Let's chat about the KITCHEN!

I'm all over the place with this whole house renovation deal. So, let's cool it on the laundry room for a hot second and talk about this kitchen for a smidgy bit (!!!!!!!!!). SO, here's what we're twerkin with from the beginning of time:

The cabinets. THE CABINETS. They are huge (good!) and custom (good!) and made of solid wood (good!), BUT! They are SUPER 60's and just WON'T go with the modern vibe I hope to bring into this space in the next century. HOWEVER, I almost gave in and just painted them after I saw the kitchen renovations from A Beautiful Mess...here and here (painted flat panel doors), but alas! I went with new. SO, Cabinet frames = good. Doors = not so good.

Also, I wanted self-closing doors, none of this weird door grabbing business (that NEVER works).

THE DRAWERS. Same deal: good wood, solid blah blah blah. UNFORTUNATELY, they don't have those schnazzy tracks on them that we take for granted UNTIL we don't have them and then it's like "would you like a fork?" SQUEEKERRRKHAG *nails on chalk board* "here you go!"

SO, new drawers with slides. BOOM.

OF COURSE, i've been researching my brains out with how to refinish these bad boys. I want to go white, BECAUSE, the kitchen doesn't have any windows (the adjacent dining room DOES) so having white cabs will make up  for that. Brighten this bad boy up a bit. SO, paint. I've read basically every tutorial on the interwebs about refinishing cabinets, horror stories and all. #superpreparer. I have found this to be the best way to go abouts it:

Step 1: Sand cabinets down a bit
Step 2: Wipe down with liquid deglosser
Step 3: Primer (Stain Blocking Zinsser Smart Prime has been best recommended)
Step 4: Paint (Benjamin Moore's Advance Paint has been best recommended)

OMG How many different shades of WHITE are there?! (hint: more than whats pictured)
People have tried various methods to paint their cabinets. Only a few have tested the waters of a paint sprayer, and although it would be the fastest method, I don't think it's the method i'll be taking. SO MANY have mentioned horror stories of paint splatters, not watering it down enough, and THE CLEAN UP. So, while that might take less time in the end, I want to make this kitchen renovation as long and painful as possible: so i'll paint by hand. It's recommended to use a 2" brush, and a foam roller.

HERE'S what i'm thinking. Flat recessed panel cabinets. Painted white with some chrome jewelry. Countertops: i'm thinking butcher block on the main area, and a dark granite or a soapstone at the top buffet area. Then a little tile jazzy backsplash and some GREIGE paint for the walls! Still noodling the sink (probs will go with a farmhouse style, or a nice deep stainless), light fixtures, and appliances! Baby steps...


I CAN'T believe Christmas is ALREADY next week! It's like December started yesterday. You've got ONE WEEK to put snow on the ground weather man. #whitechristmas.

I started and finished my holiday shopping in just TWO days. It had to be two, because half way into it, on the first day, I got SUPER hangry and almost went grinch all over the place. Also, if you need a good laugh today, I have a bruise on my knee from walking INTO a bench whilst power-shopping. Bench won. #spoileralert. 

SO, ya having peeps over during the holidays?! Need a fun centerpiece for people to oogle over? You could, make some fun candle holders with concrete. Or drink some wine and melt peppermints? OR, you could venture into the depths of the copper isle at Home Depot and make a candle holder!

 So, BASICALLY typical taper candles are 3/4" thick at the end. So whatever you do, however you make this, reduce it down to that size to fit the candle. This project can be done a bajillion ways. I found some pieces of copper in my basement, as one does, and borrowed this handy tool from faja to cut the pipe down to smaller pieces. You can skip this step and buy pre-cut pieces, or have the handy peeps at HD cut them down for you - WHATEVS.

 SO, here's what I had in mind - candle holder for 4 candles:

 4 - 4" piece copper
3 - 3" piece copper
2 - 2" piece copper
4 Elbow
2 T's

I happened to have 3/4" copper, you can go bigger or smaller, but just get a reducer for the tip for the candle to fit in. This will all make sense when you are hanging out in the copper isle for 30 minutes... :)

If you were my father, you'd weld these together. BUT, they were snug enough to stand on their own sans-weld, thankfully.

It's like a 3D jigsaw puzzle for adult crafters, try it!

I really liked the height on it, but sometimes you gotta drop it lowwww amiright?


 To further decorate your little centerpiece, steal some shrubbery from the outside, add candles and BOOM, ya done.

New besties

If you have been stalking this blogger for awhile now, you may have remembered a little change up I wanted to make like, oh, 9 months ago in the laundry room. YOU SEE, laundry is one of those chores that I don't MIND doing, but don't love. The past 2 rentals i've lived in, the laundry rooms have been in a spider-infested dungeon with really creepy rooms I had to pass through (toilet in a closet? octopus looking furnace?). So I THINK if I don't have to do laundry in such a place i'll like it better? THEN, I saw A spider in my laundry room and was all OH NO NOT AGAIN. But, I mean, this IS the basement of a house. REGARDLESS. I have a theory. IF I clean up the laundry room, make it look/actually BE functional - I might be OKAY with doing laundry, a little more.

SO, the quest begins. First things first, minimize the gap between the washer and dryer (oh the HORROR of walking 5 feet with wet laundry). This meant having to deal with a dryer vent, gas line, water line(s) AND waste line - OY! So I called my dad and was all "I need supervision so I don't blow up my house...i'll make lunch?" AND GUYS, it only took ONE trip to Home Depot to accomplish this *DIY blogger finger snaps*

Thankfully the gas line was around 800 feet long already, so moving it 3 feet over was NBD. The dryer vent was held together with insulative tape and alot of love, so we picked up a 4' piece of dryer duct, and slapped on some tape (and love!) to extend that bad boy.

To extend the water line, we picked up 2 extra hoses and a connector (they only had 4' water hose lines (I needed 8'), so....2+2. and a nice little tuber for the waste to go a few extra feet.

NOW, it doesn't look GREAT yet, so shush. BUT we are getting there, baby steps. SUPER baby steps, because after we moved the washer we were all in unision like "OMG WHAT IS THAT."

**If you are eating, sorry**

YEAH, idk, super mega grease or something? It looks like something spilled on the side wall and dripped down to hang out for around 60 years. After 2 days of scrubbing (Cleaner, Baking soda, Mineral Spirits, Curse words) it looks...better?

IDK, but this room will EVENTUALLY have some swanky tile on the floors so WHATEV.

Ideally, i'd rush into painting the walls/cabinets, BUT! There is a small kitchen update brewing that is speaking louder to me :)...more later!

Nothing is safe in this house + Building a Coat Rack

I snapped these photos last January, when I first laid eyes on the house. And in the 11 months that have passed, nothing has changed. Which, isn't a far cry from MANY other spaces in the house, but few are used as often as this one. 

The laundry room renovation is going to happen...over time. The first step is to make it super functional, the second is to make it look goooooooood.

One thing that is nice about moving slowly with renovations, is that you can live in the space long enough to understand how you need/want to use it. This room has a door which leads out to the backyard/garage, and will be a great place to track in winter snow (the upstairs side entrance is smaaaaallll, and i'm forever nerv about ruining the floors with winter salt). Here is the other side of the laundry room:

What? You don't have a shower in your laundry room?! This was the one SUPER weird thing that came with the house. Obviously they wanted a 3br/2ba listing, and to get the FULL bathroom (the rest of the bathroom is around the corner) they would need a shower!

But yeah, we don't need that creepy curtain anymore.

So down came the curtain/rack, moved the shoe rack over, now I just needed a place to hang some jackets, because Minnesota winter and all. 

I had some leftover wood from the tool bench project, so I came up with a plan to have a bench/coat rack in the gap between the shoe rack and the workroom 'door'. This way, we can come in the basement door full of winter, unload and walk upstairs.

I used a bunch of 2x4 scrap, some plywood and particle board. Gettin' creative with scrap wood. ALSO, I used PILLOWS. 

YOU SEE, I am a self proclaimed ORGANIZED hoarder. So, when we sawed a couch in half last winter:

And by WE I mean my dad, I just pose for blurry pictures and then get scared and hand it off. ANYWAYS, I kept the cushions/pillows and have been hoarding them in the back corner of my base SINCE then. WHY you ask?! BECAUSE batting/foam is $$ aaaaaand this was FREE, yo. SO, when I needed some cush for a little bench seat, I unearthed the cushions and got to work. #saveallthethings. Nothing is safe from a little remake in this house.

SO, here's the basics in making a bench seat - start with a base (wood)....

Add some cush (I alternated the break in batting each layer).

Staple all the things. (That wood paneling though!!)

Add some left over, scrap fabric.

Staple all the things, again.

Get creative with the corners.


Still with me? K, i'll skip over the how-do build the coat rack deal, since it was based on wood I had on hand, ya know - make it work.

More changes came in the Laundry room this past weekend - but this post is FAR too long so come back laterz kbye!

DIY Gift Guide

Don't you just LOVE the holidays?! Snow! Sparkling lights! Delicious Food! Christmas Music ALL DAY LONG. Although it is such a busy time of the year, there is a little sadness when it's over - so SOAK IN ALL IN kids.

I thought i'd compile a short list of DIY necessities for those looking to start dipping your toes in the water. Or perhaps you know someone who loves to DIY? Just bought a house? Likes tools? IDK, but these are my most used items in the 'ol workroom. And none of them are scary, once you get the hang of it :)

You may notice I have blurred out the product names - there are MANY great brands out there - I didn't want it to look like I was recommending a particular brand over another - as i've only used one!  My drill and circular saw are Ryobi tools, and my hand sander is Rigid. If you have questions on their performance let me know! All the images were taken from Home Depot's website (links to power tools below).

1. Tape Measure: Duh. I have about 3-4 running around my house at all times. You'll need it more than you know/think (will that couch fit through the door? how tall AM i?). In addition to a tape measure, a great house warming gift could include a multi tip screwdriver and a hammer. Three basics to start ANYONE out!

2. This is more of a safety feature for me, when sanding/sawing/screwing I ALWAYS clamp the item down. Power tools are...powerful! And it's so much easier to work with a material when it's secured down. The style shown here, in my opinion, is the easiest to use. Clamp it down and squeeze to tighten!

3. I only JUST found the amazingness of a speed square. I had a right angle ruler from yeaaaarrs ago at school and was using that, but this is SO MUCH FASTER (lol, SPEED square). It helps me check after EVERY step that my projects are on square. Plus, it makes drawing straight lines for a cut a BREEZE.

4. Level. This could be included in #1's homewarming box. I like the smaller one for hanging shelves and hanging picture frames. But a 3' is best when building furniture.

5.Cordless Drill. This thing is attached at my hip when i'm working on a project. Literally used for everything. Having a cordless drill is amaze, although the plug-in ones seem to be a bit more powerful. Make sure to get an extra battery though, it's THE WORST when this thing runs out mid-project. Oh, and plenty of drill bits and screws.

6. Hand Sander: This was actually the first power tool I owned (thanks Dad!), and if you are into refinishing furniture, it should be at the TOP of your list. Sanding finishes off by hand will make you want to light the piece of furniture on fire. This makes it go LIGHTYEARS faster, and look SO much better. Be sure to get one with a built in vacuum :) and like 800 pieces of sandpaper.

Extra credit:
7. Circular Saw: Most of the time, you can get the nice people at Home Depot to cut wood down for you, but this doesn't mean you can find some old barn wood and bring 'er over to cut to size. SO, at some point you may need to DIY your cuts. A circular saw is great at getting a straight cut, without needing a table saw or miter saw (and a little easier to handle than a jig saw, IMO). Mine shares a battery with the cordless drill which is super slick!

8. Kreig Jig: obviously this is making the list, because I am obsessed with mine. It's the best tool at hiding screws and still making a great connection. There is a whole line of kreig jig tools - but this one is simple and perfect for beginner builders!

Anyone have some recommendations beyond this list?!
Happy shopping :)