Thursday, February 28, 2013

Waiting in the DIY Wings...

It's been a long time since I've shared any fun DIY projects with you all. The major reason for that would be the fact that we just haven't gotten around to any fun or interesting (or even necessary-but-not-so-exciting) projects in the last few months. In fact, after our major Front Entranceway Makeover, which we finished up about a year ago in February 2012, I can't think of another project we've completed indoors (we did get a couple of minor things done outside last summer). Somehow we managed to just lose our DIY momentum completely - if anyone knows where we left it, could you let us know? We have a lot of things that need to be done around here! Our house *is* closing in on 100 years old (88 and counting...)

Among the many projects awaiting completion are a few I'm hoping to knock off before one of my best friends comes all the way from New Mexico to visit me in early June. There's nothing like an impending house guest to make you start seeing all the things about your house that could stand for a little improvement!

The really big project we're hoping to complete by then is a major room reshuffling on the second and third floors. I have mentioned our plan before, but in case you missed it, we are planning to turn what is currently my 15 year old son's bedroom into a den/TV room. The other second-floor bedroom, which is now my 13 year old son's, will be taken over by hubby and me (it *is* technically the master bedroom of the house). Joe and I have been using the third floor attic as our bedroom since we moved in; the boys will both be moving up here in this room reassignment plan (they are actually really excited about this as it's quite a big space and they can totally turn it into a major "teenage boy hangout" :)

It's going to be quite an intricate dance to get everything refinished, reshuffled and reorganized. I've got the whole thing planned out in a (too long) series of steps. The first step is to deal with this closet in the now-bedroom, future den:

We need to take everything out of here and figure out what to do with my 15 year old son's clothes for a while during the reorganization process (probably a storage tote bin will do the trick). Thankfully he doesn't have a lot of clothes so it shouldn't be too big of a problem. Once the closet is empty, we're going to strip off the dreadful wallpaper and paint it (Cloud White of course!) then build some storage shelves in here. We're hoping to use boards from the beat-up bookcase currently in this room to build the shelves (Joe thinks he can make this work). The plan is for this to be the cupboard for all the board games, Lego, art supplies, etc. in the house (which will be fantastic, as they're currently scattered across a number of locations).

Once that step is complete, we'll be taking the remaining furniture out of this room and hopefully selling it (except for the bed!) on Kijiji (it won't fit up in the attic because of the slanted ceilings). Then the real fun of ripping out the old carpet, cleaning up the wood floor underneath and repairing and painting the walls can start! Not to mention figuring out where my son's going to sleep during this overhaul...

As if that wasn't enough to have on our DIY plate, there's another project awaiting us: overhauling some furniture for our future den.

One of my favourite things about being a frugalista is giving things that might have ended up in the landfill a new lease on life. We were very fortunate to have a nice solid wooden chair and couch passed on to us by a fellow homeschooling family (they were apparently locally made, too!).

Here's the chair:

And its buddy the couch:

Yes, I know they're nothing to write home about at the moment, but they have major potential! They are both solid wood pieces, which I love, having a family that can be very hard on furniture. Pieces like this are much easier to repair than traditionally upholstered furniture (which in most cases is darn near impossible to fix once it sustains some damage). Plus, these types of cushions can be easily replaced once they are too dated or worn out (in this case, true on both counts).

What's interesting is that although the frame's very solid, the part that you actually sit on is not - it has some weird strap system that's supposed to hold it in place, and it's not very effective. Joe's going to build some solid wooden supports for the seat, then we're going to paint both pieces and get new cushions (I am hoping that a large piece of upholstery fabric I bought years ago for another purpose might be enough to cover cushions for the couch). I think they are going to look great when they're finished, but this is definitely another large, multi-step project that feels a bit daunting!

The thought of tackling all these big, ambitious projects is making me I'm adding a quicker and easier project to my "to-do" list, one that can be completed in an afternoon:

The pocket door to our (one and only) bathroom. I tend to forget how bad it looks, because unless someone's in the bathroom with the door closed, it's tucked away inside its pocket and you can't see it! I don't think we've painted this door in the nearly ten years that we've been here. It's a slightly different colour than the surrounding trim (which is painted in Benjamin Moore's Cloud White, like all the trim in our house). You can also see that it has a couple of big scuffs; what doesn't really show in the picture is how ragged parts of it look aroound the inset panels where the paint's started to peel slightly. It needs a good sanding down and a coat or two of fresh paint, which should be interesting to achieve given that it *is* our only bathroom! I'm also going to remove the little metal door handles on both sides and take some steel wool to them to see if I can clean them up a bit as they're looking a bit worse for wear.

I'm hoping to get to the bathroom door in the near future; what I really need to do is just schedule an afternoon to do it and GET IT DONE! Hopefully that will help restore some of our DIY momentum and we'll be off and running again making some major progress on all of these projects. And then I will have plenty of updates to share with you :)

What are *you* DIYing these days?

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  1. Sounds like you have your work cut out. I need to get going on some projects I am dragging my heels on because they involve money...

    1. Cash flow has been one of the reasons we stalled out, too. We have everything we need to paint the door and closet and hopefully everything to build the shelves. I really do find that once we get a big project started the resources seem to appear once we are really committed to getting it done (although we certainly have some other projects waiting that are going to take significantly more financial resources than these ones we are starting with!)

  2. You sure have a lot on your plate. I just installed a new doorbell button. when the weather warms up I'll be doing some outdoor painting as well as power washing the sidewalk.
    I have a suggestion for your bathroom...
    while the doors getting it's makeover you can hand a beach towel or something like that up to provode the needed privacy.

    1. We need to do some outdoor painting, too (front steps) and some power washing (back deck).

      The issue with our bathroom door is that since it's a pocket door we can't really take it out to paint it - so I'm going to have to do all the prep and painting with it closed or mostly closed. I'm sure if I do it in stages and make sure everyone's used the bathroom right before I do the painting it will be fine - I can slide the door back in once the paint has set!


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