Thursday, January 03, 2013

What's a Holiday Without an Update?

We spent Christmas at my brother & sister-in-law's house in Naperville, IL.  It's great because the cousins get together.  It's also great because his house was a foreclosure.  So while they had to renovate major things before they could move in, there are still little projects here and there to tackle. 

My kinda projects.

First, a shot of the cousins.  Because what post is complete without a picture of kids.

Last year was (my) George's and (their) Charlie's first Christmas.

This year, we tried to recreate the magic.

Toddlers move more.

Oh well, on to the projects...

In the fall, my SIL Craigslisted the bought-from-the-neighbors-for-a-song-when-they-moved dining room set, because it really didn't fit the style of their home. 

Beautiful set.  Just not for them.  Totally get it.

Then my brother painted out the oak molding in the dining room.  To get ready for the new dining set my SIL ordered.  Which partially arrived before Christmas...phew. 

Which put the next item up for doing as: hanging the mirror.  Sign me up.

Shame on this blogger for not taking more before or during pictures.  Blame my brother for rushing through the measurements, making me so uncomfortable when we put holes in the wall.  Especially the one from this guy.

My Canadian friend Toggler has a brother.  His name is Ook.  Hang something really heavy without a stud?  I Love You. 

Turns out we only needed one Ook, as the mirror's left hook bullseye fell on a stud. 

Our bullseyes were almost dead on, but we needed to lift the Ook side.  So I did this.

A little folded paper towel cushion for the mirror's hook to rest on.  With that, we had ourselves a level mirror on the wall.

Gorgeous, right?

Now close your eyes and imagine a buffet below that mirror.  Open your eyes in mid-January and it will be there.

But, wait.  Before that buffet comes, do you see a few other things needing attention?

First we took a sippy cup break.

Then we came back to tackle those black outlets. 

And the off white/cream switches. 

I got all inspired by Young House Love's outlet updating, so I happily took on all five outlets and three switches.  If only I had that many in my dining room.

Here you see 7 plates, 5 outlets and 3 switches.  All for the low, low price of $22.  I say this is right up there with paint and caulk as the most inexpensive biggest-bang-for-your-buck upgrades you can do yourself.

The switches were pretty straightforward.  But the outlets got a little tricky. 

Three of them had easy looped wires around the connections.

But two outlets had individual wires that wouldn't come off without a fight and connections straight into the back...which made transferring them a little tricky.

But a success, nevertheless.  I had before and after pics on the iphone within two hours.  Yes!


That was my first swap.  I got all picture happy on it. 


Now my brother just has to paint and reattach the vent on the molding.  No pressure, bro.


After switching these, the first comment I heard was, "it's like they just disappear."  Exactly.


That outlet to the right of the window was my worst enemy.  But when we plugged in the lamp, it worked.  Nice try, buddy - better luck with the next DIY'er.

Let's see it one more time, just for fun.


The switch & outlet update makes the painted molding in the dining room look complete.  Quite a bang for that disappearing act buck. 

Now, open that door and look at the cream colored switches in the next room and beyond.  I think I know what I'll be doing when we visit again this summer...

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