Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dresser Facelift

 Every one in a while time I step into a secondhand furniture store, I fall in love with a hopeless looking stray.

I locked eyes on this guy, and knew he would be prefect for our guest room, with a little TLC.

Look, he's even winking at me...

Or maybe a rather lot of TLC...

According to the back of the dresser, this color is called "starfire."  That's...not the name I would have picked.

But look at the hardware!

So yes, pretty much everything about this dresser was in terrible shape, except the body of the dresser itself.  The drawers slid OK already, but a little application of beeswax helped them work even better.

Somehow, I missed pictures of the color transformation process, but it went a little something like this:
  • sand, tack cloth
  • primer
  • sand, tack cloth
  • paint
  • sand, tack cloth
  • paint

Then, it was time to turn my attention to the hardware.  I contacted the manufacturer to see if they had any replacement hardware to replace the 2 missing pulls, but was out of luck.  I was similarly out of luck with a hardware-location company, who said they could find something sort of like the pulls, but not an exact match.

Since we'd have to do something different anyway, I poked in at Anthropologie and found these:

Mother of pearl inlay
$14 per pull is OK when you're only buying 2...

Replacements acquired, it was time to focus on the rest of the hardware.  I scrubbed all the old hardware with a wire brush and some mild cleaning solution (bon ami and water), which got a lot of years of crud off, but left me with some not so pretty metal.

I was trying to match the metals of the new knobs by spray painting the existing ones bronze.  Sadly, no picture, but the bronze turned out a bit....glittery.  Not a good look for this project.  Oddly, the gold version was exactly the color I wanted, despite the terrifyingly shiny lid color.

Aaaaand, TA-DA.  Done.  Pretty as I knew he could be.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Color Coded Art Supply Holder

Like most kids, mine has a ton of art supplies.  Which is great - creativity, huzzah! But he has so many, without a little organization, trying to find the perfect color makes fun art time frustrating.

I was contemplating a pvc based storage system, when I realized I have all the materials for a zero cost, cute, easy storage caddy already.

Yep, tp/paper towel tubes cut short and the top of a kid sized shoe box.

I figured out how many tubes fit easily around the top of the lid, leaving some space in the middle for stamps/stickers/ephemera, and made a list of colors...

 mixed them in my old egg carton paint palette...

and slapped on the first coat of paint.

One coat was OK, but not quite as vibrant as I'd hoped.  I might go with a primer coat first, if I were doing this project again.

I let them dry for a little while - I used the Kiddo's craft paints, so the paint was dry (or mostly dry) in less than an hour.

The second coat was much better.

I glued the tubes to each other, and to the sides of the box top, to keep the tubes from flying around when the Kiddo grabs for a new color.  I mysteriously don't have any white glue laying around the house, so I went with the wood glue I do have in the garage.

I let the glue dry, and had the Kiddo help me sort his supplies into colors.

Ta Daaaa.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Project Preview - Color-coded Art Supply Sorter

I'm still working on getting enough supplies for this project, but I think you can see where this is going...

Plans include - gluing more halved TP rolls to a small container (top of a shoe box, maybe?) and having Kiddo help paint each tube the proper color.

I love a project the Kiddo can help get crafty with - I can't wait to show you the results!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Half Finished House Tour: Upstairs Hall Before and After

The third floor of our house is made up of 2 small bedrooms, the superhero bathroom, linen closet, and master bedroom suite, all connected by a small stairwell hallway.

It was one of the first "rooms" we attempted decorating.  I threw some shelves up for pictures, and then the hallway didn't get touched for years, until it was time to add the longest baby gate imaginable.  When I read (probably on pinterest?) a designer's advice to avoid neglecting hallways, I knew it was time to give the upstairs hallway a little love.  After all, it's the first thing I see when I leave the cocoon of my room in the morning, might as well make it pretty.

Here's what we started with.

View from Master Bedroom, Kiddo's room straight ahead.

From Left:  Kiddo's room, Guest room, Superhero bathroom, linen closet, Master bedroom (not pictured).  In front, massive baby/dog containment device.

View from the bathroom.

With the challenge of the high ceilings, this was the very last room I painted, because I was a little intimidated by the extra degree of difficulty.  I was glad I didn't rush into painting, because it gave me time to get the color right on all the other (easier to paint) walls first.  I finally mustered up my courage (and a much better color paint than I would have picked initially), and grabbed long poles and rollers and set to work.  Of course, I slipped on the stairs as I finished painting and discovered just exactly where my tailbone is, so that was nice.

Just add paint.

Middle wall close-up.

I wanted the hallway to have a little more purpose, too.  It felt like a lot of wasted space, and I needed some room to display the Kiddo's growing art collection.  Ikea's Deka curtain wires work great to let us clip and easily change out the art as it comes in.  I also finally figured out a way to shorten the gate (relatively) safely by securing it to the bannister instead of the wall.

Our book collection is also getting out of control, especially the Kiddo's.  The new space that this project opened up let me build a really simple bookshelf out of plywood and happy blue paint.  I tossed some old throw pillows by the shelf, and added the heirloom Kiddo-sized rocking chair for cozy reading spot options.

Our collection of favorite family picture is getting similarly out of control, so I used the big empty tall walls of the stairwell to put up a gallery.  We don't have family pictures anywhere else in the house, and I like that distinction between our personal and more public (party/visitor) spaces.

Gallery wall

New view from the Guest room. 

I still have to do something about the decidedly unattractive ceiling here.  I bought a kit to convert the recessed can light to something I just need to find the perfect replacement.  The boring flush mount light will need to get changed out to echo whatever we change the recessed to.  And our builders neglected to paint the trim on the attic access panel and the yellowed nail hole fills are getting more noticeable, so that needs to be done, too. 

I'm having a really difficult time picking the just-right lighting options for this space.  Anybody have some good ideas?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Half Finished House Tour: Master Closet Makeover

When our house was being built, we had to choose between a master bathroom with no tub but a sizable closet, or a big soaker tub and a smaller closet.  We went tub, but that left us with a closet that was way smaller than we had hoped for.

And of course, like everything else in the house, it was as basic-builder-grade outfitted as it gets.

What a mess

The light was the first thing to go.

I really loved the Allen + Roth closet systems at Lowe's, but the price tag gave me pause.  We looked into the Ikea closet organizers, but they all seemed to eat up more room than we had to spare.

So, I improvised.  I grabbed a bunch ClosetMaid stackables from Target and tried to get the same look for a little less.  I added shelves all around for extra storage, stained wooden closet rods and hung them at heights designed to maximize the vertical space I'd created, and switched out the hardware for a nicer finish.

It's a little hard to see in pictures, but I picked 3 different lavendery-purples, the darkest on the 2 walls with the closet organizers, the lightest on the ceiling, and the middle color on the bare walls.

I hung some hooks for belts, and my favorite family photo.  I finished it off with a big mirror, and tossed in an ottoman that has a little storage in the seat (and that acts as an impromptu step stool so I can reach the top shelf).

All in all, it took about a weekend to get everything assembled and installed.  I made sure to anchor each stacked unit to the wall with strong anchors, so they're nice and firmly attached.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to consider the weight of the entire structure on the drawers I put on the bottom of the stack - those drawers close, but it takes more effort than I'd like.  My husband's middle drawer set works much more smoothly.  Otherwise, they've held up well, and we've really enjoyed the extra storage and organization!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Baseball Bed and Built In Night Light

A while back, when the kiddo moved from crib to big bed, we had a decision to make - cheapy toddler bed, or big bucks until-you-leave-this-house.  I'm not a big fan of paying for the same thing twice, so we splashed out a little on a fancy Essentia mattress, and made sure we got it in twin XL - narrow enough to fit in his room, long enough to fit his growing height.

This made finding a bed a little tricky.  So we packed up and trundled to Ikea for some ideas.

I liked the kids Malm bed; simple, low, inexpensive.  I was even more excited when we found one in the as-is section for about half price.  Only problem, the sides were twin length; not going to work on our extra long mattress.

And this is where Ikea is kind of magical - I marched over to the customer service/spare parts counter, and asked if they had any Malm queen side rails they could sell me separately.  They did, confirmed that they used the same mounting hardware so I wouldn't even have to rig anything fancy to attach them, and charged me all of 20 bucks.  Problem solved!

Except.  The as is head and footboard I found were dark black/brown.  The only side rails they had for the queen bed were white.  So I had some painting to do.  Which was fine, since I had planned on baseball-ing the headboard anyway.

I sanded for-e-ver, primered, and coated the whole bed in some leftover trim paint I had in the garage.  If I had the shiny-surface primer I used to paint our kitchen cabinets, I would have used that instead of my sanding marathon.  It took 2 coats to get the coverage nice and even, and then I freehanded some baseball stitching on the headboard.  It didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but it delighted the kiddo, so I called it good.

My kiddo has always had a tough time with the dark, and deemed every nightlight "too dark."  So, while we were still at Ikea, I grabbed the Ledberg light strip, since I knew the led lights wouldn't get too hot for curious fingers, and wouldn't skyrocket my electric bill by being on all night.  I screwed the holder clips to the back of the headboard, and now I don't hear any more complaints about the light being too dim.

Lights off...

Lights on...
From the side

When we moved his bed into the closet nook, there was a tiny space on the side that made me sure everything would get lost down in the gap.  Luckily, I had a small floating shelf hanging around from another project that fit the space perfectly.  Now he has a little spot for water, extra stuffies, or small toys he asks to bring to bed with him.

Malm Bed, Ledberg LED light - Ikea
Baseball Bat Holder - Custom
Quilt, Small Ticket Pillow - Land of Nod (on SUPER clearance)
Large Baseball Pillow - Pottery Barn Kids
Owl Hooks (leftover from a closet-reading nook transition that didn't work) - Anthropologie
Floating Shelf - Target

Superhero ABC's, DONE!

A few months ago, I got started on my kiddo's superhero bathroom.  I am happy to say, I am FINALLY finished with the last piece of the super-decor.


I took it down to our local craft store, and grabbed a stock frame.  I asked them to cut a custom mat and they mounted the cross stitch on foam.  Of course, they got the order of the mats wrong, so the blues of the mat and the bathroom wall clash a little (also, that Love, Mom business at the bottom was supposed to be covered by the mat...) but Kiddo said he liked it, so I'm not going to worry too much.

extreme close up.

As I was stitching, my son kept a tight watch on my progress.

"Mommy, who is C?"
"Oh.  That is disappointing for Captain America."

Repeat for S.

So, I whipped up a stand alone Superman and Cap.  I just popped them in a frame I had laying around, and you can see the difference between a stretched mounting and a lazy one...

Since they were headed for a steamy bathroom, before I put either of these pieces in frames, I made sure to spray them down with a few coats of Scotch Guard.  I also briefly considered running a little silicone around the frames' edges to seal any moisture out, but I think that might be overkill.  

These guys took a while (I averaged about 1 letter or hero per day), but so very do-able.  Head over to the Wee Little Stitches Etsy shop for a pattern of your own.