The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Columbus, Ohio

DIY Projects

White Painted Dining Room Chairs and a White Pumpkin Centerpiece

Dining Room, DIY Projects, Flowers, Fall DecorSara Michelle B.1 Comment

The project that I thought would take a day but actually ended up taking a month is FINALLY DONE! Yes, my dining room chairs are finally 100% painted white, and I LOVE them! Totally worth the wait. 


Why did it take so long? I think we started this project a month ago with plans to finish them in a weekend. We got them sanded right away and planned to spray paint them that day, but the wind was so bad it kept blowing back in my husband's face so we had to stop. The next days we had planned to paint them called for rain, so we couldn't bring the chairs out. The weekend after that I was not feeling well and had my scare with the baby, so it went on the back burner again. Finally this past weekend, it was beautiful and we got them 100% done! They ended up needing three light coats of spray paint and some final touch ups. For less than $100, it definitely was a project with a big impact!

(Yes, you may have noticed in my recent fall home tour that the chairs desperately needed another coat of paint... I tried to photoshop and angle the photos the best I could! I just couldn't get them done in time... that's life for you sometimes!) 


They absolutely achieve what I wanted to achieve in terms of giving the dining room a new look and brightening things up! 


The classic black was nice too, but sometimes you just need a change and I was definitely at that point!


I also realized that for my last few dining room shoots (here,  here, and here) I used the same vase for my centerpiece, so I decided to totally switch that up too and go with something completely different. Usually I prefer tall vases and big flowers, but I am kind of liking the understated and low arrangement this time! I also think I'm in super nesting mode (36 weeks, 6 days!) so I am decorating/organizing like a mad woman. 

What do you think? Do you like the change as much as I do? My only question is whether I should put a coat of poly on them... any avid furniture painters have any advice? I think it might help with the durability (though we did use a high gloss paint!) but I'm afraid of them eventually yellowing. I'd love your feedback!

Sara Signature The Fat Hydrangea.png



Design Trend I'm Trying - Painted White Dining Chairs

Dining Room, DIY Projects, PaintSara Michelle B.1 Comment

Lately I've been in the mood to overhaul our house and make it lighter,  brighter, and whiter. I credit/blame (jk jk!) my friend Betsy after watching her give her amazing downtown Columbus townhome an all white makeover ;) Plus after 6-years in this house and nesting like a crazy 33-week pregnant woman, I think I just am craving a change! (As I often say, that topic is another post in and of itself!)  

That being said, I have been super hesitant to dive in and paint any walls white... I've done it before in the dining room, and though it was beautiful it just didn't sit right with me at that the time so painted it back within like 3 days. I also started painting the living room white earlier this winter, but only made it through half a wall before stopping. Scratch that idea! 

Anyway, we've also been on the lookout for new dining room chairs for a long time now but haven't found just the right ones. I like the ones that we have because they are really sturdy and durable, which is a necessity since my boys literally climb ALL OVER THEM! However, I'm kind of over the black furniture at the moment and wanted something a little more fresh. Well, the last few months I've been totally inspired by the glossy white chairs featured by some of my favorite bloggers/instagram accounts - those of Monika Hibbs and Jillian Harris to be exact! In their new (absolutely gorgeous) homes, they both have dining room chairs that are the similar colonial style as mine, just white! I also love the look paired with a rustic wooden table, which is exactly what we have in our dining room. 

Painting my dining room chairs white = Perfect way to incorporate more white/bright without being scared PLUS it solves my dining room chair dilemma! Win, win! 

Here are some of the pictures that have inspired me to try out this trend: 

I even love them painted blue ;) 

Here is the exact chair I would love to buy from Ethan Allen, but they are a little expensive! I'm glad I may be able to pull of the same style for much less!

As a refresher, here is a picture of our dining room with the black chairs:


I decided to start with just one chair and see how I like it. (We have a set of 6-chairs, but only use 5 at the table. The other one we use in our third floor bedroom, so I figured if I didn't like the result, I could put the white one up there and leave the ones in the dining room black. If you're as indecisive as I am,it is good to have a contingency plan in case you back out!) 

I started by sanding the chair with 100 grit sandpaper since there was a LOT of varnish on it. 


I literally sprayed it off with the hose to clean it, there was SO much dust! 

Evan then spray painted the chair with Rustoleum's Gloss White Paint and Primer.. It took about a can and a half of spray paint. 


It is currently drying and I'm currently trying to decide whether to go forward with painting them all white! Such a difficult decision!

What do you think?

Do you think I should paint ALL of my chairs?
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DIY Baby Gate

DIY Projects, My HomeSara Michelle B.4 Comments

Our latest project was creating baby gates for the top and bottom of our stairs. I will preface this entire post by saying it was WAY more difficult than I had anticipated! Probably one of our most challenging DIY projects to date. There were a lot of steps and it took a lot of patience.

However, the gates are SUPER functional - life changing - and I'm so happy with the result! They look good and blend in with the style of our house seamlessly. Additionally, they are strong and sturdy. The store bought ones we used were so ugly and didn't fit well and I never truly had peace of mind. These ones are awesome. At the end of the day, they are definitely worth all of the hard work!

Below I have included a detailed list of the products and materials we used, along with the process we used to make them. (You may want to pour yourself a glass of wine as you read this! Lol)

- Varathane wood stain (kona) 1 quart
- Varathane Triple Thick polyurethane 1 quart
- Kilz primer
- White paint
- 4 paint brushes and a rag or paper towels for the stain
- Wood glue
- 60 and 120 grit sand paper
- Door jam trim piece 32" long (find in the molding aisle, this is the trim that doors close against on the interior of a doorway)
- Cabinet hinges: Everbuilt oil rubbed bronze 2-1/2"x 1-9/16" (pack of two)
- Slide door bolt:  First Watch Security 2" oil rubbed bronze
- Oak boards:
(i) two 0.5"x 2.0" boards 11 ft long (for the posts, cut into ten pieces 2 ft long each, save a 6" piece for later, includes an additional 6 inches for scrap);
(ii) one 1"x 4" board 12.5 ft long (for the frame, includes 6" for scrap); and
(iii) one 1" x 4" board 32" long (install against the wall and attach the gate to it)

Power Tools:
- Miter saw (required)
- Power screwdriver (required)
- Table saw (optional)
- Power hand sander (optional)
- Router (optional)
- Nail gun (optional)

Optional alternatives provided in instructions



1) Measure width of gate, from wall to inside of stair railing post and subtract 1/2" for the wall mount
2) Cut two pieces to this width from the 12.5 ft board.  These are the top and bottom pieces of the gate frame
3) Cut two 24" pieces from the 12.5 ft board.  These are the sides of the gate frame.
4) Cut ten 24" pieces from the 11 ft board.  These are the gate posts.
5) If you have a table saw, use the table saw to make 1/4" tongues on the ends of each post and the ends of the 24" side frame pieces.
6) If you have a router, cut grooves in the top and bottom frame pieces where the side frame pieces and posts will go. It takes time to ensure that the frame is square and the posts are parallel and equally spaced apart.  Do not glue the pieces together yet.

If you don't have a table saw and router, purchase a pack of twenty 1/4" dowels with a cheap doweling kit (around $5), and use dowels to attach the posts and frame pieces.  This will be time consuming but a less expensive alternative to a table saw and router.

7) Sand each piece, start with the 60 grit, then 120 or higher grit
8) Stain and poly the frame pieces per the product instructions
9) Prime and paint the posts
10) Glue the side frame pieces and posts into the bottom frame piece
11) Glue the top frame piece on to the posts and side frame pieces
12) Install hinges to the gate.  If you have a router, install 1/8" recessed pockets for each hinge
13) Wall mount - If you have a router (and if desired) add decorative beveled edge to wall mount, otherwise leave it square
14) Use nail gun (or power screwdriver) to install wall mount
15) Use power screwdriver to attach gate to wall mount.  If you have a router, install 1/8" recessed pockets for the hinges in the wall mount
16) Close gate and measure where to install latch.  Follow latch installation instructions included with purchase.

As you can see on our upper gate, we had to get a little creative with the bottom of the gate in order to work around the stair molding. Essentially, we added an extra base piece of trim.

Whew! If you read that all the way through, God bless you! Love them, but a lot of work!

Green AGAIN?

DIY Projects, My Home, Paint, Dining RoomSara Michelle B.Comment

Yep, I pulled the trigger... I got out the paint supplies and tackled the room for the third time this summer, painting it back to the original color, Martha Stewart's "Falcon."  I know I'm crazy and I'm promise this is the last post you will ever see from me about dining room paint!  (You can see the other colors HERE!)

WHY the change again, might you ask?

1) The white was awesome for summer, but fall had me craving something warmer and richer. Originally I had planned on getting a nice warm rug for the room to bring in more color and to ground the space, but you should see the mess Miles has been making while eating recently... That rug would have been destroyed in a matter of days! We will be rug free in this room for a longgg time.

2) The wainscoting, crown molding, and built-ins in this room are SO BEAUTIFUL and they were completely getting lost with all of the white.

3) Just like the navy, the white just didn't feel 100% quite right. I can't explain it other than it was just a feeling I had that I could not get over!


The lesson I walked away with from this experience is that you do not have to be afraid to try something bold or new! Paint is SO EASY and inexpensive to change (assuming you are doing it yourself!)  It's okay to play with it and it's okay to be wrong and have to go back to square one. It's really not all that traumatizing or all that difficult!

Additionally, I learned you just have to go with your gut and do what feels right for you. If you don't love something, CHANGE IT! You don't have to ignore that little nagging voice, embrace it and use it to guide you to what feels right.

I will have the full staged result during my Fall Home Tour 2015 which will be published next Tuesday September 22nd! Myself and 15 other bloggers will be showing you our homes all decorated for fall that week! So excited!