New Windows and Doors/Dining Room Transformation

During the months of June and July (2015) we decided to undertake quite a few different home upgrades: we decided to update our doors, windows, and dining room.

Our doors used to be these plain and brown ones. They were functional but were not the most attractive. We’re not planning on selling this house anytime soon, but we always ask ourselves what potential buyers would want to see upgraded in our home (if it were on the market).

Old brown doors

Old brown doors and ….. Violin???

We went to Lowes Home Improvement Store to buy our doors. We had to special order them because our measurements were off by 1/4 inch. We basically had to pay $65 per door instead of the $35 because we didn’t have standard sized doors. Either way, Lowes was much cheaper than Home Depot would have been: The Home Depot wanted upwards of $130 per door. No thanks – ciao gotta go!

Something got messed up in our order and our pick-up date got moved back several weeks. When we came to pick up the doors on the final estimated arrival date, we saw a 15% off sale on custom-ordered doors. We asked them if we could have that discount since our doors were so late. They obliged and we got a $41 in-store credit certificate.

We fit the doors into the back of our 2013 Chevy Cruze. We bungy corded the trunk shut and headed down the road. All was fine until we hit the first speed bump on our street. We damaged a panel by going too quickly: the trunk lifted and came down on a hollow panel in the door – it’s nothing a little wood glue can’t fix. 🙂

loading doors up from Lowes

loading doors up from Lowes

We painted them outside and then installed them that same day. We used VALSPAR – Bistro White from Lowes. We used a semi-gloss sheen on the doors and trim and a satin sheen on the walls.

painting doors

This panel on the top-right is the one that took some damage. It’ll fix up fine.

install new doors

A few weeks earlier we had painted the hardware and door knobs with Rust-Oleum. They look good as new. We painted them oil-rubbed bronze.

Final product

Final product

We even used that paint on our door bell:


The paint looks nice and works really well.



The windows of this home are original from 1971. They have moss growing in them and they allow the sun to cook the inside of our home. We decided in June to call Window World and get a quote for new windows.

Jim came out to our house and showed us how cool the windows are at Window World. He even stood on the windows and jumped up and down: they did not break. He showed us the warranty they come with: Lifetime warranty for any reason, transferrable to new owners! That means that whoever owns this house after us has a lifetime warranty on those windows too!

He showed us how they insulate the home and do not let heat in etc. They also pop in and out so you can easily clean them.

We were amazed and bought brand new windows!

Mossy Windows

Mossy Windows

The crew came and took out our old windows leaving a nice little hole in our house.

Window removed from Nursery

Window removed from Nursery

Here is the before picture:

Old Windows

And this is what it looked like after – the job only took 2 1/2 hours!

outdoor new windows

All New Windows Installed

All New Windows Installed

We really like that these new ones didn’t come with any moss.

New Window

New Window

New Window From Interior

New Window From Interior

One little thing at a time, we are making this house something exceptionally beautiful.

Dining Room

We also made some updates to our dining room this month (July 2015). This is how it appeared on June 1, 2014:

Dining Room on June 1, 2014

Dining Room on June 1, 2014

One $16 light fixture later, our dining room has become a rather cool place to hang out!

New Light Fixture

New Light Fixture

The quadro from IKEA was a welcomed touch as well. 😉

Dining Room in July 2015

Dining Room in July 2015


Dumpster Find + A Little Stain

We’re all about free stuff around here.  Meaning that sometimes, that’s all that we can afford!  I’m sure you understand.  🙂  This is the tale of a dumpster find that just needed a little love.

Here’s what our living room looked like shortly after moving in. We had chucked all the boxes into the garage and the house was still cluttered but livable. You can see the Mickelsen sign suspended precariously between two slabs of stone. We’ll actually hang that up in a nice place later, as you’ll see at the end of this post.

So just a month before we moved into our house, we found a wooden shelf discarded by a dumpster. We had been out on a walk when Kacee noticed it just sitting there. The dumpsters around our old apartment were actually gold mines for stuff like that, and if you were lucky you could even find a dishwasher!  But anyway, we were sure we could find a use for it in our new house, so we took it and put it in the trunk of our car. Then just a few weeks after moving in in June 2014, Kacee bought some stain from Lowe’s (Minwax Dark Walnut to be exact) and stained it a nice dark brown, and we mounted it on our wall.

And here’s Shane putting up the shelf like the champ he is.  🙂

A stud finder, level, pencil, and supportive photographer-wife were helpful in this task.


And below you see the finished project… for now.  😉  We’re so glad to have something on that big blank wall!


You may notice four small holes where the pegs on the shelf once were.  Before staining we popped those out and didn’t look back.  We’re hoping to replace them with some cool knobs or hooks at some point.  Probably knobs though.  Maybe in fun color?

Also, we’re pretty proud of this cute frame arrangement.  It feels really organic and true to us, but it did use up almost all of the big-ish frames we own, so we’ll need to replenish our stock as we work on other rooms!  On the shelf we also have some books, a box Kacee’s dad got her from Turkey, a little fake plant, a cute Willow Tree figurine, and a small painted mason jar.  We owe you a close-up.  Stay tuned!

And below you can see where we hung the Mickelsen sign (which was a very thoughtful handmade wedding gift) over one of our wedding pictures.  We need some kind of furniture there on that wall eventually, maybe a console table or a nice bench.  New curtains (and blinds for privacy so we can keep the curtains open at night, unlike in this photo) are also on our radar.  But one thing at a time, you know?