DAY 14 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Faucets

Wanna make life better? Fix a faucet. There are a ton of options on how to accomplish faucet new-ness and doesn’t always require a repairman or a plumber. Let’s dig into it….

ONE: Paint

If you read DAY 12’s post about painting, you’ll have seen the section where I recommended painting a faucet. In my MIL’s hall bath, shown above, we were going to leave the shower faucet ORB even though we were going matte black on the other fixtures. It was going to be hidden behind the shower curtain so we weren’t too concerned. Then, I got a wild hair and thought, hmmm, let’s paint that little mofo. I had painted the light fixture, why not that? I got her permission to experiment and if it ended up looking like crap after usage, we’d just replace it. The paint was a good inexpensive first step. We left the shower head, the tub faucet and the valve cover on. We papered and taped around the tub and shower to make sure no overspray would get onto the tile or ceiling. It worked! After about a year of usage, the paint is still holding up STRONG. Here is the paint we used.

See the post I did about this bathroom here.

TWO: Clean

Something else you can do to make your faucets like new is to clean them out. Calcium build up can really put a damper on water pressure. You can secure a bag of vinegar around it and let it soak for a few hours, then run some water to get the vinegar out. The water should flow more freely.

Another non-faucet related, but kind of related cleaning you can do came to me as a suggestion from Brenna Brooks of Brenlow Properties. She said she was having water pressure problems, so she had a plumber come by to see what was up. Turns out she had a ton of calcium build up in her old copper pipes. The plumber used some solution to rid it of all the build up and WA-LA, water pressure restored! So, it’s like a whole new faucet without getting a new faucet.

THREE: Repair or Replace

Call a plumber out to fix a leaky valve or replace the faucet all together. Who are we kidding, we really do just want a new faucet. Go for it. You can even replace a shower head all on your own. Just buy the shower head and some plumber’s tape. Wrap the tape around the direction of how the shower head will move around the threads. Easy.

If you want to replace a whole faucet altogether, here are some of my favorite faucets that range drastically in price depending on my project.

If you find one on Amazon, don’t forget to search in Amazon Warehouse Deals! If you don’t know what that is, just click on that link and search for the faucet or any other item! These are items that people returned for whatever reason. Some are damaged but most I find are like new or are new, open boxed items. They will tell you in the description.

Another way to get to it is to search on the Amazon home page and just choose Amazon Warehouse in the drop down box to the left. Practice by clicking on the photo.

OR….

When you have done a general search for something and the item has come up, scroll down below the price, add to cart button, etc and choose the “Used & new from…” link. That will take you to all of the used items and returns. You can choose to buy a used one from another vendor or from Amazon Warehouse. Click on the photo below to see where that circle link takes you.

Ok let’s get going on the faucet updates!

If you have any success with your faucets, whether paint, repair or a new purchase, show me! Use the #updatedon’trenovatechallenge tag!

DAY 7 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Kitchen Cabinets

My apologies on the rage that builds throughout this post. Kitchens fire me up.

The biggest complaint I get during consults is about the kitchen cabinets. No shock there. But, do we really need to go ripping them all out? Maybe sometimes. If you just want to and have the funds, great. But, if you don’t, today’s challenge is for you.

There are several ways we’ll tackle the kitchen cabinets today. The first one we will address is the biggest complaint about cabinets.

There Isn’t Enough Storage

To that I say BULL SHIT. I have yet to meet a kitchen that can’t be worked. Even the smallest kitchen I have ever seen I was able to figure out where to put everything. The trick is being realistic about your stuff. I’m not going to beat this to death because we have purged a bunch already and I will have a rage stroke if I go too deep on this. But a few tips here:

  • Small Appliances: Purge any small appliances that are redundant to your big ones. For instance a toaster oven is ridiculous to own if you have no room and you have a perfectly good ACTUAL OVEN that can….you know… toast things. And you can really go balls to the wall and just pitch the toaster while you’re at it because again…you have a giant full size toaster oven called an ACTUAL OVEN. Now move on to the others. The blender you never use. The panini press. The popcorn maker. If you MUST have these but don’t want them in the way, consider moving them to a place that is less in the way like a shelf in the garage, basement, pantry or laundry room.

  • Pots & Pans: What do you actually need and actually use to cook? Do you need 18 skillets? I think not. You can likely get by with a large soup pot or dutch oven, a larger skillet, a smaller skillet and a sauce pan. Maybe even less than that depending on how desperate you are for space.

  • Utensils: Look at your utensil. Purge the idiot ones. Replace any that are too far gone like that carrot peeler that the handle broke off of 2 years ago, yet you keep trying to get by like freaking a hero. Splurge today on a carrot peeler. You deserve it.

  • Dishes/Glassware/Mugs/ETC: How many sets of dishes do you have? How many sets of glassware? What about all those random plastic cups you got at baseball games or at Harkins Theaters 18 years ago. Tell those mofos to get a life and peace out. Try to keep a set if you can. It just feels better. Allow yourself to keep random mismatched if it feels like a collection to you. Like maybe your mugs. Otherwise, those random mismatched plates can take a hike.

  • Storage Containers: If you have an explosion of storage containers, then go through them and purge the ones that have no matching lid or container. If they suck, get new ones. Grab a little bin and throw all of the lids in there and stack the bottoms together.

  • Spices: That stuff goes bad. How old is yours? What is never getting used…EVER?

Be harsh. Your sanity depends on your ability to win out over the guilt of getting rid of that one mug and saucer your mom got you because it {insert fake high pitched mom voice here} “would be so cute for soup!” but doesn’t stack well and is taking up serious real estate only because it is “so cute”. Ok moving on to the actual cabinets.

Organize In A Way That Makes Sense

Now we put things back in a way that makes sense to how we use the kitchen. Put cups, plates, silverware and bowls near the dishwasher to put away more easily. Pots and pans can go near the oven or even in the oven drawer. I feel like this is obvious but I have been in homes where the cookware was nowhere near the cooktop. And actually, just last month I bought myself a little mug tree and put it by the blender, which may make no sense to you, but to me is genius because that is where I blend my bulletproof coffee (coffee + butter). Life has become so much better being able to pick up a mug right there and pour my coffee in.

If you have everything put back and you still don’t have the space you need, then you maybe weren’t as ruthless as you needed to be. Try again.

Remove A Cabinet

And everyone loses their shit. “Why would I want to remove a cabinet!? I need storage!” Well, upper cabinets feel like giant heavy boxes hanging over our heads because that is exactly what they ARE. You can feel it. It’s like bad feng shui or some shit like that. Find one random one that is poking out. Hanging there. All willy nilly. I double dog dare you. All you need is a screw driver. There will be consequences though. Holes to fill. Paint to paint. Maybe a shelf or two to hang. Or if you don’t need storage because you have purged half your kitchen belongings, hang some art! Your heart will love it. There should be more art in the world.

Replace These

i almost don’t even want to say this next one because the minute I do you’ll tune out. Every other design website and show has said this is the way to update your kitchen and I don’t like to be like “them”. But, changing your YOU KNOW WHATS can be good if you do it right. Be creative. Don’t go with the obvious. Sometimes what you think is a decent handle will look terrible strewn all over your kitchen. Imagine looking into your kitchen and seeing black (brushed nickel, brass, whatever) bars dotting the landscape. Does that look good or annoying to you? What about handles that “match” your cabinets? They disappear! Could you like that more? I have done that in this kitchen because I didn’t want the hardware to ruin the color scheme. Finding white handles was near impossible so I spray painted some nickel ones.

There are loads of options here and I’d say that one size doesn’t fit all. Look up some kitchens similar that to yours on Pinterest and see what you might like. A good place to find hardware is Amazon because you can often find packs of 10-20. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve used over and over.

Remove These

Take that stuff down from above your cabinets.. Just try it. See how it feels for a few days. In most cases it doesn’t “work” in my opinion. More things looming overhead. Not good for the soul.

Add Storage

LAST RESORT. Now we get to it, but not until way after the purge. Why add storage to fuel the hoarding fire? That makes no sense. If after all of that you still need a bit more storage, or maybe just a more suitable type of storage, consider these options:

  • Try using some of your cookware as the “art” of the room. Hang pans somewhere, alleviating the need to take up a cabinet

  • Add shelves for glassware, dishes, mugs, etc Let’s hope you chose to keep a good looking set or collection

  • If you have an empty wall, bring in a buffet. It can double as storage and extra counter space.

Try your best to keep most things hidden. More things to look at usually result in a cluttered head. At least for me.

That’s It

That’s a lot to take in and for some of you a lot of work ahead so we’ll stop right there. Show us your work in progress and your after photos over on Instagram or tell us about it below!

Missed a challenge? See the last week here.



DAY 2 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: The Dishes Are Done Dude

The appliance that started this whole challenge….my dishwasher. When we bought our house it came with what seemed like a great dishwasher. It’s a GE Profile with stainless steel tub. In my experience, those are nicer, more expensive, quieter machines. So, imagine my surprise when I opened it up and it was pretty dirty inside. I mean for F’s SAKE! Shouldn’t that appliance be able to clean itself? That’s its job! To clean!

I was kinda grossed out by someone else’s dirt and yet decided just to ignore it. We needed to use the dishwasher so I just started using it thinking hmm maybe it just needs to go through a cycle or two. Then I thought that running some magic concoction of baking soda and vinegar through it would clean it right up. NOPE. I gave up. I know. I’m disgusting.

Two years go by and aside from scooping out some random bits of food on the bottom, I don’t do much to this annoyingly unclean cleaning machine. There was some visible goopiness that made me just want to throw the stupid thing away. I told a guy at an appliance store this and he looked at me like, “Well have you cleaned it?” I knew he was thinking it. I beat him to the punch, “No I haven’t cleaned it bc its disgusting and i don’t want to touch that shit. It should clean it’s own damn self!” As I was saying it I thought it might sound funny, but really it was just childish and embarrassing. I knew I had to stop being an idiot.

A few days later I noticed a glass had broken in the dishwasher so i grabbed out the broken piece. It was next to a gunky seal strip so I pulled that out and OH MY GOD how freaking FOUL AF. I gagged. I stopped and asked my husband to bring home gloves. I could not move forward. I mean I’m no delicate flower but this was gag-riffic.

An hour later I had my gloves on and got to business. First I pulled the racks out and put them outside to hose them down. Next, I pulled the tracks out, making sure to chase down every ball bearing that bounced away. The gliding tracks were caked on with what could only be the devil’s sludge.

At the bottom of the dishwasher I dug around a little bit in the back to see what other little gems were hiding out there. EVEN MORE DISGUSTING SLUDGE STRAIGHT FROM SATAN. I pulled the spinny thing out and GAG. I pulled out some basket and shit I don’t even know what these things do but I just kept fishing out anything that was removable and collecting sludge. Even the seals on the side of the dishwasher that keeps water from spewing out were sludge-y. Don’t worry I’ll spare you and only show one photo of a light gunking.

Outfitted with this magical steel scrubber, a handled scrub brush, a flat head screw driver, soap and water, I went to town on every piece. YOU GUYS > THIS WHOLE PROCESS TOOK ME THREE FRICKIN FRACKIN HOURS, hence the reason I had all the time in the world to think of this challenge.

Long story short, I got to as much as I could, closed it up with whatever parts it needed to operate and turned on a rinse cycle. Then again with vinegar. Then again bc it was leaking out of the right corner. Then again. And again. Finally, I got it to stop leaking, put the tracks and racks back and that is the story of how my shitty AF dishwasher became like brand new without spending more than $3 for gloves (I’m guessing. I wasn’t there for that part.)

Hallelujah for like brand new appliances!

Now, I asked my mom and my two sisters if theirs were gross thinking of course they were, THEY HAD NO IDEA! But no they were not. Just mine. I looked at my mother-in-law’s that night, it was not gross. Maybe I’m just a filthy human being. Either way, if this tale of dishwasher satan sludge can help you, then I am glad to be of service.

If not, then here are some other options:

  1. Been using your dishwasher as a drying rack? Then GYST and call a repair person to finally come out and fix that stupid thing. If you are unsure you want to spend the money on fixing an old one, then….

  2. Commit. Go get a new one.

  3. If new is too expensive, get a refurbished one from a reseller. They’ll still deliver and install and warranty for a short period of time. You can have a new to you dishwasher today!

  4. Get a scratch & dent model.

Is Your Dishwasher Fine Because You are Not Disgusting (Or You Don’t Have A Dishwasher)?

Ok I still want you to feel like you got to participate. This is for you….get yourself one or some of the following:

  1. New dish sponges.

  2. New scrub brush with a handle. This one is my favorite. I also like this one and have it at my new Airbnb. It has held up for quite a while and doesn’t look gross after much MUCH use. The bamboo handle feels good in your hand compared to the plastic nonsense. When possible, I try to opt for non-plastic.

  3. A drying pad for your counter. I got mine on Amazon as one does.

  4. A new drying rack or clean your drying rack and make it like new! I have this one at The Shack and I love it because it collapses and you can put it away. Anything you can get out of your face for a bit is best in my book. I have a drying pad below it.

Things That Help Make Life Better…

Hopefully everyone is a little happier with their dishwashing situation after today. After all, the sink and dishwasher can make or break happiness in the kitchen!

"The Lounge" Downtown Cincinnati Airbnb is Live!

After a great rush to fill my friend, agent and fellow flipper, Grant Steed’s condo with all the comfiness, the time has come to hit the SEND button! Now live and ready for your next Cincinnati visit is The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati Airbnb! Let me give you the grand tour!

The Lounge is over 2000 square feet, 1100 of which is just in the living room area alone! I kid you not. If you know anything about downtown spaces, you know that that is just ridiculously huge. The space used to be a social club back in the day, so we wanted to bring a little bit of that vibe in and impart a comfortable lounge feel. In order to do that with the large area, we made separate seating areas and places to chill.

The Living Room

The main seating area is outfitted with two large chesterfield sofas and huge 4’ square coffee table, all of which face a 65” Roku TV.

The windows are one of the best parts of this loft bringing in a ton of light. There isn’t a building directly across from The Lounge, so it feels private despite the wall to wall windows.

*affiliate links ahead…

Chesterfield Sofas | Coffee Table (vintage) | Rug | Lamp

The Bar

Behind the sofas in the other half of the front living area is the bar set up with two lounge chairs facing the TVs as well.

Lounge Chairs | Bar | Cincinnati Art | Coffee Table (vintage) | Rug | Pillow

The Dining Room

Moving away from the windows we come to a large dining table with seating for 8. I imagine this as a great place to host a dinner party or work meeting.

Downtown Cincinnat The Lounge Airbnb

The Library

Across from the dining table is our library stocked with a ton of books. I filled it with as many random books as i could get my hands on. You’ll find anything from finance to romance novels, biographies to thrillers. Take one or leave one. Up to you! Enjoy a book on our chaise lounge that also converts to a twin size bed.

Chaise Lounge Chair | Rug | Bookshelves | Art | Lamp

The Kitchen

Rounding out the living area is this kitchen with a huge island with seating for three making that a total of 20 seats in the living area! The kitchen is fully stocked with everything someone needs on a vacation and then some. Knives that actually cut! Storage containers for leftovers! I try to consider everything!

Counter Stools

Which means that a coffee bar is A MUST! A 12 cup coffee pot should take care of things nicely. If not, have some tea.

Coffee Bar | Microwave | Coffee Pot | Coffee Cup Stand | Dishware/Coffee Cups

The Master Bedroom

Moving onto the bedrooms…I’m all about getting a good night’s rest. So both bedrooms come with a comfy memory foam mattress, organic bamboo sheets and blackout curtains. This condo is in the city, but it’s actually very quiet! I have included a noise machine just in case for those that aren’t accustomed to even the tiniest bit of city noise.

The master bath is also very large and comes with two vanities and two shower heads. Lots of room to get ready in the morning.

Master Bedroom in the Lounge Downtown Cincinnati

The Second Bedroom

The other bedroom also has a queen bed and all the amenities of the other bedroom. The second bath is in the hallway and includes a tub with shower and plenty of storage.

Art | Bamboo Sheets | Bed | Curtains | Curtain Rod | Mattress | Mattress Pad Cover | Side Tables | Throw Blanket | Quilt

Not only is this loft incredibly comfortable, it’s also in one of the best locations downtown. Situated on the Northern end of the Central Business District puts this loft only one block from OTR. This is basically the best of both worlds. Walk South to all of the attractions on the Ohio River such as the Red’s and Bengal’s stadiums, the restaurants and bars at The Banks, US Bank Arena or come inland a little to Fountain Square and all of it’s attractions. Walk North to OTR and visit a ton of the city’s greatest restaurants, small shops and breweries. Don’t want to walk? The street car passes (quietly) in front of this loft with a stop on the same block. My favorite things nearby though, are the couple of coffee shops just around the corner. We have written up a huge guidebook with all of our favorite places and really had a hard time stopping at what we had. So much good stuff!

The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati

I’m so excited for you guys to get to see and hopefully visit this great spot now! I stayed here for a week while I was putting it all together and I pretty much didn’t want to leave. The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati is now available for nightly bookings so you can see for yourself. Weekly and monthly discounts are available! Click the link below to see what dates are available!

Meet The Shack!

If you've been following my Insta stories, you know I keep saying it's done or almost done....but for real this time, it's done! Ok no it's not done done but it's ready. Because what project is ever done? Let's just say Phase I is complete.

The Shack is finally available for vacation stays! I'll get into each part of the house and exactly what I did with sources....soon. But, not today. Today is celebration day that a project is done and I didn't lose my mind! Hooray! 

The Shack is a 700sf STUDIO HOME. I've never seen one of those before in my life, but I knew it had to be mine when I saw it. It's actually quite like a large hotel suite with a queen bed, sleeper sofa, TV and dining table/workspace in the main living space. 

There's plenty of room to spread out and get comfortable just like in a very spacious hotel room, only you won't have to worry about noisy neighbors in the room next door or above you.

The Shack also comes with a full kitchen. I've set up a coffee bar area, complete with microwave to warm that cup up after it's gone cold. 

There's a also a full oven, stove and fridge so you can make any meal you like. I've tried to think of everything you'll need including providing knives that cut! :) There's also bottle openers, skillets, a Magic Bullet blender, storage containers for leftovers, oil for cooking and all the utensils you could need! Also in the kitchen is a closet for the washer and dryer. 

For a studio house, the bathroom is huge! There's plenty of space at the vanity for getting ready to go out on the town. When you're back from your excursions, enjoy the jetted whirlpool tub. 

The front porch is great for chillin' as is the back patio (which is still enjoying a little facelift). 

The Shack is available now for booking! To grab your spot, click the button below to go to the Airbnb listing. I'll be back with more updates on each area room and it's before and after soon!