Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dysfunctional storage becomes functional again

It's been a bit!  It seems I only blog when I actually have a full blown project to blog about anymore - which means real life is getting in the way of my "fun" time!

This one is a biggie, for me, anyway.  Very, very long story how this all came about.  No, it's not just about the mess that it was before.  (and it was a hot mess!)

Pretty great, huh?  So yeah, this is my office.  Well, this is what it DID look like.  See that filing cabinet there - drawers all askew?  I can't tell you how many times we've replaced the tracks only to have the same thing happen, and I didn't even have THAT much in there.  And all the "big" craft supplies with nowhere else to live were just left leaning on it, and... ugh, it was pretty horrible. But, it's an Amish made solid piece of furniture that I just couldn't bear to give up.  

So there's the mess, plus, there on the right is my new sit/stand desk that I squeezed into the office when the doctor told me I need to switch up from sitting to standing as much as I can in a work day if I want any chance of eliminating the back pain I've been having. In order for the desk to fit, I had to move a much used, and much loved bookshelf to get it in the room.

So, that all prompted a new project - re-purposing that filing cabinet - since clearly, it wasn't serving it's purpose anyway.  All I knew was I wanted to find a new use for it, and I wanted to be able to use my bookshelf again, so what I ended up with is this:

And I L.O.V.E. it.  

Let's have a peek at how it all came to be, shall we?

First, I moved the chair and ottoman to our bedroom. Then, I took the drawers out and laid the outer cabinet on the floor to make sure it would fit in the space and that the bookshelf would fit on it.  It did indeed fit, but I still didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, other than put the bookshelf on top.

Looking at it, though, I knew I'd need to do some work. I needed to build out what was the top to make it more symmetrical with the bottom (left and right in this picture) and though the bookshelf fit on it perfectly, there was a spot where the puppy had chewed the wood.  I don't have any woodworking skills, so I recruited help from the huz.

We took the pieces out to the garage and I patched the bookshelf with KwikWood.  This stuff is AMAZING.  With a little ball of the material and my Elite status card from my old favorite airline, I got to work, and the puppified wood was fixed up in no time. Once the KwikWood was dry, it got a quick touch up of paint and was good to go.

I removed all of the drawer tracks and the pieces that defined the three sections of the cabinet.  Then, we had to make the two ends of the file cabinet even, and paint a bit.  Huz had the idea to use furring strips - super cheap - and they were exactly the right width to make it easy. They sanded really well, too.  The nails we had in the nail gun were too long, so we just screwed the pieces of furring strip in from the bottom and I filled the holes with wood putty.

Once everything was attached, I gave it a good sand and then we added a line of caulk to the gap to make it all even.  The final step to make it all matchy matchy was to paint the new wood the same Annie Sloan Paris Gray the rest of the piece wore.  

It was starting to look good, but I still didn't really know how I was going to finish this thing off, so I went to Home Depot to look around and find some inspiration.  What I ended up coming home with were four bun feet, some white spray paint, a pair of hinges, and a piece of MDF. The empty box now had a purpose and was destined to be a storage powerhouse.

I painted and attached the feet, Mod Podge'd some new fabric on the back of the bookshelf and wrapped the new door in the same fabric to hopefully have it all look like it was supposed to be one piece.  This vision was starting to become a reality, and I was ecstatic.

I had the huz help me attach the MDF to the hinges over the opening (after I dropped it straight down on my toes - ouch!) and was starting to see what this could be. Only problem was the screws for the hinges came through the front of the MDF, but I decided to soldier on and figure that out later. (I didn't take pictures during these steps.  Having the help of the huz means keep it moving!) He helped me move it all back to the office, and this is what I had.

I was already in love, but still had some final details to figure out.  

How would I cover the screws that popped out?  
How would I keep what I needed to file without a filing cabinet AND have a bookshelf? 
Where would I put my printer?

And then it all started coming together like magic.  I mostly reused things I had, but this was where I got to get really creative and even play with my Silhouette.  I rounded up binders, boxes, and bookends.  I picked a couple of pieces of scrapbook paper from a Christmas book I have that weren't too Christmasy and some card stock to make binder covers.  I took apart the original filing cabinet drawers.  I sorted and shredded what had come out of the filing cabinet, and then I picked up some book plates and went to work.

And in the end, this is what it became.  Filing cabinet decorative drawer fronts covered up screws that were too long.  A filing cabinet drawer became a printer stand (that still need a shelf built in.) Binders, magazine files, and boxes became the new filing system. 

And the inside of the big box became the right place to store those "too big" craft supplies, extra binders, and the three hole punch I need to keep close to stick to my reminder to keep it all neat.

The look in my office now, even with an additional desk, is so much better.  The craft closet (you can read about it here) doesn't look so much like an afterthought anymore.  There's a lot more space in the room, actually, and Rizzo loves to stretch out right in the middle of it all while I work. Now the only thing left to do is empty the room and replace the floor with the tile we have everywhere else.  (sorry, honey!)

Have I mentioned that I love it?

Tell me about a great furniture re-purpose you've done in the comments!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grown-up Master Bedroom

Holy moly!  A new post!

Life got crazy around here right after Thanksgiving and we're just starting to get back to "normal"...whatever that is... not the least of which is that we lost one of our furbabies, Buster earlier this year.

Just four days later, a new little one came home with us, Rizzo.  I believe that when you lose a pet, they send a new one to you when the time is right, and that was certainly true in our case. 

She's crazy, high energy, and TALL now! The picture below is even from a month or so ago - she just keeps getting bigger! I've never had a puppy before, I've always rescued older, and usually sick, dogs. This has been quite the experience!

BUT, none of that is why you are reading (though if you're like me, dogs, or animals in general, get your attention more than anything.)  Since then, something I've dreamt of finally came true!  We updated our master - and for me, anyway, this is the first time I've ever actually had matching furniture, or at least not the kind I put together myself. I am IN LOVE.

You know how it goes, though.  You can't just get furniture.  You have to strip the whole room down. Paint.  Maybe even get new floors.  What I really wanted to do is take a wall down and add a new one so that the room felt less like a hotel room, but, we went with what we could budget instead - and I still love it.  So, replacing the vanity and lighting was added to the previous mentions as well.

Before we go there, let me share with you the before. I warn you, it's not pretty.  For sure the vanity was original to the house, which I think was built in 1973, and that bed.  To be honest, though we did buy the mattress, the only reason we stuck with it for so long is because the previous homeowners had left it behind and it was a beast.  No wonder they didn't want to move it!  Because things were just that horrible, I'll simply share a collage.

I can't even believe it.  I mean, zero pride of ownership in there, right?  But now, now is oh-so-much-better.  Feast your eyes...

Ahhhhh... my very own, decorated the way I love, all matching MASTER BEDROOM!  Clearly, I'm not a "less is more" kind of person.  I love every single little thing I either shopped the house or Hobby Lobby (arrow over mirror, nightstand lamps, and Tree of Life), Pier 1 (lanterns), Michael's (so many little signs and such), Kirkland's (wicker lamp, jewelry armoire, hydrangea kissing balls, and I'm sure even more!) or Target for (accessories and wall hanging over bed.)  The furniture came from Haverty's and the mattress is from Saatva.  If you've ever been unsure about buying a mattress online, I say go for it. Couldn't have been an easier experience, and honestly, what does lying on a bed in a store for 5 minutes tell you anyway?   With their 90 day "in home trial" I figured I had nothing to lose.

These lanterns and candles from Pier 1 make me happy.  And, the candles are on a timer, or can operate via remote.  You can even dim and brighten them!

And even though it's not a willow tree, this tree.  Swoon.

So, here's a little closer look at that old vanity.  This is a horrible cell phone picture, but you get the idea.  I think this alone was keeping me from updating the whole room.  Well, the vanity, the lights, the mirror, all of it.  You can see about 2/3 of it here, but that should be enough.

And now... after scouring the Internet for weeks looking for the right replacement, visiting granite yard after granite yard looking for the perfect five foot remnant, having to rip out and replace some trim to get the new one in and spray painting impossible to replace knobs...

Yes, we still have overhead lights because this was all DIY and we're not electricians, but isn't this one SO much better than the swaggy thing?  And those faucets though... ahhhhh.... SO MUCH BETTER.

As for the "water closet" (I guess?) - the tiny room with the tub and toilet - it just got a coat of paint and some new accessories.

So that's it!  At 40+ years old, I finally have a grown up master bedroom!  Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I just wanted a couple of square wreaths!

'Tis the season!

I did not leave my house on Black Friday, so yesterday I had some serious making up to do!  I was on a mission - two square dried boxwood wreaths, stat!  However, they were nowhere to be found.  (That didn't keep me from finding a bunch of other stuff that I DIDN'T need, though!)  Five stores and more money than I'd like to admit later, I just about gave up.  Then, at Michael's, as I was in the line that stretched back to the floral department, the angels were singing.  On the rack in front of me, four square boxwood mats.

Now, I'm not sure how anyone would use a full square mat of boxwood, but they were intriguing. I stepped out of the ever growing line to get a closer look. One was a little brighter green than the others, so I went for two that were closest in color.  Ok, ok, they're not dried boxwood, they're plastic. But when I flipped them over and saw the back, my heart dropped a little because I wanted to hang them in the kitchen window. 

Then I realized that if I used two to make one it would look OK from the outside too, so I grabbed all four and headed over a couple of aisles to grab some floral wire.  Though they were plastic, they looked easy enough to modify. They are made of super soft, pliable plastic, so I didn't even need wire cutters, scissors did the trick.  I started by leaving "two rows", but when I got that done, I realized the opening wasn't big enough, so I ultimately left only the edge and one row of squares.

Once the center was removed, I went in search of the floral wire I picked up, but it was nowhere to be found.  I guess I'll find it in about April of next year. No problem, though, strips of green vinyl would work just fine.  I just cut little strips and wrapped one around each side of the wreath.

I added a bow and a little twine to hang them from Command Window Strips, and at about 3:00 this morning after putting up and decorating the tree, I was all done and had my two square boxwood wreaths!

I wish they were just a little bit bigger, but I'm pretty happy with them!

What do you DIY for the holidays?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Out of control dresser drawers get put in their place

Guys, I have to confess to something... I have a little addiction.  It's got massive control over me.  It's caused tension with my husband.  I've worried a bit myself at times.

You see, I can't walk into Target without picking up a couple of Merona tank tops.  Ever.  I mean, they're perfect to wear alone, layer with each other, layer with sweaters, T-shirts, really, anything. They were overtaking my laundry.  I could never find the blue one I wanted because all the others were in the way, and my dresser drawer pretty much always just looked like this:

... and because that's how it looked, besides never being able to find what I wanted, everything always had to be ironed (ha - anyone who knows me knows that's not true! - let's be real) thrown in the dryer for a minute - before I could wear it.  So when I went to put laundry away for the first time in a few weeks this weekend, it was time for an overhaul.

If you've read much of this blog, you know I travel a bit for work.  This means I've become pretty savvy with packing, and the #1 tip for packing well?  Roll it up!  I decided to apply that theory to my tank top drawer.

The only thing was, I had to find just the right size for the tank tops to not be too tall or too short so that I could stand them up to be able to actually see them all. I had some baskets I wasn't currently using that just happened to fit perfectly in the drawer, so I started trying different rolls until I found what worked for me - the triple fold and roll.

The tanks fit perfectly, they're neat, and now they'll be wrinkle free too!  By using the baskets, I was also able to be all OCD about it and seperate solid colors, prints, strappy tanks (true cami's for those of you who are wondering what "strappy" means), and paint covered project tanks.

This ended up leading to the rest of the dresser, including vertical storage in the T-shirt drawer, and cleaning out the closet too!

Wanna place bets on how long it all lasts?
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