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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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    Picked up a few of these pretty purple coneflowers today. Seeing as most of my photos are flowers and plants, it's safe to assume I'm excited to add greenery to our property. @loweshomeimprovement Thanks for the great selection! Eek!!!! Look what's in the fall issue of Do it Yourself magazine. So exciting!! Hey big guy, how you doin'? Startled me when I went out to water plants.

Operation: Siding

Over the weekend, Ben made a lot of progress on the back side of the house, hanging almost everything.


Though the siding on the front of the house doesn’t look awesome, the back has been a hot mess.  Kind of like a mullet: okay in the front, awful in the back.  For the past year, this has been our view:


Ugly, right?  Old blue siding with a too high light, exposed OSB, shiny insulation, even tar paper.  Clearly we’re not finished, but, having real siding is nothing short of amazing at this point.


For durability, we chose to use LP SmartSide 7 7/8 inch lap siding.  With many windows, doors, lights, and vents to cut around, it wasn’t the quickest process.


To finish off the windows, I pre-painted our Miratec trim.  I painted four windows of trim after install and let me tell you, cutting in around each window was a royal pain in the butt.


So, the back of the house will all be lap siding, but we wanted to add some of the corrugated rust around back.  One thing that bugs me is when the front of a house looks great, but the sides and back are super cheap.  Still a mullet, people.  To finish off the awkward, angled pool house side, we’ll use corrugated steel that will rust over time.


We know this is an unusual choice, but it seems very… Montana.  Several homes in newer developments around town have it and we love how unique it is.  Oddly, from afar, it kind of looks like stained wood.  Which was another option we discussed, but it requires so much maintenance that we didn’t want to deal with.  Once the steel is up, it’ll rust and that’s it.  On a roof, it has a 50 year rating, so we shouldn’t have to worry about it for a long time.


Good news, the siding we chose comes in several pre-finished colors.  Bad news, none of which were close to what we had in mind.  The color of the boards is just primer that we’ll cover in a dark gray.  All that to say, we’ve still got loads of work ahead of us before we’re finished.  Baby steps.

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!

Cedar Planked

I’ve mentioned this year’s big task, operation siding, many times.  While we’re still no closer to finishing due to weather, we have made some progress inside.  In the form of a reclaimed cedar planked wall.


Our bedroom has received so little attention (only a coat of paint and plain Jane white curtains) and neither Ben or I ever felt excited about it.  Sad, because master bedrooms should feel like a retreat.

I never thought I’d love tattered old wood as much as I do in here.  The reclaimed wood feels like a big, warm hug for the room.  And the perfect starting point for a full makeover.


Okay, calling it ‘reclaimed’ makes it sound super special and old.  Really, it’s just the back of old cedar siding.


Yes, our old, blue cedar siding.  While the finished side had seen better days, most of the backs were in great shape.

Several months ago, I told Ben I wanted to plank our headboard wall in old wood.  Being a dude, he was immediately on board.  Did ya get that pun?  We tossed out the idea of pallets, but we’d have to save and disassemble them.  Old barn wood can get pretty expensive these days.  So when we pulled off the siding, we knew we wanted to save it from the landfill and put it to use.  The first step was pulling out every nail and staple. Our siding is similar to tongue and groove, so Ben cut off the edges by running each piece through the table saw.  In the photo above, we had already finished one side.  Our pieces are 6 inches wide once ripped down.

Most of the pieces had cupped over time, creating a slightly less than straight piece.  To remove this and allow the boards to sit flat against the wall, Ben ran the blue sides through the planer.  We have the 13 inch Ridgid, if you’re looking for a nice, affordable planer.


In our original plan, we wanted to plane both sides to a smooth finish.  Unfortunately, the cedar had different plans.  It gummed up and dulled the blades really quickly.  On to plan b.  Installing the planks as is to paint over.  To secure each piece to the wall, we marked out studs, drawing a line up with a level.  The arrows show each line:


Using the 2 1/2 inch 16 gauge nails, we nailed into each stud on the top and bottom.  Rather than butting the boards together, we used nickles to leave a small gap between each board.


This process was super quick and we had a nearly finished wall in about two hours.


Once we finished, we put the room back together, including the curtains.  And we absolutely loved the wall.  Old holes, bits of tar paper residue, and all; no painting necessary.


One of the quickest, biggest impact projects we’ve done.  Let’s plank all the walls now!  And the first thing we’ve done in our room that has made me downright giddy to tackle more.


Because the rest of the room certainly needs help.  A lot of help.  And this was just the project to motivate my ass.


Next up, scraping the popcorn ceilings.  Fortunately I have experience in this department and it was surprisingly fun to do.  It’s the patching after that sucked the big one.  But, but! (and mine is a big one) if I want to work on the rest of the room, it must happen first.  I’ll be back with the rest of the plan for the room soon.  Until then, let’s talk old wood.  That’s what he said.

Chair City

That’s what I dubbed last week.  Why?  Because I scored two chairs while thrifting.  This first one was free.  It’s adorable, petite with a cute back.


Super simple, but it’s perfect for the little space next to the dresser in the guest room.  It should make a great place to plop a suitcase or bag.


The reason it was free?  One of the back legs is broken and someone crudely ‘fixed’ it with a scrap of wood and wire.  I’m not sure I can restore it to original, but at the very least add an even piece on without wire.


With a half yard of fabric and a few staples, the seat will look completely different.  Next up is a chair I’ve seen over the last few weeks.  I’m not sure what it is about this chair that I love so much, but I do.


Maybe it’s the two-tone look with black vinyl back?  The aged nail head trim?


Perhaps the dainty, curved arms.


It has a certain je ne sais quoi.  Look at those brass rings around the top of the legs.  This chair is packed with little details and I dig it.


Except those rubber feet and the baggy cushion covers.  Those are both going to go.  Question is, what color/fabric should the new covers be?  Natural linen?  It would match the small sofa and can go almost everywhere with anything.  Who knows if the living room is the last home for this guy…


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