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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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    Upholstery stripped, frame clamped. Found a pen in the process. Let the games, er fun, begin. I feel obligated to get this. I could work in our room... Am I crazy for considering this? Also, it's $35. Adorable cow and calf. Cute as a button, because that's her name.

Orange You Glad

I bought an orange sofa?  Seventies sofa, welcome to my 70′s home.


When paired with exposed studs and insulation, it makes for a really beautiful, somewhat industrial look.  Ha, couldn’t keep a straight face for that ridiculous claim.  However, the sofa does have good bone structure.  That’s where the good qualities end.  Also similar to our house when we bought it.


Both back legs have huge scuffs and scratches.


While ugly, the orange upholstery is seriously dirty – beyond a deep cleaning.


I’m not exactly sure what fabric and color I want.  Just have to see what the fabric gods send me.  I do know I’ll sand the frame to make repairs (tighten up the joints) and stain the wood.


Oh that open back.  Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a giant headache to recover.  For only $20, I couldn’t leave without this piece.


In other sofa news, the mid-century bench is living in our bedroom.  In other, other sofa news, we returned the Rachael.  Despite her good looks, she wasn’t comfortable, especially for six-foot tall Ben.  Turns out what’s comfortable for a few minutes at the store isn’t the same as a few hours at home.


What good is an uncomfortable couch?  We moved the Dana in and so far, she’s better.  Perhaps a new leather sofa is in the cards.

Make it Bigger

Some recent projects lately haven’t been of the super fun and exciting variety.  Changing out the front door was a huge change that greatly impacts the look and feel of the space.  Trimming it out didn’t take much time, but it’s the icing on the cake.  That finishing touch.


Using a 12 inch tall header for stability, it was a funky space to trim.  After discussing our options – decorative door trim with simple casement around the window, one straight trim piece across – we chose to make the window and door look like a set.


Craftsman style trim along the top (to match the other windows and doors) with casement around the door and window, all painted white.  Leaving the gap between sheet rock looks more interesting than a solid, flat trim piece.  Painting the door frame white lets it all flow together.


The warm wood door is in great shape, so we’re leaving it for contrast.


Only window on the front of the house finished.  Ten more to go!


Living and dining gridded windows exempt, the windows were all original to the house.  Most in poor shape so that’s this summer’s big task.  We swapped the office window this weekend.  Fogged between the two pieces of glass, it clearly had seen better days.


Since the new dining window and office nearly meet at the corner, we made the office window 8 inches closer to the floor to match height.


First a bigger hole:


Then the larger window to let in more light.


Projects that make a big difference (hey, we can open the window!) but isn’t exactly nice to look at yet.  Gotta get out my white paint.

The Rachael

Nope, not referring to the popular 90′s Jennifer Aniston hair style that took the country by storm.  Meet our new sofa, Rachael by Flexsteel.  She’s slim, clean lined, and slightly vintage styled to play nicely with the MCM bench.


We sold the old three-piece sectional and put that money toward the new girl.  With nine button tufts along the back, there’s just enough interest on the tight back.


The fabric color, Earth, leans more beige in bright light, but gray in overcast conditions.


Ben really wanted leather, but I think this tweed like textured fabric adds a lot of comfort and warmth.  I paired with a faux cow hide pillow for a dash of Western flare.


Flexsteel offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, springs, and cushions, which should hold up to the four Y chromosome people in this house.


Now to find chairs to place perpendicular to the couch.  I’d love to add something leather here, assuming we find something we agree on.  Much easier said than done.

While we were at the furniture store, we noticed another Flexsteel brand sofa, the Dana, in the clearance section.  Priced at $600, we took Frank from American Picker’s trick and bundled to save over three hundred dollars, including a fabric warranty plan on the Rachael.


The fabric is slightly darker and more on the gray side, but a real upgrade from our old couch.


Slightly rolled arms are more traditional in style than I usually like, but still small enough to fit the space.


Taller legs on both couches make vacuuming under a breeze, too.  So far, I’m pleased with the new additions.  Fingers crossed we can say that years from now.

A Hole in the Wall

Just a few days ago, our dining room had a large 8 foot tall door in a room with 8 foot ceilings.  From day one, we didn’t like how it looked in the room.  And the header-less wall wasn’t the most rigid.


This summer we have grand plans to replace the remaining windows and siding the house.  It’s a big task, but we’re anxious for the change.  Each big project is usually broken up into many smaller segments to make it more manageable.  While the weather was warm last week, Ben and my dad pulled out the big door, leaving a slightly larger hole.


Together they built a sturdy header and a knee wall to build the space to fit the replacement window.


So, why a window instead of the door?  Well, we will replace the bay window with a sliding door and extend the deck over.  We’re 95% sure this was the layout when the house was built.


See that little brown rectangle on the bump out?  That’s where the deck railing was attached and painted around.  Right around four feet wide, this will become a perfect walkway.  Which allows us to better use the covered section of the deck.  Instead of a grilling/smoking station, we’ll have shaded seating.  The area behind the grill will become the deck extension.


Back inside, my recent paint job isn’t looking so hot.


Rather than adding small pieces of sheet rock to fill in, we plan to recover the entire wall.  Some outlets and switches will move, and the texture is terribly mismatched from the door install.  Small seams are more likely to crack, too, so we’d prefer to avoid that situation.


That big, expensive door didn’t go to waste.  At 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall, proportionately it is better suited for the 12 foot tall entry.  Ben pulled out the old door and picture window.


Replacing it with a thick header for stability, leaving room for a smaller, transom style window above.


Voila, new front door.  Most exciting to me is the amount of light this door lets in.  Several times, while walking past, the light catches my eye and my first reaction is, “Who left the door open?”


Clearly we still have work to finish it up.  Exposed header and yellow foam insulation isn’t going to cut it.


Big, exciting changes, though.

Keeping It Simple

I have a tendency to over complicate my life and the things in it.  I’m slightly OCD and a perfectionist by nature, so laundry must be folded just so.  The dishwasher loaded the correct way.  And I don’t do well with messes.  Of course none of these things really matter, I understand that.  Trying to get the crazy side of me to recognize it however, is a different story.  Another area I’m trying to simplify is my decor.  Too often, I feel the more, the better.  Look at the old entry for instance:


Statement-type mirror, frames, necessities (the light, key tray and bench), and knickknacks.  Wiping the slate clean after the tongue and groove wall really made me realize how nice the simplicity is.  I propped a black mirror up, but didn’t like the added visual weight.  And the reflection looked cluttered.


Instead, I replaced it with a white frame, large white mat, and a sweet little painting from Painting Well.


Balanced by the large expanse of white, the small rectangle of cheery colors don’t over power the space.



Nor does it compete with the horns.


Keeping the art lower to the console means the art ‘interacts’ more with that scene than the higher horns.


As for the console decor, we’ve got the basics.  The small bench for putting on or taking off shoes.  A lamp to leave on at night, the mitten/hat drying rack, a key tray, and small bowl of stamps.  More than enough room to set things like mail or sunglasses, but they’re not permanent.


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