Thursday, May 30, 2019

Small Deck on a Budget

While I have enjoyed working on the inside of my new home, I promised myself that 2019 was going to be the year that I focused on the outside. Now... this may be easy for some, but for me... for some reason, I struggle with coming up with ideas for an outdoor space! Even putting out flowers feels like I am just doing it all wrong! I knew that I wanted some kind of an outdoor seating area but I wanted it to look good. When trying to come up with ideas, I have truly found that Pinterest is a DIYers best friend! I finally decided that I wanted a deck off of the front of our house. My reason for wanting it off the front is because we do not have a back door, and therefore have no way of accessing the back of the house other than traveling through the laundry room and going out the side door (which is anything but ideal when you are trying to entertain and carrying food items).
So in my mind the next best thing was to create a space off the front. The front door is a short distance from the kitchen, so grilling or whatever we wanted to do would be easily accessible to the kitchen. While still on my "inspiration cloud" I dreamed up a beautiful walk out deck. I was getting to excited thinking of the possibilities. Well you can imagine how much my heart sank when I started looking into the permitting process for a deck the size that I wanted. It simply became so much more of an expense and headache than what I wanted to deal with.
Plenty of people will build a large deck without a permit, (and believe me I was tempted to) but with this deck being off of the front of my house, and living within the city limits where city trucks pass by all the time- I simply didn't want to take the chance. So with that I scratched the large deck idea and started brainstorming else I could do in order to have a seating area in the front.
After plenty of back and forth I decided on a small floating deck.  With so many other projects on my plate, I once again came to the issue of budget. I didn't want to spend $500 or more to build this deck and with 8' decking boards costing at least $5 each I was going to be out of $200 just for the decking. In addition, there is the cost of the 4"x4" fence posts that would cost approximately $100. Now $300 is not bad for a deck- I know, I know, but I wanted this project to be on an extreme budget. I wanted to spend a bit over $100- that's it!
I started looking at pallet decks and the awesome end results that many had when using those. This was ideal because I have access to free pallets at my place of employment. The biggest issue with pallets though, is that they can be of varying heights, not to mention varying widths- so that would complicate things even more. While I "marinated" on this idea a bit more, the idea occurred to me to build my own "pallet". This would ensure that everything was at the right width, height, etc.
I decided to use landscaping timbers for my base (more about that later) and fence boards for the decking. I was able to get the landscaping timbers on sale for $2 each! I purchased 8 with the thought that I would butt them up to each other (end to end) and create a 16' long x 8' wide deck across the front of my home!

This idea seemed that it would work great- that is until I realized how warped these timbers were! I attempted to adjust the ground under them in order to minimize the bumps and lumps in my base. Note to future self... just go with the 4"x4"x8'  wooden posts. While you may have some that are slightly bowed I am confident that you will not have as many issues as the landscape timbers. Nonetheless I pushed on with adding the deck boards. You can only imagine how much my heart sank when I stepped on them and could feel the give in the board! Not to mention that because the landscape timbers had so many curves and warps in them, when I tried to put the "decking boards" over the landscaping timbers that were end to end, there was a 2" height difference between the first set of boards and some of the second point. I could feel panic setting in- WHY LAWD! Not one to be easily defeated, I quickly made the decision to move the other set of landscape timbers parallel to the first set. this meant that my deck would only be 8'x8', but it meant that the fence "decking boards" would have the support that they needed!

After finishing this portion, I stepped back and looked at my deck. It looked like a deck that cost $100- let me not lie, it looked like ya girl had built a freakin pallet in her front yard. THE HORROR! That was not the look that I was going for! I cannot stand for a project to not go how I want it to, and it is even worse when it is on display for all the neighbors to see (as-is I was getting quite a bit of looks because I am a female out there "building" a deck. I didn't want them to look at what I did and say, "she should have let a man do that..."). So getting the deck to a state that I was absolutely proud of was key! My first step was that I added pine straw to the garden that is next to the deck- that would at least cover over the ugly until I could figure something out!
From the start I wanted to add boards around the outside edge to give it a nice "finished" look. I decided to go full speed ahead with that idea, hoping that would give the deck the extra somethin' somethin' that it was lacking. Once I completed the first side, my heart absolutely soared! It looked so good! I added a 2x4 under the front overhang to have something to nail to and added my last trim board to it. When I tell you I was so giddy... I couldn't contain myself. I built a deck... a GOOD looking deck... for a little over $100! I wanted to style it (inexpensively of course!) so I picked up some items from Walmart. I considered purchasing a rug, but decided that once I stain it I will stencil a design on the boards. At any rate, she is done for now and I have to say that I am pretty proud. Despite the highs and lows of the project I feel like it came out quite well, and is something that I don't mind the neighbors seeing and saying, "look at that good looking deck! SHE built that!"

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Open Shelving

Open shelving in the kitchen seems to be all the rage right now. With that in mind, can we talk about how CUTE these shelves are?! 

You are not going to believe how easy they were to “build”. ANYONE, at ANY skill level can make these shelves in one variation or another. All you will need is a lumber storage rack, some paint (if the NEON colors they make these things in doesn't appeal to you), 3" screws, and some 11" wide boards cut to the desired length that you can paint/stain/finish! That's it! I originally saw them make these shelves on Lowes Home Improvements' Youtube channel as part of one of their makeovers. As soon as I saw the finished project, I was hooked! At that time Lowes carried the racks in-store- they have since discontinued them. No worries though, as you can easily find these racks at online sites like Ebay and Amazon. 

I chose to only use 3 of the 6 brackets that comes in the box. Each shelf's bracket is rated to hold between 100 to 110 pounds. Be sure to refer to your rack's specifications to ensure which rack (100/110lbs) you purchase. Also, be sure to refer to the instructions concerning how far apart you have to mount each post. The racks I purchased stated that the maximum distance the post could be mounted was 4' apart. The hardest part of this was finding the studs in the wall. These racks HAVE to be mounted to the studs!
 So if you are into the open-shelving-look for a kitchen, perhaps you can give these a try! I love the final result. They really open up the space in my kitchen!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Who dis?! - The Main Bath

It has been too long since my last post... two years! We will blame it on technical difficulties (I couldn't log in for some reason!), but I am back and hopefully with better content than ever!
My husband and I purchased a new home in December 2017 and I have been busy tearing out cabinets, drywall, carpet, etc. and though slightly overwhelmed at times, I have loved every minute of it!
My first project that I have completed is the main hall bath. When I tell you this is the smallest full bath that I have ever laid eyes on, I am being 100% real with you! There was a huge vanity that reached from wall to wall which was nice (in theory) but when you tried to close the door you had to straddle the toilet! Absolutely ridiculous! The pic below is from the listing.... Yes... As you can see it was so small they had to stand in the hallway to take the picture! 
 Though nice for storage... That vanity was the first thing to go! A few crow bar and hammer swings later and I had significantly more space in the bathroom! 
 The flooring I selected is the Style Selection by Stainmaster these are the peel and stick vinyl tiles in the color Safari. This product is available at Lowes. I used the same flooring before in my entire upstairs at the old house and overall I like it with only 1 negative. Nearly ever review I read on the product also had issues with random tiles popping up at the corners, but when that happened I simply popped the rest of the tile up and applied some floor tile adhesive to the area and reapplied the same tile- easy peasy! $.98 per square foot cannot be beat! In a 720 square foot space I had literally 6 tiles pop up in the year plus that I had them down before we moved. Several potential buyers that came through mentioned how much they loved them.
 After tearing out the vanity and removing thewall tile I decided to add a niche, since that would help with storage and would not eat into the floor space of the restroom. I had an idea of what needed to be done, but I went on Pinterest just to work out the details. This is truly the easiest project you could take on in the home, and it makes such a statement in your space!
 If you are looking to do a home renovation I highly recommend you check out your local Habitat for Humanity or construction material salvage yard. Though over an hour away the ones in Raleigh, NC are absolutely wonderful with fantastic prices. I was able to purchase this pedestal sink for $35! I am still amazed at how much of a difference alittle demo, new flooring, a new vanity and some paint can make!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

From Dresser to Banquette

So I bought this dresser from an unclaimed freight place.... YEARS ago. I always had the intention of adding a top... Or painting it... Or something (anything!) because it looked pretty rough. Rough is an understatement, but I saw potential because it is a very solid and very well made piece of furniture (with the exception of the top... I have no clue what ever happened to that. It was looong gone before I came onto the scene...). After debating for quite some time I finally decided that I was going to create a banquette to sit at my kitchen table. In all my excitement to dig in I forgot to take a picture of the actual before, but in the following pic you can get a basic idea of what I was working with. 

Just picture the one with a wood "top" stacked on top of the other and that's all the dresser consisted of. It ended up that the two were held together by bolts. After removing those they came apart with no problem.
 Once I reconfigured the unit how I wanted it (side-by-side) I drilled 3/8" holes in the left side of one and the right side of the other and fed through bolts that would ensure that the banquette was one solid piece of furniture. I then thoroughly sanded the unit and applied a coat of Valspar paint in Ultra White. I decided that I would use some of the leftover paintable wallpaper from my backsplash (blog post to follow!) to cover the drawers. Unfortunately I had just enough to cover two of the drawers. I adhered the wallpaper with Mod Podge.

My next step was the top. I was originally going  to paint it white, but after being forced to purchase stain grade quality wood at Lowes, I decided I was gonna get my money's worth and stain it. Fortunately I had some leftover poly and stain so there was no added expense!
I am absolutely over the moon with how it came out! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Power of Paint: Chalk Paint- Take 2

I am dying to revamp my bedroom. I want a luxurious space all my own (well...I guess I will let my husband come in!). I wanted to throw out everythang and start from scratch. But after shopping around I realized that many of the pieces were not nearly as sturdy as my current dressers. After doing some research (aka surfing Pinterest) I came to the conclusion that once again, sometimes all you need is a little paint to reincarnate an old piece. 
I decided to utilize chalk paint. I have been knocking out little projects here and there, and I am slowly being converted into a chalk paint fanatic. Yes, I admit it! The ease of the application despite the higher price tag makes it sooooo worth it. Gasp, clutch my pearls! Is that the Queen of the Land o'Cheapskate speaking?! Yaassss! I love that stuff. 
As before, I used the Folk Art Chalk Paint which is a more cost effective chalk paint (latex is still cheaper, though). I know that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is supposed to be the absolute best, but that price tag is like a stab to a sista's heart and I just can't do it! Folk Art's paint has been working juuuust fine!
After thoroughly cleaning the piece and applying two coats of chalk paint, I changed up things this time and applied a water-based poly over the chalk paint rather than the wax. Poly is MUCH more durable for high-traffic areas, and you don't have to reapply it every couple months as you would have to do with wax.
 One of the final touches was the addition of stencil designs to the drawer fronts (check out my blog post on how I made the stencils!). I am still undecided as to whether or not I will add drawer pulls or additional stencils, but for now.... Chalk paint project 2- DONE!

Dollar Store Stencils

I wanted to add some stencil design to some dressers that I was attempting to revamp. If you have ever shopped for stencils, you know that they can get quite expensive. Well as the Queen of the Land o' Cheapskate I must say... "ain't nobody got time for that!" With that said, I decided to see what I could come up with as a stencil on my own. 
My first stop is nearly always the Dollar Tree... aka mi casa #2. You will be surprised how many odds and ends you can find there. Even when you go in to purchase one item you will nearly always end up walking out with 7 bags jammed with goodies. It happens to me ALL the time! Well once again, this trip to the Dollar Tree did not disappoint. I found exactly what I needed to create a great stencil design.
The pics I took pretty much map out the process, so I won't go into any extensive details. Look around at your local dollar store and see what unconventional items you can use for your next project!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Power of Paint: Chalk Paint-Take 1

So I finally jumped on the chalk-paint-bandwagon. I have heard ooh's and aah's about the Annie Sloan chalk paint... But I just wasn't ready to fork up that much cash on a product that I still wasn't  convinced would be all that they said it was. In steps Folkart chalk paint.

With a decent selection of colors and a very impressive price tag, I decided to take the plunge and try it. The process is simple... Make sure the surface is clean, and then paint (no sanding). Once the paint dries completely you will need to seal the chalk paint with a wax, and that's it!
It was a wonderful and easy process! I will definitely be using chalk paint  on my next project!