Curb Appeal of a Different Sort

A few summers ago, (back when my kids still wanted to go on bike rides with their mom) I spotted this old dilapidate chair on the curb just waiting to be claimed. To the embarrassment of my kids, I went and knocked on the door of the home it sat in front of and inquired about the chair. Sure enough, it was up for grabs…yay!! I asked if they would mind tucking it in their garage, so I could come back with the van and pick it up. They agreed and I was excited beyond words!

I picked it up and planted it in our garage. Unfortunately, when I had a closer look I realized that the new upholstery would entail more skill than any of my previous projects. There was no way to hide all of the tacks, as I had in the other simple projects I had done. As a result, I let fear get the better of me and avoided it for almost two years. It was only when Tim threatened to toss it that I knew I had to at least give it a try. I took apart the seat and back and used the very old and stinky upholstery pieces as a pattern for the new fabric. The chair frame required sanding just to rough up the surface in preparation for paint. I decided to paint it white (Surprise!  Surprise!) and then got to work reinforcing the seat and adding additional padding (salvaged from our old leather chair).

Once the seat was re-built, it was time to try my hand at covering the seat, back and arms.  I did my best to tack the pieces in place as inconspicuously as possible and then hot glued a simple lace rope around the edges to hide the staples/tacks. On close inspection, it’s certainly not perfect, but to the casual observer it looks pretty good for my first crack at real upholstering. If you asked an expert, I’m sure I did everything wrong, but when you consider this was picked up off the curb and the fabric was on clearance for $7…it’s quite the steal! Love these trash to treasure deals!

*As an after thought, I decided to paint and re-upholster the arm chair that we had kept from the original set we bought with our old antique dining room table. It was an easy job as the seat lifts off and all of the staples are hidden below. (This is the kind of project I like!!)

Antique Oak Dining Table Transformation #2!

before and afterTransformation #1:

Many years ago (like maybe 15 or 20), we purchased this very beat up dining room set from a friend’s mom. The set included the table, 4 leaves and 6 chairs for $150. The set was solid oak, but in very rough shape. Initially, we attempted to sand the table down, but it was so badly beat up that we decided to paint it instead. This was back in the “Debbie Travis Painted House” days, and I decided to paint it a metallic silver paint and then “antiqued” it with black. The first transformation was very 90’s and actually looked quite nice. I made slip covers for the chairs and this dining room set served us well for many years. These pictures are pretty old, so they are actually photos of photos, so not the best quality.

Transformation #2:

In 2006, we bought a house through a private sale and the owners were selling off everything because they were moving to Hawaii. We ended up purchasing a few items from them, including a very modern-designed glass table. I loved that table for many years, but eventually the glass just didn’t clean-up the way it used to and I grew to hate it. When we first bought and began using the glass table, I was reluctant to give up the old oak set and so we stored it and moved it to our current home in 2008. It sat covered in dust for many years, but as the glass table lost its lustre (so to speak), I began to think about the old oak table.

sanded table

The sanded table sat in the basement collecting dust for about 2 years before I could convince Tim to buy into my idea!

I stripped the paint and sanded it down to bare wood. Unlike when we did the first transformation, we now owned a belt sander and although not perfect, the finish was much better than the first time around. The other factor working to our advantage was that distressed, beat-up pieces were actually sought after design elements now. However, there was still one major obstacle to this becoming our dining room table for the second time and that was size. Without the leaves, the table was about 42″ square and was way too small for our large dining room. Although we still had the 4 leaves, they had always been a bit warped and I hated the idea of having 4 leaves permanently sitting in the table. I just don’t like the look of it, especially with the condition of our leaves. Eventually, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea…we could convert the table into a plank style table. I love the look of planked tables and the less than perfect leaves would have no bearing on the design since planks and imperfections seem to go hand-in hand. The trouble was I needed Tim in a big way for this project and he did not agree with my idea and refused to cut up the oak table. The condition of the glass dining room table continued to diminish as I continued to plead my case with many pictures of harvest style plank tables from Pinterest and various other sites on the web. It took a couple of years, but eventually he too saw the potential and agreed to take on the project.

He began by determining the ideal plank size. We wanted to get as many planks out of the actual table top and leaves as we could or at least figure out the plank width that would yield the smallest amount of discarded wood. In the end, we cut 10 planks and ended up with a finished table top of 42″ X 64″. Because the original table slid open to accommodate the leaves, there was a gap between the two ends of the table (when viewing from the side) where the leaves would sit. He purchased two long pieces of oak to replace the two original smaller pieces on each side of the table. The ends were fine because the width of the table did not change.  It comfortably sits 6 and we can squeeze 8 around in a pinch. The size is perfect for our dining room and I absolutely love the finished table. We chose to stain it dark and the imperfections only add to the piece. This table is one of my favourite furniture make-overs! I can’t believe that this table is once again, looking so amazing after all these years!

Mud Room Mayhem #5: So Many Shoes!!

Of course, there is nothing like the built in shoe storage that we installed in the risers of our new stairs. Tim did an awesome job of custom building the stairs and drawers for the mudroom and I am thrilled with the results, but the reality is, not all of the shoes are going to be put in drawers! What about those shoes/boots that we are wearing on a regular basis? I am not naive enough to think my family is going to hide every pair of shoes neatly away in the stairs, so my solution was a custom boot rack made with scraps of wood and river rock.

DIY Wooden Boot Tray:

I made this simple DIY wooden boot tray out of scraps of wood we had in the basement and then stained it to match the dark hardwood floors. I then purchased a bag of river rock ($8) and filled the tray with rocks. I love the simplicity of the boot rock and the natural element of the rocks. So simple and yet so much more visually appealing that the old plastic boot trays we used prior to the renovation.

What’s Next?

The mudroom reno is nowhere near complete. Aside from some smaller projects and accessorizing, we have three big projects to complete and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. All of them require Tim’s handiwork and expertise and his schedule has made it pretty difficult to make any headway. You can watch for these future updates as we complete the projects:

  • Kitchen Door Frame: We still need to rebuild the door frame between the kitchen and the mudroom (at the top of the stairs).
  • Stair Rails: We have antique newel posts and oak rails to add to the stairs. Because we are using old posts, there is some rebuilding and reconfiguring to make this work. T0 be honest, this job seems a bit daunting!
  • Basement Stairwell Walls: The stairs and walls to the basement from the mudroom are cement. They are poorly made and uneven (of course!) We still need to figure out how to tie the walls into the new design and come up with some sort of facelift for the stairs themselves. Again, lots of work and not a job you can do on a day off!

If if takes until next summer to knock these off that is fine with me, but I am really hoping we can have the mudroom completed before returning to school next September! In the mean time, there won’t be many more mudroom posts!

Mud Room Mayhem #4: Feature Wall

Mud room feature wall

Mud room feature wall (The plant is not really part of the decor, but desperately seeking sunlight and hoping to revive!!)

Have I mentioned how disfunctional this space was? Not only was there no closet, the room was designed in such a way that you really couldn’t even add a nice wardrobe to solve the problem. In the end, I knew the only option that would work for this space was to install open hooks on the feature wall.

Shiplap Feature Wall:

The first step was to prime and paint the newly installed shiplap. I used my favourite, Simply White, by Benjamin Moore.

Upcycled Coat Hook Rack:

The next step was to install the coat hooks. I decided to make a base to mount the hooks onto. My mission in this mud room project was to incorporate reclaimed pieces that I already had on hand. For this, we used one of the boards from the old piano we had previously dismantled. I think it was the one that sits vertically above the keys and opens automatically when the cover for the keys is opened up. (You can tell I am no musician by my lack of piano lingo). I wanted a ledge on top for art or some other kind of accessory and was fortunate to find an old oak mantel for sale on Kijiji. I actually can’t remember what I paid, but I know it was cheap…maybe $15? So, I painted both the piano piece and the mantel for the top. I bought the antique hooks from Candle & Co. out in West St. Paul. We managed to fit 7 hooks across the middle, so it really provides ample room for the coats we use on a regular basis. Being that it is winter, it is impossible to “stage” it like you see in so many mudroom/entry shots on Pinterest. Our coat rack is pretty full and will remain that way for 6 months of the year. Perhaps by next summer the coat rack might look prettier, but for now it serves the purpose it was designed for….it stores our winter gear!

I tried several different pieces on top of the mantel and in the end I opted for an old bevelled glass window. I love the impact of the dark green in an otherwise very soft colour pallet. The best part was, it was yet another piece I was able to rescue from my basement storage and incorporate into the space at no extra expense.

Upcycled Single Headboard Bench Conversion:

Below the coat rack is a simple bench that we constructed from a $10 Kijiji headboard and more old piano parts. I can’t say I love the bench, but it will do for now and isn’t bad for our first attempt at making a bench. There are so many great repurposed bench designs and for me this would only be about a 5/10 in terms of the look I was going for. I really would have liked a piece with more “weight”, but we are confined to a small space, so I had to stick with a single bed and there weren’t many available at the time. This bed didn’t come with a footboard and my preference would have been to use the footboard for side rails on the bench. All in all, not exactly what I wanted. The wall is tall and a heavier looking, larger piece constructed from a queen frame would look amazing, but I can’t afford to loose the space under the window for extra storage. I will continue to watch for a single bed frame that may be more to my liking, but for now the one we have is fine. If you are interested in converting an old bed into a bench, check out My Repurposed Life for inspiration and detailed tutorials. I always find great ideas on that site!

Upcycled bench

Upcycled bench created from a single bed headboard and old piano parts.

I can’t wait to add a few more accessories when the space is completely finished!

A Look Back:

Couldn’t finish the post without a quick look back to before and after shots of this wall. Oh my….was that awful!!

Mud Room Mayhem #3: The Shoe-lution!

Having no closet and dreading the thought of using some sort of messy shoe rack, I had my heart set on hidden shoe storage. I had planned this out long before the mud room make-over was ever really in the works. I had seen this idea years ago on Pinterest and knew that someday my mudroom was going to have drawers in the stair risers to hide the vast array of shoes that constantly littered our mud room floor.

Tim had already removed the old stairs from the kitchen down to the mud room. He custom built the stringers and stairs to fit the space between the kitchen door frame and the door leading to the back yard that sits at the base of the stairs. We decided to opt for simple 2″ X 12″ construction for the stairs and then sanded and stained the stairs to match the oak floors. We were super pleased with how the stairs turned out despite the fact that they were made very economically without spending on high end wood.

For the drawers, Tim re-used planks from our old wooded futon frame for the sides of the drawer boxes and then old 1/4″ fir for the base and drawer fronts. The fir was removed from the walls of an old walk-in closet/storage room in the basement when we reconfigured some of the basement several years ago. We had kept the wood for future projects and it came in handy for these drawers. Although the fir has much more grain and an orangey/red hue, the dark stain took beautifully and I actually love the fact that the drawer fronts stand-out from the stairs and aren’t so “matchy”!

Best of all, the drawers provide ample storage for our shoes, and short boots will even fit when placed on their sides. So thrilled!! Using stair risers for hidden shoe storage might be my favourite Life Hack yet!! Thank you Tim!

 

Mud Room Mayhem #2

Although this started out as a summer project, it is evident this baby is not going to be completed anytime soon…in fact, it may still be on the docket for next summer!

However, with some of the major work behind us, the room is at least a functioning space, far exceeding the total disfunction of the past. In fact, I am even okay with the projects that aren’t yet finished….it is not the most visually appealing, but we are so happy with the new layout and overall look of the space. Tim is back to working a crazy amount of over time, so it is a great time for me to practise patience!

Sherwin Williams "Rainwashed"I started this project by attacking the walls. I plastered/patched the many dings and then proceeded to prime and paint the walls and ceiling. The colour I chose was Sherwin Williams ~ Rainwashed. I know I have mentioned it before, but after being a die hard Benjamin Moore paint snob for many years, I have actually made a switch to Sherwin Williams and love it! I’m not saying I would never use BM again, but Sherwin Williams offers excellent coverage and they also have great sales several times a year.

Although the room is only about 8″ X 12″, this is one of the most difficult spaces I’ve ever painted. The ceilings are 20+ feet at the tallest point and to make matters worse, the highest point is directly above the two stair cases. I can honestly say I broke every safety rule when it came to painting those ceiling beams and trimming. I literally teetered on the top two rungs of the extension ladder, often reaching far beyond what was even remotely safe. Tim would walk in the room and cringe from below, but luckily I came through unscathed! The transformation from dingy brown to light and bright was truly remarkable. I even managed to convince Tim to let me paint out the oak beams…Win for Me!!

BEFORE & AFTER: Painting

BEFORE & AFTER: Reclaimed Wide-Planked Oak Hardwood Floors

The next step was to remove the old stairs and landing. This immediately made the room feel larger! Before installing new stairs, Tim laid the hardwood flooring. I had purchased some reclaimed wide-planked oak floors through Kijiji for $150 about 5 years ago. I purchased it knowing the planks would be perfect for my “someday” mud room. Tim installed the floors and then we rented a floor sander from Home Depot to remove the old layers of stain and urethane.

Once the floors were installed, we were ready to attack the feature wall. As mentioned previously, there is only one wall in the space that is free of obstructions (windows, doors, stairs). We opted to create a feature wall by installing shiplap. I must say, finding shiplap in Manitoba is not that easy, but I did end up finding a small lumber business outside the city that would custom cut shiplap for me. It wasn’t expensive and was well worth the trip to pick it up. Tim installed the boards and then I proceeded to prime and paint the wall “Simply White”. This is a Benjamin Moore colour and the white I use on all of my projects. Of course, Sherwin Williams will also make the colour for you. I absolutely love how the wall turned out! The photo below shows the wall before the priming and painting had been done.

Shiplap feature wall

Shiplap feature wall and hardwood floors.

Stay tuned for Mudroom Mayhem #3 and find out how Tim’s custom stairs turned out….this is hands down my favourite feature in our evolving mud room!!

 

 

 

Mud Room Mayhem

Yes, when I say mayhem, I really mean it! Our mud room had been the most disfunctional space since we bought the house in 2008. The idea of having a mud room is glorious, but this space had been difficult to figure out and it took along time to actually have a vision for the room. In addition to the poor design, the room was also poorly constructed and we knew it would entail lots of hard work to fix-up the endless list of problems. It is for this reason, that our mud room is the last room in our house to be touched (other than our unfinished basement, which at this point still seems like a pipe dream).

Although the room is a good size at 8′ X 12′, with beautiful vaulted ceilings stretching up to 20 plus feet at the highest point, there are so many structural fixtures that the space is almost impossible to use effectively. There is one unobstructed 8 foot wall, but the garage door swings open onto it and a large 6 foot window butts up against it on the opposite side. Further down from the garage door is a set of cement stairs that lead to the basement, so that wall really only has about a 3 foot section between the door and the top stair and it is essentially a walk way. Beside the basement stairs, on the wall opposite the plain 8 foot wall is another staircase that leads to the kitchen. The original stairs had a landing at the top (junk collection center) and a turn in the staircase, so basically, the entire wall is stairs! The last wall has the window (previously mentioned) and the door to the back yard as well as the large landing at the top of the kitchen stairs. With so many “openings” to deal with, you can see how difficult it was to make the area work as an efficient “mud room”.

Here is a very rough floor plan of the space. You can see how wonky the stairs are and how poorly planned out the room is.Mud room floor plan

On top of the structural issues, the workmanship was lousy and all of the moldings were cheap, poorly aligned and nothing was square. To make matters worse, the fir floors had been painted and we were almost certain lead paint had been used, so these too would need to be replaced.

So, it is from this disaster of a room that our “things to do list” evolved. This job was one of the biggest we’ve taken on with our tasks including:

  • demo and remove kitchen stairs
  • replace stairs with a simple set that would go straight down to back door (without the turn)
  • install railings for the stairs and around basement stairwell
  • lay reclaimed oak hardwood floors, sand, stain and urethane
  • demo all baseboards and moldings
  • trim down all of the window and door casings in an attempt to square them
  • buy, cut, install and paint new moldings and baseboards
  • paint oak ceiling beams
  • prime and paint walls
  • purchase and install shiplap on main 8 foot wall
  • prime and paint shiplap wall
  • build up the basement stairwell walls to cover exposed concrete
  • figure out what to do with the basement stairs as far as paint or covering (still not sure)
  • paint all doors
  • attempt to incorporate as many reclaimed pieces as possible into the overall design of the space – it became my mission to use leftover crown molding, casing and furniture pieces that we already had on hand (My vision was not to create a mismatched mess, but rather to effectively use what we already had on hand and declutter our garage and basement).
  • design a space that will be visually appealing while providing our family with adequate storage for outdoor clothing, shoes and backpacks
  • various DIY projects that will be incorporated into the final design of the room

I consider myself to be pretty handy, but this room relied heavily on my husband. There were way too many “construction” types of projects that were more than I could take on. I felt really bad about this because I was so dependent on Tim to do so many of the bigger jobs and yet it was me who had the summer off to work on projects. For Tim, it was a super busy summer. He worked more overtime than ever before and on the few days he had off, he spent endless hours trying to pull this mud room project together. It soon became apparent, that unlike most of our summer projects, there was no way this would be done before I returned to work in September. Despite the slow progress and a never ending list of things to finish, I am super pleased with how much we got done with the limited time Tim has had to work on it….I am so lucky to have him! We will continue to push through and hope to complete it in bits and pieces over the next few months.

I will attempt to share the project at various stages of completion, but for starters….here’s what it looked like before we started.

Simple Mantel Make-Over

We recently repainted our living room and gave it a completely new look. Although I love the character of our home, that much oak can be a bit overwhelming at times, especially with its orangish tone. I would have no problem if the wood was stained a deeper colour, but unfortunately it is all that lighter orange colour. I used to dream of stripping the wood and re-staining it a nice deep brown, but over the years I have come to realize that idea is nothing short of crazy. We have too much wood and the job would be way too big, especially when you consider all of the work on the coffered ceilings alone! So I have given up on that idea 🙁

However,  when we were redoing the living room, I really felt the fireplace needed a lift! I tossed around the idea of painting it out white, but Tim didn’t like the idea and I wasn’t completely sold on ruining the original brick either. It is super low maintenance and not horrible. In the end, I convinced him to let me sand and stain the mantel. It wasn’t a big job (although we did have some difficulty getting the stain to take at first) and I thought the pay off was huge. The darker stain just made the fireplace look more unified and matched the dark brick much better than the original stain. I had also planned to remove the mirror from above, but surprisingly, it didn’t seem to bug me as much with the new stained mantel.

I must admit that I did put a bit more effort into “staging” the mantel as well. To do this, I actually did some research and came across some really good information. Among the best is the information I found on Kylie M. Interiors. She goes through a 4 step process and it really helped me to create a look that I finally feel I can live with. Here is a quick summary of her suggestions.

  1. Find the center of your mantel and choose a “key” piece to anchor your design
  2. Decide on a colour palette and be sure to consider incorporating different surface finishes and textures
  3. Choose to set up your mantel symmetrically (exactly the same on both sides) or balanced (use different items but create a balanced look at both ends by making sure they have the same “visual weight”)
  4. Create decorative triangles by setting up your items in such a way that “triangles” are created by using varying heights of objects.
Staged Mantel

I tried to create a balanced look using visual triangles made with groups of accessories I already had around the house.

Clearly, I am no designer, but Kylie really does a great job of explaining the steps to setting up a mantel and also provides some great links. By the time you read through her post and check out the various examples, you will be well on your way to creating a great look. When I started mine, I wasn’t really sure what I would end up with on the mantel, but in the end, I found everything I needed right here at home. It was just a matter a finding pieces I already had and then setting them up to create a look I was happy with. The only piece that was new was the metal “R”. I had picked that up several months ago on a clearance sale for $2 (regular $14 I think). I couldn’t resist it, even though I had no idea where I was going to put it. So it too was something I already had at home and I actually like the contrast of the white against the brick. Now that I know the look I am going for, it will be much easier to keep my eyes open and find the perfect pieces to really create the look I want. I think that I might like a larger “key” piece and may even incorporate a few smaller framed pictures, for a layered look. Overall I am pleased with how this turned out and have a better understanding of what I may need to purchase in the future. I am especially thrilled with the darker stain ~ a simple fix and yet seemed to make a huge difference (at least to me!)

Surprise Living Room Make-Over

We had been in dire need of new living room furniture for well over a year. I was having a very hard time making decisions about what to buy. I loved the idea of a sectional and have always wanted one, but the reality is that our space is just not that workable. In addition to deciding on a style, I was also struggling with leather vs. fabric. We have always had leather and our family is very accustom to the easy care and wipe-ability of leather. Like a sectional, I have also always wanted white furniture. When making a big purchase you want to make sure you are getting it right and thus we shopped and browsed for months on end with no decisions being made. Finally, when our sofa was destined for the dump, we had to make some decisions.

The first conclusion Tim and I agreed on was that the living room/dining room swap that we made a few years ago was really not working for our family. The larger of the two rooms is located in the center of the house and just off the kitchen while the second smaller room is located just to the right of the front entrance. This room is quite lovely with French doors, a wall of windows and a fireplace. The trouble with it is that with so much going on, there really are not many options for room configuration and at times this is frustrating. We suspected that a sectional would never be an option in this space and so approximately two years ago, we moved our living room (fireplace room) to the larger room just off the kitchen. At first, we loved it. It allowed Tim and I to work in the kitchen and be more engaged with the kids if they were in the living room. Our home is far from open concept, but the close proximity seemed to help. However, over time, we realized that other sacrifices were being made. It seemed like our busy schedules, coupled with the dining room’s more remote location led to more and more meals taking place in front of the television. Setting the table seemed like a big job now that everything needed to be transported across the house. We also found that the “kitchen” noises often interfered with the television and the dishwasher was often not put on until bedtime. Finally, we found that the wood burning fireplace, one of our favourite features in our house, had sadly sat unused since we made the switch. Once we decided to move the rooms back, the other decisions were also easier to make. Using our old furniture and a measuring tape, we tried many variations of furniture arrangements and came to the conclusion that a sectional would never work in that space. Since we both had our hearts set on getting one, we decided to go with a chaise sofa and chair/ottoman combo instead. Although we felt this would work, we weren’t 100% convinced it would fit properly into the room. We decided to save ourselves a few thousand dollars and go with fabric, so that we could live with it for a few years before committing thousands of dollars more to a “leather” decision. It seemed like a good compromise.  In the end we went with a darker almost charcoal gray even though I really wanted something light. Sometimes you have to consider not only your desires, but also the function of the furniture. We do not have a living room and family room or even a basement hangout for the kids. Needless to say our furniture gets lots of use. I can be pretty uptight and I knew that the change to fabric was already going to cause me some stress. The sofa covers are all washable, but the reality is that I think white or even something very light would become an ongoing battle to maintain. We opted for what we thought would work best for our family.

Feeling excited to set-up the new furniture, Tim and I unpacked and assembled our new Ikea sofa. (I never actually thought I would purchase a sofa from Ikea, but I was quite taken with the Ektorp series. I loved that there were several colour options, the style seemed both traditional and contemporary at the same time – if that’s even possible and surprisingly, it is super comfortable!)  After the months of indecisiveness, I’m sure Tim almost blew a gasket, when he saw the look on my face once everything was set up and arranged in the room. Yep…you guessed it….I hated it. Not the sofa or the style, but rather how it looked in the room. Our new sofa looked more like a denim blue against the light green walls (Castleton Mist) than gray….Yikes!  I could see it in Tim’s eyes “Oh no…here we go again!” Although he thought we should consider taking the covers back and swapping for a different colour choice, I was convinced the grey would be perfect once everything else in the room was changed! Yes, we would need to paint (wasn’t anticipating that) and the side tables don’t look right. Too bad the curtains will no longer match. Oh and that fireplace has always kind of bugged me! Ugh! I really was not planning a room make-over. Our plans included a new sofa/chair and coffee table. The end. I was prepared to refinish a coffee table because I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to find anything new that fit with the look I was going for, but that would have been a simple sand/paint job.

So, although there are a few things left to finish, I already love the space and am not even worrying about the few remaining projects….I’ll get to them eventually. So far, we’ve managed to paint the room, strip and stain the mantel, build a tiny side table from a vintage ashtray and sew new curtains. Believe or not, I found the perfect coffee table on Kijiji and someone else had already done the work – score! I still need to paint the cabinet that the TV is sitting on and want to shorten the little half-moon table by a few inches, but other than that we’re done.

The light gray walls (Benjamin Moore ~Stonington Grey)look fine with the oak trim (despite my reservations). Besides the limited wall space for setting up this room, it is also a difficult space because of the limited light. Although it boasts a wall of windows and two additional high windows on the fireplace wall, it is not a bright room. It is north facing and really only gets late afternoon sun. So in choosing a new colour, I not only had to consider a colour to coordinate with the furniture and strong oak presence in the room, but also the limited light. I must admit, I’ve never really paid any attention to LRV (light reflective value), but for this room I did my homework. There is nothing worse than picking a colour that you love on the swatch, but hate when you actually apply it to the walls in your space. Paint colours can look completely different depending on the lighting in your space. For this room, I chose a gray with an LRV of 59 which meant the colour would pretty much stay true to the swatch in my space. For more information on how to choose paints that will work well in your space, check out this article on Kylie M. Interiors. I found it really helpful.

As a side note – I have been a Benjamin Moore paint snob for many years now, but I decided to try Sherwin Williams Duration for this job. Their paint was 40% off and I had heard good things about it. I loved it! The application was beautiful and I even hesitated to do a second coat. My living room is about 17 and 12 and I did two coats with one gallon and the first coat was almost perfect even though it was covering green. Very impressed! (They can make colours from other companies, so I used a Benjamin Moore colour, but had it made with the Duration paint.)

Laundry Room Project Part 5: DIY Laundry Hamper

DIY Rolling Laundry HamperRight from the start, I had a vision for how this laundry room would come together. With the major components out of the way, the fun began. I envisioned the room having many contrasting elements of old versus new in a shabby chic sort of way. I love upcycling and really wanted to include many re-makes in this room. One of the simplest projects involved the custom wire laundry basket I made for the space.

I found this great tutorial on Apartment Therapy and was able to create an awesome industrial looking laundry hamper. The best part was that I actually had everything I needed on hand with the exception of the fabric.

Materials Needed:

  • Galvanized Square Mesh Fencing
  • Wood circle (about 15″)
  • 4 casters
  • sandpaper, stain and urethane (for the circle) – optional, depending on where you get your circle
  • wire cutters
  • staple gun (tutorial suggests screws, but I used my staple gun)
  • heavy string (for my version of the hamper)
  • binding ribbon ( another adaptation)
  • laundry bag to fit (I made mine)

wood circleWhen I began this project, I decided to start by checking out my stash and sure enough, I had a circle left over from the wooden Lazy Susan I bought for my homemade Rumoli Board last Christmas. I didn’t care about the hole in the middle as it would never be seen. It was the perfect size and would not have needed any sanding, stain or urethane if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted the wood to be a darker tone. It was a simple fix and I like the rustic look of the darker stain.

The casters were originally purchased for another project, but ended up not working so they had been sitting in one of my project bins and would be the perfect size for this hamper.

The wire was bought several years ago and used in lieu of glass/wood in the shaker style doors my husband made for an 80’s dresser that we converted in to a TV cabinet.

With everything I needed at my fingertips, I set to work and had this baby done in record time.

I followed the steps in the Apartment Therapy tutorial exactly. The description and pictures were spot on and easy to follow. I will say that working with the wire is a bit tricky. Mine was rolled up and it was not easy to get it to stay in place while I worked. In addition, the little ends are sharp and you need to be careful. Wearing gloves is probably a good idea, but I found them cumbersome and opted for the pain and discomfort.

When you wrap the wire around the circle, you need to make sure you leave enough wire to overlap. Once you have the sides overlapped, you need to fold the wire ends back over the wire from the other side to secure it. (Sounds complicated but the tutorial makes it easy to understand.) I was really struggling to secure the wires because the fencing just wouldn’t stay in place. In fact, it created so much tension that some of the wires were snapping when I tried to bend them. I was worried that I was not going to be able to secure them properly and I didn’t have enough extra wire (in the overlap) for other options. I ended up running string the length of the overlap. I intended to place the string there temporarily while I bent the wires, and then remove it when I had it all secure. However, I actually liked the look of the string through the wire and ended up re-stringing it in a more patterned look. So in the end, the string serves two purposes, it adds strength to structure and is a nice finishing detail.

I made a second adaptation to the original tutorial, when I added white binding ribbon to the top rim of the finished basket. Although I had trimmed the sharp wires off, I still felt that the fabric of my newly sewn laundry bag might catch on the wire ends. I was going to use hot glue to attach it, but ended up doing a simple stitch all the way around.

Laundry Bag Fabric

The fabric and the binding ribbon were the only things I had to purchase for this project, so the cost was minimal.

The bag was simple enough to make by tracing the base of the hamper and adding an extra inch or more to the edge of the circle to allow for seam allowances and ensure it was a generous fit. The circle becomes the base of the bag. When cutting the fabric for the bag itself, be sure to make it big enough that it fits over the top of the bin. You don’t want to make it too small and then learn that it won’t sit nicely over the top. (You can always “take it in” if it is too large, but too small is a problem.) I also added several extra inches at the top to create a very tall bag (maybe a foot or so beyond the top of the basket) because I wanted to see the printed fabric folded over the edge of the hamper and down a few inches inside the basket.  I simply finished the top seam and folded it over to the desired finished height. I stitched a pocket for the string and then secured the folded over piece for a finished look.

Although I don’t really have a reason to roll my hamper around my tiny laundry room, the wheels work great and I love the finished look!