• Welcome
  • Search
  • Categories

House Tour

The Next Project: Our Home Office

Posted by on December 5th, 2013

Even though we’re still wrapping up some work in our sitting room (paint and some decor still to-do), we wanted to let everyone know what project we’d be starting after we finish.  We’re psyched to be switching gears soon and finally getting to work on our home office.

If you took our home tour, you may have noticed that the office is not shown.  There’s a good reason for its absence.  It’s one of our catch-all spaces.  Whenever we get packages delivered, they get opened in the office and the boxes usually get left there for a few weeks.  What else is in there?  Grad school books and binders, craft supplies, the rest of the books we own, an old computer… you get the idea.

What I’m getting at here is we don’t really use this space appropriately.  We spend very little time in there and when we do it’s very task oriented.  I go in to fax or scan something and leave.

We’d like to change that with this room refresh.  That’s my main goal for this space.



You know what, the space doesn’t look too bad in these photos. We’ve since shifted the office desk to the wall and threw a bunch of crap in there. Consider these photos the high water mark.

So what are we planning to do with the office?  Good question.  We’re still kicking around some ideas in terms of layout and looks.  You can follow our Home Office Ideas Pinterest Board to see what direction we’re heading.

We know we’re replacing the carpet and adding hardwood floor.  That’ll probably be the first thing we do with the space.  Of course, we’re going to be designing and building our own office cabinets and built-ins as well.  The debate at the moment is whether I build the cabinets first, then do the floors and install everything or just do the floors first.

You can expect us to cover the entire remodeling process from design ideas to completion.

Should be fun.

Posted in DIY Projects,House Tour. Tagged in ,,

Building Face Frames

Posted by on February 19th, 2013

Very happy to be building face frames back in the workshop, aka my basement!  To bring you up to speed, so far we picked an overall look of the design we want.  We then dimensioned the design based on where we’d like it and discussed the whole build process.  Next we designed the face frames and now, we’re set to build them.

Quick update first:  We made a small design change.  The built-in was going to be too wide so we shrank the width down by a foot.  The height stays the same.  No big deal.  I’ll explain why when we’re all done.  Hopefully it will be obvious in the end.  If you were following along, the only changes were to the horizontal boards.  Instead of being 55″, now they’re 43″, a foot shorter.

From the face frame design drawings, I made a shopping and cut list (all thicknesses below are 3/4″).

Bottom face frame:
1.5″ wide x 34.25″ long -2 of them
2″ wide x 43″ long -1 of them
2.5″ wide x 43″ long -1 of them

Top Face Frame:
1.5″ wide x 57 3/8″ long -2 of them
2.5″ wide x 43″ long -1 of them

I bought all the lumber at Lowes.  Poplar is very common and you should be able to get it just about anywhere.  I tried to be economical here and bought the lowest price boards I could.  The longer and wider, the more expensive.  Also, to eliminate the need to use the table saw, I chose and bought boards that are already at the necessary widths (1.5″ and 2.5″).  The 2″ wide board needed to be trimmed down from 2.5″, which is one quick pass on the table saw.

poplar boards

Now onto the real cutting!

First thing.  You’ll need at least a basic miter saw.  Can you do this sort of thing with a hand held circular saw?  Maybe.  But it’d be really hard.  The saw blade is also important.  You want a saw blade with at least 40 teeth.  The higher the tooth count, the better.  Don’t use a saw blade with 24 teeth.  They’re great for cutting 2x4s for framing walls, but they cause major tear outs in hardwood.  Higher teeth count blades give you cleaner, crisper cuts.  They’re not much more $$ than the basic blades either, maybe $20-$30.  Worth the investment.

60 tooth saw blade

So, in both our top face frame and our bottom face frame, we have two vertical pieces that are exactly the same length.  To make sure we cut them to the same length, we’re going to cut them together.  How do I do that?  I clamp them together.  And I tape them.

miter saw

The first cut is to clean up one of the ends.  I like to take just a hair off one side because the ends of the pieces are a bit tattered and split from transit and hanging out in the store for months or weeks at a time.  The next photo is a picture of what they look like before the clean up cut so you can see what I mean.  They don’t look too bad in the photo, but they look waaaayyy better after that first trim.

board ends

Now that one end is clamped up, clean up and cut together, I can measure, mark and make the second cut.  I use a regular tape measure and make a small pencil mark on the length I need (ignore the fact that 35″ isn’t an actual required cut).

marking boards

With the pencil marks down, I use a speed square, flush it up to the edge of the board and line up the other edge of the square with the pencil marks.  Then I use a box cutter to go over the pencil marks, essentially making a super thin line.

marking the cut

I prefer this sharp line for this type of work because it’s thin and well defined.  A fat pen or pencil mark can be deceiving.  This one is dead on.

Now I line up the edge of the saw blade with the cut mark I just made.  You don’t want to cut through the middle of the mark, you want to cut just next to it.  You want that box cutter mark to be whisker thin after you make your miter cut.

cutting boards

Lining up the box cutter line with the edge of the saw blade can take a few seconds and requires some patience to get it right, but it’s worth it.  Your cut will be dead accurate.  Now I just repeat this process for the remaining cuts.  Again, keep boards clamped together that have the same length and you’ll get a perfect match.

boards ready

With all the boards cut to length, I pick out the boards for the bottom face frame and lay them out on the work table how they’ll be assembled.

bottom face frame

I inspect each board superficially for defects.  I want the better side to be facing forward when this piece is done.  The better side gets turned over and I drill my pocket screw holes in the back of the two horizontal rail pieces.

pocket holes

After both boards are drilled, I add a little wood glue on the end of the horizontal rails and screw the rails to the stiles.  I placed a board underneath the two I’m joining just to make sure the table is flat while clamped.  My table top tends to move a little (oops).

pocket screws

I repeat this joint in three other locations and the bottom face frame is assembled.

bottom built-in

The top went together fairly easy as well.

top face frame

Not too bad.  It took me about an hour to throw these together.

Next up will be the doors.  I’ll need to add a center divider in the bottom face frame too.  Definitely going to try to make a video for the doors.  Any questions?


Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,House Tour. Tagged in ,, ,

Our Hemnes Toddler Bedroom

Posted by on February 4th, 2013

Hey there cats and kittens (bonus points if you know who says that phrase every week)!!  Hope everyone got enough sleep after that thrilling Super Bowl.  Wow.  We had a pretty busy weekend, but still managed to knock off a few minor projects off our to-do list.  Saturday we had a family party for our daughter’s 2nd birthday.  We’ll be sharing some pictures later this week.  More importantly though, I thought we should bring you up to speed on the whole we’re having a second baby thing.

So, we’ve known since August that we were growing our family but we put off making an announcement on the blog.  We talked about taking a picture with Sherry and John from the signing, which of course we’d post, and we knew Lisa would be visibly pregnant.  So, we thought that would be a fun opportunity.  Since Christmas, the biggest home related decision we’ve had to make regarding the new baby is what we’re doing about the bedrooms.  Do we re-use the nursery and move our daughter into a new bedroom or do we make a new nursery?  You obviously know the answer to this one by now, but it took us a while to finally make that decision.  It’s not easy moving your first child out of their nursery.  They grow up so fast.

Anyway, that’s some background on our whole bedroom deal.  Our daughter helped by jumping out of her crib fairly early thus necessitating some action.

Since we already owned a couple white Hemnes pieces, we thought it might be easier to just pickup a matching twin bed and go from there.  We looked at toddler sized beds as well, but it seems like a better investment to just stick with the twin bed.

Here’s what her bedroom looks like now..

Keep in mind we still have to do a good deal more decorating.  Lisa has a laundry list of ideas that we’ll work through over the next few weeks.

hemnes toddler bedroomLisa’s parents picked up the comforter and cupcake sheets at Home Goods.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

hemnes toddler bedroom 3Lisa and her mom are also big Scotty fans.  They also grabbed this Scotty bookend at Home Goods.

scottish terrier bookendThe wall opposite the bed is completely blank.  We have a few ideas for the room as I mentioned, but nothing nailed down yet.  It’s a big wall.  We’ll see.

hemnes toddler bedroomAnyone else wish they had President’s Day celebrated today?


Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Our Master Bedroom and Sitting Room

Posted by on January 2nd, 2013

Two posts in a row!  Talk about a New Years resolution.  It’s like going to the gym everyday for a week… that’s what two posts in a row is like… at least in my head.  I haven’t been to the gym since around 2005.  It’s been 7 years.  I was 26.  Wow.  Anywho, about our master bedroom and sitting room.

As I mentioned in our 2013 To-Do list, we’re planning on making use of this sitting room that’s attached to our master bedroom.  I don’t think it would be proper to just show you the sitting room, so we’ll show you both.

***Remember, we haven’t done ANYTHING to these rooms other than throw in some furniture.  They need paint, decorating, the works.  Also, I hate decorating.***

Here’s the first thing you see when you come up our stairs…

master bedroom 2

Is it normally that cleaned and freshly vacuumed?  Um… yes (no).   I picked a crappy day to take these photos.  It was heavily overcast even during the normally bright hours, so I had to use the overhead and room lights, which washes the room over in a warm amber glow.  If you’ve tried to take interior photos at night, you know what I’m talking about.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

Moving into the room…

master bedroom

We have our bed.. it’s king sized.  I would make a crack about being a king or something, but if you’re married and have a schnauzer you need all the room you can get.

This entire furniture set came from Mealey’s.  It’s held up well.  Nice stuff.  The carpet, not so much.

Lisa’s dresser…

woman's dresser

My “gentleman’s chest” … thankfully they didn’t make me provide references or otherwise prove I’m a gentleman in order to purchase it.

gentlemen's chest

If I’m not careful, several t-shirts will roll out onto the floor when I open the side door.  It’s like a spring loaded peanut butter brittle can.  Stuff pops out.  I need to add a system to this thing.  Not high on our list, but on the list nonetheless.

Moving onto the sitting room…

sitting room 2

It’s actually a decent sized room.  We’ve yet to do any actual “sitting” in said room, but we are planning on it.

There’s a nice sized long wall where we’ll put a couch…

sitting room 3

sitting room

We’ve actually already bought a couch for this space from Ikea and we’re using an older flat screen we have from our first home.  I’ll be doing a couple posts on hiding the TV’s cables using a slightly different method than the Powerbridge we used at our neighbor’s house as well.  Beyond that we need a TV console which we haven’t picked out, lighting and ideally some built-in shelving.  Hopefully painting this space will carry over into the rest of the master.

Remind me never to take pictures in this room with those lights on again please.  It’s giving me a headache.

What’s your first project of 2013?

Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,, , ,

Our Hall Bathroom Painted

Posted by on November 25th, 2012

Hey everybody! Hope all of our American friends safely and joyfully slept off their turkey induced comas. Lisa and I had a great holiday with our family. Thursday we drove up to Northeast PA and had dinner at my mom’s house. Driving for two hours back home after eating turkey can be dangerous, but luckily we made it back safe and sound. Friday was shopping and turkey round two with Lisa’s family.

A couple weeks ago, we finally got around to painting our upstairs hall bathroom. It’s been plain builder grade white since we moved in over two years ago. Since its our hall bath upstairs, it’s reserved for our daughter and the occasional overnight guests.

Here’s a shot of the bathroom before we moved in.

hall bath

Actually, a while ago, we showed the bathroom as a sneak peak in our 5 Tips for New Home Builders. When we built, we opted to skip the large builder grade mirror and instead asked the builder not to install anything at all. They were totally fine with that idea. After all, it was less work for them. We installed a couple Ikea Kolja mirrors instead for a more personalized look.

hall bathroom before

You can see that greenish shower curtain we added after we moved in. In keeping with that scheme, we picked Sherwin Williams Tidewater for the wall color. Lisa originally wanted a neutral bathroom, but once she found that shower curtain a few years ago she changed her mind.

hall bathroom being painted 2

hall bathroom being painted

The light bulbs in these shots distort the look of the room a little bit. We had CFLs in the vanity light, but switched to a clear filament bulbs for most of the after pictures. It’s a much whiter light.

hall bathroom after

painted bathroom tidewater sherwin williams

painted bathroom tidewater

We’re very happy with the color! Even though the room is still builder grade, the paint plays well with the white vanity and tile. If we never do another upgrade in this room, I’ll be fine with it. I’ve been asking Lisa to think of some crafts or artwork to dress the room up (100% her department). We do need to add a little more character me thinks.

How was your Thanksgiving break? Get any projects done?

Posted in Home Decor,House Tour,Staining and Painting. Tagged in ,, , ,