Nursery Project 2: Mobile 

No nursery is complete without a mobile, right? Perusing Pinterest with that search term yields endless results, but I’ve been taken by the ones that utilize colored paper circles. Many of them have the circles perpendicular to the ground, which seemed easy enough. You just glue the string between the two paper circles. 

But then I stumbled across some Etsy listings  where the circles seemed to dance.  


That’s what I wanted!

Most of the pictures, and this tutorial, I found used embroidery hoops as the structure of the mobile. They’re cheap and easy to find, but sometimes I like to challenge myself to complete a project using only materials I already own. Besides, it’s been flipping cold, and I did not want to run to Hobby Lobby on a cold Saturday. Racking my brain for something that would serve the same purpose as the hoops, I remembered this red lampshade that’s been sitting upstairs, just begging to be repurposed.  

 I think it came on a lamp I picked up at Goodwill, and while it was in great shape, I have no use for a red lamp in my decor scheme. So I stripped off the fabric and wrapped the metal frame in gray yarn. Spray painting would have been way easier, but I didn’t have any gray (remember the challenge), and it was too cold to paint anyway. 

I searched my scrapbook paper stash for a mix of colors that would be gender neutral and used my circle punch to cut out a couple hundred or so circles. I didn’t have enough of each colored page to make each circle double sided, so I took an old book (purchased from the clearance section at Half Price Books specifically for paper projects) and cut circles from there to be the backsides. After glueing them together, I started stringing them on gray thread with a colored seed bead tied in between each circle to keep it from slipping down. It was, in practice, precisely as tedious as it sounds, but it kept my hands busy for a couple weeks when Tony and I watched TV. 

 After I’d amassed a bunch of strings of circles, it was time to tie them onto the lampshade. 

I flipped the shade frame upside down so the narrow circle would be on the bottom and started with a few strings there to figure out the spacing. My shade had an inner ring as well where it was designed to attach to the lamp base. To that I tied three really long strings of circles to hang down just a bit lower than the other row, creating a chandelier effect. The top row was last and was the shortest. Then I just cut all the excess strings, and it was done! 

Of course, I wanted to hang it right away, but Tony convinced me to wait until the crib was put together and in place. He’s so darn practical sometimes! It’s a good thing I listened to him this time, as my hanging plan would have been an epic fail. Here’s the mobile in place: 

As I was tying the strings on, I worried the book page circles would overtake the beautiful colored ones, but I’m actually really pleased with the contrast. 

Tony was adament that I also note what the baby will see, so here’s the crib’s eye view: 


No pictures of the crib itself yet. They’ll be coming soon. I went a little crazy last weekend with baby projects… But that’s a story for another day!

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Shelves that Slide – Another Kitchen Project

Our most recent kitchen mini-makeover  (the mudroom corner and relocated fridge) has made such a difference in our kitchen that we’ve decided to scrap our original plan for a full-scale remodel. There are still things that need doing, (new flooring, countertops, and I’d love a big single sink instead of our double) but those items are pretty minor compared to the plan that required running a new electrical breaker, all new cabinets, and an altered layout, which was pretty spendy. Fixing up what we already have means the money we’ve been saving is more than enough to cover the above desires (But don’t tell Tony that, he’s tired of working for now!) and maybe even replace more of the windows (We still have 14 left to do.) throughout the house! 

With that in mind, I finally embarked on a project I’ve been thinking about for over a year – kitchen cabinet shelves that slide! It’s no secret that I hate our kitchen cabinets. Painting and beadboard wallpapering them made a huge difference on the outside, but inside they were these cavernous wastes of space. 

The half shelves at the back could only hold so much, and no matter how I rearranged things, they never really seemed to fit. I just knew roll-out shelves were the answer, but to buy a kit is $80+ per shelf. As always, Pinterest to the rescue. I found several posts about how to build and install the drawer-like shelves, many of them created by women, which was encouraging because Tony assured me this was my project and he would take no part in it. In reality he was very helpful as a consultant when I was waffling on how to approach the next step, and he did use the circular saw to cut the drawer/shelf bases for me. Otherwise, all the work was mine. 

The first weekend I laid out all the wood, primed, and painted it. The advantage to painting the wood first was that the roller is a lot faster than using a brush after the fact, but it does mean more touch up is required at the end (if I ever get to it). I was okay with that, especially as there was still snow on the ground that weekend, and we didn’t want to pull the saw out. Painting was the only way to get the project started. 

 It was a surprisingly small amount of wood that was needed. Each drawer was made from a single 8 foot board. And I needed two additional boards for spacing. The base of each drawer was 1/4 inch MDF and I was able to get two small size sheets and just trim them down to the right size. 
The next weekend I began the install. Because we have these bracket things on each cabinet door, I needed to install 3/4 inch shims for the drawer slides to mount to. I used the cheap 1x3s cut to the same length as each slide and 1 1/4 inch screws for this. Of course, my cabinet base was not level, so I figured out where the shims needed to be and installed the left side first. Then I rigged up a system of scrap wood (to hold the right side shim steady) and the old half shelf to determine if everything was level before screwing it in. 

This step, installing the shim pieces, was definitely the most difficult and time consuming part of the whole project. It involved climbing in and out of the cabinet A LOT and the mental exercise of figuring out exactly where everything needed to be to fit my pots and pans. 


It’s a good thing I started this project when I did. Any more pregnant and it would have been nearly impossible to get in there!  This is what you can’t see through the sweatpants and sweatshirt:

Once those shims were in and level, it was pretty easy to install the slides themselves, right in the middle of each shim, with 1 in. screws. Oh, and here’s a tip: I bought my slides on Amazon! I bought a ten pack (Oh, yes. There will be more drawers in the future!) of the 22 inch, 100 lb. full extension slides, and they worked out to about $8 per pair. I would have paid double that at The Depot for a slide that wasn’t as strong, so I considered it a worthwhile investment. 


Then it was time to build the drawer/shelves. They were pretty simple 1x4s cut to the desired length and attached with Kreg Jig screws at the corners. 


The drawer plans I used called for square dowels attached to the bottom with the nail gun to create support for the shelf base. Other plans I’d seen just had you staple the shelf base on, but it seemed like this route would result in stronger shelves.

The last step was to attach the smallest piece of the slides and hope that everything fit… Thank goodness it did! 
The drawer bases just dropped right onto the square dowels.

Building and installing that first set of drawers took an entire Saturday, and I was super sore by the end of it! But I was able to get all the wood cut for the second set, so it only took a couple hours to finish the project the next day.


I’m loving putting the pots and pans away these days! Now, if only I could find a way to love washing them too…

Posted in Cabinets, Kitchen | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Kitchen Corner

I’ve posted about our kitchen a couple times before. Very shortly after moving in we updated the room with paint.  

That’s one of my favorite “before and after” pics. What a difference some paint and wallaper (or lack thereof) made! Not long after that I added some decor to warm up the space, but I knew the room would be a work-in-progress for quite some time until we could save enough for a full scale remodel.  

My biggest problem was the fridge. Who puts a fridge behind an exterior door that bangs into it every time the door opens? (And I can’t believe my only before photo is blurry!!) 


For that matter, who puts the fridge in front of the only light switch for the room? Apparently the same person who trimmed the wallpaper this way.

I get that the behind-the-door spot was the only place with existing water access, (We’re pretty sure that’s where the washer/dryer was at one point, because both hot and cold water were run to that corner.) but really? I loathed having our fridge in that location and having to squeeze my hand into the dark unknown just to turn the light on and off. 

With Tony’s grad school classes starting soon, I was beginning to think this project would never happen, but for Christmas Tony moved the fridge! Best Christmas present ever! Okay, tied with the pneumatic staple gun and the Silhouette Cameo… Tony’s actually very good with gifts! 

His task was particularly daunting because he’d never finished the wall behind the fridge from our new bathroom install… almost two years ago. He and Dad ran the plumbing for the new drain pipe and extended the water access for the guest bathroom through that wall, but when they were done they just pushed the fridge back and left the wall cavity open, like this: 

Therefore moving the fridge meant 1) installing a new water line to operate the freezer’s ice maker, and 2) installing sheetrock! I did have a plan, though, to minimize the work factor of the rock. My long-range goal for that corner of the kitchen has always been a little mudroom nook. It’s the main door we use for exit and entry, and it just makes sense that coats, boots, gloves, etc. would be dropped there instead of in the front hallway. Eventually there will be a bench in the corner to hold that stuff too, but for now the deep freeze hides the fact that the flooring doesn’t quite reach the corner – Oh, the joys of old houses. 

Anyway, my mudroom nook involved beadboard and a cabinet hung near the ceiling, so no messy mud and tape/sanding was necessary! Tony was able to complete most of the install in the weekend before we left for Florida, despite being terribly sick. (He even went to the doctor! That’s how you know it’s bad.)

When we got back from our trip I caulked, primed, painted, and installed the hooks. 

The cabinet wasn’t quite wide enough to fill the whole corner, and there was that bit of wallpaper and border I never took down, (because it was behind the fridge, afterall) so Tony added a little shelf on the side to fill in the rest of the space. When it’s finished, I think it will be a great spot for storing cookbooks.

Not only did we gain an entire cabinet to hide away the kitchen gadgets we rarely use, like the electric knife and the soda maker (I won that on the radio!), but we had enough space between the stove and the fridge’s new spot for a teeny 9 inch wide base cabinet. It’s the perfect spot to set cooking utensils while using the stove and it holds all our baking sheets and stoneware pans – those oddly shaped pans that do better in tall skinny places. 


We ordered the cabinet from The Depot and put it together ourselves. Then I added about 6 thin coats of paint so it would match the existing gray cabinets.  The top is a marble remnant from a local shop, now by far the nicest countertop in the whole house! 

 The setup’s not perfect, but no layout is really perfect in a room that must balance three doorways on three different walls, windows and built-in shelving on the other one, and retrofitted gas and water lines that come through the floor and not the wall. The fridge is much deeper than the deep freeze was, and it does make the space near the island a little tight, but I feel it’s worth it to be able to open the back door all the way! I’m loving that there’s a spot to put my coat and purse right when I walk in, and I’m particularly excited about the extra space those two little cabinets created. I absolutely love our open shelving, but there are so many kitchen things that just need to be hidden away.

  That little doorway behind the basket leads to the water shut-off valve for the bathroom upstairs. We wanted to keep that accessible in case of emergency, so Tony cut out a square of the beadboard and we used a cabinet lock to keep it closed.

I’m actually thinking that these tweaks will render a full remodel unnecessary. But don’t worry. I’m still not quite done with the kitchen!

Shall we see the before and afters again?

  I’m realizing the photo above makes it look like the fridge is in front of the door trim on the right, but it’s not! It does cover the light switch, but that’s the switch for the cellar light, and we almost never go down there anyway!

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Nursery Project 1: Glider

Tony purchased this glider for Baby’s room a couple months ago from our favorite shopping spot, Craig’s List.  

 It was already white, which is the color I wanted (Yay! No painting!), but the cushions were in bad shape. First of all, they were covered in denim. No, thank you. But the previous owner had washed them in her washing machine and the foam inside each cushion didn’t appreciate it. No big deal! You expect those kinds of things when you buy furniture on CL. I ordered up a 3 inch foam camping mat from Home Depot (the same foam I used for the coffee table ottoman), traced around the original cushions, and pulled out a serated knife. 

The cuts weren’t clean, as evidenced by this photo of the naked cushions fitted on the chair, but I thought they’d be just fine once the covers were sewn.  

 I thought that, of course, having absolutely no idea what I was doing! A couple blog posts via Pinterest gave me some tips, so I laid out the fabric and started cutting. The foam for the new cushions was considerably thicker than the originals, so I cut some 4 inch gray strips to go around the sides of the cushions.    


One of the tricky parts was keeping everything symmetrical. I laid out the fabric (Recognize it as leftovers from the dining room chairs?) and traced around the new cushions for the front and back of each one, but then I folded the fabric in half and trimmed it until both sides were the same.  

 After sewing the gray stips together, I pinned them around the other fabric. I learned this from one of the blog posts on Pinterest. I definitely didn’t know to do this on my own! Apparently this is how you make a “box cushion.”  

 A quick fit of the seat back at this point had me pretty excited about my prowess with the sewing machine, but I still had to install two zippers. Have I mentioned that I had no idea what I was doing?? The lady at Hobby Lobby didn’t help much either when she told me how difficult zippers are to install. YouTube, of course, had a very helpful tutorial though, and I was pleased with the result. I mean, I won’t be sewing any clothes with visible zippers anytime soon, but these babies are completely hidden while on the chair, so they’ll be just perfect!   

 From there I just had to finagle those cushions into the covers and zip them up! The fit wasn’t perfect, so I stuffed some loose pillow batting into the top and front edges of the cushions to fill it out a bit and prevent the fabric from puckering so much.  

 The ottoman is from Ikea – purchased on super clearance when we bought my library chair. They’ve changed their gray fabric, and this is the old color, but we kept it knowing there was a little one coming.
I think this will be a pretty comfy spot to rock with Baby!


Posted in Bedroom, Decor, Furniture, Nursery | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Naples, FL

Two years on a Caribbean island will turn you into a bit of a beach snob. So, Tony and I were hesitant to plan our last minute holiday getaway to a US location. However, Naples did not disappoint! Each beach we visited stretched for miles with luxuriously soft, white sand that looked like sugar crystals when it stuck to my ankles. Metered public parking was available at the end of each immaculate residential street, complete with showers for feet washing. Even when the beach was packed, (at sunset and on Christmas Day) everyone had their own space, and you didn’t feel like people were on top of you.  

 We enjoyed several days lounging and reading by the beach, but we also ventured inland for a Florida Everglades Tour. Tony was super excited to see some gators, and gators we saw! Our first stop was at Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours in Everglades City. Bushman Alan got us all settled in and told us a bit of Everglades history – how the area has changed since the Native Americans lived in the area.  

 As a surprise we actually got to see some manatees, or at least glimpses of their noses and lots of their gas bubbles! The massive sea cows love the warm waters of the canals and marshland. We also saw two alligators – one sunning herself on the bank and one swimming in search of a meal!  

 These were unexpected finds because the airboat ride is supposed to be the adventure part, not the sightseeing part. And we did have some adventure! Alan would rev that gas motor, and we’d skim across the water at 30 mph through the mangroves.  

 But the fun part was when a clearing was in view, because you knew that when we got to it, Alan would turn us on a dime and the whole boat would careen side to side or do a donut!  

 In addition to the gators, we also saw some cute little raccoon-looking animals hanging out in the mangroves.  

 We even held a baby gator!   

 After lunch we went for another boat ride through the Everglades, and this time we saw dolphins! We were right where the 1,000 islands meets with the Gulf of Mexico when we came across a pod of about 20 (we estimate) of them! Everywhere we looked around the boat they were sufacing, blowing air, and even jumping out the water.  

 The last stop on our tour was a gator sanctuary and demonstration where some crazy guy stuck his hand into the mouth of a 12 foot gator.    

 We particularly liked this safety sign:  

 And we spotted several gators just on the side of the road. Tony got way too close to them, in my opinion, and snapped some pretty stellar photos.  

We spent a lot of time lounging on the beach reading, which is just what we were looking for! It also allowed me to finally read the manual and experiment with some of the features of our new camera.  


 We found a church holding Christmas Eve services in one of the parks in downtown Naples. It was one of the strangest services I’ve ever been to, but it was pretty cool to sit in the park on a warm evening with 2000 other people!  

Tony and I agree that every Christmas should be spent on the beach!

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Merry Christmas! You should really read this one.

Our holiday plans changed unexpectedly, so we were able to book a last minute getaway to Florida! You gotta love Christmas on a beach!  

It also seemed as good a time as any to announce that we’re having a baby! Sometimes we feel a little like this:

At the prospect of becoming A Guy, a Girl, a Little Tiny Baby, and a Really Old House, but mostly we’re just darn excited!

I’ll detail more about our Florida trip (It includes lots of alligators and Christmas dolphins!) in a later post, but for now I’m going to share some of the holiday decor back home. This part of the post is mostly for me. While decorating for the House Tour I found that I couldn’t remember where I’d put things, just that I’d loved the way they were arranged last year. It was not helpful. So I resolved to chronicle this year’s decor on the blog to avoid the same problem come next Christmas. If pregnant belly shots are more your thing, I’ll leave you with another one from today. Tony insisted he be able to take this one “because there’s a baby (pronounced beh-beh in a low, deep voice) in your belly!”

Also, I’ve been feeling great – no morning sickness at all. I did have a bad cold that I’ve just now started to kick, but other than that all has gone well thus far. I’m due June 1st, and we will not be learning the gender, but preperations for the nursery have already begun. I’ll be able to share those pictures soon too.

We hope you’re having a blessed holiday season!

Front hallway: 


The Joy to the World frame has additional prints for year-round decor.


The corner on the stairs:


This is Charlie’s kennel: 

This year’s tree – next year I think it needs more lights:

Merry Christmas!

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Dining Room Chairs

When we bought our house Tony was very specific on his expectations for a dining room table. It needed to be ornate, and it needed to be huge (or at least have multiple leaves so it could become huge). We found our table and chairs on Craig’s List, which I talked about here when I refinished the top. 

Well, the chairs have finally been recovered, just two years later!

First, let’s talk fabric. I expect these babies will get some serious use between now and whenever I forget how much work it was to recover them (Read: a LONG time from now!) so I wanted to pick something durable. I also needed something super affordable, because I was ordering 18 yards or something crazy like that! So last April or May when I got an email from one of the online fabric stores about indoor/outdoor fabric being marked down to around $6 a yard, I jumped on it! We’d used indoor/outdoor material on our giant ottoman, and it’s been fabulous! Charlie has knocked over full glasses of water and the liquid just pools on top until you can wipe it up. I knew it would be great for a dining room. 

But then I let the 5 foot spool sit in the corner for 6 months. I was intimidated by this project. Despite my past experience recovering chairs, I knew these would be tough. (Though not really harder than the drop cloth arm chair, I guess.) I was right, though. It was hard. 

First, I couldn’t quite figure out how the seat backs were attached. Honestly, I’m still not sure how they were attached initially. I used my little upholstery tool to pry the seat backs off, which was relatively easy once I got started. They just sort of popped off of the little nails that were holding them on. Then I used the same tool to pry out the staples holding the fabric to the thin plywood backing. There were staples every quarter inch or so. That’s a lot of staples! They had to come out though, because the original fabric was very thick, and I knew it would be too thick if I just put the new fabric over the top. That part went pretty well. I used the pneumatic staple gun – fantastic!! Redoing the first seat back probably took about an hour for staple removal, fabric cutting, and re-stapling. One down, 11 to go! Eleven? Yeah, each chair has a separate front and back!  


The really tough part came in when it was time to reattach all those seat backs, simply because I couldn’t do it by myself. I’d hold the seat back up and get it into position, then cover it with a towel and bang on the corner with a rubber mallet. The seat back had originally been held on with these little nails, and the nail heads were all still sticking out about a quarter inch. (This was my area of confusion. Did they shoot the nails through the plywood, foam, and fabric after they were put together? If not, how did they get the nails to stop part way into the wood frame? Who knows!) My hope was to restick the wood backing to those nail heads. It worked for some of them, but the others were supplemented with hot glue. Anyway, I could kinda-sorta do the front of a chair on my own, but the seat backs angled the other way, so I’d sit on the floor to pound and Mom would hold the cushion from the top. 

We finished all the seat backs, then I tackled the cushions. The original upholstery had little stitches sewn in each corner, which is one reason I left the seats for last. I’ll do just about anything to avoid having to sew. In the end, though, I was able to fold and staple the fabric so as to avoid the need for sewing. 

I didn’t take a picture though. Sorry! I was working on these while waiting for our new camera, so I snapped a few cell phone pics, but that’s about it. 

The backs of each cushion had a little notch cut out where the cushion fits into the frame, which also had some stitching.  
By cutting the fabric in the corner and applying some super glue…  Then pulling a bit, stapling, and repeating a couple more times…  I was able to avoid sewing here too!    So this was the end result! 

I knew I was going to recover these chairs from the moment we bought them, but I hadn’t noticed just how dingy the original fabric had become until I put this crisp cream and grey next to it! Even Tony commented on the difference!          


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More Library Photos

Sometimes I just stand in the doorway and ogle this room. Tony has done such a fantastic job completing the library! Now that I have a new camera and much better quality photos, I thought I’d share a few more vantage points with you.

This is the view from the doorway at the front hall, and these are the new shelves. That table is only there  to make room for the Christmas tree in the living room… much to Tony’s frustration! 

Installing these shelves certainly had its issues. Tony found that both walls were bowed at obtuse angles, something that really shouldn’t be possible, as well as not being plumb. That window was an issue too. It is so crooked that the top of the window frame meets the side of the shelves on the right. We ended up painting the wall with the trim paint to try an hide the crookedness. 

The corner shelves allow Tony to display some of his collections, like the Edgar Allen Poe books lovingly placed here.

The lights in the four corners are one of my favorite aspects of the room. That library’s chandelier is one of the best ones in the house, but it made for a very dark room, or one with lots of shadows if the shades were removed. These lights perfectly accent all the books when dimmed to just the right level. 

These are actually large outdoor lights. When researching and planning the library’s design, we found a blog that described using outdoor lights over their shelves, and I loved the look. I was ecstatic to find these at Lowe’s at a great price. The crown molding that runs between all the shelves hides the wires and connects them to the same switch.

One more view, this one from the living room doorway.


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Holiday House Tour Follow-Up


Phew! The Historical Homes Tour was a tremendous success last weekend! We estimate that more than 250 visitors came through during the 5 hours of the tour, and all had incredible things to say about our home. I intended to take a few photos during the tour, but getting hot cider for volunteers and answering a million questions kept me busy nearly the entire time! A page of our guest book is shown above, and there are three more pages just like it.
I was amazed at the range of questions people asked:

Who did we call to modernize our knob and tube wiring?

What was the original purpose of the two closets between the dining and living room?

What were the original library doors like?

Have we had to have any cellar work done?

What paint color was used in our bedroom?

There was even a high school student doing a research project! And at one point, I think someone was checking out our furnace?!? 

We had so much fantastic help with the tour – thank you to Jayne, our Historical Society rep; my mom, aunts, and grandparents who spent the whole day here; and all our fantastic volunteers who stood in different rooms to share details and try to answer questions! And thanks to Dad for arranging a golf outing to get Tony out of the house for the day. We couldn’t have done it all without you! 

And now we can rest for a bit. : ) 

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Guest Room Reveal

About this time last year I decided to paint and make curtains for our guest bedroom. Tony’s side of the fam was coming for Christmas, and I just wanted to have a nicer room for them to stay in. From the doorway it looked like this:


Certainly a dramatic improvement over this before shot: 

Except for one corner, the one opposite the bed…

Just so you know, that “closet” (the old one) was about 8 inches deep. I cannot, for the life of me, come up with any sort of purpose it could have served.  I knew we were going to put a real closet in that corner (You can see on the left there is a hole exposing the brick chimney. That was not done on purpose. I merely put a little weight on the wall and it crumbled! Hence the decision to locate the closet there, as wall repair was already a necessity.) so there was no reason to paint the crumbling wall when it was all going to be changed. Sure, it took about 10 months to do anything about it, but that’s okay. It’s all (nearly) done now!

Tony wanted nothing to do with this project while he completed the library, so Dad came over to talk through a plan. I’d already determined the old closet had been built from individual boards, rather than actual sheetrock, because our first winter in the house the paint over each individual board cracked. We decided the whole thing had to go. Dad took it all apart while Tony and I went to The Depot for supplies.


When we got back, Dad said, “Lindy, I have some bad news.”  My first question was “What did you do?!” Turns out he hadn’t done anything (yet) but had found that the back wall, which we were intending to use, was plaster and should really be replaced. So, we began wall demo. Yay.

The next day we framed out the new closet and began installing sheetrock.

Once all the rock was installed we could mud and tape, one of the worst construction jobs there is. Lucky for me, I was out of town for my Grandpa’s 80th birthday, so I got out of a lot of the sanding. Thanks Dad!

Look at all that dust on the floor! With that task complete Mom and I could start painting, after some serious clean up, that is.

Here’s the finished closet:  

Now that’s some serious storage space! But, there’s still plenty of room to the left for my long dresser.


There was still one little problem though. The floor where the original “closet” walls had been was left unfinished whenever it was put in, and I knew I’d ever be able to match the color/sheen that’s on the floor right now. (I’ve tried in a couple other places.) So we decided to install a little reading nook with one of those lift top benches right over that spot in the floor. Everything was on track for the bench to be completed by tour time on Saturday, until Dad had a little accident with the table saw. He’s doing okay now, and won’t need surgery like we originally thought! But the bench will be left unfinished for now.  


I’ve sewn a couple pillows for the top, and I should be able to paint it the weekend after the tour. 

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