The Kitchen

Getting ready to drywall the 18×18 kitchen last week:

image image image image image image image image image image image image


The first 4×12 Sheetrock panel goes up…


The Sheetrock is glued and screwed…


After a few days of non-stop work, progress was made…

Stay tuned!

Work Pants & Work Boots: Duluth Trading Co.

Many years ago, John bought a Bucket Boss. It’s the most ingenious must-have item for anyone who works with tools. It fits into a 5-gallon drywall bucket and has loads of pockets to hold and categorize tools. Instead of carrying tools in several containers, John neatly organized the Bucket Boss and had everything in one place. It’s made out of cotton canvas, and the fact that he’s had it for about 15 years, proves that it’s extremely durable. The Bucket Boss is not only an essential item for contractors but a must-have household item for handy homeowners and gardeners. I have borrowed John’s Bucket Boss for my gardening tools. Now that it’s gardening season, this reminds me that I have to get one for myself. He pulled the Bucket Boss out of the garage and I snapped this photo.


Bucket Boss Backstory: It turns out that two hippie-type tradesmen brothers invented the Bucket Boss in 1989. Initially, they offered tool storage-type products in an 8-page illustrated catalog. A few years later, the two brothers named their company Duluth Trading Co. Their initial small headquarters was on a refurbished barge on Lake Superior’s waterfront–very cool!

Fast forward to now: At night, when John finally sits down to relax, he turns on the TV for an hour or two. He started to see commercials for Duluth Trading Co. He asked me several times, “Did you see that commercial with the work clothes? They have work boots too.” After about the fourth major hint, I invested two minutes of my time to watch the commercial and I liked what I saw which was work gear for the type of work that John does. Additionally, they have women’s work gear that is stylish and would be perfect for what I do.

The most important wearable work gear item that John is always on the look out for is comfortable work boots. They have to withstand his constant and daily boot destruction. This is a major priority for him; he simply can’t afford not having the combination of comfort and durability.

And to boot (no pun intended), it’s great to discover work pants that provide extra features not found in other work pants.

So the commercial led me to get in touch with Duluth Trading Co. I have  partnered with them and they have sponsored us by providing work gear for both of us. I’ll start with the first two products that John has been wearing and testing out for the last two weeks.

Firstly, there are many options for Duluth Trading Co work pants, and even though you can instantly see them on their website, I suggest getting their catalog and flipping through the pages as well. It’s one of those companies where it’s fun to peruse their catalog and have it on hand instead of trying to see it all on a screen. And the catalog is still illustrated too!

In the photos, John is wearing Men’s Fire Hose Work Pants in navy (they’re available in shorts too). These pants live up to everything Duluth Trading Co states on their website and in their catalog. They’re made with 11.5-oz cotton canvas fabric with triple-stitched seams ( this is the same canvas that fire hoses used to be wrapped with hence the name Fire Hose Work Pants). They’re also treated with Fend Off which repels water and stains. For all of the unceasing kneeling that John does, the pants have a crouch gusset resulting in very comfortable pants to work in.

Since these pants are made with heavier weight canvas, John wears them during chilly weather. We’ve been having a chilly and rainy spring so he has been wearing them regularly; they’ll also be ideal during winter weather. There’s a lighter weight 8-oz Fire Hose canvas for warm weather/summer which I’ll cover in another post.

The work pants have lots of pockets and loops; there are 11 of them! The back pocket flaps and mid-leg utility pocket flaps are held down with Velcro. He  has the option of tucking the flaps inside the pockets in order to slip tools in and out of them. The two side pockets are very deep, so if you’re one of those guys that like putting your wallet in a front pocket, your wallet will be safe and sound; it’s not going to gradually slip out. I filmed  a quick 15-second video on the pants, click here to watch.


The belt loops are also bigger to allow for wide work belts, so for all the guys west of the Mississippi, who wear the cowboy-style belts, these pants will allow for wider belts.


John goes through work boots like water. It’s paramount that he has completely pain-free boots. He absolutely needs comfortable boots that are durable enough to withstand the type of work that he does. He works 12-hour days, 7 days per week in boots, so if they’re not comfortable, he absolutely will not wear them. He started wearing the GRINDSTONE 6″ WATERPROOF COMPOSITE TOE BOOTS two weeks ago and has been wearing them every single day.

Right out of the box, the Grindstone boots were extremely comfortable, and there was zero need to break them in. John said, “The boot design allows my foot to roll forward when I get up from kneeling down making it easier for me to quickly stand up.”  The boots also have nice wide toe box with absolute zero cramping.


John said, “The boots are extremely stable when I’m carrying a pair of 4×12 sheetrock which weighs over 120lbs.” The fact that the GRINDSTONE boots have a no-slip sole is a major perk. To see a quick 15-second video, click here.

Another nice feature is the pull loop at the back of the boot. “It makes putting them on in the morning easier and faster than other boots.” With the loop, the boots slip right on. “They’re lightweight and I’m light footed on the job which is another big plus.”

It’s great that the boots are waterproof because we’ve been having a lot of rain and there’s mud everywhere. The boots have definitely been put to the test.

John said, “These boots would be nothing if they didn’t perform.” They have passed the test!


Here are the boots straight out of the box.


Here are the boots after wearing them everyday for the last two weeks installing sheetrock.


The loops at the back of the boots make it so easy to just slip right into them. Since these boots are ideal for muddy construction sites, these boots are ideal for any type job where you want to keep your feet dry in wet weather.

John gives the Grindstone 6″ Composite Toe Boots 5 stars!

I only recommend products that I have personally tested (or John has tested) and that I would purchase myself. If I don’t approve of  a product, I won’t write about it.

Before & After Photos: Original Master Bedroom

There’s always a spike in hits on my blog when I publish before & after photos.

Last week, I had to take John to the emergency room to get stitches near his eyebrow. He had turned the light off in the second bedroom where he had started to drywall and walked back into the dark room and bumped his head on something. It cut his eyebrow area and required stitches.

So off we went to Bryn Mawr Hospital. The physician’s assistant did a great job stitching him up. Fortunately, the cut wasn’t so deep that it would require a plastic surgeon.

John told the assistant about the blog and she said, “Her mother is fascinated with hoarding shows and watches them.” So many people say the same exact thing to us, but then I explain my blog is all about renovating our house. If they want to see hoarding photos they have to go way back in the blog where it shows John cleaning it up. I actually block this stuff out of my mind, it wasn’t fun; it was depressing, but we had a goal in mind and that was and is what we look forward to.

I’m always amazed at how many people watch those shows. To me, it’s depressing, but for others I’m assuming it’s entertainment. I have never watched those shows–I’m more of a PBS viewer (in fact last night I watched The Royal Paintbox). I’m also a Jeopardy addict. I have a little fantasy about being on the show and winning but I don’t have the time to “study” for being on the show.

So here is the original master bedroom BEFORE which I filmed and posted on YouTube. To watch, click here.

Phone photos 255

The other day I stood in the same spot and took the following photo of what the room looks like now. Empty, clean, white & bright….just the way we like it. A clean slate for painting and decorating.

Just think of all the paint colors I can consider for this room which will be the guest bedroom. It was the original master bedroom.

John and I have favorite destinations where we have visited multiple times and we have named each one of the three original bedrooms after our favorite dreamy places. This room is called Chamonix, where Mont Blanc is located. To read an article I wrote about it, click here.



John made deep window sills where I can place small house plants or an orchid. I have big plans for how this room will eventually look right down to the last little detail. Everything takes time………………


Drywall Installed in Original Master Bedroom

John finished installing the drywall in the old master bedroom last week. It went quickly. Here are a few more photos of him working on the ceiling using the drywall panel & hoist equipment.

image image image


When the drywall panel hoist is not in use, it’s lowered and stored in the corner of the room.


Looking at the west and north windows.


The west window.

image image

Looking toward the hallway.


The closet on east side (bathroom is to the left, entrance and hallway to the right).

I can’t wait to choose paint colors!