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Monday, May 31, 2021

Fabric Wall

 Hi everyone!

We had a dash to the finish to complete the guest room for our holiday guests this past weekend!  One project that I had put off for too long - covering this ugly corkboard wall.

The listing photos really don't do the wall justice.  Its got a horrible texture, had random nails sticking out of it that were impossible to see, and the brown rubbed off on everything.  Just NO.

So I had some extra peel and stick wallpaper leftover from the bathroom and tested it on the cork wall.  For MONTHS.  It held up and seemed to cover the horrible texture.  So I went for it.

Option 1: A little thin, but a white background to go with the existing white walls, and a nice geometric gold line.  I LOVED it. 

Option 2:  A little thicker grass cloth looking option, but you already know I went with GOLD.

Installation was a little difficult but I went back to Young House Love's tutorial which is always helpful.  Unfortunately, the thin paper didn't go well with the textured cork walls and the debris left on the back of the sticky side didn't allow for multiple "restick" options. Sigh.

The thicker wallpaper had similar results.  I didn't even take a photo.

So I went to the option that I had been thinking about for multiple rentals but hadn't tried yet.  Something that wouldn't damage the walls.  Something that could cover heavy texture.  Something that I could easily remove and take with me upon departure.  Fabric.

I picked this teal outdoor fabric from Joann's that was on clearance at 50% off.  Enough to cover an 8 x 12 wall for right at $100.  That's less than half the price of all the peel and stick wallpaper, which I returned on my way home with the fabric.  YUP.  The key was picking an option that had enough fabric available to cover the wall.  And then having the store clerk double check my math.  He drew it out to confirm what I wanted and BAM, cut everything exactly right.  

Given the width of the fabric, I bought 3 panels about 8 ft high - I had included the baseboards in my measurement so I knew I'd have a few inches to play with. I folded over the top edge and used paperclips every few inches to keep it in place and straight.  Then I stapled it, using a staple gun) to the top of the wall.  Best part - the cork board was so forgiving, I could remove and reposition and push back in the staple wherever I needed.  SO MUCH BETTER THAN WALLPAPER.

 I knew I wouldn't need all of the 3rd panel and once I hung the top of the first two panels, I measured what I needed and cut a rough edge to remove the extra fabric.  Then I folded over that edge, but didn't need the paperclips down the side, and stapled again.  Also, I didn't wash, iron or starch the fabric.  The natural fold actually made it look like "panels" and corresponded to the halfway point on the panels, so I kept them.  I'm sure I could steam out the folds later if I wanted, but it looks fine to me.

In progress shots.

As we stapled the sides and bottoms of the panel, we pulled it taunt and smoothed it down.  That's how we found all the nails unfortunately.  The hubs had to help at the top and bottom - my hands weren't strong enough to use the staple gun with such a small amount of space remaining and my knees are dust.  I have also started to appreciate his perfectionist tendencies and have been calling him in at the end of projects to assess and give feedback before the finish.

Look look look!!!

Full reveal of the guest room coming soon!!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

DIY Wooden Desktop



So...I took a little step away from bathrooms and went back to my roots.  A custom sized wooden desktop.

Remember this?  It's been over 5 years.  WOW.

This was one of my first big DIYs right after we bought the old Baltimore Rowhouse.  Custom sized with...whatever size they were when I bought them, sanded, stained, and connected together by a wood plank underneath.  I was so proud of these desktops.  Still am.  They're still in use in the office today.

So I was following this tutorial from @younghouselove for the den office space and almost bought an Ikea desktop.  But I just couldn't pull the trigger.  They weren't the right size/color/material - they just weren't right.  So...I kept looking.

And then I fell hard for this tutorial from @shadesofblueinteriors.  I loved how thick the desktop looked, how smooth and finished.  I was SOLD.

On to the build.

Quick trip to one of the home improvement store where I had them cut down the wood to my spaces measurements.  I think I had them cut down 6ft 1 inch thick planks to 65 inches.  I did want the desk to be wider so I had them cut one of the boards in half.  I left a little room to spare at the ends.  Here's the dry fit.

A perfect fit!  With a little room to spare!

So then I got to work attaching the half board to the whole board.  A lot of wood glue.  I didn't have large enough clamps so there was some paint can and heavy book positioning to hold things in place, which worked well...enough.

Wood filler

I then attached the trim, to make it look thicker and heavy visually.  More paint cans.

And voila!  Custom boards the exact width and length for the space.  SWEET.

And then I sanded.  Guys, I think I sanded all winter.  End of the day, 15 minutes of sanding before the sun went down and it got too dark and too cold.  30 minute stretches twice a day on weekends.  All. The.  Sanding.

Here are some mid sanding and after sanding pictures.

Yeah.  So I did that.  And then, I tried the stain that I had pre-tested. and promptly hated it.  So...back to sanding.  Please learn from me.  If you aren't in love with your pre-tested stain, keep working on finding one you like.

But finally, we got there.

And then we (I) realized that I hadn't measured for trim, so...these boards ended up in the basement office and the old original desktop from the first picture is holding up in the den office.  It's actually the perfect size for the den office while this desktop is the perfect size for the basement office.  Serendipity from stupidity, I guess.

So this space is almost done.  I have to paint the remaining cabinet white and add legs to get it to be the right height.  I also just put in a request to paint PART of the basement paneling to my landlords.  Fingers crossed.  Can't hurt to ask, right?



Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Primary bathroom update

 Hi everyone,


After the hall bathroom transformation, I got a slow start on our primary (master) bathroom.  It was less hideous that the hall bath so it was lower on the priority list.  Still, the hubs and I use it every day and it needed to be nicer looking and more functional.

I could not change that it only had one sink, one small cabinet, and an ugly long laminate countertop.  As you saw in my previous post, I had updated the over the toilet storage shelves to make them more functional and nicer-looking.

Initial shelves:

Getting there:

Much better:

So, once that was completed, the rest of the bathroom was...not looking so good.

Pictures from the beginning of the move:

Yeah.  The toilet paper roll holder was missing the...roll holder.  We quickly rectified that upon moving in.  And then discovered a terrible lack of storage.  And a whole lot of ugly.

I did update the towel holder to hold more than two towels.  It's the little things.

Next, I wanted to add some additional storage to the bathroom.  I did pare down my bathroom stuff, but even with the over the toilet storage, I still needed space for our cleaning supplies and other stuff.  I also stored a lot of things on the long countertop, which clearly annoyed the hubs.  So I thought I could also create something that could have storage on top, clearing a few more items off the countertop.

Enter one of two ikea bookshelves I had bought for the closet in the Silver Spring Suburban house that had been living in our hall closet in the new house but not serving a true purpose.  I found some storage trays that made more organize all my stuff a little more.

I had to work with the existing wallpaper, so my plan was to make the rest of the bathroom as white as possible to combat the...shiny gold stuff.  And that had to start with the longest darkest thing in the bathroom.  The countertop.

I really wanted a marble look without the...maintenance of marble.  Also, it's a rental.  And if I was going to ask to replace the countertop, I was going to ask for permission to put in two sinks.  And so on...and so on. paper for the win!

I initially followed this tutorial from Craft Your Happiness, but still failed to get it to line properly around the sink.  So...I bought more contact paper the fit the width and length of the countertop and started again.  First I made a template from craft paper.

Then I cut the contact paper and tried again.  I still had difficulty around the sink, so I ended up making a seam just off the side of the sink.  Hey, I never said I was perfect.  Just covered it up with a cute towel in the final photos, but you can see it in the photos below.

While the seam is noticeable every day when we use it, it is still substantially better than the previous countertop.  I folded the contact paper edges underneath and also put some on the backsplash below the mirror. 

To continue the white theme, I also painted the ikea storage bookshelf white.  And added some casters, so that it would be easier to roll it out to clean under there.  I also added another mirror frame, like the hall bath.  This time, I wised up and got a corner clamp from Lowe's.  Using that, along with my miter saw box, make things SO MUCH EASIER.  Shout out to the Lowe's worker who helped me search for the clamps and even got sad when we only found two, saying "It'll take you so much longer".  I was like, "Dude, you have no idea.  Two is FINE."'s the bathroom, in all its glory.  I still want to add a large picture above the towel bar (the one I bought from Home Goods fell and broke in one day) and maybe a rug instead of the bath mats, if I can get the hubs to agree to try that out.  I get that it may not be super functional though.  I also got these great towels from Ross Dress for Less as suggested by @liveprettyonapenny.  So those will now be hidden to only be used for photo shoots.



Ok.  So.  Bathrooms - check.  On to the next most utilized spaces in the house.  The offices.

Stay tuned,