Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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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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Baked Eggplant Fries

Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House

This is one of my favorite side dishes in the history of the universe. The first time I tried eggplant fries it was at a local pizza restaurant, they were fried not baked and I fell in love. It sparked a mission to find a way to make them at home, and at least somewhat healthier as we refuse to buy a deep fryer.

Ingredients

  • One medium to large eggplant (dependent on how many fries you are looking to end up with)
  • Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Eggs (We used the whole egg, you can substitute just egg whites if you are looking for a healthier alternative, however you may need extra eggs

Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Put your breadcrumbs in a bowl (we don’t measure this, just go by eye and add more if we run out). Crack and whip your eggs in another bowl or in a Tupperware. Use a third bowl or Tupperware for your olive oil – again we don’t measure but 2-3 tablespoons to start should be good.

Cut the top and bottom off your eggplant then cut in half. Turn each half so the cut side is facing up and then cut into cross sections creating your “fries”.

Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House
Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House
Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House

Then begin your breading process. Coat the fries lightly with olive oil. Eggplant tends to soak up oil very fast so just do a couple at a time – remember we are baking not frying. Coat in the egg followed by the breadcrumbs making sure to fully coat all sides. Transfer to a baking sheet and continue until you have breaded all of your fries.

Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House

Spray lightly with some more olive oil – this helps to get the outsides crispy.

Baked Eggplant Fries | Hicks House

Bake for 7-10 minutes, flip and cook an additional 7-10 minutes. Your fries will be sizzling and bubbly but the outsides will still seem soft. Now here is the trick to crispy fries – flip a second time switch your oven to broil and cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes. WATCH THEM CLOSELY! They will brown quickly, you want a nice browned look to them but if they look like they are starting to burn take them out.

Serve with your favorite protein and dig in!

Baked Eggplant Fries | 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


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How to Remove Stain from Vinyl Siding


How to Remove Deck Stain from Vinyl Siding | Hicks House

Yup you read that right, when we stained the deck, we also stained some sections of the house… oops. Sometimes despite the best preparation (we used plastic sheeting and tape to tape off the sections we thought would over spray) mistakes happen.

We obviously could not leave it like this. As its become summer we’re spending more and more time and eating more and more dinners out here and this was always taunting us:
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House I asked several handy people how to get it off and the general answer was “It’s stain – the whole purpose of it is to NOT come off.” Well that’s just peachy. Some suggestions were to try acetone, or mineral oil.

Ken tried the mineral oil and after several minutes of severe scrubbing he got the splatters into more of a light brown smear. Wah Wah – not good enough.

There had to be better way. Then he found this stuff (affiliate link) Motsenbocker’s Lift-Off – No. 4 Spray Paint Graffiti Remover, 22 oz. Trigger Spray
:
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House

So we picked up some scrubbers and a handled dish brush from the dollar store and Ken donned some gloves and tried again. The bottle said not to leave it on the applied area for too long because it can oxidize and strip the color UNDER what you were trying to remove so don’t spray too big an area at once.  Ken sprayed it down with the Liftoff and went over it with the scrubber.
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House
For extra stubborn areas he used the plastic scrubber.
How to remove stain from vinyl siding | Hicks House
He didn’t even to press down or scrub that hard it just started coming off… almost like magic.

In order to wash it off after the scrubbing to ensure that it didn’t strip through our siding he then sprayed it down with Windex and wiped it off with a clean rag.

We were both in awe of how amazingly it worked. Not that I would recommend getting stain on your house but if it does happen at least there is a way to easily get it off.

How to Remove Deck Stain from Vinyl Siding | Hicks House

So what do you think? Are you as impressed as we were? I’d love to hear about your DIY oopsies.
Hicks House


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A New “Turn”

The 1980’s called and they want their door knobs back. One of the quickest and easiest changes we’ve made to update our house is the door hardware. The house came with cheap builder grade brass door hardware.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"Hicks House | A New "Turn"

I honestly don’t understand why they even still make hardware in this horrendous color, I’m pretty sure that no one besides the builders buys it anymore. After replacing all of the hardware in the condo we were bummed to be looking at polished brass again.

This time around we wavered on what exactly to replace them with. Should we stick with traditional knobs, or switch to lever handles? Buy new, spray paint the ones we already had? What color – brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze? The endless decisions put this project on hold for a bit as we wavered back and forth with what we wanted. I’ve seen a lot of oil rubbed bronze across the blogosphere but also seen painted black doors which I love. Although we’re still unsure if we would want to ever paint our doors black, oil rubbed bronze hardware would rule it out – too much black.

We eventually settled on lever handles in brushed nickel. They would match the rest of the hardware throughout the house while still being “different”

Changing it out only took Ken about 15 minutes per door. First he unscrewed the hinges one at a time.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Then replace with a new hinge one at a time so you never have to actually take the door down and it should still line up properly with the routered out hinge holes.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

We also added these little “stops” to the top hinge on the doors that would come close to hitting a wall.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

We found these hinge packs at home depot, that were WAY cheaper than individually buying hinges however the brushed nickel seemed to be constantly out of stock. Another delay.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

The next step was to remove the door knob. The inside piece gets screwed into the slot in the side of the door first.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Then screw in the new handle.
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

And lastly screw in the catch on the door frame.
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Ta Da! All done!
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s so fresh and more modern, and less shinny
Hicks House | A New "Turn"

And for comparison sake here is a side by side. It’s so much less reflective and eye blinding.

Hicks House | A New "Turn"

So what do you think? Do you like it better? Would you have gone for the lever handle or stuck with a traditional knob?
Hicks House

 


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Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

This is somewhat of an addendum to my Zippered Pillow Cover Tutorial

as I used the same basic assembly method.

As part of the never-ending quest to personalize this here Hicks House I am trying to work in custom pieces in with the pieces I purchase. When I purchased the sofa it came with two WAY overstuffed pillows on it. As the sofa is on the small side these gigantic pillows made sitting on the sofa next to impossible. Thus the pillows were removed and covered for the guest room in the original pillow tutorial where they work perfectly.

I was unsure at first what to do because although I love the look of lots of pillows on sofas, I don’t want to have to remove them whenever I want to sit down. Then on my first ever trip to IKEA (don’t judge me – I just went for the first time) I found these pillow inserts for less than $5!

Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Pillow

They were meant to be used in conjunction with their pillow covers – however you cannot beat the price and they were just fluffy enough to give the look I wanted but still smoosh when you sat on it.

It just so happened I had a ton of muslin left over from years ago when I was first learning how to sew. It was the perfect oatmeal color to match the chairs in the living room. So I cut the fabric to size 1/2 inch wider and longer than my pillow so 16.5 x 24.5 (since this pillow is low on the fluff factor.) The only problem with muslin is that it’s so thin. Easily remedied by adding some fusible fleece interfacing to the back side.

Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Then I got started laying out my design with 1/4 inch gray ribbon that matches the sofa. I measured 4 inches up from the long edge of my fabric (I figured 4 inches up from the top and bottom would leave about 7.5 inches in the middle of the ribbon border – seemed like a good guestimate) and started pinning the ribbon directly to the fabric measuring at various intervals to ensure the line was straight.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Pillow

I kept going until I was about 1.5 inches from the edge. Remember not to get too close about 1/4 – 1/2 inch will be your inseam and you don’t want your design too close to the edge. To turn the corner I folded the ribbon directly down:
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow
Then up creating a box corner.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Make sure to pin very well. Make another corner going in the other direction 1.5 inches from the next edge.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Then create a third turn that folds back over your original line creating a square.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Continue pinning your straight line 4 inches from the edge of the fabric until you reach the 1.5 inches from the edge then repeat your corner process to create a second box. Repeat two more times and you have this.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

For a nice clean edge fold over the top piece of ribbon where it overlaps your starting point.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

This is where you will begin sewing along one edge of the ribbon – Make sure to backstitch at the beginning.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

This is probably the most important step in the entire tutorial for having a professional looking finished product… When you get to the areas that overlap backstitch when you reach the overlap then stitch back to right where your top ribbon is. PICK UP YOUR NEEDLE move it to after the overlap then backstitch again and continue on.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

You will want to use your seam ripper to remove the extra thread.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Once you have made it all the way around the pillow repeat on the other side.
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Here is a close up of a finished professional looking overlap. If you do not take the extra step to backstitch and move your needle you would have stitches in an # symbol where the ribbon overlaps (not necessarily a bad thing – personal preference).
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

The top of your pillow is now done!
Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

Now follow the directions for the zippered pillow covers to complete your pillow.

Hicks House | Ribbon Embossed Muslin Pillow

There you have it! A one of a kind ribbon embossed pillow that cost less than $10 to make start to finish!

I also made the two pillows behind it using the zippered pillow cover tutorial. I just love how they work together with the gray and oatmeal colors.

What do you think?