Deuce Cities Henhouse

LED Lighting & Ace

LED Lighting Makeover
Whazzup! I’ve got some cool news that I’m excited to share with you today. My good pals over at Ace asked us Ace Bloggers to makeover a room using LED light bulbs, and I was all like “whut?, but I like my old fashioned incandescent bulbs – please, no”.

I always liked the warm light that a standard incandescent bulb gave off and I was pessimistic that any sort of new fangled lighting would make a room look anything but blue and clinical. Alright, Ace. Challenge accepted.

LED Lighting Makeover

I immediately thought of our living room. I love the deep moody dark blue walls during the daytime, and especially during overcast winter days, but at night when it’s lit by incandescent bulbs it looks much different. The warm light from the bulbs makes the wall color look like the inside of an overly-saturated teal gemstone, and unfortunately it doesn’t resemble the dark cool blue that I know and love. Not only that, but the woodwork turns from a rich warm brown with lots of texture and patina, to a flat trim that takes on a red-ish hue, I mean eew, I mean, hue. But whatever, I was stuck on those incandescent bulbs.

So, because I always like an excuse to visit the hardware store I happily obliged and headed up there to get schooled by my Ace buddies on the ways of the futuristic LED’s.

Here’s a few things ‘dat I learned:

⊙ LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. It is estimated by the year 2027, use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants, and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices!

⊙ LEDs can direct light where it is needed. Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs emit light – and heat – in all directions.

⊙ Save over $60 per year on your electric bills when you replace just the 6 most used bulbs in your home with LED options.

⊙ LED bulbs are cool to the touch and use 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs – especially good if you’ve got little ones who can’t help but touch hot things.

⊙ Transitioning to LED lighting not only saves you money in energy bills, but also saves you trips to the store for replacements. LED bulbs last about 22 years, while the average bulb life of an incandescent is only 1.8 years.

LED Lighting Makeover
See the difference between daylight and those incandescent bulbs I was using? It’s unreal. It was actually hurting my eyes to edit these photos it was so different. What I discovered was that the 3000K 60w comparable LED bulbs do a really good job of staying true to the color of my walls, and they manage to do it without that fluorescent-clinical-look that had me holding out. And those bulbs I was using weren’t doing my interiors any favors. So you know what I did? I went out and bought a replacement bulbs for the dining room, entry way and kitchen, fer real. I got three way bulbs for my sconces so that I could control the brightness, dimmable bulbs for the dining room and kitchen pendants and standard bulbs for my table lamps. FYI, I went 800 Lumens (60W equiv) Soft White 3000K bulbs in the living room and kitchen and amped it up to the 100w comparable bulbs for the dining room dimmer. I tried the bluer more daylight-like 5000K bulbs as well, but no, that was not happening in this space.

LED Lighting Makeover

LED Lighting Makeover LED Lighting Makeover

LED Lighting Makeover
The new bulbs still emphasize the green undertones of our wall paint color, but now it looks much more natural. I am so happy about it. I was actually checking out my living room every time I walked past it.

LED Lighting Makeover

Facts about Kelvin:

⊙ Light color is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K).

⊙ Lower Kelvin numbers mean the light appears more yellow; higher Kelvin numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer.

⊙ For a warm-yellow light, use bulbs marked 2700-2900K.

⊙ For a whiter light, use bulbs marked 3000-4100K.

⊙ For bluer white light, use bulbs marked 4200-6500K.


Now’s the part where I get to tell you about a sweet deal and get all gushy about my local Ace. You guys know that Ace Hardware sponsors these posts, but I want you to know it is such an honor to work with them. I am so lucky that I get to chat with you about brand that I think is sincerely the greatest! I love my Ace hardware store, my kids love it, and we actually make reasons (aka excuses) to go there. I know a lot of the employees by name, I shoot the shit with them everytime I visit, we don’t leave without stopping by to pet the hardware store cat, and I always get greeted by the owners (who live upstairs and have a collection of whirly-gigs). I mean, it’s the best. I love the narrow aisles piled to the brim with all of the best stuff you never knew you needed, and I love that I can walk just a few short blocks to be with my handy people!

Anyway, you guys better love up your local hardware stores too! They’re seriously the best and they don’t even compare to those big-box places.

Alright, gushy stuff is out of the way. Here is the deal!

Visit your participating neighborhood Ace October 16-18 and take advantage of the Buy 2 Get 1 Free LED light bulb sale. You guys realize how good of a deal this is right? The downside to all the benefits of LED lighting is that they are more expensive up front to purchase, but Ace is making this easy for you! Buy two select FEIT LED bulbs and get one of equal or lesser value free. There’s no limit, so you can mix and match to get what you need to re-light your whole house – like me!
*While supplies last. Store stock only. See store for details.

LED Lighting Infographic

I’m excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided me with compensation and some of the materials necessary to complete this project! All opinions are my own. Thanks a biznillion, Ace!
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in Around the House, Sponsored

Not Scary Stairs

Transforming a Small Staircase
BUDZ! Behold, I built stairs. What started out as a quick and easy refinishing project turned into one of the hardest most satisfying things I’ve done as a homeowner to date. I honestly thought that I could take the old steps (see below) remove the staples and the construction adhesive, strip the paint and refinish the stairs. However that is not what happened.

Usually before I start a project I spend sometime staring at the project. This is how I make my plan. So I was staring at the stairs (get it? Mad shout outs to my people over at Highly Pun LLC), and I realized that I wanted to add a skirt to the stairs to give them a real nice finished look, thus giving me an excuse to trim them out, which in turn would make them look reminiscent of the main floor stairway in our house. If you’re not familiar, a skirt on a stair is that trim piece that runs up alongside the staircase. Making a stair skirt requires a lot of detail and intricate cuts and if I was going to spend all the time doing that, I might as well just replace the treads, and if I was going to replace the treads, well I better replace those beat up cracked risers too. And I’m sure you can get where I’m going with this.

Since I began designing the basement I was determined to have bits of it that I could use to give a nod to the history of the home. I didn’t just want a brand spanking new basement (well I did) that looked out of place in a 105 year old home. Okay, so I know it does a little, but that’s cause it’s new, but it also doesn’t, and that my friends is because I tried to add some old stuff to it (dur). I wanted to use baseboard trim, hardware and the stairs to incorporate historic elements into the space. So these stairs were important to the big picture, the grand plan, the whole enchilada!!! Get it?

Transforming a Small Staircase

Transforming a Small Staircase

Holy Balls! Look a the mess I discovered when I started taking the stairs apart! First of all, removing stair treads is a total pain, it took me an entire day and it wasn’t fun at all. Especially when I discovered that one of the stair case stringers was no longer connected to the stair landing. I guess that explains why they always sloped down quite a bit. I’m surprised that nobody noticed this was a problem during the whole basement reno thing.

Anyway, let the nightmares begin, because I had them. All night long after discovering this mess. Somehow my dreams lead me to a solution. I figured that I could hoist the stringer back up using 2×4’s as bracing. I notched out a right angle into the underside of the stairs using a jig saw and then wedged the 2×4 into place. I raised the stairs 2.5 inches allowing me to use some heavy duty screws to reattach them to the landing from below. Also, there were a lot of spider webs down there. In addition I added a lot of structural bracing, so that baby should not be going anywhere! I totally had a cocktail and took a nap after accomplishing this heroic feat.

Next step was cutting out the skirt. Typically you would put a skirt on after adding the treads and risers to the stairs, but because our stairs are so old I wanted to be able to easily access the guts if need be. Because of that, I choose to put the skirt on first and then nail on the treads and risers. Sorry to all you woodworker dudes out there who probably can’t deal with me admitting that little fact, I cheated.

Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase

Transforming a Small Staircase

Knowing that my kids wouldn’t die from falling through my stairs was a relief. When I started this whole thing I really didn’t know if I’d be able to figure out how to stabilize and secure that stringer. Once that dream was realized the rest was down hill, but then it wasn’t, because the rest was really tedious and time consuming.

I wanted these stairs to be pretty and that required a lot of trim work. There were many, many, many trips out to my garage to visit my sweet saw. I think I logged 20k on my fit bit during the first day. So many cuts, so much detail, so damn time consuming. I was ready for those steps to be done, but the reality was that I wasn’t even close. It took me two days to finish the trim work – granted these are not full days because the husband guy was out of town and I was single mommin’ it, but it took a lot of time. I added a cap to the skirt on both sides, a bit of trim on the underside of the treads and beefed up that newel post.

Then came the staining and painting. ‘Nough said. First I stained, then I painted, then I added a layer of poly to every other step so I wouldn’t trap myself in the basement (still got to do the other stairs this weekend). Lastly I caulked the crap out of those stairs. Now I just got to do a few touch ups and she’ll be good to go.

Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase
Transforming a Small Staircase

Transforming a Small Staircase

Transforming a Small Staircase

Transforming a Small Staircase

Staircase Makeover

Basement Stair Makeover
So I’m checking big things off my basement check list. Next it will be time for replacing that one little last piece of counter top, adding two sets of floating shelves above the cabinets, painting the doors black, and upholstering a seat for the bench under the tv. So. Close.

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in Around the House, Basement

Garden Beds, Man. They’re Never Done!

Editing Flower Beds
The thing I love about gardening is that it’s never done, at least for me. It’s always a work in progress and I’m always striving for that perfect flower bed. I’ve always had a tenuous relationship with our front foundation garden bed. There are two big reasons that it’s not successful, one is that I don’t really have the vision for it, I never have. In my eyes, the front of the house is far from done, I see lots of potential projects in our future years here; such as replacing the front steps and sidewalk as well as adding small border gardens and landscaping to the front of the house. Because I have no set vision for this space and specifically this garden, the front of the house is always in an as-is state of order. The other big reason is budget. I could go out and drop some dough on perennials and they would do their job in the foundation garden for the time being, but I just don’t really see the value in that when other perennials can be found around the yard or from friends and neighbz for free.

So when my god-given ability to be an awesome landscape designer (ha) doesn’t come through, I go elsewhere and I look for inspiration. You guys probably know by now that I’m an avid walker and I love looking at all of my neighbors flower beds when I head out on my daily walks. So many of them are so well defined and beautiful and I find so much inspiration from checking out what other folks are doing. My beds are lacking organization, definition and height. There is no berm at work here and the plants are crowded and topple over on themselves. I’ve tried twice to oragnize this bed, one time by dividing perennials, the other by adding a paver border. Both were good stop gap solutions but the flower bed needs to be edited once again. I needed to give it another go, so I decided to do my usual – empty the flower bed, divide perennials and put it all back again method. This time I reset the pavers and added some top soil mounds as well.

I wanted to have a fresh start next spring, and I didn’t want to spend the entire summer waiting for my perennials to recover from spring division – so I figured now (aka the fall) was the time. After dividing a few of the hydrangea and Japanese ornamental grasses, I began laying out a plan for how the plants would go back in the ground. Mounding the top soil helped to elevate the hosta row, which adds a lot of definition to the front of the house. Behind the hostas are a row of lime light hydrangea that I divided and spread out. Normally hydrangea is something I only divide in the spring, but being that one of the plants separated after digging it up, I decided now was as good of time as any to widen the hydrangea row. I allowed lots of room for it to grow and topple over hopefully in a pretty, intended way. Up in the front I have a mix of heuchera and Japanese ornamental grass. I removed the peony for good as it just wasn’t happy in the corner of this garden. In all the years we’ve lived here that peony has only produced one bloom. So to flower heaven it goes.

Editing Flower Beds
I also decided to bump out the garden a bit under the dogwood tree. It’s always hard to mow here and hell, I am always in use of a little extra space to garden in. The new border feels like the way it should have always been! I’m leaving this space empty for now, but it will be ready to go when next spring rolls around!

The pavers were barely noticeable from the street before. They were really helpful when it came to mowing, but not for any sort of bed definition. I decided a new look might go a long way, so I stacked a row vertically behind the second row which were laid flat. Now you can see that there is an actual border from the street and my flower bed doesn’t look like an after thought. More pavers will be needed next spring, but for now, all is good in foundation garden land.

Editing Flower Beds

Editing Flower Beds

Editing Flower Beds

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in gardening

Scary Stairs


Hey Guys! I was supposed to be cleaning windows yesterday (SO lame), and I was supposed to be bloggin’ about my foundation garden today; however, I got distracted by my ugly basement stairs and I just started taking them apart instead of doing all of that other boring crap. You know how that just happens?

Stairs are a different kind of animal, you guys. Originally I thought that I might be able to strip these and repaint them, but they are super beat up. I had two options, just leave them how they are or start the big project of replacing treads and risers. Gently removing the treads has been it’s own challenge, and that’s just the beginning. I have plans to skirt the sides of the basement stairs with baseboard to match the rest of the basement. I have no idea how the hell I’m going to figure out how to do that, but I plan on referring to this piece of wisdom often. Let’s just say I will have to math.

I’ve got some inspiration though because I need a goal. Next time I post about these stairs I hope to be sharing with you a simplified version of this – it will be great, promise.

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in Around the House, DIY

Blue, I Love You.

Dark Blue Interiors

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Friends! I love dark blue. Did you know this about me? Well it’s very true. I always thought my favorite color was green, but I don’t think that holds up anymore. Although I love almost every shade of green, blue is my true BFF color.

With the fall being all like “hey, I’m chilly and gray and I’m taking all your day light away”, I’m all like “this fall business sure makes me feel cozy, I think I might sleep a lot and watch a bunch of tv, and oh for some reason I like the color blue a lot.”

Anyway. I like blue, I like it in my home, and I don’t want a single room to be without it, and I’m fine with that. Here are a few of my recent blue favs.

Do you have a color that you just can’t resist liking?

Dark Blue Interiors

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Dark Blue Interiors

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In other Scoops News™: I’m keeping a PMA. I’ve been pretty busy lately doing really boring stuff and I figured you probably didn’t need a post with photos on how I cleaned my washing machine and figured out to actually do laundry the right way. I’ve also made a few super delish meals, including a birthday celebraish feast last friday evening (for some guy I know that is turning 34) that included homemade ravioli and squid ink pasta. Anyway, doing all this mundane homemaker crap is really making me feel good and centered. Yay for routines!

In the coming weeks I’m gonna start tackling a few bigger items, and I’m ready. So. Ready.
I’ve got the fall gardening itch – I’ve been working on restructuring the foundation garden in the front of our house – I’ll have more to share on that this week. I’ve got to do the dreaded-fall-garden-tidying to get ready for that white stuff. Also, I kinda can’t stand my fence stain, after a summer soaking up the sun it’s look very brownish-orangeish and I think it needs one last coat of dark, dark stain.

Although I love our kitchen table, I think it’s time for an updated piece of furniture. I’ve got plans in the works for a new custom tabe (aka table) on the cheap. Oh and then there is that basement-project-thing that is still waiting on me to finish the stairs, countertops, floating shelves and the entire bathroom.

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in Inspiration