March 20, 2012

Home Updates & Upgrades

We mentioned yesterday getting a couple home projects completed. We've been trying to get smaller things in the house accomplished here and there while we plan for a larger masonry project coming up later this month. After that larger project is complete (which we'll detail as it happens), we'll feel more comfortable taking on the bigger updates we have in mind.

Aside from assembling this storage rack for our cellar, we hung Basil's dog hook and installed new register covers downstairs. One can never have enough storage options, right? I can't promise a few choice words didn't escape my mouth while putting this shelving unit together, but hey, we're keeping it real. It's a basic 3 tier storage utility shelf that was supposed to be 5 tiers, but it's getting the job done and honestly, I'm not sure the entire shelf wouldn't have angrily ended up in the trash bin if I'd gone for the top 2 shelves.

As you can see, Basil was supervising this project, per usual.

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Now for a project that took little to no effort — Basil's dog hook:

I actually found this funny little hook while we shopped at Ikea before our vacation to Mexico and we both just stopped and laughed while in the warehouse. It's a dog butt and the tail is the hook — could there be anything better for hanging Basil's leash on? We couldn't think of anything either.


The hook had a hollowed out base for hanging, so installing was a cinch. We first agreed on placement (hardest part of the whole project) which ended up being among the other hooks already positioned in the closet when we moved in. Because of the hollowed backing, we can easily move it from place to place if we change our minds or upgrade the closet down the road.

After marking the placement and preparing for the screw with a couple taps from my punch tool, I drilled a screw into the existing wood and secured the hook right onto the screw.

Side notes: that fuzzy blue thing on a stick is technically a cleaning tool that helps us reach the cobwebs in the corners of our high ceilings and if you looked closely you may have noticed a hole at the bottom of the closet door in the above photo — we think this must have been a cat door in a previous life and have no idea how or when we'll remedy that (there will be no cats because I am allergic).

Then we hung the leash — and that was it! Now we have a little chuckle whenever we see it.

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In other easy and successful home update news, we installed upgraded register covers throughout the downstairs. Our upstairs ventilation comes from the ceiling, so it was a non-issue there.

We started out with basic register covers that looked like this:

While a little beat up, they were still functional, but a little blah. A few weekends back I got a picture text from Mary asking if I liked a style of covers — she was in Costco braving the crowds for some of the staples we need but like to buy in bulk and had happened upon these.

Side note: Going to Costco can be a bit of a challenge but Mary could spend hours in there, so she handles these missions when we need to go on weekends.  I can do weekdays but weekends...

Back to the covers, they were nice and she needed measurements (a mission I was happy to be responsible from the comfort of home with the game on in the background). They appeared to match, so it was a win.


I was also happy to tackle the install here which consisted of carefully removing the old register covers (I did this with the back end of a hammer), thoroughly cleaning the cavities with a vacuum and duster (yes that was nasty - see?), then fitting the new covers snugly in place.

We're particularly thrilled with the outcome of switching out these plates, I mean if I was selling a house... As for the old ones, we slid them into boxes the new ones came in for safe keeping and plan to donate to Goodwill.

Basil tries to steal the show in every photo we tried to get of these register covers — if you can take your eyes off him and look to the back corner of this pic, you'll see the new one in our family room in place.

Oh and you can also see the new pillows we picked up during our shopping trip to Ikea in their new setting. These decor touches are more in the realm of Mary's domain, but they've been surprisingly comfortable to lay back on and support my legs & back while I've been tackling this recent pain in the "ahem" back.

...and from the other angle. This is the current state of our family room. Lots of work still to be done, and yes — you did just see a picture of Jerry Garcia hanging above our mantle. That's all me. We're not sure where in the house Jerry will eventually end up, but for now he watches over us in here.

So tell us — have you tackled any small home projects that packed a large punch you are proud of? Is Costco a challenge like it is for me or do you just weather the storm like Mary?


  1. I'm really impressed that Mary is able to brave Costco on a weekend. Years of working from home (and therefore being able to make day trips to the store) have pretty much ruined me for going into any big box store on the weekend. "Who are all these other people in the store? What are they doing here?"

  2. Hahahah! Oh my, I read about your projects and it brings back memories. We bought a 1970's house and had to use a jackhammer to get the lava rock off the fireplace. We were redoing the floors and hated the fireplace as well, we didn't want to ruin the new wood flooring so we figured we should tackle it at the same time we took out the old flooring.

    My Dad didn't believe us when we said it wasn't coming off with a sledge hammer and chisel. So while Rusty and I were at work, my Dad and our two year old went to Home Depot. When we got home that evening Maddox was walking around saying that Grandpa broke our house. It took 8 hours, 3 men and me to get all that stupid rock off the wall. Don't even get me started on what we found when we got it all off. So NOT code.

    Love Costco, avoid it completely on the weekends and during any holidays. The house looks awesome, can't wait to see what the big project is!

  3. HaHa...I'm with Kelly....I avoid any store on the weekend....too spoiled from working at home! Fortunately my husband is a trooper & doesn't mind it at all!

  4. I can't believe I accidently stumbled upon your beautiful blog, this post is great and the images all around your blog are trully amazing and make me want to read more and more. Your house looks great by the way...good job!:)

    1. So nice to meet you Meital!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading along — we so appreciate it!

  5. Those new add-ons sure compliment the wood flooring perth-like finish. Not too bright, just the warm colors.

  6. I agree that no one can ever have enough storage. If only I can do it perfectly like you did then I think I can create lots storage cabinets.

  7. Can you create a tutorial for that basic register cover? I am not good at installing those kind of things on my floor.


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