Changing Our Vanity From Blah to Boho

Robbie here!! This is the vanity we had in our en suite when we moved in. It looks okay but it’s harboring some stinky mold and falling apart so we had to replace it.

We had to remove the old one, clean the mold off the walls and replace it with something that’s a little more our style. Vanities at the big box stores didn’t seem to have the look we wanted. They were cheaply made and too expensive so after some deliberation I decided to make our own.

I took measurements of the old unit and ripped all the old water damaged garbage out of there.


We went down to the studs as the dry wall was bad too. We then proceded to scrub down the studs and everything around with bleach, mold inhibitor and fungicide. After going over it all twice we sealed it up with oil based paint and then a coat of Kilz primer.

Two coats of the paint to seal everything and replacing the drywall put our minds at ease.

2″x1″ and 3″x1″ common boards

It was then time for our weekly trip to Home Depot. Using the measurements we took from the old unit we purchased some white pine common boards, a 4’x8’x3/8″ sheet of sanded plywood and, a sheet 4’x8’x1/4″ birch plywood

Pre glue mock up

From there it was a “simple” task of figuring out how each piece would join the other so the outside dimensions were correct. I decided to use miter cuts and rabbit joints, this would mean we would have no screws or fasteners showing.

Once I had the main structure glued up and grooves routed for the back I turned my attention to adding that little splash of magic to our custom vanity by including a custom inlay! I have years of experience doing reproduction and inlay work on instruments so creating a custom design on our vanity was a nice change.

Using Walnut and maple veneer I traced out my butterfly shapes and then cut them out with a jewelers saw. The antennae are made from left over copper wire from redoing our laundry room ( more on that later).

After one coat of Puritan Pine stain from Minwax , I laid on three coats of oil modified clear to prevent future water damage. The next step was making drawers and doors. One thing that has always bothered me was that the top two drawers on every vanity are dummies to leave room for the sink. Looking at our sink and measuring it up I saw no reason for doing this. We wanted all our drawers to function.

I cleaned up the salvaged hardware from our old vanity and added a lick of fresh paint. I only had to buy two more sliders to make our new vanity work which is great! It’s always a win when I can reuse or repurpose things.

I definitely lacked some of the necessary tools to do this part of the build so I improvised with ratchet straps from Harbor Freight. They worked great with four blocks on each corner to keep things square. The drawer faces I made the same way I made the vanity frame, miter cuts and biscuits. Each face was made with the birch plywood laid into a routed channel. The faces will then be glued on and held in place with our selected hardware.

We needed the sink to get ready in the mornings so the drawers came a little at a time.

I wanted to make a special drawer for Marianne and her hair stuff. It was a pain not to have a place for her hair dryer and iron. She told me when she was a kid the extra sink in the double vanity was used to hold the hair dryer so I had a little surprise for her.

I started with a really deep drawer and framed half the drawer out. This would be the section to hold these bulky items. I cut a hole the size of her dryer and iron and used aluminum lined PVC pipe to holster the items.

I left room for and future items that may turn up.

With all the drawers and hardware in place I have to say I’m very happy with the way it all turned out. I think it embodies our style and adds a little bit of that “boho” sparkle that others were lacking.

How to Make a Fire Pit That Gets You Hot

Robbie and I have always lived in apartments or houses that have teeny tiny backyards so having this much space behind our house has been a really fun challenge. We dug a little temporary pit right off the deck but realized we didn’t want the fire pit to be the main focal point of the yard so we moved it more to the back and side of the yard to add dimension.

We used the drum from our old dryer as the walls of the pit.

Robbie tied a rope to a pole in the exact center for us to create a good shaped circle edge then I got busy doing what I do best – EDGING!!!

Please excuse my SEXY OUTFIT

Then we loaded the circle up with our leftover landscaping rocks

Next we’ll line the drum with some pretty stones or bricks….get some comfy chairs and it’s S’mores time my friends!! HOT TIP! Don’t forget to lay down weed block/fabric under any stones. If you don’t weeds will grow up through the rocks. We thought the stones would block the sun enough but nope – those suckers are determined!

We lined the pit with old bricks from a chimney we removed from the house and got those cute stumps from trees we had trimmed earlier in the Spring. All free! $$$

Make An Old Desk Look Cool Again!

Seems like everyone had one of these desks in the 70’s or 80’s right? With the antique hardware and orangey tinted wood it didn’t fit our Mid Century Modern-Boho-Unicorn vibe soooo……let’s hit up Home Depot and Amazon!

I grabbed some spray paint I thought would look good next to my peach, clearance Ikea curtains and ran to my favorite store – Home Depot. The drawer pulls I found were really pretty but expensive so I whipped out my trusty Iphone and checked Amazon. Sure enough they were way cheaper online so I ordered them with the very dangerous “One click” option (do NOT use One click while drinking – don’t ask me how I learned that).

We saved $8 by using Amazon and have two extra drawer pulls for some other projects.

Sand, spray lightly (Always do several light coats to prevent drips) and let dry fully!

Voila! All done – a nice update for our guest/office space for about $35 with plenty of supplies left over for other projects. We’ll never run out of things we want to spray paint pink – we have a young daughter after all….

Landscaping an Ugly Corner of the Yard


This corner of our gigantic, empty yard was clearly a dumping ground for the previous owners. There was a pile of rocks and smashed up concrete pieces from their old porch along with weeds, overgrowth and branches. With some sweat and basic garden tools I knew it could be transformed to a great focal point in no time.

I cleared the branches away and burned them


Next I cleared out a lot of the concrete chunks and started edging a bigger area to make a prettier shape.


Wait a minute these concrete chunks sort of look like rocks….I’ll use them!


After edging I lined the concrete chunks up as a border – free!

Looking good!


Lots of mulch and added some foliage – it will be so pretty when it matures

So What’s a Berm Again?

“What’s a berm?” “Why are you building that?” “What’s the reason again?” These are some of the questions I get when I tell people we’re taking dirt from the back yard and walking it in a wheelbarrow to the front yard to build a berm.

Here’s our house “before”
And After!

This is the area behind our house I grabbed dirt, branches and rocks from to fill the berm.

I’d say it took a good 80-100 loads of dirt (About 4-5 hours) to get it up to 18 inches. We threw old sand from the sandbox, rocks, dirt, grass – anything we could find to bulk up the berm for free.

After it was an acceptable size I layed down newspaper and old cardboard boxes instead of landscape fabric. This is the part the neighbors were probably the most confused about but hey it’s free and works just as well!

We got 3 yards of mulch delivered to top it off, bought a rhododendron bush, a wild grass bush and some pretty colorful annuals. Each year we’ll plant more until it fills in. For now this is all we wanted to spend but it adds interest to the yard and blocks out some of the traffic noise. It’s a win win!

Here she is! Once the shrubs and plants fill in it will look much more impressive but we love how it’s started out.

Alright here’s a little update!! We found some landscaping rocks that someone was unloading FOR FREE!! What an awesome score – we got 2 car and 1 pickup truck worth of rocks and she still has more for us!! Check out pics….

Here’s a look of the berm in Spring

HOW WE MADE BEAUTIFUL SHELVES FOR $6

After renting apartments all my life it’s easy to say I’m VERY comfortable calling the landowner or Super when things go wrong. Robbie, on the other hand is a true DIY’er. If a faucet is leaking or the ceiling starts to crack his first instinct is to grab his tool belt and run to the hardware store to fix it. It took me a while to get into his way of thinking now that I’m a homeowner. I’d have the phone in my hand ready to call someone then slowly realize….there’s no one to call. I have to fix it. BOOOO!!!

Also not running to the store to BUY what I need for the house has been another challenge for me. Robbie is the type of person that re-uses and repurposes things before considering buying a new product. I love this way of doing things but it takes way more patience and compromise AND WHO WANTS TO COMPROMISE??? Yes you can “one click Amazon” that perfect shelf to your house in a matter of hours but maybe go through the back yard and you’ll see some wood you can use instead? Reduce reuse recycle right?

That being said here are some shelves we made out of wood Robbie found in the attic – he cleaned them up and stained them then cut them all the same size….

I found black brackets for 75 cents at IKEA and painted them gold.

The finished (almost) product! Still have to find artwork for the center but the shelves turned out great!

From Thrift to Boutique! How We Quickly Cleaned These Barstools To Look Fabulous

I ALMOST missed these beauties at Savers because they looked so dingy but Robbie spotted them on our way out. They were the right height for a bar we want to make in our dining room. Even though the bar doesn’t exist yet we knew at $20 each they were too good to pass up! They needed some TLC but were in great shape.

Here they are “before” -still have the Savers price tags….

Robbie used this stain to clean up the wicker
Look at the difference!
An “After” and “Before” (After on left)
Ok they don’t have a home yet but look how nice! I still may paint the legs….stay tuned….