Monday, April 12, 2010

handy as a pocket on a shirt

The moving-in process continues at my new place.  Due to an odd kitchen layout, some storage challenges, and a few other oddities, I've done more work than usual in getting this place livable.  But I think when it's all said and done, I'm going to be happier here than I've been in lots of previous apartments.  You've already seen the wildly popular dresser-painting project (and maybe you even saw that my ugly little dresser and humble little blog were linked and mentioned in an design blog).  And while that was perhaps the most ambitious project I've undertaken, I've definitely been busy with other handy projects.  Here are some photographic highlights:

We were completely out of dvd storage room, and without the built-in shelves of our other apartment, I was desperately in need of another storage device.  Enter this trusty little cabinet that I bought at WalMart for very cheap. 

I put it together while I waited for paint to dry a couple weeks ago.  It's not very pretty, but not offensively ugly either, and the black is going to work out fine in that transitioning space between the living and dining rooms.

The same day I bought the dvd shelves, I bought a little tv cart for my bedroom.  Thanks to those handy built-ins at the last apartment (the only thing besides an ice maker that I miss about that place, for the record), I had been using the living room tv stand in the bedroom and had gotten rid of the old entertainment center where the smaller bedroom tv used to reside because it took up way too much room.  So I was in the market for something cheap.  Thank you, WalMart.  When I got it home, I discovered that one of the boards had a corner broken off. 
But I follow instructions, so instead of taking it back to the store, I ordered a replacement part from the manufacturer's website.  Once that came in last week, I was able to throw this one together in no time.  The corner of my room where it's going to permanently reside is still a war-zone of boxes and unpacked containers, so I can't show you the completely finished project--but it's going to look like a tv sitting on a cart with other components on the bottom shelves in a corner.   

Even before I bought these pieces, I was working on a plan for my kitchen.  This new kitchen is odd--and also very much not new.  The cabinets and countertops have definitely seen some better days, and the washer and dryer share space in the kitchen in a layout that defies logic.  But I've kind of been excited about figuring it out and making it work.  So thanks the perpetual sales at JCPenney, I was able to get an island cart for my kitchen and a buffet-style piece for the dining room for less than $300.  I ordered them the week we moved in, but thanks to UPS damaging one and a short time spent on backorder for the other, I didn't get to start making my kitchen storage dreams a reality until last week.  The white piece in the kitchen holds what I needed it to hold perfectly.  It seems to be working out great, and it was mostly painless to put together.

The dining room piece came in on Friday, and I started working on assembly Sunday afternoon.  Though I'm about ready to go pro with all my furniture assembly diagram-reading of late, this was definitely the most complicated project so far--but it also seems the most well-made. 
My electric screw driver was tired by the end of this project.   So was I--and my hair.
But I finished installing the doors this morning before work, and I really like how it looks. 
And now that it's ready to hold the serving pieces, place mats and rarely used kitchen appliances that have been waiting on its arrival, I can finally start to reclaim my dining room from unpacked box limbo.  And that's going to make me a very happy girl.

In other project news, my bathroom window has also been a nagging problem since we moved in. 
It's in our shower, and the sill is definitely too low for the window to go uncovered, but the miniblinds that were hanging there when we moved in were not working for me.  They were gross because they never fully got dry.  Plus I kept bumping them with my elbow when I washed my hair.  They needed to go. 
Our landlord cleaned and repainted the window after we moved in and I discovered the effects of wet blinds on the area behind them.  He sure did a messy job, which I had to work on a bit. 
Robyn's shower window has frosted glass--and a wide tiled window sill to hold products.  I covet that, just a little.  That frosted glass inspired me to find a similar solution.  So I bought a frosted plastic film that came with a fairly complicated set of application instructions.  Lucky for me, I had my trusty sidekick.
After I did the two lower panes, we decided it wasn't really necessary to do the top two for privacy purposes.  Since the shower curtain is always closed, I don't think it's going to look weird, but I may end up covering them all because I have to look at it.  I'll keep you posted.  Also please try to ignore the pink tile in these photos.  I know I try to ignore its existence every time I'm in my bathroom.

Let me show you one last thing before I leave you alone.  This house has more windows than any place I've ever lived, which challenged my meager curtain collection.  I still haven't found anything I want for the double window in the kitchen, but I already had living room curtains that I love that I didn't get to use in the last place because it had no living room windows!  The problem was that I only had one set of my beloved curtains and two double windows in the new living room.  I bought my curtains on clearance three or four years ago, so the possibility of finding another set was a ridiculous pipe dream.  But I didn't want to live in a world where I couldn't have my striped curtains.  So over the phone, my moma affirmed that I could find a solid color set to coordinate and make this new look happen.  I split the panels and used some Stitch Witchery (because my sewing skills are less than basic) to create this custom look. 
I'm still looking for the hardware that goes with the other curtain rod, so the behind-the-couch windows don't have curtains yet, but they will be identical to these though the curtain rods don't quite match because I couldn't find one exactly like my old one.  If I decide I can't live with it, I guess I'll have to go back to Lowe's to get one to match the new one.  Sigh.

Also pretend like that chair doesn't have pink on it.  That's what I'm doing.  This chair used to live in Jess's giant room at our old apartment, but we kind of needed it for the living room here.  I'm coming to terms with its non-matching fabric because it's so comfortable, but if I found a really cheap slipcover that I thought would stay put on it, I'd have it covered in a second.

Here's some great news for my imaginary readers:  my moma is coming to see me this weekend.  I'm going to put her to work hanging stuff on the walls because that is a job that strikes fear into my heart when I try to do it alone.  She's bringing my sweet Grams with her too, so I'm thinking about nice sit-down jobs for her.  She does love to fold laundry, so I may not try too hard to get that done before they arrive.  I don't know if the Popster's coming to play on house-decorating day or if he'll try to find some manly pursuit to occupy him, but he's at least going to come and see the new place, I bet.  I want to show off all my recent home improvement projects to him, since he doesn't read my blog.  I try not to let that fact hurt me.


  1. Wow! Everything looks great.

  2. I am truly impressed with your ability to decorate on a budget.

    You really should apply to be the Handyman show on HGTV.

  3. Place looks great, wish I could live there! Oh, wait...I do! :-)

  4. It is too bad that the Popster does not read your blog. But the only website his laptop can go to is Netflix view it now.

  5. I'm so impressed with you! Everything is looking great! So glad Jess helped you with those instructions! Also, did you realize you had on two nametags from church when that one picture was taken?

  6. The first name tag I made at morning church was so awesome that I wouldn't take it off. But I still made one at night church because I had a great idea I didn't want to waste. So then I wore two. I've saved them both for a blog later.


what do you think?