I’m baaack….

So you could say I’ve been less than diligent about posting. The summer is always crazy for me with the kids out of school. Work has been nuts. Even so, six months since my last entry…I really have no excuse.

But, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and am going to try to not only fill you in on what I’ve been up to since June, but start posting weekly going forward. I have been making some progress around here.

This chair, for example, no longer looks like this.


The structural work is done on the soon-to-be bookcase wall.


The bookcases for the bottom are built and ready to be installed.


Someday soon, it may actually look like this.


But we’re not quite there yet. Once the contractor put in the beam on the living room side of the wall, we realized we had a problem…



The beam on the other side was considerably lower than the new one. It looked a little bizarre when you were looking at it from the kitchen. To fix the problem we’ll have to put in a new beam, which will be raised up a few inches. This will make the two beams uniform in height so visually it looks like one beam that runs straight across.

This weekend Paul and I started stripping the drywall off the beam to get it ready for the contractor, which revealed problem number 2.

Here’s the beam once we stripped it.


Look a little closer. Why yes, that is a giant pipe running through this major structural beam.


If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of structural engineering: major hole  in load-bearing beam =  bad. Half the house falling down kind of bad. Thumbs down to the former owner’s contractor/plumber.

Head in Hands

But luckily we were planning to fix the beam anyway, which will solve this unfortunate problem and keep the house from flattening us in our sleep.

So the plan now is to get that pipe out of the way this week. The contractor is supposed to come next week to install the new beam. The bookcases will go in after that.

Provided all goes as planned my house may no longer look something  a dog chewed up and spit out by the time Christmas rolls around. Hallelujah. I think I can hear angels singing already.





Tearing Down the House

So, you know how it is when you get a chip in your nail polish. You pick a little at the corner, chip a little off the side and the next thing you know there are flecks of polish all of the floor and your nails look like you just clawed your way out of a grave.

I did that recently. To a wall.



This is the load-bearing wall between my living room and kitchen–or what’s left of it.

It used to look like this.


This picture was taken right after Paul pulled the trim off the pocket door to start investigating what was inside. The goal was to pull a little back so we could see what we were dealing with structurally…but once the process got started…you know the rest.

This is what it looked like from the kitchen side before.


And now.



This little project really did open things up and let in the light…but not in the most attractive way.  So, this project is going to have to jump the list. In the meantime we are living with a giant mess.

Because the wall is load bearing, the structural part of the process will need professional help from a contractor.

Once that part is done we’ll have to tackle the finish work. We do have a plan, which my fantastic father was kind enough to draw up for me.


I like this look because the room will still feel completely open, but there is some separation between the kitchen and the living room. Hopefully it will look like a modified version of this or this when it’s done.

Whether we can accomplish that goal…well stay tuned to find out. Either way it should provide for some good entertainment. After all, you don’t have to live here.


Framing the Plank Wall

Hi all! Sorry for the radio silence. Work has been crazy busy. But I have still been chipping away at some projects around the house, so I have few updates to share this week.

First up is this little project to finish up my bench seating area, which is located just inside the front door of the house. I already showed you how I added a plank wall behind the bench that my Dad built for me.



I liked how it came out, but it still looked a little unfinished and to be honest, I wasn’t in love with the rough edges, even after I caulked them.

So I decided to trim out the edges with some pieces of wood. So now it looks like this. (Forgive the less than stellar photos, it’s a little hard to take pictures in this crunchy, little corner.)


Better, right?

It’s a simple project…and it was free, thanks to our neighbors across the street who are moving. In an effort to clear out, they offered us some leftover wood they had downstairs.

Being the shameless, junk collector that I am I jumped at the chance and hauled it all into my basement. (Yes, the same basement I’ve been working diligently to clean out.)

This new infusion of lumber may have thwarted my basement clearing efforts, but it gave me lots of material for future projects, like my soon to be built banquette in the dining room.

Despite my slight fear of large power saws, I decided to cut the wood myself for this little framing project. (In the interest of full disclosure, I needed my doting husband to mow the lawn before our children got lost forever in the tall junglesque grass.  The chances of getting him to help me work on two projects in the same day was slim to none—so it came down to me and the saw.)

I hauled a few pieces of scavenged wood out of the basement and got to work.
First I measured the perimeter of the wall. Then I cut the pieces a few inches longer than I needed them to be. Then I started making the 45-degree miter cuts. I always cut the boards a little too long on the first pass, because it’s easy to subtract…impossible to add, (and I always make mistakes).

Once I got all my 45-degree angles cut, I did a quick check to make sure everything fit properly and then I started painting.

I always paint before I nail the pieces to the wall because it saves a lot of work on the other end and comes out a lot neater.
Once the wood was painted, I grabbed the nail gun I borrowed from my Dad and tacked the pieces into place.


Always use a level to make sure the top piece is straight. Don’t go by the line of the ceiling, because if your ceiling is like ours—it’s probably crooked. The same goes for the sides and the bottom.

After I tacked on the trim, I came back with wood filler to fill in the gaps and nail holes.

Finally I caulked the edges to give it a finished look.
Overall this project took very little time, but I think it made a big difference.

Here’s another look at the final product.


Now that this project is done I’m turning my attention to a much bigger project. Stay tuned…I may be a little over my head on this one.

Sharing at http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/tutorials/tutorials-tips-link-party-160.html and http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/2014/05/wow-us-wednesdays-171.html


Checking an Item Off My List …Finally

I finished a quick little desk make over the other day. You might remember this guy from my earlier planning post.


Well, now he looks like this.


This is actually only stage 1 of the project I’d like to complete, which is to build the desk into a more complete wall system, like this. My son’s room is pretty small, so I think this will be the best way to maximize his storage space.

He already helped me pick the color scheme for his new space, orange, gray and a touch of blue. Something like these colors here.

With this in mind I decided to paint the desk in a neutral gray called Wood Smoke.


First I sanded down the top of the table, because I originally intended to stain it.


But even after I sanded and stained it, the top looked rough, really rough. So I decided stain was out and paint was in.


I was kind of hoping to avoid painting the top because this desk will most definitely be subjected to some heavy duty wear and tear. But we’ll see how it goes.

Now that the desk is finished, I’m going to keep my eye out for some bookshelves and possibly some drawers that I can build into the wall unit. I’ll keep you posted.


Giving Grandma’s Chairs a Facelift

I’m so glad I took the time to make a list of the projects I wanted to accomplish this spring. I’ve apparently decided to completely ignore it. But at least it’s there if I ever need it.

Actually, this particular project jumped the list because my daughter went to sit down on one of our dining chairs the other day, and fell through. (No injuries reported, but she was not very happy.) I was waiting to screw on the seats until I got around to painting the chairs. That was a few years ago, so I figured this was a signal from the universe that it was time to fix them.

Here’s what they looked like before.


Since you can’t see them in person I’ll give you the run down.  They were old, they were wobbly and overall just ugly.

I wanted to change the look to make them a little more modern, so I decided to add some fabric and trim.

My supplies included some fabric I already had on hand, some inexpensive trim from Home Depot, a glue gun and a brad nail gun.

First I created a fabric insert for the back. When I say insert I actually mean the back of Cheerios box.


I cut it to size and glued the fabric onto the cardboard.

Then I glued the cardboard onto the chair.


After I glued on the cardboard panel, I cut a flat piece of molding and glued that on to finish off the bottom. (I went back later and added a few nails to the sides for added stability.)


Paul helped me cut some additional molding to trim out the back edge. (I’m really not good at miter cuts.)


And apparently he’s not either…so I grabbed some caulk to clean up the edges and gaps.


After the back was done I started work on the front of the chair. I wanted to add padding to the seat back so I went into the basement and hauled out some old chairs I found on the side of the road. (Yes, I’m a trash collector, what can I say.) I ripped off the old fabric, which looked like this…


took out the foam pad underneath and cut it to size.


Then I glued my fabric onto the foam and then glued the foam onto the chair back.


I glued a flat piece of trim beneath the foam to match the piece I used on the back. (You can see it in the photo above.) Then I added two more small strips of molding to finish off the top and bottom edge.


I used glue to attach the wood pieces at first, but then came back with the nail gun to tack it on more securely.

After I finished making over the seat back, I added the navy fabric to the seat and gave the whole thing a new coat of paint.

Here’s the final product.


And the before and after so you remember where I started.


The good news is that now not only do they look better, but the seats are firmly screwed in place so I don’t have to worry about anybody ending up on the floor during dinner.

Sharing at http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/tutorials/tutorials-tips-link-party-153.html

A Super Easy and Inexpensive Spiral Table Base

I made another table this weekend!


It used to look like this.


It was another hand-me-down from my husband Paul’s aunt. The base was really intended to be hidden under a tablecloth, secured by a glass top.

Clearly it was in need of a makeover.

This table lives in a corner of our new basement family room. I’ve been meaning to update it, but the project wasn’t high on the list…that is until I saw this old magazine page I had ripped out and stuffed in my desk drawer. Check out the vintage 1950’s swirl stools on the bottom left.


Cool, right?

When I took a closer look at the photo, they looked relatively easy to duplicate. So I enlisted Paul, who (despite his extreme dislike of all things home improvement-related) helped me brainstorm how we could make a similar base for our table.

I went digging through the basement to see what we had on hand and headed off to Home Depot to find the rest.

I hauled a junky old table top out of the basement to use as our base.


Then we bought some inexpensive plumbing supplies, a one-inch floor flange and a one-inch metal pipe.


We screwed the flange right into the center of the old top and screwed in the pipe.


This little system provides the structure of your table, so make sure you get a pipe that’s thick enough to support the weight of your top. You can have a place like Home Depot cut the pipe and thread it for you to get the right length.

From there we needed to find our spiral materials.

Let me first say, you need a lot of wood to do this project. We wound up using 31, 3/4 inch pieces to make the table, which was roughly 30 inches tall. Each piece needed to be six inches wide and 28 inches long, which was the length I thought would look best with our table top.

When you’re looking to buy wood the costs can add up. So we decided to change direction and headed for the cheapest MDF we could find.

We found a 4’x8′ piece of MDF for around $30 at Home Depot had them cut it lengthwise into eight, six-inch strips.


When we got home we cut each strip widthwise  into 28-inch pieces. We were able to get three full pieces from each strip, leaving us with 24 pieces. It wasn’t enough to make the table as tall as we wanted, so we started rummaging around for more wood.

We managed to dig a few pieces out of the basement and our neighbor Lisa came through with the rest.

Once we collected the wood, we drilled a one-inch hole in the center of each piece, so we could slide it onto the pole.


Once we had all the holes drilled, I primed the wood, which took FOREVER. Hand.Cramp.

When the pieces were dry, I threaded them back onto the pole. Once I stacked it to the right height, I attached another flange to the underside of the table top and screwed it onto the pipe. This makes it super easy to take the top on and off.


Then I fanned out the boards to  make the swirl design.



Easy right?

One problem with this table…it weighs like a million pounds. So you’ll need to assemble it in place. Luckily the pieces are super easy to pop on and off. Just unscrew the top, pull off the wood, move the base and put it back together. It only takes a couple of minutes. Once I moved the table downstairs and reassembled it,  I gave it a second coat of paint to finish it off.

The best thing about this method is you can probably thread just about anything onto the pipe to create a decorative base for your table. It’s easy, and inexpensive.

Most definitely easier than making a table out of paint sticks.




Check It Out…

Hi Everyone. Happy Friday! I was so excited to find out this morning that one of my favorite bloggers, Marian at Miss Mustard Seed, chose my herringbone paint stick table as one of her favorites from her Furniture Feature Friday link party. Here’s the link to her site. Be sure to check it out along with the  two other great projects she featured this week.

Welcome to all the Miss Mustard Seed readers stopping by! I hope you’ll stick around.

I’ll be busy working on a couple of projects this weekend and will be back Monday morning with an update!