Thursday, June 19, 2014


“My clients often fear the dining room, it has a stigma of stress, wasted space and how we no longer live. I say roll back the clock, be mindful and treat ourselves to simple pleasures. Eat, drink, and relax in the dining room, it really doesn’t matter, the point is to ENJOY. ” – Jennifer Brouwer

Seeing most people turn dining rooms into a play room, office, or a free for all (junk room), I wanted to bring back the dining room with the era of the house. The swinging door into the kitchen takes up a lot of space and creates a barrier. I am creating a more open concept by removing the kitchen door and hallway door, making the room appear larger.

With the beautiful archway, large windows with natural light pouring in, and tall ceilings I knew the dining room would be perfect for adding some character to the space.  I wanted to be very cost effective but create an expensive look and another focal point. Using 1 x 4’s vertically and horizontally with a 1 x 2 as the ledge on top, created a “board & batten” look. There are many different ways to approach this.. a lot of it is about personal preference or what suits the space you are in. I thought this design was the best solution for this space.

I used the same “board & batten” look creating another focal point across the kitchen and carrying it down to the landing of the stairs. With this I created a space to hang coats using a 1 x 6 at the top with a 1 x 2 ledge and 1 x 4’s vertically. Just have to add the hooks!

I wanted to add that character throughout the house. In the guest bathroom wood paneling was the best solution using 1 x 6 horizontally and 1 x 2 for the ledge at the top. I created the illusion of the bathroom seeming longer than what it actually is.

In the master bathroom, I used tongue and groove pine vertically to emphasize the height of the tall ceilings. Can't wait to show you what I did to that beat up plaster wall!

 Here is a sneak peak of the tile I picked out being installed. J

And this is all what we have been waiting for… AFTER Pictures, coming up soon!
Questions? Comments? Please feel free to comment below. Thanks for following!!




First walking into this house and seeing original hardwood floors in great condition was a bonus check just waiting at your door! Then I ran into the linoleum floor in the kitchen.  L I was hoping and anxiously waiting for this day to come. After tearing out the kitchen cabinets, I could only see a gray felt, with some wood peeking through. Could it be true? Hardwood floors underneath?

What was discovered… Three Floors.  Really?  Base floor - original pine floor, the same floors that are throughout the bedrooms and hallway. Some sort of glued down felt is on top of that, next plywood sub floor, then original checkered pattern VCT tile, and another sub floor, and last but not least glued linoleum.  This is a man’s job to take up! Even trying with a big crowbar the floors weren’t moving or maybe I just need to get stronger.
After tearing up all three layers and removing 5,000 + staples, it was time to tackle this felt.  After 4 hours of scraping and going through multiple bottles of solution, it didn’t seem like we made any progress on removing the felt.
So time to speak to the expert flooring guy..  He discovered he would be able to get the felt up, but the hard wood floor underneath would be in really bad shape. When the sub floor was put down, they cut it on top of the wood floors making extremely large cuts. NOOOOO!!!! Sigh L I really wanted to try to save this beautiful wood floor. I like the look and feel of using old & new in a space, catches the eye and makes people talk. With new cabinetry and new walls, the cut up floors would have been out of place. They were so bad that the flooring guy even said people would walk into the space and wonder what had happened to the floors. So, the money we were going to spend on restoring the wooden kitchen floor will now go towards new tile.
Next up is adding character to the house.. my favorite! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014


It’s time to bring in the professionals for this one… hanging sheet rock on the ceilings and muddin’ the plaster walls. As seen in the house tour, there is wallpaper on all the ceilings. Decisions, decisions on whether to scrape all the wallpaper off (not knowing what type of condition they are in) or hire someone to hang dry wall over it? The ceilings are 9 foot so I didn’t think a ½” would matter, still have the same affect, and I could tell the ceilings were wavy with the wallpaper. That would have taken a lot of time and labor to mud all the ceilings and try to make it smooth. So sheet rock is going up!  Now, muddin’ the walls..first, they taped off all the large cracks with drywall tape. Then applied drywall mud to smooth out any holes or cracks and imperfections in the wall.




In the kitchen when I popped off the tiles, the plaster was very weak it started to just crumble and created large holes. With large holes, it is better to dry wall over it than to mud it, especially in the kitchen, because the cabinets need a secured wall to drill in to. Also, when taking out the bulkhead in the kitchen, we needed to fill and patch in drywall there since the kitchen already had dry wall on the ceiling when it was renovated in the 1950s.

Since there was hardly any lighting in this house, I added 22 new recessed can lights. Ah finally, There is light!!!!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014



The three closets in the house were in pretty bad shape.  The custom wood shelving were cracked and bowing, and the walls… well let’s just not talk about the condition of the walls. Also, the hanging exposed light bulbs are not to code and can start a fire. Need to replace these with a more functional light. (The light bulbs still say 25 cents on them.. So ancient!)

Master Closet: Sliding metal wallpapered doors are salvageable (more on that later), but need to be removed for right now. Yuck.. outdated VCT tile on the floor in here… That’s got to go!

2nd Bedroom/ Office Closet: This is a very small closet. Need to turn this into a functional, organized space with a better closet design. 

3rd Bedroom: Same size as the master closet, but without sliding doors. Hmm.. I see a trend happening back then with painting the inside of closets two different colors???
Now that all the shelving and supports are removed, closets are ready to go for preppin’ & muddin’!


Let’s talk about plumbing… the water pressure was extremely bad when I first purchased this house.. almost dribbling out of the faucets. The house inspector said it was time to replace the plumbing after 83 years. Yea, you would think so!!! About time! The inside of the pipes were so bad that you could barely fit a toothpick through it. Ewwwwww. So all new plumbing is in, and now I have holes in the plaster walls. In the master bath, the brand new Premiere Care elderly tub is finally removed. I am selling this at a reasonable price, so please contact me if you are interested. In order to get the tub out, we had to remove the door trim..not a problem since the doorway was exceptionally small and I have a better solution for it to appear larger.

The pipes for the shower had to be moved to an inside wall, since it is not to code to have pipes on an exterior wall due to the pipes possibly freezing. 

Called in my contractor to build this luxury walk–in shower with a seat.  It’s all prepped and ready for tile J Can’t wait to show you what I picked out.  Also, the small wall mount pedestal sink is out of here, it looks too commercial…need more counter space especially in a master bath.

Onto the guest bathroom, the old pedestal sink in there was rusted and cracked, time for it to go. The guest bath originally just had a bath tub, so I had a shower installed. With big holes in the wall from the new plumbing and the medicine cabinet removed its demolition time in the bathroom!!

Sheet rock is going up. Bathroom is ready to go for preppin’ & muddin’!

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Monday, March 17, 2014


The fireplace needs a little updating. We discovered from the inspector's report that the fireplace could no longer be used due to the interior damage of the chimney. I wanted to keep the original look but add a more craftsman style feel to it. Finally came up with a design that will fit perfectly for this large brick fireplace.

First, I called in my handyman/carpenter which happens to be my dad. Yes, I have a family who happens to be handy and crafty and has had lots of experience renovating multiple homes... just what I need! Very blessed . J First, we need to patch and cover the huge crack in the wall above the fireplace and any other holes. The two white circles were actually where two sconces hung at one time. They covered these up with the second layer of wallpaper.

Then, he put up a ¼ ” thick melamine board to make sure there is a smooth base surface. Next,  he used 1 x 4's (the 1 x 6 seemed too wide) to create the unique windowpane design below. I designed it this way to frame out a large screen TV that will eventually be mounted above the mantel.

Notice the walls are white and not that yucky brown with a whole bunch of cracks? The white is actually a fresh skim coat of plaster. We started to skim the walls in here because they weren't in too bad of shape. 

Whether to strip the fireplace mantel or re-paint it is the next question? I like the look of an exposed wood mantel with a painted brick. It's good to use multiple textures and different design elements in a room, creates a focal point for the eye. A smooth wood surface with a rough brick is my kind of taste!  So I took the risk not really knowing what the color of the wood or the condition it would be…could always stain it. Using a paint stripper and a scrapper, my mom stripped two coats of paint off of the mantel. The wood is beautiful and in mint condition! All it needs is a little sanding and a clear satin poly coat finish to protect it. The fireplace is primed and ready for paint.

Follow a long to see what happens next in this house renovation! Thanks!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Time to tackle this outdated bathroom… Ahhhhh so much PINK! And look at that WALLPAPER!!! Eeekkk! These tiles are actually plastic tiles...the same tile that was used in the kitchen but just a different color.

Have to point out these original white porcelain handles... HOT, COLD, and WASTE. Hmm...hopefully I can salvage these. It adds character to the bathroom.

So again, just used a small crowbar and a flathead screwdriver to pop these right off. Took me less than an hour. And you can see, I'm slowly stripping the wallpaper, one of the last rooms in the house. Learn more about wallpaper removal here.

Hmmm…interesting that the plaster walls from the 1930's has the same pattern that is popular today (subway tile).

Thank you for following! Will be posting more blog posts soon!