Instagram Q & A | Home Stuff

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Tips and Tricks16 Comments

A few weeks ago, I invited my followers to ask questions on my Instagram Stories.  I was initially planning on just answering them as they came in, but as I was flooded with over 100 questions, some of them with answers that would take longer than a 15-second frame, I decided these would be better answered in blog posts.  I consolidated ones that were similar and then sorted them into categories – home, business/blogging, art, MMS Milk Paint, & random.  I’ll write a post on each category, answering the questions.

Today, I’m answering all of the home-related questions.

Are you going to be doing bathroom renovations?

Yes!  We are starting on a renovation of our half bathroom next week.  We’re working on that one first because it’s connected to our foyer, which we’re having retiled.  It just makes sense to do it all together.  I’ll be sharing the plans for it soon along with a picture of the space (I couldn’t find one!)

I’ll also be doing minor updates to our three full bathrooms.  One is in the basement for guests, one is the boy’s bathroom, and the final one is the master bath.  I’m going to focus on inexpensive fixes that we can do ourselves, like painting the walls and trim, painting the cabinetry (in a couple of cases), and decorating.

In the master bath, we’re replacing the faux wood blinds over the tub with white plantation shutters.  And that valance is coming down.  We would eventually like to make bigger changes, like replacing the tile and building out a larger shower, but those are expensive projects that are low on the priority list, so they won’t be happening for a long time.  All of the bathrooms are in nice shape, neutral, and have great layouts, so some paint and personality will do a lot.

Will you do a walk-through of your house?

Sure thing!  I did a couple of times when I first moved in, but I’ll do an updated walk-through and save it to my Instagram Story Highlights.  Until then, you can see the rooms we’ve completed on my Home Tour page.

Repost the toilet cleaning, please?

It is so funny that one of my most popular posts from last year was about cleaning toilets.  I guess we all clean our toilets, so that makes sense.  You can find that post HERE.  (If you’ve never tried a scour stick, you really should!)

Are your green cabinets in the kitchen painted with milk paint?

No, they aren’t.  They are painted in a color I designed for my MMS Milk Paint line, but I didn’t use actual milk paint.  You can read about why I didn’t use milk paint for my cabinets HERE.

The color I matched Benjamin Moore’s Advanced in Satin to is Boxwood.  Here is the formula for the custom color…

Where are your curtains from in your studio?

I made them!  You can find a tutorial HERE.  The design was sold on Decor Steals a few months ago, but I’m not sure if they’ll be offering them again.

I’m moving. What is your #1 tip and biggest regret from the first year in your new home?

Oooo…good question and a hard one.  I had to think through this a bit and I don’t think I have any regrets.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes, but I think mistakes are a part of the process of moving into a house and making it your own.  It’s a journey that you have to feel your way through.  Some decisions you make right off the bat might prove to not work down the road.  For example, I painted my living room when we first moved in, because I couldn’t handle the dark beige that was on the walls and painting the room was a quick and easy fix.  Down the road, I realized my color selection was a little off compared to my selections for the adjoining rooms.

I don’t regret painting those walls, though.  I’m glad I did and doing so allowed me to enjoy the space while I figured things out.

As far as a tip…I would suggest that you don’t feel bad about changing something that is perfectly fine as is.  This is your house and the previous owner’s choices, as quality as they may be, might not work with your aesthetic.  In some ways, I think it’s easier to fix up a fixer-upper because improvements need to be made.  It’s harder to get past jacking up perfectly good, unoffensive, builder-grade tile.  But, if you want to do it and it’s in the budget, then do it!

How do you pick paint colors for rooms with woodwork that my husband won’t let me paint?

I sometimes wonder why men won’t let women paint woodwork.  I know that’s a very generalized statement, but it comes up a lot!  I can understand if it’s an old home with original woodwork.  While I might choose to paint it, because it would be too dark and heavy for me, I completely understand and respect someone who wants to leave it alone.  When we’re talking about 1980’s 3″ oak baseboards, I just don’t get that.  Is it really that important to not paint them when your wife really wants to?  Can you get your wood fix with wood flooring or some beautiful pieces of wood furniture?

Okay, rant over.

I would suggest painting the walls a neutral, like a nice, clean white or cream.  If the woodwork is so important, let it be the star and the walls can be an accent.  I would then add some wood touches that tie into the trim…picture frames, furniture, an accent in a fabric or rug that ties into the wood tone.  That way, it looks intentional and not like you’re trying to work around something you dislike.

Here is an example of how pretty it can look…

photo source

How do you keep white sheets white and prevent them from shrinking?

I really don’t know!  I just throw them in the washer and dryer.  I have heard that boiling linens makes them bright white, but I’ve never tried it!

Where would you look in general for a good solid wood table?

I would definitely look on craigslist!  I have bought almost every table in our house off of craigslist.  Just look for something that is on the vintage/antique side that is in sturdy condition.  Scratches, water rings, etc. can always be sanded out and the table can be very inexpensive if it has some cosmetic issues.  I’ve paid around $100-150 for most of the tables I’ve bought, but you can find them for $10-20 sometimes!

Look often and jump right on it when you find one you love at a good price.

You can read the tutorial on how I refinished my craigslist dining room table HERE.

Is it ok to cover over old fabric? Just got a used kitchen table and the chairs have so many staples!

Yes.  If the chair seats screw off and they just need to be covered with a piece of fabric, yes, you can staple a new one on without removing the old.  The only concern might be the layers of fabric being too thick, but if they are thin enough, you can get away with it.  Just be aware that some staples might pop back if they hit another staple.

If you’re upholstering a chair with arms, an upholstered back, etc, then I would remove all of the fabric (as much of a pain as that is!)

How did you learn to do all the handy work you do? YouTube tutorials? Courses?

All of the above!  I also like reading books and articles.  I enjoy learning new things and testing out new skills.  Some things I do once and know they are not for me, like tiling and quilting, and other things I try and I have a knack for.  In a nutshell, I’m not afraid to stretch myself, to try, and to fail.

More answers will be coming soon and I still need to share all about my brief stay in Florence!


Instagram Q & A | Home Stuff

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16 Comments on “Instagram Q & A | Home Stuff”

  1. I want to warn about boiling linen. After reading an earlier post about cleaning linen, I poured boiling water onto a stain on a linen tablecloth — and it tore! (It wasn’t old, so perhaps the fabric was thinner.) Also, I had already tried to clean it with Oxy.
    Anyway, I’ll never do that again.

  2. Here’s a tip for keeping white fabrics white: SUNSHINE. It is a natural bleach. Nontoxic and free. 🙂

  3. Best whitener I’ve used. Fill top load washer with hot water. Pour in 1 cup Cascade, cap of Tide with bleach alternative, and 3/4 cup of peroxide. Rotate to mix. Put items in to soak over night. Finish was cycle. Wash or rinse again as preferred. I have used this often even on those vintage colorful table cloths. No color loss or running. Whitens nicely. No top load? Use a big Rubbermade tote.

    1. Right on! Try this with yellow dingy nylon curtains or uniforms. You can also add kosher salt or Biz. Soaking is the trick. I have seen tan soaking water as a result of long soaking. Now that I have a front loader I will have to go the bin way or tub.
      Also told by a conservator that you need to rinse really antique stuff 16 times. Yes! I always use distilled water in the final rinse to get out any minerals etc. Distilled water is so under rated………….Use it with craft paint to make it flow better. Use it on floors too. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Marian, thank you for your answers – I always appreciate your no nonsense, practical look on things! I missed the Q&A on Instastories so I hope you don’t mind a question here–I am in the process of cleaning out my Aunt’s house and have come across so many treasures……at least I hope they are treasures – hah, but I found more than a dozen christening gowns that were just stuffed in a plastic bin. Several have unknown stains and I have no idea how to try and remove them. I know you have mentioned cleaning linens and some lace petticoats that you have come across — any suggestions? Thank you so much for your time. The gowns are probably from the 20’s or 30’s, or maybe even before.

  5. I love your tips…my favorite to get the whitest whites…Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing…I dilute the bluing in a pitcher of water and pour it in with the detergent…one squirt goes a long way. Sparkly whites. I also hang sheets on the line to line dry. My girls say the sheets smell like sunshine. 🙂

  6. Dear Tracie,
    I don’t know what Marians secret is for white vintage linens but I have always had great success using one cup of blue Dawn dish detergent and one cup of biz bleach. I mix this solution in a Rubbermaid type plastic bin and add extremely hot water. Using a wooden paint stir stick, I mixed everything up and then add my linens. I let them sit for a day or two and up to one week. After that, I pour everything into my washer & then wash on gentle cycle. I fluff in the dryer until they are just barely damp and then iron them. I’ve had great success With this concoction. I often buy vintage christening gowns for very little money because of the condition they are in. Once I’m through with them, they look great and smell great and they sell very quickly in my little antique booth. I hope this helps. I’ll check back to see if Marian has something that works well for her.

  7. I’m not on instagram – but would love to ask a question. How do you choose fabrics that harmonize? I’ve made numerous attempts and they feel off (too busy or the shades of color don’t look good together). Is there a technique, formula or any advice?

  8. I only discovered your blog a few months ago. (from Laurel Home blog) This episode and the links to previous house tours, etc. kept me busy all afternoon. It was like reading a good book, except there isn’t an “end”! Your homes and taste are beautiful. Glad to hear all rooms undergo the evolution as we grow and learn. Thank you for a nice afternoon in cold 59 degree blustery GA today. ; )

  9. My husband finally let me paint our orange oak cabinet when I told him that it would be a least three decades until oak came back in style. My last comment, “We’ll be dead by then.” finally tipped the scale in my favor. He loves our white cabinets and was amazed at how it brightened the space.
    Great tips, Marion. I can’t wait to see what you do with the bathrooms.

  10. Where are you getting your plantation shutters from? I want to put them in our master bedroom and not sure where to start. Love your blog!

  11. Thank you Marian for taking the time to answer these questions, informing & reminding us of things. I went back to look at your current home tour again. I was surprised how much I really loved the primative cabinet in the dining room painted the pale blue and with the interior painted now. I wasn’t sure about it when you first painted it from the richer blue. I liked both but wondered if it had lost some punch but you were right & it is just so right for the space beside the mural. I love your vision in just knowing what will work (and of course what doesn’t) and that you have faith in this enough to take the risks to do it.

  12. I Love your blog!! I printed the picture of the top of your can of paint you had the hardware mix for you. I took it to my local hardware to have a can mixed. They couldn’t mix it because they didn’t know what the colors were for the bottom 2. Can you help me so that I can get a can mixed? I really love that color and I have a place to use it that I cannot use milk paint. Hoping you can tell me the information so I can get it mixed.

    1. Hmmm…I would suggest taking it to a Benjamin Moore dealer, since they would most likely know how to interpret the formula.

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