Searching for "I Live Here Recyc"

Recycling Center Anyone?

Recycling Center

Recycling Center you can build yourself!

Happy Wednesday everyone 🙂

It’s all about recycling today.  We all understand that recycling is important.  It helps with energy savings, can reduce greenhouse emissions and cuts down on water/air pollution.  But do the cans in our kitchen’s  need to be visible while doing a good deed?  You can purchase a can with a lid, however, the lids get lost, broken or just plain do not work.  I am all for recycling, but wanted a little style while doing this good deed.  Could it be possible I could class up my trash container?  The answer, YES, yes you can!

While at the library searching for ideas, a book “The Handbuilt Home” by Ana White, jumped off the shelf and into my arms like it heard my request for a classy way to store my trash.  I read through the book and stumbled on her Recycling Center plans.  You can get the plans for it at Ana White.  After reading her book and falling in love with it, I decided to purchase the Kindle Version, and it’s been worth every penny I paid for it 🙂 .

With book in hand we got to work.  This project was not hard, and the plans were well thought out (thank you Ana White!)  We followed the directions, and completed our new recycle bin.

1.  We built the frame using our Kreg Jig 2″ screws as Ana suggested, to build the box which included the top, bottom, and sides.  We soon found out why the bottom shelf was 2 1/2″ from the bottom, and why we needed to leave a 3/4″ gap underneath the top shelf as suggested.  She was right, read the plan before you start building 😉 We did make sure it was square!  Brownie points there please.

Recycling Center - start with a box

2.  Next, we attached the bottom trim piece using 1 1/4″ finish nails and glue.

Recycling Center - Add trim and shelving

3.  Moving on, we covered the back.  Instead of using 1/4″ ply, we used an extra piece of bead board we had in the garage (recycling and saving money all at once!)

Recycling center - Add beadboard to the back

4.  The plan calls for cutting footers. I personally went with straight edges because I hate to sweep under those darn small openings, but you are welcome to use what you like 🙂  We cut, glued and nailed, and moved to the next step

Recycling center - Build the door using 1x4

5. and 6. called for us to add the trim to the back of the unit and then the front of the unit.  This is where you will see a 3/4″ gap left at the top – don’t freak out like we did – there is a reason why it’s there!

Recycling center - Build the door using 1x4

7. Here’s where you fill that 3/4″ gap – the missing front edge. Nail and glue in place the size of 1×2 you need (ours was longer because we doubled the size of the unit. That last piece completed the cabinet construction, and we moved to the next piece of the puzzle.

Recycling center - Finish work

8.  Refer to the plan to make the cuts for your door trim, and sides for the can insert.  We used bead board to complete our door to match the back panel.  We also left the second side open to install baskets in the openings to hold small items.

Recycling center - perfect for baskets Recycling center -The final product - Door, hardware and stained

9.  We hinged the door to the bottom so it would tilt out, and attached a decorative handle  just as the plan suggested.

Recycling center - Fits perfectly

The one thing we did different, the top – we added a piece of burlap and Mod Podged it down.  We then cut a piece of plastic we had in the garage to cover the burlap and finished with an L-shaped molding that we painted black to give some contrast to our useful can holder.  This allows us to use the top for goodies with easy cleaning.  We also added an air freshener inside the can from Airwick, as we all know recycling can get messy 😉   Our recycle center came out very classy, and looks like a piece of furniture.  To get the antiqued finish with used Bear flat paint left over from our Villa wall color and Minwax aged oak stain combo.  We LOVE it! You can no longer see the trash – problem solved!

Recycling center -adding a Mod Podge burlap top Recycling center -adding a Mod Podge burlap top Recycling center -add some trim to the top

That’s our post for today!  We thank Ana White for the plans.  If you have not gone to her site ( ), please do – you will not be disappointed.

Remember, re-purpose, recycle, but always store properly if it does not fit the first two cycles!  Bright and sunny Wednesday everyone!


Wood Floor Installation Techniques

Wood floor installation techniques - dining and living rooms finished

Wood Floor Installation Techniques – Part 1

Well, we finally decided to bite the bullet and remove that hideous beige carpet and install wood floors throughout the upper level, about 1,100 SQ FT.  Every since we moved in to our villa we always knew we would do the wood floor installation; it was just a matter of when.  Well that day finally arrived, we could no longer procrastinate.  What I hope to share with the Hello I Live Here readers are the wood floor installation techniques, tips and tricks we learned with this big undertaking.

How to Measure Square Footage

Our first and most important wood floor installation technique step was correctly measuring the square footage and adding 10% for waste and miss cuts (Trust me, you will have miss cuts).  My first wood floor installation technique tip is to divide your house into squares and rectangles and measure the width and length for each.  For example, measure the bedroom, hallway and closet separately.  Then multiple the length by the width and add them for a total.   This may seem a tad technical, but you want to make sure your measurements are accurate.  Here is the wood floor installation technique for calculating square footage for wood floors using the three sample rooms in our diagram:

Bedroom  – 13’6” x 9’10” = (((13’  x 12”)+6”)/12 x (((9’  x 12”)+10”) = 133 SQ FT
Hallway  – 5’3” x 3’7” = (((5’  x 12”)+3”)/12 x (((3’  x 12”)+7”) = 19 SQ FT
Closet  – 6’4” x 5’8” = (((6’  x 12”)+4”)/12 x (((5’  x 12”)+8”) = 36 SQ FT

Wood Floor Installation Techniques - Measuring Rooms

Trestlewood provides a square footage calculator on their website.  However, for the true DIYer, use the spreadsheet method so you can save your measurements for later use, like determining how much baseboard you need to buy.

Also, checkout Hosking Hardwood for some other measuring tips and wood floor installation techniques.

 What to Purchase for Wood Floor Installation

With your measurements in hand, purchase your hardwood floors and allow them to acclimate inside your house for about one week.  We purchased our wood floors from our local Lumber Liquidator.  While we are on the topic of purchasing, here is our list:

Air compressor
4 in1 16 gauge  nailer/stapler
Thresholds and trim
Miter saw blade
Skill saw blade
Dremel multi-max wood blade
Utility knife blades
5 in 1 painter’s tool
Knee pads

We purchased a 6-gallon pancake air compressor and 4in1 18 gauge nailer/stapler combo kit from Lumber Liquidators, which we will sell on Craigslist when we are done (This will be cheaper than renting a compressor and flooring nailer).

We decided to use Dream Home Quiet Walk underlayment.  It is made from recycled material, provides a moisture barrier and helps smooth any minor floor imperfections.  It was a bit more pricey but worth the investment.

For thresholds and transitions we purchased a stair nose for the stairs leading to the basement, a square nose threshold for the sliding glass door, T-moldings between the bathrooms and the laundry room and quarter round for the front door.  By purchasing these at the same place we purchased our wood floors we didn’t have to worry about matching the stain.  Below is a picture of the most common thresholds.

Wood Floor Installation Techniques - Thresholds

Other wood floor installation techniques you will need including having several different saws and new blades for each.  We purchased a new 100 tooth saw blade for our miter saw.  This ensures we have nice clean cuts.  For cutting the wood floors to fit around doors, against walls and under door jambs we used our Ryobi skill saw and a new wood blade.   For undercutting the door jambs we purchased a new wood blade on our Dremel Multi-max.  To cut the underlayment, we purchased a 25 pack of new utility knife blades (Wood floor installation technique tip – The underlayment needs a really sharp utility knife to cut, otherwise, it ends up ripping).  The final item we purchased was a painter’s 5 in 1 tool, which proved invaluable for removing baseboards and carpet padding staples.

Wood Floor Installation Technique – Preparation Tips

Carpet Removal

Since this was a DIY installation we decided to lay one room at a time.  My hubby took Thursday and Friday off from work.  The goal for the first four days was to install all the wood floors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom, stopping at the kitchen.  We started Wednesday night and worked in phases.  Phase one was to move the furniture in the first two rooms to other parts of the house.   Next, using our utility knife we ripped up the carpet in our living room and family room.  We cut the carpet into long 3’ wide strips.  We then removed the carpet padding and rolled them both together and tied them with twine.  This made it easier for disposal.

Wood floor installation techniques - remove carpet

Carpet Pad Removal

The next step was very time consuming, removing the carpet pad staples.  At first we tried using pliers, but this was a royal pain.  So I searched for online DIYer techniques and found a cool website that explained how to use a 5in1 painter tool for quick staple removal.

Wood Floor Installation Techniques - carpet staples

Check for Subfloor imprecations

While removing the carpet staples, we also checked for subfloor imperfections.  It is critical that your wood floor installation be done on top of ¾” minimum subfloor.  Any imperfections need to be addressed otherwise; your wood floors will squeak and not lay flat.  We got lucky.  There was the occasional screw that stuck up a bit and had to be tightened flush to the subfloor.  You may need to remove the screw, and install a new one, depending on how damaged the screw head is.

Baseboard Removal

Next up was baseboard removal.  This can be tricky, especially if you plan to reuse your baseboards.  Since we decided to purchase new 5” baseboards, we weren’t too concerned with destroying the baseboards.  However, there are several wood floor technique tips if you want to save your baseboards.  First, score the chalking with either your utility knife or your 5in1 painter’s tool (We are using a 5in1 painter tool in the image below).  Be careful not to mar either the wall or the baseboards, take your time.  Next, hammer the 5in1 painter’s tool between the baseboard and the wall and gently move the baseboard from the wall.  Next, use a crowbar, or similar tool and, placing a piece of wood between the crowbar and the wall, gently pull the baseboard from the wall.  If you are careful, you can reuse the baseboard.  You will need to remove the nails that remain in the baseboard and putty over the holes however.  The last baseboard step is to use your nail puller and remove any nails remaining in the wall.

Wood floor installation techniques - score baseboard

Clean the Debris

The final step was to sweep then vacuum all the dirt and debris left behind from your demo.  Afterall, you don’t want to lay new floors on a dirty subfloor.  We have a handy Ryobi battery-powered handheld vacuum that worked wonders getting between the wall and the floor.

RyobiVacuumWe worked late Wednesday night and had the two main rooms completely prepared, so Thursday morning we could start the wood floor installation.

You may be wondering why we didn’t prep our master bedroom. The simple answer was we needed a place to sleep.   So, the master bedroom was phase two, but more on that in Part Two of Wood Floor Installation Techniques.

And finally, readers can also stop by Bob Vila nation and find other tips for installing wood floors


DIY China Hutch Make-Over

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

DIY China Hutch Make-over

Old Town Paints Part IV Final

Good morning everyone!  I am sitting here at 6:00 with a large frosty diet coke finishing up the final post of our DIY China Hutch Make-over.  For those of you who missed the last three parts of the hutch story, I will put the links here for Part I-III in the post so you can catch up.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Completing this DIY China Hutch Make-over was a challenge.  I started out picking up this cute little, worn out hutch that needed a good updating; it had broken pieces, was full of 1970’s faux plastic pieces they passed off as wood trim and just looked yucky!

Bottom of China Hutch
Bottom of China Hutch
Top of China Hutch
Top of China Hutch

When we started the DIY China Hutch Make-over, I was initially just going to paint it and say ta-da!  But, for some reason, that was not sitting well with me.  I just could not get settle with the broken trim, and ugly faux wood, so I ripped it apart and gave it a good recycle that today’s generation could love.

photo (28)

In part I, we showed you how we cut off the old trim and re-styled the top of the China Hutch using our Ryobi Tools to provide a fresh look that fits today’s style. (See part I Here).

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Cut Piece Returned to China Hutch
Cut Piece Returned to China Hutch
Front 1x3 installed
Front 1×3 installed

photo (39)

Part II showed you the bottom of the DIY China hutch Make-Over, which actually detaches from the top (Read Part II Here)

China Cabinet Makeover - Bottom Base Before and After

This was no small undertaking because, as you know from my posts, I reserve the right to change my design mind at any given time… and well that’s just what happened on the bottom.  (Click here to read part II).  Initially I was thinking to build three cabinet doors, including one to replace the center faux wood section that did not open.  I worked hard on trimming the bottom to match the new top trims and thought – wow I am almost done.  This was a snap! – WRONG – After building the two side doors, the middle door just didn’t work.  It was like a sore thumb, and I HATED it…pushing me to reach down into my design bag and draw up yet another design, leading to Part III and another trip to the Home Depot.

China Cabinet Makeover Part III

In Part III of the post, the final design was born as we showed you how we how I changed my mind from using three doors to two doors, and a custom built  wine rack for the center where the third door would have lived.  The DIY China Hutch Make-Over design turned out excellent and I love the way you can now hold 12 awesome bottles of wine.  (Click here to read Part III).

China Cabinet Makeover Part III

Now, after much ado, we bring you the final post of our DIY China Hutch Make-over.

DIY chalkboard Hello I Live Here

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

We put out a call to our readers to choose the paint color.  After calculating the vote we came up with a pale green and old white combination (we wanted a little contrast for the piece – so we choose two of the most popular voted colors by our readers on Facebook and Hometalk – thank you all for your help). The colors are stunning – Drool!

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Looking to continue the theme for the DIY China Hutch Make-Over I set out to find a new paint color I stumbled on to Old Town Paints.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

I was impressed with their 54 color selection, and how close I could get to your color choices.  I contacted Old Town Paints to ship my colors because there were no retailers close by St Louis Missouri that carry this wonderful paint.  (Hear that shops – distributors needed for great paint and your shop could be the great home of Old Town Paint – You’re welcome!)

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Sasha, the owner of Old Town Paints was kind enough to ship us out Soft Moss, Cottage White, Antiquing Glaze, and a Clear Matted Finish.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Being a creature of habit, I was nervous to try something new, but did it anyway and was so glad I gave Old Town Paint a try.   This fab little company was started by Sasha Gareau (consignment store owner) and here fiancé Bobby Bouck (his family has been in the paint business for over 50 years!)  Starting her consignment store, Sasha used a competing paint for her painted furniture, but did not like the expense of the paint.  So what’s a girl to do?  Sasha created her own paint line – Old Town Paint.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Old Town Paint is a Chalk Paint Style Finish made here in the USA.  According to Sasha, she and Bobby sat down with a chemist, and after months of trial and error, the chemist helped them create a non-toxic paint, that had a chalk paint style finish, which launched Old Town paint in April of 2013, and the movement of their paint has been growing ever since – want to try it?  You can order by click here.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Being a research nut (from my old instructional design writing days), I took to the internet to find pieces painted with Old Town Paint.  I featured several of them on my Facebook to see your reaction – you loved them! Since all those I spoke to who used the paint also loved them, I took the plunge and used Old Town Paint on this project.  I have to say – it was easy to use.  The paint is very silky and adhered in one coat and accepted the matching finishes like it was butter on bread.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

All things that spoke to me for this project because like Sasha and Bobby creating their paint took time, so did the re-building of this china hutch – so what better product to debut the piece to our readers than Old Town Paint, right?  Two master pieces that have come together – I can hear the two singing in harmony from here, can you? ;-).

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

I enjoyed this paint that comes in 54 lovely colors because it can also be used as a color wash, regular smooth paint, or can be applied thick to create texture (which will be great when I show you another product I discovered this week in a later post).

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

But one of the best bonuses… no need to prime or prepare prior to painting!  It was a dream come true – which makes me scream out – why don’t more paint shops in St Louis carry this jewel of a paint? Want to read more on this paint stop by their site at  I was glad I tried this paint.  Very impressed and I will order it for a future project I blog.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Just look at the silky photos of the rebirth of this DIY China Hutch Make-over. Isn’t she stunning 🙂

Bead board back ground DIY China Hutch Make-Over DIY China Hutch Make-Over DIY China Hutch Make-Over Moldings added

I could not be more proud of the piece you all helped me build. So What do you think of the finished china hutch make-over that has been the longest, on-going project for Hello I Live Here in our history of an existing blog?

Bead board back ground

Sorry again it took so long, the nasty cold winter (Mother Nature – you know who you are) stopped us in our tracks this year.  I can tell you I have lived in St Louis for over 14 years and this is by far the WORST winter I have ever had (I threatened to move West every single day – hubby started to take me serous – a girl can dream about beach living again can’t she? 😉

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Well, I just want to say thank you to all of you who follow our blog and to Old Town Paints and owner Sasha and Bobby for partnering with Hello I Live Here to get this project complete 🙂 .  I love writing and sharing my zany projects that are often shown on Bob Vila Nation, Ryobi Nation, and Hometalk  and other social media we use for Hello I Live Here.  Also, thank you for hanging in there with us as we fought the ugly weather to bring you our final post on our DIY China Hutch Make-over.

DIY China Hutch Make-Over

Happy Thursday and here’s to many warmer days for us all (just not to warm Missouri or I will have to look into that move west) 😉


How to Install a Trash compactor

How to Install a Trash Compactor

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Hello readers!  Today’s post, Hello I Live Here shows you how to install a trash compactor.  I have waited to get this one appliance back for quite some time.  Because our kitchen is on the smaller side, 10′ x 10′  – yep you read that right – I wanted to make sure I could part with the cabinet space before installing the trash compactor appliance.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Finding I could not live without it, I took the reins and ordered a Sears Kenmore Trash compactor.  Needless to say, today’s post is all about how to install a trash compactor.  Hubby was surprised when he opened the door to see Sears Home Delivery today :-).  Yep, he quickly moved from working on a table, to help install a trash compactor.  Jumping from one project to another – that’s how we roll over here at Hello I Live Here ;-).  It’s all in the frantic life of Linda!

When we first moved into the Villa, I built a recycling center with the help of plans from the great Ana White that we retro fitted to our own needs to provide basket storage as well.  The best thing, this center worked to keep that unsightly can of trash covered.  Pee U!!! I hate looking at trash.  Now that I find we can live without that space, I decide today was the day.  Calling Sears just yesterday, I plead my case, told them I blog, and bam a trash compactor arrived the next morning (paid for by us of course, but Sears was great to give us free delivery).

Here’s are our steps for how to install a trash compactor:

We started by removing the drawers, doors and face frames from the existing kitchen cabinet.  The left kitchen cabinet opening was going to be replaced with the trash compactor, but the right kitchen cabinet was going to be reused.  So, we took great care not to break the kitchen cabinet face frames.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Next, we cut out the bottom of the kitchen cabinet and the shelf inside.  We measured 15 ¼ inches inward, the width of the trash compactor, and used our skill saw to make room for the trash compactor.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Before we went further with our install, we did a dry fit to make sure the trash compactor fit the space we cut – and it did – like a glove!  Since the right kitchen cabinet bottom shelf was unsupported, we added a 1 x 5” pine board to the bottom of the floor area.  We secured the pine board to the shelf using our Ryobi nail gun with 2” brad nails to secure the board to the underside and back of the cabinet for stability to the newly cut shelf.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

The next step in how to install a trash compactor was to add the side panel back to the cabinet.  This would create a kitchen cabinet space separated from the trash compactor. To ensure an exact fit, we cut our kitchen cabinet side panel 35” from floor to under counter.  Then we slid the side panel into place and used a pencil to draw a line atop the bottom cabinet.  This indicated where we wanted to cut our side panel.  Next, we drew a pencil line to mark the top kitchen cabinet shelf.  This pencil mark would define where we would router for the top cabinet shelf to slide into place.  This process provided stability to both the top and lower kitchen cabinet shelf area.  Strong as an ox! 😉 The way it should be.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Then we had the electrician put in an electrical outlet.  We don’t like doing this part so we went to lunch and let them go at it. When we returned the electrical was complete.  Next we plugged in the trash compactor and slid it into place. The final step was to add the face frames we removed earlier.  We had to do trim the vertical center kitchen cabinet frames, but the horizontal frames fit perfectly.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

The final steps for how to install a trash compactor was to replace the kitchen cabinet door and drawer we originally removed.   compactor.

How to Install a Trash Compactor

That’s all there was to how to install a trash compactor!  Not so bad was it?

How to Install a Trash Compactor

Our next DIY Project is special kitchen storage that we partnered with D. Lawless Hardware – I think you will all be excited about this storage and the surprise of where we are installing this handy storage.  So make sure you stop by and see the post.

D Lawless Hardware

Thanks for stopping by Hello I Live Here – Until tomorrow –

Linda 🙂

Coffee Tables

Coffee Tables

Coffee Tables – Love Them or Hate Them?

Why is it we are all so fascinated with Coffee Tables?

Coffee Tables

New Life from Old Trunk

Coffee Tables can make or break a room with its style of long or short, modern or ornate, as this stumpy table is designed to catch our attention.  These little tables have a big job in our homes as they work hard to entice families to gather around it, hold our drinks and our great reading materials/trinkets.  Homes around the world are filled with these fascinating little tables that bring big style to life in front of any sofa available.  The two pieces together are like Fred and Ginger dancing their way into your living space.  It is the one piece of furniture that remakes itself year after year, style after style, and can hold or store just about anything.  That one piece of furniture we always invite to stay – like our coffee table turned ottoman.

Coffee TableThere are many choices and styles, the Victorian Era, Anglo-Japanese style, Louis XVI style coffee tables and Georgian style coffee tables.  It used to be wood was the only choice for a long time for these low-slung tables and could be found in any shape or style your wanted, and the more ornate and heavy the more we fell in love with the table.  These lovely wood framed tables were found all the way back to renaissance days, and still invite your guest by being the show piece of your living space.

Coffee Table

Today’s trends bring to light more modern, wood, glass/metal choices.  We are also taking the time to make special coffee tables that represent our past loves out of recycled objects.

Mixed Tape Table

These squatty tables are a way for people to “Gather round the coffee table” by encouraging conviviality and light conversations over coffee or tea or just a great board/sports game with the people we love – like this game table found Quirky coffee Tables.

Coffee tables

So, why do we use coffee tables?  It’s simple, people love coffee tables.  These welcoming tables help us be ourselves, and help us show who we are through our coffee tables – like this beauty of iron and wood made by Hello I Live Here.

Rustic DIY Coffee Table

Heck, when we can’t find just the right coffee tables, many of us take on the task of refinishing tables from era’s past by painting, staining, and decorative finishes, or building coffee tables from recycled goods which enhance these wonderful little coffee tables lines that hold the daily stuff that gets us through life.  This one table can help hold our coffee or tea cups, books, magazines, and our small treasures we want our guests to swoon over like this claw foot done with Annie Sloan paint and wax treatments.

Coffee Tables

So, whether you love them or hate them, use them or replace them with an ottoman or other low feature, there is always something in front of our sofa that represents this beloved piece of furniture.  Here’s to the coffee tables of the world – without you, we would all be holding our own drinks or have no place for our feet – like this $3 coffee table frame turned bench!

Finished bench

Tell us, what is your coffee table style and how do you use your table?

Until tomorrows post!  Gather around your coffee table and enjoy that space!

Linda 🙂

1 2