I see a red door and I want it painted black.

Yes, Stone lyrics, on my blog. But hey, I really had a red door, and I wanted to paint it black… so, I did.

But, let’s remember, one. last. time. what this door originally looked like, because it is no more! Buh-bye weird snowflake door…


Hello, HFH Restore door! And, yep, it was red… well the interior side was. And, it was all scratched and dinged, so… painted it will be.


It’s a steel encased door with a wood interior… And, that makes it not so very trim-able. However, ‘the Mister’ managed to do it. It wood seem not all doors are created equal. New hinge slots also needed to be chiseled out. And… basically we were taking millimetres off the width at a time… and it was hard to do, and HEAVY, and… we didn’t know until it fit, that it was going to fit. Did I mention Steven did it ALL? And, that it made me so happy to be able to use, and keep, and LOVE this door?

Total pain-in-the-rear, but it’s up, and there it will stay. Ya-hoo!

Ok, so time to paint this thing. Remember the red was the interior, so the outside was this strange peachy bone colour? Ya. Not staying.


Before painting an exterior door, you might say to yourself, self… you should probably wash and sand and degrease this thing so the paint adheres, right? Me too… and all that washing and sanding and degreasing led to this:


And this:


I hear the ‘Homer’ scream every time I look at this photo. AHH! The good news? I noticed something weird and started tugging at the paint layer mere moments before I was about to start painting!

Needing to peel away the entire layer of old paint is bad. But, getting a sticky coat of new black paint on top of the old paint and discovering I would have to peel THAT mess away?… so much worse. Dodged a bullet guys!

Alright, crisis averted. Time to tape up the window inserts, and get painting…



… and painting… and painting…


For this project I chose Behr Marquee Paint. It is intended for exterior applications just like this… so I trusted it, and as it turns out, it’s held up great (we’ve been living with this painted door now for at least a month with no chips or scratches). This beauty took 4 coats to get it right, and about 3 days.


You may be wondering about the side-lights (small windows)… Truth is, I don’t mind them NEAR as much, with the new beautiful glass door, however, they are apparently easy to replace, and when the budget calls for it, I will probably replace those as well with clear glass. (Or, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to happen upon some pre-loved ones, one of these days).

I’m loving the new black door, coupled with the new wood columns on the porch (more on that one next time)… the curb appeal is rising!

But… notice anything missing?



Yep, that old rickety top balcony is gone. Yet, another project on the list…


But for now, lets enjoy where we’re at. Lovely rich black door, and natural wood porch. Progress!


So let’s update that curb appeal to-do list:

  • Change Door
  • Paint Door
  • Replace Sand down, and reuse porch deck boards
  • Clad the spindly columns with wood
  • Rip up rotted upper balcony
  • Replace balcony floor with a waterproofing solution
  • Replace balcony spindles
  • Build a walking path along the front of the house
  • Plant shrubs
  • Replace porch light
  • Replace upper balcony lighting
  • And, use my handy magic eraser to ditch the nasty stains from the siding (yep, we have more stain spots).


Meh, so there’s a few things left to do. But we’re getting there! Have you done any big exterior renos lately? Tell me about them! — Happy Summer everyone. <3


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Vintage Dresser (Simplest) Makeover

So, I found myself on an unplanned trip to the Restore. The voice in my head said you will only take what you absolutely love. Well… I found this!


This vintage mid-century dresser was exactly what I had been hoping to find for months. And, there is was just sitting there. It was sturdy, solid wood, and the drawers opened nice and smooth. I was taking her home for sure.

Just one thing. Scratches. Scratches and wear and tear don’t scare me off of course — I immediately made a plan to have a two tone repair job done. The outer box would be white, and the drawers could be refinished. But… I also really liked it, just the way it was.

It got me thinking, Pinterest is FULL of wonderful people with amazing ideas. Let me just see if I could fix this with a simple home remedy.


So here is what I found. From the lovely Miss Mustard Seed, 3 parts oil, to 1 part vinegar, and simply rub it onto the surface of the wood. I used the olive oil straight out of my cupboard.


See? There it is sitting in the bowl with my “before” dresser top. Sounds pretty simple…


I started with the drawers. I even thought the drawers were in pretty decent shape, until I rubbed on my oil/vinegar solution. The one on the left is treated, the one on the right is not. Umm… I think we might have something here.


Okay, lets try something a little more challenging. The right side of the dresser was pretty scuffed and scratched up, surely it won’t make a big difference here…


Err… I believe the word you are looking for here is… BOOM! It looks nearly perfect!

Okay, time for the top. You can FEEL these scratches, they are so deep. And the scuffs were practically white, compared to the original finish.


I might be pushing my luck with this one but it’s still worth a try. C’mon little oil and vinegar mix!


I couldn’t believe it. If I had a mic, I would of dropped it and left the room. Is this the same dresser?!


So, that took a half hour. Totally worth my time and the few cents it cost to whip up a bowl of home made furniture cure polish. Yes, it’s not perfect. But it went from NEEDING a sanding, to looking like a 60 year old piece (which it is), that was amazingly cared for.


Don’t count out a more heavy duty makeover for this piece a little further down the road, but for now… how great is it to invest 30 minutes, and start using this “new” beauty right away instead of waiting a month while it’s sitting in the garage?


Ok, so one more quick update. I had some outdoor grade fabric sitting around from another little project, remember this one? I decided to use it for a quick, no-sew, drawer liner.


I just draped the fabric over the underside of each drawer (flipped over), cut my pieces along the drawer edge, and gave it a light dusting of 3M spray glue. Press it down, and done!


So easy guys. I’d love to hear if you have any other easy home cleaning or DIY remedies! Lets get those comments going and share with the rest of us! Inspiration is everywhere.



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Let’s take it outside

This time, last year, I was daydreaming about how we could improve our curb appeal situation. This Summer, we finally had some time, and a plan. It has been a ton of work so far — but it’s going really great! And, as far as exterior facelifts are concerned… not too shabby on the budget too.


So — I’m not sure where to start. There is just so much room for improvement. It all kind of started for me with that frosted, window, door. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know I scored an awesome replacement door from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $80!


Ok. So I knew I wanted a new door… (you’ll see it in a minute), but it snowballed into quite the checklist. The goals were:

  • Change Door
  • Paint Door
  • Replace Sand down, and reuse porch deck boards
  • Clad the spindly columns with wood
  • Rip up rotted upper balcony
  • Replace balcony floor with a waterproofing solution
  • Replace balcony spindles
  • Build a walking path along the front of the house
  • Plant shrubs
  • Replace porch light
  • Replace upper balcony lighting
  • And, use my handy magic eraser to ditch the nasty stains from the siding (yep, we have more stain spots).

So… let’s see how much we can get through…

First up, an easy fix. A new light. The original looked like something you’d see lighting the doorway of an underground parking garage. It was small, stained, and not cute. About $30 later, problem solved. Ok! On a roll…


Next up, the porch deck boards. There was no budget for a new deck (we had thought a little about extending the porch to the side, almost creating a wrap-around), once we decided it was staying put, and staying the same size, really, the big problem was the ugly chipping stain… I can tackle that!


Enter the belt sander… And, after about 3 days of an-hour-here, 3-hours-there…


And, a little digging between the boards with the hand sander…


We had a pretty clean looking deck! I am really feeling the whole natural wood thing lately, and I decided once everything was sanded down, to just use Thompson’s clear water sealer.




The outer porch wall (which was a rougher plywood), got a coat of black paint to finish it off… you can see a bit of the painted door in the background… turned out to be a great way to coordinate, and finish off the porch without any extra investment.

Next was the “new” door…


Look at that window! I mean, you can see why this door had me at “hello” at the Restore, ya? So pretty.


Here is the new door installed (thanks entirely to Steve!), and it was HEAVY! And, did I mention the hinges didn’t match up and the door needed to get trimmed down? Yeah… more on that later, but let’s just say, I love my husband.

But back to the porch for now… new light, check! Refinished deck boards, check! And, now new door installed, check! It’s hard not to show you the new deck without revealing a little more (did you catch the black door and the new wood clad columns?)… but I promise, I’ll touch on all that in the next few posts!


For now, lets concentrate on the fact that the porch has been brought back to life with elbow grease, sand paper, and a $25 jug of clear sealer.

It looked like this last week…




And, now look at her… get outta town! How much better is this – right?! Onward! There is a lotta list left…





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Saving a Beauty

Oops, I did it again…

I may have found myself at a local garage sale this weekend. And, I may of come home with truck full of gems. I may have… I did.

But look… how pretty is she?!


She needs a little bit of work. The previous owner said it was very loved, but got a lot of sun over the last 50 years. It belonged to his Grandmother and he was happy to hear I was planning to bring it back to life.


I mean look at what was behind the first drawer pull? Wow. That’s what all those years will do!

I’ve only had her 24 hrs, but I couldn’t resist getting a start on some sanding already, and it is cleaning up so nicely!


Oh, and did I mention that gorgeous cabinet came with 6, yes 6(!) beautiful Hepplewhite chairs?!

This will be quite. the. project. Excited to see how it goes!



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Bedroom Shelving

Ok folks, time for a little master bedroom update. As you know we got ourselves hooked up with the ever popular PAX system from Ikea. Ahh! Guys… it’s so good! But I think we can get this working for us, even a little better.


So, as you can see, we were in such a rush to get using the PAX closet that –– there she sits, middle of the room, surrounded by the original paint colour on the wall. Sooo… I guess we’ll be painting around it then?

Mmk. So. That big block of PAX has created these two unusable cubby-type things on either side of it…


See what I mean? Kind of weird. But… then I got to thinking. Seems to me it’s the PERFECT size for some shelving. Yeah! Awesome idea! So… where to start…?


Paint. Paint, is always a great place to start. And urgh, I’m so not a fan of this pinky-beige muddy colour we’ve been living with for over a year.

I found the perfect white to match the Ikea PAX as close as possible.


Already… so. much. better! –– Man, I have got a real white paint addiction happening here lately.

Ok. So the plan is shelving. Preferably floating, or hidden bracket shelving. Flush to the walls. All custom and beautiful… but, with as little a price tag as I can manage. Right. The whole budget thing is always getting in the way. However, it is great for the imagination!

So here’s what I came up with. I found right angled lengths of metal from Home Depot to create my custom brackets. I cut them down to about 7″ lengths per bracket and planned for 4 shelves per side, with 2 brackets each.


I used a drill press to punch 2 holes on each bracket, to take the screws, for hanging on the wall.


How cool is this thing? I also added 1 smaller hole on the bottom of each bracket, just in case I wanted to screw it upwards into the wood shelf itself. You’ll see what I mean in two shakes…


Here are all my brackets. Can you see there? 2 holes on one edge for the wall, and one small hold on the other edge for the shelf.


Ok. Here is where this project got ridiculous. Between the sidewalls of the PAX, and our old uneven 1970s walls, absolutely NOTHING is square in the corners of the room. Oy! So, each shelf was trimmed to match the exact location I wanted it to fit.

I may of got Steve helping with that step as to not, y’know, lose my mind.


So bam! Look at this. Here they are all in place. The level was my very best friend during this process. Small adjustments to makes sure my odd walls didn’t ruin my plan. Level and measure placement for each bracket, and level each shelf. It was all a little finicky, but once you get on a roll, it actually goes pretty quick.

Now for a fun trick. I purchase strips of hobby wood from the hardware store to face each shelf. This does two things… hides the brackets from view, and makes your shelves look 3 inches thick! Awesome!


Cheap pine shelves purchased for around $10, look custom and rich, and heavy. Perfect.


See what I mean? My power stapler also takes brad nails, so I just popped a few into each shelf, to hold everything in place. Pretty cool, right?


Here’s a better look at the hobby wood before I attached them to the shelves.


Next, stain!


Stain x’s 8. It got a little smelly up in here.


And, here we’ve got all 8 shelves in place. And, yes, I only painted the cubbies so I could build my shelves. Shorcut! … but, you’ll be happy to know I got my rear in gear and the entire bedroom is painted now. Fancy that.


Let’s take one more closer look…


I have a plan to add trim to the top of the Pax unit to polish it off all the way to the ceiling. Ya? I think that will do the trick.

No more awkward cubbies for me! Now to stock those shelves and add some pretty up in here! I’ll be sure to share that too.

Thanks for checking in! Got any weird spots in your place that you’ve conquered with a little clever thinking? Tell me about it!



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