Handyman Wednesday: We Bought a Door

Hi everyone!  Kevin is here for a 2-part Handyman Wednesday.  Today, we are going to discuss doors.

I know, you have them, they’re very useful for keeping people out of your house.  However, if you don’t have a storm door or screen door, you can’t let the breeze blow in without letting the pets blow out.  Therefore, a door with a screen is a must.  The Little House lacked these doors.  With my parents in town this weekend (love you guys!), I had the handyman of all handymen here to help me pick out and install a door.

My Dad said there are 5 things to consider in a new door.

1. Size.  Please measure your door-frame.  Our kitchen door-frame was 32″ wide and 80″ tall.  This is the standard door size.

Door Frame Size Guide2. Decide what kind of door you want.  There are storm doors that are all glass, doors that are glass and screen, and then all screen.  With us, we wanted the screen, but couldn’t do the full screen or the Fievel would sharpen his claws on it.

Storm Doors and Combo Doors

Combo Screen/Storm, and Full Storm Doors

Screen Door

Full Screen Door

3. Make sure you know if your door is right-hand or left-hand.  This is easy.  Look at you door from the outside.  If your hinges are on the right it is right-handed.  If your hinges are on your left it’s left handed.

Hinge Side

4. Decide your budget (Doors range from $90 – $300+).

5. Have at least 4 hands available.  I would NOT install a door by myself.

We had a budget of $150 for our door which severely limited our choices of prettiness to this:


Then we found a clearance sticker at Home Depot.  When I see a yellow sticker at Home Depot, I get more excited than Thor at a 2-for-1 sale on hammers.


Did I read that right?  Is it $103 off?

Did I read that right? Is it $103 off?

Here’s our pretty door.  Come back next week for the install tips!

This is our door, except replace nickel with Brass

This is our door, except replace nickel with Brass


Here’s a link to Home Depot of our door:

EMCO 400 Series Door



What do you do when you see an endangered animal that is eating an endangered plant?  If you put a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, what color would it turn?  Can an ambidextrous person make an offhand remark? 

Lampy McLamperson

Can you tell I had a hard time coming up with a blog title this morning?

A few months ago we had an unfortunate tail wagging incident at the Little House that resulted in one of our navy candlestick lamps meeting an untimely death.  RIP, little guy.

Lamp Spray Paint RIPWe tried fixing the poor, unfortunate fellow, but there was no hope for him. We set him and our grief aside and went to Home Goods, where we bought a very spiffy pair of tall, navy trefoil lamps.

They looked horrible on our nightstands. I mean terrible. So terrible, in fact, that we were completely caught up in the terrible-ness and forgot to take a photo. So we tried them on the mantel.

New Mantel Lamp 2They weren’t terrible! Actually, it was love at first sight.  Of course, that meant we were still on the hunt for new bedside lamps.

Somehow, we kept forgetting to restart the lamp hunt, so I’ve been lampless for about a month now.  Luckily we stumbled across these beauties at Target on Tuesday, remembered we were wanting lamps anyway, and bought them.

New Target Lamp 2I’m really loving these lamps (all except for the horribly yellow bulbs we put in them). They’re basically the Beyonce of lamps: curvy in all the right places. They also bring some much needed wood tones into the room to tie into our jute rug and shades.

I’m still working on accessorizing this room (two years later), so someday maybe I’ll actually finish styling my nightstand.  Until then, at least I can see what the heck’s on it in the middle of the night.

Have a really blessed Easter weekend! What are you having for Easter dinner? Have you died eggs yet? Kevin and I are taking photos of families at our church on Easter morning… I’m so nervous! Any tips on posing families?

Oh My Guinness!

Around the Little House there are few things we like more than scoring deals and a good pint of beer (not necessarily in that order).

So when we stumbled on vintage Guinness prints at a yards sale for $7 each (with the frame), we were pumped (mostly).  Turns out, there had been nine prints for sale at the beginning of the morning, but the owner had sold seven of them just ten minutes before we got there (dang that other yard sale we stopped at first).

Still, we loved the two remaining prints and after a few minutes of haggling (in which the owner threw in a milk crate of beer taps) we loaded them up in Dora the Explorer and took them home.

We hung them up in place of the (too small) masking tape art we made three years ago.  Remember those guys?

LHBH DIY masking tape art

But after seeing the Guinness posters up there, I don’t think the canvases will ever see the wall again.

Vintage Guinness Poster Framed

Vintage Guinness Poster Framed Vintage Guinness Poster Framed

I just love them. They’re fun, vintage, and a much better size for over the couch.  We still need to anchor them to the wall so they’ll actually hang straight and not fall off the wall at 3am and scare the bejeebees out of me (I prefer to keep my bejeebees intact, thank you very much).

Just for fun, you can tell a lot about the goings on at the Little House by that first photo.

Guinness 4Kinda makes me feel like Sherlock.

Happy Hump Day!

Raising the Bar a Little Higher

It’s been years since Kevin and I did anything to our tiny, little dining room. We DIYed a chandelier, converted a changing table to a bar, and called it good enough.

Dining RoomAnd it was good enough… until this Saturday.  During a particularly thorough cleaning fit, we decided we needed somewhere to store the mountain of glassware collecting on top of our refrigerator (besides on top of the refrigerator). So after some noodling, we went to Ikea and got some floating shelves.

Lack Floating Shelf

Our first consideration when hanging the shelves was how to anchor them. The Little House has old plaster walls, so hanging anything on them can be perilous. Hanging a free floating shelf full of glassware could be a recipe for disaster.  We picked up some plaster wall anchors called Pop-Toggles at Home Depot that were super easy to use. You just drilled your pilot hole, pinched the anchor shut, and stuck it in the hole.

Little House Big Heart Plaster Wall Anchor How ToWe hung the Ikea shelves according to the directions included with them (in Ikea-ese). When we were done though, the shelves wouldn’t sit level. Even with nothing on them, they tilted towards the floor (especially the bottom shelf). We took them down, double checked the instructions, put them back up, and tightened the screws extra tight. It didn’t help.

Little House Big Heart Lack Floating Shelf BarI LOVE how they look, but there’s no way I’m going to trust them with all of our favorite glassware. They’re tilted at about a 15 degree level from horizontal and every time you walk through the room you can see the glasses bounce and slide. We bought some small L-brackets at Home Depot in hopes that they would secure the shelves without being obtrusive, but after a lot of thought, we decided they won’t be beefy enough to trust.

For now, we’ve taken everything off the shelves and will probably get some real shelf brackets to hold them up installed this week.

Little House Big Heart Lack Floating Shelf Problems

Has anyone else had problems with the Ikea Lack floating shelves? What did you to to fix them?



Winter Wonderland

We’re walking (because we’re sure as heck not driving) in a winter wonderland here in Dallas today.

We’re covered in a half inch of ice and an inch of sleet. Two days ago it was 80 degrees. Today? 27 degrees with a wind chill of 10. I know for those of you up north that doesn’t seem like much (and even as native Midwesterners we’re used to worse), but for the native southerners down here this is a ice-pocalypse.

I snapped a few photos this morning. We plan on going out later to take more once the freezing rain stops for good.

Firetruck Downed Limb LHBH

Bowed Live Oak LHBH

Ice Berries LHBH

Icy Oak Leaves LHBH

Icy Garland LHBH

Stay safe today if you’re getting the same weather we are! Have a great weekend!

It Was Summer…

…And suddenly it was fall.

Or so my calendar tells me. The weather, apparently, has heard otherwise as it’s still hanging out in the mid-90s every day.  Flowers are still blooming, the neighbor kids are still playing in the sprinkler, and the trees are as lush and green as ever.

In fact, if it weren’t for the pumpkins at the grocery store, you might not know it was fall in Texas at all.

Which is why, I guess, that the thought of decorating for the season didn’t even occur to me until 8:00pm last night.  I was laying on the couch watching Chopped and playing on Pinterest (my favorite home-alone activities), when I came across a couple gorgeous fall mantles.

Fall Mantle(source)



Fall Mantel


I realized I need to get my rear in gear and get going on our fall decor! I’m going have Kev get my fall tub-o-lub out of the attic tonight and maybe I’ll spend my lunch hour at Hobby Lobby. You know, just in case anything might catch my eye.

PS. Here’s last year’s fall fireplace.

Fireplace From left

Does it feel like fall yet where you live? Have you done any fall decorating yet? What’s your favorite thing about fall?

This entry was posted in House.

Subbing In

It’s not really a project until something goes wrong… or at least it seems that way.

For us, our office remodel was moving right along. We’d finished our wallpaper ceiling renovation.

Paintable Wainscot Ceiling AfterThe carpet had come up without a hitch.

Carpet Removal Little House Big Heart

Carpet Removal Jess Little House Big Heart

Even the padding was only glued down, saving both time and our backs since we didn’t have to pull out the staples that usually hold down carpet padding.

Carpet Padding RemovalThe tack strips were difficult to remove, but were nothing that my awesome hubby couldn’t tackle with a hammer and mini-crowbar.

Tack Strip Removal Little House Big Heart

But then we pulled up the old, squeaky patch some unknown previous owner had laid down – and discovered that not only was the patch squeaky, but that when the subfloor was patched, not all of the old, rotten wood was removed.

The patchSince we’re in this to do it the right way and not the easy way, there was only one thing to do: tear it all out.

The bigger patch

As we mentioned before, our office used to be a screened in porch. It sits on a concrete slab that has 1 1/2″ of drop from the interior wall to the exterior. Considering that the room is only 8′ wide, that’s a lot of drop. Because of this, when we added our new braces, we had to account for the slope and rip a 2×4″ longways at the right angle, then use Liquid Nails to adhere it to the concrete.

Finally, we were ready to lay the new 3/4″ plywood subfloor.

Layign Subfloor

24 hours later, the subfloor was repaired… the right way. There’s no squeak or movement now and we know that it’s done correctly.

Repaired SubfloorTonight we’re tackling the next step: laying a layer of 1/4″ plywood over the entire floor.

Have you uncovered any surprises from previous owners before? Do you ever wish you could give a previous owner a piece of your mind? Is your hubby a tack strip removing machine?

Hitting the Ceiling

As promised, here’s our tutorial on how to hide an ugly ceiling with paintable wallpaper!

How to Hide an Ugly Ceiling from Little House Big Heart

The Little House was built in 1940, but we’re pretty sure (after more demo this weekend) that our office was once a screened in back porch that was enclosed  sometime in the 1960s. The thing about the 1960s is that they didn’t always use the most attractive building materials.

Take acoustic ceiling tiles, for example. They’re ugly. Really ugly. And after 50 years of hanging out on our ceiling, they were dated, yellowed, and all-around gross.

Acoustic Ceiling Before

So, while we wanted the tiles gone in the worst way, we didn’t want to tackle tearing the entire ceiling out (it’s not in our budget right now). Instead, we decided to cover them up. We originally thought to plank them a la The Lettered Cottage, but when my mom suggested paintable wainscot wallpaper we decided to give it a go.

We went with Roth + Allen Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper from Lowes. It was a little beefier than the other paintable wainscot they carried, albeit a little more expensive. We needed three rolls which set us back $60.

Allen + Roth Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper

The first step in wallpapering your ceiling is to make sure it’s debris free. We took a broom to ours to knock down any cobwebs or dust that might hanging out (not that we’d EVER let cobwebs or dust see the light of day in the Little House).

Next, measure and cut your wallpaper pieces. This requires a little planning ahead to minimize the waste on each roll. The office is 8’x16′, so we decided to go with roughly 8′ strips. You’ll want your strips to be slightly longer than your wall. Because the roll was 33′ long, we knew we could get four strips with a little extra on each and have basically no waste.

 Measure and Cut wallpaper

When you have your wallpaper cut, soak it according to package directions (if it’s prepasted). Ours required a thirty second soak in warm water, then a five minute rest to allow the adhesive to activate (ignore the tile… it’s next on the remodel list).

Soak Wallpaper

Rest Wallpaper

Once your wallpaper paste has has sufficient time to do its thing, you’re ready to hang. This really is a two person job, so make sure to have your best DIY buddy handy. Other things you’ll want to have: a sharp utility knife, a ladder, and an old, wet rag.

Start about one wallpaper’s width from the wall. If you don’t have a convenient ceiling tile grid to help you line up your first piece, you’ll want to mark a straight line using a chalk line.

Now comes the challenging part: hanging the wallpaper. It’s flimsy. It’s slimy. It’s awkward. You may think that there’s no way it’ll cling to your ceiling, but have faith. It will. It’s hard to explain how to do this, so the video below shows Kevin and I hanging our third piece of wallpaper.

Once you get the paper to stick to the ceiling along your straight line, you’ll want to remove the bubbles. You can use a plastic wallpaper bubble remover, but I prefer a damp rag. Just start in the middle of the paper and work your way towards the ends, smoothing any bubbles out towards the edges and wiping up any excess adhesive that might squooge out.

Smooth out Excess Adhesive and Bubbles

Once the bubbles are smoothed out, you can cut the excess off using a sharp utility knife. You can use a straightedge here, but I chose to freehand it (because I’m a daring rebel like that).

Repeat until you cover the entire ceiling. We even wallpapered right over our air vent and light fixture electrical box, then cut them out after.

The paper we used recommended 24 hours dry time before painting, so when you’re done give it a day or so before painting. You may wake up to find a few seams have opened up. These are easy to fix with a tube of wallpaper seam glue (our tube was $2).

Wallpaper Seam Glue RepairsAs for paint, we noticed that the glare from the window and door was making any underlying imperfections in the ceiling more visible. To cut down on glare, we went with a flat white ceiling paint.

Flat White Paint

We trimmed and rolled the paint on as we would normally paint a ceiling, opting to go for two coats for really good coverage.


And that’s it. All together, the ceiling took about 4 1/2 hours to complete) three to hang the wallpaper, 1 1/2 to glue the seams and paint) and cost less than $100 ($60 for the paper, $2 for the seam glue, and $23 for paint).

We’re in love with the results. They’re better than we’d even imagined at the start.

Paintable Wainscot Ceiling After

Let’s just see it one more time for comparison’s sake.

Before and After

Better, no? And all for $85.

Paint: 7 Ways to Wow

Good morning! Today we left Rome for the last stop on our Europe trip, a 24-hour layover in London! We’re so excited to be back in the UK but so not ready for this trip to be over! To help us finish it in style we have Krystle from Color Transformed Family here today to teach us seven ways you can transform your home with paint!

Not only is Krystle a phenomenal blogger and mom to a gorgeous baby girl, but she and her husband are working towards adopting a child from Hong Kong! Their story is really inspiring, so be sure to check out their (ongoing) adoption story!


Hi! My name is Krystle and I am so excited to be guest posting here at Little House Big Heart today while Jessica is off having a wonderful time in Europe! I’m the girl behind the blog, Color Transformed Family, where I like to share all things design, family, and life changing happening in our lives.

 photo colortransformedfamilyheader.jpg

Today I thought it would be fun to look at:

7 Ways to Use Paint

1. Furniture
Painting furniture is a great way to do a quick update to a room as well a give an old piece of furniture new life.
 photo after.jpg

My husband and I found this old Duncan Phyfe table for twenty bucks at a yardsale. It had seen better days and was quite beat up but with a little sanding and some paint it’s hard to recognize it now. The best part is that I made my own chalk board paint for the top of the table so that I kids can draw color on it!
Painted furniture is also a great way to add bold color to the room. Like we did with this changing table in my daughter, Noah’s room.

 photo dresser.jpg

2. Artwork
Creating your own artwork is a great way to decorate your house on a budget. Craft stores are great about offering a two for one or 50% discount on canvases and craft paint is super inexpensive. If you don’t feel brave enough to get your Monet on just yet another affordable way to update your home decor is to give an old frame a fresh coat of paint…or give new life to some old pottery with just a few coats of paint. photo DSCN4922.jpgBoth of these projects can be completed in an afternoon and if you are brave enough… get the kids to help.

3. Wall/Cover Plates photo DSCN3938copy.jpg
Ok. This one is super easy. If you live an older home like me your probably have inexpensive beige (or white if you’re lucky) cover plates for your light switches and electrical sockets. Replacing them with satin nickel or bronze cover plates can become expensive quickly. However, with a little spray paint you can update your existing ones and it will only set you back a couple of bucks. We did this last summer to our cover plates in our bedroom and now almost one year later they are still holding up well. No scratches or chipped paint on any of them!

4. Walls
At first this one seems like an obvious way to use paint. Coat a brush and spread it on the walls. Right? Well, yeah. But you can also add a silver metallic glaze over the paint for a super elegant accent wall or maybe a touch of shimmer for your powder room. photo after.jpgThis project may take a day or two but is sooo worth it in the end.

5. Planters photo backyard.jpgBig colorful planters look great on a deck or integrated into your landscape design. Bright vivid colors really stand out against all the green foliage. If all you have on hand is old plastic planters don’t run out to buy new ones just take some time to give your existing ones new life with a little spray paint. A few coats of paint and they look like new. Plus it will be easy to update them in a few years if your color preferences change.

6. Knife Stand
 photo finishedstand.jpg
This cute idea I saw on Pinterest and just had to give it a try myself. Update your plain jane knife stand with a fresh coat of paint to match your kitchen decor. We are currently in the long DIY process of renovating our kitchen. I went straight from painting the walls Sherwin William’s Lemon Chiffon to painting our knife stand the same color. I love how it brings a little of the Lemon Chiffon to the counter areas and dresses up the look of the previously drab knife stand. This could potentially be done with several items in your kitchen… recipe stand, flower vase, picture frames.

7. Glass (in the medicine cabinet)
Painting glass is great for privacy and an easy way to add some color to an otherwise bland room. Is anyone catching a drift here? Need some color… paint!
 photo DSCN3613.jpg
My name is Krystle and I struggle with organization. There I said it. Haha! So painting the glass in our medicine cabinet was the perfect solution to hiding all our junk. This same method could be used elsewhere too. For instance with vases.

The list above is definitely not an exhaustive list of different ways to use paint but it’s enough to get your creativity juices flowing. What are some of the creative and unique ways you have used paint? What is your favorite paint medium… acrylic, oil, spray, latex?

I want to give another huge “Thank You” to Jessica for letting me be her guest blogger for today. I hope to see you all soon over at Color Transformed Family.

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on:

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Loving Your Little House

Good Morning, again! Kevin and I are leaving Florence this morning and making our way south to Rome! We’re so excited about this portion of our trip! We’ve both been to Rome before, but never together! And while we’re enjoying our trip, we’re really missing the Little House.
Here today to share why she loves her Little House Flat, is Annabel from Annabel Vita! On her blog, Annabel covers everything from recipes and sewing to the best places to swim in the Loire Valley, France! I love reading her blog and I hope you do, too!
PS. Annabel, your flat is almost 200 years older than the Little House! She was built in 1940 (and we think she’s old)!
Hey Little House lovers!I’m Annabel Vita and I live in a teeny flat in small city in England with my very tall soon-to-be husband and my enormous collection of baskets. Although I often yearn for more space, there are some things I love about living small and I thought I shared them with fans of Jess and Kevin’s Little House.

1) Clean up is a breeze! I can hoover pretty much our entire flat from one socket. If people are coming over and the place is a tip, I can get it from chaos to calm in about an hour, tops, including cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.

2) Every corner of our home is filled with something we love. We still have some bits of filler/Ikea furniture, but we have a few pieces that we love love love and the fact our flat is so small means it feels just full of treasured things.

treasured things
3) Mr V and I are always close. Even if we’re at opposite ends of the flat, we can still talk. I love that. (He doesn’t love it when I follow him into the tiny kitchen and get in his way, but that’s a different story.) Having a small flat means our living room is our TV room, office, sewing room and dining room.We often spend weekend days in the same room working on different things and it’s just lovely and companionable. One day, I’d love to have a sewing room of my own but I’d miss being in the same room all the time.

favourite furniture

4) Everything is to hand. It takes a special type of kitchen ballet to make a fancy meal or bake a cake in our kitchen as there is so little counter space, but all the ingredients and all the tools are right within reach. I love getting in there with the door shut, putting the radio on and making things. It feels like my own little world!

tiny kitchen

5) I kind of love how little clothes storage we have. It means I have to ruthless edit what I keep out every season (excess is under the bed or at my mum’s house), but it makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier. I honestly think I’m better dressed now than I was when I lived on my own with a huuuuuge wardrobe crammed with all my clothes.
limited clothing storage

6) If you read my blog you’ll be bored of hearing me say this, but honestly what I love most about living small is the opportunities it gives us. Our location is so incredible it makes me want to throw privacy to the wind and hand out my postcode so you could google it! We also have large windows and incredible original features from when the property was built in 1745. These are things we couldn’t afford if we had more space, and they all add up to a home that makes us really, really happy, even if it’s pretty small.

living room desk

Thanks Jess and Kev! I hope you’re having a wonderful time away and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to hear all about it.