Making an “eh”‘ door “THE” door

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

This boring door, that’s who.

Oh, hey, I didn’t even notice you.

This was my front door when we bought our house: (we painted the address numbers on recently). You can tell it wasn’t my favorite thing on the house.

A solid door with nothing fancy the same color as the siding. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing that makes you want to do the shimmy, either. 🙂 This part of the wall that juts out to the right is our utility closet, so there is no window on this side of the house, making this corner of my living room really dark. I was hoping for a door that allowed light in somehow.

Well one of my close amigas commissioned a special, unique door, and she was getting rid of one with window panes (!), so I was glad to recycle it for her. 🙂
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Poor boys  worked late into the night trying to get the door to fit!img_0958

And here she is on my nice, real life front porch (notice the carport junk that needs to be put away!)

My only thought was that the door wasn’t really me. Was I going to be trading out a door that was made for this doorway and house but let no light through for a door that had windows, (for free) and I wasn’t even going to like it because of the style? If you’ve seen my house, it’s  a pretty simple 1960s midcentury tract home. It has no extra fluff, there’s no scroll work, there’s no chunky crown or country french details or farmyard chic going on here – it’s all about clean lines and simple detailing.

I thought to myself, “don’t get the door – it’s going to look odd on the house and you’ll want the door that goes with it once it’s gone. Better to get a window kit and cut out places for the windows to go on the old door, instead.”

I wasn’t sure how to do that and I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk ruining my front door due to my limited skill set! So I thought a little more about the type and shape of doors that really do speak to me. I like these a lot:


But there was no way I was going to pay nearly $400 at Home Depot for this one or $450 for this one! Holy moly, that’s a third of what I have left on one of my (28) student loans. No. Way.

So I thought about my friend’s offer a little harder and I realized I could improve the door. A coat of paint, maybe some plywood paneling?

I hauled the kids to Home Depot (there’s one on the way home from church – it’s not even out of my way!!!) to pick up paint and wood paneling. (And have them cut everything to size there – Hollah!) img_1200

I measured the space under my window panes because that was going to be the width of my sheet of plywood paneling. It had to be thin – just a quarter inch – to look more a part of the door. One sheet of plywood was enough for two 28 x 48 panels plus the leftover for who knows what project :-). I had them cut to size the sheet of plywood, and I grabbed five paint swatches and their samples that I thought I’d like. Then I went to town with a staple gun, a level, and wood glue to attach the panels and cheap foam brushes and my paint samples.


Sample number three won out(Parakeet colormatched by Behr I believe) but number two was a close second. It was crazy how samples in the store that were so green came out sunny yellow on the door. A lesson for me when I’m trying to be cheap cheap cheap: get the samples anyway!!! They’re only $3.48 each!

The first layer got me excited. But also nervous. Did I just paint my door baby poop green?

And yes that is my bathrobe and an old toothbrush on the bench. I wanted to get a coat on the door before going to work with only a half hour to spare but I didn’t want to  change clothes, so I just put my bathrobe on backwards (wearing it like a hospital gown) to keep any flying paint off of my clothes. The toothbrush was to clean the corners and little edges of the panes. (I thoroughly cleaned and liquid deglosser first.)

The second layer looked even better and then a third did the trick. Bye bye baby poop. I might do just one more because it can’t hurt! img_1261

Oh I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Here’s our little transformation.

doorsThat happy color makes me do a happy dance. So what was my budget breakdown?

5 paint samples @ $3.48 each $17.40
5 Foam brushes @ $0.79 each $3.95
1 Panel of plywood @ $11.97
1 Quart of Behr exterior semigloss @ $12.98
Door: Free!
(Deglosser, staple gun, staples, and wood glue already had)

= $46.30

Less than $50 bones! Not bad for a door update- especially considering I still have a huge plywood panel left (I’m thinking functional bedroom art… more on that later) and tons of paint. And oh boy do I have plans for that paint! I’d still love to swap out the handle for something more streamlined, I need to weatherstrip it, and I need to finish cleaning the panes – then this project will be done!


What are you up to lately? Any affordable updates?




Sharpie Subway Tiles!

Well my little kitchen’s recent laundry reno still needs work and while working on finalizing it I wanted a quick feel-good update. That of course costs nothing 🙂

So I added subway tiles. How can that be free? Well you read the title – I sharpied them on. 🙂

I had some gold, bronze, and silver Sharpie pens leftover from a Christmas project I did last year, so I decided to use the silver to draw the grout of my tiles. I am not concerned about sharpie on the wall because I know rubbing alcohol removes Sharpie AND we own our home. We hope to actually tile over it before we sell it. So

Here’s my before kitchen – which really needed some work! Call me inspired by all the fabulous real bloggers who shared their real life homes on their blogs recently.

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Ok ok ok so that was honestly my kitchen before. then I cleaned it up and that was almost enough for a reveal in itself hehe.

I grabbed two Sharpies and a level.
Hmm I need to re-paint my nails.


Then I simply took the level to set straight, level and plumb lines, horizontally along the wall. I didn’t mind that I Sharpied the sides of my level as I worked. Soon, I had lines set. I just kept things simple and used the level as the spacer for the height of my tiles.


And yes, those are painted-over wall anchors from previous tenants. I am not sure what to do with them so I just left them and painted over them myself. They bother me in the picture but not in real life. 🙂

Once I had my lines, I just stood the level on its head to make “tiles” that were six inches wide, set off 3 inches from the row above.


Then I just worked across the wall. I decided to terminate the tiles where the upper cabinets ended above my stove. That makes it like a wall of tile over there. A Wall of Tile that Makes Me Smile. #poet #thatsterrible

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Yep, I still have lots to do in the kitchen. But as for the tiling – It’s subtle but it sure is nice. 🙂


And its a great backdrop for my chore-loving kiddos 🙂

What have you been up to? Any updates on your end that are affordable or free?


Clothes Pin-up art

Guys I am LOVING the latest #fabandfree decor we installed. In January, Handsome Husband got me a National Parks Calendar beautifully created by the Anderson Design Group and I’ve been itching to hang the prints somewhere. The prints are large enough that in a grid, they make a real impression, so we picked the space above the couch which was REALLY needing something nice and weight-y above it. And they were hung with clothespins hence… clothespin up art. Hehe. 🙂


And the glorious after! IMG_0989

This project was free for us because we used “found” items we already had at home. And it was so simple:

  1. I made sure I had enough clothespins for the grid I wanted to create, plus a cute lil” assistant
  2. I drilled a hole with the 1/8th drill bit in each clothes pin at the second, inner-most line (I just eyeballed it)
  3. I used a level to space dots 7 inches apart – this would be where my clothespins would rest.
  4. I used the level to measure 17 inches above the first row so my clothes pins would be in exactly the same spot in each row
  5. I put a brad nail at each pencil mark
  6. I hung a clothespin on each nail
  7. And then I hung my prints from the clothes pins!

Wahoo! Simple, a bit time consuming, and I love it.

The best part… SO DOES HANDSOME HUSBAND. Typically he dislikes my design choices with an extreme displeasure. So to hear him say “Guess which ones are my favorite” and then to go back and forth enjoying each print – that was awesome. Decoration unicorn!

Free and fabulous RUG

So this happened:
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That’s right! The orange geometric rug is G-O-N-E hallelujah. Rugs just make a place feel complete and put together. They ground a space and of course are functional: make it soft underfoot for little ones (and we big ones.)

The only teeny tiny smidge of a problem was the previous rug was orange. Burnt orange. And it brought out the burnt orange tones in the couch (which is loathe-worthy to me. But I digress because I need to choose gratitude over my attitude.)


Overall it just made the space feel bleh. So, I was driving in a snazzy neighborhood, because sometimes snazzy people decide they’ve tired of their perfectly snazzy things and they decide to set them free on the side of the road.

And wouldn’t you know what I came upon – a rug!

Now I know what you’re thinking: bad idea. But I have been there, done that, and I gave the thing a small test. When it passed the smell test, I decided that since it was such a huge rug, and judging by the high quality accessories the people in these high end neighborhoods invest in, this was probably a few hundred dollar rug to begin with. If I get it cleaned for $100 I’ve probably saved at least $100 – maybe way more. So I’m getting quotes and if it’s not insane and I can do it with my blow money savings – we’ll see!

Anyway the way I see it I’m rescuing it from certain death in a landfill and it can have a second life with me and my family.



I didn’t want my heavy stump table to crush the fibers or stain it so I turned it into a  little sidetable/ extra seating. Win win. That’s another free way to win with decor: move the stuff you’ve already got around.

And the orange geometric rug has found a new life in our bedroom. One step closer to looking like we live here and own the place and we’re not just squatters!

Anyone else fearless enough to take on a trash to treasure find? Have you snagged anything great lately? I’d love to know!