How To Hang Cement Backer Board For A Wall Full Of Tile


As exhilarating as demolition can be, there’s always that nagging voice in the back of your head reminding you that you’re going to have to replace whatever you’re demolishing. Bummer, right? Well, we didn’t let ourselves wallow in that realization too long and dove right into reconstructing the kitchen. Actually, between demoing the tiles and the plywood we actually snuck out to The Tile Shop (in my sister’s borrowed SUV) to buy cement board so we’d have all of our supplies ready as soon as demo was done. The cement board (1/4″ thick Permabase Ultrabacker to be exact) was about $10 per 3ft x 5ft sheet after the 10% discount code that they offer everyone

Nursery Art Expansion: How Our Gallery Wall Is Growing


Some nursery tweak-age has occurred. And because we’re currently working away on the kitchen (stay tuned for those deets tomorrow morning if all goes well), we figured that we owed you the whole gallery-frame-change rundown (along with some well overdue what’s-in-that-frame answers). We’ve always loved the idea of expanding Clara’s art wall as she grows with more and more frames, so here’s how it looked before: And here’s what we have going on now that we’ve added a few more frames to the mix (and shifted the placement of a few of the existing ones): And for those who have been wondering, here’s a quick rundown of the things that we’ve framed (you can find

Getting An Agent, Writing A Proposal, & Landing A Book Deal


We promised you guys a post all about the whole book-deal process back in March (when we spilled the beans about our upcoming book here). And the only reason I can think of that it has taken us this long to write is because we’ve been so busy actually writing our 260+ page book behind the scenes along with juggling the bambino and the blog and all of the projects that go along with those things. Haha. So forgive us for the delay. Many of you guys expressed an interest in how it all went down (a few years ago we never would have known how to navigate the waters of book proposals and agents

Fab Freebie: Moo Moo Moo!


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Our trio of winners this week (thanks as always to for the selections) are… Lila @ sweet and lovely crafts (who wants triple the hours in a day), Molly (who wishes for 3 times the energy, time and money to take on more projects she reads about here)  and Emily B (who’d like her yard & house tripled in size). Congrats you three! We started doing giveaways just about 3 years ago, and our 3rd giveaway on December 1, 2008 was with a fun printing company called MOO. The prize was valued about $20 and fewer than 300 people entered. Now MOO

Demolition Man (Ripping Down Old Backsplash Tile & Plywood)


In case all of that turkey and stuffing made you forget, allow me to remind you that our kitchen was looking something this after the upper cabinets came down: Since the clock was ticking on our new counters (in around 2 weeks we should no longer be sink-less and counter-less), we had to get the walls prepped for the new backsplash. Not that the backsplash would be going up before the counters (we’ll get a snugger fit if we install it afterwards, plus we don’t want it getting damaged during the whole counter install), but because wall prep = demo (aka: a mess) we didn’t want to worry about scratching our new counters if they

Pop Quiz From Professor Berkus


We’re taking a break from nursing our turkey hangover to share that our buddy (not really, but we did get to meet him once) Nate Berkus has a style quiz on his website (thanks for the tip Lauren!). And you know we love a time-wasting style quiz (here are a bunch of others that we’ve shared). I was especially encouraged by this one because not only was it being served up by a dude designer, there’s even a dude in the graphic. Bound to be a pretty gender neutral decorating quiz, right? Wrong. Before I knew it I was : pretending to be a type of lipstick weighing whether I’d splurge on stilettos or Mary

Gobble Gobble


We have about a million things to be thankful for, and you guys are at the top of our list. Thanks for caring to drop in and see what’s going on at our house. Speaking of which, in case you were wondering… this recently happened: After eating lunch the other day, but before cleaning up the table, Burger snuck into the dining room, climbed up to the table with the help of a chair (!) and snatched half of a baguette that remained uneaten. Knowing he’d be in trouble for it, he immediately sprinted into the closet to devour that hunk o’ carbs in record time. I followed him in – half to make sure

Counter Templating

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Not sure if many people are reading today (due to the impending turkey-related holiday) but we wanted to stop in with a quick kitchen update. We officially got our counters templated (aka: measured so they can be fabricated and installed within the next hopefully two weeks). Woo to the hoo! And this finally means our sinkless days are finally numbered. Huzzah! For anyone who missed the counter discussion, here’s what we’re getting, and for anyone who wants to know how they template for counters, we made this handy video of the process: Just kidding. For anyone who can’t watch videos that isn’t the installers, it’s Clara being cute as a button and demonstrating her mad

Reader Redesign: Media Magic


Is there anything better than a beautiful, functional, and DIY-ed piece of furniture? Arguably yes (a free car full of money?), but not much. So we loved getting Kim & Scott’s email about the built-in media wall that they constructed with a couple of friends. Not only was it custom built to perfectly fit the space, it saved them at least $450 (many similar units go for $750+ and theirs was $252 to build). Here’s Kim and Scott’s letter: We started out with a very green accent wall, and over time we began to layer in a few new pieces to the living room (a shaggy rug, a Craigslist coffee table, etc). After said changes,

Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Settings


I’m a last minute gal, what can I say? I’ve been having some fun with a few quick n’ random turkey-day table settings, so I thought I’d share ’em (with 48 whole hours before Thanksgiving to spare). I usually do a bunch of Christmas ones (as seen here) but something about the new doorway between the kitchen and the dining table has me itching to play around with pretty table settings a little early this year. Well, I did do some Thanksgiving table stuff last year and the year before, so I guess it’s becoming a tradition to just use what I have and see what I can come up with. Maybe they’ll help one or

Fab Freebie: We Need To Address Something


*** This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below! *** Sorry for the late winner announcements. Blame the tryptophan. And before we share the name of the winner selected, don’t forget that The Paper Cafe is still offering 15% off discount (details at bottom of this post). But more importantly, our winner is… Maria (who is sending holiday cards with an adorable picture of her 5 month old daughter in it). Congrats! This week’s prize includes a custom address stamper from The Paper Cafe and Three Designing Women. Sherry actually bought me one last Christmas to celebrate being at our new address, and it certainly made writing and addressing thank

Our Cabinets Are Like Chumbawumba…


They get knocked down. Well, they weren’t actually knocked down as much as they were “carefully removed” (since we plan to reuse various things like the doors for the new peninsula cabinets and then donate the rest). The room was feeling pretty wood-riddled when we moved in last December… … so we were excited to un-wood-riddle-it for good. As we mentioned here and here, we’ll be adding a wall of counter-to-ceiling penny tile… … along with a bit of open shelving (on either side of the range hood that we’ll be building in). Oh and to avoid having the open shelves/dust & grease chat again, just check out this post for a bunch of “research”

Four Things


I have been meaning to update you guys on four thrifty purchases (well, technically there are nine of them, because I got six of one thing) so let’s get into it. First we have this gilded pineapple vase that I found for $4 at Goodwill. Can you guess what I love most about it? Yup, the hex pattern all over the body of the vase. Even though it’s clearly pineapple influenced, it felt so “bees” to me (more on why we love bees here). And the antique gold finish is really pretty in person. Not too Donald Trump shiny, so it feels timeworn and authentic. And see those three jars around them? They were sent

Reader Redesign: De-Cookie Cuttered Kitchen


This email from Laurel-Dawn sounded like a common situation. You find yourself in a cookie cutter home, dying to put your own personal spin on the house so it doesn’t look exactly the same way that the builder left it. Well Laurel-Dawn and her husband definitely turned a common kitchen into something spectacular. Here’s her letter: “I live in a super simple home. It’s what my mom calls a “tract home” which I personally hate, but I guess it’s true. I live in one of those neighborhoods where all of the houses look the same and it’s hard to put a personal stamp on things. I dream of someday updating a home with a lot

Filling Gaps Around The Stove With Trim & Other Little Things


Some aspects of this kitchen remodel are certainly less exciting than others – especially when compared to having just opened the wall up. But alas, these things must be done. Including a few that we wanted to accomplish before the countertop guy came to template for our new counters (that’s something we want done accurately, after all). First on our list of little things was filling the gaps next to our stove. The base cabinet that we removed was 36″ wide, but the stove is only about 30″ leaving a little under 3″ of nothingness on either side. Since you can’t squeeze much function into two and 3/4ths inches (almost every pull-out drawer was 3″

Kitchen Reno: Removing Our Sink & Our Old Granite Counters


In the words of Carla from Top Chef: hootie hoo! Our counters are ordered (more on what we chose and why we chose it here). They came in at exactly $38 a square foot from Home Depot (no hidden/added charges, which was nice) which added up to around $1700 (ouch, good thing we’ve been saving for this kitchen a while). We also priced them out at Lowe’s and a couple of local retailers and none of the local retailers could do better than $55 a square foot (huge difference, huh?) and while Lowe’s and Home Depot both had the same $38/square foot price, Lowe’s charged more for the sink cutout and a few other add

Three Zero


Today I turned 30. Woot. My mom didn’t make me stand in front of an “I AM 30” banner (or fashion a crown for me) like she has in past years, but she and my dad did have us over for brunch on Sunday morning. It was actually a surprise that Sherry planned with them. I had known about the brunch (since my cousins, aunt, uncle, and little sister had traveled in from DC for the day), but was somehow oblivious to the fact that they might use the gathering to celebrate my thirtieth until a candle-filled plate of muffins was placed in front of me. Oh, but my mom did make me this: Never

Thanksgiving Traditions: Thanks Jar & Free Thankful Printables


Since Thanksgiving is suddenly upon us (how did that happen?) we thought we’d add a new tradition along with reviving one from last year. First let’s talk about the one from last year, which is a small thrift store jar that we got for 99 cents… … and then etched with $6 etching cream from Michael’s… … using a homemade tape stencil to create a Thanks jar (more DIY details here). As for how it worked, we each filled out and dropped in a little homemade card with something we were thankful for each day for the entire month of November. And we weren’t allowed to peek inside to see what each other had written

Fab Freebie: ‘Tis Z Season


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** After another entry-limit-reachin’ giveaway, we’ve closed things off at 10,000 comments and has selected our winner as… Nicole is STL (who’s looking forward to holiday time off for relaxing with family and friends). Congrats! Since you guys seemed to like the $500 (holla!) prize last week, why not do it again today? This time the half-G of goodness is courtesy of Z Gallerie, whose penchant for sparkle and white ceramics is appreciated by us all year round… but even more so during the holidays. You can hit up their holiday section (or any section really) for loads of silver, gold, and ruby

How To Trim Out A Cased Opening And A Half Wall


The wall is down (more here). Drywall is up (more here). Time for trim. I actually kinda enjoy doing trim. Despite it requiring lots of focus and attention to detail, it’s very satisfying to see all of those rough edges turn into crisp white borders. But before I could get to trim, I actually had to take care of the ledge on our half wall and the door jambs first. Our neighbors recently had a similar wall opening project done in their house (these guys), and we really liked how they treated their half-walls with a wood platform on top and trim beneath to dress it up a bit. It looks really finished and balanced



Work continues on our big opening between the kitchen and the dining room which I still forget exists until I stumble into the room in the morning only to feel the sun shining in and break out in song and dance. No really, I do. It’s like a Disney movie around here. So while we deal with door jambs (and trim and a wooden ledge for the half-wall) we thought we’d introduce you to the latest member of our family. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve added to my brood of white ceramic animals, so imagine my delight when John surprised me with this fine tentacled specimen: Apparently I mentioned that I was

Giving Thanks


**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but today we’ll be back in a few hours with a post about the newest ceramic animal that we’ve added to our family. Not exactly cuddly, but cute. It’s time for our monthly shout out to thank all of the lovely sponsors who make our other 30+ posts possible. And of all the times of the year, this one seems the most suited for our little thank-fest. So in that spirit, we’re highlighting a bunch of things that bring out our favorite parts of Thanksgiving – family, food, warm clothes, and warm colors. Not that we’ve been gifted anything (here’s our no-swag policy). Oh and there

Wanna Be A Baller, Shot Caller, Drywaller (Hanging Drywall)


As exciting as it is to have both that section of wall and the contractor gone, there’s still a lot of work ahead of us before our opening is finished. Unless this is your idea of beautiful dining room: Oh and speaking of the contractor, locals have been asking for Steve’s info – and now that we’ve worked with him and were extremely happy with his result, we’ll share (we only like passing along people’s info after we work with them, to be sure they’re someone we’d recommend). He’s a licensed Class A contractor as opposed to a handyman (so he doesn’t hang doors or build furniture or do odd little jobs), but if you

Reader Redesign: Ranch Re-Kitchened

Still working on the drywall situation for our new opening! While we get that together and snap some pics for this afternoon, let’s look at an awesome kitchen makeover – you know to keep the momentum up. Of course we perked up when we spotted the words “1948 ranch style house” and “kitchen renovation” in our inbox. Then we saw the awesome before & after pictures attached and, well, see for yourself. This is one of those makeovers that reminds us that whatever the budget, making one or two daring or unexpected choices can make the room (and make it feel like yours). We’re loving the playful choices like the yellow floor and the chalkboard