DIY

  • stone windowsill in a recently repointed basement in a 240 year old home in new jersey
    DIY

    Stone Windowsills and Wooden Doorsills

    Let’s talk about what’s on everyone’s mind these days – window and door sills. Specifically, stone windowsills and wooden doorsills. *crickets* Wait. That’s not on everyone’s mind? Only mine? Huh. What do you guys think about? What’s for dinner? Why “sigma” is teen slang now? A problem at work? How to help your kid with fractions? When you can squeeze in time for a haircut? That embarrassing thing you did in third grade? All the emails you haven’t read? Inflation? War? If the colostrum all the influencers are taking has real benefits or is a gimmick? Fair enough. I guess we’re done here. But…stone windowsills and wooden doorsills are easier…

  • how to make curved wood refrigerator handles
    DIY

    DIY Curved Wood Refrigerator Handles

    Let’s talk about Curved Wood Refrigerator Handles and how to make them. We have an old refrigerator. It’s probably over 30 years old. The thing runs like a champ. Makes ice faster than a snowman could, which means it’s probably not energy-efficient. It holds a ton of food because it’s as big as a Mac truck. It’s a creamy color, which I believe was referred to as “biscuit” back in the day. Basically, it’s in fine shape and I’ve loathed it since the moment we moved into this house. But then a funny thing started to happen. I realized a stainless steel refrigerator would be way too modern for our…

  • what we didn't anticipate when repointing our stone walls in the basement ourselves repointing stone walls takes a lot of time
    DIY

    6 Things We Found Inside Our Stone Walls

    Oh, the interesting and downright horrifying things we’ve found INSIDE our stone walls will not be easily purged from my memory. Why would we be looking for things inside our stone walls? And why do we even have stone walls? These stone walls are, in essence, our foundation walls. The oldest part of our home dates back to the 1780s. The home was added onto a few more times and all of our foundation walls are built with field stone and lime mortar as shown in the photo below. We’ve been repointing the stone walls in our basement. Repointing means chipping out an inch or so of the surface layer…

  • 6 split ceiling medallion installation tips
    decorating,  DIY

    6 Split Ceiling Medallion Installation Tips

    If you’re considering installing a split ceiling medallion, I ┬áhave six split ceiling medallion installation tips for you! (Say that six times fast! Haha!) A ceiling medallion is that decorative circular ring on the ceiling above a light fixture. They used to have a practical use of helping to conceal the ring of soot put off by lighting that involved a flame, but today are mainly decorative. If you’re considering installing a split ceiling medallion (two half circles you put together) over a regular ceiling medallion, you probably have a very good reason for not wanting to take your light down to install a ceiling medallion. I had my reasons…

  • modern country laundry room in a colonial farmhouse with wainscoting stained glass horse art basket wall and inset wall shelves
    decorating,  DIY

    What We Regret About Our Laundry Room Makeover

    It has been one year since we completed our laundry room makeover. One year? Already? It feels like forever since we completed that project. I suppose that means time does not fly by when you’re doing laundry every day. Shocking…said no one typing a blog post next to a giant pile of clothes to be folded. Don’t get me wrong. We love with a capital L how this space turned out. It is a combination laundry room and pantry and it flows so nicely with the rest of the house now, particularly the kitchen. It’s how the space always should have been. No matter how much you enjoy a room,…

  • stone steps showing wear in basement in home
    DIY

    Foot Wear On Our Stone Steps and A Basement Mystery

    I noticed an interesting thing while we’ve been repointing the basement. There is foot traffic wear on our stone steps. If you look closely, you can see the slight dip on the left side of the stairs closest to the handrail, especially on the fourth and fifth stairs down from the top. Fascinating, right? How old do stone steps have to be and how much foot traffic do stone steps have to receive before the treads start wearing down? I’m not sure. I went spelunking on the internet to try and find the answer to this question. There might be a mathematical way to solve this question but we are…

  • fill gaps in wood floors with oakum update two and a half years later
    DIY

    Filling Floor Gaps With Oakum: Update 2 1/2 Years Later

    Two and a half years ago, I filled the gaps in our original wood floors with oakum. You can read more about that process here. This is a niche solution to a common problem with homes built in the 1700s and 1800s with original wood floors and gaps between those floorboards. Our house was built in the 1780s and later added onto in the 1800s. It’s time for an update on how that oakum has held up! First of all, what is oakum? Historically speaking, oakum is a combination of natural fibers like hemp or jute and tar or oil that was used to caulk wooden ships to make them…

  • what we didn't anticipate when repointing our stone walls in the basement ourselves repointing stone walls takes a lot of time
    DIY

    What We Didn’t Anticipate When Repointing Our Stone Walls

    We live in a really old home with a stone foundation. We started repointing our stone walls in the basement because it was time to tackle that project. Read more about that here. Homeownership 101 says you have to take care of your foundation if you don’t want your house to develop a catastrophic issue. For a stone foundation, the outer layer of stone has to be repointed periodically – every 50 – 100 years. Repointing stone walls means you remove the old lime mortar that is failing and replace it with new lime mortar. You only need to chip out an inch or so of the old mortar to…

  • before picture of a stone wall that needs repointing stone foundation that needs repointing
    DIY

    Why We Decided To Repoint Our Stone Walls Ourselves

    On our long to-do list when we bought this Colonial Farmhouse fixer-upper was to repoint the stone walls in our basement. To emphasize how important these stone walls are, they are not there for show. They are our foundation walls. The foundation holds up the house. Taking care of it is not an option unless you want your house to fall down. We decidedly do not want our house to fall down. That would be bad. (Understatement of the year.) How did we know our stone walls needed to be repointed? The little piles of sand at the bottom of the wall were our first clue. We didn’t need any…

  • when and where to use rechargeable light bulbs so they don't disappoint you
    decorating,  DIY

    5 Places Rechargeable Light Bulbs Won’t Disappoint You

    If you’re contemplating using rechargeable light bulbs, then I know you have a lighting situation that’s dimming your spirit a little. Maybe a lot. If it was a hassle-free, inexpensive fix, and your best friend’s sister’s cousin is an electrician, then you would have already shone a light on your dark corner. Same. Or maybe you are renting and there’s no way your landlord is going to spring for more outlets and hardwired lights. Gives new meaning to the Dark Ages. Been there too. Couldn’t see a thing. Rechargeable light bulbs are not going to solve all of your life problems. Disappointing, I know. However, they have been improving in…