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Diy Inspirational Ideas and "How To" Projects.

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Posted by on in Courtyards

We had some old pieces of concrete that we had from another project demolition.  So, I asked my block layer if he could help me use them to make a side walk for our courtyard.  He said, "Sure!", and away we went.


I laid out the pieces to kind of get a feel for where I wanted it to go.  Then we used a board cut to the size of width I wanted.


 I went in front of him and where the pieces would be sitting on top of the grass, I used a weed whacker to make it as bare as possible.b2ap3_thumbnail_3.jpg

Posted by on in Bathroom Remodel Before and After

This is our master bedroom/bath.  I built a wall with the help of a contractor so he could lift up the drywall and cement boards while I attached them.  This is where the temporary railing was on the right side of the upper stairwell (see the before picture below).  This gave us a place to put our double sinks.


I installed the travertine tile by myself and installed the hardwood flooring while my husband held up the nail gun for me.  It was quite heavy!

Here's what our master bedroom and bath looked like before I remodeled it.  I had already started to build the back bathroom area.  I installed a temporary railing because there was just a drop-off by the stair steps.  

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Posted by on in Barn Doors

I made this sliding barn door for our toilet closet in our guest suite.  I used pine boards, wood glue, and short drywall screws.  

I love the way it turned out.  I was going to fill in all the screw recesses but decided I liked the old world charm it added.  


Since we didn't have anywhere to hang towels, I attached 4 towel hangers, so now it serves two purposes.  



Posted by on in Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Below is a 'before' picture of some oak wood cabinets I painted for a customer.  This existing pantry cabinet ensemble was put together by attaching four stock cabinets to a storage bench and hanging wire shelves.  

As the arrows point out, the cabinets dropped down and were off-set from the other cabinets which gave it a hodgepodge look.  The back area behind the shelving and above the cabinets were just a bare painted wall.  


To give it more of a built-in look, I dismantled the wire shelf unit and added bead board paneling on the back wall all the way up to the ceiling.  Then, I added a couple of shelves and 2" top and side header rails.  I then trimmed the upper shelf areas with inside corner moulding (see picture below).


Posted by on in Courtyards

Here's how to strip and remove wallpaper, and the supplies and tools you will need:

Caution:  Before stripping wallpaper, make sure you turn off the main circuit breaker to the area you will be working in.  If you need light, use extension cord and light from another area of the house that is not connected with the circuit breaker you turned off.  Leave the light plate covers on to keep water out of the electrical area.  Come back to these areas later and remove the plates, then carefully remove the rest of the wallpaper.  It is usually moistened enough and removes easily.

Protect the floors and other areas below, using a rubberized drop cloth and towels to soak up the water that runs down the walls.


Posted by on in Courtyards

Here are the steps I followed to design and build my courtyard.

After weighing out our many options and getting a few estimates for our backyard makeover, i,e, wood decking, composite decking, pvc decking, concrete patio, stamped concrete patio, patio with a privacy fence, courtyard with a wood fence, stuccoed courtyard with...dizzy yet?  We decided to go with (long pause) the courtyard with stuccoed massive fortress-like walls, 2 big door gates and room for a pony, yeah!

But before we built our courtyard I wanted to make sure we were able to build such a massive wall and stone fireplace in our backyard.  And most importantly, wanted to make sure we could fit it into our budget. I did a lot of research by consulting with other contractors; home improvement stores; making a materials cost list; and asking the building department lots of questions. 

I even called our tax department to make sure our taxes wouldn't skyrocket.  Thankfully, they said the wall would just be considered a fence, and the largest portion of the increase, of around only $80.00 annually, would be from the outdoor fireplace and the stamped concreted patio.  The square footage of steps and driveways are not counted for taxes purposes.  Wow, I was on my way to getting my new backyard haven!


Posted by on in Crackle Painting

I found this buffet at a yard sale for just $30.00, and they delivered it too, at no extra cost.  Of course it didn't look this like this when I bought it.  In fact, I was afraid what my husband might say when he saw the piece of junk in our garage, haha!  I don't have a before picture, but it really did look like junk.  The guy at the yard sale even said that his wife threatened to chop it up for firewood if he didn't get it out of the house.  It was so massive that I started working on it right away so we could park our car in the garage.

Here's how to crackle paint and what supplies you will need to buy:

These instructions will give you a good outline for painting just about any surface, i.e., furniture, picture frames, etc.  The following instructions were written for crackle painting kitchen cabinets, but they can also apply to various other surfaces.   You can see some cabinets I crackle painted by clicking here


Posted by on in Crackle Painting

I applied a crackle painted technique to this piece of salvaged furniture.  It makes a wonderful TV stand for our master bedroom area.  I love turning trash into treasure!

I sealed this dresser with an oil-based polyurethane, instead of using a water-based polyurethane sealer which I used to seal a set of crackle painted kitchen cabinets.  The difference being; the oil-based sealer yellows over time, while the water-based sealer stays truer to the color it is applied over.

Before I crackle painted this dresser, I removed two wood inserts that were attached to the back boards.  The piece of wood I'm holding up against the door is one of those two pieces.  I busted them out from the back end, then used a router to notch out a groove, in order to bring the backer boards up closer to the front.  Then I caulked them with a dark brown color before I applied the crackle finish.


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Posted by on in Gardening

When we replaced our toilet, I asked my husband to not throw away the toilet tank portion of the toilet.  He thought I couldn't be serious, especially when he knew I hated tacky looking things like flowers planted in toilets bowls.  I said, "Pretty pleeeeassse, don't throw it in the garbage, I can think of something cool to make out of that some day!" 

After giving it some thought I came up with this idea.  The main thing was to cover up the hole where the lever was, so it couldn't quickly be identified as a toilet bowl tank.  Then I thought it would be cute to put the musical frog up there to make it look like he is charming his little frog buddy to come up to his flower garden haven and hang out with him.



Posted by on in Wall Treatments

Don't replace it...FIX IT!



These walls were severely damaged because the prior wallpaper hanger didn't use a wallpaper primer before papering the room.  So when my customer removed the wallpaper, this is what resulted.  If the prior owner would have just simply used a wallpaper primer, these badly damaged walls could have been prevented.

However, there is hope!  Most people replace their drywall when it looks like this, wasting time and money...not to mention the mess it makes!  I  skim coated the walls in this room, painted, and then did a stripe around the whole room.


Posted by on in Crackle Painting

Here, I did a crackle faux paint finish and distressed these kitchen cabinets.  Of course, this effect will work on any surface, such as walls, furniture, and accessories.




Posted by on in Privacy Fence with Gates

I designed and built two privacy fences and door gates on the left and right side of our pool area in our backyard. 

I didn't know how to build a privacy fence but looked at how the store-bought panels were made and decided that it couldn't be that hard to make myself.

The below picture shows the view or our neighbor's house before I built our privacy fence.  As you can see, their back patio doors gave a clear-shot view to our patio.  I just wanted to create privacy from that view but loved the view of their trees on the right side of their yard, so the antique window works perfect.

Posted by on in Craft Ideas

This unique work table is made from an old homemade table I salvaged.  I added drawers that I found in someone's garbage, and used my old scrap deck lumber to build the bottom shelf.  It is massive, measuring 8 feet long, 44½ inches deep and 39 inches high.  There's plenty of room for my craft friends.

I made a bottom drawer base and cut out holes to insert these four drawers I found in the garbage.  They are the exact length I needed to take advantage of all the space. 

The other side is where I built this tool box.  The table top had been made from gluing 3 pieces of boards together.  I was able to crack off one of the end boards, and fasten hinges, connecting it to the other piece.  After building a bottom, I was able to create this huge tool box with a flip up lid.

A salvaged a wire flower basket I found in someone's garbage, and fastened it to one the side to hold supplies.


Posted by on in Wall Treatments

Brown bagging is so easy to do, and this application can cover a multitude of sins on your walls.

You can even apply torn paper over ugly wallpaper, paneling, textured walls, cedar beams, furniture, fixtures, and even concrete block!  And, you can even use it to patch a hole in the wall, as long as nothing will be anchored to it.  It gives its own unique look and is much cheaper and easier to apply than wallpaper.  You can also use other papers, such as tissue paper.  If you wad up the paper, and apply glazes to it, you can get a leather faux finished look.  Scroll to the bottom to see more example pictures.




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Photo shared by on in Courtyards

I've always loved the look and privacy of courtyards, especially the ones with old world charm, but I didn't think building one would fit into our budget.  However, after 4 years of looking out from our back yard and seeing houses in every direction, I started out on a quest to see if I could find the cheapest possible route to making my dream come true. 

This is what our view was like when looking out from our "fish-bowl" back yard before the our courtyard was built.  Because of this, we seldom sat out there because we felt like we were on display.  

Also, it was a little unsettling knowing that these foxes live in our neighbor's backyard under a shed!  One of them came up to our front porch while I was sitting out there one evening. Also, one time I fell asleep on my front porch and opened my eyes to a stray dog starring in my face!  Considering this, an enclosed fortress sounded like the best idea.


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Welcome to my d-i-y Inspiration
blog, where you can find a
wide array of decorating and
building ideas and many "how
to" projects, with detailed
I've been a do-it-yourself lady
since I can remember.  Oh,
it's a lot of work, but the
rewards far outweigh the
I hope d-i-y Inspiration inspires
you with new ideas to help you
with that next craft or design
project.  And, if you're like me,
you just might get inspired  to
Yours truly,
Mary Kay Hansen

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