DIY salvaged window cabinet


Today I wanted to share a super sweet window cabinet I made with you! This is a pretty easy project for anyone, and a great project for beginner DIYer’s.

Design and decorating has become a big passion of mine in the last few years and I wanted to have something that set me apart from other people in the industry. I really focus heavily on “design on a dime” but also on using salvaged and repurposed Items. This is good for saving money but also allows me to be more creative when looking at an item.

I got this window from my mom, she picked it up at yard sale for a few bucks. The nice thing is old windows are pretty popular and easy to get your hands on.


I thought it would make a super cute cabinet door. I am a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to lumber so I actually took it a step further and made my box frame out of some old bed rails and a 1×6 I had leftover from a different project. You can use all 1×6 boards though. Just measure your window to figure out what the perimeter of your box needs to be.


Once I cut my boards down to the right size (my window was 28×28) I started to assemble them into my box. I used a combination of glue and my brad nailer. Ordinary nails would also work fine. My brad nailer is my absolute favorite tool! If you plan to make more than a couple of projects I highly recommend buying one!

And it was really that simple to make my box. Now I didn’t add a board to the back because I am going to be putting it on a white wall but you could always cut down a piece of beadboard and assemble it to the back.


I picked up some super cute hardware at hobby lobby for 50% off that perfectly matched the style I was going for. I put my handle on and then the hinges on the side of the window and attached it to the ledge of my box. I also save all screws and hardware from previous projects so I often will have mismatched screws 🙂


Once my box was assembled I decided it really needed a shelf!


If you like it without a shelf that’s fine too. I took 2 small pieces of scrap and screwed them to the side for a shelf rest. I also used the leftover scrap of 1×6 I had and measured the shelf length and cut it down.


After that I was done and ready to paint and decorate! It truly was super simple and came out so cute! The whole project only cost me a few bucks in hardware.


Let me know if you give this project a try! Enjoy!

Shiplap, Shiplap, Shiplap DIY

Ever since Joanna Gaines made her shiplap debut on fixer upper I have been obsessed with it. I love everything about it. In February we purchased our first home and I knew I HAD to incorporate shiplap into my house. I was so excited when we closed on our house  and I was finally able to get in there and do my first shiplap project.  That excitement quickly wore off when I realized that shiplap is actually pretty expensive, and it wasn’t in the budget at the time for me to do. I decided to do some research. I realized I could get creative and do a faux shiplap, it would still look great and cost me only a fraction of the price. In fact, to do my whole dining room accent wall it only cost me about $50!! When I posted photos on my personal social media pages I had a lot of people ask me questions on how I did it.  So today I am going to share with you how I did it, and also show you a few different shiplap projects I did in my house. I really love how they turned out.

When I started doing my research I realized an alternative would be to take plywood and cut it into 6 inch strips and use that instead of real shiplap. Once painted white, you really couldn’t even tell the difference. I decided to take it a frugal step further. While I was at Lowe’s one day noticed that they had something called underlayment. It’s 4 x 8 sheets that are typically used to lay on top of your floors before you would lay flooring down. It was only $13 for a 4 x 8 sheet and I was totally down for the $10 per sheet savings over traditional plywood.

The cool thing about Lowes is that they will cut your wood for you. It’s saved me a ton of time by bringing my sheets of underlayment to the cutting department and having them cut it down and 6 inch strips for me. Once I got home I had the strips of underlayment that look like this picture. I wasn’t originally planning on making this a blog post so I’m sorry for not having more picture details. I think I can help you guys get the idea with what I do have though.


I decided to start first on my dining room wall. I’ve done 4 different projects with shiplap  now and with each of them I’ve done it a little bit differently. With one I started at the top and the other started at the bottom. I don’t think that part technically matters as long as you make sure your first piece is level. At the bottom I put a quick video of me doing one of my walls so you can get an idea of how I did it. With my dining room however you can see I started at the bottom. Because my wall was too long for just one strip I off-set my strips back-and-forth so that they were staggered all the way down. When I had my long pieces in, I then went back to fill in all of my short pieces. Doing around the outlets was a little bit tricky but  you can measure where your outlets are and cut it out pretty quickly with a saw.


One of the things that makes shiplap unique is the spaces in between each strip. To get that effect, I took a nickel and put it between each strip so that when it was painted you could visibly see the spacing between each board. You don’t want to lay them flush against each other or it won’t give you that same effect. I just used two nickels and slipped them in on each end of my board so that I knew that they were spaced apart.


This is what my wall looked like when I was finished and it was painted. I had pretty cute help also! The cool thing about shiplap is that its supposed to look “not perfect”. So if you end up with some gaps that aren’t perfectly the same size it really just adds to the character of the wall. As long as you make sure your shiplap is level and straight I don’t think you can really mess it up. I hope this is helpful and that you guys give it a try! It was actually quite simple and added such a fun dynamic to the room!

Here are a few pictures of my finished dining room wall and some other projects I have done!! Enjoy!




Life doesn’t have to look perfect!

I just finished reading (well listening) to the Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines.

A couple weeks ago I had someone tell me that I should really read it. They thought I should read it more to hear how Chip got his start with flipping houses. It was a great book and I loved hearing their story but there was something about that book in the later chapters that made me really sad.

It didn’t have anything to do with their story about how their success came to be or how they started flipping houses, It was a chapter where Joanna was talking to mothers of young children. She was talking to ME. She was sharing about how early on in their success when she had small children she worked so hard to have a perfect house. She would get upset if her kids would make a mess or spill something because it took away from the beauty she was trying to create. She would quickly make them clean up their toys soon after making a mess and was a slave to this idea of everything always looking perfect. As a result she was stressed out and didn’t take the time to enjoy the fun messy life that comes with having small children.

I started to think about how she was pretty much describing me. I LOVE a clean and beautiful house and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that but, it often stresses me out and makes me frustrated about things that not are not a big deal. My boys are having fun and making memories. I am robbing them of that when I am constantly making a big deal about their books or toys being all over the place. I often feel like all I do all day is clean up. Instead I should be taking that time to make fun memories.

I decided yesterday that I was gonna make conscience effort to not be so uptight about it. Don’t get me wrong I will always love a clean house its just who I am but, I don’t want to miss out on memories with my boys because I am stressed about having a perfect looking house. I thought of the messiest thing I could do with Hudson that I knew he would love and it was to let him make a cake BY HIMSELF. Not with me their trying to stir something or add something so he didn’t make a huge mess. So I helped with measurements and with the oven but other then that I let him have fun and do it. HE LOVED IT and so did I. He really didn’t even make a big mess lol.

I am thankful that someone told me to read that book. It may not have been for the purpose of which I most related but it was just what I needed to hear. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it!IMG_1545

DIY Corner Shelf

I know for me, Saturdays are always a great day to do some projects. Today I made a cute little corner shelf that cost me about $5.00 to make. It is the perfect little shelf to fill an awkward corner, and can serve a lot of purposes. I was originally making this for my bathroom to store my makeup in but realized because of the lip on my shiplap wall it wasn’t gonna work, so I put it in a little corner in our entryway from the garage!

So the first thing I did was find some scrap wood I had and cut it so that I had 2 pieces that were the same length. If you don’t have any wood laying around you can get a piece from Lowes or Home Depot for pretty cheap. You may just want to stain it or paint it.


I got these super cute little baskets at the Dollar tree to make my shelves.


After that I took my nail gun and I nailed the pieces together. I didn’t used to have fancy tools so I don’t expect everyone else to have them either. If you don’t have access to a nail gun you can use a good ol’fashioned hammer and nails or even screws and a drill.


Make sure you put in enough nails or screws to really support it. Once thats done it should look like this.


Next its assembling the baskets. I have an air stapler but a regular handheld would work just fine. Make sure you have long enough staples. I used 9/16 inch heavy duty staples. Just space out your baskets and staple them to the wood. I put 4 staples in each basket.

FullSizeRender 3

This is what mine looked like when I was done.


After I put hangers on the back it was time to hang it up. I found that it was super easy to hang by marking my places for my nails on a piece of paper and nailing the paper to the wall. It takes away all the guesswork.


After that I just ripped down the paper and hung my shelf. This whole process took me about 30 minutes from start to finish and I ended up with a cute little shelf. Decorate it with whatever matches your style and enjoy! Let me know in the comments if you try this and how it turns out!


It’s Totally Okay To Change Your Mind.

How many of you have felt obligated to do something because at one point in time 5 years, weeks or even days ago it felt like the right thing for you? I’m talking about loving or disliking someone, a career path, and even ways you wanted to raise your kiddos and pretty much anything and everything in-between.

I, too have felt this obligation to stick to my word because I made it a huge (in some cases annoying) point to those around me. However, the reality is we change and grow up… we all know that, but what we don’t all know or pay attention is what actually jives with us. What decisions drive us to be our true and best selves. I woke up this morning really thinking about this topic on a personal level and I wanted to share a little about that with you all. So, last night I was relaxing and scrolling through Facebook when a friend had said something about her Meyers-Briggs personality test results and it got me thinking about who I am. I have taken this test several times, done research while getting my degree on it, and never once did I score what I did last night.

So, what does this have to do with changing your mind? Everything. I sat there and tried to justify why that score was wrong, even though I had taken it three different times on different sites. I read the one I scored aloud and that was it.  It jived and it made me feel ALIVE. Again, it all got me thinking… what else have been trying to do that just no longer fits who I am, what other values or people have I been hanging on to that no longer serve me, and what in the world do I do when people start saying, “but didn’t you want…” and “didn’t you work so hard for…” and even “but weren’t you happier with him?”

And to all of that all I have to say is… I have changed my mind. I have decided that those ideas, values, people, and things are not what work for me to be my best and truest self. 

I think as we grow up and begin to realize what we value it leads us to connect to who God meant us to be. I absolutely love to host, chat up people, make new friends, add value to peoples day but I know that isn’t everyone. Go and take a look at the Meyers-Briggs for yourself and you might be surprised too. Keep in mind you may be one person at work and one person at home, it’s not say you have split personalities, just that different environments bring out different strengths.

So, what am I? I’m the Entertainer… ESFP. I also scored as a ENFJ, the more senstive side of me that encourages people to realize their potential but yet is still a tad organized. That organized side me has been pretty non-existent since I joined the ranks of being an entrepreneur… I think I enjoy the freedom too much to worry about color coded notes anymore.

So yes, go check it out and find out what you are, maybe it will surprise you like it did me.

I challenge you to change your mind if what you’re doing, thinking, or feeling just isn’t working any more. Even if it has only been 5 days, if it doesn’t feel good at your core that means God didn’t create you for that purpose. At least that’s my thought on it.


Feature Friday: Lori Gano


If there was one word to describe the process of my life this may just be it. I am not quite sure if that might be a poor choice for a life-word. There are perhaps words I would prefer, but “transformed” is something I find acceptable and maybe even appealing. It not only describes where I have journeyed thus far, but it also defines my aim for my future days and years.
Transformed is a beautiful label for my personal walk, my professional ambitions, and my spiritual process of maturing. I have been forever changed by the extravagant love of Christ. There is nothing quite as discouraging as watching someone, anyone, with potential destroy their future because of a past they cannot seem to overcome. I reached a place in my life where my inventory of years consisted of abuse, abandonment, neglect, loneliness, addiction, panic disorder, PTSD, anorexia, and hate…a lot of hate. My body was consumed with more fear than any one being should be able to survive. Those things did not fuel depression for me. They fueled ambition.
I could twist the perception of this post right here, and I could develop this into a story of rising success. I could base it on my need to prove to the world that its mistreatment of me was not going to define me, and let’s be honest, I tried that route. I didn’t know any better. I just knew I wanted to be better, better than my parents, better than the friends I never had, better than the men I let into my life that I had no business being around, and better than the darkness that threatened to consume me everyday. I wanted acceptance to drown out the voice of rejection. I chased the dream of success not realizing that I needed the joy that comes with the process of transformation.
Can I tell you something? God loves us so much in our dirtiest, ugliest, most cringe-worthy places that He would spend His days singing love songs to your heart while He has appointed a perfectly designed future for your purpose, and guess what…it is transforming. God knew I couldn’t handle deep relationships anytime soon. He knew I needed the satisfaction of exercising my love of art, creativity, homes, and working with my hands. He knew I didn’t learn in a classroom, but in the field where I could be messy and a part of the lesson. God gave me the blessing of working in construction. I then became a Licensed General Contractor. I started a residential design/build company. We weren’t always super stable, but we were honest, fair, and skilled. On the outside I was a “self-made” woman who built something out of nothing. In reality I was a woman surrendered to God who was given an opportunity to be loved by Him, and I took it.
Through my passion for transforming homes God began transforming me. Love began to
replace hate. Patience replaced frustration. Hope replaced disappointment. The process of demo and removing what doesn’t need to be there, and then working through issues, adjusting plans, rebuilding, and bringing out the full potential in order to transform a house has a deep parallel to the restoring work God longs to do in our lives. There is no better vantage point than standing outside of a structure with its roof torn off and its walls peeled back. Suddenly there is clarity to see what has been hiding in deep and difficult places. This is His way as well. My goal is never to destroy a home, it is to transform a home into its fullest potential. This is God’s aim in your life, whether you have no roof or walls, if you have no job, no money, no spouse, no child.
If you have walked through tremendous difficulties, are simply weary, or aren’t sure He can be trusted with your hope, I can tell you His aim is never to destroy you. He is exposing, bringing clarity, and rebuilding. He is the master builder and He has an A+ rating.
As much as I wish there were, there is not a tidy finish line. My transforming process happened in the course of many things God allowed me to do. It didn’t happen because of my career; it happened because I surrendered my life to God and through each daily experience He worked on growing His presence and wisdom in my life – no longer leaving room for the darkness that had once consumed me. He transformed me.
God has taken me, used and abused, a mess of my own making, and rebuilt every part of me.He has allowed me to fail miserably and He has placed me on the mountaintop. Even now He is using my surrender, my willingness, paired with my experience to be a voice to others.
As you wrestle through the difficult task of looking at your today or looking anxiously into your future, don’t get caught up in any label except maybe the one that reads transformation. One day at a time surrender yourself, your career, your family to Him and ask Him for the transforming process of the destiny He has for you. Is your hope aiming toward becoming the best version of the you that God knows you to be in your future, or is your hope dangerously affixed to the ambition you cannot seem to let go of? My freedom arrived when I boxed up and handed over my need for success and accepted in exchange a box filled with the unknown future God was asking of me. That box arrives one day at a time.
Lori Gano
Wife & Mom
P.S. I left a little something extra for you! I hope it gets you excited to try new things in your own home. Be on the lookout for my video on The Real Life Woman page!
Licensed General Contractor
Architectural & Interior Designer
Published Author of
How He Loves Us: Revealing the Affections of God
Coming in August 2017
Bible Teacher, Speaker, and Founder of Out of Ashes Ministries, Inc.
If you are in the Knoxville area we would love to have you join us for a new upcoming study of How He Loves Us: Revealing the Affections of God.
This is a unique Bible study open to any
women in the Knoxville area who would like to attend. Find out more by visiting our Facebook page:

My 100 Days

Hi Ladies!

I wanted to get a little personal this week, but before I get started I want to put a trigger warning on this post. This will be about Postpartum Depression.

What is postpartum depression  and why does no one feel like they can talk about it?
The dictionary defines PPD as; depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
I think that’s a nice way to sum it up without going too deep. Unfortunately, that definition just barely touches the surface. Most women have been made to feel that there’s something wrong with them if they have feelings have sadness, overwhelm, anxiety, and anger following childbirth but the reality is we all go through hormonal changes but the varying degrees are what can separate our journeys.

Mine started a few days into being a mother, my counselor had warned me that the first 72 hrs post birth is when the biggest hormonal shift happens. I listened and I thought I was prepared. I had left the hospital 24hrs after a 13hr birthing process where I was only at the hospital for about 5hr and 41min of all of that. I was lucky enough to have had my husband home for the first week of being parents where we basically locked out the world besides my awesome mom who brought us baby goodies and let us take showers. Those 6 days at home we slept (okay, he slept), watched way too much TV, and loved on our newborn son.  Seven days went by and it was time for my husband to go back to work, I definitely again thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. At all. I spent the next 3 weeks in my bathrobe and pajamas basically 24 hrs a day trying to nurse only to discover my sons latch just wasn’t going to work for us. I switched to pumping full time, feeling even more like I had lost all control of my body and myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that my body was able to provide for my son for the 9 weeks it did before I got sick. But here’s the deal, postpartum for me was sneaky. It was full of isolating, crying, and thinking I HAD to do it all.

Being a brand-spankin’-new mom, wife (less than a yr), and entrepreneur meant that I felt like I had to have the clean house since I was staying home, the perfect child, and I hoped my business would be successful. Besides a healthy child none of this happened. I showered maybe 2x a week, my house looked like a bomb went off, I was hating my body on the regular because I had gained (a healthy amount) weight and my body looked foreign to me, all I wanted to do was sleep and the crying baby really got under my skin (I always take care of little man, don’t worry), and most of all I was doubting our choice to get pregnant in the first place. My husband, bless his heart, had no idea how to help me and still doesn’t. He tries so hard to do the dishes and help when asked but most days its even hard to look at him, but he doesn’t know that. But that’s the thing, postpartum depression looks like so many different things for different people. Personally, like I mentioned it was isolating… which meant I had to force myself out the house and to stop bingeing on netflix drama series crap. It was crying… over nothing and everything. I remember sitting on the couch talking to my son about how great he was going to be and how he could do anything when he grows up and bam, it hit, the tears and I KNEW PPD was in my world now. I let it take over. It took over my relationship with my son, my husband, friends, and even my business.

About two weeks ago I read this article about the 100 days of darkness, basically the 1st 100 days postpartum and it talked about how big the adjustment is and how dark it is for most mothers. Nothing magic happens on day 101 but as baby adjusts, life balances, and as time progresses the darkness lifts. I believe it. We are about 120 days into this parenthood thing and the fog is lifting. I’m starting to get some consistent sleep, business is beginning to flourish, and my relationship with my husband still sucks… but that too shall get better, I think we need a date night eventually.

For those who have battled out PPD and succeed, I applaud you. This is a hard cycle to go through and most you battled it for months and maybe even years.

For those of you who are where I am, in the midst of PPD and the side effects of it that bleed into every aspect of your life, we are stronger than the PPD and this too shall pass.