The laundry room is next in our before-and-after series. This room got a makeover for $20!
- Repainted the trim and walls.
- Added vinyl tile flooring.
Now we can move upstairs!
The laundry room is next in our before-and-after series. This room got a makeover for $20!
Now we can move upstairs!
It’s been a while since we last did a before and after of the house, hasn’t it? Sometimes it’s fun to see how far we’ve come with the town home, because it can be easy to forget on a day-to-day basis. Without further ado, the kitchen!
Here’s where we started.
This wall color could be described best as puke. It had a very gray + yellow + green vibe going on. B couldn’t stand how yellowed the crown molding was in comparison to the cabinets.This microwave is the same one that eventually went sour on us. Of course, it’s death allowed us to do two things: open up the area over the stove (to code) and add a nice glass shelf for spices.And the after:
Note to self: Clean your stuff off the chair before taking pictures, Self! And what’s with the wonky hanger anyway? Why don’t I see this stuff when I’m actually taking the photo? The island was a fantastic addition from Ikea. Worth every penny! Wall color: Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore. So here’s a recap of what we did in this room:
What we didn’t do/haven’t done yet:
Next recap: the living room. Stay tuned!
Our laundry room is like the hidden “ugh” in our house. We ignore it, open the double doors to do our laundry, and then hide the ugly beast that it is behind the doors again as quickly as we can. It’s been ignored, by us and all the other (three) owners that this little town home has gone through. The walls are a weird shade of what once may have been red-orange. They’re banged up, scratched, and stained. The floors are 14-year-old laminate, damaged in some spots and yellowed in others.
So on Sunday, when the I-have-to-do-something-productive vibe hit me, I jumped on Pinterest for some inspiration. What could I do that would help our home without spending a dime? That was the mission.
What I stumbled across was a neat laundry room upgrade for $150. Though I didn’t have $150, I did have a lot of leftover paint from all the rooms we’ve redone. An idea formed. I ran downstairs and began taking the laundry room apart. (I should note here that I did not take the entire room apart by myself. Credit is due to my dear husband, who begrudgingly agreed to my makeover scheme even though it involved moving a very heavy washing machine out of a very small space. Thanks, B!)
A lite makeover ensued. Here’s what we started with on Sunday around 12:30. I was so excited that I took this picture without bothering to straighten up the shelves, so we’re keeping it really real today, guys. Enjoy.
The right side of the room has piping for our sprinkler system that we have to leave in place and work around. It’s ugly, but there isn’t much we can do about it. (It has to be accessible.) The bottom of the floor on the right side is where there is a bit of damage.
The first thing we did was to use some of the leftover paint from our foyer (Benjamin Moore Natural Linen) to repaint the walls. It took one coat of primer and two coats of Natural Linen to get the walls sufficiently covered. Then we waited for the paint to dry, and marked 8-inch intervals on the wall with pencil. We taped them off using a hodge-podge of painters’ tape that we had around the house (thus the green and blue). The differing widths of the tape didn’t matter because we aligned the edge of the tape on the outside of the pencil marks, so that the sections we were painting would be exactly 8 inches. Immediately after painting, we removed the tape, and the Natural Linen section and lightened section were the same widths. (If you try this, make sure your pencil marks are in the areas that you’ll be painting, otherwise you’ll have to go back over them with an eraser after the paint is dry. Speaking from experience here…)
For the lighter shade, we poured a small amount of Natural Linen into the paint tray and then added about double the amount of white paint. Then, mix ’em until they’re blended. Wa la! Lightened paint in a similar hue without spending a dime (assuming you have white paint on hand).
You’ll have to forgive the poor camera angles. The washer was pretty close to the doorway. Why move it farther than you have to? And the color is about as accurate as I could get it. Small spaces don’t photograph well, especially when combined with my limited camera skills! Because the room is so small and the sides are not very visible, we decided to skip the stripes in those areas.
The next thing we tended to was the floors. Once we got the washer and dryer out of the room, we realized how gross the floors were. Even after we scrubbed them, they were less than fabulous. So B came up with the idea of laying some vinyl tiles. Not only would they be affordable, but they’d be fast to lay and durable—good for an area that has water nearby and carries a heavy load. We made a trip to Lowes, and returned with one box of slate gray vinyl tile, for a grand total of $20.
After allowing the tiles to acclimate to the temperature/humidity in our home, B was able to install the tiles flush with one another (you can grout between the type of tiles we bought, but it’s optional) in about an hour, so installation was a breeze. Even though these are by no means high-end tiles, we think the room has been improved nonetheless.
After installation was complete, we repainted the shoe molding to match the freshly painted white trim (it was all cream before) and reinstalled it. And that’s it! We went over my “not going to spend a dime” budget by $20 for the floor, but it was worth it, we think. And though others online mentioned that they had trouble with these tiles sticking, we had none at all. My advice would be to make sure that your floors are squeaky clean before installation, and also that they’re level. If not, you’ll have to use a leveling compound, something we were thankful to avoid.
And that’s it for the laundry room. I will admit that every once and a while I walk by and open the doors to examine the stripes. I’m a fan. They are so much fun that I might just put them somewhere else in the house. After all, it’s only paint!
After my last post, my guess is that you’re sensing a theme. A these-people-don’t-wait-for-their-real-birthdays kind of theme. In 2013, you’re right.
For Christmas, B was gifted a number of gift cards to Lowes, our most-convenient home improvement store. So like any good shopper, he pulled up their website to see what was on sale. Lo and behold, he found something. A Whirlpool range hood with good ratings on sale. And with his gift cards, he could get it for under $100. Sold!
We do not currently have a range hood over our stove. We have God’s worst microwave instead. This microwave is 14 years old and dying. Remember how it turned itself on once? It used to do that quite a bit, until we finally unplugged it for good. Leaving it unplugged meant that it was in essence a very ugly looking paper weight, so we were eager to get rid of it and put something less bulky in its place. Enter the range hood.
It makes an amazing difference to cook without the microwave in your face now (it wasn’t to code; it hung down too close to the cooktop). Like the early birthday gift I received, this gift opens up the space and updates it. It also coordinates with the stainless steel stove. Now picture the room with shiny new black countertops and we’ll be in business.
Let’s face it: The days after a long weekend are not the easiest. It sometimes feels like even though the week is shorter, you still manage to do the same amount of work. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, B and I decided that we were going to eat out of the freezer some this week, and thawed out a hefty Tupperware of spaghetti sauce for dinners. Last night, I was standing over the stove stirring a pot of boiling pasta on the cusp of al dente when something strange happened. The microwave, which is very old (14 years is my estimate. We think it’s original to the house. It certainly has the grease-covered surface to attest to this), started itself. You read that right. A microwave that was previously off—fan, light, oven, all off—turned itself on. In fact, not only did the microwave turn itself on, but so did the light and the fan. The entire contraption came to life before my very eyes.
But that’s not where it ended. After cutting itself on, it wouldn’t turn off. We pressed every off button it had, but it wouldn’t budge. Finally, B unplugged it from the wall. We waited a few seconds and then plugged it back in, and it came right back on! So we ended up letting it sit unplugged overnight, and this morning, it seemed to be back to normal.
This is very odd, isn’t it? I can’t help but wonder if it’s a fire hazard. Obviously the unit isn’t new. We plan to replace it with a regular range hood because we don’t really use the microwave. And this one is so bulky and close to the stove that it takes away from your line of sight while cooking.
So I jumped on Google and did some searching. Apparently a microwave that turns itself on and off is a fire hazard, and could mean any number of parts are going/have gone bad. Because we’re not fans of this contraption anyway, I can’t imagine us putting a lot of money and time into fixing it. That range hood might move a bit closer down the to-do list now!
This past weekend, we got our long-awaited kitchen light in the mail. Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out as planned.
Verdict? Almost no light. Seriously, it did practically nothing on the let-there-be-light front. And to make matters worse, it was crooked. Noticeably crooked. B fidgeted with it, and then we looked again. Still crooked. Messed with it again, still crooked. We could not get it to hang level. (I wish we’d taken pictures of the drum shade actually hanging, but we were distracted by how downhill things went and forgot.)
So B took the shade off and we pulled out our leveler. Bingo: The metal circular piece that the lamp shade actually rests on wasn’t level. Here’s the leveler sitting on our counter top. As you can see, perfectly level:
So we made the decision to return it. We were both pretty bummed because we had a picture in our heads of what this was going to look like, but hey, sometimes you’ve got to roll with it. We’re waiting for our return to hit the bank, and then we’ll be on the lookout for attempt #2.
B has been busy this week. I wish it was me, but B gets all the credit here.
He has continued to work on the progress he and his dad made on clearing out the brush next to our water line. This is the before shot, with B’d dad photo-bombing 🙂
Next up, B added some weatherproofing to our attic door:
B also fixed the rotted wood on our back fence gate door (you can also see the two hydrangeas, now potted, in this shot):
As promised, here are the updated kitchen photos after B’s day of painting.
You can see that it’s, well, very blue. Very blue. B loves it. I am…not so sure. I need a little time to digest it and mull it over. And, we need to get the overhead light to go over the dining table, and then we can see what it really looks like.
The boxes in the corner (in the photo above) are all of our fine china. We have nowhere to put it right now. The long-term plan is to get a china cabinet from Ikea or someplace equally as affordable and put it there.
You can see below why we are such fans of using painters’ tape. That’s a straight line!
And you can see below why we hate our counter top and can’t wait to change it out for a new one. It’s pretty stained.
So that’s where the kitchen stands for now. Future purchases will include a light for the table. We’re thinking this one, a fav from West Elm. I’m really liking the drum pendant style right now, and the good thing about this one being plain is that if I ever want to cover it with a pretty fabric, I could do so very easily.
Guess what B is doing today. Just guess.
If you guessed painting the kitchen, you’re right! The grand prize (knowing that you’re right, which, I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me most of the time) is yours. So anyway, B has today off, and he’s feeling gun-ho and announced last night that he’s going to paint the kitchen today while I’m at work after a week of being sick with a nasty cold.
Here’s what the kitchen originally looked like.
It now has the island that we bought from Ikea, and we’ve pretty much finished unpacking everything, though things are still finding homes in drawers and cabinets. The dishwasher isn’t new, but it washes better than any other dishwasher I’ve ever had. And the microwave is pretty old as well, but it still works. The overhead fan in the range of the microwave is incredibly loud–it sounds like it’s going to take off! We’re not fans of the microwave, so the long-term plan involves taking it down and just using a range hood instead. We have another microwave from our old place that we can use, and this way we can open up that space above the stove, making it easier to see into pots and pans while you’re cooking.
Here is our kitchen inspiration.
I really wish I could remember where I found this. It was some time ago, and I have never been able to find it again. I just love it though. The cabinets are similar to the ones we have. We plan to replace the white-laminate counter top with a black one in the future (not sure what material yet; it will be based on what we can afford). We also will need to replace the cabinet doors one day in the future as well. They aren’t actually painted white–there’s some kind of laminate cover on them, and it’s peeling off around the edges in some places. We didn’t notice this until we moved in.
So far we’ve had a very difficult time color matching the blue on the walls in this photo to our actual kitchen space. The light has been incredibly tricky to work with. We’ve tried at least six or more shades, and some have been close in one spot but look like completely different colors on the wall opposite. It’s crazy, and challenging. What we finally decided to try is a shade by Benjamin Moore for Pottery Barn called Buxton Blue. We aren’t sure yet how well it will work. It looks very, well, blue in some spots, but then in other spots it looks perfect, so we decided to just go for it and we’ll see what happens. Just going with the flow! I don’t know that it’s going to have the soft feel that my inspiration photo has, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.
We’ll post photos as soon as the paint’s dry!
A little over a week after moving in, and a lot of unpacking later, this is what the living room looked like.
Above is facing the left side. Below is facing the right.
And after a long-time planned trip to Ikea to pick up the couch we have been waiting for them to get in (and were able to get because of a generous donation to the house fund by B’s parents), we finally could swap out those kitchen chairs for a more living-room-appropriate place to sit.
Hooray! You have no idea how much a couch makes a living room feel like a living room until you don’t have one. (For those who are wondering, our old couch, a sleeper sofa, broke. To be more specific, the mechanism inside the couch that supports the sleeper bed when it’s folded up inside the couch broke, so the sleeper bed sits on the floor when it’s folded up. We decided to put that couch in the office since that room is carpeted, because we worried that the metal would scratch the wood floor in the living room.)
Directly next to the couch (to the direct right of where I’m standing while taking the above photo), is this:
Yes, that is the royal couple themselves poking their pretty heads out of that magazine basket. Who didn’t want to be a princess while watching that wedding? This girl right here certainly did.
You can also see through to the kitchen, where B spent Sunday night assembling the other piece we picked up with parental gift funds: a much-needed kitchen island. Amazingly, the pantry we have here is smaller than the one that B rigged at our apartment, so we were at a loss as to where to put the food we have that wouldn’t fit in the pantry. Enter kitchen island. Thankfully the kitchen is plenty big enough to accommodate it. We first measured out the size that each island available were, and the choice was pretty obvious once we saw the sizes.
This isn’t a great photo, but B was standing just to the right working on finishing that side up when I snapped the photo. At any rate, you can see that it has a butcher block top, which we didn’t realize needed so much work when we bought it. We have to sand it down, and then oil it every second day for the next week, then every third day until the wood is saturated, which is says can take up to 2 months! Too late now. We’ve got some oiling in our future.
All that work made for a tired puppy…
Next up on our list of things that actually made some progress, the foyer. Don’t mind the paint splotches. Just color testing. (No decision yet.) That picture looks sadly lonely right now, but this room will develop over time, as they all do.
And finally, the promised shot of B’s handiwork painting the guest room. If only you had seen it beforehand. Yikes!
Zoey is photo-bombing. She did that before to Scout, too. To recap, we painted this room with the leftover paint we had from the living room, Behr Paint-and-Prime in One in Wax Sculpture. The cord is for the television outlet in the room, and the lamp is an old one of ours that we plan to paint and get a new shade for. We like the shape, hate the color.
So that’s your update!