Kitchen Update: We Have Floors!!

I can’t believe we finally have new floors in the kitchen! We’ve came so far on this kitchen. You can read about the changes we’ve made here, here, and here. And if you’ve forgotten what it looked like when we first started…

Houston House (9)

And here it is today!

kitchen floors

After bringing home sample after sample of flooring for months, we finally decided on porcelain tile. And I love it; although it about killed us!

It took me three days to hammer, I mean, remove the old ceramic tile! 300 square feet of tile in three days = one sore gal!

Here I was at 299 1/4 square feet to go…

kitchen floors

Some spots would just pop up with very little effort, but for the most part, it was like this:

 kitchen floors

and this…

  kitchen floors

And when it would crack, the edges would shatter into hundreds of tiny shards of ceramic! I figured out real quick to cover the tiles I was working on, as I had to have Mr. use tweezers to get a tiny piece of ceramic out of my arm when he got home the first day! (I used one of his  old t-shirts to cover the tiles and then just threw it away when I was done.)  

Hank was a big help and supervised as I scraped the thin set off the floors once I got all the tiles up.


Then it was time to install; and time to watch a lot of YouTube videos! Like everything else we do, we were going in pretty blind and clueless. We borrowed a wet saw from Mr.’s cousin, but it was old and tired; so we, of course, had to buy a new one. $$ But let me tell you, this is one awesome saw! We were tile cutting wizards by the time we were done!

kitchen floors

I wanted the floors to have a wood floor look, with different sizes of planks, so we cut the tile planks in random lengths. (no rhyme or reason) It made for extra time to lay the floor, but it was so worth it. Mr. did 99% of the floor, and he did such a great job!!

But here’s proof that I did 1% of laying the floor. 🙂

kitchen floors

Here’s Mr. doing his Michael Jackson impression! (he may or may not have needed stitches! I don’t know…I didn’t look!) But I should have bejeweled his glove!

kitchen flooring

We had a couple of places where the thinset got carried away and made it’s way up the sides of the tile. I used a grout remover tool and scraped it down. I put a couple of pieces of painters tape on each side. That way if I slipped while scraping, it wouldn’t scratch the tile.

kitchen flooring     kitchen flooring

And once again, Hank is supervising me while I removed the grout haze.

kitchen flooring

My heart sunk at one point when I thought we had cracked the tile while moving the washer around in the laundry room! #OhCrapMoment #JustRealisticLookingTile

kitchen flooring

I’m so happy with our floor. It’s amazing how it changed the looks of the kitchen! And by doing it ourselves, we saved over $3,000! Even with buying a new wet saw.

kitchen flooring



One more before and after…

Houston House (9)     kitchen floors

I’m so glad to be finished so I can finally get rid of all the dust in the house!

kitchen flooring

And another one bites the dust on The To-Do List! Yay!


Y’all have a great day!




Updating the Ceiling Fans

After living in this house for over 2 1/2 years, two of the ugliest ceiling fans have finally been updated! Yay!! Like every other piece of hardware in this 90’s house, they were brass.

Painting ceiling fan blades

I’ve read lately that brass and gold fixtures/hardware are making a comeback! That’s all good and well, but I don’t follow the trends or what’s hot right now. I decorate for me and what makes me happy! And what makes me happy is brushed nickel. And white blades! But we couldn’t find any fans that I liked in brushed nickel with white blades. They all had two shades of brown. A light shade on one side and a dark shade on the other. And I really wanted white blades for these two fans. One was going into the living room and the other in the master bedroom.

So what’s a girl to do when the color isn’t right? She paints it! I laid the blades out on saw horses and gave each side one coat of primer and two coats of white spray paint.

Painting ceiling fan blades

I let them dry/cure for several days before Mr. installed the fans. You can’t tell at all that the blades were painted.

Painting ceiling fan blades

They look so much brighter and cleaner than the previous fans.

Painting ceiling fan blades

And with this project finished, this completes the projects for the living room on The To-Do List! Yay!

  • paint an accent wall or two (you can read about that here)
  • change out the ceiling fan


Y’all have a great day!


Entryway Makeover: Keeping Memories Alive

WARNING! …if you don’t like painted wood, don’t read any further! There, I warned you.

This piece started out as a 1935 era Singer sewing machine, which belonged to my paternal great-grandma. I remember making Christmas stockings on it when I was in grade school, in the early 1970’s.

desk 4

When my great-grandma passed away, my Mamaw inherited it, and around 20 years ago…I inherited it!

My great-grandma and Mamaw. circa 1941

family picture

The cabinet looks in good shape and all in the above picture, but let’s take a closer look…

At some point, the flip lid had been wet and the wood warped and mildewed. Mamaw had covered it with contact paper and this is what it looked like when I took the paper off. Yuck!

Sewing machine cabinet

I’m not sure what this was, (and I don’t think I want to know) but it was not having any part of coming off!

Sewing machine cabinet

And this was just years of wear & tear, dirt, and who knows what all!

Sewing machine cabinet

After three hours of removing screws and hardware, I ended up with this.

DSCN3679     DSCN3680

Since the top was pretty much a goner, Mr. cut a new top, I sanded it, and put a dark stain on it. (pretend you don’t see a baggie on my hand! We ran out of gloves!)

DSCN3687     DSCN3690

We set up a painting area in the garage for me to spray paint the metal frame. I’m not sure how well everyone else can spray paint, but it’s like a fog storm when I spray paint!! I then put a coat of primer and two coats of Behr Youthful Coral on the drawer boxes and drawers. You might remember that we used this same color in “The Closet Under the Staircase”. You can read about that makeover here, here, and here.

Sewing machine cabinet     Sewing machine cabinet

I painted the side of the drawers white so they would look pretty when pulled out. And the ornate work on the sides of the frame really popped once we painted them white!

desk after     Sewing machine cabinet

My entryway has been bare and boring since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. But no more!

desk after

beach decor

And of course, we always have to have that before and after shot!

desk before     desk after

I’m super thrilled with the finished product and with my entryway all together! Instead of just being pushed into a corner and gathering dust, I’m able to use my desk everyday and enjoy the memories of where it came from!

Y’all have a great day!


Upcycled Kitchen Island

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

I’m back after a three month absence and have lots to share with you, and am so excited about the first project I have to show you!


If you read this post, you’ll remember this initially started out as a four drawer chest of drawers that somehow ended up looking like this after our move from Oklahoma to Houston!


Not wanting to give up on using this piece somewhere in our house, I moved it into the kitchen and laid the leftover piece of quartz from our countertops on top of it. I wanted to make sure there was enough room in the kitchen and to see if we would really use it enough to justify a kitchen island. There was and we did!

So I got to work! I removed the front piece between where the top and second drawer should be and the bottom trim piece. They didn’t fit the look I was going for.

DSCN3356     DSCN3502

I then had to fill in LOTS of scratches, dings, and holes with wood filler; even rebuilding a corner that had been knocked off on one of the drawers. Mr. added beadboard to the sides and back that was leftover from our backsplash we installed back in February. He also cut out a shelf to go above the top drawer.


I primed and painted the chest and the drawers with a white enamel and added hardware that matched our kitchen cabinets. I painted the outer sides of the drawers a fun color (same as the kitchen desk) and lined them and the shelf with the cute paper that I’m lining the bottom kitchen cabinets with. We had the edges of the quartz top smoothed & polished and glued it on using Liquid Nails.


But who knew that the little towel rods on the sides would be the hardest items to find! I wanted something that wasn’t big or that would stick out. We went to several stores with no luck! I searched online with no success! The closest I had found was a special order drawer pull at Home Depot for $20! That was what I had paid for the entire chest at the auction!! We finally found what I was looking for at Ikea. Two for $7.99! Score! They were perfect to hang my towels Mr. bought me in Galveston!



This gives me a place to store my plastic containers and lids, my crock with my cake decorating spatulas, a few of my cookbooks, and those cute whale measuring cups that my daughter gave to me at Christmas!




And one more look at the before and after.

DSCN3356     DSCN3551

Y’all have a great day!


We Finally Have Backsplash!!

After five months of living with this:

DSCN2589     DSCN2591

I have this!


It took me the entire five months to decide what I wanted. I bought tile after tile samples, brought them home, and held them up to the walls. I just didn’t get that “this is it” feeling. Then I saw what I wanted on Pinterest. And as soon as I saw it, I got that “this is it” feeling!! 🙂 A beadboard backsplash would go great with the coastal look I was bringing into the house!




And let me tell you, the price was fantastic!

2 – 4 x 8 beadboard = $40

2 – tubes Liquid Nail = $6

2 – 8′ pine trim = $24

1 – pkg. brads = $5

paint & primer = $0 (leftover from previous project)

caulk = $0 (leftover from previous project)

Even if we would have had to purchase paint, primer, and caulk, we could have installed the entire backsplash for around $120! Mr. was super excited about the price AND the fact that he got to buy a new cordless nail gun! 🙂


I found a great tip on how to cut out the holes for the outlets on A little tape and viola, the holes were marked! So much easier than using a tape measure, especially when you have three cutouts in one piece of board!

DSCN3180     DSCN3181

Mr. recently added the pendant lights over the sink and the desk, where the recessed lights were before. We used a conversion kit that takes literally minutes to install and what a difference it makes!


And how cute are these whale measuring cups that I got for Christmas from our daughter! Love, love, love them!


And everyone should have a quirky magnet collection on their fridge! 🙂 Ours are from places Mr. and I have visited and a couple are from our daughter and her roommate.


I am thrilled with the way the backsplash turned out!

And of course, I have to remind you of what we started with two years ago and how far we’ve come!

Houston House (9)     DSCN3318

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

Under the Staircase Closet: Done!

What a difference a little paint, some flooring, and shelving does for a closet!

Closet makeover

Plus a lot of cleaning out!! We packed up two boxes and a trash bag full of items for donation and our daughter claimed her classical guitar, sleeping bag, the large sofa picture, and a kitchen utensil turnabout. What little was left, I stored in more appropriate places so things can be found in the future. In reality, I put them where they should have been in the first place!

After we cleaned out the closet, removed the old shelf & carpet, and painted (you can read about that here and here), the next thing we did was install this bookcase from Ikea for storage. Of course, some assembly was required but it went together really easy and quick. (much quicker than the filing cabinet we put together a couple of days ago! We won’t talk about how many hours THAT took!!)

We decided to only keep what few jackets/coats that we wear often in this closet and store all the others in a closet upstairs for now. Therefore, I only wanted/needed a small space to hang jackets. To save money, we decided to reuse the rod and shelf brackets. Once we decided upon the new length, Mr. cut the old rod down to size and reinstalled the brackets. We also bought a shelf at Lowe’s and Mr. screwed it onto the brackets.

Closet makeover


I found the three nesting totes and the white basket at Hobby Lobby. I love the gray chevron pattern. (even tho it’s been said that chevron is sooo last year!) 🙂 In the tote above the jackets, I stored the games that we play the most, such as Uno, Left Center Right, and decks of cards. I also used one of the totes for extra embroidered cup towels that my mom and grandma made me, and the white basket for plastic bags.

Closet makeover

Closet makeover

I found this cute metal bin at HomeGoods to corral all the loose tall items. You know, like the six yardsticks that everyone needs! There are also two kites stored in the bin that I found buried in this closet!


Mr. installed hooks for convenience of hanging umbrellas, bags, etc., spray painted the base to the light, and rewired it. I would like to replace the light in the future, but I haven’t found anything that I really like. For now, this one works just fine (and it’s not gold any longer!).

DSCN3168     DSCN3167

And the sloped end of the closet turned out to be a perfect fit for our suitcases! You can see one of our little, neon green ID tags smiling at ya! 🙂


I am so thrilled to have this closet useable again! And if you don’t remember what it looked like before, here are some before and after pics.

DSCN3055     Closet makeover

     DSCN3057   Closet makeover

DSCN3052     Closet makeover

So there you go! Our scary “Under the Staircase Closet” is gone and I’m no longer embarrassed for anyone to open this closet door!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

Under the Staircase Closet Makeover: Walls & Floor

The closet makeover has started and it looks so much better!


First thing we had to do was clean that sucker out. And I was amazed at the amount of stuff that was in this closet! I showed you pictures of the messy closet here and gave you a brief list of items that you couldn’t see in the pictures. Well…there were things in there that I couldn’t even see and didn’t know was in there!! Hidden among the chaos was a guitar case with our daughter’s classical guitar, her sleeping bag, a mod-podged ceramic cat that I made when I was a little girl, an electric can opener, and my yoga mat (which obviously I haven’t used in quite some time!). And remember the numerous yardsticks I mentioned? Well, there were six! According to Mr., you can never have too many yardsticks! 🙂

Closet makeover - before

First thing Mr. did was remove the shelf and brace from the wall. This caused some minor damage which we fixed with a little spackling compound. After it was good and dry, we hit it with sandpaper just to take off any pointy pieces that were sticking out and smooth it out just a bit.

Closet makeover - during

Closet makeover - during

Closet makeover - during

We painted the sloped ceiling and three of the walls white, but I picked out a “fun” color for the back wall, Youthful Coral by Behr.

Closet makeover - after

We then removed the carpet & tack strips and scraped the glue off the concrete. A putty knife works great for scraping all the glue and foam pad that is stuck on the concrete!

Closet makeover - during

Closet makeover - during

When doing our DIY projects, there’s almost always something that Mr. and I have never attempted and know nothing about! Installing the hardwood floors was this project’s something. We found some flooring at Floor & Décor that we thought was pretty close to the hardwood that is already in the house. It’s slightly redder, but that also could be from the colorful wall that is shining down on it! 🙂

Our VERY helpful sales guy at Floor & Décor spent about five minutes explaining the how-to’s and what-for’s to us, stated “you got this”, and sent us on our way! He apparently was a good teacher, as the only hiccup we had was at the door jamb. Mr. had to cut the bottom of the door jamb off so that the flooring would slide under it to meet the other flooring. I took a video of him cutting it out and will post about it soon. Due to the fact that we were so involved in laying the floor down, I forgot to take any pictures of the progress!

Closet makeover - during

To keep Mr. from having to rip the last boards into 1 1/2″ strips, we built a trim to attach to the baseboards that were already installed. We couldn’t find any trim or molding in stock at Home Depot or Lowe’s that was 1 1/2″ thick, so I came up with the idea to make our own. We found some trim that we liked, then glued and nailed a slat to the back of the trim.

Closet makeover - during

Mr. then nailed it to the baseboard. I caulked all the seams, and primed & painted the trim and baseboard with a glossy white. It now looks like one complete piece of trim molding.

Closet makeover - during

Closet makeover

It looks so much better than it did before! Next on the list…shelving!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!


Laundry Room vs. Walk-in Pantry

While my mom was here visiting over Christmas, we were talking about having the washer/dryer in the master closet instead of a designated laundry room. She made the point that that is where we have our dirty clothes hamper and where we keep our clothes in the first place. Think of the time you would save walking back and forth from the hampers to the laundry room and then back to the bedrooms to put away your clean clothes. And if you’re like me, there is a path of dropped dirty clothes along the way as I attempt to carry the entire hamper of clothes in one trip!

Our laundry room is at the end of the kitchen, right next door to my little pantry.

Laundry and Pantry doors

And our laundry room is ALWAYS in disarray! It has the washer/dryer on one side of the room and wire shelves on the other side. I don’t know about you, but I hate wire shelving. Unless things are in boxes or baskets, stuff is always falling over.

laundry room

laundry room 2

What I would love to do is move the washer/dryer to the master closet and turn the present laundry room into a walk-in pantry. I’m very fortunate when it comes to the size of our master closet, as it is 85.5 square feet. (our closet was approx. 30 sf in our last house) Therefore it is totally large enough to handle this, especially if I stack the washer/dryer. And I might even be able to fit a small folding table/island in the middle of the closet like this one. And you have to love a chandelier in a closet!

closet island


And then I could have a walk-in pantry. A WALK-IN PANTRY!!!! (choir music should be played when these words are spoken!) And there would be…Storage Galore!

pantry 2


I’m still on the fence about all of this. I know it’s what I would love to do, but not sure if it’s worth the money we would spend in the end. What are your thoughts on this idea? Designated laundry room or laundry in the master closet?

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

Organizing Small Spaces: Organizing Yourself

The “Closet Under the Staircase” is coming along wonderfully! We spent the weekend ripping out the carpet and the old shelves, painting three walls & the ceiling white and the fourth wall a vibrant color, and laying wood floors. (you really didn’t think I could paint a room and not put at least one different wall color in it, did you?) We still need to install some quarter round around the base of the trim and choose & install new shelving. Then I get to pick out what kind of organization/storage items I want to use. Baskets, metal bins, etc.? Decisions, decisions!

My daughter is in the process of organizing her apartment and is sharing some of her and her roommate’s tips on living in and organizing small spaces. Today she is talking about organizing yourself.


Starting on January 1st of this year, Netflix began streaming Friends—all ten seasons. Why is this a big deal? As a college student, my Saturday evening cleaning routine revolved around listening to the show in the background and reciting quotes out loud with each episode. (With over 240 episodes, they never get old!) Once television became too advanced, however, our non-HD, non-wide screen copies fell to the wayside and were replaced with DVDs of The Office and New Girl. As I’m sure you can imagine, my New Year’s Day experienced back-to-back episodes of the show’s first season and my cleaning routine fell into good, old habits with the renaissance of my favorite show—which got me in the mood for a little organizing.

With the new year moving in, a lot of people make resolutions to clear out their junky rooms and reorganize for a more productive year, and that is a great resolution to make! Organization can make all aspects of daily living easier, faster, and less stressful, but many times it can be overwhelming to open the closet door, see how many clothes you have to go through or how much stuff has managed to pile itself on the shelves, and think you have to go through all of it to make any progress. If you are living in a smaller space with limited storage, however, making room and being innovative in your organizational methods is an absolute must! We live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, which sounds like it would have a lot of storage—until you see how much stuff we have together. Because we’ve had to learn some organizational strategies to make the most of our space, we’ve become innovative in our storage and in our living. Here are a few tips to help others living in smaller spaces like us.

Organize Yourself: A lot of the time, especially in apartments, there is a designated space for storing items, such as a bathroom linen closet, but no built-in organization. All of our closets have great shelves and space, but there are no drawers or separators to help us keep things in their place. If you try to make simple, flat shelves work, you are likely to run into the problem of things overlapping or losing their space as your collection grows. Lotions move into medications as the bulk of toilet paper you bought on sale takes over the bottom shelf and moves your Kleenex into the front closet.  Suddenly, you can’t find anything you need and your well-intentioned work was all for naught.

The best way to avoid this is to organize yourself before you organize your items. Baskets are a fantastic way to separate items by their purpose, which is very helpful for bathrooms. For our bathroom linen closet, we use the top two shelves for towels and wash cloths; for the bottom two shelves, we use baskets for everything else: we have baskets for emergency aid supplies (because you usually need to find those in a hurry), non-emergency medications that we do not take regularly (such as Tums or Advil), hygiene products (spare razors or toothbrushes), feminine products, and even beautification products, such as facial masks and nail polish. The baskets occasionally get a little messy and require us to clean them out again, but they make finding the Excedrin Migraine much easier when I need it quickly. Baskets are great for small spaces when the items do not easily lend themselves to simply sitting on a shelf.

Shelf organization

Other smaller items similar to baskets will work for various spaces as well. Take for example our shower shelf organizer. I was tired of having rings in the corner of the bath tub where shampoo and bath wash sat every day, letting towel strings collect and keeping the water from washing everything off. I found a great shower shelf that suctioned to the tile and holds everything at arm’s reach. It is easier to use and keeps the tub cleaner!

shower organization

For larger spaces, such as closets or bedrooms, larger tubs work in the same way—they even make long, flat tubs to store seasonal clothing under the bed. Don’t forget to label the tubs, though. Digging through seven tubs to find that your sports equipment is in the last one defeats the purpose of organizing it all in the first place.

Lastly, keep in mind that, even though it might sound extreme, sometimes it does well to give everything its place and keep it there. My mom and I are the type that likes to assign a place to items and keep them there; that way we always know where things are and keep it all in order. This occasionally drives our other halves crazy, but it works. We have a small built-in desk at the end of our hallway. We never really use it as a desk, mostly just to keep our mail and important papers in order, so beneath it I keep our cats’ toys in a small cat bed so they are not all over the floor. For a few weeks, every time I would pick up the apartment, I would collect all the toys and drop them in the bed. After a few weeks, we noticed that our cats would go under the desk when they were wanting to play and come back with a toy. Even cats can learn that everything has a place for organization!


Yep, that apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to wanting everything in its place! I hope she has given you a few ideas to help you begin your new year organization!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

“The Closet Under the Staircase”

This title sounds like the next horror story. And by the looks of this closet, it may very well be! And it’s starring me as the villainess, and Mr. as the accomplice by association! Due to the fact that he lives with me and puts stuff in the closet because that’s where I tell him to stick the stuff! That closet has become the daddy of all catch-all closets! Things go in and they never come out! In the words of our daughter, “that closet has a lot going on”!

But very soon, this closet will become the new “Under the Staircase Storage Room”! But for now, no judging me for what lies behind the door of “The Closet Under the Staircase”!


It’s in the dining room, which is just to the right of the front door. It’s the only closet in the house that isn’t in a bedroom, bathroom, etc. So of course, it collects everything that doesn’t belong elsewhere and then some. It’s a big coat closet, but who needs a big COAT closet in Houston?!?! We don’t! In fact, we took about 10 coats and jackets to my mom’s in Oklahoma last month that Mr. and I don’t wear anymore and she gave them away. And we still have more than we need!


My cake and cupcake supplies ended up on the top shelf, as I don’t have much storage in the kitchen. Now they collect dust. (although I did make cherry cupcakes for Christmas this year. My favorite!)


cherry cupcake 2

Then there’s my collection of plastic bags. I think I have more than enough, don’t you? There’s also a bag of artificial flowers that I haven’t used since we moved into the house two years ago; a tin can on top of something that I can’t reach; and a box of cupcake boxes covered in wrapping paper!


I’m pretty sure a coat closet is the best place for a baker’s rack! No? You mean you don’t keep a baker’s rack in your coat closet!


More flowers, holiday signs, miscellaneous mats/rugs that are no longer being used, and paper towels have found their way into this closet. What you don’t see is several decorative pillows, a couple of curtain rods, an ironing board, two crocheted afghans, a stack of paper sacks, a large sofa picture from our last house, numerous yard sticks (how many yard sticks do Mr. and I need?), a box of stoneware dishes that I need to find a place for, and two step ladders! That buried box peeking out from under the bright flowers has my grandma’s china in it. I have my red hutch that I redid a couple of years ago in the dining room, and I’m thinking that would be a great place for the china.


The only thing missing from these pictures is my vacuum cleaner, which usually sits right in the doorway. It’s hanging out upstairs in the gypsy room (which is in limbo at this moment).

So now you know what is lurking inside “The Closet Under the Staircase“.

And now you know what I’ll be doing this weekend, so be sure and check back next week to see the progress. Also, my daughter will be doing a guest post very soon that relates to tips for living in small spaces, such as apartments. So watch for that!

Y’all have a great weekend! Later gators!