HOUSE: New Mexico #1

The mudroom: It begins!

Mudroom makeover -

It’s been more than TWO MONTHS since I posted my plans for giving the mudroom in my new rental house a makeover, and I am only just now (well, last week) getting started on the project. I had really hoped to get moving on it sooner, but here’s the thing about being newly self-employed: I’m so nervous that if I slow down at all with taking on whatever book cover design work I can get, then I’ll some how slip off the axis of income and never get another job again. I guess I should save that topic for another post, but it’s all tied together. You know? So I waited until I felt confident using some free time to work on the house.

I went to Lowe’s a couple of weeks ago and bought the essentials: TSP substitute, a big bucket, sponges, sandpaper, caulk, a new caulk gun (I left my old caulk gun behind in New York—it seemed silly at the time to pack something that costs $6, but now it seems silly to spend $6 on something I could have taken with me), primer, paint, brushes, rollers, trays and a putty knife (see: caulk gun). They don’t carry Ready-Patch—my spackling/patching compound of choice—at the Clovis Lowe’s (quelle horreur!), so I need to cross my fingers and look for it at the Ace Hardware stores in Portales. I really do not want to start mail ordering Ready-Patch. Ordering shipments of fresh bagels from New York is one thing, but getting quarts of spackle in the mail seems over the top somehow. In the mean time, I’m settling for some sort of wood patch in a tube that’s totally fine…I guess.

Mudroom makeover -

I spent about three hours scrubbing down everything—including the ceiling—with hot water and TSP substitute. Good grief, those walls were filthy. I patched all of the holes in the walls and window casings (SO MANY holes in the casings! Doesn’t anyone ever fill them in when they take down old curtain/blind hardware?!), caulked every gap in sight, and got to painting. I’m using Valspar Reserve, which technically doesn’t require primer, but because the all of the walls in this house are glossy, I think it’s best to take the time to prime. My favorite primer is still good old Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. It ain’t cheap, but it really gets the job done.

You’ll notice that there’s a different exterior door now, as well as a doggy door! The doggy door isn’t for Fritz—it’s for my housemate’s dog, since she likes to go in and out of the backyard as she pleases. We didn’t want to cut into the homeowner’s door, so I found a used standard-size door for $40 (!!), and swapped it in.

Mudroom makeover -

Ahhhhhh. It’s so nice to see wood windows cleaned up and freshly painted! I still need to scrape off some old paint that’s on the outside of the windows, but aside from that, they’re looking good.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to paint the walls/ceiling Valspar Swiss Coffee, and the trim Valspar Ultra White. Swiss Coffee is a very “gentle” white—it’s soft, easy on the eyes, and it pairs nicely with other whites. All of the walls in this house are either textured or paneled. A soft white like this in a flat finish is going to make both of those surfaces look so much less sad! The trim paint is satin finish, my personal preference.

Mudroom makeover -

Ooooooh. DOOR DOOR DOOR!!! I mentioned in my previous post that this door (which leads to the kitchen) was really badly gouged and stained, so it needed to be painted. I initially painted it white, but it just looked so…I dunno, so white. I love white, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re not working with pristine spaces, you kind of need to break it up a bit here and there so you have a distraction from the flaws. I chose a really deep blue, Valspar Royal Navy. Usually the word “navy” makes me want to curl up in a pile of sensible suits and pantyhose and die, but this? This is a really good blue. DOOR!!! Compare this to the before photo—holy mackerel, what a difference. Paint! Amazing!

Oh! I found the vented door that used to hide the hot water heater in the garage. I’m sure it was taken down when a new heater was put in, because the current one is juuuuust a little bit too deep for the door to close properly. I think the thing to do is just build out the frame a little bit and reattach the door.

Mudroom makeover -

I attempted to remove the paint from the existing cabinet handles, but what was underneath wasn’t cute—dingy aluminum, not worth saving. I patched up the bottom holes, and replaced the handles with these cute ULVSBO knobs from IKEA. I think these are the best knobs I’ve seen at IKEA since the late, great SNODD (which I used in my Washington Heights apartment—gosh, what a cute kitchen that was). I picked up a bunch of them when I was in New York during Christmas, just in case I need them for another project. Three bucks for a two-pack!

Mudroom makeover -

Well, I guess this house is starting to look like every other Anna/Door Sixteen house! Haha! I’m such a one-trick pony, I know. But it’s a good trick, and I like ponies.

Mudroom makeover -

Up next, the floor!! Yes, I wound up buying those “stained concrete”-effect vinyl tiles I mentioned. They’re going to look great, I swear! Once I saw them in person, I knew they were the right choice. Also, $40 for the whole floor? Sounds good to me! I am going to have to do some patching to smooth out the concrete, but once that’s done the whole thing should go down pretty quickly.

And then…it’s WASHER AND DRYER TIME!!!!!!!!

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  • Reply Geninne January 22, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    You’re amazing! ❤️

  • Reply Jen January 22, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Oh wow, that is a really nice blue. My last apartment was painted Swiss Coffee, and it was lovely. Not as harsh as a true white can sometimes be, but nowhere near the mayonnaise-y color of a lot of rentals.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Haha, I always call that color “warm mayonnaise.”

  • Reply Katrina January 23, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Wow! So good! Ultra-white is my go-to for trim and ceilings.

  • Reply Elise Xavier January 23, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Pretty nice find! Cannot wait to see the finished product.

  • Reply CC January 23, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Two Months haven’t seened that long. I love how you can make such an impact making the right changes without things getting too spendy. I’m taking notes! You must be a landlord’s dream! Hope they gave you a cut price on the rent for the Instagram worthy makeover their property is receiving! x

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      No price cut on the rent, but to be fair, the rent is very reasonable as it is.

  • Reply Lindsay January 23, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Looking so much better. Love the door color!

  • Reply 'col January 23, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Anna! It’s soooo much better. And I can’t believe you found an exterior door for $40. And I love that it has windows. And and and…
    Also you inspire me by casually saying things like “I’ll just build out the doorframe a bit and attach the old door.” I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me that that was an answer. I’m so glad I found your blog. Your spaces look nothing like my spaces, but I always find them beautiful, and I love to see what you’re working on.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks so much, ‘col! Yeah, that door was a helluva find. It didn’t have any framing with it, but since I was using the existing framing anyway, it didn’t matter. A lot of scrubbing and a few coats of paint and it looks like new. 🙂

  • Reply Sinead January 23, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Yes, I am interested in your pony and her one trick but the most interesting word in this post was “housemate”. Good luck with the diy-ing.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      My housemate has no interest in being a part of the blog, so there’s not much more to say about that!

    • Michelle January 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      So why even mention it? You know full well that people are going to ask about it.

    • Anna @ D16 January 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Sigh. Seriously? Because the alternative was not showing any photos of the mudroom that include the doggy door. If I hadn’t mentioned that I have a housemate with a big dog, there would have been questions about why I have a huge doggy door. Look, I don’t care if anyone asks, but that doesn’t mean that my failure to elaborate is some kind of ruse or attempt at being evasive about my life. I’m respecting the privacy of someone who has NOTHING to do with the content of this blog.

    • jaclyn January 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Same here! The Anna Saga deepens….

      But alas, we’ll respect Housemate’s privacy.

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

      My life is just a life, hardly a “saga”! There really isn’t anything else to say about it—no point in speculating, please just take what I share about my life at face value. Thanks.

    • jaclyn January 25, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Sorry to have offended you. I think it’s human nature to wonder what the rest of the “story” is when you’re only given a small part of it – but rest assured I’m not sitting around speculating about your life. Good luck on your projects.

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

      I’m not offended, I just want to make it clear that I’m not trying to be purposefully evasive or anything. I would not have even mentioned my housemate if not for the doggy door, since it’s clearly not for a 7lb chihuahua. 😉

  • Reply SLG January 23, 2016 at 10:14 am

    This looks fantastic already! You have such a talent for taking a sad space and making it into a place full of cool, calm, happy energy.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Thanks, SLG. 🙂

  • Reply Teresa January 23, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Looks so good! It’s amazing what cleaning and paint can do for a space. I’m so glad to see this post. I love your ability to take something sort of gross and make it so clean, crisp and inspiring. Can’t wait for more.

  • Reply Melanie@Toots + Dill January 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Oh how exciting!! Eventually one day I want to have a mud room because the possibilities are endless! Love the knobs and the door color! Good luck with the rest of your progress!! =)

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      I know, I’ve never had a mudroom before, so this is exciting! 🙂

  • Reply Sara January 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    We have those exact tiles in our kitchen and love them! They’ve held up great and look so much better than the travertine floor we covered.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      That’s good to know, Sara! They really do look better in person than in photos.

    • Kelly January 24, 2016 at 6:58 am

      Sara, I’m thinking of doing the same thing. Did the grout lines from the travertine telegraph through to the new vinyl tiles?

  • Reply Emma January 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Emoji praise hands, all day long. So good to see this!!

  • Reply hello January 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    yay! congratulations on getting started! looks great sofa.

    curious: why the tiles? is the existing concrete floor un-polishable?

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      The concrete is very lumpy and bumpy (in other words, impossible to keep clean), and it already has at least a couple of coats of paint on it. The amount of work I’d have to do to polish it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

  • Reply Doug McDonald January 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    So happy to see the blog post. Ever consider decorating professionally? You have a good eye.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks, Doug! I really only like doing this stuff for myself, because I have such a specific style and not a lot of interest in doing what a client might prefer. 😉 Also, I already have a profession that I like a whole lot. 🙂

  • Reply dani January 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Good to have you back. Starting freelancing is daunting and you will find that you will work like a maniac most of the time because you’re afraid the work could dry up tomorrow… You’re an inspiration, keep up the good work. Oh yes, the door before and after photos, my god, the power of paint!! xx

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you, dani!!

  • Reply alex sunday January 23, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    it’s looking great! i could’ve written your first paragraph – i’m also self employed and immediately say “YES!” to any work requests. then i work ridiculous hours around 3 kids and renovations to make it happen. because the world might stop turning if i say “no”.

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Oh gosh, I can’t imagine being self-employed and having children! Hats off to you, Alex. It must be to hard to find balance.

    • alex sunday January 25, 2016 at 4:47 am

      it’s impossible to find balance! my kids are 1, 3 and 5, so i tell myself it’ll get easier when they’re a bit more independent – i just hope i can survive that long!! and i have plans to change my career. i’d still be working for myself but doing something i love. “find the job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life”, or some such…. can’t wait to see the mudroom complete.

  • Reply zola January 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Great start! Looking forward to following the progress in your new home. 🙂
    That doggy door is huge! Are you worried a person could come through ? Yikes!

    • Anna @ D16 January 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      I figure anyone who is willing to break a doggy door and crawl through is probably just as likely to break a window and climb in, so…no, not really. 🙂

    • Brandy January 25, 2016 at 1:51 am

      Also, at some point, the bad guy must realize that the xl doggy door, must be for a dog as large as a… bad guy 😉

  • Reply Donna Trexler January 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Glad that you are still posting. Would love to be your Gammy.

  • Reply Lizzie Modern January 23, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Looks good so far! The blue door and black knobs really look great against the white.

  • Reply cheryl rose January 24, 2016 at 12:01 am

    would someone pull those tiles up and keep…or trash when the lease was up?

    • Anna @ D16 January 24, 2016 at 12:15 am

      I’ll be leaving them installed.

  • Reply Natalie January 24, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Wow, so much better! I’m so curious about the rest of the house. Did you say “housemate”? Good luck with everything (:

  • Reply susan j January 24, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Anna, it’s so, so good so far! I love all your tricks and tips and rooms and recco’s. I’ve been following along over the years and have purchased a few things because of your great choices (the Ikea Ann sink & faucet, for one). I’m so happy watching and learning as you make this new home your own. Please blog more soon… you’re awesome. : ) Here’s to getting that work balance right!

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Susan! So glad you were able to get an Ann sink before they were discontinued. They are so lovely!

  • Reply kim January 25, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Swiss Coffee is my go-to white. I discovered it last year while putting in a new kitchen and it’s spread to the rest of the house. You’re right; it’s a really soft white, very pleasing to the eye in a subtle way. Looks good with dark wood too!

  • Reply bean January 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I mail-order pretty much everything–living in the boon-docks and all. I know a lot of people loathe Amazon for excellent reasons, but Amazon Prime is indispensable to me to keep from having to drive all over creation only to be disappointed. They do sell Ready Patch, and it is available with Prime, so I would go ahead and mail order it, myself. I mail order many, many things and know the UPS driver well.

    I hope there is a lock for the doggie door at night–I don’t know about where you are living, but we have very aggressive opossums around here who get into fights with dogs and sometimes win.

    The look is lovely–I think I might try your Swiss Coffee to go in my bathroom. I’ve been looking for a good color there. The navy door is unexpected, and so particularly nice, but I doubt that I could pull it off as well as you have. I look forward to the finished version.

  • Reply Sandra January 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Wow, such a great job! I love the deep blue on the door + the tiles + the work you’ve done on the window….

  • Reply Danielle January 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    The improvements look great! And 2 months isn’t so bad. We just put up actual window treatments in our bedroom after living in our house for 3 years (we had crappy Home Depot roller shades up as a ‘temporary’ solution). I hope the neighbors appreciate our hard work – ha!

    But most importantly of all, I, too, can get bagels from NYC?! And on auto-ship?! There IS a god!

  • Reply Isabel January 25, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Very excited to see what happens next! Also really enjoying about your new life and seeing your IGs of New Mexico!!!

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  • Reply Isabel January 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    missed a word! reading about your new life is great!

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks, Isabel. ☺️

  • Reply Brenda January 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Anna,
    It’s looking awesome already! Nothing like starting with a good foundation. Have you considered fabric, perhaps suspended on a tension rod, to cover the closet with the water heater in it?

    • Anna @ D16 January 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      I think having fabric that close to an open flame is probably a bad idea. 😉 A wood door can be built out with enough clearance to be safe, since wind/blowing isn’t a concern like it would be with fabric.

  • Reply Andrea January 25, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Have really missed your blog Anna – thanks for posting again. Always looking for inspiration for my house and you have such great style.

  • Reply Suzen January 26, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    No, not only do people not patch holes, they don’t even remove nails! We just moved into an 1890’s Victorian that a little lady had been living in for a zillion years. The walls had about 50 tiny little nails in each one that were just left there over the years. Cwazy!

  • Reply Jane January 26, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    So glad you have “resurfaced”! (and I don’t mean your floor!) sorry… The room looks transformed, you live to renovate!

  • Reply Jen January 26, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I just bought these tiles for my mudroom as well. Can’t wait to see how they look in your space.

  • Reply Chantel January 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I can’t wait to see the rest of the house
    Before and after 😉

  • Reply Anette January 27, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Oh wow, that is a nice blue! Love it!

  • Reply Rosie January 28, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Lucky housemate, they have no idea… your home is going to be so beautiful. I can’t wait!

  • Reply Annie January 28, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Looks great.
    You are such an inspiration.
    Hope all is going well. How is Portales? Anything aside Bagels and Ready-Patch we can send you from NYC?

  • Reply truce January 29, 2016 at 10:03 am

    psyched to see your post!
    living vicariously thru your blog as i renovate my house in slow motion over seven years.
    freelance way of life can be stressful but i find the trade off of not having to office grind more than worth it.
    would you consider publishing a book? i’m sure i would sell and be beautiful and practical. the passive income can’t hurt either ; )

    good luck with all.

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Thanks, Truce! I have no interest in writing a book (I’d argue that kind of income is hardly passive—the amount of time, money, energy, and labor that goes into producing a book is extraordinary), but that’s what this blog is here for. 🙂

    • truce January 29, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      i hear you re the book. was being more selfish than sensible. will let your perfectly wonderful blog suffice! x

  • Reply Simone January 29, 2016 at 11:13 am

    That blue, I’d call it indigo. I’ve been a bit indigo obsessed for a while now ever since I caught wind of Japanese indigo wallhangings f.i. in Lotta Agaton’s old house (seriously I could live there). Really nice -the wallhangings (forgot the name). Just saw this today: so there could be much more indigo in the mudroom than just a door. I have a thing for colored ceilings at the moment, I’m going to try to paint our toilet’s ceiling a nice soft pink as an experiment.
    Anyhow, all I can say is that I am glad you are not alone in the desert in New Mexico.
    Have a wonderful weekend!!!

    • Simone January 29, 2016 at 11:26 am

      PS I can’t believe you mail order bagels from NY!!!

  • Reply Rayna January 31, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Do you mind me asking, what do you plan to use to scrape the paint off the windows? The answer is probably going to be really obvious, like, ‘a scraper’… But I wonder if those scratch glass, which is why I ask:) There is paint on all sorts of things in our house. Not only windows, but the previous owners installed beautiful art deco (not original) style brass(ish?) door handles on all the doors. And then painted the doors without removing or protecting, hence paint all over the backing of the knob??? Stupid!

    I love the navy/indigo door, look forward to seeing the room progress. The fact that you’ve started with a very concrete utilitarian space makes this reno very useful, a lot of people out there will have similar spaces without big budgets to fix, I’m sure!

    And also, for Australian readers- the Clarks Hotel Image shoes are on sale for $70 through Clarks website or $80 at Raymond Poulton shoes, only in Cotton though. I realise I sound a bit copy-cat-y, but they caught my eye when you posted about them Anna:) However, they retail for $220 here. I only looked out of interest at the time, but in desperation for comfortable work shoes when I found these on sale this week I got some, and I LOVE THEM. Omg SO COMFY. If I could buy them in every colour I would.

  • Reply tiffany February 1, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    anna, i have read your blog for years dreaming of one day having my own fixer upper. and when you put the actual “door sixteen” on the market i begged my boyfriend to make an offer (one of our best friends is from kingston)! currently living in our vermont fixer-upper and absolutely love reading your recommendations and experiences (buying these tiles for our back porch/mudroom this weekend!)

  • Reply Marla February 2, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Idea for a book you could write: how to renovate old run down places. You do a great job of it. Your blog posts where you take someting worn and spruce it up (like this here post) are my absolute favorite.

    • Anna @ D16 February 2, 2016 at 8:13 am

      But that’s what the blog is for! 😉 I don’t have the time, money, or inclination to write a book, but I appreciate the interest. 🙂

    • Marla February 3, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      I can respect that. Though… you could design the book cover for your own book! Just trying to tempt you 😉

  • Reply Dina February 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

    But how did you fix the gap in the door frame?!

    • Anna @ D16 February 2, 2016 at 10:45 am

      I didn’t yet!! Still trying to come up with a solution.

  • Reply Carolina February 3, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Hey Anna, I’ve been reading your blog for a long, long time, and have used many of the tips, tricks, products and paint colors you tested for all your readers over the years. Thank you!
    I could not help but smile when you mentioned mail ordering Ready-Patch. I so would mail order so many things from the US if international shipping weren’t so expensive! I moved back to Brazil recently, and here there’s no Lowe’s or IKEA or Ace Hardware, and Amazon only sells media. It’s not a DIY culture, so I am the weird, crazy girl who can actually paint her own walls (with the Purdy brushes I managed to smuggle in my move).
    Please keep sharing! I am living my DYI dreams through you.

  • Reply Bety. February 4, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Hi Anna, I´m in shock! Why Portales?

  • Reply Alex Kalita February 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I’m pretty sure I have a one generation-older version of your new W/D and I LOVE IT. You are in for a treat. Not only does it actually clean clothes well, it has the most mellifluous chimes. Mine sounds like BB-8 saying “good morning, friend!” every time I turn it on. I would challenge even the hardest-hearted person not to anthropomorphize this washer / dryer. Please enjoy your new roommate when it does arrive.

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