Mary Piekarz
Realty Executives Boston West 508-272-9378

My Projects Can Be Your Projects!  


Ever since I met my husband Craig over 30 years ago, we have been working side by side on home improvement projects. I come up with many of the ideas and he figures out how to get them done. Together we have moved walls, installed bathrooms, tiled floors, built cabinetry and installed walkways & patios. I'm a big fan of Pinterest and Houzz, both offer great searches and and so many project ideas. I hope you enjoy this blog of projects and tips.

Coastal Theme

It's wonderful to have a house in the Cape with a handy husband! Since we didn't have a great place to store towels at the cape house, I jumped on Pinterest and started searching for nautical towel racks. I loved the ones with the boat cleats.

Within a weekend, my husband had this one all made. We installed it right away and filled it with towels. We are getting many compliments.

If you are interested, I can provide plans!


Dining Room Update

My formal dining room was all that in 2000 - Waverly fruit print wallpaper, scarf valances, a brass chandelier with shades and bold colors of burgundy, gold and green. For the past 5 years, it has been on my list to update. This year I told my family it was my goal to get it done before the holidays. Since we would be spending more time than usual stuck in the house, why not update and enjoy the new room!

It seems I'm not alone. *According to a survey done by NerdWallet, by mid-August already 61% of US homeowners said they'd taken on a home improvement project since March 1.

I decided to strip the wallpaper, paint the walls and replace the light fixture. If you have ever stripped wallpaper, you know that once you start the job, there is no going back. The amount of work is always an unknown:

     * How difficult will it be to remove?

     * How much of the sheetrock will be damaged?

     * How much additional time will it take to prepare the walls for painting?

Knowing that the walls had been properly prepped before the dining room paper went on in 2000, I was hopeful that the job wouldn't be delayed too much. I have used many methods for removing wallpaper - vinegar and water, chemical solutions and steamers. I zereod in on some great reviews online of a new steamer at Lowes, the Wagner 715 Wallpaper Steamer. I can now verify that it is indeed worth every penny. I was able to remove the paper quickly with very little damage to the walls (only a couple of spots when I was overly aggressive with my scraper)!

I had decided that I wanted a greige color with a warmer beige feel. I had narrowed it down to some of the more popular colors of Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray but then came across Behr Wheat Bread. I love using Benjamin Moore paints because of the durability and finish so I chose to have Wheat Bread mixed using the BM base.

Before painting the walls, I washed the walls down with a vinegar water solution and rinsed. Then I primed the walls with Zinser Gardz to seal in any leftover adhesive. I used Benjamin Moore Decorator White for the trim.

I ordered my new chandelier through Wayfair.

 *Realtor Magazine, January/February 2021

I love how it turned out. I still have to decide on window treatments - roman shades, bamboo blinds or drapes. What do you think? I'd love to hear from you! 

What types of projects would you like to learn more about?

Refinishing Your Cutting Board

Have you noticed that your favorite wooden cutting board is looking worn? You can refinish it in a few easy steps:

  1. Using a palm sander and heavy grit sandpaper (60 or 80), sand the flat cutting surface evenly to remove any deep gouges and scratches.
  2. Switch over to a finer grit sandpaper (100-120) to smooth it out.
  3. Clean the dust off the board.
  4. Lightly rinse with bleach water solution to disinfect (¼ cup bleach to 2 gallons of water). Don’t soak the board. Just sponge the solution over it a few times and rinse with clean warm water.
  5. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Apply Food Grade Mineral Oil (like the Howard Cutting Board Oil pictured) with a clean cloth. Let stand overnight. Wipe away excess. Reapply for second coat. Allow it to soak in for 1-2 hours and wipe away excess.

At this point the gorgeous, rich wood color will be restored and the board is ready to use!

For extra protection, apply Food Grade Wood Wax (like the Walrus Wax pictured). Let dry, then buff to a shine.

Good as New!

Paint the Old Brass

This old brass chandelier that was hanging in the dining room still worked fine. I considered throwing it out or giving it away. Then I came across a few examples of spray painted light fixtures on Pinterest. I took off the plastic candle covers and put foil around the exposed electrical components and the wire to protect them from paint. I hung the chandelier on a hook from the basement ceiling and hung a dropcloth to protect the basement walls. With a can of clamshell colored spray paint in hand, I got to work. It took a few coats to cover it evenly. I ordered some new plastic covers for the candles. I plan to bring it to the cape house to brighten up the dining area!