Friday, March 24, 2017

Finished Basement--First Look

I'm so excited to show you the progress on the finished basement. Here's what we started with just a few weeks ago. Sorry for the blurry pictures. This is what you would see when you walked down the stairs:

And here's what that same view looks like now!

It's an actual room! No decor, furniture, or paint yet, but we have walls, floors, and a ceiling! The door on the left leads to the electrical panel and cable box. The opening on the right (still waiting for the door to arrive...) is a storage closet.

Now here's a before and after looking back towards the stairs:

Same vantage point now:

The opening on the right leads to the stairs. Same direction now looking more to the left:

The door on the right leads to storage under the stairs. The door on the left leads to the unfinished part of the basement.

Did you notice another detail?

Yes, that's a fireplace. I was inspired (who wouldn't be?) by Sarah's (aka Thrifty Decor Chick) awesome finished basement which included an electric fireplace ( Genius. So it gave me the idea to add this electric fireplace that would not only give the room a focal point, but also heat this space.

Now obviously, it doesn't look like much at the moment, but remember a few weeks ago I mentioned finding this vintage mantel at a salvage yard? It's pretty rough right now and needs work, but I think it's going to make that electric fireplace look pretty sweet when it's all done.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Who's Ready for Outdoor Living?

That would be me. The weather's been beautiful here, but there's another cold snap coming (ugh!). To cheer myself up, I've been eyeing some options to upgrade my deck. There are some terrific sales going on right now, so this is a great time to buy while the prices are low and the selection is as good as it gets.

Pier 1 is having an amazing sale--20% off all regularly priced outdoor furniture.  And here's a code for free shipping on all orders $49 and up. Check this baby out!

I could so see this dining set on my deck.

This super-cute striped rug is on clearance--66% off!

Wayfair is having a great outdoor sale, too! Up to 70% off! I would love a couple of chaises like this. Glass of wine. Watch the sunset. 

And I so love this bar cart from Joss & Main. On sale now for 33% off.

And how about some new outdoor pillows. These are all on sale.

This is the year I'm going to spring for a set of Melamine plates for the deck and porch.

Am I the only one who thinks I HAVE to have a set of these string lights for my deck?

Hope you enjoyed this brief break from cold weather. Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Work with Reclaimed Wood

Hello there! I'm in the middle of a new project that I'm dying to show you. I'm some building shelves with reclaimed wood. It's still in process, so the meantime, I thought I'd talk a little about how to find reclaimed wood and how to work with it.

What is reclaimed wood?

It's wood that has been retrieved from it's original use and repurposed for a new use. Most reclaimed wood is salvaged from demolished buildings (houses, barns, warehouses). There are so many things I love about reclaimed wood. The texture and variations in color make each piece unique. Plus, when wood is reclaimed and reused, it doesn't end up in a landfill--and you save a few trees. It's a win-win-win situation.

Where can you get reclaimed wood?

There are many sources. There are businesses that specialize in selling reclaimed wood. For example, Stikwood sells self-stick planks of reclaimed wood. It comes in uniform sizes (5" wide and 3/16" thick). It runs $14 per square foot. This is a good option if you want the look of reclaimed wood without doing a lot of work.

However, if you're like me and are up for a DIY project, the best source for reclaimed wood are salvage yards. My favorite is Community Forklift just outside of Washington, DC. There's a huge selection and the prices are unbelievable. For example, I recently bought a whole trunk full of wood for $11. That included a 5 foot 2" x 12", a 4 foot 2" x 12",an 8 foot 2" x 8", an 8 foot 2" x 4", and a few smaller pieces. In addition to lumber, they have other cool stuff like this mantel I picked up for $85! (You'll be seeing more of this mantel in future posts!)

What do you do with the wood once you get it?

If you're dealing with wood from a salvage yard, you'll have a little work ahead of you, but it's all pretty straightforward.

1. First things first.
Cut the wood to the size you need. Remove any loose or protruding nails. If you can't remove the nails, then hammer them flush with the surface of the wood. Also remove any large loose splinters. If there are large splits in the wood, you may have to use some glue to hold it together. I used Liquid Nails, but any good wood glue will do. I like the rustic look of the wood, so I didn't attempt to repair holes or rough spots.

2. Give your wood a bath.
Reclaimed wood is often very dirty. So before you do anything else, you'll have to clean it. You will need heavy rubber gloves, dish detergent, warm water, and a scrubber or brush. Give the wood a good cleaning on all surfaces. Be careful--not only is the wood likely to be dirty, but it will probably have a lot of splinters. That's why you need the gloves--or a good pair of tweezers! When you're done, lean the wood up against a wall and let dry overnight.

3. Now that your wood is nice and clean, thoroughly sand all the surfaces. This is best done with an electric sander. 

4. It's time to add some finish. I like to enhance the wood but keep a natural look. I used Danish Oil in Medium Walnut. Because the surface of the wood was uneven, I found it easier to apply it with a brush rather than a cloth. The oil really soaked into the wood, so I went through quite a bit. It really brought out the texture and depth in the wood. 

5. Extra Credit.
For my project, I needed a five foot 2" x 12" board and an eight foot 2" x 12" board. Although I had no trouble finding the five foot board, they didn't have an eight foot 2" x 12". So I decided to fabricate a 2" x 12" using a 2" x 8" and a 2" x 4".  

Because I'm going for a very rustic look, I decided to use 4" mending plates to attach the boards. 

To give them a more rustic look, I sprayed them with Rust-oleum Flat Metallic Soft Iron Spray Paint. Huge difference! I also picked up some black self-tapping screws. 

Next, I laid the two boards next to each other and applied Liquid Nails to the sides where I wanted to join the boards and pressed them together. Then I arranged the mending plates along the joint at regular intervals and attached them with screws. I didn't want to make it too perfect, so I just eyeballed it.

I let the glue dry overnight and my fabricated 2" x 12" was ready to go. I can't wait to show you the finished project (yeah, once it's actually finished, that is!). Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dresser Makeover

Hello there! Hope your week is going well. I have another furniture makeover to show you. My friend, V told me she had an old dresser in her attic and wanted to know if I'd like to have it. Do you think I would turn down a piece of furniture? Not so much. V had her son help her load it into the back of her SUV and she drove it over to my house. So the two of us are trying to lift this big, heavy, solid maple dresser out of her car and carry it into the house. Somehow we got our wires crossed and we both picked up the same end instead of opposite ends (I know, it's hard to imagine, but we did it). So the dresser starts to fall..Anyway, we somehow got it into the house without killing ourselves or destroying the dresser. Too bad I don't have it on video...

Moving right along. So dresser was much nicer than I thought it would be. As noted, it's solid maple--a really nice piece of furniture, but it looked really dated. Now I forgot to take a good picture of it before I started, but this is what the finish and the hardware looked liked.

It had some really nice detailing and I thought it would look really nice in a light gray. So I started with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and gave it a light distressing.

I liked it, but I still felt like it was missing something. The detailing was so pretty, but it wasn't emphasized enough. I decided to add a wash of Old White. I put a couple of tablespoons of paint in a plastic cup and added about a 1/2 cup of water. I brushed it on and then wiped it off immediately. With a technique like this, you don't want it to start dripping. So work in small sections. I really concentrated on working the wash into the detailing.

This was more what I was looking for. I ended up reusing the original hardware. I painted it with Old White (full strength), let it dry a bit, then used a cloth to rub it off in some areas.

The Old White did a great job of emphasizing the detailing. This is another example of a project that ended up going in a different direction than I had originally planned. I think it's important when doing anything creative, to keep an open mind. The best projects are those that seem to evolve.

TDC Before and After

Friday, February 17, 2017

How to Make a Mudroom Rack with Coastal Style

Today I'm going to show you how to make a coat rack for your mudroom or foyer that will hold a ton of stuff, look cool, and is super affordable. Honestly, this is a DIY project anyone can do!

Our mudroom is basically an 8' x 3' hallway between the garage and the house. We needed someplace to hang coats, bags, beach towels, yoga mats, backpacks--you name it.  So I built this rack to run along one of the long walls. Full disclosure--the mudroom never looks like it does in these pictures. We usually have so much stuff hanging in there that you would never be able to see the rack! I did a bit of editing before taking these pics!


1 x 4 lumber in the length you need. I used an 8' board that fit perfectly on the wall.

4" galvanized boat cleats--I used 8 cleats for an 8' board.

1 " wood screws (2 per boat cleat)

2" wood screws (4-6)

Sander or sand paper (this is the sander I have)

Wood stain (I used this)

Tape measure

Stud finder (optional, but for less than $20, so worth it!)

Drill and drill bits




1. Cut your 1 x 4 to the length you need. (They'll do this for you for free at Home Depot) 

2. Sand all surfaces and round off the long edges of the wood.

3. Apply the stain of your choice and let dry.

4. While you're waiting for the stain to dry, use the level to mark a horizontal line on the wall at the height where you want the top edge of the rack to be.

5. Locate the studs in the wall and mark their locations. Make sure you can see the marks above the horizontal line.

6. Hold the board in place on the wall (you may need someone to hold one end while you do this) and mark the locations of the studs on your board.

7. Now lay the board on the floor. You will need to attach the board to the studs in the wall near each end of the board and at a couple of places in the middle. So start at the ends. Place a boat cleat near each end where the studs are marked. Now place one or two boat cleats over the stud marks in the middle of the board. Then arrange the rest of the boat cleats so they are at even intervals. Mark these locations.
8. Remove all the boat cleats and place to one side. Drill a hole in the middle of each stud line where you will be attaching the rack to the wall. If you have the appropriate drill bit, create a countersink for each screw head. When you're done, the screws will be hidden by the boat cleats. 
9. Using the 1" screws, attach the boat cleats to the marked locations on the board EXCEPT where you have drilled the holes.

10. Now place the rack on the wall with the top edge even with the horizontal line (you may need a helper to hold one end). Place a 2" screw in each hole in the board and screw into the stud to secure the rack to the wall. Countersink the screws.
11. Finally, place the remaining cleats over the screws and attach to the board with the 1" screws.
Now enjoy your new coat rack!

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