Tuesday, January 21, 2014


In addition to all of the small organizational projects we've been doing the past few weeks, we had two big projects we also wanted to tackle before Matt's semester started and we hosted a baby shower last weekend. Up first, finally painting our dining room.
The color in this room has bothered me since we moved in over a year and a half ago. I'd learned to live with it, but I never liked it, and back in December, I finally managed to convince Matt it was time for a change. We settled on a light tealy gray color (Behr Swan Sea, in case you're wondering), which I thought would be more soothing and tie in well with the colors in the adjoining living room.
After we put B to bed on the Saturday before the baby shower, we got to work.
As with every paint job we do, we underestimated the amount of paint we'd need (our plaster walls absorb paint like crazy, and the dark mustard yellow was not easy to cover), so after we went through 3/4 of a can with just one coat, we had to stop for the evening and wait to go get a second can in the morning. Meanwhile, the chaos in the living room remained.
We finished the second coat during B's nap on Sunday, and voila! the calm, serene, beautiful dining room I'd dreamed of. I'm so pleased with how the color came out (though the lighting in this room makes it difficult to get a very accurate pic).
The big before and after (so much better!)

The other big project was converting these faux cabinets in our basement into useful shelving. These pictures don't give you a great sense, but the cabinets were pretty darn ugly. The sliding doors (which did not slide well) were covered in this cheap-o textured wood, and they opened to reveal nothing but exposed studs and the tile that runs under our basement carpet. The previous owners had used the space to store leftover carpet, which is about all it was good for.
Not very pretty, huh? Not to mention totally useless. We knew knocking out the cabinet completely (as we really wanted to do) was going to be a bigger project than we could really handle because it would have involved re-paneling the entire wall, leveling the floor, etc. Instead, our original plan (which we've been talking about for months) was to install a backing onto the studs, install floating shelves, and then paint the entire thing white.
But after a series of late-night brainstorming sessions, lots of discussion, and the discovery of these shelves at Target (which just happened to fit the existing openings perfectly and were on big sale at the time, bonus!), we had a new plan. First, Matt removed the ugly and annoying doors. We wanted open shelving because it was more functional and attractive, not to mention it makes the room look bigger.
Then, he removed all of the trim that had originally created the structure for the sliding doors. Next, he installed 2x4s along the bottom of the cabinet to create a floating floor above the tile. The actual basement floor was very uneven, and we didn't want to place the cabinets directly on top of the tile, so the boards created a new, level surface on which to build. He also installed spacer boards on the front of the studs to keep the shelves from sliding backwards (the shelving units aren't as deep as the original cabinet).
After that, all that was left was to assemble the Target shelves, fit them into the openings, shim the floor boards to make sure everything was level, and fill the shelves with toys!
I am so happy with the result! We have so much more storage in the basement now, and it freed up a lot of floor space. We still plan to create a false front to trim out the shelves and make them look more like custom built-ins, but that job's going to have to wait until my dad's next visit. :)

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