Modifying a cabinet...

When I first remodeled my master bathroom, I loved it...honestly, I still do! But someday soon I want to make some major changes just for practical purposes. Specifically, I want to remove the whirlpool tub (seriously, I think I have used it 3 times in the last 20 years!) and add a walk in shower.

As much as I love the existing tile, I know that will mean picking new tile for the shower....which means I will want to go ahead and replace the floor tiles...you know, while there is already a mess! But picking a tile that will carry me through another 20 years is tough for me...I know people say this or that is "timeless" but I can assure you NO home decor is timeless.

This will all happen as soon as I can find the perfect tile person to construct the shower. I do not want to hire someone who isn't VERY experienced because one of the worst things that can happen would be a shower that leaks! 

There is one other tiny detail that kinda bugged me...the "medicine cabinet."

While I love the look, it just wasn't practical. Why? Because everything in the back half of the cabinet goes there to die! Seriously, I found a bunch of products and pills that had expired years ago.

I cut down my kitchen pantry several years ago and have never regretted losing that extra 12" of space. I like how the smaller cabinet opens up the kitchen a bit! And again, everything in the back of the cabinet had a tendency to expire before I got to it. (No, I don't have a picture of the pantry before I cut it down...that was "preblog!")

So I knew cutting down the depth of the cabinet in the bathroom was doable! 

The first thing I did was take EVERYTHING out of the cabinet and took inventory. Major purgefest! I made sure that what was needed or wanted would fit comfortably if I only had 6" of depth. Yep, all but the basket of old prescription medication and most of it had expired. 

Once I knew that cutting down the cabinet wouldn't pose a logistical problem, I removed the cabinets from the wall, cut them down, rebuilt the back and reinstalled them. (Did I take pictures of this process...of course not...who knew I would share something so mundane!)

Sounds easy...honestly, it wasn't. There was an electrical outlet to deal with and the trim detail and then of course there was the exposed sheetrock boo-boos from the old marble backsplash...curses. I always think a project will be easier than it is!

But again, it was doable, and after a day of cutting and cussing I had a smaller cabinet.

The sheetrock boo-boo was an easy fix...mud, sand and retexture. Since I am good about keeping old paint for touchups...no biggy. Except it had been so long since I painted the bathroom, the paint had hardened. So I got to repaint the entire bathroom! Yippee!

Fortunately I had a couple of left over gallons of paint from when I painted my living areas...

Now I am eyeballing my kitchen again. I am a sucker for the "power of suggestion" so when I read that big ole' hulking over-the-range microwaves are now a kitchen "faux pas" I decided I want to remove the microwave above the stove...which means I have to find a place for a smaller microwave. The counter is not an option since I have a small kitchen and limited counter space. Hum...the pantry...maybe I can put it in the pantry. Well, I could if it weren't so stinking shallow...remember I cut it down so now no microwave more than 13" deep will fit. Thank goodness for the internet...I spent days researching microwaves. Fortunately, I found a few that would work so that's one hurdle! Small little things but honestly the only thing I use a microwave for is to boil water, warm coffee and melt butter.

Hurdle #2...can I afford to loose shelf space in the pantry? Again, I pulled everything out and start measuring cans of beans and moving shelves around. 

Doable! Keep in mind we are now a family of two and I don't need the food storage space I use to!

Hurdle #3...when I take down the over-the-range microwave...what then?

Honestly, I didn't know.

And then I found a solution that changed my whole plan...

A compact over the range microwave by Whirlpool!

I would post a picture but the site won't let me steal the pictures so just go look at it!

How cool is THIS! It's only about 10" tall so I won't feel like I have a big ole' hulking appliance hanging above my head while I am cooking.

I ordered the black stainless even though my stove is black.

I hate to buy new appliances when they work perfectly fine so I thought I would live with my old black stove for the time being.

(Fortunately for me the ignitor went out on the oven this week. Yippeee! Perfect excuse to order the new black stainless stove I drool on every time I go to Lowe's! God forbid I fix it with the $30 part!)

Now I don't have to give up pantry space or counter space. I guess it is still technically a "kitchen faux pas" since it is an "over the range microwave." But you know what...I'm okay with it. I'm probably one of the few who hasn't painted my kitchen cabinets, I have no shiplap in my house and while I would love to retile my entire kitchen and dining area with beautiful, light travertine tile, it's not happening...so I'm okay with bucking the decor trends!

The only problem I have is the space that will have to be tiled after the big ole' hulking microwave is removed. Fortunately, I am a pack rat and kept all my scraps from when I retiled the kitchen backsplash! Yea me! Thank goodness because that stuff was E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E!

So when I get the new microwave and stove are installed and the tile work done I'll share...can't wait!

 

Cherry tv cabinet makeover....

I've said it before...I am a bad blogger and mediocre photographer at best.

Bad because I often get in such a hurry to start a project I completely forget to take a "before" picture. Mediocre photographer because...well, my photos speak for themselves.

As is the case of this Queen Anne Cherry tv cabinet. Hello 1998! 

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No, I did not take a "before" picture. So I did a little google search and found a cabinet that was SIMILAR to the one I acquired from my neighbor. Color and style are the same, but mine does not have a drawer. 

We have all seen this furniture style...many of us still have it in our homes! I had similar bedroom furniture...not the Queen Anne style, but heavy and dark. I painted my bedroom furniture a few years ago and honestly I don't give it a second thought these days!! In other words, update the outdated and you may stop feeling the need to spend thousands on new!

There are several problems with this tv cabinet. First, who still uses these cabinets for housing tvs? Most of us have transitioned to flat screens...I finally pitched my last hold out a few years ago. 

Second...it is dark and "heavy" looking. Not really the in thing right now.

But they are still good solid pieces that have use and purpose. Maybe not for their original intent, but who couldn't use more storage! 

It is super simple to give these pieces a little update. I know most will not want this piece for a tv cabinet but everyone is looking for storage pieces for crafts, linens or even clothing. Honestly, it could be used in a kitchen for pantry space or a bathroom for towels and such!

Again, it just needs a little facelift.

I removed the back...super simple since they are usually just stapled on.

I added a new shelf then primed the inside of the cabinet with Kilz, sanded, tacked and spray painted it with white paint (KTSP!)

I used bead board to make a new back to add a little "interest." I used THIS process to "stain" it. Normally I would use an accent color but this time I used the same latex paint I mixed up as chalk paint for the exterior.

Making your own chalk paint is super simple...thoroughly mix 3 tablespoons of water and 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris and then add 2 cups of FLAT latex paint. You can use satin or eggshell paint but I have found that the flat tends to "chalk" better when you sand.

Sand and seal! Again I never use wax on chalk paint...usually polyurethane or polycrylic. If you want the added character that you get with dark wax, try applying a dark "glaze" before you seal. Personally, I think you get the same affect without having to use wax. I have even used stain as a "glaze"...this mirror being a good example.

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Finally, I added simple knobs.

Sealing the piece with poly makes it super simple to repaint when the "distressed" craze ends...and trust me it will eventually! 

Some of us remember when this dark "cherry" look was all the rage...

Essentials for a cozy guest room...

I did not realize how unprepared we were for guests until I began my quest for the perfect "guest room."

Sarah and her family are our most frequent "guests." She doesn't have her own room in this house since she had moved away for college the year I bought it...19 years ago! (Wow...where does the time go!) When her family visits they have no problem digging through my bathroom or closet when they need a Q-tip or soap or an extra blanket! I don't mind that they do, but you probably don't want most "guests" scrounging around your bath or closet!

The three youngest babies who grew up in this house have moved on with their lives and I am left with three bedrooms upstairs.

Now, this is where I tell you that when your children first go off to college, do NOT think you can immediately turn their room into "a naked room." (Again, you have to see the movie!) Because truth be told, they do eventually come home...at least for frequent and sometimes extended visits. And the worst is all the "stuff" they leave behind...clothes, books, trophies, high school momentos. Stuff they obviously can't take with them but don't want to get rid of (okay, so MOM doesn't want to get rid of their t-ball jerseys and "Where The Wild Things Are" books...but that's a whole nuther issue!)

But eventually the time comes and you know they will not be moving back.

For me that time has come.

I decided it was time to pull together a real "guest room." It all started here

I finally got Matt's room painted and all three rooms purged. For the most part...there are still a few framed momentos and childhood books scattered about!

Katie's room will be our official "gym"...there is a twin bed and room for the portable cot for the grandsons and it has the large tv so it is perfect for their "game room." 

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Mitchell's room has been the unofficial "guest room" but right now it still has a lot of "stuff" in it that I just don't have the energy to deal with. And truthfully, the bed in his room isn't real comfy.

When Matt moved into his new home, he left only a bed and dresser...

...that room has the least to deal with so that will be the "official guest room." After the new paint and purge, it was time to start working on "this list"....

In the bedroom I made sure there where the essentials...comfortable bedding, a bedside table with a lamp, an alarm clock with USB ports (love that little thing!), a scented candle, a flashlight, reading materials, a notepad, a trash can, etc. (I moved the bedside table from Mitchell's room and the lamp from Katie's...it "pays" to shop at home!)

I gathered all the extra blankets and pillows and bought new hangers and put them in the closet....

I put white inexpensive pillow cases on all the spare pillows! Just a reminder that I am a huge fan of white bedding and towels!

In the bathroom I purged all the outdated products (used toothbrushes, old deodorant, expired meds) and stocked it with everything on the list...toiletries, ample towels and washcloths, a blow dryer, personal and oral hygiene products, a first aid kit and basic meds. 

I made sure I checked everything off the list!

I wanted a new bed frame and found the PERFECT one through a friend. 

Okay, so it wasn't really perfect. I added some height to the side rails because I don't like the box springs showing. I used my Kreg jig and wood glue to attach a 1x6 board to the side rails....

...then nailed a piece of trim across the joint...caulk and putty...

Then I painted it! First the KST...kilz, sand, tack...

Then paint. I went with my go-to off white...SW Swiss Coffee. I thought about doing the whole chalk paint and distress thing, but I know that will eventually fade out of favor and I want clean and classic...in other words, something I don't have to repaint in a few years.

I found an inexpensive "indoor/outdoor" rug that works perfect with a neutral color pallet. 

I'm not big on piles of decorative pillows on the bed, but since I don't have to make this bed every day I picked up some pretty decorative pillows!

I replaced the blue and brown curtains with fresh white panels. 

I found this message board in the craft section at Hobby Lobby.

Chalk painted it and then hand painted the wording on it, distressed a tad and sealed. Super simple and just a touch of "farmhouse." 

This little "message board" is the perfect spot for the wifi password info and our home address info. Keep in mind, if you don't have a land line and someone uses their cell phone in an emergency, emergency responders may not know your exact location. Guests should have your physical address! It is also the perfect spot for hanging spare charging cords for I-pads and phones! 

Fresh flowers are on the list, but it is a bit unrealistic to keep fresh flowers in a room I rarely enter...these were from Sarah for my birthday! 

If you do not have an extra bedroom specifically for guests, put together a guest basket...a little basket with all the "essentials" that can be stored in a closet until it is needed! I stocked this one with little "sample size" products. I also pulled items from my hotel stockpile...yes, I am one of those people who takes all the little shampoos, lotions and soaps from my hotel room!

Having a room ready (or even a little guest basket on hand) sure makes it easy to prepare for overnight guests...last minute or scheduled.

I have a large matted frame I intend to hang above the bed if I can find a print I like. The frame was a "silverish" color...not the least bit pretty. I have it primed and ready to paint (and share) when I finally put it all together. Wall decor is something that can take time...like Matt, I don't want "stuff" just to have "stuff." 

I put my dad's walnut chair in the corner and eventually I want to add a mid century dresser...Katie is using this one and I may get it back when she moves so I may hold out for it! I also want to find a luggage stand. When I get that all in place I will share that side of the room!

The "froo-froo" takes time but the absolute must-haves are in place! 

Que "sigh of relief!"

Sign post from old bed posts...

I have had these old bed posts for eons...they have been sitting in my garden cubby for...seriously, I have no idea how long! I can not tell you how many times I almost tossed them, only to stick them back in the cubby "just in case."

I love the blogs that post inspiration pictures with links...but there are just too many...and honestly, I'm kinda lazy! If you need or want more inspiration, just search "sign post" on Pinterest. I promise you will find something that trips your trigger.

I stumbled across one in my search for ideas for my guest room (I promise to share soon!) Light bulb moment. I have old posts! I have some old hooks....and scrap wood...and paint. 

I CAN DO THIS!!!!

So I did...

Super simple project...while I have all the necessary tools in my Tool Box, this really is a project that needs little more than a hammer, saw, screw driver, glue and nails. 

First I had to clean all the gunk off the posts...then I puttied the holes and built a sturdy base (just a scrap board screwed into the post and trim)...

....chalk...paint...distress...seal...add a hook!

Perfect for a little "Welcome" sign on the front porch....maybe a hanging basket of flowers. You could even add a few more hooks and use it as a coat rack or set it in your bathroom or by the pool for towels...the possibilities are endless!!!

Super simple. And a great way for me to purge another "just in case" thing from my garden cubby!

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Bee Box Shelf....

Sometimes things get "stored" in my garage and I spend a few years kicking them around. 

My daughter started raising bees several years ago. She would occasionally bring home old "bee boxes" to paint. 

One has been hanging out in my garage for...oh, I would say at LEAST two years. Waiting to be painted. Never happened.

In my quest to "organize" my mess of a garage I decided to purge a few things...but it is always hard for me to toss anything wood. One of my few "hoarding" tendencies.

An old bee box...scrap pieces of bead board from another project...old dresser drawer pieces...hum....what to do, what to do!?

Yep...a "bee box" shelf.

I used one side of an antique dresser drawer as the shelf and the scrap bead board for the back. A little glue...a few nails. I sanded the box and the shelf to clean them up a bit. (I could actually smell the honey!)After sanding and assembling I sprayed the entire piece with a clear coat just to seal the "chippy" paint.

Easy, peasy. 

Not my style so of course it will be sold, but just a quick reminder that you can turn any old "scraps" into something pretty and functional with just a little imagination...this didn't take too much time or any expensive tools...just a saw to cut the shelf, a hammer and a little sand paper. 

Next week I'll share the project that produced all the scrap bead board...another "repurposing" project! 

Until then....

"Repurposed" oak dresser....

So many little projects happening...a tv console, a thrift store wall clock, an old love seat, some Eastlake chairs.

But today I want to share another "Trash to Treasure." As I have mention, I often find discarded, abused pieces of furniture at the apartments. They either get left behind in a unit or thrown on the trailer I keep out back for bulk trash. 

Someone had tossed this oak chest skeleton onto the trailer....

It wasn't in terrible shape but it was missing all the drawers. I hated to just toss it in the dumpster...I knew I could do something with it, just wasn't sure what. I brought it home and waited for inspiration to hit.

I did have to do a little bit of structural repair...nothing major...glue and clamps!

I decided to turn it into a little shelf....kitchen, bath, bedroom...wherever someone might need some extra storage for dishes, towels or even shirts...maybe add some cute baskets or boxes. 

I cleaned it up, chalkpainted and distressed the "skeleton," added some stained plywood shelves, and....

I thought about painting the inside but decided to let it be what it is...and old oak dresser repurposed. 

Sometimes less is more.

Drop door cabinet makeover....

Enough about my entry makeover FOR NOW! I'll get there eventually but I'm at the "wait" and "hum" stage...waiting on tile and stair treads and not quite sure what I want to do about trim and lighting...hum....

So in the meantime I thought I would share one of the wash stands I rehabbed. I went to an awesome auction several weeks ago and brought home 5 potentially beautiful dressers and wash stands. One just needed to be cleaned and oiled but the others needed some serious work.

On these older pieces I just can't bring myself to slather them entirely in paint. I always have to restore a little bit of the original wood. I know in today's world of home decor, paint is all the rage, but I need a good balance of paint and the "warmth" of wood. So no matter the condition of the top, if it is solid wood, I am going to strip it and refinish it. 

This little cabinet was originally a "wash stand." It wan't in terrible shape but it had seen better days!

It had a little mirror on the back, which when removed left a  "gap" along the back edge.

If I was going to paint the top, I could have filled it in with a strip of poplar and been done with it. But I knew I wanted to refinish the top so I added a piece of oak...

...just routed the edge, then attached it with glue and trim nails. I stripped the top with this process, applied a little walnut stain and sealed with poly!

I chalk painted and distressed the base and sealed with poly. The little drop front REALLY distressed, but sometimes I just let furniture do what it wants to do! A little update on the hardware and it is good to go!

The drawers on most antique pieces have some issues....remember GLUE AND CLAMP when repairing drawers! Not nails and screws! And since the drawers were pretty ratty and stained, I gave them a little KSTP treatment! (sorry, no pictures!) They look and smell much better if you will take the time to paint the inside of the drawers of these older pieces!

I think this would make an awesome bedside table or entry piece! Or even a tv cabinet!

I tried to "stage" this little piece with some of my auction finds....

....an old cheese box, some awesome scales and a wood duck decoy. But again, I am not the best photographer and I am definitely more about doing and less "froo-frooing." 

I have several dressers and another wash stand to share, so stay tuned!

A simple TV cabinet makeover...

This is the second year in a row I have been sick around Christmas. Fortunately, last year it was AFTER Christmas. This year it was BEFORE Christmas. Not good when I have so much to do the week before Christmas! I knew I felt bad Tuesday when I was out building fence (the wind did a number on my privacy fence at the apartments) but I didn't realize how bad I felt until I came home and sat down.

Now I have a list of things to do...presents to buy, a few things to return, wrapping boxes to hunt down, presents to ship, grocery shopping....and I feel to cruddy to even drag myself into the shower! Fortunately I THINK the worst is over so hopefully I'll feel like getting around later today!

In the meantime, I thought I would share another simple little makeover.

Remember all that dated, uninteresting furniture I keep harping on you to paint or do SOMETHING with! Well, this is just another example of a piece of furniture that no longer has a place or a purpose in our homes...unless you roll up your sleeves and give it a little makeover.

The dreaded old "tv cabinet" ...or "hutch"....or whatever you want to call it!

Here I shared how I acquired this less-than-interesting piece and how I used beaded craft board to start this simple transformation!

I gave the inside a KSTP treatment with my "go to" off-white and gave the outside a little plaster paint/dristress treatment. But it still lacked "character" so I wiped down the entire cabinet with walnut stain. That changed the color from a soft "teal" to almost a "greenish" color but it also added depth to the finish! Kind of a "patina"....

I sealed it all with poly and changed out the hardware. Actually I painted the original round knobs black and added black cup pulls to the bottom drawer! Remember, if you are changing out hardware, you may have to patch some holes BEFORE you paint. In this case I had to do just that since the holes on the bottom drawer were 3" apart and the holes for the cup pulls are 2 1/2"...no biggy! Just patch them with wood filler, sand and then paint....then just drill new holes for the new hardware!

It would be simple to reinstall the doors...but in this case I decided to go with an "open shelf" look! 

Simple little update! Now this little cabinet is ready for another season of life! 


"Blah" to "BAM" cheap furniture makeovers...YOU CAN DO IT!!!

This past week I have been working on my kitchen (I told you the "small" projects wouldn't squash the urge!) I still have a few little trim details to hunt down and then I will try to do a feature next week. I had to construct three different types of open shelving and I rewired an 80 year old Westinghouse fan...AND IT WORKS!!! I'll share all that as well!

This week I want to share a few little projects that YOU can do! Do you have a piece of furniture (or two or ten) that is just "blah?" A cheap little shelving unit you picked up at the big box store and put together with the little allen wrench that came with the screws. Maybe a few ancient bedside tables you inherited from your mom. A particle board table that has seen it's better days.

I know I have harped on this before, but seriously it bares repeating! If you are just starting out, are on a tight budget, feel the need to keep furniture given to you by family, or just want to change things up a bit, you NEED to be able to do simple makeovers!

Before you toss a piece of furniture to the curb, think about "updating" it a tad. Even the cheapest, most basic piece can be saved with just a tiny bit of time and effort! As I have said time and again, the worst that can happen is you still hate it and it still only brings $1 at your next garage sale. 

I find pieces like this all the time at my apartments. I drag them home, clean them up with ammonia (stinky but gets the old gunk off!) and then give them a little facelift!

This was one haul out of one unit....

The little bedside tables are the old orange maple...ugly as sin but super sturdy and solid wood! The little coffee table is one of those inexpensive "fake" wood things that comes with the little allen wrench tool for the bolts! And the spindle shelf had particle board shelving. All in all, pretty dated stuff!

This little shelf came out of another unit...

It was missing a drawer and it had a few loose bolts, but whatever...still salvageable!

I find these things in my apartments, but you can find them at thrift stores and garage sales for next to nothing! 

All I did to the little shelf with reeded drawers was give it a little KSTP treatment (Kilz, sand, tack cloth and paint!

Perfect for added storage in a bathroom, kitchen or kid's room!

I decided to do something a little fancier on the coffee table and bedside tables. I striped the tops with the acetone/lacquer thinner mixture, added a little java gel stain, then sealed them with spray on poly (if stripping and staining is beyond your skill level, just paint the tops!)

The bases are simple KSTP treatment. New hardware on the bedside tables and these pieces are perfect for updating any space! 

The spindle corner shelf got a simple KSTP treatment! 

I don't have a "before" picture of the little chalkboard shelf. Basically it was a stained wood frame with an ugly picture of a teddy bear! Ewwwww. Gave the frame a chalkpaint and distress treatment (spray paint would work too!) and I painted the board backing with chalkboard paint. Super simple "upcycle!"

Years ago I scrapbooked all the boys athletic pictures. A chore considering they both played football and baseball their entire childhood! (I strongly suggest you do this every year rather than try to find time to do all 15 years at once!)

The square frames were a perfect fit for a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper and would be perfect for someone who wanted an easy way to display their kid's sports pictures. I applied the scrapbook paper onto the foam backing with a spritz of spray adhesive, used a glue stick to attach pictures and KSTP the frames. This would be the perfect way to "scrapbook" photos...then you can take them out of the frame and just slip them into an album when it is time to change out the pictures next year!

Before you paint a piece, make sure all the "bolts and joints" are tight and the piece is sturdy. If tightening a screw or bolt doesn't solve the wobbles, take time to GLUE AND CLAMP whatever ails the piece. No sense in making it pretty if it is going to collapse the first time one of the kids leans on it! 

All these projects have one thing in common. Spray paint. Seriously...a little primer, a little sanding and a little spray paint...and you have changed the entire look! 

I have shared many of these simple little makeovers in the past! A few dressers here, here here and here. Several coffee tables here, here and here and Lord knows how many frame makeovers (herehere, and here!)

Challenge yourself. Pick out ONE piece of furniture or a frame in your house you really don't like. Go to Lowes and pick up a can of Kilz, a little sandpaper, a package of tack cloth and a can of your favorite color spray paint (total under $15) and give it a go! YOU CAN DO IT! 

I promise!

How to install a window in an interior door!

I told you...when I am trying to avoid ripping into a MAJOR project, I start little ones.

I haven't had a lot of time to "project" around the house. Between the apartments and the furniture makeovers for the flea market, I've been a bit swamped. But I keep walking into my kitchen with a tape measure and graph paper and that is dangerous!!! 

So I decided to tackle a small project I have been mulling over for some time. I checked Pinterest and there weren't any tutorials for this project so I had to make it up as I went!

I wanted to add a window to my laundry door. It is a small room and while I am RARELY in there with the door shut, I thought it might open up this hallway a bit. And honestly, if I really like it, I may do all the doors. (I painted my interior doors black and shared that project here. It has been over two years and I STILL love them!)

As with many projects, I mull and plan and think and draw. I finally just took the door into the garage and cut a big ole' hole in it with my skill saw and jig saw. Solved the big problem...procrastination. Now I kinda had to do something with it...lol! 

I did make one critical error on this project. I neglected to get an estimate for the reeded glass I had fallen in love with. When I did call (AFTER I cut the hole!) I found out the glass was going to cost me THREE TIMES more than I "guestimated." To the tune of $160. Lesson learned...before you fall in love with an "idea," FIRST make a plan and get estimates! I could have gone with a cheaper decorative glass, but I wanted THIS glass.

Reeded glass!

My interior doors are typical "builder grade" six-panel, hollow core doors. When you cut into them you will find they are exactly what they say they are...hollow. Truth is, the only real wood bracing is around the edges and where the hardware attaches. 

So after cutting a big ole' hole in the door, I had to install wood bracing for my window frame. 

The bracing needed to be 1 1/8" thick to fit between the "skins." If you are familiar with wood cuts, you know that is not a standard cut. I could have stopped in the local door shop and asked for some wood strips to use for bracing around the cutout but I decided to use some wood I had on hand and rip it down to the width I needed.

Therein lies one of the problems I have when DIYing. I don't own a table saw...and never will. My father (who grew up in construction!) had 3 brothers and a brother-in-law...and he was the only one of the 5 who managed to get through his life with all his fingers intact. And someone once told me that if the wood got bound up in the saw, it would kick back and hit you in the face. Now I have never been on the cover of People Magazine's "most beautiful woman" issue, but I kind of like my face. One time I stupidly tried to use a utility knife to cut through vinyl siding...the knife slipped and the blade whacked me square in the nose. At the time my daughter was in diapers so I drove to the ER with a diaper on my face and demanded to see a plastic surgeon. After inspection in the bathroom mirror, I determined that it was a fairly superficial cut (dang, noses can bleed a lot!) and quietly left the ER without ever seeing a doctor (I do still have a scar!)

So I won't use a table saw. When I build cabinets or shelving, I have the awesome guys at Lowe's cut my plywood. But I have found a way to cut fairly straight lines for most projects.

I drilled little holes in a large metal yard stick. I measure for my cut and mark the line on the board, then I secure the yard stick with screws 1 1/2" from the cut line...this basically creates a "guide" to run my skill saw along and allows me to cut a straight line. 

Problem solved! Now if I could just figure out a way to get a flat tire changed since my father is no longer around and my favorite tire shop closed. Thank God I haven't had a flat in 20 years! Cuz I don't do that either!

Anywho, after cutting 1 1/8" bracing strips, I cut four pieces the length I needed for the four sides of the opening. I applied wood glue and slipped the strips between the door "skins." A little trick...set a screw on each end of the board before putting it in the door...that way if it slips to far into the door, you can use the screws to make adjustments. Then just back the screw out when you have finished clamping.

I measured from the inside edge of my strips to the outside edge of the door...all the way around....and adjusted the bracing strip so that I had the same distance from edge to edge.  My cutout was NOT the exact distance from the edges, but the strips need to be since I would be attaching my "frame" to it. I also measured the opening to make sure it was the same width and height all the way around.

After making adjustments to each strip and making sure each was in the proper position, I clamped them and let the glue dry.  

No need for nails...wood glue will do the trick if you let it dry well!

After the glue dried, it was time to add the "inside" framing. Fortunately the width of the strip and the skins combined was 1 1/2". That worked out perfectly for  1/4" x 2 (really 1 1/2") craft board (available at Lowe's) as my frame! 

I measured and cut them with my chop saw. I pre-primed my trim pieces with Kilz and sanded and then I installed them with glue and trim nails. 

Yes, I noticed the bottom frame piece was a tad off...my bad. I ended up "lifting" it, removing the nails and repositioning it so it was flush with the side piece!!! One of the many stupid frustrations of DIYing...the dreaded "oops."

I wanted a very simple and small trim since the real focal point of the entire project is the window! I thought I could use the 1/4" x 2 craft boards but they only came in 3' lengths and the height of the window was over 36". I ended up buying what is called "door stop" material....the piece of trim on the inside jamb of a door that actually stops the door. It is 1 1/2" wide and 1/4" thick and it comes with or without a decorative profile on one edge. I ended buying the one with a little decorative edge, just for a tiny bit of detailing! I trimmed both sides of the opening. (Forgot to take a picture after the trim was placed, but you can see it in the next picture! I secured it with glue and trim nails). 

I found a teeny tiny little decorative trim to use as a "frame" for the window. It's really tiny...1/4 wide. Since my frame is 1 1/2 wide, I marked the center (3/4") and then 1/8" on each side since glass inserts are usually 3/8 to 1/4" thick.

I cut and CAREFULLY glued and tacked the tiny trim on one line. 

I went ahead and caulked everything, puttied the holes, gave it a light sanding and painted it all. I did this so I would only have to tape off and paint one side of the window trim after I got the window set in place! (Mistake alert! I didn't prepaint the backside of the tiny trim I put on last...so you can see the white primer through the window now that it is installed! Paint the backside of your trim before you put it on!)

(Then I had to wait a week because I didn't think about the fact that they might just have to order the glass...which took "3-5 business days." Then I had to wait ANOTHER "3-5 business days" because they ordered the glass wrong...delays are inevitable!)

After the paint dried (and the glass FINALLY came in!) I applied a SMALL bead of silicone caulk all the way around the inside of the tiny trim and set the window in place. The silicone is important because it holds the glass in place and creates a "soft bed" for the glass so it won't rattle around in the frame.  Then I glued and tacked the tiny trim on the other side of the window. (Do this VERY carefully...if you hit the glass with a nail it WILL shatter!)

TA DA!!!! I absolutely LOVE it. The glass (reeded glass...google it!) is absolutely perfect. But it was NOT cheap. 

This is "rain" glass and it is about 1/3 the cost....

...a very pretty glass and a much cheaper option. But it wasn't the look I fell in love with so I paid the price for the glass I wanted. However, the odds of me doing the other doors is slim!

If you are installing glass in a door, I would strongly recommend getting a piece that is "tempered." It is about 4x stronger than "plain" glass and if shattered, it breaks into a bunch of tiny, relatively harmless pieces vs. the super sharp shards of regular glass!

Tempered glass really isn't that much more expensive...especially when you consider the safety factor! 

Also, the glass will be much heavier than the "hollow" door...so this is the time to replace the short hinge screws with longer screws that actually go into the framing of the door. You can buy longer hinge screws, but I just used black sheetrock screws. I will probably change them out next time I make a run to Lowe's. This is important because the weight can cause the door to "drag" or stick on the knob side. For that matter, if you have a door that drags or sticks, try replacing a few of the short hinge screws with longer ones! This door was sticking even before the new glass and using the longer screws worked like a charm! (In the picture above you can actually see where the black paint rubbed off on the door jamb!)

There you have it. A tutorial for dressing up an otherwise boring interior door! There are so many other things you could do with this same process...maybe a chalkboard insert or fabric or even a MUCH less expensive glass! 

You are only limited by your imagination!