Thrifted Nailhead Bench

First, yes, it is a well-known fact that I do not have the patience for photography. But this particular set of images uniquely reflect the state of my life right now: I leave the house when it is still dark. I return home once it is dark. Thus: dark, yellow-y pictures. Yum. :)

But I digress. Kenny and I found this sweet upholstered bench at a local secondhand furniture store.


It fits pretty nicely at the end of our bed, don’tcha think?

The price was right at $60…more expensive than thrift store prices, but the stuff at this secondhand store is curated more nicely than a thrift store. So I understand the pricing. Plus, this bench had the upholsterer’s tag still on it (with a date of 11/2013) and is like-new.


In the above picture you can see the crazy cathedral ceilings and area above our closets. We’re planning a major renovation of this area to happen sometime in the next, oh, 20 or 30 years.

Here’s a closer picture of the bench. It’s actually a creamy-white/gray stripe with shiny silver nailheads.


Kenny and I have made a pact that we will not leave clothes/anything on the bench. Anyone want to bet how long that’ll last? :)


I would make an exception for a pillow or three, though. And a fluffy throw? Mmm. I can see it now.

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Our Free Threshold and the Best Tool in My Arsenal

After we tiled and grouted our half bathroom, we had to figure out how to bridge the Very Ugly Gap between the laminate flooring and the new tile (see it in the photo below). To complicate matters, the tile was about 3/16″ higher than the laminate flooring. To FURTHER complicate matters, the T-molding we needed from Home Depot that we would have used was out of stock, both in store and online, with no restock date available. Cue the panic attack!


I could not wait an indeterminate amount of time, so I had to get creative. Hang with me now. This getsĀ good.

See that step up into the hallway in the photo below? We had to install a bullnose edge to finish the laminate there (so you couldn’t see the raw edges of the laminate).


We had about 30″ extra of this bullnose. Here’s what the profile of it looks like:


So I used my Dremel and sliced off that bullnose to create some T-molding, like this:


What do you know?! It worked! And was FREE! My favorite. No more ugly gap!


The best tool in my aresenal? Ingenuity! Well, it’s either that or “hoarder tendencies.” I saved $25 by getting a little creative with something we had on hand. Love that!

EDITED TO ADD: Irony of ironies, I just checked and the T-molding is back in stock at Home Depot. Good heavens. But then, what would I have blogged about? #goingdownhillfast ;)

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Grout, aka, the Most Exciting Subject Matter Ever

We tiled our half-bath floor! Next on the ol’ to-do list: GROUT. This is our first tiling/grouting rodeo, so we weren’t sure how it was going to go, but it actually was fairly easy!image

We selected a light gray grout (white grout would just be asking for trouble!), got a grout float, and smooshed that grout all around. It was gross and oh so satisfying.


After we let it sit for about 20 minutes, we gently wiped off the excess with a damp sponge….and that WAS IT. Literally the hardest part of the job was cleaning up the tools afterwards.


The grout lightened up considerably from the picture above as it dried, but you know me and long posts: can’t do ‘em. I’m already bored with this game. So you’ll have to wait for the next Very Thrilling Installment for that glamourous reveal!

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Half-Bath Update: Herringbone Marble Tile Floor (and Our Thrilling Thinset Adventure)

I owe you an update on our half bathroom! It no longer looks like this:


Yikes, right?! If you recall, we ripped out just about everything from the bathroom and are revamping that space with new flooring, a new vanity/sink, and a new wall treatment.

Once demo was done (it went veeeery fast in a space this tiny), it was time to start adding stuff back in! We decided on tile flooring, but first we had to prepare the plywood subfloor. Normally cement board/hardie backer/backerboard is used, but since it’s about the thickness of drywall, we wanted to try a new-to-us product called Ditra. As you can see below, it’s a flexible plastic with a fleece backing that does the same job as cement board.


The above picture is the dry-fit. Once I cut it out (with a scissors, no less! So easy!), we used thinset (modified) to adhere it to the subfloor.

Aaaaaand then we waited. For about three weeks. You see, Ditra manufacturers recommend using UNMODIFIED thinset to adhere the tile to the Ditra. AND we selected white carrera-looking marble tiles for the flooring, which means that we wanted to use WHITE (rather than the more typical gray) thinset to avoid any staining that might occur.

The hunt for WHITE, UNMODIFIED thinset was very very long. I never want to frequent another tile chatroom again. But we finally found what we were looking for and special ordered it from Menards. We then had to wait another 3 weeks for it to come in.

While we waited, I had a lot of fun unpacking and sorting through all the tiles and playing with patterns.


FINALLY the white unmodified thinset came in, and we got to work. I was the designated tile layer and Kenny manned our new $99 tile saw. We make a great team. :)


It took us 3 separate evenings to fully tile the 21 square feet. Quick tilers we are not. :)


Here’s what it looked like once we had finished laying the tile! Looking at this picture makes the OCD in me freak out a bit about all the gray tiles clustered on the right, but it’s WAY less visible in person. You’ll have to come over and see for yourself.


Now we’re tracking down a threshold (slash…we have an idea we may be able to make work?) and planning a romantic evening of grouting.

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$4 Scrap Wood Initial

Ever since I got this antique seascape to hang over our mantle, I’ve wanted to do something modern and contemporary to pair with it…a juxtaposition of sorts. My favorite decor style is when old and new items are blended well with not too many new things and not too many old things. But until last week, our mantle has been dominated by that “old” painting.


And since I put out that plaid runner on our coffee table (just peeking out in the corner above), I’ve wanted to infuse more orange into our space. When I saw this large vintage-inspired letter from Sarah M. Dorsey, I knew I could replicate it. Sarah took hers to the next level by coating it with shiny resin, but I was content with a simpler approach.

I grabbed a piece of scrap wood, in my case, a piece of 1/2″ MDF and sketched out a letter “B” using a yardstick and a variety of circular objects (for the curves): a 5-gallon bucket, my good dishes, a kitchenaid mixer bowl, etc.


Then I grabbed my jigsaw and got to work. This took some time (30 minutes?) and cut the outline. To cut the inner parts of the “B,” I used a spade bit on my drill in the corners and then just connected the dots with my jigsaw.


As you can see, the edges needed a good sanding once I was finished.


After I had the letter cut and sanded, it was simply a matter of spraypainting it! Meijer has a surprisingly huge selection of spray paint colors, so I grabbed a cheap $3.69 can and got to work once I set up a (well-ventilated!) zone in our basement.

After it dried, I couldn’t wait to layer it on our mantle with a few early Christmas decorations!


The letter ended up being about 22″ tall, but I would have gone even bigger if I’d had a bigger scrap piece of wood.


I think my bright orange letter helps the mantle not take itself so seriously. :)

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