Looking for guidance from pop culture renovation, I saw that Tom Filicia from Queer Eye and other home renovation television shows recently published book about home remodeling, American Beauty.  Not to mention Tina Fey, one of my favorites, has an addition in the book too!  I wouldn’t have placed her with home renovation, but  I can’t wait to check it out.

It is strange to worry about curb appeal in the middle of winter.  I was hoping we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this until spring.  Our house would be covered in snow and blend in a little better with the neighbors, but with such a mild winter it is hard not to see there is some room for improvement. I love Censational Girl’s recommendations for increasing the curb appeal of your home.

  • Paint or replace your front door
  • Create a container garden
  • Add window boxes
  • Create seating on your porch
  • Add architectural accents
  • Update garage door
  • Landscape
  • Light the patch to your door

While these may seem obvious, sometimes it is difficult to figure out where to start.  I think we will start with just a few next spring and summer.  Our home has roughly 20 windows and minimal landscaping around the house.  The addition of a few window boxes and strategic landscaping will really help our home stand out.

Wooden staircase makeover

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

cg foyer

The stairs to the attic addition have been the biggest obstacle in refinishing the floors for the portion of the home.  The prep-work, mostly sanding, required is daunting.  Additionally, some of the stairs have been replaced without regard to the existing oak wood.  The mix of dark and light tones used by Censational Girl in her refurbished wooden staircase is gorgeous.  We might be able to use a similar technique to help mask the mismatched boards that have been replaced throughout the years.

D-I-Y carpet installation

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

We have always planned on refinishing the hardwood floors in our home, but with projects slowing to a near stop it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to explore other options.  Carpeting the upstairs would be a much easier route to go for flooring.  It’s not something I had really considered a D-I-Y project before.  However after doing some research on installing carpet, it seems so straight forward.

  • Clean the floor
  • Put tack strips down
  • Lay the carpet padding
  • Install carpet.

However, I feel like this adventure will turn into many of the projects I’ve seen some home improvement television show.  Somehow an easy-looking weekend project on T.V. turns into a week-long nightmare for me.  While I don’t think we are starting this project too soon, it is useful to know it is an option.

Exposing a brick fireplace

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Old Brick Wall

I love exposed brick in a home.  To me it is both modern and a bit retro.  We have a beautiful red brick chimney on the side of our home.  However, inside we have a drywall facade with an added wooden mantel.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not my favorite either.

Exposing brick is no small task.  After the removal of the drywall and any framework, there will likely be a layer of lathe and plaster, since that is what is on the walls in the rest of the room.  Removal of the plaster is a long, tedious job of chipping it off the wall.  Once that is done there is still the process of scrubbing the brick and sealing.   This may just be a dream for a while, but the one big positive for this project is that it is not a very large area.


One of the first things that stuck out to me when we first looked at our home were the push button style light switches in the attic addition.  I had never seen this kind of switch before, and quite frankly it freaked me out.  With our ancient wiring and outdated switches, I was sure our home was going to burn to the ground.

I hadn’t given them a second thought until we started discussing our wiring project again.  A good majority of the attic addition needs to be updated from knob and tube wiring.  During that time, we were planning to update many of the outdated fixtures and add outlets throughout the home.  When looking for fixtures I came across a modern twist on the classical push button switch.  It would be nice to keep the integrity and charm of our home, while not having to worry that we are going to burn down in the middle of the night!

Refinishing door hardware

Posted: December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Knocker On The White Door

When renovating an old home there it seems like there is a fine line between updating elements of the home and ruining the character.  When walking through my house it it is almost a fun game to play, which one doesn’t belong here.  There are wonderful old, ornate door handles and fixtures in almost every room, and then all the sudden you see a cheap brass handle, that was obviously part of some renovation project.  I just learned about oil-rubbed bronzing that could work to unify the look for all the fixtures.  Basically, you spray paint the fixtures a matte black color.   This ORB technique will work to mute the new hardware in the house, but I am very apprehensive to try it on the original pieces.  I’m not sure if we will use it in our home, but I think it is a good, easy and budget friendly renovation project.