February 16, 2013
Before, I was just a messy and boring wire closet. Now I am much fancier, colorful, and organized. Check me out:
And some more fancy schmanzy before-and-after pictures:
This is where we left you off last time:
The first step in customizing our master closet was painting it a custom color. The reality is that I was too cheap to buy new paint, when we had three cans of leftover paint sitting in the basement. So, I threw some yellowish white, medium gray-blue, and navy blue together, and ended up with half a gallon of this muted blue (just a little lighter than the picture):
Very similar to the shade that I was gonna get at the store.Â The amount of paint was just enough to paint all the walls and backboards of the bookcases. Up next was assembling the shelves. Initially I was gonna go super budget and just get one bookcase on each side, plus some rods to build something like this:
But then I decided to go all out on this project. Just because I had been waiting for this closet for so long and didn’t want to regret any cheap choices that I wasn’t totally happy with. Also I realized that two of those bookcases would fit perfectly in the space. So we got a total of 4 Ikea Billy bookcases, the deeper kind so that all clothes would comfortable fit.
Lincoln’s side was pretty straight forward. For the hanging part of it I got some extendable rods at the hardware store and left all optional shelves out.
On my side we had to hack it a little bit because I needed some taller space for dresses. So we cut the middle board in half, got a laminated board for the center from Lowes (they cut it to the right size and the color and finish was already close enough to the Billy’s so that it was all set to go), and with the help of my handy dandy husband put it all together. Before assembly we had drilled a hole through the center divider so that the rod would just slide through to both sides.
In order to fit both shelves next to each other I had to take the quarter round trim out, so putting that back in will be next on the list. Along with some other detail work:
Paint the walls a grayishÂ blue Hack and install white Billy bookcases from IKEA Build in some racks to maximize space usage
- Install trim around the shelves
Get some nice storage bins for small things like socks Bring in a tall mirror and an ottoman to sit on Get a prettier laundry hamper and trash can
- DIY some custom lamps
- DIY a jewelry organizer for the wall
- DIY an organizer for Lincolnâ€™s pocket stuff
- Find a solution to temporarily hold clothes that will be worn again
- Get and hang some wall art
- Maybe a rug
Do the happy dance!
As you can see we already made some progress on accessorizing and dancing as well.
Here is our new hamper ($15 Home Goods) and trash can ($15 Target).
The storage ottoman is from our foyer where we will be adding a storage cabinet instead. Now it is serving to hold my bags and as a seating bench to put on socks and stuff.
This mirror was previously residing in our bedroom, but for the purpose of fully getting ready in the closet without having to wake up the other sleeping person (Linc and I are on very different sleep schedules) it will also find a spot somewhere in the closet.
There you have it , my new most favorite room in the house.
February 1, 2013
Welcome back to LincNic’s home renovation show! After a 5 month baby break we are back in business. Not quite full force yet, but with a totally manageable project – our walk-in closet.Â I have been waiting to tackle this project ever since we moved in and am especially excited about it since Â this is not only about making a space look nicer, but also more functional. It’s no secret that I am a sucker for beautiful things, but most of you also know that functionality is even more important to me. With little time and money to spare, I like to have my life and household organized to maximum efficiency. If there is an empty corner in my house, I’ll take a storage ottoman or additional cabinet over a decorative vase any time. Form follows function, people!
And this builder grade closet just wasn’t cutting it for me. Yeah, it’s nice and big, but what good is that if I can’t use half of the space? The main conflict here is that I am not a clothes hanger, but a folder. It’s way faster for me and the sweaters don’t get stretched out. So, if you look at my side of the closet, there were only two shelves to hold my stacks of clothes – only one of them really within my reach. And a lot of empty space in between.
Lincoln’s side was dealing with other issues. He is neither a clothes hanger, nor a folder, but a putting-them-downer. Whatever has been taken off the shelves or racks, just ends up laying around somewhere.
We tried to make up for the lack of shelf space by using this big ass dresser which is taking up half of the closet.
On top of the dresser we don’t have enough organized space to hold all my earrings and the stuff that spills out of Lincoln’s pockets every evening.
The trash can is ugly black plastic and the black hamper so deep that I almost fall in head first every time I try to find those black socks in there.
So, what was the logical first step?Â Creating a hot mess in our bedroom.
Then it was time to rip all the stupid wire shelving out and make some swiss cheese.
Why, you ask? Because some genius decided to use threadless screws aka nails together with bolts to attach the shelves to the walls. So instead of being able to screw them out, my only option was to pull as hard as possible and try not to tear down my interior walls completely.
Two rounds of spackling ensued and left me with this blank slate.
Now this is where the real fun starts. Here’s the plan:
- Paint the walls a grayishÂ blue
- Hack and install white Billy bookcases from IKEA
- Build in some racks to maximize space usage
- Get some nice storage bins for small things like socks
- Bring in a tall mirror and an ottoman to sit on
- Get a prettier laundry hamper and trash can
- DIY some custom lamps
- DIY a jewelry organizer for the wall
- DIY an organizer for Lincoln’s pocket stuff
- Find a solution to temporarily hold clothes that will be worn again
- Get and hang some wall art
- Maybe a rug
- Do the happy dance!
July 31, 2012
Who would have thought that my man is so susceptible to advertising? When I picked up a paint swatch for our basement accent wall that was called “Man Cave”, he was all of a sudden so set on using that color even though it was way darker and brownish than what we were looking for. He also bought dog snacks for his parent’s dogs just because they are called “Milo’s Kitchen”. Just name things something that are meaningful to him, and he will buy them.
But side notes aside – this post is about the preliminary finished status of our big basement makeover. Here is a quick reminder of what it used to look like and the plans we had for it:
And here is the for-now-final result:
This project was really more Lincoln’s than mine, since I was getting too pregnant to help with any laborious work, he spends way more time down there anyway, and wanted it to become his very own man cave. A space where he can make the manlier design choices and that is totally technically geared up. So all I had to do was motivating him to get things done before baby arrives, help to strip down some wall paper, and moderate his design just a little bit.
The wall paper removal and painting was the more tedious and painful part, but we had a pretty good system down (learned from the guest room makeover) and managed to finish it within two weeks (working on it almost every evening). For the walls we chose a light grey that was supposed to be color-matched to the guest bedroom walls, but turned out a little darker and blueish. Oh well, close enough for now. Therefore the darker accent wall also had to have a blueish grey undertone. We chose “Iron Frame” from Valspar and had it successfully color matched to Olympic No-VOC.
Before painting however, we had to add some more outlets to the room. There had been only three accessible outlets so far and they were both overloaded by numerous computer and TV components. This required Lincoln to take down the bottom half of one basement wall board, but the good news was that this extra step enabled us to inspect insulation levels and we were also relieved to find no mold or other moistures issues in the basement even though both our neighbors’ basement had been flooded recently.
Lincoln also added wiring for the future surround sound movie theater setup he has envisioned and laid the cables for that behind the baseboards around the room.
Furniture and Features
We bought all new furniture (except for the desk) from IKEA and the couch was a sale item from a local furniture store.
- This couch was a total score and is super comfy with memory foam, dual recliners, and all.
- We also concealed our messy storage shelf for all office and hobby related items. Considering the limited time and energy we had for this project we did not create a real built in closet as originally planned, but hung up a simple curtain solution from IKEA to make the mess disappear when needed.
- Lincoln bought himself this long-wanted dart board cabinet. I am still trying to convince Lincoln to paint this thing the same blue-grey color as the accent wall to make it look less country.
- This vintage red Vinyl chair was a find at Goodwill. It even has a storage compartment in the seat – just to my liking. You can never have enough storage space.
- One of the long IKEA Expedit book cases with boxes to house Milo’s toys. They are now organized by similarity and the labels I cut out of sticky felt indicate even to illiterate little toddlers which toys to find in which box and in which one they need to be put back in. Eventually I might add some cushions on top of it for additional seating.
- A smaller play table. Yes, that’s right, I finally sold that big hunk of ugly orange laminate train table. This little one provides enough space for drawing, building block houses, and driving cars on it while fitting in much nicer. Whenever I get to it I will add some table toppings for different activities. Maybe a thin chalk board, a lego base plate, a traffic pattern, or other ideas as seen on this pin board. The trains are now being set up on the floor whenever needed and we can create much larger configurations.
- Also, check out these cool baskets made out of woven recycled newspaper ads from China. They are nicely speckled and colorful to bring in some pop. And they fit perfectly into our side tables to hold magazines, remotes, etc.Â And yes, it totally bothers the color perfectionist in me how the purplish blue of the toy bins does not match anymore with how the grey-blue paint of the wall turned out. But I will not spend any more money right now, so suck it up, Nicola.
- Lincoln’s desk remained as the only old piece of furniture, but was upgraded with a self-made hutch and a giant contraption to hold his two monitors, before it moved to a more suitable location on the short wall by the laundry room.
For now the furniture arrangement is still focused on the TV, but it will change a little bit once the home theatre including projector and big screen will be implemented. The sofa will then move to the large light grey wall in the back, and the screen will go up above the toy bench.
The color scheme for the basement is quite different from our upstairs. Much brighter, colorful, and saturated. And there is even some red involved – my so not favorite color. But what can I say … the basement is a whole different zone. A man cave. And it is manly enough to be able to handle some red.
After deciding on a blueish grey backdrop of the walls, some more color was definitely called for and we found inspiration in these pictures painted by Milo:
The red, orange, and yellow, make for a nice contrast to the cool blue. I also used one of Milo’s paintings for this first official piece of man cave art:
Just use a kids painting (ideally let them use only three colors, otherwise everything will turn brown eventually), put it in the printer, print some outlines on it, cut them out, and glue on a wood board from the IKEA As-Is section. This board cost me only $1 and the fish were free. See, I couldn’t have painted such a completely random pattern on the fish even if I tried.
We will definitely need lots and lots more of some cool art for the huge amount of walls down there.
Maybe arranged like this photoshopped vision:
With some cool art from this website.
Still missing and on the definite list to be done:
- Improve the lighting situation. The current ceiling fixtures are still too dim and in impossible locations.
- Get some lamps for the side tables for moody lighting when no complete illumination is needed.
Phew, our biggest project yet. So glad to be done for now.
July 16, 2012
After over 31 years of life I thought that I knew myself pretty well. Until I recently surprised myself once again. Here is what I found out: I love organizing.
I swear, this must be a relatively new obsession of mine because I have not seen myself go crazy of the interior of closets and cabinets like this before. Admittedly, since we bought this lovely house of ours I have been pretty keen on keeping the floors and surfaces clear to be able to actually see this nice home. But so far whatever was out of sight was just fine the way it was. Until I went on a basement reorganizing craze the other day and now I can’t help but organize every single closet and drawer of this house. It all started with one of Lincoln’s many bikes to be in the way of reaching the storage shelf in the basement. And while trying to find a better spot for it I started to wonder why we store kids clothes in the utility room, table cloths in the bathroom, and paper towels in the dining room.
All that stuff did not make sense where it was and did not really fit into the spaces either. So I started some major shuffling around, purging, sorting, and organizing. The utility room now only houses household supplies and outdoor stuff. The storage shelf is for regularly used hobby and office items, the storage room under the stairs for building materials and other rarely used (seasonal) items. See here a sneak preview of our basement improvements featuring the newly hidden storage shelf:
All kids clothing and suitcases will live in our master bedroom on this ledge that I will convert to a hidden storage space as soon as the post-baby recovery is achieved. This is how unsightly that ledge looks right now:
And here is a really bad photoshopped preview of what it will look like afterwards with white sliding doors and the red wall gone:
The pantry and other kitchen cabinets got cleared of expired items and food was grouped into clusters that are somewhat coherent so that you know more intuitively where to look for honey or baking soda. I got some $1 clear bins from Target to hold smaller and opened items together. Now they only need to be labeled.
For the junk drawer and cooking utensils we got cheapo drawer organizers (from the IKEA as-is section). Now you can actually find what you are looking for.
I guess you could call this nesting, but I think I’m gonna keep this habit going. There is something extremely comforting and peaceful to having organized cabinets where you can see at one glance what you are looking for and everything is in a place so you don’t have to haul stuff up two flights of stairs.
Check out this blog for many cool organization tips and tricks. I must not be the only one finding peace in cleaning up. How about you?
November 9, 2011
While the dining room was happily being made over a few weeks ago, I couldn’t but notice how my desk nook on the opposite side felt a little left out. When we moved in I found that this unusable corner would make a perfect area for working at home, getting paperwork done and bills paid. The small desk that I once bought at a yard sale for $10, sanded down, re-stained, sealed, and re-hardwared (of course completely undocumented at that time) fit in nicely and that was it.
The drawers started to overflow, bags and power cords tended to accumulate next to it and it just didn’t feel cozy enough to really get some hard work done. Something had to change. So here is a tiny little mini-makeover for ya:
The desk top is being protected by a dining room matching pillow case.
The mini lamp is borrowed from the guest bedroom for as long as we don’t have any guests.
The two white frames were side-products of the spray painted chandelier and one of them is now serving as a not-so-white white board. Just put some nice paper behind the glass and use dry-erase marker on it. Much prettier than plain white.
In reality this desk is more a disguised storage unit than a desk. In case you were wondering what I am hiding in there:
What is still missing is a small storage ottoman to house some overflow that doesn’t fit into the desk anymore. They have basic ones at Walmart on sale for $11 that could easily be upholstered with a different fabric. Stuff like paint chips, Ikea catalog, and screw drivers (there is just no point carrying them back down to the tool bench all the time with the rate of projects going on here these days) need a new home urgently. And yes, those oaky handrails and the shelf in the wall cut-out will be the victim of my white trim paint at some point. Sooner or later I’ll get you all, you rustic oak .. har, har!
July 15, 2011
Before we get into the part of this post where all the action happens, let me just start off by telling you a little bit about arguments in our house. Or the lack thereof. As you all know, Lincoln and I are pretty peaceful and quiet people. We are probably a little addicted to harmony and some might say to an extend that is not normal. But it works for us. When there is something that we disagree on, we usually just
1. voice our opposite opinions
2. go to separate parts of the house still grumbling over the fact that the other one doesn’t agree
3. tend separately to whatever makes each of us feel better while still thinking about what the other one said and starting to see the other side of the coin. Then about half an hour later:
4. come back together silently admitting that we understand the other position and find a compromise for this particular problem.
And there you go – crisis averted. Considering that this strategy has worked for some pretty big topics in the past (getting married, where to live, when to have kids), it was quite surprising that we clashed over something as small as a shelf in Milo’s room last week. (more…)
July 3, 2011
Have you ever wished that a day had more than 24 hours? Or that your house would magically clean itself? Yes? Â Then congratulations, you are perfectly human! Lucky you, cause if you were superhuman I would be seriously jealous right now. I think I would most definitely pass on other superpowers like flying, extra strength, or being unbreakable, if I could only get more stuff done in less time. Either way, what I’m trying to say is that getting life done requires some serious strategy and tricks up your rolled-up sleeves. Here is a collection of some easy strategies that I have developed over the past years that help me juggle life as a full-time working, part-time creative, neat-freakish, active person, and loving mother. (more…)