Boy’s Bathroom Refresh {#LowesCreator Project}

Seaside Theme Bathroom Refresh #LowesCreator | Pretty Handy Girl

Seaside Theme Bathroom Refresh #LowesCreator | Pretty Handy Girl

You know those projects that you complete 80% of the room and think to yourself, “This is good for now. I’ll do the rest in a day or two.” Yup, the boy’s bathroom was one such 80 percenter. I finally took the time to finish the last 20 percent of this bathroom makeover by giving it a refresh with some paint and new knobs.

The bathroom used to look like this:

Seaside Theme Bathroom Refresh #LowesCreator | Pretty Handy Girl

But, before that, it looked like this:

I find it comical that I took an underwater themed bathroom and gave it a seaside retreat feel. I guess you could say I pulled this big whopper from within the ocean and laid it out on the beach. LOL.

Let’s break it down now. Here’s how to paint a bathroom vanity so it will withstand the abuse of two young boys: [Read more...]

Red, White & Blue Themed Boy’s Room Reveal

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Friday!!! I finally finished my son’s room makeover. Poor kid has been asking for over two years when I was going to work on his room.

Boy's Room Before | Pretty Handy Girl

It feels so good to be done and be able to share the final reveal with you. The theme started four years ago when I converted his extra closet into a reading nook. The blue, white and red work beautifully together.  [Read more...]

Are You Sure You’re Ready to Take on a Home Renovation?

Allstate_logo_small

Are You Sure You're Ready to Take on a Home Renovation? | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I wanted to approach a subject that is often questioned by homeowners. The folks at Allstate Insurance have graciously sponsored this post, which will help you decide if now is a smart time to start that home renovation project.

When do you know if it’s time to embark on a home renovation? Is it a good investment? Do you have the desire? Can you handle upheaval? I can tell you from experience that there are times when a home renovation is a smart decision and there are times when it makes more sense to deal with your home as is for a while.

I hope this article helps you make your own decision as to whether now is a good time to start that home renovation. I do know that it is wonderful to be able to create the home that you will enjoy living in. Hopefully you’re up for the challenge!

Do You Really WANT to Renovate?

I’m going to be totally blunt about this, having your home renovated is NOT FUN. It’s a huge upheaval for you and your family. Having walls torn out or even just painted creates dust, chaos and a mess. You can forget about privacy because while the renovation is going on, you will have workers (almost complete strangers) traipsing through your house. Even if you do the work yourself, you still have to be ready to have inspectors show up unannounced to approve any work for which a permit was pulled.

Depending on the room you are renovating, you will likely need to make arrangements to avoid using that room. Where will the furniture go? If it’s in your kitchen, how can you cook and do dishes during the kitchen renovation? If it’s a bathroom, do you have other bathrooms you can use in the meantime?

How long can you wait for the renovation to be completed? In today’s era of extreme home makeovers, oftentimes a homeowner subconsciously thinks a home renovation is a quick and easy process. I can tell you that much of the process on those makeover shows happens behind the scenes and off camera.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s tackle some of the other factors that will help you decide whether or not you should proceed with that home renovation project. [Read more...]

How to Install a Brick Wallpaper Mural

Installling Brick Mural Wallpaper | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Installing Brick Wallpaper Mural | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I can’t wait to show you how to easily add dimensional interest to a focal wall in your home. Installing a Brick Wall Mural is definitely a DIY project you can tackle if you have a friend or two to help you. When Wallpaper Direct contacted me to offer to let me try some of their products, I was still a bit wary (having stripped my fair share of wallpaper.) But, then I stumbled upon the white brick wallpaper and saw how cool it looked. I decided to give it a try and let them send me a wallpaper mural specifically for my son’s bedroom. But, let’s back up. Remember last week when I admitted to being a procrastinator? Well, this is what I started with:

Back Camera Back Camera

After staring at Nickelodeon green for 6 years, my son and I decided it would be calming to paint the walls a soothing gray. And, I thought it would be really cool to create a loft look by installing a giant wall mural of white brick. (Note: The large mural panels has since been discontinued, but you can purchase white brick wallpaper that looks very similar and may actually be easier to install by yourself.)

I ordered the mural and it arrived safely to our house in a few days. I quickly organized a few friends who had installed wallpaper to help me.

Installling Brick Mural Wallpaper | Pretty Handy Girl

To install a wallpaper mural, you’ll need a few tools.

Materials:

  • Wallpaper application brush
  • Squeegee
  • Platforms or step ladders
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Wallpaper mural
  • Wet rag
  • X-acto knife
  • Two DIY friends who are also wallpaper experts

Prep Work:

Before wallpapering your wall, clean it with a mild cleanser (diluted TSP is wonderful, but you can use regular multi-purpose spray cleaner.) Patch any holes or imperfections with spackle (joint compound). After the compound has dried, lightly sand the wall. [Read more...]

How to Add Molding Panels to a Flat Door

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When my sister brought me on to the Topsail Beach condo renovation, she had a laundry list of DIY projects she wanted me to complete. One of them was dressing up the hollow flat doors with moulding panels. She showed me a pin that led to One Life to Love’s DIY beadboard panel doors. After seeing the photo, I knew it would be a great DIY upgrade to make. But, we decided to use real beadboard (instead of beadboard wallpaper) because it had to hold up to the stress of being a rental.

To begin, start by measuring and marking the doors to determine the size of your panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door.  Draw the bottom line  6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When marking your doors, use a pencil and level to draw your lines.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After we had our panel measurements, Caitlin and I headed to Lowe’s. But, she refused to push me in the cart (party pooper!)

in-lowes-shopping-cart

We pulled some 4′ x 8′ beadboard panels and took them to the lumber cutting area. We gave the Lowe’s employer our measurements and asked him to cut the boards for us. While he cut our beadboard, Caitlin and I gathered the rest of our supplies.

Materials: [Read more...]

Topsail Beach Condo Renovation

small-bathroom-before

Topsail-condo-before-after

My stepmom, Diane Chamberlain (the famous author), purchased a fixer-upper beach condo in Topsail Beach last year. She hired my sister, Caitlin, to work her interior designer magic on the place. My sister then convinced me to come put in some manual labor. (Please excuse our sweaty appearance. This was midway through one hot and sweaty day.)

caitlin-brittany

But, it’s all good because you know I love doing this stuff. And my stepmom gave me permission to stay in the condo anytime it isn’t rented! That’s a deal I definitely couldn’t turn down!

Without further adieu, I’m giving you an all access view of the renovation with before and after images.

Welcome to 118!

before-after-door

I sanded the door down, fixed some of the chipping veneer, painted it and added new numbers and a door knocker.

My sister and Diane picked out the knocker. Sea turtles are strongly linked with Topsail because of the sea turtle rehab and rescue facility on the island.

Queensgrant-118E-door

When you enter the condo, the kitchen is on your right. The old kitchen had dated formica doors and countertops. None of the cabinet doors were hung straight. And the sink was too shallow. [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...]

School Library Reveal

Valspar_color_winners

School Library Painted with Montpelier Wedgewood | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember last week when we were picking colors for the school library? Well, I’m back to show you how everything came together!

But first, I’d like to announce the winners of the Valspar paint samples:

Valspar_color_winners

 

Congrats to Bonnie, Lynda, Marion, Cathleen, Joanne, Colleen, Amy H., Nicole, Becky V. and Nancy B!  Be sure to email me with your addresses and final color picks!

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To quickly review, we painted the walls and ceiling tiles using Valspar Montpelier Wedgewood. Then we stenciled stars on the ceiling.  After installing the ceiling tiles the library looked like this. Better, but still a bit ho-hum.

School Library Painted with Montpelier Wedgewood | Pretty Handy Girl

I had much bigger plans and was far from finished. I called in some expert help from my friend Leen the Graphics Queen and her husband. They cut and installed all the silver trees and birds. We had an absolute blast working together. There were several birds leftover, so Leen played hide and seek by putting a few birds elsewhere in the library. The kids (and I) had fun trying to find them over the next few days. [Read more...]

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in the School Library

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!): [Read more...]

Elementary School Library Reveal

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

For a month I’ve been working on the school library makeover that was facilitated by a donation from Overstock.com. This morning I got my emotional reward. I walked into the library ready to put on the finishing touches in the room. There were a few kids in the main section of the library reading. But, when I turned the corner and gazed into what used to be the dark back corner…

library-before-pic-1

…I was surprised to see a dozen kids sprawled on the rug, dog beds and bean bags.

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

They were all piled back there and quietly reading! My heart almost burst. The librarian told me it’s been like that since we finished painting. The kids love to hang out there. And not just the younger grade levels, all the kids love it! My heart is just singing with joy. [Read more...]

Plans to Create a Library Reading Retreat

Library Before Pic

library_entrance

The elementary school library at my kids’ school is one of my favorite spots to volunteer. The main library has soaring ceilings with windows and lots of natural light. It is truly a pleasure to spend an hour volunteering to shelve books.

soaring_library_ceilings

But, there’s one spot that seems like the forgotten corner. It’s a bit of a cave with less natural light and lower ceilings.

library-before-pic-1

This corner of the library houses the picture books and easy reader books, and is often the introduction to reading for Kindergartners. As you know, instilling a love of reading is crucial for young children. Fostering a love of books and reading can be paramount to a child’s future.

With this in mind, the school librarian and I decided to turn this dark corner into a reader’s retreat — an inviting spot for kids to explore, relax and READ. As fate so often happens, Overstock.com contacted me and asked if I’d like to complete a room makeover with credit to their online store. I immediately thought of the school library.

If you’ve shopped on Overstock before, you know that your money can go far because they have good quality furniture, home décor, electronics and much more for a lot less! (They also have a section called World Stock that has a virtual marketplace of artisan goods available for purchase.)

world-stock-items

When you buy from the World Stock section, 60-70% of the purchase price goes back to the artisan and suppliers! What a great way to help less fortunate communities around the world.

[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...]

DIY Cable Installation

Cutting Drywall With a Keyhole Saw

It would seem that every time I’ve considered moving my TV to a new spot in the house, that there’s never a cable outlet where I need one. I recently remedied this issue and wanted to share with  you how to tackle your own DIY Cable Installation!

DIY Cable Outlet Installation

This tutorial is specific to installing “through the wall” cable lines in houses with a crawl space.  Since many cable customers have HD receivers, I think it’s important to install a home run aka an uninterrupted run of cable.  Doing so will result in a higher signal and better quality picture.  With that being said, let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

Materials List

  • Low Voltage Electrical Box
  • Keyhole Saw
  • RG6 Cable
  • 3/8″ x 54″ Auger Drill Bit
  • 3/8″ x 12″ Drill Bit
  • Drill
  • Cable Clips
  • Hammer
  • Coax Cable Receptacle Wall Plate
  • Coax Cable Stripper
  • Compression Tool w/ F-Connectors
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Fish Pole or Straightened Coat Hanger

Instructions for Installing Your Own Cable Outlet:

When you’ve decided where to install the new cable outlet, measure up 15″ and mark an area 1-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ .

Marking for Cable Installation

Using a keyhole saw, cut through the drywall to create the opening for the installation of a low voltage electrical box.

Cutting Drywall With a Keyhole Saw

Before you complete the next step, make sure that the area you plan on drilling into, doesn’t contain any hazards (i.e. electrical cable, duct work, gas lines, etc.) With open access into the wall, place the tip of the auger bit into the cutout and drill into the bottom of the stud wall to gain access into the crawlspace below. [Read more...]

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

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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 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...]

What You Should Know about Replacing Your Roof and Asphalt Shingles

drive_by_roof_peeping

how_to_choose_roof_shingles_guide

It’s time to replace your roof. Where do you start? This is the exact predicament I found myself in after the tree fell on our house a few weeks ago. Choosing shingles and roofing material in less than 48 hours had me in a panic. Don’t they know that I need time to thoroughly research shingles, colors, warranties, etc.? Lucky for us, our insurance company turned our claim over to the restoration company who has a roofer they use. So, I was able to fast forward past the process of hiring a roofer.

Hiring a roofer:

If you need to hire a roofer, do your research. Ask for referrals. Check on Angie’s List. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Do your homework on this one! Investing in a new roof is no small expense and quality installation is key to preventing problems down the road. Also, MAKE SURE THE ROOFER IS LICENSED AND INSURED!  Don’t just take “yes” as an answer to this question. Ask to see the policy or get the insurance company name, number and their policy number so you can call and verify. I can’t overstress how important this is because I know someone whose roofer fell of their roof. Luckily he lived and luckily she wasn’t sued. But, this always makes me think twice. [Read more...]

How to Survive without a Kitchen during Renovation

stove_all_alone

how_to_survive_without_kitchen

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...]

Installing Cork Underlayment for a Radiant Floor

perfect_fit_cork_tiles

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...]

How to Patch and Level a Concrete Subfloor

self_leveler_pour

We are well on our way to putting Humpty Dumpty back together when it comes to our mudroom and laundry room. The kitchen, it’s still a blank canvas.

After the water leak, the linoleum flooring had to be removed. What was left was a plethora of problem areas. Cracks, crumbled concrete and an uneven surface resembling the moon.

Before putting down any new flooring, we had to have a smooth and level surface. Adding a self leveler was the best answer to the problem. We purchased most of the supplies from Lowe’s and borrowed a large drill. And here’s how we did it: [Read more...]

Pretty Handy Girl 2012 Year in Review

art_craft_studio_tutorial_gallery

2012 was a jam packed year. It was filled with adventures, triumphs, and destruction. But, overall it was filled with a mass of accomplished projects. I shared some great tutorials with you and these are just a few of the best from 2012!

One of my favorite transformation tools is paint. Whether it be spray paint, craft paint or glazes, the changes can be amazing. These are my favorite paint transformations from 2012: [Read more...]