Crafty · diy · home · pointies · Uncategorized

SUPRISE! Litter box.

So a couple of months ago I was thinking about the cats litter box (as you do) and trying to figure out where it’s forever home could be…at least until the cats pack their bags… Originally it was in the corner of the pantry, but it was moved when the freezer was added. Then it was located in the den (gross) but that was only a temporary solution while the den was being worked on. I know a lot of people have their litter boxes in bathrooms, but neither of the ones here have any extra floor space that would allow a litter box and not include the prospect of poop-litter-feet upon exit from shower.

So what to do. I had a plan in mind of making or building some sort of litter box enclosure that would look like a piece of furniture. Something like this without the crazy price tag..


Kind of nice right? A hidden litter box in plain view of guests. Now just to figure out how to make my plans a reality. I already had an idea of what I was looking for, and I knew where I wanted to have it in the house.

One day I may even be able to take decent photos….but don’t hold your breath 😉

So ideally I was looking for something that would fit under the window and be slightly longer than the window itself, so that it looked like a window seat AND doubled as a second stickybeak area for these pesky four legged meow boxes. To the internet! I started at one of my favourite websites – Ikea Hackers and started hunting through their Pet Furniture Section when I stumbled across this post. Exactly what I was looking for…

Unfortunately this exact model is no longer being made, but the Besta system is still around. So for supplies – I picked up this bad boy on a trip to Ikea and I was “lucky” enough to already own one large litter box. I picked up a second litter box (fits perfectly, and is sized for the larger cat *cough*Sterling*cough*) and hit up Home Depot for some garage mats that were easily cut to size.

So there it is…simple, easy and out of the way. I’d include an action shot, but that’s just gross….even for me.

home · Uncategorized

Sectional Sofa Hunt

I have been talking about a sectional sofa since day 1. Originally we moved in with two sofas – one awesome brown sofa that I bought at Ikea one year (and they quickly discontinued it…no idea why, for $200 it was and is still AWESOME) and a futon sofa/bed. We had the sofa in our Living Room for a while when we first moved in, and the futon was in the den.



The futon was always on the short list of ‘these items must go’, but it filled a need in the meantime, and also gave us an additional sleeping area when we had friends or family in town. When Nana Margie was here last and we worked on OPERATION:DEN we decided it was high time to advertise the futon and move it out.

This left a hole in our Living Room area, so the hunt for the perfect Sectional Sofa hunt went back into high gear.

As you can see from my pinterest addiction board, this has been in the works for a while. I have looked at at ton of different vendors, at many, many different price points…but I kept coming back to the Karlstad from Ikea. It would fit my needs for now, and if I decided to upgrade in the future it wouldn’t feel like such a kick in the money-pants.

Sadly though…when my savings account was about 92% of the way to buying this sectional, I found out the news that the Karlstad was discontinued. Ugh..queue sad face. I took a trip out to Ikea that weekend to have another look at different (lacking) options and noticed that the Karlstad display was still on the floor. Could it be? B sidled up to the lady working in the area and asked if there was any chance that they had any more in stock….or if we could talk about the floor model. A few tip taps on the keyboard and she said….’ummm…2′!

2 of these bad boys were still in stock and I was about to make that 1.

As luck would have it, not only was the discontinued section I wanted in stock, but it was also able to be delivered that afternoon. I may or may not have stayed up late to put all the pieces together….I also may or may not have dropped the heaviest side on my foot. Both of these statements are just rumours though.


So ….the Sectional is in. The current configuration isn’t *exactly* how its going to stay, but for now there are other more important fish to fry and games of furniture tetris to play so that the rest of the rooms can have their day in the sun! As rooms are completed I can move some of the mess goodies back to their homes and finally sort out the remaining furniture in my living room/nerd central.

diy · home · Uncategorized

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling – Den Fin!

One day I will get Strewth caught up….in fact, now that I have more time on my hands I would like to get back to writing here more. Maybe i’ll even work up the courage to write about 2016…let me just tell you, its a fucking doozy 😉

Soo….right about this time frame, Nana Margie showed up for a visit ❤

Not only is she always the bearer of tim tams and other surprises from home, she is also the bringer of fabulous ideas and plans. On and off over the last couple of years we have talked about this weird “den” area and what we could do to open it up and make it more part of the house as opposed to a closed off, strange, last minute thought of a room.

First, we needed to make the room seem larger by finding someone to remove the weird “closet” afterthought and to see if there was a way to repair the wall that was half-ass built. I may or may not have started singing There’s a Hole in My Bucket at this point…


Luckily, I have the amazing fortune of living next door to a wonderful family that includes a handyman who never minds helping out with projects like this. Hector and his family have always taken care of us when needed and in this instance he told my mum that he wanted to do the job just right because thats how Jack would have wanted it.

Trust me, there were tears.


It took some finagling with different sheets of drywall and boards to get the ‘front’ wall of the den to be the same thickness all the way along, without eating up too much of the space we had in the den. According to Hector this area used to be a walk through from the front door into this smaller space. The previous owners closed it off (to be able to market the house as four bedrooms) and added an inset, floor to ceiling shelf on the other side to mask it.



Hector did an incredible job and even managed to win over Georgia who proclaimed him her new best friend. In the end Hector took out the closet, repaired the front wall so that it was actually an honest to goodness real life wall, spray painted the ceiling bright white (all the beams had been ack! painted antique white) and…..REMOVED THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR!!!


And here is where we came in again.

Instead of painting the walls in the den the same bright white as the ceiling and trim, I chose a slight grey tone that softened the walls, played off the red accent wall and worked with the carpet tiles that were soon to be moving in. If I was more of a home blogger I would even have paint colour names for you, alas I’m not….but at least I’m not a tracer.


Next step – carpet tiles!

In order to make the room appear bigger than it is (again) I decided to lay these down with a 1/4 turn pattern. Installing the tile was actually incredibly easy. If I had done it from start to finish in one go, I would say it would easily take less than a day. The part that takes the longest, is of course measuring and cutting the perimeter.

These have literally been a godsend. We decided against gluing down and instead made sure that they were tight up against the trim so that each tile held the others in place with peer pressure…or something like that. To date I have had no issues with them popping up, even with constant (someone shave these cats pls) vacuuming.

With this many animals and a penchant for early morning coffee, the tiles have also been incredibly easy to keep clean. I managed to walk away from this project with half a box of ‘spare’ tiles, but in the past few years I have not had to break out a single one. The normal routine is to pull up the sad tile, give it a quick rinse in the tub, allow it to dry and pop it back into place. YMMV, but I am constantly trying to brainstorm how else I can use carpet tiles 🙂


Lastly – No idea how on EARTH i managed to complete this project without my assistants…

home · Uncategorized

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling – Den Update

So, way back when, when the Weeb and I were just two young impressionable kids, we decided that we should take all the money we had (and a whole shit ton that we didn’t) and plop it all in a bunch of walls, windows, flooring and roof. At the time it seemed like such a great idea….and to be honest it was. We have had a massive amount of laughs in this home and a lot of yelling and tears too….mostly concentrated around projects that we thought were also a good idea 😉

When we first looked at this house there was a strange room that was directly off the Living room. It had a glass sliding door….and not just any sliding door, it was clearly a sliding door that at some point was designed to be on the exterior of a house. Honestly, from memory they were trying to market this room as a fourth bedroom, and the kiddo definitely put in a good fight for this to be his bedroom, but we decided to try and be grownups for a second (not easy) and designated the room a Den. The sliding glass door, inside or not, was ideal for closing off the room and shutting out the noise when the Weeb decided to have a History Channel marathon on the weekends.

Aha! A rare glimpse of the kiddo
Our first walkthrough of the house..

Over time we came to realize that the Living Room area was actually “outside” and had been an addition house at some point when the previous owners tried to add more square footage to the interior. This helped explain why there was an exterior sliding glass door on the inside of a house….but don’t worry, that’s not even close to being the strangest thing we have found here (so far?) 😉

Listen here you primitive screwheads!
All those yellow things? Nat Geo’s…Weeb has quite the collection. I think some of them are even holding up the walls.

Basically the entire of the house looked like this when we moved in. Every wall was spray painted white and every ceiling was ceiling white. Nothing outstanding, but it allowed for a lot of imagination and it lended itself nicely to our crazy mismatched furniture while we were coming up with a plan of attack and a reasonable budget.

DSCN1986Teeny tiny den times with the Giz!

That weird looking back wall there? That’s the last owners attempt to seal off an open path/door frame that used to connect this room to the front of the house. To the right you can also see a closet area. This was also added in to this room, effectively making it a whole ton smaller but also lending more weight to the whole ‘yeah this house totally has four bedrooms!’ idea…

Also Gizmo (The Shiz). You’re welcome.


And this is the part of my post where the photos start getting a little ratty. I apologize, but the den is quite small and with the sliding glass door in place it is almost impossible to get a good photo of what is happening.

So….about (eeeeesh) 3 years ago, I made a post about tackling the weird ass paneling that was attached to the back wall of the den. It took some time, but the Patch-N-Paint product I picked up? Total winner. I think all in all, I applied three coats and sanded in between each one. Was it perfect? No. But I knew once we added a coat of pain that the majority of the visual flaws would be hidden.

To be honest, the only way this could be completed to perfection would be either to cover the wall paneling with a textured wallpaper or to rip it down altogether and deal with whatever monstrosity may or may not be hidden back there. Knowing some of the other issues we have found in this house so far (WHY WOULD YOU INSTALL CARPET OVER LAMINATE FLOORING?!?!) and also knowing that this is not our forever home, we decided that this was the best course of action.

So here is where we were right before Nana Margie came for a visit last and tossed some new ideas our way for completing the look of the Den…

beardies · diy · family · home · Uncategorized

Updates – Strewth!

It’s been a while…what’s been going on here you ask? A lot. In the last year we have gone though a lot of changes – personally, professionally and home front. And one of my resolutions this year is to get back to Strewth and resume my posting responsibilities. Not only is this a great way for me to keep in touch with my family and keep them up to date on what is happening in our crazy house, but it is also a constant reminder to me that there is more to be done on that never ending list 🙂

At home, we are still plodding along with our remodeling projects. The list is slowly getting smaller, and we now have an even better reason to work harder to get everything done. My mum has done some soul searching over the last few months and has decide to pack up her home in Perth and move half her stuff to America. Her plan is to spend some of each year with us and the rest of the year with my brother and his family. To say that I am excited would be an understatement!

We still have a lot of things to get done, but 2016 is the year for Brian and I to get refocused on our home and finish the projects we have started and those that are still on the drawing board. We managed to get some things done this year, but it wasn’t a lot as we were both very focused on work instead of our home projects. I still have some finished projects to share and a whole bunch of new ideas for when some of our upcoming projects are done. The goal is to have this house complete and ready to sell so that the three of us (plus the zoo) can buy a larger house together when the time comes.

The four-legged animals are doing well too….probably more so now that I have access to a full pet store, a paycheck and all sorts of new products! We even have a new addition to our family – Falcor the Bearded Dragon. There’s still never a dull moment in the Strewth Household..


home · Uncategorized

Wet flooring

A few weekends ago, I needed a screwdriver, so I went to our tool closet (which also houses our hot water heater) to grab one. As I opened the door I noticed a slight rusty water line running down the front of the water heater and thought it to be odd. I bent down to have a closer look and realized that our beautiful provider of delicious showers was dying a slooooow death and in the process, leaking all over our floor.

Now, luckily there were two things in our favour – First…the hot water heater was over 17 years old and needed to be replaced soon(ish) and secondly, the flooring it was bleeding all over was going to be replaced at the end of the year. So first things first, we worked on getting the hot water heater replaced. We called a few different places (it’s always smart to get more than one quote for any work) and ended up working with a vendor approved by Home Depot. It was quick, painless and MOST importantly – the estimate they quoted over the phone was exactly what they charged us at the end of the day.


Welcome to the family big buddy!

Wait! Where’s the flooring? Oh right. That all had to be torn up – risk of mold and all that. Did you know that most insurance companies will not cover the replacement of a hot water heater, but they will cover any damaged caused by a hot water heater?


Almost a weeks worth of these fat boys (there’s two more in the hallway that you can’t see) and we are still not quite dry yet. According to the company, it’s because of the layer of paint that exists on the sub flooring which is not letting the fans do their work properly. One day we might be able to stop yelling across the dinner table. But maybe not 😉

diy · home · Uncategorized

Time for New Nightstands

We’re still a few months off from being able to rip up the nasty-ass carpet in the bedrooms for two reasons…one, I have a savings goal that I am working towards and two…I get the week and a bit off between Christmas and New Years and that is the perfect time to rip and lay.

In the meantime, there are still small things I would like to get done to pull the rooms together. The first on a long list is our nightstands…


They were originally couch side tables I believe – I even found a magazine compartment at the back of mine containing an old electronic pitch fork. Weird.

Anyhoo…I brought this bad boy outside, removed the drawer, door & all hardware and sanded the top until I got to bare wood. My original plan was to stain the top of the piece ebony and spray the sides in Lagoon. I roughed up the sides slightly and then taped off the top with a nice big garbage bag and went to town with the spray can.


Several light coats are always better than thick drippy coats. I think all in all, I did three light coats – just used up one entire can of spray and it looked fabulous.


This was after one coat of stain. See how pretty it looks? It went downhill after that. Sadly, I sprayed the entire piece with Rustoleum’s Crystal Clear Matte Finish. Going on, it looked fabulous. After it dried, there were big blisters on the Minwax stained top only. Ugh. I tried stripping it back so that I could re-stain but I was getting nowhere fast.

So..onto backup plan #1 (Courtesy of Robot Brian who would prefer that I don’t rip out all my hair) – paint the top with black paint that I had left over from our Dining Table project. Three light coats of paint on the top and we were done! In actual fact, I loved the painted top more than the stained top, so it was one of those fortuitous mistakes that happen oh-so-often in DIY.


Count Sterling is already convinced that this piece is for him. Dork…but he could be right.


Not the best picture, and for that I apologize, but it was late and my hands were about to detach from my arms and go and live elsewhere. I still need to find new hardware for the drawer…and I have one more complete table to do for Robot Brian. Perhaps this weekend?