I’m a big picture person. When it comes to envisioning a space, pulling everything together, and setting the wheels in motion, I’m your girl. But when it comes to the finishing work, the small steps needed to complete a project, I’m the biggest procrastinator! I want to see the big parts of a project DONE. I don’t have patience for the little things.
Case in point – our bathroom. Our beautiful bathroom that we completely gutted and redid just a little over a year and a half ago. Although at first glance it was wonderful and shiny and new, there were still things to do. Like trimming the tub/shower tile out with bullnose tile. And finding a solution to disguise the water marks that were appearing on our deep blue paint under our hanging bath towels and around the sink. Oh, and fixing the vanity drawer knob that fell off months ago.
I finally decided that I was not allowed to start another project until I finished the little things still looming over me in our house. Such a painful decision, but I didn’t want to be the girl who had a hundred partially finished projects to her name. I want to be the girl that gets it DONE!
We got moving on all of the lingering projects in the bathroom. Bullnose tile is ordered. Vanity drawer knob is fixed. And we found a solution to make visible water marks on our walls a thing of the past. In this post, I’ll show you how we installed wood planks in our bathroom to act as a rustic feature on the wall underneath our hanging bath towels and a backsplash for our sink.
What you’ll need:
You’ll start by measuring the surface area you want to cover to purchase the amount of wood planks you need. We bought over because we knew there would be a boo-boo here and there!
We had floor molding that needed to be removed from the area before we could start, so Joel took care of that with a screwdriver and hammer.
Next, you’ll plan how you want your planks to look. We started with a full plank in the bottom left corner of the wall, measured the gap left between the full plank and the tub, and cut a piece to fit that area. We used the rest of the plank we cut to start the next row, continuing to rotate full planks with cut planks to create a non-uniform look.
If we experienced any issues fitting the boards flush with the wall or each other, we either sanded them down just a tad or tapped them in with a hammer.
To secure the boards, we used an air brad nailer with 1 ¼ inch nails. This nail size worked well because the planks were less than 1/2 inch thick.
The circular saw blade we used worked perfectly, because again, the planks were pretty thin.
We chose to do the wall first because we could usually use at least one full plank in each row, which made it easier, and we didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into! It was good practice for us. Around the sink was a little more intricate. Every piece needed cut, measuring had to be precise, and we had both a corner AND an outlet to figure in.
With come creative thinking and teamwork we figured it out and I’m so proud of Joel for his work around the outlet!
To finish everything off, I coated all planks with three layers of polyurethane to prevent any water damage. I chose a satin finish because I’m not a huge fan of high gloss and I wanted the planks to maintain their rustic look. I may eventually use some clear caulk around the edges to further protect the wood.
Here it is, in all its glory! Very proud of us because this is the first woodworking project we’ve attempted together and it went so well. It really was an easy project that made a huge difference in our bathroom. We both absolutely love how it turned out. Once the bullnose tile is installed (I won’t do a tutorial on that because I already did one on tiling here) the bathroom will be DONE and then I can pick something new to work on!
I'm preparing myself for the day frost kills off my flowers and garden, which will be sooner than I think, and a sad day...So to fill the space my outdoor plants took up in my heart this year, I'm attempting to hoard a few house plants to hold me over until next Spring.
I've always wanted to start a terrarium, so gave it a shot. It was super simple and turned out so pretty. I now understand why they're such a popular way to grow and display plants.
Here's what you'll need:
Start by cleaning the inside of your terrarium.
Next you need to establish your drainage layer, filling the bottom with small rocks. I laid down a little over an inch of rock.
I then put in a thin layer of activated charcoal. This helps ensure excess water doesn't stay in the soil and cause root rot.
Once I had the drainage layer in place, I started adding potting soil. I put a think layer in, a little over 3 inches, expecting it to settle as I began to water the plants. I also wanted enough dirt to place the plants into!
The final step was adding the plants! I selected four small plants of different varieties from Treasures on Main in Westby, Wisconsin. Three will be a little taller, one is more of a ground cover.
There are so many things you can do with terrariums. A quick search on Pinterest will reveal image after image of cool ideas! Get creative! I plan to add some colored rocks and small figurines to mine once I see how the plants grow in.
Playing with electricity, especially in an old house, can be a little nerve wracking. But that didn't stop us from swapping out the light fixture in our kitchen!
Expert details on how to install a light fixture can be found here. Who better than Bob Vila to walk you through this? We're definitely not experts, but I'll show you some visuals and a life hack we learned from our installation below.
The first and most important step is SHUTTING OFF THE BREAKER TO THE AREA YOU'LL BE WORKING ON!
Next, start to carefully remove the existing light fixture.
We chose to take out the plate that extended across the electrical box and utilize the new one. We did recycle the old screws because the depth of the electrical box was more than the length of the screws that came with the new fixture.
Before we began to install the fixture, we needed to trim and strip the wires at the top of the fixture where it would hang. We did not have wire strippers, so here's a life hack: You can use scissors (as long as you use them gently). I applied light and consistent pressure with the scissors on the casing of the wires until I was able to slide it off. The goal is to remove the casing without severing any of the wire.
Once that was complete, we cut the chain to the desired length and wove the wire through it.
Following the instructions in the box, we connected the electrical box and fixture wires accordingly, securing them with wire nuts. The final step included fitting the fixture's base over the electrical box and securing it.
We love the warm glow of this fixture's Edison bulbs and its farmhouse style. We got this one from Menards if you're interested!
The project I'm sharing today may be my favorite DIY project so far! Creating faux built-ins in our living room completely changed the look and feel of our home.
Our house is small, so storage is key. We have a large living room that we weren't utilizing to its full potential. We pieced some items together as temporary filler, but I knew we could do better. After several months and three different design plans later, I completed the project outlined below. The built-ins give us the additional storage we needed and look 100% better than what we had going on before!
Step 1: Find, prep and paint shelving. Originally, I planned to buy shelving. Then I wanted to build shelving. Then, by talking to the right people, I found a balance between the two - prefab shelving that could be assembled in whatever way I wanted.
My dad had two large shelves he wasn't using that were from a medical office. They held medical charts so are very solid shelving units (which I needed, especially for Joel's records).
The shelving consists of a metal frame with compressed wood panels for the shelves. I did some online research and decided I'd paint the metal and leave the compressed wood panels as they were.
First, we sanded the frame and the bars that hold the wood shelves. We then washed the metal materials with warm water and household cleaner.
After the metal was sanded and cleaned, I painted everything with two coats of latex paint. I used a roller for the large parts and a brush for the nooks and crannies. I had half a gallon of medium dark gray (called "Padlock Gray") paint left over from painting our guest room that I wanted to use up vs. going out and buying more.
The last thing we did on the shelving was cut 30 inches from the bottom of the "inside" panels. We didn't have enough wall space to put a shelf, dresser, shelf - so our solution was to have the inside of the shelves braced on top of the dresser.
Step 2: Find, prep and paint dresser. In total, this project only cost us $75. The one thing I paid for was the dresser that we used as the centerpiece of our built-in. I found a great vintage dresser on the buy/sell app "Let Go." I bought it from a nice woman who was not creepy in any way. It was a positive buying experience!
She had already painted it with black chalk paint, which I liked. The only thing I did was paint the top of the dresser with the same gray as the shelves to make the separate pieces look like one unit.
Step 3: Installation! I was anticipating installation day like a kid anticipates the arrival of Santa. Projects are life in my world.
Before I could start putting the pieces together, I needed to add some protection to the bottom so they didn't scrape our hardwood floors. I used adhesive felt squares for the bottom of the dresser legs. For the shelves, we used an industrial tubing used on semis to protect various parts from damage. See below for what this tubing looks like.
After I knew my precious floors would be protected...we started putting the pieces together!
The shelves were super easy to put together. No tools necessary. The bars snapped easily into the sides. From there, we simply set the compressed wood panels onto the ledges of the bars.
I was thrilled with everything once it was all in place. It was very sturdy, looked attractive, and was going to help solve some of our storage issues!
I loved it even more after I took a look at what the space looked like before. I'm a little embarrassed that we had people over with the space looking so disheveled...Take a look for yourself!
I was able to add storage for DVDs, books, CDs and records. I dedicated a space on the left to Joel's record player (it is hard to believe that we went almost one year without having this baby set-up) and a space on the right for a little desk to keep my planner/laptop.
You can do this! All you need is two bookshelves, a dresser, and a little imagination!
Over the past few weeks I have been working on some exterior painting projects as I've had time and as the weather has cooperated. I really didn't want to wash out trays, brushes, and rollers each time, not knowing if I'd pick up the project again the next day or in a week from then.
Here are some helpful painting supply storage tips if you have a project that is ongoing. Both of these tips came in very useful during our renovation and continue to be part of my painting process.
Store paint brushes and/or rollers in Ziploc baggies in the refrigerator until next use:
Place paint tray (I also keep rollers with the tray) into a plastic garbage bag and close:
These methods preserve both the supplies and the paint for quite a long time. It's really a handy go-to when you don't want to keep cleaning, putting away, and then bringing back out your painting supplies.
Here's what we've been working on. We finished painting the exterior trim, doors, and foundation of the house. We're ready for winter...and for focusing on landscaping next year!
At some point in the life of our house, the owners made three of our small door openings even smaller by rounding off the top (pictured below). I'm sure it was very "of the time" and deemed a good idea at the moment, but for us, one opening in particular was a little too small. I wanted a clear sight line from the kitchen into the living room. The existing door opening would not have worked...so we knocked it out!
The first thing we did was tear away the wood paneling and floor molding to see what we were dealing with underneath. Luckily, there was no electrical running in this area. The only item we had to address later was the heat vent that you can see in the photo above. This vent became a floor vent vs. a wall vent. Once we knew we were in the clear and had drawn out our lines for the opening, out came the Sawzall! From there, it was a pretty fast process.
Once we had the larger hole in the wall, and after a few more things in the house progressed, we reinforced the vertical edges of the opening because this is a load bearing wall. We then wrapped the edges of the new opening with oak wood trim.
My final step was sealing the oak wood trim with a stain/poly finish. The end result was magnificent. The finish on the trim ended up matching exactly with our newly finished hardwood floors, the sight line is much improved, and it really makes the whole area feel bigger! Below are photos from both angles of the finished opening - first, looking into the living room; second, looking into the kitchen.
The photo below gives you a closer look at how well the trim matched our hardwood. You can also see where we relocated the wall vent into the floor. That process was also easily done by disconnecting the existing section of duct work and (after the floor was patched in/finished) placing a new vent cover over the trimmed down duct.
Because I like side by side comparisons...below is the before and after!