09 Nov

Calling all DIY’ers

With the most wonderful time of the year exactly 45 days away (GASP!) I thought it would be a grand idea to share your creations with the *virtual* world.

If you’d like your treasure featured in the Crafted Corner please complete the form below. I’ll take care of the rest!

Tip: You can upload your images here to enter below.

Submission Form

If you have any questions please leave a comment or send me an email.

I look forward to sharing your wonderful creations!

(All contributors will have the opportunity to review their featured post prior to it’s being published.)


09 Nov

DIY Curb Appeal

DIY curb appeal

Somewhere in my DNA there is a nomad gene, of this I am certain. I got it from my dad.

In the last 16 years I have moved 338 times. (I have actually lived in 11 different places in 10 different cities but you can see how that would feel like 338 moves.) Half of those moves were to apartments; the other half were single family homes. Earlier, I mentioned how our current house is the first ‘used’ one we’ve ever purchased.

curb appeal rehab

Now, when it comes to clothes I have no issues wearing the same jeans 3 days in a row (unless*especially if* I am painting/staining) and I’ve been known to wear all of my black shirts in succession for an entire month. But you won’t catch me driving the same color car and I have never owned the same color house twice.

I believe the anal retentive gene came from my mom.

To date, I had never had a cranberry front door and I certainly wasn’t going to start with this house. See how dark and drab and blah it was? It didn’t compliment whatever shade of siding that is…

paint the front door

Is it gray? or green? maybe tan? Either way it made the front porch feel like a cave. Nothing about it said “Welcome”. Instead it screamed “Paint Me!” So, that’s what I did.

Now, I don’t know if it is because I’ve spent so long in the construction industry or if I’m just an odd duck but my favorite color for the last decade or so has been orange. I LA-OVE it. And not just orangey-orange. I am a fan of terra cotta and rust and melon. I like them all. But I am obsessed with that orange-red color you find tucked away in the center of a Spanish olive.

Only, I didn’t anticipate it being so BOLD.

The awesome thing about paint is that in no time you can erase the bad decisions of the past ~ 2 hours to be exact.

bright orange shutters The shadows on the front porch tone the door color down during the day but with the overhead light on at night I doubt anyone would mistake my house for their own; rattling the door handle yelling to let them in, damn it. (yes, this really happened at residence #6 – I guess alcohol makes all the really similar houses look identical.)

Anyhow, while I was painting the door and shutters something about the porch column post was nagging at me. I decided that the overall scale was off and decided to beef the scrawny guy up a bit.

Unfortunately, I tackled this project before I had any inkling of starting a blog so I am lacking pretty ‘How To’ photos. It’s ok though – all the cool blogs have done this before me so I’m in good company. Instead, you’re going to have to conjure up images in your head based on my (not so) in depth ramblings and we’ll call it an interactive exercise. M’kay?

First, I removed the top and bottom casing trim on the existing post. {Photo 1} I whipped over to Menards and picked up a green treated 4 x 4 and cut it to size heightwise. Then I stood it up next to the existing lumber and smacked ‘er into place.

beefed up porch column

Confident the beam was wedged in well enough and the porch header wasn’t going to come crashing down, I grabbed some scrap wood (1 x 6’s) and built an box to encase the supports. I left the back board off so I could ‘wrap’ the 3-sided box around the front and sides. Then I held the last board up and shot nails in to finish it off. So that it didn’t look unfinished, I cut and added trim to the top and bottom of the post. {Photo 2}

I wanted something whimsical to soften the hard edges of the new column. I had this fabulous idea to add a sconce to illuminate the new address numbers. We order a lot of pizza and I was starting to feel bad for the delivery guy since the numbers weren’t visible from the street (either because the first set was light gray or because I left them off entirely for the few days week I took to finish this project ~ whoops!) Since I was well passed the caulk, paint and prime stage it was a tad too late to install any electrical. I had to pull out Plan B.

I went gangbusters trying to find a way to transform a hanging metal candle holder into a glow-in-the-dark outdoor lantern.
Google eluded me. Pinterest failed me. I was ready to duct tape the top of a broken solar pathway light (the aforementioned ‘box’ may have fallen over during construction) on the inside when I found exactly what I was looking for at Lowes. On sale.

Sometimes you just have to succumb to retail.

I painted and replaced the address numbers, and installed the prefabricated outdoor solar light.

Then I stepped back to look at the progress. I was happy. This was a house I could live in (even if I didn’t have anything to do with building it). Later that night, the pizza man was happy – he had no problems finding out house.

And as far as I know, I’m the only one in the family with the DIY gene.

quick curb appeal update

 (…notice the front door is primed in this pic? It’s STILL like that today – I’m waiting for the weather to pass before attempting to re-re-repaint it. That is an entirely different post.)

05 Nov

DIY Magnet Board

DIY Message Magnet Board

There are {a lot of} times I have absolutely no idea what day it is. I wake up and look over to the hub’s side of the bed just to figure out if it’s a weekday. That works more than half of the time. Knowing which day of the week it is another story.  Apparently, staying up until the wee morning hours amid paint fumes has affected me. Needless to say, I’m not always in a huge hurry to sprint out of bed and start my day.

Unless it’s Thursday.

On this magical day I am out of bed before my French alarm goes off eager to see what goodies were left out overnight. Can you believe it? Every week people put things I will most definitely fall in love with outside for me to take. Free of charge. No conversing, no haggling price, just a complete “here you go Dee!” right there at the curb perfectly positioned to toss into the back of my truck. And so toss I do.

I swear, Thursdays are better than Christmas.

Not too long ago during a mad dash to beat the trash truck I stumbled upon these lovelies patiently waiting for me to take them home. I’m pretty sure my mom once drooled over these exact mirrors at someone’s Home Interiors party. I googled “Home Interiors gold mirror” and found an Ebay auction where these puppies are priced at $60!

While horrendously gaudy in gold, the top mirror was in perfect condition. It’s twin didn’t quite make it so I opted to split them up, give them individual identities and bring them into the new millennium. The original hardware was in tact (including hangers for both directions) and the backing came off easily. Underneath however, I found several multi-legged castaways. Thankfully, none were alive so eviction measures were swift. (Cue the shopvac & grab the sani-wipes.)

Both frames were then treated with a bleach bath followed by light spray primer. The mirror got all dolled up in a *custom* (and by custom I mean let’s pour some of this paint into that can to see what happens) pink color.

This little beauty quickly found a new home in a spunky 3-year old’s new ‘big girl room’ (hooray for online garage sale sites!}. I decided it’s misfit twin find would stay with us.

DIY Message Magnet Board

Grabbing my tin snips and some sheet metal, I set to work making an edgy magnet board for the kitchen. Between the pantry and laundry room, directly across from the fridge is a small wall. I figured this guy would fit in perfectly there.

Some swipes across the surface with a wire brush created texture. A couple of peel ‘n stick magnets added to some leftover back-splash glass and slate tiles finished the ‘bad boy’ look I was going for.

DIY Message Magnet Board

VOILA!  Not too shabby for a Thursday morning curb surfing session huh?

01 Nov

TGIF! (Thank goodness it’s free!)

DIY Magazine

(This contest has ended. Jackie R. was the lucky winner!)

Can you believe it’s that time of year again – already? I know many people take time during November to reflect on what they are thankful for so in this spirit I wanted to show my gratitude to you! As a token of my appreciation, I’d like to share one of my very favorite magazines with a lucky reader ~ for free!

Better Homes & Gardens’ Do It Yourself magazine has been a fire starter of inspiration for many of my DIY projects and I’m sure you will find ideas to jump start your own make-overs too!

How To Enter

Complete the entry form below. Tell me what purpose your spare room currently serves. If you don’t have a spare room or haven’t gotten around to creating a vision for it yet – think ahead for what you’d like the space to become. Be sure to complete the entire form!

The winner will receive a full 1-year subscription. The winner will be chosen at random via super cool computerized widget-ability on November 24, 2012. To accept prize award, the winner must be willing to submit personal information to fulfill subscription details (full name, address, etc.) as required by BHG.

Btw – this contest is not, in any way, sponsored by BHG. It is strictly offered as a promotion by DeeConstructed.com as a way for me to welcome you to the blog, kick off the new year and share my design inspiration.

Good Luck!

30 Oct

Taking the long way around

organized files

I’m going to tell you a secret. I haven’t always been creative. Not unless you consider coordinating color coded file folders and labels artistic anyhow.

Like any decent secretary I could apply pretty themes to PowerPoint presentations and add graphics to handouts but I stayed within the black & white confines of the corporate world. My days were consumed with HR policy and procedure – single spaced in 11.5 Times New Roman font – collated and bound in pretty blue corporate binding, all sealed with a gold sticker.

It was enough to drive me mad.

I got my first taste of construction in 2004, after accepting a support position with a Chicago-based property development firm. I expected this gig to be more of the same; catering to big egos who sat behind even bigger desks. And a lot of the time it was.

But it wet my appetite for work that excited me.

When I left my administrative post I joined the ranks of the general contracting world. I worked on large-scale commercial and retail projects (malls, strip centers, and big box stores). I helped build local schools and municipal buildings. Here and there private medical offices or interior renovations were tossed in and I was involved in all aspects of their growth too. For a short while, I even assisted in roadway and bridge-building jobs. I got paid to run around in jeans and tennis shoes.

Commercial Projects (some of my actual projects)

I can’t explain what it was that I loved about the work I was doing.

The pay was low. The hours were grueling. Owners and Architects had unrealistic expectations. City and county codes could be near impossible to decipher (much less abide by) and the amount of legwork that went into bidding a job only to lose out by $100 was disheartening to say the least.

To my surprise, there was a tremendous amount of paperwork that got pushed around. More documents went into erecting a building than did bricks. And the industry was chock-full of arrogant folks who demanded around-the-clock support. More than once I was told girls don’t belong in the field. Yeah, construction was definitely a boy’s club.

But there was something about a vacant lot morphing into an educational facility or an old warehouse converted to residential living that inspired me.

While most of my coworkers were eager to move on after the building shell was in place, I always found myself anticipating the interior build-out phase. I would pour over the finish schedules and fixture selections envisioning the final product. I secretly coveted reviewing submittal packages so I could ‘build’ a small scale version of the design on my desk.

So, I pursued an interior design degree. Only, I hated selecting uptight textiles and creating mood boards. I dabbled in civil engineering courses but really didn’t care where a building should sit on a site. I found architecture interesting but didn’t think highly enough of myself to pursue it as a career.

I was frustrated. I just wanted to take big, empty spaces and make them my own.

In September 2011, I remarried my ex-husband. Part of the ‘pre-nup’ included me stepping back from a 60-hour work week to allow for more family time at home. We’d just purchased our first ‘used’ house and while it was still relatively new (and had the ‘new house smell’) it wasn’t mine.

I had had no say-so in the location, layout or design. I didn’t like the floors or countertops. After 5 years the walls were still builder basic white and the honey oak trim made me cringe. The place lacked character but I could see its potential.

Casa B

With time and creativity I figured I could put my own stamp on it.


29 Oct

Coming Soon!

Hello there!

I am slowly working my way down the ‘To Do’ list. Today, I made it to:

127) Start a blog

I’m thinking that #126 should have been ‘Figure out HOW to start a blog‘ instead of ‘Paint something another color – again‘. Sigh. {I never do things in their intended order – where is the fun in that??}

I did, however, come up with a cool name and logo design. How’s THAT for progress?

And so it’s back to the imagination station to figure this fun stuff out. Wish me luck and stay tuned!