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Back to Photography

I took an unplanned break from photography last year while we focused on house renovations. Other than during our trip to Glacier National Park, I did not take many pictures last year. Today is probably the nicest weather day we’ve had so far in 2019 so I thought it would be the perfect time to go to a local park and get some pictures.


You can see other pictures I’ve taken at this park here (2016) and here (2013).

Have a great day!


Rustic Table Makeover

A family member gave me this small table and asked me to paint it white and give it a rustic farmhouse look. I’ve done something similar to a different piece in the past and I think the trick is to not be too neat.

Here is the before:

I started by removing the blue paint and the finish on the top with 80 grit sandpaper. I didn’t remove everything 100% because I didn’t think it was necessary due to the look I was trying to achieve. Then I sanded with a 150 grit for a smoother finish.

I then applied a thin layer of paint (“bit of sugar” by Behr in an eggshell finish). I only put a little bit of paint on the brush each time because I wanted the wood underneath to show through in some places.

The next day I went over some of the corners and edges with a 150 grit piece of sandpaper to further distress it.

I hope you like!

The Work Continues

Now that winter is over, it’s time to come out of hibernation and resume our house projects. Here are the plans for 2019.

  1. Finish installing hardwood floors. FINALLY! We started this in September 2017 and didn’t work on it at all in 2018 because we were busy replacing trim, baseboards, and interior doors. It’s not a lot but we need to finish the hallway to the back door, the back door landing, and the stairs down to the basement (we pulled up the carpet in 2017 not realizing how long it was going to take us to finish so we’ve had cement stairs to look at for a year and a half).
  2. Replace the back hallway closet. We’re going to replace the trim and doors. Also install new baseboard in the back hallway. IMG_7712
  3. Paint the outside of the house. I’ve wanted to do this since the day we moved it but there were other priorities. We found this picture on the Behr website and like the colors so we’re going to get samples and see how we like it on our house.20180331_090757 (1)

Replace/install lights. We’ve already replaced a couple of the outdated hallway lights but we still need to install a light in the bay window and replace the ceiling fan in the dining room with a chandelier.

There are a few other things we’re thinking but I think this is a good starting point for now. Wish us luck!


Middle of Winter

It’s the middle of winter and although we’ve taken a break from the large house projects, we are continuing to make some small changes.

The first is we’ve replaced the outlets and switches in our entire house because the old ones were dirty, yellowish, and some also had paint on them from when walls were painted previously. Note – if you decide to replace outlets on your own, make sure to turn off the power to the outlet and use a multimeter to confirm no electricity is running through the wires.


We’re also working on something we hadn’t anticipated — filling cracks in our new trim that resulted in lower temperatures and humidity. I bought caulk that has “crack resistant” written on the packaging. I’m really hoping this does the trick because having to re-do work I’ve already done is a huge bummer.


I’ve also had some time to take pictures. One of the negative aspects of 2018 was that I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and take pictures because almost every weekend was consumed by our house projects. I’m trying to take more pictures in 2019.



What have you been doing this winter?

Side Table Makeover

I was given an old table that I decided to paint. I’ve spent most of the past year sanding, priming, and painting baseboards, trim, and doors so I really wanted to minimize the amount of time I spent on the table because I’m in need of a break from this kind of work. Because I put water-based paint over oil-based stain, I should have sanded and primed, but I didn’t. Instead, I just wiped the table off with a paper towel and slapped on some paint by Behr in the color Bit of Sugar. I put two coats on the sides and three coats on the top and then I lightly sanded with 220 grit paper to distress the table. I think it turned out great!

Here are some before and after pictures.



I put it next to a chair in our entryway and it really brightened the space.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Replacing Trim and Baseboards – An Update

As originally mentioned in my DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors post from last April, we spent most of the summer and fall replacing the trim, baseboards, and interior doors and closets in the entire house. We are not 100% finished but I wanted to go ahead and write a progress post to avoid trying to cram everything in to one post at the end.

I do plan to write in more detail how we specifically did this so anyone who is interested in doing the same will know the technique we used and read some tips that we have based on our experiences of trial and error. This will come in the spring when it is warm enough for us to resume (and finish!) our work.

As a recap, we spent the end of September through mid-December 2017 installing hardwood floors and you can read about that here.

Below is a timeline of the work we did on the trim and baseboards.

April – May 2018 (Dining Room)
We took a break between January and April 2018 and resumed our work when the weather was warm enough to work outside (cutting wood, painting, etc.). We started in the dining room by removing the chair rail and refinishing the bookshelf.  Then we removed the chair rail. The baseboards were removed the previous year before we installed the hardwood floors. We bought new trim and baseboards that has already been primed and then cut them down to size. Using several saws, paint, staples, and caulk, we installed everything in about six weeks (only working on weekends).


Top picture was taken in 2012; bottom picture in 2018

June 2018 (Entryway)
We then moved on to the entryway and took the old trim off of the front door and the side windows. This was a really easy room because the baseboards had been cut the previous year and we just needed to install them. We had to sand and prime the sills of the windows next to the door and then install the trim and paint everything.


Right picture taken in 2017; left in 2018

May – July 2018 (Hallway)

The longest portion of this project was the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. The reason it took so long is because the hallway contains 3 bedroom doors, a laundry closet, a regular closet, and a bathroom door. All of which had to be removed and replaced.

We started removing the bedroom doors in early May and then replaced them one-by-one with new doors that we had to paint (two coats of paint on each side).

Here are the old (left) and new (right) bedroom doors:

The laundry closet doors were in good shape so we just sanded, primed, and painted those instead of replacing them.

We decided to trim out all of our closets. To do that, we installed 1 by 6 inch primed casing (that we cut to the thickness of the wall) to the inside of the closet opening, filled the nail holes, and painted the wood.


After we installed the casing to the inside of the closet opening

From there, we added trim to the outside (then filled the nail holes and painted). Next was to install the new door track and the new doors. Then we had to drill holes in our lovely new floor so we could secure the closet doors at the bottom. Finally, we added a simple piece of baseboard to the top to hide the track.

When that was done, we installed baseboard like we did in the dining room and entryway.


Left picture was taken in 2012; right in 2018

August-September 2018 (Living Room)
We then moved on to the living room. This was daunting because we have a built-in bookcase and a large bay window that both had to be completely sanded and primed. I hate sanding because I have to wear a mask that fogs up my glasses and the dust gets everywhere. I also hate priming because it smells awful, it’s watery and messy, and it is hard to clean up (I just throw away the brushes instead of trying to clean them with paint thinner. No, thank you).

I started with the bookcase. I took the shelves outside to sand them, prime them, and paint them. While they were drying, I sanded, primed, and painted the inside portion of the bookcase. When everything had dried, we brought the shelves inside, installed white tracks, and installed the shelves.

Here is the before and after picture of the bookcase:
Then I started working on the bay window using the same method I used on the bookcase. The only thing left to do here is to buy a new light for the top of the window.


Top picture taken in 2011 a week after we moved in; bottom in 2018

After the window and bookcase were done, we put down baseboard and installed new trim around the other windows in the room.

August-November 2018 (Bedrooms)
During the time we were working in the living room, we also worked in the bedrooms to refinish the trim around the windows. We decided not to replace the window trim in the bedrooms because they were in good shape. So instead, I sanded, primed, and painted them. This was a pain because of how much I hate sanding and priming but also because there were 7 windows.  Which doesn’t sound like a lot but it felt like a lot.

In October, we removed the old baseboards and replaced them with new ones. We also worked on removing the closets, trimming them like we did the hallway closet, and painting new doors.

In November, we got carpet. I know a lot of people will wonder why we covered old hardwood floors with carpet and I get what you mean but we had several reasons: 1.) The hardwood floors in the bedrooms are 50 years old and in really bad shape. They’re also outdated in terms of thickness and color. We talked about refinishing them but it’s a super expensive and messy process. 2.) We didn’t want hardwood floors throughout the entire house 3.) I prefer carpet in the bedrooms. It just feels more homey/comfortable to me.

Anyway, we also primed (with some heavy-duty stuff) and painted the ceilings to cover up the ghosting that was showing.


Top picture taken in 2011 right after we moved in; bottom in 2018

What’s left to do:

  • Install closet doors in the bedrooms
  • Finish installing hardwood floors in the back hallway, the stairs down to the basement, and in the back hallway closet
  • Replace the doors of the back hallway closet
  • Install new baseboard in the back hallway
  • Replace the trim around the back door

Given everything we’ve done so far, it’s not a lot. I am going to include more before and after pictures after we are further along. Stay tuned.

New Porch Lights and Decorating for Christmas

We have disliked our front porch lights ever since we moved in 7 years ago. They have light sensors that allow them to turn off automatically once the sun starts coming up. The problem, however, is that they don’t come on automatically when the sun goes down. So, even if we leave the switch on, we have to physically be at home to “reset” the lights by turning the switch off and then on again in order for the lights to shine at night. This means there are no exterior lights on when we are away from the house. So, we bought ones that have a simple on/off switch and we can leave them on when we are away.

Here are the old lights:


And the new lights:


We are really happy with them!


I also started decorating for Christmas. I’ve seen a lot of pictures online where people clearly have spent a lot of money on making their front porches really festive by adding lanterns, lights, trees, sleighs, wreaths, and even furniture. Most of the decorations I have were given to me and I think I am reluctant to go spend money on more because we do not host anyone for the holidays. To what extent do you decorate?

I did take some time to decorate the fire place and we are going to put up a tree in a few days.


I hope everyone enjoys the month of December and is able to spend plenty of time with loved ones.