Wednesday, July 18, 2012

F.O.S. {Fear Of Stenciling}

My apologies for my long absence from the blog world.  My life has been quite hectic lately, so the blog had to take a backseat for a while.  :(  But I am so happy to be back, and even happier to share a project that I wrapped up a couple weeks ago.  It is by far one of my favorites, and definitely one that I was terrified to take on.  {For those of you who follow me on Instagram, retroranchreno, you've probably already guessed which project this is. :) }

For quite some time it was very apparent to me that I needed to spice up our hallway.  It was a whole lot of wall space, with not a thing going on...and since part of it can be viewed from pretty much every room in our house, I knew I needed to add some interest.

My first thought was to create a ginormous version of the very popular gallery wall.  Ultimately, I decided against it because of the small gallery wall I already hung above our buffet {which reminds me that I have not shared it with you guys...ohhh boy, am I behind in my sharing!!!}, and I didn't want to put something together that would make our open hallway feel heavy or crowded.

So on to my second thought...using paint to put a fun pattern onto the walls.  Thick, straightforward stripes?!?  Nah, I already did that in the main bathroom.  A cool Moroccan tile pattern?!?  Definitely.  But wait...that meant I'd have to tackle stenciling, and for whatever reason...stenciling intimidated the heck out of me!

Fear aside, I couldn't get the thought of fixing the hallway up out of my head.  I kept browsing Royal Design Studio's website for the perfect pattern and I always found myself checking out the Moroccan Stencils section.  I have quite a few favorites in there, and I was able to narrow it down to the Moorish Trellis.  My choice was perfect since I wanted to avoid anything too small and intricate.  A crazy, busy hallway is not the look we were going for.

And even though I am CLEARLY not a professional stencil artist, I took a risk and ordered a "pro" sized stencil.  I was willing to pay the extra cash {$98 vs. $44 for a standard size} for a larger stencil so I could minimize the amount of times I'd have to put the stencil up on the wall.

My stencil arrived quickly, and then just sat in the corner of our bedroom for a month or so.  I finally found the motivation {and mainly, courage} to start this project after my parent's came for their visit earlier this month.

Here is the best "before" picture I could come across.  Of course, I forgot to take a proper this oldie, but goodie will make do.

I started out by spraying the back of my stencil with some Easy-Tack spray adhesive I purchased from Michaels.  I started the spraying process on our back porch and eventually moved it to our great room floor.  I just used a drop cloth underneath the stencil when I needed to reapply.

I was a little nervous about how well the spray adhesive would hold, but it worked well.  I didn't even need painters tape for the first half of the project.

I coated everything in paint.

Ta-da!  One section done....a million to go.

I decided to do the top half of all the walls first, and then go to the lower half.

The paint did bleed a bit under the stencil since I wasn't "truly" stenciling with a proper stencil brush...but I don't mind.  I used a small roller and it went much more quickly that way and still gave me the effect I desired.

 Onto the lower half....

And after 9 hours of work...I was done, and obsessed with the finished product!  It was just what me and the hubby wanted.  {Please forgive my blurry, awful iPhone pictures.  I could not find my camera for the life of me...not like that would have made a difference in the quality of my photography hehe.}

Love this view from the kitchen now...

It's a little hard to capture the pattern throughout the entire hallway in photos since it's a subtle color difference, but the appearance in real-life is perfect!

And I love how our mirror at the end of the hallway reflects the design beautifully.

What do you think?  Worth the full day of work?  I definitely think so! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Like I mentioned in my last post, I'm a little behind on revealing the progress of our patio.  It's just what happens when we have a visit from my beloved parents.  We end up getting involved in a million and one projects, and then I get overwhelmed with how much I need to share with you all.  Of course that causes me to run and hide my head under some pillows until I get the courage to face my blogging dashboard again.

But I'm back now...and before I even get started with the little projects we just tackled, I'm going to share our UHHHHH-MAZING new patio!!  The slab went through quite a few stages since you saw it herehere, here and here.

Yesterday you saw the wet concrete.

Then we had a stained, almost-cured pad...complete with hand drawn stones.  {Yup, those things are manually drawn by our concrete guy.}

Then later that night, he came back to cut the joints into the concrete.

Oh, and while all of this was going on, they uncovered the fact that our gutter was draining into this...a root-busted and completely packed PVC pipe.

But that was no worry because our phenomenal patio guy had his crew create a dry well for us.  I mean really, do contractors get any better than this?!?!

Sorry...back to the patio.

After the joints were cut, it was time to make a second step {we weren't happy with how just one looked, so they agreed to create another one}, and they also started to paint the crevices between the stones.

Then it was time to blow the patio off to prep the surface to be sealed.

And after the sealing process, we were blessed with this beautiful outdoor space!!!!

COULDN'T.BE.HAPPIER.  So what do you guys think?  Quite a bit better than what we started with right??

{Btw, if anyone in the NJ area needs the best concrete guy around, contact Alex at  He is THE BEST!}

Who Needs An Alarm Clock?!

****This post was TOTALLY supposed to go up last Wednesday, but I was slightly distracted by the arrival of my parents.  Whenever they show up from NC, everything...including posting things I already prepped...goes on the backburner.  My bad!  Let's just pretend I posted this on time...k, thankssss!****

I know I didn’t this morning!  Instead, I was stirred out of sleep by the wonderful hum of a concrete truck!  {Okay, so our first alarm went off at 5am for the gym, but clearly, neither me nor hubby, were in workout mode today.  Whooops!}

Regardless, when I got my lazy butt out of bed today, I opened the blinds to see a bunch of workers prepping our patio area for the onslaught of concrete it was about to receive.  If you follow me on Instagram {retroranchreno}, you saw this picture nice and early!

By the time I was in and out of the shower…the concrete was already flowing!!

It took maybe 25 minutes of pouring and smoothing, and we were left with this.  {Can I get an AMEN for the fact that the truck could pour right into our space, versus the crew having to fill the area via wheelbarrow?}

The remainder of the day, our guy is going to manually create 3 – 5 foot “stones” in the concrete.  The larger sized stones will help make the patio appear less less busy and aid in hiding the joints he needs to create.  These joints are a must and will keep the pad from cracking over time.  After today, the crew is scheduled to come back Saturday morning.  I know the pad will need to be stained and sealed, and our steps and gutter drainage still need to be completed as well.  I can’t wait to see the finished product!