Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

Our New Entryway!

Here’s our new entryway!  At least what it looks like right now.



The pictures on the left is as you look in from our garage.  The pictures on the right are what you see what you enter the front door.

Now, I’m not quite finished with it.  I still want to:

  • Find “official” shoe baskets…preferably ones that attach to the wall rather than freestanding bins, but are still easy to clean as they WILL get dirty from snow and muddy shoes.  At our last place, I found wire-covered-in-vinyl refrigerator baskets for $15 (or less) at Walmart.  (Kind of like these ones.)  Then I just used eye hooks to attach them to the wall.  They were perfect because they were pretty cheap, not moveable, but could still be “detached” and cleaned in a kitchen sink.  I’ll probably try to go that route again.
  • Paint the “doorbell box”.  Probably the color of the wall, just to help it blend in better.
  • Hang pictures or some other kind of artwork above the ‘board & batten’.

But I’m calling it “good enough for now”!

It’s similar in style to what I did at our previous house (posted about here), although I never did post the final look where I had added coat hooks & shoe storage, but you get the idea.

What I like about it:

  • Simple to do!  (Especially if you can borrow a miter saw from your sister and you’ve been given a nail gun from your in-laws).
  • It’s white!  I’m still itching to go white with my woodwork and this is a good place to start.
  • The coat hooks came from Amazon and were cheaper than Lowes.  And free shipping with Prime!
  • It can hold a lot of coats — come on over guests!

I do wish I had gone just a tad lower on the lowest coat hooks as my 2 year old has trouble reaching, but he can do it.  I just thought I had gone low enough, but must’ve messed up my measurements some where.  Long term, though, it’ll be great!

The Process:

I pretty much followed the same process as before, using 1x3s and 1x6s.  It’s also very similar to Casa de Lewis’s blog, but I didn’t do a shelf on top.  I had debated about doing just one of the walls, but since this was a corner, I thought that would look funny.  So I ended up doing both and I don’t regret that at all!

  1. Paint your boards at least a first coat in the garage.
  2. When ready to hang, put your youngest in a high chair to watch from a safe distance.
  3. Measure, cut and hang your “horizontal” boards.
  4. Measure, cut and hang your “vertical” boards.
  5. Paint the back wall and your boards a final coat.
  6. Caulk & fill any holes.
  7. Hang your coat hooks.
  8. Let your 2 year old show you how it works!

Time Involved:

  • 1 hour (ish?) to buy the lumber, lay it out in the garage and paint it a couple of times.  Just used a small roller and did light coats.
  • 1 hour to measure, cut & hang the wood on the wall.  Jeff did most of this while I played defense against the kids.
  • 1 hour to paint the boards & back walls after it was all hung.  The painting probably went faster than usual since I was also painting a bedroom in the same white color.  So I already had the supplies out and that made it simple to just whip on another coat.  Probably did 2-3 coats total with the same little roller & a paintbrush.  (Although I had to do most of this painting while the boys were in bed.)
  •  1 hour to caulk holes & hang the coat hooks.  Don’t forget to do pilot holes!
  • 4 hours (give or take)

Cost Involved:

  • $35 in lumber.  Would’ve been less, but I bought a couple of extra 1x3s and 1 extra 1x6s since I didn’t measure carefully.  But that only cost me like $6-7 extra.
  • $20 in paint. I probably used 1/2 of a gallon on this project, but, again, it’s hard to measure since I was also painting a bedroom at the same time with the same color.
  • $30 in coat hooks.  Straight from Amazon and $1.50-$2 cheaper than practically identical ones from Lowes.
  • $10 in other things like finishing nails, caulk, paint rollers and the like.  Like the paint, I had these all at home, but it still used something that cost something.
  • $95 total…give or take.


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Giving, no Gave, Myself Permission

I am 35 years old.  I am a grown adult.  I’ve owned a house since 2002.  We paid off our last house before we sold it (for sale by owner even).  We moved into this new-to-us-house last year.  We paid that off just months after moving in.

SOOO….please explain to me why I felt that I needed permission to decorate it?  Or to remodel anything? Why did I feel that I didn’t have the right or the expertise to make this house my own?  Why?

It wasn’t my husband.  It certainly wasn’t my 2 boys (particularly because neither of them know their colors yet).  Pinterest is full of people DIYing things and explaining what they did, so it couldn’t have been lack of resources.

But I did.  I felt unable to make decisions about my own home.  I felt paralyzed.  Maybe because there were too many choices?  Maybe because I don’t really know my style?  Maybe because I’m kind of a people pleaser and just know/knew that some people wouldn’t like the decisions that I make?

But I read a book that gave me permission.  It did.  My sister had recommended her book and it finally came up on my hold list at the public library.  (Literally like 2 days after I had drafted a post asking for recommendations on hiring an interior decorator because I just couldn’t handle my own indecision.)

I read it in 1 night.  1 night!!

It’s Myquillyn Smith’s The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful.

What’s kind of funny about this is that I don’t really see myself going for a “beautiful” home, so the title doesn’t really meet me.  Sure, some things about houses on the Street of Dreams appeal to me, but not all of it.  And I think Beautiful Homes & Gardens magazines has some great stuff, but it also has stuff that isn’t really my style.  And I live in a very modest 3-bedroom tri-level in the middle of America.

I just want MY HOME.  For my family.  A comfortable place.  But that’s what this book was about.  Some key take-a-aways for me:

  • Don’t be afraid to start down the decorating road.  You may not end up where you think you’ll end up, but so what?
  • I don’t need to know what life will look like in 15 years before I start decorating or remodeling.  If I serve the needs and interests of 15-years-from-now Jayme, then I won’t really be serving the interests of all-those-years-in-between Jayme.
  • To get your husband on board, tell him what he needs or wants to know.  My husband just wants to know the big picture (aka: what’s it gonna cost?).  He isn’t into the details.  He doesn’t want to talk about satin vs. semi-gloss paint.  Or if we should go with these coat hooks from Lowes vs. these other ones from Amazon.  Some husbands need the details, especially if they’re involved in doing the work.
  • Figure out what your barriers are and what it takes to work around them.  Lacking a skill?  Either develop it, hire it out or find a friend you can borrow from to get ‘er done.  Example: maybe you don’t like to paint, but your friend does.  She might be more than happy to paint your bedroom for you if you babysit her kids for a few hours.  For me, it was too many choices and feeling like I was going to disappoint other people.  People that don’t live here.  People that might even only exist on the internet.
  • At the same time, don’t settle for what you don’t really want in hopes that it’ll make you forget what you do want.  You can spend years and lots of money filling up a room with things to compensate for the fact that you hate your flooring.  In the long run, it might be cheaper to change the flooring!  (This doesn’t mean that money is no object, but don’t solve the problems that don’t need solving).

I’ve read the book.  I’ve taken it to heart.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve “installed” a new entryway coat hook feature.  I’ve swapped the boys’ room in preparation for the new little one.  I’ve re-painted and decorated Finn’s room.  I made a decision on curtains for our living room.  (I wrestled with that for months!) And I finally feel free to start thinking about other things that I want.  They won’t happen all at once.  Money and time aren’t unlimited, but I NO LONGER FEEL PARALYZED IN MY OWN HOME!

Can I get an Amen!?

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THIS is happening!

No more hemming.  No more hawing.

No more flipping.  No more flopping.

I’ve talked too much about this and not had any action.  But now…

I AM doing this.  I am. I am.  I am.

I AM going to paint some woodwork white.

I have to.  I already started!

(And now I push pause on the project til I get the right paint brush.  But, hey, damage done.  I’m committed!)



Here we go!

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(See previous posts here and here and here.)  WOO HOO!  Our powder room is practically done!  We got the new sink installed late last week.  We installed the faucet over the weekend.  Then yesterday, we made a spontaneous decision to also replace the toilet too.  It was on our long term list, but thought we’d do it at the same time that we replaced the floors.  But we decided to chuck the ‘light tan toilet with a cream toilet seat’ in favor of a nice white one.  Looks great!

We ended up having to order the sink twice.  The first one was damaged in shipping, so back it went.  It was a small chip, but I just knew that I’d look at the sink every day and think “Man, I sure wish it wasn’t damaged.”  It’s one thing if WE damage it; it’s another to pay full price for something already damaged.

What’s left to be done:

  • I want to replace the outlets and switches with white ones.  Right now they’re an almond color.  This should be simple; I just need to learn how to do it.
  • Caulking the sink near the walls.  I need to do some more research on this first – use white to match the sink?  Use clear and paint it the same color as the walls?  Hmmm…

Total Cost:

This definitely wasn’t a DIY job meant to be done as cheaply as possible.  My sister did fix the walls for us and gave us the artwork and mirror as Christmas gifts, but…we ordered a custom sink.  And we replaced the functional-but-ugly toilet – that didn’t need to be done.  And we hired a plumber to install that toilet.

  • Sink: $240
  • Plumber & other plumbing supplies: $180
  • Paint & Stain & supplies: $35
  • Hardware: $10
  • Total: $465(ish)

Summary: My blog is not the place you should come to in order to find projects done as cheaply as possible!

The-pretty-much-everything-is-done-except-for-the-outlets picture:


Before-And-After Photo:


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(See previous posts here and here.)  Life in our powder room is good!  Cause, you know:

  • The walls are all painted.
  • The vanity is all stained.
  • The vanity has been poly-urethaned.  (New word.)
  • The light fixture is back up.

Life in our powder room is NOT good.  Cause, you know:

  • The new vanity top that I bought DOES NOT FIT.

It doesn’t fit.  I measured poorly.  I assumed that the vanity needed a standard 37 inch countertop.  But no…it needs a custom 36.25 inch countertop.  Which is now on order.  I ordered practically the same thing that I had bought off the shelf, I just now got the privilege of paying $80 more for it.  And get the privilege of waiting another 30 days or so until it comes in.  Lucky us.  Til then, no sink in the powder room.

We still would’ve done the project had we’d known that we needed a custom sink; we probably just would’ve waited a couple more months AND we wouldn’t have taken out the old sink until the new one had arrived.  But that’s a life lesson for you.  Measure once.  Measure twice.  Just measure carefully, would ya Jayme?

The Walls-Are-Now-Painted-Gray-And-All-The-Stuff-Had-To-Moved-To-The-Laundry-Room-During-The-Remodel-And-Isn’t-That-Little-Boy-Cute picture:



The Vanity-Is-All-Stained-And-Hardware-Put-On-But-Apparently-I-Need-To-Wipe-Off-The-Smudges-Of-Little-Fingers:


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Powder Room Remodel: Day 2-3

More pictures of the powder room remodel!

Yesterday was kind of an uneventful day.  Another coat of mud and sanding on the walls.  Another coat of stain on the vanity.

Today is also an uneventful day.  More sanding of the walls.  Last coat of stain on the vanity.  BUT…the wall have been mostly primed and are ready for paint.  The biggest event is that I broke a light bulb off inside the light fixture.  I did a good job of it too — some of the actual I-make-light part was in tact.  No big deal — needle nose pliers got them out!

It’s currently 9:07 p.m. and I’m waiting for my sister to come over to get the painting started!  That’s how we do it — put our kids to bed, then stay up and remodel.  That’s mostly why I’m glad my husband is out of town for work these last couple of days (he gets home tomorrow).  Not only does he miss out on the mess, but it really throws off our bedtime.

By the time Jeff gets home tomorrow, the staining of the vanity will be done and so will the painting.  Not yet done will be: the polyurethene coat and I’ll still have 1 more coat of stain to do on the door/drawer fronts.  But it will be ready for him to help me install the sink and the new faucet.  I’m sure he’ll be excited!

Here are some pictures of these uneventful days:


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Powder Room Remodel!

We’re re-doing our powder room.  It’s a room that has bothered me since we moved in.  It had icky wallpaper, icky sink top, brown tile.  Just icky.  And then I took off all the wallpaper and did a horrible job patching the walls.  So when I repainted, there were still blotches everywhere — just now they weren’t wallpaper blotches; they were painted blotches.  Slightly more subtle, but still annoyed me to no end.

So I’m re-doing it!  Here’s the Way Before.  The Before-We-Moved-In-And-Ever-Started-Touching-It:



And here’s the Jayme-Removed-the-Wallpaper-While-On-Maternity-Leave-In-Her-Spare-Time-And-Did-Not-Patch-The-Walls-Well:


  • New paint color (even if badly applied)
  • New light fixture
  • Toilet has a different color lid than bowl.  We’ll fix this eventually.



And here’s the After-Day-1-Removing-The-Sink-And-Vanity-Top-Staining-The-Vanity-And-First-Coat-Of-Mud-To-Fix-The-Walls:



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