Choosing Brown Paper Flooring – Part 1

This topic is going to be a “2 parter.”  I’m going to be pretty detailed in the steps, because I ran in to some issues that I want to discuss.

Here’s the back-story:
We have carpet… and pets, which is a nasty combination.  After years of complaining, my wonderful hubby FINALLY told me that I could get hardwood flooring throughout the house.  YES!

I searched high and low for the perfect floor that would hold up to our incontinent (but loved) yorkies and settled with hand scrapped solid bamboo flooring.  I ordered samples from and patiently awaited their arrival.

When the samples came in they were BEAUTIFUL!  BEAUTIFUL, I tell you!

I was elated, I carried these samples all over the house, holding them up to the walls, the couch, the trim, the bed… my face. Yes, I rubbed all over these samples… then it happened.  My eyes started to itch, then swell. WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?!  I have very bad allergies to all grasses and the only thing I can figure out, is that bamboo is a grass and maybe all my rubbing on the side that wasn’t sealed got to me.  Either way, can I risk putting this floor throughout my house, when the samples made me look like I had been punched in both eyes?  The let down was terrible.

I still had to, at least, do something about the carpet in our dining room… and I had read online where someone had used brown contractor’s paper as flooring and it looked almost like stained concrete…Say whaatt???  So on a whim, I told the hubby to do his demo magic and rip it out.  He was done in no time!

Once the carpet was gone, I had to do a couple of things that I had been putting off.  First, I needed to put a final coat of paint on the board and batten.  I recently purchased this paint sprayer from Amazon and was ready to put it to good use!

To tape off and protect the upper portion of the wall, I found this amazing stuff at Lowe’s, in the painting department.

It’s plastic with painter’s tape on one side, you simple press down the tape then unfold the plastic and it clings to the wall!  Amazing!!!

Once the board and batten was painted, I used Killz on the subfloor.  I pretty much just did the entire floor and I’m glad I did, I’ll tell you why in my next post that includes all of the steps.

In between painting the walls and the sub floor, I did a test board of two methods for the brown paper flooring.

I cannot express how important it is to do a test board.

I used a scrap piece of plywood and on one side, I used RIT dye in dark brown, on the other side I used Minwax stain.  I polyurethaned both sides and waited for the results.

RIT dye wins!!
Here is a picture of the test board (Rit dye side) next to my wall.

I ended up choosing the RIT dye for several reasons:

  • From the research I had done, I found that when you do the stain it stays tacky until you put your first coat of poly on.
  • There are also horror stories of white splotches on the stained version after the poly due to how the stain and poly react together with the paper and the paper actually having a front and back side.  
  • I knew if I used the dye it should all be pretty uniform if I made sure my measurements were the same for each batch of glue, water and dye.  
  • I also liked the idea of being able to darken the floor in increments if needed by placing some of the dye in the coats of poly.

That’s it for now!  In the next post, I’ll list out all of the steps I took and the final results!

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Bathroom Reveal!

Hallelujah!  The bathroom is done.  My pictures don’t really do it justice (I think I need a new camera), but I am 100% loving this bathroom.

I told you here how our bathroom started out.  As the project progressed, I decided to add more items on my to-do list:

I installed crown molding and board and batten

I installed the Air Stone on the tub surround
I installed the vanity and faucet.

All in all, it was definitely a learning process.  I am so glad I took this on, because there is now a sense of pride in my work AND the feeling that I can do whatever I set my mind to do!

Thanks for being on the journey with me!

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Bathroom Remodel – Part 1

I’m so upset that I can’t find the photo from our house when we first bought it.  The upstairs bathroom had white linoleum floor (that had come unglued by the tub) and fish wallpaper… YES! big. colorful. fish.  I wish I could say that it had been a child’s bathroom, but the couple we bought the house from didn’t have any kids, which means this was just their taste!

When we moved in, all I wanted to do was get the wallpaper off the bathroom walls and paint it and I did, dark brown.  I didn’t even fix the floor, mainly because it was our first house and I didn’t know how to do much.  We got two cats and the upstairs bathroom was a perfect place for their litter boxes.  These cats were monsters, they flung litter and food all over that bathroom, under the linoleum, behind the toilet, scratched up the wall and trim around the doors.. it was a wreck!

When my allergies finally couldn’t take them any more, we said goodbye to the kitties and I had to address the bathroom.

I told my husband that I wanted to tile the floor, so before I got home from taking the cats to their new forever home, he had that stuff ripped up and in the trash pile.  He’s my demo man!  He hates fixing or updating stuff, but he can tear it down quicker than you can imagine!  He also took out the toilet and pedestal sink, then I got to work!

Quick Tip:  When you take out a toilet, shove a towel or something down in the pipe, because if you don’t, fumes come out and it will stink up your whole house for days… don’t ask me how I know.  🙂

Here is a picture of my work half way through grouting the floor.  Once finished, I had to wipe off the haze and it looked great!!  It was by far the best looking thing in the bathroom as you can see from everything that was wrong.

I picked out this tile from Home Depot, the guys there told me exactly what I needed for the job.  I had to get backer board, screws, mortar, tile, grout (I picked white pre-mixed grout, because I knew this bathroom wouldn’t be used a lot and I like the solid white look and not having to mix grout), a grout float and I even went to a free class they were holding that showed how to install tile… I felt like a master!

Once the floor was finished, I primed and painted the top portion of the bathroom wall dark grey.  I knew I wanted to do a board and batten treatment on the walls in the bathroom, so I started on the wall opposite of the toilet and sink.

I followed the tutorial at Thrifty Decor Chick, have you seen her office?  It’s FAB!

That’s all for now, I still have the crown, the toilet, the sink, the other wall, paint, trim… but who’s counting!

It makes me happy!  🙂
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DIY – Making A Wine Rack From Free Wooden Pallets

Today’s post comes from my friend Jessica and one of her adventures with wood pallets.  It really is amazing what all she does with them!
You want HOW much for that???
I recently saw a post on Pinterest for a DIY wine rack made out of a pallet, and I LOVED it! After all, you can get pallets for free (as in $0) from most home improvement or warehouse-type stores, and as much as I crave a good bargain, getting something for free makes me absolutely giddy! The guy at Lowe’s even loaded 4 of them into my van for me a few months ago for a table project I was doing.

As I coveted the aforementioned wine rack, I remembered that I still had an extra pallet out in my garage. The project sounded easy enough, so I decided to tackle it for my husband’s Valentine’s Day present. We’re bursting at the seams in our small house, so I’m a big believer in practical, stylish space-savers, and our existing wine rack just took up a lot of unnecessary space.

This turned out to be one of the easiest projects I’ve ever done, and it looks great! Including staining & mounting it to the wall, it took me about 2 hours from start to finish. And as I already had all of the materials, it cost me nothing to make. Zip, zero, nada….

Oh, and someone is selling these “made to order” wine racks on Etsy. They look EXACTLY the same as the one I made.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

And they are charging $80 plus shipping. SAY WHAT???

Ok. Here are the directions for your free (or extremely cheap, if you don’t already have all the materials) wine rack.


  • 1 wood pallet
  • Screws
  • Stain or paint
  • Sanding block
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Saw (my corded, hand-held reciprocating saw worked great!) 
  • Wine bottles to put in your new wine rack!


  1. Make sure your wood is dry & free from bugs, and saw across about the top 1/3 of the pallet (it’s easy to see what I mean from the picture).
  2. You’ll also need to remove two boards from the remaining pallet, using your hammer to pry them off. One board is to attach to the bottom of your wine rack & one will attach to the back (behind where the bottoms of the wine bottles would go).
  3. Use your drill & screws to attach the two extra boards.
  4. Now, sand your wine rack. If you want it completely smooth, go for it, but I just focused on the sides & corners because I like the “rough wood” look for stuff like this.
  5. Stain or paint whatever color you like & let it dry.
  6. Now hang it on the wall- you can use whatever method you like to mount it. I used extra-long drywall screws to drill right through it into the studs, so that puppy isn’t coming down for anything!
  7. Load up your wine bottles & you’re good to go!  🙂

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Yes, I Painted My Stairs!

With a complete disregard for the better judgement of my mom, I threw caution to the wind and went for it.  That’s right folks, all that dark wood is now white… well part of it anyway!

When we first moved in to this house there was A LOT of un-cared-for wood.  It all was mismatched, different colors, dry and clearly had never been polished.  The people before us had large dogs that must have never had their claws nails trimmed.  So I removed all of the trim, sanded, stained it dark to match my taste and sealed it all up with a nice coat of polyurethane.  It was a JOB!  So when I told my sweet hubby that I wanted to paint the wood on the stairs, I believe he pulled a “talk to the hand” on me.  Being the great man he is, he didn’t say anything when I whipped out the sander and paint.

Here is what I was working with:

First I had to sand all the risers to rough it up a bit to give the paint something to stick to.  Then I had to tape off all of the walls and spindles…it took FOR-EV-A!  Next was the primer, I was so excited to lighten everything up… I used Killz and it looked like pure heaven crap after the first coat! I thought I had made a giant mistake, I could just hear my mom and hubby saying “I told you so.”

  Unfortunately with the white risers, there were also many flaws that started showing… apparently the folks before us had not painted the steps for a reason.  There were giant gaps, nail holes… I couldn’t believe it.

But after two coats of white paint and a ton of caulk, it was beautiful!  I am loving my new steps… now maybe I need to do some kind of board and batten up the wall… hmmm.

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