Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Custom Plant Bench

I posted a few weeks ago about this custom shoe bench we built using Ana's plans from Knock Off Wood. Since it hasn't fallen apart yet, we trusted our carpentry skills enough to construct another bench.

So it was time for some more compressor power with my newest BFF, the wonderfuly delightful nail gun.

Within 20 minutes we were the proud new owners of this bench. You can see the plans for this bench on Knock Off Wood here. We did modify the plans slightly by not notching out the legs on the sides. We were feeling a bit lazy even though we have a jigsaw.

I gave it a couple coats of paint and primer (Behr Touch of Cream) and brought my new bench inside. It was just the right size to fit in our kitchen bay window. I needed something to put my ever growing plant collection on and this bench was the perfect construction project for the job.

Of course like any project, it's not perfect. It's so hard to find lumber at the big box store that is not warped or has tons of knots. We didn't nail one of the legs on very straight. The bench even wobbles back and forth if you try to sit on it. However, I still love that we built it ourselves and it works perfect as a place for my mini indoor garden.

Now if only this photo didn't remind me that I need to replace or repaint that vent cover. It really sticks out against the white!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Laminate Bookcase Makeover-Part 1

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in almost two weeks. I was fighting a terrible cold so blogging and home projects were just not happening for awhile. I am finally back in action with several finished projects to share.

The main project I have been working on is to update my craft room. I posted the crazy "before" photos showing the cluttered mess the room had become. After giving the room a coat of the same paint color as our hall bath (Behr Rain Washed), I turned my attention to conquering the clutter problem. One major problem I wanted to tackle was to create a prettier storage area using one of the existing laminate bookcases I had. The bookcase needed to hold a hodge podge of mismatched photo albums, magazines, and books. Somehow I needed to figure out a way to make everything look more coordinated. I saw this photo on the BHG site and knew right away it would serve as my inspiration.

Here's how my version turned out.

And a reminder on how the bookcase started out. You can see it on the very left of the photo below. It was a super cheap laminate bookcase in a pale oak color that we purchased five years ago. We also had a shorter version of the same bookcase shown in the right of the photo. Both of these bookcases have been completely transformed. I will show the breakdown on how I gave the tall bookcase a makeover in this post. I will have another post later to reveal what the smaller bookcase looks like.

When I did some research online to find out if paint would even stick to laminate, I came across a very helpful post on the subject on the blog Living with Lindsay. I mostly followed her instructions which really ended up being the same steps I used when I painted the bathroom vanity cabinets in both our hall bath and master bathroom. Sand, prime, paint, and be very careful not to scratch anything!

1. First step, sanding. I used our power sander to sand every surface except the inside backing which I planned on covering up. I used a fairly high grit sandpaper. You just want to lightly scratch the surface without going all the way through. You should see little white flecks of laminate coming off.

2. Trim it out. This step is optional, but gives the piece a more finished look. If you have a bookcase that is totally plain on the top like mine were, you can add some moulding to give it more substance. We used a miter saw and a strip of moulding to quickly add some trim pieces around the top edge. Of course I used my wonderful nail gun to secure the trim. Here's the bookcase all trimmed out and sanded down.

3. Prime time. I used Kilz water-based primer for the large bookcase and oil-based for the small bookcase. I prefer oil based because of the extra durability and stickiness, but I went ahead and used up the last of the water based primer that I already had left before purchasing another quart of oil based primer. I let the primer dry overnight before moving on to the painting step.

4. Time for paint. I used cream Behr laytex semi-gloss paint that I have used on several different projects. Both bookcases were given the same paint color.  I let both bookcases dry for five days before putting anything on top of them. This is very important. If  you don't let the paint totally dry and cure for several days, you could end up with things sticking to the paint or the paint chipping more easily.

5. Prettify the inside. Just like in my inspiration BHG photo, I wanted to add something to the inside back of each bookcase. I found a roll of wrapping paper on clearance at Target for $1.74. The colors just happened to be perfect for the room. You could also use wallpaper or even fabric.

I used the shelves from the bookcase as my guide for how wide to cut the paper. Both bookcases had adjustable height shelves.

Then I just used double stick tape to adhere the paper to the back of the bookcase. A craft knife came in handy to trim the paper tight to the edges of the sides, top, and bottom.

6. Use a curtain to hide clutter. I picked up a simple tension rod at Old Time Pottery for $1.99 to hold the curtain and fit between the bookcase sides. The blue and white fabric was a $4 purchase at Joanns Fabrics. Since I don't sew, I used some iron on tape to hem each side and the bottom. Now I can hide the mismatched books and albums behind lovely and inexpensive fabric.

7. Add accessories, then step back and enjoy your bookcase's new look! I shopped the house for decorative touches to fill the top two shelves and also picked up a few more items while out shopping. The mason jars I found at a thrift store for $1. The silver globe on top if from Home Goods. The white bird and topiary are from Michael's. (Free for me with a giftcard!)  The sleeping white ceramic cat was a Dollar Tree find. Inexpensive storage boxes from IKEA help corrall my endless supply of magazines and some general crafting goodies.

I am very happy with how my bookcase turned out. It makes me smile. =) I did scratch the paint in a few places while putting the shelves back in. Otherwise the paint seems to be sticking well to the laminate.

I will be back to post later on how the smaller bookcase is looking these days. It has been moved to a different room.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Craftroom-The Scary "Before" Photos

One major project I have been working on lately is to clean up this disaster of a room. The room currently serves as my scrapbook/craft/Bowflex/storage/catch all room. It's become such a catch all space that I can hardly walk in there and I certainly don't feel very inspired to do much crafting.

The two bookshelves and the closet are stuffed to the brim with games, scrapbooking supplies, knick knacks, memorabilia, and more.

About the only thing that is going to remain the same is the desk. I do love my desk. It was a $99 online find from Target several years ago. It even had free shipping. Pretty much everything else in this room will be moved around, painted over, and organized.

The room is currently halfway through its makeover. Stay tuned for a new paint color on the walls, a different furniture arrangement, and even a tutorial on making over those cheap, laminate bookcases. (Yes, they are paintable!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Building a Shoe Storage Bench

Thanks to the amazing plans and tips from Ana on Knock-Off Wood, Mr. Delightful and I were able to complete our very first wood working project. We made good use of my new air powered nailer and a borrowed miter saw to quickly put this happy little bench together.

We used the Brady Entryway Open Bench Plans, although we modified them slightly. Instead of using MDF and making the bench 23-3/4" deep, we used 1x12s to create a narrower bench to fit in the tight space near the door between our garage and our house. The width and trim dimensions were the same as the original plans. It just happened to work out that the width of 30-1/2" was exactly the distance between the front edge of our cabinets and the edge of the trim around the pantry door. It was just meant to be. We did also slightly change the plans by adding the bottom piece of trim to the outside face instead of adding it underneath the bottom shelf.

Here's Mr. Delighful Dwelling helping to assemble the bench. With the nailer, miter saw, and Ana's super simple to follow plans, we were able to build this bench in no time.

I decided to use beadboard as the backing. However, since the bench is so deep and will have shoes stored in it, you can't reallly see the pattern of the beadboard.

After filling all the nail holes and sanding with my power sander, I added a coat of primer. I followed this up with a coat of Valspar semi-gloss paint in a cheerful sage green. I have no idea what the technical name of the color is, it was a custom mistint that I picked up at Lowe's for $2.50.  Overall, I think the project cost us somewhere in the $25 range. It's not perfect. The lumber is full of knots and not completely straight, but it fits perfectly in our little "mudroom nook." The shelves are just the right size for shoe storage.

Of course, no project is ever fully complete until it gets the official kitty seal of approval.

I had so much fun with this project that I had Mr.Delightful help me crank out another bench following a different set of Ana's wonderful plans. Stay tuned for the finished product.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hiding an Ugly Laundry Room

Our laundry room is also known as the kitty potty. We can't' close the door to the room because the cats have to get in there. So for the past 5 years, I've had a curtain covering the doorway opening to the laundry room. The room itself is in need of some major help in the decorating department, but I'm holding off until the day our 15 year old washer and 20+ year old dryer finally stop spinning and I can gut the room and start from scratch. I was using the plain curtain below dividing the space from the kitchen. I wasn't really happy with the curtain. It was a pain to slide over when we needed to do laundry and the color wasn't quite right.

Then I found this shower curtain on clearance at Kohl's for 80% off. My mom bought it for me and although it is a tad too short, I love the colors and the design.

Since it is attached with shower curtain rings instead of a rod pocket like the former curtain, it is super easy to slide back and forth for carrying all those baskets of clothes into the laundry area.

I love the simple changes that make me smile.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thrifty Finds

I'm back to share a few more discount goodies I picked up lately. The first cheap lovely is this pillow. I had been looking at the exact same one online at Wal-Mart for $12. Well guess how much this beauty was at Old Time Pottery? Only $3.99.

I found this cute, little bunny at Goodwill. He set me back a whole dollar. Isn't he perfect for spring and Easter time?

The final cheap find I have to share is this silvery candleholder complete with candle. Another $1 find at one of my favorite craft stores. It will probably end up in a different location and with a different colored candle, but it's hanging out in the living room for now.

I just love bargain hunting!

Monday, March 8, 2010

This Tool Rocks

It was a busy and crazy weekend at the Delightful Dwelling. I worked on so many different projects my head is spinning. My house is a total disaster area, my car won't fit in the garage right now, and I have kitty paw print stains all over my carpet from a cat walking through a paint tray and then all over the house and furniture. But it's ok, because I'm having a blast and my house is getting prettier and more functional.

Several of my weekend projects were made possible by one wonderful birthday gift. A finish nailer. Some people thought I was crazy for wanting a power tool for my birthday, but my dad happily purchased me one for my recent 28th birthday. Here she is in all her beautiful and mighty glory.

Isn't she purdy? And yes, it is a she although I haven't given her a name. Dewalt brand tools on the other hand are boys, because only boys would wear school bus yellow and black together and still look cool.

This is the next tool on my "gotta have" list. I borrowed this compound miter saw from my in-laws, but I will have trouble giving it back. You can see a couple hints about one of our weekend projects in the photo.

Of course I couldn't have done it all without the help of Mr. Delightful Dwelling. When I could get him out from under his Jeep that is.

I might be a little slack in blogging this week as I try and finish up all my projects and get my house put back together again. I will be back with the finished photos and tutorials as soon as I can wrap everything up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Bathroom Vanity Knobs

We completed a makeover of our hall bath over six months ago. Part of the makeover including painting the boring and orangey oak vanity to a sleek, glossy brown finish. I loved how the deep brown looked with the oil-rubbed bronze fixtures and how it contrasted against the white vanity top.

However, while at Hobby Lobby the other day, I was admiring their amazing selection of drawer pulls and knobs. They were having a sale so all the knobs were 50% off. I spied these beautiful white knobs and had to grab a couple since they were only $1.50 each. I thought the white would really pop against the dark brown and I was right. A couple minutes of drilling and on they went.

They make the perfect finishing touch. I'm hoping Hobby Lobby has another sale soon, because there were so many gorgeous knobs that I might have to see where else I can add or replace some knobs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Heart Pier One

Pier One is one of those stores I try to avoid. They have too many cute things that I want to take home, but they are usually too expensive for my crazy cheap self. I had some time to kill before meeting up with Mr. Delightful and my MIL for dinner plus I had some birthday cash sitting in my wallet so I decided to stop in. While there were many beautiful things, I walked out of the store spending only $11.

This little bird plate jumped out at me right away. They have them in several colors and they are $5 each. Since my living room, kitchen, and dining room all have quite a bit of green and white, this one was perfect for my home.

The other accessory that I just couldn't walk away from was this coffee canister. It was on clearance for $5.48. I am not a coffee drinker at all, I don't care for the stuff. Mr. Delightful, however, usually brews some coffee daily. I was tired of the ugly, plastic Folgers can sitting out all the time. Now Mr. Delightful can have his coffee and I can enjoy this pretty little canister that holds the coffee.


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