Tuesday, April 30, 2013


One of our projects while we were at the house was to get the guest bed set up. The mattress and foundation were delivered a couple of days after we arrived and the bed itself was coming later in the week. We first purchased the "Bed In A Box" brand mattress last summer for our new king sized bed and knowing first-hand how wonderful it is, we decided to buy the same mattress for the queen sized guest bed. It's packaging is rather uncoventional since you are used to seeing mattresses flat; this is vacuum sealed, has memory foam and is packaged in a large, heavy box! With the downstairs guest bedroom next on the makeover list, we decided to set the bed up in the Master Bedroom upstairs. We wrangled this next adventure with the help of the new hand dolly I bought at LOWES right after we got into town. I was pleased that putting the foundation together was such a quick process!

I have already mentioned my lowly opinion of the delivery driver who brought the actual bed. We purchased our furniture from a company based out of Minnesota but they contract some of their orders out to other companies, the bed came from a local company, Montana Woodworks. This is the same company owned by the Amish that delivered the TV stand last October. The driver made sure I knew he was not Amish, that he just worked for them. He didn't have to even tell me, I could have guessed that when he swore and didn't get his lazy butt off the flatbed trailer to help! Their furniture is beautiful and with only one more furniture order on the horizon, (our china cabinet possibly through them) I can live with it. At the time the delivery driver was arriving, our neighbor who does our snowplowing came up and introduced himself to me. I had planned on doing that very thing myself, bringing a jar of Pumpkin Butter from Texas to give to them. This worked out much better (for me anyway) since he volunteered to help bring in the bed and the four drawer chest! I showed him the family room makeover and I got the impression that he hadn't been inside the house before. Eventually as we interact more, I will find out more information about the previous owners. He invited Brenda and I to come over and meet his wife which we did before we headed back to Texas.

Brenda used Murphy's Oil Soap to wipe down the wood and then used a toothbrush to get into the burls. We worked together to attach the side rails and the whole assembly process took less than forty-five minutes! We also used super sliders to be able to move the bed more easily. I was very pleased with the results! Dave and I had purchased the Denali Fleece bedding at a store in Bozeman, Montana when we came back from our Christmas vacation in Yellowstone a couple of months ago. The four drawer chest compliments the bed as well. The two nightstands are the result of a side trip to Idaho to pick up some furniture that a friend gave us a tip on. That will be tomorrow's post. The bed side lamp was a Christmas gift from the mechanic who works on our family's cars.

Although the upstairs won't be remodeled until possibly next year, I thought I would share some photos of the Master Bedroom. There are two side rooms attached to the main area and I refer to them as the "balcony room" and the "dressing room". We will have wood flooring installed and the drywall areas will be painted a nice warm shade of gray to compliment the blue pine that's in place. We also need molding and baseboards added to make it look more finished. I brought up the round table from Texas, I then added a black tablecloth and a pine cone lace, square table topper. Way to make a cheap Sprawl/mart table look so much nicer and I love the end result!

At one time the previous owners had painted the wall a golden color which you can see now that Brenda has ripped out the old, nasty shelf that went the whole width of the wall!

This view is looking towards the "dressing room". The upstairs bathroom only has a one sink vanity and in order to cut costs, I will take over the "dressing room" with its closet. I want to find an antique vanity that I can use to apply make up, fix my hair and so on. I figure that this will be a cheaper "fix" than redoing the plumbing.

At one time we're guessing that the previous owners entertained adding a sink or possibly a wet bar in the "dressing room" since there was some plumbing in place. We had the plumber rip it out and our contractor has already begun the wall repairs.

I will need closet doors as well as a better closet solution for all my clothes!

Looking towards the "balcony room". Brenda has requested the fish portion of the carpet when we lay the wood flooring. She wants to have it bound and use it as a rug for their family's cabin up in Canada. Eventually, the second bookcase that is currently being used in the dining room will make its way up here and we will have the two leather, rocker-recliners we use here in Texas in this sitting area. I envision a nice spot to do my morning Bible readings with a cup of coffee!

The previous owners had shelves along all four walls of this room, that is until I unleashed Brenda and her magic prybar!!

With a view into Glacier National Park I foresee a couple of chairs on the balcony and evenings spent listening to the roar of the creek and the birds in the trees.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Today's entry could easily be titled, "The Ricardo/Mertz Furniture Moving Company". I was excited for the new sofa to be delivered so I could finish up the family room. I actually had to help the delivery driver bring it into the house; in fact that was typical of every delivery! (The guy who delivered the bed actually NEVER got off the flatbed, I was fortunate that a neighbor stopped by and helped Brenda and I get it off the truck and bring it inside! I don't have a very high opinion of this slug!) The sofa delivery man left the sofa wrapped up as we brought it in through the front door and into the living room thinking it would provide better protection. It was like Christmas morning and I had a HUGE present to open!

After getting it unwrapped we started to move it into the family room forgetting that there were three doorways we had to navigate. We managed to get it mostly through the first one but then we had to make a 90 degree turn to bring it through the office doorway; from there we would turn again and bring it through the larger doorway and into the family room. The family room has two doorways but unfortunately the most direct route which would have been a straight shot, was a much narrower opening!

Standing in the first doorway and looking at the direct route into the family room and it's narrow doorway! Barely visible to the left is the doorway into the office

After attempting numerous different angles and positions, I realized that taking the sofa BACK OUTSIDE through the front door (now unwrapped and unprotected) and bringing it in through the family room french doors might be the best way. Have I mentioned that there was still snow on the ground?

Back in February here in Texas, Target had their snow shovels on clearance, 70% off, so I picked up two of them. I figured that the entire state of Montana had probably been sold out of snow shovels since Christmas and that these might come in handy. The fact that there were even snow shovels to be found in Texas at all came as quite a surprise! I ran outside and began shoveling a "path" through the yard and Brenda ran behind me laying down cardboard for us to walk on as we lugged the sofa. Have I mentioned it was a windy day?

Besides shoveling the snow path I was also running around chasing down cardboard! As we prepared to move the sofa out through the front door and carry it around through the yard Brenda wanted to try one last position. It's a good thing to know that all of her HG TV shows actually offer great ideas and in this particular case, it really came in handy! We flipped the sofa upside down and into a V shape and although it was a snug fit, it actually worked! Thank the Lord it wasn't a sofa sleeper!

The main focus of today's entry however is the FAMILY ROOM MAKEOVER! When I first saw this addition last August I immediately had a vision of what it COULD be. The previous owners had left it somewhat unfinished as far as the trim work and chinking on the walls, not to mention that it had a stark white ceiling and walls above the wood. I communicated my ideas to our Contractor and the results were startling! Here are before and after pictures!

Before: French doors leading out to patio, Jacuzzi tub motor exposed, white walls and ceiling (ceiling is missing some trim, chinking is missing in some areas, wood is unstained.

After: We had the wood stained and had the walls rechinked. Gone are the stark white walls and ceiling, they've been replaced with a warm neutral color and "mocha" trim!

Before: Previous owner had a gas stove (see opening in wall).

After: We created a sitting area that is warm and inviting and the contractor closed the opening for the old gas stove.

After: I brought the rocking chair up in the van from Texas, and we have soft lighting with new lamps and shades along with the wooden blinds!

After: The glider rocker and ottoman were delivered last October and I placed my Mom and Dad's Cross Country skis in the corner-ready to enjoy the powder at a moment's notice!

Across from the sitting area I placed the new blanket ladder that displays our Pendleton blankets from Glacier National Park. I have a great idea for the existing mirror to display another of Dave's photos. Over the blankets is Dave's photo of Castle Geyser in Yellowstone National Park that made the Top 100 Finalists in the National Parks Pass Contest n 2011.

Before: The ceiling and trim are stark white and there's ugly carpet. You can also see the wider doorway where we brought the sofa into the family room.

After: I decided to put the new bookcase over the little window since it doesn't allow hardly any light or air into the room. The ceiling has been painted and the trim is a nice "mocha" contrast, The ugly carpet has been replaced with bamboo flooring!

Before: Boring corner.

After: TV's new home. The new KUMA woodstove is a champ! Dave's antique cooler is the new home for storing firewood and my crock holds the kindling!

Brenda used cardboard to line the inside of the antique cooler to protect the interior from rough wood.

Stove close up. The hearth pad is from a local Montana quarry and it's gray/green color is a perfect match!

The new sofa which matches the rocking chair I brought up from Texas. On the wall is our Old Faithful Inn mirror as well as one of our Old Faithful Inn frames, crafted from reclaimed flooring out of the Inn by our Artist friend Rich Holstein! The bear rug is one of two area rugs I brought with us in the van. I had purchased it along with a moose rug at Canton Trade Days back in February!

The family room is EXACTLY what I had envisioned it could be! I was drawn here like a magnet and it was wonderful to see this room become a reality!! Evenings would find a fire in the new woodstove and after a long day of working, usually until 9 PM, we would sit and enjoy the fire and watch about an hour's worth of a documentary. "The Last American Cowboy". Ahhhh...the sweet life in our "Sweet Montana Home!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013


One of the projects we worked on was the downstairs bathroom. We had to have a new water heater installed and eventually we will get a washer and dryer as well. The plumber had to install an emergency shut off valve for the house because incredibly, the former owners did not have one! That is scary when you think about it! The previous owners had their own ideas when it came to decor, etc and we have decided to take our house in a different direction. Being located in Northwestern Montana, in the mountains, next to Glacier National Park the house is begging for a rustic decor! We had the electrician replace the old bathroom vanity fixture that had flowers and vines with this more rustic one adorned with moose and trees. The medicine cabinet had a glass door with mauve colored flowers (cringe) at the bottom that dropped open. We decided to remove it altogether because an open area looked so much better than leaving that hideous thing in place! Brenda replaced the hardware on the medicine cabinet as well as the other cabinets in the downstairs bathroom. Down the road I will replace the towel bars too. The signs over the toilet were a humorous touch. I "acquired" them about twenty years ago and have been holding on to them for all these years. I cut scrapbooking paper to fit the plastic, shadow box style frame; while it adds a touch of whimsy, having a septic system reminds people that they can't practice their usual habits! Outside of the bathroom door, I hung a rustic sign that says "OUTHOUSE". I wish I had remembered to take a photo of it!

(This open area where the main shut off valve is located will be enclosed and our contractor is building an access panel that will match the other cabinet doors. Eventually we will have a washer and dryer in here too.)

(The new water heater sits upon a platform built by our contractor. The duct work for the eventual dryer is in place, going underneath the platform. Rather than spending the money to replace the wallboard that has pink flowers (another cringe) I am going to cover them with square vinyl clings that coordinate with the browns and grays in the bathroom.)

At the last minute, before leaving Texas, Brenda requested I bring my sewing machine. I had purchased denim material along with fringe and ribbon because she was going to make me a new shower curtain in our Texas guest bathroom; instead I decided to use those materials in the Montana house. I caught her in action and here's the end result: a valance over the archway of the Jacuzzi tub. A picture of my favorite actor (Robert Duval) in my favorite western of all time, compliments the western feel for the bathroom! The accent tile around the tub is what drew me in this direction! I have a turquoise cross that still needs to be hung!

(Before: we removed the shelf that blended into the wood background and the old water heater! I am open to decor suggestions along this wooden wall!)

I am a fan of these plastic shadow box frames so I brought up a few family pictures to place in the office area. I will be adding to these on my next trip. I figured that this was a good start!

"It ain't dying I'm talking about, it's living!"

(Gus McRae, Lonesome Dove.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Tuesday we awoke early and after coffee (for me) and breakfast (for Brenda) we cleaned up and got started on our day! I had a meeting with the electrician and while we talked, Brenda was upstairs using a pry bar to rip out shelving in the master bedroom. The previous owners must have had a lot of things to display (like we don't?!) but I just wasn't digging their shelving! At one point in the conversation with the electrician, Brenda chucked a long section of shelving over the upstairs balcony ad I was startled by "flying wood!" She is pretty handy to have around and knows her way around power tools and pry bars!

(Even the "balcony room" which is attached to the master bedroom had shelves along all four walls! YIKES!)

The electrician finished the wiring for the new kitchen island and switched out all of the outlet boxes to black so they would blend better once the contractor installs the smokey pewter backsplash panels. He also installed a new ceiling fan in the downstairs guest bedroom and a new vanity light in the downstairs bathroom.

A little before and after in the kitchen!

The "redneck wiring job" for the stove is a thing of the past!

The old island set up. We had the contractor build up the back side to hide the back of the stove and the electrician wired in outlets for me.

The old island setup with the disgusting electric range and now the new and improved!

Beautiful, new granite countertops, outlet boxes switched out to black and Brenda redid all of the cabinet hardware, some doors and all of the drawers didn't even have any!

The old sink before and after!

I can't wait to see how the kitchen looks when the very last thing is completed, installation of these backsplash panels!

Tomorrow I will share the new bathroom vanity light and the work we did in the downstairs bathroom.