Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Futon Fit for a Guest

I've finally got all of the furniture items completed for the office! I still have decorating that needs to be done, but that can wait until I finish the reupholstering in the living room. I'm very pleased with how the office has turned out and will be very excited to finish it. One thing that I have learned is that the details really do make a big difference in a room. The office now has all the furniture, but is yearning for it's details to complete it. I'll get there... I have to pace myself. Mostly because of money, but we all have our constraints!

I can now welcome guests to come stay at my place, because I have a futon that is actually pretty comfortable (plus I have extra padding to throw on it). I inherited the futon from my mother. My youngest brother had been using it for a bed, but then it was decided a real bed with a real mattress would be best for everyday sleeping. I agree! So I went down to Salt Lake with her to pick up his new bed and took the futon of their hands!

Now, this futon has been around for a while and was in the need of some rehabilitation. The support bars were struggling and the futon cover was quite dated. Free, however, was the right price and I was pretty sure it could be rehabilitated. I don't have a before picture because I received it taken apart. Here are a few shots that I took.

Terrible green plaid pattern

Wood ends that I sanded down and painted black.

All I can say is that I'm terribly sick of painting. One thing I would recommend to DIYer's is to plan projects with variety in mind. If you have a few painting projects, try and space other projects between them. I found myself caring a lot less about this paint job than when I did the coffee table and entertainment center. I had ran out of paint and did have to buy a new bucket, so now I'm set on paint for future projects if I need it.

One of the support bars needed to be welded again, but the other was sort of beyond repair. So I (really it was mostly my parents, but we all did it together) replaced the second support bar with a 2x4 cut to the right length. Once we got everything back together, then I had to buy a new futon cover. I'm not a big Wal-mart shopper, but their futon covers are great. I love the color and it was super easy to put on.

So here is the view from the door before the futon...

...and after!

The pillows I already owned and picked the color scheme so that I would be able to reuse them. I'm really pleased with how the project turned out and am glad to have the extra bed for visitors.

Financial Breakdown:

Futon: $FREE
Paint: $11
Cover: $30

Total Cost: $41

Cumulative Office Cost: $131

I do still have some details to attend to, but won't exceed $200 for the entire room. Hopefully that frames some pictures for me, gets a rug, and an office chair. We'll see how awesome I am at being frugal.

To finishing what you start,


Going HON Wild!

I'm not sure why this post has taken me so long to get up. I had this done when I had the book case done, but just never got around to taking the pictures and posting it. Anyway, I was successfully able to replace my old desk for a much more modern HON desk. HON is a manufacturer of desks and they are really high in quality. On their website, no desk is under $300.

What happened to the budget McKell?
Budget.... oh yeah! That thing... Hmmm...

Once again, because of the glory that is KSL Classifieds, I was able to find a HON desk in the Layton area for only $60! Plus I was able to sell my old desk for $20, making my net expense on my desk $40. I think that is in the budget :)

When looking for desks, I wanted one that had actual legs. Writers desks were really attractive to me because they were kind of elegant with the legs and it would also help make the room seem bigger with the increased floor visibility. I'm not certain how much room the futon will take up in this room, so I wanted to help make it look at visually large as I could. I did actually find a beautiful writers desk and chair on KSL, but after I drove all the way down to Holladay to pick it up, the old man had sold it out from underneath me! Needless to say, I was rather angry, but that is one of the dangers of shopping on KSL. I highly recommend you always call, give your name, get their name, and get a commitment that you are going to buy it and they are going to sell it to you. That way there is no confusion.

In the end, it worked out for the best because even though it's not the exact style I wanted, it turned out being the better choice. The desk is more modern and sturdy, it's massive, but it doesn't appear to take up much space in the room. I'm really glad that I ended up getting this desk, plus the resell on it will be easy if I decide to redecorate in the future.

Enough talk, on to the pictures!

The old desk

The new desk

Old view of desk and book case

New view of desk and book case

One thing I didn't realize is that if you have open legs on the desk, then all of the random cords and wires can be seen. Right now it looks like a jumbled mess, but I'll be using twist ties to organize them as soon as I steal the ones I have at work (I never use them there).

Financial Breakdown:

Cost of new desk: $60
Less old desk revenue: $20

Total expense: $40

Special thanks Justin for taking my old desk off my hands AND paying me for it. He sent me a picture of the new desk and he could start his own before/after blog :)

To keeping to your budget,


Saturday, October 17, 2009

... And everything in it's place

Redoing the office has been like fixing a car: it only ever looks worse before it is actually gets better. The office was a disaster to begin with, but as I started going through boxes, files, and paper it became a <insert work here that is much worse than a disaster>! I literally had to take three or four days to go through all of it and throw it out and organize it. The end result is much peace and satisfaction that occurs after a good cleanse :)

I had to start with the bookshelf because it was actually the key to cleaning up the entire room. The vast majority of junk I had on the desk (see previous blog) just needed a place to be. The previous bookshelf I actually am quite fond of. It folds up really nice and has always looked really good. The bookshelf is made of rubberwood and I don't know if that will paint well. Rubberwood has a tendency to warp when it dries. I may have to sell it or I may try to repaint it eventually, it would still be quite functional in either the office or the living room.

The before picture of the bookcase is in my previous blog, but I'll just put another one up because it's easy to do.

Not a bad piece, but (1) it was too small to fit all of my books and (2) I needed to change the color. If the size was right and the color was wrong, I would have just repainted it, but I really did need something larger. The bookcase I replaced it with was a purchase off of KSL classified. I do love that website and usually check it daily. Bookcases are quite common, but they were either particle board and the wrong color (I refuse to repaint particle board if at all possible) or real wood and the wrong size and really quite expensive. Eventually I stumbled on a bookcase that wasn't real wood, but it was already black. Plus that price tag was just right, it was only $20 and had five shelves. Had it been real wood, it would have been EXACTLY what I was looking for. Here is the after shot!

An organized piece of art in my eyes! Now all of my books fit on here perfectly and all the random junk I had is organized in these great IKEA boxes which are also super cheap. I got twelve boxes for $30 and even though you have to assemble them, it's really easy. These are probably the best investment I have made towards home organization ever. I'm very pleased not to have shenanigans everywhere now!

Financial Breakdown
Bookcase: $20
Boxes: $30

Total Project Cost: $50

Now this may be half of what I spent doing multiple projects in the living room, but this project alone cleaned up the entire office. So it's impact on the overall room was HUGE. I can actually see the floor again :)

To having a place for everything...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Distractions, lovely distractions!

So I'm doing what I swore I wouldn't do... pausing one project to start another! This is how you end up with a million projects in process and none of the complete. I originally wanted to do one room at a time because then if I failed to complete one project, it would only show in one room... not scattered throughout my entire house.

Here is the story, I was cruising right along with the living room and got down to buying a new rug and reupholstering the furniture. Granted I was probably looking to find a reason to procrastinate, but my next room to attach was the office/guest bedroom. So I've been looking for a new bookcase, desk, and some sort of sofa/day bed for company. Well since I do all of my shopping via KSL, all of the things I needed sort of fell into my lap sooner than I expected. So I had to pause on the living room and move on to the office so that I could pick up the new furniture and move it in.

All I can say right now is that everything is a mess! I have old furniture and new furniture all over the house and really, the mess is driving me insane. Things are coming together in the office, but it's not quite like I envisioned and I'm having a hard time with that. Hopefully when it all comes together, it'll be more satisfying.

To start, I need to get some pictures up of the office before. Then as each piece of the office is completed, then I will have an individual post on that item. The office won't be near as much DIY work as the living room since most of it is new furniture, but some of it does need some work.

Warning: for those of you that know me, the state of this office may shock and appall you. I have found that when you are dissatisfied with the function of anything (a room, system, etc) you are more likely to let it get messy. Since I have started the redecorating of the living room, it doesn't hardly ever get messy. So, to put things succinctly, the office was a disaster! See for yourselves:

View from the door into the office...

The opposite wall...

The small bookshelf...

The desk and filing cabinet...

As you can see, this room is an absolute disaster area. The action plan for the office is as follows:

-Replace desk with a modern black one with no hutch
-Get a larger book case, also black
-Procure storage containers for the book case
-Find a decent futon/guest bed
-Frame photos from Michelle to go above desk
-New filing cabinet?

Just so everyone knows, I do not have an obsession with black. However, in many places I have lived, my living room and office area have been in an open layout and visible to one another. If this happens, I want to furniture in both rooms to match. That way I don't have to redo things later. Besides, black is just a really good neutral that you can use to create a variety of modern color schemes. Not a black lover (my favorite color is grass green), but I'm still a practical girl at heart.

The majority of furniture is purchased, but the conversion process still needs to be finished. More posts *hopefully in the near future*, when things are complete.

To bumps in the road that keep us on our toes...


Monday, October 5, 2009

Mirror mirror on the wall...

I've really outdone myself and completed most my projects in two weekends. This is good and bad at the same time because now my living room is starting to come together, but then I'll have to start reupholstering soon. I'm still pretty terrified of that conquest, but have gleaned much bravery in completing so many other tasks before hand.

This picture wasn't hanging up, so I need to start by showing everyone so a proper before and after can take place. This picture matches my awesome couch :)

I actually don't think the picture is terrible, but it's just not my style. For the mirror transformation to take place I needed a screw driver, razor blade, drop cloth, spray paint, and mirror glass. In a previous blog I already had purchased the spray paint, but one can is usually only a few dollars. I'm also incredibly lucky and my dad provided the mirror glass since him and his wife run a windows business together. Those can cost around $50, however, you could see if trading in the picture glass would yield any discounts.

To start, unscrew the wiring from the back of the mirror. Then cut through any paper backing the picture might have (not all do, but this one had a brown paper glued to the back). After that, most pictures are held in place with a lot of little metallic fasteners. Take a flat head screwdriver and bend them up so you can get to the picture. **Note** It seems like these fasteners are set after the glass and picture are in place. Cardboard backing and picture should be easy to get out, but the glass can be difficult. I had to get one side out and literally slide the rest of it out. Be careful not to break it! Measure the glass to make sure you get the right size of mirror. The piece of glass was slightly larger than 2'X 3', so I had my dad cut a 2'X 3' exactly and it worked perfect! Thanks dad and Julie!

After all the contents have been moved from the frame, take it outside, put it on the drop cloth and spray away! Note that putting on multiple coats with spray paint can be different than regular paint. Instead of waiting at least four hours between coats, you want to wait either LESS than FOUR hours or MORE than THIRTY SIX hours. No in between.

After the coats have dried (usually within the hour), then insert the mirror glass into the frame. I haven't done this yet, but will the next time I can get over to Lowe's... but it is recommend that you secure your mirror in your frame with silicone. You have to be careful with what kind you get, some of them are "cured" and will eat the silvering off the mirror. Get an uncured silicone and put it one inch out from every corner. Make sure to rub it in to the crack of the frame. Put the cardboard backing in and push the fasteners down. Then you can reattach the wire and you are done! It's really quite an easy project.

Here are some of the final pictures. Unfortunately, none of them really capture how great the mirror looks. I was having a hard time finding a good shot. So here are a few, but you may just have to come look at it in my living room. :)

There isn't any financial info this time, because all of the supplies were already purchased. The total cost so far of all my projects is currently $105. Not bad for my budget! Thanks again for reading :)

To good reflections,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The center of attention

This weekend I finished another two projects! *crowd cheers* This post will just be about one. I didn't plan on moving though some of my projects so quickly, so I'll be putting my second completed project into another post. This weekend was focused painting my entertainment center. While this project may or may not add a huge impact to the room as a whole, it was a significant change for this individual piece of furniture! I'm very very pleased with it's outcome and hopefully so will all who happen across my humble little blog.

I had inherited this entertainment center from my mom when they purchased a big screen tv. It was a nice piece of furniture with a great solid wood structure. I liked the piece, but it didn't really "speak to me" or my personality. Here is a picture so we can all start on the same foot.

This picture makes it look like a jumbled mess... which it sort of was. I'm looking for more modern, simple look. Now since this piece was stained, but not finished, I didn't have to do any sanding. (Hallelujah!) I'm very glad because painting this turned out to be a bigger project that I originally thought! I was able to use the paint brush and the remaining paint to put on two coats. As a note, I easily could have put three coats on and it probably would have looked better. The problem was (1) I ran out of my free paint and (2) I just wanted to be done! Since there was so much surface area each coat took hours to put on.

One thing I did learn is to work from the inside out, not the other way around. If you are painting an item with cubbies and what not, start insides the cubbies on the very top, then do the sides, then do the bottom. This entertainment center has four main cubbies, the small one on the upper left hand side was particularly difficult to get into and paint. After all the inside parts are done, then move to the outsides. Maybe that is a no brainer, but for my first coat I did all the large surfaces first and the small ones second... it was much more difficult. Anyways! Enough with the blabbering, here are the pictures and cost break down:

All clean with the doors taken off, ready to be painted!

After the first coat, which didn't cover very well. Gotta love that since I don't have a garage that my kitchen gets turned into a construction zone for every DIY project that I do.

Now feast your eyes on...............

THE FINISHED PRODUCT! Seriously, scroll up to the top of this screen and look at the before shot. Now it looks a million times better! I opted not to put the doors back on because smoked glass is pretty dated and the open look is much more modern. While the actual renovating of the entertainment center was free, I did buy a few decorations to add to it. Here is the cost break down:

Nesting boxes: $9 each, purchased at Tuesday Morning
Green candles: $7 for both, purchased at Hobby Lobby
Picture board: $8 purchased at Hobby Lobby

Total cost of the project: $33 (decorating items)

The wonderful candle holders came with the end tables from Vic and Christie. I still owe them dinner for that... The reed diffuser was a birthday present from the wonderful Felicia (Fish) and it smells FANTASTIC! Thanks for listening :)

To wonderful, beautiful change...


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not much, but it's a start!

So I can officially cross two items off my recipe list for my living room. Sometimes the feeling is weird, because I felt really accomplished getting two things done, but the overall impact is minimal still. So I feel like I can conquer any DIY project, but I'm also a little bit nervous that all the work could be done and still not have the impact that I'm envisioning in my mind.

Item #1: New Lamps

Since I am on a budget, not many things will be purchased unless it is absolutely necessary. These lamps (I did get two even though only one is pictured) off of KSL for $30 total. I saw these exact same lamps at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for $40 EACH. Needless to say, I got a nice modern look for a very cheap price tag. They look really nice with the black table, but the shades to fade into the white walls.

Item #2: The Coffee Table

The one thing I have to say about this project is that sanding in cracks and crevices it totally lame! I bought three different grains of sandpaper: 80, 120, and 220. The sandpaper, drop cloth, and a can of spray paint for my next project totaled $20 at Lowe's. I took that table out on my back porch and began sanding the legs. Sanding flat surfaces = easy. Sanding those decorative legs = #$%@$#! :) When I went to go sand the sides of the table. I realized that it was particle board, which made me sad. I guess I was (skeptically) hoping that because it was old, it would be all wood. After I was done sanding I wiped it all down with a dry cloth. I didn't want to get the wooden legs wet. The paint that I used, a water-based black semi-gloss, was generously donated to me by the wonderful Michelle. Using the drop cloth, I set up my painting station in the middle of my kitchen. After another trip to Lowe's for paint brushes ($12) I was able to continue on. This was taken after the first coat. It covered evenly, despite being real and FAKE wood. One coat was good, but it definitely needed two coats.

I painted the first coat on Friday night and let the table set over night, then repainted the second coat the next morning. Getting into the tiny crevices of the decoration on the side was pretty hard, but I managed. I should have just gotten a really small brush for it, but didn't want to go back to Lowe's for a third time for more paint brushes. I also should have sprayed the top of the table with a finish, but like I said, I didn't want to go to Lowe's again. I may or may not get it and do it later. You just have to make sure the table has been dry for 24 hours before you put the finish on. Here is the finished (without finish) table!

I'm quite satisfied with the finished product and like the table much better now that it is repainted. Clean up was really easy and I only used one brush. I just folded up the drop cloth and will use it on other projects to come. Here is the shot of the entire living room with the new lamps and the new table.

Overall? The impact is definitely minimal. Chances are if I didn't point it out, no one would ever know. I'm hoping all the details will eventually come together in a unified whole. I like the new table and lamps. The lamp shades tend to blend in with the walls too much. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to paint any walls here, so I may have to get new lamp shades or add some pictures will lots of color. We shall see. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Total cost of lamps: $30
Total cost of table: $42 (with all materials left over for future projects)

To crossing items off the list,