Day 080

In the kitchen, we’ve got this faux tin-tile backsplash. The plastic sheets you can get at the HD that is supposed to simulate a tin ceiling. Well, that’s my backsplash. And it’s kinda cute…

…but the light switches and outlets proved problematic for the previous owners. Apparently the solution to white switches on this silvery faux-tin was to cover the switch and outlet covers in a similar silvery contact paper.

It wasn’t too bad of an idea…just required a little patience, an x-acto knife and proper prep of the surface (and maybe some added adhesive to prevent it from peeling up later…)

But as most of their DIY projects, this one could go into the Pinterest Fail archives.

I can appreciate not being super handy or creative, I get it, that’s not everyone’s thing. But….

Really? ….just….why?

I thought it was bad enough that that contact paper was peeling up and just generally applied poorly.

But come to find out, they cut a 4 switch cover down to try and make a 3 switch cover….AND they couldn’t be bothered to trim the excess contact paper off, so they just folded the whole thing under and hoped no one would notice, or ever take that light switch cover off to reveal their dirty little secret.

Worse yet, to be discovered…when I started peeling off the contact paper, the switch was busted to pieces and that contact paper was being used to HOLD IT TOGETHER!

Well, trip #487 to the HD is in order to get the PROPER sized light switch plate and some spray paint. Luckily this is a cheap and easy problem to fix.

I used the hammered look spray paint from Rustoleum. It’s a little darker than the contact paper, but I think it’s infinitely better looking. Especially since the paint won’t peel up at the edges and look tacky.

I’m actually thinking of sprucing up the other light switch covers around the house. A little spray paint and some trim might make for something awesome. Stay tuned!





Super Mom & Dad to the Rescue!!! (also…it’s day 030)

Guys, seriously, I have the BEST parents ever. They took some time off and swooped on over to help us get the house in order and work on some projects! We have been getting SO much done and it’s FAB!

Mom is officially on Green Space & Garden duty while Dad – Woodworker Extraordinaire – has been manning the “workshop” (and by workshop I mean the floor in the middle of my super disorganized garage…) to bring my custom closet design to life!

A few weeks ago I was perusing the list of Craig to see if I could find anything useful for the house. As usual there’s things that look interesting, but I was so excited when I saw a guy selling off a HUGE amount of flagstone!


This is only 1/3 of what the guy had (we were still unloading the truck when I took this picture…)

*Sidenote* So, this all happened in July and for some reason around 1 or 2pm. The mid-day sun blazing on 2000 lb of dark, grey flagstone. Things got hot and heavy, quick. (See what I did there?)  Luckily there was a hardware store not too far from where this guy lived, because after loading a few, thoroughly pre-heated stones (and nearly melting our fingerprints off) we ditched and got some heavy duty gloves…although, we probably should have gotten some oven-mitts.

Mama-C-Ta and I started laying out a Pearl-approved stone area and garden in the corner of the back yard and it just looks terrific. It stays mostly shaded by the neighbor’s towering oak tree, we built in a kiddie-pool so Pearl can stay cool and splash around during hot days. It’s not done yet, but it’s going to be SUPER awesome come fall when we have a nice outdoor space to hang out and relax.

Meanwhile, indoors….

The men are getting manly!

The clamps are out and it’s getting serious in the garage. The boys have taken my closet design and are running with it. They’ve started on the large cabinet that will take up one of the 1/2 walls in the closet.

Did I mention that my closet has this *brilliant* 45° angle wall?

Check it…


So on these awkward-enough-already angled walls, the builders thought they would make everything extra fun and round out all the corners (because you can never have too many pieces of flare…)

Then, to make matters even more obnoxious, the weird little angled wall (bottom left of the diagram) isn’t actually 45°.


Question…Is it illegal for contractors to own a square? or level? or really any type of device that might actually measure things? Seriously, there are so many wonky walls (along with some seriously terrible trim installation) in this house, I think the contractors just got drunk and took turns pinning the tail on the donkey.


Aside from all the builder mishegas, we’re making progress! Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Master Closet Saga!

day 028

Have you ever just seen something and all you could do is sigh and shake your head? The past few weeks have been like that here in Casa Holt. You’ve already seen the closet disaster… next up on the list is this new, “open plumbing” concept I was unaware of, but apparently all the cool plumbers are doing it.

I had noticed that at the base of the cabinet there was always just…a little, bitty, bit of water. Sometimes it was a skosh more than an itty bit. Finally, I got fed up with the water mystery and decided to take a gander up under the sink. Well, nothing in the history of home improvement has ever been so obviously wrong….I opened the cabinet door and there it was.


HOW did this pass the home inspection?! What idiot saw this and thought “naw…it’s fine!”

I’m no plumber…but I *THINK* that everything ought to be connected…luckily, the pipes were still somewhat lined up, so, when water did drain out that side, SOME of it managed to actually get in the pipe while the remainder splashed all over with reckless abandon like some weird waterpark attraction.

*sigh* *eyeroll* *head-shake*

So, added to the list of “to-do’s” is to fix this. Also, notice that jumble of pipes and hoses? Purdy…in’t it?

Back on the closet disaster, my awesome dad is to the rescue! We bought supplies and paint and new tools (eeeek!) so we can build something FAB! (Because, seriously…girl NEEDS her closet to function…)

Up next is the Fabulous Closet Renovation in progress!


Day 017


Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but the master bedroom closets are deeeefinitely in need of  updating. Between what the neighbors have told us and what we “understood” from the realtors & closing…this house was “flipped.” Apparently the house had been rented out for years and was in pretty bad shape. I can’t quite tell if the landlords came in and “fixed” a bunch of stuff or if someone bought it at a discounted price and tried to make some money off of it.

Either way, the closets will need some updating. Just look at those drawers….all wonky. My mama did NOT raise me to have wonky drawers…

Holt House Revival - Closet - Before Holt House Revival - Closet - Before

Needless to say, when this endeavor started I thought “oh, well the closets are nice and big…AND there are 2 of them! I don’t have to share!!! This is gonna be awesome…” I happily picked my closet and thought the wire shelves were going to be just fine…

Then, while I was out getting stuff for the house and grocery shopping, hubby started unpacking boxes and hanging my clothes up in my closet (isn’t he sweet?). He got most of the way through the boxes, hung lots of stuff up and went to grab a snack. (Mind you, I’m still out…which is probably good at this point.)

He and doggity are gettin’ their snack on when…


The wire shelving in the closet RIIIIIPPPPS out of the wall and comes crashing to the ground leaving a sad but colorful pile of clothes and hangers. Here’s a bit of the carnage…

So, I tried to take some close ups and I’d like you to note that some of these photos are from before it came crashing down OR are of the shelves that didn’t manage to fall out of the wall, but I’m not sure how. Whoever put this in…well…you can draw your own conclusions…I know what mine are.

In case pictures aren’t worth a 1000 words…

  1. Nothing is anchored…seriously?!
  2. Nothing is level…
  3. The brackets are just hung wherever

RULE #1 of hanging pretty much anything that will bear a load…find a stud or – when in doubt – anchor the ever-loving thing with drywall anchors that will hold 12 times as much weight as you ever think it will ever hold ever!

Alright, rant aside, whoever put this stuff in just did a really shoddy job and I’m just glad that no one was in there when it decided to let go and create a really weird modern art piece on the floor of my closet. Granted, those weird 45° angled walls presented a challenge that required some advanced level thinking skills, but dude, bust out that tape measure and at least cut them the right length…

And seriously, buy some drywall anchors.

Long story short, WE WILL REBUILD! I’m just glad my parents are coming in a couple weeks and can help us make something awesome.

Day 007

Today is James Bond Day!!! Hahaha, or just day 7. We’ve had the house a whole week! (And we haven’t burned it down, which is pretty amazing because we’ve been doing some electrical work here and there. Husband installed my gorgeous Sputnik light and wired up the Nest Thermostat…now he’s installing some super awesome USB outlets in my office…(because I can never find the little dongle thingy that actually plugs into the wall to charge my phone.) Isn’t he awesome?

There was also some progress made on the kitchen cabinets. Husband sanded down the doors and I painted the base cabinets a lovely shade of light grey. I’m a little sad that the grey I picked was SOOOOO light…but it is still really pretty and makes the cabinets look so much more fancy than they are….so, I’m letting it go. Some kick-ass hardware will really make these cabinets look sharp! I can’t wait ’til the kitchen all comes together, but for now…more paint!

Speaking of paint…husband spent the remainder of the day painting my office and fixing the washer and dryer install. (When I bought them, they threw in the delivery and installation for free…that should have been my first clue. The delivery guys were 2 1/2 hours late – beyond their already massive ‘window’ of time – and they messed up installing the units. Ah, well…you get what you pay for!)

Tomorrow is another day with lots more painting to be done! But for now…Pearl just wants to watch the rain. (Does puppy breath help paint dry? haha!)


Day 005

5 days in and the house already looks completely different. It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do, even just slapping on primer cleans everything up so much!

We’ve been painting like crazy and now have some color amongst this beige barrage. The living room has a GORGEOUSLY deep blue accent wall and the laundry room is the most luscious shade of dark turquoise…it looks all velvety and amazing. The washer and dryer should be delivered this weekend and I can’t wait to get them in there.

Never in my life have I had brand new appliances of any sort and now I have ALL NEW!!! The sellers put in all new kitchen appliances before we moved in and now I have a brand new washer and dryer. When I was in my teens I never understood how anyone could get excited about buying dishes…in my 20’s and we were still renting, I just couldn’t get jazzed about appliances, as long as I had one that worked properly that’s all that I needed. But now that we’re home owners (and in our 30’s…..and apparently “all grown up”) all new appliances seems pretty darn fancy.  I think I’ll bust out the fine china….oh, wait….(seriously, who has actual fine china any more?).

Appliances aside, everything else in the house is definitely early 2000’s builder grade. BUT, that’s not to say we can’t jazz it up a bit. As you can see, I made husband take down the cabinets that were in the laundry room. #1…they were hung super high which makes them pretty non-functional for me and my vertically challenged family. #2 they weren’t really hung properly (there was an 1″ gap on the right hand side between the cabinet and the wall…) and #3 they just ugly and weird. So I’m gonna fix ’em. (Plans for that coming later…when I get my wood working tools back.)

The kitchen cabinets are a little better, they are actually solid “wood” (it’s questionable as to the quality of that wood, but they aren’t laminate! #itsthelittlethings #winning) So as husband was finishing up painting the laundry room the most gorgeous shade of turquoise, I started working on the kitchen cabinets.

I started by taking off the doors and prepping the cabinet facing. I filled in the bigger scrapes and holes with wood putty, sanded everything and once all that prep was done, started priming. It was pretty amazing to me how quickly this process all went. Granted, the doors haven’t been touched yet, but the cabinets themselves were ready to paint by the time we headed home.

While I was getting intimately acquainted with my kitchen cabinets, husband was installing his new toy. A Nest thermostat. This thing is crazy cool…it’s “smart.” It connects to wifi and theres an app you can put on your phone that feeds it additional information. You can log onto the thing from across the room or across the country and change the temperature. Eventually, we want to install the security cameras that go with it, they are pretty rad too…I can spy on BWD and even talk to her while I’m away. We’re gonna have a smart house! So excited!

As a perfect end to the evening, the paint on the accent wall & laundry room was dry enough to remove the tape. #sosatisfying


Day 001

June 28th – Day 001

Well, day 1 got us off to the races. We made 4 trips to big box home improvement stores, but finally got everything we needed (at least for today…)

I ordered a new washer and dryer, picked up some paint and painting supplies (including several thousand feet of painters tape) a lawn mower, one fabulous light fixture and various other materials to get us started.

On all of these trips I was accompanied by husband and big white dog. I love being able to take BWD places…but sometimes (when you’re on a mission) it becomes a hassle. I think everyone in the store knows my dog and her life story now. And tomorrow, we’ll be back…to tell it all again.

The beauty and curse of home ownership (I am realizing) is that there are so many beautiful, wonderful possibilities and things to fill your home with. Gorgeous, teeny, tiny oval Carrera marble tiles to redo the fireplace and scrumptious tile floors that look and feel like real wood….but…

and here’s the boot to your behind…

YOU CAN’T AFFORD ANY OF IT! There are literally thousands of things I didn’t know I couldn’t afford. You think “oh! this one is only $6 a sq. ft.” then you do the math and cry a little on the inside.

The big box hardware stores have all figured this out too…the things you can afford are in a dark, far off corner of the store where they are guarded by an ogre while the beautiful things you can’t take home with you are all shimmering and shining in display lighting at the front of the aisle.

All that home improvement glitz and glam will have to wait for another day. Today, I single handedly supported the manufacturers of blue painters tape.

I managed to snap some ‘before’ shots of the master…there is some hardcore beige-on-beige action going on here…it might not be suitable for all audiences. And then there’s that hideodorous ceiling fan.

I perseverated over what color to paint the master bedroom for days…possibly longer. (Husband is SO over trying to pick paint colors with me.) I am trying to match a bedspread that is currently in a wooden crate crossing the pacific ocean which makes for an interesting conundrum.

Do I wait for our stuff to get moved into the house, unpack all of the mystery boxes to locate the bedspread and have the minimum-wage paint guy match the color only to have mounds of boxes and large pieces of furniture to move out of the way when I actually get around to painting? Or…do I select a color with reckless abandon and spend 2 anxiety filled days painting the walls hoping desperately that it will look good?

I’ll take door #2, Monty!

So, we paint. Little by little we get the paint on the wall and I go back and forth (rather drastically) spouting soliloquies on whether or not I think this particular taupe is the correct taupe.

Finally…I give up, just like the dog. And decide that it’s time to throw in the towel, grab a glass of wine and leave the decision to another day.





What have we done?!

What just happened….What have we done?! 2 months of mortgage frustration and all the anxiety that comes along with buying a house “sight-unseen” finally subsided when we signed all…ALL…of those dotted lines. I may have to sell my soul to the devil or take up a new and questionable profession….but I would love if I could pay for my next house in cash.

With that all behind us (and approved! wahoo!), at 3pm on June 27th…we bought a house.

Thus…the next crazy adventure in our lives began. That’s where this little blog comes in. We’re documenting all of the before & afters, blunders, successes and creative musings that come with owning a home.

So, follow us, maybe? We’re gonna need all the moral support we can get!