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Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 | 1 comment

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

For the past seven years I’ve been living with two feet of counter space in my kitchen. I have only myself to blame for this. We renovated the 1950s galley kitchen after we moved in in 2004 but we made some poor decisions. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s the result of new homeowner ignorance + lack of HGTV inspiration + financial limitations. I recently decided it was time to make a change and get a real kitchen workspace. If we ever decided to sell, our “kitchenette” would surely scare off buyers. The plan was to add a built-in peninsula using the same cabinets and countertop in the existing kitchen. I went to Home Depot and drew up plans with a super-friendly kitchen designer (really, she was super nice!). But to my utter horror, my master plan was going to cost nearly $2000. Not in the cards. Days later while taking the trash out to the alley something piqued my attention — a wood desk and...

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Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 | 13 comments

The Many Uses for Chalkboard Paint, Part II

The Many Uses for Chalkboard Paint, Part II

Back in August we shared some ideas for using chalkboard paint in your home. Well, we’re back with more ideas — chalkboard paint is so versatile and so fun! I love chalkboard paint so much I used it as my kitchen backsplash. I was afraid it would make the small kitchen look even smaller and darker, but so far it hasn’t. In the corner by the stove there is an entire wall for the kids to doodle. (Don’t worry,  the kids aren’t allowed back there while the stove or oven are in use.) And if I’m cooking and I need to leave myself a note, I can just write it on the wall — comes in handy when you are inventing a new recipe. One tip: Let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat otherwise the first coat rubs off. You’ll need 1-3 coats, but each coat dries pretty quickly. We mentioned these gift tags in our last post and I’ve been itching to make them ever since. I...

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 | 3 comments

Little by Little, Bathroom Gets DIY Makeover

Little by Little, Bathroom Gets DIY Makeover

Christophe is not afraid to tackle a home improvement project; he’s a true DIYer whose passion and enthusiasm come out in his exceptional work. The original bathroom in his 1950s rowhouse needed some sprucing up. It had some redeeming qualities — the neutral white and gray tile floor and the tub were in good shape  — but overall the room was dated. With this being the only bathroom in the house, Christophe knew the renovation would be a long-term project. He needed to use the bathroom as he remodeled, so that meant he could only do a little at a time. Christophe started by removing all the tiles on the walls and around the tub. He liked the gray color and some of the tiles were still in good condition, so he kept some to use as accents for the new walls. He took the walls down to the studs, including the extremely messy task of removing the plaster walls. The process took well over a month. But it was well worth the effort....

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2011 | 4 comments

Reader Submission: Mosaic-Tiled Table

Reader Submission: Mosaic-Tiled Table

A reader submitted the following description of her fabulous mosaic-tiled IKEA tables. Looks awesome! Materials: A few years ago, we bought a set of two coffee tables from Ikea (now discontinued). I’m an architect and we had a box of tile sample chips that were going to be thrown out, so I “rescued” them and used them to mosaic the tables. Tile sample chips are only 1/8″ thick, so you are able to do a finer mosaic with them. I didn’t have enough of the sample tiles to do the big one also, so I used tile from Home Depot but I kept the same pattern theme. The Home Depot tiles were standard 4″x4″ tiles that are 1/4″ thick, so I wasn’t able to break them into as small of pieces. Step 1: Break the tiles and design the pattern To break the tiles, I put a few tiles in a ziploc bag, wrapped it in a towel and hit them with a hammer (not too hard) until I got pieces...

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Posted by on Sep 28, 2011 | 6 comments

Pretty in IKEA-Hacked Pink

Pretty in IKEA-Hacked Pink

IKEA’s signature clean lines and simple designs make it easy to transform their furniture into something uniquely yours. In fact, there’s an entire website dedicated to people who like to reinvent IKEA called IKEA Hackers. That’s exactly what I my friend Mary did when she needed a new bed for her 4-year-old daughter. Mary’s requirements were simple: The bed must be low to the ground and must have drawers underneath. When Mary saw the ODDA bed, it met both criteria, but there was one major flaw: The black drawers would not work in the bedroom of her pink-loving girl. Not afraid of a DIY project, Mary decided there was an easy fix: She would recover the drawers in decorative paper (from Paper Source in Old Town) using Mod Podge. Here are the steps Mary took: Step 1: Cut out the paper to fit exactly the same size as the drawers. Step 2: Apply Mod Podge adhesive (available at Michael’s) to entire outside face of drawer. Step 3: Very carefully attach paper to the drawers...

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