Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, that's unfortunate.

Just wondering... Am I the only one who starts a blog and then forgets what it's called or what email account I used to create it, thereby making it rather impossible to update?
Yeah, I thought so. *sheepish face* Sorry bout that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Great Room Makeover: the Skinny

So, now that you've seen all the fun stuff, here are the boring details for anyone interested...

There were a few projects I did that didn't get individual posts. The door frame, for example, only had trim on the top and one side, so I used two pieces of the molding I took from around the ceiling to create a faux molding for the other side. I used drywall seam tape to cover up the seam and painted it white. It doesn't match exactly, but it's close enough that you don't notice it at a glance.
My husband made the new curtain rod for me from a dowel and two decorative knobs (thanks, honey!), and I used 4-yard cut of sheer fabric for a draped window scarf effect. I wish I'd had another yard or two of that material to make it look perfect, but my original plan of making regular curtains was thwarted by a temperamental sewing machine, so I had to make do with what I had.
I also painted the lamp on the desk. It was originally an old dark brown base with a tan flowered (read: ugly) shade. I painted the base pink (acrylic) and used pink metallic rub-on over it after it was dry, then painted the shade silver and added polkadotted stickers. I covered the shade in clear contact paper to give a little shine and keep the stickers on, then painted the electrical cord silver because it was that hideous aged yellow color cords turn over time.
You may have noticed that the nightstand next to the bed doesn't really match the rest of the room. I had originally planned to redo that to match, but I decided since it was the only piece of my daughter's furniture that was staying in the room, it should be her choice whether to leave it as-is or give it a face lift too. I coverd it with a piece of polkadotted material so it would blend in just a little, and we'll see what she decides.
I think that's about it for projects... Oh, I made a cushion for the desk chair, and my husband made a wooden base for it. (It's one of those old school chairs that came attached to a desk--I still have the desk from my childhood, but I don't use the chair anymore.) Everything got a paint job, and the blinds had a good soak in the tub.

As I mentioned, I gave myself a budget of $100. I have to admit, even with all the things I was able to repurpose and get free or really cheaply, I was pretty impressed that I managed to stick to that. Here's the breakdown of how I spent my money:
Lumber/screws: $57.96 (I didn't break it down project by project, as I bought it all at once)
Nails/hinges: Free (from stash)
Room paint: Free (Glidden had a free-quart-giveaway promotion, so I got a quart of that and a
friend donated his quart. I used one quart full-strength for the dark pink walls and mixed it with
some flat white latex I already had to get the lighter pinks.)
Trim paint: $6 (I got a great deal on Dutch Boy flat base #1 [the white-white stuff] at Walmart--
marked down from $9.94 a quart to $3, hooray! I used almost exactly 2 quarts on the trim and
all the white furniture.)
Acrylics: $3.35 (4 small bottles @ 79¢ plus tax--not the best price around, I had to get it at the grocery store due to lack of time to run to Walmart)
Lamps: $3 (two yard sale finds--$1 and $2)
Couch: $9 ($1 fabric from a yard sale, $1 thumbtacks, $5 for two pillows from Walmart, 2 sheets foam core @ $1, batting from stash)
Side table: $1 (contact paper)
Closet: Free (all supplies from stash or existing room components)
Bed/headboard/divider: Lumber/screws/paint already covered in other totals above, casters and paneling from stash, molding from existing room
Desk: Free (paint and shelf/support wood covered in totals above, cupboard door used for desk from stash)
Desk chair: 25¢ (cushion form; wood for base covered above, fabric from stash)
Curtains: $8 ($6 for fabric, about $2 for dowel and decorative knobs)

There were a ton of challenges doing this project--especially when I found out at 8PM on Thursday night that my daughter would be home at 7:30 the following morning instead of 6:30 Friday night, as I had planned--but all in all, it was a great experience. Honestly, I can't believe I ws able to do all this myself and actually have it mostly look good. My daughter absolutely LOVED the room, so every whacked thumbnail and late night as totally worth it. :)
If you have any questions about any of the projects, just ask!

The Great Room Makeover: the Couch and Table

My daughter had a gigantic toybox. (Why it is that everything in her room was fit for a room twice that size, I do not know. Maybe because most rooms don't have 74" ceilings? Eh, who knows. I digress.) My husband picked it up at a yard sale years ago for I think $1, and it was worth about that much. It was made of paneling, with 1x1 pieces for support. two boards were falling off, one was gone altogether. This, for some reason, I thought would become a nice bench.

If you look in the lower left-hand corner, you can just see the corner of the toybox. The whole thing looked about that good.
The first order of business was to make the whole thing more sturdy. I wanted to have the back and sides higher than the front, so I took off the top piece on one long side and fitted it to the side with the missing panel. I added about a million more screws to make sure it wasn't all going to fall apart, then built a frame inside for the bench seat to rest on. I made the seat out of more 7/16" OSB and because I wanted the box to still be accessible as storage space, I planned to put hinges on the seat.
Epic fail.
I tried for I can't even tell you how long to make something work. I tried big hinges and small screws. I tried small hinges and big screws. I tried working with it on its side, I tried working with it upright. Nothing I tried worked. Finally, in a snit, I decided the damn thing didn't need hinges and just plopped the seat on. It seems to hold just fine, so I guess that was an okay choice.
Next, I wanted some cushioning. A bench should be plush and inviting, so I pulled out some corduroy-type velour and got to work. I made a panel the same size as the back from foam core presentation board (from the dollar store), wrapped some batting I had left over from another project around the front, wrapped the velour over that, and put the whole thing on the bench. To do that, I removed the back panel, wrapped excess material from the cushioning piece around the vertical support posts, then screwed the panel back in. This held the cushion on nicely, but there was an unsightly gap between the cushion and the panel everywhere except right where they were attached to the support. I solved this with good old-fashioned double-sided tape. I used the thick foam kind that sticks to everything. (Time will tell if that's a permanent fix, but so far so good.) I repeated that whole process for the sides, then covered the seat in several layers of batting and a layer of material. I used thumbtacks on the underside of the seat to secure the fabric. (A note here: I do not recommend this method. It seemed like a good cheap idea at the time, but next time I would definitely go to the hardware store and pay a bit extra to get the heavy-duty upholstery tacks. I went through nearly a whole 60-piece box trying to get 20-ish in without bending and breaking.) I covered a couple of cheap bed pillows in more of the velour... These were originally supposed to be for the seat, but once I got everything together, I realized it looked like a couch, so I used them as back cushions. I didn't secure them down, so they can still be moved around any way anyone chooses.
Somewhere in there, I also painted it all white, but I don't remember exactly when. I think it was after I cut the panel and shored up the supports, but before I started on the cushions. Anyway, here's the finished product:

Next to the couch, I added a side table and a lamp. I didn't make either one, but since they were projects too, into the mix they go:

The lamp was another yard sale find. It started out with a brown base and tan shade. I just painted the base with deep purple acrylic and added a light coating of purple metallic rub-on stuff after the paint dried, then painted the shade silver and drew a swirly pattern (similar to the designs on the desk and dresser) in purple Sharpie.
The table was one we've had as a clutter-catcher behind the living room couch for ages. It was standard mid-range past-its-prime-furntiture dinged brown, so I wanted to make a cool top for it. I painted a 20x20" piece of watercolor in a frog design (acrylics), then cut it into 2x2" squares to create a slight mosaic effect. I mounted the squares on black posterboard with a glue stick and set it aside. I then painted a frame of white along the edge of the table top. I laid the mosaic down once the paint was dry and covered the entire table top with clear contact paper, which I cut to fit the top. After it was stuck down, I pounded in some more of the hated thumbtacks to help keep it from peeling up over time. Et voila, pretty little table.

With a little re-thinking of the space, the corner with the lowest slope (which had formerly rendered a large section of the room useless) became a delightful little reading-and-relaxing nook. (Hmm, think I watch too much HGTV? ...Nah.)

The Great Room Makeover: the Closet and Dresser

My child's closet, my friends, was a monstrosity. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a closet as big as that one, but I will tell you right now, 3'x4' is too big for a 9x15' room, especially one with sloped ceilings. There was no way to give her a recessed closet, as the room is surrounded by another bedroom, two exterior walls, and a stairwell, so it had to be built out into the room. It blocked light, wasted space, and just made the whole room feel tiny. Here, let me show you:

See? So big I couldn't even get the whole thing into one picture. (Okay, that part was probably due to my mad photo skillz, but it makes for good drama.)
This thing had to go.
So I got my trusty crowbar and hammer, and out it came. My new plan called for more of a wardrobe-sized closet, 20x24". I left the pink shelving unit you can see peeking out in the corner, with the idea that the shelves and closet would give a built-in, cohesive feel.
It was at this point that I realized I was a moron. I didn't think to account for the cutout in the carpet in the shape of the old closet, so you will see in the "after" pictures that there's a little creative carpet-cutting happening. I'm not entirely pleased with that, but a budget of $100 for an entire room makeover just doesn't allow for new carpeting (or even, as it turned out, a throw rug). If it gets to be a big problem, we can replace the carpet down the road, but for now it's all right.
I made the new closet from the lumber used for the original closet. Everything on the side closest to the shelves was already cut to the right lengths and just had to be moved over a foot to fit the new smaller footprint. I cut the remaining 2x4's and put them in place, then measured for the paneling I planned to use for the exterior. I put up one side and realized the shelf I had intended to put in above the closet rod would be pretty inaccessible inside the closet, but I had everything in place to make a neat cutout for dolls, trinkets, or other small things. It was a way to add a little more light to that corner, as well as a neat feature, so back to the saw I went to make the necessary cuts. I had also intended to leave the front of the closet open, but decided once I began putting things up that a door would look much nicer, so I figured that into my design too. I trimmed out the cutout with morre of the molding to give it a more finished look. A few mis-aligned nails and enough curses to make a sailor blush as I tried to figure out how to get the stupid hinges on, and that project was finished.
Behold, the new closet:

(I did paint it white after this picture was taken, as you can see in other pics, but this was the only one I took without all the other stuff on/around the closet.) I am ridiculously proud of this closet. It took me hours longer than I expected, as these kinda of things always seem to do, but I really like how it came out.

And now, the dresser:

No, I didn't make this. I did, however, turn it from a drab, brown, battered little dresser into this pretty little number. I painted it white, then painted on the frog and added the swirls and polkadots. A hint about polkadots: It's really easy to get the effect without a lot of hassle. I bought a couple of packages of white circular labels from the dollar store and painted them in my chosen colors. Once they dried, it was a simple matter to peel them up and stick them where I wanted. It's a great way to make it look like you spent hours painting polkadots without actually having to do so.
The frog on the dresser matches the one on her desk, which I forgot to post a detailed picture of in the last post (oops). I am such a rebel, I'll post it here to show you instead (shh, don't tell):

My kid is obsessed with frogs, as may become evident as you look at her room, so I wanted to cater to that without the room being completely overrun by little froggies. Since she's not a little kid anymore (so she says), I tried to go with a slightly more realistic and less cutesy-cute feel with the froggy accents. I think I succeeded... she was happy, at any rate, so I'll call it a success. ;)

The Great Room Makeover: the Bed/Desk Unit

...we rejoin our program, already in progress...

The first, and biggest, part of the renovation was planning and making the bed/divider/desk unit. I had a 9' wall to work with, with a sloped ceiling. (BTW, sloped ceilings always seemed cool to me until I had a house with slopes on both the east and west walls--different angles and base heights, naturally--and 7' ceilings. Now... not so cool.) I had never done a major construction project by myself before, but I knew exactly what I wanted: a very basic, almost platform-style bed taht would fit a peculiarly long (78") twin mattress, two under-bed drawers, a combination headboard/divider, and a "floating" desk and shelf. As I got into it, I realized the bedroom floor is nowhere close to even, so I had to do some on-the-fly recalculating as things went in, but overall, I think it went well.
I made the main bedframe pieces from 2x6" pine, with 2x4's inside each long piece to hold my 1x3 bed rails and provide extra support. I set the 2x4's low enough to accomodate the rails and box spring and come up about 2" on the sides of the mattress, so there would be a bit of a lip to keep it from sliding, and gave enouggh room around the edges to allow for easy changing of sheets and blankets. The legs are 2x4's screwed to the inner pieces, so the 2x6 boards rest on top. I also added a block on the inside edge of each leg to provide extra support and keep the legs from giving out. The whole thing is put together with drywall screws, which I like because they have threads right up to the heads. I'll probably get fined for excessive use of screws, but that puppy's not going anywhere any time soon. ;) Final dimensions: 41"Wx80"Lx16"H.
Underneath the bed, I wanted some storage, so I created two simple drawers from 7/16" OSB. I made rails on the sides and banged a couple of casters into each so the drawers could easily roll out from under the bed. Each drawer is about 10"Hx34"Wx38"D.

Once the bed was in place, I re-measured to make sure I was plotting everything right and got to work on the divider. The "meat" of the divider is made from 2x4's and 7/16" OSB. I created a frame of the 2x4's (48"Lx36"H), then covered one side with plywood. I covered the plywood with a piece of paneling (I didn't get a picture of that side, but anyone whose grandmother's house hasn't been redecorated since the 60's--which is, I think, just about everyone--knows what that looks like) and screwed the whole thing to the bed. My original plan was to make one shelf 6" below the top to line up with the desk (which I wanted to sit at 30", pretty standard desk height) and panel the rest, but I realized as I was working that I had a perfect spot for a couple more narrow shelves, so I built those in too. Slapped on a little paneling, trimmed it out with some of the molding I tore down from the walls, and the divider was good to go.

The desk was pretty straightforward. I had it all painted and ready to go by the time Makeover Week came along, so it was mostly a matter of making supports and getting the whole thing level. I reapeated the support/leveling process for the shelf, and voila! It was time to move on to the next grand project... the closet.

The Great Room Makeover

My little girl turned 12 last week. *sniff* You know what that means, right? (Besides me crying in my Cheerios about the lost baby years and all those tiny ruffly dresses.) Yep, it means she's decided she's too old for her "baby" room anymore. Lucky for her, I've been watching design shows like a madwoman and formulating a plan.
I started plotting and planning back... oh, I don't even know. Months ago. She inadvertently helped me by picking her paint color while we were killing time at the doctor's office one day back in June; we were checking out the posters on the wall and she pointed out a particular pink (ew, pink) shade on one of them and said, "If I ever had a room makeover, that's the color I'd want my walls." Ask and you shall receive, child (as long as it's cheap, lol).
As it happened, the week containing her birthday was one she was spending away from our house, so I decided the whole thing could be a surprise and gave myself a one-week time frame to get it all done. One week, says I, is plenty of time. No sweat.


Scratch that. It turned out I had to work parts of that Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and all day Thursday. Still, no problem, I thought, and I got to work.
Here are a few examples of the disaster that confronted me in the bedroom:
(Believe it or not, I had the kids clean before she left for the week.)

Once all the furniture and such was removed, I realized I had even more work cut out for me than I'd suspected.......Yeah. That was one room in serious need of some help. But before I ramble on about all the projects, let's get to the good stuff... the after pictures!
I set myself a budget of $100 to do the whole room. With that in mind, I decided to rip out the closet and replace it with a smaller one, replace the gigantic dresser, build a new bed with under-bed storage drawers, create a headboard/divider and desk, and turn her dilapidated coverless toybox into a bench. Of course, there were other projects thrown in, like painting the room, adding a few lamps (what kind of room only has one lightbulb, anyway?), and painting all the furniture, but those were the main construction projects.

Since this post is already pretty long, stay tuned for detail pics in the next post. :)

Yay new blog!

I'm so excited! I actually have things to blog about! Now, the last time I tried this blog thing, it was... well, the term "epic fail" comes to mind. That's what happens when you start a blog in the middle of summer and then take a vacation and then renovate a bedroom (more on this gem later ;) ) and then get sick and... and....

Okay, enough excuses. This blog is gonna be way cool and I'm gonna be sooo good at keeping up with it. Right? Right???

Enough rambling. On with the good stuff! Commence post-a-mania!