September 2013


Hi friends!

There is a chill in the morning air, I have a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee in my hand, and we’re plotting a trip to the pumpkin patch.  Fall is lovely right now.

Here’s a few gems I found on my local (Cincinnati) Craigslist this week.  See what you think.  I also have a few tips for how I mine CL for the best and most useful things.

1. Buffet/server/sideboard.  This piece is classic, can be used in a million different ways and rooms, and did I mention it’s $60?

 Put it in a foyer or front hall with a beautiful lamp and a mirror. This piece from the Turquoise Iris looks so gorgeous.

Use it in a bathroom as a vanity – just add a sink – there are tutorials all over Pinterest.
It just so happens that the super talented Traci and her husband Cy over at Beneath my Heart found almost the exact same piece as the one I picked this week.  It’s in their master bath and it looks like a million bucks.

Or put your TV on it and have the classiest media stand around, like Carrie at Hooked on Decorating did.  (Again, almost the exact same piece – so cool!) I love that she took out the top drawer for technology stuff and had a piece of glass cut to fit the top.  Fantastic.

PS – tip #1 look at the other stuff in the picture/listing.  Be observant.  The other items this seller has – table and chairs, etc. are all awesome!

2. Vintage Gun Cabinet.

Stay with me.  Look at it for a minute.  What else does it look like to you?

It screamed hallway bench to me.  Apparently I’m not alone! Ericka at Rose Colored Glasses did exactly that.

Her piece rocks!

3. Pick up this entry bench for $20.  It looks like it’s in great shape.

Yes, you can use it in the front hall or mudroom.  But a la Pottery Barn, you can also stick it at the foot of a bed

or use it as a coffee table. It’s $20!!

4. Waterfall hutch

This can be turned into a lovely storage and display piece for just about any room.  Just as shown at The Weathered Door. Charming.

Tips for searching Craiglist with the best results?  Use the CraigsPro app.  It’s far better than the actual website.  You can set up searches and it will notify you when there is a match.  You can also mark your favorites (which you can do online, too.)

Use the search limiting functions.  I usually start my searches looking only at items that are listed from $5 to $75.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when people put $1 in the cost for the listing, so I just start above there.  Sort from the lowest price up, then check the most recent listings.  But don’t forget to check the oldest listings.  If the item is still around, the seller may be very willing to negotiate and get rid of the thing they’re selling!  Once you’ve skimmed through the items up to $75, you can then go higher if you want.  Remember – the price is just what the seller is asking.  It by no means is what you are required to pay…it’s all up for negotiation, unless the seller says the price is firm.

Check different sections – Antiques, Furniture, General, Household, and yes, Garage Sale.  People list stuff everywhere, it seems.

Use keywords: cabinet, bookshelf/shelves, hutch, storage, drawers, and wood are all some of my go-to’s.

If you want to see if you can get a better price than what’s listed, I have found a good way is to simply write, “Would you be willing to work with me at all on price, please?” and then offer to pick the item up at their convenience.
Hard to say no to that… in my opinion. :-)

Hope Fall is fantastic wherever you are.


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Happy Friday!

Since my last Craigslist post, I had a friend contact me, and now one of my recommended CL finds is residing in my basement for her. :-) It’s even better in person!  
The sellers said it belonged to their Grandma and they never seemed to find the right place for it. They called it the pumpkin chair.  I expect you’ll see this in some fall sessions with the lovely and talented Emily Thies.
Now, onto some new finds!
I’m no vintage expert, and I cannot even for certain tell you the difference between wicker and rattan.  But I can tell you this old thing can still look fresh and modern, in a living room, on a covered porch… it just works.

Here’s the stool version. A set of two for $400 on Etsy.

You can leave the wicker as-is and it will work in almost any room.  Or, you can try this and give it a French vintage vibe.
2. You could use these $40 glass display cabinets for anything. 
Of course, paint them white and store your dishes.
Make them all rustic and keep towels in them in your bath.
Add a great vintage-looking graphic to the doors and go old school.
Or paint the inside purple and put all your shoes on display.
If you’re going to put a desk in a room, why not take advantage of the space above it – valuable real estate. A hutch like this does just that.  
I’m loving this minty green color.  
Very fresh.  Very Martha.  Might just make you want to sit down and pay the bills.
4. Here’s a waterfall dresser (called that because the top front edge is rounded like, well, a waterfall. 
Ahem.  Pick this thing up for $45 (it looks like it’s in great shape!) and do this.  I just love it.
5. Here’s another tip when you’re trolling Craigslist.  Every once in a while, go check the *Free section.  Yup, Free.  There will be lots of stuff like this:

BUT.  Every once in a while, there will be stuff like THIS:

Or these:

The *asterisk with these listings is that the good stuff often goes FAST.  You kind of have to be willing to get into your car the second you see something good.  But, hey.  It’s free.

That’s all for now.
No go forth and SAFELY start shopping the world’s pre-loved items.  Make me proud!


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It’s week FOUR, people, and things are hoppin’ in this bathroom.

Did I already mention that the toilet got re-installed?  Woo hoo! No more potty trips to the gas station for us. :-)

Besides that, we the last week putting up subway tile – and some coordinating white trim tile – from the tub all the way up to the ceiling.  It was my choice to run it all the way up.  It was a little extra work, but I don’t regret it one bit.

Getting the first, bottom row of tile straight was probably the most stressful part.  Shims – those little wood sticks – are crucial.  They kept the tiles from sliding down while the mortar was setting.  We used chalk lines and levels and our eyeballs to make sure nothing got out of line in that first row.

I chose subway tile for this bathroom for several reasons.  It is a great price performer.  Looks polished, fresh, and classic. It is the Little White Dress of kitchens and bathrooms as far as I am concerned.  I’ve used it before in two of my houses, and I’d use it again in a heartbeat.  White subway tile can do no wrong in my book.  When in doubt, use white subway tile.

These tiles were self-spacing, which just means they had slight ridges on the edges that save you from having to use spacers.  Just put your mortar on the back, and press it on the wall.  Slick it and stick it, as I like to say.  (Make sure it’s level, of course.)

Now it’s time for me to introduce you to my new bestie.  RIDGID’s 8 inch wet tile and paver saw and stand, which you can find at the Home Depot.

This thing rocks.  The tiles that needed to be cut for this bathroom were probably a couple hundred, including floor and walls.  Using an inferior machine to do that, or trying to rush because we had rented  one would not have been fun.

 The folks at RIDGID and the Home Depot supplied us with this saw, and I’m not sure I can adequately express how grateful we were to have it.  We wanted to do something good to help out our friend (she needed a new bathroom, badly in case you missed it.)  And RIDGID and the Home Depot decided to do something to help us (we needed a tile saw, badly.)  This is a win-win.

So…We marked where the tile needed to be cut.

Before turning the saw on, we lined the piece up with the blade to make sure it would be correct, and then we turned it on, lowered the blade, and smooth as silk, this thing took care of it.

Effortless, really.  I feel completely comfortable using this by myself, and am thrilled with the results.  And my Dad?   Let’s just say he petted the box when it arrived. LOL… what a fantastic tool to have in our “tool box” to pull off this job!  Thank you RIDGID and Home Depot!

It truly is one tile at a time, but it does move along pretty quickly – especially if you have several people – who can be measuring each space where a cut tile needs to go, making the cuts, putting mortar on the tiles, setting them into place, and making sure they stay where they need to be without any slipping.

The accent tile comes in a pre-cut set of four pieces, and we added a plain 4 inch white square to the center.  The rope trim is sold a single piece at a time.  All the tile came from the Home Depot.

Tiling this standard size tub all the way to the ceiling took us five solid days.  That’s two or three people working 5-7 hours per day.  It’s work.  But it is so do-able.   And the payoff is big. You know that advice that you should hang your window treatments as high up as possible to make a room feel larger?  I believe it worked here with tile, too.

A clean, white, unbroken space. I’m thrilled!

SO here’s my take-away.  If you have the ability to take accurate measurements, the patience to mix mortar and grout to the consistencies necessary for spreading, the attention to detail to make sure your pieces are level and straight, and the willingness to learn how to operate a good piece of machinery safely, then I say taking on a tile project is a MUST-DO.  It adds value to your home, and it will make you smile every time you walk into the room!

Next post, grout and beadboard!

Anne (and Ken and Keith)
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Hi friends!
You know I love Craigslist, probably more than the average bear.  It is a treasure trove of things just waiting to be reinvented, or used again.  As always remember that safety is the most important thing when shopping Craigslist!!  Be smart and safe and always take someone with you if you are picking an item up, and make sure someone knows where you are going and who you are expecting to meet.  That said, I don’t know any of the people selling these items.  I haven’t seen any of them in person.  So if you want to buy one of these things, just know I can’t personally vouch for them.  But I would buy each of them myself if I could. :-)

1.  It’s not furniture.  But it’s adorable and vintage and would look fantastic sitting on a table in a hallway somewhere.  Add a vase of flowers.  Be tempted to start that novel you’ve been meaning to write (this thing still works!)  Hint: if you’re not the novel-penning type, get a cool piece of card stock.  Type out a page full of “Happy Birthday from the Smiths,” cut them up, tie them on to gifts and look COOL.

2.  Run.  Do not walk.  And someone please go buy this chair.  Why, you ask?

Because you paint it a gorgeous creamy white, and join the ranks of happy people everywhere who have cheated the Pottery Barn Gods by stealing a look of theirs FOR $300 LESS.

3.  Fuzzy picture.  Clear winner.  This coffee table has loads of character, storage, and leaves you can pull up for more space with guests or with the kids to play a board game.

Paint it and show off all the great detail (like this one that looks like it sold for $225 on Etsy although the link is broken.)

4.  Find a cozy corner of your home, fill it with books, a blanket, and this chair.

Or this one.

But first, give it a fresh blue and red color scheme. Gorgeous, right?

5. Ok this last one requires a little imagination. But it would be a conversation piece for sure!
Pick up this unique side table.

Paint the body of it white like this one.

Then paint the faux book spines a soft beige, or mod podge some burlap onto them. Grab a stencil and some white paint.  Stay with me.
You would hopefully end up with a look like this on the spines:

Would that not be cool?!
I hope you can see that in your head as I can.

Now get out there and make something awesome!!


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We are into our third week of the Bathroom Reno and things are moving right along.

Dad, Keith and I spent a few days working on installing the tile for the floor.  I picked a 6″x6″ tile and the homeowner, Ms. H. agreed.  Going smaller than a 12″x12″ tile means more grout on the floor, which means better traction overall.

This is the tile, from Home Depot.  We needed 34 square feet.  It took several hours to lay it all down.  We laid them in a staggered pattern, to echo the subway tile that will be going in the shower.

 We ran them in straight lines, the length of the floor.  I think visually it helps make the space seem a bit larger.

 I chose Bone colored sanded grout, also from Home Depot.

Love, love, love how it turned out!!  Blends extremely well and the color will help hide some stains, cat hair, etc.

We let it set overnight and it’s good to go the next morning.  Woo hoo!!

Then Dad and I set out to create the cabinets that would become the built-in, recessed shelves.  Dad did all the measurements to make sure they would fit into the space available, and taking into account the thickness of the poplar wood we used, made sure we would get as much storage space as possible.

 I had to wear my sunglasses because we were cutting these in Dad’s basement and left all the safety goggles at the job site :-)

We used Dad’s table saw, and under his supervision, I learned how to make good cuts, counter-sink screws to hold the pieces together, and they turned out beautifully!  We set them in the wall just to make sure they fit.  They do!  We’ll wait until we move the old light fixture to secure them in the wall but it was great to see them in even temporarily!

The space right below the shelves is where the toilet goes. Once we are ready to install them, we’ll prime and them paint them the same white as the beadboard and other trim in the bathroom. I cannot wait to see it all finished!!

Next up was to install a piece of beadboard paneling where the toilet will go, so we can re-install the toilet and turn the water back on.  We’ve also chosen trim for around the built-in, and a chair rail to top the beadboard.

Tired yet? 😉

I am.
Thank you so much for reading!

Next post… you’ll meet my new BFF.  Big, strong, reliable, and hard-working.  It’s a tile saw from the great people at RIDGID and the Home Depot and boy, are we ever grateful.


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Taking a break from the bathroom reno to share some awesome things (with awesome price tags) that I found on Craigslist this week.  As I’ve said before, I don’t know these sellers.  I haven’t seen these pieces.  If you decide to buy them, be smart and be careful!

1. Chic bistro set.  $25 – Get the rust off this thing.   Paint it a hot color.  Sip coffee and look adorable.  Repeat last step as much as possible. :-)

2.   Set of four bar stools. $85 – Bar stools are ridiculously expensive.  Don’t fall for it!  Buy these.  Re-cover the seats in hip fabric.  Smile every time you sit on them.  
3. Oval wall mirror.  $25 – Gold is back.  Buy this.  Hang in on the front of a bookcase.  Look like you just fell out of House Beautiful.  (Here’s the link to where I found this pic.  However the source listed there is a dead end…)
4.  Buy this. Just trust me.  It’s $50!!  And oh my word, it’s beautiful.
5. Don’t buy this.  Because I am :-) For the money, you cannot beat an old coffee table like this.  Paint it  a soft color and distress it, then sit back and watch people ooh and aah.  
like this:
Or, skip the soft color and paint it bright yellow and watch people offer you $115 for it.   
like this:
Either way, it has great lines and storage! $10- what??
Hope you have a great weekend!

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Since we last checked in with our caped crusaders, aka the bathroom bandits, aka my Dad and our friend, LOTS has been movin’ and shakin’ at Ms. H’s house.  It’s a tale of plumbing, subfloor replacement, cement board installation and built-in planning.  There’s drama.  There’s comedy.  But mostly there’s just work and progress, which is the way it’s supposed to be.  And in this post, I also have some handy *tips* sprinkled throughout!

If you missed the earlier posts, this is what we started with:

After taking all the tile off, removing the old vanity, and  getting down to the studs in the shower surround, my Dad and our friend Keith soldered new pipes in place for the tub and shower.  They also had to install new 1/2″ Hardiebacker cement board which will allow us to put fresh tile on the shower walls.

And here’s your first *tip*:  If you’re cutting a large board like this, lay 2×4’s underneath the board, on top of your sawhorses.  Then, cut right down the middle of them and you won’t accidentally cut anything underneath. – My Dad says to help support the weight of a large board while it’s being cut, he would also sometimes put another layer of 2×4’s across the first layer.   Think Lincoln Logs…

 Dad did the cutting with my new Ryobi circular saw (woot woot!) which worked like a charm.

 In order to complete hanging the cement board around the shower, we had to add a few 2×4’s to give the boards a secure place to be screwed into. Time for me to step up and use my own saw!

Here’s your second *tip*: If you have to add reinforcements to existing studs, err on the side of cutting the support piece a smidge too big rather than a smidge too small.

I was worried I’d cut it too big at first, but my Dad encouraged me to pound it in place.  Man, it was snug.  Dad said, it’s better that it be a snug fit than too small – because then you end up having to brace it, or start all over with another piece of wood.

And here’s our hole where the old medicine cabinet was.

 To the right is where I sketched in  the location for the new recessed shelves.  I used a level to make sure everything was precise.

 I had to make sure we were building them around the existing vent pipe in the wall, so I drilled small holes where I thought the edges of the pipe were. I didn’t drill deep enough to hit the pipe. But the holes  weren’t big enough to see through.  So I had to devise another way to identify where exactly the edges of the pipe were.

 I used a leftover piece of insulated wire to stick through the holes.  It was firm enough that it didn’t crumple when I poked it through.  I could clearly feel when I hit the pipe and when I didn’t.  Mission accomplished!

Cement board nearly done on the shower, we attacked the floor.


Scraped up old linoleum.

Measured for the new subfloor.

 Dad taught me how to lay 1/4″ Hardiebacker on the floor.

The Ryobi saw cut out the notches for the vent perfectly.  Dad was careful not to notch in too far… it worked great.

Here’s your next *tip*!
Before we went and mixed up the mortar for the new subfloor pieces, we grabbed the vent cover and made sure it fit :-)  Not that this has ever happened to my Dad before… he may in fact just be that smart.

And for my next *tip* – this rectangle was the last bit of floor we needed to cut a piece to fit.  I would have just measured the length once and the width once.  Dad, again, Professor Smarty Pants (he does have an actual PhD) told me that especially with a corner piece like this, you should measure the length at one end AND the other end, and the width at one end AND the other end because HELLO – corners in houses are not always 90 degrees!  He was right. One end was different than the other by 1/4″

Then I strapped on my knee pads and learned how to spread mortar on the floor.  A lot like icing a cake.  The pieces went into place perfectly and now we have a fantastic new subfloor that will ensure the new tile floor we lay will last.
This picture is somewhere…….

Next up is to frame in the recessed shelving above the toilet.  Since that wall is where all the plumbing in the room is (contractors might call it a wet wall), there is extra space in between the wall in the bath and the room on the other side of the studs.  If you can, TAKE ADVANTAGE of this space!  It is prime real estate!  You too, may have spaces, all covered up and unused that could be put to work in your own home.  It may not seem like a big deal, to have a few square feet to tuck away small items.  But in a bath like this – the only bath in this home – every inch needs to be maximized.
Again, here is what we’re sort of going for:

We picked up the mirrored medicine cabinet at Home Depot, a frameless, beveled mirror that will be recessed into the “wet” wall above the sink.   Keith held it up so Ms. H would be sure to sign off on the height where it’s placed.

Two sets of shelves will be built in to the right of that.
This is not the first built-in I’ve planned in a home.  But it will be the first one I help build and execute myself – and for someone else’s home.  So a little nerve-wracking.  But mostly just exciting!

Yes, Ms. H could put a storage tower back over the toilet, and it would work fine.  But, if all goes as planned, we’ll add some quality storage – and a bit of character and architecture – to this small room.
That’s an investment I can get behind!

In case I haven’t convinced you yet that I’m obsessed with built-ins, here’s my Pinterest board to drool over prove it.  Have a look.  If you’re not dying to suddenly call a carpenter, we need to talk!
Thank you so much for reading!!


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