External and internal decorations

"A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antione de Sainte-Exupery

living room progress - purple velvet chairs and new ceiling light - 2

My second purple living room chair finally arrived! The first chair and the new ceiling light arrived about two weeks ago, so I’ve just been waiting. And waiting. I was beginning to think I was never going to get that second chair, but it got here Tuesday. So here’s the progress on the living room… These purple chairs are the Sandy Wilson Home Corina Accent Chair in Purple. They are gorgeous, and they are hard to find at a reasonable price. I had originally purchased one from Jennifer Taylor Home. It was shipped immediately and arrived at the beginning of July. But they only had one in stock, so I had to find another one elsewhere. Every place I found these chairs in purple only had one in stock. I ordered the second one from Home Depot, but after ordering it around June 25th, and then waiting five days past the delivery date (after calling and checking on it three times and being told it was coming), I finally cancelled that order and ordered from Amazon. I had previously checked the price on Amazon, and it was about $100 more than the Home Depot price. But then on the day […]

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finishing the trim on the built-in closets - 5

I’ve been hard at work trying to get all of the trim finished in my guest bedroom. As soon as the trim is done, I can finish the floor, and then get to the fun stuff! So I’m anxious to get the trim done, but I wanted it done right, so I didn’t want to just quickly throw up some trim just so I could call it done. Most of the trim is pretty straightforward — baseboards, base cap, window casing, etc. But I originally had no idea how I was going to handle the bottom of the closets. When I built the closets, I debated between making the doors sliding doors or regular swing doors. I finally decided on sliding doors. If you missed how I built those, you can see the details here: Guest Bedroom Closets Basic Build Those sliding doors required metal tracks at the bottom to keep the doors in place. You can see then metal track on the bottom of this door… Obviously, that bottom area needed to be trimmed out, but I had no idea just how to go about it. So after thinking about it and trying out some different ideas, let me […]

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As I’m trying to get the basics done on the guest bedroom (trim installed, floor finished, etc.), my mind naturally wanders to the fun stuff. I’m ready to get to the decorating and the pretty stuff! And for the last couple of days, I’ve been a tad bit obsessed with one particular suggestion that I received. If you’ll remember, the wall color that I used on the accent wall in the bedroom was a custom mix that I had color matched to the blue velvet that I had intended to use for the headboard. But as I got the wall finished, I no longer liked the blue velvet with the wall. I have another fabric that I thought would work, but it’s just a creamy off white color. And as much as I like the fabric, a creamy off white just wasn’t really doing much for me. I like color and contrast, and using a neutral headboard would send this room in a direction that isn’t really me. But then someone (thanks, Adele!) suggested a golden yellow headboard, and I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my head. Golden yellow isn’t a color that I’ve used anywhere […]

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floral line drawing wall mural - finished 1

The guest bedroom wall mural is finished! I was hoping to get the trim installed so you could see the wall truly finished, but I ran out of time. I was so excited about how it turned out, though, so I didn’t want to wait to show you the finished mural. If you missed the first part of this project with the DIY details, you can check out yesterday’s post here: DIY Hand Drawn Floral Line Drawing Wall Mural (Part 1 – Progress) So take a look at how it turned out! I love it! I’m so glad that my original mural ideas didn’t work out. 😀 Can you see the gold peeking out from behind the white? It’s a really beautiful effect, and a brilliant idea that my mom had to do the white over the gold. So the funny thing is that I had the wall color matched to the blue velvet fabric that I wanted to use for the headboard. But now that the wall is done, I actually don’t like the velvet fabric with the wall. 😀 It’s not a big deal. I have plenty of other fabric that I can use. And I do have […]

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floral line drawing wall mural - 8

It took me a few starts and stops and changes of plans, but I finally landed on a wall design for the guest bedroom that I love! I ended up doing a DIY floral line drawing wall mural. It’s hand drawn, but here’s the secret. It’s incredibly easy because I used an overhead projector to project the design on the wall, and then just traced it onto the wall. First, let me show you the progress I’ve made so far, and then I’ll go back to the beginning and show you the steps. So far, here’s how the wall looks… I’m pretty sure I can finish it today, so hopefully I’ll have a finished wall to show you tomorrow. As I said, I used an overhead projector for this project. I bought a very inexpensive one a few years ago when I did the butterfly and branch design on the entryway wall. I think it was around $50 on Ebay. So once I had my designed printed on a transparency (which I had done at FedEx Office), I was ready to go. I set up my projector and the transparency with the design on one side of the room… …and […]

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dark teal accent wall

I’ve been plugging away on the guest bedroom, and I finally got the accent wall painted yesterday in that gorgeous dark blue that I had color matched to the headboard fabric. I was ready to do the hand-drawn design, so I got out my overhead projector, turned it on, and it lasted for about five minutes before the light bulb burned out. Ugh!! And of course, no local store carries the particular light bulb I needed (a tiny thing called an EYB 360w bulb), so I had to order online, and they won’t be here until tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m having a hard time deciding exactly what I want to do. The mural design itself has been settled. I’m doing the line drawing floral design that I showed in the last post. But what I’m not sure about is if I want to do the “wallpaper” on the entire wall, or do a framed accent area on the wall, which is what I had originally planned. So here’s how the wall looks after I got it painted yesterday. The wall doesn’t have any trim on it because if I do decide to do the entire wall, I need my […]

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purple chair with peeve sitting on it

Y’all, I’ve totally found my mojo again. For the first time since I finished my mom’s kitchen (which you can see here if you missed it), I dragged out my tools yesterday and got busy on the guest bedroom. I didn’t do anything huge — just a bit of nailing on some trim, tightening some screws, etc. — but it felt so good to get back to my tools. And it was so energizing! So much so that I worked until about 11:00pm last night, and even then, I didn’t want to stop. If it weren’t for Matt telling me that it was time to close up, I probably would have worked until the wee hours of the morning. By looking at the room, you’d never guess that I worked that long, though. The closets need a lot of finishing details, so there’s not a whole lot of difference between the “before” and “current” view of them. But I did manage to get all of the nail holes and cracks filled with wood filler, and I got quite a bit of sanding done as well. I also got those top shelves removed and the nail holes patched. If you’ll remember, […]

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mural 1 - pink mountains with trees

Well, I don’t think the wall mural is going to happen in the guest bedroom. I’ve made two attempts, and neither one of them worked out. On the first one, I wanted to do something inspired by the Urban Outfitters mural that I shared in this post. I just loved the pink mountains and the trees. It started off okay. I knew I would never get mine to look as amazing as the actual wallpaper mural because I’m pretty sure the artist who did that one didn’t paint with latex wall paint. But I needed to cover a 14-foot wall, so using any kind of artist paint was out of the question. Anyway, it took forever to get the mountains to have anything even resembling that soft look of the inspiration wall mural… Trying to blend and soften and keep the paint wet enough to do those things is so incredibly difficult with latex wall paint. I used Floetrol, as well as some Liquitex Slo-Dri Blending Medium that is used with actual artist paints (but wall paint is acrylic, so I took a chance). But even with those things added, it was still drying too fast to get any really […]

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It’s July 1st, y’all! After feeling so uninspired and unmotivated for so long, I woke up this morning feeling so excited about jumping into some projects and get stuff done. Maybe it’s because my new living room light arrived on Monday. Or maybe it’s because one of my purple chairs will be here today. Or maybe it’s because I finally feel like I have direction for the guest bedroom that won’t break the bank. But I primed the room yesterday, and I’m ready to head to Home Depot today and pick up some paint so that I can get started. As you’ll remember, I had originally planned on wallpapering one wall of the guest bedroom. I had selected several wallpapers and narrowed it down to a pretty multi-colored feather print. But that was back when I was working on my mom’s kitchen (which you can see here if you missed it) and I never did order the wallpaper. So when I revisited the wallpaper idea again last week, I didn’t love the one I had selected. The close-up view is beautiful. But the view from a distance reveals an obvious diagonal grid pattern with those dark blue feathers really standing […]

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I finally made my selections for the living room chairs and ceiling light! That chair decision was way more difficult than I thought it would be. I had narrowed down the options to eighteen chairs (which you can see here if you missed them), and while the blue chair with the gold legs from Home Depot was my favorite, I just couldn’t make myself press that “complete purchase” button on that blue chair or any of the other blue/teal chairs. Since I have so much teal in my house already, I was afraid that adding more would not only be overkill, but I would also run the risk of selecting one that would clash with the existing teals once I see it in person. As a reminder, the chairs are replacing these temporary chairs in the living room… And on the other side of that room is the area I call the entryway… And then through the doorway in the living room is my kitchen… So now that I’ve set the scene, let me show you which chairs I chose! I went with PURPLE! And I chose the deepest purple chairs I could find, which was this Corina Accent Chair… […]

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Since this year is almost halfway over, and I’ve had to adjust my home project “to do” list for the year, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that there’s no way I’ll be able to reupholster the two chairs I’ve been saving for my living room. And since I don’t want to wait until next year to get that room finished (it’s so close — just needs two chairs, and ceiling light, and some accessories), I decided to purchase two new chairs for the room. I’ll save those other two chairs for another room. As a reminder, this is the room I’m talking about… Those two chairs will be moved back into the music room, and I’ll still be reupholstering those at some point. That ceiling light has been moved to the music room, so I’ll be getting a new one for this room. And I also made a coffee table for this room, which isn’t pictured above. The main color in the rug is purple, but it has lots of different colors in it, including teal, fuchsia, and orange. Also, through the doorway behind those chairs is the kitchen, which looks like this… A part of […]

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teal kitchen - add trim to customize - peninsula 2

As I’m ramping up work on the hallway, guest bedroom, and home gym, it might be a few more days before I have any real progress to show you. In the meantime, I still have a couple of projects that I want to share in more detail from my mom’s kitchen makeover. But for today, I wanted to share some general ideas of small-ish projects that you can do to update your kitchen without a huge makeover or remodel. These are all ideas that I’ve used in my own kitchens and/or my mom’s kitchen. 1. Extend the cabinets to the ceiling. This makes such a huge difference in a kitchen where you’re dealing with 8-foot ceilings, like both mine and my mom’s kitchen. In my mom’s kitchen, the area above the cabinets was already boxed in with paneling, but prior to the makeover, the way in which the cabinets was painted created a choppy look, with the actual cabinets painted the cabinet color, and the area above the cabinets painted the wall color. That choppy look actually made the ceiling look lower. So in her kitchen, taking the cabinets up to the ceiling was just a matter of painting that […]

The post Five Inexpensive Ways To Update Your Kitchen (Ideas I’ve Used In My Kitchen Remodels/Makeovers)...

guest bedroom diy closets - 9

Well, y’all, I thought that last week would be my big push forward as far as getting back into projects. That didn’t happen. It has been so hard to focus on paint colors and building projects and headboard designs when I’m so distracted by the news on a daily basis. After watching the news and getting more discouraged (and frankly, scared), I decided to revisit a post that I made four years ago about home security. I talked about things we could and should do after what we believed to be a break-in scare, and then never really acted on most of it. But I think it’s time for Matt and me to make these things a priority, especially since crime has been increasing in our area in the last couple of months. I mean, we have the dog. And he’s crazy. And when he sees someone through the door or the windows, he barks, growls, and jumps like a maniac. So I think he’s a pretty good deterrent. 😀 So our next priority is an alarm system. I’ve been researching and comparing systems, and I have to admit that I just don’t know what to do. Comparing the pros […]

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Hey, y’all! So sorry I’ve been gone so long. And thank you to all of you who have commented, emailed, and sent PMs to me checking in on us. We’re all fine. Well, physically I’m fine. But I have to admit that the current state of the world (and our country) has had me so frustrated, sad, angry, depressed, furious, and so much more. And just when I thought at the end of last week that I was starting to come out of that, and I was starting to get excited about getting back into some house-related projects, the country was set on fire. I’ve always wanted my blog to be one corner of the internet that is free of any politics or current events. If there’s a tsunami in Asia that dominates the headlines, I want people to have a few minutes of respite from that when they come here. If there’s a hurricane that wipes out massive swaths of the northeastern United States, I want to offer a small break from the constant stream of sadness in the media. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m not affected by those things, or that I don’t grieve deeply for […]

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mom's kitchen - 10 - after

Well, hey there, strangers! I’m back, and I’ve returned with goodies — the full before and after of my mom’s kitchen. I have no idea what to call this. It was way more than just a makeover, but not quite as extensive as a remodel. My mom wanted some upgrades in her kitchen, but she didn’t want it turning into a full-blown remodel with cabinets being torn out, and she also didn’t want anything that would require her whole house being redecorated. So any changes we made in the kitchen had to coordinate with her existing furniture, draperies, and decor in the breakfast room and family room. With that in mind, we chose a new cabinet and wall color to coordinate with her existing draperies and furniture, and then took about eight weeks to turn this… …into this… And this… …into this… Isn’t that a remarkable difference? It’s such a huge difference that it almost feels like a complete remodel. But as you can see, we did keep the original cabinets, although we upgraded them quite a bit. The cabinet color is a Valspar color called Sweet Carolina, but we had it color matched in Behr Premium Plus paint in […]

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Y’all, have you ever heard of this? Refinishing wood furniture with mayonnaise?! I’m being totally serious here. You’ll notice that today’s date is April 6th, so this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Yesterday when I walked into my mom’s house (because we’re still working on her kitchen!!), she said, “Look at my dining table!” I glanced over, and noticed that for the first time since we started her kitchen makeover, the table was clear and usable. It wasn’t piled with dishes, bakeware, spices, etc., from the cabinets. I said, “Oh, wow! You have a usable table now!” But that wasn’t what she was trying to show me. What she wanted me to notice was that she had “refinished” her table. Several years ago, she had her dining table refinished, and it looked gorgeous when she got it back. But over the years, the top had been getting little chips in the finish. They were small, but these chips and dings were covering the surface of the table. Can yo see all of these white-ish marks? One day a couple of weeks ago, I thought this was sawdust covering the table that I had carelessly brought in with the plywood I […]

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diy countertop - installing new laiminate over old - finished countertop 2

My mom and I are still moving right along on her kitchen, and we’re so close to finishing! Over the weekend, I got eight of the drawer boxes almost finished. (They would have been finished except that she decided she wanted the bottoms of the drawers painted white. 😀 ) But we also got the countertops finished!! And instead of building all new countertops with new plywood and everything, we decided to install the new laminate right over the old laminate, which made this project so much faster. When we started this kitchen project, we had no intention of doing anything with the existing countertops. Her laminate countertops were probably about 15 years old (I honestly can’t remember exactly, but they’re far from new), but they were still in fairly good shape. But then when we tried to remove the old sink to install the new sink, things went south pretty quickly. The sink had been adhered to the countertop so well that no matter how slowly or carefully or methodically we removed it, it caused cracks and breaks in the laminate all around the sink area. And unfortunately, those breaks were too wide to be covered by the new […]

The post DIY Kitchen Countertop — Installing New...

kitchen update 5

So, the world is a bit different, huh? To say that the current situation has slowed progress on my mom’s kitchen would be an understatement. I think we’ve all been a bit pre-occupied lately. But we have made some progress, and it’s so close to being finished! There are still some pretty big things to do, but we’re definitely on the downhill slide towards the goal. So I thought I’d share our progress so far! We got 20 of the cabinet doors finished and installed, along with the new door pulls. It looks so different now! Here’s the window/sink wall… We don’t actually have the walls painted yet, but my mom did get some “cutting in” done a couple of days ago, so we can actually see what the new wall color will look like with the new cabinet color. The difference is amazing to me! Here’s a reminder of how this side of the kitchen looked originally… We removed the scalloped canopy around the window, made some very simple* new cabinet doors, added some new trim just above the cabinets, filled and sanded smooth the routed lines in the paneling above the cabinets, and took the paint color all […]

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favorite youtubers

Well, the world seems to have come to a screeching halt, but YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu are still here for us! 😀 As we’re trying to stay busy and keep ourselves entertained, I thought I’d pass along some of my favorite YouTube artists and makers that inspire me. My favorite YouTubers fall into two main categories — artists and makers. The artists obviously create art. The maker category consists of people who build furniture, create non-art resin projects, turn things on lathes, etc. So that’s how I’ll break down this list. Just click on the pictures to go right to each YouTube channel. Let’s start with… Favorite YouTube Artists Jay Lee teaches some pretty simple art techniques that result in really beautiful artwork. I don’t love everything that John Beckley does, but I’m often amazed at some of the techniques he comes up with. If you love abstract art, you’ll probably like this channel. Kanella Ciraco does mostly Dutch pours with acrylic paints. They’re quick, easy, and entertaining. My list of artists wouldn’t be complete without at least one watercolor artist. Makoccino shares some simple ideas and techniques for beginners. Mely D. is the first acrylic pour artist I...

mom's kitchen makeover - first coat of paint on the cabinets - sink and window wall

As of yesterday, we finally have paint on the cabinets in my mom’s kitchen. It’s always so exciting, after days and days of prep work, to finally be able to put that first coat of paint on the cabinets. We did only get one coat on yesterday, which means that today, I’ll be doing some light sanding and then painting the second (and hopefully final) coat, but I was so excited by the drastic change that the first coat brought about in my mom’s kitchen that I went ahead and took pictures so that I could show you today. First, let’s remember where this kitchen started. Here’s how the sink/window wall looked originally… And here’s the progress with the first coat of paint on the cabinets… Of course, the wall color will change, too. Right now, that’s still the original wall color, which looks very drab against the new cabinet color. We’ll be painting the walls a considerably lighter and more neutral color, like Behr Aged Beige. That will go a long way towards brightening up the room, and will be a beautiful backdrop for the green cabinet colors. Also, all of the insides of the cabinets have been primed, […]

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kitchen cabinets almost ready for paint - 1

We’re officially at the stage of the kitchen project that feels like it will never end, with all of the priming, wood filling, sanding, and caulking. I’ve also had to add quite a bit of new trim. My mom’s house was built in the 60’s, and the kitchen cabinets are original to the house. The cabinet boxes were fine, and we wanted to keep costs low, so we kept the boxes and just made new cabinet doors. But the decades of use showed on some parts of the cabinets. For example, the edges of the shelves were a little beaten up. It showed much more before we primed, but you can still see that they’re a little rough here… So I cut strips of this thin 1/4-inch wood (lattice, maybe?) to reface the edges of the shelves. These strips were 1 1/2 inches wide, and I used my table saw to rip them down to one inch, and then attached them to the edges of the shelves with wood glue and 18-gauge 5/8-inch nails. It seems like a little thing, but those fresh, new edges really breathed some new life into those old shelves. I also used some wood filler […]

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Our Director, Chris Brain, posted the following announcement on LinkedIn this morning; https://www.linkedin.com/posts/chris-brain-b41a7151_loveconstruction-activity-6648128669338353664-0p5j .

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An external refurbishment scheme to 13 small residential blocks has begun on the Haddon Hall Estate in Bermondsey. This latest project is one of 3... Read more »

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We are on site in Ford Square, working on an impressive end of terrace private residence. Works on Ford House, on behalf of Ford Management... Read more »

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broken laminate around sink

If you’re a DIYer who does house remodeling, you are very familiar with this phenomenon that occurs almost every time with a project taking longer than originally intended and costing more than the original estimate. Well, my mom’s kitchen is no exception. This was supposed to be pretty easy — just the cabinet makeover, painting the walls, and painting the grout on the floor and backsplash to make it lighter. Oh, and she also wanted a new sink and faucet. No problem, right? So the plan was for me to remove the sink and faucet the day before the plumber was scheduled to install the new sink and faucet. The reason I was doing this instead of the plumber is because her laminate countertop has a seam in the laminate right in front of the sink. Over the years, water has seeped into the seam and caused the particle board beneath to swell. (Why is particle board the standard base for laminate countertops? I’ve never understood that.) I wanted to remove the sink, scrape the particle board to make it flat again, and re-adhere the laminate before the plumber came. That was the plan, and it sounded so easy. The […]

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mom removing trim over cabinets

Y’all, I finally feel like we’re making some real progress on the kitchen. Why? Because things are in a complete state of chaos right now. That’s how you know real progress is being made. 😀 The first week-and-a-half was all about making new cabinet doors. All of that could be done outside and out of the way, so life inside went on in a normal way. The kitchen was completely usable with zero change, and it felt like there was no progress being made. Well, about halfway through this last week, all of that changed, starting with the removal of the dishwasher — a seemingly easy task that ended up requiring two trips to Home Depot. Then my mom started emptying cabinets (probably for the first time ever 😀 ), and covering every horizontal surface in the neighboring rooms with food items, cookware, bakeware, kitchen gadgets, etc. It was complete chaos, and it finally felt like progress! Then she proceeded to remove the cabinet doors (quite the chore since all of the hinges had been painted over), and the shelf liner that was probably as old as I am. We’re keeping the cabinet boxes, but because they’re original to this […]

The post My Mom’s Kitchen Progress (Plus, My Amazing Mom!)...

guest bedroom wallpaper samples - five favorites - 2

Yesterday was a very good day. First, I arrived at my mom’s house and inspected the cabinet doors and found that while some of them needed additional sanding (since the moisture raised the grain of the plywood), none of them were ruined. So I was able to start painting the doors yesterday! And then when I got home, I found two packages from Spoonflower on the front porch. My wallpaper samples had arrived! I put each sample up in the guest bedroom and took pictures. You really have to use your imagination because everything in there is still drab and unfinished. But I needed to these wallpaper samples before I could make a decision on the paint color. And as I considered each of these sample, I also tried to imagine (1) what wall color I would use in the rest of the room, and (2) what color I could use on the upholstered headboard in front of the wallpaper. So let me show you the samples I ordered. Verdure Wildflowers – Blush Here’s how this wallpaper looked in the pictures on the website… The actual sample in the room seems to have a bit darker background, so the pink […]

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mom's kitchen doors after they were rained on

Do y’all remember when I was remodeling my kitchen (way back in 2014) when I was in the process of painting cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and I left some out over night to dry, only for them to be rained on? I had hope that they could be salvaged, but after everything dried, the corbels were all warped and cracked, and the center panels on the doors were swollen around the edges. Well, I’m hoping and praying that I don’t have a repeat of that. I spent eight days (from Tuesday of last week to Tuesday of this week) building brand new cabinet doors and drawer fronts for my mom’s kitchen. I knew I was racing against the weather, because after several days of gorgeous weather, there was a 100% chance of rain in the forecast for yesterday. So we got all of the building, priming, sanding, and caulking finished up on Tuesday evening, and then because I knew rain was coming, I stacked all of the doors right up against the back wall of my mom’s house under her covered patio. I even put down some 1″ x 2″ lumber on the ground, and then put the doors […]

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open shelves on wallpapered wall from Up To Date Interiors

My mom and I are still working away on her kitchen. I hope to have some progress to show you very soon. But as I’ve been making new cabinets doors for my mom’s kitchen, I’ve been thinking different ideas for finishing my studio. I’m in desperate need of storage in that room, because until I have storage, everything will just continue piling up on my work tables and in stacks around the room. Right now, this is how the room looks… I have plans for cabinets to the left of the cased opening between the back entry and the studio, behind the desk, and then along the wallpapered wall. My plans are pretty nailed down for the desk wall and the cabinet to the left of the cased opening. But the wallpapered wall is the one that I’m not quite sure about. My original idea was to build bookcase-style open shelves, with solid sides and backs that would be painted the same color as the cabinets. That original idea would look something like this on the mail wall, with painted walls on either side. Source: Photo by Nystrom Design – Search home office pictures Since doing that drawing, I’ve gone […]

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Today, I’m doing a different kind of post, inspired by a sweet comment I received on Instagram the other day. I had someone DM me and say that a webinar she watched posed the question, “Who do you admire? Who does the kind of work and lives the life you aspire to?” She said that my name came to mind. That just blessed me so much, and it got me to thinking about who I admire. Specifically, I asked myself what women in this DIY/decorating/building category online I admire the most, and immediately, three women came to mind. 1. DIY Huntress Sam at DIY Huntress is a builder, maker, creative powerhouse. First of all, she works out of a 12″ x 12″ shed that she and her dad built and turned into her workshop. Every time I see this space, I feel a twinge of jealousy. 😀 I mean, any woman with her own workshop filled with tools that she actually knows how to use would make my list of women I admire. But there’s a difference between just knowing how to use them, and actually making beautiful things with them. Sam definitely makes beautiful things, and she shares her […]

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Garage Doors

Environmental Restoration

Asphalt Paving

Elite Fence

Floor System