Changed my Mind! Closet Rehab

In my last post, I thought it would be a good idea to remove our closet that blocks the flow of one of our main thoroughfares.  However, after thinking about the fact that the flooring might look choppy since we’d have new flooring right next to the old, we decided to keep the closet for now.  We’ll remove it when we renovate the entire kitchen since we plan on expanding the kitchen into the space where the closet currently resides.

Because the kitchen renovation is a ways away, I thought I’d at least try to make the closet more functional for now.  The closet had one high shelf with a coat rack.  We have a coat closet at the front of the house already so another one didn’t really make sense especially since we needed more practical storage.  Also, the shelf was so high that for us shorties (that would include my entire family), we’d have to get the step stool to reach the shelf or risk things falling on our heads.  The closet also had the last vestiges of the ugly mustard color that poisoned the entire first floor when we moved in.

Here’s the nasty flashback:Full Living RoomTry not to cringe at all the ugliness!

I have a lot of wood in my shed left over from the treehouse we built a couple years ago, so the only thing I needed to buy for the shelves was caulk and a few smooth trim pieces for the front of the shelves.

Here’s the before:

Old Closet

 

And the after:

Finished Dresser

To make the shelves, I found this video particularly useful.

I’ll just touch on the basics since the video does a good job of explaining how to install the shelves.

1.  First I painted the closet the same blue color as I used in the kids’ bathroom (Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore).

2.  Measure and cut your ledgers.  The ledgers are what hold up the shelves and should be the same length from the back to the front of the closet as your shelves.

Measuring

That’s me measuring.  🙂  I try to put any pic I can of me in these posts since I rarely have any!

LedgersThese are the ledgers.  I marked the studs first to make sure I drilled into them.  I also made sure to use a level so that the ledgers wouldn’t be all wonky.  I sunk the screws below the surface of the wood so that I could dab wood putty on the holes later and paint over them.  I also put one coat of paint on the ledgers before they were installed so I wouldn’t have to paint as much when they were on the wall.  Also, don’t worry about any gaps in the corners because they will be covered with caulk.

3.  Cut the plywood to fit on the ledgers using a circular or table saw (I used a circular).  I made sure that the plywood was as long as the ledgers so that I could nail trim pieces along the entire front of the shelves.  I cut the shelves a little shorter than the width of the closet so that they could easily slide in but still sit comfortably on the ledgers (the video explains this pretty well).

4.  I cut trim pieces for the front of the shelves to make the finished product more polished and nailed them in place.  I also caulked all the ledgers and plywood pieces to the wall to make them look more “built in.”

Ledger Caulk

caulk v. no caulk

5.  Get some baskets and organize because you’re done!

Top ClosetAll baskets are from Tar-jay.  All our dog paraphernalia, reusable grocery bags, and cleaning supplies are now neatly corralled.

This was a fairly easy project that was definitely budget friendly since I had most of the materials already.  Now, things are at a good height and instead of just one high shelf, we have three shelves for more of our crapola.

Next on the list is tackling the master bedroom.  Painting is first!  I LOVE painting!  Not really.

Tuscan’s Room Renovation- Progress

Since getting the metal locker furniture from the model home clearance center, I had to come up with a plan quick to renovate Tuscan’s room.  I only like to have one, maybe two projects that I’m working on at the same time otherwise things fall to the wayside at home (dishes and laundry pile up, the dogs go hungry, the kids go hungry, etc…) and I was already working on the dining room and my bedroom when I stumbled across Tuscan’s furniture.  My garage can only hold so many projects-in-waiting so Tuscan’s room had to be a quick and dirty renovation.  Besides, I told myself that I can’t go to the clearance center again until I wipe one project off my list and Tuscan’s room is it!

Tuscan loves soccer and plays on a high level travel team, so he wanted his room to be sports themed with an emphasize on soccer.  He didn’t want it to be “too soccer” though since he might pick up another sport soon.  He’s got great coordination (he rode a 2 wheeled bike at three as well as frequently scaled to the top of a frighteningly tall lamp post outside our house at four), so whatever sport he tries, he’s good at- at least that’s how it’s been so far so I’m sure that more than just soccer is in his future.

He wanted a mural in his room like his brother and after looking at this inspiration photo, I decided to mount a mural on wood panels to give it some dimension:

We found just the mural he wanted at Great Big Canvas:
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and blew it up to the biggest size they had (which was a little on the small side but still something I could work with).  So, with that as a starting off point (in addition to the metal locker furniture) we picked out a wall color for his room.  Tuscan really likes playing outside so I wanted something kind of light and outdoorsy in his room.  I thought that since his mural had lots of green in it, it’d be nice to have the wall color be a blue color since blue and green reminds me of a happy sunny day.  So we headed to Benjamin Moore, our go-to paint store, and after talking to the super helpful color specialists there, we picked out a few testers and painted them on the wall.

Paint Testers

That bottom green color is a tester for my dining room, please ignore 🙂

Tuscan wanted a baby blue color (the bigger swatch of color), but I knew that he’d regret that in a couple years when he thought it was too baby and I refused to repaint so soon.  So, I persuaded him to go with a medium tone blue in the same family.  Like a bonehead, I was tired of testing colors so I just picked a blue that was two shades darker than what he wanted and it was way too dark.  Because I got a full gallon and I’m a cheap@$$, instead of getting another gallon, I took out about a quarter of the paint and put it in a big Ziplock bag then mixed in white paint that I already had in the garage with the three quarters of the paint that was left.  I wanted to keep the “baggie” paint handy in case I accidentally went too dark, then I could just mix some of the original dark color in.

I mixed the blue and white until I thought I had the right shade then tested it on the wall and did this a few times until I had the right color.  By the end, both Tuscan and I loved the color!

Room with RugIt’s a really pretty blue-green in the Jamestown Blue family.

Jamestown Blue

And as usual, the scope of the project increased when I tried to fix the nail pops in the ceiling.

Nail Holes

Which I did, then I painted the otherwise perfect ceiling with ceiling paint that I had on hand and the shades of white did not match up so I had to paint the entire ceiling with two coats of Behr ceiling paint.  Seriously, it was a pain in the rear because I hate painting ceilings or more specifically, my neck and arms hate painting ceilings.  Also, if I had known that I would have to paint the entire ceiling, I would have done that first, then I would’ve painted the walls so that I didn’t get accidental drips of white paint on my newly painted walls that I had to re-touch.

Ceiling

Enough complaining… Now the ceiling is nice and white, the walls are a beautiful shade of blue, and I have to put the room back together to include:

  • Finding a rug
  • Getting and installing roman shades (curtains are too much in this small room)
  • Finding a solution for all of Tuscan’s books
  • Getting some soccer related accessories
  • Finding bedding
  • Finding a bed!
  • Remounting Tuscan’s red shelves

The room is coming along though.  As a comparison, here is Tuscan’s before room pic.:

Tuscan

And his after:

Room with Rug

Sparse I know, but we’re getting there!

Beachy Bathroom on a Budget

In the spirit of making the house presentable without busting our budget, the kids’ bathroom is the first room to get a coin-friendly makeover.  The bathroom was not touched by the previous homeowners in 25 years so it was an outdated ’90s nightmare.  I hated going in there to occasionally clean it so, I made the kids’ clean it so I wouldn’t have to claim its existence.  Here are the befores:

DSC_0017Lowdown: Builder grade cabinet, yellowing sink and countertop, outdated hardware, cracked toilet (but it didn’t leak), beige stained walls, beige tub, beige tile, black grout, outdated fixtures, huge old mirror, dark shower curtain (I took it down so it’s not visible in pic), the list of atrocities goes on and on…

And here are the afters:

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Better, right?

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Another one

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HELLO!

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The vanity

It turned out so much nicer than I thought it would on a budget.  Initially, I wanted to gut the entire thing, but because I wanted to have some money for other rooms, here’s what I did instead:

Painted the walls Palladian Blue by BM            $25

Painted the vanity Stratton Blue by BM         $15

Painted the ceiling white by Behr                        Leftover so FREE

Changed the hardware on the vanity             $12

Scrubbed the crap out of the grout                  FREE

Sealed the grout using grout sealer                  $5

Put up artwork (Target and Home Goods)    $50

Shower curtain                                                               $50

Towel Hooks (Target)                                                  $23

New bath mat (Target)                                               $20

Hamper (Bed, Bath, and Beyond)                        $24

New soap dispenser                                                     $10

New outlet and light switch                                       $20

Grand Total                                                        $254

Now for the deats:  I wanted a beach theme for the bathroom but not the “hit you over the head” kind of theme; I wanted subtlety.  I also wanted the bathroom to be coral and blue/green with hints of tan but I wasn’t sure which colors would be the leads and which would play supporting roles.  Then I saw these ombre, coral curtain panels at Target and I had my color scheme: walls-blue/green; shower curtain- coral; accessories- tan.  So beachy, right?

The window curtains went from this:

curtain

to this:

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with a little sewing.  I just bought two curtain panels and sewed them together the same width as the old shower curtain then I shortened the curtain again using the old shower curtain as a template and presto!: a new ombre shower curtain.  Because it’s not made from typical shower curtain material, I Scotchgarded the crap out of it so that it’s more washable.  I’m also hoping that the steam from the kids’ shower will pull out the wrinkles in the curtain, because I wasn’t about to iron it!

     I painted the walls Palladian Blue because that to me is a perfect blue/green bathroom color and because my sister recommended it and she’s got a great eye for wall color.  Thanks Nancy :).  I also painted the vanity a couple shades darker than the walls because initially I painted it white but it clashed with the countertop which is staying (for now).  The vanity is Stratton Blue and it looks great against the wall color.  I also put on new handles that I got at Lowe’s.  It really classed up the vanity.  The ceiling also went from beige to bright white.  It’s amazing how much more open and bigger a space looks with a fresh coat of bright white on the ceiling.

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Now the not-so-fun part:  I spent three hours scrubbing the dingy grout with bleach gel from Clorox and by the time I was done, I ruined a pair of pants, and couldn’t smell anything but bleach for hours… but, the grout went from this:

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to this:

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It was a huge difference!  After all that scrubbing, I didn’t want the grout to turn grimy again in a few weeks, so I applied grout sealer.  Hopefully, the grout will stay white…

     Back to the fun part: Artwork and accessories.  I got the coral prints from Home Goods and was so happy that they were coral and tan, my accent colors (that was just luck as is most finds at Home Goods!).  The towel hooks under the artwork is from Target.  There was a traditional towel bar initially hanging, but it could only fit two towels.  The new towel hook can fit 5 towels which is so much better since three kids are sharing this bathroom.   DSC_0013

On the other side of the bathroom, I hung some shell artwork from Target which also had tan in it (the burlap mat) so it tied in perfectly.

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A tan bathroom mat from Target rounded out the accessories.  BTW, the mat was so soft and plush that my son took a nap on it in the bathroom.  Should have snapped a pic of that one… darn.

     Overall, I’m so happy with how the bathroom turned out especially for the money I spent.  I think it’s definitely presentable now and phase 2 will be a while off yet but here are the to-be done additions:

  • New vanity (I LOVE how this one turned out, but there’s still not enough storage for three kids, so it eventually has to go…)
  • New floor (Even with the shiny, white grout, the floor is still outdated so I’d love to install marble tiles eventually)
  • New tub (white please!)
  • New tile in shower (marble subway tile would be perfect)
  • New toilet (even though ours is cracked, it doesn’t leak so it’s staying for now)
  • Scaled down mirror
  • Shelves over the toilet for more storage

That list is easily another $1K which is why it’s a list and not reality!  On to making the next room presentable!!!

 

Craigslist Find

Finding items on Craigslist for far below retail can be exciting and an affordable way to furnish a home.  I hate paying retail for something that I know I can get at a discount and also I like the idea of reusing something that would otherwise be considered “trash.”

I had a nook in my family room where I wanted to put a desk but the desks that I found online were just too big, so I thought I’d head over to Ana White’s site to find some plans to make my own desk.  Of course I found what I was looking for but with the holidays, I put off the project.  At the same time, I did my regular check on Craigslist to find out what was out there and came across the PERFECT desk for $75 (much cheaper than even building a desk).  So, I grabbed my husband and we checked it out.  It was just the right size but had a few scratches on the chair that came with it, so the seller knocked the price down to $50 which was great!

Here is the nook before the desk (and before the installation of the  baseboards):

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And here it is with the desk:

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The desk opens up which we don’t use that often since we use a laptop which just sits on top of the desk.  But here’s a shot with the desk opened up:

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I added a 3×5 area rug that I picked up from Target to help with scuffing the new floors.  I think it goes well enough with our “Y” rug but I’m still on the hunt for something that goes better.

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I’m happy with my find since I got a desk AND a chair for $50 and didn’t have to break out all my tools and spend a couple hours making a desk.   The size and look are perfect as well as the price.  Score!

For ideas on how to find the best deals on Craigslist, YHL has a great post.  I’d also add that everyone has their quirks on what they won’t buy (used mattresses!) and will buy on Craigslist and I personally don’t buy upholstered furniture on Craigslist since I have kids and dogs and I know how gross upholstered furniture can get.  Besides, I am a major germ freak which definitely plays into that!  That being said, I know lots of people who do buy used couches and chairs from Craigslist and that are super-happy about their find.  It just depends on you!  Happy Craigslisting!