Tag Archives: DIY

Quick and easy makeover for your front entryway for under $100

First impressions are lasting impressions.    At first glance, it may not seem like there is anything wrong with this entrance.  Upon closer inspection however, I found a rusting hollow metal door, chipped paint, brick covered with vines, mismatched door hardware and a tired light fixture.

Still have a little painting to do, but this should give you an idea of the changes you can achieve with a few simple items and a free weekend:

1)  Remove the vines-Cost $0  (time to complete: 2 days)

The vines are no doubt very attractive and give a formal look, but they are also very damaging to your mortar and are  haven for bugs. Once removed, I pressure washed the brick so the brick’s rich colors would shine through the dust and grime that had accumulated over the years.

2)  Fresh paint- Cost $15  (time to complete 1 1/2 hours)

In this instance, I decided on a color change.  I went from a forest green to a deep red rose color in a quart of Behr’s paint and primer in one.  I added some colorful plants in the pots that flank the entrance that compliment the new red.

3)  New door hardware, door knocker and kickplate-Cost $55  (time to complete: 1 hour)

Because I am trying to maintain a historical feel for this property, I decided on the oil rubbed bronze.  The kick plate concealed the rusting blemish at the bottom of the door while also adding a sense of sophistication to the entrance.

4)  New entry light-Cost $25 (time to complete: 30 minutes)

Same as the door hardware, I found a carriage style light fixture on oil rubbed bronze to place above the front door.

Welcome in!


4 Quick and Inexpensive Bathroom Repairs-No Plumber Required

Ahh, the throne of your home for the king or queen of the castle is located here.  A place to relax and wash the troubles of the day away.   For a room that arguably gets heavy daily use in your home, you can expect that there are many small repairs that can creep up on you in a bathroom.  The good news is that most of the fix-its are very quick and easy and don’t require an expensive plumber bill.

Here’s a quick run down of common problems that can be remedied quickly and inexpensively:

1) Clogged Shower head: Hard water causes calcium buildup over time and clogged holes will cause uneven and reduced water flow.  Before resorting to removal or replacement of the head, you can try using a toothpick to remove the mineral deposits from the holes.  You can also try to soak the head in vinegar by filling a ziploc baggie full of vinegar and attaching it the head with a rubber band or tape and letting it soak for a few hours.  If this doesn’t work, you might consider replacement.

To remove the head, put a piece of masking tape around the arm (flange) for protection of the surface and using a wrench, loosen the shower head by turning to the left. The (flange) arm will stay in place.   Simply discard the old head and screw on the new one.  There are some pretty nice water saving heads available for less than $20.   Make sure you ensure a new watertight seal with white plumber’s tape.  The tape spool is usually blue with white vinyl tape and costs around $1 but well worth peace of mind to be leak free.

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Quick and Low Cost Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

Your natural wood cabinets looking a little old and tired lately?   Try painting them!   For the cost of a can of paint and primer, you can give your cabinets a fresh new appearance.

Using a color that is anything but neutral can give your kitchen a customized look but for resale value, neutral is the safest bet.  White and black are always classic but if you want the cabinets to still appear to be wood, I love Behr’s Paint and Primer in One in the Espresso brown tint.  I’ve also noticed a trend toward grays or sage greens, but those get a little more personalized.  Some like the eggshell finish, I like the satin.  Choose the sheen you like the best for your own project.

Ready to do it?  Here are 5 easy steps to give your kitchen cabinets a quick makeover:

Step 1) Remove doors and drawer fronts.  Remove any door hardware.  A quick tip for hardware is to secure them with masking tape to the inside of the cabinet or drawer with masking tape so they won’t get lost or mixed up.
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Tips for locating your home’s main water shut off valve

Your home’s main water shut off valve is often an overlooked feature, but you will wish one day in the event of a leak,  that you know where it is at in a moment’s notice.  Fortunately, you don’t need to be a detective when it comes to locating your home’s main water shut off valve.  There are a few usual suspects that can be hiding its location.

First you should know that your water meter located outside is a last resort option for turning off your water to your home and usually requires a special valve tool to turn it off and on; that, or a tricky use of pliers in what is typically a wet, muddy hole.  Most modern homes are equipped with a secondary water shut off valve that are more accessible and quicker to turn off on the inside.

Interior valves are usually either one of two styles:

A Gate Valve which resembles your garden hose attachment

or a Ball  valve that has a lever on it

Here’s some places to look inside your home:

1)  Look in closets on the front of your home for little cabinets; these little cabinets on interior walls may have your shut off valve.  Most shut off valves for water will be painted blue but don’t be surprised if they are over-sprayed with paint.

2) Look in your laundry room

3) Look in your garage walls

4)  Look under your bathroom or kitchen sinks (all faucets and toilets usually have their own secondary shut off valves so a main shut off valve would be in addition to these)

Rules of thumb for colors used on valves:  Water is blue, hot water is red, gas is yellow

Take a few minutes to locate your own shut off valves.  You never know when you might need it!

Man Caves-Father’s Day DIY ideas

man cave n. A dedicated area of a house, such as a basement, workshop, or garage, where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends.

Men are not your “typical’ decorators. They don’t care about throw pillows or which of the 10 shades of green you are thinking of for the bathroom.  Start talking about their own turf however and they’ve got ideas galore!  Guys need an exclusive space to hang out in their homes — a refuge where they can enjoy what they love and blow off some steam.   Yabba Dabba Do!!!!

According to a recent survey by Servicemagic.com, 40% of homeowners say that their home already has a man cave and another 13% said a man cave is either in the planning stage or in the process of being built.  “These aren’t ordinary recreation rooms,” said David Lupberger, a home improvement specialist with ServiceMagic.com. “These are rooms that fall solely under the jurisdiction of the man of the house.”

No wonder DIY Network even has a show called “Man Caves” now.  This Father’s Day, there are many different projects that a GIRL CAN DO to show him you understand and give him some refuge.

Where to start?

1) Walk through the space and visualize what he wants his Man Cave to look like.   Have realistic expectations of the space’s function.

2) Pick an object (pool table, jukebox, sports) that he likes as your inspiration in choosing the overall look and color in the man cave.

3) Measure the space (length, width, height)  Draw out the details on paper so building and arranging will be easier.

4) Make a list of all the materials and tools you will need to accomplish the task.

5) Make a step-by step list of what needs to be done so you can stay on track.

Some easy Man Cave DIY Ideas that you can start with:

1)   Install tool or garage organization with slat walls or storage cabinets

2)  Install peel and stick vinyl flooring in his work space or how about green Astroturf to emulate a golfing range?

3)  Install new shelving for his man collectibles or create a new media storage unit

4)  Paint the area in his favorite team’s color with a few memorabilia sprinkled in

5)  Install a new home theater surround sound system or mount a flat panel TV

6)  Install tin ceiling tiles to create the feel of an old cabin

7)  Don’t forget the beer fridge and big leather chair!

Hopefully, this gives you a place to start and let the creative juices flow.  Need help in the DIY for any of these ideas?  Just ask and I’ll try to help!

4 Tips for how to choose the right grout

So, you’ve navigated your way through the maze of 1000′s of tile selections and have narrowed your choice.  Now it’s time to choose the right grout, a choice that can be equally intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 4 basic tips for how to choose the right grout:

1)  Determine Tile Spacing

Most home improvement and flooring stores have packages of tile spacers that will help you ensure a nice square fit and even spacing between tiles.

Larger floor tiles  are usually spaced 1/8″ or wider and smaller tiles usually are better suited for grout lines 1/8″ or less.  Smaller grout lines minimize the tile pattern that is laid out and tend to be easier to clean; consider smaller grout lines for back-splashes, shower walls and countertops.

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3 things you should know about picking the right chandelier

Having just installed a chandelier in a bedroom of all places, it made me wonder.  Is there a guideline about size and weight of a chandelier in a room?  You betcha!

Here are 3 things you should know for picking the right chandelier:

Sizing it Up

Designer rule of thumb for determining the correct size light fixture (if going over a table) is to go with a fixture that has a diameter that is half the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. For instance, if the table is a rectangle that is 48” wide, a chandelier that is approximately 24” (half of the 48” width of the table) in diameter is a great choice. If the table is a 60” round diameter, a 30” diameter chandelier would be appropriate.

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Cut the cord! 5 steps to convert a plug in chandelier to a hardwired fixture

Found the perfect chandelier, and after a small delay in shipping, finally received it only to find out it was a plug-in with a cord! Surprise!  No worries, this is fixable.   Converting a cord/plug fixture is very similar to installing a regular light fixture.

** Safety first!  Turn the circuit breaker off to the light switch in question before attempting any electrical work.  A small hand-held amp probe held onto the wires should confirm if the circuit is dead.  If you encounter any conditions that are not as described, you should always consult with an electrician.  Anything beyond existing fixture changes should also consider any local building codes and ordinances.

Let’s get started:

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Shine a light on your creativity! Design your own lamp shade

Shine a light on your creativity!

With my daughter’s recent transition from all things pink to all things black and purple, I just couldn’t find the right one and at reasonable price.   Her old lamp was pink on pink with a simple feather trim:

Here’s what I did to transform the lamp for less than $10 and in under 30 minutes:

1)    I spray painted the base but knew I couldn’t save the former pink shade.  I found these really nifty plain adhesive shades at Hobby Lobby for around $7.

2)  The lamp comes with a template to cut a pattern from your choice of fabric

3)  Once the fabric is cut, you simply attach it to the sticky lamp shade, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles as you work your way around.  At the edges, you fold the fabric over and use a hot glue gun to secure it to the inside of the lamp.  Create a seam by tucking the fabric under itself on the backside of the shade and secure with hot glue.

4)  Attach your desired trim (1 yard) to the edges with hot glue.  In this case, I opted for sequins and feathers.

You can imagine that you could whip up some pretty creative shades.  Craft and fabric stores have tons of trims and fabrics.  Your imagination has no limit!  This is such a user-friendly project since it involves no sewing and no guess work.  I hope you find it easy too.  Try it and feel free to come back and post pictures of your own creations.  Your feedback is always appreciated.

A bedroom fit for a Tween (or Teen)

Our transformation from a boy’s room to a girl’s tween/teen paradise is nearly complete and all things pink that my daughter once tolerated for her mom’s sake *wink* is now a thing of her past.  This is now officially “her domain”!  Hopefully you can find some inspiration with some ideas we were able to do and change it to suit the queen in your life.

Before

After

Here’s what we did:

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