Ikea Hack Alert…Bench seating and dog bed

So where to put two monstrous dogs and two truck tire sized dog beds? ANY PLACE YOU HAVE A TILE FLOOR!

dog bed joke

This is why we created our previous two Murphy dog beds and strategically placed them adjacent to our first home’s kitchen nook and back slider.

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We’ve always loved little houses, easy to clean, less maintenance, however the obvious problem is less space. We have a “no dogs in bedrooms” policy because of shedding, and snoring. Also our two bruisers are magnets for anything dusty, dirty or muddy.

Another big reason, since we live near the river, wildlife ventures into our neighborhood quite often. Which means no sleeping outdoors or in the detached garage, where they can bark all night. Also when your husband has had to defend the pups from toddler sized raccoons, its best to keep the dogs indoors for safety sake.

In our new home we’ve had to be uber creative, since we lack extra seating in our tiled kitchen/dining area. We love to entertain and we wanted to create a seating bench/built in. Unfortunately the hubby had a good point, the dogs are getting older and to create a custom dog bed/seating bench may not be logical or economical.

Hence I found inspiration once more with Ikea furniture, and created our Seating Bench/Trundle Dog bed.

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We bought another Ikea Hemnes day bed, (the same one we have in the office/guest) and hacked it to create a dog trundle bed:

In progress pic

Here is the inspiration and how we did it…

We utilized this odd, space near the backslider, for the dog beds. However not only were they ugly, but we lost critical floor space. (They also wrestled over the favorite bed)

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After we bought the first day bed we were able to figure out how to hack the trundle pretty easily. First follow the instructions to create the bottom trundle and drawer component, minus the slats, but still attach the  metal braces as the directions describe.

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This is critical, now measure the inside/interior edges of the bottom drawer component to ensure the plywood you purchase (separately from a hardware store) will fit perfectly inside and atop the wheel braces. It should look like the following picture. We also recommend buying a thicker plywood if you have abnormally large dogs like ours.

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Using the extra slats, we cut two of them to fit the entire length of the metal braces. (with a small hand saw) Use small wood screws (1/2″ phil mod, zinc lath self drills, from Home Depot) and a cordless drill to attach them through the metal brace holes. The reason we did this was to protect our rambunctious dogs from being sliced by the metal braces. The slats are made of soft wood and helped create a rounded edge.

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Once completed it looked like this…

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With the following materials/tools, we only used the front of the drawers and extra slats to drill and glue them to the front of the day bed. (The staples and staple gun were for upholstering the bench seat)

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As you can see we cut two additional slats to fit the bed’s length and were careful to not drill through the front of the drawers. We made sure the edge of the drawer’s back was coated in glue before drilling them to the slats.

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Next we upholstered the bench seat. Using very light weight and sanded sheet wood, we had cut to the dimensions of the daybed. We set an old ikea curtain on the floor, the sultan florvog mattress on top of it, then the plywood. We folded the curtain over and stapled it to the plywood.

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Finally Seating bench/Trundle dog bed complete! We placed a second sultan florvog mattress for the actual dog bed. These mattresses are fabulous, the covers come off easily and are washable. Also we can conveniently protect them with standard fitted twin sheets and waterproof covers should we ever need to. We plan to upgrade the bench seating with a different color scheme in the coming weeks. However we’re waiting until we figure out the kitchen’s future colors.

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PS. We made sure the dogs actually “liked” their new bed before we started hacking. We might recommend you let your dogs give it a test drive first before the step of gluing, cutting and drilling slats. As well, ours like to sneak onto the upholstered bench so we protect it with a fitted sheet and plastic cover when not in use.

Here are the little hams posing for the camera during the test drive. (I swear we don’t pose them, they literally look and act like twins on their own)

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Before, Move-in mayhem, and In Progress Pics

Time to start breaking out a few of the before and “in progress” pictures. We’ve been so busy with work, and projects our home is too much of a disaster zone to be snapping the perfect “after” shots just yet. However here are a few good pics to show what we’ve been up to these past months.

The Man Cave Recap…

Before (previous owners)

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Before (move in mayhem and after the bedazzled popcorn ceilings were removed)

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In progress…

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The Living Room

Before (previous owners with popcorn ceilings still intact)

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In progress…


The Office…

Before (previous owners)

guest room before pic

Before (our move in mayhem)

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In progress…

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The Master bedroom (previous owners)

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Master bedroom Before (move in)….

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We still have several rooms to go…Kitchen, dining room, two baths, and my “woman cave”…the guest house. We’re going through each room, very slowly, and with much TLC for this ol’ 1948 home. This home is in our dream neighborhood, so we don’t see ourselves moving anytime soon. We may even build up or out as time and money allows. Yet to be honest my first love is the backyard. We’re blessed here in California to have beautiful weather throughout the year, so to have an outdoor living space has been my dream for us and the dogs. We’ll be posting more dogscape updates throughout the summer. So many projects, so many blog posts, so much time!


What to do with extra posts?…

That was the question…I desperately wanted a vegetable garden, but there were two big obstacles standing in my way:

1) Two monstrous dogs who literally eat everything in sight (including vegetables).

2) Moving shade, due to all the trees in our neighborhood. The only place with full six hours of sun was on the tile patio.

Using extra material from our Privacy Screen project

The rolling, [dog proof] vegetable garden was born!

rolling garden cart side view

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This cart stands about 4 ft tall, with two lattice sides for added height to keep wet noses out of the tomatoes. Here’s how we did it…

1) Using two left over 8 ft x 4 inch redwood posts, cut in half and 4 (6ftx 3/4 inch) redwood planks cut into two pieces ( a 2 ft cut and 4 ft cut). We also had 2 left over boards of 6 ft x 2 inches, (again cut into 4ft and 2 ft pieces). We connected the bottom with the sturdier (6ft x 2inch) boards and posts using tan deck screws, and essentially framed a rectangular box like the diagram below: (Extra tip: To add stability we added an extra piece of scrap wood, cut just shy of 2 ft and it helped stabilize the frame by screwing it across the middle of the box)

rolling garden card diagram 1

2) Working our way up the top we stacked and screwed the 4 ft and 2ft redwood planks to the outside of the posts.

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3. To add additional height and protection from hungry dogs we cut and added redwood lattice to two sides of the cart. Then we screwed heavy duty wheels with breaking mechanisms to the bottom of the 4 inch posts. As well as brace two 2inch x 4ft boards running parallel along the inside of the framed box. (see pictures below for a better visual) This would allow for heavy duty metal wire racks to lay on them. The pots of plants sat on top of these racks, since we needed to allow for proper drainage when watering the vegetables.

rolling garden cart inside

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4. Add a few solar post lights for decoration, and using Geopots, we now have a rolling [dog proof] vegetable garden. Here are the tomatoes starting to spring up…

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And here again are the tomatoes that actually survived the Sacramento heat spell we just endured a couple weeks back…

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We hope to make a few more carts in the future. Only instead plant them with different, lusher, and decorative plants for under our future pergola. These also work great for blocking off the outdoor dining space from our two big chow hounds.

Happy Tuesday!…(Holy smokes she’s breaking her own rules!)

I normally don’t post during the week, but I’m a bit giddy right now and jumping the gun…

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IKEA HACKERS featured our wine rack today!


I’ve crushed on this website for 2 years and have found so much inspiration through all the featured projects. (If you are an ikea hacker like me, then this is the website for you!) I never thought they’d be interested in featuring my, shot-in-the- dark,  make-shift wine rack!


Office In Progress

Wrapping up our Sunday, I figured I’d better post some in progress pictures of the office/guest room. It had been our “stuff” /catch all room, that we pretty much had ignored. The only two requests from the hubby was not go “crazy DIY” and paint. Basically I made do with what we had on hand. Here are the before and in progress pictures…

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In progress pic

Before (at an uglier and wider angle)

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in progress office pic


That’s it for Sunday! We have more work to do in the coming week, till then!

TOP 10 Reasons…You might be a DIY (Do it Yourself) Addict…

1. On the way to your friend’s dinner party they text you to ask, “Have you checked your hair for paint?”

2. The Home Depot staff watch for your car. 

3. Your best friend deletes your Pinterest App to stage an “intervention”

4. Your house has its own Twitter account (#DIYandLovin’it!)

5. You’ve just received your third ticket for 4×8 wood posts hanging out your front passenger window.

6. Your husband buys you a circular saw as a Valentine’s day gift. 

7. You go without a TV remote for a week, because it was misplaced while staging your living room for the perfect “after” shot. 

8. You just reached the Ideabook limit of “photos allowed” on your Houzz account

9. Your husband has set the parental controls and blocked you from HGTV, and the DIY network- he just can’t take anymore inspiration!

10. Better Homes and Gardens has filed a harassment suit against you for submitting too many projects to them. 

I hope this gives all my fellow DIYers a good laugh! Happy Sunday everyone!


Everyone Should have a Dream Wall

What is a “Dream Wall?” DIYers have heard of a dream board or inspiration board. We clog up our Pinterest pages full of ideas and inspiration for the next project or post them on a blog. However we should all seriously consider creating our own “Dream Wall.” Where one wall of your home is used to display art work and items that remind you of a goal or dream you want to attain someday. Visualizing goals are so important to making a dream a reality. Essentially a “Dream Wall” is like taping a 3×5 index card to your bathroom mirror with your goals, except a lot more stylish!

Here is mine, can you take a guess on what my goal and dream might be?

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I’ve been collecting and photographing beach prints and photos for years with the hope of someday owning a little piece of the [expensive] California coast. A place our friends and family can use, and the dogs can chase seagulls on th beach. This Dream Wall, prominently displayed in my home office is a reminder every time we work on the budget, write, or plan the next DIY project. It is a fabulous way to keep you grounded and inspire you at the same time.

What does your “Dream Wall” look like?

Prioritizing Expenses for Your New “Old” Home

When moving into an older “new” home we often focus on the exciting stuff; paint colors, furniture, and the décor. Due to this, we forget about the important things like the “bones”.

You know the “bones,” the house’s structure, what is under all the plaster and paint. We also forget in the excitement of a home purchase and move in, the maintenance cost of older homes.

My dad put it best, “if you don’t want an expensive hobby, don’t move into an older home.”

Wait a minute! Before you stop reading …This post is not to deter you from buying or crushing on an old home. Rather to help you prioritize renovation and maintenance costs.

Hopefully through this post you can learn from both our good ideas and mistakes. Remember we’re just a few regular homeowners who learned a thing or two from buying and slowly renovating an older home. Maybe it will help you plan for lovin’on your new “old” home too.

Firstly the budget…

  1. Seriously analyze and itemize the major structural costs you see coming. Your home inspection will tell you what does or does not need work.

Our example: We needed a new roof and we knew this expense would be a biggy. Therefore we budgeted enough and squirreled it away as a future expense.

  1. Are there health concerns with your new “old” house? Possible asbestos or lead paint? (They have you sign a hazard warning in California.)

Don’t think the age of your home is a catchall. In the 1970s these hazardous materials were still in use because contractors and companies were allowed to use them in order to eliminate supply. In fact HVAC friends of ours have seen asbestos wrapped duct work even in 1980s homes. (YIKES!)

But don’t freak out yet… This is where you prioritize a possible cost and budget for encapsulation or removal. Have it tested, and bring out the professionals. They will give you the advice, do their thing and sometimes even calm your nerves. Also don’t go by what one professional says. Instead have several estimates and an independent inspector and/or lab help you. Don’t go with an abatement company who “happens to test.”

This often can be done prior to purchase. If it comes back positive get estimates for abatement and this may even become part of the negotiation process in home buying. If not you know the risks and costs and can have it professionally encapsulated and/or abated before move in.

Our example: We had the professionals come in and abate the popcorn ceilings, re-plaster and air test before move in

  1. Don’t ignore the small stuff, include those costs in the budget and priority list. It helps to imagine your home as a grandma. She may be a tough ol’ bird for 60+ years old but her bones are still 60+ years old. Don’t let that small leak in the guest bath or that saggy gutter go ignored, these can become a big problem with a BIG price tag for you later. Consider doing a mini-inspection with a handyman. Also by itemizing the projects you find, you can evaluate which ones can be a DIY project or left to a professional.

Our example: A small valve issue on an old toilet, turned into a quarter inch of water and a big clean-up for us later on. (Thank goodness for a great home warranty!)

  1. That leads to the next tip, consider extending your home warranty or adding coverage. Paying a little up front may pay dividends in a good nights sleep later.

Our example: Our real-estate agent arranged at signing for some additional coverage since there was some extra money left on the table. Our coverage included out-take pipe repair and some leaks so this has helped ease worries.

  1. Consider your future renovation plans, and start estimating the costs for materials and/or labor. You may have your dream home dancing around in your head, but once you start dreams may equal big dollars. Once the bones and maintenance are itemized and planned for, add the “dream cost” onto the list. Then you will see how much you can really budget for a kitchen remodel.

Our example: Looking at the end budget…Yikes! We knew if we wanted that kitchen remodel to happen we’d only have about $1500 left for it…This is when you know creativity and DIY can be put to use.

All in all, our best lesson, and one we need to consistently remind ourselves about, was to keep a running “home repair emergency” savings. It also should be separate and not mixed in with the renovation budget and funds. This turned out to be the best tool in helping us sleep at night when those little house catastrophes happen. (i.e. like rats moving into the attic, or an air conditioner stops working.) This little savings will help with home warranty deductibles and you’ll feel less pain in the pocket book when the maintenance issues strike.

I hope these tips help you prioritize and plan for your new “old” home, because like grandma, they may have great bones, but be prepared to take care of them.