DIY Checkerboard Step Stool

Country Red Stepstool4 blogsizeCountry Style Checkerboard Step Stool

I have a handmade maple step stool. It’s a beautiful Shaker style stool that I have used every day for the last decade. Since it sits in my kitchen most of the time, it was showing some wear and tear.   To dress it up and give it a more country style look, I painted it red and added a checkerboard to the treads. Here’s how to do it.

Materials and Prepping

To save on the number of steps required, I used chalky finish paint. This kind of paint doesn’t require any sanding prior to using it – even on stained wood! I chose an orangey red colour called Autumn.

Chalky finish paints will require a paste wax coat to keep the finish free of scratches once the paint job has dried. The nice thing about this paint is how easy it is to achieve a distressed finish with it. A very light sanding will do the trick.

For this project, I did give the step stool a good cleaning with Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) and rinsed it well afterward. This removes any grease from the surface of the wood and roughens the surface as well.

You will need paint, a good painter’s masking tape, a small roller applicator and a 1” paint brush. If you choose to use a different kind of paint, you may also need a primer if you are working with unfinished or stained wood.


Fall Maintenance Reminder

10 - fall maintenanceThe cooling temperatures and falling leaves serve as a great reminder that it is time to take a look at the fall home maintenance checklist.

Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Inspection – Prevent a chimney fire by getting a professional to sweep the flue clean of creosote, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Also, be sure to get a thorough inspection to find weak points in the masonry.

Window Caulking and Door Weatherstripping – Keep the warm air in and the cold air out by sealing up the envelope of your house.

Winterize Water Systems – The freezing temperatures can spell serious trouble for sprinkler systems, faucets, and pools. Empty all water from these systems if you are in a cold climate and be vigilant of the forecast for areas that occasionally see freezing temps. For example, empty the pressure vacuum breaker on the sprinkler system for winter if you live in the south. It only takes a minute and can save you a lot of heartache.

Filter Replacement – Replacing your filter is something that should be done as a part of regular monthly home maintenance, but at a very minimum new filters should be  put in place every 3-4 month.

Furnace Maintenance – This task is best left for a professional but savvy DIY’ers can handle some of the workload. Either way, this is a must before the heating season!

Gutter Cleaning – Cleaning the gutters of leaves and sticks is more than just keeping the roof looking nice. During the winter leaves can hold up water from melting snow that will eventually refreeze and cause damage. This effect is known as ice dams and will lead to a leaky roof.

Water Heater Maintenance – A couple times of year it is good to drain mineral sediment that can build up in the tank of the water heater. It’s a pretty simple process and doesn’t take much time. Also, it is good to inspect the flue, insulation, and TPR valve to prevent problems later.


1970s Coffee Table Upcycle

I love finding discarded pieces of furniture in good condition. I found this solid maple coffee table beside a dumpster. There was nothing wrong with it other than a few scratches and the old 1970s country style look of it. I shoved it into the trunk of my car and brought it home to give it a brand new look.

Material List

  • Orbital or palm sander
  • Sandpaper in 80 grit, 100 grit and 220 grit
  • Paint
  • Paint Primer
  • Stain
  • Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • Brushes and stain applicator of your choice (I prefer rags)

Coffee Table Before1


DIY Door Table

Building from discarded materials is sure to open up a whole new world of creative, and functional, possibilities for you.

In days gone by, resourceful homeowners made many of their household items themselves, often out of whatever they had on hand and often times recycling old materials, or converting items that had outlived their useful life. But your furniture need not look like it came out of the trash heap. There are tons of thrift shops, garage sales, and flea markets, not to mention your own garage or attic, that have materials that would make a great, recycled table. All you need is a few basic tools, a little patience, and some elbow grease.

You may approach this project in one of two ways. You can decide upon a particular style of table, pick a location in your home for it, and then go out seeking supplies to suit, or you can allow the materials that you find or fall in love with to dictate the style of table that you construct. I have personally done this both ways and I must say that allowing the materials to “birth” the project is the most fun and rewarding.

DIY door table


Cleaning Tricks and Tips For The Whole House

Cleaning has to be done but who has the time? It is tough to stay on top of cleaning schedule and tasks just pile up once you’ve fallen behind. Well, fret not. This list has cleaning tricks for the whole house that will save you tons of time, effort, and even money.