Laundry Looker

Oh, ya know that corner of your house that just kinda sits there and collects dust. And crap. And dirty underwear. That would be our laundry room. A cold, messy room full of long forgotten articles of clothing and 90% empty bottles of bleach. Yes, not anything to toot your horn about and thus, never highlighted on this little blog o’ mine.

Now I have a dream of having a legit-sauce laundry/mud room with warm wood floors and matching pretty little high efficiency front loading washer and dryer. How about them apples?

Laundry Room

Ohhh, how my heart longs for that day. I mean I might actually DO the laundry if I had a room like that. With a glass of Merlot in hand, me thinks, that room is just too classy to not be sipping on some wine. Alas … today is not that day.

Today looks more like this.

Laundry Room Messy

Like a dumping ground. A little of this, a little of that. Not the most functional room. Plus, it was cold and dreary. And had borders of flowers and random paint sampling’s up on the wall.

Oh, and stenciled watering cans. It had that, too.

Flower Border

See when we painted the basement bathroom a few months back, I thought I could sample the color up on the laundry room wall, since the rooms were right next to each other and I had extra paint on my roller – might as well, right? Thing is, with the poor lighting in this room it looked kinda purple. So I nixed the idea, but we’ve had some psychedelic walls happening in this joint ever since.

So, with the house going on the market, we started to brainstorm and think of ways that we could make the space a bit more spicy. And our budget … Nothing, nada, free, zero. More than anything we really just wanted to make sure the room wasn’t offensive, so we figured the best strategy was to work with what we got. First stop – board and batten, baaabbbyy.

If y’all haven’t figured out that I have a hard core penchant for board and batten accent walls, than ya just don’t know me my friends. Out came the table saw and some white paint. It was trimming time!

Board and Batten DIY

We had some leftover wood, so we figured, what the hey. Might as well pop that bad boy up and call it good. While we had the white paint out we also decided to tackled our lima bean green door. It’s at these moments when I ask myself why we didn’t paint this door earlier. Srrrioussly.

Updating Laundry Room

And ya know, after we had some neutral paint up in there and cleared all that clutter, things were looking better! But, well, still missing something, right? Clean, but not mean. We’re going for fierce over here.

Cleaning up the Laundry Room

So, we honed in on some final details. And given our freebie budget, we thought it would be a good idea to attempt to raid our household supplies versus reinvent that wheel. So, remember the plush flooring we added underfoot in our attic? Well given all the nooks and crannies we had in the space, we had lots and lots of scrap left over. And after thinking about it for a hot second, we thought, ya know, why not slap that stuff down in the laundry room? It’s free, and it certainly looks better than the cement we had rocking the joint before.

Carpet Remnant

And with some cutting and trimming, we had ourselves a nice cushy floor underfoot. Purrfect.

After moving all our shelving and storage out, the room was feeling mighty empty. Cushy, but empty. So in the spirit of getting things done we decided it was time to cheat. How you may ask? By staging this joint, aka by buying something, keeping those tags right on it, and returning it right after this little house of ours sold. I figure it can either look good sitting at the store waiting for someone to buy it, or it can look good sitting in the corner of my laundry room. I chose the later.

So we hopped on down to Homegoods and found this little beauty. Small enough to fit in our little nook, but large enough to fill out the space a bit more and simulate the look for storage in the laundry area for all the buyers we’d have trouncing through the house. Awwww snap. That’s down right perfect.

Homegoods for staging

But alas, once we got it in, we had another problem. Gazing up we noticed our water shut-off lines were rather unsightly. Just a big old hole on the side of the wall. Uggglllyyy.

Covering up water lines

So keeping with our I don’t wanna spend a dime theme, we started searching around the house to see how we could recycle something chillaxin in another location and re-purpose it in the laundry room. And lookie what I found. A big old poster of purty little butterflies. Previously smattered above our computer, now smattered above our water lines.

Large Butterfly Poster

Ahhh yessss. Me likey. That is one nice looking butterfly montage hanging out there. Added bonus, it adequately covers up those water supply lines, too. In our further searching, I started to get in my head that it might be kinda cute to pop our laundry basket up on the wall, for some more free art. Well nearly free. .99 art 😀

Best Thrift Stores

Dang. I’ve been using this laundry basket since my college days, so I consider a 7 year run for .99 cents pretty stinking good. And although it’s certainly no Monet, it looks better than the bare wall we we’re rocking prior.

Hanging Basket on Wall

Plus, any time we need to fold our freshly laundered clothing, we’ve got that basket just chillin’ like a villain up on the wall. The best of both worlds.

And although this room is still very, very rough, it’s staged enough that I think it meets our goal of being non-offensive. Oh, and all painted garden implements are now washed away from our wall. Sa-weeet!! And, our only cost. Ummm … nada, nothing. Leftover paint, leftover art, borrowed furniture. Now that my friends, is how to stage that house and get it sold. YES.

Budget Laundry Room



Up Close and Personal

Although our built-in bookcase has been “done” for the past few weeks, there have been a few finishing details that were keeping us from officially checking this one off the list. Areas like this …

Installing Trim on Bookcase

And this …

Linen Backing For Bookcase

It was a looker from twenty feet, not so much from two. The good news was that all this trim was pretty easy to get up and done. For the most part, it was just a matter of grabbing the nail gun and gajunking a few right into place. Alas, as with any home renovation project, there were a few snaggles along the way as well.

First, let’s start with the easy stuff 🙂

Popping some trim along the front seam was super easy and super cheap. The stuff set us back around $15 for all the front facing trim. It was unfinished solid wood when we bought it, so we had to come through with some paintable caulk before we primed and painted it. We also put a bit of caulk on any nail holes we could see, to clean things up a bit there as well.

Adding Trim to Built In

We used half inch wood trim for all the bookcase facing and for any area where there was a seam we wanted to cover up (like the first picture). If you’re doing a similar project in your abode, I would just try a few different widths of trim and see what looks best, since I don’t think there is a silver bullet on the sizing here.

For the impact it made, I would have spent twice what we did! It really made our unfinished edges look so much more put together. Installing this trim was really just a matter of nailing it in (with a nail gun, if you have it – if not, start saving your pennies – these things make a world of difference for finishing touches!) and painting it. Sha-zam.

Here is how things looked after a coat of paint. Better, no?

How to Add Trim to Bookcase

Now on to the slightly trickier areas … like the few inches we had between the wall and the bookcase. Oye. Since we didn’t have anything to mount the trim to, our first step was to put in a spacer, if you will, that allowed us to actually nail into something.

How to Build a Built-in

The second part is where the plot thickens a bit. Lord knows how, but the space between the top section (by the ceiling) and bottom section of the built-in (by the floor), was totally not the same. More than an inch of difference. Aye carruba!!

So, we had to kind of improvise and cut the piece more or less by hand to the specific dimensions so it would fit. One thing I’ve learned, over time mind you, is that caulk can pretty much salvage any type of project like this where you know you won’t be able to get everything in there perfectly. At this point, we could only shrug our shoulders a bit and keep on a moving. (Note – it seems there is a point in every home renovation project where my husband let’s me know that a table saw would make the job much easier – this was one of those moments. If you have a table saw, it would work awesome for helping create a straight rip down the wood piece).

How to Rip Wood

Another area that was sorely lacking in the looking spiffy department was the top of the bookcase. Things were looking a wee bare up there if ya ask me.

Bookcase with Linen Backing

So, I’ve gotta be straight with you. Ever since we put up the crown in our kitchen I’ve been chomping at the bit to get some more of this stuff in my little home. Bedrooms, bathrooms, bookcases … you name it, I’m ready to grab my sword and knight some royals with a new crown around here. Alas, after we got the crown up on the first section of the bookcase – we were having a bit of a whomp whomp moment.

You see what I see? I see some hole-ly liscous gaps happening there. All of the open space was due to the fact that 1) our floor is in NO WAY even (leading to tops of bookcases that are in NO WAY even) 2) What can I say, if you’re looking at a spectrum from pro woodworker to novice feeble craftsmen, we’re on the latter part of that scale. Not highly trained = whoops moments every once in a blue moon.

How to Caulk Trim

A mantra for all fellow DIY’ers is this. Repeat after me. Caulk can cure. A la, this. Ah – YES – much better.

How to Caulk Cabinet Trim

So all and all, this built-in is pretty much ready for prime time. I’m pretty smitten.

Now when I look at the photo below of our basement, I pretty much want to chest bump this built-in while simultaneously giving it fifty seven high fives in a row. Yeah. I like it. A lot.

When Jay looks at the photo below of our basement, he sees a TV that is in dire need of an upgrade. I swear, I’ve genuinely never seen this man care so much about the proportions and aesthetics of our furniture. Truth be told, the hubby may have just earned his new big screen TV. 😀

DIY Built In Bookcase

And just for fun and games … here is a shot of the same area before. The best part is that this built-in only set us back $400 (price breakdown, here), vs. $1,200 for this guy at IKEA. Bam.

Basement TV Area

Psst! Looking for more inspiring DIY ideas? Follow along with the blog!


Tres Drab, to Super Fab

Swiss cheese is ok on my sandwich – not so much on my ceilings, ya know what I mean? Not much I can do about inheriting swiss cheese potlights in the basement – but the gold quality of the potlights was certainly something I had my mind set on changing. Here is a before picture:

Basement Ceiling: Before

Luckily, a can o’ white spray paint, for around 3 dolla bills, and we were on our way. We are big fans of spray painting around here. For a few bucks – you can really transform something, and I’ve found that trusty aerosol can works for a lot more than you would think! 🙂 We carefully uninstalled the lights and schlepped all of them out to the garage and put some white spray paint on these babies. Already looking better, right?

Overtime, and after spray painting lots. of. stuff. We’ve learned a few go to tips for getting the best results spray painting.

For us, the best way to get good results are:

  • Lightly sand your item (especially if it had a shiny surface initially) to ensure the paint sticks
  • Also make sure there is no finger print oil on the item. Unless you want to leave your signature on your work that is 🙂
  • Lots of thin, even coats. Usually we do 3-4 coats, and we space out the coats for 2-3 hours minimum in between each time. Follow the can on the timing, depending on the type of paint, this can vary.
  • Another thing that is *hard* for inpatient me, is to WAIT to install your items until after they are completely dry. Learned that one the hard way – nothing more disappointing the nicking up your freshly painted duds with your screw driver. Le sigh.

Then after they were painted, Jay {and Malcolm} worked on re-installing them. I sat on the couch and took pictures. he he. And – ya know – Jay is tall enough to not have to grab a ladder for the install, so he was nominated as the best choice. 🙂

Jay and Malcom Installing the Light

While we were at it, we tackled the light switches, which were an ugg brown color.

I know you are probably thinking, but Mary, why didn’t you just BUY new light switches for like 55 cents. Well, because I had a can of spray paint already, and figured, what the hay. Let’s just bust this sucker out! I’ll keep you posted on how they hold up. The outlets down here only get a moderate amount of use, so I am hopeful that if we prep them a bit by sanding them down, that they will stand the test of time. Look how much better they are looking with a nice, crisp coat o’ white paint. Sometimes, it’s the little things that help your space feel a bit more finished.

Basement Ceiling: Progress

Lovely Shiney Things

Although I love the concept of the built-in desk in our basement, the hardware and paint on it are mega dated and in need of a heave ho. Right now the desk has meh white tile, with a black cabinet base and brushed nickel hardware. My BIGGEST pet peeve with it right now is the fact that all the wires are scattered all over the top of the desk, since there are no outlet holes on the top. That will definitely need to change when we rip out the counter.

I’ve been searching for some hardware to finish off the look and I’m torn between the oil rubbed bronze look, and an antique brass finish. I like the idea of the antique brass, mainly because it seems a bit more neutral than the darker option, and less mitchy matchy, since all our hardware in the house is already darker.

I love the look of this hardware – on a white cabinet with a wood counter… Only bummer on these little lovelies is that the retail for $4 each, and we need (15). A wee bit pricey for hardware – I may splurge though. 🙂

Basement Hardware Basement Hardware

Or if we go dark, I would probably do a more pronounced pull with some detailed knobs.

Basement Hardware

And holy mackerel – I totally need this guy at some point, no? This one is for furniture – which would be so whimsical and fun! I’m definitely going to hunt for a similar looking one for the front door knocker.

Basement Hardware

When the space is finished, I’d like it to have the look and feel of some of the spaces below. Eventually I plan on putting some type of natural fiber rug down here as well, but for now, the neutral carpet is a-ok with me 🙂

Office Inspiration Office Inspiration

Not certain about how much shelving we will be installing on this back wall (vs. art), but I definitely am liking the look of clean, white cabinetry with understated hardware.

Wainscoting (What, What!): Pinterest Challenge!

Other than painting around the house, this basement entry redo is the first “real” project we have tackled since moving into our house in October. We’ve been using the finished basement a lot since we moved in, so every time I tromped down the steps I cringed hardcore at the faux finished green paint on the walls. In addition to green paint on the baseboard area, the ceiling and walls were painted a light blue color. Not my up o’ tea.

I had visions of a clean and simple basement entry – and the previous look just wasn’t fitting the bill. I started scouring pinterest for ideas and came across the look below and I figured – heck – we could do that! Sans the bookcase – even though I totally LOVE the look, a bit more than we were looking to bite off at the moment.

Basement Inspiration

Par for the course, the first stop was hitting up Home Depot for some lumber and supplies. We settled on the 4th one over, which was $1.26 per linear foot. After looking around the aisle, we found this one to be the closest to our desired dimensions, and the hubby thought it would be pretty easy to work with.

Lumber for Wainscoting Stairs

Here is the before shot, for your reference, ugly – I’m telling ya!

Basement Entry: Before

Initially I wanted to have the molding follow the line of the stairs, but after realizing that there was actually two different walls, with a seam where the trim was – we realized that there would be a really visible bump on the wall, so we opted to maintain the current division.

Here is how the finished product looks close up, pretty swanky, right?!

Wainscoting Trim Stairway

I got to say, I’m pretty pleased with how the project came out, and overall, I found it to be a pretty manageable process. It took us about 3-days, of work, mainly because we estimated wrong on wood quantities (hence additional trips to the Depot), and the white took a few coats before the faux finish green stopped peaking through. This is how the stairway looks from the bottom of the steps. The carpet is in dire need of some attention. Someday I would love to put in a runner like the inspiration picture above from pinterest.

Wainscoting Stairs

The project cost $122.60, which included a gallon of paint and lots of 2 1/2 by quarter inch wood 🙂 Our supplies list can be referenced below:

  • Paint Color Benjamin Moore, Simply White (Colored matched in Behr Premium Plus)
  • 60 square feet of wood @ $1.46 per sq ft. (this will vary, depending on your staircase dimensions)
  • Wood glue
  • Caulk
  • Nails

As far as tools, a miter saw is a definite must for this project (we have this one), to cut all the angles. Other than that – just grab your hammer and your ready to go! Hammer time – da na na na.

We started out by laying the bottom piece of wood, closest to the existing base trim that was already there. Some of the wood got a bit messed up when we were taking out the trim from before – so this piece helped cover some of those imperfections, and provided more detail along the edge. Then after playing around with different dimensions, we decided to arrange the grid with 18″ spacing across, which created about (5) vertical rows and (4) horizontal rows. From there, we just got to cutting! Our vertical pieces are one long piece, and the horizontal pieces were fit in.

Stair Wainscoting Trim

A few notes on how to get the best results:

  • In addition to nailing your piece down on the wall – you may want to glue it somehow onto the wall as well. Since there were not beams the entire way across, we noticed some buckling, which was fixed with some wood glue.
  • Caulk after your done – makes a world of difference! You may want to paint over the caulk as well – as sometimes it has a yellowish hue to it
  • We decided to roll the square part – since it gave a more even coat
  • Oh – and cut once – measure twice 😉 It may help you avoid said extra trips to the home improvement store 🙂

While we were at it, we also painted the side doors to the bathroom and laundry area and add some oil rubbed bronze hardware to update the corner.

Side Basement Doors

Man – I seriously wish I had some before pictures of this area. The doors were green, with gold hardware, you can kind of see them peaking through on the before picture of the basement below.

Basement – Before

Now we just need a nice runner for the steps, updated lighting and some art work to get this space done!

Craigslist Score!

Craiglist for the win! I’ve been totally on the hunt for a stellar pair of cane back chairs to start making the basement sitting area look a bit more put together. We had one lonesome cane chair sitting there for a while, but the details were a bit too ornate on the legs for my style. So I was perusing craigslist and found these winners – a SET! Eeee! I’ve had my eye on a pair like this ever since spotting them on the Little House Blog a few months back.

Set of (2) Matching Cane Chairs Cane Chair with Tufted Backing

The ones I found are almost identical to the one’s on the blog I spotted, with one major bummer. The cane does not wrap around the back, bummer dude! Some genius in the 50’s or something decided to remove the cane on the back and upholster it. In ugly, brown, fabric. Can a cue a whomp, whomp? Alas – I have plans to reupholster them and add some snazzy throw pillows, perhaps some like these? (Via Etsy)

Pretty Pillows A’la Etsy

This area of the basement will be getting some built-ins in the next few month and a nice natural fiber area rug to start bringing things together. The chairs = a step in the right direction! Consider me pumped.

Basement Progress

The basement is FAR from finished, but we finally got some artwork up. We put a collage on one side of the window, and I was able to snag a sa-weet poster from IKEA for $12 green backs. Highly recommended, this thing is huge! Only downside to the size was that we had to buy the largest frame for it, which was $24.99. Our local IKEA has a special where you can eat for free if you spend $100 in store, so we just make strategic trips over on the weekends they are running this promotion so we can fill our bellies while we empty our wallet 😉 Last time Jay and I got $30 bucks worth of food – ha ha! It was a Swedish feast at it’s finest.

Here is the IKEA Bild Poster

Here it is hanging in the basement, along with the collage on the other side of the window.

IKEA Bild Poster Basement Collage Basement: Progress

When we are finished with this side of the basement, I would love for it to have some of the flavor from the collage below. White cabinetry, nice hardware, great storage, etc. Next steps – painting the cabinets and installing an all-wood counter perhaps?

Basement Office: Idea Board