Thursday, February 28, 2013

Conquering MDF Tongue & Groove Paneling

Since I posted about my new obsession with tongue and groove paneling, I thought I'd give a quick tutorial on how to prep and paint tongue and groove panels made out of MDF.

We've never really used MDF for anything before, but we were in Lowe's looking at wood tongue and groove options for another project and stumbled upon a rack of these:
They are EverTrue Pre-Primed V-Groove Panels, made of MDF. They are small (under 3 feet), but the 8-packs were marked down from $13 to $2.35! So of course we filled our cart. We had a 10% off coupon so they ended up costing us $2.11 for each 8-pack. It didn't take us long to come up with the first way we wanted to use them. We love the paneled ceiling look, so since these are short we decided to try them on the ceiling in our small downstairs hallway.

I didn't read about painting MDF at all until after I started this project. You know, I just dove right in with zero research and learned the hard usual. Claaaaassic Jen [insert Target lady voice here]. Let me just tell you....this stuff seems easy. ITS NOT. I figured, oh I'll just slap some paint on them and put them on the ceiling. Wrong. Fortunately, at only $2.11/pack, this was a pretty inexpensive trial and error project, and I actually managed not to waste any in the process.

When you first take the panels out of the package they feel somewhat gritty. I tried wiping the grit off with a wet cloth...first mistake. The "primer" (or so they claim) started coming off and made it worse. For attempt #2 I tried just wiping them with a dry cloth to remove the grittiness. Didn't do the trick. Obviously. I feel like I should've seen this coming. So I took one of my favorite DIY tools ever, the sanding've seen her here before ladies and gentlemen...
...and just lightly sanded them down. Then I wiped with a dry cloth. Perfect. Step #1 conquered. Now onto the next dilemma. Like I eluded to ten seconds ago, they claim these panels are "pre-primed," but they lie...they lie!
Source: (as seen on Pinterest)
I don't know what kind of crap primer they used but it is awful I tell ya, awful. I attempted just painting them without any primer. Mistake #3. Yup, I did a whole package of 8 with a coat of paint first. And it was a paint/primer combo even. Grrrrrrrr. It was unpleasant. The panels soak that paint up like a baby's diaper in a pool. So I learned, begrudgingly, that pre-primed MDF still needs to be primed. With good industrial-strength primer, not a paint/primer combo. I used Zinsser Cover Stain.

So after lightly sanding and wiping, I gave them each a good coat of my Zinsser primer. When it was dry I lightly sanded again with my best friend the fine sanding block and then again wiped them with a dry cloth. THEN, finally, I painted them. I used a mini roller instead of a paintbrush so the coat was even and non-streaky. It also made it 1000x faster than with a paintbrush. So purdy.
I lightly sanded between coats of paint:
And then the last very important part. I figured this out after a lot of hard journalistic research. Yup...I read the instructions on the package. What it says is that you need to leave the panels in the room where they are to be installed for at least 48 hours before installation. This is important, because we had some that sat in our hall for over 48 hours and were much easier to install than ones that had been sitting there for only 24 hours. Yes, we got impatient and tried to cheat....but the panels just laughed at us. They need to be properly "conditioned" to the space, so they must be left for at least 48 hours.

So here's the MadeWithLoveAndOats steps for conquering MDF Pre-Primed Panels:
1. Sand lightly with a fine sanding block and then dry with a cloth. (DO NOT wet them)
2. Give one good coat of primer.
3. Sand lightly with a fine sanding block and wipe with a dry cloth.
4. Paint 2 coats of semi or high gloss paint, lightly sanding and wiping in between.
5. Condition the panels by leaving them in the room for 48 hours prior to installation.

Pretty simple, and you get an amazing result...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Home Design Ideas I'm Diggin': Tongue & Groove Paneling

Tongue and groove paneling is very much in style right now, and I. AM. OBSESSED. It's so much more appealing than plain painted walls. Let me be clear, I like it in some places. I'm not digging the let's-panel-our-entire-house-so-it-looks-like-a-barn look. No. Those of you who like that can have it. I like it, for example, on this more formal ceiling look:

And this less formal, beamed ceiling:

And on walls (totally diggin' this colored paneling with white trim look):

And to add interest to certain elements, like this fireplace:

And it's clearly the only way to go with porch ceilings:

Or even stained wood paneling, which I prefer in basements (yeah, we don't need to bring back wood paneling altogether):

And on stairs, but evidently that hasn't been done yet because I can't find a photo to show you. Maybe I'll just have to start that trend?

This is probably the most amazing...I mean wow.

Oh yes....we have big tongue and groove plans for our house and I can't wait to show you. Coming soon!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Was There Just a Holiday or Something?

A few years ago David and I decided that we didn't care much for celebrating Valentine's Day (bleghh). It's well known that most men don't like it, but as a woman I couldn't care less about it either. I'd much rather have David do something nice for me other times throughout the year than get me a gift because he feels obligated by society to do so. Don't get offended if you love Valentine's Day...that's totally your perogative. It's just not for us.

We did go on a date anyway....a real romantic our new favorite destination in CT for all you home improvement junkies....Connecticut Lighting Center.

I'm gonna just go ahead and call it "the brightest place on earth" - that's totally false but there are more lights there than I've ever seen in my life. You may have seen our Instagram photo of the lights but if you didn't, here's what it looks like inside, from my camera to your face.
They have just about every type of light you could every imagine, and so many rooms we didn't even go into them all. And the best part? They're open late and on weekends for those of us with jobs.

We picked up 2 pieces of hardware for a project but they had to special order them, so as soon as they come in and we get up there to pick them up, you'll get to see the finished product. I was so excited I didn't get a photo in the hardware room, but here's a photo from their website to show you that this hardware section kicks Lowe's butt.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Lighting Center
We weighed our options for a hallway light and we think we're gonna go with this boob lookin' guy:
And on our way out we grabbed this steal-o-the-century:
Yes, that's an adorable retro style fan for $24.95. I was kinda kicking myself for not buying two.

So there's my blog shoutout to a fabulous store, which not only has an unbelievable selection of lighting and hardware, but also had an amazing staff. I am a huuuuge sucker for good customer service, and if you do it right I will come back time and time again and tell everyone I know about you. These guys were AMAZING. If you live in the area, I highly recommend this place. And we haven't even gone in the Restoration Lighting Gallery yet. We shall return though once our hardware comes in and to get our new hallway boob light. Yes, lots of house projects are coming. I promise. I'm working David like a dog over here. Stay tuned....and Happy Valentine's (if you celebrate it) and President's (if you got it off) Days from the Wright family.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Minted Contest

Meet my ultimate favorite place for invitations....MINTED.

They're having a contest for a baby shower inspiration board to win $500, which could well beyond pay for our Christmas cards for the next 7 or so years. They require you to share your board on your blog so here's my entry. If you'd like to enter click here. Good luck!

Winter Baby Shower Inspiration by Jennifer, see more

Winter Baby Shower Inspiration board by Jennifer. See more

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Home Design Ideas I'm Diggin': First Edition

I'm going to be posting a series of Home Design Ideas I'm Diggin' - thought that was appropriate considering our blog's named after a dog....and I'm starting it on the appropriate day, since we're pretty much spending our weekend "digging out" from this blizzard.

I'll try to do it once a week. Don't hold me to that.

I've pretty much loved home design/decor/architecture since I could draw. I've been sketching my dream home on graph paper for as long as I can remember. And yes, I worked for an architect's office for 7 years (part time while in school) but that wasn't the career for me. I like design, not math. And trust me, most of that job is not the fun stuff you picture architects doing. So truly, just having a house of my own to mess with and experiment with, to decorate to my heart's desire, and to pour my heart into is a dream come true. And yes, I will continue to sketch my dream house and hope know that someday we'll get there.

So for the first edition of Home Design Ideas I'm Diggin' I'm going to give you a fun idea I've been diggin' pretty much since the beginning of time, and something that will most certainly find a way into my dream home but likely not my current one. And it reminds me of warmer times so it's necessary right now.

Drumroll please......The Outdoor Shower!

I mean, is there anyone who doesn't love outdoor showers? They are the epitome of beach living, and God knows we're beach people.

The fun part is....there's so many ways to design them. The one above looks like it's made from fence panels...genius and simple. This one's also very simple without any walls, for bathing suit showering I suppose. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, or you just want your neighbors to see you.

Don't be creepy your neighbors don't want to see that. I'm "diggin" showers with sides from now on.

I love this one, all secretive and built into the home:

And this "surf shack" shower is just too cool for school:

These people got creative (and smart) and put in a regular showerhead and a low one for cleaning sandy feet. Great for when you don't want to get your whole body wet.

You can go beachy...






Or make it a part of your bathroom, which is such a cool idea and there's so many ways to do it. Not sure I'd wanna do this in New England though.

But I think I like this style the best for my dream home:
Criss-crossed blue oars decorate the changing area of an outdoor shower.
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn - Courtesy of Coastal Living
Good luck to all my New England friends and family "digging out" and I hope this reminded you of warmer times. Stay tuned for more Home Design Ideas I'm Diggin'.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Results Are In (Even Though You Already Know!)

Soooo evidently I must have been drinking or something when I wrote my last post. I'M JUST KIDDING it was at like 7am on a Friday. Not that that's never happened before. Just kidding Mom. Anyway, I posted mine and David's picks for the Superbowl aaaand then told you I'd let you know the results after the game. Wow. Unless you live under a rock, you already know I LOST.

So last night we went through our container of $$$ that we've been collecting weekly to make this competition more fun.
In case you didn't read my two previous football competition posts, we each put $10 per game into a jar and at the end, whoever won got to pick where we'd go with the money. Well, we'll admit it, we slacked....a lot. Does it look like there's not $420 in there? Remember I told you we slacked? We missed a whole lotta weeks, so we agreed we'd just spend whatever we had saved. Yeah, we only saved $280. Basically around the time the chalkboard pen stopped working well is I guess when we stopped putting money in the jar.
I blame it on Christmas. When I put out my Christmas decorations the jar got put in a cabinet and we sorta neglected it. Oh well. We have a $280 mini-vacation ahead of us at some point before the next football season. Since David won, he gets to choose where and what we're doing with the money, so stay tuned. If you know David, you know we're most likely going fishing somewhere. I just hope it's somewhere warm.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Its Superbowl Weekend....

....and in the words of my favorite vlogger (video blogger) Grace know what that means!

Oh yes, it means our 22 (is that right?) week long game of football pickin' is coming to a close. If you don't know what the hey I'm talking about, please reference this post. This is our score board and clearly my chalkboard pen has lost all its steam in the last 12 weeks or so. Seriously? It has to write 2 numbers a week my goodness. And yes I propped that football there for this photo because props are fun. Also if it was there all season Oats would have eaten it by now.
So I'm sure you can't read it because my pen is the worst, but the score going into Superbowl weekend is.......

Jen: 148
David: 161

Oh yeah. I'm killing it.

HOWEVER....the Superbowl is worth 16 buckaroos. I have been down all season so this would be a miracle. The other night we came to the realization that if we both picked the same team to win the Superbowl, that would be the end and I would have lost before the season was even over. Man would that have been a lame ending, and we can't have that around here.

I got lucky...for now. We picked different teams woot game's still on.

Jen: 49ers
David: Ravens
Spread: 3.5 points to the Ravens

(Auntie Jodi tell your team to GET IT TOGETHER I NEED THIS)

So I'll be letting you know on Monday (or whenever I can get my crap together and write a blog post) who won the season-long football picking game and who therefore gets not only bragging rights, but also gets to choose our mini-vaca destination.

Have a fabulous Superbowl Sunday! Go 49ers!

Oh yeah and Happy Groundhog Day....seriously who makes this stuff up?

**David pointed out to me after I posted this that the word "vlogger" in the first sentence looks like a spelling error. It's not. Vlogger means video blogger for anyone who doesn't love YouTube as much as me. I've added that into that sentence now. Also, the spread I posted for the game was's 3.5 points to the Ravens, I had the 49ers. It's since been corrected. This is what happens when women talk about football. JK JK.
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