for this room
  • Hang curtain rods
  • Create custom removable “bottoms” to much too short white Target curtains we already own
  • Make second set of pillow covers and curtain bottoms – so we can switch it up whenever we want

So that’s the current progress. What do you think?
Hicks House

 

 


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Green with Envy?

Continuing on our painting spree we have painted the hall bathroom on the second floor. As you may remember from this post the color we picked for the upstairs hall bath is Silver Marlin by Benjamin Moore.

The color choice for this room wasn’t in the original plan at all. Originally we were looking at grey’s or dark greens to go with the existing shower curtain we had picked out when the walls were still builder white. However none of those colors really resonated with us when we had the swatches in the room so we decided it was silly to pick a paint color around a $20 HomeGoods curtain. We should pick a color we like then get the curtain afterwards as shower curtains are much easier to change than paint.

Silver Marlin was originally a contender for our Master bath but we decided we wanted something a little bit more blue for in there, yet we still really liked the color – so hall bath it was.

Like is common with paint all the subtle tones you see in the swatch are greatly amplified once it goes on the wall. What we thought was a soft grey with hints of light green turned out to be light green with hints of grey.. c’est la vie.  We used the same technique outlined in this post to get behind the toilet.

The longer its been up the more I like it especially now that we’ve replaced the shower curtain. Here is a photo of the paint with the old curtain. Clash central…

Hicks House | Hall Bath

Hicks House | Hall Bath

And here is the new curtain we found at target. I think it plays off the green much better.

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bath

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bath

And a few photos from around the rest of the bathroom:

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bathroom

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bathroom

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bathroom

Hicks House | Silver Marlin Bathroom

Now the room at least has some personality although there is still a lot to do.

  • Paint the walls
  • Get and install toilet paper holder
  • Get and install towel bar
  • Replace the chrome faucet and shower head with brushed nickel ones
  • Replace the 80’s style Hollywood lights with something more contemporary (seriously I can’t believe they still make these ugly fixtures)
  • Replace the countertop with a granite or marble one rather than the plastic all in one pieces

So still a lot to do, but I’m liking the direction is headed. What do you think have you painted any of your rooms Silver Marlin? If so which ones?
Hicks House


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Half Bath goes Blue

The painting continues over here at Hicks House. You may remember our color scheme that I shared at the begining of the year. So far I’ve shared “finished” pictures of the dining room and halls, the next room to get the royal treatment was the half bathroom downstairs.

From the color chart you can see that we chose Woodlawn Blue for this room. So far of the rooms we’ve painted this is Ken’s favorite color. It’s a very soothing light blue that feels very “spa-like.” It didn’t photograph all too well (story of this blog – if you’re reading this I could use a new camera – that would be a nice gift…) mostly I think because the room is so small its hard to photograph especially since I didn’t want to be seen in the mirror reflection (I hate that). But here it is:
Hicks House | Half Bath | Woodlawn Blue
Hicks House | Half Bath | Woodlawn Blue

The tightness of the room was also challenging to paint, I couldn’t fit the full sized ladder in here so I had to cut in the ceiling on a step stool standing on my tip-toes. Great for working out your calves… not so great for straight lines. Also painting behind the sink required me to twist up and around the pedestal sink to get around all the water lines. Not my finest moment.

Luckily painting behind the toilet wasn’t as difficult. In the condo when we had painted the bathrooms we also had to remove wallpaper requiring us to remove the entire toilet, something we really did not want to do So we looked for something and some way we could paint behind the toilet while leaving it in place. We had seen small rollers in the store before however they had always been foam so you could see the texture difference on the wall between the foam rollers and the fabric rollers.

Then we found these:
Hicks House | Half Bath | Woodlawn Blue

Fabric Mini Rollers they looked like they were the perfect size to fit behind the tank and the wall. So we found a long handle screwed it onto the mini roller, removed the top of the tank and tested it out – perfect. Here’s a size comparison with a regular size roller:
Hicks House | Half Bath | Woodlawn Blue

And here it is painting behind the toilet.
Hicks House | Half Bath | Woodlawn Blue

I know not the most exciting post in the world but we’re pretty excited to have one more painted room in the house. Since this bathroom is off the hall and next to the dining room, that half of the downstairs is done which is a huge accomplishment.

So here’s where our half bathroom list stands:

  • paint walls
  • get new light fixture for ove sink
  • get new mirror? or frame the mirror?
  • add toilet paper and towel holders

So what do you think, would you paint your bathroom or any other walls in your home Woodlawn Blue?
Hicks House