Category Archives: Home Improvement

From Drab To Fab: Day 4–Floor Planning

On Monday, I spent several hours moving furniture around–to no avail.  Since our living room and dining room are in an open L shaped room with an off-center window and what I call a “hanging wall,” arranging furniture is not so easy.  So finally I gave up and measured every single wall and every piece of furniture.  I recorded all of my measurments on a notepad in my lovely chicken scratch writing that only I can read–or so says my kids.

Scribbled Measurments
Scribbled Measurements

After lunch I sat at my computer for at least an hour trying to create the floorplan on Urban Barn Icovia.  Then I spent the next two hours arranging furniture on my new floorplan.

I came up with 3 options to choose from.

I'm really not liking this one--even though it is a mimic of one I saw on a designer's website
I’m really not liking this one–even though it is a mimic of one I saw on a designer’s website
I like this one a lot better, but not too keen on the end tables
I like this one a lot better, but not too keen on the end tables
I like this one the most, but am concerned about the flow into the dining area--and I have to take out my dining table extension for everyday dining.
I like this one the most, but am concerned about the flow into the dining area–and I have to take out my dining table extension for everyday dining.

I really am torn between Option 2 and Option 3. So like I usually do when I can’t make up my mind–I put it to a vote on facebook!

The Tally so far (just before bed 08/12)

Option One:  0

Option Two:  3

Option Three:  3

I’m “sleeping” on it until Friday.

Which one do you like? Vote here or on my Facebook page!

From Drab to Fab: Days Two and Three–Window Treatment and Rococo Wall

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend.  We (I) got a few things done over the weekend around the house–but not even close to what was on the list.

Here’s what went down on Saturday:

I underestimated the time and ease of changing the hardware for our window treatment.  The previous owner had heavy red curtains in the large picture window.

Original Window Treatment
Original Window Treatment

I took those down eons ago, but we’ve been living with the window looking like this for the past 3 years:

Living Room Window
Living Room Window

We don’t spend much time in this room, and I put all of my energy over the past 4 years into the bedrooms and my office.  So this room just kind of stayed in a half-done state for a long time.

I removed the rest of the old hardware–not too difficult, though it was a pain in my neck. Literally.

Next up was installing the new hardware. We have a very long window and a very small budget, so we used a simple dual rod from Home Depot and added extensions.

Dual Curtain Rods and Extensions
Dual Curtain Rods and Extensions

Since we weren’t hanging any heavy drapes these are perfect.

However, because of the odd window cove–I have no idea what the actual architectural term is–getting the hardware just right was very challenging.  I had to change the postion of the hardware three times.  On the third try, the first rod hooked onto the hardware perfectly, but the valance rod didn’t. Hubby had to use pliers to manipulate the rod into place.  Insert string of expletives here.

The Hubby--manipulating the rod into place
The Hubby–manipulating the rod into place

When it was finally done I jumped for joy.

New Window Treatment
New Window Treatment

The best part is–the wood blinds are still there! But, we will replace this cheapo rod system with the Kvartal ceiling track system from Ikea before we leave.

My favorite part of the day was turning two old planter sconces into shelves. The tutorial post can be found here.

But here’s a quick recap of what I did.

Turning a Planter Sconce Into a Wall Shelf
Turning a Planter Sconce Into a Wall Shelf

The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how to mount it in such a way that it could hold heavy items.

I was SO proud when I figured it out.  I made a mounting bracket.

Here’s my almost finished Glam wall.

Rococo Glam Wall
Rococo Glam Wall

So that’s what I did on Day two. I think it was a pretty good day overall.

Sunday took an entirely different route.

Because I really want to get the formal living room completely done in the next couple of weeks, I decided to do what I love most: DIY Furniture makeovers.

I’ve been wanting to get my old steamer trunk refurbished as a coffee table for the past month and felt that this was  an opportune time to get started.

I think I made decent progress.

Steamer Trunk Progress
Steamer Trunk Progress

That sums up Days One and Two.  Now on to Day Three–More work on the trunk.

Repurposed Vintage Plant Sconce

I found these vintage plant sconces from the 1970’s at the thrift store for about $3 (for both) and just knew that they would look great in my modern glam living room.

Vintage Plant Sconce
Vintage Plant Sconce

After some cleaning, primer, and a coat of gloss black spray paint they looked like new.

Just Like New
Just Like New

At first I really didn’t know how I would use them.  I guess these were really common in the 70’s as sconces for fake plants & flowers–eww.

It dawned on me a few days ago that I still had a sheet of plastic from the fluorescent light fixture that removed and that I could use that to turn these sconces into a shelf.

I used a large envelope to trace out a template–a file folder would work well too.

Trace a Template
Trace a Template

After cutting out the template (I called it my taco shell) I placed the plastic into the center of the template.  I did it this way because it makes manipulating and cuing the plastic a lot easier.

Taco Shell Template
Taco Shell Template

Using my favorite glue in the whole world–E 600 glue–I simply glued the plastic onto the lip of the sconce.

E 6000 Glue
E 6000 Glue

Because I wanted to use the sconce as a shelf to hold a statuette, It need to be securely mounted to the wall.  I would have used anchors and dry wall screws, but the heads of the screws would not fit into the mounting holes on the sconce.

I found two wood screws that fit into the sconce, but were too short to offer any support into the dry wall.

Enter the DIy mounting bracket.

DIY Mounting Brackets
DIY Mounting Brackets

I used an old scrap piece of wood to create two mounting brackets.  I lined the top edge of the sconce with the edge of the wood, marked the length, and drilled holes where the screws should nestle into the holes of the sconce.

Using my handy dandy lightweight-yet-powerful cordless Ryobi 5″ circular saw, I cut the wood to the correct (measured twice) length.

I mounted the brackets to the wall with anchors and drywall screws.  Use a level while mounting the bracket to ensure that your shelf or sconce is level after mounting.

I then inserted the wood screws into the pre-drilled holes.  Make sure that the wood is painted the same color as the sconce.

Mounting Bracket
Mounting Bracket

Voila–a perfect Rococo shelf for my lovely ladies!

Rococo Glam Wall
Rococo Glam Wall
Glamourous Ladies
Glamourous Ladies

2013-08-11 001 006


I think it’s a pretty close match to my Modern Glam Design Board.

OB-Modern Glam Liv Room

No matter what color you choose, these will add glamour to any wall.

Linked To:

The Scoop

Tweak It Tuesday @ Cozy Little House

Tips & Tutorials Link Party @ Home Stories A to Z

Coffee Break–an intermission from Home Imporvement

It’s been a hectic couple of days getting all the “little” things done in the formal living and dining rooms. The chandelier turned out to be a much larger task than I bargained for. And turning my vintage plant sconces into shelves was no easy task either. But so far the most irritating challenge was hanging a “simple” dual curtain rod. We have an awkward window. I had to change the height of the hardware 3 times. Then we had to manipulate the rod so that it would hook onto the hardware. What I thought would take 20-30 minutes turned out to be 2 hours! That includes removing the ridiculous hardware that was previously in place.

So on this lovely Sunday I am taking a long coffee break.

I really needed an intermission from home improvement. If you are new to this blog, you can catch up on our whole house makeover (including complete kitchen makeover) in 4 months on a $8,000 dollar budget here.

I will post about my adventures of days 2 and 3 on Monday, so stay tuned.

Coffee turns me into Wonder Woman
Coffee turns me into Wonder Woman

Have you ever needed an intermission from home improvement? I’d love to hear about it!

From Drab To Fab Day One: The Great Chandelier Battle of 2013

I had this fantabulous idea when we bought this house 4.5 years ago: I will paint the bright brass chandelier with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint and it will look fabulous!  I kept putting off, thinking I have time to get it done.  If you read yesterday’s post, the fact that I put this off for 4.5 years should not be a surprise.

This is my inspiration pic from Capitol Lighting. Sadly out of our budget though.


Well folks, today was the day that I took on the challenge of the great chandelier.  And it hasn’t been fun.  I naively thought that cleaning it would only take about 20 minutes.  HA! The joke was on me.

Here’s the nasty original chandelier.

Cheap Builder-Grade Brass Chandelier
Cheap Builder-Grade Brass Chandelier

The chandelier came down easily.  I got a few dust bunnies up my nose, but that’s to be expected since I have never cleaned it. I never claimed to be a great housekeeper.

Taking it apart was easy too. I laid out all the pieces in order so that I could remember how it goes back together.

chandelier 014
Disassembled Chandelier

I really wanted to pull the light sockets out to so that I could completely dismantle it, but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to weave the wires back through the curvy arms.  So, I taped off as much of the electrical parts as I could before the washing began.


I put all of the parts (except for the main body–didn’t think it was a good idea to soak all those wires) into very hot water with dawn soap and vinegar.  I let them soak for about 30 minutes.  I pulled out the first piece to wipe it down with a soft microfiber cloth.

This is what happened:

“What fresh hell can this be?”

If you know who this quote is from–without using a search engine–you are my new bestie.

This weird coating was on Every. Single. Piece.

And it was difficult to completely remove it.

After TWO hours of the fresh hell that I was now in, I daydreamed of throwing the whole chandelier out of my kitchen window–but not before beating it with a sledge hammer.

Yeah. I was THAT irritated.  

I had plans. Wonderful plans. I was going to be doing the happy dance at 5pm when hubby got home.  

I was going to show him the window treatment that I FINALLY got around to mounting.

I was going to show him all of the lovely switch plate covers that replaced our ugly dingy cheap ones.  

I was going to skip down into the garage and show him the chandelier in all it’s beautiful Oil Rubbed Bronze glory drying on the garage floor.  

He was going to pick me up and swing me around and tell me how happy he was that I accomplished so much. 

Stupid daydreams. Stupid Chandelier.

It took a total of FOUR hours to remove every last bit of that coating. 

When I was done, I laid it all out on the dining room table to dry. And I glared at it.

Gunk Free and Clean!
Gunk Free and Clean!

Round 1 (cleaning): Chandelier

When it was dry I took it all down to the garage for a nice coat of primer.

Goodbye Brass!
Goodbye Brass!

Round 2 (Bye-Bye Brass): Me–yay!

I took great pleasure in defacing priming every centimeter of that bright brass. Fortunately, I had just enough primer to cover everything.

Shortly after this, hubby came home from work.

After he tells me about his interesting class–some kind of investigative cop class (I’d tell you but then…you would be bored) I delved into telling him about my day.

He just laughed. He said “did you really think it would be so simple?”

Well–DUH! Of course I did!

After dinner I went out to the garage. I was determined to get her painted before the end of the night.

I was LOVING the way he Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB from here on out!)  was looking.  I sprayed very light coats.  3 to be exact.

ORB Beauty
ORB Beauty

BUT, I ran out of paint towards the end of the 3rd coat.  Then I realized that I didn’t prime all of the pieces.  The end pieces were still upstairs. *SIGH*

Round 2 (Bye-Bye Brass): Me–yay! Chandelier

Round 3 (Hello ORB): Chandelier

The chandelier is now on hold until next week.  It’s just not in the budget to run out and get more primer and ORB. So stay tuned. I am determined to win at least ONE round with the chandelier!