Archive for the ‘before’ Category


Tuesday, April 16th, 2013


Last year I partnered up with Sherwin-Williams to create a paint dipped + yellow themed project for their National Painting Week campaign. What project was that again? Here it is. Right over here.

Recently I’ve started to aggressively worry over random finishing details around the house like art and planters; probably since those things feel more manageable than say gutting and remodeling our awful bathrooms. So for this years SWNPW project I’ve been thinking about color details and unexpected product combos that make things that look great but are way more affordable than updating the kitchen or doing the landscaping.

Oh, you silly endless remodeling projects. How you haunt me.

Thursday I’ll post a couple DIY and orange themed ideas that might include something like *DIYing an architectural pottery style planter to replace the vintage planter + giant cactus stolen from your front porch (*Previewed and pictured above in some early experimental stage of ‘what if I added this to that and it did that or something’).

More details + more DIY later this week, yo.


Friday, February 22nd, 2013



FUN FACT:  We’ve been working on this house for five years and still haven’t installed handles on most of the original built-in storage cabinets or the closets.

Why rush it. No big deal.

Oh, except that now its been half a decade of living like filthy animals who routinely need to savagely pry open heavy drawers or wonky old doors with a screwdriver or any other available blunt object.

Time for change. Time for?

Leather. Pulls. For. Doors.

For months I’ve been messing around and field testing all manner of leather design bits and objects. Working out the kinks. Comparing materials. Picking finishes. Doing all the leather work. Leather working? Leather science? Leathering? Leathery stuff. The sort of stuff that recently culminated with the plopping out of this finalized prototype batch of simple looped leather+brass handles that make opening the closet easier and much more stylish than a screwdriver wedged in the crack.


OK. General DIY rundown time.






Leather (mine = 1″ wide + 8/9oz + natural veg dye)
Brass Eyelets (mine = 3/16″ hole)
Brass Bolts
Brass Washers


Leather Hole Punch
Eyelet Setter
Tape measure





1. Measure then cut leather to size. (mine = 1″ wide x 8″ long – final installed handle is approx. 4″ tall)

2. Lightly dampen cut leather pieces with a sponge to prep leather for hole punching. Towel off any extra moisture.

3. Measure and mark matching hole locations on both ends. (mine = 1″ interior from either edge + centered width)

*TIP: Make a template using an extra matching leather scrape to quickly and consistently mark hole guide placements if   you’re making multiple matching handles.

4. Align punch tool with the guide mark and carefully punch out the hole.

5. Place setter and hammer eyelets into each hole.

6. Loop leather strip in half and thread the bolt through both eyelets to prep for install.

7. Thread bolt through the hardware mounting hole, finalize leather handle placement, thread washer onto the bolt end and tighten both very firmly to secure the handle.


and then DONE.


*Optional Finishing:  I’ve been using a leather finisher on the overall handle and then finishing the edges with a slicker and Gum Tragacanth. Leave the leather raw, seal it, dye it, burn it – I don’t care. Do whatever works to finish things up to your taste.



Basically the basic of basics. These finished leather handles work and look pretty great and are totally good to go for install.

Well, except that I haven’t been able to shake off this nagging need to rework and replace the current basic brass bolt set with different hardware that’s feels more unusual or unexpected while still staying minimal and unfussy.

Hey now, at least one closet is all functional for the first time with actual usable handles.






Say hello, sexy hex detail.

This is what plopped out of all that and ended up being the hardware solution for my closet pulls. I’ve been testing these things out around the house and refining a few construction details, but who cares! I’m in love with this thing. The scale, the finish, the bit of unexpected handle detail is pretty much doing all those things my crazy brain was hoping for.






Now onto make a ton more of these for the rest of the house and other design projects. Maybe someday I might even make some handle sets for CAMP? Ugh, hold it. Going too far into the future. Must focus on the now and the 34 handles I gotta make just to cover the rest of our closets and built-ins.

I’m a leather handle making machine!

Check back in five more years to see if there was any progress.



Monday, January 28th, 2013


(image via here)

Like a lot of folks right now, I got slapped down and made the flu’s bitch for the past couple weeks. It was unseemly and awfully rude, but now it seems like I’m slowly getting back to business. All that time spent in bed tossing and turning with fever dreams and paralyzing full body anxiety brought on by being completely useless in general when I HAD SHIT TO DO, gave me a great opportunity to feel still more awful since I started obsessing over the shameful progress of our kitchen renovation.

What has happened kitchen reno wise? I changed the light fixture. So, great progress since 2011.

Hey now, I did buy the Ikea Numerar Countertops about a year and a half ago. So I tried. I mean, they’ve been sitting in our garage gathering dust and disappointment, but whatever. No big deal. I’m not a loser.

*I’m kind of a loser.



(images via here, here & here)

When I step into the kitchen I get so pissy looking at those forever unclean looking turquoise linoleum counters that I dream that my concentrated hatefulness would somehow make them get gone and wood appear. Then facts ruin it. I don’t have the time or budget or willpower to update the kitchen right now. Sad face.

For now, I’m bookmarking this great tutorial from a few years ago about installing and treating Ikea’s wood countertops as a way to bone up on what we need to do. But before anything gets demoed? I need a sink. And tile. And a faucet. And I need help. So much help.

Consider this a Shame Post to get my shit together and make our kitchen look just a little less funkytown, you know, before another year slips by.

OH, and if you guys have used these counters yourself and have any install tips or treatment advice, please feel free to share. Personally, I don’t mind if the wood gets worn and dinged and used looking. I like character and the imperfections don’t kill me. Plus, the price for these was right for my budget and this house in general.