Dads by Design

Husbands. Dads. Sharing Our (Mis)Adventures in Home Renovation and Parenthood.

We Finally Finished the Deck

We finally finished our deck! (At least for now, there are several long-term projects that we still plan to do here like a build a BBQ and paint the rafters and potentially the awning.) After a target date of Sept. 15, 2017, we are finally done. Better late than never.

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Sydney Nursery Reveal 2

Sydney’s Nursery Reveal

Shortly after Sydney‘s birth mom chose us, we began thinking about how her nursery. By happenstance, a few weeks later, a Pottery Barn Kids catalog showed up in the mail with a photo of rainbow bookshelves that became the inspiration for Sydney’s room. Like her name, Sydney’s room is packed with meaning, and every choice was intentional. It was so important for us to create a space for her that felt unique and welcomed her as a member of our family.

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Rainbow Book Ledges 1

Building Rainbow Book Ledges for the Nursery

Shortly after we found out that Sydney would be joining our family I saw this picture of rainbow book ledges from Pottery Barn Kids and fell in love. I knew I wanted shelves like this to be a focal point for our nursery, and they became the inspiration for the entire room. Crate & Kids (Land of Nod at the time) also sold similar ledges, but the ledges from both stores would cost us at least $150 and each shelf was only 24″. Because of the size of our wall, we knew that 36″ shelves would be best. So we decided we’d build them ourselves, and desperately hoped they wouldn’t look like a craft project.

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Improving Our Doors with Molding

After we finished painting the windows in Sydney’s room, we wanted to improve the basic slab doors. Again, rather than buying expensive new doors we thought we could DIY a solution. Just like painting the windows, adding molding, was an easy and inexpensive fix that paid big dividends.

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Painting Our Windows Black

As we were prepping for Sydney’s arrival, and putting together her nursery, the first thing we knew that we had to do was get rid of the terrible shutters in her room. Not only were the window casings in bad shape (all the windows on our first floor are like this), but the shutters wouldn’t provide the necessary blackout lighting we’d want in a nursery or a kids room.

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Sydney Adoption Story 1

Sydney’s Adoption Story

Less than two weeks ago, which have felt like a blur and overstuffed with love, our lives changed. We became Dads. Now that Sydney Diana is here, we are so excited to share her adoption story. With Sydney’s addition, we’re now changing our name on our blog and platforms from “Two Guys and a House” to “Dads by Design.” There’s a lot more than just two guys in this house now.

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IKEA Table on Deck

The Partial Deck Reveal

Well, we are long past our September 15 deadline, and snow will soon be falling here in Salt Lake City, so it’s time to share where we landed with our deck project.


Let’s start at the beginning. Here are a few before photos to remind you where we started. You can see additional before photos (and our original inspiration board, which we deviated quite a bit from in the end) by clicking here.

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Our No Carve, Glow in the Dark Halloween Pumpkins

Confession: The smell of pumpkin guts makes Brian want to puke. Because of this issue, last year was the first year in our entire relationship that we’ve ever carved pumpkins together. (Brian claims to love Halloween and yet doesn’t participate in the pumpkin carving tradition, but I digress…) He made it through last year’s carving with a facemask and lavender scent but this year we decided to try something different and try completely no-carve pumpkins.

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Planning Our Deck Design

We call our backyard a “party yard.” But that’s a bit of a lie, because we’ve had very few parties there (read: none).  We have ample space and a large covered deck. However, it’s a bit dumpy and the deck is a blank slate – especially now that we sold our furniture (thanks Facebook Marketplace!). After a summer of zero parties, we decided that we wanted to (mostly) furnish the deck by Brian’s birthday (September 15).

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Refinishing and Reupholstering the Dining Table

After a months-long break, we’re back. We’ve done a few things since our last post: we removed the world’s strongest clotheslines from our backyard, did some major spring cleaning in our backyard, and (somewhat) planned the entire future layout of our house. In between, we trained and ran our first marathon, so no blog posts for you, our few devoted readers. 😉 Now that our days of endless running are over (for now), we decided to refinish and reupholster our dining room table.

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