Mudroom Tour – 2013

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We made some serious progress this past week. Not only did we make a big dent in the “to do” list in the kitchen, but we also finished painting and installing the trim in the mudroom. It’s really nice walking past this little paper flower spring wreath and into a finished room!

Our mudroom is looking so nice that I decided to invite you over for a little tour. [Read more...]

How to Install Radiant Floor Heat using WarmlyYours

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Are you ready to get toasty today? Today is the day that I’ll be showing you how to install the WarmlyYours TempZone radiant floor heat. Can I tell you a little secret? I was terrified! I was so fearful of breaking the heating wire, that I handled this roll with kid gloves. And I yelled at ANYONE who dared step on the mats in shoes. I realize now that I may have been paranoid and overreacted a little. I was just so anxious to have warm floors that I protected our radiant floor elements like a Mama bear of her cubs.

Remember on Wednesday how I told you how I had chosen WarmlyYours radiant heating systems because of their awesome warranty? Well, I also read feedback about their customer service and it ROCKS as well! That service starts with the ordering process.  I was in contact with a representative from WarmlyYours who helped answer ALL of my questions (of which I had many.) She reviewed my room layout and suggested the TempZone Cut & Turn Rolls which is one long mesh roll with the heating element woven and evenly spaced throughout the roll. I was doubtful and wasn’t sure how the roll would fit through the doorway and “roll” around our laundry room. But, she reassured me that they would send me detailed plans for installation. And that a DIYer like myself should have no problem with the installation.

Within a week, I received my custom TempZone roll with a layout just for MY space.

Not just a standard layout, but a custom plan for my exact room dimensions and usage. I was extremely impressed to say the least, because the plan was very detailed showing the exact location of the cuts I needed to make in the mesh mat (not the wire.) Having this map saved me hours of brain-twisting planning at the least.

Before installation, I read the instruction manual in its entirety (highly recommended.) Remember, I was a little nervous and didn’t want to do anything to damage the heating mat. I even made sure I was hopped up on caffeine so I could absorb every nugget of the lesson.

Are you ready for the tutorial? It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated and this part went fairly quickly. Let’s roll! [Read more...]

Installing Cork Underlayment for a Radiant Floor

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After you read the title, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. It’s true, I installed radiant floor heating in our mudroom/laundry room and I couldn’t be more thrilled. One of the positives of having a plumbing leak and subsequent gutted room, is being able to make changes that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Tile floors with radiant heating underneath was one such change we never entertained until our flooring was ripped out.

Here’s the low down on those two rooms. Our long hallway mudroom that ends in the laundry room was an addition to our home back in the 80′s. It was built on a concrete pad and the owners must have decided not to tie those two rooms into the heating and air conditioning. Consequently, in the winter, these rooms are brrrrrrr…chilly willy! (It’s true, my blood has thinned over the years from living in the south. I think I’d turn into a useless popsicle if I had to spend more than an hour in Alaska like Ana White.) The linoleum flooring that was there didn’t do much to dampen the chill. And, I knew since we were installing tiles in these areas that it would only contribute to that polar ice effect (wimpy wimpy wimpy, I know).

I decided that I wanted to try to add radiant heat in the floors. After a few nights of research, I settled on a company that makes custom configured TempZone radiant heating mats  for your home.

[Read more...]

New Year’s Goals and Another Kitchen Progress Update

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Happy New Year! What did you do to ring in 2013?

Every year we have a New Year’s Day party. It’s our annual tradition. This year we almost didn’t have our party because our kitchen was in such a disheveled state. But, I remember someone wise asked if you wait until your house is perfect to invite people over or recognize that your true friends will come to see you and not your house. Of course in our case, I’m sure there was a few curious people as well.

But, honestly, this was one of the most memorable parties we’ve had! The guests drew on the floor: [Read more...]

Stencil Myself a New Door Mat

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I picked up this plain vanilla door mat a while ago at a thrift store. I knew I wanted to transform it into something stencil-tacular. But, I couldn’t decided on the right pattern.

While at SNAP I was introduced to Royal Studio Design stencils and won a free stencil to take home. This Chez Sheik design immediately jumped out at me. The moroccan look is very beautiful, don’t you think? [Read more...]

How to Make a Shoe Storage Bench out of a Habitat ReStore Wall Cabinet

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We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with Home Stories A2Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party and The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday

Storage and Organization in Your Mudroom – Guest Post by High Heels and a Hammer

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Welcome back, I have a very special guest today. She’s another power tool junky, but she wears high heels (I myself struggle with that skill). Perhaps she will take me under her wing and show me some tips for wearing high heels comfortably.

If you haven’t guessed who my guest is today, it is Kristen from High Heels and a Hammer!

Well, if you have been deprived of Kristen’s blog and haven’t realized how amazing she is, let me just show you:

She built that headboard herself. Isn’t it beautiful! But, that’s nothing, wait ’til you see what she has for show-and-tell today! She is going to show you how to “Fall in Love with Your Home” via the most used room in her home, the mudroom. Grab your hammers and click your heels together as we welcome Kristen to Pretty Handy Girl! (Tee hee, get it, hammers and heels? I’m such a nerd.)

Hi everyone, I’m Kristen from High Heels and a Hammer and I’m thrilled to be here on Brittany’s blog today.  I have long admired her talent and creativity and was delighted to get the chance to hang out with her at Blissdom.  She is sincere, supportive, and has a genuine desire to help others.

I recently finished revamping my back entryway.  As my old house did not have a proper entryway, I was beyond excited to have a space for backpacks, boots, and snowy jackets.  There was only one problem with my new space, it lacked organization and function.  This is what our mudroom looked like when we moved in.

And here it is now.

After pricing out many options, I decided to build a bench and shelf system using modified plans from Ana White.  I chose to make my bench and shelf out of select pine.  Because I planned on painting them white, I knew I could afford to use a less expensive wood.

I varied the spacing of the cubbies for the bench because I wanted a few bigger baskets for soccer socks and shoes and a smaller one for the dog’s leashes and extra collars.

I made a cushion using foam and a bright, graphic fabric.  Now we can be sitting pretty while we’re taking of our boots and soccer cleats. :)

For the shelf, I chose to keep the spacing uniform because I liked both the look and the functionality better.  A set of hooks makes hanging up jackets an easy chore, and a few more baskets provide accessible storage for smaller items.

The finished result is a bench and shelf system that is both functional and beautiful.

Like most families, a tremendous amount of paper passes through our home.  Often this includes permission slips, notices, and other time sensitive items that could easily get lost in the clutter that tends to pile up on our counters.  Keeping these important papers in plain sight inspired another vital addition to an organized and efficient entryway system: a message center.  Because we are a fairly large family, I decided we needed a fairly large message center:

I built a message center (from Janell’s instructions) using a 30″ x 60″ project panel, 1 x 3′s, 1 x 2′s, cork, and a strip of magnetic steel.  I framed out the cork with the 1 x 3′s and added 2 1 x 2 strips at the top for interest.

And because I like things to look pretty I chose to cover the cork with a creamy linen fabric and trim it out with beautiful braided cording.  No more frantic searches for permission slips, or forgotten phone messages.

Our back entryway is one of the most used rooms of our home.  I want it to function in a way that is useful and practical.  The fact that it’s cheerful and pretty is icing on the cake.

I hope you all enjoyed seeing my back entryway/mudroom transformation.  Thank you so much for having me Brittany.

P.s. I am having a giveaway on my blog for a $50 VISA gift card. I hope you will stop by to ENTER!

So, what do you think? Are you loving her mudroom bench, coat rack, and message board organization? I am! I can’t tell you how important it is to have your mudroom organized and standing at the ready to help you on your way in and out of your home each day. Ask my friend Reneé how her mudroom organization has saved her sanity.

 

I know our mudroom bench and coat rack is the workhorse of our family.

 

It really is the one thing that makes me love coming into my home. Okay, so is this!
Don’t feel comfortable building your own? How about one of these affordable options? (Commission Links, click on image for more information.)

French Country "French Maple" & "Weathered Linen" Hall Tree with Storage BenchWhite Storage Bench with Seat and 11 in. Height x 10.5 in. Wide Cubbie StorageHall Bench with 3 Baskets by Winsome Wood


Hallway Storage – the Tutorial

After working on this tutorial for what seems like days, I finally have the Hallway Storage tutorial for you!

Thank you all for being so patient. We’ve had a busy week at the Pretty Handsome Home. Lots of wood rot and drainage problems being addressed, plus an emergency trip to the pediatric dentist. (Warning: Look away if a chipped tooth and bloody lip might make you faint.)

Luckily, all is moving in a positive direction right now (teeth and home repairs).

Materials (to the best of my recollection):

2 – 1 x 10″ x 12′ pine boards (and had Lowe’s cut them in half leaving us with 4 – 1×10″ x 6′s)
3 – 1 x 10″ x 8′ pine boards
1 – 1 x 15″ x 8′ pine board (had Lowe’s rip it to 13″ wide)
1 – 1 x 15″ x 4′ pine board
2 – 4′ x 8′ pre-primed masonite bead board sheets (cut to size by Lowe’s)
1 box of 2″ screws
1 box of finish nails (used 1 1/4″ finish nails in my pneumatic nailer)
6 – 1″ x 2″ x 8′ pine edging strips
1 – 8′ piece of decorative shelf moulding
1 – 8′ piece of trim moulding for the top shelf
Primer
Paint (white for unit, aqua color for behind cube towers)
Caulk
Wood putty
Sandpaper
Triple Coat Hooks (eBay)
Baskets (Home Goods)

Checking out with our 3 helpers leading the way.
I hope they have their allowance to pay for all this!

Building the cube towers:

I mentioned that the hall storage cube towers were built using Ana White’s Land of Nod cube tower knockoff plans. Ana’s towers are 17″ wide by 13″ deep and 70″ tall. We shrank Renee’s to 15″ wide and 10″ deep to accommodate her narrow hallway. And we eliminated the top and bottom shelf and legs. So, if you want the tutorial for the towers, head over to Ana’s site.

Here are two pictures of the towers after construction (before priming and painting):

Look at my Pretty Pregnant Girlfriend sanding and priming her new towers!
We took the towers inside to make sure they would fit. While they were in Rene’s house, I traced the profile of the baseboards onto each tower. You can see how to trace profiles in this older post. Plus, we marked where the towers would fit against the wall (so Renee could see where to paint the wall.)
See, perfectly traced profile!
I used my jigsaw to cut out the profile on each side of the towers. I LOVE my new jigsaw. This machine really cuts through material like ‘butta’ (unlike my previous one, cough, cough Black&Decker.)Words of Wisdom: if you are going to buy a power tool, buy a tool that will work well and for years to come. (Yes, I learned this the hard way!)

Building the shoe storage bench:

Our space dictated a narrow and shallow bench so as not to impede the traffic flow in Rene’s hallway.

We started with two 1″ x 13″ x 18″ boards. 
Then cut one 1″ x 30″ x 13″ board for the center shelf.
After drawing level lines where the shelf would rest, we pre-drilled our holes.
Then drove the screws in to secure the shelf
We cut 3 -1″ x 2″ boards to 30″ lengths, then secured one to the top of the bench using finish nails. (I used my pneumatic brad nailer, but you can use a hammer and nails if you wish.)
 
And then added another one to the backside top of the bench.

Next I nailed the third board on top of the front side so I had a double thickness of 1″ x 2″ boards.

 This gave me enough depth to support the bench and attach a piece of

decorative shelf moulding below them (also cut to 30″ wide).

Here is a close up of how the trim moulding and 1″ x 2″ boards are stacked.

Finally we cut a board for the bench top: 1″ x 15″ x 30″. And our bench is essentially finished! (We left the top off until after the bench was attached to the cube towers and the wall.)

 

Installing the towers and bench:

After the towers and the bench were primed and painted with two coats of paint, we transported them back over to Renee’s house.

Renee had pre-painted the wall a pretty turquoise color at the back of the towers.

Now it was time to go stud hunting finding. I rely on two techniques for finding studs (and neither of them requires going to a singles bar!) First, I used my electronic stud finder. It takes some patience, but it gives me a good idea where the studs might be. To use the stud finder, I squeeze the buttons on the side of the gadget. Then s-l-o-w-l-y move the finder left and right over a 1-2 foot wall section. The light comes on when it detects something solid behind the drywall. Then I made a mark in the middle of the “lit” area.

Next I use the knocking technique. It almost helps to close your eyes for this. I will knock along the wall moving left and right. I’m listening for the knock to get higher pitch and sharper where the stud is. I can also feel less give in the drywall and it almost starts to hurt my knuckle because I’m knocking against a hard area where the stud is. You will most likely need a little practice to get a feel for finding the studs while knocking. Anyway, this gives me the idea where the studs are.

I’ve heard of using a third technique. Once you think you  have located the stud. You can take a quilting pin and insert in into your drywall. If it goes in about half an inch and stops you have located a stud. If the pin can be inserted all the way to its head, you have hollow wall behind the pin.

Now that we had located the studs in the wall, we checked them by measuring between the studs. They are normally 16″ from stud to stud. And there should be a stud around the door and window frames.

So, the studs have been found and marked. Next we cut four 15″ lengths of the 1″ x 2″ boards and painted them the same color as the turquoise wall. These will be our cleats for attaching our towers to the wall.

Then pre-drilled holes on the cleat where at least one stud is. Lined the cleat up with the top edges of our cube tower. Then drove the screws through the 1″ x 2″ cleat. The second hole was not into a stud. We decided not to use a wall anchor because there was enough strength from the one stud and drywall.

 
We repeated this for a second cleat under the bottom shelf of the tower. I apologize I don’t have a picture of this, but at this point we nailed through the top side of the bottom shelf and into the cleat to secure it to our wall. The top cleat was left as is for now.
Working from left to right on this unit, we nailed our 30″ x 60″ pre-cut (thank you Mr. Lowe’s Home Improvement) bead board to the wall.

Cutting a Hole for an Outlet:

Here is an easy trick for marking where to cut a hole in your bead board. In our case, we had to cut a hole for an outlet. 1. Take the cover off your outlet. Use bright red or dark lipstick and rub it on your outlet. 2. Set your bead board in place on the wall and press in where the outlet it. When you remove it, you will have the outline of your outlets. 3. Use your outlet cover and line it up with the outlet. 4. Then trace around the cover.

We cut our hole slightly smaller than the outlet cover. After you put the cover back on, wipe off the lipstick.

Then, we installed two more cleats though the bead board and at the same height of the bench. Sliding the bench back against the cleats, I used a few finish nails to nail the back of the bench to the cleats.

Before we put the bench lid on, we installed the second cube tower using two more pre-painted cleats in the same manner as the first tower. Then nailed through the sides of the bench and into the towers on each side.

Finally, we lined up the top of the bench and nailed it down into the wall cleats and into the bench sides and front.

The next step was to nail a 1″ x 10″ x 60″ board to the top of the towers and nailed down into the wall cleats to secure it to the wall. We added some decorative trim to the top board.

We cut a 1″ x 3″ x 30″ strip of wood to mount the coat hooks on. We also cut some more decorative shelf molding and attached it just under the top shelf and above the 1″ x 3″ hook board. Next we eyeballed our hooks and screwed them into the 1″ x 3″ boards.

To finish the built-in unit we caulked all our seams and filled the nail holes with putty. More details on this final step can be viewed in this post. Then covered the dried caulk and putty with paint.

And we were done!

Approximately $300 (including the baskets & hooks) and 3 days of work produced this fabulous organizing built-in hall storage unit! You can see some of the close-up pictures in this previous post.

What do you think? Not too hard to create, was it? A little over a weekend and Renee had a storage system for her entry hallway. I can’t tell you how much our mudroom bench has saved my sanity

Hallway Cube Towers and Shoe Storage

I am a lucky gal to have a very wonderful friend in my life.

 This is my good friend Renee
Isn’t she beautiful? I wish I could have her hair and smile.  Renee has been a motivational force in my life. She talked me into doing my first triathlon two years ago. She was also a motivator for this blog! (So you should definitely thank her for that.) But, overall, she is just a fabulous friend who I enjoy spending time with.

A few months ago Renee called me with some super exciting news. She was pregnant with her second child. This was a much anticipated pregnancy and the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait” enters my thoughts when I think about how long she and her husband Toby have wanted this baby.

I wanted to do something very special for my good friend. Especially something to help with those pesky pregnancy nesting tendencies.  I knew that she had been struggling with storage solutions for the hallway between her garage and kitchen. This was her catch-all location and it was a narrow 38″ wide hallway I might add.

Plus, there are six doorways coming off this hall. Yup, talk about a challenge! This hall has access to a bathroom, a storage closet, the garage, the bonus room, the back deck and the kitchen.

Smack dab in the center of this hallway was a console unit that she bought in an effort to get some storage and organization. Well, needless-to-say, it wasn’t working for her.

She bought this console off of Craig’s List to help organize the hallway.

Renee, really needed a highly functioning location to store anything and everything that didn’t need to come into her home.

Initially I drew up some quick sketches and showed them to her and her hubby. They both liked the idea, so the next step was to take some measurements and tape out our plans.

We taped the outline of two storage towers, a bench with storage underneath, and coat hooks. (Do you like our hanging coats? The vertical strips of tape.)

Plus, we taped the footprint of the unit. It was very important to keep the shelves as shallow as possible, so as not to impede the traffic flow.

Renee was tasked with buying some baskets to use on the storage towers and picking out a paint color for the back of the towers. She knew she wanted bead board behind the coat storage and she wanted black coat hooks. Buying triple hooks allowed her to maximize the amount of coats and bags that could be hung.

Then we got to work. (Yes, I said we! Renee helped with all the steps, because she wanted to learn some new DIY skills. I think she learned a lot on this project!)

We used Ana White’s blog (previously Knockoff Wood) plans for the storage towers, but altered them to fit our size requirements. The tutorial for the rest of the storage unit that we built is here. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these after pictures!

First off, you might notice that the before pictures weren’t just cluttered. The lighting in their hallway was pretty dismal. Thanks mostly to a builder grade flush mount light fixture and one CFL bulb. But, we fixed that too.

So, do you recognize that chandelier?! My twitter followers saw the picture here. $10 at the Habitat ReStore! What a steal!

A pretty place for flowers and pictures on top of the unit.
Coats and bags have plenty of hanging space.
The cranberry red baskets allow each family member a place to put their things.
Plenty of shoe storage for the whole family.

Here is the tutorial for that cute little blue striped storage box above. Its purpose is to halt all the junk mail. Renee can flip through the mail and put the junk mail in there to be recycled.

So, what did we do with that big console? 
 

It is sitting happily around the corner in her large kitchen. Renee bought some storage bins that we used in the lower half for more storage.

Now Renee’s daughter has plenty of access to her arts and craft supplies.
And, because who doesn’t love a really amazing before and after!
Before:
After: