Our Cork Floors – One Year Report

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

A year has flown by since I laid our Globus Cork glue down tiles in our kitchen. I wanted to check back in and let you know how they are holding up.  I must say this is one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) fixture in our kitchen. I had some minor doubts because some people feared that dogs and cork floors don’t go well together. Or that rambunctious boys would ruin them. Well, I’m here to report that after a year they still look the same as when they were installed!

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I can tell you that there has been lots of chair scraping. Lots of matchbox car races. Lots of wrestling and plenty of Buddy sliding on them as he runs to retrieve balls.

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I have yet to see a scratch anywhere! The only mark that I did manage to make was a small dent when I dropped one of the heavy corbels and it hit the floor right at the pointy edge. But, I can’t even find that dent to be able to check on it.

There is also one dip where I must not have filled a knot hole in the underlayment. But, it is barely noticeable unless the light hits it just right: [Read more...]

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

spacer-bottom

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 Install Shelves (using Corbels) on a Tile Wall

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

After painstakingly tiling my backsplash, I was more than a bit hesitant to drill holes into the tiles to hang the corbels and open shelving. But, I convinced myself to stop being a wussy procrastinating and just do it.

I’m so pleased with how they turned out and I didn’t chip or crack a single tile. In hindsight I really didn’t need to stress this project. It was less nerve-wracking than I had anticipated.

Here’s the full tutorial so you can install your own open shelving on a tile wall!

Materials:

  • Diamond drill bit (the same diameter as the screws you are using)
  • Wood screws to attach anchor board (must be long enough to go through board, tile, drywall and at least an inch into a stud)
  • Drill
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Level (long and a small one if you have one)
  • Pencil
  • 2 regular drill bits (1 the same diameter as the screw + 1 large enough to create a countersink for the screw head)
  • Shelf brackets (I used corbels and a 1″x6″ pine board as an anchor)
  • Kreg jig
  • Pocket hole screws (long enough to attach corbel to anchor board without going through the board)
  • Joint compound or wood putty

Instructions:

Start by determining the height you want your shelves to hang. [Read more...]

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

This is another one of those tutorials that I’ve been dying to share with you! Like sitting on my hands and anxiously waiting to type it out. But after taking 2 weeks off from blogging, I’m back and ready to give you this fabulous tutorial for achieving the aged chippy paint look on your next project.

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

Before I give you the chippy gritty, I want to give you the background story on those gorgeous corbels.

If you’ve been following along, I finally completed my 13 month kitchen renovation. The last task was installing two open shelves on the full tile wall. Finding the perfect corbels to use as shelf brackets was not an easy task. I scoured eBay, Craig’s List and salvage shops. I was really getting discouraged. That was when I met Garlan from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques at Haven. We talked for a few minutes and he showed me some of the corbels he had in his store. There were some wonderful old ones, but I felt a bit like Goldilocks. One was too tall. The other not big enough, but the biggest problem was that I needed four of them. Garlan showed me some new corbels that he had. He told me he has a guy that can duplicate any corbel design and can customize them to meet any size requirements. It was as if the heavens parted and angels sang! I was elated and couldn’t wait to find an image of a design I liked. But, again, the Goldilocks in me couldn’t find the “perfect” corbels. So, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and started to design my own unique corbels.

PHG Corbel Design for Sa1969.com

 

I designed a scroll pattern based off of one corbel I saw, but also added some relief portions inside the corbel. I sent the image to Garlan and a week later he sent me a picture of one of the corbels. It was love at first sight! I quickly approved the initial one and waited anxiously for the corbels to arrive. When I opened the box, they were beautiful and exactly as I had pictured them in my head.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques corbels

I set forth to give them an appropriate aged chippy paint look to fool people into thinking they were actually antique salvage. Here’s how I did it. [Read more...]

Holiday Home Tour & A Big Accomplishment

Christmas-tour-of-homes

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

Guess what! BIG NEWS!!! I FINALLY finished our kitchen remodel. I completed most of the work over the summer, but had two key components that I had to install. They are big, chunky and I am truly in love with them.

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

I’ve been waiting for some free time to get these puppies up, and the time finally came. On November 30th, (13 months after our little leak, but who’s counting) I installed two shelves on the tile wall in the kitchen. Like that it was…BAM…Put a fork in it, this kitchen is DONE!

Because I know you’re wondering where I got those gorgeous corbels, I got them from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques! And even though they are in Alabama, you can shop there online or ask for Garlan and he’ll hook you up with ANYTHING you want. In fact, would you believe that these corbels are brand new? Yup, I designed them and SAAA made them for me. I painted and distressed them (tutorial to come) to look like they are salvaged.

Now that the kitchen is complete, I’ve been enjoying decorating for Christmas. If you remember, last year our kitchen looked like this and decorating was low on my priority.

kitchen_progress_2.21.13

This year, I’m REALLY enjoying adding that holiday jewelry and decorating. I will be showing you the full kitchen reveal and pictures of the rest of my home as part of the Christmas Home Tour hosted by Just a Girl. Check in with her tomorrow morning for the start of the tour!

Christmas-tour-of-homes

The line up of homes is truly spectacular:

Monday:
Just a Girl
Nesting Place
Hi, Sugarplum
Tatertots and Jello
Remodelaholic

Tuesday:
Shabby Nest
Life in Grace
Not Just a Housewife
All Things Thrifty
Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday:
Thrifty Decor Chick
Storywood Designs
Decorchick
Southern Hospitality
Our Fifth House

Thursday:
Sand and Sisal
A Place for Us
Songbird
Pretty Handy Girl
Beneath My Heart

Friday:
I Heart Organizing
My Blessed Life
Emily A. Clark
A Thoughtful Place

Are you ready for the tour? I can’t wait to see all the fabulous décor. I’m really ready to sit down with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the holidays. How about you?

PHGFancySign

How to Tile a Backsplash – Part 2: Grouting and Sealing a Backsplash

caulked_unsanded_grout

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

How did you do yesterday with the How to Tile a Backsplash: Tile Setting tutorial? Not too bad, right? Well, today will be a very gratifying day. Today I’m going to show you how to grout (and seal) your tiles and finish off your kitchen backsplash. You are going to love the end result.

Materials:

  • Grout (Used: Mapei UltraColor Plus Rapid-Setting Sanded Grout color: Frost)
  • VanHearron’s Grout Once
  • Two buckets (same size or one larger)
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Grout Float
  • Spatula
  • Rag
  • Buffing pad
  • Sponge
  • Basin filled with clean water

Prep work: If you are working with a natural stone tile, you may want to seal the tiles before grouting. I sprayed StainGuard5000 on a dry clean rag and wiped it onto all the tiles. Then buffed it off after five minutes.

Instructions:

If you are using a rapid setting grout, you might want to slow the “setting” process slightly. I learned this trick from our local tile shop: Start by filling one bucket with ice water. Nest the second bucket inside the first. [Read more...]

How to Tile a Backsplash – Part 1: Tile Setting

How to Install a Tile Backsplash (Tile setting) | Pretty Handy Girl

PrettyHandyGirl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash - Part 1: Tile Setting

This is the tutorial that I’ve been anxious to share with you! How to Tile a Backsplash! The reason I’ve been anxious to share is for two reasons!

1) The backsplash and tiling truly makes my kitchen feel luxurious. In addition to the cork flooring, it was one of the things I REALLY wanted to have in our kitchen. And this is definitely a project that anyone can take on (with a good tutorial.)

PrettyHandyGirl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash - Part 1: Tile Setting

2) The source of my tiles is a best kept secret! I found the supplier online after researching and searching for affordable marble subway tiles. TheBuilderDepot.com was a site I stumbled across in my search. After contacting them and discussing my project, a response came immediately with ideas for my backsplash. My contact, David, was there for me throughout the process and gave me lots of ideas and tips along the way!  He even sent me a photo of my tiles before shipping them.

Venato Marble Subway Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

But, here’s the best part, in one of our email conversations I learned a little more about TheBuilderDepot and their company’s history. I want to share his email with you because I think it’s wonderful how they run their business:

We started our business in 2008 with $12K in sales and because of the financial meltdown and housing collapse banks told us we were crazy starting an “ecommerce” marble business.  None of them would loan any money, not even $1K.

Last year we grew to a $2.4m company (this year we are on target to double), employing locals and making an impact in the way consumers buy luxury natural stone.  Our vision was to offer a quality that is second to none, buy direct from Italy and quarries around the world, pay cash for everything buying 30,000 to 40,000 sq.ft. of product at a time from the quarries to keep costs low and quality high. 

 We have no debt as a business (that was not a plan but has worked out well) and avoid traditional marketing channels that are heavy on costs.  Basically a no frills marketing strategy. 

People think we are crazy when, if we cannot supply something or another supplier offers a better more affordable solution we refer them to a competitor.  We do not need the sales as we never anticipated growing this big, we are just interested in people creating pretty rooms with natural stone.

Part of the success is we ask what people are planning, then come up with some ideas of our own.  We are really passionate about Carrara.  The only company that separates into two collections.”

A company that has good business practice is worth supporting!

As mentioned in previous posts, when choosing companies to work with, I make sure to select brands and companies that I can stand behind. I have always maintained strict criteria when selecting companies to work with, and The Builder Depot goes above and beyond my criteria:

Before you source your next tile job, check out TheBuilderDepot.com. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised ;-). And, because you know I love y’all, I asked The Builder Depot if they’d offer my readers a discount.

TheBuilderDepot will give you 5% off your order when using this discount code (expires 12/31/2013): PHG5

TheBuilderDepot_Discount_code

Pin it to save for future use!

Ready to get messy? Let’s tile that backsplash!

Prep-Work: [Read more...]

How to Install Trim and Casing Moulding on a Casement Window

How to Frame and Install Window Casing and Trim by Pretty Handy Girl

How to Frame and Install Window Casing and Trim by Pretty Handy Girl

Hello Friday!!! It’s been a chaotic week here, how about yours?

I’m excited to be sharing more tutorials from the kitchen renovation. I hope you’ll excuse me as we jump back and forth in the renovation process. I’ve been trying to get the most relevant tutorials to you as soon as I can. Speaking of relevant, I understand there are a lot of under-dressed windows out there that need trim or could use a little more “WOW Factor”!  Is that your  case—ment? Hahahaha. Well, sit down for a minute and I’ll go over the details for installing window trim and casing on a casement window. Have no fear if you have a double hung window or other, these techniques will work for those windows too.

Replacement vs. New Construction Windows:

handyman_installing_window

But, let’s back up for a minute. I wanted to share with you a little snafu that happened with our casement window. When I ordered it, the guy taking the order asked me a few questions and somewhere there was a translation breakdown. He thought I needed a replacement window because I was replacing an existing window. What he didn’t realize is that I was increasing the size of the window opening and therefore needed a new construction window. In the end, I was stuck with the replacement window, but my handman and I used as many weather-stripping, caulking and water barrier techniques we could think of to keep it water tight.

This is what you need to know when ordering a new window: If you are removing the old and putting in a new window into the same frame, you order a replacement window. If you are expanding or changing the size of your window opening you need to order a new construction window.

Materials:

 

Instructions for Installing Trim, Casing and Moulding on a Window: [Read more...]

Announcing this Week’s Before & After Contest Winner (and Runners-Up)

page_break_2

before_after_contest-winner

My goodness, you DIY creators really know how to “bring it” to the Before & After contest! I saw so many amazing ideas and projects. And I truly enjoyed browsing each and every project. I also tried to leave comments for everyone, but I have to admit my attempts were almost thwarted by the word verification tactics (please double check if you have word verification on. I know in Blogger it is defaulted on. I promise you will get more comments and really won’t see much spam if you turn it off.) 

I want to show you this week’s winner and then I want to share some of the other amazing Before & After projects. Are you ready?….Get Set…and the winner is:

Budget kitchen remodel by The Kim Six Fix

Kim’s Amazing Budget Kitchen Remodel from The Kim Six Fix

This gal gave her whole kitchen a budget renovation. And she did all her own electrical and plumbing to boot. When life hands Kim a challenge, she delivers a DIY smackdown. Take a few minutes and enjoy reading more about Kim’s renovation. And please pin from her post. It’s only fair since she did all the work.

Here were the amazing runners-up: [Read more...]

How to Build a Custom Wood Range Hood

range_hood_distressed_wood_3.4view

How to Build a Custom Wood Range Hood by Pretty Handy Girl

Have you seen the beautiful custom range hoods on my Pinterest board? From the beginning of our kitchen planning sessions, I knew I wanted to put in a custom wood range hood. But, finding a tutorial to build one was tough. The one that helped me the most was Cristina’s how to build a range hood tutorial.

How to Build a Custom Wood Range Hood by Pretty Handy Girl

I knew when I built our hood that I’d need to take detailed notes and photos to help you accomplish your own project. I hope this tutorial helps you build your own range hood!

Materials: [Read more...]

The Painted Distressed Wood Panel Tutorial

add_antiquing_stain_to_panels

distressed_side_panel_tutorial

I can tell you are excited about this tutorial! I’ve had more comments and compliments on the side panel on my kitchen desk and on the range hood.

distressed_wood_range_hood

They are definitely the details in our kitchen that make it personal. I got the idea after seeing Sarah Richardson’s kitchen, where she actually used reclaimed lumber on the side of her cabinets.

Sarah_richardson_kitchen

But, I knew finding the right distressed wood would be tricky. Plus, I always worry about the presence of lead paint. Instead, I decided to make it and fake it. As promised, I’m sharing the tutorial with you. [Read more...]

How to Cut and Finish an Old Tabletop to Create a Wood Desk Top

kitchen_desk_top

turn_an_old_table_into_desk_top

Have you seen my command center in the kitchen? It’s a beauty to look at, don’t you think? Especially that gorgeous wood desk top.

kitchen_desk_top

Well, I have a secret! It’s actually an old kitchen table top that was given to me for FREE! Yup, zero dollars, no moolah, nothing! And this is what the table top looks like:

underside_desk

I actually flipped it upside down to refinish it. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself. Here are the details: [Read more...]

Hanging a Key Box from London

how_to_securly_hang_a_keybox

how_to_securly_hang_a_keybox

One of the souvenirs I brought back from our London trip was this adorable little carved bird key box.

key_box_open

The colors, the wood and the artistic way it was carved spoke to me and told me that I had to have it in my kitchen! Despite the lack of space in our suitcases, I was able to cram socks and underwear inside to make room for it.

bird_key_box

When we got home I found the perfect spot to hang my little key box. Although the box had hangers attached, I knew the daily pulling and key snatching would eventually prove too much for the dinky hooks. So, I simply removed the hangers with a screwdriver.

dinky_hangers

Materials to hang a keybox: [Read more...]

How to Move a Floor Register in a Window Seat

one_side_open_window_seat_storage

how_to_move_floor_vent

Remember last month when I showed you how to build a window seat in a bay window? I had promised to share with you how to move the floor register. I’m true to my word and am back with the tutorial today.

window_seat_bay_window_storage

When I built our kitchen window seat, I had two obstacles in my path. The first was moving the wiring for the outlet, the electrician and I simply pulled the wiring down from the outlet on the wall and re-routed it into the new outlet box in the front of the window seat. A relatively easy task. Moving the HVAC vent wasn’t very difficult, it just involved a little more cutting and measuring. But, this is a task you can handle!

I have seen some other methods for re-routing the floor vent. One such method involved building a wooden box to channel the air out the front. I caution you from doing this if you live in a humid climate. Mold can grow inside the wooden box. You could build a channel with HVAC rigid ductwork, but you’d be adding an extra turn which can cut down on the airflow. Another alternative would be to move the register to another location in the floor. I chose to move it to the front of the window seat.

Materials:

  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Pencil
  • 90 degree Ductwork (if you can’t use the existing)
  • Wall register
  • Small level
  • Roofing nails
  • Zip tie
  • Foil duct tape
  • Dremel Multi-Max
  • Drill with bits

Instructions: [Read more...]

Wall-Mounted Kitchen Hutch Tutorial

level_and_secure_both_corbels

wall_mounted_hutch_tutorial

Have you heard the term sandbox when talking about software development? It’s the term used for the testing area where the engineers can “play” with their ideas before they go live to the public. Well, this little kitchen desk and hutch (kitchen command center) was my sandbox before I ordered our kitchen cabinets. It was my place to play with colors and style before making the very big step of ordering all the kitchen cabinets. When I had finished with the desk and hutch I was so thoroughly smitten with the colors that I had no problem ordering most of my kitchen cabinets in the same Sherwin Williams Copen Blue color!

Last week I showed you how I raised and transformed the Habitat ReStore desk into a counter-height desk. At the same time I bought the desk, I found a sheet of finish grade plywood that was an old folding table top. At $25 for the sheet, I brought it home and used it to create a wall-mounted hutch. After mounting it on the wall, I worked with my electrician to wire a lamp in the hutch. (Exterior wall mounted light from Lowe’s.) The result is a charming cottage style desk and hutch where I keep our lives organized!

full_kitchen_desk_command_center_subfloor

Are you ready to build your own wall-mounted hutch? Grab your tape measure and saw and let’s get busy! [Read more...]

Building a Kitchen Counter Height Desk {Lowe’s Creator Idea}

pretty-handy-girl-kitchen-desk-tutorial

counter-height-kitchen-desk-tutorial

Where do you drop all your mail, papers, reminder notes, kid’s school notes, business cards, etcetera, etcetera…etcetera? If you answered the kitchen counter, I’m sure you are among many including myself who dropped everything on the counter. And then it piled up there until someone filed the papers and threw away the reminders of events past.

(As a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger I was tasked with creating a “drop zone” for my June project. And I was provided with a gift card to purchase the supplies.)

I was determined to keep our countertops clean in our new kitchen. Which meant I had to create a space that would hold it all and act as our drop zone! The idea of a kitchen desk seemed like the perfect spot. However, I didn’t want a regular height desk. I wanted a desk that was counter height so I could stand and write a note, file papers, put away the mail then dash off to complete my next DIY project. This handy girl really doesn’t have the time to sit still ;-).

When I stumbled across a desk marked down to $35 at our local Habitat ReStore, it seemed like it had potential. A quick check of the drawers proved that the desk was still in perfect working order.

desk_table_top_legs_materials

I was talking to my friend Holly about my idea of the countertop height desk and she pulled four table legs out of her garage and gifted them to me! And, I had a heavily loved craft table that a neighbor gave away. I thought it would make the perfect top for the desk.

Here’s how I put them all together to make a cottage-style counter-height kitchen desk: [Read more...]

Summer Tour of Homes – Welcome to My Home

livingroomdone2

home_tour

Welcome, welcome! I’m so glad to see you made it. I hope you didn’t get lost.

front_door_druids_ln_clematis

Did you just get here from Angie’s house at the Country Chic Cottage? Her home is so cozy and beautiful (so make sure you didn’t miss her stop on the tour!)

front_patio

I’m so glad to have you over for the 2013 Summer Tour of Homes.

chair_with_flowers_pillows

It’s hot outside for sure. These North Carolina summers are hot and humid.

mudroom_tour_door_open

Here’s a glass of sweet tea for you to cool off. Come on in and take a load off in our mudroom.
PostBreakblue

mudroom_tour

In fact, feel free to kick off your shoes and relax with me for the next few cyber minutes. I’m not going to talk much, instead I’ll let you soak up the sights. Feel free to ask your questions or leave a comment after you’re done. [Read more...]

Building a Window Seat with Storage in a Bay Window

window_seat_in_bay_window

built_in_bay_window_seat_with_storage_tutorial

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.

window_seat_in_bay_window

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...]

10 Dreamy Window Seat Inspiration Photos

BHG_window_seat

10_dreamy_window_seat_inspirations

I have a friend who is an interior design genius. She would beg to differ, but honestly she is brilliant when it comes to design decisions. This friend, (you know who you are, but if you need a hint…name starts with a “C” and rhymes with “Bear”,) was the visionary who created our kitchen floor plan for us. She was also the person who saw a window seat in our bay window. Magnifique! Adding a window seat to the bay window was a great way to free up floor space, add storage to the kitchen, and give us a cozy spot to sit and eat.

After the idea seed had been planted, I immediately scoured the web for window seat inspiration photos and these are some of my favorite (of the MANY more photos I found): [Read more...]

How to Plank Walls – Kitchen Renovation Progress

plank_wall_behind_table

How to Install Planked Walls - a tutorial by Pretty Handy Girl

Today’s post is all about filling in the plank! I love a good play on words…and I love the planked wall look which harkens back to a simple country farmhouse look. Previous to the water leak we had beadboard walls that I had installed shortly after moving into our house. But, I was tired of the beadboard and really wanted a look that was casual, cozy and all about the farmhouse look. I’d fallen in love with The Lettered Cottage’s guest room walls:

Those lucky ducks uncovered the planks under the drywall! I knew we wouldn’t be lucky enough to find anything but termite damage under our drywall. Then I saw the House of Smith’s installed their own gorgeous planked walls using ripped plywood planks and two nickels:

I decided I could do it for cheaper, so I used two pennies. LOL. Get it? Cheaper than two nickels. :-D

The process of installing plank walls is really very simple. And the planks are great for covering a multitude of sins on your wall. (Like previously glued beadboard walls.) [Read more...]