Saturday, November 15, 2014

A double DO OVER!

Ok, Ok, it's KILLING me but I will admit it.  I did a "do over"….twice.

I am sure my impatience had (everything) a lot to do with it but when I do a piece to sell and it doesn't sell within a few weeks, it REALLY bothers me! Or maybe I just get sick of looking at it in my shop every day and need a change, whatever it is, I hope someone likes it this time around:)

The color is Ben Moore Hale Navy. I know the elephant and brick look a little strange in color but I had to adjust the color to get the true depth of the dresser.

Here is the first round.  I LOVED this! But looking back, it was probably too risky adding the gold inlay. Not everyone likes gold like I do.  Although I received a lot of positive feedback, it just wouldn't fit into most decor. 

(I have the inlay still if anyone wants to play around with it on another piece…no charge:))

And the second round, I am just not sure what happened here. I kept the box the same as round 1, but removed the inlay and redid the drawers in a pale aqua.  The stripes on "round 3" is actually this drawer color. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


For some reason, I am super picky about particular things, as we all are I suppose.  When searching for my new refrigerator, I found it very difficult to find one that did NOT have a water dispenser in the door, that was NOT counter depth (I had the room to go deep), was a side by side and had handles that at were at least close to my other  GE Cafe appliance handles.  This proved to be a very difficult task!

Because evidently I thrive on difficult, 'you can't get that', tasks…I was determined to figure something out!

This Whirlpool side by side had almost everything I liked, including the price of under $1000.  Unfortunately it did not have the fancy hardware I was looking for.  But that didn't stop me!

Someone mentioned that Jenn-Air owned Whirlpool.  I liked Jenn-Air's Pro style handles.  They were pretty.

I decided to totally take over Gerritt's Appliance one afternoon and after making friends with the manager, sweet talked him into letting me try swapping out a few handles to see if they would fit.

To my, and the managers surprise, the pretty Jenn-Air hardware I liked fit beautifully onto the Whirlpool model! For an extra $200, I was getting the fridge I wanted!

Now it was onto my next task:)

Original Whirlpool hardware

Jenn-air Pro Handle kit


Monday, September 15, 2014


I originally had planned on adding some sort of trim and design work to the wall behind the TV console but after framing up the closets and realizing so much of that wall was going to covered, I changed my focus to the closet doors flanking that space.

Because I had procrastinated on ordering the interior doors (along with many other things), I was able to order flat slabs for those 2 doors, in place of the style I had throughout the house.  This allowed me to create and add any trim design I wanted.

I WAS going to do the same design  as the room divider that is between my dining and living rooms and original to the house. I love that piece and thought it would be nice to carry that detail into the den but last minute, actually while I was laying out the cuts, I changed my mind.  I do that a lot…change my mind:)

Marc ripped down a few 1x10 pieces of maple into 1" strips for me to cut to size.  I was going to do it myself but will be honest, cutting straight lines (even with a guide) isn't exactly my strong area:)

 I wish I could find my inspiration photo that I had for this design.  I couldn't find it and don't know if I had one saved on my phone, pintrest, computer or houzz or maybe it's just all in my head.  I am never quite sure sometimes.
Nevertheless, after playing with the dimensions, my calculator, calling Marc into the garage for advise and different design options for a few HOURS, I came up with this.  

Knowing I would be having to fill in and sand these doors, I used a bead of glue and as few brad nails as possible.

I also hit each piece with a sanding block after each cut and before attaching, which really helped with not having to do so much after it was put together. 

 As you can see, I had a lot of ideas and sketches going on:)

The room is far from being complete but I really do love how they turned out and really, the only thing I would do differently is start the door border out at 2x the thickness as the trim inside the frame.

After doing the first door I realized it would look best to have the border thicker and let me just say, it was a LOT easier to do it on the second door with a clean slate than it was filling in all of the cuts afterwards.

I also love how we were able to hide the cable box under the console


Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I am aware that most people who refinish know about the "tips" and "tricks" I provide, which is the reason I rarely share, but once in a while,  I just feel the need to help that one person out if I can:)

This is one of those tips…

Personally, I remove 99% of my hardware, including hinges.  I am not saying a painted hinge is a bad thing, but when you are doing a super modern piece it just doesn't look clean, or modern, or right…so yeah, I guess a painted hinge can be a bad thing.  I said it. Now I feel bad, but a little better

The unfortunate thing is that when you remove old hinges, it can be tricky to get doors lined up JUST RIGHT when reinstalling, so I assume that is my most people paint hinges.  It's totally easier. I get it and I actually now charge a LITTLE more when refinishing a piece with doors because I KNOW I will be spending an extra hour removing and reinstalling those babies.  I hate it.

A problem I also find with these old hinges is that often times the holes are stripped or too large to use a flat screw that will sink into the hinge holes and actually allow the door to close nicely.  When this happens, there is a pretty simple solution.

I have a tupperware container full of different sized that I use for different reason as well as dowel rods on hand, for different "fix" it reasons. I find my dowels at Lowes, Homey D, Joanns, Hobby Wobby…they are all over

I found the right size dowel, which was probably the smallest in diameter that they make and cut to size.  I guessed on length but knew I didn't want it sticking out at all. 

With a little dab of wood glue, stuff that baby in and let dry for a bit.

Now your screws with "catch" and pull the hinge in tight!

I have also used a toothpick many times as well.  Sometimes you just need the hole filled in just a tiny bit to make the screw catch, like on the other door side.  

I like to use the flatter toothpicks, not the round ones.  But don't use a flat toothpick to pick your teeth, that's just dumb.

And don't pick your teeth in public, that's just gross.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Sorry if I have talked about these products a little too much but I just want to spread the LOVE!

There is no denying that mostbof the pieces that come through my shop need to be totally stripped and re-stained but once in a while, all they need is some TLC.

Before…This is the photo my client sent me.  She wanted the drawers stripped and re-stained.  Although we all know that pictures can be very deceiving, I was hopeful that all they really needed was some "Howard" love!

Not only is this easier for me but it also saves the client some money.  Win-Win!

The Restore A Finish comes in different Shades.  I find that Dark Walnut and Oak are the two colors I seem to use the most. The Feed N Wax is the follow up product.  I Use the wax ALL THE TIME by itself.  Sometimes that is actually all you need to pretty up a piece!

The drawers BEFORE…little dingy

I use a VERY fine steel wool pad to wipe the drawer or piece down first.

After cleaning, with a clean rag, wipe on the Restore A Finish product.  Do not pour onto the drawer but onto the rag after shaking the can well.

Photo of the drawers after using the Restore A Finish (but before the wax).  This product colors in the dings and brings dull finishes back to life!

After 30 minutes, wipe on the wax (directions on bottle) to achieve an even nicer finish.

Love that hardware!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Even after laying extra subfloor and doing what you can to help the transition of materials from one room to another to be as smooth as possible, there may still be a small "lip" that will either need a threshold of sorts or be an unsightly 'toe stubber'.  Here is what we have done in all of our homes that have worked beautifully!

We have used shims to meet up with the new flooring.  

I wish I thought about getting pictures sooner in the process but hopefully you get the idea.  

After setting up the tile underlayment (not actually installed yet) and then the tile to figure out the exact height of the floor we will be butting up to, we decided where the shims needed to be cut to achieve the perfect height.  

The shims were glued with construction adhesive and nailed.

Just a random photo but thought any photos might help.  Here, Marc needs to trim the wood to fit around the wall and was also wanted the 'tongue' removed butt up against the tile.

Another view.

And another.

If you are worried about it feeling like a "ramp", it doesn't at ALL!  It is the slighting incline and I promise you will not notice it at all:)

Like I mentioned, we have done this many times, on many homes and it has always worked beautifully.

Sorry about the messy photo but just a larger view.  We will be done with this reno…someday!!

Monday, July 28, 2014


It's not often I pat myself on the back but will have to say, after the hundreds of hardware holes I have drilled and even a few mess ups, I have perfected the art of drilling holes for new hardware perfectly!  I'm pretty quick too:)
Although I have to admit, that if I have had a glass of wine  I should probably just save this job for the next day…just sayin

The before.  I LOVE the original hardware on this piece but we were going for a more masculine look and clients loved this modern hardware.  Also, if you look closely, whoever originally installed this hardware didn't do a very good job. Many were a wee bit off.

1-First thing I do is line the drawers up, the ones that are going next to each other and make sure they are facing the same way (open drawer area up). Not all drawers are the same height going DOWN the dresser and you may be adjusting holes, but the side by side drawers, you WILL WANT to make sure the holes are EXACTLY lined up for sure!

2-put a piece of tape in the area you will be marking and drilling

3-Find the CENTER of each drawer (the long way) and make your mark.

4-I do not always feel you need to find the EXACT center of the drawer from top to bottom but tend to find a solid measurement very close to the center that will look nice and be easy to obtain on each drawer. 

5-This is where I ditch the tape measure and use a smaller ruler.  Much easier to work with.

Find the hole spread on the hardware and find the center. I got lucky and had a simple 3" spread, so the center was 1.5".

Below you can see my marking for the center and how far down I decided to go. I put that 1.5" (center of hole spread) at my center mark of drawer to find the 3" hole spread.

 6-Mark where the holes will be drilled.

 7-Make your marking on how far down to go

8-Double check all of your measurements and drill the holes!  The tape will not only help with keeping the drawer front clean but will help the make for clean holes:)