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

Apartment Reno Update – Modern Corner Shelves

Hey Friends,

Just seven school days left before I have some time off for reflection, relaxation, recuperating and…projects.  Yes, I have been seriously slacking when it comes to my project to-do list and as a result, the list keeps getting longer.  I’m so looking forward to getting my hands dirty and being creative this summer.

I did manage to complete some shelving for the apartment reno that I shared about last year.  See here, herehere and here to revisit that project.   Once D & D moved in, they needed a break and wanted to spend some time living in the space before taking on additional projects.

After living with boxes cluttering his home office for too long a year, D was ready to commit to some additional updates.  He asked me for my help with some shelving solutions.  Ladies, what mother could say no to her son?


D’s design aesthetic is very different from mine.  I love historic homes with cottage design elements, and D likes modern homes with every technological update imaginable.  He has an affinity for mid-century furniture and design and the more wood, the better!

Looking to Pinterest for inspiration, I was inspired by this shelving system that Shannon from Burlap and Lace created…


How cool is that?

What I most like about Shannon’s system is that the shelves are very low to the floor. This not only maximizes the vertical space and adds functionally, it leans modern.  I knew that D would like the design and the fact that it would incorporate more wood into his space.

I was working with a corner space in his office and I wanted my version to wrap the shelving around the corner to increase functionality.  I started by outlining the walls with painter’s tape to determine the number of shelves I needed and the best spacing options to accommodate his books…


Then I headed to Home Depot to buy some cabinet grade plywood and brackets, and I got to work cutting and staining.

Of course I ran into a little problem during the install when one of the bracket screws wouldn’t screw into the wall.  The harder I tried, the more red clay I hit.  Yup – behind that plaster wall was brick.  Nicole Curtis may have been thrilled, but this mama wasn’t looking for brick!


SuperHouls came to the rescue with his masonry drill bit and we were back in business…

FullSizeRender (1)

I quickly placed some items on the finished shelves and snapped the above picture with my Iphone before I left.  Since then, D emptied the boxes of books and got some help from his girlfriend, D, with the styling.  Here’s the finished product all styled and prettied up…



And here’s some photos of the rest of the space…like this desk from West Elm…LOVE!

Of course, in addition to having three monitors, you also need a whiteboard.  A HUGE whiteboard…


D brought in a professional to install the whiteboard.  It’s enormous, made of glass and heavy, so securing it to the brick wall was best left to the professionals.  Now more touch-up paint is needed and the empty  corner will eventually have a reading chair and floor lamp to finish off the space.  The painting is an original by his girlfriend.

I’m really happy with how this turned out but more importantly, my boy is happy.

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


Be well,


Romeo & Floyd

Romeo & Floyd in the garden at the abode.



Apartment Reno: Diamonds & Dust

Hey Hey,

I know.  It has been way too long since my last post and I’m not happy about it.  But…I’m still here and if I have any readers left after my long absence, thank you!  Sometimes, life on life’s terms means being pulled in different directions and that has certainly been the case for me these past few months.  OK, enough about that.  I have news!

My son, D, is moving out in about 5 weeks.  He and his girlfriend, D, are working on an apartment renovation in the two family home where my mom lives.   The upstairs apartment is quite large and there are lots of renovations happening.  I will have all the details for you here on the blog.

They have quite an extensive list of projects to get through, but being new to the world of DIY, they are learning…slowly but surely.  On their list…

  • Pull up carpets and linoleum floor in kitchen
  • Open up wall between dining room and kitchen
  • Remove kitchen countertop, tile and cabinet doors
  • Update electrical
  • Hang sheet rock in kitchen
  • Sand cabinet doors


Yesterday, while SuperHouls was working on the sheet rock in the kitchen, D & D were busy sanding the kitchen cabinet doors in preparation for painting.  I really want them to do this on their own but sometimes it is hard not to jump in there to move the project along.

EH Sanding 3

Getting dust on my diamonds.

Yup…jumped right in there – jewelry and all – just couldn’t help myself.  Oh, and D & D were fine with it because they have all this left on their list:

  • Paint cabinet doors and cabinet facing
  • Sand and poly wood floors
  • Regrout bathroom tile
  • Paint entire apartment

I have lots of demo and before pictures to share.  They have a beautiful vision for the apartment that includes warm shades of gray (maybe as many as 50).

Oh, and hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be well,



The humans exhaust me. I need a nap.