Is all of your holiday shopping done for the season? If so, you’re way better off than we are in our house! I admittedly always find myself scrambling and purchasing gifts for friends and family up until the last minute but sometimes it takes a while for inspiration to hit and for me to really feel like I have a great gift idea for my loved ones.
Fortunately I am done shopping for Ryan’s gifts this year which is a relief because sometimes he’s the hardest person for me to shop for, despite the fact that he’s not overly picky and doesn’t have lofty high expectations. I just put pressure on myself to make his Christmas special every year because I love giving him gifts that make him smile, especially when it’s something he might not think to get himself.
And that’s where the gift idea I’m sharing today comes in! You know those home improvement projects or simple home updates you’ve had on your household project to do list for years? What if you gave your spouse/roommate/friend/partner a jump start in completing one of your projects? That was one of my gift ideas for Ryan this year!
Throughout the nearly 15 years we’ve been together, we’ve prioritized experiences over material gifts in our relationship and now that we’re parents and homeowners, our gift-giving preferences have shifted again. Experiences always reign supreme but home improvement-related gifts rank pretty high up there for the two of us. We’ll often gift each other something for our home — my Cyber Monday purchase of the Nest Learning Thermostat for our house was actually one of my early Christmas gifts to Ryan — and find that home improvement projects or home decor updates end up making us happier in the long run than some of the more random trendy gifts out there.
I was recently approached by Lowe’s Home Improvement about holiday gifting and I could not have replied to their email faster if I tried. (For the sake of transparency, Ryan works for Lowe’s so we’re obviously a Lowe’s-loving family, but I was actually approached for this partnership by Lowe’s unaware of our family’s affiliation to the company.) I was so excited to receive their email because a gift idea I already had planned for Ryan was the perfect fit: Updating our fireplace and all of the doorknobs in our house to get rid of the ’90s brass that’s bothered us sine we moved into our home. I initially planned to give Ryan a brushed chrome doorknob for Christmas with the promise of updating the other knobs around our house and hoped to surprise him with a revamped fireplace. Basically, I wanted to give him two simple household updates that have been on our home improvement to do list forever but, for one reason or another, just never seemed to get done.
When I chatted with Lowe’s about my idea, they were on board and our phone call simply prompted me to get started on our home improvement projects a little sooner and complete them before the holidays rather than after Christmas.
I ended up making a trip to Lowe’s with Ryder while Chase was at preschool a couple of weeks ago and picked up everything I needed to update our family fireplace and change the brass detailing to a more contemporary matte black. I had Ryan unwrap the gift — high-heat matte black spray paint, a plastic painting drop cloth and painter’s tape — and included before and after pictures of a fireplace I found online that went through a similar update. After he opened my gift, I told him I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and was going to tackle the fireplace update for him as an early Christmas gift and he was pumped! When I say we’ve hated our fireplace since day one, I mean it! We both thought it was just the biggest eyesore so this update was much-needed and ended up feeling like a huge gift to both of us. I just wish we would’ve done it sooner!
Here’s the BEFORE:
And here’s the AFTER:
I used the morning of the first snowy day of the year in Charlotte when it was sleeting outside to take apart our fireplace (it was shockingly easy the whole frame just popped off in two pieces) and laid down the plastic drop cloth in our garage and got to work.
It took only three coats of the high-heat spray paint to cover the brass (I waited about 30 minutes in between coats just to be safe) and by that same afternoon we had a revamped fireplace we finally LOVE!
The fireplace update was part of our bigger plan to update our living room and I wanted to share some before/after pictures of that with you guys as well. (Note: This is not part of my Lowe’s collaboration — just something we’ve been working on!)
It’s absolutely still a work in progress but that’s the update so far! We had the room painted Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams, swapped out our beige couch and loveseat for a white one and two chairs (thanks to your IKEA recommendations!) and bought a new rug for the space over Black Friday weekend. Hooray for a much-needed refresh!
When I mentioned my idea for updating the brass doorknobs around our house to Ryan, he said he would happily take over that particular project thanks to a handy little tool we picked up during a prior trip to Lowe’s: The Dremel Cordless Screwdriver. You guys, this thing is basically Ryan’s dream tool and made replacing all the knobs around our house (yep, even closet knobs and bathroom knobs) a breeze. It is so easy to use and easily cut the door knob swap project time in half thanks to its ability to quickly remove and drive in screws with the light push of the screwdriver. If tools or any sort of home improvement-related gift is on your radar, Lowe’s is awesome because they price match everything, so you’re always guaranteed to get the lowest price from them.
(Chase clearly wanted in on the action.)
We replaced our brass knobs with Schlage Chrome Door Knobs and here’s a peek at the before/after of one of our downstairs coat closet doors.
These two simple home improvement projects have been on our to do list forever and I’m so happy they’re finally complete. We absolutely love the way they look in our home and they truly feel like the kind of gift that keeps on giving because we’ll enjoy them every day in our house. Up next: Figuring out what we want to hang above the mantel now that we are okay with people looking at our fireplace again!