Deuce Cities Henhouse

Stuff that happened in 2016

Hey Guys, I hope you all had a safe and happy start to the New Year! It has felt v incredible to have time away from the computer and projects over the last few weeks. We all need to reset from time-to-time, and for us there is no better way then to take a good hunk of time over the holidays to do so.

Not to get too into feeling sharing, but I’m pretty stoked for this new year, last year was a dud in a lot of ways for a lot of reasons, and in hind-sight (and for my mental health), I’m choosing to focus on the alright stuff that happened last year. I just can’t let myself feel like it was all horrible. In the new year I am trying to have hope, and make positive changes for 2017, it’s all we can do, right?!

I have tons I want to do in my house life, and I’m excited to hit the ground running. Looking back, there has been a lot that has happened here in our little slice of Minneapolis. As you should all know by this point, I love working on this house and this blog, and I will always find something that needs to be adjusted or fixed. Being a homeowner has been thoroughly enjoying, and I hope you guys are enjoying the ride too. Writing and sharing about my house and having you guys interact with the blog has been such a bonus, when I started I never expected that would actually happen. I am so appreciative that you cool people have taken the time out of your days to check in, leave a comment, and see what I’m up to – I really like what we’ve got going on over here. I know personally, that I take so much from other blogs, no matter if they’re posting multiple times a week, or once a month, I hope I can do the same for all of you. As it is, I am just one lady. I have no team or studio working behind me, I don’t have a handy-husband or partner to help with big projects (although he rules at paying for them), it’s just me. I do this stuff because I love it, and it makes me feel complete — sounds so lame, I know, but so true!. I love handy projects, taking photographs, editing on my ‘puter, writing posts, and updating and coding my site. I just have to squeeze it all in between kid carting and the day-to-day. I hope you guys are enjoying reading, as much as I am putting it out there. My goal for the next year is to push myself to have more time to work on house projects and write about them for the blog, it’s still my favorite thing to do and I’d really like it to get to a point where it could be some sort of a part-time-career after the kids are both in school full time. That’s just dream stuff though, who knows if it could really happen, just blogging for fun is good enough too :)

Okay, so here’s the major 2016 run-down. Above is a pic of the basement finally finished. The basement remodel began in June of 2015 and I finally got to call it finished at the beginning of 2016.

The porch got a refresh which we very much enjoyed all summer long.

After six long years of dealing with cracked and crumbling stairs and a sinking front walk, we got a new stoop. It’s changed everything.

I added landscape lighting to the backyard which was one of the most cost-effective makeovers we’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to doing the same to the front landscaping this coming spring.

And we couldn’t get a new step without replacing the old aluminum front porch door. I found the perfect replacement at a salvage shop and replaced the door this summer.

I sprinkled in a DIY here and there including a lot of stuff having to do with copper, hanging planters, and brass light fixtures.

I spent a good part of the summer in the garden. Do It Yourself Magazine came to photograph for a feature that will be coming out at the end of this month and I can’t wait to share it with you. A good chunk of the summer was spent getting the house ready for their week-long visit.

Lighting struck and I was able to finally put a cohesive look together in the entry way. I’m still waiting to find the perfect rug and I would like to sew a bench cushion, but for now it’s great.

I transformed the sunroom into an in-home-office this fall and I’m excited to get back to working in there once I finish up the basement bathroom.

Because I always must-be-tweaking, I changed the paint color in the dining room from medium gray to nearly black and took the living room color a shade bluer and darker.

Lastly and firstly, this basement bathroom is top on my list. Floor tiles arrive tomorrow and then it’s on. Can’t wait till I get to check this one off the list in 2017.

I’m gonna say it again, but it’s just cause it means so much to me: Thanks for Reading!

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in Around the House

Winter House

Minneapolis Home Decorated for Winter | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Guys. As it always seems to happen, it’s mid-December and the boys and I have come down with somer sort of nasty cold where all you can do all day is lay in bed, and no one is around to take out the garbage out for you or bring you Ludens. It was bound to happen, and if it had to happen, I’m glad that it’s happening this week and not over our Christmas break.

I’m a little late on sharing the wintery exterior of my house this year. I braved the freezing temps and went outside to snap some pics so you guys would all know that I’m still here, and not stop reading my blog. My hair froze, so you’re welcome. Don’t worry, I’m back in bed now.

Anywho, I think my delay in filling the boxes this year had a lot to do with the warm November (aka ‘Global Warming’, ever heard of it?), it just never felt right to deck out the boxes when it was still 50º outside. The kids and I didn’t get around to actually trimming out the window boxes until right before Thanksgiving – I like to usually have them in by mid-Novemenber.

I am boring, and everything about the boxes is basically the same formula I always use. I am v much stuck in my ways. I like green and white and that’s all I need to make me happy. For these boxes I used a combination of spruce tips, cedar boughs, oregonia, cotton stems, pinecones, birch branches, and a few white faux berries that I’ve slowly acquired over the years.

The one new addition this year was floral foam blocks. This is the same stuff you might find in fancy bouquets that you get from not the grocery store. In the past I would assemble the boxes before our first hard freeze and then as it got colder out the branches would freeze into place. This all made sense in theory, but as soon as a strong wind or a spring thaw came through, my window box filling would be all over the ground. Sad. I’m sure my neighbors would laugh when they would see me out in my slippers trying to put my window boxes back together. This year I spent $36 to buy floral foam to fill my boxes. A single case of this foam will last me at least two seasons, so I didn’t see it as a bad investment. The best thing is, it does what it’s supposed to do and keeps the branches right where I want them — not one stem of a branch is out of place. You can’t laugh at me now neighbors, at least not for my wearing my morning attire to frantically push sticks into dirt! If only I had known to wise up a few years ago. This years obvious (not to me) tip, use floral foam in your window boxes and save yourself embarrassment.

Send soup.

Minneapolis Home Decorated for Winter | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Minneapolis Home Decorated for Winter | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Minneapolis Home Decorated for Winter | Deuce Cities Henhouse

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in Around the House, Outdoor

Basement Bathroom : Week 6

Is it over yet? No? Shit. People keep telling me that it seems like this is all coming together really quickly, and I’m like “really?” To me this has been lingering on and on, and there is still so many things that have to get done! I’m trying not to be all pessimistic but I reached the point of a project where you just want to see it done already. The reality is that I have over the half of the bathroom done, which is great but I feel overwhelmed by all of the little things left to do.

It makes me relieved when I realize that the really scary stuff is behind me, like installing and mounting the sink and plumbing the shower valve. The subway tile installation is nearly complete and there are barely any spots that stick out like sore thumbs, for the most part it is all flush and level and I feel really good about that.

Now I have to look forward to finishing grouting, receiving the floor tile shipment, installing the floor tile, grouting, sealing ALL of the tile, painting, installing the toilet, installing baseboard trim, and then finally tricking it out (people still say that, right?) with the finishing touches that will make it look cool and put together.

It’s been eight weeks since I ordered the floor tile from clé tile and I am expecting it to be here by week 10. That gets me right around the 21st of this month, I think it’s safe to say that we all know there will be no floor time for tiling over the holiday break, that time is ear marked for family and champagne with coffee. For the next three weeks I will keep myself busy with the tedious little stuff, like grouting and painting. I wish I could install the baseboards too, but that will have to wait until after the flooring goes in. The first week of January will be dedicated to installing that floor. I seriously hope that I am writing my final reveal by mid-Jan, seriously, I better be!

For this week I finished up tiling the shower stall minus two rows at the very top. I ran out of the bullnose tile that I had ordered from wayfair. I successfully used my tile saw to cut out a perfect circle around the shower valve. Each tile took at least three attempts and the whole thing took me well over two hours. I basically would scribe out the shape I needed with a sharpie onto the tile and then make cuts every 1/8″ of an inch following the line I scribed. Once the sawing was complete I’d take the tile nippers and nip away at the tile until I achieve the desired contour. Make sense? No? Watch this vid.

I also had a few deliveries! The brackets for the shelf and this old piece of barnwood arrived! I was able to make this shelf right above the sink which we need for functionality. With no medicine cabinet and limited storage, the shelf will eventually be used as a place for the kids to set their toothbrushes, hand towels for guests, and maybe a pretty bar of soap or two. Above the shelf I hung an antique mirror. The mirror was a find from our attic, it’s old, maybe not original to the house, but from the looks of the tag on the back of it, I would imagine probably 1940’s-ish. It seems perfect for the space, it’s exactly 36″ wide and it shows it’s age. I think it looks so good with the reclaimed wood shelf and the new-vintage Kohler sink. I’m really trying to achieve a modern version of an antique basement bathroom, I hope I’m on the right track.

And I almost forgot to mention the lights. I also received a delivery from my fav lamp parts store, I had envisioned pendants in the space since the beginning, and had the electrician install two fixture boxes in the ceiling in just the right spots. Anyways, I was able to make these look-a-likes for less than half as much as they cost new, plus making light fixtures is my new favorite hobby.

+++ basement bathroom : week by week +++
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 5

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in Around the House, Basement, Bathroom

Decked the Halls & A Giveway!


We decided this year that we’d go all out on decorating our basement for the holidays instead of doing the main floor of the house as we normally do. I have to say I’m really excited about how the space all came together. I’ve put together a respectable collection of holiday decor over the years, and since a theme can change from year to year I have begun to get pretty neutral when purchasing seasonal decor. What do I mean by that? If it’s not white, metallic or natural greens, I tend to pass on making that purchase. By committing to a palette I’ll be investing in holiday decor that I can reuse and incorporate in our home during the winter months.

It seems to depend on the year what metallic I am into, a few years ago it was silver, the year before it was gold, and last year was copper. This year I was able to get a set of matte metallic circle garland that incorporated all three colors (brass, nickel and copper), which allowed me to incorporate my collection of different colored metallics throughout our basement family room.

Before decorating I gather up all of my collected holiday items from years past, and one or two new items for this year. I added the metallic garland (seen above) and some buffalo check stockings ($13 bucks!) to my holiday-decor-arsenal this year. I wanted a simple understated vibe for the basement. I especially love the green from the freeze dried boxwood that purchased a few years back, which I draped it on top of the built-in cabinets in our “dining-nook”, and nestled in some gold tipped christmas trees. After spying that very cool cinema light box on CLJ‘s site, I snagged up my own this summer. We’ve changed out the message quite a few times – I try to keep my quips on the funny side (not-so-much-inspirational). “Merry Christ-mas” was Gus’ choice, and I suppose it seemed like a fitting sentiment.

The new garland from Burke Decor is draped across the built-ins, transitioning from our little dining/game area into the larger living space. I think it will also make the perfect backdrop at our annual holiday party and new years day celebraishes. Behind the sofa, I hung some white garland, two trees (one in white and one in silver) a set of ceramic deer and the copper “Merry Christmas” garland that I picked up at Target last year (this years version is also v cute).

The actual Christmas tree has stayed the same throughout the years. Following in Jeff’s family tradition, we gift the boys one new ornament every year. The tree is covered in their personal ornaments, white vintage crocheted snowflakes, big glass bulb christmas lights, and a sheepskin tree skirt.

Last year I was able to get a bunch of these battery operated fairy lights (yep, that’s what they call ’em), they were a bit hard to find, but this season you can seem to find them everywhere! They can be set on 6 hour timers, and the light they add to the space in the evenings is really sweet and nostalgic.

Have you guys checked out Burke Decor before? Cause if you haven’t, I think you should! Their holiday look book is spot on – It’s well curated, simple, understated, modern christmas decor. You seriously can’t go wrong. Burke has provided you guys with a special coupon code for 20% off, just use the promo code HENHOUSE at checkout.

Burke Decor wants to send you some of this super beautiful garland too – it’s so good that it doesn’t need to be used during just the holidays — I can imagine having lots of reason to decorate with it throughout the year. To enter the giveaway, head over to Burke’s holiday look book, let me know what your favorite holiday decor item is in the comments below. The giveaway will end this Thursday the 8th at 10pm (CST) and the winner will be notified Friday morning.

Burke Decor has provided me with the metallic garland used within this post. All thoughts are my own. Thanks to supporting the businesses who help support me!

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in Around the House, Decor, Sponsored

Basement Bathroom : Week 5

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Although I am right on schedule with this project, it feels like its taking forever! It’s a semi-enjoyable, semi painful kind-of-forever, and I’m glad the payoffs make it seem worth it thus far. Let me get you guys up to speed. Since last week I tiled one side of the shower stall. It’s not just one side though, it’s one side with a soap niche. Who would have ever thought that one niche would take so much planning, but it did. After staring at hundreds of images on pinterest and considering all of the different ways to approach a niche, I decided the best way for this shower would be to use the bullnose tiles that I had used for the edges of the shower to create an edge, and then to continue the running bond pattern along the back of the niche. That all seems pretty straightforward, except for the fact that I didn’t want the tile to run into the niche at a weird intersection. With a lot of planning I decided it would be best to have a row of the running bond pattern to meet directly in the horizontal middle of the niche. Have I said before how I would be nowhere without my laser level! Listen up! Please put it at the top of your shopping list if you have a tiling project in your future. I used the level to find my niche’s horizontal middle, and then measured backwards down the wall towards the floor to find my beginning row. PS, I started my rows using ledger board to keep my first row nice and level.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Did I say that I majorly over-thunk and planned out every last detail of this niche. I was all in, so I mitered the corners to give it a super pro look. In the photo on the right you can see the bullnose on the edge of the shower that I mentioned earlier. I am just using cheap-y dal-tiles from the Home Depot and I was able to find a bullnose tile on the short 3″ side of the tile, instead of the long 6″ tile on Wayfair. You often see edges finished with the vertical 6″ edge done in a border, but I preferred the look of the short bullnose for my edges. I added a bit of a pitch from the left side down to the right and from the front to the back, made easy again to my LAZER!

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
This is the opposite wall of the shower stall. I had to remove the cement board from the shower side and drywall from the utility room side to access the plumbing for the shower valve. The shower valve plumbing had been roughed in, I had a hot and cold line and copper coming down from the stem for the shower head, it all just needed a valve. I put on my plumber pants and started doing some research. After considering using pex and sweating copper I discovered a miracle plumbing tool for the DIY’er called “Shark Bite“. Shark Bite is a push-to-connect plumbing system that can link pex, copper and cpvc. They even have a plethora of fittings that are threaded male or threaded female parts so you connect things such as your shower valve! The downside is that if you were working on plumbing every day that the Shark Bite would cost you over time, one brass connection runs around $7.50, however I wasn’t in the market for buying a torch or a pex clamp so the Shark Bite did the job. Also super easy and nearly stress free.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Next I’ll be re-installing the cement backer and getting ready to tile and add the dream Kohler shower head and trim v soon!

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Here is the sink from a different view (taken directly from the shower stall). I’m pretty sure the shower stall was too big of a mess the last few weeks to take a useful photo from this vantage point.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
This new photo-taking-view has allowed me to show off this corner of the bathroom. It’s nestled right below the basement staircase, next to the sink and toilet. This is where the storage for this bathroom will be. I’ll add a suitable amount of shelving and even a hamper. This will allow enough room for towels and a basket for toiletries for each kid. I’m also going to be replacing the toilet with this vintage looking one, which will add the right amount of antique style and play nicely with the sink. I can’t wait for the floor tile to be delivered so that I can see it all come together! For those who are wondering, it seems that the sink has stopped dripping on it’s own, I mean it was barely dripping anyways so… I am just going to go with that answer for now, and possibly re-examine later.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Trying to cut a 45º angle with your wet saw is kinda difficult, and the internet didn’t want to give me any useful suggestions about how to accomplish this — what is wrong with you internet! I took a second and though what would Tom Silva do and I came up with this little tile jig – cause that’s what he would do – make a jig. It’s a 3×6 tile notched out to hold a 3×6 tile the long way. I was able to use this little set up to slide the tile right through the saw without the risk of losing a finger.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Lastly, this is where I set up the indoor tile saw, right between the treadmill and the washing machine in our utility room. It’s cozy but it works and the mess is minimal. Hooray for not freezing my hands off trying to pull this off outside!

+++ basement bathroom : week by week +++
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Thanks to Kohler for the generous support in making this project a reality! Thanks to you for supporting the businesses who support me!

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in Around the House, Basement, Bathroom