Author Archives: Carol

Wainscoting: A Formal Affair

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“Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely;

and leave something of the happiness you bring.” —-Bram Stoker

Your foyer offers the first impression of your home to all who enter. And mine was really boring. Not exactly the vibe I wanted to present to our holiday guests. Wainscoting offered the perfect solution, adding a formal flair and breaking up the monotony of the walls.

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I cheated a bit with my wainscot, opting for a simple method to create the look of the formal wood panels. First, I nailed chair-rail moulding on the walls 36 inches from the floor.  Be sure to use a level—a crooked chair rail can make you dizzy! Then using some rudimentary math, I determined the size and quantity of “boxes” needed for each wall, taking care to keep a uniform space between the boxes as well as between the chair-rail and the bottom trim. I used a level to draw the boxes on the wall with pencil so I could judge how they’d look and make any adjustments before I started cutting the wood.

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Using 1.5 inch trim moulding, I miter cut the ends at a 45-degree angle, forming picture frame boxes.

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These trim pieces were placed on the wall with liquid nails and finishing nails, using the pencil-drawn boxes as a guide.

The picture-frame boxes provide the optical illusion of raised wainscot panels.

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I painted the chair rail and wainscot portion of the wall in Linen White, providing contrast to the taupe wall above.

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The finished foyer, in all its formal flair. Happy Holidays!

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Stainless Steel Paint

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My husband is one of 8 children, so every 7 years it is our turn to host Thanksgiving. We’re up this year but our oven wasn’t. Sure it worked and could roast a turkey, but it wasn’t….pretty. The wall oven is over 15 years old and it is indestructible. While all of the other appliances in the kitchen had broken down and been replaced with shiny new stainless models, the white and tinted-glass oven stood firmly in the wall, refusing to budge, break or give up. I hated it and concocted sneaky ways to “break” it…until I watched an episode of Cool Tools on the DIY Network. I realized I could camouflage it and force it to match its shiny kitchen counterparts. All I needed was an afternoon and my new best friend, Stainless Steel paint. Continue to see the Before and After>

Low-Voltage Lighting Equals High-Voltage Wow!

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“… all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun…”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Nightscaping.  Exterior Illumination.  Whatever you call it, low-voltage lights can add some serious impact to your outdoor landscape.  The idea to add landscape lights to our gardens germinated after I took down all of the outdoor Christmas decorations.  I missed the colorful lights strung through the bushes and the glow of the floodlight on our Christmas-wreathed front door.  Afterwards, the yard looked so boring—and dark!  Unwilling to fork out the big bucks for a professional yard illumination, I scoured the Internet and found tons of information on how economically and easily you could accomplish this job yourself. So, I did it myself.  Here’s how.

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Floodlights illuminate ornamental trees

First, I took stock of the yard and determined where I wanted lights. Continue reading>

A Quick and Dirty Flagstone Patio

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Our backyard garden has grown over the years from a simple border to a curving arc that blossoms from spring to fall with roses, brown-eyed susans, and purple sage.  Colorful songbirds visit the feeders and stone bath.  The problem?  We wanted to be in the garden, not enjoying it from afar or through a window.  The solution?  We added a flagstone patio, nestled right into the curve of the garden.  And we did it in a day. Sort of.

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After perusing images of flagstone patios on the Internet, we decided that we wanted our stones to be separated so grass could grow between the stones. We took a trip to a local rock center and bought a pallet of large flagstone, which was delivered the very next day. -Continue Reading>

Formica to Fabulous: Tiling a Glass Mosaic Countertop

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The Formica countertop in my daughters’ bathroom had to go…that much was clear.  Getting two teenaged girls to agree on its replacement was another matter indeed.  Granite? Tile? And what about color??  In the end, their mutual love of the ocean and all things seashore provided the answer: sea glass.  We all fell in love with a glass tile mosaic entitled Caribbean Glass with its swirls of blues, greens, and sand.  And here’s how I installed it…right over that ugly Formica.

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The tile we chose comes in a 12×12 inch square, with individual tiles glued onto a net backing.  This makes it simple to cut out and remove tiles as needed. Continue reading

Not Your Traditional TV Stand

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With no offense meant to the makers of particleboard and tinted glass, I abhor TV stands. Perhaps it’s because I came of age in the 70s and 80s…the era of the gigantic “entertainment units” that housed televisions, rack stereo systems, plus speakers and took up an entire wall of the house. Due to this somewhat irrational hatred, I’ve had to get creative with finding homes on which our televisions can perch. My trusted resale and antique shops have once again come to the rescue.

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The bottom half of a corner cupboard serves as the perfect TV stand in our sunroom.  It tucks neatly away into the corner of the room, shrinking the dominance of the TV. Continue reading

How to Build a Garden Waterfall Pond

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“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.” 

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

The trickling sound of water hitting rock mesmerizes me. Its constancy lulls and soothes. Since our home down the shore isn’t quite close enough to hear the crash of the ocean waves on the beach, we opted for the next best thing. We decided to add a pond to our small garden off the front porch, complete with a trickling waterfall over rock. Here’s how we did it, and you can do it, too.

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