House of the Week: A Converted Fire Station for Home and Work

This multi-purpose home really heats up the neighborhood.

The future of real estate may not be all the bells and whistles of technology, but instead homes with great spaces for both work and play. This restored fire station is just the ticket, heating up the idea of owning a space that can serve your housing needs and much more. With 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a list price of $849,000, this Sanford, FL home offers a piece of history that looks toward a stylish tomorrow.

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The bottom level of the property is a commercial space boasting 3,700 square feet of fire truck bays, a foyer, and a workshop, offering plenty of ways to develop your dream business close to home.

The property was restored by an artist who was also a real estate agent at the time. She “wanted to have a place for her agents, then she realized the light upstairs was a perfect place for her to paint,” said listing agent Kase Ellers of Mainframe Real Estate.

Upstairs there’s a loft-style living space that would make any artist swoon and any New Yorker pack their bags for central Florida.  Exposed wood beams, ducts and columns create a lovely backdrop, and track lighting makes the modern aesthetic even brighter.

The exposed brick walls bring out the best in the hardwood flooring, which glistens in the natural light provided by a plethora of picture windows. Ceiling fans, freestanding stacked double ovens, and an exposed sink create a no-frills style that shows luxury is not necessarily about grandiose accouterments, but rather stylish finishes tastefully done. To top it off, the living area includes a charming fireplace.

The 1887 building is in one of the first settled cities in Florida. It originally had three stories, but the top floor was removed during a renovation in 1928.  

“One of the coolest things about the home is the history that ties into the town,” Ellers said. “The firehouse attracts a lot of people.”

Photos by UNEEK.

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The Space-Saving Rolling Pantry: A DIY Tutorial

Cereal boxes don’t have to reside on your counter. Build this easy rolling pantry and solve your storage issues.

Everyone likes to stay stocked up on their favorite foods and snacks. The problem is when your kitchen has limited storage space. There just isn’t enough room in your cupboards and pantry — you might not even have a pantry at all.

There’s a way to keep all your faves on hand, and stash them away, too. Even better, the solution uses an awkward space in your kitchen that you probably thought was unusable: the gap between the fridge and wall.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
That awkward space between the fridge and the wall.

Here’s how one couple took that little gap and turned it into a useful space by building a DIY rolling pantry.

This rolling pantry is essentially a shelf with wheels. You can stow it beside your fridge (or any other narrow space), then wheel it in and out to load up all your goodies and grab them when you’re ready. And it’s a great DIY project for a novice builder.

Measure first

Before you begin building anything, you need to take measurements of the space where your rolling pantry will go.

  • How tall do you want your pantry to be?
  • How wide is the space between the fridge and the wall?
  • How far back does it go (we’ll call this length)?

Take note of these measurements, because they determine what size boards you need.

In this case, the couple had about 10 inches between the wall and the fridge, so they chose a board width of 8 inches. They wanted their rolling pantry to extend all the way back to the wall (2.5 feet), and be shorter than the fridge so they could stack items on the top shelf without them showing above the fridge (5 feet).

Don’t forget to consider the height that the casters will add when deciding the height of the pantry.

Materials

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Some of the supplies you’ll need.
  • Two long 1-inch thick boards cut to the desired height (in this case they were 5 feet long by 8 inches wide)
  • Six shorter 1-inch thick boards cut to the desired length (these are the shelves; in this case they were 2.5 feet long by 8 inches wide)
  • 0.5-inch diameter dowels cut several inches longer than your shelf length (in this case, about 3 feet long)
  • Handsaw
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Right-angle ruler
  • Level
  • Wood glue
  • Assorted food items, like a cereal box, bottles, cans (for judging shelf height)
  • Paintbrushes, rollers, paint tray, and paint or wood stain
  • Plywood piece cut to the same dimensions as your pantry frame (in this case, 2.5 feet by 5 feet)
  • 4 swivel casters (optional: with brakes)
  • Pull handle
  • Screwdriver

1. Build the frame

Take one of your long boards and one of your short boards and line them up, with the shorter board fitting inside the longer one. Use a right-angle ruler to ensure that your boards are at a perfect 90-degree angle. You may glue the pieces together for extra hold, or just nail the boards together using a nail gun.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Use the right angle ruler to get a 90-degree angle at the corners.

Repeat with the another short board at the top of the same long board that you just nailed.

Once you have both short boards attached to one long one, take the other long board and line it up at the opposite ends of the short boards. Ensure the corner angles are 90 degrees, and glue and nail as before.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
The frame is level and ready for the next step.

Once you have your frame built, use a level to check that it’s even.

2. Add the shelves

Lay the frame down flat on the floor. To estimate how much space you will need between each shelf, place some of your pantry items on the floor inside the pantry frame. Take the remaining short shelf boards and place them within the frame, moving them around as needed to fit your food items.

It’s best to have the heaviest items on the bottom shelves so the pantry isn’t too top heavy; have the shelves for smaller items at the top of your pantry.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Testing out shelf heights with food items that will be stored in the pantry.

Once you are confident in your shelf spacing, mark where each shelf goes, add wood glue to the ends, and reinsert the shelves into the frame. Check each corner placement with the right angle ruler and level to make sure the shelves are straight. Use the nail gun to nail each shelf in place.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Shelves in place.

3. Add dowels

You’ll want your pantry items to stay in place (no rogue cans rolling away), so add dowels to the front of your pantry to keep everything where it’s supposed to be.

Measure out where you need to cut your dowels to fit within the pantry frame and mark the dowels with a pen.

Cut the dowels down to size using a handsaw or circular saw.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Measuring the dowels.

Once the dowels are cut to size, add some wood glue to each end and wedge them into the pantry. You want a tight fit. For extra stability, put a nail through the exterior of the pantry into each dowel end.

4. Paint or stain it

Now it’s time to customize your rolling pantry. Pick your favorite paint color or wood stain. This couple wanted black paint to blend in with their existing appliances.

Paint your pantry with two coats for an even finish; seal if necessary. Let the paint dry completely.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Two coats of paint on, so now it’s time to dry.

5. Jazz up the backing

If you want to customize your rolling pantry even more, consider adding a decorative back to your frame. This piece will keep your food items from falling off the shelves.

Paint one side of the plywood backing with your pantry frame’s color (in this case black) and the opposite side a contrasting color (in this case white).

Now make it pop. Customize your pantry using a stencil. Here, we used light gray paint and a Moroccan star stencil to create a visually stunning backdrop.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Stenciling the backing.

Let your decorated plywood backing dry for several hours.

6. Nail the backing to the frame

Flip your rolling pantry on it’s front or side, place the decorative backing over the back of the pantry and nail it in place along the edges, as well as into the backs of the shelves. This prevents the plywood from bowing, and will keep everything nicely in place.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Place nails along the frame edges and each shelf.

7. Add the casters

Now it’s time to make it roll. Affix the casters to the bottom of your pantry using an electric screwdriver. If the screws for your casters are too long and look like they will go through the bottom shelf of your pantry, add another piece of wood to ensure the screws will stay in place, but not come through the bottom (as shown below).

diy rolling pantry tutorial
Another piece of wood was added to the bottom of the pantry so the caster screws wouldn’t penetrate the bottom shelf.

Bonus tip: Use casters that have foot brakes on them so you can prevent your pantry from rolling all over the place when you want it to remain stationary.

8. Add the handle

You’ve got to be able to pull out your pantry. Affix a handle to the front end of your pantry using an electric screwdriver. Make sure the handle is on the correct end.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
The handle is in place so when the pantry is pulled out the items are facing you.

The finished prodcuct: a beautiful and functional rolling pantry.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
The pantry is ready to roll.

This DIY rolling pantry fits perfectly into the couple’s kitchen. The black paint helps it blend in with the fridge, and the Moroccan star background keeps things interesting when it’s rolled out.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
A perfect fit.

The rolling wheels allow the pantry to glide out with ease with just a pull of the handle. Locking casters keep the whole thing in place while you look for ingredients and canned goods.

diy rolling pantry tutorial
The pantry can slide in and out with ease and hold a lot of essentials.

There you have it — a super easy-to-follow tutorial for building your very own DIY rolling pantry.

Photos courtesy of Erica Sooter.

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10 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails

Don’t get slimed by these voracious garden pests.

Despite their destructive habits and overall “ick” factor, the soft and squishy bodies of snails and slugs are anything but formidable. In fact, there are so many creative ways to repel or kill them outright that you might have a hard time choosing just one.

Commercial snail and slug killers might also work, but they’re dangerous and can harm the “good” creatures in your garden as well. Save money and choose one of these easy home remedies instead.

Give them a bath

Snails and slugs hate baths nearly as much as toddlers. Every time you go out in the garden, bring a little bucket with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. Pick off any soft-bodied pests you see, throw them into the bath, and dump out their remains the next day. The small amount of dish soap prevents snails, slugs, and even caterpillars from escaping.

Get them drunk

If you’re going to kill the slimy little guys, you might as well let them die drunk and happy. Set out saucers of stale beer, making sure that the pests can find their way over the ledge and into the dive bar. They’ll be naturally drawn to the yeasty smell of the beer, fall in, and drown in a bath of beer. Don’t use this method if pets or young children are present.

Put out a tiny barbed wire fence

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around vulnerable plants and walk away. It’s like putting out a bed of microscopic razor blades and shards of glass, so snails and slugs will do their best to steer clear of the stuff. Use this trick sparingly though, since it can slice away at “good” bugs and critters, too.

Just add salt

It might not be the kindest or cleanest method, but salt really does kill slugs and snails by drying out the mucus coating their permeable bodies. Sprinkle a very small amount, since it doesn’t take much to harm nearby plants. But if a slug is close enough to kill with salt, you’d be better off picking the thing off by hand.

Put out a banana trap

Choose this method if you’d rather not touch the snails and slugs at all. Leave a banana skin, grapefruit peel, or melon rind out near affected plants at night, and dispose of the peel — critters and all— in the morning. Use a shovel to ensure you don’t get slimed!

Tangle them up

If your furry friend is shedding a lot, put that hair to good use and spread it around the base of affected plants. The fur will stick to slugs’ and snails’ mucus coating and keep them from getting much further.

Your own hair will also trap slugs. But if you feel obliged to mulch the garden with human hair and find that it works well, it’s probably best to keep that secret to yourself.

Don’t bring home hitchhikers

Slugs often enter the garden by hiding out on nursery plants. When purchasing, thoroughly inspect each plant, also checking the debris or dead leaves on the soil surface. Remove any snails, slugs, and other stowaways.

Clean up dead leaves

Dead leaves in the garden are usually a good thing because they provide a natural habitat for lots of little critters that benefit your soil and plants.

But if you have a slug infestation, dead leaves have to go. Whether you throw them on the compost pile or bag them up just to play it safe, a “cleaned up” garden will at least help you get a handle on the snails and slugs.

Attract natural predators

Just as there are lots of ways to kill slugs and snails, there are lots of animals who will happily take them off your hands. Attract snail-eating frogs, toads, lizards, and even snakes (most are harmless) by providing hiding places such as stones or logs in or near your garden. You might even choose to keep those dead leaves, if you’re going this route.

Include native plants, bird feeders, and birdhouses to attract snail- and slug-eating birds. It takes a while to build up a diverse garden, but you’ll have fewer pest problems in the long run.

Grow something else

It isn’t what you want to hear, but if your garden is brimming with slugs and it seems like nothing can get rid of the slimy plague, consider growing plants they won’t eat.

Besides, a garden with big pest problems is a garden that is out of balance. Diversify!

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Report: Kendall Jenner Buys Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s Home

Who will neighbor Jimmy Kimmel prank now?

In the kind of star-studded real estate deal you find only in Hollywood, model and Kardashian little sister Kendall Jenner has bought the home of actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. And Jimmy Kimmel is her new neighbor.

She paid $6.5 million, the Los Angeles Times reported, which is $1.5 million less than Blunt and Krasinski initially asked.shutterstock_430213924

The 4,800-square-foot home has all the right angles and giant windows of a modern masterpiece built in 1958. Blunt and Krasinski renovated it with 10-inch walnut flooring and other glamorous touches.

Arranged on three stories, the home offers ample space for relaxing and playing. The living room, which blends into the backyard deck and pool area via a retractable glass wall, shares a fireplace with the formal dining room that also boasts floor-to-ceiling windows.

The chef’s kitchen, with high-end appliances and an eat-in island, sits opposite a family room accented by a wall of white bricks. It’s ideal for settling in with a casual meal on the sofa while watching the latest episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” There’s also a more formal media room for extended viewing.

The master suite is a luxurious oasis that offers the privacy of trees outside its walls of glass, beyond which you can peek at the city of Los Angeles. The suite’s spa-like bathroom includes a marble-top dual vanity plus a soaking tub with its own wall of glass. The walk-in closet is a room of its own, with a center island and built-in drawers.

Krasinski designed the deck that opens off the third story. Its dining and lounging areas are enhanced by sweeping views and warmed by a fire pit for cool California evenings.

If Jenner becomes buddies with Kimmel, maybe he’ll gift wrap the house for her, too.

The listing agents were Kurt Rappaport and James Nasser of Westside Estate Agency.

See more of Jenner’s new Hollywood Hills neighborhood.

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Before & After: A Sacramento Traditional Goes Transitional

Quirky second-floor rooms transform into functional and chic retreats.

Some home redesigns tackle issues like poor traffic flow and lack of storage. Others address outdated color palettes and unattractive features.

The second floor of this traditional Sacramento home faced all these problems. The three bedrooms and bathroom were begging to be reinvented with a 21st-century makeover.

Adding form and function

Bright pink paint, outdated wallpaper, and unseemly wooden elements were just the surface issues the homeowners faced. Two of the bedrooms and the bathroom required extensive updates, both architecturally and superficially. Both the master suite and child’s bedroom had many areas that lacked function and purpose.

The first step was to take odd and out-of-place elements out of the mix to create a clean canvas. Our design team removed architectural elements like quirky transitions and spaces, and prepared the rooms to be reinvented.

Next, the team decided which elements should go into the space to better represent the family and their lifestyle. We chose a cool and calming color palette to complement the home’s distinct architecture.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom lacked functionality and room for storage, not to mention a cohesive aesthetic. The design team set out to create a cool and serene space for two busy parents. The first priority was to tear off the old-timey floral wallpaper and clear out the space.

Before: tired floral wallpaper and an angled wall on the right; a dire need for additional storage space on the left.
Before: Tired floral wallpaper and an awkwardly angled wall, plus a dire need for light and additional storage space.

The couple needed substantial storage space and plenty of room to move around without bumping into a dresser or wall.

After.
After: Additional closets and an updated, functioning fireplace create a more welcoming space.

We also wanted to create a cohesive and comfortable look with cozy bedding and simple accessories.

After.
After: A simple, breezy color palette makes the room a soothing and comfortable escape.

Master bathroom

The bathroom wasn’t completely out of fashion, but it was dysfunctional — especially for the family to share. It needed a brand-new layout.

Before renovation: the vanity to the left; standing shower to the right.
Before: The vanity and standing shower were crammed into corners, making accessibility an issue.

The bathroom was completely reconfigured, with the door and walls removed and space made for a freestanding bathtub.

After.
After: A new tub, larger shower, and double vanity were welcome additions to the space.

With updated lighting and a neutral paint color to replace the poppy pink and burgundy accents, the bathroom now offers an open, shareable space. Transitional-style tiling, surfaces, and fixtures match the rest of the home’s aesthetic.

Child’s bedroom

To make the homeowners’ daughter’s bedroom truly picturesque, the design team remade the space with a brand-new color palette, updated lighting, and new furniture.

Before: pink everywhere and a need for additional storage.
Before: Pink everywhere and a need for additional storage overwhelmed the room.

Bright teal and white made the bedroom come alive and show off the home’s best architectural elements.

After: White and teal give the room a more grown-up look.
After: White and teal give the room a more grown-up look.

Guest bedroom

What was once a storage room became a functioning guest bedroom.

Before: a room for stuff.
Before: The room served as a catchall for spare furniture and stored items.

The design team decided to move in a cool and contemporary direction by adding window coverings, a new color palette, new furnishings, and updated lighting to the guest room. Gray-and-white geometric wallpaper contributes dimension, and a daybed perched in the corner awaits overnight guests.

After: A welcoming room for guests.
After: The spare room is now a welcoming haven for guests.

Images courtesy of Valado Mori via Lyon Real Estate. 

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