It’s the Little Things

Two frames. That’s all we needed at Ikea . .  two frames. Somehow Ikea suckered us in with five ceramic vases for my roommates baby shower centerpieces, two frames, and a shoe caddy.

And a cup of coffee for Greg since today’s post discusses our inability to do anything without a cup coffee.

Just kidding, it’s about our new shoe cabinet.

Over the summer we visited our nice neighbors’ house and noticed a table in their hallway which we (ok, I) swooned over. The table completed the hall and didn’t over power it in the way I imagined it would. Greg agreed with my table lust but not to same level of enthusiasm.

Just look at the emptiness

Just look at the emptiness

Enter Ikea. We went earlier in the summer to look at shoe cabinets for the ridiculous amounts of shoes I own and needed to corral but the cabinets didn’t fit the measurement of our closet wall. Although, they did fit perfectly in our hallway table search.

We love adding storage to the house and our hall closet needed it due to keeping our hats, scarves, gloves in a yaffa block bin at on the top shelf (yes, the block is from my freshman year of college). By adding drawers in the hallway, cold days won’t involve me digging through a bin and leaving a trail on the stairs.

ikea storageIkea offered us two solutions: 6.75″ deep and 8.75″ deep. This might be one of the few times when smaller is better. For our hallway, two extra inches overpowered the space but it took an afternoon of me walking past with cardboard 8.75″ inches wide taped to the wall. Taping a piece of cardboard might sound silly but we’ve found by taping up the dimensions or depth of something, it truly helps us get a feeling for a project. By doing this, we’ve saved time and money by knowing what does/doesn’t work size wise.

Ikea storageWhich brings us back to the two frames. We went just to look at the cabinets and add one to our Christmas list. As you can clearly see from this post, we couldn’t wait for Christmas (darn you, Ikea!) Fast forward through us trying to locate the Stall cabinet and the hour spent building it to this–

ikea storageA new home for our keys and winter accessories! The depth works perfectly in the hallway, any deeper it would be intrusive. The drawers are dedicated to hats, gloves, and scarves just in time for the predicted bad winter.

ikea storage









Wet Bar Wipeout Part Two

When we last left our dashing home improvement stud muffin (Greg, in case there was any doubt), he had successfully capped off the piping while his partner in crime (Hazel) slept on the floor.

The following day Greg and I journeyed to Lowe’s for MDF board to build the shelves and supports with. Our plan had us building two inch strips to affix to the wall to have the shelf rest on since that is how the wet bar counter was installed. After selecting our board, we had 2 two inch strips cut and then had the board cut in half.


Once we got out to the car, we missed the SUV for the first time in a year—the cut boards didn’t fit. Back into Lowe’s we went to have two inches trimmed off each half. Apparently this sort of thing happens all the time and they didn’t even charge us for the extra cuts.


Must have been my low cut shirt and pushup bra.

So now back to the project and how I’m going to break it up today:

  • Cutting the Shelves
  • Installing the Shelves/Trim
  • Painting

Cutting the Shelves

What you will need:

  • Pencil
  • Wife
  • Clamps
  • Table Saw
  • Circular saw
  • MDF Board

When we removed the counter top, we saved it to create a template. Greg laid it down on the MDF board and traced the shape noting which side would be the top. After that, he laid the supports on our precut two inch strips to mark length and nail placement.

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Why nail placement? Well, they were in the studs so this meant Greg did not have to refind the studs.

Cutting the two inch strips (two sets) was easy—he just used table saw.

The shelves involved several saws due to the shape/size.

After drawing the template we used the table saw for the first cut.


Then Greg clamped the cut piece to the table saw to use the circular saw for the diagonal cut.

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I think it took us longer to figure out what to use than to cut both pieces.

Side note: You can use a circular saw for the whole project. We had it out for the supports and it was easier to make the first cut with it.

Installing the shelves

What you will need:

  • 8 wood screws
  • Nail gun with nails
  • Pencil
  • Lattice
  • Shelves

1. First things first—we wrote another message behind the wood support. It is tradition at this point (and a great tradition.)

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2. We placed our new supports in the same spot as the old ones (marked the nail spots on the board.) Be sure to level your supports.  Greg drilled two wood screws in each board and then let me attack it with the nail gun.

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Side note: Can I tell you how much I love the nail gun? Best purchase ever.

3. We placed the counter top down and it fit! Remove once you know it fits.

4. We repeated the process a few feet up for the second shelf.

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Since we removed all the inside trim, we decided to cover the cap with lattice. You would have thought after the living room project, spare lattice would be floating around.

Wrong. We measured that room so well we needed to buy lattice for this project. A few strips of three inch lattice did the trick. Greg measured the lengths between:

  • Floor and shelf 1
  • Shelf 1 and shelf 2
  • Shelf 2 and ceiling
  • Width of doorway

A few cuts  . . .

wet bar-125. . . .and nails later he was done.

wet bar-130

Painting the Shelves

What you will need:

  • Quart of paint
  • Paint brush
  • 4 inch roller
  • Drop cloth
  • Edger thing
  • Spackle
  • Sand paper

We picked up a quart of Behr’s Irish Mist for the closet and didn’t put much effort into the color choice. A white closet worked for us and we picked one with warmer undertones to match warmth of the room.

wet bar-142

Yes, white can have warm undertones. It’s amazing the variation in white paints.

In the days leading up to painting, Greg spackled and sanded uneven spots in the wall such as where the counter top back splash was.

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Then it came time to paint.  Greg spent the better part of the day painting the closet due to all of the cutting. He’s usually the roller and not used to this aspect. With painting, it is always best to do two coats.

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We let the paint cure for a few days before moving all our possessions back in—organized of course.

Like the grand result—

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Price breakdown to follow tomorrow . . . once I find all my receipts.






Taking Shape

Greg and I have been on a hunt . . . a hunt for an ottoman. As much as we loved our IKEA coffee table, it just did not meet our growing needs in the family room.


Ignore our mess, we were heading out and I wanted to get the shot in natural light. As you can tell my book addiction follows me into this room too.

Growing needs?

Yes, we used to keep our blankets in a corner on a footstool. The footstool is now residing in our living room and looking completely different. But we were left with a big old pile of blankets. Sure we could organize the wet bar closet and try to fit them in there but that would lead to a project we aren’t ready to tackle.

Side note: We knew if we started on that closet, we’d wouldn’t be happy just organizing it, we would have to remove the sink and build shelving. Not happening with weddingpalooza of crafting happening on our weekend.

Shape was definitely important to us, as was height (much like dating). There are a multitude of rectangular storage ottomans out there and many of them are just a tiny bit too low. We wanted a nice big old square ottoman.

Earlier in the week, we received a Macy’s ad with an ottoman but it had horrible reviews online.

So we put the ottoman on the backburner . . . until Sunday.

We were shopping at Sam’s Club and saw an ottoman. Greg loved it and immediately started playing with it. I was on the fence until I saw that the one side lifted up to table height.


Sold! $299 later and a few sales people later, we had it in our car.


By the way, it totally fit in our Prius. Greg jokes that we can’t go into a warehouse type store without making at least one outrageous purchase (our patio set is from BJ’s). The ottoman came in one piece and you just had to add the feet.


Hazel helped Greg put it together.


We moved the built ottoman into the family room and it clicked.


The stitching is a cream color which ties to the color of the couch. The oversizedness of it pulls the chair in more with the set.


Best of all, it holds all our blankets and pillows while serving as our dinner table (the other side lifts open normally).


Now I just have to try the pinterest rubbing alcohol tip for cleaning the couch!

Livin’ La Vida Living Room: Getting Ready

Are you ready read about the most drastic change to our house yet?  This project started soon after we finished the dining room.

In fact it was about two seconds after I finished taking pictures of the pretty room from the living room, I started harping (yes, harping—I’m practicing for when we are married) about how ugly it makes the living room look.

See for yourselves—ugly.

living room

There’s textured, striped wallpaper.

There’s a disco wall of IKEA mirrors.

There’s disco mirrors against textured, striped wallpaper.

Ok, that’s about it since we haven’t done much but those two items make the room dated and ugly.  Actually, one might consider this room a crime against humanity.  It was even more of a crime before we removed the vertical blinds and installed curtains.

Can you tell how much I don’t like this room?  For the most part it didn’t bother us because we were never in there and tried to block it out of our minds since the dining room looked just as bad.


Then the dining room didn’t look so bad (gorgeous in fact but I’m a bit biased).

The wheels in my head started turning once Greg gave a redesign his blessing.  Enter my good friend Pinterest.  I started looking for ideas and learned about board and batten.  Board and batten is a look typically found in beach houses—it’s a thick, higher chair rail, typically plain with a slight ledge and vertical strips of wood running from the chair rail to the baseboard every so many inches.

Our plan was to fancy up basic board and batten.

Ok, my plan.  Greg was a trooper this whole project—he didn’t understand what my vision was and yet he trusted me enough to take time off, spend lots of money, do most of the hard work, and buy a gray couch with a seafoam accent chair.

To help him see my vision, I drew up these plans of the room using PowerPoint since SketchUp isn’t the easiest program to figure out.

Living room1Living room3Living room4Living room2

But first we needed to take care of this mess.

Our garage is the black hole of items we don’t want to deal with.  It got worse when we bought a full size freezer.  We had grand plans of dealing with the garage then but life got in the way.  Fine.  Our laziness got in the way.

So the nice warm weekend two weekends before our project began, we dealt with the mess. To complete Livin’ La Vida Living Room, we needed to use the table saw (buried in the garage) and the compound miter saw (also buried in the garage).  We also needed room to cut 16 foot lengths of wood.


We sorted and tossed items we didn’t need or that were left here by the previous owners.  It only took a few hours but we were able to set up a workbench (out of an old door and saw horses  . . . which I borrowed from my dad) and room for the compound miter saw.


During the weeks leading up to the big toolcation, removed the disco wall of mirrors which was not as easy as it seemed.  The mirrors popped out of the black brackets but the brackets were screwed in (not very well) but they were then hammered down with prongs.

Silly IKEA.

We had to pop the cover off the black bracket, unscrew it, jimmy a screw driver under it to pop the prongs mostly out, and use the pliers to remove the prongs which still remained in the wall . . .  and of course, I took pictures of none of this.

Next up– prepping the walls!

Housiversary II: The Year That Will Be

Yesterday I talked about the past year of home happenings and we’ve had some impressive ones.

Ok, one really impressive one that I tend to show everyone.

Today I get to focus on the year upcoming. We already know the list will be smaller because we’ve got a big event happening in the spring. Plus, we’re running out of rooms and we’re not about to start redoing rooms we did last year.


We slowly have been getting better with our two percent problem. This year, we’ve tried very hard to get the last two percent down a few weeks after a large project push and have been mostly successful. Sadly, we are still working on last year’s two percent.  It’s hard because life gets in the way and we push these projects off more.  For instance, we’re still waiting to hang everything in the upstairs man cave and do the second coat of paint on the doors in the basement.

It’s our secret shame much like my secret love of Taylor Swift’s We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together.

I know you are all singing it– it’s the fall’s Call Me, Maybe and it’s awesome.

Wet Bar

You originally met the wet bar when we changed the knobs by way of something that looked like it was out of Ghostbusters.  We kind of just shove our games and DVDs in the closet under/on top of the sink.  This originally was on our to do list for the past year but we didn’t realize how insane Greg’s scholastic schedule would be. We are still unsure of his spring semester course but if it’s a light one, we might be tackling this one. We would very much benefit from installing shelving in there and not have to do the “push something back and slam the door shut as fast as possible” way of closing the doors.

Hazel wanted to play scrabble

Master Bathroom

Sometime in 2013, this will be accomplished. Don’t know when but it will. I have my pennies saved up from last year for it.

Living Room

Goodbye ugly dated wallpaper! Hello pretty walls! We’ve booked the time off from work to accomplish this project during our Thanksgiving holiday. We’ve got the nail gun and now I need to find the perfect bribe for convincing Tommy to help with the crown molding. Our budget has been set and saved for!

Hopefully it will be a very merry Christmas in a newly decorated room!


Not my dress but the one I thought I wanted before shopping.

Yep, Greg decided it was time to make an honest woman out of me. So one day in the spring I get to play dress up in something like this. We’ve limited our projecting this year because Greg doesn’t want me completely stressing and turning into a Bridezilla and a Housezilla.  Although I can’t wait to use my heat gun on our wedding programs.

Of course, we will find other things to work on during the year– backyard, front yard, basement and we’ll be sure to keep updating as we go along.

New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, I am back from my temporary hiatus and I figured with the new year here, I should write to my readers.  Good news, Hazel is getting big which means we don’t have to entertain her every minute she is awake (just every other minute).

During our first annual housiversary, I posted upcoming projects we hope to achieve this year.  Today I am posting our new years resolutions.

1. Blog more.  Again, I am so sorry for not posting much recently.  Getting a puppy, getting engaged, and holiday crafting completely killed any spare time I had to blog.  We settled the vital wedding plans, Hazel can be trusted a bit more, and I finished crocheting four scarves, making two custom beer taps (more later), and making holiday baked goods.

2. Finishing the two percent.  Greg and I massively failed on the two percent front.  It seems that most project still have the last two percent to be finished.  We told ourselves that the dining room won’t be touched until the pantry is finished (we just need to stain the final wine rack and install the quarter round).  But first Greg wants to build his Christmas kegerator (more later).

3. Not just take pictures.  For Christmas, I made Greg two custom beer taps to be used on his Kegerator.  I just used railing spindles and wooden plaques–  oh and lots of glitter paint—to make them but I needed to use the table saw. Greg was terrified of me sawing my hand off and my unease with it lead to a few tense minutes with Greg standing outside the closed garage door while I worked.  I even gorilla glued the wooden plaques on because I worried about messing up with the drill.

Needless to say, this needs to change as soon as possible.  Home repair will be ongoing for the rest of our lives and I can’t hide behind the camera to let Greg do all the hard work (he can still do all the heavy lifting).

4. Learn a new skill.  We want to push ourselves a bit more with home projects and break out of our comfort zone.  This year we are planning to learn tiling.  My mom wants to redecorate her kitchen so we are pulling down the wallpaper for her and tiling her backsplash in pretty, iridescent tiles.  New skills=good stories of us messing up to post about!

5. Organize, organize, organize! Do you know we still have boxes from when Greg moved in unpacked?  We need to get better with our organization in the garage, in the house, and in office.  It’s a good thing I got a label maker for Christmas!

What are some of your new years resolutions?