Thursday, June 12, 2014

Credenza before and after

This is my very officey credenza. It's actually a nice piece from a Herman Miller, but it just doesn't fit well in our home in size or in style. 

I do love its features, though, like the huge file drawer and the tiny side drawers. Most of all, I love the pull out shelf between the top and the shallow drawer. It is the perfect place to put my Silhouette Cameo when I use it. 

I took it apart and ended up with a steel base that I can use to build a cool bench for Jake and a much better size credenza. 

I filled in all of the holes from the hardware and sanded it smooth  After primer and a few coats of white paint, I added new drawer pulls from Home Depot.   The little drawers looked like library catalog drawers and found similar hardware at 4 casters later, and I looove the results!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Office bookcase or why do I have enough lumber in my garage to build an enormous bookcase?

In my ongoing mission for storage and better organization , I decided to build a built-in bookcase in our office made entirely of lumber already in our garage. It would be a double win by decluttering my office and my garage at the same time. :)

There is blank wall about 64 inches long on the office wall with the double doors. You can't see it unless you are in the office, so an open bookcase that might get a bit messy will work well there.   I am planning on putting cabinets along the long wall, and an open look will complement those. 

I went through the Purebond plywood in my garage and determined that I could build a 60 inch wide by 47 inch tall bookcase. 5 inches of the 47 will be the base for the baseboard. 

I decided to build two boxes for each set of shelves because it's easier to make single units square, and the double center would be covered by the face frame anyway. 

I cut 4 strips of scrap wood the same length to use as shelf spacers. I could then make 3 shelves the same height and the bottom shelf would be a litle bigger. This looks good (kind of like anchoring the bottom) plus, I wouldn't have to bother trying to figure out the exact measurement or install shelves that were exactly equal in height. Sooo much easier!

Since the 3 of the 4 sides would be hidden, I decided to use screws on the sides to attach the shelves and cover the remaining side wth either beadboard or 1/4 plywood.

I screwed the two units together.

I primed and painted the bookcase before installing it. I used shims to make it level, and then attached it to the wall.

After I installed the baseboard, I screwed a 1 x 12 white pine board to the top. The top was finished using a1 x 12 poplar board with a 1 x 2 to cover both the pine and poplar. This makes the top a nice thick 1 1/2 inches. The mitered corner was perfect, so it looks like a solid finished piece. 

Some caulk and a final coat of paint, and the built- in is complete.  The final picture is coming soon!

I haven't decided yet how to finish the area above the bookcase yet. Right now, I am thinking of installing galvanized steel to track orders and framing  it with either small shelf towers or 1 x 2s. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Office mess

My office is an extremely unattractive place. I have office furniture that is actually office furniture as in it was made to be  in an office building. It's nice Herman Miller office furniture but it's very officey.

This room has such great potential with the pretty windows and the tray ceiling, and so I think I'm going to redo the entire room. I'd like to do built-in cabinets and bookcases on the one long on interrupted wall so that a lot of the stuff can be hidden behind the cabinets and maybe the bookcases can be styled so that it looks attractive. I have an old bookcase on the short wall behind the door, but it is a very cheap bookcase, And it is as unattractive as it is poorly functioning.

I need to repurpose the credenza. It's a very solid piece of furniture but I don't need The top and all that additional storage. The bottom drawer is a hanging file drawer and has tons of space. I love the shape of the little side drawers because it's great for storing things like filling the blank here.

The desk is actually pretty cool because it is a drafting desk. You can raise or lower the height of it and the back section tilts up so that you can look vertically at papers books etc. I think I'm going to use this as a desk for Jake at some point upstairs. The metal base could be spray-painted with the galvanized coating and the top painted gray or black and then it would follow with the industrial theme that were using in his room. I think instead of building a desk from scratch because I have so much building to do that I am going to look for used desk that I can repurpose and restore and then paint the same color white as these others. I'd like something with some drawers again to hide things away so that the office doesn't look quite as messy. I'm hoping that on one side it will be big enough that I could build shelves and store the printer there so that it is out of sight.

Lighting is going to be really big issue in this room since there are no overhead lights I'll need to figure something out for that. Also this office gets the afternoon sun and it gets really unbearably hot in this room. The blinds have to stay closed most of the day to help keep the sun out to help keep it cooler. I would love to install some lights at the top of each of the cabinet bookcases like this  Love her blog!

I will need task lighting for the desk and then something else to try and get it a little brighter here at night.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Do you know the one about a boy who walks into a bathroom...

If you are the mother of a boy, you probably do.  This is what it looked like before.

This is what it looked like 3 minutes later.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Kitchen window makeover

The kitchen table area of the house has been getting attention a little bit at a time.  The full size table has been replaced by a smaller pub style table.  It is 48" square, and so both the smaller size and higher height fill the space much better.  The new light is a double pendant that sometimes looks white and sometimes looks cream which works really well with the various shades of white to cream in this area.

The problems that remained were:

1.  Woven shades - As much as I love the look of the shade itself, it is more of a golden color which isn't great with the grey beige walls.  I need to cover the roller part with something, and over the past couple of years I have tried almost everything.  I made a raw silk valance which looked fussy.  Curtains didn't look right.  I thought about a padded cornice board, but it really isn't my style.  I even drew up plans for wood cornices, but I need to use that option in the family for the sliding doors, so it seemed like 5 more would be too much.

Also, they are not energy efficient at all, and this part of the house gets sun most of the day.  It is uncomfortable to be at the table during certain times of the day during summer.

I finally decided that the big empty boxes that are my builder grade windows were the problem, and that I wouldn't like anything until they were trimmed out.

2.  Jake's school and craft supplies - The black shelving unit underneath the window is as ineffective at storage as it is unattractive, so it had to go.

Problem #2 was the quickest to solve.  I read something about organization that was based on the idea that you never have forks lying around the house, because you always know where the forks go.  Duh - genius! Therefore, you need a place for things if you want them to be put away.   Most people probably already know this kind of stuff, but I don't get a lot of stuff.  I didn't even know that the government changed the various bills for money until about 3 years after they did it.  (Honestly, I showed my husband a $20 that I thought was counterfeit, and he just shook his head muttering something about how he couldn't understand how I managed to function.  I have a huge list of basic things that I had no idea about or that I had completely misunderstood.)

Anyway, in the lower right hand corner,  you can see just the tip of my kitchen counter and cabinet.  I stored by biggest pots (like triple recipe gumbo pot) and other things I rarely used in that cabinet.  It was opened maybe once a month, so it wasn't a great use of the space.  Plus, my cabinets have pull out upper shelves, which are incredibly convenient.  Once I got over the resistance to using my cupboards for something that is not a kitchen item, I realized that Jake's supplies could be stored here.  It is more practical and efficient, and I never have to look at it.  Problem solved!

Next up, new window trim.  :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Arched wood blind trim

There are arches throughout our house, and our windows are no exception.  We have "eyebrow" windows.  It is a slight arch and each window is a bit different.  With full arches, you can find some options to purchase ready made window coverings - not with eybrows.  Not only is each window a slightly different size/shape, a single eyebrow isn't usually symmentrical.  On one of our windows, the right hand size was a full half inch larger than the left.

I found some 2 1/2" blinds that I really liked and spoke with the company's service department to see about getting custom trim to cover the gap left by regular blind trim.  They told me that it could run a couple hundred dollars per window, and that I would need to trace the shape with a piece of paper and send it in to them to cut.

The trim that came with the blinds is just the standard window casing that I used to trim out my windows.  Each piece a notch cut out of the back, so that two metal pieces could be placed in the notch and then twisted to lock them in place.  It was kind of an upside T shape to the groove.

I decided that if the window company could cut a shape from my paper tracing, then I could, too.  I initially thought to just replace the whole trim for the eyebrow, but I don't have a router bit to make the T shaped groove.  I didn't want to wait to get one shipped to me, and I didn't want to worry about getting it straight.

I decided to join a new piece of casing to the shipped trim.  I traced the curve with the standard trim installed and marked the top of that trim.

Using my DeWalt multi-tool, I cut the curve and then sanded the edge.  The bottom line of the trim in the picture looks a bit wavy, bit it is the factory edge, so it is straight.

I then glued the new curve to the standard trim.  It took a lot of clamps, and I used some nails for additional strength.  I also put tape along both edges so when I finally caulked the gap, clean up would be easier.  Any extra caulk would pull off with tape.

I did need to spot sand a few areas to make sure they had a good fit.  A coat of paint on each window blind trim in our standard trim color brought it all together. 

I am really pleased with my $4.53 solution!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Closet giant bookcase

The master closet is a double unit and it ends up giving us wall 7 which is basically a long wasted wall.  There is an electrical box at the top, otherwise it was a blank wall.  There is quite a large space from the end of the divider partition and wall 7 measuring 45 inches. 

We agreed that if we built something on wall 7, even though we might not be able to open the door back against that wall, it would be a great use of that space.  Keeping with the 12 inch depth of the rest of Jim's closet, we would still have 32 inches of clearance which is plenty of room.

I built a very basic shelving unit measuring 92 inches high (to avoid the electrical box) by 43.5  inches wide by 12 inches deep.  The lower half would be for Jim's shoes, and the upper half for towels and toiletries since we don't have a linen closet in the master bath.

I will be adding upper trim when we have picked out a style we like, but for now, I couldn't be happier than to have 9 shelves measuring about 3 1/2 feet wide for storage.  The pictures aren't the best ever because I can't stand back far enough to get the whole giant thing in the viewer.

Making progress...  :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jake nightstand

My son's room needs some TLC, but I am not ready to do a complete redo just yet.  Eventually, I want to make him a Pottery Barn style store bed and completely redo the walls and decor, but he really likes the clone trooper walls so that can wait.

He does need a nightstand and bookcase right away, so I have been playing with some ideas I have seen in magazines and on the web.  He is 7, so I want something that he will like now and also when he is in middle school.  After looking at a lot of ideas, he really liked an industrial look.

Renovation Hardware is one of places we have looked at for ideas with their pipe furnture.  This led us to research a ton of different takes on using flanges and galvanized pipe.  Jake liked the idea of using it in furniture, so we decided to build a double shelf nightstand.

I started with a butcher block from Ikea.  It ended up working well, but be warned that there were some voids in the board that shot off when we were cutting it with a circular saw.  We cut the board into 3 equal pieces.

This is one of my favorite set ups for painting.  Can you guess where these tools came from?  The dropcloth is actually a baby mattress protector.  It is perfect because one side is soft plastic so paint won't seep through, and the other side is slightly padded, so you don't scratch your work surface.  Which is good because the background you will see is my granite counter top's backsplash.

The supports are Pringles single serving cups.  I love the pyramid things you can buy (or you lovely sister Kathy can give you as a gift), but sometimes if you press too hard, you can cause an small indentation on the underside.  Plus, this gives you an excuse to eat more Pringles.

I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in a custom color I mixed myself.  I wanted an industrial looking grey, but I wanted it to be warm.  Some people say that they don't get brush strokes with chalk paint, but I am not one of them.  I lightly sanded between coats and wiped with a microfiber cloth.

Jake's named is from a stencil cut on my Silhouette Cameo.  The Cameo rocks since  you can create and cut almost anything you can produce on your computer.  I rarely use it for home projects, but it came in handy for the nightstand project twice.

With the grey color, I thought that galvanized pipes in the regular silver color wouldn't look good against the warm grey of the wood.  I didn't want to paint or distress them because I am lazy.  Amazon to the rescue!  I found these blackish version of the flanges and pipes I wanted,  and the price was great, too.  I spray painted my screw heads black so they wouldn't show.

I measured where the flanges should be and used my Silhouette Cameo to make a template from heavy kraft paper.

I screwed flanged to two of my boards. 

The pipes need to be screwed into the secured flanges, and then the upper flanges must be screwed onto the pipes.  This is the tricky part because they have to be the same height.  I might have used some bad words here.

Next, I took my template and cut a slit to open the circle.  I could then place my upside down pipe/flange/board onto the underside of the board above and put the template around the flange.  This helped to make placement exactly the same as the lower flange.

After I had the 3 boards together, I attached casters to the bottom.  They worked well for a couple of reasons.  First, pipes come in standard heights, and the piece would not be regular nightstand height without feet, and I didn't want to be overloaded with pipes.  Second, they make it easy to move the nightstand around if I ever wanted to clean when cleaning behind his bed while staying with the industrial look.

Here is a peek at his bookcase which I will post about soon.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

$111 mudwall step by step

 My $111 mudwall has detailed pictures of the after here, but I wanted to show the steps to get there.

 I hadn't used a lot of mdf before this project, but I fell in love with it for a couple of reasons.  After sanding, painting, sanding bit more, and then final painting, it gave a really smooth surface.  Another thing I love is that I found pre-primed 1 bys at the local store, and the two edges were already routed with a round over bit saving me two steps.  Third is that it is really inexpensive which you can't beat!

I started by filling holes from the old coat hook panel, and then located the studs.  Using screws made for mdf  (important as it doesn't hold screws the way wood does,) I attached my top row first ensuring it was level.  I then attached the left vertical piece butting it against the horizontal strip being very careful to make sure the vertical piece was plumb.  These two strips are the basis for everything else, so I spent some time making sure they were exact.

I then added the other horizontal strips followed by the right vertical strip.  Each of these was a 1 x 2 cut to length but any width would work.

Next came another 1x2 which I placed on its side to make a ledge.  I used a nail gun along the back.  I was adding additional pieces on top of the ledge back, so the weight of those would further secure or sandwich the ledge.  Otherwise, I also would have used glue.  And I wish I could say why that extra piece of mdf is there, but I usually can't even remember what what day it is so that will remain a mystery. 

I then cut my vertical pieces that will hold the chalkboard, galvanized steel and calendar area in place.  I used a rabbet bit on my router to cut one edge on 2 of the pieces and both edges on 2 more pieces.  The center strip is stacked so there are actually 4 total.

I cut my chalkboard to size after taping the cutline to prevent excessive chipping of the surface.  I used my Dremel multi-tool which worked great.  (Poor thing died not too much later.)

To secure the board, I first screwed a strip with only one rabbeted  edge on the left, slid the board into the edge, and then screwed a double routed edge strip tightly against it.  The board is supported by the ledge, so it is an easy one person job.

I repeated that process with the galvanized steel.  I was going to put a whiteboard on the right hand section, but since I already had a chalkboard and the steel is both magnetic and a dry erase, I saved money by leaving it blank.   I attached the right hand section last.

A 1 x 3 mdf board and a piece of cove molding finishes off the top ledge.  Since I used a stop block to cut the vertical pieces, it fits snug and level on top.

The lovely thing about painting is that any imperfections can be filled away with the three products below.  Quick tip about caulking the edges:  fill a container with ice water, dip your finger in, and then use it to wipe the caulk away.  It won't stick to your finger and any extra dissolved in the ice bath.  Yay!  Also, caulk isn't sandable, so don't use it to fill holes.

Here it it getting painted.

I painted these bins from TJs the same color and installed them last.

I purchased the white hooks for shoes online from Amazon (loooove Prime) and I found the nickel ones at Home Depot.  I was lucky enough to find packages of these all the way at the back of the shelf.  They were from a vendor that they no longer used and the price check came up less than half what the individual hooks would cost.  The little cup hooks have been in my picture hanging supplies forever mainly because I don't hang cups. 

And here is the before and after again: