Category: Home Projects (Page 1 of 4)

These shelves are looking pretty spicy.

Did that corny title grab your attention to this blog post?  I thought so.  😀

After we finished taking the wall down between our living room and family room, to make one big room, I had my eyes set upon the kitchen.  We have lived here for a little over 2 years now and we have a pretty good idea of what we really want and need for our future kitchen renovation.

Remember, we wanted to go from this:

To this:

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Built in Cabinet Shopping

Last week we talked about our plans for the new built ins in the family room, and how I’ve been dreamily staring at this picture…

and trying to figure out how to turn it into this picture…

I eventually got here, with the help if the Ikea kitchen planner tool.

And first things first… where to get the cabinets. We decided that would would choose between Ikea, Lowe’s, and Home Depot stock cabinets.  These are built ins, so they’re not going to be used heavily everyday, and we’d like to do this on a budget.  I’d much rather splurge on quality kitchen cabinets than this area.

So first, let’s talk about the look.  From some of my Pinterest research, most built ins seem to be pretty narrow, about the width of the upper cabinets in most kitchens (~12″). For example:

Love the look of these, but we have the space in our family room for larger cabinets, AND I wanted them to look full and incorporated with the weird bump out that we’re dealing with.  If we went with narrow cabinets like these, then the bump out would definitely stand out.  Ha.

So, we decided to go for typical base cabinets which come in about 24″ depths.  The area we needed to fill was about 166″ long.  We got really stuck on doing the same sized cabinets all across, and the maximum we could do with not going to crazy on filler pieces was five 30″ cabinets across.  That would put us at about 16″ leftover to figure out with filler pieces.

Then, the more I played with the model, the more I realized that I was being stupid.  Not all of the cabinets had to be identical.  We could make the 2 cabinets on the end larger to fill up the extra space.  So we ended up with two 36″ cabinets for the ends, and three 30″ cabients for the middle.  This gives us about 4 inches to play with in the spacing.  PERFECT!

So, with Lowe’s and Home Depot stock cabinets, we had really only one option in the style:

This is a typical kitchen cabinet with working drawer (although there is an option to go for a false drawer for it to be a sink base cabinet).  But, hey, if we’re going to have space for the drawer, why not have it actually work?

From Lowe’s and Home Depot, we could have gotten cabinets that were stock, but already white, but from what we saw, they were marked up about 60% more in price.  Lowe’s also offered white in a shaker style cabinet, which I think is pretty, but I wanted to stick to a more traditional style for our colonial style home.  Plus, I want these cabinets to match the molding in the rest of the room, so what if they were slightly off white, and I had to paint them anyway? No thanks.

Now, Ikea offers a ton of different styles. Here is just a small snippet of the styles you can choose from, and many didn’t even fit on the page.

I was getting all excited about these possibilities until I realized how it would just start to add up.  The more drawer hardware you need, the pricier it will be.  I went back to some of my inspiration pictures, and realized that most built in cabinets don’t actually have drawers, they’re mainly just the two doors that swing open, like in some of the inspiration pictures I showed above.  So, that cut back all my crazy ideas and helped me make sure I wasn’t going with anything too over the top.

So I narrowed it down to the following:


  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $127
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $148
  • Doors: Oak
  • Frame: Particle board

Home Depot:

  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $117
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $137
  • Doors: Beech
  • Frame: Particle Board


  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $195
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $226
  • Doors: Fiber board and acrylic paint
  • Frame: Particle board

Price-wise, Home Depot won. For our needs of two 36″ and three 30″ cabinets, the totals came to:

Lowe’s: $677

Home Depot: $625

Ikea: $1,037

Ikea was pretty much eliminated when I found out that I couldn’t quite get the style door I wanted in a pure white.  It said it was an “off-white” and no way was I going to try and paint them.  Plus, if I was going to end up painting them anyway, why not get cabinets that were made of real wood doors rather than fiber board?

Home Depot ALMOST got our business. However, their website wasn’t showing any reviews for these cabinets.  Also, Lowe’s happened to be having a 25% off sale that ended the next day. LOWE’S WINS!  The total came down to $507.75 for all 5 cabinets.

I headed to the store near us that showed the most in stock online, the next day with my little helper, and we got the associates to help us rummage through the cabinets.

The thing with these stock cabinets is that they’re not always in the best of shape, and the doors may not line up exactly even.  So I had some of the associates get the cabinets off of the top shelves that had been pretty much untouched by customers and inspected them myself.  They helped me pull which ones I wanted to the side and wrapped them up for me on some pallets. I wish I got more pictures of it all,  but it was a lot to deal with along with a toddler at my side.

The Lowe’s associates were SO amazingly helpful.  It was all probably because Connor was with me.  😉  I paid, and had my amazing husband and awesome truck owning friend, Dan (thanks again Dan!!) come by later to pick them up and take them to our house, because cabinets were not fitting in the back of our SUV with a car-seat in it. Plus, I would have had to take 5 trips. Ha. Nope.

The boys dropped them right into place, and we can’t wait to get started on them!  We (David) has some electrical work to do before we start installation and painting, as there are a few outlets currently sitting behind them.  So, we’re probably going to have to run new outlets higher up so they’re still accessible and we can work them into the book shelves.  I kind of wish we thought about that when we had the room torn apart earlier this year, but oh well, live and learn.  We (David) did run electrical for some lighting in the top though, so we did prepare in that respect!

So enjoy the sneak peak!  Don’t mind the mess of toys everywhere.  Or the fact that I now need to shift the couch to the left a little.

BUT. We are now one step closer to looking like this!

And then this!!


Planning the Family Room Built Ins!

Ahhhhh. Built ins.  I’ve been looking forward to doing a project like this. It’s the perfect way to make your home look more customized and also increase the value. I’ve been dreaming of built ins in our living room since we moved in.  I knew it would be the perfect thing to add to the long, empty wall in the family room once the wall came down.

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South Carolina on my mind

In our post around the holidays, I talked a little bit about how we took a trip down to Charleston, and I stopped by our old house!  I was so curious about how they’re living there now after all of the work we did to it, but unfortunately, I chickened out and didn’t knock on the door or anything.

WELL, my dreams just came true.  Thanks to our old neighbor and friend (hi Jess!) who alerted us that our house was up for sale again!  I also ended up getting a “listing report” email from Zillow, as I’m still the “claimed owner” for that address, as in, I can go in there and make changes to the details of the property.  I have no idea why the new owners haven’t claimed it yet. Oh well, more of a scoop for me 🙂

To give you a little bit of background, my job was moving us down to South Carolina in 2013, and we were looking for a bit of a project house.  We were pretty sure at the time that we weren’t going to stay there long term, so we figured why not buy a project house, get some more renovation experience under our belts, and maybe make some money while we were at it.  The cost of living in SC is a bit lower than DE, so we decided to look really low on our budget.  We wanted to buy a house that we could put a 20% down payment on, to make life a bit easier.

Well, we ended up with this beauty?

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Mirrors, mirrors, on the wall.

You saw our master bedroom in our last blog post a few weeks ago, and how we haven’t really touched it in 2 years since we bought the furniture.

The wall behind the bed has been looking pretty empty, especially since it’s still “white” from the last owners.  I was eyeing up things to hang above the bed for awhile, but could never really decide on anything.  Art maybe?  A mirror?  I decided to look back on my Master Bedroom board on Pinterest and remembered that I liked a lot of looks that had windows or mirrors behind the lamps.

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We’re grown ups now, let’s get some grown up furniture.

In our first two homes, the master bedroom was always close to the last room done on the list. It was always because no one sees our room when they came to the house, so it always just fell on the back burner.  (This is also my reason for never making the bed!  I really don’t care how they say that your day starts off so much better if you make your bed.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.)  Unfortunately, it was the room that we spend the most time in, other than the kitchen, so we really should have made it a priority.

So when we moved into our Delaware home, I didn’t want to ignore it.  We have always wanted a king size bed, and decided to finally take the leap.  We started off with the queen sized bed that we’ve been moving around with us everywhere since it was David’s first big purchase for his apartment in New Jersey after he graduated college.  We moved it to the Maryland house after we bought it, and then I made a DIY headboard for it (maybe I’ll do a post about that one day) to make it look less like a floating mattress pushed up against the wall.  With some hand me down dressers from my parents, and some IKEA night stands, we made it work in both the Maryland house and the South Carolina house.

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1 Year and a New Year!

We went over a month without blogging, which was definitely not the plan.  Life got in the way, we were having so much holiday fun, visiting friends and family, and even taking a trip back down to Charleston, SC (I even stopped by our old house!… yes, the door was still yellow!)  Here’s a beautiful shot from before we moved out because the one I sneaked and posted on Instagram of it when we were there was total CRAP.  BUT, it did spark an interesting little conversation about whether or not you would go inside one of your old houses, whether asking to go in yourself, or being invited.  What would you do?  I was too scared!

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Our First Piece of Art

You know, since we have an art gallery now, it’s only fitting that we continue our hobby of art collecting. 😉

But, really, when it comes to real art, we never have cared too much about it.  We’re engineers.  We don’t really have the eye to appreciate it like others do.  We went on a few cruises after we graduated college and would go to the art auctions on the ship just for the free glass of champagne. 😀

As life moved on, and redoing our homes became more important to us, I always considered buying something for one of our rooms to give it a personal, unique touch, that’s not a family photo.  I just never could justify the price for a decorative object. So, while I wasn’t really looking, I found it, and under charitable circumstances… our first piece of art.

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Our Office/Playroom Combo… Revealed!

Well, we finally feel like we’re at a point where we don’t think we’ll be changing much more in the office/playroom.  Dare I say this room is “done”?  Well, it’s done… for now.

Here is what we were looking at when we moved in:

And here’s what we have now:

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Fine Art Gallery

David and I have become avid art collectors, if you didn’t know.  Fine art in particular:

And we feel the need to put it on display for the world to see, just so we can brag about it. 😉

Back when we were planning the office/playroom, after we came up with our travel map idea, I came across this project on Pinterest that I absolutely loved!


How cute is that?  The room that we chose for the office/playroom has a ton of wall space, so I thought it would be the perfect place to put it.

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