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:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mudroom or mud hall or mud wall...

Do you dream of a mudroom?  I do.  I would love a full mudroom with baskets, and benches, and lockers, and shelves, and all the amazing ideas I see online.  The thought of not having shoes and stuff piled all around the house is dreamy.

I sometimes think that all I do online is drool over other people's mudrooms.   But unfortunately,  I don't have a room, hallway or wall any of the great options could fit in. All that I have is a short hallway that has three doors.  Here is the layout:

The opening on the lower wall is the doorway that leads to the family room and kitchen.  The space between the garage door and the laundry door was originally the space I had though of for some type of mini thin cabinet, but that didn't work.  First, the cabinet would have to be very thin, and it would need some kind of sliding door to keep the clutter hidden.  (You can see this wall from the family room and kitchen.)  I even built a carcass for it and decided that it protruded too much in the hall and made walking too tight.  (That became my son's bookcase, but that is another post.)

The only thing left was the opposite wall where we had some hooks already.  It looked awful and didn't store shoes, purses, etc.  Here are some before pictures:

Shoes piled up at the door, coats piled on each other and on bookbags, and random things taped everywhere by my son.  He loves tape.

The words functional or attractive would never be used to describe this hall.  I would see this mess all day long going from my bedroom, the garage or the family room plus every time I did laundry.  And laundry is depressing enough on its own.

I really wanted a solution, so armed with this 3 bin chalkboard thingy I found this at TJs (of course!) for 29.99...

and also with 2 years of reading every single board and batten blog post out there, I thought I could come up with something that would work.  My very own mudroom in a hall on a wall (very Seussy so it has to be good) or a "mudwall."

After several iterations, here is my plan from Sketchup:

I wanted to see if I could make this for around $100 excluding paint, nails and glue that I already had.  Also, I had never used MDF but wanted to try it for this mainly because I found pre-primed, pre-routered white MDF boards in the 2 1/2 inch width I wanted.  I also changed the size of the upper sections because I found a 2' x 4' metal sheet at HD, and I didn't want to cut a custom size.  This made the other sections larger which really worked better for a standard calendar.  (If you look closely, I bought the wrong year calendar - 2014 - ha!)  Being as lazy  efficient as I am, I try to incorporate time savers whenever I can.

And here is the finished project! 


I used white hooks for the shoes.  They blend in and make it not so hook crazy.

And Jake is thrilled because he has one more place to hide snakes to scare me...

Just a reminder of the before and after

I love this wall!  I am sooo excited with how it turned out!  My Mudwall (it deserves caps) turned out better than I hoped.  Here are some of the details that make it work for us:

- Total cost for this awesome organization was $111.

- The top shelf is just under 7 feet so my 6' 4" husband won't bang his head.

- There are tiny cup hooks painted white above the bins to hold keys so they aren't scattered on the kitchen counters.

- There are 16 white robe hooks on the bottom evenly spaced to hang shoes on.  They are just high enough to hold our shoes off the ground, and the white hooks blend in with the wall when not in use.  I didn't want it to be hook overload.

- In the summer, the Mudwall can hold beach towels and pool toys right as we come in from the garage.  During the school year, it is perfect for jackets, backpacks and organizing homework/school.

- Jake can finally reach all of the hooks unlike the old rack.

- All of our information is finally in one place.  Yay!

- The hooks don't stick out enough to catch anyone as they walk around the corner.

I will post progress picture very soon.   So we love it - what do you think??

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Finished master closet - His

Jim's closet is done!  There are definitely things I would do differently (like build each set of drawers as a box like the towers,) but I am happy with how this project turned out.  The storage is amazing and so much more efficient that the wire things we had.

So this is what it looked like before when you opened the closet door:

And this is what it looks like after:

And just for impact:

 Here is what wall 1 looked like before:

Here is what it looks like after:

It was tough to get wall 1 in a single shot, but I think this shows it well.

The addition of 4 large drawers is such a huge improvement.  The towers hold so many jeans, shorts, and folded shirts, that everything has a place to go.  There are a lot of shoes in the first picture of wall 1, and I will do a post to show how we used dead space to handle the shoes and more.

Someday, I will do my own, but I am really happy with this for now.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Window love

Our builder installed a lot of crown molding and column trim, and they put in pretty door casings, but they only put sills and aprons on the windows.

I have been dying to try to install trim, but it seemed pretty tricky.  And then all of a sudden, there were two posts I found that explained how to do it - serendipity!  This is great because I am convinced that I won't like any window treatments on the five windows around my kitchen table unless they are trimmed out. 

The first post is by a Ronda from Batchelors Way when she guest posted on Sandra's great blog Sawdust Girl which you can see  here - did you follow that?  Also, Family Handyman had a great method for measuring here.

I decided to try it on a big empty box looking window that is an eyesore in our foyer. It isn't even close to square and is wavy on the left hand side.

Not a great picture, but I think you get the idea.  I measured and bought just enough pre-primed molding to do the window with a little bit left over.  Big. Mistake.  Here are some pictures of the window progress and why not buying extra was not the best idea.

Then I used the marking method for measuring all the way around.  If you really squint (or click on the picture), you can see the pencil mark on the wall and on the trim.

I got all the way around and realized that I had made a bigggggg mistake! I had forgotten on my first cut that I couldn't just extend the pencil mark in a straight line from the skinny trim side to the top and cut it there because the trim is cut at an angle.  Does that make sense?  The pencil mark was the innermost corner, so I should have extended the mark at a 45 degree angle out.  This left me with a gap.  A big gap.  A non try to fake it with caulk gap.

This shows what I did wrong:

The right thing to do would be to go buy more and install it correctly, but it was raining and a tropical storm was on its way.  It might be 2 days before I could get to the store.  I couldn't bear the thought of this little project being put off when I have so many others I was working on, so I really broke the rules.  (Trim professionals, this would be a good time to look away.)

I cut a piece of molding and glued it into the space.  I know, I know... I couldn't help myself!

Here is the corner after caulking...  It is sooo hard to see it, and fortunately, it is in the lower bottom corner.  Whew!  I DO NOT recommend doing this.  Unless you have a tropical storm coming your way.

And here is the painted window trim...

And here is another view...

I love love love it!!  I have such a ridiculous case of window love!  Now if I can just decide whether to do a stair rail or board and batten up the steps, I can get the wall painted.  Yay!
You may be able to spot the picture of a great board and batten from Better After.  (The person who did the great b & b didn't have a blog or I would link to it.)