Happy Friday – Creating Happiness In The Details

20130728-145116.jpgWhile we’re including this as part of our “Happy Friday” series, it’s also the conclusion of “Pimp the PoP’s Garage” series. To catch up on the progress in the garage, check out these posts:

Over the last week or so, Mr PoP and I have found ourselves on several occasions, just leaning against the car in the garage and looking around. Standing back and looking at the finished garage as a whole is impressive, as my old running buddy who I haven’t seen in six months commented when she was by the house last weekend. But it’s not the big picture items that catch our gazes. It’s the little details.

Most people probably wouldn’t notice them – or they wouldn’t mean quite as much to them. But there are small little details that we put into the project where the happiness ROI from that little thought or small amount of planning is enormous.

For Me, It’s A Few Small Things

20140116-183036.jpgLike the absence of shelving or anything that sticks out from the wall near the ground or near my eye level. I’m one of those unfortunate klutzes that manages to smack my shins and noggin into just about anything remotely possible, so not having anything there makes my life much less painful.

And the fact that we put little plastic caps on the rough edge of every shelf to help prevent me from snagging shirt sleeves and ruining them when I inevitably inelegantly reach past a shelf and get caught. (Again, see the unfortunate state where I don’t always know where my body parts are.)

Mr PoP’s Details Are a Little Bigger

This makes sense because the garage is much more of his space. His espresso machine, Silvia, lives out in the garage, and the “coffee station” he built over our low-boy water heater is a testament to the amount of thought he has put into perfecting his coffee setup over the years. (Fair warning – for non-coffee addicts, this might seem excessive.) But here were some of the features that he built into the setup.


  1. Water is now piped straight from our home’s water supply (through an in-line filter) to the small tank in his coffee maker. Never again will he have to come back in the house to refill his water supply, and the filtered water should be of higher quality since he’s been using unfiltered water.
  2. A knock box is built into the surface of the countertop, underneath the red knock bar and easily removable with a quick slide off the undermount tracks.
  3. Excess water no longer drips into a drip pan on the underside of the coffee machine. Instead, Mr PoP hooked up a piece of garden hose to the drain on the machine, and has that garden hose emptying into a gallon-sized jug hanging from one of the counter supports.
  4. The counter surface is sanded quite smooth and painted a dark brown. Coffee stains won’t show up on this surface (thus reducing nagging from his loving wife), and he even thought to include a cheap 4″ paintbrush as part of the setup with its own hanging nail. A few quick sweeps with the brush into the knock box and the surface is clean!


20140116-183141.jpgI know, I know. This seems really excessive. And obsessive. But I can’t tell you how much happiness these little details bring to our days. Every time I reach into the garage shelves and catch a glimpse of the plastic endcaps, I smile. And you’ve never seen Mr PoP so excited to clean his coffee station or empty his knock box.

The chance to build these details in is, for us, the best part about a project like this.  Because sometimes it really is the little things that bring us the greatest joys.


What little thing about your house has brought you some great joy lately?

28 comments to Happy Friday – Creating Happiness In The Details

  • I love it! I’m a fellow coffee lover, so I totally get it LOL! Kudos to him for the time and creativity he put into that set-up. But what on earth is a knock box? I’ve never heard of that :) Some day I’d love to turn my garage into a dance studio! I just hope I will have the patience to find things at a decent price instead of jumping on the fanciest things i find first lol.
    Sharon recently posted..Death to New Year’s Resolutions and How to Set GoalsMy Profile

    • A dance studio garage sounds awesome – I assume you are a dancer, of course!

      As for a knock box – After you pull an espresso shot, you end up with steaming hot damp grinds in the shape of a puck stuck in the little cup. The knock box is basically a sturdy stainless steel container with a bar over it that lets you slap the hot wet puck out of the machine so you can clean it. The red bar is what you slap the handle against, then the puck falls into the stainless steel bin.


      The things you learn after marrying an espresso lover… =)

  • Little plants starting to grow have been so lovely, sure we have tons of trees but a delicate flower makes your day. Otherwise I am more about general frames than little details.
    Pauline recently posted..Relocating for your career: is it worth it?My Profile

  • This is the kind of thing that’s a lot of fun to read about. So often it really is the little things that make us the happiest, especially when they’re little things that we both envisioned and implemented. You guys really put a lot of thought and work into making this garage a happy space and it’s great to hear how well that’s paid off.
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  • I love the custom built coffee details. Those are the little things that don’t bother me too much about making coffee everyday, but it would sure make me smile if the machine was custom designed.
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  • Steve

    I recognize a fellow coffee geek in in your set up. PID controller, upgraded portafilter, filtered water into the tank, drain to bucket, plus I bet you have it pressure regulated to 9 bar. Very nice set up in the garage. The garage turned out very nice. I bet you are so pleased.

  • Hey, as Oprah always said, “your home should rise up to greet you.” If that little stuff in your home brings you that much pleasure, I think that’s awesome!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Electric Bill/Link LoveMy Profile

  • That coffee set up is awesome! These are the sort of things that make being a homeowner worth it, IMO. The ability to really make your home your own. Well done, guys.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Should We Pay Personal Capital to Advise Us?My Profile

    • Thanks DB40! Have you guys customized your place at all?

      • Well, kind of. We put a paver patio and a trellis out back, but that’s about it. It’s our first home and we plan on moving in the next few years. So, basically, I fix things that break but we’re not really upgrading anything. The house was built in 1950 and we oddly just like the style of everything as it is (e.g. – funky old custom wood closets from the fifties). The previous owner did some cool stuff (like stained concrete in the bedrooms) and our laziness/frugality keeps us from doing too much else. :)

        Maybe with the next home we’ll get the bug and do some improvements.
        Done by Forty recently posted..Did Americans Really Overpay by $1B at Tax Time?My Profile

  • Debbie M

    I agree about rounded things that don’t attack me when I go by. I’m not looking forward to the day when I get arthritis so bad that I actually prefer levers (which are always grabbing my purse, my pockets, and who knows what else when I go by) over spherical door knobs.

    I like that the exterior doors are under cover, so you can fumble for your keys or even set things down at the front door more comfortably when it’s raining.

    I like the figure-eight layout, by which I mean that there are a lot of doorways. I like that one doorway can be blocked for some reason (projects, person going by), but it’s not the only way through the house.

    I like that the front door is sideways (perpendicular to the street), so you can’t seen in from the street well when someone opens the door.

    I like that there are windows in every non-closet room (even the bathroom), so there is always daylight available, but we also have a big wall with no windows, which we have filled with very tall bookcases. Speaking of which, I like that we have bookcases in pretty much every room. And our huge one in the living room lets me organize books by theme and then pair them with related knick-knacks.

    I like that we can use all the upper corner cabinet in the kitchen and most of the lower corner cabinet. I like that the fridge is at the end of a counter so we can get whatever size fridge we want. There is a similar set-up for the oven. (There is, however, an awkward space between the washer and the counter–yes, I do have a washer in my kitchen.)

    I like that we have laundry lines in the back and have no rules against those. And no HOA. So we can paint however we want and fix our own cars in our own yard, etc. Plus the neighborhood is very interesting to walk through even though, admittedly, some houses are super ugly. Still, whenever I see a super ugly paint color, I can’t help assuming that you just don’t get a color that whacko unless you really love it, so I can’t help smiling anyway. (We do have a rule that we are not allowed to park cars in the yard. This made me sad at the time it was passed because we had one neighbor who often had a semi parked in their yard–I had assumed that it was awesome that the driver a) got to drop by and visit in the middle of the route and b) was polite enough not to block our vision so we could see when it was safe to turn. But I never feel the urge to park in the yard myself.)

    I like that we have ceiling fans installed everywhere.

    I like that our dining area is a breakfast nook off the kitchen with a view of the back yard. I’ve never liked formal dining rooms and always thought that if I had one, I’d probably turn it into a library.

    We have a big living room–big enough for parties or doing big projects.

    We have lots of closets. Yes, they are all small, and we could use more. But it’s nice that in addition to the scrawny bedroom closets, there are also two hall closets and a living room closet plus a broom-closet-turned-pantry off the dining room plus a floor-to-ceiling linen storage area in the bathroom.

    I like our formica counters. Most houses in my area have tile counters, and I’ve lived with those and prefer the smooth counters for cleaning. Also, they are softer than tile and granite, so if you drop things or set them down a little too hard, they usually don’t break. (Yes, they are a pretty ugly orange, but I’ve learned to think of that as a nice warm kitchen color. Everything else is black and white.)

    There are quite a few organizational things I like, too. Like we have huge, flat things (like cutting boards and cookie sheets) under the sink, where there’s space, but also where they are handy. The poisons that people usually store under a sink are on the pantry floor instead. I have a bowl for my keys, wallet, glasses, etc. in the bedroom. I have a box just for screws and other parts that I don’t know what they go to–so that when I notice something missing, I know where to look for that missing part. I have my favorite recipes in one loose-leaf notebook in plastic pages to protect them.

    • Sounds like there’s a lot you love about your place – that’s wonderful!

      And I’m glad I’m not the only one that gets attacked by inanimate objects =)

  • First of all I love it that the machine has a name, that’s hilarious and speaks volumes to how important “she” is to Mr. Pops. Pretty ingenious if you ask me. Enjoy!
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..Sick and Tired of Being Sick and TiredMy Profile

    • While he probably would have named the machine (she is kindof “the other woman” in our relationship), Silvia is actually the name of the machine from the brand. =)

  • Any extravagant excess can be excused when it comes to coffee.
    101 Centavos recently posted..Try some British Food. Tastes Just Like Chicken.My Profile

  • Awwwww…..look at that adorable little mini water heater. Your garage does look really nice!

    We are in the midst of remodeling our new home and are almost done (We move Saturday). We got our new countertops in on Friday and I instantly fell in love. I’m not really a countertop person but I think I just became one! =)
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Save by Being SelectiveMy Profile

  • As an avid coffee drinker myself, I am almost drooling over Mr. POP’s coffee setup! I do not have the ingenuity to make that happen, but kudos to him! I have to ask, though, is Silvia living in the garage because Mrs. POP doesn’t the smell off coffee, because she is made at Silvia, or because Mr. POP spends a LOT of time in the garage?
    Retired By 40 recently posted..The Biggest List of Baby Money-Saving Tricks you will ever find!My Profile

  • Can I come over for a cup of coffee? Please?

  • That’s hilariously OCD coffee making. That’s not a knock….I think it’s awesomeness. What about my house has made me happy? My home is my favorite place on earth. It feels like a northern lodge and makes my blood pressure immediately sink when I arrive.
    Joe Saul-Sehy recently posted..How’s Your Personal Economy? The Economy of YOU with Kimberly Palmer – STK 38My Profile

  • […] I’ve been following the PoP’s garage travails with interest, as I want to do some garage and shed work in 2014 – this engineer enjoys woodworking.  They put a cherry on top of their garage series with some drool inspiring coffee setup details. […]

  • I am also a coffee lover, so this coffee set up is absolutely awesome. Hope to have one myself also.
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