Canal House Design

The art and design of this 1920's home on the Erie Canal.

Two months later…

We have been busy with the house, and neglectful of the blog.  Here are some previews of recent projects (some of which are complete now, like the living room, and others are still in process, like the kitchen).

How to create a gallery wall in the living room:

Step 1.

First of all, cut out pieces of newspaper to the exact size of your framed art.  This will allow you to easily play with your arrangement WITHOUT damaging your walls as much.


Step 2.

Measure any wires or hooks, and mark where to place the nails.

Step 3.

Hammer those nails in, and rip away newspaper.

Step 4.

Start hanging up your pictures!


More photos of the gallery wall to come.  The next project is to paint all the black picture frames in different shades of metallic golds, coppers, and bronzes – JUST because I’m still obsessed with warm metal tones.  And I think the warm metal tones will pop against that cool notes in the wall color.


Travis and I also had an Ikea date in Pittsburgh, and Travis discovered the joy of putting together some cheap furniture.  The living room (again) looked a little scary during this process:

However, we moved along fairly quickly:

Two heads were definitely better than one for this process – we finally got the frame put together, and just needed the cushion covers put on the cushions.  As you can see, Coco was helping to test the frame:

This inspired me to jump on styling the living room:

Now, the beautiful rug I ordered came in and the living room is nearly done! More pics to come…after I buy lamps and complete styling the room.  Down the road, there’s an empty spot for a chair and a piano 🙂

Moving on to the kitchen:

I’m sure you’ve heard me complain about the nasty looking, yellowing peachy countertops and the honey oak cabinetry:

Say goodbye – I have coated the countertops and started painting the cabinets white!

Here’s some pictures in process:

I don’t want a 90’s sponge painted pattern, so I tried to achieve a simple mottled look mixing whites and grays.

Here you can see the first coat of paint on the countertops.  Also notice that we started painting the walls, I am in LOVE with the color: Nebulous White by Sherwin Williams.  It’s a lovely subtle, pale grey.

And some random projects:

Here, I’ve painted some old pressed wood bookshelves that I Craigslisted a few years ago.  I repurposed a can of sample paint that I had tested in the kitchen.  I found a GREAT sale on baskets at Joann’s, and used a coupon on top of it.  So, all in all, a beautiful storage system for art supplies in the guest bedroom for under $125:

And here’s a preview of the man cave in its early stages:

And the dining room has also had some progress, in the form of painting it “Chelsea Gray”:

And I promise Travis didn’t do all the painting, I’m the details and trim girl.  And the one with the camera 🙂

So happy to be making progress and turning this house into a home!


Purple no more

The living room has the first coat of color on all of the walls!

The fading light is definitely doing some interesting things to the color throughout the photos here.  In actuality, it is a very pale greenish/blue/light aqua.

Now, if only I can get the trim done…

Weekend Update

Well, we still have more work to do today, however, here are pictures with some progress so far.
We can see the floor in the master bedroom!  Which also means we can start taping and painting those baseboards.  FYI the doors and door frames will also be painted white to match.

Still painting in the bathroom, we’ve made great progress on the trim.  Covering up the light blue has been a pain!

I love the way the white really pops against that dark, dark gray.


Downstairs, I’ve made major progress in the living room – the trim is COMPLETELY stripped and sanded (no easy task), and I started cutting in with the primer.

Good bye, purple!  Yes, I loved that color and painted my bedroom that color…when I was 12.  Just the primer is already lightening and brightening the room!

Today we’ve continued the process, and started adding the first coat of COLOR – “Waterscape”, by Sherwin Williams.  I absolutely adore this color.  In just starting to put this on the wall, I’m already envisioning the finished room with filmy curtains, furniture, pictures, details.

We are moving along!


Weekend Update

Well, we didn’t get as far as I thought we would, however, my goals were a little ambitious.  Also, I don’t think I realized the full extent of how much time, effort, and energy goes into stripping/scraping/sanding woodwork!  That’s basically all I did all weekend, while Travis, my in-laws Tim and Carla, and our friends Marcus and Alisha cleaned and painted.

Carla did some AWESOME cleaning of the nasty stove, and between her and Alisha, that awful 80’s/early 90’s wallpaper came down!

It already looks so much better just with the removal of the wallpaper.

One view of the living room, with all of that woodwork!  we have about half of the room completely stripped and sanded, and half was just stripped and scraped.

of course, MORE woodwork.

This area was the bane of my existence yesterday – the details of the molding around this awesome antique mirror were difficult to strip!

We have most of the dining room woodwork stripped and scraped and need to sand it.

Definitely looking forward to getting to the point when I can paint the living room and dining room and then finally stain all of this woodwork.

Upstairs, a lot of progress was made – and a LOT of painting accomplished!

The master bedroom in all of the glory of it’s new color, “Loyal Blue” from Sherwin-Williams!  I am in LOVE with this color – just the right mix of navy, royal blue, and teal.  The room is large and gets plenty of light, so it can handle the deep viscosity of this color.  I am glad Travis convinced me to paint the trim white – definitely much less labor intensive than the origianl plan to strip and stain the woodwork up here.  Also the bright white (Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore) really POPS against that dark background.

So much progress on the guest bedroom that it’s unrecognizable!  All of that bluish-purple paneling was painted “Decorator’s White” by Benjamin Moore, along with all of the trim.  Travis and Marcus worked hard to pull up the old carpet and remove staples.  As you can see, we discovered a lot of paint on this beautiful hardwood floor, but we should be able to sand that right off.  I’m glad we went for simple white in this room – it really opens up the smaller room and makes it so much lighter and brighter!

We did discover we have a leaky spot in the closet in this room, so that has been added to the “to-do” list!

Look at this GORGEOUS color – “Iron Ore” by Sherwin-Williams.  It’s such a deep charcoal it’s almost black.  With all of the (soon-to-be) white trim and the white sink, toilet, and tub, this high-contrast room will really combine the best of an antique look with a modern feel.

Can’t wait to replace these lights – you can’t tell in this picture, but the have certainly seen better days.

The bathroom is certainly under construction, but we made a lot of progress!  There is a large linen closet that unfortunately was a little moldy, so Tim and Carla spent quite a bit of time bleaching it out and then starting to cover everything with Kilz primer to completely cut off any mold or mildew from returning.

I am looking forward to getting the upstairs complete!  If we can at least get that floor “done”, it will be much easier to start slowly moving in.

Before Photos

Like most people, I like the “after” part of before and after photos.  I hope we can make a significant chunk of progress on the house over the long weekend – I really want to make our move-in goal of October 1st.

Hopefully, these photos give  you a good idea of the before condition of the house (and trust me, some of these pictures make the house look much better!)


While there is quite a bit of yard work to do, I am already picturing the finished porch.  It faces the canal across the street, so I’m envisioning a porch swing, some rocking chairs, and a nice quiet evening (ha).

Travis is either posing here, or looking worried.  Considering what he’s looking at:

I would guess “worried”.

There is some serious pruning in order here.

The deck needs a lot of work, but there is a lot of potential here.

Behind the garage and the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree in the back yard, there is this whole extra space! This could be a nice garden, dog area, or possibly a kids play area down the road.


Living room:

Aside from needing a good refinishing, I LOVE the original woodwork and the old beveled mirror on this door.

This original wood flooring under the nasty carpet is also pretty awesome.

Dining Room:

This is a glimpse of the crazy painted wood floor underneath the laminate.  I am TOO excited to pull this up and see what the full floor looks like!

Kitchen (which looks so much nicer in this picture).

In the words of my little brother Sammy (then 3 or 4), the wallpaper, countertops, and refrigerator are “buh-sgusting”.

looking from the kitchen doorway into the dining room and then the purple living room.

More before pictures to come!  In the meantime, it is time to paint, paint, paint.

The big day

Today was the big day. We have our keys and we started the renovation!


Travis immediately removed the country shutters from the kitchen windows. He started tearing out wallpaper and I started stripping paint from the woodwork in the dining room.


We tested paint colors – some really fun ones! I am really looking forward to seeing how they dry.