Details, Details

Big projects have been started.

Most have been completed.

In the meantime, I’ve been catching my breath by working on the small details that have had a tendency to pile up at lightening speed!

Some of those details included our painting our firestove, fireplace and staircase.

Let us start with the firestove, shall we?

Refinishing A Wood Burning Stove

First of all, here is a photo of what our “fire corner” used to look like:

The stove was rusty and covered in melted wax.

(Go figure.)


My first step in beautifying the stove was to scrape off all the wax and then sand the surface with a 220-grit sandpaper.

Next, I wiped the surface down with soapy water.  (What a mess!)

Once the stove was dry, I pulled out my two magic weapons:

1. High heat spray primer

2. High heat black matte spray paint  (2 cans of each got the job done)

Spray painting indoors is tricky, but here is how I did it:

1. Open every window in the room.

2. Turn the ceiling fan on low.

3. Place a large fan backwards in front of a window.  Turn fan on.  (This will allow the fan to “suck” the gaseous fumes out of the room and into the great outdoors.  Ahhhh!)

4. Use goggles and a ventilator mask.

5.  In the event that you do not have a ventilator mask, just use a regular face mask and follow these steps:

     a.  Take a big gulp of fresh air.  Begin spraying as much surface as you can while slowly exhaling. 

     b.  When your lungs are completely empty and your face is blue, tear out of the house gasping for air like a madwoman. 

     c.  Repeat as needed.  (I gave the neighbors a show!)

For the most part, one coat of both paint and primer was enough with a few touch-ups here and there.

Repainting Stone and Masonry

After painting the firestove, it was time to move on to the stone.

The stone itself was not all bad, just very much outdated.

Therefore, it was time for a change!

I know it sounds redundant, but the best paint for this job is masonry paint which can be purchased at any hardware store.

After a thorough scrubbing, and even more mess!, I allowed the stone to dry before applying an all-purpose primer with a roller specifically made for painting stucco and stone.

Next, I applied the paint.

Many blisters later, our stone looked fresher and more modern.  Hurray!!!

(Sorry for the ash.  I was too lazy to sweep today.)

Staircase Message

Since I want every ounce of my home to be special, I’ve decided to transform otherwise-overlooked areas into unique spaces.

Starting with our staircase!

Not wanting the mess and hassle of stencils, I chose to trust my own skills to hand-paint a favorite quote along the backs of the steps.

Here is what our staircase looked like before the project:

And here is how our staircase looks after the project:


The lettering went by quickly; I was done in under 2 hours!

And even though I didn’t go crazy with measurements, I still used a few handy guides:

1.  I applied a strip of 1″ masking tap along the top and bottom of each step.  This gave me a guide by which to keep the letters straight.

2.  I printed out the alphabet in a font I liked to use as a reference.

3.  I used a small (1/4″?) brush so that in the event of a mistake, I could more easily paint over it.

I am so incredibly pleased by the huge impact these little projects have made!

And cannot wait to complete another little project I have started:



Hmm, this might take me a while.

(I know they are just books, but I want them to look just right!)

Here’s to little projects!!!


6 thoughts on “Details, Details

    • Do you find “hiding places” for the ugly books that don’t match? Currently, Dave has a book with a neon orange cover that simply does not match the other books!

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