Monday, May 29, 2017

Adding Seating to the Backyard

I hope everyone is having a nice, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  We were supposed to have rain all weekend, but it held out yesterday until just after dinnertime and today looks like it's going to be gorgeous.  Which makes this post even better!  We built more outdoor seating, bitches!!

About 4-5 years ago- I purchase end of the season clearance outdoor cushions.  I got 6 seat cushions and 6 pillows.  They were super cheap- probably around $6-7 each so more than 50% off whatever the original price was.  They went into my garage.... where they've collected saw dust until yesterday.
I had found plans on Ana White's website for an outdoor sectional (again 4-5 years ago) and have had them printed out and filed in my "to-do pile" in the laundry room.  It consisted of individual pieces put together to make a sectional so I could make any arrangement of them since they weren't attached to each other.  If I wanted 2 on one side and 4 on the other, I could do that.  Or I could keep it 3 on each side.  Or I could just have 6 individual chairs.

Hot Toddy and I started talking about the sectional a couple weekends ago and we finally planned on picking up the wood.  I jumped back onto Ana's website to see if there were any new outdoor plans or if I should just stick with what I already had.  Seeing as though the cushions fit this particular sectional.  She did have something else- a couch sectional that she made.  And I liked this one so much better.  The only drawback was that they'd be more permanent in how the layout would be set up.  Either an L-shape or across from each other as two separate couches.  BUT- most importantly, each couch fit three 24x24 cushions perfectly!  SOLD!  Now I just had to convince Todd.  And by "convince" him, I mean- tell him what we were doing.  HAH!

So off to Lowe's we went to pick up the pressure treated wood.  We ended up with 28- 2x4x8 boards.  They didn't have 10 ft boards (or I can't fit 10 ft boards in my SUV), which is what the plans called for and we ended up with a LOT of scrap- 18 boards left 2ft per board unusable.  We will definitely use it for something else down the road, but if you are going to build just the couches, get the 10ft boards.  You'll probably need a lot less than what we ended up having to purchase.  We used deck screws since the couches will remain outside all spring/summer/fall long.... and let's be honest, probably all winter long as well cuz I'm lazy like that.  We counter sunk the screws so we'll do the same thing that we did with the Adirondack chairs and plug them with wood plugs so you don't see the screws.   But other than a couple modifications to Ana's plans, it was pretty straight forward.  You really just need a miter saw and drill.  We used three drills cuz we fancy like that.  But seriously though, if you have 3 drills, it's super convenient.  We had one with the drill bit, one with the counter sink bit, and one with a Phillips bit.

We cut the wood for both couches at the same time, leaving us with two piles.

Then we started on the first one.  We didn't build them like we did the chairs last summer, step by step for all 6 chairs so that we completed them all at the same time.  This go around, we built one couch and then did the other.  Probably a good thing too, since they are pretty big and it would have been a hassle trying to walk around them in the garage.  

We followed the steps for all of the below pictures and the steps were pretty easy and self-explanatory.  

 {create the base of the couch}

 {finished base}

 {beginning of one arm}

 {both arms}

 {side piece added to arms to attach the base}

{the outside of the arms}

After attaching the arms to the base, we decided we only needed 5 of the 6 required boards on the base and we'd use the remaining board to attach to the back, because for some reason, the plans only called for one piece on the back.  We both agreed that the pillows would end up pushing through and falling off the back of the couch and lets be honest, they'd be really annoying after a while.  So we attached the 6th board to the 5th board on the base at a ninety degree angle that you can see on the left side of the couch below.   

Then we both scratched our heads on the last piece of the back.  It would only be attached with 2 screws to the arms.  If you have 3 people sitting on the couch and leaning back, 2 screws holding the back piece on made us quite nervous.  Not because my friends are fatties, but because we like to drink and I can only imagine someone throwing themselves back onto the couch and taking the board off with them.  

Because my garage is comparable to a lumber yard, I have extra pressure treated 1x4x8's laying around.  What?  You don't?  Rookies.  So we attached one of those to the back of the arms, with 5 screws each side and then attached the last original board to that, screwing 5 times across the back to attach the boards together.  Much sturdier than 2 screws just on the arms.   

You can really see the additional board in the above picture.  Also you can see all the screws counter sunk.  Again, we will put wood plugs in there and sand them down to you don't even notice them. 

So this is one finished couch.  We didn't check when we first started the project to see how long it would take us.  But we did on the second couch.  Mind you, this doesn't count the time it took us to cut the wood so add on maybe a half hour, if that.  But the second couch took us 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Can't beat that!  While we were building the second couch, it started pouring out, which is why they look like they are two different colors.  

{John Doe!!}

If we wanted to, we could put these in an L shape, we'd just need to move the wood pile over a bit, so we'll see how we like them like this for a bit and decide then if we want to keep them as is or move them.  Cuz that'll be the ONLY time we move them again.  These fuckers are HEAVY!  Obviously, once they dry out, they'll be a bit lighter.  But OH MY WORD- carrying them from the garage to the back yard was a muthafuckah.  

All in all, the boards were $4.80 each x 28 = $134.40 and the deck screws were $6.71 per pack x 2 = $13.42.  So a total of $147.82 plus the $70 in cushions means that you can build yourself two outdoor couches for around $200.  Try purchasing solid wood outdoor seating for that in any store.  You'll be lucky if you can find ONE for under $400.  

For those interested in Ana White's plans that we used, search her site for Outdoor Sofa.  

Now, we are going to relax and grill!  Enjoy your day!!!  Like Hot Toddy is.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Re-Doing Re-done Rooms

Guys.  I have a problem.  I can't redo a room and LEAVE IT ALONE. I mean, I get that tastes change.  I get that sometimes I don't do what I want to do originally.  I also get that maybe at the time, I think I'm going to like the room, but eventually am going to change my mind.  Whatever the reason, I seem to spend a lot of time, money, energy on re-doing rooms that I've already re-done.  For example- my now green/gray spare room and my master bathroom.

Well now it's time to re-do my already re-done upstairs living room.

First it started out with "French Gray Linen" which was NOT gray at all and more of a light sage green.  My upstairs hallway walls and the living room were painted this color when I first moved in.  I loved the color on the swatch.  I even sat on the color for months while my house was being built.  I contemplated this color for a long time, looking at others, but always coming back to it.  It was pretty.

These pics were probably taken within a month of me moving in.  I didn't even have end tables or a TV stand yet.  But even once I had them in, I couldn't put my finger on it.  I just didn't like the room.  This was a room that I just put crap in and tried to make it work.  And it didn't.  The minute I painted the front spare room the light gray, I knew what it was.  The paint color- that I LOVED on the swatch-  I just HATED it in my house.  I picked up another gallon of the same light gray and painted the walls and immediately loved it again.  But now the color scheme didn't work.  So the greens/browns went away and I brought in purple/navy/chartreuse.  And homemade artwork.  And add'l furniture.  I wanted bright.  I wanted fun.  I wanted colors that weren't already in the house.  This is how it currently stands.

And now I don't like it.  I don't like the colors.  I don't like the homemade artwork.  I don't like it being a collect all for discarded vases, candles, laptops. etc.  I don't like the cheap lamps.  I don't like bright and fun.  I mean, HELLO- have you met me?  I'm moody, drays, blues, clouds, thunderstorms.  I'm not bright or fun at all.

This going around- I want something sophisticated.  I want glam but not chintzy.  I want real, professional artwork.  Not something I made with craft paint and blue tape.  I want a plush rug, not a cheap $21 Ikea rug.  I want it to look like a grown up room and not one I've DIY'ed.  Multiple times.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I LOVE ME SOME DIY.  Obviously.  But sometimes I just want to spend money and have it look nice and not like it's cheap and thrown together.  I want it to look adult.  Not teenager.  I want it to look designer.  I want it to show my growth in taste and in skill in interior decorating.

I finally achieved the look I want with the gray and green spare room.  I want to do this now with the upstairs living room.  The couches will stay.  The bookcases will 99% be likely to stay.  The end tables will 99% likely stay.  I'm OK with not having the leather storage ottoman, TV stand, lamps, desk, and rug in the room.  I think I want the curtains and chaise to stay.  But they don't HAVE to if I find something else I like.  The chaise I spent a lot of time re-upholstering.  But the chaise itself cost me under $50 and it's not quality at all.

With the new changes, I don't want this room to just look like I slapped on a new coat of paint and changed out the artwork.  Which is all I'm probably going to do.  But I don't want it to LOOK that way.  Cuz I won't be happy with that result.  It needs to be drastic enough that it looks like a new room, but not with the cost of a whole new room, if you know what I mean.

So I've spent the last couple of months trying to come up with a color scheme that goes with navy blue, but that I haven't already used in my house.  As a reminder, my room colors are:

  • almost the entire downstairs is some form of taupe, brown, aqua, teal
  • the front spare room- light gray and yellow
  • the back spare room- dark gray and green
  • the hall bathroom- light gray, magenta, purple
  • the hallway- light gray, magenta
  • master bedroom- dark gray, aqua
I don't know the color scheme yet.  I can't pick out artwork for the life of me.  Seriously though- picking artwork is HARD!  First of all, legit, professional art is expensive so you've got to make sure it's something you are going to LOVE.  For a long time.  I change my outfits 6 times before I walk out the door in the morning.  That shows you how indecisive I am.  Trying to find something I'm going to love forever?  Jesus- that's asking a LOT of me.  I also want something that's personal to me.  Something that has meaning.  I have an idea.  And it's actually going to be DIY but I don't want it to look DIY so there are plans for that as well.  But help me people.  What are your thoughts on color scheme?  What kind of artwork do you think would be personal to me?  Which direction do you think I should go?  HELP!!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Other Master Closet

Guess what- we took a break from the Teenager's room and worked on my house for a bit.  I'll be back with more Emily stuff soon though.  We're going to have a finished room to chat about!

So I'm going to start off by saying I can't take credit for part of this project.  Hot Toddy did good, all on his own!  OK- I had some input so let's not act like he did it all by himself.  But he definitely did all of the manual labor to it.  ;)  Should I stop calling him Hot Toddy and call him Boy With A  Pink Toolbelt now?  I mean, if he's going to start doing his own projects and all.....

A few weeks back, Todd decided that he wanted to switch around the closet that he's been using.  I have two closets in my master bedroom- one that I re-did a few years back and one that I basically used to store all of the pillows and decor that I no longer use or haven't used yet.  Since I don't have a lot of space for overflow- ie. a basement or extra closets for storage, I used this closet to hide all of the clutter.  It was also where I stored all of my tools when I couldn't be bothered to bring them back downstairs to the garage after a project.  Especially knowing that I would eventually need them again for another soon.

Last summer I cleaned out the closet since poor Todd was bringing everything back and forth in a backpack.  It was sad.  He needed somewhere to his hang shirts like a big boy and since I had a spare closet and all......  I ripped up the carpet, put down the same flooring that was in my closet and painted the same color as my closet.  That's how it stayed.  Two wire shelves.  Nothing else since.



Well Todd got it in his head that he needed better shelves, better storage, better function.  So out came the wire shelves and off to Menards we went.  We picked up a couple of rods with some brackets and a white shelf to go on top.  

Before- when we first started discussing the closet, I said that he needed some storage in there.  I assumed we could get something low for the back part of the closet- either a low dresser with drawers or one of those cube things you can put the cloth bins in.  I knew it was a random length and it would be difficult to fit exact to the width of that space.  But having his t-shirts, socks and underwear stacked on those wire shelves was clearly not working.  

Fast forward to putting up the new rods and shelf on the right side of the closet- it dawned on us that he could now get a tall dresser- which he'd have way more options with.  So while he patched holes from the original shelves, I jumped on Craigslist to see what was out there.  I found a few immediately that were all $50 or less but two were a little more feminine than he'd want.  I showed him the one more manly and he liked it.  I emailed the owner and within 10 minutes had a response back that it was still available.  We jumped on it and headed to pick it up. 

 I told Todd on our way to get it- that he needed to make sure that #1 he liked it, #2 it wasn't a piece of shit and #3 it worked properly.  All three checked the box after looking at it.  And for $40????  Done.  I mean, it's not a solid, hardwood, expensive dresser.  But it's not a super cheap, particle board, fuax wood dresser either.  It is made of wood- probably pine.  It's not veneer over pressed wood- the drawers came out and the inside of the dresser is wood as well.  It's just not top of the line quality.  Again- it was $40.  It worked.  So we loaded it up and brought it home.  

Here's a better picture of it in my garage.  It's the exact color of wood that makes me cringe.  That orange tone that goes with nothing and it DEFINITELY wasn't going to go in that closet looking like that- "Todd's closet" or not.  HAH.  But I kept my mouth shut.  Well we cleaned it out and brought it upstairs to see how it looked in the space and it was perfect- color aside.  Todd said he thought it would look better sanded and stained the dark walnut that I like (he's a smart man, have I told you all that lately?) or painted to match what the closet already looked like- so a white or dark brown.

The one thing that didn't work with this dresser was there were no knobs to make pulling the drawers out easy.  We figured when we looked at it online that underneath each drawer probably had a groove you could fit your fingers under to pull.  Nope- the drawers butted right up to the one above it.  You couldn't fit a quarter in between them, never mind your finger tips.  The groove was actually on the sides of the drawers- which neither he nor I was a fan of.  So as we got it into the closet and fiddled around with it, it dawned on me that many many years ago, I bought these drawer pulls from Ikea!  I had intended on using them when I bought a low dresser for my downstairs living room TV.  I didn't use them for that.  Then I planned on using them when I redesigned my closet for drawers I was going to build- which I never did either.  So they've been underneath my dresser for a few years and eventually moved out to the upstairs living room hidden in the desk.  Out of sight out of mind.  But thank goodness I remembered!  I ran out there and grabbed them and all but FORCED them on Todd.  I'm pretty sure my voice was 6 octaves higher than normal and I was speed talking- "You like them, right?  Oh my god, they'll look so good! You love them?  Cuz I love them!  You HAVE to use these- they'll look great on it!"  I think I almost gave him a seizure.  After my excitement went down a few levels, I told him he didn't have to use them if he didn't want to.  It was HIS dresser, he could do what he wanted.  Again, remember my earlier statement, he's a very SMART man.  

We left it at that.  I headed to Florida for two weeks and Todd said nothing about doing anything with this dresser.  Until I got a text.  "Guess what I'm doing?"  Well I knew he wasn't on the beach like I was, so I asked WHAT?  I got this.  

Then this....

Then this....

And this....

And finally, this...

Someone was proud of himself.  Someone busted his ass sanding that dresser down.  That someone was definitely not me.  I probably screeched 6 states away!  It already looked so much better than it originally did.  SO MUCH BETTER.  But then he sent me this....

....and I was in heaven.  Smart.  Man.  You can't go wrong with Dark Walnut stain, I tell ya.  Obviously, this was a quick pass over the top but it already looked so good.  I knew that it was going to look even better with the entire dresser stained.  It didn't take him long to prove me right.  

Now came the part where I wondered if my secret voodoo doll stabbing worked.  Was he going to use my drawer pulls or not?  Remember, smart man.

I mean, seriously though.  Meant to be.  Those pulls were totally meant for that dresser.  They are big and pretty.  I love them.  He probably is OK with them.  But enough so that he used them and that's all that matters to me!  And it looks really good in the closet.

The other side- with the new shelves and rods.

As you can tell, he definitely doesn't have my sneaker fetish.  SIX PAIRS OF SHOES?  What?  But at least now his skivies are put away and there are no longer any of those hideous wire shelves!  YAY!

What a drastic different in the closet itself, but in the dresser.  For $40, a can of stain I already had, and possibly $10 worth of clearance pulls from Ikea I already had, it looks amazing.  I can't stress enough for those if you needing furniture.  CRAIGSLIST.  Even if you don't have the tool to sand it- you could go buy an orbital sander for less than $70 and it would STILL be cheaper than buying a brand new dresser.  Honestly, you couldn't buy a WalMart Mainstays "put it together yourself" dresser for less than $100.  And that shit ain't wood.  Craigslist is the best for furniture.  I have purchased so many pieces there in the last few years and I've not been disappointed once.