Plywood, Paint, and One Big Skirt

Matt checked off another “big” house project this week. It wasn’t so much “big” in that it was hard to do, and not even that it was expensive, but that it’s something I’ve been so desperately waiting to happen since last fall when Matt put up the insulation and plywood skirting around the base of our house. Remember this?



I’m definitely glad that it got done just in time for the first snow fall last year, and that it kept our pipes from freezing. And I definitely don’t regret that we decided to put up the insulated plywood instead of the cheap vinyl skirting that is usually on mobile homes. But after looking at this eye sore for a year, I am amazed how a simple gallon of color-matched paint has lifted my spirits.

We bought a paint sprayer for the project to save time.  We also have enough painting projects ahead of us that I thought it would be worth the money. Matt had our siding color-matched and bought a gallon of primer, and the rest is history. Here’s a look!


What we see when we drive up


View from the lake

My handsome hired help

My handsome hired help

Such a relief! It still isn’t a permanent fix, which will someday be new siding the covers even the plywood, and new windows too! But right now it makes me one happy lady. With this done, I’m hoping that we can finally start some landscaping too around the house to give it some more life.

What I really want for the house now though is a dog. But I’m having a hard time convincing the man of the house with that one. 🙂


Our House Gets a Facelift (Putting Lattice Under Our Deck)

April marked the one year anniversary of our move to the lake! Unfortunately, despite a lot of updates we’ve made, I’ve been awful at keeping them posted.


Framing the area under the house before the foam insulation and plywood goes up.

This last weekend, Matt and I managed to check another big project off our list. Last summer, if you remember, Matt ripped all the old vinyl skirting off from the bottom of the house. It needed to be done. He replaced it with foam insulation and plywood sheets, with the plan being we could put siding to the ground when we re-side our house. It was a massive project, and he literally finished it as the first snow of the season was falling in October.


Although the area under the house eventually got covered with foam insulation and plywood, the area under the deck remained exposed. Until now!







We decided that putting lattice up would be the best way to fill in the gaps. We worked on it for about 6 hours on Saturday. It was “easy” work, just kind of slow and meticulous. As you can see, our house sits on a slope so we had to cut the lattice accordingly. So, here’s the finished product! What do you think?




I think it looks pretty great! No more exposed blocks under the house! And I can’t wait to do some landscaping in front of it now. One more big project checked off the list!

I’ve got a lot of things I’ve changed inside the house: furniture, more painting, rearranging, etc. But the house is too much of a disaster right now to take pictures to show it! Although, I am happy to be writing this today from our new desk area. It’s so nice to have a home for the laptop!IMG_20150623_094145791

More to come soon, just let me get to cleaning!


Another Bathroom Makeover

As I sit here on the couch resting a knee injury that I’m too embarrassed to go into the details about, I thought I’d might as well share the latest update we’ve made to the house. About a month ago, after finishing our master bathroom, I had enough paint (and motivation) left over to finish the kids’/spare bathroom.

Here’s the before pics:



And after:






So much better! And the kids love it too.

On a side note, we are enjoying winter at the lake so much! We all bought ice skates, we can sled right in our front yard, and we have plans to start ice fishing soon. Here’s Matt with his new ice fishing gear.



He’s pretty excited. And I’m excited that we’ll have lots of fun activities to do with the kids to make winter go fast.

In the meantime, coffee.IMG_20141216_090726176

It makes the swelling go down, I hear.

Why I Love Our Double-Wide

The last several weeks at church, my Sunday School class has been discussing what the Bible says about contentment. It seemed to be a common theme that many of the ladies in class (self included) struggled with feeling content with their homes. So to put into practice what we’ve been discussing in class, I want to exercise my “spirit of gratitude” and make a list of the things I love about our home to focus on the positives, which there are many. Here we go…

1. One-level living. I absolutely love that everything is on one floor (especially the laundry room).
2. Cabinets and Storage. We have at least doubled our cabinet space that our house in town had.
3. DIY-ing. This house is a DIY-ers dream! I’ve painted almost every surface and get a lot of satisfaction in seeing such huge improvements.
4. Who puts carpet under a dining room table?! Although I hated it when we first moved here, I actually love it. It’s cozy to sit at the table. And you don’t see every little food crumb that gets dropped on the floor.
5. Masters. Matt and I have a true Master bedroom, which is much bigger than our old house. It has a vaulted ceiling, a walk-in closet, and our own private bathroom.
6. Room with a view. We have six large windows in our living room with a sweet view of the lake.
7. I wish I liked to cook. But even though I don’t, I love having a gas stove. And I love that the stove is in our island and faces towards the living area so I can cook and have a full view of whatever the kids are up to.
8. Is it smaller or bigger? I think the overall square footage in this house is less than our old one, but this house feels bigger. Our living area, kitchen, and dining area are probably twice what our house in town was.
9. More about carpet. I should mention that my in-laws had brand new carpet put in. And it’s a perfect, forgiving dark tan. Much better than the light beige we had before. Sure, kids. You can dump grape juice on the living room floor.
10. I’m the dishwasher. We don’t have a dishwasher. I hadn’t washed dishes by hand for years until we moved here. And I actually love it. I realize that I hate loading and unloading a dishwasher and that it’s much easier and quicker to just wash them by hand and put them away right away.

So I’ll leave it at that. Short and sweet. No need for pictures. And a great reminder to myself that our double-wide is a pretty nice set-up, and we are lucky to have it as our home.

Cheapskates ‘n Seattle (My Master Bathroom Makeover)

Good things happen when Matt is gone! While he was in Seattle for work this week, I decided to tackle redoing our master bathroom. My goal was to have it completely done by the time he got home, which only gave me four days. And the best part is he had no idea what I was up to!

Now, originally the plan was that I wanted the bathrooms to be totally gutted this winter. I wanted new shower surrounds, toilets, vanities, bead board walls, and more. But there is something in my mindset that has changed. This house is turning me into a cheapskate. The reward of not changing all these things seemed pretty great. It would save a lot of money to keep the current fixtures, and probably more importantly, save a lot of time that Matt would have to spend renovating.

So with that said, I had my challenge; four days to make it great! Here’s what I was up against:


After six months of living here I was more than ready. So I started on the walls first. I choose a perfect light gray, Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams.


I didn’t take any progress pictures so you’ll see the result in the “after” photo. It took a full day to paint the walls and trim.

Once the walls were done and I stepped back to evaluate, I couldn’t help but feel it looked so drab and lifeless. But that was nothing a trip Target couldn’t help! After almost ten years of marriage it was time for some new towels anyways. And a rug. And shower curtain. (It’s okay, I’m saving us hundreds of dollars!)

The next two days were used up at my “real job”. Which gave me one day to take on the vanity. Which means no proper drying time between coats. I choose a nice charcoal gray, Sherwin Williams Iron Ore.

I really wanted a new vanity light but decided to spray paint it matte black in the meantime. Here’s how I did it so I didn’t even have to take it off the wall. So proud.


The only thing left to do was drill holes for the new hardware and hang the doors, and do a little decorating. Only problem was I have never used a power drill before. I considered just waiting till Matt got home to let him do it, but I really wanted him to come home to a completed bathroom just to up the “wow” factor. So I googled how to change drill bits and the rest is history.

At this point I was agonizing over where to hang the towel rack and how I should decorate. Since I am a visual person, I drew a few sketches. This was the winner.


So finally we come to the end! Here’s the finished result.


Yes, there's a light bulb out.


I plan on painting the mirror trim to match the vanity. But otherwise I’m so pleased with how it turned out! And even better is it cost less than $200 for all the paint and accessories. Had we done new walls, tub, vanity, toilet, and floors, it would be at least $1500. What’s nice is I have enough paint leftover to do the entire kids’ bathroom, too. Bonus!

Matt was pleasantly surprised when he got home last night. I think he’s just happy he won’t be ripping out the bathroom this winter! And I’m happy that I don’t cringe every time I walk into the bathroom. Time to sit back and enjoy my Victrola coffee and Chukar Cherries from Seattle.

My New $150 Kitchen

I’m going to get right to the point. In one week’s time, we were able to transform our kitchen from this:




To this:





And the best part is it cost us less than $150 to do it! Pretty great, yes?

I knew when we decided to buy the lake place that I’d eventually want to redo the kitchen. But new cabinets would have cost thousands of dollars, and we’ve got more important projects to take care of first. So when the motivation hit me to paint the cabinets, I knew I needed to act quickly before the motivation went away. Luckily Matt was on board with it, so I got to work wiping down the cabinets, removing the doors, and lightly sanding the surfaces right away. I had to fill the holes from the old hardware with putty since I didn’t like how they were located in the middle of the cabinet doors.



I did the cabinets in sections. I did the upper cabinets from start to finish, from sanding to hanging after the final coat of paint, before even attempting to start on the lowers.

Once I was done sanding, I was ready for primer. I went and talked to the lady who works in the M&M Lumber paint section, who Matt says has worked there as long as he can remember. She recommended a primer for me, Zinsser Bullseye, and assured me I’d only need one coat. She also asked me what I planned on using for paint. I reluctantly told her “Sherwin Williams”. After an awkward moment, she assured me the Valspar paint they carried would do just as well and they could color match any Sherwin Williams color.


It did save me a trip to St. Cloud, anyways. She also saved me a lot of time by letting me know I would not need to sand between each coat of paint. Thank goodness.

I wanted a soft, warm white color in the kitchen. After a lot of Google image searches, I had it pinned between two different Sherwin Williams colors; Dover White and Alabaster. Well, apparently I was feeling both cheap and impatient, so I didn’t buy any color samples to try first. Word of advice; buy the color samples. Seriously, just spend the money and take the time and do it. You’ll see why below. I picked Sherwin Williams Dover White at the last second and had it color matched at M&M.


So I went for it. After a coat of primer I started painting Dover White on part of the cabinet frame and one side of a door. And I immediately felt sick. I seriously felt like vomiting. I saw the color next to the stark white primer and started to panic. It looked dingy. It looked yellow. It looked like everything I didn’t want. And I felt like I had just wasted $36 because I was too impatient to take the time to buy test samples. I had to put my brush down and walk away. I brought my little panic attack to Matt. His advice? “You have to figure it out.” So helpful. (I love you, Matt.)

So I did what anyone would do: I posted my dilemma on Facebook. 🙂

After stepping away from it and getting some reassurance, I decided to go for it. Here’s some progress pictures:



Thank you, Anna. Well, at least there’s proof I was working.


Uppers are done. Time for the lowers.

I think the total project took about 30-35 hours total. Which we managed in a week. And it was totally worth it. The color ended up being exactly what I was looking for once every door was hung in it’s place. I’m loving my new cabinets and loving that they were so inexpensive to do. My mother-in-law bought the new hardware for us so that relieved some of the cost. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this, but I can honestly say it was easy, just time consuming and monotonous. But I am fine with monotonous. I’m a Medical Lab Technician, for crying out loud!

I’ll say good-bye with a sign that makes me smile, and even moreso now that there is paint from my project spattered on it.


But wait, the kitchen isn’t completely done yet and I need your opinion! What color should I paint the island? Should I paint it the same color or do an accent color?

A woman’s work is never done.

Thrifty Finds

I used to hate when my mom would go to thrift stores when I was a kid. I hated the smell, the rows and rows of old clothes hung by color, and the stacks of Tupperware and knick-knacks that should have been put directly into the dumpster as opposed to getting the title of “good will”. I don’t think I ever touched anything in the store cause it just seemed dirty.

Well, apparently it was only a matter of time for me to embrace my inner thrifter because now I love thrift shopping. I guess it’s in the genes. My dad is a scrapper and my mom has always had a creative eye to make old things better than new. I love thrifting because it’s the ultimate search for finding a treasure for a steal. I love finding an item that allows me to flex the creative side of my brain.

My sister, Amy, and I both had the day off yesterday, and we decided to go thrifting. The first two stores we went to didn’t have any huge successes, but once we got to Good Will things changed. We found a ton of kids clothes for cheap. Amy found some really cute wooden salad bowls, and I bought these awesome retro snack sets.


They are called Indiana Glass Kings Crown and were made up until the 1960s. I only got three sets but it looks like they will be relatively easy to add to the collection. I love that there is a little groove on the plate for the cup to sit. For 99 cents a cup I went for it. So glad I did. Now I need to work on my hospitality and have some people over to use them. Amy bought each of the kids an afghan. I bought some decorative plates to hang in Anna’s room.


They are the perfect colors to go with her room and have the vintage look I’m going for.

After spending almost three hours at Good Will, I scored my big furniture find. I’d been looking for a night stand for Anna’s room. I found this for $23. I didn’t like the color but loved the structure!


I love a project and trying to bring something to its full potential. And this has a lot of it! Although it was a little more money than I’d usually spend on a thrift, it came home with me.

And today I got to work! I knew just the color I wanted to paint it. Anna’s room is pink. Her dresser is an apple green. I like the mismatched look, and was inspired by the color of a decorative vase in her room. So I took it to the paint store with me and picked a close match.


Valspar Sky Blue View

With a little help from the boy and two coats of paint later, it was done.


Here she is in all of her glory in Anna’s room. So cute! And just what I pictured!


One thing I may do yet is sand some of the edges down to reveal a little bit of the original color underneath and give it a little bit of a distressed look. Oh, and that hot pink afghan on the bed is the one Amy bought for Anna at Good Will.

It feels so great to see at least one room in the house starting the feel “complete”. I’ll take a small win.

Anyone have any good thrifting stories?