WHY I DIY: Verizon

Each of these “Why I DIY” posts is about one thing: Pride in workmanship.

So when I say “Verizon,” well, I probably don’t have to say anything more.

But what fun would that be?

When my over-the-air internet provider was purchased by Sprint and its towers coverted to support the growing demand for mobile, I was faced with the choice: Comcast Xfinity or Verizon FiOS. Verizon made me a slightly better deal, so Verizon it was.

The installer was only slightly late and seemed pleasant enough.  However, she refused to use the existing cable lines running through the walls and attic (installed by the previous homeowner), saying “We’re not allowed to go into attics.”

So, here’s what I got:




Yes, Verizon can’t go into attics, but they have no compunction about drilling into exterior walls within two feet of PLUMBING.



That shingle the installer cracked? Made from asbestos.  You know, that stuff you don’t want to be friable (cracking with airborne dust)?

Wondering what we got on the inside?


This is the corner with the favorite dog bed in the entire house. There’s nearly always someone curled up here.  So–of COURSE this would be where we’d logically put a splitter.


Check out how the installer had to carve the round thing so it would fit against my custom wainscoting!

And I’m saving the best for last–how the wiring was run from the corner to the TV location.  (Installer comment: “Just move the TV to the corner.” To the corner–behind my couch?  To the corner–where my dogs sleep out of the way?)

You can bet there will be more about this one tomorrow–with happy results.

The Lillian Shelf, Part (Coat?) One

I’m picking up where I left of with “The Lillian Shelf: Making the ’60s work in 2015.”

Irony: I tagged Amy Howard at Home in my first Facebook post about this blog, and folks there responded:


Yeah, I don’t think they’re going to find this series a whole lot of fun. Mainly because I see a whole lot of not fun in my future to make The Lilllian Shelf useable with “One Coat Paint.”

As in, this could take all week when all I wanted was a way to get my extraneous shoes off the floor.

I watched the Ace Hardware video and did exactly what I saw Amy Howard do–used a new, good-quality brush, offloaded a lot of the paint before applying brush to bookshelf, let the paint dry for several hours.  I didn’t expect the finish to be mirror-like smooth–particularly where the wood was gouged–but I didn’t expect this, either:


That’s one heavy coat, applied with a brush.

Next up: One coat, applied with a roller. (Spoiler alert: “Not Today and Tomorrow’s Not Looking Good Either”)

The Lillian Shelf: Making the ’60s work in 2015

Once upon a time, a colorful young woman (who grew up in a hotel in NYC!) married her piano teacher’s brother. They lived in Levittown, NY, then worked for NASA in Huntsville, AL (both of them–their mission was putting a man on the moon!) before NASA transferred them to DC. The timing was perfect–Levitt was building another community in the Maryland suburbs, so they called the builder and bought before the house was built. They requested the house be built across two lots on a corner and with their own customizations–kind of scandalous when Levitt was making his name as the Henry Ford of home building. They bought fashionable 1960s items to furnish it and filled it so full of stuff in their 48 years there that it took their buyers (a young engaged couple–the house’s second set of inhabitants) more than a month and three dumpsters to empty it all after the husband died and the wife went to live in a nursing home that could handle her Alzheimer’s.

This adorable little bookshelf is among the things that I took from the curb when the emptying progressed from dumpster to curbside. Later, I saw its two mates (and a matching dining set) at the yard sale the young couple put on to raise money for the wife’s nursing home care.


The wife–Lillian, who was one of my favorite people in the neighborhood, and who remained a colorful character well past recognizing me, or even her own surroundings–died this year. The adorable little bookshelf has been calling to me from its ignored spot in my garage.

Thing is, the bookshelf is in horrible condition. HORRIBLE. While it appears to be a good piece of furniture, it’s scratched and gouged and generally showing fifty years of hard use.  That’s part of why it’s been sitting in the garage–refinishing back to bare wood is just not something I wanted to do.

So when I heard about Amy Howard’s live webinar for Ace Hardware, pitching her “One Coat Paint” created especially for “recycling” refurniture without full-on refinishing, I watched the video and decided to give it a shot. Chalk-based paint–who knew? And it was able to be tinted to the color I really wanted–aubergine!

Here are the before pictures. So far, I’ve washed the bookshelf with diluted Simple Green (twice–it was really dirty) and have re-glued the loose dovetail joints on top. Next step (and post): The first coat. I’m starting with those cute little feet!

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Kitchen Reno Inspiration: Coolest. Sink. Ever.

After living in my house for 15 years, I’m finally starting the process to renovate my kitchen.  Myself.

And here is what has pushed me into motion–a restaurant-inspired sink that accommodates half-sheets (solid and perforated) as well as cutting boards to create a solid counter when it’s needed.

The whole kitchen story is here.  If you have an ideas how about to get a stainless sink custom fabricated–can you let me know?