Thursday, September 30, 2010

Box for the Laundry cubbies..

Ok.. so remember this..

It's the old cardboard box that I planned to cover and use in the cube storage unit in my newly organised Laundry room cupboard.
Well I couldn't use the scrap of fabric remnent I originally planned because, as it turns out, it wasn't quite big enough..
So I went and bought a metre of acid green ultra-suede from my local fabric store. Cost $12.. [about 6 quid for the Brits] and I only used half for this project. I shall use the rest to cover a couple of the boxes on the shelf in the closet that have nasty things in like Tax
returns and Bill's old divorce paperwork.

I wrapped the fabric right round the box leaving about 2 inches over-hang top and bottom to secure it to the inside and the bottom of the box.. and after folding over the raw edge I glue gunned it down. If you don't have a hot glue gun double sided tape will do at a pinch.

The underside you then treat exactly like a gift and wrap accordingly.. I glued it and used my favourite product White Duct Tape for extra strength and to cover any raw edges.

On the inside I glued and duct taped again..
I know it's not pretty.. but it serves a purpose and to paraphrase a favourite blogger of mine Benita Larsson of  Chez Larsson  "It's going to be used, not scrutinized'..
Besides.. it could be lined with the remaining fabric if that was an issue... but for me it's not.

This cute handle I found yesterday at Red Living for just $2.99. Bill cut the screws down for me because they were too long. Normally of course they'd have to reach through a 1/2 inch or so door or drawer, but here they only needed to reach through the cardboard, so he took off about 1/4 inch.

I know I should have included the washers in the photo above...
Never mind.

I used two washers on the back side of the screw.. again for extra strength. 

I suspected that the trickiest job would be making the holes through the fabric and cardboard to accomodate the screws. I didn't want to mark the fabric in case the hole didn't line up exactly and the mark was left showing.. so I used some of my beloved duct tape, and marked the holes position on that.
The added bonus was that the tool I used to make the hole [an ice pick] didn't slip about like it would have on the fabric. Once the holes were made.. I just removed the tape.. easy.

And here it is.. it turned out really well I think. This photo makes it look like the handle isn't centered but it's just the angle.... and the fold in the fabric will fall out over time.

And here it is in situ...
Now.. I can't decide if I like it best here in the top cubbie.. or in the third one down.. what do you think ?

Jo xx

Just a short one..

This is totally un- decor related but I just wanted to tell you all that my lovely husband Bill has started a blog of his own..
He's a 'Book Maniac' and has started a blog about all things booky... so naturally I had no problem finding an old picture of him... reading.

The blog is called  Books, Books, Books... and I'm sure he would appreciate a visit..
And just count yourselves lucky he didn't start a blog about football.. [soccer] .. since where that's concerned he's a total anorak.

Jo xx

Monday, September 27, 2010

Laundry Room Cupboard's finished.

Well it's almost finished.. there's still one thing left to do.. but I'm already 3 days overdue with this.. and I wanted to put up the finished photos.

So this is where we were..  Walls painted, cubbies made and secured in place in the centre of the cupboard..

The first thing we did next was to put the shelf back across the top of the cubbies.. and support it with trim on each side..
We have this box in the garage with off cuts of all the various bit of trim and moulding that we've used in the house in the past and we found a perfect bit that Bill cut in half.

Previously the shelf and coat rail were supported by the same wall fixtures.. so those fixtures had to take the weight of all the coats, plus.. whatever we put on the shelves. But we have reconfigured that so the shelf is independant..
Most of the shelf's weight is taken by the cubes... so a smallish [albeit well secured] piece of moulding was plenty for the sides.
You can also see the new supports for the coat rack.. the other end is attatched to the side of the cubbies.
Small piece of skirting board used to support the shelf.

I've added hooks on the walls inside on both sides for hanging stuff that's awkward to store flat.
yes I have a squash racket.. don't laugh.
 The shelf is now about 12 inches higher, but actually has more stuff on it. There are 5 extra storage boxes.. the chocolate brown suede ones are shop bought.. and the harlequin ones on the right are just old boot boxes I covered in heavy duty wrapping paper. I used the same paper to finish off the backs of the cubbies.. just to add a bit of colour and visual interest.
Eventually I will cover the remaining boxes too, probably in fabric offcuts, but let's face it that's hardly a priority.

I needed to trim the front edges of the cubbies to tidy up the finish.. and this is what I used.

When you get in stock blinds over here, although the store cuts them to the right width for you, they are standard lengths, and if you want you can remove the spare strips from the bottom to make them hang better.
They are made of a composite material which frankly you can cut with a pair of scissors, so they were easy to trim to size.. then I just used hot glue to attatch them to the cubes..

And here we are.. the finished article.

The shoes and boots are now tidy and organised, and there are 3 extra pairs in here that we didn't have room for before.
There is more stuff stored away in boxes on the shelf.. which has freed up space in other rooms, and everything is easier to access. 
There is just one last thing to do.. well two..
I have just noticed that I have to line the backs of the bottom 2 cubbies with the same paper.
And second, I found a cardboard box that fits perfectly into one of the empty cubbies..

I have a great fabric offcut which I will use to cover it and I'll attach a kitchen door handle to make it easier to pull out. Which will cost about $4 in total.. The ones they sell for the same purpose in Home Depot are $12, and they're only canvas so this will be sturdier.

Final photographs... before and after... so what do you think ??

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Laundry Room Coat Cupboard part I

Gracious it's two weeks since I posted.. I'll do better I promise... but posting takes me ages since I'm a crap typist, and of course you have to do the actual work so that you've got something to post about..

This is a job that Bill [my DIY challenged hubby for those who don't know him] and I did together last weekend. And WITHOUT a row, which was a right result. ;o)

The Laundry room was one of the first rooms I finished making over after we moved in.. [I'll show you that next week], but we've been struggling with storage in there for a while now.. [Bill's shoes mostly] and the configuration of the cupboard was fairly useless so I decided to rework it.

very dull photo of the doors.
 In most of the rest of the house I've had the bi-folds taken off and regular swing doors put on.. but here they would have been impractical, because on the right is the door into the garage, and on the left the door to the hallway.

cluttered & disorganised
I have several issues with the layout of this cupboard:
The shelf is too low, so there's lots of dead space above it that's wasted, which could be much more efficent.

Lots of dead space

Don't ask about the hat !!
The rod is unnecessarily low so long coats [at best] brush over dirty boots & shoes or [at worst] drag on the floor. The floor space has no organisation so its a mess that catches everytime you try to close the doors plus the corners tend to get cluttered.

scruffy eh !!
We had a chat about the best way to deal with the problems.. and raising the bar [excuse the pun] and the rail were a no brainer. We then took a little trip to Home Depot, and found these IKEA knock off cubbies for $25 each, to create some more organisation.

So a rip off of IKEA.

So while Bill's busy putting the cubbies [3 sets of 2] together, I cleared out the cupboard..

Look at that bloody pink baseboard [skirting board for the Brits]

When I first looked at our house the previous owners told me that when they first moved in EVERY single piece of wood in the house was this colour..
EVERY door, architrave, trim, skirting board, window frame.. even the ceiling fan in the hall was ROSE PINK.
Fortunately for us.. they had already painted most of it out with whites and creams.. but even now I'm still finding it in odd places.. Here's another bit about to bite the dust.

And I painted.. It's a Debbie Travis colour called Coastal Walk [mushroom] that I used in the en-suite and on one wall in the laundry too.

Initially we thought we might put the cubbies horizontally right across the whole width of the cupboard.. but that makes storage of odd shaped things on the floor problematic..
I think you can tell what we decided from the shape of the paint. 

The height of the cubbies as they related to the ideal shelf height dictated the shape really. We wanted the shelf to be roughly 72 [70-74] inches high, which is approx 5 cubes, but the cubbies only came in twos so to get 5 high one pair had to go on its side.. but we liked the way it looked and actually it works really well.
The four cubes in the tower are attatched to each other at the front and the back for security..

I know its unattractive but I'm going to trim them so this won't show... and we also secured it to the wall with a screw or two through the back.
As you can see they don't look as pretty as they do on the box.. so there was some finishing to do, although to be fair the holes are there for the adjustable shelves or drawers that you can buy. This range also has  bright canvas totes that fit snuggly into the cubes.. but I don't think I'm going to bother with them.
So that was Sunday.. Monday we finished it off, but I haven't downloaded the photo's yet so that's tomorrow's job..
Jo xx

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Family room make over part Deux..

So where was I.. ?
Oh yes, paint on the walls, [Ralph Lauren, Manchester Brown in the alcoves], new carpet on the floor..
So next we wanted to get rid of the patio doors..
I confess.. after the fireplace this was my next pet hate in this room. I guess patio doors have their place, if space is at a premium, but they are so ugly.
Plus I've never understood the point of having one side fixed... it's so limiting.

Anyway, enough of my personal prejudices ...
Patio Doors BEFORE.
We used a local company Modern Doors and Siding [owned by husband and wife team Dave & Ronnerly] and a lovely guy called Mike installed them for us.

So these are the new French Doors... [sorry about the photo quality, there are better ones later].
The nasty vertical blinds and the fabric pelmet went in a skip...
French Doors AFTER
The new brushed nickle rod has crackle glass finials and the curtains, after one false start with a different pair that I've now re cycled, are faux suede in a grey blue colour... with grommets at the top.

I thought this would be a good time to show the 'BEFORE' picture again..
Then the 'AFTER' picture from the same spot.. to show a direct comparison.
It's not quite perfect.. but it's close enough to get the idea.

And here are some more shots from various angles...
Bill just bought me the huge basket for our anniversary.. and the 2 built in bookcases either side of the fireplace are just flatpack's from Home Depot. That having been said they are at least real wood.

This is a much better view of the French Doors.. The brown leather ottoman and two fireside chairs were from Urban Barn. We have a really good one in Nanaimo... The ottoman between the two chairs is one I picked up at a charity shop for $10 and recovered in some beige velvet.

This cream Moroccan style side table/stool was a Winners bargain.. They had them in a couple of places in town for between $129 and $189.. I paid $49 for mine, so I was thrilled...
I've got a blue one in the Living Room too.. they are so useful.

The lovely old 1930's suitcase on top of the bookcase is Bill's memory box.. and the mirror over the fireplace, [one of my 3 favourite things in the room] was another bargain.. just $40, this time from Superstore.

This Moroccan pot, [Number 2 of 3] was a Winners bargain too. I think it was $20, and really isn't ME at all.. but I loved it the moment I saw it.

These two vases are my final favourite things.. and the glass heart was another gift from Bill. :o)

This final shot shows the cubby unit behind the sofa... I got the idea from a magazine, where a girl had had one custom made from solid mahogany for thousands of dollars. I didn't have that kind of money to spend, but all the pieces designed for behind a sofa were too tall.. I only had 28 inches to play with.
Then I had a brainwave..
Which leads me to my new IKEA catalogue which arrived today.. [it's tiny..] but there on page 3...
Recognise these..

This is the 5 shelf version mine is the 4 shelf.. but they from the same series..
and behind my sofa on their sides they are just rested on top of each other... and all for less than $200 inc shipping.

The Family Room... first of the proper makeovers..

So, this was the first room in the house to get the full makeover treatment.. The Family Room.
It's one big room with the kitchen and the breakfast area.. which is very typical here, and it runs across the back of the house..
The transformation started about 5 years ago now.. and its still on going to be honest. But the bulk of the work took about 8 weeks from start to finish.
Sorry about the quality of some of the photo's by the way, Rick took them with his camera and I had to scan them from copies into the computer..

So this is what it looked like BEFORE we even moved in..

Now do bear in mind that NONE of this furniture is ours.. its was the previous owners.
Absolutely everything has changed.. carpet, fireplace, patio doors, window treatments, light fixtures [or rather lack thereof]... even the position of the tv cable, since right here in this photo you can see the light from the patio doors reflecting on the screen. 
God I hate corner fireplaces... but if you've GOT to have one.. at least put the wretched thing in the right bloody corner... sigh.. deep breath. 

We did live with it for a while..
I've heard it said many times that you should not rush to decorate, but wait 'til you know the house a bit better... where the light comes from at various times of the day and so on... so we did.
But I knew that fireplace had to go... and it did, first chance I got...
We hired a great chippy called Rick, and he disconnected the pellet stove and removed the brick plinth.

At that point this is what it looked like...
The black pipe in the middle of wall is for the new fireplace.

We got $750 for the stove from a guy who brought his truck over from Vancouver.. we were thrilled, but so was he. This one was immaculate [the old owner had even left the manuals] and new they're about $4000.. so everybody was happy.
You can also see why we had to have new carpet.. which was actually a shame, because it was super quality and I didn't hate the colour.. but it didn't go under the plinth, and I wasn't about to try and patch it.

Then Rick framed in the new central chimney breast..

And dry-lined it..

And then the fireplace went in.

You can also see in this photo some of the work our electrician Frank did. Of course there was quite a lot hidden behind the drywall for the electronic ignition on the fireplace and so on. But you'll see we now have two electrical outlets in the ceiling, plus.. he'd moved the cable outlet and put two new sockets, into the alcove to the left of the chimney breast.
Rick brought in an old chap called Al to tape and skim the dry lining and re-finish the ceiling round the chimney, so it matched the rest of the room.

We didn't have gas on the property although it was in the street outside, so we had to pay the gas board to lay it up to the house for us... which was $400.
I have to say.. they dug a huge trench right across our front lawn to lay the pipe... and when they had finished, I couldn't have told you where it was.
A local company called Panda [Gordy] supplied the fireplace, after I'd called 6 firms and only 2 had bothered to get back to me...
Back in 2005/6 there was an enormous amout of new build going on where I live.. so all the heating and plumbing companies had lots of developer work to keep them busy. As a result they treated ordinary customers like me like s**t. Of course with the recession the building work has dried up and they are all struggling for business. Serves them right.
Gordy at Panda however was fabulous, quoted me the best price, turned up when he said he would to do the initial inspection.. and blow me down if he didn't say when he walked in through the door.. 'I fitted that pellet stove you know.. 13 years ago'. In fact it was Gordy who put us in touch with the guy in Van who bought the old one.. so we were thrilled with the service.

Ok so here Bill and I have finished the painting, Frank has put up the light fittings, [Canadian Tire] the surround has gone on the fireplace, and the new carpet has been installed by a local firm called Grants Flooring [Andrew]...

So with all the structural work done., I could get on with the fun part, DECORATING... but it's late so I'll save all that for my next post. 
Jo xx