When we first bought our house we were given an old large oak dresser set and for years I have dealt with the ugly out of date stain and broken drawers. I had been wanting to strip the stain and re-stain them white, as well as replace the knobs and repair the broken drawers for awhile. Well when we moved everything out of the bedrooms for the new carpet I thought this would be the perfect time to do just that! What was I thinking!? It was already hard enough to move out and move back into the bedrooms. Thankfully Jack was sweet and went along with my insane idea and two months later we are finally finished and they came out fabulous! There was four pieces – a tall dresser, a long dresser and two side dressers, so we thought this would be easy. Boy, were we wrong! We tried three different ways to strip off the old ugly stain from the set. We first tried the chemical remover and scrapped it off. It worked, sort of. We tried different thickness levels and letting it sit for different amount of times. Some sections it would work great and others it didn’t even touch the stain.
The second thing we tried was a sandblaster that my step-dad owns. A sandblaster can strip off paint from any surface very quickly. He did the two side tables since those were the two we started off with on the chemical remover and it worked great, maybe a little too great. The dressers came back rough to the touch and covered in the blasting sand. We had to sand them with 60 grit sandpaper and then a finer grit to smooth them out and use the air compressor to remove the sand. With that working so well we decided to not do the blaster for the two bigger pieces, we just used 60 grit sandpaper and slowly striped away the stain. This actually was the easiest process and next time we have a similar project will start with this way.
With that working so well we decided to not do the blaster for the two bigger pieces, we just used 60 grit sandpaper and slowly striped away the stain. This actually was the easiest process and next time we have a similar project will start with this way.
We knew we were going to replace all of the handles so we filled in the old holes with wood putty that was stainable. Once the putty dried we started the staining process. We ended up finding Minwax Tintable Clear Interior Stain in the color Marshmallow. We used two ½ gallons, the store didn’t carry it in gallon sizes, and did two coats since we wanted a brighter white finish.
We finished it with a coat of water-based polyurethane in a satin finish.
Lastly once everything was dried we drilled the holes for the new handles and repaired the broken drawers. Due to the thickness of the wooden drawer we had to purchase new screws for the new handles, this is actually pretty common when redoing older pieces. I thought it would give the dressers a nice French County feel if we used different types of handles. I used fun Mr. and Mrs. ceramic ones for our side dressers along with crystal and chrome ones. I used different chrome handles and mercury glass, ceramic, and crystal knobs for the two larger dressers. Even though it too much longer than we expected, I am so excited how they turned out and happily it was under $100 which is much cheaper than buying another set that wouldn’t have been built as well.
While most of the county is still in the middle of winter, sunny valley California is having 70 degrees of sunshine! Since this weather is fleeting here Jack and I decided to work on the yard. Today’s project was to remove a huge UGLY juniper bush next to our drive way. It took two hours to cut it down and two trips to the Green waste facility. Let me give a little warning if you are planning on a similar project.
1.) Wear old clothes, preferably pants and long sleeves, plus you will want to wear gloves and tennis shoes.
2.) Wear safety glasses! I wear contacts and they hurt so badly when the smallest pieces of something get in them. There are twigs, dirt, leaves, debris and other bad things so wear safety glasses!
3.) Rent a truck or a trailer if you don’t have one. It took us two trips and the trailer was FULL both times. For easy removal at the facility we put a tarp down first then covered with another tarp to prevent debris flying out when driving. Once ready to unload just untie the top and drag the out the bottom. Easy and we were done in under five minutes.
4.) Be prepared, you will never believe what you will find when removing something like a large bush! We found lots of trash, very old beer cans, Taco Bell sauce packets, oh and keys to a VW! I’m not kidding! Because this was so funny to us I posted it on Facebook and a few minutes later a friend was knocking on our door asking to see if they were his keys that he has been missing for months and they were!
If you do take on a project like this be flexible and prepared and get ready for some HARD WORK!
For the last few post I talked about prepping for new carpet: Painting and Purging and told you I would share with you some important things we learned during our carpet project.
DO NOT go to the big box stores! They do not have the best quality, because they sell "cheap". They also don't have the most experienced staff. Remember this is a big purchase that is supposed to last for decades, not years. Lastly they tend to add on additional cost.
DO shop locally owned stores, preferably one that has been around for decades. They know their stuff. They have experienced staff and the cost of installation should be included in the carpet, not an additional fee.
Buy Ecofriendly. Wool is the most expensive but it is also the most natural product out there. We actually chose an ecofriendly brand Mohawk. It’s from a corn based product and not petroleum. Thank about that for a second, do you want to walk on cornmeal or oil? Also this is super important if you have small children or dogs. Where do they play? On the carpet. They will have all of the synthetic fibers touching their skin and research has shown this can cause a higher risk of cancer. Scary to think about. Go Ecofriendly, it's not only good for the environment, but your family.
Budget. Jack thought our new carpet would cost around $2,000 and I was predicting around $4,000 because I knew I wanted quality and Ecofriendly. To be safe we budged $4,000 and anything that wasn't spent on the carpet would go to the next house project.
Shop around. I cannot stress this enough. We went to a local place and met with and told them what we were looking for. They seemed sort of knowledgeable, very helpful, and were willing to come for a measurement (required to get a true quote) for the following day after work. The quote came back to us at $3,500, right within our budget. But while we were getting frustrated because they couldn't email us the quote because they didn't understand what an underscore (_) was; we talked to Amber and Aaron about who they used to replace their carpet after the fire damage last year. They used and highly recommended this place in an old part of town. They warned us that there was piles of carpet everywhere and it seemed very disorganized, but the shop owner knew were everything was at. So during our lunch Jack and I went, carpet everywhere was an understatement! The shop was ran by an older couple who had been in business since the 80's and he knew exactly what I wanted and didn't look at me like I was scary when I said I wanted something Ecofriendly, like the other shop did. We found the same product as the other store and a few other options and scheduled a measurement (quote) the next day. Their measurement appointment was very different. The first shop a guy came took measurement and left. The elderly couple both came with samples and ready to write a quote right there. The gentlemen took the measurement while the lady and I talked about Duffey and their adventures in the Airforce in Europe in the 60's. Once the measurements were finished we began talking about the two carpet samples we liked. The first was the same as the shop before and the other was considered a Luxe carpet, fancy. After discussing the prices we quickly realized their Luxe carpet was CHEAPER than the other shops price for the regular carpet, we chose the Luxe carpet. Lastly we talked about a carpet pad; this was something that was never discussed at the other place. I'll talk more about carpet pads in a second. After deciding on higher end carpet pad and the Luxe carpet, we were ecstatic to see that our new quote was under $2,800! Much better customer service, higher quality product, AND a lower price? SOLD! We booked our installation that moment. If we didn't shop around, we would have regretted spending more for a less inferior product. Shop a minimum of two, three is better, shops before making your decision. It's well worth the extra effort.
Carpet Pads. The second shop brought us four samples that were made with different material and/or thickness. We were able to quickly dismiss the regular pads that were manufactured from left over furniture foam in China and focused on the two U.S.A. brands. One had a single layer of water resistant material and the other had a layer of water resistant material on both sides. The one with both sides was also quilted and provided extra softness. Since our home was built on a concrete slap, we opted to the quilted, double sided water resistant carpet pad.
Walk on the samples barefooted! This may seem like an afterthought, but it should be seriously done. We are all for feeling the texture and softness with our hands, but we use our feet to walk on it. Since the samples were brought to our home we were able to put them on a hard floor and walk on them. We tired each carpet sample with each carpet samples until we made our decision. You may feel silly taking your shoes off in front of a salesman; however, you wouldn't feel odd about lying on a mattress when purchasing one, so why wouldn't you walk barefoot on carpet?
For every room you are replacing carpet for, you have to remove EVERYTHING! We were offered to split up the installation, but we decided to get it all done at once. If you have a lot of rooms and not a lot of time to donate removing everything, do the multiple days. Like I said in my pervious post we used this time to purge the rooms so we would have less to move, twice.
Pets. We asked Amber and Aaron to watch Duffey for the day. We didn't want her getting scared or getting in the way of the installer. Plus it also made me nervous that he would accidently let her get out as he was bringing in the supplies. I was much happier the day of the installation that she was safe and happy at her Auntie Amber's house. Please don't forget to think about your pets on the day of installation and plan accordingly.
Be warned new carpet smells, it’s new and the smell goes away after a few days. We used scented candles to help since it was winter and unable to open up windows.
Moving back in. We put the bigger items in first, expect the dressers (that's another project). We were very careful on what we brought back into the rooms. We didn't bring in Jack's old desk, shelves, or couch; instead we are using a folding table and purchased better quality shelves. Once the rest of the rooms were back together, they felt different. They felt clean and new and we want to keep that feeling around for a long time. Our bedroom now feels like a place of relaxion and not chaos.
Enjoy your new fabulous carpet!
For the first time since we have bought our home, we are hiring someone to do a project. Normally I don't have a problem with Jack learning and taking on home projects and I get to be his lovely assistant, but this time we were getting new carpets in our bedrooms and we just don't have the skills nor the tools to install carpet. We needed a professional in this case since we wanted to make this major investment last for decades and not years. Once the carpet is installed I will post before and after pictures along with some helpful tips and lessons learned. For now I want to talk about prepping for such a huge project. Thank about it for a second all three of our bedrooms were getting carpet so that means we had to pack up and move EVERYTHING out of them! We took this time to purge our offices and our clothes to make it easier to pack and move (twice). I had several tubs full of fabric and unfinished craft projects that I cleaned out and organized. Anything I no longer wanted either got tossed or donated to a local therapist office who held children support groups and uses crafts to help work through their feelings. I was able to clean out about 2/3rd of my tubs, but I still feel like I have too many unfinished projects. We also were able to shred unneeded files, toss out old school notes, and donate books and other Knick knacks. Lastly there were the clothes; I think I buy a new wardrobe every other season. I had so many clothes I just never wore or no longer was my taste, same with Jack. The one thing I do not donate to thrift stores is clothes; I always take the time to donate them to the local foster care shelter. Most of the children there have nothing and all of the clothes are communal. Jack and I always have gently used professional clothes that the older kids and wear to court. Technically this is a tax write off, but we never use them.
As we moved the last pieces of furniture out of the rooms a very weird feeling came over us. We hadn't seen these rooms emptied in eight years and it really felt like we were moving. We knew this was silly, but it was an odd feeling. Thankfully we are not moving and tomorrow we will have new carpet and hopefully the energy to move everything back into our rooms.
I've talked about having to remove popcorn from our living room and hallway ceilings in previous post so I won't bore you with a repeat. What I will say is that during the last few weeks prepping to get new carpet, we had to finally remove the last of the popcorn ceiling from our house, our offices. As we finished painting the ceiling in my office I got the genius idea that it was time to paint my office, again. This will make it the fourth time painting my office over the last decade. There were several reasons why I made this insane decision a week before we got knew carpet; 1. I got white ceiling paint all over my walls and didn't have any spare paint; 2. There was drip streaks from removing the popcorn; 3. Over time the current color seemed to become lavender than grey and I wanted a more neutral color for a one day nursery; and 4. The current color was going to look weird with the new light grey carpet. Jack decided to let me just go along with my crazy plan, but he wasn't going to help since he needed to finish purging and packing his office. I took a sample of the new carpet and a sample of the current paint to the home improvement store and picked a color. I bought a gallon and another 1.2 gallon since this is the fourth time painting my office I knew a gallon would barely be enough and I wanted to have touch up paint this time. One major benefit of getting new carpet is not having to stress about covering the floor; I moved all of the furniture into the center of the room and taped up the freshly painted ceiling. I turned on Eureka a series I have watched several times and got to work. I am thankful that my office is just a medium sized rectangle with a door and a closet and the first coat was on in no time. I wanted the first coat to completely dry and give my arms a rest, so I waited to paint the second coat until the next day. I am waiting until tomorrow to remove the tape, but be warned do not wait longer than that, the tape will get harder to remove the longer it is up. I love the new color and I can't wait to see it with the new carpet!
Well the hallway ceiling is just one more step closer for us to getting rid of the entire ugly popcorn ceiling and getting our new floors! The hallway ceiling was low enough for me to remove the popcorn on my own so Jack was able to work on other projects. I had all of the texture off in just a few hours and once the dry wall dried I was able to plaster the holes. My last step of the project was to prime and paint the ceiling. From start to finish it only took me a weekend to accomplish. Once I was finished with everything Jack started planning out our new pot lights! However, due to the A/C duct work we were only able to install two lights instead of the original three planned. By this point Jack has done lots of electrical work and after a few days and new toys are new lights were installed. He removed and patched the old wall mounted light and we were good to go. It amazes me how much brighter our hallway is now and that we can actually see in our cupboards! Only two more room left and all of the popcorn will be gone and we can finally get our new floors!!!
Early this month we finished replacing the kitchen cabinets and this weekend we put up our new backslash! I have always wanted a white subway tile backslash; it always looks so clean and bright. We found the tile at Home Depot for $2.67 each and we purchased 20 sheets (12 by 12). We started by premeasuring the pieces and deciding on how we wanted to lay them out. Once we had enough sheets preplanned and individual tiles cut to size we began tiling. We used a light color mortar with a peanut butter consistency, using a trowel smeared the mortar on the sheet and laid it in place. After a few sheets were mortared Jack started to cut more individual tiles to fit along the edges, around the cabinets and around the plug ins using 1/4 tile spacers to keep the tiles in place. Once the last tile was put in place, we let the mortar dry overnight to not risk moving any tiles. The next day we removed all of the spacers and cleaned out any place where the mortar seeped through. To grout we chose a white sanded one and mixed to a thick consistency and started "frost" on, Jack assigned me this job since I was very familiar with the process and I was done in no time. By the time I finished the end I was able to go back to the beginning section and began cleaning off the grout left on tiles with a damp sponge. This step was the most time consuming since we didn't want to leave any grout on the white tiles or remove too much grout from the seams. The last step was to buff the tiles with cheese cloth to make it shinny and bright. It was well worth a weekend of hard work and cost under $300 to give us a whole new look for our kitchen!
I have had kitchen cabinets in my office for the last several months just waiting to be installed and the time has finally come! The reason I have had cabinets in there for so long was because they were on sale. Whenever we know we are about ready to do another stage of the kitchen we will look for the cabinets while they are on sell and store them either in garage or my office until we are ready. We may only save 25% by doing it this way but that quickly can add up when doing a whole kitchen. This was the final stage in replacing our kitchen cabinets. Over the last 5 years we have removed a wall, added cabinets, replaced a window, added a pantry, moved a refrigerator, replaced the upper cabinets, and now we are replacing the bottom section. We were very worried about damaging the counter top since it was glued and screwed down to the old cabinets. With a little patience and the right tools we were able to remove the countertop without any damage. Since we were reusing the countertop and sink we skipped the step to remove the sink. Once the countertop was removed we quickly took out the old cabinets and removed the remaining backsplash. At this point Jack was a pro on installing cabinets and they were in place in no time. Once they were tacked into place we carefully put back the countertop and sink and secured it in place. Because we planned ahead we had this project completed in only a weekend, now we are ready for the new backsplash!
Our poor backyard fence has been falling apart for the last several years and it is finally time to replace it! We were waiting until the ground wasn't too wet and it wasn't too cold! We started replacing the fence in our courtyard several years ago after a huge windstorm decided it was time. At the time I was still in school and right after Christmas so we and our neighbor could only afford two panels, and not the premade ones. It was the first time that Jack and I ever did a fence so we really had to learn as we went. A few months later we decided it was time to finish the courtyard fence and add the new side fence and gate to separate the courtyard from the backyard. That time went a lot easier and didn't take as long, thankfully! About a year later it was time to finish the remaining fence between our two houses. This was a really long section and Jack didn't want to have to use a fence post shovel so we spent the extra money to rent a two person augur. This machine was really hard to use in our hard and rock filled dirt. Even thought it was rough it saved a lot of time and we had the whole section up in only a few days. A few months ago we started saving to replace the back fence since our house was up to an alley we were going to have to pay for all of it and we were still trying to pay off our debt as fast as possible. So the week finally came and we decided ahead of time to take an extra two days off from work so we could get this done as quickly as we could because we didn't want the backyard to be exposed to the alley. The night before we went to the hardware store and purchased the 3 bags of small gravel, 10 bags of quick set fence cement, 5 8' foot metal fence post, the 10 metal brackets, the 10 8' foot 2 x 4 and over 500 fence panels. This first morning we went a picked up the augur, this time we rented a one person hydraulic augur. We measured. d and marked where each post was to go and started digging. I got the fun job with removing any root or large rock that got in the way so it wouldn’t jam the augur as Jack dug the 3 foot hole. The last step for the day was to cement the post in place. Fill half the hole with the gravel to allow proper drainage, add a little of the dry quick dry cement on top. Place the post centered in the hole and add the remaining the bag of cement, plus one more full bag or until the hole is filled. Spray water on the cement until wet, the cement will draw water also from the ground. Allow at least 12 hours to set before moving onto the next phase of the fence.
I love doing fun unconventional cakes. I was asked to do this bachelor party cake a while ago I and I wasn't worried since I have done other alcoholic bottles so this one I wanted to do a little different. In the past I have printed out the label on rice paper, but Crown Royal has a very simple label so I decided to make it out of fondant. I shaped the cake using a regular kitchen knife; crumb coated it and covered in fondant. I added a white piece of fondant for the label and added the purple curtains and the purple velvet bag that Crown Royal comes with. I had to remake the pillow shape several time cause it just didn't look right, finally I got it write and topped it off with a 3/4 circle. I then added the small ribbons of yellow for the crown and detailed using a flat round fondant tool. I rolled out more yellow fondant into ropes for the pillow, the label, curtain, and the bag details. The last thing I did was instead of piping Crown Royal I rolled out a think rope of black fondant and carefully spelled out the name. While I was making this totally awesome cake, Jack was outside installing our new garage door light. We always thought the house looked off balanced since we only had one light on the side of garage door and our courtyard gate so we decided to add light to the other side. We got off lucky since the previous owners had a flood light there that just didn't work, but Jack did have to rewire the light before installing the new fixture. All and all today was a productive day for both of us!
Jack started on the fireplace remodel when he mounted our TV onto the wall above. We didn't get to work on the next phase of the remodel until this month which was perfect for Santa Cause to shimmy down it on Christmas Eve!
We decided that it would be much easier to cover the old brick than it would be to remove them completely, however, due to the uneven texture he had to even them out with a small jack hammer that attached to our air compressor. We spray painted the inside of the fireplace with a high heat white spray paint; since the bricks were so porous we had to use five cans of spray paint to get an even finish.
We then added a thin layer of sheet board using the air compressor nail gun.
He used cement glue to hold the cement backer board to the bricks and screwed in cement screws.
We found the trim we wanted in the baseboard and crown molding section of the hardware store. He measured and cut each to create the desired design and mantel, using wood glue and stapling them in place.
Once the wood filler was dried we painted the remaining wood, since we used pre-painted trim we only needed to paint the sheet board.
We left the original marble on the bottom step of the fireplace so we found a great mosaic tile that was made up of stone, glass, and marble that complemented the marble and the design we wanted. Cutting the title turned out much more difficult than we were expecting. We tried several types of saw blades, but they only left the different types of tile in crumbles. After much research and patience we found that a grinder with a diamond blade worked the best. We used a peanut butter consistency of mortar to tile with using 1/8 tile spacers. As I tiled, Jack cut the needed lengths so we were done in no time. Once the mortar was completed dried, we used a sanded grout to fill in all of the space between the tiles.
Now we are ready to hang our stockings with care and were already for Santa!
We have finally entered in to the new age of television! For our birthdays' my parents bought us a new flat screen TV since they felt bad that we were still using our HUGE tube TV from the early 2000's. I have always known that when we got a flat screen TV that I wanted it to be mounted over our fireplace, but we had a problem we had a HUGE out dated fireplace! I knew it was time for a make over for our fireplace and to wire the wall where the TV would be mounted so we wouldn't have to see ugly electrical cords and wires. The first step that Jack did was to lower the fireplace by two rows of bricks.
The next step was to remove all of the dry wall where the new electrical was going to be installed. Jack has had a lot of experience wiring now so this was a really quick step.
Next he added the new insolation.
Lastly, he put up the new drywall and sanded the edges of the old to have a smoother transitions when he taped the seams. Once the seams were dried he added wall texture to the new drywall and primed and painted the original yellow since we hadn't decided on a new living room color yet!
After the paint dried we installed the mount and the new TV. It has taken some adjusting to look at the TV in a different location, but we totally love it and is looking forward to finishing the fireplace facelift at the end of the year!
Our house was built in 1980 and it used to scream the 80’s. From the ugly stained cabinets to the brown carpet, the lack of ceiling lights, the vaulted ceiling, and nothing is worse than the popcorn ceiling. Last winter we finally gave in and updated our bedroom by removing the popcorn ceiling and installed a proper ceiling light. This spring we decided to do the same for our living room. We thankfully finished the weekend before my big 30 birthday bash. I’m not sure how many of you actually know how easy it really is to remove the popcorn texture from a ceiling. Jack was able to get it all removed within a weekend. It took us a little longer because of the vaulted ceilings and getting the ladder in a safe position. As long as your ceilings are not painted all you need to remove the popcorn texture are a plastic trap, a scrapping tool and a spray bottle of water. We used a pump pressure one we got for cheap at the home improvement store and a wide metal scrapper. The key is to spray a lot of water onto the texture and let it soak in for a few minutes and then scrap. Super easy! Remember to use an inexpensive plastic tarp to cover the floors so it will be a quick an easy clean up! Once the ceiling dried we began the wire installation, if you don’t know how to do this hire a licensed electrician! It’s important not to mess with wiring since it can cause house fires. After the wiring was finished we patched the dry wall and because the plastering over all of the ceiling. Popcorn texture was used to hide the divots from the screws in the drywall so remember to fill and smooth out with plaster. Once the plaster is dried and smoothed out the final step is to paint the ceiling. Since we added the electrical box for a new ceiling light, our final step was to install our new drum pendant light. I was so excited when we flipped the light switch and our beautiful light turned on. Our living room took one more step out of the 80’s and into the new century. We still have a few more upgrades to do in the living room, like installing our new TV mount, but I couldn’t be happier with the progress and our new ceiling!
I created this blog to share my creations with hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side.