I’m bringin’ vintage back… (to our wet-bar!)

Yes, that title is to the tune of JT’s classic jam.   Anybody else awkwardly bobbing their heads to the music in your brain?  Just me?  That’s okay.  Anything for JT. ;)

So, anyways, I’ve decided that I should never make statements like “I’ll (maybe) write that post today”.   Heehee!  Every time I do that it seems like life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen.  So, from now on if I make preposterous ambitious statements, I give you permission to insert a well-intentioned eyeroll.  At least I threw the “maybe” in there, though. Just sayin’.  ;)

If you’re new to my little blog here, you can check out this post to get caught up on our wet-bar progress thus far.   To summarize, we started out here…


Then, I painted the cabinetry white, ripped off the backsplash/sidesplashes, mirror, and the seizure-inducing wallpaper we found beneath it.  I patched/primed and painted the wall, and updated the dated faucet. (although, this next shot was taken before  the faucet switcheroo)…

So, next the plan is to to add a concrete coating to the countertop, tile that back wall, hang a mirror in the center, and mount two pendant lights overhead.  But until those projects commence, I decided to style the wet-bar to look as nice as possible.   I never mind putting in the effort to accessorize a space, even for a short time, if it means I get to enjoy the pretty in the meantime.  So, I collected a bunch o’ stuff that I already owned and got to it.  At one point, I got here…

…and, to be honest, I wasn’t super happy with it.  I mean, it was o-KAAAAYY.  Just not exciting for me. I think it was the mirror.   I’ve had that mirror since my very first apartment and I felt like it just wasn’t right for the space. It was a smidge too traditional, whereas I felt that something either more modern or vintage-y would be a better fit.   Modern to contrast the new door/drawer pulls (which are the same ones I used for our built-ins) or vintage-y to accentuate them.  Traditional just wasn’t really jiving with either goal in my opinion.  Plus, I knew that once the countertops were grey concrete, they may clash with the frame color anyways.   The next day, I hopped onto the internet to see what Sir Craig was offering in the way of mirrors and I came across this gem…

A HUGE vintage mirror for $25!!!

The size was perfect for the wet-bar and I loved that the wood tone would play off of our mid-century media stand on the opposite side of the room.  Plus, I felt like I was replacing the vintage mirror that we’d torn out with a BETTER vintage mirror.  Vintage-lover-guilt officially stowed.  I texted the seller, who stated that it was still available and that she could meet me in Fort Worth (which is halfway between us) the following day.  I met her as planned, loved the mirror even more in person, and took ‘er home.


It was a bit dirty and the wooden frame had a few nicks and scratches, but it wasn’t anything a little stain, a craft brush, and some elbow grease couldn’t fix (Tip: Varathane’s Early American stain is the PERFECT mid-century-toned-brown.  It matched the frame exactly.).   The following day, my dad and Joey hung the beast.   Which left this…

Here’s a detail shot so you can see the texture of the frame…

And here’s the wet-bar in the context of the entire wall.   I took this pic on a dark and gloomy day and the lighting in this part of the room isn’t great (which’ll be remedied eventually), but you can see that the vintage mirror nicely offsets the more modern furnishings beside it.   I definitely plan to hang the alphabet canvas higher now that the mirror is hung so that they’re at similar heights…


As for the bar styling, it’ll change.   There’s a bit too much brown happening with the wine-rack, but it was all I had (fornow), so it stays until I either paint it or find something else.  I can’t tell you how perfect the mirror is, though.  I literally bounced around the house in excitement when I saw it in the wet-bar.  I mean, the size couldn’t be better and the shape really softens the bar and makes it feel less square.   Once the lighting situation changes with the addition of two pendant lights and that peach countertop bites the big one, the bar will appear much more balanced and bright.  I really think that adding concrete to the counters will add some nice visual weight below and a cool contrast in color and texture which will further balance the space.  I plan to use some sort of modern small mosaic tile behind it. Something simple that lets the mirror shine, but still adds a touch o’ bling.  I have no idea what yet, but I’m tossing around a solid color square glass mosaic, or maybe a sleek penny tile.  It really depends on how the space feels with the concrete counters and difference in lighting, so we will see.

Next up, I’ll be concreting the countertop (once time allows… probably not this weekend, maybe next), then we’ll get pendant lights installed, and finally, tile behind the mirror. It’s coming together, people! It’s coming together…

A quick faucet update that’s cheap n’ easy

….for some reason, this title has me picturing a cartoon faucet handle in a purple bustier standing on a street corner smoking a cigarette.  Am I alone in this?  Whatiswrongwithme?  Heehee!

Anyhoo, focusing… last we left off with our wet-bar progress, I had painted the cabinetry, stripped off the side and back splashes, removed the mirror (and wallpaper beneath it), patched, primed and painted the wall, which turned this…


Into this…

Next up was improving the dated faucet.   This was a super simple project that took about 5 minutes (once I figured it out).  Sorry about the dark, somewhat grainy pictures in this post.  I did this project at night and the lighting is less than stellar almost nonexistent in this part of the room (Ahem!  …and I was tired and too impatient to set the tripod up and do it the right way).  Hopefully you still get the gist of how to do this, though.

So, allow me to introduce you to the faucet that came with the house…

It’s hard to tell in this pic, but the actual faucet has a pretty cool, streamlined shape.  The base is nice and simple as well, and really, the fixture is in good shape, so I didn’t see the need to dispose of the entire thing.   It was just the handles that screamed for an update.

Luckily, Lowes (and Home Depot, too) sells universal handle replacement kits.  This is the one we purchased for just under 20 bucks…

Danco 2-Pack Chrome Faucet or Bathtub/Shower Handles


I wasn’t a huge fan of the red and blue dots (though they’re more subtle in person), but I figured it was still a vast improvement from what we had (plus, I figured I could probably do something with them (spray paint them, etc)). Online they do have the same handles with chrome screw covers instead, but my local Lowes didn’t have any in stock, so I just made do with what was available.

The first step was turning off the water beneath the sink.  Once I did that, I removed the ugly screw covers on the handles with a flat-head screwdriver…

And removed the handles…

Which left this…

Next up, was attaching the universal handle adapter (which is the metal piece at the bottom) and spacers (the white things on top)…

The kit came with its own allen wrench, so it was as simple as popping the piece on there and tightening the side screw…

Next, you simply place the handle on top to determine how many spacers you need for the handle to fit flush on the base without scraping.   I only needed one of the two spacers.  Now, here’s the point where it took a little figuring out.  I’m sure it varies a little from faucet handle to faucet handle, but with this set, the notches in the spacers…


Fit around these pieces in the handles….


And you want the notches in the spacers to point in the direction your handle will go.   So, in my case, my notches needed to face straight out from the faucet.  Like so…

Once these are on tightly, you simply place the handle on top and screw it in…

And wedge your covers over the screw…

Which left this…

The handles instantly update the fixture, giving it a much cleaner, sleeker look.   This quick, easy, and cheap update was totally worth it in my opinion.   And not having to deal with actual plumbing was a nice bonus for a total plumbing-wienie like myself.  Win-win!

So, next up, I have some wet-bar decor progress for ya.   You can sort of see some of the changes in the pic above, but (spoiler alert) it’s already changed from that since I took this pic thanks to a KILLER Craigslist find that I happily collected about a day ago.   I’m gonna start writing that post (maybe) today since it’s 28 degrees, icy, and a work-was-cancelled snow day here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Woot!).   So, anyways, stay warm, y’all!!  Till the next…

Wet-bar. Oh, the wet-bar.

Heehee! <-me laughing at myself.

Why? Well, what started as me simply painting the wet-bar cabinetry has resulted in the start of a full-on makeover.  Donchya just love it when that happens? ;)

First, let’s start at the beginning…


This was our wet-bar on the day we got possession of the house.   Kinda dated.   Kinda ugly.   Kind pointless (in my opinion).  Don’t get me wrong.  I have no problem with bars, it’s just that something about a sink in a living room just seems like an accident waiting to happen.  Like when my back is turned Lucas will decide to play “splashpark” or something of the like.   But regardless of my worries, we have it.  We own it.  It’s ours.  And we’re not taking it out.  So, we’re gonna make it work.  And heck, not only that, we’re gonna WORK IT.   Make it cool.  Snazzy.  The place to be.

So, once we finally had the keys to the kingdom house, we changed out the flooring and I accessorized a bit…


Better.   Still dated, but better.   Then, I painted the built-ins on the opposite side of the room, and it became glaringly obvious that I needed to paint the cabinets on the wet-bar to match.

So, I got going…

I used the exact same process for painting these cabinets as I did for the built-ins, so check out that post if you’d like more details.   Everything went smoothly with the painting process except that I could NOT for the life of me figure out how to remove the drawers.  I ended up having to leave them in there and paint around them, which definitely lengthened the process, but wasn’t too bad.    Once I got ‘er done, I decided that the crisp white cabinetry was awesome, but the new color emphasized just  how peach the countertops were.  Now, granted, I’ll be doing a concrete treatment to them soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to minimize the pastel quality as much as possible.

I’ve discussed how I removed the sidesplash in our old bathroom before, and decided that I should do it again here.  I basically wanted the wetbar to feel like more of a piece of furniture than a random sink in the living room, and removing the side-splashes would help with that.  We never really use the sink anyways, so I didn’t foresee moisture being a huge issue.  Again, I followed the exact same process that I used back then, so check out that post if you’d like more details (sorry… this is a long post already, so I just wanna prevent it from becoming a novel if I can). Plus, those other posts are pretty detailed.

Now, I’m just gonna say this… Our house is weird.

The things we would’ve loved to have been completed right (Ahem!  An intact roof, plumbing without leaks, a front door that closes. etc.), were done halfway.   Something like our fugly sidesplashes? Built like a friggin’ tank.  You wouldn’t believe the time and effort it took me to get here…

It took me about an hour and a half and much sweat and muscle to pry those suckers from the wall.   The process toughened me.  Aged me.   In the end, I looked like this…

That, my friends, is the face of victory.  Also known as, sidesplash-you-are-my-bit#%-face.

Once the side-splashes were off, I decided that I wanted the backsplash off as well.  But, we couldn’t remove the backsplash without first removing the mirror, so….

Which left this original wallpaper….

Psychedelic, baby.

I might’ve considered keeping the wallpaper had it been in better shape.  Unfortunately, it was riddled with glue and screw holes.  So, I got to removing it.   I pried off the backsplash first, which didn’t put up a quarter of the fight that the side-splashes did, and peeled off the wallpaper…


Excuse the attire.  I’d just been jogging, which seems to motivate me to make split-second decisions about removing large mirrors, apparently.  Anyways, the wallpaper was surprisingly easy to remove.   It literally peeled off the wall in large pieces without ANY prep.  I just pulled at it and off it came.   Kinda scary when you think of how heavy the mirror was and how the entire weight of the mirror was simply glued to the wallpaper.   Not only that, the glass shelves were screwed into the wall, but not a single screw was attached to a stud.  The screws were simply sitting in drywall with no anchors whatsoever.  When we tried to unscrew them, they just spinned in place aimlessly since they weren’t actually gripping anything to begin with.

Once the wallpaper was gone  (I totally kept some of the larger, intact pieces to use for art somewhere), the wet-bar looked like this…

I made a very small effort to remove the wallpaper glue residue from the wall.   This is a really important step if you’re looking for smooth walls.  BUT, since I knew our plan was to tile this wall anyways, and I saw how much work removing the glue would be, I decided to leave the glue and simply patch and prime the wall.   This is what I used to patch…

(Note:  It was NOT ready to sand or paint in 30 minutes.  It took substantially longer than that to dry.)  It was lightweight and really easy to work with for the most part, though.   I simply troweled it on, waited for it to dry, sanded it smooth with a sanding block, and repeated the process a second time.   The wall looked like this when I was done….

I then caulked the gap between the counter and wall with paintable caulk…

Then, I primed the wall with shellac primer…

Unlike our other homes, we actually have smooth walls in this house, which is pretty rare for Texas.  The wall behind the wet-bar, though… NOT smooth.  Namely because I didn’t remove the glue.  But again, we’ll be tiling the wall, so it’ll be fine.  Once the primer was dry, I applied two coats of wall paint (Gallery Grey by Kelly-Williams).  And here’s where we ended up…

Now, I’ll be honest.  I kind of missed the mirror once it was gone.   The wall seemed so plain and generic without it.   And really, I never had a problem with it.  It was kind of retro.  But, then I reminded myself that (1) The mirror wasn’t the safest feature in our house, having seen how insecurely it was mounted, and (2) we aren’t done yet.  I need to learn not to second guess our decisions in the middle of a project.  The middle never makes sense.

So, basically, the plan for the wet-bar is as follows:

1. Change out the faucet handles to update the fixture on the cheap

2. Coat the countertop in concrete and seal that puppy up.  Once this is done and the tone of grey concrete is apparent, we can…

3. …Choose tile to install on the entire wall behind the wet bar (anybody have a wet-saw we can borrow?).   I’m thinking some kind of glass mosaic tile or maybe marble?   Once this is done, we’ll…

4. …Add a large framed mirror to bounce some light around.  And the piece de resistance.,,,

5. Install two pendant lights above the bar for additional light and style.

Woop-AH!  (That’s a whip sound) (which made sense in my head) (but now, not so much) (thanks for sticking with me) (loveyou)

So, anyways, I’ve already changed out the faucet handles, reattached the cabinet doors, and accessorized the area as a Phase One step to tide us over until the other improvements are complete.   I’ll have a post about that up soon…  I just didn’t want to overload y’all in one post, so I’m spreading the love.  Next, I’ll be concreting the countertop (yes, I totally verb-ized ‘concrete’).  And I already know which pendants I want.  We just need to get them and install junction boxes in the ceiling.   I can’t WAIT to get this all done and see it come together.  I’m pretty excited about it.

So, have any of y’all started a “small” project as of late which snowballed into a big one?  Tell me about it!!

The porch project

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed our backyard.   Last we spoke about it, I had just sealed and enhanced our terracotta patio…

Well, let me tell ya…. A LOT has gone down since then.   A. LOT. (<-said like Loyd of Dumb & Dumber)  And I had absolutely nothing to do with it.  It was ALL Joey.  Thus, this post is more of a progress report than a how-to since I didn’t actually participate.  I just watched with admiration through the window.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.  ;)

Basically, the changes all began with a drainage problem on our back porch.   Starting a few months ago, whenever it would rain, the water would approach the house, sometimes coming within a foot of it.  No bueno.  Joey tried to declog our existing french drains with pretty much every method he researched, but to no avail.

So, around Christmas, he spent days digging a trench and installing a drain at the west end of our porch (Ahem!  A 200-foot trench in 20 degree weather), which resulted in this nicely graveled-in drain…

That helped the flooding on that side of the porch, but as we came to find out several weeks later when it rained again, the other side continued to flood.   So, he spent many, many more days out there removing the crazy-heavy railroad ties, and installing another drain, along with a sump pump (a pump that forces the water through the drain and out to the street).

So, picture this.  He’s just spent all this time.  WEEKS working on this. Our back yard is all torn apart as you can see here…


He’s exhausted and sore, but had FINALLY finished and was starting to put the yard back together again.   I get home from work and Joey meets me out on the driveway. He has a look on his face that I could only describe as “livid shock”.

Joey: “So, guess what?”

Me: “What? Are you okay?”

Joey: “No.  You’re never gonna believe this.”

Me: “What?”

Joey: “Ya know that weird electrical box on the porch post that we thought had something to do with the pool?”

Me: “Yeah, what about it?”

Joey: “Well, after I finished clearing things up back there, I took another look at it.  There was a GFI plug that had been tripped and needed to be reset, so I pushed the button to reset it.  And I heard humming coming from underground.  So, I started digging.  (pause)……..Turns out, we already have a sump pump.  And it works.  It works great.  It was just off.  Which explains the flooding.  ….I did ALL THAT WORK for NOTHING.”

O.M.G. Never have I wanted to cry for another person more.  Poor (handsome, handsome) man.

Basically, the sump pump had been buried underground about two feet which is why we never knew about it.   The existing drains weren’t clogged, the sump pump had simply turned off when the GFI plug had tripped, which explained the recent floods we’d been having (our porch hadn’t flooded for the first few months after we moved in).  Since we didn’t know we had a sump pump or that this electrical box controlled it…

(we were told by our inspector that the plug likely had something to do with the pool pump), we didn’t think to check the switch.  So, when Joey attempted to connect power to the new sump pump via that switch, he discovered it. UGH.  Painful, right??  I guess that’s what you get with old houses, though.  You just never know what’s been done before you.

So, now that we knew that the drainage problem was taken care of, we had the issue of the missing retaining wall next to the porch to contend with.   Joey was NOT going to put those nasty rotting railroad ties back, so we ended up getting stackable retaining wall stones from Lowes for about 1.78 a pop.

Joey did the whole wall himself, and I have to say that he did a fabulous job.   He said that the most difficult part was ensuring the bottom row was level in every direction.  He used sand beneath the bottom row to act as a bed for the stones and placed them down, moving them around until they were level and straight.  Then, he used more sand to back-fill each row behind the stones. To ensure that he had a straight line, he tied some rope between the columns of the patio as a guide…


We still have to get a topper for the wall (the cement pavers are just placeholders… They’re destined for another part of our yard), but here’s where he ended up with the wall…


The above shot was taken before he added a second level to the left side, which can be seen here…

He’s going to add a few more stones (once we buy them… we ran out) to even it up with the right side…

Then, we’ll be planting bushes and ground covering beyond the retaining wall to make it feel cozy and lush.

Here’s the before pictures just for reference…

I’m so impressed with him. Seriously. Other updates that he’s taken on include this screen that he built to camouflage our HVAC unit…

We based this screen on a picture that I found on Pinterest.   It’s L-shaped to still allow access to the unit, but makes it much less of an eyesore from the porch. We still have to touch up some of the stain on the corners and add one more plank to the bottom.  Then, we’ll landscape around it with bushes and gravel.   It’s sweet already, but it’ll be awesome when it’s done.    You’ll also note a start to the path we’re creating beside the screen (that’s where those rectangular pavers on top of the retaining wall will come in).  This path will go all the way around the house and will be bordered in and filled with gravel around the pavers.

That pile of decrepit wood that you see in the back of the shot is a portion of our old fence (which’ll be taken to the dump soon).   Every part of our fence has been replaced at some point in time except for this one.  It literally had 2 foot gaps in it.  It was original to the house and was rotting, and completely falling apart.  Joey replaced it recently for both aesthetic and security reasons. You can see the new fence here…

Once the menagerie of half-done projects are finished, we’ll be boxing in the columns on the porch and staining them the same color as the HVAC screen to emulate stained wood posts. Eventually all of the railroad ties along the fence will be replaced as well. I’m getting really excited about everything. And more impressed by Joey by the day.

Our porch is still in disarray as I type this, thus I have no pretty “after” shots this time.   Our pool is getting drained today in preparation for resurfacing (I’ll write another post about that) and we anticipate a bunch of dust in the process, so we’re waiting until that’s done to clean and get everything situated.   The coping needs to be replaced around the pool (ugh) and the most cost-effective option is flagstone.  The reason why I’m mentioning this now is that our plan for the retaining wall topper is to use coordinating flagstone to tie the two elements together.   Once the coping is in, we can choose our topper and get that hammered out.   And once that’s done, we can actually start to use our porch again.   (And celebration, complete with jumping and giggles (from me) will ensue)

So, anyways, y’all have a great Monday.  I have much in store for you in the posts ahead.  I’ve had a busy weekend (Heeheeheehee!)… ;)

Easy Industrial Pipe Toilet Paper Dispenser – Monthly DIY Challenge

HappyDance!! It’s that time again. Time for what??! Time for our Monthly DIY Challenge. The Monthly event where several bloggy friends and I are assigned a specific theme or item which we must simply make something with.


This month’s mission??? Plumbing parts.

Unlike our previous few challenges, I instantly knew what I wanted to do for this one. I was going to make a toilet paper dispenser and matching shelf for our newly-painted, blank slate of a pool bath…


Actually, blank slate may have been an understatement. Literally. The room had nothing in it but a trash can and a basket of toilet paper (andatoilet). It needed help. And a butt-load of function. That’s a measurement, right?? A butt-load?? Heehee!  I say yes.

Anyways, unfortunately, around the time that I was supposed to be working on these projects, I came down with a stomach bug which drastically limited my functional capacity. Thus, the wood for my shelf didn’t get cut, sanded, stained, and finished as planned. So, the shelf will be a project for another day. And it WILL happen. I already have the stuff. Plus, now that I’ve seen how cool the toilet paper dispenser looks, I just wanna spread the cool. Like a stomach bug. ….No.  Kidding. That’s gross. I do NOT want to spread a stomach bug. And to my knowledge, nobody else had caught mine. Swear. Only healthy bellies in these parts. Lots of stellar digestion goin’ on.  Ehrm.. How did I get here? Sheesh. People are READING this, Christina. Oy.  Moving on…

Today, allow me to present you with my super simple, industrial toilet paper dispenser (permasmile plus tooth-sparkle, aaaaaand wink!)…


Eh? Eh??

Pretty cool, right??? Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it was the Easiest.Project.Ever. No joke.

I simply purchased these items from Lowes….


– 1/2″ floor flange
– 1/2″ cap
– 1/2″ x 6″ nipple
-1/2″ x 1 1/2″ nipple
-1/2″ 90degree elbow
(All were in the black steel color)

And washed them thoroughly, because dang… They were greasy…


Once they were dry, I simply did the following…









And then attached the holder to the wall with anchors and screws (using a level to ensure it was installed straight… It was.  Despite my slightly crooked picture).


Now, for a REEEEALLY important life question… Can you really call it a “beauty shot” if it involves toilet paper? …I say yes again.






So, five minutes was all it took to add function and style that mustn’t be reckoned with to our pool bath.  Serious style.  With muscles.  And possibly a Mom tattoo on his forearm.   ;)

Now, do yourself a solid and check out the other awesome projects created by my lovely peers…

Found a rug!!!!

You guys.

Mission Find-Living-Room-Rug = Complete!

And ya know what’s funny?? When I wrote this post and stated “I think the biggest thing will be simply FINDING the rug”, well, I’d already found it.

I just didn’t know it yet.

Ya see, I have a Tuesday Morning roughly a mile from our house. I love that store. They have really nice stuff for pretty good prices. I’d been in and outta there many times over the past few months and each time, I noticed this grey, nubby rug for sale. It was on the floor, all rolled up in plastic.

Each time, I’d look at it. Note that it was the perfect size (8×11… Which was the minimum size that would work in our space) and that I liked the color. The label said it was a herringbone pattern, which I thought would be neat. But each time, I walked out without it. For whatever reason, I thought the grey was too dark for our space. Plus, the $299 price tag was hard for me to swallow.

Fast forward to several weeks later… I’ve now done lots of research on rugs. And know how expensive anything larger than an 8×10 can be. The built-ins are now painted white which gives me a much better idea of what’ll work in the space. I go back to Tuesday Morning. The grey rug is still there.  It’s now unrolled and hanging on their large rug rack. Now, I can truly see the color. It looks lighter than I remembered it. It.May.Just.Work. And the price tag now states $249 (original price $699) — That’s 65% off the original price!!!  Having done my research, I know that this is a good deal. The tag says it’s jute but feels more like cotton or wool to the touch. Very soft. Good quality.

But still, I leave without it.

I go home.

I tell Joey about the rug. He knows ALL about the rug-hunt and how pricey they can be but states that if it’s a nice rug that’ll last us, it’s worth it.

He picks my brain a bit about what the rug looks like, then goes to pick up a few things from the grocery store for dinner.

And he returns with the rug.

Did I marry well, or what? I’d been sick the previous few days (my trip to Tuesday Morning had been my first attempt to leave the house) so he thought it would make me feel better. It did.

The rug is the perfect shade of grey. The herringbone texture adds just enough interest without being distracting. And the size… Perfect.

The couch sits on the rug entirely with a few inches to spare on each side. Once we had it down on the floor, I stared at it in wonderment as it made the room feel about 30x cozier. It was like the floor was wearing a luscious cable-knit sweater. Plus, the grey tones pull from the grey dining chairs nicely, tying the rooms together.

(Pretend that the yellow transformer on the table isn’t there) 

And I love that you can actually SEE the rug from this angle…

(And ignore the green ball, too… Any other moms out there just stop seeing the toys after a while even though they’re right there in plain sight??) 

Before, our rug was so small, that you couldn’t.   And now that the old rug is gone, that’s one less brown-toned item in the space.

I’m actually thinking about painting our coffee table white to add some contrast but I haven’t quite decided. Thoughts?

So, anyways, that’s the story about how a beautiful, awesome rug found a home.  Next up in this space will be revamping the wet-bar, hanging art, etc. plus, we’re thinking of some of the longer term, down-the-road type projects like adding overhead lighting, a solar tube, etc.  Slowly but surely we’re getting there with this space and the rug was a big piece of the puzzle, so I’m ecstatic that we found it..

Paint the town white

White paint for everyone!

All the things will be painted white!


At least that’s how it seems lately, anyways.   And I’m not complaining.  This lightly-shaded mayhem began with the transformation of our dining table, and now our built-ins have gotten the blanco treatment.  And there’s more to come. Just you wait.  :D

White is one of those lovely shades (remember in school when they referred to white and black as shades, rather than colors?? This has never left me. I remember the weirdest things.) Anyhoo, regardless of the verbage, white is classic, clean, and still leaves plenty of room for character to seep through while modernizing the item in question. And that was exactly my goal with the built-ins. Maintain character while modernizing and brightening the space.

As a refresher, when we purchased our home, the built-ins looked like this…

They were stained a 1970’s wood tone… and don’t even get me started on those nose-cabinets.  Not only this, the finish was a thick, high-gloss shellac that was drippy and uneven….

The instant we saw these built-ins during our initial showing, I knew they needed to be white.   They were SCREAMING for it.  And so was the fireplace.  After all, he was the showstopper of the space.  The built-ins were basically zapping him of energy, what with them matching almost perfectly.  The fireplace deserved to be the star-attraction and painting the built-ins white would allow him to fulfill his destiny.

So, after more than a few pep-talks (3monthsworth) to motivate myself, I got going.   I’ll admit, I was sort of dreading the process.  The finish used on the built-ins was super glossy and clearly oil-based.  This meant that they would require mucho prep work to ensure an even, long-lasting finish.

I started by removing all the doors and labeling them both on the door behind the hinge (because I knew I wouldn’t need to paint over it)…

I also labeled the brown paper used to protect our floors under each corresponding cabinet….

Then, I sanded.

My goal was to rough up the surface so that my primer would adhere well.  I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper and hand sanded the crevices.   I sanded the doors and shelves outside to help minimize the dust indoors….

To be on the safe side, I also wiped down the entire piece with some liquid deglosser (as shown in this old pic)….


I simply wiped off all the dust with a few Swiffer rags first, then applied a nice, generous coat of deglosser (I just wiped it on with a lint-free rag).  Once it was dry, I carefully cleaned everything off with some tack cloth to remove any residual dust and dirt.

Next, came my favorite primer…


Zinsser shellac primer.  It sticks to anything, prevents bleed-through like a champ, and you can topcoat it with anything.  Plus, it dries fast and can be topcoated within 45 minutes.   Ever since this experience, I’ve used this primer on any project that I’ve ever painted white and have yet to be disappointed.

Once the primer was dry, I topcoated it with this paint in Extra White Semi-gloss….

ProClassic® Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel

Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t so kind to this paint in this post when I first tried it, but it’s grown on me.   It really is very good paint that leaves a relatively smooth finish. Plus, this one gallon has lasted me through many a project.   I ended up doing 3-4 thin and even coats with a foam roller to get everything perfectly uniform (3 on the doors, 4 on the unit).  I used a 2 1/2 inch angled brush for the crevices and to edge the units.   My favorite is the Wooster brush… it just covers so well and with great accuracy.

Once all was said and done, I let everything cure for 5 days before putting it all back together.   I usually wait at least a week to be sure, but my impatience got to me this time (baddiyer!).

So you don’t have to scroll back up, here’s the before again…

And here she is now…

This view from the dining space is now SO much brighter…

Being that it started out here..


And this view of the living room is less brown now as well…

What’s funny is, I’d totally planned on filling in the middle hardware holes and drilling new ones at more traditional placements, but once I found the streamline knobs from Anthropologie and tried them out, I decided to keep the holes as is.


Both Joey and I were sold.   They just looked so cool in the middle of the door.  Sleek.  Different.   Color me shocked by this revelation.

Seriously, though.  Aren’t they snazzy?  And I have to admit… I feel pretty swanky now that I own something from Anthropologie.  Heehee!  Are you impressed by my trendiness??  ;)   The knobs were a bit pricier than I’m used to at $6 a pop, but they MAKE the piece.  In my eyes it was totally worth the splurge. Plus, this makeover was pretty cheap overall since I already had the paint and primer.  And I decided to reuse the original hinges since they meshed with the new knobs (which was another money-saver).

I just love how the units now contrast with the fireplace, making both elements pop in their own way…

As for styling, I tried to keep it simple to prevent the unit from becoming too busy.  I used mainly neutral colors with a few pops to tie everything in to the surrounding rooms…

I couldn’t be happier about how these built-ins turned out.   They’re light, bright, but still have some of that 1970’s charm.   And now they royally put our wet-bar to shame…

Being that this guy is on the opposite wall in the same room, he’ll be painted next to match.  And I have a fun idea to try with the counter top as well.  Things are happening, guys.   Things are happening…   ;)

And now I’m signing off… Until next time!  :)


Anybody else here quote How I Met Your Mother like ya mean it?

Yeah?? Yeah??

But, um…  Literally!  Legen (wait for it) dary!

Um, I do.  HIMYM speak has joined my repertoire of Elf, Dumb & Dumber, and many others that round out the 90% of things I say that aren’t original.  I’m a strong believer in not reinventing the wheel.  So, I don’t.  ;)

Anyhoo, my lovely post title is actually in response to the awesome new/old piece of furniture that we’re lucky enough to call ours.   Joey’s parents have had this amazing antique lawyer’s cabinet in their home for a while now.  And every time I visited their house, I drooled.  It was just so neat.  Dapper.  With character. Not something you see in every household. Like, if the cabinet was a person, he’d be dressed in a turn-of-the-century tuxedo with top hat, saying things like “by the by” and “fortnight”.  Ya know, all that “olden times” speak that I have to look up every few words.  Totally.  He’s one smooth dude.   So, imagine my excitement when Mac (my mother-n-law), sent me an email asking if I wanted the cabinet as she’d found a replacement for it.  Yeah, I was pretty excited.

After figuring out where it would go in our house, I happily said yes, and before I knew it, this lovely beast was in our home. More specifically, in our foyer…

I just love it.  It’s old and has been painted a few times.  And that paint is chipping in some places.  But, I really actually like it that way.  The old, chipping paint adds character and charm.  So, it’s staying.  Decor-wise, I wanted to add some modern elements to balance out the more traditional lines…

My DIY pop-art from our previous home’s mudroom ended up working perfectly with the cabinet.  Then, I simply added my green painted baskets for storage, a few inexpensive galvanized buckets, a photo, some books, and called it a day.

I love how the cabinet fits the space perfectly without crowding it.

I can’t wait to see this guy in action once our new front door is installed (and that boob light is nothing but a faint memory).  The contrast of traditional vintage with sleek modern will be even more apparent once that stuff is complete.  All with my round jute rug to warm it up and add some coziness.   In my opinion, that contrast in style (ie: modern vs. vintage) really makes the other stand out in its own right.  (You can see more about my opinion on vintage vs. modern here.)

In any case, I’m loving the direction that the foyer is taking thanks to this awesome piece of furniture.  And so is Joey.  When I showed him the space as it is now, he couldn’t stop talking about how much he liked it.   Total win!  So, thanks Mac!  You’ve made my day (and our foyer!).

TDC Before and After

Turning a dresser into a media stand

Last we’d left off with our newest family member Craigslist find, I’d just divulged the story of a sweet, sweet man who’d sold me this lovely mid-century Bassett dresser and made my New Years complete…

I knew immediately that I wanted this beauty to serve as a media stand in our living room, so we tried him out in the space to be sure he’d work.  As anticipated, I LOVED the result (He fit right in.  Made friends immediately.), so we got to work transforming him into a media stand.

We began by removing those wooden mirror supports (shown in the pic above).  Then, Joey drilled large holes in the back of both the dresser and the top drawers to allow space for wires to escape and ventilation to ensue…


Then, we purchased this puppy for $30 from Radioshack…

This IR repeater allows you to hide your media equipment behind closed drawers (or doors… whatever floats your boat) while still being able to operate the remote control.  The only external evidence of this smart little device is a small eye which is attached to the TV….

I have to say, it works pretty well.  Not perfect by any means, but that’s okay.  We have to point the remote at crazy angles sometimes to get it to work, but really, it hasn’t been much of an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  I’ll gladly take a little remote control gymnastics over having our media equipment exposed.

All-in-all, when we purchased it, the dresser was in pretty good shape.  Some scratches and imperfections in the finish (which is to be expected of a 50+ year old dresser) and three small missing areas of veneer on the side (Note: I’d already “blended” the missing areas in the middle and left of this pic when I snapped this shot… they were quite light-colored and glaring prior to this)….

To help camouflage these areas, I simply used some oil pastels…

And simply layered and blended the colors until I had a close enough match…

I tried using stain and a permanent marker prior to this, but neither worked well.  The oil pastels were great because I could just keep layering and adding color until I achieved a match.  And the more I added, the smoother the areas looked and the more they matched the dresser in terms of texture as well as color.   In the end, I was left with this…


It’s not perfect, but these areas definitely blend much more.  I barely notice them from afar.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the camera makes these spots appear more noticeable than they are in person.  So squint when you look at these shots.  Heehee!  I will say that prior to using pastels, the missing veneer grated at my nerves every time I walked past.  Now, I barely see it.  So, we’re cool. Thus, I’ve placed the stink-eye back into hibernation mode…


And here’s our dresser in action…


COULDN’T.LOVE.IT.MORE.   It’s like this dresser was born to reside in our living room.   It takes up less space than our previous media cabinet, thus, makes the room feel bigger.  And it balances the console table on the opposite side of the space perfectly.  Plus, the era of the dresser suits the 1970’s vibe of the room better than its more modern predecessor.  I heart you, dresser.  You sexy, sexy beast.

As for our living room…. it’s definitely coming along, though there’s still more to do.   I’m on a perpetual hunt for a larger rug for the space.  Our little postage stamp of a 5×8 just isn’t cutting it…

This space is quite cavernous compared to the smaller, cozy living room in our last house.  And I love it, but the decor needs definitely change when the scale of the room does.  I’m currently on the lookout for a rug large enough to fit the entire couch on top of it (likely a 9×12), so wish me luck with that.  Big rug, decent quality, little price tag.  This is my mission.  Well, my secondary mission.   I’m also putting forth effort to de-brown the space.  I realize that this makes no sense being that I just moved a new brown piece of furniture into the room, but hear me out…

Since taking these pics, I’ve finished painted the built-ins beside the fireplace and am now in the process of putting everything back together.  I’m giddy each time I see it.  Y’all… painting it was SO the right decision.  I can’t wait to show you.   The rug that I ultimately choose won’t be in the brown family either –possibly grey undertones or something with a pop of color.   Then, I’m tossing around the idea of moving the coffee table into the hang-out room and replacing it with something either white or with a pop of color (depending on the rug we end up with).  Or maybe a sleek glass table would be nice.  Something with a metal base.   My next painting project will be to paint the wet bar cabinets (seen two pictures up) white to match our new-and-improved built-ins.  Ultimately, I want the only major brown items in the room to be the fireplace and the media stand.  The two items that deserve the attention most.  I also have some crazy-cool artwork that needs to be hung around the television.

I know it seems like a lot when I’m listing it off in writing, but this stuff really excites me, so it doesn’t seem like much to me at all.  I think the biggest thing will be simply FINDING the rug.  The rest will come together after that.

So, anyways, that’s the plan, Stan!  I hope everyone has a safe and fabulous Superbowl weekend!!   What projects do you have going right now??

TDC Before and After

Our guest bath and a little lead scare

Remember this guy??  Our guest bath???


He now looks like this…

Kind of the same. Just accessorized.  But, in my opinion, also kinda charming.  Even I was surprised by this fact.  I became super giddy as I saw the room coming together, and realized that I actually liked what I saw (forthemostpart).

This room, along with our master coffin bath, will be getting full-on renovations down the line (If you’d like to see what I mean by “coffin” check out the master bath pics in our house tour.  Then, you’ll know.).  I’m not quite sure what the responsible party was thinking when they installed a black tub, sink and tile in this room.  I mean it’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.  Watermarks galore.  It’s like one of those ghost shows… I clean the spots, smile at my newly sparkling sink/tub, turn my head, look back and they’ve reappeared.  Out of NOWHERE.  This room may very well defy the laws of physics.  Or perhaps it’s like Room 1408.  Plotting to drive me insane.  Spoiler Alert: It’s working.

Aside from the color, we’re just not fans of the black pedestal sink in general….

Like at all. It’s a little too ornate for our taste and provides ZERO storage.  Whatsoever.   We’ve been scoping out other options for vanities with storage and plan to replace the sink at some point.  This bathroom also came equipped with brass fixtures, which I actually kind of like.  They’re sort of vintage-y, which I totally dig.

But, unfortunately, they’re gonna have to go. Remember WAY back in this post, I alluded to the fact that we found lead in the house??  Well, we found it in the brass fixtures and corresponding brass pipes that extend to the wall where it meets the copper piping….

For anyone purchasing a house that was built before 1978, it’s recommended that you get the house tested for lead. We didn’t know this until after we moved in, so I purchased this lead tester kit from Home Depot for 9 bucks.

Basically you just pinch the spots on the sticks marked “A” and “B” until you hear them pop, then squeeze/shake until yellow liquid appears in the tip. Then, you simply rub the end of the stick into any areas of cracked paint, window frames, pipes, whatever. Anywhere that may pose a lead risk. You can use the same stick repeatedly unless you get a positive result, which is when the tip turns red….

This was taken after I tested the brass pipes in the guest bath. I’ve been told that the tip will turn bright red when there’s sufficient lead present, so the fact that it only turned slightly red was better than it could’ve been.  But that didn’t make me feel much better, to be honest.

Of course, I immediately took to the internet to figure out what to do. Ultimately, we need to replace the pipes and fixtures. But I’ll admit… I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do when I discovered this guy in the shower….

It has just two plumbing accesses for hot and cold water and NO plumbing for the tub spigot (the water-flow stems off of the hot and cold knobs)…

And there’s also NO plumbing for the mis-matched shower head….

That would be a hand-held showerhead that is also connected to the main tub unit.  It’s simply mounted to the wall on a bracket.  All water stems from the main tub unit.

After a bit of research I found this potential replacement…


It’s totally not my style, but it’s lead-free and will fit our current plumbing situation, so I sent this photo to Joey via text.  He responded that he’d “better demo the bathroom soon” (so we wouldn’t need to buy this fixture).  He actually thought I was joking when I first suggested it because it’s so far off from our usual style.

So, needless to say, we haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’m hoping to find a more modern fixture that still suits the style of the house and isn’t over $400.  That’s the problem… any modern fixture with similar plumbing accesses is super expensive.   So, the hunt is on.   Down the line when we tear this puppy apart (ie: buh-bye black tile), we’ll replumb for a standard tub/shower set which will open up many more possibilities.

I’m also still on the lookout for a sink faucet, but I want whatever we choose to coordinate with the tub fixture, so we have to get that decision hammered out first.    Because we’ll also have to replace the pipes beneath the sink at the same time as the faucet, we’d like to swap out the pedestal sink for a vanity with storage at the same time, to be sure that the pipes align correctly.  See how that happens???  A simple faucet swap turns into a reno.  Just.Like.That.

In the meantime, since the brass is still present, we’ve educated ourselves on the precautions to take to limit our lead exposure…

1. Let the tap water run before using it until a temperature change is noted.  This indicates that any water sitting in the pipes has been flushed out.

2. Wash Lucas’s hands in another sink and use fresh, filtered water (not tap) to brush his teeth.

The remaining tips don’t really apply to the bathroom, but since we found lead in the house, we’ve been extra cautious in the kitchen as well.  So, when it comes to cooking…

3. We never use hot tap water for cooking, boiling, etc.   Supposedly, the heat can cause more lead to detach from the pipes (if there is lead in the pipes — our pipes are copper, so they should be fine, though better safe than sorry.).

4. After performing research, we’ve been testing out different water filters.   We tried a Zerowater filtration pitcher, which is certified to remove lead from drinking water.   We let the tap water run until there was a temperature change, then filtered our water.  We used this water for cooking and drinking…. well, that is until the filter crapped out.  We only used it for about a month and the water started tasting NASTY.  The filter comes with a water tester so that you can see how clean your water is and the “filtered water” came out dirtier than the tap.   So, needless to say, I’m not sold on this filter.

Joey then installed an under-the-sink filter that’s certified for lead removal.   And he installed both a filter in the pipe behind the fridge and a heavier-duty filter inside the fridge for double filtration. Hopefully, these actions will keep our lead exposure to a minimum.

So, with that covered, I’m gonna jump back to bathroom decor…


I ordered a long (84″) shower curtain from Amazon.   I wish I could raise the curtain higher, but that blasted soffit limits that, unfortunately.  I cant wait to tear that sucker outta there.  I added some simple white towels, a wire basket with a faux plant, a small rug, and a stool which comes in extra handy when bathing Lucas.

I still need to add artwork to the wall with the stool, but I’m marinating on what to hang.  I’d also like to change the wall color.  The current paint is a flat finish (never good for a bathroom), and the walls are quite dirty in spots.  I have to say, though… despite the room’s obvious maladies, I’m okay with it for now.  I mean, sure, I’d never CHOOSE a black tub or sink. #leastpracticalever, but it’s definitely a conversation piece and it looks semi-cute with the white shower curtain and slate tile (whenitsclean).  It’ll definitely be fun to start planning the reno, though, once some of the other more pressing issues with the house are taken care of.   And we plan to come up with a solution for those faucets soon, to get them outta there.

Next up, I’ll finally be working on my post for our new mid-century dresser turned media stand.  Aaaaaand this weekend, I painted our 1970’s built-in!!  Our living room is still all crazy since everything needs to cure before I reattach the doors and such, but y’all… it looks SO good so far.   Way better than that badly shellacked 70’s wood tone.   I can’t wait to share.

So, do any of you guys have any other tips for dealing with lead?  I’m all ears eyes…

TDC Before and After