Expanding Small Spaces

The Engineer and I have been on a bit of a home improvement kick.  Fitting two people’s stuff and design tastes into a single home isn’t always easy.  In an effort to make keep the house somewhat organized, and preserve my own sanity, we’ve really had to try and maximize all the storage opportunities in the house.  I’ve been meaning to write this blog for awhile, but it seemed like we just kept doing projects so I kept thinking I’d wait.  I think we finally wrapped up all the little projects, and several of the big projects are well on their way!

Our biggest summer project was expanding the patio!  The slab that was poured for my patio is only 6ft x 8ft.  Some of the units in my HOA have big, expansive patios….I guess that just wasn’t in the cards for my specific unit.  It was fine when it was just Scout and I at home, but even for just us it had always been small and crowded.  Then The Engineer came, and then we bought an umbrella, and then we got a big grill….and pretty soon we were sitting on top of each other trying just trying to spend time outside on the patio.

 

Lucky for our bank accounts, The Engineer can occasionally snag sample concrete mix color and finish pavers from his employer!  Plenty of precast buildings are grey, so we decided to extend the patio slab out with two rows of 1ft x 1ft pavers on each side.

salb

Such style he’s got that man of mine!

Honestly, the hardest part of the whole project was getting the landscaping rock out of the area.  In my brain I would just be able to scoop it right up with a shovel and move it to other areas of our landscaping that were a bit light on rock.  I’m not sure if you know this…..but rock doesn’t really shovel.  It turned out one of the sides was severely lacking in dirt, but a layer of pea gravel below the paver base brought it back up to grade.

side 1-2

Actually placing the pavers was pretty easy.  Pour out and smooth a think layer of paving base and smash it down firmly.  They make a tool for this…..or just use your feet in heavy construction boots…..that’s the method we used!  After its smooshed down evenly, use a garden trowel to sprinkle down another thin layer of paver base.  Set your pavers down into the base and press or stand on them to settle them down into the base.  You might have to trial and error adding some base or maybe removing some to get everything level.  I think we did quite well for having never laid pavers before.  Everything seems level and graded to drain correctly….time will tell though, they may settle over the winter and we might have to adjust them in the Spring.

img_9932.jpg

So much space for activities….and a lurking pupper in the doorway!

Inside projects have been centered around keeping spaces organized, and keeping things from exploding out into the living room and dining room.  Single me was a chronic “toss wet laundry out onto stair railing and chair back to dry”.  It was always annoying to me, but somethings just don’t belong in the dryer so I just ignored the fact that I was annoying myself.  Cut to my laundry, The Engineer’s laundry, my hats, The Engineer’s hats and a shared closet and I was slowly loosing my mind at the general disheveled state.

Step one was a closet clean out!  Nothing will help you get rid of unwanted clothes faster than the feeling of not giving someone their fair share of the closest storage.  I still feel bad about this…..my crap still takes up way more than half of the closet space.  He tells me it’s fine, but I feel bad in spite of that. So, every month or so I go in and try and purge a few more items.  To further assist we build some strategic storage….a hat rack for the closet, and two drying racks for the laundry room.

I had previously bought one of those back of the door hat hangers….it was garbage.  The hats fell off all the time.  Matters were made worse by the fact that it made opening the closet door impossible.  The hats took up so much space behind the door, plus I already have scarf storage behind the door.  The whole thing was just a mess.  Some on sale hooks and a stained 1×4 later and we have easy, out of the way hat storage!  The rack we installed matches two very small hanging racks that were installed in the closet before I moved on.  No more falling down hats and no more me throwing tantrums cuz the hats are always all over the closet floor!!

closet.jpg

The closet isn’t well lit….but you get the idea.  A lot of things happening in a small space!

The hanging racks on the laundry room have honestly made a huge difference!  I can hang things, I can lay things on the rods, hook smaller items on the ends….it’s just such a space saver!  I did add a small dowel inside the hanging bar to help it hold up against the weight of all the wet clothes, but depending on the length you decide to use that might not be needed.

There is a large hanging bar installed under a large shelf on the opposite wall of the laundry.  I used to use that for all our shirts that needed to be hung to dry, however The Engineer’s gun safe has taken up a home under the hanging bar……so that sort of ruined that hanging spot.  There is still a bit of room above the safe….so all my bras get hung on hangers above the safe!  I’m sure it was always his goal to have a mid-sized collection of bras perpetually hanging above his gun safe!  🙂

laudry-2.jpg

More stained 1×4 and just some cheap curtain rods…HANG ALL THE THINGS!

The garage is a whole different world of organizational nightmare.  There was a period of time when my 2 car…..very small for 2 cars but still technically can fit 2…..garage barely had room for my GMC Terrain.  There was just a giant horseshoe shaped ring of stuff around the edge and a section in the center that I could park in.  IT DROVE ME BATTY!  I’m a bit crazy about feeling organized I know, and I know that my weirdness about the issue drives The Engineer nuts sometimes.  I can be perfectly fine living in disorder and chaos….until one day when I’m not.  The house can be filthy for weeks and then one day I will just snap and start power cleaning like a wild Tasmanian devil…..

Image result for tasmanian devil cartoon cleaning

Get outta my way I have shit to clean!

So…..we built a shelf….a really big 6ft x 3ft hanging shelf in the garage .  It made me feel better to get stuff up and off the ground.  We will have more shelves to put up and some reorganizing to do…..I would like if all my Christmas decor could be in one spot instead of scattered around on different shelving.  But, getting this stuff up and organized has made a huge difference.  I think that’s how you know you’re becoming old and lame…..when cleaning and organizing a garage becomes a major source of calm and happiness in your life.  Ughs

garage-2

JUST LOOK AT IT….IT’S AMAZING!

It’s so much stuff up and organized!  Do you even know whats up there?!  Well let me give you the run down…..

  • 24 duck decoys in bags….if you don’t hunt you might not know….but these are full sized ducks….24 DUCKS!
  • 2 tents
  • 2 sleeping bags
  • air mattress
  • 2 storage totes of our hunting clothes and camping supplies
  • 4 hunting bags and backpacks
  • other small hunting and camping accessories

Now imagine all of that strewn out all over a garage floor…total garbage!  It’s so pretty and organized…..AND I LOVE IT!  And would you look at that….more stained 1×4 with hooks!  We added easy storage for our hunting boots and his waders.  We also have hooks we can use for things when we use them more frequently.  For example, now that hunting seasons are kicking back into gear, the backpacks will get moved down onto the hooks so that we can access them without a step stool whenever we’d like to head out to the field.

I’m totally sitting here nerding out about how excited I am to have gotten all this organized.  Look at it this way….I’m so excited about getting organized that I felt the need to tell you all about it!!  It’s not like anything we’ve done to try and keep the house organized is crazy or a brand new idea.  Maybe it will show you that you don’t need to hire a professional organizer or spend a ton of time and money on supplies to get started organizing a space that’s a source of frustration for you.  Just pick an area you’d like to improve, break it into small pieces if need be, and then just go for it.  In our case it was just making the decision to get started and then making a trip to Menards for the supplies.  Just create a place for things to have a “home” in….hooks, shelves, cubbies….whatever fits your style or needs.  And don’t forget your new mantra…..ain’t nothing a 1×4 and some stain can’t remedy!

A Weekend of DIY

I know that I missed posting a blog last week.  I had done so well for a year, but sometimes you just drop the ball on things.  In my defense, it had been a busy week of getting the house ready for summertime and getting a big chunk of my house’s to do list done.  I get that “success and excuses don’t talk together”, but sometimes in life shit happens.

Side note…..well aware I missed last week too!  Apparently when I’m not in school I’m totally incapable of keeping a schedule of any sort. :/

Let’s do the exterior of the house first shall we?!  Summertime means it’s time to PLANT ALL THE THINGS!  I mean, I didn’t plant all the things, but I did plant several things to sprinkle out and around the house.

On the planting list this year were:

  • Cherry Tomato – Scout baby needs her tomato fix every day when I get home from work.  I don’t use these for anything other than some outdoor snacking with my Lil.  The fact that she doesn’t just pick them herself is surprising, but she just sits next to the plant doing her anxious prance-y feet waiting for you to hand them to her.
  • Mini Sweet Bell Peppers – I’ve never grown this variety, but I assume they are good just for straight eating off the vine?!  We shall see!
  • Green and Yellow Beans – Cuz you know I’m going to need to can some more Dilly Beans!
  • Wave Petunia – Easy to grow and I mean…..why not
  • Kale – Confession time……I HAVEN’T PLANTED THE KALE!!!  I couldn’t find a nice “bowl” shaped pot I liked, and I ran out of potting soil anyway.  Plus, in a mad dash to stop the Limping Nugget from asserting her authority towards some dogs across the fence, I threw the hose down….and my kale seeds got wet.  Are they still good to plant!?!  Does anyone know!?  Are my seeds just growing in their package!?  SOMEONE HALP ME!!!!!!

I also finally fixed the gutters around my house.  It was a pain in the butt….literally because I was sitting in landscaping rock….but it’s done and over with so hopefully the foundation of my lil townhome will stay nice, dry, and happy.

Now……on to the interior projects.

You’ll recall that I’ve basically wanted to repaint the master bedroom since I moved into the house.  I did write a small preview blog with what I thought were my ideas, however some of that may have been a lie.  I have yet to finish my garage, but I did paint my bedroom Blackberry….sorta.  There is no chair rail, but I did end up buying the birdcage chandelier!

Well, to celebrate graduating with my Master’s, my Momma decided that she would buy me paint and trim to redo the bedroom.  Now, let’s be real, that’s way too much money, and I shall be trying to not let her pay for everything.  The thought and the gesture are amazing, I just feel bad.  IDK if ya’ll are aware, but home improvement projects are not cheap!  This is mostly the reason why I never started the project before.  WHY MUST ADULTING COST SO MUCH….ALL…..THE….TIME…..!!!!!!

Momma and I decided to use the long weekend to finally get going with the project.  She arrived Thursday night and we were pretty much totally unprepared.  I only knew that I wanted to use the color Blackberry.  The two shades of tan that I thought we had decided on for the trim and other walls basically ended up as variations of the “Townhouse Beige” that adorns every other wall in my house.  Basically, Thursday night was spent staring at a small collection of generally not that wonderful paint chips and hoping they became wonderful…..they didn’t.

Friday morning I pulled up all the baseboards out of the bedroom so that we could apply liquid sandpaper to pull the shine off the surface and make the paint stick.  I googled the internet to try and find a picture of what we used, but couldn’t.  It was a super old container of something Dad had used, so it’s possible the it’s not made anymore.  I thought something magical would happen to the woodwork, like it would get cloudy or bubbly, or something to let you know it was working…..nothing really changed.  They looked cleaner….which make them shinier….which seemed a bit like not at all the point of the project.

image

Here’s a picture of the back of the liquid sandpaper can….SO HELPFUL!  Also picture, my excellent painter’s taping skillz and the tools required to remove baseboards.

A trip to Sherwin Williams later, and I had my three colors: Blackberry, Glamour, and Irish Cream.  Yes I know, of course I would pick the color Glamour….it’s not my fault, it’s just want matched my curtain and bed skirt.  In other glorious news…..NONE OF THEM LOOK ANYTHING LIKE TOWNHOME BEIGE! (Sherwin Williams actually makes a color called Townhouse Tan……it made me giggle a lot!)

Friday night I finished taping and we did manage to get a coat of Irish Cream onto the ceiling……it was looking pretty good, until the morning when the splotches showed up.  So Saturday morning was another coat on the bedroom ceiling and one coat on the bathroom ceiling, because we totally forgot that the night before.  I think on Saturday we also primed all the bedroom walls?!  Frankly, it was a lot of days off work, and when I’m not at work I sort of never keep track of the day I’m on.  But, in any case, before the serious painting could begin, everything had to be primed.

image

Primer…..makes everything look good.  By good I of course mean like crap.

Saturday night we went to Menards to scope trim options.  We of course left with no trim…..because that’s how we roll, but I did get a new chandelier for the living room.  ONE MORE UGLY BOOB LIGHT GONE!  “Boob lights” is just a better name for those stupid flush mount ceiling half orb light thinkers……I saw it on another DIY blog and it make me giggle!

image

“For the glamorous….oh the flossy, flossy!”–Fergie

I hung the new chandelier, finished some random odds and ends, and got some other new lights ready for installation while Momma worked on painting the trim.  I’m not a great painter….honestly I’ve never really tried.  But, Momma found cute little mini handled paint brushes she wanted to try at Home Depot, so she edged out all the trim we had left up…..so the doors (there are a lot of doors in my bedroom honestly) and the window.  After that was all said and done, we started the first of two coats on the bedroom walls.

image

THE BIRDCAGE!! It was already darkish, but it had some speckles I didn’t like so it got sprayed down dark.

image

New vanity light….It was oil rubbed bronze. Sometimes, spray paint is all you need!

NEXT CAME THE GLAMOUR!

image

The colors I picked are oddly hard to capture in a good picture. Glamour is a warm pinky/plum/beigey neutral. Also, the Irish Cream isn’t that yellow in person, it’s just a nice off white cream.

image

The square of primer is where the Blackberry went in the bedroom.

Monday we got two coats of blackberry done in the bathroom, and three coats on the bedroom’s accent wall.  It was slightly traumatic because it was definitely harder to get the dark color to look good.  The first coat of Blackberry looked absolutely horrible…..like horrible pink primer.  Maybe it was our technique, maybe we had the wrong kind of roller, maybe that’s just how dark paint is…..idk but it wasn’t super reassuring.

Sunday night, Monday night, and Tuesday night were mostly spent getting odds and ends done and the rooms put back together.  Mom didn’t have to work until Wednesday, so she stayed Tuesday while I went to work so that we could do the last coat of Blackberry in the bathroom after work.

image

If you’re in need of custom curtains, you can try contacting Momma Mishappenings…..it’s always worked for me!

image

The bathroom is the most “finished” looking of either room.  Partly that’s because we trimmed out the whole ceiling, so it just looks more finished then the bedroom currently does.  The plan is to install crown molding at the ceiling so that it won’t matter that we didn’t paint all the way to the ceiling.  If we decide that’s too much, it’s just paint and I can go back over the things we aren’t going to cover with molding.  I’m liking my new little dark fancy bathroom.  Like every bathroom I’m ever in in the future is probably going to need to be this color!  I did however get some Blackberry on my toilet….I should maybe work on getting that scrubbed off….oopsy!

image

In case you’re wondering where Scout was during all of this, she was her regularly clingy self.  Friday night I slept out on the couch, and I thought Scout might like a little Mommy and Me sleep over time.  I was wrong, I woke up and she was sleeping on the drop cloth.  Riddle me how or why laying on the drop cloth is better than the carpet?!  She didn’t seem to care and spent most of the weekend being firmly committed to her new found love of drop clothes.  Also, wedging herself into places she doesn’t really fit and being sorta generally under foot were additional favorite weekend activities.

There is still a lot of project to go:

  • The accent wall needs stenciling, a huge frame, and accent lighting
  • The window and doors all need additional trim to amp them up a bit
  • The baseboards need to be beefed up….although this will probably be the easiest of all the projects.  We can’t start it until we figure out how much we are expanding the door trims
  • The bedroom needs crown molding
  • I’d like to maybe build some sort of valance to go over the top of the curtain to cover up the raw edges.  It used to be mounted flush to the ceiling so it didn’t matter, but my bedroom now as higher ceilings.

Of course it’s a huge to do list still, and projects might change or get dropped.  Like I said, if we decide not to do things its just going to take some more time with a paint brush to finish off some of the areas we left unfinished but plan to cover with molding and trim.  Beyond those projects, I still have an antique door to turn into an mirror and a bedside table that now desperately needs to be refinished.

Home ownership…..the never ending to do list!

 

A Weekend Project

I promised I would put together a DIY blog about my new hutch.  It’s honestly not been my best week as a homeowner.  My fridge developed a leak……and I’m really not at all equipped to adult on that level.  So, I shut off the water to the fridge so my kitchen doesn’t flood, and I’ll formulate some kinda plan to deal with that later.  In the mean time it’s back to drinking tap water and making ice in trays for me.

A couple weeks ago Momma found a hutch on Craigslist.  I have a bit of a skinny house, and it’s been challenging to find a hutch that would fit in the dining room without encroaching on the dining room table.  This particular piece was a bit more expensive than I would have liked, particularly because I ended up having to paint the whole thing.  But, it was one of those situations where you bite the bullet because the style and size was just right for the space.

Thank goodness Bestie has a truck and was free to go check out the piece and help me haul it home.  I hate making these kinds of decisions on my own…..actually, I hate making any decisions really, but that’s for another day.

The mini bar I built myself is painted in Old White by Annie Sloan, and I was hoping that the hutch’s original cream color would work with that and the Cocoa of the dining room table.  Sadly, it was very yellow in person….like so yellow that I can’t imagine that the color really matches anyone’s decor.  So, Saturday morning saw me off to the vintage store downtown for more Old White paint and some Aubusson Blue.  I had used the chalk paint before, but I had never done a two toned piece before.  I’ve already done some chalk paint furniture…..Because Every Home Needs a Bar!, so I won’t bore all of you with that again.  If you want more details about the process just lemme know and I can try and fill it all in.

The

The start of the project……in all it’s yellow glory!

photo 3

My phone doesn’t take the best pictures…..iphone 4 in the house! Hopefully you can see the yellowiness, and the fact that the back panel was nothing to write home about really. Two coats of Old White. In person it was very white. I always think the projects look very odd until you get all done. You just have to wait for it all to come together.

Two coats of Old White. In person it was very white. I always think the projects look very odd until you get all done. You just have to wait for it all to come together.  It’s similar to when you only have foundation on your face…..it just looks weird!

End of day 1!

photo 3 (2)

You might get stuck in a group text with the besties….if that happens, send them this pic to show them that you’re busy and don’t have the time for their shenanigans. It won’t help, but it’s worth a try!


photo 2 (2) photo 5 (2)

photo 4 (2)

photo 3

photo 4

I was a bit stressed about where I should put the shelves so that I could get the distressing right.  Eventually I settled on just distressing the shelves and not carrying the dark wax onto the sides of the hutch.  This will let me move the shelves in the future if I need to.
photo 2

Doing this was my favorite part. It’s amazing what some distressing and some wax will do.

photo 1

Distressing details and some dark wax buildup in the corners. Don’t stress it….you can’t do any of this wrong.

photo 5The Finished Product!

Fails

So….I failed!

I had every intention of posting here once a week, and school got the best of me last week.  😦

Writing a course project took priority over writing a blog.  I’m sure you’ve all been suffering without me!  While I could post the project I wrote….that would be boring, and no one wants that in their lives!  Instead, I promise that next post will be a super exciting one. 🙂

I’m headed to Rapid City for the weekend, and I have some epic plans for my blog along the way.  Stick with me people….it’ll be worth it!