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Archive for August, 2011

Hey there!  Today we want to discuss a problem that many of us deal with in our homes…STORAGE SPACE!  For us, moving into a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home, this problem became quite relevant very quickly.  We had to start coming up with ways to utilize ALL the space we had. So let us take you on a little field trip around our home…

Let’s start off with the bathroom.  Seeing as we only have one small bathroom, this posed a problem.  We had to fit a bunch of stuff under the sink and it was looking like a hot mess down there, until we found Roll-Out (read in a Ludacris voice) Under-Cabinet Drawers at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Hallelujah! These suckers are awesome because you can make use of the vertical space under the sink.  Now everything has its own spot, in its own compartment.  For us anal retentive people, it’s so nice to see things organized.  =)

Now let’s move on to the kitchen.  The space under the kitchen sink is home to all of our cleaning products; this includes about 5 spray bottles.  This area is our hot mess zone #2!  The minute you start using products and you don’t put them back exactly where they belong, the area slowly evolves from perfectly aligned rows, to complete and total under-sink pandemonium.  So we found this very clever solution on Pinterest.  Basically, you install a tension rod towards the top part of the cabinet space so that you can hang all of your spray bottles! Genius I tell you!

Ok, so now let’s shift our eyes over to the cabinet where we keep all of our spices.  We’ve all been in the situation where you’re looking for a specific spice and you have to lift each and every bottle to read the label because they all look the same from the top.  Well, that’s where we got sucked into an infomercial!  Have you ever seen the one for the Swivel Store Spice Rack?

Well, yea…we bought it.  And guess what?  It’s the greatest thing ever!  You just slide it into your cabinet and load it up with up to 20 bottles!  You even still have enough space on the sides to store larger bottles.  Really guys…it worked for us!

So you might be asking yourselves, “what the heck are those red things on the door?!”  Well, my friends, this is another little idea we found on Pinterest.  (I must stop here and do a little plug for this fabulous website…if you haven’t been on it yet, you MUST…after you read our blog of course….it’s the best idea for organizing all of the awesome things you find online…ok now back to our regularly scheduled programming).  So, while pinning my life away, I stumbled upon a great idea from Family Handyman and decided to try it out.  All you need are some 3M plastic hooks and a label maker, and you’ll have yourself the most organized measuring cups/spoons in town!

Finally, let’s talk about our pantry.  When we first bought the house, this area used to be an actual pantry closet; but the smartest thing we ever did was knock it down and turn it into a big ol’ cabinet with pull-out drawers!  The top part has 2 monstrous shelves that are still half empty, and the bottom part has 4 pull-out drawers that house everything from cans, to pots/pans, to even our printer.

Yes folks, you heard read right…our printer is in there too!  Since we don’t have the space for a real home office, we had to make do with what we had.  So we bought ourselves a wireless printer and connected our laptops to it.  Now we can be sitting on the sofa, working on our laptops, and hit “print” and our papers will be sittin’ pretty, waiting for us to pick them up from the pantry drawer!  Crazy, huh?

So these are just some of the adjustments we had to make in our home to have everything fit comfortably.  And it’s actually becoming a bit addictive.  Your creative juices really start flowing when necessity strikes! So, party on Garth! (yes…feelin’ Wayne’s World-ish right now).

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Recently we’ve run into the problem of where to keep our keys.  Most people would just throw them on the coffee table, but ours isn’t exactly conducive to that.


So, we had to come up with a solution.  Now, any other normal person would’ve gone shopping for a key holder and solved the problem in a day.  But no sir, not us.  If you know us, you know that we are faaaaar from “normal” and we like to go above and beyond (aka complicate ourselves) in everything we do!  So, here’s our version of a key holder….
First we bought a very ornate brown-ish colored frame from Michaels.
Jack found a pretty cool website that shows you how to give anything a faux pewter finish and he went to town on it!  The frame came out a.ma.zing.
Then we had to figure out what to put inside.  Jack found a pic on istockphoto that we fell in luf with!  It’s a close-up pic of a purple wooden door with a worn-out silver lock.  Not seeing it?  Yea, I figured…here’s a picture…

Quick plug for istockphoto:  This is an awesome website where you can purchase an image for a few bucks, and get it printed professionally (we went to FedEx Office).  This is a very cheap way of bringing great artwork into your decor…but we’ll leave that for another day…)

Ok, so once we mounted the picture to the frame, the only thing that was missing was a hook for the keys, so we stopped by Walmart and bought some screw hooks.  When we got home, Jack spray-painted the hooks the same color as the frame and screwed them into the bottom of the frame. And, voilà!!! We had ourselves a custom key holder!  Ain’t it fab?!?  We think it is!
This mini project definitely took some time, but it was well worth it and it was really not that hard at all.  You should try it sometime.  ;)

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Jack and Jill Ride the Train

Hi friends!  So, let’s get off the “home improvement” topic and switch over to useful tips!  We wanted to share with you a great traveling tip that we learned from a family friend, and it hasn’t let us down so far.

So, say you’re going on a trip and you’re flying out of FLL (Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport).  What are your alternatives for getting there?  You either drive yourself to the airport and pay anywhere from $5 to $20/day for parking, or you go down your list of friends and family to see who can drop you off (and pick you up, for that matter).

Well, guess what folks?  Another option does exist!  Behold… (insert royal trumpet intro) THE TRI-RAIL!

This train travels from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale (and Palm Beach) at almost all hours of the day!  What’s the damage?  $3.75 each way (weekdays) or $5 roundtrip (weekends).  The train ride from Miami to FLL takes less than 40 minutes (which is what you’ll spend driving yourself anyways) and you don’t have to worry about driving or parking at FLL.

Keep in Mind:
Weekday trains depart every 30-60 minutes.
Weekend/Holiday trains depart every 2 hours.
PLAN ACCORDINGLY!

Here’s what you do…the Miami station is located around Le Jeune Road and 21st St. (exact address plus other stations can be found here); you can park your car for free.   Then you buy your ticket and jump on the Tri-rail.  There is even space for your luggage to travel safely.

Once you get off the train in Ft. Lauderdale, you catch the Tri-rail shuttle.  This is a 10 minute ride and it drops you off directly in front of your airline.

It’s as simple as that people!  Here’s the link so that you can check it out for yourself… http://www.tri-rail.com/index.asp

Next time you’re traveling out of FLL, go on a little adventure and try out the Tri-rail.

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Moving into a small home, we knew we were going to have to take on the “storage” challenge.  Questions like, “how are we going to share a closet?” started to arise.  Well, that’s where we had to get creative…

At first, the idea of sharing a standard reach-in closet had us ­­­­­­bummed.  We thought we were going to have to get rid of half of our stuff!  But once we installed shelves and created separate hanging spaces, the closet that once made us cringe…

…now made us smile!   Jack had his space and Jill had hers. (plus a little of Jack’s space, too…)

Before you go and tear down any closet doors, keep in mind that the largest bi-fold door they make is 3 ft. So if your closet opening is larger than 6 ft you’ll have to divide the closet into 2 even parts. For example, our closet opening was 8 ft so we had to get 4 separate 2 ft doors. See picture above.

Creating closet space is a simple project that anyone can do.  Jack has built quite a few closets in his life, and he has a fail-proof plan of making it work.

Step 1:  Head on over to your nearest home organization store.  These places usually give you a free consultation on how to maximize closet space.  You give them the specs, they give you detailed plans for your project.  Simple as that.

Disclaimer: If you have no problem spending like a thousand dollars to re-do your closet, then stop reading…this is not for you, but thanks for visiting! :) But, if you’re like us and a) you don’t have that luxury, and b) you don’t mind wire shelving, here’s what you do.

Step 2:  Take those plans, and visit your local Home Depot.  Show those plans to someone in the closet section, and they will cut every piece of wire shelving down to the exact measurements for you!  And guess what?  It only costs you a fraction of what you would’ve paid at the other place!
Step 3:  Now that you have all your materials, go home and get to installin’!  In no time you’ll have yourself an awesomely spacious closet! (Or you can just call Jack, and he’ll install it for you) ;)

Hardware tip:
Bolt anchors are more reliable than screw anchors especially with the amount of weight your closet shelves will experience. (If your closet wall happens to be on the exterior wall of the house then you will have no choice but to use screw anchors. They work just fine, dont worry.)

Once we finished our closet, we went on a storage-craze around the house… 2nd closet? Check!  Linen closet? Check!  Pull-out drawers?  Double check!!

Don’t judge.  Do one closet and you’ll see! ;)


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So usually, when you get married, the next big step is purchasing a home.  Well, that step took us almost 4 years to accomplish…but we finally did it!!!  On February 1st, 2011, we closed on a 2-bedroom, 1-bath villa; it’s a fixer-upper, but it’s our perfect starter home and we are absolutely in love with it. =)

We started “house shopping” towards the end of 2010.  We knew we wanted to be close to the expressways, and somewhere between both of our parents (to facilitate future baby-sitting needs ::wink, wink::) {Side note: No, we are not expecting a baby, but, as you will soon find out, we are HUGE planners!} Anyways, we found the neighborhood we wanted to live in, and next came finding the perfect home.  Here is where the need for MAJOR vision comes in to play!

Hiring a realtor will help you narrow down your search much quicker; and the best part is the “seller” pays the realtor, not you.

Vision, vision, vision…Jack has it; Jill doesn’t (she’s getting better, thanks to Jack).  Remember we said that we closed on our home in February, right?  Well, we didn’t actually move in till May 11th (one day before Jack’s BIG 3-0!).  In those 3 months, our vision started to unfold.  Walls were knocked down, new tiles were put in, the rest of the walls were painted, bathroom was gutted, and kitchen was given a facelift.  It was a lot of hard work, but we just knew that it was going to be exactly as we envisioned it when the realtor first showed us the house.  We remember walking in to an empty house and us saying, “…our living room stuff is going to fit perfectly over here…and if we knock down this wall, we can make this our dining room…” Who would’ve thunk that it was going to turn out just like that!  Here are a few before, during, and after pics so you can see what we saw…

Here’s where our “living room stuff fit perfectly…”

And this is where we knocked down a wall to make the dining room (it was a tough decision to get rid of the glass-cubed wall…just kidding, it was probably the one decision we were CERTAIN of!)…

dining room, before

dining room, during

dining room, after

If you decide to knock down any walls, be prepared to patch up the roof and the floor. You’ll need to find the matching flooring, if not you’ll have to re-do the whole thing (like we did).

The gutted bathroom…

bathroom, before

bathroom, during

bathroom, after

Home Depot and Lowes aren’t the only home improvement stores out there. We purchased our entire bathroom vanity set at HomeKO. Great prices!

The kitchen facelift…

kitchen, before

kitchen, during

kitchen, after

You can replace/paint your cabinet doors and change the handles to give your kitchen a whole new look. Big change at a small cost.

Our bedroom (don’t mind the picture-less Ikea frames on the wall; still trying to figure that out)…

bedroom, before

bedroom, after

Now, every vision needs someone to make it reality.  This is where Jack Sr. came into the picture.  Truthfully, we would’ve never purchased a foreclosed fixer-upper if it weren’t for him.   We are infinitely grateful to this “Jack Master of all trades”.

So, what about the outside, right?  Well, as we like to say, “it still looks like a foreclosed home.” LOL. That’s just part 2 of many more to come; we can’t wait to see our vision unfold out there too!

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