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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    A new window for the living room. Bling for the dining room. @westelm #mywestelm Olive browsing @schoolhouse and drooling over all the amazing items. Stopped when I saw the nearly identical green wool blanket I bought at a consignment shop for $30. Totally patting myself on the back for saving $165. A new plant for the DIY stand. I guess my aloe didn't like this spot. Oh well, bigger and better snake plant!

Marble Topped Box

Everyone has ugly things that are necessary for life.  Feet, cords and wires, and remotes, to name a few.  Hiding feet is an easy change.  We still (going on two years now!) have to build doors to hide the cords in the entertainment center, but that’s a different project for another day.  That leaves us with remote controls.  Perhaps your situation is different.  Maybe you’ve got a fancy universal remote.  We don’t.  Nope, there’s one for the tv, another for the receiver, and the controller for the Play Station (our dvd player).  Before this, the three squished together in a too small open tray on the coffee table.


To give those ugly necessities a home, I built another recessed lid box.  With a twist.  I paired a 1/2 inch MDF base with a marble tile top.


Following the same process, I crafted the simple box, using our remotes as a dimension guide.  Two coats of Tate Olive inside and out for a touch of color.  Then, Ben cut a 12 inch square tile (left over from the master bathroom shower) to size for me and drilled a hole in the center.


A semi creepy pull from Hobby Lobby is a fun accent.  Kind of looks like bird claws, no?


Hobby Lobby knobs come with the bolt attached to the pull.  Sometimes it’s nice, when turning knobs into towel hooks, but other times, it just adds another step.


After securing the knob with the washer and nut, I used a hacksaw to cut off the rest of the bolt.  Voila, a chic remote house.

Panoramic Views

More often than not, Ben and I are totally fine working on projects together.  By now, I know how he thinks and am usually decent at predicting what he’ll need and how I can help.  Then there are times that I feel completely and utterly useless.  As was the case when removing and replacing the large living room window.  Here’s an older picture to help you remember what the wooden gridded window looked like.


It’s huge, measuring 10 feet wide and 5 1/2 feet tall.  Even though it’s divided into three sections, that middle piece is heavy.  Long story short, getting that big piece out without causing us or surroundings damage was stressful, but well worth it.  Not only does it match the rest of the windows now, it’s no longer a focal point.


(How am I just now noticing how off center the couch is?)  Before, the darker wood looked heavy and the grids broke up the view.  Without the break up, it feels bigger and brighter, while putting the attention on the views.


Framing, trim, and touch up paint still happen soon, too.


The new window isn’t the only panoramic view going on now.  We finally have a real dining light.  Specifically, the Panorama Chandelier from West Elm.  Not sure why, but it says no longer available.  Strange, I just ordered mine on the 14th.


It caught my eye months ago while browsing, but I nixed it because I thought the open bottom would cast a harsh light directly into our eyes.  Almost with laser beam precision, burning our retinas.


After sharing other options, a few lovely ladies asked why this one wasn’t on the list.  Which made me reconsider my quick nix of this beauty.  Then I saw the 20% off lighting sale, and I had a 15% off coupon, so it hopped in my cart for $300 with shipping.


It doesn’t disappoint.  Straight lined and simple, but the speckled mirrored glass is slightly glam and looks much like mercury glass.  Dark metal is a nice match to the West Elm entry light, too.  (See one of the arms in the reflection?)


Inside, there’s a slightly golden tinted layer that bounces the light around and makes the glow warm and soft.


Without a diffuser, the light still isn’t in our eyes when seated.  In fact, even I have to crouch down a little to see the bulbs.


Three 25 watt bulbs are adequate to light the table, but not overpowering or blindingly bright.


We can finally eat in here now that the sun is setting earlier.  Three cheers for function and beauty.


We’re nearing the end of our siding, so hopefully that wall will get a spray of texture and paint soon.  Good thing the light helps draw attention away from the unfinished-ness.

We Did It

Something crazy and exciting happened last week.  While getting our usual groceries, I saw the new October issue of Better Homes and Gardens was out.


You know, the one with our DIY master bathroom vanity featured in the ‘I Did It’ column?

I flipped to the back page and saw our bathroom and faces and I’m sure a huge, goofy grin crossed my face.  I resisted the urge to show others in the store.


I showed Ev and he said, “That looks like our bathroom.  Wait!  That’s you and dad!”  Cracked me up!  I’m not sure about you, but I never fully realized how much time, effort, or equipment went into styling and photographing a room.  Stylist Char and photographer Edmund showed up the first afternoon to drop off three bags of cameras and lighting tools.


The next morning, Char came in with several bags of styling goodies.  Soon after, our master bedroom was full of diffusers, stands, and other things I wouldn’t even begin to know how to use.  They had a 10 hour day of work.  Staging the accessories.  Photographing, then nit-picking over the computer.  Tweaking the rug ever so slightly.  Changing the way the towel hung.  Shifting a bottle a half in to the right.  It was so fun to observe.  Char and Edmund were awesome to chat with, too.  Lots of fun stories to hear from their glamorous lives.  After getting all the shots from their list in the master bathroom, the equipment went into the guest room for safe storage.


Oh, and we preëmptively took the doors off the hinges because the bathrooms are so small.  Edmund said it was a genius idea and made everything easier.  Day three in town, the main bathroom got a little attention.  Prop rugs, towels, jars, bins, even cotton balls.  Here’s a little peek at the first styling round of the shelves.


I did get to keep some of the goodies, too.  From the master bathroom, I still have the only three added props: a soap pump, teal hand towels, and the jute chevron rug.  The rest was already ours, just elsewhere in the house.  A few more things from the main bathroom stayed.  Lidded Jars, a few bins, and the toiletries.  All things that had been openend or tags removed.  Here’s where most of those accessories live now:

It was a wonderful experience.  Something I was so nervous about.  I asked Char a million questions about wardrobe options.  I’m usually in jeans and a t-shirt or paint covered work clothes, so fashion is far from my strong point.  Luckily, Kit, Char and Edmund were excellent at their jobs.  We’re so honored to be featured!  Thank you so much, BHG!

Course Correction

As we’ve worked our way around the house, replacing windows, adding insulation, new siding, and painting, we’ve been thrilled with the results.


The dark gray lap siding is exactly as we had imagined.  More of the back and garage end are lap siding than corrugated rust steel.  Or what will be steel, because we still haven’t gotten to that point.


Actually, we have a tiny strip of rust.  The channel the steel will fit in has started to change.


Now, we’ve come to the point we need to figure out the front.  Honestly, Ben and I have gone back and forth over this many times.  Waffling, as it were.  Rust steel isn’t a super common siding, but it feels very western.  Because it’s not typical, it has been hard to decide exactly how much we want.

For us, the steel has three big advantages.  One, it’s very durable.  Rated for 50 years as a roof, 70 on siding and can take a beating.  After this past year of crazy weather, that is important to us.  Two, almost no maintenance.  Once installed, let it rust (you can quicken the process by watering) and that’s it.  Three, we can install it straight down to the rock.  With lap siding, we’d have to follow the grade, leaving several inches of foundation exposed.


Throughout this process, we’ve asked each other, “Will that be too much rust on the front?”  After making the above Photoshopped version (and sharing it Monday), we’re back to thinking it is too much.  A few readers said so, too, only adding to our feelings – thank you so much for your honest opinions!  More than anything, we’ve realized this: if we’re so unsure, that’s a risk we’re not willing to take.  Unlike a paint color, this wouldn’t be quick, easy, or cheap to redo.

So I did what any normal crazy person would do.  Turned to Photoshop again, to side our house, quickly and commitment free.  Here’s the same siding with privacy rails, remaining white trim, and plants.


Sure, the plants help break up the lower portions, but it still feels busy and top-heavy.  We are 100% committed to keeping the lower rust to wrap around from the garage section, so that stays.

Now we’re going with all gray lap siding for the top.


Wood deck railings add a lot of character.


Plants give life and interest to the lower sections.


White trim and in my dreams, a dark door.  Doesn’t it make a huge difference?!  Convincing Ben to paint the door is a different battle, one I’m not expecting to win.


I tested out several other options, just to be sure something else didn’t win us over.  A few shades lighter on the bump outs, to add a little interest, without being completely different.


Or carrying the rust up around the front door.


Nope, still like the simple, uncluttered look of the all gray upper.  I threw the dark door in there for good measure.  Ben admits it looks good, but doesn’t think it’ll hold up to use and harsh sun.  Looks like I need to talk to a paint specialist.

Update:  Here are a few other options involving more rust steel.  Making just the peak of the bump out rust:


Or the entire bathroom bump out steel:


Lots of fun options!

Gimme a Giveaway: Minted

Allow me to introduce you to a super site for all things paper, including limited edition prints from independent artists, Minted.  Seriously guys, there are some fantastic pieces.

To help narrow your search, you can organize by style, shape, type, or color.   In photography art, I found some of my favorite pieces, including, but not limited to:

King of the Forest


and Queen of the Forest by Glenn Carroll.  I think this pair would be perfect for either side of our entertainment center.

Staredown by Amy Carroll, because it reminds me of my Longhorns and I just love the feel of the photo.

A Shadow in a Storm by Leslie Le Coq, if you’re a horse lover.

If paintings are more your flavor, check out my favorites, and many others, Mid-Summertime by Emily Jeffords.  Movement and color, but still simple.


Splendid Spring II from Makewells, for a bright abstract to perk up a dark corner.

Rural Midwest created by Robin Ott Design, cute and charming.

Drive Bye Grove by Jeff Preuss, bold and poppy, to make a statement.

Quirky and fun drawings like 4 Robins by Kim Johnson, a conversation starter.

Forsythia from Vanessa Wyler, for fall color you can appreciate after the season.

Grass with Seeds by Jorey Hurley, unfussy for a busy room.


Field of Waves from Papersheep Press would look adorable in a nursery or little boy’s room.

The Goods: A $50 Minted credit good for or toward any product, to add some art to your walls.  

To Enter:  Leave a comment telling us which art print(s) you’d most want to hang in your home.

For additional entries:

1.  Like Our Humble Abode on Facebook.  Come back to leave a second comment.

2.  Follow Our Humble Abode on Instagram.  Make sure you let us know you’re following.

3.  Vote for our master bath in Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color contest, then leave another comment.

Contest Closes: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Number of Winners: Just one, chosen by Random.org.

Ships: Anywhere in the world!

Other Info: We will select the winners using random.org and announce on Friday, October 10th.


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