Creating an Organized and Functional Garage

Over the last few years, BJ has developed a grand plan for organizing our garage and recently he put his plan into action.

One of BJ’s hobbies is working on cars. Since BJ enjoys doing his own car maintenance, we store needed parts, tools and car-washing products to keep our cars looking and driving like new.

We also use our garage to store our outdoor lawn and garden equipment as well as all of our home improvement tools like paint, paint brushes, etc.

Another requirement of our garage storage solution is that it allows enough room to park our cars inside and space to maneuver around when BJ pulls a car in to work on.

I’ve always admired pictures of organized garages, but with all of our stuff, I wasn’t sure we could ever get to something like this:

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BJ proved me wrong after he started hanging the first set of shelves. Our garage already looks clean and organized and there’s plenty of room to get cars in and maneuver around.

Before I briefly explain the process we used to hang these shelves, I must caution that this project is not for one person to complete alone. It really requires two to three (preferably strong) people. Also use extra care when lifting things above your head. BJ enlisted the help of my brother and dad while they were in town visiting for the 4th of July.

The shelves we used are from Ikea and we picked up the 2x4s and 2x6s from our local home improvement store. First, BJ assembled the Ikea shelves as they are seen below in the photo, but then we unloaded them and BJ cut the tall boards in half and assembled two shelves tall by several shelves across. On the back wall of our garage, he made the shelves one shelf tall.

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First, BJ assembled the shelves for the wall on the left side of the garage.

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After the shelves were assembled, BJ bolted a 2×4 to the wall for the shelves to rest on and another 2×4 to the ceiling to hang the shelves and help support the weight. Next, we lifted the shelves section by section while BJ screwed the bolts into the 2×4 mounted to the ceiling. Once all the shelves were bolted in and we loaded our stuff back in, they looked like this:

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BJ also added a few extra shelves all the way to the floor to store items we use often like lawn and garden tools and heavier items like our saw and air compressor.

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On the back wall, BJ mounted three 2x6s to use as shelves for his car wash products, car oil, and filters. He also made a shelf for his laptop so he can look up questions and car parts while he working.

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Underneath of the double shelves, BJ added of different hooks for lawn equipment, brooms, supplies and our bikes.

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Here is our progress to date:

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We have two sets of shelves up, but are not quite finished with this project. The next step is to add more shelves on the right side of the garage. Once, those are complete, we may have more room to store the holiday decorations that are currently overtaking the spare bedroom closet.

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After all the shelves are installed, we have plans to finish the floor so that it looks something like this:

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It’s Rugtastic!

Along with our subtle decor upgrades to the fireplace, we also recently added a decorative rug to the living room.

We shopped a few different stores including Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and West Elm, before we settled on a Threshold rug from Target.

What we discovered in our quest to find a suitable rug was that several stores seemed to have very plush, comfy feeling rugs. However, if you lift up their rugs you will uncover a nifty secret: carpet padding. Some stores display their rugs with carpet padding underneath to make the rugs seem more plush. With this tidbit of knowledge, we decided on the Target rug we picked out because it was a nice, yet lesser expensive option that we could simply add a carpet pad to.

We have plenty of leftover carpet padding from when we replaced the carpet in our dining room. If you do not have extra carpet padding lying around, you can check your local carpet or home improvement store for carpet pad remnants.

Once we brought the rug home, we roll it out in the living room and BJ took a few measurements to cut a piece of the carpet padding to fit the rug.

Zoey, aka our “project manager,” also took a few minutes to assess the rug from the couch to make sure it was okay.

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Next, we lined up the carpet padding on the back of the rug. BJ cut the pad about an inch short on all sides so we could tape it in place.

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We used Gaffer’s tape (which is often used for lighting and film work) to tape the rug to the carpet, but you can also use Duct Tape.

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To ensure that the carpet pad stays in place, we taped it on all four edges.
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Here’s the “before” of our rug installation:
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And here is the “after:”
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With the pad underneath the rug, the carpet, and then another pad under that, standing on our new rug feels awesome. It’s super plush and soft. The carpet pad under the rug also adds an extra layer of protection in case we spill something. It keeps the stain from going through to the carpet.

By adding a carpet pad under your rugs you can make a lesser expensive rug feel extra plush!

Enjoy!

Loft Project Planning

It was still too cold to work outside this weekend so BJ and I took some time to plan projects inside. Last fall, we started decorating our loft. To continue the transformation, we’ve added a few items to our to do list.

The loft/upstairs to do list:
1. Paint the half wall
2. Add an entertainment center/storage area
3. Make a new coffee table (I saw a cool idea on Pinterest for a coffee table made of crates.)
4. Add two ottomans for the chairs
5. Add some more decorative accents to the room

Here is our current “entertainment center.”
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It looks a bit like a college apartment mash-up of electronics. Not really the vibe we are going for.
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This is the Ikea entertainment center that we would like to add to the loft. It’s a little more dressed up than our current set up and will add a significant amount of storage for games, puzzles and movies.
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Along with the addition of storage, we would like to add some color to the half wall behind the chairs.
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We haven’t decided on a color yet, but once we narrow down the options, we will pick out a few paint chips and hang them on the wall for a at least a few weeks to determine which one we like the best.
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We would also like to carry the color around to the catwalk on the other side of the upstairs hallway. This will tie the two areas together nicely.
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Now that we have a game plan for finishing this room, we can narrow down our paint selections and start saving for our new entertainment center.

How do you plan for upcoming projects? Do you create a game plan or just decide as you go?

Feeling the Love, Home Style

Our house is certainly feeling the love and so are we. It’s been a busy few weeks getting our home ready for a reappraisal and even though we are far from finished with our home improvement, DIY and decorating projects, we are proud of how far we’ve come since we moved in. It takes time to make a house a home and I’m enjoying every minute of our journey.

The appraisal is now officially over and as promised, here is an official wrap-up on our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

We did it! We finished all of the items on our list before the reappraisal.

Number 3 on our list was to organize and clean the spare room and BJ’s office. Just a few weeks ago, these room were stuffed full of boxes, papers and Goodwill donations. After spending a day hauling stuff out and reorganizing, these rooms are once again usable.

With the addition of the his and hers bookshelves in our bedroom, we moved the white shelving cubes to the spare bedroom to be used as storage. Our very first dining room table also found new life as a craft/project table.

In addition, the old coffee table from the living room is now a game and puzzle table.

BJ’s office was daunting when we first started reorganizing the chaos. There were still unpacked boxes in there!
Now all of the boxes are unpacked and we can see the floor again. Our next project with this room is to add bookshelves to give BJ more space to further organize his stuff.

The last, and the biggest project on our reappraisal to do list, was to finish the crown molding and baseboard projects. If you remember, we started working on the crown molding in the living room and kitchen around the same time that we tiled the floor in the dining room.

And drumroll please… Here are the before and after shots.

Here is the kitchen before the crown molding was finished:

And after:

Here is crown molding cap that BJ install in the living room to finish off the molding.

We also finished the baseboard in the dining room.

Here is the before, looking into the dining room. Notice the visible white drywall line in the paint on the far wall.

And here is the after. We decided to go with a taller more dramatic trim. This is just the baseboard before the quarter round was installed:

Now for the finished product with quarter round:




Since the rest of the house has a smaller baseboard installed, we bridged the gap between the taller baseboard in the dining room and the shorter baseboard in the foyer and kitchen with a thicker trim cap. We also added the quarter round to the baseboard to give the trim a finished look against the tile.


Since the tall white baseboard looks so nice against the slate tile floor, here are a few close ups for your viewing pleasure.


With the reappraisal over, we’ve decided to shift our focus to smaller projects for awhile. We are going to work on dressing up the loft, hanging some photos and I also have a fun Pinterest-inspired project planned for the coming weeks.

Did you wrap up any big projects this weekend?

Showing Our Home Some Love

Yesterday, we went to the first stop on the book tour for Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love and attended the panel session for their new book, Young House Love, 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. We also had the very awesome, yet very brief, opportunity to meet them when they signed our copy of the book. BJ scored the award for most awesome amazing husband when he left the panel session to snag a place in line so we could get a (very limited) copy of the book. Best husband ever!

Here is our copy:

And… confession… I was super dorky and nervous when I met Sherry and John. I was so excited to tell them that they inspired me to write this blog and how I really enjoyed their blog and projects. I kinda got a little shaky and instead of calmly signing BJ and my name in their book, I think it probably looked more like scribbles. But with all the dorky, nervousness aside, I was super-inspired when we left the book show and I was so glad we went to hear them speak and got a chance to meet them and get a copy of their book.

So what’s makes a book signing with your favorite home improvement and DIY bloggers complete? A trip to Ikea, of course. We left the book signing with me super inspired and recapping the entire presentation for BJ (We tried FaceTime while he was in line, but it didn’t work. Boo.) The great part about all the things that John and Sherry mentioned in their panel session is that we are actually in the process of trying to show our house some love for an upcoming reappraisal. With financing rates as low as they are, we are hoping to take advantage and get a new lower rate on our loan. Part of the process is to have the house reappraised since we are on the edge of a few financing rates.

Sherry and John’s advice during the session was invaluable and some of it I definitely needed to hear… such as “design and use your house for how you live.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your house to look a certain way because it’s what you think other people will like, but you should design your home for how you live. You’re the ones that live there every day and call your house your home, right?

So with a reappraisal on the horizon and me still inspired from the panel session, here is our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.” Or at least that what I’m calling it.

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

In September, I planted mums in our new pots out front and they looked great until the frost came in and killed them. They looked so pretty after they were planted. It was a bummer they didn’t stand up to the cold temperatures. I tried covering the pots with blankets on the nights they called for frost but it didn’t keep the cold from getting to them.

Today I went back over to Home Depot and picked up some new mums to replace the brown ones on our front porch.

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

Our loft is one of those challenging spaces that were not really sure what do with. But after listening to the Young House Love presentation, we decided to use the room for how we live. Here is the loft in its current state:

My master plan is to use our college alma mater’s colors in a tasteful way. While we were Ikea this weekend, we picked out some Poang chairs with blue cushions and I’m now on the search for some yellow-gold chevron fabric so I can make curtains and pillows We are also going to hang some photos of the stadium and campus. The idea is to make this space a movie/game area inspired by our college. But it has to be tasteful. We’re not about to plaster our school’s logo on the wall with a ginormous vinyl graphic and call it done.

While we were at Ikea, we also found our future loft entertainment/storage center:

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

I haven’t talked much about our spare bedroom or BJ’s office because they weren’t much to talk about. After we moved in to our our house, the spare bedroom and BJ’s office quickly became the two rooms that we stuffed everything into and then ran out and shut the door behind us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

This weekend, we conducted a major overhaul of the spare bedroom and BJ’s office so they are presentable, usable rooms in time for the reappraisal. And we want to finally use those spaces for the way we live instead of just stuffing them full of items we don’t want to deal with.

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Last year, we started putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen and here is where we left off:

We also ripped out the trim in the dining room when we tiled the floor last year and we haven’t had enough time to replace what we tore out.

The remaining crown moulding and baseboard are now purchased and ready to sand, paint and install.

That’s our list! This week we are going to jump in and try get the list accomplished before we have the house reappraised. It’s time to show our home some love. Wish us luck because it could get crazy around here!

Backyard Living

Ever since we added the backyard bistro set to our patio, BJ and I have been talking a lot more about our future plans for the backyard. For two years, we barely used the space. Other than grilling, we didn’t go out there for anything else. Now that we have the table and chairs, we hope to use the space more often.

After a few nights of eating outside last week, we discovered that it’s very warm on our patio. We have some nice shade from the neighboring trees, but because our house faces east, the sun sets right on our backyard, heating up the patio.

To keep from avoiding the backyard and the heat over the next few months, we decided to buy a gazebo to provide some additional shade… Oh and not to mention that the whole gazebo idea started when we found all these awesome led lights on sale and we needed somewhere to hang them in our backyard.

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We started building the gazebo tonight, but after looking at the weather and seeing that rain and wind are on their way here, we only put up the frame. We didn’t have a chance to anchor the gazebo down and we do not want the fabric top to act as parachute and carry everything away in the meantime.

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Tomorrow night, we are planning to anchor the whole thing down and add the fabric top. We are also looking at how we can raise the height of the gazebo because the frame at its current height, goes right across the top of our door.

More updates to come! Stay tuned!

The Days Are Just Packed

And we’re back. After a brief hiatus we are back and working on projects again.

Lately, the days have been packed with work and life. So before we get into our next project, I want to take a step back to earlier this week. Valentine’s Day was Tuesday and BJ spoiled me as usual. 🙂

A few days prior to Valentine’s Day, BJ and I were grocery shopping and we walked past the flower display where I pointed out the cute “baby” tulips. So on Tuesday, this was delivered to me:

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I surprised BJ with a Reese’s Tiger, Reese’s Hearts and M&Ms. The tiger sings a song about Reese’s peanut butter cups to the tune of the “Peanut Butter Jelly” song. It’s super cute and Reese’s cups are BJ’s favorite.

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Tuesday night we went to dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. We ordered enough food that we continued our celebration again and enjoyed the leftovers on Wednesday night. Later this weekend we are going to continue our Valentine’s Day celebration with a couples massage and dinner at a local winery and restaurant.

So now on to our project. If you’ve checked out my Pinterest page DIY, you might’ve noticed the photo of the “towel tree.” When I came across this photo, I immediately thought this would be a great way to solve an issue we face when guests come to visit. We never have enough places to hang towels.

We only have one towel rack in our bathroom. At times, we might have up to 5 adults visiting us and using this bathroom.

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The plan is to use a vinyl wall tree design as a background to place hooks to hang towel. The tree will look something like this.

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Now imagine that tree with hooks to hang towels on. Once we finish it will give us more space for our guests to hang their damp towels. And instead of a bunch of random towel racks it will be a fun towel tree.

More updates and pictures to come.

Another upcoming project we are working on is part home improvement, part celebration. We found this fun centerpiece at Pottery Barn and our plan is to fill the bottom with wine corks. Instead of going out and buying wine corks, we want to fill the bottom with corks from wine we enjoy drinking. But we can’t really do that on our own (at least not quickly). And why not share this fun project with our friends? It looks like there will be several wine and game nights in our future. 🙂

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