I know what you’re thinking. Do John & Sherry want to marry built-ins? The answer is yes. What can I say, we’re just suckers for them (function + form = jackpot) so it was no surprise that Hilary’s project of turning cheap Craigslist bookcases into an architectural feature had me at “Hey there.” It was just such a smart use of space and such a wise way to adapt something pre-made (and affordable) to work for the room. Here’s her letter:
Hey there John + Sherry! My husband and I moved into our little cape cod in Jersey just over a year ago. In the first year we tore out the old flooring, laid all new wood floors, and completely gutted and renovated our kitchen. After we checked the biggest projects off of our To Do list we were able to move onto more fun projects like adding lots of storage and display space in our living room by means of two built-ins. After scouring Craigslist for months I finally found two perfectly ugly yet sturdy all-wood bookcases for only $100.
After I removed some outdated trim, sanded them down…
… and painted them in white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove)…
… they really popped against the navy blue walls that I painted to show through behind them (Behr’s December Eve). Then we just finished things off with trim that we painted to match. Adding crown molding and putting the doors back on was the final step. And filling them back up with things we love – and stashing additional items in the bottom cabinets – was the icing on the cake.
There’s still more trim work and paint touch-ups to be completed but I just couldn’t wait any longer to share.
I hope you’ll find them as awesome as we do! – Thanks, Hilary
Is that not an awesome idea? The royal-ish navy blue wall color that shows through from behind them is such a great choice, the dark frames are cool, and most of all we just love that Hilary so smartly adapted old bookcases from Craigslist to earn all that display space (and storage!) against that formerly useless wall. You can see more about how these built-ins came to be on Hilary’s blog – and even tackle your own version with some old secondhand bookcases if you hunt some down. And beyond just the shelves themselves, I’m really digging the items on them. Methinks I need to find myself a vintage fan…
We just flew back from Boston (and boy are our arms tired, har-har) but since we shared our freshly painted bathroom with you guys this morning and we didn’t want to leave you hanging with just one post, we got this Reader Redesign together in the airport for ya (throughout all this travel, we’re doing out best to keep blogging as usual). I know we typically share full room makeovers, but this furniture upgrade had such a creative twist that we had to pass it along. We loved that Beth and Nick rescued this old to-be-trashed buffet with the help of some wood stain applied in an unexpected way. Here’s what Beth had to say about the project:
Hi guys! I love drawing with charcoal, and I decided that I was going to try the same techniques, only using stain on wood, instead of charcoal on paper. It came out so well, we just had to share it with you!
We pulled this buffet out of a burn pile, repaired the burn damage and fixed a structural problem, prepped, primed, and painted the body. Then I drew out some flower petals lightly with a pencil on the top surface of the buffet and began staining with Minwax Ebony. I started with the center petals and stained each petal, starting at the center and working my way out toward the tip of the petal.
As you can see I didn’t stain all the way out to the edge of the petals, because I wanted that to be the lightest portion of my ‘shading.” Using a dry cloth and my finger, I wiped away from the stain to allow a smooth transition from the stained portion to the outer unstained portion of my petal. Rubbing it to create that shaded look. I continued to repeat this process on each petal as I worked my way away from the center of the flower.
I’m soooo super proud of myself. Hope you love it! – Beth & Nick
Isn’t that such a cool idea? For those who might shy away from the painted bottom, you could easily stain the front/sides of a piece and apply this treatment to the top as well. Makes me feel like such a staining novice. But now I’m kind of itching to think of a piece that we could try this on. And it makes me realize that if such an intricate design is possible, someone could attempt something like stripes or tiled triangles too (perhaps with the help of some painters tape?). So if you’re looking for more pics and details about the process, be sure to visit Beth and Nick’s blog, and if anyone else has tried something fun with stain we’d love to hear how it all went down.
It’s not often that a before photo actually makes me laugh out loud. But I did so I’ll cop to it right now. Just check out the shower tile in Erin’s main bathroom for yourself. Thankfully the incredible overhaul that she and her husband did means that old tile is nothing but a (somewhat hilarious) memory. Here’s her letter:
Hi John & Sherry, we’ve been working on remodeling our foreclosure mess for just over a year now, and so far we’ve completed three bathroom remodels! I’m still doing a happy dance from how this last one turned out. This room started out as bad as it could get with dirty white tile & brown grout, a rain shower mural in the bathtub, and pink walls with a goopy, drippy texture applied to them.
Every time I used it I thought, “I can’t believe we bought this dump.” Note the rain shower mural in the tub.
We were going for a very modern and natural look – something that was minimal but not cold. The piece de resistance was a shoji style inspired sliding door that I custom built to fit the space (it slides to the right to close off the toilet/shower without blocking too much light). I’m still shocked that it fit and worked well in the space right away. Those moments when what you had in mind actually works out perfectly… yeah, those never happen to me, so score 1 point for the DIYers.
The best part is that doing all of our own labor and using affordable items like the Ikea vanity and mirror (along with clearance 12” x 24” floor tiles for just $1.22 a tile!) made this renovation incredibly affordable. The whole project was less than $2k.
We also added lighting underneath the floating vanity, which not only accentuates the open floor space down there but provides a really cool nightlight to the room.
The lights are plugged into an outlet directly under the vanity, and that outlet is controlled by a switch right at the door so it’s just a flick of the switch to turn them on. I hope you like it! -Erin
I just gotta give Erin another “bravo” for that door she built. I mean, the whole space makes me want to come over for a visit, but I’ve gotta hand over some serious props for making a door that fits on the first try. Erin’s got more photos (including a close up of that before shower!) on her blog, so be sure to check it out. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome bathroom, Erin! What do you guys think? Any favorite parts? Sherry’s obsessed with the mirror that also doubles as a shelf and of course that stripe of penny tile. As for me, you already know I’m crushing on that sliding door.
Psst- The latest round of Clara Conversations are up on Young House Life, including one exchange that’s probably our favorite of all time (it involves talk of a future sibling and what Clara hopes will come with the deal).