Archive for the ‘the Journey of a Stylish Renovation’ Category

will winter ever go away?


Yesterday we woke to snow—hmmmmmm.

Dear Winter,

how can we miss you

if you if you won’t go away–?

We’ve been in Spring about an hour now— uh huh.

I’m not convinced.


Call me an optimist -but- I’ve been pretending it IS Spring and I’ve busied myself Spring Cleaning and deleting and de-cluttering and rearranging things throughout mom’s house.

. . .much to her dismay.

When you have a small house, every bit of space is important and it’s easy to be taken over by –stuff.  (And harder to cut things loose)  Mom was not too happy with me doing this to her, but liked the end results–whew!

These are two quick examples [of the angst I put her through] while everything got a good “cleaning.”  ; D  Again–this is the last room in the house to get a make-over-renovation.  With the plans we have, we need to sell some more Oz stuff to pay this tab!

mom's kitchen--the pantry/stove wallSimple changes–just editing, deleting and shifting things about.  I bought the iron-clustered hooks at Hobby Lobby to organize that crazy bundle of aprons~and YES, they get used!

Spring cleaning in the kitchen--Just a gOOd cleaning and editing and rearrangement here!  A-maz-ing the amount of filth under a microwave and behind a fridge–wOw!

*My mom was inFATuated with Holland during our Air Force-years in France, and wanted a blue and white kitchen.  There are lots of Delft touches throughout~now you get her slate blue stove-?!

**The soffit says: “The only thing to stir up in the kitchen…is trouble.”

…back to cleaning, painting, eradicating all signs of

w i n t e r…da da duhn.


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trying to get back on track--WoW– am I having a hard time getting back on track.

(I’m trying)→

That scratchy throat and general lack of energy just seems to be lingering.

It really doesn’t help that I’ve also been distracted by a gOOd book. Two, to be exact.  Uh oh–just learned there’s a third.


Pride and Prejudice SEQUELSI loved Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  and have read a couple of interpretative sequels that were -okay- but tended to reshape Miss Austen’s characters in ways hard to buy into.

Yeah ~ NOT these two written by Linda Berdoll.  WoW!  Well into the 2nd, I’m ordering the 3rd right away.

another alteration to the bench---

I think I’ve concocted my own perfect watery blue color for the hall and need to get painting. . . right after I finish another alteration I’m making to the bench. See-?!

Haven 2014-

And~ I got my HAVEN ticket

last night!  Yay!

Are you going?

Hope to meet you there face-to-face!
…enough procrastinating already….off to paint….or read!


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…in the beginning….

Mom's --the hall and alcove-001

… d u r i n g ….

mom--upstairs hall built-in bookcases and alcove-003

…just finishing up….

almost completed hallway built-ins. . .

mom--upstairs hall built-in bookcases and alcove-004-



A quick

before & after”


before & SO FAR!




But wait,

this isn’t all ~ there’s more coming. . .








Oh yea, that “somethingI’ve been fending off. . . . . I lost the battle.

So much for getting that flu shot.


I’m sharing this project–
I party with Remodelaholic-




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It was a busy weekend completing the board and batten molding all around.  It’s the perfect finishing touch AnD wrapping it around the new built-ins really connects the whole space.

upstairs hall and built-insI finished all the little detail work, cleaned up all the commotion of saw dust with the vacuum hose and brush –and restored the books.  I also got started on caulking the seams, but they’re not aLL done and there’s some light sanding to do too.  ~Ooops! Guess I was a bit premature with the vacuum.

But other than thAT–I’m finally painting–!


Oh–just one more thing to share.

You need this tool!I use this tool sO much in sO many ways.  An Oscillating Saw.

There are several attachment parts available for different tasks.  You can buy an expensive name brand saw–which I almost did about 4yrs ago, but instead, opted to buy this off brand from Harbor Freight for $25.  It came with the 3 most basic attachments–which I’ve already replaced from so much usage.

the right tool for the job--Above, you see how easy it was to fit the new base into place!  It’s the same easy application to re-cut a door jamb and casing when installing a new floor.

I found it was absolutely the best tool to cut my globes  in half.

It cuts through nails—so when I’ve nailed something together in a wrong placement, or I’m trying to deconstruct something I don’t want to the right tool for the job--stress too much, I can slip the thin blade in to cut the connections.  It’s also perfect for cutting loose those fixed shelves.

It made easy work of cutting out the dry wall when we moved the outlets in this project. . .

And I used it to make my in-place  free-hand  cuts for the incredibly complex compound cuts trimming out the bookcases. (I know~my putty job sucks!)

With the proper blade, it easily cuts through wood, metal, plastic, drywall–I even used it to cut rigid foam insulation working on the LL.

And (especially) for that Harbor Freight price. . .

this tool should definitely be in your Tool Box!


*can you believe. . .we’re back in a major snowstorm.  geesh.

the winter that won't END.









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...right now....but give me 24hrs...Again,

Friday night—












Saturday morning—

I decided to continue the board and batten from up the stairwell into the hallway.  I’d already purchased a new 4×8 sheet of ½” MDF, but thought it would be better to use wood around the window and made a run for that and fresher paint.  Somehow my original (board and batten) paint became incredibly lumpy–??

When I finally got back to the hallway….

. . . it was a   L O N G   day of crawling around the floor. . . up & down the stairs. . . in & out to the garage. . . to rip more boards and cut to length.  And adding the decorative rail cap.

the hallway project continues---some of the details in the hallway---the stair/hall pony wall...I need to re-case the door “legs” to run the last board & batten in two areas.  Today I’ll finish covering the stair’s pony-wall, putty, sand, AND PAINT.  Where -clearly- I will be be for quite some time.  Any volunteers–?


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DSC06347It has been  s l o w  going on this hallway project.  Literally, “a little work here, a little work there.”

But this weekend is full steam ahead—with (fingers crossed)

…….no interruptions!


This was actually the cleanest day so far—working on the upholstered seat.  All the chaos is just out of camera view!

Below, a close up of the matelasse-styled fabric I chose for the bench, AnD, some days you just have to think inside the box.

DSC06342"working" inside the box!

Btw—this might be what it looks like right now…

but just give me 24 hours….  ; D


...right now....but give me 24hrs...

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 Okay, the Reader’s Digest version of this story is….
We moved to this little house at the end of my dad’s time in the Air Force.  Again, the house was little but they felt it had potential and raised the back roof line making the house a 1¾ story.  It made room for a much larger bedroom and bath (for my 3 big brothers to share), and an office for mom.
Our mother was a teacher.  Primarily here in the US, but even while our family was stationed in France.  42yrs.  Mostly in the parochial school system.  And that‘s why I’ve been doing all this work on her home–so she’ll have a worry-free comfortable home in retirement.

*This is a project from 2006

So–my dad built mom a private office

——where she could spread out ALL that teaching stuff.  Once retired though, I thought it would be wAy nicer to become a cozy library for her many books.  However, when (her brother) my Uncle Fred died and left his enormous Oz collection to her and there were so many incredibly valuable books–her library became more like a dedication to thatHence the eventual wall color.

*I would love to show you pictures of her in-use-teaching-office, but the computer and scanner aren’t  on speaking terms  right now~w e l l.

mom's office--

It’s a pretty nice room at 15’9″ x 10ft, and dad built-in the desk and closet to keep her organized.  One thing I learned about my dad’s construction–he built things to LAST.  I had the hardest time demo’ing it all down.  Seriously.

In addition to his built-ins, she had several store-bought DIY bookshelves and I thought they could be  salvageable.

mom's office--

becoming a library--

-After I got the room gutted I re-staged those existing bookshelves where the built-ins used to live.  See? Salvageable!

Yes, they are now the foundation to her NEW BUILT-INS!

. . . .use what you’ve got ba-bie!  ; D

becoming a library--I used spacers between the units to fit new front face frames, 2×6′s underneath to boost the height for 5½” base molding and to fit it to the ceiling with a 4″ crown, and I pulled the tower unit forward.  Paint and glaze brings it all together.

becoming a library--the Library--In summary of the rest of the room–

Everything remaining was gutted–like flooring and casings, and the electricians installed spot lights for me and moved outlets around.

I built a real closet, hung a 2nd layer of drywall around the perimeter ceiling to effect a “tray ceiling,” and installed a pair of new windows (custom on my specs) to look like french doors.  Then I re-cased the whole room with moldings salvaged from a razed farmhouse.

The above view is entering the room from the stairs-hallway.

Below shows entering from the adjoining bathroom.

the Library--

the Library--

Yes, that’s my compressor in the bottom corner of the photo, I’m still working in the hall on its built-in bookcases.  And I need to get crackin’ on some proper window treatments for this room!  Btw~the shelves are in disarray because we’ve been reviewing all the Oz books and selling some to other collectors.

With the actual closet in the room now, this is legally a 4th bedroom for resale.  Although I still think it’s greatest as a private office-library for the master bedroom, wouldn’t it make a convenient nursery too-?


the Library--I’m sharing this project–

I party with Remodelaholic

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I’ve been sitting here for ~h o u r s~ trying to clean up my computer picture files.  I don’t know how they got so UNorganized (a chore to find anything).

I wanted to just do it & be done–but not knowing how  l   o   n   g   it would actually take–left me with a major case of computer-butt.

BuT (haha), I thought you might like these Before & After photos I re-discovered!  Snippets of my work on mom’s house.

1st –How I changed the face of mom’s 1961 house.

the changes to mom's house

We moved here at the end of my dad’s time in the Air Force.  It was small (3 brs 1 bath), but they felt it had great potential.  It was in a neighborhood of 6-10yr old homes owned by young families with tons of kids.  *They had the house sand blasted clean to the cedar siding because of a failing paint job, & eventually raised the back roof line to create the 2nd story.  I did the rest as you now see it.

the changes I made to mom's house

My mom always dreamt of a fireplace….although I used a direct-venting, gas insert to make it more “on demand” for her age.  ; D

You can see I reused her bookcases on a raised hearth, and, not needing a chimney, I used an arched window above the mantle that was salvaged from a razed convent around Chicago.  Although it’s hard to know from these shots, the addition to the front greatly enlarged her living room.

before and after--fire place

And last, the before & after and now of the garage face/pergola privacy structures.  I still can’t find the picture of the shallow pergola that stretches across the whole garage face–especially the one from this past summer with the wisteria already growing on it now too!  Btw–the wisteria looks wild because I waited until it quit blooming to trim it.

garage face and pergola privacy structures

Coming…I didn’t realize I’ve never shown you

the Library….whew~that’s a BIG change!


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I have been just d r a g g i n g trying to work on this project (or any other, for that) –seems I’m fending off….something.

And–I’m trying to double triple-task time sensitive issues.

It's THAT cold--One–my mother does NoT do construction mayhem well.  So while she is away from her home I’m working on the built-in bookcases.  She’ll be back on the 19th already.

Twoagain, my mother does NoT do construction mayhem well, so I’m also trying to make a few alterations/repairs in her bathroom, including switching her into an ADA toilet (very helpful after hip replacement).  But I’m having quite the search finding one based on the allotted space (1961 house) and the specs for those I’m finding so far.

And, Three–do we now live at the North Pole…brrrrr…it’s only 9° out. : \   Which seems almost heatwave-like after weeks of sub-zeros.  So I’m also dealing with heating issues in my [garage] work studio– *have to keep my saw motors from freezing or I’ll be dealing with other problems.

Yes–it’s THAT COLD OUT! ~our bandit-looking  letter-carrier.   It’s the worst winter that  just. won’t. endsigh.

After a week of side-steps, setbacks, interruptions, and one full day of ~surrender~ this is where the bookcases stand.

working on the built-in bookcases in the upstairs hall--My goal was to find remedy for a variety of issues in this project.

Fact:  Small‘ish Houses always need more storage.  And you can see I’m creating more under-seat/hidden storage here.  I thought this might be a great place to stash things like…luggage.

Another Fact:  There is only so much REAL USAGE to be found under a low-sloping ceiling.  The bookcase there was a pretty good use for mom’s vast collection, but was still wanting.  It was also a back acher to stoop over while looking through the books, so 1) I raised the shelf heights, 2)  I’m making taller shelves for all those over-sized books, and 3) a bench to SIT on more comfortably while you’re perusing those shelves.

The new built-ins will give a less cluttered look to the hallway now with the elimination of odd chairs and benches, and more room to put things away!  (And I think it will be another good re-sale point for her one day.)

….trying to get this finished  -and trying to stay warm….


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Mom's --the hall and alcove-001



I began the morning emptying the existing shelves~

~an exhausting task.




Then I deconstructed the old bookshelf.  Another exhausting task, but very worthwhile to capture the extra wood for my project.  And reduce the end costs.

--deconstructing the old shleving

By lunch I was finally on construction–YaY!

--building the new bookshelves

  1. I cut the boards for the long-wall and corner, and made final decisions on spacing.
  2. I ripped and cut boards for cleats and secured the basic structure to the wall.
  3. The top rails of the face frames were a mathematical exercise.  The long wall required a 3″ tall 35° cut to fit snug under the eaves.  The taller section’s rail had all flat sides but angled end cuts, and was only 2³⁄8″ tall to line up with the other 3″ rail.
  4. I cut and attached the side shelf cleats, then the styles of the face frame, and I cut two of the lower shelves on the long wall.

At this point you can see I was losing daylight and I was whooped from all the up and down-crawling around the floor, and up and down the stairs, and in and out to the garage.

Here’s a little more detail of the angled cuts needed to make everything fit nicely under the eaves.  This should give you a good idea of the fun of it all–hahaMore tomorrow as work continues….


Mom's --the hall and alcove-004

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