ALL POSTS IN Floor & Wall

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Last week I mentioned how my apartment’s blank walls had to go.

Dorm rooms are typically already equipped with a set of furniture, and while it’s nice to not have to furnish an entire room or apartment out of your own pocket, it definitely makes creating your own personal style difficult. Your empty dorm walls become, quite literally, your blank canvas. Some residence halls will even let you paint – with the agreement that you promise to repaint at the end of the year.

But if you find you can’t paint and your walls are so fragile that a nail might send pieces of drywall crashing to the ground, don’t go running for the Scarface poster just yet. There are plenty of simple but creative ways to decorate, even on a college student’s budget.

3 Tricks to Try

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As I’ve mentioned before: I love antiques but, in particular, my heart skips a beat when I see European antiques — French finds in particular. Years ago, I discovered a gilt Rococo-inspired wall clock at a flea market.  The clock face looked to be from the ’60s but the surrounding frame was hand-carved wood with applied gold leaf and appeared to be much older. At the time, I lived in Los Angeles and really had no use for it so it languished, forgotten, in my parents’ North Carolina basement for a decade until I rediscovered it. And, let me tell you, it was a very happy reunion indeed. I had recently purchased a round needlepoint of violets at an estate sale without a frame. Once I popped out the ’60s clock, I thought the Rococo frame and sweet, little needlepoint would make a happy pair.

And so they did: needlework in an old clock frame


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With Tropical Storm Isaac set to hit the Gulf Coast this week, a lot of rain is on its way to the surrounding states. For me, the storm is reminiscent of two years ago, when my father called and said there was a “river” rushing through our backyard caused by 13 inches of rainfall over just two days, resulting in the most serious flooding Nashville had seen in 75 years.

Luckily, my family was safe and our home was spared – save for some flooding in our basement. Our house was built fairly recently, so unlike older homes that may not have proper or clogged drainage systems, our basement held up pretty well to all that water.

basement flooding diy controls

You can take action now to prevent basement flooding by clearing out gutters and drains and clearing snow and ice away from the house during winter months.

Waterproofing your basement is vital, especially right before winter months to prevent snow and sleet from building up and causing damage; waterproofing will also ward away growth of mold and mildew.

But when the storm has already passed and water has already taken over your basement, it’s best to take action as soon as possible. Follow these simple steps to drying out and sanitizing your basement or crawlspace:

-Start by opening vents and windows to let fresh air flow through. You’ll want to wear a face mask to protect yourself against mold, mildew and allergens.

-If you have carpets in your basement, you and your family will avoid health risks if you remove the carpet entirely. It’s highly unlikely you will ever be able to completely dry it out once it’s been saturated with water. Tile and concrete floors, on the other hand, are much easier to deal with. Use a mop to soak up as much of the water as possible, then use old towels or cloths to dry up smaller pools of water.

-Next you’ll need to sanitize the floor – water and bleach will work just fine, but use whatever cleaning solution you prefer. Set up fans to help continue to circulate air; investing in a dehumidifier will also ensure the space gets dry completely.

Once your basement is clean and dry, you will want to consider going back and looking at waterproofing solutions to prevent future flooding.

Our thoughts go out to all our friends, family, and readers affected by the storm. Everyone be careful and stay safe, sound and dry!   

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Let me start by saying that I have the best daddy in the world. Yes, I said “daddy.”  I’m a Southerner through-and-through and that’s what we call our fathers — especially the doting, do-anything-for-their-kids type. There’s no home-improvement project he can’t conquer and I’m proud to say that I inherited my can-do gene from him.

My 1950′s kitchen has seen quite a few upgrades in the five years I’ve owned my home but the backsplash has always seemed lacking. So this summer, I decided the time had finally come to install a tile backsplash. Because I like to go big, I chose marble subway tile — fragile, costly, moisture-sensitive Carrara marble. Probably not the best choice for my first tiling project, but that’s how I roll.

My parents made the drive from North Carolina so my Dad could teach me the ways of the force while I did my research and sourced all the materials we’d need so we could knock it out in a long weekend.

Before: Not bad but it could be better. The paint color is Valspar Jekyll Club Pulitzer Blue, if you’re wondering:

kitchen backsplash before

See The After Shots

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Sometimes accidents happen. Some, bigger than others:

Drywall Repair

Your first instinct will most likely be to panic, but don’t. Your walls are bound to get damaged eventually, so it’s crucial to know how to fix them when a problem arises. Even the gigantic hole pictured above is fixable with a trip to the hardware store and some patience.

There are a couple of methods for fixing drywall, and it all depends on the size of the hole. For smaller ones, a simple patch job will usually suffice. You can buy kits at your local hardware store, which include most of the items you’ll need to get the job done.

Larger holes or cracks will require some more materials and a little more care, but can still be repaired without having to call in a professional — freeing you from having to sit and stare at the hole for days until the pro comes to your rescue!

For how-to’s and more information on fixing common drywall problems, see:

Repair a Large Hole in Drywall

Video: How to Patch Drywall

Repair Cracked Plaster with Drywall or Washers

How to Repair a Drywall Ceiling

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If there is one thing I took away from living in dorms for the last four years it’s this: I hope you like tile, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of it.

Dorm Tile

Your typical dorm with typical dorm tile, courtesy of the Lovely Undergrad.

I groan now, but I’m actually kind of relieved I’ve never had to deal with dorm carpet that’s seen student after student over the course of several years. Yuck. I’ve always had carpets at home and unless I somehow manage to sneak them into the car, my mother usually makes me toss them at the end of the school year (Dorm hack: at the end of the school year the dorms become a burial ground for abandoned items; I once watched someone walk off with a 50-inch television), so collecting rugs turned into an accidental hobby of mine. You can put a rug anywhere — you can put a rug on a rug, if you want.
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