The One That Drove Us Up the Wall – Kid’s Room Remodel

When it came time for two of my kids to move into the same room, we decided it was time for a kid’s room remodel, hoping the younger kid will feel like the room was their own, not just moving into the established older kid’s territory.

Part of the project involved two walls. As usual, my wife came up with the design for the whole kid’s room remodel. She had a specific palette in mind and decided on one wall she wanted chevrons. On the other, polka dots. Sounded like fun.

All I can say is that in painting jobs like this, blue painter’s tape is your friend. I pulled out my trusty tape measure, pencil, and level for the chevron wall. Once I determined the slope, thickness of the stripes, etc. it was just a matter of marking the peaks and connecting them with tape. Because my stripes where the same size as the white space between, I did have to be careful to remember which part was which.

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As it turned out, my stripes were the perfect size that one pass with a paint roller covered the whole width of the stripe. Amazing coincidence, or brilliant DIY Kid’s Room Remodel Painting Trick? It’s all about careful planning while designing the project to save you time, trouble, and materials in the long run.

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Once the tape came off the chevrons looked really cool. I used a pencil eraser to get rid of any little marks remaining. First wall done!

Kid's Room Remodel

For the 2nd wall I my wife asked for polka dots. Again, I went to my blue painters tape. You might say “well why didn’t you do it like this? It is so much easier than the way you did it.” Well don’t! This took me a long time so I don’t want to hear it! Just kidding. One goal of this blog is that you can learn from my mistakes so if you know a better way to make it happen, please comment below and let us know.

I started by marking a center mark where every one of my dots will be. I then taped off around where the dot will be, making sure the inside of my tape was within the radius, and the outside of the tape was always outside.

Kid's Room Remodel

I then used a compass to draw my circle from the center point on the tape itself. Once completed, I used an X-Acto knife to cut along the line. Peeling the inside tape away, I now had a circle stencil! I only had to do that 42 times and my wall was ready to paint.

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It took a while but I finally had all the stencils for all the dots on the entire wall cut and ready. Whew! After that, the actual painting seemed like a piece of cake.

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It was an exciting time pulling off that tape and seeing the actual dots. Wall number 2 is done. We also added the Yarn Letters to the room as well and new beds, a modified Ikea nightstand, and a rug.

Kid's Room Remodel

The One With Sprinkles On Top

Today, it was hot. It got above 90 degrees here which I know is not much for some places, but for those of us in the Seattle area it was sweltering.

I decided there was no time like the present to build a project I had tried a few years ago but knew I could improve on. As my kids waited eagerly with swimsuits on, we built our backyard sprinkler.

This is an easy project that anyone can do. I spent less than $15 and it literally took me less than ten minutes once I started.

The materials list is pretty simple. I got two 10 foot 3/4″ PVC pipes, eight 45 degree elbow joints, one T joint, and a hose adapter.

For tools, I used my miter saw (although a hack saw would also work easily enough), a tape measure, pencil, screw gun, and a 1/16″ drill bit.

I started by measuring and cutting  at 30″, 60″, and 90″ on both pipes. That gave me 8 pieces that are each 2 1/2″ feet long.

I lined them all up and made pencil marks every 6 inches. I then drilled a 1/16″ hole at each mark. I didn’t have to be exact. In fact, I specifically drilled the first right on the mark, the second a little high, the third a little low, and the fourth right on the mark for each pipe. This will make the water spray in all different directions.

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I cut one pipe exactly in half. I need to insert the T joint here. A quick check told me the T joint takes up about 1″ so I cut 1/2″ off each.

I then attached the T joint an the hose adapter.

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From there I added the 45 degree elbows to each pipe, making sure they lay flat with the drilled holes up. If you want it truly water tight, you can use some PVC glue here. However I wanted the option to disassemble it to store during non-warm months.

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I have a thing about octagons. I’m not sure why. I just like them a lot. Eight sides, eight 45 degree elbows, and we have a perfect octagon about 6 feet in diameter.

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We are just about ready to test it so I attached the hose to the adapter and called the kids.

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Success! Water streams everywhere! I could even adjust the water pressure to make the spray go higher or lower. This project was so easy, fast, inexpensive, and fun.20160605_3634


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One With the Dining Table

I have found the best way to make sure you get a project done on schedule is to invite people over to see it.

In this case, we volunteered to host Christmas Eve dinner for an extended family totaling around 14 people. Up to this point we didn’t even have a dining room table. We were more of a stools-at-the-kitchen-island type of family.

I had a project. I had a deadline. Let’s get to work.

I found these plans my at ana-white.com and my wife liked the look of it. It is called a floating table because the table top seems to set above the support legs, which I think is kind of cool. The plans also call for using a door as a table top. That’s right, a door.

The leg construction was just a 1×4 and a 1×3 connected at a 90 degree angle. The table frame is pretty basic. The key here, is that when attaching the frame to the legs, the frame is actually raised an inch above the top of the legs. The idea is once the table top is set onto the frame, it will look like it is 1″ above the legs.

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I found a solid core door at the hardware store. The plans called for a hollow core but I like things to be solid and I knew I would be cutting them up to allow for a leaf insert. I got two doors and literally cut them in half.

Planning for the leaf insert was a little tricky. I first laid the two main sections together and attached them with gold buckles. I then separated them, put the leaf between, and added the matching pieces of two more buckles. This way, whether the leaf is in or not, the pieces will buckle together and not be able to separate while using the table.

Of course, I didn’t want the table top to slide, so I added the “guides” that fall in between the frame boards.

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I made sure everything worked in such a way that, whether the leaf is in or not, the guides fall inside a section of the frame.

While here, I also added locks that secure the table top to the frame so once in place, the top cannot lift up, either. Again, I had to attach hardware in such a way that the locks work regardless if the leaf was inserted or not.

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Once everything was constructed, I put everything together to make sure it all fit. I really like how that “floating” gap looks.

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After a lot of sanding, we painting the legs white, while just using a few coats of clear finish for the top. We like the white base with natural top look like we did with the kid’s desk.

This is how our table will look when it is just our family, although like this it will probably seat up to 10 with no problem.

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Getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner we put the leaf in. The table top was huge and worked out so well. Of course I was working on the finishing touches right up to the last minute but I hit my deadline!

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Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One That Got Us Hooked

When you enter the back door of our house, there is a little corner that never got much use until now. We wanted somewhere for people to hang coats, bags, hats, etc., but also look nice as well.

I love projects like these that are simple but make a dramatic impact.

I started with a 1×12 board and cut two pieces to the length I needed to fit in the corner. I attached them together at a 90 degree angle using my awesome Kreg Jig and pockets holes. All of my holes and screws are on the back which will be hidden once it is installed against the wall.

We wanted a shallow shelf on top allowing us to put pictures and other things on as decorations. I used a 1×3 board and cut them at a 45 degree angle on one end to fit in the corner. Again I used pocket holes on the back of the 1×12 to attach the shelf.

To add a lip to the shelf, we weren’t able to find a piece of molding we liked, so I got a 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ piece and used my router to cut a 1/4″ corner off the top at a 45 degree angle. This piece isn’t going to support any weight so I attached it with my air compressor and nail gun using some finishing nails.

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Some white paint made it look nice and match the existing molding. However the real magic of this project is the knobs my wife found. She collected different colors, shapes, styles, etc., including a couple of birds.

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Now we have a great place to hang our coats, backpacks, and hats. I particularly love the “Fresh Eggs For Sale” sign. Don’t worry. I will blog about the cool shoe bench soon.

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Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!


The One With World Peace

Honestly, until Jess asked for a Peace Pole, I had never even heard of them. But once I was aware of them, I see and hear about them all over the place. After my initial research, what I determined is there is really no wrong way to make a Peace Pole.

I started with an 8 foot 4×4 post. I didn’t worry about using exterior wood since I would literally be painting the entire thing. So I went with the smoothest, straightest one I could find.

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Peace Poles are made using all kinds of materials from wood to metal to stone. The come in all shapes and sizes but are usually 4 sided or 6 sided. The first Peace Pole was created in Japan in the 1950’s but today they can be found all over the world in places such as the Magnetic North Pole, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and the Pyramids of Giza. Now we can add Trevor’s garden to the list.

After some quick sanding, I painted the entire pole with primer, both to seal it and to prepare it for painting. I got a small sample can of paint of each of the 6 colors of the rainbow so we could add lots of color.

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Historically speaking, a Peace Pole is decorated with the test “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in the language of the country where it is located, plus a different language for each additional side. For our pole, we chose English, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

I got to decorate the Japanese side, a tribute to when I lived there when I was young as well as my awesome skills with a Samurai sword, I’m sure.

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Everyone got to decorate a side and Jess did the letters. Our decorations ranged from flowers to legos and is a colorful representation of our lives.

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I installed the Peace Pole in our garden. We also capped it with a solar powered, pyramid shaped light we thought would look cool at night.

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This was a fun, very easy project. The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry before I could tape it off to paint another side.

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Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One Where We Used Chalk

As we were preparing for the arrival of our third little one, my project list was extensive. There were so many things Jess wanted done so everything would be just perfect, so when she asked me at the last minute if I could also make her a chalkboard sign for our front door, I said “sure, Hun.”

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized this would actually be pretty easy, and not only that, but I was pretty sure I already had everything I needed to do this.

I started with a nice piece of plywood I had leftover from a previous project. I brushed off the cobwebs, sanded it nice and smooth and just like that I had the main part of my sign.

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I had some leftover chalkboard paint from when we painted a wall in Wally’s room. I probably went overboard with the number of coats but I figured it was easy, quick, and with a chalkboard it is probably better to have too much than not enough.

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When we first moved into the house we did A LOT of molding work and I happened to have a piece of this basic molding left over. I cut them to size with a 45 degree angle so I get the mitered corners, then painted them with some exterior ultra white paint.

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Once dry, I clamped all the pieces in place to make sure those corners fit perfectly. Then I just screwed them on from the back using 1 1/4″ wood screws.

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We wanted an easy way to update the sign when we wanted so I installed an eye-bolt under the roof overhang. I then installed a couple screws on back, one on each side near the top, but left the heads out about half an inch.

My rope is tied to one, then goes up through the eye bolt back down to the other screw.

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Lessons learned: The sign ended up blowing around a lot in the wind, so I put a couple of screws into the siding a little bit below the sign. So now the sign almost rests on those screws. The rope still supports most of the weight, but the bottom screws keep if from blowing away from the house and banging back into it.

Also, I might change that eye bolt out some day with a hook. That way, taking it off and on is a simple matter of taking it off the hook, instead of untying it and pulling the rope through the eye.


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One Where We Had a Heart

The Heart Wall is one of the many projects, including the chalkboard sign, the welcome baby frame, the striped hallway, and the master bedroom remodel that Jess asked me to do as part of getting ready for Novie to join our family.

For this birth, as with our 2nd, we chose to give birth at home. As a third time mom and long time birth photographer, Jess knew exactly what would make a birth room fabulous.

This project was not only fun, but very easy.

Step #1: Scour your iPhone pics, from the last several years and find the best 107. You would think that would be easy, but we actually had a hard time narrowing it down.

Step #2: Spend a couple of hours at work using your strong excel kung-fu to come up with the perfect heart configuration. I went through several drafts but ended up with this. Please download it, copy it, use it. Save yourself a couple of hours trying to work through it all.

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Step #3: Have your wife order 107 prints, all 4″x4″ square. Granted, it helps to have a professional photographer on the project who knows exactly how to do this and we got them in just a few days. It was fun just flipping through the stack of memories.

Step #4: Place a piece of blue painter’s tape across the wall using a level so you have a straight, horizontal line to begin with.

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For this first line, I placed the widest line in the heart. Once I had that done, I worked up to the top, then down to the bottom. 15 pictures, check. We started with scotch tape, thinking how heavy can the pictures be? We got through placing about 40 pictures before they started falling off the wall. Trust me, go with the 3M Mounting Tape. Not only will it hold forever, but it comes off the wall without damaging the paint, and it is a little thicker so it almost gives it a 3d effect. For a couple bucks you can get a 50″ roll which I cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Now it is up to you if you want to worry about the order. Our images were from all over the place so we just decided on a random configuration. We did change a couple around once the whole project was complete, just to not get too many similar ones together.

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From here you just follow the pattern. Eye-balling is totally fine. If you like, you can use a ruler to place the first one on each row, then base the rest of the row off that one. But I think as long as it looks centered to you, it will look centered to everyone else.

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Once I had the top finished, I continued on to the bottom. This goes so quickly you will be amazed.

This was a quick project, but with an amazing result. What a great way to have reminders of her family as Jess welcomes a new member. We always said we would update the pictures as time goes by, but we can’t get ourselves to take any of them down.

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Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!