Cheap Bungalow-Friendly Light Fixture

Just a quick post with one more before and after from our bedroom – I wanted to spread the good word about this inexpensive semi-flush ceiling light I found on Amazon.

upstairs1

What a world of difference paint and caulk makes!

Landing After.jpg

The light fixture is only 36 bucks with free shipping: World Imports Lighting 9007-88 Luray 1-Light Semi-Flush Light Fixture. I like that it feels period-appropriate for our 1913 bungalow, while still looking clean-lined. It’s a steal for such a nice fixture and, if you’re on a budget, it’s a great alternative to Rejuvenation/School House Electric.

Ceiling Light Fixture.jpg

I bought two but have only installed one so far: the other stairway light fixture is 12+ feet above the landing. The fixture there currently does not have a globe or working light bulbs. Eventually, I may want to have a big chandelier of some sort here, but I want to pick out all of the first floor light fixtures first. In the interim, the Amazon light will work great, if I can get it up there!

Stairwell Light.JPG

I need to buy a taller ladder or teach Jarrod how to install a light fixture: I’m not sure which is more dangerous.

Bedroom Makeover: Before and After

We’ve lived in our house for a little over one year now, and our bedroom has come a long way. There was certainly nowhere to go but up! The only good thing about this bedroom’s original purple paint is that it makes the after photos look so much better.

Let’s start in the landing, which you can also see in my bathroom makeover post.

Before:Bedroom Landing Before.JPG

After:Bedroom Landing.jpg

I’m still loving those new black hinges, and the rest of the bedroom is looking pretty good these days, too.

Before:Bedroom Before.jpg

That sign taped on the sloped wall was for our painter: it says “Paint angled walls Irish Mist.” The ceiling is a flat off-the-shelf white, and the walls (including the slanted sections) are Irish Mist from Behr. The room looks much less choppy and steep without the stark contrast of purple vs. white.

After:Bedroom.jpg

This room is hard to photograph because the window is so huge – which is one of those good problems, as far as I’m concerned (e.g. “my gold bricks are too heavy”). These were our curtains for a couple of months:

Bedroom Sheet Curtains.JPG

Which was still somehow better than what was there before:

BedroomBefore.jpg

I hung IKEA curtains. It’s a double-rod, and there are actually eight curtains up there: it’s such a wide window that it required two panels per side. So, four white curtains in front, and four blackout liners in back. (If anyone’s interested, I can do a more detailed post with specifics.) We’re still using the same furniture and lamps from our previous apartment bedroom, with two changes: the rug and the bed.

Bedroom Window.jpg

The rug is a wool kilim I found on eBay for only $88 from www.ecarpetgallery.com. I think the color it adds saves the room from looking too sterile. It is very thin, so a nice rug pad was a necessity. I like dual surface rugs pads: the scratchy felted side grabs the rug, and the latex side grips the floor.

Our platform bed is the P-Series Basic Bed from Night & Day Furniture. It’s nothing fancy: solid wood, sturdy, and cheap. We bought it for around $300 nearly 10 years ago from Right-On Futon in Chicago; I’ve also seen them online on Amazon and Wayfair. I used it previously with my DIY upholstered headboard, but a wall-mounted headboard wasn’t an option here because our bed is in front of a window.

I decided to add a simple, low-profile headboard to our existing platform bed instead of buying an entirely new bed. Thankfully, this furniture company still makes this line, so I was able to buy a headboard that fits the frame perfectly. I went with white, and painted the bed to match.

Bed Painting.jpg

I lightly sanded the original finish, primed with oil-based primer, and then rolled oil-based white paint with a foam roller for a smooth finish.

White Bed.jpg

In the end, you don’t see all that much of it, which is what I wanted:

Bedroom Nightstand Window.jpg

The IKEA RAST nightstands that I stained and painted for our apartment are holding up great. Jarrod’s side of the bed features a Chicago hawk illustration by Diana Sudyka, commissioned by WBEZ for a web feature. When he’s not out birding (like he was when I took these photos), his binoculars hang on the peg rack.

Bedroom Nightstand.jpg

My side of the bed includes a vintage dresser, plants, and a photograph of my mom and my aunt taken in the 1960s. I picked up the perforated metal tray at H&M last week. They have some really nice home items these days and, if you’re in Chicago, the newly-redesigned Michigan Avenue store is much less of a hellhole.

Bedroom Dresser and Plants.jpg

Bedroom Dresser.jpg

The closet area is pretty much the same – the mirrored doors don’t look as bad now that the purple is gone, but I’ll probably replace them at some point.

Before:upstairs6

After:Bedroom Doors.jpg

Before:upstairs14

After:Bedroom IKEA Dresser.jpg

This clearly isn’t a fully finished room! Those IKEA storage bins aren’t part of my forever plan, and someday I’ll get around to unpacking that box.

My long-term plan includes:

  • Remove the light kit from the fan. The fan is fine as-is: it’s inoffensive, and it’s quiet, but I do not need an additional three overhead lights on top of the four recessed lights. No one wants seven overhead lights in a bedroom! Removing the lights will make the fan even more inconspicuous.
  • New/vintage nightstands
  • New/vintage dresser to replace the IKEA bins, and/or reconfiguring the closets to maximize storage space
  • Upgrade to a king bed. Eventually, this white queen bed will move to the guest room (which currently has a full size bed), and we’ll ascend to a kingdom.
  • Unpack that box

There’s no urgency for any of those things, however. Especially that box. If I haven’t needed anything from it in a year, maybe I should just bring it to Goodwill and let them unpack it…

 

Upholstered Nailhead Trim Headboard

Shortly after we moved into our current apartment I posted about the inevitable “I’ve made a huge mistake” phase that follows every relocation. Apparently that rule applies to virtual moves as well: I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org this past weekend and, so far, feel as though I made a huuuuuge mistake.

(Real quick, for those who don’t know, WordPress.org means that I’ve taken on the work and expense of hosting this blog on my own, instead of WordPress.com taking care of that for me. It should offer greater flexibility in my site’s design as well as an engaging learning experience that will exercise my aging brain (important!). So far, all it is offering are crushing reminders that I am not nearly as CSS-adept as I think I am. Anyway: if this site looks weird in the coming week or if old posts return from the grave, just know that I’m behind the curtain, editing code and cursing the gods.)

Let’s move along, back into the bedroom, and talk about our new headboard.

Bedroom

This is the fourth time I’ve reupholstered this headboard and each time I swear it will be the last (so many staples!). But beds are expensive and this headboard does the job. It’s a simple design: plywood cut to size at Home Depot, covered in high density urethane foam, wrapped in batting and then fabric. The cats thought it was a great game.

Cats

The headboard was previously tufted; this time I decided to try nail head trim instead. I glued some wood trim to the perimeter of the plywood, to add some depth to the headboard and to give me a sharp/clean edge to nail into.

DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard

I bought this Dritz Home Decorative Nailhead Trim kit from Jo-Ann for 12 bucks. This is the antique gold finish.

DIY Headboard Nailhead Trim

Most of the tack-strip nailheads are decorative.  Every fifth head, however, has a hole for a matching nail.  This ensures even spacing, neat rows and much quicker work.

Trim

My best take-away tip is to roll out your row, lightly tapping every other nail into place – not all the nails and not all the way in. That way you can adjust the row if needed. Once it’s placed and straightened just how you want it, then you can go along and drive all of the nails in. I used a rubber mallet to do so.

DIY Headboard

It always looks dopey at this stage:

DIY Headboard

Much better:

DIY Headboard

The functional nails definitely stand out, but they’re consistent (i.e., every fifth nail just looks a bit different) and it bothers me much less than a row of unaligned nails would.  It also bothers me much less than the nails I would have inevitably driven into my skull had I tried to line up 200 individual nails.

DIY Headboard

Plant Baskets & Jewelry Storage

A reader asked about the basket that holds our bedroom plant:

Plant Basket

It’s from Jo-Ann (which I always want to spell “Joanne’s”). The baskets come in three sizes and they’re really good quality: tightly woven with metal ribbing and plastic lining. They range from $39 to $89 at full price, but who pays full price at Jo-Ann? Only fools!

Jo-Ann Plant Baskets

I’m also happy with these stacking jewelry trays from The Container Store:

Container Store Jewelry Trays

The jewelry box I’ve used for years was much bigger than I needed and it took up valuable dresser top space. I reorganized my collection while catching up on Nashville, shouting “DO IT!” at Rayna and Deacon.

Jewelry Box

And now you know where all my precious jewels are located.

Container Store Jewelry Trays

Cheap DIY Art and Free Image Sources

Thanks for your nice comments on my bedroom makeover! I’m back, as promised, with details on the wall art.

Bedroom Wall Art

As you might have guessed, they’re engineering prints. I first heard of them via Jenny at Little Green Notebook, who used Kinkos/FedEx Office’s large format blueprint printer to blow up a photograph for $4. She mounted it to foam board with snazzy painted edges:

Little Green Notebook(Image from Little Green Notebook)

Zandi over at Radical Possibility also posted about this super cheap giant art: she used Staples for her print and displayed it awesomely with a thumbtack border:

Radical Possibility(Image from Radical Possibility)

Finally, I took a cue from Anna at Door Sixteen for an inexpensive frameless frame:

Door Sixteen Frame(Image from Door Sixteen)

I bought cheap wood trim, which I cut to size (about a half inch wider than the 24” print) and then stained. I used my chop saw but this could be done very easily with a handsaw.

Trim Saw

Wood Trim

I found gold binder clips at OfficeMax – the metal color is cheaper looking than I would like and I thought about spray painting them more of a brass color, but that wave of craziness passed. They’re fine as-is.  Note to self: access your uncrazy side more often.

Gold Binder Clips

I simply clipped the prints to the trim at top and bottom and then used brass tack nails to hang the art.  The prints from Staples were $4 each, the clips were less than $5 with a coupon and the wood trim was also $5: under $25 all totaled for a wall of art.

Engineering Prints

As for the art itself: there are lots of great resources online for images within the public domain. The Library of Congress has a huge (overwhelming, really) collection that is thoroughly indexed: you can search their Prints & Photographs Online Catalog by keyword – “hygiene,” for example:

Library of Congress

My images came from the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection, thanks to Indiana University’s Digital Library Program. I upped the contrast of the photographs before submitting to Staples for printing, to help retain some of the details in the black and white conversion.

Cushman Trees

The black border from Cushman’s Kodachrome color slides works well for this display style, creating a natural frame for the image.

Cushman

I love Cushman’s photographs. They hearken to a simpler time, when girls skipped rope and beer flowed from water towers and babies drank that beer while wearing berets without any fear of judgment.

Cushman Beer

Haters gonna hate, baby: you be you.

Cushman Baby Beer

 

Update: Pretty readers Erin and Megan report that print shops may be giving some attitude about using engineering prints for photographs. This is somewhat understandable, as photos certainly use substatially more ink than blueprints, but I would hope they simply adjust their pricing rather than banning it outright. I submitted my photos online and did not encounter any sass.