Another New Vanity Topper and a Free Faucet to Boot!

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Upon moving into the house, the main floor powder room was one of the first rooms we fixed up. This is the bathroom most visitors and guests use, so I wanted to make it presentable right away. We gave everything a fresh coat of paint and re-did the floor, but the vanity top was still left unbelievably yellow.

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YELLOW.

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Seriously it was not cute, especially with the new cool grey-white wall colour.

I waited a long time to get a new topper for this one because I want a very specific type of faucet (aka expensive) and it didn’t make much sense to me to buy a new topper and put the old gross faucet back on it?

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But when I came across this square trough-like topper (exactly what I wanted) at Lowes on sale $50 off, I had to go for it.

AND THEY WERE ALSO HAVING A FREE FAUCET PROMO.

So by buying the topper I got a free faucet. Not exactly my dream fixture but certainly better than putting the old one back on while I save my pennies for the dream faucet.

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Max’s first step in installing the new topper was removing the old one. Unfortunately the plumbing didn’t want to be disconnected.

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The parts were all pretty corroded. So he changed out the topper but did not hook it up until he went and got new connections the next day. I’m not going to lie I have no idea what any of these parts are but he fixed it so I’m happy.

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He just popped the old top off.

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And set the new one on.

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He had to make some cuts on the interior of the cabinet to make the pipes fit with the new sink but you will never be able to tell unless you stick your head under there.

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He also had to remove the trim to get it on so we still have to replace that.

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And once the trim is replaced I am going to have to do a bit of caulking.

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My original plan was to paint the wall where the lip had been, but the more I thought about it a small subway tile backsplash would look really neat there. Since there is already cement board up, this should be a fairly easy project (in theory) and a nice little foray into tiling, so stay tuned for that as soon as I manage to borrow a tile saw.

We ended up getting a whole box of subway tile off the shelf at Home Hardware, which is unheard of in our town, so I was happy. Stay tuned for that project.

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In the meantime Max installed my new FREE faucet and I am living with a stylish green strip behind the vanity.

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The new faucet is just a brushed nickel builder grade special, but certainly better than our previous faucet. Max also reinstalled all the drawers I promise, I guess I just missed that picture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

Birch Candles for the Wedding!

As part of our wedding decor DIYs I wanted to make some birch candles that I had seen all over Pinterest. 

I didn’t have Max make a ton, as I see us using these more infrequently – maybe just on the cake table and guest book table or something. 


He started by cutting the log into pieces. I had him make seven total and he just used his mitre saw for this. 



He did seven inch and ten inch logs. 


Then he used this drill bit that makes holes to cut into the top of the logs. 


The bit was just a bit larger than a tea light. 


Once they were cut he used an exacto knife to clean it up. 



He also had to make sure the hole was just deep enough that the tea light would sink in but not too low. 


I’m very happy with how these turned out and think they will look very cute at the wedding! 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

A Beautiful Rustic Wood Mantel

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When I left off on the fireplace project in this post, we had a pretty much complete white shiplap fireplace. This blank slate was desperate for a rustic wood mantel.

Unfortunately, old wood is not so easy to find where I live. My brother, the Kijiji master, managed to snag what he thought were two 8 x 8 beams, about 10 ft long each in Thunder Bay. When he made the trek out to pick them up, he discovered they were actually 6 x 6 (but rough cut, so legitimately 6″) and twenty feet long!

He loaded them up and took them both from the guy (they were free after all and the guy wanted them gone) but one was so rotten he ended up tossing it. The other one had some bad spots, and it was twenty feet long and wouldn’t be easy to get the four hours home to Sioux Lookout, so he got a handsaw (he doesn’t have any power tools in his apartment in Thunder Bay, obviously) and sawed off about half the length.

This left me with about 8 to 10 feet to work with. I actually prefer the rough cut 6″ width, I think 8″ would have been too much and may have needed some planing down. Unfortunately my camera was dead so I didn’t take many pictures of the original beam, but I do have a nice iPhone picture of Max sawing it down to 44.75″- I just let him know which part of the beam I wanted to use and he turned it on his mitre saw and cut through four times.

AAAAAA

Remember when all my pictures were terrible quality?

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Once he had it cut down for me I sanded the bejesus out of it, using my mouse palm sander (aka my mom’s mouse that I stole, but whatever).

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I made sure to pay extra attention to the corners and edges so I could really get that worn look – though the wood was already pretty beautiful and worn anyway. I sanded until I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and then started beating up the beam and testing stain.

I have beaten up a lot of wood at this point and my process is nothing special, I just swing away with hammers and crowbars to make dents and divots, making sure the edges get a lot of attention.

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In my mind I knew I wanted a medium brown stain, and I had thought of using Minwax Provencial, which I assumed I had.

I didn’t.

Since it was Good Friday and all the stores were closed, I thought I would try my hand at mixing up a medium brown using what I had. It did not go well. Above, is my mess. Oops.

I don’t think I could recreate it if I tried, but I ended up using a mixture of Ipswich Pine and Special Walnut, both by Minwax, and then sanding it down a bit to cut out the orange that was coming up and soften the brown a bit, and then dry brushing some Special Walnut on top to finish.

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It was scary and took much to long but it worked out.

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Since the ends were fresh cut I knew they would soak up the stain much darker, so to make sure it went on even I used the sander that had been used to sand off some of the stain on the edges to lightly transfer the colour, if that makes sense.

I was pretty pleased with myself for that one because I had been really worried about these ends.

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All the while I made sure the beam would match the tone of the flooring and wasn’t pulling too orange.

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I finished with two light coats of satin Polyurethane and let it dry overnight.

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Then I had Max bring it inside so we could install it. We actually put it up on the ledge to make sure it would work and given the short hangover it was almost fully supported. I decided some glue would be the best way to attach it.

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We picked up some of this 4000 glue that is especially good at bonding wood to wood. I had used some similar heavy duty glue on my firepit on the concrete blocks, and that thing is SOLID. I knew it would work here too.

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I applied the glue to the ledge, making sure to get a lot of coverage but not go to close to the edge so that it wouldn’t  ooze out of the sides and make a mess. I made sure to do this myself because I lost all trust of Max with a caulk gun after he did the silicone in the kitchen.

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We just pressed it into place and then added some big wrenches as weight on top.

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And now, I can finally call it DONE.

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I added some little décor pieces up there for now, but I really want some fat candlesticks for the mantel. I am most excited to decorate this for Christmas, it will be very exciting to have a real fireplace to hang our stockings!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Some Final Painting/Trim and Calling the Fireplace (Almost) Done!

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When I left off on the fireplace in this post, we had made it to about this point (above), with the fireplace itself basically complete, but the wall behind it needing a new coat of paint and some trim reinstalled.

You can see in the photo above that there were a lot of paint colours going on, as well as the new drywall patch needing to be painted. When I bought more paint to touch up around the new lights we installed, it really didn’t match (which you can see if you look close at the light). The solution was to paint “corner to corner.” With this method, the theory is that since light hits all walls differently anyway, you won’t be able to tell if there are slight differences in colour like you can with a patch.

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While Max was out at a fire meeting one night, I managed to get the whole wall done (on the other side of the doorway as well). I waited for that to dry, and then moved the stuff back up against that wall.

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Max worked on getting the trim back up and then it was “done!”

Well, except for a mantel.

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I love the way the fireplace contrasts with the wall.

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I picked up this cute little distressed wooden box with a lid at Homesense and put it on top where the mantel will eventually be. I thought this would be a great place to keep the fireplace remote so we don’t lose it.

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This is what it looks like on. Our fireplace can change colours, and I like the blue best (obviously).

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Now obviously, I just need a rustic wooden mantel to finish it off. The place that sells scrap and reclaimed lumber, Salvage Supermarket in Winnipeg, is only open Monday to Friday. Since we’re usually only there on weekends, I was trying to figure out how we could make it work to pick up some old beams for a mantel. As far as I knew, there was no place in Thunder Bay that sells reclaimed wood, but I texted my brother to check.

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He agreed that he only knew of auto and metal salvage in Thunder Bay, but put the request on Kijiji. Less than 24 hours later I had two free 8×8 beams.

DEALS!

He is bringing them home to me over Easter weekend so hopefully they work out. I can’t wait to see this fireplace completely done. As a reminder, below is my inspiration image. I recently found out it is actually Gunnar’s house from the show Nashville.

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Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 2: Layers of Paint and Shiplap 

When I pressed publish on my last post (which just so happened to be the framing of the fireplace that precedes this one) I got a neat little congratulatory note from WordPress on my 100th post!

Coincidentally, today also marks the one year anniversary of the creation of this blog!

I can’t believe it’s been a year and I have already made 100 posts. I love having a record of everything we’ve accomplished this last year and look forward to continuing to document it.

That being said, on to the next instalment of the fireplace saga:


When I left off in the framing post we had added the layer of underlay over the whole thing and had a big pink fireplace.


I painted on a layer of primer and then a layer of Blank Page by Beauti-tone for a nice white base. This way the gap between the shiplap boards wouldn’t be pink.


Then Max and I started attaching the shiplap, which is just another layer of mahogany underlay ripped into 3.5 inch wide boards.


We used nickels as spacers and made our way down from the mantel, making sure to check the firebox still fit once we added boards around it.


Once we made it almost to the floor we started going up from the mantel.


We went around the niche and then went back and filled it in with horizontal shiplap once we were at the top.


At this point we also added some quarter round trim at the bottom where there was too small of a gap for another row of shiplap. I think it actually ended up better with the trim because it helps to ground it.


Then it was time for me to paint it. I did two full coats of Blank Page by Beauti-tone and then a lighter third coat to ensure the best coverage.


I had to do a ton of caulking and made a great mess trying to smooth out all the rough or unfinished edges. I caulked between the first and second coats of paint so that if any of the gaps could be filled with paint they would.


The next day when it was all dry, Max and I hung the TV on the wall mount we bought, and fed the cords through the chimney area to a power bar we mounted to the inside of the fireplace with Velcro.


This way we could eliminate as many cords as possible.


We drilled a small hole through the side and brought the power bar cord out to the nearby plug. The cord is white like the fireplace and blends nicely.


And then it was time to put the firebox back in!


We were loving the progress at this point but the wall behind the fireplace still needed to be painted and trim reinstalled to the wall. Stay tuned for the final post on the fireplace which should be up soon!

Oh and we also have to get a mantel but that may have to wait.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 1: Framing 

I am so excited to be able to say that our fireplace project is almost done. When we first looked at the house and decided to buy it, literally the only thing on our list that it didn’t have was a fireplace.

It’s just something I always wanted, mostly for the ambiance, and let’s face it, mantle décor.

I knew I would eventually want to add one, but I never expected it would be so soon.

When we lost our buffet and had to move our TV stand in the dining room for the buffet storage, leaving our TV on a nightstand in the living room, this project became a lot more urgent. I reflected on what I wanted in a fireplace in this post a little bit ago, and now it is here! I initially thought we would just buy an electric fireplace (I love electric because I’m notoriously bad at lighting fires – so the remote start is huge for me), but when I was searching I couldn’t find anything quite my style. That’s when I decided we could build one from scratch.

No big deal.

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I ordered this electric fireplace insert from Costco, which unfortunately arrived broken, but they sent us a new log set and we got right to framing anyway.

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I started with a picture in my head and a pretty crude sketch, and Max forced me to come up with some measurements to add to it. Then he used 2 x 4’s to frame it out, starting with the boards screwed to the floor, and then the back wall. I also drew on my wall a whole bunch to figure out how tall I wanted the firebox, mantle, etc. I needed visuals, okay?

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Next he framed out the height of the mantle and the height of the firebox, which he reinforced with vertical 2 x 4’s and made it two 2 x 4’s deep to support the firebox.

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Then we had to test and make sure it fit, obviously.

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The log set was still broken at this point but it fir perfectly and it worked!

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Next he framed out the “chimney” area to the ceiling, which was set back from the mantle.

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And then I had him add this complete pain – a niche for where the TV would be mounted.

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He framed the niche completely and we added the firebox back in and called it a night for the first day of work.

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The next time we worked on it we had to add the underlay to give it some shape and act as a base layer. Max cut as large of sections as made sense, and nailed them in.

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This took a ridiculously long time. Finally, he got the whole thing covered, and we had a big pink fireplace.

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And that’s where I am going to end Part 1! The next step was painting this underlay and then getting to work on the shiplap which is the most exciting part (in my opinion)!

Let me know if you have any questions and stay tuned for Part 2!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

DIY Double Dog Bed

For a while now I have been wanting to make some sort of gigantic dog bed. I’m obsessed with my dogs okay.

So last weekend I finally did it.



I started with this five foot long piece of foam that I got from my aunt and uncle who own an upholstery shop. Foam doesn’t come wide enough so they had to glue some pieces together.

I needed the bed to be huge because my dogs like to sleep together and I want to encourage that cuteness.


Am I right?


So the last time I was in Thunder Bay I picked up some grey material and proceeded to cut it up, into pieces the size of each side of the foam as well as strips for each of the edges.


Then I sewed them together in order all inside out.


To finish I just sewed it closed and added some Velcro to the last seam so that it was removable. Max and I struggled to get it on but once we did it fit perfectly.


This is the corner where the material is tucked and Velcro holds it together.


The dogs love it. I also used some leftover material and IKEA pillow inserts to make the dogs some pillows because they’re spoiled.



It fits perfectly next to our bed and the dogs have been sleeping on it for about a week.



I am so impressed with my sewing skills on this and love the custom look and fabric choice.


You just can’t find dog beds in this shape and size. I love the way it turned out.


Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

The Firebox Arrived (Broken) and We Moved a Giant Vent! 


Some new and very exciting news: we received our electric fireplace insert from Costco! 

In less exciting news: it arrived broken. 


Max excitedly unpacked it as soon as he brought it home and he could hear something rattling around inside as he transported it but he never thought it would have a big log break (below). 


He sent these pictures into Costco and they were great about contacting the manufacturer for us and Dimplex has a new log set on the way. 



It was disappointing but we decided to go ahead and start building with the broken logs in. 


The first step was to remove this giant vent that was conveniently right where we want the fireplace to go. Luckily opening up the doghouse area meant we could move it to the other side of the wall. 


Above is the wall in the doghouse we wanted to move it to. It is just an air return so I’m not worried about the dog being in there with it. 


This picture is supposed to give you an idea of how the wall is shared between the living room and dog house. I tried. 

Max started to cut inside the doghouse while I removed the vent from the other side. It wasn’t long before I could see him through the wall. 




You could also see the big hole in the floor where the vent goes down. 


Max screwed the vent cover back on in the doghouse and then worked on patching the living room wall. 


He just added a piece of two by four to each side and then screwed on a scrap piece of drywall. 


He mudded it a bit but we didn’t put much effort into finishing it yet because as you can see by my shrewd tape marking on the floor it will be mostly covered by the fireplace anyway. 


We already started to build it and it looks awesome so far! I will share more on it in future posts but until then let me know if you have any questions so far! 

We Moved Our Thermostat (And It Wasn’t That Hard!)

We have officially begun work on the fireplace project (kind of). You see, when I was scheming and dreaming about building a fireplace on the living room wall, I realized that either I was going to have to move the thermostat, or have a seriously skinny fireplace.

I went for the former.

This actually wasn’t too difficult. Max told me it would take just a couple minutes (which it definitely didn’t) but it was certainly done in under an hour.

Also, yes my wall still has patches of paint that don’t quite match. I will paint this wall corner to corner after the fireplace is in. Also my TV is still on a pathetic nightstand and I watch a lot of Friends.

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My initial plan was to move the Nest thermostat over to the left of the humidifier control.

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Max removed the thermostat and checked to see how much wire was in the wall. From my research, most thermostats should have quite a bit of extra wire, so moving it short distances should be easy.

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We were very happy to find we had quite a bit in the wall so we wouldn’t have to add any more wire!

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Max started by drilling a hole to the left of the humidifier control but then realized there was a stud there, and moving the wire through the stud to the new location would be pretty impossible without cutting out a large piece of drywall, drilling through the stud, and then repairing it later.

I don’t like to drywall. So, we decided to line it up above the humidifier control instead.

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Max came up with this very sophisticated (not) way of using electric tape to attach a zip-tie to the wire so he could fish it through the wall. Professionals have fancy fishing tools and magnets to do this, or at the very least, a wire coat hanger. We only had plastic coat hangers in our house, so this worked fine. Above, he is pulling it through the new hole. He made sure it was pulled all the way out of the wall before starting so he didn’t risk dropping it in the wall.

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Then he screwed the Nest thermostat back into place.

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And finally, he re-attached the unit to the wall.

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He put some spackle on the old hole, as well as the one he had drilled on the left and left it to dry. It still has to be sanded a bit, and then painted, but I don’t see much of a point to painting until the fireplace is done? We’ll see.

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Let me know if you have any questions. Now all we have to do is actually build a fireplace, no big deal.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick

How to Hide Unsightly Cords! 

For Christmas, Max and I got another SONOS speaker, which was great because although we have three so far, they are all in the basement and bar area, and this meant I could put one upstairs in the kitchen (so convenient since sometimes when our friends are downstairs, I’m in the kitchen and this way they’re all connected and I can listen to music too!).

We put it on top of the cabinets which is great because it blends in pretty well and you don’t even see it up there unless you look for it (it’s pushed back against the wall) but it has amazing sound.

Unfortunately, there are no outlets up there, meaning we had to run the cord down the side of the cabinet to be plugged in, and it was pretty ugly.

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I knew I had to figure out some way to camouflage the cord, so when we were at Home Hardware I picked up some quarter round trim.

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Max held it up to make sure it would work, and everything looked good.

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To avoid nailing into the cord when we were installing it, Max pre-drilled some holes. He started on an angle so that he could make sure it was getting into the quarter round and not just drilling along the outside.

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Once he was in he straightened out the drill and went right through.

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He made about four of these pre-drilled holes, alternating sides down the length of the quarter-round.

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And then he nailed it in to the wall with the cord in behind the curved edge of it.

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Admittedly, I just put the toaster back and left it like that for a couple days.

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But eventually I got around to giving it a quick couple coats of the wall colour, Blank Page by Beauti-tone, so it would blend in more seamlessly.

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And now I think it looks so much better and really does blend in! Someday when we install a range hood and maybe some tile on that back wall we may get to run this cord through the wall, but until then, this is a super easy way to hide cords.

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Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick