Archive of ‘Renovations with Friends’ category

Group Office:

Like I said… Before we arrived, one of their guys (the ever-talented Adam) created their desks in the group office.




This was our inspiration picture for the desks…

Office Remodel Before/After at

All we had to do in this room was paint and organize which was super nice because we were definitely scrambling for time! Ha!

2 Main Offices:

And now we come to the two main offices.  These are the rooms that belong to the guys who work in the office the most… The big boss and the guy-who-writes-checks.  (I’m pretty sure neither of those titles are correct… But whatever. 😉 )


Office Inspiration at

 Again… This is the main inspiration photo. (Just in case you’re not tired of seeing it yet. Ha!)

Who could get tired of looking at it anyway?  It’s awesome!

 Office Remodel at

This is the adjusted floor plan for the desk. We changed a fair amount along the way due to being a tad unsure how it would all end up together! 😉  Yay for guys who go with the flow and fill in the details!!

Office Remodel at

This is the side view of the desk/bookshelves.  You’ll notice we did cut the bases off the bottom of the 3-drawer cabinets to make it an appropriate height for a desk.  After adding an extra 2 inch butcher block on top it was still a tad on the tall side, but it was close!  Nothing a little taller chair couldn’t fix.  I think normal desks are somewhere around the 30″ height as opposed to 31.5″-32″ height.  All said and done this looks-like-a-custom-built-in only had about 5 screws actually in the wall so if they ever move, they can easily do that!


Office Remodel Before/After at



Office Remodel Before/After at


Love these these offices so very much!!!!

Reception Room Makeover:

Okay!  Back to filling you in on the details of the MAJOR office makeover!


Now we’ll cover all the juicy details of the front Reception Room.


Office Inspiration at

Again… This was the main inspiration for most of the rooms.  In some way or another they all resembled this.  Of course instead of doing uppers on the bottom, we did lowers.  This better allowed for more of a desk feel to the area.



We also loved this T shaped desk and how it both looked so awesome yet was super efficient! The only difference is that we made it bar height instead of desk height.  And I totally TOTALLY loved how it turned out!!! It’s so comfortable for either sitting on the stills or just standing at. No one really works at the reception room desk for long periods of time, as far as I know… It was intended to be more of a place for potential customers to drop in and look at sample shingles, sign papers, etc…

I am curious though how reality is playing out there and how they are ending up using all the spaces!!! 🙂


Office Remodel at

This is the footprint of the whole unit.  The goal was to build something that looked built-in but in reality could be removed and taken somewhere else easily if they ever moved.  And I think we succeeded because in the whole unit there were very few screws into the wall studs!  The whole thing can be taken down by removing just a handful of screws.  Boom baby!


Office Remodel at

This is what it looked like from the front view. (Not including the T desk part)  What I love about the guys is that they were able to take these rough sketches and totally make them come to life even better than I imagined!

For instance, Adam had the idea of adding lights above the bookshelves.  I would never have thought about doing that let alone HOW he did it but when it was done?!?!?  It TOTALLY made the whole unit!  Seriously it was awesome!!!


Office Remodel Before/After at

Again, The before and after.

Amazing, right?!?

The area rug came from Rugs USA.

The decor from Master’s Hand, Marshalls and Target.

The cupboards from Home Depot.

Butcher block countertops from Menards.

Cabinet Hardware from D. Lawless.

And the furniture was bought on garage sales and given a fresh coat coat of paint.  Score!!

Can’t you see why I’m so in love with this remodel?!?!

The inspiration…

What inspired us in the office overhaul?

Office Inspiration at{Pinterest}

The basis of our inspiration was something along the lines of this awesome built-in by Thrifty Decor Chick.

Since we were giving 5 rooms an overhaul in 5 days, we knew we needed to find ways to speed things up.  Using stock cabinets and building from there seemed like a great way to achieve that!  I also love how all the rooms are different but they tie in together so well.



We loved this T desk but also loved the idea of a bar height desk for the front reception room.



We also used this inspiration for the group office.  Thankfully before we started on our 5 day blitz, Adam (one of the awesome guys in Manhattan) built in the desk similar to this one.  It has 3 workspaces and looks like it will be super efficient.

Anyway… This is kind of the direction we wanted to go… More details will follow room-by-room! 🙂


Cupboards – Home Depot and Menards

Butcher Block Countertops – Menards

Cupboard Hardware – D. Lawless 

Decor – Marshall’s, Target and Master’s Hand

Secret Office Remodel…

So my last good week before I dropped into the pit we call first trimester, we worked on pretty much my favorite project ever.

And I fully acknowledge I say that phrase often declaring this or that project my favorite project ever… But this time it really was!  And I’m fairly certain it will stay my favorite project for quite some time!


Sam’s boss (also our awesome friend) went on vacation and since he was gone, we (and when I say we, I mostly mean his wife Emily) brainstormed on how to do a week-long remodel of their office they had recently rented.

So for weeks, together we talked… compiled inspiration pictures… drew up plans… All in secret.


We had 5 rooms to complete in about 5 days. Thank goodness we had lots of help!  A couple of the guys that also work for the same company in Manhattan put in a ton of work on it and we even recruited some other friends and family to paint, etc…

It was awesome!

And totally felt like we were doing a HGTV show! Ha!  Time crunch… Lots of help… Total overhaul on a space… 🙂


Anyway… On to the pictures!  I’ll give more details later! 🙂


Office Remodel Before/After at

Reception Room

Office Remodel Before/After at

Allyn’s Office

Office Remodel Before/After at www.DIYinRealLife.comConference Room

Office Remodel Before/After at

Brandon’s Office

Office Remodel Before/After at

Group Office

See what I mean??!




Side Table Makeover!


Side Table Re-Do by

We’ve all seen these tables…  The ones that scream 80’s?  The ones that look like they’re going to take more than a simple coat of paint?

This is a SUPER easy fix that is almost as quick and almost as cheap to do as a simple coat of paint!


Our friends had these tables and Handsome Man and I did a few projects at a their house over a weekend…. SO fun!!!


Check out the Before’s!

Side Table Makeover by

We had 2 side tables and a matching coffee table to start with…

Side Table Makeover by

We simply cut 2×6’s for the entire tops and screwed them in from underneath… Suuuuper Easy!

Also… You’ll notice it looks very warm and green outside?  Yeah…. We did this last summer… Just getting around to posting about it now!  It’s not nearly that warm out right now.  I’m pretty sure our month of April is bi-polar!!!

Side Table Makeover by

A coat of primer and 2 topcoats of white latex paint later, this is what they looked like.  Better, right???

Side Table Makeover by

After that, I distressed them a bit and then glazed them with my favorite glaze from Home Depot.

Side Table Makeover by

We also painted and glazed the shelves in the living room while we were at it…

Side Table Makeover by

Looking spiffy, eh??!

Side Table Makeover by

Side Table Makeover by

Side Table Makeover by

Perhaps a little less 80’s now?

How’s THAT for an easy fix?

All it cost were the 2×6’s and some paint we had on hand anyway!  🙂

Before/After Coffee Bar… My Favorite Emily…

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Yes…. This was an AWESOME re-do!  Like my favorite ever!!!  So much so that I went home and did one in our dining room!

Actually it’s a little embarrassing how many projects I did at Emily’s and then came home and replicated.  lol!  Oh well.  If you like it, flaunt it.  😉

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

{Photo compliments of Emily}

This is what we started with…  A beautiful blank wall just screaming for a coffee bar! 🙂

One thing you really must know about Emily and Allyn is that they are some of the most hospitable people I know.  It’s incredible!  So a coffee/drink bar was *just* the ticket for their hospitality needs!  And of course the extra storage in the kitchen has got to be good too. 😉

Check out some of our inspiration photos:



Loved the hanging mugs…



Loving the open cabinets….



Again with the open cabinets and the bead board backsplash…  Also keen on that butcher block countertop.

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

First we started with the lower cabinets.  Which were actually upper cabinets, installed on the bottom.  I think Allyn was the one who wanted this… Can’t remember for sure…  But it turned out AWESOME!!!!   Basically the big difference is that they are only 12 inches deep instead of the standard 24 inches.  It provided storage without taking up too much space in the room.  We built the cabinets up with 2×6’s thereby making them look very custom and built-in.  It also brought the countertop to a PERFECT drink bar height.  *Love*

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Then Allyn & Sam started hanging the uppers.  Never an easy task, but they totally rocked it!  Way to go guys!

Especially Allyn.

 Because Sam is missing from this picture.  Not sure where he is! 😉

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Oh there he is!

My handsome man!

After all the uppers were hung, we were ready to paint.

What I WASN’T expecting was THIS!!!!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

 Yes… When you get cabinets at Home Depot instead of Menards, you’ll see that the insides are glossy.  Even if you use liquid de-glosser first, you may find yourself looking at something that looks like an albino leopard gone very, very wrong when you prime it.

Our fix?  Wipe off the paint and give it a light coat of spray paint primer.  THEN coat with regular primer and 2 coats of white semi-gloss paint.  And then all will be well with the world. 😉

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Our faux butcher block countertops…  (Actually 2- 2×8’s stained and sealed like crazy.)

We stained them outside, then brought them in… Installed the first one… Loaded the crack up with clear caulking… and installed the 2nd one.

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Then the guys went to town putting up crown molding.

 Step 1: Watch YouTube’s on how to cut crown molding. 😉

Whatever the case, it turned out AWESOME!!!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Yes. Yes.

Handsome Man is wearing Elmo pants.  Because that’s how he rolls.  😉

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Next Step?  Bead board backsplash, underneath the upper cabinets, on the sides of the lowers and covering the 2×6 faming on the frontside of the uppers.  A little glue… A few finish nails with the nail gun…  Whaaalaaa!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

We used strips of wood to rest the shelving on because we liked it better than the plastic brackets that came with the cabinets. (We painted these after Handsome Man installed them, of course)   We also caulked the holes that come in the cabinets because we weren’t going to move the shelves anyway and it just looks better now.  😉

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Getting clooooooser!!!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Here it is pretty much FINISHED!!!!  After we left, they finished priming and painting the backsplash… But it looks SO FANTASTIC now!!!!

TOTALLY LUUUUURVE how it turned out!!!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

Love this girl!

DIY in Real Coffee Bar Before/After

And this man… Even if he does wear Elmo pants… and Crocs… And dress up like a lion and go around the kitchen roaring.  😉

Also while we were there we painted all the other cabinets in their kitchen… It brightened it up SO MUCH!!!!

DIY in Real Kitchen Before/After


DIY in Real Kitchen Before/After

DIY in Real Kitchen Before/After

DIY in Real Kitchen Before/After

This was a SUPER simple addition that REALLY tied the room together between the old cabinets and the new cabinets in the coffee bar area.  Little bead board pieces and corner round.  Nice!!!

Overall… This was SUCH a fun project to do with Emily and Allyn!

You should check out their other blog posts showing what all went down before we ever got there!!!!   Wood flooring… the removal of entire walls…  LOVE where they’ve taken this house!!!!!!







TDC Before and After

My Favorite Emily and a Desk Before and After….

Emily is my friend.  I don’t see her NEARLY as much as I’d like…. But let me tell you…  Emily is amazing!  One of my favorite roll-models and one of the people I have the MOST fun with.  I’ve known her for probably 18 or so years out of my 26-year life. And she still likes me!!!! 😉


Anyhoo…. I *love* visiting Emily!  My favorite thing is to work on some project or another while I’m there… Makes for a GREAT excuse to visit.  lol!


A while back this was one of our projects….   Emily blogged about it here…  Loved the re-do for this desk!!!   Be sure to check it out!!!cBeforeAfter



Blog post coming soon on what we worked on LAST time we were down there visiting!!! 🙂

{Update: Here’s the link to that post}

The Little Airplane Man’s Nursery….

I need to get pictures for after Levi’s momma got the curtains, crib goodies, etc…

But here’s a preliminary room reveal!  Cuteness!!!



Adore the “pop” of color this red light gives!  It was actually our light from our breakfast nook area when we bought the place.  It was outdated… and brass… and did I mention outdated?  We hit that sucker with several coats of gloss red spray paint and TAAA-DAA!  Instant lighting awesomeness!


Levi’s daddy both owns his own Aerial Spraying Business (crop dusting) AND his own Excavating/Dirt Work Business.  (Yes, he’s a busy man!  And also my boss, btw!  I do bookwork/data entry for Ragnar and Angela. They’re pretty awesome friends AND bosses. lol!)  Anyhoo… These are toys that belonged to Ragnar (I think? lol!) growing up so they just had to find a place amongst the nursery even if it WAS a plane room!


This bomber airplane is awesome.  It just is.

We hung it from the ceiling with fishing line, so it looks like it’s just gliding in the corner of the room.


Angela got THIS bit of awesomeness.  Is it not perfect?  It’s technically made to be a shelf, but we thought it looked WAY cooler hung at an angle without anything on it.  It actually looks kinda like an airplane bursting halfway through the wall.  

Too bad we already established that I’m not an artist…

Otherwise we totally coulda emphasized that it was ripping through the wall…

Ahh well… The room is still awesome….

More pics to follow of the rest of the details!

Totally love how this room turned out!

GREAT ideas and inspiration, Angela!

Check out the tutorials on how to paint clouds even if you have no artistic talent and how to paint nice crisp lines quickly and easily!

How to Paint Clouds for Non-Artists!

DIY in Real Life: How To Paint Clouds for Non-Artists!


So…. I’m not an artist.

Not by a long shot…

A very VERY long shot….

I mean we’re talking best sniper in the military LOOOOOOOONG shot.

Yes, I love to paint flat surfaces… But I like to paint them all one color.  Maybe two or three with the help of tape for lines.

I don’t do artist-y things.  Ever.

Creative? Yes, perhaps.

Artist-y? No.

So when my friend (the-overly-confident-in-my-artsy-abilities-Angela) said she would love clouds on the upper walls and ceiling… I freaked out.  Inwardly.

I’m sure that my confident bluffing as I said, “Sure!  Why not!  Let’s try it! WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN??!” totally fooled her! 😉

So I did what any normal person in this situation would do.

I looked it up on YouTube and Pinterest.  (My heroes!)

These are some of the inspiration photos I looked at on Pinterest:



This one came with a wee bit of a tutorial… I didn’t really follow it, but they were a good basis for when I ended up just “winging it.” Haha!



Yes… These clouds are totally better than mine.  I’ll totally admit it.

The key is just going for it!!!!!  Even if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not an artist!  What’s the worst that happens??!!  You merely re-paint over it and try again?!?!?  That’s not so bad!!!

Then I just looked at pictures of lots of real clouds.  Google Images is magic! 🙂

Then… SINK or SWIM…

I went for it!!!


I hand mixed several colors with the white, blue, and gray I used for the walls.

4 colors are what I ended up with.


Lighter Blue (Mixed about 1/2 and 1/2 of the white and the blue)

Lighter Gray  (Mixed about 1/2 and 1/2 of the white and the gray)


Blu-ish Gray (Mixed about 1/3 white, 1/3 blue and 1/3 gray)

Then I used those cheap sea sponges.

Yes… I totally forgot to get a picture.  Shame on me.

They are pretty standard though… They’re in the paint department at pretty much any home improvement store…

Craft Store…

Wal-Mart… 😉 lol!

And I grabbed a paper plate.

And just started at it!


First I did the main shape of the cloud in white…

Then I did the gray shadows…


Then I started blending along those gray shadows with the Blu-ish/Gray…


Added some of the blue here and there for depth…

(Okay real-artists… You should leave now.  I’m probably driving you completely out of your miiiiimd! Haha!)


And then finished blending it with white again.



Okay… Just to Re-interate…

I am NOT an artist!

BUT I tried it!

And it doesn’t look half bad!

And Levi (The little man munchkin that lives in this room now) apparently can’t stop looking at the clouds on the ceiling!  So at the end of the day, I’ll consider that  a smashing success!

So TRY it!  Just TRY it!!!

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






Check out the nursery reveal I updated and the tutorial on how I managed to paint these super crisp lines quickly and easily!




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