Feb 6 2012

Chalkboard Door

We decided that one feature we’d like to add to the nursery is some kind of chalkboard wall, so that the baby has a sanctioned place to draw on the walls… :-) There really isn’t one wall in the room that works for a chalkboard wall, so we decided to paint the inside panels of the door with chalkboard paint. Eventually, we’ll add a little tray in between the two panels to hold chalk and an eraser.

The door, after scraping the paint off, sanding and priming

Kelly & I have a habit of painting our initials into things - see our blog

How cute is that?

The end result

And the chalkboard door is now serving as the backdrop to a monthly picture project with the baby. (The idea for which I found on Pinterest)

Here's the first month's picture

Feb 5 2012

Nursery Updates

Well, we have had a lot of progress on the nursery lately. Mainly because of this guy:


Marc William, born January 3

He came three weeks early, and the nursery was decidedly not finished yet. But Kelly got a bunch done in the two weeks he was home, and now my parents are in town and my father has been helping with the room as well. Here’s what we have done so far:

  • Finished scraping the window trim
  • Primed and painted the window trim
  • Caulked and sealed the window panes (72 in the room in all!)
  • Painted the room the bright cheery yellow color (it needed few coats)
  • Ripped up the carpet
  • Sanded the (in great condition!) floors
  • Stained and polyed the floors to a wonderful color and shine
  • …And Kelly is currently working on priming and painting the baseboards (including fixing some damaged baseboards) and installing the quarter round

Scraping the window trim

Lovely joinery in the old windows

Window trim got primed and painted

We tested three different shades of yellow before going for the lightest one.

Kelly had lots of help with the windows. Here, my parents are helping scrape paint off the glass panes.

Ripping up the carpet

We found the floors in such good shape!

The sanding finished

Staining his way out the door

The floors stained. We went with a lighter "pecan" shade.

Two coats of stain, two coats of poly later...

Shiny shiny floors...

Apr 30 2011

Quick Bathroom Fix

Sorry for the long gap in posting, folks. We have been working on some house projects, but just haven’t had the time to post what we’ve been up to. We have taken a bit of a break from the stairs for the moment in favor of working outside on some of the front yard landscaping. Kelly keeps reminding me that we need to get some outside projects done on the house while it’s still rather nice outside. We can work more on the stairs in air conditioned comfort during the unbearable Texas summer heat.

In preparation for writing up a huge gardening post, I dumped 600+ pictures off of the camera and in doing so I found some pictures I had taken of a quick little project we did in the upstairs master bath.

Now, please keep in mind, the upstairs master bath is a HUGE project in and of itself. The tub needs to be re-glazed, the tile (which looks like it was put on top of previous tile) was grouted and caulked in an alarmingly sloppy manner (actually which makes me curse the previous owners under my breath whenever I see it… which is every morning, so I should probably work on my attitude towards them…) and needs to be replaced at some point, the window well needs to be rebuilt and perhaps the window replaced, the lighting needs to be changed out (or added in the case of the ceiling, where there are a couple of old cloth wires hanging down…), the whole room needs to be painted…

I know, I know. I’m making it sound like the room is a horror show. In some ways it really seems that way, but I have to remember that it is still very functional and we live with it just fine.



Anyway, since we moved in, we had been living with a cheap-o vinyl shower curtain:

I liked the subtle leafy pattern, but that was about it. Those kinds of shower curtains always get dirty and ugly and Kelly would always complain about how he hated accidentally brushing up against the curtain while he was in the shower. It made him feel clammy and claustrophobic. So I went looking for a nice replacement. I found a “hotel weight” shower liner for only a couple of dollars at Marshall’s and then this pretty fabric curtain at Bed Bath & Beyond:


I liked the neutral palette, the leafy pattern and the pops of color from the birds. While I was perusing the aisles at BB&B, I had an inspiration: I wondered if they had those awesome curved shower bars like you can find in hotels. And they did! Since I had a pile of those ubiquitous 40% coupons, the new shower hardware came home with me along with the curtain.

Before I came home, however, I texted Kelly and told him that I had a surprise for him, but that it meant a project he had to do… Fortunately, he was so happy when imagining how his elbows wouldn’t touch the clammy vinyl that he was happy to get it all installed. Which first meant taking down the old shower bar:

Yeah, that bar had been there a loooooong while. And now you also get a closeup on the horror that is the grouting job. *Deep breaths* (Working on that attitude…)

So Kelly uninstalled the old rod in order to install the new curved one. He did have one hiccup during installation, as he first installed the new bar right in the place of the old one before realizing that the “cap” on the end of the rod was larger than the footprint of the old rod, so it would have to be moved. But it didn’t take that long to get the new shower curtain rod up and our lovely new curtain in place!

Kelly working on the installation

The curved rod

The new curtain!

Basically, this project gave me the idea for how to add a bit more of a creative touch to this bathroom. I want to paint the walls a nice light tan color and pick up on the rest of the bright colors in the curtain in through towels and accessories. I also want to paint an old chandelier (from a thrift store or the Habitat ReStore) one of the bright colors and hang it from the ceiling where there is currently a bunch of wires and nothing else… Stay tuned for that project…

Mar 5 2011

DIY: Firewood Bin

You might have noticed this little detail in Kelly’s sketch from the last post:

That is not something just the future when we build the fireplace – it exists now, because I made it!

I had been wanting to keep our firewood in something other than the uber-ugly plastic milk crate it existed in all winter, and got the idea to get a little crafty with a $15 galvanized tub from my local thrift store. (And when I say “local,” I mean 6 blocks away, local…)

First, I got Kelly to find a nice modern, but not too cold, font and print out the word “Firewood.” Then, after cleaning off the outside of the tub, I used a spray-adhesive to arrange the letters around one side. It was a good thing that adhesive was labeled “repositionable” because it took me 3 tries to get the letters to fit just right.

For a little more detail, I masked off one section of the tub with painter’s tape.

Then I started priming and painting. Forgive these next few pictures – I started this project in the late afternoon and by the time I got to painting, it had gotten dark. I was working in the backyard by the glow of the floodlight.

Then, when everything was dry, I removed the letters and the painter’s tape and had a cool new bin for firewood!

And here it is with wood in it, next to our (yet to be renovated) fireplace.

Jun 23 2010

Downstairs Bathroom – the During Pictures

We started this project on Memorial Day Weekend and finally finished it up three weeks later on Fathers’ Day weekend. What was originally going to be “Ellen’s project” – i.e. I was going to paint, saw, nail, etc. turned out to be a little much for me, and while I did help him out as much as I could, especially with the painting, Kelly was the real workhorse for the majority of the project. Also, the project grew to be a little bigger in scope – what was originally going to be just a bathroom renovation turned into the bathroom/hallway renovation. Although, keep in mind that both of these spaces together aren’t that big. The bathroom is 4 feet by 4 feet and the hallway is about the same. I’m glad we ended up doing both spaces because they really flow from one to another and it would have looked quite strange had we not done the hallway. We also ended up replacing the floors, which we hadn’t planned on, but again, the old floors would have looked so out of place with the new paint and beadboard and everything.

So, without further ado, here are the renovation in process pictures! This is a very picture heavy post, so here we go!

First we ripped down the paneling.

Jack helped.

There was still a lot of the old muslin stuck to the nails, so Kelly had to make sure it was all gone before we put anything else up – or accidentally painted over it.

Here is the bathroom with the paneling taken down.

Kelly measures and cuts the beadboard in our increasingly messy landing. (He did cut the beadboard outside though…)
Here I am trying to install the beadboard. I wasn’t very good at it. (We might possibly need a nail gun, but don’t tell Kelly I said so…)

The beadboard installed – shorter than the original paneling, but that’s ok.

Aaaaand…. the trim.

Closeup of the trim. Kelly did an amazing job wood-filling and caulking all the nail holes and seams.

Here I am, painting the stripes. Kelly wasn’t too thrilled with the Behr-brand paint we bought at Home Depot. It was cheaper and quicker to buy it there, since his favorite paint store – the Benjamin Moore store – isn’t open on weekends or after 5 pm. It just took so many coats to cover properly.

Here’s another picture of the pocket window we discovered as we worked in the bathroom.

And here is Kelly, working on the extended project – bringing the renovation into the tiny landing just outside the bathroom. He tore down the paneling on the walls (you might remember how we discovered 1916 wall paper beneath it!) and the acoustic tile on the ceiling as well.


What the hallway and the downstairs staircase landing looked like during the demo.

Next… the after pictures!!

Jan 10 2010

The floors – the end result

I need to let Kelly tell the story of finishing up the floors, but I didn’t want to let any more time go by without showing off the end result. Here they are, in a picture taken 3 days after Christmas, and the day after the floors were finished.

The newly refinished floors

In other news, we have a move-in date! January 23rd! We’re in the midst of packing right now, and have gotten a good bid on a cleaning company to come in and scrub the place from top to bottom some time next week. Hooray for new (old) clean houses!