Archive of ‘Dining Room’ category

Q & A: Question about Paint Color?

A while back, I was asked a popular question by “Melanie….”  I replied to her question in the comments, but I thought I’d post about it here, too!


She commented in relation to the Cheap 80′s Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off…

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

Q: “Looks great! I just found the same light at a thrift store. I’m trying it with brushed nickel spray paint, but I think the nickle spray paint is coming out cheesy looking. Can you tell me what color paint is on the walls in that room. I really like it.”


A DIY Coffee Bar by


A: “Melanie!
You might try painting it black first, then painting it again with the nickel paint. It might cover better? Just a thought anyway!!!

As to the color in the dining room… I actually got a whole bunch of free paint and so I mixed 5 or 6 various partial gallons of red paint, crossed my fingers, held my breath and painted it. And it is the PERFECT red, which is awesome because reds are notoriously kinda hard to get! So… I wish I could tell you what this perfect color is, but sadly I can’t.

That’s actually how I’ve done most of the house. I think I’ve bought a gallon of black paint, 2 gallons of semi-gloss white for trim, and a gallon of primer for this entire house since we bought it. Everything else we got from a place in Omaha called “Under the Sink.” Everyone takes their unused paint there and then you can go and pick out whatever paint you want. Mixing paint works well for me because I’m not really the type to buy 10 different sample sizes of paint to see EXACTLY what shade of gray I want. I’m more of a mix this and that and see what we end up with kind of girl. Knowing the color wheel and what happens when you add this color to that color helps too. And since it’s free, if it doesn’t work out, I haven’t lost anything! It works out really well for us! And did I mention, we’ve painted the entire interior of our 3 bedroom house for almost free? Can’t beat free. 😉

I guess I figure, it’s just paint… What’s the worst that can happen?? :)”

Cheap 80’s Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off…

What do you do when you’re drooling over Ballard Designs and Restoration Hardware’s light fixtures but spending that much is totally not in the budget???


Make a knock-off!!!! 🙂



Say hello to my little friend!

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

Here’s the run-down.




All I needed was a bolt of this….



It lasts foooooorever….  Probably coulda done 30 lights with this! 😉



One of these did 2 lights….



And 2 lights that looked something like this.  Not a fan of the 80’s brass myself and kinda prefer the black look!  I paid $15.00 each at Habitat for Humanity.

I just hand painted all the brass with some black latex paint I had on sale.  You can actually take some of these lanterns apart, take the glass out, and spray paint them.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t with these, so I just hand painted and then scraped any extra paint off the glass with a glass scraper.


After the paint dried, Handsome Man installed the lights for me.  They looked pretty good but I didn’t like the chain.  Still a little too 80’s for me.


So… That’s when I twisted rope around the chain and I TOTALLY LURVE it now!!!!  Looks like something from Restoration Hardware or Ballard Designs without the hefty price tag!  😉  I think it was easier to wrap the rope after it was installed, even if my arms WERE killing me by the time I was done! 🙂

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

I simply looped the rope around the top hook and used a white cable tie to secure it. (Otherwise known as zippy strips.)   Then I wrapped the rope REALLY tightly around and round the chain securing it at the bottom with another white cable tie.  Then I used the thin sisal string to cover up the cable ties by wrapping it around and round on top of them top and bottom.


80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

All said and done, each one cost less than $20.00 and some time!

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

I kinda love the reflection that shines up on the ceiling too! 🙂


80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

Yes…  Try to ignore all the dust I didn’t bother to scrub off before I took the picture… 😉


80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

(Observe the “mood lighting” (AKA: rope lighting) that Handsome Man installed above the crown molding.  It’s kinda awesome at night for just a low light!

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real

Not a bad price when you compare to these favorites from Ballard Designs and Restoration Hardware.

T_WithoutZoom{Ballard Designs}



{Restoration Hardware}

On sale for $569.99


{Restoration Hardware}

Between $150.00-$350.00

So yeah.  Pretty happy about my very inexpensive knock-offs!!! 😉

Check out the original Dining Room Post.

80's Brass Light Fixture to Restoration Hardware Knock-Off - DIY in Real


Home Stories A2Z

Beyond The Picket Fence

How to Install Crown Molding…

DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding


I guess maybe this isn’t as much an actual tutorial on HOW to do crown molding as a show-off of what ours looks like as well as a resource list with tutorials from people that were actually involved in the process! 😉  lol

Let’s face it.  I just cheered Handsome Man on.  You know how I lack thoroughness and exactness?

Yeah.  Crown molding needs both.  Like a LOT of both.  😉 Haha!


DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

Step 1:   Last time I believe this process was started the same way… YouTube baby!  Handsome Man’s best friend when it comes to quickly learning something new! 🙂


DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

Step 2:  Realize that the crown molding is quite a bit deeper than all the tutorials you could find and that you have to cut it from 2 angles because your miter saw isn’t big enough to cut it in one shot.  Call Handsome Man’s Dad and ask him if he’ll help get things started because he’s exceptionally good at things like… You know…  Angles. 😉


DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

 Step 3: Put up several pieces of the crown molding using the beloved air nail gun.  Expect to have a few gaps in the corners.  It IS an old house after all… And let’s face it, I don’t think they even knew what a square corner was back then!  Simply remember that caulking is the best thing ever invented and it will work wonders! 🙂


DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

Looking faaaaabulous, baby!!!


DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

This was the only piece that we had to use glue on… We couldn’t use any nails on this piece because it was an end cap piece.  We just glued it, taped it up there, then took the tape off after it dried.

DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

This was the glue we used… I don’t love it or anything…

We just happened to have it on hand.

DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

DIY in Real How to Install Crown Molding

Looks KILLER awesome, doesn’t it???!



If you missed it, don’t forget to check out our dining room reveal!  It has all the links to all the details in this awesome room! 🙂






Young House Love actually just did a tutorial on crown molding recently on their blog….  They used an awesome new tool to find exact angles…. It looks totally SWEET!

Me?  I just get it close and use a ton of paintable caulking.  😉 lol!




Q & A Day: Buying and Installing Crown Molding by The Remodeling Guy.

He doesn’t post often, but I totally love his blog!

A man?  Who blogs? And has awesome taste?  Ummm… Yeah, that’s pretty sweet!



Another post by The Remodeling Guy….

Selecting Crown Molding – Sizes, Profiles, Options.



 DIY Cheap Chunky Crown Molding by Bower Power

This is kinda brilliantly done.  Some types of these DIY faux chunky crown moldings are a bit… well… obviously faux.

This one?  Actually pretty awesome!





A good tutorial by This Old House…  A good step-by-step how to.

Anyhoo… Those are my best links…  I say GO FOR IT!!

 Looks great…

Gives better resale value to your house…

Relatively inexpensive upgrade…

Crown molding is a pretty awesome addition to your home!

Check out the original Dining Room post….

Check out the DIY built-in coffee bar that’s rockin’ my dining room!!



DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

You know how I mentioned that I have a tendency to do projects at my friend, Emily’s house… Fall in love with them… And then re-create the project in my own house?

Yeah… Guilty again.


My coffee bar is no exception.  That goes for the upper cabinets anyway…


DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

We already had this buffet that fits PERFECTLY in this space.  It actually belonged to Handsome Man’s great-grandparents.  I got it from his grandpa’s auction before we were even “official.”  We were “just friends” at the time.

Didn’t THAT work out well?? 🙂

It was soooooo empty up there though…. and all that storage I was missing out on….  I was totally itching to re-create Emily’s built-in coffee bar!

And yes, unbeknownst to me, I was photographing my terribly attractive blue pj’s with clouds all over them.  Sexy, right?  😉

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

You guys must think I never do anything!!! All these pictures of Sam working oh, so, hard.  Honest!  Right before I took this picture, I was holding those cabinets up by myself while Sam screwed them into place!  Haha!!!

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

I’ll go ahead and mention… Even though I don’t know a whole lot about this part…

When he was screwing the cabinets together, he mentioned that you should always drill pilot holes so the cabinets don’t crack and something about he was screwing at an angle because it actually gives more support.

That, and those were the only finish screws we had on hand and we didn’t want to make a trip just to get more finish screws. lol!   They were a shade too long, but if he put them in at an angle, they were perfect!  My man is so smart. 🙂

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

Clooooose up!

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

4 little cabinets, all in a row!  Now bring on the paint, baby!

We finished off the sides and underside of the cabinets with bead board.  We also inserted 1x’s on the underside between the cabinets and the bead board for the cup hooks you’ll see later

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

You know the drill…


2 top coats…

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

Looking clooooser!!!

We added an old scrap 2×4 up top to attach the crown molding to.

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

The crown molding TOTALLY finishes it off!  It looks AWESOME!!!

A post on how to install crown molding coming soon!!!! 🙂

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After

Look!!! It’s me!!!!  And I’m working!

That’s my arm screwing in cup hooks for out mugs to hang on.

DIY in Real Life: Coffee Bar Before & After


This built-in coffee bar is ready to roll, baby!!!

DIY Show Off


How DIY batten walls saved our lathe & plaster dining room…


DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


As you can see…. Our dining room walls were a mess.  They were lathe and plaster and extremely cracked.  And to top it all off, they were COVERED with layers and layers of wallpaper like so many old houses are.  By this time the dining room came around, we had demolished and moved so many lathe and plaster walls that I was in NO mood to rip out all the lathe and plaster in ANOTHER room and drywall it.

And therefore… Necessity is the mother of other creative options that mean less dust.

Or something like that.  However the line goes.  😉 lol!

So enjoy the sega of how we went from

DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls

To this!



Step 1: Remove the loose wallpaper.  Don’t worry about getting it all…. I’ll explain that part later.



Step 2: Seal remaining wallpaper and upper walls (That will not be behind the batten walls) with GARDZ by Zinsser.



DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls Step 3: We just used 1/8 inch thick sheeting found in the panelling section.  You can skip this step if you are doing this on nice drywall walls and don’t need to cover up cracks and just less than ideal walls! 🙂



DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


Step 4: We used 1×4’s for the batten… battens… whatever you call those boards.  😉   I opted for a taller batten wall to both cover more cracks and we have super tall ceilings so it just seemed more proportionate.  Feel free to do whatever suits your fancy!  We did the horizontal pieces and then the vertical ones but again, do whatever makes sense to you.  We didn’t glue them since we put them every 18 inches on the original studs behind the lathe and plaster.  We just went crazy with our handy dandy finish nail gun. 🙂


DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


Step 5: If you look closely, you’ll see that we used 1×2’s along the topside to finish it off.  Again, that is just a matter of preference as to how you handle the top.  There’s about as many ways as there are various shaped of trim.  And that’s a lot! 🙂


DIY in Real Life: How to Install DIY Batten Walls


Step 6:  Finally!!!!  Those cracked walls ABOVE the batten.  I had you wondering, didn’t I??  I textured the walls.  Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures of that step.  *Sigh*

All I did was get a bucket of drywall mud and a 8 inch drywall knife.  There was absolutely NO method to my madness!

Slap it on,

spread it around,

and kinda scrape it back off in a slight random curved motion.

ABSOLUTELY no right or wrong way to do this.  I didn’t leave a whole lot of mud on the wall because I didn’t want a TON of texture.  Just enough to hide what was behind it.


It worked PERFECTLY!!!!   Love the walls now and you totally can’t tell that they were in such bad shape at one time!  Score!!!


Step 7: Caulk all the cracks in the batten walls.  You MUST do this step because that’s really what finishes it off!!!


Step 8:  After the drywall texture has throughly dried, quickly and lightly scrape all of it.  that just takes of the pokey high spots and makes it look more finished



DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


Step 9: Paint 1 coat of primer on both the batten walls and the textured walls.


Step 10: Topcoat both as desired.  It took 2 coats of white high gloss for the batten and 3 coats of the red satin for the upper walls. (It only took 3 because I didn’t use a tinted primer and because I was painting a deep red.  Reds don’t cover the greatest! 😉 )


DIY in Real How to install batten walls over less than ideal walls


The finished product!


I TOTALLY loved this super easy fix to really lousy walls!  Even if you DON’T have lousy walls, this is an AWESOME fix!!!




Check out some of my inspiration for the Batten Wall re-do!






Just a Girl has an AWESOME step-by-step tutorial!





I just read this week about how Young House Love just did a batten wall in their hallway and it really MADE their hallway! They used much thinner boards and I’m digging it!!! Fantastic!  Awesome tutorial and cost break-down.

And there are OODLES of other tutorials and styles of batten walls out there!  Get out there and just TRY it!!!  You’ll be AMAZED at how easy it is for the impact it will make!

DIY Show Off


Home Stories A2Z

Dining Room…

Some of you have seen snippets of the dining room…

In the next couple days, I’ll be posting about the details:


*The DIY batten walls

*The built-in coffee bar

*How to install crown molding

*My “Free” Dining Room Table & Chairs Re-do

*How I updated a cheap 80’s Light Fixture to a Restoration Hardware Knock-Off 

*Not to mention the Industrial DIY Curtain Rods that I already posted a tutorial about!


In the meantime….  I hope you enjoy a few shots of our dining room! 🙂

DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After


I love before and afters!  It totally shows me how far we’ve come!!!

DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After


DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After

 The awesome batten walls that totally covered up our cracked lathe and plaster.  It looks even BETTER in person!!!

DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After



DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After


My cheap 80’s shiny brass chandelier!  LOVE how it looks now with a coat of black paint!!!

DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After


Twisted rope around the chain and I TOTALLY LURVE it now!!!!  Looks like something from Ballard Designs without the hefty price tag!  😉



DIY in Real Life: Dining Room Before and After

 And my coffee bar…



Sooooo looking forward to showing off my awesome details in the next couple of days!!!!   Whooohoooo!!!!

Refinishing Wood Floors…

Let’s go back to the very beginning… It’s a very good place to star-r-r-r-t…



I now have that good ‘ol Sound of Music song stuck in my head.  If it’s stuck in yours now too…  You’re welcome.  😉



As to why I picked the title…  We’re going to go back to the first project we really started with in our new house.  The FLOORS!!!


One of the things I loved MOST about this house were the hardwood floors throughout





Yes people… Original hardwood floors e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

Have I mentioned I LURVE hardwood flooring?  I really really do.


Granted they were in rough shape… Not bad, just very very worn.  And since I’ve actually done the whole refinishing-wood-flooring-thing, I wasn’t too worried.


We did our whole house in about 2-3 days, so it’s a good long weekend project.  We wanted to get it done before we moved in so that we wouldn’t have to more furniture from room to room and so that we wouldn’t have to live with the fumes.  The poly sealer can get really strong, so if you’re trying this yourself, you might consider staying at a hotel overnight or something.



DIY in Real Life: Wood Floors


Step 1:  Somehow rope your awesome nephew into coming over and help you pull 246,000 carpet staples (Not exaggerating… much.)  out of the stairs. He pretty much rocked!!!   (In other big questions…. WHO puts carpet on a gorgeous staircase like this??!


DIY in Real Life: Wood Floors


Step 2:  Rent one of these bad boys.  We rented ours from Menards.  (We like Menards.  A lot. Lots better than any of the other Home Improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  And as much as we go to aforementioned Menards, they probably like us too! lol!)  Anyway…  Rent one of these bad boys and get a man to run it.

Preferably a very sexy man…

A sexy man wearing Crocs is optional.  😉


Plan on it taking longer than you thought and get a BOATLOAD of the sander pads.  Way more than you think you’ll use.  You can always take them back after the project is done, and then you won’t be making repeated trips to get more.


Not that we made repeated trips.  *cough cough*



DIY in Real Life: Wood Floors


Step 3:  Yes… I’m filthy.   You have no idea.

If you have stairs, this is the lousy part.  I think Sam did 3 bedrooms, a hallway, a laaarge living room and a dining room in about the same time it took me to sand the stairs with orbital sanders.  This is me working on the laaaaaaaast stair tread.  Very very late at night.





Step 4: Sweep up all the sawdust… There will be A LOT.  Then vacuum.

And vacuum…

And vacuum….

And vacuum…

Annnnnnd VACUUME.


I always hate this part.  I’m way to anxious to get to the next step.  But it’s soooooo worth is to go for perfection when it comes to getting ALL the dust.  That’s where Handsome Man is so good for me.  He is really good at going the extra mile and doing it right, whereas I tend to get in a hurry.  A lot of my projects would look a lot better if I just took the extra time!

After vacuuming, go over EVERYTHING with tack cloths getting the last of ALL the dust.


Finally LATE that night… Ummm… Morning actually…  We started staining.  LOVE that step!   Admittedly I freaked out a little because it almost looked PINK!!!!  WHAAAAAT??  3 a.m. in the morning and I’m panicking because the floors looked PINK!  (In the end, once we top-coated with poly, it was perfect! lol!)


DIY in Real Life: Wood Floors



Step 5: YES!!!!!   The rewarding part!  Finally you’ll see what your floors are going to look like!  GORGEOUS!!!!   I always love this part.

A coat of poly…

And another…

And another…

I like a looooot of coats of poly for protection!


DIY in Real Life: Wood Floors





Overall….  although refinishing hardwood floors is one of the most labor intensive projects you can do in your house, I also think it’s one of the most rewarding.  The cost isn’t great if you do it yourself and you’ll have be-YOU-tiful floors when you’re done.  I highly recommend you just try it!!!

What’s the worst that could happen???!  😉

This Old House…

I was just sitting here going through pictures from over a year ago.  Last August when 2 nearlyweds bought a house.  An over 100 year old house.  A house that was foreclosed on and had been vacant for quite a while.  A house that had once-frozen pipes that had burst causing mold in the basement and making it necessary to replace all the plumbing.  A house that had been on the market for quite some time.  In short, it was the house no one wanted.

But we saw something very different when we walked in the side door that had no glass and was instead all boarded up.


We saw a solid house with good bones.


We saw a house with wood floors throughout.    ….Even if they did need refinished.


We looked past the nasty plaster walls covered in numerous layers of paper bag-like wallpaper.  (Who does that??!)


And saw what could be an adorable breakfast nook.



A spacious kitchen if we re-arranged…


… And tore out walls and plaster encasing the brick chimney.   😉


It could be an incredibly functional space….


With a guest bedroom…

A master bedroom….

And an office….


If only we could trim all the trees and bushes and pull all the vines that were smothering the old girl….

Then we could have a house.  Not just a house….  A HOME.  Our home.   And slowly…. Very slooooowly….  We come closer and closer to that vision that no one else had for the house no one else wanted.

DIY Tutorial of Curtain Rods Made From Plumbing and Electrical Supplies…

How’s THAT for a hefty title??!

DIY in Real Life - How to make curtain rods out of plumbing and electrical supplies


Okay…  So I always love me a little industrial.  Not a lot.  Just a touch here and there….  So when I saw THIS….   *Insert a little Emperor’s New Groove – BOOM-BABY!*




I fell in love.  Deep passionate love.  And I soooo wanted them.

Entrance: Handsome man.


The decision went something like this.

Me: I’m not sure what to do about curtain rods.

Handsome Man: What are you thinking?

Me: Well….   I-saw-an-idea-on-pinterest-and-I-really-really-love-it-but-I-don’t-know-how-much-it-would-cost-or-how-much-work-it-would-take-but-did-I-mention-I-really-really-loved-it??!

Handsome Man: Can I see it?

{Showing of inspiration photo}

Handsome Man:  Yup. No problem.

{This was the abridged version}


And so it began!



For every window, you need:

{2 of these}

{2 of these}

{And measure how much of this you need.  Some stores will even cut it for you!  We got 10 ft. lengths and each one did 1-2 windows of varying sizes.  We did our whole 1st floor with these curtain rods. We got all 3/4 in. fittings and 3/4 in. conduit.  We found that the conduit fit tightly enough that it almost threaded snugly into the street elbow fitting.  Friction fit, baby!}

You’ll also want curtain rings.  I got these from Menards as well… Once the curtain rods are up, they’re up.  4 screws on each side makes it problematic to take them down.  Obviously, you don’t want to do that every time you want to wash your curtains.  I found these to be the perfect solution!!

As to needed tools…



Tape measure

and a pipe cutter if you did not have them cut at the store

This project was a total B-R-E-E-Z-E~ ~ `~ ~ ~

First we removed the labels.

 Super easy… Just ran some water over it in the sink for a few minutes.  

Okay… Okay….  As long as we’re being “REAL” here….

This is what it really looked like.

I was too excited to get the new curtain rods up.  I totally didn’t want to do dishes.

*cough cough*

Moooooving on….

Your pile of fittings will look something like this! 🙂

Just thread the street elbow tightly into the floor flange.

The conduit will twist tightly into the street elbow.

Before twisting the 2nd side onto the conduit, put your curtain rings on. I’m not even going to admit how many times we had to take off the other end because we forgot to put them on.  Ha!

{Handsome Man concentrating deeply.}

Just put one screw in the first side to keep it there…  I chose to mount my curtain rods 4 inches wider and 6 inches taller than the window casings.  Normally I would go even higher/wider to show off more of my windows, but we. have. so. many. windows.


Measure the 2nd side to insure that it’s level…. and start fastening!  With a grand total of 8 screws, I wonder if I could do pull-ups on these things??!

Probably not.  Who am I kidding.  I don’t do pull-ups on anything!! 😉

TAAAAA-DAAAAA!!!!  Finished Product!!!!

Are they not the coolest thing ever???

Let’s add this up:

2 street elbows = 2.72 total


2 Floor Flanges = 6.78


Conduit = 1.58 to 3.15

Seeing my man lift the curtain rods like he was the heavy lifting olympic champion….


That brings the total of each curtain rod from $11.08 to $12.65.

Which is a REALLY great price for curtain rods!  At Menards, the dinky, scrawny ones start at 19.99.  And with as easy as they all were to put together??!   I couldn’t be more thrilled!

They went in on our whole main floor since it’s all very open and they totally tie everything together.  Love that!

Dining Room


Living Room


A knock-off of West Elm’s version!!

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