Posts Tagged ‘Quick & Easy’

We dumped our furniture into the Master bedroom over two years ago, and it hasn’t moved since. We also never hung our pictures 🙂Original Layout

The only thing that bothered me with the layout was the reading chair. There was no where to put my drink, a blanket, Emma’s chew toy when she won’t stop giving it to me, nothing. Plus it’s right next to the bathroom.


And so: Kapow, new layout.


Now I can put my drink on the dresser while reading, and there’s even a table to use  for charging phones (no more windowsill, yay).


I like it.P1050504

We still had the giant blank wall above the bed, though. P1050503We decided to flagrantly steal this blogger’s idea and create a headboard out of 1 by 6s.

We trimmed, sanded, and stained 4 poplar 1x6s with Miniwax Early American stain. Instead of the original blogger’s Command strips, we decided to use a router and a keyhole bit to save about $15. P1050519

Since we didn’t use the Command strips, we had to place all 8 keyholes perfectly,hit studs perfectly, and mount the screws perfectly. As you can guess, it was finicky. I would go with the Command strips next time 🙂 $48 of poplar later, we had this:


My favorite change is moving the bed, we actually notice the view much more now.P1050542


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Our basement is officially gutted.

We’re finishing this floor before we start on the kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs. This way, we can escape the remodel disaster zones and maintain slightly more sanity.

Here is the current layout:

basement layout current

And the intended layout:

New Basement Layout

We’re making some large changes, but we have our reasons 🙂

Reasons 1 & 2: Bedroom-caves

The two rooms down here are pretty useless. They need an egress window to be a legal bedroom.

Bedroom of Cave-ness

The plan is to combine the two rooms into one legal bedroom with a gigantic storage closet. Since we’re turning an upstairs bedroom into the master bath, this will keep our bedroom count at 4.

Reason 3: Terrible bathroom

As we talked about in this post, the bathroom has a terrible layout. Actually, the only thing I like about it is the adorably ugly sink.

Mini Sink

We’ll be removing the space-eating linen closet, and redoing the resulting 7.5 by 8 foot bathroom.

Reason 4: Utility looking room

We’ve introduced this project, also.

Utility Room

We’ll be covering the pipes and wires when possible, and upgrading the floor.

Reason 5: Wandering layout

The basement is currently split with this short hallway.Maze of Doors We’ll be opening the wall up to make the basement feel less cramped and reduce the likelihood of someone getting lost in the maze.

Reason 6: It isn’t pretty

Spider Room

Brick linoleum and paneling is not my idea of a good time.

We started demo in the laundry room. Then we scratched our heads a bit about whether we were starting on the laundry room, the bathroom, or the entire basement. The only thing we used on this floor was our 35 year old dryer and it’s slightly younger pal. We decided to gut the whole floor, and hook the new washer and dryer up in their sad little concrete room full of pipes. At this point, that laundry room is frightful looking.Somehow, it looks worse

After making a mess with the laundry room, we realized that step 1 should have been removing all of our stuff. Whoops 🙂 A ton of it is being sold or donated, and we moved everything else upstairs into a spare bedroom. Just emptying out our junk took most of one day. Note to self: have less stuff .

Then we removed bits of the building 🙂  We listed the paneling, carpet, media cabinet and interior doors on Craigslist for free, and it was gone in a weekend. Someone actually paid us $50 for the carpet… even though it was free.

Less basement

Electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures were donated, and we knocked down the hallway wall and  linen closet. The only trash was the carpet pad, some linoleum, broken trim, and the shower.

Voila! Empty(ish) floor.

Empty Basement

After Demo came Discover. The best thing was this linoleum hiding coyly under the bathroom floor.Beatiful vintage find

I think I may keep it.

We also found 29 mice skeletons in one wall. That’s not an exaggeration; we counted. They had a lizard buddy hanging out too.

The less fun discoveries include water :{ Water seeps between the floor & concrete block in the laundry room.  That seam is easily fixed, but both corners of the basement  have seepage through the wall. Shucks

The adhesive on the floor looks like a puddle in that pic, but only the concrete bricks are damp. Coincidentally, that’s exactly where the gutters drain to. Our plan is to improve the gutter drainage, which should fix it. We’ll waterproof the interior corners as a back-up.

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We have a dining room table! Woot  🙂
Table with Chairs
It started out looking like so:Our Table!

We used the free furniture plan from Ana-White which was based on the $1000 table from Pottery Barn.

We followed the plan almost as-is. The frame went together very quickly. She's got Legs Table Frame

The only modification we made was on the very edge of the frame. The plan called for a 2×2 screwed in through the end-grain… but I didn’t want to even imagine someone sitting on the end of the table if that’s all there was to it. So we used a notched 2×8.Modified End Support

Emma supervised throughout the project 😀Emma always helps

To cover all the fastener holes, we made wood putty out of sawdust (we had plenty), some Elmer’s glue, and the stain that we used for the table. It worked excellently.Homemade wood putty

We  sanded the table surface to death, hoping to get it as seamless as possible. It is not perfect, but it’ll definitely do.Sanding

We pretreated the wood to get a smoother finish, and then used a rag to apply three coats of Minwax ‘Early American’ stain.First coat of stain First coat done!

The first coat turned out terrible. It was very, very blotchy on the Apsen top. The frame and legs were pine, and they turned out great, but the aspen was terrible.Very blotchy finish

The finish improved after the  second and third coats. We finished with three coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.

Second Coat

In the end, the table top finish looks okay. The table overall looks awesome, and I’m very glad we did it. We spent $175, which got us the lumber and iron pipe from Lowe’s, square washers from McMaster-Carr (Part No. 91128a140) and the polyurethane to finish the table.Our new table

For the chairs, we grabbed 6 Anna Slipcover Chairs with linen slipcovers from World Market. We abused a 25% off coupon, and got them for $107 per chair.

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We’re substantially changing the outside of our house this year. This includes adding a roof to our deck, replacing all the exterior doors, replacing the windows, painting the siding, replacing shingles, repairing concrete, and landscaping. We’re working on all of those things at once (to a point). I’m only price-comparing shingles right now and still just researching concrete repair options, but they’re all cooking along.

The window project;

We’re replacing all but one of our windows (The tiny middle window in the picture below will be centered and re-sized to match the other two). Replacing the windows is one of my favorite projects, because once I picked them out and ordered them, my work was done.

A three person crew from Hullco came out to install 10 of our 11 windows. They showed up at 10 and left at 4; and all of those windows are 100% done. It’s nice having something started and finished in the same day!

Here’s the front facade after:

Someday it will look like this:

Here’s the difference from the inside:




Once Hullco was done, we waited two days and Window World replaced the behemoth in the living room.

It took them less than two hours, and voila;

Holy cow, Batman; something got finished in 4 days and didn’t leave a mess.

Well, we do still have to replace that front window… and install an egress window in the basement… but we’re done for now!

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We haven’t finished anything big recently, but we did make two small changes that I’m very fond of.

1.) We moved our wedding arbor

Michael and I built this for our wedding at his parent’s farm. It’s made entirely of cedar trees from near the field (Free!). We’ve been living here nearly two years, but just now finally moved it.

I like having it in the front yard 🙂

2.) Swapped out a picture on the photo wall.

This is a tiny, tiny change. We went from this placeholder printed-out map of NZ…

To this art print from Etsy artist Elisabeth.

Same subject, same size, lol. Like I said, small change.

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I put the built-in to good use already. At  12.5 feet long it’s a pretty awesome workspace.

I got the order in from Nations Photo Labs today, and trimmed and matted the 14 pictures. Some photos got traditional mats, some got scrapbook paper, and one got purple spray paint.

The gallery wall is finally done!

I started this project months ago, and I’ve worked on it off and on since then.

This one is probably my favorite:

If you want to know what all these things actually are…

Here’s the items on the left…

The outside (starting at the top and working clockwise)

  •  View from a propeller plane, NZ
  • the wake from our snorkeling trip in the Bahamas
  • three random keys
  • photos of our wedding reception dances with our parents
  • scrapbook paper
  • paint chip art
  • a historic map of our hometown
  • us kayaking down a mangrove lined river
  • a map of New Zealand
  • toilet paper art
  • a butterfly acrylic painting from Etsy

The inside (top working clockwise)

  • F monogram made with washers
  • Sheep farm in NZ
  • Instruction manual from our tv
  • Wedding collage
  • Us in doubtful sound NZ

And the right side…

On the outside (starting top, working clockwise)

  • Emma helping with boat repairs
  • Abel Tasman national park, NZ
  • Sugar Packets
  • scrap napkin & lace from our wedding
  • Lighthouses in NZ
  • Warrior Dash 2011 metals
  • puppy Emma
  • 3-d butterfly art
  • Us at Disney

On the inside (starting top, working clockwise)

  • Yard stick art
  • Picture of a “Protect Yo Tings! Use a rubber every time!” sign from a Nassau government building
  • (tiny) Michael remodeling something

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DIY Stretched Canvas

We have had this fabric poster since Michael’s dorm days. It never hung very flatteringly.

And so we built a frame out of scrap 2 by 4 lumber,

stapled some thin black cotton as a wrapping,

and then used hem tape and an iron to mount the fabric flag to the (fabric-wrapped) frame.



It took Michael about an hour to do all the hard stuff (build the frame, staple the black fabric on), and it took me about 30 minutes to mount the actual poster.

Total cost was $0 🙂

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