25 Mar

Our Well Dressed Closet

Next month will mark our third anniversary in this house. That means that for nearly three years our master closet has looked pretty much like this:

closet photos

Now, in some homes this walk-in closet (measuring 7′ x 8′) could be considered the 4th bedroom. And for some women sharing it with their husband would be a deal breaker. Since I don’t have to get dressed daily (which keeps my side super clean and organized) this space wasn’t high on my To Do List. But after finishing the master bathroom renovation, I decided it was time to address this eyesore.

The first thing to go were those tacky, builder-grade wire shelves. In their place went wooden dowels stained and painted to resemble industrial plumbing pipe.

install closet rod

My friend Katie rocked a cool DIY project using the real deal but after pricing it out for our space, I couldn’t justify dropping so much cash on a room I hardly use. And to be fair, even when Dave hangs out in here he’s half asleep, maneuvering via cell phone spotlight. So yeah, faux industrial rods were the way to go.

But I did find a way to work some heavy metal into the design.

I picked up this funky little wooden cabinet from Goodwill a while back. Inside was a corner bracket and five swing arms. I added some bracing to the wall and installed the upcycled tie rack in the corner (p.s. I got in trouble for undoing Dave’s ties to take this photo. Whoops!)

repurposed hardsware

Several residences ago I decided I had to have these 7′ bookcases. I loved them and spent way more than I’m willing to admit to call them my own. The problem was I never quite figured out how to stage them and they became the thorn in my side (and a catch-all for all things crap). But every time I moved I lugged them along. One night I was surfing the ‘net and came across some celebrity’s dressing room closet. While commenting on the utter absurdity of anyone needing floor to ceiling shelving for their clothes I had my AHA moment. In 15 minutes flat I had those puppies cleaned off and ready for Dave to help cart them from the office into the closet.

One of the skinny side pieces fit snug enough against the wall that the dresser drawers could clear it and helped brace a couple more clothing rods. The shelves are laminate and I scored them for $3.00 in the damaged wood bin at Menards. They match the bookcases perfectly. A little spray paint tied in the metal rod supports. Standard wall pocket supports screwed in to the pole ends finished off the built-in look I was going for.

clothing rods

Of course I had to use a step stool to get the clothes loaded in. There’s just enough space between the end of Dave’s dresser for the three dresses I own to hang.

master closet organization

And enough space below my summer shirts for a couple of bins of ‘unmentionables’.

closet storage ideas

Over on the other side of the room are the rest of the bookcases where our jeans and my insane collection of sweatshirts live. Side story: Dave skis. I don’t. So, when he hits the slopes he brings me back a sweatshirt. Obviously, that man takes entirely too many vacations. {smile} No seriously, if he didn’t I would never get these projects done!

bookcases for clothes

Speaking of, this small plot of blank wall space is my next victim. Any guesses what I’ve got in mind??

diy mirror

If you follow along on Facebook, you’ll remember that I shot out a teaser the other day of pieces I used to construct my new shoe rack.

master closet makeover

But if you don’t that’s okay. I’ll get that tutorial up soon enough. For now, let’s just gaze at the awesomeness that is my new favorite room…

big walk in closet

…knowing I’ve got a solid two years left to enjoy it (and plenty of room for more sweatshirts).

17 Jun

Creative Organization/Storage

For the second go-round of our Blogger Showdown Challenge we had to upcycle an item to provide extra storage/organization. Those of you who follow Facebook have seen the current status of my office and know this is an area where I can use some help.

I promise, you will not see me on a future episode of Hoarders (because I do not have a problem and more importantly because it’s not on HGTV).

Seriously, the reason for this nonsense is that a few weeks months ago, I decided to fashion my master closet a la Abercrombie. {someday I’ll finish & post about it}

tornado alley

After relocating the floor-to-ceiling bookcases, I was left with no place to store the litany of Koontz, Cornwell and self-help books that seem to multiply behind closed doors. Likewise, all my chotchkies are now sleeping in plastic bags on the floor.

Since Sonne will be here in about a month, the timing of this challenge lined up perfectly with the office/guest room overhaul.

Convenient how that worked out huh?
So as a practical solution, I opted to transform a hutch-like-thing I had ($3.99 at Goodwill) hiding in the garage. It probably sat on top of a low-boy in a previous life but for it to function as a bookcase it needed a bottom.

wooden hutch

Back when I turned that desk into an island, putting the top on bottom worked so well that I decided to go that route again. Since the challenge, overall, is to use what you’ve got I sifted through my cabinet door stash and found one that could do double duty as a top.

cabinet door top

After gluing and screwing the deconstructed piece back together, I cut and sanded blocks of wood to make feet. Then, the whole thing got the sanding block treatment.

refabricated bookcase

It took about 2 hours to get to this point. Everything was coming together entirely too easily. Never have I had any project go off without a hitch and I warned Dave “…something will go wrong, it always does.” And sure enough, the paint on this project nearly did me in.

painted bookcase

I picked up a quart of midnight blue from Rustoleum’s warehouse sale a few weeks back. [Sidenote: I’m kicking myself for not picking up a few more at $2.00 each.] Originally, the entire inside was white but somewhere along the line I realized blue was better. It took eleventeen coats and I still wasn’t able to completely cover up the white. But at some point you just have to admit you’re drunk defeat and go to bed.


Besides, in the daylight you hardly notice that I changed my mind. I am crushing on that are-they-circles-or-are-they-flowers stencil. I’ve been obsessed with this pattern for a while now and was crazy excited to incorporate it into this piece. If I stare at it too long my head hurts but I love how it plays tricks on the eyes.

And since I can’t play tricks on *your* eyes and pretend my office is anywhere near clean, the finished piece is hanging out in the dining room for now. What do you think? Should I just leave it there? {I’m kidding Dave, kinda.}

styled bookcase

Now, don’t forget – this is part of the Rehash That Trash challenge series so you’ll have to check out Evey’s storage project and choose mine as your favorite piece. Leave a comment here or there and let us know what you decide. I’m heading out to get started on the final piece.

Round 1 – Unexpected Repurpose
Round 3 – Recycled fabric/upholstery

26 Jan

Behind Closed Doors


Hello there! Hope you’re having a great weekend. I haven’t been motivated to do squat of late and you know what? I’m oddly okay with it. I’m pretty sure I have officially succumbed to the winter blues. Blah. Once again I wonder why I live in Wisconsin…I am soo ready for spring!

Anyhoo, after my pots and pan-try was featured over at Tatertots and Jello I had folks asking where my canned corn and peas wound up. So as much as I wasn’t planning to write a whole post about it, I feel a duty to show you what’s behind my cupboard doors.


upper_cabinet #deeconstruct

Lame huh? Since I want my guys to actually eat things before (or shortly past) their expiration dates, I don’t see the point in hiding boxes and cans in pretty containers or baskets. I know they don’t read so cute little chalkboard labels are a colossal waste of time and energy. And because I’m usually whipping up something quasi-edible as glue or paint dries, I need to be able to grab & go with canned and boxed goods. So, my cabinets are Grade A boring.

But – check this out. Oooooh. Aaaaaah.

spice_rack #deeconstruct

Isn’t that cool?

I’m slowly learning how to use the hub’s fancy camera (because all the cool bloggers are doing it) and this was my first try at whatever the effect for zooming in and blurring out simultaneously is called. Nailed it!

That spice rack was at The Will for $0.50. I stuck ‘er on with double-sided sticky tape and called it done.

Underneath the counter is where I’m storing my prized Tupperware Modular Mates. If you’re into high-end plastic you know these things are not cheap and rarely fit in your upper cabinets anyhow. So this was the perfect spot for them.

The entire upper left shelf is reserved for my coffee & tea addiction. I should rename this the Caffeine & Carb Cabinet. Some day I’ll learn to eat healthy. Or not.

lower_cabinet #deeconstruct

There is one cabinet I didn’t bother organizing or snapping photos of. It houses more unnecessary spices and oils. Like my junk drawer, it’s beyond hope. Underneath it though is this cool space….

organized_drawers #deeconstruct

…perfect for storing towels and trivets. The kid has an easier time of making his school lunch with everything in that second drawer. I honestly have no idea if I’ve ever used that steamer in the bottom drawer but it matches the hardware so she stays.

The only things that wound up homeless after the pantry relocation were the fresh goods. Temporarily they camped out in various bowls on the counter. I was hoping to score a 3-tier basket thingy for cheap.

3_tier_basket     3tierpier1

But that never happened.

So until I found a solution I just left those things off the grocery list. Upside? I totally shaved a solid 2 minutes off my 3-hour trip to Woodman’s. {Have I mentioned how much I loathe grocery shopping?}

And there you have it. Mission Organization – Kitchen Edition is 95% complete.

For those of you still wanting more, go check out my girlfriend Evey’s fridge makeover. But grab a napkin first – you’re sure to drool over the awesomely sinful stuff that chick whips up.

18 Jan

Put A Lid On It

Plastic Pantry

As I was rummaging around in the pantry muttering about the builder’s stupidity for not installing any lighting in there my son was busy putting away the dishes. Over my own complaining I could sort of hear him whining about having too much Tupperware and not enough cabinet space.

I’m pretty sure he was complaining more about me and the way I insist things be put away just so but since he was smart enough to ‘whisper-gripe’ I couldn’t be certain.

As I slammed the door and flung outdated food on the counter he looked at me and said “Why don’t we put the food in the cabinet and the dishes in there?” pointing to the pantry. Being the logical and responsible parent I responded with “Because.”

Then, for the next couple of hours, I mulled over his question.

Why did a family of three need a walk-in pantry? I certainly don’t coupon enough to require storage for 15 boxes of cereal or a year’s worth of spaghetti sauce. I’m not a ‘prepper’ and feel secure enough in my faith to believe I won’t need to fill up on dry goods and bottled water in case of the apocalypse. As it was, I certainly wasn’t utilizing the space efficiently and with what little I did have in there, I was still managing not to use food before it went bad.

Unorganized Pantry

So why not give his idea a try?

Well for one, that would be admitting he was right. And anyone with a 15-year-old kid knows better than to play that hand too quickly. So I sat on it for a few days. I actually forgot the suggestion until the next time I decided to play hide & seek for a can of veggies.

Dark Pantry

I had had it. {see that stupid push on light??}

So at roughly midnight that night I decided to make the swap. The plan was to switch the food for plastic and if I hated it have things back in place before anyone woke up.

It took a lot less time to remove all the food than it did to match bowls to lids. Stacking and arranging (and color coding) took even longer. When I was done I’m pretty sure the heavens parted and angels sang. It was glorious.

Plastic Pantry

But I had the entire right side left over. I emptied the lower cabinet and moved the crock pot, dutch oven and mixing bowls over. All that was left were the pots and pans.

I didn’t have any “s” hooks on hand but had an idea. We had recently replaced the chandelier over the dining table and had left over chain link. Knowing it would come in handy at some point I stashed it in the junk drawer.

A few tugs and pulls with the pliers and I had my own version of a pot rack.

Pot and Pant-ry

By now, I’m sure all the racket I’d made had woken up the neighbors but I was on a roll. I was so impressed with the make-over that I even considered giving the kid full credit. Obviously it was time for me to get some shut-eye.

After playing with the new setup for a few days I decided it would take so I painted up some peg board and installed it on the inside of the pantry door. The hardware was harder to insert than I expected so a few words as colorful as my Tupperware were uttered but eventually it all came together. I hung up my frequently used utensils and stood back to admire my masterpiece.

Utensil Door

I almost threw my shoulder out patting myself on the back.

Organized Pantry

Now when I open up the door I see bright, cheery kitchenware waiting to be utilized. I almost feel guilty for hating to cook. Oh and the kid and I fight a lot less about putting dishes away. That alone would brighten anyone’s day.

Message Center

See the sweet little note the hubs left on the message board? I’m sure glad I decided not to stencil “Pantry” on the center of the door! Now, I have a long list of what should be recycled on that door. Since we stashed our trash I have to remind these guys what needs to go where. #neverendingbattle

So what do you think? Would you turn your food storage area into a pots & pan-try? Do you have as much Tupperware as I do? Are you wondering why someone who doesn’t cook has that much plastic? {grin}

Speak up! I would love to hear your opinion on this spatial deconstruction project.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.