Home Projects

Before & After Renovations

(Finally) Fixed It: Truly Hideous Kitchen Floor Before and After

Move-in day; also an excellent approximation of my feelings about my kitchen floor

I hate my kitchen floor. I have hated it from the moment I moved in, when it consisted of paint-splattered linoleum in a shade that could generously be called "vomit." I hated it after I tried to fix it by covering the linoleum with peel-and-stick tiles, which - as it turns out - reallllly aren't the best choice for this large or well-trafficked of a space.

Home Projects

Organize All The Everythings

I have historically been a performatively neat person, as opposed to a legitimately neat one. My throw pillows are always in the right place (having been repositioned approximately 1,302 times per day because to my dog, they are a pile of glorious autumn leaves that must be leapt upon regularly), my counter is (almost) always wiped down, and my dust bunnies are Roomba-ed multiple times a day...but should you open a drawer of any kind: Oh dear.

Basically: If I can't see it...is it really a problem?

Like everyone else, though, I have spent the past year being confronted with my most slovenly tendencies, because I cannot get away from them without defying, you know, federal orders. A few weeks ago, after an especially frustrating hunt through my kitchen in search of the third pair of AirPods I have lost this year (AUGH), I finally broke, and bought All The Organizing Things.

DIY

My 10 All-Time Favorite DIY Projects

Remember back in 2009, when I decided that I was the kind of person who should write a website about cooking, DIY, and home decor, and that it should be called “Domestic Bliss”?

Yeah, I have no idea what I was thinking either – other than, perhaps, “fake it ’til you make it” – because for the first few years, “faking it” is exactly what I did. At the time, my idea of a homemade meal was store-bought pasta with jarred tomato sauce (to which I’d added onions and mushrooms – you know, to make it fancy), and was wildly impressed with myself for completing “DIYs” such as…swapping out drawer pulls. Putting up a sticker decal was a feat worthy of a full video tutorial (OMG WE WERE BABIES), and I thought that my idea of using teacups to serve soup during parties was the height of inspired entertaining.

I still think that serving soup in teacups is pretty neat, but a lot has changed since the halcyon days of wallpaper-wrapped lampshades and green chalkboard refrigerators. I’m still no Ty Pennington, but after renovating two homes and working on a home construction and design show, I now know about 20,000 times more than I ever thought I’d know about all things DIY. Below are ten of my all-time favorite projects, all of which I promise you are more than capable of taking on yourself.

Decor

How To: Layer Your Area Rugs

Gorgeous layered rugs in my friend Elise's mountain home (full tour here)

You know the layered-rug trend that's been all over Pinterest these past few years? I always liked the way it looked, but never really thought of doing it myself, because rugs (or at least the ones I usually like) tend to be expensive, and if I'm buying a fancy rug I'd like to see...well, all of it. But lately, my fancy rug is having a rough go of it. Since life has been more than a little exhausting lately, by the time dinner rolls around I am ZONKED, and usually just plonk all three of us down in front of the TV to eat.

I know, I know, TV during dinner = bad, but what-EVER. I grew up with two parents who worked full-time in office jobs, so dinnertime was usually our first chance to actually see each other; had we all zoned out in front of the TV while we ate we would have cut down the time available to actually interact with each other by half. But I interact with my children a lot these days. And I also really, really love watching TV while I eat dinner, and I am the boss, and so TV during dinner it is.

Before & After Renovations

In Which We Reach The Limit Of My Abilities

I've gotten pretty handy over the years, mostly thanks to the presence in my life of a few Superwomen who have taught me how to do things like lay tile, resurface brick, and even demolish concrete (not the best idea for the old neck muscles, but surprisingly fun). And lord, do I wish those women lived near me still, because the house that I'm currently renting has alllllllll the project opportunities (yes, I fix up houses that I rent - you can read my rationale here).

In the course of my efforts to fix up certain elements of this house that I wasn't into, I've had some wins - painting my daughter's room, securing some maybe-going-to-fall-down ceiling panels, retiling my entryway step, suffocating weeds and replacing them with lavender and blueberry bushes, that sort of thing. But I've also had oh my god, some misses - like, for example, the linoleum kitchen floor that I covered (poorly) in stick-on tile that is MUCH better-suited to small spaces and apparently turns grey with any wear whatsoever.

Another fail: I used that same tile to cover a gross wall in the bathroom. I discovered that its stick-on powers did not extend to use on bathroom walls (or at least not somewhat uneven ones) around 2AM later that night, when I was awoken by the huge "bang" made by twenty tiles all falling off the wall and into my bathtub simultaneously. But was I to be deterred?!


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