Builder Grade to Beautiful: Cabinet Hardware

One of the easiest (I think) ways to finish a kitchen and/or bath is to install cabinet hardware. Not only is it easy but it's fairly inexpensive! Double good news! :)

The day after we closed on our new home we ordered cabinet hardware. We ordered it from Amazon.com because we found the style we wanted and a really unbelievable deal. My husband is really particular (and honestly I can be too) so he didn't want any thing but stainless steel bar pulls for the cabinets. We scoured the local hardware and big box stores and the prices we found were pretty outrageous. The prices in stores ranged from $4-12 EACH! Yikes! That's why I generally turn to the internet for shopping. The prices are much more competitive. The only problem is that sometimes you can't tell what you're getting. I have made purchases online without checking all the specifications (big no no) and/or the materials used. I wasn't sure if these pulls would come in and be flimsy or cheap looking but I'm not afraid to send things back so I usually go for it.

We purchased 2 packs of 10 of the 10" pulls and 2 packs of 10 of the 6" pulls. This would cover all our kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets as well. We ended up using the 10" pulls on the cabinet doors and the 6" pulls on the drawers. 10" pulls on everything would be great but we saved some money by going with the 6" pulls for half and it gives a little variation which is nice. I'm not sure how often or when these go on sale but we actually got them for about $5 less per pack so it was certainly a steal! It's still a great price because they are about $2.30-2.80 per pull (with shipping).

Now for the install... We found a template for installing any kind of knob or pull on any cabinet or drawer. It was a couple bucks and well worth it!

My husband used the template and pulls to find which holes to use and marked them with a sharpie. I highly recommend marking them because it's really easy to accidentally use the wrong hole... and then you have a real dilemma because it's hard to fill a whole on a cabinet door. He followed the directions on the template (though I'm sure he'll tell you he didn't need them :)) and the results were fantastic!

They turned out great and I think it "finishes" the cabinets... plus it keeps the corners of the cabinet door clean!


For less than $100 and about 2.5 hours we have a nice finished look to all the cabinets in our home!

If you are looking for a simple knob (and something even less expensive) then there is another option you can consider which are these 1 1/4" nickel knobs. If you have a Wal-Mart close to you then you might choose these or these (if you want the oil rubbed bronze look instead) which will save you a couple bucks because you can ship to the store and pick it up when you are in the area.

Ciao for now!

-> Kassy <-


Builder Grade to Beautiful: Window Coverings

One thing we hadn't considered when we were planning to build a house were the window coverings. I guess it's just something you take for granted sometimes. We chose faux wood white blinds with 2" slats. These are great because they do a decent job keeping out the sun (and heat for these Missouri summers over 100).

I found a pretty good deal at Home Depot for these blinds which can be cut to the perfect size for your window AND I had a 10% off coupon from the post office for filing my change of address. :) I will warn that even with the coupon and the good deal the blinds for the whole home was a bit of sticker shock to me.... $600! YIKES!! I did not expect this but it's something I am happy with and honestly we need them. I wasn't interested in sharing our business with all the neighbors.

Luckily these blinds are a quick install - about 15-20 minutes depending on the size.

The other portion of the window coverings is in the curtains. As I have mentioned before (or at least I know I have thought it :)) my husband can be pretty particular... and curtains is one area he really has an opinion. Who knew?! His style is generally modern minimalist and mine is more of a rustic or homey minimalist so it's always interesting trying to blend the two styles. One thing I can push for is the right color to warm up a "modern" room. The other is how to hang the curtains. Awhile back I saw this illustration on Pinterest (from the Home Goods blog) about hanging curtains the traditional way and hanging them so that the room and window looks bigger.... What an impact! I decided we had to do this in our new home.

So my husband got the grommets on the curtains and I got the color, size, and hanging technique. :) Win (for both of us that is)!! Take a peek at our family room curtains. I love them and honestly it really makes the room look bigger and draws your eye up. I highly recommend using this same technique in your home!

-> Kassy <-


Builder Grade to Beautiful: Introduction

In May 2012 my husband and I bought a nice new home! It is so exciting and lots of work but maybe out experience will help others out there who are interested in doing the same thing or are already in the process.

Back to the beginning...

In January we found the perfect subdivision and the floor plan we wanted and the appeal of a new home was high for my husband who just spent five years rehabbing an older home. The process is long, hard but so rewarding and the reward for us was to buy brand new. One thing we wanted to keep in mind when starting this process is that we didn't want to overpay for upgrades and/or go overboard and grow more debt then we really need (because a house loan is enough)! My husband and I agreed that we would only choose upgrades that we couldn't/wouldn't do later. Here are a couple things we discussed (requested pricing) and below you will find the list of items we settled on.

What we selected as "upgrades":
Upgraded Insulation
9' Basement Pour
Low E Windows
Kitchen Cabinets to the Ceiling
Taller Vanity in the Master Bath
Window in the Stairway
Ceiling Fan in the Family Room (we chose to brace the bedrooms ourselves because my husband could gain access through the attic but the family room wouldn't be so easy)
Ceiling Lights in all the Bedrooms (easier to already have electric run to the switch)
Pocket Door to the Laundry Room
Extra Large Patio :)
Heavier Carpet Pad in the Bedrooms
Nickel Door Hardware (because brass comes standard... so silly!)
Removed Appliances (received a $1,000 credit)

What else we considered for oury "upgrades":
Hardwood Floors (it was really outrageous... an extra $5 per square foot for the cheapest stuff - stay tuned because this will definitely be a project later!)
Stainless Steel Appliances ($1,500 and we wouldn't get to pick them)
Ceiling Fan Braces in all the Bedrooms (this was truly outrageous... $350 each.. just for the brace!)
Egress Window (I think this is the one thing we regret... with 9' walls in the basement the standard basement windows look even smaller. The extra light would have been good.)
Garage Extension (soooo gosh darn expensive)
Extended Front Porch (was expensive and complicated because the roof came over the patio)
French Doors to the Patio

I think we made great choices because the items we settled on were things we couldn't/wouldn't do because of time, money, and/or effort to do it later. I think the one thing that could have waited was the door hardware but for 30ish doors it would have taken my poor husband forever to switch out the hardware! A couple things I am so glad glad we chose: the 9' basement pour, upgraded windows, and upgraded insulation. We would not be able to increase basement height later unless we dug it out (yuck!), we probably would NEVER upgrade the windows because that's a huge expense, and we definitely wouldn't open the walls to upgrade the insulation later. Feeling great about those decisions! One other thing that was tough but I'm glad we decided the way we did were the appliances. We didn't get much of a credit BUT we found great deals on our amazing appliances so it was worth the extra expense. I found a quiet dishwasher, a french door bottom freezer fridge, a lovely convection oven, and a microwave all for $3,000, That seems like a lot (or at least it did for us at first) but it's worth the expense! The quiet dishwasher was a must because we have an open floor plan, the french door fridge was a must because of the placement of the fridge and the pantry door, and the convection oven because I have managed with a stove that cooks so unevenly and it's maddening!

The main thing to remember is that if you are resourceful you can save a lot on your loan which means more in interest! People we talked to that went through the same process warned that they ended up adding about $30,000 to their loan with all the upgrades they wanted. You can manage these upgrades so be smart and pay with cash later! You don't have to be house poor if you have patience and dedication to work through projects (with my help of course :)).

Please don't hesitate to comment and/or ask questions about the process, our choices, etc. I would love to hear from YOU! :)

-> Kassy <-


Getting Acclimated...

Since this is my first post and I'm sure it will take me a few posts to get acclimated I figured I would let you know about my blog and what I hope you get out of it!

The name of my blog will hopefully let you know that I hope everything I do is with purpose and the production part is really broad. I think it's so important to try things once (at least) AND to have a well-rounded skill set. I'm continually working on my skills and that's where my posts/productions come in. With that said I am no where near a professional (though I will always keep in mind safety with my productions) and I can't guarantee everything will work/be perfect but that's the point, right?! For those not so successful projects I will certainly have plenty of lessons learned so you don't make the same mistakes I made!

I plan on sharing lots of projects, photography, cooking, sewing and whatever else I can get my hands on! Your job is to let me know what's interesting and what's not so I always pass along the right information.

So this first one is short and sweet but to the point! Enjoy the rest of my posts and comment whenever, on whatever, and don't be bashful. :)

-> Kassy <-