Monday, August 7, 2017


We've been in Magnolia Castle for a little over a month now -- long enough to detect areas needing change so our abode will meet specific requirements the previous owners did not have.

I am blessed to have a husband who takes pleasure in working with tools, in spite of the fact that he was not raised to do much of that in his boyhood years.

sliding glass door leading out to the back porch
The drapes by the back porch were left by the sellers, as well as wood blinds at all of the windows. We were grateful to not have to give window coverings a single thought as we moved in. However, the drapes on the left of the sliding glass door had a tendency to blow out the door every time we opened it, which could make them dirty, or even encourage critters to latch onto them and get a free ride into the house.

drapery hook/pull-back
We bought this piece of hardware in the drapery section of Lowe's. Beloved installed it with two 'mollies' (wall anchors). It works perfectly. Two of these hooks came in a package, but we didn't need to install the other one, and the window on the right side of the door   is too close to put a hook there.

drapery hook holding back the drapes

It's a more casual look than what we've had in the past, but I like it and this solves the problem nicely.

In a previous post titled "Decorating Conundrums" I wrote about the rounded walls throughout this house -- which is one of the reasons I'm calling my new home the "Magnolia Castle."

powder room wall
The powder room had some especially tricky issues. There was no toilet paper holder, so we bought a free-standing, self-storing holder. But I was not happy with that, and was having to re-fill the storage "can" in the holder too often. 

Also we have at least one young grandchild and her pup who are in that stage where, if left unattended, playing with the t.p. is a temptation too hard for either of them to resist. 

But with the curving wall, we weren't sure there was a flat enough space to install a traditional t.p. holder.  

a new style of toilet paper holder

We stayed in five different hotel rooms over the past few months and every one of them had this style of toilet paper holder, where it's attached at only one end of the tissue roll. This was the perfect solution since we didn't have much truly FLAT wall to work with.

a place to store additional tissue and hand towels
Also in the powder room, we had no place to store additional tissue rolls and more hand towels. We bought this cabinet (again, at Lowe's) and used dedicated teamwork to get it installed ourselves.

Of note: don't anybody ever anywhere ask us to do this again! We thought we had it up, secured in four places in the back when it literally fell into our arms off the wall moments after we had it hung!! But it's up now (as of several days ago) and looks to be secure.

laundry room shelves

The laundry room in this house is a tight squeeze, to be sure, and was not a hot selling point when we first walked through the house last April. However, we decided we could make it work. In the process of that, I knew more shelves would be needed. A person of my short stature can 'make do' only a little with the high wire shelves they put above appliances these days. So Beloved designed, built, and painted these shelves to the right of the drier. I am so grateful.

We have what is supposed to be a coat closet under the stairs, but I need that space for cleaning supplies and storage of the vacuum cleaner. It was a very dark place, so I asked Beloved what he could do about that. There was no electricity anywhere near it.

the light

His solution was to place an online order from Lowe's for a motion-activated LED light. He installed it above the doorway so that as we enter the closet, our movement turns the light on. As long as we are moving in there, it remains on. When movement stops, the light goes out after 60 seconds. It was  simple solution that helps me a lot.

the back porch of Magnolia Castle
As of this writing, we have no more home improvements planned that we can carry out ourselves. But we did sign a contract a few days ago to get the back porch screened in sometime in the next month. We had a screened-in swimming pool with our house in Orlando years ago and it was wonderful. It's like another room but it's outside, minus most of the bugs! It should be completed in time for the wonderful autumn weather with slightly cooler temperatures. Of course, I'll share pictures of that when it's done. 

Beloved on the back porch 


  1. I cant believe it has been a month already! Wow, does time fly, right? I am really enjoying your posts about your new home and your life in Florida. smiles

    Have a beautiful week, friend. (waving to Tom)

  2. You two are some busy bees for sure. I don't think I've ever known of anyone who got settled in their new home any quicker than you and Tom. I'm so happy for you!

  3. A screened in porch in a must here in FL. Your home is so beautiful! You two have found some creative and perfect solutions to your problem areas!