Our New (Second) Bathroom – Finally!

 Now, to all of you, this is likely just going to look like an ordinary bathroom. And in many ways, you’d be right.
But to our family of 6, who has lived with one bathroom all of our growing family life, it is the end of never using the bathroom, without someone waiting just outside the door.  Or, 2 or 3 people in the bathroom at the same time, getting reading to go somewhere.  At least the one bathroom we’ve had is large, and has a great sharing-layout, with the sink and vanity on one side, and the toilet and shower on the other side of a vertical half wall.  So there’s been privacy on both sides, with proper communication, at least.

This second/newbathroom is far simpler, and smaller at 5×10′. It’s been waiting to be finished for . . . . . . too many years.  It was just a plywood floor, studding walls, and the tub, behind a sheet of plastic, at the top of the stairs. Where paint cans and milk crates of art supplies collected. We either didn’t have the money, or the time, or both, to finish it after the expansion of our home in 2006.  But life has gotten easier, as God has continued to bless us, and we’ve finally been getting our house done room by room.  Who would think a bathroom would be so exciting?
We’ll be sure to appreciate it in the moments of urgency, that are bound to come.
It’s considered the kids’ bathroom, as it is upstairs where 3 (out of 4) of their bedrooms are.

Once Michael got going, it came together quickly.
Here it is in the very beginning stages, sheet-rocked and plastered!

(Ironically, as I type this blog post right now, I just heard, “Are you almost done? I have to go to the bathroom. BADLY!!”
Michael has been building the custom farmhouse door today, for this new bathroom, and it should be up and swinging by tonight.)

So now let’s take a look at the bathroom all done.

This is the best shot I could get in such a small space, of the bathroom completed, by shooting from just outside of the doorway.
We’ll be stepping inside in just a moment to take a closer look at some details. 
I chose a cool gray paint color for the walls, feeling it was a nice neutral color for boys and girls. 
(Not sure of the name of the color at the moment, but it was a Valspar Signature paint.)

The bead-board style vanity cabinet is in keeping with the style throughout our house.

It very much needed modifications, to fit and accommodate the special kind of sink we needed it fitted with.
Thankfully Michael is capable of problem-solving such challenges. It’s been built way out from the wall, and customized with a back splash.
I really dig the style of the lights over the sink.

We had special requirements regarding the sink in this bathroom.  In addition to the regular use as this bathroom’s sink, it’s also the sink right beside the art studio. Because we are often working in the studio, and needing to dump and refill paint water buckets, wash our brushes and pallets, etc., we really needed this sink to be deep and wide enough to be able to do those things, and easy to clean as well!  We’ve been having to go down and use the kitchen sink.

So I not only love the look of this faucet, but it’s height accommodates filling buckets, etc.

As I hope you can see, the sink is very wide, sloped in, and completely seamless to the vanity.
This will make easily accessible, and easy to clean when paint, and toothpaste, and whatnot, is everywhere.

This is just the towel rack on the left wall of the sink area.
For some reason I thought it was a cool photo.
I still do.

The bath towel double-racks.  There will be 4 towels always drying, so the kids and I were ecstatic when we found these.
We decided we needed to put them well-spaced, over each other, to prevent one from being partially behind the bathroom door, and always getting hit.

So, by now you’ve probably felt like you have the style of this bathroom pegged, right? 
How would you describe it so far?

Well if you ask me, and you think about it, it’s the shower curtain that really sets the mood or style of the whole bathroom. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew it needed to either have some gray in it, or look nice with gray. And be gender-neutral, since the kids are 2 boys and 2 girls. Right? 
Interestingly, I wasn’t all excited about going shopping for the little things, much of what you’ve just seen, such as the towel racks, toothbrush holder, toilet paper holder and trashcan, etc.  This bathroom has been a project that has just needed to get done. Not fancy, not creative, just DONE.

But I was excited for finding a great shower curtain. I was looking forward to finding a design that I’d really love, and have it tie everything together beautifully.

The thing is, I took the kids with me, and that changed everything. We had let them have input in everything we had to pick out for this bathroom, but they were pretty non-chalant with their opinions, up until this point. But suddenly, they felt strongly about the shower curtain. Like, as much as I did!  And it was all 4 of them, against me! 

They insisted it’s their bathroom, and they should be able to choose the shower curtain together.
And so I let them . . . . . .

Ohhh…. my crazy kids!
You’d think this is rather…..elementary. A bit childish. Yes?
Especially for the almost 17 year old, right?
But “Oh NO,” they tell me, “it’s just FUN!”

I have to admit, it looks pretty o.k. with the gray walls.
And it does make me smile inside, when I see it. The kids really love it, and that actually makes me smile on the outside, too.
It really speaks of just how silly our kids are. They really get a kick out of this stuff.
And hey…..shower curtains aren’t permanent.

There is just a touch of decor left to do. I haven’t decided what yet, but I think I’ll know it when I see it.
When those touches are added, I’ll be sure to take photos and share on our Facebook Page and InstaGram, so you can see.
(So hope you are following us there!)
But I do believe I’ll be moving this sign from our current bathroom up into theirs, since I made it with them in mind anyway, and it matches……

And there you have it. The bathroom everyone has been waiting for!
Thanks for coming by to see it, and share in our excitement!

The Making of Mantels / Appeasing my Mantel Envy!

A couple of weeks ago, I hinted on our Facebook Page about the weekend project we had in the works. I mentioned that I was all done dealing with the ‘mantel envy’ I have had going on, for years now. You know, mantels, the shelving surface that many homes have over their fireplace?  Many creative homemakers have great fun decorating their mantels for various seasons and holidays, switching it up all of the time. It just wasn’t fair.
We don’t have a fireplace, anymore. Years ago, before the little-house to big-house renovation, we had a built in coal and wood fireplace insert, with a brick mantel. But that was ripped out when our sun room was added on.
I wanted a mantel of my own to work with. And when I really want something, I usually figure out how to get it.
And you know how good I am at that?

I got me TWO mantels! HA!

I reckon some will have some envy for me, now. ; )  See, the good Lord blessed me, like Mary, with a carpenter of my own.  A very skilled carpenter, I might add, who can build just about anything I want. And because I am not only blessed, but possibly (possibly . . . ) spoiled, he does build me anything I want.


 I had been telling my-personal-Joseph, how I thought it was a fine idea, for him to build me a great pair of corner mantels, over our beloved, ceramic wood burning, family-heirloom. I explained it to him in great deal, trying to paint the picture for him. I don’t think he was really getting my vision for awhile, because he kept looking puzzled, while assessing the area, and saying, “Really?”, every time I brought it up.  But then on the Thursday before said-prior weekend, I told him I just had to have it. And I’d love for him to get sketchin’, and bring home any materials he;d need for the weekend, home after work on Friday. And he said, “So let me get this straight. This is our new urgent project, that you’d like done right away, before I have even finished the last urgent project, that you’d like done right away? I’m supposed to stop that one, and do this one first, after stopping the one I was doing 2 projects ago, to do the last, new urgent project?”  And I said,
“Right. Honey.”

And so he got sketchin’,
and buildin’, and
yes, I helped quite a bit too.
Because I’m not that spoiled.

And by the next weekend, my mantel dreams had come true, x2.
And I was and am still, thankful.


02_coal-wood-stove Ok so this is the corner as it has been (before), when anyone is looking at, when they walk into our front door. On the left hand side there, is where our Prayer List Chalkboard has been hanging for years. (And we still use it, regularly.) For now, it’s moved to the wall beside the front door. But take not of the wall straight ahead.  It’s shorter . . . . .

03_coal-wood-stove . . . . than the corner wall perpendicular to it. This one is a bit longer.  So I’ll have two different lengths of mantels.
I also got thinkin’ about how much I’ll be photographing the mantels as it changes for our home decor. And it hit me that the backdrop will always be the same, and green. And the simple (right?…) mantels project instantly grew. I wanted a wider bead board like wall as a backdrop.
See? Spoiled. Possibly.

I knew if my Joseph built me these, I would be so grateful. I’d be happy to finish them myself. Of course, I wanted them to not look new. Or fresh. And for my vision, distressing on fresh wood was not going to work. So I researched how to weather/age the wood, before painting and distressing, and was pleasantly surprised to find a way to do it. That worked!
04_bowl-of-tea It’s fairly simple too.  You ‘paint’ the wood with tea, first. I made a big strong batch, soaking my tea bags over night.

05_weathering-wood-technique So I brushed the tea on all over my two built mantels, and let them dry. There was no difference to see. 
But the tea is only applied to react with the next strange solution brushed on.

06_weathering-wood-technique I had to cover very fine steel wool (#0000) with straight distilled white vinegar.  And just let it soak, at least for overnight. 
The next day, it didn’t look much different in the jar. I know in time, that wool would rust. (It has since…). But anyway, while applying it to the mantels (already treated with the tea), I could see the instant reaction happening. Very cool. Almost magical!

To see the dried wood after the vinegar/steel wool solution treatment, click on any image in the gallery below, use arrows to see each next, and then your ESC button to close.

Interestingly, even after the wood had been dry and I took the above photos, the wood seemed to turn even a bit greyer. which I was happy about. For a darker finish, I could have brushed on a second treatment, but I was quite happy with the results after just one, for this project.

So then it was time to paint both mantels, white.  I used about 3-4 parts paint to 1-part water.
And then a whole lot of sanding and distressing.

11_mantels-custom-made Meanwhile, Michael, a.k.a my Joseph in this post, was taking care of the walls to my every wishes.

And I’m pretty much done talking, and ready to show you lots of photos of this exciting home improvement project!
Here we go!
13_mantels-custom-made Now for anyone concerned, we were sure to make certain these mantels met fire code.  They needed to be at least 6 inches from the stove-pipe, and they are. It’s hard to tell in these photos, but trust us. We have the most to lose! That is why they don’t wrap around behind the pipe.  The mantel shelves are very thick, and keep in mind too, that the stove is only in use maybe 1-1/2 seasons a year.

14_mantels-custom-made So yes, while narrow bead-board goes all the way around the lower half of our green sun room (as of this post), the wider bead board (v-groove) type paneling is just in this corner.  I think because of where we let it end, and because of the molding we used, it works nicely! 
And how about those mantels?
I love that I have two to work with! Because sometimes you get going on a theme, but you really have another idea that kind of ties in too.
So that is going to be way fun.  One is 48″ and the other is 35″.
Let’s take a closer look at the beauty of the craftmanship of my husband, shall we?

15_mantels-custom-made He used  1×12″ and 1×10″ pine boards, crown molding, and base cap.

16_mantels-custom-made And these awesome pre-assembled 9×7″ shelf brackets. Which, I love.

17_mantels-custom-made Do you see how the wood looks older, peeking out from underneath the (supposed) worn paint?
Love it!
A few more photos . . . .

19_mantels-custom-made Beautiful, no?


 I am SO happy with them. Of course, the whole point of having them, was to decorate. They are looking kind of NAKED in these photos.
But as you can see peaks of in a few photos above, I have indeed gotten my Spring mantels together!
So my Spring Mantels…..that is a next post coming up!
Detail photos of what I adorned these mantels with, for this season, are on their way. Which I believe will really help you pull the whole vision together.
They are gorgeous, and so homey, all decorated. I can’t wait for you to see!
But this post is about the craftmanship of Michael’s work, and his ability and willingness to build my little dreams.
Please leave him your thoughts!
And then look for the Spring Mantels post real soon.! ; )

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Doors to Storage. (Literally.)

We’re guessing many of you love to see little home transformations, and creative spaces, as we do, and that’s just what we hope to share with you today.  The photos we share will likely explain what we have done. But if you have just a bit of time, grab a drink of choice, and let us amuse you with a little more about the birth of this project.

We’ve heard some people try to ‘ keep up with the Jones’. But that’s not our style.  I’m sure they’re really nice peeps, and all. But they don’t run in our circles, and even if they did, I doubt we’d want or care what they have, even if we could  afford a thing.  No, our wants and needs are really quite simple. If not a little off-beat sometimes, I suppose.

What we would love to keep up with, is ourselves, and our own plans and ideas.  Michael and I enjoy walking around our home and yard, chat, brainstorm, and hatch a plan, that continues to make the best of our little piece of the world. Our ideas always have a purpose, whether they are to create a sense of decor, efficiency, organization, to save money, or simply to amuse ourselves because we think it’s cool. Many times, it’s all of the above. One thing is for sure; 100’s of plans have been laid out between us, in detail, and never come to fruition, whether it was intended to be done right away or not. Time and/or funds usually hold up the process a bit, until we’ve forgotten we even had the plan!  Sometimes, new plans and ideas have been made over the old ones we forgot, or remember we had.  And we always have more, than we could ever realistically get to, anyway.  It’s craziness, actually. So priority is the key, and some things just need to be dealt with once and for all.

Case in point is this hot mess, known as our shoes issue.  First, you should know, “I” am the kind of person, that really prefers one take off their shoes, before walking around the house.  Not because we have any fancy home, or carpet that mustn’t get dirty for appearances sake.  But, because of the things I notice in the world around me, the things I think of, and the things I know dang well those shoes have walked through.

Take for example, (just to make the most of my point), those teenage/adolescent boys you see walking through parking lots from point A to B, when you suddenly see and hear them do a big collecting sniff of sorts, hack it up, and just let it fly out onto the parking lot ground.  It turns-my-stomach. I’ve seen/heard it hundreds of times, and I have told my boys every time, “Don’t you EVAH, in your life time, do that.  I don’t care if you are 36. That is absolutely dis-gust-ting, rude and UNacceptable.” To which they reply, “We know Mama. You tell us that every time.”  So along with 100 other examples I could give (I’ll spare you), I simply know it’s a small sample of what is on the bottom of anyone’s shoes, and I really do not want to know such disgust is all over the floors of my home.

I’ll take earth-dirty-feet over that kind of what-nots, any day of the week.

So that helps explain all of the shoes, along the walls of our sun room, right inside our front door.  Keep in mind, this is also the room with our wood stove, and one of our family tables where we often eat and school, half the time. We originally imagined it as a cozier room for reading and such, possibly with a chaise lounge chair or 2, and an area rug under the table. Not the feel we had going here. Using the table for eating and schooling the other half of the time, it is the room we enter when we come home, and through which guests come as well. With only our shoes for that season out, with 6 of us, it’s too many. Any, is too many, for me.  It’s actually worse then you see. At the time of this photo, some had just been put away, and 5 other pairs were busy walking around in the world of what-not.  The bottom line is this:  the sight of these shoes always puts me in a bad mood. It looks terrible, and we are always tripping over them.  So, for a couple of years now, our plan was to build a storage bench along the wall you see. We had designed it right down to the details, and frankly, the shoes could never let us forget that plan.  It’s just been on a list of many things we’re been trying to get to.  But we finally did, with a whole new spin, and we’re about to show you.

But completely related, you need to see this…..

This is in (in part) our school room. If I ever took photos of these floor cabinets Michael built for our school room 4-5 years ago, I cannot find them.  So this photo and the one below, will have to give you an idea.  There are 3 of them along the 1/2 wall adjoining the kitchen.


If you can possibly look past one of our adorable boy when he was starting 1st grade, you will better see the size of these cabinets.  Michael did an great job, and they served us well in this room for 5 years.  But as of late I decided they are really (way) more specious inside, than we actually need, for our school books and materials. Very roomy.  And we probably did not need so much table-top space either.  As a whole, they take up a lot of space in this room, where there is also another long table and chairs, and where we also tend to gather to eat and school.

Since the sun room was meant to be cozier and loungier than it is, we thought a good first step, is to not let it be the door we come inside the house through, for one.  The back door would probably be better for that.  But there was still the shoes issue. We still needed somewhere to sit down and take our shoes off, and somewhere to store all of those shoes. What we did not need, was quite so much storage space, for all of our schooling materials.   I forget now exactly when, but the 2 matters collided at some point in my head, and ideas started rapidly coming together.  It was likely in the shower, which tends to be my most productive think-tank, but if that is TMI for you, disregard.

The gist of it all was….get rid of the big spacious cabinets in the school room, build some kind of more shallow shelving instead, and move this whole storage bench idea to the school room, where we should really enter the house from now on. A-hA!!  Then we can do better with the sun room! But that would be getting ahead of ourselves here.

I also had an idea of how/where else we could use the big cabinets, but that too is for another time. In a nutshell, they were moved elsewhere, and it occurred to me that it would probably come out pretty cool, and save us big-time in material costs, to build our storage bench and shelves, out of old doors.

In a matter of days, we had found 4 doors on ebay offered for dirt cheap, just a hop, skip, and maybe 2 jumps, from us. Michael arranged to meet the guy to take a look, and he brought them home. (2 of them from this photo were already moved to the school room.) The doors were dirty, and somewhat mismatched, but that was all workable.

Show and tell will go fast from here I think.All 4 doors were re-purposed in this project(s).

I loved the features on these old doors, and I knew I’d probably rough things up some more, from here.

First Michael relocated the huge cabinets to other locations. The floor space we gained just doing that, was unreal. Then, put up some leftover bead-board we had, as the back wall.

Then a bit of measuring and taking a moment to think things through, and we started to build.

The doors were sawed into half the long ways, as well as proper sized-pieces, for various parts, and we were able to start putting it together.   We wanted it a good height to sit on, and have as much room on the inside, to store/hide the abundance of shoes.

As you can see, the bench unit, using the doors, was built 3 sided, simply using the back wall as the back of the unit.   And all of our shoes fit in there perfectly.


Without all of the shoes inside yet, here is what the bottom looks like.  These removable racks are a feature we came up with, even when the plans was to build traditional storage benches in the front sun room:   The shoes we take off when we come indoors are not only dirty/sandy, but often times wet too.  I know what a mess the elements from the shoes made on the floor, so I had thought of that in terms of the inside of the bench, and what a pain it would be again, to move each pair of shoes, to vacuum up the sand and dirt.


So we built these shoe racks out out of strapping and chicken wire, so that a whole rack with shoes on it, could be lifted out, and we could vacuum underneath.  They would also keep the shoe off the floor of the bench, so they could dry easier.


At the same time, we were not only building the storage bench with our old doors, but wall shelves beside it, for all of our school books and materials.


I know it’s quirky, but I really love this part of the door-shelves.  I knew the doorknob would serve purpose, aside from looking cool. The sharpener simply needed to be relocated from elsewhere, as it ended up being located in such a way they we could no longer use it, without moving it, and this was the best place for it.

As you can see, a lot of the doors were beat-up, and the dark wood of the original door showed through. I liked that.  But a few parts of the structures were also necessarily built with new wood.

Such as the shelving itself, built with new wood.  So there was still some distressing and aging to do anyway, on new wood and not, which I did with course sand paper, and dark wax, to properly stain and age the new wood, with the old.


Here is the lid to the storage unit open, pre-distressed. Obviously a door, but this side was painted by the original owner more recently, it appeared.  To add interest, and of course organization and function, we added a collection of old and mismatched doorknobs along the wall above it.


Here’s a better look as you step back and look at it as a whole. Again, we obviously used doors, and we intended for it to remain obvious, keeping every lock , doorknob and door feature we could.

Coming into the house using the back door, we come in and sit down on the bench to take off our shoes, and put them inside.  I should add, we will be putting down a mud runner, from the backdoor to along the front of this bench.  The little kids can hang their jackets and hats on the doorknobs, which is much easier for them as they cannot reach well in the coat closet that is in the room.  Yes, some coats will be too long to hang completely, leaving the bottom of the coats to sit on the bench, but that’s fine.  Scarves, bags and all kinds of accessories can be hung on the knobs too.


The top shelves are for what you can see, as well as some of our music books.  I have many more of my teacher and resource school books that I plan to move from other shelves in the house to these upper ones, for my own use. But the depth we made the door shelves was just right for our needs.


The lower shelves are for the kid’s school books, and more of my every day teacher books.  As you can see, we found immediate use for this original doorknob, as well.


The kids hang their recorder instruments there. Perfect!

I forgot to take photos of the bench with the lid closed, before we embellished it just a little bit.  But in closing this post, I wanted to give you a better look at the finished bench and shelves.


In an upcoming post, we will share with you the embellishments details you see, and how exactly we did it, with a surprise inside as well! But that’s pretty much the finished project as a whole.

We have found the entire project to serve us much better. It’s all so much more convenient, functional, and we think, has a cool factor.  I would think it’s the kind of thing that one would either love, or hate.  And I wonder, would features such as these, have a negative 0r positive impact on the ability to sell a house, should the time arise?  What do you think? We personally love the uniqueness and interesting features of people’s homes, and this fits right in with why we love ours. Everyone’s tastes vary, and so our feelings could never be hurt. But we’re curious to know what you think of this idea?  Is it cool, creative, or downright crazy?

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Mailbox Tub Garden


We are still very much working on our long-term front garden-yard plans, and we’re far from completion.  A little each year, as we need to roll, but we’ve enjoyed the planning and the progress along the way.  We always wish we were further ahead than behind, but that’s the way it goes.

Our mailbox out front by the street, has really been looking like it needs some sprucing up, for some time.  Last year, we just planted some flowers around the post, in what sandy and rocky sloped dirt was there.  But because our front yards are our garden, and the general landscape plan is not completed yet, it didn’t look so nice.  The crabgrass that grows in the sandy dirt, spread into flower bed, and it just didn’t look clean. So this year, I had a new plan.

To have a little tub garden, around the mailbox post. I figured, filled with loam, it would keep the crabgrass from spreading into the garden bed.

I picked up this aluminum tub for cheap, at my favorite antique/junk stop. I had passingly mentioned to Michael, that I had wanted to put the mailbox further to one side, than the other. But I didn’t make a point of it yet, because in my mind, I imagined he planned to just cut out the entire bottom of the tub. But next thing I knew, I had found this done.  A square cut out smack-dab in the middle, with drilled drain holes here & there.  Of course, I went through my typical reaction to these things:  “MI-CHAAAAAEL!”….and reminded him that I had mentioned to him, I wanted the post to the left.

He thought it would “look fiiiiine”, and proceeded to put the mailbox through the tub, and into the new hole he dug. (We were moving the mailbox over as well, closer to our driveway.

This situation is such a symbolic picture of US, by the way.  Michael and I, I mean.  He is all about liking things symmetrical, and I prefer asymmetrical.  He’s a ruler follower, and I’m a rule breaker. He likes new and perfect, I like things old and full of character.  He’s conservative in style, and I am SO not.  He’s even, and I’m odd.

Oh…wait.  :roll: Well anyway…

It was not yet filled with dirt, but I got the visual, and it just wasn’t right to me. So ….. boring, and non-creative, in my eyes.  So I proceeded to tell him, that it looked ridiculous, as I knew it would, in the center.  It was no big deal to cut the existing hole another square bigger, to the left, so we could move the whole tub over (thus appearing that the post had moved over, lol), and that’s just what he did.  If only to shut-me-up. : )   (We nag because it works, right? And because…..they don’t do what we say the first time!)

Kidding. I respect my husband.  I just have a little more flare, and fight, in me.  Or, a lot. Maybe.


MUCH better!  Right?

(I mean….I couldn’t take a photo of it center. I just couldn’t.  But can’t you imagine?)


He loaded it with the loam, and I planted my flowers.

Calibrachoa and Snap Dragons, to be exact.


Crabgrass can’t touch this!

So what was your vote?  Center, or off-center?  How would you have done it?

An Old Ladder, With New Purpose

In addition to our continual progress of finishing the inside of our home since our major house reconstruction, we’ve had a continually growing list of ideas for smaller projects around our home.

One of them has involved this ladder inside our home.

It has been right here where you see it, every since we bought our home in 1995.   What has changed a lot, is almost everything around the ladder.  For one thing, at the foot of this ladder, where you now see French doors to our sun room, was a brick hearth, to a black iron coal stove, that was built into a brick wall as a fireplace of sorts.

You may wonder just what the purpose of the ladder was.

Well, at the top of the ladder, was a carpeted crawl loft, that was open to and overlooked the living space.  We had a few large floor plants up there, that looked lovely in the sunlight, that streamed in from the skylights.

But when we added a second story to our home, the crawl loft, and all of the new construction to the backside of the house, became the boy’s room.  So, a wall replaced our beloved crawl loft.

As you’ve probably figured out along the way here, the ladder was the way to get up into the loft.


It’s a beautiful, solid, solid (read: HEAVY!!) wood.  It’s the same natural wood the beams were made of, that also used to be a part of the house.

As a humorous tidbit of knowledge for you, (if you’ve never been through our home reconstruction posts), the crawl loft became our (mine and Michael’s) bedroom, when we gave our own to our triplets following their birth.   The house only had 2 bedrooms at the time, and ours was by far the biggest.   So…we took our bed down, put the mattresses up in the crawl loft, and we climbed the ladder to bed every night.

We really didn’t mind it, much. You couldn’t really see our bedding that much, and it was….cozy. : )    I’d say it was even kind of fun.  Except for when one of the kids woke up, and needed us.  Or, when we had to go potty.   I feared in the dead of night many times, that I would fall trying to descend the ladder in my sleepy state, and splat on the brick hearth below.    But it never happened.  Maybe because Michael said “Be care-ful” every.single. time. I had to go down.  Even when he was sleeping.

Oh…..{A} just found a photo that will give you an idea of how much the house has changed:

See the loft at the top?  With big boxy openings, roped off with 2 ropes.  You can also see the natural beams I spoke of.  They were great for wrapping Christmas lights on, and using for outdoor toddler swings, in the house!  The beams were so strong, and with the cathedral ceiling, there was plenty of room! Of course they had outdoor swings too.  Boy did they love swinging.  You can also see what was the back door.  That wall came down, and there is a school room there now, on the other side of the stairwell that descends into the floor.   Yes…things have changed.  Drastically. Inside and out.   Do you love seeing houses transformations?  I’ll post the links on our OHOJN Facebook Page sometime soon, if you’d like.  But be sure to ‘Like’ the OHOJN Facebook Page, so you don’t miss them in your feed!  I put lots of fun extras there, for you all.


Anyway….ever since the loft was ripped out and the wall went up, the ladder-to-nowhere,  has remained there.  We couldn’t get rid of it! It was a sentimental piece.  We always loved that ladder, and it’s one of those things people always mention when they first visit our home.   It’s unique, and unusual, in a home. But really…. it’s needed purpose!  And it’s looked dark and ….. well, heavy, in our light and airy living space.

So I had an idea to make the ladder more useful, and we started by doing something possibly, crazy.


We painted it white.  After adding a few little pieces you may notice, which you’ll understand why in a moment.

Now, if you know me, I’m really not down with perfectly painted stuff.  I like things old. Beat up. Worn.


So I took a sandpaper covered block, and ‘had-at’ the newly painted ladder.


And wore a hole in it. : )  (The sandpaper of course. Not the ladder.)


I did my best to make it look……well, not ‘just painted’.


But I’m not any kind of expert at distressing pieces yet.  I’m sure it needs something more.  A glaze of some kind, to crack the paint some, or something.  I don’t want to yellow it, as a lot of the ‘new paint’ around is white as snow.  But, I plan to ask a friend what more I can do, to push it a little more.

But the purpose of painting the ladder, and adding the little crossbars to the back, was to use it for….


With the exception of when we were actually using the ladder every day to access the loft, we’ve always had photo frames and little things displayed on the ladder. I just took them off before photographing it before.  But, we are swimming in books around here.  So I thought it would be a creative and useful transformation.


Mostly it’s the kid’s books on the ladder for now, with the bottom step left open for stepping up and reaching higher.   There are lots more books, that will be relocated to the ladder, soon.  And we have more book shelving that Michael just installed as well, that will be for another post.


Because not only do the kids have more reading books, but then there are my own, and some of my mother’s too.   Books of all kinds.  For leisure, for education, for how-to, for you-name-it.  As I said, we’re swimming in them.


I actually filled a couple of boxes recently, with books to get rid of.    We have cabinets filled, and boxes downstairs, of more books – still needing sorting.


So this ladder transformation I think was a wise one.   The ladder now ahs purpose.  I’m sure it feels more worth, in it’s day to day life.  We all need purpose.  Don’t you think?

I have to admit:   I’m feeling a little pang inside, about painting over this beautiful wood.

Do you think that was a mistake?


But I do think the corner as a whole, looks a little cheerier, and more in keeping with what the rest of the house has going on.  Because we’ll probably be doing something with those wooden breakfast bar chairs too.  Not painting them white.  But they need stripping of the shellac , or something.


BEFORE                                                                                       AFTER

What do you think?  A good idea?   And are you cringing, because I painted that wood?  Go ahead and tell me the truth.  I think I can take it.


I shared this re-do project at All Things Heart & Home.