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Open Shelving

4 Feb

kitchen after

I spent today installing open shelves in my kitchen. Originally, I wanted to have real cupboards here but that was cost prohibitive at this time. Even with used cupboards it was too expensive ( I could never find them in the right size anyway). I was thinking that these would be the next best thing. The major drawback here is although I am gaining storage, it can only be for things I’m interested in looking at and things that  are worth getting on a stool for.

It took most of the day to trim and paint the shelves but once I figured out what I was doing the whole job went pretty smoothly. I’m happy with the results and even  with the meager gains in storage, I think it adds a hint of personality to the kitchen since there isn’t any other place to display anything. It’s definitely better than the empty space that was there before.

kitchn before

I am stuck with one dilemma though. You see, I’d like to add one more shelf beside the fridge, over the microwave. However,  if you look at the first picture you can see that the bracket on the right for this little shelf is not going to be able to line up with the others in the middle because of the fridge.

I could do a couple things:

1. )  Move those middle brackets that are centered on the wall to line up with the new brackets for the shelf over the microwave, but I think that will look silly on the top.

2.) Place four evenly spaced brackets under each of the top two shelves allowing the brackets on the left to line up all the way down with the two new brackets on the proposed new shelf. (I think this is the best idea but the stupid brackets are not cheap and I’d then have to by four more)

3.) Stop fussing about it, just put up the new shelf  and forget about the middle lining up.

Now, If only I had a Kit Kat Clock for this place.


DIY Roman Shades and Epic Fail

27 Sep

When I finished the kitchen, I knew I wanted Roman Shades for the windows, unfortunately there were a couple of issues standing in the way of the completion of the project:

I have expensive taste.

(The Roman Shades I liked just so happened to be off-the-hook expensive)

I really can’t sew very well.

(Roman Shades just happen to be what appears to be a non-novice adventure in sewing)

I am cheap.
(As I have clearly demonstrated time and time again on this blog)

I was able to solve my issues and you can too!  Thanks to A Pretty Cool Life.

For two shades it cost me about 30.00.

15 dollars for three yards of fabric
6 dollars for two sets of mini blinds
3 dollars for the ribbon I used to embellish the shade
3 dollars in no sew hem tape

It took about an hour to do each shade, and after doing the first one, It was much easier to do the second.
I think if I did do it again I’d actually sew the shades instead of using the hem tape but all in all I am very happy with the results.

Be sure to check in at A Pretty Cool Life. to see just how I did it .

I also recovered my dinning room chairs have a look:

And… I had an epic fail when I finally decided it was time to get rid of my old mattress…

The mattress I had been using was purchased in 1989 and was a hand-me-down from my aunt. It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable thing known to man; but dang, mattresses are expensive! So… after lots of bargin hunting I found the shadiest mattress warehouse on Craigslist and went to look. The guy, who was apparently, laying on one of the mattresses watching TV just prior to my arrival walked me around the “showroom” and gave me a really great price on a nice mattress (no bed bugs, I promise). Two days later I called the man and ordered the mattress, cash on delivery. He delivered it the same day and all said and done I am a happy camper. For 420 dollars I think I got more than my money’s worth in comparison to what I had viewed at other stores, by avoiding retail mark up and the overhead associated with it. In fact when I mentioned the competitor to the other mattress dealers, even they said they wouldn’t be able to beat the price with similar quality.

Fast forward to last night. Time to drop the new mattress in the old bed frame:

Epic Fail.

Good thing a new vintage inspired frame is on the way from Salt Lake City via

Hello Stove.

2 Jul


The stove is in and better yet, seems to be working! Its been a long journey for this old stove just since I’ve had it. After lots and lots and lots of looking and e-mailing and more looking I found this Chambers model C based on a tip from a friend of my uncle’s. We took a ride down  to Avon where the stove was to investigate. After some price negotiations. I purchased the stove and had a delivery date set for after I closed on IBB. About a week after move in. A box van delivered the stove to my front porch where it sat under a moving blanket for a couple of months.

According to the internet this stove dates from the early 50s. The Chambers stove has a bunch of really great features. Like a “well” for making chili and soups, a stove top griddle, three large burners, a regular oven and a warming oven. According to the manual, when you use the oven you can turn off the gas after a while and the oven will continue to cook because it is so well insulated with cast iron.

After painting the kitchen and laying the new floor I was finally ready to deal with the stove. That was until I broke the gas line. While the floor installation was in progress I still had the old stove hooked up in the kitchen but thought that it was leaking, so whenever it was not in use I shut off the gas in the basement, just to be safe. When I needed to use the stove I went to turn on the gas, the last time I did this I broke the handle off the pipe and the gas was then permanently shut off.  Bummer. So my dad and grandpa came out to fix it, which they did in a jiffy.

After they left there was still some work to be done replacing a gas line in the stove and connecting it to the main line. I know this sounds really intense, but I really didn’t know anything about any of this stuff and my dad gave me really clear easy to follow instructions which made this step really easy. After I hooked up the stove I tested for leaks with soapy water and then tried to light the pilot lights. No dice.

After though research on the internet I learned how to adjust the pilot light with a screw in the warming oven and then we were in business. It seems like the previous owner my have always had the pilots shut off and then always lit her burners with a match, which I’m thinking might be a better idea so I don’t have to worry about the pilot blowing out and it will save gas.

So now I just need replace the light bulb in the backsplash, remove the carpet scrap from underneath and  do a little more cleaning inside the oven and on the knobs and I think we will be in good shape.


The Free Patio

27 Jun


Every once in a while something miraculous happens. Such is the case in respect to this patio. Let’s recap. about two weeks ago I drove over to pick up some three dollar Hostas from a lady on Craigslist. That’s when I found a giant stack of patio pavers on the curb. I drove by three times that week to see what was going on with them and attempted to connect with the owner. On the third time I was finally in luck. Not only did was he willing to let me take as many as I wanted. He was thrilled to have somebody help remove them. Hence the tedious task began. I couldn’t take all of them but I did take as many as I could over the course of six trips. I collected over one hundred pavers and stacked them up in the backyard.

This weekend I broke up the narrow sidewalk that used to go from the drive to the back door and stacked the scraps around the flower bed to match the front. Then I broke up the top soil and raked it level. Upon further research I found out that I really should lay a base of stone and then sand before dropping in the pavers. Doing a bit of scouting at Lowe’s I also found out that would make my free pavers a still very expensive patio. The soil in my neighborhood happens to be very sandy since we are so close to the lake. So I decided to go it without the recommended base. I  think it’ll be fine. Afterall it would have defeated the purpose of the patio to buy the sand and stone. Patio was just not anywhere close to in the budget, so I was really in no position to waiver.

It took about two days of on and off work to prep and lay the pavers. I’m still not really done because I do need to buy just a couple of bags of sand to sweep into the cracks. But that’s all I’m going to buy. On the side by the drive I’ll get a few plants and mulch the area. The patio set I got from a consignment store in the city and it still needs to be stripped, painted and have new pads placed in the seats. I’ve also got to figure out how to get an unbrella over it some how since there is no hole in the center (I’ve seen the offset umbrellas but they are super pricey). Any suggestions?

So here is the patio mostly finished. Still a few loose ends to wrap up but not bad for a 0.00 investment!

Kitchen Floor

12 Jun


I started to install the kitchen floor on Sunday afternoon. The day began by doing more white touch ups on the cabinets and then patching and washing the floors. After throughly researching DIY videos on YouTube about lying linoleum tile the task began. We started by using math to find the center of the room and marking it. Next, we spread some adhesive on the floor and laid the first four tiles and then gradually worked out from the center of the room. That was quick and easy.

The hard part was the outsides. So, so, so much cutting, dry fitting, trimming , clipping … oops! its to small, uh oh its the wrong color etc. made this step tedious. By 9 PM the goal came down to finish the corner so we can put the fridge back and call it a day. We did accomplish that. I’m happy with how it looks but I now understand why people hire people  to do this sort of thing. It really takes some skill. Our biggest problem is the black band around the outside. If you look close on the floor you will notice some small gaps in where the tiles meet because it was impossible for us to get the tiles to cut right and fit together perfectly.

So this is where things stand as we speak and as I call it quits for day one.

A New Pantry

6 Jun



In the process of getting settled in the kitchen I quickly found out that the cabinet space was just fine for dishes, pots and pans but there wasn’t really a spot to keep the kinds of food you don’t use often. I figured that I was going to have to buy a couple of cheap-o particle board cabinets from Target to keep in  the basement, but they were 50.00 each and I wanted two. It wasn’t a lot of money but still somewhere that I wasn’t game to drop 100 bucks. Then I found this on Craigslist! Real wood, $45.00 and free delivery,  slam dunk! The guy brought it over that afternoon and I removed the hardware and stripped it clean of the paint, sanded it and repainted it white. Once I was finished it set it up right at the base of the stairs in the cellar from the kitchen. Here is what it looks like now:


I had to remove a the molding from the top because it was really screwed up so aside from replacing that I think we are all set.

Going for the Gold

18 May


Just finished with the first coats in the kitchen. Its a little golder than I thought it was going to be. In retrospect none of the colors I picked seemed to be a subtle as I thought they would be. Anyways just a quick post to share the progress.