A while back my sister if I asked me I wanted some furniture for the nursery.  She had a changing table and chifferobe, both of which were ours when we were babies.  The changing table was a little big for the room (and not really my style) but the chifferobe was really cute and I remembered growing up with it.  I thought that was kind of cool too, to work in a piece of furniture that I had used as a baby/kid.

Later I was talking to my dad and he was mentioning how happy he was I was taking the chifferobe because his grandfather had made it for him. Whoa.  I seriously never knew that and always just assumed it was something my parents picked up when they started having kids.  I don’t know exactly why, but there is something kind of cool about being able to tell our son that he has furniture made by his great-great-grandfather.

The piece has obviously gone through several makeovers in its 60+ years.  When I had it the frame was white with yellow drawers/door and white numbers painted on the drawers (maybe letters on the door?  I don’t remember…).  My sister re-painted when she took it for her kids’ nurseries and added vinyl numbers and letters.


Super cute, but the wrong colors for our space.  And the A was totally there when I got it, I was just curious to see how easily the vinyl peeled off.

I decided to keep the frame white and did a quick touch up coat with (of course!) Benjamin Moore Advance (satin) in Simply White.  Kids are tough on things and it just needed a little pick-me-up.  I was really torn on what to do about the drawers and door, but eventually decided on green.  I thought I had a good grasp on what shade I wanted, but, alas, it turned out a little too pastel-y


Guys, don’t do what I did.  At $30 a quart, Advance is pretty pricey and I didn’t want to buy a new quart when I’m literally using about an 1/8th of it. I should have bought some cheap sample pots but was over-confident.  I ended up going back to the store and asking them if they were able to re-tint it at all.  If you ever need to do this, just be aware that there are limitations to how much they can do based on the pigments and the original base.  I already knew that and just asked them to do what they could.


This was essentially the color progression as they experimented.


It’s better, but I have a feeling I may have some sort of color breakdown once the room is more put together and try yet another shade of green.  I’m also debating if I want to add anything to the drawers or door.




All the Trimmings

We have walls, we have a light fixture, and we now have mouldings!


Oh my god it’s finally like a real room.

We started with the baseboards.  Once again I spent a while agonizing over trim pieces (since trying to duplicate 100 year old moulding with contemporary, mass-produced pieces is a bit of a pain).  We had a little more leeway in this room since the upstairs was already a bit mis-matched so I decided to simplify things from when I did the dining room baseboards.

This time I settled on a 3 part baseboard instead of the 4 part plan I used before.  We picked up a 4″ baseboard, chair rail, and shoe molding.


We really should have started with the plinths, but I was still painting them.  You can buy fancier plinths at the hardware store, but the ones in the rest of our house are super-simple so I made them myself.  I measured the width of the door casings, added about a 1/4″ (seriously, I just eyeballed it) and ripped some down.  We had a scrap board of 10″ select pine so I used that since it would be plenty tall. Then I took my palm sander and rounded down all the edges and corners, primed and painted… and waited for them to dry.

While the plinths were being finished, we put up the 2 main parts of the base.  We started with the bottom layer, went around the entire room, then added the top layer rather than fully finishing a wall at a time.  My best advice for installing baseboards (or pretty much any trim) is to just tack it in place until you’re sure all the edges/corners line up well.  If there’s an oopsie down the road it’s way easier to pull off and fix.  Oh, and also start with your longest pieces first so if you cut them too short you can still re-use them elsewhere. We were able to leave the right amount of space for the plinths because I had extra one that was originally intended for backup but had a pretty nasty split in the wood.


Once the baseboards were up we were able to add in the plinths, followed by the vertical door casings.  I was a little paranoid about installing them because my dad and I custom routed them and didn’t have any extra. Matt totally rocked it though!  We went with a simple header cut from a 1×6 since that’s what’s in the 3rd bedroom.


SHAZAAM! We have door mouldings! (and a door that needs to be refinished, but that’s a project for another day)

After the doors, we moved onto the poor, naked windows.


Here we started with the sills, which sound intimidating, but they were really easy. First we figured out the depth of the other sills in our house and ripped a couple boards down to that measurement.  Then we measured the depth of the window opening + the depth of the casing (A) and the width of the casing + 1/2″ (B).  This gave up the dimensions of the cutouts we needed to make. The length of your board will be the window width + (B x 2).

SillTemplateI actually added a little more than a 1/2″ to the ends and cut it down after we dry-fit the sill.  We used a jig saw to cut out the corners.  It’s a pretty crappy jigsaw and we probably didn’t have the right blade for this this so my cuts were a little wonky.  I also used my palm sander to slightly round off all the edges and corners.



All of this will get covered by the window trim pieces though so we’re ok!

After the sills were nailed down, we added the inside trim.  We found a 3 1/4″ baseboard which was shockingly perfect. Yes, ok, there’s a bit of a gap in the middle, but our house isn’t square/level/standard in anyway so we’re used to these things.


I think it’s easiest to start from the top when you’re dealing with mitered cuts like these.  You’ll know the top piece fits snugly and then you only have 1 mitered edge on the side pieces and shave off extra length with just a straight cut until those fit snugly too.



Next we added the vertical casings and the header. Thanks to our old house and wonky walls, there’s quite a bit of gap between the header.  We’re going to add some wood filler and no one will ever be the wiser.


Finally we added sill base (there may be a technical term here, but I don’t know it….).  Again, we just copied what was happening in the 3rd bedroom which was simpler than the trim in the rest of the house.  Here we used a 1×4 cut to an 18 degree angle on the ends… I don’t know how they came up with 18 degrees, but it’s consistent with the other small bedroom.


And that’s the window!  Lots of parts, but mostly easy cuts.


After all the trim was nailed up Matt went around and caulked everything.

Original image via Hyperbole and a Half

I have to give a HUGE shout out to Matt for pretty much everything in this room.  I may write the blog, but he’s been working so hard on and picking up my slack when I need a nap break.  He’s really been the moulding (and painting, and ceiling fan) champ here and installed everything with pretty minimal help from me.











It’s HERE…. Again

You know how we finally got the back-ordered ceiling fan a couple weeks ago?  We went to put it up the other weekend aaaaand it was missing a part.  Awesome.

Not gonna lie, my first thought was holy shit Matt just threw away part of my fan.  He had been cleaning up all the excess packaging that’s been taking over our living room between baby-related deliveries and home improvement crap and he already threw out the styrofoam packaging from the ceiling fan box.  He insisted he checked everything he threw out for stray parts beforehand and I have no reason not to believe him.  Buuuut I still may have went slightly catatonic and then decided I wanted ice cream (Izzy’s!) for dinner.

First I called Lowes, because that’s who we ordered it from.  They then contacted Hunter (the company who made the fan) who gave them a reference number which they passed on to me so I could call Hunter back.

The first person I talked to didn’t care about my reference number and seemed very confused as to why I was even calling in the first place.  She eventually said she was going to transfer me over to parts but instead I got trapped in the Automated Phone System From Hell.  If you keep pressing zero enough times you can usually get to a real person and thankfully that worked this time. I may handle automated phone systems rather badly. The second live person I talked to was actually helpful but apparently shipping just the missing part was impossible and then had to send a whole new fan.  Over-night shipping was also apparently impossible but she eventually caved and requested it be sent out as 2 day shipping (which translates to 2-5 days).  We did end up getting the new fan on Saturday though–score!

Matt handled the installation by himself (I may have possibly been napping….).  I went up to check on things as he was nearing the end and he had a laundry list of complaints.

Some of the screws provided did not actually fit, but he was able to scrounge spare screws from fan #1.

One of the screw holes for attaching the fan blades was miss-threaded making it damn near impossible to get the screw through.

The biggest issue though was installing the plate with the socket.  It attached with 3 small screws that were practically impossible to line up correctly.  It seriously took him a solid 1/2 hour to get that one piece in, it was also accompanied by a level of swearing straight out of the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The lesson learned from this is pretty much whoever designed this fan only designed it to be pretty.  They also possibly designed it to give electricians more business because it is a giant PITA to install on your own.

But daaamn is it gorgeous!


It came with an LED Edison bulb that’s pretty wussy so I’m going to try and swap it out for one of these pretty LED globe bulbs from IKEA.


It’s HERE!

No, not the baby, that would be waaaay too early, but my ceiling fan for the nursery is finally here!


I ordered it back in February, knowing it was back-ordered until the end of March.  Ok, I can wait.  At the end of March I get a call saying it won’t be available until the end of April.  Arghhhh.  We were ready to paint at this point, but I couldn’t pick out the paint until I had the fan.  At the end of April my already vivid pregnancy dreams started feeding off of my design neurosis and I had a nightmare in which I got shipped a broken and decrepit version of my fan and was told I couldn’t exchange it because it was the last one on the planet ever.  The next day I called up Lowes asking them to check on the status and they assured me it would be ready for pickup the next week.

Sure enough, I got a call last Thursday (also Star Wars Day, our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, and the official start of my third trimester) saying it was FINALLY ready for pickup.  The employee who called me was officially my BFF of the day.

Matt was hoping we could just pick up paint while we were already out.  Nope, sorry, hardware stores are possibly the worst place to choose a paint color.  That’s why they have all the swatches, so you can take them home and look at them in the same light you’ll be using the paint in.  Luckily for Matt, I already knew roughly what colors I wanted, I just needed to narrow down the exact shade so we were able to pick up paint first thing on Saturday and get to work.

Matt started on the ceiling while I started prepping the radiator.  My spray booth game is really improving.


How awesome is that ceiling???? The color is Breaktime by Sherwin Williams (flat finish). I think it’s bright and fun without being too candy-colored like sooo much kid stuff.

The radiator was currently a flat beige-y color.  Once we get everything painted and the bright white trim installed it was going to look really dirty.  I went over it with 3 coats of white spray paint* (satin finish). Soooooo much better!

The ceiling and radiator took up all of Saturday, then Sunday we were able to start the walls! Painting goes MUCH faster when you don’t have trim to cut in around so we were able to finish the walls in one day.


We have paint!  It looks pretty white, but it’s Palest Pistachio by Benjamin Moore (eggshell finish) and has a very faint gray/green tinge to it.  The next step is getting all the baseboards and casings primed, painted, cut, and installed.  Ooof! Our goal is to have the baby room looking like an actual room (instead of a construction zone) by my baby shower at the end of the month.  I think we can do it!


*Don’t worry, I had open windows and a full respirator.  I would have pawned it off on someone else, but spray paint is a technique and I have trust issues.




We have WALLS!


It’s kind of amazing actually.

A few weeks back my dad and brother-in-law joined up for an Epic DIY weekend.  My dad and I kicked it off with some custom door and window casings.  Matt’s brother, Isaac, got in later, so he and Matt were going to tackle the ceiling on Saturday.

Matt and I had already gotten drywall up on the walls, and all the seams taped and mudded.  The ceiling was going to be a far more intensive job though and a little college boy labor goes a long way. The first step was to rent a drywall lift.  My dad was telling me that he and my mom drywalled a ceiling without a lift back in the 70’s…oof!  It cost us $15 to rent a lift for the most of the day (from Menards).  Totally worth it.

I may have mentioned before that my dad and I make up team Crazed Perfectionist.  We watched Matt and Isaac for a little bit to see if they would need extra hands.  They didn’t really, but we started getting a little twitchy about the lack of crazed perfectionism, so I suggested (firmly) for a division of labor.  Team Crazed Perfectionist would handle the measuring and cutting, and team Grunt Labor would handle the lifting and installing.  This actually worked out pretty well, especially since doing anything on the ceiling gets tiring pretty quickly so this gave team Grunt Labor a bunch of mini rest breaks.

We’re still pretty new to drywall so I’m not going to do a tutorial (I’m sure they are far more knowledgeable people out there who have already written them).  I do have a few useful takeaways we learned though.

  • Suck it up and rent a drywall lift!  We didn’t bother with it for the walls because we installed the sheets vertically, but it was MUST for the ceiling.  If you’re installing sheets on the wall horizontally, you’ll probably want it too.ceilingDrywall1
  • Align the factory edges of your drywall as much as possible.  The edges of a sheet of drywall have a very slight indent in them to help compensate for the thickness of the tape and mud.
  • Mark the ends of your joists on the walls, then use a chalk line to connect the marks to show you where to put your screws.  It’s MUCH harder to eyeball a straight line when you’re balanced and bent on top of a ladder.


  • THIN coats when mudding.  Seriously. Yes, if it goes on too thick you can sand it down, but drywall dust is horrendous. Thin coats should mean less sanding AND less dry time between layers so you can get more done in a day.
  • Once you’re at the sanding stage, try and tarp off the room as best as you can.  We hung plastic sheeting over the door and kept the door closed at all times.


  • We didn’t try this, but had multiple people suggest a drywall sanding sponge.  Wet sanding should help control the dust and joint compound is water soluble so it’s supposed to be faster.
  • We tried a sanding attachment for our shop-vac.  Awesome in concept, but according to Matt it was a little unwieldy.  The head would spin unpredictably making things a little difficult.  He did notice an improvement in the dust control though, so it probably depends on the person if they like it or not.
  • Get a bag filter for your shop-vac!  You for sure want one rated for drywall dust because you will be vacuuming up a LOT.
  • Wear a mask and full goggles when sanding.  I really can’t over-state how awful drywall dust is.
  • Make sure you keep a good moisturizer handy.  Drywall is incredibly drying on the skin.


You can see we ended up with a tiny little strip of drywall, which is usually frowned upon.  Based on where our joists were positioned, this made the most sense for us.  We were able to screw the edges of the second-to-last board directly into the joists and the last little strip was light enough adhere with construction adhesive (because we were drywalling over existing plaster instead of bare studs).  We screwed it in too, but there wasn’t a joist there which we would have needed to secure a larger piece.


After making it though the weekend without killing anyone, Matt kept working away on the mudding/sanding the seams.  It’s a process and, quite frankly, it sucks.  Actually, the mudding’s not so bad, but the sanding is possibly the worst home improvement task ever.  I was really happy to have solid excuse not to help.  Once Matt got things sanded, he would call me in to give the Crazed Perfectionist opinion and then I’d go around with a pencil and circle all the areas that needed more work.

Two weeks later we were ready to prime!  I’m specifically holding off on installing trim until the room is fully painted.  Painting goes SO much faster when you don’t have to worry about cutting in!  We knocked out all the walls in about an hour one evening after work. Unfortunately, it was starting to get a little dark at that point and the “fancy” bare drywall primer is nearly impossible to see until it dries so our first coat turned out super crappy.  Oops.  It also highlighted some spots that still needed a little extra smoothing (though not as many as I expected!).

The next evening we tackled the touch-up spots and the ceiling.  We’ll take another look at everything in full daylight, but it seems to be going well.  I’m planning another coat of regular primer just so we don’t get any surprises when we paint.  And when will we get to the actual paint?  Well, my ceiling fan is now back-ordered until the end of April and I need the fan to decide on the ceiling color and I need the ceiling color to decide on the wall color.  Matt just sort of shakes his head and asks why we can’t just get a white fan.  I tell him he because he married a crazy person which he really should have been aware years ago.

Until my beloved fan comes in I’ll be sanding (with a mask!), priming, and painting all the trim pieces.





Gettin’ Our Groove On

I know I’ve been light on the house updates lately, but this past week should make up for it! Last Wednesday night * Two Wednesdays ago my dad came into town and then my brother-in-law joined us on Friday night.  Matt and I had taken off work for an Epic DIY Weekend and had a big ‘ol list of projects to try and tackle.

On Thursday we started looking for wood for our door and window casings.  We already knew we had to custom route the vertical casings so we just need to get wood in the correct dimensions.  Well, since the original casings in the rest of the house were 4.5″ inches wide, which meant dimensional lumber wouldn’t cut it.

We poked around through the trim section to see if there were any flat trim pieces that were 4.5″ wide.  Nope.  A bunch of 3.5, some 5.5, but no 4.5.  Figures.  At the end of the trim aisle though, were some door jamb pieces and kits.  Do you know how wide a door jamb is?  4.5 inches!  BOO-YA!  Plus, the outside edges are slightly rounded like our moldings.  Can I get another boo-ya?  The only minor problem is that they’re 81″ tall, which is a bit short but we have plinths in every other room so that’s an easy fix.

Sounds perfect right?  Only all the jambs at Home Depot were pretty warped.  Arrrgh!  Plan C now was to get 1×6’s and rip them down to size on a table saw.  A table we don’t have….  My dad offered to buy us a table saw though!  Some people give cribs as new baby gifts, my dad gives table saws.  I pointed this out at the store and a nearby customer laughed and pointed out that table saws were way more useful.

Ok, so we have a plan!  We have lumber!  We have a saw! We’re good to go, right?  Ehhhh.  Because the door jambs were so incredibly perfect and my dad and I make up Team Insane Perfectionist we decided to swing by Menards to see if they sold the same thing and if they were any straighter.  Success!  Let’s roll!

My dad had brought along his router and router table so we figured we’d get that all set up and then zip the boards through like you would with a table saw.  Easy-peasy right?

Um, nope.

There’s more resistence with a router blade than a table saw blade so it takes a LOT more effort to feed the wood though.  Pair that with a longer board and it’s really hard to get a nice, consistent groove.  The amount of effort it took to get one edge done (that didn’t even end up being a good edge), was clearly not going to work.

Ok, time for Plan B.

Back we go to the hardware store to pick up some inexpensive pine to make a jig. The jig consists of a 1×8 for the base and a 1×4 for the back guide that are screwed together in an L shape.


We knew we needed the raised edges on the casings to be 3/4″ wide so we did some quick math to determine where we would need to position the board, then screwed in some thin scrap wood as spacers.  It needed to be tall enough to butt the board up against, but short enough that it wouldn’t interfere with the router.


You don’t need to run your spacer pieces along the full length of the jig.  The board won’t be moving, just the router, so you really just need to make sure you have nice, even spacers on each end so you can position the board well.  It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re going to build a jig you want all the lumber you’ll be using to be as straight as possible.  We may have spent a good 10 minutes pulling out board after board and checking it for straightness.  Knots and splits don’t really matter, it just needs to be as straight as possible.


Once we had our jig set up, we clamped the wood into place and got to routing.  We did have to stop at each clamp to re-position it, but that’s not a big issue.



See my lack of a mask?  Don’t do that.**  Routing kicks up shit-tons of sawdust.  I didn’t realize that right away (yes, I’m an idiot) so I didn’t put on a mask until I was about 1/2 way done… and then 2 days later I was in the ER with an asthma flair-up.

We did one pass, then flipped the board around to do the other edge.



Bee-yoo-teee-ful.  But now there’s still a chunk left in the center.  We re-measured to see how far out the next pass would have to be, but this time just marked lines on our jig.  The outermost passes were the ones that really had to be precise, so for these we just lined the board up with the marks and had the second person simply hold it in place.



Aaand then you flip it around and do the same thing to the other side.


Now we’re left with one tiny strip in the middle.  Now, you guessed it, we measured, marked, and re-positioned the board.  The narrow strips we used as spacers for the edges were the perfect width to position the board to get the center strip.  We flipped them vertical to line up the board and pulled them out once someone was holding the board in place.



Some of you may be wondering why we bothered painted the boards if we were just going to strip a bunch of it off.  Well, we didn’t; the boards came pre-primed.  We didn’t need them too, but they were the only real wood (not particle board or MDF option).  The bonus is there’s a much better contrast in my pictures.

Just take a look at these beauties compared the original casings!


I’m giving them a rating of PDG: Pretty Darn Good.


*I may have been a little slow in publishing this….

**See my awesomely coordinated gloves and Batman shirt?  Not planned at all, but you can totally copy that.  Also, I hate pregnant-me in pictures.  In real life I feel totally fine but I see a picture and can only quote Spaceballs–“Why didn’t anyone ever tell me my ass was so big?!”  My amazing and supportive husband responded to this with “Well, you’re supposed to be getting bigger.”  This is the same amazing guy who once told me “I like how fat you are” and said I looked like “a yellow whale” after trying on a very unflattering maxi dress.  He may suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.  I’m hoping for the “pregnant glow” before we get a professional pregnancy shoot done, but so far I’ve just been breaking out like a teenager.









Nursery Inspiration

Who’s excited???  It’s been a while since I put together a mood board and possibly the best part of pregnancy is brainstorming decor!  I had a few ideas floating around, but wanted to wait until we knew if we would be having a boy or girl.

Well, it’s officially a boy!

So here’s what I’m currently thinking:

Nursery Mood Board

I wanted something fun and child-appropriate without being overly cutesy.  Baby won’t have any opinions on decor for a while (if ever), so the nursery is really more for mom and dad.  I also wanted to keep the basics of the room pretty gender-neutral so if we have a girl sometime in the future we can reuse our baby gear easily.

As I mentioned before, my starting point was a set of Zoo Portraits–fun and whimsical without being sickeningly cutesy. The ceiling fan I fell in love with early on and nearly talked myself out of it! Everyone thinks I’m nuts when I start gushing over a ceiling fan, but isn’t this one just fabulous?

I didn’t want to fall into the muted, monochromatic trap that a lot of baby rooms fall into.  Bold colors and high contrast are easier for a baby to focus on, so I wanted pops of brights, especially in the mobile. Plus, it’s just more to my personal liking. The lime and redish-orange I plan to work into some more accessories and storage pieces.

My current thoughts on paint are to paint the ceiling the same minty-aqua as the light fixture and then go pretty neutral on the walls.  I think by the time I’m done there will be a lot going on around the floor and walls that will be better balanced by a bolder ceiling.

The Eames elephant probably won’t make it into the final room since it’s definitely splurgy, but a girl can dream, right?




Presidents Day Dry-walling

Last year we went to Vegas with some friends for the Presidents Day/Valentines Day weekend.  This year, we dry-walled a nursery.

Well, we started dry-walling a nursery.

Yes, getting older can be a little lame.  Like I tend to tell people though, I’ve never been cool a day in my life and don’t intend to start now.  So yeah, dry-walling.


As a quick refresher, this is where we were at with the nursery.  We had ripped out the gross ceiling tiles, the lame trim, the prison-esque light fixture, and the grody paneling.  I voted to just hire someone to come in and skim-coat ALL THE THINGS but Matt wanted to just re-drywall.  It’s definitely cheaper so I didn’t argue too much.

Last weekend we headed to Menards, rented a truck, and bought a crap-ton of 1/4″ drywall.  We opted for 1/4″ because we weren’t ripping out the existing plaster and wanted to minimize extra bulk.  I helped Matt haul this into our house, all the while thinking I’d fall, have to call the emergency mid-wife line and explain to them that I slipped on some ice while carrying drywall because the first thing we decided to do after finding out I was pregnant was to demo an entire room.  Thankfully I remained upright and told Matt he would need a different assistant to help haul the sheets up the stairs.*

One of the issues with adding a layer of drywall was that door frames would be a little awkward.  If you drywall up to the edge of the door, you’re stuck with a bare edge of edge of drywall.


Ew ideed.

To solve the problem (without redoing the entire door frame) we bought 1/4″ strips of wood to frame out the openings first, and then butt the drywall up against the wood.


The change in materials (and the gap) won’t be an issue because we’ll be adding new trim to the entire room as well, so all we need is an even surface. Once the rest of the doorframe gets painted, you’ll never even know it was there.

Speaking of even, have I mentioned that old houses are not even remotely square?  Yeah.  We’ve got some seriously half-assed looking drywall happening in here.


Although it’s hard to tell from the picture, so feel free to think of us as drywall masters.  We’re cool with that.


…but I’m honest, so here’s a close-up of the piece above the window.  It is the exact same length as the piece below the window that has nice, tight seams.  This is what happens when you assume things are even.  Except you really only make an ass out of u, because if me had been there I would have put a stop to these shenanigans because I know not to trust old houses.

Aaaanyway…. We can get away with some half-ass-ery because we’re dry-walling over an existing solid wall rather than bare studs.  This is also why we opted to hang the sheets vertically instead of horizontally.  I usually see drywall hung horizontally so I researched it a bit and the conclusion seemed to be that it doesn’t matter a lot, but horizontal hanging will be a little more structurally sound.  Well, we already had existing walls, so that I wasn’t a huge issue for us.  It was easier to hang the sheets vertically, so we went with that.


The drywall sheets were 4’x8′ and the ceilings were about 8’3″ tall.  We’re planning on installing baseboards that are taller that 3″ so the bottom seam wouldn’t be issue.  We grabbed a couple scrap 2×4’s (thanks to the brilliance that is modern lumber dimensions, 2=1.5) and were able to prop the sheet up so it would sit even with the ceiling while we screwed it in.

So now we’re almost half way done with the walls!  There’s still the other half, plus the ceiling, plus all the mudding/taping/sanding.  We’ve recruited my dad and brother-in-law to come help in mid-March so we should see a big chunk of progress made then.  I’m planning on haz-matting myself up and diving in too because I start getting twitchy if I see people doing things that aren’t up to my standards.**  I’m mostly concerned about all the dust from sanding (since I’m already asthmatic and prone to bronchitis) but I figure a heavy-duty mask and a sander that attaches to a shop-vac should leave me pretty safe in that area.


*He opted to do it himself and as a result we have two more broken picture frames.

**Drywall joints pre-compound are clearly not one of my higher standards







First IKEA Run of 2017!

After Matt broke one of my picture frames from our gallery wall I’ve been meaning to get out to IKEA for a replacement.  In the meantime I also managed to convince him that we should replace the beige couch* and discovered a sale on their PAX wardrobe line (which we were already planning on getting).  So we just decided to make one giant (read:expensive) trip.

We’re a compact car family so we opted for the delivery service.  We even lucked out and were in Zone A so it was a flat $59 for anything we wanted delivered. Plus the delivery service would leave the items in the room of your choosing.  No man-handling PAX parts up our stairs for me!  Sold!

I usually try to avoid IKEA on the weekends, but the Sunday we went wasn’t too bad.  We had a specific plan and weren’t really browsing for anything else (although we did end up with a full-length mirror because such is the nature of IKEA).  I used their in-store PAX planner because for some reason it’s super slow to load at home.  This was the most time consuming part of the trip and I started steadily feeling crappy.  After you have a PAX plan an employee will type up an order slip, but as soon as we were done with our plan the nearby employees had vanished (it was busy, I get it).  I sent Matt off to find someone and collapsed on a nearby ottoman.

I must have looked pretty awful at this point because a random man came up and asked me if I was ok.  “Just pregnant and miserable, but otherwise fine.” was my reply.  “Ah.”  He said knowingly. “Migraines?  My wife had horrible migraines.”  I’m pretty sure I just got more sympathy from a total stranger than I have from my husband…. although he’s now afraid to offer any help to me because he’s afraid I may misinterpret it as coddling and get pissed.  Poor guy can’t win.

After getting our PAX order together we were informed we had to go back to the kitchen section to get the door hardware, but everything else would be pulled for us.  It had been a rough weekend for me so I seriously considered passing out on one of the beds and letting Matt wander back through half the store to get back to the kitchen section.  I womaned it up though and went with him.

We also decided to replace the Beige Couch of Boring.  It was a super comfy couch, but I’m pretty much programed to hate beige.  Plus the size and style just weren’t working for me.  We decided to go with the Karlstad sofa because we figure with kids on the way we don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed.  Plus, every square inch of the cover can be removed an washed.  Win.

We were able to get same-day delivery (woot!) but I wasn’t going to deal with same-day assembly.  Unfortunately, this meant dealing with assembly after work during the week.  Because Matt’s a sweetie, we assembled the couch first.  Because Matt is considerably less pregnant than me, he then decided to assemble the PAX that same night while I tested out the nap-ability of the new couch (verdict: little hard, needs breaking in).


The couch looks solidly IKEA at the moment, but not to worry, I’ve got plans to hack this puppy!  The smaller, more open profile is definitely a win for the space.


Hey look, Matt has a closet!  In the bedroom!  It actually even gives him more space than the closet he was using previously.  More wins!  Since I was napping and not supervising, he managed to break one of the rods and lose a hinge.  2017 has not been a good year for Matt’s DIY record….  We seriously tore the bedroom apart looking for the missing hinge and can’t find it.  It’s big enough that we would have heard the cats playing with it if they had batted it off.


The most exciting part of assembling this was getting it level.  The PAX frame has little feet behind the bottom edge in the corners that you can adjust… but they assume your floor is only a little unlevel.  Anyone who’s even lived in a old house know words like “level,” “square,” and “standard size” are words that will no longer appear in your vocabulary.  Instead this thing got leveled by jamming a 1×2 under one corner.  Good times.

While we were at IKEA I was debating between the BERGSBO and TYSSEDAL doors.  The TYSSEDALs were about twice as pricey and I while I thought they were slightly nicer, I didn’t think they were twice-the-price-nicer so we went with BERGSBO.  Then Matt assembled everything….

But because I’m a genius, I forgot to take a picture of assembly round 1. We got them up, I stared at them for a couple days, and then decided they weren’t right for the room.  The paneled doors and detailed trim of the house just wasn’t working with the bare-bones shaker-style doors on the wardrobe. Luckily, the doors fit into our car (hatchbacks FTW!) so we hauled them back and exchanged them.  Oh, and we picked up another pack of hinges because a week later we still hadn’t found the lost one.

The TYSSEDALs have some beveling similar to the house’s interior doors and work MUCH better.  I also finally got a nice, chunky, full-sized mirror.  It only took Matt about 20 holes in the wall to get it hung!  This one’s not even his fault! A 100+ year old house means lathe-and-plaster construction for the walls.  While there still are studs, the extra bulk over them makes stud-finders useless.  the only thing to do is drill a bunch a tiny holes until you feel a stud and then patch them all later.  Fun times, right?

Our dressers replaced our nightstands (which you can see a bit in the reflection) but I’m not showing pics of the whole room because it’s not super clean and is also incredibly bland at the moment.  Like most rooms in the house, it’s on the to-do list.  At least we’ve upped the functionality!


*Anyone in the Twin Cities area looking for a couch?  The main reason we’re getting rid of it is because I HATE beige.  It’s also a little too chunky for our space.  It’s up on Craiglist right now so if you’re in the area let me know and I’ll share the link.





Shit My Husband Broke This Weekend

Matt decided to get his DIY on this weekend, which is general is awesome!  This time though… he was a little off his game.

Project 1: Fix the leaky radiator

The radiator in our dining room had a small leak.  Nothing super noticeable, but it was causing some rust on the pipe and, because radiator systems rely on pressure, was also causing some issues with the radiators on the upper floors.  So Matt did some research and decided to try a fix with epoxy putty and fiberglass tape.  “I don’t know if it will work, but it can’t possibly make it worse” was basically his mantra.

Except it made things worse.

I wasn’t supervising watching his progress, but he had to chip off some paint to get the putty to adhere.  Paint that had been partially sealing the leak.  And then the epoxy and fiberglass didn’t really do anything (except look awful) so we just ended up with a slightly larger leak.


I don’t have a before picture because I wasn’t expecting this to be a big deal, but this is the aftermath.  I told him he wasn’t allowed to “fix” anything else this weekend.

Project 2: Study Demo + Outlet Replacement

We’ve been steadily ripping out the paneling in the study and were down to the last wall this weekend!  The only annoying thing so far is that the outlets in the room were installed over the paneling, so they needed to be removed in order to take the paneling off. Which means once the panels were off we had to put the outlets back in, but properly this time.

Matt picked up new electrical boxes that could be secured to studs (so they wouldn’t be wibbly-wobbly).  To reach the studs he had to cut through some of the old plaster and lath.  He was pretty excited because he got to bust out the reciprocating saw we got for Christmas.

The first outlet went smoothly… but the second.  Well, I was downstairs and heard a crash.  I shouted up that I didn’t want to know about it, but I found out anyway.  He was cutting a new opening for the outlet on the wall that runs along the stairs.  The wall where we had recently hung a gallery wall.  A gallery wall I was planning on photographing that same day.  If you’re unfamiliar with reciprocating saws, they create a lot of vibration.  Vibration doesn’t mix well with wall art and one of the pictures came crashing down off the wall.


Yeah. There goes my project for the weekend.  I made him take down the rest of the art before continuing and he made it through the rest of the project without destroying the house.