October 2013


Hi friends!

It has been such a busy week here – husband traveling, kids off school for Columbus Day and a teacher in-service day, and we have determined that we are hosting Thanksgiving, complete with family members flying in from the West Coast. Woo hoo!

So I am getting myself in gear for some serious home improvement work to be done between now and Turkey Day.  Work has not slowed down for me, either (for which I am so grateful)!

This week I worked on a good friend’s nursery.  She just welcomed twin boys and as they are still too small to come home, it was the perfect chance to make good on my offer to paint their initials on the wall over their cribs.  Here’s a peek:

Such a cute room.  Can’t wait to show it to you!

Now onto this weeks finds.
I have hosting company on the brain.  I think that probably will explain some of my choices.

1. A Murphy Bed.  You know, the kind of bed that folds up against the wall when you’re not using it?
These things are so cool.  AND save a ton of space.  And I have a hunch that at $100 this one is a steal.
It is described as a restoration project (and the pic is dark), so you’d have to investigate a little and see what kind of shape it is in, structurally.  But I love it!

Look at how pretty this one is, shown on Houzz.

Traditional Bedroom by Quakertown Design-Build Firms Sullivan Building & Design Group

Bring on the guests!

2. This totally beautiful table – such an unusual shape! There is a tiny repair that needs to be done, but it is so unique. Worth $75 if you ask me. 

I’d love to see it with a scalloped bracket on top to mimic the shape, and a pretty initial in the center.

So pretty!

3. You could also give your dining room a little pick-me-up if you’re hosting this Thanksgiving.  I doesn’t have to cost tons.  Maybe switch out your two captain’s chairs for something different.
These are great and they are practically free.

Chairs like these are SO easy to recover. Turn it over. Grab a screwdriver or drill. Unscrew the seat.
Get 1/2 yard of fabric. Pull it around the edges tightly.  Staple.  This is not brain surgery, people! Chair seats like these are the perfect place to do a little bit bolder or brighter color or pattern.  There’s almost no commitment.  If you don’t like it next year, take it off and put something completely different on.
This project shared on Hometalk is a perfect example.
Here’s the before:


Love it. LOVE.

4. Upgrade your sleeping quarters with this beautiful daybed.

I’m thinking about doing just that in my daughter’s room – we would like to add a trundle underneath for sleepovers. I have to be honest. I want to paint whatever daybed goes in my daughter’s room, but this one is killing me because it’s cherry. Ugh. Have to think on that one….. But rooms like this from Just A Girl are so pretty.  (bonus on this post – she painted that awesome tree on her daughter’s wall!)

That’s all for this week.
Stay warm!


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Hi friends!

It’s about that time…we are getting ready for Halloween right now, but before you know it, it will be the holidays and with them will bring all the yearly greetings my family looks forward to so much!

We love seeing all the smiling faces in our mailbox every day.
But I have always struggled with a way to put some of those beautiful cards on display.

This year, I have made something I love, and I’m going to share it with you :-)

It involves supplies from three of my favorite places to shop – the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (or whatever similar place exists near you), the dollar spot at the craft store, and the home improvement store!

The ReStore near me was selling these cabinet doors for $1.00

I should have bought them all!
If you decide you want to make this project, I’d just call ahead to the place you’re planning on going. Often times cabinet doors like these are in supply, but typically stock changes, so I’d call first. (That’s another reason to start now, in case it takes a few weeks to find the right door.)

Then I hit the dollar section at the Michaels. They had a variety of pretty wood holiday themed words, again, for a $1.00! 

At the home improvement store (or possibly the dollar store depending on what they carry near you) you’ll want to pick up clothespins,  twine, wood or craft glue, some screw-in eyes, and a hanger to attach to the back of the cabinet.  Other supplies/tools I used included a pair of pliers and my Ryobi drill, to create a pilot hole for the eyes we’ll screw into the front.

Think about your home and your holiday decor and you can make this look coordinate – paint it, distress it, Mod Podge some pretty paper on the inside panel.  The sky is the limit.
I sanded my edges a little bit, and left it alone.

I cleaned my door with some plain white vinegar – a good natural degreaser.

I grabbed some of our old Christmas cards, that are 5×7 – that seems to be the largest size we typically receive. The cabinet door I bought is roughly 17″ wide by 23″ long.  I laid out the cards the way I liked (don’t stress over this – it’s a holiday card display, not going in the Smithsonian. :-) and marked the spots where I wanted the eyes to go with a pencil.

The top two were about 5″ from the top of the cabinet.

Drill your pilot holes (they should be slightly smaller than the actual eye you’ll screw into them) and using the pliers, twist the eyes into place. You’ll want to leave room above the place where the eyes are placed, because the tops of the clothespins will stick out above that.

Mark the next spot where you want the lower row of cards to hang. Drill your pilot holes and screw in the eyes again.

Smile – this is SO easy!

Get your twine. Tie a double knot around the eye. Thread the twine through the other eye and pull it as tight as you can. Double knot. Trim.

Repeat with the next set of eyes.

I grabbed my wood holiday word from the craft store,

and used some wood glue to add it on the top.

Add some hanging hardware to the back and find a special spot in your home for this.

I can’t wait to start getting those holiday smiles in the mail because now I have a smile-worthy (and ridiculously inexpensive) place to show them off.

I’d love to see if you make a display door for your family.

Happy early holidays!!


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Hi friends!
It’s been a busy week here – I am in full-on house purging mode.  Man, it feels good to get rid of stuff, to actually know where my belongings are, to see my basement floor again.

I also have been switching up and adding to our wall decor all over the house.  Here’s a sneak peek of a super cheap DIY project for displaying my kids school work that is now residing in our kitchen.

These were old cabinet door samples that someone had tossed……More to come on that in a future post.
Now onto the Craigslist buys for the week!

1. I love this solid oak chest of drawers, but something is bugging me about it – I think it needs legs.

Like this one from the blog Chrissie’s Collections.

She did not have to add the legs, but don’t you think the proportion is so much better with them? For $60 plus the cost of legs, I say go for it.  This piece is so stately and lovely!

2. This vintage stereo cabinet ROCKS.

I’d strip out the inside, redo the outside and make it a fantastic buffet, media console, or otherwise gorgeous storage piece. Take a look at these pieces where folks did just that.

Etsy yellow cabinet

Wonderful white cabinet

The seller also has another stereo cabinet that would be worth picking up.

He’s only asking for Best Offer. Do it!!

3. A couple little antique side tables like this one

and this one

might stump some folks…after all, there are only one of each of them, so you don’t have a matching set.  But that really is OK.  In fact, I love it.  Mixing it up is what keeps your home from looking boring, dated, or too matchy-matchy.  Paint them a bold color like this project (that has a secret twist – posted on Hometalk.) 

Or this sunny yellow one from my friend Shanna at Restoration Redoux.

Or a vibrant red like this one seen on Apartment Therapy, originally listed on Etsy.

You can stick these great little useful pops of color anywhere! You’ll smile every time you look at them. Promise. They’re $25 each.

4. This amazing, walnut, vintage drop-leaf table. DROOL.

Love those pedestal legs! I don’t have anything else to say about why you should GRAB this table for $50… all you have to do is look at this picture, also shared on Hometalk.

That is just stunning.

5. I know I featured another rocking chair recently. But I think this one is unique enough that it warrants being on the list.

Love this.   It’s listed for $65. The picture is kind of fuzzy, but you can still see those arms! They make this chair for me.
Recover it, freshen it up with a nice, soft coat of paint like this one, and get ready to have a new favorite chair.

And rockers don’t have to be confined to baby’s rooms.  What about your guest room? Reading nook? This, to me, says “slow down. read a book. close your eyes for a few minutes.” Aaaah.

**As always, if you do decide to shop these or any other pieces on Craigslist, be smart. Be safe.  Always take someone with you to pick up an item and if it is small, you can also ask to meet in a public place like a grocery store parking lot, or, you can ask the seller to bring it to the front porch, etc.  I don’t know these sellers, and I cannot vouch for their items.  These are just the things that caught my eye!

If you would like me to purchase and restore or redo any of these pieces for your home, let me know! I am happy to do it.
You can email me at

That’s it for this week!
Have a great weekend!


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Hi there!
It has been an absolutely gorgeous week here in the Cincinnati area.  For that I am truly grateful.
I hope fall is being kind to you, wherever you may be.

Let’s dig right in, shall we?

1. A $100 set of brown leather chairs that looks like they’re brand new.  

These are timeless, and a steal at this price.  Put them in a living room with the fireplace and a soft throw… heaven.

2.  This cool cast-iron-looking light fixture for $30.  

Use it to dress up a hallway

or hang it someplace a bit more unexpected, like a master bath.

3. I have no good theory as to why these people are giving this cool red chair away for $5 but that’s just something I say to thank the Craigslist gods for, take it, and run. :-) 

I’d love it in a boy’s room like this one.  

Clean lines, great color, not childish at all, but kid-friendly nonetheless. And hello… It’s $5!!

4. This great secretary

Oh, you thought it was just a drawer? Nope. This listing is just a victim of poor photo placement.  And I bet 186 other people skipped right by it, which is unfortunate because THIS is the great secretary, and it’s $30.

Yes, you can certainly use it in a living or bedroom. But what about putting it to work in a bathroom like this one in House Beautiful magazine

The height makes it great for using the vertical space, and there are shelves and drawers all ready to store your things.  Takes that room up three notches instantly.

5. This fun little bar cart.  

I think this is adorable. $50 may be a little high in my totally uninformed opinion.
Use it in the kitchen or on your porch to hold flowers and offer somewhere to sit your coffee cup
(and this one even got a monogram!)

When you’re entertaining, open the sides and you have an instant (rolling) mini-buffet. 

Or better yet, tie aprons on your kids, load some goodies on this thing, and have them play waiter or waitress when Grandma and Grandpa come over. :-)

So there you have it. And as always, if you buy from Craigslist, be smart, be safe, and for Pete’s sake, let me know what you got!


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It took 6 weeks, a couple hundred man or woman hours of labor, and about $2,000 in materials to get this job done.  And I am SO proud to finally be able to show you this!! Step right in!
(Here is the complete background on this room. In short, a family friend’s house caught fire last year. Insurance paid for everything except her only bathroom, which dated to the prehistoric era. She desperately needed a complete gut job and reno, so my Dad, his good friend, and I set out to give it to her, pro bono.)

 The light, you might recall, came from National Builder Supply. It is a Seagull Lighting fixture from their Sussex line and Dad chose to hang it with the bulbs facing up.  The light gets bounced around on the ceiling and diffused nicely in the space. Bathrooms must have enough light! This fixture is like the crown in this room.

 The vanity came from Lowe’s and included the granite countertop.

 The faucets are Moen, the Caldwell line.

 We really wanted to be able to get rid of a storage tower over the toilet.  Really.

It was taking up way too much space in this tiny bath.  Here was the inspiration photo we worked from.

And here’s the design I sketched out once we found out that we wouldn’t be able to do one wide set of shelves because there is a pipe that runs vertically right behind the toilet.  

The thick white arrow represents where the pipe runs.

I had to either abandon the built-in idea, which I did not want to do, or work around it.  So I worked around it. I’m very pleased with how this turned out!  It adds architecture and storage and I think makes the room feel much more well thought-out.

We went with a mirrored medicine cabinet with storage behind it, to maximize the amount of storage Ms. H gets overall.  This is a small bathroom, and the only one in her house.  Storage is important!

Moving on… The shower curtain, I will confess, I chose myself and surprised Ms. H.  When I saw it on the JCPenney website, I knew it would be perfect for this space. It lends a great pattern and color to the room and the brown in it ties in with the oil rubbed bronze fixtures beautifully. A HUGE thank you to JCPenney for supplying this curtain to Ms. H.  It totally makes the room, if you ask me!  I’m impressed with the newer offerings in JCPenney’s home department.  This ain’t your grandma’s JCP!

Dad also added a privacy film to the window – you can get them at the home improvement store.  It was a necessity as this bathroom is on the first floor. 

When we began, Ms. H needed a space that was brought into the current decade.  But it also needed to withstand the test of time.  We wanted this room to look current and lovely 30 years from now, and if all goes as planned, this space should last at least that long!  It was built to last!
That guided our design choices – white subway tile, beadboard wainscoting, neutral floors and counter.  Timeless and versatile, clean and classic.  

Last, I wanted to give you my best accounting of time and money that was spent on this room. 
Labor was free for this project – but please remember if you are hiring someone to do this kind of job for you, that labor costs are at least half the total budget.  This is hard work and if you want it done right, expect to pay someone for their time.  We had the ability to volunteer our time for this project, and we wanted to… even then, the cost for materials was about $2000.

That includes everything – new subfloor and waterproof backer board around the shower. Tile, mortar, grout, and sealer for the floor and shower walls. Beadboard sheets, chair rail, baseboard, lumber for the built-ins, and trim around them. Mirrored medicine cabinet. Vanity, countertop, shower and tub fixtures, and some new copper pipe, as well as some plumbing supplies to install the vanity faucet. Primer, ceiling paint, and trim paint. Safety handles for the shower. Caulk and spackle. Privacy film for the window. Shower curtain rod and towel bars.

The light fixture and shower curtain were generously donated, as was the incredible RIDGID tile saw from the great folks at The Home Depot, which all would have increased our costs.  Not that you have to buy a tile saw to do a project like this – you can certainly rent one, but that too has a cost.

As for time, my Dad was at Ms. H’s house 5 days a week, almost without exception.  I was there an average of 3-4 days as was Keith.  I worked about 5 hours per day when I was there.  Dad and Keith probably worked closer to 7 hours per day.  And from demo to completion, it took us the better part of 6 weeks to complete this project.  We did everything ourselves – demo, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tiling, and painting. 

I won’t lie.  It was a TON of work. 


 That said, I think there is enormous value in choosing to do this kind of work…

 learning new skills…



 becoming more self-sufficient… 

 and going beyond your comfort zone when it comes to getting your hands dirty and getting to know how a home functions, from the inside out.

 I encourage you to educate yourself…

 do your homework..

 look around at the other phenomenal projects that people are taking on… 

 roll up your sleeves…

 and take a risk.


Try something new. 



 Ask for help.

And reach out and give help to someone if you see that they need it.

 (that’s my cute mom, with Ms. H.  Decades-long friends.)

 I especially encourage you to find those around you who know how to do things that you do not.  If you are fortunate enough to find them, take full advantage of it.  People like my Dad and our friend Keith, pictured in many of the photos above, are wealths of information – and kindness.  They are do-ers.  Take a page from their playbook.  Use your own two hands, your intelligence, and the unprecedented amount of information that exists in the world, and do something good.  
This has been such a valuable experience for me personally.  Spending this time with my Dad is an experience for which I’ll always be grateful. 
It’s my hope that this room will give Ms. H much joy in the years to come. It has given us much joy to see it through to completion.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey.  I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts.  I’d love to read about your projects.  Why? Simple.  Because Home Should Be GREAT.



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Before I share the entire bathroom reveal, I wanted to show you how I made a nice piece of wall decor for super cheap.

 I went to Goodwill and found this botanical print.

  I chose this one because it has a nice double mat inside and a good quality wood frame. And it was on sale for $5 – marked down from $8.  But we’re not buying it for the print.  We’re scavenging the mat and the frame which would cost big money at a craft or framing store.

 I removed the backing, and pulled off the print. 

  I would normally have saved the print – it wasn’t bad! But this one was glued on to the mat and got torn when I pulled it off.  No biggie.

 Our co-worker and friend Keith was nice enough to print off a photo of Ms. H and my parents, as well as Keith and his wife when they all went to Ireland a few years ago.  He printed it in black and white, 11×14, to fit the mat. 

I took the mat and frame and grabbed a can of Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer which is oil based – it will cover beautifully.  Just be sure to use it outside or in a well ventilated area.

It took several coats and several times repositioning the mat and frame before all sides and angles of the pieces were covered. 

Once the primer was dried, I was actually fine with the color of the mat – so I didn’t bother to spray it with a white paint.
I grabbed a black gloss spray paint and hit the frame.  Again, several times repositioning the frame and it was done.

 We put it all back together and Dad added some picture wire to the back.


 Personal, chic wall art for less than $10!! Big bathroom reveal is next….

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Hi friends!

Made my first pot of chili… I love fall.  But it’s also the time of year that yard sales tend to start winding down where I live. So, besides the thrift store, Craigslist is my fix. :-)

So here goes:

1. This adorable white spindle table.  It has great lines and detail.  And it’s $35.

Put it in a girls room.  Or the guest room.  Or the bathroom.  Or the living room.

I think I’d leave it white, although this looks awesome painted bright blue.

2. This $25 planting table/workbench.  If you have room for it, please buy it so that when I build my garage I can buy it from you.  :-)  

This one is featured at HGTV.com

I must be feeing lazy this week because I actually like this just the way it is, too, although this one in white is so great.  Doesn’t it just make you want to plant something??

I just love the idea of a place to store your tools, and pots, and watering can and cute garden gloves.  Organize it all this fall so that when spring comes, you’re ready to roll.

3. Pick up this very vintage 70’s looking queen/full size headboard for $30.

Don’t make that face.  I’m telling you, bad 60’s and 70’s furniture with all the carvings and turned posts on it is the BEST stuff to paint.  Looks fabulous.
Don’t believe me?  Now, it’s not identical, but our friends over at Pottery Barn would ask you to cough up $1500 for their white version, the Caroline bed.

But if you don’t want to use it as a headboard, you can do what this brilliant woman did and turn it into a fantastic front porch welcome sign…. what?! I love that!!!

Heck this other headboard is a measley $10.

Paint the panel with chalkboard paint and rotate messages.  Seriously? People are so smart.  This is just adorable.

4. These $6 footstool legs are so great (so long as they are sturdy – and I’d ask when I contact the seller.)

Besides having a pretty footstool around to look at,

I think it’s great to have in case a little one would like to pull a chair up to the coffee table and color or something.  Get a piece of plywood, some foam and batting and cover it in anything you want! You could easily add higher sides to it like this one, also.

I also think it would be cute to put next to a kid’s bed if the bed sits up high.  Sooo cute.

5. I think this is a very old antique rocking chair.

And I bet it would look amazing recovered and updated in a very special little one’s room.  Can you see it?  I sure can.  That’s exactly what these people did.

What a cool piece!

As I mentioned up top, I went thrifting this week (to escape the madding news coverage of the government shutdown #furious) and scored two great pieces…one for me!

Here they are – a vintage 60’s or 70’s coffee table (remember? great pieces to paint) and this unusual arm chair.

It was the woodwork on the front of this chair that had me at hello. SO cool!! I cannot wait to see it in a fresh new fabric and a coat of paint. Those turned legs and carvings are just going to pop!

And I am keeping the coffee table.  More about that later.
Remember, friends, if you decide to buy something on Craigslist, BE SMART.  I do not know any of these sellers – and I always try to make my Craigslist interactions as transparent as possible… take someone with you.  If the piece isn’t huge, you can ask to meet in a public place like a grocery store parking lot.  If your gut tells your something isn’t right, listen to it.

Now, that said, get out there and do something awesome!


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Hi everyone!

Catching up on how my Dad, a friend, and I wrapped up the renovation (down to the studs!) of a family friend’s bathroom.
Here’s the back story in case you missed it. If you look for the label “bathroom” down on the right side of the blog’s home page you should be able to find all the posts in between.
Once the beadboard, built-ins, mirror, and all the trim went in, we could install the new light fixture.   

Before, though, my Dad moved over the electric box from where the old light was, as we needed to hang the new light higher and a bit more to the right.

(We re-hung the old light temporarily)
The great people at National Builder Supply offered the homeowner a fabulous new light to complement her lovely new space.  We went with this one from Seagull Lighting
We chose a 4-light option as this is our only light in room, and it turned out to be fantastic!  We love the oil rubbed bronze… so beautiful.

The globes around the light bulbs aren’t on yet in these pics because we still needed to paint the walls.

So a huge thank you to National Builder Supply!!  Doesn’t this look so much better?
In addition, the vanity got caulked.  
My Dad and Keith added handle bars to the shower for safety.

Coming up… we wrap it up.  And I create a (cheap!) custom piece of wall art for this space.  I’ll show you how you can, too.  Are you getting excited for the big reveal?  I sure am!!!
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Grout for the subway tiled tub/shower went up on our little bathroom project, and by little, I mean the biggest thing Dad, Keith and I have ever tackled.  :-)
We used a white, unsanded grout.  And wow, what a difference it makes!! If you look at this first picture, you can see where the grout has been applied to the upper left hand corner.

 You can also see the beadboard went up all around the room.  It comes in 4×8 foot sheets for $20.

We cut it so that it ran 4 feet high, put Liquid Nails on the back, and then nailed it for real into the studs. WHAT an improvement!

A standard chair rail tops it off.  Make sure it’s level.  Liquid Nails on back. Nail it in.

I also primed the cabinets for the recessed shelves/built-ins.

 Don’t forget to go back and sand once your primer is on.  Mucho important.  It will give you the nice, smooth finish you want.

 Once they were primed, and had a few coats of paint on them (Behr Ultra White out of the can), it was time to hang them.  The were screwed into studs and into pieces in the back that my Dad and Keith put in. These puppies aren’t going anywhere!

 You can see in the back where the shower head also got installed.  Yay! It’s Moen the Caldwell line.

We chose a piece of door/window trim to put around the mirror and shelves.  It was mitered on the ends and fit together really nicely.  I think it makes the whole thing look more cohesive and “done”.

Once the shelves were in and the beadboard, chair rail, trim, and baseboards were in, it was time to spackle nail holes, any spots in the wall that still looked lumpy, recessed, or just not flat. It goes on pink and when it’s white, you know it’s dry.

 After the spackle was dried, we gave it good sanding, wiped it down and it was time to caulk! (I will admit, I LOVE caulk.  It’s like magic. It can hide a multitude of “sins” or just areas that aren’t perfect, and if you have ever owned an older house, you are one of the members of the “nothing here is 90 degrees club.” :-)

I am behind on my posts – next up is the new light fixture from our sweet friends at National Builder Supply, paint and finishing details, including a brand spankin new shower curtain from the great people at JCPenney (which I am secretly plotting to buy myself and put in my own bathroom).  WOOO HOOOOO!!!!!


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