Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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?

Leave a comment

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


Lengthening Curtains

The curtain debacle has been tackled.  You may remember my mini rant about how store bought curtains are all either too short or too long when we hung the dinining room curtains. Well the flood zone length was gnawing at me and I just had to do something.  So I did.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

They are now the PERFECT length. I can’t get over how much better it looks and how unbelievably easy it was. I had the option of purchasing the 84″ inch and trying to find a way to make them longer or purchasing the 92″ (which is more expensive) and make them shorter. I decided to take the cheaper route and went for the 84″ length. You may have noticed on a lot of store bought curtains the hem at the bottom is a few inches up from the bottom, that was the case with these. So I grabbed my seam ripper and started undoing the bottom hem.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

In order to keep the original seam all nice and tidy it had been pressed about a half inch from the edge of the fabric and then again 4 inches up. Rather than over complicate the process I decided to reuse the original 1/2 inch fold so I pinned along the bottom and up the side to meet the original stitching.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

Then sewed with a matching thread,

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

and ironed out the original pressed edge.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

When I was finished the back looked like this.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

The new length was absolutely perfect just grazing the floor rather than just grazing the top of the trim (ewww). It now looks like they were custom made for the space.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

And the before and after again just for good measure.

Lengthening Curtains | Hicks House

I’m so happy with how they came out and can’t wait for this whole room to come together. If you’ve been following on Instagram you’ve seen some sneak peeks at the large wood shim mirror we’re working on for the wall in here.

Hicks House



Silver Mink you Minx

We’ve actually had the TV room painted for a couple of month you saw a sneak peek of the wall in this post, but I have been putting off writting about it because I didn’t have any photos. Bad Blogger!

This is one of the most used rooms in the house and it’s also Chloe’s bedroom (that girl just does not pick up her toys) and therefore has the most, lived in look and we don’t like any of the furnishings in here – it’s ALL on the to be replaced list so needless to say my motivation to show this room was lackluster. But hey in the long run it will make a great before and after.

The only other time I spoke of the TV room was in this post last summer when we mounted the TV.

Testing out the TV Mount | Hicks House

One of the best photos of me ever testing the weight limit of the TV mount. The photo also showcases the blase white walls that originally made up the entire house (we’re slowly chipping away at that.) You may also remember from this post that we had selceted Benjamin Moore’s Silver Mink for this room. It’s one of the darkest color choices we made for the entire house as this is the room where we relax and watch TV and we purposefully didn’t want it to be too light.

I was slightly nervous because it seemed so dark and the rooms we’ve painted so far looked so dark when the paint first start and this room was no exception:

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

But we’ve learned to keep going. We LOVE it

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House
Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House
Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

This room still has a long way to go as far as decorating goes here’s the list:

  • Mount TV
  • Paint Walls
  • Hang curtains – purchased need to hang
  • Create custom three canvas art piece for over the couch – canvas purchased need to paint
  • Get a new sectional – Ken’s TV room DREAM is to have a reclining sectional so we’ve been on a look out
  • Get a more substantial lamp for the top of Chloe’s crate
  • New coffee table maybe a cool repurposed trunk that could double as storage?
  • Get a cool lamp for the corner of the sectional – one of those bowed ones that overhang your furniture?

Here is a super crude mock up of all of the suggested changes:

Silver Mink You Minx | Hicks House

And the classic side by side showing the difference between Silver Mink and the Revere Pewter in the hallway.
Silver Mink you Minx | Hicks House

So what do you think of the color? What’s your favorite paint color we’ve used so far?
Hicks House


Drapery Dreams

It’s official.  We finally have curtains in one of our rooms.  This is the most exciting thing that has happened to our windows since we got blinds.

The ironic thing is we have curtains for almost every room and even purchased curtain rods a while back. However in order to not duplicate work we are waiting to hang them until the rooms are painted. That way we avoid screwing the curtain hooks into the wall only to have to remove them to paint and put back up again.

As the first room to get painted, the dining room also received the honor of getting the first set of curtains. If you remember from when we painted that room we had this problem area where the door and window just about meet:

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtians

Here is a closer shot of it. You can imagine how miserable it was to paint in between this itty bitty spot. It proposed an event larger challenge for how we were going to hang curtains in here.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

The edge of the window sill buts right up against the wall. It took many months of brainstorming and research to figure out just how to do this because not having curtains in the dining room was just not an option I could accept.

After looking in countless stores at the curtain rod selection nothing seemed to work. The best working idea we had was to hang the rod with the issue sort of like a closet rod so that it would literally sit against a holder that would be screwed into the wall. We were all gung ho and ready to go this route when we decided to check one more place – Bed Bath and Beyond. Seriously that store has everything, so its no surprise we found our answer – curtain rods with a screw off flat end so the end with the wall could have a flat end while the other end received a finial. Perfect!

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Due to the fact that the one problem window will only overhang the window on one end we were able to save about $10 by purchasing the shorter rod size for that window. I was super excited because I really was hesitant about using a wood rod in here. I just didn’t think it would have the right look so to find a solution in the same brushed nickel finish we bought for the rest of the house was a bonus.

Here’s a closeup of the flat end that came on the rods. You could totally use these on both sides if you wanted – however for our three non-problem sides we decided to use screw in finials.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

These rods also came with super chic curtain hooks. In comparison to the hooks that came with the rest of the rods we purchased at Home Depot there really is no comparison. These actually look decorative rather than merely functional.

In order to hang them up we decided to have them go directly above the window frame. Ideally I would have liked them higher however we only have 8 foot ceilings and curtain manufacturer’s seem to be way behind the curve and still only make curtains in 84 or 93 inches. 84 inches is too short and 93 way to long. So frustrating. By hanging the rods at this height the 84 wasn’t insanely short to the point that I may be able to lengthen them if I ever get the motivation.

So we lined the hook up and screwed it in.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Here is a close up of the bomb.com curtain hooks. And also the best picture to date of the coventry gray paint.  (You can also see a sneak peek at the new color in the TV room that I haven’t even wrote about yet)

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Then just screw in the finials

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains
Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Note: Do not screw the finial in on both ends right now or you won’t be able to get your curtain on the rod… not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… just looking out. 🙂

Then we put up the curtains. You may be wondering why I didn’t custom make curtains for this room after my little rant about the length. I thought about it, however I fell in love with these curtains from Pier 1. They were way higher quality fabric than I would have been able to find or afford and had a gorgeous embroidered design on them in almost the same gray as on the walls. When a 20% off total purchase coupon showed up at my house I decided it was destiny and they were meant to be mine. So I am dealing with the fact that they are too short – and will most likely let out the bottom hem later on (after practicing on less expensive curtains from another room) to alleviate this.

So can we see these fabulous curtains? I know after that description your at the edge of seat on pins and needles awaiting this picture. So without further ado:

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Isn’t it lovely? They also came with grommet tops which was an added bonus when dealing with the problem area if you look close, on that side we folded the curtain in half before hanging so its actually half as wide to accommodate the lack of space.

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains

Now when I come down from upstairs and look over into this room I see these gorgeous curtains and my heart skips a beat. Who wouldn’t want to see this sight?

Hicks House | Dining Room Curtains



I love it so much I can’t wait to hang curtains in more rooms!

One step closer to a “finished” dining room. Things that still need to be done/want to do.

  • paint the walls
  • hang curtains
  • add a new light fixture that is more than just a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling
  • make a HUGE over scale mirror out of wood shims for the wall
  • paint custom artwork
  • find and purchase a hutch to keep all of our nice plates and servingware
  • get a larger dining room table?
  • install a chair rail and picture frame mouldings and paint the lower half of the walls white?

I’d love to hear what you think! Are you as frustrated with the “standard” curtain length as I am? Have you altered your curtains or just let them hang like a pair of high water pants?

Hicks House



Relax it Away with Stonington Gray

I apologize in advance if you’re sick of the painting posts. Since the beginning of the year it’s been our main house priority. Especially being in New England and the wicked weather we’ve had this year we are pretty much stuck indoors.

As I mentioned in this post the color we chose for our guest room was Stonington Gray. It’s one swatch down on the same color strip as the Coventry Gray we used in the dining room.

If you are looking for a little refresher on where we last were with the guest room we were here:

shot of them both

shot of them both

I had also created the custom pillows to put on the bed with the intention of eventually altering some curtains to match.
zippered pillow case (15)

Here is the inspiration room we are kind of “modeling” the style of the room after.

getting closer to the inspiration room...

getting closer to the inspiration room…

So far I think we’ve got the bedding nailed. 😉 I actually like my pillows better – I’m not a huge fan of pink.  We followed the same painting technique we’ve done in the other rooms we’ve painted so far which is I cut in the ceiling with Ken following behind taping off the baseboards and side of the doors and windows. The taping generally takes less time than the cutting in so Ken then moves on to rolling the walls while I follow behind getting all the top of the baseboards and next to all the window and door frames.

In the end we’re left with this:
Hicks House | Stonington Gray Guest Room
Hicks House | Guest Room Stonington Gray

What do you think? I love that the gray in the walls makes the white nightstands, dresser and trim POP. It’s still a little too much white though so here’s what’s still left to do.

  • Get pretty bedding
  • Create custom pillow covers
  • Get and assemble nightstands
  • Spray paint the old hand-me down dresser white
  • Paint the walls
  • Make a custom painting for the wall
  • Hang the awesome mirror I found at Khols above the dresser (you’ll have to wait to see it – but it’s perfect for this room
  • Hang curtain rods
  • Create custom removable “bottoms” to much too short white Target curtains we already own
  • Make second set of pillow covers and curtain bottoms – so we can switch it up whenever we want

So that’s the current progress. What do you think?
Hicks House




Revered Halls

Continuing with our painting, we’ve tackled perhaps the most complicated area yet: the hallway. The hall goes from the kitchen/living room to the front door up the stairs then down to the bedrooms. As I outlined in this post we selected Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter for the hallway.

Originally I was completely convinced that I wanted Revere Pewter in the kitchen/living room area. After looking at the swatch in various areas of the room, I loved it in the kitchen area and was underwhelmed in the living room. While it looked perfectly greige against the dark counters it looked much to beige against the oatmeal colored chairs and the curtains we’ve already purchased that pull in more of the oatmeal color.

However, we both really liked the color and hated to not use it somewhere. The perfect solution seemed like the hallway it would help tie in a lot of the more gray colors we’d chosen with the beige carpet that’s upstairs in the bedroom. However, before we could start there was A LOT of prep work to do, much more than in the dining room.

Instead of nail pops there were lots and lots of screw pops that looked like this:
wall patching 2

See the screw trying to work its way out of the wall? The big problem with this is you can’t patch it as is… you have to dig the drywall off the screw –
wall patching 1
then tighten the screw –
wall patching 5
then patch the screw –
wall patching 4
Allow the compound to dry, sand it then repeat 2 to 3 more times. Needless to say that took a couple of days. Once that was complete the cutting in could start. Ken set up an adjustable ladder on the stairs so that he could get to the ceiling above the stairwell.
hallway cut in 1
this made me kind of nervous… glad I didn’t have to get up there. I’m not comfortable with heights and this probably would have made me hyperventilate. Luckily Ken is braver than I am and accomplished this while I was at work.
hallway cut in 2
Once he got to this point and I arrived home we kind of just stood there and stared it a while. What we were both thinking is “Uh Oh… this looks DARK.” We both thought it would be lighter. But we bought several gallons of this color so no backing out now… the cutting in must continue!
hallway cut in 3
Once it was complete we were both still a little unsure. Did we make a mistake? Is it going to be really dark? This is such a large portion of the house what if we don’t like it? Is it really as dark as it looks, or does it appear dark because we’ve been living in a white box for so long? (I was hoping this was the case.) Only one way to find out roll it and finish it – reserve final judgement until its done.

Good thing we forged on because it’s awesome.
hallway painted 1
hallway painted 2
hallway painted 6
hallway painted 4
hallway painted 7
I love how it pops off the white trim, and once the entire wall was done it didn’t appear too dark at all. For comparison sake here is where the hall meets the dining room (also a great shot of how annoyingly close the window is to the trim… but that’s another story)
hallway painted 8
We’re very excited that we’re starting to inject some of our personality and style into the place!