LeClaire Lane

Where do I even start?

When I started documenting my DIY journey almost 2 years ago, I honestly thought I would only be sharing my DIYs with you (not anything personal or deep).

I went with a name I had “hoped” to become.. Gutsy Homemaker, I didn’t always feel that what I was building was “gutsy” but it sure takes some guts to put yourself out into the inter webs and fumble your way around… so I guess at the end of the day the word fit either way.

And of course the other part of the name was Homemaker.. I was turning my house into a home.

So why the change?

When it comes down to it, YOU are the reason for the change. You were no longer strangers on the inter webs, you grew to become my actual friends and in turn I started sharing all of the things I had never dreamed about ever sharing.

Crazy enough all the in-between DIY stuff made us even stronger friends!

So what changes are coming for LeClaire Lane?

Well it will still be a primarily DIY space but I will also be diving deeper and sharing other things like:

  • Cooking and Baking *Gluten Free/Celiac
  • Self Care *Including mental health
  • Parenting *I should be an expert by now with 2 kids, but I don’t know that anyone is an actual expert
  • Interior Design *Eventually I will finish my classes at IDI
  • And so much more!

There will be more blogs, more videos and more BTS.

Let me know what part you are most excited for!

Summer Reading

If you caught yesterday’s Instagram Live, you heard me talk about how I have a hard time turning my brain “OFF”, and know that it resonated with some of you as well.

So I thought what better way to ease into self care (because clearly I’m lacking in that department) than to create a small summer reading list. It’s the perfect time too because Amazon is having their buy 2 get on 1 free sale, and I’m pretty sure 3 is all I can manage in a 3 month period.. remember I’m easing into this.

Here are the 3 books that I just got, let me know if you’ve read any of them or if you want to read along with me… but no spoilers!

Hallway Refresh: 2 Week Update

Holy smokes its been a busy 2 weeks! This is the first time in the #FailsToFantastic series that I have taken on an entire space so I thought that it would only be fitting to do a mid-point check in with what I’ve completed so far and share what’s left on my to-do list.

If you haven’t been following along on Instagram let me show you the “before” photos of the hallway.

Now before you yell at me and say that the hallway isn’t a fail, let me explain… You’re right (kinda). You see there are a few little fails in this hallway and I have decided this is an opportunity to make the hallway FANTASTIC.

Current FAILSWays to make it FANTASTIC
•Dart holes in the ceiling
•Dart holes in bedroom door
•Broken bathroom door
•Missing baseboards
•Fill holes in ceiling and paint
•Fun ceiling details
•New lighting fixture (better sized for the space)
•Replace both doors
•Paint the doors a new color
•Update door hardware
•Put up new baseboards & door trim to match
•Paint the baseboards & trim to match the new doors
•Add an arch to the end linen closet (why not)
•Completely change the look of the AC door

Yep this was admittedly a “If you give a mouse a cookie moment” and my husband like to say. Of course I could have just fixed the broken things and moved on but that’s not what I do 😂.

So lets get to what I have accomplished from the list in the last 2 weeks….

First thing I did was tackle one of my fears! I changed out my first light fixture. You see my husband is an electrician by trade so he also handles anything to do with electricity, well because it scares the crud out of me. So with my husband standing by my side and walking me through step by step I changed out the fixture all by myself!!

Then I conquered drywall and installed an arch to the linen closet at the end of the hall.

**I have been working on turning the standard linen closet with bi-fold doors into a built in for the past 7 months. I have actually built the base 3 different times since the closet isn’t plumb or square in the least, but I’m finally gaining traction on that so the built in arch was needed to help in completing my vision.**

I still need to add a few more coats of mud and then texture and of course paint it, but that will be done in the next two weeks.

The last major thing I accomplished in the first half of the month was easily my favorite and it was the EASIEST! I added a peel and stick wall mural to the ceiling of the hallway and followed it up with a light coat of glaze mixed with the ceiling color to tone down the black of the mural.

So lets see what’s left for this month…

Ways to make it FANTASTIC
•Fill holes in ceiling and paint
•Fun ceiling details
•New lighting fixture (better sized for the space)
•Replace both doors
*They have been replaced however there are issues with both replacements so they need to be revisited
•Paint the doors a new color
•Update door hardware
•Put up new baseboards & door trim to match
•Paint the baseboards & trim to match the new doors (I did get the trim that is already there painted 😂)
•Add an arch to the end linen closet (I’m half way done)
•Completely change the look of the AC door

Ummm… ok, I’m going to end this post here and get back to work… I didn’t realize I still had so much work to do 😬

Pergola to DIY Awning

This year is just flying by…

I can’t believe that I finished this project 3 Months ago and I am just now getting around to posting the details!

Meet my Co-Host:

Julia from Juliachristinehome

Julia tackles projects both big and small… from the beautifully painted door (pictured) to simple DIY wooden trees.

She’s tackled tiling, and furniture flips. I’m not sure there is anything she can’t or won’t do.

On to the fails!

Back in February I completed part 1 of this project, head over to this post to check out all the details and get caught up if you’ve missed anything.

I came up with a design that called for a fence panel and an acrylic sheet

I wasn’t entirely sure that it was going to work but I knew it was going to look good and I could adjust my plan if it didn’t work, so that was enough for me to continue with the project.

We needed to have somewhere to prop the acrylic sheet onto so that it would slope away from the house, so we installed a 2×4 cedar board directly onto the house in-between the two posts. This new board also gave us the 2 extra inches we needed to make the fence panel work.

Once that board was securely attached we got to work installing the fence panel. Now I’m going to be honest, this should not have been a two person job. We were working 8+ feet off the ground trying to level the fence panel and secure it while standing on ladders.

We got the job done but it took us over 40 minutes and it was a very tense 40 minutes. If you are going to attempt this same design do yourself a favor and have a few extra set of hands around.

The acrylic sheet was the easy part. We screwed the sheet directly into the new 2×4 cedar board and then used a few more screws to attach it to the fence panel (so that it wouldn’t move around with the wind). Added a bead of sealant along the seam.. where the sheet meets the house, and call it a day.

As soon as I new that it worked, you know.. when it rained and my garage didn’t flood. I had to make the space pretty and I found the perfect solar powered lights on Amazon. I ordered two strands and now the space is just dreamy!

What was Julia up to?

She saved her leather sofa with paint, yep you read that right.. she painted her peeling leather sofa and it turned out fantastic!

As always everything we both did can be found in my Instagram highlight “FTF Episode 5”

Toja Grid Pergola

You guys I cannot believe that #FailsToFantasic is already 4 months old!

Are you guys having fun? Have you learned anything yet?

There are still so many projects to get to so don’t worry if you haven’t needed to put anything into use yet.. I’ve got more coming your way!

Meet my Co-Host:

Kelsey from a.dabbled.dwelling

She really is a do it all DIYer! She has tackled everything from accent walls to concrete counter tops (while being 8 months pregnant) and everything in-between!

You should be following Kelsey because she does all of this with as a busy mom. She is real and relatable, she shows you the ups and downs of her projects as she is learning.. and has a heart of gold!

On to the fails!

So this months fail wasn’t as straight forward as the others have been, so let me explain.

That side of our house doesn’t have any awnings and with the garage door, it just so happens that anytime we get a hard rain… it floods (my) half of the garage. So we really need to replace the door but before we do that we needed to get the awning situation worked out.

I got creative and designed a pergola that would have a built in awing (best of both worlds).

The frame was going to be phase 1 of the build (with a sunshade) and then in phase 2, I was going to do the rest of the built to include the built in awing.. but as with this series you see that things don’t always go as planned.

I tried 4.. yes 4, sunshades and none of them fit the odd size of my pergola (that was built to fit the pre-existing slab). So now we have a pergola with zero shade or awning.

But I’m still calling it a win because it was a job that needed to get done and we will get the rest of the job completed when the new materials arrive.

*So the lesson for this episode is that sometimes you need to fix the root case and not just band-aid it (putting towels in front of the door).. it just might take longer than expected*

What was Kelsey up to?

She went through her kitchen and fixed her backsplash! She added trim pieces and even added some new tiles from the recent pony wall she took out.. all in preparation for her concrete counter tops.

I was taking notes because I will be doing the same counter tops in my kitchen and my coffee bar when the time comes.

As always everything we both did can be found in my Instagram highlight “FTF Episode 4”

Edge Banding Fix

You won’t believe it but my co-host and I are both in the kitchen today!

But before we get into what we are doing in there, I would like to introduce you to this months co-host.

Meet my Co-Host:

Meg (half of) Baker.Blooms

Meg and Ash make up the kick ass team over at Baker.Blooms, and they have completely blown up this past year!

Meg is a hairstylist, who married her high school sweetheart. They have 2 boys and 3 dogs.

She is great at cheap and easy DIYs and just finished an Anthropologie dupe ladder for 80% cheaper than you can find online! Click here for the tutorial and make yourself one too… shit make a bunch and give them as gifts!

This right here is a prime example of the pretty pictures and cropped angles that I talked about on the original Fails To Fantastic post.

When I built the island I had a deadline of 3 weeks, from the day I started to the day I submitted the final photos. All while working full time so there were some things that admittedly did not get completed the way that I would have liked.

The edge banding being the main thing. I had never worked with it prior so I did a fair bit of research prior to even attempting the process. I was so proud that I was able to get 1 solid strip to wrap around the entire island instead of 4 separate sections so there is only one seam but after I was done applying it I noticed bubbles.

I assumed it was from the wood filler I had used to fill in the large holes in the plywood (under the Maple plywood). I thought that the glue just wasn’t adhering to the filler.

So I didn’t stress trying to fix it before submitting it. Because I thought that I would have to rip it all off and re-sand all of the edges to get the banding to better adhere.

But after the challenge I reached out to Ethan with TheBuildwithEthan after running across his YouTube video on edge banding. He didn’t hesitate to help, he suggested to slice open the air pockets with a thin blade, along the grain of the wood and reapply the heat.

He gave me this advise back in October! Yes it took me 3 months to get up the courage to slice into my kitchen island.

And after I did it, I have no idea why I waited so long! It was so easy and it fixed the problem a lot easier than what I originally thought I was going to have to do to fix it.

I am so pleased with the results!

What was Meg up to?

Meg decided change out the paper towel holder that she had previously built. It didn’t work as it should have but it also didn’t fit her design style.

She bite the bullet and made the cutest paper towel holder there ever was and showed you exactly how she did it.

And I had a blast watching Meg’s process. She almost.. almost.. had a problem near the end that looked like it was going to end badly but she was able to twist her way out of the tight spot.

I hope you all are enjoying this series and that you are learning something from it. I would love for you to comment below with some projects that maybe you need help with to make “fantastic”

As always you can find everything we both did on my Instagram highlight “FTF Episode 3”

Ombre Bathroom Wall

Jumping into the second episode my co-host and I both tackled projects in our bathrooms!

But before we get into what we did, I would like to introduce you to this months co-host.

Meet my Co-Host:

Sarah AKA RockyCanyonRustic

You may remember Sarah from the introduction of #FailsToFantastic (It was her vase I was trying to recreate), so it was only fitting that she join me this month!

Sarah is a Nurse Practitioner, who works part time and DIYs part time with a house full of boys.

She just got done with a Home Depot Partnership, where she completely redid her son’s walk in closet and it turned out amazing! Check it out HERE

So back in maybe March of this year I gave our master bathroom a face lift, and part of that face life included adding a feature wall of beautiful succulent wallpaper (you can see the before and afters here)

*Now remember friends that I had just started DIYing in February so wallpaper was no easy feat!

So I was what I quickly learned is that if you are going to do wallpaper in a humid environment (like a bathroom) you need to use higher quality wallpaper and not peel and stick!

The sticky stuff just cannot hold up to the amount of moisture and it started (very soon after installation) falling off the wall.

So I clearly needed to take the wallpaper down but I had to come up with a plan on how to make it “fantastic”.. just taking it down wasn’t going to cut it.

So I ran across this DIY on Pinterest and just knew it would be the perfect way to make it a proper #FailsToFantastic

So I grabbed my two new favorite green paint colors and got to work! Jojoba and Royal Orchard (both pair of Behr’s 2021 Color Trends)

I absolutely love the way it turned out! I still have a feature wall but no more peeling wallpaper!!

What was Sarah up to?

Sarah decided to take on a BEAST… the mitered corner! She also completed a bathroom facelift earlier this year and when she took those final photos for Instagram she made sure to crop out the not so “fantastic” mitered corners of her DIY frame.

*Don’t go getting mad at me for spilling the beans… she did all the spilling over on Instagram 😂

So she decided it was time to fix it! She tried to do new miter cuts and make a pieces to fit the ones that looked good but that didn’t end up working and at the end of the day she fixed her frame using good old butt joints!

What she realized in the process is that the picture itself wasn’t square… That is KEY to making those 90˚ angles match up!

As always you can find everything we both did on my Instagram highlight “FTF Episode 2”

Table Top Fix

Mistakes are going to happen.

Sometimes they are so small you don’t even realize you are fixing them while doing so, while others you know you made a mistake and there is something to LEARN from it. I want a few things from this series and I hope I deliver.

I want a few things with this series and I hope I deliver!

  • I hope we all learn something or take something away from each episode
  • I want to make you to feel capable of fixing things too
  • And have FUN!

Now onto the very first #FailsToFantastic

Meet my Co-Host:

Mak AKA homemakermak

She is a Senior Accountant who purchased her first investment property with her better half in 2018 (at the time she had no Reno experience.. she was going to be the JoAnna, while he was going to be the Chip).

Her first project was patching drywall in April of 2019 and now she is currently in the middle of redoing the plumbing on her SECOND bathroom renovation.

But what I love about Mak is she is willing to try any home project knowing she might fail and being OK with it. Oh and did I mention she has a heart of gold!

On to the fails!

So you might have seen that I have a DIY Custom Table Top tutorial on the blog… If not you show check it out 😊

Well when I was in the thick of making the table FOR THE CLIENT, I forgot 1 VERY important step *Don’t worry the tutorial didn’t forget*

I received a text 4 weeks after my client had the table saying that the table had started to raise and my heart sank! But I was scratching my head because I was sure that I had done EVERYTHING that needed to be done.

I forgot to glue the final pieces in… as evident below with easily the top pieces came out!

So I figured while I had the top sections out I would run over to my Father in laws house and use his planner, while the table was already taken apart.

Then I GLUED all the pieces and put them back in place and finished up the table as I had before (Early American stain and 3 coats of polyurethane).

So what did I learn? That I didn’t need to burn the table down and start all over (Yes that is one of the thoughts I had when I originally received her texts 😂) and that I need to SLOW down, because had I slowed down during the original build.. I “think” I would have caught this mistake.

But you know what they say… “You live and you learn”

What was Mac up to?

Mac went through all of the fails from her home office (the first room she ever redid) and showing you WHAT NOT TO DO.

From caulking tips to built in furniture placement (so you get the most out of your space). She went over things that you wouldn’t even think of.

Everything we both did can be found in my Instagram highlight “FTF Episode 1”

Celebrate ALL the things!

I found out something AMAZING happened last week and I didn’t even know it! Well technically I had some awesome things happen and then this AMAZING thing too but I only knew about the awesome stuff.. Do you wanna know what was so AMAZING?

I was featured on Apartment Thearpy’s website!

Now you may be asking yourself how one is featured on a website and doesn’t even know about it 😂 and that’s kinda where the awesome stuff comes in. You see looking back I realize that last week was pretty epic for my tiny account.

So on Monday, Kristen over at Builds By Kristen, shared my Instagram profile because I was one of 4 winners from a DIY week she had hosted based off of her community’s votes.

Below (Right) is the photo everyone had voted on!

So when I got a lot of traffic to my site I assumed it was from Kristen’s share (in the beginning I’m sure it was) but then I received a whole new surge of traffic on Tuesday to the website (again I assumed it was from the share the previous day).

Fast forward to last night and I get a text from my mother in law wanting to know if I knew I had an article in Apartment Therapy?!?!

….Christina, how did your mother in law know before you did? Well you see… when I originally participated in the furniture flip I did a really bone head thing and I didn’t attach my before photo to my final submission and so I was actually disqualified from the judging (which I realized the day they would be announcing the winner), so I went onto Apartment Therapy’s site and submitted my work there… months ago! And completely forgot about it.

So my mother in law was just scrolling Facebook when she came across my desk!

Click HERE to go directly to Apartment Therapy’s article!

This may not be AMAZING or HUGE news for some but for me, growing my community and developing my skills it is AMAZING and HUGE!

I appreciate every single person who takes the time out of their day to write me a comment, share my page or blog, like my photos or just simply share a kind word. I’m here to build furniture but I am building a community at the same time!

So thank you!

Fails To Fantastic.. and so it begins

This idea if you will was born out of a REALLY bad day, you see I’m a self proclaimed protectionist and up until October 6th (my REALLY bad day) I was “ok” with DIYing all the things and throwing a giant temper tantrum (not on screen for Instagram) and then picking myself up and moving on.

But something inside me broke along with my vase that day and I couldn’t be more grateful! That day and that vase the amazing community that has been following my journey on Instagram came and lifted me up and let me know they too had been there!

The whole thing really got me thinking… We work so hard on projects. Wither it’s big or small it doesn’t quite matter, but with Instagram we style it and do everything to get the perfect picture and then… we move on.

Maybe we turned it around so you couldn’t see the edges that don’t exactly line up or we cropped the picture so you can’t see the uneven edges, or it could be the simple fact that we didn’t get around to caulking the seams before we wanted to get the picture up.

Now don’t get me wrong there are some projects that go off without a hitch but I’m not sure that I’ve personally had any of those so far.

So I came up with #FailsToFantastic

The first Sunday of every month I will pick a project that I have completed (or one the lovely folks that flipped my home did) and I will show you how/why it is a “fail” and then I am going to show you how to fix it and make it “fantastic”.

On that same token, I want YOU to share your projects with me. Maybe it’s a project you’ve already completed or one that you need some guidance on. Use #FailsToFantastic and tag me in your pictures so I can see them.