Laundry, These Days

So y’all saw some of our laundry room in this post – it was actually our first project here in the house where we installed some subway tile and dark grout (my first time trying a darker grout – I like it!). Here is a progress shot of that room, probably about a year ago now, right after we installed the tile.

Subway Tile Slate Floor Laundry

And if you want to go way back – here it is when we moved in. This green color was in all the rooms upstairs and y’all, it had to go 😉

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

Here’s what we’ve been rocking for 2017 so far.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

The tops of the washer and dryer do act as a counter more or less, but there are gaps all over the place and I’ve been wanting to get something in there there was more finished (ie a real counter top).

High_Efficiency_Laundry_Sale

One thing I really love about the laundry room / closet (?) is this hanging rack which is where we try to air dry as much clothing as possible. I swear with a child I feel like I’m constantly doing laundry and I wanted to think of small ways we could make a dent in our utility bill so we’ve been air drying most shirts and all bed sheets. I’ve found that sheets actually dry *better* on our stair railing (within 30 minutes if laid out enough) than they did in the dryer since they’d always get tangled up with other articles of clothing and come out moist after an hour + of drying – so if you haven’t tried air drying some of your laundry you should definitely do it!

Drying_Rack_In_Laundry

Notice in the inspiration board below that there are a few elements still missing from our room? While Jay and I (mostly Jay) have been working on a counter top and y’all – spoiler. it turned out great and was insanely cheap. Details next week! (that much closer to a finish space!)

Here is my inspiration board for reference.

Laundry Room Mood Board

New Year, New Projects! | January Recap

You know it’s been a busy month/beginning of the year, when I don’t get around to the monthly recap until mid-February. Fail.

It’s pretty exciting to think that for the next monthly recap, I’ll be able to include a FINISHED attic. Omeergggauuud. That makes me feel like chest bumping the next stranger that walks down our street. Pumped, I am. (Yoda talk)

March Blog Sponsors

I’m also SO excited to announce that the month of February/March will be chock full of some pretty sweet giveaways thanks to some amazing new sponsors for the blog! Think personalized address stamps from Blush Paperie, Artwork from Eva Juliet, Jewelry from Junghwa Jewelry, and some sweet etsy finds from Hearts Beat Electric. I know, right?! Get excited blogosphere, it’s going to be epic.

But before we get all pumped about the future, let’s dwell in the past and see some of the projects the Sell household got done in the fine month of January.

Raise the Roof

How to property insulate attic

In the month of January, we finally bid farewall to our insulation fun fest and installed our final round of foam. Can’t say it didn’t feel good to finally have a completely insulated and air tight upstairs.

Plus, we got our DTE bill this week and it looks like all that insulating is paying off, too. For the month of January, our bill was only $158. Last year, even with our brand new high efficiency furnace, we were at $190! Anddd it’s been considerably colder this year (polar vortex, anyone?).

House Hunting with Mary

Durham Real Estate

I’ve got a  new Thursday tradition round these parts with the start of my house hunting with Mary posts. Cause really, couldn’t we all use some real estate eye candy every once and a blue moon. For serial house hunters like me, the only way to get my fix is to pretend I’ve got a million dollars lining my pockets and go out and find that next beauty. Ahhh, to have a dream.

USA for Jesus’s Day

We set a pretty lofty goal this year and tried to have a completely China Free christmas. For those that actually check tags before you buy something, I think you can agree that this is a harder task than initially imagined. In the end, we actually did pretty good and tried to buy as many locally sourced, USA made products as possible. I definitely think this is a tradition we’ll be looking to keep!

Gifts Made in the USA

Mission Organization

Chalk it up to the new year, but we’ve been I’ve been on an organizing kick the past few weeks. Closets, drawers, my underwear. Nothing is safe. 🙂

Plus, who doesn’t like having an excuse to search for cute organization bins? Count me in!

Inexpensive Basket Locations

 

Drinking in some Drywall

Ah, yes. I’d almost wiped the drywall saga from my memory. Two contractors and way more money than I wanted to spend later, we finally had a finished attic. Finished, in your dreams Mary!! We had an attic that had drywall kinda sorta up, that needed a decent amount of elbow grease before it’s day in the sun. Even though the drywall install did not go as planned, it was a pretty exciting moment to finally, FINALLY, have walls up in our attic!

Drywalling Attic

Picking La Paint

After we slaved for a weekend or so and fixed up all the jankiness that we fondly refer to as our drywall, we decided it was high time to paint this joint and make it actually look like a room instead of the bunker it had been for the past 3-months. I don’t know about all of y’all, but I do have to confess that painting has to be my favorite part of the room transformation. On this room in particular, the addition of paint really took it from ugg to on it’s way.

Best Greige Colors

Board and Batten

For $20, this project was without a doubt my favorite home renovation DIY to date. I just can’t get enough of this stuff, it just makes such a difference on the wall that was kinda meh before.

Here’s how everything look post install. Yummerlicous.

Twenty Dollar Board and Batten

Plumb De Dumb

What better way to close out the month of January than with the install of our lovely marble floors in the bathroom. Just like your favorite go-to little black dress, err leggings in my case 😀 I’ve gotta say that this new pattern is going to be in my back pocket for future homes. A bit trickier than a traditional subway tile pattern, but only incrementally. And by George, I’d say the look is leaps and bounds sexier. Am I right, or am I right. 😀

Marble Subway Tile Herringbone Pattern

Lovely Linen

So it’s a Tuesday night after work and I started thinking. You know what would be easier than painting the back of our cabinets!? Wrapping them in fabric and being done-zo. My initial list of pros:

  • It’s more straight forward. I mean, you just wrap the stuff around the wood backing, right?
  • It’s faster. See above, regarding just wrapping…
  • It’s cheaper? (No, it’s not…)
  • It will look better … waits to be seen

After I carted my bootie over to JoAnn’s I started my highly scientific hunt for just the right piece of fabric. To my delight, the slab I wanted was 40% off! Cue the jazz hands.

There were lots of options available for a linen-esq fabric, my biggest complaint was that most of them were pretty transparent. Since our game plan was to pull the fabric taught over a piece of wood, I wanted something that was pretty substantial looking. Like this guy.

Linen Fabric Bookcase Backing

So confession. I’m not one of those crafty ladies that sit around and make lovely pillows and quilts and wreaths for their home. I aspire to be, but alas, I am not. I think it’s the whole patience thing, I just don’t got it. So when I want to the fabric store, to buy fabric, I was a fish out of water searching for my salty blue sea. I think I paced around the cutting counter five times before I committed to entering the land of no return where they chop off the big roll of fabric you have in your hands into small parcels that may or may not fit the exact dimensions you needed, since maybe you measured something wrong or thought about something wrong, or, ya know. Anything, ANYTHING could happen! That’s the record that kept playing in my head anyway.

When I went to check out and the grand slam total was $33.12, this also surprised me. Mainly because I don’t know how this whole razzle mcdazzle fabric thing works. So out went the window that whole thing where the fabric is more economical than paint. Oh well. 😉 What I did know, was that I wanted to turn this:

DIY Built In

Into something we wee bit chicer with my new bolt of fabric. So I let the hubby know over dinner that we’d be linen-a-fying our bookcases and he was game so we got a crack a lackin. Ya know, assuming it would take maybe 30 mins, 45 TOPS.

The first rule of business. Pry the cat off his new chew toy.

Malcolm The Cat

Second order of business, drape that fabric right on over and get going. We determined that an inch of overlap (fabric hanging over) would be enough to have something that we could easily attach to the wooden backing.

At first, our strategy was to staple from behind, in order to leave the front face completely staple free. Alas, the staple was a bit thicker than the wood, which created a bump up in the fabric. Not good. We realized that since our bookcase trim would cover the first 1/2 inch or so of the front, that we could staple right to the front face of the board. Problemo solved. We were super careful as we went along to make sure we didn’t go over the amount “allowed” where you would be able to see shiny staples coming through when you were watching the telly.

  Linen Backing on Bookcase

We’ve refinished chair covers before, and the play by play for the linen backing was really not all that different. You want to be very aware of any puckering in the fabric, since those types of problems just seem to amplify as you work your way down the line. We also found it very helpful to have two people to work on this project, since Jay was able to staple while I tried my darndest to keep the fabric super tight so things looked all spiffy when we were done.

You can see a bit of a wave in the fabric in the shot below – most of that was taken care of when we came back through and stapled the other side. Anytime we noticed a bit of puckering, or inconsistency, we’d try to come back through to make sure things looked good before proceeding with the next staple.

How to put fabric backing on bookcase

Each section took us about 45 minutes from start to finish, which included the stapling as well as affixing the backing to the built-in shelves we had already pre-built. The staples part was going a-ok, until we hit a small little bump in the road when we went to attach the backing to the bookcase.

Why yes, that is a 3″ gap. 😀

Installing Backing on Boockase

By this point, the project was taking longer than anticipated already, so we’ll just say that Mr. Gap-frac-tastic was not a welcoming visitor to this party. I was not a hospitable host.

Luckily, my husband is much calmer, and apparently more innovative than me, since he just hacked off a piece of extra wood and we got back to it. Soooo … it turns out the fabric backing was essential, since we would have had the Grand Canyon running along the back of our cabinet bases if we painted. Since we (luckily) had some extra fabric on our board, we just nailed the smaller wood attachment onto the bookcase backing and wrapped the fabric up and around it. Easy peasy.

How_To_Attach_Backing_To_Bookcase

Once we amended our little boo boo, we just moved on to the nail gun in order to make sure everything was attached really well. We took this opportunity to nail in the shelving from behind, too, just to make things a bit more sturdy.

Here is how it was looking after we had the first back up on there. Me likey.

Linen Backing on Bookcase

And after we mounted everything back up on the cabinet bases, we had this.

Linen Bookcase Backing

Looking much better with a little texture in the back. Here’s a before and after shot to show the difference. I’m totally loving how the linen breaks up the sea of white and provides a nice pop against the crisp paint. In case you missed it, here is the finished bookcase, all accessorized. In LOVE.

DIY Linen Bookcase

Linen Backing on Bookcase

 

 

Seriously, Where Did September go? | Monthly Round-up

Fall has always been my favorite season, but this year the weather has just been out of the ballpark. Every day has been bursting with sunshine and in the mid-70’s. Perfection. Makes me never want to leave the mitten (ask me in January, you may get another answer) ;). Along with enjoying being outside as much as we could, we mustered up the energy to bust a few projects, too.

Let’s look at all the fun things we did on the abode in September, shall we?

Trash Talk

Simply Human Trash Can Review

After four years of a defunct trash can that could raise the dead every time the thing clanged shut, we decided to upgrade to a new Simple Human canister with both recycling and trash – what, what! Fancy pants, I’m telling ya. We found this size to be just right for the two of us and love that we don’t have to have tons of space dedicated in our wee little kitchen for our trash and recycling.

Crowning Glory 

How to Caulk Trim

Our cabinets are now properly adorned with some swanky little hats compliments of the hubby. This was our first time installing crown molding, so it took a bit of time to kind of figure out how to get things going. Overall, I think you could safely say I’m obsessed with the new additions. They make the kitchen look hella polished.

When everything was said and done, the crown was looking like this. De-licous.

Installing Crown Molding

Parking Lot on Our Lot

Football Parking Tailgate

Our new favorite Saturday activity is to park cars on our front lawn. Rather unconventional in most parts of the country, here in A2, it’s just another weekend. One of our favorite thing about parking cars for games at the Big House is the little bit of extra cash it gives us to do house projects 🙂

We’ve already put some of the dough to good use buying supplies for our built-in and attic insulation. Oh, and the hubby bought a new commuter bike that he pretty much is ready to name as his replacement wife. A wee obsessed, I’d say. 😉

French Door Surround

How to Install Trim Around Door

 After leaving this door totally unfinished for the better part of 6-months, we decided it was time to adorn this little dude with some trim. And man alive, am I glad we did. This door went from trashy to classy all in a Saturday afternoon. Check out the transformation here, if you missed it.

Basement Built-ins

How_To_Build_Builtin_Bookcase

We ended out the month with a nice plump cherry on top, starting the bookcase install for our basement entertainment center. Overall, this project wasn’t actually all that bad in terms of difficulty, especially since we purchased the lower unit cabinets pre-fab from Home Depot (on sale for 20% off, HUZZAHH!)

We’re still needing to pop some paint on it, add crown and finish off the area behind the TV, but overall, we DIG it. Now my hubby keeps egging me on for a new TV. Men, I tell you.

 

 

Loads of Potential

So when we moved into the house, we realized right away that our current Master Bedroom was small. We kinda missed our his and hers closets in the last place. Jay got the boot to the second bedroom downstairs, and I tried to make the most of the current closet space. It has tons of great storage in it, but it’s all up high. Like grab a ladder and tote your tuckus up there high. Not exactly the best thing for your morning, I’m running late for work, rush.

I also realized that the only space in our teeny tiny bedroom where extra storage could fit organically was in between the closet door and the entry door. Problem is, the space is 30″, which is pretty small for most dressers out there. I had it in my mind to do an IKEA hack on this dresser, but then, I found this guy – for $15 on craigslist. It was actually listed for $20, but I used by suave negotiating skills to get it for $15 😉 Still haven’t ruled out the idea of dressing up the IKEA dresser, but for now – I think I am going to try modifying this guy and take the economical route.

Bedroom Cabinet
Bedroom Cabinet

Although it doesn’t look like much right now, I think it’s got some serious potential. Look, even Malcolm thinks so! 🙂

Malcolm in Cabinet
Malcolm in Cabinet

It’s got lots of depth, which will be really great for storing all my stuff. That doesn’t fit in the closet. Yep – too much stuff. I’m thinking about putting some baskets in there for storage. Favorite thing about it – the drawer on top is super smooth. Thing slides like butta. Which ya know, when you are getting your duds on craigslist – ya never know how it’s going to be. Right now the drawers need to be modified to slide in and out easier. They are presently a tad too big, so they hit the doors each time I slide them in or out. Not good for easy access – so Jay will help me modify them.

Cabinet Storage
Cabinet Storage

I’ve got my mind to paint to all white, with some beautiful new hardware on it. Only trouble I’m having is trying to figure if I want to do the same hardware on both the drawer and the cabinets, or knobs on the cabinet doors and a pull on the drawer. I’m leaning toward the same hardware I intend to use for the basement built-in, below. This way I can give it a trail run before I buy the entire lot. I’ll keep ya posted 🙂

Hardware Option
Hardware Option

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
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?

Light Cover Painting

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
Jay and Malcom Installing the Light

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

Light Switches - Before

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
Basement Ceiling: Progress

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
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
Lumber for Wainscoting Stairs

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

Basement Entry: Before
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
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
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
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 Doors Basement
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 (2)
Basement – Before

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

Ditching the Theme

When we first moved in this fall, the Master Bedroom became my first priority. This bedroom had a SERIOUS personality. I mentioned in the door renovation post that the house had some “taste specific” themes going on in the house, and I think the Master Bedroom was the crowning jewel of that concept 🙂 Why yes, glad you noticed, those curtains DO match the wallpaper. Crazy town, I’m telling ya…

Master Bedroom - Before
Master Bedroom – Before

Needless to say – I was looking for more serene and neutral bedroom decor, so we opted to strip the wallpaper off and paint the walls a nice calming color. We brought our bed over from the last house, Jay helped me construct this baby and I seriously love it. It set us back about $175, but was modeled after a bed that cost nearly 2K. H to the izzo. I’ll have to put up another post about constructing that beast – because in all honesty – if ya got a staple gun and a bit of will power – you’re good to go! Below is a mood board of some of the elements used in the room, so you can see where I was headed.

Bedroom Mood Board
Bedroom Mood Board

Right away we needed some {small} night stands for storage and extra lighting in the room. I scoured craigslist, but alas, I came up empty for the dimensions needed. That, and my hunting time frame was like 48 hours, because, let’s face it – when I get my mind set on something happening, that’s about my time capacity for waiting it out. Patience is a virtue I just don’t got. Sorry ma.

Luckily – I found a PAIR, at TARGET on CLEARANCE. Yes, you heard me right. It was like the shopping gods aligned my lucky stars. I had the night stands pinned on pinterest for a few months, so I couldn’t believe my luck when I found two on the target end cap. I stopped right in my tracks – Jay couldn’t really understand my amazement at the situation. Men, I’m telling ya. I think it helped my case that there was no assembling required 😉 Here are some current pictures to show how the bedroom is looking these days.

Bedroom: Progress
Bedroom: Progress

Some curtains to soften up the space – and to block the outdoor lights at night. Plans to pinch pleat the top once I get over my fears of sewing machines.

Bedroom: Progress
Bedroom: Progress
Bedroom Side: Progress
Bedroom Side: Progress

And, the closet door. Painted and ready to go!

Detail Shot: White Door
Detail Shot: White Door

The bedroom has continued to evolve, and I would still love to get some more details in the space to make it feel a bit more homey and cozy. Notably – we are in need of some additional storage space, looking to do an IKEA dresser hack in the next few weeks to help with that. It’s a small space though – so there really isn’t much room to add too much additional storage. At 9×10 this is a COZY space, so we have had to be very strategic about how we design for and utilize the space.

Here is the source list for the space:

Paint: Benjamin Moore Ballerina White

Bed: DIY, Inspired by Colette Bed from Crate and Barrel

Lamps: Homegoods

Bedroom Tables: Target

Overhead Light: Overstock

Curtains: IKEA Lenda Curtains

Rug: World Market Ivory Classic Carved Rug 

Let’s Talk Doors

There were many lovely things about our home that we were head over heals about when we bought it. There were also – shall we say – some taste specific items that really didn’t jive with our abode vision. Case #1: The Doors. The doors were rather odd. They were original to the house (Score!!) so they are solid wood, and have great detail to them. However, they were all painted off-white (or pink), with a really, really odd, wooden insert in the middle. Not my cup o’ tea.

Door: Before
Door: Before

So, we (and by we, I mean Jay…) schlepped them off to the garage and sanded those suckers down. Once we had them out there, we did notice that they had more blemishes then we originally thought, but we will just chalk that up to character. 🙂 I took a few coats, 2-3 at least per door, but we now have a much more modern version of our doors, which I love!

Detail Shot - White Door
Detail Shot – White Door
Painted Doors
Painted Doors

We purchased all new Kwikset hardware for them as well, which really finishes off the look if I do say so myself. At about $14 a pop, this update made a HUGE difference in the way the house looked, with only a bit of cash. Plus we were able to sell the old hardware on craigslist, bringing the total cost per door down to around $5. Woo-to-the-hoo. That’s my kind of home improvement 🙂