January 7th, 2013
I’ve been slowly plugging away at organizing and re-organizing our kitchen. I recently showed you my spice jar drawer:
And I figured it was time to tackle the pantry. We have a large cabinet pantry – you can see it here on the far left next to the fridge:
Here’s what it looks like with the door open (this was after I reorganized it):
And here’s the top drawer (there are two and they are massive):
This photo was obviously taken after the organization :p I love this drawer because it fits full-sized cereal boxes, and keeps all the bread items accessible and off the counter tops.
In my organizing I came across this drawer that we’ve been using to store TONS of used jam jars and salsa jars. I couldn’t part with them because they were glass and so pretty, but I was about ready to because we have tons of them. Some I’ve been using to hold misc pantry items like small amount of left-over pasta, raisins, chocolate chips, tea bags, stevia packets etc. And a bunch were just empty.
I organized that drawer in the pantry and filled most of the empty ones and cleaned it up and it looked like this:
Which is pretty good, but I wasn’t in love with all that red gingham, and it’s hard to tell what is inside of them from above. So I thought about making some sort of label to put on the lids, but that seemed like a lot of work especially if the contents do end up changing. So then, I wondered if I could spray-paint the lids with some of my handy-dandy chalkboard paint, and then just write on the lids what each one contained.
I consulted with Mr. Project who was confident that the lids would take the paint, and then I filled up a make-shift paint booth (cardboard box) with lids and painted.
The painting went well and stuck okay. No problems getting them to take the paint (though make sure they are all clean and free of grease). They can scratch though with a sharp nail or object. You could prime or sand before the spray paint to avoid this, or possibly paint, write your contents, and then clear-coat. But then you wont be able to change what the lid says… which could be fine depending on your storage system. I just painted them and am okay with any scratching here or there – these odds & ends don’t get too much every-day use, so I don’t think they’ll show wear too quickly. And since this is a repurpose project it doesn’t need to last forever. I also recommend using a chalk marker if you don’t want your lids to smudge.
After seeing my horrible chalk-handwriting, Mr. Project volunteered to write the labels for me:
And there you have it, a much more chic drawer of pantry odds & ends. And best part is it was all using stuff that I already had. Yay for free projects!
September 26th, 2012
I recently updated that we were working on our “room divider” in the living room. I needed Mr. Project to finish it really fast because I was hosting a bunco party. So he kicked it into high gear and start to finish he had the room divider and all the wall trim up and painted in less than two weeks.
Now I’m going to show you this before picture, but I do have to warn you that this is like SUPER before. This was what it looked like when we bought it:
Everything about this before is terrible, and let me tell you that if you had smell-o-vision that picture would stink to high heaven because of the 30 year old carpet and probably the 30 year old paint job. Let me point out some very special things about the before just in case you miss the subtleties. 1. Popcorn ceilings, 2. hideous 30-year old orange peal textured walls (like really bad bad texture, not new slightly bad texture). 3. old stinky carpet, 4. 1-inch stained pine baseboards & pine doors, 5. creamy old switches and plugs, 6. wall blocking the kitchen, 7. rickety metal railing (we tried to salvage the wood beam, but the stink had permeated it so we had to toss it). Basically the whole space was repugnant and have I mentioned that everyone tried to talk us out of buying this house?
Well that was more than a year ago. Before we moved in, most of the work was done in this space – though I don’t have a good progress picture. So Imagine the space with the pretty stairs, hardwood floors, smooth white ceilings and walls painted gray. It was a nice space, but really boring and other than the stairs lacked architectural detail. And for me, the biggest issue was that there was no clear division of space. I’m all for open concept, but I want spaces to feel like they have a beginning and end. Here’s my first progress photo to show about where we were at when we got started + the cabinets, beam, and columns:
So for the first part of this project, we decided the specs on the cabinets – we didn’t want them to feel too big and bulky, but yet they still needed to have some weight to them. We went with 12″ deep on the inside of the cabinets (standard size for an upper cabinet), 34″ tall (standard height for a base cabinet), and then 22″ wide (just a good size for the space).
Mr. Project built the cabinets – the face frames and doors are maple, the boxes and shelves are pre-finished melamine board. The outsides of the boxes are trimmed with 1/4″ MDF to create the paneling on the sides and backs. The cabinets are topped with a solid chunk of Black Walnut that we got from a friend who had cut down and milled some walnut trees on his land several years ago (whenever using solid wood, make sure that is is properly dried to avoid warping and splitting). It’s really gorgeous and Mr. Project was thrilled to get some solid pieces big enough to use without having to glue anything. Initially I had planned for the whole thing to be white, but I’m so glad that Mr. Project suggested walnut – it’s expensive, but in the end it brings some much-needed contrast to the very white space.
Once the cabinets were done, he installed them to the walls and bolted them to the floors. Nothing’s moving these suckers. Next he installed a 2×4 to the ceiling (screwing it into the beams above) and then built the beam out of 3/4″ MDF like a big U and screwed nailed and glued it onto the 2×4. The columns are built out of 3/4″ cabinet-grade plywood cut and mitered and affixed to one small square screwed into the beam and one small square screwed into the cabinet top.
Once all the main pieces were assembled and installed, trim work could begin:
Mr. Project continued the crown molding along the beam, and then trimmed out the columns and put baseboard on the cabinets. Then he started on the board and batten that we did all around the front room, one wall in the dining room, and then up the stairs.
Once all the trim was done the real work began… putting, caulking, sanding, priming, sanding, and painting. Mr. Project and nearly the entire house was covered in a fine white dust for a good 4 days. It was pretty awful. And all I wanted to do was keep cleaning and vacuuming because I couldn’t handle the dust. but in the end it was worth all of the hard work!
Here is the room divider all finished (missing the doors). It’s so so so so gorgeous, and just the perfect thing for the space. You would never know that it wasn’t always there either. It really is just a great focal point for the room. Especially since this is what you see first when you walk in the house.
And here from further back, you can see the expansiveness of the board and batten.
And head on with furniture in place, a peak of the stairs to your left.
And now the full stair shot – I loved my stairs before, but now I super duper love them with the trim.
And then a few days later Mr. Project installed the inset doors and shiny latches. This matches our kitchen cabinets & hardware to tie the spaces together.
And the over-all shot. Bestill my heart! Such a beautiful space, and completely unbelievable that it’s the same space that we started with over a year ago!
September 13th, 2012
So I was going through all my project house posts and I came across my old “weekly wrap-ups” that I used to do. I was so grateful to read and remember some of the small details that I had forgotten. So for my own sake (and memory), I’m going to try and resurrect the idea and keep it going!
House Projects -
The laundry room is pretty much complete at this point. We’re still anxiously waiting for our door though. I don’t know what’s taking so long, usually it’s only taken us a week or so to get a custom door ordered. The big cabinet still needs shelves, I’ve got to finish my art projects, and Mr. Project has to finish the drywall patch on the ceiling. Once that is all done, the laundry room will be 100% complete. In the mean time I’m actually having fun doing my laundry. I love having the huge work surface and just being able to fold everything really quickly and get it put away. And sometimes I just go in there and hang out for a few minutes and enjoy the pretty.
The newest project that Mr. Project has started is a room divider in the living room.
The end result is supposed to be something similar to this:
We’ve wanted to do this project for a long time because the space of the combined dining/living room just felt too large and undefined. This makes the space clearly two spaces while adding architectural interest and creating a great focal point from the front door view. I opted for doors on the cabinets to keep small fingers from wreaking havoc. They will have glass in them though, so hopefully the effect will be the same. Oh and they will have a walnut ledge instead of just being all white, which I think will add some nice interest. We picked up some gorgeous walnut boards from a friend of ours who milled it from his own walnut trees.
Anyway, I’m super excited how it’s coming together. It makes the space feel so much more interactive now. Oh and we’ll be doing board & batten walls in this whole space to make it a bit more elegant. It will be interesting to see how all the furniture gets rearranged once everything is finished.
Little Ollie is doing so well these days. He just turned 18 months old. We took him in for his well child visit and he’s 36″ tall and 26 lbs which is 99th percentile height and 76th percentile weight. The Dr was especially surprised at his height because we are both so short! I guess there are some tall genes hiding in there somewhere and he got both sets of them. No one would have guessed that we’d end up with a tall kiddo! They say that at age 2 you take their height and double it and it’s a pretty good representation of their adult height. Well he’s got 6 more months of growing before we double it and we’re already at 3 feet…. Lets just say that we better train him well when he’s little because it wont be long before he is much bigger than both of us!
He’s into anything creative/artistic right now, including drawing just like his daddy (in church to boot):
And thank heavens for the aqua doodle! No mess, just lots of creative fun:
Apparently he likes to wear a tie while drawing.
And then I snapped this shot at the park and I thought it was too adorable and totally reminds me of that “quintessential senior portrait.” When he’s actually a senior, I’ll have to request a shot just like this one so he can have a side-by-side.
We are having so much fun being parents, and this little guy is such a good good boy.
His current likes:
Food – pretty much everything
Caillou + Nina & Star (okay really anything on sprout)
playing in nursery (that’s my personal favorite)
the snack drawer
trying to help make anything in the kitchen
toys that stack
sleeping and napping (another good one)
talking talking talking
snuggling with mommy
playing with daddy
giving hugs (and sometimes kisses)
And of course his 2 stuffed elephants – Ellie 1 & 2:
That’s about it for the weekly wrap up. We’re just trying to get work projects done, house projects finished, and spend time with our cute little boy. Oh and prepare for our new little one who is only 7 weeks away! We might just be crazy, but we’re happy being busy and getting stuff done.
September 11th, 2012
While shopping for little decor items for the new laundry room, I came across these beauties at Home Goods. I love canisters, and I love galvanized steel, so this was an easy buy for me. Plus they were pretty cheap to boot, so I scooped them up! The only problem with them is the labels. Flour, Sugar, Tea, and Coffee are hardly laundry room material. But no matter, I’m a graphic designer I can whip up some labels!
Here you can see them in the laundry room, I have two on the shelf next to the detergent, and two on the countertop.
And of course I have them backwards so you can’t see the kitchen labels. This will be my first little art project for the laundry room. I haven’t had a chance to design the labels yet, but here are a few ideas (chime in if you have any good ones)
Bleach Crystals or 100% Crystallized Bleach Granules
Powdered Fabric Softener
20 Mule Team Borax
Powdered Laundry Detergent
Super Washing Soda
Anything else you can think of that would be in a laundry room? I’m going to probably get these going this weekend, so check back next week for an update.
The other art project I want to work on for the laundry room is getting some art on the batten wall. I have these papers that I designed for The Sweetest Thing, and the color palate matches my accessory shelf and brings in some bright tones
So for now I just placed the papers up on the gallery shelf
But I need to figure out the best way to display them. I don’t know if I want the bulkiness of frames, so I could mod podge them on some thin canvas or wood boards. Or I could press them between acrylic sheets with some metal hardware… Or I could put them in frames and do some cool arrangement with different sizes. Any suggestions?
I found these few ideas on pinterest:
Mounted on shelf board and hung on the wall. I could do a 2×4 or 2×6 arrangement like this over the batten wall.
Or something with letters or shapes instead of squares. But not sure how much I can make it relate to a laundry room unless I used the words “laundry” which is a bit too literal for me.
This is a cute idea – odd shaped frames, plates, ovals etc with the paper. I like it the best, but It would be a lot of hard work (and time) to find enough eclectic items to fill the space.
Or I could do a collage type gallery wall but instead of frames just have the paper cut into different sizes for visual interest. Something like this:
Those are the only ideas I have so far, but maybe you have some super creative ideas too! I don’t know when I’ll get to this especially if it’s more detailed, but hopefully soon. This baby is coming in less than 2 months, so I’ve got to kick it into gear with all these projects!
September 7th, 2012
When I last reported on the laundry room we were knee-deep in renovating it. Now we are sooooo close to being finished! By the time I publish this post I should have the final “after” photo right here:
Let me give you a good recap of all the happenings of these last two weeks… Tile guy finished the herringbone marble tile floor. It looks AMAZING. So glad we decided to just do it. Also the white on the floor makes the room feel much bigger and brighter. Here’s a quick detail shot (still doesn’t show it’s true awesomeness).
*** Okay I have to do a disclaimer right now… first of all, I’m not a great photographer, secondly this is a really really hard room to photograph, thirdly the lighting changed so much between daytime and nightime shoots and then finally when the lighting was installed. So you’ll see a variety of coloring and I’m sorry! I tried to color correct etc, but there were so many photos that some are kind of blah, and some are super bright! Please forgive me!!***
While the floor was being finished, Mr. Project built the cabinets and frames according to the measurements on our plan. After the floor was installed, the cabinets were installed too. (with a little cleanup help from Mr. Oliver)
And once the cabinets went up, the shelves went up, along with the “backsplash” of wood planks.
The wood planks are just left-over flooring that we had lying around. It’s the back-side and stuck on the wall with adhesive and finish nails.
I don’t think I ever mentioned the batten wall that we decided to do. I wanted to do it all along, but knowing how busy Mr. Project was, didn’t want to push my luck. In the end he decided to put the batten wall up, and I’m soooo happy that he did. It’s such a great balance to a very lop-sided room. Here is the batten wall prior to painting:
And then after being puttied & sanded:
FYI the size on the base is 5.25″, the batten strips are 3.5″ and the header is 7.25″
Now that the cabinets were installed, we could dry fit the wood countertop that Mr. Project made from solid 2″ Alder wood, and cut it to size. (and make sure the washer and dryer actually fit!)
Of course Mr. Oliver had to help with more cleanup first:
Mr. Project was also busy building a rolling hamper cart to go on the right-side of the W/D. I purchased the John Louis baskets from overstock.com, and once we got them in the mail, Mr. Project made some quick plans and then built the cart to fit everything. Having never seen the baskets, I wasn’t 100% sure that it would work out, but it all came together perfectly and fit into the space perfectly too. I had originally thought about doing plastic laundry baskets that slid in and out of channels in the cart, but at the end of the day I wanted something with a higher-end finish, and these metal baskets definitely fit the bill. I’m planning on doing a little vinyl “darks” and “lights” on the front of each of the baskets in the future. The top basket holds the softener sheets, baby detergent, cleaning rags etc. All those little things that you tend to need at your fingertips when doing laundry.
So now that the cabinets and shelves are installed, finish work can begin! Lots of puttying, sanding etc. to make everything look just right. And the wood counter tops, now stained and sealed are ready to be installed and then the wood paneling above it. Oh and I can’t forget the sink and faucet. That was a huge upgrade getting a sink plumbed and installed yay!
You can also see the crown molding has been added!
Now to Paint Paint Paint! Mr. Project is such a great painter! He painted the wood planks SW Duck White, and the cabinets are 75% of KM Acapulco Aqua. The Color looks good.. but also scary! We definitely had some nerves about it especially since the surrounding walls are SW Sea Salt, and we didn’t want the whole room to look like an aqua bomb had gone off in it. I knew the board & batten wall would help bring in more white to the space (along with the white floor and backsplash) So I just hoped it would all come together in the end.
The cabinet doors still needed to be painted, that took 2 days of spraying in the garage. In the mean time I kept myself busy by looking for some accessories for the shelves. I originally intended to use some baskets but found that they felt and looked so heavy in the space, so I just ended up with a mish-mash of items a few new, but mostly older things that I’ve collected here and there. I’m sure it will change a bit over time, I like to move things around in the house as I find new things and discover old things that I forgot about. I definitely like the look of the open shelves and how it makes the space seem much more open and large compared to just a whole wall of cabinets. So glad I made that design choice.
And this is what you do with your toddler while you’re trying to organize and accessorize:
Mr Project painted and installed the doors, and it was like a hallelujah chorus! The color looked so great, and the edging on the cabinets really helped ground the look of the aqua and make it look expensive.
The next day I got all the pulls in the mail… I was a little nervous about these too. I tend to go with shiny metals unless it’s oil rubbed bronze. But when I was faucet shopping, I found a brushed stainless faucet and so I decided to match metals in this small space and get some brushed nickel pulls. The pulls look really beautiful, the styling on them is perfect – a little masculine, but a lot feminine and definitely high-end. I purchased Restoration Hardware 8″ Strand pulls for the tall doors and sink “drawer” and Restoration Hardware 4″ Strand Pulls for all the other doors. I also got the cute RH Strand rectangle knobs for the drawers which I had originally intended on using a crystal knobs for, but couldn’t help myself when I saw the Strand set all together. I’m really happy with how they turned out, though I think I could have gone with Oil Rubbed Bronze and been equally happy (but would have had to find another faucet I think).
And here they are in the wild:
So with all the pulls installed, the small drawers in place, the room is pretty much complete! We had some can lights installed today by our handy electrician, and Mr. Project made the attic access look a little less noticeable as well. And now the last thing to be done is have the new outside door installed (just waiting for our door order to come in!), and then the room will be absolutely perfect. I’m so glad we went with the blue cabinets. I know I was nervous about it before, But I love how the space has so much life to it instead of just being a dull laundry room. I just wish that the room was a bit bigger so that I could take good photos of it. Really you have to see it in person to enjoy how beautiful it is. I tried to do a panoramic photo by splicing a few other photos of it together… so you can get a better feel for the space… ignore my terrible splicing – the wide-angle lens really does a number… any photographers out there want to take pity on me?
And if you can forgive me for that monstrosity, keep scrolling because here are the official “after” photos now that the new (much brighter) lighting is installed:
(ignore the old brown door)
Whew!! It’s been a long 3 weeks, much more so for Mr. Project who is so amazingly awesome (as you well know by now). So a special super duper thanks to Mr. Project for all the hard work he does, and of course a nod to Ollie for his cleaning help – and mostly for being really good during the craziness.