Friday Five

What’s up, jerks?!*

I really wanted to get more into blogging this year but so far it hasn’t happened. Part of that is a lack of things to blog about because I don’t want to post something just to have some sort of content. That being said, in an effort to get myself to post regularly, I’m going to try doing a Friday post every week that just throws out 5 things that are going on in our lives at the moment. We all know how great I am with keeping up with these things (I owe you guys a 2016 goal update for instance) so we’ll see. Let’s get to it.

  1. *We’re binge watching The League right now and it’s giving me a lot of feelings. I miss football season. Rafi is disgusting but hilarious. I wish there were more than seven seasons. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when we finish the series; we only have four episodes left. SINT. Time to pick one of the billion shows we’re behind on…maybe we’ll finally finish Parks and Rec. Or Pysch. Or catch up on Gotham. Deadliest Catch? Suits? NCIS? The options are endless and overwhelming!
  2. We’re almost done with the next phase of the fence! We just have three more panels to finish plus the gate and then we can connect it to the existing lattice fence. Fingers crossed that means deck demo can get underway this weekend. Ugh, our poor grass. That’s what happens when you have a very hot, dry summer.fenceleft
  3. Kyle and I registered for a half marathon and we’ve been getting up early almost every Saturday morning for our long runs. My longest so far has been 13 so I’m feeling pretty prepared for the race and it’s not until September. My last couple of long runs have been 10-11 miles but I’m hoping to bump back up to 12-13 this weekend. It’s supposed to be super hot though so we’ll see.
  4. We’re currently fostering the cutest kitten. Her name is Gracie and she’s just over 4 months old. She’s fully vaccinated, micro-chipped, spayed, and ready to be adopted. gracie
  5. I’m thinking about getting a new blog design soon. I’ve never loved this one and I’ve been wanting to upgrade for some time. I’ve been putting it off until I have more to blog about but maybe if my blog is prettier I’ll want to blog more? I don’t know but I think I’m going to test out a couple of blog themes this weekend to see if I can find anything I love.

Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part Three.

A couple of weekends ago, we finally got around to trimming down the posts and staining our fence. I had almost gotten used to the raw pine look and comically tall fence posts.


Since we only have a small portion of fencing in at this point, we were able to knock out the staining in a weekend. Going into it, we weren’t sure if we wanted one or two coats but we ended up loving it after one so we stopped there. Here’s what we did:

Step One: Trim posts. Kyle bought a 9″ blade for the reciprocal saw and knocked this out quickly.
Step Two: Clean the fence. We broke out the handy dandy pressure washer for this.
Step Three: Allow fence to dry. We cleaned the fence Saturday morning and then ran some errands. By the time we got back the fence was ready for stain.
Step Four: Stain. Stain. Stain.
Step Five: Curse yourself for not staining the boards before you installed them.
Step Six: Stain.
Step Seven: Stretch your back.
Step Eight: Stain some more.
Step Nine: Get your brush stuck between the fence and a tree.

Step Ten: Stain even more.
Step Eleven: Allow fence to dry.
Step Twelve: Top posts with solar light caps.

We finished up late Sunday afternoon and love how it turned out! Here’s a progress shot that shows the new stain vs. the raw lumber.

Our yard is a disaster but at least we have a pretty fence now. Baby steps.





There’s still a ton to do but maybe in about 20 years it’ll all come together.

Project Update: Master Bathroom

As you guys know, we’re in the middle of tearing out our master bathroom with no immediate plans to rebuild it. I don’t know if it’s the bathroom or me, but the demo has been super slow. It took me no time at all to tear out the half bathroom downstairs but I have been struggling to rip out the master bathroom.

Demo is usually my favorite part of any project and it’s something I’m pretty good at tackling myself but a couple of weekends ago I had to get Kyle to help me because I was so overwhelmed with it all. We got the toilet out as well as the moldy drywall but the tile floor is a pain and a half.


It’s so difficult to remove with the tools we have that we even got a quote to have the professionals come in and take care of it. We heavily considered just paying to have it done but honestly, we’d rather save that money now and use it down the road when we rebuild so we decided to pass on hiring the job out. So that’s where we are right now, a partially torn up bathroom and 30sqft of floor tile left to remove before we even start tearing out the shower tile.


Once we get the floor out we’ll pull out all of the shower tile and the tub before putting down new subfloor and closing the area off indefinitely.

In better news, we’ve been able to make some progress on the outside of our house! We’ve been pretty limited with our time lately but I do have a little bit of progress to share soon so check back later this week!


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!



Snowy Weekend and a Little Progress

Mondays are bad but a Monday after an unexpected long weekend is even worse. I’m riding shotgun on the struggle bus today for sure, anyone else? We got hit with some nice wintry weather Thursday night which lasted into Saturday thanks to winter storm Jonas. I guess I didn’t technically get a long weekend but I got to work from home on Friday so it felt like a long weekend. Bravo to Mother Nature for that but the pretty white stuff also ruined our plan of going to Charlotte on Saturday so it wasn’t all great.

This is the one time of year that the murder shed actually looks kind of cute.



Since we couldn’t actually leave the house on Saturday, we decided to get some work done on the house instead. I wish I could tell you we did the living room floors but we didn’t have enough underlayment (I just checked the tracking and it should be here today) so instead we decided to rip up the parquet in the entry and put new floors there instead. You’re not crazy, by the way, the entry floors weren’t in the original scope of work but neither was the carpet in the study and that didn’t stop us from ripping it out and putting down laminate last weekend.

Mid-floor destruction:


We’re in pretty good shape in the living room. I finished up the last little bit of painting yesterday and Kyle switched out the old almond colored outlets with new white ones. We’ll start ripping the carpets up this week and once the new floors are in, we’ll just need to put in baseboards and move everything back in. Here’s a little teaser photo I put on instagram about a week ago.


Here’s to hoping we can wrap this up by the end of the month!

Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part Two

Phase One of the fence is done! …ish. Mostly? Yeah, mostly.


All of the posts and boards have been installed, the new gate has been built and installed, and we removed the posts and lattice that we didn’t need anymore which probably doubled the amount of space the dogs have to run around.

Seriously, the dogs have been playing outside like crazy which makes me happy because they never used to play outside. I guess it’s no fun when you barely have a yard to run laps in. Anyway, being able to play outside means there’s now a lot less dog wrestling going on in the living room and a lot more of this:


We still have to trim some of the posts down but other than that, all we have to do for this side to be finished is stain. I had hoped we could get that done before winter, but it’s looking like we’ll probably have to wait until spring. The plan is to use the same stain we used when we rebuilt our front porch.


I was hoping to be able to do the next phase of the fence next year but 2016 went from being “Year of the Deck” to “Year of the Deck and a Vacation” and has hopefully settled at “Year of the Deck and a Vacation and Tree Removal.” 2017 isn’t looking much more promising since that’ll hopefully be the “Year of the Kitchen.”

The most important thing now is that pushing the fence out allows us the room we need to expand the deck which is necessary for what we want to do in the kitchen. Maybe 2043 can be “Year of the Finished Fence.” Maybe.

Anyway, I’ve already started on another project but progress is slow now that it’s dark in the evenings (is it appropriate to go to bed at 7:30?) and with holidays coming up. Here’s a hint:


Do You Want to Build a Fence? Part One

With the closet wrapped up, we were finally able to move on to Phase One of our fence project. Almost a year and a half ago, we threw together a very cheap fence in anticipation of adopting a second pup. Taking one 60lb pittie out on a leash is hard enough, trying to take two out every time they needed to pee just wasn’t going to happen. We bought several 4×8 sheets of lattice as well as a bunch of 4×4 posts and post anchors. We opted for the anchors because we knew the location of the fence was temporary so we didn’t want to set anything in concrete.

Here is what a very cheap fence looks like:


Not the prettiest or sturdiest thing in the world but it was functional so we didn’t have a new fence at the top of our priority list. Now that we’re closing in on being able to overhaul our existing deck, it’s time to revisit the fence. We are only putting in one side of the permanent fence right now. This is 100% a budget thing because we just can’t afford to do an entire fence plus a brand new deck and the deck has to be done in order to do the kitchen. Both the kitchen and deck are a much higher priority than a full size fence. If you’re new here, you may be wondering why we’re even bothering with doing one side right now which is a totally valid question. Not only are we tearing down the existing deck, but the one we’re putting in its place is going to be about twice the size. The current crappy fence is right where the stairs from the deck to the yard need to go so it needs to be moved.

Anywho, we started planning out the design of our fence forever ago and at the time, we settled on this:


I love horizontal fences and I think the style fits with our house and I liked that this design had a little variation at the top. Once we got ready to actually start on the fence though, we decided it would be much easier to just keep the same size boards all the way from bottom to top. Not only is it easier for us, but our backyard isn’t flat so we’re having to terrace the fence which looks a lot less weird when all of the boards are the same size.

Our plan is to build this one side of the fence and then connect the existing area to the new area. This time, we’re setting the posts in concrete so everything is a bit more involved but somehow it’s still easier than trying to get those freaking anchors in the ground. We’re also clearing out a couple of trees to make it a bit more open for the pups (and maybe one day small humans) to run around.


We’ve made a lot of progress on the fence and we’re down to the last 3 or 4 boards that need to get installed before we connect the two areas. Unfortunately for us, the weather is being a real witch right now and I’m not sure when we’ll get another dry day to finish. We’ve also got to let the wood dry out for a few weeks before we can stain it; fingers crossed we can get it done before it gets too cold or else we’ll have to wait until Spring!

Here’s a little peek at how things are going:


Most of our fence will be about 5ft tall but we decided to integrate a couple of taller privacy panels which are those two taller sections you see in the picture. Eventually, that’s where our outdoor furniture will go so we thought it would be nice to block out the fence our neighbor has around her deck. Oh and if you’re curious, the plan was not to bump the fence in like that but we ran into a little bit of an issue. When we were digging for the next post after the privacy section, we came across some PVC. We’re thinking it’s a sprinkler line since we called 811 to come spray for utilities and there was nothing in that area. Not a huge deal, we just ended up having to bump toward the house 2ft.

We don’t have much more we have to do for Phase One so hopefully the rain will clear at some point and we can finish up. Or maybe the rain will never stop and we’ll use our fence lumber to build an ark instead.

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!


Spare Bedroom Turned Walk-In Closet

We have a closet! This room is really small so it was pretty much impossible to get great shots but I did my best. If you were to time this project from the first pry of the crowbar to the last shoe put away, it would clock in at a whopping 20 1/2 months. It really probably only took a month or two of actual work but we sure do know how to stretch out a project! For a quick refresher, we decided to turn our 4th bedroom into a closet since we don’t have a walk-in in our bedroom. We don’t need a dedicated guest room so this was the next best thing.

Enough talking, let’s get to the pictures.


Bedroom 4



I painted the room Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore – I had it color matched but at this point I can’t remember if I used Behr or Sherwin Williams.

The storage units were built from scratch by Kyle. This is the first thing he’s every built of this scope and I think for his first attempt they turned out amazing. I seriously have to give him all the credit; all I did was paint and attempt to help him lift everything into place (these bitches are heavy). We used 3/4 MDF for everything, including the drawers.


I ripped out all of the old baseboard and crown and we installed something a bit more substantial. Since nothing can ever be easy, our nail gun died halfway through installing stuff and we ended up having to buy a new one. We decided on the Ryobi AirStrike and IT. IS. AWESOME. Who knew a girl could get so excited about cordless nail guns?


We’re using the room’s actual closet as a shoe closet. We actually need to buy another one or two shelves to put up because not all of our shoes fit! The shelves are just 2×12 pine that I stained with Minwax Early American. We used the same track system that we put in my craft room and so far I like it.

IMG_4943 IMG_4942

Kyle and I both worked on building this mirror. I’ll have a separate post with more details but this mirror came out of our upstairs bathroom.


Over in the corner is my jewelry area. The mirror was on clearance at Target and I made the jewelry block. I used to have 3 or 4 but I used command strips to hang them and most of them ended up falling off. I just put a couple of nails in the wall to hold my necklaces and any earrings that can’t hang on the jewelry block are kept in my ring dish. I feel like I need to fill the space above the mirror but I’m not sure what to put there. A clock, maybe?




I love having that window in here! We have a really pretty Bradford Pear tree outside this room that adds a lot of color when the blinds are open. We try to keep the blinds closed in here so that the sunlight doesn’t damage our clothes but if I’m in the closet for an extended period of time I’ll open them for a bit.

The dresser holds all of our duffel bags, weekender bags, and other bags.


The rug is a 4×6 that I bought during one of RugsUSA’s big sales. It smelled awful when I took it out of the packaging but the smell is fading and I really like how the rug looks in the room. I wanted something to kind of break up the wood tones between the dresser and floors and I think this one works well.


I really want 6 matching baskets to go in the shelves above the drawers on each unit. I love the way the two wicker baskets look but those came with a bench we bought from World Market a few years ago and I can’t buy more. If anyone sees anything similar anywhere please let me know! I’m having the hardest time finding baskets that will work and I hate those white tubs. In case your curious, I have purses in one basket and a random assortment of bathing suits, hats, belts, and unmentionables in the other.

IMG_4885 IMG_4957IMG_4963

Now for a bit of honesty: the closet isn’t actually finished. I KNOW, OKAY? We replaced the ceiling fan that used to be in this room with a light fixture. Well, when you do that you need a way to turn the light on and off (the fan was not switch operated). Our original plan was to just buy a remote but the receiver wouldn’t fit with everything in the electrical box so we had to go to Plan B which was to hire an electrician to come out and hard-wire the light to the switch by the door which currently controls the outlets. The problem with this is that Electrician #1 gave us a generic quote and then never returned our phone calls when we wanted to hire him. We’re supposed to be calling another electrician this week to take care of it but then I’ll have some patching and painting to do since they’ll most likely need to punch holes in the wall. “So…uh…how are you turning your light on and off right now?” Well, we have this thing rigged up to a pull chain which is so, so not the way to do it and probably not even the tiniest bit safe so don’t do it in your own house, okay? I feel like I’m going to pull the light out of the ceiling every single time I pull that stupid chain.

Anyway, other than the light and my frustrating basket search, the closet is done! Hooray! We started on the fence on Saturday and we’ve already make some pretty good progress so I hope to share that with you soon.