Our big, fat kitchen renovation — the madness begins


By Elle

Spring is around the corner, and we have house renovation on our minds! Since last fall, we’ve been planning our kitchen renovation — no small task and kind of scary, too.  So because we are the quintessential DIY’ers (and quite frugal), we’ve been making trip after trip to the Kraftmaid Outlet in Warren, Ohio, to buy our kitchen cabinets for a steal.

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I did not build this…


By Elle

My 8-year-old granddaughter, Kiera, and I recently attended the Wick Juniors Writing Club Summer Camp, where we “camped” in our local national park inside a lovely brick dormitory, complete with indoor plumbing — can I get a hell yeah! I stayed on as a parent chaperone, helping to keep an eye on 10 elementary-aged girls, who, on the first night, refused to sleep. Because, camp.

By the next morning, Kiera had made friends with the other girls, and she was no longer acting like my shadow.  By afternoon, I got the feeling she didn’t want me around much. She now had the protection of an entire army of girls and didn’t need me anymore. My heart felt a little heavy, but I know how these things go. As long as she acknowledges me at our mealtimes together, I thought, I’ll be satisfied. By evening, I barely existed. I WAS the shadow. Continue reading

A hair-raising deck raising


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design deck renovationBy Elle

I was under the foolish impression that raising our deck about three feet to meet the patio doors we installed in our dining room would be a cake walk, especially because we were going to use the existing support structure. Well, I reckon it would have been except we got all fancy, adding two rows of storage below the deck, installing the field of the deck on the diagonal, and adding perimeter boards treated with a  technique called Shou Sugi Ban, and we needed to get the deck done ( done enough, that is) to host our Fourth of July family picnic. Tall order!

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How our walk-in attic turned into a walk-in closet


By ElleAbby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design attic renovation

Is your attic space dark and grungy, with ratty insulation hanging off the rafters? Does it send out blasts of icy air when the snow starts flying and, come July, get hotter than two coons fighting in a wool sock?

Well, ours did, but in just a few weeks we took the space from atrocious to spectacular, with two primary goals in mind: Continue reading

How to turn a closet into a butler pantry, with a (real) penny backsplash


By Elle

I still can’t get over the transformation of this room — from a country-style family room to a dining room that I like to think has a European vibe.  The photo below is from when the prior owners still lived in the house, and the one below that is how the room looks currently, though taken from an opposite angle. The thing to remember, however, is that we’re not 100 percent done with the renovation just yet! Continue reading