Widening a single door to double doors in the hall closet

In addition to installing a new kitchen, we also widened two doorways; the game room and the hallway closet. I realized when going through photos that I never shared a before and after of the closet in the hall.

Here is the hall before we widened the doorway. The closet is the first door on the left.

And here it is open. The closet is very wide, but with only a single door, it made it much harder to utilize the space to the left and right.

Our renovation consisted of us doing lots of demo work (to save money) and then our builder’s team putting it all back together. Ben and I pulled the old door out, and then from there the framers came in and widened the door and installed a new header. After that the finishers installed the new pre-hung set of doors.

Once the doors were hung the finishers also added all the shelves in the closet. It used to function as a coat closet, but with no linen closets in this house, and the fact that we are in Texas and don’t really need a coat closet, we opted to turn the closet into a big linen closet.

Ahh, just look at all of that storage! The closet is so functional now.

We had so much stuff piled everywhere, and so much more work to do around the house, so I went ahead and loaded up the closet (of out desperation for space more than anything) even though we hadn’t painted yet.

After many MANY hours of painting, I managed to paint all the baseboards, trim, and doors (I still haven’t painted the shelving inside the closet though). Now our new double doors are black to match the rest of the doors in the house.

I attached dummy doorknobs on the doors that match all the other doorknobs in the house.

Before and After:


Just ignore the “now” on the before photo. I borrowed it from an old post.

It’s amazing what widening a doorframe will do for functionality. We are slowly taking this house and turning it into our home.


Cooking with Kinsey – Gluten-Free birthday cake w/ fondant & buttercream

Our 10 year old daughter, Kinsey, LOVES to bake. Not only does she love it, she is freaking good at it too. At 10 years old, she can bake all sorts of stuff (cake, cupcakes, cookies, brownies), start to finish, completely by herself.

Last week our son, Travis, turned the big 1-3. Yes, I have a teenager. Ack! Kinsey decided for part of her gift to him she wanted to bake his birthday cake. She totally nailed this cake. I’m still shocked a 10 year old with little baking experience and pretty much zero decorating experience pulled off this cake.

Travis is strictly gluten-free (and Red40-free) due to severe allergies, so we tend to make a lot of treats at home. Most store-bought cake mixes, frostings, and fondants have gluten in them, so we made them all from scratch.

Kinsey started by baking a gluten-free cake. We prefer to just use a mix for this. We’ve tried dozens of mixes and our favorite yellow cake mix is from King Arthur Flour (not an affiliate).

She then made her own buttercream frosting. We’ve tried several recipes and our favorite is here.

After whipping up the buttercream and baking the cake, I helped her make some homemade fondant using melted marshmallows. It has great consistency and tastes much yummier than store-bought fondant. (Store-bought fondant has gluten in it.)

Her favorite part of all was rolling out the fondant and decorating the cake with it. She has wanted to try her hand at fondant for a few years, so we finally just went for it.

This cake is the very first time she has ever used fondant at all. I still can’t believe how adorable it turned out.

The cake looked a little “baby showerish” but Travis is such a good sport and such an awesome brother. He just thanked her over and over and was so grateful that she took hours of her day making a cake just for him.

The best part? The cake tasted even more amazing than it looked. All the homemade ingredients really helped to make one of the most delicious cakes we’ve ever eaten. And the best part? It was 100% gluten-free and Red40-free so Travis could enjoy it as well.


Curtain tiebacks as mudroom hooks

I’ve been putting off doing any permanent storage in our mudroom/laundry room. I’ve been holding off; wanting to wait until I can install the mudroom of my dreams, complete with lots of storage, a bench to sit on, and hooks for backpacks and coats.

Well, we’ve been here a year and a half, and this is just not a practical goal. Backpacks and coats have been strewn all over the floor, and the kids have started avoiding the mudroom completely and dumping all their bags, books, coats, and shoes in my dining room every day. Enough is enough!

I created a temporary (but probably less temporary than I’d like to admit) solution for all their stuff. Here is the view into the kitchen from the mudroom.

On a side note, just ignore the missing tile on the floor. It got removed during renovation to install the new pocket door in the pantry, and I just haven’t bothered laying new tile yet. I have the new tile, after rescuing it from the Habitat store that I accidentally donated it to, but in all honesty, I’m just not that motivated to patch it up. I don’t even like the floor to begin with, and I hope to replace it someday, so I’ve just been avoiding it all-together.

The black door on the left is the door into our garage. The door is set away from the perpendicular wall just enough that there is enough space there for some wall hooks.

I have this random bin full of all sorts of hooks, knobs, and the like, so I rummaged through it to find some hooks to hang on the wall.

There on top were some old curtain tiebacks that I forgot I saved. Thrifty Decor Chick used curtain tiebacks on her door for bags and scarves, and I’ve always loved that idea, so I tried it out for our backpacks.

I used my new handy dandy stud finder that Ben got me for Christmas (it was on my wish list!) and because the studs were reasonably placed, I screwed directly into them instead of using anchors.

A quick tip: if you ever need to hang anything on your wall, or do anything on your wall that requires any pencil markings, put painters tape on your wall first, then do all your markings on the painters tape. You can drill or screw directly through the tape, and once your screws/nails are set, just rip the tape off. Now you don’t have to touch up any paint to cover all the pencil markings.

Once the 3 hooks were installed I tested them out with the heavy backpacks and my purse. AWESOME. Finally! Storage. And it only took me 10 minutes using stuff I already had sitting around. Why did I wait 18 months again??!

The hooks and bags fit snugly behind the door without blocking the door from opening all the way. It’s like it was meant to be.

I also found this cute cast iron key hook at Hobby Lobby that I hung up.

I was going to call it “wrought iron” because I’ve always thought any type of iron or metal like this is “wrought iron” but after googling I found a simple explanation between cast and wrought iron:

“Wrought iron has been worked (wrought) by hammering and bending, often into elaborate shapes. It is distinguished from cast iron, where the iron takes on the shape of the mold the molten metal was poured into.”

Now we can all stop calling it wrought, and start calling it what it really is – cast iron. You are welcome.

And finally, our new curtain tieback wall hooks working double duty with our bags and coats, and the new cast iron key holder.

Hallelujah for simple storage solutions that make a big impact. My goal for 2015? To get this house organized once and for all.

-curtain tiebacks = awesome big hooks
-painters tape for pencil markings on wall
-cast iron instead of wrought iron

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