2015…In Reverse – Our Amazing Master Closet – Phase I

Yep, that’s right, I’m going to post about 2015…In Reverse.  I’m starting with the last project, our amazing master closet (which technically isn’t done, but may be by the time I do this post) and work backwards, but also try to stay current with new projects in 2016.  Sounds highly unlikely considering my track record.  I’m the worst blogger on the planet!  My downfall is the editing of the pictures.  It takes sooooooo long to edit and watermark them.  If I didn’t have to do that, I could crank these babies out no problem.  Anyway, here we go.  I can’t wait for you to see what we’ve done.  We are so excited to have this project (almost) done.  It’s so nice being organized.

This story starts out at the Habit ReStore, like a lot of my projects do.  We love that place. Let me start off by showing you a picture of our closet before.

2015...In Reverse - Our Amazing Master Closet

Shocking, I know. What happened is, when we moved in, we started out with a million projects…you remember, the fence, the carpet, all the blinds and fans etc? Then we did the shed. So, we just threw stuff in the closet, just to have it out of the way. We knew what was in all the boxes (yeah right!) for the most part, and at least we’d be able to find our clothes.

So this is the plan of our closet. It’s pretty decent size. Not ginormous, but good for us.

2015...In Reverse

I knew what I wanted in the closet, but I couldn’t seem to get it down on paper. We really do fly by the seat of our pants, and sometimes stuff comes to us! Like I said before, we were at the ReStore, I believe it was 11/21/15. We had just started walking around, when I heard my hubby calling me. He’s like, what do you think?

2015...In Reverse

I’m like, Mmmm, what do I think about what? That giant black entertainment unit? As soon as I said those words, I started to formulate a picture in my mind. He (my hubby) was definitely on to something. We looked it over, it was filthy, some of the drawer slides were broken, but the image in my head was amazing and it said take this baby home! All three pieces were $132.00. So we loaded it up and took it home.

So, now it’s Thanksgiving and we have family coming from NY and everything was going to have to wait. Once Thanksgiving was over, and we had fully decorated for Christmas, we were back on it. My hubby put together this temporary closet rod in our Gym (junk room) so that we could get the master closet cleaned out.

temp closet rod

Once this was done, we started emptying out the closet. I vowed that there would never be another cardboard box in my my closet. Lets hope I can keep that. Once it was empty, We tore up the carpet (again), and I took down those awful wire shelves/hanging rods. I had a zillion holes (big holes) to fill and patch and sand. My husband managed to get two coats of Sherwin Williams Anew Grey paint on the walls and I got all the trim painted a beautiful white/white. It was just the gallon of SW paint w/o the color in it.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

Now it was time for the floor. I’m so excited about this. It’s going in our entire house, except for the bathrooms, laundry room and mud room. We have over 1600sf of bamboo in boxes all over the house waiting for the day we can install it. It’s going to look amazing.

2015...In Reverse

So this is our beautiful hand scraped bamboo from Lumber Liquidators. We absolutely love it, and they were a breeze to install. Hope the rest of the house goes as smoothly.

So, back to the unit from the Re-Store. We’d been working like dogs on it. All three pieces were 24″ deep and I felt that would take up too much space, so we cut them down to 18″. We used the Kreg Rip-Cut to do the majority of the cutting, but there were parts that we had to use a hand saw, or reciprocating saw. It was a tough job, but much easier thanks to the right tools.

2015...In Reverse

We put braces in the cabinets before cutting, so they wouldn’t fall apart on us.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

We had to do the exact same thing to the drawers. Luckily we were able to pull the back panel off the few inches we cut off and re-use it. Just some glue and nails and viola, shorter drawers.

2015...In Reverse

Now came the fun of sanding. There was a lot of sanding to do.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

I don’t know what was on those drawer fronts under the ugly pulls, but it was like glue. Oh, wait, did I show you the ugly drawer pulls? You have to see these.

2015...In Reverse

Nice right? So, now it was time to prime. There was a lot to do. We did all the priming with a small 6″ roller and the occasional brush. They were really looking great.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

Finally, it was time to paint. I like to use my Critter sprayer. It’s a pretty handy dandy tool. We had to set up a temporary paint booth in our garage so that there wouldn’t be too much over-spray.

2015...In Reverse

Not great, but it worked. Luckily the weather was warm for December and I was able to get everything painted and moved into the house. The pieces were heavy and I needed to get them in the closet to retro-fit them, so I could cut out the baseboard. There was a lot of moving them around.

One of the things I decided to do was to add beadboard to the backs of all three units. I love beadboard. This time I wanted to do something special. I decided to use my Cutting Edge Stencil in the Allover Paisley that I’ve used a million times on the beadboard in a lighter shade of gray than was on the walls.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

I absolutely LOVE how this turned out. It’s just a nice subtle touch.

2015...In Reverse

Here they are, finally up on the wall. You can see the ledger board we used to hold them up there while we screwed them all together. This piece was very heavy. We really could have used another set of hands to help get this up there. We got super lucky with the drawer slides. We thought we were going to have to buy all new slides, but my hubby ended up cutting them down and we got new plastic anchors for the back and they totally worked! I was thrilled. That saved us a lot of money.

2015...In Reverse

I wanted to add a little something special to the sides of the drawers…can’t just have plain drawers now can we?!

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

With painting done on the main pieces, I was thinking about the rest of the closet. This piece was going in the middle of the long wall. We determined that we wanted double hanging on both sides, kind of like his/hers sides. I still wanted a place for long hanging clothes and shoes and we needed a dresser of sorts. The two towers connected to the top part left a big space underneath perfect for a dresser. We needed the storage, because I don’t like dressers in the bedroom, they take up too much room.

Enter this…

2015...In Reverse

Great right? Another successful trip to the Re-Store. There must have been a hotel remodel, there were a lot of these bedside tables. We nabbed three. We measured and determined that three plus a small filler strip on each side would fill the empty space under the main unit. Once we got them home we started right in. We had to cut these down to 18″ also.

2015...In Reverse

Did you notice the drawer slides? Those are the expensive ball-bearing slides. We luckily didn’t have to replace those either…Yay! I primed and painted immediately. Once that was done we connected them together and put on a new back.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

I think they look great in this spot! You can see we stained a piece of 1/2″ birch ply for the top. It’s temporary, but I don’t want to spend more money on a top than it cost us to do the entire closet. Granite would cost over $500. Not going to happen. We’ll keep this for a bit and see what we can find. Now, I had to figure out the drawer fronts. I hated what was on them originally, they didn’t fit at all with the vibe of the other pieces. I was going to do a simple 1×2 frame with some beadboard in the middle. My hubby and I started talking about the original fronts. They were solid 3/4″ wood. Too nice to not use, but I hated that half moon. So, we decided to do a little experiment and see if we could re-use them by filling in the half moon with scraps that we had cut off the sides. I told him we’d try one, and if it didn’t look good, back to the original plan. I really wanted to build those fronts. Here’s how it turned out.

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

2015...In Reverse

Not bad right? My hubby and I just love it. It turned out even better than it did in my mind. I love when that happens. Phase I of the Master Closet project is done. Woo Hoo. Now on to phase II

Until next time…

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DIY Brick Mailbox

You know those brick mailboxes that are in front of every house in every subdivision all across the land? We had one at our last house, and we really liked it. It matched the brick on the house and, well, I think it classed up the place. Our new house did not come with a brick mailbox. It wasn’t even an option. So, during the building phase, we collected all the bricks that were left around the house, that would have been bulldozed under the ground. We stacked them in the garage until the day came that we had no impending projects. This would be our last project for 2014. So, it’s November now, but luckily the weather was holding. At least in the beginning of the project. I remember days, or nights really, as we ran out of daylight that we froze our keesters off!

I’m sure you’re wondering how we knew we could build a brick mailbox. We didn’t know. But, we figured it couldn’t hurt to try. We knew we had to pour a footer for a solid foundation. We measured our neighbors mailbox and did a test layout to make sure all the bricks would fit in the designated square footer. Once we did that, we dug out a square hole. Square hole? Um, yeah, square hole. We used 2×4’s as forms, the size of our square hole, and put in rock that we tamped down. Then we mixed the concrete and poured it in the form.

Brick Mailbox

I honestly don’t remember how many days it was from the time we poured the concrete till we started laying the cement blocks and bricks. Most likely it was an entire week, as we only have Saturday and Sunday to work on projects. Anyway, once the concrete was set it was time to begin. It went pretty fast at first.

Brick Mailbox

You start out by centering your concrete blocks on the pad. Then you put on a second layer going in the opposite direction, with cement in between. We started putting down bricks once we got the first 4 concrete blocks set.

Brick Mailbox

Make sure you have the right tools. Besides something to mix the mortar in, we used a wheelbarrow and shovel, you will need a rubber mallet, a level and a few of these nifty tools.

Brick mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

Now it was time for the curve. Now I know this is not how professionals do it, and it takes them like a half an hour to complete the entire mailbox, but this is how we did it. We cut some templates, to put around the mailbox, to support the bricks as we made the curve. We added wire mesh to that to hold the mortar..

DIY Brick Mailbox

So curving with rectangle bricks. Not wedged bricks, rectangle bricks. We have a big chop saw, not a miter saw, but a saw that can cut bricks and other super hard stuff. We knew we weren’t going to have enough bricks, so my husband picked up some bricks that were very similar in color. The texture was very different as was the process in how they were made. These were hard bricks and they were not easy cut. We used the chop saw, didn’t work too well and we used a grinder. Worked ok, but man was it messy. My poor husband…take a look.

DIY Brick Mailbox

See what I mean? Luckily, we didn’t have to cut too many. We gave up on trying to wedge the bricks and just used more cement to force them to curve. At one point, it was late, dark and we really hated how it looked, so we tore it back down, cleaned up as much as we could and left it to start again the next day. It was very frustrating at times.

DIY BrickMailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

Figuring out the layout for the back.

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

So, here we are, 99.9% done. We were pretty happy with it.
DIY Brick Mailbox

Now it’s done!

DIY Brick Mailbox

DIY Brick Mailbox

So, that’s it! One thing I would be better at is brushing the bricks to remove the cement off the face of the bricks. Once it’s dry, it’s dry. We didn’t do an acid wash, which might have removed more of the dried cement, but honestly, we were tired. So, if this is something you’ve always wanted to do, go ahead and try it. What have you got to lose? Ok, you might lose a few weekends and some skin off your fingers but when you pick up your mail out of your beautiful new mailbox, you won’t remember any of that.

Until next time…

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