DIY Project Round-Up

Happy new year to you all and welcome to new readers!  Now that my subscriber count has surpassed 1,500 (thanks, everyone!) and we’ve rolled into 2013, I wanted to pause to do a DIY project round-up.  Not necessarily comprehensive, just a visual introduction to what goes on around here.

Decorating DIY Projects1: Operation Obscurement: Window Film
2: Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener
3: The Framer’s Intent: Scarf Display
4: Gallery Wall: In Praise of Chopsticks & 3M

DIY Experiments1: Gold Leaf Paint Options
2: Metal Cutting Options

Furniture DIY Projects1: A Harmless Dresser-to-TV Stand Conversion
2: Step by Step IKEA VITTSJO Nesting Table Hack

Garden DIY Projects

1: Raised Garden Beds: Two Tons of Soil, One Bucket
2: Tools for (Over) Planning Raised Garden Beds
3: Canopy Fail, Cinema Success
4: Pipe + Netting Garden Trellis

Cat DIY Projects

1 & 2: Cat Concessions: Plants and Upholstery
3: CATHOLE: Litter Box Cat Door
4: Catio Cleanup

Finally, because I’m always a bit embarrassed by blog’s name, I’d like to remind you that when I say “project!”, I’m channeling Cher Horowitz and her love of makeovers.  Because somehow that’s less embarrassing?

Catio Cleanup

Enclosed back porches are pretty standard on Chicago apartments.  They’re handy for storage and it’s nice that you don’t have to go outside to get down to the basement laundry room, but they can also be shoddily constructed heat traps.  Ours slopes down dramatically and is painted a gross fleshy color our landlords must have thought was a nice neutral.

Back Porch Before

We use the back porch as an entryway and, most importantly, a cat cave.  Our two cats, Lola & Doozy, spend most of their day out there, chattering at birds in the backyard and shedding fur – so much fur – in the summer heat.

Lola Tunnel

When the back door is shut, the cats enter and leave through the cat door in the window (you can see details of the catio portal here).

Back Porch Before

We have an abundance of storage elsewhere in the apartment (a luxury, I know), so my only goal was to make the porch as un-gross as possible, with as little stuff on the ground as possible so that it will be easier to sweep.  Also, it’s to our benefit to make it cat-friendly because it means less time they’re inside yowling at us.

Back Porch Before

I cleared out the junk, painted the three walls white (I chose not to hassle with the brick just in case our landlords cared), and patched the hole in the wall left by our landlords (evidence that they really don’t care).  The after pictures don’t look too dramatic, but the space feels much, much better.  Cleaner, spacious, less fleshy.

Back Porch After

Back Porch After

Back Porch After

Other than bringing up the storage trunk and the rug from our basement, the biggest change I made was some cat… furniture? fittings?  I have no idea what to call it.  Cat stuff.

Catio Portal

I added shelves for Doozy, as he likes to perch gargoyle-style, lording over us.  I cut sisal rug remnants (leftover from the cat tree I built) to fit the shelves and glued them in place.

Cat Ledge

Doozy Ledge

Lola’s favorite perch is the tunnel of the cat tree, so I dismantled that piece (made from a section of Quikrete Quik-Tube) and repurposed it.  Lola resented my meddling.

Lola Perch

I reupholstered the fabric lining and mounted the tunnel to a shelf where he can look out the window.

Tunnel Fabric

Lola Tunnel

The cats seem to enjoy with the improvements – as much as cats ever demonstrate emotions, of course.  Gratuitous cat collage!

Cat Collage