Sunday, December 3, 2017

Kitchen Wallpaper: 0. Me: 1

Since we have moved into our house three years ago, I've been itching to take down the kitchen wallpaper. But after wrestling with wallpaper at our previous home, I was so hesitant to touch it again. I put it off, and then put it off a little longer.  Procrastination is key when it comes to icky jobs like putting away laundry and stripping wallpaper.

Retro WallPaper

A year ago, I finally got brave and tried peeling it off. The top layer came off easily, but the layer underneath wouldn't give. I pulled at it with my fingernail and promptly gave up. I've lived with half-torn wallpaper since then. It's amazing how you can forget how bad something looks when you see it everyday.

But after seeing the transformation of our master bath, my DIY soul has been rejuvenated. (Farmhouse, Shiplap, Refinished floors!)  This house could be fantastic! (IMO it already is, actually. But it could be even MORE so!)

I grabbed some wallapaper stripper The Hubs bought a few years ago - and has been sitting in our cabinet ever since - and decided to try it. I sprayed and scraped and hoped for the best.

It came right off. Within one hour, one half of my kitchen went from peeling paper to blank slate.

Two hours later, the entire strip of wallpaper through my kitchen middle was gone. What in the world had I been waiting for?! (I know what I had been waiting for- for the day we tear it down and make it our dream kitchen. But that could be years!)

Now that I've started, I'm  so excited I don't want to do anything but paint and design. This kitchen could be retro gorgeous!! Who needs new cabinets or a bigger space?! Not me! All I need is some fresh paint and a few fun extras.

To give you a sneak peek of what I plan on doing I need:
Contact chalkboard paper
Thin particle board
Wood paint pen
Red or Teal paint (maybe both?!)
A trip to Home Goods

Think I can transform its look in one week?! I do! If there's one thing I love, it's a challenge!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: A Trophy Wife

A few months ago my parents came to visit with two extra suitcases. But that wasn't because they were staying for a month. It was because they had cleaned out their garage. Straight into mine, apparently.

Out of the suitcases came my old letter jacket, porcelain dolls that were gifts from family friends and my old softball trophies.

The letter jacket went back into garage storage (for my 20th HS reunion?!) and the porcelain dolls were set aside for Peanut. But what should I do with my trophies? I felt guilty for throwing them out, but I didn't want to put them back into storage. We definitely weren't going to display them on our mantle.

After perusing a few websites, I decided to make Peanut a hat/hoodie/purse rack from them.

Last month I made a hat rack for Bjorn using an old skateboard and it was a huge hit. This was Peanut's turn.

As I gathered all the materials and started the project, I found that it was actually pretty easy to unscrew the tops off the trophies. Off came all the little softball girls (and one or two soccer players). I spray painted them Peanut's color of choice and set them aside.

I had an old hat rack I found at a garage sale for .25 - boring old wood with boring old hooks on it.  But I knew that piece of wood was going to be perfect for something some day. And here was someday, just staring me in the face!

I unscrewed the boring "drunk Octopus" hooks and gave Peanut a gallon of mint-colored paint and a paintbrush. Presto chango, we had a pretty piece of wood with holes already properly spaced.

The screws on the trophy heads were larger than the pre-made holes, so I used a drill bit to widen them. Then all I had to do was twist them into the holes!

I love the way it turned out and I love that I was able to reuse my childhood trophies. Since I still have some left, I am looking to make a purse rack for me, too!

This is what the rack looked like 5 minutes after I hung it. So neat and pretty. 

This is what it looks like now. This is real life!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Happiness is taking a long, warm bath

There are two types of people in the world; those who walk into a flooring store, pick out the tile they want and are happy and those who walk into a flooring store, pick out a tile they like and then go to 47 other flooring stores to see if there is anything there they like better.

I am the first person. The Hubs is the second.

After going to all 48 stores, we went back to the first store and bought the tile I originally liked.

That is when I decided that the hardest part about renovation is not demo-ing, or choosing a contractor but it is making a final decision (every little minute decision) with the person you chose to share your life with.

I didn't realize there were going to be so many decisions. But after (painstakingly, agonizingly) hashing and rehashing each decision, we have the bathroom of my dreams.

Seriously, y'all. It is amazeballs.

If you check back here, you can see what we did before the real pros got their hands on it.

Now, it looks like this.

It's a bathroom paradise!
Oh that tile. It's so pretty, so simple, but took so much time to actually get it. Since it covered the entire area, from bath to closet, we needed a tile that completed our "look".  But what was our look? We went back and forth between something soft and calming and something fun and retro. We even bought an amazing floor tile from Home Depot that mimicked encaustic tile, a fun print I adored. Unfortunately, when we tried to match our shower tile to it (you know, the very first one I picked all the way back in May), it gave the encaustic tile a greenish hue, so we returned it.

The floor tile is called Prisma Gris from Floor & Decor.

This tile caught my eye waaay back. And was a bear to install. But worth it!

The shower tile is called Stone Silver from Floor and Decor. 
There were certain things in the bathroom that were important to either The Hubs or I. Things that made picking out accessories both easy and difficult.

I wanted oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

He wanted cross hatch hardware.

He wanted electrical outlets on both sides of the sink.

That is a monster HUGE mirror from Kirkland's. Lights are from Globe Electric, a Vintage Flush Mount Ceiling Light. They were bought at a liquidator and on amazon.
I wanted a built in toilet paper caddy that could hold an extra roll and other bathroom necessities.

Storage space for a small area. No more extra rolls on the back of the toilet 

The wall color is a match to Sherwin Williams Cold Morning
 We both wanted a five stack shelf and new hardware in the closet.

The pros built the five stack. The Hubs built all the other shelving and rods
A pocket door to separate toilet from sink area.

The frosted glass allows light through but still has complete privacy
A sliding barn door for between the sink and bedroom. Which my amazing husband made from scratch. It's the exact door I wanted for a small fraction of the price!

Isn't it gorgeous?! Definitely my favorite part of the bathroom.

By buying accessories on amazon, checking out liquidators around the area and doing part of the work ourselves (demo, painting, some building) we were able to get everything we wanted - and more! - for a budget price we were happy with. And now it's time to take a long, warm bath and enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's All Small Stuff

I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff, but when it comes to home repair/maintenance/remodel, it all seems to be small stuff!  There are a million small decisions and small issues that have to be made and taken care of everyday.

Change the air filter. Which smoke alarm is beeping? Sweep. Mop. Spackle the holes from sibling Monday Night wrestling match. Paint the baseboards. Sweep again. Can that plumbing be moved two inches? Screw this in, nail that in.

Ahhhhh, the beauty of home ownership!

While we wait for some of the big stuff to be done, I decided to tackle some small, but not insignificant items on the list.

First off were the ugly bulb overhead lights in all three bedroom closets. When I found the most amazing chandelier light for Peanut's room, I knew this was getting crossed off the list.

Goodbye ugly bulb

Hello gorgeous!

She just sparkles

Now I noticed we need to paint the ceiling. (Just another small thing!)

We found a not-so-amazing, but still better than before light for our closet, and poor Bjorn still has his bulb light. (His is the top picture; Peanut's was changed out before I could take a 'Before' picture.) I'm still looking for the perfect one for Bjorn.

Then, I wanted to change the handles on the kitchen cabinets. But since we are not doing a full kitchen remodel until we win the lottery or something major breaks, I didn't want to invest a lot of time or money in that change.

So, in the spirit of lazy DIYers everywhere, I took my $8 can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and went to town.

Presto Change-o!

Both of these fixes took less time and money that it takes to make dinner. Why did I wait so long?!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Got my toes in the sand......Sledgehammer in hand....

For 2 1/2 years we have made plans to redo our master bathroom. We have looked at countless websites, been to Home Depot/Lowes/Floor&Decor dozens of times to find the perfect fixtures, and debated the merits of shower vs. tubs until we couldn't think straight.

For 10 months we have made plans to visit Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to see a college friend of ours get married. We have secured passports for the kids, paid for resorts/flights/dog sitting, and talked up the beach until we finally got our shark-scared kids excited for snorkeling.

Then, we decided to do both a bathroom remodel AND the destination wedding vacation within two weeks of each other.

Smart? No. Not at all. Especially since we decided to hire a contractor to redo the bathroom, but we would save some money (and have some fun!) by demolishing it ourselves. Three days before we were scheduled to leave for the DR, we began knocking down walls and pulling off tile.

Give me all the sledgehammers!

It was

It was also The Hubs birthday, and he just happened to open a shirt from my parents that morning. Perfect timing!

Demoday Birthday!

If you ever get to demolish a piece of your house (or your friends house), DO IT. I want to now tear down every little piece of my humble little abode.

If, on the other hand, you ever get to book a Caribbean vacation during hurricane season, DON'T. Hurricane Irma was headed on a straight shot through the islands, and our flights were canceled. Our plan to head off to the DR for some much needed rest and relaxation was, sadly, also canceled. The upside is that it gave us more time to finish the bathroom demo, but let's be real, that's not much of an upside. I would rather be on the beach.

Oh yes, this is much better than a rum drink on a Caribbean beach that also offers day care.

Besides taking down a few walls here and there, this is my first crack at a big demo project. I was surprised at how relatively easy it was. I mean, there really isn't much to a house when you knock it down! (Rebuilding it, though, looks to be much more difficult.)

Even the littles helped! Or at least one of the littles. Safety goggles on!

I was pleased to find that behind every wall and under each piece of wood was NO water damage or leakage. I was expecting to find something that was going to cause us major headaches, money and delays, but so far we found nothing that concerns us!

So classy on our back patio.

My 'grocery getter' can haul major trash!

I think the house was originally built around this tub. Cast iron. HEAVY.

Also, I had no concept of how long it would take. When The Hubs mentioned that he wanted to work all day, quitting at 4 to shower and head off to church, I thought he was nuts. It was 10 am and we were almost done! Of course it wouldn't take until 4!  Little did I realize that once you remove the mirrors and the cabinet, your work is NOT done. Apparently, there are all sorts of other pesky things you need to do, like remove two inches of concrete from the shower all. (Yes, CONCRETE. Not cement board, but two inches of concrete on chicken wire.)

The bathroom lost about 500 lbs with the tub and another 500 with these concrete tiles down!

But we finished 90% of the demo in one day, and the other 9% took four days of half-assed finishing it up. The last 1% is taking FOREVER - we get to pick out and purchase all fixtures, tile and finishing pieces. Apparently I don't get to just buy whatever I want. I keep hearing something about "compromise" and "no, that's too girly".

Keep tuned for after pictures. I can't wait for my new bathroom to be up and running! (And not just because one bathroom for the four of us has me driving to Target for bathroom use when ours is occupied!)

I tried everything I could think of for tonight and can't seem to get these pictures to turn the right way. You'll just have to turn your head.
So pretty, right?! I think even the towel rack is original to the house.

Oh, yellow tile, I won't miss you. (But I did save some pieces for creative posterity pieces!)

It's not an awful closet. But it's about to get so much better.

Nothing left!

Monday, September 4, 2017



It's been quite a while since I shared some of our reno's here on the blog, and let me tell you, it is NOT because we haven't been doing any. It's more because posting "We changed a 1970's strobe light that never worked properly with a modern canned light" just didn't make me want to scream with excitement and shout it from the rooftops.

But that's home ownership for you. It's not always exciting.

So here is more non-excitement, except in our world.

Since we bought the house two years ago, we have wanted to move the side fence forward 30 feet. It doesn't sound like a big deal except that the fence was at an awkward place, thirty feet behind the neighbors fence. It also left the entire side of the house, including utility gauges, doors, and windows open to view.
See that fence WAAAAAAY back there? Behind the ugly AC and utility guage?!

So when The Hubs came home from work one evening with a few posts and some cement, I was ready to get started.

But it was about as exciting as watching cement set.

Because that's what we had to do. Yawwwwn.

And when I say "we", I mean The Hubs, because he spent the majority of the day measuring, cutting, cementing, and measuring some more.  I made my grand entrance with some white paint, and spent most of the day painting a desk my son was given and creating a skateboard hat rack.

My contribution to last weekend is mostly through taking pictures:

Look! I'm helping!

Best painted fence boards EVER

Watching cement set is such hard work

Removing the existing fence

The fancy skateboard rack that took me all of 10 seconds to create

But look how fun it is on the wall!
Side view
Before, with no fence and small plants

After, with growing plants and a new fence

 For those who don't remember, about four months ago we added a landscaping patch to the front yard. We bought a bunch of plants, pulled weeds, and set down rocks. Everyone helped. I am SO happy with how much it has grown, as seen in the pictures above or check out this pic from the week we moved in two years ago.

Helping to add rock

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


It's been a much slower process changing things around the house than I had anticipated. Between jobs, the kids school and activities, there doesn't seem to be the time - or money! - to fix and upgrade and work on the house.

But we are trying.

Little by little, brick by brick, it will happen.

First up for this year? A new front door.

Nothing was really wrong with our front door, if you like a flimsy door with peeling paint, no natural light and a gap between the frame and the door. Or if you like a steel framed security door with mesh that the dogs kept sticking their paws and noses through.  So we REALLY didn't like our front door.


After much debate, we finally settled on a door from Lowe's with 1/2 frosted glass on the top. Instead of a security door, we chose a storm door with a sliding screen. No mesh on the bottom means no doggies powering their way through it. (On that note, our screen door on the back door was ran into no less than FOUR times this weekend. Two kids, one adult and one dog ran through it. We need to work on that door next!)

Before and After

Before and After

With the front door open.

But we didn't stop there! I still thought it was the teensy-bit boring still and wanted to jazz it up a little bit. So now we have:

I LOVE it!  With the change this fun, bright door brought to the house, I am motivated to do all sorts of things I have been putting off. Updo the bathroom? Let's do it! Change and paint the siding? You got it! Rip out a bathtub? No problem!!!  

Don't mind the grass. We are saving on our water bill for a few months :)