How To: Paint Your Concrete Steps

Well, I’ve been on a bit of an outside kick lately, since we have to soak every minute of it up before the brutal cold comes again here in Minnesota. So I have one more project that I’m going to share with you. It was a while back when I was reading the Thistlewood Farm blog and found this post.  She painted her steps!  And not only that, she painted them to look like there was a carpet runner on them.


and then I thought, I can do that.

See you all, you don’t have to have the creative bug to have an original home.  You just have to EXECUTE things that you see and you like.  Most of my ideas I find somewhere else and then I “tweak” it to fit my home just perfect.

So, these were my front stairs before…


I love that they had added this to the house.  It gives it a formal entrance, with no maintenance railing (love it!) and a little protection from the weather.  But…the steps seemed a bit drab.  So, I decided to use the information I found and put it to good use!  Kari had great directions over at Thistlewood Farms, so you can check that out, or follow along with me:)

First, I grabbed a quart of the Rustoleum black paint.  It works great for painting outside surfaces.  I used the same color to paint my door as well.  I used a paint brush and a small 4″ white foam roller to paint the large part of the stairs.


I heard a tip that if you put your tape down and paint the outside color over it first, it will seal it down and then when you add your top color it won’t seep through and leave you with blotches and an uneven line.


I must have done something wrong, because it didn’t work for me.

So then I took my little paint brush and cleaned up my line.  It was a bit putsy but there was no way around it.



So here’s what my runner looked like…

IMG_1988At this point I should tell you I ran out of black paint, but I wanted to get the runner finished so I just kept going until I could get another quart from the hardware store the next day:) I hate when I can’t finish the job right away!

Now is the time to add the stripe…


At this point I skipped a few pictures, so I’ll explain as best as possible.  I just ran a strip of painters tape the width of it on the edge of both sides.  Then I left a strip the width of the tape in the middle and then put one more piece of tape on the other side.   When I pulled it off, surprise! it looked like this. So, I had to clean it up again…


Then comes allie’s indecisiveness.  I really wanted a tannish/gray paint color for the runner, but rustoleum only has limited colors, and I didn’t want to buy a $36 gallon of concrete paint, so I just used the pre-mixed colors.  The ones you can’t pick the color.  So, I started it with the cream Rustoleum paint, and then when I realized that I didn’t like it with my white house, I ran to the store and grabbed the gray.  I then repeated steps 3 through 5:) and redid the whole runner/stripe.

Trial and error.

So, here’s what the stairs look like now.


The cream magically turned to gray!


I stenciled on a few numbers…just in case I forget what step I’m on:)  Or to tell the kids what step to sit on in time out….the possibilities are endless!

And then you get this..


A durable rug that only cost $15.


so here’s before again..


and after..


So that’s them for now.  My plan is to add a big white stripe around the edge up top to make it look like a big area rug up there!  I’m just debating if I am going to keep the gray or splurge on a gallon of a color I love.

 Allie Lundeen

Guest House Door Makeover

This actually is not a new makeover, but I realized I hadn’t shown it to my blog readers yet.  If you remember, we turned our little garage behind our house into a small little guest house for the in-laws and any friends that show up:)  And now looking at the pics I realized I changed a few things inside as well…I’ll have to update that too:)

But when we started the garage had an itty bitty door to enter…


with the cute classic shutters.  Well, in order to enter into the garage you had to duck your head everytime.  That gets old.  So, we decide to add a cute little dormer over the door and put in a standard height 9 panel door.




and the door stayed this color a long time….until I finally got around to figuring out what color I wanted it.  If you remember correctly I wanted a cheerful yellow door like this…


but the hubby vetoed that decision.  So instead I decided to go with a  classic black door, and stick with our color scheme…






it looks a little better with all of the construction stuff out of the way as well:)

I like the dark pop though…makes it stand out a bit.  I also cut a stencil with our address on it to dress it up.  I just used cardstock, figuring I probably won’t use that stencil again, grabbed a stencil brush and stenciled it on.  A free trick that takes an ordinary door and makes it just a bit more original.


I added some new landscaping as well.  I”m excited for the boxwoods to get big enough to hedge together…


and I planted hydrangeas in front of the fence.  They should get huge and have beautiful balls of white that I can cut for free fresh flowers!

and…if you’ve been reading with me since the beginning you might remember the dwarf korean lilac tree I was so in love with.  The one Ry ruined, but came back to life…and then we moved.

Well…I finally got a new one, thanks so some very sweet people that gave us money for a nursery to get a plant/shrub in honor of Jules.


I love it, and Jules’ rock:)


it’s cute and little and unique just like Ju Ju was:)

Although I love this tree, we are still going to plant a bigger tree  on the other side of the house where will be Jules’ spot.  Then it can grow big and everyone can see it when they drive in.

Fall Decorating

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the crisp weather, I love sweatshirt season and campfires.  I love apple cider and candles burning.  I love it all, and I wish it would last at least 3 months.  But it doesn’t.  That’s why I feel like I have to start decorating a little early, to enjoy it as long as I can:)

This year especially with not knowing what’s ahead I wanted to get a jump start on it, so last night I found all of my fall totes in the shed and pulled them inside.  I only had an hour to work on it, so I didn’t get very far.  And what I did do I just wasn’t feeling…so today I decided to start over.  But, instead I went to the outside.  The outside was a much easier task for me because since we are in the country now I can benefit a little better with free country commodities, like corn stalks from the garden, pumpkins and branches galore.  I love free decorating!!

I started with the guest house and hacking down some of our sweet corn last night.  It’s not totally dry yet, so I’ll like it even better when all of the green is gone:)

I had made the welcome sign awhile ago and hung it from the eaves, but it blends well with fall:)

I was so excited that so many of our pumpkins actually grew!  I’m kind of in love with the green cinderella pumpkins.  And although I don’t use orange in my house to decorate, I love a pop of it outside.

I have been begging for stumps for quite some time now for end tables in my fireplace room, (weird..I know, but someday I’ll show you:)  and one night ryan came home with some.  He was so proud and I was too….just had to break it to him gently that they were a little smaller than what I was hoping for.  He tells me I’m going to have to hire a lumberjack to get the stumps I want:)  But…the stumps are not going to waste, they work great for fall decor!

and I have been himming and hawing about what color to paint this door.  Ever since Ryan booed my cheery yellow door idea I’ve been stuck.  And then I saw it…


yep, she’s purtty.

A black door…that’s what I’m gonna do.  And I kinda like the numbers on it as well…


it dresses it up a bit.  So maybe in the near future I’ll have a door redo:)

Well that’s it for the guest house, my next stop was the front porch.  We don’t have a ton of room, and Ryan will probably hate the clutterness of it all, but he’ll survive:) Right babe:)

the far away shot.

and the close up..

The best part about this project was that it didn’t cost me a dime.  I made the number pillow for whimsy and then decided to keep it for myself.  Don’t worry though, I made more:)  So if you need one for yourself either craft one or swing on by at the end of September:)

another stump:)  and I lied.  I did buy one thing.  I bought the Olive Garden round bulb lights at Target on sale for $9.  I was going to use them in the barn but I’m kinda liking them here, and can’t wait to see them at night:)

Last one:)  It looks a little odd with green leaves still a blowing, but I was giddy.  And the falling leaves will only add to the decor.

Did I mention I love fall?? Do you??

Playing in the Dirt

I love playing in the dirt.  I love making things more beautiful.  For me, the two seem to go hand in hand:)  When we bought this place I was excited to get my hands on the landscaping and start making it my own.  But…there were a few other projects that needed to come first.  So, the house won.

This spring though has been a different story:)  As soon as it started to get warm out I was excited to “play in the dirt.”  And once we decided we were going to have a barn sale, I knew where to start:)  I actually asked for shrubs for my birthday, and my mom and dad came up and helped out.  We only had a couple of hours to work and then the rest of the weekend was raining and cold, but we made the most of the time we had:)

Here’s how the barn looked before…

Pretty and red with no landscaping..

And that’s my ever so hard working mom on the left getting ready to get dirty, and my dad, who graciously swept out the whole ceiling of the barn so we could pressure wash it.  It was quite the job!!

So after digging up sod for 2 hours, we only got half way done, but we did get the edging in and the plants set out to where they should be placed.  Once the sun came back out I finished it up.

The frustrating part about landscaping is that unless you spend an arm and a leg on big shrubs, you gotta wait a few to many years for them to look great.  But my mom brought up a ton of perennials that we planted, we bought a few shrubs, and we are still waiting for the hydrangeas to come to the nursery’s so we can plant one on each end.  I love big white hydrangeas!

 I couldn’t quite stop there, so I kept going:)  This side was a bit tricky because the concrete surrounded the barn about 2 feet out the whole way, leaving me unable to plant anything.  So, I got a little creative and made it appear like there was dirt with a little mulch and a potted boxwood.  I love boxwoods and I found these at walmart for $6 a piece, almost cheaper than what annuals would cost me.  Also, I searched high and low for the rocks, finding them around our chicken coop, in the fields, and pulling them out of the ground:)  Gotta love free stuff!!

unfortunately the dandelions are free as well:(

This soil was so rocky that I think I’m gonna add a few bags of brown mulch to make it look a bit “prettier!”

This area was actually the old cow stalls.  If you look hard enough you can see the little water holder behind the chairs thats still there.  We debated getting rid of it but I just couldn’t.  And in the summer there’s a cool vine that grows all over it.  This picture reminds me I have to pull out the outdoor pillows:)

This was the last area I did.  I wanted to hide the water spicket a bit, and hopefully that decorative grass will take off soon and shoot up a bit:)  *hopefully

p.s.  I’m a little biased but isn’t that view oh so pretty??  I thank God everyday for placing us out here where we are surrounded by his beauty.  I’m loving country life!

 p.p.s.  I can not wait for next week!! My dear sweet friend Sarah from Sarah Pollio Photography came out and took some amazing shots of the barn and the decor that will be selling at Whimsy Green.  Yay!!  Stay tuned for the sneak peaks:):)

Outdoor Living

The most recent project we tackled on this house that is soon to be not ours anymore *sniff sniff* :)  was the outside.  I repainted the whole house, with help from my mom and sister with I was 8 1/2 months preggers with Kynlee.  That nesting thing…it really is true:)  Then last summer my mom came up and helped us landscape.  She’s a true master gardener…yay us:)  But my favorite spot that we created was actually with the help of Nagel Landscaping.  He does amazing work with landscaping, but since my mom was free we used her.  What she can’t do though is stamped concrete patios:)  That’s where Brandon Nagel worked some magic.  I wish I had a before pic, but unfortunately I don’t.  If I can paint the picture though, the old owners used to have a big gazebo and hot tub in the backyard.  They took it with them when they moved so a big dirt spot was left.  Since we also put in the patio door while we were here all we had was a make shift step that Ry built in 5 minutes…needless to say it was functional but not pretty!

Here’s what we have today!

We are still working on the grass, but the patio has created such a cozy outdoor living space!

My favorite part is the grilling nook and this awesome outdoor light my mother-in-law found at a garage sale for 10 bucks!

But I also love these cute stepping stones Brandon made out of the leftover concrete!  They especially look cute when the black-eyed susans are in full bloom and the hostas are fully out!

My hubby found some awesome rocks, big and small to place for decorations and walkways.

So this is where you’ll find us most nice nights, eating and relaxing on our back patio.  At least for the next month:)  So if you are thinking of updating your backyard living space, seriously consider Nagel Landscaping and tell them Allie sent you:)

I’ll show you the rest of the landscaping next time…I love this time of year when everything is growing like crazy!!