Aug 29, 2016

The Basement Job: It's Killing Me. (Before + After photos!)

The Basement Job Update:

Short Story: As with all of my grand renovation plans, the vision was much easier to come by then the actual finished product.

Long Story: I had to call in YODA...

I don't know why I thought the basement job would be one of my easy weekend projects; it's 800 ft. packed full of stuff. (READ: Catchall for shit we don't want anymore but can't bring ourselves to part with.)

The problem started when I descended the basement stairs to start painting the basement walls. Actually, I don't even think I was halfway down the stairs before deciding to start with them.

I went from this...

To this... Glow In The Dark Stairs

Every single time I would start a project, another would come up. Or, I would have to contend with a little helper...

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you know I started with what will become a fitness/gym room. Starting with the wood panels.

When I started to design, decorate and move my workout stuff in, I realize that I couldn't start another room and less I filled my workout room full of the crap in that room. Which, sucked.

Over the past week, I've been playing this game of shuffling and moving things around just to paint. Most times, making a bigger mess than I had before. Then there was a little paint spill mishap that fast-forwarded my plan to paint the floor in the laundry room/area.

Honestly, it was a blessing in disguise. I have been talking about painting the floor for almost a year now. It's a big thing!  Thankfully, fate played it's role and now there's no turning back. My fauz painted rug-floor is happening!!!

Then there was the daunting task of dealing with my son's catchall toy and play area...

It was during this round of shuffling that I decided it was time for a yard sale! We have so much stuff we don't need. It's time for our old treasures to become someone's new treasure.

Just cleaning out the toys my son has outgrown or no longer plays with has made a world of difference!

The good news is is that after the yard sale, I will finally bring my original vision to life. Of course, little projects are going to come up along the way, so my timeline for the basement job is be finished by the end of October. Yes, October. I didn't realize it before but I have five rooms that I have to redo!

This week I'm doing touch-up painting, working on the painted floor and gathering things for the sale, and making YODA's new home under the stairs AWESOME... It's going to be SO COOL!

Stay tuned it's only going to get better from here...

Follow me on your favorite social media channel for regular updates and photos of my progress!

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Aug 2, 2016

SO COOL! Glow-In-The-Dark Basement Stairs #DIY #InteriorDesign

I promise when I set my sites on, The Basement Job, I had no idea it would take such a turn. Before I even started.

But, it did.

One minute, I'm preparing to paint wood panel walls white, the next I'm ripping up metal stair treads and old cracked yellow linoleum. So much for making a plan and sticking to it!

In my experience, that's the thing with any home renovation or room make-over, things come up and plans change. Sometimes, just cleaning an area on my wall will end in my doing touch-up painting around the house!

This was never more the case than when I walked down the basement stairs to begin my next big renovation and hurt my foot on the corner of the metal treads. That was it, The Basement Job was going to have to wait. The nasty ass basement stairs had to be sorted out first.

Short Story: After ripping up the metal treads and gross linoleum, I found layers of glue, dirt, strange fuzz and who knows what else. It took about 5 minutes of sanding and stripping before I threw in the towel.  Filling my basement with dust, possibly laced with asbestos, was not worth it for six basement stairs. And while I am one to bust ass to make it right, these stairs didn't need to be "right" they needed to be clean, functional and free from evil treads. So, I opted to paint them.

The first coat was white. While it was an improvement, I thought the white made the stairs stick out like a sore thumb.

**Read the full story with photos of the stripping, sanding and priming, click here.

Looking at the fresh blank canvas of stairs, it hit me, I needed to paint a faux runner, just like one I saw on Pinterest a few months ago.

I'm not quite sure where I got the idea for the Glow-in-the-dark (GITD) paint, but the next thing I know, I'm buying Khaki paint and clear GITD acrylic craft paint.

I ran home, taped off the stairs, using the 'Stair Stringer' or stair frame as a guide. I knew that was where I wanted the GITD paint. At first.

 After painting the Khaki, I pulled up the tape and started layering the Glow-in-the-dark paint.

NOTE: This photo was taken before I started to test a strip to make sure my evil plan would work. TIP:  If possible, ALWAYS test out your grand plans on a small scale first. 

After two coats of the Acrylic glow-in-the-dark paint, I nearly died. My plan worked. It really worked! In fact, it worked so well, I decided to paint the sides of the stairs too. Since the paint dries nearly clear, after a few coats, it made the look of my Faux runner come to life, and made the stairs REALLY glow!!!

I am SOOOOOOOOOO Proud of myself. I never thought this would work so well, but it did. I love my basement stairs. Love them. One month ago, I had to wear shoes to go down them unscathed. Take it from me, a total DIY newbie that doesn't know any better, If you have a vision, follow it! 

I'm going to add a few more coats, just to even it all out. But the bottom line is that the Acrylic Glow-in-the-dark paint works and wipes clean easily! My stairs have never been, nor stayed, so clean! 

If you have any questions about the process, please ask below in comments. This was a really fun, rewarding learning experience. I'm more than happy to help!

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Jul 26, 2016

How To Strip Floors and Stairs Like A Boss!

So, the Basement Job has turned into the Stair Job. Yes, another stair job! (Link to the original stair debacle at bottom of post)

We have six stairs leading down to our basement. Each had a metal non-slip stair tread. I swear it cut my foot every time I bounced down the stairs to the laundry room. So, I pulled them up on my way to do the Basement Job. That's when I decided to re-do the stairs.

After ripping up the evil treads, I slowly peeled a corner  of the gross linoleum away from the step.  Of course, I was hoping for beautiful wood, but totally expects what I got, gobs of shit! I found layers of glue, dirt, strange fuzz and who knows what else!

<Insert about 50 Fu*ks>

At this point, I had two choices, Sand or Strip. Since I didn't feel like layers of toxic dust flying through the basement and into the HVAC, I decided to start stripping.

Stripping is not for everyone, and can burn you, so it's important to be incredibly cautious and well protected. I went right to the local hardware store and bought chemical gloves. Seriously, this shit will burn your skin right off!

TIP: After applying a very thick layer of the stripper, I use the gel, rather than cover in plastic wrap, use old grocery bags. they do the trick and save your Cling wrap!

After an insane amount of mess and goo, I was left with a fairly clear picture of what it would take to get these planks of wood back to original glory. I decided to give one plank a try using a hand sander with a vacuum bag, plus a handheld vacuum to sand without coating the basement in dust.

It took about 5 minutes before I threw in the towel. It wasn't worth it. This was going to take WAY too much work. And while I am one to bust ass to make it right, these stairs didn't need to be "right" they needed to be clean, functional and free from evil treads.

After a little research, I learned that there is special floor paint that can handle heavy traffic. However, the darker the paint color, the more dirt and wear and tear will show. So, I bought white paint.  I thought it would be pretty and match the soon to be white and metallic basement.

This is one coat

I don't love it. I think it sticks out like a sore thumb against the wood floors. Which, leaves me with two options:

1. Buy new stairs to replace these and stain them oak or Brazilian.
2. Follow my heart and try something crazy!

I'm going with crazy, but not yet. I've decided to finish the Basement Job and leave my grand plan to paint a faux runner for last.  It will also give me time to see just how well the floor paint holds up on stairs.

Picture different colors and the white stripe being Glow-in-the-dark paint!!!

For updates, in between posts, follow me on your favorite social media channel. I post photos daily! Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+ | LinkedIn

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Jul 22, 2016

The Basement Job- Complete Renovation Overhaul

You know how I get crazy renovation and DIY ideas? You know how I love to tell the world before my Husband? Get ready, because this one is a doozy!

(Hi, Honey! My darling husband, don't be scared. I have it all planned out. In my head. The vision is clear. You're gonna love it. Promise. Oh, and... um... I need you to rebuild the stairs.  For real. Thanks. Love you.)

One of the things that sold the Aussie on our 100-year-old fixer-upper, was the super big, partially finished basement. Not only are basements rare in Australia, a cold dark basement man-cave was at the TOP of the Aussies, house wish-list.

Our basement is everything he ever wanted and more. For me, not so much. However, I do see the potential! Plus, I recently learned about Homeowner tax breaks the IRS offers. My basement renovation plans fall right in-line with these breaks, so in a way, I'm getting a tax break to renovate my basement!  I like it.

Photo: Taken the day the house went on the market--we made an offer of one-dollar over asking before leaving. My little guy had just turned two.  He's looking into what became the laundry room, and standing in the area that became his play room.

Over the course of the last two years, the Aussie has put down floating laminate floors over half the basement, the other half is made up of a big long space that has been split up into tree sections: Play area, utility area, laundry room.

While this reno is not as drastic as my plans to blow up the kitchen and start over, it's going to be a pretty massive undertaking. An undertaking I have been plotting for three months now.

You see, I hate being in my basement. It's cold, dark, cluttered and damp. I knew the only way I could commit myself to being down there for a couple of weeks, I had to wait until the hottest days of summer, where the only place to stay cool in my house is the basement.

NOTE: The Aussie's man-cave is off limits. I've sworn to, "never include it in my wild renovation plans". That being said, he can never resist getting involved, so I imagine, he will get on board with at least the paint, pretty early in the game.

So, what's the plan?  It's four-steps:

Step I: Paint the entire basement white. Possibly even, the concrete walls. Essentially, I need to start with a clean slate.

Step II: Utilize the storage space better, to declutter the place. The middle of the basement is divided by a large wall of storage, one side closets, the backside shelves. Some shelves are deep, others only a few inches, but there is tons and tons of space! Space, I have barely used. (Everything is sitting in my laundry room piled on an old kitchen! Seriously. Keep reading...)

Step III: Create three defined rooms, in addition to the man-cave-- Workout room; Family/Play room, Laundry/craft space.

PHOTO: This is the old kitchen. It's wonky, but I've deemed it my craft area. It's been two years, it's time to clean it and claim it!  Right now, it's a catch-all for randomness. 

Step IIII: Decorate! I have plans to experiment with long thermal drapes on the cold concrete walls to bring warmth in. I also plan to use a shitload of mirrors and design elements to draw as much light as possible down into the basement. So much, I can overwinter plants down there!

I know I have a lot on my plate here, but I think by creating a plan, realistic timing and goals, I have a great chance of pulling this off! I also know, from experience, the plan will shift, shit will come up and perfection is not worth losing my mind over. Touch-up is a life saver!

Wish me luck!

To see the project unfold in between update posts, follow me on social media: Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+ | LinkedIn

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Jul 6, 2016

Easy Recycled Rubber DIY Patio (Before and After Photos)

About a month ago, I started researching different methods for building a patio in my backyard. I knew I wanted a patio that was:

  • Inexpensive - but not crappy materials.
  • Temporary -just in case the miracle renovation to my kitchen happened that included my dream deck.
  • Easy to build - nothing too intricate or precise
  • Not too labor intensive - The lighter the materials the better

I found different types of resin/plastic/rubber tiles that looked like a great option. The reviews were great. The only problem was that most cost $3-$6 a freaking tile!

 I dreaded the idea of stone tiles, but it was looking like my only budget-friendly option.

Then, the best thing happened!

I was walking through Costco, buying things for my Fourth of July party, and came across a box of deck/patio tiles made from 98% recycled materials, super light weight and best of all, really cheap.

Like just under a dollar per tile!

I was beside myself I was so excited. 

Unsure if this was going to be too good to be true, I only bought 4 boxes, or enough to cover the space under our existing table--Currently sitting on dirt and dying grass. Unfortunately, we still have issues from the TruGreen Total kill debacle. the ground in some areas may not support vegetation for another year or two. 

We hid the big spot with our table and chairs, but in the processes made the patch bigger. Knowing there was a rain forecast for the whole weekend  and that I was going to have 20 people including children at my house the two days it was worth the gamble. Who wants to sit in a mud pit, with random grass blades nipping at your ankles?

By the time the Aussie got home from work, I had the tiles down with the table nestled on top. He thought I was crazy. He thought it was the dumbest idea he had ever seen. The ground was so uneven it was gonna take so much dirt and gravel and work to make it even for a patio.

I just looked at him and told him I knew everything that he was saying. I had done the research, And dammit I was doing it. These tiles were going to work! 

On Saturday morning, I went to Costco and bought the last seven boxes for a total of 110 tiles. Then I ran to a garden center and got the thickest weed barrier I could. I was now in $130. This HAD to work. 

When I got home from Costco I marked out the-the 9x11 space and began clearing and leveling it as best I could.

Once as even as I could make it, I measured, cut and laid down the weed barrier.

And then I got down on my hands and knees and snapped together the tiles to finish the patio.

It hoses off and drains beautifully!

I put a layer of mulch around the side to help with irrigation and to hide the edges.  Sure, I could have done a better job. I could have made sure it was super level by adding tons of dirt and pebbles. Still, I love it!  It works perfectly in my yard, I got tons of compliments during the party, and the Aussie even tucked his tail and apologized for doubting me! 

The best part is that the tiles are made from recycled materials and work insanely well on uneven surfaces. They sort of roll like a wave over the uneven spots and stay snapped together. I seriously cannot recommend this type of patio enough to someone looking for an inexpensive, easy to move and build a sustainable solution. 

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Jun 30, 2016

THIS Is Why I Married Him...

You may already know, when I laid eyes on my husband, in a small hotel in Vienna Austria,  I fell in love at first sight. I was sitting in the hotel having dinner when the Aussie walked up, and forever changed my life.

What really sealed the deal for me, was the way he made me laugh and feel so at ease. My husband, is without a doubt, the funniest person I have ever met.


If you read my blogs, and articles on the Huff Po, then you have seen many examples of his hilarity.  Well, last night, he topped himself. And I have to share because it's so freaking funny!

We Love love love the app, Next Door, and thankfully, many of my neighbors do too. We have a great community that regularly uses the app to communicate the goings on in our zip code, good or bad. It should also be known our community is considered 'urban' and is full of incredibly cool people. Read: the kind of people suburbia would throw out for being too 'alternative'.

So, being that The Aussie LOVES fireworks, I wanted to get an idea of the plan for the Holiday weekend, and what day would be best to unload an arsenal of fireworks. More or less, I wanted to get a feel for how the neighbors felt about the fireworks and timing.

When one neighbor said there was going to be a block party on Saturday, The Aussie felt the need to offer up his two cents on Firework protocol.

Here is his response to my question. Again, this is in our neighborhood wide forum. Which brings me to another major reason I married him, he has no shame. Which, I love because neither do I...

My husband is always reminding me that life is too short to not laugh and enjoy it as much as possible. And if you can make a few people laugh along the way, then bonus.

From my family to yours, I hope you have a safe and wonderful, Holiday weekend!

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Jun 28, 2016

Wow The Crowd Independence Day Fun Facts and Humor #IndependenceDay #4thofJuly

With so many of us either throwing a party or attending one, I thought I would send you off with a few Wow-The-Crowd 4th of July fun facts and silly jokes


1. The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.

2. The Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 men representing 13 colonies.

3. One of the United States’ patriotic songs, “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers prior to the Revolution as a means to mock the disorganized American colonists who fought alongside them during the French and Indian Wars. (BASTARDS!)

4. France, Greece, Poland, Russia and several countries in South America used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom.

5. Three U.S. Presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, died on July 4th; Adams and Jefferson died within HOURS! of each other in 1826 while Monroe died in 1831.

6.The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at age 70, and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26.

7. In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, the nation’s estimated population in July 2015 will be 320 million. (My goodness we are a pile of baby makers!)

8. Both the Philippines and Rwanda celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.” 

9. Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.

10. To avoid cracking it, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark the quintessential day, every fourth of July it is symbolically tapped 13 times.

11. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are responsible for the bald eagle as the national bird; Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be the turkey. (A turkey?!)

12. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each 4th of July.

13. Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.

4th of July Jokes

1. How come there's no Knock Knock joke about America? Because freedom rings. 
2. What's red, white, black and blue? Uncle Sam falling down the stairs. 
3. What kind of tea did the American colonists want? Liberty. 
4. What was General Washington's favourite tree? The infantry. 
5. What do you call a redneck bursting into flames? A Fire Cracker! (HAHAHAHA!)
6. What was the most popular dance in 1776?  The Indepen-dance. 
7. What did one flag say to the other flag? Nothing. It just waved.

From us, to you and yours, we hope you have an incredibly fun, safe and blessed Independence Day!  

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