From Prefab to Post Fab: Customizing Bookcases Part 2

Prefab to post fab customizing bookcases enhancements for that custom built-in look as promised.

Yes, decoristas, you too can build, design and style a better mousetrap (bookcase).

Customizing a bookcase with moldings, panelings, trims and embellishments takes an average, plain and otherwise boring bookcase from prefab drab to post style fab.

decorative molding

Crown and trim moldings easily punctuate the custom look.

Most basic prefab 5-shelf bookcases are approximately 6′ tall, but not all ceiling heights are created equal.

Decorative furniture feet will take the bookcase to new heights.

furniture feetWaddell Bun Foot ||  Square Bun Foot   || Pumpkin Bun Pine Foot

The custom look is enhanced by adding for example by updating the back of the bookcase.

Beadboard paneling or beadboard pattern wallpaper take the look from common to custom.


The art of customizing bookcases is further enhanced by adding ornamental appliques and onlays.


Ornamental appliques and onlays applied to the front, side or back panels take the ordinary to the extraordinary.


Molding Installation and Applique and Onlay Application Recap:

The bookcase has an assembled height of 71.25 inches.

Decorative molding will have to be cut as it is usually sold in 8 ft lengths.

Measure the selected area of the bookcase where the molding will be placed.

Keep things as simple as you can by marking the area on the molding to be cut with a pencil.

Carefully make the cuts on the molding using a miter saw.

Sand each finished cut with sand paper to smooth edges.

For Top Crown:

Nail the crown molding into place at  the top and sides of the unit.

Fill the gaps with caulk and allow to dry for approximately 30 minutes before paint application.

For Appliques and Onlays:

Determine desired placement of applique or onlay.

Apply small beads of Liquid Nails Paneling and Molding Construction Adhesive or a preferred wood glue to the applique or onlay and put in place.

Small bead applications of adhesive or glue will help to prevent it from running out from under the sides when pressure is applied.

Apply pressure for a few minutes to ensure tight adhering.

dining-chair-pullArmac Martin

Decorative furniture hardware remains one of the most inexpensive and dramatic accent updates known to decoristas.

Inspiring design features are ripe for replication.

A strategically placed decorative pull(s) or door knocker on a front trim, side or back panel takes the piece to custom built-in statement piece status.


We’ll look at how to go from prefab drab to post style fab by creating polished style in the stacks in part 3 appropriately titled From Prefab to Post Fab: Customizing Prefabricated Bookcases Part 3.



From Prefab to Post Fab: Customizing Prefabricated Bookcases

A basic meet your needs bookcase can be transformed into an anything but basic bookcase in a weekend.

Storage is a universal need from office to home and beyond, and a stylish bookcase or bookcases meets that need and masters the built-in look.

If you don’t have a carpenter on speed dial or the $$$$ for a custom built-in bookcase(s), a DIY project of the customizing prefabricated bookcases kind is the way to go.

billy-bookcase-white__0255285_PE399413_S4IKEA Billy Bookcase

white bookcase

The search for a white prefab bookcase is not a daunting hunt- they are everywhere and affordable.

The South Shore Furniture Freeport Pure White 5-Shelf Bookcase shown above and below is from Home Depot.

At almost 6′ feet tall and an affordable price point, this particular style bookcase is an inexpensive, no frills(yet) great foundation to build upon.


The addition of molding and pre- primed embellishments to the top, base, and sides of the unit will set the designer wheels in motion.

It is amazing how decorative molding, trim, and accents will upgrade the bookcase to designer piece status.

If using more than one unit, screw the pieces together before adding the accents.

Anchoring the bookcase(s) to the wall with “L” brackets will keep the bookcases(s) in place and prevent tipping over.



crown molding

The bookcase has an assembled height of 71.25 inches.

Decorative molding will have to be cut as it is usually sold in 8 ft lengths.

Measure the selected area of the bookcase where the molding will be placed.

Keep things as simple as you can by marking the area on the molding to be cut with a pencil.

Carefully make the cuts on the molding using a miter saw.

Sand each finished cut with sand paper to smooth edges.

For Top Crown:

Nail the crown molding into place at  the top and sides of the unit.

Fill the gaps with caulk and allow to dry for approximately 30 minutes before paint application.

For side trim and accents:

Apply small beads of Liquid Nails Paneling and Molding Construction Adhesive to the molding or accents and put in place.

Apply pressure for a few minutes to ensure tight adhering.

Once the shelves are in their desired positions, you may want to consider covering all or some of the exposed peg holes and any other exposed screw holes.

Using a putty knife, apply Bondo Home Solutions All-Purpose Putty over each hole to fill and cover.


Smooth away excess with putty knife.

Allow to dry (approximately 45 minutes) and sand the area smooth.

All needed materials for this step are available at home improvement, hardware, and big box stores.

Now we’re ready to take things to the next phase of decorative wow factor.

Stay tuned for more ideas, suggestions, and resource information.

Love your style!





Decor Mistake Or Furniture Placement Brilliance? In An Unexpected Place

Far be it from me to ever doubt the proven interior design perfection of Darryl Carter.

As I glanced at the feature “Capital Classic” in the May-June issue of Veranda and the recent feature “Jaw-dropping Inspiration for Your Master Bathroom from 3 Washington Homes (Including a Famous DC Designer’s)” in Washingtonian Magazine, my constant craving for design and decorating eye candy is fed à la gorgeous bathroom decorative fixtures, decor choices and furniture placement brilliance of the master, interior designer Darryl Carter.

furniture placementVeranda

I am a big fan of the  idea of placing a footstool in the bathroom to use as shown above.

A footstool is a perfect companion accessory for a  favorite book, decor magazine, favorite scented soap- the essentials for a proper and relaxing soak.

decorative footstoolI have stared at the footstool presently located in Dave the Builder’s mancave with what can only be described as either decorative determination or disdain.

The jury is still out on that one.

The value in this footstool is strictly sentimental, and let’s face it, in its present state the old girl is not reaching her decorative potential.

leopard fabricLeave it to me to complicate the issue.

I might be on the fence about the fabric choice, but I know I want the footstool to take on a more elegant look.

Leopard print fabric adds the decorative oomph and remains a classic fabric choice.



leopard footstool

Modern Masters Nickel is my metallic go-to, but adding a darkening polish as the final step may darken the finish too much.

What to do, what to do?

The new color on the legs of the footstool is oil-based black from a Sharpie paint pen.

tripod accent tableElizabeth Krueger

I love the tripod accent table in the above image, so much that I have two of them. I am presently using one in my bathroom as an accent piece.

The intended idea is to place the new and improved footstool to the side of the table to complete the look.

Unique furniture placement is often the design element that creates the focal point of the space.

I love when the placing of certain home decor pieces together either intentionally or by accident (read here) results in instant focal point wow factor.

suzannekaslerresidence_atlanta_0140-finalAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

Some say out of place obsolescence, some say beautiful mistake, and others say decor placement brilliance.

What say you?









Homemade Rose Water

Homemade Rose water is fast becoming one of my favorite DIY beauty routine indulgences.

Noticing I was running low on my favorite store brand, and with too long of a ship from store to me turnaround time, I decided to glance at the ingredients and perhaps give it a go with formulating my own homemade rose water concoction.


My skin is sensitive to everything, so it was important for me to try the toner before I posted the recipe.

On the first round of production I came up with a homemade rose water toner that I absolutely love!

This toner is non-drying and non-irritating to my sensitive skin – a very skin friendly toner and freshener.

Homemade Rose Water Toner For Sensitive Dry Skin


1 ½ cups rosewater(see recipe below)

¼ cup witch hazel

10 drops glycerin (add more for normal skin and less for oilier skin types)


Combine homemade rosewater, witch hazel and glycerin together in sterile container.  Shake well.

Keep rosewater toner refrigerated in sealed, sterilized jar.

Refrigerated rosewater toner will keep for up to ten to fourteen days.

Moisten a cotton ball with the rosewater toner, gently applying to cleansed skin and before applying moisturizer.

Toners aid oily skin in the absorption of excess oil, and in all skin types removes residue left behind from cleanser while nourishing your complexion.


Homemade Rose Water


1 cup rose petals

2 cups distilled water


Rose petals must be freshly picked and be completely free of pesticides or chemicals.  Use only the petals, not the stems or leaves. Place petals in a colander, gently and quickly washing  petals to remove impurities and/or insects.


Place gently washed rose petals in a heavy pot with distilled water. Simmer on low heat for one hour.


Remove pot from burner and allow water to completely cool.

Using a fine strainer, strain rosewater into a  sterile container.




Dining Room Chair Fabric Considerations Part II

Today’s post finds us “re”visiting the dining room chair fabric considerations. If you missed the first part or need a refresher you can find it here. Locating an image to show the look I’m going for is not as easy as you would think. Fun, but not easy.

I was thrilled to find the above image and couldn’t wait to share it. It’s truly a decorative inspiration, and does beautiful justice to show the color for the dining chairs as I see it in my mind’s eye.

While not the color I am going for, the above image shows the general idea of how I want the paint application to look. The distressed(aged) effect will definitely come into play, but to what amount I’m not sure. Not to worry, nailheads will be revisited. After careful reconsideration, I am leaning towards replacing the original nailheads with newer, smaller and more decorative ones. I hope by the time you finish reading this post it will not be too confusing.  Hang on friends, my train of thought is not that confusing nor is the dining room chair redo project.  That’s the beautiful thing about home decor projects- our colorful world will still exist if paint and fabric mistakes are made.

Choosing paint color is a breeze for me.  Choosing fabric is not, and this is the reason I’ve been known to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment.  One of my favorite lines from Sex And The City is from the episode A “Vogue” Idea. As Carrie enters the accessories closet at Vogue she sees before her several hundred items lining up to make her Vogue dreams come true. As she tries to absorb the moment, couture sensory overload takes over.  With beating heart and fashionista eyes wide open she exclaims, “Oh, my God! It’s too good! I’m sorry, but it’s… it’s too good!  This is too much! How can this be?”  Believe me, I get it!  I’ve stared at so many lovely and wonderful fabric samples over the last week that I now find my interior design and home decor eyes  in fabulous overload.  And may I just add that it is all so very good!

These samples have laid the groundwork for the fabric selection. Of course, the final selection will be based on how the color of the chairs comes out. One never knows what one will screw up.

We are driving up to North Louisiana next month on business.  I’ve informed Dave the Builder a side trip to Fabulous Fabrics is now on the schedule.  I’m sure he is utterly thrilled, but I’m determined to leave no stone or fabric bolt unturned.  After all, shopping is the best part of the “re” process.

Love your style!







images via Providence Ltd. Design, This Ivy House, Wikia

As A Girl’s Thoughts Turn To Fall Home Decor Ideas

As a girl’s thoughts turn to fall home decor ideas so does the search for seasonal home decor items.

Perfectly timed with the first day of fall, the Williams-Sonoma email I received this morning showcases fall colors, textures and patterns.

Inspiration is everywhere, and the sights and sounds of fall make it very easy for this girl’s thoughts to turn to fall home decor ideas.


An aromatic dried Lavender bunch knows no season and is a visual goodie all year long.

Dried Lavender bunches bring forth the ooh la la fragrant factor.


Dried Grosso Lavender Bunches

Lately I’ve found myself growing more and more inspired to tackle a DIY twig & branch chandelier.

I have a candle chandelier at the shop that I believe is the perfect canvas for my art interpretation or disaster. Hopefully it goes in the interpretation direction.

grapevine-wreathsNatural Grapevine Wreaths

Covering the chandelier in its entirety with twigs and branches and perhaps painting it with spray paint is what I’m initially thinking.

Color may lock the fixture into a specific palette, and leaving it in a natural state may better serve its purpose for fall and winter decorating.

Keeping the fixture as a candle holder will make it holiday worthy and allow me to change the candles out to coordinate with seasonal colors.


Speaking of display ideas…  

As I was cleaning out the refrigerator over the weekend (this girl really knows how to throw down a good time!) inspiration struck.

My antique dough bowl has been used to house everything from magazines to fresh cut greenery, but oddly has never come in contact with dough.

I retrieved it from the man cave coffee table, removed the magazines and remotes, and placed the veggies in it.

It made both a pretty display and a pretty picture.

A fall arrangement of pumpkins and squash, eggplant, mustard greens, red onions and snap beans awaits.

I love an edible arrangement, and the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables make great subjects for displays.


I’m looking forward to the crisp fall temps, being able to hear the high school bands performing at the local Friday night football games from our front porch, and the home decor offerings of this wonderful time of year.




Cucina Construction: A Kitchen Remodeling Project

Oh my decorating & designing goodness, this kitchen remodeling project was a doozy!

Our home is my childhood home, and I realize I’ve gone full circle in my house to home life.  Familiarity and fabulous memories from the past, the nail & hammer present, and the next generation future offers a comfort we can, and are, easily living with.

Design tweaks, adjustments, and repurposes have been met and mastered.


Eight foot ceilings I love to hate have been embraced, especially when the architect gave us his bid on raising these puppies two feet.

Heavy, and I mean h-e-a-v-y five figures later, that’s a big negatory!

Please excuse the fact that I can’t help myself with the homage to the song Convoy from the 1970s.

Casey Kasam’s Classic American Top 40 is on the radio, and between the before pictures and the flashback tunes, I am swimming in 70s nostalgia.

The kitchen is a multipurpose high traffic area of the home, and ours is no different.

When my parents built the house in 1965, the kitchen was a design marvel among the ranch house set.  It underwent two decor remodels that simply did not stand up to the test of time or design.

outdated kitchen

When we took a real look at the kitchen as the present homeowners, we realized this space needed some space.

To give you some idea of what we were working with, I am posting before and way,way before pictures of the space in question.

kitchen remodel

The first order of demo was to take down the wall at the end of the kitchen as seen in the first picture of me with my paternal grandparents.

Immediately after the first demo we tore down the breakfast bar, broom closets, and cabinet built ins shown in top right  picture.

My thought process was to incorporate the formal dining room space into the kitchen.  I’m all about removing walls to open up a space.

We are picture deficient of the demo process. Just imagine dirt, dust, and chaos.

You get the picture.


Dave and crew salvaged, saved and strategically placed existing cabinets in with purchased solid wood prefabricated cabinets.

Dave removed the door and drawer fronts off both the old and new cabinets. He ordered sixty MDF cabinets doors and twenty-nine MDF drawer fronts.

He primed all with oil base KILZ interior oil stain block and primer, and finished out the cabinetry in Sherwin-Williams Pure White.


The wall color is (was) Sherwin-Williams Anjou Pear.

Counter tops were born from sheeting the new cabinet tops with 3/4 ” CDX plywood as the base.  I selected MS International 12″ square granite tiles for the counter tops.

For the backsplash, we went with 12 X 12 ceramic paired with 6″ copper half round rope metal molding wall tiles.



Slab granite was definitely a consideration, but the $$$ difference between the two is money we can spend elsewhere.

Dave won the “discussion” of bull nose vs. wood trim for the counter top front edging.


Dave dressed up the upper cabinets, existing fluorescent light fixture, and ceiling molding with decorative molding from Home Depot.

sub zero refrigerator

The Sub-Zero refrigerator was moved from our previous home and repainted to match the new cabinets on site.

A casing was built to house the refrigerator to match the new cabinets.  Dave repurposed the doors as side casing decoration, adding them to the refrigerator casing.

painted kitchen cabinets

We removed the original windows and installed Pella replacement windows from Lowe’s.

I knew from the get- go I wanted 13″ X 13″ ceramic floors with the tiles laid diagonally, and I am thrilled with the result.

I was adamant the original Baccarat crystal chandelier my mother selected forty years ago fit into the overall look.

The breakfast area chandelier is from Lamps Plus, and the pendant light from Home Depot.

decorative corbels

Amerock cabinet hardware was purchased on clearance from Lowe’s.

Let’s build something and save money while doing it together, Lowe’s!

Both corbels framing the window above the sink and the ceiling medallion were purchased from Wish I Had That.

And now, without further ado, may we present a preview picture of our new kitchen.



Click on the picture to begin the updated kitchen remodeling project tour

DIY Home Remodeling Projects: DIWhy Did I Think I Could Do This?

DIY home remodeling projects are here to stay.  Books, blogs, websites, and entire television networks are dedicated to the pursuit of teaching and sharing the inside scoop on how to face, tackle, complete, and master the DIY  home remodeling project.

keep calm and diy on

Reluctant contemplators may at first over think their qualifications and/or limitations.  The sources of information available helps to reinforce the I think I can into the I know I can project.

One slip back into negative territory and here comes the overthinking it stage which leads to regression, which ultimately brings us to the solid ground of “suck it up (insert name here), let’s do this!”

DIY home remodeling projects

Perfect doesn’t always make for realistic instruction or television.

Into every DIY project a mistake-disaster-foul up will fall.  The professionals on DIY programs know this and know it well.  Editing allows for the illusion of perfection.

Seasoned pros in the know are eager to share problem and time saving techniques.  Dave the Builder is a sharing fountain of how-to information.  Over the years people have asked how he came to be able do so much of everything?

Vision, drive, desire, attitude, and financial creativity make you learn real fast how to jump in with both feet.

The more you do, the more proficient and comfortable you become with your level of expertise.

Each remodel or new construction job is often an exercise in controlled chaos.  It is true of professionals and DIY amateurs alike.

When it all comes together, and the light of the DIY day can be seen, you”ll know exactly why you do this.

One completed and beautiful project, one renewed sense of  confidence, two consonants and an apostrophe later you’ll ask yourself the final question.

DIWhy did I think I couldn’t do this?

Love your style!