An Easy Front Door Fix

This was my old front door (on Valentine’s Day of course!)

I never really liked the stained glass look because it’s a little too intricate for me.  I knew I would eventually change it, but it wasn’t high on my priority list…until the day the mail man came by last week.

Our normally sweet tempered dog, Nora, has never been a fan of a strange man walking on our porch and dropping letters through the mail slot

And after almost a year of barking her brains out at the poor guy, she’d finally had enough and charged head first into the glass

Luckily she didn’t make it all the way through the door, and both the dog and the mailman survived unscathed. 

We had the front door rebuilt with a couple of basic wood panels from Home Depot

We added a couple of coats of red paint, and now thanks to Nora, we have a new door way ahead of schedule.

Even thought it’s a tad darker than I’d envisioned, I really like the way it pops against the white and grey.  And don’t worry, I only allow the dogs to roam in the front yard in the morning, long before the mail man comes a knocking!



The Guest Bath Redo

I have never posted a picture of my guest bath anywhere before…and I think this photo alone will tell you why

Btw, my husband took the ‘before’ photos, not that I’m saying the pictures are crooked or anything.

The main point is, you can see the bathroom was total hideousness.  I kept the door closed at all times and cringed when guest came to stay.

Until one day we decided to attack the red and white stripes.  I sprayed the whole room down with Downy Wrinkle Release.  A tip I heard from a good friend (thanks Jessica!), was to use a mix of fabric softener and water to help soften the paper.  Seeing as I was out of fabric softener and too lazy to run to the store, I used some wrinkle releaser instead and it worked like magic (although removing wallpaper sucks no matter how good of a tip you have for removing it).

Next we had the bathroom painted a soft blue and the cabinets painted a crisp white

I added a few details like the foam wrapped burlap over the window (only I know it’s safety pinned in the back…I guess now you do, too but you could never tell just by looking at it!), plus a woven mat, and a couple of strategically placed baskets.

I used to avoid this room at all costs, but now I can’t wait to have guests over so they can use it.  I might even take a bath in there tonight myself!

Everything Old is New Again

This Old House has a great article on the best reader ideas for reusing old materials.

Like the way this door on an old furnace grate transformed into a retro beer tap perfect for a kitchen or home bar.  If you want to adjust the taps, just open the furnace door.  Genius.

If you love reading as much as I do, this old library card catalog is a wonderfully nostalgic piece.  Just add decorative legs, sand and paint and you have a lovely new way to store small items like napkins, silverware, tea light candles, and more.

I love this idea for a new way to add style using existing built-ins.  Isn’t it a sweet idea so dogs have a cozy place to sleep?  Not sure the dog on the right looks too happy, though…

There are so many ways to reuse salvaged materials.  If you have any good ideas, I’m always looking for new ways to reuse and refinish old pieces!

Choosing a Kitchen Counter Surface

Choosing a new counter top in your kitchen is a big decision.  Take granite, for instance.  It’s durable, holds up to heat and is virtually maintenance free, but it’s expensive and becoming so mainstream it doesn’t always have that ‘wow’ factor.

In a kitchen like this one, it pops against the white cabinets.

And in a traditional space, it can add elegance and warmth.

But in a kitchen like this, the granite feels as dated as the cabinets and the deep burnt orange walls.

Engineered Stone comes in a variety of colors, including pure white or flat gray which are super sleek and modern.

 But despite being durable, a solid surface will show e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, so if you’re not fanatical about cleaning you might be better off with a textured look.

Wood counters can add depth and drama to a kitchen.

They are easy to clean and can be sanded and resealed over time, but they will scratch and show wear and tear if you don’t maintain them.  Often times they are used in combination with another surface, like marble. Ahhh…I adore this look – it’s heavenly.

There are lots of other counter top options from concrete to tile to stainless steel.  Experts say most renovations stay current for about seven years, so if you’re planning to be in your house long term, it doesn’t really matter what you choose, because you’ll probably have to change it before you move anyway!

Tricks of the Trade

Ever wonder why rooms in a magazines and catalogs look so perfect? Because they are staged using a few insider tricks anyone can use.

Like…Bookshelves and Books! This inexpensive white bookcase is courtesy of, you guessed it, IKEA – the reigning queen of cheap shelves, and this particular set has style and panache despite the low price.

Bookshelves can be used for so much more than just books.  If you have a collection of bowls or travel finds or even miniature step stools like the ones below, they are the perfect compliment to any blank shelf (note: porcelain cats and antique dolls don’t qualify).

Another good tip – baskets!  Toss in some pillows or blankets or magazines and they fill up an empty area in any space.

Another great trick – Mirrors!  They can make a room look bigger, reflect both sunlight and candlelight, and can be found at any style or price.

Happy Decorating!