Helping Homeowners Stay Home for Good

There is a crisis in Wake County (and much of the country for that matter.) Affordable housing and the ability to maintain a home is a struggle for many people. Ply Gem has made it their mission to help keep people in their homes with the Home for Good Project. In the past few years they have donated over 1.8 million worth of home exterior products.  Organized a small army of local contractors and volunteers to give time to take on a variety of home improvements and home repairs in the communities where they live and work.

I was honored to be a part of the kick off of the 2018 Home for Good Project, right here in my hometown of Raleigh, NC.

When Ply Gem reached out to me about being a sponsor for the Saving Etta project, we discussed how I could be a part of their larger mission to save homes. Ply Gem started the Home for Good project in 2016 to try to help homeowners stay in their homes by providing much needed repairs and renovations to houses in disrepair. Ply Gem reached out to the Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization program to identify local homeowners who were in need of exterior renovations and repairs.

If you read my blog, you know that Habitat for Humanity is one of my favorite charities. All Ply Gem had to say was “Habitat for Humanity” and I knew I wanted to be a part of this wonderful project!

8 Days, 5 Houses and 400 Volunteers

It began on one of the hottest weeks in Raleigh. The 2018 Ply Gem Home for Good Project kicked off on a Monday with 90 degree heat here in North Carolina. Despite the weather, hundreds of volunteers showed up to make a difference.

Each house had at least a dozen volunteers eager to chip in and make a difference for the homeowner. The repairs involved adding beautiful new energy efficient windows and long lasting maintenance free siding from Ply Gem. The homes also received a variety of other exterior renovations including new roofs (when needed), new paint, and landscaping.

I took a day off from working on Etta and drove my work truck over to the Home for Good Project house I was assigned to. When I pulled up out front of this cute little ranch house, it looked in pretty decent shape until I got closer.

The yard was overgrown and the bushes were growing on the house.

A poison ivy vine had been climbing around the back storage structure and deck for a while. And the siding was in rough shape.

We all worked together to remove the poison ivy and trim branches from around the house.

Within an hour, the over grown bushes and vines were tamed and trimmed.

Next we moved on to maintenance tasks. We cleared the gutters and I took down a downspout to clear a clog.

A group of contractors showed up to start installing the new vinyl siding.

It amazed me how quickly the siding was installed. And the light moss green color was a nice compliment to the house.

The house looked so much better by the end of the day. But, you won’t believe what this house looked like by the end of day eight! Ready to see some dramatic before and after pictures?

Front Before:

Front After:

Back Before:

Back After:

Back Deck & Shed Before:

Back Deck & Shed After:

Hard to believe it’s the same house!

Want to see more? This is another Home for Good Project house around the corner from the one I worked on.

Front Before:

Front During Rehab:

Front After:

The siding, the windows, shutters, and trim were all donated by Ply Gem. Check out those beautiful new shutters, windows, and pediments!

Ready to see another transformation?

House Before:

House After:

New siding, windows, and trim made this house a show stopper!

I can’t get over that adorable yellow front door.

This was such an amazing experience to be a part of. I hope to be a volunteer for the Home for Good Project again next year.

Want to learn more about the Home for Good Project created by Ply Gem? This video will explain more about the program and give you a peek at the actual transformations.


If I’ve inspired you to find out more about the Home for Good Project, take a look at all the projects that are happening around the US! Click here to find out if there’s an opportunity for you to volunteer with the Home for Good Project near you.

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post for Ply Gem. It was written as part of their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All words and opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services. 

Lowe's Spring Makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m super amped to give you an update on the Lowe’s Spring Makeover plans. If you recall, Lowe’s was partnering with these bloggers heroes to come to the rescue of a few homeowners:

All Things G&D | Beneath My Heart | Brooklyn Limestone | City Farmhouse | DIY Playbook | The Golden Sycamore | Home Stories A to Z  |Just A GirlLiz Marie Blog | Our Fifth House | Pretty Handy Girl  and Lowe’s Home Improvement Volunteers!

We received several applications from these cities that were deemed the top ten hardest hit by the winter of 2014:

  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, Rhode Island

I was assigned to one city. Wading through all the applications was tough, but ultimately one family stood out.

Lowe's Spring Makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

This sweet family recently moved to the Northeast and was hit by one of the most brutal winters on record. If the weather wasn’t enough to freeze their emotions, having one of their little toddlers hospitalized and losing a loved one certainly crushed their spirits.

When the snow finally melted they were left with this: Read more

Family Organization Door | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s hard to stay organized when you are a DIY blogger, Mom, wife, cook, cleaner, taxi driver, and a student (taking evening classes for the general contractor exam.) I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve dropped a few balls in this massive juggling act. But, I strive to improve and part of that effort involved hanging a Family Organization Center Door next to the refrigerator.  Did you know there was such a thing? Ha, me either until I saw this half window door at our local Habitat ReStore.

Family Organization Door | Pretty Handy Girl

A vision of a place to plan meals, keep track of chores and keep reminders became clear in my head when I first saw it. Want to see how I took this old door and turned it into a family organization center? Hang around for a few minutes to find out.

Materials:
(contains some affiliate links)

Optional:

Instructions:

After finding a door for your organization center, you may need to trim down the sides to fit your space. I had to trim an inch off each side of my door to fit on the side of our refrigerator cabinet. Use a circular saw to trim the door. Using a Kreg Rip Cut will help keep the saw straight.

Family Organization Door | Pretty Handy Girl

For extra stability, you may want to add a caster on the bottom of the door (opposite the hinge side). This is not necessary, but will add extra support.

Family Organization Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut scraps of coax cable to fit into the tops of the windows. Read more

12 DIY Home Storage Tutorials | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s January and you know what that means! Time to clean and purge the house of all the excess stuff. Last year I was too busy with projects to purge, so this year I’m taking advantage of some warmer days to clean out our home. I hope you’ll excuse me while I’m in clutter busting HELL mode. In the meantime you might enjoy these 12 DIY Storage Projects to help you organize your home (and hide clutter.)

mudroom_shoe_storage_bench
Make a Coat Rack from an Old Door
 and Make a Shoe Storage Bench with Kitchen Cabinets

full_flow_wall_above_washerLaundry Room Storage using Flow Wall Read more

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

In the quest to makeover our master bedroom and save money, I’ve been painting several pieces of furniture to coordinate with the new bed I built.

One of the pieces I painted was this small desk that doubles as a nightstand. Our bedroom isn’t very large and our master bathroom is even smaller than what can be described as a “master” anything! Doing my hair and makeup in our bathroom isn’t a viable option, especially when both Pretty Handsome Guy and I wake up at the same time. When I saw this little desk at a local thrift store, I grabbed it. Especially because she was only $20!

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

She had lots of age, but not much character.

top-of-wood-vanity

However, she was the perfect size and had just enough storage for a makeup vanity.

With a light sanding, primer and a coat of Benjamin Moore Advance paint, she is now showing her more glamorous side. Read more

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

You know you’ve seen those knotty pine dressers from yesteryear. Their spotlight has faded and they are finding themselves at thrift shops, ReStores or worse yet…at the curb.

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m begging you to let this knotty eyesore back into your home. It doesn’t have to be banished. It’s KNOT her fault she was built from cheap pine. All this dresser needs is a new coat of paint and some beautiful brass knobs and all her flaws and knots will be forgotten.

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

Extra observant points to anyone who realized that this blogger forgot to take a good before picture! She looked very similar to the knotty pine dresser shown above, except she had wooden circle knobs and an unfortunate set of bun feet. I did remove the bun feet from the dresser when I first brought it home. Mama ain’t got no need for buns in this oven (or on my dresser.)

Here are the details on how to refinish a knotty pine dresser and give it a complete makeover!

Materials:

  • Sandpaper
  • BIN primer
  • Damp rag
  • Paint brush
  • Foam paint roller
  • Quart of Benjamin Moore Advance paint (Deep Ocean)
  • Valspar asphaltum glaze
  • Brass hardware (I bought mine from House of Antique Hardware)
  • Drill with bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Level

Instructions:

This tutorial will be fairly brief, if you need more photos and explanation, you can view my previous dresser painting adventure.

Begin by removing all the drawers and knobs. Lightly sand the dresser and drawer fronts. Wipe off any sanding dust. Read more

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: Read more

GMC_Acadia_roadtrip

My goodness, it has been a whirlwind week for me. I left on Wednesday to head down to Atlanta, GA with my good friend Holly (of Storywood Designs). We rode in the lap of luxury in a swanky new 2014 GMC Acadia Denali! (My boys were in love with the new SUV. Especially the bluetooth headphones that let them listen to another radio station as Mama belted out the lyrics to “Blurred Lines.” I can’t blame them, singing is the one skill I don’t have.)

I was sponsored by GMC at Haven and they let me borrow the vehicle for the week. It’s a good thing we had the Acadia with loads of cargo space, because neither of us travel light. We even brought our own furniture:

bellhopOur bellhop barely skipped a beat as he loaded furniture onto the cart with our luggage.
(photo courtesy of Holly)

Holly and I didn’t waste a moment. We checked into the Grande Hyatt in Atlanta, spread out our ScotchBlue Heavy Duty Non-Slip drop cloths and started transforming furniture: Read more

What’s going on with that Handy Girl? She didn’t post anything on Friday or Monday? Has she succumbed to jet lag after her trip abroad? (nope) Did she cut her thumb off on a saw and can’t type? (nope) Was she abducted by aliens?

face_shielf

(maybe)

Want to know why I’ve been slacking on posting?

This is why:

last_tile

I’ve been feverishly working on tiling the backsplash in our kitchen. It’s been a lot of sweat equity (and some child labor) but the results are stunning.

children_helping_tiles

I chose these beautiful carrara mable subway tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com.

venato_carrara_tiles

They arrived on a huge pallet and have been sitting in the garage for months. Once we got back from our trip I was having major DIY withdrawal. What better way to get back into the DIY game than tiling 80 sq. feet of backsplash! Heeheehee.

tiling_backsplash

I’ve rarely had a free moment, in fact when I actually did take a minute to sit down, Handy Dog took advantage of an open lap. (Ummm, someone needs to tell him he’s too big to be a lap dog.)

lapdog

What’s the rush Handy Girl?

The rush is self imposed, but I did want to finish before I left for Haven. I’m happy to say that I have a few more lines of caulk to run and the backsplash will be…stick a fork in it…DONE!

And then tomorrow morning I can hop in this swanky new 2014 GMC Acadia Denali and head to Haven!

2014_GMC_Acadia_Denali

(Totally love the hologram on the dashboard that displays speed, temperature, current song playing and more!)

Whoa, what’s with the new wheels?

Well, GMC is loaning the vehicle to me for the week. I’ll be working with GMC at Haven and theeennnnnn….

…on Sunday I’ll be working with some other bloggers to furnish and makeover another Habitat House in the Atlanta area. (Do you remember the big reveal last year?) It’s sure to be a lot of fun and a totally rewarding experience when the homeowner opens the door to her new home and is surprised to find it furnished for her!

I’ll be bringing a whole box of tissues this time.

Want to keep up with the action? Here’s how!

Follow these bloggers as they shop the World’s Longest Yard Sale this week:

You can follow the hashtag #GMCHTA (GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure) on Twitter and Instagram for live photos from the sale. And I’ll try to keep you in the loop through social media (mostly Instagram and Facebook) from the#HavenConf conference hashtag and beyond.

Want to read more about my adventures along the World’s Longest Yardsale last year?

Start reading here.

One more thing before I rush out. If you are going to Haven, you MUST…I repeat…you MUST hop in on one of the two classes Sandra, Traci and I are teaching. It’s called, “Let’s Case This Joint” and it’s going to be a total interactive hands on experience in molding, casing and trim installation. And there will be power tools! You might just have to put up with me and my “Dirty Handy” impersonation though.  “Go Ahead… Make My Day.”

dirty_harry_impersonation

 Put a Ryobi cordless finish nailer in my hand and I start acting like a tough guy.

I’ll be back later with some more DIY tutorials. I promise. I haven’t been abducted by aliens, I’ve just been a little up to my elbows in grout.

PHGFancySign

Disclosure: GMC is sponsoring my trip to Haven this year. I was provided with a loaner GMC Acadia Denali to drive to the conference and back. I was not told what to write or say. All words, ideas and photos are my own.

And now the moment y’all have been waiting for! The end of our journey and the culmination of all our efforts were revealed to Alexcia, Jaydon & Jurnei Moore on Sunday, August 5th 2012. Alexcia thought she was just getting the keys to her empty home. Little did she know, that GMC, OnStar, Habitat for Humanity and 6 bloggers had conspired to fill her home with furniture, beddings, and home decor.

(Alexcia thinking, “You did what to my house?”) Read more