Throwback | diy holidays

Christmas sled

We found this vintage sled in the garage when we moved in – I knew it would be a perfect to add a little holiday spirit to our porch!

This holiday season has varied a little from our norm…

Usually, we’d be knee-deep in greenery and cookie baking by this time in December. But, this year, we have no place to put a Christmas tree yet because apparently it’s not super simple to renovate a 145-year-old kitchen, or something. And, obviously, cooking is hard when your new oven is still shrink-wrapped in the garage. So, my living room still looks like the pic below, but, with some help from my awesome mom who has been visiting (who, side-note, will paint your kitchen cabinets until 6am for you, and do your laundry…) at least the outside of the house is looking festive!

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The filter makes this pic look way more serene than it feels irl… But, the end of our sea of boxes is near!

Things are different, BUT, I’ve found comfort in some old and new traditions – some of which I’ve shared on FreshlyMinted in the past! And, a white-and-grey-and-butcher block-and-harringbone – and subway tile- rustic farmhouse kitchen is now totally within sight… so I can be patient a little longer ;)

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite throwback holiday posts and projects:

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Handmade Holiday | Rustic Boxwood Garland & Mini Wreaths, Newsprint Tree, Perfect Christmas Bow and Popcorn garland (I used holly for my garland this year – much more prickly, but just as lovely!)

Salt Dough | Gift Tags & Ornaments 

Secret Holiday Treats | Aunt J’s Top Secret Chocolate Mint Cookie Recipe

A Cookie-Swappers Daydream | Salted Mudslide Cookie Recipe

Enjoy!

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“rahrighouse” projects|diy staircase refresh

Things around here are taking shape. Like this one single corner of our bedroom:

Master viewSlowly, but surely. Sometimes more slowly than surely. But we’re getting there!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are in the midst of renovating a little 145-year-old house in coastal Connecticut. Much of the work we are having completed by (a really awesome, patient) contractor, but there are a few projects that, with the help of my amazing mom, the Husband and I are tackling ourselves. One of those with the biggest impact has been our staircase update!

Stairway before and after

When we moved in, the entire house had hardwood flooring, except a the carpeted  master bedroom, a small landing, and the staircase. It was horrid. So, project #1 was to pull it up. The stairs weren’t horrible, but they weren’t in great shape, either. We knew we didn’t want to completely overhaul them, but they needed something… so, painting it was!

After browsing for ideas, and chatting with our local Sherwin Williams, we chose our paint, grabbed wood filler and a sander, and started:

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1| You can see the original state of the stairway. The wood was finished on the edges only, and wasn’t of high quality. And, that carpet…. woof.

2| After pulling up the carpet and nails, we washed the steps down with a vinegar solution. There were a lot of holes from this, and previous rounds of carpet, and the trim didn’t match along the bottom lip of the steps. We contemplated replacing the trim, but ultimately decided that after filling the gaps, we wouldn’t need to completely replace it.  This saved a lot of work, and we avoided having to find tools we didn’t have on hand. Like, anything but a hammer, screwdriver, and sander, tbh…

3| We sanded with a handheld sander, fine grit. Then, we went ahead and went crazy with the wood filler. Then, we sanded again. Finally, we wiped everything down with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of dust, and prep for paint.

4| We chose SW trim paint in Extra White, and SW Porch and Floor Enamel in Gauntlet Gray for the tops of the stairs – the same color we painted our master bedroom, and part of a very neutral gray palette used house-wide. After sanding and cleaning, we painted the white trim, and every-other step. We only have one staircase, and needed to be able to make it up and down throughout the day while each coat dried! We used a 2″ flat brush, and a 1.5″ angle brush, and a bit of painter’s tape came in handy…

5| We painted each step with two coats of paint, and let it dry thoroughly in-between. I am in LOVE with the finished product. What a difference! After more than a month of heavy use and lots of drywall dust and dirt, they’re holding up wonderfully :)

The stairs were one of the big reasons I fell in love with this house in the first place. You might have noticed a little something embedded in the rail:

stairs penny

It’s an “Indian Head” penny, dated 1899! When I saw it, my history-loving, American-girl-obsessed, authentic-costume-wearing-period-interpreter-in-high-school-self almost exploded. It’s just SO COOL! And now, it graces stairs fitting its historic cool-factor. And that makes me happy.

IMG_8863There are roughly 1,543 other projects in various stages of completion throughout the house, so there will be more updates to come. But, I cannot wait for the big kitchen/dining room/laundry room/bathroom reveal – fingers crossed it’ll be coming soon!