Friday Five

This week has flown by! I kept meaning to post about tearing down our deck but all of a sudden I woke up and it was Friday. No complaints here.

1 – We are mostly finished building the second phase of the fence! We have two warped boards that need to be replaced and we need to fix a few places so that the dogs can’t slip out but we finished enough to move on with the next phase of outdoor work. The open spot is where the gate will eventually go. Right now we put some lattice up just to keep the dogs from getting out.

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2 – We ripped down the deck last weekend! Well, I ripped down the deck with a little help on the stairs from Hell and Kyle handled a majority of the clean up. As long as it doesn’t rain we’ll start on the new deck this weekend!


3 – We’ve been spending a lot of time outside with the pups now that the yard has almost doubled in size again. They are loving all of the extra space and it doesn’t hurt that this is the only grassy area in the backyard right now. Dead grass > no grass.


4 – Our upstairs air conditioning unit went out on Tuesday and it was miserable. All of our bedrooms are upstairs and it was super hot earlier this week. We don’t have a ceiling fan in our room and I prefer arctic temperatures when it comes to sleeping so we ended up sleeping on the floor in the living room. The dogs didn’t mind. Thankfully we were able to get it fixed Wednesday afternoon and the cost was under $100.


5 – We slightly changed the plan for moving the current back doors in the kitchen. Instead of sliding them down the same wall, we’re hoping to take the current dining room window out and put the new doors there instead. This means less steps from the door to the deck and it lets us walk right into what will be the outdoor kitchen/dining area which will be better for grilling. It should also bring in more light on that end of the space. We’ll probably do this next Spring/Summer along with adding more windows in the kitchen/dining room.


That’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll have lots to share next week. I’m usually pretty ambitious in my weekend plans but my hope is to finish getting the back area prepped tonight (rake, pressure wash foundation, lay weed fabric) so that we can start building tomorrow. I really want to power through because right now it’s a hassle to get the dogs out since we have to take them through  the tiny laundry room and then out the back door of the garage but I also want to take the time to make sure everything is 100% right.


Living Room Phase One Reveal

We’ve been done with the living room for about a week but it’s been so overcast every day that by the time I get home, it’s too dark to take pictures. I finally managed to snag some this weekend although my camera was dead so I had to settle for phone photos. Before we get into it I want to say that eventually there are other things we want to do in here but this is what we could do right now. The fireplace  needs to be refaced so we can correct some damaged subfloor that runs beneath it, the windows need to be replaced, we want to eliminate or move the columns, we still need to build a storage unit on the far side of the room by the window to house our movie collection, we need all new furniture, the canvas on the fireplace is temporary until we order what we really want to hang, the curtains need to be shortened a bit, we still need to get curtains for the other window, and we still need a rug. The room is pretty bare right now but it’s still a far cry from the dark orangey hole it was before!

In case it’s not burned into your brain already, here is what the space looked like before:


And here is what it looks like now:


We removed the mantle from the fireplace. I love it right now but I’m sure I’ll miss it at Christmas. The canvas is temporary which is why we didn’t bother drilling a new hole to hang it centered. We would have just left the fireplace bare but there’s a big white test spot from when we were positive we were going to paint it.

Here’s a good shot of the paint spot; this was the night we stained the beams; you can see how much browner they are compared to the paneling on the walls.




We decided against painting the fireplace (obviously) and I really love the warmth that it adds to the room. When you think about it, we didn’t really do a ton to this room but I feel like it made such an impact. We put in laminate flooring, painted the paneling and ceiling, stained the beams, and added some heavy gray curtains for privacy.

Before. The white blanket is our band-aid fix for the hole the dogs put in the couch.


After. The walls and ceiling were painted the same color but it doesn’t look as stark on the walls since we let some of the wood bleed through. We were worried about losing the grain in the wood by painting over it instead of white washing but there’s a fair amount that still comes through. We stopped after two coats because we liked the look but if we wanted to completely cover the wood we could have kept painting.


Apparently I don’t have a before and after picture of the tv wall but here it is during the painting process. This is a good representation of the first coat vs the second coat.


This project took a little longer than we thought because we were slow when it came to installing the transitions (treads for the sunken living room, two transition pieces into the kitchen, one for the powder room, and one for the laundry room). Since we can’t yank out the kitchen tile yet, we needed to put down a transition piece to make everything seamless. Here’s what it looks like transitioning from the entry to the start of the tile by the stairs. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, we really are missing a bunch of grout; that’s what happens tile is installed incorrectly.


I am so glad that we decided to add this project to our plans this year. We have found that a big downside to the new flooring is that there’s nothing to dampen the sound. This isn’t a big deal until the dogs start running around and wrestling and then it gets LOUD. I’m on the hunt for a rug now to help.

We’re kind of at a stand still on house projects right now. It was nice enough outside over the weekend to do a little bit of yard work but we really didn’t even make a dent in what needs to be done. I haven’t been able to work on stripping the new to us front door but I’m hoping within the next couple of weekends I can get started back on that. We also have a huge bathroom issue that’s going to bring us from a 2.5 bath house to a 1.5 bath temporarily. I’ll tell you about soon!



Turning a Builder Basic Bathroom Mirror into a Leaning Floor Mirror

As part of our guest bathroom mini-makeover a while back, we decided to take out the large builder basic mirror and replace it with something smaller.



That left us with a large mirror that we could either break to get it to fit in our trash can, have picked up by the local ReStore, or repurpose. We decided on the third option…duh.


This project was super easy and would take a normal person only about a weekend to finish. The hardest part was probably getting the giant frame up the staircase.


We decided to use 2×12 lumber to add some height to the mirror which is what gives it that nice chunky look but it also makes it heavy as sin. I think we ended up having to buy 3 8ft lengths to get an overall mirror size of about 5×6 (the actual mirror part of the finished project is roughly 3×4).

We chopped the lumber to the sizes we needed and then Kyle put a few pocket holes in the back of each piece to secure it all together. We typically miter corners of stuff like this but in all honesty, it was just way easier to do the blunt cuts plus it gives it a little more of a rustic character (which I’ve learned from watching HGTV is basically realtor speak for ‘flawed’). After the frame was put together, we propped it up on a couple of sawhorses and I wiped on a coat of Early American stain to match the shoe shelves in the closet.

We let the frame cure a couple of days before hauling it upstairs where the glass portion was waiting. While Kyle had worked on assembling the frame, I took the time to glue several pieces of scrap lumber to the back of the glass. I made sure that these pieces extended beyond the dimensions of the glass – you’ll see why soon. These dried for a couple of days before we put everything together.


Once everything had plenty of time to set up, we used liquid nails to glue the frame to the glass. Since this was done on the floor of my craft room, we weren’t able to use clamps or anything to make sure everything was pressed together nicely, so I used a few heavy books and let gravity do it’s thing. Side note: I need to clean my craft room closet.


Hi, Kyle!


Otter working hard as Project Supervisor.


We let everything sit for another day and then stood the mirror up and put a few screws through the back of the scrap lumber and into the frame, just for a little extra security. This is why it was important for me to overlap the scrap pieces.

After that, all we had to do was slide it down the hall to the closet and set her in place. TA-DA!

Once more – before:


And after!