Laundry Cabinets: Covering Up Gaps and Installing Molding

After we installed our laundry cabinets, we were left with two gaps – a huge one on the left and a sloped small gap on the top.
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Here’s how we covered up these gaps.

We cut a piece of wood to fit in the gap between the wall and the cabinet and painted it gray. So much painting. My painting clothes are covered with Web Gray. I’m so sick of Web Gray at this point.

Nick’s parents flew back to Pennsylvania and we were left behind to finish up the project on our own.

Nick pushed up the wood piece into the gap. We originally thought we would glue the wood piece to the cabinet, but the fit was so tight that we figured glue wasn’t necessary.

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Nick used a piece of wood to hammer on to make the wood piece flush with the cabinets. If he had hammered straight on the cabinets, we would be left with unsightly marks.

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All flush and ready to be screwed in!

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Yes, there’s still a gap at the top, but we’ll get to that later.

A note – our cabinets are solid, solid wood… VERY solid. Thus, we had to pre-drill all new holes. Here, Nick’s pre-drilling the hole where the screw will go in.

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Janella woke up from her nap so she joined into the action. But she apparently was still tired… She was reaching for the drill bits and yawned just as I took this photo!

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So cute. I look forward to having her hang out with us with her toy tools when we’re working on DIY projects in the future. So fun!

The last step was to put in molding (or moulding, which is the UK spelling that’s used in Northern U.S. Since we’re in Texas, I’ll spell it molding. Yes, I googled it).

Here’s a dumb and low-quality photo (thanks, Photobooth) of me holding up a primed but not yet painted piece of molding to show you its shape.

Photo on 2012-06-26 at 22.44 #2

We cut the corner edges using a saw and a plastic miter box. You don’t need a huge miter saw for this simple project. But that doesn’t mean I want one as a gift in the future (hint, hint).

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See how the molding covers up the gap perfectly?

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Next up was putting in the finishing nails. We were scared to do this part… and I really wished that we had a nail gun. In the end, I do think a nail gun would have been MUCH EASIER and efficient and would have given us a prettier result.

Nail gun, another possible gift in the future, cool? We could have rented a nail gun but this was such a small job that it wasn’t worth the price of rental.

We got this small hammer and a box of 1-1/2″ finishing nails. Some tutorials out there say to get 2-inch nails, but this worked just fine for us.

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The hammer, however, didn’t work so well. We quickly abandoned it in favor of a regular ol’ hammer. The process DID put some dings in our ceiling, but that was easily covered up with minimal drywall putty and touch-up paint.

We used this thing.. a nail set, I think it’s called… to drive in the nails some more to sink it lower than the molding.

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It worked okay. The thing is, our cabinets are SOOO solid that we actually had to pre-drill the holes before hammering in the finishing nails. Ugh. Another reason I really wish we had a nail gun. Newer cabinets might be easier to hammer in than the ones we have.

Then we filled in the holes with wall putty… because I just DIDN’T FEEL LIKE priming the holes, which I would have to do if I used wood putty. But it doesn’t look perfect. So… I will go back and cover them up again with wood putty, prime, and paint sometime later in the future. When I detox from all the painting I did. But this is a BIG IF because you really can’t see anything unless you look at the nail holes closely.

After lots of touching up on the ceiling, the walls, and the cabinets with lots of weird body bendings on my part…

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WE ARE DONE!

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The only thing I’m not sure about is the piece of wood that we added on the left. Should I caulk the space between the wood and the cabinet to make it look like one piece? Or would it look funny in the end?

Nick says we should just leave it, but I’m not so sure. I’ll decide later.

So happy that part’s done. We tossed our towels and stuff in these cabinets and it’s amazing how much these cabinets can hold!

There are even plenty of space left and we’re still planning on adding more storage solutions to the room. We do have lots of things, such as toilet paper and paint buckets, hanging out in random places around the house that I would love to transfer to the laundry room.

The laundry room is far from done, but the cabinets were a HUGE piece of puzzle and the room is now FUNCTIONAL. So happy.

What about you? Would you have done some things differently? We’re still new to all of this, so if you have any tips for molding or covering up gaps or installing cabinets, share them in the comments!

Refinishing Old Cabinets

The saga of the laundry cabinets is so long, I’m dividing it up into three parts.

Today, we’ll talk about how I refinished the cabinets. On Wednesday, we’ll discuss how we installed the cabinets. Finally, on Friday, I’ll show you how we covered up all the gaps and finished it off with molding.

Here we go!

This is what we started with.

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The cabinets had dirty white paint that was sloppily applied.

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Paint spilled over the edges and the brush strokes were obvious.

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I took my detail sander and sanded off the paint drippings on the edges. I wish I had an orbital sander, which would have been a much more efficient tool.

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I thought I would sand off all the paint, but it was too thick and it kept on clumping up the sandpaper. So, I just focused on the edges and smoothing up the brush marks as best as I could.

In the next photo, you can see what the edges looked like before I sanded them on the left side of the sander, and the sanded down edges on the right side.

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After a LOT of sanding and going through several sheets of sandpaper, I was finally done! Well, eh. Done with the first step, at least.

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You can see how all the sand built up in the edges of the cabinets. I vacuumed them out with a vacuum (I need to buy a shopvac soon) and cleaned them up as best as I could.

Unfortunately, the cabinets STILL weren’t ready for paint. There was thousands of holes and dings that I had to fill up with wood filler. This was almost as fun as doing my taxes. No, doing my taxes was SO MUCH MORE fun than filling up all these tiny holes.

The next time I buy used cabinets, I will be sure to check for tiny holes. If there are too many of them, I will pass on them because of how long this step took me in the refinishing process!

But again, all that work and time was worth it because in the end, the cabinets were (mostly) smooth and looked like new.

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To reach that point, I used oil primer (two coats) and two to three coats of Behr paint color-matched to Sherwin Williams Web Gray. I used a foam roller and a high-quality brush.

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Come back on Wednesday to see how we installed the cabinets!

Before and After: Laundry Room Cabinets

The saga of the laundry cabinets is a long one. Luckily for you, I won’t discuss it now. I will go into all the details next week.

For today, I present you some instant gratification! A simple before and after.

This is what the cabinets looked like when we bought them from a Habitat For Humanity Restore.

Peeling old cream paint, filthy both inside and outside, and many dings and other defects all over that required wood putty. Lots and lots of woody putty.

This is the wall in the laundry room that waited SO long for the cabinets.

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I can’t find a true before photo that shows you the inefficient shelf and clothes hanger rod that were there before, but this is the best I could find. The shelf was too shallow, so towels kept on falling off and a little cat kept on making the situation even worse.

And today, it looks like this!

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Never mind the stuff on the machines. Focus on the cabinets. And the pretty knobs! The knobs are from Hobby Lobby.

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The cabinets make me so happy. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s all worth it.

I’ll discuss later about the other things that we’re working on in that room and what things we want to change (the ceiling light, for one).

But for now… let me bask in the cabinets. You are done, cabinets. D-O-N-E.

The Story of the Headless Teal Lamp

Remember my spray paint mania? Well, it’s still going strong.

I ended the last post with this photo as a hint…

lamp in living room

I thought it was really obvious but nobody guessed it correctly!

I’ve had these headless lamps for a long time now…

They are beautiful and a smoky purple color. I bought them for our master bedroom, but the side tables we got later on were too small for these lamps.

So they were just hanging out in our office, doing nothing.

We had nowhere to put them. I thought they would work in our living room, but they added absolutely nothing to the room. The room needed more COLOR other than yellow and the lamps just didn’t do the job.

We looked for a great pair of teal or blue lamps, but couldn’t really find anything we liked or in our price range.

And so… you know what’s coming.

glass vase waiting to be spray painted

Yep, I decided to experiment on one of the lamps and spray painted it the same teal I used on The Thinker!

At first, it felt crazy to be spraying such nice lamps. But they were lamps we had no use for. And they were pretty inexpensive — we got them from Target. Instead of buying another pair, why not just use what we have?

Tape off the top and the cord. Prime it. And then… TEAL SPRAY PAINT TIME.

use blocks to keep lamp from falling over

I carefully covered the lamp with several layers of thin coats. I wanted it to be perfect. Near the end of all that layering, I needed to spray the bottom of it, so I turned it over but it wouldn’t stop rolling over. I was paranoid that I would come back into the garage to find the lamp broken and crying after falling off the box.

I added two little wood scraps on both sides to keep it intact. The lamp didn’t fall off, so I guess it worked!

teal lamp

I can’t believe how grainy this photo is. It can get dark in the living room when all the shades are pulled down and most of the time, they are, because the houses next to us are too close for our liking. We will need to add frost to the windows to give us more privacy, and then I will keep them pulled up much more than I do now.

But anyway. Look at the teal lamp!

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Remember, they’re teal, not blue like they seem to be in these photos. Cameras hate teal.

The teal lamp just works beautifully in the living room. It adds COLOR and LIFE – two things our living room needed. Now, with the addition of some colorful pillows and some more color touches here and there, it will all work together.

Okay, let’s talk about the lamp shade. In the photo above, it looks great and white. But in real life, it was kinda loose and flimsy and when the light was turned on, it looked sickly yellow.

The lamp shade is from Target as well and I was so excited to finally have heads for the headless lamps, but I hated them so back to the store they went. And I will never (never say never) buy a lamp from Target again, because it is so hard to find decent compatible lamp shades for them.

Here’s why:

kinds of lamp shade types

graphic from LAMPS USA

Most lamps require a spider/harp fitter shade, but Target lamps use slip UNO fitter shades. Then what happens? You tear your hair out when you can’t find a cute slip UNO fitter lamp shade for your stupid lamp.

I did some research to see if I could convert the slip UNO fitter lamp into a spider/harp fitter lamp. Behold.. this tiny apparatus.

Slip Uno Adapter Harp Converter Lamp Shade Uno Euro Fitter

It’s called a slip uno adapter. The amazon description explains it well:

“Slip Uno adapters are made to fit directly over a plastic lamp socket found on lamps usually purchased at places like IKEA. This adapter will then let a harp attached to it. Then it will allow you to use nearly any replacement shade on that lamp. This is meant to be an alternative to the lampshade which has fitter already attached to it. You can now easily attach a harp to a lamp without one.”

Cool, right? But it costs $10. Yes, $10 for that tiny thing. Plus $4.18 for shipping. Then I will also need to purchase a harp and then… the reason I’m doing all of this work… a lamp shade.

*EYE ROLL*

I did some more research and one website (HERE) calls the little circle thing a “saddle” and says it should be 50 cents. What? Really? That sounds slightly better.

I’m going to make some calls to local lamp shops and let you all know how it works out. If you have any tips, bring them my way! Otherwise… give me good vibes.

Closing off this with a cute little Instagrammed photo of the lamp! Yes, we finally got a iPhone and hell didn’t freeze over. As far as I know, at least!

teal lamp

Spray Paint Mania

Do you get spray paint mania? Right after you spray paint something and you remember how easy it is and you love the result, you go foraging around the house looking for things you can spray paint.

I’m in the middle of a manic episode right now. I’m even considering spray painting my dining table. Fortunately, there’s a wise guy here named Nick who will stop me from committing this madness.

But nothing is stopping me from spray painting things that don’t work in our house in their original state.

It all started with this little project:

the thinker and the cat, before

The Thinker and the Snobby Cat were both Home Goods finds. We grabbed The Thinker a long while back for the office and I planned to spray paint it white, because it was just too dark and we don’t need any more gray things in this house. The Snobby Cat is a recent find and it was too silver – the kind that looks cheap. It looks better in the photo than it did in real life.

My original plan: turn The Thinker into a white statue and paint the Snobby Cat a cool orange.

I gave both mini-statues a coat of primer. This step changed everything.

The Thinker just didn’t look good in white. It made him look fat… well, not really. He just had too many dents and dings and he looked weird. This photo shows this, but this was after the first coat of teal spray paint.

The Thinker doesn't look good in white

Sorry to ruin the surprise but we decided to make him go teal.

Also, the white primer on the Snobby Cat looked really good and I decided that he had to get a lighter color than orange. What about a bright yellow?

Snobby Cat turns yellow

He’s still snobby, but he looks better doing his snobby thing.

Here’s The Thinker in all of his teal glory.

The Thinker goes teal

Why does my camera curse me so? That’s not teal, that’s blue, camera!

Here’s the same photo, edited heavily to show you the real teal color that it looks like in real life.

This, but only darker.

Well, this is a really simple project (spray paint projects always are) but let me tell you something that I learned…

Rust-oleum spray paint is the best.

rust-oleum spray paint is the best

It coats BEAUTIFULLY… Just be sure to shake the can constantly as you spray. It costs slightly more, but it’s worth it. It’ll be the only spray paint I’ll use from now on – if the color is right. I just wish they had more colors!

The Thinker was sprayed with Rust-oleum Satin Lagoon and Snobby Cat was sprayed with Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel in yellow. Both great, bright, saturated colors.

The pair is now happy in their new home – the Expedit in our game room.

The Thinker and Snobby Cat in their Expedit Home

The nice thing about creating a home with a good color flow is that these things can be put in any room and still look good. So, even though they look good in the expedit right now, they might make a move sometime in the future.

Remember what I said about my current manic episode? Well… guess what I’m working on right now. Here’s a hint:

In other news – I hope you had a great Easter weekend!! We spent ours at the park and it was perfect. Mounting Bloggif

Pretty Painted Vases, Part 2

I should probably explain my absence for the past three weeks.

Janella learned how to flip to her stomach and that resulted in days and days and days and days and days of sleep deprivation on my part, but now she is 100% happy sleeping on her stomach and I am 95% okay with it. Maybe 85%.

So. Where was I?

Ah, yes. The painted vase project.

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The good news? The paint was easy to remove.

peeling off the paint glass vase

After peeling off the huge globs of paint, I was able to remove the rest with a damp paper towel.

So you can see that the tape on the vase didn’t work out… but in some parts the tape really did work. You can see some crisp lines here and there. I think that tape COULD work if you had a lot of space (e.g. a bigger vase) to maneuver and press the tape on the glass harder than I was able to.

Once the vase was free of the paint, I just poured in some new paint and followed all of my tips. I tell you, I give great tips. The painting of this vase went beautifully and it dried much faster than the other vases did.

pretty blue vase

(Ugh blurry photo) Boring, maybe? But still pretty!

Since I still had several more vases looking forlorn, I tried another paint trick.

A few weeks ago we stopped by West Elm (aka Heaven on Earth) just to look around (and pick up a few cute things, of course) and I thought this vase was cute:

west elm vase paint stripeI told Nick, “Hey, what do you think of this? I could attempt this with one of our glass vases!!”

Nick chuckled to himself with one eyebrow raised and then gave me a little shrug and stuck out his bottom lip (the international facial expression for ‘maybe or whatever’) and walked away with Janella. The nerve…

I made this, and Nick loves it. Elisa for the win!

yellow stripe on vase

I just poured in a little of the paint – enough for it to slide down the side, but not too much that it’ll drip all over the place. But the paint was a little too thick so it moved way too slowly for impatient little me. And the stripe turned out to be triangle-y.

painting a yellow stripe on vase

I’m waiting for it to dry before doing the other side to reduce the likelihood of drips – and I will try thinning out the paint with a little water. That should work.

OK! Enough about vases! But wait. I want to bask in the glory of “I FINALLY DID IT AND IT LOOKS PRETTY” so look at this Expedit set up with my “new” vases.

expedit in game room

Can you spot all the painted vases? I also experimented with a painting technique from this tutorial (see the green vase on the right, second row) but it didn’t really make for a pretty result.

I enjoyed playing around with the styling of the expedit! It gave me a few minutes of relaxation in between Janella’s cries today. It’s still very visually cluttered, but it is so much better than what was there now. I “shopped” the whole house to try to fill out the expedit and now I know exactly what we need for it. We need some white things (see the closet light cover on the bottom right, ha) that pop, five baskets to line the bottom to fill games with and reduce visual clutter, and a few colorful frames here and there of our favorite people.

I’m also SLIGHTLY considering spray-painting some of the game boxes. That’s a little crazy, maybe?

Now you can go! And I promise I won’t disappear for three weeks again. Unless Janella learns how to stand on her head or something…

laughing janella

"HA HA! I have PLANS for you, mom! HAHAHA!"

Pretty (at least I think so) Painted Vases

This is a FREE and EASY project that I’ve been meaning to do for a long while. Years, actually. I have no idea why it took me this long, because it was really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really easy.

diy painted glass vases

I had a collection of glass vases left over from our wedding. They were used for our centerpieces.

When was our wedding? Three years ago. These vases languished in a storage box for THREE YEARS.

Four vases are now rescued and the rest are sadly left behind…for now.

The four vases that I chose for this project:

glass vasesglass vases

You probably should use enamel paint that’s designed for glass for this project, but I used latex paint from the 382 sample pots I have on hand. I’m not worried about painting peeling off because I don’t plan to put anything inside these vases. These will be purely for looks.

I have paint samples in many different colors, but I really liked this photo that I saw on Pinterest and wanted to keep all the vases in the same color family:

blue vases shelves

These vases will hang out in our Expedit in the game room once they’re good and dry.

painted glass vases

They look so much better painted! The one on the left is sporting a very light gray shade (it looks whiter in person) that we considered for our living room back in the day, but passed over. The middle one is proudly wearing a Scrub color, but it looks so much better on her than on our laundry room walls! The left one is also painted with another laundry room reject. It looks a little more teal-er in real life, not so gray.

Paint colors: Sherwin Williams’ Site White, Martha Living’s Araucana Teal, Benjamin Moore’s Mount Saint Anne.

For the vases with crazy shapes, I went with more subdued colors and had fun with bright colors for vases with more classic shapes. I think it’s a good strategy!

I wanted to experiment with tape on the 4th vase, so I grabbed some green tape and tried to tape a simple border just below the rim, but it didn’t work out. The tape was hard to apply since I was taping it inside the vase and it just wouldn’t go around in a neat band. So I just let the tape do its thing and the ends met up alright in the end.

glass vase taped up

Something different, I guess?

I decided to show you the progress while painting this vase. I didn’t use a paintbrush or anything fancy… I just let gravity do its magic. (Paint color: Sherwin Williams’ Calypso, briefly considered for our office and rejected because it was too bright)

pouring paint in vase

I protected the countertops with some foil – much more neat than paper towels.

rolling around paint in vase

This is the fun part.

And then the light flashed! You can see the light plugged in the outlet just behind the vase. That light is SO annoying… it flashes like a fire alarm. I hate it. But it lets me know when Janella is crying.

So I had to stop the… ah, see? The light just went off. Speak of the devil. Hold on.

OK, I’m back.

After attending to the little queen for around an hour and half…

janella has two teeth!

“Look, ma! Two teeth!”

I finished swirling around the paint only to find a few splotches:

splotches

This was caused by the paint drying before I could finish it. Luckily, it was easy to fix – I just wiped off the splotches and spread around the paint again and voila!

However, I don’t think the tape will work out…

tape leakage

It seems like it leaked through in some spots. Nick says the leaks will give it “character”. I think that’s a great way of looking at things. That giant scratch on the dining table? Character. That stain on the rug? Character. A spot in the carpet that has been scratched up and destroyed by a certain cat? Character. Baby spit-up on the sofa? Character!

blue vase with tape

Well, come back in a week to see how this project pans out. The paint isn’t dry yet. There’s actually a lot of paint at the bottom of all the vases and I’m waiting for them to dry… it might take a while. Cliffhanger!

A few tips:

– Do this project only if you already have some glass vases and sample paint pots laying around. If you’re going to buy supplies for this project, get enamel paint for glass and get glass vases for 50% off at Hobby Lobby, please. *EDIT* Go to the Dollar Store instead! $1 each, can’t beat that.

– Don’t get interrupted by a baby.

– Do all the swirling in the vase at once, before paint dries. Then pour out the excess paint immediately. I didn’t, so it’s taking forever for the paint to dry.

– Don’t use a paint brush (or your finger!) to spread around the paint – they can leave marks on the inside that will turn you off if you peek inside. Just swirl it and the paint will level out by itself and look SMOOTH and professional.

– Bold colors for simple shapes, calm colors for crazy shapes.

– Don’t use these vases for anything – no flowers, no rocks, no nothing. They’re just for looks.

Despite the mistakes I made and some imperfections here and there, I really love these vases. When they were just glass, I had no use for them… and now I can’t wait to really decorate the Expedit with these vases. And the other vases that I have will be painted in other colors for other spaces in the house. Fun, easy, and FREE!

If only all of our projects were like that…

I first got the idea when I saw this at Sugar and Charm through the magic of Pinterest.