Patio Enclosure — It Can’t Be THAT Hard

My husband had his heart set on a pool…..UNTIL I reminded him that I had been wanting to enclose the back patio for two years and how we could do it ourselves.  After all….it was already enclosed on 3 of the 4 sides and just needed a fourth wall with a door.  How hard could that be?!!?  <<Cue the eye roll and huge sigh from the hubby>>.  I guess he’s come to embrace my projects because he knows if he doesn’t help that I’ll still do it anyway and will take twice as long if he doesn’t pitch in.

Now considering that I’m a tightwad and don’t want to pay anyone to do something I’m fully capable of doing, I couldn’t bring myself to pay $2,500 for a wall that I knew we could build for $800.  And $800 was a LOT-T-T-T-T-T-T-T-T-T-T-T cheaper than a pool!!!!

So he caved and we got to work!!!


This is the best pic I could get of the patio before we got started…..BLAH!!!  I totally envision this space as a man cave for the hubby with a TV in that corner playing SEC football and sipping on my coffee under a warm blanket during the fall.  Hubs had actually wired this corner for a TV and surround sound when we built the house.

I probably brainstormed on how to deal with that brick lip (see pic above….half way down on the right side) for a full year, and how I wanted the frame to work around it.  Since I’m no super experienced carpenter or builder, I decided to simplify it as much as possible and just use 2x4s to build up along the hardy plank siding and get flush with the brick lip and that would be what I would attach the frame to.  I also decided to do sets of frames instead of one big frame that would be attached…mainly so that if something got off somehow we could make up for it along the way (which usually happens in my projects).  The last thing I wanted was to build the entire frame and then go put it up and the thing not fit!!!!!!  The best part of this project, though, is that it’s already enclosed on 3 sides and has the header ready to attach to on the fourth side.  Should be easy-peasy :).


Material calcs……Yes I’m type A!!!!

Building the 2x4s up to meet with the brick lip in order to attach the patio frame:




Do you see our psycho cat hiding there?  She might look all sweet and nice…..but oh no….she’s waiting to pounce!



Frames going up!!!!!!!!  One by one!!!!

In order for the pieced together 2x4s to look like one solid piece of wood, I had to do quite a bit of wood filling, smoothing and sanding.  I also had to fill in all the holes where I screwed the frames together.  I have a love/hate relationship with my power sander.  I love it because it makes everything look so much better, but I HATE how it makes my arms feel like jello for hours after I use it!!!!  And yes I wear a mask while sanding.  The fine dust flares up my sinus issues so I’m always sporting my $1 mask from Dollar Tree (I know you didn’t forget that I’m thrifty!!!).


Coming along…….


Next step……paint!  Oh how I love to paint <<<<can you hear the sarcasm in that????>>>>.   I painted and painted and painted some more in order to try and seal that treated wood as much as possible.  Even though this project wasn’t crazy hard to this point, it seemed to take FOREVER because I worked in hour spurts here and there between soccer games, school schedules, extracurricular activities, cooking, cleaning, you know……just being a mom.  So I called in the reinforcements!!!!!  The grandparents :).

My parents came up and stayed a weekend to help us knock this thing out and let me tell you it took the ENTIRE time!  Nana entertained the kids while the hubby, my dad, and I all worked on screening this thing in and finished out the door.

Now on to the screen part.  Typically, porches are enclosed by mounting the frame, stapling screen to the frame, and then attaching wood trim over every frame piece to cover up where the screen is stapled into the frames.  Now having 3 kids, a dog, and 3 cats, I knew it would be a maintenance nightmare if done that way since inevitably the kids or animals would at some point rip a screen.  You can imagine my excitement when after researching porch screens I found a pop and lock system at Home Depot.  You screw a base piece into the 2×4, spline in the screen (I did all individual squares so when one rips I only have to fix that one section), pop on the cap with a mallet and viola it’s done!  I only wish it was that quick, though.  That step was probably the most labor intensive step of the whole process. It took my husband and I working together that whole process to get it done.  You can check out the patio system that we used –>HERE<–.

Splining the screen into the base caps…… like those nice legs with his shorts and boots?  That’s just how he rolls and I love it 🙂




I can see the end in sight!!!!!!  So close!!!!  Hallelujah!!


Can you tell from those drenched shirts just how blazing hot it was finishing this project?!!?  Oh how I love these guys that allow me to strong arm them into helping with my small projects that turn into large projects!  I know they get sick of hearing, “It can’t be that hard, right?!!?”.  But I know they secretly enjoy the finished product and knowing they helped!


TA-DA!!!!!!!! We LOVE LOVE LOVE this space!!!!


Be sure to message with any questions if you’re thinking about a patio enclosure of your own.  I might just have an opinion or two 🙂



Nerf Gun Wall

Soooooo…….all our 4 year old wanted for Christmas was nerf gun stuff! Seriously. It’s the only thing he told anyone that he wanted, so that’s pretty much what he got. And here he is making a list (mid-December) of all the ones he wanted……


And here he is in the Dollar Store later practicing his ninja moves. All boy right here!!!!! He appeared from the next row over wearing an army helmet and ninja swords chopping the end cap full of soap 😬

As you could imagine, his floor was covered with Nerf Gun stuff after Christmas. And it was driving me nuts!!! And it’s times like this I’m oh so thankful for Pinterest 🙂

The hubs decided that Gs room needed a nerf gun wall so we got to thumbing through Pinterest and found one we liked that we used as a go by. His room has a little recessed spot behind his door that would be perfect for it!!!

Wall before…..

I quickly realized the pegs required enough space behind the pegboard to be able slide in and not hit the wall behind it. It actually only took a few hours to put the backing wood up and attach the pegboard to it.

I think someone’s going to love it!!!!

Then came the painting.

I went to get the paint out of our shed and it was frozen!!!! Delay 😦

The scene outside….the cause of my frozen paint. On the bright side…isn’t it pretty out there?!!? No it’s not much snow but more than what we usually get where we live!

I finally found some paint in the garage that wasn’t frozen and during our weekend iced in, we got this project completely finished.

G wanted a sign above it that said “In Case of Zombies”, so we couldn’t disappoint. I have a little Silhouette Cameo and whipped out the vinyl letters you see on the board.

The best part was it ended up costing less than $50 and ended up looking amazing!!! I think my hubby was more excited than our 4 year old.


(And yes….Stuart is guarding the Nerf Gun wall).

Chic Pool Shed

POOL SHED???!!!???  Yep!!!  You heard me right.  Now granted we don’t even have a pool yet, but a girl’s got to dream, right?!!?

This is BY FAR my favorite transformation of anything I have done to date!!!!  I wish I had taken a picture of my neighbor dragging this old rickety shed BACKWARDS on his tractor the 1/4-mile distance it went.  Not only for how funny it looked going down the road but also the look on his face….kind of like…..”okay, lady, you’re crazy for wanting this old thing full of chicken feathers but I’ll humor you and hook it to chains and get it on down there for you”.

So this is what it looked like:


Can you say UGLY?!!?  There were about two dozen things wrong with this shed and my husband thought I had lost my mind but I could see something totally awesome!!!  He’s learned to never say it’s a lost cause because that only makes me feel like the challenge IS ON!!!!

So that hole in the front where there was a trap door for the hens at night (the previous owner had used it for a hen house), that hole above the door, all the rotten wood, the broken window, the whole thing needed some pretty serious TLC.  Not to mention that during the moving process the door frame on the inside of the shed popped loose.  I could just hear Chip Gaines saying, ‘WHAT DAY IS IT???’  DEMO DAY!!!!!!!

After quite a few hot, steamy, humid days of prying off rotten wood I was really getting tired of this old shed.  And then as I was trying to carefully pry the doors off to repair them and used a little too much force, the doors busted into pieces and I started questioning whether this one would ever come to fruition.  So I decided to give it a break for a few days, shook it off, threw the old doors in the burn pile and went to the wood pile out back and found me some good 2x4s and started building some new shed doors.

Almost everything I do ends up looking the way it does from screwing something up and having to rethink my original vision.   So you guessed it….the doors.  I had originally planned to paint them but now that I was having to make new ones, I was seeing a new vision for the shed that I liked even more.

I am a HUGE fan of the Dark Walnut finish by Minwax.  I only used 1 coat of that and followed by two coats of satin finish Polyurethane to weatherproof it a good bit.  Since I love the way the dark doors stand out against a light color, I decided to paint the shed white.

After I had ripped off all the old, rotten wood and replaced it and pretty much demo’d everything that needed it, I pulled out my trusty paint sprayer and got that shed primed in about 45 minutes.  I love my paint sprayer and love even more that it was cheap and does everything that I need it to.  The one I use is the HomeRight Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer that I bought from Amazon.

It’s coming along…..


As you can see in this pic, it was taken before I had accidentally torn up the original doors.  I had planned on painting the doors white and leaving the 2x4s a nice, weathered look.  I found these lanterns in our garage (I think I bought them from an estate sale a few years back and just couldn’t find a place for them) and I immediately had a light bulb moment for the front of the shed.  And I LOVE the way it looked when I put them up.

I am a firm believer in being resourceful and reusing what you can, so I (thankfully) was able to salvage the hinges off the old doors that I busted up and reuse them on the new ones.  I replaced the vent cover, replaced a LOT of framing boards, made some operable shutters where the glass window had previously been (with some wood I had left over from a previous project) and *BOOM*!!!!!  I was starting to see my vision come together.  I painted the shed one of my favorite shades of white….Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  It’s not a super bright white, and not creamy, either.  Perfectly in between.


But still figuring out what to do to fix that gaping hole in the front!!!!  We have two outdoor cats that I thought would love to cozy up in here during the winter months.  So back to Amazon I went and ordered a simple, two way opening cat door for them to go in and out as they please.  Once it came in, I installed it and was very pleased with the finished result.  The cats are slowly getting used to using the cat door and having a new home, and I’m still getting used to having a super cool, nice pool shed out back.  Now only to get some pretty landscaping around it, some solar candles for those lanterns and a pool……….


Loving the finished pool shed!!

I must say…..this is one of the few projects my husband has stood back and stared at and said “Wow, I really like that”.  I think he was pretty amazed at the transformation, too.




Entertainment Center — 3 ways

I always seem to have some sort of little project going on.  Actually…’s more like a FEW projects going on and I work on one here a little and another a little…and eventually they all get done.  I guess it just kind of depends on what my mood is or what the kids are up to.  They kind of dictate where I am so I usually work on whatever is in the vicinity of where they are.

Here’s a piece that I bought for $20 at a garage sale and re-purposed TWICE 🙂

An old entertainment center — everyone is trying to get rid of these, these days.  NOONE has those big tube TVs anymore.  You can find these just about anywhere you go (Goodwill, Salvation Army, the curb, you name it).


I tried to re-purpose this as best as I could and really liked how it turned out.  It sat on our back patio for a couple of years like this and stored the cat and dog food in the cabinets and the baskets are where the cats slept.  They loved their warm, hay-filled baskets.

I absolutely love chalk paint and one of my favorite brands is CeCe Caldwell.  I painted this piece in Destin Gulf Green (although it looks more like a soft aqua than green) which is one of my favorite colors in that line.  I usually get it from Magnolia Lighting, the closest retailer of this particular chalk paint line.  Plus, I just love going in there and seeing what new things they have and getting design inspiration.  So why is it one of my favorite brands of chalk paint?  Numerous reasons!

– It’s about half the cost of the other well-known name brand of chalk paint out there that is its main competitor (don’t want to say anything negative about other lines so I choose not to say the brand).

– It’s very thick so a little bit goes a very long way.  I used about half a quart when painting this piece.  And a quart runs about $35.

– They are all-natural and non-toxic <<read about it here>>.

– They are made in the USA

– They are mineral paints that contain no potentially harmful or toxic ingredients (e.g. nonyl phenol ethoxylats, APEO, formaldehyde, ammonia, ethylene glycol or acrylic co-polymers) and are packaged in recycled plastic containers.

– They do not contain any ingredients that have to be listed on the label as hazardous under the California Prop 65 law.

After a couple of years, I decided to re-purpose this piece and sell it (I had a booth in a local indoor marketplace).  It stayed the Destin Gulf Green color, but I took out the painted glass from the top cabinets and replaced it with some old rusty tin and also put tin on the back to be able to store and display any items where it was originally meant for a TV to sit with a neat contrasting back.


I always get decorative knobs from Hobby Lobby.  They have the neatest selection and they are 50% off every other week.  So if they’re not on sale when I want them I simply wait until the next week and go in and get them half off ;).  I love a sale!

This piece sold after only a couple of days in the booth and I hope the new owner loved the end result as much as I did.


Paver Path

This project.  THIS project!!!  Did not result in a divorce.  Hallelujah.  By far the longest and hardest laborious job we’ve ever taken on.  But when we got a quote for the paver path we wanted to do, it was insane!  And that was even from the guy who was supposedly the cheapest around.  So what did we do?!!?  We went and bought a wet saw (a fantastic one from Harbor Freight…was very budget friendly and did everything we wanted it to do…..<<check it out here>>).

When I suggested we do it ourselves, my husband just looked at me with fear….the kind of look that says “honey… you really think that’s a good idea????”.  LOL.  Because we are wired completely different.  No joke!!!  He doesn’t really pay that much attention to minute details where I do and I know he was thinking he’d rather pay someone else to screw it up than him screw it up.  I’m a bit of a stickler to details.  I can’t help it…’s just the way that God made me :).  But I just knew we could figure out a system and get it done.



Can I just tell you how brutal it was to dig all of this with a flat head shovel?  I finally got to the point where I had my husband ask our neighbor to ride over with his backhoe and he literally had it dug and leveled within 30 minutes.  MAN heavy equipment amazes me!!!!!  Now on to the pavers……


I locked arms with this amazing lady at General Shale up in Memphis when we were building our house that was absolutely amazing.  She is the golden unicorn for any kind of brick or paver question.  <<Katie Yokie… rock!!!!>>  Our house brick is shown on the floor and all the paver options on the wall.    I loved the top left but thought it might be too much white since most of the house is white.  So we decided on the bottom left for a little bit of a contrast…but not too much.



Hello paver delivery guy!  Worth every bit of that $50 fee.  When building our house, we tore the transmission out of our SUV by hauling flooring.  Not this time!!!  And he was even nice enough to drop a palette every 15 feet so we wouldn’t have to haul them around as much.  So nice!!


Want to know how to effectively measure out a 3″ paver base and make sure it’s right?  Lay down a 3″ diameter PVC pipe and just lay the base material until it hits the top of it.  Pretty simple.  Move the pipe down the walk and keep going.  Pretty high tech, huh??  We try to get things done the easiest way around here ;).  We compacted the paver base with a plate compactor that we rented from Home Depot that was awesome and had it all done in about 45 minutes!!!!  Then we followed that by about an inch of sand before laying the pavers down.

And here we go……..


We managed to get a system down that in the end we were pretty proud of.  The straight shots were simple, but the bends were a bit tricky.  So I numbered each brick that needed to be cut, marked the cut, handed it to my husband and he ran the saw and made each cut and handed it back to me for placement.  It was a bit tedious but it worked with no arguments.  Praise the Lord!!!!



We chose not to take on the extra challenge of using mortar, but rather chose to fill in the cracks with Polymeric Sand (also called Paver Set) from Lowe’s —> check it out here.  You sweep it in the cracks, spray it down with water and it hardens to lock the pavers in place.  Super simple and looks very nice.  Very happy and proud of the end result!

Sweeping in the polymeric sand (paver set):


And ta-da!!!!!  The end result……SO proud of ourselves!!!!  Now our guests don’t have to wear mud boots to come visit 🙂



Want to take on a paver path project of your own?

Here is a step by step go by and list of materials and tools you will need:

  1. Mark out your paver path location in the grass (I used a bright orange marking paint to mark it and extended that by an extra 6″ on each side so I wouldn’t be working in too tight of conditions).
  2. Dig out the path to the required depth (taking into account the paver base material thickness…..we used 3″ of paver base material, 1″ sand, and the paver was 3″) with a flathead shovel OR find you a super nice neighbor with a backhoe to come dig it for you in about 30 minutes.
  3. Lay down the 3″ of paver base material (we used a fine crushed limestone) and compact with a vibratory compactor (we rented a 20″ Vibratory Plate Compactor from Home Depot that worked like a charm and was worth every penny).  Keep in mind that you never want to compact more than 4″ of material at a time or else it will only compact the top 4″ and will leave the remaining material on the bottom to settle and cause issues down the road.  You can also sprinkle your paver base material with water to help the compaction process and minimize dust flying up during compacting.
  4. Lay the sand over the compacted paver base material. DO NOT COMPACT the sand.  This is a common mistake. When you lay the pavers down you will hand tamp them into the sand and the loose sand will be forced up between the pavers to set and secure them.
  5. Begin laying the pavers, making all necessary cuts with the wet saw (this is the one we used that worked great) for placement.  I used a mallet to tamp the pavers into the sand.
  6. This is optional, but we used an anchored paver edging system (check it out HERE) from Home Depot that anchors into the ground to hold the pavers exactly where you want them so they don’t shift.  We might not have needed them since we had soil compacted on both sides of the path, but it kept me happy knowing they would never be able to shift or move from their location.
  7. We chose to use Polymeric Sand rather than mortar on our path and we have never regretted not using mortar.  And it was so much easier to work with!  Pour the polymeric sand all over the pavers and brush it all into the cracks with a shop broom.
  8. Using a water hose, sprinkle the paver path down (don’t drench it…..just sprinkle enough to get the path completely wet so the polymeric sand will set).  The water causes the polymeric sand to harden and lock the pavers in place.
  9. Sit and marvel at your finished project and enjoy your amazing new paver path!!!!


Goat Pile to Den Wall

One of my all time favorite DIY projects was when I was about 6 months pregnant with our third child, it was freezing cold at Christmas time, but I knew it would have to go down while I was visiting my parents over the holidays or it just wouldn’t happen (since I needed my dad’s mad saw skills….didn’t want to attempt that with the big belly in the way… well as the cypress slats from his pile at the barn).  I had an idea in my mind of EXACTLY what I wanted it to look like, sketched it on paper for him with exact dimensions (yes, I’m type A…..but my dad couldn’t say much….I got it from him).


While dad got his tools prepared, I pretty much devoted my efforts to just sanding the goat poop off the cypress boards and loading wood in the old wood burning furnace in the shop to keep us warm.


Here it is coming to fruition.  I had to go back and forth with my dad a bit because he’s a tad old school and sees the historical aspect of things and I was only seeing the end product I wanted.  It was hard for him to cut the cypress boards from 12″ down to 10″ because he said in the olden days it was very rare to find a 12″ cypress slat come out of the sawmill.  But I finally talked him into it…..I wanted each board to be the exact same width and when I told him to give me the saw he gladly moved forward.  And no….I wasn’t going to get to work with that saw at 6 months pregnant.  I knew it would do the trick ;).

Dad sure was working hard……coming along very nicely and staying warm by that wood burning stove I might add.  My back couldn’t handle much more so at about 10:00pm I had to give Nana a break and go bathe the other kids, get them in bed and crash.  I woke up to find that dad had trimmed the edges out quite beautifully to give me an amazing piece, exactly like I wanted!!!


See the darker vertical spots on the third cypress board?  That’s where my dad once used that very same board as a ramp into his truck for my black lab that had hip problems and couldn’t jump up in his truck anymore.  I LOVE that the piece also holds sentimental value.  When picking out the boards, he grabbed that one and showed it to me and I knew immediately what it had been used for.  And I also love how you can see the blade marks on each board where the huge blade cut the boards as it ran through the sawmill decades ago.


TA-DA!!!!!  The finished product.

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this piece ?????!!!!!!??????