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Putting the Mudroom on the Final Spin Cycle

With the window trim and mudroom seating in place, it was time to focus our attention on the cabinets surrounding the washer and dryer. As with any project in this house, we wanted to do it on the cheap. We spent alot of time researching cabinets, both online and some that were available in-store. One consideration was to order cabinets through Ikea, but since we haven’t been there yet to lay our hands on them, we didn’t want to spend the money on something that we weren’t quite sure of the quality. The option that we ended up going with was this unfinished oak cabinet from Home Depot. The drawer slides and hinges weren’t the best of quality, but we figure that these cabinets won’t get a ton of use. And with a few coats of paint they should look pretty decent.

You may remember that we chose to paint the mudroom a shade of blue (Woodlawn Sterling Blue). For the cabinets we wanted to go with something that wasn’t white, but would still have a bright appearance. We went with this color called Montpelier Madison White.


With so few cabinets to paint, I ended buying just a quart. It did the job of covering really well.
The cabinets aren’t packaged that great for transit, so I needed to putty a bunch of scratches and dings. Not a big deal considering the price.

The joys of painting in the winter means you end up painting in your dining room. Maybe our first project should have been to build a garage?

And here is what they look like after a few coats of paint.


I had a little bit of help from Miles when I was painting. Every time I painted over the lines he would beep at me. I think he might be an artist in training.


Installing the cabinets only required contorting my body above the washer and dryer.

I had to add a small piece of trim to the top of the cabinets to fill the gap from the crown molding. This is mostly due to poor planning on my part, but if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them that I did it on purpose.

And here they are! We found our drawer pull and door knobs at Lowes.

The only thing missing was the countertop. Sara and I had talked about having a piece of granite cut, but we ended up just using some scrap bamboo I had laying around from our stairway project. The treads were just the right thickness to give it a butcher block look. I cut them down to size and used a biscuit joiner to put the pieces together.

I never pass up the opportunity to use my router , so I routed the corners of the countertop to give it some detail.

After a few coats of polyurethane and the addition of a few LED under-cabinet lights, the project was nearing completion.




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Trimming a Little Here and There

I saw a post from a local magazine looking for people to talk about their home renovation stories. I submitted a few ideas, one being the hidden door project, and the other being the new mudroom/bathroom currently in progress. I may not have thought this all the way through, because when she suggested a quick photo shoot and interview at the house in a few weeks, I knew I had lots of work to do. I was mostly concerned with getting the area around the auditorium seats finished. This included putting the trim on the window as well as the baseboard.


Claire meet Valspar, Valspar meet Claire.

I have always been a fan of California paint, and in most cases I would say that it is well worth the minimal extra cost. The bummer thing about California paint (from Massachusetts by the way), is that it’s hard to find in this area. I’m a weekend warrior and the nearest dealer is only open 7-12 on Saturday. I get my motivation at 12:01. My second choice has to be Valspar, available at Lowes. It covers really well, and it also dried quickly. We decided to go with a Woodlawn Sterling Blue for the walls, and an Ultra White for the trim. After getting the seats removed from the wall, it was time to get painting.



The color turned out great and didn’t take too long to get done, even with the ceiling. It was time to move on to the trim.

I had an idea this time around to dress up the window casing a bit more than I had in other parts of the house. It is clearly visible from the dining and living room, and almost becomes a focal point. Some research online led me to a few design ideas that I could easily replicate from some kiln dried stock and precast foam molding. My first step was the put the seats back in so I could notch the stool of the window trim.


Luckily this gets hidden behind the seat .


The top detail was just created by using a few different types of wood. The crown molding is the hard foam material (super cheap and easy to work with if you have a sharp miter saw blade).  The head casing and half round are both pine. I saved myself a bit of money by just routing the half round instead of buying it. Why not, right?


The last step of the trim project will be to put a few coats of white paint on it, and the baseboard trim. I’ll show t you the finished reveal in the next post, with more info on that hidden treasure decoration that we have been working on.



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You’re the Meaning in my Life, You’re the Inspiration…

When we made the decision to demolish the old three season porch for a more functional laundry room/bathroom I was excited about the decorating possibilities.  Our style has become more refined as we’ve been working on the house and I was excited to begin working on the colors and fixtures for the space.  I love the look of our current (read only) bathroom and was ready to build off it in another room.

We designated a very small space in the addition for the bathroom thinking that we’d need more space for laundry and random baby stuff, because we all know that for someone only 13 lbs, this baby has already accumulated a lot… I mean a lot of stuff.  The goal of the laundry room was to:

A) get the washer and dryer out of the dining room
B) create more storage

C) give us a better entrance to the house than the front door

The bathroom was really only an after thought for resale value, although it will be nice to have one of the first floor, especially when we have company.

Although we really only needed to have a toilet and sink, for resale value we decided to add a shower which will abut the vanity.  To retain as much usable wall space as possible (and keep it from feeling like you’re bathing in prison) we decided on a small frosted window for the room. Unfortunately that also means that we’ll have minimal light, so we’ll need to keep the room bright with colors and fixtures.

With that criteria in mind I have started my inspiration for the room.  I recently came across this bathroom over at Love and Life at Leadora.

I love the moldings, the brightness and the fact that the vanity looks like a piece of furniture.  Definitely an inspiration room.

Although I love the molding, I’m toying with the idea of using tile on the walls as well. It could get costly and be far more labor intensive than drywall and paint, but may be worth it.  We’ll see.  In the meantime you can see other inspiration rooms on my pinterest bathroom board.


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For Charlotte

It’s amazing to look back at all our old house project pictures and see one detail in almost every set, our dog Charlotte. Our little lab/mix has been my project manager since we got her as a puppy over 9 years ago. One of my first gigs when I was a commercial producer was to put together a campaign based on volunteerism in the area. I decided to highlight the local humane society, and during a visit to get some cover footage I noticed a little black dog, one ear up-one ear down, sitting in a cage shaking like a leaf. She stole my heart and I had to have her. I called Sara and said we should consider bringing her home. We always wanted a dog at some point, but the decision was made to adopt her as soon as we could. That day when we picked her up, they had put her in an office by herself and a pile of newspaper. Within a few minutes the room was trashed and there was poop everywhere. We knew we were in for an experience. The puppy years were great, and although she got sick almost every time we put her in the car, we had a lot of great family memories. She got used to the water quick at camp. After a few hours of splashing around, chasing a ball or frisbee, or jumping off the dock when she had the courage, she would fall asleep in the back of my truck for the hour ride home.


She was the perfect little house companion and quickly grew into our family. She wasn’t shy, and made it known if she needed something or someone. She had a loud deep bark, but would roll over on her back if she saw a chance for a belly rub. She got along well with her cat brothers and sister, and would even break up the occasional fight that would develop between them. She certainly got into her fair share of trouble as well, but sometimes it’s hard to stay angry at a dog.

When we decided to adopt Charlotte, I never knew that I could grow so attached to her as I did. She was my best friend, my daughter, and knew me better than almost anyone. They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, and Charlotte was no different.

Charlotte and her Dad

My daily routine revolved around her and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. She was such a happy dog and always looked like she was smiling, even when she had to take her medicine (ants on log we’d call it). During my lunch break we would sit out on the porch when the weather was nice, or in the winter we’d cuddle up on the couch. I’d talk to her like she was going to talk back, only she’d look at me with her big brown eyes as if to say “I love you”. And sometimes that’s all I needed.

We had to say goodbye to our Charlotte last weekend after a quick illness. It was devastating, to say the least. Our home just isn’t the same.

Shortly after she passed, Sara had to remind me that “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, and I guess that’s true. I don’t regret taking her under our wing, but it’s a reminder that we all must go someday, and to spend every minute with them like it’s your last. I would give me right arm to have another hour with her, but I’m thankful for the 9 great years that we had. – Matt

Family Photo


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Preparing for the apocalypse, one vegetable at a time

Everyone prepares for an apocalypse in their own way.  Some people think we’re going to get nuked and build their bunker and stock it with canned goods,  other people like myself are preparing for a zombie apocalypse.  Hey I’ve seen the Walking Dead. I know what’s coming.

So, in an effort to do what every good vegetarian should do in the wake of zombies taking over the world, I decided to grow a garden.  Now, I don’t have the space I’d like.  I live in the city.  Creating a decent snow angel spans my full backyard.  So for me,  a container garden it is.

Apparently I’m not the only person with A) a lack of space and B) a fear of impending doom, because a quick trip to The Home Depot provided more than enough options for a decent container garden . I ended up with cucumbers, tomato’s green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and a jalapeno plant. 


It’s an interesting combination, I know.  But in the event of a zombie apocalypse I’m sure the combination will be just fine.  And who knows,  maybe something in there will act as a zombie repellant?


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And It Begins…

Well, here it is. This is where it all began. As a young (unmarried at the time) couple, we were in the market for a house. Our requirements were few, as was our budget. We were renting for a number of years right around the corner from what would become our new home, so when we searched with a real estate agent for a while and came up with nothing, we thought we were out of luck. Our future home had to have room, it didn’t need to be pretty, but it had to be cheap. We were on a pretty tight budget.

One winter day, Sara came home from work and mentioned a house around the corner with a for sale sigh in the window of the door. The house didn’t look lived in. The driveway hadn’t been cleared of snow all winter, so we called the number on the sign and got our first look. Here is what we saw on the initial walk through in late March of 2003, and there is the sign in the window!

Front of house angle2

At this point I affectionately starting calling this house “The crack house”. It had some perks, though. With our first walk through we noticed that the house had new vinyl siding, the kitchen cabinets had recently been replaced, and the bathroom had a new shower.  Was that ALL of the perks? My first impression was…. yes. I had some wood working experience working with my dad at an architectural woodworking shop, but that was about it. I had never hung drywall, had to deal with electrical or plumbing problems, or anything related to old houses. It looked like a challenge, and to be completely honest, it was overwhelming. I wondered if maybe it was worth it to spend a little more for a house that didn’t need so much work. There was wood paneling and nasty wallpaper everywhere. The carpet was old and smelled of mildew. What was painted, needed repainting. But the house had good bones. It was sinking in one corner, but it felt like a home, and we (or Sara) could see the potential.

Living room from doorway
Dining room

More of the old pictures will come in later posts, but you get the idea. The 3 story house had 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and a room to grow. We saw some bigger projects that we would need to do: windows, house needed leveling, roof, furnace, electrical, plumbing. And then every room needed new floors, walls, ceiling, lights, doors. Everything that you could see needed to be replaced. But it wasn’t impossible. It would just take time (and money). We knew we wanted the house after the first visit, and soon after it was ours. We moved in in May of 2003, a few days before Sara graduated from UMaine with her undergraduate degree.

This blog chronicles our journey to make this house our home.  We’re DIYers to the core, and we hope to share our successes and failures in our home renovation journey.

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