Our Ugly House

DIY

Just Kidding! Hahaha.

We said we were done, but who were we kidding? Any home owner knows your work is never done.

We have been throwing so much damn money at our house. Sometimes I look back at our pre home-ownership life and think, “We must have been SO rich”. What did we do with all that cash when we weren’t buying appliances or electrical work or other not fun money sucking adult things that we buy now? I am sure we were responsible and invested it or wine.

The spending saga continues. Until last night, we had some really dingy, oversized Ikea curtains up in the living/dining room purely to provide privacy (no one needs to see my late night face mask/underwear Justin Bieber dance parties… it’s not pretty). We waited for the Labor Day sale, and finally bought some proper window coverings. We went through Blinds Galore, and let me shoot you straight: Their prices are just the cheapest and they have such damn good customer service. If you need blinds, get them there.

The husband had become the resident power tool expert. He came home from an extra long day of work and hung the blinds like the cute, sweet, did I mention cute, husband he is. They really change the way the house looks, and it looks baller. See the pictures below:
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For real now….xo,
k

Dream Kitchen

After weeks on big project hiatus, there has been a major break-through in the Zinn home. For weeks we have been tackling tiny projects that eat up time and produce no visible results that elicit ohhh and ahhhs. These projects are hugely important but ultimately rather boring. With Curtis working consistent 60 hours weeks and my parents living an actual life that does not solely consistent of being my house slaves, the house projects have been limited to things that me and my pregnant bod can do on my own. Lots of painting, sanding, cleaning, and planting. The one Sunday Curtis had free time in months, and he built me raised beds so I could get my garden on… He is magical. Really.

But then last weekend the shiz went down. My parents brought over my glossy, dark, lovely wood countertops and they went in. It instantly made the kitchen look 100x nicer. And yet again, because I have some sort of sick mental problem that causes me to go insane… we started installing the subway backsplash that night…. I mean, why not? This will officially be the last tile project I take on for at least a few years. It isn’t hard, and I am a firm believer anyone could lay tile… but I have tiled my last rental house’s bathroom, our current kitchen floor, and now our backsplash. I am done. Below is the jump of our progress and I have some larger scale pictures of the original room state… The grandma house is starting to fade.

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We started with a lovely plywood countertop we had been using for months.
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The process of installing the countertops was actually quite quick. We slid the pieces together, glued them in place, and glued them down to their final resting place.
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Once the countertops were in, my dad hung new backer board that we could adhere the backsplash to. The ugly paper was underneath the classy linoleum backsplash we tore off.
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That night we started apply the tile. Since we used pre-spaced tile, this process was quick.
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It took me a few days to finish the tile, things got a little slow on the second wall because I needed to cut 27 pieces to be about an inch tall… and turns out our cabinets are crooked, so they started at 1″ and slowly made their way to 2″.
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Once the mortar had set, we started the uber fun process of grouting. If you have never done it before, please learn from my mistake. Wear gloves is you apply dark grout… it will stain your nails homeless for weeks.
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The next morning we wiped the grout down with a dry cloth to remove the haze, and in a few days we will seal the grout! Curtis was so pleased with himself.
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Please note extreme husband cuteness, so so cute.
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And also note extreme dog cuteness while supervising extreme cute husband.

Here is a bigger look at before and after… it feels good to see such progress. FINALLY.

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After:
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After:
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xo,
k

 

 

The dishes are done dude

…. Cause we finally have a dishwasher and garbage disposal!!

My plates are so grease free! My glasses sparkle like diamonds! There isn’t a pile of food scraps turning my sink into a swamp because I couldn’t flush that nasty stuff down the drain!!! I have been waiting for this day since we moved in to this house. Three people cooking and eating multiple times a day creates a mess of dishes that needed to be hand washed. The Jenga pile of drying dishes lives no longer. Alas, my countertops are barren and open like a big field. All hail my dad, he is the ruler of all dads. Instead of stuffing his face with tacos/beer while relaxing on the couch enjoying the Superbowl he crawled around under my sink for two days to make this dream a reality. I am lucky, like insanely lucky to have such generous parents.

We had to raise the countertops a bit to level them (just another part of my house that was clearly installed by a drunk person). They are now so pretty, covered in classy plywood. The next step will be installing the new butcher block countertops sometime in the next month. Of course there were hiccups, and about 20 trips to Home Depot. Another step down, and suddenly it feels like we are getting closer!

Check it out:
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We removed the old sink and plumbing, only to find the pipes were so old and rusted they just broke off…. whoops.

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We had to cut back even further trying to find a place to start the new pipe after our rusty bit snapped off.

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The short version of this story is my dad built a brace and dropped in the new farmhouse sink.

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We had some pipe issues, but we were able to get the new 1 horsepower garbage disposal in. We went with the Waste King L-8000 …That thing could eat a whole turkey. Not even joking, this disposal is a total beast.

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The edges of our current countertops needed to be trimmed back to allow for the new countertops to drop over. At this point all hell broke loose and my house was covered in dust…. again.

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Always wear your face masks kids. Dusty lungs are no fun.

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We added plywood as our temporary countertops and there you have it.

xo,
k

 

I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.

Life is a whirlwind; a tricky balancing act that sometimes feels like a bad circus. As our last year wrapped up, I hoped and dreamed for more time. More time to see my friends, more time to work on the house, more time to practice creating, more time with my husband, more time to sleep, more time to play with my dog, more time to spend adventuring. But as life would have it, there is no time… or all the time in the world, depending on how you look at it. My focus this year is balance, and learning the art of how to say no. Instead of being streched thin and wishing for more time, I hope to have more quality with the time I have. Being an alpha female has many perks, and living in the fast lane is one of them. I have lived my life maximizing every moment, from down time to crunch time. I am always on the go, and lead a crazy social life. My mom gently laughs when we talk each day. I give her the play by play on how every second of my week is filled with some activity, and then melt into a pile or worn out, overwhelmed mush. She laughs with that knowing laugh, the laugh that says “you know you should stop doing everything, it’s too much… but we both know you won’t”.

Slowly I am trying to practice my life balance. I am trying to listen to my body when it begins to collapse. If I say “no” to you, it’s not because I don’t want to. Believe me, when I say “no” my body has a visceral reaction and I want to scream “yes”! Know that my “no”, is in hopes of a more quality me when I get to the “yes”. I have to be the bossy one, so that I can be the boss. No one is going to take care of this shit but me. (I am channeling my inner Beyoncé so freaking hard).

It is no secret that our house has truly been a huge time sucker. I am throwing up some side by sides to see the before and after progress. We are far from done (like years from done), but we have done work in the past 4 months. Here we go:

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xo,
k

 

 

 

Cabinets be sexy!

It took us a total of 3 weeks to complete, but we finally got our cabinet remodel finished. My one regret is that we opted to hand paint them instead of going the profesh route and spraying them. When the sun shines in our windows I see little imperfections that drive me bonkers, but overall they are a major upgrade from the fugly crap we started with.

Our story continues from my parents garage. As you might recall I had spent a day sanding, filling, and priming our updated doors. Once they were dry and the death smell had vanished, I brought them home to paint.
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Again, my total obsession with brass led me to buying brass pulls. (Brass and Navy/Grey, come on… it’s like they were meant to be). I got the pulls from Amerock.
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The best part of this tale was a little mishap from my sweet, sweet husband. We drilled holes for the pulls, and then reattached the doors to the cabinets. Unfortunately for us, we did not note which hinges went with each door. This typically wouldn’t matter, but the jackwod that hung them originally did not hang them straight and evenly spaced. This meant when we rehung them, most of the doors wouldn’t close. I cursed, cried, decided to handle this a different day, and went to bed.

Curtis, my darling Curtis decided to tackle this problem on his own while I was at work. The solution seemed simple enough: sand the outer edges down until the doors would close. He began sanding the doors while they were hung and wood dust began to fly everywhere. Thinking dust behaves similar to smoke, he opened all the windows, kicked on the heater, and turned on a giant fan to help remove the dust. Sadly, the dust did not fly out the window as smoke might. Instead it flew around my entire house, I mean MY ENTIRE HOUSE. I arrived home to what I can only describe as a dust storm you might expect to see at Burning Man. I wish I had the sense to take pictures, but I was so taken aback I think I went in the bathroom and started crying. See below for a few shots of what we have lovely named dust-ageddon. I did some vacuuming and did a finger test to show the layer of white dust that covered everything we own.
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After a few days of mopping/vacuuming/repeat the dust has mostly been removed. The good news? Our cabinet doors close effortlessly and they look pretty lovely. Ta da!
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xo,
k

Ikea Mid Century Modern Credenza Hack

IMG_2750I have been on the hunt for a mid century credenza since we moved into the new house. I dreamed of having a monster size piece with warm teak and lovely vintage lines… Alas, that dream piece of furniture costs more than I bring in with a single paycheck. My only option is win the lottery, or craft one myself. It appears some jerks won the lottery, so it was time to get crafty.

I have scoured the internet in search of a hack that would save me some money but still look classy af. Pinterest proved yet again to be a source of inspiration, and with my dad’s help we came up with a lovely hack. I bring ideas, he brings solutions… we are the dream team of crafts ladies and gents. Check out the inspiration:

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And here is the play by play on how I made mine:

I bought this tv cabinet from Ikea for $279. I liked the overall structure but the legs are pretty awful and I the all white body was a little stark for my taste. I purchased a roll of Walnut veneer from Crosscut Hardwoods for $62.
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We removed the drawer and cabinet doors and roughed them up with a 220 grit sandpaper to help the veneer adhere. While I sanded, my dad began trimming the veneer to fit each surface.
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While my Dad prepped the veneer, I got the new legs ready by adding furniture screws, and staining them to a nice dark walnut color.
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Look at my cute fam in the background.

We peeled off the backing and applied the veneer to each of the surfaces using a rolling pin to ensure there were no bubbles. My dad made a small cut with a utility knife on each corner so we could fold the veneer around each edge.
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Next, we did a light sand around the edges to remove any splintered wood bits.
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We wiped down the doors to remove any dust, and applied a few coats of Wipe-On Poly. The Walnut suddenly went from grey-ish blah color to a deep, rich tone.
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While the poly cured my dad used a metal cutting blade to saw off the original legs. He then drilled holes for the new legs and we screwed those suckers in.
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Once the poly was dry we slid the drawer back in, and screwed in the doors. The new piece looks so much better than I could have expected. Swoon… another crazy project down.
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k

 

 

Midnight Ink and my fancy new ecobee3

I spent my holiday break making some kitchen progress, and it finally feels like things are happening. First things first, I installed our fancy new ecobee3 smart thermostat. I know it does some cool stuff, but frankly I picked it because I thought it looked sleeker than it’s competitor The Nest. Yes, I had to bust open my furnace wiring and do some re-wiring. Yes, it was a little scary. Truth be told it wasn’t rocket science and now my house is smart as f. This goes on the list of another DIY anyone can do, just follow the instructions and don’t get freaked out. If you need some more help I found this video to be extremely useful.

The rest of my break was spent working on our very ugly 70’s cabinets. I am trying to be budget friendly, so I pretty much always take the cheap route. That means instead of replacing, I gave them a facelift. This is still in the process of being finished, but you can start to see the end vision here and it looks pretty good. The final look will include white subway tile backsplash, and some butcher block counters. It’s no secret that I am having a love affair with brass right now (sorry Curtis), so expect to see some of those elements dusted throughout. Check out the images below for my inspiration.

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So without further without further adieu the process:IMG_2601
First we removed the old oak doors and all the hardware. They were covered in 20+ years of tasty greasy grime, so they got a good scrub with some vinegar/water. The upside of cleaning with vinegar: your house smells like a pickle. Yay!

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I have read online that you do not need to sand cabinets and can use a variety of primers to avoid this step. To be frank, I am sick and tired of working on my house… and the thought of having to do ANYTHING over again sounds like my own personal version of hell. Long story short, I sanded just to be safe.

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I think shaker style cabinets look classy, so I had the bright idea to trim out my doors. Home Depot has become my new enemy as I spend a few days I week combing it’s isles for some absurd item. I wasn’t able to find the lumber I was hoping for, so I went with some door trim. We chopped it up, then slapped them on with glue and a nail gun.

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The weather has been pretty frigid in Portland, so my parents were kind enough to lend me their garage for hole filling and priming (note: Oil primer smells like chemical death, use in a well ventilated space or get real high… up to you) ((But seriously, don’t do that, it’s bad for your brain stupid)).

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The nice people at Miller Paint Co. recommended cover stain primer and tinted it to a light gray since the next coat will be dark (like my black soul after working on this ugly house for so freaking long).

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The cabinet doors needed a few days to cure so I went home and took on the massive undertaking of painting cabinet interiors and frames. Thanks friend Molly for joining me while drinking beer and listening to my tales of Justin Bieber love dreams. I am not even afraid to say it… his new album turned me into a belieber. I’ve got no shame in my game.

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It is finally starting to look like a new space. I love the dark and contrasting brass. Dreamy. Getting closer guys… getting a little closer.

xo,
k

 

 

I made this.

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So it turns out I do have readers… or I guess a reader (thanks Caty). House stuff is slow goings. It feels like when you try to run in a dream; no matter how hard you try you just sort of drag your lead feet through ankle deep jello. That is how I feel about our house project. In the mean time while I make little to no actual progress I decided to make a Mid Century Brass Chandelier.  I wanted to share this DIY for two reasons:

1) I am super proud and it is legit badass.
2) It was wayyyyyy easier then expected, and I hope it inspires anyone who has been fearful to work with electrical to give it a go. (Spoilers, you can do it)

I was super into the Odyssey 4 Chandelier made by Schoolhouse Electric. It is brass, modern, and super dreamy. Alas, the $349 price tag doesn’t quite fit into my cheap I-just-had-a-wedding-and-purchased-a-house budget. I did some quick searching and couldn’t find anywhere local that had the parts, so I bought them online from Grand Brass. Here is the individual pieces list:

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For a play by play on how to connect everything, this is a great tutorial from Little Green Notebook.

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Get it peeps, seriously… you can do it!

Let there be gas

I am fairly certain not a single person actually reads this… so I could say terrible things. Shit! See, not a single person saw. When a tree falls in the forest, does someone hear it? The answer is no, no one hears a damn thing. You are a lonely tree in a forest, stupid. Regardless of any person reading a single word of this, I write because it makes me feel better. So to the nobodies that are not reading, enjoy.

Getting married has proved to be amazing, and also super freaking hard. After you have a wedding you essentially clean up an atomic bomb that destroyed your prior life. Personally I enjoy pain and suffering, thus decided to multiply my wedding life bomb with home ownership/remodeling. If you are reading this, and you are about to get married but considering buying a house please listen to me. DO NOT DO IT. I repeat: abort, abort.

I am three months in. I work a full time at a rather hectic design job. When I get home from my 8ish hour day, I work a few more hours. I paint. I screw shit in. I sand, and dust, and try to live a life of normalcy. It is basically the worst.

Enough of the rant. Here is the progress: We ran a gas line from the furnace into the kitchen, and finally I have a thing to cook things on. Also, we hung some sheetrock.

I turned into Krampus and decided I didn’t want Christmas shit because my house still looks like a hot mess. Enter mama bear Bottini. See below for how she brought the Christmas spirit into my sad home.

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Let there be gas!! I finally have a shiny new range!

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And my new fridge. It could probably fit a keg, which is just my style.

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And remember that wall with cracked plaster and two types of cray paint? Bye byatch.

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Thanks mom. My house looks festive because of you!

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to every single person not reading.
xo,
k

The tile is mother-trucking done.

I will keep this short and sweet. We got the tile, cut the tile, laid the tile, and drunk grouted the tile. I mean…. what kind of sick freak wouldn’t lay tile without the support of a box of wine and a best friend? My most bestest (Ali) graced me with a night of grouting that resulted in our hands and feet looking like very dirty bums. Note to the world…. Wear gloves and socks when applying dark grout. See proof below.

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Do not ever think you can’t cut tile. It is seriously the easiest thing I have done in home improvement.

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The pain staking process of applying mortar.

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This is the real life nasty body parts post grouting.

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And apparently I get seductive after a few wine bongs and some dirty labor.

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And the finished floors!

xo,
k

 

 

 

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