Media Cabinet Face-Lift

Things are constantly changing around here, and it reminds me my childhood house in Birmingham. My mom was always painting or redecorating one room or another to freshen up the house. Sooo, I blame her for my constant need to refresh our living space. 🙂 (Hi Mom!) Actually, I credit Mom for my love of interior design, and Dad gets credit for my love of tools and building. More on that in another post. 🙂
J and I recently decided that we didn’t like the paneled cabinet doors under the media center in the Great Room. Here’s a before picture:
GR Shelves
So we decided to give them a face-lift. Using drywall mud we filled the grooves in the doors from the old panel pieces. This step took a few days because of the sanding and re-mudding to get it smooth. After we sanded the last coat of mud, we added some basic wood trim that we cut on the mitre/chop saw and set two inches from the door edges. We used wood glue to attach the trim, and held them in place with about 25 clamps.
After repainting the doors white and updating the hardware, here is the result. You can still see where the grooves were when the sunlight is poring in, but we feel like it still dresses up the area a bit.
Refacing Cabinets
Here is the room view.
Media Cabinet
More soon!


Full Frontage

One of our friends came to visit us this summer, and we put him straight to work. 🙂 We asked him what he thought we needed to do to help with curb appeal, and he suggested that we get rid of our old front fence. J has been saying this forever, and I was holding on for some reason. When our friend, D, suggested we take it out, and I didn’t argue, J said, “Let’s do it now.” Which I’m pretty sure was the first half of “before she changes her mind.”
So they went to work.

Here is a before picture of the yard with the fence.
house front
And the house with no fence…
I LOVE the full, fence-less frontage we have now! Thanks D and J!

More coming soon!



Paint it Black

Hi! I’m back! We’ve been really busy with projects here at the house, and I’m going to catch you guys up.
One thing I did recently was paint our hearth black. We have been discussing putting in a marble slab, but because of some floor leveling we’re still working on, that isn’t yet a possibility. In the meantime, that red clay tile was bugging me, so one night I painted it black. I didn’t do any prep work. I know, I know, this was probably not a good move, but it is only a temporary fix.
Here are some before and after pictures. Some of them are grainy because I took them at night.
Hearth painting
Hearth progress
Hearth After
So there you have it! I like the black hearth a million times more than the red clay tiles. A good temporary fix until we get a marble slab.
More updates on the way!

Great Room Updates

We’ve made some changes to the Great room since we last posted about it.  The biggest change is our new sectional.  I was dreaming of a new sectional but knew it wasn’t on the top of the priority list, so I didn’t push the issue.  Our next door neighbor had one in her basement that I loved.  When she moved, I took a few days off of work to help her pack.  When the movers came, she told them to leave it because it belonged to me.  It was a total surprise and totally made my day/week/living room.  We think of sweet Ms. Heins and her generosity often.  One day, I will pay it forward.  Maybe not the sectional, but something else.

You will also notice some art on the walls.  Finally!  I still need something to balance the owl in the dining room.

New Sectional

Great Rm with new sofa

Here is a close-up of the owl.  It is a DIY that took about an hour.  I found a picture online and drew it with a gold sharpie on the back of some wrapping paper, and put it in an old frame.  Hooray for free art!

Owl drawing

This one I did in illustrator and printed it.

happy robin

This was a birthday present from J.

He makes me happy!

That’s all for now!  I hope y’all are loving this fall weather.  It’s time to break out the orange or purple table settings!



Bathroom Time Machine

We finally renovated both bathrooms!  We love how they turned out, but anything would have been an upgrade from our pepto pink and mint green tile baths.  The layout of the old master bath was so small that you almost had to back out, and the shower pan was busted so there was no using the shower. The guest bath was operational, but the faucets were leaky and tiles were falling off the wall.  In other words, this renovation was long overdue.

We still need to get shower glass in the master, and a free standing linen tower in the guest bath, but otherwise, the bathrooms are finished.

I know you love a before and after, so we’ll start there.  Here is our guest bathroom:

Guest Bathroom Before and After

Guest Bath

And here is our Master Bathroom:

Master Bath Before and After

Master Bath

And now for some detail shots.

The master bathroom:

Master with Double Vanities

Who doesn’t love a rain shower?

Master Shower

We still need shower glass.

We used marble basket weave floor tile and white ceramic subway tile on the walls.  We wanted something different on the shower floor, so we chose a white carrera mosaic tile that matches the floor and counter top.  We decided to use a matching slab for the shower seat that is also white carrera.  It is a remnant from a tile company, and was way less expensive than you might think.  Score!

Shower seat

Master Bath

And we might have splurged a little on a heated tile floor.  Oh yes.  We did.

Tile Heater

And here is the guest bath:

We relocated our linen closet in the hallway to make more room in the master bath, which allowed us to build open shelves in the guest bath behind the hall linen closet.  This was going to be dead space, and we love the way it turned out.  I picture baskets and rolled towels in the shelves.

Guest Bath open shelves

Guest Bath

When the guys started tearing up the house, we held our breath.  When they finished demolition, we could see the basement.  It was a little scary.

Tear it up!

You can see the basement.

Trash piling up

This project took a loooong time.  We were less involved than usual because we do NOT enjoy tiling, and don’t claim to be good at framing and drywall.  We were actively managing the project because our contractor was more of a “whatever you think” type of guy instead of the “here’s what I think” type.  We had a great time with the whole project and are very happy with how it turned out.

Stay tuned for the rest of the house updates.  Coming soon!



Splashes of Color

Our new rug is here and I love it!  I was debating about getting a bigger size, but when it arrived, the colors were brighter than I thought they would be, so I’m really happy with the 5×8 that we have.

I really like how the great room is shaping up.  It feels so warm and comfortable in here.  Here are some pics.

New rug!

Great Room with rug

Great Room with Rug

Sonoma loves the new rug, and moves around to find the warm sunny spots.

Great room and dining room

Sunny Sonoma

Here you can see our TV in Saturday basketball mode.

TV in action

You may have noticed I changed the picture on the mantel.  After our colorful rug arrived, I felt like the mantel needed a splash of color.  I found a picture of a peacock online and played around with it in illustrator coloring it and changing the shapes around a bit.  Then I added a quote that seemed fitting.  I really like it!

peacock print

peacock print

And a close-up of the quote.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t agree with this early 20th century poet’s political views, but I do think this line from one of his poems fits my peacock.)

peacock quote

One day I’ll get a real mat for this frame, but for now I’m pasting paper onto this white foam board I found in the basement and cut to fit this frame.  Whatever works, right?  I’m sure this guy will be replaced in a couple of months when we need something fresh, but he’s fun for now!

So that’s about it.  I hope you like the room.  I will leave you with Sonoma looking out what has become her window.  Whenever you come visit us, you should look to see if she’s there.  She heads straight to the window whenever she hears something interesting outside.

Sonoma and her window

Have a great day!



Lighting 101

We have some wonky electrical situations in this old house.  It bugs me to have a light switch that works nothing.  The kitchen and the basement have several, and since we spend much more time in the kitchen, I decided to tackle one ghost switch.  When you walk in our back door, there is a switch plate with five switches.  The middle three work, and the outer two did not.

5 switch plate

The old kitchen light switch plate

There is a light right inside the back door that also didn’t work, so we knew it had to go to one of those switches.

Since we’ve lived in this house, we’ve been walking across the dark kitchen to turn on the light if we get home at night.  It usually only bugs us when our hands are full of groceries, but it needed to be fixed none-the-less.

So, I started narrowing down the problem.  We tried replacing the light bulb right when we moved in, so we knew we had a bigger issue.  I took my handy-dandy volt detector to the inside of the old light fixture to see if we had juice.  When the first switch was off, we didnt.

Testing for current

But when the switch was on, we had current.  The meant that the switch was working, and the problem was the light fixture.

The meter lights up when it gets near an electrical current.

If you don’t have one of these little pen-sized devices, they are about $10 at any hardware store.  We recommend the red one instead of the yellow one because it has a plastic tip and is less likely to get fried.   (Yes, fried.  Take my word for it.)  Although, we did learn with this little project (from my super smart, engineer dad) that these volt detectors can also read false positive when the wire in question is running next to a hot wire.  This can sometimes cause “induced current” which isn’t enough to hurt you, but will make the little red light go on and give you pause about grabbing the end of that wire.  Who knew, right?  I don’t remember learning that in 8th grade science.  So here is our new fixture and the volt detector.

New light and Volt Detector

We kept it simple since we know this whole kitchen will one day be gutted and rebuilt.  I dream of getting rid of these gross blue and yellow tile counters every single day.  One day, I might just start tearing them out so we’ll have to replace them.  🙂

Back to the task.  You should really turn off the power from main circuit breaker, but since J was working on his computer, I just turned off the switch.  (Which I trusted thanks to the Volt detector.)  Then I unscrewed the old fixture from the ceiling, and disconnected the black (power) and white (neutral) wires from the wire caps, and replaced the caps temporarily so the wires wouldn’t touch anything.  Putting the new fixture up is just as easy as taking out the other one.  Connect the black to black wires, and white to white wires with the wire caps, and the ground if you have one.  Then screw the fixture to the ceiling.  It sounds easy, and it really is.  Just make sure the wire caps are on tight so the wires won’t come loose in the ceiling.  Here’s the new globe light in action.

New light!

Still don’t know what the other switch does, but I think it might have been a three-way switch for the main kitchen light at some point.  Maybe I’ll tackle that next.

Hopefully that didn’t bore you.  More posts coming soon.  I have finally finished a few things to share with you guys, and have several other projects underway!




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