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Inspiration: Pantry

Alas, the pantry is still not done due to life. Seriously, I’ve been working some long hours and Nick’s 9-5’er hasn’t stopped there. We’ve done some fun little projects including adding some [fake] flowers to the front porch and creating a little (real) hydrangea garden in the front yard. I read something online (because you can believe everything you read online) that said hydrangeas are easy to take care of and keep alive. Well, so far, they’re not. I guess I have to consider that my black thumb might be part of the problem. We will soon have some before and after pictures of the front porch (once it’s all done). And I know the suspense is killing you as to whether or not I kill the hydrangea by the end of the summer. I may give up completely and plant fake flowers all over the yard. Don’t judge, the thought has crossed my mind a time or two. It’s something this black thumb can handle.

Moving along on the pantry front, (verrrrry slowly) I thought I’d show you the inspiration  that spurred our impromptu trip to the hardware store.

This photo is from House of Smiths and you can find the entire pantry makeover here. I salivate a little every time I see this. Don’t you just love the organization? Granted, our pantry won’t look exactly the same. We have textured walls and won’t be able to wallpaper (sob) and we have a different kind of shelving. But we aren’t trying to reproduce this exactly, just take inspiration from it. I am still sampling paints to find that perfect grey color for the walls. The shelves (and trim) will be painted with a Valspar paint called ‘Doves Wing.’ One of the paint samples I picked out for the wall color is called ‘Dove’s Cry.’ We could have a whole dove theme going on in there.

I have started picking up, little by little, some storage options for the pantry to keep everything in place and organized once it’s all completed.

My in-laws got these for me for my birthday last month. I asked for them and was so excited to see them in their pretty little box. These are from Hobby Lobby and were purchased 50% off. They are great for keeping things fresher for longer and (even better) more visible and easily accessible. I like the clean, sleek look of it all.

I also picked some of these up from Target for less than $5 each. Wouldn’t they look cute with some black and white labels? Something simple to identify each food item like these.

These were on clearance for $7.48 each at Target so I picked up two. I was thinking about finding some cool looking potato sacks and putting them in each basket to hold, what else, potatoes! (And onions, garlic, and such.) I was thrilled with my clearance find!

My favorite addition to the pantry…

A banana hammock! Nick laughed at me for this one. But it’s totally worth it! At least aesthetically. You should get one, your bananas will thank you.

The photo above gives you a little sneak peak of some of the paint colors we are looking at for wall colors. The one on the left is ‘Dove’s Cry’ that I mentioned earlier. On the right is one that Nick picked out called ‘Roasted Garlic.’ (Both by Valspar.) I’m not dying over either one so we’ll keep shopping around. Maybe something a little darker, but not too dark. Something with a little more contrast to the trim, shelves, and cabinets. Suggestions?


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The Ugly Duckling

When we first moved into this house, there was a room space that we named the nook. If you can imagine, it’s about the size of a small walk-in closet. It sits just off the kitchen before you get to the dining room. The previous owners had it set up as a tiny office space with a tiny desk and one tiny set of drawers. Tiny. Doll house furniture tiny. It was cute and made some use of this otherwise useless space so originally we set it up in a similar fashion. That is, until it became abundantly clear that no one wanted to sit in a closet for a prolonged period of time in order to use the computer or pay the bills. We would bring whatever we needed from the nook into the living room and work from the couch. We soon wised up and pulled all the office stuff out and it became a catch-all for kitchen overflow. We put two small bookcases in there and stored whatever didn’t fit in our kitchen cabinets. Over time, it grew to look like this:


She’s a beaut, Clark. (Hides head in shame.)

We became so frustrated with this mess that we, on a total whim, took off to our local hardware store, baby in tow, and bought what we needed to turn this ugly duckling into a swan. We’re going to make it a walk-in pantry! I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. If you’ve ever owned a home old enough to be your great-great grandma you know that it comes with minimal cabinet space. (Thus the overflow disaster you see above.)

We came home and put Evelyn down for a nap. Which meant we had three hours (on a good nap day) to put this thing together. We pulled everything out and were left with this:

See the white squares on the wall? That was my brilliant idea. Before putting up the mounts we had to pre-drill holes into our walls to install anchors to hold up each one. Nick held the mounts on the wall while I slid scraps of paper behind and taped them in place. I simply marked each piece of paper with a pencil through the original holes in the mounts so we would know exactly where to drill. We drilled right through the paper and were left with perfectly aligned anchors on which to hang each mount. Once the anchors were in place we pulled the paper out from behind, hung the mounts, and were left with what you see above. Maybe it wasn’t the simplest way to get ‘er done but it did the job. Nick was nice enough to humor me and my scrap paper technique.

My job was to hang all the brackets in place for each shelf to sit while Nick went to the garage to cut, sand, and router each piece of wood. We could have bought finished shelves and saved ourselves a few steps but in the interest of making this project as cost effective as possible we chose to do it ourselves. The prefabricated shelves cost five times what the lumber cost. Yikes! Also, it didn’t come with nicely routered edges that mimic those of our kitchen cabinets. Since our goal is to make this part of the kitchen, we thought it would be nice to make it as seamless as possible.

Did you happen to notice the banged up paint job on the trim? In order to continue with the seemless look, we will be repainting all the trim and walls in the nook pantry and in the kitchen the same color and finally join these rooms together. Each shelf of the pantry will be painted the same color as our cabinets for an even more seemless look.

At this point, nap time was over. Therefore nook renovation was over. We still have to (1) paint the trim, walls, and shelves, (2) contact paper on the shelves (to protect our paint job), and (3) frame out and install a door in the opening of the pantry. It may take a few more weekends and a few more naps to get through everything. It should be fun to watch it all unfold.


One Way, Or Another…

Writing down everything that needs done with this house is enough to send me into hysterics. But it is nice to be able to check something off my list and see how things have progressed. And like Blondie says, “One way or another I’m gonna win ya! I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha!” Maybe that should be my theme song. You know, Rocky has “Eye of the Tiger”, well this gal has Blondie in her corner. (I think that song is about being an insane stalker… eh, it’s got a good beat. I can look past the stalker part.)

So let’s get to it.

Nick’s To Do List

OK, so maybe that was cheating. I thought it would be fun for you to try and decipher Nick’s chicken scratch. For those of you already going a little cross eyed, it says –

  • Dowel rod for chair
  • Security light [for garage]
  • Hallway outlet
  • Bedroom outlets
  • Back porch lights
  • Garage Electrical
  • Siding
  • Garage door
  • Call roofers
  • Cap for sewer pipe
  • Move red blocks (Not originally crossed off, but it’s done)
  • Remove Christmas lights (Aren’t you glad this is done? It is the end of June, after all.)
  • Move fence out
  • Remove patio
  • Cut stairs (back)
  • Sod for backyard
  • Move trailer to garage
  • Replace doorbell
  • Replace front door
  • Put real door in walkout
  • Paint closet interiors
  • Burn stuff out back
  • Get drywall for garage
  • Get drywall screws
  • Mulch flower beds
  • Seal driveway
  • Get 2.5″ or 3″ [construction] screws
  • Get set of drill bits
  • Cabinets for nook
  • Shelving in basement stairwell
  • Basement door catch
  • Armoir [For the hallway]

I took the liberty of crossing out some of these that are already done. Many were short term items that he added for the moment or items we decided to nix completely. We only have one years time so we have to simplify and be realistic in what we can accomplish. My list looks a little different than Nick’s. I typed it up in Excel, organized it by room, and made it color coded. I tried to do a screen grab so you could see all of it’s list-glory, but couldn’t figure it out. Not one to disappoint, I printed it and scanned it for your viewing pleasure. The printer is out of colored ink and by the looks of it, nearly out of black ink. Fortunately for me you, this one is more legible.

Christina’s To Do List

The different colors would have been way impressive but this black and white version will have to do. There are some duplicate items between the two lists. It can’t hurt. It will get done either way, right? Does it seem like we have a lot to do before our year marker is up? It does to us. These don’t even include items for staging a house to sell, that will come later. That means I get to look forward to making a pretty new staging to-do list. For now we continue to work, little by little. Nick called this afternoon to ask if I wanted to go out on a Lowe’s date tonight. (How romantic! No, seriously.) He dug a post hole last night for some backyard fencing adjustments and we need some concrete to pour into the hole to stabilize the post.

Join us, won’t you? On this journey full of successes and failures. Since neither of us are professionals I am sure there will be many failures. As DIYer’s, that’s to be expected. The final result will make it all worth it in the end. Right?



In December of 2009 my husband and I purchased our first house, a 100 year-old bungalow in the hub of Illinois’ capital city. We were total smitten kittens until we made it through the honeymoon stage and realized that we had made a lot of typical first-time home buyer mistakes. The biggest one being that we didn’t know exactly what we wanted in a house. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great house, just not for us. We were two and a half people large and had grown out of the house before we had a chance to live in it.

Let’s have a little house tour so you can see why we fell in love (it has good bones!) and why that love faded so quickly.

Living Room

This is the first thing you see when entering the house. All the wood trim is original to this 100 year old house. (Pardon the box of cleaning supplies, it was moving day.) Those two small windows flanking the fireplace are so old the glass in the frame is still wavy (therefore SO cool!).

Dining Room

From there you move into the dining room. Do not adjust your computer monitor, those walls really are a serious shade of puke orange. At this point I will introduce you to the blurry photo bomber in the background. That is Lola Beans. You can call her Lola or Beans, she responds to both. She is our part dalmatian, part something else, pound puppy. This photo marks the day she became a part of our family. More on that later.

Orange walls aside…

Dining Room Ceiling

How amazeballs is that ceiling? (And I never say amazeballs.) It was the wood detail in these two rooms that attracted us to the house from the start. Before you ask, yes, it is yellow. Where the idea for pumpkin-orange walls and a urine-yellow ceiling came from, I will never know.


The kitchen had been renovated by previous owners. It was a DIY job, and who doesn’t enjoy a good DIY job? I love the stainless appliances! It’s hard to tell from this photo but the walls are an unappetizing shade of mint green.


Pardon this pathetic excuse of a picture but it seems to be the only one I took when we first moved in. The floor is peel and stick tile. The sink is a little bit of an upgrade from what would have originally been in here but I wouldn’t mind something that provided a little more storage, especially for a bathroom with no linen closet. (My first clue should have been the armoire placed in the hallway outside the bathroom by the previous owners.) And while this photo does it no justice, there is a free-standing bathtub in there. This was another feature of the house I couldn’t help but drool over during our walk through.

Master Bedroom

Three words: hard wood floors. In the words of Rachel Zoe, I die. But (and that is a BIG butt), this so-called master bedroom is sorely lacking in closet space. There are two more bedrooms in Casa de Barnett that closely resemble the master so I won’t bore you with photos of those. Just imagine four walls with (ironically) larger closets. Just know the paint colors were equally as bold as the pumpkin guts smeared on the dining room walls.

Our goal is to sell the house. In order to do that we have to make the house sell-able. My hubby and I are DIYer’s who are stuck in the middle of a million DIY projects that need done before we can even think about putting this bungalow up for sale. And since we created a mini-DIYer in 2011, a lot of things have been thrown even farther back on the burner. Our time frame? One year. Do you think we can handle it? Wait for post number two when I share our ever-growing list of ‘To Do’ items.