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Updated Blogroll & False Fireplaces

29 Jan

I read a lot of blogs. In fact, so many blogs that I recently cancelled cable and don’t seem to care. Of all of these blogs only my real favorites make it to the Blogroll here. I’ve done a little housekeeping over there. Some bloggers have moved on to greener pastures (Stucco Bungalow, If your reading this, I’m dying to see whatever happened to your bathroom!) so they have been removed. To fill their places I’ve added some newer favorites.

Speaking of other Blogs…

I’ve mentioned before the false fireplace in the living room  that I made to replace the original that was once in  there. I like it, its fine… but I wish it was real.


The last couple weeks have been bitter cold and I’ve been using a space heater to take the chill out of the corners of the house. As you know, I read a lot of blogs and I’ve noticed a lot of people going to the next step with their fake fireplaces. They have done such a great job with it, managing to walk on the better side of a thin line of really cool and tacky.

The most recent of these has been over at A Country Farmhouse. Let’s just start of by saying everything Trina and her husband do is very tasteful and this fireplace is no exception.  

When you look closer you can see she used an electic insert


Which she then covered with an antique screen to complete the total illusion, quite effectively in my opinion. If you have a chance, check out the entire renovation of her guest house.

Another impressive fake fireplace that I spied was at Just So Lovely. In her basement another electric insert was used to create a similar fireplace.

Her blog has a very descriptive and helpful step by step tutorial that anyone follow.

It’s true that you could go purchase one of these pre-built at the hardware store, but I think the look is much more convincing when you have the ability to build your mantle to the correct proportion and with a style that is appropriate to your home.

One more blog that has done something similar to this, although without the electric insert is The Hunted Interior. Kristen made this really great example in a fashion much like the others but used the area that would be a firebox to fill with log slices.

 How cool is that?

So if I do venture down the electric inset path its going to create the where do I put my TV drama that always accompanies a room with a fireplace. Let me propose a possible solution. If I nix the side chair and suitcase end table I can create a built-in bookcase to the side of the fireplace. Then I can mount the TV inside with a swing arm mount like this one. This will allow me push the tv in and out of the shelf when in and out of use. In the attic are the original doors to the mantle bookcase that used to be here and I can use those to add to the front of the bookcase, hiding the entire operation.

Something like this without the bench to the right:

Or maybe… I just save my pennies and get a gas inset put in and be done with this nonsense.

Blog Fight

27 Jan

My blog and I are in  the middle of  giant fight right now. My apologies for the recent blank post.

I’m trying to improve the Before & After page and other consistency issues but the images will not align correctly in the WordPress editor or in Windows Live Writer especially when I try to make them go side by side. I’ve tried to circumvent the issue by inserting images into tables and then tried a gallery plug in for the Before & After page and that’s when things got ugly.

I must say blogging IS NOT EASY. Over the past year and some change that I have been doing this I’ve learned a lot. One of the biggest things I’ve come to understand is the incredible about of time, dedication and sheer skill it takes to do this well. So kudos to all you guys out there knocking out of the park on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis. To be a good home blogger you have to be a good writer and speller (which I am not), you have to be a good photographer (another thing I am not) and you have to be a halfway decent web designer with graphic design skills to boot (that’s another  BIG no)yet, these are only the backend skills. On top of all of this you have to be handy around the house and full of creativity to do something interesting enough for people to care to read about. Oh, and don’t forget straight-up fearless in a “Hello word, come into my house and judge it!” kind of way.

I’m left wondering what other people are using to create their blog posts, and if they have had this image alignment issue I’m referencing before and how they’ve rectified it, any tips would be very helpful to me.

What To Hang On Your Walls: Inspiration Post

23 Jan

There is no reason to have blank walls. There is also no reason purchase art from Target, Marshalls or TJ Max. But I’ll be honest… there is nothing as intimidating as a big, blank wall. As I’ve settled into my house over the past year I’ve had some trouble with this myself, but I’m finally getting to a spot where I have been able to find just the right thing for just the right spaces and I paid very little for all of them. So here are some ideas I’ve used here, maybe they’ll be of use to you.


I found a set of Ironstone dishes like these at a thrift store. They are stained and crazed but that’s why I lov’em. I think I paid about twelve dollars for them.

Vintage Family Photos:

Check out this collection of vintage family photos. The frames are just as interesting to look at. When you find yours you can take the originals to Target and had them enlarged, color corrected and reprinted for less than five dollars each.

Authentic Vintage Signs:

I dug an”Open To The Public” sign out of corner at a consignment shop. I paid about ten bucks for it.  Another, “Fire House Connection” sign came from an estate sale, if I remember correctly it cost around two dollars and hangs in my living room. I think the real key here is finding AUTHENTIC peices. The ones that say things like “live, laugh, love” do not count. I really love the size and style of the one used here.


What a fun pop of color on an otherwise blank wall.

Or what about nautical charts for a more subdued look?


An old clock provides a functional wall filler here.

Book and Calendar Illustrations:

Find a coffee table book of images or artists you like and cut it up. There are also all kinds of really great calendars you can find to use as well.

An Antique Mirror Grouping:

Keep your eyes open for interesting mirrors. Large ones, small ones and ones of various sizes to create an interesting combination.

Antique Group Shots:

I’ll admit there is something creepy about a large group of dead strangers on your wall but I really like the way they create an interesting collection on the wall.

Vintage Ads:

Find something unique and interesting. There are 1,000s to choose from online but steer clear of Chat Noir and Parapluie Revel it’s not unique at all.

Shadow Boxes:

Do you have something really special to you? An antique pocket watch? A ribbon from the State Fair? Find a deep frame and hot glue or wire it in.I really like this idea of the labeled champagne corks.

A Special Card:

Ever get a handwritten card or note that said just the right thing? Frame it and remind yourself you are special everyday.Or… If nobody thinks you are special, you can always hang some of these vintage ones which you can find 1,000s of at any antique store.

Your Trendy Instagram Photos:

Print them out and frame them,nothing ever looks bad with a washed out grainy filter. The most difficult part is finding the right size frame. Keep an eye out at the dollar store.

Thrift Store Art:

This take some patience but you can really come out with some gems. Paint by numbers, sketches and other cast offs can become very interesting when properly curated and hung.

Leaf Presses:

I really like the look of these leaf presses. I did something like this at my backdoor. I gathered all the leaves myself and then simply framed them. This is almost free to do.


Lastly, you could always make your own. Look at this… I bet you could make it from cardboard.

or string…

Italy Love String Art- Oliveto Lucano

When you’re doing all of this hanging. Don’t forget to the size and composition of your peices. Even a simple print  like this Keith Haring example can look quite dramatic on a large scale, or divided into several peices like this map below it.

Whatever you do, make sure it is personal. Have a story about where it came from, what it means to you, how you made it or what it says about you. Don’t ever hang anything with out a mat and don’t take it too seriosuly; well… maybe a little seriously.

Bright & White

19 Jan

One of the reasons that I liked this house so much was because it still had the original hex tile floor. One of the things I hate most about this house is trying to keep it clean. The floor is full of grout lines and enough nooks and crannies to rival an english muffin. This leaves all kinds of places for dirt to hang out.In addition to this the tiles don’t seem to have any sheen to them which makes it easy for all of this dirt to cling to and stain the tiles. Even after washing  and scrubbing  down the floors they would often look like this.


Then I had an idea… what if I tried some toliet bowl cleaner on the floor?


Awesome right? I used the Lysol brand in a gel formula. After I washed the tile I squirted on just a small amount and then used a scrub brush to scrub the tile lightly. It even helped clean out the grout lines. After scrubbing, I left the bathroom for about 15 minutes and allowed the bleach to work. When I returned I wiped up the floor with a paper towel and re-washed the floor to clean up any haze. The cleaner did not harm my black tiles but did a remarkable job removing any stains on the white ones.


Updating The Electrical Service

9 Dec

Ever since I moved in I knew that I was going to need to update the electric service. Up until now, the house has been on fuses and the meter box was located in the basement which was a major pain. I did get a thousand dollar credit at closing for the necessary upgrades however, that never really translated into real money and there were more pressing issues at the time. Additionally, I’ve never blown a fuse and had few to no problems with the service, aside from issues finding an insurance provider willing to take me.

Well, those days are over. Thanks to a very generous Christmas gift from several members of my family I was able to have the service upgraded, making my home much safer and hopefully translating into an insurance discount. In this picture you can see the old fuse box.



and here is the new, safer service.


Much better.  Thanks everyone, very much appreciated.

All Of The Lights

3 Dec

You’ve seen a lot of the bungalow but  I’ve never really shared too much about the neighborhood I live in. So I decided to shake things up a bit this week and post about all of the wonderful lights on the streets around the house. Right off the bat its going to be obvious that Ittybittybungalow is surely the runt around town, and it is also very difficult to take nice pictures of Christmas Lights. No matter what setting I chose the shot never seemed to be true to life. Always too bright or too dark so please bare with me.Each of these houses are charming without any lights but once they are up they make these homes the show pieces of the neighborhood.

I love this old Tudor just a couple blocks from my house. The owners do such a nice job maintaining it and I think the front door is really interesting.

Big Tudor

Here’s another place that has a similar look with phenomenal results. Both of these houses are framed by handsome elderly maples and oaks which you can’t see in the picture.


This house is one after my own heart with the clear C7s. My favorite thing about this house is the stone chimney and stoop.

Small Tudor

Does it get any more charming than this?


I like the wreathes on this house and with a chimney like that I can only imagine the size of the fireplace inside. 


and lastly this one was just too cute to pass up.


And yes, I’d move right into any one of these houses.

We Got A Tree!

30 Nov

After work tonight my roommate and I to went to the Boy Scout tree lot down the street to pick out a Christmas Tree. After poking around for a while we picked one out and had the scouts at the lot give it a fresh-cut. After which they brought it out to our car and asked if we would like them to tie it to the roof. Honestly, the main reason I go there is because they tie to the roof for me and I think its one of the better fundraising ideas I’ve seen for a good cause (mostly). So here we are in the dark playground of the elementary school, it’s snowing and pretty cold. Two scouts follow us out to the car and can’t figure out how to strap thris tree to the roof of the car. Minutes later with have three, and then four scouts. Still no luck getting this tree on  the roof and all I can think is that I am absolutely not getting involved in this fiasco. At this point my roommate and apparently second-rate sidekick taps out and gets in the car turns up the Christmas music. Eventually, my “do not get involved” stance pays off and the scoutmaster comes out and gives the boys a lesson on the slip knot and the proper procedure for executing the job. Success!

Once we got home we decided it was important to take pictures of us with a dead tree strapped to the roof of my car for you to see.


Here’s my roommate testing out the strength of the scouts’ knots. apparently, they passed the test.



…and there’s me.

Haul Out The Holly

24 Nov

I bet you’re thinking wow this picture looks a lot better than the ones that are usually on here. Well, that’s likely true. At least in terms of megapixels. I was finally able to upgrade my camera during Black Friday. I still don’t have anything too fancy but it is certainly better than the camera on my phone. The Nikon l310 I purchased was on sale for $99.00, it has 14 megapixels and a 21x optical zoom. It also has a wide lens and has a pretty nice low light setting. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it take AA batteries, but I figure I can get rechargeable ones if it becomes an issue. Suffice to say no more crappy pictures for this blog.

So… I spent some time today getting the Christmas stuff out. Just about everything is the same as last year except two things. The first is that I did not use the “Warm” LED lights this year and I went straight up old school and got the clear C7s. For anyone who is wondering- that was a wast of time and money. Last year I was convinced that the “warm white” LEDs that I bought looked cold and that the real C7s had a better glow. Welp, I can tell you that they are exactly the same. So its back the LEDs next year. The second change is in the window boxes. I happened into Home Depot today and they had an entire cart of pine boughs trimmed from trees that they had sold for free! So thanks to Home Depot, I loaded up my car with a couple of arm loads and were able to augment the crummy fake garland with the real stuff and it looks so much better. If I were you, I’d get in my car right now and get ’em before they realize they should charge for that stuff.

I also used the same pine boughs to wire together a garland for the mantle. I made the bunting out of some old wrapping paper I had in the attic.

I did purchase the Poinsettia, but the stockings and the little pearl garland were from last year. This is the second Christmas in the bungalow and it felt super awesome to go up into the attic and bring down almost everything I needed rather than going out to buy things. Hopefully, I can get the tree in the next couple of days. I would like to get some more ornaments for it this year. I only had a few on it last year so I think its ok to add.

 Happy Holidays!

Matchy, Matchy.

18 Nov

Almost all of the doorknobs in the house match. The majority of them being the original mortise locksets with a glass knobs. Like these:

photo 4

However, in their infinite wisdom, the previous homeowners “upgraded” two of the knobs in the house to modern locksets. To a lot of people this might not be a big deal but it drove me nuts. Not only did they not match, they were ugly and did not jive with what I was trying to accomplish with the rest of the house.

photo 1

So, once those came off, I was left with this…

photo 2

A Door Massacre.

This was a real issue because the older style knobs do not require those giant holes. You can see in the picture where the old knob and lock was and then how a new hole was drilled between the two for the modern lock set. They then covered the mess they made with that nasty doorknob plate.

The obvious answer was to replace the mortise lock and install antique plates around the knob and key hole to cover the massacre. Yet, that was not going to solve the matching issue since the rest of the original knobs only had small rosettes which would not be able to conceal the evidence of the crime.  So I was off to Rehouse, an architectural salvage nearby to see what I could do.

I was quickly able to locate  doorknob backplates that I liked and that I thought were “craftsmanesque” enough to go with the house. I decided to purchase enough to retrofit each of the doors in the house which faced into a common area. I decided to leave the back sides of the doors the same. In this way all the doors match in the common areas as well as within the inside of each private  room and I was able to cut costs by not changing all the closet doors as well.

So at this point all of the common areas doors in the house look like this:

photo 5


While all the knobs within the private rooms (bed and bath) still look like this:


photo 4

Matching almost  accomplished.

However, we’re still not out of the woods just yet.

If all of the knobs within the rooms are supposed to be the small rosettes instead of the “craftsmanesque” backplates I was still left with this mess on the back of one of the doors in a bedroom which could not be covered by a rosette.

photo 3

Thankfully, this door is the most screwed up door in the entire house. Furthermore, it happens to be the only one (however unfortunately so) which has been painted on the back. All of this just happened to work in my favor at this point. Because of this I was able to remain consistent using the rosettes inside the rooms. In order to do it I replaced the mortise lock and have been working on filling the hole from the modern knob with wood putty. Once its dry and sanded I’ll be able to paint it white and then replace the rosette and keyhole plate with one that I removed from another door in a common area when it was replaced with one of the“craftsmanesque”doorknob plates.

That might sound very complicated, and it should, because it was very complicated. Once this is all over all the knobs will be consistent throughout the house in a way that makes sense.

However, I am looking for suggestions on the screws I’m using to install the hardware. New shiny brass screws look ridiculous on the antique hardware.I had no luck at the hardware store and am too impatient to order things online.  I did save all the old screws I removed and reused them but I am about five or six short. Has anyone had success antiquing screws, or maybe using Rub N’ Buff?

I’d also having a difficult time finding small enough screws which are not Phillips. I’ve read those weren’t introduced until later so in order to complete the total illusion they should be “flathead” screws.

I’ve tired to ask about these things at the hardware store but I’m sure they think I’ve totally lost my mind.


28 Oct

I should update you and let you know that I did finish the fence gate last weekend and I think it turned out great. Both sides swing easily, they take up little room in the driveway when open and neither sag. Can’t wait to stain it this spring.

photo (9)