Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Project Fun! Ikea Hack!

Who is happy to be getting out of Winter Hibernation!?

I have a few projects I want to share over the next few posts. I often talk with fellow Ryan Homes builders and owners and I get the same frustrations from everyone with decorating and as I call it..

Getting out of the Stark!

I want to dedicate the next few posts to some Easy DIY ideas that will leave the Inside and Outside of your house a bit more bearable..

Project 1: Storm Door!

I won't post a step by step.. As the directions are pretty straight forward.. Soo a few pics..

I was encouraged as Ryan Homes seems to at least give you the BrickMold to do a Storm Door.
I had no issue doing this myself with a Drill and 3/32nd's bit

Pella Storm Door @ Lowe's - $319
Includes Screen Door easily changed out during warmer weather
I also recommend Weatherstripping  to seal any areas where cold air comes in.

Murph approves the Squirrel watching apparatus

Project 2: Ikea Shoe Cubbie Hack for Ryan Homes Ferncliff!

Regardless if you own a Ferncliff, a Rome, a Venice.. Florence.. Savoy etc.. etc.. 
We all look for ways to De-Ryanize our homes! (Thanks DW ;)

Megan and I wanted a way to optimize our entrance, but also make it functional.. all with a small amount of space.. Do we put a Bench? a wall unit to hang and store coats and shoes? Art?

Thanks to a few folks for the idea widely known as the Ikea Hack!
I definitely recommend you visit Hemnes Shoe Cabinet Hack
AND!! Original Idea from Scrap Hacker

DIY - HEMNES Shoe Cubbies 
Materials: 2 HEMNES Shoe cabinets, 2 wooden planks, sanding paper 80 grit thru 340 grit, Polyurathane
Drill and bits

 The design of the slim HEMNES shoe cabinet is perfect if you have a narrow to small entryway.

Each Hemnes is 42.1 inches wide and about 8 inches deep.. using two planks I made the depth 11 inches to give me a nice countertop.

Pardon the shot as I haven't hung anything on the wall yet! 

STEP 1: Start by removing original top boards of the HEMNES Shoe Cabinets. Push the cabinets together and secure the units into the wall.. then identify what top you want.

STEP 2OK so I decided to go with two boards..
Megan and I found two lovely aged boards at Construction Junction in Pittsburgh

STEP 2 Cont. - Take the time to sand the board appropriately. Going through the Grits helps make the board smooth as silk (You see I have Stripping, Smoothing, Finishing) and prepare to be finished with Polyurathane 

Optional STEP 2: Stain to match interior of house.. Left side is American Walnut by Rustoleon and Right is Golden Oak by Minwax (I didn't like either.)

STEP 3 - Measure, Measure, Measure!! I used the remaining Hardware from the Hemnes to attach the boards. I also attached metal braces to the underside of the boards to make the top more stable. 

Attached Board! with finished wood

STEP 4 - Find beautiful Hardware to replace crappy Ikea Knobs! (Ikea is Bottom Right)

FINISHED PRODUCT!!: If you were looking to save space and keep the lean and sleek design intact with functionality.. this is the unit for you. 

We all love walking through Ikea and seeing some neat design and pieces, however it can easily be made to reflect your flare for design or taste by adding to it. This Cubbie has a  function of shoe, glove and dog leash storage.. coupled with the aged and "Antique" look of our home.

Good Luck with your Ikea Hack!

Friday, December 28, 2012

House Blog to Life Blog..

Happy Holidays!!

Hope all you builders out there are managing well through the Winter Weather!!

I've been wanting to post a few projects up on the blog for awhile and add

our Wedding, Dogs, and more DIY's to a page. Enjoy!


Our Wedding

Next!! Awesome DIY Art Projects that will leave you amazed at the skill you didn't know you had!

DIY Pallet Art!
SO ... ya have a Pallet layin around do ya... pry those boards off cause you are gonna make some art.

One of my Christmas Presents to Megan this year was one of my favorite sayings..
"Every Love Story is Beautiful, but Ours is my Favorite"
Can't you see this on your wall! This is in our Bedroom,
I can even make this for you custom.. With your own saying.. Around $125 + Shipping.


DIY Wood Pictures..

I'll place a the "How To" in my DIY section and link here =>
Want something you can hang on a wall.. or place on a table.. or window sill..Check this out..

Use a Gel Medium to attach Picture..

After sitting over night.. Lightly scrub off paper with water.. then Mod Podge finished product.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! Apple Pie Recipe

We wanted to Wish Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! If this is your First Thanksgiving in your House or you look to next year, be thankful for everything that you have. We have loved dreaming this year about a new house and a new life together and look forward to many more days in this beautiful house.

As a fan of Apple Pie, I wanted to share my recipe for the best Apple Pie you may ever try. ENJOY!

DallVechia Apple Pie recipe.


1 pastry crust for a deep-dish pie 9-inch (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (You may need more if your family sits by the bowl and sneaks the sliced applies when you are not looking) I like to use Golden Delicious and Fuji apples.
1 recipe crumb topping (see below)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup caramel topping

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup butter

Directions for Crumb Topping:

1. Stir together brown sugar,flour, rolled oats.

2. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.


1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.

2. Add apple slices and gently toss until coated.

3. Transfer apple mixture to the pie shell (I remove the store-bought pie shell from the aluminum pie plate and transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate of my own, but you do not have to.)

4. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture. 

5. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don't drop into your oven.

6. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil.

7. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 25 minutes. Then remove foil and put back in for another 25 to 30 minutes without foil.

8. Remove from oven. Sprinkle pie with chopped pecans then drizzle with caramel on top.

9. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

There you go!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack

DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack

I really wanted to save the money and build a laundry rack for Megan.
I knew I could do it with a picture, so I did. Here's my DIY Ballard style Drying Rack.
Here is a Similar one from Centsationalgirl Laundry Rack that inspired me.

The Laundry Room isn't exactly gigantic, so that more space I could utilize the better!

You are going to need some tools and materials. (Here's What I used)

  1. Three 1/2 x 2” poplar boards ($5.90) or white board 8 Feet long ($2.67)
  2. Three 3/8” dowel rods (48” long) ($1.20 each)
  3. Sheetrock screw system ($2.41)
  4. White chain with small screw eyes (.68 cents)
  5. Primer and paint of your choice
  6. White Paneling with design of your choice. ($9.78)
  7. Framing Nails and Panel Board nails

- Drill with Bits ( 3/8th's needed for Dowels)
- Rubber Mallet
- Sander with 120 thru 220 Grit Paper
- Jigsaw or other cutting contraption (Ryobi Orbital Saw is $28.00 at Home Depot)
- Tape measure or ruler
- Hammer and Framing Nails
- Wood Filler (Elmer's is great)

Here is the Finished Product!

Tools you will need--

Building the Individual Racks

Rough Frame to double check Cuts and make any necessary changes

Pre-Finish - Awaiting more paint, panel to be secured, white chain and for me 
to finish painting the Laundry Room

On the Wall

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall.. In Love with your house.

Figured I'd post a long overdue progress update on this rainy Pittsburgh Sunday.

I Love Fall... Growing up in the Hudson Valley, Apples and Leaves Changing seem to be ingrained in my DNA. So as I look out my back door, I'm at peace with the woods that meet our property.


I haven't taken pictures of the outside since the closing, so here they are..

There happened to be some cut Brick ... laying around..
I used it to line the pathway and it came out better than expected.

The Front with some rock outlining the landscaping.
With all this building there are many rocks everywhere..

The small wall of flat rock I built to enclose the mulch

Love the Fireplace.. soo warm on a cold day.
Window Treatments up as well..
Mirror above the Fireplace was a Project..

This is Verona Brick

Mirror was originally Black, 1 hour of sanding and stain later..

Mirror gets the approval of the Interior Designer (Megan)

Love the Natural Light, These are White Levelor Blinds (open)
Pottery Barn Chandelier

A look into the Country Kitchen .. PierOne High Chairs

My Aussie Murphy showing you the comfortable 
Living room Pottery Barn Rug 

Upstairs Foyer
Bedroom Below is the Left Door 
No Artwork yet ..
Queen-Sized Bed about 3 feet on each side
We love the Ferncliff Bedrooms, nice and spacious, one reason why we decided
on  the Ferncliff and instead of the Florence 
Bed Side table I found broken in trash and refinished


Hope your Autumn is going well whether you are building or after. ~J

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Painting.. (Don't try this at home..) you really might kill yourself..

Seriously.. me and my Brother-in-law are trained lunatics.. be careful when painting 25 feet up...


Now that we have an understanding.. enjoy some pics of my continued painting journey.

The Ferncliff Model does pose some interesting painting challenges.

This is really HIGH UP!

My Brotha edging high up on the ladder.. no pressure.

Almost done with that side..

There are steps here.. how did we get a ladder here you ask?

Check this out.. 

Finally, Megan and I are done with all painting downstairs.. thanks to help from the family, especially Megan's Dad for Supervising the two idiots in the picture above!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The fun begins after you build.. One mans trash is another mans treasure

Ok.. before I begin.. Megan and I LOVE LOVE LOVE our house. RH did a great job and although we all have issues from time to time, the quality remains good and our expectations have been met.

For anyone going through the building process, I don't miss the stress and week by week unknowns that occur. Good Luck to those still building their dream and waiting.. endlessly waiting till that awesome, amazing, exciting day when it's all yours.

The Fun Begins AFTER you Build..

Home Ownership is everything I thought it would be, however like we say in my field..

"It's what ya don't know that will get you."

 I hope any information on this blog and other blogs is informative to the perspective RH buyer/builder.

SO.. Do you remember this picture from my last post.. I had huge runoff and water flowing into my yard from an undeveloped lot. and uneven soil placement.

White Water Rafting anyone??!?!

This had me concerned, as I had issues with drainage from Day ONE and I really love my Yard
I have a Huge Yard, I paid a premium for it..and I have dogs that love to run. I need a functional Yard
I don't need a swamp.

Like any issue, I spoke with the PM at the 30 day and we discussed options. Being adamant and polite
is always a great combination. I now have a fixed (hopefully) Yard

Mini Trench spanning my yard

Two Drains to be installed

 Installed.. you can see the Black bags to the right to help keep the water over there

More Dirt to level the basin I had plus new seed. 

The lesson is this: If I didn't ask for this, it wouldn't have gotten done. If something bothers you, it's better to speak your mind and communicate that to be complacent. 

Dumpster Diving - well with all these dumpsters around the neighborhood, I can't help but see what's inside..
 I'm not sure how frowned upon this is so I'll phrase it this way..
Items I noticed in the dumpster..
-30 foot aluminum ladder from dumpster (nothing wrong with it, I checked)
- various pieces of unused 2x4 
- unused bags of cement
- caulking
- various sizes of plywood
- I made this Planter for basil, parsley, rosemary etc
I since finished painting it, I'll place picture here tonight

Happy Diving..