Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Little Laundry Teal-L-C

Hers.

We continue to make progress on the laundry room.  Let’s recap, shall we?

We started with this (read part one here).  Ain’t she a beauty?

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So before we got too crazy, we decided to try out some baskets in front of a purple backdrop.  Yeeeah… it didn’t stick for obvious reasons.

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We knew a complete revamp was needed.  We started from the ground up and replaced our dingy old white linoleum-tiled floor with this much fancier wood-look tile (read part two here).

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Once the grout and sealer had dried on the floor, it was time to make those awful purple shelves meet their maker.  I feel like I need to insert an evil villain laugh here.  Today: cabinets, tomorrow: the world!

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But, let’s get back to the laundry room.  Once we took the shelves down, we needed to sand the walls then retexture so it matched the rest of the wall.  It seems that the original builder of the house installed the shelves then textured, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but I guess that’s how things rolled in the 1970s.  Those crazy hippies.

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Walls were now sanded, re-textured, and SO ready to be repainted.  Just look at this mess.  Want to play “how many paint colors can you spot in this picture”?  I think there are 9…

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Let’s get this sucker in order already.  Ahhh, back to one color.  We went with the same color we have in the hallway.  I wish I could tell you the exact color but I ended up mixing a few, then tinting, then re-tinting (hey, I never claimed to be a decisive paint selector).  Anyway, the best I can do is tell you that it’s Behr Satin and the paint formula is BL 144/Cl 288/RL 72.  Happy paint mixing!

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Much better.  Now let’s get on with those cabinets already!

His.

Part three. Yikes. Where were we? Walls. Shelves. Floor. Trim. All changed. Now what? Well, remember all that junk that came off the shelves? What went out must go back in. We needed storage, and frankly we needed a lot. The method of said storage had been decided a long time ago: cabinets. Julie had been giddy about cabinets in the laundry room probably since before we even moved in, so I knew it was the only solution. Oh, but there was one minor hiccup: I don’t know anything about cabinets. Sure, cabinets are where I find my cereal bowls every morning, but honestly I have no idea how they’re held to the wall. Fortunately, though, I’m not particularly hindered by these things, so it was off to Home Depot to pretend I knew what I was doing.

Now, Julie had been obsessing over the “n” shape of three cabinets, two taller cabinets on either side of a shorter middle cabinet. As luck would have it, the dimensions of our room lent themselves neatly to three prefabricated “stock” cabinets that could be purchased individually. Ironically, there were even two configurations that would fit: two tall, skinny cabinets on either side of a very short, very wide middle cabinet, or two short, wider cabinets on either side of a not-as-short, slightly taller middle cabinet. After some really excessive deliberation (including taking up an entire lumber aisle with cabinetry strewn about, perhaps hazardously) we went with the tall/skinny configuration. This gave use a better “n” look but also meant less storage. Oh well, we’ll cross that bridge again later, right?

Alright, time to install the cabinets. As I stated before, I don’t really know how cabinets are mounted. But hey, fake it ’til you make it, right? I didn’t want them to be out of Julie’s reach, plus we were planning on putting up crown molding, so I dropped them 4″ from the ceiling… well, 3.75″ or whatever the width of a 1×4 is. Anyway, I accounted for that drop and then ran one long 1×4 across the wall. I used drywall screws to anchor this to the beams to ensure that I’d have a really sturdy mounting point:

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Now the tricky part: actually putting them up on the wall. They’re not extremely heavy, but they’re definitely too big and heavy to be handled with one hand while you’re trying to drive drywall screws through them. Fortunately, though, my brother-in-law was staying with us.  He ate the last of my fruit snacks, so helping me was payback.

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A quick note: I also installed a shorter 1×4 at the bottom of the cabinets so that they were anchored at the base as well.

Once I had the two large cabinets installed, it was time for the really fun part: squeezing the middle cabinet in. I think it was literally a 1/4 inch shy of being a perfect fit. And, fortunately, there was about 1/4 inch overhang on either side of the cabinet, so I grabbed my hand saw and started hacking away. I did this is the dining room, which apparently is a “weird place for sawing”, according to Julie:

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A little more…

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After a few cuts, I still had some rough spots that were catching, so I used my wood plane. I love using this thing because I feel like I’m holding a Tommy gun:

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Voila! A perfect fit! I tried leaving the cat in there for good but eventually Julie found her and got her down. Better luck next time, I guess.

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Hers.

Ready for the big cabinet color reveal?  How bold can we go?

Pretty bold.

We went teal!  We kept the walls neutral so we could do something fun and bright on the cabinets without it looking like we went overboard.  If there’s one room you should go bold and fun, it’s definitely the laundry room.  Anything to make washing clothes a little better!  We went with Valspar’s Glass Tile.

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Ah, just another day of filling the back room with painted objects set out to dry.

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And here is the rest of the cabinet (along with Chris’ beginning attempt to creating the built-in cabinet look.  Very exciting, I know.

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At this point, I finally decided on a name for the theme of the room I was going for (no, I’m not crazy- I just love a good theme).  Ready for it?

Country Chic.

I needed a very special cabinet knob to fit the bill for this.  One Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Hobby Lobby later, I finally found the perfect solution at World Market.  For $4.99 each, these glass knobs were mine.

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Perfection.

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Stay tuned for the final reveal (finally)!

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Evacuate the Laundry Floor

Hers.

It’s sad that I see more similarities in our laundry room floor and Ke$ha than I see differences.  Dingy, dirty, needing to be replaced… sorry to all you Ke$ha fans out there!  Don’t get me wrong- I love her dance beats but someone give that girl some shampoo.

[Update: I am saddened to learn that this song is by Cascada, not Ke$ha but I going to be stubborn and leave my title as is.  So there pop world! :)]

But, back to our laundry room saga.

Just catching up?  No biggie.  It’s fairly simple.

We wanted to turn this…

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Into something more like this…

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For the full part one story if you missed it, read here.

First step: clear the room, starting with our two big lugs- Mr. Washer and Mr. Dryer.  I couldn’t wait to see what treasures awaited us behind the machines.  Turns out that’s where my two missing socks went although I’m still not 100% convinced there’s no sock gremlin living in the dryer.  Oh, and a bookmark Chloe managed to squirrel away from my book.  Oh, and let’s not forget a zillion dust bunnies.  Gross.

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With further inspection, we also realized we needed new base boards… we can only assume the dryer gremlin got hungry during a month we skimped on our laundry chores and took to nom-ing on the base boards.  Those look like gremlin teeth, right?

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Everything was finally out and we were left with this.

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What a mess.  We HAD to fix those floors stat.  One of my main missions is reducing the number of floor types in our house.  When we moved in, there was a total of six different types of floors.  Two and a half years later and we’ve switched out a few of the floors (bedroom carpeting, master bath tile) but we’re still at six types.  I knew introducing an additional type of flooring wasn’t exactly meeting my goal so I wanted to select something similar to what we already had in another room.

As with most of our projects, we got distracted in the middle and ended up at Seconds and Surplus, a discount home improvement store in our city, pricing out door knobs.  And then it happened.  THE sign.  The sign that proved that using a similar floor in the laundry room as the rest of the house wasn’t the craziest idea.

But let me back up a little.  Remember the flooring we chose in our master bath remodel?

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This beautiful walnut-look porcelain tile.  That floor was $3.79 per square foot from Floor and Decor.  I had already considered this would likely be our best choice for the laundry room but just hadn’t made it over to the store to buy it.

WELL, good thing I didn’t because look what we discovered at Seconds and Surplus.

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What’s that?  Want a close-up of this unbelievable sign?

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Yes, that’s right.  That says $1.49 per square foot, and yes, that’s right it’s the EXACT. SAME. FLOOR!

Move aside fellow shoppers, mama needs to buy some heavily discounted tile.

The only problem was that there weren’t any boxes of tile behind this display.  Cue my hyperventilation.  I tracked down (more like hunted) the closest employee to search the back.  A few minutes later he returns.  His face said it all.  They were… SOLD OUT?!  Nooooooo.  So close.

And then my flooring hero arrives.  Another employee checks the system.  The good news is that they had more flooring.  The bad news is that it’s only available at their second location 40 miles away.  Boo.  But, hey, I was ready to hop in the car and head over.  Anything for a good deal.

Then, I heard music to my ears.  “Oh wait, the lady who bought all of this didn’t actually need 5 boxes of it so we have 5 boxes leftover in the back.”  I immediately look at Chris who can do faster math than me (don’t let that go to your head, honey), my wide, yearning eyes saying it all- “will 5 boxes work?”  Chris turns to the cashier saying, “actually, we only need 4.”

HALLELUIA!  The laundry room was saved!!!

And with that, it was time to get down and dirty.  Those old, dingy floors were history.

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Again, where do I begin? I wasn’t nearly as unprepared for what an empty laundry room would look like because, unlike Julie, I’m the one who had to drag the washer and dryer in when we moved in. Either way, though, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.

I dragged the washer and dryer out and was suddenly reminded of why I didn’t even bother leveling the machines when we moved in: it was so disgusting back there I just couldn’t wait to get the machines in to cover up all the nastiness. The floor was a vinyl tile that had yellowed to the point that no matter how hard we scrubbed, we were just never convinced they were safe to walk on with bare feet. Oh, and all the baseboards were falling off. At least that part of the demo would be easy.

So, I began pulling up tile. Some were glued down so poorly they came right up as if they were just laying there with no glue. Others were glued down so strongly that getting them up was a bit like trying to peel off a price tag that decides to only come off in 1000 pieces. I guess no one showed the floor guy how to spread glue evenly. I didn’t really have the right tools (I’m not even sure an “overly glued crappy tile scraper” exists), so I just used what I had on hand, which was a set of chisels and a putty knife. Fortunately I wasn’t particularly attached to any of these tools because now they all have floor goo on them.

Most of the tiles just had to be started in a corner before I could just peel them up by hand. Others required some, uh, convincing:

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Once all the tiles were up, I pulled up the old brass transition. I wasn’t really sure what to use between the tile in the hallway and the new tile in the laundry room, but that was a battle for another time. Papa got work to do!

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Finally, all that junk was GONE!

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I should also mention that when I pulled back some of the baseboards, I found every homeowner’s worst fear: mold. It didn’t look bad, but it was there, and that was unacceptable. I asked Julie to Google how to get rid of it, but as usual she dragged her feet and Pinterested (I don’t care whether or not that’s a word) for half an hour. In the meantime, I wiped the spots down with a little bit of bleach and painted over them with oil based primer. Eventually Julie stepped back into the real world and it turns out that that’s actually exactly how you get rid of small mold spots. I know, I rock.

Finally, it was time to lay the tile. I really wanted to retain the wood feel so I tried my best to create a “random” offset pattern like you’d see on a real wood floor, but I also wanted to use as many solid pieces on possible, which meant that I actually ended up with a repeating pattern, but in such a small space (and especially when covered by a washer and dryer), it appears random. Yet another victory for my geometry skills!

Anyway, to make life easier, I used a pre-mixed adhesive. It’s a small room and I really hate mixing things like that, so it worked out really well:

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Typically when you tile a room, you work from the farthest wall to the door so that you don’t have to walk on freshly-laid tile, but in the case I was dealing with a very small, slightly non-square room in which the back half of the tile would be covered up anyway, so I chose to start at the door and work my way back to make sure everything would look square as you looked in:

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Which meant that I was break dancing by the time I was finished:

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I should also mention another reason I wanted to use as many full tiles as possible. I was cutting with this:

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I may have mentioned this diabolical contraption before. It basically just breaks the tile in a slightly neater fashion than you could by cracking it over your knee, so I made sure all the cut ends were against the wall and could be hidden by trim. I also had this pile of failed cuts:

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After letting everything set for 24+ hours, it was time to grout. We had some leftover mix from the bathroom tile job, so I just used that. As I mentioned before, I hate mixing stuff, so by the time I got it right I had about 40 times the amount of grout I actually needed. And again, who needs special grouting tools when you have a 30-cent putty knife?

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Once I had all the cracks filled in, I went over the entire floor with a wet sponge several times until the tile was clean.

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After letting everything set for a day or two, I sealed the grout. I have no idea if this actually does anything or not, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to pretend it does.

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Aaaaaaand I’m done. With the floor at least.

Next up… cabinets!

to be continued…

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Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Hers.

Time to show you the ugliest room in our house.  Wait, scratch that.  Second ugliest room.  Ugliest goes to our hoarder room… err… I mean, third bedroom.  But more to come on that later.

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Yikes…

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This tile used to be white… I think…

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Ah, and here you see our nifty solution to stopping the cat from sneaking off to build a cave behind the dryer where I’m sure she would just diabolically plot to take over the world.

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This is the view to the right of the door.  Basically, just a holding house for laundry/cleaning/cat supply chaos.

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Here’s the view on the left, behind the door.  Proof we have the supplies necessary to clean the house… just not the willpower.

Okay, so the room wasn’t terrible but it was white, blah, and not very functional.  We had a lot of hooks and shelves but all our junk was exposed instead of being nicely tucked away.  Who wants to walk into a room and see cleaning and laundry supplies displayed on every wall, like a second grader’s prized trophies?  No thanks.

My first thought: let’s hop on the “paint the back of the shelves a bold color” bandwagon and see where that takes us before we go too cray-cray.

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Well, it took us to a magical land of purple.  And we all know how Chris feels about purple (if you haven’t seen our purple bathroom yet, read up on it here).

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Not bad.  Let’s stick a few baskets in there to better hide the supplies.  Ignore the quilt of various beige paint samples on the wall.  Want to know an embarrassing secret of mine?  It took me a year and a half to commit to a color so the walls stayed like this for quite awhile.  I blame the hubster- he’s now banned me from repainting a room a few days later because I decide I then hate the color.  Boo, what a fun-ruiner.

You can also see a view of our light fixture… if you want to call it that.  Yeah, that stayed that way for 2.5 years.  What a sad excuse for a room.

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So we lived with the room like this for 1.5 years until finally I had it.  I was running out of rooms to redo and also out of excuses.  It was time to get down to business and solve this laundry problem once and for all.

Time to turn to Pinterest to solve yet another one of my problems.  I rounded up my inspiration pictures and prepared my game plan for the room.

I wanted a bright pop of color but nothing too bold that it didn’t match the rest of the house (i.e. no bold purple in this room).  I decided to go the teal/beige route much like these rooms I found.

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Source: This Old House

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Source: Houzz

I also knew a layout change was much needed.  I liked the “n” shaped cabinet look seen below and had a great idea for what to put between the two long cabinets that would solve a good portion of my laundry frustration… well, besides having to actually do laundry (wouldn’t that be nice?).  Hint: it involves where to hang up our line-dry clothes.

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Source: Houzz

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Source: Precision Stoneworks

Game plan was set.  Now onto my favorite part, DEMO!

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I’m not really sure where to start, and maybe that’s why it took us so long to get around to doing this room. From a functionality standpoint, it did the job- it had functioning washer and dryer (electric and gas) hookups, enough storage to hold all the junk we wanted out of the way but needed inside the house, and it kept the cat’s business tucked away, out of sight. However, from an aesthetics standpoint, let’s just say it left something to be desired.

Perhaps the biggest issue was the open storage. As I stated before, we keep the litterbox in this room and, unfortunately, the door must remain open. This means that all of our stuff is exposed, which drives Julie nuts. We tried putting everything in baskets but that proved to be more of a band-aid for the situation, since we could never remember exactly what was in which bin. Furthermore, it seems like every piece of clothing Julie wears is “line dry only,” and there was absolutely nowhere to hang anything.

Clearly, we needed a solution. Believe it or not, this was more of a challenge than you might think. For starters, we were working in a very confined space, and we had a lot of stuff we needed to store. Due to the layout of the room, though, we could really only use one wall, and half of that was taken up by the laundry machines. We also wanted to incorporate a hanging area, meaning another large portion of the space was now allocated. On top of that, Julie had already picked out pictures she wanted to hang on the wall. What wall space did we even have for pictures???

Most importantly, though, this project had to be easy (I wanted to complete it in a weekend), and it had to be cheap. We drew up a plan (read: hastily measured one wall), set a budget (read: argued over finances for an hour), and darted off to Home Depot.

to be continued…

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