ORC Week 6: Mudroom Before and After

Welcome back, dear readers, to the season finale of “Marti Makes a Mudroom Less Gross.” Before we get to the before and after photos, there are three more projects I need to cover for you: the flooring, the sliding door railing, and some shade trickery. This post is long, so settle in! You’ll be rewarded with a cat GIF at the end.

Floor + Rug

Back in June 2017, I scrubbed the plywood floor and then stained and sealed it with Ready Seal.

Wood Floor Scrubbing.JPG

Ready Seal Stained Plywood Floor.JPG

The floor definitely looked better, but I still wanted a rug in here. I bought the indoor/outdoor Hodde rug from IKEA shortly thereafter – it covered half of the room. While working on this One Room Challenge, I decided that I wanted something to cover the full length of the room (it’s roughly 6.5′ x 16′).  A custom-made indoor/outdoor rug would have run me $700+, and Flor tiles came in around the same price. Painting or stenciling the floor wasn’t a solution because I wanted a rug to help stop dirt and cat litter from being tracked into the house.

I knew from having the Hodde for over a year that it’s super durable and hides stains well. Long story short: buying a second rug seemed like the best way to proceed. The only catch was that the back half of the room is a few inches more narrow because of the brick bump out. I had to trim the rug to fit.

I found this Instabind DIY Rug Binding on Amazon and decided to give it a shot. I carefully marked off the rug and cut it with my sharpest scissors. (I cut right on the line – in retrospect, I should have cut immediately inside the line because you can see some red on my newly-bound edge, BUT it doesn’t matter since you barely see this side of the rug. That will make sense once you see the after photos.)

Rug Cutting.JPG

Then I singed the cut edge with my heat gun. Because the rug is polypropylene (AKA plastic), the threads melted cleanly.

Heat Gun on Rug Edge.JPG

TBH, this was probably sufficient to keep the rug from fraying, but I decided to add the rug binding for good measure since I had already purchased it.

DIY Rug Binding.JPG

The rug binding has an adhesive strip that holds the binding to the back side of the rug, which you reinforce with a line of hot glue.

DIY Rug Binding Hot Glue.JPG

That’ll do!

Sliding Door Railing

This is what the back of the mudroom looked like the last time you saw it on this blog. In my Backyard Patio, Painting, and Landscaping post, I said “in 2017, I’m going to put up a railing” – well, I didn’t get around to that until May 2018. I didn’t blog about it then, so I wanted to share it quickly now since it made a big difference to the interior of the room.

mudroom-lattice

I made a pair of simple wood posts to mount on either side of the door, giving me something to hang the railing on. Using my miter saw, I bevel cut the top and bottom of the wood so it looks more finished.

Woods Posts for Rail Mounting.JPG

I bought the black metal railing at my Home Depot store – I can’t find it on their website to link to, but it was $60ish. The planters came from Home Depot, too.

Sliding Door Railing with Planters.JPG

The railing is crucial because we now have a sliding screen door in the mudroom. A while back, I found a few jumbled Pella screen doors at Lowe’s. The boxes were beat up and the store employee said they were “last year’s model.” I asked if he’d sell one for a discount and I got it for 40% off! I’ve never bargained at a big box store before and it felt like an achievement unlocked.

Anyway, all that to say: when it’s nice weather, we open the kitchen door and the sliding door, and we get a wonderful cross-breeze from the back to our front windows. The railing would stop anyone (Jarrod) from tumbling out.

Door Open to Mudroom.JPG

That marble door stop is from CB2.

Much better than where we started:Door to Mudroom.JPG

Window Shade Trickery

Speaking of the sliding door: I wanted shades to make it look nicer, but I didn’t want to block any of the light that comes through our new half-lite kitchen door (see Kitchen Progress: New Door, Trim, and Threshold Tile).

So, I cheated! I installed the moulding a foot above the top of the door.

Extended Door Header.jpg

This trick makes the door look taller, which is a better balance for our oddly tall windows, and it allowed me to hang shades without blocking any natural light.

Window Shade Trickery.JPG

Door Header with Shades.JPG

Before and After

Now you’re all caught up! Let’s do this.

Before:Mudroom Door Before.JPG

After:
Mudroom Door and Window.JPG
Before:Mudroom Before 2

After:Mudroom Sliding Door After.JPG

Before:Mudroom Before.JPG

After:Mudroom Door After.JPG

Before:Mudroom Before 3

After:Mudroom Northwest Corner After.JPG

The vintage brass hook holds my errand running tote and this $11 remote control I connected to our patio string lights.

Patio Light Remote Control.JPG

The outlet for the lights is outside under the mudroom. I like to have them on in the evenings sometimes – just because they’re pretty to see from our kitchen – and this remote lets me turn them on and off easily.

Patio with String Lights.jpg

Back to daylight! This is what the broom nook looks like with the curtain pulled back.

Mudroom Wall Broom Closet.JPG

Before:Mudroom North Corner Before.JPG

After:Mudroom North Corner After.JPG

In the foreground you see our dust buster, a trashcan for scooped cat litter, and a can crusher. Chicago has a single-bin recycling program (cardboard, paper, metal, glass, etc. goes into one barrel) and there’s pretty low odds that what you put in there actually gets recycled. But there are people who dig through recycling bins looking for cans: I figure if there are people doing that hard work, and someone is paying for them, those cans are definitely getting recycled. I installed this can crusher last week, and there’s a plastic bag hanging inside the broom closet. My plan is to collect cans and then put out the bag for someone to easily pick up.

Can Crusher.JPG

Next to the can crusher we have some hilariously terrible/beautiful art: a painting our friends Jean and Tyler gave us as a thank you for officiating their wedding; a drawing Jarrod made of the painting; and the original, unrelated photos that inspired the painting. (Jarrod is most definitely not a cop: that’s our cousin-in-law’s police vest.)

Mudroom Art.JPG

Tyler really captured our essence.

Source Material.jpg

Before:Mudroom Before 5

After:IKEA Ivar Shelving Unit and Cat Tree.JPG

The Ivar shelving unit holds a lot – including our cooler, a bin of reusable shopping bags, a pail of fresh litter, cleaning supplies, etc. – but there’s still room to spare, which is always nice! The Knagglig wood crates are from IKEA and the woven plastic baskets are from Target. I use the step ladder a lot, so it’s handy to have easily accessible.

I actually used to leave this ladder out for Lola to climb up to the top of the shelving unit, but now he has a cat climber. He’s jazzed about it.

Lola Yawn.JPG

He likes to hang out on top of the shelving unit, in this tunnel I made years ago or in the basket next to it.

Lola.JPG

Ooof, this post got long! Sorry about that. Here’s the GIF I promised:

Lola Gif.gif

 

The End

Early in this project, I accidentally typed “murdoom” instead of “mudroom” and that’s how I’ve been thinking of this space: it felt murdery and doomed. Now it’s a practical, functional room that feels like a natural extension of our house. Thanks for following along!

Previous ORC posts:

You can check out all the other guest participants on the ORC website.

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ORC Week 5: Shelving, Litter Box, and Light Fixture

This stage of the One Room Challenge is challenging because I don’t want to reveal too much of the room! I’m saving pulled-back shots for the final post – not that it’s going to be a stunner of a space. As I’ve said, this is a functional room, not a showcase. Anyway, this is a bit of a grab-bag post, covering three elements: the shelving unit, litter box, and light fixture.

Shelving Unit

I’ve had an Ivar shelving system since 2012, when I bought it for $60 off Craigslist. Longtime readers of this blog (thanks for sticking around!) may remember it from our last apartment’s catch-all room. IKEA still sells this series and I definitely recommend it – it’s a sturdy workhorse, and easily configurable to fit your space and storage needs. This past week, I added IKEA’s Borghamn handles to jazz it up.

Installing Handles on Doors.JPG

Putting something in front of a window isn’t a ~best practice~ but it’s the only option here. Would I do this in a living room? Nope. Am I fine with it in a utility room? Yup!

IKEA Ivar Shelving Unit.jpg

I haven’t loaded up the shelves yet because I need to move it to put a rug under it. And, I need to cut better looking risers to go under the middle and right legs. This used to be an exterior porch, so the floor slopes significantly to shed rain (a previous owner put the plywood over the original floor). The risers are necessary for the shelves to be level.

Litter Box

The litter box involves another IKEA piece: a Hol storage table/trunk I’ve owned since 2007. When I first bought it, I added hinges so we can flip open the lid and I cut a hole in the side for cat access. IKEA doesn’t sell the Hol line anymore, which is too bad because it’s perfect for a litter box. (You can still find them on eBay and Craigslist, if you’re in need of a litter box solution.) The holes provide light and ventilation while concealing the litter box.

The wood was looking worse for wear – there was water damage to the top, and the wood finish was parched overall.

Wood Top Before.JPG

I sanded it quickly with fine grit sandpaper, washed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and conditioned it with Howard Feed-N-Wax. This product is wonderful: super easy to use, smells great, and makes an immediate improvement to the appearance of wood furniture. One bottle lasts forever.

Howard Feed N Wax.JPG

The trunk also serves as one of Lola’s squirrel patrol posts.

Lola on Top of Litter Box Trunk.JPG

Inside the trunk, there’s a rug to help catch tracked litter and a scoop hanging on a hook.

IKEA Hol Litter Box Trunk.jpg

Lola expressed some confusion about WTF I was doing with his bathroom.

Lola in the Litter Box.JPG

Light Fixture

I ordered this pretty Langley Street Michaela 1-Light Semi Flush Mount light fixture from Wayfair.

Michaela Light Fixture from Wayfair.jpg

The electrical conduit in the mudroom is mounted on the ceiling, instead of being hidden behind it.

Mudroom Ceiling Progress

Painting the metal conduit same color as the ceiling helped conceal it, but the exposed junction box presented a challenge: any mounted light fixture would look less-than-great since it wouldn’t be flush with the ceiling.

Exposed Junction Box

I searched online and couldn’t find any examples of how people have handled this situation. So, I came up with a solution on my own: I made a basic wood medallion to mount between the junction box and the fixture. I cut out a circle of plywood using my hand-me-down Rotozip saw (thanks, Dad!). To get a perfect circle, I used a paint can lid as a guide. Then, I cut out the center of the circle – making a wood donut – which I painted white. (Sorry, I failed to take photos!)

Circle Cutting

I mounted the light fixture in the usual manner, with the wood sandwiched in place between the fixture and junction box.

Michaela Light Fixture.jpg

I’m very happy with this fixture. It’s large and well-made for the price ($120 when I bought it a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve since seen it on sale for as low as $106). Having a proper fixture in this space makes it look more like a real room and less like a storage closet.

Michaela Semi Flush Mount Light Fixture.jpg

Still on my to-do list: cut and bind a rug, organize the storage shelves, touch up paint, add some baseboard, and install a fun thing for Lola.

Bye for now – see you next week!

Previous ORC posts:

You can check out all the other guest participants on the ORC website.
New posts go up every Thursday.

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ORC Week 4: Door Trim, Window Shade, and Plant Shelf

Just 2 weeks left in the One Room Challenge! Participating has definitely been fun and motivating for me – I have to plan out my projects to both get sh*t done and to ensure I have something worth reporting each week. Today, I’m focusing on the south wall of the mudroom.

Mudroom South Wall Before

The original door trim was in need of improvement. For this corner piece, someone used a piece of plinth block…? It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

Door Trim Before

I removed the moulding around the door. Here’s me pulling out nails – I feel like I need to occasionally show pics of me working to prove it’s not, like, house elves doing everything around here. It’s me, wearing hideous sneakers (which are somehow even worse from the back – this may be the saddest thing you’ve ever seen).

House Elf

I installed new trim and new black hinges as well. Replacing crummy hinges with nice ones is so easy, and it makes a bigger difference than you’d expect.

Door Hinge Before.JPG

Door Hinge After

I stacked pieces of pine and trim to make a simple craftsman header for the top of the door. I also did many hours of work to improve the water-tightness of the sill below the door, but it’s far too boring to get into.

Door Header After

You probably noticed the new shade in the photos above – it’s a Hampton Bay Caramel Simple Weave Flatstick Bamboo Roman Shade. I bought two of these shades at our last apartment: I never got around to installing them there (oh well) and then I never got around to returning them (oops). But it all worked out because they’re great in here! I totally lucked out on the width being the perfect size. And, Home Depot still carries them, so I was able to order matching ones for the remaining window and sliding door (you’ll see that in future posts).

caramel-hampton-bay-bamboo-shades-natural-shades-0212030-d4_1000

Here’s Lola, helping me out.

Lola Loves String

So helpful! Lola’s one true love is string. We’ll give him a piece of twine to play with sometimes, and he’ll carry it around the house, yowling with emotion. He will even put it in his water bowl, which is some weird-ass possessive feline behavior. Jarrod and I call it String Madness.

String Madness

The shades are purely decorative – we could raiser/lower them, of course, but we never do. Form over function isn’t my usual M.O., but this room needed them. As I mentioned in a previous post, the scale of the mudroom windows doesn’t make any sense. They’re far too tall. These shades visually shorten the window height, the wood adds warmth, and they make the otherwise rough windows look more finished.

Below the window, I DIYed a plant shelf with a $3.50 metal bracket and a $12 pine round. This Everbilt bracket is heavy-duty (it holds up to 150 lbs), which is needed because soil – especially wet soil – is super heavy.

Floating Shelf and Bracket Supplies

I stained and sealed the pine wood using the same materials I used on our kitchen butcher block shelf.

Mounted Shelf

I cut the back couple of inches off the circle using my table saw, so the shelf sits flush against the wall. There isn’t a stud centered below the window, so I installed it with some serious toggle bolts.

Before:Mudroom Wall Before.JPG

After! (Or perhaps I should say “Progress!” – I may install a baseboard after I finalize the rug situation.)Mudroom Wall After

The size of the shelf is the perfect radius for a 10″ pot, but not a 10 lb cat. Lola can’t fit up here, which keeps the plant safe from his omnivorousness. I picked up the planter for $12 from the Habitat ReStore on Pulaski. If you’re local, I enthusiastically recommend this place. They usually have a nice selection of cheap planters.

Plant Shelf in Front of Window

The plant is a philodendron of some sort – the label said it’s a split-leaf, but the leaves don’t look at all like the leaves of the other split-leaf philodendron I have. It won’t be able to stay out here all winter because it gets too cold, but so far it’s been chill-hardy.

Two more posts to go! I’m excited to wrap up this space and share the whole room with you.

Previous ORC posts:

You can check out all the other guest participants on the ORC website.
New posts go up every Thursday.

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Kitchen Progress: New Door, Trim, and Threshold Tile

Yup, I’m still plugging away at the kitchen! I’m wrapping up trim, and then I’ll be able to do After shots of the whole room for you. But I wanted to dedicate a post to this kitchen door project because it’s been a lot of work and it made a big impact.

The door I’m talking about is the one seen in this old photo. It leads to our enclosed back porch, which we use as a mudroom.

Kitchen Island Before.JPG

There wasn’t anything wrong with the door, but it always bothered me that we had no visibility into our backyard from our kitchen/dining room. We put so much work into the space last year (see Backyard Patio, Painting, and Landscaping) – I wanted to be able to see it from inside!

Also, as you can see in this photo, there was SO MUCH natural light we were missing out on. This wall faces east. I’d come downstairs in the morning and the sun would be streaming through this little pet door. (The pet door just lets our cat into the mudroom – not outside.)

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

Home Depot and Lowe’s have affordable half-lite glass doors, but everything available off-the-shelf has a grid over the glass, like this one. I had to do a custom order for plain glass without a grille. Spending more money to get something simpler is my M.O., it seems.

I went with a Jeld-Wen Smooth-Pro Fiberglass Exterior Door from Home Depot. It cost $475. It could have been cheaper if I had been patient enough to wait for a sale (which I usually am!), but with a 4-8 week lead time, I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Here’s the newly-installed door, with Lola checking out his newly-installed cat door.

Newly Installed Kitchen Door.JPG

I switched the way the door swings: it was a right-hand inswing and now it’s a left-hand inswing. I referenced this Home Depot door handing guide a million times to make sure I ordered the correct one.

Door Handing Guide.jpg

This left-hand inswing flows better with our mudroom’s exterior door (which is also a left-hand inswing), and it feels like a more natural path to our kitchen. Since switching the inswing made for a more complicated installation, I chose to hire a handyman to install it. That cost $295. Not cheap, but worth it to me. Thankfully, the rest of this project was DIY and affordable!

I tore off the trim and replaced it, which is what I’ve been doing to all the entryways on the first floor.

Kitchen Door Trim Progress.jpg

And then I tackled Baby’s First Tile Job. This glossy beige tile was not adding anything good to the space.

Kitchen Door Tile Before.jpg

It took fewer than 5 minutes to demo.

Kitchen Door Tile Demo.jpg

Removing the tile revealed a couple of divots (like you see below) in the old concrete threshold. I patched those with Quikrete.

Concrete Transom.jpg

I used EliteTile Retro Glazed Porcelain Hex Mosaic in Matte White. When I bought this tile for our half-bathroom (see Half-Bathroom Before and After), I ordered enough with this project in mind. I don’t have a wet saw, so I cut the tiles by hand using tile nippers. It wasn’t the most enjoyable 2 hours of my life, but it was far from the worst (here’s looking at you, La La Land).

Tile Cutting Nippers.jpg

The cut tile edge was pretty rough; sanding smoothed them out.

Cut Tile Before Sanding.jpg

Cut Tile After Sanding.jpg

Finally, it was time to lay tile. I won’t go into process details because there are tons of how-to guides available online. Here’s the tile after I adhered it, before I grouted it. I used a Schluter metal tile edging trim for the exposed edge.

Ceramic Tile Pre-Grout.jpg

Here’s the tile after I grouted it, when I was in the “I’ve made a huge mistake” phase. I had no idea what I was doing!

Ceramic Tile Grout

I just kept sponging and sponging until I made it through.

White Hex Ceramic Tile with Black Grout.jpg

Lola may not be impressed, but I am super happy with how my first tile job turned out.

Ceramic Tile with Pet Door.jpg

So, now, back to the Before:

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

And the After:

Glass Door with Ceramic Tile Transom.jpg

The first day we had the new door installed, Jarrod and I were admiring the view and we saw our very first goldfinch in our backyard. There had surely been others, but we had never seen them because we couldn’t see the yard. Now we see them all the time back there!

Upcoming posts: full kitchen makeover, and our awful mudroom which isn’t so awful anymore.