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.

IMG_2154 (002)


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.


2016 Goals: March Check In

Is it seriously already March? Yikes!

Before we check my goal progress, I want to tell you guys about our master bathroom issue. A few weeks ago, I noticed some mold on the ceiling of the garage which is below our bathroom. We called a plumber and he couldn’t find a leak but the mold definitely hasn’t been there in the past. The plumber’s best guess was that the floor wasn’t done properly and over the years all the water that has hit the tile has seeped through. Anyway, there are parts of the subfloor that are completely rotten to the point where the plumber reached up and pulled out a huge chunk with his hand. I also found some mold in the bathroom that looks like it goes behind the shower so we’re going to have to rip out that entire part of the bathroom which leaves us with only a sink. We can’t afford to redo the bathroom right now but luckily, we still have the hall bathroom and we don’t have a lot of overnight company so putting the bathroom off isn’t the biggest deal in the world, just inconvenient. I haven’t done much demo yet but I’m planning on working on it this weekend. We don’t want to let the damage sit there for fear that it might spread so the plan for now is to rip it out and replace the subfloor and drywall before closing it off.


ANYWAY. Now that you guys know what’s going on, let’s look at my goal progress. I feel like February was pretty lazy but with Spring around the corner I’m ready to get to work.

-Demo current deck
-Clean garage…again – Done! Both cars now fit in the garage.
-Build new, bigger deck
-Refinish very old but new to us front door – Started at the end of 2015. 
-Install front door
-Repaint the study
-Add built ins in the study?
-Add crown moulding in the study?
-Create new area for dogs
-Remove dog crates from master bedroom
-Caulk windows – Started. All downstairs windows have been caulked. 0/4 upstairs windows have been done.
-Paint master bedroom?
-Clean up side/back/front yards – Started. We’ve got a long way to go but we worked on doing some leaf removal last weekend and we’ll probably do some more this weekend. 
-Price out all aspects of kitchen remodel
-Stain fence
-Extend fence?
-Remove trees? – Started. We’re waiting to get put on the schedule for removing a dead oak in our front yard.
-Remove shed?

-New flooring in entry/study/living room. – Mostly done! We just need to add the thresholds and then install the baseboards in the living room. – Done!
-Paint living room. – Done! 
-Stain beams in living room. – Done!


-Read 26 books – can be re-reads or never before reads, but must come from books we already own – On track. Just finished #5 and plan on starting on #6 either tonight or this weekend.
-Go on an awesome vacation – Booked and mostly paid for!
-Lose 20lbs
-Tone and tighten once I finish losing these last 20lbs.
-Walk the dogs more – We took them on a short walk last weekend. Hoping to do it again at least once this coming weekend. They play in the backyard a lot so the walks are just to give them a change of scenery. 
-Use my craft room – I rarely use this room and that’s pretty lame
-Get a new look for the blog


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!



Craft Room Storage Solutions Part One: Yellow Printer Cabinet

Now that the craft room is finished, I wanted to share my storage solutions for the space. Storage was a key factor in this room since previously everything just lived on the floor and it looked like my house was being filmed for an episode of Hoarders. First up, this yellow cabinet:


If you’ve been following along for a while, you may remember this as the vanity in our half bath after we redid it the first time.


After we changed out that bathroom again, I wasn’t really sure what to do with the cabinet so it just sat against the wall in our study for a few months. Once I started putting my craft room back together, I realized that the cabinet was the perfect place to set my beast sized printer. There were a couple of problems I had to fix first though – the holes in the top of the cabinet where we had the plumbing for the vessel sink and the poorly frosted doors. Putting it that was is kind of cheating though because I didn’t actually fix the holes. The printer is large enough that it mostly hides them and they don’t hinder the functionality so I didn’t worry about trying to patch them.

The doors on the other hand have bothered me since the minute we were done spray frosting them. They’re not so bad from this angle but if you look back at the photo above, you’ll see how bad they looked from the front.


It was easy enough to get the glass out of the doors – I just had to pry up the rubber that was holding them in place like so (please disregard my gross fingers – I still had stain in my nails from the closet shelving):





After that, the glass popped out easily.


I could have just left the doors bare but I came across some chicken wire at Home Depo that was on clearance for less than $5 so I figured I’d give it a shot. Using tin snips, I cut the wire to the size I needed and used my staple gun to secure it to the inside of the door. I also tucked the ends of the wire into the track where the glass used to be. It probably only took about 20 minutes to do both doors and I really like how it turned out.

IMG_4254The cabinet holds my camera equipment, charging cables, computer paper, printer ink, and laminator.


So far, it’s worked out really well and now I don’t have to spend 30 minutes tearing apart the house because I can’t find my camera or computer charger!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a post on the shelving system we used in the craft room closet – why we chose it, how we installed it, and all of that kind of fun stuff.

We’ve also been working on a little mini-makeover in the hall bathroom that I’m excited to start talking about soon! We’re almost done with it so I’m lagging a little behind on posting but here’s a sneak peek that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago.

tile sneak peek

Craft Room Reveal

This post was inspired by the incredible office spaces at WeWork (a co-working company).

Back at the very end of December, I mentioned that I was going to start working on my creative space. This is the room where I’m supposed to be able to go to play with my hot glue gun and experiment with gold foil but since I couldn’t even get in the room, I usually ended up doing this kind of stuff on the dining room table. Does anyone know how frustrating it is to try to work with twine when you have two cats? Or how annoying it is to have spent hours on a sample of hand-stamped, heat-embossed wedding invitations only to have your dog steal them off the table and eat them? Spoiler alert: it sucks. So instead of letting my room continue to look like this (eeeeek sorry, mom!):


I finally got my butt in gear and did something about it. Now I have a space that looks like this:


Less like this.

IMG_4125 IMG_4129More like this.



I love it. Sometimes I go stand in there just to be there. Not only is it clean but there’s actually a place to put things away! Cleaning no longer means moving things from one pile to the other and I cannot believe it took two years for me to get this done. The baskets are ones we already owned from World Market and the paper trays are from Target.


I will say it’s not 100% finished. I still need to frame out the white board and the rug, desk chair, and slipper chair are temporary until I can find something that I like better for the space. I also need to add another lamp or two and get blinds and curtains but I actually don’t mind the naked window.


My favorite part is how cozy the room is. I can work at my desk and then curl up under a blanket on my chair and just relax. Sometimes I need a break from whatever it is I’m working on and lounging on a comfy chair by the window sounds just about perfect to me. The cats are big fans, too.


This is my absolute favorite piece of furniture in our entire house. We both love vinyl and own 4 record players. We picked up this fully functioning stereo cabinet at our local ReStore for $80.00. It has a few bumps and bruises but I love it just the way it is.


I have something going in the big gap in the middle of the wedding photos but it requires custom framing that I haven’t had done yet! I also need to print a couple of photos to go in the bottom two frames.

The yellow cabinet used to be our bathroom vanity in the powder room but I’ve re-purposed it here to store my cameras, laminator, and printer paper. It has two holes in the top from the plumbing but they’re pretty much covered by my mammoth printer. I also removed the poorly frosted glass and replaced it with chicken wire (more to come on that in a future post).

IMG_4226 IMG_4253

In my ideal creative space, I would have a little more natural light (love the dark walls but I wouldn’t hate having one or two more windows), wood flooring, and a buttload of storage. I think I can actually achieve that in this space one day but for now it’s a big upgrade.

Once more – before:




Craft Room Progress

Happy New Year! Did anyone do anything fun for New Year’s Eve? Anyone have too much fun? It’s okay, you can tell me. It’ll be our little secret – the other 60 people who follow this blog won’t know a thing!

We had an awesome NYE with friends and I was actually productive in the days that followed! 2015 is my year, people.

So what kind of progress did I make? Well, almost all of the painting is done, I just have one small area left where I removed the closet doors and sliding door track. I still have a ways to go but I wanted to share a progress photo for those of you who don’t follow me on instagram (@jmens6).

craftroomprogress_paintAnd in case you think this project has been completely flawless, feast your eyes on this.


Yeah, I don’t think Mr. Benjamin Moore meant for his Hale Navy paint (color matched at Home Depot, by the way) to be used on carpet. Just call me butterfingers. You can also call me “Girl who must now buy a rug to cover a giant paint stain in the middle of her craft room.”

Still to do:

Patch/paint closet trim from where doors were removed
Add storage
Window treatment
Hang art
Organize files and supplies
Buy rug

Slacking Off and 2015 Goals

We haven’t really been doing much around the house these days. After we finished up the bathroom, we decided that we’d just take a nice break and get going again in the new year. We’re trying to plan out what projects we can do next year but things will probably be pretty boring for the most part. Between trying to boost our savings and paying off debt, there’s not a ton of room for projects but I’ll still try to post every once in a while.

Here are a few things we’re hoping we can accomplish in 2015:

Re-paint downstairs
Paint upstairs
Install new crown moulding throughout
Finish master closet (which I have yet to go into detail about)
Mini-makeover in upstairs hall bath (already started – need to post about)
Replace existing brick walkway from garage to backyard with larger pavers
Spruce up front landscaping (lay down weed fabric and add new mulch)
Build privacy panel to hide garbage and recycling cans

I’m in budget mode now so I’m trying to prioritize projects and figure out when we can do what. Things are getting pretty crazy with the holidays gearing up so I may not check back in until January but I hope everyone enjoys themselves! Christmas is my favorite time of year so I’m just trying to soak it all in and enjoy it.

Here is my Christmas present to you – the current state of our upstairs hall bath. Pro tip: When removing those old contractor grade mirrors brace yourself for what lies beneath.