Checking out the Parade of Homes

Parade of Homes - A Pinch of Joy
Parade of Homes

Wheels and I toured the local Parade of Homes recently, along with hundreds of others like the couple above. The general theme was horse country so there were lots of visual references to rural life, like the barn looking garage.   Of course, the homes were beautiful, showed off the builders best and were in the not quite a million dollar price range. Three car garages were the standard and there were a couple of four car garages. Six bedrooms, each with a bathroom. Some had main floor master suites as well as a second floor master, a couple also had a mother in law suite on the lower level.   A couple of bathrooms on the main level and more on the lower level gave each house between 5 and 8 bathrooms. Half had full movie theaters with room sized screens and theater seating. In each of those houses, the adjacent bar space also had a very large screen. And another very large screen in the family space next to that. (Think open concept. Think Frozen in the family area, action film in the theater and chick flick in the bar all at once!) All had multiple decks/patios, including one roof top deck and several that opened into the master suite. Several had doggie showers, and one had a small doggie suite,  near the main floor laundry. Quite a lifestyle statement overall!

We went for ideas and found them everywhere. The ones that appealed to us and made the time worthwhile were the affordable ones. Like color. I was delighted to see the turquoise and gray colors in our house well represented in the show homes. Trend setters, we are! The accent colors most often used with that combination were yellow and coral. Loved both of them! 

  wall Molding

Beautiful molding in one house gave an idea for a little problem corner in our new kitchen and helped refine the concept for our master bedroom (see the photo above. I won’t be using the emerald green color scheme, though.) In another house, curtains fastened to a piece of one x four inch pine and mounted like shelves above the eight foot windows drew a lot of attention from DIYers, who peeked behind to see why there were no rods. We clustered around and named off the parts needed from the hardware store and speculated as to how curtains were fastened on top to maintain the pleats. Sorry the picture didn’t work! Next time I will take the camera and plan to take pictures,  not just decide to use a cell phone halfway through the tour!

Another house had the solution for a tiny bathroom window treatment I’ve been puzzling over. The corrugated tin roofing used as wainscoting looked cool in the teen guy’s bedroom – but I won’t be using that idea.  Or the hundreds of individual one inch crystals nailed individually to the bathroom wall. Or some other concepts that were equally intriguing, arty and just weird. But there are lots of other little ideas that will find their way into use!  

One not quite teen girl was walking with her mother ahead of us as we were leaving. “I can’t wait to get home”, she said, “and repaint my room and start doing things around the house!”   I’m with her! Can’t wait!

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Garage Storage

Garage Storage -- A Pinch of Joy
Garage Storage -- A Pinch of Joy

Since we are in the garage looking at the turquoise door and the mini mudroom,   I’ll show you the cubby storage that gets a lot of attention whenever we have a garage sale. Everyone comments on it!   It was born from the different styles Wheels and I take toward storage — and a little desperation! 

Wheels — and Bytes — and Bytes big brother — are visual people.  They have to see something for it to exist.  It’s literally out of sight out of mind!  I am the polar opposite.  Out of sight and in its place means it doesn’t get lost.  They have piles here and piles there and they can reach in without hesitation and tease the hammer out from the bottom of a stack of tools.  I tear my hair and will NEVER find that hammer.  Because who puts a hammer in a pile of wrenches????  Really!  

Then one day, Target had clearance on some shoe cubbies.  A light bulb went off.  They could see everything.  But in little piles where I could find things.  So the shoe cubbies came home with me and went on top of the 52 inch tall cupboards on the garage wall. There is a larger unit with 25 cubbies.  It’s on the left.  Two smaller units with 18 cubbies each are stacked on the right.  Those cubbies are also smaller in size than the larger unit.   A pre – made sorter for visual folks.   

A short time later, Kraft started selling mayo in these cool oval plastic jars that fit perfectly in each cubby.  They hold things like steel wool, hooks, batteries divided by size, locks and other small items.  They are all labeled so if they end up on a different shelf, you can still see the label and know what you are getting. It was a real bummer when they switched back to round jars!  

However, it didn’t take long for a problematic pattern to surface.  The guys are WAY taller than I.  You can guess where THEY put the tools they used most often! 

So in the dark of night one night when I couldn’t reach a tape measure, I made some labels, climbed my trusty step stool and rearranged things.  You can see the labels — the most crucial items that MOI uses.  They can put the rest of the items — boxes of nails and screws, large size latex gloves, stud finders, and the like –in cubby storage wherever they want and feel free.  I can reach the screwdrivers, tape measures, levels, sharps (knives, scrapers, etc), pliers and garden cutters  I need and feel organized.  I still find the hammer in the pile of wrenches but the little stuff is where it belongs! 

Is that win-win or what?????

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Build a Mini Mudroom in Your Garage

Build a Mini Mud Room - A Pinch of Joy

Build a Mini Mud Room - A Pinch of Joy
We lived here only a very short time before realizing that a house designed and built in 1977 needed some work to make it livable for today!   When our house was built, it was a big deal to have a two car garage open directly into the kitchen so groceries in paper bags could be carried in easily. One of the things I have long wanted is a landing place by the garage door because a lot of other things happen around that garage door nowadays!     I wanted to be able to kick muddy garden shoes off and out of the way, a place to store reusuable grocery bags and assorted household “stuff”, somewhere to hang caps or light jackets so they weren’t tossed who knows where.  In short, someplace convenient for storing things to be picked up and used and returned as we come and go through that turquoise door in daily life. 

 The kitchen remodel gave us the perfect opportunity to repurpose an old upper cabinet to improve the situation.  We used scrap trim, repurposed plywood, scrap lumber, a piece of found beadboard and came up with a great mini mud room!  Here’s how we did it for a cost of $2 and 63 cents (almost), a weekend’s worth of time – most of which we did something else while paint dried.    Little investment but so worth it. 

 An upper cabinet, 24 inches wide, 30 inches high and 12 inches deep, fit perfectly in the space between the step and other permanent cabinets.  I flipped it upside down so the knob would be at the top of the door.

Plywood platform -- A Pinch of Joy Bytes cut a piece of plywood to fit the bottom of the cupboard exactly.  The plywood came from shelves we tore down in the basement.  I took scrap lumber “one by” pine and tested to see which size would allow enough clearance for me to kick walking shoes underneath the cabinet.  A one by six inch piece was just right.  (makes me think of Goldilocks!)

 Bytes cut two pieces from the 1×6 board into the correct length for each side and screwed them onto each end of the plywood.  This made a platform for the cabinet to set on and gave enough clearance to store garden shoes.  It also raised the top of the cabinet about six inches which was just right for the new use!  (Goldilocks again!)   He decided  a board across the back of the platform would give a little more stability.  Because of the way we installed the cupboard, there was room so he added another piece of the 1×6 across the back, stabilizing the two legs. 

Top of cupboard -- A Pinch of Joy

 Bytes used a piece of 1×2 scrap pine screwed to the studs in the garage wall to set the cupboards and fasten them to the wall.  This allowed us to match the depth of the existing peg board.   Wheels didn’t want to remove the peg board and the logistics would have made it a much longer job!  Get ‘er done now won out!

 I cleaned the cupboard thoroughly and painted it with two coats.  Bytes cut a piece of the repurposed plywood shelf to fit on top of the cupboard.  My initial idea was to make a tile top with leftover bathroom shower tile.  We might still do that when there is thin set around for the next bathroom tiling project (oh, yeah, that is coming!).   But for now, the plywood top is just sanded with multiple coats of white paint. 

coat hooks
 Wheels found a piece of thin bead board that was just the right size (yay, Goldilocks!).  I painted it and we used it to transition the bit of open space and cover the pegboard above.  Bytes tacked the bead board to the pegboard supports and the trim above and below also help hold it in place.

 We used the remainder of the 1×6 pine to make the top of the mini mud room/area.  I had purchased a set of mounted hooks intending to use them as towel racks in one of the bathrooms.  Towels did not dry well on test hooks so this unit never was installed.   This was the perfect way to repurpose.  I didn’t count them in the cost because I already had them although they were about $18.  If you count that, the cost of this project goes up to just over $20 – still not bad.  Wheels installed the hooks on the 1×6 top. 

I went through the stock pile of scrap trim and Bytes cut them to fit the need.  We used baby quarter round (I’m sure that’s not the official name – it’s probably ½ or 3/8 inch quarter round!) to finish off the edges of the top.   We could not find anything to cover a gap between the side of the cupboard and the adjacent storage that would allow the cupboard door to open.  Off to Lowe’s.  There I found a trim piece that fit the bill for $2.68. 

 A bit of caulk and spackle over seams, pits and nailholes, another coat of paint. Let the paint cure and begin to add the essentials.   Done! 

Just right, said Goldilocks.  And me! 

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