It took me six months to renovate the three bedroom Millie’s Remodel house, but it’s taken me much longer to share the reveal with you. Today is the day, I’m taking you inside for a full tour! Are you ready for this amazing transformation?

Millie’s Remodel: Ugly Ranch to Mid-Century Modern Dream House

I’m so honored to take you on a tour of the Millie’s Remodel house today! I know you’ve been so patient, and I can’t thank you enough. To be totally honest, the house has been finished for a year, but life has been upside down for me this last year. Regardless, I am excited to invite you in to see the progression of this house from an ugly ranch to a mid-century modern dream house!

Video Tour:

To give you the full experience, I created a video tour just for you! If you like, you can read on to see still photos and learn more about all the work that went into this house. I hope you enjoy the tour and feel free to leave me a comment on YouTube or here. If you are looking for the source for anything in the house, scroll down to the end of this post.

Did you enjoy that video? Want to dive deep into the entire Millie’s Remodel? You can watch all the videos in the Millie’s Remodel playlist:

Millie’s Remodel Before and After:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

When I bought the house, it was a bit of an eyesore from the curb. Especially with an ugly carport, weeds, and the leaning split rail fence.

The color scheme had to go. Nothing screams 1990’s like a house with tan vinyl siding paired with hunter-green vinyl shutters. Speaking of hunter green, I hear it’s making a comeback. What do you think, is it time to embrace it again?

I knew I wanted to paint the entire house from the start and luckily I discovered Romabio Masonry paint, a mineral paint that allows the brick to breathe after application. This prevents the paint from bubbling and flaking, but more importantly, it protects the brick from deterioration. Before painting, my siding contractor stripped off the dated vinyl siding. We were both amazed when the original wood siding was discovered underneath in perfect condition. Many times adding aluminum or vinyl siding over wood will lock in moisture and cause wood rot.

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

After agonizing over the color choices, I chose Romabio’s Sage Advice as the color to paint the house. I love the green color and the fact that it is completely different from the adjacent houses.

But, Millie still needed a little more style, so I decided to try my hand at building shutters. These DIY Modern shutters were remarkably easy to build and I was able to finish them over the weekend and install them around the front windows.

You probably noticed I painted the front door too. It’s called Loyal Blue by Sherwin Williams.  A DIY modern address number sign, a modern mailbox, and a modern bubble glass light completed the transformation of this home’s curb appeal.

Kichler Riverpath light fixture

The only thing missing was some foundation plantings. After all, we can’t have Millie looking a little naked from the waist down!

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

My friends at STIHL sent me the KombiSystem to clear gravel from the front, till the soil, and plant new bushes. You can see more details about this amazing battery-powered motor that has a huge variety of interchangeable heads in my mailbox garden bed tutorial.

STIHL KombiSystem

That looks much better. Within a year, the Japonicas have really filled out. But, the privets aren’t too happy. I might switch them out this fall.

millies remodel front house view

Although the back of the house will only be visible to the tenants, it got some major changes as well.

The first thing to go was the very loud and broken HVAC unit. During the inspection, it was cooling fine, but wouldn’t heat because a safety feature had kicked on. I was more than happy to let my friends at TRANE install a new system. You can read the amazing story of how long a TRANE will really last here.

One of the strategies I implemented when renovating this house was to replace all the systems to eliminate lots of repair calls. Installing a new HVAC unit was a smart decision and gives potential tenants peace of mind knowing that they won’t have any issues with the heat or air conditioning. We also ran new electrical wiring in the house (because there was no ground wire) and new plumbing because of the plethora of leaks from the old pipes.

Another thing that needed to go was the ugly dilapidated shed. From the looks of it, I worried the shed would fall apart when we tried to move it. At a minimum, it needed to at least be raised onto concrete blocks because the floor system was built on the ground giving easy access to termites and other insects.

My husband, my teenage son, and I spent a day rolling the shed to the back of the lot. It was slow going at first until we learned the easiest way to roll it. You can see our adventures moving the old shed. Believe it or not, it was a very rewarding experience!

After adding paint and trim, it’s hard to believe this is the same shed! I’ll let you in on a little secret: the new windows are actually the old window sashes from the bathroom window. Keep scrolling to find out why I replaced the bathroom window.

The front and back of the house got new gutters to prevent wood rot and protect the foundation from water damage. Do you like the rain chain? It was the best solution for an area that would have been difficult to add a downspout.

Interior Transformation:

Enough about the outside, let’s go inside to see the transformation!

The Living Room:

It’s a good thing you can’t smell this picture. Although the house looked clean, the smell was a horrid concoction of mold, menthol cigarettes, and fish odor.

Just inside the front door was the combined living and dining area. Besides a dated ceiling fan and boob light, there was a decent amount of natural light in this room. However, the carport outside the windows facing the driveway was ugly and blocked the view. I sold the carport on Facebook Marketplace and someone came and disassembled it and hauled it off in one day.

The carpet appeared to be brand new, but it was just cut and laid on the floor. No floor pad, and thankfully no staples! This made for super easy removal of the carpeting throughout the house. Likewise, the laminate flooring in the dining area popped up easily. But, underneath was peel and stick vinyl tiles that left a gooey mess on the wood floor. I spent the better part of a day cleaning it off the wood with Citristrip and mineral spirits.

To capitalize on an open concept layout, the corner wall to the kitchen had to go. (I consulted with my structural engineer, who showed me how the roof system was a series of trusses that supported the weight of the roof without this wall.) This one small change made a big difference in the entire feel of the home.

Yes, I swear this is the same house! The doorway you see in the dining area leads to a newly added powder room and laundry area. More on that space later.

The Kitchen:

The kitchen needed the most work of any room in the house. The floor was rotted under the fridge.

The walls behind the cabinets were filled with plumbing leaks and consequently mold growth.

But, the biggest feat was leveling the kitchen floor for tile. It was a good 1.5 inches out of level and ultimately I had to pour self-leveling compound and use cedar shakes to shim along the sink area.

But, the results were well worth the effort! Don’t you agree?

I embraced the black and white color palette and used gold accents to add warmth.

Those hexagon pendants are my favorite light fixtures in the house.

Besides the pendant lights, my second favorite features are the floating shelves with under cabinet lighting. You can follow my tutorial to build these super-strong display shelves.

The coat closet across from the kitchen got a light and shelves to create a much-needed pantry storage area.

To make up for the lack of a coat closet, I created a coat rack area inside the back door.

The Main Bathroom:

This was the only bathroom in this house and it had definitely seen better days!

The chipped frameless mirror, super short vanity, and Hollywood light fixture had to go.

Although the tub was cast iron, it had a horrible DIY paint job on it. The window was an original wood window that was deteriorating from the water and moisture in the shower. I removed it and used the sashes on the shed you saw up above.

During demolition, I found a nest in the wall behind the shower walls, a huge rotting hole under the toilet, and a mouse hotel under the tub. After a full gut, the bathroom received the royal treatment with all new tile, plumbing fixtures, and a stylish mid-century modern vanity (which was previously a dresser! See how to make a vanity out of a dresser here.)

Millie's remodel bathroom, white stacked subway tile around white tub gold finishes and black and yellow houndstooth floor pattern

The lighted mirror from Kichler puts off the softest and most flattering light. Now I need to incorporate lighted mirrors in my own bathroom project!

This was my first time using Schluter Profiles instead of caulk joints. After a year, it’s wonderful not having to replace or clean moldy caulk.

bright window in shower with white stacked tile around window

The new window is vinyl so it won’t rot or deteriorate. It also has obscure glass so no one can see into the bathroom.

Millie's remodel bathroom, white stacked subway tile around white tub gold finishes and black and yellow houndstooth floor pattern

While my plumber was replacing the plumbing lines, he ran new lines to the old laundry room for a new half bathroom. Adding a second bathroom was a huge improvement to this small house.

The powder room shares space with a stacked washer and dryer, but you’d never know because usually it’s hidden behind the curtain.

Using the light patterned Mia 4 Lili Cement tiles kept the room bright even though the only window is the transom over the toilet.

Lili Cement Tile Mia 4, Navy and White diagonal box tiles

The Bedrooms:

Down the hall from the kitchen and living area are three bedrooms.

Lucky for me, the bedrooms needed minimal work. After removing the carpeting, I had the wood floors sanded and refinished.

Unfortunately, the house had a variety of door styles. Luckily, I found a few flat panel doors at my local Habitat ReStore that was more fitting of the house age and style. They all got a few coats of Dark Night paint by Sherwin Williams and new doorknobs from Schlage.

My favorite upgrade in the bedrooms was adding modern LED ceiling fans. The fan above is the Ridley II from Kichler, and this one below is the Incus fan, also from Kichler.

This concludes the tour. I hope you enjoyed following the Millie’s Remodel project. Would you love to see me transform another investment house?

In the meantime, I’ve already started working on some projects in my own home for a change. I can’t wait to share them with you.


Living Room:

LED lights: Horizon II from Kichler

Wall color: Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams

Wood Floor stain: Golden Oak by Minwax

Century Smart Lock Front Door Hardware from Schlage



Cabinets: Charleston Driftwood by Cabinets to Go

Drawer pulls

Countertop: Via Lactea Granite

Forious Gold Faucet with Sprayer

USB charging outlets by Leviton

Floor Tiles: Iron Anthracite by Happy Floors

Backsplash Tiles: Misha Hex Tiles


LED Tape Lights from Kichler

Rocklyn Hexagon Pendants from Kichler

Industrial Coat Hooks from Liberty Hardware



Moen Tub & Shower Fixtures

Moen Tub/Shower Valve

Moen Tub Drain Kit

Bootz Insulated Soaking Tub

Moen Sink Faucet

Integrated Light & Exhaust Fan

Vegas 3 Cement Tiles by Lili Tiles

Vanity Top: Honed Negresco Granite

Modern Dresser turned into a Vanity

Door Hardware: Schlage Latitude Door Knobs

24″ Towel Bar & Toilet Paper Holder

One Piece Toto Toilet

Ryame Lighted Mirror from Kichler

Jasper Three Bulb LED Light from Kichler

Wall Color: Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams

Door Color: Dark Night by Sherwin Williams


Powder Room/Laundry Room:

Sink Vanity & Top: Allen + Roth 24 inch Presnell Navy Vanity & Porcelain Top

Sink Faucet: Keeney Delphi Matte Gold 2-handle 4-in centerset Bathroom Sink Faucet with Drain

Modern Black Frame Round Mirror

Indeco LED Light by Kichler

Armstrong Ceiling Light by Kichler

Broan Exhaust Fan

Mia 4 Cement Tiles from Lili Tiles

Toilet Paper Holder & Hand Towel Bar



Incus Fan from Kichler

Ridley II Fan from Kichler

Wall Color: Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams

Door Color: Dark Night by Sherwin Williams

Door Hardware: Latitude by Schlage


A special thank you to all the sponsors of the Millie’s Remodel house. As you know, I’m very particular about the brands I work with. I only recommend brands and products I’d use in my own personal house because I want to use fixtures that will outlive me.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Thanks for joining me on this journey! It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to start on a new project.

Turning a Mid-Century Modern Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity

Do you love the mid-century modern style, but find the selection for bathroom vanities severely lacking? Today I’ll show you how to turn a modern dresser into a vanity including how to alter those drawers to work around the plumbing.

Turning a Mid-Century Modern Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity

Hello out there, is anyone still listening? I’ve been a bit delayed on getting the Millie’s Remodel updates and tutorials live on the site. (I shared why I’ve been offline here.) Today I have the much asked for tutorial and I’m excited to share how to turn a mid-century modern dresser into a bathroom vanity.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

While working on the Millie’s Remodel project, I looked everywhere for a vanity for the main bathroom. Unfortunately, I didn’t like any of the options available. They were either too expensive or they looked cheaply made. So, I ordered a dresser very similar to this one:

(The actual dresser I ordered is no longer in stock, but this one is a good look-a-like.) When it arrived, I was incredibly happy with the mid-century modern style look I was craving, but I knew I needed to make some modifications for it to accept a sink and the plumbing underneath. Luckily, I’d been “looking under the hood” of a lot of bathroom vanities and taking notes on how to modify the drawers to fit around the plumbing.

Average Height for a Bathroom Vanity:

Back in the day, bathroom vanities were 30 – 32 inches tall. Today, as our average height is growing, most people prefer 34 – 36 inches for a bathroom vanity height. If you’ve ever seen vanities that are shorter than 30 inches, it’s usually because the floor was laid and/or built up around the vanity instead of the vanity being set on top of the tile. In fact, Millie’s bathroom vanity was a mere 28 inches tall. It was ridiculously short.

When shopping for your vanity dresser, keep the final height in mind looking at the dresser height. Don’t forget to account for the countertop thickness if you will be adding a new top. Typically countertops are 1.25 inches thick.

Modifications to Turn a Dresser Into Bath Vanity:

  • Remove the legs (if the vanity will be taller than 36 inches once the countertop is added)
  • Secure the top drawer face (or use hardware to create a tilt out cubby)
  • Modify the second (and possibly third drawer) for the plumbing
  • Choose a countertop
  • Install a faucet
  • Add a sink

Countertop Options for Dresser Turned into Sink Vanity:

The sky is the limit when it comes to countertop options for your dresser. Granite, quartzite, or other stone materials provide an attractive and long lasting surface for your vanity. Keep in mind Marble, soap stone, concrete, and other soft stone materials may etch and require more upkeep. Cultured marble, granite, or quartz would provide a more durability surface. Laminate countertops are a very affordable option for your new sink vanity. Any countertop you use in the kitchen can be used in your bathroom. I’ve seen many people keep the original dresser top and cut a hole for a sink or set a bowl sink on top. A word of caution, if you’re using the original wood dresser top, protect the wood with several layers of a marine varnish or other strong topcoat. Also, try to wipe up any water droplets from the surface immediately. (Using the existing top of the dresser means a lot more maintenance to protect from scratches and water damage.) You could rationalize a more expensive countertop by comparing the time and energy used to maintain each top.

How to Turn a Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity:

It’s time to take that dresser and turn it into a beautiful and functional bathroom sink vanity. Let’s gather a few supplies first.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional: Table Saw

Electrician’s Plyers

Video: How to Convert a Modern Dresser into a Sink Vanity

I made a video tutorial to show you exactly how I converted a mid-century modern dresser into a modern bathroom sink vanity. (Of course, I also tried to insert some humor into the video, so I hope you get a few laughs.)


  1. Determine the final height of your vanity. Subtract for your countertop. Determine if you need to remove or alter the legs to achieve the desired height.
  2. Remove the top drawer. Next, remove the drawer slides for the top drawer because these can be saved for another project. Save the drawer face. (You may need to remove the drawer knobs to disconnect the drawer face from the box.)
  3. Secure the drawer face to the face frame of the cabinet with screws. If your cabinet doesn’t have a face frame, add some blocking inside the opening for securing the drawer face to.
  4. Measure the location of your plumbing pipes (height off the ground, depth from the wall, side to side measurements from the side walls, and finally how wide are the pipes). Don’t forget to account for the drain, p-trap, and shut-off handles if your plumbing is new and simply stubbed out of the wall or floor.
  5. Remove the second drawer. Transfer the measurements for the plumbing onto the bottom of the drawer.
  6. Cut a hole in the drawer for the drain and plumbing pipes.
  7. Measure the cutout and create new sides, using plywood, to close the cutout back up.
  8. Secure the new sides with glue and finish nails. You may need clamps to hold the sides as you attach them.
  9. Paint the new sides and/or finish with a protective topcoat to protect the drawer from water.
  10. Cut out the top of the dresser to make room for the sink and faucet (unless you are opting to use the dresser top as is.)
  11. Re-insert the second drawer. Install the vanity in the bathroom.
  12. Install the countertop, sink, and faucet.

Waterproofing Your Vanity:

Depending on the finish of your dresser, you may want to paint or seal it to protect the new vanity from water damage. To protect the legs of the vanity, you may want to add nail-in floor protectors to the bottom of the feet. This will lift the dresser off the ground should any water spill or puddle under the vanity.

Final Result:

I found a remnant of granite at my local countertop fabricator. It’s honed Negresco granite and I love the dark black color on the wood vanity. It has a similar look to soapstone, but much more durable.

The faucet I used is the Moen Align faucet in brushed gold. I created a backsplash using a few leftover tiles from tiling the tub surround. For a beautiful finished edge, I used a Schluter satin brass jolly profile to frame the tiles.

The drawers hold a decent amount of toiletries and fit around the plumbing without any issues.

The lighting was provided by Kichler, one of the Millie’s Remodel sponsors. The minimalist Ryame lighted mirror is perfect for applying makeup or just giving the perfect amount of soft lighting. And the Jasper 3 light wall fixture has all the mid-century modern style this house needs. Fun fact, you can hang this light facing up or down. Your choice!

Can you believe this is the same bathroom? I love how it turned out.





Stay tuned for the next Millie’s Remodel update. I’ll be giving you the full tour of the house and it will be filled with loads of before and after pictures!

Do you enjoy the videos I’ve been sharing? Are you subscribed to my YouTube channel? This is one simple way you can thank me for sharing this content with you for free. Click here to subscribe to my channel.

Psst, if you really want to follow my daily adventures, you can follow me on Instagram. I share most of the projects I’m working on in real-time there.

Take care and see you soon.

Pin this post to share with a friend!

Millies Remodel: Tiling Main Bathroom using tile profiles for caulk free shower tub

I’m back with another Millie’s Remodel update. This time we’ll be tiling, and I’ll share how to tile so you’ll never have to caulk around your tub ever again!

Millies Remodel: Tiling Main Bathroom using tile profiles for caulk free shower tub

Millie’s Remodel: Main Bathroom Tiling with No Maintenance Profiles

How are you doing? I’m so happy to be back with another Millie’s Remodel update for you. If you missed my post the last week, this is why I disappeared for six months. Thankfully I’m back to working and posting tutorials and updates for you here on the blog. Thank you for your support over the years, I feel like we are family by now, which is why I have some game-changer news to share with you. If you do this one thing on your next tile job, you can forget about ever having to replace or re-caulk EVER AGAIN!

A while ago (seems like a decade ag0 because 2020 has dragged on too long), I took some professional tile classes with Schluter. I learned a lot, but on the last day of the course, we learned about tile profiles. Since I was just finishing up the Millie’s Remodel project, I knew I had to implement them into the main bathroom tub/shower combo. This one decision prevents me from ever having to caulk around the tub or the walls in that bathroom. As a landlord, this is one less thing I’ll have to maintain at the house!

These are the materials I used to tile the main bathroom. I’ve also linked to the profiles I used, but you’ll want to scroll down and watch the video for more details.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Schluter Profiles:

Where This Bathroom Started:

Before we get into the tutorial, I think it’s only fair to take you back in the time machine to show you where the Millie’s Bathroom started.

When I bought the house, it had this fabulous powder blue tile and the faux blue marble countertop was vintage! You probably can’t tell from the pictures, but the counter came up to mid-thigh height. This is not exactly conducive to comfortably using the sink for anything but hand washing.

I knew I was working on an old house with a host of potential environmental issues, so I took all the precautions during demolition.

PHG with respirator and safety glasses on

During demolition, I discovered a multitude of leaks and rotting flooring. The only thing keeping the toilet from falling into the crawlspace was the cast iron waste pipe it was perched on. It was so rotted, I stuck my hand right through the subfloor. You can watch my exciting demolition video here.

white cast iron tub in gutted bathroom

gutted demo bathroom

Behind the shower walls was a gigantic animal nest in one of the wall cavities.

nest in wall cavity

animal nest in between studs

The tub was cast iron and I wanted to try to save it, but it was going to cost me more to pay for a professional tub refinisher to strip the DIY paint job and refinish it than it was to replace the tub with a brand new one. Because this was going to be a rental house, I didn’t want to have to refinish the tub every few years.

peeling paint off tub that was refinished poorly

Sadly the tub was pulled out and scrapped for metal. The window was something I also wanted to scrap! I knew it had to be replaced from the start, (even though I have no idea how it hadn’t rotted since it was constantly exposed to water during showers).

old original window in millie's remodel main bathroom

A new vinyl window was ordered, and what arrived was a vinyl window on the exterior with wood trim inside. I could have cried because the goal was to get rid of any material that could rot inside the shower.

installed new vinyl slider window in shower area

Ultimately, I dealt with the mold, rotted floors, leaking plumbing, and new window to start building back.

view of framing and new subfloor in bathroom

You can see how I waterproofed the window, waterproofed the walls, and tiled the tub surround so I never have to caulk it in my video:

What do you think? Would you like to try tiling with profiles in your bathroom? I took this close-up picture of the profiles so you can see how sleek they look on the tub deck and in the corners of the shower.

brushed gold moen tub spout and mixing valve in white tub and white tiles

close up of schluter greige profiles around tub and along edge of tile

The profiles also frame the window nicely and hide the cut edges of the tiles.

close up corner of window with schluter quadec profiles

This main bathroom at Millie’s Remodel turned out much better than I imagined. bright window in shower with white stacked tile around window

close up view of window surround in shower using Schluter profiles

mid-century modern style bathroom in Millie's Remodel close up tile around window using schluter quadec greige profiles modern stacked white subway tile with gold tub spout and handle

I’ll be back soon with another little tutorial for you. It’s going to have something to do with a trick my tile setter taught me. After that, I have a really fun tutorial coming up to show you how to turn a dresser into a sink vanity. This mid-century dresser worked out perfectly as a sink vanity!

Millie's remodel bathroom, white stacked subway tile around white tub gold finishes and black and yellow houndstooth floor pattern

Before you go, let’s have a heart-to-heart conversation. Do you enjoy the videos I’ve been sharing? Are you subscribed to my YouTube channel? This is one simple way you can thank me for sharing this content with you for free. Click here to subscribe to my channel.

Psst, if you really want to follow my daily adventures, you can follow me on Instagram. I share most of the projects I’m working on in real-time there.

Take care and see you soon.

Pin this post to share with a friend!

Millies Remodel: Tiling Main Bathroom using tile profiles for caulk free shower tub

Millie’s Remodel is almost done. Today I want to teach you how to build and install the strongest floating shelves. Then make them even better with hidden LED under lighting. Let’s learn how to build these Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Lighting!

How to Build Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Under Lighting

Millie’s Remodel: Super Strong Floating Shelves with Under Lighting

You know when you embark on a project and you’re not quite sure if your vision will work? This was one of those projects. In the end, I can honestly say, the results were much better than in my imagination! These floating shelves put off just the right amount of light in the Millie’s Remodel kitchen. The modern black floating shelves are a true show stopper against the modern hex tiles.

Today I’ll show you how to build floating shelves with LED Tape light underneath. But, before we begin, I have to give a huge shout out to Kichler for being a sponsor of the Millie’s Remodel project and for donating the LED tape lights and materials for this project.

Kichler logo

Quality Will Save You Money! I  love knowing all the Kichler lighting I used in the Millie’s Remodel house is top quality and will long after I leave this project. I learned my lesson in the past when I bought a few cheap light fixtures for the Saving Etta house and ended up with missing and defective parts. In the end, I paid more to purchase parts to make those cheap lights work. Plus, I had to pay my electrician for the extra time spent installing the lights. I’ve learned my lesson and only purchase quality lighting like Kichler lighting.

About the LED Tape Lights:

I’ve always wanted to use LED tape lights on a project. I like the idea of using an energy-efficient and low-profile lighting for under sleek modern shelving. LED tape lights aren’t hot to the touch, so they are safer than old halogen lights. Tape lights are so thin, they tuck up under a channel for a stealth lighting solution. Connecting them is as simple as trimming the tape lights on the cut lines, then sliding the strip under the metal clip, and closing the cover. It couldn’t be simpler.

I had my electrician run the wiring for these low voltage LED lights while he was replacing all the non-grounded electrical in the house. We followed the directions provided with the LED tape lights and found it straight-forward. If you aren’t working on a remodel where the walls are open, you can run the wiring from an alternate power source or outlet. Just be sure to follow the instructions and definitely check with your local building codes first and pull permits where necessary.

Learn more about all the creative places and applications for LED Tape lights here.

Kichler Products Installed:

I can’t wait to show you how to build these Super Strong Floating Shelves with Under Lighting. So let’s go ahead and jump right into this tutorial!


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


My friend, Chris from a Glimpse Inside, created a fantastic tutorial for building floating shelves, so I recommend watching his video first to learn how to build the components of the shelves. I’ll go over the build briefly, but he gives more details on how to build them.

Video Tutorial:

After you watch Chris’s video, watch my video for the process from building the shelves to adding the LED lighting.


I highly recommend taking measurements for your space and then spend some time figuring out how to get the maximum use out of your sheet goods. My shelves were 36″ wide and 38″ wide. The longer your shelves, the more supports you will need. I recommend spacing supports no more than 6-8″ apart.

Tracksaw vs. Table Saw:

You may notice I’m using my DeWalt TrackSaw to cut the plywood. After getting this track saw from DeWalt a few years ago, I’ve found myself using it more than my table saw. It’s much easier to lift the track than a whole sheet of plywood. Plus, this track saw is battery-powered, so I don’t trip my breaker when running the shop vac at the same time. The track saw is safer to use because the blade is almost completely covered. My cuts are much more precise because the blade cuts perfectly along the edge of the track. This saw is super portable, and because it’s battery-powered I can take it with me and cut down my sheet goods in the parking lot if needed! Just be sure to purchase a piece of rigid foam insulation to use as a cutting surface.

using DeWalt battery-powered track saw to cut plywood

Getting Exact Repetitive Cuts:

You’ll notice in the video, you can clamp a stop block on your saw to ensure all the support arms will be the exact same length. When using a stop block, don’t clamp the opposite end of your workpiece because you can create a dangerous situation pinching the saw blade.

stop block clamped to miter saw fence

How to Get Even Spacing:

To figure out the dimension of your spacing between the support arms, gang the supports together and take the measurement of the area left.

how to get even space measurement

Then divide it by the number of spaces between the arms to figure out the length of the spacers.

cut spacer pieces

Assembling the Wall-Mounted Support Arms:

Cut all your pieces to build the floating shelves. It’s important to dry fit all your pieces before assembly. Now that your wall-mounted support pieces have been cut it’s time to assemble it.

To assemble the supports, add wood glue to any surface that will touch another part. Then tack the pieces together with brad nails to hold them while the glue cures. For added strength, screw thin trim screws into the support arms where possible.

Tip to Sink Screws Easier:

When driving wood screws into several layers of wood (i.e. plywood) or into a hardwood, you can help the screw by lubricating it on a bar of soap.

rub screws on soap to make them go easier into hard wood or multiple layers of wood

Just rub the screws on the soap and watch how easy they will drive into the wood now!

Building the Shelf Top and Bottom:

To cut the top and bottom of the shelves, simply trace around the support and cut the plywood to size.

The shelves will be connected by pieces of plywood that get sandwiched between the top and bottom of the shelves. These pieces will slide in between the arms on the wall-mounted support arms.

The connector pieces are the length of the wall-mounted arms, minus one thickness of plywood. In the video, you can see how I added another scrap of plywood against my stop block to get the exact length.

Once the connector pieces are spaced evenly, attach them to the top and bottom of the shelf with wood glue and nails.

assembled top bottom shelf pieces

To create a channel for the LED Tape Lights, use a router and the 3/8″ straight bit to create a channel 1 inch in from the edge of the shelves at about ½”  deep. Then sand the channel smooth.

The last step is to drill a hole into the bottom of the channel wide enough to feed the tape light through. Make sure you coordinate the location of this hole with the wiring location in your wall. This way all the connections will be hidden inside the floating shelf and won’t have to cross through a support arm.

hole in bottom channel of shelf

How to Secure Floating Shelves to the Wall:

It’s important to hang floating shelves on studs or blocking. Whenever I build a house or take it down to the studs, I add blocking where shelving will be hung. This greatly simplifies finding solid wood to hang the shelves on. I also take photos or video at this stage to remind me where the blocking is. To simplify the process one more step, I write the measurements of the blocking height and width on the studs that I can reference in my photos or video.

Using a laser level, mark the shelf location (you can use painter’s tape if you can’t write on the tile.) Drill through the wall (or tile) into the blocking and studs.  Depending on where your power is for the LED lighting, plan how it will get inside the floating shelves. You may need to drill a hole through the back of the wall-mounted support and gently feed the wiring through the support before securing it to the wall.

Use structural screws to secure the shelf support to the wall. If your floating shelf touches another surface (like a wall or cabinet) add screws through the sides into those surfaces for additional strength.

Slide the top and bottom shelving over the wall-mounted support as shown below.

slide shelving over wall-mounted supports

Installing LED Tape Lighting:

Kichler has a fantastic video detailing how to install the tape lighting. Once you have power leads installed it’s so simple to hook up to the power supply. Then the tape backing is removed and you simply press the tape where you want it. In our case, we are setting it into the 3/8″ channel on the bottom of the shelves.

Watch the Kichler LED Tape Light Install video for more details:

Find the power wires, and bring them toward the hole you drilled into the bottom channel of your shelving.

Peel back 1/4 inch from the end of your tape light and feed it up through the hole in the bottom of the shelf. Then follow the instructions provided with your tape light to connect it to your wiring. In this case, it simply slips under the connector (while lining up the + and – signs.)

Test the connection by turning on the light and make sure your LED tape light illuminates.

If the lights work, peel off the rest of the adhesive backing and secure the tape into the channel under your shelf. Trim the tape light only at the cut locations marked on the tape.

All that’s left to do is add the front and side trim to your shelves. Secure it to the arm supports with a few brad nails.

add trim pieces on

Then fill in the nail holes and touch up paint. Finish your shelving with a durable clear topcoat.

The Kitchen Reveal:

Before I show you the reveal, do you remember what the Millie’s Remodel kitchen used to look like before?

Shortly after purchasing the house:

During demolition:

After cabinet and flooring removal:

Down to the studs!

kitchen framing and subfloor repairs

Finally, the amazing after!

I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of this kitchen. I ran into so many challenges, like black mold, a floor that needed to be leveled, then laying the floor tile, installing cabinets, and finally the backsplash and these gorgeous lit floating shelves!

I took a few risks on the design, but ultimately I love every inch of this kitchen. What do you think?

To see the full Millie’s Remodel series, click here.

Disclosure: Kichler Lighting is a Millie’s Remodel gold sponsor. I was provided with complimentary fixtures for the house. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.

Pin this image to save it and share it with a friend!

How to Build Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Under Lighting

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

It’s time to reveal how to build custom wood shutters! I designed these easy to build wood shutters for the Millie’s Remodel project and now I can’t wait to share the tutorial with you! It’s a super simple DIY project.

How to Build Custom Wood Shutters – A Super Simple DIY

When I decided I wanted to build shutters for the Millie’s Remodel house, I thought they had to be difficult to make or everyone would be building their own shutters. I was definitely wrong! That being said, there are other shutter styles you can build that are also super simple. But today I’m going to show you how to build these modern shutters (but if you like the farmhouse look, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can alter the look by flipping these shutters over! Be sure to read to the end to see this quick change.)

Let’s back up real quick. When I bought the Millie’s Remodel house, it came with these awful vinyl hunter green shutters. They just weren’t doing anything for the curb appeal of this house. I knew they had to be replaced or we’d be stuck in the 90’s with those hunter green shutters. Sure, I could have tried painting them, but I didn’t like the curved top, nor did I like that the shutters were a little too narrow for the windows.

The new shutters are slightly wider than the vinyl ones. That’s because shutters should be at least one half the width of my window. (Not that I’ll ever close them.) They should look wide enough to cover the window when closed.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

See what I mean? These shutters look much more proportional to the window size, don’t you agree?

Design Inspiration:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I scoured Instagram for some shutter design ideas that would fit the modern style of the house. Luckily I stumbled upon these Instagrammers with some stylish shutters. I’ll link to their accounts in the description below if you want to follow them.

modern wood shutter inspiration

@HopeSaliba | @ArqDulceGomezCanle@SunScout.Studio@OnceWood

Exterior Progress:

As you saw, when I bought the house it had khaki vinyl siding and green vinyl shutters.

We removed the vinyl siding to discover the original wood siding underneath in pristine condition! Then my painter performed his magic by painting the exterior with a specific paint made for masonry. You can see more of the exterior transformation and learn about the paint we used here.

painted brick house Sage Advice by Romabio

Will you look at how naked the house looks, it’s definitely time to build those new custom wood shutters.

How to Build Custom Wood Shutters

Let’s get building and you’ll see how simple it is to create your own modern wood shutters!

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Stain Colors:


The best way to see how to build these shutters is to watch the video and then follow the steps below. Here’s that video tutorial to watch:

Safety Gear:

Before we get building, let’s break out some appropriate safety gear.

Be sure to wear a dust mask, safety glasses, and hearing protection. Now let’s get busy.

Safety When Ripping 2×4 Studs:

To make these shutter frames, I chose to rip 2x4s in half. I’ve found it’s easier to get straight 2×2’s this way, but if you prefer not to rip studs, go ahead and purchase 2x2s. If you decide to rip 2×4’s in half, make sure you know these safety tips.

  1. Never force the lumber through the saw.
  2. Never wear gloves or jewelry that can get caught on anything.
  3. Use a push block as you feed the lumber through the saw. This keeps your fingers away from the blade and gives you more control of the board.
  4. Never reach over the saw blade.
  5. Use an outfeed support to catch and support your lumber as it exits the saw.
  6. As the blade cuts through the 2×4 lumber, the wood may have a tendency to pinch the back of the blade (especially if you are ripping longer boards.) To prevent pinching and make cutting easier, stick a shim or wedge into the cut after it exits the blade. You can see this more clearly in the video.

For more table saw safety tips, read this Table Saw Guidelines post.

Cutting a Rabbet Channel on the Frame:

After ripping the 2x4s in half, you may want to square off the edges (removing the rounded edges.) Now it’s time to cut a rabbet channel into the corner of the 2×2.

To cut the rabbet, center your table saw blade on the 2×2. Raise the blade to slightly more than ¾ of an inch. Then run the 2×2 through the table saw. Rotate the 2×2 ninety degrees and run it through the table saw again. This will leave you with a rabbet channel on the corner of your 2×2.

Body of the Shutters:

Determine the width of your shutters. Ideally, the width of your shutters when finished should equal ½ of your full window width. To get the width of the tongue and groove body pieces, Subtract the width of your frame (about 3/4″ in width x 2) from 1/2 of your window width. Use this measurement to cut your tongue and groove pieces to size.

The shutter height should be the same height as your window. Layout the tongue and groove planks together fitting them together. Then determine how many you need to make your shutter. You may have to rip one or two on the table saw to get your desired height.

Building the Frame:

Cut one end of your 2×2 at a 45-degree angle (the short side will face in toward the rabbet groove.)

Line the inside edge of your frame piece up with the end of one of the tongue and groove boards. Mark on the opposite side of the frame where the tongue and groove board ends. Now cut the frame piece to length on the miter saw.

Time to check your fit! If the frame fits tight against the tongue and groove board, use the top frame piece as a template to cut an identical one for the bottom frame piece.

Time to cut the side frame pieces. Figure out the height of your shutters and cut the sides to size.

After all the frame and body pieces are cut, sand them to remove any rough spots. I like to sand once with 180 grit sandpaper, then switch to 220 grit.

Stain the Shutter Pieces:

The frame and body pieces get two coats of stain. For better coverage, coat once and allow the stain to dry. Then brush on the second coat.

wood shutter pieces after staining

Assemble Shutter:

Time to assemble these shutters. Add a dab of wood glue to the mitered ends, then use a 90 degree corner clamp to hold the pieces square.

Pre-drill into the bottom of the shutter frame and drive a wood screw through the bottom and up into the sides of the frame. Add a nail or two to the side into the top and bottom pieces for additional hold. Repeat for all four corners as shown below.

Lay the cut tongue and groove boards into the frame. Make sure everything fits perfectly and make any adjustments necessary.

Then flip your shutter over so the tongue and groove pieces are upside down. Remove the frame and add a bead of glue around the perimeter of the tongue and groove pieces where the frame touches them. Then lay the frame back on top of the tongue and groove pieces.

Finally, secure the pieces with two long trim nails through each side of the frame and into the body pieces as shown below.

Flip your shutter over and admire your new custom wood shutters. Use wood putty to fill any holes and touch up with appropriate colored stain.

One Shutter with Two Looks:

I wanted to create modern-looking shutters for this house, but the beauty of the tongue and groove planks is the opposite side has a beadboard stripe. When you turn the shutter over, you get a more farmhouse or cottage look.

My assistant and I hung the shutters on the house using exterior screws through the shutter frame and into the siding.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

It’s unreal how different this house looks from the day I bought it!

It doesn’t even look like the same house! And you should see the inside, it’s looking so good. Stay tuned for more updates.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters