...because home doesn't happen overnight.

mudroom doors black 3

I’ve been meaning to paint the mudroom doors black since the day we moved in over three years ago. I finally got around to it. Why do I put off little things like this for so long??!!

mudroom doors white

During renovation we had pre-primed french doors installed to replace original sliders out to the backyard. This is our main entrance / exit in real life. It’s where we put on and take off shoes, bring in groceries and mail, hang up jackets and unload backpacks and lunch boxes. Needless to say, the white was never white. It showed every dirty fingerprint and was impossible to keep clean.

mudroom door paint

I used Glidden’s trim & door paint in deepest black. It’s the same paint I used on the french doors in the kitchen. (Which begs the question, why didn’t I paint the mudroom doors at the same time?) It was leftover which was nice because it’s a little pricey. The oil “paint” is more like a gel. It has the consistency of finger paint but, please, don’t apply it with your fingers ;) You don’t stir it and it has a strong odor. Cure time is longer, too. It took three coats to cover the white. Keeping the kids and kitty at bay was probably the hardest part.

mudroom doors black 1

The black hides fingerprints and the extra high gloss finish is super easy to wipe down. I love that this paint is dramatic AND practical.

mudroom doors black 4

It irks me that the doors in the mudroom are recessed while the ones in the kitchen are flush with trim surrounding them. This stems from the fact the mudroom doors were once sliders and the kitchen doors were once a window. I don’t really prefer one design over the other; I just wish they were the same for consistency’s sake. It’s one of those minor details we overlooked during renovation. Ah, live and learn. Catch you next time french doors.

mudroom doors black 5

The way the newly painted doors frame the view out back is icing on the cake.

mudroom doors

While I was at it, I went ahead and touched up the paint on the exterior side of the doors, too. (It’s evening hush by Behr in a satin finish, and it matches the front door.) It was nicked up from keys and such, and it really stood out to me once the interior sides were freshly painted.

Btw, the DIY outdoor art still looks great two years later!

kitchen doors gray 1

My painting streak didn’t stop there. I painted the exterior side of the french doors off the kitchen as well. (Again, it’s evening hush by Behr.) They’re Cheetah’s doors.

cheetah door

Every morning she meows at the doors until we open one so she can closely watch the birds, rabbits, neighborhood cats and deer frolicking in our backyard. As you can see in the photo two images up, we keep sliding screens on the doors so Cheetah can’t escape. (We have screens for the mudroom doors, too, but they’re a little cumbersome to open and close numerous times per day so we don’t use them all that much.)

kitchen door open

I sorta fret over the doors being painted two different colors, inside and out. But it really isn’t a big deal. I think it helps that they’re both dark colors.

It feels good to finally cross all those painted doors off the list. What tedious projects are you putting off / tackling these days?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.28.15 / Liked & Linked

summer fun

breakfast tacos

balayage lob

With only two weeks until school starts (?!), we’re trying to soak up what’s left of summer. Last week we cooled off at the pool, hosted a sleepover, met up with old friends, took slow family walks, slept in, lounged on the back deck, caught fireflies and harvested two cucumbers from our garden (if you can call it that). Our breakfasts and dinners have been later than usual. Breakfast tacos are on heavy rotation because they’re so easy and no one whines. On a whim, I had six inches of hot, sweaty hair lopped off. And after a year of teasing from my dad (oh, have you been painting stuff white again?), I had my grays colored. I’ve never really had a hairstyle per say. It’s been long – too long – for years. And I’ve never done more than subtle highlights every few years. So this new lob + root color + balayage combo is quite the change but I LOVE IT. I think I’ll actually keep it around for a while…and maybe even go shorter next time.

More things to love…

*A DIY garage door before-and-after. Yowsas!

*A 5-month renovation. The white cork flooring is a unique yet practical choice.

*This amazing family home. (Final reveal by Amber Interiors coming soon.)

*American-made warm LED work surface lighting.

*Please tell me you’ve already seen this.

makehaus kitchen

makehaus kitchen 1

*I will never tire of small space renovations. (Note the top shelf extending above the sink window.)

*A hilarious account of taking your kids with you to the gynecologist. It’s been more than 4 years since I survived a very similar experience. One day I’ll share but I’m not there yet.

*The magic of not trying so hard is a very real kind of magic. (Psst…Holly is writing a new book!)

*This adorable book light is saving my marriage.

*My hair stylist recommended using this dry shampoo to stretch the time in between washings and preserve my new color. So far, so good.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4 & 5) Heather Jennings for Make+Haus

07.24.15 / Rainy Day Ideas

summer storm

The last few days have been gorgeous here, but that hasn’t been the case all summer. We’ve had so much rain that severe weather warnings and flood watches don’t faze us anymore. In our neighborhood alone we’ve had lightning strikes, fallen trees, flooded roads and power outages on an almost weekly basis. I love a good thunderstorm and slow, drizzly days (I usually open a door or window to hear and smell the rain) but I can only take so many lazy, rainy days in a row before I start to feel a little batty. We’ve had to get creative and move beyond the typical book reading, movie watching and puddle jumping activities to thwart boredom. Here are a few things we’ve been doing when precipitation strikes:

candlelit kitchen

We light candles all over the house. We play cards and board games by candlelight. We’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert by candlelight. It feels slower and special. The kids love it. It’s gotten to the point where as soon as it starts to sprinkle they ask to light candles.

glow in dark chess

We play glow-in-the-dark chess. Layne was gifted this set last year and it has gotten so much use. The kids usually set it up in the boys’ room on the bottom bunk and close the blinds and bed curtains. It’s kind of the coolest thing ever.

We make stop motion videos. We use the myCreate app. It’s ~$5 and worth every penny. The kids use Play-Doh, Legos, matchbox cars and figurines to plot out visual stories. They even add audio sometimes. It’s pretty comical to watch and it keeps the kids occupied for long periods of time.

new recipes

We try new recipes. I’ve mentioned it before…this cookbook is my current fave. Paleo or not, the recipes are easy and tasty.

Or sometimes we stick to our old favorites like chocolate no-bake cookies. Who am I kidding? We make these even when it isn’t raining! I use almond milk instead of dairy milk. So, so good.

art museum

We visit local museums. Our favorites are the Dayton Art Institute and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The latter has FREE admission!

We have a balloon party. It consists of blowing up a bunch of balloons and hitting / kicking them all over the house.

aether cone

We listen to our Cone. The kids like to request silly things like “I like pizza” and “cucumbers.” Surprisingly, Cone almost always finds a song to meet their requests. (Yep, there really is an “I Like Pizza” song.)

We make origami. Earlier this summer, I purchased colorful origami paper and this beginner’s guide to modular origami. Sometimes we refer to tutorials on youtube as well. It’s a great activity for my oldest, Layne, who is 10 years old. He has created some really beautiful pieces. I think some of them might even make an appearance in the BHG feature.

vacation house

We browse airbnb and vrbo for fun. We take turns picking destinations and then pretend to search for a vacation home. “Oh, I would totally stay here!” “That would be my room!” “Forget vacation, I want to LIVE here.” Sometimes we end up booking a place, most times not. The pretending is almost as fun as the real thing.

We look through family photo books. I’m amazed by what the kids remember about certain events. We talk about happy and sad times, easy and difficult times. It’s usually a good reminder to me to order new books.


We make silly costumes out of everyday objects. I’ll hand the kids electrical tape, a paper bag and scissors and say, “Okay, make me laugh.” They always do.



We visit a local nursery. It might sound counter-intuitive but rainy days are my favorite days to visit the nursery. We usually have the place to ourselves and the fresh air is just what we need. I think the plants look so healthy, thirsty and beautiful covered in rain droplets. Our local nursery even has a children’s play table set up in the greenhouse. There are miniature animal figurines, dump trucks, shovels, buckets, gravel, sand and dirt. The kids can scoop, dump, pour and dig to their hearts’ content.


kid cave

umbrella man

We discover new parks. Again, it’s not an event that would normally come to mind for a rainy day activity but it’s one that we have come to really enjoy. Who knew there was a limestone waterfall just a short drive from our house? Or a real cave? (Perfect for hiding out in when the rain picks up.) Funny story: Layne was climbing on the natural rock walls which is against park policy. Steve and I quickly pointed out the “no rock climbing” sign. Layne said, “Oh, I thought that was a guy tripping on an umbrella.” Haha! That just goes to show how much rain we’ve had lately.

open house

We visit open houses nearby. This is my new personal favorite ;) I love getting a peek inside houses that I walk or drive by regularly. If I’m lucky, the homeowners have great taste and mad DIY skills.

What are some of your favorite rainy activities? Do you have any unusual rainy day traditions?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking