Category Archives: Site Housekeeping

Exciting News!


Knock Off Decor Feature

We’re so excited to announce that our barn door tutorial was featured on Knock Off Decor today!  Check out the full post on their site here.  To our readers who haven’t been to Knock Off Decor before, I’ll warn you now, you’re about to be sucked in to pages and pages of the most amazing DIY tutorials that show how to recreate pieces that look just like the high end versions from places like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn!  I’m seriously addicted to this site and have found tons of great ideas there.  And, spoiler alert!  They’ll be featuring our barn door hardware later this week.

To all our new readers who heard about us from Knock Off Decor, welcome!  We’re glad to have you stop by, hopefully gain some inspiration, and, above all, have a laugh at how ridiculous renovation life can truly be.

To jump to our original posts on both of those elements, see below for links.




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Surprise Surprise


This week has been full of surprises.

First, I stumbled upon my husband on Pinterest.  Talk about eerie!  Not only that, but he even got a like!  Ahem, hands off, Pinterest, he’s taken.


Second, one of my favorite blogs, Knock Off Decor, is featuring us!  *insert boy-band-just-came-on-stage squeal.  If you haven’t stumbled upon Knock Off Decor yet, I highly recommend it.  They feature other bloggers’ DIY projects which (as the name suggests) knock off designs from high-end retailers such as Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie.  Warning, you will get hooked.  Today, they featured our latest post on our upholstered, tufted headboard!  A big shout out to their team for the honor!  Click here to check it out!

Knock Off Decor Feature


Thanks, internet, you’ve ruined my shot at becoming a world-class spy.

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Our Baby’s One Today!


Earlier this week, we realized that today is the blog’s first birthday.  My, how time flies!

We then wondered how one goes about celebrating a blog birthday.  I mean I’ll take any excuse there is to bake a cake but that doesn’t really fit the virtual theme of the blog.

Chris thought we should revisit our favorite projects from the past year.  Not bad, but then I had the problem of selecting one.  I’m 100% more excited about my future project list than I am our past accomplishments and with Chris, vice versa.  When we’ve finished a project, he tends to take a step back, admire our work, and relish in its completion.  With me, it’s a little different.  I take a step back, admire our work, then start narrowing down my future projects list to the next contender, and usually want to start on it immediately.

Thus, we concluded that Chris would focus on his favorite 3 past projects and I would divulge my favorite 3 future projects.  Besides, settling on a blog topic that would (finally) be uniform wouldn’t be our style anyway.

So here we go…

Julie’s Top 3 FUTURE Projects:

1. Doors.

While this may not sound that glamorous, I am OBSESSED with the notion that our doors will one day all be upgraded from the current flat panel, yellowing doors from the 70s to freshly painted white, two panel doors.  Not to mention, a change from the odd, old brass door knobs to new satin nickel ones.

We have already started the process of replacing doors (more on that here).  We’re currently 3 for 13… so yeah, we have a ways to go.  Obviously, this is a more long-term goal but still, the day the last door is replaced is the day I throw the largest celebration the world has ever seen… for a door.

For the doors, we’re going from this (excuse Chris’ creepy head):

To this:

Source: Home Depot, Steves and Sons

And for the door knobs, we’re going from this:

To this:

Source: Home Depot, Kwikset

2. Headboard

I’ve been wanting to build an upholstered headboard for the guest bedroom for quite some time now.  It’s really the only thing that needs to happen before we reveal the room on the blog (patience young grasshopper).  The hold-up has been finding the perfect fabric.

A few weeks ago, as I was wandering around West Elm, I found it.  THE fabric.  Here it is on an ottoman.  The fabric’s called Rosette in platinum.

It spoke to me.  It said, “Julie, if you don’t buy up three yards of me right now, you’re an idiot.”  Done.  I rushed to find a sales associate to ring me up.  Little did I know, my heart was about to be severed in half.  She said the two little words that sent shockwaves through my shop-a-holic self: “Sold. Out.”


Her only words of encouragement were, “well, we still have it in Blue Stone” (seen below).

A word of advice to all sales associates: a different available color does not immediately rectify everything.  *Sigh.

So then I contacted West Elm to see if they would be restocking inventory in the platinum color.


So then I asked if they could supply the manufacturer’s name so I could order directly through them.


So, now I’m back at square one.

3. Wood Floors

I have been yearning for the day that my new wood floors will enter into my life.  It’s not only a cosmetic change, it’s a necessary change.  And here’s why:

Reason One.  Our kitchen floors are NASTY.  Not because they’re not clean.  We sweep, we swiffer, we scrub, but to no avail. What we originally thought was tile (later we discovered it to be linoleum) was once a bright white color… in the 70s.  Over time, the color has yellowed and the years of constant foot traffic have worn down the surface to be a breeding ground for permanent stains.

Reason Two.  We currently have six different floors in our house.  Red brick-patterned tile in the office and powder room, white(ish) linoleum in the laundry room and kitchen, oak laminate in the dining room, 18″ beige tile in the living room, hallway, and guest bathroom, gray twist carpet in the bedrooms, and a wood-look tile in the master bathroom.  Yup, six.  And that seems like a lot for a three bedroom house.  If we at least laid down wood in the kitchen and dining room that would slim the list down to five (I would probably use the same wood-look tile from the master bathroom in the laundry room so the linoleum would be completely gone).  So, still a lot of floor options but, hey, it’s still one less.

Reason Three.


Right image: Mayflower Sundance Handscraped Hardwood from Lumber Liquidators

Left image: Virginia Mill Works Engineered Potomac Plank Handscraped Hardwood from Lumber Liquidators.

Enough said.

So, Chris, what’s up first?


For the record, I never thought the linoleum in the kitchen was tile. Ever.

Anyway, I was shocked to find out the blog was only a year old… maybe because I’ve been doing these projects for so much longer (you didn’t think it was written in real-time, did you?).  So, I’ve decided to recap my favorite projects thus far.

Chris’ Top 3 PAST Projects:

1) Half-bath

Honestly, this project wasn’t really a big deal, but it was the first project we did, besides painting a few rooms. What’s more is that we did it together, on a really low budget. It was a fun, productive way to spend time together and the payoff was HUGE (the old bathroom was hideous, in case you don’t remember, read about that transformation here). We were elated with a feeling of accomplishment, and we eagerly showed it off to everyone who entered our home.

This project turned out to be a double-edged sword, though, as it resulted in Julie being bitten by what us car guys call “the mod bug.”  Effortlessly transforming a powder room had betrayed my handyman skills, and Julie’s eyes were filled with renovation greed.  I was doomed to a weekend life of labor.





2) Master bedroom

I’ve cheated a little bit with this one, as it’s really an ongoing project. But it’s probably one of the most important ones- it’s the last room I see before I go to sleep, and the first one I see when I wake up. It’s quiet, relaxing, and private. It’s also constantly changing- painting, repainting, curtains, chairs, lights, etc. It’s also the site of the project where I PUT A NAIL THROUGH MY FINGER (read the gruesome tale here).

Normally, I hate Julie’s habitual indecision, but I have to admit that I don’t mind too much here. We’ve created a really great piece of the house that’s just for us, and I really enjoy spending time there, even if half of it has been painting.


Attempt One.


3) Front door

This may be our (read: my) latest project, but it’s probably one of the ones I’m most proud of because it took a considerable amount of skill… and a sickening amount of mind-numbing labor.  Staining and finishing wood is something of a dying art, and I’ve been dabbling in it for a few years.  I think I finally managed to find the right combination of chemicals, methods, and personal touch to get the results I’ve been looking for (read the full story here).

I also felt like Hercules after mounting a solid wood door by myself.  Twice.



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Now Presenting: The Grand Tour

Is your deepest desire to wander the halls of our house, discovering room after room of wonderfulness?

Yes?  Well then, you’re in luck!  We’ve compiled all room reveals into one section of the site under “House Tour.”

No?  Well, we’ll still let you take a look around and then maybe you’ll change your mind.

Check out the house tour here!

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So, it’s finally been settled.  A brand new spankin’ name for the blog.  Chris apparently had had enough of my feminine (but oh-so-cute) name for our blog.  To be fair, Chris originally didn’t want any part of this blog so I wasn’t really thinking “gender neutral” when I came up with Cotton and Cream.  I was thinking- what’s short, catchy, and describes my design aesthetic?

So, without any further ado, we are proud to announce the new blog name… *drum roll please* Do or DIY.

After weeks of debate and a long list of contenders, Chris’ frontrunner was chosen.  There were some less than stellar recommendations such as Web Design, DIY the Heck Not, and  n/o design (our middle initials) but in the end Do or DIY won out.  It also helped that I had talked Chris into spending the afternoon in the attic wiring up a new chandelier in our bedroom so I was feeling a little generous.  But, hey, it works.



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And So It Begins…


Once upon a time (May 2010 to be exact), my high-school sweetheart and husband of 1.5 years, Chris, and I embarked on a magical journey into the world of home ownership.  To be clear, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  From the numerous plumbing fiascos (which always seem to occur when family is visiting from out of town) to the pencil-sized hole in our living room ceiling from Chris missing a plank in the attic, the experience has been… well, interesting, to say the least.

Having bought a house built in the 1970s, we soon found that much of the house was still trapped in that era of disco balls, bellbottoms, and the burnt-orange Nova that Chris had to drive in high school (have I mentioned that it had puke green carpet as well?).  Yes, we were in for quite an adventure.

This blog follows us as we make our way through the house, room-by-room (well, as much as I can without excitedly jumping ahead to the next project), learning as we go (yikes!).  Follow our blunders, discoveries, Chris’ patience for my wild ideas, and our growing love of home renovation and design. We hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do!


Let me start by saying that I grew up helping my dad around the house. This wasn’t really a bonding experience; it was mostly that I was the only other one in the house that knew the difference between a crescent wrench and a wood rasp. Anyway, in helping dear old dad I apparently learned a thing or two about home renovation, repair, carpentry, and swearing.

Somehow my wife picked up on my handiness (but has yet to accept the swearing) and I’ve been sentenced to a life of catering to every design whim she’s had- including painting almost every roomtwice. After 12 months of painting, wiring, mitering, a few dozen electrocutions, countless hammered fingers, and more trips to Home Depot than I care to admit, we decided to document all the adventures, mishaps, and odd doings of previous owners that homeownership has to offer. So whether it’s the finer points of painting the trim or busting out the smoke wrench (that’s a torch) on plumbing lines, you can revel in the fact that it’s our problem, not yours.

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