Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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Back it up…

Remember when my kitchen looked like this:
kitchen

I know I haven’t shown it live FOREVER, because in the year and half since we moved in, we haven’t really done anything in this room. But now we have a BACKSPLASH!!! And not just any backsplash, a white marble one. It was definitely worth the wait.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Once we get this room painted with the Arctic Gray, it will pop more than it currently does against the builder white walls (wah-wah).

A few reasons this took over a year 1. tile is expensive 2. deciding on a tile style, color and material is hard (it’s a big and more permanent decision than any of the updates we’ve made so far) 3. it was job we didn’t want to tackle ourselves.

So we hired it out, but don’t you worry I hover stalked the entire process so I could give a play by play ­čÖé

Let’s start with some close-ups of the wall pre tile.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House
Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

We decided to go with a white Bianca Cararra marble in a subway tile pattern. We thought the white marble would play off nicely with the black granite and matched our more clean and modern style, while the subway pattern was more classic ensuring we won’t tire of it too quickly.

The tile guy came over equipped with a wet saw (unfortunately it was freezing) and set up in the driveway cutting a few pieces in half before getting started.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Then mixed up some mastic and started applying it to the wall in small sections.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

The tiles stuck right to it, which he laid out in the subway pattern.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

These tiles, being real stone were pretty thick and heavy so they started to kind of shift around. a few spacers took care of that.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Once the entire area was complete we had to let it dry for a day to fully set in before the grouting could begin. We went with a grout color called frost, it was a grayish white, although we originally planned on going with white it just seemed so stark. The frost gave the effect of blending in more with the tile making it disappear rather than stand out.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

It was spread on with a trowel then wiped off with a damp sponge. Here it is right after the grouting was complete. You can see the haze it left all over the tile and the countertop. I buffed it out with a clean dry cloth.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

After it was completely buffed clean, Ken used a liquid sealer to seal everything in place. We used polished marble tiles, so this step wasn’t entirely necessary, but with white tiles it made us feel better that they would remain stain free. Because of the thickness of the tile, we had to purchase longer screws to put the outlet covers back on.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

This picture appears pretty dark because we’re in need of some under cabinet lighting… but you can see all the great veining and variety in the tiles.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

It was all done in time for us to host Thanksgiving last week! Now we just need to paint, add some under cabinet lighting, change out all the light fixtures and make a roman shade for the window over the sink.

So what do you think? What do you have as a backsplash, or are you still figuring out what type of material to use?

Hicks House


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Craft Room Love

I was asked by WeWork,┬áto write about what I love about my work space. ┬áThe request seemed to come at the perfect time as the┬ácraft room has been pretty neglected lately. Not only have I not written about the space in over a year (gasp!) I haven’t done anything to further customize the space in just as long.

Although the room is still far from done, the request from WeWork to see pictures, sparked some momentum towards organizing the space.

The original organizational idea centered around cube storage systems we had set up between the two windows. In theory this was great, it offered the choice between open shelving or pull out baskets… in practice not so much. The cubes were an odd size, in order to utilize them for fabric, it needed to be folded JUST right, and the pull out cubes required the fabric to be placed standing up, which would only work with the perfect folding job. Keeping everything so perfectly folded made me scared to use any fabric, and thus the cubes remained predominately empty for over a year.

They were also set up in between the two windows which seemed to close the room in and would infringe on my future plan to make and display some beautiful curtains. Once I finally accepted that they were not going to work, Ken helped me map out and execute a new organizational plan.

The small cube that housed the TV was turned on its side and one of the two massive cubes was moved next to it to display the TV, creating a 3 cube high, 5 cube wide storage area that now works well for yarn storage.

Hicks House | Craft Room

 

Craft Room | Hicks House

The second 3×3 cube was donated to a friend for their little girls playroom and replaced with two IKEA dressers. They offer the ability to keep my fabric organized in drawers and out of site, should they not be immaculately folded.

Craft Room | Hicks House

What I love most about this room is that it is a sanctuary for all my crafts and projects that is now set up to best utilize the space. The sewing desk is right next to the fabric dressers which is next to the fabric cutting table. This area looks across the room towards the TV so I can watch HGTV while I’m working away (a must have feature). The windows are now free to accept my upcoming custom curtains and the whole room feels light and bright.

Hicks House | Craft Room

Hicks House | Craft Room

To recap past posts and this one my favorite things about the room are:

  • The beautiful patterned chairs
  • The new amazing organization of the space
  • Having my own personal craft and project space where I can close the door off from the rest of the house

Still to be done, need to be updated:

  • Paint the room
  • Make and hang custom curtains (more grommets anyone?)
  • New fabulous uber-girly light fixuture

So what do you think? What do you love most about your work space? Check out some of WeWork’s other locations┬áhere.

Hicks House


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Lofty Ideas

One would think that after all of the hoopla surrounding the shed foundation and the delivery of the shed that we would have immediately started using it for storage and moving all of our possessions out of the garage. You must not be too familiar with this blog… nothing is ever that easy in the Hicks Household… everything must be customized :-).

What the shed was missing was a loft, what better way to store things you don’t need constant access to without taking up space on the precious ground level? You may be wondering, how does one build a loft? Is it hard? Well I actually had no physical part in this, but I can say as far as difficulty that it only took Ken one day, and he was done by dinner time.

The inside of the shed looked like this with all of the wall supports exposed:

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

Ken was able to take advantage of that by cutting several two by fours to the length of the shed and attaching them to the existing supports with wood screws.

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House
Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

It then looked like this:

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

He then measured the length and width of where the loft would go and cut some mdf boards to fit. It ended up using 2.5 boards with the larger ones on the sides and a skinnier one in the middle. (I did help with this part, holding the mdf still while he cut – I like to think I played an integral part in this project but I’m not fooling anyone).

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

The mdf was then placed on the support beams,

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

And then Ken crawled up there and used nailed them in along the supports to ensure they didn’t go anywhere.

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

Now its all ready for extra storage space!

Lofty Ideas | Hicks House

Once we’ve filled it, we will finally have both cars in the garage! Just in time for fall and the upcoming cold temperatures.

What do you think? Do you want to install a loft into your shed or garage now? If you missed us building the shed foundation and getting the shed delivered you can catch up here:

shed foundation

shed delivered

Hicks House


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Special Delivery

If you’re keeping up, you already know that we’ve ordered a shed. ┬áKen has been preparing the site for a couple of weeks. After the crushed stone was delivered he was concerned that the constant pressure of the stone pushing out on the wood would eventually cause it to bow out. Especially come winter should it rain and then freeze.

Ever the fixer, Ken devised a plan to address this. He purchased 8 foot long ground stakes. Pre drilled 2 holes equally spaced apart on each side.

Special Delivery | Hicks House

Then used a 5lb hammer to hammer in the stakes.

Special Delivery | Hicks House
Special Delivery | Hicks House

Just in time for the shed delivery! I unfortunately missed it as I had to go to work, but Ken got some great shots of them lowering it off the truck.

Special Delivery | Hicks House
Special Delivery | Hicks House
Special Delivery | Hicks House
Special Delivery | Hicks House

The shed is huge 16’x20′ and looks like a mini version of our house. Once all of the items being stored in the garage are organized and moved out here, we will be able to both park in the garage for the first time since moving into this house over a year ago. Just in time for the ugly New England winter (I am soooo not ready for winter).

What do you think? Is your shed a life and space saver?
Hicks House


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Building a Strong Foundation

After over a year in our house, the day is finally approaching where we will be able to park both cars in our two car garage. Yes, you read that right TWO cars in a two-car garage. To some, this may seem like an obvious thing that would happen right at the beginning, however half of our garage has been devoted to the storage of the essentials (such as the riding mower, the snow blower) and the recreational (two dirt bikes) that prevented the second bay from being used for a car.

My friends that is about to change. That’s right, we’re getting a storage shed. Before any good shed can be delivered a base foundation needs to be set up. The retailer we purchased the shed from suggested crushed stone in an area one foot larger on all sides than the shed – that’s all well and good, but not very tidy – crushed stone could get everywhere.

Not to worry, Ken had a plan. He purchased several pressure treated 4×4’s and cut them to the lengths he needed plus 4 inches (I would go into super specifics but the overall length is dependednt on your base) used a dado blade to create lap joints that would overlap creating a longer base than the original 4×4. (you’ll see this in a later photo). Here is a video we found online on how this is done watch here.

This is what the lap joints looked like:

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

He then drilled those diagonal holes you see in the above shot. These are for the 6″ galvanized metal lag bolts that will hold the two pieces together.

Before we could move all the wood outside, the site needed to be measured out and leveled. This was mostly handled with a small tiller used to dig down the high spots.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

Then we brought out all the wood pieces 8 in total and laid them out making sure they were level. This took some finagling.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

And here is a photo of the lap joint lined up and ready for the bolts.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

The bolts were hammered in with a washer between the bolt head and wood.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

Then they were secured with a washer and nut on the opposite side. Here is a close up of the pieces bolted together as well as some of our weeds.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

The entire structure then had to be lined in landscape fabric.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

Then filled with the crushed stone. Several tons worth. The place Ken ordered the stone from was willing to do this in two loads so they could drive up to the base and dump inside it rather than dump one huge load in the driveway that would then need to be transferred, or drive the humongo truck over our lawn and rip up all of our “lush vegetation”.

Strong Foundation | Hicks House
Strong Foundation | Hicks House

Ken used a rake to spread the stone out and that’s all for now folks!

Strong Foundation | Hicks House

I’ll be back next week with an update on how Ken added some extra support to prevent the wood from bowing out over time due to the weight of the stone and shed delivery.

Is it normal to be super excited about having both cars in the garage? Or is it something most people take as a duh! That’s what a garage is for!

Hicks House


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The Grommet Conglomerate

After our initial foray into window treatments for the dining room we could no longer hold out for all the walls to be painted before adding in the curtains for some other rooms. It just added so much more personality to the room.

The first set of curtains I actually purchased were for the living room so despite not yet being painted (it’s literally half the first floor as its “one” with the kitchen – kind of intimidating) we were ready to finally hang them. As the window in this room is a large double window it was extra important to hang the curtains higher and wider than the dining room allowed (hello stupid door frame touching the window frame).

The high and wide sounded great in theory… however there was a slight problem. I had purchased 84-inch curtains these from Target and letting out the bottom hem like I did to lengthen the dining room curtains wasn’t going to get me the length I needed.

After some debate on how best to do this the options were:

  • Add a panel of solid coordinating fabric
  • Try and return the 84 inch panels to the store and order the 95 inch panels online then shorten them
  • Undo the top AND bottom hems and add grommets to the top

From the title of this post I’m sure you can guess which option we decided to go with. We also we’re really liking the look of the grommeted panels in the dining room and how they fold back and forth as opposed to the traditional rod pocket panels, so even if we went for option two we would want to grommet them anyway.

So I undid the top and bottom hems and resewed a 1/2 inch seam like I did here and ordered two sets of this grommet kit online.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

We then laid the panel out on the floor to have a flat work surface and followed marked evenly spaced dots across the panel about 2 inches down from the top. You have to leave enough space from the top to fit the entire grommet which is 2 3/8″ total diameter.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

The grommet kit came with a “hole” template. You simply line the center up with each of your dots and trace.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

It leaves circles down your panel that look like this:

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

Take a pair of scissors then cut them out. The individual grommets come in two pieces, we you line one of the pieces up with the hole you cut…

Attaching Grommets | Hicks House

line the other piece up and press till it snaps on. I was super paranoid that I was going to press to hard and crack the grommet. Luckily for me they are either incredibly sturdy or I’m not nearly as super-human strong as I think I am. Actually it’s possible both of those statements are true.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

That’s it! Just hang them up and enjoy the more contemporary look the grommets provide.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House
Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

It’s a great way to add a bit of customization to bargain curtains, while still being cheaper than total custom curtains.

 

What do you think?  Do you prefer the look and the way grommeted curtains hang or are you loving the more traditional rod pocket look?


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Herringbone Woodshim Mirror

Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House Finally! More than a year after starting my own blog, I have completed the project that originally inspired me write about our home journey and diy our own touches. Allison over at House of Hepworths originally made her own woodshim mirror back in March of 2013. An idea she originally got from Addicted 2 Decorating and their tutorial. I of course had to put my own spin on it. While I loved the idea of the mirror, I wanted my shims to be laid out in a different pattern. I’d been envisioning it in an awesome herringbone pattern – admittedly a much harder pattern than the square pattern Allison and Kristi used. (what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment). And so began my longest DIY project to date. In order to not overwhelm this post (or crash your browser window) with the bazillion photos I took of this process over the last three months I’ve organized most of them into collages. Step one was to buy all of the materials. We purchased

  • three packs of cedar wood shims
  • a 4×4 square of 1/2 inch MDF board (we wanted our finished mirror to be 3.5 feet in diameter
  • and 3 tubes of liquid nails
  • IKEA KOLJA mirror

We figured out that if we cut the shims to 5 3/4 inches each we would have less shim waste, so Ken set up a jig on his saw to ensure all his cuts were the same and got to chopping all the shims. Some had quite a bit of splintering happening on the ends so gave those a quick pass with hand sanding block. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House What we ended up with was a big ole pile o’ shims. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House We then placed our MDF board on top of two sawhorses to create a sort of work table. We found the center of the board and drew an X. To make sure we had enough shims and that the pattern was working properly I laid them all out dry until the entire surface was covered. I then picked up the middle pieces so that Ken could drill a hole in the center that could later be used as an entry point for the jigsaw. (In retrospect this could have been done before the dry fit – but I was too excited to get started I couldn’t wait). I then picked the pieces up one by one, applied a good amount of Liquid Nails to the back of each piece and spread it out with an extra piece of shim and carefully put them back. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House After getting into a bit of a rhythm I found it easier to pick up two pieces at a time so that I only had to worry about butting it up to one side of shim. I worked from the center up then down in one row, then off to each side. Disclaimer: This part really sucks. If you are off even the teensiest amount it will throw each additional piece off that amount times 2 and when you get to the edge nothing will fit right. Go SLOW and line everything up. Don’t worry you can do it. The glue doesn’t adhere fully right away so if you happen to stick a piece wrong you can pull it up and try again. Try to be careful of getting glue on the side or top of any of the shims. If you plan on staining this later on the stain will not adhere to the glue. (This is an example of do as I say not as I do mmmkay?) I then let it dry for 48 hours 2 weeks. When we decided it was sufficiently dry we used the ole pen and string method to draw our inner and outer circles. The mirror had a diameter of 22 inches so we decided our inner circle would be 18 inches and hoped that was enough overlap to later attach the mirror from the back. As mentioned earlier our outer circle was 3.5 feet. and Ken used his brand new Jigsaw to cut along the lines we drew. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House I deliberated and wavered back and forth between painting and staining because I was starting to get nervous that it was going to look too Country and that wasn’t what I wanted. Eventually I threw out the idea of painting it metallic silver (although I still think that would have looked cool too) and went to town staining the whole thing a dark espresso. I started with the cheap paint brush shown in the photo below and quickly swapped out for a foam brush (sorry not pictured). I worked in sections letting it sit on the wood for about 5-10 minutes then wiping it off with a clean white rag. The MDF edges SOAKED up the stain and I had to continuously dab on at least 5 coats, with no wiping to get a similar color to the top. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House Just to be safe I let this dry for a couple of weeks too. These things shouldn’t be rushed. We then flipped it upside down and drew some marks 22 inches from the center to line our mirror up at. We propped the mirror up on some paint cans topped with cardboard -to not harm the fabulous stain job- and squeezed on a bunch more Liquid Nails in a circle trying not to get too close to the opening (don’t want glue oozing out the middle) and spread it out. Ken then very very carefully put one hand through the middle (hence the propped-upness) and lowered the mirror down. This was super nerve wracking because you essentially have only one shot at this step. One it was down we carefully took it off the paint cans, placed it back on the sawhorses and put a bunch of cans on top to press it firmly into the mirror frame. We also applied a security edge of Liquid Nails around the edge as it had a slight bevel to it. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House At this point we were getting pretty excited and really wanted the mirror finished and hung on the wall. so of course it actually did take several days to dry. After we adhered the mirror, we read the side of the Liquid Nails bottle – you know always best to read the instructions after you’re done – and it said “not for use on mirrors” uh oh. So of course I was panicking that it wouldn’t hold and we would get it mounted on the wall and the mirror would detach from the frame and come crashing down while we had company over or were sleeping and shatter EVERYWHERE. So we decided to take precautionary measures. We bough some metal mirror clips from Home Depot which seemed like the perfect solution,except they were slightly too high. In order to get them to fit Ken slammed them with a hammer and used pliers to bend them into shape. Perfecto! Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House Then of course the next crisis – nothing ever is easy. The screws that came with the mirror clips were too long, so we bought 1/2 inch screws and just to be safe used a scrap piece of wood to test it out. Ken measured the screw against his drill bit and wrapped some masking tape around it to create a “poor man’s drill stop” to ensure the pre-drilled screw holes were not too deep. He them pre-drilled the holes and HAND SCREWED in the screws. This is very important, do not use a drill because it would be too powerful for the MDF and could weaken it or cause splinters. The test piece held up well and didn’t pierce through to the other side so we repeated the process on the actual mirror, attaching one clip at the top and two on the bottom. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House The next dilemma was how to hang this beast, it easily weighs 20-30lbs. We purchased some heavy-duty D-rings and used the same 1/2 inch screws, pre-drill, hand screw method to attach them to the top of the mirror. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House In the picture hanging section at Home Depot we found these Monkey Hooks, we liked it because it made only a small hole in the wall and was rated to hold up to 50 pounds. Since we had some extra drywall in the basement we tried them out and took this picture that shows how they are able to support so much weight. It goes in your wall and hooks around to rest on the drywall behind the wall. Herringbone Woodshim Mirror Hicks House We went upstairs to the dining room, measured out where we wanted the mirror, placed the hooks in the wall to line up with our D-rings and TA-DA its all done! Herringbone Woodshim Mirror | Hicks House So what do you think? I’m in LOVE. I am actually surprised how much I like the way the stain picked up the different tones of wood and think it plays well against the more contemporary elements of the dining room, not too Country at all! What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions and if you’re planning on tackling any projects like this yourself. Just scroll ALL the way down to the bottom and leave it in the comments. (I’ve tried various things and cannot get this to move up, the field I was adding before was sending me emails instead of creating comments.) So thus concludes the longest post and project to date! Thanks for following along! Hicks House