DIY Closet Makeover

You guys! This before picture makes me so relieved that the closet renovation is complete, well almost, there is always those last minute details you have to wait on. Regardless, the construction is finished and it looks terrif! Stroll with me as I take you on this glorious closet transformation, this is a lengthy one ladies and gents :).

If you’re more of a “show me the pictures” kinda human, scroll on through.

This is what our closet looked like to start with (below) and (above) how it was all jam packed.

I hope you didn’t think I was joking about my sweaters living in a plastic bin. That was no joke! They actually still live in a plastic bin. I most likely will change my mind about where I want everything approx 3-5x before they find their home in a perfectly selected cubby (technical term). Who am I kidding? By that time it will be summer and they will be back in their plastic bin :(.

If you’d like to check out our inspiration for the closet, head over to the Pinterest board. Originally, I was really encouraging of this specific inspiration for a couple of reasons; 1. Cost Effective (reclaimed bookshelf) and B. Minimize labor for Linc.

However, Linc was not having it and wanted to put his saws to use so we discussed, re-discussed and over discussed what our end goal was.

The end goal: cubbies in the middle, with one having higher height so that it could be my jewelry area. The cubbies will divide the closet in half and we will each have upper and lower hanging areas.

Here is where we share the materials used:

  • 1 sheet 3/4″ Birch Plywood (~$30)
  • 2 sheets 1/2″ Birch Plywood (~$30ea)
  • 1 sheet 1/8″ Plywood (the cheap stuff to make a jig) ($20)
  • (4) ~8ft pieces of 1 1/4″ Hemlock ($5ea)
  • (4) Towel Racks (seriously, yes) ($18 ea)
  • 1 gallon Latex Primer ($30)
  • Paint for walls and shelving: Advanced Benjamin Moore (match from Sherwin Williams Pure White in Satin) ($60)
  • Allpro Acrylic Caulk ($8)

Here is where we share the tools used:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Circular Saw (Dewalt)
  • Compound Miter Saw (Ryobi)
  • Router w/ assortment of bits
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Orbital Sander
  • Square
  • Air Compressor
  • Brad Nailer
  • Caulking gun

As a precursor to the project, we removed the sliding doors about a week before we started to allow our ideas to sink in. The sliding doors were over-sized for the closet opening, preventing access to the middle of the closet. They will not be making a come back. Once we were ready to go, the walls and trim in the closet were painted.

Having never crafted shelves out of wood before, Linc sought out a friend for a tutorial on how to create a jig. In this instance, I wish this referred to a fun dance ritual that prepared for shelf-making. Instead it is a guide used to rip straight edges of plywood. You can check out this video, which Linc also used for reference on jig making.

Jig used for the upper and lower shelves (via circular saw)
Jig used to make the cubbies (via router)

In order to provide support for the long shelves, trim was made for the shelves to rest on. The trim is secured with the brad nailer.

Once the trim was in place, the shelves were inserted and the work on the cubbies began. We won’t go into our specific measurements because they uniquely apply to our closet and goals for organizing. If there any questions, just let me know!

The router jig worked out great, and the pieces for the cubbies fit together like butter. Below, you can see the line made by the router for the lowest shelf to slide in.

We did do a jig when the router jig actually worked out!
We did do a jig when the router jig actually worked out! Celebratory jigs are a must.

Besides project manager, I was the point person on priming. I really got out easy on this one! The priming occurred after we were certain all the puzzle pieces fit as they should, but before they were secured via nail gun/screws.

Linc secured hemlock to the plywood edges to give it a more finished look. Notice the difference between the lower shelving vs upper.

We really hemmed and hawed over the type of closet rods we would use. Linc came up with an idea to use bath towel rods and although it is unconventional, it works and looks pretty neat! I hear ya, alright already! Here is the finished product…


Oh right, doors! Well, as true diy novices go, we didn’t realize that we should have ordered closet doors about three weeks before we got started. Whoops! We are waiting on 5 panel bi-fold doors ($195) to arrive and will use the waiting time to organize and re-organize the closet to our liking. There will be photo updates accordingly 🙂

I purchased mini hooks to be placed along the inside of the taller shelf. This will become my new jewelry station!! I can finally get rid of this ridiculous contraption that topples over with a blink of the eye. Boy bye.

Are you looking to start a closet project to maximize organization? Just a heads up, we are normal humans, and by that I mean we had 3 separate visits to The Home Depot before we even started the closet project. All of which we spent considerable time pacing the aisles contemplating our purchase despite having planned the project before we left the house! Please tell me you have been there!? So don’t get frustrated, it’s all apart of the process, we think/hope.

These are some of the things we deliberated on during our Home Depot brainstorming catastrophes, I mean, successful/productive trips.

Martha Stewart Closet Organizer
Using Melamine for Shelving
Ikea Wardrobe    


What do you think about the towel bar turned closet rod?

Earlier this week, the sun was shining as I got home from work and we took a stroll down to Sunset Hill Park to catch the last glimpse of the sunset. Even though we have walked by this tribute to fishermen several times, I felt compelled to capture the moment. On my way to work Tuesday morning, I learned that the Seattle fishing boat Destination was and is missing at sea with the search coming to an end Monday, the 13th. I’ve been thinking about it all week and would like to take a moment to pay tribute to the crew and all the boats out there, risking their lives so that we may feast on the delicacies of the sea.

“Dedicated To The Men Of The Seattle Fishing Fleet Who Reaped Their Living From The Sea And Found Their Final Rest Beneath Its Waves.”

Mac-Ra-May I?

A little over a month ago I discovered that I love macrame! The free flowing, soft nature of it speaks to me, “Put me on your wall and admire my design” (in case you were wondering what it was saying to me).  And so the etsy search began. There are tons of designs, sizes, colors to choose from and also the price range seriously varies. Check out this macrame article for ideas or this one for how to incorporate it into your wedding!

I was super pumped to come across a macrame’er from Spokane, WA and was even more thrilled to see her beautiful macrame designs in my price range, yessss! She has several styles to choose from and was quick to respond when I requested a color change up. I selected a piece for $44.99, which was under my $50 limit). Take a look at Natasha’s Etsy Shop

Taking it one step further, I decided to create a little project for myself to continue the sprucing up efforts. I headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics and purchased this little wood block for oh maybe a few bucks. My plan was to stain it using leftover stain, screw in a hook (that we removed during the closet demo) and nail that thing into the wall.

One thing led to another and boom, I needed an old door knob to make this project complete. Just absolutely needed it! A hook would no longer cut it. Luckily, I knew the place to find one, the SODO Flea Market was rapidly approaching! I was thinking I’d like the knob to be glass, but low and behold I found this $2 charmer at one of the flea market vendors! And of course the vendor was….drum roll please (please think of the drum roll used in Christmas Vacation)…Ballard Reuse, duh. Love that place.

What actually happened is that I came across the top to this candle found at Target on Linc’s nightstand and was about to chuck it when an even better idea clicked.

Archaeology Candle, Target

I saved my Jo-Ann’s find for another adventure and used this awesome candle top! The nail gun was up and running as Linc was cruising through the closet reno and I politely asked him to take a time out to help me. It’s not for lack of trying that prevents me from using drills and nail guns, it’s my total disregard to acquire measurement perfection. Trust me, there have been several conversations about it, let’s just skip right over it for meow.

I love using hooks whenever I can. However, I feared that having a hook in between our door and closet would lead to the macrame being constantly covered up by a million (tad excessive) other items; hoodies, bags, belts, hats, dog’s leash/collar….etc, etc. This gives it a finished look that doesn’t beckon me to hang anything that can be hung on it….so far at least 🙂


Closet reno sneak peak! Looking awesome so far 🙂 We will share all the deets soon!

We ventured down to Ballard for dinner on Saturday and tried out Sen Noodle Bar, (lucky for you, The Seattle Times just happened to publish an article about it this morning) it has only been open for a week. Make sure you get the wontons if you go, they were our fav 🙂


Spread The Love

Hold on to your hats folks, today we are taking a time out to dabble with a Valentine’s Day theme. I bet you are absolutely shocked right now. Trust me, I’m aware of how astoundingly creative I am…NOT (bring back the Borat voice here). While I am all for appearing emotionless (it’s my favorite) the truth is, they need to escape sometimes. So here we go!

We are about to embark on a day that creates a ton of varying emotions for us humans. Unfortunately, for many people these emotions are not positive. Everyday we are faced with the decision to accept the world/our life the way it is and remain positive or hide under our covers solemnly swearing to reject the light of day. Don’t hide under the covers! Get up! You have so much to offer the world (unless you have the flu, seriously stay under the covers if you have the flu)!!

Instead of dwelling on all the “have nots” in your life or letting negative thoughts creep into your mind, spend this weekend planning on doing something nice for someone else! That’s right. Don’t focus on what someone else will do for you this Valentine’s Day, focus on what you will do for others! This can be as small as complementing someone, holding a door for a stranger, sharing a delicious baked good (please let it be with me), using your polite driving skills all day (my life struggle). Anything! Just spread the love 🙂

Need an idea? Check this out! Or This!

Don’t expect a thank you or the world to embrace you as a hero or your one true love to appear on a white horse….this is not an AOL email chain from 1995, this is life people! I know if you allow yourself to think about one person you’ve been meaning to reach out to or show kindness to, a name or face will pop into your brain. Resolve to make that your mission this Tuesday. Spread the love 🙂 If you are up to it, maybe incorporate spreading the love everyday, Tuesday is a great start though 😉


Spreading the love via photos…

Grammy meeting baby Amalie!
That’s one scary lion!
Mariners Bark in the Park!

The Crown (Moulding)

Welcome to the next installment of DIY home improvement, brought to you today by Karen’s husband. Karen asked that I share a little with you regarding our trials and tribulations of installing crown moulding in our bedroom. Of which, there were many.

You may have noticed from some of the lovely pictures that Karen has posted of our much improved bedroom, that we now have crown moulding along the ceiling. Upon home ownership, we inherited a bedroom that had picture frame trim, although for some reason it was placed about 1/4 inch down from the edge of the ceiling, leaving a small, scary, dark gap where an array of eight legged creatures may lurk. That had to go.

Our walls are lath and plaster, so I assume the old trim was hung in order to avoid putting a hole into the fragile plaster. I first started by ripping the old trim down with a crow bar. It came off easily in nice long pieces, which may be re-purposed to hang in the hallway to match our office.

Post Original Trim Removal

I then picked up the necessary tools at Ye Ol Home Depot; a compound miter saw ($189) and an air compressor kit ($199) which included 16 and 18 gauge brad nailers (bonus!) instead of buying each separately. I then picked up some three inch crown, which I think ran us about $3.50 a foot.

Next stop. YouTube. So, if you’ve ever tried to cut a 45 degree angle, let alone two of them, to try and match a corner perfectly, it’s freaking hard. The YouTube videos show the pros flipping the crown this way and that way, free handing coping cuts, holding the crown perfectly still along the rail of the miter saw, yadda yadda. I quickly learned that trying to figure out which side of the trim piece is long vs short vs inside corner vs outside corner on those 45 degree cuts is enough to melt your brain.

Recommendation #1: cut some practice pieces and mark them with a marker so that you know which cut to make for a left or right side cut. Use these to small pieces to check the inside corner of the wall as no corner is exactly 90 degrees. You may have to adjust your saw one or two degrees to make the corners flush.

Old Trim Vs The Crown

Recommendation #2: pick up one of these bad boy Crown King jigs. It was impossible for me to make a perfect 45 degree cut while trying to hold the crown in the perfect angle against the fence of the saw. This jig made life a million times better, holding the trim without movement during the cut. It’s also marked on the jig which way to align your saw bladed for a right sided or left sided inside corner cut.

It was really hard to cut the pieces to length along the 14 foot wall of the room. So I decided to cut two seven foot pieces and have them join somewhere in the middle. With the Crown King jig, it was way easier make the seams match. Three out of the four ended up really well, and with a little bit of caulk and paint, you have to look hard to notice it’s not once piece of wood.

“Can’t see the lines, can you Russ?” – Clark W. Griswold

Mounting the crown was the easy part. Hold it to the wall, drain the nail with the brad nailer. Boom. I used a little spackle to fill the nail holes and caulked the edges to the ceiling and the wall, as well as the corners. I had painted the ceiling beforehand, so all it needed was a little touch up paint and then we applied two coats of trim paint to the crown and painted the walls for the finished look. In hind sight, I should have sanded the seams for a more flawless look, but overall we’re really pleased with the way things turned out.

Bedroom In All of Its Glory


We fired through the entire season of The Crown pretty quickly. It subsequently inspired this blog post, and as a result, we’ve been referring to the new crown moulding as The Crown in our fancy British accents. I’m bad at it. Karen’s is legit though.

Champagne Wishes and Kitchen Dreams

If you have browsed through the “Tour” section of the blog, then you already know that we have BIG plans for our small kitchen. As newbies to this game we are reluctant to take this on as a solo project (sans contractor), but really want to so badly!

We have the layout in mind and I have gained Linc’s approval on design ideas. However, implementing them will be a challenge. We have a wall that will be coming down and electrical work to do, two BIG things we have never done. The electrical work will definitely be handled by a professional, but the wall…we are tempted. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to put the design ideas together for a substance-less vision quest 🙂 Let’s embark, shall we?

To discuss the future we must briefly visit the present for perspective. Take a look at what we are working with on the daily.

Oh ya, check out our portable dishwasher, which actually has to be moved to the center of the kitchen for the hose to reach the sink. After living without a dishwasher for a while, I accept this ridiculous setup…for now.

The wall perpendicular to the window (in photo above), is the candidate for demo. This will give us a “look through” to the living room while keeping the built-in on the living room side intact.

Note to apartment living self: Never buy a dining room table whilst temporarily renting an apartment. There is no guarantee that the home you purchase will provide a dining room or a dining nook large enough to accommodate it.

This cabinetry features a pull out cutting board, which neither of us mess with because YUCK.

Onward to the good stuff 🙂


For the cabinets, I am hoping for a variation of blue as seen in the next few photos below:

deVOL Kitchens


Helynn Ospina Photography



And you’ve guessed it, butcher’s block is my jam. I like the darker tones featured in the last two pictures perhaps mixed with brass or bronze hardware. Did you notice the mix and match hardware in the last photo? Linc would lose his marbs. The countertop for the “pass through” is where I’m hoping to mix it up with white/grey quartz/variation seen here:

This countertop will spill into our living room with stools for seating on the living room side. The number one deciding factor on what material we come up with for this potential slab will be cost. I’m not set on quartz or marble, but would prefer quartz although I’ve read that it can be costly too. Courtney from A Thoughtful Place explores the quartz vs marble topic here.

To open shelf or to close it up? That is the 21st century kitchen design question. My opinion is that I LOVE them, but my concern is that Riley hair will be even more present in our daily dining than it already is. The compromise is that the future open wall between the window and the living room (where the “pass through” will be) will have two open shelves to display my fabulous cupcake/cake stands, pottery and inevitable future HomeGoods purchases.

I’m hopeful for upper cabinetry with windows, but realistic that cabinets get spendy quick. Disclaimer: I think this is an Ikea sponsored kitchen, but couldn’t trace the link back to its rightful owner.

Let’s just skip over discussing the sink, it’s a farmhouse sink or nothing people. End of discussion. How wide should it be, what about depth? Should we do the splitsies sink or one big basin? I’m aware that this discussion is far from over, but farmhouse sink for sure. Any suggestions?

The backsplash is super up in the air right now. I have traveled through love affairs with patterned tile, herringbone tile, subway tile, arabesque etc. all without feeling like I’m sure of “the one.” I think it’s because I really do enjoy them all in their own way, romantic comedy ensues, am I right? Browse through the next photos to review the options, which one are you all about?

Patterned Tile by Birmingham Home & Garden
Herringbone by The Grit and Polish

If you happen to stop by The Grit and Polish then take a look at what they have going on for lighting in their Dexter Kitchen. Digging it. 

For some reason classic white subway tile, while I enjoy it, has such a bathroom feel for me. If we went subway tile, it would be light grey. Thoughts?

Arabesque by Suburban Bees

Our current Annie Wilkes sponsored flooring will have to go, I am fairly confident we will install hardwoods. However, it is really hard for me to conclude this post without having you feast your eyes upon the greatness of Emily Henderson. Take it in folks. Enjoy. You’re welcome.

There are tons of decisions that go into kitchen design and I’ve only brushed the surface here, but I hope you get the idea of where we are headed (hopefully). Our budget for the kitchen is to stay under $20k. We just had one contractor get back to us with a quote for $14k. Great right? No. Not at all. His quote included the labor of putting everything together, no demo, no materials. He cray. This will be our Summer 2017 project so stay tuned 🙂


What do you think about “tuxedo” style kitchens, light upper and dark lower cabinets? I am toying with the idea, but with the concern of trend vs classic. This is one of those pinterest black hole pins, I couldn’t trace it back to the rightful owner. Keep in mind we have a small kitchen with potential for maybe two sets of uppers. My concern is that it will look thrown together without the consistent upper/lower combo you see in bigger kitchens.

In other news. We just made plans to refinish our hardwood floors downstairs (we still plan on refinishing the upstairs ourselves), scheduled for later this month! There is a lot of damage, particularly in this hallway.

We were warned that they won’t be perfect with refinishing alone. That’s okay. We bought an almost 90 year old house and it’s allowed to show sometimes. Reviews and after photos to be provided in March!



Sprucing Up The Place

There are a few odds and ends that I’ve been thrilled to change in our home. Why am I so thrilled? Well, I’ll tell ya. First of all they are easy on the wallet and second of all they add so so much to the charm of our home. There is a third of all, being that Lincoln loves small projects he can do on his days off, adding to his homeowner mastering. It really works out because I also LOVE small projects Lincoln can do on his days off :). We are the team of the century folks.

I say, “jump”, he says, “nah I’ll stand on the bed.”

Upon moving in we were underwhelmed with the shabby, traditional, very female looking light fixtures that presented us at every turn. Having no idea what light fixtures cost and if we had to hire someone to change them out, we kind of ignored them. Mostly, I ignored them until I couldn’t any longer. My patience level allowed me to wait about one month before voicing my disdain to Linc. He is the swellest of guys and was totally on board for giving it a go. The bedroom light is from Bellacor.


Please ignore the crooked curtain rod, it’s temporary! The new rods just arrived and are on the list for this week 🙂 Focus on the light!

Ta Da!

Despite my best efforts I can’t find the link to the hall light!! I know it is from Wayfair and it should have edison bulbs, but they would not fit so we will figure that out later!

New Light!

We have the best reuse store about a mile from our house, Ballard Reuse. I’ve mentioned them before and I will most likely mention them again. While there browsing for one thing or another, I stumbled upon drawers and drawers of antique glass knobs and backplates, which I decided needed to be implemented pronto. Excitedly, I showed them to Linc and he could not get on board with the thought of having mix and match doorknobs all up in our home. I hadn’t fully considered that, but okay, ya that might be weird (no seriously, I love the idea of mix and match doorknobs throughout the house, I think it’s awesome).



Anyway, onward to Rejuvenation browsing. Dang they have beautiful items, but dang they are so costly! Onward to Amazon! These bad boys are budget friendly and work like a charm. It took a little finagling to get them in place because our doors are old and everything didn’t match up perfectly, but they look MINT. Wouldn’t you say?



Swansons Nursery, this place is a landscaper’s dream come true. I think if they started charging $2 entry people would still go, but please don’t tell them that ;). There is so much to browse at including an amazing Koi pond, with the biggest Koi I’ve ever seen and a cafe with pastries the size of your head. We purchased a new pot and plant during their recent sale. Through my instabrowsing/pinteresting I found an idea that was perfect for our new plant purchase. I don’t think this will be the last of this type of project in our home because I LOVE it. If you don’t that’s okay 🙂 Materials totaled under $30. What do you think?


We entered Chris Loves Julia makeover contest to help us with our bathroom! Which is funny because just last week I posted their bathroom remodel on insta for inspiration. We are so hopeful to have professional guidance to give us the momentum and know how we need to tackle the bigger projects in our house without being dependent on a contractor. There is a possibility that what we need in there is bigger than they are willing to take on, but we are staying positive so stay tuned!


Last weekend we ventured to Phoenix to visit family and sneak in some warmth and sunshine. The skies were angry and it was unseasonably chilly and rainy, but we had a fantastic time! We visited the aquarium, butterfly garden, and even attempted the mirror maze, which we wanted out of pretty quickly after entering, nausea ensued. It also gave us a chance to scope out Scottsdale and the skies cleared just enough to sneak in a hike 🙂 My MIL has that AZ style down!

Designs by Sharon Hauge



This Stairway Is Not To Heaven

I knew the day to sort out the process of refinishing our hardwood stairs would come, but I did not know how much I would dread this topic. To say this project was challenging is an understatement. Now, check out these stairs, painted the beautiful color of brown. In this instance, please use sarcasm to read the preceding sentence.

And for the Stairs we Choose…..Brown? whaaa?

Granted these stairs are not in our front entry, but they are in direct line of sight upon opening the front door. A line of sight that I wanted to change after about one weeks worth of entering said door. DIY blogging and countless youtube videos later, I thought I had it all figured out. I could do it all myself and it would be a weekend project to boot! Yasss, let’s get started!

So anyway, this was a three week project. I took some wrong turns and made it longer than it needed to be and also there’s that thing that pays the bills and supports Riley’s ferocious squeaky toy habit (current victim, Frogger, stuffing and squeaker still intact) called a job. If I had to do this over again, realistically I could tackle this project in about 5 dedicated days.

Prepare Yo Self (say aloud in similar manner to “treat yo self” as seen on Parks and Rec, get familiar ASAP)

* Gloves, Goggles, Respirator, Ear Plugs (if you’re a wimp about loud noises aka Riley), painter’s tape, old cloths, 5″ random orbital sander, extra sandpaper of the grits you plan to use, shop vac, stain of your choosing, & varnish

* Put your hair in a bun, throw on your “I mean business” sweatpants and let’s do this thing

After researching paint thinner, we purchased Smart Strip for a couple of reasons. Ultimately, it was December and keeping this drafty house warm was already a full fledged debacle, without the added peril of keeping windows/doors open for ventilation. I started from the top of the stairs and put a thick layer on each step with a paint brush. The consistency of this stuff reminds me of tapioca, if anyone just got nauseous thinking about tapioca I apologize. I was super surprised to find that after letting it sit overnight, the paint scraped off easily with a putty knife. Once they were scraped I washed them down with an old cloth and lots of water.

When the stairs were dry I began sanding. Let me take this moment to emphasize that I have never done anything like this before. One important thing I left out when researching how to sand stairs is to add the following to my google search “there are still bits of paint and/or discoloration on the wood from the paint.” The recommendations I gathered were to start at 120 grit sandpaper and move up gradually in grits from there. I worked that 120 grit on my new Ryobi random orbital sander fiercely for days! Beside the fresh orange gleam from sawdust covering EVERYTHING (despite taping off my work space), the stairs looked the same. I even had one household member question my ability to properly use a sander, um I’m a youtube pro dude, back off. Come to find out, the real recommendation is to start at 60 or 80 grit depending on how much paint you have left (the more residual paint, the lower the grit).

See Ya Never Sanding

Oh man, what a bozo I am. No big deal, I didn’t develop carpal tunnel in both hands, wake up super early for weeks due to aggressive numbness and tingling in my 1st, 2nd, 3rd and half of 4th digits, lose the ability to hold my phone in one hand or anything lame like that. Oh no, not me….thankfully ibuprofen and losing the power sander routine cured me…mostly 🙂

I treated the stairs with wood conditioner, Benite before staining to remove the splotches. Then I applied two coats of stain per the directions. Linc was home the next day and felt like they needed another coat so three coats total of stain, just used an old cloth to apply. We purchased a water based poly and followed the directions. Linc knew he would be the painting point man on this, although I gave it a whirl and did the first coat. He finished it up while I was at work one day. It was wonderful to walk through the front door to my new line of sight!

Dark on dark on dark…

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the fruit of your labor until the very, very end. In the middle of all this I definitely lost sight of the vision. The stairs looked worse before they looked better. The sanding fiasco had me wanting to call uncle so bad. Riley ended up putting the water based finish to the test and there are several scratches in the varnish. We chose water based poly as the drying time was reduced in between coats, but if I had any experience at all I would have known that water poly was no match for the sweet sweet paws of a golden retriever. I will most likely have to re-sand and apply an oil based poly, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. These stairs have seen a lot of life with several imperfections occurring prior to our arrival so a few Riley scratches will work just fine for now!

Those stairs tho…

Costs for this project totaled just under $225, including safety equipment, which we have been using repeatedly. Safety first! Keep in mind that we had none of the materials to begin with. 


+ What do you think about the plumbing pipe handrail look? Just wondering if it will be considered a trend vs classic style. We will be replacing the handrail, but haven’t quite made up our minds.

+ We just happened to be in need of Saturday night plans last weekend (after the Seahawks demise, that was hard to watch, right?) and decided to try out a new brewery. We brought our own snacks and of course, Riley accompanied us to Urban Family Brewing Co in Magnolia. They had the game on a projector and lots of beers on tap, score!

Part 2: The Wonderful and Confusing World of Paint cont’d

It just so happens that the color scheme of Seattle happens to be made up of grey and green. They don’t call it the Emerald City for nothing! Linc and I (along with 95% of people, presumably) prefer the outdoors a healthy green complemented by bright blue skies, but there is something soothing about the grey. I’ve noticed that the most common question I get when people find out that I’m from the Nutmeg State is “How do you like all the rain?” Well people, if it’s raining and grey from November to April, it is definitely better than wind chills of -5, blizzards, lingering brown snow AND grey from November to April. Regardless, there is something comforting about the grey to me, perhaps a reminder of my homeland. Does anyone else feel this way about grey paint?

Moving right along, the bathroom paint, Flint Smoke by Behr was intentionally on the green side. We are not sold on the color, but feel it is a huge improvement from the sky blue walls (left) and ceiling we walked into. Walls and ceiling the same exact color, I can’t. Notice the real estate photos purposely cut the shot off before the ceiling.

Staged Real Estate Photo
Bathroom After Shot!

The bathroom is expected to have a major overhaul and so for now, green it is 🙂 As it is, we had to change out the medicine cabinet ASAP as the inside was completely rusted out. We lucked out at Ballard Reuse and found a brand new twin for $20 vs half the size cheapest version at The Home Depot for $80! Love that place! Do you have a room with walls and ceiling the same color (besides white)? I’d love to be swayed, please share!

The hall and office are a wonderful color of Moonshine by Benjamin Moore. Hot dang we like this color! It provides a subtle contrast and feels very natural. More importantly, it is definitely grey! If I’m being honest, there was about 30 seconds while Linc was putting up the last coat in the office when I questioned if it was green, but it is grey through and through. Hooray! Down the road I might want to revisit the office in a darker version, but so far so good.

Office After
Moonshine Painted Hall




We spent just under $500 for wall, trim and ceiling paint for about 900 sq ft. We transitioned to using Benjamin Moore for wall paint, which we think has a nicer finish and is about $10 more a gallon than Behr depending on what grade paint you get.

ALERT! The resident professional painter wants to be sure that you all have access to his professional advice (okay maybe it’s his friend David’s) so here we go! Let’s assume you have taped the floors lining your baseboards in preparation to be painted white. To be certain that the paint doesn’t seep through the tape onto the floor, run a thin bead of caulk (Painter’s acrylic latex caulk $7) along the board and the tape before you paint. When you remove the tape, score it with a razor to get the fine lines you’ve been dreaming of. Thanks Lincoln (David), you painting wizard!

Do you have any painting tricks of your own? There is an upstairs and future basement that are awaiting color!


+ I thought I could be bold enough for the dark grey I dreamed of, but we had this swatch on the wall and I chickened out. This is Chelsea Gray by Benjamin Moore, perhaps we will meet outside of my dreams…one day!

+ We both had Friday off this week and decided to hit up The Fat Hen for breakfast and boy was it tasty! That hot chocolate was slammin and we’ll definitely be back for the pancetta benedict, wowzers!

Pro Painter on a Break!

+ Lastly, I’d be a fraud if I didn’t shout out the Gustavesen fam of South Windsor, CT for name advisory.

Part 1: The Wonderful and Confusing World of Paint

Well well well we finally arrive at how we named our blog! This is a glorious two part discussion with a beautiful story of paint mixed in (get it?).

Before the keys were ours, I already had my mind set on a variation of grey to be found inside our new home. We did the whole swatch on the wall thing and so far one out of four colors has actually turned out to be a “true color.” The problem is, I think they look so obviously grey and then it’s on the wall and hmm that looks a bit green, right? The trouble is that Lincoln, a wonderfully made human, is a tad bit color blind and happens to also be in denial about it. Makes verifying the actual color pretty tough in our house.

To kick off our painting extravaganza we targeted the fleshy pink colored living room straight away. We had a brief discussion about how to handle the already white ceiling trim with the natural baseboards/built in and decided to go all white everything. Oh yeah, and check out our Sad Lamp, it has an ion feature that makes you feel like you are near a waterfall! Perfect for one too many grey days in a row 🙂

Fleshy Pink Living Room

We used Behr’s Meteor Shower for the walls, Sherwin Williams Promar 400 Pure White Flat for the ceiling and fireplace, and Benjamin Moore Advantage Satin matched to the pure white for the trim/built ins. I was the primary taper and wall painter and Linc did the ceiling, trim and cut ins (aka most of the work). To be fair, since I met this guy, he has been boasting about how he is practically a professional painter because he use to paint houses in college. So anyway, I was privileged with my participation level and am getting a little sweaty just thinking about his critique of my taping. Fast forward two days and the living room was finished and looks dope! But wait, is that grey or green? Even more far off, is it periwinkle? No idea, but it’s 100x better than the fleshy pink and so far it is our favorite room to be in.

The Improved Living Room

In addition to the living room, most of the downstairs has now been painted with exception to the kitchen (story for a different day folks). I thought I’d be super smart this time and nail the grey look with Gray Wisp by Benjamin Moore. Seriously, not this again. Is it grey or green?

Suspenseful Before Picture

I suppose I was a little late to the party, but this is the point of this color. Fooled again. After having it on the walls for a few weeks, I love it and have finally arrived to the party. I’m also starting to wonder if both of us are color challenged. Oh hey, take a look at that sweet crown molding…stay tuned, you bet your bottom there will be a post about getting that stuff up!! Do you have a go to grey paint? Please share!

The Mysterious Gray Wisp
Super Important 2nd Angle


A little music is crucial during a long stretch of painting. For inspiration, Linc’s go to is something like this and for me, Queen Bey without a doubt.

We also tried out Larsen’s Bakery which happens to be just a few blocks away, dangerous! We have been and will be repeat customers.

This is Riley’s favorite kind of green! The beautiful green of tennis balls and grass.

Is that a squirrel?


Weather Stripping

I know, I know, super glam post right? Lucky for us the first winter in our new home just happens to be one of the coldest on the books. Being a Connecticut native, I can totally handle this, but dang it is drafty in this old house! It quickly became apparent that this project needed to be tackled ASAP. Our initial idea was to assess broken windows and drafty doors and figure out how to fix the situation. To get an idea of what kind of budget would provide us with new windows, we had The Home Depot come out and give us a free quote. They spent about 3 hours assessing our 17 windows and came up with a $15,000 quote. Excuse me? Yes, $15,000 to replace our windows. I’ve been told that The Home Depot tends to be on the high side, but after just moving in we weren’t prepared to dish out that kind of money, even if that was at the high end. Of course, we did our due diligence to make sure we were making a well informed decision to pass for now. We found that new windows are appealing when selling your home, but while we live here we would only barely see the return on our investment.

Weather stripping seemed to be the logical next step. After several trips to The Home Depot and Stoneway Hardware on 15th, we obtained every weather stripping material known to man (almost). These materials included door sweeps (drill needed), felt (staple gun needed), V-Flex Adhesive, and caulking cord with a cost of under $100. While I am a self proclaimed, fantastic first assist, Lincoln was the primary on this project and he recalls that he took a few hours to complete the project. We can definitely tell the difference after it was complete. However, Lincoln reports that while the project was relatively straight forward, it was obvious that this will only be a temporary fix.


It is also important to mention that we did look into spray insulation as an option. We had two companies come out, Clean Crawls and Insulation Northwest. The first company gave us a quote for about $2000 for 950sq ft worth of insulation, which was what I was expecting from research. The second company didn’t give us a quote due to their concern for our knob and tube wiring and recommended that we consult an electrician before moving forward. We also debated this as a DIY project via This Old House how to video. Lincoln reviewed this several times and with the added concern regarding our electric, he felt it was better left to the pros. We ultimately decided against proceeding this year, we might be back and will fill you in!

For the grand finale of this post, we purchased the Nest! The previous owners updated the gas furnace, thanks guys! In our quest to maximize efficiency, while working with our drafty house, we ordered this bad boy for $210. We received a $50 rebate from the Nest and will be getting a $75 rebate from Puget Sound Energy. If you don’t know about all the rebates available from PSE or your own local utility company, then I recommend you Check It Out.

Again, I was designated first assist, Lincoln has never changed out a thermostat and had this thing up and running in about 30 minutes. We love checking our daily energy usage and the ability to control the thermostat while away from our house. Do you have the Nest or another smart thermostat? What do you think? We would love to know if you have noticed a difference in your bill. Riley is on the fence about it, as shown below.


Afterthought: I still can’t get over this catch! Go Hawks 🙂

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