A Very Merry 2013!

Only three days left until Christmas and we’ve finally completed our annual time-lapse video. Check it out below and Merry Christmas!


So here’s the deal. There’s this awesome website called Quirky that allows everyday people to take a stab at innovation. Then they help bring your idea to life. Cool, eh? Yeah, we thought so too.


And as you know, I (Josh) am pretty dern obsessed with technology. Specifically smart home tech.

Well, how cool would it be if your home could sense carbon monoxide or water leaks and immediately react to those senses? Pretty cool. And that’s where CRANK comes in.

CRANK is the name of our submission that empowers your home to take care of itself even when you aren’t there.

Automated Water and Gas Line Valve

The idea behind crank is this… the device hops onto your wifi network and connects to other smart devices that Quirky has on the market (or coming to market) like Spotter which has the ability to notify you of water leaks, motion, etc and a smart Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detector that’s expected to hit shelves soon.

But what good is a digital notification of a flood, or of a carbon monoxide leak, if you can’t do anything about it?

CRANK is a small device that would fit directly over the valve of your houses main water or gas line. If/when one of your other devices senses a leak (gas or water) CRANK would then crank (get it? so witty…) the valve to the off position. Saving you costly damage and perhaps even saving lives.

CRANK Water Line and Gas Line Automated On Off Valve

So why are we telling you about this? Well, if you truly think it’s a decent idea, we’d love it if you headed on over to our link to vote. We need a minimum of 200 to be considered! 🙂

Here’s the link: http://www.quirky.com/invent/745752/

Voting is simple. If you do not already have a Quirky account you can create one in like 3 seconds using Facebook or 5 seconds using an email address. Then simply click the vote button and you’re done.

I’m a huge fan of the business model behind Quirky. Empowering users to come up with creative solutions to everyday issues. So, even if you don’t vote for us, check them out and submit an idea!


Weekend Bathroom Makeover…For $150

So check it out, we finally finish the major kitchen projects and it suddenly dawns on us that the adjacent bathroom now looks pretty lackluster by comparison.


Mind you this was already updated once from it’s original state:

bathroom before

In fact, it was the very first “renovation” project that we did in the house (before we really knew how to do anything) and admittedly, it was pretty shotty. Nothing terribly wrong but nothing terribly great either. Just… vanilla.

We knew now was the time to spruce things up a bit. Give it a facelift and take care of a couple of things that were bothering us. Starting with the chair rail.

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 8.40.36 AM

Now, I get it, a toilet is a bit like a chair, right? But it doesn’t move, it doesn’t rock, it doesn’t shift, it’s…well…pretty stationary. So why a chair rail? Decoration? Blech. We weren’t digging it. So away it went.

no chair rail

Next we painted all but the back wall. We used Sherwin Williams Knitting Needles same color we used in the kitchen  and the board and batten hallway.

The color looked great. It helped open things up in an already small bathroom. But now we needed something more. Something that I had been hoping to do for quite some time. A pallet wall. We thought that the nice dark tones mixed with the light grey paint would create some solid contrast. In addition, we hoped that the horizontal boards would help create the illusion of a wider room. So we got to work.

photo 1

We loved the idea of using actual pallets which are usually free and have great character but they come with several downsides:

1) You need to find and collect them all

2) Must confirm that they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides

3) Tear apart pallet piece by piece

4) Remove all nails, splinters, and useless pieces

5) Install

So we decided to take a stab at creating our own. We ran up to the local HD and looked around in their lumber section. We made our way over to the furring strips and fell in love. With the wood that is.

Furring strips are generally used as backing to finished walls. They usually go unseen and are, therefore, far from perfect strips of wood. Many of them are knotty, curved, split, tattered, and bent. Which makes them perfect for a faux pallet pallet wall.

At $2 per 8′ piece it wasn’t terrible. We ended up spending almost exactly $50 total.

photo 2

When we got the wood home we spread it out on the table and began staining.

We had 2 cans of stain. Espresso and Grey. We figured as long as we used variance of only these 2 colors our pallet would look like it was all part of the same family and that some of the pieces had aged more than others. Might I say that it worked well.

If you’re going to give this a go I’d recommend just having some fun with it. Put a couple of coats on 1 piece and the thinnest coat you possibly can on another. Mix the two stains on a third and keep dinking around. 25 boards down and we didn’t have a single one that was exactly the same as another #boom.

DIY Aged Plank

Apparently I got a bit too into it and ended up throwing the container of stain at myself #fail. So word of wisdom #2 do this outdoors.


When all was said and done we had some awesome looking “aged” pallets ready for their prime time debut as our bathroom wall.

I had marked the studs on the wall before hand (hence the large purple lines down the wall) and just began pinning them in place with my handy-dandy-nail-gun.

photo 4

photo 5

After about 4 hours of measuring, cutting, and nailing the project was coming along nicely. The hardest thing about this whole project was picking out colors that weren’t too close in shade. I had to vary things enough that it looked random. And might I say, we are pretty dern happy with the end result.

DIY Aged Plank Wall Easy Plank Wall


We also snagged an awesome little light. Awesome yet affordable. Click to check it out for yourself.



Bathroom Plank Wall

In the end we ended up with a pretty awesome looking bathroom that only took a weekend (though technically Saturday and Monday) to complete. And we only shelled out $150 for supplies: