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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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    After a rainy week in Minnesota, we finally got a clear, sunny day. Naturally, the day we left. Puffy, fluffy clouds over last season's burned hills. And yet, still beautiful. #latergram Tagged by @mrsclh for #widn Cleaning up most of today's mess. And admiring the boys' Lego creations. Always busy building. Tagging @iheartorganizing @aquahaus @houseofearnest if you want to play along.

Big Ass Benches

We’ve got scrap piles for days.  Seemingly of anything and everything.  Including a few beams we didn’t use for our deck, walkways, or stairs.  To use a few up, Ben built what we’ve dubbed ‘Big Ass Benches.’


They’re huge at 8 feet long and weigh at least 150 pounds each.  Two fill in the space by the waterfall, around the fire pit.


To build these behemoths, Ben cut an 8 foot piece for the seat and two 3 foot tall sections for arms.  Scraps of 2 by 4 work as cleats and 2 by 6 boards for the backs.


Long screws go through the sides and into the seat.


Back boards connect to a small chunk of wood.


Along with the two in the back, we’ve got another on the front landing.


It functions as a bench (duh!) and a railing, keeping people away from the far edge and steep drop to the driveway.

Caddy Shack

Time for an intervention, folks.  I’m addicted to using old cedar planks.  It started innocently.  First, I used a few to create a slim entry shelf.  More recently, we planked one wall in our bedroom.  And now, our bathroom is rocking a new cedar tub shelf/caddy thingy.  What am I going to do when I run out?  Ahhh!


The process couldn’t have been easier, either.  I measured from outside edge to outside edge of the tub (29 inches) and added two more inches for overhang.  Then I measured the inside of the tub (24 inches).  I cut an extra piece of cedar down to 31 inches and made two 1 1/2 inch wide strips.  On the back side of my wood, I marked 3 1/2 inches (the difference between my outside and inside measurements) from either side to attach my small strips.


Setting a flat board would certainly work, but I wanted the cleats to keep the shelf in place if it got bumped.  It can only move about 1/2 inch before it hits the other side of the tub so it can’t crash down.  To attach the strips, I used two screws in each and flipped it back over.  With a fine grit sand paper, I smoothed out the rough edges.


After sanding, I applied a light coat of teak oil to seal everything.  Took maybe 20 minutes to make.  And I’ve got a place to set a book or whatever while relaxing.


I considered making a walnut board, but I thought the darker color would draw more attention.  This way, light color blends in and allows other elements to shine.


Cedar is also more naturally water-resistant, so it should handle splashes better.  Crazy simple and totally functional.  Feels a little fancy-pants, too.

Master Mood

As I shared Monday, we’ve gotten started revamping our ugly bedroom.


Until now, our room has seen minimal attention in the form of white curtain panels and a coat of grayed green paint.  I didn’t love the color while painting and it still hasn’t grown on me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay as a color.  For the room?  It doesn’t add anything, but it was better than the electric blue.


Before we can get to the fun, big impact stuff, I have some tedious work ahead of me.  The two inside walls have orange peel texture, but the previous owner did a bang up job with some patches:


So I’ll have to address those areas as well as the popcorn ceiling.  We’ll have guests here this weekend, so I won’t be able to get started as soon as I’d like.  Once the guest room is free, we can move our stuff out of the room and I can get going.  I’m aiming for a mix of sleek and modern with warm and rustic to play off each other.  Here’s what I have in mind:



1.  Cedar Planks, we might plank the other window wall, too.  Only after replacing the window with a sliding door.  Then I’ll put on a matte clear coat to seal everything that could be potentially hazardous to have indoors.

2.  Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron in flat finish on the remaining two walls, to tie into the master bathroom.

3.  We want to build a new bed, somewhat similar to CB2’s Dondra Bed.  The basic, open platform base is the part I love.  A light gray painted frame and simple upholstered headboard would off set all the wood going on in the room.  Wood wall + hardwood floors + wood bed frame might be too much for one area.

4.  While discussing replacement night stands, I mentioned floating shelves.  Something like our entry console, but deeper with a drawer.  This Slice Grey Wall Mounted Storage Shelf is close to our idea, though the dimensions would be different.  Also, we’ll use cedar to build the boxes.  That way, we can leave them natural to blend in with the wall.  Or I might paint them to add more contrast.  It depends on how it feels once installed.

5.  Back when I made our curtains, my goal was to create something to close for privacy.  Foolishly, I didn’t sew the panels long enough to raise when we changed the windows and trim.  So, these panels will go in the basement and I’ll sew two new sets.  The linen panels I made for the master bathroom have worked so well, I’m going to sew another set.  This time in white, similar to these White Linen Curtain Panels.

6.  To up the cozy factor, we need a rug.  This Allen + Roth Rectangular Cream Solid Wool Rug looks so plush and soft, and it’s a great price for 100% wool.  Unlike other rooms, our bedroom doesn’t get heavy foot traffic or dirt, so we can get away with a lighter rug.

7.  There are two large mirrors in this house, both in awkward places.  One in the laundry room and another at the end of the hall in the basement.  I’ve wanted to frame one out to lean ever since.  Creating a cedar frame similar to this Salvaged Wood Leaning Mirror is the perfect solution.  It would bring the cedar to another area and add function.

8.  Along either side of our bed, a Faux Sheepskin is nice and soft.

9.  DIY Isosceles Lamps  on the night stands.  ‘Nuff said.

10.  To add in some color, I want a few green accents.  Nothing crazy, but this green wool blanket, the edges of our engineer prints, and a pillow or two.

Across from the bed, we’d like to add a small tv to create a little seating area in the currently unused, open space.  Using the mid-century bench as a small sofa, maybe a chair, and a slim console.  Those elements are still up in the air.  Regardless, I’m excited to get started!

Olive You

Green has always been my favorite color.  As I child, I realized green brought life and zest to my pictures/drawings.  I’m finally done cheating on green with blues and determined to bring in more of it.

Ironically, about four weeks ago, I was amassing green paint samples to change out the vanity.  Then I got an email from Better Homes and Gardens asking if they could feature our master bathroom in an upcoming I Did It article.  Umm, yes!!  While they had a team out here, they wanted to photograph the main bathroom, too.  Double yes!


So I put my plans on a brief hold.  After the photo shoot (two weeks ago) I set my plan in motion.  The quick makeover added more green and natural elements to the main bathroom.  It feels so different now, even with the few simple changes:


Even better, I spent only $6.99 for a small can of Tate Olive by Benjamin Moore paint.  After clearing everything off, I taped the edges and gave two coats of paint.  Taping everything inside the vanity was the biggest pain, but so worth it.


Once fully dry, I restocked the shelves.  On the bottom, I put toilet paper in an old wooden crate I found on the side of the road.  Green + old wood = love.  Towels we already had along with a basket left over from the photo shoot fill the top.


On the shelf stack I have clear lidded jars filled with soap, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and band aids.  More toiletries, and another navy and white striped bin below.


The dipped woven basket is a great small clothes/towels hamper.  In place of a normal trash can we have a geometric patterned hole-less ceramic planter.  Another prop from the photo shoot; Char (the stylist) is a genius.


With the new natural scheme, the quirky Woman/Man art and shower curtain didn’t feel right.


Instead, this old oil painting fills the space and looks right at home.


I’ve had this painting for four or five years and never had the perfect spot for it.  Until now, where the natural setting and wood frame complete the design.


By the door, I wanted to add a little life, so I made another copper bud vase and filled it with boxwood clippings.


A white striped shower curtain we had in our old master bath is super simple.  Maybe too plain though.  I’m thinking of adding a strip of green along the bottom.  It’ll add length and bring more green over to this side.


A low light plant and white flower dish fill in one side of the vanity.


A white and wood soap pump from Target and woven cup round out the other side.


Shopping the house for accessories made this change without taking a toll on my wallet.  Of course it helps when I have a few props left from a photo shoot, too.  Even if I had to buy those this make over would have cost about $50 total.


Very, very slowly our living room is taking shape.  While I ponder different rugs, I’m adding elements I really want.  Large meaningful art, a slim linen sofa, cozy pillows, and now an oversized coffee table.  Taping off the measurements really helped get a feel for the size I wanted.  Square seemed the best fit, so I went big at 44 inches.  I’m happy to say, I made this mostly on my own (Ben cut the top on the table saw).  It’s super affordable, too.  Around thirty bucks because we had the screws and a half sheet of OSB at home.  So, here’s how I made it.

I started with five eight foot long 2 by 2 boards.  Get the straightest ones you can find because it matters.  I couldn’t find good ones, so Ben cut 2 by 4 boards in half.  I cut four at 16 inches to make the legs.  Another seven at 41 inches to make the rails and leg supports.  Easiest cut list ever.  I marked the screw placement, then pre drilled holes in the leg pieces.  For this design, I needed two screws per leg going opposite directions.  With only 1.5 inches, I had to stagger the screws, making one slightly higher than center and another just below center.  With the holes drilled, I joined one leg to a cross support with a 3 inch long screw, going directly in the end like so:


Another set of hands would have been really nice at this point to keep the pieces tight.  I attached another leg to the other side of that to create an upside down U shape.  That’s one side of the legs, so I made another.  Following the same process, I attached a support to each to get this:


To stabilize the legs, I added another support 5 inches from the bottom of two sides.  For those legs to stay tight I added a cross-piece to those rails.  I didn’t have hands to take photos, but here it is finished:


For an iron look, I painted the base with two coats of leftover bathroom paint, Wrought Iron.


It’s a simple design but makes vacuuming under a breeze, which was one of my main goals.  I hate having to move furniture just to get under.


To break up all the wood and fabric, I used a faux emu leather on the top.  The vinyl is upholstery grade from Joann normally $30 per yard.  It was on 60% off sale so I saved big.


The OSB top we used was 3/4 inch thick, so I beefed up the edges with 1 by 2 pine.  Several 1 1/4 inch screws hold the strips on.  Then we wrapped the top, stapling inside the 1 by 2 edge.  Wrapping completely under the frame allowed the top to sit tightly against the base.


With a subtle bumpy texture and deep camel color, I think it has a lot of depth.  Perfect size, filling the open space and is centered on all furniture in the room.  Plenty big for drinks, games, Lego play, and accessories.  Now I’ll have to get a tray to hold accessories to make it a snap to move when necessary.


Still enough walking space between, too.


With the light weight, we can move it out-of-the-way, but it’s sturdy enough to double as an ottoman.  Or a very short fort for the boys.  Who knew a coffee table could have so many purposes?


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