Bathroom Makeover Day 2

Day 2!  Full disclosure: this weekend won’t end with triumphant After photos because I won’t have our new shower curtain in hand until Tuesday. This is the drawback of real-time blogging.

Antique Grate and Flap Wheel

All totalled, I spent way too much time on this damn grate.  I just wanted to get down to bare metal so that I could give it a clean, even coat of spray paint.  I should have skipped the boiling, scrubbing and sanding and gone straight to the Klean Strip.  I usually don’t go all scorched earth on antique hardware but this thing isn’t precious.  It’s the opposite of precious: it’s heavy as hell and it will survive the apocalypse.  So, I shouldn’t have hesitated to strip it.  Lesson learned.  At least it was fun to use the flap wheel sander.

Antique Grate and Stripper

I also spray painted the toilet paper holder, held aloft with kabob skewers.

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Back upstairs is chaotic.  Lola finds comfort on his L.L. Bean box, which is very special to him for reasons unbeknownst to us.

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Finished painting!

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The color is Benjamin Moore’s Soot, matched by Behr – it’s the same inky-navy-black that we have on our kitchen wainscoting. Our bathroom is off of the kitchen and I like that the two rooms will now be cohesive inverses of one another.

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Building a Picture Ledge for a Neon Sign

This right here is the kitschiest thing I’ve ever loved.

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I found it in an antique mall in mid-Missouri (Apache Flats represent!) for $30. Something about it is hilarious to me. Neon seems appropriate for vices, like BEER or GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS. Not SALADS. It lived in the basement for a while, illuminating our ping-pong parties, but I decided I liked it enough to display in the kitchen.

West Elm, Pottery Barn, IKEA, etc. have lots of options for picture ledges, but 1) they’re expensive, 2) they weren’t the exact width and depth I wanted, and 3) they have a raised lip on the front, which I didn’t need. I wanted a floating shelf that would hold the sign and virtually disappear.

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I bought some inexpensive wood and used glue and screws to join the two pieces. I put my new countersink drill bit to work so that the screws would sit below the surface of the wood, and I filled in the recesses with wood filler before painting.

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I wanted the ledge to look like it was one single piece – not two connected pieces – so I waited to cut the ledge to the correct length until after I joined the two pieces.  This worked really well – my chop saw ensured the edges aligned perfectly and after smoothing the end grain with some wood filler and painting it, the ledge looks legit.

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Similar to the oddly but perfectly placed outlet in our living room (for our leaning bookshelves), we have an oddly but perfectly placed outlet smack in the middle of our kitchen wall.

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SALADS!

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(The sign is discretely tethered to the wall at the top so there’s no danger of it toppling over.)

Just a couple of other changes to the kitchen since you saw it last back in summer of 2011 – as a reminder, it used to look like this before I painted the wainscoting, scored the STENSTORP island off Craiglist and painted the ceiling fan:

Kitchen

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I bought the ubiquitous BONDIS wall clock and I ordered the Tabouret counter stools from Overstock.com after months of Craigslist searching didn’t turn up anything I liked as much.

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I highly recommend these stools – they’re super sturdy and you can’t beat the price (under $80 with coupons for a pair).  They also come in fun colors, if you’re into that sort of thing.  I’m not, but it’s fine if you are. No judgement.

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Basement Storage Organization

Regular readers of this blog (thanks for that, by the way!) are pretty familiar with our apartment’s rather minimal aesthetic.  It’s now time to head downstairs and reveal what lurks below, in our enormous basement.

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Whoa.  This is what happens you have virtually unlimited storage space. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

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From the few episodes of Hoarders I’ve seen, “That could be useful!” seems to be a go-to hoarding justification.  I get that.  Sentimental?  Don’t care. Pretty?  Sure, I’ll keep a few pretty things.  But useful?  I want all them things.  Get in my basement, potentially useful things.

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Thanks to a major Craigslist score, all them useful things are now organized on some amazing heavy-duty storage shelves. These are the utility shelves of my dreams. $15 a unit!

Basement Storage Shelving

It’s possible that someone could find more happiness on Craigslist for $45, but it probably isn’t legal.

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I have a potting station, by the way: it’s a $5 metal shelving unit and a tabletop the previous tenants left in the basement.  I keep potting soil in an IKEA SORTERA bin.  This station is proof positive that I’m turning into my mother.

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A Project Room of One’s Own

We have the luxury of two small extra bedrooms in our apartment: one is used for the guest room, the other is used as my project room.  It swings wildly from tidy to chaotic.

Storage Room Mess

Storage Room Mess

It exploded into a mess recently, as you can see, but after a new year’s organizing frenzy, I think I have it under control for good.  I can now open the door and say to you, dear reader, “This is where the magic happens…”

Storage Shelving

I bought the IKEA IVAR shelving system off Craigslist last year for $60.  (Thumbing my nose here at the people who dismiss IKEA stuff as “disposable” – most of the IKEA furniture in our apartment was purchased second-hand.)

IKEA Storage Shelving

A digression: isn’t that vintage anatomical model great? Hand-painted, from Germany.  My brother-in-law saved her from going into the dumpster at the elementary school where he teaches.  I have since sold it on Craigslist to an oddities collector.

Storage Shelf Containers

The clear storage boxes are from The Container Store, provider of all perfectly-designed storage solutions.  Case in point #1: this simple, white, handled tray, which holds my most frequently used tools.

Tool Bin

Case in point #2: this adjustable divider box, which organizes all of my screws, bolts, hooks, etc. in an extremely satisfying manner.

Hardware Storage

The other side of the room holds the tool I will admit I don’t use as often as I should: my elliptical macine.

Elliptical Machine Room

Elliptical Machine Setup

We have a pretty nice mini-gym set-up: I have interlocking rubber tiles hidden under an IKEA HESSUM runner rug.  This base layer absorbs noise, provides stability and reduces wear on the machine.

Elliptical Machine Cushion

I mounted a simple shelf on the wall to hold a laptop.  Streaming a show or a movie on Netflix or Hulu is the only thing that can motivate me to work out.  (Well, that and the shame I feel because Jarrod exercises like a crazy person.)

Elliptical Machine Laptop Shelf

These days I’m working (slowly) through My So-Called Life and thinking (seriously) about wearing plaid flannel dresses.