Recent projects

If there’s one thing I inherited from my mother, it’s a hands-on approach to life. When I was growing up, my bedroom was right next to my mom’s sewing room, and nearly every bedtime I was lulled to sleep by the whir of the sewing machine, operated by my mom’s crafty fingers into the wee hours of the night. As a young girl, I spent countless hours in craft stores with my mom, and took up a variety of different hobbies over the years, including everything from latch-hooking and needlepoint, to crocheting and knitting, to woodworking and painting.

Now, as a grown woman, I feel as though every conversation I have with my mom includes a lengthy inventory of the projects the both of us are working on or finished around our respective homes.

Moving into a new home is a DIY-ers dream… or sometimes, a nightmare. So much opportunity to make things! So much new space to play with! So much fun in starting over! And then… So much TO DO!

This was just the scenario I encountered when we moved at the end of August. Before even moving in, we knew that we needed to paint over the neon green and dark red (these colors were SIDE by SIDE!) walls, and commenced to recruiting a slew of great friends who, coerced by the promise of free pizza and beer, descended on our then-empty home to “neutral-ize” the space. We went with a combination of a light tan with a khaki green accent wall, and one bright blue wall just for fun in our entryway. Although I did pay for it dearly with a torn MCL from falling off a ladder in the process (15-foot ceilings are no joke!), we’re quite pleased with the end result.

Living room and kitchen, before

Living room and kitchen, after

Next up, I was excited to start utilizing that nice big entryway. Our old place had a front door that opened almost right into our kitchen, with very little space for unloading belongings or storing anything at all. Thus, many of our hats, gloves, coats, and accessories were relegated to Tupperware containers in a hall closet. Although the downside to our new set-up is the lack of a closet at all, the entryway is much more spacious and allows for more creativity. Enter my next project: a storage bench.

We did look around a bit for a bench that we could simply buy alongside our several other new-home furniture purchases, but we just couldn’t find anything within our price range that would be “that perfect piece.” Probably a little to quickly, I made up my mind that I would be building my ideal bench myself. After seeing a few creations on DesignSponge and Pinterest of similar items constructed out of pallet wood, I was convinced that I could create my perfect storage bench on the cheap. It wasn’t too hard to track down some free pallets in Denver, but I will say that the project did not end up being as easy – or cheap – as I had originally imagined. In addition to buying the finishing materials (hinges, stain, etc.), our lack of power tools meant we also had to rent a sander to make that nasty pallet wood a little safer for home use.

However, after a few days of pulling nails and staples out of pallets (once again, recruiting the help of friends with beer), sanding, cutting (by hand), nailing, staining and finishing, I finally had the solution to all of my storage needs! Not only is it the perfect length for the area behind our door, but it is large enough for all of our accessories, including my snowboard gear and some hiking supplies. Anthony also hung hooks for our coats, and bam! – we’ve eliminated our need for a closet!

Storage Bench in our bright blue entryway

The most recent project we undertook, and the one with perhaps the most dramatic result, was the makeover of our bathroom.

When we decided to rent this place, we knew that the bathroom was in state that we just couldn’t tolerate for long. The walls were a shade that I’ve always called “Grandma Bathroom Green” (Anthony referred to it as “Mint Toothpaste”), the lighting was dim and unflattering, and the floors… OH, the floors! They were a dirty white vinyl, scarred with who-knows-how-many years of use and stains I didn’t even want to touch with a five-foot pole. See the photo below for a disgusting detail shot of the floor by the heat register in front of the sink – we have tried to convince ourselves that the spot could have been a result of spilled paint when someone was painting the red kitchen, but we’re uncomfortably aware that it could easily have been something else…

Bathroom, before, with the mysterious red stain

After getting the go-ahead (and promise of reimbursement) from our landlord, we got to work on our new and improved bathroom. We painted the whole thing white, in order to brighten up the small, dark space, and because the two of us can’t ever resist a shocking accent color, we painted the far wall in Anthony’s favorite shade of orange. For the floors, we just embraced the fact that this is a rental (and we’ll only be here a couple years), and threw down some peel-and-stick tiles that have a dark stone look. Despite the fact that this was a cheap and easy upgrade to the old, nasty floors, it made a huge difference in the overall feel of the room and all but eliminated my disgust with the bathroom in general. The last little detail was a hanging light that we purchased from Ikea to hang in the side of the room that was suffering from a lack of light, which also served to warm up the room a little more.

Bathroom, after

In addition to all of these household improvements (there are more of them, but I didn’t photograph them and they are not as exciting), I’ve also been hard at work on some other crafty projects. But, I’ll save those for another post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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