Category Archives: projects

Back in Black

So it seems that I may be a little dresser happy. Dressers are not just to house clothing you know. My first installment was the subway sign media cabinet.

A few months ago I was thrift store shopping with a friend. My purpose was to purchase a dresser (or two) to rehab for more storage in my condo. I came across this lovely vision in pink (for those of you that know me – I am NOT a fan of pink) and I temporarily named her Princess Pepto. Yeah, you can say it – it’s hideous. All of the pepto bismol pink and rose patterned paper. But I had a vision.

PP did not fit in my car so a friend went and picked her up the next day in her mini van (ha! every time I see the word mini van, in my mind I add “not Cooper” and it’s all Kasey’s fault!).

First step was to remove the top of the unit. It was screwed in at all four corners through the top. That was OK as I really want to replace the top with a nice piece of sanded and stained wood or granite (it helps my sister is an interior designer and can source these things for me).

Next step was to removed the contact paper on the inside and outside of the drawers (yes someone actually stuck rose patterened contact paper on wood – the horror). The paper on the inside came up in about five minutes. The paper on the outside took the equivalent of a full day with the help of a bottle of wallpaper remover (and some wine).









After I removed the contact paper and wiped it down I got out my trusty palm sander and went to town on her. A friend was over and inspecting my piece and he told me it was actually probably a lower kitchen cabinet and not a dresser. Further proof is the sheet rock attached to the back.

The hardware I chose for this piece had holes spaced slightly closer together than the holes in the existing piece. I plugged the holes with some dowel and wood glue (at the suggestion of the same friend) and procedeed to paint her with two coats of Onyx Black in high gloss by Behr.

The hardware was super easy to put on, even for a novice with a drill like me (not gonna lie, sometimes I am intimidated by power tools). I measured carefully and was able to get all of my hardware put on in about an hour one evening.

I am not calling this project completely finished as I still need a new top and hinges for the door. But for now it’s serviceable and holds all of my sewing and craft items. The third and final installment of my dresser fetish is sitting in my bedroom and I will share with you soon.


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2012 Home Improvement Projects

So I mentioned yesterday about our hearth and mantle project. We have a few other projects we want to complete this year. We hope to get them all completed and we can officially consider our condo – DONE!

Once the hearth and mantle are completed we will be installing shelving to the left of the fireplace. Right now we have two floating shelves that hold our components and it looks a little lost on the huge wall. Our shelving project will combine plumbing materials and wood such as the photo example below.

We love the industrial feel as well as the customizability (is that a word?) of this solution. Our goal for the wall in our living room is to have all of our TV components (Blue Ray player, wireless router, Xbox & Wii), books and my husbands collection of film cameras on this wall. We are also thinking about using this same treatment in our hallway which is where are DVD collection is housed and in our dining room for our bar area. The genius of this is we can take it with us when we move.

Last summer I purchased some large fabric drop cloths from Home Depot, cut one up and pinned it in to a slip cover for our couch. We also took the back cushions off our couch and used them to make a large ottoman (the width of our couch). I still need to make the slip covers. Here is what the couch looks like just pinned with no cushions.

Our bedroom needs some finishing touches as well. We need to install baseboard and crown molding and we really want a bigger bed. We are looking to get a king size bed with a frame that sits lower to the floor than our current one. A nice nubby rug for under foot on either side of the bed will be great too.

The bed and headboard above are from IKEA. They do not sell the frame in a darker stain in a King size and the headboard (made up of three pieces here) only comes in the birch stain. C and I are planning to make our own bed frame in a darker stain in King and add an all natural mattress. The headboard will be expensive and time-consuming so in the mean time we will hang our 48 star flag on some stained wood as a headboard and mount two vintage suitcases as bedside tables like the photo below from Flea Market magazine.

I love the look of vintage suitcases and have a few myself. One of them is a dog bed. In order to make this shelving I WILL have to cut in to the vintage suitcases which does give me pause. This project will only happen once I find new luggage pieces. I just can’t manage cutting in to my grandmother’s old pieces.

I have wanted a dress form forever. My mother gave me money to purchase one I spied at the local Hobby Lobby. I still have to pick it up (possibly today). The cover is not what I am going for but the form is just right so I plan to slip cover this form in a light linen fabric similar to my couch slip cover. This will act as my valet in our bedroom.

In our kitchen we will be adding butcher block counters and white subway tile backsplash.

We are keeping out kitchen painted a pomegranate red and repainting our cabinets in white.

Last but not least we will be installing a new low flow toilet in our bathroom and I may do a map treatment to a dresser we have in the dining room we use as a buffet. What are you up to project wise this year?

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Getting a Head Start on 2012

Yesterday we continued the process of taking old tile off our hearth in preparation for a long overdue fireplace project. The original tile was ugly so we painted over it several years ago. However, the front edge was chipped and it just needed updating.

Several months ago we bought a Dremmel Multi Max in order to make taking the tile out a little easier than the hammer and chisel we were using. The Multi Max works by oscillating at a very high speed to heat up the glue under the tile. It works great but get’s really hot pretty quickly. It takes about an hour to get ten to fiften 3 x 3 tiles up before we have to stop for the night so we don’t ruin the tool.

Above is a photo of what our hearth looks like after taking a few rows of tile off. The tile around the fireplace is actually the same color as the tile on the hearth and looks very pink in this photo. It’s actually a light mocha color. You can also tell we are missing a traingular piece of parquet flooring still. Once all the tile is removed we will need to remove the left over glue and sand the entire area before we can lay down the new beautiful grey and white Carrara marble tile we picked up at Lowe’s tonight. They measure 3 x 6 and are just $5.98 per square foot.

Once the old tile is off and the new tile is on we will be taking the brass front piece off of the fireplace and purchasing or making a fireplace candelabra like the one pictured below (minus the glass holders). We don’t use our fireplace at all so these plans work for us and will help in resale value.

Then we will beef up our mantle. Right now we have a piece of wood supported by two decorative wooden shelf brackets. We will have somthing that extends from one wall to the other (our fireplace is on a 45 degree wall) with floor to mantle “legs”. Our 50″ flat panel TV has been mounted over the mantle. We will need to get a longer TV power cord and some paintable cord hiding material. This project has been on our list for years and will make the room we spend most of our time in so much better!

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>Life is so crazy.

I was reading a blog the other day about how someone made their own bed frame which is something C and I have been wanting to do. Their inspiration was over $2000 and they paid $200 for the materials plus a jigsaw.

Check out the post for their do it yourself bed here.

This post has inspired C and I and we are going to do something similar. It probably won’t happen for a bit because we need to finish up our living room.

Last night a friend was going through his tools and came across three jigsaws. He gave us one. Woo Hoo!

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>Decluttering Continues

>I spent most of the weekend going through more hidden clutter spaces. I cleaned out under our bed and all the bins (six) we have in our hallway shelving unit. The bins are now organized and labeled and some of them are even half empty!

Unfortunately I do have to use under the bed for storage. It’s not good feng shui or what I would prefer but unavoidable for now. I hope to eventually elimate that when I free up more space in the other hidden clutter areas.

At least I know what is under there now and I even found my yoga mat! I have a rolling bin that has all of my craft supplies and tools with the exception of some stamps and stamp pads and 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper. Those were kept in a couple of the bins in the hallway. I will use up the paper on pages for my sister (nephew and niece books) and I still make cards and gift tags. I also have a bin and two photo boxes with all my photos. This is temporary as I want to get them all stored digitally (I have not taken a regular photo in about four years). That will be a project when I get the decluttering done. I am hoping for a digital photo frame for my birthday next month.

I came across some really old stuff this weekend. All the RSVP’s and gift cards (with notes of who gave what) from my wedding six years ago. TONS of photos, some of me when I was little. Stuff from highschool (a Christmas card from my now hubby), kids projects when they were little (we saved a small amount), stuff from a trip to California five years ago for a half started scrapbook, stuff from when I lived in North Carolina ten years ago. I filled a large garbage bag full of items I was keeping that I really never needed to. It feels like I lost ten pounds!

I even freed up a shelf in the hall closet as the four small bins of crafts supplies and tools I had in there fit in to the rolling bin under the bed. I have a few piles on my dining table that need to get in to their permanent homes and I plan to start tackling the hall closet this week.

What’s left on my decluttering list?

  • Hall closet
  • Rolling cart in laundry center
  • Storage off patio
  • Master closet (need to purge clothing)
  • Hallway bookshelves
  • Pantry

Projects that resulted from decluttering…

  • Photos need to be digitally stored (give originals to my mother or others)
  • Finish up some scrapbook pages started for my sister (nephew & niece books)
  • Find permanent homes for some items
  • Selling/donating craft supplies I no longer need
  • Bucca de Beppo wall (more on that in a later post)
  • Finally get wedding photos framed for parents and other family (did I mention I have been married for six years?)

I am hopefull I can complete the decluttering by the end of June. The other projects will be things I can finish throughout the summer. They have places to live (either temporary or permanent) and I can find everything and that is half the battle.

I actually found a journal I started five years ago and it had a list in it of goals. I am sorry to say that I only had completed 1 of them. How is that for procrastination? Yikes – so embarrasing to admit. I know the reason for it too. The clutter, even when I couldn’t see it, prevents me from getting things done. The clutter and unfinished projects throughout the condo are the reason we did complete that one goal – owning a home. We didn’t have the money to finish the projects to move so we just bought the place we were living in. Ug!

This will also make it easier to finally finish all the little condo projects around the house. We will be able to find all of our tools easily and won’t be tripping over piles of stuff to install baseboard molding etc.

I am gratefull for this blog and the blog community in general. This allows me to be somewhat accountable for things I am trying to accomplish. It’s also a journal and scrapbook, wishlist and keepsake all rolled in to one. This online way of journaling actually made it easier for me to give up scrapbooking! I will still make pages for my sister and others which makes it OK to keep a lot of the stuff I spent good money on. When I do a scrapbook page – I do it. Mucho dinero can get invested in a page. I will post some later on to give you an idea.

For now though, I am on a roll and can’t be stopped!

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>Absolute Necessities

>I have been on a decluttering binge for many years now. I aquire less and less and it seems to me that I am ready to give up more and more.

The past couple of weeks the hubs and I have made more of an effort on finishing our condo projects. We painted the living room and the walls above the wainscoting in the bathroom. We bought more baseboard molding to finish off the living room. A trip to IKEA is in our future for many of these DVD shelfs and this leather couch. When we painted the living room we only put items back in that we needed. That meant a recliner we do use all the time but just really clutters up the room is going away.

I am the first person to look at something and think “how can I reuse this in another way”. I had briefly decided that recliner (it looks like a wing chair) would work great in a corner of the dining room as a reading nook. (Photo below is not the actual chair but close to ours and lighter blue – you get the idea).

This is where I get in to trouble. Suddenly I am all about the reading nook and less about the rest of the dining room that needs finishing. Not to mention the living and bathrooms that have unfinished projects we started working on. All I can picture is lazy afternoons reading in the chair by the garden window, sipping my coffee with a blanket tucked around me. Never mind that in order to have those lazy Saturday afternoons, I need to finish the living, dining, bath and master bedrooms.

Instead, we are selling the chair. Pairing down. Perhaps in the future we will have a reading nook. If so, we will look for the appropriate chair at that time. At least this way I have not gotten distracted from finishing my current projects. Cause the dining table and chairs need to be sanded and painted – so they match. I think that is a little more important than a reading nook (which still requires us getting our old PC unhooked and the shelf it sits on taken down).
I have always been “afraid” of dead space in a room. In the past I have always filled my rooms with probably more than they needed. I always worry if there will be enough seating when I have a party, or Christmas morning when the relatives come over. You know, I have stopped worrying about those things because I am tired of living in clutter just to be prepared for those few days a year where I need to have more than my immediate family in my living room.
I have learned the hard way to start with good basics and build from there. I never had the money for good basics so I bought or inherited the basicas and built on top of them. We are getting back to basics.


Filed under clutter, Decluttering, decorating, finances, goals, Home Improvements, IKEA, organizing, projects

>Spring is Here

>Spring is officially here, I see evidence sprouting up all around me. Yet its still so darn cold! They say it might even snow this week.

Over the Easter weekend we didn’t do much since it was raining. In fact, I can’t remember an Easter weekend in the Pacific Northwest where it hasn’t rained. We did not dye eggs this year. I didn’t really even think about it since I have teenagers that don’t seem much interested.

I’m starting to get cabin fever though. Last night the hubs and I took the dog on an extended walk around the neighborhood just to be outside. We had thought about going down to the pier but it was threatening rain.

We are gearing up for some projects inside and out. We have our hearth that needs some tile, a new mantle to be built that can accomodate a 42″ flat panel (still need to buy that – we are budgeting for it), I have some gardening to attend to and a dining canopy to build. I’m even in the mood for some sewing.

Photo of my garden from last summer – inspiration to get out in the yard this weekend. Maybe I’ll even get a few more of these.

Ready for spring!


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