Archive of ‘Living Room’ category

New happenings at the New House Remodel:

So it’s been hopping at the new house since the wood floors were finished…  Here’s what’s up around the new house!



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The framing inspection cleared yesterday!  Yay for being legal and all that! 😉


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The peninsula is well on it’s way to becoming a finished reality!  And it’s looking spectacular!



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*Sidenote:  Every awesome thing you’ve ever heard about a Kreg Jig?  It’s all true. So true!

Color me impressed!!!!



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Pantry walls are in and even have the car siding installed on one of the exteriors! Whoop whoop!



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It’s hard to tell from the pictures but I’m super excited about how usable all this pantry space is going to be!

Also… We spent




installing plank ceiling.

Who woulda guessed that installing plank ceiling would make your fingertips hurt so stinking bad!  Yeash!

So with that I’m signing off.  It seriously hurts to type. lol!

More details and fun pictures to follow.

You know… When my fingers recover.

(I’m aware that sounds ridiculous… But this is real.)


Hardwood floors and why we had them professionally finished.

As you know, we are very into DIY around here. (As is evidenced by the blog title around here, of course) 🙂


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However, we are also into real life.  And right now, where we are at in life…

*With one house we need to get ready for move-in.

*Another house we need to get ready for renting.

*A move from the latter to the first.

*A baby due 3 weeks after my target move-in date.

*And the Kid’s Conference that Handsome Man and I heavily involved with 2 weeks after the aforementioned mister is due to make his arrival.

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Suffice to say, we are about maxed on the to-do list.  That’s why when we got the name of a local hardwood floor finisher from two separate people (Handsome Man’s Sister was one of them) who had used him, we decided we might as well just get a bid to see where we were at.

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When the guy showed up, I’m not going to lie… I fell in love with him!  He’s an older guy who has done wood floor refinishing his entire life.  And he sincerely seems to love his business!  He was totally awesome!


Professionally finished  hardwood floors at


Anyway… When he came back with a final bid of just over $1500.00 we weighed the pros and cons.  I mean, it killed us just a bit to pay that much for something we *could* do ourselves. But when it came down to it:

*While I could pitch in for some of the sanding of the floors in the bedrooms, Handsome Man would need to do the entire finishing procedure alone due to the pretty intense fumes when staining and sealing.  Normally I’d throw on a respirator and go at it, but being 30 weeks pregnant we thought that wouldn’t be the best of ideas.

*With the 3 bedrooms needing to be totally sanded down, (2 of which were slathered in carpet glue) we appreciated the thought that they would use massive commercial sanders instead of the rental sander from Menards.

*With everything on our to-do list, it was definitely an attractive thought to have the floors being done while we weren’t even there.

*And to a degree… Since this is our home that we will be living in more permanently a small part of me liked the thought of a super professional finish that we would enjoy ourselves for years.


Finally… When you break it down, the cost for us to do it would be:

$150.00 – 1-day Sander Rentals

$75.00 – Stain

$120.00 – Poly Sealer

$105.00 – Misc. Sanding/Staining/Sealing Products (Sanding pads/Tack cloth/Applicators/etc…)

TOTAL: 450.00

Not to mention one full day of sanding and at least 3 evenings in labor finishing the project.

Professionally finished  hardwood floors at

So all in all, we opted to just have them done for us this time.   And it also helped a bit knowing we saved a TON on installation of the hardwoods in the hallway/living room/dining room/kitchen. 🙂


Now that it’s all done I have absolutely no regrets! (although…. I still need to write the check.  Ha!)

Professionally finished  hardwood floors at


Sometimes DIY in real life is a matter of weighing your needs at the time and opting NOT to do it yourself. After all… Next time we have hardwood floors to do, in all probability we will resume our DIY floor moves! 🙂

Wood floors installed? Check!

Well folks.  It’s official.  The wood floors are installed and ready to be finished thanks to *this* guy!  Three cheers for Handsome Man!!!!


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He seriously killed these floors.  I mean we are talking a lot of sq. footage and it’s DONE! Whoop whoop!!!


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I gather from this look that he is a bit on the ready-to-be-done-with-floors side. 😉

Installed hardwood floors at

In addition to Handsome Man… His brother, came an entire afternoon and evening to pitch in on the detail work in the hallway! (THANKS MATTHEW!!!)  And sorry I didn’t think to get any pictures of you hard at work!

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 Also… Some of my family came and totally knocked out clean up for us!  Three cheers for mom and her mad sweeping abilities!

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And three cheers for little brother Caleb and Step-dad Scott (Who I also neglected to get pictures of!!!! YEASH!) Who were TOTAL rock stars cleaning up and hauling out trash, tools and all the other clutter we’d accumulated upstairs!  They seriously saved this pregnant lady’s hips with all the trips up and down and up and down.

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Last night we finished the last of the clean-up/put up plastic to keep the insulation up and out of the way/etc…

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Hence the dark nighttime pictures.  lol!

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This munchkin like to think of herself as an awesome helper… Occasionally that’s true.  😉

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Really though…. She’s been a trooper!

Anyway…. We are just heading out *now!* to go to the house and approve a stain color for the professionals that are going to sand, stain, and seal our previously finished floors in the bedrooms as well as the unfinished ones we just finished.  Crossing fingers it works and the floors are relatively matching when it’s all said and done!

Post to follow on why we chose to have the pros finish this house’s floors instead of our usual DIY method! 😉

Gotta go!!!!  I’m totally psyched for this!!!!!

Beam me up Scotty!

Yeah. That title should put me in a few nerdy Google searches.  😉


Anyway…. We’ve been gone much of this week because we have an awesome boss who also happens to be even better friends.  They took the whole company and all their families to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City and we had an awesome time!


Hanging at Great Wolf Lodge!

We are quite certain this munchkin adores the water.

Hanging at Great Wolf Lodge!

Cutest thing ever!

Hanging at Great Wolf Lodge!

She’s also addicted to water slides of all sorts!  She would tootle to the top all by herself and the look of sheer joy on her face every time she slid down was priceless!

Hanging at Great Wolf Lodge!

After all… Daddy (AKA: Handsome Man) was always at the bottom to catch her and that’s just pretty cool! 😉

Hanging at Great Wolf Lodge!

She did these over.  and over. and over.

She was soon exhausted!  Yay for wearing out the kiddos!  We basically had to pry her away from the slides when it was time to leave.  lol!

Anyway…. The day before we left for Great Wolf Lodge, we actually got the BEAM installed and our wall GONE!!! Whoop whoop! (Ahhhh…. Now the title makes more sense….)

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Finally after all the rigamarole that getting the correct sized beams entailed, we went with Menards to get the laminated beam.

(They were the ones who gave us the smallest number for necessary beams. lol!  And it still seemed like overkill.  I mean really? We aren’t talking another floor above or anything… Just the roof.  But I suppose overkill is better than a saggy roof, right? 🙂  )

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First… Handsome Man built a temporary wall directly next to the first one.  (It pretty much looks like the old one.  lol!)

Beam installation at the new house at www.diyinreallife.com1 of 4 beams installed! Whoop whoop!

Beam installation at the new house at

More of the black poodle hair insulation.  So ready to be done with that stuff! Ick!

Beam installation at the new house at

After all 4 beams were up, we installed the cross beams on the other wall.  (It supports one end of the massive beams on the load bearing wall)

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Then we REMOVED the wall!!!  Have you ever seen anything so amazing??!  The place is huge now!!!!!

Beam installation at the new house at

After that, it’s on to finishing the wood floors… Getting closer!!!!

Planking – And no I’m not referring to exercising.

Yeah… I’m 3rd trimester.  I don’t plank.  Not the exercising version anyway!


The building-a-new-wall-and-planking-it-type? That I can do! 🙂



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So when we bought the house the railing by the stairs was obviously original… You know, back before they had regulations as to how close together the spindles had to be and stuff.  So as it was, Emma was having a hay day shimmying through the spindles and I was envisioning an 8 month-old new mister innocently scooting across the living room floor and falling.  Besides that the railing was rather wobbly anyway.  We decided to just go ahead and rip it out and start fresh.



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First Handsome Man built the 2×4 wall.  Rather quickly too!  I was impressed with how fast it all went together!  (We did opt for a taller wall this time as Emma is a climber and the worried momma in me felt better about a taller wall.  lol!)

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Then we started planking the wall with car siding from Menards.

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I think I’m really going to love it when it’s done! Yay!

I think I'm really going to love it when it's done! Yay!And in addition to the partially finished wall, we’ve started installing the wood flooring in the living room!  There’s just something AWESOME about putting stuff IN instead of only ripping things OUT! 🙂

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Because installing wood flooring in your superhero pajamas tucked into your tall socks while wearing crocs is totally the best way to do it! 😉

Sorry ladies… This sexy man is taken!

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Such a beautiful sight!  Those first couple rows take the longest… Getting all set and ready to roll.  After that, it’s a breeze!

New house at www.diyinreallife.comThe first evening we got it all started and set and laid 3 feet of flooring.

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Then we went over tonight for a few hours and knocked out another 6 feet.  So we’ve done a total of 9 feet of flooring!! Whoop whoop!

We can do another 3 feet before we need to stop and wait to get the beam in the load bearing wall.   Handsome Man and our construction guy are working on it and *hopefully* they can get down to the city to have it approved and the beam ordered this week yet!

*Crossing fingers!*

I’ll keep you posted on all our PROGRESS!!!!

New House Renovations!!

So we didn’t have a whole lotta chance to work on the new house after closing on Monday with Christmas family stuff and all.  Mostly ordered stuff from Menards to have delivered tomorrow, etc…  However all that changed over the weekend.  Yesterday and today was chock full of progress!  And when I say progress, I mean chaos!!!  It’s awesome!  lol!

I just keep telling myself it has to get worse before it gets better!  Ha!

Yesterday morning we left Emma with our niece Ella (whom she absolutely adores!) and  our nephews came along to the house for some serious ripping out.

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For some strange reason they seem to enjoy it and goodness sakes!  We love having their help!

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They’re like the spectacular tornados of demolition and can rip out carpet and pull up carpet tacks like nobody’s business!  That morning they managed to clear the upstairs of all carpet, carpet pad, and much of the carpet tacks.  They pretty much rock.

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Handsome Man’s dad also came over to remove all our upper cabinets and let me tell you what…. It felt so much more open after that!!! Whoohoo for phase 1!

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After the nephews left we (and by we, I mostly mean Handsome Man) tore out the remainder of the lower cabinets.

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Including our built-in tiny avacado green stove… *Rawr!*

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We took her and her matching stove hood buddy out to the curb and with a craigslist ad under the free section they had made some scrapper very happy by the next morning! 😉

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So after the cabinets met their demise, Sam went to work on above where the upper cabinets used to reside.

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 (Handsome Man and I differ in what exactly they are called.  Help us out and weigh in on this!  He refers to them as a soffit and I maintain that the Property Brothers call them bulkheads.  I am convinced I am right.  ….But am I? 🙂 )

 New house at www.diyinreallife.comAll I know is that as we ripped each section down, lots of black insulation fell like an avalanche.  And it was nasty. It was as if someone shaved 100 black poodles then shoved all the hair up in our ceiling.  I’ll spare you the pictures.  This was after we swept up.

Also… You’ll notice there are no pictures of me.  I like to think it’s because I’m the one taking pictures! 😉 Ha!

But really…. I kept busy too.  I removed a bajillion staples out of the floors in all three bedrooms.  It took a while.

Then…. As if yesterday wasn’t enough… The nephews were down for MORE destruction.  I know, they rock.

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Check out their wicked wall demolition moves!

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Look at ’em go!

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And the wall came a tumbling’ down!

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Three very hardworking dudes!

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And as if that weren’t enough, they went to town on the kitchen floor ripping up the linoleum and the underlayment.  Not. An. Easy. Task.

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Wicked-tough stuff to get out!

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Finally working on the last piece.  It took like 10 times longer to do the floor than rip out the wall and looked a lot less fun! lol!

All in all, I’m giddy with excitement at how the house has changed in a matter of two days!  Well… I’m sore and can barely walk…. But still giddy!  (Yay for a chiropractor visit tomorrow! Ha!  Remodeling when 27 weeks pregnant is going to be harder than I anticipated!  Even MORE reason why I am so VERY grateful for the nephews’ amazing help!  They are saving me! Ha!)

This next week will mostly involve getting the beam for the wall we will finish tearing out.  (Boo on load-bearing walls. Sniff)

Get our various fellas to come take a look at what needs done.  Construction guy for help on the beam installation…. Electrician for rewiring the new layout and recessed lighting…  Plumbing guy for moving the sink and dishwasher… Etc…

Our Menards delivery of cabinets, wood flooring, car siding, etc. comes in tomorrow afternoon…

And the subfloor needs to come out of the kitchen yet.  (We want the wood flooring to be level between the living room and the dining room/kitchen so we are ripping the uneven subfloor in the dining room/kitchen out.  Also… There are so many of the longest, most wicked staples, you have ever seen in the subfloor.  It’ll be easier to pull up the old and install new than to pull them all out by hand.  Several times over.  It’s craZy!

Absolutely cannot wait for this week!  I’ll keep you posted on the progress… In the meantime, envision me doing a happy dance. Tomorrow.  When I can walk again! 😉

Trunk Overhaul!

So I had this trunk… This cool, old, ratty looking trunk.  It was awesome.

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Yes this trunk.

And in true Nicole fashion… I forgot to take a good before picture.  This was the only rather old picture I had of it.

Anyway… It was a little dark colored, but I really loved the natural patina. (Anyone else feel extra sophisticated saying those last two words together? No? Just me?)
I was happy to leave the trunk exactly as-is.

That is until the munchkin came along.  When they say, “kids change everything” they aren’t joking.  Even little things like trunks.

So when Emma first started scooting, she decided that for whatever reason, she liked the taste of the slightly deteriorated burlap type fabric on the outside of the trunk.

That awesome patina I once thought the trunk had became nasty-gross-stuff-I-was-constantly-fishing-out-of-my-child’s-mouth.

The trunk was no longer a source of delight.

My slightly mobile child was drawn to it like a moth to a bug zapper.

Like a flea to a hound dog.

Like a cockroach to a…. I’m just gonna stop.

We’ve been cleaning out two of the rentals where we had some bad tenants.  I obviously have bugs on the brain. Ew.

Anyway, I digress.

I decided I needed to do SOMETHING about the trunk in order to save my daughter from herself.

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First I ran some vaseline along the edges of the wood strips with the tips of my fingers.  Then I painted all of it (burlap material and all) with a light turquoise color I had.

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Then I glazed it with the same stuff I used on this table.  Which was awesome because it showed off all the texture and gave made that turquoise a tad less bright.  It deepened it to an awesome color!

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After adding industrial looking casters on the bottom, it makes a PERFECT side table in the living room that I keep chock full of games!

I love it SOOO much now!

Isn’t it awesome how sometimes circumstances force you to change something you loved only to find out you LOVE it even MORE afterwards??

SCORE!!!! 🙂

New Year Goals: Free Printables

Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

So this morning I worked on a list of goals for the house this year.  We have most of the “big” projects done here on our little previously-forclosured home, but sometimes it’s a little too easy to skip the little odds and ends.

You know…. The little trim here… The caulking there… Things that really don’t take that long, but over the weekend we could take an hour or two to complete.

Here’s what I came up with:




Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

Obviously there are things I’ll want to add to this list as the year progresses, but this was the list I came up with for now.

Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

Then I split those projects up by month.

I put the more important things in earlier months…

Outdoor things in the Spring/Summer…

And left the later months open as I add more things to the list.

I made it super attainable and didn’t go overboard.  You’ll notice the winter months have more projects… That’s because we have a wee bit more time in January than July since Handsome Man is a roofer! 🙂

I also color coded the to-do list.

RED=Handsome Man



Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

I thought I was exceptionally witty due to the fact that together red and blue make purple…

But maybe that’s just because the munchkin has decided to forgo sleeping at night lately and I’m merely sleep deprived.

That’s quite possible.

ANYWAY! Handsome Man and I really do best with lists and deadlines so I think this will be super helpful!!

If you are a deadline operator like us, I made a couple free printables just for you!

Go crazy and get some goals organized!!

Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

 {Click here to get this House To-Do PRINTABLE!}

Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year!  How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!

{Click here to get this House To-Do PRINTABLE!}



Good luck with projects in the upcoming year!!   Let me know if you try this and how it goes!!


Tips on creating a Home Improvement to-do list for the new year! How plans on keeping motivation on track to finish the odds and ends!




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Painting Pillows??

I had someone ask about my striped pillows that you kinda saw in the background of this post.


How to Paint Pillows - by


They’re actually painted!  Spray painted that is….



How to Paint Pillows - by

First I cut the squares of fabric the size I needed to make the pillows…

How to Paint Pillows - by

Then I taped off random stripes with painter’s tape…



How to Paint Pillows - by

Then I spray painted them with this paint…

How to Paint Pillows - by

Then I removed the tape and sewed them into pillows.  I used this tutorial by Chalkboard Blue.  Super simple!

Now that I have the stencil, I kinda wanna make chevron ones! 🙂


How to Paint Pillows - by

How to make throw pillows from placemats!

Yes… These pillows are made from placemats.



Making pillows out of table placemats by


Awesome, no?  And they totally took me like 5 minutes each to do!



Making pillows out of table placemats by

I bought this and this placemat from Target…….  I also bought a table runner (The yellow one) from TJ Maxx and made pillows the same way as the placemats!


Making pillows out of table placemats by

They’re double thick with a front piece and a back piece, so it was SUUUUUPER simple to  just cut the end off, leaving me with an open “sack-like thing” for the lack of a better description.

Making pillows out of table placemats by

Then I pulled the stuffing out of another old pillow that I didn’t use any more and crammed it into the new pillow.

Making pillows out of table placemats by

I even managed to do it all with this young munchkin in the sling while I worked.

(Come on….. You had to know I’d get a picture of Emma in here somehow!!! 🙂  )

Making pillows out of table placemats by

Then it was just a matter of sewing up the end and throwing them on the couch!

How easy is that?!?!?!

I’m totally into pattern mixing right now so expect to see a few more pillows here in the near future!  In the meantime…. Adoring these!!! 🙂

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