Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 8/27/2018

Is there anything more classic and charming than an old house? One aspect of older homes that make them so cozy is all the built-in shelves, drawers and other nooks and crannies that make each house one of a kind. While houses that have been more recently built usually lack these features, it doesn’t mean you can’t add them yourself.

Today I have six custom cabinetry ideas for you to create your own charming abode, even if it’s builder-grade.

When creating faux cabinetry the only limit is your imagination. Search home magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Save ideas you love to a gallery on your phone or print out in one document. With inspiration in hand head out to your local home improvement store to find millwork options that match your vision.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Install floor to ceiling bookshelves with a bench tucked in between to create a cozy reading nook. Add molding and other decorative millwork to take this D.I.Y. to a true polished built-in look.

Capitalize on any empty corners by adding corner shelves or a corner cabinet. Adding beadboard before installing the shelves and finishing off with molding. There are also many corner cabinetry options on the market to choose from today. Choose one that fits the height of your room in a color that matches the molding in your home.


For cabinetry with drawers and doors add charm by replacing with reproduction brackets, knobs and pulls. Or if you love the thrill of the hunt check out your local yard sales and flea markets for vintage sets. Sites like Ebay and Etsy are another great way to find matching sets of vintage finds.


Add personality with splashes of bold color. Blues, greens, and yellows are popular hues for a pop of color while maintaining classic old home character. Paint on of your new custom pieces a charming shade to bring a room to life. Alternatively, installing cabinetry with glass front doors allows you to put bright decor on display without committing to one particular color. Add vintage books, glassware, and small paintings to shelves for smaller doses of color.

For a luxurious touch, stained glass windows look stunning in a bathroom and allow for privacy while still allowing light shine through. Adding custom sized stained glass windows to the upper portion of a wide doorway works well in homes with higher ceilings and will have guests in awe.  

When house shopping sometimes we have to make compromises when it comes to our wants to prioritize our needs. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. With a little bit of creativity and a few D.I.Y. projects, you can add a dose of old home charm to any house to make a cozy, welcoming home.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 8/20/2018

There's a lot to love about a builder grade home, for example, the fact that it is newly built and doesn't come with the host of issues of an older home. However, these homes can lack in the personality department since the focus when being built was on the budget and not magazine worthy style. Keep reading to discover how you can add stylistic flair to your home without draining your bank account. Light fixtures. Changing light fixtures by either replacing them completely or painting them can make a huge difference in a room. Picking up a few cans of rubbed bronze or satin nickel spray paint will give a modern touch without breaking the bank. Doors. Replace or reface generic hollow core doors. You can reface flat doors by adding molding or get creative with a can of paint and a roll of painter’s tape and make the illusion that you have a raised panel door. Beadboard paired with molding is another great combination that adds personality to your doors without the major price tag. Stairs. Strip carpeting to expose treads and risers. Here’s where you can let your imagination go wild. Pick up some cans of paint and add a unique touch to your staircase by painting railings and  risers to add a pop of color. Avoid painting your stairs all one color to avoid a bland look. You can even paint a faux runner to really add a unique touch. Cabinets.  Replacing cabinets is always an option albeit a pricey one. If you’re happy with your cabinet layout you have a few diy options available. Variation can be the spice of life. Try removing some cabinet doors to keep things open or installing some glass paneled doors. Paint is always an option whether professionally sprayed or done by yourself. Another easy way to add some personality to builder grade cabinets is by updating hardware. Look for knobs and handles at antique shops to add a unique touch on a budget. Millwork. Molding, wainscoting, and beadboard. Oh, my. With this trio on your side, the possibilities for customization are endless. Frame a plain bathroom mirror, add chair rails or extend baseboards. With a little creativity, you can even recreate the look of coffered ceiling or paneled doors. If you are unsure of where to start, try looking through some home magazines for inspiration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper gives you endless options for adding flair to the walls of your home. Add a pop of color with bright, bold patterns or texture with paintable varieties. If you don’t want to make a commitment to wallpaper or the idea of scrapping it if you change your mind fills you with dread there are now a plethora of temporary wallpaper options. Tile. Hexagon and subway tiles are both guaranteed to add a modern feel to your home. However, your options today are endless no matter your budget. Explore the selections at your local home improvement store and don’t rule out materials fabricated to recreate a stone or wood finish. After all, there’s no need to empty your wall out just to get the look you want. Just because you’ve fallen in love with a builder grade home doesn’t mean it needs to stay quite so basic. If you want to add a touch of modern style to your home a little creativity and paint can go a long way. Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy all your hard work when you’re finished!




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/4/2017

Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.

Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.

Chandlery

In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.

Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.

Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.

The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.

Gather your supplies

Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.

When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.

In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.

Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.

Making your candle

Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.

Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.

Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.

Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.

Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.




Tags: DIY   candles   fragrance  
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