white stained floors

I was sitting in my living room with a friend talking about how our wood floors needed to be refinished. With 5 kids and lots of their friends running in and out on them, they had taken a beating. I was asking her for advice on a few minor updates I was hoping to do in the living room. She looked at me and said, “You aren’t really going to be happy until your floors are whiter.” And that was all it took…one other person that recognized I wanted white floors and affirmed it! Much appreciated Lori.

Thankfully, Chris is usually supportive of any of my house ideas. He knows I spend the majority of my days in our home and he wants it to be a place that I can express myself, as well as, be a refuge for our family and others.

The original plan was for us to refinish the floors ourselves because that is just how I operate. If there is remote chance I can do it myself, then I am going to do it. Chris, well, he feels the opposite. If it can be hired, we should hire pros. I feel like most DIY people marry another DIY person. That is not the case for us.

For our anniversary, we gave each other the perfect gifts. I got white stained floors and he got professionals to tackle the project. We hired Floors By George. It is a local company owned by Chris’ lifelong friends. When the crew arrived and began sanding, Chris and I both were grinning. Best anniversary presents ever. We are so romantic.

I can’t give you details on HOW we did the floors since we didn’t do them. The white oak floors were sanded and then a white stain was brushed on, then rubbed off. There were 3 coats of an incredibly durable water-based polyurethane finishing it off. Originally, I thought I wanted more white, but I am so happy we did not go any whiter. The wood grain really shows and dirt doesn’t.

6.12floors-01We’ve been talking about updating our floor and door trim. Since we were refinishing the floors, it was a perfect time to start tackling that project too. We did get an estimate from another company to do it for us, but it was SO MUCH more than what could do ourselves.

We spent $140 (we were quoted over $1000). We started with the living room and kitchen. We’ll slowly go through the rest of the house updating trim.

For our trim we used:

  • 1×6 primed mdf boards for baseboards
  • 1×4 primed mdf boards for the door trim (top board has a 1 inch overhang on each side)

It is incredible what a difference updating the trim made to the whole room. I can’t wait to tackle the rest of the house now.

Before & After

6.12floors-026.12floors-056.12floors-06The biggest thing I would hear from others when I mentioned wanting light floors was related to cleaning. I sweep our kitchen/living room a couple times a day. We don’t live in a massive house and basically spend the majority of our days in a 500 sq ft space (the kitchen and living room). The lighter floors have not changed how often I sweep or how dirty our floors look. I am SO THRILLED with them. Our house is brighter and they just make me happy to look at. I can’t say enough good about Floors by George and my new pretty white stained floors!

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  • Carol - Your floors are perfect. Floors by George did a great job and also great job on our floors!

  • Ashley - They are BEAUTIFUL!!! And I had to laugh at your comment about most DIYers marrying DIYers… definitely isn’t the case in our home either ha! It took awhile for me to wrap my head around WHY my husband wasn’t as excited about painting walls as I was?!

  • AnnMarie - Your floors look lovely! And I’m impressed that you sweep them several times a day – our house is lucky if it gets swept once a week! (Yes, we’re animals, but we’re four busy personal women sharing a house so I suppose it was inevitable.)

    And the picture of your daughter reading The Name Jar caught my eye – that book is great! I lived for several years in Korea and I love finding books that have any connection to Korea at all, even a tenuous one. And that one has such a good message. :)

  • Debbie C - I LOVE your new floors! Just the right amount of whitening. And wider trim makes such a difference! We are in the process of changing out our trim too, going from 2-inch brown trim to 5-inch white. SO much better!

  • Jenny - I’m a DIY person, and my husband isn’t, so I totally fell you on that one! I think HGTV has messed with our heads. It drives me crazy sometimes, but overall he’s a keeper. And I love your floor!

  • M J Penner - Dear A,
    You ABSOLUTELY NEED a Shop Vac (or equivalent with an extension cord)! It will do a much faster and more thorough job and they are relatively cheap. A simple comparison to what you are doing now is like digging a big hole with a stick instead of a properly sharpened shovel… everyday! Once in a magazine, I think it was “This Old House” they asked, “If your house was burning, what tool would you grab on your way out?” Hands down my shop vac! LOVE IT!
    GBY, MJ

  • Emily - That looks great! I love the thicker trim and the lighter floors!

  • Anna - When I moved into our house with white cabinets, I was sure they’d look dirty all the time. When my husband wanted to buy a white car I felt the same way. But now, oddly, I feel white actually hides dirt pretty well. When it is dirty, it just looks less white. A lot of dirty things really show up more noticeably on dark brown than on light/white. I am still skeptical about a white sofa, however. Love your floors, and the new trim looks amazing! It really does update the whole look of the house!

  • Whitney - Wow! I love this look!! What a great update, what is your trim and wall color?

  • Jenny B. - Yay! They look beautiful, and I love the new door trim. Our floors are a medium/light oak (pergo, though, not real wood), and I think they always look fairly clean, even when they’re really not. My husband’s parents installed dark wood floors in their house, and they show every speck of dust. So, I think light floors are easier to keep clean-looking than dark (unless they are solid white – that might be a pain). πŸ˜‰ Happy belated anniversary! :)

  • Maggie - I love your floors! I would be the one telling you to get white floors too! We are moving to a house with 10″ pine floors and are going to refinish them with white too. I just can’t handle brown floors anymore.

  • Ingrid - SO BEAUTIFUL!! I love it :)

  • Carla - I love how your floors look :) We ripped up carpet and installed vinyl plank flooring last June in a very similar colour to your new floors. Yes, I sweep it a lot but I would anyways with three kids underfoot. It’s actually a fabulous colour to work with as it hides dirt well. It also lightens and brightens our whole space and looks like it is doing the same for you too!! Great choice.

  • Kimberly Dial - Your floors are beautiful!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, they look amazing! Don’t laugh – I received a Roomba, and I turn it on every time I leave – and it is my new bestest friend. That might help, too :)

  • Diane - Hi Ashley,
    Wondered if you know of a company where I can sponsor (want to use my Etsy income) a hungry child in our country? All of the bloggers I read use Compassion but all of the kids are from other countries. My husband wants the money to stay within the US to help someone? I know you have to be careful about all the funds going to “administrative and advertising” and not to the child, so I want to choose carefully! Thanks! if you know~

  • AshleyAnn - Kate – Laugh?! I’m jealous!

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you Kimberly!

  • AshleyAnn - Whitney – it is called Clean and Crisp. Not sure the original brand, I’ve had it mixed so many times. With white walls and trims I have to touch up paint ever so often…with everything being the same color it is much easier!

  • AshleyAnn - Anna – I tried white slipcovers for a time. Needless to say, I do not have those anymore. Even though I could wash them, they always looked dirty to me.

  • AshleyAnn - MJ – Do you have a special attachment? We have shop vac, but it just has a hose. That seems like it would take a while. Fill me in!

  • AshleyAnn - Diane – I do not know of a specific organization. We work with local non-profits and individuals, but I am not aware of a national organization. I am sure there must be one though! I know in my area several churches offer meals on the weekends and summer breaks to children. Sorry I am not much help! Let me know if you find a national organization.

  • Grace - Hi Ashley,
    I absolutely loved the picture of your daughter reading in the chair. The hanging legs, the stripes, the book, the dog, and the white floors! But where did you get the beautiful painting of the flowers?!

  • AshleyAnn - Grace – thank you! It was a gift from my friend Ruth. You can see here work (and purchase prints, canvases, etc) here: http://www.gracelaced.com/

DIYDecoupagePlanter

Part of refreshing things around here has been making updates on old posts and transferring DIY posts (and others) to pinterest. On a weekly basis, I get visitors from Pinterest wondering about a couple decoupage pots I made years ago. (original post here).

Since I receive so many questions regarding more specifics on how I made the pots, I thought it was time for an update. The original idea is from Christine Chitnis in 2010. Her post includes a step by step description. I’m including more step-by-step pictures for those of you that are a bit more visual. Be sure to check out Christine’s post!

Supplies:

  • Terra cotta pot – mine was from Hobby Lobby, 50% off
  • Decoupage – also available at Hobby Lobby
  • Fabric – mine was actually part of my eldest daughter’s crib sheet, circa 2009
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush

6.12decoupagepot-02Step 1: Wrap the pot in fabric and cut it with a bit overlapping – a couple extra inches on the top and bottom6.12decoupagepot-03Step 2: cover the pot in decoupage, wrap the fabric around6.12decoupagepot-05Step 3: trim the overlapping side where you can fold it over just a bit6.12decoupagepot-07Step 4: using more decoupage, fold and press down the overlapping section6.12decoupagepot-09Step 5: Trim the bottom and glue it down with decoupage. Make sure you only cover a little bit of the bottom. You want the plant to still be able to drain.6.12decoupagepot-11Step 6: Cover the fabric with decoupage. You want to evenly SOAK all the fabric. I brushed the decoupage on, but then I smoothed the fabric with my hand. Using my hand allows me to press out any air bubbles and really coat the fabric. If the fabric is not coated evenly, you will get air bubbles and it will dry unevenly.6.12decoupagepot-13Step 7: After the bottom and sides dry, trim and glue down the top. I don’t want too much fabric on the inside of the pot, but I also want enough that the bottom of the fabric is just barely covered by dirt.6.12decoupagepot-156.12decoupagepot-17I recommend keeping these pots inside. The decoupage is not waterproof. However, I did use my last set outside and they lasted for several years. Eventually, they faded and just got too dirty. If you decide to use them outside, just know they won’t last as long.6.12decoupagepot-18

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  • Katherine Bach - Love it! I may have to try a few of these soon!

  • Lindsey p - You know you’re the mom of older kids when…you are willing to coat your hands in decoupage while one of them (presumably) takes your picture. Literally the first thought i had was that i wouldn’t be able to do this craft without another adult. Ha!

  • Emily - That is super cute! I wonder if the dishwasher-safe mod-podge would help them last longer outside? I may need to test that out :-) Thanks!

  • AshleyAnn - Emily – I bet it will! Great idea :)

  • AshleyAnn - Lindsey – My 6 year old took the pictures! I laughed reading your comment, none of that even crossed my mind! I wasn’t going to include a picture with my hands covered in glue and then she came in and wanted to help.

  • Lyndsay - Ashley! I made some of these for Mother’s Day!!! I’m sometimes on a local tv show doing crafty stuff, and this is one we did for Mother’s Day crafts. The fabric makes the plants look “happier” to me. ha!! http://lyndsayalmeida.com/5-gifts-kids-can-make-mothers-day/

  • Anne Eicher - Love it! My mom used to have one that was decoupaged with little squares (crazy quilt style) of fabric. I always loved it!

  • Anne Eicher - …and by the way, after seeing your coffee mug rack in your hospitality post I searched the Internet for weeks (months?) until I found one at decor steals… I gave it to hubby for father’s day. πŸ˜‰ (ok, I REALLY wanted to buy it but he’s the one that drinks the most coffee and collects mugs everywhere we go!) πŸ˜€

  • Friday Favorites | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] How to pretty up a basic terra cotta planter. […]

  • Dee - Oh my gosh, so cute!! Love the cute floral print you chose…How I miss Hobby Lobby and their 50% off coupons!! Having moved from Tulsa, OK back to England 18 months ago, Hobby Lobby is still the store I pine for!

  • AshleyAnn - Dee – the 50% coupons are my favorite. I never pay full price there…for anything. If it isn’t on sale one week, it will be the next. I would miss it too!

Every birthday.

Every party.

Every special event that she sees a bag of balloons, she tries to blow one up herself. It has been a couple of years of attempting. Blowing up a balloon is hard for any four year old. For a four year old that was born with a cleft lip and palate, well, it is a huge feat. For most cleft kiddos, building up air pressure in their mouth is extremely hard. She’s a tiny little thing, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in pure grit.

Her 5th birthday is this week and it looks like I now have some more help in blowing up the party balloons!

6.12balloon-016.12balloon-026.12balloon-036.12balloon-046.12balloon-056.12balloon-066.12balloon-07It is hard to find any words after that last picture. It basically says it all. We are celebrating here….another huge accomplishment and another birthday!

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  • Bea - Beautiful, determined girl – what a magical moment and so well captured in all the shots, but especially the last. One to write on your heart!

  • Annemieke - Oh my gosh, the joy and determination that just beams from these pictures. The grit, yes, this Little One is going places. Love love love it. Thank you for sharing her with us Ashley, she is a treasure.

  • Pappy - Way to go Dudette #5, I’m proud of you

  • Susan - Happy birthday to your sweet girl! May all her balloons be filled and her wishes come true as she begins a new year of new things.
    Praying God’s blessings for your entire family!
    Susan

  • Cathy S. - So awesome!

  • Laura Y - Happy Birthday Little One!!!! She looks so proud. Brought tears to my eyes. What an accomplishment!

  • Marsha - That sparkle in her eyes, that smile, and that crinkled grin… Priceless!

  • Kirsten - Hooooraaaaay!! So proud of her. LOVE that last picture! Happy Birthday, Little One!

  • Kristin S - No way!!! Go Little One!!!

  • Debi - So sweet! My little guy has/had a cleft lip and palate too and each little milestone is so great! Congratulations on her accomplishment and her birthday!!! :)

  • Jill - Yay Little One!!

  • Byron - Well done! God bless!

  • Ashley - Love that tenacity!???

  • Ashley - Whoops, those question marks are supposed to be balloon icons. No questions, only celebration!

  • Emily - Woohoo! That’s so excellent! Happy Birthday πŸ˜€

  • Maureen - Yay!!!!! Way to go Little One!!! Best.. pictures…ever!!!

  • Lisa - This post brought tears to my eyes! What accomplishment she must feel. I remember the joy on my son’s face when he was able to finally drink from a straw after his last surgery. He has another surgery Friday. Hopeful this one will give us another leap forward! Thanks for sharing. She is beautiful.

  • Lara - So beautiful!!! Everything about it. ??????

  • Lara - Those question marks were supposed to be hearts. :)

  • Lee H - That’s awesome. She’s a beauty

  • Mia White - This is terrific, and we get how huge an accomplishment– our son (four next month, also adopted from China w/CLCP) just mastered the straw! Way to go!

  • Adriana - You know… I have been reading your blog since always and never comment, but this!!! This is something to be celebrated! Please, give this little girl a huge hug (I know you probably do it several times a day, but hugs are never enough) and congratulate her for working hard and never giving up! These photos brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful kids with us. :)

  • Libbe - Amazing!! I cannot imagine getting to this point with our little guy!

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you for celebrating with us Adriana!

  • Southern Gal - Happy birthday to your sweet baby girl! How is she 5 already??

  • Carrie Hageman - Yeah! Something to be celebrated! Happy Birthday to her!

  • Kimberly Dial - Oh my! I can’t believe Little One is five years old! I love that you’ve shared her journey/your story & seeing her thrive and accomplish so much is a true testimony of what “grit” can get ya! Happy birthday Little One! Good job on that balloon girlfriend!

  • Haley - SO CUTE!!! Happy birthday!

  • Christine - Hooray! I remember the early birthdays when mine couldn’t blow out the candles, and when his older brother was the only one who could understand him consistently. Thanks for the reminder of how far we have come! It is so exciting to accomplish those goals! Great job!! Balloons for everyone!!!