All posts by Diane

What Classifies A House Style: What Makes A Craftsman Home?

craftsman home

It’s time to take an in-depth look at what classifies a Craftsman home. Image: Creative Architects

If you’ve ever watched an episode of House Hunters, you know that Craftsman homes have an appeal that many people find irresistible. Whether you’re drawn in by the cute front porch, elegantly sloped roofline, or those oh-so-charming architectural details, one thing is certain: this style’s popularity isn’t going anywhere. However, have you ever stopped to wonder what makes a Craftsman home so unique?

Here’s an in-depth look at what makes a Craftsman home just that, including the history behind how and why this architectural movement came into being. Plus, an overview of the distinct features that set this style apart. Read them over with an open mind, and by the time you’re finished, you’ll be more in love with these homes than ever before.

arts & crafts movement

Craftsman homes are a result of the Arts & Crafts Movement of 19th-century Britain. Image: Coombs Design

History of the Craftsman home

Believe it or not, the credit for this beautiful style of architecture goes to a late nineteenth-century British social movement. At the time, Britain was experiencing an industrial revolution like no one had seen before. The contrarian Arts & Crafts Movement, however, was all about rejecting this new, mass-produced construction style in favor of handcrafted products made by artisans.

Eventually, around the turn of the century, this movement made its way to America, championed by Gustav Stickley, founder and editor of The Craftsman magazine. His publication sold blueprints for homes that were designed in the Arts & Crafts style, with the intention of making”serious architecture” accessible to the masses.

Originally, the term “Craftsman” was reserved for homes built from one of Stickley’s plans. However, it has since evolved to cover a specific architectural style. Today, what we consider to be Craftsman homes do include some common identifying features,  and yet, true to Stickley’s vision, each one also includes unique details, making the home more functional for its owners.


There are four distinct sub-types of Craftsman homes. Image: Carley Montgomery

Why are Craftsman homes so popular?

The Craftsman’s popularity can be attributed to Stickley himself. He is thought to have been inspired by travels to Bangala, India, where he was first exposed to bungalow designs. When he returned, he published an article about them in his magazine, and many American architects followed his lead.

To him, the beauty of these bungalows was in their simplicity. Craftsman homes were meant for the working man. While Victorian homes—another popular style of the time—led with aesthetics, Stickley sought to create a design that put function first. Craftsman bungalows are relatively modest. They’re small and easy to care for, which made their design particularly attractive to hardworking homeowners.

Today, their popularity continues because their functionality doubles as an added sense of charm. Remember, most original bungalows were built by their owners, meaning that no two are exactly alike. Most feature unique details that are impossible to commission these days. In doing so, these homes have become an irreplaceable part of history.


Craftsman homes are all about the charming details. Image: The Works

Defining features of Craftsman homes

Even though Craftsman homes are known for their individuality, there are a few structural and aesthetic details that bring them together. You can identify these homes by the following:

Exterior details:

  • Low-pitched rooflines, usually done in a hip or gable (triangular) style
  • Wide, overhanging eaves
  • Exposed rafters under the eves
  • A covered front porch
  • Pillars lining the entry
  • Double hanging windows, which have separate panes of glass on the top and bottom
  • Single, protruding dormers

Interior details:

  • Prominent fireplaces
  • Built-in storage
  • Plenty of natural materials, such as wood

What do you think of Craftsman homes? Do you hope to own one of your own someday? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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7 Reasons Why You Need to Enter to Win the HGTV Smart Home 2018

The latest HGTV Smart Home 2018 giveaway is here! This two-story, Southern-style home is located in a private resort community called Palmetto Bluff in the coastal low country of South Carolina. The home is 2,850 square feet, with three bedrooms and three and a half baths; and, as the name suggests, it uses smart technology everywhere.

hdtv smart home 2018

The Southern-style smart home features an open floor plan and a hybrid of coastal, farmhouse and industrial styles.

Here are 7 of the coolest tech features from the HGTV Smart Home 2018:

1. A paper-thin TV masquerades as a high-definition art display

hdtv smart home 2018

A flat screen TV above the fireplace displays high-resolution art or photos when not in TV mode. “Invisible Connection” technology eliminates wire and cables.

2. Customize smart beds for every sleeping style

All bedrooms contain programmable Sleep Number beds, including this master suite Flextop King, i10 Sleep Number 360 smart bed with air pressure monitoring. Customize firmness, adjust head positions and even warm your feet.

3. Smart skylights make your life sunnier

As well as adding brightness throughout the house, VELUX skylights automatically close when rainfall is detected. What’s more, they’re solar-powered and energy efficient.

4. A connected kitchen keeps you entertained

hgtv smart home 2018

Appliances feature wireless internet, and the CabiTV’s integrated cabinet door above the oven doubles as a sleek television without requiring counter space.

5. A smart toilet in the guest room will fascinate your guests

Kohler’s Numi toilet’s motion-activated cover and seat facilitates hands-free opening and closing. A seat warmer and foot warmer ensures you’ll be comfortable even on the coldest of days.

6. The kids will love the secret virtual reality playroom

HGTV smart home 2018

Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm’s modular, geometric lighting draws you in from behind the sitting room bookcase. The panels include endless color choices that can be customized from a home computer system.

The small VR gaming room of the HGTV Smart Home 2018 is high-tech and comes with the latest Play Station 4, which incorporates connected gaming, personalization and integrated social capabilities.

7. The master bath keeps you up to date with current events

The mirrors in the master bath do more than reflect. These Smart Touch Vanity Mirrors also project the latest news, stock updates and social media feeds. An Ocea waterproof bathroom television is mounted in the shower and blends into the design with a mirror glass finish. The TV also has Wi-Fi networking for streaming smartphone content.

A coffee station is also at your disposal, which self-stores when not in use, thanks to the Nexus21 hidden storage lift.

You can enter twice per day until Thursday, June 7 at for a chance to win the $1.6 million grand prize. Photography by HGTV.

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Wayfair Has Its First “Way Day” April 25 With Black Friday Low Prices

If you want to spruce up your place for spring and summer, there’s no better time than now. Wayfair has announced its very first Way Day :their version of Prime Day, or Black Friday.

Beginning midnight of Wednesday, April 25, promises 24 hours of “Black Friday-low prices” on 70,000 products.

The folks at Wayfair are remaining tight-lipped about the sale, but they did say that seasonal furniture, home accents, outdoor furniture and grills will carry the deepest discounts. “With the launch of Way Day, we’re offering the steepest savings possible at a time of year that makes the most sense,” Steve Oblak, chief merchandising officer, explained.

Be sure to check throughout the 25th, as Wayfair plans to announce “doorbuster deals” every six hours.

If you have a Wayfair credit card, you’ll also earn an unprecedented 9% back in rewards dollars on Way Day, compared to the normal 3%.

Below are some of our current favorite Wayfair picks, which may or may not be marked down even more on Way Day. We’ll have to wait and see, but we can hope, can’t we?

Davina Wingback Queen Headboard, Reg. $330, now $150

Collect this idea

Way Day deals

Available in 4 colors and 2 sizes. the stylish, tufted wing-back headboard adds the finishing touch to your bed.

Nora Bed-In-A-Box Memory Foam Mattress, Reg. $449 and up
(discount not announced yet)

Collect this idea

Way Day Wayfair Nora mattress sale

Wayfair’s bed-in-a-box, the Nora memory foam mattress is something worth watching for discounts on Way Day. Nora is one of Wayfair’s best sellers, and comes with a 100-night trial.

Kartwright 3-Piece Bar Set,
Reg. $570, now $238

Collect this idea

Perfect for a small space, indoors or outdoors, the 3-piece set is 58% off.

Great Bay Microfiber Sheet Set,
Reg. $60 and up, now $20

Collect this idea

3 color options of soft fabric with a seashell pattern.

Royal Gourmet Patio Gas Grill,
Reg. $366, now $180

Collect this idea

Styled in a fashion-forward red with a porcelain cast-iron firebox.

Goldhorn Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug, Reg. $219 and up, now $39 and up

Collect this idea

Durable and colorful, the Goldhorn area rug is now more than 80% off.

Jadon 4-Piece Sofa Set With Cushions,
Reg. $2400, now $730

Collect this idea

This modern outdoor set is a great deal at 70% off and features cushions in a durable, outdoor red fabric.


5 Woodworking Projects for Beginners (Blog Swap with Sawdust 2 Stitches)

Hi friends! Hope your Monday is going well. Today, I’m over at my friend Corey’s blog, Sawdust 2 Stitches, sharing some of my favorite projects. And below, she’s doing the same. Basically, it’s a good ol’ fashioned blog swap! If you’ve never seen this happen before, it’s something bloggers used to do a TON back in blogging’s earlier days when things like Pinterest and Instagram were but a twinkling in the internet’s eye. It sounded like fun to bring this back every now and then (it feels a lot like introducing friends at a party; “friends, meet Corey; Corey meet my awesome friends!”), so I hope you enjoy! She’s got some amazing projects to share. <3

Hey All! This is Corey from Sawdust 2 Stitches, and I am thrilled to be working with our gal Sarah. I have gotten to know Ms. Ugly Duckling in real life, and man is she just as awesome in person as she comes across online! She pretty much does it ALL, and I freaking love that! Me? I tend to stick to what I know, and what I know is building. So today I thought I would share with you 5 small builds that I love. These are easy enough for a beginner builder, but even a seasoned builder will love the look of these little beauties.

1.The Bracket Shelf

Let’s start with the simplest one I’ve got… this build includes literally 6 cuts ! Don’t own a saw? I bet if you ask someone at your local home improvement store they would be happy to help. (Or begrudgingly. You just never know. But most of the time they are happy to do it. Just be ready to explain what you are making, they always want to know. 🙂 Anyways if you have limited power tools, this Bracket Shelf is the build for you!

2.Target Cubbies

Here who likes Target?! I am assuming you all just mentally raised your hand. If so, this one might seem familiar. A few seasons ago Target had a very similar piece, but it ran a cool $50. Which isn’t awful but when you can make it for a little over $10, it seems like highway robbery. Am I right ? You can whip up this knock off in an afternoon using only saw and some wood glue! ( I used a nail gun, but it’s totally doable with just wood glue if you are the patient type… I am not.) Get the build plans here.

3.Farmhouse Tray

If you feel like you are getting the basics down, try to start including dowel rods, they take a basic build to the next level! I added a dowel rod in lieu of a straight edge board and it makes this a little less DIY and a little more Home Goods! I use this little Farmhouse Tray Caddy for every thing, and it makes a great gift!

4. Long Table Tray

If you liked the last project you are going to love this. It’s the mac daddy, big brother to the farmhouse tray. I whipped this one up to use as a Tray Table Runner for table scapes!

5. Wall Organizer

Alright, I feel that once you have conquered basic straight cuts, the next logical addition to your building knowledge arsenal is angles. This is a functional project that introduces you to angles in small baby steps! But look at that beauty. This thing makes my morning sane. I hang up my kids clothes the night before, toss their socks and shoes in their bins, in the morning they just grab their stuff and go! So, do you want to make your school mornings a little less chaotic?

There you have it folks, a few basic builds that will get you started, or if you already know your way around the shop, these builds are still mighty pretty to look at!

Thanks so much for having me. I loved stopping by and sharing a bit of what I do. If you are looking for more advanced builds, or even full room makeovers I’ve got those too. Feel free to stop by anytime!

Take Luck,

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Trying Cherimoya + How to Quickly Peel Kiwi Fruit

Today I tried something new on a whim… plus, how to quickly peel kiwi fruit (it’s easier than you might think!).

Do you ever try new foods just to say you’ve tried it?

I would say I’m kind of 50/50 when it comes to breakfast and trying to eat healthier. I will give it a shot for a month or two, then get a craving, and I’ll have a streak of shamefully bad pizza. Part of my problem is that I’m always trying to rush, or work outside on a project, or I get sucked into doing things online and don’t really think about the things I eat. I don’t eat breakfast (other than a crapton of coffee), so I’m trying to get a little better about both. And as I experiment with trying to make breakfast quick, easy, interesting — or at least two out of those three — I have started considering branching out beyond the breakfast I know.

Cherimoya, the “Custard Apple”

Not too long ago, I was at the grocery store and found the above fruit while I was shopping for kiwi (it’s a nice break in healthy dessert options when you’re wanting to switch out the ice cream). And just for fun, I picked up a cherimoya — otherwise known as a custard apple — and decided to try it.

I’ve never even glanced at any “exotic” fruits in my grocery store before, but considering the price tag (a little over $5 for one, if I recall), I guess that’s another reason for skipping it. I eat fruit pretty fast in this house, so liking it runs the risk of a habit I can’t afford. #millenialproblems?

According to what I found online though, cherimoyas are native to South America and the texture is somewhat like custard. All you need to cut it open is a sharp knife, and the fruit will often come out in chunks. Just be sure to avoid the seeds — like many other fruit seeds, they’re poisonous.

The kiwi-peeling spoon trick

Have you heard of the spoon trick for how to quickly peel kiwi fruit? I picked it up several years ago (from my pal Allison, I think?), and it totally changed how often I eat it. After all, when you love something, but it’s frustrating to peel, you might often skip the indulgence. Now, I don’t have to. 🙂

All you need to peel it is actually a spoon, not a peeler or knife. Just cut them in half, slip a tablespoon at the edge of the peel, and it glides right around the fruit and slips out of the tough skin. All without accidentally mashing the delicate fruit inside (in terms of my past experiences, Of Mice and Men comes to mind).

Put down the fruit, Lennie.

So, just because it seemed like a pretty similar scenario, I used the spoon to help scoop out the white flesh from the cherimoya. The way it tastes? The custard analogy is pretty on point. It’s sweet, kind of ice-creamy, and also has a subtle tartness that went well with the kiwi. I would guess that freezing it could actually make it a pretty amazing ice cream substitute if you have dietary restrictions (vegan/lactose intolerant maybe?).

I guess my point is, experimenting in DIY is not the only thing I seem to be in the mood for lately. And as for my favorite, the kiwi fruit? I found a way to make that more breakfast-y too: it adds an incredible flavor to orange juice if you’re ever looking to try it.

Weekend plans

Happy weekend, friends! What are you going to try this week? Be sure you also check in on my Instagram stories over the next couple of days; if you don’t know how IG stories works, just click on the little circle around my profile picture when it lights up. I’m expecting sunny weather, and that means progress will be underway for the new pub shed!

P.S. I know this wasn’t actually a recipe, so the category sorting is a little generous on this one. Want some actual recipes? You’ll find more of those here.

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5 Feng Shui Home Decor Tips for A Peaceful, Prosperous Space

The recent celebration of Chinese New Year ushered in the Year of the Dog. The dog is an animal known for it’s loyalty, faithfulness and, especially, it’s ability to remain perfectly happy and content spending time at home with it’s family. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are some ancient Chinese feng shui home tips to help you remain happy and content at home by creating a perfectly peaceful and prosperous space.

What is feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art. The words literally mean “wind water,” which are associated with good luck, and good health. Most people will say that a home that has been “feng shui’d” feels more peaceful and harmonious.

To increase the amount of good vibes in your home, follow these five easy feng shui home decor tips for a lucky, prosperous Year of the Dog.

1. Declutter your home

feng shui home decor tips

When decluttering your home, a good rule of thumb is to minimize the amount of objects that collect dust. Image: Oishi Architect

The single most important objective in creating feng shui is allowing for the flow of good energy, or chi, throughout your home. Chi brings good health, wealth and luck.

Decluttering must be thorough—simply hiding your stuff won’t cut it. Items under the furniture, overloaded bookcases and closets, and outdated or broken items all affect chi flow. It’s time to clear out closets, the space under the bed and all cabinets and shelves. Keep only the items you love—or ones that have special meaning—and discard or donate the old and unused.

2. Get air and light flowing throughout

feng shui home ideas

Lots of windows let natural light shine in, and retractable doors circulate air. Image: Klopf Architecture

To ensure the constant flow of good energy throughout the home, wind (air) and light must move as well. You’ve decluttered your home in step one, making it easier for energy to flow. Now open the windows to increase air flow. Maximize light movement by keeping all glass, mirrors and windows clean. Have a dark corner or space that needs a little brightening? Add a lamp to illuminate the spot, or place a mirror to reflect light from a different spot.

3. Add plants

feng shui home tips

A live plant attracts good chi energy in this contemporary feng shui kitchen. Image: 82 Design

Air flow is important in feng shui, but the air must be pure. Plants filter the air, creating a healthier, cleaner environment. Plants also attract vibrant chi energy due to their life force. As long as the plants are kept healthy, you’re attracting good energy.

Some plants are better for feng shui than others. In fact, some plants, like cactus, are considered bad feng shui, because they lack the need for water (water is like wealth), or they’re spiky and “unfriendly.”

Here’s a list of some of the best (and luckiest) plants you can invite into your space. Most of these plants are low-maintenance, and do very well indoors:

  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Peace Lily
  • Ficus
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy
  • Palm
  • Boston Fern
  • Philodendron
  • Spider Plant

4. Add more of your favorite colors to activate the energy associated with them

feng shui home colors

The use of color plays an important role in feng shui. Images: Shambhallah Institute and Natalia Apezetxea

Colors play a very important role in feng shui; add them through wall art, decorative objects or paint.

Here’s a general list of what each color activates:

  • Red: luck and wealth
  • Orange: happiness and fun
  • Yellow: mental stimulation, power
  • Green: peace, balance, healing
  • Blue: calmness, communication, spirtuality
  • Purple: wealth, high spirituality
  • White: cleansing and purity
  • Black: power, especially when paired with red
  • Brown: nurturing

5. Go for Yin and Yang

feng shui home design

Yin and Yang elements shown in this living room include black and white accents and boxy furniture paired with rounded edge items. Image: Maurizio Giovannoni

Feng shui followers believe that everything is composed of two opposing but connected forces: Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). It’s the balance of forces such as dark and light, or night and day; one cannot exist without the other. When decorating, create balance by applying this concept to your home.

These are just the basics of feng shui; there’s much more to the art and science, including directions, numbers, elements and more. Getting started with these 5 tips should be a good start; you should feel the difference in your space in no time!

Adding some feng shui to your home? Leave a comment, and let us know how it goes!

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Get Ready for your Close-up With 2018’s Best Bathroom Vanities

Bathroom design—and bathroom vanities—have come a long way in recent years, particularly, as a result of the increased furnishing options available to the public, as well as the many available avenues for customizing a look to suit individual homeowners’ styles.

The previous norm was that spec homes, or newly built homes, were fitted with a standard look, size and style of bathroom furnishings. Traditional, white vanities with raised doors and chrome hardware were all too common. Now, thanks online stores such as Wayfair and Overstock, consumers have the ability to choose from a much wider range of bathroom furnishings and styles.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a bathroom vanity, with style and price being two of the most important.

A rustic, organic look can be achieved with the Morriston vanity from Lowe’s. Photo courtesy of

A rustic look conveys an adventurous, outdoorsy spirit. Bathroom vanities of this style can be found at one of the most accessible big box stores. Featuring barn-door hardware, Lowe’s 60-inch Morriston Distressed Java Undermount Double Sink Bathroom Vanity with Engineered Stone Top (shown above) presents a modern look, with just the right amount of rustic, for those who want to bring a more organic, earthy look to their bathroom, at an affordable price point of under $700.

To continue the look, an oil-rubbed bronze faucet is a good match. It sends a message that nothing in the room is particularly fussy or fancy, while still coming off as polished and tasteful. Many retailers are happy to offer suggestions as to what to pair with larger purchases. The bronze faucet was an automatic suggestion for this particular vanity.

Many larger retailers, including those without brick and mortar stores, offer a large selection of styles, covering all ends of the design spectrum. Wayfair.comoffers many bathroom vanities for those who crave contemporary pieces, or those who prefer more classic styling. Some of the vanities include matching mirrors, such as the Birch Lane 42-inch single bathroom room vanity with marble top, under mount sink and 42-inch mirror. For close to $1000, this set instantly updates a bathroom with a clean, cohesive look. In addition to excellent value, also sweetens the deal with free in-home delivery.

For a more traditional look, consider the Birch Lane cabinet and mirror from Photo courtesy of

On the opposite end of the design spectrum, also offers a sleek, dark gray bathroom vanity that’s modern in every aspect. The Tenafly 60-inch Double Wall Mount Modern Bathroom Vanity Set by Wade Logan appears to float on the wall, without traditional feet or legs. Hardware is minimal and discreet, enhancing the modern aesthetic. Instead of a rustic-looking stone top, acrylic sinks provide a seamless look. Also priced under $1000, it definitely speaks to those who appreciate clean, contemporary style. This particular collection also has singular vanity pieces to accommodate smaller spaces.

Another website that has an abundance of bathroom vanities to choose from is Organized by color, price point, style, sizes, types, materials, product features and brands, this website has something for most budgets and tastes. Prices for bathroom vanities here are listed in the $800 to the $2500 price range.

For those who like to both display and hide toiletries, the Belvedere Vanity allows for both options. Photo courtesy of

The Belvedere Bath 48-inch Freestanding Modern Veneer Bathroom Vanity with Stone Top is an attractive, free-standing piece that appeals to those who don’t need to hide all of their toiletries. With two drawers, this vanity also has a deep open shelf that would be ideal for displaying expensive or attractive bottles of soaps, shampoos and lotions. It would also be a good place to stack hand towels and small and interesting accessories, such as vases. This vanity comes in at under $1000, with free delivery. Its contemporary feel can also be attributed to its dark gray color and sleek seamless sink and top. Packaged with single handle chrome faucets, this vanity is perfect for those who want to stay on point with design trends and want to show others they have the room and ability to display personal accessories.

The name All Modern conjures up designs that are not for consumers who prefer classical designs. The website has a large inventory of unique and interesting bathroom vanities that will allow those with a specific style to choose a piece of furniture that will represent their own personal statement. The Pinova 40-inch single bathroom vanity with mirror for example, represents mid century-inspired style, with this wall-mount vanity set, paired with a multi-colored wood design and glossy glass top. Just under $800, this vanity is an affordable way to make a strong fashion statement in a room that isn’t often used for that purpose. The Pinova received several positive reviews, many of which describe how positively others respond to it. In other words, this vanity tends to be a big hit with consumers.

Get the hotel look and feel with the Apothecary unit from Pottery Barn. Photo courtesy of

Known for its similarity to a quality hotel look, Pottery Barn has several options for bathroom vanities including an apothecary sink, single or double, that look like it is right out of an upscale boutique hotel in New York City. Combining the vintage charm of a classic open-framework console with the benefit of modern fittings, the Apothecary Single Sink console from Pottery Barn is more about style than anything else and is not necessarily a strong example of utilizing space to its best advantage. This particular aesthetic does not come cheap, however, with the unit coming in just under $2000. One of the more helpful aspects of shopping with Pottery Barn is that it offers accessories, hardware and lighting to match this unit and continue the look.

Whether you are doing an entire bathroom renovation or just want to replace a vanity, both online and retail stores have a plethora of options and styles to choose from. Prices can vary greatly, but good deals can certainly be found with some research and comparative shopping. Modernist or traditionalist, there is a bathroom vanity to suite your style and design aesthetic.

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DIY Carved Wood Wall Art

I’m in love with my newest piece of wall art, and making it was a lot easier than it looks! Check out this power carved wood wall art and tell me where you think it should go.

Hey, friends!

I’ve got a little bit of picture overload for you today. It’s honestly due to a number of factors:

  • I loved the way my project turned out
  • I loved that I didn’t have to put on makeup to be in these photos because my face is covered up
  • Even though my face is covered up, I look like a badass in these photos
  • This project looks harder to do than it actually is
  • This is part of a blog/YouTube hop called the #WoodArtChallenge

Don’t know about the Wood Art Challenge yet? Well, in a nutshell, around 30+ of us DIYers/makers (bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers, etc.) are all teaming up to present you guys with a single hive mind creative challenge: make a piece of wall art that is SQUARE and made out of WOOD.

Thassit. That’s the challenge. And that means with so many ways to interpret that, there are LOTS of DIY ideas in store for you guys today! Just look to the bottom of this post for others who are participating.

As many of you guys know (unless you’re new here because of the hop thing, in which case hi, stay awhile, we get weird around here… in a good way), I would call myself a woodworking “beginner”. Even though I’ve got plenty of house fixing shenanigans under my belt, there’s a whole other world of power tool fun that I am just now starting to learn more about. And that’s how I found myself using an angle grinder to make a block of wood look like fabric.

Or twisted metal? Or maybe just crumpled paper? I still can’t put my finger on precisely what I think it resembles most, but it definitely doesn’t look like anything I’ve created out of wood before!

It was actually inspired by an artist I follow on Instagram, . My attempt was, of course, pretty small and quick compared to his giant, awe-inducing carved sculpture (which takes anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months to complete). Seriously guys — you’re missing out if you haven’t seen his stuff yet!

The best part of it is, my DIY version doesn’t use a lot of tools to accomplish; the tools you would need to purchase are well within a normal DIY budget too, so this makes it a great beginner’s woodworking project!

What you’ll need:

  • 1x8x8 poplar board (if you choose another hardwood, keep in mind that hardwood species carve  differently, or so I’ve read)
  • lots of sandpaper: extra coarse (around 40 grit), coarse (60-80 grit), medium (100-150 grit), fine (220 grit), extra fine (400 grit)… a lot of this you’ll probably already have, and you can also buy finishing discs for your 4 1/2″ angle grinder if you wish, but you will likely have to hand sand a little
  • wood stain
  • sealer

DIY Power Carved Wall Art

1. Cut pieces to size

Cut down the 1×8 poplar into 6 roughly-equal pieces (it’s ok if it’s slightly off). Line them up the way you would like to establish the block you’ll carve into. Be mindful of the layers below; you’ll carve through parts of the top boards to expose lower layers.

Cover your work surface with cling wrap and tape the ends with painter’s tape (to prevent you from gluing your wood block to your work table).

For my version, I had two scrap pieces that had been Kreg Jig’d together for another project I forgot about ages ago. Since these pieces formed a 90-degree angle, they were perfect for using as temporary clamp pieces in the next step.

2. Glue and clamp the entire block together

I glued 2 stacks of 3 pieces each of the poplar, side by side. This sounds confusing, but it’s not. Just make two equal stacks of your poplar pieces and glue them in order. Be sure to cover the layers in between and the side where the two stacks touch with an ample amount of glue.

If you have or make clamp helpers like I did, put painter’s tape on any sides that will touch the glue… just in case.

With the glue still wet, clamp the ever-loving crap out of the wood block so that it will dry as one solid piece. Be sure to clamp the sides together and the layers (clamp vertically and horizontally).

3. Cut to square and sketch your carving

Since the top and bottom ends of the block aren’t perfectly square, now is the time to cut the excess off so you have a truly square block. Sorry, them’s the rules.

I used the back of my block to sketch out a few lines of where I thought “folds” of my make-believe wood fabric would be, along with giving the carving disc a few test runs to make sure I had a good handle on it.

4. Start carving!

With my carbide blade attached, I went to town on my wood block. Gently, at first, then more aggressive.

It made surprisingly quick work of the wood, and I began to learn how to control the curve and carve of the disc to get the shape I wanted.

This part was the quickest and most fun! It really only took an hour or two to carve the bulk of what I wanted. When I felt I had a better handle on how to get the shape, I went in again for a second pass to get things smoother.

5. Sand.

Ugh. This part. No fun. But I highly recommend getting a 40-grit sanding disc to attach to the angle grinder as well. This made getting those first big chunks sanded away to a smoother result. I tried again with the 80-grit one, but it left lots of bumps and I regretted it.

(For those who might suggest the Arbortech Turbo Plane to avoid/reduce all the sanding — I do know of the tool. I think it would be awesome to try one and haven’t yet tried it myself. But for a beginner’s project, it doesn’t make sense to recommend a blade that costly. Usually budget is a reason for DIYing and/or part of the roadblock for why someone might not try to DIY, so I’m not going to recommend it here. For professional woodworkers or those who intend on churning out multiple carved pieces, that would be worth giving a try though.)

After trying a few other battery- and corded- assisting tools to sand down the remainder, I had to resort to good ol’ fashioned sandpaper for the rest. I hated this part because I was already tired from carving.

7. Stain and seal.

At first, I was really tempted to go with a bold color, like blue or green, since the grain reminded me of a topographical map. I picked out a brown stain instead, because I was worried that the few lines where I used wood glue to connect pieces would not take stain and/or detract from the rest of the piece. I’m sure with more glue-up practice and better clamps, I could see fewer lines from the glue. Either way, I still loved the result!

8. Hang and admire your work.

After way too much dry time (it rained for two days and things just would. not. dry.), I got fed up and finally hung my piece using some of my favorite hangers (they allow the art to sit flush on the wall). I love it!

For now, it’s hanging in the entryway, but I may move it at some point.

What do you think? What color would you have picked? Would you have put a frame around it? I considered so many possibilities on this one, that the options are still pretty tempting. I’d love to hear your ideas.

P.S. If you’re wondering what those pictures taped to my garage wall are all about, check that out here. K is a real prankster.

Don’t forget, this is a WOOD ART CHALLENGE and a number of other folks are participating, so go check them out!

1) Reality Daydream / 2) 100 Things 2 Do / 3) House Becoming Home / 4) Anika’s DIY Life / 5) My Repurposed Life / 6) 3×3 Custom / 7) One Project Closer / 8) Merrypad / 9) Chatfield Court / 10) Create & Babble / 11) Hazel & Gold / 12) Jen Woodhouse / 13) Sawdust 2 Stitches / 14) Wood Work Life / 15) Remodelaholic / 16)  Evan & Katelyn / 17) Jaime Costigio / 18)  Pneumatic Addict / 19)  Bower Power / 20) Lazy Guy DIY / 21) My Love 2 Create / 22) Addicted 2 DIY / 23) Her ToolBelt / 24) Shades of Blue / 25) Ugly Duckling House / 26) The DIY Village / 27) DIY Huntress / 28) Mr Fix It DIY

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16 Attic Design Ideas to Take Your Space Way Beyond Storage

attic design ideas

Use these attic design ideas to inspire your next remodel. Image: Stephen E. Kowalski

Is your attic currently only being used for storage? If so, you’re not alone. Too many of us are guilty of taking older or rarely used items and burying them up in the attic, never to be thought of again. Unfortunately, though, while this organizational method may be common, it’s causing us to miss out on a great opportunity to create something special.

In fact, your attic may have more potential than any unused space in your home. When remodeled correctly, it can be transformed into anything you can dream up, from a much-needed home office to a full-on studio space that’s perfect for hosting longer-term guests.

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out the innovative attic design ideas below.

Build a sleek and functional home office

throw rug

Ground your desk space with a throw rug. Image: MANDARINA STUDIO interior design


Don’t be afraid to make your attic office multi-functional. Image: Mali Azima Photography

multiple office

Think about creating an office for multiple people. Image: Signature Properties of Illinois, LTD

architectural details

Take advantage of architectural details, such as window seats. Image: The Works


Create an office with an industrial vibe. Image: WALK INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

Create a laid-back playroom or teen hangout space


Let your child express their personality through the décor. Image: Wright Building Company

study space

How about a fun teen space, complete with study area? Image: Sutro Architects


Provide plenty of seating. Image: Mille Couleurs London

bold color

Consider a bold color scheme for your playroom. Image: Munro Products

Give the kids (or grandkids) a bedroom of their own


Textiles make an attic bedroom feel cozier. Image: Dyanne Wilson Photography

combined bedroom playroom

You may want to build a combined bedroom and playroom, all in one. Image: Beinfield Architecture PC


In a guest room, put function first. Image: Graham Architects

Go big with a studio or in-law suite


If you have the space, give the studio a kitchenette. Image: Jonathan Raith Inc.

seating area

A separate seating area gives your space extra functionality. Image: Modern Yankee Builders

sky lights

Adding skylights makes your studio feel light and bright. Image: GRT Group

color scheme

A consistent color scheme keeps the space feeling cohesive. Image: A Perfect Placement

What do you think of these attic design ideas? Could you see yourself incorporating one into the layout of your home? Share your inspiration with us in the comments below.

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The Front Porch: Before the “After”

Another makeover goal for this spring and summer? Sprucing up my small front porch.

Spring in the South: pollen, with a slight chance of rain.

Another guarantee: I’m suddenly reminded how much work I still need to do in order to finish my front porch.

My front porch: small, but mighty in potential

Many of you who have followed along have already seen quite a few changes to my front porch area. But even though this is an area I make improvements to year over year, I never seem to finish enough to be satisfied. I suppose that’s the nature of home renovation in general, but I’d really like to make this area more welcoming.

At one point, it was scary and falling apart:

front porch before - humble beginnings circa 2011
humble beginnings

Nowadays, it’s much more cleaned up, but I still think it could use a lot more sprucing:

blue front door with red mums - fall house tour
from the 2017 Fall House Tour  (this is a closeup for a reason!)

Also? Designing is difficult because it’s tiny. I see inspiration everywhere for small front porches, but they’re either too large (an actual, proper porch), or too small (mainly a front door with steps that evenly fan out from the door). I can’t find enough examples of my in-between space to know what might work. It’s a little too narrow to put a full-size bench, and too large just to decorate the door. Also, it’s imbalanced, since the door sort of divides the slab with a third/quarter on the left and two-thirds/three-quarters on the right.

With all of the backyard changes I’m planning, it kind of makes sense to have my front door area on my mind, in a topsy-turvy sort of way. When I finish the backyard projects this spring, I’ll be anxious to invite people over (since that’s clearly a thing I’m doing more often now too). And that means my front door could stand to be far more welcoming than it is.

Previous front porch projects

Basically, paint can do quite a lot! But it can’t do everything.

The new front porch “before”

Every now and then, I like to pretend as if I’m a professional DIY blogger and share an in-depth look at the “before” before I begin. It makes for a great opportunity for you guys to chime in with thoughts I might not have thought of myself. Plus, proper documentation of how embarrassingly crap something looks now makes the “after” that much more impressive.

Fair warning: I deliberately chose not to clean up or sugarcoat this area; you can see the pollen and my lazy behavior in all its glory.

So, even though there are quite a few improvements made already, there’s still enough left to do to make this a starting point and worth discussing. Here are the ideas I have so far:

Simple cleaning and paint

Tracking dirt around is kind of a given with DIY, but even if my house was as pristine as could be, Mother Nature simply prefers to keep things dirty. And buggy. And weathered. Which is how even though I’ve painted the porch area before (except finishing the ceiling, coughcough), it could use some touch ups. And finishing that ceiling, after all.

Railing replacement

When I first painted the railing, it needed a lot of caulking first. I knew it might be temporary, and the carpenter bees have continued to stake a new claim on these railings. So, it may finally be time to replace them instead of repair. It doesn’t hurt that my DIY confidence has grown considerably in these last few years, so I feel much better prepared to handle a task like this than I did when I first painted this.

Boost the stonework?

Not entirely sure if this is a good idea or not, but I saw a product in the store that promises to bring out the color in the stone work and seals it. I still haven’t done enough research yet but I like the idea of making the stone really pop.

A small bench

Since the plants in front of the porch block it from the street, it doesn’t make sense to me to have a bench facing out. Instead, I imagine it would be more friendly for the bench to face a guest as they approach the front door.


I like the contrast the cream trim adds to the siding, but this area could still be punched up quite a bit with more color. New plants, maybe some artwork… perhaps even a small outdoor runner on the ground in front of the bench.

Upgrade the ceiling

You may have noticed one of the ugliest parts of the front porch is that the ceiling is only partially painted. In my defense, it’s only partly my fault. The ceiling was already hideous and has a rough plywood texture. So, I thought I’d update it with an old school “haint blue” color, popular with Southern homes (and well, I live in Atlanta…).

It still looked horrible as I painted (and sucked up way more paint than I anticipated). That terrible paint job was kind of defeating, especially when sacrificing my aching shoulders to get the job done. When I ran out of paint, I ran out of motivation to keep going. So, I think I’m going to skip on to plan 2: installing a new layer with painted beadboard plywood.


Every good front porch has beautiful flowers to make it look more welcoming. And I want me summa that, pronto. I want planters and flowering shrubs and trailing vines. Short of that, just things that don’t look dead and brown and covered in spring pollen. (Confession: I already have new planters and new plants waiting to be shared, so that post and video are coming very soon!).

But even after that new post, I still have ambitions for more planter spots — next to the new bench, maybe a large fern, etc. Oh, and beautiful hanging planters that aren’t just the plastic things that come with the hanging plant when you buy them on clearance.

New house numbers

My mail guy is terrible; he mixes up our mail all the time. And even worse? I’m not even sure if I instead have a mailwoman now, because every week when I see a mail carrier dropping off the mail, it’s a different person. So, who is filling in for whom? As a result, my neighbors and I are often trading off the mail to get it to the right mailbox.

And that led to some self-reflection: even though I have numbers on my mailbox, and next to the front door, do I contribute to the confusion in any way? Could there be ways to make my house numbers even more visible — increase the contrast? So, I bought some new house numbers that stand out more. Now, I have a plan to mount them in a way that is sure to get noticed by even the most confused Uber Eats driver.

What else?

Feel free to let it fly: what else should I do to upgrade this porch a little? I have no intentions of changing the footprint of the porch itself (there’s always the “change literally everything about this porch by rebuilding it and pour new concrete” guy, so I’ll nip that in the bud right away). But if you have some decorative ideas that I haven’t listed here, I’d welcome the input! And if you’re still going stir-crazy with winter, please know that I’m sending lots of warm-weather vibes your way. Happy Monday, and happy spring!

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