The project I'm sharing today may be my favorite DIY project so far! Creating faux built-ins in our living room completely changed the look and feel of our home.
Our house is small, so storage is key. We have a large living room that we weren't utilizing to its full potential. We pieced some items together as temporary filler, but I knew we could do better. After several months and three different design plans later, I completed the project outlined below. The built-ins give us the additional storage we needed and look 100% better than what we had going on before!
Step 1: Find, prep and paint shelving. Originally, I planned to buy shelving. Then I wanted to build shelving. Then, by talking to the right people, I found a balance between the two - prefab shelving that could be assembled in whatever way I wanted.
My dad had two large shelves he wasn't using that were from a medical office. They held medical charts so are very solid shelving units (which I needed, especially for Joel's records).
The shelving consists of a metal frame with compressed wood panels for the shelves. I did some online research and decided I'd paint the metal and leave the compressed wood panels as they were.
First, we sanded the frame and the bars that hold the wood shelves. We then washed the metal materials with warm water and household cleaner.
After the metal was sanded and cleaned, I painted everything with two coats of latex paint. I used a roller for the large parts and a brush for the nooks and crannies. I had half a gallon of medium dark gray (called "Padlock Gray") paint left over from painting our guest room that I wanted to use up vs. going out and buying more.
The last thing we did on the shelving was cut 30 inches from the bottom of the "inside" panels. We didn't have enough wall space to put a shelf, dresser, shelf - so our solution was to have the inside of the shelves braced on top of the dresser.
Step 2: Find, prep and paint dresser. In total, this project only cost us $75. The one thing I paid for was the dresser that we used as the centerpiece of our built-in. I found a great vintage dresser on the buy/sell app "Let Go." I bought it from a nice woman who was not creepy in any way. It was a positive buying experience!
She had already painted it with black chalk paint, which I liked. The only thing I did was paint the top of the dresser with the same gray as the shelves to make the separate pieces look like one unit.
Step 3: Installation! I was anticipating installation day like a kid anticipates the arrival of Santa. Projects are life in my world.
Before I could start putting the pieces together, I needed to add some protection to the bottom so they didn't scrape our hardwood floors. I used adhesive felt squares for the bottom of the dresser legs. For the shelves, we used an industrial tubing used on semis to protect various parts from damage. See below for what this tubing looks like.
After I knew my precious floors would be protected...we started putting the pieces together!
The shelves were super easy to put together. No tools necessary. The bars snapped easily into the sides. From there, we simply set the compressed wood panels onto the ledges of the bars.
I was thrilled with everything once it was all in place. It was very sturdy, looked attractive, and was going to help solve some of our storage issues!
I loved it even more after I took a look at what the space looked like before. I'm a little embarrassed that we had people over with the space looking so disheveled...Take a look for yourself!
I was able to add storage for DVDs, books, CDs and records. I dedicated a space on the left to Joel's record player (it is hard to believe that we went almost one year without having this baby set-up) and a space on the right for a little desk to keep my planner/laptop.
You can do this! All you need is two bookshelves, a dresser, and a little imagination!
My Christmas decor obsession continues! This time, I upcycled a sled from Stuff Store in Waterloo.
Here's what I used on this piece:
Here's what I started with:
It's a great, solid piece that I got for $12.00. Quite a score in my eyes.
I used my green exterior paint to cover the blue paint that was on the sled.
Once I chose the saying I wanted to use, I wrote it out on the sled in pencil. I then traced the pencil lines with my white exterior paint using a fine brush.
When I finished the lettering (which I am still learning to do with paint, so be kind!) I had my husband take a look at it. He suggested I add some imagery. After some thought, I decided to add two "happy little trees" (Bob Ross was literally playing in the background) and some star/snowflake shapes.
To top it all off, I added a strand of $5 battery powered jingle bell lights from Target for a pop of color.
Here's the final product:
I think it turned out so cute! It only took a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to complete and cost under $20 for a piece that is just what I wanted for this corner of our porch.
My challenge to you - when you are at the store, start looking at items for their potential. Just because the item isn't exactly what you want in that moment, think about how you can make it so!
I searched and searched for Christmas ideas for the decorative area I have on top of the hill as you turn into our driveway. I didn't find a solution that 100% worked for/spoke to me, so I combined some of the visuals I saw into a project that was the best fit for our space.
I ended up drawing inspiration for this project from a pallet Christmas tree I saw and made one out of wood lath instead.
Here's what you'll need:
I started out by taking a piece of lath to the space I wanted to put the Christmas tree in and marking the width of how long the bottom piece should be with a pencil. Once I had the bottom piece marked, I planned to mark each piece of lath 1/1.5 inches in from the first mark (and so on) as I worked my way to the top of the tree.
I laid out my lath one piece at a time, starting with the bottom and started measuring/marking where my cuts would be. You'll need a good amount of floor space.
Once I had each piece marked, I cut the lath using a circular saw.
As I cut each piece, I made sure to stack them back in the same order.
Once I was finished with the "branches" of the tree, I used another piece of lath to create the "trunk." I sawed a point on the bottom of the trunk to help secure it in the ground when it came time.
Because lath is pretty lightweight, I chose to simply glue the branches to the trunk. I used Gorilla Glue, which is extremely strong glue. With this type of glue, it is important to get the surfaces that you are gluing together wet first. I used a damp washcloth.
Also, with Gorilla Glue you are encouraged to clamp items together or use another type of heavy pressure to press items together. I clamped the top piece and used full paint cans down the center to press down on the rest of the lath. It worked really well.
I let this project dry overnight and painted it the next morning. I used a green, matte, outdoor paint. I dressed it up a little more by adding some dots to mimic lights or ornaments with yellow, high gloss, outdoor paint.
We bought a metal stake to reinforce the tree and used 20 gauge metal wire to attach the tree to the stake. We pounded both the stake and the tree into the ground before connecting with the wire. You can also see in the photo below that the Gorilla Glue expands really nicely to ensure a good bond.
Here's the final product! I ended up adding a red bow to the top for an additional pop of color and to tie it more closely to the decor I put in the wheelbarrow.
The approaching Christmas holiday inspired a few decor ideas in our household. The project I'll talk about in this post could be used for decorating your home or as a gift for someone else!
What you'll need:
I salvaged a piece of wood that is around 36 inches long for this project.
I chose a phrase that was not holiday specific so leaving it up throughout the winter wouldn't be an issue. I like winter decorations vs. Christmas decorations when I can help it to give the decor longer life.
I wrote the phrase I chose out with pencil on the piece of wood before I began painting to ensure the spacing and positioning turned out right.
Once I had the phrase as I wanted it on the wood, I used a small paint brush and white paint to trace the pencil lines. After letting the paint dry, I hung the sign up with 3M adhesive strips with Velcro so I didn't damage the wall/create unnecessary holes for something I knew would only be up for a few months.
This project took me less than 10 minutes to complete and cost me $0 because I had the supplies I needed on hand. If you needed to purchase supplies, it would easily run under $15, much less than what you would pay for an already completed sign like this in a store. Doing it yourself allows you to choose the saying, create the look, and have a personal connection to the piece - which makes it even more special if you choose to give something like this as a gift to someone you care for!
Here's the finished product in its wintertime space, just below the "clothespin line" I will hang our Christmas cards from:
Over the past few weeks I have been working on some exterior painting projects as I've had time and as the weather has cooperated. I really didn't want to wash out trays, brushes, and rollers each time, not knowing if I'd pick up the project again the next day or in a week from then.
Here are some helpful painting supply storage tips if you have a project that is ongoing. Both of these tips came in very useful during our renovation and continue to be part of my painting process.
Store paint brushes and/or rollers in Ziploc baggies in the refrigerator until next use:
Place paint tray (I also keep rollers with the tray) into a plastic garbage bag and close:
These methods preserve both the supplies and the paint for quite a long time. It's really a handy go-to when you don't want to keep cleaning, putting away, and then bringing back out your painting supplies.
Here's what we've been working on. We finished painting the exterior trim, doors, and foundation of the house. We're ready for winter...and for focusing on landscaping next year!