Good Bones Home

We bought our first home together because it has "good bones." Now we're trying to bring them out, one project at a time.

Shelving Smorgasbord October 26, 2010

Filed under: DIY,Home — Stephanie @ 3:40 pm

One thing our new house does not lack in is the shelving department.  When we went and looked at it, we counted seven different built in shelving units of various configurations.  After only two days of home ownership, three of them had already been demolished and sent to the garage to think about what they did (or wait for someone to bite on the free craigslist ads I placed.

First we have this beauty, mounted over the living room fireplace.

The previous owner kept this lovely display cabinet full of  ceramic dolls, based on one photo we saw in the listing.  We can’t look at it for too long because you get the feeling all the dolls are staring at you.  Add in the mirrored cardboard on the back and I couldn’t wait to start taking this one down.  And by taking this one down, I mean taking photos while Rich got to work.

Unfortunately our stepstool wasn’t quite high enough for Rich to see the top of the cabinet, but he came up with a pretty clever workaround using his beloved Sprint EVO.

It turned out the mountings were in pretty bad shape, so we had to wait for Rich’s friend Erik to show up with his Dremel (and bonus, the six or so inches of height he has on Rich).  I was off scrubbing the bathroom floors so I missed the exact process that led to the photo below, but I was thrilled to see it regardless.

I was less thrilled with the raw drywall, smoke staining, and damage that resulted from getting the cabinet off, but nothing a little spackle, primer, and paint can’t fix going forward.

Downstairs in the family room, we have this stylish shelving unit.

Oh yes, that is also a wallpapered door and ceiling.  But that’s a topic for another day.  If you’re thinking this looks like something you would see in a school or a doctor’s office, bingo.  The previous owner saw ran his psychology practice out of the home, and this was his office.   And next door in the mudroom/waiting room, there’s a similar set!

Luckily these were a lot easier to take down, all we had to do was lift the shelves off, and then unfasten the rails from the walls.  Of course, the installation involved a combination of nails and screws, some of which were so old they stripped as soon as we tried to take them out, but we still got them down in record time, taking a little of the wallpaper with it.

That wallpaper knows its days are numbered, obviously.

Overall the process took about an hour, we sent both the display cabinet and the shelving to good new homes through the magic of craigslist, and our house is looking a little more open and has a few less surfaces to dust going forward.  The rest of the shelving units (mostly in the bedrooms) are on the list for demolition as well, but they got a brief reprieve because there is only so much demo we can manage in one weekend.



Front porch makeover! August 16, 2010

Filed under: DIY,Home,Projects — Stephanie @ 1:51 pm

This past weekend two weekends ago (yes, this post has been sitting in draft form for a week) Rich and I finally tackled a home improvement project that has been nagging at us for quite some time – we stained our front porch! We don’t actually spend a ton of time looking at the front of our house, since we park out back and thus don’t actually go in or out of the front door very often. Every so often we discussed how we should really take care of the porch, and how we would do that right after we borrowed my parents power washer, and then forgot about it.

A few weeks ago, Rich came home from a friends house with this:


It was looking like our well of excuses was drying up. As the calendar flipped into August, I realized our free weekends were about to disappear. Starting at the end of August, we’re attending four weddings in five weeks. Add in a bachelorette weekend at the beach the weekend before weddingpalooza starts, and we had two free weekends left before October. I looked at the weather forecast for the upcoming weekend, and once I saw sunny and more importantly, not humid, I was sold. I informed Rich we were staining the porch on Saturday morning.

Thursday night I power-washed everything, and in the process got totally devoured by mosquitoes.  I have some special property that makes me irresistible to these little jerks, and 45 minutes outside at dusk meant about 45 new bites.  I’m still healing two weeks later.

On Saturday,  I had to drag Rich out of bed at 8:15 to get started.  I didn’t even wait to let him get a before picture, so let’s call this one “mostly before.”

Ignore my sad, mostly dead herbs on the steps and the ridiculous amount of crap on the porch itself.

I’m not gonna lie, staining that porch SUCKED.  The whole thing is railing and spindles, which take FOREVER to stain.  We spent 5.5 hours working.  The entire time, our neighbor, who is a professional painter, kept giving us the evil eye for choosing to do it ourselves rather than hire him.  He had given us a list of everything that could and would go wrong if he didn’t get hired, so really it’s a miracle the porch hasn’t collapsed yet from our shoddy work.  Despite our lack of professional experience, I think it turned out pretty well!

Keep ignoring the ridiculous amount of crap on the porch.  Eventually we will get rid of most of that.

I think we should have also stained that little triangle area (gable?) above the front door.  If we can get our hands on a ladder we will take care of that soon.  I love how the red brings out the rust on our front door too!  Note to self, replace that door.  And if you look closely, you can see one unstained spindle on the right side of the door.  That spindle is actually cracked in half and will have to be replaced, so I figured staining it would be a waste of time.

Despite my list of things I am still not happy with, overall I think the curb appeal of the house was definitely bumped up a notch by taking on this project.  Cross another home improvement off the list!


I like Turtles July 29, 2010

Filed under: DIY — Stephanie @ 12:34 am

Any other fans of this video out there?

My younger sister is getting married Labor Day weekend. (Yes, we are getting married just over four months apart, it’s been a little stressful for our parents.) This weekend was her bridal shower and bachelorette party! My mother and I took the lead on the shower, which had a turtle theme, since my sister collects them.  One project I did was putting together the favors, which were of course turtle themed.

I started with two boxes of chocolate turtles from Sam’s Club.

Actually, to be honest, I started with a tumbler of wine.  I wasn’t allowed to use a wine glass because they were all clean for the shower.

I printed out some thank you labels with turtles on them on bright colored paper to match the plates, napkins, and cups for the shower.

Put some candy and a label inside a pink or orange cellophane bag.

Tied some ribbon on each side (I could have gotten away with only tying the open side of course, but I liked the symmetrical look of having ribbon on each side).

And then used scissors to curl the ribbon.

And voila!  I put together about thirty of these for the guests, and got a lot of compliments over how adorable they were.  It was a pretty mindless task to do while watching TV the night before the party, and it was nice to break out my crafting skills again for the first time since the wedding.

This post is getting pretty long, so I’ll share some more details of everything my mom and I put together in another one soon!


Our next project? July 22, 2010

Filed under: DIY,Home,Projects — Stephanie @ 10:42 pm

A combination of trying to be financially responsible and being ridiculously busy has kept Rich and I from tackling the next project on our to-do list.  After we recently purchased a new couch, our old coffee table is looking pretty shabby.  It’s a beloved IKEA piece from my first apartment, but it is just not cutting it anymore.

We actually tried to replace the coffee table before we replaced the couch, when Rich built this nifty piece from Knock-off Wood, but the proportions were all wrong for a coffee table (great as a bench in our bedroom though!)

We were considering building a similar piece, but something more proportional to the space, when I stumbled upon this fantastic piece, which was DIYed by Becky at Tea Party.

Source:  Tea Party

Becky used this tutorial from Michelle at Three Men and a Lady.  Combined with another tutorial posted on Young House Love, I’m starting to feel like this is definitely a project within our reach!

So now I’m envisioning a DIY ottoman, similar to this:


I can’t decide between a chocolate brown faux-leather or a fun print though!  The living room is mostly a blank space right now, other than our new neutral sofa.  Any suggestions?