Deuce Cities Henhouse


Hey Guys! Just wanted to pop in and say that I am really feeling reinvigorated and positive about blogging, and projects, and life, and all that stuff. I always tone down the frequency of interior projects over the summer months for a few really good reasons. I don’t want to miss out on any of that sun and warm weather, our summers are packed with lots of vacation time and family stuff, and my summer projects mostly involve being in the garden. But most importantly I think taking things slowly during the summer months is a really good way to get amped up for that changing of seasons in the fall. We all need a bit of down time in our lives and perspective to survive the winter.

Unlike previous fall transitions it’s been a bit different this year. Finn, my oldest, is in all-day kindergarten now, which leaves me and the little guy, Gus, with many hours to fill together. This is awesome because Gus rarely has one-on-one time with Jeff or I. He needs it, and we need it. I’m sure a lot of you parents of siblings understand this. Finn has a really large personality, is a bit competitive in nature and often needs to be the center of attention. Gus happens to be totally fine with this, as he prefers to sit back in the cut and take the world in at a slower pace. However, the little dude needs some time out of his brother’s big shadow. With Finn in school and Gus to myself I’m hoping for really great changes in Gus’ growth. We’ve got memberships to the train museum, the zoo, and the children’s museum. We have been out and about multiple times a week! To say we have been busy is a major understatement.

Making time to blog and do house projects has been tough, but one thing is very clear. I love the blog and need it in my life. Having the blog as an outlet to incorporate all my favorite things is crucial to my personal fulfillment. So I will carve out time where I need to to make it happen, even if that means dedicating a night or two it each week to work on it.

Guys! I’m super amped for the fall, I’m looking forward to squeezing in projects and blogging as well as getting the opportunity to have very special and rare time with my little guy. I can’t wait to just dive right in to everything! Hoping you are all having a great start to your week!

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Wallpapering 101

Instructions on How to Install Wallpaper
Guys! Today I am going to teach you how to install wallpaper on an accent wall. This is a job that is fairly easy, a tiny bit stressful, and 100 percent totally worth it. This my friends, is the third time I have ever wallpapered, so I pretty much consider myself an expert. Stick with me and you’ll be alright.

I have a method and it seems to work pretty well, so I’mma share it with you. Wallpapering isn’t that scary, actually it’s pretty straight forward and makes a lot of sense. You are pretty much gluing paper to a wall, which isn’t that hard, my six year old does this sort of stuff all day at kindergarten. A more complicated project might involve wallpapering around fancy moldings, windows or in a small room. I am not showing you how to do that stuff, I am simply sharing instructions with you on papering that all important “accent” wall. I am going to share with you the basic principles of wallpaper (aka wallpapering 101) like finding where to mark your plumb line, determining paper length, matching the pattern, hanging the paper, removing bubbles and trimming the edges. It’s not rocket science bros, but it works.

I’m not gonna lie to ya, there is always a stressful moment in wallpapering, you know, that serious “oh shit” moment. Anticipate that and you’ll do just fine.

Wallpapering Supplies

Wallpaper – Peonies in Copper Colorway from Hygge & West
Zinsser Sure Grip Wallpaper Paste
Straight Edge
Paint Brush & Roller
Seam Roller
Paint Tray
Tape Measure
Wallpaper Squeegee or Smoothing Tool
Straight Edge
Bucket or Pail


Step One
Prepare Walls

Make sure to fill any holes in the wall with spackle and sand down any rough spots. Make sure to wash your wall with a damp sponge prior to starting your wallpapering project


Step Two
Draw Plumb Line & Cut First Strip of Wallpaper

Line Up Pattern Repeats
Measure the width of your wallpaper. Working horizontally out from the right corner of the wall, measure out the width of wallpaper minus two inches. Draw a vertical plumb line at this spot on your wall, using a pencil and a level.

Measure the vertical length of the wall.

Measure out your first strip of wallpaper, take the length of the wall and add five inches, (this will allow you to have a few extra inches of paper for both the top and bottom of the sheet). The excess paper will later be removed.


Step Three
Match Repeat with Second Strip on the Floor

Line Up Pattern Repeats
Prior to hanging the first strip of wallpaper layout the second strip on the floor to the left of the first strip. Wallpaper patterns have repeats, and you want to make sure to line up your second sheet of paper to match the pattern repeat from the first strip. When you have the pattern lined up, roll out the paper and cut the second sheet to match the length and pattern of the first.

*Note, your second sheet will most likely be longer than the first sheet due to the placement of the pattern repeat.


Step Four
Roll Paste & Fold Paper Book Style

Roll Paste and Fold Paper Book Style
Make sure to read the label of your particular brand of paper before beginning to paste. Some wallpapers come pre-pasted, in that instance you only need to wet them to activate the glue. I’ve also used paper that only requires the walls to be pasted prior to hanging. The point is, make sure to read the label of the wallpaper as well as any instructions provided on the label of the wallpaper paste.

This specific wallpaper required me to roll out paste on the back of sheet of wallpaper. After a generous pasting I was instructed to fold the paper to the center (booking the ends). I made sure that the edges lay flat so the glue wouldn’t dry out. Booking the ends of the paper also allows you to easily move the wallpaper around the room without risk of dimpling or kinking the paper. After folding the paper wait 5-7 minutes for the paper to “relax” while at the same time allowing the glue to get nice and tacky. Feed it a cocktail to ensure extra relaxation.


Step Five
Hang First Sheet of Wallpaper on Plumb Line & Smooth Out

Hang First Strip of Wallpaper on Plumb Line
Now this is where it gets a little hectic. I’ve wallpapered three times now, and even though I think I am a pro, there will always be a few minutes of stress and chaos, guaranteed. Usually it happens sometime around the first or second sheet of paper.

I start the process of hanging the first sheet by unfolding the paper, it easily drops down when you use the book method of folding. Begin lining up the paper with the plumb line you previously drew out on your wall. Once the paper is place, begin smoothing out the paper using your hands and good pressure. Follow it up by using a the edge of your smoothing tool (aka wallpaper squeegee) to remove bubbles. The squeegee tool is essential, and is the difference between having a successful project and a shitty one. If your wallpaper isn’t lining up how you wanted it to, try not to worry! I know, that’s hard, believe me. Go ahead and redo what you have done, partially remove the wallpaper from the wall and start over. Crazy, I know, but it can be done if you are working quickly and carefully. Generally speaking, you have about 15 minutes from the time you start hanging the wallpaper to get it right.


Step Six
Line Up Third Strip on the Floor & Hang Second Strip

Now you might want to go ahead and hang that second strip of paper you have lying on the floor, but don’t! Before hanging the second strip use the same exact technique as explained in step 3 and 4 (above) to match your pattern and determine the length of your next sheet.


Step Seven
Trim Excess Paper with a Straight Edge and Sharp Utility Knife

Trim Excess Wallpaper with a Straight Edge
While you wait for 2nd sheet of paper’s glue to set up, go ahead and trim the excess paper from the first sheet hanging on the wall. This part is really satisfying because you finally get to see a crisp clean edge, and everything begins to seem possible! Use a straight edge and a very sharp utility knife to slice the edges of the paper. Be extra careful around corners and moldings. If you are wallpapering a large wall change your blade throughout the project.


Step Eight
Hang Second Sheet, Butt up Seams

Okay, now I give you permission to hang that second sheet of wallpaper! Begin by lining up the second sheet with the first sheet at eye level. I suppose they say to do this because that is where your eye will naturally go, so might as well have get it right at eye level, makes sense, I guess.

Smooth the paper out from the middle moving upward and out to the left, and then downward and out to the left. Follow it up with a good squeegee working down from the top. I find it works best to move your squeegee out from the seam, towards the left and across the paper. Don’t overlap the wallpaper, carefully butt the sheets up to one another. The paper will expand in contract throughout the seasons, so small gaps may occur depending on how humid or dry the air is.

It’s never going to be perfect, guys! Wallpaper has give and it will stretch! No matter what you do and how hard you try, it will never line up perfectly. The good news is that no one will ever notice except you, and even then you’ll really have to look for it. Believe me, I am crazy about that stuff and I barely notice.


Step Nine
Use seam Roller to Flatten Seams, Clean up Excess Glue with Sponge

Use Seam Roller to Flatten Edges, Clean up Excess Glue with a Damp Sponge
So your edges aren’t sticking down as nicely as you’d like? This is where a bit of glue and a seam roller comes in.

Using a brush add a bit of extra glue to the back edges of the paper. Using the seam roller and applying even pressure, roll it up and down the seam. Use a damp sponge to clean up extra glue that might spill out.


Step Ten

I feel like you’ve got the hang of this, continue on repeating steps 3-9 until you finish your wall!

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Thinking About : Big Box Store Ceiling Fans

10 Big-Box Store Ceiling Fans in White
Friends! There is something that you may not know about me… I love sleeping with all of the fans on! Dudes, I am not even kidding around here, this is serious business! Not only do we have two ceiling fans in our master bedroom, but we also have an oscillating fan to boot. It’s just the way it is. Don’t judge.

I never had the problem of needing a constant breeze in our bedroom prior to moving into our house. Our current bedroom just happened to come with two junky old ceiling fans with faux marble fan blades, and even though they were so ugly and gross, it didn’t take me long to learn to love them. Fans just lull me to sleep now, I’m like a super lame baby who needs its blanket – so wut?!

But wait! I can justify this craziness, the fans are actually practical! They keep the second floor of our house cool in the summertime, and warm in the winters – so now you can’t hate me because they’re sensible and economical. It just happens to be a bonus that they just feel so nice to lay under while I fade off into unconsciousness. There is absolutely no way we could live without them, even though I know they are the ugliest objects you could ever affix to a ceiling.

So I’m in need of a matching set of somewhat affordable, somewhat attractive, white ceiling fans. I can’t make this bedroom pretty and leave those ancient-ugly-beastly-fans on my ceiling. I can however make my bedroom pretty and replace old fans with newer, cleaner, kinda-sorta cooler fans. Here’s my top 10 list for affordable big box store fans, all of which can be found at The Home Depot (it’s my local big box). Now I just gotta pick one.

I’m a breeze junky, what are you, a hater or a lover? Come on now, don’t be shy.

Cool Thing Alert

Also, on a side note. My internet friend, Daniel is starting a new adventure over on his site If you guys don’t already read his blog you should – especially now! Not only has he lovingly updated his Brooklyn apartment he’s also spent the last year renovating his 1895 Kingston, NY home DIY style. Now he’s branching out, investing in his burgeoning neighborhood, and planning a home renovation down the street. There should be lots of great blog posts in the coming months, so get with it and start following along already!

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Pipe Dreams

Deuce Cities Henhouse
Dudes, we’ve had our fair share of basement plumbing issues throughout the last year. We made it through the first four years with barely issues and since this time last year we’ve probably had 5 back ups and spent bunches of money on fixing and cleaning out lines. We’re thankful that there is currently tile in the basement or the damage would have been much worse.

The most recent problem was a real mess. For the last month or two I had noticed that our secondary line had been backing up from time to time. I called the plumber when it started happening regularly and he suggested a line clean out. This is something that happens all the time when you have old houses, lines need to be cleared out almost yearly. Anyway, the snaker-dude paid us a visit and said we had a lot of rust in our pipes, cleaned out the line and was on his way.

I thought we were good. After a few weeks I noticed some mold growing on the drywall in the space near the pipe. I figured it was due to leftover dampness from the back-ups we had earlier that month. I quickly put together a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water. Within minutes that little bit of mold was gone and the problem seemed to be fixed. A few days later I notice more mold, so I did my little trick again and it was gone. Then the mold showed up again! I couldn’t figure out why this happening, and then it hits me. Like duh, Scoops! Could there be mold growing on the other side of the drywall? Just, duh. Sometimes knowing stuff about your house isn’t always naturally instinctive.

The next day I made plans to get the kids out of the house, I invested in a good mask and went to town on the basement wall with a sawzall and a prybar. It didn’t take me long to find a huge mess of mold and rotten drywall. Sorry if the photos might make you squeamish, mold makes me wanna barf. Luckily for me, my super hero mom instincts came into play and I became very brave, the mold didn’t bother me. I just needed that mold out of the house ASAP, for the good of our fam! I did what I had to do. I bagged up the moldy drywall immediately and removed all of areas that had been effected by the leak plus an extra 6″ to prevent further mold from growing. I drenched the whole place with bleach and within a few hours it was looking much cleaner.

Now, with part of the wall removed I could see that there was actually a small rusted out crack in the back of the pipe, and a slow leak within the wall had been occurring. The crack is actually where the original problem was stemming from – the backed up water I had seen months before was actually my leaky pipe, and not the lines needing to be snaked (although I’m sure that helped with the flow).

Deuce Cities Henhouse
I’ve got this new great plumber in my back pocket, and he was able to come over and tell it to me straight. He told us that we had a few options, expensive ones and not so expensive ones. The first option was fixing the major problem and running a new line all the way up to our sink, the other was more of a stopgap solution replacing only the cracked corner piece. Since we are planning on doing a full basement renovation in the spring, the latter was the right choice for the time being. We most likely will be replacing plumbing in the spring, and it didn’t seem prudent to do the same job twice.

I’m pretty sure the mold didn’t help my recent cold, I’m still sniffling and it’s been nearly two weeks. That stuff is bad news and should be taken very seriously. I feel bad that I didn’t catch this problem sooner, but relieved that it is no longer in our house and we can move on. Old houses, man – they always be breaking.

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Let’s Talk About Fence Stain, guys.

Behr Semi-Transparent Fence Stains
Hey Guys, long time no see! I just spent the last week nearly dying from the worst cold ever. It was one of those colds where doing any of the things just makes you feel exhausted. I still don’t feel that great, but I have a bit more energy this week.

So you know how I’ve spent most of the summer avoiding staining the new fence, well my time has come my friends. I can’t avoid it any longer and I need to get moving before the cold cold air moves in.

I have absolutely zero exterior staining experience – so I started going into this project in a pretty clueless fashion. But I’ve been visiting the hardware store, reading on the internets and now I feel like I have a little bit more know-how under my belt. In short, I will stain this fence, it will look great and it will last a good amount of time. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned.

If you are starting this process with an already greyed fence you are going to want to power/pressure wash that bad boy. If your fence is fairly new you should always wash your fence according the stain manufacturers instructions. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you start your staining job. Temps should be at least 50º and rain shouldn’t be predicted for a good 48 hours.

Typically folks stain their fences with either a brush/roller combo or a stain sprayer. Both work, however, you guys basically told me not to spray my fence when I mentioned this project back in the spring. A bunch of you had bad experiences with inconsistent coverage and drips so I never even considered it. I will be using a brush and roller. The internet tells me that I need to make sure to use a brush made for staining, it’s actually called a “staining brush”. Word up, a staining brush is not the same as a paint brush it is larger and has a wider base of bristles – get one. For larger surfaces I need a roller with a rough nap – the instructions on your stain can may even recommend a certain depth nap. I plan on rolling out the stain and then using a brush over the top to make sure I get in all the crevices.

Oil based stains typically last longer than acrylic stains. I just learned this. I did my tests with behr semi-transparent acrylic stains but I will be ordering Behr Semi-Transparent oil based stain when I go back to order it up at the Depot. I want this thing to last and it better not even think abut peeling or chipping!

Dudes, use a drop cloth or cardboard to keep stain off yer vegetation. I am however a genius and waited till the end of the growing season so I could cut back plants that were in my way. Or I could be a real badass and just go stain it without feeling bad about dripping stain on end of season plants.

Typically there are three different types of stain; solid, semi-transparent, and transparent. I choose to go with the semi-transparent because solid looks like paint, I think it’s kind of ugly, and transparent only comes in a hand full of color options. It wasn’t that hard of a choice for me. However if you are restoring an old fence that has seen better days solid might be the way to go for you, it will help cover blemishes and give the look of a stained fence. Transparent will give a much more transparent look really showing off the grain of the wood but will break down more quickly after being exposed to sun and heat.

I could’ve considered ten colors if I wanted to because I am crazy and can’t make up my mind, but somehow I was able to narrow it down to only three. These are all Behr semi-transparent stain colors and the sample above illustrates ‘Chocolate’, ‘Chestnut’ and ‘Cedar’ shown in 1, 2 and 3 coats respectively. I like how dark the chocolate stain is, but it’s darker than I am brave, the cedar is good and I like the color against the house color but it’s just too orange for me. I think I’ll probably go with two coats of the chestnut stain and I need to start this project soon as it is getting GD cold around here already!

Behr Stains
All you fence staining pros out there, give me your tips. I need your help and advice!

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