Author Archives: Undercoverdiyer


The granite is HERE! (Read in your best Pauly D voice).   I admit, it wasn’t my first choice, but it’s almost as if the granite knows that and is trying harder to win my affection.  It is so pretty and shiny and smooth and delicious (kids don’t starting licking your kitchen granite, it’s just an expression).  Without further ado..


It is called Giallo Ornamental and I’m in love.

On the not so in love side, I started (hopefully finished) the not at all fun task of sanding the ceiling and walls where new drywall was installed.  I have one piece of advice on this job.  Hire someone else to do it.  I sanded and sanded, inhaling surely unhealthy dust and what I didn’t inhale, wafted into my eyes.  And I really don’t know if I’ve done a good enough job to call it done.  My brother/contractor will inspect it and certainly roll his eyes at me.  But I tried and the sanding has to be done so that the painting can be done so that the electrician can finish his work.  Once the electrician is done, we can start to wrap this sucker up.

In other news, I mostly finished one of the bedside tables and I do believe that looks pretty darn good:

Orange Table

This was my first ever attempt at spray painting anything at all and I’m pretty happy with it.  We’ll see if it stands up to any type of use.  I did put a couple of dings in it while I was trying to screw the doors back on, so I’ll need to google some advice on how to touch up spray paint.  Next project for the bedroom will be those pretty curtains around the bed.

I Can See Clearly Now

We had some exciting progress in the kitchen this weekend.  A beautiful new window was installed:


This made a tremendous difference in the kitchen.  The window looks so much bigger compared to the one that was there before.  We also grouted the almost finished floors and set the island in place.


It’s weird, but the big island (about 8 feet) actually makes the kitchen look bigger.  I love how the dark chocolate finish looks with the floors and I cannot wait to see the countertops in place tomorrow!  Ooh, and I don’t want to forget that shiny microwave that was installed.  If only it could be plugged in, I could at least microwave some popcorn…

I’m a little overwhelmed with the amount that still needs to be done in the kitchen.  It’s a lot of little things:

  1. Paint the ceiling
  2. Paint the walls
  3. Choose and install the trim
  4. Choose and install the hardware
  5. Choose and install the faucet
  6. Install the dishwasher
  7. Finish the electrical
  8. Choose stools for the island
  9. Switch the door on the fridge
  10. Tile the backsplash
  11. Stain the threshold thingies

Ok, 11 things.  Not as bad as thought.  It always helps to see it written down.  We are nearly there!  I’m feeling a lot better about painting the ceiling and walls tomorrow.  Oh, and an added bonus of cleaning the newly grouted floor, excellent butt workout!  Probably not good for your back, but I was definitely feeling that the next day.

I also got started on the first project for the bedroom this weekend.  I’m hoping to have a finished product to post tomorrow, but here is a preview:


A DIY Definition and My Faves this Week

When I think of DIY, I don’t think of pulling out drills and table saws.  For me, DIY is a declarative, not an adjective.  As in, Do it your own self!  You’re not happy with your kitchen, well, make a plan, save some money.  Do it.  Yourself.  You’re feeling sorry for yourself because you’ve gained a couple pounds and don’t have your fastball anymore?  Don’t eat so much and start moving a little.  It’s about taking responsibility for the way things are around you.  You can change things.  But you have to do it yourself.

And now on to my favorites things from this past week:

For the Home


This may be a future inspiration room!


Love these pillows on Zulily for $34.99 for the pair!


I want this guy from Target. $7.99!

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Irresistable pillows on One King’s Lane


Form meets function with this smoke detector from Urban Outfitters


I love the vibrant colors on this tray from One King’s Lane



Tried this! Liked it!


I’d wear this, Old Navy


Summery Sandals from Zulily

And Just for Fun

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I love that frog. Stay tuned next week for before and after of the master bedroom end tables!

Barefoot in the Kitchen

The plan was to have the fourth post be about a delicious, healthy meal that I slaved over for my family to enjoy.  There would be accolades about my cooking prowess.  Children begging for seconds.  Swooning all around the table.  That’s not going to happen.  And not just because I am a less than mediocre cook.  My kitchen still looks like this:


That’s almost finished floors, almost finished cabinets and umm, that’s it.  No appliances (they are sitting anxiously in the play room. Pleading with their no-eyes to be settled in their eventual home).  No countertops, but those are due in 5 Days!  So no cooking happening of course. Unless you count frozen waffles in the toaster oven.

Instead, I thought I would run down the process of pulling this kitchen together.  I started with one of my top 5 websites of all times,  I looked at dozens, hundreds, thousands of different kitchen layouts until I had an idea of what I would love and what would work for the space we have.  Here is the inspiration picture:


We won’t have an exact replica when it’s done for several reasons.  The inspiration kitchen was probably ridiculously expensive.  I also don’t love everything about the inspiration including the hard wood floors (I like tile in the kitchen) and the over the top moulding.  But the lay out will be very similar to mine and I love the blingy pendant lights and the dark wood island with white cabinets.

Using the inspiration as a jumping off point, I headed to Home Depot to actually get the design done.  This is a free service that Home Depot offers and I was lucky enough to get a young man who had a design degree from a college in ITALY to do my design.  He was very knowledgeable and clearly had a passion for his work.  Once we had the layout, picking the actual styles of cabinets, countertops, etc was pretty easy because I had done my research.  The hardest decisions were price based.  Splurge on the to die for recycled glass countertops or the Thomasville cabinets?  The Thomasville cabinets won that one, and my second choice countertops made of granite (YES, the granite was LESS expensive than the recycled glass!) is very nearly as gorgeous as my first choice.

Here is the low down on what we have picked out so far:

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The dark brown cabinet is the actual shaker style door that will be in the entire kitchen, but that color will be only on the island.  The light cabinet is the color of the rest of the cabinets.  The cabinets are Thomasville from Home Depot.  The tile is from Lowes and it looks absolutely gorgeous on the floors.  That show stoppa pendant is from  The appliances are GE from Home Depot (so excited for a double oven!).  That granite is called Giallo Ornamental and it’s quite lovely.  And the paint color is Benjamin Moore, Saddle Tan.  I have this color in the dining room and it’s a warm neutrally brown.

Up next on the kitchen will be picking out the hardware for the cabinets and pulling it all together with some fun accessories like this teaser for tomorrow’s post.  You’ll see these prints as part of My Favorite Things this Week post:

Redoing the Temple

Just kidding, it’s more like an abandoned warehouse.  But it was once temple-like.  It was strong and graceful and flexible.  What am I talking about? My body.  The temple metaphor is not working, but there was a time (20 years ago) when I had faith in my body.  I was a gymnast and I could run and jump and lift and more.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  I got that way by doing something that I loved and that never felt like work.  I ate some healthy foods (I was in high school so my mother cooked mostly healthy meals) but I ate junk, too.  And I had a teeny appetite and never finished anything. Fast forward 20 years and, well, it’s not what it once was. When high school ended, so did gymnastics.  I had never set foot in a traditional gym where you use things like treadmills and weight machines.  So exercise stopped, essentially.  But the metabolism kept me tiny for a while.  Then I got married and stored two precious children in this body for 9 months each.  One of those precious children was 9 lbs 3 oz when he was born.  And I’m 5’2.  So, that wreaked some havoc.  My sedentary job not only kept me inactive, but also introduced me to the take out lunch.  Mmmm.  I work so hard, I’d tell myself;  I deserve a yummy lunch. What a terrible way to reward yourself.  So in the spirit of this home makeover blog, I’m making over my “home”, this body that I once relied on to carry me twisting through the air and land lightly on my feet.

The before.  This is the tricky part.  There is no way on earth I’m putting a picture of me on the internet as a before. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever post an after either.  So, I’ve tracked down a kind of neat tool that will give a visual.  But first, here’s an idea of the stats.  I’ve already mentioned I’m 5’2.  If I lost 10 pounds, I’d be 8 pounds heavier than I was when I got married.  That’s a number I would be happy with.  8 pounds heavier than when I got married.

Here is the visual brought to you by

My Current Weight

Not terrible, I know, but really not exactly reality either (picture her a little lumpier) and not my ideal, plain and simple.  I need a plan.  I’ve already started a diet plan.  It’s called the 4 Hour Body and basically you cut out carbs and sugar and have to eat not fun stuff like beans and vegetables and lean meat 6 days a week and then on the 7th day you get to cheat and  eat ANYTHING you want.  I’ve been doing that for a month and have already lost 8-10 pounds.  I have no idea if it’s healthy or sustainable, but I’ve had some results so far, so I’m going with it for now.  Sort of.  It is VERY hard to keep up with when your kitchen does not have a sink, stove, microwave or countertops.  But, I’ll do my best until the kitchen is done and then pick it up again.

And then there’s exercise.  I abhor the gym.  I’m not a runner.  I’m not even a walker.  I do have a treadmill that I’m mandating myself to use nightly and then I’m going to incorporate some Pinterest strengthening finds like this one:

Strength exercise

Ok, I said it all out loud.  I have to follow through.  I’ll update in a month.

Bedroom Bones – The Befores

In my title for this blog, I proclaimed, “the real before pictures”.  Yesterday, I posted a picture of the inspiration for my master bedroom redo.  But I didn’t post any befores.  Truthfully, we had a stomach bug and a massive cold in the house and there was no way I would post that hot mess.  But, today, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to post the sad state of affairs, the reason I call this blog “Undercover Diyer” is because the current state makes me want to enter the decorators witness protection program after I show these.  Also, I should join a support group for horrible homemakers.  But that’s a post for another day.  (It may even be an entirely different blog).  However, being the glass half full kind of gal I am, taking the pics today helped me notice some of the things I do like that are in this room.  They might be hidden beneath piles of laundry, but there are a few there.  So please, remember what your mother taught you, if you don’t have anything nice to say, make something up.  That’s right, just flat out lie.  Really.  I won’t be able to take the criticism.   Here’s the Before, Before (as in before we lived here this was the pic on the real estate listing.  Sadly it is probably better than our before):


(Don’t you love the two twin beds in the master bedroom?)

First of all, I should say, the room itself is a generous size.  It spans the front to back length of the house and has two more than ample closets.  So I don’t have to share a closet with my wonderful, handsome, five tool softball player husband (in case he ever stumbles upon this).  Now, I’m not going to actually show you those closets.  They are a redo all to themselves and I’m not including that in what I hope will be a somewhat quick sprucing up of the Master.  There are also four lovely windows which sadly don’t provide much light because the 30+ pine trees in the yard block the sun like an evergreen dome.  Those are the bones of the room.

The left side of the room currently holds my husbands dresser and an exercise bike.  Pause for giggling.  No one here rides an exercise bike!  What is that even doing there?  Anyway, I do love the dresser.  It fits both of the categories of serves a function and is pleasing to my eye.  It also matches my dresser which you’ll see below.


In the middle of the room is the king size bed.  Not looking so hot at the moment as there are pillow cases and pillows being washed at the moment after the stomach bug ripped through the house, but sticking with my positive attitude, I will say, it is large and the headboard  is going to look lovely recovered in some creamy-licious fabric.  And I do love my quilt.  The inspiration has a white-ish duvet, but I definitely want to incorporate the quilt in the finished product.


The right side of the room is home to the little white couch.  Yes, it’s right there.  Just look under the piles of laundry and the adorable little boy and you’ll see it poking out.  At least a small corner of it is there, about the width of my butt as I wrote this post while sitting on it amidst the laundry!  The little couch is cute and a good scale for a bedroom.  It is a Klippan from Ikea and it’s fairly comfortable.  So another check in the column for things I like in the room.


Directly across from the bed you will find my dresser, just as handsome as her taller counterpart across the room.  There is also a lovely hurricane lamp and I’ve always kept two pictures on that dresser that I love.  They are of my and my husband’s wedding bands posed in a dictionary on the definition for love and a shot from above at our wedding ceremony.  They probably would love a new frame, but these are definitely something I love. And to any youngsters reading the blog, next to the dresser is something called a tube TV.  This is what TV’s looked like in the olden days.  They were fat electronic dinosaurs that were so heavy and bulky you pretty much never moved them once they found a home.


Hurricane  WeddingPicBeforeRingPicBefore

Ah, and how can I forget to mention the window coverings.  What can I say about the window coverings?  They are white.  The are hung on lovely rods thumb tacked to the window frame.  They block out the light filter the little sun we get so we can have peaceful slumbers wake up with the sunrise (0k that’s totally untrue.  We could sleep through helicopter search lights glaring through the windows).  So some type of window coverings will be on the to do list.  For sure.

So, now you’ve seen it.  All I can say is that the after can do nothing but blow you away!

Post 1 – The Kitchen

I’ve very recently discovered the world of the blog.  I’ve been delighted by lovely home improvement blogs like Young House Love and Smart Girl Style and Rambling Renovators.  But I noticed something about these blogs.  The before pictures.  The before pictures were delightful and lovely.  These people were of another breed.  The organized and motivated breed.  I decided I could write a blog for my breed.  The scattered, has lots of ideas but doesn’t know how to start them breed.  So without further ado…  My first project (and it’s a big one!).  The remodel of our 1960’s kitchen.  The kitchen with the doors that looked like they could have been used on a miniature barn.  The kitchen that had no dishwasher, but did have a built in blender.  Priorities, right?  No one minds hand washing dishes if they’re three margaritas in.  And, lest I forget, the orange/yellow wall paper and the brown paneling.  I know you’re dying to see the before, so hold your breath, here it is…


This was the kitchen when we bought the house.  We did some minor improvements that gave us a minor upgrade.  We painted all of the wood including the paneling that went three quarters up the wall white and painted the remaining portion of the wall navy blue.  It was crisp and pretty, but it could not make up for the hideous linoleum floor and the lack of the dishwasher.  We knew we were going to need a major overhaul.  But, we had more pressing issues like removing the wallpaper that covered nearly every inch of the house (including the ceiling of one of the bathrooms) and painting the exterior and updating the electrical.  So the kitchen would have to wait.  And it did.  We lived with the linoleum and the built in blender that didn’t wash dishes for five long years.  Which brings us to the present.  This is what it looks like right at this very moment…


That’s my wonderful contractor/brother installing the luscious floor tile. Clearly we have a work in progress, but it’s come a long way baby.  Visit my pinterest board to see the products I’ve selected for the kitchen.

Tomorrow’s post will be about the bedroom, which is also in need of some serious TLC. But I have an inspiration room that I plan to work from.  Slowly but surely…