Crafting & Art

Come Pet Our Tile: The Musical

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts so honestly over the last few days after Thursday’s post updatePlease know that we’ve read every comment and are giving them lots of thought. Sometimes we get so caught up in “the response” that it’s hard to fully absorb what people are saying, really think about it, and address it in actions and not just in knee-jerk words. We aren’t glossing over things by posting this, but it gives us time to keep processing so we can be thoughtful and honest in return.

In the meantime…

The laundry room’s finished!

And we could kiss Lesley for her idea of carving out a new dedicated laundry room. It’s like it was always there! (Plus a new glass door at the end of a formerly dark hallway with light streaming in = angels singing sound effect to us).

When we last checked in, things were looking a little unfinished, but it’s amazing what that last 10% can do for a room. Our first steps were to add the missing filler, baseboard, toe kick, and crown that we had accounted for when we installed the cabinets (to bridge those gaps on the side, top, and bottom). Then it was on to adding the missing door casing, baseboards, and the new doorknob that ties into the rest of ours. Lastly, we had a party and the under-cabinet lights were invited (and installed).

Can I just say that the under-cabinet lights are my new favorite thing? I want to cover my house with them. I want to put on some R&B and bathe in a tub full of under cabinet lights.

They currently plug in behind the washer – you might be able to see the small white cord snaking down the left corner of the room above the washer – but we have a call in to our electrician to add a switch for them on the wall by the door. That way we can flick them on when we walk in instead of using the toggle switch on the cord.

They were sort of an impulse update back when we were buying our cabinets and they were TOTALLY WORTH THE IMPULSE. I know I’m type shouting at you but I mean it. If I were talking to you in person my voice would be raised and my hands would be flapping around. It was all thanks to a reader who mentioned it was easier to see stains and spot treat them before tossing them into the wash after she added some. In summary: Twinkies are not always worth the impulse, but under cabinet lights? DO IT.

When they’re off the room is still nice and bright from the overhead light, although we’d love to add a skylight or a some solar-tube someday.

After our finishing trims, fillers, and lights were in, it was momma’s favorite part. THE THINGS! Like the drying rack, the ironing board, some art, a laundry sorter, and everything that I got to basket up and stack and pile into the cabinets and drawers.

The laundry room wants to hug it out. Look at those outstretched arms.

We thought things on the shelf should largely have simple functions to make life easier, so there’s a basket for lost socks (currently housing a few of Clara’s) and a dish for change and other random stuff we find in pockets before things go into the wash (if you’re a certain aforementioned member of our family that might mean Legos, mom’s earrings, and and a few crayons for good measure). We also like the idea of keeping our everyday detergent out on the shelf so it’s easy to grab (you can see that in the wider shot a few photos back).

There’s also a mint green caddy to store things like lint rollers and dryer balls along with a mint green trash can which we ended up putting right on the counter for small things like balls of lint and tags from clothing or old washed-papers-from-pockets. The little fake-o succulent is just there’s to add some life to the laundry room – even if it’s faux real.

If you spin around to the wall opposite the washer, we have a drying rack. And it’s kind of a game changer. We used to just lay things outside on the daybed to air dry (or in the extra deep windowsill in the living room of our last house) so to have a devoted pull-out drying rack for hanging or draping things (or clipping them up) is pretty great.

I was leaning towards ordering one from The Container Store but then I saw someone saying it was meh and I saw this one on amazon with a ton of good reviews that swayed us. It boasts over 12 square-feet of drying space for hanging or laying items thanks to the pull out design that extends two feet out from the wall. It’s so nice to have this much hanging and draping real estate. I’m officially on the drying rack train now guys. High fives! I feel like we need a secret handshake or something.

Oh and it closes up like this when it’s not in use. Stealth mode.

Underneath it we have a three-bin laundry sorter from Crate & Barrel. John’s sister grabbed one a few weeks ago and raved about it so we took the plunge. It has only been a few days but we’re drinking the same laundry sorter Cool-aid. Picture us sipping it while cruising along on The Drying Rack Express with spare under-cabinet lights in my purse.

For the ironing board we debated everything from a mini-pull-out or fold-down wall or drawer mounted one but I prefer a full sized board and I like it to be out of the way, but portable. Sometimes I just like to iron in front of the TV. We’ve used this system of two large wall hooks secured with anchors to hold it up off the floor in our last laundry area, which worked well (remember our ironing board wars? They are so ON).

We decided to hang it behind the door on the wall (not the door itself since we worried that might rattle). The hooks stick out a little and would otherwise get slammed by the door so we got one of those small white doorstop things for the back of the door. Ignore that light switch near the door though (it’s the old hall light that we debated keeping just in case but it’s ridiculous back there so we’re going to terminate it when our electrician comes to add a switch for the under-cabinet lights).

For now the art on the left side of the room is just framed pages from a book called Time & Tide by Christian Chaize (it’s full of gorgeous photography). I still have my eye on something like this by Emily Jeffords though, so there might be some musical frames going on.

Speaking of the frames, they’re from Target. We loved that the wood tone tied into our baskets and the laundry shelf and counter, so home they came.

The other side of the room has a little more art – like a wood canvas from Help Ink that I love (it says Bee Kind with bees having a blast all over it). I also hung one of my favorite pieces of fabric (it’s an old handkerchief that a friend of mine found with the name Clara embroidered on it). Something about the old linen fabric and the embroidery whispered laundry room to me.

There’s also another print from my Tide & Time book that I clipped up with a wooden pants hanger. Seemed laundry-room appropriate. I’d love to clip up a Clara painting eventually, so we might have a little crafternoon bonanza ahead of us.

In my mood board I also had a printing press drawer (Clara and I collect heart rocks and I thought it would be so cute to display them in an old wooden drawer with all those tiny compartments for them) but we haven’t come across any that would work yet. They’re totally one of those I-see-them-in-every-antique-store-when-I’m-not-looking-for-them-but-they’re-sneaky-like-a-snake-when-I-am-on-the-hunt.

For the cabinet hardware we went with these simple octagon pulls from Lowe’s. We actually grabbed a bunch of options from Anthropologie (Fashion Show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show At Lunch!) but after holding them all up the simplicity and the nice heavy feeling of the Lowe’s ones won us over. We have two metals going on in here (I like a mix as long as each of them are present enough times to look intentional), so these guys are sporting the polished chrome look along with things like the rolling cart and the knobs on the washer & dryer.

On the ceiling we went with a flush mount light from our Shades of Light collection.

We had a whiter/cooler light bulb dangling from the fixture box before we installed this light, but switched it out for a warmer LED one that makes the room feel less cold (it brings out the honey tones in the shelf, frames, and baskets – and zaps some of the starkness out of the white cabinets).

The oil-rubbed bronze doorknob and similar coloring on the washer and dryer tied it in – especially since the washer and dryer also have chrome on them – so they’re sort of a bridge between those two metals that we mixed throughout the room.

 Look at John modeling the new laundry room. You’d almost believe he likes laundry…

Budget breakdown:

We think it would be really fun to have a realtor come and estimate what she might list our house for so we can see how much value this reno may have added (along with the other stuff we’ve done over the past year).

And since we’re listing stuff, I think our favorite functional updates are the laundry sorting cart, the drying rack, all the storage in the cabinets and drawers, and the added countertop/shelf surface we’ve gained. When it comes to things that make it feel the most upgraded, the tile backsplash, under cabinet lights, crown molding, and soft-close doors and drawers definitely elevated the room for us (so if you have a laundry zone that could use a little love, those might be nice add-ons).

Couldn’t leave without a little before & after action. Remember when this was our laundry area back when we moved in?

 

So. Much. Better.

Thanks for coming along on this winding and long-winded laundry room renovation, guys! It’s one of our favorite house changes so far since it’s literally a room that didn’t exist before. We’re more gleeful than… I don’t know… a pigeon with a hotdog? A dog with a blog? A kid in a candy store without adult supervision and unlimited funds? It’s up there.

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That Didn’t Work Like I Thought It Would…

Cabinet hanging continues in the laundry room (details tomorrow!) so since yesterday’s post had a giveaway worked into it (we can’t believe over 25,000 of you took the poll, John is beside himself with infographic glee), I thought I’d share a quick post about three recent redos. Sometimes things get wonky when you least expect them to, and the second time ends up being the charm (at least you hope it is).

Redo #1. Our cork bulletin board in the office. Back when we made this a few months ago, we used Loctite Spray Adhesive, since the back specifically said it worked for bonding cork to wood. Well… the cork squares slowly started to pop off the wall. To be fair, the directions did suggest spraying both surfaces (since we didn’t want to spray it indoors on the wood backing, we just spayed the back of the cork outside and carried each square in and stuck it up). I’m not sure if that would have made the difference or not (we heard from a reader who sprayed both sides and still had issues with hers falling off) so I took down all of Clara’s art…

… and added some reinforcement in the form of Aleene’s Tacky Glue on the back of each tile, along with a few tiny finish nails to hold the corners down (they’re so small they sink into the cork and can’t really be seen).

So far, this method has been great, and the cork is staying put this time. Even when it’s super hot and humid.

Redo #2. Our red adirondack chairs out back. Remember when we bought these guys two years ago? We hoped that splurging for pro-painted chairs would hold up better than spraying some wood ones ourselves. These are our famous last words from that post: “Chairs that came pre-painted by the pros with polyurethane paint for protection against the weather, heat, and sunlight definitely appealed to us as something that would hopefully stand the test of time. Just didn’t want to spend less but end up with something that looked shoddy by next summer.” Well, they lasted more than one summer, but two summers later they were maaaajorly faded. Sometimes they looked ok in photos, but in real life (especially when the pillows were off) they were very sad indeed.

It was clear they needed more protection and a fresh coat of paint to help restore their bright happy color and protect them from the elements.

So I sprayed them with three thin coats of Gloss Protective Enamel by Rustoleum in their Regal Red color. It has a built-in primer and it’s meant for wood furniture that’s outdoors, so we hope it holds up well. Note: you can kind of see from the spray paint pattern on the cardboard that I flipped them over (resting them on the top of the seat and their arms) and sprayed their back/underside first, let that dry, and then stood them up to get all the other parts.

The happy news is that they look like new!

Only time will tell if this is going to be an every-few-years ritual, but I’m glad to have done it and seen great results (that always inspires me to do those “maintenance” things again down the line if I need to).

And now they match the red stool over near the egg chair, which is a nice bonus.

Redo #3. My little light-turned-terrarium. I showed you how I made it here, and how everything I planted gave up on me here

… but some of you noticed that things looked less bleak in a recent post.

At the urging of some “I use fake ones in my terrarium!” comments, I grabbed a few faux succulents at JoAnn. I also noticed some pretty white aquarium rocks at the pet store while buying new food for Burger, so into my cart they went. Once at home, Clara and I had fun filling the glass case with white rocks and poking my fakers in there to hang out. Clara insisted that the deer should go back in there too, and five minutes later we had a finished product.

I still have plants that need to be watered and loved (much like Michael Scott, they want me to fear how much I love them) but it’s nice to have something unkillable in the mix.

And now for a bonus. This isn’t really a redo, just a giant duh moment. A few of you eagle-eyes noticed I was painting a door sign waaaay back here while making little desserts for Clara’s tea parties, and correctly guessed it was going to be one of those “please don’t ring the bell – the baby is sleeping” signs for the front door.

Well, after painting the background white, it stalled for a few months. I had big plans for using a thin brush to paint pretty scripty words on it, but after staring at the blank white doorknob hanger on the kitchen counter for way too long I finally just grabbed a red sharpie and scribbled out a message. “There” I thought. “It’s not Pinterest worthy, but it’s done!”

And then I walked over to the front door to hang it… and realized we don’t have a doorknob on our front door.

I laughed so hard there were tears, guys. How much of a duh moment is that? I mean I literally had months to reach this realization as the door hanger sat on the kitchen counter taunting my in its half-finished state… and yet… nada. So I Tim Gunned that sucker by hanging it over the door knocker. And you know what? It works. The sweet Fed-Ex guys just leave stuff instead of ringing the bell and setting off Burger The Barking Maniac. Just thought you guys would get a kick out of that. Feel free to pin your little heart out (insert winky face here).

The lesson for all of these redos? If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Also, check your door for a knob before making a door-hanging sign.

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