DIY diva

A Top Secret Project for Mother’s Day

May 16, 2017 | 10 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

If there’s an unsung hero in the epic adventure of buying and fixing up this little farm, it has to be this woman:


That’s my mom. I can guarantee you that back when she used to dress me up in pink paisley dresses, she wasn’t envisioning a future where that sweet little girl grew up and, instead of giving her grandchildren, gave her chickens and donkeys and made her learn how to drive a tractor and use an air nailer.


And yet, here we are. Not only is my mom willing to drive up to the farm any time I need another pair of hands, or to farm-sit when I’m away, she does it all with a smile. (And also shows up with wine.)


And, in return, I spend all of my time fixing up my house, except for the room my mom sleeps in when she comes up for the weekend, which for a very long time looked like this…


A couple of years ago I half-assed “fixing up” this room by painting the walls and buying a new bed frame, but it didn’t take long for the room to revert to it’s usual state of “storage room that happens to contain a bed.”


Then, a week ago, my mom came up to stay for the weekend I happened to walk into her room in the evening and flipped all the light switches on only to find that none of the lights worked. We’re talking 3 recessed lights, one ceiling fixture, and one desk lamp, and exactly zero light in the room. My mom heard me muttering about this and was like, “Oh, yeah, the lights haven’t worked in here for six months… I thought this was just a part of the house being under construction.”

Uh, no. This is part of your daughter being a jerk and never checking to see if all the light bulbs in your room were burnt out.

You guys. Her room didn’t have working lights for six months and she never said anything about it. That is a typical mom reaction when it comes to the farm, she just takes everything in stride, and never complains. (Even when she got poison ivy in her eye two weeks ago while weeding one of the gardens.)

If there’s anyone who deserves a special space on the farm, so after she left last week I started to formulate my Top Secret Mother’s Day Project…


Here’s how I spent all of my evenings for the next week:


Swapping out gross old switches and outlets…


Patching holes I previously drilled in the drywall to release a bird that was stuck in the wall. Seriously.


Also, protip, if you ever need to open a wall (to release a trapped bird or, you know, something more normal) using a hole saw is a great way to go about it because you can use the same drywall to patch the hole back up. My technique is to slip a piece of 1x behind the hole and hold it in place with some kind of string/wire/rope while driving a couple of drywall screws through the existing wall and into the wood to secure it…


Then attach the plug to the wood with another screw…


And patch with some drywall tape.


(These tips from a pro drywaller also apply to patching holes. One more coat of joint compound after the tape dries and you’re good to go.)

But the biggest project was dealing with this little nook.


There was a weird, kind of unfinished desk in here, and there had previously been some brown metal shelves hung on the wall behind it. The concept of a little desk and shelves was a solid one, but I thought I could probably put something a little more, ah, polished, together with just scrap wood I had around the shop.

First, I tore everything out, patched and painted the drywall, and then started mocking up the new desk and shelves.


I decided on two shallow floating shelves on top, and used some 1×2 as the frame for them.


Then I used 1/4″ cabinet-grade ply on the top and bottom…


And to make it feel a bit more solid, I ripped down some 1×3″ select pine to the exact width of the shelves and used it as the front piece…


Then the shelves got a coat of white paint and I cut down some leftover butcher-block from the kitchen to use as the desk…


I wanted it a little beefier than typical 1-1/2″ counter thickness, so I ripped a 2-1/2″ piece off the back of the slab and then glued it on the front to create a thicker desk.


Meanwhile, I posted a few things to my facebook page to tease my mom, who really wasn’t expecting much more than to come up and spend Mother’s Day working on the farm…




And then, finally, when she came up Saturday evening to spend the night I asked if she wanted to see my secret project…


I mean. We’ve come a long way from this…


To finish off the room I found a couple of small tables from Target that work perfectly as nightstands, hung some curtains I’d purchased for this room months ago (and were still sitting in boxes), added a rug, and even spray painted an old pink lamp my grandmother gave me to fit in with the new decor. And I filled the room with all kinds of things that I know my mom loves. Namely, plants.


(Yes, that’s us in the little picture.)

We actually picked out these air plants together when we went to the garden center on Mother’s Day…

I adore them.

The art in this room is also pretty special. The wood art behind the bed is something I made years ago that she’s always liked, but, even better, there are two beautiful watercolors that my grandmother (my mom’s mom) painted. This amazing bamboo…


And this sweet hummingbird…


This little nook in my mom’s room is officially my favorite spot in the house now…


I still need to seal that walnut desk, but other than that, my mom now has the most finished (and decorated) room to stay in when she comes up to the farm.

And, best of all? Every single light in that room works now.

The biggest thanks in the world goes to my mom, for loving the farm as much as I do, making my gardens look amazing, and most of all, taking care of this place when I’m away. This is a small gesture in the scheme of everything you do for us, but my dream has always been for the farm to be a welcoming place for people to come to stay, and I’m glad the first person I could do that for is you!

DIY diva


  • carolbaby

    Your Mom is the best! She definitely goes way over and above in the Mom department!

    Really fabulous job on the room, what a lovely daughter you are!

    (all the exclamation marks!)

  • Guerrina

    Aww, such a beautiful way to honor your Mom. What a great room!

  • Joseph Freenor

    That’s a very slick idea with those shelves.

  • Jack Conway

    Awesome job
    Totally kewl
    Very Special


  • Reenie

    How cute…. looks so cozy. Our Moma’s are special.

  • Nine Dark Moons

    Amazing & so special <3

  • trudy

    Poison ivy in the eye, I can hardly imagine.

  • Tony Periat

    I love your mom! A saint of a woman and one of the best bosses I’ve ever had.

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