Joining the Pallet Artwork Craze

One day I was re-organizing my office.

My former office I should say! This spring I switched jobs and am no longer working from home. It’s been a good change! Along with my new routine, my office needed a face-lift.


The office room is extremely awkward to decorate/furnish – one half )shown above) belongs to me and the other half belongs to my husband. The ceiling in my space is at an extreme slant, so it makes hanging any artwork difficult.

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Kitchen Progress: More Demo and New Countertop!

When we moved we vowed that our kitchen and our bedroom would be our priority projects of the house. Within 12 weeks, we said. Within 3 months we would overhaul our kitchen and do our bedroom. We would then move on to the rest of the house in a manner of sanity and comfortability. “They will be done by July!!!!” we declared from the rooftops.

Yeah… about that… It’s December. Late December.

Our bedroom is mostly done. You last saw it here when it was in it’s drab de-wallpapered state and I was crying. Not crying, but certainly hyperventilating. And I’ve neglected to share our progress in that room, shame on me. So many fascinating things to publicly muse over, so little time. I will get to that soon.

This is what my countertop and sink have looked like since we’ve moved in. The backsplash was completely rotted and needed to be removed right away. This was due to the fact that our sink leaks… incessantly. We have kept a rag behind the faucet for the last 8 months to prevent it from ruining the wall further.

Although the countertop doesn’t look too terrible in this picture. It was super grody. As was the sink. Old, stained and yuck. Oh yes, and the disposal was really wonky too. The whole sink situation was not good.

After browsing Home Depot and Lowe’s countertops, we got an estimate from a small local countertop company through a  recommendation.

We opted to go for granite because of it’s durability and strength. Also it’s popularity for resale value. Although it can be more expensive than some options, we have so little countertop that it was was a good option for us.

After we chose our slab, sink and faucet and had our countertop templated, we needed to demo! Well, really my husband needed to demo. I think I was writing Christmas cards and cheering while watching some holiday-related movie.

And we also needed to remove some molding since the countertop goes right into the doorframe.

While I had the chance, I painted the inside cabinet under the sink! Before the disposal was huge and I couldn’t get around it with a paintbrush.

And…. drumroll *tada*

In regards to the granite, we got a great deal. For the countertop plus the sink plus installation we paid $47/sq foot. We chose to get the pencil edged finish because it’s supposed to be more durable and less prone to chipping. Plus we like the modern edge it gives to the counter. (AND it was one of the options that didn’t cost extra moolah.)

For the sink we chose a large stainless steel undermount sink. We opted for the one-big-cavernous sink, as opposed to the 50/50 or 70/30 divided sink because I find it annoying when I can’t fit large objects in the sink to clean (like our cast iron skillet or cookie sheets). Also, I don’t use our sink to dry anything, which some people do. The sink was “free”, as it was included in the cost of the countertop.

We also saved a lot of money by finding our faucet on the clearance rack for 75% off the SALE price plus another 10% off. Essentially we got a $200 faucet for $40. (that’s equivalent to 3 sq. feet of countertop we saved!)

We also purchased a new, functioning(!) and quiet(!) disposal. You’d have to ask Moose about that though. All I know is that it doesn’t get clogged and fill the sink up with water.

It definitely helped a LOT with giving the kitchen a major refresh. The old countertop and sink looked very dingy and old and aged the kitchen.

Our kitchen progress is coming to a close!

I’m now setting a realistic goal for our kitchen to be completed by the end of January 2012!

Here is what we HAVE (!!!) done:

– Strip wallpaper off the walls
– Scrape, spackle and paint walls, trim, ceiling
– Remove all hardware and patch holes with wood filler
– Caulk, prime and paint inside of all cabinets and drawers
– Paint cabinet bases
– Caulk, prime and paint cabinet doors… and subsequently scrap
– Remove old broken dishwasher
– Install new dishwasher
– Remove ceiling fan and broken sink task light
– Install new windows
– Remove rotted backsplash
– Tear apart pantry and re-build (I’ve yet to share this project.)
– Remove old blinds and add curtains
– Remove countertop, sink, faucet, disposal
– Have new countertop, sink, faucet and disposal installed
– Install drawer hardware
– Find, purchase and paint sideboard
– Tear down wall for recessed fridge
– Build new molding for recessed fridge
– Build encasing walls for recessed fridge
– Purchase cabinet hardware
– Move power outlet and kitchen light switch due to recessed fridge
– Install new fridge and water line
– Paint radiator

Even though we’re way past our deadline, I think we’re hardly guilty of not doing work in the kitchen.

What do we have left?

– Install new sink task light
– Find, purchase and install ceiling light
– Put in new wood pieces under the sink
– Finish installing drawer panels
– Finish installing cabinet doors
– Add cabinet door hardware and pantry door handles
– Stain top of sideboard
– Add quarter-round under granite
– Toe-kick
– Install hardware to attach dishwasher to the granite
– Repair and paint molding on doorframe
– Find and purchase kitchen island and stools
– Finish re-wiring the outlets and put switch plate covers on
– Finally take off the projective film on the dishwasher! After 8 months!

The end is in sight!

TGIF! Can you believe it’s 9 days until Christmas!?

Winter Prepping our Fixer-Upper

We got our new driveway this week!! As you can see the caution tape is still up.

Our old driveway was old. See #6 of this article for more info!

Since the door was rotted out when we purchased the house, we also had a new garage door installed (from Home Depot).

I know we’re in the throes of Autumn, but around here most of our glorious burning leaves have fallen off the trees and are shriveled and brown all over our lawn. (This is the best time for leaf crunching.)

The last month we’ve put all of our focus on the EXterior of our house to prepare for winter. We’ve already had our first snowfall (and a big one at that) but fortunately it melted quickly, therefore giving us more time to prep outside before the long and snowy winter arrives.

1. Gutterball

Our colonial-style house has a traditional crown molding trim on the outside, which apparently most people didn’t put gutters on back in the day. We had gutters installed about a month ago – greatly decreasing the chances of flooding our basement, yard and garage. This is something you will definitely want to get a few estimates for – we had some people estimate our gutters as high as $8k! It definitely pays to bring in the competition. Although this was not a cheap (or DIY) project, it will be worth the investment as it should help prevent any kind of flooding in our yard that has deteriorated the foundation of the house from 60 years without gutters.

2. Screen it

We had a screened porch on the front of our house that leads to our front door. The screening was pretty old, full of holes and needs to be replaced. A few weeks ago I ripped out the screen and coinciding 100000000 staples. Now I just need to repaint the porch with exterior paint and then we will rescreen in the next few weeks. We are also going to install a new light and a beadboard ceiling.

3. Energy Audit

Last weekend we had an energy audit in our home – sounds exciting, eh? eh? A local representative came to our house (for FREE) and spent about 3 hours going through our home. He was able to tell us where we were losing energy efficiency and how to fix it. He also replaced all the lightbulbs in the house with the new CFI bulbs. The best part is, the government subsidizes a huge portion of the updates we can make. For example – the energy auditors will set us up with someone who will blow more insulation into our house. Most of the cost is subsidized and the amount we spend will pay itself off in our first winter in this house! Plus, being green is cool these days. Haven’t you heard?

4. Driveway

Somehow we didn’t think shoveling our 30 year old, crackling and crumbling driveway would be that fun in the winter. This was obviously not a DIY project, but another project you should definitely get multiple quotes for. We actually have 2 driveways to our house – one in the front and one on the side. We decided to redo the one on the side (that leads to our single car garage) and we widened it so we can park 2 cars side-by-side in the winter and not need to worry about the huge one in the front yard!

Also, you can’t really tell from the photo, but we had a drain put in the driveway so water will be drained away from the house and not into the garage!

5. Yardwork. My new least favorite word.

We have been preparing the yard as best we can for winter’s harsh friends called ice and snow. We’ve been trying to blow our leaves every weekend – because the last thing you want to deal with in the spring is a yard full of sopping leaves that have been buried and frozen for four months. We’ve filled in a few ditches with excess dirt and, as you saw in my post last week, we’ve been trying to turn our fallen trees into firewood as quickly as possible.

6. Concrete work

Moose has been patching up the concrete sidewalk to our deck and we also brought in a professional to help of resolve some foundation issues on the exterior wall of our walk-our basement (this was something we knew we would have to fix when we purchased the house).

7. New Windows

Okay, so we haven’t really done this one in the last few weeks, but when we moved into the house in June we had all the windows in the house replaced. The old ones were NOT efficient. Most of them couldn’t even open. Our new windows will be keeping a lot of heat on the INSIDE of the house. This was not a DIY job nor was it cheap, was it has definitely been a worthwhile investment.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

This is our pitiful walkway to our home.

Some people like to have a grand entrance. A paved sidewalk flanked with ambient lighting and marble lions.

Not our house.

We have pebbly pink brick balance beam that barely fit both my size 7 flip flops down the lane.

But not anymore!

We ripped up the old bricks (of which some I was able to sell on Craig’s list!) and shoveled out the grass for the new width of our sidewalk.

Then we (HAH, and when I am saying “we” all of these times, I really mine my strong hubby) spread out leveling sand. We used Kolorscape Leveling Sand and used 4 bags for an area about 15 feet long and three feet wide.

Then we tamped down the leveling sand. My shoulders hurt just watching him tamp everything. Yikes.

Then we started to lay down the stones. Instead of getting pavers, Moose found these squares that look like multiple stones pieced together.

Less work and less expensive!

To keep everything tight and in place, we nailed a few of these sidewalk tracks into the ground.

Then we covered them up with dirt.

And voila! New sidewalk!

We got this awesome huge hernia-inducing rock piece in our backyard and Moose and another hulky friend moved it to the front yard.

(By the way, now is the time to buy your spring planters! I just got the one you see above and a second one for 70% off at HomeGoods.)

Hopefully the trick-o-treaters won’t be scared off now.

Happy Weekend!

Faking Beadboard


I love the look of beadboard. I would love to have the look of beadboard in my home. I’d live in a beardboard house if I could.

However, I do not own any type of cutting equipment and I don’t believe in paying someone to put it up for me (not my style, duhhh).

So I was pretty tickled when I discovered beadboard wallpaper. Yes. Beadboard wallpaper. Wallpaper I can do. (Thanks for all the practice Mom!)

This is from Southern Hospitality (where I first discovered there was such a thing). Looks pretty real, no?


It even looks like there is a raised texture. I like this idea because it’s a quick and easy change. You don’t need to pull off the molding or baseboards.


And it’s paintable! If it doesn’t match with your existing trim color you could paint it to match, or paint it a funky color like this photo:


And it’s (my second favorite word) inexpensive! (Free being the favorite. Obviously.) At $30 for a 30′ roll that could make quite the impact on a room in an inexpensive way.

Southern Hospitality recommends using Graham & Brown beadboard wallpaper. Although the Martha Stewart brand is now offering some that can be found at Home Depot.

I am definitely checking this out. I’d love to do our backsplash and below some of our chair rails.

Has anyone seen this in person before? Anyone tried it out?