Archive for September, 2012

Installing A Dual Flush Toilet Kit & Hiding Our Shredder

We made four little updates around here, so I thought I’d smash them all into a quick recap post for ya. First, we have been meaning to convert our master bathroom toilet to a dual flush version for a while (we already did it to the one in the hallway and the one in our first house) but when we gave it the ol’ college try, it turns out our new toilet isn’t compatible (apparently the angle/shape of the bottom of the tank kept it from attaching correctly).

So we padded down the hall to the guest room and installed it there instead. Oddly enough, that tiny toilet that is most likely original to our 60’s house worked just fine with it.

Now at least we can save water when our guests come to stay (and a dual flush button helps that small outdated bathroom feel a smidge more modern – haha).

Another little easy upgrade that we did was that we finally (only 20 months after moving in, har-har) found a place for our shredder, which had been cluttering up our closet forever. The solution? Our built-in desk cabinets. Except we had to figure out how to make it fit in there (we really wanted to keep that storage drawer on the bottom).

So our first order of business was to remove the pull out shelf, which just came down to removing the tracks and the drawer itself with a screwdriver (they were held in with simple screws along the track).

Then we drilled a hole right into the back of the cabinet, so the cord for the shredder could be fed through the back of the cabinet without having to come out the side or the front or anything wonky.

Bada bing, bada plug.

Then we shoved her in there on her side.

Oh and at first we worried that it wouldn’t work well on it’s side, but before we went through all this drawer-removal and plug-drilling trouble, we laid it on it’s side and used it like that for about three weeks before committing to “building it in” to the desk that way, and it worked like a charm. One tip would be to empty it pretty frequently just so the shredded stuff doesn’t build up around the front since there’s not as much gravity to pull things down as there is when it’s standing up. But other than that it seems to work great so far. And the best part is that with the door closed it all looks nice and organized. Hooray for hidden contraptions and fewer messy-looking wires.

Another little update that we finally got around to was rehanging our kitchen mirror on two super strong hooks (they each have 100lb capabilities) since a few kind folks with professional framing backgrounds commented on this post about hanging it on a wire (they said that over time a wire – even a heavy duty one like we used – can slip or lose strength, so two hooks used individually with something strong (like a heavy duty screw & anchor ensemble) would be best. Pardon the weird duct tape (more on that here).

So we just added a heavy duty anchor system on each side of the wall to line up with the new hooks that we added to the back of the mirror…

… and hung things back up. Now it should be nice and strong for the long haul. Oh and you might notice that I got some bird friends from HomeGoods for the mantel. Yes, more animals. Our house is a veritable ark these days.

And our last little thing was that John brought home some pretty yellow tulips when he went grocery shopping. Isn’t he sweet?

I put them at the table in the living room since I see them every time I walk through that room (and also get to enjoy them whenever I’m sitting on the couch and Real Housewives of NY makes me roll my eyes, which is surprisingly often).

Close up. Bam.

There you have it. Four things. What little updates are you guys up to around the house? Any toilet-pimping, shredder-hiding, mirror-re-hanging, or flower-enjoying going on in your neck of the woods?

Psst- We’ve gotten a bunch of questions from people about how Clara’s liking preschool, so there’s a post over on Young House Life all about it – complete with the way we’ll be documenting her first day of school each year. Aw shucks, they grow up so fast.



Reader Redesign: Foxy Houndstooth

Ready for some wow? Jess and Monica really turned some out for this makeover of their friend’s guest room. Sherry has been obsessed with houndstooth ever since I met her and you’re about to see a pretty cool take on it below. Here’s their letter:

Hi John and Sherry! We just finished a fun and affordable room redesign for our friends Connie & Mark, so we thought we’d share it with you. When a close friend asks you to help re-do their bubble-gum pink, non-descript guest room, you can’t say no.

Our favorite part of the room is the multi-colored houndstooth stencil. We love how it’s kind of a modern spin on a classic pattern. It was definitely a labor of love (we even called in some backup assistance), but it makes a huge impact in the room. It definitely set the tone for the rest of the space: mixing old with new.

We made the headboard out of old shutters (or are they doors? Not sure!). We needed something that would stand out from the wall, command attention, and add some character, so we were happy to find these.

Connie & Mark had this dresser that we knew we could wake up with some paint and new hardware, so that saved us some big bucks! Another fun part was coming up with a unique way to showcase Connie’s collection of old family photos. A simple gallery wall worked really well.

We wanted the room to be functional too. Since this is their guest room, we made sure to add some towels and an extra blanket to the $8 industrial cart so their guests feel at home.

We’re already planning a sleepover at Connie and Mark’s. Thanks for letting us share! – Monica & Jess

As much as I can’t stop looking at that stencil, I have to say I’m really digging the rustic, subdued touches that anchor the room. Nice work ladies – your friends must be in love. And for those who want to love on this room a bit more, you can check out some extra photos and deets on their blog. But first tell us your favorite part. Is it the stencil? The blue dresser? The suitcases at the foot of the bed? The homemade headboard? That cute plant stand? There’s definitely lots to love…