Demo Update – The beam is in!

If you’re just tuning in, we’re (finally!) working on our house! For what we thought would take us ages to accomplish, we’ve finally made moves to get some work done.  It all started last week when the construction crew took down the load bearing wall separating our living room from our dining/kitchen.  When I got home that day this is what our front yard looked like:

house remodel | brittanyMakes

It’s crazy to see how much work can get accomplished in one day.  This crew works fast! I was afraid my neighbors would get upset over the mess, but our construction crew cleaned this up in a flash.

The second day was completely devoted to getting that load bearing beam in place.

house remodel | brittanyMakes



house remodel | brittanyMakes


Apparently this beam is like a thousand pounds. A thousand pounds of glory! You see how fab my living room looks now that the wall is gone? Yes it’s still a mess, but it’s so open and amazing!

house remodel | brittanyMakes


The next step is to get this beam approved by the inspector, then the crew will patch everything back up and hide the fact that wall ever existed.

Have I mentioned we’re tackling the kitchen too? Oh boy, things just got good REAL fast.

See our living room plans here

See the first demo day here



It’s happening!

Even while typing this, I don’t fully believe it’s happening.  It wasn’t long ago when I shared our kitchen and living room plans thinking it would be months, years even, before we would be able to change anything.  Well, spoiler alert! We’ve started the demo process!

This wall is going!

living room

I think my husband and I were just tired of looking at, and talking about, everything we wanted to change in the house, so we decided to get some information from contractors in our area.  We wanted to know how much it would cost to remove, or cut out, the load bearing wall that separates our living room from our dining/kitchen.  The alternate bid we wanted to get a feel for was demoing the short wall that divides our kitchen from our dining space. We thought we could save a buck and tackle that project on our own.  With the help of family and friends we would demo the wall and remove the cabinets and all that jazz. The load bearing wall though? For sure we’d  have to hire out.  Our house is small, and having all those walls just made the space seem smaller. We knew removing this wall would open up the floorplan and make the space appear larger, not to mention improve the overall flow of the house.

The more information we obtained by the different contractors we had look at our space, we realized a lot of the work that we thought we could DIY would be over our heads. We would have to move pluming, draw a new gas line to switch our stove from electrical to gas, and moving our vent hood from the interior wall to the wall that faces the backyard.  As much as I love a good DIY, I knew it would take a long, long time to get all this done on our own, possibly meaning weeks without a kitchen and more likely than not we’d do a shoddy job.  As a DIYer, you just gotta know your limits!

We got a couple of bids from a few contractors, and they seemed to be all over the place.  We ended up finding a company off of Angie’s List that came out to meet us right away.  They really wanted to work with us, saw our needs, and knew their team could get it done for us right.  Not to mention, for all the work we wanted to do, they happened to be the most reasonable. I like to think baby Zano seduced them with his cheeks! Really though! His cheeks are scrumptious :)

So, we signed the contract on Sunday and I’m happy to report that demo has already begun! Yesterday morning our house was intact, our load bearing wall looked like this:

interior wall before | brittanyMakes

and when we got home last night, it looked like this!

house remodel | brittanyMakes

In the front there you still see a corner of the wall that shares the entryway.  This piece is being taken down today!

I feel like i’m talking in circles, but seriously, taking down a load bearing wall is SUPER important to get right, which is why we decided to hire out.  Load bearing walls are generally responsible for the structural integrity of a house.  As you can see in the pic above, in our house all cross beams were resting on this wall. Just don’t be an idiot and remove a wall without checking if it’s load bearing. That’s all I’m gonna say!

You’ll notice in the picture our contractors first built supports on the left and right side of the wall before they did anything to the load bearing wall.   Once these were in place and fully supporting the house, they went on to removing the wall.  I can’t see the full effect yet since the tarps are still up, but it’s so close! We’re so close to having that open concept space we’ve been dreaming about since we moved in.

So, the good news is we’re opening everything up! The bad news? Our floors will have to be patched up until we can save up some dough for flooring.  Anyone have 1100 sqft of flooring they want to send us? Yes? No? Crickets?


MAKE THIS // Leather Handle Tray

Thank you everyone for all your great comments on the woven bench post! I already have some family members requesting that I make them a bench.  It’s very encouraging, although I just might have to invest in a KregJig.

OH. And about that earthquake!  Is everyone OK?? My grandpa owns a couple stores in Sonoma which got a little rattled, poor guy had to rally up a team of employees at 3:30 am to clean up before they opened.  A friends brother’s garage floor cracked, some keepsakes broke at my Meemaw’s house, and my baby boy slept through the whole darn thing. It definitely woke me up, and motherhood has officially changed my outlook on earthquakes.  I used to think they were no big deal, but this was the first time I really felt panicky that I couldn’t protect my baby from something, and I didn’t like that feeling one bit!  My husband on the other hand, he just fell right back to sleep (ha!), but it seriously got me thinking that we need to fine tune our evacuation plan.

ANYWAY, back to today’s tutorial! You may have noticed a cute little leather handled tray sitting on that woven bench I made…

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakes


Maybe you didn’t, that’s OK! See it there now? So cute, right? Well it just happens to be world’s easiest project I made from my stash of leather scraps. If you remember, I made this pinwheel pillow and this camera strap also from leather scraps!  Seriously, don’t toss your leather scraps or fabric remnants, chances are you can easily make something chic and sophisticated with them.  I’ll be here all day encouraging you to do so :P

So anyway, this project started out with a need.  I needed a tray of sorts by my bedside to corral all the random things – glass of water, hair clips, baby monitor, etc, you know, all those random things that make your bedside table look a mess? It was getting out of hand and I didn’t need yet another fancy $50 tray.  Lo and behold I found this $5 fabric covered tray at Target (I can’t find it on the website, sorry!), and athough it was lovely enough in gray linen, I thought it needed a little dressing up.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


Naturally the next thing I did was grab my trusty stash of leather scraps.  Then, I measured and cut two 3/4″ x 6″ strips of leather to make two handles.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


I cut triangles out of each end so that the handle resembles a little banner.


MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


Using a leather hole punch, I punched one hole on each end of the strap.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


I eyeballed where I wanted to place the leather strap on each side of the tray, grabbed my drill and drilled two holes using a bit about the same size diameter of a rivet.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


I attached each handle with two rivets, I only had silver rivets on hand but brass rivets would look fantastic here too!


MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes


Super cute, right? And so easy? What’s funny is I originally needed this tray at my bedside but now it resides on our coffee table. I’m back at square one with a mess of a bedside table.  Tell me, what do you use to corral your bedside randoms??


HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY


HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesI love a good hack! I mean, who doesn’t? I saw this woven wrap bench from CB2 and… you know what happened, that thought that plagues all us DIYers danced in my head, ‘hey, I can make that!’ It’s an illness. You’ve got it, I’ve got it. There is no cure. Except money, maybe money is the cure? Sorry CB2, I can’t afford a $400 bench, so.. I’m gonna hack it? Why yes, yes I am.

Now, the take-away for any good hack is to not replicate it exactly. Make it your own in some way.  I mean, unless you can hack it so exact it’s like a replica.  I know my limitations and there’s no way I could hack those legs, so I took the essence of the wrap bench and made my version. Let’s go!

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesSupplies needed:

First, go to the banister/decking section of your home improvement store and get the 2″x2″ pieces of redwood.  I tried using the 2″x2″s in the regular wood section before in a different project and they just splintered on me. Do I know what I’m doing? Probably not. What kind of wood is in the regular wood section? Not sure! I am absolutely not a woodsmith, and I’m not going to pretend to be!  I’m sure there are fancy tools that I should be using to prevent splitting wood, but alas I’m impatient and I just want to build things with my drill and miter saw. I bought 5 of the 2″x2″s in the decking section. I forget how long they are, 48″?

You will need to cut the following:

2 pieces of 45″ 2″x2″

4 pieces of 16″ 2″x2″

2 pieces of 14″ 2″x2″

Also, grab two bundles of 200ft clothesline.  You might think one is enough, it’s not, so save yourself a trip back to the store and grab 2! I also grabbed one spool of neon coral cord, which is in the same section as the clothesline and chain and stuff.

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesI wanted the legs to be a bit fancy, but I couldn’t figure out how to cut the angle on my miter saw for the life of me, so I measured 5″ up each 16″ leg, then 3/4″ in on the bottom, and cut along this line using my jig saw (see pic below). I followed this step with a light sanding.

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesNext, and this is where I truly show my lack of woodsmithing skills, I clamped the 16″ legs and 14″ side pieces to my dining table (LOL right?) and drilled them together with wood screws.  The correct way to do this would be to use a KregJig or some pocket-hole system, however I don’t have a KregJig, so I just screwed them together from the sides.  I would also recommend filling these holes with stainable wood filler, which I obviously didn’t do because I forgot to buy some. I can only take so many trips back to the store for one project.

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesSo anyway, now that you know what not to do, here is what it looked like after I did those things! It actually came out quite sturdy. On to staining!

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesPrior to staining raw wood, you always want to apply a wood conditioner.  It prevents blochiness and helps the raw wood soak up the stain more evenly.

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesOnce the stain was completely dry, I went right on to weaving the clothesline over and under, back and forth, all the way along the bench.  Just make sure you pull very tight!  I tied the ends of the clothesline to one another by threading the clothesline that ended at right end of the bench back through to the starting side, if that makes sense.  The knot fell somewhere in the middle of the bench.

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesI LOVE IT! Really! Even though I fail at screwing wood together “properly”, I actually love how this bench turned out.  Believe it or not, it does hold my weight! Although I didn’t make this for sitting, I’m showcasing this bench as our coffee table, since our living room has been sans coffee table since we moved in back in April! This bench would also look fab in front of a bed, under a window, or in an entryway!

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesLove love love, all day long!

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakesWhat do you think? Oh, and please ignore the carpet.  Just pretend its gorgeous hardwood laid in an impractical chevron pattern.



Make This: Succulent Arrangement


MAKE THIS: DIY Succulent Arrangement | brittanyMakes


Succulents are such a black-thumb friendly plant.  I’m so glad plants like this exist because if all plants were as high maintenance as fiddles or orchids, I’d never have a plant in my home.  I have been testing my plant parenting abilities, which has been both a success and a failure, but so far our cute sun room has proven to be mighty helpful in our plants survival.

Anywho, back to this quick project. I found the perfect copper footed bowl the other day while thrifting.  I don’t remember how much it was, $4? Anyway, I knew it would be perfect for a drippy plant or arrangement. I took a trip to my trusty home improvement store to scope out plants and other foliage when I found the perfect wild and drippy succulent.  So yeah, this project revolves around that guy right up there.

MAKE THIS: DIY Succulent Arrangement | brittanyMakes



To some, building an arrangement might be a no brainer, but if you are like me and only recently learned about drainage to prevent a plant from rotting, this post might be helpful to you.  I faintly recall killing my first rosemary tree by watering it so much it rot.  It’s a sad lesson to learn!

So yeah, if you are using a vessel that does not have a drainage hole, you want to layer the bottom with about a half-inch of pebbles so that the water sits below the soil.  Next, add a layer of dirt, then you’ll gently tuck your succulents in the vessel along with more soil.

There happens to be a method to a well-balanced arrangement.  You need three things: 1) varying size – select a few succulents of varying sizes: something small, something fat, something textured etc  2) varying height – make sure you have a good high-to-low mix.  There’s nothing more boring than a flat horizontal arrangement.  Actually, I’m sure there are thousands of more boring things, but you get my drift. 3) be mindful of the color palette, there is a special time and place for a multi-colored arrangement.

I found another brass footed bowl while thrifting! I think I’ll go fill that one with some succulents too…


DIY Leather & Gold Pinwheel Pillow

It’s no secret I like making pillows from scratch.  I’m sure it’s the miser in me, I can’t afford to buy new pillows as often as I feel like changing them out, so I make them.  I’ve had a few flops, but I’m quite pleased with my latest pillow creation so naturally I have a tutorial for you!

DIY Leather & Gold Pinwheel Pillow | brittanyMakes


The steps are a cinch, promise!

DIY Leather & Gold Pinwheel Pillow | brittanyMakes

STEP 1 | Measure and cut yourself a square pattern measuring 20″x20″, preferably from a large piece of paper like Kraft or butcher paper

STEP 2 | Fold your 20″x20″ paper pattern in half corner to corner (AB to EF), then fold in half again, and fold in half one final time to get your single pinwheel triangle pattern

STEP 3 | Trace & cut various fabrics of choice, I chose 2 pieces of leather hide (left over from the project I did with the Leather Hide Store), 2 pieces of metallic gold fabric, and 2 pieces of beige vegan leather. Lay your triangle pieces of fabric out to visualize the layout, like so:

DIY Leather & Gold Pinwheel Pillow | brittanyMakes

STEP 4 | Sew together each corner quadrant, A & B, C & D, E & F, G & H

STEP 5 | Sew the quadrants together to make two halves, AB & CD, then EF & GH

STEP 6 | Sew the halves together to make your full pillow front, ABCD & EFGH

STEP 7 | Sew your pillow front to the backside fabric of your choice. I chose to do a solid backside from the same beige vegan leather used in the front side. You can choose to add a zipper or not, I chose not to add a zipper.  I sewed 3 full sides and the fourth side I left about a 4 inch opening, turned the fabric right side out, stuffed with pillow fluff, and closed the 4-inch opening by running it through my sewing machine.

DIY Leather & Gold Pinwheel Pillow | brittanyMakes


There you have it! It’s not as complicated as it looks, no? I really loved how this pillow turned out, it looks good almost anywhere in my house!


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