Farmhouse Style Magnetic Command Station|With a 100-Year-Old Beam!

Hi Friends,

Our doorbell rang a few months back and in sauntered my brother – I have 4 of them – with a 100-year-old beam, a piece of sheet metal, and a smile.  Superhouls shot me a quick, knowing glance and said to my brother, “Let’s hear it.”

“I need you to make me a frame for this sheet metal using this old beam from my house,” he chuckled, “and keep the rustic look of the beam.”  They recently had the house redone and he wanted to re-purpose the original beam and incorporate it into their new farmhouse style kitchen.  The house was originally built in 1876 so this beam is about as old and original as they come.

It was cold, damp and snowing – again, Superhouls and I exchanged a knowing glance – we knew this project wasn’t getting started any time soon.  My brother, catching the glance, assured us there was no rush.  Wanted us to take our time.  Do it right.  Thanks, bro!  Appreciate that!

We started with this…

…and decided that we would construct it by gluing the sheet metal to a piece of ply wood and then frame it with the beam.  And once we had a plan, we left it…for months.

⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒ Aside: I know you’re probably thinking that our next project should be to clean up and organize the garage.  Trust me, we do all the time.  In fact, I’d like to clean it up permanently and make it a guesthouse…with a loft.  Superhouls, not so much.

Once Spring arrived last week, we got busy.  Superhouls ripped the beam in half because it was about 5 or 6 inches thick.  Yeah, definitely too thick for a frame.  Then he cut it down to the measurements we needed for the frame.  This photo shows the thickness of the old beam.


So we ripped, and cut and sanded…

…and glued and stapled and stained…

And, I gotta say that I love the way this turned out.  It’s rustic and the stain gave it so much depth and character!  Ready to take a look?

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I finished the back with some burlap that I had on hand, and we added two hanging clips to evenly distribute the weight.  And…done!


Now all they need are some cute magnets.

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Be well,



Blue-eyed Romeo


Swing-Arm Lamp Makeover for a Lady Cave: Apartment Update

Hi Friends,

Today I am featuring a DIY post by Daria (D&D) of a simple swing-lamp makeover that she used in her lady cave.  As you’ll see, Daria is the more artistic of the D&D pair. So without further ado, here’s Daria…

The first time I saw our apartment, I saw a well lived-in home in need of some TLC.  OK, maybe a lot of TLC, but I couldn’t overlook the size and space.    There were three bedrooms and a large living room and dining room.  And the closet space was awesome.   So we got to work giving it the TLC it needed.  

The previous tenant, a bachelor,  had left behind some old, stained carpet…ew, gross… outdated wall paint, and a few other items scattered around.  After ripping out the old carpet to reveal original hardwood floors and refreshing all of the walls with new paint, I was able to find a use for this old swing-arm lamp they left behind.  


Swing Arm Lamp

The  photo above shows the original space that became D’s office… the same space that got this shelving unit and this lamp makeover by his talented mom.    The lamp was barely salvageable.  The gold metal paint was chipping away and it was covered in grimy dust, but I knew it could be given a new life so I unscrewed it from the wall and stored it away…for two years. 

As we moved through the projects that were on this apartment’s makeover list, we decided the purpose of function of the rooms.  A small front room, which we dubbed the “blue room,” became my multipurpose space.  Knowing that I would have my own space for an office/relaxation/crafting/storage space kept me going through the daily dust and grime of the makeover.

Finally, I painted the walls a nice light orchid-purple, accented with white original moldings.  The color scheme for the apartment was purposefully neutral in color and gender to blend our decorating styles.  But The Lady Cave Was All Mine.  And  purple. And  feminine.  And charming.  And did I mention all mine?  So the “Blue Room”…

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…got some styling!  First I added a modern chaise lounge from IKEA for lounging.  Then a traditional rug  from HomeGoods, and some cubicle storage from Target.   

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Then, a beautiful wood roll-top desk for drawing was donated by a friend of Houligirl’s, and a handmade bookshelf holds all of my books. Finally, I added a wall of mirrors to bounce light around this cozy lady cave.

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Speaking of books, this room is perfect for when I finally get a chance to sit down for a really good page-turner. I found the lighting wasn’t bright enough in that corner of the room and needed some sort of stylish solution. Enter, the “left-behind  swing-arm lamp”!  The light fixture worked just fine but needed to be cleaned and tightened up, from the first photo you can see the bulb was basically hanging out of it.  

I used an air-spray bottle to shoot the dust and grime out from under the socket. No photos of this step because you really wouldn’t want to see that (yeah, bugs). I wiped the rest of the lamp down with a simple water and vinegar solution.

Next I took the less conventional route and used construction grade glue and a plastic ring to keep the bulb socket standing straight. The socket was wobbly and couldn’t be screwed any tighter, but now it sits perfectly!


After laying out newspaper and plastic I got to painting; I chose this metal-safe silver spray paint for even coverage. A few coats later – painting, drying, turning and repeating a few times – the paint was done!

Two screws and this bad boy was up on the wall, just the right height for reading in my lounge chair. I added a lamp shade (Bed Bath and Beyond – they have a pretty nice selection!) that was textured but not too busy for the already busy room. And voila! Project complete!

And here’s one more slide show of the progression of this space…

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Yeah, you’ll pretty much find me in this spot all weekend!

Thanks, Daria.  A DIY girl after my own heart.  Here’s a break down of the money she saved with this DIY project:

Buying new: $60-80 vs. DIY: $25

       Light fixture: free

        Bulb: $3

        Shade: $15

        Glue: $3

        Paint: $3

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this post, share it with a friend and leave a comment below.


Be well,


IMG_1270 (1)

I’m watching you.

Cedar Chest|Repaired & Renewed

Hi Friends,

I’m not even going to go into how long it’s been since I’ve written.  I’ll just jump right in and say, “My apologies for being a neglectful blogger!”  Sometimes life on life’s terms gets messy busy and we need to just ride the wave.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was able to spend some time with family and friends this weekend, which is exactly what I needed.  I didn’t run around shopping like crazy.  I didn’t pull all my decorations down from the attic and get busy.  I just spent time being.  In between being, I worked on a project for my son, D.  Here’s the back story on this project…

About two months ago D & D stopped by with a well-used, but solid cedar chest that he had inherited from a  friend.  D thought it would be a good storage piece for his home office, and was wondering if I would fix it  wanted a project to work on.  Into the garage it went and there it stayed until this weekend when I had enough down time to tackle it.

The chest is made of Red Tennessee Cedar.  Red cedar is easily recognized by its color, variations and knots, even when it’s no longer fragrant.  I also found this label inside the chest and learned that it was red cedar from Tennessee.  Apparently there are various types of cedar wood and red cedar comes from various places.  Who knew?


The top of the chest had a corner missing and the left side panel was completely broken off.  The hinge in the back  was also bent, so I’m assuming it lacked the proper support to hold the lid up without it falling backward and overextending the hinge.  The photos below show the missing side panel and the remnants of masking tape that someone…somehow… thought would work to put Humpty Dumpty back together again secure the broken panel.

After removing the hinges and lid, I broke out the power tools and got busy sanding…and sanding…and sanding.  I sanded the exterior three times with our DeWalt Orbital Sander, moving from course to fine grade sandpaper. I also lightly sanded the interior to release the cedar fragrance.  Then I got SuperHouls on board for repairs and had him re-attach and reinforce the broken panel with brackets, after applying  wood glue.  We also added three brackets to the right panel as reinforcement and because I like symmetry.


Then we turned the lid over to apply wood filler for the side panel.  In the right photo below you can see the line of wood filler that runs vertically.  We also added lots of wood filler to build the missing corner.

This wood filler dries in about 30 minutes.  We had to give the corner a few applications to build it up.  Then we broke out another power tool, our Dremel Multi-Max 30.  This was my first time using this tool.  It was perfect for getting into the corners, and for sanding away the extra hardened wood filler.


After sanding and repairs, I gave the outside a coat of my favorite stain – and then a coat of wax to seal it.

Once the stain and wax were dried, SuperHouls added some new wheels to the bottom and re-attached the top lid.  Finally, we added lid hinges to ensure the top stayed open on its own and didn’t extend back and bend the hinges.

I’m also envisioning this chest being used as my future grandchild’s toy chest one day, so I wouldn’t want the lid to fall forward and hit anyone in the head or cause bruised fingers.

Finally, I used glue and mod-podge to secure the label to the inside lid and called it done!

I wheeled it outside and took some final photos in the daylight before it got picked up and moved to its new home.



Then I went for a manicure.

All in all, not a favorite project of mine and definitely too much sanding for my liking.  But…when you bring me an old piece of furniture that is constructed to last, and can be restored to its original workhorse status, I’m in.  And…if you also happen to be my son bringing me the old piece of furniture that I envision may be used by my future grandchild… you know…down the road.   I’m. All. In.

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Be well,



Wait…I thought I was the grandchild.


The Laundry Room Reveal|After The Before

Hi Friends,

Happy August!  A teacher friend of mine compared the summer months to a weekend in the following way: June is Friday, July is Saturday and August is Sunday.   Anyway you look at it, summer is flying by and we have arrived at the “sunday of the summer.”

Today I have another “after” to share with you,  but before I do I’m taking you waaaaaay back to the beginning.  Remember the series of blog posts entitled “Before The After” where I showed you what our abode looked like when we bought it?  Well, in Before the After: Part 4, I introduced you to our scary basement.  I mean…would you want to walk down these stairs?  SuperHouls tried to tell me it wasn’t so bad.  Ha!  I’m the one who does the laundry, so easy for him to say!

ooooooo...a scary basement

Basement Stairs Before

And here’s that same view today…

Basement Stairs After

Not so scary stairs, after.

These stairs lead to the Man Cave and the laundry room.  Now, let me jog your memory on how the laundry room space started and be sure to click on the pics for a larger view ’cause I really want you to get the whole experience of the space before we tackled it:

What a messy, raw, unfinished space…with water issues everywhere.  Think old-school cellar.  Again I ask,  “Wait, why did we buy this house?” ” Oh, right, we had no idea what we were getting into!”  How far we’ve been dragged come.

Thankfully, two years into this fixer-upper, I got SuperHouls on board with finishing this space because he really needed his own place for his office and music…wink, wink.   And, of course, we needed to add a bathroom while we’re at it because…that’s a no-brainer.   So we hired out to a carpenter, plumber and electrician to finish the scary basement. It. Was. Quite. The. Project.  It took a few months and unexpectedly included adding a french drain and sump-pump on the perimeter of the house. Yeah, we were lucky enough to buy on the side of the street that is on a downward slope.  And while we’re at it, why not add a patio out back and rear entrance.  See how that happens?

But back to the laundry room.  After moving the heating pipes, updating the electrical, adding plumbing, framing and sheet rocking the walls, and adding new windows, SuperHouls and I painted.   Then he installed laminate wood flooring in the  Man Cave and tile in the bathroom/laundry room.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Can I get an Amen, sista!

A few months later, it was clean…and functional…and beautiful compared to how it started. BUT.  I knew it needed some additional storage solutions before we could officially call it finished.  I mean, do we really need two windows in a small space?  Um, no.  I needed storage cabinets!  SuperHouls was ready to tackle it this summer – while I was away – and began working on covering up a window to add storage on the back wall.  Sorry for the dark iPhone photos:

We are now calling this room done!  We’ve got storage, we’ve got a hanging area, we’ve got open shelving, and of course plenty of room for decorative touches.  Ready?  Come on in…

Looking in from hallway.

Looking in from hallway.

Notice the mirror on the right in the hallway from my mirror makeover post?  How about the toilet bowl right in front of you?  If I had to do it again, I’d lay it out differently, but hindsight is 20/20, right?  Remember this is a bathroom/laundry room two-fer…’cause why not?  It’s also the bathroom off the patio that we send friends and family to when entertaining.  OK, lets take a closer look at what SuperHouls accomplished…

Laundry Room Organization

Laundry Room Organization

In the above photo, the sink and the shower stall come into view, giving you a better idea of the space. The cabinet is where the window was.  I wanted open shelving on its left and a hanging rod on the right.  What I really wanted was a cabinet on each side and the hanging rod in the center,  but we had to keep the right side accessible for the vent pipe.  So, this is essentially a workaround design.   I’m quite happy with how it all turned out: beauty meets function.  Down the road…wait, did I say that?…I might want to add a shelf across the top of the machines, but for now…its all good…and laundry day is much more pleasant here at the abode.

Laundry Room Shelving

Laundry Room Back Wall

Laundry Room - Open Shelving

Laundry Room – Open Shelving

Laundry Rom - Hanging Rod

Laundry Rom – Hanging Rod

We did keep the window above the toilet.  I hung a cafe curtain and kept the upper part of the window uncovered so the light can still shine through.  Having it recessed and boxed in provides me with another shelf to accessorize.  If you accessorize these spaces they are less likely to become catchall places…which, don’t even get me started!

And one last before and after…

What a transformation!  Right?

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Be well,


Romeo & Floyd - The Inspectors

Romeo & Floyd – The Inspectors

Shelf Lamp Makeover| A Benjamin Moore/Rustoleum Paint Collaboration

Hi there friends,

As promised, I’m back with another project this week.  This old shelf lamp has been living in my garage waiting for my attention…

Lamp Before

Lamp Makeover – Before

What you’ll notice (besides the fact that the garage is truly a project and storage space and not used for parking our cars) is that there are three distinct areas on this lamp that needed redoing: the wood base, the gold metal parts and the white metal part.  I decided that a gray and white color scheme would work well since this is probably going to end up in D’s home office.   I used Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron Paint on the wood base (after lightly sanding)…


BM Wrought Iron – two coats

I also sanded between coats to get a smooth finish.  This may be the new paint color for my dining room walls…luv luv!

After the base was good and dry, I covered it in plastic to work on the white metal part and sprayed on two coats of Rust-oleum Dark Bronze…


Rust-oleum Dark Bronze

Once that was dry, I used this high-tech method to spray paint the gold metal with Rust-oleum Titanium Silver…

Finally, when all the painted areas were dry, I added a simple white lampshade with a gray ribbon that I found at HomeGoods as a final touch…


Shelf Lamp Makeover: After


Shelf Lamp Makeover: After

And here’s one more of the before and after, side by side…

This was a straight forward project but it  took a few days because of paint drying time.  Of course the hot and humid days we’ve had this summer didn’t help…not that I’m complaining.

I wish I had a place in the abode for this lamp because I love how it turned out and it’s well-made and sturdy.  Hopefully it will be well utilized in its new home.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.


Be well,


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Romeo the Yard Guard