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DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door


DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door

Since we have moved into this house we have had heating and air condition problems. It is a 1910 home and we are lucky to even have HVAC in Denver. Most friends do not have this luxury. We have no insulation in our house. Like zero. Behind this plaster is brick.. well hopefully (wink wink). In one instance, we removed the baseboard to the left of the door and we were able to see straight outside. This was also the case next to the pantry. (No wonder there was once a mouse problem...) Our food would be COLD, like icicle cold, in the winter in our old pantry. We wanted to get this door and door jam repaired since it is original to our home but unfortunately the door was just too warped. Look at the top left corner of the door. It was bowing out significantly and we were able to literally see outside at all times. This created a bug problem and also our house was losing air quickly. Throughout the last 100 years or so, this door faced the elements and the storm door was offering little to no protection at this point. So it was concluded we needed to replace the original back door (cue Nicole Curtis yelling at me...) and my dad graciously gifted us a new storm door & installation for a house warming present.

Funny story: When we first bought our house my step mom came in town to help us with a few projects. When she first got here we went to Home Depot to purchase supplies for the weekend projects and I was asking Ben for a new storm door because the one originally at the house would slam shut so loud and it actually ripped several pieces of clothing because it was broken. This was week 2 of owning our first home and Ben was like "No! We can't spend all our money right now!" haha soo my step mom told my dad this story when she got home because real adult life set in for us. Since that day my dad has been set on gifting us a storm door!

This sound so silly but I have been absolutely so excited about this! You will see why below but the full glass allows for this mini indoor/outdoor feel that I just love when having guests over to sit on the back porch under the twinkle lights! Also I like to leave it open when I am cooking to look outside and get all the natural light possible! It even has a self closing mechanism so NO MORE SLAMMING! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this the most about the new storm door. Anyways back to the back door...

Here is a before shot from inside our kitchen. Looking back on it, the door was rough.

I really wanted to keep the integrity of the home and this meant ordering a custom wood door. We went to The Door Store in Denver and their prices were really reasonable (actually WAY cheaper than Home Depot) and they had a style that was really close to our original door. The only detail we lost was the look of the 4 windows. I truly like the all glass because again it lets in more light and I can look outside unobstructed.

This is the day our contractor installed the new door!

I will get into a few other problems we had with the door that are common with old homes and shows you just how much craftsmanship went into this from our contractor. You can see above that the concrete slab under the door was crumbling. Also the deck is right up against the doorway so this causes water to pool up against the house. In addition, the wood around the transom was rotted. Basically we needed help. Our contractor suggested that he could add concrete to stabilize the door below the new threshold, he could add another picture window in front of the original transom to increase energy efficiency and he could install some decking to redirect water away from our house. No sooner than he discussed this with us, we had a major rain and hail storm in Denver. The water came pouring in our kitchen on the newly finished hardwood floors. We had cardboard all over the floors to protect them and the water soaked underneath and to top it all off our floors are of course uneven so we were in a scramble to clean up all the water in the kitchen. Thankfully we were home and heard the water gushing in so we were able to act fast. Once we thought that we had averted this crisis, we went to the basement and there was water everywhere in our office. Oh joy. So we decided we should proceed with making some additional repairs to this back door area to reduce the risk of future water issues. We absolutely do not regret this add on to our project.

Next it was time to pick a door color. We decided that we wanted something bright and fresh for the door. Because why not? On Snapchat I asked friends to weigh on what color to pick. Ultimately we decided to go with the far left color. My signature turquoise... Ben keeps calling it green. I highly disagree. (wink, wink)

After we painted the door, our contractor installed our new storm door! Isn't it beautiful? It has a feature where you can pull down the glass halfway and it turns into a screen. This is so nice to have in Denver. I pretty much leave the back door open all the time now! You can also see the new grey decking that diverts water and snow from the doorway.

After installation of the door, this is what the inside looked like. I was insistent that we keep the original molding around the door so it looked quite rough right after installation. We caulked and painted all the molding and it changed the look of this door dramatically. I was also insistent that we keep the original door handle. However, the latch was very old and a weird shape so we found an online shop that sells antique hardware parts that would allow us to still use our doorknob but were smaller in overall size so wouldn't threaten the integrity of the new door. Door knobs are so complicated! The metal stick that actually turns the door open is a 5/16" square pole. This is not the standard anymore. But luckily for about $25 we were able to order a new inside piece from House of Antique Hardware. I learned a lot about door handles and latches through this process. We specifically ordered this one. This website has tons of great info and I went to the glossary often to determine exactly what we needed and called their customer service #. They were great to work with!

Below is an in progress shot of the finishing details. Again it is so amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your space! Cheapest way to freshen it up!


Some of my favorite elements about the backdoor project are:

  • Buying a traditional wood back door from the Door Store and painting it a fun color! We didn't lose the charm of the old house.
  • Keeping the original doorknob (We just replaced the inner latch hardware through House of Antique Hardware, which has parts for old door knobs and sells antique hardware.)
  • Replacing the light switch plates with fresh, clean ones from Wall Plates Online. (Found lovely mouse poop when I took the old wall plate off.)
  • Putting a fresh coat of white paint on all the trim around the door and in the kitchen to really clean it up!
  • Adding a fun and eclectic rug from West Elm!

P.S. Sorry you can see me in the reflection in ALL of these pictures haha. 



DIY Series: Kitchen Reveal


DIY Series: Kitchen Reveal

Hiiii friends!! I am so excited to share the reveal of our kitchen renovation. This has been a labor of love. We hired a contractor to oversee and do the majority of the work and we finished off the kitchen ourselves with painting and some finishing details. I will post a few more detailed posts in the coming weeks about specifics, favorite features, and recommendations we have for the whole process. But for now we are just thankful the kitchen is complete and functional again! Also the sunlight in Denver is something else. It comes in from every angle in our house!

Before & After:

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Leave any questions you have below and I would be happy to help answer any of them! 



DIY Series: Kitchen Before


DIY Series: Kitchen Before

We are wrapping up the final details of our kitchen renovation. Before we show the big reveal, I thought it would be fun to reminisce on where we came from. 

Kitchen sink area from when we were first looking at the property. Aren't those staged decorations just so lovely? haha I dont miss that dishwasher, at all.   

The kitchen sink area right before we started the renovation. What you can't see is our new dishwasher we bought when we first purchased our home.

Okay lets get real... Who designs a kitchen where the sink is off center from the window... and to go ahead and top it off they move the light fixture over to be directly above the sink? This was easily my least favorite part of this kitchen was this whole area.  The tile went partially onto the actual window. It was dim and yellowy and this faucet spewed everywhere from the faucet head when you turned it on. This tile was a PAIN to clean and it just looked really dingy.

The weirdest nook/dead space in our kitchen has to be this corner. We love the window here but it creates limits to what you can do right here. This is where Trigger's bowl and food sat... out in the open. Not so glamorous. Also our friends kids loved to play in the dog food and maybe even taste test it themselves. haha

The stove area from when we were first looking at the property. That stove.. yuck yuck. 

Stove area before we started the renovation. Do you notice how the back of the stove is higher than the wall? 

The fridge area when we were first looking at the property. The fridge was TINY!!!

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The fridge area from before us starting the renovation. Notice some of the tile had already broken off? (Left hand corner of the photo)

Our pantry... There is nothing Texas sized about this pantry. You know how people in Texas have WALK IN PANTRIES?! Yeah that's a thing. Not in Denver but else where. I could fit approximately 1 bag of chips and 1 box of crackers in this pantry previously. LOL joke but it was small.

Below is this weird pony wall in the kitchen. To the left of the pony wall is the staircase to our basement. At one point when they made this open concept this was their solution so the stove didn't just fall into the stairase. I am thankful for an open concept in this tiny house nonetheless.

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Our house was renovated by the previous owner at some point before it became a full-time rental and he removed all the other walls upstairs except for the one into the kitchen and this little pony wall. This one wall that is sticking out totally closed off the kitchen.

The backdoor area when we were first looking at the property. 

The back door area right before we started the renovation.

Ahh... Those dingy floors. Make me cringe thinking about their unsanitary-ness. I spent hours cleaning them to no avail.

Our entire kitchen was packed up and sitting in these tubs for about 8 weeks. Looking back this renovation stretched us in so many ways but I am really, really thankful for the final product! Can't wait to share it with y'all. This home is such a blessing to us and we constantly praise the One who hand picked it out for us!

Are you ready to see our fixer upper? :)



IKEA Kitchen Planning Services


IKEA Kitchen Planning Services

We are super excited to announce we are re-doing our kitchen!!! We (mostly me) feel like our kitchen is not really functional because of the size, yes, but also the cabinets are shallow in depth, the drawers are very narrow, the countertop is tile with a wide grout which makes it hard to clean, and our faucet is currently spraying water all over the place. Our little bungalow's kitchen was renovated probably sometime in the last 15-20 years but we are not really sure. It was a rental property before we purchased it so it is builder's grade materials. We just can't seem to get all of our stuff organized and put away. I am an organization and neat freak, although my house is NEVER perfect, I desire to be a certain level or it stresses me out. When my husband first told me this was a real possibility, I began researching immediately. Could we even afford this? We had no idea. We had heard rumblings of IKEA being a viable, affordable option but we just felt like we didn't know enough about the whole process. First stop - Pinterest. Next stop - Googling for blogs with detailed information! When I was researching and gathering information related to using IKEA's Kitchen Design and Planning services, I was unable to find any blog posts or detailed information about someone using their services and what the process was actually like. It all felt very overwhelming and somewhat confusing. We had employees explain it to us and tried to piece together the process. I hope this is helpful to those of you planning for (or dreaming of) a new kitchen on a budget! I will share a few more posts as we continue along this journey to give you all the details you may or may not want to know about! As of today, we have not started demolition yet! (7 days and counting until #DemoDay - Fixer Upper shot out!)

cost: $199

We purchased the IKEA Kitchen Planning Services during a promotional period that stated if we moved forward with purchasing the kitchen from IKEA we would get this cost taken off of our kitchen total (cabinets + hardware + counter top). So in short, if you are serious about re-doing your kitchen then this service is essentially free.

One clarification that I discovered is that you can pay for 1) IKEA Kitchen Planning Services ($199) or 2) Measurement Service ($49), but option #1 comes with the measurement services already included. The measurement service is handy because you need to know very specific measurements related to your kitchen and I thought the Planning Tool was kind of confusing so I was relieved this was all included.

scheduling your appointment:

One slightly inconvenient part about scheduling your IKEA Kitchen Planning Service appointment is that you actually have to go into the store to schedule it and pay for the service at that time. We drove out to the Centennial, CO store on a Friday evening because there is essentially no one there! I have to admit I have never and don't plan on going to an IKEA on a Saturday! It is just too crowded for me. Plus I think my husband would have a heart attack if I made him do this. Night time week shopping is much better for us. The appointments are in 4 hour windows and are only available on weekdays, Monday-Friday. We were able to schedule ours for the following week with plenty of availability. You have two time frame options, 9 am to 1 pm or 2 pm to 6 pm. So in short you pretty much have to take a half day off of work if you work a "normal 9-5 job". We chose to do the 9 am to 1 pm slot. We were already taking the day off for a vacation so we thought why not try to cram one more thing into the day! 

Before we made our appointment, you will fill out an informational sheet with the door fronts you want, hardware, counters, etc. This makes your appointment go much faster! Plus you are already in the store so you can see everything first hand before making a decision.

the appointment:

IKEA Kitchen Designers are actually employees of IKEA's national contractor, Traemond, or one of their local subcontractors. Our local subcontractor is the company Styrka Construction. These designers are under a corporate umbrella which made us feel more comfortable about the whole process. On top of that, the designer's main job is planning and designing IKEA kitchens specifically and managing the process of installation with their company. In short, they are experienced at what they do. 

Our designer, we will call him Jake, called on his way to our house to let us know he had some car trouble and was running a few minutes late to our appointment. However, we have a very small kitchen and knew that we would not need all of the time allotment. In addition, we had a hard stop at noon but our designer assured us he would be able to design the kitchen in the time we still had left. He was absolutely correct. After speaking with him for a few minutes about some of our wish list items, he got to work. In the time he was at our house he measured our kitchen, input it into the IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool, and designed all of the cabinets within the IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool. We basically all sat at the kitchen table while Jake worked. Ben and I looked at various things on our computer (just so it wasn't so awkward) and every few minutes Jake would ask us a question as he designed. He essentially planned the entire kitchen with our input. Jake was a whiz at the IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool, thank goodness. The software is good but kind of clunky and hard to navigate if you are not in there all the time. This was easily the best part of the whole design services appointment. We then reviewed the design and were able to make any changes or suggestions that we wanted to with Jake. He also created a quote to actually do the entire install while also on site on his computer. As we have had issues with promptness of other contractors we were impressed by this. After the designer leaves, they will email you a link to your IKEA Kitchen Plan. However, this link will expire in 5 days if you don't login and save it to your own IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool account. Very important to remember this. Within 2 days of him leaving we had our kitchen design in our IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool portal, our item purchase list (what you take directly to IKEA to place your order), and a full quote for just the install. I will explain more about what comes with the installation service in a future post. We decided to have them manage the entire project so we still had to schedule an appointment with their general contractor to come over and bid out what it would cost for demo, prep, electrical, plumping, back splash, etc. 

Here is a recap of the materials you get from the designer with this service:

  • IKEA Kitchen Planning Tool Design
  • IKEA Item Purchase List
  • Quote for Installation


Overall we really enjoyed our IKEA Kitchen Planning Service experience. We had to poke our designer a few times regarding connecting us with the general contractor and sending us our pricing list but he was always responsive and easy to work with! If you are serious or remotely serious about getting an IKEA Kitchen then I think this service is essential. I really do. I wouldn't waste time with the hassle of trying to work on the system yourself, it isn't that easy and they are trained on it! Also - the stores are always so busy so having someone's full undivided attention in your home is really great! Something to keep in mind, the designer is actually helping with the layout of the kitchen, how many drawers you want, what size, etc. with the assumption you already know what style of cabinets and hardware you want. What you see in the design is what is ordered exactly. So make sure you love the design before they leave!

One side note: I originally had our kitchen designed in the grey Bodbyn and then when we went to purchase it we changed to white. The sales clerk was easily able to change this on our order. I will post more about the IKEA cabinet purchasing process soon! This entire kitchen renovation process is very long but easily manageable once you have all the information you need. IKEA and Styrka were great about providing us the information we needed to move forward.

Demo Day is near!


There are no affiliate links in this post. I was not compensated to review this service. My review is for educational and informational purposes only!