UpCycled Air Conditioning Unit Pallet Home Decor 

When my builder had the A/C installed the crew left over some copper pipe, the original boxes and the pallets that kept the box structurally sound. Rather than selling or recycling them, I thought reusing one of these as a frame for the collectible hard liquors and wine bottles would be ideal since the house’s decor is a mix of industrial and farmhouse styles.

Sanding down the frame – stain prep.

To protect the frame, I decided to stain it with the leftover product I used for the Master Closet DIY. The color is called Kona and is a Varathane stain + poly mix that is very easy to use with a roller, cloth or brush. After about an hour of dry time, for each side of the pallet, on a clear 70° day, the frame was ready. To install it to the wall, I used keyhole brackets from an unused past project. You can use hooks and other fasteners, just make sure the loaded assy doesn’t exceed weight limits for the method you select.

Originally, I wanted to add wood shelves because the distance between cross members was high enough to stack two rows of bottles in the rack. However, I had a hard time figuring out how to do it without making the whole assembly too heavy for the plastic wall anchors I had at hand. On top of that, I would have needed to cut and sand wood to size, and would most likely need to add a lip to prevent the bottles from slipping. Taking the lazy route was made even easier when I found two hanging wire baskets on sale at HomeGoods that solved all these problems. To keep the assy light, I installed the baskets directly into the wall in between the openings. Ta da!

Finished assy with the wire shelves.

Now that I had the storage solution up, it was easy to place the bottles in the wire shelves and stack them up in the best possible pattern. You could easily make this pallet from reclaimed wood or scraps from your local hardware or lumber store if you don’t have a delivery with these smaller pallets coming your way. 😎😍🤔


Château Enginerd: Month 3

Time flies and in an instant, all you are left us with the memories. Being able to take a two person shower without bumping with the walls was well worth the wait. Knowing we won’t need to remodel any time soon to get the look and feel we want, priceless.

Zach is enjoying his big yard but appears to have gotten injured. We are giving him a few days to rest and heal before we take him to the vet. We evaluated his leg and he doesn’t seem to be in pain, indicative of a broken bone. My sister, with her vet assistant exp, gave him a quick once over and surmised it is muscular. Our little athlete needs rest and he seems to know it.


So far we have put up the decor and pictures that we thought were still relevant. The rest will be offered up via garage sale or FB marketplace. Weather permitting by the end of June these things will be gone and we can start 100% fresh. It didn’t come up to much, maybe 5 boxes out of what felt like 70. So many memories are kept stored in places we never revisit. We will only take with us what we know will make us lighter, happier.

It will be a while before we are running at the new pace. At least we have things set up now a bit more efficiently and with less clutter. Hopefully our builder will finish the honey do list soon. Can’t wait!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Unboxing the Past, Resetting the Future 

The worst part of moving to a new home when you are in your 30s is letting go of the stuff 20 year old you bought with those first paychecks. Most if the items are still in good condition but you don’t really need them anymore. Some were gifts from people you adore but have outgrown, and/or remnants of the business you left unfinished. Pajamas and knick knacks from Xmas past, the many baby shower and wedding giveaways that weren’t meant to last a decade or two, they all cluttered the new space in a way that was unexpected. Suddenly the meaning behind the keepsake changed; divorces, deaths and moves redefined the life you had planned and gave birth to the life you are now living.

Downsizing the beer and wine bottle collection to relevant pieces was both hard and strange. Surrendering a part of history because it was documented elsewhere was new and difficult. MrEnginerd and I take pictures of everything and document any changes that we observe. Our memory boxes and external hard drive are full of tickets, invitations, cards and mementos of the last 16 years together. It is almost as if we wanted to make sure these waypoints in the timeline were preserved. That there was evidence of the places and experiences we have had, especially those that involved others’ happiness. A few boxes of pure joy and/or deep grief and sadness. We even had a few articles from when we were going to become parents. (See Wrestling Infertility for more details on that journey.)

This new house was meant to be a fresh start. The walls are covered with the items that represent this new incarnation of ourselves. We let go of the old, the worn out and the unnecessary to open up room for whatever the next decades bring to us or take us. If you are one of our friends and are wondering if we kept memories related to you around you are either missing the point of a cleanse or may need some affirmation that we still care. (We do.) After 30 weddings, 50+ showers of all kind and our own milestones, you learn what to keep and from whom. Carrying the weight of remembering all these events was a burden we choose to lighten. We don’t expect people to have our big happy smiling faces on their walls anymore, unless you are our grandparents. 😀 The next time you walk into our house, virtually or otherwise, I hope you can appreciate the evolutionary leap forward we took. These are the wiser, stronger and more sophisticated versions of us. (And hopefully more entertaining and less boring.)
Once the garage sales and such are completed, we will deal with whatever refuses to leave us. Maybe those items will give us a new direction or remind us of roads we left unexplored. Maybe they will become someone else’s bounty when we drop them off at the donation bin. Life defines us in ways we may never comprehend. For now, we will do our best to define our path despite all the unwanted challenges. I sincerely hope the best is yet to come.


Château Enginerd, Month 2

It has been two months since we moved to our new home and the upgrades and updates are almost completed on the inside. Check out the Master Closet Under $500 DIY, the Industrial TP holders, the pantry update and the light switch replacement for more info. We are still waiting on the inspection for the exterior door addition but since the door is functional we don’t mind it as much. We also switched out a cabinet for open shelving, added the master closet set up and put up shelves in the office. Phew! No more moving boxes left either. Yay! Almost there!

The term turn key is one of those elusive subjects for us because there is always something worth personalizing like the paint scheme or the light fixtures. We had a few things to add before moving in but we had to get in quickly. The construction dust became our friend and mortal enemy. Now that we have had the first deep cleaning, the flooring and trims are performing to the expectations, even with the dog nail scratches. Refinish the hard woods is a bit overboard so we are looking at products that help reduce their appearance. Stay tuned!

The fence still needs to be raised and updated, along with the builder do list. I’m not happy this process has taken forever but the building season is on full swing so we are lower in the priority totem pole. Trying to help ourselves, we have done some of this owed stuff on our own. Annoying because we paid for the house to be finished and the traditional trope or got paid and ran away is materializing. Not sure how much more time we can wait until legal action makes more sense than being nice. Honey attracts more ants but darn, where did my ants go?

I do feel like a million bucks whenever I fix a construction boo-boo but I rather have it taken care of by the pros…

Stay tuned!

10 Quick Updates That Add Charm and Value To Your Home

Our new home felt a bit dull. (See Chateâu Enginerd, Month 2.) The items we asked to be customized where done 95% correctly so we had to finish some items ourselves because the builder was taking forever to get to them. Because of this the house was not move in ready, and well, adding more construction dust to it as we move in wasn’t going to hurt much. Some of these add ons may require permits and expert crews to pull off but they are worth every penny.

1. Remove cabinets and replace with open shelving.

As long as the shelves you are replacing measure the same length and width of the ones inside the cabinets, you will not loose storage space. This is a great alternative to store plates, mugs, cups or glassware that gets used all the time and is meant to be seen. The shelves can be wood, metal or any material combination you can think off, and if you are not sure what matches your kitchen check our HGTV and home good store catalogues for hints. The cabinets should come off in 5 mins or less and may require two people to accomplish.

2. Add cabinetry to the laundry room.

Instead of adding floating shelves or open storage, we installed the removed cabinets to the laundry room on top of our utility sink. Since the cabinets were the same it was a no brainer. Most Pinterest ideas have shelves on top of front loading washers and dryers, with a few cabinets on top of the shelf/shelves. Add a nice light fixture or update to recessed lighting and you can make a laundry room functional and charming. Check Pinterest for ideas.

3. Add Bluetooth speakers to the shower heads or vent fans.


I like to listen to music when I am in the shower and either solution gets the job done. My husband was skeptical but he loves to use the speaker and found practical applications beyond making and receiving calls – which we haven’t tried to do, yet – like hearing TV and radio content beamed from his cellphone. You can enjoy audio books or programming while you clean or complete your grooming routines. Kids will love hearing stories and signing along. Fun for the whole family. It’s a braggable solution too. 😉

3. Install LED dimmable Edison/vintage style lightbulbs.

Costco sells the Feit electric lightbulbs very cheaply and so does Home Depot/Lowes. Makes sure that you get the correct light tone output (some are yellowish some have white light). Pair it with industrial looking mason jar or lamp shades to give it an old school industrial or farmhouse look. They even sell bulbs for desk lapms and floor lamps. Have fun with this idea.

4. Paint rock, tile or flooring to brighten or tie in a room.

Concrete floors can be painted and sealed easily which is a good way to update a garage but did you know you could paint over laminate and wood? You can sand down and restain a floor or you can use special interior paint to achieve a similar result. Some design firms will paint and distress the work to give it an antique feel to it. Vinyl tile is easy to update as well and there are a ton of videos and Pinterest ideas to choose from for inspiration. Check it out!

5. Replace wire shelves with wood.

Change out pantry, linen and room closet wireframe shelves for wood planks. Depending on the budget you can do common board, pine, oak or plywood. Be aware that the harder the wood the more expensive it will get per linear foot. Use contact paper, paint or stain to tie in the look with existing color schemes. Check out the DIY pantry makeover blog post for ideas.

6. Use ship lap to accentuate a wall.

Copyright HGTV/Magnolia Homes

Ship lap is not just for Farmhouse style homes anymore. Make any wall pop in a room by adding wood planks that fit your style. If you don’t have the budget and like the look, you can use ship lap paneling. Vertical or horizontal, it doesn’t matter, as long as you like it. Leave it unstained or paint it bold colors for a unique finish.

7. Replace or add a chandelier in the main entrance area or room.

Chandeliers don’t have to be 8ft tall to amaze guests and find a place in your home. Mini chandeliers are making a splash in the interior design scene and transcend the plain light fixture trend. Use pendant lights when possible if the chandelier is too much. Improved lighting can make a house seem bigger so it is important to choose fixtures that have multiple light bulbs and illuminate the space well.

8. Replace existing ceiling mounted light fixtures with canned lights.

There are a few LED canned light replacements that do not require a can light fixture to be installed; they are self contained units. Ranging from $25+, these lights can make an old school kitchen look modern in a matter of minutes. If you already have canned lights, you can update them to LED and add the color changing fixtures for effect.

9. Revamp the front porch

If you have craftsman style colums around your porch, you can cover them up with real stone or veneers. If you don’t have columns, you can easily add them too. A nice railing in wood or wrought iron can look nice if you need to make sure kids and pets are secured while enjoying the space. In some cases a screened in porch can be ideal to avoid mosquitoes and insect bites. You can also turn it into a four or three season room to help keep the heat or cold out while enjoying the area.

10. Update the mailbox


If your house has a rural or on post mailbox you can get creative with this piece. Get a unique mailbox, like a Star Wars themed one, or wrap the post in stone. Include the mailbox as part of the gate or fence, if possible, to amp up the security of your mail. There are models that include package drop boxes to thwart package thieves. The sky is the limit as long as the box is postmaster approved!

Fixer Upper (HGTV)

If there ever was a show that has inpired me to do my own thing is this one. Chip and Joanna Gaines are a dynamic duo, the married couple we all strive to be. She is the literal beauty of the operation, the looks, hearts and soul of the transformations. He is the brawn, the nothing is impossible if you put some muscle and thought into it. Plus he is the realtor. 😎 They don’t let raising four children and managing 10 projects at a time scare them or stop them. No excuses. Faith and talent sees them through.

Every time they renovate a house my heart grows with love, hope and warmth. From the engineering to the decorations everything is done with great care in the most frugal/not wasteful way. They recycle materials from the torn down houses and use them to build finishing touches that add character and history, honoring the story of the residences they restore for those brave enough to take on a fixer upper. They are inspired by jobs no one else would undertake. These are the kind of people you want to trust with your home.

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTVs Fixer Upper

Having gone through the experience of customizing a home from scratch, the value of their collective endeavors and enterprising spirit is admirable and, well, awesome.  They move heaven and earth to get you into your dream home as quickly and painlessly as possible, and within budget. I envy their prowess, charisma, charm and integrity. They get it done, Texas style!

Watch all the shiplap and wood glory in HD on HGTV. Binge! It’s so worth it.


DIY Industrial Look Toilet Paper Holders

After scouring the internet for ideas, I settled on a one roll and a two roll solution for our guest and master bathroom, respectively. The designs called out 3/4″ black pipe but we realized the cheaper 1/2″ works well too. However, the real cost differential lies in the galvanized pipe amd fittings vs the common black pipe. The former is almost a dollar more expensive per component than the latter. If you want the effect of the silver vs black you can paint the cheaper elements. Painted PVC works too but requires a little more creativity. Expect to spend anywherw from $15 to $35 dollars USD based on the design and materials at hand.

To build the two roll version pictured above you will need:

  1. Two 6″ black pipe sections.
  2. Two T’s (galvanized shown).
  3. Two caps. (Galvanized shown)
  4. One 2″ or 2.5″ long black pipe section.
  5. Two couplings (1″)
  6. Two floor fittings. (Galvanized shown)
  7. One stained or painted wood board, 3/4″ thick, 14″ long, 6″ wide.

Since the parts screw together it is an easy assembly and the picture will guide you in this process. One floor fitring goes to the wall, the other to the wood (not visible because it is underneath the plank). To secure the assembly to the wall use anchors or wood screws to the stud. Four 2″ screws/anchors are ideal for appearances but 2  diametrically opposed screws will suffice. Mark the fastener locations and drill pilot holes as required. Make sure you attach the wood last to the pipe skeleton and that it is protected to last in the moisture rich environment. Put the rolls on and take a picture. Done!

To build the one roll version pictured above you will need:

  1. One 6″ black pipe.
  2. One floor fitting. (Galvanized shown.)
  3. One cap. (Galvanized shown.)
  4. One 90° elbow. (Galvanized shown.)
  5. One 2.5″ long pipe section.
  6. Four screws.

Assemble components together to form an L shape by screwing/twisting the parts together. Install the L at a slight upwards angle to avoid roll slippage. Make sure the fitting to the wall or vanity is at least 4 inches higher than the toilet bowl rim and easy to reach. (Not too far back or forward unless space restrictions won’t allow it.) Measure vanity wood thickness to select the appropriate fasteners. You can use existing holders as reference or look up paper roll holder measurements online. Locations may vary by toilet size, height and space allocations. 🤓


Down to two boxes…

Moving was not as hard as people were telling me BUT unpacking was HELL. Good news, we didn’t have to trash or donate too much of the stuff; it was worth the hassle of packing it since we now have the time and space for a garage sale. Bad news, now we need to do a garage sale. Hehe.  😂

After six weeks, I am down to two boxes. Whatever I didn’t make, and MrEnginerd helped me install, is safely and neatly in its place. The master bedroom closet was done (check the link for that DIY), the pantry was upgraded (link here), and the toilet paper industrial pipe fixtures are rocking and rolling. So is the new microwave (My beef with Samsung).

Nothing has fallen off the walls. Yay! If it hadn’t been for my engineering guy friends, and one of the gals that came to help, we’d still be weeks behind. The fence is still a contention point but at least it is up and Zach is here with us, enjoying the new construction.

The county gave us permits for the door addition to the side yard and once the mounting structure is down I’ll be able to fully enjoy it. The Hunter Douglas curtains are well on their way and our previous reinbursements were all cashed. (Samsung, ugh, you won this round but that microwave was awful. The new one is amazing.) We even changed the mailbox for one that opens in the back so we don’t need to be on the streetside when picking up the correspondence. Go4Zero!!! 😉 To top it all off the garage and tools are stored and organized so we are ready to go come summer. Even the BBQ is ready to go.

Housewarming palooza coming soon…

Château Enginerd, Moving On Up: Week 2

With a little help from my friends we were able to unpack many of the bixes and furniture to start laying out the Château. Once the boxes went down to a manageable level and certain items were shipped off to the Goodwill, we had much more room to maneuver. The builder still owes us a 20+ deep item list so we are waiting on the fence and A/C almost two weeks after closing. At least we have confirmation they have been ordered and scheduled. Woop woop!

To add insult to injury our Samsung microwave decided to go on the fritz. It went down in a puff of smoke and lightning. The customet service department won’t address it until we get the receipt from the builder. Ugh! Their compensation value seemed low because it didn’t include removal of the old unit or installation of the new one. My builder put extra insurance on the thing and I need the proof to get the ball rolling. Add another item to the to do list!

For those curious,  this is what is still missing per the contract:

1. Fence and sod.

2. A/C

3. Laundry vent – not working.

4. Railing.

5. Hot water in tub not working.

6. Two doors that close but don’t lock.

7. Keys to side and garage doors.

8. Repainting of side of house and vent hole close outs.

9. Doorbell wire diagram or instructions.  (Looking into this myself.)

10. Master rain shower close out piece.

11. Hang cabinet in laundry room wall between sink and washer. (Done during the weekend.)

12. Steps on the backyard stairs.

13. Cleaning exterior of the house.

14. Broken screen on dining room window.

15. Removing construction debris from front yard.

16. Removing equipment from garage if fence is contracted out.

17. Talk to neighbors about their fence.

18. Installing lightbulbs for the air vents/fans.

19. Cabinet door pulls.

20. The one car garage door has a dent and cut in it that is visible and may lead to rusting.

21. Microwave receipt.

If the builder doesn’t deliver we need to sue. Stay tuned…

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