How To Hide the Ugly

Every home has it…that ugly fuse box. For the average-sized home, that big, grey rectangle is tucked away in a laundry or utility room. Unfortunately, in our current remodel, it’s next to the bathroom door.IMG_4569

What do you do with something that’s ugly but necessary? Hide it!

We framed the utility box and added a frame to a chalkboard, added hinges and a pretty glass knob. Now the ugly is pretty…and useful!


Drop It Like It’s Hot

Our condo was originally built in 1950 and renovated this century. The back door seems to be original, and you can image after 66 years just how many layers of paint it’s collected.  Removing these layers takes more than elbow grease. We had to pull out the big guns. Well, one gun…a heat gun.

This video says it all.

In just a few seconds at 950 degrees, the paint bubbled and scraped off easily. But be warned, if your hand passes near that gun, you’ll certainly drop it like it’s hot.



One Badass Week

It’s not like us to use profanity, but it seems appropriate. Jennifer and I had a badass week.

When we acquire a property we’ve never been in, we never know what project we’ll need to tackle. Over the past week, we’ve installed new smoke detectors, all new light fixtures, a new air conditioner thermostat and base boards and shoe molding. The walls were uneven, and Jennifer meticulously  mudded and sanded every wall in the house along with painting the kitchen cabinets.

Our biggest challenge seemed simple at first. The stainless steel kitchen sink separated from the granite countertop. We had the plumber remove the faucet and pipes and we began to scrape away the silicone. But, the sink wouldn’t budge. The inside cabinet panels (those particle-board pieces you don’t see when the appliances are installed) were preventing us from moving the sink to reseal it.

image2To make a very long story short, we broke out the jigsaw to cut away the particle board. Not that we’ve every used a jigsaw. Ha! But, we made nice clean cuts and got the sink out. Badass.

Speaking of clean, one of our favorite products is Bar Keepers Friend. Check out the sink with the one side cleaned compared to the dirty side. Most folks would replace this sink. Now it looks good as new.



The sink’s back in, sealed tight with the use of 2′ x 4’s to hold it in place. (A badass move.) Now we’re on to backsplash tile and painting. Doesn’t that tile look beautiful?? Almost as beautiful as Jennifer painting.


No Heat, No Problem

After we busted in, we got right to work. Unfortunately, utilities weren’t on yet, so we worked by head lamp. Plus, it’s freezing! Ahhh, suck it up. We don’t need warm hands and feet.

First, we clean up. There’s nothing we can’t handle … except that Jenn can’t handle pulling hair out of the tub drain. “NOPE!”

Second, we dismantle. Removed both sliding (mirrored) closet doors and a HUGE ceiling fan. Along with a dog crate large enough for a Saint Bernard, we’ll sell everything on Craigslist.

Now, our priority is the kitchen. Appliances deliver soon, and the kitchen must be close to completion by then. Jennifer found a fantastic paint that will transform our dark cherry cabinets into beautiful white with grey undertones. Note: There are dozens and dozens of “white” paint colors. Make sure you find the one that’s best for your color scheme.


This paint, called Break-Through, can be purchased at Porter Paints on Atlantic Springs Road. It’s about $80 a can, but it’s worth every penny. This one can will last more than two kitchens! It doesn’t take a lot to cover, and the results are beautiful.

Before beginning to paint, we must prep.

Remove all cabinet doors and drawers including the hardware. You can leave the drawer tracks in place unless you plan to paint the interior of the cabinet. And, NEVER paint over hinges. NEVER.

It’s also a great idea to take painters tape and place a small number within the interior of each cabinet and on its matching door or drawer. Also, keep all hardware for that cabinet inside that cabinet. This will make reassembly much easier.

Next, lightly sand every surface that will be painted. This allows the paint to adhere to the previous finish. Wipe off dust from all surfaces after sanding.

Now you can begin painting, but focus on one light coat at a time. It’s always best to apply two or three light coats than one slow-drying, clumpy, unprofessional, sucky coat. And, you know that saying “never be cheap when it comes to buying shoes or a mattress.” Well, the same applies to brushes. Buy a great brush. Jenn likes Purdy brushes.

After the cabinets are complete, we’ll move on to wall paint and tile in the kitchen. We’ll post more pictures soon.

Oh, and if you know someone with a Saint Bernard or small horse who needs a dog crate, let us know.

Here We Go!

The 10-day waiting period passed, and we were the high bidder! On Wednesday of this past week, we took possession of a cute two-bedroom, one-bath “cottage” duplex in the Five-Points area of Raleigh.

As you see on TV, we didn’t receive keys when we won the auction. We had to break into our own property. Before resorting to drilling through the door knob, I pulled out my Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance ID card. It was just sturdy enough but flimsy enough to open the door. It was almost too easy! (Sadly though, that ID card was the best thing to come out of Blue Cross.)


The property has been neglected for at least a couple of years, but luckily, most of the exterior is in fine shape (thanks to the HOA).

Over the past couple of days, we’ve cleaned up and assessed what needs to be done. Very little demo and very little that we can’t do ourselves. The Carrier air condition and gas heat are in excellent condition. The hardwoods (we believe) are original, and they’re beautiful.

As you follow this flip, we’ll feature lots of before and after photos. New appliances (of course), all new paint in the latest color palette from Sherwin Williams (we adore Ty on Wake Forest Road), all new lights, and an upgraded back patio area. We’ll feature unique how-to projects you can incorporate into your own home. Here are a few:

  • What’s the right tile for the kitchen to pull in the existing granite color paired with our new cabinet and wall colors? We love the mosaic tile we found at Lowes on Capital Boulevard. It really has that WOW factor too.
  • We love using reclaimed barn wood. We’ll create a feature wall in the living room, and we’ll add new barn-wood sliders for the closets in each bedroom.
  • And, you’ll never guess how we transform an ugly fuse box.

Stay tuned for step-by-step photos and videos of each project along with where to buy the materials. If we can do it, you can too!