Kitchen makeover

This has been a long time coming. From the day we moved in I hated this kitchen. The weird, funky, useless island with doors that wouldn’t close, the ugly oak color, the green granite with turquoise tile and of course the pink huge exhaust fan the hung from the ceiling uggh!! Mr Big has been dreading this renovation. It was going to be a total gut job. In the end, only the refrigerator and sink base are from the original layout. Habitat Restore and Craigslist were great friends during this reno…..


kitchen dining (4)

kitchen dining (1)

layout and back of island

For the longest time I wanted an off white kitchen, but factory cabinets are pricey and with so many teenagers in the house I really didn’t feel painted cabinets would stand the durability test. I decided to sand down and stain the cabinets we already had and someday when we are empty nesters I will paint them all the color I really want.

                                                         Sink base before and after


Sink base after





sink base after


We used provincial stain, as we have done in the whole house. I added iron inserts from Ross/Hobby Lobby into the window and cabinets. We also added a faux beam to the ceiling. I intend on adding a few more! Laminate rustic flooring replaced the scratched up bamboo floor. We added a new pantry door, a $25 Craigslist find. I just had to stain it and had the iron buttons.



Mr. Big built the island himself! It is 5′ x 9′ of much needed work space. We entertain a ton, I don’t know how we did it before. The most expensive thing in the kitchen was the granite. Similar styles to ours were running $75 a foot. We found ours through a wholesaler for about $25 a foot. I really love the colors.




Island  moves in!


The refrigerator built-in was made from a $15 oven cabinet from Craigslist that we covered in bead board and changed out the cabinet doors. The Subzero was $450 from the restore. I sanded and stained the panels then added the bead board. I love the look of stainless but was sick of cleaning all the smudges and fingerprints everyday. It just scratches to easy with our big family. I wanted a refrigerator that looked more like a piece of furniture. I took the top piece off an old entertainment center we had and stained it to match. Mr. Big built the enclosure and added a small broom closet to the end. The warming drawer was new at a sears outlet for $99 and the microwave was a scratch and dent for $200 from an appliance warehouse sale. The dishwasher was from Lowes for $500

builtin redo

The 60″ double 24″griddle wolf range was a great find from Craigslist. It was my dream stove, I never thought we would be able to afford one. The difference in cooking on this range is really unbelievable.  This came from a vacation home in Aspen, It was hardly used, their personal chef didn’t like the burner layout and wanted something different. Oh the problems of the wealthy lol. We bought it for $3k, a great price considering they were running about 10k online even for the older model. The negative side is it weighs almost 900 lbs. After driving 6 hours to get it, moving the back breaker into the kitchen was not so fun lol.  I didn’t like the black knobs so I ordered red ones ($150 ouch) and it gave it more of an updated look. The added pot filler ($130) has come in very handy. We use a lot of spices so keeping with the furniture theme I had Mr. Big build spice racks ($70) that look like legs around the stove. We used the same legs around the sink.




We had old sliding doors ( forgot to take the pix) after the remodel they just didn’t fit in. $50 Craigslist oak double doors stained to match makes the entrance more substantial.


All in we spent around 12k. We got a lot of bang for our buck. Considering some HGTV kitchen renos run 50K+.LOL Mr. Big would pass out if I said 50k anything. The kitchen is now an entertainers dream.  We have had a ton of parties and have yet to run out of room. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!



Backdoor makeover

Our backdoor opens to a covered patio. It was a mess. The doors are really heavy so I hated to throw them out. Eventually they will be replaced but for now they will have to do.




One of our best deals from Craigslist, this iron door set which we purchased for only $75. The same doors are over 3k. They are very heavy and add the screens allow us to actually open the doors without a rush of bugs. We trimmed it out and stained the doors Provincial.IMG_5081

New bathroom sink

We have 5 bathrooms in this house. Only 2 left to remodel. The 1/2 bath is so small,  (4×7 )that I can’t even get a decent pix since I can’t get far enough back to get it all in a shot. Straight out of the 80″s is the pitiful before….

As usual this was a last minute whim when we finished the kitchen. Much to Mr. Big’s dismay I ripped up the floor and took out the vanity while he was at work, so we had to fix it 2 days before a big Christmas party we were having. How patient he is, any other husband would consider that divorce worthy considering how sleep deprived we already were getting the kitchen done. I saw this dresser set on Craigslist for $100. I knew it would be a perfect vanity, it just needed a little TLC.



After some stain, an IKEA $100 sink, Restore $30 sconces and a $70 Lowes faucet we have a new vanity.




Mini bathroom makeover

I have ignored our guest bathroom knowing it would be completely remodeled in the future, but 2 panes of the mirror fell out and shattered (thanks teenagers lol) so I thought I would just buy a cheap mirror until I figured out what I wanted to do. As I shopped,  I knew I would have to redo the vanity too since I would never willingly buy anything oak just to match it. That’s how all my projects go, I want to do 1 thing which turns into 20.

I don’t care for typical vanities, I prefer pieces that look more like furniture. I did this same treatment to our laundry cabinets, it’s easy and I had most of the supplies left over. I added feet (1 from Lowes cut in half $7)  and new Hobby Lobby wooden knobs. ($2 each) I had most of the appliques already, but they run about $2 at Hobby Lobby.



Mirrors are expensive, especially when you need one that is almost 4×4. Most were in the $150-200+ range. That was to much since I would be replacing it all later. I found the right size for $12 at the restore, I love 20% off days there lol! It was damaged and so ugly!!! It is not real wood so it was chipping. Same paint/applique treatment made it as good as new.


I love Spanish style iron lighting and scored at the restore a sconce pair for only $25 each. I spent around $90 for this update, much less than the cost of 1 mirror!mirror3



Stair makeover

Our staircase was ugly and dated. When we first moved in, you couldn’t even see it since it was hidden behind a wall….. You could only see a few of the treads peeking out from bottom. This is the before view. The balusters had more of colonial look up close. They had used hardwood flooring for the treads, they were so slick, it was a hazard. The risers were a faux oak, that just looked horrible! While shopping around to get an idea of what it would cost to have it done, we were quoted $5000 for the ironwork and installation since it a large project…. ummm no thank you. I knew we could do it for much less.

family rooms (7)stairs1before stairs2beforestairsstepsbefore

I loved the reclaimed stairs and beefy metal detail bannisters I found on Pinterest. They fit the style of our home. The room has a lodge feel so these would be perfect. Now we just had to recreate them.

stairsinspiration stairsinspirerustic-staircase


We bought common pine boards that I distressed. I used Minwax Provincial to streak the tread, then sanded it off and applied golden oak over the top.

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A quick tutorial on YouTube, taught us how to install the iron ourselves. It was really pretty easy, just time consuming.


We purchased the balusters and the double sided fireplace from a lady who had just taken them out of her home. They were heavy wrought iron, not the hollow ones. They run about $15-20 each, we bought 120 of them for $100. What a great deal!! It really opened up the space. I added additional ornamental iron from Hobby Lobby just to give it a little more life. The scrolls run$27 each, I bought these for 50% off making each of the $7. (We used ties to hold them while the weld putty dried) We added metal detail to cover up the seams in the wood. I used metal carpet molding which was easy to bend, sanded it down and added nail heads spray painted in flat black. A vintage fireplace screen is the perfect door to keep our dog from going upstairs. The project came in around $600. Lots of bang for a little buck!

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Dyed leather couch makeover

This piece is what started it all. I bought this adorable leather chaise for $50 from Craigslist a few months ago…


I wanted to find a leather couch set to match it, one that had wood carved detail to also match the leopard chairs. They are a little on the pricey side… This particular couch and loveseat retail for over $3000! Patience pays off, the ad on Craigslist said “excellent condition” woo hooo….the price of $100 for the set should have been the give away. When I arrived the set had pen and sharpie marks all over it. It was sun faded on half of the top, which gave it an almost greenish color. The leather was dry and the wood was in need of a good sanding. Why did I buy it, when I should have ran?? The people selling it were clearly in desperate need of the $$, I couldn’t say no and decided it was worth it for the wood pieces if nothing else. The “bones” of it were really good. It was in great structural shape. Of course hubs was not impressed when I hauled it into our back porch. Over the years he has come to accept my affection for “another persons trash” lol. This one however, even had me thinking that maybe it was not salvageable. I remembered a post from another ugly leather couch owner who dyed it to bring it back to life. I decided I would give it a try since the dye was only $30. WOW! what a transformation!!!

Here she is in her before state…the side view by the arm shows the actual greenish color part of it was.


After cleaning it thoroughly, I purchased (Ebay) a 32oz bottle of Fiebings leather dye in chocolate brown for $23, I also bought a 4oz bottle in black to mix with it it for $7. The brown by itself has a reddish base, and I needed a brown that was so dark it was almost black.

I was shocked how easy this was. It’s a wipe on wipe off process. The smell however will knock you down. I wore 3 masks and 2 pair of gloves and the dye still wound up seeping thru onto my hands, it is strong stuff. MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS OUTSIDE. I can’t stress enough how potent the smell is.

Here is the couch almost done to show the difference, now you can really see the sun damage…


The cushions had the most damage from wear and their daughters artwork. (my daughters toes are a nice photo bomb lol) I used the dabber for the cushions and a lint free cloth for the rest of it. It dries quickly, but takes about 12-15 hours to cure. I let it sit for 24 hours before putting anything on it, just to be safe. Let it cure outside to help with the smell. It does dry darker, which covers more imperfections.

couchcushionbefore couchcushionafter

Here is the finished product! Sooo much better. They look like new and they match the chaise perfectly! The poor lighting in this room makes them look darker than they are.


This set is going in our office/2nd family room. The room has a lodge feel due to the rustic fireplace and wood beams/walls. I made 11 pillows in a southwestern theme. I like to mix rustic and “fancy” pieces together. I reused some of the “granny pillows” that came with the chairs and gave them a new life. I used the same leopard fabric from the chairs for the backs of the pillows, so if I get tired of the this print I can flip them over to do something else. I made removable slipcovers for the extra dining room chairs we keep in the back, so they would blend in.


I really love the “new” set! I have already gotten a lot of compliments on it. With the dye and leather cleaner, we spent about $150 for the set. Not a bad deal. Since I frequently like to switch furniture out, the inexpensive prices on Craigslist is a great way to get a piece and not feel guilty to get rid of it when you tire of it. I know I can resell it for quite a bit more than I paid, so all in all it was a great investment.


The dyeing process for both pieces took about 4 hours. I put 2 coats on. It took about 20 oz. Let the coat dry awhile before applying the 2nd one. Check Fiebings color chart. Even though the color looks really dark in the bottle, the browns all have a has a strong red base. If you google other dyed Fiebings furniture pieces, you will see how red it can be. I didn’t know it at the time, but Hobby Lobby carries the 4oz bottles in a few colors so you can do a test piece before committing. Make sure to wear at least 2 pairs of gloves, at least 1 pair that is for chemicals. The dye bleeds right thru and it will stain your hands. It does not come off very easily. I hope this post will save some beat up leather couch from the dump lol.






Guest room makeover


Our guest room was pure hideousness when we moved in. Electric blue walls, sponge painted with a darker blue and a navy ceiling BLECH!  Get your sunglasses ready for the before pix. The after is so much more soothing to the eyes.


Some friends of ours tore out almost 800 sf of their great carpet to put in hardwoods (which we will eventually do) so they gave it to us for FREE.  A painting contractor sold us two 5 gallon buckets of commercial paint/ primer that was left over from a job for only $20! These 2 things made such a big change for almost no $.

I had an idea for a dramatic headboard. I scrawled it on a piece of paper and showed it to Mr. Big AKA hubs and as usual he thought I was crazy.

I started searching for a baroque style headboard on Craigslist, I got lucky and found one for $25!  When we arrived to get it I thought it would be one of the plastic types, which is what I wanted but this was solid metal! The thing weighs probably 50 lbs. It was so pretty I couldn’t pass it up. I found the exact headboard on Etsy for $700! Score!  However, my husband was not excited to hang this monster on top of a 7 ft bed. Lol.

Here is the before pix of it golden glam.



Next, we bought 10″ and 3″ boards at Home Depot and built the faux beams. All of the wood came to about $60. I stained them with provincial stain by Minwax. I did a dry brush technique using white paint to “age” the wood.


Hubs assembled it all together. It’s a heavy piece and its secured to the hilt.  I made the burlap ruffled bed skirt and all the curtains. I always sew bed skirts directly to the bed so they don’t move around.


The armoire is a piece I have had for almost 20 years ACK! It was so worn out and faded. I stained it the same color and did the same paint treatment on it.



The electric fireplace was another Craigslist find. I will totally revamp it at another time and make it beefier, but for now we just added a wood box under it to raise it up.  Stained it darker to get rid of the ugly oak color.  It adds so much warmth to the room. Nothing like a fireplace in the bedroom to make it all cozy!


The glitter wreath for $1 and 2 side tables were habitat finds. The TV tray was 0nly $3. The sawhorse legs were only $1.50 for the pair. (I already had the decorative shelf so I just added it to the top of them) They gave me the beat up picnic basket which I put on top of the night stand. Free is my most favorite price lol.

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I have had this dresser for years, I didn’t have to do a thing to it except sew the runner for it. I bought both vintage suitcases for $1! (Gotta luv craigslist) I turned the small one into a toiletry holder. The rug was a Goodwill find for only $25. The shabby chic brand bedding set was also from Goodwill,  still new in the package from for only $39.

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We trimmed out the window seat to make it more substantial. I used tan ticking to make the seat look like an old mattress. I made the curtains and used the left over burlap trim from the bed skirt for the bows.



The  bifold doors were awful oak, so I wallpapered them and added the hardware from Hobby Lobby ( my 2nd home lol) they were about $4 each.

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I still need to add a few touches and a wall mirror. A room is never really done in our house lol.

Thanks for looking at our new room!