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...]

How to Survive without a Kitchen during Renovation

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I’ve been asked many times how we’re surviving without a kitchen. I have to admit, there were a few weeks of adjustment for us, but now things are humming along relatively easily. We have a makeshift kitchen and a dishwashing set up that works for us. But, living without a kitchen is a bit like being on SURVIVOR. Come on in and I’ll show you the behind the scenes peek into our lives and share some tips to help make your kitchen remodel a little easier should you choose to take on the challenge! [Read more...]

All About Termites and Clean Up with The Bagster Bag

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There we were, Harvey the electrician and I were happily making progress on the kitchen renovation. Harvey was just finishing up on the last row of outlets when his hand disappeared into the wall. “Ummm, Ms. Bailey, I think there’s something wrong with this stud.” I looked over to see him pulling wood shavings out of the hole he had cut for the outlet. “What the…..?” (I repressed my urge to curse.) Within five minutes of his discovery, we had pulled down the sheetrock around the suspicious stud and were glaring at a poor excuse for two framing members and the wall’s bottom plate.

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The two studs were so brittle and destroyed that I was able to poke my entire finger through them. (Let’s see you do that to a solid 2×4, Mr. Houdini!)

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Not good…not good at all. I had to make the unfortunate call to Pretty Handsome Guy to tell him the bad news. But, I broke it to him lightly, “Honey, what is the one home disaster we HAVEN’T had to deal with yet?” He guessed tornado (Shoot, forgot about that one.) “No, Termites! But, the good news is that there is no live infestation.” See, it always helps to temper the bad with some good news. ;-)

The next few days were fraught with nail biting, lightly walking around that wall (for fear it might topple over), and multiple phone calls to the termite company, our building inspector and a structural engineer. To make this long story short, the structural engineer was the most helpful and advised us to fur out our walls to carry the wall load over the remaining perfectly good rim joist. If that sounds Greek to you — no worries — I really want to share with you what I’ve learned about TERMITES instead! [Read more...]

How to Remove a Soffit – Kitchen Renovation Update

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How are y’all doing this week? Getting ready for the holidays? Instead of decorating, we did some demolition in the kitchen this past weekend. And it involved buying myself an early Christmas present:

DEWALT 10--Amp Keyless Variable Speed Corded Reciprocating Saw DW304PK 1V

I snatched up this DEWALT 10–Amp Keyless Variable Speed Corded Reciprocating Saw that was on sale at Lowe’s. I actually held each and every reciprocating saw in the tool department. Those saws are not lightweight by any means. And since I had to hold this over my head and make repeated cuts, I wanted to make sure I bought the lightest one I could find. However, I had one other factor to contend with. Battery life! The lightest weight saw was a Ni-Cad battery saw and I didn’t want to deal with losing power in the middle of the job and waiting for the battery to charge up again. So, I chose this mid-weight fighter because it has a cord and it won’t run out of power…ever…well unless your power goes out. I’m thrilled with its performance, this prize winning middle weight really knows how to throw a knock down punch to soffits.

AND, in a pinch, it works great as a turkey carver (LOL!)

I also took advantage of those fabulous Black Friday sales at Lowe’s and bought two of these [Read more...]

How to Salvage Wood from Shipping Pallets

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Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. [Read more...]

Installing a Split Face Travertine Backsplash

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Installing Split Face Travertine Tile

I met Jacque and Matt from The DIY Village recently at Haven. They are such an adorable (AND TALL) couple:

Seriously, these two are TALL, I’m 5’6″ and I was wearing heels in that picture! Poor Matt was one of the few guy bloggers at Haven, but he was able to ham it up with us gals. Even if he didn’t get the memo that Jacque and I were wearing coral colors. ;-)

As I’m getting ready to head out on the BIG GMC Adventure Along the World’s Longest Yard Sale, I asked these two fellow DIYers if they’d share one of their DIY adventures with you. I can seriously relate to this “simple” home improvement turning into a much bigger improvement. It happens to us DIYers all the time. So, check out how Matt started with simply swapping out their old microwave and ended up installing new drywall, removing and moving their wall cabinets, installing new stainless steel appliances, AND adding a beautiful split face travertine backsplash. Phew, I’m tired just thinking about it.

Give it up for The DIY Village People (sorry I couldn’t resist. Now you’ll have that song “Y-M-C-A” in your head all afternoon.) [Read more...]

Saying Goodbye to Barney and Hello, Beautiful!

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I detest Barney, the purple dinosaur. I’m not sure what it is about him that turns my stomach. Maybe it’s because he’s too artificially sweet. Maybe it’s his annoying theme song. Or perhaps it is his unnatural purple and green color combo.The dislike of all things Barney has carried over to my house, because I nicknamed this ugly purple awning over our side entrance: Barney. Hmmm, look, they even have the same color palette. Yuck.


Barney has seen better days, his outdoor canvas has started to wear thin and the sky is peeking through the awning. [Read more...]

Demolition Day

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This past weekend I was able to make some serious progress on our laundry room. Yeehaw! Sometimes in order to make a room pretty, you have to make it uglier first. That was certainly the case with this project. If  you are just joining me, a few weeks ago the nice folks at Flow Wall sent me a custom wall system to install in the laundry room. The FlowWall system of storage will look something like this: [Read more...]