Archive of ‘Tutorials’ category

How To Update a Condo’s Kitchen on a Budget

Some condos, like DMCI, would not turn over the unit to the owner until it has been thoroughly finished. The good thing about it is that you can move in right away. But the down-side of not having a choice to leave the unit bare is that you’re pretty much stuck with whatever kind of finish they did. It’s a homeowners’ dilemma because taking the down brand-new cabinets or re-tiling the floor and bathroom is kinda “nakakahinayang.”

When I was asked to decorate my sister-in-law’s and friend’s unit in Acacia Estate, the first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen cabinets and countertop. The laminate color was too dark for the unit and so the cabinets made the kitchen look even smaller. And since the kitchen is one of the first areas you see when you enter the unit, I want it to have an impact. But both my “clients” had very limited budget so having custom-made cabinets was out of the question.

Here’s what I did and what you can do too if you’re want to give your kitchen a make-over. Both projects cost less than P7,000.kitchen-before2

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Spot the difference! From vertical to horizontal cabinet handles. Just apply wood filler on the screw holes and proceed with these steps:

  1. Laminates can definitely be painted over. You don’t need to strip it off since it would damage the surface, making the project even costlier. Prep the surface by sanding it a bit using 220 grit sandpaper. Laminates are too smooth for the paint to adhere onto. Even if it is a textured laminate, sand it still.
  2. Next prime the surface using flat white latex (water-based paint). I personally don’t want to use oil-based enamel since condos usually have limited ventilation. Enamel odor takes forever to leave the room and you don’t want that.
  3. Choose any color you want in high/semi-gloss finish. Remember to still use water-based paint.

TIP: Since water-based paint dries much quicker than oil-based one, using a foam or cottom roller would ensure a smoother finish. Paint brush would leave brush marks unless that’s the finish you’re after.

With my sister-in-law’s kitchen (above), the mirror backsplash cost around P4,000 plus the quart of paint for P400+.

kitchen-before1For my friend’s unit, I wanted the kitchen to look clean, sort of Scandinavian-inspired. I initially planned on replacing the cabinet doors with melamine board for the glossy look but I realized that I had to replace the entire cabinet too with melamine board and that would go beyond the budget. So again, I had them paint glossy white.

kitchen-after1aThe glass doors looked great with the back of the cabinet painted blue-green. It might still have looked great if they only had white ceramics as contents. But who wastes precious space for such stuff anyway? So to hide the clutter, (because it really shows through despite the frosted glasses) I had the back of the glass painted too. Not bad, eh?

kitchen-after1bThe black countertop was actually just 60x60cm plain black granite tiles laid over the existing granite. I had the left part extended for a cooktop so the gas and trash can could be stored underneath. It looked more customized like that than just placing a gas range in that spot.

Those white little subway tile-like (30x30cm) cost just P23/pc and the black granite tiles were about P150/pc (tiles were from Floor Center.) For this particular project, we spent no more than P8,000 including the tiles adhesive, grout, plywood for the extended countertop, paint and labor.

I really wish I could take better photos because these kitchens look way better in actual. Hehehe!

If you have similar kitchen and are dying to give it a fresh look, go ahead! P10,000 would go a long way. You can paint the cabinet yourself and just ask the help of someone reliable to do the tiling. Lucky you if you have a handy husband!



How To Paint Wooden Pallets

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After we had our kitchen repainted, I needed an art-like installation that could also function as pot holder. There is a blank wall on the side of the sink that would be perfect spot for this. Since I painted our kitchen a neutral color from too bright apple green, I needed a fresh pop of color.

I asked our carpenter to build me something similar to a typical pallet using 3pcs. 2″x4″ KD wood and 4 pcs. 1/2″x4″ reclaimed palochina wood.  And here’s how I painted it using my craft acrylic paint and leftover latex paint used in our living room and kitchen.steps

This was quite experimental actually so I really couldn’t give an exact tutorial. But this is how I basically did it:

1. I diluted the blue paint from our living room with water to use as “wash” and I did not like the effect. Haha!

2. To remedy it, I mixed it with my blue craft acrylic and applied it to the still wet pallet. Added a bit of green and yellow here and there. I waited for a while for the paint and wood to dry (since I was using much water), then sanded the wood to blend the colors.

3. Not quite there  yet so I added a bit more brown, more yellow, sanded it off. It was too bright for me so to tone down the colors, I added the same white paint I used for the kitchen wall and sanded it endlessly.

I got more pallet projects to paint. I just hope to find time to do it. :)



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Quick Photo Editing Using iPhoto, Photoshop and PIXLR Editor

Disclaimer: I’m going to use one photo to show the slight differences of the three softwares. So pardon me if you keep seeing the same shot of my daughter’s face. Hehe!Quick Photo Editing Using iPhoto, Photoshop and PIXLR Editor

Let’s face it. We may have the latest camera phone, pocket cam or DSLR but most of us are no professional who can manually manoever the camera and always come up with perfectly lit and color balanced picture. I bet your DSLR is always on Auto-mode because mine is, except when I’m taking product shots. The perfect moment to capture is right there so I wouldn’t risk missing it just so I can take my time manually setting my cam. Good thing there are editing softwares available so we can make our photos look almost professional. Forget over-the-top filters! Hehe!

Whenever I edit my personal photos, I usually adjust only three things: the exposure, brightness and contrast and color balance. Adjusting the color isn’t always necessary though. Just in cases when the image looks like it has too much red/pink, yellow, blue, etc. Don’t get too intimidated. Editing is actually easier than you think…

EDITING WITH iPHOTO

If you’re a Mac user, your computer has built-in iLife which includes iPhoto. It’s a great software for filing and grouping pictures as well as image editing.

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I took Kenya’s picture using my Canon EOS-1100D (yeah, I know, very entry level cam, that’s all I can afford. But this proves that you don’t need high end cam to have nice looking pictures.) It was taken at the beach, around 11:45 am using my camera’s portrait mode. Notice that the picture is very pinkish all over and lacks proper highlights and shadows.

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When using iPhoto, your first option is to: edit>quick fixes>enhance. But sometimes, clicking enhance will only make your image darker like my photo. So the next option is to manually adjust your image.iphoto-2

First, adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation by moving the slider to the right. I cannot give the exact value since images are different. You have to trust your eyes for the right setting. Do not uncheck “Avoid saturating skin tones” if you don’t want your portrait to have grayish skin.

Kenya was sitting on a white, plastic beach lounge chair. Notice that the chair still looks pinkish after already adjusting the exposure, contrast and saturation. Let’s minimize the pink in the picture by adjusting the levels.

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Move the middle slider to left a bit until the pink on the white chair is gone. And that’s it!

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