$25 New Front Door

This legitimately might be considered stealing, but I am totally blaming multi-tasking and not paying attention as to why I have a new $25 door.

A few weeks ago, I decided we needed a new front door. I am sure the previous home owners are giving me the biggest eye-roll ever, since they probably paid a million dollars for our current door. The current door, as seen below, was a custom door (since the row homes have the smallest door openings), it weighed at least 200 pounds and had a very fancy glass insert that I’m sure was all the rage in the 80’s.



But the color was blah, the door was dated, and even with a good coat of paint, that oval glass insert was never going to be ok.

So after researching my options for the custom sized door and coming up with nothing less than $1,000, I had to get creative. So I headed out to Second Chance, a used furniture and Building Materials store in my neighborhood. I knew I might have luck finding the right size door since all houses in our area are row homes with about the same size openings.

After combing the racks of doors, I found one that was the right size, shape and would let in good light through the windows. It needed a serious coat of paint, but was manageable. The door had $100 price tag, and lucky for me it was 50% off Doors and Windows weekend. I let the stock guy know which door I wanted and he helped load it in to a cart and take it to the pick up area. Now here’s where it gets a little sticky. He wrote me a receipt for $50 since the door was 50% off and told me to take it to the register and pay, and then he would load it in my car.

When I got to the register, I handed the woman my checkout slip and credit card and then got side tracked by beautiful glass door knobs (who can resist glass knobs?). I figured she would check me out while I perused the knobs. She handed me my receipt and I went to pick up. The stock guy loaded up my car with the door and I headed home. Once I got home and looked at the receipt, I realized she gave me 50% off the door – again. So $25 total. I probably have terrible Karma following me around now, but I was pumped anyway!

Here is the door the day I got it home:


On Sunday, Collin and I went about getting that door mounted. We first removed the old door and measured where the hinges needed to go on the new door. Then, we mounted the new door. It actually was the first time we have ever mounted a door and it actually fit on the first try.


Once mounted it was ready for paint. I chose Benjamin Moore Marquee in Art District. It is this great muddy brown green color that brings some much needed contrast and looks great with the white trim and black hardware. The door needed 2 coats on each side.

Here it is in the day and night:



Its looking so much more modern and clean, let’s in a lot of light and we’ve gotten a bunch of compliments from neighbors!

A little side by side action:

Next on the list is to paint out the mouldings around the door and finally finish off this area!


Make Store Bought Art Look Custom

Guys. This is an art game changer.

Now that I figured out that the mirror above the fireplace was just wrong, I have been searching for some large scale art to hang in its place. I checked a million different places, and even considered trying to make some myself, but the size I needed was expensive anyway I sliced it.

Then a Home Goods miracle happened and I stumbled upon this cutie:


  • Size: 40″ x40″ (perfect!)
  • Colors: Blues to match the couch, Greens to Match the walls (perfect!)
  • Price: $40 (seriously, perfect!)

So I snatched it up and ran towards checkout. I got it home and hung it above the fireplace. It was still great, but the light color towards the top of the art, got lost against the white fireplace. It just needed something small to make it pop.

I headed to Home Depot to pick up four 1.5″ pieces of trim at the cost of $1.96 each. When I got home I cut the trim to size and stained the pieces.

Finally, I simply nailed the trim pieces as a frame directly to the art work:




The stained frame matches the Mantle and puts a nice boarder around the art. For an extra $8, it was well worth it! It makes the art piece look more custom and pulls together the room perfectly!



Coming back later this week for a new front door (eek!), a DIY Console Table and to find out where the mirror went!

Living Room Detail Work

Happy Tuesday!

I might actually have more than one post this week since we had a really productive weekend! Collin and I have been out of town for the past 2 weeks, so it is finally time to get back in to the swing of things around here.

Our goal at this point in the renovation, before fully diving in to the Bathrooms we need to fully gut ($$$), is trying to go back through the house and finish all of the detail work that needs to be done. So we are starting in the front living room.

Last week, Collin had off on Thursday so I tasked him with finishing some detail areas of the floors. When we laid the floors we were missing a piece called the Stair Nose. I needed one that matched the hardwoods we laid, so I ordered it from Home Depot ages ago. And then it sat in our living room collecting dust because neither Collin nor I had ever installed one before, and didn’t want to mess it up.

I don’t have a great before picture, but you can sort of see below that the edge around the step down to the tiled entry is just cut straight across.


To start, we pulled up 7 rows of flooring. Since it just floats on top, this was easy. Then Collin cut a piece of the edging at a 45 degree angle and then cut to length for both the left and right side. We installed that with nails.

All that was left was to re-lay the hardwoods and shorten the end ones. Here is the finished product:

IMG_0639.HEIC¬†We do need to finish off the edges with 1/4″ Round still, but overall it is a much cleaner, more finished look.

In addition to this little flooring updates, big moves are happening in the front living room. Since my last post, the big temp couch is gone and we were able to rearrange furniture to get the room back to the way it should be. Also, we ordered a new rug from rugsusa.com, and bought some IKEA curtains to finish off the window areas.

Here is the before and after of the same view:

Before: The cowhide rug that used to be here had an incident with a dog we were fostering (not the angel in the picture below, he is a good good boy). That had to go so we did a little rug borrowing from the den and guest bedroom. This rug works in here, but I need to buy a new rug to fill the rooms that we just took from. Also, the Window Treatments look unfinished. I think its because the windows are so tall (like 6.5 feet tall), but they need something else. Finally, the mirror above the fireplace, while so cute, can only be used by someone over 7 feet tall.


After: A more neutral rug in the right size (6 x 9) helps lighten the space up. I picked up the RITVA window treatments from Ikea (118″) and hemmed them with simple iron hem tape to the right height. Finally, the mirror has been moved to a more useful location (more on that later this week)


Later this week I’m going to post all about the new front door (the steal of the century $), a simple update to make some affordable art look custom, and a DIY Console table I built! Get excited!




New Fireplace Surround (Again!)

Exactly this time last year we were renovating the living room. Even though at some point we claimed this room was complete, we lied. As of recently, we laid new hardwoods in here, started demoing the stairs and need to replace the Front Door.

To be able to install quarter round, we really needed to finish some small details of the hardwood floors. One area we didn’t really address was the fireplace. Originally, when we built the fireplace, we planned on installing a gas insert. Once we started doing research on the costs and permits required, we changed plans and went electric instead. We were really happy with that decision, but the fireplace had been built for a gas insert measurements and the new fireplace insert was smaller. To compensate for the change we had installed a bunch of different moulding and edging to make it look finished, but it never felt perfect.

To add to that, neither of us either loved loved loved the tile we chose for the surround. Since we were back in this area finishing floors we decided it’s now or never to make the corrections and get this installed perfectly.

Reminder of the before:


You cant’ tell the issues in the picture above because of the black mouldings that were installed around the fireplace insert.

We started by pulling out the tile and boards. It was only 3 long pieces of cement board, so everything came out easy. We had some extra cement board in storage, so we were able to just cut that up and install right where the old one used to be:

IMG_0478 (1)

Next, Collin added the tile adhesive to the cement board:

IMG_0480 (1)

And I followed behind installing the tile. I would mark the tiles that needed to be cut and Collin would use the wet saw to trim them to the required size.


We let that dry overnight and then I came back on Monday after work to Grout. We used the grout color Platinum, which is the lightest grey grout they have.



Since we had the majority of the supplies on hand, the update only cost about $60 ($45 for tile and $15 for grout). The low price makes the fact that we finished this area twice more bearable.

Next steps in this room are to install quarter round where the moulding meets the flooring and finish off the step areas with a fancy piece of flooring. We also need to return the temporary couch that is in this room and replace it with the furniture that has been hanging in all other areas of the house during the Kitchen demo. Stay tuned!