Are You Sure You're Ready to Take on a Home Renovation? | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I wanted to approach a subject that is often questioned by homeowners. The folks at Allstate Insurance have graciously sponsored this post, which will help you decide if now is a smart time to start that home renovation project.

When do you know if it’s time to embark on a home renovation? Is it a good investment? Do you have the desire? Can you handle upheaval? I can tell you from experience that there are times when a home renovation is a smart decision and there are times when it makes more sense to deal with your home as is for a while.

I hope this article helps you make your own decision as to whether now is a good time to start that home renovation. I do know that it is wonderful to be able to create the home that you will enjoy living in. Hopefully you’re up for the challenge!

Do You Really WANT to Renovate?

I’m going to be totally blunt about this, having your home renovated is NOT FUN. It’s a huge upheaval for you and your family. Having walls torn out or even just painted creates dust, chaos and a mess. You can forget about privacy because while the renovation is going on, you will have workers (almost complete strangers) traipsing through your house. Even if you do the work yourself, you still have to be ready to have inspectors show up unannounced to approve any work for which a permit was pulled.

Depending on the room you are renovating, you will likely need to make arrangements to avoid using that room. Where will the furniture go? If it’s in your kitchen, how can you cook and do dishes during the kitchen renovation? If it’s a bathroom, do you have other bathrooms you can use in the meantime?

How long can you wait for the renovation to be completed? In today’s era of extreme home makeovers, oftentimes a homeowner subconsciously thinks a home renovation is a quick and easy process. I can tell you that much of the process on those makeover shows happens behind the scenes and off camera.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s tackle some of the other factors that will help you decide whether or not you should proceed with that home renovation project. Read more

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

A year has flown by since I laid our Globus Cork glue down tiles in our kitchen. I wanted to check back in and let you know how they are holding up.  I must say this is one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) fixture in our kitchen. I had some minor doubts because some people feared that dogs and cork floors don’t go well together. Or that rambunctious boys would ruin them. Well, I’m here to report that after a year they still look the same as when they were installed!

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I can tell you that there has been lots of chair scraping. Lots of matchbox car races. Lots of wrestling and plenty of Buddy sliding on them as he runs to retrieve balls.

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I have yet to see a scratch anywhere! The only mark that I did manage to make was a small dent when I dropped one of the heavy corbels and it hit the floor right at the pointy edge. But, I can’t even find that dent to be able to check on it.

There is also one dip where I must not have filled a knot hole in the underlayment. But, it is barely noticeable unless the light hits it just right: 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

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

After painstakingly tiling my backsplash, I was more than a bit hesitant to drill holes into the tiles to hang the corbels and open shelving. But, I convinced myself to stop being a wussy procrastinating and just do it.

I’m so pleased with how they turned out and I didn’t chip or crack a single tile. In hindsight I really didn’t need to stress this project. It was less nerve-wracking than I had anticipated.

Here’s the full tutorial so you can install your own open shelving on a tile wall!

Materials:

  • Diamond drill bit (the same diameter as the screws you are using)
  • Wood screws to attach anchor board (must be long enough to go through board, tile, drywall and at least an inch into a stud)
  • Drill
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Level (long and a small one if you have one)
  • Pencil
  • 2 regular drill bits (1 the same diameter as the screw + 1 large enough to create a countersink for the screw head)
  • Shelf brackets (I used corbels and a 1″x6″ pine board as an anchor)
  • Kreg jig
  • Pocket hole screws (long enough to attach corbel to anchor board without going through the board)
  • Joint compound or wood putty

Instructions:

Start by determining the height you want your shelves to hang. Read more

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

This is another one of those tutorials that I’ve been dying to share with you! Like sitting on my hands and anxiously waiting to type it out. But after taking 2 weeks off from blogging, I’m back and ready to give you this fabulous tutorial for achieving the aged chippy paint look on your next project.

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

Before I give you the chippy gritty, I want to give you the background story on those gorgeous corbels.

If you’ve been following along, I finally completed my 13 month kitchen renovation. The last task was installing two open shelves on the full tile wall. Finding the perfect corbels to use as shelf brackets was not an easy task. I scoured eBay, Craig’s List and salvage shops. I was really getting discouraged. That was when I met Garlan from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques at Haven. We talked for a few minutes and he showed me some of the corbels he had in his store. There were some wonderful old ones, but I felt a bit like Goldilocks. One was too tall. The other not big enough, but the biggest problem was that I needed four of them. Garlan showed me some new corbels that he had. He told me he has a guy that can duplicate any corbel design and can customize them to meet any size requirements. It was as if the heavens parted and angels sang! I was elated and couldn’t wait to find an image of a design I liked. But, again, the Goldilocks in me couldn’t find the “perfect” corbels. So, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and started to design my own unique corbels.

Chippy Paint Technique

PHG Corbel Design for Sa1969.com

 

I designed a scroll pattern based off of one corbel I saw, but also added some relief portions inside the corbel. I sent the image to Garlan and a week later he sent me a picture of one of the corbels. It was love at first sight! I quickly approved the initial one and waited anxiously for the corbels to arrive. When I opened the box, they were beautiful and exactly as I had pictured them in my head.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques corbels

I set forth to give them an appropriate aged chippy paint look to fool people into thinking they were actually antique salvage. Here’s how I did it. Read more

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

Guess what! BIG NEWS!!! I FINALLY finished our kitchen remodel. I completed most of the work over the summer, but had two key components that I had to install. They are big, chunky and I am truly in love with them.

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

I’ve been waiting for some free time to get these puppies up, and the time finally came. On November 30th, (13 months after our little leak, but who’s counting) I installed two shelves on the tile wall in the kitchen. Like that it was…BAM…Put a fork in it, this kitchen is DONE!

Because I know you’re wondering where I got those gorgeous corbels, I got them from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques! And even though they are in Alabama, you can shop there online or ask for Garlan and he’ll hook you up with ANYTHING you want. In fact, would you believe that these corbels are brand new? Yup, I designed them and SAAA made them for me. I painted and distressed them (tutorial to come) to look like they are salvaged.

Now that the kitchen is complete, I’ve been enjoying decorating for Christmas. If you remember, last year our kitchen looked like this and decorating was low on my priority.

kitchen_progress_2.21.13

This year, I’m REALLY enjoying adding that holiday jewelry and decorating. I will be showing you the full kitchen reveal and pictures of the rest of my home as part of the Christmas Home Tour hosted by Just a Girl. Check in with her tomorrow morning for the start of the tour!

Christmas-tour-of-homes

The line up of homes is truly spectacular:

Monday:
Just a Girl
Nesting Place
Hi, Sugarplum
Tatertots and Jello
Remodelaholic

Tuesday:
Shabby Nest
Life in Grace
Not Just a Housewife
All Things Thrifty
Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday:
Thrifty Decor Chick
Storywood Designs
Decorchick
Southern Hospitality
Our Fifth House

Thursday:
Sand and Sisal
A Place for Us
Songbird
Pretty Handy Girl
Beneath My Heart

Friday:
I Heart Organizing
My Blessed Life
Emily A. Clark
A Thoughtful Place

Are you ready for the tour? I can’t wait to see all the fabulous décor. I’m really ready to sit down with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the holidays. How about you?

PHGFancySign

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

How did you do yesterday with the How to Tile a Backsplash: Tile Setting tutorial? Not too bad, right? Well, today will be a very gratifying day. Today I’m going to show you how to grout (and seal) your tiles and finish off your kitchen backsplash. You are going to love the end result.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Materials:

  • Grout (Used: Mapei UltraColor Plus Rapid-Setting Sanded Grout color: Frost)
  • VanHearron’s Grout Once
  • Two buckets (same size or one larger)
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Grout Float
  • Spatula
  • Rag
  • Buffing pad
  • Sponge
  • Basin filled with clean water

Prep work: If you are working with a natural stone tile, you may want to seal the tiles before grouting. I sprayed StainGuard5000 on a dry clean rag and wiped it onto all the tiles. Then buffed it off after five minutes.

Instructions:

If you are using a rapid setting grout, you might want to slow the “setting” process slightly. I learned this trick from our local tile shop: Start by filling one bucket with ice water. Nest the second bucket inside the first. Read more

PrettyHandyGirl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash - Part 1: Tile Setting

This is the tutorial that I’ve been anxious to share with you! How to Tile a Backsplash! The reason I’ve been anxious to share is for two reasons!

1) The backsplash and tiling truly makes my kitchen feel luxurious. In addition to the cork flooring, it was one of the things I REALLY wanted to have in our kitchen. And this is definitely a project that anyone can take on (with a good tutorial.)

PrettyHandyGirl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash - Part 1: Tile Setting

2) The source of my tiles is a best kept secret! I found the supplier online after researching and searching for affordable marble subway tiles. TheBuilderDepot.com was a site I stumbled across in my search. After contacting them and discussing my project, a response came immediately with ideas for my backsplash. My contact, David, was there for me throughout the process and gave me lots of ideas and tips along the way!  He even sent me a photo of my tiles before shipping them.

Venato Marble Subway Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

But, here’s the best part, in one of our email conversations I learned a little more about TheBuilderDepot and their company’s history. I want to share his email with you because I think it’s wonderful how they run their business:

We started our business in 2008 with $12K in sales and because of the financial meltdown and housing collapse banks told us we were crazy starting an “ecommerce” marble business.  None of them would loan any money, not even $1K.

Last year we grew to a $2.4m company (this year we are on target to double), employing locals and making an impact in the way consumers buy luxury natural stone.  Our vision was to offer a quality that is second to none, buy direct from Italy and quarries around the world, pay cash for everything buying 30,000 to 40,000 sq.ft. of product at a time from the quarries to keep costs low and quality high. 

 We have no debt as a business (that was not a plan but has worked out well) and avoid traditional marketing channels that are heavy on costs.  Basically a no frills marketing strategy. 

People think we are crazy when, if we cannot supply something or another supplier offers a better more affordable solution we refer them to a competitor.  We do not need the sales as we never anticipated growing this big, we are just interested in people creating pretty rooms with natural stone.

Part of the success is we ask what people are planning, then come up with some ideas of our own.  We are really passionate about Carrara.  The only company that separates into two collections.”

A company that has good business practice is worth supporting!

As mentioned in previous posts, when choosing companies to work with, I make sure to select brands and companies that I can stand behind. I have always maintained strict criteria when selecting companies to work with, and The Builder Depot goes above and beyond my criteria:

Before you source your next tile job, check out TheBuilderDepot.com. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised ;-).

Ready to get messy? Let’s tile that backsplash!

Prep-Work: Read more

How to Frame and Install Window Casing and Trim by Pretty Handy Girl

Hello Friday!!! It’s been a chaotic week here, how about yours?

I’m excited to be sharing more tutorials from the kitchen renovation. I hope you’ll excuse me as we jump back and forth in the renovation process. I’ve been trying to get the most relevant tutorials to you as soon as I can. Speaking of relevant, I understand there are a lot of under-dressed windows out there that need trim or could use a little more “WOW Factor”!  Is that your  case—ment? Hahahaha. Well, sit down for a minute and I’ll go over the details for installing window trim and casing on a casement window. Have no fear if you have a double hung window or other, these techniques will work for those windows too.

Replacement vs. New Construction Windows:

handyman_installing_window

But, let’s back up for a minute. I wanted to share with you a little snafu that happened with our casement window. When I ordered it, the guy taking the order asked me a few questions and somewhere there was a translation breakdown. He thought I needed a replacement window because I was replacing an existing window. What he didn’t realize is that I was increasing the size of the window opening and therefore needed a new construction window. In the end, I was stuck with the replacement window, but my handman and I used as many weather-stripping, caulking and water barrier techniques we could think of to keep it water tight.

This is what you need to know when ordering a new window: If you are removing the old and putting in a new window into the same frame, you order a replacement window. If you are expanding or changing the size of your window opening you need to order a new construction window.

Materials:

 

Instructions for Installing Trim, Casing and Moulding on a Window: Read more

before_after_contest-winner

My goodness, you DIY creators really know how to “bring it” to the Before & After contest! I saw so many amazing ideas and projects. And I truly enjoyed browsing each and every project. I also tried to leave comments for everyone, but I have to admit my attempts were almost thwarted by the word verification tactics (please double check if you have word verification on. I know in Blogger it is defaulted on. I promise you will get more comments and really won’t see much spam if you turn it off.) 

I want to show you this week’s winner and then I want to share some of the other amazing Before & After projects. Are you ready?….Get Set…and the winner is:

Budget kitchen remodel by The Kim Six Fix

Kim’s Amazing Budget Kitchen Remodel from The Kim Six Fix

This gal gave her whole kitchen a budget renovation. And she did all her own electrical and plumbing to boot. When life hands Kim a challenge, she delivers a DIY smackdown. Take a few minutes and enjoy reading more about Kim’s renovation. And please pin from her post. It’s only fair since she did all the work.

Here were the amazing runners-up: Read more