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Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

We did it! My dad and I did it, people. We installed crown molding on our own! Well, we had some help, but the two people who actually did the work? My dad and me! Booyah! Here is our story on how we installed crown molding in my dining room.

This was the blah and boring room that we started with way back when. Yes, way back in Laura years is technically only two years. It feels like way back when to me, especially when I see what it looks like now! The room was in desperate need of character that would require more than paint and my dad graciously agreed to help. (read: my mom said she would help me and then suckered/substituted my dad in to help at the last-minute because she would rather go work with my brother in his yard…sometimes I do this to Conner. The apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

This is the crown molding we used. I purchased it from Lowe’s for $11/section. (It would have been cheaper if I used the raw wood but paying a little more for the primed pieces and only having to put on real paint sounded way better!) Each section was eight feet long and we had nine of them. We really only needed eight but a practice/oopsies piece was very necessary!

I got the idea that I (we) could do this on our own thanks to Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick. She wrote a post all about how to install crown the easy way and I was hooked! I like a good challenge, my mom owns an air compressor with nail gun and my dad is great with measuring/math – it was going to be perfect and SO easy.

Oh, I am so funny people. SO funny. Projects like this are NOT easy when using the type of molding that has a curve like mine. See how the back part is flat but the top and bottom that would meet the wall and ceiling are curved? Yeah. Keep that image in your mind while you read on…

(This is my dad. Doing the manual work. Yes, I’m almost 29 and he still does stuff like this for me. The best, right?)

Sarah is definitely correct about the saw – you can use a miter box with hand saw to cut crown molding. This part was easy because the $15 investment from Home Depot has the angles ready for you and the saw fits perfectly in the holes for each angle. My dad was pretty impressed with the tool but I think after the sixth cut was over it and wished we had the fancy electric saw instead. Lets get serious – I was too and I wasn’t even doing the labor! If you have a miter saw, like the real big daddy kind, it would go MUCH faster.

We were so excited about the first two cuts. After much thought and deliberation, we decided on the angle for the first corner and just went with it. We tacked it up with three nails using my mom’s nail gun and stepped back to admire our hard work!

We cut the second piece the same way, just using the opposite angle for the inside corner of the wall. We held it up, ready to nail away and realized it didn’t fit up with the other piece. At all. What the?! We made another cut, thinking we had done it backwards, and held it up again. No dice. Seriously frustrating.

We cut the piece of trim standing up, laying down, backwards, forwards, pretty much every way you could think of but the most important one – holding it at the angle at which it would be installed. OH! Yeah, that thing. Remember the curves in the molding? Pretty crucial little detail when trying to make two corners match up.

Before we could have our Oprah-like ‘aha’ moment, we made a trip back to Lowe’s to talk to the guys in the lumber department about how we should be doing this project. (They were only semi-helpful…as is the case with pretty much every customer service experience I’ve ever had at Lowe’s. Just saying…) The only good piece of information we took away from our trip was that we needed to purchase this coping saw (shown above) to make a secondary cut.

We sort-of knew what they were saying when we came back home so we tried it but then it still didn’t work so we started making some phone calls to our friends who have installed molding before. Praise the Lord for our friend Garrett! He helped us with the very important piece of information we were missing – cut the molding while holding it at the angle it will be installed. DUH!

We ended up having to make two cuts for every corner piece to make it work for my room. Using the miter box, we made a 45 degree cut while holding the trim at the proper angle. Then using the coping saw, made another 45 degree cut while holding the trim piece flat and the saw at an angle.

After 2.5 hours, we FINALLY got one corner finished. WHEW!! We took an hour lunch break and then decided we should get up and do the other corners…which only took us two hours for all three – what a difference! Each time we made our first cuts, even after we started to feel confident, we would only tack the piece up with three nails. We would make sure both pieces fit together and then put up several more nails to make sure it was all secure.

The middle cuts where the two pieces would meet up on the wall were very easy – just as easy as Sarah made it look! All we had to do was lay the piece of trim flat in the miter box, cut a 45 degree angle and then make sure the second piece had an opposite cut to make it match up. That was how all of the cuts should have been and I will definitely pay attention to what type of molding I buy in the future!

The corners all needed a little strip of caulk, as did the top of the molding where it meets the ceiling. Thanks to the texture from the 80s, the molding wasn’t completely flush against the ceiling in all spots. In the picture above, the piece on the left looks more flush compared to the piece on the right. No need to worry about something like that though – a little help from the caulking gun and paint made it all seamless and it looks so, so, so good!! Same with the holes from the nail gun – use a little wood putty to cover those small things and they will completely disappear after you paint.

I am so happy with the results and so proud of my dad and me. It was a long project and was easy once we got the hang of it…it just took a little bit of time to get to the ‘get the hang of it’ part. I definitely recommend buying flat molding for your future projects so you can follow Sarah’s instructions easier than we could! The moldings are all now puttied, caulked and painted and as soon as I finish one more project in the dining room, I will show you the final results – I am in love with this room!!

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DIY To-Do: Bar Cart

I am currently collecting something new right now – big furniture projects! I think my most fun one will be the bar cart that Conner’s parents delivered to us this week.

This was one of Memaw’s pieces of furniture and I love it! She always had her tea set displayed so beautifully in her dining room on this piece. It has a ton of potential to now transition to our house and I am going crazy with ideas for how to make her ours.

I saw this idea on Tip Junkie yesterday – how to strip brass to chrome using oven cleaner. It sounds like a pretty daunting task but I think it could look fabulous!

I’ve been combing Pinterest to find the perfect inspiration ideas for the perfect bar cart and the perfectly styled bar cart. This acrylic one is so gorgeous and beautifully styled! (click picture for source)

I love the clean and crisp white on this one. I also like the other items that are displayed besides the usual bar-top decor. I definitely want to find some crystal decanters to display but also like the mix of regular decor items as well. (click picture for source)

I think I like this one the best because I love the wall behind it! We have a bar cabinet where we keep our liquor and tons of cabinets with all sorts of glasses so our cart will be a great regular side table in addition to a place to display our pretties. (click picture for source)

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This weekend I am so excited to tackle a project for our second living room (aka Conner’s man room) and have a new room! I know we did this already but I’m not satisfied with how it looks (are we ever?) so I’m making over some furniture and attempting a gallery wall.

I am starting the project using this Chevron stripe as a pattern and stencil. I really, really hope it works because the picture I have in my head looks so good! When the image is clear and right in your head there are only two ways for a project to go – even better than the image or really terrible. Lets hope it is the first and I have a great makeover to show you next week!

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In two weeks, our two guest bedrooms are going to be ours again! My brother has been living with us while saving for a home of his own so he is living in one room and all of our ‘stuff’ combined has been occupying room number two. It will be quiet and lonely when he moves out but I am itching with plans for both rooms so here is what I want to do with the first room…

This is one of the pictures I found for my St. Patrick’s Day inspired rooms. I love, love, love it! We already have the green paint and I am currently obsessed with white in rooms – this is perfect for us.

I love reading what Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick is up to and trying out in her house. She is obsessed with molding, as am I. The guest bedroom doesn’t have any so that will be project number one! Sarah started her molding projects with a $14 miter box and a hammer and nails. My mom and I are up for the challenge of installing our own molding and luckily can use her compressed nail gun instead of just a hammer and nails!


What room isn’t complete without bedding? We have a double bed already for the room but have no bedding. My absolute favorite is the pintucked bedding from Anthropologie. The price however is ridiculous! I hate how expensive pretty bedding is so thanks to kojodesigns, we will be making this for $30 instead of $248. $30!!! I mean, get out of town!

Stick around, I’ll show you the steps to getting this dream guest bedroom and should have some fantastic stories of our attempts at these projects!

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So I am dying to do this to the sideboard I have in our entryway! I originally purchased the piece I have (not the one in the photo) from the Goodwill in Tulsa right before I moved into our first home in 2006. It was a dark wood with very ugly hardware. I painted it black, distressed it and got some great new knobs – I was pumped!

Well…now I’m a little over the standard black furniture for every room in the house and I’m itching to do something fun. I saw this picture and I’m in love!! Since we’re getting a dining room set, the sideboard was perfect as an entryway table and I think this is just the ‘pop’ I need in that area! Once we finish the living room and kitchen, I’ll get started on the transformation and be sure to show you the before and after pictures. I’m still kicking myself for not taking a picture of the original look! Conner’s parents thought I was CRAZY for buying it but for $100 – it was a freaking steal and of course turned out awesome. They have since learned to just go with me when I say, this is what I want to do and I know it will be great! :)

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No, this is not my kitchen but oh how I wish it was!! This is my favorite picture to show Conner what I want in a kitchen – dark wood floors, white cabinets, light counters and light walls. L. O. V. E. it!!! Today our ‘head-knocker’ cabinets (the ones from the 80’s that extend over the long counter and block your view to the breakfast nook and hang so low you hit your head on them) are coming out and I am PUMPED! It will be like Christmas to come home and see those babies out of my life for good!

We are currently living in a semi-state of construction and I am so ready for it to be over. I don’t know how people do this for longer or for more rooms! So far, we’ve had a door installed from the master bath to master bed (no, there wasn’t one before and we have no clue why), our mantel ripped out of the fireplace, a new mantel installed, cable and power ran down the back of our fireplace and our TV mounted above the fireplace into the brick. This week the kitchen cabinets are coming out, a new single cabinet will be built against the wall in place of the old row of cabinets, the fluorescent lighting in the kitchen is coming out, new sheet rock going up and canned lighting installed instead. Whew! It is intense but I know the end result will be so worth it!

Once the guys are finished with those kitchen projects, we will paint the dark wood cabinets a bright white, paint a light color (exact color TBD) over the country red on the walls and install new hardware. Oh baby, the painting never ends!! Conner and I are becoming quite the professionals. I would say you could hire us, but I don’t know if we will want to pick up a brush again once this is over. Hah!

We have the awesome 1982 texture on our walls and it has been quite fun (*sarcasm*) to paint into all of the little holes and crevices the texture provides. I think our paint is getting eaten by it all – we have gone through so many gallons because of it! We’re doing good on progress though but now we’re to the point where we just want the house in order and to live like normal people. We’ll see how quickly we get there. :)

You can find the picture of the kitchen here: Kitchen Inspiration

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Holy stairs – you have to check out this amazing before and after project!! Do you have a staircase in your house? Do you have ugly carpet on those stairs? You need to follow this advice and give your house a little DIY love! I am in awe and totally inspired by Southern Hospitality’s project.

First, the ugly carpet was ripped off of the stairs…and left horrible, non-wood floor stairs. The builder had left gaping holes between the steps and the wall! What to do, what to do? Well…a little wood putty, sanding, paint and a rug-turned-runner made them look like this:

AMAZING!!! I mean, it is absolutely incredible that a hand saw, cheap molding and paint can be this gorgeous! The whole transformation only cost $200. Unbelievable! I don’t know if I will ever have stairs in my house but if I do – I’m definitely taking the advice from this do-it-yourself queen and making them my own!

Check out the full project, including details of the how-to, here: http://southernhospitalityblog.com/the-down-dirty-on-the-stair-project/

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