Tag Archives: design

Pinterest Musings: Water Cooler Disguises

My current problem is an ugly water cooler.  after several searches on Pinterest, I couldn’t find a solution….So I started an inspiration board after a simple Google search: “how to hide a water cooler”.

Here are a few things that I found. Clicking on the images will open a new tab to the image link.

Mod Boxes

Mod Boxes are simple covers that fit “90% of bottle-type coolers on the market” and is available in unfinished Birch or Oak.  The cover has no backside, so changing the water bottle is simple.

finished black 2


Water Cabinet

Roundtree Furniture offers an interesting item called the Water Cabinet.  The cabinet offers the same ease of use concept as the Mod Box, but features a cabinet style door to cover the water spigots (or is it spouts or faucets?).

Cooler Cabinet



Wood & Tique

Wood & Tique offers a cabinet for the water cooler as well, however their product is a full cabinet with a storage shelf.




The Water Bottle Cozy

Another option available is to do it old-school wiht a water bottle cozy…






My Solution:

Since I am not a fan of the Cozy and I do not have hundreds of dollars for the furniture style covers, I have decided to enlist the hubby’s help in building a custom water cooler cabinet of my own design.

But until then, I will just live with this…



The Master Suite at Pennington House

One of the primary reasons that we chose this house was the Master Suite.  From the window of the bedroom and bathroom we could see Cheyenne Mountain and Pikes Peak.

The hubby was deployed one month after we moved in.  So while he was gone, I decided to get busy on turning this house into our home.

I tackled the master suite first.  I wanted him to have a retreat from the Army world and created a space that felt like a room in one of those spa vacation hotels. Well, that’s what it felt like to us.

A Corner For Entertainment
A Corner For Entertainment

The most difficult task in this room was finding a spot for the TV and stereo.  The TV was for my benefit while hubby was either deployed, working nights, or away for training.

A Place for Liberty--Our Dog
A Place for Liberty–Our Dog

I was happy that we had this empty corner because our dog, Liberty, loves to sleep in corners.

Bed Fit for Royalty
Bed Fit for Royalty

Though hubby hates excess pillows, he often laid down on this bed–just as it is in this picture–and fall asleep.  His intentions were to just rest for a moment, but he would inevitably end up taking an hour long nap.

A Grand Entry
A Grand Entry

I hung these drapes in order to create not only privacy, but also to add some drama to an otherwise boring open entry into the bathroom.

Speaking of the bathroom…I miss my huge tub!

Master Bathroom--I think it's referred to as the ensuit?
Master Bathroom–I think it’s referred to as the ensuit?

That candle sconce in the upper left corner is mounted on the wall just above the bathtub.  I meant to install a dimmer switch eventually, but never got around to it because I enjoyed the candle light instead.

Of all the rooms at Pennington House, I miss the Master suite the most.  Perhaps someday, after the Army is done with us, we will return.



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!

UPDATED: From Drab to Fab–Whole Home Update for $8K In Four Months (An Introduction)

Okay so the title is lengthy, but at least you know what this series is going to be about!

This is the lovely home that will be getting a complete update/makeover/facelift for $8,000 over the next four months.  For a complete walk-through, see my Home Tour page.

The house as it was the day we bought it.
The house as it was the day we bought it.

We just found out two weeks ago that we are moving to Germany in four months. While we are super excited (well I am anyway) we are not so thrilled about the short notice. Though we moved into our home 4.5 years ago, there is still so much to do around the house in order to bring top dollar as a rental.

What we’ve done so far:

  • Painted the porch

  • Painted the 3 bedrooms

  • Painted the Master Bath (en suite)

  • Painted the Basement Bathroom

  • Added a door to the office

  • Replaced the bi-fold shutter doors that house the utilities because they were falling off the rails constantly.

  • Painted the Office (needs to be redone though)

  • Replaced the carpet on the stairs

  • Replaced the carpet in the 3 bedrooms

  • Changed the front landscaping

  • Replaced ALL of the kitchen appliances.

There is still so much to do, that I really don’t know where to begin.

So I guess I will begin at the front. Here is what it looks like now.

A bit cloudy, but trust me, it looks pretty good.

What is left to do in the front of the house:

  • Paint or replace the light fixtures *Completed 8/2013

  • Seal cracks in driveway*Completed 8/2013

  • Seal the Fence *Completed 8/2013

I guess the next stop is the entry.  After we walk up the beautiful front porch, we arrive at the ugly  front door.  We need a new one. But that’s NOT in the budget–so it is going to be painted. Ever paint a metal front door? We haven’t.

Once you make it past the boring front door you arrive in what is supposed to be the entry.  It’s basically a hallway.

The living room and dining room are basically blank canvases at the moment, but need to look like they are lived in and enjoyable spaces for walk-throughs of potential renters.  I’ve always wanted these joined spaces to have a modern glam design.

What’s left to do in the living and dining rooms:

  • Window treatment in the living room to match the dining room (I have them–they are in my to-do box) *8/11/13

  • Mount floating shelves (also sitting in my to-do box) Changed my mind about those. Might revisit them later in a different room. (8/11/2013)

  • Replace switch plates (that have been sitting in my to-do box for a year)–yeah I’m NOT a procrastinator *Completed 8/201o

  • Finish my Large art project and mount it Pointless–no time and we were MOVING!

  • Move furniture around

  • Hang mirror and wall sconces (just finished painting them last week) *8/11/13

  • Paint Ceiling fan (got to hide that brass) *09/2013

  • Paint the entryway chandelier and move it to dining room buy new light fixtures & install in dining room and entry

  • Mount pendant in entryway* Completed 9/2013

  • Finish my vintage trunk/coffee table project (it will be in the living room)

  • Refinish the wood floors  Paid the manager’s handy man to wax and buff. *1/2014

  • Re-caulk the windows *10/2013

It seems like a lot, but it’s all mostly little things that can be done in a week (maybe 1.5 weeks–except for the floors)

This is the Olioboard that I finished about two months ago for the formal living area.

OB-Modern Glam Liv Room

What NEEDS to be done in the Kitchen (the bulk of the budget):

  • Replace the Ugly and horrid Fluorescent light fixture *Completed 9/2013

  • Replace the ceiling fan light globes (my son broke one and I can’t find a match) *Completed 9/2013

  • Replace the countertops *Completed 11/2013

  • Replace the hideous sink and faucet *Completed 11/2013

  • Paint the upper cabinets and line with shelf paper (The color is Toasted Oatmeal)* Completed 11/2013

  • Stain the lower cabinets and line with shelf paper (Espresso stain so that the black appliances don’t look out-of-place) Painted them instead. *Completed 11/2013

  • Paint or replace all the cabinet hardware–brass just doesn’t look right *Completed 11/2013

  • Refinish the wood floors Does a wax and a buff count? Paid the manager’s handy man to do this. *1/2014

  • Move the spare dining table to the “eat-in area” Didn’t bother with this one.

  • Re-caulk the windows *10/2013

That sums up the main level of the home.

What needs to be done in the Family Room:

  • Replace carpet with either Laminate flooring or tile We tiled the entire 340 sq ft ourselves *Completed 1/3/2014

  • Paint the entire room *Completed 12/2013

  • Paint the floorboards Paid the manager’s handy man to do this with the paint we had purchased. *01/2014

  • Update the coat hooks next to the garage door–the brass HAS to GO! Painted them with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Paint *08/2013

  • Replace the french doors with a sliding door Again–I was a bit too ambitious. Perhaps next year we will do this.

  • The Following Items did NOT get done because they were pointless–we were moving after all!

  • Rearrange furniture
    Add art or photos to the walls

And once again, here is another design board that I finished about two months ago for the family room–but this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Modern Chic Living Room
Modern Chic Living Room

What needs to be done in the Basement:

  • Replace the carpet with either vinyl, laminate, or carpet–the jury is still out on this one We had the carpet replaced *Completed 09/2013

  • Fix the laminate tile in the laundry room *completed 12/2013

  • Paint the laundry room Completed 11/2013

  • Re-caulk the shower *Completed 12/2013

  • Replace the fluorescent light fixture in the laundry area *09/2013

  • The Following Items did not get completed due to time constraints.

  • Paint the vanity
    Paint or replace the medicine cabinet
    Paint or update the light fixture above the vanity
    Re-paint the office
    Replace the blinds (3 windows)

  • Find out why the water softener doesn’t work properly–and fix it *09/2013

  • Paint or refinish the bathroom/laundry room door *09/2013

  • Finally turn it into the “teen” hangout–it will give renters an idea of what to use the space for  Didn’t bother with this because we had so little time–plus we were moving anyway!

This is the floor plan of how I envisioned the space–just before we got our marching orders to Germany from the Army. We have all of the furniture–I just need to put it all in place.

The Basement Teen Hangout Plan
The Basement Teen Hangout Plan

Here’s the design board that I finished–last month.

Teen Hangout Design Board
Teen Hangout Design Board

What needs to be done on the upper level–2 bedrooms 1 bath and the master suite:

  • Re-paint the kids bath *10/2013

  • Re-grout the kids shower/tub combo *10/2013

  • Replace the vinyl floor (I have laminate tiles in my to-do box)  *11/2013

  • Re-caulk the tub/shower *11/2013

  • Paint the vanity *10/2013

  • Paint the door *10/2013

  • Replace old faucet *10/2013

  • Mount new towel rods–or use hooks Changed our minds on this–there is nothing wrong with the ones already installed.

  • Clean out drain elbow–it drains REALLY slowly Did this while we re-surfaced the countertop *11/2013

  • Repaint the hallway *10/2013

  • Fix the broken tile in master shower *09/2013

  • Re-grout and caulk the Master shower and tub *09/2013

  • Replace faucets ended up replacing 4 faucets total *11/2013

  • Seal one of the sinks–the bowl leak underneath We replaced both sinks in the Master bathroom. *10/2013

  • Replace toilet wax ring in both bathrooms (the one in the basement was done recently) *12/2013 We also replaced the flooring in the kids bath and resurfaced the shower pan in the master bath and basement.

Want to do in the Garage–*if time and budget allows:

  • Paint the dingy walls *We opted out of this and scrubbed them down instead–after all it is JUST a garage!

  • Stain and Seal the garage floor *Not enough time or money–I did get a little ambitious with this list.

  • Replace utility sink & faucet  *10/2013

  • Replace the Garage door openers (one doesn’t even work, and the second one is hit & miss) *09/2013

  • Replace garage lighting–they keep burning bulbs *09/2013

Must do in the backyard:

  • Gravel 2 foot wide area around the fence line  *09/2013

  • Fix fence post *09/2013

  • Get rid of two aluminum (leaky) sheds *09/2013

  • Add topsoil over sand  *We have to hire someone to do this when Colorado finally gets spring weather

  • Spread grass seed and cover for winter (If all else fails, we can spend $ next spring to HIRE a landscaper to do this) *Hiring a landscaper whenever Spring finally arrives in Co.

So that’s the list.  All in 4 months and on an $8,000 budget! Will we make it? Or will we BUST?

Hope you will enjoy this real-time series.

Stay tuned for the first post where I will share my progress in the formal living and dining rooms.

Do you have any crunch time/low-budget makeover stories to share? I’d love to hear them (or read them as is the case here).

Not So Shabby Chic Bedroom

As my daughter matured into her High School years, her bedroom was in desperate need of an update. She loves birds and had received 4 zebra finches for her Birthday so when I came across these adorable little birds, I knew what we would do with her room.

Choosing the fabric for the windows was an accident. I was at Target and found some shower curtains on clearance that were beautiful…and priced at %60 off! So for $20 I bought two of them. I used one for her drapes and the other to make decorative bed pillow and a cover for an old red Ikea folding chair that we’ve had for several years.


Now it was time to choose paint. This wasn’t the easiest task! We bought several samples from Lowes and got to work. After the patchwork of colors had been on her walls for a couple of weeks we finally picked our three favorites. The next step was to get to work on her furniture.


I made her headboard out of old tri-fold slatted closet doors. I painted her existing furniture to match the main wall colors but chose a more vibrant yellow to add brightness to the soft tones of the fabric and walls. Next step was to add interest to the ugly nightstand. With a bit of paint, mod podge, and some pretty scrapbook paper we had a custom designer night stand.


Because she is a teen, her doesn’t always stay so tidy and perfect as shown here, but even when it’s messy this room is relaxing.

Night Stand DIY Instructions:

What you will need:
1 or two old nightstands
Mod Podge or other decoupage glue (I have used several brands…Mod Podge is the best)
Scrap Book paper or fabric
damp cloth
Spray paint if the drawer color doesn’t work with the lighter fabric or paper
Acrylic spray

1. For both nightstands, I painted the drawers a color that would work well with my material.

2. For scrapbook paper, you may have to find the point where the print matches up exactly, draw a line, and trim. The ruler works great for this.

3. Cover the drawer front with mod podge.


4. Line up your material along the top edge of the drawer, leaving about 1/2 and inch over the lip of the drawer. apply Mod Podge the the inside edge of the drawer and smooth fabric over.

5. Work your way down and to the edges of the drawer, applying Mod Podge as needed and smoothing out the wrinkles with a ruler or other flat tool.

6. Apply Mod Podge to the inside edges and smooth fabric over. You may need to trim excess fabric or cut a diagonal line at the corner for optimal folding.

7. Brush mod podge over entire surface, use damp cloth to remove drips and excess glue.


Follow Steps 1-3 as listed above.

4. begin at the center of the drawer with first piece of paper.

Both Fabric and Craft Paper

8. Allow to dry for 48 hours.

9. Spray acrylic over drawer. This will ensure longer lasting life of the paper or fabric and protect it from moisture.

DIY Instructions for fabric covered folding chair can be found here:   https://livelifecreatedreams.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/a-pretty-perch/

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