Tag Archives: Renovation

Exciting News!

Hers.

Knock Off Decor Feature

We’re so excited to announce that our barn door tutorial was featured on Knock Off Decor today!  Check out the full post on their site here.  To our readers who haven’t been to Knock Off Decor before, I’ll warn you now, you’re about to be sucked in to pages and pages of the most amazing DIY tutorials that show how to recreate pieces that look just like the high end versions from places like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn!  I’m seriously addicted to this site and have found tons of great ideas there.  And, spoiler alert!  They’ll be featuring our barn door hardware later this week.

To all our new readers who heard about us from Knock Off Decor, welcome!  We’re glad to have you stop by, hopefully gain some inspiration, and, above all, have a laugh at how ridiculous renovation life can truly be.

To jump to our original posts on both of those elements, see below for links.

-Julie

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Filed under Site Housekeeping

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!

33 Comments

Filed under Laundry Room

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

Loosen Up My Buttons, Babe

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Hers.

Ah yes, this was my anthem for the second half of our headboard project.  Curse you Pussycat Dolls and your catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head for days!  For those of you up-to-date, you know our latest endeavor has been creating a winged, tufted headboard for the guest bedroom (for those of you needing to catch up, check out the project breakdown here).  You may also remember my oath to do this all without touching a sewing machine.

Well, I had reached the final portion of the project – covering the screws with matching fabric buttons.  We decided to take a day’s break from the project… and the day turned into a week… I’m sure you DIYers know how that goes.

The main source of my procrastination was the fact that I was waiting on my button making kit to arrive in the mail… okay, so maybe that only accounted for 2 days.  The other 5 days involved me dreading the creation of 67 buttons.  Yup, we had 67 screws to cover.  Yippee…  While the ultra-tall headboard makes quite a statement, it came with quite the price.  In the end it was worth it and I love the look, but for those of you with the same mindset I had of “the bigger, the better,” here’s your warning:

Big tufted headboards = a heck of a lot of buttons = a heck of a lot of work.

The process isn’t really that bad.  It takes about 1-1.5 minutes per button.  I sat and did mine while catching up on Real Housewives of Orange County because nothing makes dreadfully boring tasks like button making more interesting than a room full of overly-tanned, plastic-faced women screaming at each other.

So, here we go:  how to make fabric buttons without busting out the evil beast also known as the sewing machine.

First things first, you’ll need a button making kit, button shells, and button backs.  The least expensive option I found was a set from eBay for 100 buttons (buy extra because you’ll inevitably screw a few up).  I chose to buy size 24 (or 5/8″) buttons.  For those of you using the “tufting via screwdriver” method like we did, this size works great or you can go a little larger, depending on your preference.  For this method, I recommend buying flat backs (instead of wire backs) as you’ll be gluing rather than sewing it to the headboard.

Materials:

  • Button making kit which consists of a pusher (the pink item seen bottom left) and a mold (the clear item seen on the bottom right): $2.99 from eBay
  • Button back (seen at the top left)
  • Button shell (seen at the top middle): this plus the backs are $15.99 from eBay for a set of 100
  • Fabric swatch
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step One: Take the mold (the clear piece), placing the flat side down.  Put your piece of fabric over the mold.  Place the pusher (the pink piece) on top of the fabric (flat side up).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Two: Push the pusher (who would’ve seen that coming?) so the fabric is pushed down into the mold.  I gave the pusher a good twist too to really be sure the fabric was wedged in there.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Remove the pusher and you’ll see your fabric swatch is beginning to make the button shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Three: Place the button shell with the rounded side down, on top of the fabric swatch (still placed in the mold).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Four: Place the pusher on top of the button shell and push down.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

When you remove the pusher, the fabric and shell should be lodged in the mold.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Five: Without removing the shell and fabric from the mold, trim the excess fabric from the edges.  Don’t trim it too close as you’ll need to fold the edges over the back in the next step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Here you can see how much fabric should be trimmed.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons 

Step Six: Next, fold the edges in, covering the back of the button shell and use the pusher to push it into shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Meet my best friend.  The hot glue gun.  In theory, you can use the pusher to push down the button back and it should pop in, securing the fabric in the back.  My fabric, however, was too thick to successfully do this so I found gluing the back on worked just as well.  If your fabric is thinner, you may be able to use the pusher instead and skip this step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Seven: Use a hot glue gun to put glue on the back side of the button.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Eight: Quickly (before the fabric unfolds or glue cools), place the button back on top of the glue, securing the fabric ends.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Nine: Warning!  The hot glue will make the button back very hot so don’t use your finger to push it into place.  I used my pusher again to be sure the button back was secure and pushed it firmly in place.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Voilah!  Fabric button!

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

To finalize the headboard, I used my trusty friend again to put glue on the backs of each button then simply placed it on each screw on the headboard.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

I gave it a little extra push with my finger for good measure.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

It’s held great was SO much easier than sewing the buttons through the headboard.  That’s just nonsense, people.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Happy button making!

22 Comments

Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

Tuft Luck

DO or DIY: how to make a tufted headboard

Hers.

I think every room needs a little glam factor.  Our guest bedroom started out pretty glamorous… for a nursery.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Now before you all freak out, no, my eggo’s not preggo.  The above picture was taken when the sellers were still in the house.  I’m still a little bummed they took the chandelier with them- that was the best part.  They left us with a lovely 80s dome light in its place and the birdcage decals.  Gee, you shouldn’t have… no, really, you shouldn’t have.

We haven’t shown many pictures of the guest room thus far (besides the construction of the bench at the end of the bed- read more here), so I guess we need to do a little catching up.

The guest room actually ended up being one of the first rooms we painted upon moving in since we had all the bedrooms re-carpeted immediately.  And because we’re lazy painters, we wanted to paint while the old floors were still in so we didn’t have to cover them for protection against paint drips.  The bright red color was cute for a nursery- a nice departure from the typical pink used for girls- but it was a little too… well, bright red, especially for a guest room.  So, we went from bright red to a flat sheen of dark gray and softened it with whites and teal as the accent.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The dark gray brought some drama to this mama but I knew something was still missing.  The wall above the bed was an empty void begging to be filled with awesome-ness.

Bedroom… drama… hmm…  I smell a headboard project coming on.

I knew I needed something pretty tall to cover up a lot of the blank space above the bed and I wanted the headboard to be the room’s statement piece.  I was drawn to tall tufted options that included wings on the side that enveloped the bed such as these.

morgan-harrison-home-milbrook-modern-22A

Source: Mix and Chic

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Source: Jillian Harris

I was curious what headboards like this cost.  I finally found a pretty close match to what I was dreaming of, seen below.

43366366fda6

Source: Ethos Interiors

Unfortunately, it came with two problems:

  1. It was from Australia.  I can only imagine what shipping a headboard from across the globe would cost.
  2. It was retailing for $690.  Now, I’ve seen plenty of way more expensive headboards but still, $690 was more than I’ve spent on everything in our master bedroom thus far and this room would only get used a few times a year when we had overnight visitors so it didn’t really seem worth it.

I found a few, less exciting, domestic options from the usual suspects but those weren’t any more reasonable.

img17c

Source: Pottery Barn, $799

HC-44KY_ex

Source: Horchow, $1199

prod1628016

Source: Restoration Hardware, $1465

So, what’s a girl to do?  Buy her husband some beer, suggest steak and potatoes for dinner (it helps if your husband is severely Irish), then sweetly ask his help DIY-ing a headboard masterpiece.  This method has proven 100% effective thus far so, ladies, take notes.

And we were off.

First, I needed to settle on a fabric.  Because I wasn’t 100% convinced this was going to work (not that I don’t have faith in you, honey, but this seemed a long shot even for you), I didn’t want to spend a ton on fabric.  I also couldn’t decide on a color (should I go white, cream, light gray, medium gray, or dark gray) so I decided to let fate decide for me.  At my favorite fabric store, I hit up the remnant section to see what white and gray options they had.  I found one cream option (seen on the right) and one gray (seen on the left) option that were long enough to work.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

At $5 a yard (each was 2.5 yards, which they rounded down to 2 costing me $10 each), it was a score.  I thought I’d end up going with the cream option but it ended up looking too yellow against all the white bedding I already had in the room.  I considered completely redoing all the bedding to better coordinate but my conveniently-too-pragmatic husband quickly shot that option down.  So, gray it was.

His.

I’m beginning to think my wife has me figured out: every time she wants something expensive for the house, I end up building something almost identical for a fraction of the cost like the leaning bookshelves seen here and the telescope lamp seen here. Lately I’ve been suspecting that she doesn’t actually want the expensive version, she just wants to scare me into a DIY project by threatening to spend an obscene amount of money on something.

So her latest obsession? A headboard. For the guest bedroom. Now, here’s the thing about our guest bedroom: it’s just for guests. We don’t have overnight guests often and the few that we do have aren’t particularly picky about their lodging (if they were, we wouldn’t invite them to our house). So, frankly, I didn’t see the point. Sure, the space above the bed was empty, but the only time we ever really go in that room is when we can’t find the cat. Either way, Julie tends to get what Julie wants, so I now had to figure out how to make a headboard.

First things first: size. The width pretty much took care of itself as it would be dictated by the width of the bed frame, but we had to decide how tall we wanted it to be on the wall. We ultimately decided that it needed to be 5′, which meant the actual “board” part of the headboard would be 3′ tall. So I started with some plywood:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Cut cut cut!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Next, Julie wanted some “poof” or something, so we looked at craft stores for foam padding. Well, it turns out that I could’ve taken a decent vacation for what it would’ve cost to buy that much padding, but I had a more cost-effective solution in mind:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

That’s right, Wal-Mart mattress pads (yes, the same ones that when stacked high enough make dorm beds somewhat tolerable). It was plenty long but barely wide enough, but with a little stretching and clever layering, we hid it pretty well. We even had enough left over from the ends to refinish a small chair.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We used spray adhesive to secure them to the plywood, but due to the porous nature of the pads, it wasn’t the strongest hold.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We added a second because a) we needed the extra thickness and b) cheap mattress pads have weird textures pressed into them to make you think it has some bogus cooling effect or something. Not bad for just $20 for the pair.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

I ended up stapling the edges for a cleaner finish and more permanent hold while we positioned the fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

And trimmed the excess:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Now, you normally use batting to ensure a smooth finish but we were on a mission of frugality and the cost of batting just wasn’t going to cut it.  We realized that batting was essentially just a thick layer of fibers so we found a cheap-o cotton blanket to help hide any uneven points on the padding. Once again, our trip to Wal-Mart proved fruitful.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

This time I flipped it over and stapled it to the back of the plywood so it held nice and tight across the padding:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Ignore the lumpy edges, those hide easily with the final piece of fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The next stage of the process was unexpectedly tedious. We moved things inside for a cleaner, cooler, and lighter work environment. Good thing we have an awkwardly empty space in our living room after all, I guess.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

So we draped the fabric over the board and smoothed everything out. What came next was an exercise in patience and dedication: tufting. I don’t know how it’s normally done, but I knew how I was going to do it: screws. But using short screws and washers, I could create that “pressed in” look, and it would hold, like forever.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

So I started in the center:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Note: the fabric was draped loosely over the ends of the board so we’d have plenty of slack if we needed it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Initially I tried measuring where each screw would go but that got old quickly. Plus, the positioning of the fabric would change slightly as I pressed on it to screw it in, so eventually I figured out how to predict where things needed to be and just eyeballed it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

What seemed like years later, I had driven in all 67 screws. Now the weird part: trying to bunch up the fabric into a “diamond-shaped tuft”.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Finally, it was time to secure everything. I didn’t want to flip the board over and crush the tufting, so I had to work from below. Fortunately we have an extra bedroom that is also awkwardly empty, so there was  some soft floor space so I could work on my back.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After stapling all around, we cut off the excess fabric.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

We folded a straight line from the end of each tuft off the edge to create a uniform look around all the edges.  We then stapled that tuft to the back of the headboard so it held.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After completing the board, it was time to move on to the posts. I used generic 2×6 lumber but had to be careful to select really straight pieces. Each post was 5′, so I just bought one 2x6x10 and cut it in half.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

The process for wrapping the posts in fabric was a bit like wrapping a present, but instead of a box it’s lumber, instead of paper it’s fabric, and instead of tape it’s staples. we also made sure all the staples and edges ended up in what would be the back side of the board, so the nice smooth edge faced outward.

First with the cheap blanket:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Be sure to wrap the ends, too:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Repeat process with actual fabric:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Cut off excess:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Finally, it was time to put it all together. We moved the board to the guest room and laid it on the bed. Then, I set the posts up on the side and had Julie press down while I drilled up. This was actually a really difficult process, and of course Julie decided pictures were more important than being helpful.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Almost done (I only had to chase the cat away 100 times).

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Repeat the process for the other side, and your headboard is done. Time to mount it! Fortunately our bed frame had a bracket welded onto it for who knows what, but it had some holes I was able to run some drywall screws  through to secure everything so it didn’t flip over and turn my in-laws into Flat Stanley.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Huzzah! Headboard!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Hers.

We wrapped up the upholstery work and installed the headboard in the room.  I then realized I had a dilemma.  Do I stop here or do I keep going?  Much like Sandro on this season’s Project Runway (anyone else watching this season?), I decided our headboard needed more bling and by bling, I, of course, mean nailhead detail.  After two calls consulting outsiders, one voted for, one voted against, I ultimately decided to go for it.  Oh yes, these side wings were in for a treat.

So while Chris stood beside me, giving himself a pat on the back for finishing another project, I, instead, smiled sweetly at him and asked for his help on the next stage of the project.

And I soon learned a vital lesson- never EVER convince yourself to save a few dollars by buying a case of loose nailhead, thinking you can spend a few extra minutes taking care to line them up straight.  This is the most frustrating, arduous process that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  Chris thought it would help by buying fishing line and nailing it down as a guide to follow.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

A great idea in theory but it didn’t execute that well.  Each time we’d nail a head in, it seemed impossible to get it to line up with the fishing line.  At the last second, it would go rogue on us and veer off course.  After an hour spent on this and barely making progress, I decided we could splurge and buy the cheater’s kit aka a nailhead kit that you only had to nail every 10th or so piece aka my lifesaver.

People of the DIY world- spend the extra dough for this.  So. Worth. It.

I bought mine at Michael’s, but here’s a link to buy it from Amazon.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

If that doesn’t convince you, it comes with a bonus of packaging that doubles as a cat toy.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

After the nightmare of sparring with individual nailheads, this was a breeze.  You just unwrap the string of nailhead from the packaging and cut it off where you need it to stop.  I suggest cutting it to size before you begin nailing it in because the weight from the package makes it harder to install straight.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Next, place the string on the headboard and nail in the heads where there’s a hole in the trim (every 10th head or so).  Tip: use a rubber mallet to nail in the head to prevent scratches.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

30 minutes and 2 nailhead trim kits later, I was done!

Stay tuned for an additional post on how we made the fabric-covered buttons to complete the tufted look.

Materials and Costs:

  • Fabric (from local fabric store): $10 for the full remnant
  • Foam (aka 2 egg crate mattress pads from Walmart): $20
  • Batting (aka cheap blanket from Walmart): $5
  • Spray Adhesive (any craft store): $0 as we already had some on-hand
  • Staples and Staple Gun (any home improvement store): $0 as we already had some on-hand
  • Small sheet metal screws (from Home Depot): $3
  • Plywood (from Home Depot): $10
  • 2x6s to create side wings (from Home Depot): $5
  • Washers (from Home Depot): $1
  • 2 nailhead trim kits (from Michael’s with 40% off coupon): $24
  • Rubber mallet (from Walmart): $5
  • Button making kit (from this eBay vendor): $17

Total: $100

After.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

DO or DIY | How to Make a Tufted Headboard

 

Update: To see how we made fabric buttons to cover the screws on the headboard, check out our easy, step-by-step guide here.

61 Comments

Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

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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