New walk-in-closet

November 18, 2010   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, Closets, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

The family I purchased my home from had three young children, therefore, both of the bedrooms were adorned for… very… young… children. While one room featured a rainbow ceiling fan and blue walls (see my progress with that room in the before and after section), the smallest of the bedrooms was clearly the sweet, sweet nursery, with light green walls, hand painted animals, and coordinating wallpaper. This smaller bedroom is the appropriate size for a crib, but any adult-sized bed would have been a squeeze (not impossible, just snug). The master closet is pretty small, so I had a lot of overflow happening, and that’s what fueled my decision to make this small bedroom my walk-in closet. See some befores, and keep reading to see the transformation:

Nursery, occupied by previous owners.

Nursery on the day I moved in. One animal (of 4) shown.

Like other rooms in the house, the carpeting was removed and hardwoods were refinished. In regards to the animal paintings, I decided to neutralize the walls, priming (twice) and painting (thrice) to create a fresh white space. I’ve always wanted to paint a ceiling light blue or light gray, so this was my test room for that endeavor – light blue it remains! In addition to utilizing the closet, I needed some extra storage – especially in the shoe department. I lucked out by purchased three matching IKEA shelves from a friend who was having a moving sale – and happily, they fit alongside the long wall in the room perrrfectly! The open-shelves at the top serve as storage to (most of my) shoes, and the lower storage conceal extra books, paperwork, photos, and gift wrapping supplies.

Step 1: Remove carpet. The floors had not been refinished yet in this shot, but they still look pretty good.

Entryway to the new walk-in-closet. Blue ceiling, white walls, and shiny finished hardwoods.

Matching IKEA cabinets flank one wall. Shown featuring my fall shoe collection, the sandals and other spring footwear are carefully stored in overhead baskets.

I’m still working on adding additional exposed storage, but I still rely on the door itself to display my (ever-increasing) collection of scarfs. And I started with installing hooks for my small collection of necklaces.

Still-to-be-refinished-dresser, faux-Peonies, unframed mirrors, and necklace hooks.

Simple necklace hooks.

Door to display scarves.

The dresser shown in the above photos was a free-salvage from an old apartment. I refinished it once, banged it up moving 3+ times, and am going to refinish it once more (thinking smooth, glossy white – thoughts?). I’d still love to get a nice carpet and a small cushy chair for this room, but Cody makes me not want to over-invest in area rugs, and I haven’t found a “i-love-it” chair (truthfully, I’m hoping I can find one to refinish).

But if nothing else, I have room for a growing wardrobe :)

Kitchen island revamp

November 16, 2010   //  Posted in: DIY, Kitchen   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

The “kitchen island” that I found curbside lived in my house for about 15 months before I was in the right frame of mind to rehab it. I use the term “kitchen island” loosely because I’m fairly sure that the previous owners used this table as a planting surface or basement storage area. I lysol’ed the heck out of it and let it work for me as an extra surface in the kitchen, until just recently, when I decided it was time to do the envisioned fixes.

My kitchen island-to-be. Yeah, I did eat dinner on it the day I brought it home (after a good scrub).

The original table had some interesting elements that I liked – built-in shelves and dowel details on the sides, cute scalloped legs, and a generally nice frame. The height was an issue. I’m a tall 5’8″, so I couldn’t easily do much slicing and dicing on the low tabletop surface.  The vinyl tabletop was also an issue – old and eternally dirty, let alone the fact that it didn’t match anything I owned.

What’d I do? Tore off the top of the table and trashed it. I’m pretty sure I found mold in there too (insert completely horrified face). The remaining frame was carefully disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled in such a way to re-purpose the shelves on one side and dowels. New legs (1″x3″ and 1″x6″ boards) cost approx $15 from Home Depot (I even sprung for higher quality lumber) and the height of the new table matches the height of the countertop, so it’s perfectly comfortable to work at now.

Cautiously destructed the kitchen island.


Reassembled the island. New long legs make it counter-height.

Butcherblock would have been a PERFECT new top to this table, but I couldn’t afford a new piece, and decided that I wanted to paint the surface white eventually (there are too many types of wood in that kitchen already), so I headed to Home Depot to see if I could find any inspiration. I found some tongue-and-groove flooring in a clearance area that I decided to try – it seemed sturdy when I laid it together in the store, and I ended up only needing three-10′ boards ($9 total, since they were on sale). I thought some 1″x2″ boards might suffice as a trim/casing for the tabletop. We glued, and let that dry for a day, trimed the edges even, applied some underneath support (with Pete’s new nail gun!), and sanded, sanded, sanded.

Nail gun! Adding support to the underside of the tabletop.


He's a more patient power sander than me.

The final table will need to be painted (probably white) again, but I’m leaving as-is for now.

New kitchen island, assembled!


Close-up of the tabletop (made of tongue-and-groove floorboards and 1"x2" trim)

Afternoon project: DIY Pergola

November 16, 2010   //  Posted in: Backyard, Deck, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  5 responses

Pergolas weren’t part of the original deck design, but we quickly realized that the city wouldn’t approve the construction without handrails on the higher levels of the deck. Instead of installing boring-and-exactly-what-you-would-expect railings along the top edges of the deck (blah! I wanted to retain the sleek and unobstructed look!), I thought it might be interesting to disguise the railings in a pergolas, delicately installed over the doorways.

We did some research. Some pergolas out there are admittedly a little more complex than my simple deck needed, or more than we could have afforded, but most seemed manageable from a DIY sense. We both agreed that if we had considered the pergolas sooner, we could have incorporated the posts into the actual deck construction, but in the end I’m OK with the way we installed this (each post is sitting in a little metal brace which is attached to the floorboards). Any future homeowner could easily (really easily) remove the pergola wholly and put up their own boring rail.

The best part of this one was that we used boards that were already cut to length – 8′ high posts, and 10′ long “girders”. The crossbeams at the top took a little longer to make because they were cut to fit snuggly like puzzle pieces to add strength to the structure. It’s all pressure-treated, and soon will be weatherproofed too (add to to-do’s… winter is coming fast). Beginning to end, including a trip to Home Depot, this project probably only took 6 hours.

  • assembling beams and girders for pergola #1
  • structure upright!
  • custom-cut 2x4's top off the structure. (I sort of thought they might look nice paired instead of evenly spaced when I first saw them go up.)
  • First pergola completed! (Another will go over the raised area in the back right, stay tuned.)

Notice that stuff is missing? The siding is replaced soon so it was OK that it came down. The deck’s motion light is also removed right now (we had to lower it 3″ to accommodate the girder closest to the house). Oh, and the railing. I’m getting to it (add to to-do’s). Instead of traditional spindles, I was inspired by Peter Kirsch-Korff and want to try something like this, a clean horizontal rail.

What next? My friends own a great nursery outside of Ithaca, NY. I’d love to find a pretty arborvitae and some clematis to grow up the left side and over the top of the pergola. I also found some great hanging plant holders from Anthropologie (on clearance!) that I’ll probably hang in the spring. Also, very shortly there will be an accompanying pergola installed over the other part of the deck that’s raised. Stay tuned.