Category Archives: Laundry Room

Let Us Show You the Door (Hardware)

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Hers.

Question: what’s more suspenseful than a Game of Thrones finale?

Answer: Our barn door project.

I know we’ve left you in the dark for a bit (ok, maybe an eternity) but we’re finally back to log details for how to create the most cost efficient barn door hardware.  I promise it was worth the wait.

So, where were we?  Oh, right.  Our laundry room looked like this.

dscn0750-23-03-01

And then we installed a new washer and dryer.  The new washer stuck out further than the old one thus blocking the door from being open all the way.  Julie goes out of town.  Chris goes on a door rampage and rips it out so we’re left doorless.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Julie returns home to find said doorless laundry room.  Julie freaks out (just a little) and goes on her own rampage to find a solution.

Enter, the barn door.  *Cue the angelic music.  The barn door search is on.  We soon discover the high prices authentic barn doors are fetching.  The search is off.

But then, an idea struck.  We could BUILD a door and by “we” I mean my very talented husband… with some lots of coaxing (and beer).

Voilah, instant barn door (sort of).  Read our DIY guide for the door here.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Now that you’re caught up, let’s finally let you in on the secret of our super affordable barn door hardware.

Not sure why we were surprised after the shocking realization of the outrageous prices of barn doors, but we soon found ourselves in the same dilemma with the hardware.  The going rate for barn door hardware is the equivalent of several pairs of nice, new shoes and I had to somehow justify the new pair of boots that snuck into my shopping cart.  We needed an alternative solution especially since I seem to be cursed with expensive taste.

Seriously, every hardware inspiration I pinned on Pinterest seemed to be the most expensive.  Lucky me.  I was gravitating towards the chunkier hardware with large pulleys that made a big statement.  Don’t these make you swoon?

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: A Tree Lined Street

I found the two below similar options but the price wasn’t exactly on point.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: Real Sliding Hardware, $353

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Source: Rustica Hardware, starting at $272

So, I turned to Chris and issued a new challenge- recreating the look of this hardware for a fraction of the price.  Which, I’m pretty sure his male brain instantly translated into “project = cutting metal = sparks flying everywhere = awesome” because I haven’t heard him agree to a project that quickly… ever.

His.

Now, where were we?

Ah. Yes. Hardware.

But first things first: I had to shrink an entrance.

The door we built wasn’t going to be wide enough to fully close, i.e. a gap would always show. Why did we do such a silly thing? Because a door any wider than the one we built wouldn’t have been able to open all the way before hitting the trim for the entrance to the kitchen. So we actually put up more wood around the doorway so we could use a smaller door which, ironically, meant that we had an effectively larger doorway. What?

Anyway, I first had to removed the door stop pieces from the door frame. A lot of people don’t realize these are just wood pieces nailed onto the door frame, so eliminating a door is actually really easy, and all you need is a hammer and chisel. And sandpaper. And maybe putty. And paint.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Next, I pulled the trim off the outside:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

See? Now it’s just a flat frame.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

But this still didn’t solve the problem entirely, as I had to reduce the width of the doorway. My solution was to use regular 2×6 lumber. The only problem was that the 2×6 was actually too wide, so I had to rip it down to be the same width as the thickness of the frame.

Recognize that table saw, Pop?

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

If you’re like Julie and just rely on the pictures to figure out what the heck I’m talking about, behold: a narrower doorway.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Oh and while I was nailing up one side of the trim, the other side I was about to install fell and broke a picture frame. Don’t tell Julie.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

So now I could work on hanging the door. Which would require hardware.

After looking at various hardware configurations, I was beginning to get frustrated. There’s really nothing I could find that I could easily modify into barn door hardware, and I was beginning to think we’d have to suck it up and just buy something.

But then I realized something: there’s nothing complex about barn door hardware. There are no complicated linkages, special fittings, or tight tolerances. It’s just brackets and pulleys. And they’re not even fancy brackets. So I figured if I could find the right raw materials, there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t just make my own.

After pondering the configuration, I arrived at the conclusion that apart from fasteners, I’d only need two things, metal flat stock and pulleys. Now all I had to do was design, measure, cut, support, fasten, paint, and mount everything.

I decided the easy part was going to be the track. It didn’t need to be anything more than a straight piece of flat stock, but the problem was that it needed to be over 60″ long and most hardware stores only sell flat stock in 36″ lengths. Fortunately, though, there’s a small “oddity” hardware store around the corner from us, and they had exactly what I needed (I did get a 36″ piece from Home Depot for the brackets, though).

I suppose I should clarify what I’m talking about. “Flat stock” is basically a flat steel rod. For this application, I selected 1.5″ x .125″ (that’s 1/8…) mild steel. I chose this size because it would be thick enough to make a good track and wide enough to run bolts through. I went with mild steel over stainless steel because it’s cheaper, more malleable, easier to cut, lighter, and since I’d be painting it and it would always be indoors, corrosion won’t be an issue. A tip, though: wear gloves when handling carbon steel. It will get on you.

I now had my track piece, but it was too long. So I cut it using my miter saw with a metal-cutting blade. Apparently I’m also available for plumbing work:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

The next order of business would be to get it mounted up. Now, since this thing would be supporting the whole door all by its lonesome, it would have to be mounted to the studs in the wall. I figured out where all the studs where and then drilled holes accordingly through the metal.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Next, I mounted a 1×6 that would double as the top trim of the door frame as well as a bracket of sorts for the track. To ensure it would support everything, I made sure to mount it to the existing door frame as well as the studs.

The real trick here was how to mount the track to the board, but also still away from the board. I found some steel bushings at Home Depot that worked perfectly, so I selected some that were big enough to fit around the lag bolts I was using, and long enough to hold the door away from the wall.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

And now for the obligatory “Greg Test” (coined after my uncle who the family always made stand on hand-built items by my Grandpa to make sure they wouldn’t crumble):

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

You know what they say, if it’s strong enough for pull-ups, it’s strong enough for a door.

OK, so now I had a door and something to hang it on… but never the twain shall meet. Yet.

The brackets were a bit trickier, as they’d require more thought. Basically, you can make your door whatever height you want and hang the track however high you want, but it’s up to the brackets to make up the difference.

Of course, this required turning steel flats into… well, I guess they’re basically hooks. But there was still a minor problem: I had a brilliant solution for the brackets, but I really had no clue what I was going to do for rollers. I pondered many solutions with limited success. I thought about porch screen rollers but figured they’re be too weak. I considered A/C pulleys but figured they’d be too bulky. Heck, I almost went with drive belt rollers but they were too expensive.

Then, as if by some twist of fate, I was met with a barn door miracle: https://www.grainger.com/product/AMERICAN-GARAGE-DOOR-Cable-Pulley-5MVF4?functionCode=P2IDP2PCP. They’re technically cable pulleys for a garage door, but they were the perfect size and material for what I needed, with just the right diameter, groove, and even a look Julie liked. And for $7 for the pair, there was no way I could go wrong.

So now that I had all the pieces, I could get to work. After debating multiple designs, I decided that I didn’t want to mess with a ton of metalwork, so I went with a simple hook style, basically an upside-down “J”. The first calculation I needed to know was how far away from the track the pulley needed to be, as this would determine the diameter of the curve. The track was 1.5″ away from the wall, but I actually wanted to door as close to the wall as possible, but also wanted it to hang straight down. After measuring the thickness of the door, I decided it needed to be set back another inch from the track, putting it at 0.5″ away from the wall. And since the bracket would be mounted on the front of the door, I went with a 2″ diameter curve so that when the pulley was in the middle of the arc of the bracket, there would be 1″ of door behind it.

So, how do you measure a 2″ curve when bending steel? Easy. Just bend it around something you know it 2″, like an iron pipe nipple:

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

I should note here that the reason I’m wearing welding gloves is because I tried heating it up with a propane torch so it would bend easier. It didn’t work. MAPP gas might get hot enough to make it nice and bendy but at the time all I had was propane, and it just wasn’t hot enough. So I had to use vise-grips, a hammer, and some good ole-fashioned elbow grease to shape it around the pipe.

Almost there…

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Once I got it all bent up, I needed to drill holes for the bolt that would act as the “axle” for the rollers. To do this, I just set everything up on some saw horses, measured where I wanted the hole, and drilled through both sides at once to ensure they were even.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

Once all the pieces were made, I just trimmed them down to even lengths and then primed and painted them in our typical oil-rubbed bronze.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

So now that everything was bent, drilled, trimmed, and painted, it was just a matter of mounting everything up in the proper dimensions, which is really just measuring and doing some basic math.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

The final order of business was the trim. Remember where I tore the door trim off? Well, I replaced it with some simple 1×6 pieces that I stained to match the door. It’s the same wood that I used for the track support, so utilizing it as door trim gives form to a critical functional piece.

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | DIY Barn Door Hardware

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

Materials

  • Flat stock- 1.5″x1/8″ mild steel: approximately $20
  • Stainless steel bushings: $5
  • Lag bolts and washers: $10
  • Pulleys: $7
  • 1×6 Lumber (for track support): $3
  • White Primer: $3
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint: $6
  • Door Handle: $1

Total hardware cost: $55, give or take. With LOTS of extra bolts!

And, finally, the finished product!:

After.

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

And again, here’s what the whole enchilada looks like…

DO or DIY | Barn Door Hardware DIY

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

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Filed under Laundry Room

When the Wife’s Away, the Hulk Will Play

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Hers.

Here’s the story of what happens when I go out of town for a few days, leaving Chris behind.  When having a spare weekend without the ole ball and chain, some husbands call up their friends for an epic guys’ night, some commandeer the TV for a 24/7 Sports Center marathon (sadly, I know that’s a thing as my brothers would watch the same episode of SC over and over again until they could parrot it back), and some may even decide to go on their own trip to hunt, camp, or some other bug-infested, manly activity that makes wives shudder at the thought.

So, what does my husband do?  Something a tad different.  He turns into the Extreme Home Hulk-Over… aka goes into full demo mode.

Yup, Chris went all super-Hulk on our laundry room.  And he felt the best way to warn me of his work was with the below text.  Husbands, listen up, here’s how not to break the news to your wife that you’ve gone rogue.

photo-1_v2

Yes, it appears that we were about to venture into phase 2 of the laundry room makeover (um, I didn’t quite realize we even needed a phase 2 but apparently I was wrong).  But let’s catch you up a little, shall we?  We revealed our dramatic laundry room makeover nearly a year ago (read more here).  Short version?

We went from this:

To this:

Ah, and of course my dirty little secret stash hidden behind the door.

The door always stayed open for two reasons- 1) to easily unload the dryer which was a front loader and 2) so Chloe, our cat, could easily access her litter box which was in the right-hand corner.  This drove Chris N-U-T-S- he wanted that door closed so it would help contain the machine noise and Chloe’s less-than-stellar smelling litter.  He even proposed we cut out a doggy door so we could close the door and Chloe could still get in.  Um, no, honey, we’re not installing an interior doggy door.  I’m pretty sure that would automatically lump us in with the crazies on Animal Hoarders (no lie, I recently saw an episode that had a doggy door installed between each room of the house so the cats didn’t have to be inconvenienced by walking out of one room, down the hall, into another room… who does that?!).

So the door stayed as-is until… (fast forward to me being out of town) Chris installed our new washer/dryer set and discovered that the new dryer stuck out further and was impossible to access with the door open.

As I’m enjoying my trip and the free limo involved, my phone is being bombarded with DIY SOS’es.  Husbands, daily lesson #2 for you: seriously, don’t mess with your wife’s free limo time.

DownloadedFile

I’ll give you one guess on if you think he left it alone until I got back…

Well, here’s the first thing I saw leaning against the back of our house upon my return.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

And this site greeted me in the house.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Sayanora door, it’s been nice knowin’ ya.

Because I know my husband and pretty much knew I’d be coming back to a doorless laundry room, I started digging into a potential solution.  No way was I going to leave the space open.  As cute as our teal cabinets are, I wanted to be able to close off this space.  Chris suggested a bifold door but I’m not the biggest fan of bifolds and I knew it would still drive Chris crazy because I’d still never close it due to Chloe.

And then a genius idea struck.  Finally, a way to put all those barn door inspirations I pinned on Pinterest to good use!  This would be the perfect space for a barn door!  It would slide across a track on the exterior so I could leave it open a crack for Chloe to get in and it would be a huge statement piece for that hallway.

Source: The Accent Piece

Source: Design Dump

Ah, such beauty.  We had a plan and were off!

And then I discovered how much barn doors were aaand Chris hit the brakes on the project.  He wasn’t too keen on dropping $500-700 on an old busted up door that he claimed anyone could just build.  “But it’s so full of character!” I argued.  That didn’t get me too far.  It was time to switch tactics.

“Well, hon, if anyone could just build it, why don’t you?”  Bingo.  But I wanted a barn door as genuine as possible (even if it wasn’t originally intended for a barn) and that meant genuine barn wood.  If you haven’t priced out barn wood lately, let me catch you up on how expensive it’s become.  Expensive as in $8.  Don’t make the mistake I did- assuming it was $8 a board.  I grabbed a few and started to check out at our local architectural salvage shop, only to discover that they were $8 per LINEAR FOOT, not per board.  Womp womp.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

We did find an awesome deal on reclaimed cedar planks, however (seen on the far left of the above picture).  Meh, close enough… especially considering it was only $1/foot (which ended up being $8/board).  Not too bad considering they sell new for $15 per board at home improvement stores.

And now for Chris to work his magic and convince me that building a barn door really wasn’t all that tough.  We’ll see, Hulk, we’ll see.

His.

If you read this blog regularly, you know my feelings toward doors: they make me angry. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Sometimes I want to study quantum physics just so I can try to invent a way to eliminate the need for them entirely.

Now, by far the stupidest door in our house was our laundry room door. It was a 30″ door in a 10 sq. ft. room. For the conversion-impaired, that means that the space required for the door to swing open was 25% of the room. 25%! What idiot drew up those plans and thought, “yeah that’s an acceptable thing”? Now I understand that the doorway has to be a particular width in order to be able to fit the laundry machines in, but it’s clearly not a room where a hinged door is a sensible solution.

For a while we were somewhat content to just leave the door open, but our machines operated somewhere just shy of permanent hearing loss noise levels and the cat’s “business” can often be detected three counties away. It wasn’t until my parents gave us their old machines (thanks, Mom and Dad!) that a solution was actually required- the new machines’ plumbing cause them to stick out much further into the room, and since they’re both front-loaders you couldn’t even get them open. So now we had yet another problem with this door, and this time a solution really couldn’t wait but since the decision-maker was out of town, I had no choice but to rip it off the hinges.

Fast forward a few days and we stood in front of the doorway, pondering our newfound dilemma. The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how many sensible options the builder had: a pocket door, bifold doors, double doors, etc. But, of course, they went with the option that minimized usable space in the room. And to make matters worse, every reasonable alternative I could think of would require major “modifications” to the wall, and frankly I’d rather have no door than to have to replace a wall.

And then it hit me: a barn door. Julie has been droning on for a few years about how she “dreams of having a barn door someday,” so getting her on board was a cinch. At the time I didn’t know much about barn doors but I had seen a few pictures and they looked simple enough, plus I know that in the old days a farmer would have probably built his own barn and wouldn’t waste much time on perfecting a door, so it couldn’t possibly be that complicated.

And it’s really not.

For the most part, a barn door is just a bunch of square cuts nailed together in specific dimensions. Julie picked out some antique siding that I planned on using as the “background” of the door, but after seeing the prices they wanted for actual antique barn lumber (something like $8 per linear ft…. yeah, right), I convinced Julie I had a much better solution: cedar.

I guess it’s intended for pergolas and fences, but these 2x6x8 boards were the perfect fit for our project, having just the right level of “rawness” to pull off the look we were going for, but were still quality cuts that were easy to work with. And for $8/ea they seemed like a steal:

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

The only problem with these is that they can vary pretty wildly in color, and we needed three pieces that not only matched each other, but also matched the antique siding we bought. So I crawled around the lumber section showing Julie board after board trying to find a winner. The kid working there kept asking if we needed help, but frankly I think we’re beyond help with these things.

Approximately one eternity later, we had all the pieces we needed for the project. I cut two of the 2×6 cedar pieces to the overall height of the door, which for this application was 7′ (we had fairly thick trim that we wanted to cover). For the cross pieces, I just cut three pieces of uniform length. I was building a door that was 30″ wide, so the cross pieces were 30″ – 2x the 2×6 width (remember, 6″ is the width of a 2×6 BEFORE it’s milled, so it’s usually closer to 5.5″). Obviously two of the cross pieces went at the top and the bottom, but there was a bit of a debate as to where the middle piece would it go: the geometric middle, or the height at which the handle would go, which was bascially 1/3 the total height of the door. Well, we ultimately agreed that an asymmetrical look was what we really wanted, so the middle piece went at 1/3 the overall height of the door.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

To put everything together, I used two types of brackets, 90* on the backside and straight brackets on the top and bottom:

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Why the 90* brackets, you ask? Well, I didn’t want any pieces to sag over time; using a 90* bracket ensures that the downward forces are applied at an angle rather than straight down, reducing the risk of any separation at the seams. The straight brackets at the top and bottom were for added rigidity, especially when moving the door around during construction.

Next, I had to put the siding together across the back of the door to created the “background” for the barn look. The only difficult part of this was that I was actually assembling it atop a pair of sawhorses and everything was technically upside down. I glued everything down with wood glue (which was probably overkill) and then finished it off with my trim nailer:

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

So now I had a pretty basic door. The wood was rough so we sanded it down to avoid splinters:

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Unfortunately, I wasn’t done quite yet. Julie also wanted a diagonal piece, so I used a cedar 2×3 and traced out the angles across the door sections:

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

So, put it all together and what do you get? A barn door! That isn’t from a barn…

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Here’s a breakdown of all the pieces that went into it.

image_8_map

Supply and Cut List:

  • Two 2×6 cedar boards – cut to 7′ long for the sides. Purchased two at $9.97 each.
  • Three 2×6 cedar boards – cut to 19″ long for the top, bottom, and middle. Purchased one board to cut three pieces from at $9.97 each.
  • Two 2×3 cedar boards – used for the crossbeams. Purchased one piece  to cut two pieces from at $3.97 each.
  • Four old cedar siding planks – cut to 7′ long to make up the base of the door. Purchased four planks at $1/linear foot or $8 each.
  • Four right angle brackets – to hold the side boards to the top and bottom boards.
  • Two T-brackets – for center board.
  • Four straight brackets – two for the top board and two for the bottom.
  • Wood glue – already had on-hand.
  • Nails – already had on-hand.
  • Handle. $3.28.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Wood: $65
  • Brackets: $5
  • Handle: $3
  • Total: Just under $75

Click here to watch the sparks fly as I twist raw steel into some sweet custom barn door hardware!

After.

And here’s where we tell you how the door debate is now over.  Right?  Not quite.

Here’s the door when Julie passes through.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

And here’s the door when Chris passes by.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

It gets quite the workout.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Good thing it looks just as good closed as it does open.

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

And here’s a reminder of where we started.  Pretty amazing how one door can transform a space so dramatically, huh?

DO or DIY | How to Build a Barn Door

Stay tuned for the breakdown of the door hardware and track build!

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Filed under Laundry Room

Laundry Room: Revealed

Hers.

Alright, enough with all the suspense.  I know you just want to see the after pictures but let’s rewind for a moment, shall we?

We started with this white, cramped, and very-blah room.  The shelves weren’t really working for us because who wants to walk into a room and be immediately greeted by cleaning supplies, light bulbs, and a cat carrier?  I don’t think this look has caught on in the interior design world yet.

LaundryBefore1 LaundryBefore6

So, why not try a few baskets?

LaundryBefore9

It solved some of the problems but we knew we could do better.  This room was screaming for some doors to tuck away all of our stuff (because, seriously, who has a laundry room that could coordinate with a bright orange Tide bottle and purple box of Swiffer pads?).

And let’s not forget our sad excuse of a light fixture to top it off.

LaundryBefore10

The room needed a serious facelift, including:

  • Establish a theme (country couture). Check.
  • Convince Chris that determining a theme for a room isn’t insane.  In Progress.
  • Demo old floors and install new floors (read about that here). Check.
  • Install new base boards. Check.
  • Install crown molding (because our laundry room’s fancy like that). Check.
  • Finally pick a wall color and paint. Check.
  • Demo the shelves and replace with cabinets (read about that here). Check.
  • Convince Chris to say goodbye to his lovely navy laundry bin from college. Sorry, honey. Check.
  • Shift shelving to a less obtrusive location, making the room look less cluttered. Check.
  • Go bold with the cabinet color. Check.
  • Find awesome cabinet knobs. Check.
  • Install new light fixture. Check.
  • Convince Chris a chandelier wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing in a laundry room.  On Hold.  (After a long hard debate, I finally won the teal cabinet/glass knob debate with him.  Baby steps).
  • Finally, bring some artwork into the space to amp up the “country couture” look. Check.

His.

I don’t have a lot of demands when renovating a room, but it’s usually just keeping a realistic budget and that it be physically possible (Julie doesn’t have the firmest grasp on physics and geometry). This room, however, is probably one of the most diverse rooms in the house when it comes to functionality: laundry, storage, containing the most foul smell any living creature has ever created (i.e. the cat’s litterbox), etc. So, I had my own list of demands:

  • Everything had to have a purpose. This room is too small for waste and “fluff”. Check.
  • Everything had to be hidden (no more open shelves). Check.
  • The first thing I learned about women after I got married is that at least 98% of their clothing can’t be dried, so there had to be a place to hang-dry. Check.
  • Learn to tile a floor. Check.
  • Unexpectedly learn to contain mold. Check.
  • Finally balance and level the machines. Check.
  • Install a cat door so we could finally close the laundry room door: On hold.
  • Not lose any fingers, toes, blood, hair, sanity, tools, or money. Ha!

I also want to mention that Julie’s plans for a chandelier are not “on hold”, they’re done. We tried installing a hanging light but it was so dark it looked like the kind of interrogation room the CIA claims doesn’t exist. So flush-mount it is.

Hers.

After.

Remember this guy that was hanging on the right wall?  We moved him behind the door for cleaning and cat supplies we needed more often.  When the door’s open (which it always is), you can’t even see this.

DSCN0747 23-03-01

We moved the broom/Swiffer station to where the ironing board used to be.

DSCN0745 23-03-01

And moved the ironing board to where the long shelving unit used to be as it looks a lot cleaner and is more easily accessible here.

DSCN0744 23-03-01

Alright, alright.  Now, to the good stuff.

DSCN0732_2 23-03-01

Ah, we can finally hide our clutter away behind those lovely teal cabinets.

DSCN0750 23-03-01

A legit light fixture!

DSCN0733_2 23-03-01

Ah, finally a place for me to hang dry clothes!  This has really worked out to be a great solution for us.

DSCN0749 23-03-01

The cabinets aren’t huge but they hold just enough for what we need them for… to hide neon colored items.

DSCN0742 23-03-01

And I wouldn’t be a true Texan if I didn’t have some cowboy boots framed. Bam.  Country couture.

DSCN0757 23-03-01

Source List and Prices.

  • Knobs: World Market, $19.96 ($4.99 each)
  • 2 Tall cabinets: Hampton Bay 15 x 30 from Home Depot, $92.80 during a 20% off sale
  • Middle cabinet: Hampton Bay 36 x 12 from Home Depot, $54.40 during a 20% off sale
  • Cabinet Paint: Home Depot, Behr matched to Valspar’s Glass Tile, $18.95 for a pint
  • Wall Paint: Home Depot, Behr formula BL 144/Cl 288/RL 72, $32.98 for a gallon
  • Base Boards: Home Depot, $10
  • Crown Molding: Home Depot, $10
  • Floor Tiles: Seconds and Surplus, $44.70 ($1.49 per square foot)
  • Wooden Pole: Bed, Bath, and Beyond, $12 with 20% off coupon
  • Wooden Hangers: Garden Ridge, $9.99
  • Frame for Art: IKEA, $20
  • Grocery Bag Holder: Bed Bath and Beyond, $9.99
  • Laundry Hamper Stand: Container Store, $0 (received as a gift but it’s $24.99)
  • Laundry Hamper Bag: Container Store, $8.99

Total: $344.76… funny how such a small room can really add up but it was well worth it!

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Filed under Laundry Room

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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