House Updates

By Kate Riley October 3, 2022

It’s been a little quiet around here because I suffered an injury last week that rendered me useless for several days. I had returned from an exceptionally fun family reunion the last weekend in September and was in the middle of a few house projects when all of a sudden my back seized up and I threw it out and I couldn’t move. It’s never happened to me before but it was my body saying “hey sis, slow down” so I was forced to just lay on the floor with my feet up for three days taking ibuprofen, icing the injury, and waiting for the inflammation to go down. Not fun at all.

Funny how when we feel overwhelmed we think “if I could just sit and rest a little bit” and then when you’re forced to sit still from injury all you can think is “This stinks, I really need to get moving, I have things to do”. :)

It’s the fourth day and I’m finally able to sit in my office chair so here I am with a few house updates. First, a minor refresh in the living room. I took down my old white linen curtains and replaced them with gray cotton velvet ones that used to hang in the master bedroom. They add a little shimmer and luxe to the space and who doesn’t love velvet in the colder months. I was going to do a fall room tour but the changes were so minor I decided to wait until Christmas when it’s all decorated extra festive for my daughter’s return home from college.

In the dining room I updated the built in cabinetry by removing two of the glass front doors and painting the cabinets a lighter color. It was originally a mahogany stain and was getting more red as time passed and it was feeling like a dark hole so instead of replacing the cabinets I changed the area into a much brighter spot by priming and painting the cabinets.

I follow the same steps I always do when I paint stained cabinetry. Many paints proclaim to be a paint + primer mix and that’s great for walls and trim, but for cabinets I always use Zinsser or Kilz primer first to grip the wood and to block any stains from coming through. One coat is all you need.

I followed up with a new paint brand I’ve never used, the Valspar Cabinet & Furniture paint. I usually use Benjamin Moore but I thought I’d give this brand a try especially because it was a flat finish and two coats covered sufficiently. The color is a very pale taupe that looks like off white, it’s called ‘Shoreline Haze’.


The satin nickel hardware got a new golden glow with a little bit of Gold Leaf Rub n’ Buff. I also painted the backsplash instead of replacing it so now it’s a matte white that looks intentional rather than the shiny glass that was there before. I’m looking forward to setting up a little Christmas village on the open shelves next month.


We’re giving my daughter’s room a partial makeover since she’s not living in the home anymore, she’s away at university on the east coast. We’re going to preserve most of her things on shelves and keep her posters up on the wall so when she comes home for Christmas and summer it still feels like her space but we’re replacing the carpet and updating the linens and repainting the walls so it can be used as a guest room in her absence when the in-laws visit.

I don’t want to be one of those parents who instantly transforms the space into a hobby room or home gym or something like that when their kid leaves. I do want her to feel welcome when she returns. It’s a strange feeling cleaning out a teenager’s room, doing your best to respect their things but still wondering how did all those candy wrappers and single socks and dust bunnies end up in every crevice in here? :)


All the moving furniture and painting was what caused my back injury so I’ve got to take it easy around the house for the next few days. We’re having the entire interior of the home painted this fall and will be painting the exterior in the spring. We’re also updating the kitchen with new upper cabinets and shelves, white quartz countertops, and a more modern backsplash too. Those updates will be featured in the coming months!


As everyone knows, Hurricane Ian hit Florida hard, especially Fort Myers, Naples, and Sanibel Island. The devastation is absolutely heartbreaking. As regular readers know, we bought a home in Sarasota, Florida earlier this year with the intention of eventually moving there. I spent the summer in Florida fixing it up and we made friends with local residents and neighbors. Sarasota is ninety minutes north of the region most devastated. After the hurricane, our neighbor (who has been watching our house) informed us that there was no damage to the exterior or interior which was a relief because we won’t need to file any claims.

I’ll be flying back to Florida next week to clear up some fallen branches and continue work on a few remodel projects in progress. I’ve already made some updates to the family room by adding a new credenza and set of sofas. The house is cozy and comfortable and fully furnished.


The reason I bring it up because we’ve decided to rent our Florida home from December through April to any family that’s been displaced by Hurricane Ian.

So if you happen to know anyone interested in a three bedroom, two bathroom furnished rental that is five minutes away from Siesta Key beach, please contact me and I can send any interested party updated pictures of the spaces and details on the home. It’s available December 1st. Serious inquiries only email —> [email protected].


  1. Valspar cabinet enamel is my favorite paint! I used it for the cabinets in our lake cabin about 5 years ago and never had as much as a scratch on them. It goes on a little differently from other paints, so there’s a bit of learning curve. I plan to use it again soon on our new house cabinets.

  2. I’m glad your home was spared by Ian. We live on the east coast and saw many evacuated folks in the stores and restaurants. One family with infant twins and she had a seeing eye dog. I was silently praying for them to be able to return home. How very kind of you to offer your lovely new home to those homeless from the storm. We did well, just yard debris but my brother’s roof was penetrated leaving a hole you can see the sky through. Ian spawned many tornadoes here on the east coast waking up serval times during the night.

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