Old Door to Desk Tutorial

Door-to-Desk Tutorial- thedomesticlady.com

My husband and I created this DIY project because of a need to provide a handicap accessible desk for Mitchell’s Project (part 1 and part 2).

Because Mitchell already had so much special equipment to make his life easier, I wanted a masculine, sleek but yet rustic desk that also happened to be handicap accessible rather than just going out and buying a handicap desk.

We considered using plexiglass or traditional glass as the top, but both were extremely heavy and very hard to transport.

So instead we decided to go with a clear epoxy finish.

While it was a multi-step process, the finished project was well worth it!

 The first thing you need to know is that this is not a quickie 1 hr DIY project.

Take your time, thoroughly read the epoxy instructions, don’t rush.

The process is not difficult; you just need to understand it before you get started.

Because of some user error, it took about 2 weeks from beginning to end.

Partly because we used several coats of poly on the trim and because we had to reorder more epoxy halfway through.

Here is what you will need:

The door we used was very “rustic.” It had quite a few worn places in it that epoxy would be able to leak through so my husband started by making sure the desk was leak proof. He simply filled the holes with wood filler.

Then we went to the hardware store to purchase 2″ trim to give the desk a nice smooth finished edge.

(depending on the thickness of the door you choose to may need different trim width)

We wanted to have 1/8″ lip above the door so that the epoxy would cover the door entirely.


He then attached the trim to all four sides of the door with wood screws.

After the trim was in place, he used more wood filler and sandpaper to make it smooth.

Next he carefully stained the trim with Minwax Ebony stain.

Once the stain was dry, he gave the trim four coats of polyurethane.

 After the poly was dry, he removed all the dust and debris from the door top.

And then it was FINALLY time for the epoxy.


I could give you the detailed play-by-play of the epoxy process, but the videos on bestbartopepoxy.com are so thorough that I suggest you watch them instead.

*****Follow all the instructions for the best results*****




Once all the layers of epoxy were complete we allowed it to cure for 72 hours at 75°F by using a space heater in our basement.


Then we simply attached the workbench legs.


The finished product was better than we even imagined.

I highly recommend this process. The results are amazing!

Mitchell’s Project- Before and After

First of all, I feel very grateful that my husband and I were able to help with the finishing touches.

It was incredibly rewarding to both of us. We found such joy in our exhaustion.:)

If you want to know all the details about the how/why of this project go to the Mitchell’s Project part 1 post.

The challenging part of this project was that I had to focus on making sure there was lots of open space (in order to be wheel chair accessible) rather than filling every space with decor items.

Thanks to Pottery Barn at Haywood Mall Real Deals in Greenville, Pollard Brothers BestBarTopExoxy.com, and KEnzPhotography

for SO generously donating items for me to use in the decor on this project.

This is the basement before:


So many people help make this new space possible.




My contribution was the color selections, styling and overall look.



The kitchen area is fully handicap accessible (once the plumbing fixtures are installed:).

The wall color is SW Sea Salt. 

The cabinet color is SW Iron Ore and the laminate counter-top is Cafe di Pesco by Wilsonart.

All the cabinet hardware is from Ikea.

And the back splash is from Home Depot.

The “hardwood” flooring is actually tile by Florida Tile Berkshire collection.





This fully handicap accessible desk made from the original door to this basement area was ALL my husband’s doing.

I will write a full post on the how-tos of this project. I can’t get over how gorgeous it is.

The epoxy was donated by bestbartopepoxy.com.

Pollard Brothers donated the custom workbench legs, and the metal cart is from Ikea.

The gallery frames were donated by Pottery Barn, and the original signed photography was donated by KEnz etsy shop.



This simple grey and white bookcase is from Ikea, $69.


Although we weren’t able to put the full bedroom together while we were there on Saturday, I was able to hang all the fun posters from comic strips that Mitchell likes, plus a Star Wars poster for good measure.

I found the nightstand at Miracle Hill Thrift store for $20. Solid wood and made in the USA. Can’t beat that deal.

The bedding that will be used in the room are these sheets from Target,

and this duvet from Ikea. 

Although Mitchell is not able to use the sofa, he did need seating for guests.

This sofa was purchased before I started working on this project.

I just added a couple pillows, end table ($20 Target clearance), a floor lamp, and the large artwork donated by Real Deals.


The gorgeous linen curtains and hardware were donated by Pottery Barn at Haywood mall.

And my dad’s company donated those huge windows. They let in SO much natural light.


And thanks to these ladies (Nancee Lee and Becca) for all your help two weekends in a row. I could not have done it without you.



If you would like to know more about my decorating services go to my business website for details.

How to Make a $5 Wreath

$5 wreath tutorial

Well it’s getting very merry around my house.

I thought I would share my outdoor wreaths that cost me $5 each.

And they really require no wizard-like craft skills.

Because I have no wizard-like craft skills.

I don’t even have the craft skills of a wizard’s assistant.

What I am trying to say is I am not crafty.

The wreaths are on their 3rd year and still going strong which means my $5 is really going a LONG WAY.

Here is the supply list:

  • $2.50- 18 in. grapevine wreath (craft store)
  • $1 – 9 ft. ribbon (craft store or dollar store)
  • $1- 12-15 jingle bells (dollar store)
  • $1- ready-made red velvet bow (dollar store)

Total: $5.50

I waited for the floral supplies to go on sale 1/2 price at my local Hobby Lobby before I purchased the grapevine wreaths.

Note: grapevine wreaths are not sold with the Christmas merchandise

What I love about the grapevine wreaths is that every wreath is unique so the finished product does not have to be “perfect.”

I simply wrapped the wreath in 9 ft of ribbon, attaching it to be back of the wreath with floral wire or even safety pins.

Then I wired the jingle bells on for a little bling. And finally attached the ready-made dollar store bow.

It does NOT get easier than that.

How to Make a $5 Wreath- thedomesticlady.com

 I used Command strips or suction cup hooks to attach each wreath to the window.

Pillows by Ikea. (here and here)


Home Improvement: The Dungeon Bedroom

Our house is about 1200 sq ft on the main level and that’s basically where we live.

It’s looks pretty small from the street.

But then there is a surprising additional 1200 sq ft basement.

About half of it is storage space. When we finally are ready to sell it, I am going to make sure the realtor markets it to hoarders.

It would be perfect for a hoarder.

Anyway, the dungeon has a decent sized living area, a full bathroom, walk-in closet and an incredibly large bedroom.

Well if you have been following my blog for a while you might remember when I freshened up the living area and bathroom in this post from last year.

Basement Before 1

And while it definitely made the room less dingy, I didn’t love the wall color (ps I didn’t pick it).

basement 6

But I left it alone for a year…


One of my stepsons usually calls the basement bedroom his but since he is off at college now, I thought it would be a great time to really give the whole space an up-do.

Total cost for the project:

SW 7737 Meadow Trail



Here are the before photos: the room has a desk, futon, king size bed, and dresser.











Tada, the paint helped immensely.

Like my stepson said after seeing it, “Cozy.”

So the dungeon bedroom is no longer a dungeon.

Home Improvement: House Funk and Laundry Room Rejuvenation

Have you ever been in a house funk?

Like no matter what you do to your  home it does not seem “good enough,” especially when you compare it to others’ homes?

Ack, comparison is the thief  of joy.

Well no matter how many  books, blog posts, pinterest inspiration quotes I read  in regards to finding contentment and joy in the midst of imperfection, I still get in these funks.

Sometimes the funk lasts two hours and sometimes it lasts weeks.

Well I have been in said funk for several months now, and I am starting to see the light.

And I know the reason why.

When I share my home with others rather than spending time in comparison it gives my home life, dare I say  rejuvenation.

Rejuvenation that does not require a hammer and nails, or even a paint brush.

Rejuvenation that is simply spurred on as I view my home as something I can serve others with, rather than how I feel about the way it serves me.

Here is the before and after of my “far from ideal” laundry area.

For the full “before” post go here. 






Ahh so much better.

And to help get my funk on the move this weekend, I took this photo on Sunday afternoon to compare with the photos from 28 months ago.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo-bomb provided by Joe.

Home Improvement: Doing Laundry While Trying Not To Fall Down The Stairs


 Over Labor Day weekend, we worked on getting our laundry area in shape. (yes I am just getting around to posting this)

In our opinion, the washer and dryer needed to be reversed because it was impossible to reach into the dryer because of that lovely half wall.


This is one of the strangest things about our house. Our laundry area is in the stairwell.

And if you are not careful or get overly aggressive at fighting stains you can fall down the stairs. I have not done it yet. But I have come close twice.



So Joe pulled both the washer and dryer out of the stairwell, and then went to Ace to get longer hoses and drains so we could switch the placement of the laundry appliances.

Try not to be overwhelmed with this gorgeous area of our home. And after this photo I cleaned like a crazy woman. 10 years worth of dust and lint was behind that dryer!



Then we decided to add a cap to the half wall because #1 it does not looked finished and #2 the edges of the sheet rock had worn away and the metal edging was exposed.

And that edging is SHARP! I have torn many shirts as I tried to contort myself into strange positions to get to the back of the dryer.


We went with a  6″ stain grade board. Not only does it looks much more finished.  but it also does not rip your clothes which is always a plus.

Doing laundry is bad enough, but ripping your clothes while doing laundry is just more than I can take.

I plan to stain/varnish the board, add some nice shelving and maybe a big piece of casual art to help make the area feel a bit cozier.

Wish me luck!

Before and After: A Simple Home Makeover in NC

I worked on a casual arts and crafts style home last weekend in Hendersonville (about 1 1/2 hours from where I live).

It was one of those jobs that reminds me why I do what I do.

Love love love jobs like that.

Most of the issues the homeowners were having was not knowing where to start.

They had attempted several accent walls, but quickly decided that was not the look they were going for.

After meeting with them for 3 hours about a month ago,  I put together a simple plan of attack.

Unify the spaces with one paint color, and add a fun color to the exterior door.

Remove excess furniture that made the rooms seem small.

Add fun inexpensive accents and incorporate as many family photos as possible.

Re-purpose the “formal” dining room which the owners never used.

And of course all this had to be done within their budget. 

Foyer- before


Foyer- after


Dining room- before


“Dining room”- after



Blank wall in living room- before


Office area- after


I also “fluffed” several other areas in the home.

Overall, it was a simple job that brought a lot of satisfaction to me and my clients.

And most importantly it made better use of all their spaces.

Home Improvement: The Before And After Front Porch Project

House 2012

This project initially started March 2013.

We knew the house was lacking in curb appeal, but it took us a while to figure out the face lift.

We could have paid mega $$$ to have professionals come in, but we like to use cash so we completed projects a few at a time.

This is what we have completed since March 2013.

Removed the front hedge

Painted the shutters and front door

Replaced front door hardware

Updated the exterior light fixture

Removed and trimmed back part of the side hedge

Removed the yellowing garage window panels

Added perennials and shrubs to the empty flower beds.

And just recently removed a large dead tree. 

Saturday 7Front Porch 2013

While we painted the front door and shutters and generally spruced up the front yard March 2013, we still had a big problem.

Our front porch made of decking material was sinking and was completely rotted through in some places (and had termites we found out later).

So we decided that spring 2014 we were going to tackle this area.

If you have followed this exciting project (sarcasm) you know we got quotes for composite decking, regular decking and then brick work.

The brick work came through as the winner.

So Joe and the kids demoed the old porch and got it ready for the masons to come in and do their thing.

Front Porch 2014

So once the deck and shrubbery were gone we were ready for the brick masons.

Mason Work

Thankfully the new brick was a perfect match to the existing brick on our foundation.

And the masons did a great job. Quick, on time and on budget.

Once the final concrete was poured, Joe started making the (non-weight bearing) posts.


We choose to build the posts because we really wanted a fat post with detail, and Home Depot was lacking in the nice looking post department.



Once Joe installed the main pieces of the post he added all the trim detail, caulked, and painted.

I added two palms for $10 each planted in two large baskets from Ikea for $30, three pillows from a local textile outlet $5 each, and a $5 wood bench from the Picken’s Flea Market.


Once the weather cools off again we will be doing some more work on the flower beds, but wow have we come along way.


Joe still has to re-position the awkward gutter set-up.


The before and after is pretty amazing.

Before During After

Home Improvement: Our Kitchen Makeover COMPLETE! (mostly)

First of all, painting our kitchen cabinets is the biggest DIY project I have ever tackled (almost entirely)by myself.

It took a total of 66 days to complete between daily life and work etc.

Here is our kitchen 24 months ago, Joe removed yellowing linoleum and added hardwood floors.




Then we added a built-in microwave and replaced the refrigerator.

And then I started painting the cabinets in March.

Here is the mostly finished product. I will write another post with all the products I used to make the job easier.

I still have touch ups to do and switch plates to buy but at least you get the picture of what the transformation will be.





Before After Kitchen Cabinets