Home Improvement: Things To Consider When Planning Projects

Home Improvement: Things To Consider When Planning Projects

We’ve been blogging here for a good five years now, and in that time, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers. One question we’re often asked is this: “You all seem to always be doing something to your house. How do you do so much?” Today I’d like to share how we prioritize our projects.

1. Do projects a little at a time

We just did a small remodel of our master bathroom. We replaced mirrors, hardware and light fixtures. We eventually plan to replace the bathtub and surround and flooring as well, but it simply isn’t in the budget right now. So we started with the cheapest, easiest items on our “master bath to-do list” and we completed those.

2. Find cheaper options for the things you want to do

We love carriage house garage doors, but we neither need nor want to buy a $2,000 garage door at the moment… so we took to Amazon and ordered faux Coach house door hardware and a faux window kit for $50. We spent far less money something that looks like the real deal.

3. If you can DIY it, do it.

Custom closets are expensive, but my dad and I built this closet organizer ourselves for $100. It only took one day and it was a fairly simple project. We saved a lot of money by doing it ourselves AND it was a lot of fun.

4. Before you do any part of the project, ask yourself these questions:

1. Who will it benefit?

If it’s something that will benefit everyone in the home, bump the project up higher on your to do list.

2. Can I do the project in phases, or must I do it all at once?

If a project must be done all at once, but it’s small, it’s probably OK to raise it on your list. If it’s a big project and you can’t do it in phases, it’s probably expensive and should be lower on your priority list.

3. Do I need to do it, or just want to?

Projects that you want to do, no matter how much you want to do them, are never as important as the projects you need to do.

5. Save money for the things you can’t afford right now

Even if you can’t afford the things you want at the moment, save money until you have what you need.

How do you all prioritize projects?

Have a wonderful weekend.

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How to make industrial farmhouse shelves

Our hall bathroom looked a little blank and boring.

Just a nice room with a lot of space but a completely blank space. Also, there is a small vanity but almost no storage space. And do you see those little rickety shelves? They’re pretty ineffective and unstable.

So they had to go. Enter spackle.

That builder grade towel rack had to go too.

I purchased four plumbing pipe flanges in silver and spray painted them black. I also purchased four pipe nipples and some straight pipe at 10 inches long. I chose to buy 3/4 inch but you can choose any size you want. I spray painted all of it black and attached it to the wall.

I took some 1x4s from my scrap pile and cut them to the size I wanted. Then I stained them.

And I placed them on top of the pipes. Easiest part of the project.

I then sanded and repaired the holes I’d patched and touched up the paint.

And I’ve been enjoying them ever since!

Sometimes such a simple project can change your room so much. It’s amazing how for less than $100 we changed the look of the whole room. What are your thoughts?

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

I love pine cones- I use them to decorate for fall, Christmas AND spring. I have tons of them around my house and I can always find them by the bucket full. Did you know you can easily make simple and cute ornaments from them?

You will need pine cones, your choice of ribbon and some twine, as well as a hot glue gun.

Tie your ribbon into a pretty bow.

Tie a piece of twine around the bow

And hot glue the bow to the pine cone.

Isn’t that the cutest and easiest thing ever?

Check back on Saturday for our Christmas home tour. Have a wonderful Friday!

Building a faux fireplace mantle, part 3

When we last left you, our beautiful antique mantle with its faux firebox looked like this:

Nothing was painted, no stone was laid. Things were kinda bare. And unfinished.

Our first item on the agenda was to paint it.

First, we caulked any cracks or areas we felt needed filling in. We painted the mantle and the adjoining boards behind it with white paint in satin finish.

Next, we installed Airstone to the surround and the bottom of the hearth.

This stuff is amazingly easy and fun to work with. Simply spread the adhesive on the back of the stones like you’re frosting a cake and press into place. You can also cut the stone with a hacksaw or circular saw.

We then laid faux slate vinyl tiles across the top of the hearth. We may upgrade it later to real slate but I am loving how this looks, and how little it cost.

We then painted the faux brick paneling with some matte black chalk paint. I just like the finish.

We still have a few areas to fill in and some trim to add, but all in all, I am loving it!

Stay tuned! The rest of our living room is about to change in a big way, and I can’t wait to show it to you!!

Have a great Monday!

Building a faux fireplace mantle

Building an antique fireplace mantle

Last month, I told you all about how my husband and I purchased and antique fireplace mantle.

untitled design-14

We have a long, blank and boring wall in our living room, that unfortunately is our focal wall when you walk in the door. I’ve always wanted a pretty fireplace on that wall but knew we couldn’t afford a real one. A faux one was the next best thing 🙂

Using a plan from Bless’r House as a model, we decided how large the mantle and hearth would need to be and we purchased the wood.

Here is a list of what we used to build the fireplace:

  • Antique mantle (found through local antiques dealers)
  • 2 plywood sheets
  • Faux brick panel
  • 11 2×4 boards
  • 2 1X12 boards
  • 1 2×12 board
  • Finishing nails
  • Deck screws
  • Drywall screws
  • Tape measure and yard stick
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Power drill

We began by deciding how large we wanted the hearth to be and we cut two 2X4sat 64 inches long. We chose 64 inches because this made the hearth a tiny bit wider than the mantle itself. The cross pieces and sides are 24 inches.

fireplace hearth 1

We then cut a piece of plywood to fit the top of the hearth, but we did not hammer it down yet.

Copy of fireplace surround 3

We then carried the hearth into the house, placed it where we wanted it, and attached it to the baseboards. We then attached the plywood to the top of the hearth.

finished hearth

We then attached plywood strips and two by fours to the back of the mantle.

fireplace surround braces

After attaching the two by fours to the side, and the plywood strips, we cut out a surround from one of the plywood sheets. I attached it using small wood screws.

fireplace surround 2

I then attached 2X4s to the wall at the correct height to the wall. Be sure to hang these on studs, but if you can’t, make sure you use drywall anchors that can accommodate heavy weights.

Copy of Copy of Copy of fireplace no brick

I then attached the 1X12s for the side braces to the 2x4s.

Copy of Copy of fireplace no brick

I then put the mantle up beside these braces, and attached the two by fours on the back of the mantle to the braces. I used decking screws to do this.

Untitled design (11)

I then realized we had about an eight inch gap between the mantle and the wall.

Copy of fireplace no brick

Attaching a 2X6 to this space covered the gap and laid flush with the back of the mantle.

Untitled design (11)

We then cut and added faux brick paneling to the wall behind the mantle and on the sides so that the inside of the mantle couldn’t be seen.

fireplace almost finished

We have nearly finished the mantle. We now only have to paint, add the stone, and fill in some nail holes. Our living room looks so much better already! Can’t wait to share the finished product with you all!

fireplace almost finished