Home

Updating a 1990’s Butcher Block Table

2 Comments

I don’t know about you guys but I am ready for a few things to change. I am ready for a little warmer weather, to be able to have friends and family over, and for this whole stay at home thing to end.

I hasn’t all been bad around here though. We live on 15 beautiful acres of land that allows us lots of space. Another benefit is knocking out small projects that were going to get done “one day” like cleaning out storage buildings, organizing the linen closet, fixing some minor cracks in the Sheetrock, and paint touch ups. We also have a few projects coming up. Before the world slowed to a crawl we had a new washer and dryer delivered and installed (FYI- in the country you have to switch a gas dryer from natural gas to propane and that is a pain.) With the laundry upgrades, the laundry room is about to get spiffed up. I am getting excited about that one!

We also did a project that turned out beautifully and will make our main eating area much more functional. Every since we moved into the house we have had a table that was once in our formal dining room as our breakfast room table. I really do love the table and we have had it at least 35 years. It just hasn’t worked well for us in the space that we have.

This is the most recent picture of the table I had before it got moved out.

The design of our ranch house is a little unusual. The front door of the house, that is really not convenient for guests, opens directly into the space that our coffee bar and table are in. When we moved in the former owners had closed the front door off completely and had a china cabinet sitting in that space. We have installed that beautiful mahogany door and added a really large porch so the space gets lots of traffic now. The space isn’t very large and when we have a crowd over it is tight in that space.

We kept using the table there even though it wasn’t a great fit because, well, we liked the table and we already had it. The 47 inch diameter table had a leaf that extended the length when we needed more seating which was great. The final straw that forced the change (and I am glad it did) was when moving back into the house after getting the flooring replaced the leaf was damaged. It was time to go. I started looking on Facebook marketplace and found this solid wood table for $50.00. The information on the underside said it had a1998 shipping date.

It was solid wood but had some wear on the top.

My son gave us some dark walnut stain from a project they were working on and oil based poly for the tabletop. I found a mistint can of paint at our Home Depot a while back that I knew would be perfect. It is almost a dark pewter gray. My husband did an amazing job sanding and sanding the the top, staining it and then applying three coats of semigloss polyurethane to the tabletop.

The color is closest to this picture. For some reason the other photos look greenish.

This table is going to work so much better for us. When we have a party we will be able to move the table against the wall as additional serving space. The 32 inch width gives almost another foot of walking space through the area. It feels good to make progress on the house during this time of such uncertainty and sad news. We have decided to use this time to turn lemons into lemonade on our little corner of the world and get projects we can do without bringing others onto our property.

I hope this week finds you and your family safe and healthy. We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

New Flooring

2 Comments

Mr. Math and I joke that our motto is: We don’t do easy at our house. Getting new flooring was no exception to that statement. After only five years the flooring we put in was failing. Part of the problem was ours because we didn’t have the floor leveled prior to installing and our ice maker leaked on the kitchen floor for about a week while we were gone and the drain line in the laundry backed up several time before we could get the problem resolved but a quick check online told us that we weren’t the only ones having problems with the product we used. Whatever the issue, the floor had to go. When Mr. Math and I talked about what we both wanted, here was our list:

  • Waterproof
  • More rigid flooring
  • Flooring leveled first
  • Mr. Math DID NOT want to do it ourselves again.

We selected NuCore from Floor and Decor for all of the house except the mudroom, laundry, kitchen, and baths and are in love with the look and feel of the floor. Even though NuCore has a lifetime guarantee, my last experience made me a little skittish. All the rooms that have plumbing along with the room where muddy and/or wet shoes and clothes land got an outdoor slate-look porcelain tile. It was important to me to find something that made the new flooring and the gray kitchen countertop make sense. We will be putting the flooring on an odd little step we have going into the house too soon.

NuCore Driftwood Oak

The flooring going in.

The not easy part for us was moving everything on the floor out of the house. We literally boxed up, packed up and moved out anything that touched the floor and moved into our rv with a dog and cat. The other not easy part of the process was that I unexpectedly returned to work 2 1/2 days a week just as the process started an oh, we had four day of rain out of the six days our furniture was displaced all over our property including on the front porch and carport under tarps. It was terrible.

Mr. Math sort of got his wish about not doing the physical work… sort of. We did have the floor leveled, and 90% of the flooring installed. We had awesome friends who helped us get the old flooring up and saved us a ton of money. Mr. Math hired a young man and recruited neighbors to help him move the furniture out and flooring into the house. He had to unload 78 boxes of NuCore and 25 boxes of tile. He also had to redo a few areas we weren’t thrilled with how the installers did the work, and had to install all the shoe moulding and caulking. He spent several days on his knees but the results were amazing. We ordered a new washer and dryer but are waiting on the part to connect the dryer to propane gas so that room is a mess still and you can see the mess from the kitchen and mudroom. Those pictures will be added once we settle in.

We are so grateful that we got the flooring finished before all that is going on. We are in a beautiful home, not trapped in a rv for an extended time.

I hope you are all healthy and taking this time to spend with your family.

Karen

Open Live Edge Shelving

1 Comment

The absolute ugliest bank of cabinets at the Redneck Retreat were to the left of the sink.  They sagged, one of them had the Formica peeled off, and they were huge.

I couldn’t live with them in the kitchen.  They were nasty.  Since this was the week we were already going to be replacing the vent hood to nowhere and adding three new cabinets, it was time for them to go too.

Out in our shop we had some cedar that I knew would be perfect for live edge shelving.

If it didn’t rain all week while we were at the Redneck Retreat this would have been a snap to get done.   The only problems we had with this project was getting polyurethane to dry and not getting matching paint for the wall after the cabinets came down.  The paint situation meant that the whole kitchen got a new coat and soon the rest of the cabin will get the same treatment.

The cedar planks were all about a foot wide and ended up getting cut to about 60 inches in length. I had to drag them into to house to get the polyurethaning done.

They are so pretty. Mr. Math ran them through the planer and a simple sanding made the wood grain really stand out.

I am excited to get the rest of the kitchen done. We have more uppers to add, counter tops to install, bottom cabinets to do something with, and a broom closet but this is progress.

This whole project, including paint, poly, and shelf brackets was just over $50.00.  I think it makes a good look for the rustic look of the cabin.

Another find in storage was the glass pendant light. Several years ago I paid $10.00 for it on clearance at Home Depot.

The kitchen is coming along.

Thanks for following our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Kitchen Work at the Redneck Retreat

1 Comment

I bet some of you are wondering just how full of stuff was the guest shed since the last four posts were about stuff I am getting moved out of there.  Well, it was really, really full.  So full in fact that I forgot all about some of the things in there, even things that we could use right now if only we remembered that we had them.

In the great shed clean out of 2020  I forgot I had three kitchen upper cabinets that our neighbors in our suburban house gave us five or so years ago.  They are your basic oak front cabinets with particle board on everything except the front oak part. We were gifted one over the stove cabinet, and two 30 inch upper cabinets.

As soon as we unearthed them, I  knew immediately where those puppies needed to go.  They were destined for Redneck Retreat- our little cabin that sits on 130 acres in Newton County, Texas.  Most of the time this property is just the domain of dudes.  From September until January it is filled with hunters who really don’t care what the place looks like as long as the deer stands are wasp and rat free they are happy. The Redneck is a one room cabin with three sets of bunk beds, a queen fold out couch, bathroom, and kitchen… well sort of a kitchen.

The photo above is a picture of the kitchen after my buddy The Social Planner and I cleaned it.  There are no photos of the kitchen before cleaning to protect the innocent. The builder of the cabin was a building contractor. He used materials that others were taking out of their homes and offices to build the cabin. It is an eclectic mix of brass, Formica, scrap wood, cut glass light fixtures along with donated appliances. The building is solid, level and has air conditioning and a wood burning stove so the problems are all related to how it looks.

The outlet and switch covers above are all three on one wall in the kitchen and within three feet of each other. The stove, fridge, and sink work so I guess technically it is a functioning kitchen.  The cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and walls… not so much. I especially like the vent hood that goes nowhere.

With the three found cabinets and an awesome microwave oven my parents gave us that was almost new because of a Hurricane Harvey flood and a total kitchen remodel two years ago.  It was also hanging out in the shed just waiting for a home. We had some time so we headed to the woods to do some work.

Our plan was to

  • Take down the back wall two cabinets and vent hood
  • Take down the cabinets to the left of the sink.
  • Prime and paint the found cabinets
  • Polyurethane three cedar live edge boards for shelves
  • Install the microwave and vent it outdoors to reduce moisture in the cabin
  • Install the cabinets
  • Install cedar shelves

The weather forecast was two days of rain free days followed by three days of rain.   We planned on getting all of the painting and polyurethane done out in our tarp covered space before the rain set in. The weather folks missed the mark.  We got there in the rain, it rained all day, then the next, and the next. We had to get creative to get things dry.  Everything had to be brought inside with heaters on and ceiling fans running in order to get the paint dry enough.

The former doctor office cabinets came down pretty easily.  We filled the front porch with particle board cabinets then moved on to the install of the upper cabinet above the microwave and the microwave that is vented to the outdoors.  It was important that this part get installed first because the other two cabinets would have to be installed around it.  I am ever so thankful for a “Mathy” husband when it came to installing the microwave and cabinet, cutting the holes in the bottom and back then  figuring out the height, then the microwave and venting it through the outside wall all without the template that would have come with the microwave if it were new.

Working and living in a one room cabin was rough folks. Don’t judge the clutter. It was driving me crazy moving stuff around so that we could work. Getting the venting to go outside was a scary.  Mr. Math only missed on the outlet hole and that was because we both forgot to get it cut until we were just about to install the cabinet.  It was a rush job that even though it works, looks a little rough.  Everything else looks perfect in a really imperfect cabinet.

The difference in the wall after the upper cabinets were installed makes me so happy!

img_2990-1

We still have bottom cabinet issues to address like ugly mismatched counter heights, and lack of actual cabinets below really bad Formica counter tops that are pieced together. but wow, it looks so much better on the top half.  I will focus on that for now.

It was a productive week at the Redneck.

I can’t wait to show you the cedar shelves.

I hope you all have had a great weekend.

Blessings,

Karen

Mersman Drum Table Troubles

Leave a comment

We have a cat named Chloe. She is a 17 year old, grumpy cat who works hard to make sure we all know that she is queen of the house. She only eats soft food ( extra gravy variety only) and cat treats. Chloe hisses at everyone, and she would probably smoke and drink whiskey if she could figure out how to make that happen. Her feeding time is somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. We either have to get up, give her a clean bowl, fresh water, and food or she will stand in the hallway and yowl until we do.

The picture above is the best shot I could get of her. She was making another attempt to get up on the table after I had run her off twice.

I was given a 1950’s mahogany Mersman drum table with a damaged top and today I am going to tell you the tale of the table. The photo below is not mine but is similarly to how the table looked when I got it. The only exception is that my table had a large stain on the tabletop.

By now you may be wondering what a table and our old grumpy cat have in common. Well, I named this table Chloe. Does that give you an idea how much trouble this table was?

In my quest to get my stash of unloved furniture moved along I started work on the drum table. Everything except the top of the table was in great shape. I have no idea what in the world was spilled on the table but it soaked in and the top couldn’t be saved. Even after sanding, painting ( primer then paint) and polyurethaning the top the darn stain bled through. I had to get out the serious primer to knock it down. It took two coats of primer. That was when I knew this table would be trouble.

It took three coats of paint to get the top smooth. I spray painted the feet and drawer pulls old gold so I decided to try stenciling roses on the top. Finally I added a coat of poly to seal it…again.

She turned out pretty didn’t she?

I have been pretty spoiled selling my furniture up here. Nothing has been posted more than a day or two. The piece took a while to sell. There were two no shows, then I got sick the morning that a real live owner was coming to get it. I had to let the buyer know I would have to deliver it for them once I felt better. My son volunteered to take it to the new owner but it wouldn’t fit in the back of his car.

The final, and I do mean final straw was the delivery. The table tipped over on the way. I stopped the car and checked the paint. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage to the paint job so I continued on. When I delivered the piece to a sweet older couple, this was laying in the back of the suv.

That darn table.

Drum table 1, me 0.

I literally gave the table to the couple for free and walked away.

Bye Chloe.

Ever have one of those projects?

I hope you week has been amazing.

Blessings,

Karen

Cedar Shutters for the Rent House

1 Comment

Our Rental property has come a long way since we bought it three and a half years ago.

We bought the property in Huntsville, Texas which is a college town near where we live. It was a hot mess. The 1950 bungalow was deemed uninhabitable by the city due to electrical and gas leak problems and in general it was gross and/or really ugly. There was a garage apartment on the site as well that was rented but we couldn’t check that out too much what with the two growling pit bulls and guns inside and visible. We looked past the ugly and at the potential for two income properties. It has been quite a journey but the house is now a sweet little quirky place with hardwood flooring and surprisingly the garage apartment only needed deep cleaning, paint, a new fridge and a/c. We are even more fortunate that our son’s family rents the house so we get the bonus of getting to see our sweet granddaughters frequently. Win-win.

I really like the paint color we chose for the exterior. It is Sherwin Williams Slate Tile. The yellow door was totally not my idea but I love it. My daughter in law chose the yellow and suggested we stain the handrail you see that isn’t stained in the photo above. I was planning on painting it white until she suggested that we stain it.

The paint and new roof look great but I have always thought the house needed more pizazz. My daughter in law shared a picture of a blue house with stained wood shutters and I knew that was what it was missing.

A friend gave us some reclaimed cedar that Mr. Math cut down to 1 X 4’s then ran them through the planer and finally cut to length. He stained it with a cedar stain and I loved it. They were simple, plain, and I think a little elegant.

The results were dramatic. For the cost of screws and stain the look of the house looks more finished. We will continue to add wood accents like the stair rails as they are needed.

The photos aren’t perfect because frankly the yard is not ready for prime time. With all the rain and mild temperatures we have had it is weedy.

I still have a few projects that I want to do to the exterior. There is an exterior door that needs to be covered and I know exactly what I want it to look like. We will be possibly adding an additional driveway if we can get the permit, we will be painting and patching the porch concrete, and one the swing comes down porch railings will be going up.

What do you think of the shutters?

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Clearing out The Shop

Leave a comment

In order to get our flooring done in our house, I need to clear the shop so that we have a place to move our furniture. Clearing the shop means all of those ” I’ll get to it one day” projects have to either get sold as is, or finally get done. I just couldn’t let this one go as is.

It is an Ethan Allen end table probably from the 80’s. A friend called to let me know she had a bunch of small tables that a renter left behind.

This beauty was just waiting to find her way back. She was just waiting for a facelift. I found the perfect gray color in the oops bin at Home Depot for $8.00. You may see this particular color again. I have two more end tables needing love.

First I scraped and sanded the roughest spots and spray painted with metal paint the hardware a soft gold. The first coat of paint was was rough.

I was worried but she turned out beautiful. She sold on marketplace in 12 minutes. I am so happy to see her go to someone who is excited to have her in her home.

It feels good to have my paint clothes back on.

Happy January!

I would love hear from you.

Karen

Setting up an RV on the Cheap

Leave a comment

While I was away from blogging, we took the plunge and bought a recreational vehicle. We have our own rv, baby.

We bought it on Craig’s List for a great deal after the first owners took it out twice then changed their mind about it. They took excellent care of it and the best part was that they had already bought all that boring but expensive stuff that you need for the rv to function. You know what I am talking about. If you don’t check out Pinterest or this site HERE for what every rv needs. I am not your girl when it comes to meters, levels, hoses…

While the rv was new and full of gadgets and has a great layout, the rv didn’t have much color. Everything was brown on brown on brown. Here is the before picture of the rv.

I plan on doing something with hat less than awesome backsplash in the future but it can wait. We do 90 % of our cooking outdoors.

I did my part to make the interior bright and fun on the cheap without making it too girly for Mr. Math. I shopped first from what we already had then Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Aldi, Burke’s, and Walmart for the things I didn’t already have duplicates of hanging around. We had a lot already.

Because I shopped in the spring there seemed to be a lot of teal, turquoise, aqua, lime, and blue out there. I found this quilt set for less than thirty dollars at Walmart and knew that I could use this as my color pallet to make those colors work together in our space.

The dishes and glasses all came from Dollar Tree along with the tubs and baskets.

The paper goods all came from Aldi along with the sheets and my pots and pans. I love Aldi.

All in I have about two hundred dollars in getting the camper ready to use. Everything we bought is washable, light weight, compact, and will travel well. We have enjoyed camping in our RV. So far we have taken a trip to Martin Dies Jr. State Park, Garner State Park, Denton, Texas, and Copperas Creek on Lake Proctor. We are planning some longer trips in the near future.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Handmade Presents are Best

2 Comments

We love being outside. If the weather is nice, or even if it is only tolerable, you will find us outdoors. My buddy The Social Planner and her husband have an epic year. The have a firing range for target practice, a zip line, web swing, a golf practice area with a 25 yard, 50 yard, and 75 yard posts to aim for along with a tee box out in the back area of their property.

Closer to their house they have more games. Washers, outdoor games, a trampoline, playhouse, and playground.

Close to the house there is a pool and hot tub along with an awesome outdoor porch.

This year we were excited to find out they didn’t have, but wanted something we know how to make! It made Christmas so much easier for us.

They borrowed our corn hole set for a party and said that it was a hit and wanted to get a set. We made our own set six years ago after learning about it from our son in law. You can see the post with instructions here. We use our set a lot. It is possible to make two sets of corn hole boards out of one full sheet of plywood. Your local Lowe’s or Home Depot they can even cut it into two foot by four foot pieces.

I wanted it to be special for our buddies so I decided to paint the name of their property on the corn hole set. (Our set is pretty plain Jane with stripes that took me all of an hour to paint.) They call their property The Rockin’ F after a branding iron they bought long before they ever thought about moving to the country. I was so excited to notice that they had a sign at the entrance to their driveway that would work.

I covertly took several photos of the sign and then went totally old school and teacher-y on it. I printed best of the photos then traced it onto a transparency. I bought an overhead projector at a school auction years ago and I still use it. I am not ashamed. Any teachers out there who ever went into a store with green, blue or red Vis a Vis marker on their arm after school? Seriously, I don’t have a vinyl cutter and need to learn to use one. It took several days, and several coats of paint but I am pretty proud of how they turned out.

We were a little late but happy to be able to give them to our buddies as Christmas presents this year. We were happy to be able to give them something made with love that they will use.

Did anyone else make homemade Christmas presents this year?

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

A Charging Station in the Ranch House

Leave a comment

Hello friends,  I promise you won’t be hearing from me every day but this is a project I am really enjoying already and I realized that I haven’t shared with you. Do you have a good place to get all your stuff charged? If you do, I would love to see where and how you charge all of your stuff.  Until recently we did not. It stunk. There were some things plugged in on the counter by my stove, some plugged in in our bedroom, and even the bathroom. One thing that I have discovered about an open concept home is that in order to have all that open space, you give some things up.  Things like walls to hang art on, hall closets, and other storage areas.  I love having a big open room when we are having company.  We enjoy the ability to have a pretty large group in our home for meals and entertaining so the trade off is worth it to us most of the time.

Because there isn’t much storage space, we have struggled with a place to charge everything.  We have two laptops, an iPad, an Apple watch, two phones, a Bluetooth speaker, and wireless headphones.  All of the stuff has different cords and a a tangle of wiring. I hate it. It looks awful and is always in the way. There is just something about seeing a bunch of cords and cables that wears on me. Am I alone in my neuroses? I even had my husband wrap white tap around the foot of cord that connects our television and Dish because it drove me crazy. I started looking for charging station options. (Like these here) but they just wouldn’t work for us. They just aren’t big enough for the two laptops, iPad, phones…

I also do not enjoy things being out on our counter top in our kitchen. It is a constant struggle to keep the counters cleared. Constant. Never ending.

Fortunately we had a weird space in our house that always bugged me. Always. Like since the moment we walked into the house to look at purchasing the home. There was this little niche/shelving/cabinet thing with two bottom cabinet doors, a counter then glass shelves that were adjustable. They were the problem. The peg things were slightly off from each other- like a quarter inch. That meant the shelves were all crooked, and glass, with brass brackets. It was just enough to bug me. I don’t think I have any photos of he offending shelves because I don’t generally take pictures of things that bug me.

Mr. Math fixed both problems for me with one solution. A charging station with closed cabinet doors. The doors hide all the cords, we now know where everything is- or should be- and I can actually charge every stinkin’ thing at one time now thanks to some ingenuity from the hubby.

First we ripped everything out.

It was glorious to get those shelves down and metal (uneven) brackets out. It was so glorious that I didn’t stop to take a picture for fear of losing momentum.  Once everything was down filled all the holes, and spackled the walls.

We were lucky in that there was an outlet in the kitchen that hubby could use to run electricity into our new charging station.

He installed an outlet with two usb outlets. Genius.  I have no idea how to explain electricity but here is a blog that explains how to add an outlet.  Once all the wall work was done we painted the interior with our go-to paint color Behr Moth Gray.

The next step was to add wooden, level shelves. They are basic 3/4 inch plywood cut to fit with veneer on the front.  He attached them on little rails across the back and sides. He cut a little square on the back side of the lowest shelf so that we had access to electricity on two shelves.

shelf hole

The shelves all in and the little square cut out, we bought this great surge protector.  It was a little pricey but each outlet can move around to make room if things don’t fit on the strip and it also included two usb outlets.

charging station close up

I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture above… what a mess.  You are right, it does look like a mess but all that mess is in one location and I can shut the doors! When people come over I don’t have to rush into the kitchen and grab up cords and devices.

charging station1

 

We now have a place for DVD’s and cookbooks (yep we still have DVD’s -don’t judge).

closed charging station

The result isn’t beautiful but it is contained and covered with cabinet doors that Mr. Math built to match our kitchen cabinet doors.  He had to make them super tall to fit the space, but I like the look.  He is so talented.

It makes me happy to know we solved one of our points of contention.  Now on to the next project.

I hope you have a great day.  I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Older Entries Newer Entries