Category Archives: home decor

Cleaning Kitchen Hardware

More than a month ago I debuted my kitchen cabinet makeover.

Please, please.  Hold the applause.

In that post I droned on and on about those sad and nasty cabinets, but believe me when I say that the hardware was pretty gross, too. Years of grime coated each handle and hid any hint of color beneath it.  I couldn’t bring myself to put the old handles on the pretty new face of those cabinets.  That’d be like using a dirty towel after showering. Why bother?

My inner domestic goddess wanted to buy new hardware that glistened.  But the public defender in me reminded the goddess that we’re renters on a budget and metaphorically slapped some sense into her.

After some research, I created my own cleaning recipe based on what I had on hand.  I filled the sink with hot water, some ammonia and a bit of ordinary dish soap.  (Open the windows or risk building evacuation!)  I soaked a few handles in the solution and  scrubbed them one by one with a toothbrush from the dollar store.  Look at how you can actually see chunks of the grime peel away.

Click on the picture to get a full screen shot of the kind of progress I made here.  It reminded me of streams of seaweed falling off the handles.

Look at the difference! Not bad, eh?  They are now worthy of my beautiful cabinets.  And both my inner public defender and domestic goddess are satisfied that we found a thrifty way to make them feel like new!



Filed under DIY, home decor

Bookcase Makeover with Crown Molding

My bookcase was a big ole’ bore when compared to the other awesome pieces involved in my recent office makeover. Here it is below awaiting the  transformation from Debbie Downer to Annie Awesome.

(Teach my how to Dougie, teach, teach, teach me how to Dougie)

But with the talented Ryan Taylor on board, we transformed this bookcase for under $10 and the use of the paint from the desk redesign.

We purchased several feet of crown molding and we Doug and Ryan used a chop saw to cut it down into three pieces.   They nailed them to the bookshelf with a brad nailer.

The tricky part of this project was cutting the intersecting pieces at a 45 degree angle for a perfect fit.  Here’s a shot of one of those 45 degree angles:

He sealed the edges and gaps with painter’s caulk to hide tiny imperfections. With a paint of coat on the whole thing, the molding looks like it was supposed to be there.

This is a very inexpensive way to take an ordinary bookcase and turn it into a stately piece of furniture!

Any other creative uses for crown molding? What do you think the opposite of a Debbie Downer is?


Filed under DIY, home decor

From Amateur to Professional: My Office Makeover

Once upon a time – a long, long time ago – I shared the TV spot on my office makeover.  My brilliant friend Ryan helped me take my office from dated and dismal to stylish and sophisticated.  It’s time to bring you up to speed.

I inherited this new office about the same time we were planning our makeover.  This picture below is the blank office space and the furniture I had to use.  It was literally a blank slate – white walls and all.   My friend Ryan is the one working diligently and my sweet Doug is the one posing in the background.  Never one to miss the opportunity for a Kodak moment, that one.

We didn’t have a budget for new furniture even though it clearly needed a pick-me-up.  The space desperately needed character but we couldn’t paint the walls.  And let’s be honest, I didn’t have a huge budget.

But do not fear!  Ryan is one skilled designer (and a very generous friend).  Below are the after pictures:

I’ll be sharing how we painted the furniture, gave it new hardware, and created a chalkboard focal point.

Oh, when I saw “we” I mean “Ryan.”  I just did as I was told. And Doug brought his muscles.

I’ll show how Ryan dressed up this everyday bookshelf.

I’ll show you how we reinvigorated this lamp from the thrift store.

I’ll show a trick I learned from the Curator of the Utah State Capitol on how to keep these canvas prints and other artwork level day in and day out.

Didn’t he do great? Stay tuned for the play by play!

There’s more of this office makeover! Click here to see my bookshelf redesign, here to see how to update an old lamp, here to see how we painted the desk and gave it new hardware, and here to see it debut on ABC 4.)


Filed under DIY, home decor