Category: diy

Duck Creek DIY: Cheap and Easy (But Sturdy) Behind the Couch Shelf

We love our little Duck Creek Ranch – my affectionate pet name for our 70s rancher that sits on a little creek inhabited by ducks and geese.  You can read more about it and our DIY projects here.  Like most houses built in other eras, there are some things about DCR that are just a little weird.  Our living room is lovely and open with lots of light, especially now that we covered the wood paneling with festive yellow and white paint.  The problem is that there is only one place to put our couch.  It can only go in this one corner, and that corner leaves no room for a side table.  I looked for options online and found a few tutorials for behind the couch shelves, but Jed worried they didn’t look sturdy.  When you have a 32 pound toddler climbing on things, they need to be tough.  
Here’s what you need:
1×8 inch board – cut to the length you need (Our’s is 8 ft long.)
paint or stain
3 shelving brackets (made for a 1×8 board)
screws – 9 (3 in) and 6 (1/2 in)
1) Preparation: Sand your board. Prime it.  Sand it again.  Paint it.  Sand it one more time.  Then paint it one last time.  This is only necessary on the top and sides.  On the bottom you can just sand and prime.  All these steps help it to be more durable because you will be putting things on it constantly.

2) Location: Find your studs and attach your L brackets to the stud.  Measure from the floor to the back of the couch to see how high you want your shelf.  Then measure again to be sure.  Check your brackets to make sure they are level once they are attached.  Use your long screws to attach the brackets to the stud.

3) Placement & Finishing: Once your board is dry, place it on the L brackets and use the smaller screw to attach the board to the brackets.  Check to be sure it is level.

4) Be patient.  Let the paint really dry for a few days before you start putting things on it.  Then enjoy your new shelf.  The brackets are made to hold a lot of weight, so don’t be afraid to decorate.  I’m still figuring out what I want to go on the shelf.  You can also use the space between the shelf and couch for storage.

What is your next DIY project?
We’re working on a kids’ picnic table around here.
Click here to see all of our Duck Creek DIY posts. 
We’ll have lots more fun DIY coming your way soon.

Duck Creek DIY: Our Wallpaper Removal Miracle

 As you may have seen in our before pictures, we have been working with some seriously ugly wallpaper all over our little Duck Creek Ranch.  We’ve dreaded the removal process, but decided to tackle the dining room and entry hall over Christmas break.  We’re so glad we did because what we experienced was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

 There were not one but 2 layers of wallpaper on an accent wall in the dining room and in the entry hall.  I apologize for the poor lighting, but you can see the 2 layers of ugly from the hall above.  Not the underneath layer in the dining room is actually kind of retro cool, but we couldn’t save it during the removal.

 The wallpaper has been up there for at least 15 years (top layer) and almost 40 for the bottom layer.  We just knew in our hearts it was going to take hours upon hours of spraying and scraping to remove it.  Amazingly, Jed started peeling it from the corners just to see what would happen.  It came off!  Smoothly!  In giant chunks!

A true Christmas miracle.  
In under an hour we removed all the wallpaper from the dining room, entry hall, kitchen, and master bath.  We tried to do the same in our guest bath, but our good luck ran out.  I can’t wait to show you what we’ve done in the dining room and hall.  They are both transformed.  

Duck Creek Ranch: The Before Pictures, A Celebration of 80s Home Decorating

 Here are some of our before pictures, complete with the previous owner’s furnishings.  We took these during a walk through before she moved out.  I’ll have more later.  We plan to ditch the grape wallpaper and paint the cabinets white.  I’d love new counter tops, but that is a long range project.

 We will paint all the trim and wainscoting white, as well as the cool built in to the left.  I’m looking for inspiration to replace that light fixture on pinterest.

 Here’s the half bath off the kitchen, the scene of plumbing nightmare #1.  Eventually we’ll paint the wood and the walls, and replace the light fixture.  I’m thinking I’ll paint the mirror’s frame a fun color.

 The kitchen opens up to the living room.  Let’s play count the grapes on the wall.

 Here’s the living room complete with nightmare popcorn ceiling and so much wood paneling.  We ripped out the carpet and took down the popcorn.  We’ve painted the paneling and are almost done with the trim.  I can’t wait to show you the after pics!

 You still can’t see the popcorn very well, but trust me when I say it was awful.  Popcorn ceilings have never really urked me, probably because I grew up in the 80s.  These were a whole other level of popcorn, big nasty kernels everywhere.  Gross.

 This is the front door and entryway.  We plan to rip off the wallpaper and make this a fun focal wall with family pics.

 The dining room was otherwise known as the previous owner’s cat’s litter box.  Thanks to advice from some of my cat loving friends we are battling the cat pee destruction day by day.  We’ve ripped out the carpet and are hitting the pee daily with Nature’s Miracle Enzyme cleaner.  Jed said it is the nastiest job he’s ever had to do.  He ripped out the base boards and is fighting with the concrete below.  We plan to put in wood laminate flooring and take down the wallpaper as soon as we get the cat pee under control.  We haven’t decided on a paint color yet, but I’m leaning toward an aquamarine.

 Our master bedroom feels so big, and we have fallen in love with the parquet flooring though we hated it at first.  We’ve already painted in here and I’ll have after pics up soon.

 The master bath is the scene of plumbing nightmares #2-5.  Eventually we want to gut the whole dang thing. Don’t you love the magnolia trim and gold flaked wallpaper?  You don’t?  I HATE it.  Please note the teeny tiny bathtub.  Who fits in that?  It was not made for a full grown human.

This will be the Bear’s bedroom eventually, and the almost identical bedroom will be Mini Bear’s.  We’ve set up Bear’s stuff in the other room so that we can paint this one without all his furniture in the way.  
Take away all the previous owner’s furniture, add in new carpet, tons of boxes, and the odor of cat pee, and you’ve got a great picture of our Duck Creek Ranch.  We know we will make it into a beautiful home for our family eventually, but the getting there is going to take a while.
How long did it take you to feel at home in your house?