Who do I look like, Prince Leopold!? We don’t need no stinkin’ chair rails! Now put on your best 18th Century garb and lets tear up some wall. Or, ideally, not tear it up.

making a house a home I east nashville dining room I

Princess Lana decreed that chair rails shall be banished from within our domicile walls and the little boy in me said, “Huzzah! To the shed!” or something like that. All outdated language aside, here is the quick and easy way to remove a chair rail without destroying your walls.

making  a house a home I how to remove chair rail I

making  a house a home I how to remove chair rail I

You are going to need: A box cutter. A flathead screwdriver or other prying tool (Preferably a spackling tool. The more surface area the tool has on the wall the less likely you are to punch a hole in said wall). And a hammer. What could be more fun? High tea? I think not.

On the top side of your chair rail is going to be a strip of caulk. That’s where your box cutter comes in. You are going to cut through it for the whole length of the chair rail. BOOM, DONE. (with that)

making a house a home I remove chair rail I

Second you are going to take your prying device of choice and place it under the chair rail where it meets the wall. Give it a few little taps with your hammer and it should gain entry to the secrets beneath. Using the knowledge you gained in grade school about levers, you will pull the prying device towards you in a fashion that creates enough force for the chair rail to release it’s clutches from your wall. As you create new space between the rail and the wall just keep moving your prying tool to the point where the rail is closest to the wall and continue prying until the rail not longer resides on your wall. I probably didn’t need that last sentence, but I can’t help myself. Sorry.

making a house a home I remove chair rail I

Well guys and gals. That is pretty much it. Now the tedious part.

If you used a spackling tool to pry the rail from the wall, guess what? One less trip to the tool shed for you. Bust out some quick drying spackle and start making the wall flush again. No doubt your newly vacated chair rail has left some unevenness. If you are a real go getter, you should lightly sand the wall first to remove any blatant mountains of caulk left over from the removal. You can run your spackling tool along the caulk to quickly remove the majority of it, but sanding will make your life easier in the long run.

making a house a home I how to remove chair rail I

Let the caulk dry and then sand again. Then you may want to spackle one more time to get it perfect if you like. THEN SAND AGAIN!

making a house a home I east nashville dining room I

making  a house a home I how to remove chair rail I

Unless you are going for the “Giant uneven line” look you are going to want to paint the entire room. I’m not even gonna get into that. Painting is my Austro-Prussian War. Different Prince Leopold I think, but how much 18th Century european research did you think I was going to do for an article on chair rails? Leave your complaints in the comment section.

Gettin’ Touchy

There are a few things in life that have become so ubiquitous we never give them a second thought. Gas on the right, brake on the left. QWERTY keyboards. Horribly ugly and outdated light switches. My name is Joey, and I’m here to break the cycle.

making a house a home I adorn light switch I

Pretty, ain’t she? These are from a company called LeGrand. Specifically, these are from the Adorne line. Continuing with our tradition of “If it’s brass, we won’t pass” (terrible line I know, but I’m not a poet) and pairing that with their slick touch sensors and dimmers we are floored how such a quick and easy change to a room can make such a huge difference.


adorn lightswitch

Whaddup, ugly? You can play dress up with these, but there is only so much lipstick you can slap on a pig. Lemme show you how 5 minutes turns a pig into… the opposite of a pig when referencing design. I’m not a poet, remember.

adorn light switch

TURN YOUR POWER OFF. If you aren’t sure if you have turned the power off to the switch, just go ahead and tell everyone in your house they can catch the Scooby Doo marathon in a few minutes and turn the power off to the whole house. If you are not sure how to do any of this, call an electrician. Ok… now that that’s out of the way, do the obvious. Take the screws out of the faceplate from the old switches and then take the screws that hold in the switch itself off as well. Give it a little (gentle) tug and you should end up like the pic above.


Remove the wires from the old switch. Some of the newer switches have a small release button you can depress to let the wires out. I decided I didn’t have time for that and just cut mine. You’ll be left with something that looks like this. There are 3 wires here because it was a 3 way switch. If you only have 2, good for you! Even simpler.

adorn light switch

Here are the components for installing Adorne’s dimmer switch. The switch itself up top, the backing plate in the middle, and the beautiful faceplate on bottom.

adorn light switch

Alright. Admittedly I got ahead of myself before I took this picture. I installed the backing plate and then, in my excitement I wired the switch and then snapped the pic. Let me just say this. The backing plate just screws into the box in your wall just as the old switch did. There is no need for modification or tears. The only thing to note here is that the backing plate has the ground wire attached to it. So you’ll want to properly attach your ground wire before screwing the plate in. Especially for the touch sensors which may not work if they aren’t properly grounded. Anyway, connect the “HOT” wire to the hole marked “HOT” (Imagine that!) And then, and I’m not an electrician, but it says in the instructions to “Connect one of the other wires to 1-Pole.” and then “Connect remaining wire to 3-Way”. So I guess that is pretty hard to screw up. It’s all labeled on the back of the switch unlike the switches I removed which made some of my wires hard to figure out. Once again, TURN YOUR POWER OFF.

adorn light switch

Push the wires back into the hole in the wall and then ease the new switch into the backing plate. It fits snuggly and has a reassuring feel to it. It will never miss a soccer game.

making a house a home I adorn light switch I

The faceplate just pops on. Snaps into place and if you need to remove it there is a little tab on the top or bottom that you can easily pop it right back off. Ain’t it LeGrand? Ugh… I’ll sign up for poetry class this week, I promise.

making a house a home I adorn light switch I


PS. If you like home improvement projects, we got a bunch to share here. Happy Hump Day!


Flip the light fantastic

If there is one thing that you could have in a room above all else, what would it be?

Did you say light? Cause if you didn’t, you may want to rethink your answer. No one is going to care how stunning that life sized statue of Casey Affleck is when they have just broken their nose walking into the clenched fist of your 2-1 scale Mike Tyson statue that towers in the middle of the room ’cause it’s pitch black in there.

Alright… Extreme example, yes. And now that we have established the importance of lighting, we can move on to this mega-cool light Lana snagged from the internets.

how to replace ceiling light

No not that one.

vintage ceiling light

This one with the rad cowboy and laid back beach ladies. And just in case Atlas gets lost in his room (I know, unlikely given his name) there is a handy dandy compass printed on there which I pointed, generally, in the correct direction for him.

Since this was an internet buy and is vintage you can’t expect it to come with all the hardware needed to install it. Thankfully this was just a simple case of picking up a modern version of the same light and using the hardware from that. They still make lights just like this with the mounting brackets needed at basically any of the bigger home improvement stores. It ended up being cheaper to just buy the whole light instead of trying to track down the bracket itself. Here’s what we bought for less than $12.

how to replace ceiling light

And here is all the stuff laid out for a picture. This step is not required.

how to install ceiling light

Installation is a snap. Actually more of a laborious meander through your own mind, trying to stay focused. It is that simple. Please make sure your power is off before you go messing with wires in your house.

install ceiling light

Remove the old light. Then replace the mounting bracket that was with the old light with the new one.  Then two screws should find their way into the box in the ceiling to hold the bracket in place. The wires you will need to run to your new light should go through the middle hole of the new bracket. Wire up that snazzy new illuminator (black to black, white to white please) and then use the screws to mount the light flush to the ceiling. You may need to adjust distance you let the light mounting screws (or the screws that secure the bracket to the box) protrude from the mounting bracket in order to get the light to fit snugly flush.

Oh JOY! now you can attach the colorful, happy, outdoor themed light diffuser to the ceiling as well. Then you notice something…

vintage ceiling light

Snap! The ceiling is discolored from the old light because, of course it is! So expect a follow up post once we decide if we are painting the ceiling, or finding a medallion we like. 

Nashville House Tour // Master Bath

Hello friends. We had a wonderful and very busy weekend with Rich Hippies at Porter Flea in Nashville. If you have never been, I very much suggest you make a day of it. There are so many talented folks. We were humbled to be amongst them. We are about 1/2 though 100 projects right now, and I am bursting at the seams to get them up on the blog. Our home tour series is almost complete, which means a lot more fun ideas to share are coming so soon. We know our move and the baby has side tracked us so much, and being able to get our hands dirty again and blog about it feels so good. It already feels like home.

Our master bath was a sweet little surprise.

east nashville bathroom


Our last bathroom needed so much work, it was painful. This crispy clean bathroom is attached to our master bedroom, and isn’t huge nor small. It’s a great size and very very sun filled.

east nashville bathroom

As you probably figured by now, the blue is going to go. The natural thought is to paint it white and then figure it out. We already made a tiny little switch that was driving me mad.

bathroom knob

restoration hardware brushed brass knob


The black cabinets and drawers need some touch up paint, but the dinky knobs needed to be replaced with something a little more substantial. These beauties are from Restoration Hardware, and are no longer being promoted. If you ask though, they may be able to order them for you. I was not able to get them in the Greenwhich, CT store, but I was in the Nashville one.

rh brushed brass knob

They have some weight, and are just the right metal for this bathroom. We plan on changing the fixtures all around to something similar. It matches the original hinges for the original door as well as the doorknob plate. They are so gorgeous.

brushed brass knob


We are going to keep the marble and medicine cabinets, and probably even the tile detail on the wall.


east nashville bathroom


There is just enough to do to make it ours, but such a treat it’s in such good shape to enjoy right away!



Nashville House Tour // Kitchen

It’s time to peek into another room. This kitchen seems to have been an add on to this home at some point. The house was built in 1930, and this kitchen looks new, the roof is dropped a few feet from the main house, and it just “feels” not as old if that makes sense. Not renovated, but added. I can’t wait to find out all the juicy details once we get to our addition on the house and dig into it’s history.

One huge perk was that the two full baths and the kitchen were in good clean condition, unlike our old home. Back in New York, we had one bathroom in the basement that looked prison cell worthy, and three full baths, each with quirks and colors of their own. It seems that 1930 house was renovated in the 1950′s and pepto pink was all the rage. We reglazed the bathrooms to shield our eyes of the color fest, and did a temporary fix on the kitchen, then decided to move almost a thousand miles away. This is where we left off with the kitchen.


We loved what we did to it. The lights, the faucet, the counter – all what we wanted and loved. The shape and size was the problem. We would have needed to do a major renovation. Like, $60K renovation. We had just spent $40K painting and replacing wood (that tudor detail) on the exterior, and decided if we were going to sell anyway, we needed to stop doing projects and start focusing on finding a new house.

Speaking of things we liked with the old kitchen, we about shriveled up and died when we left those lights behind, but we were able to snag the faucet, and bring it over to our new house. This faucet is everything, and I am so happy we brought it with us. She fits right in. Gosh, she’s pretty. You can see her beauty here.

Brizo Faucet

So there is a first glimpse into our new kitchen. Like I mentioned, totally clean, pretty new, nice huge sinks for Atlas and puppy baths. The location is awesome, right between the mudroom and laundry room and it’s got a ton of counter space and storage. But…..

It’s just not our style. It’s a little on the “dark” side for us. A ton of neutrals all married together in one room makes me want to sleep paint it white just to lighten up the mood in there.

making a house a home, mahah, DIY Kitchen


The whole house has solid five panel doors, with the exception of this three panel in the kitchen leading to the laundry. We like the style of cabinet doors because they nod to the original doors of the home, but we don’t love the “wood finish”. As you can see, there is a ton of visual cabinet space and we want to lighten it up. The two options are to DIY refinish them again, which was crazy time consuming or to have it done professionally, which was crazy expensive.

DIY Kitchen, kitchen renovation

Kitchen renovation, shaker cabinets, kitchen reno

Before we get to the cabinets, we are going to begin the kitchen with a fresh coat of paint. Something light, and airy. We are still deciding between bright whites, and whites with tints, or the possibility of a stencil situation. For the floors we are looking into marble again. The faux marble that doesn’t yellow, or is fussy, and is even more expensive than marble. It deserves some serious thought because it would not only span the kitchen, it would go in the mudroom and laundry room. That could get crazy expensive.


When we expand, the window in front of the sink is going to look over into our new living/dining room. The appliances will also be replaced at some point, as they all have kinks, but work well enough for now. The lighting is going to be replaced, and the fan will be removed.

It seams silly to completely redo a perfectly good kitchen, and that’s why it’s not on the top of the list right now. Unless something breaks and becomes unusable, we are going to focus on other stuff before we get to it. It might not be our style, but it’s also not our style to be wasteful when we can avoid it, so lights and paint may be all we get to this year. A rug my look nice too. We’ll see.



Win $1,000 from Lumber Liquidators Easy Peasy!

I am a huge fan of Lumber Liquidators. They kill it with selection (and price), and usually have what I need for a client. You better believe we will be perusing their virtual shelves to find just the right wood floors for our extension as well.

They have a really easy $1,000 gift card giveaway going on right now. All you have to do is pick one of these three floors you love the most, and you are on your way for a chance to win a grand towards your own shiny new floors from Lumber Liquidators. Three winners will be selected, so throw your hat in there for your chance!

This is Bellawood. If I had an all neutral room, with a white couch, and fiber art and plants, I would want this floor. She’s pretty and show-y, without being annoying and overwhelming.

Say hello to Casa De Colour. This floor is so good for a room with a lot of light. It’s pre-finished (which cuts your labor down a lot if your are paying to have it installed) and is begging for a colorful rug.

I am loving the Virginia Mill Works Co. because it’s so warm and would great with our Chesterfield couch and current rug. I seem to always gravitate towards the older/handcrafted stuff. This is my pick!

Enter daily to win a $1,000 Gift Card from Lumber Liquidators!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lumber Liquidators. The opinions and text are all mine.

Little Bit O’ Landscaping

The new house came pretty well landscaped. We couldn’t really see much of what was going on because winter’s touch leaves everything a little less green than it should be.


There were professional landscape blueprints in a closet, and we got to look through what was done recently. We have three Japanese maples as opposed to one at our last home. We love those little trees so much. They are kind of magical. There are a slew of other things we aren’t so familiar with, and are excited to see them bloom. We also wanted to add a little touch of our own, so we dug some holes and planted some trees. What else does one do on Earth Day?

Nashville keeps surprising us in very pleasant ways. First we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival, and walked away with a free cherry blossom tree to plant. How great is that? So we left downtown with a cherry blossom in our diaper bag and big smiles on our faces.

joey making a house a home

planting a cherry blossom

outside pack n play

Atlas had a fun time helping by planting his toys all over the walkway.

plant a cherry blossom tree

It looks like a twig now, but we are excited to watch it grow. We hope to look back years from now and see it blooming. We planted it in the front yard. I hope we remember it’s there and don’t mow it over. After our tiny adventure in planting this guy, we went out and bought a weeping pussy willow. It only grows eight feet high, but twelve feet wide. It’s like a weeping willow with furry friends sprinkled all over it.  Pretty weird and great.

Willow Close Up

We just slit the plastic pot with a razor and stuck the willow in the ground. It was $50 at Lowe’s and we need to get fertilizer and mulch to finish it off, but she’s in the ground with in twenty minutes.

plant a weeping wil

Joey Digging 2

planting pussy willow

We also got some hanging plants for our porch, which inspired us to do a full porch redo. I have always wanted a porch, and this one is kind of large. Atlas loved to hang out in his pack n’ play out there while we eat or chat.

weeping pussy willow

cottage hanging plants

 Do you know of any good group coverings to substitute grass? Leave a comment and let us know, we are on a hunt. 



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