The Kitchen Renovation of 2013 – 1 Leak. 1 Year. 1 Woman.

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How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: [Read more...]

Building a Window Seat with Storage in a Bay Window

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You know when you dream about the finished product on something that you’ve been planning for a long time? And then you finish and your dream becomes a reality? And you think to yourself, am I still dreaming? All those sentiments and more have been going through my head since I finished the built-in window seat in our bay window. This seat is devine! In fact, I’ve begun calling it the Queen’s seat in the hopes that it will deter any male folks from claiming it in our household.

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Several of you have asked for the tutorial to build the window seat. I have that for you, but I want to mention that this is a slightly more advanced project. Halfway into writing this tutorial, I realized there was no way I could show you each and every cut, step, and trick without this being the world’s longest blog post/tutorial. If you have some basic carpentry skills (you know how to hammer, nail, use some power tools and you know how to attach a 2×4″ securely to a wall), you should be able to handle this. With that being said, I do want to offer any help if you should have any questions during the process of building this bench, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to help you.

I also want to mention that I did have to move the HVAC vent forward so it came out the front of the window seat. Here’s the tutorial to move a floor vent. I do want to caution you against building over a vent. We have a bookcase that was built over the register and the wood inside grew mold because there wasn’t enough force to blow the air and moisture out the front of the bookcase. Just a warning, don’t take the easy way out.

Basics for Building a Built-in Window Seat in a Bay Window: [Read more...]

20 Brilliant Built In Storage Ideas

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Built_in_storage_ideasI love finding unused space for storage. Nothing bothers me more than a wall that obviously hides a large void behind it.  Or a built-in bench that could have been perfect for extra storage.

While on the hunt for creative ways to store more, I found 20 brilliant ways to add built-in beauty AND storage to your home. You can see some above, but there’s plenty more in this curated collection of storage ideas that I put together for you. Enjoy.

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Kitchen Plan Update

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It has been a whirlwind week. I’ve been doing my best to learn everything I can about tiles, flooring and cabinets. I’m so used to making do with what I have or buying things to upcycle. Picking out new is a real struggle for me. After multiple failed kitchen layout plans, we finally called in some professional help.

On Friday we met with Amy from Ferguson, the kitchen and bath suppliers. They have showrooms all over the US. Walking around the showroom was really helpful (and a bit overwhelming because I wanted everything!) But, ultimately Amy helped pull me back down to reality.

Here is one of the layouts that she proposed for our kitchen: [Read more...]

The DIY Talent Parade Highlights

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I’m still on a high after the fabulous DIY Talent Parade. Seriously, I think the Rose Parade needs to watch out because y’all have some fabulous talent! There were so many amazing projects, it was hard to pick just a few of my favorites.

To start off the highlights, I present to you this colorful living room makeover by Yanet from 3 Sun Kissed Boys. I love how she nailed the color palette when she decided the word for the room should be cheery:

Plum Doodles wowed us with this standard vanity makeover by painting the toe kick black and adding legs and a skirt. Check out here step by step tutorial: [Read more...]

Making an Upholstered Bench from a Coffee Table – DIY Talent Madigan Made

Look up there! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait…it’s Madigan Made! That’s right, Shannon from Madigan Made is here and she leads a double life. She’s the Clark Kent of the blogging world. By day, Shannon is a pharmacist and by night she moonlights as a creative magician and blogger.  This creative genius casts magical spells on ordinary objects and turns them into extraordinary home furnishings and décor.

One thing I love about Shannon is that she never fails to amaze me with her transformations. They are always fresh ideas and the fact that she has the energy to complete DIY projects and hold a full-time job leaves me speechless. Check out just a sampling of her projects.

And now I see some sparks glowing in the distance. They are moving towards us at warp speed, which only means one thing…Madigan Made is in the house! [Read more...]

Garage/Workshop Makeover Final Reveal – Thanks to the Bagster Bag

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When last we left our gal, Pretty Messy Girl was embarking on a journey into the bowels of her garage. There were crevices and corners that hadn’t seen a shop-vac in years. Dead spiders and centipedes lurked in their dark and dusty hideaways. Fearlessly, she dove head first into the task at hand and with her hero, the Bagster at her side, she overcame the clutter despite the odds!

How did she do it you ask? Well, come with me (if you dare) to see how she took a cluttered disaster of a garage and made it into a serene DIY work haven (okay, that might be stretching it a bit.)

Here is how she shoe-horned lawn equipment, garden tools, four bikes, two scooters, safety gear, sports equipment, balls galore, games, swim and outdoor activities, beach things, shoes, food storage, paint, paint and more paint …(deep breath)…AND an entire power tool laden workshop into this small space.

First she cleared out the entire garage. What was left was a dusty, dirty, and dark cave. All the “crapola” was placed into the Bagster. A little comment from Pretty Messy Girl:

I must say that I really didn’t mind having Mr. Bagster hanging out next to our driveway for a few months. It weathered the rain and wind. And gladly accepted anything I put into it (with the exception of certain items that you can’t dispose of: paint, appliances, and a few other hazardous waste materials.) Now, if I had a big dumpster blocking the view and creating an eyesore for the neighbors, that would be a different story!

The bag was super easy to set up and it held the items inside. Occasionally a side would flop over, but if I put big and ridgid items inside the edges, the sides would stand up better.

A few trips were made to Goodwill and a few more trips into the attic (don’t ask what lurks up there. Gulp!) Once the garage was cleared, she gave it a good cleaning with the shop-vac.

Then she decided that she MUST paint the walls of the garage. Pretty Handsome Guy thought she’d fallen off her workbench. I mean, why paint the inside of a garage? Well, let’s just say that you can thank her later. The results speak for themselves. The amount of light in the garage now makes it a lot easier to photograph tutorials.

Next came the quest to squeeze a gallon worth of stuff into a quart sized container. Pretty Messy Girl uncovered several nooks and crannies that were not being utilized in the garage. And she built several custom shelving units to take advantage of the wasted space. One for the bikes and safety equipment:

A shelf for the beach umbrellas and folding chairs (did you see that empty space above the beach chairs! That was a crime! Wasted space has no business in this garage.

She also designed a yard-a-sport-o-ball collector. But, it is easier to just say the corral.

The corral was created to maximize storage for those items that are always grabbed for on a regular basis. The rakes and yard tools used to each have separate hooks on the peg board, but that took up a whole wall worth of space! Now, they take up a small 4′ x 2′ space.

To hold the tools upright, she bought the cheapest and widest piece of PVC pipe she could find. Then cut the drainage pipe into 4 equal lengths. After bolting them together at the top and bottom, screwed them to a 2″x4″ that was attached to the wall. Voila! Perfectly upright storage for yard tools!

Two more compartments were created in the corral by nailing small scraps of 1×4″ boards and then cutting a piece of plywood to slide between the scraps and create a separate compartment for sports “sticks”. And another compartment for all the balls that come standard with two small boys! What is it with boys and their balls? (Wait, don’t answer that!) I don’t think I owned more than two balls as a child. (Now I’m getting myself into innuendo-trouble.)

Attached to the corral are two built in shelves specifically sized for all the paint. Yes, she has an ever growing paint collection! (An artist has to have options, ya know!) And plastic milk crates below store water toys and games.

Do you remember the paint storage before? She’s extremely lucky no one called the Shelf Protective Services Division. That is just cruel and unusual punishment!

The plastic storage shelves have been sent out to pasture to retire in a life of ease (holding empty plant pots under the deck.)

Where the paint used to be, she pulled  a plastic storage chest from the attic (Yes, there is an entire store to shop from up there.)

The plastic drawers are perfect for housing tape, caulk, glue, gloves, etc. And in a stroke of genius — not really, but why she didn’t think of this before, we’ll never know — she added a binder on a hook to hold all the home improvement receipts. AND this is also where all the items to be returned wait (for the one day that they will be reunited with their family on the store shelves.) When that day arrives, and months have past, she can store all the merchandise credit cards in the little wire shelf. (She does a little jump kick every time she raids that stash of pre-paid cards.)

Moving right along, this was definitely the most disorganized section of the garage. The tool storage near the work bench. What a crying shame. What DIY woman could live with that? (Obviously Pretty Messy Girl, that’s who.) Well, it is a mess no more. With some new tool storage and some thought put into tool useage, she tamed the tool clutter.

And a special spot was chosen for all the safety gear (to be a constant reminder of how important it is to wear them)! Right Meri-K?

We come now to the dust protection area. With the miter saw being Pretty Messy Girl’s right hand man, this area had seen mountains of sawdust. Cans of paint, and anything that was on the open shelving always had a 1/4 – 1/2 inch of accumulation. But, not anymore! Two cabinets were purchased from the Habitat ReStore and hung on the wall. (The price was a real steal! $50 for both.) A fresh coat of paint gave them new life. Someday she hopes to paint the wall and workbench to match. Some day (a girl can dream can’t she?) In addition to sawdust, paint dust can become a real problem in her lair. One time she and a friend spray-painted some chairs and the entire garage and everything in it looked like a coal mine. A spray tent was added to the underside of some rafters. Plastic sheeting simply tacked up with 1×2″ boards and the sides are rolled up and secured in place with extra large clamps. (PVC pipes inside the plastic help make rolling up neat.)

The rolling tool caddy is tucked away on the right side of the workbench. Moveable storage for all the power tools.

An annex was built onto some IKEA shelving for shoes and boots. (And excess food storage.)

And that brings us back to the beginning.

This is one useful garage once again.

And Pretty Messy Girl has now reclaimed her title of Pretty Handy Girl! Woot!

What do you think? Did you get any ideas for storage solutions? Is there anything that could work for your garage or workshop? If you need to clean out some serious “junk”, think about buying the Bagster. It is like a dumpster in a bag! For $29.95 you can purchase it at your local hardware or home improvement store. Pick up charges vary from about $79 – $159 depending on your location. It was really nice to be able to just toss the stuff inside and call a handsome young man to come haul it away!

And the bonus comes when the truck arrives to provide entertainment for mom your children. Watching the crane arm pick up the Bagster is really really cool!

And now the moment y’all (well at least me) have been waiting for: a video of the Bagster Bag being lifted up and taken away by crane. Pretty Handy Girl says,

I am seriously such a geek, I was über excited to watch this. I even told Waste Management to have the driver call my cell phone so I could be there to watch. My 5 year old son had to hold my hand and keep me from jumping up and down. Eeeeeekkkk!

I almost forgot the best part: There is now room for Pretty Messy Mobile! I don’t think there is any hope for the car. Any mom knows that there is no such thing as a clean car when you have kids. Old cheerios and raisins have a final resting place in between the seats of this carpool vehicle.


The End!

Here is a little more information about our superhero, The Bagster:

While households look for ways to save money, more homeowners are tackling projects themselves from bathroom remodels to flooring projects to spring cleaning. The Bagster® bag is an innovative, convenient and affordable solution for smaller home improvement projects.

The Bagster® bag is a highly durable, woven bag designed for disposing as much as 3,300 pounds of debris and is big enough to hold full sheets of plywood, doors and even a bathtub.

The Bagster® bag is a convenient choice for any home improvement project.

  • - Often times construction debris can’t be picked up from the curbside, so consumer now have a great solution when a dumpster is too large for the project.
  • - The Bagster® bag is ready when you are – great for last-minute projects or ones that need an extended period of time to complete.
  • - Consumers can use the bag for as long as they like, then schedule a collection when the bag is full or their project is finished. The bag and collection service are always ready, putting consumers in control of their projects.
  • - Collection can be scheduled online at www.thebagster.com or by calling 1-877-789-2247, and Waste Management will collect the bag within three business days.

The Bagster® bag is an affordable solution for homeowners and a great way to save money on do-it-yourself projects.

  • - Bagster® bags cost just $29.95 and the flat rate collection fee ranges from $79 to $159 per bag, depending on your area – 50 to 70 percent less than a dumpster rental.

Waste Management has made the Bagster® bag a simple solution for waste and debris removal.

  • - Consumers can purchase the lightweight bag at more than 2,000 locations across the country, use it for as long as they like, then schedule a collection online or over the phone whenever they are ready.
  • - The Bagster® bag is sold at local home improvement and hardware stores, including participating The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and True Value. To find a local retailer near you, visit www.thebagster.com.

* For more information, visit www.thebagster.com.

 

 

 

Disclosure: Waste Management partnered with bloggers such as myself to participate in its The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. As part of the program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. Waste Management believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Waste Management’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. You should know by now, that I will never write about a product that I didn’t like.

Visit to Habitat for Humanity ReStore – A Peek Inside My Head

On Wednesday, I had the morning to myself since the kids were in summer camp.  I decided not to work since it was my birthday. Most people would probably take the free morning to get a massage, or a pedicure, or go shopping. I chose the later. But, the shopping mall wasn’t calling me. My destination was far from the marble floors and glittering displays. I was headed to the industrial part of town where warehouses and construction equipment rental stores reside. I visited my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I am always amazed by the things that are donated to the ReStore. When I enter those doors, my mind begins to whirr. Before me are shelves and aisles of discarded items. Each one calling to me to transform him or her from an ugly frog into a beautiful prince or princess. I happen to possess the magical powers to do just that! It starts with the ability to see into the future (well, maybe just a vision of what could be.) Then it takes some concentration and before you know it…bippity boppity boo! There before me stands a beautiful object and no one can guess at its humble beginnings.

I’d like to give you a look at some of the visions I had.  Won’t you join me on my tour?

First I headed down the furniture aisle. This little knotty pine night stand whispered to me, “Psst, look at my beautiful handles!” She had only been at the ReStore for a few days, so her price was a little steep. But, her drawers were solid and on gliders. Structurally she was solid.

I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I saw this beautiful off white dresser. Freshly painted a crisp white and her handles had a satin black finish. Beautiful!

Then I heard the sounds of water splashing on a classic marble sink. I turned the corner and saw this builder’s special white vanity with brand new brushed nickel faucet.

It didn’t take much to invision this gentleman with a black tuxedo coating of paint and brushed nickle knobs and handles. At $75, he is a diamond in the rough. The sink set alone would cost that!

But, the best is yet to come. Continuing down the cabinet aisle, I see this poor late 70′s kitchen cabinet set. Her handles are charming and exotic. She has some nice curves and pretty lines.

I squint my eyes and begin to see a miraculous transformation! Antique gold handles pop out. Legs grow at her base and a table top sprouts on her head. Oh she will be the belle of the ball as a sideboard in anyone’s dining room.

The next cabinet can not be ignored with a $5 price tag. He begs for someone to take him home.

Imagine a built in cabinet and window seat in a dormer window. Fresh white paint and slate blue trim with black handles.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see these old newel posts cut down and fitted onto a plain jane desk to add more curvaceous legs:

Now it’s your turn. Imagine these items transforming before you very eyes:

I have a friend who has an old set of lockers by her door. It is her upright family organization center. Each child has a locker and he/she can store shoes, book bag, etc. inside.

I can just see this set of red lacquer cabinets in a retro modern dining room or living room:

A little black paint on the shelves and some feet. Maybe a black marble or granite top?

The ReStore has a large selection of donated lights. Chandeliers twinkle in the light above your head. Envision the shiny gold fading to a beautiful oil rubbed bronze. Another friend shared this link with me detailing such a transformation with Krylon spray paint.

The ReStore staff actually has a display model that someone has transformed into a shiny black chandelier with crystals dripping off her arms. 

With an $8 price tag, it is hard to walk away from these beauties. But, I’m seeking something in particular. A new hanging fixture for our foyer.

I find these two potential hanging lights.

At $5 a piece I should bring them both home. But, I decided I prefer the one on the right with his open base and seedy glass. Check out the transformation here!

This glass globe used to be a large exterior hanging light fixture!

Can’t you just see it as a cloche in your garden? At $35, her price was a bit steep for me, but maybe she will still be there in a few weeks with a lower price tag. (Update: I went back to buy this exterior light and the second lantern above, but they were both gone. My loss, but hopefully someone else’s gain.)

As I gather my treasures (the hanging light, an old rickety ladder, some decorative moulding and a copper wall sconce) I am nearly bowled over by the detail on this solid armoire. At $450, it would be a nice addition in someone’s bedroom, but alas our rooms are too small for this towering king.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and check back soon to see the magic I am going to perform on the treasures I bought: copper sconce, decorative moulding, ladder, and hanging lantern.

In the meantime, I have a busy weekend ahead building a built in reading bench with storage in my youngest son’s extra closet.