Taping & Mudding (at Mom & Dad’s)


This weekend was pretty productive; I managed to finish the grout in the kitchen (pics on the next Dueling DIY update this Wednesday!) and Dad & I got the first coat of mud on all of the walls in his dining room: The pics were snapped as the sun was setting on day 2,  so most of it was already starting to dry.  Next steps for next weekend will be sanding & another coat of mud (& then one more sanding), and then the fun part begins.  If all goes to plan, our weekends should … [Read more...]

Picture Frame Molding Challenges: Outlets and Windows

picture molding

When it comes to molding, working around the obstacles of the room (like outlets, windows, or even the room not having perfectly level walls) is the biggest challenge.  In my dining room's picture molding project, I faced all three.  Here's how I got around them. Spacing First, let's start with spacing rules in general.  While researching this project online, I learned that there is no hard and fast rule for how far apart these boxes should be.  They often range from about 2¾ to 4 inches … [Read more...]

Puttin’ On The Ritz (Picture Frame Molding!)

picture frame molding

I was very, very tempted to call this post Even More Caulk Jokes.  Especially since as I type this, my fingers are sticky and it's driving me crazy.  But I'm simply way too excited to show you this first: Helloooo there.  Thanks to my uncle (and his brother Timmy), we got a lot done in the last 24 hours.  Not only did they organize my garage (more on that later), finish off my work bench for me (more on that later), and trick out my kitchen window with new molding (you guessed it... later!), … [Read more...]

Casing the Joint: The Dining Room, Part 1

window casing

My goal, someday, is to have casing around ALL of the windows in the house.  I'm starting with the lower floor.  And more specifically, in terms of this blog, I'm starting with the dining room.  Mostly because the camera was closest to the dining room.  That's how this blog works: on laziness. But let's back up for one quick sec.  My doors have trim (aka "casing").  My windows and some of the interior door frames don't.  While this may not bother most some people, it bothers me.  It's like my … [Read more...]

Ain’t No Need to Go Outside

(If you haven't figured it out by now, most of my post titles come from song lyrics; today's is courtesy of one of my favorite rainy day songs). Well, the weekend didn't turn out quite like I'd planned.  It was mostly because of the rain (pouring all. weekend. long. with big, fat, chilly droplets that only made me want to curl up in bed).  But my Dad and our neighborhood handyman, Tony, also had to cancel their trip over to the house, so all of my outdoor improvement plans have to wait … [Read more...]

Dining Room Progress

Skim coating is always slow going.  But I've managed to finish off one bucket of slop (the bucket I was using for the bathroomskim coat job) and moved on to a new one. Ah, nothing like a fresh bucket of joint compound, eh? Sorry for the grainy night photos.  Most of the work I've been doing lately happens after I get home from work (I'm so glad that it's going to start getting lighter again soon!).  Charlie stays pinned to my side the whole time; if she's not laying down in the room I'm … [Read more...]

Whack a Wall

There is a wall that lies between the dining room and kitchen.  And I wanna whack it with a hammer.While the kitchen is already on the large size for this house (the extra space near the sliding glass door makes it feel roomy), the wall that separates the two rooms feels dated to me.  Homes nowadays are more open in terms of floor plans, and the dining room just feels more cramped by comparison.Funny story: I had difficulty finding a photo taken of the other side of this wall.  I guess it's not … [Read more...]

Molding My Thoughts

For many DIY projects, half of the battle is the planning.  Take my dining room, for example.  This will be the first time I've ever attempted picture molding. I'm good at math, so I'm fairly confident I'll be able to figure this out.  I'm actually kind of looking forward to the challenge (I'm enough of a geek to get excited about drawing and cutting perfectly sized boxes all over my wall).  But since I'm doing this without an extra set of hands, it's not going to just be a spacing or size … [Read more...]

In the Thick of It

My little staycation has resulted (so far) in the following:more clean laundryopen space in my hall linen closeta cushy, reorganized master bed (thanks to a new mattress pad and rolling out the new duvet cover and pillows)a nearly finished workbench (more on that later)and finally, thick, stubborn wallpaper.I'm telling you, I will be lucky to get it all off by the week's end.  I was hoping to get a lot more done this week, but I'm deliberately telling myself that December will not be spent on … [Read more...]

Dining Room Mood Board

I have almost everything I want to use in the dining room purchased already.  Curtains, rugs, chairs, my table... I just have to put it together.  In the end, the plan is to make it look a little something like this:Curtains from West Elm. Chairs and rug from Ikea.  Floor is the same throughout the downstairs.  The light fixture in my mood board is from West Elm as well, but it's not quite screaming BUY ME just yet, so there's a good chance that will change between now and the finishing touches … [Read more...]


Finals are officially over for the semester.  I am completely DONE with an entire year of graduate school.  Only one more year to go!The house is still a disaster area, but I planned a few months ago to give myself a little staycation after school was finished.  Time to regroup and work on a few things around the house that I feel I've neglected... with nearly an entire week away from the office.  That means it's dining room go time, baby!  I'll get a small taste this week of what it would be … [Read more...]

Waiting for the Sale

Sometimes finding the right product for the house isn't the problem; it's the wait to buy it.When it comes to home decor, I have tons of decorating ideas floating inside my head.  Most of the time, I hunt for it for months before it suddenly springs out of nowhere.  During that time, I usually put a little money aside each month so that when this happens, I can strike while the getting's good - and usually, this means a temporary sale or the kind of shop where I know the same item isn't likely … [Read more...]