New Front Door!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen it, but for everyone else I thought I’d give a quickie update on a project for the current house. πŸ™‚

Here is the “before”:

If you look very closely, you’ll see a gap in the glass at the top of the screen door. That’s what happens when you take the bottom glass and shove it to the top because the top glass is completely missing.

As you can see, this was not exactly a “looker”. Not only that, but the old door was a solid wood door which had very deep details cut into it. Hubby estimates that the thickness of the door in those decorative grooves would have been 1/2″ or less. Needless to say, this door let a lot of cold air in. And when it was nice enough to leave the big door open, the screen door didn’t exactly do a great job of keeping the bugs out…

So it had to go. I decided this time that since we sleep in the basement but shower upstairs (we have bad luck with basement showers and rotting walls, apparently) that I’d go with a smaller glass window for less of a neighborhood peep show. I chose what is called a “Craftsman” style door, but left off the dust-catcher shelf. They’re pretty, but I was just seeing it as being yet another thing to keep clean.

Since the house is eventually going to be a pale yellow (think the color of real butter) with white trim, I thought a red door would be just the thing. And both colors happen to go nicely with the brick we have on the front. It took two cans of paint to get the right red (the first was mixed wrong), but it was worth it, because it is absolutely gorgeous!

Isn’t it beautiful?! I love it!

Since we were already there, we opted to go ahead and change out the siding around the door too. It’s cedar right now, but I’m going to go ahead and paint it. It’s pretty like this, but I hate how cedar turns that grody shade of grey pretty quickly and I think it will be better to paint it when it’s new rather than wait until it gets weathered.

I’m planning to use the red from the door to paint our house number and the little doodad that surrounds the door bell button. It’s either going to be red or black, I haven’t totally committed yet, but I’m leaning towards red.

What projects are ya’ll working on? We’ve got a couple of windows that are waiting for a warm snap, but then we’re probably going to have to save up for a while. There’s definitely not a shortage of projects for this place, but we’ve gotta take it slow for a while. πŸ™‚


Bathroom remodel 99% and stalled

Note: All the pictures are in a slideshow, hopefully it won’t load too slowly. It’s really worth the wait though, if you are even remotely interested in how to completely transform a bathroom on a small budget (~$3,000).

You’ve probably forgotten that we were actually even doing this, but there was a bathroom remodel going on here. Even though it’s got a couple little finishing touches that aren’t complete, I’m going to post the pictures and call itΒ “done” for here anyway. The only things we have left are to stain some shims for our window trim (the trim itself is actually stained/urethaned and ready to go up), and also cut and paint a door and the little trim piece for under the sink.Β A smidgen of caulk around the vanity, and it’s completely done. πŸ™‚ But, you know how it goes… get to where it’s usable again and you just kind of lose interest and stall out. I’m actually planning to do the caulking this evening though, so that will be one less thing to worry about finishing.

Before I do the pictures, I just kind of wanted to list the things that we did to this bathroom, so you can get the full scope of this project–it definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart!

  • We pulled out an old cast iron tub that weighed a ton….maybe not literally, but it sure seemed like it.
  • We pulled down every inch of the drywall that was on the walls (we did leave the ceiling though, but I suspect it might have been easier in the long run to actually take that out too).
  • Patched in some new subfloor in strategic areas (read: under the toilet and tub area).
  • Put in a very thick underlayment (to match up to the rest of our floors).
  • Installed new vinyl flooring. (I love my new floor, it looks pretty, and it feels AWESOME under your feet–seriously. For as thick as it is, it isn’t as cushion-y as I’d expected though.)
  • Installed the new drywall and shower system. (The shower system was a retrofit kit for an alcove that originally held a bathtub–it had walls and a base that fit our opening pretty decent. We did have to shim out an entire wall, which is why we don’t have our window trim on just yet).
  • New lighting fixtures. Seriously more awesome than the old ones. And as a bonus, we moved our bathroom fan when we replaced it, and it has a light too–right above the shower! Seriously, that’s pretty awesome, no more shadowy showers!
  • New paint on the old vanity/cabinets. (IMO, this alone is what really makes this bathroom “pop”).
  • New hardware for the vanity and we re-used the old mirror and also some old towel bars/tp roller. The mirror was original to the bathroom and in great condition, and the towel bars were some we had bought back when we had a rental that didn’t have any towel bars–I liked them and didn’t want to leave them when we moved out. Since they were mine (no reimbursement), we kept them which worked out perfect for this project.
  • New faucet.
  • New vanity top–isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?! The sink is moulded into the vanity, so no pesky areas for gunk to get into.
  • We re-used the old toilet….it’s from the 60’s, but it still worked, so we put new seals/gaskets in it and stuck ‘er down.
  • New paint on the walls in a pretty shade of blue that really goes nicely with the color of the cabinets.
  • New cabinet hardware–I’m well aware that it’s just plain cheapo hardware from big Blue, but I really like how it looks, especiallyΒ  now that it’s on.
  • New trim in the stain that mostly closely matched what was already in there. I wanted a darker color, but every piece of trim in the house is a more blonde color and I’m not really motivated to cut/stain new trim for every inch of the house. So, I decided to embrace it.

I think that pretty much sums it up. By re-using some of the things we already had (toilet, mirror, etc.) we saved a pretty good-sized chunk of change, though I’m thinking that it would have been smarter to go ahead and buy a set of shower doors, it’s really hard to keep the curtain in the shower now. Hopefully that’ll get easier as we get used to not having a full tub to hold it in. Anyway, enough blathering! On to the pictures! πŸ™‚

Whatcha think? Way better right?

Nemesis: Paint!

I just finished putting on the second coat of paint in the bathroom, so it’s finally starting to look like a room now. Hooray!

You ever have something where no matter how much you “practice” you still suck at it? That’s how I am with painting. But, since I didn’t get paint in my hair (as far as I know), I’m marking this as a success! We chose a robin’s egg blue color for the paint–Ace Hardware’s “Timeless”, which is kind of bright right now, but once we get the vanity/cabinets painted and the hardware up, I think it’ll tone down. (And it seems to tone down as it dries as well.)

We also got our flooring in the other day, so it’s really coming together. The flooring is more brown-ish than I expected based on the sample, (I have the worst luck with samples) but I like the look of it anyway, and it really does make the room feel bigger, so that’s a win. I can’t wait to see how everything looks when it’s complete. I’m sorry I don’t have any new pictures to show you, but I’m hoping that here very soon I’ll have a bunch for you–especially the before/after ones. I’m keeping you in suspense I guess. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I live in the plains area. We’re supposed to be hammered with storms making hail and tornadoes out the yin yang. We’ll see how it goes, if you don’t hear from me in a few weeks, I’m probably homeless or something. Which would really suck considering all the effort we’re putting in on this bathroom, but that’s life here in the central U.S.

If you live in the path of these storms, take care; you know the drill.

Halfway there!

The carpet is in! Installing it ourselves wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. You can see some of my seams, but honestly, I’m not that concerned about it. It’s a family room using recycled carpet, so it wasn’t ever going to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens or anything. If there was such a thing as “Cheapskate Magazine”, we might fit there, since the project has only cost $20 and some time so far.

Right now we’re trying to decide on paint colors while we’re still in “remodel mode”. I just think it makes sense to paint the walls before moving the furniture back in. And since we don’t have any tack strips, I’m just going to roll the carpet back a few feet along where I’m painting to keep it from getting any drips or spills.

The biggest question is color. I’m trying to choose between about 3 colors for the walls. All are fairly light colors which will work well with the not-so-ideal lighting situation (it only looks bright now because there’s no leaves on the trees outside yet). I’m also trying to decide if I want to paint all 4 walls the same color, or leave 1 or 2 white. The room is a really long rectangle (35′ long x 13′ wide) and I’m afraid that all the paint is either going to break the bank or just be overwhelming once it’s finished. And, based on my experience in the sewing room, the 3 concrete walls are going to take color differently than the one sheetrock one (sheetrock on the right).

After carpet, before paint

Here are my color options (not that they seem to be accurate):

The yellow is a light sunny yellow, the middle color looks pretty accurate to me (it’s a kind of blue-grey), and the bottom one is a slightly darker/brighter shade than it shows up (almost a pale sea green IRL). If you’re going to a DoItBest hardware store anytime soon, they are A154~Banana Pop, C231~Misty Seas, & E262~Blue Burro. Currently I’m leaning toward the yellow or the sea green. πŸ™‚

Rainy Days

Today it’s raining. Which is great and all, we could really use the rain, but it kind of sucks when it comes to painting stuff. At 80% humidity, I’m not sure the paint would ever dry. So I guess we’re going to have to hold out for a less muggy day to work on painting the kid’s bed. He’s kind of sad about it, keeps asking when we’re going to move it to his room, which I think is kind of cool because it means he likes it. πŸ™‚

Since I can’t paint, I’ve been plotting. My husband cringes whenever my plans change because it’s never good to leave me to my own devices. πŸ˜‰ In my plotting, I’ve been looking at things I’d like to make for myself. We’ve been in need of a new mattress pretty much since we got married 5 (and a half-ish) years ago. We’ve always ended up with hand-me-down crappy ones, along with hand-me-down crappy beds. So, since we’re going to be buying a mattress for the little one, I thought maybe we could get one for ourselves as well. But, I want a queen-sized one, and our queen sized bed is either going to FreeCycle along with it’s crap mattress or it’s going to the landfill…I’m not heartbroken either way. The big question is, which bed do I want to make?

I’m thinking I would like to get a storage bed for us–one that has storage in the bottom that functions as a dresser to free up some space in our room. I can’t decide if I want to have the bookcases that go with it to be attached or unattached. For now, I’m considering them as a standalone item with holes in them for power cords to things like a lamp and alarm clocks. Sort of like a nightstand that holds books. That way we can pace ourselves and make it easier to move them should we decide to relocate. Mostly though? I’m just daydreaming….if you’d met my husband, you’d understand. πŸ˜‰

Painting Tips

Yay! I got some more priming done today! In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned via the school of hard knocks. πŸ˜‰

  1. Buy a good paintbrush–you’ll save time on cleanup, and they last longer (making you actually spend LESS in the long run.) The good quality brushes are also more precise on things like edges, which could save you some money on all that silly blue tape you planned to purchase.
  2. Never skimp on the quality of your primer–primer is the backbone of your paint job. Quality is the key to success.
  3. Handy Paint Cup: you need one, they are convenient as heck, and ridiculously cheap. I wash mine to re-use, even though they say they are “disposable”.
  4. Ask a pro. There are people that work @ the Lowe’s/Home Depot type stores that know their paint, but they are few and far between. It’s one thing to go there and get the teensy “test” can of paint (which I do all the time), but you really want someone who knows what they are doing to help you choose coordinating colors, determine your best primer option (quality-wise, as well as whether to tint it and what color to tint it), and for other questions about techniques and such you may have.
  5. Did I mention the importance of a good quality brush? πŸ˜‰
  6. Definitely practice your technique on a setup similar (i.e. a mockup of a window frame) to what you will be working on to perfect your technique before going all out on your actual project. You aren’t doing yourself any favors if you purchase all the supplies and then have to call in a pro (or buy more supplies) to fix your screwups–because you will have screwups–especially if you don’t practice first.
  7. Corners, especially inside ones are harder than they look, and if you are a gal, think of what happens if you get a big, thick wad of nail polish on your nail–it’s the first part to peel off–your paint job will do pretty much the same thing if you don’t practice and know what you are doing. Especially on those silly inside corners…ask me how I know! πŸ˜›

So anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. Later on this evening I’ll post an update on the back door, since it’ll be completely finished today. Yay! πŸ™‚

Back Door Part 1

We’ve installed our back door! We worked really hard on it today, and got it in, installed the hardware, cut/stained the interior trim, and caulked the bottom side of the door before dark. Tomorrow I’ll have to clear coat the interior trim and pick up some more brick moulding (we were about 1″ too short) then we’ll be able to tack those up and be done with it. *sigh* I’m so glad to have that project off the table (and out of the garage!) πŸ™‚

Only real disappointment today was that the trim color isn’t exactly what I had hoped…it’s sadly more blue than teal, and it doesn’t quite go with the doors. So I guess tomorrow when I’m picking up the brick moulding, I’ll have to be sure to stop in and see about re-tinting my paint, or replacing it entirely. 😦 However, I’m so pleased with the appearance of my beautiful new back door that the paint thing isn’t really getting me down too much. And I’m also thrilled that the color choice for the interior of the back door is perfect–it’s EXACTLY what I had in mind. πŸ™‚


As you’ve likely noticed, we’ve been working on the trimwork for our house. It’s been slow, tedious, frustrating, and sometimes downright painful! We’re getting closer though, thank goodness! We’ve got the scraping/caulking done on the bedroom windows, picture window, front door, and we’re getting close to finishing the bathroom window. After that it’s two little windows for the kitchen, a window in the laundry room, the garage door, back door, and the pair of small garage windows….

This week I plan to start painting (weather permitting) on the windows we have scraped and caulked, so that the amount of weather damage is minimized. Right now I plan to have to do 1 coat of primer and two coats of paint, but we’ll see how well both paint and primer cover. I’m also working in the garage on repairing some glazing on our bathroom window. There’s only about 4 windows left on the property that still have the old-style single pane windows, but every one of them needs new glazing. *sigh* Such is life I suppose. Sadly, those windows won’t be able to be painted for at least a week while the glazing skins over enough to be painted. Honestly, there’s some excellent reproductions out there, so even if you own an old home–if you are in need of new glaze, just buy new windows–the headache isn’t worth it! I suppose you could hire a pro, too–either way–don’t do it yourself!

While I’m on here, I am looking at some stuff that I want to do for future projects…if I win the lottery! Ha! πŸ˜› So anyway, here’s some ideas for ya!



You really have to see this one in person to fully appreciate the beauty–it’s definitely a showstopper! I’d like to have that in my bathroom as the flooring.

I think a medallion like this would be awesome on the countertop with a clear glass bowl sink centered over it–what do you think?

So, yeah, hopefully we win the lottery soon! πŸ˜›

Scraping: How do I loathe thee…

Since the weather has been gorgeous the past week or so, we’ve been working on our outside projects–you know, “making hay while the sun shines” or whatever. One of our projects to complete before the weather gets cold is to paint our windows and trim. They needed some new paint (and caulk!) pretty badly, and that’s just one of those projects you don’t put off or it will end badly. So, we borrowed the IL’s power washer the other day, and blew off a good portion of the paint yesterday. I would recommend it–it’s not 100%, but I can work with the remaining 30% and not be too unhappy about it. Well, maybe….have you ever experienced that unique feeling you get when you scrape your knuckles on brick? Or the fabulousness that is attempting to scrape caulk off of the brick and do any sort of a neat job? If not, volunteer to help someone else–it’s an eye-opening experience. πŸ˜‰ Bonus points for attempting to remove silicone that some genius thought was a good idea…*rolls eyes*…

Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures of our progress for you. πŸ™‚

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so we’re taking these down to pretty much bare wood (in case you couldn’t already tell). I hate it when people repaint and the paint cracks out right away. I want my new paint to look like new paint. After scraping, we’ll sand a bit to help blend the last little bits of paint that didn’t come off. Then we’ll caulk, prime, and paint. My color choice is a very light teal, with a darker accent teal on the endcaps. πŸ™‚ It looks good on my front door, so I suspect it’ll look good everywhere else too. πŸ™‚