Awesome Master Closet – Phase II

Phase II of our master closet re-do kind of started before Phase I did. My hubby works at the big orange box. You know what I’m talking about right? No, we don’t get a discount. Anyway, he happened to see this $250 pantry cabinet in the back that was marked $50. It looked like it had fallen off a truck. Nothing a little glue, a few nails and some clamps couldn’t fix.

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

This was it after repairing but before it was painted and before we’d even started Phase I. I needed the storage desperately, so I went ahead and started using it.

We put this piece over in this bump-out. Let me give you a visual of the closet and where the three phases are going.

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

You can see on the right was Phase I and in the lower left is Phase II. Phase III will be the upper left side.

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

Here you can see the $50 cabinet after getting painted. It was really hard to paint, very grainy. Even with sanding and priming and sanding, I couldn’t seem to get rid of the raised grain. I decided I could live with it, and went ahead and painted it. We added bead board to the side.

My hubby loves cowboy boots. He has a few. Not a disgusting amount, and he always tries to sell some before getting new ones. In our old closet he used to line them up on the ugly wire shelf. They deserved better than that. So next to the $50 cabinet we added cubbies. We measured his tallest boots and made all the cubbies about an inch taller.

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

We hadn’t quite finished trimming out the cubbies here, but couldn’t resist a test fit.

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

Awesome Master Closet - Phase II

So there you have it! Phase II is complete. This closet is getting more amazing by the day. I love it so much, I may just move in!!!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time…

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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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You tore out WHAT on day one?…and other horrendous projects!

Yep, you heard right, TORE OUT! Day one! What did we tear out? Why the carpet of course. Yep, the entire house of carpet. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m crazy. Well, maybe just a little. I mean who in their right mind tears out brand new carpet, and why? Well, I’ll tell you why. We have dogs. One of those dogs was a one year old Dalmatian. The carpet started right inside the back door. You can see the carpet here. Can you imagine how that would look after a few weeks with new sod that was wet all the time? Right from the beginning, we planned on tearing out the carpet and selling it. We knew we were going to paint the sub-floor until we could afford to put in bamboo throughout the entire house. So, that’s exactly what we did. Check it out.

Torn up carpet

We sold the carpet from the three bedrooms to the landlord from our temporary housing and the rest we put on craigslist. BTW, carpet is HEAVY! Talk about a workout. Day one and we were already exhausted and sore, and this was not the worst of it. We also had to put up thirteen blinds and five ceiling fans.

ceiling fans

But still there was something worse. The most horrendous project of all…we had to put in a fence! We couldn’t officially move in until the fence was done because of the dogs. I wasn’t worried at all, we had put in a fence before. We rented the auger and had all of our supplies ready to go. The weather started out cold and overcast (June 1), which is a good thing, except for the mud.

muddy shoes

 

Well, where do I start. It should have taken us one day to dig the holes and set the posts, one day to do the stringers and start nailing boards, and another day to finish nailing boards. So, like 3 days and in between tear out the carpet and get the floor painted so we could move in with the dogs. It took us NINE, that’s right, NINE DAYS to almost finish the fence! Here’s why…

Jack hammering the holes

Can you see what my hubby is doing? He’s jack hammering the holes!!!!! On the very first hole we hit rock a few inches down with the auger. Solid rock. Hole #2, rock, hole #3, rock, and on and on and on. So we took the auger back and rented a jack hammer. Horrendous job. We went from super happy to super grumpy, and to top it all off, it got hot, really hot. My hubby started working without his shirt, and even with sun screen, he got fried. We finished the fence the day before we had to go back to work, and had to complete the gate that Monday. Here’s what it looks like.

Left side front

Left side

two sections to go

One section to go.

one section to go

One board to go. I had to force that smile out of him.

last board

finished

Gate

The beautiful gate. It meant that this project was done.

Luckily for us, our good friend Lynn brought us lunch, we really didn’t do much eating over that nine days so we were super cranky. Thanks Lynn!

lunch

There were a few bright spots to that first nine days in the new house. Besides, the hideous fence job, installing five ceiling fans, hanging thirteen blinds, these came…cue my smiley face! 🙂

Frigidaire Professional series slide in range and microwave

Frigidaire Professional Series french door fridge

Frigidaire Professional Series dish washer

So this was a bright spot in an otherwise tiring and stressful week. But…we finished the fence, and hung the blinds and ceiling fans, painted the floors and moved in! So yay, now to relax a bit. Mmmmm, not so much. Stay tuned to our next project.

Until next time…

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Batten and Board Shutters – First Project For The New House!

Yes!  Can you believe it?  We got to do a project for our new house!  It’s been a long time coming and it couldn’t be an easier one.  If you are wondering if we are finally in the house, the answer is NO. WE. ARE. NOT!  We have about 4 more weeks, but I told my husband if I didn’t so some kind of project, I was going to go crazy. It was the perfect weekend.  My little puppy Boone turned one on Saturday and then we got to go to Home Depot and hang out in the wood aisle.  I’m sure you all know what a batten and board shutter looks like.  There are tutorials all over Pinterest.  I’m not doing a tutorial per se, just showing the steps that got us from point A to Z.

Batten and Board Shutters

Photo courtesy of Architecturaldepot.com

So these are batten and board shutters. These you can custom order in pretty much any size and color. I plugged in our dimensions and they came to $216 a pair. Ouch. You can also buy the plastic variety from the big box stores for roughly $100 for the size we needed, and our builder wanted $145 per pair.  We just didn’t want the plastic shutters so we took the credit from our builder on the plastic ones, and decided that we would build our own. This is pretty much the easiest project you will ever do. No, really. If you can cut a straight edge and read a tape then you are half way there. There were several options at Home Depot. Cedar, Poplar, and pine. Cedar is probably the best for an outside application, but it’s pretty pricey. I didn’t want to use pine, because it’s so soft, but I happened to see this pre-primed wood. It seemed harder somehow. Maybe it’s heat dried. I don’t know, but I do that it was a huge savings. We made one set of shutters for approximately $50. We gathered our screws, wood glue, sand paper, paint and headed home. You’re probably wondering why I don’t have all this stuff in stock at home. Well, I do, it’s just all packed away. Seriously, if don’t get in this house soon, I’m going to end up in the nut house. Anyway, here are a few things we picked up.

Batten and Board Shutters

So we measured the window. It was 62″ from top to bottom, inside to inside. We knew we wanted three 1×4’s across for a total of six 1×4’s measuring 62″ long. I’ve seen anywhere from two boards to four, some with spaces, some without. It’s totally up to you.

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Using your handy dandy speed square, mark your line after finding 62″ with your tape. Double check that! Remember, measure twice cut once. If anyone is likely to screw that up, it’s me, I’m always in such a hurry to get started. Now it’s time for my favorite tool, the chop saw.

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Make all your cuts, then you can line them up and decide how big of a gap you want between the boards, if any. I made a jig using my long metal ruler and a square. I clamped them to the table in an L shape so I could pull the boards tight against the spacers. Once you determine your gaps you can measure for the batten or cross brace. Once you’ve determined that, go ahead and cut those. Now here is where you will also decide if you want two or three battens per board. We decided on two. If we notice the boards starting to warp, we may have have to add one in the middle.

So, now is probably the time to paint your board, especially if you are doing black over white. It’s so not fun trying to paint in a 1/4 inch gap once they are together. Trust me, paint first. We didn’t. We wanted to get them made so we could test them on the house. What a pain. Anyway, put the top and side of your board against the jig, put your spacers next and pull the next board tight against them. We used our finish nail gun and wood glue to hold them together long enough to flip them and put in screws from behind.

Board and Batten Shutters

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Board and Batten Shutters

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We loved it. So we headed home and made the second one. Then the fun of painting began.

Batten and Board Shutters

Looks like a three coater to me! I eventually had to move back to the garage, the sun was too hot and was drying the paint too fast. In between the first and second coat of paint I sanded with 320 grit sand paper. This helped make it super smooth.

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Coat number two really made them look great.

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So I finished my third coat and they look amazing. I will put a clear sealer on them for added protection. Oh and I have enough wood left over to make a set for a little 24″ window!

Board and Batten shutters

I love them. Unfortunately, we can’t install them until we actually close on the house. Supposedly that is the 23rd of May. We shall see. Oh and don’t judge the garage! It’s a temporary rent situation and it’s only a one car. Hard to keep neat for 7 months!!! LOL. Anyway, thanks for hanging around. Come back and I’ll show the shutters on the house once we move in. Oh, for our next project…something similar to this.

Batten and Board Shutters

Till next time…
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