Tag Archives: Home Improvement

Trash Talk

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Hers.

It’s time to get trashy in the kitchen, people.  No, not as in “let’s decoupage the cabinets with faces of kittens.”  I’m talking about the age old kitchen question of where to stash the trash.

On day 1 of move-in, we put a trash can on the end of the kitchen counter by the breakfast nook and there it stayed for the next three years.  Not that we loved it being the first thing anyone saw when entering the kitchen, but we just had no idea where else to put it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

For a small family unit of 2, we go through a lot of trash, even after sorting recycling.  There was the option of downgrading to a smaller can to put under the sink or in the pantry but I knew we’d never have a successful marriage because I’d be saying, “Chris, can you take out the trash” more often than “Honey, can you take care of dinner tonight?”… (which is already pretty common).

I found the perfect solution while perusing Pinterest the other day.  Why yes- let’s just build a pull-out trash cabinet!  I could find a medium-sized trash can and just tuck it away behind a cabinet door when I didn’t need it.  Genius!

pull out trash cabinet

Source: Schrock 

pull out trash cabinet

Source: Houzz

I even knew exactly which cabinet I could sacrifice for this purpose too.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

This cabinet never had an interior shelf and was an odd size for normal kitchen storage but would be the perfect space for a hidden trash can!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

I knew it was meant to be because we even had a pair of drawer slides leftover from our pantry project (catch up on the pantry project here).

We purchased the drawer slides for $5.99 each here (they’ve worked perfectly on the pantry since we installed them nearly 2 years ago, by the way.  We highly recommend them as a super cost effective solution for pull-out shelving!).

With the solution in mind, I turned it over to the execution department (hm, maybe another term is in order so it doesn’t sound like I turn our projects over for beheading).

His.

Growing up, there was a constant battle between my parents about where to put the trash can: my dad wanted it in a convenient area in or around the kitchen, but my mom wanted it completely out of the house. Their compromise was to keep it in the laundry room, which was technically halfway between the kitchen and the back door. Somehow, though, the battle ensued once again after I moved out, and the trash is always in a different location every time I visit.

Fortunately, though, Julie and I never had such a conflict; we both tend to be a bit lazy, so keeping the trash anywhere outside of the kitchen was definitely not an option. There also wasn’t really anywhere in the kitchen to keep the trash can, so… out in the open it stayed. We did, however, put another trash can in the garage so that we could dispose of the “funkier” items so as not to stink up the house. This system worked quite well for about three years until one Saturday afternoon, the inevitable happened: Julie changed her mind, and now she wanted somewhere to hide the trash. Lucky me.

It turns out, though, that luck was actually on my side for this one, as Julie had already decided where she wanted it and I already had everything I’d need, which was really just some wood and some sliders, all of which I had leftover from previous projects.

The first step was to get the sliders mounted inside the cabinet. I cut some strips out of plywood (I needed thin wood) and screwed it to the inside walls.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I mounted the sliders to the wood, making sure the two sides were level and even with each other:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I cut down some 1/2 x 4 wood pieces and mounted the inner slide piece to them:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Initially I tried spacing everything out and making a box so I’d have a cross piece to mount to, but it turned out to be a huge pain to get the widths right, so I gave up and removed the front and back piece, and just mounted the cabinet door directly onto the sliding wood pieces.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Once everything was done, we had an issue of the door slowly sliding open when it began to become weighed down with trash, so I needed some sort of latch that was easy to open but also stayed out of sight. My solution was a magnetic catch, which was just a metal tab mounted to the door that would stick to a magnet mounted inside the cabinet:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I reused the original cabinet pull and just lined it up with the drawer pull above it:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Then I had to patch and paint the holes from the old pull location and nail gun:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Boom. Trash cabinet.

Materials Needed:

  • Drawer slides, $5.99 from eBay
  • 1/4″ Plywood – 2 strips, already had on-hand
  • 1/2″ x 4″ Lumber – 2 pieces, already had on-hand
  •  Magnetic catch, $1.28 from Home Depot

Price: Since we already had the wood leftover from previous projects, this came out to a grand total of $7.27.  Not too bad for some trash.

After.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Now you see it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Now you don’t!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

4 Comments

Filed under Easy DIY Projects, Kitchen

We Have An Arch Nemesis

Hers.

And it’s name is: our pantry door.  Chris and I are coming to find that we have bad door luck.  I don’t know what kind of bad door karma we picked up over the years… perhaps from my younger self slamming too many of them in teenage angst or Chris graffiti-ing his college dorm door with Irish drinking phases (he argues that his dorm was getting demolished after that semester anyway so why not pay tribute to our home land of paleness and potatoes).  Whatever it was, the door species has an enemy number one and it is us.

If you remember, our epic battle with doors began with our patio door.  After a year of living with a chewed up door from the previous owner’s dog, we finally bought a new door to replace it.  Turns out, the door didn’t fit.  A father-in-law, many colorful exclamations, and a full weekend later, the matter was finally resolved.  Read more in our post about it here.

Well, the evil door realm went dormant for a few years but, alas, it returned… with a vengeance.

But, let me start at the beginning.

You may remember our pantry renovation where we turned this disorganized, non-functional mess…

img_1857

Into this super functional, beautiful being (read more on the transformation here).

after8

We decided to replace the old pantry door with a new one that matched the rest of the new doors we’ve been installing throughout the house.

All done, right?  Wrong.  So very very wrong.

His.

I. (expletive deleted). Hate. Doors. I mean, I really hate them. We live in North Texas, a region notorious for unstable soil. What this means for us is, no matter how much care I put into expertly fitting our doors to within exact tolerances, the foundation will eventually shift one way or another and the door either won’t close or won’t stay closed. The pantry door, however,was another story. It had it out for me.

Julie was convinced we needed a door that matched all the other interior doors we were installing in the house. The pantry opening was 20″ and the smallest door I could find (without custom ordering something for like a million dollars or whatever) was 24.” “No worries,” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just cut 2″ off each side.” I was in for a bit of a surprise.

As I began cutting into the door I learned something very disheartening: doors are now such low-quality crap that they’re hollow. As in, there’s nothing between the side you open and the side you close. It’s just air. Now, I’m all about cutting costs, building efficiently, and conserving materials, but when my door is barely as sturdy as the box it came in, it tends toward the ridiculous. I’m kind of scared to knock.

Look at this junk:

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

So what did I do? Well,I had three options: order a custom door (I’d have to take out a second mortgage), buy a second door and try to figure something else out (I already wasted money on this one, why would I buy another useless cardboard box?), or do what I do best and pinch my pennies until a solution falls out. So, I took the one solid piece of the door (i.e. the outer frame, which is probably only there so you can mount hinges) and hammered it back in to make my own custom-sized door.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

After a little glue, wood filler, and frustration, I had my own custom door. Is this the most ghetto thing I’ve ever done? Yes. Did it work? Mostly. It was still a tight squeeze so I had to sand it down in a few places.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once I got it mounted and installed the knob, I had a door that was about 80% functional and, most importantly, looked good closed. For now.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

As it turns out, the thin frame I reinstalled wasn’t quite up to the job of being, what I now realize, the most frequently operated door in the house, not to mention the fact it had a spice rack bolted to the back. Eventually the screws for the hinge managed to work themselves loose and a few had even ripped themselves out. So, effectively, the door fell off. Oops.

Hers.

Well, that didn’t go exactly as planned.  It wasn’t all lost though.  I took this as an opportunity to sneak in more “shabbiness” to our home (shh don’t tell Chris- he thinks shabby translates to junk, ha).  Besides, I had been dreaming of an old rustic-looking pantry door anyway.  None of that standard builder grade stuff here!

Come join me in my drool-fest over these fantasticly shabby doors:

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Houzz via Pinterest

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Two Maisons

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Down to Earth Style

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Source: Cottage Living

So, here’s the part where I tell you I found the perfect shabby contender for our pantry door, right?  Right.  Here you go.  Just look at her.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

She was p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  And the best part?  I found her at a local architectural salvage place so, of course, she cost next to nothing for me to claim her.  Like $1o nothing.  Done and done.  Right?

Wrong.

Sooomeone (*ahem Chris) had to rain on my parade with the ole “I bet it’s lead paint” line.  Sigh, how I hate when the hubby proves me wrong.  Lead paint… pantry…. food… it doesn’t make for the best combo.  And now we mourn.  Goodbye old, poison-infused door.  

Sooo we were nowhere closer to keeping Chloe the cat out of turning our pantry into her personal jungle gym aka finding a pantry door.

To cheer me up, Chris drove us over to a second architectural salvage shop.  I kid you not, I sorted through the door section (which is made up of 400 or so doors) a full three times before I finally gave up and admitted they didn’t have anything that would fit the bill.  Not only that, but this place was significantly more expensive, like $60-100 per door more expensive.  I may be a little naive but isn’t paying $100 for an old beat-up door a little ridiculous, even for me?

As I made my way to the exit (moping and dragging my feet in disappointment of course), I saw an excited Chris galloping towards me.  I figured he found some old tools or, worse, the expensive set of gas logs he’s tried to talk me into for the last seven visits (what’s wrong with good ole firewood??).  But, instead, he claims to have found the perfect door… in the shutter room.  Whaa?

We rounded the corner to find piles upon piles of old house shutters stacked against each other.  It’s like the TJ Maxx of shutters in there.  Ugh, and I hate sorting.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

I decided to forfeit one clean finger to gingerly push each shutter from the other, one by one until I finally found the perfect candidate.

BOOM.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Helloooo new door.  What was most funny about this find was that finding a door for our oddly shaped pantry opening (20″ wide) had been a nightmare.  Door manufacturers apparently didn’t go that skinny.  This shutter was the perfect width!  All we had to do was trim it down a little on the bottom, which was solid wood so we wouldn’t have the problem we had with the last door which was hollow.  Also, it had all that intricate molding that made those old shabby doors look dull in comparison.  I was even sold on the black paint.  Glossy black doors ARE all the rage now, afterall.  Why not jump on that bandwagon already?

It was originally listed for $60 but, because it was a lone soldier- all the other matching shutters were either gone or didn’t make it to the store, the store discounted it down to $30 for us.  Why, yes, we will pay an additional $20 for a few extra years on our life aka a lead paint-free door.

At this point, I was on a roll.  As we walked up to the counter to pay, we passed by the door accessories room (this salvage shop is so magical).  The heavens parted and there was my antique door plate and antique crystal knob that would complete the look of our pantry door.  Mama needs some bling, mk?

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

A $5 door plate, $7 knob, and $30 door later, we were all set.  There was no stopping us now!

His.

Alright, so we had to scrap the original door idea and were back to square one. By now Julie had decided that she really wanted an antique door, and since door dimensions weren’t really standardized until later in the 20th century, I figured that might not be a bad route to take. If nothing else, older doors are probably solid wood and can be cut to size without any, um, issues. So it was off to the “architectural salvage warehouse,” i.e. overpriced junkyard.

Our first stop was in a part of town that’s… well, it was in the hood. Like, I was surprised no one pulled smash n’ grab for my car radio. Anyway, they had just about every door ever installed in Dallas before 1950, so there was plenty to choose from. One common factor, though, was that they all had the tell-tale signs of lead paint. I don’t possess the equipment, facilities, or expertise to properly remove and dispose of lead paint, and since my health insurance provider and I would prefer to avoid permanent nervous system damage I told Julie there was no way we were getting any of those doors. Sorry ’bout your bad luck…

Now, at this point Julie and I were getting into a fairly expressive argument over how I wanted her to be miserable the rest of her life by choosing my nervous system over her door, and an employee came over to see what all the fuss was about. Julie explained how much she loved toxic doors and I explained how much I love not dying, and the woman did her best to quell my fears. “Oh, you have nothing to worry about,” she said reassuringly, “I’ve been around this stuff for two whole years and I’m fine!” At that moment we both noticed that her hair probably hadn’t been washed since 1997 and she spoke through what can only be described as “meth teeth”… and we began looking for the exit.

Anyway, Julie has already told a mostly accurate story of how we found our actual door, so I’ll skip forward to what we ended up doing with it. It was in pretty sad shape when we got it and definitely needed to be cleaned up and painted, but overall the wood was in good condition except at the very bottom (this is a shot of the back side, which was never painted since it faced the side of a house in its former life as a shutter):

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once we got it cleaned up and scraped off any stray splinters, we painted it an oil-based flat black. I really hate working with oil-based paint, but they really do lay down the best finishes.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

True to form, Julie’s original color choice didn’t last long, and a day later she decided it looked too much like a chalkboard. So I went out to buy some gloss black.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

Once it was painted, I had to cut it down to size. Remember the bit at the bottom I said was in sad shape? Well, as luck would have it, that’s exactly how much I needed to chop off!

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

The final challenge was finding a latch. We were able to re-use the hinges from the old door, but the molding and accents on the door made it just impossible enough to fit a traditional latch that we were once again scratching our heads. My brilliant solution? A ball catch, typically seen mounted on the frame of a door that presses closed. This basically made our knob a dummy knob, which meant it could be mounted anywhere we wanted.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

After.

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

DO or DIY | Pantry Door Transformation

His.

“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none. None more black.”

Pop quiz- what movie is this from?

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Filed under Kitchen

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?

LaundryBefore1

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.

LaundryBefore9

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).

LaundryDuring23

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!

LaundryDuring24

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.

LaundryDuring25

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…

LaundryDuring26

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!

LaundryDuring27

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:

LaundryDuring28

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.

LaundryDuring29

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:

LaundryDuring31

A little more…

LaundryDuring32

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:

LaundryDuring34

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.

LaundryDuring35

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.

042397044229lg

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

LaundryDuring37

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

LaundryDuring36

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.

photo-1

Perfection.

Laundry Cabinets2

Stay tuned for the final reveal (finally)!

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Filed under Laundry Room

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…

LaundryBefore9

Into something more like this…

Inspiration6

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?

Master Bath_After7

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.

His.

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

Inspiration4

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.

Inspiration1

Source: Houzz

Inspiration5

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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A Tale of Three Lights

Hers.

We’re baaack.  I know we have a lot of catching up to do.  So, let’s see… what have you missed?

Oh yeah, that.  That would be from Chris falling through the attic floor.

As we were putting our Halloween decorations back, (Chris in the attic, me passing up boxes from the ground), I suddenly heard a yell and looked up to find a leg protruding through the ceiling.

Oh boy… looks like we’ll be brushing up on our patch-work skills soon.

So, what else have we been up to besides reinventing our ceiling?

Well, we set our sights on sprucing up our entryway from this sad little outdated pot light to something a little lot grander.

Remember these $5 lanterns I picked up from the ReStore awhile back (read up on that project here)?  Before they became my latest table accessories, I thought one of them would be the perfect entryway light.

And here starts our journey of the three entry way lights… aka the story of how I succeeded in convincing Chris to install three different lights and survived to tell the tale.

Light Attempt #1

Our first light attempt used the shorter, hexagon-shaped ReStore light which we cleaned and sprayed with an oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  It wasn’t terrible but I wasn’t convinced that it was the right solution.  It just looked too small in the space.

Chris promised that he would replace it if I still didn’t like it after a week.

Big shocker, I still didn’t like it after a week so up went one of the other ReStore lights.

Light Attempt #2

This one was more of a rounded hexagon shape so I thought it would have a larger presence in the space without the risk of head butting unsuspecting visitors.

Meh.  It was okay but really underwhelming.  I wanted a statement piece and this guy was still too small and plain.  I think these guys work better as table lanterns than functional entryway lights.  So how was I going to break the news to Chris?  A six pack of beer and a big “look how cute I am” smile should do the trick.

Well, it did work, but my punishment was living through it for months as Chris vowed he would only replace it one more time so the next light better be the one or else I better enroll in Electricity 101 classes.

Talk about pressure.  But I like a good challenge.  Unfortunately, the perfect light took a few months to stumble across.

But first, I scoured Pinterest narrowing down the look I wanted and decided that I still liked the lantern look but I needed to go bigger, like way bigger.

Source: Inspired Design

Source: A Life’s Design 

Source: Wisteria

Now, where’s a girl to find one of these massive beauts?

Source: Bellacor, $109.90

Source: Ballard Designs, $229

Source: Wisteria, $279

Source: Wayfair, $520.20

Source: Amazon, $729

Source: Lamps Plus, $750.91

Source: Horchow, $1,385

Can you guess which one’s my favorite?  Hint: Chris would have an aneurism if I bought this light… actually, that’s a terrible hint because any price over $0 gives Chris an aneurism.  Anyways, I just died over the Horchow light but not even I could justify spending over a grand for our entryway light.

I was excited to have the look narrowed down but a little disheartened by the cost of my options.  At this point, Chris had a strict rein on our home improvement budget (he can be such a DIY scrooge!) so I needed a miracle.

*insert months of impatient scouring here… until…

We made a pit stop in the ReStore one Sunday looking for… well, probably something completely different… when I stuck my head into the “Last Chance Room,” a room of the broken, ugly, and outdated (you know it’s bad when even the ReStore calls it outdated).

I found this little guy wedged under a mountain of brass lights who are still hoping for the day that 1991 comes back in style.

It was PERFECT!  It was the best combination of all the lights I loved.  And then I looked at the price tag and felt like I had won the lottery.  $60!  But, wait, it was in the “Last Chance Room” and that meant *gasp could it be* another 50% off!  Um, yes, $30!!

Uh-oh… that meant something was wrong with it and then I found it.  One pane of glass was broken so they marked it down.  All I needed to do was pop the glass out of the other sides and voilah, all fixed.  No need for the glass anyways.

So, here’s the part of the story where I tell you I gleefully raced home to have Chris install it, right?

Wrong.

The DIY scrooge struck again.  “That light is way too big.  It’ll never work in our entryway.  Our ceiling just isn’t that tall.”

Wah wah wah waaaaaaah.

Wives, I let our people down in that moment.  I gave in to this ridiculous argument of “we should go home and measure before we purchase something that may not even work.”

Oh, but you know I gathered a dozen or so of those brass lights and heaped them on top of the light, hiding it from sight.  No one was going to grab my perfect light while I was out on my fool’s errand.

We raced home, me lamenting all the way that someone was surely going to snatch the light up and Chris muttering to himself how illogical women are.

I raced through the door, grabbed the measuring tape, held it up in the entryway, showed Chris that it could be installed without people fearing for their heads, shoved him back in the car, and we were back on our way to the ReStore in under 10 minutes.

I took off like a mad woman through the store, shimming through old stoves, leaping over paint cans, and dodging racks of shovels.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t as epic as that sounds, but I’m sure I, at least, looked like a mad woman.

Folks, you can breathe easy.  Chris lived to see another day.  The light was still there, in my same hiding place, untouched.  You lucked out this time, hubby.  I wasted no time from there.  This sucker was mine and there’d be no more convincing me otherwise.

Ah, there’s nothing more that I love than a great bargain (except you, honey, of course…) and this was the bargain to top all bargains.  This will be the tale my great grandchildren will gather around me to hear every holiday season.  It was THAT epic.  And Chris was pleased to find out that I had finally settled on a light so we could move on to another project.

What can I say, third time’s the charm!

His.

First of all, I didn’t fall through the ceiling. I exited the attic in the manliest way possible.

I don’t know what it is about women, but they seem to have some sort of obsession with lights. This strikes me as very odd, though, because this is the same gender that believes the quality of their looks fluctuates with the placement, intensity, and spectral range of light. Julie, of course, is no different: it’s not enough that the lights light, they also have to look good and put out said light in a very specific manner. So it was time to experiment.

Initially, I thought we had the light picked out. We had chosen the smallest of the three lanterns from the ReStore that we had refinished as it was short enough to hang from a decent length of chain. It was also a single bulb socket and I thought the light output was perfect for our very small entryway. I don’t know if Julie agreed or if she just likes making me mad, but this is the light we chose. So it’s the light I set out to install.

The first order of business was removing the old light. Most ceiling boxes are a 4″ diameter circle, but this light was a 10″x10″ square:

This meant I’d have some drywall work to do, and I despise drywall work. I cut a piece of cardboard to size to use as a template:

Once I had it cut to the size of the hole, I traced out where the ceiling box opening would be:

I nailed the ceiling box to the beam that ran alongside the light, and used the cardboard template to trace and cut a piece of drywall. First try fit like a glove! Tip: See my drywall screws? I glued a scrap piece of 2×4 to the top side of the ceiling so I’d have something to really hold the drywall patch.

Putty and paint makes a boat what it ain’t!

Here’s the light I installed. I guess the coloring is off because it’s supposed to look bronze or something.

All done! I used a ceiling medallion to help the light stand out a little more.

Well, it turns out that all good things really do come to an end, and Julie demanded a different light. I made her sleep on it for a week but she really stuck to her guns and threw a hissy fit over it, so I installed what she had now decided was the ideal light, which just so happened to be the ugliest light we own.

Look how terrible that is! It’s so bright in there I was afraid to turn on the light for fear the paint might burn off the walls!

I think Julie agreed, because she never turned on the light and finally admitted it looked horrible. Again, she demanded a new light, only this time I got wise- I was tired of her chronic indecision, so I agreed to install one more light, meaning whatever light she chose would be permanent. At first she objected, but I think she realized no amount of pouting was going to make me want to change that stupid light again. Every so often, she’d complain about the light and beg to change it, but I just reminded her of our deal, and that was that.

Well, she finally found it. THE light, she proclaimed. And let me tell you, this thing is huge. It’s so big that I was convinced it was going to be a skull-cracker and/or rip the ceiling box out (still not convinced that won’t happen). Before we bought it, I actually made her go home and measure the entryway to make sure I wouldn’t hit my head on it.

Alas, we came home with our new light. It came with like 8′ of chain but our ceiling is so low I could literally only use one link. It also had some weird scroll thing on the bottom which I also had to remove for liability purposes. But hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Ignore the socks. All of them.

Julie threatened my life if I didn’t include this picture:

After.

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