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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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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The Lawn War Rages On

After moving all the original grass seed that was planted by the builder was washed away and/or burnt to a crisp before we moved in, we decided to concentrate on moving in without worrying about the lawn for the first year. This year however, Ken has put a lot of time and effort into trying to whip the lawn into shape. However it seems like time and Mother Nature have not been on our side.

Back in April/May he spent just about every (non-rainy) night after work and all weekend digging up rocks and tilling the lawn to get it ready to be re-seeded. Everything looked like it was going good – the lawn looked like a big dust-bowl with no vegetation anywhere. Then we ran out of time and went on vacation for our one year anniversary and returned to crab grass/weed central. No lie, in that one week everything had taken root and grown like a foot high. “Sigh”

And if that wasn’t bad enough all the rain that came down while we gone (adding fuel to the weeds) also unearthed even MORE rocks. So Ken had to start all over de-rocking the lawn.
Lawn War | Hicks House

We also got a giant pile of top soil delivered to help even out some spots of the lawn that were less than flat – as well as fill in all the giant holes left behind from removing the rocks.
Lawn War | Hicks House

The topsoil itself was also riddled with rocks (are you noticing a never ending theme here?) so it didn’t make sense to fill in the holes with rock filled dirt. We’d just be trading big rocks for smaller rocks. So Ken built this handy screen to help sift through the topsoil.
Lawn War | Hicks House

It fit perfectly on top of his cart so he could pile dirt on top of the screen then shake it back and forth letting the dirt through the holes and catching all the rocks.
Lawn Wars | Hicks House
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

That’s a lot of rock! The result was what Ken called “the best topsoil EVER”
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

Chloe kept a watchful eye on the entire process – you know just to make sure he wasn’t slacking off out there. She’s a real control freak that one.
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

After the holes and low spots were all filled in we seeded the bare areas hoping to get at least some patches of “real” grass among the weeds.

Lawn Wars | Hicks House

After watering everyday for about a week (the neighbors must think we’re crazy – watering our weeds) we finally saw some GRASS!
Lawn Wars | Hicks House

One step closer to a real lawn. Ken has a plan of attack to get ahead of next spring so that the remaining weeds which still encompass about 80% of our property are gone and some grass comes back next spring.

All in all, this is taking WAY more work than either of us anticipated. We’ll be so excited when we finally have decent grass we may be out there laying in the lawn with Chloe

Hicks House

 


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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

 


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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